In those things which we commit to practice we can master, and with mastery we have the freedom to use these skills whenever we desire, without this practice we are slaves to our inability.
Baker creates an impetus to try to improve the roster for the immediate next season that the Reds have lacked for years on end.
So if Baker can probably get a good team to play like a good team and if his hire is a catalyst for the front office taking greater pains to assemble a good team, then wouldn't that make him a good hire?
Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong
I'm witchcrafting everybody.
It isn't the end of the world, but it is a sign that they still don't get it.
And Eric Milton still has a winning record
How do we know he's not Mel Torme?
Word is, players now want to come here and play for Dusty.
I don't know who these players are....and even if I did, I probably couldn't tell you
IMHO, Krivsky has always worked best at the margins. Trusting him to do well with loose purse strings seems like a gamble. If Krivsky really has a mandate to win next season, finding a solution to the *Jr* problem should be near the top of his off season to do list.
"This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner
"I came here to kick ass and chew bubble gum... and I'm all out of bubble gum."
- - Rowdy Roddy Piper
"It takes a big man to admit when he is wrong. I am not a big man"
- - Fletch
As for the first part, free agency isn't the only, or even the primary, way to bring in talent.
I'm fully allowing that they might do this poorly. That's a very real possibility. Yet at least they're going to do it in earnest and that's better than the stuck-in-limbo plan that's been employed since the advent of Carl Lindner.
Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong
I'm witchcrafting everybody.
Here's a now almost ten year old article about Dusty from BP. Pretty interesting read that definitely touches on some of the gripes that many have with Dusty while discussing his managerial style and how it might lead to success nonetheless.
Another Trip Down a Dusty Road
by Steven Rubio
A headline for a recent Baseball Weekly cover story described Dusty Baker as an "inspirational manager" in charge of "overachieving Giants." The article included gushing praise from players, fellow managers, and even an opposing general manager who stated that Baker "handles people like nobody I've ever seen ... I'd get rid of my own guy right now if I knew I could have Dusty Baker managing for me." Throughout the avalanche of compliments, one matter comes up again and again: Dusty is a supreme leader of men, a true "manager" as one might imagine a manager in any business, not only baseball.
Stat-based analysts often bemoan the use of so-called "intangibles" as markers of value for baseball players. While no one denies the existence of intangible contributions, there is enough tangible statistical evidence describing a player's contribution to make intangibles largely irrelevant to the analyst's task. What a player does on the field of play is recorded in detail in the statistical record, and while writers with a romantic or philosophic bent might draw delightful word pictures about things that "don't appear in the boxscores," the analyst is concerned mainly with what happens on the field. A tangible run scored is always worth more than an intangible contribution, or rather, if the intangible DOES contribute something, it WILL appear in the boxscore. As Bill James pointed out long ago, if an elephant walks in the snow, there will be footprints.
James' most recent book, the fascinating and excellent "Bill James' Guide to Baseball Managers from 1870 to Today," isn't about baseball players, but instead focuses on the people who direct the players in their efforts. As always, James offers an inspired read: intelligent, catty, confident of his opinion no matter how right or wrong he is, James is ultimately a great writer as much or more than he is a great analyst. (And it always bears repeating that the quality of James' writing is what sets him apart from the large majority of statiscally-based analysts of baseball.) However, James falls victim to certain pitfalls of the stat-based approach that are instructive for all of us who would examine baseball under the statistical microscope. For it is one thing to assert that statistics are extremely important to the analysis of baseball player performance, and to claim that a player's contribution can be accurately reflected in his stats, but quite another thing to assume that everything in life can be reduced to tangibles. Anti-statheads, obsessed with dismissing quantifiable evidence, too frequently reject the entire notion of quantification; their arguments are all intangible, even proudly so. But statheads must also be aware of the dangers of falling too much in love with our own tools, and must remember that what works in one situation (evaluating player performance) will not necessarily work in other situations.
Take baseball managers, for instance. Analysts continue to make fine progress in breaking down the "percentages," helping us to understand the relative value of bunting, stealing bases, and other aspects of the game that are controlled by the manager. These tangible parts of a manager's job are important, and any evaluation of a manager's contributions must take into account the value (negative or positive) of his in-game tactical decisions. James does much to advance this aspect of analysis in his book, including an interesting discussion of what information should go on a manager's baseball card.
Furthermore, it is becoming more clear with time that the way a manager uses his pitching staff is vital not only to the short-term success of a club, but also to the long-term success of both the club and the individual pitchers. The increased attention to pitch counts is only one area where stat-based analysis is offering vital information which contemporary managers (hello, Jim Leyland) ignore at the peril of their pitchers' arms.
Nonetheless, I want to argue here that for managers, unlike for baseball players, the intangibles are indeed important. As James notes on the very first page of his book, "There is one indispensable quality of a baseball manager. The manager must be able to command the respect of his players. This is absolute; everything else is negotiable."
James then spends the next 300 pages leading up to the above- mentioned manager's baseball card, which lists tangible, quantifiable evidence about a manager's performance but, unavoidably, completely ignores that which he claims on the first page is absolute.
Now, we can safely ignore speculation about a player's intangible contributions, because we have footprints in the snow: the statistical record. I don't care how Barry Bonds hit that homer. I care that he hit a homer rather than struck out. But I suspect data about how often Dusty Baker calls a pitchout is the wrong kind of footprint. If we follow those footprints, we'll end up at the end of the wrong road, in a way that doesn't happen when evaluating player performance. It is the player's job to produce on the field, which is what the statistics explain. But what is a manager's job? To lead the team, to "handle people," to extract the best possible performance from the players he is given, to "command the respect of his players." And I don't think we're ever going to be able to quantify that part of the manager's job. Again, a player might have some influence on his teammates in this regard, but the far larger portion of his contributions come on the field, while the manager's influence can only be felt off the field.
Dusty Baker does many stupid things during a baseball game. He bunts too much, he overworks his bullpens, his lineups are often oddball, he seems to have a preference for "proven" veteran players over young guys who might actually be able to play well. But Dusty also has two Manager of the Year awards, given for seasons where his team seemed to outperform expectations in a huge way. Coincidence? Mere chance? Perhaps. But it's possible that opposed to all the negative stuff Dusty does with strategy, tactics, or lineup construction is one huge positive that more than overcomes anything else you can say about him: he commands the respect of his players. Maybe they play better for Dusty than they would for other managers. How do we quantify that? How important is it that Dusty gets the best possible season out of guys like Rey Sanchez, when Rey Sanchez isn't much good to begin with? That's pretty hard to say, but Baker's success with two different Giants' teams tells me that he is doing something right, and it doesn't seem to have much to do with knowing when to bunt.
The great Earl Weaver was another master at maximizing the performance of his players, although you couldn't find two more different managerial styles than Weaver's and Baker's. While Weaver liked players who, in the contemporary parlance, played "within themselves," he also firmly believed that "there is no such thing as a 'winning' or a 'losing' player. It comes down to a player's ability and how he produces." (This quote comes from the indispensable "Weaver on Strategy.") What Weaver attempted to do as a manager was to draw on the player's ability. He looked, not at what a player was bad at, but instead at what a player was good at, and then tried to find as many opportunities as possible to get the player in the game when what was needed was what the player was good at. So he'd have his lefty-hitting slugger and his righty- hitting slugger, his defensive specialist and his utility man, and he'd maneuver the team so that each player got plenty of chances to perform his specialty. He wasn't friends with his players; on the contrary, he felt "a manager should stay as far away as possible from his players," and claimed he didn't say ten words to Frank Robinson in Robby's entire Oriole career. Nonetheless, by focusing on a player's ability and accentuating the player's strengths, Weaver got the most out of those players.
But that's not what managers like Dusty Baker do. Baker focuses on what Weaver claims doesn't exist: 'winning' and 'losing' players. Dusty Baker has an apparent ability to make each player on his team feel like a winner. Whatever the motivational tools, Dusty's players believe in him and believe in themselves, a fact made clear in the Baseball Weekly article. Rich Rodriguez says the Giants are winning for one reason: "It's Dusty." Robb Nen states that "you want to play for a guy like that." Even the opposition takes notice: Gary Sheffield chimes in to claim that "It doesn't matter how the cards are dealt to him, Dusty gets the most out of it, and the man finds a way to win." As noted earlier, Baker's strategic moves are not always as clearly helpful as those of a controlling manager like Weaver. But perhaps Baker is indeed creating 'winning' players.
It's important to note that baseball is the most individual of team sports. While teamwork is paramount in sports like basketball, football, and soccer, where each player continually interacts on the field with other players, in baseball, it comes down to a pitcher and a batter. If the leftfielder and the catcher don't get along, it hardly matters, whereas a shooting forward who gets on the wrong side of a point guard might not see the ball as often as he should. And again, this seems to be where a Dusty Baker shines. Dusty would get a guy like Glenallen Hill, who was down because he'd lost his starting job, and somehow he'd convince Hill to keep from letting his disappointment affect his play. The problem wasn't that Hill might have poisoned the "teamwork," the clubhouse atmosphere. The problem was that Hill might have poisoned his own attitude to where he couldn't reach even his own low potential. Baker makes each player feel good about himself, creates 'winning' players, then hopes the result is a winning team. Which is backwards from Weaver's argument that "A winning player is nothing more than a player on a winning team."
I think Earl Weaver was the greatest manager in my lifetime, partly because what he did taught statheads how to think like statheads. Weaver was also one of the most successful managers of all time. But for managers, there is more than one road to success, and some of those roads come down to intangibles, those very things which are so maddeningly useless when analyzing players. I don't think there's any way for us to know how much respect a manager commands amongst his players, but I agree with Bill James that it is indispensable to the manager's success or failure. In this case, at least, intangibles matter.
[Steven Rubio would like to add, as bitterly as possible, that yesterday's trades close the book on whether or not Brian Sabean is an idiot.]
Get your nunchucks and the keys to your dad's car. I know where we can get a gun
I wonder if Dusty is possibly the modern day Billy Martin without Billy's demons and his manic. Billy would come into a town, have everyone playing Billy Ball, he'd blow some pitchers arms out, get into a fight and leave town. But he went to the postseason everywhere he went to the post season except for TEX. Maybe Big Dust is like that.
Art got it started himself when he coached the 1964 Angels.
AL Innings Pitched 1964
Dean Chance was 23 and led the league in Innings Pitched; he later topped that total as a Twin in 67 and 68, but he would never have as good a year as he had in 1964.Code:INNINGS PITCHED IP AGE CG 1 Dean Chance 278 23 7 2 Gary Peters 274 27 3 3 Jim Bouton 271 25 3 4 Camilo Pascual 267 30 6 5 Claude Osteen 257 24 5 6 Dave Wickersham 254 28 3 7 Milt Pappas 252 25 5 8 Whitey Ford 245 35 4 9 Al Downing 244 23 3 10 Jim Kaat 243 25 6
Next Art landed in Minnesota as Martins first pitching coach.
1969 IP leaders
Slotted in 39 is Dave Boswell, most famous for duking it out with Martin, Boswell also was the ace of the division winning Twins. He also never topped the amount of work he logged in 1969, and threw only 69 innings the next year, and never topped that again.Code:INNINGS PITCHED IP AGE CG 1 Denny McLain 325 25 13 2 Mel Stottlemyre 303 27 15 3 Mike Cuellar 291 32 9 4 Sam McDowell 285 26 9 5 Mickey Lolich 281 28 7 6 Fritz Peterson 272 27 7 7 Dave McNally 269 26 2 8 Jim Perry 262 33 4 9 Dave Boswell 256 24 1 10 Andy Messersmith 250 23 2
On to Detroit in 1971, an event that I was lucky enough to watch first hand.
True, this was the era that starters threw a deadball amount of innings; Fowler and Martin were in the midst of it and often were the ones that led the way.
Three straight 300-inning seasons for Lolich and three straight 280 seasons for Coleman, just to keep the things straight they did it again after Art left, likely because old habits are hard to avoid, by 1975 both starters were on the fast track to retirement, Lolich 34 and Coleman only 28.Code:1971 INNINGS PITCHED IP AGE CG 1 Mickey Lolich 376 30 16 2 Wilbur Wood 334 29 10 3 Vida Blue 312 21 13 4 Mike Cuellar 292 34 10 T5 Tom Bradley 286 24 -4 T5 Joe Coleman 286 24 5 T7 Pat Dobson 282 29 8 T7 Jim Palmer 282 25 10 9 Bert Blyleven 278.1 20 6 T10 Clyde Wright 277 30 0 T10 Andy Messersmith 277 25 3 1972 INNINGS PITCHED IP AGE CG 1 Wilbur Wood 376 30 7 2 Gaylord Perry 342.2 33 18 3 Mickey Lolich 327 31 12 4 Catfish Hunter 295 26 6 5 Bert Blyleven 287.1 21 1 6 Nolan Ryan 284 25 9 7 Joe Coleman 280 25 -2 8 Jim Palmer 274.1 26 8 9 Pat Dobson 268 30 3 10 Ken Holtzman 265 26 6 1973 INNINGS PITCHED IP AGE CG 1 Wilbur Wood 359 31 6 2 Gaylord Perry 344 34 16 3 Nolan Ryan 326 26 14 4 Bert Blyleven 325 22 12 5 Bill Singer 316 29 6 6 Jim Colborn 314 27 11 7 Mickey Lolich 309 32 4 8 Ken Holtzman 297 27 3 9 Jim Palmer 296.1 27 7 10 Joe Coleman 288 26 0
After the Tigers tired of Martinís act he and Fowler moved on to Texas
The 328 innings pitched by Jenkins in 1974 was a career high, also logging a career high for the Texas club that season was Jim Bibby, who logged 260 plus innings and didnít top 200 again until 1980.
After the Rangers tired of Martin, they both headed to New York. There they had less of an impact in pushing their starters to the top of the innings pitched list, except in 1979 when they gave the ball to Tommy John for 276 inningsÖ the same Tommy John whose arm had been reattached just a few seasons earlier.Code:INNINGS PITCHED IP AGE CG 1 Nolan Ryan 332.2 27 12 2 Ferguson Jenkins 328.1 30 15 3 Gaylord Perry 322.1 35 16 4 Wilbur Wood 320 32 8 5 Catfish Hunter 318 28 9 6 Luis Tiant 311.1 33 12 7 Mickey Lolich 308 33 13 8 Ross Grimsley 295.2 24 4 9 Steve Busby 292.1 24 7 10 Joe Coleman 286 27 -3 1975 INNINGS PITCHED IP AGE CG 1 Catfish Hunter 328 29 17 2 Jim Palmer 323 29 13 3 Gaylord Perry 305.2 36 13 4 Jim Kaat 303.2 36 -1 5 Wilbur Wood 291 33 0 6 Vida Blue 278 25 1 7 Bert Blyleven 275.2 24 9 8 Doc Medich 272.1 26 3 9 Mike Torrez 270.2 28 4 10 Ferguson Jenkins 270 31 10
All in all the Yankees in that span had three starters who achieved their lifetime high in innings pitched, Ed Figueroa, Tommy John and Ron Guidry.
After that the duo was on to Oakland, where they would break arms as well as records.
Oakland Athletics from 1980 to 1982
36 complete games by the 1980 innings leaders and all in all 5 Oakland starters with over 210 innings pitched. Also of note NINTY FOUR complete games by Aís pitchers in 1980, thatís good for first place since World War Two. The five starters (Brian Kingman, Mike Norris, Rick Langford, Matt Keough and Steve McCatty) never exceeded their performance innings wise again, and all five were out of the game by the late 80ís.Code:INNINGS PITCHED IP AGE CG 1 Rick Langford 290 28 20 2 Mike Norris 284.1 25 16 3 Larry Gura 283.1 32 7 4 Dennis Leonard 280.1 29 0 5 Tommy John 265.1 37 7 6 Moose Haas 252.1 24 6 7 Scott McGregor 252 26 3 8 Mike Flanagan 251.1 28 3 T9 Steve Stone 250.2 32 0 T9 Jim Clancy 250.2 24 7 INNINGS PITCHED IP AGE CG 1 Dennis Leonard 201.2 30 3 2 Jack Morris 198 26 9 3 Rick Langford 195.1 29 13 4 Steve McCatty 185.2 27 11 5 Dave Stieb 183.2 23 5 6 Dennis Martinez 179 26 4 7 Mike Norris 172.2 26 7 8 Larry Gura 172.1 33 7 9 Milt Wilcox 166.1 31 3 10 Geoff Zahn 161.1 35 3 INNINGS PITCHED IP AGE CG 1 Dave Stieb 288.1 24 12 2 Jim Clancy 266.2 26 3 3 Jack Morris 266.1 27 10 4 Mike Caldwell 258 33 5 5 Dennis Martinez 252 27 2 6 Luis Leal 249.2 25 3 7 Larry Gura 248 34 1 8 Floyd Bannister 247 27 -2 9 Dan Petry 246 23 1 10 Len Barker 244.2 26 4
Once those arms were used up it was back to New York for two brief appearances in 1983 and 1988.
Again a Yankee shows up in the top ten
Plus Shane Rawley hit his career high in innings pitched, this feat helped keep Fowlers and Martinís record intact.Code:INNINGS PITCHED IP AGE CG 1 Jack Morris 293.2 28 12 2 Dave Stieb 278 25 7 3 Dan Petry 266.1 24 1 4 LaMarr Hoyt 260.2 28 4 5 Scott McGregor 260 29 5 6 Charlie Hough 252 35 4 7 Ron Guidry 250.1 32 15 8 Rick Sutcliffe 243.1 27 3 9 John Tudor 242 29 0 10 Rich Dotson 240 24 1
Back again in 1988 Fowler coached a staff that for he first time in his career had not one starter with at least 200 innings pitched (Rick Rhoden led the team with 197
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