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Thread: Best Infield Ever?

  1. #1
    Kmac5 KoryMac5's Avatar
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    Best Infield Ever?

    Listening to a little sports talk radio before heading out to work today. The talking head was speaking about the best infields in the game today. He felt that the Yankees current infield was perhaps the greatest in history. He cited the Big Red Machine as being the all time best infield ever, but he feels that this current Yankee team surpasses the Reds.

    Texiara vs. Perez
    Cano vs. Morgan
    Jeter vs. Concepcion
    A. Rod vs. Rose
    Posada vs. Bench

    I thought this would be a good debate especially since many folks on this board have fond memories of the Big Red Machine. So that being said who do you think wins out as best infield ever?
    If you have a losing record at Reds games, please stop going.

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    Member Nasty_Boy's Avatar
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    Re: Best Infield Ever?

    Tex > Perez
    Morgan > Cano
    Jeter > Concepcion (As much as this pains me)
    Arod > Rose
    Bench > Posada

    I think the biggest argument would be 1st base... Tex has a much higher BA and OBP, while being a Gold Glover. But Tony is a HOF'er, even if it's much disputed. And while Davy was a better defender than Jeter, Derek's bat is far and away superior... Even though I can't stand the guy.
    I know a lot of people are talking about his on-base percentage (.308 in 2008), but I like to think more in terms of him his in-scoring position percentage. - Our Beloved Manager

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    Member penantboundreds's Avatar
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    Re: Best Infield Ever?

    Carlos Pena, Ben Zobrist, Jason Bartlett, and Evan Longoria

    Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Polanco

    Compare that to the infields of the 1970's along the Big Red Machine...
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  5. #4
    Socratic Gadfly TheNext44's Avatar
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    Re: Best Infield Ever?

    I know I am going to sound bias, but I think it's the Reds hands down. Offensively, the Yankees have a slight edge overall, but when you factor in defense, it really is an easy decision.

    If you add up the OPS+ of each infield, the 2009 Yanks total 690 for an average of 138 per player Very impressive. The 1975 Reds have a total of 653 for an average of 131. Very impressive too.

    I have no idea what 37 points or 7 points per player translates to in terms of runs and wins, but I'm fairly certain that the defensive advantage that Morgan, Concepcion, Rose and Bench have over Cano, Jeter, ARod and Posada, (minus the advantage that Tex has over Doggie) is worth far more than that.

    Cano, Jeter and ARod, are simply bad defenders, well below league average. Morgan, Concepcion and Bench were multiple gold glove winners, and not just above league average, but elite defenders. Rose, while not stellar, was definitely not as bad a thirdbaseman as Arod is. Tex is the only elite defender in the whole infield, and at probably the least important position. I am not sure if it was 75 or 76, but I believe that the Reds as a team set MLB record for most consecutive games without an error one of those years.

    When I talk about the best infields ever, I start with defense, since it is so important for the team as a whole to have a solid defensive infield. An infield as bad defensively as the Yankees can not be considered one of the best. They basically have a bunch of outfielders whose bats justify their weak defense.
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    Member GADawg's Avatar
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    Re: Best Infield Ever?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nasty_Boy View Post
    Tex > Perez
    Morgan > Cano
    Jeter > Concepcion (As much as this pains me)
    Arod > Rose
    Bench > Posada

    I think the biggest argument would be 1st base... Tex has a much higher BA and OBP, while being a Gold Glover. But Tony is a HOF'er, even if it's much disputed. And while Davy was a better defender than Jeter, Derek's bat is far and away superior... Even though I can't stand the guy.
    I agree with the Jeter over Davey but the Arod over Rose thing is very debateable...completely different types of players and Arod is gonna have to win a lot more games to catch Pete.

    Also the "greater than" symbol needs to be much larger for Bench over Posada and Morgan over Cano.

    Bottom line I'd hate to pay either foursome's salary in 2010.

  7. #6
    Big Red Machine RedsBaron's Avatar
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    Re: Best Infield Ever?

    In his 2001 book, "The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract," Bill James, using his Win Shares method, ranked the 1914 Philadelphia A's of Stuffy McInnis, Eddie Collins, Home Run Baker and Jack Barry as the best infield ever, with a combined 119 Win Shares (Bill didn't include catchers in his calculations for infields).
    The 1975 Reds tied for 7th with the 1927 New York Giants with 112 Win Shares (the Giants had an infield of all Hall of Famers: Bill Terry, Rogers Hornsby, Fred Lindstrom and Travis Jackson, although the last two guys are questionable Hall of Famers at best). However James added that the 1975 Reds may have actually been the best infield ever, since the teams ranked ahead of them played decades earlier, in a less mature game (the 1982 Brewers had an infield with 113 Win Shares but they were only good for a couple of years).
    The 1976 Reds infield ranked 10th all time in Win Shares, with 105. From 1972 through 1977 the Reds infield had 86, 99, 96, 112, 105 and 92 in Win Shares "the greatest run of modern times."
    Obviously a book by James in 2001 doesn't tell us how great the current Yankees infield is, but it does confirm that the Big Red Machine infield was something special.
    Incidentally, another Reds infield, that of the 1939 NL champs, had 98 Win Shares.
    "Hey...Dad. Wanna Have A Catch?" Kevin Costner in "Field Of Dreams."

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    High five! nate's Avatar
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    Re: Best Infield Ever?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nasty_Boy View Post
    Jeter > Concepcion (As much as this pains me)
    I wonder how much the gap changes with Jeter on turf?
    "Bring on Rod Stupid!"

  9. #8
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Best Infield Ever?

    1955 Dodgers ain't shabby

    1st- Hodges
    2nd - Gilliam
    SS - Reese
    3rd - Robinson
    C- Campy

  10. #9
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Best Infield Ever?

    1936 yanks.

    1B - Lou Gehrig
    2B - Tony Lazzeri
    SS - Frank Crosetti
    3B - Red Rolfe
    C - Bill Dickey
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

  11. #10
    Member GADawg's Avatar
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    Re: Best Infield Ever?

    late season 2004 Reds....awesome

    sean casey

    d'angelo jimenez

    rey olmedo

    tim hummell/brandon larson


    apologies to Sean Casey

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    Member Nasty_Boy's Avatar
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    Re: Best Infield Ever?

    While Pete was great and a unique player, Arod will quite possibly be one of the 5 best hitters of all time once he is finished playing. I would take Arod over Rose 100 times out of 100, even though that is blasphemy around these parts.
    I know a lot of people are talking about his on-base percentage (.308 in 2008), but I like to think more in terms of him his in-scoring position percentage. - Our Beloved Manager

  13. #12
    Member GADawg's Avatar
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    Re: Best Infield Ever?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nasty_Boy View Post
    While Pete was great and a unique player, Arod will quite possibly be one of the 5 best hitters of all time once he is finished playing. I would take Arod over Rose 100 times out of 100, even though that is blasphemy around these parts.
    your point is well taken but Pete was one of the best 2 or 3 leadoff hitter/table setters of all time and the exceptional/consistent/dependable leadoff man very very rarely comes along

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    Re: Best Infield Ever?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nasty_Boy View Post
    I would take Arod over Rose 100 times out of 100, even though that is blasphemy around these parts.
    I bet you would....

  15. #14
    Mr.Redlegs is my homeboy Eric_the_Red's Avatar
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    Re: Best Infield Ever?

    I'd take ARod over Pete Rose in a heartbeat. Not sure what the argument would be the other way.

    ARod career wOBA: .412
    Rose career wOBA: .353

  16. #15
    Hisssssssss Yachtzee's Avatar
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    Re: Best Infield Ever?

    I don't know that the Yankees' middle infielders would have been playing infield had they been playing in the National League during the astroturf era of the '70s. I would think that Jeter and Cano would probably have been moved to other positions to keep their bats in the lineup while making space for more defensively capable middle infielders.

    That's the problem with comparing eras. Managers and GMs made decisions based on the conditions of the game at the time. While Concepcion does not compare to Jeter offensively, his defense was much more crucial to the Reds on the hard turf of Riverfront. The move to slower, natural grass infields has facilitated keeping offensively strong players at short because their deficiencies on defense aren't as glaring as they would have been on turf.
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