Saturday, January 19, 2013

Friday Baseball Post

RIP to two great Hall of Famers, Stan Musial and Earl Weaver.

On Musial...I don't have much to say other than the obvious. I've always thought that Albert Pujols was the modern-day comp for him: came into the league hitting, and just never stopped. As good as they come, an obvious inner circle HOFer.

Weaver? Great, great, manager. I'm always interested in managerial families. Weaver's first Orioles team produced two great ones: Davey Johnson, who for my money is the best of his generation, and Frank Robinson, who is an underappreciated manager (take a look at what he did with what he had; it's very, very, impressive). Moving through his career...I never thought much about Johnny Oates, but his managerial record is actually very nice. I've never been a Don Baylor fan at all, but he did take an expansion Rockies team and get three winning seasons out of them, plus one with the Cubs.

In the minors, Weaver managed Joe Altobelli with Rochester in 1966, Lou Piniella with Elmira in 1965,

Also, lots of names I recognized as long-time coaches. Plus, Pat Gillick was on the Elmira team in 1962 and 1963.

I might have missed one, but that's six managers, all with pretty good or better records.

Interesting about Weaver...he was a player-manager for a long stretch in the minors, first taking over for Dick Bartell at the end of the 1956 season, when Weaver was just 25. Bartell did not play for John McGraw, but he played for both Terry and Ott -- but Bartell came up with the Pirates teams managed by Donnie Bush, who was a big influence on Paul Richards (who was also presumably a direct influence on Weaver). Bartell also played for Burt Shotton, who had played for Connie Mack, and for Gabby Hartnett, who among others played for Joe McCarthy. Bartell himself didn't have much of a managerial career at all, just three minor league seasons, with the one in the Sally League with Earl Weaver the last one. Who knows; maybe all those influences meant nothing, but you have to wonder whether Bartell liked to tell stories, and stories he heard from all those guys. Other than Bartell, Weaver spent a long time in the minors playing for a guy named George Kissell, who managed in the Cardinals chain for a long time.

So, a big loss to baseball, two of the very greatest.

1 comment:

  1. Curious about the view of Weaver among the sabermetric crowd: it seems that up until about a decade ago Weaver's famous reliance on the 3-run homer was scorned by the "play for one run/bunt" crowd (who themselves have been mostly marginalized since by sabermetrics).

    Had no reason to think about this until today, but the three-run homer combines the best of "O" (three runners reach base) and "S" (lots of total bases per at-bat) in OPS. Play for a three-run homer and if you don't meet your goal you may still get a two-run double, or a bases-loading walk, or any number of other good outcomes.

    I never thought about it, because I don't follow it that closely, but replacing a "bunt" culture with a "sabermetric" culture surely restores some of the luster to Weaver's reputation, no?

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