Thursday, February 03, 2005

Is Cal The Next Isiah?

I guess Nats Bloggers don't like Cal Ripken!

The Inquirer points out that Verducci's article uses Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas as two of the examples of NBA players getting a chance in the front offices. They're hardly the most glowing examples you can use. (At least Magic didn't pillage an entire basketball league)


  • Come to think of it, Magic didn't pillage the Raptors, Pacers, or Knicks, either.

    Indeed, Isiah is exactly the type of guy that scares me when Verducci says more baseball stars (or Lovely Ladies...sorry) need to be in management.

    I think he gives Joe Torre short shrift, too. The guy's probably 5% away from being a HoF-quality player and is a former MVP.

    By Blogger Basil, at 2/03/2005 4:30 PM  

  • If Torre had stuck at catcher, he'd be a sure-fire HOFer. Of course, if he'd stuck at catcher then it's likely he wouldn't have hit as well as he did in his 30s.

    Still, catchers and third basemen both are under-represented in the Hall; I'd put him in -- especially if you consider his managerial career.

    By Blogger Yuda, at 2/03/2005 9:12 PM  

  • Davey Johnson was a pretty good player and manager. Of course, he doesn't have a job, so I'm not sure which side of the argument that supports.

    I don't like the idea of Ripken in the front office or ownership. I loved him as a player, but the same qualities that made him great as a player might make him a bad steward of a team -- emphasis on hustle, "doing things the right way," extreme loyalty to guys he likes, perfectionism, self-confidence, etc... These are not bad things by any stretch, but they're less important than actually being able to play, and frequently ex-players put the cart before the horse in that respect. If Cal could really be a figurehead and set the tone without getting too directly involved in day-to-day baseball decisions, it could work out...but how likely is that, really? (See perfectionism and self-confidence, above.)

    By Blogger Randolph, at 2/04/2005 8:25 AM  

  • Ok - checked the stats, and Johnson was only really good for two years, 1971 and 1973. The rest of the time he was only slightly above average.

    He did have one AB in 1975 and doubled, posting an impressive 1.000/1.000/2.000 line, good for an OPS+ of 705 that year.

    By Blogger Randolph, at 2/04/2005 8:31 AM  

  • You forced me to look, because I was sure that DJ was better than that. They key is the era he was playing in--the late '60s, when the pitchers ruled the world. It's hard to imagine now how depressed offense was. On top of that, Memorial Stadium was a pitcher's park--sort of Safeco-lite.

    Although only 71 and 73 were monster years, his numbers the rest of his career were above average. Even his pedestrian .242/ .308/ .359 year in 1968 was above average. (He had a 102 OPS+ that year, where 100 is league average.) Combine that with the above average defense he played, especially earlier in his career, and he was a pretty valuable player.

    He wasn't the player Torre was/is, but he was still pretty useful. Count the rings, baby!

    If you want to see a bad performance by a manager, check out Tommy Lasorda's stats. (It's hard to picture him as a player.)

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 2/04/2005 8:38 AM  

  • I'm with you on DJ -- I think it's the imprecision of my terms that's the source of confusion. I didn't mean that he was _really_ only good those two years; I meant that he was only _really good_ (as in very good) those two years. The rest of the time (going by OPS+), he was simply above average, which, come to think of it, was "pretty good" for a 2B in that day and age, if not "really good."

    Actually, since I don't think OPS+ is positionally adjusted, his career OPS+ of 111 more impressive than I realized when I checked the stats ...which brings me back to my original impression of him -- a pretty darn good player (which falls somewhere between "pretty good" and "very good") and a very darn good manager.

    By Blogger Randolph, at 2/04/2005 10:54 AM  

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