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Tony Campana (Jesus, he's fast) is +14 in 420 PA and about 35 PR appearances. 64 steals in 72 attempts (don't know how many pickoffs). Everybody likes to be excited about Billy Hamilton but Campana's every bit as good ... and unfortunately he's got the K-rate to match! Campana is also +7 in the field (mostly CF). (Campana is also 28 so I understand why Hamilton has more promise.)
Who didn't know Jackie was a great player? I mean, who are we trying to convince here?
The resistance to sabermetrics takes many forms, but I can't help but think that the resistance manifested above is probably the strangest form we've seen yet. Here's how the line of reasoning seems to run ...
American-born black players seem to be disappearing from the game.
Sabermetrics is becoming a bigger and bigger part of the game.
Ergo, sabermetrics is responsible for the disappearance of American-born black players.
To be fair, neither Richard Griffin nor Ralph Wiley lay all the blame at the doorstep of Bill James (and people like him) or J.P. Ricciardi (and people like him). Rather, Griffin and Wiley have simply cast about for explanations, and Big Bad Sabermetrics just happens to have been one of the suspects that's being held for questioning.
The problem with the argument, though, is that none of the specific examples actually make their case. ...
All of which is to say, you can accuse Bill James and sabermetrics of many things, but you cannot accuse them of not appreciating Jackie Robinson and Rickey Henderson. Those two brilliant players -- not to mention Joe Morgan and Willie Mays and Cool Papa Bell and Barry Bonds, and hey let's not forget Henry Aaron and Frank Robinson and Tony Gwynn and Eddie Murray -- could play for any general manager, from Chuck LaMar and Randy Smith to Billy Beane and J.P. Ricciardi.
If you think that sabermetrics doesn't have a place for them, then you don't understand sabermetrics. Because there's not yet been a sabermetrician born who wouldn't drool at the thought of Rickey Henderson and Jackie Robinson at the top of his imaginary lineup.
It's bad for baseball, that American-born blacks apparently aren't playing the game as much as they once did. But sabermetricians are excited by great baseball players, and in my experience sabermetricians are as color-blind as they come. So look somewhere else for your scapegoat.
I think its more aimed towards the non-primate reader. He's known more today as a civil rights icon than anything else. It doesn't hurt to remind people how good he was at playing baseball.
I appreciated Robinson as a ballplayer a lot more after reading the NBJHBA and gaining access to B-R.
There are always a lot of mentions of "he wasn't even the best player available. He was the guy that could take what inevitably came his way," which tends to undersell just how great a player he was, as well as things like playing mostly first base early on so as not to rock the boat.
Me, too. I knew that Robinson was a great player, but his actual ability was swallowed by the (understandable) hullaballoo about breaking the color line. Reading the Abstract -- and this specific article, actually, I remember it well -- helped me understand that underneath the compelling life story was a player who probably would have been an inner-circle Hall of Famer if he'd been allowed to start when he was 20 rather than when he was 28.
and the second teammate left the NFL to pursue a decades long movie career.
Six months before Robinson integrated the Majors, not one, but two of his USC football teammates re-integrated the NFL.
WAR like Utley's glove (in their respective 5 best seasons at any rate) a fair bit more than it does Robinson's. Not a negative for Robinson of course, since he grades out quite well with the glove, Utley ranked #4 in dWAR on my peak list.
Shumway, it is ironic but understandable. Racist coaches could hide behind the vague nature of contributions to team sports and say that they just couldn't find good black intangible team players. But a knockout or a higher jump us what it is.
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