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Articles Tagged Dennis Eckersley 

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An amazing music video featuring a World Series game between the Cubs and the A's was unearthed recently.

It was 1992. The Oakland A's, behind Tony La Russa, Rickey Henderson, Dennis Eckersley, and the Bash Brothers, were only a year removed from a three-year run in the World Series. The Cubs, meanwhile, had been to the playoffs once in eight years, and Greg Maddux was only just beginning his stretch as the greatest pitcher alive. Away from sports, Garth Brooks had friends in low places, Pearl Jam was destroying the charts, and Uncle Jesse was breaking little girls' hearts all over the world. Not to be forgotten, Chicago Cubs fan Richard Marx was dreaming of a World Series win for the North Siders.

From this early-'90s potpurri, a music video was born. No, it wasn't "Jeremy" or even that silly Beach Boys video that had Uncle Jesse up on stage drumming. Not even close.

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March 23, 2012 11:15 am

Extra Innings Excerpt

30

Colin Wyers

How did closer usage end up where it is now? And is it truly benefiting the game of baseball?

Extra Innings: More Baseball Between the Numbers, edited by Steven Goldman, is the sequel to Baseball Prospectus’s 2006 landmark Baseball Between the Numbers, a book that gave many their first taste of state of the art sabermetric thinking in the years after Bill James and Moneyball. BP now returns with a sequel that delves into new areas of the game, such as how to evaluate managers and general managers, the true effects of performance-enhancing drugs, how prospects are recruited and developed in Latin America, and more. The book is now available for ordering and immediate shipping from Amazon and Barnes & Noble ahead of its official release date of April 3, 2012. Today, we present the second of two excerpts from the book.
 

"Alcohol is like love,” he said. “The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine. After that you take the girl’s clothes off.” —Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye


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As Mariano Rivera leaves his 1,000th appearance behind, see how he stacks up according to Nate's standards.

While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.

Before Goose Gossage got into the Hall of Fame and Mariano Rivera reeled off another six superb seasons, Nate turned his statistical eye on the bullpen in the following article, which originally ran as a "Lies, Damned Lies" column on January 6, 2005.

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We Open the Tomb of the Baseball Prospectus on Thurman Munson and the repercussions of his 1977 trade to the Cleveland Indians.

Dead Player of the Day #22 (Thurman Munson Edition)

Thurman Munson C 1969-1979 (1947-1979)

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Nate looks at the myth of how closers are made.

This article is not going to directly attack the question of the origin of the closer species. But by making a few observations about the closers who have made the leap, we can at least understand the issue a little better. Before we proceed, let's concoct a quick-and-dirty way to evaluate a closer's effectiveness. We can define a Closer Efficiency Index (CEI) as

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January 6, 2005 12:00 am

Lies, Damned Lies: How Do You Rate Relief?

0

Nate Silver

Goose Gossage's failure to make it into Cooperstown got Nate thinking, how do you decide which relievers are Hall of Famers?

Truth be told, as much as I like Jay's work, I also think there is something to be said for gut-feel. A metric like JAWS tells you a lot about a guy's value, but it doesn't tell you quite as much about the shape of his career. JAWS applies what I would call the sausage method for assessing player value: you mush everything together into a nice, cylindrical package, add appropriate seasoning, and come out with what is hoped to be a tasty product. JAWS is, indeed, a very tasty sausage, and it's a heck of a lot more worthwhile than the spoiled cold cuts that most of the press is munching on. But it's still a sausage.

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January 14, 2004 12:00 am

The Class of 2004

0

Jay Jaffe

The Baseball Writers of America's standards on what constitute a Hall of Fame pitcher are in a curious spot now, both when it comes to starters and relievers. Spoiled by a group of contemporaries who won 300 games from the mid-'60s to the mid-'80s (Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton, Gaylord Perry, Don Sutton, Nolan Ryan, Phil Niekro), the writers haven't elected a non-300-winning starter since Fergie Jenkins in 1991. That Perry, Sutton and Niekro took a combined 13 ballots to reach the Hall while Ryan waltzed in on his first ballot with the all-time highest percentage of votes is even more puzzling. Apparently what impresses the BBWAA can be summarized as "Just Wins, Baby"--which is bad news for every active pitcher this side of Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux. Of the 59 enshrined pitchers with major-league experience, only two of them--Hoyt Wilhelm and Rollie Fingers--are in Cooperstown for what they accomplished as relievers. While the standards for starters are somewhat easy to discern (if lately a bit unrealistic), the growing number of quality relievers on the ballot, the continuous evolution of the relief role, and the paucity of standards to measure them by present some interesting challenges to voters. If there's an area in which performance analysis has struggled mightily against mainstream baseball thought, it's in hammering home the concept that the pitcher doesn't have as much control over the outcome of ballgames--as reflected in his Won-Loss totals--or even individual at-bats--hits on balls in play--as he's generally given credit for. Good run support and good defense can make big winners of mediocre pitchers on good teams, and .500 pitchers of good hurlers on mediocre teams. As such, it's important to examine the things over which a pitcher has control and account for those he does not. Once again, the Davenport system rides to the rescue.

[Note: The research for this piece, and much of the writing, was done prior to the Hall of Fame voting results being announced.]

INTRODUCTION

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January 5, 2004 12:00 am

2004 Internet Hall of Fame

0

Neal Traven

In this, our 13th year, the STATLG-L Internet Hall of Fame balloting demonstrates anew the uncertainties involved in trying to decide whether Player X or Player Y has the credentials to merit your vote for induction into the Hall. There were a number of intriguing questions to be answered this time around, dealing with both first-year eligibles and holdovers from last year. We recorded a total of 2363 ballots in this year's edition of the STATLG-L IHOF, appreciably less than last year's record total and even a bit lower than the number of ballots cast two years ago. I don't think we can blame this drop on the absence of a Veterans Committee ballot this year, and I won't speculate about other possible reasons for the decline. I must report, however, that I personally did less shilling for the event than I've done in previous seasons, so maybe some of the decrease can be laid at my own feet. The average number of names on a ballot was 5.83, very similar to last year's 5.96 and well above the 5.18 names per ballot a year earlier. Given the total number of ballots recorded this time, the 75% threshold was set at 1773 votes while the 5% gateway for retention on the ballot (if we, rather than the BBWAA, made that decision) came to 119 votes.

We recorded a total of 2363 ballots in this year's edition of the STATLG-L IHOF, appreciably less than last year's record total and even a bit lower than the number of ballots cast two years ago. I don't think we can blame this drop on the absence of a Veterans Committee ballot this year, and I won't speculate about other possible reasons for the decline. I must report, however, that I personally did less shilling for the event than I've done in previous seasons, so maybe some of the decrease can be laid at my own feet. The average number of names on a ballot was 5.83, very similar to last year's 5.96 and well above the 5.18 names per ballot a year earlier. Given the total number of ballots recorded this time, the 75% threshold was set at 1773 votes while the 5% gateway for retention on the ballot (if we, rather than the BBWAA, made that decision) came to 119 votes.

The most important question, as always, was whether any of the first-time candidates could garner enough votes for induction. The answer to that is a resounding yes. Heartiest congratulations to both leading vote-getter Dennis Eckersley (1940 votes, 82.1%) and Paul Molitor (1888 votes, 79.9%), who easily topped the required vote total and demonstrated that at least one kind of relief pitcher and one designated hitter belong in the STATLG-L Hall of Fame. No other first-timer got anywhere close to the goal. In fact, the only other newbie who finished ahead of any of the holdover candidates was @#$% Joe Carter (sorry, the Phillies fan in me surfaced for just a moment), whose 118 votes rounded to 5% even though it's actually a mere 4.994%.

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