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Articles Tagged Joe Niekro 

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06-27

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22

The Lineup Card: 10 Incidents of Cheating
by
Baseball Prospectus

07-23

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6

BP Unfiltered: The Hallworthy Alomar and Blyleven
by
Jay Jaffe

02-15

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15

The BP Wayback Machine: Why The "Earned" Run Needs To Go
by
Michael Wolverton

09-29

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5

Prospectus Hit and Run: Disasterpiece Theater
by
Jay Jaffe

02-17

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16

Prospectus Hit and Run: Tom Glavine
by
Jay Jaffe

01-12

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10

Prospectus Hit and Run: The Pitchers
by
Jay Jaffe

12-21

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6

Every Given Sunday: Hesitations, Retractions, and Rebuttals
by
John Perrotto

10-21

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0

Prospectus Hit and Run: Penning a New Recipe
by
Jay Jaffe

09-21

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2

Prospectus Q&A: Butch Wynegar
by
David Laurila

09-09

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4

You Could Look It Up: Love in the Temperate Zone, Part One
by
Steven Goldman

04-14

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0

Prospectus Preview: Monday's Games to Watch
by
Caleb Peiffer

02-22

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1

Prospectus Hit and Run: Having a Ball
by
Jay Jaffe

02-07

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0

Prospectus Hit and Run: Tandemonium
by
Jay Jaffe

04-05

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0

Doctoring The Numbers: Charlie Haeger
by
Rany Jazayerli

04-03

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0

Transaction of the Day: Roster Reviews of the Wests
by
Christina Kahrl

02-26

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0

Grumpy Old Men
by
Jay Jaffe

10-28

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0

World Series Prospectus: Game Five Diary
by
Steven Goldman

07-25

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0

Prospectus Hit List: July 25
by
Marc Normandin

07-17

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0

Transaction Analysis: July 13-16
by
Christina Kahrl

05-22

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0

Transaction Analysis: May 19-21
by
Christina Kahrl

03-27

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0

Transaction Analysis: March 17-26
by
Christina Kahrl

01-11

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0

Prospectus Today: The Election
by
Joe Sheehan

04-16

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0

Transaction Analysis: April 5-14, 2005
by
Christina Kahrl

04-12

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0

Transaction Analysis: March 29-April 4, 2005
by
Christina Kahrl

07-14

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0

Are Knuckleballers Easy to Relieve?
by
Michael Wolverton

04-08

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0

Not Earning Its Keep
by
Michael Wolverton

04-06

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0

Transaction Analysis: March 31-April 5, 2004
by
Christina Kahrl

03-26

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0

You Could Look It Up: Reverse Lepidoptery
by
Steven Goldman

02-06

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0

The Sabean Way
by
Michael Wolverton

09-25

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0

Transaction Analysis: August 25-September 21
by
Christina Kahrl

09-16

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0

Why Great Offenses Often Don't Win
by
Steven Goldman

03-27

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Transaction Analysis: March 20-24, 2003
by
Christina Kahrl

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July 14, 2004 12:00 am

Are Knuckleballers Easy to Relieve?

0

Michael Wolverton

Today we dip into the mailbag to cover a number of topics related to recent columns. First, a question stemming from the article on starters' support of relievers: I noticed Phil Niekro and Steve Sparks are both on the list of most-helped starters. I would hypothesize that knuckleballing starters are 'easier' to help out than their straight-throwing brethren because of the extreme difference in speed/movement between a knuckler and a typical reliever's mid-90 mph heat. What do you think? --S.S. (no, not Steve Sparks) Good theory. Many other readers were wondering the same thing, and sure enough...

--S.S. (no, not Steve Sparks)

Good theory. Many other readers were wondering the same thing, and sure enough...

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We at Baseball Prospectus occasionally hear the complaint that we make the game too complicated, with all the numbers and bizarre acronyms we throw around. So today I'm going to do my part to simplify the game. I'm here to suggest that baseball and its fans would be better off without one of its most fundamental, and most complicated, scoring rules. It's time to ditch the "earned" run. The earned-run rule is widely accepted, or at least tolerated, throughout the baseball world, even in sabermetric circles. There are several reasons for that. For one thing, there's 116 years' worth of tradition behind the rule. I learned the rule because my dad learned the rule because his dad learned the rule, etc. ERA is on the back of every pitcher's baseball card, and it pops up in nearly every baseball-related article or news report you'll see. For another thing, believing in "earned" and "unearned" runs isn't nearly as harmful as, say, believing that RBI are meaningful for evaluating hitting. You have to pick your battles, and in the big scheme of things, this one may not be a battle worth fighting. Perhaps most importantly, the earned-run rule might have gotten a pass because it's designed to achieve what everyone agrees is a noble goal: separating pitching from fielding. But good intentions aren't enough. The earned-run rule is a lame and counterproductive attempt at solving the pitching/fielding conundrum, one that deserves to be put out of its (and our) misery.

The earned-run rule is widely accepted, or at least tolerated, throughout the baseball world, even in sabermetric circles. There are several reasons for that. For one thing, there's 116 years' worth of tradition behind the rule. I learned the rule because my dad learned the rule because his dad learned the rule, etc. ERA is on the back of every pitcher's baseball card, and it pops up in nearly every baseball-related article or news report you'll see. For another thing, believing in "earned" and "unearned" runs isn't nearly as harmful as, say, believing that RBI are meaningful for evaluating hitting. You have to pick your battles, and in the big scheme of things, this one may not be a battle worth fighting.

Perhaps most importantly, the earned-run rule might have gotten a pass because it's designed to achieve what everyone agrees is a noble goal: separating pitching from fielding. But good intentions aren't enough. The earned-run rule is a lame and counterproductive attempt at solving the pitching/fielding conundrum, one that deserves to be put out of its (and our) misery.

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April 6, 2004 12:00 am

Transaction Analysis: March 31-April 5, 2004

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Christina Kahrl

The Braves' bench looks ugly. The Dodgers make some nifty deals. The Mets inexplicably hand starting jobs to Tyler Yates and Scott Erickson. The Rangers unload Einar Diaz on the Expos. These and other happenings in today's Transaction Analysis.

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March 26, 2004 12:00 am

You Could Look It Up: Reverse Lepidoptery

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Steven Goldman

This week's YOU, tenth in an ongoing series looking at today through the looking glass of yesterday focuses on two unusual mammals, one of the marine variety, the other a pitcher with an unusual adaptation. The passing last week of left-handed knuckleball pitcher Gene Bearden, hero of the 1948 American League pennant race, has me missing Stellar's Sea Cow. It's a silly emotion because I've never seen a Stellar's Sea Cow, and neither has anyone living. Stellar's was ejected from the big game back in 1768. Still, to know that there was once such a magnificent creature on this planet and to have missed a chance to see it is quite depressing. Stellar's was the mega-manatee, a huge version of the endangered Florida marine mammal. Like Cecil Fielder, it weighed as much as ten tons and could reach lengths of up to 100 feet. At one time Stellar's had a large range, but due to hunting by primitive fishermen with pointy sticks they hung out exclusively in the Bering Strait by the time they were officially discovered in 1741. The Russians, who found them quite accidentally, exterminated them in about two minutes, give or take 27 years. The eighteenth century is known as the Age of the Enlightenment, which proves that historians have a sense of humor. Having gone back and read what I just wrote, the following now seems sort of trivial. Aspiring writers, avoid this sort of segue: knuckleball pitchers are baseball's version of Stellar's Sea Cow circa 1767. If you were around to follow the game in the 1980s, you had a good chance of seeing at least two starts by a knuckleball pitcher in any given week. Back when it was morning in America, Phil Niekro, Joe Niekro, Tom Candiotti, and Charlie Hough made a combined 917 starts (1981-1990), and at times they were each very good. In fact, Hough was consistently one of the best pitchers in the game.

This week's YOU, tenth in an ongoing series looking at today through the looking glass of yesterday focuses on two unusual mammals, one of the marine variety, the other a pitcher with an unusual adaptation. The passing last week of left-handed knuckleball pitcher Gene Bearden, hero of the 1948 American League pennant race, has me missing Stellar's Sea Cow. It's a silly emotion because I've never seen a Stellar's Sea Cow, and neither has anyone living. Stellar's was ejected from the big game back in 1768. Still, to know that there was once such a magnificent creature on this planet and to have missed a chance to see it is quite depressing.

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February 6, 2004 12:00 am

The Sabean Way

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Michael Wolverton

Brian Sabean has brought a fair amount of criticism on himself with his low-key approach to this off-season, creating the world's largest chapter of the lunatic fringe in the process. So it's no surprise that he faced his share of skeptical questions from Giants fans during his live chat on mlb.com earlier this week. But it was his answer to a fairly innocuous question that raised the most eyebrows among the "fringers": Q: Did you ever make an offer for Vladimir Guerrero? Sabean: In a word: No. If we had signed Guerrero or [Gary] Sheffield, we would have been without [Jim] Brower, [Scott] Eyre, [Matt] Herges, [Dustin] Hermanson, [Brett] Tomko, [A.J.] Pierzynski, [Pedro] Feliz, [J.T.] Snow, [Jeffrey] Hammonds, [Dustan] Mohr and [Michael] Tucker--obviously not being able to field a competitive team, especially from an experience standpoint, given our level of spending.

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September 25, 2003 12:00 am

Transaction Analysis: August 25-September 21

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Christina Kahrl

A lost season for the Angels has folks in Anaheim scratching their heads. John Smoltz's injury buries Bobby Thigpen's name for another year. The Royals' run evokes memories of George Brett and company. Sandy Alomar...you can probably guess what Chris will write about Sandy Alomar. Witticisms, Kahrlisms and roster schmisms in this edition of Transaction Analysis.

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September 16, 2003 12:00 am

Why Great Offenses Often Don't Win

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Steven Goldman

Elsewhere on this Web site, Joe Sheehan has often promoted TINSTAAPP, or "There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect." To this we must add a second acronym, TINSWTBAPS--There Is No Sure Way To Build A Pitching Staff. Even just decent pitching staffs require an element of luck to come together. The 1984 Tigers required Willie Hernandez to pitch approximately twice as well as he had in any other season to make up for almost every other pitcher on the staff being just average. The 1933 Yankees had two Hall of Fame pitchers, Lefty Gomez and Red Ruffing, at the peak of their careers, plus a couple of other very good starters in Johnny Allen and Danny MacFayden. They were terrible. When Joe Torre put Mariano Rivera in the bullpen in 1996, he had no idea that the skinny righty would be one of the most valuable pitchers in the American League that season. You cannot plan these things.

Even just decent pitching staffs require an element of luck to come together. The 1984 Tigers required Willie Hernandez to pitch approximately twice as well as he had in any other season to make up for almost every other pitcher on the staff being just average. The 1933 Yankees had two Hall of Fame pitchers, Lefty Gomez and Red Ruffing, at the peak of their careers, plus a couple of other very good starters in Johnny Allen and Danny MacFayden. They were terrible. When Joe Torre put Mariano Rivera in the bullpen in 1996, he had no idea that the skinny righty would be one of the most valuable pitchers in the American League that season. You cannot plan these things.

TINSWTBAPS cannot be proved objectively, and if true it provides a depressing example for those that build baseball teams, in the same way that complex models of government show that power resides in a sort of Jungian group mind rather than in a single individual such as a president. Anecdotal evidence strongly suggests its verity. Casey Stengel once told Sparky Anderson: "Young man, if you've got two relief pitchers one of them will go bad next year. Get another one." Anderson didn't know why the statement is true, and chances are Stengel didn't either. Regardless, each winter the Ed Wades and Steve Phillips of the world sign themselves a quiver-full of Mike Stantons and Mike Timlins and often wind up with nothing but high payrolls and mediocre pitching staffs.

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March 27, 2003 12:00 am

Transaction Analysis: March 20-24, 2003

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Christina Kahrl

The Red Sox have 682 first basemen, the Reds revamp half their bullpen a week before Opening Day, the Rockies' three non-Helton infield spots could be the best collective bargain in baseball, and the Pirates choose one set of jounreymen over another for the back end of the pitching staff.

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