Homers in the Gloaming

Baseball, statistics, and the Chicago Cubs

Posts Tagged ‘pete palmer

Random stats: those were the runs

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For fun, here are the fifteen best historical offensive seasons by Cubs players, as measured by a very simple version of Pete Palmer’s linear weights method.  The numbers are “batting runs,” measured in runs above average.  Ten runs above average corresponds to roughly one win above average added in a season.

For comparison, Geovany Soto is on pace for something like 14 runs above average this year, Derrek Lee for 16 or so, and Aramis Ramirez for something like 17.5.

By this metric, the best three seasons by any player were 136.5 for Bonds in ’04, 135.9 for Bonds in ’01, and 135.7 by Ruth in ’21.  Sosa’s great ’01 season is 22nd all-time.  It’s amazing that three of the top 15 seasons came in 1930.  That year’s Cubs averaged 6.5 runs per game.

One can also calculate runs above average for pitching and fielding, and I will post these soon.  Let’s get a whole bunch of runs above average tomorrow!

(As an aside, the figures for Hack Wilson, Hornsby, Cuyler, and English may deserve an asterisk, as caught stealing data is not available for their seasons.  Instead, steals are removed from their calculations.  Notably, Kiki Cuyler did have 37 successful steals in ’30, so his figure is likely even higher.  Gabby Hartnett of homer in the gloamin’ fame was also on those ’30 Cubs.)


Written by ollie

28 July 2008 at 12:58 am

Baseball quote of the moment

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“Without sinking into a morass of Philosophy 101 disputation about whether statistics reside in the things we observe or whether we impose them, let’s look at the ‘reality’ of the thing itself, which for our purposes is the game of baseball.  The form in which it comes to most of us is a telecast, which flattens the game into two dimensions, transforming baseball into ambulatory chess or Pac-Man; to restore contours to the game we have to imagine it even as we watch it.  The televeised game offers signposts of what baseball is like for those on the field or at the park; to recreate that feeling, the viewer relies upon his experience of playing the game or of seeing it in the open.  This act of imagination, this reconstructing of the video image, profresses from what is seen to what is unseen.  Disorientingly, in this instance the game that is seen is the abstraction while the unseen game is concrete, or ‘real.’

“This movement from the seen to the unseen describes the impulse and the activity of the game’s statisticians, too.  For them, plumbing the meaning of numbers is not mere accounting; to bring the hidden game of baseball into the open is an act of imagination, an apprehension and approximation of truth, and perhaps even a pursuit of beauty and justice.”

–John Thorn and Pete Palmer, The Hidden Game of Baseball

Written by ollie

25 July 2008 at 3:58 am