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Derek Jeter’s great, but let’s compare to Alan Trammell

Feb 15, 2014, 7:05 AM EDT

Image (1) Trammell.jpg for post 3064

SOCHI, Russia — Well, the overwhelming thing that is the Winter Olympics has completely thrown me off my 100 greatest baseball players ever schedule. So it goes. We’ll pick up where we left off after I return and recover and get back on U.S. time. I predict this will be sometime in July.

In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about one big mistake I made in the Top 100 list, I’m sure I’ve made dozens of mistakes but one in particular stands out to me. And it relates pretty directly to the biggest baseball news of the last week.

I left Alan Trammell off my Top 100. That’s just not right. And I’ll need to correct that.

When Derek Jeter announced his retirement a couple of days ago, I wrote about how amazing it is — in these times of Twitter and 24-hour sports talk and mean-old defensive statistics and smark-aleck bloggers who invent words like Jeterate — that Derek Jeter will walk away from the game almost universally admired. It is a happy fate that eluded almost every great player of his time. Derek Jeter was a fantastic player, a sure Hall of Famer, a man who played hard every day. For the next six months, people will come to dedicate a portion of baseball immortality on him. It is altogether fitting and proper that they should do this.

But in a larger sense …

In the last last few days someone wrote how there will never be a Yankee who mattered more than Derek Jeter. Someone wrote this tripe about how stat nerds need to shut up because Derek Jeter was, like, the awesomest thing ever. Someone wrote that the Hall of Fame shouldchange its induction rules because Jeter should go in early with his buddy Mariano Rivera. Red Sox players were effusive, Bud Selig, after spending months breaking Alex Rodriguez, wrote the most glowing statement about him. Albert Pujols said he was “pretty close” to Jesus.

And I it hit me: Oh yeah, THAT’S why I invented the word Jeterate.

He was a fantastic baseball player. But you know what? Alan Trammell was just about as good.

Here are Alan Trammell’s and Derek Jeter’s neutralized offensive numbers.

Trammell: .289/.357/.420
Jeter: .307/.375/..439

Jeter was a better hitter. But it was closer than you might think. They had similar strengths offensively. At their best, they were .300 hitters with some power and some speed. Both lost deserving MVP awards to players who hit a lot of home runs and had a lot of RBIs. Jeter played in a historically high scoring time which inflated his numbers. Trammell played in a low-scoring time, which depressed his. So their actual numbers diverge. Plus Jeter was much more dependable which is no small thing. Jeter played in 300-plus more games. He played 140-plus games in 15 seasons. Trammell because of injuries and such managed only eight 140-game seasons.

But Trammell has his advantages too — namely defense. Trammell was a much, much, much, much, much, much — can’t put “much” in here enough times — much better defensive shortstop.

By Baseball Reference’s defensive WAR Trammell was 22 wins better than a replacement shortstop. Jeter was nine runs worse.

By Fangraphs, Trammell was 76 runs better than a replacement shortstop. Jeter was 139 runs worse.

You can buy those numbers or you can partially agree with them or you can throw them out entirely, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Trammell was a better defensive shortstop. It’s only a matter of degree. And where Jeter’s offensive strengths and longevity give him a cushion over Trammell, the defense unquestionably cuts into the lead.

More: They were both widely respected players. They were both leaders on excellent teams. They both had great years. It’s fascinating to look at their five best years by Baseball Reference WAR.

Jeter: 8.0 (1999); 7.5 (1998); 6.6 (2009); 5.5 (2006); 5.1 (2001).
Trammell: 8.2 (1987); 6.7 (1990); 6.6 (1984); 6.3 (1986); 6.0 (1983).

And by Fangraphs WAR:

Jeter: 7.4 (1999); 6.8 (2009); 6.2 (1998); 6.1 (2006); 5.5 (2002).
Trammell: 7.7 (1987); 6.9 (1984); 6.2 (1990); 5.7 (1986); 5.6 (1983).

By both of those measures, Trammell was at least as good, and perhaps a tick better, than Jeter when they were both at their best. That’s because Baseball Reference and Fangraphs WAR weigh defense pretty heavily. Like I say, you might not think Trammell’s defense makes up that much ground. You might not even think Trammell was a better defender than Jeter. Baseball is fun to argue about.

All of this can lead to the easy conclusion that Derek Jeter was wildly overrated … and when people are saying he’s pretty close to Jesus or that he belongs on Yankees Mount Rushmore(worst tourist attraction EVER!), yeah, it’s hard to argue. But my point is different. My point is that Alan Trammell was criminally underrated.

There are only a handful of shortstops in the history of baseball who transcended the position. You look at the Hall of Fame shortstops — many of them couldn’t really hit. Aparicio … Ozzie … Pee Wee … Scooter … all of them were, in total, below average hitters. Cal Ripken is viewed as one of the most powerful offensive shortstops ever … but he had lower slugging percentage than Ruben Sierra and Eric Karros. The position is so demanding defensively, so demanding physically, so demanding mentally that very, very few players could play the position and stay on top of their games daily and be great offensive players and run the bases and lead their teams.

Jeter deserves to be celebrated for being one of those shortstops. He was probably the best player on four of the five Yankees World Series champions he played on (he wasn’t in 1996; there’s an argument that Jorge Posada or Bernie Williams was better in 2000). He helped his team in countless ways. I wouldn’t say he was the best modern shortstop but his career has been wonderful.

And so was Alan Trammell’s. Criminally underrated doesn’t even do his career justice. And I’m one of the people who underrated it.

  1. mmeyer3387 - Feb 15, 2014 at 7:27 AM

    Excellent, very thought provoking. Truly this discussion is an example of what makes baseball unique and special.

    • proudlycanadian - Feb 15, 2014 at 10:27 AM

      Changing the subject completely, but since Joe is at the Olympics, I was to congratulate the US hockey team in their victory over Russia.

      • proudlycanadian - Feb 15, 2014 at 10:27 AM

        Edit Function: “want”

      • chunkala - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:40 AM

        Too bad we cheated. Stupid international rule regarding the net. Russia will make sure we lose the QF game.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Feb 15, 2014 at 12:06 PM

        Nobody cares about Hockey in this country pc, that’s Canada’s national past time, not ours. Don’t believe me? Just look at the ratings of NHL postseason, its downright pathetic

    • mmeyer3387 - Feb 15, 2014 at 1:19 PM

      Baseball stats are what gives hard core fans the foundation and tools to compare players and teams.Nonetheless, stats can be controversial; do some stats hold more weight than others? If this true, which stat or stats are the most important? Its almost paradoxical and still its also great fun. Trammell verses Jetter is an great example of baseball and stats.

  2. redmanrt - Feb 15, 2014 at 7:38 AM

    “Derek Jeter’s great, but let’s compare to Alan Trammell”

    I’d rather compare him to Yunel Escobar.

    • proudlycanadian - Feb 15, 2014 at 8:22 AM

      Yunel is a better fielder than Jeter.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:06 AM

        D’oh! Even when he tries to rig the contest it bites him in the bum.

  3. m3dman3 - Feb 15, 2014 at 8:17 AM

    I’ve now officially read the most pointless article ever.

    • nbjays - Feb 15, 2014 at 8:26 AM

      And made the most pointless comment about it. Well played!

  4. onbucky96 - Feb 15, 2014 at 8:21 AM

    How dare you compare St.Jeter of Gothom to ALAN TRAMMEL? Mike Lupica would loudly disagree. Cue The Imperial March…

  5. proudlycanadian - Feb 15, 2014 at 8:34 AM

    There you go again Joe, using those new fangled stats to kick Saint Jeter in the gift basket. Get with the program! Saint Jeter is God’s gift to baseball and women. It is completely un-American to point out his flaws. I have enjoyed the way he magnificently waives with poise and grace at ground balls that he just can’t get to. He looks magnificent in his faults. Why, he once managed to catch a ball that went into the stands. It was a pop up, so he had time to catch up to it. That should outweigh all those numerous grounders that were just out of reach. Allan Trammel? What did he ever do? Nobody saw him play anyways, because he was based in Detroit. Trammel was out of sight and out of mind.

  6. chew1985 - Feb 15, 2014 at 8:37 AM

    And Phil Rizzuto is in the Hall of Fame but Trammell is not. That’s freakin’ hilarious.

    Reminds me of the evening before opening day 1988 when Jerry Gerrard, WPIX tv sports guy, started off his report by alerting the “local sports writers who were already speaking of young Mets second baseman Keith Miller as a potential Hall of Famer might be interested in knowing that he didn’t make the opening day roster.”

    • mybrunoblog - Feb 15, 2014 at 10:29 AM

      Awesome jerry Girard reference! Only us NYC metro area folks know who he was but I loved it.

  7. dcarroll73 - Feb 15, 2014 at 8:39 AM

    As a Yankees fan, I say without reservation that Alan Trammel is on my “put him in the HoF or close the damn place” list. Put him in. As for Jeter, nobody who is watching and has a brain pretends Jeter has no issues with range. However the guy has been rock-steady on everything in his range and he has a strong accurate arm. Any supposed “stat” that ranks that below the mythical replacement player has major reality check problems. If there were such “replacements” in this world, they would be starting. We saw what was in fact available when Jeter was not this past season (or are we going to claim the Yanks couldn’t afford such a “replacement”?)

    • Glenn - Feb 15, 2014 at 10:42 AM

      I don’t think you understand defensive statistics in the least. They’re not perfect, but they are not that hard to understand in principle.

    • Glenn - Feb 15, 2014 at 10:49 AM

      One weird thing about Jeter’s defense that no one seems to talk about is that he positioned himself in the same place for every hitter, situation, etc. Sure, he did the basic stuff like change position for a double play, if a base stealer was on first, infield moving in, etc., but that was it. It seems strange that a guy with such a rep as a heady player did not do the most basic heady player thing defensively. This shortcoming does show up in the defensive stats and may explain, in part, his low range factor.

    • historiophiliac - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:10 AM

      I don’t think anyone would claim that the Yanks couldn’t afford a better SS. I think everyone pretty much considers it a “want to pay” issue.

      PS The mythical replacement player is not Delmon Young.

      • proudlycanadian - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:25 AM

        Now you tell me. I was 91 3% sure that it was Delmon. Thanks for the correction.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:28 AM

        BTW, my mother was rooting Canadian (ptoo, ptoo) for the men’s figure skating. You can come pick up that traitor whenever y’all want to. Forewarning: she’s a tough little lady with ridiculous wrist strength for a person her size.

      • proudlycanadian - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:31 AM

        Funny thing. The guy who won trains in Toronto with Brian Orser as his coach. I prefer to think that Torontonians finished first and second.

  8. johnchesterny - Feb 15, 2014 at 8:41 AM

    “Jeter played in a historically high scoring time which inflated his numbers.”

    Jeter played at the height of the PED-era and no doubt faced more juiced up pitching than Trammel. This may have DEFLATED his numbers.

    • deadeyedesign23 - Feb 15, 2014 at 9:14 AM

      Or he was, along with the rest of the league, juicing as well which would have inflated them. I’m not suggesting he used, but no other player seems to escape that assumption so I’m not sure why Jeter gets a pass other than “we really want him to have not taken anything.”

      • johnchesterny - Feb 15, 2014 at 9:43 AM

        Deadeye, if it ever turns out that he DID use, then I would completely change my opinion of him. But until then he gets the benefit of the doubt for the following reasons:
        -He was never named (or rumored to have used) in any report. He would certainly have been the BIGGEST name to have been outed (or leaked) to have used. A certain trophy for any ‘journalist’ to have linked him to PED usage. But to this date, nothing.
        -He probably has a self-awareness, more than any player, that he is the face of non-PED baseball. Thus, he has probably more to lose than ANY player if he ever got caught using.
        -He’s got great parents. (Sorry, had to throw that one in there. I’m sure some of you will jump ugly with this point. Be my guest.)

        Again, if he used, then he’s just like the rest of them. If not worse. But until then I believe he is clean…thus, playing at a disadvantage in this era.

      • derklempner - Feb 15, 2014 at 2:51 PM

        @johnchesterny:

        Your response generated a paranoid thought in my mind concerning Jeter and PEDs.

        We all know he’s considered to be the face of baseball for the last 18+ years, so even if his name did show up on any PED user lists, do you think it’s possible that MLB may have removed it in the hopes they’d keep their golden boy criminally spotless in the public eye?

        Yeah, I know it’s conspiracy-theory stuff and all, and I don’t even believe it myself. But I thought I’d share it anyway to fuel the PED-suspicion fire!

      • deadeyedesign23 - Feb 15, 2014 at 4:22 PM

        @John In my estimation the number of people using was well over 50% so I don’t give anyone the benefit of the doubt in that respect. That said I don’t extend that so far as to say “Derek Jeter was a cheater therefore he’s not as good as his numbers indicate” just that I don’t give him extra credit for being clean against juicing pitchers because we have no idea if he was clean and just based purely on probability it’s more likely he wasn’t than he was.

  9. buddaley - Feb 15, 2014 at 8:42 AM

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-other-half-of-the-story-about-derek-jeters-defense/

    I think this is one of the most balanced and convincing analyses I have read about Jeter’s defense.

  10. johnnysoda - Feb 15, 2014 at 8:44 AM

    Infidel!

  11. bendover09 - Feb 15, 2014 at 9:12 AM

    I lik Jeter a lot and he is one of of the most respected players of all time but growing up watching him play .. the man average would not be as high if the UMPs had not catered to him. They would call outside pitches balls unless he happened to swing and miss.. he is still all time great but its just like Michael Jordan traveling/carrying the ball every spin move and getting away with it

    • johnchesterny - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:07 AM

      “UMPs”…….Really?

      • historiophiliac - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:13 AM

        No one lower cases Joe West. No one.

      • derklempner - Feb 15, 2014 at 2:54 PM

        joe west

  12. bbil2012 - Feb 15, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    Ok. We’ll let that one go. But only as it applies to Derek Jeter.
    You have to promise not to say that about any other player of that era’s offensive statistics.
    Not that you would, of course.

  13. mtr75 - Feb 15, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    You say at his best Jeter was a .300 hitter wig some power. Um, no. At his best Jeter was a .340′s hitter with some power.

  14. j2m1958 - Feb 15, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    Baseball is a beautiful, maybe the only one that can compare generation to generation, because of the value we place on statistics. But let’s be realistic, Jeter has played hundreds of regular season games that meant more in the standings than Trammel and Escobar combined. It’s a he’ll of lot easier performing for personal stats when constantly playing on a losing team. Example, how great was Ralph Kiner, no disrespect did he ever play on a winning team. Not saying Trammel should not be in HOF, he should but statistics aside maybe we should measure meaningful games.

    • historiophiliac - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:02 AM

      Perhaps you could let Mr. Jeter know which games — if any — this season are meaningful so he will play for the team instead of “performing for personal stats” for those. Otherwise, he might start showboating like Trammel and play better defense to improve his stats for his HoF bid.

    • jeffbbf - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:18 AM

      I never did agree with that argument. Even if a player is on a losing team with no “pressure” the other team, in all probability is trying to win, and thus trying to get outs. Maybe even more so, they are probably focusing on the 1 or 2 bats on a crappy team that could hurt them.

  15. pappageorgio - Feb 15, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    If Whitaker and Trammell played for the yanks they’d both be in the HOF.

    • mybrunoblog - Feb 15, 2014 at 10:32 AM

      Not if he played on the the 1980s or early 90s Yankees….

    • pastabelly - Feb 15, 2014 at 12:26 PM

      Not everyone can play in cities like New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. It’s hard to say how those two would have fared. We do know that no stage was too big for Jeter. I hate the Yankees, but post season counts a bit here. It has to.

    • dfj79 - Feb 15, 2014 at 7:42 PM

      I don’t know about that. Graig Nettles and Willie Randolph had careers nearly as good as Trammell’s and Whitaker’s, and they never sniffed the Hall of Fame either. The problem for all four is that their skill-sets were underrated by most Hall of Fame voters.

  16. sparkyxproof - Feb 15, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    Is Trammel even close to # 6 on the All Time hits list in over 100 years Baseball History. Joe…. Trammell was a very good reliable Ballplayer, his defense was no doubt better than Jeters. But all this other stuff your bringing up ????? It’s like your throwing things at the wall hoping something will stick. Jeter is a bonifide 1st round Hall of Famer .

  17. johnchesterny - Feb 15, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    So Joe ‘neutralizes’ their offensive numbers and he gets the following:

    Trammell: .289/.357/.420
    Jeter: .307/.375/..439

    Which to me is a pretty significant difference. Then he says in the next paragraph:

    “Jeter played in a historically high scoring time which inflated his numbers. Trammell played in a low-scoring time, which depressed his. So their actual numbers diverge.”

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Joe already do that by ‘neutralizing’ their numbers? I mean didn’t he already adjust for their respective eras? Then he suggests that the numbers are even closer? Seems like ‘double-jeopardy’ for Jeter here.

    • paperlions - Feb 15, 2014 at 10:32 AM

      He never says there were the same hitter, just that the divergence in the raw numbers is larger than the difference when you account for scoring environment. Yes, Jeter was a better hitter. The difference between them on defense was MUCH bigger than the difference on offense. Of course, Jeter has also created more value by being more durable.

      The take home message is not that they were equally valuable or equally good….just that if Jeter is an all-time great, there is no argument that Trammell wasn’t a sure-fire HOFer. The voters are just repeatedly whiffing on Trammell (like they did with Lou Whitaker, which was actually worse because he was a better 2B than Sandberg).

      • johnchesterny - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:05 AM

        He says “Jeter was a better hitter. But it was closer than you might think.” I don’t think the ‘neutralized’ numbers….

        Trammell: .289/.357/.420
        Jeter: .307/.375/..439

        …..are close at all.

        Furthermore, he suggests that both had “some speed”. Jeter is a superior baserunner when compared to Trammell.

        I understand Joe’s point in suggesting that if Jeter is a lock-first-ballot HoFer then Trammell deserves more support than he’s gotten thus far. He may have actually sold me on this point. However, I think Joe is a bit off base here as tries very hard here to bring down Jeter’s offense closer to Trammell’s level.

      • paperlions - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:12 AM

        The point is that they are closer than the raw numbers because Jeter played in the easiest environment to put up numbers, not that they are the same. Yes, those offensive numbers are significantly different…but NOT as different as the players were on defense. Trammell was an excellent and sometimes elite defender. Jeter was a really poor and sometimes average defender.

        You are correct that Jeter was a far better base runner. Trammell is easily a top 10 SS all-time. The odd thing is that the same voting body that always praises guys that play the right way, are complete players, do the little things, etc are the same guys that ignore all of those things (many of which contribute to winning games) when it comes time to vote.

      • johnchesterny - Feb 15, 2014 at 12:17 PM

        I have certainly come away with this post with a greater respect for Trammell. You are right, paperlions, when you say the voters are “whiffing on Trammell”. Perhaps being in the same middle of the infield as Whitaker hurts BOTH players chances. However, I still don’t think you can use Jeter as a gauge for Trammell. Trammell should be compared with the likes of Barry Larkin. If there is ever such a thing as a HoF Court then Trammell’s attorney should use Barry Larkin as exhibit A.

        And a few words about Jeter’s defense for all those who keep saying that Jeter’s defense is a detriment (to say the least):
        -Jeter’s glove NEVER cost his team a chance at making the playoffs.
        -Jeter’s glove NEVER cost his team a playoff series.
        -Jeter’s glove SAVED his team a playoff series (The Flip).
        -Jeter’s has won 5 GG’s. Whether deserved or not this will be part of his ‘permanent record’ (HoF plaque).

        So when we add everything together, I disagree with Joe’s comparison of Trammell and Jeter. Jeter was/is far superior.

  18. voteforno6 - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:05 AM

    That Allen Barra column he linked to is ridiculous. It’s not good enough that Derek Jeter is going into the Hall of Fame – he writes that Jeter could be a unanimous selection, when far better players than him were not. Worse than that, Barra is still trying to claim that Jeter should’ve won the 2009 AL MVP over Joe Mauer. I guess it’s not good enough that Mauer had one of the best seasons ever for a catcher, led Jeter in pretty much every meaningful offensive category, and played better defense at an even more demanding position than shortstop. Jeter deserved that award, I guess, because he’s Derek Jeter.

    I wonder if there’s anyone left who still wonders why so many people hate the Yankees.

    • Detroit Michael - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:52 AM

      Derek Jeter should be a unanimous selection to the Baseball Hall of Fame, but the same thing is true for over 50 other players.

      • voteforno6 - Feb 15, 2014 at 3:42 PM

        The whole notion of who should or should not get a unanimous selection is rather silly. Barring something unexpected happening, Jeter is going to get voted in on the first try. Shouldn’t that be sufficient?

    • 18thstreet - Feb 15, 2014 at 1:30 PM

      The Barra column just goes to show that the people who adore Jeter — the Jeteraters — simply refuse to believe that he was a bad shortstop. Those of us who less-than-adore Jeter (I’m pretty sure all of us still think he’s awesome and surely deserving of the Hall of Fame) agree that he was a great hitter and a great leader and had signature postseason moments and and and … but that his defense was, in fact, terrible, and a significant black mark on what kind of total player he was.

      And so the advanced combined statistics (i.e., those that attempt to measure defense along with offense), such as WAR, show Jeter to be more of a Paul Molitor or Craig Biggio than a Willie Mays or Honus Wagner and the Jeteraters refuse to believe it.

  19. babehuee - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    If you just look at the back of their baseball card it’s not even close who the best shortstop is.

    • 18thstreet - Feb 15, 2014 at 1:58 PM

      The back of the baseball card doesn’t mention defense. So this is true.

      • therooneyskilledwebster - Feb 15, 2014 at 2:31 PM

        I can’t see anything. The gum is stuck to the card.

  20. ctony1216 - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:31 AM

    As I recall, Detroit had a famously slow infield — the groundskeepers let the grass grow a little higher than normal. Do Baseball Reference and FanGraph stats take into account differences in playing fields?

    I always thought Trammell was one of the best shortstops of his era, just not as consistently good as some of the all-time greats. He and Lou Whitaker were a thrill to watch.

    • Detroit Michael - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:55 AM

      The Tigers did let their infield grass grow high during that time period, but it was to take advantage of their infield defense, not because they were slow. In any case, it’s not factored into today’s fielding metrics, I don’t believe.

  21. tfbuckfutter - Feb 15, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    Um…Alan Trammell was a better defensive player than Jeter? HAH!

    Alan Trammell never threw Jeremy Giambi out in a playoff game.

    Or caught a foul ball in the stands against the Red Sox.

    Jeter was far superior. Case closed.

    • historiophiliac - Feb 15, 2014 at 12:18 PM

      It’s not all about you, Red Sox fans!

      • tfbuckfutter - Feb 15, 2014 at 12:28 PM

        Jeremy Giambi played for the A’s the year of the Relay Throw Heard Round The World.

  22. Detroit Michael - Feb 15, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    Thanks for the article. The difference between Jeter’s and Trammell’s career is less than most people think. This graph, using Fangraphs’ WAR, compares them: http://www.fangraphs.com/graphsw.aspx?players=1013157,826

    That being said, yes, Jeter was a better player:
    - Jeter was more durable, as Joe notes, so that outside of the top 6 peak seasons, Jeter is packing more value per season into his performances than Trammell did.
    - Jeter has 158 games played in the post-season with batting statistics roughly identical to his regular season performance while facing much better than average quality pitchers presumably. He always seemed calm, not rattled, by the extra post-season pressure. Sure, Trammell didn’t have the same post-season opportunities, but you’ve got to give some weight to Jeter’s post-season performance.

    • historiophiliac - Feb 15, 2014 at 12:16 PM

      I really don’t think Jeter wasn’t a valuable player for his team, but that meaningful game argument (which you’ve made in a different format) is just silly. That’s the kind of thinking that continues to saddle us with Phil Coke (at increasing cost). I think I’m just going to start referring to it as the Ibanez Argument for effect.

      • Detroit Michael - Feb 15, 2014 at 1:42 PM

        I have no idea what you’re talking about.

        I didn’t use the word “meaningful” in my post, although you might be talking about the fact that I would give credit to Jeter’s post-season performance. That can’t really be up for debate, can it? Due to the sample size, Jeter’s 158 games of above average post-season performance is more impressive than Trammell’s 13 games of excellent post-season performance, and that advantage is not reflected in a comparison (like the graph in my prior post) that looks at only regular season performance.

        I don’t think that doing better in meaningful games has much predictive value. I certainly am not in favor of the Tigers paying $1.9M to Phil Coke when he hasn’t pitched well enough for two straight years to stay on the roster just because he had one good post-season series in 2012. Why you would attribute “that kind of thinking” to me, I have no idea.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 15, 2014 at 2:25 PM

        Well, you did kind of get to what I was talking about — almost. It most certainly is debatable that anyone’s post-season performance weighs more in assessing their skill than looking at their performance overall. The larger view gets you away from flukes and streaks and, instead, gets at ability over time (as affected by external factors like injury, etc). Selecting out certain games that we value is the way to heroizing (or demonizing), but it is not useful for determining someone’s ability generally. I have no idea why you would compare only post-season performance between players to determine the better player (especially using lop-sided samples). There really isn’t any point to isolating post-season play in making assessments. Because Jeter played decently in more post-season games in no way gives him an advantage at being a better player (and not just because you are giving him credit for team performance in getting to the playoffs there). You’re arguing that those games count more (are more meaningful) and therefore should weigh more in assessment. I disagree with that view.

      • Detroit Michael - Feb 18, 2014 at 8:13 AM

        When we’re debating future performance (e.g. should the Tigers pay $1.9M for Phil Coke for the 2014 season), then we are interested in assessing skill. However, when we are debating for the Hall of Fame, then I’m more interested in what did the player accomplish, not what his true skill level might be.

        Even if you want to argue that the post-season should be weighted no more than regular season games (I disagree, but there’s a valid argument in that direction), realize that the post-season games are excluded from comparisons such as the Fangraphs’ WAR graph.

  23. dirtyharry1971 - Feb 15, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    Never understood why Trammell isn’t in the HOF, never understood why his double play partner Lou Wittaker isn’t in the HOF either. Its just further proof that baseball writers should NOT be doing the voting on this and until that changes the HOF will be a joke

  24. tipstopten - Feb 15, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    Blah, Blah, Alan did not have to play on the pressure of Yankee Stadium and their fans and the NY press.

    • historiophiliac - Feb 15, 2014 at 2:58 PM

      Yes, because your sportswriters are mean boys that makes Jeter a better player. And, New Yorkers are hard, whereas Detroit is the city of brotherly love. But, don’t tell that to Forbes, which put Michiganders at the top of its most dangerous places list….F@ck! “Michigander” totally spoils the badassery in that sentence. Ok, you win.

  25. louhudson23 - Feb 15, 2014 at 12:53 PM

    As has been stated,Trammell is a HoF level player and should have been inducted,along with Lou Whitaker. He was not a better player than Jeter, however. And not particularly close ,either. Few are or were….

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