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“Gibson and Drysdale” alert!

Jul 30, 2014, 8:55 AM EST

Bob Gibson

I mock the old “If The Boss was still alive” cliche New York journalists use all the time, but there’s another, even more prevalent cliche that has come to the fore over the past couple of years. It’s the “if Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale were still pitching” cliche, and it’s trotted out pretty darn regularly.

The idea is that those two no-nonsense pitchers from a bygone era would not stand for the shenanigans of today’s young whippersnappers. Why, if you flipped your bat, took a slow home run trot, didn’t hitch up your trousers properly or played the loud hippity-hop music when coming up to bat they’d throw a ball at your head. In Gibson’s specific case, actually, the construction is almost always “would plant a ball in your ear.”

We see it trotted out ALL THE TIME. Comment sections (I found nearly 200 HBT comments from the past year invoking them in this way), on Twitter and even from the mouths of players and managers. Here’s Joe Maddon talking about David Ortiz the other day, after his little argument through the media with Rays pitcher Chris Archer:

When Rays manager Joe Maddon was asked about Ortiz’s shtick after having a night to sleep on it, Maddon said: “The simple answer is, what if it had happened in the ’60s when [Bob] Gibson was pitching or [Don] Drysdale was pitching? That answers the question.”

You’re silly, Joe. Bob Gibson hit a batter for every 158 he faced. Don Drysdale hit a batter for ever 94 he faced. Chris Archer has done it every 82 times. So your two historical avatars would be even less likely to do something about it than your man Archer, there.

And yes, I know what you’re going to say: “but they would brush Ortiz back more!” Well, cool. Then brush Ortiz back more. Or, I dunno, pitch as well as Drysdale or Gibson and don’t give him the chance to hit bombs off of you. Short of that, quit using Gibson and Drysdale like this. Drysdale is dead and should be left to rest in peace. Gibson is an older, retired gentleman and probably has things he’d rather do than to have the memory of his playing days used to fight your battles.

But more generally, whether you’re invoking Gibson, Drysdale, Steinbrenner or anything else, quit pretending that things were better back in the day than they are now. Because in baseball as in life, that’s almost always never the case. And when you do it, you just sound like an old fart who can’t enjoy new things or adapt to a new era.

  1. [citation needed] fka COPO - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:08 AM

    Bob Gibson. June 2010.

    Bob Gibson smiles hard. It’s about to happen again. Over the years, Gibson has learned to tell when someone is about remind him how ferocious… heartless… intimidating he used to be. He has learned to brace himself for those peppy, ‘You were vicious!” compliments (they are compliments, right?) and the awed “You were a killer out there!” tributes (they are tributes, right?). He has learned to see them coming, the fans — they’re definitely fans — who remember him fondly for that glare and those up-and-in fastballs, who think of him as young and raging and invincible, with fury and pride and the purest annoyance oozing from his forehead instead of sweat.

    “Mr. Gibson,” this man says. “Oh, do I remember the way you pitched. I remember all those batters you hit. They were so scared of you.”

    Yes, Bob Gibson smiles hard. He shakes the man’s hand warmly, and he signs a baseball, and he says thank you in that voice that always surprises, that soft voice tinged with warmth. And it is only when the man has walked away and is long out of hearing range, that Bob Gibson asks — not angrily but with a sense of wonder — “Is that all I did? Hit batters? Is that really all they remember?”

    http://joeposnanski.com/joevault/?p=90

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:07 AM

      At the same time, Craig ignores (and Gibson was never asked to comment on):

      1. Brushing batters back instead of hitting them;
      2. The massive amount of armor today’s batters wear at the plate, allowing them to lean half a mile in without fear of getting too badly hurt if they do get hit by a pitch;
      3. As several commenters noted, the lack of umpire warnings back then.

      In essence, to me, it sounds like Craig’s engaging in one of his usual “old geezers vs young whippersnappers” trolling posts. And, I say what I’ve said before: Let’s put Craig in a batting cage, without any body armor, against Gibby — even today’s Gibby, 75-plus and all. And, then tell Craig to do a bat flip.

      • umrguy42 - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:16 AM

        At the same time, Craig ignores (and Gibson was never asked to comment on):

        1. Brushing batters back instead of hitting them;

        Umm, I think Craig takes the brush backs as a given:

        And yes, I know what you’re going to say: “but they would brush Ortiz back more!” Well, cool. Then brush Ortiz back more.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:25 AM

        Until Craig specifically says that, I’m not going to assume that. Especially since, per Loblaw, there’s no stats on brushbacks, I’m not going to assume that until Craig mentioned it.

        Plus, per your agreeing silence, Craig didn’t even touch the body armor issue.

        Given that Craig doesn’t often do much “nuance,” and he likes to troll on the “geezers vs whippersnappers,” I’ll stand by that idea.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:30 AM

        As additional proof of trollery, I cite Craig’s last graf:

        But more generally, whether you’re invoking Gibson, Drysdale, Steinbrenner or anything else, quit pretending that things were better back in the day than they are now. Because in baseball as in life, that’s almost always never the case. And when you do it, you just sound like an old fart who can’t enjoy new things or adapt to a new era.

        Craig’s making a logically unwarranted conclusion, and, as a lawyer, he’s smart enough to know that’s just what he’s doing.

        Just because the old days aren’t always better than today, that doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily always worse.

        Nice #fail, Crag.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:49 AM

        Let me get this straight: you’re taking issue with my post about people making silly references to modern players not having to face Gibson and Drysdale by saying I wouldn’t say that if I had to take hacks against Gibson and Drysdale?

        I think you just incepted yourself.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 30, 2014 at 11:03 AM

        “Incepted” myself?

        I’ll accept the British definition

        verbBRITISHhistorical
        past tense: incepted; past participle: incepted

        graduate from a university with an academic degree.

        Rather than the Urban Dictionary’s one.

        Meanwhile, you still need to learn your subjunctive usage, speaking of the English language.

        The correct phrase is: “If the Boss were still alive.”

        Lawyers deal in hypothetical or contrary-to-fact situations all the time.

        So, I’ll pass on your version of English usage.

      • cmpieper - Jul 30, 2014 at 11:38 AM

        Prescriptive grammar is the last resort of the internet asshole. Take a hike.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jul 30, 2014 at 11:53 AM

        “Incepted” myself?

        I’ll accept the British definition

        So you’re going to ignore a common usage of the term, going so far as to quote a dictionary definition. Then you are going to make a comment about grammar, being a lawyer, and knowing better.

        Now who’s trolling?

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 30, 2014 at 12:37 PM

        @Cm: Craig’s colleague, Drew Silva, wrote a blog post about the new HOF plaques which drew a number of “prescriptive grammar” comments. I’ll consider myself in better company than with you: http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/07/27/the-six-new-hall-of-fame-plaques/

        @COPO: Should I say “go incept yourself” to show I can use either version? :)

      • cmpieper - Jul 30, 2014 at 1:23 PM

        I’m not sure why you would put prescriptive grammar in quotes, as it’s a real, pernicious, and outdated approach to language that sacrifices the actual goals of discourse at the altar of classism and elitism. As for the other article, pointing out gaps in someone’s grasp of institutionalized grammar can be a fun game for some, I suppose. Criticizing someone’s grammar as a debate tactic, on the other hand, is pathetic. You knew what Craig was saying and couldn’t refute it, so you critiqued his grammar in an attempt to discredit his ideas, when in this case the clarity of his ideas wasn’t affected by any grammatical irregularities he used. That’s not debate. It’s Jim Crow communication.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 30, 2014 at 2:04 PM

        @CM “Jim Crow communication”?

        Yowza.

        Yessir, Massa, Iz will nebber question de Boss Man on communicashun again. Iz wil nebber look de Massa in de eyez wile I type. Iz will nebber try to speak from anywhere but de bak of de communicashun bus, Massa Boss Man.

        Go incept yourself, then look for a doctor to treat your CRS.

    • aceshigh11 - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:41 AM

      Exactly. Gibson was INCREDIBLE. The fact that so many people think Gibson was just a mean old bastard who beaned people is pretty sad.

      • 78mu - Jul 30, 2014 at 2:35 PM

        Gibson and Drysdale had the talent to work both sides of the plate after pitching inside on hitters. That nasty low and outside slider is a lot harder to hit after you’ve seen a fastball up and in.

  2. hoopmatch - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:12 AM

    I retain nothing from reading Tim McCarver’s book “Oh Baby I love it!” years ago but one story about Bob Gibson. McCarver came out to the mound to chat with Gibson, who said, “The only thing you know about good pitching is that you can’t hit it.”

    • 18thstreet - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:17 AM

      “Bob Gibson pitches as though he’s double parked.” – Vin Scully

    • paperlions - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:38 AM

      You don’t have to read the book to know that Story. McCarver tells it at least once every few games he broadcasts.

      • 4d3fect - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:47 AM

        Which, thank Og, I NEVER have to do again.

  3. 18thstreet - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    Bravo. Here’s what I love: http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/HBP_p_top_ten.shtml

    Gibson never led the league in HBP. Only finished in the top five once. The most he ever hit was 13. He’s 80th in the all-time total list, below names like Chan Ho Park and Al Leiter and Aaron Sele and many others who weren’t thought of as headhunters.

  4. frank35sox - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    You’re going to cherry pick a guy who has less than 3 years service time, and 140 less HBP to make your point? Ok, ok.

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:27 AM

      HBP per Batter Faced

      Maddux: ~1/149
      Gibson: ~1/158

      Now what do you think about Craig’s point?

      • Bob Loblaw - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:48 AM

        Again, this is two guys with some of the greatest pinpoint accuracy in the history of the game. They didn’t need to “hit a batter” to get their point across.

        As I said previously, I guess since “brush-backs” aren’t on the spreadsheet, they never happened.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:55 AM

        Again, this is two guys with some of the greatest pinpoint accuracy in the history of the game. They didn’t need to “hit a batter” to get their point across.

        Except now I think you are making things up (misremembering). Gibson walked 3.1 BB/9 in his career (~8.3%). Guys with pinpoint control don’t walk that many. Roy Halladay has a 1.9 BB/9 in his career (~5.2%). [And he still hit more batters on a rate basis than Gibson]

        It’s entirely possible he was this headhunting caricature that people remember, but the stats say otherwise.

      • Bob Loblaw - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:08 AM

        And I will say it again, unless there was a stat called “brush backs” then some people wouldn’t believe what someone else tells them anyway so it’s all nothing more than a moot point.

        And I forgot that the one statistic BB/9 is the BE ALL END ALL for how accurate of a pitcher a guy is. My fault. It never ends. I’m surprised WAR didn’t somehow get into the discussion.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:16 AM

        You’re the one bringing up his “pinpoint” control. What would you define as pinpoint control then? His career BB/9 has him ranked 662nd all time with a minimum 1000 IP.

        And I will say it again, unless there was a stat called “brush backs” then some people wouldn’t believe what someone else tells them anyway so it’s all nothing more than a moot point.

        nice strawman

      • frank35sox - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:16 AM

        No, I get your point.

        Craig’s point is still asserting that Chris Archer is more intimidating to face than Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale. Drysdale plunked 150 guys. That is more than a few, not including the ones he threw over their head.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:28 AM

        To tout Loblaw vs COPO on this issue: One ball (a brushback pitch) isn’t the same as a walk. This also ignores issues of umps shrinking the strike zone and many other things.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:29 AM

        Craig’s point is still asserting that Chris Archer is more intimidating to face than Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale.

        No, he’s not. Maddon is claiming that in the days of yesteryear, a pitcher would plunk a guy if he felt disrespected, and that it doesn’t happen in today’s game. The problem is that guys, especially one’s like Gibson, didn’t hit people as often as some of today’s pitchers do.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 30, 2014 at 12:06 PM

        I think modern batters with all their armor hang over the plate too much and are more likely to get hit.

        That’s what I think about comparing HBP rates across different eras and Craig being very selective of context in writing a post like this.

  5. pete2112 - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    I don’t know, Craig. The level of grandstanding has gone to a pretty unacceptable level, in my opinion. The games are ridiculously too long and some of that can be attributable to the players and their own antics. I wouldn’t mind a little “Gibson and Drysdale” era style ball.

    And I’ll just add “if the boss were still alive” he would be pissed!

    • tigersfandan - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:11 AM

      Yeah, and he probably would have fired Girardi after missing the playoffs last year.

  6. Bob Loblaw - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    Another case where the “stats” don’t tell the whole story. I’ll take the word of people who watched Gibson and Drysdale pitched and say how they would have reacted over the people who check the spreadsheet and try to tell me how Gibson and Drysdale pitched by reading the # in column AH.

    I know you tried to qualify it with “And yes, I know what you’re going to say: “but they would brush Ortiz back more!” ” but that simply doesn’t make up for you pretty much dissing Maddon by writing “So your two historical avatars would be even less likely to do something about it than your man Archer, there.”

    So which is it…would they brush back the hitters more? Or is Maddon trotting out an old cliche? I agree there are some stupid old-school cliche’s out there. But sorry, in this case I disagree and do not think this is one of them.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:31 AM

      My point is that there is no data to support Gibson or Drysdale being more aggressive or not standing for whatever. There are people’s memories of them being tough SOBs who would hit people. Maybe their memories about the brushbacks are correct. Maybe not. But we know that they were not remarkable when it came to hitting people, so people’s memories on that score are already faulty.

      But even if they did brush back hitters more, well, tell your guy to do that then. Don’t act like Ortiz is some beast only allowed to rain terror down on baseball because Gibson and Drysdale aren’t around to stop him. You stop him. Get him out. Brush him back. Mostly quit whining and claiming that the game, compared to the way it was when you were a kid, is somehow lost and worse and awful.

      • Bob Loblaw - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:44 AM

        I don’t think Maddon is saying the game is worse. He is talking about one particular aspect of the game. Geeze Craig, sounds like you are hyperbolizing just a bit there. Besides, I think the reason some of the hot heads today have more HBP than guys like Gibson and Drysdale is exactly because they don’t have the pinpoint accuracy that those guys had. But that’s just me speculating. Without having watched those guys, all I can do is rely on people who watched them with their own eyes.

        I guess it’s kinda like when we read about how good/bad a defensive player Ty Cobb was. Hmm…anybody alive today that actually saw him play?

      • mf44srq - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:48 AM

        If you brush back Ortiz with some chin music, he’d whine about it for a week after he got done staring you down and pointing his bat at you, which in turn provokes Johnny Gomes to run out the mound to punch the pitcher… Yeah, the pitchers are at fault here. Remember, in the 60’s, there were no warnings for throwing at someone, which they called a brush back, which Gibson and Drysdale were brilliant at. Don’t put them on base, scare the crap out of them! That’s the lesson Maddon should be teaching his pitchers.

      • bobdira - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:00 AM

        Look, idiot; no one dared show boat off the the two of them. If they did, they KNEW they would get plunked and not in the side, higher up.

        Quit using your statistics in a vacuum. You’re an idiot, but I thought you could learn. My mistake.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 30, 2014 at 11:10 AM

        @Loblaw: Yeah, hyperbole is often part of a trolling post.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 30, 2014 at 12:08 PM

        If we look at full context, of batter body armor, etc., one could also say there’s no context-independent data supporting the idea that they were less aggressive, either.

        And, there’s no data at all about brushback pitches, which Loblaw has repeatedly stated, and Craig has repeatedly ignored. Shock me.

    • paperlions - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:42 AM

      Did Gibson every hit a single batter in the head? Just one?

      Is there any actual event that even backs up the narrative? Just one story of Gibson or Drysdale hitting a guy for “disrespect”? Or on purpose at all?

      • Bob Loblaw - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:45 AM

        What does actually “hitting a guy” have to do with it?

        I guess because “brushing a hitter back” isn’t on the spreadsheet it must have never happened.

      • paperlions - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:55 AM

        That has everything to do with the narrative. People don’t say, “Players wouldn’t disrespect the game like that when Drysdale or Gibson were pitching because they might brush them back.” They say, “Players wouldn’t disrespect the game like that when Drysdale or Gibson were pitching because they would plant one in their ear.”…which is, you know, hitting a guy.

        I made no reference to data, did I?

        I asked for evidence of instances you think happened.

        Hell, you’ll take the words of people that may or may not have watched Gibson pitch over Gibson’s own words….because that is the narrative you prefer.

      • Bob Loblaw - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:01 AM

        How about this to explain the lack of HBP…maybe Gibson wasn’t shown up as much because nobody could hit the guy. And when, on the rare occasion that someone did show him up, he put one in their ear.

        Douches like Chris Archer, who can kiss their “Halladay’sBicepts” one year, then whine when someone flips their bat the next, are hit more often than Gibson, so they get shown up more.

        Fact is NOBODY really knows how many times Gibson pitched inside. Stories of him throwing inside are all over the place…I don’t have time to dig them up. However, if you want to base the entire argument on the HBP stat, then you win.

      • Marty McKee - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:08 AM

        I always assumed statements like “stick it in their ear” were just figures of speech. Gibson and Drysdale didn’t actually hit batters in the head, but they threw inside to brush batters off the plate. Of course, there are no records of the number of times these (and other pitchers) threw inside to keep the batters “honest,” and using HBP stats seems useless in this scenario. This post just seems like Craig getting all cranky about classic baseball again.

      • paperlions - Jul 30, 2014 at 12:50 PM

        I think your description is closer to how they pitched, but, of course, modern pitcher throw inside just as often as they did and they hit more guys because players don’t care about getting hit as much as they used to….despite guys throwing a LOT harder than guys in the 1960s did.

        I don’t think writers or Maddon are using it as a figure of speech though. They act like Ortiz wouldn’t showboat with Gibson on the mound because there would be consequences. Having a guy pitch inside is not a consequence, guys already pitch inside and try to make guys move their feet. In fact, if you threw high and tight to Ortiz and then he went yard….he would showboat MORE. The narrative that guys wouldn’t showboat because of possible inside pitches or HBP just doesn’t reflect reality.

      • yahmule - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:58 AM

        “Douches like Chris Archer, who can kiss their “Halladay’sBicepts” one year, then whine when someone flips their bat the next, are hit more often than Gibson, so they get shown up more.”

        It’s also douchey to decide that a young man in his 20’s doesn’t have the capacity to mature a bit. If you ever actually watched this kid pitch, you would realize he’s controlling his emotions on the mound much better and leaving the hot dog antics behind.

      • Bob Loblaw - Jul 30, 2014 at 1:30 PM

        Well, now if he would only control his emotions after the game, and not whine to the local reporter, then he would be completely mature. Instead, he just comes off as lame.

      • yahmule - Jul 30, 2014 at 2:34 PM

        Pointing out Ortiz is an asshole is not immature. Trite, maybe.

  7. chacochicken - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:31 AM

    Bob Gibson was sitting in the radio booth for the Cards a couple of months ago and they had a lengthy conversation with him about this supposed beanballing. He was clearly exasperated with the notion that he through at hitters at some extreme rate. He even knew the rates of HBP of several of his contemporaries and a few modern pitchers. His philosophy was never let the hitter be comfortable by working very quickly and using the entire strike zone from top to bottom and the inside pitch. He specifically said throwing inside was never about hitting a batter but forcing them back on their heels or moving off the plate.

    • Bob Loblaw - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:14 AM

      So he is exasperated with the notion that he threw at hitters, points to the HBP stat to further show his exasperation, and then specifically explained that throwing inside was never about throwing at the hitter, but forcing them back on their heels or moving them off the plate.

      Hmmm…..

      • chacochicken - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:50 AM

        For what its worth, he said he only deliberately threw at two players. He said he regretted one of those but didn’t mention names. He mentioned that “inside” pitches didn’t constitute pitches in the batters box but pitches on the edge of the strike zone. Hitters were not afraid of physical contact but rather his ability to work very quickly change speeds and levels. He wanted to get hitters out and get them out quickly. Gibson thought having them take first base on HBP especially with 2 strikes was bad pitching.

  8. philipharmonic - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    I invoke Drysdale and Gibson in reference to the Nationals’ Rafael Soriano “untucking” his shirt after every save. I think it’s disgraceful and beneath contempt. Those old school guys would have thought it nonsense. Soriano disrespects the game with his boorish behavior.

  9. mf44srq - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    Calcaterra, you’re mistaking reverence of legends for facts; don’t confuse the two. Maddon is making a point that the game was different in the 60’s than it is now, and no doubt it is. Remember, Roberto Clemente’s peers (and reporters) thought he was a lazy hypochondriac during his playing days, and is now he is the stuff of legend, and rightfully so. Today, he would be similar to Yasiel Puig. Imagine what the fans of the 60’s would have thought of a fat DH flipping his bat and running his mouth?

    • RickyB - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:51 AM

      They probably would have said, “What’s a DH?”

      • aceshigh11 - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:39 AM

        Well played.

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:58 AM

      Maddon is making a point that the game was different in the 60’s than it is now, and no doubt it is.

      Joe Maddon was born in 1954. He would have been 14 years old when Gibson had his amazing ’68 season. The only way he knew how baseball was played in the 60s is from reading about it or hearing about it, which makes this appeal to authority useless.

      • Marty McKee - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:05 AM

        Or actually watching it in the 1960s, unless you think being 14 years old is too young for sentient thought.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:12 AM

        No, but considering in 1960 he would have been 6, and in ’65 he would have been 11, I’m pretty sure that for most of the 60s he wasn’t putting “batter acts like an ass; therefore, Gibson hits him”.

        Then throw in that Maddon was raised in rural PA (per Keri’s book). How many STL games was he able to watch then?

      • Marty McKee - Jul 30, 2014 at 1:33 PM

        Well, as you noted, the 1968 World Series. And when the Cardinals played the Phillies and Pirates, presumably. And when the Cardinals were on the Game of the Week. Plus I assume he had access to the Sporting News and Baseball Digest and was able to follow the Cardinals and any other team he wanted. I don’t know why reading about the exploits of Bob Gibson would make him completely ignorant of Gibson.

    • yahmule - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:23 AM

      To me, the greatest way the game changed was when a prima donna like Roger Clemens would take off half the season and then pick a contender to play for down the stretch. I would have loved to see some fat Texan suggest that arrangement back when our dads were coming up.

      • dan1111 - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:47 AM

        Roger Clemens only pitched half seasons when he was 43 and 44 years old? What a wuss!

        In my day, all pitchers pitched 700 innings a season until they were 60. And they pitched from a hole in shallow center field instead of the pitcher’s mound just to make it more of a challenge.

      • pete2112 - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:48 AM

        That and when Clemens was putting those blonde highlights in his hair. That’s when everything jumped the shark.

      • 18thstreet - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:52 AM

        One guy did this once, and you think it’s evidence of a trend?

      • yahmule - Jul 30, 2014 at 11:02 AM

        I didn’t say it was a trend, obfuscating sycophants. I said it wouldn’t have been tolerated or even considered in prior centuries. If you believe differently, you’re utterly deluded.

      • yahmule - Jul 30, 2014 at 11:09 AM

        On the same subject, nobody would have gone along with him faking previously unmentioned injuries every time he got knocked out of the box early, either. The guy was master of the retroactive sprained ankle.

      • 18thstreet - Jul 30, 2014 at 11:16 AM

        For Pete’s sake, you think I’m defending Roger Clemens?

        I really need to become a better writer.

      • davidpom50 - Jul 30, 2014 at 1:41 PM

        Well.. yeah, in the 1960s that definitely wouldn’t have happened.

        Because of the reserve clause. Players has little choice in what team they played for. It was pretty much play for their last team or retire.

  10. soleman50 - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    Another I know it all writer who thinks he knows more than everyone else!! If these writers know whats best for everyone & what they should do. How come their stuck writing bogus articles at for Yahoo!!

    • 18thstreet - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:54 AM

      Where do good writers go?

  11. bobdira - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    Craig is using numbers rather than situations to compare the number of batters hit. Another stupid reference to something he clearly doesn’t understand; one in a long list.

    I heard this from a friend who played against Gibson. “He threw at me and buried one in my side because I doubled off him my first time up. And it was the second time he appeared in spring training. He didn’t like the way I ran to second I guess.”

    Hey Craig, there’s the real world and there’s your view.

    • 18thstreet - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:55 AM

      The plural of anecdote is not data.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 30, 2014 at 11:19 AM

        The plural of anecdote is: “Law school seminar.”

      • acepicker4 - Jul 30, 2014 at 3:43 PM

        Bravo! Best rebuttal ever!

      • 18thstreet - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:03 PM

        It’s not like I invented the quote.

  12. Marty McKee - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:59 AM

    Geez, Craig, cranky much? Why do you hate classic baseball? You should try watching some old games on YouTube and have some fun.

  13. yankeefanincolo - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    Just a thought based on the photo… it must have been especially hard to hit Gibson when you had no arms!!!

    • yahmule - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:25 AM

      K rates plummeted when they officially banned cripples from MLB in 1978.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 30, 2014 at 11:11 AM

        But surged when they banned Eddie Gaedel decades earlier!

  14. hushbrother - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    What about Pedro Martinez? He plunked batters at a higher rate than Gibson or Drysdale. It’s not like he pitched in some long bygone era.

    HBPs have probably tripled since the 1960s.

  15. yahmule - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    Conversation between Stan “Big Daddy” Williams, who had a reputation as an unrepentant headhunter and Hank Aaron.

    Williams: “Hank, I’m sorry I hit you in the head.

    Aaron: “Aw, that’s alright, Stan.”

    Williams: “I was aiming for your neck.”

    Some pitchers cultivated a tough guy image more than others. Gibson, who regretted it in later years, was one of those guys and so was Drysdale. And, like, a million other pitchers at all levels of the game. It wasn’t until the 70’s, when charging the mound really became in vogue, that pitchers began adopting a look of confused innocence after they dusted a guy off. Glaring and snarling before and after you plunked a dude was no longer feasible because it would get you run from the game and/or suspended and fined.

  16. theskinsman - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:28 AM

    Archer is a crybaby. go kiss your biceps on those stickman arms, then cry when you get taken out of the park.
    What everyone is missing is that these clowns don’t have to bat, so they don’t get reminded that the payback could involve them.

  17. frank35sox - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    Yesteryear couldn’t possibly have been better, because old people only romanticize reality. In all instances. Ever.

  18. nobody78 - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    “And yes, I know what you’re going to say: “but they would brush Ortiz back more!” Well, cool. Then brush Ortiz back more. ”

    Actually, what I was going to say is that your statistic is meaningless because you don’t take into account whether they hit someone intentionally, or how often they were provoked. Unless you get those numbers (and good luck with that), the anecdotal evidence will be stronger than your data.

  19. crashdavis99 - Jul 30, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    Dang it all, YOU KIDS GET OFF CRAIG’S LAWN…and take Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale with you!

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 30, 2014 at 11:12 AM

      I hope I’m around when Craig gets old enough to be an old geezer and gets punked by some kid.

  20. raysfan1 - Jul 30, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    I watched Drysdale and Gibson late in their careers–on TV…on the occasions their team was playing national TV on Saturday. Otherwise my baseball knowledge when I was a kid came from newspapers and Baseball Digest.

    The reality is they didn’t hit as many batters as many seem to think they did. However, intimidation was part of their game. It was part of the narrative put out there for us fans. I still remember reading a Baseball Digest article about a hitter who had a dent in his shoulder for a year from a Nolan Ryan fastball that hit him. Whether the story was true or apocryphal, that intimidation gave him an edge over the pitcher.

    There’s been a lot of discussion here about HBPs, which were/are counted and easily verified, and brush backs which aren’t. I personally think most HBPs are not intentional and many were intended as brush backs that missed and got too far inside. (I also believe more hitters crowd the plate now.). Maybe Gibson and Drysdale did throw more brush backs, and maybe they didn’t. Regardless, I think one reason Archer hits more batters is that–good as he is–he isn’t as good as they were and simply misses inside more.

  21. gerryb323 - Jul 30, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    Alos, until the late 50s, batters weren’t even required to wear helmets, so I’m sure they weren’t armored up like the batters today. Part of the reason more batters get hit now rather than just brushed back is that there is less fear. In 1968 there were .24 hbp per game. Now it’s .34. That’s quite an increase.
    Ore

  22. pete2112 - Jul 30, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    I think from this point forward, just to tick Craig off, I’m going to preface all of my comments with “if the boss were still alive” because I think it works in most cases.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 30, 2014 at 12:14 PM

      “If the Boss were still alive, he’d have been digging up dirt on A-Rod like he did on Winfield.”

  23. gibbyfan - Jul 30, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    I watched Gibby from the very beginnning –just a youngster when he came up and pitched in the WS against the Yankees. I obviously was a huge fan and my judgement is not so much that he would intentionally hit batters, rather his intimidation factor came from his intensity on the mound an incredible slider and he frequently worked inside. Seems batters were always somewhat off balance because of his pace –which by the way I think all viewers loved and long for in todays games of pitch then go through the better part of a minute with various antics before pitching again.
    Gibson can best be summed up with commentary from memeber of the Tigers after game one of the WS when a number of them were bailing out on pitches that they thought were going to hit them but instead broke over the plate for strikes. In that particular game he struck out a record 17, intimidated the lineup and if memory serves didn’t hit a single batter.That’s the Gibby I remember,with great fondness.

    • tmc602014 - Jul 30, 2014 at 8:38 PM

      All this time I thought you were a KIRK gibbyfan!

  24. 4cornersfan - Jul 30, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    “Bob Gibson hit a batter for every 158 he faced. Don Drysdale hit a batter for ever 94 he faced. Chris Archer has done it every 82 times.” This just proves that today’s batters are showboating more and need to be taught a lesson! Right?

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