• Speaking Of Red Sox…

    Posted by on August 26th, 2008 · Comments (6)

    Like the Yankees, the Boston Red Sox have a rich history of great players. And, whenever I think about the Sox, and those, players, Tris Speaker always comes to mind.

    For those who don’t know it, I’m a bit of a Speaker-groupie. In fact, back in February of 2006, I went on record with the following statement:

    … in Tris Speaker, we have someone who ranks as one of the best ever (if not the best) with the glove at his playing position and who is one of the ten best batters to ever wield a stick at the plate – in the entire history of baseball. A case could easily be made that Tris Speaker is the best all-around player in baseball history. However, in the general public, his name does not carry the same hardball-fame-cache of players such as Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and others.

    And, I still feel this way about Tris Speaker. Why his name doesn’t come up in every conversation that includes Cobb, Mays, Mantle, etc., I don’t know? It’s truly a shame.

    Last year, Charles C. Alexander (who has written baseball books about John McGraw, Rogers Hornsby and Ty Cobb) released a book on Speaker – it’s entitled “Spoke: A Biography of Tris Speaker.”

    I’ve recently had a chance to thumb through “Spoke” and it seems like a very detailed account of Speaker’s career. It’s currently in my “to read” queue. And, when I get to it, I will share more about it. But, in the interim, I thought it was worth mentioning now…in case some were interested.

    Comments on Speaking Of Red Sox…

    1. hopbitters
      August 26th, 2008 | 12:21 pm

      Speaker is an absolute top-tier player without any question and his name should be among the other folks mentioned, but he is 742 RCAA and 60 RSAA short of the best all-around player in baseball history. That’s an entire career of Cap Anson hitting plus Catfish Hunter pitching. No amount of defense is going to bridge that gap.

    2. August 26th, 2008 | 12:46 pm

      Speaker is the only outfielder in major league history with over 400 career assists.

      You don’t think taking 400 runners off base closes that gap of 700 RCAA?

    3. Tresh Fan
      August 26th, 2008 | 12:55 pm

      RE: Speaker.

      I always wondered why there was never a “Curse of the Gray Eagle.” If you look at it, at the time of the Speaker deal the Red Sox were nearly invincible while the Indians were absolutely pathetic, averaging about 100 losses a year. Without Speaker in 1916 Boston still won the World Championship, but they scored about 100 fewer runs and won about 10 fewer games while, with Speaker, Cleveland scored about 100 more runs and finished at .500. It was clear that the balance was shifting. Then the Red Sox had about an identical record in 1917, but finished second to the White Sox with the Indians breathing down their necks. In 1918 the White Sox inexplicaby collapsed and an exciting pennant race ensued—between the Red Sox and Indians. Boston won, in part, because when the season was halted they had played all but 7 of their scheduled home games and still had 21 road games left (where they were 26-30), while the Indians had played more games on the road than at home. In 1919 the “Black Sox” came back and won—the league at least, finishing just a few games ahead of Cleveland—and Boston. Ah, Boston! Babe Ruth hit all those homeruns and the Red Sox fell into 5th place. The curse of who?
      Now we are so absorbed in the fact that the Yankees became a championship contender with the acquistion of Ruth in 1920 that we tend to forget what team actually won the World Series that year—the Cleveland Indians.

    4. August 26th, 2008 | 1:41 pm

      Interesting point there Tresh Fan

    5. hopbitters
      August 26th, 2008 | 6:30 pm

      You don’t think taking 400 runners off base closes that gap of 700 RCAA?

      No, I don’t. And it isn’t 400 to nothing. It’s 449 to 204, for a difference of 245. If those 245 baserunners would have led to three runs each, that would almost cover the RCAA disparity, but I think that’s really stretching things.

      And I certainly don’t mean this to diminish Speaker in any way. I think you might be able to argue him into the top 5 position players overall, but I don’t think he gets past Cobb, (who wasn’t that far behind Speaker in assists, btw, at 391).

    6. August 26th, 2008 | 11:01 pm

      I can live with him being in the Top 5. That’s not chopped liver.

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