Welcome to Part Three of our look at the 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot. If you're just joining us, make sure to go back and read Part One, which was about the 13 players that I think are easy Nos, and Part Two, about four players who were automatic Yes votes.
In our final installment, we'll be getting into the real meat of the issue. There are 17 players left to review and, with a few exceptions, all of them are plausible Hall of Famers. However, they all have flaws that could keep them out for a couple of years, or perhaps permanently. If you've been waiting for takes on DHs, closers, Coors Field, and more, this is the part for you. So let's dig in. Read the rest of this entry
Welcome to Part Two of our look at the Hall of Fame Ballot! If you missed Part One, detailing 13 players on this year's ballot who were easy Nos, click here to read it.
For today's post, I get to do something a lot more fun: talk about four people who ruled at baseball. If, when all is said and done, these people aren't in the Baseball Hall of Fame, we should probably change the name to something else. And yet, all of them have been on the ballot for multiple years. In fact, part of the reason this year's Hall of Fame ballot is so loaded is that these four are still hanging around.
So, without further ado, here are the four players who would absolutely, no-doubt get a vote from me if I had one to give. Read the rest of this entry
One of my favorite things about baseball is how relaxing I find the game. The gentle rhythm and deliberate pace make it perfect for unwinding after a long summer day. In fact, only two baseball things really get me riled up. One is when my favorite team plays postseason baseball, at which point the game transforms into a stomach-churning three hour descent into a nightmare realm where nothing makes sense. The other is the Baseball Hall of Fame. Read the rest of this entry
We all know Oscar Robertson became the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double when he averaged 30.8 PPG, 12.5 RPG and 11.4 APG in 1961-62. Though he didn't have the benefit of first-class air travel, modern nutrition and training techniques, he did have the benefit of playing for a team that averaged an estimated 124.9 possessions per game, while playing over 44 minutes per game. Though I don't want to diminish the stamina required to perform at a high level at such a frenetic pace, the point stands that there were more opportunities for a player to accumulate counting stats in 1962 than there are in 2017, where the average game has about 96 possessions.
Still, even if we adjust statistics to a Per 100 Possessions basis, few have ever matched Oscar's production. Robertson averaged an estimated 26.7 Pts, 10.8 Reb & 9.9 Ast per 100 possessions in 1961-62. At Basketball-Reference, we have estimated per 100 possessions statistics for every player back to 1973-74 (when the advent of tracking of offensive rebounds, among other stats, made the estimates more reliable). From 1973-74 to 2015-16, a total of just four player seasons (by three players) matched The Big O's Per 100 Possession statistics. They were by do-it-all forwards Grant Hill & LeBron James (twice) and then Russell Westbrook, last season. But, now, the 2016-17 NBA season has TWO players doing that. Russell Westbrook, in his most ridiculous form yet, and James Harden, who has emerged as the perfect player for Mike D'Antoni's relentless attack. But it's not that these guys are matching Robertson's production. They're obliterating it.
And yet, saying that Westbrook is like a combination of peak Jordan's scoring with peak Malone's rebounding and peak Kidd's passing doesn't even do justice to how breathtaking his level of activity on the floor is.
As for Harden, the numbers aren't as eye-popping as Westbrook's, but his scoring and rebounding are roughly equivalent to peak LeBron James, except with 50% more assists thrown in. So, I guess that's pretty decent.
Tonight, the former teammates will square off for the 13th time in their regular-season careers, with each player owning six wins to this point. Harden is currently the overwhelming favorite to the win the MVP Award, but it's still early. Anyways, with their matchup tonight, we just wanted to take the opportunity to gawk at their absurd 2016-17 seasons.
If you're a baseball fan who got an Alexa-enabled device from Amazon for your holiday celebration of choice, I have some very good news. There's now an Alexa skill that will let her search Baseball-Reference for you!
Using the skill is quite easy. Just say "Alexa, enable Baseball Reference." Once you've done that, you can ask Alexa to look for leaders in a number of statistical categories and she'll look up the answer and tell you! In addition to a simple leader, you can also ask her to return a certain rank on the leaderboard (1-10) or list of top players (such as top two, top three, top four, etc.). You can also narrow it down to a year (1871 - present) or league (All of Baseball, National League or American League). Here's the full list of leaderboards that Alexa can search for you: Read the rest of this entry
Welcome to Play Index 101! This series of videos will teach you how to use the Sports Reference Play Index to research statistics and facts from sports history. This is Episode 1, all about the Season Finder:
I'd estimate that around 99% of the time, when someone comes to a Sports Reference site, they go to a player or team page and then log off. More advanced users may find their way to the frivolities pages, experiment with features like the Oracle of Baseball, or just spend several hours following link chains to various players and games.
While the Play Index is easy to use if you know your way around, it can seem daunting to a newcomer. We often get messages from people who are eager to learn how to use the Play Index, but don't quite know where to start. So, with that in mind, we're starting a new video series called Play Index 101! Read the rest of this entry
In the same way that the phrase that best summarized the 2015-16 season was "three-one lead," 2016-17 is shaping up to be the year of the triple-double. In general, the 2016-17 NBA season seems to be producing some absolutely insane stat lines, from Anthony Davis' early run of 40 and 50 point games to DeMar DeRozan's absurdly hot early start.
But one other thing that we've seen in the early part of this season is a ton of triple-doubles. Led by Russell Westbrook, who's threatening to make history by becoming the first player since Oscar Robertson to average a triple-double over the course of a full season, NBA players are contributing to more phases of the game than ever before, and the result has been a real delight for stat-nerds. Read the rest of this entry