Jim Rice and Ken Singleton
by Asher B. Chancey
July 17, 2006
Keith has given me an understandable amount of crap
for placing Jim Rice on my Top 200. I totally understand this. People have been overrating Jim Rice for years. I applaud Keith for not succumbing to the pressures of mass media and including a player of such marginal abilities as Jim Rice in his Top 200.
No, Keith avoids such landmines as Jim Rice, instead accurately appraising the value of players like Ken Singleton and giving them their rightful place amongst the Top 200 players of all time. Ken Singleton so clearly belongs on the Top 200 that we probably don't even need to look at his stats.
Or perhaps maybe we should. Just in case.
The difference between Jim Rice and Ken Singleton is really a matter of perspective. In fact, where Jim Rice and Ken Singleton are ranked on our Top 200 lists is a perfect proxy for the difference between Keith and I's perspective, and what different things we each value in a ball player.
Keith has a very simple method of evaluating players. To Keith, if you have two players who played a similar number of games – like, say, a difference of seven – you determine which player is better by looking at the number of walks each player took and the number of double plays each player hit into. If one player took more walks and hit into fewer double plays, that player is simply the better player.
I see things a little differently. Call me crazy, but to me, you can't just look at walks and double plays. I think, in order to determine which player is better, you really have to look at all the stats as a whole.
For example, say that two players played a similar number of games, say a difference of seven games overall.
Player A had more walks and hit into fewer double plays.
Player B had more hits, doubles, triples, homeruns, RBIs, total bases, and stolen bases, plus had a higher batting average and slugging percentage, plus was a better fielder, plus won an MVP award, plus had more seasons with 200 hits, more seasons with 100 plus RBI, more seasons with 100 runs scored, more seasons with 20+ doubles, 10+ triples, 25+ homers, and more seasons leading the league in various statistics.
The way I see it, there is at least an outside shot, a presumption if you will, that Player B was the better ballplayer.
But hey, I could be wrong. I guess it’s all a matter of how you see things.
Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Asher resides in Alexandria, VA, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org