Friday, May 23, 2008

Statistical Research; We Used To Be Very Dumb

Batting average: .267

OPS: .655

HR: 1

RBI: 40

Strikeouts: 115

BB: 50

Caught Stealing 25

Those are--at best--below average numbers. They belong to Vince Coleman, 1985. That is, Vince Coleman, 11th in NL MVP voting, 1985.

Remember when the TV told us Vince Coleman was a star?

1985 wasn't that long ago, but in baseball terms, it was centuries ago. Now, the part of the story I didn't tell you was that Coleman stole 110 bases and scored 107 runs. Those numbers are somewhat impressive, I suppose, but not compared to the rest of the damage he did to his team that season. Compare Coleman's 1985 stats to Juan Pierre's in '07. They're damn near identical. The only difference, aside from Pierre's stats being slightly better, is seemingly every Dodger fan was ready to run Pierre out of town in the offseason.

Does anyone still want to criticize Bill James (and the like) for emphasizing the correct statistics?

(Note No. 1: Don't ask me why I was looking up Vince Coleman's statistics in my free time.)

(Note No. 2: I found this beauty of a quote from Vince Coleman's Wikipedia page..."I don't know nothing about no Jackie Robinson.")

-Brad Spieser (