As somebody who’s all too familiar with the senile ravings of fomer New York Times columnist and Spink Award winner Murray Chass, I tip my cap to Baseball Analysts’ Patrick Sullivan. After being singled out for attack over the issue of the Hall of Fame — and having his credibility compared to that of Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy, another of the field’s bigger idiots, he responded by exposing the numerous fallacious assumptions on which Chass’ bilious screed rests. Most of it might not translate in an excerpt, but the end, where Sully catches some hopelessly bad math, certainly does:
The piece ends the way so many of these do. After berating those of us who look to statistics to form the basis of our baseball-related arguments, he transitions to Tommy John’s Hall of Fame case, comparing his to Blyleven’s.
John had a career 288-231 record with a 3.34 earned run average. Blyleven’s record was 287-250 and his e.r.a. 3.31. John retired 57 percent of the batters he faced, Blyleven, with all his strikeouts, 59 percent.
Yup, stats. But not just any stats, moronic, wrong stats that say Tommy John yielded a career .430 on-base percentage and Bert Blyleven yielded a .410 figure. Truth is, John’s career on-base against was .315 while Blyleven’s was .301. I am not sure where that gets us, but at least we’re dealing in reality.
Anyway, back away from the word processor, Murray. People, successful people, knowledgeable people who adore baseball, are all laughing at you.