Gelf Magazine’s Varsity Letters Series returns to Jan Larsen Art Studios in Brooklyn tonight (October 1), with an all-baseball night featuring authors Jennifer Ring (Stolen Bases: Why American Girls Don’t Play Baseball, Larry Tye (Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend and Joe Posnanski (The Machine: A Hot Team, a Legendary Season, and a Heart-stopping World Series: The Story of the 1975 Cincinnati Reds).
And who better than to interview the prolific Posnanski (above) than CSTB’s own prolix wordsmith David Roth? My favorite parts of the interview involve Posnanski’s ever-smart, yet not dogmatic take on baseball stats and Moneyball, including several anecdotes he shares about Joe Morgan:
Bill James tells a great story about how one time Jon Miller showed Morgan Bill’s New Historical Baseball Abstract, which has Morgan ranked as the best second baseman of all time, ahead of Rogers Hornsby. Well, Morgan starts griping that this was ridiculous, that Hornsby hit .358 in his career, and Morgan never hit .358, and so on. And there it was, perfectly aligned”Joe Morgan the announcer arguing against Joe Morgan the player.
You’re right about Joe Morgan being the ultimate Moneyball-style player, too. It wasn’t just his style of play, either; Joe Morgan quotes from 1975 sound like they could have gone into the book Moneyball, verbatim. He talked all the time about how batting average was overrated, and how you had to get on base, and how RBIs were just a context statistic, and how you had to steal bases at a high percentage, and so on and so on..
That’s just a taste… by all means click to read in full.