01.20.10

Joe Posnanski Waves Carlton Fisk Into Unfair Territory

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 11:56 am by

You can count former Red Sox/White Sox catcher Carlton Fisk amongst those ticked off at Mark McGwire (“try having your knees operated on and catching for 30 years…do you think you feel good when you go out there? (McGwire) had to stand around and play first base. So excuuuuuse me”), an outburst that provoked Joe Posnanski to make an uncomfortable analogy (link courtesy Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

When you talk about the three greatest power hitting catchers of all time ” Mike Piazza, Johnny Bench and Yogi Berra, right? Well, there™s Josh Gibson, of course, but we don™t have his numbers. When the three power catchers (Piazza, Bench and Berra) were 37 years old, how many home runs do you think they averaged? The three greatest power-hitting catchers of all time averaged 11 home runs at age 37. How many do you think our guy hit? He hit 37!

Of course, our guy is Carlton Fisk. And I am not suggesting that he did anything illegal ” I am in fact entirely convinced that he did not do anything illegal and never would. But he had never hit more than 26 homers in his career. And he was a 37-year-old catcher ” no 37-year old catcher had ever even hit 20 homers before. And at 37, he hit 37 home runs because, well, baseball isn™t always easy to reduce to a few indignant words.

See, there™s a lot that goes into baseball. Stuff usually isn™t black or white, up or down, left or right. It™s complicated. Carlton Fisk, of all people, should know that. If it makes people feel better to shout œfraud in a crowded theater, hey, it™s a free country. But it seems to me there™s already enough noise out there.

4 Responses to “Joe Posnanski Waves Carlton Fisk Into Unfair Territory”

  1. cp says:

    It seems like Posnanski is, either accidentally or deliberately, distorting Fisk’s point. Granted that Fisk didn’t articulate it as well as he might have, but he also wasn’t as hamfisted as JoePo would have us believe. Fisk’s point, I think, wasn’t that flukey monster seasons after a certain age are impossible or even statistically irrelevant, but that guys like Bonds put up huge years over and over when they were well past their natural primes. He further argued that it’s hard to make a case for a guy to make the hall of fame when he puts up gaudy numbers year after year way past his natural prime. In response, Posnanski cites a few fluke seasons a few big names had at an advanced age, in effect using a few statistical aberrations to rebut a point about guys who artificially racked up huge numbers for years and years in their late 30s. Then he does the thing where he snickers while saying that Fisk’s own big year at age 37 is “certainly not suspicious” and he says this over and over in a way that might make us believe that it really *was* suspicious. This would be less of a total dick move had Fisk ever implied that anybody who has a big year out of the blue should be suspected of steroid use–actually it seems like Pudge mostly sticks with guys who are already widely acknowledged to have juiced.

  2. posnanski’s a dick.

  3. Juke Early says:

    Obviously all those off seasons, in between hanging on forever, Fisk got his double doctorate in genetics & biology. If only Thurman had lived. . ..

    AS for calling the blog writer a dick – I’m guessing, based on the limited vocabulary – Boston fan?

  4. kt says:

    who pissed in your cornflakes?

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