Friday, December 21, 2007

A Flotsam data special: Tangiblizing the intangible

Chuck Dickens
Idiot Savant


After Tim McCarver’s month-long David Eckstein sploogefest that was October 2006, a serious investigation into 'grit' was long overdue. Despite the penchant of sportswriters and broadcasters to throw the term around willy-nilly, I was hard-pressed to locate a firm definition of grit in the baseball sense. Using lots of laptop science stuff, I think I’ve improved the definition, which isn’t really saying much, since there wasn’t one to begin with.

First, some definitions to help us focus in on what exactly this 'grit' stuff is.

Gritty
1. Containing, covered with, or resembling grit.
2. Showing resolution and fortitude; plucky: Biggio’s gritty 12-pitch at-bat ultimately resulted in a routine 6-3 groundout.

In keeping with those definitions I’m proposing a new composite statistic: General Requirements of Intangible Talent (GRIT). GRIT incorporates four basic components: dirt, determination, talent, and opportunity.

DATA
I used a modified version of the Sean Lahman dataset that includes player statistics from 1871-2006. My dataset includes player-seasons starting in 1955, the first year for which statistical data for intentional walks and GIDP was available. To chop the dataset down to a manageable size, I limited the number of eligible players to those who have at least 100 plate appearances and 81 games played. This removes pitchers from consideration, but also ensures that an adequate indication of a player’s abilities during each season is evident. Statistics for 2007 were compiled from ESPN.

The resulting dataset includes 13,249 player-seasons with 2,385 unique players represented.

HYPOTHESIS
I hold that gritty players are those who sincerely want to win or succeed at baseball (determination), but due to a lack of natural skill (talent), are forced to do so through the least efficient means possible, resulting in an excessive amount of dirt on their uniform.

DIRT
The most important factor in determining a player's GRIT is his uniform. A player who is "containing, covered with, or resembling grit" will show visible signs of his grittiness on his uniform. Dirty uniforms are good; bloody uniforms are better. A true team player, the gritty player is prepared to sacrifice his body at all costs. This is one of the few ways gritty players are efficient, since they probably aren’t as well compensated as their genuinely talented teammates.

The Dirt Formula

HBP: A hit batter produce minimal gains (one base) with relatively high costs in terms of potential bodily injury. The official colors of gritty players may well be black and blue. And red. And maybe some brown with a little purple and some yellow around the edges, depending on the severity of the bruising.

IBB: Next to home runs, intentional walks are probably the most anti-gritty statistic. Intentional walks are indicative that a player has so much talent that the pitcher would rather give him first base than risk an extra-base hit. Gritty players have to earn every base through hard-knocks, moxie, and a heaping helping of some good ol’ fashioned hustle.

CS/SB stuff (SBINEFF): This is a statistic I call Stolen Base Inefficiency (SBINEFF). This looks for players who like to attempt lots of steals but are largely unsuccessful. Stealing bases produces minimal gains (one base) but comes with greater potential costs by raising the likelihood of being thrown out. Base-stealers (successful or not) also have dirty uniforms from sliding.

DID YOU KNOW: Harold Reynolds holds the single-season record for SBINEFF with a stunning 13.385? Harold’s 1988 season saw him tally 35 steals while being caught 29 times. He broke the record set by Will Clark (13.304) during the previous season when Mr. Eyeblack went 5 for 22 on steal attempts. WOW!

DETERMINATION
Gritty players want to succeed. They just happen to not have the talent to actually do so. This results in inefficient baseball plays. For example, Jerry Hairston is gritty. He slides head-first into first base. A true sign of someone gritty enough to want to get to first base, but shitty enough to actually get there efficiently.

The Determination Formula

(Outs – SO): As short in stature as they are on talent, gritty players are determined to put the ball in play at all costs. Additionally, the ball looks gigantic to their tiny, elfin eyes and thus they’re less prone to striking out.

(BB+SH+SF): With their microscopic strike zones, gritty players generate walks (the unintentional ones) at a superhuman rate. Sacrificing oneself is an inefficient (read: gritty) method of moving runners along.

GIDP: Double plays are produced by well-struck balls that are able to cut through the infield grass. Aside from a bottle of hard liquor (eh, Mr. Furcal?) gritty players rarely hit anything well.

DID YOU KNOW: 2007 NL MVP Jimmy Rollins produced the sixth-highest season total of outs since 1955? He probably owes a fair share of his award to a trail-blazing fellow Phillie middle-infielder who set a precedent. Juan Samuel, in 1984, produced the second highest number of outs on his way to earning a tie for 21st place in the MVP voting and 2nd in the NL ROY. HOOCHIEMAMA!

DID YOU ALSO KNOW: Pete Rose has only the second highest season total of determination. The real "Charlie Hustle" is actually a "Dick." Dick Howser, that is. Howser’s 1964 season slightly edges out Pete’s numbers from 1974. CRACKER JACK!

WHATCHUKNOWABOUTTHISHERE: Dick Howser’s phone listing reads as "Howser, Dick." This tidbit is worth a few laughs given the right delivery, set-up, and audience. SHABANG!


Talent – It is my contention that "grittiness" is a subset of talent that cannot translate well statistically. Two players may very well have the same raw amount of grit, but one player may have more tangible talent, making him appear less gritty because the grit is too diluted. Gritty players are those who have the largest concentration of grit. As such, too find the grittiest players, we should look for players who have as little tangible talent as possible.

The Talent Formula

XBH: Extra base hits are über-efficient ways of getting multiple bases.

RBI: Gritty players move runners over, but aren’t talented enough to drive them in.

TB: Total bases is an additional means of counting the overall ability of a player.

(OMS*1000): OMS (OBP minus SLG) is a proprietary statistic I developed for use in GRIT. It rewards players who reach base, but deprecates players who have the talent to get extra bases.

OPPORTUNITY
In order for a player to become gritty, they first need to be on the field. In the words of Ted Williams, "Nobody ever became a .400 hitter without taking the bat off their shoulder." To apply the quote more appropriately here, one might attribute it to Willams' quasi-gritty teammate, Milt Bolling, and change it to read "Nobody ever became a .250 hitter by getting splinters in their ass.” We simply use plate appearances as a representation of opportunity.

After calculating the four GRIT component values for each player-season, the resulting values are then plugged in to this equation:

(Dirt + Determination – Talent) / Opportunity

However, each component has a different scale relative to the others, so I experimented with normalizing the values. This can be accomplished by calculating an average and a standard deviation for the dirt, determination, talent, and opportunity scores of all the player-years.

Basic Normalization Formula

This was applied for each of the basic components across all player-seasons. The rationale for normalizing this data is to remove as much bias as possible from the process. As each of the four basic components creates a different range of values, some sort of weighting would be necessary to produce a meaningful list. Normalization automatically weights the components by determining how far a given player-season is above or below the average of all player-seasons.

RESULTS
Across 13,249 player-seasons, the data appears to have a relatively normal distribution. The data shows a range of about -50 to +50 with one outlier at -90.011 (see below), and a mean and median extremely close to 0. These numbers are promising for the prospects of GRIT as a statistic, as they suggest that the average player is neither extremely gritty, nor extremely talented. The tails in the extreme positive end of the distribution should show the grittiest players, while talented players should appear in the negative tail.

Enough talk; bring on the numbers ...

The Top 50 Grittiest Season and the 25 Least Gritty Seasons

Rank

Year

Player

Team

GRIT

1

1971

Ron Hunt

MON

52.061

2

2002

David Eckstein

ANA

35.963

3

1968

Ron Hunt

SFN

34.901

4

1998

Fernando Vina

MIL

33.296

5

1996

Craig Biggio

HOU

32.251

6

1997

Craig Biggio

HOU

27.964

7

2002

Fernando Vina

SLN

27.687

8

2005

Jason Kendall

OAK

27.373

9

2001

Jason Kendall

PIT

27.018

10

1955

Nellie Fox

CHA

26.703

11

1986

Don Baylor

BOS

26.442

12

2003

Jason Kendall

PIT

26.319

13

2000

Fernando Vina

SLN

26.064

14

1999

Chuck Knoblauch

NYA

25.910

15

2003

Craig Biggio

HOU

25.743

16

2001

David Eckstein

ANA

25.423

17

1957

Nellie Fox

CHA

25.311

18

1975

Felix Millan

NYN

25.188

19

1967

Cesar Tovar

MIN

25.102

20

1969

Ron Hunt

SFN

24.829

21

1968

Cesar Tovar

MIN

24.692

22

2005

Brady Clark

MIL

24.659

23

1996

Eric Young

COL

24.635

24

1998

Chuck Knoblauch

NYA

24.558

25

2001

Craig Biggio

HOU

24.346

26

1997

Jason Kendall

PIT

23.913

27

2004

Jason Kendall

PIT

23.717

28

1998

Jason Kendall

PIT

23.617

29

1972

Ron Hunt

MON

23.580

30

2001

Fernando Vina

SLN

23.189

31

2004

Juan Pierre

FLO

23.028

32

1980

Ozzie Smith

SDN

22.815

33

1976

Don Baylor

OAK

22.419

34

2005

David Eckstein

SLN

22.402

35

1957

Minnie Minoso

CHA

22.188

36

1991

Brett Butler

LAN

21.874

37

1961

Nellie Fox

CHA

21.834

38

1970

Ed Brinkman

WS2

21.702

39

2006

Juan Pierre

CHN

21.334

40

1973

Ron Hunt

MON

21.142

41

2002

Melvin Mora

BAL

20.893

42

1980

Alfredo Griffin

TOR

20.875

43

1993

Mike Bordick

OAK

20.719

44

2005

Juan Pierre

FLO

20.615

45

1995

Craig Biggio

HOU

20.413

46

1990

Brett Butler

SFN

20.399

47

1959

Richie Ashburn

PHI

20.079

48

1993

Chuck Knoblauch

MIN

19.994

49

1993

Brett Butler

LAN

19.919

50

1984

Brett Butler

CLE

19.816






Rank

Year

Player

Team

GRIT

13234

1957

Ted Williams

BOS

-27.054

13235

2000

Sammy Sosa

CHN

-27.055

13236

1999

Mark McGwire

SLN

-27.905

13237

2006

Albert Pujols

SLN

-27.913

13238

1989

Kevin Mitchell

SFN

-31.490

13239

1998

Mark McGwire

SLN

-32.316

13240

1970

Willie McCovey

SFN

-34.094

13241

2001

Barry Bonds

SFN

-35.160

13242

2007

Ryan Howard

PHI

-35.452

13243

1969

Willie McCovey

SFN

-38.707

13244

2006

Ryan Howard

PHI

-38.898

13245

1993

Barry Bonds

SFN

-39.723

13246

2003

Barry Bonds

SFN

-42.087

13247

2001

Sammy Sosa

CHN

-42.659

13248

2002

Barry Bonds

SFN

-50.984

13249

2004

Barry Bonds

SFN

-90.011



50 All-Time Grittiest Players and the 15 All-Time Least Gritty Players

Rank


Full Name

CareerGRIT

Yrs

Yearly Avg

1

*

Craig Biggio

250.22

19

13.17

2


Ron Hunt

236.96

11

21.54

3

*

Jason Kendall

214.62

11

19.51

4


Nellie Fox

188.42

10

18.84

5


Brett Butler

187.26

15

12.48

6


Chuck Knoblauch

170.67

11

15.52

7

*

Omar Vizquel

165.22

17

9.72

8


Luis Aparicio

162.49

18

9.03

9


Bert Campaneris

154.16

15

10.28

10


Don Baylor

152.16

17

8.95

11

*

David Eckstein

146.58

7

20.94

12


Pete Rose

143.91

23

6.26

13


Maury Wills

142.30

13

10.95

14


Ozzie Smith

140.77

18

7.82

15


Rickey Henderson

137.94

23

6.00

16


Cesar Tovar

137.83

10

13.78

17

*

Juan Pierre

137.68

7

19.67

18


Jim Gilliam

133.14

12

11.10

19


Willie Randolph

132.54

17

7.80

20


Fernando Vina

128.96

6

21.49

21


Eric Young

122.63

12

10.22

22


Minnie Minoso

121.52

8

15.19

23


Larry Bowa

117.77

15

7.85

24


Don Kessinger

116.39

13

8.95

25


Felix Millan

110.48

10

11.05

26


Brady Anderson

110.18

13

8.48

27


Harold Reynolds

109.98

8

13.75

28


Steve Sax

107.60

11

9.78

29


Alfredo Griffin

101.71

13

7.82

30


Tony Taylor

99.17

14

7.08

31


Mark Belanger

98.35

13

7.57

32


Toby Harrah

97.81

16

6.11

33


Curt Flood

97.10

12

8.09

34


Chet Lemon

95.85

15

6.39

35


Brian Downing

95.55

17

5.62

36


Richie Ashburn

94.72

8

11.84

37


Joe Morgan

94.43

19

4.97

38

*

Derek Jeter

92.21

12

7.68

39


Don Blasingame

92.03

9

10.23

40


Tony Fernandez

90.68

15

6.05

41


Eddie Yost

86.40

6

14.40

42


Dave Cash

85.14

9

9.46

43


Rick Burleson

85.06

9

9.45

44

*

Luis Castillo

84.64

9

9.40

45


Horace Clarke

81.98

8

10.25

46


Scott Fletcher

81.84

11

7.44

47


Bobby Grich

81.73

14

5.84

48


Tony Phillips

80.82

14

5.77

49


Johnny Temple

80.13

8

10.02

50


Tim Foli

79.72

13

6.13













Rank


Full Name

CareerGRIT

Yrs

Yearly Avg

2371


Ernie Banks

-144.73

15

-9.65

2372


Fred McGriff

-145.58

17

-8.56

2373

*

Vladimir Guerrero

-148.26

11

-13.48

2374


Dick Allen

-148.29

12

-12.36

2375

*

Mike Piazza

-149.04

14

-10.65

2376

*

Jim Thome

-149.27

13

-11.48

2377

*

Manny Ramirez

-160.81

14

-11.49

2378

*

Ken Griffey

-169.47

16

-10.59

2379


Eddie Murray

-173.48

20

-8.67

2380


Willie McCovey

-184.52

19

-9.71

2381


Willie Stargell

-188.60

16

-11.79

2382


Willie Mays

-189.01

17

-11.12

2383

*

Sammy Sosa

-190.85

16

-11.93

2384


Hank Aaron

-301.91

22

-13.72

2385

*

Barry Bonds

-497.01

21

-23.67


So, that’s it. You’re shocked, right?

Craig Biggio and David Eckstein are real damned gritty. Jason Kendall is so gritty that he just might stab a couple dozen Californians. And none of them match the original gritster: Ron "the Runt" Hunt.

On the other end of the spectrum, Barry Bonds is so extremely non-gritty that his numbers are a borderline statistical anomaly (insert your favorite joke here). Ryan Howard’s poised to become the new anti-grit. When Manny’s being Manny, he’s not gritty. When Rickey did what Rickey needed to do for the sake of Rickey, he was pretty gritty.

And there are a few thousand players somewhere in the middle who I completely neglected.

Armed with this knowledge, go forth and spread GRIT to all men. Or something.

75 Comments:

Anonymous pbrt said...

awesome. just awesome.

December 21, 2007 11:04 AM  
Blogger Ken Tremendous said...

Merry Christmas to me.

Thank you, gentlemen.

December 21, 2007 1:16 PM  
Anonymous schmub said...

grittiest.post.ever.

December 21, 2007 1:35 PM  
Anonymous Martin said...

While attention may focus on the existence of steroids, HGH, Andro etc. on the non-grit list, do note that the gritty, gritty Fernando Vina is a known HGH user.

December 21, 2007 1:38 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

God bless you. This is one of the greatest things every.

December 21, 2007 1:42 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

It's so great, I can't even spell right.

December 21, 2007 1:42 PM  
Anonymous Andrew S said...

The Cubs may not ever win the world series(what, this gag's been used before?) but Ryan Theriot will make his mark in the top 50 grittiest season performances before his career ends, you mark my words!

December 21, 2007 1:53 PM  
Blogger xtrarant said...

is could quite possibly be the greatest blog post of 2007 in any category.

December 21, 2007 2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surely Darin Erstad is in the top 50 grittiest players, no? I mean, c'mon, he was a punter at the University of Nebraska, how much grittier can you get?

December 21, 2007 2:05 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Marvellous analysis. I have no doubt this topic could be expanded to form the basis of a master's thesis.

But even better than that, GRIT as an acronymn? Perfect.

-t

December 21, 2007 2:26 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

This is fantastic but I think HBP is over-valued. I mean that's clearly why Hunt and Biggio are so high up on it and you could argue that getting yourself hit is a lazy, very non-gritty, thing to do. I would suggest incorporating time on the DL into the metric somehow, seeing as gritty plays tend to run into walls all the time and Eck's especially injury prone.

December 21, 2007 2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Erstad was too gritty for this list. His grittiness led to injury, and the lost plate appearances no doubt cost him a ranking in the top 50.

December 21, 2007 2:45 PM  
Blogger Wilson said...

Very enjoyable read. I felt my brain working throughout the piece.

That being said,

@xtrarant: Don't be silly, Darin Erstad is a hard-nosed former football player, not gritty. Joe Buck would have your head on a high-horse platter for the confusion.

December 21, 2007 2:47 PM  
Blogger tm said...

This is a truly wonderful waste of time. Bravo.

December 21, 2007 3:00 PM  
Anonymous Barry said...

That was fucking incredible. Cheers to you.

December 21, 2007 3:10 PM  
Blogger robustyoungsoul said...

Thank you. Thank you. A thousand times, thank you.

December 21, 2007 3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You seemed to have forgotten the more important ingredient for a gritty player: that he be white. Please reformulate the rankings to include pigment tone.

December 21, 2007 3:25 PM  
Anonymous leutbneot said...

Very rarely do internet posts make me laugh out loud. Congratulations, Flotsamites.

December 21, 2007 3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amusingly, Eckstein isnt' even the grittiest player active, and can't make the top 10 overall.

This is the man who defines grittiness to sportscasters.

December 21, 2007 3:34 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Cute concept, but do you really think that Don Baylor belongs with the GRITs and Darin Erstad doesn't?

Don Baylor would kick your ass if he found out you think he's "GRITTY". So, fun is fun, but its obvious you need to tweak your formula to get Baylor out of there and Erstad in.

December 21, 2007 3:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fanfreakingtastic. My most sincere thanks for this little piece of genius.

December 21, 2007 3:38 PM  
Anonymous Kobie said...

Awesome. Totally awesome.

December 21, 2007 4:27 PM  
Anonymous Angelswin said...

Good article, but Darin Erstad's omission is puzzling to me.

Well done nevertheless!

December 21, 2007 5:10 PM  
OpenID CactusFantastic said...

Eckstein's definitely got a shot at all-time GRITness. Biggio's playing days are over. You've got to think Kendall and Vizquel's days are numbered. If Eck can play 5 more seasons at this pace he's got a shot.

December 21, 2007 5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There should be an annual award for GRITtiness, to be called the True Grit Award:

http://www.medaloffreedom.com/JohnWayneTrueGrit.jpg

The award would be in the shape of a rooster.

December 21, 2007 6:14 PM  
Blogger LastBestAngryMan said...

This should be the front piece in "Best American Sportswriting of 2007."

December 21, 2007 6:23 PM  
Anonymous pogokat said...

I reall feel for Rex "the Wonder Dog" Hudler. You know he's been waiting for this kind of recognition for years, but he didn't quite make the list.

December 21, 2007 6:30 PM  
Blogger dave3544 said...

Thanks.

December 21, 2007 6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Imagine how gritty Vina would have been without PEDs?

December 21, 2007 8:11 PM  
Anonymous nhsoxfan1954 said...

I always wondered what the sportswriter was thinking in 1967 when he voted for Cesar Tovar over Carl Yastrzemski (the most recent triple crown winner) for MVP. Now I know. He had the grit meter going. A man ahead of his time.

December 21, 2007 8:27 PM  
Blogger Voltaire said...

Best. Post. Ever.

December 21, 2007 8:59 PM  
Blogger KL said...

I don't like that Biggio is on the Grittiness list since it's, basically, supposed to be making fun of highly regarded players whose only gift is doing things thought to be very unproductive to offense in most cases or otherwise probably don't require any skill.

I just don't see how Biggio fits on the list. He has a career OPS+ of 111 over 20 seasons, just recently had an over-100 OPS+ at age 39, and was great at extra bases, especially doubles, which is where most of his SLG came from.

Heck, as often as he got hit, it can't be just "pure luck" can it? It wouldn't surprise me if he had some sort of 'skill' or 'technique' for getting hit. Sure, the umps shouldn't go for it, but they shouldn't call pitches 6 inches off the plate strikes either, but if that results in a caught-looking K, we don't slight the pitcher for that ump-granted K do we?

I know it's just supposed to be for fun, but still...putting Biggio in the same realm of a guy who's OPS+ is 89...just seems wrong, even in jest.

December 21, 2007 9:50 PM  
Blogger Angelos said...

I never realized just how gritty Jason Kendall is. The shitty, I knew.

This is pure genius.

December 21, 2007 10:49 PM  
Anonymous CT said...

Chuck Dickens is a golden god.

And I don't want to hear any of this "tweak the formula to get Baylor out and Erstad in" shit. GRIT is perfect. It is unquestionable. It is the truth.
Chuck Dickens has developed a way to measure intangibles, thus rendering them tangible.

I am afraid.

December 21, 2007 11:26 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

i'd wager a guess and say that HBP is not a result of luck or randomness. just by taking a cursory look at the HBP leaders over the past few years, a lot of the same names keep popping up--biggio, a-rod, jeter, utley, rowand--and while this isn't exactly scientific, i bet you'd find a pretty high year-to-year correlation for this stat (of course, you'd have to turn it into a rate statistic). is it a 'skill'? who knows. it probably has more to do with a batter's willingness to crowd the plate and win the proverbial territorial battle with the pitcher. you know, 'grittiness'.

December 22, 2007 12:43 AM  
OpenID Slaky311 said...

Chuck Dickens once responded to a post of mine on another forum. It may have been Variety or CHUD. But it was legendary. Like Chuck D.

I knew him once. He was ducking chickens.

December 22, 2007 2:15 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

And I don't want to hear any of this "tweak the formula to get Baylor out and Erstad in" shit. GRIT is perfect. It is unquestionable. It is the truth.
- - - - - - - - - -

Get your head out of your ass.

Don Baylor:
THREE Silver Sluggers as DH
ONE MVP
THREE top-ten finishes in OPS+
THREE top-6 finishes in RBI
118 Career OPS

Just because he had the BALLS to take pitches on his massive shoulder doesn't make him a pussy "GRITTY" player.

This statistic is HORSE SHIT so long as Baylor appears on it.

Get your head out of your ass.

December 22, 2007 8:25 AM  
Anonymous CT said...

"This statistic is HORSE SHIT so long as Baylor appears on it."

Awesome. What's it like to be the stupidest primate alive?

Why don't you move out of mom's basement, lose 30 lbs. and find a nice girl to settle down with?

December 22, 2007 8:43 AM  
Blogger Timmy said...

man, imagine what the babe's careerGRIT would be?

very nicely done.

out of the top 15 least gritty players, 13 aren't caucasian - that's why you don't need a skin pigmentation field, because the GRIT formula pretty much distinguishes skin color for you

December 22, 2007 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Hef said...

Anonymous made a fair point. Shouldn't we recalibrate for skin pigment, height and weight? Wouldn't that put Elf-stein over the top? It just doesn't make sense, what sort of grit list doesn't Rumple-eckstein at the top? Now I understand old-school journalism's complaint with VORP.

December 22, 2007 10:57 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

"This statistic is HORSE SHIT so long as Baylor appears on it."

Awesome. What's it like to be the stupidest primate alive?

Why don't you move out of mom's basement, lose 30 lbs. and find a nice girl to settle down with?
_____________________

That's cute, butt-wipe. I give you multiple reasons why any "GRIT" statistic that includes Don Baylor is fatally flawed, so you go with the traditional "get out of your Mom's basement, find a woman, lose some weight" put-down.

I own a house in one of the most expensive cities in Florida (Boca Raton);

I make more money as a Voice Over artist in a month than you do in a year;

I'm happily married for six+ years.

I will cop to the weight thing though.

Now why don't you cop to being an ass-licking shithead.

December 22, 2007 12:23 PM  
Blogger Spectacular Sam said...

/stands and applauds

December 22, 2007 12:58 PM  
Anonymous Corn-Ho said...

I don't know, CT. I mean, when an overweight voice-over artist from Florida says that a humorous stat offered forth humorously on a humor blog is "HORSE SHIT," I think that carries a certain amount weight.

As for Chuck D... Brava.

When the time comes for you to receive your First Annual Montgomery Burns Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Laptop Science Excellence, I'll gladly take my place as the barely numerate spork in your ass that managed to get you back on track toward your destined SABR greatness.

That ought to be worth at least a discounted meal or two at the Voros McCracken House of Goulash and DIPS.

December 22, 2007 1:51 PM  
Blogger James said...

Brilliant. Just Brilliant.

Now if there was just some way to calculate the 'CRAFTINESS' of pitchers (almost 100% lefties). Hmmm................

December 22, 2007 2:07 PM  
Blogger ChuckDickens said...

Corn Ho, indeed without you, I never would've finished this up. I gave you credit in the article for your contributions, but it appears that they were clipped to cut down the length. Same goes for Slak's quip about Hairston. I owe you definitely a few bowls of goulash for your help.

December 22, 2007 2:28 PM  
Anonymous Corn-Ho said...

> Now if there was just some way to calculate the 'CRAFTINESS' of pitchers (almost 100% lefties). Hmmm................

The research has already begun:

http://tinyurl.com/2ow9qx

December 22, 2007 2:39 PM  
Blogger nojo said...

Very, very nice.

If this guy's really a highly paid voice over artist, shouldn't you post something like, "In a world where Don Baylor is considered gritty..."

December 22, 2007 5:21 PM  
OpenID brew101498 said...

Reynolds percentage couldn't be that low because he stole more bases than times he was caught. His steal percentage would be 55 percent.

December 22, 2007 9:41 PM  
Blogger ChuckDickens said...

brew101498, it's not quite that simple.

SBINEFF = CS*(CS+1)/(SB+CS+1)

December 22, 2007 9:59 PM  
Anonymous Bronn said...

This post rocked my world in way even VORP only pailed against. I absolutely had to attach my name to this page, if only to post a comment commending the author for shaping the mole-hill of overused commentary into the mountain of statistical mockery.

I commend you, sir, for so educationally proving absolutely nothing so convincingly. I'm attempting to reach Kevin Smith so he can use this as a concept for his next feature film, which should include Matt Damon playing the part of Chuck Dickens as he measures immeasurables.

December 22, 2007 10:23 PM  
Blogger Mr Furious said...

Fan-fucking-tastic post.

I couldn't believe the number of teams interested in signing the unbelievably shitt—er, gritty Eck this off-season.

Toronto "wins", which means the clubhouse attendant better head down to the Venezuelan Winter League to practice his stain-treating...

December 22, 2007 11:14 PM  
Blogger Timmy said...

If you look Top 50 Gritty Seasons' list, you'd be hard pressed to conjure up any details of that players particulars in that year.

But for the Least Gritty seasons' list, the players stats are almost recite-able.

Why? Because players without grit do it for the fame and fortune, and for front-page articles. Gritty players do what they do for one reason - the W.

PS: As for Ron "The Runt" Hunt's nickname, I'm thinking of something else? Anybody thinking the same?

December 23, 2007 9:58 AM  
Anonymous CT said...

I will cop to the shithead part, but I have never licked an ass.

I guess I stand corrected on your marital/living status. I just assumed that somebody who get so angry about a stat that is pretty clearly satirical (and appears on a humor site) would have to be some sort of lifeless loser who embodies the classic stereotype of the basement-dwelling, mom-living, internet messageboard know-it-all dipshit. Again, I stand corrected.

However, voice-over is not an art.

December 23, 2007 10:24 AM  
Blogger Jonny Dave Floyd said...

That thing was too long for me to read, but, judgin' from the comments, I guess it was pretty danged good. I do think those two dustbuckets that are gettin' all huffy need to settle their dispute like growned-up men. I'm talkin' about meetin' each other in a cheap hotel room and havin' a good old-fashioned peckerfight. I'd pay decent money to watch a tubby voice-over artist (whatever that is) try to out-boner some other ol' boy that may or may not have a jorb.

December 23, 2007 11:37 AM  
Blogger Yankees Chick said...

dudes.... classico. loves it.

hope you don't mind that I discussed it over on my bloggity - with all due credit, of course. I'm simply jealous I didn't write this myself.

http://yankees-chick.blogspot.com/2007/12/yankees-chick-is-gritty-gal-herself.html

December 23, 2007 1:53 PM  
Blogger Geoff said...

Fire Joe Morgan sent me over here and it was certainly worth it. I can't wait to see GRIT at the top of a statistics spread someday next to VORP.

December 23, 2007 8:22 PM  
Anonymous Rhubarb_Runner said...

I definitely see a correlation between GRIT and height. Might be an additional factor to consider. And I can't believe you don't metion Nick Punto when you discuss sliding into first base - he's the expert chosen to be featured in the GRIT instructional video.

December 23, 2007 8:32 PM  
Anonymous Bobby Cox said...

I demand a re-count! Where is Mark Lemke? Even his face is gritty.

December 23, 2007 10:51 PM  
Blogger Howard said...

Reminds me of the paper I wrote for my research methods course.

December 24, 2007 11:43 AM  
Blogger Act said...

Awesome. Just awesome. I hope you don't mind if I link to this everywhere I see fit.

December 26, 2007 8:16 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

The only problem I see with this list is the absence of Ozzie Guillen.

We all know that he's one of the grittiest players of all time, yet he doesn't appear on this stat.

Apparently his qualities were too intangible to be quantified.

December 26, 2007 8:19 AM  
Blogger Chip Wesley said...

This is the greatest post of 2007, hands down.

I truly think fielding stats will need to be considered if you plan on tweaking GRIT in the future. Perhaps that will knock down Baylor a bit as he did a lot of DH-ing.

December 26, 2007 11:38 AM  
Blogger The Frito Pundito said...

Personal attacks aside, the inclusion of HBP is indeed problematic, as shown by the rankings of Biggio and Baylor, both of whom are/were talented, and one of whom (guess who) was doing a lot of blow off field, and was known for lollygagging on the field. Since crowding the plate for good players enables them to reach the outside pitch, why not weight the HBP by the inverse of the number of opposite field hits? This would elevate "gritty" players who couldn't take a ball the other way if there was a typhoon blowing that direction.

December 26, 2007 12:54 PM  
Blogger ChuckDickens said...

For everyone who's getting loaded up on some warm Dr. Pepper in regards to the over-valuation of HBP: chill out. I've been hard at work on a solution, but I've some Holiday commitments have delayed it. New numbers and stuff will be forthcoming in the near future.

December 26, 2007 1:20 PM  
Anonymous David Suckstein said...

Phenomenal. I always thought "grit" was a synonym for "sucky baseball player who's loved by the media because he's a nice guy and his uniform's dirty" (see Eckstein, David; Nixon, Trot; Erstad, Darin) but this proves that there's so much more in life that remains a mystery.

December 26, 2007 2:46 PM  
Blogger zlionsfan said...

Outstanding.

I guess this means that when Harold Reynolds comments on a player's grittiness, we should listen, because Harold knows whereof he speaks.

December 26, 2007 3:42 PM  
Anonymous LionelHutz057 said...

This article is witty and funny and I'd agree that most of the guys listed by this formula are donkey players... but get Biggio off this fucking list. He doesn't belong. Career spanning multiple decades, several above average OPS+ years, and he was also a steady defensive player.

Your formula puts too much weight on the HBP stat. Re-weight it and Biggio will go away and more crap will appear.

December 28, 2007 10:39 AM  
Anonymous jeff reed's shorn pubis said...

Oh Jesus. Thank you so much.

December 29, 2007 11:59 PM  
Blogger Travis G. said...

1. how is aaron rowand not on the list?
2. i always thought GRIT should be some formula like: amount of dirt/blood on uniform X brightness of player's skin = GRIT. i think skin color should be factored in somehow.

great article.

December 30, 2007 6:27 PM  
Blogger MattsDad said...

To reuse a word that several have, accurately, used: brilliant. The style is well-balanced. The litmus test: enjoyable to read.

You've come a long way.

December 31, 2007 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simply awesome. Strong work. Still, she Don Baylor thing is a little hard to explain. Perhaps a modifier (XDB = except for Don Baylor) can be added to the equation.

January 01, 2008 12:56 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

However, voice-over is not an art.

_______________________________

Then why am I a member of the Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA?

Voice-Over performers are artists, just as any other creative performer.

When you learn to deliver a 30 second spot so that your voice decays out at 29.5 on the button, let me know what you'd prefer to be called.

January 01, 2008 4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck D., I think I love you.

Next, could I have a statistical analysis of "gutty" and "gutsy," what the difference between the two is, and which should be applied to which players?

You rule.

Laura

January 04, 2008 7:54 AM  
Blogger Justin said...

This is freaking brilliant. -j

January 07, 2008 1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful blog! Not to ruin the tone by being too serious, i just couldn't help but think the reason that so few African-Americans are in the top of the Grit Lists is that they are held to a higher standard of talent than whites or latinos. For example, poor Horace Clarke, who was perhaps the BEST player on those horrible mid-sixties Yankee teams, was jettisoned after only eight years. If he were white, he might have been kept around for another eight years to pad his pension and his grittyness totals. Perhaps someday, when the world is a better place, all races and creeds will be represented on lists of no-talents, not just on lists of superachievers.

March 04, 2008 6:38 PM  

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