Larry Bowa is deranged

Did I just hear a man who played with Mike Schmidt for eight years say that Scott Rolen is the best third baseman he’s ever seen? I mean, I like Rolen, but damn.

23 thoughts on “Larry Bowa is deranged”

  1. I thought the exact same thing. I was also taken aback by Bowa talking about the Braves offense. Seemed eerie, but I guess he’s a pundit now.

  2. Larry Bowa is a freakin’ moron. Why ESPN gave him a job is beyond me. He should be selling used cars, or scooters, or something…

  3. If he really believes that, and he ran Rolen out of Philly anyway, he’s an even worse manager than I thought.

  4. Larry Bowa says Scott Rolen is the best third baseman he has ever seen? If Rolen is aware of this he must be in the trainer’s room getting taped all around his torso from splitting his sides laughing.

    Amazing. The man who did the most to run Rolen out of Philadelphia on the proverbial cold steel rail says Rolen is the best third baseman he’s ever seen? What’s next—Eddie Lopat rising from the dead to admit he made a mistake when his scouting report on a kid named Tony Oliva said, “This kid will never hit in the big leagues”…?

    So how crazy is Bowa? Is Rolen the best at his position that Bowa has ever seen, or was Bowa simply sleeping on the field all those years ago, when he had Mike Schmidt for an infield teammate and the plays didn’t come to Bowa’s position?

    In a word, Rolen isn’t. And he isn’t likely to finish his career supplanting Schmidt or Schimdt’s great rival, George Brett (the number two all-around third baseman of all time), although Rolen just might finish among the top fifteen on the all-time third base list. Schmidt edges Brett but he leaves Rolen well enough behind.

    Over his first nine seasons, Rolen’s average runs produced per 162 games is 218. This is ten more than Schmidt, but producing runs was quite a bit more difficult in Schmidt’s peak seasons. Adjust for one season in which Rolen scored 120 runs, which is eleven more than his other highest season (and the only other season in which he scored 100 or more), measure him by his truer average, and Rolen produces about five more runs per 162 games than Schmidt, adjusted again for it being a little easier to produce runs in Rolen’s time than in Schmidt’s. So: Is Rolen therefore superior by a fraction or three?

    Not even close. A man who has never led his league in any of the most critical offencive categories over his first nine seasons, and has never finished in his league’s top ten more than twice in those categories, has very little business yet in the same discussion with a man who led his league, in a slightly more difficult hitting era,

    a) in home runs eight times (translation: Schmidt himself led his league in home runs exactly as often as Willie Mays and Henry Aaron together, or Mickey Mantle and Henry Aaron together, or Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays together);
    b) in slugging percentage five times;
    c) in on-base percentage three times;
    d) in runs batted in four times;
    e) in walks four times;
    f) in extra base hits five times;
    g) in OPS five times;

    …to say nothing of three Most Valuable Player awards and ten Gold Gloves (nine consecutive). Did I mention that Schmidt drove in 100 runs or more nine times in his career and scored 100 runs or more seven times? (Rolen? 100+ runs scored twice; 100+ runs batted in five times.)

    Either Larry Blowhard is suffering a ferocious case of guilt for his treatment of Rolen, or he was a) half there, or b) took the man too much for granted, when he had Mike Schmidt as a teammate.

  5. While Bowa is an idiot for reasons unrelated to this recent comment, I think Bowa is committing a sin all too common among TV commentators. Most games I watch the commentators have really only two classes of players: one of the best players today, or one of the best ever. It’s quite annoying. Can’t the guy just be good or tolerable? The worst offender of this is Tom Paciorek. I’d hate to see the team he would put together as a GM. Luckily, the TBS crew seems to know better, except for maybe Don, whom I generally like for other reasons.

  6. Larry Bowa also thinks that screaming in players faces will get them to perform better. He’s probably blown so many blood vessels in his brain that he cannot remember anything subsequent to 1998. Despite being a life-long Braves fan, Schmidt was my idol growing up – even though Bowa is an idiot, that comment will have my rankled for the rest of the morning.

  7. Bill James once said that if Schmidt hit .300, he wouldn’t just be the greatest 3B ever, he might have been the greatest player ever. Rolen is a great player, no doubt, but…

    If you’re familiar with Total Baseball’s TPR rating, you know to take them with a grain of salt — their fielding ratings are sometimes incomprehensible. That said, here are Schmidt’s NL TPR ratings (which take into account hitting and fielding) for the years 1974-83:

    1974 — 1
    1975 — 2 (Morgan)
    1976 — 1
    1977 — 1
    1978 — unranked
    1979 — T-1 (Winfield)
    1980 — 1
    1981 — 1
    1982 — 1
    1983 — 1

    Is it possible to concoct a scenario in which Rolen can be seen as the greatest player in his league virtually every year? I don’t think so. Rolen isn’t competition for Schmidt — in terms of league dominance, Schmidt’s only competition is Wagner, Cobb, Ruth, Williams, Mantle, Mays, and Bonds.

  8. On the comment itself: JC is right that this is a common tick of poor commentators. Everyone has such a woody to get mentioned by Rudy Martzke (“hustle award,” “strongest comment”) that they frequently say silly things.

    On ESPN hiring Bowa: My personal opinion is that ESPN gets guys like him partially because they want access. Not that Larry Bowa gives them any himself, but that if the next embattled manager or aging player sees that he could possibly land a job there like Bowa did, he may be more willing to grant interviews or otherwise play along with ESPN.

    If you haven’t guessed, I am quite a bit suspcious re: a lot of ESPN’s motives and tend to beleive that they have too much power over sports.

  9. Actually, Chipper’s Stats are better than Rolen. Rolen is a much better fielder, but Chipper’s 162 game average is better in all offensive categories except for home runs. Rolen has struck out a lot more than Chipper in less seasons also. He can be compared to Chipper, but not Mike Schmidt. That’s just blaspheme.

  10. Sorry about the double post. Looking closer at the stats, Chipper’s stats are similar to Mike Schmidt’s through age 32. Chipper has less home runs and triples, but beats Schmidt in all other offensive categories. That’s good company.

  11. Tom Paciorek is an idiot. I however do like him more than Tim McCarver. Michael Jack Schmidt is the best third basemen this side of Eddie Mathews and we shouldn’t be so hard on Bowa. He helped us win the East the last three seasons.

  12. Rolen’s already failiing to live up to the big start he had last season. I agree, he’s good, but his consistency problems will always keep him from being considered, say, a top-5 or top-10 third baseman of all time. He’s still got time to tally up some monster numbers, but the strikeouts that everyone points out are probably more telling of what’s to come than potential.

  13. Oh, I think he’ll be in the top ten. He won’t make top five. I’ll list the Bill James top ten:

    1. Schmidt
    2. Brett
    3. Mathews
    4. Boggs
    5. Home Run Baker
    6. Santo
    7. Brooks Robinson
    8. Molitor
    9. Stan Hack
    10. Darrell Evans

    Molitor is only a default third baseman and doesn’t really belong in the discussion. Sal Bando is eleventh; some would rank Nettles or Traynor higher but I wouldn’t. I think Rolen would rank no worse than eighth on that list. Call him ninth, because I think Chipper will rank ahead of him.

  14. I think, in context, that he did. Just as stupid. Schmidt was amazing with the glove, and there’s nobody in the game as good as he was with that either.

  15. “best defensive third baseman”

    Rolen’s a great defensive 3B, but with Brooks Robinson out there, this would be an equally unsupportable position, IMO.

  16. Nice list Mac, I’d agree that he would make that top 10 for sure. It’s much easier to say top 5 or 10 or not in the abstract, but by your list, he’ll be in there. Thanks.

  17. Unbelievable that Santo isn’t in the HOF. I thought the recent changes in the Veterans Committee would ensure his induction, but it hasn’t happened. What is the explanation for this? A great many of the voters played in the ’60s — they should know how hard it was to put up the numbers Santo did. Aargh!

  18. Allan Berra wrote that the problem is Billy Williams. Ernie Banks is an automatic, of course. And Williams is in. And Fergie Jenkins, too. So if you put Santo in, you wind up with four members of a team that never won in the Hall, plus the manager.

  19. Mac, where do you think Chipper would fit in with the top 10 and with respect to Rolen’s position in the top 10 as well? Considering they both play out their careers with their expected numbers that is.

  20. I think Chipper will pass Baker for fifth. His comparable players through Age 32 are:

    # Gary Sheffield (941)
    # Dick Allen (905)
    # Jeff Bagwell (895)
    # Duke Snider (883) *
    # Dale Murphy (870)
    # Billy Williams (870) *
    # Mike Schmidt (861) *
    # Reggie Jackson (858) *
    # Bernie Williams (853)
    # Jim Rice (851)

    Asterisks for Hall of Famers. The outfielders mostly faded pretty soon, but third basemen play forever. 2800 hits, 500 homers? I haven’t worked out a real projection but that seems reasonable.

  21. Thanks Mac, I’ve always wondered about Chipper but you’re clearly in a better position to make a reasonable judgement. Good analysis.

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