34 thoughts on “Pirates 10, Braves 1 (By Kyle B.)”

  1. Jeter’s home finale… can’t say I’m surprised. I’ve been watching it up close for 20 years.

    BTW, not that it matters a bit, but nobody serious in YankeeLand believes Jeter was the greatest Yankee player. I’m around those people all the time & that conversation (where he rates in the franchise history) has been going on all season, especially since it became obvious that the club wasn’t going to be playing October ball.

    FWIW, that conversation begins after you mention Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle & Berra. But Jeter’s in the top 10, probably 6 or so, and that’s not nothing for that franchise. He’s had an amazing ride.

  2. I attended the third through seventh innings tonight. The most popular jersey in the crowd was Clemente’s, the beer lines were blessedly short, and the cursed drill finally won the tool race.

    Jeter is overrated. That is all.

  3. @4, Did you hear Chipper’s 680 interview? Unlike Jeter, Chipper actually managed to hit one out of the park yesterday :)

  4. Jeter ranks 5th overall in WAR for the Yankees franchise behind Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, and DiMaggio. How in the world can the most important player in the last 50 years for the highest regarded Major League team be overrated?

    I despise the Yankees, but Jeter embodies the true spirit of a gentlemen’s game.

  5. I like that Jeter delivers in the way you want your baseball heroes to deliver when you’re a kid. Sure, we all grow up and the ideal of RE2PECT becomes the reality of GIFTBA2KET — and so Jeter gives as much to the curmudgeons among us as he does to the romantics — but, point is, there’s an undeniable void now that he’s on the way out.

    He was also just amazingly good.

    We need some kind of a “What draft pick are we getting as a result of this shitshow?” weekly update, to help keep us motivated.

  6. Anybody else in the mood for a moral victory? Great. I’ve got one.

    It’s about the Braves and the Yankees.

    Talk about Jeter as an all-time great Yankee has reached such a pitch in the baseball world that it has spilled over into these forums. Well, I hate to spoil the debate, but he is an all-time great Yankee. No doubt about it. According to baseball reference he’s been worth 71.7 wins over a replacement, good enough to make him the 5th most valuable Yankee of all time.

    But you know what? That’s not such a big deal. Because while it’s hard to be the greatest Yankee of all-time, it turns out it’s pretty easy to crack the top-10 list, at least compared to the Braves.

    In fact, the top 10 Braves of all time were more valuable as a group than the top 10 Yankees of all time, and it isn’t all that close.

    I used Baseball-Reference WAR for this study and didn’t look at anything else because I’m a single-minded jackass and this one supported the idea I set out to prove. All WAR totals given are only for their respective clubs. (E.g., no Boston WsAR for Babe Ruth or Chicago/LA/SD WsAR for Greg Maddux.)

    The lists!

    1. Babe Ruth (142.7); Hank Aaron (142.1)

    Just as we already knew, the Babe was a better player than the Hammer, as clearly as Herman has more letters in it than Henry. But he wasn’t really better as a Yankee than Aaron was as a Brave. Just about tied through one.

    2. Lou Gehrig (112.4); Kid Nichols (108.5)

    Thank goodness for our Boston roots and 19th century baseball! In 12 seasons with the Braves, Nichols pitched more than 400 innings in 5 different seasons. Talk about an Iron Man! Yanks take a slim lead, probably because Lou had such great line-up protection.

    3. Mickey Mantle (109.7); Eddie Mathews (94.3)

    Contemporaries. Mantle was clearly the better player, not to mention the better partier. Yanks ahead by ~20 WAR at this point.

    4. Warren Spahn (92); Joe DiMaggio (78.2)

    Where have you gone, Yankees greats? So what he was a veteran. It was only 3 seasons. Braves begin to make up some ground. Let it be noted that the Yankees’ best pitcher of all time wouldn’t even make the Braves’ top-6.

    5. Phil Niekro (90); Derek Jeter (71.7)


    6. Chipper Jones (85); Yogi Berra (53.9)

    The Awesome Name Above Replacement score for these two is a much closer race.

    7. John Smoltz (67); Whitey Ford (53.9)

    Lordy, this isn’t even going to be close. Ford, incidentally, is famous for pioneering the nickname “Whitey” before Curtis Mayfield made it cool.

    8. Greg Maddux (66); Mariano Rivera (52.7)

    Biggest handicap of the event by a mile: Maddux 104.6 wins better than a replacement player over the course of his career. By only counting his seasons with the Braves, he loses almost 40 WAR, basically double Babe Ruth’s production with the Red Sox and Boston Braves.

    9. Andruw Jones (61); Bill Dickey (52.4)

    In all fairness to Bill Dickey, I had never heard of him until this morning. If Andruw Jones had played the bulk of his career in New York, he’d be the 6th-best Yankee of all-time.

    10. Tom Glavine (58.7); Willie Randolph (51.7)

    Willie Randolph was never as good a player as Tom Glavine was, but both of them get brownie points for the ignominy of having been employed by the Mets.

    Final tally, Braves 864.6 – Yankees 784. That’s 80 wins! The Braves’ best players are more than a full Derek Jeter better than the Yankees’ best players. So let that keep you warm all off-season.

    Of note: I am not at all bitter that the Yankees have won almost 25% of all World Series that have ever been played, and I never write anything out of spite.

  7. Forgot to mention: If you take out Kid Nichols (cause 1800s baseball–wtf, mate) and replace him with the next guy down on the list, Dale Murphy (46.9 WAR) the Braves still have a ~20 WAR lead on the Yanks.

  8. Not sure what you mean by “So what, he was a veteran” in the Spahn/DiMaggio comparison. Spahn also lost three years of his career in the service, where he got wounded at the Battle of the Bulge and earned a Purple Heart, as opposed to DiMaggio’s three years stationed in California, Hawaii, and New Jersey.

  9. I say Derek Jeter is overrated because I’ve always said Derek Jeter is overrated, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to stop now. I have closed my mind to all other alternatives, and care not for evidence to the contrary!

  10. @10

    Good point. I just figured Spahn’s career numbers were so good that there’s no way he could have missed time for the war, so I never bothered to look.

  11. @9 I wouldn’t eliminate players from the 1890’s from your comparison. After the mound was moved to 60’6″ in the early part of the decade, the game became the same as it was in the first two decades of the 20th century. The Braves have a lot of great players from that era.

  12. I’m with ububba. Yogi Berra won three MVPs and missed part of his career because of the war. The highest Jeter can possibly go on the list of all-time Yankees is No. 6. He’s just not better than Berra by any worthwhile measure you could find. WAR is a cumulative stat.

    When people (or at least when I) say he’s overrated, it’s not to mean that he’s not a Hall of Famer. He is. It’s just that if you asked the average baseball fan if he was better than Chipper, you’d probably get a yes. And there is no way Jeter was better than Chipper. If you asked them if he was better than Craig Biggio or Paul Molitor or Roberto Alomar, you’d probably be laughed at. And he may be better than those last three, but if he is, it’s not by much. He’s in the same general ballpark. And though all three are Hall of Famers (or at least will be by this time next year), I don’t see anybody acting like they’re upper-echelon, no-doubt, elite-of-the-elite Hall of Famers. Jeter isn’t either. He’s a second-tier Hall of Famer. Maybe not a first-ballot Hall of Famer if he played anywhere else but New York. And I make that sound like a bad thing when it’s not. He’s still a Hall of Famer, making him in the 99.9-whatever percentile of all-time baseball players. That should be enough. And if Jeter played for a franchise where he actually was one of the two or three best players in franchise history, maybe I would understand it a little more (though not so much from the national media). But he played for perhaps the single greatest franchise in all of professional sports.

    I do think the backlash this week has maybe gone a little over-the-top at times, but this is what happens when you make everybody sit there quietly all year trying not to retch while you pretend that he’s something that he isn’t. Especially when what he is was plenty good enough.

  13. The Yankees are a much younger franchise than the Braves, and since WAR is a counting stat, that helps us.

    That said, Derek Jeter is both a) a hell of a ballplayer and b) the subject of some absolutely insufferable adulation. I am looking forward to the end of this farewell tour, that’s for sure.

  14. In other news, Tim Hudson’s 16-year streak of above .500 W/L records (second only to Pete Alexander’s 19) has gone by the boards.

  15. As someone who thinks of the Yankees as the evil empire, I don’t hold Jeter in utter contempt. This is in spite of the fact that Jeter has benefited in an amazing way from the Yankee hype machine. The very fact that I don’t despise Jeter speaks volumes about his accomplishments and class. He is overrated because he’s a Yankee, but he has still assembled an amazing career.

  16. All this talk about playoff seeding is making me sad. I think simply ignoring baseball altogether next year will preempt any real poignancy to how terrible the Braves will be.

  17. There’s gonna be a bunch of turnover. Even if we’re bad next season, it won’t be this kind of bad.

  18. 22: Well, the team is getting worse next year with the departures of Santana and Harang, and it’s hard to see where lineup help comes from. (Pablo Sandoval would actually be a decent fit, but they don’t have the money for him.) It’ll be nice not to have see Gerald Laird embarrass himself any more, but… this is a team that could lose 90 games.

  19. Boy, I’m sure glad Bethancourt was paying attention there. Yeesh!

    EDIT: The Bethancourt show continues! (Also, I may be the only one watching this.)

  20. Can’t wait to spend all winter hearing about letting go of Gattis since we’ve Bethancourt’s superior defense waiting in the wings.

  21. I just checked in. I understand the idea of moving Gattis this offseason. I just wished we had an adequate replacement for him.

  22. If Papelbon blows this save, he should probably see if the umpires will let him sit quietly in the middle of the field until the game is over rather than risk going close enough to the stands to get to the dugout.

  23. There is nothing to like about Bethancourt, except for his particularly smooth jog from the dugout to behind home plate. OK, I conjured that out of thin air. His defense has the laziness and general nonchalance of Roger Dorn at third base with his “ole bullshit.” If Bethancourt is the answer, I shudder at speculating on what the question might be. Dump him this offseason while he has value and before he is completely exposed.

  24. @18

    Don’t rain on the parade! Braves #1 forever!!! And anyway the Braves top-10 player WAR from just the last 70 years is better than the Yankees top-10 player WAR from their entire 114-year history. So what’s your point?

  25. @23 Harang won’t leave their price range, there won’t be a departure.

    Braves will be fine. They’ll change a lot on offense, we won’t be happy about it, but it will all end up fine.

  26. I’m content to let someone else overpay for Aaron Harang and find the next ragged towel from which we can wring one last season in the sun.

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