2012 All-Stars vs. 1962 All-Stars–Close Call

 

Are the 2012 All-Stars as good as the 1962 All-Stars? 

My memories of 63 years say “no,” but let’s look at the charts and see what avails.

To minimize the “apples and oranges” effect, I chose the all-time player ratings at Baseball Reference, which happily include both currently active and the  retired Old School players.  They assign places on their all-time list, where finishing second is better than 22nd, or 222nd; so, low scores are better.

Their “MLB EloRater” does not factor in fielding, but to get to the All-Star game, you are not likely to be a lousy fielder. [http://www.baseball-reference.com/about/elo.shtml]

However, it is about time that fielding is considered in rating players and his  WIZARDRY: Baseball’s All-Time Greatest Fielders Revealed by Michael A. Humphreys represents a very good start in that direction.

Now, back to our comparison.

CATCHER
Del Crandall Braves [570] , Earl Battey Twins [847]
Mike Napoli, TEX [875], Joe Mauer, MIN [227]

COMMENT:  The totals here were close; 1962′s score was [1427] and 2012′s was [1102].  Battey and Napoli were a near wash, but Mauer scored much better than Crandall and Joe will go HOF and rank in the top 100 all-time hitters.

WINNER:  2012

FIRST BASE
Orlando Cepeda* Giants [169], Jim Gentile, Orioles [802]
Joey Votto, CIN [284], Prince Fielder, DET [565]

COMMENT:  The oldies scored [971], but lost to the current players [849].  The 1962 duo was at both extremes; Cepeda a HOF and Gentile, a .260 career hitter, who led the majors with 141 RBIs in 1961.  The current 1bs were not close to HOFer Cepeda, but both also have a shot at the Hall.

WINNER:  2012

SECOND BASE
Bill Mazeroski* Pirates [318], Billy Moran Angels [712]
Robinson Cano, NYY [313], Dan Uggla, ATL [675]

COMMENT:  The ’62 duo at [1030] was just edged by the moderns [988] with Cano just 5 points behind Mazeroski.  This may give some cold comfort to Yankee fans, who watched Maz beat them in the 7th gameof the 1960 WS with a walk-off HR.  Moran had a career 2,4 WAR, played in both 1962 All-Star games, was a career .263 hitter and Uggla edged him out by 37 slots.

WINNER:  2012

Yes, so far, it’s a runaway for 2012 and you are wondering how I could believe the old-timers are better; stick around…

THIRD BASE
Ken Boyer Cardinals [109], Rich Rollins Twins [1356]
Adrian Beltre, TEX [117], Pablo Sandoval, SF [758]

COMMENT:   Thanks to a terrible score for Rollins, the oldies scored [1465], and were swamped by the current players [875].  The 1962 duo was at both extremes; Boyer, the best of the four paired with Rollins, who peaked in 1962 with a .298 BA [career .269], 16 HRs, 96 RBIs.  None of this quartet are HOFers and the “Kung-Fu Panda” is as far from Cooperstown as the bamboo fields of Tibet.

WINNER:  2012

SHORTSTOP
Dick Groat, Pirates [379], Luis Aparicio,* White Sox [173]
Rafael Furcal, STL [297], Derek Jeter, NYY [49]

COMMENT:  The current players score their biggest WIN here [1465] to  [346], a 1119 point gap.  Jeter, a sure HOFer, beat out HOFer Aparicio, who teamed up with Nellie Fox [2b] to form the greatest DP combo of their era for the White Sox, when the “Go-Go Sox” won the 1959 AL pennant with speed and defense, but lost to a mirror-image team, when the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated them 4 games to 2 in the WS.  To this old dude, it is surprising to see Furcal rated above Dick Groat.

WINNER:  2012

Now you are thinking that this is “no contest” and a rout for “Today’s Team” and I am thinking about re-writing my lead.

LEFT FIELD
Tommy Davis Dodgers [535], Leon Wagner, Angels [867]
Josh Hamilton, TEX, [241], Melky Cabrera, SF [973]

COMMENT:  Finally a win for “Yesterday’s Team”–[1042] to  [1214].  Considering the number of points involved, it is a very narrow margin [172].  Leon “Daddy Wags” Wagner was another “peak performance” case [37 HRs, 107 RBIs in 1962] and just beat out the just-blossoming Melky Cabrera, who may eventually pass Wagner on this list.  The numbers say that Hamilton is twice as good as Davis and Josh may well shoot up the rankings and have a shot at the HOF, if he can maintain his pace for another decade.

WINNER:  1962

CENTER FIELD
Willie Mays Giants* [2], Roger Maris,* Yankees, [253], Hank Aaron*, Braves [5]
Curtis Granderson, NYY [372], OF Carlos Beltran, STL [112]

COMMENT:  No-brainer. We could add all three ’62 Center fielders and still beat out Granderson and Beltran by a mile [or a continent].  The trio of ’62 scores [260] to [484], but we note that Hamilton [241]  would have beaten out Maris [253] and Roger was really a RF, who deserves HOF consideration; now that the lying  Ass Clown Dopers [McGwire, Sosa] were caught red-handed and Bonds is not likely to be allowed in the Hall.

RIGHT FIELD
Roberto Clemente* Pirates [23], Mickey Mantle,* Yankees [12]
Jose Bautista, TOR [636], Matt Kemp, LAD [391]

COMMENTS:  Even more of a no-brainer.  Beating out Clemente and Mantle is impossible; the score should not even be as close as it is:  [45] to [1027] and even Kemp and Bautista would laugh at the comparison.  A huge margin of victory:  982 points, but not as great as the one at SS: 1119.

WINNER:  1962

Thusfar, the 2012 team leads the 1962 players in categories [5 to 2] and in total points [6,885 to 7,705].  Note that the difference in categories [7], where the 2012 team wins 5-2, or by 3 categories, the 1962 team’s total rating points 7,705  to 6,885 represents a much closer contest; the current roster edges out the oldies by just 820 points..

THE CATCH

A review of the pitching rosters for the two teams shows that the 1962 pitchers were far superior to the current ones.  If YOU take the time to look up all their scores, please let me know if the totals agree with my conclusion.

Consider that the 1962 team had EIGHT Hall of Fame inductees:

Sandy Koufax, Dodgers*  Bob Gibson, Cardinals*   Juan Marichal, Giants*
Warren Spahn*, Braves   Don Drysdale, Dodgers*   Jim Bunning, Tigers*
Ralph Terry*, Yankees     Hoyt Wilhelm*, Orioles

For purposes of comparison, let’s put these current pitchers in the HOF in the future:

CC Sabathia, NYY     Justin Verlander, DET     Matt Cain, SF

Stephen Strasburg, WAS      Felix Hernandez, SEA

Without running the numbers on all the pitchers, I am willing to assert that the 1962 pitchers were MUCH better than the 2012 hurlers and that, if calculated, the points would give the win to “Yesterday’s Team.”

For example, let’s take the top five from the 1962 pitchers and the five we assigned to the HOF and run the numbers and see what the point gap would be.

Warren Spahn*, Braves  [7]  He has the stats to back it up; long career.

Bob Gibson, Cardinals*  [10]

Sandy Koufax, Dodgers*  [15], behind Clemens [12] and Pedro Martinez [13]

Don Drysdale, Dodgers* [24]

Juan Marichal, Giants*   [35]

TOTAL:  91

Now the 2012 “HOF’ five:

CC Sabathia, NYY [76], HOF Wilhelm [74] and  Johan Santana [78]

Justin Verlander, DET  [192]

Matt Cain, SF  [253], Bruce Hurst [254]

Stephen Strasburg, WAS     [192] **Not listed by BBRef; we comped him with Verlander.

Felix Hernandez, SEA   [195]

TOTAL:  756

COMMENT:  The 1962 top five pitchers swamped their 2012 counterparts by 817, with three HOF pitchers not included in the comparison. [Jim Bunning, Ralph Terry, Hoyt Wilhelm.]

FINAL SCORE:   1962 All-Star team:     7,796

2012 All-Star team:    7,641

“Yesterday’s Team” wins by just 155 points.

And yet, I am not comfortable declaring a winner.  The Baseball Reference “MLB EloRater” claims to factor in projections for today’s active players.  The rankings for the retired players are frozen in place; the rankings for the active players may rise or fall by the time they retire.  We are limited to a current snapshot rating of players who were good enough to be elected to play in the All-Star game; they are the cream of the crop of 2012.

IF we changed Stephen Strasburg’s score from awarding him Verlander’s score [192] to giving him Roy Halladay‘s rating [37], we would have a virtual TIE between the two All-Star rosters.

Or, maybe the last minute addition of Bryce Harper, just 19 and the youngest position player to ever make an All-Star roster will tip the balance to the 2012 team…

Imagine a Super All-Star team combining the 1962 outfielder and pitchers, and the 2012 infield.

When I began this article, I had visions of Hall of Famers– Mays, Aaron, Mantle, Clemente, Koufax, Gibson and Marichal–playing in my memory and I was sure that those All-Star players, when I was a Senior in High School,  were much better. After running the numbers, I am now wondering if they were that much better, or better at all.

Like wine, our memories improve with aging.

And, now, reflecting on these Old School and New School All-Stars, I am thinking about that gamer shortstop, Eddie, the Senior on the local High School team, and I am imagining that he just might be the next Derek Jeter, or even better someday.

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001962 All-Star pitchers:

Sandy Koufax, Dodgers*  Bob Gibson, Cardinals*   Juan Marichal, Giants*
Warren Spahn*, Braves   Don Drysdale, Dodgers*   Jim Bunning, Tigers*
Ralph Terry*, Yankees     Hoyt Wilhelm*, Orioles

Bob Purkey, Reds; Bob Shaw, Braves; Turk Farrell, Houston; Dick Donovan, Indians
Bill Monbouquette, Red Sox; Milt Pappas, Orioles; Camilo Pascual, Twins
Dave Stenhouse, Senators

2012 All-Star pitchers:

Matt Cain, SF; Aroldis Chapman, CIN; R.A. Dickey, NYM; Gio Gonzalez, WAS; Cole Hamels, PHI;

Joel Hanrahan, PIT; Clayton Kershaw, LAD; Craig Kimbrel, ATL; Lance Lynn, STL; Wade Miley, ARI
Jonathan Papelbon, PHI; Stephen Strasburg, WAS; Huston Street, SD; Ryan Cook, OAK; Matt Harrison, TEX;
Felix Hernandez, SEA; Jim Johnson, BAL; Joe Nathan, TEX; Chris Perez, CLE; David Price, TB; Fernando Rodney, TB; CC Sabathia, NYY’; Chris Sale, CWS; Justin Verlander, DET; Jered Weaver, LAA; C.J. Wilson, LAA

Topics: 1962, 2012, All-Star Game, Angels, Anrahan, ARI, ARI Jonathan Papelbon, Aroldis Chapman, ATL, ATL; Lance Lynn, BAL, BAL; Joe Nathan, Barry Bonds, Bill Mazeroski, Bill Monbouquette, Billy Moran Angels, Bob Gibson, Bob Purkey, Bob Shaw, Braves, Bryce Harper, C.J. Wilson, Camilo Pascual, Cardinals, Cards, Carlos Beltran, Chris Perez, Chris Sale, Cin, CIN; R.A. Dickey, CLE, CLE; David Price, Cole Hamels, Craig Kimbrel, Curtis Granderson, CWS, Dan Uggla, David Price, Del Crandall, Derek Jeter, DET, Dick Groat, Dodgers, Don Drysdale, Earl Battey, Felix Hernandez, Fernando Rodney, Giancarlo Stanton, Giants, Gio Gonzalez, Hank Aaron, Houston; Dick Donovan, Hoyt Wilhelm, Huston Street, Indians, Jered Weaver, Jim Bunning, Jim Gentile, Jim Johnson, Joe Mauer, Joe Nathan, Joel, Joey Votto, Jonathan Papelbon, Jose Bautista, Josh Hamilton, Juan Marichal, Justin Verlander, Ken Boyer, LAA, LAD, LAD; Craig Kimbrel, Lance Lynn, Leon Wagner, Luis Aparicio, Mark McGwire, Matt Cain, Matt Harrison, Matt Kemp, Melky Cabrera, Mickey Mantle, Mike Napoli, Mike Stanton, Milt Pappas, MIN, NYM, NYM; Gio Gonzalez, NYY', OAK, OAK; Matt Harrison, OF, Orioles, Orlando Cepeda, Pablo Sandoval, PHI, PHI; Joel Hanrahan, PHI; Stephen Strasburg, Pirates, PIT; Clayton Kershaw, Postion Player, Prince Fielder, R. A. Dickey, Rafael Furcal, Ralph Terry, Red Sox, REDS, Roberto Clemente, Robinson Cano, Roger Maris, Ryan Cook, Sammy Sosa, Sandy Koufax, SD, SD; Ryan Cook, SEA, SEA; Jim Johnson, Senators, SF, SF; Aroldis Chapman, Stephen Strasburg, STL, STL; Wade Miley, TB, TB; CC Sabathia, TB; Fernando Rodney, TB; Sabathia, TEX, TEX; Chris Perez, TEX; Felix Hernandez, Tigers, Tommy Davis, TOR, Turk Farrell, Twins, Twins Dave Stenhouse, Wade Miley, Warren Spahn, WAS, WAS; Cole Hamels, WAS; Huston Street, White Sox, Willie Mays Giants, Yankees, Youngest

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