Squires, Mike Squires, Buxton discussed on Effectively Wild: A FanGraphs Baseball Podcast
And we had a sense I had a sense as I was reporting these results that there was some kind of confounding factor here because the players at the top of the list like squires were not particularly special players, but I hadn't done enough research. It didn't dawn on me at the moment what that confounding factor was. And what it was, as people pointed out, is that Mike squires. Many people. Hey, it shows people are paying attention. And they're listening and they're engaged and they care enough to write in and we do appreciate the interaction. But Mike squires was a defensive replacement during that point in his career, and really only rusev, I feel like we'd have a defensive replacement first baseman who has that. I mean, I guess that's from an era where you didn't have gigantic bullpens and there were actually bench players. So you had that luxury, but a defensive replacement for basement is kind of a rarity. And I knew squires to the extent that I was aware of him because I believe he's the most recent left handed catcher in baseball. He played a little bit of left handed catcher moving from first base, and I think he played some left handed third base, too, actually he's the second most recent left handed catcher. He's the most recent in the American League, Benny the Stefano is the most recent in the national league or in the major leagues, but hopefully not the last. Anyway, that's a noteworthy thing about squires. So sometimes you will hear him mentioned in that context, but he was largely a first baseman, and he was a gold Glover in 1981, and so la Russa had a habit during the 80s of putting in squires to protect leads, basically. So when the White Sox were already ahead, squires would come in to help protect that lead at first base. And so he and some other players who like him were often defensive replacements. They showed up as having the greatest differential of team record in games that they played and did not play because of that because of the way that they were used. So there was, in fact, something that was skewing those results. And so some people wrote in and said, I bet when you account for that, buxton will be even higher on the list. And I assumed that too, but here's the twist. Buxton moves well down the list when we run it using only game started. Bucks did that make some sense though. It actually hurts because buxton at times has himself been in the squire's role. He has himself been a defensive replacement. He went 9 and O for the twins or the twins went 9 O in games that buxton didn't start, but did play in in 2019 because I think there was a period late in the year where he came back from injury and they were using him in a limited capacity just putting him in as a defensive replacement when the twins are up already. So there was a 9 in O in 2019 and then a four in 2020. So he went 14 and one over that or the twins went 14 and one from 2019 to 2021 in games that buxton played in, but did not start it. And so when you strip away those games and you look only at buxton and the games that he started versus the games he did not start, he falls all the way down for that span to 558 on the list. So 2019 to 2021 twins, a 104 and 68 in games that buxton started that 6 O 5, one O 6 and one O 6. That is a 500 record in games that he did not start. So that is a solid differential, but not quite as worthy of a wow and he falls well down the list and he's now 558th out of almost 10,000 qualifying spans and this was using various qualifiers about how you had to have played for the team in all three seasons and a certain minimum number of games and you also had to have missed a certain number of games over that span, et cetera so that's the twist I guess is that make squires is not a wizard, in fact. However, Byron buxton, not quite as special in this respect either as it turns out. Twist. This definitely narrowed the range of outcomes and disparities here. But I think the conclusion, which was that there is a lot of randomness to this and you don't have to be a superstar for your team to do better in games you started versus games you didn't start. That is still true and if you look at the names at the top of the list right now and I'll link to the updated spreadsheet but Eddie Murphy and Jack berry are on the top I mentioned Murphy last time. They're there for the 1913 to 1915 Philadelphia a's and the reason why they're there. I think there is a bit of a bias with them too because in 1915 there was a famous fire sale with the a's and Connie Mack sold off all of his players. And so in 1915, Murphy and Barry, they started the year with the a's after some other players had been traded away, but then they themselves were traded away in mid season for the a's and then the a's completely tanked down the rest of that season because they had no players left basically. And so the 1915 a's went four and 20 in August and 5 and 27 in September. They were barely a big league team at that point. And so that's counting toward Barry and Murphy's without you stats and they weren't actually still on the team at that time. It's hard really to construct this query in a way to avoid that kind of thing. But the real legitimate leader I would say now is Charlie Maxwell for the 1958 to 1960 tigers, and during those years, the tigers were one 99 and one 69 that's a 5 41 winning percentage in games that Maxwell started. They were 25 and 69, that is a two 66 winning percentage in games that he did not start. That is a disparity of 275 points of winning percentage and he actually also shows up close to the top of the list for the 57 to 59 tigers and the 56 to 58 tigers like the tigers during Maxwell's era. They just won a whole lot more with him starting than without him starting and we actually were hoping to do a classic effectively wowed cold call and talk to Charlie Maxwell today because he turned 95 95 years young earlier this month and he was at tigers opening day and he's actually had maybe a little known career outside of the teams that he played for, but a fascinating career and a lot of interesting stories and he is the oldest living Tiger and I think the oldest living white sock as well and I will never pass up an opportunity to talk to a non agenda on this show. So I did find this number. We did call him and we did speak to him for a minute, but he told us that he was feeling a little under the weather and he asked that we call back. So we will wait a little while and we will try to connect with him again. And if we do, hopefully you will hear Charlie Maxwell on an upcoming show, but I will link to the results here and.