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Boggs or Gwynn ?

4for44for4 Posts: 675 ✭✭✭

Who was the better hitter?

Please no WAR because there’s a huge difference between the two.

Simply who was the best hitter.

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  • LandrysFedoraLandrysFedora Posts: 1,782 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I will go with a definite Gwynn on this one. He was the guy you never wanted to be facing in the 9th with a game on the line. Had some of the best hand eye coordination ever. He went by a very simple approach, see ball and hit ball (react), he was not a guess hitter. He could spray balls all over the field at will. Being a National League fan (Braves), I had the privilege of watching him for many years. Boggs was obviously a great hitter as well, but imho it's a slam dunk with Tony on this question.

  • GroceryRackPackGroceryRackPack Posts: 2,448 ✭✭✭✭✭

    the chicken man... B)

  • perkdogperkdog Posts: 29,468 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'm going with Boggs since I'm a homer.

    I wouldn't fight anyone over chosing Gwynn though

  • dallasactuarydallasactuary Posts: 4,113 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'll go with Gwynn as a hitter. The two are very close, but Gwynn was one of the best clutch (men on and RISP) hitters in history.

    This is for you @thisistheshow - Jim Rice was actually a pretty good player.
  • Basebal21Basebal21 Posts: 2,217 ✭✭✭✭

    Gwynn. Gwynns numbers were basically the same home and away, Boggs was significantly better at home and spent his career in hitter friendly parks

  • craig44craig44 Posts: 10,512 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 19, 2023 4:56PM

    I love this topic. in fact, I did this one quite a few years ago. I think mine was about who was the better player. in that case, it is clearly Boggs. In this case, hitter only, it is really very very close. As a homer, I am taking Boggs. he was an on base machine. much better than tony. tony had a very slight advantage in power. However, I have heard that Wade chose to be a singles hitter. He supposedly could put on a display during BP, but toned down his swing at game time. in 87 he did give us a glimpse of what he could do with 24 HR.

    Wade had a higher ops, and their ops+ is within a point. Wade struck out more, tony hit into more DP.

    Wade also got a late start. He was stuck behind carney lansford and didnt begin until 24. I think he was clearly ready for the show a few years earlier and would have put up better career stats had that happened.

    To add, Gwynn did have quite a suspicious 2nd half to his career.

    George Brett, Roger Clemens and Tommy Brady.

  • perkdogperkdog Posts: 29,468 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I do miss a good Boggsy off the wall at Fenway

  • daltexdaltex Posts: 3,486 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @craig44 said:
    Wade also got a late start. He was stuck behind carney lansford and didnt begin until 24. I think he was clearly ready for the show a few years earlier and would have put up better career stats had that happened.

    Let's not overstate things. Lansford was in California until 1981. Boggs was in Boston the entire 1982 season, backing up Lansford and Stapleton at first. He still got in 381 PA. To go back more than one season, you'll need to say he was "blocked" by Dave Stapleton, Glenn Hoffman, or Butch Hobson, which makes the idea that Boggs was ready before 1982 a little hard to swallow.

  • craig44craig44 Posts: 10,512 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @daltex said:

    @craig44 said:
    Wade also got a late start. He was stuck behind carney lansford and didnt begin until 24. I think he was clearly ready for the show a few years earlier and would have put up better career stats had that happened.

    Let's not overstate things. Lansford was in California until 1981. Boggs was in Boston the entire 1982 season, backing up Lansford and Stapleton at first. He still got in 381 PA. To go back more than one season, you'll need to say he was "blocked" by Dave Stapleton, Glenn Hoffman, or Butch Hobson, which makes the idea that Boggs was ready before 1982 a little hard to swallow.

    well... he hit .349 in 1982. from 77-81 in A through AAA ball he never hit below .306 and averaged about .325 or so. He was definitely ready in 81 and most likely in 80 as well. He had over 2500 PA from 77-81 in the minors. He was definitely ready.

    George Brett, Roger Clemens and Tommy Brady.

  • 4for44for4 Posts: 675 ✭✭✭

    @dallasactuary said:
    I'll go with Gwynn as a hitter. The two are very close, but Gwynn was one of the best clutch (men on and RISP) hitters in history.

    You’ll know better then me, but could this have anything to do with where both hit in the lineup?

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  • 4for44for4 Posts: 675 ✭✭✭

    Try to think about who the toughest guys were to strike out in the 60’s and 70’s. Let me know if you think of any of these two on the list.

    Yes, Glen Beckert was as tough to strike out as Gwynn and Buckner.

    https://www.baseball-almanac.com/hitting/histrkop1.shtml

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  • 1948_Swell_Robinson1948_Swell_Robinson Posts: 1,682 ✭✭✭✭

    @craig44 said:
    I love this topic. in fact, I did this one quite a few years ago. I think mine was about who was the better player. in that case, it is clearly Boggs. In this case, hitter only, it is really very very close. As a homer, I am taking Boggs. he was an on base machine. much better than tony. tony had a very slight advantage in power. However, I have heard that Wade chose to be a singles hitter. He supposedly could put on a display during BP, but toned down his swing at game time. in 87 he did give us a glimpse of what he could do with 24 HR.

    Wade had a higher ops, and their ops+ is within a point. Wade struck out more, tony hit into more DP.

    Wade also got a late start. He was stuck behind carney lansford and didnt begin until 24. I think he was clearly ready for the show a few years earlier and would have put up better career stats had that happened.

    To add, Gwynn did have quite a suspicious 2nd half to his career.

    In their prime it is without question Wade Boggs as the better hitter. Boggs had his prime during the 80's and Gwynn had his prime during the live ball era. Boggs played more games per year in his prime than Gwynn too.

    Best four year prime
    Boggs 1985-1988 had 162 OPS+ in 2,837 plate appearances
    Gwynn1994-1997 had a 147 OPS+ in 2,201 plate appearances. Those were strike years and Gwynn played only 116 games in 1996.

    Gwynn's next best four year prime was 1986-1989 where he had a 139 OPS+ in 2,638 PA.

    As Craig pointed out, Gwynn did have a suspicious late career surge and that surge was also done in less at bats per years. That surge occured during the live ball era.

    So when they were at their best in the same era, pre live ball era, and both getting full time at bats every years(boggs still more per year, how do they stack up)?

    Boggs 1982-1993 OPS+ 139 in 7,967 PA
    Gwynn 1982-1993 OPS+ 129 in 6,827 PA

    Boggs is clearly superior there being compared in the same era which comprised the bulk of their career.

    It wasn't until the live ball era, suspicious jump in stats, and accumulating them in less than full years's worth of PA did Gwynn catch Boggs in the percentages.

    I also agree with @craig44 that Boggs should have been in the MLB in 1980. It doesn't matter who or what may have been blocking him. Doesn't matter, the Boston front office made a mistake keeping him down there. Two years in AA in 1978 and 1979 and Boggs hit .311 and .325 with high OB%

    Boggs should have been in Boston at the start of 1980 at age 22. Period. That was a blemish on the Boston front office, not Boggs.

  • 4for44for4 Posts: 675 ✭✭✭

    @1948_Swell_Robinson said:

    @craig44 said:
    I love this topic. in fact, I did this one quite a few years ago. I think mine was about who was the better player. in that case, it is clearly Boggs. In this case, hitter only, it is really very very close. As a homer, I am taking Boggs. he was an on base machine. much better than tony. tony had a very slight advantage in power. However, I have heard that Wade chose to be a singles hitter. He supposedly could put on a display during BP, but toned down his swing at game time. in 87 he did give us a glimpse of what he could do with 24 HR.

    Wade had a higher ops, and their ops+ is within a point. Wade struck out more, tony hit into more DP.

    Wade also got a late start. He was stuck behind carney lansford and didnt begin until 24. I think he was clearly ready for the show a few years earlier and would have put up better career stats had that happened.

    To add, Gwynn did have quite a suspicious 2nd half to his career.

    In their prime it is without question Wade Boggs as the better hitter. Boggs had his prime during the 80's and Gwynn had his prime during the live ball era. Boggs played more games per year in his prime than Gwynn too.

    Best four year prime
    Boggs 1985-1988 had 162 OPS+ in 2,837 plate appearances
    Gwynn1994-1997 had a 147 OPS+ in 2,201 plate appearances. Those were strike years and Gwynn played only 116 games in 1996.

    Gwynn's next best four year prime was 1986-1989 where he had a 139 OPS+ in 2,638 PA.

    As Craig pointed out, Gwynn did have a suspicious late career surge and that surge was also done in less at bats per years. That surge occured during the live ball era.

    So when they were at their best in the same era, pre live ball era, and both getting full time at bats every years(boggs still more per year, how do they stack up)?

    Boggs 1982-1993 OPS+ 139 in 7,967 PA
    Gwynn 1982-1993 OPS+ 129 in 6,827 PA

    Boggs is clearly superior there being compared in the same era which comprised the bulk of their career.

    It wasn't until the live ball era, suspicious jump in stats, and accumulating them in less than full years's worth of PA did Gwynn catch Boggs in the percentages.

    I also agree with @craig44 that Boggs should have been in the MLB in 1980. It doesn't matter who or what may have been blocking him. Doesn't matter, the Boston front office made a mistake keeping him down there. Two years in AA in 1978 and 1979 and Boggs hit .311 and .325 with high OB%

    Boggs should have been in Boston at the start of 1980 at age 22. Period. That was a blemish on the Boston front office, not Boggs.

    This is very well done.
    I think I will take Boggs after reading this.

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  • dallasactuarydallasactuary Posts: 4,113 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @4for4 said:

    @dallasactuary said:
    I'll go with Gwynn as a hitter. The two are very close, but Gwynn was one of the best clutch (men on and RISP) hitters in history.

    You’ll know better then me, but could this have anything to do with where both hit in the lineup?

    No, I'm looking at percentages not raw numbers. When Gwynn came up with men on or with RISP he hit much better than Boggs when he came up in those situations. And when you are standing at the plate getting ready to hit and there are men on base, it makes no difference what your spot in the batting order happens to be.

    And while I agree that there is evidence that Gwynn's later years may be suspect, it falls far short of where it needs to be before I chalk the numbers up to steroids and ignore them (which is the only proper way to handle numbers which are known to be tainted by steroids). So, those years "count" for me, and lead to the conclusion that Gwynn was a (slightly) better hitter than Boggs.

    I note, too, that the Fenway factor for Boggs is enormous. If I'm starting a team in a neutral park I would be very comfortable with selecting Gwynn over Boggs as my DH (i.e., as hitters only).

    This is for you @thisistheshow - Jim Rice was actually a pretty good player.
  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 11,208 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Two guys about as equal as you can get.

    If you limit it to just hitting the ball, I'll pick Gwynn.

    If you look at who was the more productive offensive player I'll pick Boggs because of his higher OB%.

    Both tremendous hitters for average. Neither was much of a slugger.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • dallasactuarydallasactuary Posts: 4,113 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @JoeBanzai said:
    If you look at who was the more productive offensive player I'll pick Boggs because of his higher OB%.

    In road games, Boggs OB% was .387; Gwynn's was .384. Yes, Boggs is higher, but not by much.

    In road games, Boggs Slg% was .395; Gwynn's was .442. That's not close.

    If you ignore Fenway, Boggs was clearly a better hitter. If you don't - and why would you? - I think Gwynn is better.

    And I've been ignoring it since the question was about them as "hitters", but since you mentioned "offensive player", then Gwynn's lead grows because he could run the bases and Boggs was a lump.

    This is for you @thisistheshow - Jim Rice was actually a pretty good player.
  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 11,208 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @dallasactuary said:

    @JoeBanzai said:
    If you look at who was the more productive offensive player I'll pick Boggs because of his higher OB%.

    In road games, Boggs OB% was .387; Gwynn's was .384. Yes, Boggs is higher, but not by much.

    In road games, Boggs Slg% was .395; Gwynn's was .442. That's not close.

    If you ignore Fenway, Boggs was clearly a better hitter. If you don't - and why would you? - I think Gwynn is better.

    And I've been ignoring it since the question was about them as "hitters", but since you mentioned "offensive player", then Gwynn's lead grows because he could run the bases and Boggs was a lump.

    ^
    I think these two are about as close to equal as any two players compared here.

    What's your opinion on the rather large difference in their WAR.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • dallasactuarydallasactuary Posts: 4,113 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @JoeBanzai said:

    I think these two are about as close to equal as any two players compared here.

    I agree that they are very close. I don't think they are so close that you can't tell Gwynn is on top (ignoring the PED possibility). Ultimately, they are as close as they can be by standard measures, but, for me anyway, the situational hitting difference is so large that I have to go with Gwynn. WPA of 56 to 36.8 is more than a tie breaker, it's significant.

    What's your opinion on the rather large difference in their WAR.

    First, that WAR is crap. Second, that all or nearly all of that difference is due to fielding.

    As overall players, I think Boggs and Gwynn are about as close to equal as they can be, and I tend to think Boggs is on top. By nowhere near the margin that WAR says, but on top nonetheless.

    This is for you @thisistheshow - Jim Rice was actually a pretty good player.
  • 1948_Swell_Robinson1948_Swell_Robinson Posts: 1,682 ✭✭✭✭

    Gwynn's rise in the iive ball era is curious. Even if it isn't steroids, was it simply the live ball he took advantage of just as many elite hitters of the era did as well? Elite hitters in the live ball era had an easy time taking advantage of the live ball.

    Boggs was in discussion for best hitter in his prime in 1980's-1993, ahead of Gwynn.

    12 year prime from just before live ball era:

    From 1982-1993 Gwynn had 308 runs above averaged (run expectancy including men on hitting) 6,828 PA.
    From 1982-1993 Boggs had 421 runs above averaged (run expectancy including men on hitting)

    Look where Boggs stacks up with the best of that era of pre 1993 to 1975-ish):

    Best 12 year prime:
    Schmidt 528 (1976-1987)
    Boggs 421 (1982-1993)
    Murray 411 (1978-1989
    Brett 401 (1975-1986)

    Parker 369 (75-86)
    Winfield 363 (1977-1988)
    Dale Murphy 334 (1977-1988).
    Yount 322 (80-91)

    Gwynn 308 (1982-1993)
    Rice 287 (1975-1986)

    Then what happened to Gwynn after Boggs clearly established he was better for 12 years:

    From 1994-2001 Gwynn had 229 runs above average in only 3,404 Plate Appearances. Somehow Gwynn produced at a nearly 50% better clip per plate appearance in the live ball era compared to his 12 year prime before it.

    Most of that was comprised in his fuller seasons from 1994-1996 where he amassed 219 runs. 219 runs in six years(includes strike years). That is a helluva increase over what he did up to age 33 in a different era. Was it roids, was it taking advantage of an easier era to hit in? Did he just get better?

    Look at what some other hitters did in in a six year stretch from 1994 and on:

    Bonds 553 (99-05) 3,484 PA. For reference.

    Helton 419(00-05)
    Pujols 386 (01-06)
    Bagwell 370 (94-99)
    Edgar 339 (95-00)
    Larry Walker 323(97-02)
    Frank Thomas 316 (1994-99)
    Thome 296
    Piazza 279 (94-99)
    Belle 263 (94-99)
    Olerud 263
    Vlad 261
    ETC...

    Bernie Williams 237(97-02)

    Gwynn 219 (94-99)

    So Gwynn was 50% better in his old man years, yet in that league he was still dwarfed by the best hitters in MLB. So what to make of that? Did his improvements result from steroids? Did they result from the live ball? Or did he just 'not get old'(which really can't be because he got better). I don't know the answer to that, but...

    I do know that Boggs standing second among hitters in his era(which also included Gwynn) for TWELVE years is more impressive than Gwynn 'not getting old' :wink: and surpassing Boggs ONLY because of that era where elite hitting was simply a dime a dozen.

  • 1948_Swell_Robinson1948_Swell_Robinson Posts: 1,682 ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 20, 2023 5:09PM

    So above in a nutshell

    Gwynn in the live ball/steroid era Run Expectancy Batter Runs 229 in 3,404 PA(1994-)
    Gwynn in the more 'normal' era just before Run Expectancy Runs 308 in 6,824 PA(Pre 1994)

    So if we doubled Gwynn's PA and production from from the live ball era(1994-01) he would have:

    458 Runs in 6,808 plate appearances from age 34-41....

    compared to 308 in 6,824 PA Gwynn did in pre live ball/steroid era(1993-1982)....the same era where Boggs was at 421 and second best number of any hitter from 1975-1993 in any 12 year stretch.

    A 49% increase in production Gwynn attained from age 34-41 in the live ball/steroid era. As pointed out above that type of elite hitting was common in that era, whatever the cause may have been, not even counting the proven steroid guys.

    What was NOT common was putting up 421 Run Expectancy in the 1975-1993 era in any 12 year stretch. It was so uncommon that only two players managed to do that, Mike Schmidt with 528(1976-1987), and Wade Boggs(1982-1993).

    Boggs was better.

    Unless you are picking hitters for the live ball/steroid era only, then take Gwynn...any other era, grab Boggs.

  • dallasactuarydallasactuary Posts: 4,113 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @JoeBanzai said:
    I think these two are about as close to equal as any two players compared here.

    Just to add to this, Bill James agrees with you as overall players. He's got Gwynn ranked slightly ahead of Boggs in the Top100, but for career Win Shares he's got Gwynn at 398 and Boggs at 394. Of course, more of Boggs' Win Shares will be for defense, so he does rank Gwynn ahead of Boggs on offense by more than just 4. But offense includes baserunning, so I don't know what the difference purely for "hitting" is. In the end, I think the difference comes down to situational hitting where Gwynn really stood out.

    This is for you @thisistheshow - Jim Rice was actually a pretty good player.
  • daltexdaltex Posts: 3,486 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @4for4 said:
    Try to think about who the toughest guys were to strike out in the 60’s and 70’s. Let me know if you think of any of these two on the list.

    Yes, Glen Beckert was as tough to strike out as Gwynn and Buckner.

    https://www.baseball-almanac.com/hitting/histrkop1.shtml

    Well, I go back a little farther, but there is no one who comes even close to Joe Sewell. He only struck out 114 times in 14 years (8333 PA). In 1925 Sewell played in all 155 of the Indians games (there was one tie) and only struck out four times!

  • 4for44for4 Posts: 675 ✭✭✭

    Boggs had a little Tim Wakefield in him.

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  • 4for44for4 Posts: 675 ✭✭✭
    edited August 21, 2023 1:37AM

    This guy I think was as good as Gwynn and Boggs. How would this guy do against Boggs in both offense and defense.

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  • 4for44for4 Posts: 675 ✭✭✭
    edited August 21, 2023 1:39AM

    This guy was a human vacuum cleaner. He’s not in the HOF ?
    I guess defense in baseball isn’t as highly regarded as offense ?

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  • 4for44for4 Posts: 675 ✭✭✭
    edited August 21, 2023 2:29AM

    Mattingly has Brooks beat on all those bottom categories. I guess Don just didn’t play long enough?
    Please ignore WAR.

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  • 4for44for4 Posts: 675 ✭✭✭

    Flip a coin

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  • 4for44for4 Posts: 675 ✭✭✭
    edited August 21, 2023 3:57AM

    Here’s two of the best of that era whose name isn’t Ruth or Williams.
    Same amount of plate appearances.
    WAR is silly.
    Foxx perhaps better numbers if he played on those great Yankee teams Gehrig had. Both about equal.
    Gehrig 150 less games and same amount of plate appearances. Lol
    Yanks were incredible.

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  • Basebal21Basebal21 Posts: 2,217 ✭✭✭✭

    @4for4 said:
    Mattingly has Brooks beat on all those bottom categories. I guess Don just didn’t play long enough?
    Please ignore WAR.

    Mattingly played first base, his numbers arent impressive for first base.

  • daltexdaltex Posts: 3,486 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Fielding percentage is a worthless stat. Most stats that can be calculated by a fifth grader by hand aren't very useful. Most defensive stats aren't very useful. The intersection of the two is horrid.

    The top 5 shortstops in history by fielding percentage were Omar Vizquel, Troy Tulowitzki, Freddy Galvis, Jimmy Rollins, and J.J. Hardy. Ozzie Smith is 26th, more than a few behind Xander Bogaerts. Mark Belanger is 40th, .0005 ahead of Derek Jeter. I rest my case.

    Also, Mattingly was terribly overrated defensively. He was good, but not very good or great. Not nearly as good as his rough contemporary Pete O'Brien who somehow never won a gold glove competing directly against him, though of course Keith Hernandez was better than both.

    And, having almost as many home runs as Brooks Robinson isn't a ringing endorsement of a first baseman.

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