Congratulations on joining us in calling for Oh's enshrinement in Cooperstown! We can use all the help we can get in moving the stodgy baseball establishment in that direction. There are two points I want to make: first, your article makes no reference to how the Japanese baseball establishment did (and continues to) restrict the movement of Japanese players to the majors. The fact is, Oh and others of his generation had no realistic opportunity to play in the majors (see Jim's article).
Second, while you may not believe it, I initially shared your concerns about doing the statistical conversions. It can get bogged down in a mind-numbing discussion of methodology. Others choose to ignore such conversions, no matter how well they are thought out. Doing the conversions wouldn't be advisable except for one major fact: if nobody supporting Oh tried it, we'd be abandoning almost all of his stats to the naysayers who want to put the knock on the small ballparks and supposedly poor quality of Japanese pitching. Any serious analyst must concede that Oh's statistics in a local slow pitch softball league would not be HOF quality performance. The question then becomes how much of an effect did the small ballparks and supposedly poor quality of pitching have? The conversions are the best way I know of to answer that question. Really, I did the conversions not for people like yourself who are willing to look at the other factors, but for those who are skeptical of the quality of Oh's achievements in Japan. I may not sway many of them, but I might get a few, and this way I refuse to abandon the field of the significance of Oh's Japanese accomplishments to the ignoramuses. Some of them will still fight me over it, but I've moved the discussion more onto my turf, namely that I've done the research, and few if any of them have or will. I see that as a step forward.
We do, too. Thanks for your work! -Eds.
I liked your site a lot. Here is a letter on one of the most important underreported issues in baseball.
Bad strike calling is more than "an annoyance" It determines what hitters swing at and what pitchers throw, i.e. the heart of the game.
When pitches are replayed using two camera, from above and from the side, it is obvious that umpires do not obey the rules which state the strikes must be over the plate. Joe Morgan and almost all other announcers are vocal that umpires create their own version of the strike zone, sometimes differing from game to game (the same umpire): we can see it with our own eyes when
pitches are replayed. It does not take any machines, cameras suffice.
Moreover, the inconsistency, sometimes within the same at bat, puts umpires in the role of handicappers instead of "fair witnesses".
I want to find a good lawyer to pursue a class action suit on behalf of the fans of baseball to force baseball to use whatever technology is available to make sure the rules are enforced--period. Our witnesses will be announcers and players and managers and umpires, all under oath. (An umpire who does not admit what I claim here would look like a fool and become known as a perjurer.)
Are there other fans out there who would help pay for such a class action suit? We fans have an interest in this, to say the least.
I am an ardent Mariner fan, but the home field advantage strike calls in last year's fifth game against the Indians, which the Mariners "won" was an embarrassment to me and a very large part of what is ruining the game, for
this fan at least.
In the first game of the Angels-Yankees series, to see Eckstein's leadoff high ball four called a strike in the 8th, depriving the Angels of a runner on with no outs, was a travesty and is very hard for me to think of as an
Ed. Note: The following letter was originally sent to Newsweek. The author has graciously allowed us to reprint it.
To the Editor:
Today I heard Kmart was going to shutter something like a hundred more stores. Let's hope they decide to implode the one that straddles what used to be the four-way intersection of Lake and Nicollet in Historic South Minneapolis, right across the street from a charming bank building that occupies the space that was Nicollet Park, home of the Minneapolis Millers. Back in the early '50s, after Trent Loot grudgingly decided it was okay for "his kind" to play in the majors, the incomparable Mr. Willie Mays ever-so-briefly swung, caught and threw in that ballpark, with "Minneapolis" emblazoned across his chest. Too soon, the Giants realized what they had in their hot little mitts and put the man on a fast train to Gotham. Quite a bit of ignored history, especially for as repellent an intersection as that one currently is. According to historicbaseball.com, "The Giants owner even published a newspaper ad in Minneapolis to apologize for taking Mays away from the Millers."
Proposal for this issue: a new ballpark! No Twins allowed! St. Paul, under the benevolent dictatorship of "BushBoy®" Norm Coleman, paid approximately one zillion dollars US for a gloriously ugly arena and a hockey team with a goofy name. Let's make a game of figuring out how little we can spend to bring a minor league club back to the City of Lakes. I've already got a name for the park!
Our letter announcing the last issue of Mudville (which read: "Another crazy issue of Mudville Magazine has your name on it. We know that the days are growing shorter, the snow is on the ground even in the south, and we are on the verge of war. Is there not a better time to turn to the world of baseball?") prompted this response:
You forgot to mention that the economy is in the shitter.
Speaking of Bobby Thompson and Duke Snyder: Don't forget Ted WILLYUMS!
hey dude! hows it goin'? just e-mailing to say howdy-i try to catch up with y'all every now and then- i guess my letter to the editor of Mudville Magazine would express my supreme disgust at having been duped into believing i would be able to FINALLY read Mudville Magazine in blazing 3D graphics- but nooooooooo!!
at no point in my scrolling and clicking thru the latest issue did i find any need to wear my cardboard red and blue lensed freshly-punched-out-from-the-back-of-a-Freakies-cereal-box glasses!! i left the computer pod here on the adobe campus of UNM in tears(which helped our fragile eco system, and aided in drought relief for the Albuquerque area, i might add). I expected to be dodging dingers which, through the miracle of your promised "3D" graphics, would appear to be fresh off the bat of Mr. Sadaharu Oh. I expected to feel actually surrounded by those fogs you say tumble down the slopes of Mt. Fuji. I wanted to wander through a remote forest of yachidamo trees. What a let down! Now i have paper cuts on my
nasal bridge from the glasses which luckily my salty tears have managed to cleanse thoroughly.
GIVE ME 3D OR GIVE ME DEATH! CARPE 3-DIEM!
Thanks to you guys for another thought provoking issue! I agree with you totally on the impact of Jackie Robinson's powerful breakthrough while integrating the game in the late 40's. While I admit Oh was a great player in Japan in the 60's & 70's. I'm not convinced he belongs in the U.S. BB HOF.