LambeauLeap1250 WSSP


  
Go to page 1, 2  Next  [ 24 posts ]  New Topic   Add Reply

Did languishing in Boston cost Cecil Cooper a chance at Cooperstown?

Author Message
Offline  Did languishing in Boston cost Cecil Cooper a chance at Cooperstown?
#1

Posted: July 15, 2020, 4:53 AM Post
User avatar
Posts: 3493
Location: Flower Mound, TX
Image
Between 1975 and 1983, Cecil Cooper was a .312 hitter.

There's no denying that Cecil Cooper was one of the best players in baseball in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He emerged as a perennial All Star after being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, in a deal that sent George Scott back to Boston.

But "Coop" didn't become a starter until he came to Milwaukee in 1977, at age 27. He was a rookie in 1971, and spent six seasons in Boston languishing on the bench, or playing as a designated hitter. Per SABR's website, he was rumored to be up for a starting job in 1972. But the Red Sox acquired Danny Cater from the Yankees, and Cooper was sent to AAA. He played 12 games that year. 30 in 1973. He finally started getting some consistent playing time the next season, appearing in 121, 106 and 123 games the next three seasons. Yet even after an All Star caliber performance in 1975 (.311 AVG, 14 HR, 44 RBI, .899 OPS), the Red Sox still found a way to keep him out of nearly 40 games the following season.

Did Cecil Cooper's late start cost him a chance at being elected to the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown?

Now, before you instantly dismiss this thought, consider this. Harold Baines was just named to the Hall by the Veteran's Committee. I don't agree with it, but he's a Hall of Famer. Baines has a career bWAR of 38.7 playing in 2,830 games.

His stat line:

.289 AVG, 2,830 games, 11,092 PA, 9,908 AB, 1,299 runs, 2,866 hits, 488 doubles, 49 triples, 384 home runs, 1,628 RBI. .356 OBP/.465 SLG/.820 OPS 121 OPS+

In 22 seasons, Baines was a 5-time All Star. In 1984, he led the American League in slugging. That's the only time he ever led in any offensive category. He received MVP votes in four seasons, with a 9th place finish in 1985 being his best finish. He received one Silver Slugger in his career.

Compare his line to that of Cecil Cooper's:

.298 AVG, 1,986 games, 7,939 PA, 7,349 AB, 1,012 runs, 2,192 hits, 415 doubles, 47 triples, 241 home runs, 1,125 RBI. .337 OBP/.446 SLG/.803 OPS 121 OPS+

Cooper was a 5-time All Star, leading the league in doubles twice, in RBI twice, and total bases once. He had four top ten finishes in the MVP: 8th in 1981, and 5th place in 1980, 1982 and 1983. He won two Gold Gloves, and three Silver Sluggers. Cooper's career OPS+ is identical to Baines'.

What if Cooper had been made the starter in 1972, or in 1973? How many more games played, and most importantly for Cooper's Hall candidacy, hits, would he have added to his career?

Cecil Cooper's 36.0 career bWAR is only 2.7 less than Baines' career total, and Baines played 934 more games. Baines has 3,889 more career at bats than Cooper, and yet Cooper's performance provided nearly the identical value. Now, certainly, Baines is at the extreme low end of Hall worthiness. But if Baines is in, and Cooper, playing 5.75 fewer seasons, has provided the same value, maybe he deserves another look.

Cecil Cooper became a starter in 1977 at age 27. To that point, he had played in 406 games, and had 1,330 at bats. Baines, before his age 27 season (1986), had played in 847 games, and totaled 3,184 more at bats. That's 1,854 more at bats than Cooper had at the same point in his career. Cooper was a .283 hitter in Boston. If he adds 1,854 more at bats, hitting .283, he gets 525 more hits.

His career hit total is 2,717.

Ah, but that's assuming he stays the .283 hitter he was as a Red Sox player, and doesn't progress a step further to becoming the player he was in Milwaukee.

What if, instead of being a .283 hitter he was, he's closer to the .302 career hitter he was in Milwaukee? 1,854 at bats, 560 hits. Using his career totals (ie what percentage of his career hits are doubles), his numbers project to this:

1,271 runs, 2,752 hits, 521 doubles, 59 triples, 303 home runs, 1,412 RBI. 4,300 total bases. 45.2 bWAR.

Does the Veteran's Committee give him serious consideration for the Hall with those numbers? Coop probably wins at least one more Silver Slugger, and maybe another Gold Glove. When you consider that in 1981, Cooper lost a third of a season, a year in which his OPS+ was 151, hitting .320. The strike cost him 63 more hits.

But again, I'm using career averages. The best and worst are averaged together. Cooper's stats, between 1977 and 1983, are stunning, given the era of reduced offense.

Cooper's 162 game averages between 1977 and 1983:

.316 AVG, 99 runs, 206 hits, 40 doubles, 4 triples, 26 home runs, 109 RBI, .354 OBP/.504 SLG/.858 OPS 137 OPS+

I've seen Cooper compared to Rod Carew several times over the years, and it's no coincidence, as Cooper's stance was altered to more closely resemble Carew's.

By the way, between 1977 and 1983, Rod Carew hit .337. His OPS+ over that span? 137. The same as Cooper's. Carew won six batting titles, and Cooper never won one, although only George Brett's flirting with .400 in 1980 stood in his way of one. Carew was an all-time great. Cooper isn't looked at in the same light, and shouldn't be. But perhaps Cooper's career merits re-examination.

It's certainly not a guarantee that he gets serious consideration for the Hall if he'd started earlier. But here's the bottom line. If Cooper begins as a full time player at the same point Harold Baines did, his numbers are better. He likely goes past 2,800 career hits, and is nearing 1,500 RBI. Baines beats him in power numbers, but a .298 AVG bests Baines' .289, and Cooper is a much more highly decorated player than Baines ever was.

I ask myself a question when it comes to Cooperstown. What does the Hall of Fame exist to recognize? Greatness? Or, really good players that hung around forever, and put together fairly impressive counting stats? There are two tiers to the Hall of Fame, as I see it. The first tier exists for the immortals of the game: Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson, Cy Young, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Lefty Grove, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Bob Gibson, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Roberto Clemente, Mike Schmidt, and Tom Seaver, among others. The second tier exists for the guys that combined a peak of greatness, and longevity, or, had shorter careers, but absolutely dominated at their peak. Carl Yastrzemski would be a good example of the first. Sandy Koufax the second.

I look at Harold Baines, and I see a very good player. Was he ever one of the ten best players in the game? I don't think so. At what point in his career was Harold Baines ever truly great?

Baseball Reference lists a season of 5.0 WAR+ as being All Star level, and 7.0 or higher as MVP level.

Harold Baines' best seasons by WAR:

1984, 4.3
1982, 3.4
1986, 2.9
1991, 2.9
1999, 2.8

He doesn't have a single season that even approaches All Star caliber. 1984 is a fringe All Star season, at best.

Compare him to Cooper:

1980, 6.8
1981, 6.1* (Cooper played in 106 of 109 games. 6.1 is a projection based on 155 games played).
1982, 5.6
1983, 4.0
1979, 3.7
1978, 3.0*
1977, 2.7

Cooper only played in 107 of 162 games in 1978. I won't adjust this, as it was due to a reason other than a strike (injury, hold out, etc). His WAR jumps to a 4.3 if he plays in 154 games. And his WAR7 with those two adjustments comes out to 33.0. The average WAR7 of 21 Hall of Fame first basemen is 42.7. Then Cooper is pretty close to some modern first baseman Hall of Famers: Orlando Cepeda (34.5), Tony Perez (36.5), Harmon Killebrew (38.1).

I guess I'm bored out of my skull because we're still ten days away from Major League Baseball, and looking for interesting discussion. Sadly, we'll never know what could have happened with Cecil Cooper if he had played longer. I think he was clearly one of the best hitters in baseball for nearly a decade, 1975 to 1983. Cooper hit .312, OPSing .851, a 135 OPS+ over that nine year period.

Ultimately, he doesn't get in. But I think it would be a discredit to how good Cecil Cooper was as a player for the Veteran's Committee to at not least kick the tires on his career one more time. If you're a top 5 MVP candidate three times in four years, you're one of the best players in the game.

What do you all think?

There are three things America will be known for 2000 years from now when they study this civilization: the Constitution, jazz music and baseball. They're the three most beautifully designed things this culture has ever produced. Gerald Early


 Top
 
Quote   Reply 
Offline  Re: Did languishing in Boston cost Cecil Cooper a chance at Cooperstown?
#2

Posted: July 15, 2020, 7:51 AM Post
User avatar
Posts: 1662
My simple short answer would be no. Cooper would compare with Al Oliver who doesn't get any consideration.


 Top
 
Quote   Reply 
Offline  Re: Did languishing in Boston cost Cecil Cooper a chance at Cooperstown?
#3

Posted: July 15, 2020, 9:38 AM Post
Posts: 220
I agree with everything you said.


 Top
 
Quote   Reply 
Offline  Re: Did languishing in Boston cost Cecil Cooper a chance at Cooperstown?
#4

Posted: July 15, 2020, 9:48 AM Post
Posts: 220
Last year I flew into Arizona with plans to drive to Flagstaff to spend the night before heading to Monument Valley. Our plane was delayed and it resulted me pulling into our hotel in Flagstaff at 3:00. I was dead tired and walk into the lobby and an older guy is talking to me while I check in and he notices my Brewers cap and tells me is a Brewers fan. Then he says well I was when Cecil Cooper played there. I told him Cecil was my favorite player of all time and he said that he was also his and that his fandom followed him from Boston to Milwaukee. I'm probably near the youngest person who would list Cecil as my favorite player at 45 and this man was probably near 80 and we shared a real moment in the dead of the night at some cheap motel and it made me wish that I could someday run into Cecil to share with him that story.


 Top
 
Quote   Reply 
Offline  Re: Did languishing in Boston cost Cecil Cooper a chance at Cooperstown?
#5

Posted: July 15, 2020, 10:02 AM Post
Posts: 2130
I agree that Baines is not worthy. But, yes if Baines is worthy and Cooper had played two more seasons, he would/should be in the HoF also.


 Top
 
Quote   Reply 
Offline  Re: Did languishing in Boston cost Cecil Cooper a chance at Cooperstown?
#6

Posted: July 15, 2020, 10:06 AM Post
User avatar
Posts: 8960
Partially on topic rant:

In theory, using stats to compare guys who you think/feel should be in the HOF to guys already in the HOF should make sense but really it's pointless. The voters have decided that guys like Bonds and Clemens won't get in because they took the roids and Schilling because they don't like his politics so much lesser players like Baines and Raines get in because they were really good players and, more importantly, nice guys.


 Top
 
Quote   Reply 
Offline  Re: Did languishing in Boston cost Cecil Cooper a chance at Cooperstown?
#7

Posted: July 15, 2020, 4:00 PM Post
Posts: 4033
Languishing in Boston, yes.

Also: Cooper’s zero World Series rings, and non flashy persona cost him, too. Not “Famous” enough. HOF voters like flash & stardom, unless you are too flashy. If you are too flashy or controversial you have to be one of the best.

Also: You can break some rules as long as you don’t break others. And, it’s very important to not break certain rules that weren’t actually rules when you played, but some people think they should have been rules so then you are out.

The David Stearns era: Controllable Young Talent. Watch the Jedi work his magic!


 Top
 
Quote   Reply 
Offline  Re: Did languishing in Boston cost Cecil Cooper a chance at Cooperstown?
#8

Posted: July 15, 2020, 6:35 PM Post
Posts: 200
I think its also safe to argue that his significant falloff from 1983 (age 33 season) hurt just him, too. If he puts 3-4 good seasons together, and then starts to slide maybe it gets him to 300 HR and 2400-2500 hits.


 Top
 
Quote   Reply 
Offline  Re: Did languishing in Boston cost Cecil Cooper a chance at Cooperstown?
#9

Posted: July 17, 2020, 8:16 AM Post
Posts: 404
Cecil had that broken leg in 1978 which cost him a chunk of that season in his prime as well. Cecil gets hurt by a number of factors. He did sit on the bench (too much) in Boston, he may have hung on too long which cost him a lifetime .300 batting average, his best years were in Milwaukee, Sparky Anderson accused him of having a corked bat, and he didn't do many interviews. He was a terrific hitter. During the Bambi's Bombers/Harvey's Wallbangers run from 1978-1983, I think that he would have been considered our most dangerous hitter until Yount's MVP year. In my opinion, he is underappreciated. One more thing, we didn't see the video game numbers from hitters in the 1970s and 1980s like we have since. I feel like the players that I grew up watching have not received their due as a result.


 Top
 
Quote   Reply 
Offline  Re: Did languishing in Boston cost Cecil Cooper a chance at Cooperstown?
#10

Posted: July 17, 2020, 8:52 PM Post
User avatar
Posts: 462
The ‘satche- Awesome post. Haven’t been around in awhile, but when I saw Coop’s name- had to add my weight. Could not agree more w everything u said And how you stated it. Though many players should be in over the likes Baines and Morris...cough, cough. And Dean Machine- I’m 40- so got u beat by a few years. And Eddiehitsthefoulpole- Mattingly, Murphy, and so many other Under appreciated greats say what’s up. But The HoF should be the best players of their generation. Yet No one can argue that Donnie Baseball wasn’t one of the best players of his generation- and like many forgottens stars- an injury cost him his greatness. People can make arguments for lots of guys who are in or out, but the best criteria I ever heard for The HoF is that if you have to make an argument for them to be in, they shouldn’t be in.

Either way it’s frustrating the double standard logic behind so many of the entries and exclusions. Thanks for trying to bring some much deserved love to the great Cecil Cooper from a time when leading the league with 35 hrs was the measure of power.


 Top
 
Quote   Reply 
Offline  Re: Did languishing in Boston cost Cecil Cooper a chance at Cooperstown?
#11

Posted: July 18, 2020, 7:59 AM Post
Posts: 14078
Not sure I would use HOFers as examples of how Cooper should be too. They should be like Cooper and be nowhere near the HOF.

Great player and underrated in Brewers history...but he was nowhere near a HOF career.


 Top
 
Quote   Reply 
Online  Re: Did languishing in Boston cost Cecil Cooper a chance at Cooperstown?
#12

Posted: July 18, 2020, 1:24 PM Post
User avatar
Global Moderator
Posts: 3328
From 1974-76, Cooper played in 350 of 486 games, totaled 1,270 plate appearances & put up 4.6 WAR, or .0036 WAR/PA.

Let's say he had been the full time starter since 1972 & averaged 600 PAs per season through 1976 with that same .0036 WAR/PA, that essentially would haved added about 6 WAR to his career total.

The average HOF 1B has a career WAR of 66.9, a peak 7 year WAR of 42.7 & a JAWS (50/50 career/peak split) of 54.8.

Even if you add those extra 6 WAR, Cooper comes in at 42 career, 30 peak & 36 JAWS which still falls well short of other recent 1B like Keith Hernandez (60.3/41.3/50.8), John Olerud (58.1/39.0/48.6), Will Clark (56.5/36.1/46.3), Fred McGriff (52.6/36.0/44.3), Mark Grace (46.4/29.7/38.0) or Don Mattingly (42.4/35.7/39.1).


 Top
 
Quote   Reply 
Online  Re: Did languishing in Boston cost Cecil Cooper a chance at Cooperstown?
#13

Posted: July 18, 2020, 1:32 PM Post
User avatar
Global Moderator
Posts: 3328
jerichoholicninja said:
so much lesser players like Baines and Raines get in


Baines & Raines don't really belong in same category.

Harold has a career WAR of 38.7, a peak 7 year WAR of 21.4 & JAWS (50/50 career/peak split) of 30.1, all far short of the average HOF RF at 71.9 career, 42.4 peak & 57.2 JAWS.

Tim has a career WAR of 69.4, peak WAR of 42.4 & JAWS of 55.9, all of which are slightly above the average HOF LF at 65.6 career, 41.7 peak & 53.6 JAWS.


 Top
 
Quote   Reply 
Offline  Re: Did languishing in Boston cost Cecil Cooper a chance at Cooperstown?
#14

Posted: July 18, 2020, 8:31 PM Post
Posts: 63
Location: WI
Great post. Awesome topic. I loved Coop. How could you not. Totally underrated. To this day I still have a minor distaste towards Treb because he went with Brock instead of him (even though that was obviously the right choice). I've tried countless times dissecting numbers and stats trying my hardest to put him in the Hall of Fame. Every time I come to the same, hopeless conclusion that he just isn't a Hall of Famer.

Love the Baines comparison, but two wrongs don't make a right.

The best shot Cooper had at the Hall, in my opinion, was if Boston started him earlier. The big catch is, if he would have started putting up numbers in Boston similar to what he was going to do in Milwaukee, the Red Sox most likely do not trade him. Much less for an aging, power hitting first baseman in Scott. He possibly spends the rest of his career in Boston...has a HoF career, and this post, the memories, the hit against the Angels, and all the other Cooper fans in Milwaukee might not even exist.

He obviously didn't get a fair chance in Boston and am thrilled Milwaukee gave him the opportunity to shine. Even if it was for only a "brief" time.


 Top
 
Quote   Reply 
Offline  Re: Did languishing in Boston cost Cecil Cooper a chance at Cooperstown?
#15

Posted: July 19, 2020, 7:18 AM Post
Posts: 12510
MrTPlush said:
Not sure I would use HOFers as examples of how Cooper should be too. They should be like Cooper and be nowhere near the HOF.

Great player and underrated in Brewers history...but he was nowhere near a HOF career.


I wouldn't say that. His 5 best years compare favorably with a lot of HOFers. Don't forget, the strike in 1981 cost him more than 50 games when he was squarely in his prime. Yeah he likely needed at least 3 more seasons at those levels for serious consideration but I'd say he might have been the best player to get completely shut out in the voting so the premise that his years in Boston cost him, is a valid one. My goodness, Andre Thornton, who was nowhere near the player Coop was got a couple of votes the year he was shut out.


 Top
 
Quote   Reply 
Online  Re: Did languishing in Boston cost Cecil Cooper a chance at Cooperstown?
#16

Posted: July 19, 2020, 8:43 AM Post
User avatar
Global Moderator
Posts: 3328
JohnBriggs12 said:
His 5 best years compare favorably with a lot of HOFers.


Not really.

Coop's 5 best years totaled 24.3 WAR.

Still well short of bottom rung HOF 1B like Frank Chance (29.3), Tony Perez (29.1) and Orlando Cepeda (27.0) or guys that are on the outside looking in like John Olerud (31.3), Keith Hernandez (31.2), Don Mattingly (29.3), Will Clark (28.5), Fred McGriff (27.8) or even Kevin Youkilis (26.7).


 Top
 
Quote   Reply 
Offline  Re: Did languishing in Boston cost Cecil Cooper a chance at Cooperstown?
#17

Posted: July 19, 2020, 9:53 AM Post
User avatar
Posts: 15280
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Brewer great, not an all time great. More Brewers fans should know about him.

"I'm not as good as I was but in big moments I'm still the guy. I want that opportunity." -Ryan Braun


 Top
 
Quote   Reply 
Offline  Re: Did languishing in Boston cost Cecil Cooper a chance at Cooperstown?
#18

Posted: July 19, 2020, 10:45 PM Post
User avatar
Global Moderator
Posts: 8151
Cooper was all star level for a decent number of years and almost mvp caliber for a few. The problem comes when you start saying things like if he had only played a few more years or if he had played a few more years at the beginning of his career. Cuz you can honestly say that for hundreds of guys.

I know the OP isn't saying that Cooper should be in the Hall of Fame, but I definitely feel like when you say things like hypothetically he would have x more number of hits or x more number of homers.....it just opens a big can of worms because again, you can say that for hundreds and hundreds of players that missed out on chunks of their careers for any number of reasons.

if, in the event that we opened the Hall of Fame up for guys that were hypothetically good for longer periods, there would be 2,000 guys in in no time.


 Top
 
Quote   Reply 
Offline  Re: Did languishing in Boston cost Cecil Cooper a chance at Cooperstown?
#19

Posted: July 20, 2020, 7:34 AM Post
User avatar
Global Moderator
Posts: 6231
RoCoBrewfan said:
if, in the event that we opened the Hall of Fame up for guys that were hypothetically good for longer periods, there would be 2,000 guys in in no time.


I only missed the HOF by 3000 hits... [wink]


 Top
 
Quote   Reply 
Offline  Re: Did languishing in Boston cost Cecil Cooper a chance at Cooperstown?
#20

Posted: November 17, 2020, 9:06 AM Post

Roster Guru
Posts: 3372
adam mccalvy chimes in on the subject . . .


 Top
 
Quote   Reply 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Go to page 1, 2  Next  [ 24 posts ]  New Topic   Add Reply
  


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: PeaveyFury, sveumrules and 9 guests

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search this forum (phpBB search):
Jump to:  
Search entire board (Google search):
Google
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
Test