This is not so much a question for casual fans as it is for serious number-crunchers and sabremetricians.
All of us are human, and we all have our favorite players, and we all have guys we just can’t stand. That goes without saying. Sometimes, our feelings and perceptions lead us to seriously overrate or underrate players, even when we see statistical evidence that pretty well proves we’re wrong.
Example I’ve used before? Mention “Horace Clarke” to any New Yorker who followed sports in the late Sixties and early Seventies, and he’ll either laugh or groan, then tell you what a horrible second baseman Clarke was. EVERYBODY who watched the Yankees in those days remembers Clarke as a joke. Thing is, the numbers don’t bear that out! Not only was Clarke’s fielding percentage perfectly respectable, he actually led the A.L. in assists for 6 straight seasons.
But these numbers never change anyone’s mind, of course. People remember or perceived Clarke as an inept fielder, and stats just can’t change those perceptions and memories.
Stat geeks already understand how irrational most of us fans are. But I’m asking the geeks, what about YOU? Which players tempt you to disregard the stats you generally swear by?
Is there a hitter you really believe, in your gut, is a “clutch” performer, even though you don’t believe “clutch” hitters exist?
Is there a manager you’re convinced couldn’t manage his own checkbnook, even though your favorite mathgematical formula seems to prove he’s a winner?
Is there any player you’d put in the Hall of Fame, even though your pet numbers say he doesn’t deserve it? Or anyone you secretly think “sucks,” even though the numbers seem to prove he’s a huge asset to his team?
In short, are you really as logical as you’d like to be? And if not, which players tempt you to toss out the stats?