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View Full Version : Good Sox hitters circa 1994 vs. today's


A. Cavatica
08-01-2004, 12:15 PM
Tim Raines is a borderline Hall of Famer. What are you daft? All four of those guys were good ballplayers that helped us win. Most of our current guys are boneheads. I'm shocked at your lack of knowledge. Unbelievable.
I never criticized Tim Raines.

I said Cora, Johnson, and Guillen were terrible offensive players, and very similar to Harris, Perez, and Uribe. How old were you in 1993? Eleven? Those players were weaknesses on that team, not strengths.

PaleHoseGeorge
08-01-2004, 12:38 PM
I'm splitting this into its own thread because I think it raises an interesting point for discussion: How much has baseball changed in the ten years since the Sox were back-to-back division champions.

My answer: A lot.

Ozzie Guillen, Joey Cora, and Lance Johnson were all adequate hitters for the Sox in 1993. However all of them were past their prime by that point in their career. Also Tim Raines was past his prime, but he was still contributing with his baserunning, OBP, and his stick. I would kill for the '04 Sox to have lead-off man of his caliber.

However by 1994 the game was changing. Remember the "rabbit" in the ball that season? There were all sorts of all-time offensive records about to be shattered before the strike started in August, wiping out the remaining part of the season.

In '94 guys like Frank Thomas, Julio Franco, and Robin Ventura were still holy terrors for the Sox, but the Sox as a team were not as explosive as their new competition: the Cleveland Indians. That team bristled with great hitters, Albert Belle, Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Kenny Lofton, etc. Weak-hitting players like Guillen, Cora, and Johnson became liabilities.

The Sox were still good enough to hold off Cleveland (barely) thanks mostly to our superior pitching staff, but by 1995 the game had changed and the Sox were strictly also-rans to the offensive juggernaut Cleveland had become.

The ballparks today are smaller, with less foul territory and shorter power alleys. Perhaps more than half the hitters are juicing and you need to score 5 runs just to have a 50/50 chance at winning the game. A team like the '94 Sox would have a hard time keeping up with the best teams of '04 precisely because of the weak bats we had at SS, 2B, and CF. Toss in no-stick Ron Karkovice behind the plate and our pitching staff would truly be under the gun to prevent runs scored.

The game has changed in the last 10 years. You still need pitching more than anything else, but keeping banjo hitters in the everyday lineup is a prescription for failure.

samram
08-01-2004, 12:53 PM
I'm splitting this into its own thread because I think it raises an interesting point for discussion: How much has baseball changed in the ten years since the Sox were back-to-back division champions.

My answer: A lot.

Ozzie Guillen, Joey Cora, and Lance Johnson were all adequate hitters for the Sox in 1993. However all of them were past their prime by that point in their career. Also Tim Raines was past his prime, but he was still contributing with his baserunning, OBP, and his stick. I would kill for the '04 Sox to have lead-off man of his caliber.

However by 1994 the game was changing. Remember the "rabbit" in the ball that season? There were all sorts of all-time offensive records about to be shattered before the strike started in August, wiping out the remaining part of the season.

In '94 guys like Frank Thomas, Julio Franco, and Robin Ventura were still holy terrors for the Sox, but the Sox as a team were not as explosive as their new competition: the Cleveland Indians. That team bristled with great hitters, Albert Belle, Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Kenny Lofton, etc. Weak-hitting players like Guillen, Cora, and Johnson became liabilities.

The Sox were still good enough to hold off Cleveland (barely) thanks mostly to our superior pitching staff, but by 1995 the game had changed and the Sox were strictly also-rans to the offensive juggernaut Cleveland had become.

The ballparks today are smaller, with less foul territory and shorter power alleys. Perhaps more than half the hitters are juicing and you need to score 5 runs just to have a 50/50 chance at winning the game. A team like the '94 Sox would have a hard time keeping up with the best teams of '04 precisely because of the weak bats we had at SS, 2B, and CF. Toss in no-stick Ron Karkovice behind the plate and our pitching staff would truly be under the gun to prevent runs scored.

The game has changed in the last 10 years. You still need pitching more than anything else, but keeping banjo hitters in the everyday lineup is a prescription for failure.
The Sox did have four All-Star caliber starters though, which almost no one has today. (That year, Alvarez and Bere were on the team, and McDowell and Fernandez, were also very good). And remember the world champs last year had two banjo hitters at the top of the order, albeit better than Cora and probably better than Raines, although with less power. Overall, however, I agree with you, that you have to be able to score, and score a lot, even in the playoffs, to win it all.

Paulwny
08-01-2004, 01:02 PM
The one difference between the banjo hitters of 93 vs today is they didn't kill most rallies. All of them, including Karkovice could lay down a bunt, at least their out was beneficial.

batmanZoSo
08-01-2004, 04:57 PM
I never criticized Tim Raines.

I said Cora, Johnson, and Guillen were terrible offensive players, and very similar to Harris, Perez, and Uribe. How old were you in 1993? Eleven? Those players were weaknesses on that team, not strengths.
No they weren't weaknesses. They weren't the best players on that team, certainly three of the lightest hitters, but that doesn't make them weaknesses. Harris and Perez starting--those are two weaknesses because they aren't legit starters. The 93 guys were. They all did their jobs and were integral in us winning the division. Johnson had great range in center, great speed, hit for a high average...I would take him over Aaron Rowand. I would also take Cora over Harris or Perez. Cora was a good scrappy player, he did a good job batting in front of Frank. Guillen was a solid fielder and a pretty clutch hitter. He was a nice shortstop to have. It's so popular now to trash Ozzie the player, but he was a fixture there for ten years, he must've done something right. I don't care how old I was and thanks for checking my profile. I watched every game that year.

batmanZoSo
08-01-2004, 05:06 PM
I'm splitting this into its own thread because I think it raises an interesting point for discussion: How much has baseball changed in the ten years since the Sox were back-to-back division champions.

My answer: A lot.

Ozzie Guillen, Joey Cora, and Lance Johnson were all adequate hitters for the Sox in 1993. However all of them were past their prime by that point in their c...areer. Also Tim Raines was past his prime, but he was still contributing with his baserunning, OBP, and his stick. I would kill for the '04 Sox to have lead-off man of his caliber.

However by 1994 the game was changing. Remember the "rabbit" in the ball that season? There were all sorts of all-time offensive records about to be shattered before the strike started in August, wiping out the remaining part of the season.

In '94 guys like Frank Thomas, Julio Franco, and Robin Ventura were still holy terrors for the Sox, but the Sox as a team were not as explosive as their new competition: the Cleveland Indians. That team bristled with great hitters, Albert Belle, Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Kenny Lofton, etc. Weak-hitting players like Guillen, Cora, and Johnson became liabilities.

The Sox were still good enough to hold off Cleveland (barely) thanks mostly to our superior pitching staff, but by 1995 the game had changed and the Sox were strictly also-rans to the offensive juggernaut Cleveland had become.

The ballparks today are smaller, with less foul territory and shorter power alleys. Perhaps more than half the hitters are juicing and you need to score 5 runs just to have a 50/50 chance at winning the game. A team like the '94 Sox would have a hard time keeping up with the best teams of '04 precisely because of the weak bats we had at SS, 2B, and CF. Toss in no-stick Ron Karkovice behind the plate and our pitching staff would truly be under the gun to prevent runs scored.

The game has changed in the last 10 years. You still need pitching more than anything else, but keeping banjo hitters in the everyday lineup is a prescription for failure.
I think these are some good points but it's also a bit melodramatic. You obviously don't need that Lofton, Alomar, Justice, Thome, Ramirez, Fryman, Sexson thing going on to win it all. The 93 Sox and the 94 Sox could've and should've went all the way. If Black Jack didn't blow up twice we probably would've done it. And in 94 we had an even better lineup with Thomas finally having real protection in Franco (20 hr 98 rbi at the strike). The reason we didn't do anything in 95 is because it just wasn't the same team, we had a few injuries, a few departures. McDowell was gone for one and I think that's the year Bere got hurt. So there you go. It had nothing to do with the Sox scrappy players not being able to cut it anymore.

The Twins are a good example that you don't need to slug it out. Name one hitter you fear in that lineup. You probably can't. Who Koskie? Jacque Jones? Ooooo. Lew Ford? Ha. But they keep beating us somehow. Hmmmm....I think scrappy beats slugging any day.

owensmouth
08-01-2004, 05:12 PM
That same Joey Cora left Chicago and went to Seattle, where he had a couple very good years with the Mariners. He batted .297, .291, and .300 in successive years.

PaleHoseGeorge
08-01-2004, 05:33 PM
I think these are some good points but it's also a bit melodramatic. You obviously don't need that Lofton, Alomar, Justice, Thome, Ramirez, Fryman, Sexson thing going on to win it all. The 93 Sox and the 94 Sox could've and should've went all the way. If Black Jack didn't blow up twice we probably would've done it. And in 94 we had an even better lineup with Thomas finally having real protection in Franco (20 hr 98 rbi at the strike). The reason we didn't do anything in 95 is because it just wasn't the same team, we had a few injuries, a few departures. McDowell was gone for one and I think that's the year Bere got hurt. So there you go. It had nothing to do with the Sox scrappy players not being able to cut it anymore.

The Twins are a good example that you don't need to slug it out. Name one hitter you fear in that lineup. You probably can't. Who Koskie? Jacque Jones? Ooooo. Lew Ford? Ha. But they keep beating us somehow. Hmmmm....I think scrappy beats slugging any day.
Just so there is no misunderstanding, I completely agree Cora, Johnson, and Guillen were far more valuable players to the 93/94 Sox than are Harris, Perez, or Uribe to the '04 Sox. If you read what I wrote above, you'll see I'm actually giving them *more credit* for how valuable they were back in the early-90's when teams didn't score at the same rate they do today. In other words, the penalty we pay for letting guys like Perez, Uribe, and Harris play today is far worse today.

As for why Minnesota beats us, you only need to track down the sleepy-headed idiot who used to manage this team to find your answer. Even the Twins admitted they thought Manuel as Sox manager was a major advantage they had over the Sox -- and that was *before* the idiot sent Paniaqua into the game to pitch the ninth inning last September. I'm surprised he didn't have Neal Cotts start that game, too.
:wink:

I remind you the Sox *swept* the Twins this past June/July. Without Frank or Maggs, this same team could barely beat Detroit.

As for what makes a winning team, I'll start with a superior pitching staff (like the 93/94 Sox) every time. However if you think "scrappy" hitters who advance runners while making outs beat sluggers who simply get on base and/or score runs, you are sadly mistakened.

Lip Man 1
08-01-2004, 10:18 PM
The 1995 team was carved up because Sox management said they had "to recoop their financial losses from the players strike." (exact quote...)

and with that Jack McDowell was traded to the Yankees for some magic beans, Julio Franco and Darrin Jackson decided to play in Japan and Jason Bere did get hurt.

Sox G.M. Ron Schueler brought in some 'quality' (read cheap) replacements though in Chris Sabo, Rob Dibble, Dave Righetti, Jim Abbott and John Kruk.

The 'highlight' of the season was winning a game and tying another against the Cubs in the pre season to keep the Sox undefeated record in the Crosstown Classic started in 1984. After that it was all downhill.

Lip

samram
08-02-2004, 06:53 AM
The 1995 team was carved up because Sox management said they had "to recoop their financial losses from the players strike." (exact quote...)

and with that Jack McDowell was traded to the Yankees for some magic beans, Julio Franco and Darrin Jackson decided to play in Japan and Jason Bere did get hurt.

Sox G.M. Ron Schueler brought in some 'quality' (read cheap) replacements though in Chris Sabo, Rob Dibble, Dave Righetti, Jim Abbott and John Kruk.

The 'highlight' of the season was winning a game and tying another against the Cubs in the pre season to keep the Sox undefeated record in the Crosstown Classic started in 1984. After that it was all downhill.

Lip
Yeah, but if the strike continued, they would have had the best team lead by Oil Can Boyd and Pete Rose, Jr.

Dadawg_77
08-02-2004, 10:27 AM
Comparing 94 versus 04. Joey Cora .276/.353/.362 ISO:.086 is Willie Harris .258/.351/.304 ISO:.046 on steroids. Jose is better then Ozzie, Rowand is better the Won Dog, and Lee is better then Raines. Career year Darrin Jackson is worse then Mags, but better then Gload. But Franco was better then Konerko, 94 Thomas was better then 04 Thomas, Ventura over Crede.

Pitching

I would take 94 staff over teh 04 staff. Four starters with ERA under 4 when the AL avg was 4.80, today it is 4.57. Even though I would rather have Shingo as the closer the 94 pen was better.

Links
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/teams/pitching?team=chw
http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/CHW/1994.shtml
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/lg_averages2004.html
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/lg_averages1994.html

gosox41
08-02-2004, 10:54 AM
No they weren't weaknesses. They weren't the best players on that team, certainly three of the lightest hitters, but that doesn't make them weaknesses. Harris and Perez starting--those are two weaknesses because they aren't legit starters. The 93 guys were. They all did their jobs and were integral in us winning the division. Johnson had great range in center, great speed, hit for a high average...I would take him over Aaron Rowand. I would also take Cora over Harris or Perez. Cora was a good scrappy player, he did a good job batting in front of Frank. Guillen was a solid fielder and a pretty clutch hitter. He was a nice shortstop to have. It's so popular now to trash Ozzie the player, but he was a fixture there for ten years, he must've done something right. I don't care how old I was and thanks for checking my profile. I watched every game that year.
This is a great thread. I looked back at Cora, Johnson, Raines, and Guillens stats in 1994. Cora had a .364 OBP that year and Raines had a .398 OBP. They also batted 1-2 in the order and did a great job setting the table for Frank and Julio. Guillen and Johnson had .313 and .319 OBP's. I don't know what the average was back then for OBP but last year it was .335 so these guys were below average.

One other thing I did notice was that Cora, Johnson and Raines all had more walks then strike outs. (Johnson never had more then 40 K's in a season according to ESPN.com) That means they were working deep into counts a lot.

If memory serves correct they were also great bunters. Raines and Johnson both had 20+ steals in the shortened campaign. Cora did the year before but I remember he wasn't allowed to run when Frank was up.

Compare that to the .351 OBP by Harris (which is good but has declined the last month), .300 for Perez, and .326 for Gload. All these guys have more K's then walks and only Harris has shown any life as a base stealer with 12 (75% success rate) but he seems to be to chicken to run more often.

I think the old SOx guys overall were better. Less K's makes a difference. More BB's then K's is a sign of a hitter who is working the count and waiting for his pitch (as well as raising the pitcher's pitch count that much faster). And of course they all seemed to be able to bunt better then what we have now.

The biggest thing is the importance of hitting. A hitter needs to do one of two things well: Hit for power or get on base a lot. The 2004 team is lacking that. You may not be able to get it at every position, but Cora and Raines did an excellent job of setting the table for Thomas and Franco. Johnson was slightly below average but decent at getting on base and was a great end of the line up hitter. Heck, even Karkovice had a .329 OBP in 77 games in 1994 and he hit .213 that year!! For a catcher I believe that would be slightly above average for that position. Of course Thomas, Franco, and Ventura were all stellar with Thomas being far and way the best in the game that year.



Bob