This is the best Red Sox team...ever.

wiffleballhero

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In the simulacrum
Pre-integration disqualifies them in my book.
This is sort of where I am at as well. When looking at the group of teams in baseball history who won over, say, 105 games, it becomes hard to take seriously the pre-integration teams, not just for purely political reasons either. The lack of the player pool, as just a pure baseball issue, makes it hard to be super impressed.
 

BuellMiller

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Mar 25, 2015
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That’s great. I go to BBREF a lot and I always try to identify the players pictured. This morning, went there and thought, know that one, know that one, hey, wait a minute, they’re all Red Sox! Great sense of humor or being of the moment by them.
Yeah! I do the same thing. At one point, I tried to get a friend to do some kind of "fantasy" draft of those players (like we'd each pick 2 or 3 out of the 12 every day over the course of a few weeks and then see who has a better team. But he claimed he didn't have time, something about having "wife" and "kids"
 

Al Zarilla

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Yeah! I do the same thing. At one point, I tried to get a friend to do some kind of "fantasy" draft of those players (like we'd each pick 2 or 3 out of the 12 every day over the course of a few weeks and then see who has a better team. But he claimed he didn't have time, something about having "wife" and "kids"
Empty nester here so my wife and I do what we want. I see BBREF is still going with it. Right now, the player on the page with the highest WAR is Ian Kinsler, but JD Martinez will catch him.
 

Spacemans Bong

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How can you compare them with 100 years of improvement in training, nutrition, analytics, and equipment? I don’t really think there’s any question 2018 is a better team. I guess if you’re doing a “pound for pound” analysis or something like relative to all the other teams of the day, but that’s not what has been discussed in this thread I don’t think.
It’s all pound for pound. I think even compared to 2004, the game has moved on. I remember when this board would predict moves before Theo made them. Not in a spitballing “what if we trade for this guy” kind of way, just if you read Baseball Prospectus, you knew where he was going to go. Now every team has an analytics department, and most of them are taken seriously (cough Mets). Plus you’ve got buttloads of hard throwing relievers to boot.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
It’s all pound for pound. I think even compared to 2004, the game has moved on. I remember when this board would predict moves before Theo made them. Not in a spitballing “what if we trade for this guy” kind of way, just if you read Baseball Prospectus, you knew where he was going to go. Now every team has an analytics department, and most of them are taken seriously (cough Mets). Plus you’ve got buttloads of hard throwing relievers to boot.
Agreed. Any time you ask if Team A from now or Team B from a long time ago was better, if you don't mean "better compared to their contemporaries," the question is near-meaningless.
 

Noseminer

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Jun 17, 2018
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I am so stoked that they won the WS this year. But OTOH, I am so depressed that the ride is over. This was by far the most fun I have had watching baseball in decades. So many great players I had the pleasure of watching this year. Mookie, JD, X, Devers, 10D, Sale, etc. Pearce and Eovaldi becoming Yankee Killers, Cora in his first year, and it couldn't have possibly been done any better. Losing to the Yankees would have sucked the big grinder on so many levels. Losing to the Astros would have sucked, but not as bad. And as far as beating the Dodgers. I feel for Dave Roberts. Sucks he had to be on the losing end. Machado? Glad he looked so damn foolish when he K'ed to end the series. Man this is a year I will never forget.
 
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budcrew08

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Well, the teams they were competing against had the same context in terms of training, nutrition, analytics and equipment. Which is why Elo is good, because it mostly depends on a team's dominance relative to its peers over a contextually-relevant period of time.

Yeah, if you reanimated Zombie Tris Speaker and co and ran them out there they might get crushed, but the same could be said for the '27 Yankees, a team so dominant they became a byword for baseball dominance. You have to adjust for the era if you're going to make a comparison, but the game has stayed so constant in its rules (DH excepted, I suppose) that comparisons are at least somewhat meaningful.

And I think that's the only other team that has a claim to the title being discussed in this thread, so that's why I ask the question.
Probably said earlier in the thread, but any team 1947 and before can’t be compared. No teams west of St.Louis and oh yeah, no black or Latin players.
 
Jul 18, 2005
22
Jim Rice was asked post-game if this was the best Sox team ever. He said "No", and then mumbled something about the great teams that Yaz was on (which of course included the inestimable James Rice). He's always been a dick. Yes, the 1975 team was great, it was really great, but they lost the WS. This team went through 3 very worthy competitors in the playoffs like a hot knife through butter, and could have kept going except there was nobody left to beat.
In his defense, if it is the same interview I saw, he was responding to a statement from Fred Lynn saying that this was the best Sox outfield ever. I think he's wrong, but to me it sounded like typical elite athlete bravado combined with banter with a brother-in-arms rather than putting down this team.
 

Koufax

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In his defense, if it is the same interview I saw, he was responding to a statement from Fred Lynn saying that this was the best Sox outfield ever. I think he's wrong, but to me it sounded like typical elite athlete bravado combined with banter with a brother-in-arms rather than putting down this team.
Different interview. This was immediately after the final WS game. It could have been bravado like you say. I just saw it as an inability to appreciate this team for what it is.
 

bob burda

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Different interview. This was immediately after the final WS game. It could have been bravado like you say. I just saw it as an inability to appreciate this team for what it is.
In fairness to Rice, and maybe a different team than what he mentioned, the 1977 team he played on included most of the '75 players and was loaded to the gills with talent (Doyle at 2b notwithstanding), and was just horribly mismanaged by Zimmer. Anyone on this board who lived through it could go on and on about how bad Zimmer showed himself to be that year alone - a thing he proved to a certainty the following year. He also lost a large part of the team by year's end (the "Buffalo Head Gang," with HOF'er Fergie Jenkins napping in the bullpen in Baltimore, etc.) and he still kept his job.

No doubt Rice is not of the highest intelligence and baseball acumen, but when I heard he'd said that, I could easily see him imagining the players on that '77 team and the extraordinary talent level they possessed. But the manager is part of a team too, and has so much to do with how talent is utilized, and putting it in positions to succeed. On that level and in terms of outcomes, the '77 Red Sox don't belong on the same field as the 2018 WS Champs, who have a crazy high talent level of their own. Even so, on pure talent the '77 team could match up with almost anybody. Rice could almost legitimately say "we were the best; Zimmer stood in the way of the greatness we should have achieved."
 
Jul 18, 2005
22
Different interview. This was immediately after the final WS game. It could have been bravado like you say. I just saw it as an inability to appreciate this team for what it is.
Could still be different, but the interview I'm referring to was also during the final postgame.
 

lapa

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Apr 20, 2018
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Comparing teams from 1912 to today’s teams you may as well try to compare the Red Sox and bruins. It’s just a completely different ballgame, and one that bob Ryan certainly hasn’t seen in live or recorded action
 

Timduhda

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Feb 14, 2015
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Bob Ryan makes the case for 1912
This was a great read. After reading the column and all most of the posts, I think it’s funny how people could actually compare the teams. I happen to agree with one of the posts that said something to the effect that while Beni, JBJ and Mookie are great, the best trio the Sox had in the OF was Rice, Lynn and Evans. Rice learned how to play the wall and became quite efficient at it and no one questions his hitting prowess. Lynn was a better hitter than JBJ and could field with the best of them. JBJ has the better arm and may become a better hitter, hopefully. Mookie and Evans? Granted, I feel Mookie is the best in baseball in RF, but Evans was close defensively. He had a cannon and played RF in Fenway as well as anyone. Mookie is better at plate and on the base paths, but Evans was a career .270 hitter with close to 400 HR.

Regardless, this team was awesome and great to follow. Debates like these are always fun and everyone has an opinion.
 

reggiecleveland

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This is sort of where I am at as well. When looking at the group of teams in baseball history who won over, say, 105 games, it becomes hard to take seriously the pre-integration teams, not just for purely political reasons either. The lack of the player pool, as just a pure baseball issue, makes it hard to be super impressed.
The lack of player depth is one thing.8 teams is another. mathematically getting to the LCS is as hard as wining the WS before expansion.

I also exclude the pre-integration teams and players because it a morally repugnant era of history, and I do not really want to even discuss the 27 Yankees because that era doesn't deserve to be considered.
 

brandonchristensen

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I struggle to compare those old teams to teams now. Conditioning and strength training are on another level from then.

The athletes of today are completely different. Even 20 years ago, the amount of 100mph arms has gone up tenfold.

I have no way of knowing this for sure, but I feel like you take a Mookie or a Judge and they would boggle the mind back then. I don’t feel like the level of competition has been stagnant
 

Al Zarilla

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It would be like comparing the 1921 Chicago Staleys with their leather helmets and high waist pants to the current Patriots. Ryan should know better. Even Hank Aaron said this fall he’d never get out of AA ball with today’s pitchers, and he played decades later than 1912. Aaron would though. He would.
 

wiffleballhero

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It is unfair to those earlier eras to seriously try to compare them to players and teams now because they simply can't be held accountable for the countless elements of evolution in the game.

But by the same token, it is laughable to imagine that a team from the 1920s could beat even a college team now. Watch, with just a sliver of objectivity, this film and see what you think of some of the mechanics on these players. These hitters would get devoured by pitching now. While your at it, check out the short porch in right at League Park in Cleveland. It looks like a little league field.

In some ways it might have been a more joyous game to watch, but good lord, these guys would cower just looking at, say, Nathan Eovaldi.

 

brandonchristensen

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It is unfair to those earlier eras to seriously try to compare them to players and teams now because they simply can't be held accountable for the countless elements of evolution in the game.

But by the same token, it is laughable to imagine that a team from the 1920s could beat even a college team now. Watch, with just a sliver of objectivity, this film and see what you think of some of the mechanics on these players. These hitters would get devoured by pitching now. While your at it, check out the short porch in right at League Park in Cleveland. It looks like a little league field.

In some ways it might have been a more joyous game to watch, but good lord, these guys would cower just looking at, say, Nathan Eovaldi.

That footage is unbelievable. Stan Musial could be a bullpen catcher?

I can’t imagine the jokes we would make about Babe Ruth. Luke voit has nothing on him.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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After reading the offseason thread, I realized that the Sox won 108 games while hiving 38 starts to guys who were, well, way down the depth chart. 11 starts to Pomeranz (+ 11 starts to Eovaldi ),.13 to Brian Johnson, and 14 to Velazquez/Wright/Beeks/Cuevas.

wwow.
 

snowmanny

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It's stupid though. It's like comparing military leaders from different eras when the newer ones have fighter jets, or surgeons from different eras when the newer ones have MRIs and antibiotics.

The question should be how good were they relative to their competition (ed: and their particular era)? Otherwise I'll tell you right now that the 2063 Red Sox, even though they will finish fourth, would blow away the 2018 team.
 

brandonchristensen

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After reading the offseason thread, I realized that the Sox won 108 games while hiving 38 starts to guys who were, well, way down the depth chart. 11 starts to Pomeranz (+ 11 starts to Eovaldi ),.13 to Brian Johnson, and 14 to Velazquez/Wright/Beeks/Cuevas.

wwow.
Yep. And even though they took their foot off the gas in September, they still played only 2-3 games under their seasonal average.

This was a team that had a very Patriots-like “next man up” mentality. And that’s required for any team that is successful.
 

jaytftwofive

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In fairness to Rice, and maybe a different team than what he mentioned, the 1977 team he played on included most of the '75 players and was loaded to the gills with talent (Doyle at 2b notwithstanding), and was just horribly mismanaged by Zimmer. Anyone on this board who lived through it could go on and on about how bad Zimmer showed himself to be that year alone - a thing he proved to a certainty the following year. He also lost a large part of the team by year's end (the "Buffalo Head Gang," with HOF'er Fergie Jenkins napping in the bullpen in Baltimore, etc.) and he still kept his job.

No doubt Rice is not of the highest intelligence and baseball acumen, but when I heard he'd said that, I could easily see him imagining the players on that '77 team and the extraordinary talent level they possessed. But the manager is part of a team too, and has so much to do with how talent is utilized, and putting it in positions to succeed. On that level and in terms of outcomes, the '77 Red Sox don't belong on the same field as the 2018 WS Champs, who have a crazy high talent level of their own. Even so, on pure talent the '77 team could match up with almost anybody. Rice could almost legitimately say "we were the best; Zimmer stood in the way of the greatness we should have achieved."
Maybe he meant 78. 78 had better starting pitching then 77. Position by position that may have been the best, but they had no bench. And Zimmer mishandled the pitching, benching Lee etc...
 

BaseballJones

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The great players would, IMO, be great in any era. If you took Musial or Williams and transported them to 2018, and gave them the same training, they’d be tremendous. The only sport where that might not apply as much is basketball, where height is a much more important factor. Football, guys could get bigger and stronger with improved, modern training. But you can’t make a 6’5” guy get to 6’11”.
 

lapa

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Apr 20, 2018
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You can’t just throw era+ and the likes out there either. This is not just ‘relative dominance’ that would work if you want to compare modern teams. Athletes and the game itself in 1912 cannot in any reasonable way be compared to what we see on the field in 2018 IMO. I don’t know where the cutoff is when you can start throwing out + stats to assess relative dominance in the league but 1912 is before that cutoff and 2018 is after it. I mean if 1912 only had 20 ‘athletes’ and several hundred guys who had day jobs at the farm I don’t see how an era and ops+ tells you anything if one or two teams had the few proper players and the rest of the league was dogshit. Nowadays the financial rewards are vast and the competition is ludicrous just to become a professional. There’s zero chance (IMO) that you’re looking at the same part of any ‘normal bell curve’ so no reasonable way to say that relative stats in 1912 mean the same as they do now

I would expect performance curves in the modern game to be sampling the elite tail end of any normal curve describing humans ability to play baseball, I’d expect 1912 curves to be a lot closer to a normal bell curve

That might be a fun exercise actually

Here’s 1912 v 2018 ops with >100 pa players
I think the 2018 shows less ‘crap’ on the left side and the right side is a stronger downslope but I’m not sure if I didn’t expect a more striking difference so I’ll just shut the hell up

https://postimg.cc/KkYc4g6f

 
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charlieoscar

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Sep 28, 2014
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The question should be how good were they relative to their competition (ed: and their particular era)? Otherwise I'll tell you right now that the 2063 Red Sox, even though they will finish fourth, would blow away the 2018 team.
Where would they be playing? The Fenway Park of 1912 was a bit different than the Fenway Park in more modern times. For example, their was Duffy's Cliff, a 10-foot high incline that sloped back down to the playing field from the LF line to CF, and the dimensions were much longer to various points: LF--324; LCF-379; CF-488 to 550 at deepest point; RCF-380; right of RCF-405; RF-313. And a lot of other parks were also big: Washington's LF was 407 down the line with about an 11' fence and while it's deepest point was only 423, the wall from the RF line to somewhere in CF was 30' high.

Also, there was no state-of-the-art field grooming, drainage was poorer, no ballpark lighting, there were only an average of 5-6 baseballs used per game and they were less tightly wound and production control was minimal, pitchers could throws spitballs and get away with applying other substances to them, there were two umpires in a game (regular season), training and medical treatment didn't have today's advantages (eyesight could not be improved with contact lenses or Lasik surgery; muscle, ligament, tendon injuries, etc. frequently stopped careers). Things were really different, so how can you say, for example, that Mookie Betts was a better center fielder than Tris Speaker? You have to judge players by their peers. Assume that Speaker grew up with today's advantages or that Betts grew up in Speaker's era (racism aside); you really can't say how much better either one would be, or others.
 

teddywingman

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Where would they be playing? The Fenway Park of 1912 was a bit different than the Fenway Park in more modern times. For example, their was Duffy's Cliff, a 10-foot high incline that sloped back down to the playing field from the LF line to CF, and the dimensions were much longer to various points: LF--324; LCF-379; CF-488 to 550 at deepest point; RCF-380; right of RCF-405; RF-313. And a lot of other parks were also big: Washington's LF was 407 down the line with about an 11' fence and while it's deepest point was only 423, the wall from the RF line to somewhere in CF was 30' high.

Also, there was no state-of-the-art field grooming, drainage was poorer, no ballpark lighting, there were only an average of 5-6 baseballs used per game and they were less tightly wound and production control was minimal, pitchers could throws spitballs and get away with applying other substances to them, there were two umpires in a game (regular season), training and medical treatment didn't have today's advantages (eyesight could not be improved with contact lenses or Lasik surgery; muscle, ligament, tendon injuries, etc. frequently stopped careers). Things were really different, so how can you say, for example, that Mookie Betts was a better center fielder than Tris Speaker? You have to judge players by their peers. Assume that Speaker grew up with today's advantages or that Betts grew up in Speaker's era (racism aside); you really can't say how much better either one would be, or others.
Home games in 2018 and road games in 1912. Travel between games could be a factor.
 

teddywingman

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Over Guapo Grande

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If a 20th Century Limited left Boston in 1912 to Chicago at 5:00 AM, and a chartered flight left O'Hare to Logan at 8:00AM on 2018, when would they intersect?
 

BillLeesJumpShot

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What I’ll take most from this season is the shared experiences with my fellow Sox fans. Given the team’s scorching 17-2 start, there was something special about the year right out of the gate and we all got to sit back and marvel at it together, very little of the pre-2004 gloom-and-doom casting a shadow on the horizon, just the hopeful question of whether this could possibly be the best Red Sox team in history. We now know the answer to that: it is.

The act of following a baseball team tends to focus on win-loss columns and box scores and stats, understandably enough, but the very presence of the game leaves concentric ripples that expand into our daily lives, becoming a state of existence. We watch because we like baseball: the strategy, the individual matchups, the players and their feats. A diving catch, a runner rounding second as he’s legging out a triple, a filthy breaking pitch just over the black. We watch because the game has positive associations for us: carefree summer days, an Italian sausage from a street vendor, a cold beer. Memories of our childhoods, how we were introduced to the sport and who taught it to us. Its leisurely pace. And we watch because the uniforms have the name of our city stitched across the front: we share in the highs and lows together, their achievements are ours, providing a connectedness and a civic purpose that is profoundly unifying. That embroidered red lettering on the jersey, the raised B on the cap, we’re from there. A Sox fan is your family and you’re all in this together.

The Red Sox have won their fourth World Series in fourteen years, and while it’s remarkable as a baseball achievement, for me what will linger long after the ballpark lights have dimmed is that connected feeling with my fellow fans. Catching a game at Fenway with family and friends, our faces splashed by the same sun, our throats hoarsened by the same chants, our fists raised from the same victories. Fingers flying as texts are sent back and forth and social media posts are made about the team’s exploits, instantly interacting with Sox Nation despite the hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles separating you. Experiencing the moments as one. And it’s important to note that Dodger fans share that same connectedness with one another, those same psychic links. As do Astro fans, and yes, even Yankee fans. And so on. Concentric circles. We’re all motivated by the same basic wants and needs. Living is not a zero sum game. Enjoy the ride.
Stellar!! We were the team basking in the glow of Our Team.
 

DrewDawg

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JD won 2 Silver Sluggers this season—at DH and OF. First time that’s ever happened.

Mookie won too, obviously.