Do Wah Diddy Diddy: The George Brett Thread

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You can convert this to an RIP thread when the next post happens 20 years from now. (The title: that's what Brett sang in the clubhouse after the Royals won the '85 Series.)

When George Brett made a run at .400 in 1980, that was a big deal because no one had hit .400 in 39 years.

That was 39 years ago.

— Bill James Online (@billjamesonline) March 30, 2019

I used to love watching him. He's arguably the only guy who was the second-greatest at his position ever and spent virtually his entire career playing in the shadow of #1. (Jaffe has him and Schmidt mirroring Mays at #1 and Mantle at #5.) He crushed the Jays in the '85 ALCS (.348/.500/.826), and did the same to the Yankees in four different series between '76-80. I still think of him as the scariest looking hitter I ever saw, right alongside Bonds and maybe peak Mattingly. I feel like he was somehow even better than his stats--which are pretty great--but he wasn't a big home-run hitter (career high of only 30--but 20 triples!), his SB percentage was under 70%, and his walk-rate was good-not-great (he did walk more than he struck out, though). So I'm romanticizing to a degree. As soon as I finish up with something else, I'm going to read the book someone wrote about the pine-tar game.

clemenza, Sunday, 31 March 2019 00:51 (one year ago) link

he was awesome

no idea what/who it was, but at some point recently i saw someone asked who they'd want, of everyone all-time, in a key situation that required a hit; he was the answer

great stories, too -- the pine tar, the hemorrhoids

mookieproof, Sunday, 31 March 2019 01:21 (one year ago) link

I wish I would have gotten to see him play more often especially in person, which I only did once.

George Brett, Tony Gwynn and Wade Boggs...I loved watching those guys hit. Similar approaches, obviously Brett had more power, but they had total control over the strike zone.

From what I understand, he was nearly traded to the Reds like after his rookie year.

earlnash, Sunday, 31 March 2019 04:16 (one year ago) link

I hated Brett for what he did to the Jays in '85, especially in game 4. But obviously he was a great player. In a way he was the Ty Cobb of the modern era, hypercompetitive and angry most of the time, each fueled by the other. Brett could be downright nasty.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Sunday, 31 March 2019 05:34 (one year ago) link

i'm team brett altho that is mostly "fuck the phillies" coming thru

velko, Sunday, 31 March 2019 05:44 (one year ago) link

wonder how ken brett's career would have played out in a different era

velko, Sunday, 31 March 2019 05:50 (one year ago) link

friends (or more) with Rush Limbaugh

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 31 March 2019 15:24 (one year ago) link

Limbaugh worked for the Royals in the '70s; I'd be happier not knowing they're friends, but there's at least a foundation there that goes beyond cartoon Limbaugh (i.e., I assume Limbaugh wasn't Limbaugh when they met).

I'd add Carew to Earl's list. (And I guess Ichiro.)

i saw someone asked who they'd want, of everyone all-time, in a key situation that required a hit; he was the answer

I thought I might be able to construct a case that he was the exception to the rule, the one demonstrably provable clutch hitter, but, as usual, mixed evidence. The best argument is his post-season performance--he only had half as many PA as Ortiz because of his era, but he was even better overall, and more consistent. All post-season series:

Brett - .337/.397/.627
Ortiz - .289/.404/.543

Ortiz was up and down; Brett was good-to-awesome in seven of the nine series he played in. World Series:

Brett (2) - .373/.439/.529
Ortiz (3) - .455/.576/.795

Big advantage to Ortiz there.

When you start looking at Brett's career splits, he was best in high-leverage situations:

Low: .304/.368/.483
Med: .297/.359/.483
High: .321/.394/.508

Smaller sample, though--as with the post-season--so I don't how significant that is.

On the other side of the ledger, his "clutch stats" box shows little variance across the board from his overall totals. Monthly, he peaks in July/August; Sept. is a normal month.

My memories of him as a hitter are obviously disproportionately influenced by two things:

1) What he did to the Yankees in '76 and '78: 36 AB, 4 HR, 8 RBI, .417/.425/.846, highlighted by his massive 3-HR game in '78;
2) What he did to the Jays all through his career: .321/.402/.551. The first was his second-best mark against any one team; the other two his best. He killed the Jays year-in and year-out, back when I actually watched a lot of regular-season baseball.

clemenza, Sunday, 31 March 2019 17:28 (one year ago) link

No new news...but the entire pine-tar game is online, if you're interested.

clemenza, Friday, 5 April 2019 11:37 (one year ago) link

(Best thumbnail ever.)

clemenza, Friday, 5 April 2019 11:45 (one year ago) link

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