Rice, Lynn and Evans

dhappy42

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I grew up watching those three in the Fenway outfield. Benintendi has only been up for a couple of weeks, so maybe it's too early, but the three Killer Bees could rival that trio and have the potential to be even better defensively. None seem to be pure sluggers like Rice, but four/five-tool types instead. Has there ever been a better Sox outfield than 1975-80? Could 2017- be it?
 

scotian1

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The Golden Outfield
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"Baseball writer Grantland Rice said that they were "the greatest defensive outfield I ever saw...They were smart and fast. They covered every square inch of the park – and they were like three fine infielders on ground balls. They could move into another country, if the ball happened to fall there." Speaker, Hooper, and Lewis all had powerful throwing arms, as well. Both Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth said that it was the best outfield that they had ever seen."
 
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Sampo Gida

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The Baby B's are really 3 CF'ers with 2 playing the corners. I think they cover more ground than Lynn, Evans and Rice. Rice was average at best in LF, and Evans strength was his gun for an arm that probably is comparable to JBJ in CF. Betts doesnt have quite the arm but I think he covers more ground than Evans did. I'd have to give the nod to the current group. Perhaps Lynn was as good as JBJ in CF and Betts-Evans is probably a tossup. LF is the decider defensively

Offensively, I think we need to see more of Benintendi and JBJ
 

Sampo Gida

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Yes there has been an outfield better than the 1975-80 one and that would be the "Golden Outfield" of Duffy Lewis, Tris Speaker and Harry Hooper. Numerous baseball historians I have spoken with agree that this was one of the finest outfield trios in the history of the game.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Outfield
I think that "greatest" designation is limited to defense. As with so many historical comparisons, the further you go back in time so many other variables become bigger factors. Talent pool, exclusion of players of color, ball, equipment, day games, parks, lack of data and video, etc. They all make such comparative findings uncertain at best
 

billy ashley

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I like Benintendi as much as you can without being irrational, but I think he would likely be moved to a corner due to his lack of arm strength and good but not exceptional range.

It's picking nits, but I think long term he'd get exposed in center field.

I doubt he would be bad out there, but he's the weakest of the 3, tools wise.
 

JohnnyTheBone

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Ramirez, Damon, and Nixon had a nice run. Ramirez wasn't good defensively, but he was more than adequate at Fenway. With the bat, he far exceeds even the rosiest expectations for Benintendi. Damon was a premier leadoff man with power, and had excellent range. His arm was a weakness, but he gives Jackie a run for his money all-around. Mookie is tracking to far exceed Trot's best offensive years, but Nixon was solid defensively for a long time, with a strong arm and occasional power. The current group has the potential to surpass them, but it's not a given.
 

Al Zarilla

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I like Benintendi as much as you can without being irrational, but I think he would likely be moved to a corner due to his lack of arm strength and good but not exceptional range.

It's picking nits, but I think long term he'd get exposed in center field.

I doubt he would be bad out there, but he's the weakest of the 3, tools wise.
I don't watch all the games but he's already shown a gun on one throw to the plate from left field. Also, you need a stronger arm from RF than CF. Moot anyway, It looks as set in stone as you can get, barring injury, as Benintendi - JBJ - Betts left to right.
 

dhappy42

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The Baby B's are really 3 CF'ers with 2 playing the corners. I think they cover more ground than Lynn, Evans and Rice. Rice was average at best in LF, and Evans strength was his gun for an arm that probably is comparable to JBJ in CF. Betts doesnt have quite the arm but I think he covers more ground than Evans did. I'd have to give the nod to the current group. Perhaps Lynn was as good as JBJ in CF and Betts-Evans is probably a tossup. LF is the decider defensively

Offensively, I think we need to see more of Benintendi and JBJ
I loved Fred Lynn but I don't think he was anywhere near as good as JBJ in CF. Lynn was a good centerfielder, but over-rated in my opinion. I remember a lot of his spectacular, diving catches being the result of sub-optimal jumps and poor routes. Even as a kid, we'd make fun of this on the sandlot, intentionally getting a late start on a fly ball and making a diving catch. JBJ is the opposite. On some balls other fielders wouldnt even get to, he makes the catch look routine. Betts gets awesome jumps too. Somewhere on SoSH I saw a stat were Betts had a negative jump time on a fly ball, meaning he was moving in the right direction before the ball left the bat. His route efficiency and speed were off the charts too.
 

geoduck no quahog

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I had to look it up to be reminded:

The peak of that remarkable outfield was 1979 ('78 not so bad either)

Six Year splits: 1975 - 1976 - 1977 - 1978 - 1979 - 1980

OPS+
Lynn: 162 - 132 - 99 - 133 - 176 - 130 (Avg: 139)
Rice: 128 - 120 - 147 - 157 - 154 - 122 (Avg: 138)
Evans: 120 - 109 - xx - 109 - 115 - 124 (Avg: 115)

And the home runs (1979):
Rice 39
Lynn 39
Evans 21
 
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Red(s)HawksFan

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I loved Fred Lynn but I don't think he was anywhere near as good as JBJ in CF. Lynn was a good centerfielder, but over-rated in my opinion. I remember a lot of his spectacular, diving catches being the result of sub-optimal jumps and poor routes. Even as a kid, we'd make fun of this on the sandlot, intentionally getting a late start on a fly ball and making a diving catch. JBJ is the opposite. On some balls other fielders wouldnt even get to, he makes the catch look routine. Betts gets awesome jumps too. Somewhere on SoSH I saw a stat were Betts had a negative jump time on a fly ball, meaning he was moving in the right direction before the ball left the bat. His route efficiency and speed were off the charts too.
I'll second your recollection of Lynn. His defensive rep was built on his diving/leaping catches (not to mention how often he ran into walls) that a good outfielder would probably have made look routine. I always think of him as the opposite of a guy like JD Drew, who was underrated by many because he got such great jumps and took such good routes he rarely ever had to make the desperation diving catches.
 

Al Zarilla

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All outfielders break the wrong way or take bad routes on balls sometimes. Friday night on the wild play where JBJ made the shoestring catch, the great throw to the plate and then Holaday threw out the guy at third, JBJ initially broke back on the ball. Happens to the best of them.
 

Maximus

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I fondly remember the 75 outfield of these three. The Killer B's are a very talented group. JBJ is an uber elite defender. I was a big Lynn fan for his overall game, not so much of Big Jim Ed who could be a GIDP machine at times.
 

dhappy42

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Yes there has been an outfield better than the 1975-80 one and that would be the "Golden Outfield" of Duffy Lewis, Tris Speaker and Harry Hooper. Numerous baseball historians I have spoken with agree that this was one of the finest outfield trios in the history of the game.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Outfield
Fielding-wise, the Golden Boys were better, but the '75-'80 outfield was a better offensively. (Hard to compare offensive stats between eras, but...) although Speaker was the best hitter of the bunch, Lynn had some Speaker-like years. Evans was the worst of the six (during the '75-80 period. Evans' hitting peaked in the early '80s) but together with Rice, they were better hitting corner outfielders than Lewis and Hooper. Not by a lot, though.
 

billy ashley

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I don't watch all the games but he's already shown a gun on one throw to the plate from left field. Also, you need a stronger arm from RF than CF. Moot anyway, It looks as set in stone as you can get, barring injury, as Benintendi - JBJ - Betts left to right.
Again, I know I'm picking nits, but one throw a plus arm does not make. Concerns about his arm have existed since college. It's his only tool that is between average and below.

http://2080baseball.com/reports/andrew-benintendi/

FWIW, I think this undersells his hitting potential. He really seems to understand that strike zone and appears to be fine with going the other way when necessary. I hope/expect him to be a plus hitter.

Anyway, more on topic... it's really exciting that we're even talking about 1979, right now with these kids.

The "worst" of those 3 (Evans, Rice and Lynn) is of course in the Hall of Fame. Evans absolutely should be, too and Lynn certainly had the talent, if not the durability.
 

dhappy42

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Question: has there ever been a "Hall of Fame" outfield, i.e. a team with three future HoFers in the outfield at the same time?

(Hope I'm not missing some obvious answer.)
 

reggiecleveland

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Manny, Damon Trot were really good. I know Trot was basically a platoon guy, but he was a very good hitter and Manny was sure fire HOF if not for his drug use at the end of his career.
 

Al Zarilla

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Manny, Damon Trot were really good. I know Trot was basically a platoon guy, but he was a very good hitter and Manny was sure fire HOF if not for his drug use at the end of his career.
Damon had 2769 hits and a career BWAR of 56.0, but not enough of what they also look at (HR and RBI). Really good career though.
 

SumnerH

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Question: has there ever been a "Hall of Fame" outfield, i.e. a team with three future HoFers in the outfield at the same time?

(Hope I'm not missing some obvious answer.)
The 1894 Phillies are probably the best example. Delahanty, Thompson, Hamilton were not only all future HOFers but were at or near their peak together that year (159/182/157 OPS+ respectively).

There are some other cases (1933 Pirates, 1923-24 Tigers, 1928 Athletics) with one or more players well off peak or a dubious HOF choice.


2002 Braves with Chipper and Andruw Jones and Gary Sheffield were pretty strong.

In 1950 Bill Howerton had a career year while playing alongside Stan Musial and Enos Slaughter, but Slaughter had a kind of down season.
 

SumnerH

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In 1963 the Twins had Harmon Killebrew (147 OPS+) alongside near-career years by Jimmie Hall (136) and Bob Allison (151). That's pretty strong.
 

Hoya81

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'61 Yankees outfield had Maris, Mantle and Berra for a significant portion of games.
 

54thMA

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I loved Fred Lynn but I don't think he was anywhere near as good as JBJ in CF. Lynn was a good centerfielder, but over-rated in my opinion. I remember a lot of his spectacular, diving catches being the result of sub-optimal jumps and poor routes. Even as a kid, we'd make fun of this on the sandlot, intentionally getting a late start on a fly ball and making a diving catch. JBJ is the opposite. On some balls other fielders wouldnt even get to, he makes the catch look routine. Betts gets awesome jumps too. Somewhere on SoSH I saw a stat were Betts had a negative jump time on a fly ball, meaning he was moving in the right direction before the ball left the bat. His route efficiency and speed were off the charts too.
That may be the case with Lynn, but he made one of the greatest catches I've ever seen in the 75 season vs the Yankees at Shea Stadium to help the Red Sox sweep a double header, he dove to his right and made a spectacular sliding catch, Rice hurdled over him in the outfield, it was something else.

Granted, one catch does not a career make, but he was spectacular in 75, Rookie of the Year and MVP, part of the gold dust twins along with Rice that year.

75 was a special year regardless of the end result and he was a special player as well................
 

Was (Not Wasdin)

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Pirates late '60s

Stargell- (Matty Alou) Clemente 2 HoF sandwiching a lifetime .300 hitter
I was coming to post the Pirates, but I would have gone with the early 70s version with Al Oliver.

In the same vein as the Yankees in the 50s, I'm pretty sure that Musial, Slaughter and Joe Medwick were on a number of the same Cardinals' teams in the 40s, but I don't know if they were ever in the same outfield.
 

Al Zarilla

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I was coming to post the Pirates, but I would have gone with the early 70s version with Al Oliver.

In the same vein as the Yankees in the 50s, I'm pretty sure that Musial, Slaughter and Joe Medwick were on a number of the same Cardinals' teams in the 40s, but I don't know if they were ever in the same outfield.
Musial and medwick weren't in St. Louis together.
 

Was (Not Wasdin)

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Musial and medwick weren't in St. Louis together.
Medwick came back to the Cards at the end of his career. Musial was there and Slaughter hadn't gone to the Yankees yet.

Also, not in the "spirit" of the question, but the early 60s Giants had McCovey, Mays and Cepeda all playing in the outfield, until they planted McCovey at 1st and traded Cepeda.
 

terrynever

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Kind of stretching it. Berra wasn't a HoF outfielder.
In the 1920s, Babe Ruth played alongside Earle Combs, a Veterans Committee choice for the HOF in 1970, with very solid Bob Meusel in LF. When Meusel left, Ben Chapman came in, lifetime .300 hitter.
 

Sampo Gida

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Has there been a shorter OF in the modern Era?. None of the baby B's is over 5' 10" if the data is accurate. Not saying its the shortest but wondering which OF may have been shorter, if any
 

Savin Hillbilly

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According to Play Index, six teams (four of them Tigers) have had 3 Hall of Famers playing at least 50% of their games in the outfield while qualifying for the batting title:

1916 Tigers: Ty Cobb/Sam Crawford/Harry Heilmann
1923-25 Tigers: Cobb/Heilmann/Heinie Manush
1927 Senators: Goose Goslin/Sam Rice/Tris Speaker
1933 Pirates: Freddie Lindstrom, Paul Waner, Lloyd Waner
 

SumnerH

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According to Play Index, six teams (four of them Tigers) have had 3 Hall of Famers playing at least 50% of their games in the outfield while qualifying for the batting title:

1916 Tigers: Ty Cobb/Sam Crawford/Harry Heilmann
1923-25 Tigers: Cobb/Heilmann/Heinie Manush
1927 Senators: Goose Goslin/Sam Rice/Tris Speaker
1933 Pirates: Freddie Lindstrom, Paul Waner, Lloyd Waner
Play index misses things where PBP data isn't full (e.g. the 1894 Philles I mentioned).
 
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That may be the case with Lynn, but he made one of the greatest catches I've ever seen in the 75 season vs the Yankees at Shea Stadium to help the Red Sox sweep a double header, he dove to his right and made a spectacular sliding catch, Rice hurdled over him in the outfield, it was something else.

Granted, one catch does not a career make, but he was spectacular in 75, Rookie of the Year and MVP, part of the gold dust twins along with Rice that year.

75 was a special year regardless of the end result and he was a special player as well................
I will never forget that catch. It cemented Lynn as one of my favorite Red Sox of all time. Rice really had to get airborne, too, to get over Lynn.
 

patoaflac

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Does anyone know if there's a complete video which shows the catch at Shea? I´ve seen a highlight of about 3 seconds, but not one where the ball leaves the bat and shows Freddy going for the ball
 

Dick Drago

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I'd like to see it. I listened to it live on the radio, always wondered what it looked like. Great call by Ned and Jim.
 

Montana Fan

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Buy the album, SuperSox 75. You can hear all the best calls of the most exciting games of the year. Old man got it for me for Christmas that year. What an exciting season.