There’s already a site doing it better, but I’d like to weigh in on something terribly stupid Joe Morgan said during last Sunday’s Red Sox / Yankees game.

He said, and I paraphrase, “guys like Ted Williams didn’t get to be hitting champions by getting walked a lot. People talk all the time about drawing walks, but Ted Williams didn’t get a lot of walks.”

Ted Williams, USMCEven without access to a laptop, the Internet and a century of baseball statistics at the time, I knew in my heart that that was false. First, because Joe Morgan was saying it with authority. And second, because, well, when you’re pitching to a guy who hits .318 on a bad season, you’ll occasionally throw a few outside.

However, I’d be no better than Stumbling Joe himself if I didn’t find the facts to back me up. So here, in an easy to read chart, are the all-time career walk leaders:

Rank Player Years AB BB
1. Barry Bonds 21 9507 2426
2. Rickey Henderson 25 10961  2190
3. Babe Ruth 22 8399 2062
4. Ted Williams 19 7706 2019
5. Joe Morgan 22 9277 1865
6. Carl Yastrzemski 23 11988 1845
etc.

(Edited to clean up HTML and revise figures that suggested Rickey Henderson was one of the “giants in the earth […] mighty men which were of old, men of renown” (Genesis 6:4))

It’s no longer shocking that Joe Morgan has such little respect for statistical analysis that he’d be flat-out, incontrovertibly wrong about whether Teddy Ballgame drew a lot of walks or just a few. That’s par for the course. The man wouldn’t be doing his job if he were right more than half the time.

But you’d think that, given the fact that Ted William’s #4 and Joe Morgan himself is #5, that he’d at least remember that number. That he might have heard his own name brought up in that context before. That Joe Morgan might at least be cognizant of a record he’s really really close to Ted Williams on.

Ted Williams drew 154 more walks than Joe Morgan did, over 1571 fewer at-bats. That tells me that, yeah, better hitters draw more walks, regardless of how counter-intuitive that might strike the dumbest man to talk about baseball since Tim McCarver. It also tells me that Joe Morgan not only knows nothing about statistics – he knows nothing about his own career.

Share →
  • Serpico

    I’d like to see an approval rating for Joe Morgan. Can there be a vote of no confidence?

  • angryed

    “Rickey Henderson is the greatest!”

  • BedelBlitz

    I thought there was something wrong with this post when I first read it. Then, I realized Perich wrote it. (Thank you, Thank you).

    Seriously, no one thought it was weird that Rickey apparently drew over 2K walks while only having 3081 official at-bats? He was such a hitter that pitchers walked him 40% of the time!

    So, I did what any sports fan would do: I checked the facts. In fact Rickey played in 3081 GAMES while taking 10961 official at-bats. I would expect such careful fact-checking from a native of Baltimore. I wouldn’t throw fact-checking stones in your glass house Mr. Perich!

    Consider yourself Blitzed.

  • Duck

    Not to nitpick, but I’m fairly certain Rickey Henderson had more than 3081 AB in 25 years. In fact, I was just talking to Rickey Henderson about this post, and he said, “Rickey Henderson definitely had more at-bats than that. Tell him Rickey had more at-bats. Rickey played in that many games, but Rickey came to the plate many more times than that.” Then I slapped him, because that speaking-in-the-3rd-person BS really annoys me.

    What astounds me is that Morgan is routinely dismissive of drawing walks (or as his fellow ESPN gasbag John Kruk calls it, “clogging up the basepaths”) while being 5th all-time at amassing BB’s. Hell, at the time Morgan retired, he was in 3rd place!! It’s amazing that someone who played the game — at a hall-of-fame level no less — managed to not soak in any actual understanding of what was going on around him, or any understanding of what he was actually doing for that matter. Was he just running around out there like Forrest Gump at Alabama his whole career?

  • Ooh, look at all the big shots, showing off how they can do long division in their heads. Mr. Big Shots, with their money and their math and stuff.

  • BedelBlitz

    First you get the money,
    Then you get the power,
    Then you get the PC,
    Then you use the PC’s calculator function.

  • Hawver

    Joe Morgan is a fucking idiot. Ted Williams walked 147 times in 1941, the year he hit .406. Lets see, what’s one of the most important things you have to do to hit for a high average in baseball ….. oh right, it’s see the ball well. And we all know that seeing the ball well is totally at odds with getting walks. Nothing to do with each other.

    It saddens me that the only time I get to watch the Sox on television is when this bozo is doing the commentary.

  • Can we go back to calling Tim McCarver “old elephant anus?”

  • BCMike

    If you want a really fun drinking game, try to go through a Joe Morgan game under the following conditions:

    1) Drink once for every time John Miller mentions how great Joe Morgan is (which I’m convinced he’s forced to do under contract).

    2) Drink twice for every time John Miller mentions that Joe Morgan is in the Hall of Fame (also in contract)

    3) Drink three times every time Joe Morgan says how great Joe Morgan is (this is usually done via comments like “I’m just like Puljols”, etc.).

    4) Drink four times every time Joe Morgan says he’s in the Hall of Fame (note: this DOES include when Joe is talking about OTHER HOF’s and mentions them as “fellow hall of famers”).

    You might want to call in sick to work.

%d bloggers like this: