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Ichiro the Throwback (6)


 Baseball Crank の2001年5月2日の記事 Ichiro the Throwback の抜書きの続きです(太字は私)。

 1890年代から1920年代にかけての大変化(ベーブ・ルースの登場 → 走者をためて一発のスタイル)にもかかわらず、古いスタイルはどっこい生きていました。

Through it all, though, the old-time contact hitter and his hit-'em-where-they-ain't credo remained a fixture in the game. The Hall of Fame was populated with the likes of Keeler (who stood just under 5 foot 5 and had just 7 doubles, 2 triples and 1 homer in 1898), George Sisler, Rod Carew, Lloyd Waner, Sam Rice, and Nellie Fox, as well as more well-rounded players like Pete Rose (should be in), Ty Cobb, Lou Brock and Wade Boggs for whom the humble one-base hit was their calling card. And the connection of these players to the game's earliest roots gave sportswriters a reason to laud their accomplishments as somehow morally superior and more pleasing to the "purist" than the likes of Ralph Kiner, who was broiled by the media of the day for his outspoken argument that "Cadillacs are down at the end of the bat."


Inevitably, though, the winds changed. Kiner's teams never won anything, but Branch Rickey's and Earl Weaver's did. Rickey's statistician introduced on base percentage in the late 1940s, and Weaver's argument that "if you play for one run that's all you'll get" and his mantra of "pitching, defense and the three run homer" began to capture the imagination of people inside and outside the game. Bill James' books first rocketed to the top of the best seller list in 1982, tapping into a booming base of fans who learned that careful study of the game's records validated the ideas of McGraw, Rickey, Kiner and Weaver. After Weaver's retirement his disciples (like Frank Robinson and Davey Johnson) carried on his methods within the game to great success. By the early 1990s it was nearly impossible to ignore the importance of high on base percentages in building successful offenses. Then in the early 1990s, the old taboo against hitters lifing weights was rejected by trailblazers like Mark McGwire, Brady Anderson and Ken Caminiti.

 なお、ここでの on base percentage は出塁率。Bill James は sabermetrics (野球の記録の統計的研究、Society for American Baseball Research, econometrics から)に関する Bill James Baseball Abstract などの著書で知られる。




The home run boom of the 1990s would follow, and teams that were built on batting average - or even on base percentage, like Whitey Herzog's Cardinals - without power were forced to adapt or get buried. The Oakland A's built a contending team that looked like a beer league squad. High-average hitters like Derek Jeter started smacking 20 homers a year. Tony Gwynn started to look like the last stegosaurus.

 こうなると、打率重視の球団は低迷して消えてゆく。文中の「オークランド・アスレチックスは 'beer league squad' のような戦う集団を作り上げた」というのが分かりにくい。'beer league' は CBC News の 新語解説 によると、'a sports minor league of the lowest rank, a league of recreational hockey, baseball players, etc.' という意味。つまり、ホッケー・チームのようないかつい連中でチームを編成したということだろう。なお、なぜ、ホッケーや野球でもマイナー・リーグや趣味のリーグを「ビール・リーグ」というのかだが、彼らにとっては試合後といえば、記者会見などはなく、ただビールだけが楽しみということからのようだ。