Friday, June 5, 2009

WSC Birth Years: Gordon Beckham

Card #10 - Gordon Beckham

Born: September 16, 1986

There's a buzz in the air about the first round draft pick for the White Sox in 2008. During Gordon's first MLB plate appearance, he received a standing ovation from the home crowd. Beckham went 0 for 3 in his debut game, but was awarded first base on a fielder's choice.

Gordon's rise to fame is in the same vein as another Pale Hose hyped rookie born in Georgia. That rookie's name was Frank Thomas. Many people feel the same type of excitement about Beckham. If that's the case, Gordon should be in good company.

Gordon never walked across Lake Michigan, like his teammates claim that he did upon his arrival, in a joking manner. His arrival does make the White Sox a better ballclub. That type of player is always welcome.


Andy said...

This is nitpicking, but I hate when people say that a guy "reached base" by a fielder's choice. Reaching base is a well-defined statistical measure in baseball that includes getting on by hit, walk, hit-by-pitch, catcher's interference, or safely getting to first after a wild pitch-strikeout or passed ball-strikeout. Being safe at first having reached by a fielder's choice does not count as a time on base or reaching base.

Steve Gierman said...

I could have said that his ground ball resulted in erasing the lead runner, while he was left to ponder the meaning of it all safe at first base OR I could have said the unproven rookie with no sleep managed to keep out of a double play by sacrificing the lead runner, but those really don't sound positive. I also could have gone Red Foreman on him and called him a dumb ass, but that doesn't change the fact that the play could have potentially been a double play or that he was standing at first base safely. By definition, being safe at first would be reaching first.

These are the legal ways to reach first base.

1. Walk
2. Hit
3. Dropped third strike (which encompasses wild pitch strikeout and passed ball strikeout)
4. Catcher interference
5. Fielder obstructs runner
6. Fielder's choice
7. Error
8. Hit by pitch

Sorry if I'm splitting hairs, but by your definition of "reaching base", he was never there at all.

Andy said...

It's just not right. We've discussed this in detail on the Baseball-Reference blog.

Steve Gierman said...

It may not be right, but it doesn't erase the fact that someone hitting into a fielder's choice is technically safe at first base.

There's a lot of injustice in the world. This is just another one to pile on top of that.

Andy said...

Well, the bottom line is it's your blog. :)

Steve Gierman said...

True, but I welcome debate of any kind, as long as there is intelligence behind it. You have always engaged intelligent and thought out debates on this blog. Thank you for that. I hope to see more. :)

Andy said...

Ok, then, I'll fight back.

Your list of 8 ways to reach first base is the answer to the trivia question about reaching first base. They are "legal" in the sense that a player can move from home plate to first base and be awarded that base according to the rules of the game.

"Reaching base" however is a statistical term, i.e. each time reaching base is counted as a "time on base" and methods such as ending up on first after a fielder's choice or error do not count as a time on base, and therefore a player shouldn't be said to have "reached base" in these cases.

It's only a semantic thing--I would much prefer to hear that a player was awarded first base after a fielder's choice or was ruled safe at first after a fielder's choice, or something like that.

Steve Gierman said...

You bring up a great point. Wording is the key to this debate. I think you may have swayed me to change the wording to awarded.

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