Korner: Big Kids
Various-and-sundry Natural Born advantages


At BJOL there was an answer recently that got me to thinking, and to smiling:


Realizing that a definitive answer is likely impossible, any guess why there were so many all-time great pitchers active in the 1970s, and so few in the 1980s, beyond "just something that happened"?  I dimly recall you writing something about not many kids being born in America in 1944, so the ones that were - like Tom Seaver - grew up feeling dominant.

Asked by: Jeff (not me - Dr. D)

Answered: 2/27/2019

 Well, I think there is something there, that so many of these pitchers--Fergie Jenkins, Seaver, Carlton, McLain, Don Sutton and others--were born during World War II, just before the Baby Boom.  Sports weren't as organized then.  If you had asked to see some kid's birth certificate to let him pitch in a league, somebody would have cold-cocked you.   That's my experience, anyway.    

In a more loosely competitive environment, being a year or two older was probably a big head start.   I'm sure you know this theory, or I guess it is a fact pattern, that hockey players born at a certain point in the year are like 10 times as likely to make the NHL as those born one month earlier.   There is a cutoff birth date in youth hockey.  A player born just AFTER that date is competing with kids who are 11 months younger, and 11 months is a HUGE advantage when you're talking about 7-year-olds and 8-year-olds.   The kids who are "age-advantaged" get ahead of the group, they're recognized as the coming stars, and it just feeds on itself; they make the all-star teams, make the travelling teams, get the starting spots on the high school teams, get the college scholarships.   The kids who are "age disadvantaged" never catch up.   I think the same syndrome has been recognized in baseball players, particularly pitchers.  (?! - Dr. D)

We all know that a lot of the stuff that I wrote in the 1980s was nonsense, but you have to remember that I proposed this "age advantage" theory for Sutton, Seaver, Carlton, etc. BEFORE any parallel advantage was established to exist in hockey.   I was just spitballing an idea, but later research showed that a similar idea was probably true.   So. . . I still believe that the "big kid" advantage probably explains this concentration of great pitchers born in that era.  

Now if we can just explain why there were like 7 outstanding catchers born in 1947. . .


Personally I was born about 18 months before the rest of the 1st-graders; don't ask.  So I can relate sharply to what he's talking about here.  In 5th grade, stepping back one year to compete with 4th-graders seemed like stepping down a century's worth.  So these athletes who were "Big Kids" at age 12 ... it's food for thought.

In America there are a lot of youngsters chasing a rainbow, one in which they eliminate every disadvantage in life that they face.  Particularly there have been how-many-billions spent on trying to convince the world that it's not better for a girl to be pretty, than not?  Remember when the UW cheerleading team put out a poster lately pointing out how applicants should look, pin their hair, wear their socks, etc, and the feminists threatened to sue?  The only reason we like slim-curvy-and-blonde is because we're told to, don'cha know ;- )

When it comes to looks, Dr. D is definitely one of the have-nots.  :- )  But he's not jealous of the pretty people that 9-month old babies react well to.  It's up to him to smile his way into the baby's good graces, no?  And he's always liked his compensations, being linebacker-sized and having a bunch of friends like exist on SSI.  Heh!

There are 1000's of advantages and disadvantages in life.  Many of which work for you, the individual, and many of which work against you.  Your IQ is 135? What are we going to do to level that?  Your hair is blond and your eyes are blue?

You're a natural in charming and persuading other people?  Your mom and dad had more money than average?  You're very tall?


You can compare everyone's DNA to a poker hand they've been dealt -- lots of face cards, lots of blanks (2's and 4's).  The wise man or woman doesn't live life fretting about the 2's and 4's; he/she sets about using the face cards, and trying to improve the blanks.

But then, that's baseball, isn't it?  Isn't that what Marco Gonzales is reminding us of, every single start?  I think that's part of why we watch sports, because it shows us the heroism of men and women* tackling their life situations and perservering with the dogged focus we all wish we had.

Again smiling about the way ballplayers perservere ... Daniel Vogelbach spent how many years in the minors?  He's 26 now and was signed at 18, so he rode busses for 8 years before he paid off Mike Montgomery in spades.  In 2016 he mauled AAA for a .923 OPS and then spent 3 long years bumping against the glass ceiling, being frozen out and getting very little in return.  An overnight success.

If you came all this way hoping for a snip of baseball:  'Bach is #4 in the majors in BB%, him and Trout and Gallo and one other guy.  He's on pace for 100-ish walks.


Determination.  Another reason to be thankful for the Mariners and Seahawks.






As a guy who was young for his HS graduating class (still five months short of my 18th birthday), I have always been fascinated by the subject of age, the draft and the MLB.

Somewhere, quite a while back, I read an article that indicated the best predictor of 1st round HS picks was age; they tended to be old for their graduating class.  In searching for that article, I bumped into this one, which rates the Top 50 high School players since 1965: https://www.maxpreps.com/news/mfQKu9X0dkqc-ofnX9OpOQ/top-50-high-school-...

I then googled up the birthday of the first 22 (because that got me down to Robin Yount, one of my favorites).  From there, I assumed a June 1st HS graduation date and figured out the age at graduation of each of the players, rounded to the nearest month.

Here we go:

Alex Rodriguez, 17 years, 11 months

Ken Griffey, Jr. 18' 7

Joe Mauer  18' 1

David Clyde  18' 1  (us graybeards remember David Clyde!)

Derek Jeter  17' 11

Clayton Kershaw 18' 2

Chipper Jones 18' 1

Josh Hamilton  18' 0

Josh Beckett  19' 1

Kerry Wood  17' 11

Justin Upton  17' 9

Mike Trout  17' 10

Jeff Burroughs  18' 3

Bryce Harper  17' 8

Gary Sheffield  17' 7

Darryl Strawberry  18' 3

Shawon Dunston  19' 2

Mike Moustakis  18' 8

Dylan Bundy  18' 7

Drew Henson  18' 4

Manny Machado  17' 11

Robin Yount  17' 9

13 of those 22 players were 18 when they graduated, and 4 more were just a month short of their 18th birthday.  Two were 19.

I would tend to think that the big advantage for these kids came in two ways.  1.  As "old" freshman and sophomores there were much more likely to be physically mature enough to compete with HS seniors   2. As seniors, they were competing against some kids 2 and 3 years younger than them.

Gary Sheffield was the only guy on that list who graduated as young as I did. 

Make of it what you will.

Nick62970's picture

The stuff I read here sometimes makes it hard to come back. "Billions spent convincing the world it's not better to be pretty." I don't even know what that means. I'm assuming it's a dig at everyone trying to convince women they have self-worth beyond their looks, against the onslaught of a world that tells them otherwise? How dare they, right? And what conservative white man can resist a dig at "The Feminists!" The ultimate boogeymen, women trying to break the rules of the patriarchy.

I've also read opinions on here that blacks have it good enough in America and should stop complaining, racially diverse countries are not such a good idea and America belongs to white christians. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Still, tough to enjoy the baseball content in that context.


It is a dig at those who hope to SUPPRESS opinions different than theirs, as opposed to refuting them through logic and ideas.  I've had more than my share of debate opponents whose agenda is to SILENCE me, as opposed to debating me.

You're right Nick.  If being exposed to ideas you don't like is offensive to you, you need another blog.


Listen Nick, I'm the kind of guy who follows politics veeery closely. I've got a solid opinion formed on everyone in the Democratic primary. I'm on the leftward side of every issue you could care to name, except for like one or two. I took a political orientation test a year back, and this -

- was where I landed. I’m just this side of Noam Chomsky, man. So trust me, I'm on your side.

BUT. Neither side has a monopoly on good intentions, or the truth. Doc - and many of the denizens - are typically waaay rightward of me on most issues, political and social. But! This is one of the few places left on the internet where the extreme polarization of our times has not utterly corrupted the spirit of open discourse, and poisoned the well of thoughtful argumentation. So please, I beg of you, don't assume the worst when Doc authors an interesting philosophical piece on the nature of privilege. I cannot be sure that I speak for him or anyone else, but I am confident that he is not trying to argue that privilege doesn't exist, that minorities and women and the poor are all on equal footing in modern America. What he is saying, based on a good faith reading of the text, is that there is something beautiful and noble about the human spirit that allows the naturally disadvantaged to rise up, to fight through their disadvantages as best they can, and to be the best they can be.

Is the worth of a woman rightfully measured by how attractive she is? No, of course not! Is it wrong and horrifying that the beautiful are treated differently than the homely? Of course! I myself, as a man of average (at best) looks, have ruminated on this topic at length. It appalls me that I instinctively treat an 8 differently than a 4, and that my lizard brain can immediately assign women such grades whether I want it to or not. I endeavor daily to fight back against those instincts, to value people for their substance and not their surface. But Doc's point, which I think is valid and humorously made, is that the solution to this problem is not to pretend that all people are equally attractive. They're not! No person, no matter how socially evolved they may be, is able to ignore completely the base component of looks. Well, okay, Jesus maybe. I would say Ghandi, but he was actually pretty weird about women. You see my point. It does us no good to ignore our failings. It is better to acknowledge them, to fight them, and to try to find the silver linings in the perseverance we can at times display in spite of them.

In the meantime, enjoy Russell Wilson, who everyone thought was too short. Enjoy Richard Sherman, who everyone knew was too slow. Enjoy Daniel Vogelbach, who everyone worried was too fat. He is pudgy, and it does keep him from playing SS, or CF, or even 1B particularly well. His ceiling is probably 7 WAR, even if he hits .265/.395/.645 all year long. He'll never be as pretty as Mike Trout. But he's damn well going to overcome as well as he can with his batting eye, his dogged perseverance, and his puggy little smile that has wormed its way into all of our hearts. And there's something wonderful about that, more wonderful than anything Carlos Correa and his Übermensch schtick can attain. If you ask me, anyway.

Love you, Doc. Good to have you back and posting. Your schtick makes my week.


/cosign me for every word Sherm just wrote.  Every word an absolute gem.  :: musing :: One of the times when a Denizen argued an issue better than I possibly could have, however hard I tried.

+3.  Thank you from the heart Sherm.


Sherm, that was an amazing tour de force.  

Way WAY way terrific.  Brilliant even.

Man, I knew you Bottom Left-Hand Corner types had great gifts.


Truthfully Sherm, an incredible post.  I am sure I will read and re-read it during the day!




I'm not sure how "white conservatives" were tagged with a label that says they don't care about the poor (etc.).  Most studies that I have seen indicate that the religious give more than average to social causes.  Personally, I lead a group that sends goods and cash to third-world countries on a constant basis.  The only reason I mention is because my attitude towards the underprivileged has been called into question.  ;-)

It might surprise some to actually read the New Testament, or even the Pentateuch for that matter.  They are virtual Bills of Rights for the downtrodden -- the husband shall not diminish his wife's rights, you shall not mistreat the foreigner for you were a foreigner in Egypt, you shall return the poor man's cloak to him at sundown, etc.

Whether we want to debate the Bible's stance on that or not, let me make a personal statement that you cannot consider yourself a Christian if you are not empathizing with, and showing generosity to, the underprivileged.


That said, in many cases it has been progressives who have led the movement in America to better accept the handicapped, the minority person, to become comfortable with women's role in leadership etc. and we all appreciate that fact.


To respond to any of the claims there.  If concern is voiced at the time and questioned it can be answered but later vague complaints are hard to have any discussion about.  I'm certain that one of those was an assertion I made looking ago but the context is lost at this juncture.  I'm glad that you are asking here.

What I will say is that any of us only know things that we have discovered.  It's difficult to discover anything without inquiry which is often uncomfortable.  If comfort and silence is what one prefers, I wonder what one might ever learn.  I've said some other things here I do not think fall under any of the specifics you list that I've later thought could have been worded better but if they're not questioned at the time how can they be addressed?  Misunderstandings do happen and they're not overcome by silence.


I must have missed the thread telling black Americans to stop complaining.  Wonder how I did that?

As to Doc’s “dig at everyone trying to convince women they have self worth beyond their looks;” as a father of two beautiful, athletic and real smart daughters, 23 and 20, I certainly didn’t see anything in Doc’s comment that wasn’t right on.  There is certainly a lot of money spent trying to do that......and a lot of money being spent trying to convince girls that looks are nearly everything.  But who here has disputed that?

I am pretty sure that nobody has said America belongs to white Christians, but it is decently hard to dispute that the heritage of the American nation was powerfully influenced by white Christians.  But since Madison, Jefferson, Washington, et. al. were males, I suppose we should discount their impact due to their obviously destructive chauvinism?  Kidding, of course.  I know that you did not say that. 

All the same.....Sorry, Nick. I am not seeing your point here, in relation to Doc’s thread or SSI posts.   But you and I can respectfully disagree, don’t you think?


But I believe the Black comment he mischaracterized was mine.  It's possible all those happened as suggested.  It's possible they're all mischaracterized intentionally or unintentionally.  It's possible Nick had returned to the silence that made any discourse of any of it impossible to start with. 

EDIT: Oh, I found the White Christian assertion which is actually fact.  That the top 1%of the top  1% are almost entirely White Christian Males should be able to be shared without fear of trolling... It does not assert that other white Christian males.... anything.  Although I see how the repeated statement could be misinterpreted, the context at the time was pretty clear. 


There is no doubt that blacks are in better shape in America than two generations ago.  The President is* black, the top actor is usually black, the sports idols are black and the "blacker" they are (Richard Sherman, LeBron James, James Harden ... Muhammad Ali and Wilt Chamberlain even) the better the white kid likes it.  Much of this is, certainly, due to black "complaining" and even to race warfare.  

Hyper-aggressive "Demands" for equality, as opposed to benevolent, intelligent argumentation for it, have resulted in benefits to society.  I'll give it that.

That said, there is Gandhi's way of moving society forward and there is Malcolm X's, and you can guess which *methods* I respect.  I insist that calm reasoning, respectful dialogue, and benevolence are better approaches than hatred and demagoguery.


++ That the top 1%of the top  1% are almost entirely White Christian Males ++

Well, depending on how you define Christian.  LOL.

I'm guessing that Nick would put Donald Trump into the category of a White Christian Male.  I'd put him into whatever the opposite of that category was.  ;- )

Hillary Clinton, for village's sake already, self-identifies as a White Christian.  90%+ of Senators do.  She even claims that if she weren't a politician she'd be a minister.  The far left puts all these Congressmen and Governors and so forth into the same category as I am put into.   If they only knew how strongly I disavow these folks.


Doc, your posts got me to thinking.  If I read the above correctly, you feel no kinship with Donald Trump...or those of his ilk.  (Your comments here over time, and your charity, certainly defend you on that point.)  

But here's where I'm lost.  When you criticize the "far left" for implying all white conservative male elected officials are in that same catogory...how would they know any differently?  I'm not being argumentative for the sake of provocation.  But simply, if there are virtually no GOP members of Congress or governorships who are willing to speak up against Trump on anything...then how can anyone tell if those other conservatives really exist?  In terms of public conduct, and by appearances, they are all the same.  

Now, you and most any denizen I've read here do not, to me, come anywhere close to the MAGA forever crowd.  But no matter how admirably you conduct your personal life, will that do anything to return the GOP to its natural roots?  

Or maybe just remaining silent and living a sincere life equates with non-support for those we all condemn?  

Or maybe it doesn't?  

What's the proper response for the white conservatives who, like you, "disavow" so much of what's going on?  

Again, my motivation is not to pick a fight.  It's an acknowledgement that the left can't fix the problems by ourselves--we've got a long record of failure.  We need you guys.  


And similar to what we ask about reasonable, moderate Muslims who do not speak out against, or oppose, terrorism.  I recognize that your question is not contentious.  It would be a fascinating KK on its own; if we get a few responses here I'll promote it.


For the individual Christian, "1 Timothy 2:2 Pray for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness."  A dead ringer for your "remaining silent and living a sincere life."  Back in the Roman Empire, the Christian's goal was head down, shut up, middle of the pack, don't draw attention and you probably won't draw persecution.  America is an odd duck in the context of world history, where the private citizen is *encouraged* to participate in the democratic process.  But IMHO the Christian should not lose sight of verses like 1 Tim. 2:2.  It's not our role to bang our spoons on the table and demand rights.  It's our role to live lives that appeal to others by example.


For the AUTHENTIC "Christian" politician -- not the vast majority who are wink wink christians in name only, like Trump and Hillary -- it's a strange game.  

The worst nightmare of the mainstream media is for a Sarah Palin to sit in the White House, Down Syndrome son in arm, and govern as she thinks Jesus wants her to.  For them, that would be a nightmare far, far worse than Trump.  

So the moment a Palin or Pence shows up, they are caricatured and jeered at and media-lynched until they scurry back underground. Pence's time will come; if he ever ran for President the environment would go thermonuclear.

You might remember that Mike Pence mentioned that he made it a point to never be alone with a woman not his wife -- a belief almost all Christians share -- and he was practically media-lynched simply for touching on a HABIT that the media sniffed out as being motivated by Christianity.  He mentioned religion in no way whatsoever, but the mere suspicion that it could relate was more than enough.

Or how many times does a politician get asked during a debate or a judge vetting, "Would your Christianity affect your decisionmaking?!" in a hostile way never done to other groups.

So it's tough for authentic Christians to get together on anything.  We don't have "dog whistles" and we don't organize well.  Under those circumstances it's hard to imagine how the Sarah Palin wing of the party would assist you with much.


As for "We need you guys," yes you do.  How we could help would depend on the specific issue.  You'd have to be more detailed about the practical application -- for example, not "improve the plight of blacks" but "improve the reach-out to inner city kids for college" or somesuch.  Then I could answer the ways in which we could improve, or are already helping, or whatever.

Superb question my friend.


Of course, none of the above means the Christian can't reach out to help *other* groups.  I'm constantly impressed by things like Russell Wilson taking one day out of every week to visit sick and terminal children.  I mean, that's a lot of time and effort to charity!, more than I give.  The Christian's main route to making a difference has always been to jump in and get his hands dirty.  

... there were half a dozen construction guys at my church who took long trips south to Texas after the hurricanes and rebuilt houses for dozens of families.  And lots of people whho bankrolled them for tools, materials, etc.  Our attitude has generally been, if you feel bad for somebody, don't just write somebody a check; go over to their house and do something.

That doesn't mean either that Christians can't speak up on an environmental blog, or whatever.  Maybe you could give specific suggestions as to what you'd like to see from Christians to move America forward.  :- )


Believe me, my point is not that Christians need to do more, or Christians aren't doing anything.  (I saw this for myself way back in the late 70's at a Somali refugee camp, where doctors and nurses working in conjunction with World Vision were saving lives, literally every day.)

My comment was more utopian and retrograde--suggesting that there are issues where both sides of the political spectrum do agree--and I believe could find solutions together.  

Let's leave aside immigration and abortion--way too politically charged.  But I saw a poll this week that identified the two biggest issues facing America as "health care" and "the economy".  This was for ALL Americans--no party or philosophical divisions.  This is consistent with almost every other result lately. Two out of every three said health care is either "not working well" or "broken".  On the economy, given the fact that we're effectively at full employment right now, I'm guessing that most of the concern here centers on income inequality, wages/benefits/working conditions...and dread for the amount of debt being loaded onto the backs of our kids and grandkids. 

So it's not about what Christians should do.  It's about what all of us should do.  I would love to see a protest of ten thousand outside the Capitol--half Republicans wearing red hats, and half liberals wearing blue ones.  That would underscore the commonality of complaint.  And let the elected officials inside hear about JOINT support for coverage of preexisting conditions...or equal pay for women...or whatever.  

But in reality, what really works is insisting from your personal Senators, Congresspeople or state legislators that they better start working for US...or they lose their jobs.  The reason these agreed-upon things don't pass is that the money spent by special interests drowns out the complaints.

Until there are enough complaints.  So bang a spoon!  :)


Fascinating.  The idea that a mainline Christian (is that descriptive? derogatory?) leads simply by example is admirable.  Of course, there is a lot of spoon banging going on from both sides anytime the abortion issue springs up--but that's probably an exception.  I wonder if that option exists if the Christian is a member of, say, Congress.  There's no shortage that I've seen of those members citing scripture or teachings in defense of certain votes/positions.  But not so much when funding is proposed for the kinds of needs that you, for example, are involved in.  In other words, citrizen X may disdain, but may not act.  But if Congressman Y is willing to use his faith as a rationale for some actions...can he/she ignore those teachings when questioned about them by a reporter in reference to another vote?  Doesn't it work both ways?

Point #2: Is "governs as she thinks Jesus wants" any different than Khomeini ruling in Iran as he thinks Allah would want?  I would vote against both of them for the same reason.

Point #3: I have to take clear exception to your lumping Trump and Hillary togethers as wink-wink Christians.  That's a disservice to her.  Dislike her for whatever you want, but there's no real evidence for your take--and much to refute it.  She grew up in a conservative GOP family and went to church.  She still does. 

This is hardly irrefututable evidence, but here's a piece I wrote on my site about Hillary's upbringing...with references to her mainline Christianity.



to anyone that there are groups it's entirely OK to denigrate?  It went almost unmentioned when happening here in this thread.  Things are often assumed about me because I'm a man and that's just fine with everyone somehow.  Up until 10 years ago there was very little opportunity for victims of sexual or domestic abuse to get help if they happened to be male.   Imagine being past the Male ego (stigma... preconceived notions?  No,  it's prejudice) because you're in a situation you need help figuring out how to get out of.  That it's bad enough that you are seeking help (as any abuse survivor has experienced ) and hearing "I'm sorry but we can't help you because you are a man."  It can still happen today.  It became very publicized around 10 years ago but continued and was even still considered OK because "they can't be in the same shelters as women and children who are reminded of their abusers by their presence."  The same flimsy hogwash would not fly if it was being told to any other group being discriminated against.  What I'm saying is that everyone experiences prejudice and discrimination.  Every person.  Why do I need to mention that my sex or the color of my skin doesn't decide the possibility?


Misconceptions?  If it was any other group it would be prejudice.  Because it's prejudice.

I'm not immune because of the color of my skin.  I'm a white male, therefore what right do I have to complain?  The right that I'm not a hypocrite, maybe?  That I'm human and my complaints should be seen at their face and not the color of mine!  Even if the difference is that your experiences highlight how some individuals see your race does not mean that others do not have preconceived notions about mine.  Instead of seeing that we all experience similar things, so many are acting like it's only a thing at all if it's their thing.  We should be coming together but even as equality for some groups are most universally supported, it's still considered ok to ignore any complaints I have because of the color of skin I was born with and the parts that happened to grow between my legs.  It makes me think that equality is not the goal here but rather preferential treatment.   We've started dividing further instead of including more.  Nothing is about human rights anymore, it's only one group at a time.  This is the definition of segregation, people.

I try not to complain about any of that because just like abuse shelters, my complaints would largely be ignored once my race and sex were known.  But also because the complaining is becoming a problem.  Not just that complaints (especially against white men) are largely considered true without any inquiry by a world populace that knows the complaint within hours.   It's as though we think nobody lies in an age that more lie daily than ever before.  The foolishness is becoming oppressive.  We are backsliding socially. 


Everyone needs to think about their use of the words "because you are" in thoughts and communications.  1 thing about any person does not necessarily tell you any other thing.  Although cop/lawyer/investigator dramas would like us to believe differently. 




Although there has been slavery by indigenous peoples of every continent besides Antarctica of their own people and others, someone wants us to believe that these United States were the only time or place that matters.  The fact that there were more British enslaved in Africa than Africans enslaved in British Colonies in 1650 isn't of note to their agenda.  Nor that 90+% of Black slaves trafficked from Africa, where they were purchased from other African tribes who had captured them, were shipped to the Caribbean or South America. 

If the discussion should be about slavery, let us not look backwards but instead around us.  How many times will calling it a different name distract everyone from what it is?  Human Trafficking currently exists in every inhabited country in this world.  Let's instead discuss that.  That is slavery that we might be able to do something to change. 


... though baseball fans on the left are warmly welcome.  Those who have chosen to stick around, such as Sherminator and TJM, have enriched the board by several magnitudes.

The responses to this thread have again put me in the mood to post a few Konspiracy Korners.  As Sherm notes, you wind up with polite and friendly two-sided discourse that is hard to find, and for me it's almost worth the price of admission just to participate in that.

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