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ESPN: Schoenfield ranks 69-73 Orioles as the greatest defensive team of all time.


isestrex

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http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/67824/the-best-defensive-teams-of-all-time

Steve Peters offers the late 1960s/early '70s Baltimore Orioles. The 1969 and 1973 teams were both outstanding. Here's 1969:

Key defenders: 3B Brooks Robinson, SS Mark Belanger, CF Paul Blair, LF Don Buford, 2B Davey Johnson

Total Zone rating: plus-114 runs

And the 1973 team:

Key defenders: 2B Bobby Grich, SS Mark Belanger, 3B Brooks Robinson, CF Paul Blair, RF Merv Rettenmund

Total Zone rating: plus-119 runs

How good are those figures? They rate as the two highest figures since 1900, which isn't a surprise. Robinson, of course, is regarded as the best defensive third baseman of all time, and the metrics back it up. Belanger has been forgotten, but he won eight Gold Gloves and the fact that he played 18 years in the big leagues despite hitting .228 with 20 career home runs is a testament to his defense. There are those who will say Blair was the best center fielder they've ever seen and he won eight Gold Gloves as well. And the 1973 team had added Grich, another elite defender, giving the Orioles four Gold Glove winners that season.

1. 1969-73 Baltimore Orioles. A pretty clear choice as the greatest defensive team of all time. If there was a Hall of Fame of Defense, Brooks Robinson, Mark Belanger and Paul Blair would all be first-ballot inductees. When Bobby Grich replaced Davey Johnson at second, the defense got even better. There's a reason Jim Palmer had a career .249 BABIP. In fact, he may owe his Hall of Fame career to the guys playing behind him.
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If there is an adavantage to being an old guy, this is it. I too witnessed it, and there is no doubt in my mind that this was the greatest defensive team I ever saw. Grich was better than Davey, and Boog Powell was magic at first base. Merv was an awesome outfielder that doesn't get much attention, and Andy Etchebarren was an outstanding catcher. I miss those days, when defense held a very high priority in MLB.

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If there is an adavantage to being an old guy, this is it. I too witnessed it, and there is no doubt in my mind that this was the greatest defensive team I ever saw. Grich was better than Davey, and Boog Powell was magic at first base. Merv was an awesome outfielder that doesn't get much attention, and Andy Etchebarren was an outstanding catcher. I miss those days, when defense held a very high priority in MLB.

And for a while, the Mound was real high. They only way you could score was a homer.

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If there is an adavantage to being an old guy, this is it. I too witnessed it, and there is no doubt in my mind that this was the greatest defensive team I ever saw. Grich was better than Davey, and Boog Powell was magic at first base. Merv was an awesome outfielder that doesn't get much attention, and Andy Etchebarren was an outstanding catcher. I miss those days, when defense held a very high priority in MLB.

One of my few regrets for being too young. Missing out on not only the 69-73 teams but pretty much the entire run of success. I've been around for most of the losing seasons though. :P

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This is also why the sabermetric community doesn't like Jim Palmer that much. Still in HOF territory at least.

I've seen evidence that he could suppress opponent's OPS in high leverage situations. That leads me to the conclusion that he was someone that would pitch to contact until he was in a situation where he needed to do otherwise.

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I've seen evidence that he could suppress opponent's OPS in high leverage situations. That leads me to the conclusion that he was someone that would pitch to contact until he was in a situation where he needed to do otherwise.

I've been saying that too. In a way, he is the anti- Mike Mussina. The two pitched in about as extremely different environments as you can get. Both made the best of it.

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