Archive for July, 2012

The Set Up Man

July 30, 2012

I can think of few people in baseball that get less credit for what they do on the field than the set up men. No one knows who they are. For a long while there was no stat exclusive for them. Now we have the hold. It’s not much of a stat, but it’s better than nothing. In the upcoming couple of Hall of Fame votes there are, as I mentioned in the Hideo Nomo post below, a couple of people I will be interested to see exactly how they do. One was obviously Nomo, this is about the other, a set up man.

Mike Stanton

Mike Stanton was a premier set up and one batter lefty (like Paul Assenmacher,as another example) for a lot of years. He came up in 1989 with the Braves and stayed around into 2007 with Cincinnati. Along the way he won three of five World Series in which he appeared. For his career he was 68-63 with a 3.92 ERA. He walked 420 men, struck out 895, and gave up 1086 hits in 1114 innings pitched. His WHIP was 1.352 with an ERA+ of 112 and 84 saves. In 1993 he had 27 saves in his only full season as a closer.

As with Nomo, there’s no real number to hang your argument for the Hall of Fame on, is there? Well, the 112 ERA+ is pretty good, but there are a lot better. His WHIP isn’t bad, but again there are a lot better. What Stanton did, was keep his team in games. He served as the bridge between the starter and the closer and he did it pretty well. It was, and as pointed out above, still is a fairly thankless job (from a fan point of view, not from the dugout point of view). Stanton did it well but in doing so never was in a position to put up the eye-popping numbers that grab fans and writers attention and make him a household name. And without that recognition he’s doomed to never make it into Cooperstown.

Ultimately that’s probably fair. I stated in the Nomo post that I wouldn’t vote for Nomo for Cooperstown despite the good things I said about him. The same is true for Stanton. But I’d like to see him hang around on the Hall of Fame ballot for a while, just so we can get a chance to remember him and look over his numbers. Maybe that will help give fans a sense of how important he was to winning teams.


The Pioneer

July 27, 2012

It’s early, about six months early, to talk about the next Hall of Fame voting, but it will be one of the more interesting votes in a long time. Most of the verbage and ink will be about the steroid guys and what to do with them. But I want to concentrate on two other men, two men who have little chance of ever being elected to the Hall of Fame. Two men that I think should get a good look before leaving the ballot, because they represent two modern trends in baseball that are now commonplace. Here’s my argument for one of them.

Hideo Nomo at the top of his windup

Hideo Nomo won’t appear on the ballot until the next year. His last game was in 2008, but it’s still a good time to discuss him. His numbers are as follows: 123 wins, 4.24 ERA, 1918 strikeouts and 908 walks in 1976 innings pitched, a WHIP of 1.354, ERA+ of 97 and a no-hitter. He was also the National League Rookie of the Year. Not exactly Hall of Fame numbers, right? I concur, but let me make two points about Nomo.

First, he got to the major leagues at age 26 after a successful stint in Japan. In Japan he was very good. It got him his tryout in the US and he made the most of it. I didn’t look too hard for his Japanese numbers because even if I found them, I have no idea how to interpret them. Is an MLB win equivalent to three wins in Japan, or is it two, or maybe four? I don’t know. How do 1918 strikeouts in the US compare to his strikeout total in Japan. Again, I don’t know. Is Japanese baseball more or less equal to Major League baseball or is it Triple A or Double A? As long as there is no criteria for comparison it’s useless to worry about Nomo’s numbers in Japan. And I don’t think it’s fair to say “Well, let’s look at other Japanese players and see how they did” because they’ve been a very mixed bag. Some have been great (like Suzuki), others like Hideki Matsui have been superior, and still others like Hideki Irabu have been busts. That’s true of non-Japanese players too. But there is universal agreement that Nomo was very good in Japan and that 26 is late to start a Major League career. So maybe his numbers would be better if he’d come up through a Major League system. We’ll never know.

And second, I think his impact on the game is much greater than his numbers. Without trying to compare him to Jackie Robinson directly (Robinson was a much better player) Nomo holds much the same status in Japan as Robinson does here. Without Nomo the influx of East Asian players (Japan, Korea, Taiwan) simply isn’t possible.   I’m old enough to remember Masanori Murakami with San Francisco in the 1960s (I think I heard him pitch once on the radio), but that was the sum total of Japanese players in the Majors until Nomo arrived. Now there are dozens of them and Nomo’s success is a major reason. He showed American owners, players, and fans that Japanese players were good enough to compete at the highest level.

I think he should be remembered for that. He opened up Major League baseball to entire group of new players and somehow he ought to be commemorated. Is he a Hall of Fame member? Despite what I just wrote, I wouldn’t vote for him, but I’d love to see Cooperstown put up some sort of exhibit that included him and acknowledged his importance. Until they do, I’d like to see him hang on the Hall of Fame ballot.

Trifecta II

July 25, 2012

New York Giants members Fred Merkle, Larry Doyle, Christy Mathewson, John McGraw, and Fred Snodgrass in 1912

I mentioned in an earlier post that two teams managed to lose three World Series’ in a row. One was the Detroit Tigers of 1907-09. The earlier post talked about them. It’s time to turn to the other team, the 1911-13 New York Giants.

The Giants were a standard John McGraw team. They had great pitching, solid defense (for the era), and stole a ton of bases. The dominated utterly the National League for the three-year period. They were first in 1911 by 7.5 games, led the NL in batting average, OBP, slugging, stolen bases, and RBIs. They were second in hits, doubles, triples, and managed to finish second in runs scored by a total of one. In 1912 they won the pennant by 10 games, with second baseman Larry Doyle winning the Chalmers Award (an early version of the MVP). They were first in average, OBP, runs (by about 75), and stolen bases. They finished second in slugging and third in hits. The 1913 season saw them take the pennant by 12.5 games, but they led the NL only in average and stolen bases.

It was the pitching that was most famous.  Hall of Famers Christy Mathewson and Rube Marquard led a staff that gave up the least runs, the least earned runs, the least walks, and struck out the most opponents in 1911. They repeated, except for strikeouts where they were second, all those numbers in both 1912 and 1913. Marquard led the league in strikeouts in 1911 and in wins in 1912, setting a consecutive wins record. Mathewson led the league in ERA in both 1911 and 1913 while managing to walk at total of 93 men ( a peak of 38 in 1911) over 923 innings. That’s about one man every 10 innings.

But they lost the World Series in 1911 to the Philadelphia Athletics four games to two. The A;s out hit them .244 to .175 and Frank Baker became “Home Run” Baker with two crucial homers. The 1912 World Series went seven games (eight because of a tie) with game seven (the eighth played) becoming one of the more famous World Series games. The Giants actually outhit and outpitched the Red Sox if you look just at the stats, but much of that came in game six (seventh played) when the Giants won 11-4 and gathered 16 hits. The 1913 A’s didn’t mess around in the Series, dispatching the Giants in five games (Mathewson getting the Giants win). They outhit New York by sixty points, got two home runs (one by Baker) to one by the Giants and had more doubles and triples. The A’s ERA was a full point and a half better. They walked fewer men, struck out more than double the number the Giants’ pitchers recorded. The Athletics were held under six runs twice, a game two shutout loss and in game five when they got only three runs (to New York’s one).

What went wrong? Well, a couple of things. First the Giants were winning big in a league that was falling behind their opponents. The Philadelphia Athletics of 1911-14 were a truly great team and being knocked off by them was no shame. The 1912 Series is a little hard to figure. The Red Sox were something of a fluke (the 1915-18 team was better and only a few of the pieces were there in 1912). They did manage to hold the Giants in check except for one game and never won a game by more than two runs.

It was the end of the line for the Giants. They fell back behind the Braves in 1914, stayed out of the limelight until 1917 when they won another pennant (and suffered another World Series loss to Boston). They won again in 1921 and 1922. Those were McGraw’s last Series triumphs.

USPS Honors Ballplayers

July 20, 2012


New “forever” stamps from USPS

For the general interest of baseball fans, this morning the United States Postal Service issued four new “forever” stamps honoring baseball players. The honored players are (alphabetically): Joe DiMaggio, Larry Doby, Willie Stargell, and Ted Williams. There is one pane for each player (20 stamps to a pane) plus a fifth pane with all four stamps alternating on the same sheet (also 20 stamps, 5 of each player). They should be available for general release at your local post office tomorrow.


July 19, 2012

Bet you didn’t know Ty Cobb could smile, did you?

Never having gotten to the big leagues myself, I can only speculate here, but my guess is that it must hurt deeply to lose a World Series. The Texas Rangers have now lost two in a row which must be even more heart breaking. I can’t imagine what it must be like to lose three in a row, something that Texas could do this year. If they do, they’ll tie a record. It’s happened twice, losing three in a row. They occurred 100 years ago and occurred almost back-to-back. Here’s the story of one of those teams.

The 1907-1909 Detroit Tigers were the first Detroit team to cop a pennant since the Wolverines of the 1880s. They were a loaded team with a lot of star players for the era. It was a team that could hit and hit a lot. With an outfield of  Hall of Famers Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford (with either Davy Jones or Matty McIntyre holding down left field) they led the American League in runs and hits all three seasons, led in doubles and triples twice each, in batting average, on base percentage, and OPS all three years, and in slugging the first two seasons. Cobb won batting titles all three years and the triple crown in 1909. Crawford picked up a home run title in 1908.

The problem was the pitching. During the three-year period from 1907 through 1909 the Tigers finished third, sixth, and third in ERA; fifth, fourth, and fifth in shutouts; never finished higher than sixth (in an eight team league) in hits allowed; and the best they could do with runs scored against them was third in 1909. Mainstays George Mullin, Ed Killian, and Bill Donovan had great win-loss records, but those records were very much a reflection of the team hitting.

In 1907, led by manager Hughie Jennings, they won the American League pennant by a game and a half (over Philadelphia) and were then swept by the Cubs in the World Series. Well, not exactly swept. There was one game that was called on account of darkness with the score tied. In 1908, they won the pennant by a half game over Cleveland (there was a rain out that didn’t have to be made up under the rules of the day) and had to face Chicago again in the World Series. This time they managed one win as the Cubs won their last ever World Series. By 1909, tired of playing the Cubs, Detroit decided to try its luck with Pittsburgh. The Tigers won the AL pennant by three and a half games (again over Philadelphia), and lost a hard-fought World Series. The Series went seven games with the Pirates winning all the odd-numbered games and Detroit taking all the even-numbered games (only time that’s happened). Their run was over in 1910 as the Athletics finally rushed passed Detroit to take three of the next four pennants (Boston had the other).

There’s a common perception that Cobb did poorly in postseason play. That’s kind of true. He hit less than .250 in both 1907 and 1909 with only ten hits and two stolen bases. He did, however, drive in five runs in ’09 (none in ’07)  and scored three in 1909 (again none in 1907). In 1908 he hit .368, drove in four runs (in five games), scored three runs, had seven hits (all but one a single), and stole two bases. So he’s a best a mixed bag. Crawford, who doesn’t suffer from the same perception, never hit above .250, had one home run, eight RBIs, and one stolen base in the combined three Series’. Again not a particularly great stat line. As a rule, the less said about the pitching the better.

After 1909, Detroit fell back in the standings not resurfacing in the World Series until the 1930s. Cobb played into the 1920s, Crawford into the teens. Both failed to make another postseason.

“They Show a Complete Lack of Empathy”…

July 16, 2012

…G. M. Gilbert (commenting on the defendants at the Nuremberg Trial)

When the victorious powers at the end of World War II determined to place the Nazi leadership on trial, one of the things they did was provide them with a shrink to serve as a sounding board and as someone who could try to explain to the prosecution the mindset of the men on trial. They chose US Army captain Gustave M. Gilbert, who happened to also be Jewish. If you saw the early 2000s TV movie “Nuremberg” with Brian Cox as Hermann Goering, Gilbert is the character played by Matt Craven. At the conclusion of the trial, Gilbert wrote his notes down in the form of  the book “Nuremberg Diary” (which you can probably find on line). One of his conclusions about the defendants was the comment used to title this post.

This is a baseball blog but I’m angry, furious, and damned well upset. I don’t know that I’d rank the mess at Penn State as the most awful episode in American sports, but it’s damned close. I normally wouldn’t comment here, but if Bill James is going to say something, then I think all we baseball fans can make our own comments on blogs that are otherwise strictly about baseball.  I’m angry at two levels: as a sports fan and as a human being.

On a sports level I’m angry at how this is pulling down a sport I care about. I like college football. It isn’t my favorite sport, baseball is. But it’s a lot of fun to watch and speculate about and it’s being dragged through the gutter. Also as a sports fan I’m appalled at how powerful one coach and one sport could be at a university; so powerful that the university President couldn’t or wouldn’t go against the program. As a baseball fan, ask yourself if that would happen were it the baseball program. Can you imagine the bench coach at a university getting away with what the powers that be at Penn State let their defensive coordinator get away with doing? Can you really imagine that? This is a huge blight on not just the university but on the way universities have allowed sports programs (mostly football, but basketball in some places too) to become ultimately entities that are responsible only to themselves, not to the school. Penn State isn’t alone, it’s merely the newest in a line of absolutely awful scandals (can you use “Baylor”, “murder”, and “coach coverup” in a sentence?).

But I’m even more angry as a  human being. Anyone who knows me will tell you I never bought off on the Joe Paterno Myth. It goes back to 1969 when he and Penn State ducked Texas in the Cotton Bowl. Texas was number one in the nation, Penn State was number two. Texas was contractually bound to the Cotton Bowl, PSU was an independent that could go anywhere. They went to the Orange Bowl because it was supposed to have a bigger payday. No coach worth his salt ducks a chance to knock off number one and claim that title for his team.  I thought it showed Paterno more concerned with his own image and the image of his team than with the benefits of defeating the best tream in college football. No one else knew how to defense the Wishbone either (Nortre Dame figured it out the next season) and I was sure that Paterno didn’t want to risk being defeated. I’m telling you this so you will know I have a particular bias against the Paterno Myth.

I thought he got over that by the 1970s and then began the “Saint Joe” persona. My grandfather used to tell me “If someone claims to be a saint, look for the halo. If you don’t see one, he ain’t.” Turns out to be great advice and it seems like Paterno never did get over the idea of style over substance. Now his image is eternally tarnished. They’re asking if they should take down the statue of him at the football stadium. Damned right, take it down. Melt it down for scrap and sell the scrap. Give the money, what little there will be, to one of the kids Sandusky buggered. I read a comment from someone on the internet suggesting that they keep the statue up but turn it around so that Paterno could “look the other way”. I honestly wish I could take credit for that comment because it’s exactly what Paterno did.

But as angry as I am at Paterno I’m most angered by the other three involved. Here we have a university President, a Vice President, and an Athletic Director, all fathers, and we know from their emails that they knew what to do. They were willing to turn Sandusky over to the authorities but then, upon talking to Paterno, changed their mind. After all they had to be humane to Sandusky, but apparently not to the kids (shades of Gilbert’s observation). Humane to Sandusky? Gimme a break! So they let it go on and they got lucky because not one of Sandusky’s kids was one of theirs.  I have a son and two grandsons. If I knew Sandusky was attacking my grandson the only way I wouldn’t shoot that SOB is because my wife, son, and daughter-in-law got to him first because they can all outrun me. It seems none of the Penn State troika  think that way. It’s crude, it’s probably awful, but it’s very human and I’m not ashamed of feeling that way. I wish a little more righteous indignation had shown up on the Penn State campus. Maybe they were just trying to be “impartial.” I’ll remind them of Winston Churchill’s comment, “I decline utterly to be impartial between the fire brigade and the fire.”

So if you feel sorry for the leadership at Penn State, don’t. Save your empathy for the kids. They certainly deserve it.

A Dozen Things You Should Know About Hugh Duffy

July 11, 2012

Hugh Duffy while at Boston

1. Hugh Duffy was born in Rhode Island in 1866.

2. He began playing in the New England League, a Minor League, in 1886 and remained there in 1887.

3. In 1888 he joined the National League’s Chicago team (now the Cubs) hitting .282 in 71 games. The average, along with his home run total (7), was third on the team. He had only nine walks.

4. In 1890 he jumped to the Player’s League, leading the fledgling league in both hits and runs.

5. In 1891 he won his only RBI title with Boston in the American Association.

6. With the folding of the Association, Duffy joined the Boston Beaneaters (now the Braves) in 1892. He remained there through 1900.

7. With him in the outfield (along with fellow Hall of Famers Billy Hamilton and Tommy McCarthy), Boston won four pennants (1891-92 and 1897-98), finished second in 1899, and finished third  in 1894. They participated in the 1897 Temple Cup series losing in five games. 

8. His career year was 1894. He hit .440 (still an all-time record for highest batting average for a  regular), led the National League in home runs with 18, in doubles with 51, in hits with 237, and in total bases with 374. His OPS was a league leading 1.196. As noted above the team finished third.

9. In 1901 he managed the American League’s Milwaukee Brewers (now the Baltimore Orioles). He hit well but the team finished last with a 48-89 record. He wasn’t asked back for a second year.

10. He stayed in Milwaukee in 1902 and 1903 managing the minor league team. In 1904 he took over as player-manager of the Philadelphia Phillies doing more managing than playing. The Phils finished eighth in 1904, fourth in 1905, and fourth again in 1906 his final season as manager.

11. After retirement he coached at Harvard, managed in the minors, then had short stints managing both the White Sox (1910-11) and Red Sox (1921-22). After that he turned to scouting. He remained a scout until 1953 and died in 1954.

12. His career number include a .324 average, a .386 on base percentage, a .451 slugging percentage, and a OPS of .837 (OPS+ 112). He had 2293 hits, scored 1554 runs, hit 106 home runs, had 119 doubles, and knocked in 1302 RBI all in 7044 at bats. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1945 by the Veteran’s Committee.

The Three Wise (?) Men

July 9, 2012

They tell me great minds think alike. A cynic might point out that so did Curly, Larry, and Moe. Back last week Bill over at The On Deck Circle (see blogroll to the right) posted his list of 50 Hall of Famers who just had to be there. I put up my own list. Then I noted that SportsPhD (also on the blogroll at right) weighed in with his list. So I decided to see just how much agreement there was between we three “wise” men. Turns out there’s quite a lot of it. Below are three lists. The first lists, by primary position, the men who show up on all three lists. The second list consists of those who showed up on two lists (without reference to which two lists). Obviously, the final list is of those players who showed up on only one list.


On all three lists:

1B: Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig

2B: Eddie Collins, Charlie Gehringer, Rogers Hornsby, Napoleon LaJoie, Joe Morgan, Jackie Robinson

SS: Cal Ripken, Honus Wagner

3B: Geroge Brett, Eddie Mathews, Mike Schmidt

LF: Rickey Henderson, Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski

CF: Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Duke Snider, Tris Speaker

RF: Hank Aaron, Mel Ott, Frank Robinson, Babe Ruth

C: Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra

P: Grover Cleveland Alexander, Bob Feller, Lefty Grove, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Tom Seaver, Warren Spahn, Cy Young (a total of 37 names)


Appearing on two lists:

Arky Vaughan (SS), Wade Boggs (3B), Roberto Clemente (RF), Al Kaline (RF), SandyKoufax (P), Nolan Ryan (P), and Negro Leaguers Oscar Charleston, Martin DiHigo, Josh Gibson, and Stachel Paige (a total of 9 names)


Appearing on only one list:

1B Harmon Killebrew, Willie McCovey, Eddie Murray

2B: Rod Carew

SS: Robin Yount

RF: Tony Gwynn, Reggie Jackson, Paul Waner

C: Roy Campanella, Gary Carter, Carlton Fisk

P. Steve Carlton, Bob Gibson, Carl Hubbell, Kid Nichols, Phil Niekro

Negro Leagues: JohnHenry Lloyd, Turkey Stearnes (for a total of 18 names)

It makes for a total of only 64 names for 50 slots. We agree 74% of the time and 2 of the 3 of us agree on 92% of the players. Not bad agreement, right? How wise it is remains another question.

The Core of the Hall: Notes

July 6, 2012

The post just below this one touches on the 50 people who I think most belong in the Hall of Fame (of those already enshrined). The public comments have been positive, but I’ve also received a handful of private comments (and emails) with questions about the list. This is an attempt to answer those.

1. SportsPhD in his comment below notes a paucity of 19th Century players and speculates that I’m purposefully leaving off players who were active primarily before the advent of the mound. He is correct. I think the change in pitching distance and motion have so effected the game that players before and after those changes must be viewed in entirely different categories. And, yes, there is a certain amount of justice in placing Campanella above Anson.

2. A number of comments have asked why so many Negro Leaguers, especially Turkey Stearnes and Martin DiHigo. I am entirely comfortable in believing that five Negro League players are among the 50 finest players ever. Look at the National League in the 1950s and you’ll note that guys like Aaron, Mays, Clemente, and Frank Robinson are on my list. I don’t think it unreasonable to believe that five players from the period 1920-1950 who were Negro League stars should be included. If you can find four in ten years, surely you can find five in thirty. As to DiHigo I placed him here because of his playing ability, his versatility, and his impact on the game among Latin players. He is instrumental on growing the game in Latin America (as is Clemente) and when coupled with his skills that puts him on my list. Stearnes is a little harder to justify and frankly was one of the last people I included. Most sources claim he is the leader in home runs among Negro Leaguers. That probably is worth adding him, even at the expense of guys like Buck Leonard and John Henry Lloyd.

3. Most people, including those who made public comment on the first Core post, indicate they might have changed a half dozen or so. Actually I think that’s really good. It means that, at least among those people who read this blog, there is a fairly solid consensus as to the top 40 or so players.

4. Someone asked if I was sorry to have to leave off current players or Hall eligible (or in the case of Joe Jackson and Pete Rose ineligible) players. Yes, I was. I’d love to put Albert Pujols on the list as well as Greg Maddux and possibly Rose although I’d have to think long and hard about Charlie Hustle. I’m not sure I see him as a top 50 without reference to the gambling issue. Maybe, maybe not.

5. I was asked “If Campanella was the last man on, who was the last man off?” The answer is Eddie Murray. I really miss putting Murray on the list and I have to admit that a personal prejudice may have gotten in the way here. I always liked Murray, but I loved Campy. I guess in the end that made a difference.

6. Someone asked “If you could cut it down to 10 who would you pick?” Pass.

All this typed for the information of those who asked. This way I don’t have to write up a dozen different responses to a dozen different emails.

The Core of the Hall

July 4, 2012

Over at “Baseball Past and Present” the guy is running a poll asking you to pick the 50 guys who are the core of the Hall of Fame. In many ways he’s asking you to tell him who you’d pick if Cooperstown was open to only 50 players. All the players on his list are current Hall of Fame members, so you can’t pick current players or those on the HoF ballot. Over at the “On Deck Circle” (see the blogroll at right) Bill Miller has posted his list for all to see. Obviously this means I’m a glutton for punishment. So here, for the first time ever on a blog, (still your beating hearts, team) is my list of the 50 people I think the Hall of Fame absolutely has to have in it (drum roll, please).

My list is put together alphabetically by position with no inference of the order the 50 would be in if I listed them one after the other.

1B: Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig

2B: Eddie Collins, Charlie Gehringer, Rogers Hornsby, Napoleon LaJoie, Joe Morgan

SS: Cal Ripken, Arky Vaughan, Honus Wagner

3B: George Brett, Eddie Mathews, Mike Schmidt

LF: Rickey Henderson, Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Carl Yaztrzemski

CF: Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Duke Snider, Tris Speaker

RF: Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Mel Ott, Frank Robinson, Babe Ruth

C: Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella

P: Grover Cleveland Alexander, Bob Feller, Bob Gibson, Lefty Grove, Carl Hubbell, Sandy Koufax,  Christy Mathewson, Kid Nichols, Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Warren Spahn, Walter Johnson, Cy Young

Negro Leaguers: Oscar Charleston, Martin DiHigo, Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, Turkey Stearnes

and Jackie Robinson. If you look just at his statistics, you can make a good case for excluding Robinson (as you might for Clemente if you wanted to), but his importance as the man who integrated the game is significant enough to elevate him to the list (as Clemente’s importance for the advent of Latin players is significant enough to add him on without reference to his stats).

My original list ran about 70 or so long. Cutting out the last 5 or 6 was tough. I’m certain a different day, a different interpretation of the stats and other evidence might yield a different bottom few, but overall I’m satisfied with this list. BTW Campy was the last guy in.