The Instigator
deever
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
utahjoker
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Yogi Berra is better than Johnny Bench

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
deever
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/16/2013 Category: Sports
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,149 times Debate No: 34825
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)

 

deever

Pro

Yogi Berra is the best catcher of all time. The main competitor for this honor is Johnny Bench. I feel that Berra is a better player than Bench. But many people and experts say that Bench is better than Berra and I do not like that. For example, the Sporting News places Bench as 16th on the all time 100 list, while putting Berra at 40th. The Sporting New quotes that "It might not seem fair, but Johnny Bench is the standard by which catchers will be judged forever." This debate was created by me to attempt to prove that Berra is better.
Remember, I am not trying to prove that Berra is the best catcher or whatever else. Don't bring other catchers into this debate. It is simply Johnny Bench vs. Yogi Berra. Clearing other issues.

More Valuable or Better?:
When I mean that Berra is "better" than Bench, I mean both more vital and more skilled. I want this debate to include both skill and importance.

My opponent can start the first round or pass. Either way is fine.
utahjoker

Con

I accept this debate and will allow my opponent to give their argument first.
Debate Round No. 1
deever

Pro

First off, I want to thank my opponent for accepting this debate. I will now start my arguments.

Yogi Berra's career was very similar to Bench's. They have about the same amount of home runs, rbis and runs scored. Furthermore, their career batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage are also close. However, even though they are similar, Berra is better than Bench. Let's compare their main stats:

Stat, Berra, Bench
Home Runs, 358, 389
Rbis, 1430, 1376
Runs, 1175, 1091
Batting Average, .285, .267
On base percentage, .348, .342
Slugging Percentage, .482, .476

So, as you can see, Berra and Bench are very close together. Yet, Berra has better stats in 5 of the 6 categories. Now, of course catcher is a defense first position. Bench is a great defensive catcher. So is Berra. Berra' offense is very similar, but still clearly better than Bench. After all, Bench only has more home runs than Berra and that is the most USELESS stat above. Home runs are factored into slugging percentage. Runs and rbis are more important because all home runs are trying to do is get more runs and rbis. That proves that Berra is a better offensive player than Bench. I think that Bench and Berra are equally good at defense. Bench does not find the advantage he needs in order to move pass Berra.

Sources:
1) http://www.baseball-reference.com...
2) http://www.baseball-reference.com...

Thank you.
utahjoker

Con

Yogi Berra is a great player so it Johnny Bench while there numbers are similar they lie a little.
Yogi Berra played for 19 years while Johnny Bench played for 17 years.
So if we take the numbers below and average them out per year they would look more like this.

Stats Home Runs RBI Runs BA OBP Slugging
(per
year
rounding)

Johnny Bench 23 81 64 .267 .342 .476

Yogi Berra 19 75 62 .285 .348 .482

The number are pretty split and even. The biggest reason why Bench is better than Yogi Berra is because of Defense

Golden Glove is given to the best defensive player at his position. Bench won this award 10 times. Yogi won it 0 times.
Yogi was great and would love to have him on my team, but Bench was the greatest.

Sources
https://en.wikipedia.org...
http://www.baseball-almanac.com...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://www.baseball-almanac.com...
Debate Round No. 2
deever

Pro

Nice quick round from my opponent and I thank you for that. Now it is time for me to start my arguments.

My opponent divided Berra's and Bench's stats by amount of years played. That is a terrible idea. While it is true that Berra played 19 seasons and Bench only 17, Bench played his entire career after 1961, which is the first major league expansion. Bench had a chance to play 162 games every season, while Berra could only play 154 games a season except for his last 3 seasons. As a result, Bench actually played more games (2158-2120), had more plate appearances (8674-8359), and more at bats (7658-7555). So, if we average it out for 162 games played per season, the results would be a little bit different.

Stat, Berra, Bench
Home runs, 27, 29
Rbis, 109, 103
Runs, 90, 82
Batting Average, .285, .267
On base percentage, .348, .342
Slugging Percentage, .482, .476
So, in fact Berra is a better batter than Bench.

My opponent was correct when he/she stated that Bench won the Gold Glove Award 10 times while Berra ended up with a fantastic result of zero. However, Berra is at an artificial disadvantage. The Gold Glove was started in 1957, with the AL getting its own award rather than the whole major league in 1958. By 1957, Yogi Berra was already 32 years old. Being a catcher is a hard job. It is the most grueling position on the field. Hall of Fame Catcher, Bill Dickey said it best when he wondered, "why would anyone put on a faceguard, chest protector and shin guards in the middle of the summer?" Gary Carter, another Hall of Fame Catcher tells reporters how tough being a catcher is. Carter had reportedly 9 surgeries to the knees. The point being, playing as a catcher is hard. Very hard. By the time the Gold Glove started, Berra was too old. Yes, he was "only" 32, but to put that in perspective, Johnny Bench didn't win a SINGLE Gold Glove after the age of 32. I'm not saying that it is impossible to win the Gold Glove Award at and after the age of 32, I'm simply saying that it is very difficult to do so. Berra was a fine catcher. He was a team leader, great when working with pitchers and an insanely clutch hitter. He put more runs on the board than Bench and his defense is underrated because he does not have a Gold Glove. He is the best catcher of all time and better than Johnny Bench.

Sources:
1) http://m.bbref.com...
2) http://m.bbref.com...
3) "Home Plate Don't Move-Baseball's best quips and quotes"
utahjoker

Con

My opponent forgot the different eras each player lived in. Yogi Berra played in1946-1965 while Johnny Bench played in 1967-1983. The most amount of teams in the MLB when Yogi Berra played was 16 which hails in comparison to Johnny Bench who played against 16 teams in 1960, than played against 24 teams in 1970, and 26 teams in 1980. This is important because Johnny had to play against tougher competition than Yogi.

If we look at the numbers for hitting Johnny Bench lead the league in RBI three times (1970,1972,1974) and in Home runs twice (1970,1972) and in Total Bases once (1974). While Yogi Berra never lead the league in any batting categories. The numbers are so close that it is a real push for either,but when you keep in mind the era difference Johnny Bench as more impressive numbers compared to the competition.

Johnny Bench played three years after age 32 and at age 33 we had an injury that affected him for the remainder of his career. While Yogi Berra played 6 years after age 32 and didn't have a shortage of games played until he was 37 that still means he had 5 years to get a gold glove, but didn't.

Yogi was a great player in his time, but his time was easier than Johnny Bench's if we take in mind the different era's and the different level of competition.

Yogi was great, but Johnny was greater.

sources
http://www.baseball-reference.com...
http://www.baseball-reference.com...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
deever

Pro

My opponent believes that Johnny Bench's era is worse than Berra's, which would justify Berra's advantage in batting. It doesn't. How is Bench's era harder? Yes, I know Bench played during the later parts of the 1960s, but the 1970s was the same as the 1950s. Also, Berra also played in the 1960s. The difference in their eras is very small, almost the same.
Berra's OPS is 13 points higher, his batting average is 18 pionts higher. That difference is 100 times larger than the difference in eras. My opponent also states that Bench played against more teams with more players. My opponent then claims that means Benmch faced harder competition than Berra. That is incorrect. In the World, there is only so much talent for playing baseball. When you have more teams, there is a higher demand for players. These new players are not as talented as the old players because they could not have made it before. When there are only 16 teams, the level of talent is very high. But when it is expanded to 24, then 26 teams, more players of lesser quality is added and the overall talent level decreases. To put this as an advantage for Bench is beyond idiotic. In reality, Berra faced stiffer competition.

The difference between Berra and Bench in batting is not as close as it seems. When you apply a formula to determine the amount of runs Berra and Bench put on the scoreboard, Berra is quite a bit ahead. The formula is simple. It is (Rbis+Runs-Home Runs)/Plate appearances. This shows how many runs each catcher put up on the scoreboard for every plate appearance. Berra is at .269, which is a fine number. Bench is all the way back at .240. Runs win baseball games. They are important. Berra gets more of them every time he comes to the plate. The difference of Bench's and Berra's era is debatable, but it is obvious that Berra faced tougher competition. With more runs put on scoreboard, a higher batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage, Berra is clearly the better hitter.

Defense is foggier. I still mantain my argument that in general, catchers are much more suspectible to injuries than any other postion player. My opponent says that Bench had an injury at age 33 that prevented him from winning the Gold Glove. That is highly debatable because the last Gold Glove Bench won was at age 29. He had 3 seasons to win the award and didn't. It is a lot easier to win the award at age 30, 31 and 32, than it is at age 33 to 37. Bench did lose to Bob Boone, who is a fine defensive catcher, but he didn't had his best seasons. The catchers Berra lost to were Lollar and Battey, who played at a comparable rate. When you add in the fact that Berra was older, it is questionable who is the better defensive catcher.

My opponent also metioned how Bench led his league in a total of 6 major offensive categories, while Berra never led the league in anything. While that is absolutely true, my question is, why does it matter? If Bench has poorer career numbers overall, but better indiviual seasons, obviously Bench performed worst some other time. In fact, Berra reaches bench mark numbers just as well as Bench. Both Bench and Berra each hit over 20 home runs 11 times. Bench did drive in at least 100 runs 6 times while Berra did it only 5 times. However, Berra drove in 90 runs at least 9 times while Bench did it only 7 times. Both players only scored 100 runs once, but Berra scored 90 runs 4 times, while Bench did it only twice. The only year Bench batted over .300 was 1981 and that is questionable because he only played 52 games, 196 plate appearances and 178 at bats. Meanwhile, Berra batted .300 in 3 separate seasons.

Bench mark stat, #of times Berra did it, #of times Bench did it
20 home runs, 11,11
100 RBIs, 5,6
90 RBIs, 9,7
100 Runs, 1,1
90 Runs, 4,2
Batted .300, 3,0
OPS of .900, 2,2
Speaking of big seasons, Berra won the MVP award 3 times to Bench's two. Bench did win the Rookie of the Year, but Berra was up against Jackie Robinson, who had a fantastic year. With All-Stars, Berra was elected to the All-Star game 15 times to Bench's 14.

So, Berra clearly was a better batter. He was a fine defensive catcher, just as good as Bench. Overall, Berra was a better catcher than Johnny Bench. When you add the fact that Berra played in a more competitve league, it is obvious that Yogi Berra is better than Johnny Bench.
Debate Round No. 4
deever

Pro

Home stretch, last round for both of us.
My opponent said last round, "Im done". Now I'm not sure if he gave up. Nevertheless, I will continue to support the fact that Yogi Berra is better than Johnny Bench.

Defense:
Johnny Bench's career fielding percentage is .990. Yogi Berra's career fielding percentage is .989, just one point lower. Meanwhile, the league fielding percentage for both players were an identical .987 for catchers. So, there isn't much of a difference between the two in fielding percentage. Bench does have a higher range factor per 9 innings (6.27 to 6.00) and a higher range factor per game (5.8 to 5.61), but the league range factor was higher in Bench's era than Berra's. Much higher. The league for Berra only made 5.58 plays per 9 innings and 5.45 plays per game. However, Bench's era made a whopping 6.42 plays per 9 innings and 6.41 plays per game. Bench has a lower range factor than the league while Berra's was higher. So, arguably, Berra is a better defensive catcher than Bench. At the very least, he is just as good.

Offense:
Berra was a better batter. His batting average is 18 points higher, his OPS 13 points higher. While it is true that Bench played in a bit of a more pitcher's era, Berra's era was more competitive because there were less teams. So all stats are non-misleading. Berra put .269 runs on the scoreboard for every plate appearance while Bench put up only .240. Using a stat called Runs Created which was created by Bill James, it shows Berra is better. Berra created 1265 runs using 5630 outs. Bench created 1239 runs using 5955 outs. Berra creates 6 runs per 27 outs, Bench creates 5.6. Bench struck out 1278 times in 8674 plate appearances Berra struck out just 414 times in 8359 plate appearances.
So, Bench struck out 14.733 times per 100 plate appearances while Berra struck out just 4.953 times per 100 plate appearances. Some people think that strikeouts are useless and are no different from other outs. However, it is better to put the ball into play than strikeout, because:
1) You move runners up and create a chance of errors.
2) To put bat on ball means that you have skill. It is easier to strikeout than groundout.

While groundballs and flyouts create a chance of the double play, that cannot be held against Berra. In his career, Berra grounded out into 146 double plays. Bench grounded out into 201 double plays.
Berra reached benchmark numbers just as well as Bench.
Bench mark stat, #of times Berra did it, #of times Bench did it
20 home runs, 11,11
100 RBIs, 5,6
90 RBIs, 9,7
100 Runs, 1,1
90 Runs, 4,2
Batted .300, 3,0
OPS of .900, 2,2
So, Berra is a better batter than Bench.
In Conclusion, Berra is a better batter than Bench and is good enough defensively that he is better than Johnny Bench.
I want to thank my opponent for a nice debate and he did a good job. Thanks for all the viewers who read this debate and of course, VOTE PRO.

Sources:
1) http://m.bbref.com...
2) http://m.bbref.com...
3) http://m.bbref.com...
4) http://m.bbref.com...
utahjoker

Con

Vote Pro

or

Con (if you like, I won't hate you for it)
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by wjbradshaw 2 years ago
wjbradshaw
I love how utahjoker tried to make the argument that Bench was better because he had 10 Golden Gloves and didn't mention that Golden Gloves didn't even start until 1957 when Berra was already 32 years old. How many Golden Gloves did Bench win after 32 years of age. The answer is ZERO.
Posted by imabench 4 years ago
imabench
I feel almost obligated to accept this since my name is bench
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by airmax1227 4 years ago
airmax1227
deeverutahjokerTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro was very thorough in his arguments. So much so that Con concedes in R4 and doesn't reply to Pro's R4 arguments, so they stand unopposed. So args to Pro.