Washuyama

Greatest of All Time

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This started in the Basho Talk thread, but I figured it fit better in this section where I disagreed that Harumafuji was one of the greatest of all time.  Where is that bar set?  To me the top few are obvious and that is where I draw my imaginary line. How many would you put on that list?  10? 100? 500?  What are your qualifiers?  Yusho? Makuuchi Wins? Career Wins? All Yokozuna?  All Yokozuna AND Ozeki?  

My personal list contains:  Hakuho, Futabayama, Taiho and Chiyonofuji. (with Kitanoumi, Asashoryu, Takanohana II  just off the list.)  I keep my list very, very small because it is an "elite of the elite" list.  Futabayama's 69 rensho and dominance in the 30s/40s is hard to ignore which is why he is above those with more yusho.  

As for Wajima... He was the first Yokozuna I ever saw and was the best around (Kitanoumi was early in his Yokozuna reign at the time).  As I was very young, I saw Wajima as almost god-like - larger than life.  Hell, I had a poster (see below) of him (and Kitanoumi) on my wall when I was 8. But he doesn't make the "top" of my list in the best of all time conversation.

post-1666-0-84413800-1448156396_thumb.jpg

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I always understood GOAT as being the individual considered such. You seem to be going for the list of those who are amongst the very greatest. Would that be right?

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Initially it was a comment that HMF was one of the best ever that started it.  I guess GOAT got added as a synonym for that.  I guess for my debate, I'm looking for greatest rikishi (plural) as opposed to rikishi (singular, i.e. Hakuho).

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Since 1958, I believe Taiho (32), Kitanoumi (24), Chiyonofuji (31), Takanohana (22), Asashoryu (25) and Hakuho (38 and counting) all qualify as Dai-Yokozuna. Who is the GOAT? I vote for: #1 Hakuho, #2 Taiho and #3 Chiyonofuji. Why? Because, ultimately, it's all about the Yushos.

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1 hour ago, Washuyama said:

Initially it was a comment that HMF was one of the best ever that started it.  I guess GOAT got added as a synonym for that.  I guess for my debate, I'm looking for greatest rikishi (plural) as opposed to rikishi (singular, i.e. Hakuho).

No, it is "The GOAT" and means "Greatest of all time". There's no such thing as a list of GOATs.

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32 minutes ago, tomayama said:

There's no such thing as a list of GOATs.

There is now...  I just made one.

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To be fair you can have a shortlist of contenders for the title of greatest of all time.

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I would consider being in the top 1% as elite. Given that there is about 650 people active this tournament, that makes it the top 6 and a half guys, which basically encompasses the yokozuna and ozeki. That seems appropriate, as it includes Goeidou as point 5er. So I suppose if you wanted to consider the best of the best, you'd probably look at the career performance (probably just winning percentage numbers?) of yokozuna and ozeki at those respective ranks and take the best 1% of that? Bam! Thread solved. 

 

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It is always difficult (if not impossible) to compare rikishi who fought in different times. So many parameters... How many yusho would have won Harumafuji if Hakuho did not exist? The question is both relevant (as an assessment value) and irrelevant (as Hakuho does exist).

We can count the yusho but back in time there were not 6 basho per year.

And in your lists you are focusing on yusho-era rikishi. What about Raiden? Can he only be benchmarked with 20th/21st century rikishi?

 

Perhaps we could use some kind of fuzzy logic model to compute "strenght" of rikishi, with the year as a base unit. Yet some (arbitrary) rules must be set: how are the wins counted, how are the yusho taken into consideration, how are the draws handled... how do we handle injuries... (how) do we take the strenght of the opposition into consideration ???

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1 hour ago, Asojima said:

Why bother?

Eh, Hakuho's got this tournament all wrapped up. Just starting the interbasho boredom conversations a bit early. ;-)

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If someone were to do a serious study on such a topic, my feeling is that an analysis similar to what they do in baseball would yield some interesting results.  Something like the WAR (wins above replacement) stat, although I personally have no idea what actual math goes into that particular stat.  It's tricky for sumo because the banzuke system already kind of does that, i.e. the ranking movement when you kachi-koshi and make-koshi, so you can also easily argue that it really does come down to just yusho.  The wildcard in all of that would be determining a way to quantify the quality of say, the entire makuuchi population for a given year.

Then of course you can diverge into two further camps of thinking if you want to talk about who is the best in their prime vs the best careers.  Some people think Sandy Koufax shouldn't be in the baseball Hall of Fame since he only had a half dozen mediocre seasons followed by 4 dominant seasons of pitching and then retired.  Somewhere out there there's a statistical argument that Kaiou would rank higher on the list than say, Hokutoumi, and the argument wouldn't necessarily be wrong.

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