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Hall of Merit: 1951 Ballot

The prominent newbies: Jimmie Foxx, Bob Johnson, Harlond Clift, Ben Chapman, Paul Derringer, Dolph Camilli, Rick Ferrell, Tony Cucinello, and Curt Davis.

The top-ten returnees: Joe Cronin, Mule Suttles, John Beckwith, Earl Averill, Eppa Rixey, Wes Ferrell, Biz Mackey and Hughie Jennings.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 09, 2005 at 12:16 AM | 97 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: Relief Pitchers

Should we maybe start a thread for general discussion of relief pitchers at some point?

- that “definitely immoral” cat :-)

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 04, 2005 at 05:31 PM | 460 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: Bobby Estalella

Bobby Estalella

Eligible in 1951.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 03, 2005 at 10:43 PM | 51 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: The HoM Half Time Show!

DanG sent this to Joe and I a while back. Now seems like a good time to present it to the whole group:

Joe and John,

Reviving my idea from three months ago.  I’ve thought of a couple more reasons we might want to do it.

The HoM Half Time Show

How about if the Hall of Merit takes a halftime break?

As things stand now, we will catch up to the present day in July 2007.  The 2007 election will be our 110th and will bring the HOM total to 231 players.  This means the 1952 election marks the halfway point, the 55th election.  After that election we will have a total of 99 HoMers.

I think it would be good if we took a week at that point to poll every voter for their top 100 all-time among eligible players.  Why?  Well, for one, I think it would be fun, to have our expert electorate rank the stars retired 1946 and before.  Another thing it would accomplish is to encourage newer voters to go back and consider every candidate since the project began.  Older voters would likewise be forced to reassess every player, perhaps taking a fresh look at how long-time candidates rank versus newer ones.  It would result in highlighting overlooked players.  There would be a few HoMers being voted out of the top 100 and I would be interested in seeing just who that would be; it would give voters some indication as to which HoMers establish our minimum standards.

A point I want to stress: Our focus must always remain on the whole of baseball history.  Any voter who says he’s done with the 19th century or he waited to join until we had dealt with that era…well, that voter is out of place here.  Likewise, extreme time lining, a la Bill James, should not be used.  Dead ball and 19th century players should not be obscured by the shadows of guys that loom large only because there’s a living memory of them. We are not the HOF veterans committee; players should not fade from our memories.  Take Welch and Browning.  Are they so much worse than Caruthers and Thompson that they shouldn’t challenge for election on a weak ballot?  They’re not and they should.  What about Griffith, Van Haltren, Jennings, Beckley, Duffy, Childs, Ryan.  Have we been fair with the 1890’s?  Why are there more HoMers from the 1880’s?  I don’t think that makes sense. 

In the half time election I think we would want to limit the electorate, allowing ballots only from voters who have participated in the HoM project.  This could include non-voting contributors like Paul Wendt.

I think we would only need to delay our normal elections for one week.  Discussion for the half time show could take place concurrent with the 1952 ballot week.  Then one week for top 100 ballots.

The Half Time Show may even be something we would want to publicize beyond our usual channels.  Would SABR be willing to publish an article about the HTS that also explains what the HoM is all about?  Maybe Neyer would be interested?

Does anyone think this idea has “merit”?

Another reason for the HTS exercise:

One of the benefits of the Hall of Merit project is that it reveals the best players that the Cooperstown hall has missed. There are now 25 players in the HoM that the HOF has not elected.  Which ones are at the top of this group?  If one wanted to campaign for a couple players who best meet that other hall’s criteria, who would they be?

Given its current procedures, there is zero chance the HOF will elect anyone retired more than 60 years ago.  The VC voters favor their cronies; even worse, the few old-timers who make the final ballot (Mays, Ferrell, Wood, Meusel, K.Williams) are not the best candidates.

To get a long-retired player into the Coop is like supporting a candidate for canonization to the Catholic Church; it takes many years and you have to prove miracles were performed.  You need to make the case with sabermetric stats, with traditional stats, with non-statistical achievements, and with anecdotes and testimonials. You have to persistently push your case to the people running the Hall, to the voters, to the media, to MLB and to the ball clubs. 

So, the more important reason for going through this half time exercise is towards prioritizing the candidates for the Cooperstown hall.  One of the aims of the HoM project is to be able to show them who ought to be in their Hall.  This blog stands as a testament to a rigorous process of analysis at a high level of scholarship.  But I don’t think it gets us anywhere to just hand them a list a list of 25 guys; it has to be prioritized.  The HTS not only ranks the non-HOFers, it shows where they stand among the current members of the HOF.

A digression:

Clearly, what the HOF needs is a committee charged with electing old-time players, similar to the one in existence from 1995-2001.  But it should be for really old-time players, players retired at least 120 years.  If we can do it here, the HOF should have no trouble assembling a panel with the requisite historical and statistical knowledge to elect the right players.  Have them elect one player every four years, gradually moving forward in time.

When the HoM reaches the present day, membership in it should almost be a prerequisite for any player the HOF elects.  When petitioning for a player’s election to the HOF, membership in the HoM should be a strong point in their favor.

However, remember that their focus is different than ours.  We’re only looking at players’ contributions to the pennant quest.  They consider players’ total sum of contributions: managing, innovations, advancement of the game, promoting the spread of the game, as well as their “fame”, demeanor, behavior, etc.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 03, 2005 at 09:46 PM | 61 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: Term Limits or Perpetual Eligibility for Candidates?

DanG sent this to some of us about a week and a half ago:

I thought I would run this idea by youse guys.

I feel compelled to take another stab at limiting candidacies.  Perpetual eligibility is great in theory, but in practice it has its problems.

As we near the halfway mark, the cautions that Marc (Sunnyday2) and I brought forth in the formation of the project are bearing forth.  Only four candidates received 33% of possible points, a new record low.  69 players received votes, a new record high.  These records will soon be broken and the fragmentary balloting will worsen.  Players will be elected that will make Pike and Terry’s support appear overwhelming, especially as we get into the elect-3 years.

This is not really a huge problem yet, but I have a suggestion to subtly relieve the pressure in this direction.  I call it 70-and-Out.  For players last playing after 1891 (or eligible for our first election), they get 70 years on the ballot.  For players retiring before 1892, they are eligible until 75 years after their last game.  This would mean that Jim Creighton is already ineligible for election, but nobody has voted for him for quite a while anyway.

But.  Along with this I suggest a 10% rule.  A candidate will only be retired after he is named on less than 10% of the ballots (less than 6 votes, as things currently run) in two consecutive elections.  So Friends Of Charley Jones, all ten of them, have no worries.  In time, this will reduce the votes being thrown away on pet candidates (there were 63 votes wasted on candidates receiving less then 6 votes in 1949).  By the time we reach the present in 2007 we will have retired all the bad candidates retiring before 1932.

It’s not too late to enact this rule.  The first “significant” candidates to expire would be Harry Wright and Candy Cummings, after the 1952 election.  Unless they get a sudden revival of support.  Which leads to the chief benefit of this idea.

It’s a perfect way to highlight the old time candidates.  I would provide lists of players due to get the blade.  Discussion would proceed from this; Do we really want to let Harry Wright disappear forever?  When we get to 1959 and Tommy Bond and Levi Meyerle are on the bubble, this may very well revive their candidacies.  Or not; as it stands now they are almost entirely forgotten.

I expect the usual cries of, “But these aren’t my 15 best candidates, you’re forcing me to vote for someone I don’t want,” or similar drivel.  Look, we already know that the difference between your #6 and #16 player (or #26) is negligible, and becoming even less as time goes on.  So we’re not dredging up refuse by doing this.  Focusing attention on The Candidates and away from the fantasies is a good thing.  You’re saying 140 weeks is not enough time to study and stump for a player?  “Yes, we know you love Fred Dunlap/Tommy Bond/Tony Mullane, but it’s time to go now.”  Why can’t we say that?

To me, the point of this project is reaching consensus through informed discussion.  To those who stubbornly reject the values of the majority, we can help them.  Yes, there is virtue in open discussion of all candidates, and we are doing this.  But there is vice in anarchy and chaos, and this is a small attempt to ensure order because I think it ultimately leads to a better result.


What do you think?  Should we put this idea before the group?


John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 03, 2005 at 09:42 PM | 158 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: Curt Davis

Curt Davis

Eligible in 1951.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 03, 2005 at 01:27 PM | 7 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: 1951 Ballot Discussion

1951 (May 8)—elect 2
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)

435 134.9 1927 Jimmie Foxx-1B (1967)
287 95.5 1933 Bob Johnson-LF (1982)
216 77.5 1934 Harlond Clift-3B (1992)
233 71.6 1930 Ben Chapman-CF/RF (1993)
231 70.0 1931 Paul Derringer-P (1987)
224 69.9 1934 Dolph Camilli-1B (1997)
206 73.4 1929 Rick Ferrell-C (1995)
203 60.8 1930 Tony Cuccinello-2B (1995)
165 63.8 1934 Curt Davis-P (1965)
178 48.6 1931 Gee Walker-LF (1981)
147 55.6 1932 Van Mungo-P (1985)
135 50.1 1930 Gus Mancuso-C (1984)
149 44.9 1933 Pete Fox-RF (1966)
135 45.7 1937 Jim Tobin-P (1969)
146 41.2 1936 Mike Kreevich-CF (1994)
119 37.5 1930 Whit Wyatt-P (1999)
115 33.1 1936 Gene Moore-RF (1978)
102 35.0 1936 Max Butcher-P (1957)
105 33.8 1939 Vern Kennedy-P (1993)
084 23.0 1939 Bobby Estalella-CF/LF (1991)

1951 (May 8)—elect 2
HF% Career Name-pos (born) BJ – MVP - All-Star

24% 30-45 Jimmy Crutchfield-OF (1910) #7 cf - 0 - 1*
04% 21-48 Larry Brown-C (1905) #9 c - 0 - 1*
04% 32-46 Alex Radcliffe-3B(1905) #8 3b - 0 - 2*
00% 31-47 Felton Snow-3B (1905)0 - 3*

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 03, 2005 at 12:19 AM | 142 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: 1950 Results: Waner and Dihigo Touch Them All on Their First Try For the Hall of Merit!

In his first year of eligibility, Pittsburgh star right fielder Paul Waner  grabbed 95% of the vote to claim the first spot on the ballots for HoM immortality.

In also his first year on the ballot, Negro League and Cuban multi-positional legend Martín Dihigo earned induction by claiming the second most votes. Our fourteenth Negro League inductee, Dihigo’s family should thank voter (and the world’s greatest Dode Paskert fan! :-) David C. Jones for his impassioned plea to everyone to please reconsider the great star’s status on their ballots a few days ago. At the time, Joe Cronin was comfortably in second place, but Dihigo surged strongly and was also helped by a few early voters revising their ballots.

Rounding out the top-ten were: Mule Suttles, John Beckwith, Earl Averill, Eppa Rixey, Wes Ferrell, Biz Mackey,  and Hughie Jennings.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 02, 2005 at 11:31 PM | 75 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: Double Duty Radcliffe

Ted Radcliffe

Eligible in 1952.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 02, 2005 at 08:48 PM | 22 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: Sam Bankhead

Sam Bankhead

Eligible in 1952.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 02, 2005 at 08:47 PM | 4 comment(s)
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