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Hall of Merit: Estimating League Quality - Part 1 (the concept)
First of all, let me apologize for the lack of material posted to the Hall of Merit BLOG. In the coming weeks, I’m confident this will no longer be a problem.
When we consider players who played over 100 years ago, it is vital to look at the quality of the leagues they played in. Using a method that is similar to what Clay Davenport has been doing for some time (for examples of this kind of work, see Clay’s recent postings on Baseball Prospectus concerning the quality of play in the Japanese Baseball Leagues), I attempted to estimate the quality of baseball in the “major” leagues of the 19th century.
I focused on hitting stats, since at this time there were only a handful of pitchers active at a given time in a given league.
My method assumes that a player’s overall batting skill does not change appreciably from one year to the next. This assumption is not true on an individual basis, but it starts to make sense when we are talking about a large group of players. The individual changes in skill should become less important as the size of the group increases.
In leagues that are stable, there isn’t a very high turnover in personnel from year to year. In the 19th century National League, in most years, about 70%-80% of the players returned to play regularly the following year. In cases where new leagues started up and players jumped, the percentage of holdovers was much much lower - and this makes comparison much more difficult.
I estimated the quality of each hitter?s batting by using a runs produced ratio [(R+RBI)/PA] and compared it to a league average performance. The reason I chose this, and not Runs Created or Linear Weights, is that I wasn’t going to adjust for park and I assumed that the batting order bias of the R anbd RBI stats was not going to be relevant for a large group of players either.
In the 19th century, where more advanced run estimation formulas are much less accurate than for “modern” baseball, I opted for the simplicity of using Runs Scored and RBI.
Because we are comparing each group of players to league average the result shouldn’t be far from 1.00 for a relatively stable league (where the majority of regulars return the next year). In practice, it’s unlikely to be exactly 1.00 of course.
If the newcomers to the league in a given year were better than typical newcomers, the performance of the holdovers would be worse than in a typicla league and this would be a sign that the league was getting stronger. On the other hand, if a lot of good players jumped to a rival league and their places were filled by less skilled batsmen, the holdovers would improve their performance relative to league average and this would be a sign that the league was weakening.
By comparing the overall performance of the SAME group of players from year to year and league to league, it should be possible to track the changes in the overall quality of play.
In the next part, I’ll apply these methods to a specific example.
173 comment(s)Posted: March 01, 2002 at 11:49 PM |
Hall of Merit: Baseball Prospectus: Japanese Baseball: How Good Is It?
Thanks to “jimd” for passing this along.
This is an excellent article. Robert has done a lot of work on comparisons for 1871-75 NA, to the NL, last I heard he was complete through 1885. One surprise, 1874 or 75 NA was actually stronger than the 1876 NL. That’s just a tease for now (I don’t have the numbers, just recalling converstations w/Robert), I think Robert will be ready to post his findings soon.
This is vital to our early ballot. From a previous thread I think we’ve agreed to move the first election back to 1905 (careers through 1900). With the nature of baseball back then, the importance of accurately weighing the strength of the league a player played in cannot be understated.
On a side note, I did not realize Japanese baseball was that strong.
27 comment(s)Posted: January 31, 2002 at 10:02 PM |
Hall of Merit: Outta here: One man’s Hall of Fame plan
Thanks to Cris Enestvedt for passing this along. Talk about an exclusive Hall of Fame! I’ll bet the folks in Cooperstown would love having an induction every 3 or 4 years. I wonder if they’d be able to get whoever gets kicked out to show up for the ceremony . . .
I realize this is just a fun article, but seriously, this guy is missing the whole point. It’s to honor several of the best players of each generation. To honor some players that weren’t appreciated for the stars they were when they were active. Not the 2 best from each decade and kick people out once someone better comes along. Not to mention that I have some issue with his choices for the top 25 anyway.
Here’s the follow-up article for current players:
Also, apologies for the lack of posting here so far. The support has been great, far exceeding our expectations. I have 81 people on the list for ballots so far.
I’ve been really busy the last few weeks. More will follow soon. I think the early discussion has been very good, we’ll start bringing it together and focusing in soon. If you have any suggestions/questions that you would like addressed feel free to post them here.
22 comment(s)Posted: January 30, 2002 at 03:23 AM |
Hall of Merit: The Hall of Merit needs you!
We would like to invite all those interested to contribute their ideas regarding every aspect of the Hall of Merit.
Though Joe and I have established some general guidelines, there are issues that still need to be considered. One of these is the voting system. Joe has proposed a voting system which is quite similar to the one used in the annual MVP votes. Please refer to an article Joe wrote for Baseball Primer titled “Something Better” for a description of the HoM as it currently stands.
If you have any thoughts about how this new project should work, please post them here.
128 comment(s)Posted: January 09, 2002 at 04:07 AM |
Hall of Merit: Hall of Merit - the early years
Hi there folks!
Joe and I have a lot of work to do to get the Hall of Merit off the ground.
I think the biggest challenge before the first election is getting people familiar with the eligible players.
In principle, any player whose career finished before 1911 is eligible. Because we are dealing with 40 years of baseball I decided to break down the player lists into more managable parts: 1) those who last played in the bigs before 1891; 2) those not in the first group who last played before 1901; 3) and those remaining who last played before 1911.
I’ve made a list of the players who played in parts of at least 10 years and left the bigs before 1891, here it is:
1) “games” is career games played, including in the National Association
By no means does this include every quality player of the 1871-1890 era - for one thing, many of them played past 1890. I’ll feature them in upcoming lists.
46 comment(s)Posted: January 09, 2002 at 03:29 AM |
Hall of Merit: Welcome to the Hall of Merit
This is the first blog entry for the Hall of Merit. We hope you will find this an interesting new feature on our site. Much more information will follow.
3 comment(s)Posted: January 08, 2002 at 05:37 PM |