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Hall of Merit: 1874 National Association

Thanks again to jimd for the summary in the discussion portion.

1874 Standings   W  L  PCT   GB Adj. Standings    W   L  PCT GB
Boston          52 18 .743   -- Boston          120  41 .743 --
New York        42 23 .646  7.5 New York        104  57 .648 16
Phil. Athletics 33 22 .600 11.5 Phil. Athletics 102  59 .636 18
Phil. Pearls    29 29 .500 17.0 Phil. Pearls     84  77 .521 36
Chicago         28 31 .475 18.5 Chicago          78  83 .485 42
Brooklyn        22 33 .400 22.5 Brooklyn         70  91 .433 50
Hartford        16 37 .302 27.5 Hartford         53 108 .329 67
Baltimore        9 38 .191 31.5 Baltimore        33 128 .206 87

Here are the standings removing Hartford and Baltimore, who only had a few true major leaguers amongst them.

Adj.II Standings  W   L  PCT GB
Boston          110  50 .690 --
New York         93  67 .578 17
Phil. Athletics  90  70 .564 20
Phil. Pearls     69  91 .434 41
Chicago          63  97 .395 47
Brooklyn         54 106 .339 56

Boston continues their dominance, winning their 3rd consecutive pennant.

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: February 22, 2003 at 04:29 PM | 10 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: 1873 National Association

Thanks again to jimd for this summary, which is in the discussion portion.

First the standings:

Actual Standings    W  L  PCT   GB Adjusted Standings   W   L  PCT  GB
Boston             43 16 .729   -- Boston             120  41 .744  --
Phil. White Stock. 36 17 .679  4.0 Phil. White Stock. 115  46 .715   5
Baltimore          34 22 .607  7.5 Baltimore          100  61 .623  20
Phil. Athletics    28 23 .549 11.0 Phil. Athletics     97  64 .604  23
New York           29 24 .547 11.0 New York            96  65 .594  24
Brooklyn           17 37 .315 23.5 Brooklyn            61 100 .379  59
Washington          8 31 .205 20.0 Washington          38 123 .233  82
Elizabeth           2 21 .088 23.0 Elizabeth           18 143 .109 102
Maryland            0  6 .000 16.5

Just like 1872, a few adjustments need to be made for the weak sisters again. I’ll give the standings how they would look at each possible spot where you could draw the ‘major league’ line.

The first would be to remove Elizabeth, as they were really just a club team that gave it a whirl, Washington had at least tried the year before, and wasn’t total dreck.

The second adjustment would be to remove Washington, who, while not total dreck was clearly not on the level of these teams:

No Elizabeth         W   L  PCT  GB  No Eliz./Wash.       W   L  PCT  GB
Boston             115  47 .707  --  Boston             106  54 .665  --
Phil. White Stock. 109  53 .674   6  Phil. White Stock. 101  59 .628   5
Baltimore           93  69 .571  22  Baltimore           82  78 .513  24
Phil. Athletics     89  73 .549  26  Phil. Athletics     78  82 .489  28
New York            87  75 .538  28  New York            76  84 .476  30
Brooklyn            49 113 .303  66  Brooklyn            37 123 .228  69
Washington          25 137 .156  90

The final adjustment would be removing Brooklyn, since they were clearly below the pack of the other 5.

Top 5                W   L  PCT  GB
Boston             100  60 .622  --
Phil. White Stock.  93  67 .581   7
Baltimore           73  87 .454  27
Phil. Athletics     69  91 .428  31
New York            66  94 .415  34

Feel free to draw the line wherever you’d like.

As far as the individual achievements go, Ross Barnes has solidified his place as the star of the league. George Wright and Levi Meyerle are also looking like superstars, Cap Anson is coming into his own, and Deacon White made his first Silver Slugger squad. Lip Pike and George Hall are also consistently among the best players in the league.


JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: February 13, 2003 at 11:52 PM | 3 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: 1872 National Association

All of the text in the discussion portion is courtesy of jimd, who did an outstanding job; and he makes an interesting case for a defensive spectrum shift as well. It’s one that seems obvious to me now, but which I had never thought of, we’ll save that for later.

Here’s a look at the standings:

Boston           39  8 .830   --  Boston           141  19 .883  --  
Philadelphia     30 14 .682  7.5  Philadelphia     127  33 .796  14 
Baltimore        35 19 .648  7.5  New York         119  41 .745  22
New York         34 20 .630  8.5  Baltimore        116  44 .727  25  
Troy             15 10 .600 13.0  Troy             107  53 .670  34
Cleveland         6 16 .273 20.5  Bro. Atlantics    72  88 .451  69
Bro. Atlantics    9 28 .243 25.0  Cleveland         71  89 .443  70
Was. Olypics      2  7 .222 18.0  Middletown        60 100 .372  81
Middletown        5 19 .208 22.5  Bro. Eckfords     50 110 .312  91
Bro. Eckfords     3 26 .103 27.0  Was. Olympics     16 144 .100 125
Was. Nationals    0 11 .000 21.0  Was. Nationals     0 160 .000 141

There’s more to this though. There were clearly 5 teams that stood out from the pack. What would the standings look like if we considered only these teams ‘major league’? Also, what would the standings look like for the middle four teams? The last two don’t really matter since they couldn’t beat any of these teams. The only two wins for the Olympics came against the Nationals.

BAL. TOP TIER   W   L  PCT GB  BAL. AAA         W   L  PCT GB
Boston        119  41 .744 --  Bro. Atlantics 103  59 .633 --
Philadelphia   89  71 .559 30  Cleveland      100  62 .616  3
New York       73  87 .456 46  Middletown      73  89 .452 30
Baltimore      68  92 .423 51  Bro. Eckfords   48 114 .298 55
Troy           51 109 .318 68

When we compute adjusted Win Shares, we’ll use the top tier standings above for the players on those teams, as a way of letting the air out of their stats. For 2nd tier teams, we’ll give them credit for the wins they would have had under a balanced schedule, if they were the 6th team in the league.

I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to work this out, although it may require more editing than it’s worth. But, there are some players of consequence on those teams, guys like Jack Burdock, Deacon White, Ezra Sutton, Jim O’Rourke and John Clapp, so we’ll have to figure something out. I’m open to ideas here. But if we can find a sound way to let the air out of their stats, it’ll help to ease the concerns of some about the quality of the competition.

There’s a lot more about the season in the discussion portion.

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: February 11, 2003 at 05:43 AM | 1 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: 1871 National Association

This will be the first recap of a 19th Century season. Besides my main sources will be The Stats All-Time Handbook, The Stats All-Time Sourcebook and The Great Encyclopedia of the 19th Century Major League Baseball.

To save space, I’ll post the standings here, commentary inside the thread.

I’ll be presenting two sets of standings, the first, the games as they were played. The second set will show what the standings would have been over a balanced schedule, with the aim for somewhere between 154 and 162 games where possible.

I have a complex set of formulas that adjusts for the unbalanced schedule. I don’t want to get into too many details here, but I adjust each team’s skill rate based on schedule strength.

Then I prove out the actual W-L record to within .05 for each team (in most cases) using the actual schedule, and the formula for W-L between two teams A and B: (WpctA*LpctB)/((WpctA*LpctB)+(WpctB*LpctA)). I plug that formula in for every combination (multiplied by actual games played), and prove out the records. With wacky schedules sometimes the numbers have to be manually tweaked, but that just improves the accuracy. I’ll send you the spreadsheet if you have any interest in the gory details.

Once that is done, the sheet computes a second set of standings based on a balanced schedule. Since there were 9 teams in the 1871 NA, I had each team play each other 20 times (160 game season). I take one final step of rounding up enough teams to make the standings ‘add up’. Sometimes due to rounding, the whole league comes out 1001-999 or something when you add up the rounded numbers. So I find the team over .5 by the least and round them down instead of up (or vice versa if the league is 999-1001). It’s just for appearances, that’s all. The PCT is based on the actual numbers of adjusted wins and losses, as many decimals as excel calculates.

Since we care about individuals more than teams for this exercise, once we get the Win Shares spreadsheet adjusted for 19th Century purposes, I’ll be computing adjusted NA Win Shares based on the second set of standings (adjusted to 162 game seasons of course), so we account for unbalanced schedules. It’s especially important, with the short, haphazard schedules, to remove this bias.

One other note on the 1871 NA. Rockford’s manager/catcher Scott Hastings played with New Orleans over the previous winter to earn some extra $$. On April 16, New Orleans played Chicago in an exhibition game (this was before the first NA season opener).

There was a rule to discourage revolving, a player under contract with one team could not play for another team for 60 days after his last game. Even though New Orleans wasn’t in the NA, all other teams protested, and all Rockville wins prior to June 16 were forfeited to the teams they beat. This gave Philadelphia two extra wins and the ‘pennant’. The standings below give Rockford back those 4 wins, so they differ from those shown on Baseball Reference, and make the league more reasonable from top to bottom. The best teams were as good (relatively) as the 2001 Mariners, the worst were a little worse than 1998 Marlins, but that’s about the range. There was no one as bad (relative to the league) as the 1899 Spiders here.

Here are the results (the actual standings only include games actually played, no forfeits):

Actual Standings*:          Adjusted Standings:
          W   L   PCT   GB             W   L PCT GB
Philadelphia 19   9   .679 — Philadelphia 113 47 .704 —
Chicago     19   9   .679 — Chicago     113 47 .704 —
Boston     20   10   .667 — Boston     108 52 .676   5
New York     16   17   .485 5.5 New York     79 81 .492 34
Washington   14   16   .467 6.0 Washington   77 83 .482 36
Troy       12.2 15.8 .436 6.8 Troy       70 90 .438 43
Fort Wayne   6.8 12.2 .357 7.8 Fort Wayne   55 105 .344 58
Cleveland   10   19   .345 9.5 Cleveland     54 106 .341 59
Rockford     8   17   .320 9.5 Rockford     51 109 .319 62

*see posts 6, 8 and 10 for explanation of Troy and Fort Wayne’s records

You can see that Philly and Chicago both played pretty tough schedules (their adjPCT is .026 higher than actual) while Boston didn’t. In reality, Chicago probably would have won the pennant if it wasn’t for The Fire (see discussion). Boston would have won if it weren’t for an injury that cost George Wright half the season.

There’s more, including a Silver Slugger team in the discussion portion.

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: January 24, 2003 at 04:35 AM | 30 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: All Time Negro Leagues All-Stars

I’ll list the top players as listed from two solid sources, the The Complete Book of Baseball’s Negro Leagues; and the New Historical Baseball Abstract.

I’ll also give career dates, courtesy of The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues so we can begin to get a grasp on eligibility, etc..

The links are there because they are excellent books to buy if you have a few extra dollars.

You’ll have to scroll back up after you click the link.

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: January 17, 2003 at 02:37 AM | 313 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: Season by Season Recap

I think one way to build towards the first election is to recap each season with a thread, starting with the 1871 NA. I’m thinking a season a day (Monday-Friday). As we go through time this way, we’ll start to get a feel for which players dominated year-in-year out, etc.

Charles Saeger has done a lot of work towards coming up with modified Win Shares for NA (and eventually all 19th Century players). The reliability of Win Shares gets shakier the further back we go in time, mainly because of the pitching and fielding differences. Charlie’s work should correct a fair amount of this error.

The problem with the massive revisions is that they also require a massive effort to work their way into a spreadsheet. It’ll be worth the wait once they are done, and if we go through time season by season, that will also buy us a little bit of time to get the spreadsheet revised and do some testing before presenting the NA numbers.

We’re not saying WS are the be all and end all. But Charlie’s revised numbers will be a very good guide for an era where we don’t have much to go on.

Let me know what you think of the season-by-season approach. Assuming people are in favor of it, I should be able to get the 1871 NA up tonight.

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: January 13, 2003 at 02:53 PM | 11 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: Update

I received two outstanding Christmas presents yesterday, the Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Leagues and the Complete Book of Baseball’s Negro Leagues.

These two books, combined with the Negro League section of the NHBA, and hopefully some testimony from Negro League experts on the panel should give us a pretty solid chunk of evidence to go on. We aren’t going to be perfect of course, but when it’s said and done we should probably have about 20 or so Negro Leaguers among our 200+ inductees.

One player that I ‘discovered’ was Biz Mackey, probably the 2nd best catcher in Negro Leagues History. Cristobal Torriente is another player that hasn’t been honored by the Hall of Fame that should be . . . there are a few others.

There aren’t too many players from the 19th Century for us to worry about, maybe Bud Fowler and George Stovey (Fleet Walker wasn’t really that great of a player, his fame is more symbolic than anything else).

When I get a few minutes, I’ll set up a thread to discuss the Negro Leaguers, I’ll probably start by posting the All-Time All-Star teams from the Complete Book . . . and from from the NHBA, I should be able to get those up there tonight.

We’re also fairly close to NA Win Shares, Charlie Saeger has done a lot of work, but I’ve got to get a spreadsheet reprogrammed before we can test them out. Maybe 2-3 weeks. If you’ve read the book, you know WS is a massive spreadsheet, about 2 MB without any data. This is a massive overhaul, and will require reprogramming almost the entire thing. If this works out well, it’s possible we’ll be able to come up with revised WS for other 19th Century seasons, but much of that will depend on having the time to enter the data, to see if it’s worth the effort.

Happy Holidays!

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 26, 2002 at 01:34 PM | 2 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: Our Constitution

Statement of Purpose:

The Hall of Merit is an internet group of baseball enthusiasts who will create its own “Hall of Merit” to rival the “Hall of Fame” in Cooperstown.  Many believe that the National Baseball Hall of Fame has done a less than perfect job of selecting the game’s greatest players to honor.  We will attempt to rectify mistakes made by Hall of Fame selections by conducting our own series of elections.  A more thorough description of the Hall of Merit can be found here.

We will ...

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 06, 2002 at 10:55 PM | 392 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: Email Conversation with Rob Wood

My ‘conversation’ with Rob Wood will be posted in the discussion thread.

It’s basically a status of where we stand. Rob has volunteered to draft a rules document, based on everything that’s been discussed in the threads.

I think we’ll be ready to vote after New Year’s.

Hopefully this answers your questions.

If any of you have an idea for a thread, let me know and I’ll post it. This section is different than Clutch Hits, in that we don’t have “news” every day to link to. We try to keep the discussion going, but it’s easy to fall into lulls. Any suggestions would be appreciated . . . thanks!

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: November 25, 2002 at 11:40 PM | 1 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: Hall of Merit group set up on Yahoo

The group has been set up on yahoo, we’ll use this to send messages, register voters, etc.

The subscribe, send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Don’t forget to remove NOSPAM from that address.

To send a message to the group, use .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

I’m not sure how this will work, I only sent two invitations, because it didn’t have an easy way to get to the address book unfortunately. Go to the link above for the home page for the group. Post any questions, etc. here.

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: November 15, 2002 at 03:12 AM | 20 comment(s)
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