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Thursday, March 27, 2003

1898 Ballot Discussion

The general tone of the discussion seems to be that we’ll be moving the first election back to 1898. There haven’t been any major objections or anything, so I figured I’d get this thread up quick to give as much time as possible for discussion.

I’m posting this thread to allow for new discussions of provisional ballots, because . . . the players discussed will be quite different and that other thread was getting very long.

Please don’t add the totals and score them this time . . . if you want to add them up and post a top 10 or something that’s fine (alphabetically, without the total points) that’s fine, but I’d rather not open that can of worms, if people want to do it individually that’s fine, but I don’t think it should be posted. A top 10 accomplishes the goal of seeing the consensus without the other concerns.

The discussion of the merits of moving the ballot back to 1898 is on the First Ballot Schedule thread.

Our new start date will start the with the old opening day most of us grew up with, about a week into April, not the last day or two of March, if that’s any solace to the people who were pumped about starting on opening day :-)

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: March 27, 2003 at 01:15 AM | 104 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. MattB Posted: March 27, 2003 at 02:24 AM (#511766)
A Top 5 by position, in no obvious order, for starters (plus 10 or so pitchers). I'm guessing its a good bet that the most of the top 15 will come from this list of 50. Let me know if I missed anyone who should be considered, as I'm not trying to exclude anyone who should reasonably be considered, just giving a handful of names to focus on.

Deacon White, C
Cal McVey, C
John Clapp, C
Jack O'Brian, C (probably the best AA Catcher)
Fred Carroll, C

Joe Start, 1B
John Morrill, 1B
Dave Orr, 1B (check out the OPS+!)
John Reilly, 1B
Wes Fislfer, 1B (Philadelphia NA star)

Hardy Richardson, 2B
Ross Barnes, 2B
Jack Burdock, 2B
Fred Dunlap, 2B
Jack Farrell, 2B

George Wright, SS
Tom Burns, SS
Jack Rowe, SS
Bill Gleason, SS
John Peters, SS

Ezra Sutton, 3B
Ned Williamson, 3B
Bob Ferguson, 3B
Hick Carpenter, 3B
Levi Meyerle, 3B (best player of 1871)

Abner Dalyrmple, LF
Charley Jones, LF
Tip O'Neill, LF
Andy Leonard, LF (NA Boston star)
George Wood, LF
Tom York, LF

Paul Hines, CF
George Gore, CF
Lip Pike, CF
Harry Wright, CF

Orator Shaffer, RF
John Cassidy, RF
Chicken Wolf, RF (AA star)
Ed Swartwood, RF

Old Hoss Radbourn, P
Al Spalding, P
Pud Galvin, P
Jim McCormick, P
Mickey Welch, P
Will White, P
Tommy Bond, P
Jim Whitney, P
Bob Caruthers, P
Bobby Mathews, P
Guy Hecker, P (AA star)

   2. jimd Posted: March 27, 2003 at 05:01 AM (#511767)
Extremely preliminary:

1) D. White
2) R. Barnes
3) P. Hines
4) C. Radbourn
5) G. Wright
6) G. Gore
7) H. Richardson
8) P. Galvin
9) A. Spalding
10) J. Whitney
11) F. Dunlap
12) T. Bond
13) J. McCormick
14) T. Mullane
15) J. Start

Also under consideration: Williamson, Caruthers, Sutton, C.Jones, McVey. Top third of the ballot is pretty firm; could rearrange the middle third; drop and add to the bottom third.

   3. DanG Posted: March 27, 2003 at 05:22 AM (#511768)
Great stuff already! I'd just like to correct a couple things and mention a couple other guys.

These two are not eligible for our first election:
Tony Mullane retired in 1894, eligible 1900.
Bob Caruthers retired in 1893 after playing 14 games in the outfield.

Another player to consider is shortstop Dickey Pearce, who I mentioned elsewhere. A couple pitchers who may deserve consideration are Larry Corcoran and the oft-maligned Candy Cummings.

   4. jimd Posted: March 27, 2003 at 05:38 AM (#511770)
My bad. I messed up on Mullane and Caruthers (and I checked Bob's pitching stats, too; he played OF only in 1893). By the way, Charlie Bennett isn't eligible yet either (unless we're going the Gehrig route due to his horrific train accident).
   5. DanG Posted: March 27, 2003 at 05:39 AM (#511771)
Bennett will be part of the bumper crop of new eligibles in 1899, along with O'Rourke, Kelly, Keefe, Caruthers, Stovey and Browning.

That's one of the reasons I picked 1898 as the starting year. Another reason is because 1892 marks the end of the 50-foot pitching distance.
   6. Marc Posted: March 27, 2003 at 05:58 AM (#511773)
Extremely preliminary:

1. Al Spalding
2. Ross Barnes
3. George Wright--these first three have very high peak value
4. Deacon White
5. George Gore--Gore/Hines, Hines/Gore, I can't decide
6. Charles Radbourn
7. Paul Hines
8. Hardy Richardson
9. Mickey Welch
10. Pud Galvin
11. Charley Jones
12. Cal McVey
13. Ned Williamson
14. Tommy Bond
15. Lip Pike--prominent as early as 1866 as I understand it, played mostly IF for entire career, but mostly CF in NA
   7. KJOK Posted: March 27, 2003 at 07:22 AM (#511774)
Suggested Provisional Ballot:

CATCHER
1. Fred Carroll (LF Also)
2. Cal McVey (1B Also)
3. John Clapp
4. Jack O'Brien (1B Also)

1ST BASE
1. Dave Orr
2. Joe Start
3. John Reilly
4. John Morrill (3B Also)

2ND BASE
1. Hardy Richardson (LF Also)
2. Fred Dunlap
3. Ross Barnes
4. Hub Collins (LF Also)
5. Yank Robinson
6. Pop Smith (SS Also)
7. Jack Burdock

SHORTSTOP
1. George Wright
2. Frank Fennelly
3. Jack Rowe
4. Candy Nelson
5. Davy Force
6. John Peters

3RD BASE
1. Deacon White (C Also)
2. Ned Williamson (SS Also)
3. Ezra Sutton
4. Levi Meyerle ((2B Also)
5. Tom Burns (SS Also)

LEFT FIELD
1. Tip O'Neill
2. Charley Jones
3. Tom York
4. George Wood
5. Abner Dalyrmple
6. Emmett Seery
7. George Hall

CENTER FIELD
1. George Gore
2. Paul Hines
3. Jim McTamany
4. Ned Hanlon

RIGHT FIELD
1. Orator Shaffer
2. Chicken Wolf
3. Ed Swartwood
4. Dick Higham

PITCHERS
1. Charlie Radbourn
2. Tim Keefe
3. Pud Galvin
4. Jim McCormick
5. Mickey Welch
6. Al Spalding
7. Charlie Buffinton
8. Tommy Bond
9. Wil White
10.Larry Corcoran
11. Guy Hecker
12. Jim Whitney

   8. KJOK Posted: March 27, 2003 at 04:19 PM (#511777)
Getting my list down to 15:

1. Dave Orr, 1B
2. Hardy Richardson, 2B
3. Deacon White, 3B/C
4. Ned Williamson, 3B/SS
5. George Wright, SS
6. Frank Fennelly, SS
7. Fred Carroll, C
8. Tip O'Neill, LF
9. Charly Jones, LF
10.George Gore, CF
11. Paul Hines, CF
12. Chicken Wolf, RF
13. Hoss Radbourn, P
14. Tim Keefe, P
15. Al Spalding, P
   9. MattB Posted: March 27, 2003 at 05:08 PM (#511779)
Dave Orr's career ended to a paralyzing stroke. (See link)
   10. MattB Posted: March 27, 2003 at 05:15 PM (#511781)
KOJK,

Not to gang up on your ballot but:

Frank Fennelly?
   11. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: March 27, 2003 at 05:17 PM (#511782)
pretty hefty on peak value eh

With only 22 years of organized professional ball, only a very few players eligible at this time will have had anything even close to full careers. Cap Anson, who played in the National Association in 1871, and is a far better candidate than anyone on this ballot, won't even be eligible for several years.

If you don't go heavily skewed to peak, you'll be electing players who couldn't even carry the jockstrap of the players playing at the current time. And even these guys are (generally) quickly made obsolete... most of the players on the "top 5 eligibles by position" list were washed up or retired by the time they were 30, and hardly a man among them had ten good years. In most of those good years, they were playing very short seasons.
   12. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: March 27, 2003 at 05:19 PM (#511783)
Sorry, "current time" meaning 1898, not 2003.
   13. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: March 27, 2003 at 05:26 PM (#511784)
Sorry, "current time" meaning 1898, not 2003.
   14. John Posted: March 27, 2003 at 06:15 PM (#511786)
How many people are we going to elect? DanG's plan mentioned 1 (or 2), but Joe talked about electing 4 this first time. I would prefer electing only 1 or 2.
   15. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: March 27, 2003 at 09:50 PM (#511789)
Frank Grant actually played at a high level through 1903, he was only "eligible" I think because originally we were going to start in 1910 or something... I forgot about that.

George Stovey is listed by Baseball Library as finishing in 1896, which I think is right, or at least close. So he wouldn't have been eligible either.
   16. jimd Posted: March 27, 2003 at 10:37 PM (#511790)
Speaking of pretty hefty, have you looked at Dave Orr's measurements?

5'11, 250 lbs. I guess they were more honest about this stuff then.

The average player during those times was 5'9 (compare to 6'1 today) and 170 lbs (compare to 195 today). To translate any player from then to today, add 4 inches to height and 15% to weight. (Anybody know how this compares to growth in the general population?)

Dave Orr translates to 6'3 and 285 lbs. Remind you of any modern 1Bman?
   17. KJOK Posted: March 28, 2003 at 07:35 AM (#511795)
"I think KJOK's list of 15 is not in order of preference its in order of position. Check it out above Orr is first because he's a 1b and all of the Pitchers are last."

Yes, that is correct. Are we supposed to be putting the players in order??
   18. KJOK Posted: March 28, 2003 at 07:43 AM (#511796)
I do have to take exception to the notion that Ezra Sutton was somehow better than Ned Williamson:

EQA
Williamson - .285
Sutton -.289 (with weaker competition)

Adj OPS
Williamson - 112
Sutton -119

TOTAL BASEBALL RATING
Williamson - 10
Sutton - 8

Wins Above Replacement-Position
Williamson - 79
Sutton - 77

Win Shares:
Williamson - 173
Sutton - 158

Bill James All-time ranking
Williamson - 45
Sutton - 98

Defensive Win Shares per 1000 innings
Williamson - 5.5
Sutton - 4.9

Baseball Prospectus Defensive Rating (100=Ave)
Williamson - 124
Sutton - 110

plus Williamson could play an adequate SS

Basically, Sutton was a slightly better hitter, but Williamson was a much better fielder and could hold down a more demanding defensive position.

   19. KJOK Posted: March 28, 2003 at 07:52 AM (#511797)
MattB wrote:
"KJOK,Not to gang up on your ballot but:
Frank Fennelly?"

I'll admit Fennelly was my last choice added, but

1. SS was an important position in that era, and I only had George Wright as a SS on my ballot.

2. Fennelly played over 6,800 innings at SS, which I believe was only topped by Bill Gleason among potential candidates.

3. Fennelly had defensive winshares of 5.5/1000k innings and 106 BP Fielding Rating.

4. Fennelly could hit also - .294 EQA with 118 Adj OPS.

Who else would be a better 2nd SS selection? Other than maybe Jack Rowe, I don't see any...

   20. MattB Posted: March 28, 2003 at 03:02 PM (#511798)
KJOK,

Sorry. I also did not realize that you had not placed the candidates in order. The answer to your question is yes, they need to be ranked so that points can be allotted.

Frank Fennelly may very well be the best choice as second best shortstop of the era.

Where I am not convinced is that the second best shortstop is a better candidate to make the top 15 than, say, Joe Start (perhaps the second best first baseman) or Ross Barnes (perhaps the second best second baseman) or Ezra Sutton (perhaps the second best third baseman).
   21. MattB Posted: March 28, 2003 at 04:27 PM (#511801)
Here is a min-NA study I just did:

The question was raised about how to consider the Boston NA players (Spalding, Barnes, Wright, etc.) since they were essentially an all-star team, and never had to play against each other.

What I did was look at every Boston game against the team that finished second that year (except 1871, where I looked at games against Philadelphia, who finished first.) Thank you Retrosheet.

These games should give a view of how the Boston players did against GOOD competition. (Note, I have no idea which players played which games, but overall, most probably played most.)

Here are the scores: (Boston's first)

1871: (Philadelphia Athletics)

11-8
8-20
23-7
17-14

Total: 59-49

1872: (Philadelphia Athletics)

7-10
13-4
1-9
16-4
4-6
10-8
10-0
1-5

Total: 62-46

1873: (Philadelphia White Stockings)

5-8
8-22
11-6
17-18
23-10
11-8
4-9
7-5
18-7

Total: 104-93

1874: (New York Mutuals)

12-3
11-4
20-14
9-5
11-19
2-5
9-8
8-9
5-8
3-4

Total: 90- 79

1875 (Philadelphia Athletics)

14-5
12-0
3-3
11-6
1-10
10-10
12-4
7-3
16-0
3-6
17-13
15-3

Total: 121-63

Looking at these numbers, it seems that offensively, Boston could take all comers. These games are littered with double digit runs. They scored 436 runs in 43 games, for better than 10 runs per game.

Over those 5 years, Boston scored 3,227 runs in 292 games, which is almost exactly 11 runs per game.

Offensively, therefore, playing the second best team only cost Boston one run per game.

Al Spalding pitched well over 90% of Boston's innings in these years, and well over 90% each individual year except 1875, so looking at Spalding stats against team pitching stats shouldn't be too out of line.

Boston gave up 330 runs is 43 games. That's a run per game average of 7.67.

Over those 5 years, Al Spalding gave up 1553 runs in 2,347.7 IP, for a 5.95 Run Average. Against the best competition, therefore, Spalding gave up almost 2 runs per game more than he did against the league as a whole.

Overall, I would conclude that not having to face McVey, Barnes, and Wright helped Spalding significantly more than not having to face Spalding helped McVey, Barnes, and Wright.

   22. Marc Posted: March 29, 2003 at 12:57 AM (#511811)
I don't have an opinion re. Tip O'Neill just yet, but re. the AA and Tip's peak seasons, all his black ink are in '86-'87-'88 (in '87 he was the only major leaguer in history, to this day, to lead his lead in all three species of XBH). Here are the league ratings:

86 N -.009 AA -.008
87 N -.001 AA -.007
88 N -.002 AA -.009

.00 = 1881 NL. With the advent of two leagues, both were down relative to earlier. Tip led the AA in RBI the one year the AA was stronger. His really big year '87, the AA was not better.

Re. Radbourn, the HoF enshrined him very early ('39) and all the other guys (Clarkson, Keefe, Welch, Galvin) waited until after 1960. But I've been downgrading him. I agree his '84 season may be the best ever, but look at how fast his ERA+ (by season) fall off (in numerical, not chronological order):

Radbourn 206-151-134-133-122-113-109-106-nothing else over 100
Keefe 170-157-138-138-138-134-126-121-119-114-104
Galvin 158-127-118-117-117-115-114-111-101
Welch 160-142-130-119-117-114-112-111
Clarkson 163-153-150-147-146-139-131-115-110-103

Everything after 2 years Clarkson has a big edge, everything after 4 years ditto for Keefe, everything after 5 years Galvin and Welch are his equals. Granted Clarkson and Keefe are not on the ballot yet but that is just because they were better longer. Even voting in 1898, we would know that significantly better pitchers who were his almost exact contemporaries are coming up on the ballot. DOB:

Clarkson 1861, Galvin '56, Keefe '57, Radbourn '54, Welch '59. Yet Clarkson was pitching in the NL within one year of Radbourn. Galvin started in '75, the others all in '80-'82.

I would rather support a pitcher like Spalding (and maybe, stressing maybe Bond) who clearly stood out among his peers rather than a guy like Radbourn who is only #3 among his peers. And note that even Bond faced tougher competition that Radbourn did in '84:

78 N -.005
79 N -.004
80 N .002
81 N .000
82 N .002 AA -.037
83 N -.003 AA -.027
84 N -.008 AA -.026 U -.065

   23. Marc Posted: March 29, 2003 at 05:44 AM (#511813)
Joe, unfortunately we don't have league strength numbers for the NA. But working backwards from 1876, one might guess (and it is nothing more than a guess) that the NA was perhaps -.020 to -.030 vs. the 1881 NL. That makes it comparable to the early and late AA.

76 N -.013
77 N -.014
78 N -.005
79 N -.004
80 N .002
81 N .000 - I referenced all to 1881 NL
82 N .002 AA -.037
83 N -.003 AA -.027
84 N -.008 AA -.026 U -.065
85 N -.007 AA -.015
86 N -.009 AA -.008
87 N -.001 AA -.007
88 N -.002 AA -.009
89 N .004 AA -.005
90 N -.005 AA -.036 P .001
91 N .009 AA -.024
92 N .010
93 N .011
94 N .011
95 N .010
96 N .012
97 N .015
98 N .020
99 N .021

But there is a very important difference between the NA and the early and late AA, even assuming that their numerical strength was indeed equal, and it is this: In the early and late '80s, the AA did NOT represent the state of the art. Neither actually did the NL. The state of the art was represented by some NL teams and players and some (fewer) AA teams and players. A player who was, say, 20 percent above the norm in the AA was not a good as a player who was 20 percent above the norm in the NL. A player who earned 25 WS in the AA was not as good as one who earned 25 WS in the NL, and so on. The AA as a whole represented a second tier of play.

Assuming the NA was equivalent to the early and late AA, the NA was, however, the state of the art. It's players were generally the best players in America. A player performing at 20 percent above the league had no peer anywhere else.

That makes an NA player "better" in my way of thinking than an otherwise equivalent player in the AA.

Obviously I cannot make the same argument for the NA vs. the NL, but I think the best players in the NA deserve some credit for being the greatest players in America.

   24. Rob Wood Posted: March 29, 2003 at 09:31 PM (#511815)
Here's my preliminary 1898 ballot.

1. Deacon White
2. Paul Hines
3. George Gore
4. George Wright
5. Ross Barnes
6. Ezra Sutton
7. Hardy Richardson
8. Al Spalding
9. Jim McCormick
10. Ed Williamson
11. Fred Dunlap
12. Mickey Welch
13. Pud Galvin
14. Hoss Radbourn
15. Cal McVey
   25. Jeff M Posted: March 30, 2003 at 02:09 AM (#511816)
Here's my preliminary 1898 ballot:

HINES, PAUL
WHITE, DEACON
BARNES, ROSS
RADBOURN, OLD HOSS
SPALDING, AL
GORE, GEORGE
GALVIN, PUD
WELCH, MICKEY
H.RICHARDSON
MCCORMICK, JIM
WHITE, WILL
BUFFINTON, CHARLIE
CORCORAN, LARRY
BOND, TOMMY
ORR, DAVE
   26. Sean Gilman Posted: March 30, 2003 at 05:37 AM (#511817)
My preliminary ballot:

1. Paul Hines
2. Deacon White
3. Ezra Sutton
4. Hardy Richardson
5. George Gore
6. Joe Start
7. Al Spaulding
8. Ross Barnes
9. George Wright
10.Cal McVey
11.Charley Radbourn
12.(N)ed Williamson
13.Pud Galvin
14.Jim McCormick
15.Lip Pike
   27. Rick A. Posted: March 31, 2003 at 06:41 AM (#511819)
My preliminary ballot.

1. Deacon White
2. Paul Hines
3. George Gore
4. Al Spalding
5. Hardy Richardson
6. Ezra Sutton
7. Ross Barnes
8. George Wright
9. Ned Williamson
10. Hoss Radbourn
11. Joe Start
12. Charley Jones
13. Pud Galvin
14. Abner Dalrymple
15. Tip O'Neill
   28. KJOK Posted: March 31, 2003 at 07:02 AM (#511820)
After reading some excellent points above and rethinking some guys, here's my real preliminary ballot, this time in order:

1. Charley Radbourn, P
2. Tony Mullane, P
3. Hardy Richardson, 2B
4. Deacon White, 3B/C
5. Dave Orr, 1B
6. George Gore, CF
7. Tip O'Neill, LF
8. Joe Start, 1B
9. Pud Galvin, P
10.Fred Carroll, C
11.Jim McCormick, P
12.Orator Shaffer, RF
13.Paul Hines, CF
14.Michey Welch, P
15.Al Spalding, P
   29. KJOK Posted: March 31, 2003 at 07:14 AM (#511821)
Sorry about posting another list again, but I accidently left off a three 1870's guys that I definitely think belong which, due to trying to balance positions, is going to push a couple of guys off my list:

1. Charley Radbourn, P
2. Tony Mullane, P
3. Hardy Richardson, 2B
4. Deacon White, 3B/C
5. George Wright, SS
6. Ross Barnes, 2B
7. Dave Orr, 1B
8. George Gore, CF
9. Charley Jones, LF
10. Joe Start, 1B
11. Pud Galvin, P
12.Jim McCormick, P
13.Paul Hines, CF
14.Mickey Welch, P
15.Al Spalding, P
   30. Marc Posted: March 31, 2003 at 11:01 PM (#511824)
Lip Pike was born 1845 and a noted player as early as 1866. He was 26 when the NA was started and had an NA OPS+ of 161. He was 31 when the NL was formed and had an NL OPS+ of 152 over three years through age 33 (not counting 6 later games). He played about 325 of about 425 NA and NL games in CF, but apparently played most 2B and SS previously.

Dickey Pearce was born in 1836, and thus was 35 when the NA was formed. He played SS throughout his career and led the NA in FA twice. His OPS+ was just 84, but he was at 100 and 109 at age 38 and 39. He played 33 games in the NL finishing up at age 41 but his NL OPS+ was just 44.
   31. Marc Posted: April 01, 2003 at 06:16 AM (#511829)
I posted a very preliminary ballot a few days ago, here's how it is evolving.

1. Paul Hines. Up from 7th. What can I say, his NA years boost him above Gore (and all) now that I look at them and the whole package a lot closer.
2. Al Spalding. Down from 1st but still the giant of the first decade. The guy George and Harry Wright almost add up to.
3. Deacon White. Up from 4th, but no peak, I wish there was somebody worth putting ahead of him.
4. George Gore. Up from 5th due to a lack of competition more than anything else.
5. Charles Radbourn. Up from 6th. Not half the pitcher John Clarkson was, nor three-quarters of Tim Keefe. Good thing we're only electing four.
6. Hardy Richardson. Up from 8th. A solid player, but don't forget he only played 41 fewer games in the OF than at 2B.
7. Cal McVey. Extra credit: Red Stockings in '69, still OPS+ 134 in 1879. Still better than most when he quit the NL and played all over the West long after.
8. Charley Jones. Up from 11th even after I discounted his AA years somewhat, but OPS+ 150 hard to beat.
9. Dave Orr. Not in my previous 15, but OPS+ 162 also hard to beat even for another AA guy. This is the guy Tip O'Neill wanted to be.
10. Lip Pike. Up from 15th. Prominent as early as 1866 as I understand it, played mostly IF but CF in NA. OPS+ 152. This is the guy Joe Start wanted to be.
11. Ross Barnes. Down all the way from 2nd. I've always been a big Barnes fan and I don't discount the fair/foul thing. It's just that he declined so young, and it's not like he played much before '71.
12. Larry Corcoran. Not on previous 15, he leapfrogged a lot of pitchers: Only Spalding on this ballot has better ERA+ and his 5 year consecutive peak is better than anybody but Albert Goodwill.
13. Ezra Sutton. Not on previous 15, but you guys are wearing me down. Better than Williamson (just a little) after I looked at the NA.
14. George Wright. All the way down from 3rd. On closer look, the numbers just aren't there, and I think he sometimes gets credit for brother Harry's pioneering work.
15. Ed Williamson. The numbers just aren't there but how come some of the old timers said he was the best player of the 19th century? Gotta respect that.

Mickey Welch, Pud Galvin and Tommy Bond drop off the list. Galvin the Rusty Staub of pitchers, looooooong but not really distinguished career. Bond dominant for awhile but finished at OPS+ 110. Welch never that dominant and 114 just doesn't cut it.

I can change my mind until when?

   32. KJOK Posted: April 01, 2003 at 06:24 AM (#511830)
Brian H. wrote
"KJOK - I don't think Mullane is technically elgible this ballot."

You're right, of course, which means another revision to my preliminary ballot...

   33. Philip Posted: April 01, 2003 at 03:32 PM (#511831)
Here is my preliminary ballot. I gave considerable credit to fielding and a little less to pitching. Also I lean slightly towards high peak versus longevity.

1. White
2. Hines
3. Gore
4. Barnes
5. Sutton
6. Start
7. Wright
8. Spalding
9. Williamson
10. Radbourne
11. Pike
12. York
13. Richardson
14. Jones
15. Galvin
   34. MattB Posted: April 01, 2003 at 03:53 PM (#511832)
I still don't have a preliminary ballot yet. I keep getting stuck with "A is better than B and B is better than C, but C is better than A" problems.

And that doesn't even include the pitchers I have randomly inserted throughout the Top 15 on the theory that some pitchers were probably better than some hitters, but most of them probably weren't.

I hope to have something post-worthy soon that doesn't include Buck Ewing twice (or even once, actually).
   35. MattB Posted: April 01, 2003 at 03:53 PM (#511833)
Also, when did we decide actually balloting would start?
   36. Carl Goetz Posted: April 01, 2003 at 06:54 PM (#511836)
When are final 1898 ballots due? Due we post them here or at yahoogroups?
   37. MattB Posted: April 01, 2003 at 08:57 PM (#511842)
"I guess when it came down to it, I decided that his pitching record in those days was indicative of someone who was the 3rd or 4th best pitcher in baseball for a period of 15 straight years or so."

But there are only 6 years where he is in the top 4 in wins, 1 year where he is in the top 4 in ERA, and 2 years where he is in the top 10 in ERA+. It looks to me that if you took out his best year (1884), his ERA+ wouldn't even break 100, and even in his best year, he was not as good as Radbourne (who won every 1884 category). And 1884 was diluted by the existence of 3 major leagues.

I see lots of wins and lots of losses. He's basically Bobby Mathews with longer seasons in which to rack up more wins and more losses. Why do I want him on my team rather than, say, Jim McCormick or Mickey Welch.

I would agree that he was "about average, give or take" for 15 years, but not one of the best.
   38. Marc Posted: April 01, 2003 at 10:34 PM (#511844)
Further point for consideration re. 1880s pitchers. Almost every single one of them had a career year in '84. The good ones went to work for the credible teams that year and all five HoFers except Clarkson (14 games) beat the hell out of the also-rans.

Keefe (37-17, ERA+ 138)
Galvin (46-22, 158)
Welch (39-21, 119)
Radbourn (59-12, 2.06).

Plus Corcoran (35 wins)
McCormick (mediocre in NL, then 21-3, 166 in UA)
Buffinton (48-16, 135)
Will White (34-18 but just 101 in AA)
Whitney (23-14, 138)
Hecker 52-20, 172

And then at least one of the guys not yet on the ballot:

Mullane 36-26, 135 in AA

Some of these guys had other big years or even a better year or two, but some never did. For a guy like Radbourn, take this season out of his record and he's somewhere between Wayne Garland and Jim Lonborg, maybe Spud Chandler but nowhere near Ed Reulbach. You gotta discount '84 pretty good.

   39. dan b Posted: April 02, 2003 at 03:37 AM (#511848)
1. Hines
2. Gore
3. Williamson. Joe you are wrong on the Williamson/Sutton debate. Your hyper-adjusted stats are leading the electorate down a path towards an egregiously errant selection. Should we choose to enshrine Sutton ahead of Williamson, our HoM will start with a flaw not unlike the HOF selection Tommy McCarthy. James cites an 1894 poll where 3 of 11 contemporary eyewitness experts select Williamson as the greatest PLAYER they ever saw. They aren’t merely suggesting that Williamson is better than Sutton, they are saying he was better than Anson, Brouthers, Connor, Ewing, White, etc. That is why James ranks Williamson so much higher than Sutton, not because he got lazy or is brainless (inferred by his disagreement with your “no brainer”) . In the original HBA, he cites a 1938 poll seeking to identify the greatest 3B ever – Williamson is listed as receiving consideration, Sutton is not. James also names Williamson to his 1880’s Gold Glove team. We all take our baseball history seriously and I am sure most of us have cherished the works of Bill James. His analytical tools are the building blocks we are working with. We accept as fact his theories on the defensive spectrum and shifts in the defensive spectrum. To reject his findings that may reflect a little subjectivity as lazy is wrong.
4. Richardson
5. Radbourne
6. O’Neill
7. White
8. Jones
9. Dalrymple
10. Bond
11. Dunlap
12. Galvin
13. Sutton
14. Welch
15. Robinson – because James puts him over 40 places above Barnes.
   40. Brian H Posted: April 02, 2003 at 04:57 AM (#511849)
Dan B-
I rely on James (and worship at his alter etc.) as much as the next guy but I'm not sure he even considered NA achievments much in his ratings. We should recognize that as a limitation (for our HOM purposes) and not tacitly shaft the NA guys because James didn't include their achievments in his ratings. (This is evidenced by the fact that he never figured out Win Shares for the NA seasons)
That said I'd still take Williamson over Sutton.

By the way Dan B. who is your #15 "Robinson" ?

   41. DanG Posted: April 02, 2003 at 05:11 AM (#511850)
I can't resist a couple obsevations about the consensus thus far.

I don't think I'm prejudicing anyone by stating the obvious, that Paul Hines and Deacon White are dominating most ballots. Seven others who have gained strong support are (alphabetically) Barnes, Gore, Radbourne, Richardson, Spalding, Sutton and Wright.

Ten others also have significant advocates for their election: Galvin, Jones, McCormick, McVey, O'Neill, Orr, Pike, Start, Welch and Williamson.

Half of those latter ten will quickly fade when the newcomers for the 1899 election hit the ballot (O'Rourke, Kelly, Keefe, Caruthers, H.Stovey, Bennett and Browning). I think things are shaping up wonderfully.
   42. Marc Posted: April 02, 2003 at 05:21 AM (#511851)
That could only be William H. "Yank" Robinson to which I must say, huh? James has Yank as his #86 2B with 131 WS and a peak at 24-21-20/101. Didn't know he had Barnes at #126. Now it's true that his adjusted WS add up to 168-37-24-24 and 130, but yahoo. He played from 1982 to '92, mostly AA except 78 games in the NL and, oh yeah, 102 in the UA in '84, where he racked up an impressive OPS+ of 100. Yes, this man was an average offensive player in the UA.

And for his career, in fairness in career OPS+ is 101. And his FR is minus 124.

Let's be honest. I love Bill James and WS, too, but James as much as said he didn't give a d**n nor know a d**n about the 19th century. The proof is right here, Yank Robinson #86 and Fred Dunlap #89.

Dunlap career WS (unadjusted) 165 peak 38-17-17/100 and 27.7/162
Robinson career 131 peak 24-21-20/101 and 21.7/162

In 1884 both played in the UA: Dunlap OPS+ 213 Robinson 100. Get this, both men were 25 years old in '84.

After 1884 Robinson played about 850 games (career total 978) at OPS+ 101. After 1884 Dunlap played another 500 games (career total 965) at OPS+ 132. Dunlap's career FA was .924, Robinson's .883, Dunlap's fielding runs were farther above +100 than Robinson's were below -100.

But James wrote a long essay about the UA not qualifying as a major league (and he is of course right) and so goes out of his way to goose Dunlap. He seems not to have noticed that Robinson spent that season in that minor league and then the bulk of his career in the weaker of the two continuing leagues, and to have done so at a lower level than Dunlap.

I see that you have Dunlap on your ballot four slots ahead of Robinson. If you dig Bill James you'll follow his lead on Dunlap, not on Robinson.

And generally there can be no question that he totally dismisses the 1870s. If you do that across the board and not just to Barnes, how do you get Hines #1?

   43. Brian H Posted: April 02, 2003 at 05:37 AM (#511852)
I'm not sure that James dismisses the 70's -- just the first half of the 70's (the NA).
Hines' best seasons are 78 & 79 when he was James' best player in Baseball. Without the 1st part of the '70's Barnes' career is essentially two years (including the one great season) that's why James ignores him in his rankings (he similarly ignores Spalding).

My understanding is that for us the NA years are open to consideration. And, to some extent, even the years preceding the 1870s can be considered. Unfortunately, I have found that the statistics from befoe the NA are virtually useless.

   44. MattB Posted: April 02, 2003 at 03:32 PM (#511854)
Still very preliminary, but though I'd throw something out there to work from.

Since we are electing 4, I concentrated most on the top of the ballot, thinking who should be inducted first. Deacon White and Paul Hines seem to be the best overall candidates, and the only ones who I had on my "Top 15" before the years got changed, so they clearly got the Top 2 slots.

After that, I thought that at least one pitcher from the era should be represented, so, still unclear how to rank pitchers against position players, I put Radbourn -- my top pitcher -- third. Al Spalding, my #2 pitcher, therefore drops a few notches. For fourth place, I put my top "early" player. Barnes and Wright were about even, but Wright gets extra pre-NA points so squeeks by Barnes.

The rest of my Top 10, I did the same thing: 5-8 are four more "overall best candidates", and then 9 and 10 are my #2 "early guy" and #2 pitcher.

11-15 are the guys who are left who are not very well ranked at the moment.

1. Paul Hines
2. Deacon White
3. Charley Radbourn
4. George Wright
5. George Gore
6. Ezra Sutton
7. Ned Williamson
8. Tip O'Neill
9. Ross Barnes
10. Al Spalding
11. Hardy Richardson
12. Charley Jones
13. Joe Start
14. Cal McVey
15. Jim McCormick
   45. Philip Posted: April 02, 2003 at 04:55 PM (#511855)
Here's my prelimanary ballot:

I separated my ballot into 3 groups: (1-4) clearly deserving HoMers, (5-9) players making a good case for the HoM, (10-15) players of which I?m not completely convinced.

1. Hines --- Highest peak (if not Barnes) and highest career value. Very good defense at key position
2. White --- Consistently very good offense at very demanding positions. Especially comparing his offense to an average catcher his value becomes apparent. Lack of peak leaves him behind Hines.
3. Gore --- Great 5 year peak, just behind Hines, though better defense at a key position
4. Barnes --- Game’s top all-round player for a 6 year period. That should do it.

5. Sutton --- Very good defense at tough defensive position. Good offense, high career value
6. Wright --- Great peak in NA at the most demanding position. Short career drops him below Sutton
7. Start --- Great career at an old age. Uncertainty about pre-NA years and thus no visible peak drop him slightly
8. Williamson --- Great glove, good offense for a 19th century 3B, though shorter career than Sutton
9. Richardson --- Long consistent career. Most playing time at 2B/LF less demanding defensive positions than those above him.

10. Radbourne --- Praised for 1 tremendous season. Other than that a very good, but not great career
11. McVey
12. Pike --- May well have been best player in baseball pre-NA.
13. Spalding --- I put him here mainly for his accomplishments with the bat
14. York
15. Jones --- Great peak, dropped a bit because of AA

Just off the ballot: Welch, Galvin, Dunlap, O’Neill, Dalrymple, Orr, Bond, McCormick

   46. MattB Posted: April 02, 2003 at 09:35 PM (#511857)
"I've reviewed Pud Galvin's case...and I'm not any smarter. I can't figure these guys out. I like him, I think he matches up to a Gaylord Perry or something, but I don't know how to judge the early pitchers, and neither does anyone else."

I don't think it was the comparison to Gaylord Perry that we were questioning. It was the comparison to his contemporaries. The issue is, given Galvin, Radbourn, Spalding, McCormick, Welch, and Mathews, rank them 1 to 6. Many of us have some combination of Radbourn, Spalding, McCormick, and Welch as 1 through 4.

Those names in that ordering are by no means set in stone. But given that general preference, we were curious how your rankings had Galvin jumping to the top. You explained why you thought Galvin was qualified, but the question is what makes him more qualified than the other eligible pitchers?
   47. KJOK Posted: April 02, 2003 at 10:28 PM (#511858)
Just to clarify for Deacon White, he played 7,243 NL Innings at 3B. He played 3,756 NL an NA innings combined at C. I understand trying to adjust for some of the shorter NA seasons, but I think it's giving a false picture of Deacon White being a Catcher when most of his actual playing time was as a 3rd baseman...
   48. KJOK Posted: April 02, 2003 at 10:39 PM (#511859)
George Gore Comments.
There seems to be a lot of support for Hines, when Gore may actually be the better player.

They were basically contemporaries. Although Hines did play longer on both ends of his career, Gore actually had MORE playing time in the middle of career seasons when they both played, a fact that is somewhat skewed by the "short-season" adjustments.

Just some facts to consider:

1. Gore has an EQA of .315 vs. .304 for Hines.
2. Gore has an adjusted OPS of 136 vs. 130 for Hines.
3. Gore has a "HOF Standard Score" of 31 vs. 28 for Hines.
4. Gore has a "HOF Monitor Score" of 55 vs. 50 for Hines.
5. Peak 5 year Win Shares (NA not incl) - Gore -111, Hines - 98
6. Win Shares Per Year (NA not incl) - Gore - 30.9, Hines - 27.2
7. Bill James Ranking - Gore- 40, Hines - 53
8. Def Wins Share/1000 Innings - Gore 4.4, Hines - 3.4

Hines may be a worthy candidate, but Gore should be right up there with him...

   49. KJOK Posted: April 02, 2003 at 11:02 PM (#511860)
Also, to pile back on the Williamson vs. Sutton debate, Baseball Prospectus rates Williamson's 3B defense as 124 (24% above average), which is the highest rating I can find for any 3B (incl Brooks Robinson, Schmidt, etc.) except for Joe Battin, an 1870's guy who played less than half the innings at 3B that Williamson did. Win Shares rates his defense at 5.5/1000 innings, which would be only behind Lave Cross, Jimmy Collins, Tommy Leach & Art Devlin (all of whom fall considerably behind Williamson in the BP system). So, the evidence points to Williamson being equiv. to Ozzie Smith and Bill Mazeroski on defense at his position...
   50. Brian H Posted: April 03, 2003 at 03:38 AM (#511861)
KJOK et al :
The difference between Gore and Hines seems to be that Gore's NL career is worth more but Hines has a NA career that we must account for. Also, Hines had at least 2 seasons when he was (omitting Pitchers) the BEST player Gore may have had one (this is from James).
Yet again the issue is how we treat NA achievments which are harder to evaluate versus NL (or at least post NL achiebments).

With Deacon White this is also a problem. Many of his Catching points are derived from his NA sesons which were shorter. In fact as pointed out above he really played alot more 3B than Catcher (this is why James, who ignores the NA, ranks him as a 3B).

How do we want to evaluate NA acheivments as opposed to post 1876 achievements ?
If we accept James as gospell -- generally not the worst idea but here rather dangerous -- we tacitly ignore the NA because he did.

   51. dan b Posted: April 03, 2003 at 03:53 AM (#511862)
To follow up on my preliminary ballot posted last night, the inclusion of Yank Robinson was intended as a tongue in cheek reminder to all voters holding a high view of Ross Barnes that Bill James refused to put him in his list of the top 125 2B. Yank won?t be on my final ballot. My view on the matter would be that when you accept his exclusion of all NA accomplishments, James makes a valid point to not recognize Barnes on the basis of one great season (of just 66 games) in what would be the weakest year ever over the context of 125 years of baseball. But I also recognize that our context is much different. We are dealing with just 17 years of evolving major league baseball plus the 5 years of the NA. We are choosing from short careers played over short seasons. The best players were all still active in 1893, and therefore ineligible for our first ballot. As poor a choice as I think Barnes would be, it will be difficult to find fifteen players to place ahead of him on our opening ballot.

Do I have to list 15?
   52. DanG Posted: April 03, 2003 at 05:47 AM (#511864)
Revisiting the controversy over Ross Barnes. Perhaps no other player on the first ballot will garner as wide a variance in support. Many see him as a top five candidate, a deserving HoMer. Others see him as barely deserving of a vote, either due to his brief career or the slam from Bill James.

I used to be persuaded by James' idea that Barnes was nothing more than a "one trick pony", learning to take advantage of a rule that is not "baseball as we know it". Two things persuade me otherwise: 1) There is every indication that Barnes was a superior fielder. Total Baseball has him first or second in the league in fielding runs every year of the NA. 2) He was one of the league's top sluggers, leading the league in extra base hits three times, and finishing runnerup in another year.

The evidence also indicates that it was injuries, not any rules change, that led to his shortened career. Maybe think of a comparison to Alex Rodriguez. If injuries had ended ARod's career after last season, would you think of him as deserving (forget the 10-year rule) to be in the Hall? Or if Barry Bonds was done after the 1993 season? I think that's about how dominant Barnes was in his time.

Bill James dismisses the first generation of major league stars, saying "I regard the entire generation as suspect, and I will only rate the legitimate stars among them". He considers the 1870s to be strictly minor league baseball. There's two problems with that, mentioned here before, IIRC: 1) This was the highest level the game was played at the time (unlike Buzz Arlett's competition in a later era). Can we penalize a great player for being born too soon to play in the "real majors"? 2) Many young stars of the NA remained stars as the game developed through the 70s and into the 1880's. They could still compete as the game became "major".

The bottom line, while James' arguments may be full of holes, I think Barnes' career was just a little too brief to be a top five candidate in 1898.
   53. jimd Posted: April 03, 2003 at 06:01 AM (#511865)
I would like to point out that in this era of 1-3 man pitching staffs how well a pitcher hits is important because of the large variance in this ability. Here are some stats from 1883:

ER..IP..ERA
   54. Philip Posted: April 03, 2003 at 12:36 PM (#511866)
That's interesting. Have you done the same for other pitchers. I am particularly interested in Spalding.

Dan b, the constitution states that you don't need to list 15 players on your ballot.
   55. Howie Menckel Posted: April 03, 2003 at 05:03 PM (#511869)
1898 ballot

1. Paul Hines - I agree with those who say Gore is very close, but in part I want a true pioneer of pro baseball in the No. 1 slot.
   56. Rick A. Posted: April 03, 2003 at 05:45 PM (#511870)
Joe,

Just a question on the posting of ballots. As I understand it, we should post on a thread at BBPrimer rather than on the yahoo list. This may not be something to worry about, but anyone with a web browser can come here and place a ballot. Not that I think there is a really huge crowd of people looking to join all of a sudden, but I'd rather not have my ballot devalued because some people decided on the spur of the moment to place a vote.

Is there any way to check that someone voting here is actually registered to vote? I'd personally rather vote here than on yahoo. I come to BaseballPrimer almost every day, and almost never go to yahoo.

I suppose we can all include our e-mail addresses and you can cross-reference that with the yahoo list.
   57. Howie Menckel Posted: April 03, 2003 at 06:35 PM (#511871)
Hey, Rick, I registered at least three months ago, if that's what you mean ;)

But I see the point....
   58. Rick A. Posted: April 04, 2003 at 05:47 PM (#511873)
Joe,

Like I said, I may be worrying for nothing. If people have to explain their ballot and not just list 1-15, that may take care of it. I really don't care if someone is registered to vote or not. I just wanted to make sure that people who vote have thought through their ballot and didn't just throw 15 names together.
   59. jimd Posted: April 07, 2003 at 07:12 PM (#511877)
Interesting perspective by TomH on career vs. peak.

A couple of points on Spalding: I've been reading a biography of him published around 15-20 years ago. According to that, by 1874 he was the highest paid player on Boston's "All-Star" team (including Barnes, Wright, O'Rourke, White, McVey). When he jumped to Chicago in 1876, he got a share of the gate receipts as part of the deal. He also wound up with a piece of the team (no details given, unfortunately). He became the front-office (club secretary; team management was much less complex back then) when he stepped down as player/field manager in 1877. He made much more money cashing in on his fame than he did actually playing baseball. (baseball book publishing, and
   60. Marc Posted: April 07, 2003 at 08:36 PM (#511878)
Excellent discussion. I don't like penalizing these guys for doing what most people who had their intelligence and their options would have done.

Great analogy (I think). During WW2, basketball was revolutionized by really TALL players. Everybody knows George Mikan (6-10) because he happened to choose to go play pro ball in the NBL and then the NBA. Nobody today knows Bob Kurland (7 feet) who went to work for the Phillips Petroleum Company and played for the Phillips 76ers "amateur" team in the National Industrial Basketball League (and as a result, later won two Olympic golds). Kurland probably made almost as much money as Mikan as an employee of Phillips and had a job that he could keep at until he was 55 years old rather than be forced to retire at 30-35. It was an economically superior opportunity at that time. But because of the choices they made, one is well remembered, the other pretty much forgotten.

That doesn't change the fact that Kurland was a better player. His team, Oklahoma A&M (now State) won the NCAA title both his junior and senior years. In their senior years, Mikan's DePaul team declined to play in the NCAA in favor of the then more-prestigous NIT, which DePaul won. In the NCAA-NIT playoff game, Oklahoma State easily beat DePaul and Kurland dominated Mikan, in fact fouling Mikan out in less than 20 minutes.

Spalding was pretty much Bob Kurland, a giant of his time. That he made a more economically attractive choice than playing baseball after 1876 does not negate his ability or achievements.
   61. MattB Posted: April 08, 2003 at 04:51 PM (#511886)
These appear to be the major candidates for consideration for adding to the 1899 ballot (aside from players who were eligible in 1898, but didn't make your top 15.)

Charlie Bennett
   62. robc Posted: April 08, 2003 at 06:51 PM (#511888)
mattb-
   63. Marc Posted: April 08, 2003 at 11:55 PM (#511889)
Matt and Rob, right on every count. Browning in '99. Where did the list come from? Can you enlighten us further re. other 1900 and '01 eligibles? We received a list long ago starting in '06 but I have not seen a list of priors.
   64. Marc Posted: April 09, 2003 at 03:38 AM (#511891)
Heck, Joe, that's just a three hour delay...no apology needed, really!
   65. DanG Posted: April 09, 2003 at 03:50 AM (#511892)
BB-Ref now gives you a list of every player who played his final game each season. The above link will take you to the 1893 retirees. Of course, you still have to do a little research to find guys like Browning and Jim O'Rourke, who are also eligible in 1899, though they played their final game later on.
   66. DanG Posted: April 09, 2003 at 04:16 AM (#511893)
Another strong crop enters the ballot in 1900 with John Clarkson, John Ward and Tony Mullane leading the way.

The 1901 newcomers are less stellar, led by Jack Glasscock, Oyster Burns and Dave Foutz.
   67. MattB Posted: April 09, 2003 at 01:01 PM (#511894)
Yeah, I completely missed Jim O'Rourke. He should definitely be eligible.

I just ran through the "Last Year Played" column of b-r.

With four inductees in 1898, I was curious whether I would be including four of the new eligibles on my ballot, or if number 16 on my list would get a chance to move up.

Pete Browning, Jim O'Rourke, King Kelly, and Tim Keefe look like definite Top 15ers. Charlie Bennett and Harry Stovey, too, actually, although at first glance they'd be down-ballot.

With 6 new names to intersperse somehow (give or take one or two), it looks like about of my Top 15 will be bumped off (assuming that all of the first inductees were somewhere on my ballot, which seems fairly likely). That means striking at least Pud Galvin and Charley Jones, which I am okay with. Right now, I can't think of a seventh person who would bump off my #13 candidate (Tip O'Neill). If a seventh comes along, I'd probably leave O'Neill on and drop the next higher pitcher (Jim McCormick), leaving the pitching/hitting ratio intact.
   68. Marc Posted: April 10, 2003 at 02:39 AM (#511896)
We will now be selecting 20 (or maybe it's 19) players by 1906. Let's just say for the sake of argument that these might have been the top 20 players who were on the previous 1906 ballot when we were going to start in 1906.

Roger Connor Dan Brouthers Cap Anson Jim O'Rourke John Clarkson King Kelly Deacon White Buck Ewing Amos Rusie Paul Hines Jack Glasscock John Ward Tim Keefe Hoss Radbourne George Gore Sam Thompson Bid McPhee Ross Barnes Al Spalding

If it plays out this way, then only the first four (in 1898) and two others from the 1898 ballot will make it by then. How many will make it after 1906? The newly eligible list after 1906 is frankly a little weak but our number of electeds drops mostly to one per year: 1907 Hamilton, 1908 Childs (holdover from 1906) or Jennings, 1909 Delahanty, 1910 open unless McGraw (I doubt it), 1911 Nichols and maybe Burkett, 1912 open unless Clark Griffith (no), 1913 Beckley (no), 1914 J. Collins, 1915 G. Davis, Dahlen, 1916 Flick, Joss, Keeler, Waddell?, 1917 Cy Young, 1918 open, 1919 Chance?, 1920 open, 1921 open, 1922 3 Brown, Lajoie, Mathewson, 1924 Crawford, Wagner, Walsh...now it's over for the early guys.

So, anyway, the 1898 guys will mostly have to wait until 1912-13-18 but will get chances then. Overall, however, I doubt that more than 9-10 of our 1898 ballot will get in. Even electing 4 in '98, some guys in the 1898 top 15 will never again make the top 15.
   69. Marc Posted: April 11, 2003 at 12:59 AM (#511898)
I dunno Tom, it looks to me like a two-possession game, but only if a certain player should get shut out completely on those two possessions, which seems unlikely. It would be a hell of an upset, baabeee!
   70. Marc Posted: April 11, 2003 at 03:36 AM (#511901)
I agree with Joe, except I would add that, yes, the HoF overrated the pitchers of the '80s. If pitching 5000 innings and winning 300 games was so tough, how come 5 guys did it? Though I think the same question can legitimately be asked of the deadball era--how come so many pitchers had such great records? Were they all really the best pitchers of all-time? It will be interesting to see how the conventional wisdom plays out at different times. But for the 1870s and '80s, I think we've got it right. The real HoF in the 1930s didn't know how to evaluate 19th century players--they didn't even have the numbers and so generally they picked the guys who had the highest peaks (Radbourn over Clarkson, etc., except Barnes).
   71. Brian H Posted: April 11, 2003 at 06:03 AM (#511902)
I would add that the NA was not considered (and I think technically still is not considered) a "major league" by the baseball establishment. Likewise the Negro Leagues were apparently not up for discussion. Otherwise Rube Foster and Pop Lloyd -- to name just a couple -- would have been very strong candidates. Also, we have more statistics from those early days today than any voter had in the 1930's.

Also, as I recall, players like G. Wright and Candy Cummings were honored largely as "innovators"/"originators" which is not an express part of our criterion ("merit"). Nonetheless the orignal voters botched up the innovators/originators by neglecting Harry Wright.
   72. RobC Posted: April 11, 2003 at 02:13 PM (#511903)
Looking ahead to 1899 (that's kind of funny) - Is it within the
   73. RobC Posted: April 11, 2003 at 02:25 PM (#511904)
Looking ahead to 1899 (that's kind of funny) - Is it within the
   74. RobC Posted: April 11, 2003 at 06:22 PM (#511905)
Can someone explain Joe Start to me? One of the things Im doing in preparing my 1899 vote is looking at the players who werent in my top 15 of 1898 who got strong support. Assuming Start doesnt make it in as of 1898, he is getting the strongest support of the guys I didnt vote for. I understand wanting to adjust for his "late start"/pre-1871 play, and it might make more sense if he was one of the top players of 1871-1873. But, he doesnt show anything resembling quality until 1874. After that he is consistently good, with no big peak. I would like to adjust for pre-1871, but I think I would need to assume play at the 1871-1873 level.

To me, he looks like a 1870's version of Jeff Fassero. Okay, maybe that isnt fair, he was better (although the pitcher/hitter comparison isnt the best) than Fassero. However, Jeff got to his performance level at age 28, not age 31.

If anyone has any evidence that 1871-1873 was just fluke down years (it was only 141 games) and not his pre-1874 level of performance, please post it. After re-evaluating, I think Start is about 17/18 on my 1898 list, and in the 20s for 1899.
   75. MattB Posted: April 11, 2003 at 07:24 PM (#511907)
I am also startled by the amazing amount of both agreement and dissent.

By my count so far (without naming names), only four players have been named on every ballot, and just one more is named on every ballot but one.

Not surprisingly (based on the gap between on-ballot and off-ballot worked into the point system), these persons are the current top 5.

On the other hand, the rest of the top 10-15 are all omitted on multiple ballots. The points are close enough together than a few persons chosing to include or exclude a person as their 14th or 15th choice is sufficient to affect placement by a several points either way.

I do not see this as a problem (the system was set up explicitly to value consensus), but the moral appears to be that deciding who to fill in the last few spots on your ballot with will make a significant impact on the results.
   76. RobC Posted: April 11, 2003 at 10:25 PM (#511911)
More on Joe Start:

I have a problem with the Minoso comparison. At age 28, Minoso was playing at the level he would play at for the next ten years. Looking at WARP, Start was slightly above replacement level for 1871-1873, and then jumped up for 1874-1885. Those 12 years by themselves put him right at the edge of career value that I was considering for the HOM. Its amazing for the age he was. He averaged more than 4 WARP3 or less than 5 WARP1 for age 31 to 42. But, not having the numbers for pre 1871, I (personally, YMMV, etc) have to consider that his play then was more like 71-73 than 74-85. That plus the lack of a special peak keep him out of my top 15.

Minoso we know was a good player pre 1951 (Im ignoring his appearances in 1949). Then, in 1951, he immediately proved it at the major league level. If we had no other evidence, I would (and will) assume a normal aging process for Minoso and give him some credit for his mid 20s.

Start looks like one of those weird exceptions who finally put it together at a late age. Normally its pitchers who do this but, well,
   77. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 12, 2003 at 05:28 AM (#511913)
One more thing about George Wright: He was considered the best player in baseball for a few years before the NA (which influenced my ranking of him). Considering that he was the best shortstop in the NA and for a few years in the NL, I would tend to believe the opinion of him back then.
   78. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 12, 2003 at 05:40 PM (#511915)
"Best SS of the 1870's" is an oft-seen comment. Uh, so what? numbers don't lie.

As one who stated on his ballot "Best SS of the 1870s," let me just state that was only a description, not a reason in itself to honor Wright. Bert Campaneris was probably the best shortstop of the seventies: I have no intention of electing him on that basis.

As stated above, I included in my ranking Wright's Red Stocking work. I also took into account, besides a normal positional adjustment, a career adjustment for the position. Except for catchers, the attrition rate for shortstops was the worst of all position players. I know some here will disagree with this, but I'm comfortable with it.
   79. Howie Menckel Posted: April 13, 2003 at 12:06 AM (#511916)
And the first balloting closes when?

Incidentally, I expect the next voting to be perhaps the most important we ever do. We're doing fine picking our first four, but we REALLY need to figure out a solid pecking order for the next round. Every place an old-timer drops in the next balloting is one step closer to oblivion. Radbourn, Start, Williamson, etc: We'll have to fine-tune the judgement on each.........
   80. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 13, 2003 at 02:05 AM (#511917)
It appears we are missing more than half of our members for this first election. What happened to them?
   81. Carl Goetz Posted: April 14, 2003 at 07:51 PM (#511920)
I also think that alot of people were intimidated by the task of trying to rank 19th century players. I myself am 28 years old, but I still feel extremely comfortable picking players from the 1930's and ranking them for all-time's sake. We have a wealth of information about these players and that increases the comfort level of just about everyone here. I personally wanted to be a part of this from the beginning, but will be very happy when we get 30 years into the future and I feel a little more comfortable in my knowledge of the players I am voting for. As it stands right now, I am fairly easily swayed by the arguments of others(if they make sense) and have not contributed to these arguments myself(for the most part). You can bet that when we get into the later years, I will be involved in some lengthy and passionate debates over this player or that. I'm just not sure enough of myself and my opinions of these 'really old-timers' to do that now. I think people will start to vote when we get into later seasons, particularly when we get the the players of the 60s, 70s and beyond. Just my take on the low turnout thus far. I am having fun learning about these players, despite my lack of confidence in ranking them.
   82. Carl Goetz Posted: April 14, 2003 at 07:53 PM (#511921)
Joe,
   83. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 06, 2004 at 07:12 PM (#781618)
Reconstructed posts up to #98.
   84. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 06, 2004 at 07:13 PM (#781619)
Reconstructed posts up to #98.
   85. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 06, 2004 at 07:14 PM (#781625)
Reconstructed posts up to #98.
   86. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 27, 2009 at 01:18 AM (#3061054)
Posted 8:24 p.m., March 26, 2003 (#1) - MattB
A Top 5 by position, in no obvious order, for starters (plus 10 or so pitchers). I'm guessing its a good bet that the most of the top 15 will come from this list of 50. Let me know if I missed anyone who should be considered, as I'm not trying to exclude anyone who should reasonably be considered, just giving a handful of names to focus on.

Deacon White, C
Cal McVey, C
John Clapp, C
Jack O'Brian, C (probably the best AA Catcher)
Fred Carroll, C

Joe Start, 1B
John Morrill, 1B
Dave Orr, 1B (check out the OPS+!)
John Reilly, 1B
Wes Fislfer, 1B (Philadelphia NA star)

Hardy Richardson, 2B
Ross Barnes, 2B
Jack Burdock, 2B
Fred Dunlap, 2B
Jack Farrell, 2B

George Wright, SS
Tom Burns, SS
Jack Rowe, SS
Bill Gleason, SS
John Peters, SS

Ezra Sutton, 3B
Ned Williamson, 3B
Bob Ferguson, 3B
Hick Carpenter, 3B
Levi Meyerle, 3B (best player of 1871)

Abner Dalyrmple, LF
Charley Jones, LF
Tip O'Neill, LF
Andy Leonard, LF (NA Boston star)
George Wood, LF
Tom York, LF

Paul Hines, CF
George Gore, CF
Lip Pike, CF
Harry Wright, CF

Orator Shaffer, RF
John Cassidy, RF
Chicken Wolf, RF (AA star)
Ed Swartwood, RF

Old Hoss Radbourn, P
Al Spalding, P
Pud Galvin, P
Jim McCormick, P
Mickey Welch, P
Will White, P
Tommy Bond, P
Jim Whitney, P
Bob Caruthers, P
Bobby Mathews, P
Guy Hecker, P (AA star)

Posted 11:01 p.m., March 26, 2003 (#2) - jimd
Extremely preliminary:

1) D. White
2) R. Barnes
3) P. Hines
4) C. Radbourn
5) G. Wright
6) G. Gore
7) H. Richardson
8) P. Galvin
9) A. Spalding
10) J. Whitney
11) F. Dunlap
12) T. Bond
13) J. McCormick
14) T. Mullane
15) J. Start

Also under consideration: Williamson, Caruthers, Sutton, C.Jones, McVey. Top third of the ballot is pretty firm; could rearrange the middle third; drop and add to the bottom third.

Posted 11:22 p.m., March 26, 2003 (#3) - DanG
Great stuff already! I'd just like to correct a couple things and mention a couple other guys.

These two are not eligible for our first election:
Tony Mullane retired in 1894, eligible 1900.
Bob Caruthers retired in 1893 after playing 14 games in the outfield.

Another player to consider is shortstop Dickey Pearce, who I mentioned elsewhere. A couple pitchers who may deserve consideration are Larry Corcoran and the oft-maligned Candy Cummings.

Posted 11:27 p.m., March 26, 2003 (#4) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
Great work Matt.

I don't have a lot of time right now, but Charlie Bennett is one that's 'missing' off the top of my head. He was probably the best catcher in the 19th Century not named Deacon White or Buck Ewing.

I can't wait for this discussion to get rolling. I'll get my early ballot up tomorrow.

Posted 11:38 p.m., March 26, 2003 (#5) - jimd
My bad. I messed up on Mullane and Caruthers (and I checked Bob's pitching stats, too; he played OF only in 1893). By the way, Charlie Bennett isn't eligible yet either (unless we're going the Gehrig route due to his horrific train accident).

Posted 11:39 p.m., March 26, 2003 (#6) - DanG
Bennett will be part of the bumper crop of new eligibles in 1899, along with O'Rourke, Kelly, Keefe, Caruthers, Stovey and Browning.

That's one of the reasons I picked 1898 as the starting year. Another reason is because 1892 marks the end of the 50-foot pitching distance.

Posted 11:57 p.m., March 26, 2003 (#7) - Andrew Siegel
For what it's worth, starting in 1898 has made me drop below number 30 on my original list to fill out a 15-person ballot. As my list only had ordering down to 30, I am particularly unsure of the last few names on my ballot. For now, here goes:

(1) Paul Hines
(2) Deacon White
(3) George Gore
(4) Ross Barnes
(5) Hoss Radbourne
(6) George Wright
(7) Al Spalding
(8) Hardy Richardson
(9) Ezra Sutton
(10) (N)ed Williamson
(11)Mickey Welch
(12)Cal McVey
(13) Tommy Bond
(14) Levi Meyerle
(15) Joe Start

Posted 11:58 p.m., March 26, 2003 (#8) - Marc
Extremely preliminary:

1. Al Spalding
2. Ross Barnes
3. George Wright--these first three have very high peak value
4. Deacon White
5. George Gore--Gore/Hines, Hines/Gore, I can't decide
6. Charles Radbourn
7. Paul Hines
8. Hardy Richardson
9. Mickey Welch
10. Pud Galvin
11. Charley Jones
12. Cal McVey
13. Ned Williamson
14. Tommy Bond
15. Lip Pike--prominent as early as 1866 as I understand it, played mostly IF for entire career, but mostly CF in NA

Posted 1:22 a.m., March 27, 2003 (#9) - KJOK (e-mail)
Suggested Provisional Ballot:

CATCHER
1. Fred Carroll (LF Also)
2. Cal McVey (1B Also)
3. John Clapp
4. Jack O'Brien (1B Also)

1ST BASE
1. Dave Orr
2. Joe Start
3. John Reilly
4. John Morrill (3B Also)

2ND BASE
1. Hardy Richardson (LF Also)
2. Fred Dunlap
3. Ross Barnes
4. Hub Collins (LF Also)
5. Yank Robinson
6. Pop Smith (SS Also)
7. Jack Burdock

SHORTSTOP
1. George Wright
2. Frank Fennelly
3. Jack Rowe
4. Candy Nelson
5. Davy Force
6. John Peters

3RD BASE
1. Deacon White (C Also)
2. Ned Williamson (SS Also)
3. Ezra Sutton
4. Levi Meyerle ((2B Also)
5. Tom Burns (SS Also)

LEFT FIELD
1. Tip O'Neill
2. Charley Jones
3. Tom York
4. George Wood
5. Abner Dalyrmple
6. Emmett Seery
7. George Hall

CENTER FIELD
1. George Gore
2. Paul Hines
3. Jim McTamany
4. Ned Hanlon

RIGHT FIELD
1. Orator Shaffer
2. Chicken Wolf
3. Ed Swartwood
4. Dick Higham

PITCHERS
1. Charlie Radbourn
2. Tim Keefe
3. Pud Galvin
4. Jim McCormick
5. Mickey Welch
6. Al Spalding
7. Charlie Buffinton
8. Tommy Bond
9. Wil White
10.Larry Corcoran
11. Guy Hecker
12. Jim Whitney

Posted 2:15 a.m., March 27, 2003 (#10) - ed
only one night to think about it so it probably might change last second:

01. Deacon White, C
02. Charley Radbourn, P
03. George Wright, SS
04. Paul Hines, CF
05. George Gore, CF
06. Ezra Sutton, 3B
07. Charley Jones, LF
08. Hardy Richardson, 2B
09. Pud Galvin, P
10. Ned Williamson, 3B
11. Al Spalding, P
12. Cal McVey, C
13. Ross Barnes 2b
14. Tip O'Neill, LF
15. Mickey Welch, P
   87. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 27, 2009 at 01:19 AM (#3061056)
Posted 2:25 a.m., March 27, 2003 (#11) - ed
I forgot to give Bob Ferguson honorable mention for having (along with Artie Latham) the best nickname in the 1800's.

Posted 10:19 a.m., March 27, 2003 (#12) - KJOK (e-mail)
Getting my list down to 15:

1. Dave Orr, 1B
2. Hardy Richardson, 2B
3. Deacon White, 3B/C
4. Ned Williamson, 3B/SS
5. George Wright, SS
6. Frank Fennelly, SS
7. Fred Carroll, C
8. Tip O'Neill, LF
9. Charly Jones, LF
10.George Gore, CF
11. Paul Hines, CF
12. Chicken Wolf, RF
13. Hoss Radbourn, P
14. Tim Keefe, P
15. Al Spalding, P

Posted 10:36 a.m., March 27, 2003 (#13) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
Wow KJOK, pretty hefty on peak value eh? Dave Orr only played like 6 years. Does anyone know why his career ended early? IIRC he didn't die for another 20 or so years after his early retirement. It's good to see that on a ballot, most of the other mocks were pretty heavy career oriented (I am too), but it's good to see some diversity.

That being said, I don't see how anyone could have Williamson ahead of Sutton.

I'm going to use WS because it's easy to prove the point, not because I think they are units of gold . . . I don't see where they'd be biased in favor of one or the other. Sutton has 273 WS in 11.3 seasons not including the NA. Williamson had 278 in 11.6 seasons, basically equal on career value (all numbers adjusted for season length).

Best 3 individual seasons, when you adjust for season length show Sutton with 39, 35, 32 WS, Williamson 34, 31, 30. For a 5 year run, Sutton had 146 at his best, Williamson 143.

Sutton had 198/74 as his breakdown (rounding throws the total off by 1) off/def; Williamson 192/80, again basically equal. Sutton's career was 1876-88 if you don't count the NA, Williamson 1878-90, so there's little in the way of a timeline adjustment. Both played their entire careers in the NL.

But . . . Sutton was a star in the NA for 5 years. We gave him an all-star appearance in 1875 and an honorable mention behind Meyerle in 1871. Those 5 years must weigh in and throw the support to Sutton.

It's not like Williamson was starring in a lesser league during that time. He was 21 when he made his NL debut in 1878. He just didn't have as long or productive a career as Sutton, when you go by peak (where they are about even) or career value (where Sutton has a huge edge).

I'll get my ballot up soon.

--Joe

Posted 11:08 a.m., March 27, 2003 (#14) - MattB (homepage)
Dave Orr's career ended to a paralyzing stroke. (See link)

Posted 11:09 a.m., March 27, 2003 (#15) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
One other thing on the Sutton/Williamson debate, I've computed offensive W-L records for all of these guys and I've got (adjust for season length, and park) Sutton at 117-85, Williamson at 117-83 (does not count NA). Sutton made 2 Stats All-Star teams (plus one of ours for the NA), Williamson made 3.

Switching to peak value, I've got Sutton's 5-year peak at 55-25, Williamson's at 55-31; 3-year peak at 37-12 for Sutton, Williamson at 34-17.

Posted 11:15 a.m., March 27, 2003 (#16) - MattB
KOJK,

Not to gang up on your ballot but:

Frank Fennelly?

Posted 11:17 a.m., March 27, 2003 (#17) - Craig B
pretty hefty on peak value eh

With only 22 years of organized professional ball, only a very few players eligible at this time will have had anything even close to full careers. Cap Anson, who played in the National Association in 1871, and is a far better candidate than anyone on this ballot, won't even be eligible for several years.

If you don't go heavily skewed to peak, you'll be electing players who couldn't even carry the jockstrap of the players playing at the current time. And even these guys are (generally) quickly made obsolete... most of the players on the "top 5 eligibles by position" list were washed up or retired by the time they were 30, and hardly a man among them had ten good years. In most of those good years, they were playing very short seasons.

Posted 11:19 a.m., March 27, 2003 (#18) - Craig B
Sorry, "current time" meaning 1898, not 2003.

Posted 11:26 a.m., March 27, 2003 (#19) - Craig B
Sorry, "current time" meaning 1898, not 2003.

Posted 12:03 p.m., March 27, 2003 (#20) - Phil
I believe 1898 is a good starting date. You'll have a long career length to analyze (23 years). The votes may be less exciting with less eligible playes but OTOH you will have only 1 or 2 inductees per year. Also, the lower part of the ballot will now include more fringe players, which will only add to all the fun (don't worry about these players getting in).
By the way, I've been one of the more silent voters. I've been pretty busy but have managed to keep up with most of the threads.
I don't have my ballot ready yet but I'll try to post it one of these days.
   88. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 27, 2009 at 01:20 AM (#3061059)
Posted 12:15 p.m., March 27, 2003 (#21) - John
How many people are we going to elect? DanG's plan mentioned 1 (or 2), but Joe talked about electing 4 this first time. I would prefer electing only 1 or 2.

Posted 12:48 p.m., March 27, 2003 (#22) - Tom H
What year do the drak-skinned guys Grant and Stovey become eligible?

comparison of Ross Barnes to Gore and Hines, 3 men fighting for a top-5 spot on my ballot:
WARP3 career WARP3 5 best season avg
Barnes 79.9 12.9
Gore 94.4 9.0
Hines 77.3 8.8

So, Barnes has better peak. But, if I ask the question (and this IS the question I ask),
"throughout most of baseball history, which of these men would have won the most pennants for me?"
I have to discount Barnes some for his peculiar ability to hit the fair-fount bunt that was only legal for 6 of the past 133 years. If he gained 3 wins a year from this, it's obvious he falls behind the others.
Ergo, Barnes will NOT make the top 5 of my ballot.

Posted 3:05 p.m., March 27, 2003 (#23) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
Tom -- as the dictator/commish whatever, you can't discount Barnes for the fair/foul thing. It was legal at the time, and his teams won pennants because of it. I'm not saying where you have to rank him or anything, be we've touched on this earlier, and what he did was legal.

I'm not sure about Grant and Stovey, but I'll get the Negro Leagues Encyclopedia out tonight when I get home.

Check out the first ballot thread for details of the updated election process (I'd like to keep that type of discussion over there . . .).

The other thing is that I'd take WARP3's defensive metrics with a grain of salt, especially for 2B/3B. First, the replacement level is too low; and second, I'm pretty sure they don't account for the shifting defensive spectrum - we should be considered Barnes, who played most 2B as if he were a modern 3B (re: not as defensively valuable as what we perceive a 2B to be in the modern game).

How's that for bumping Barnes up a notch and then knocking him back down some? :-)

Thanks!

Posted 3:50 p.m., March 27, 2003 (#24) - Craig B
Frank Grant actually played at a high level through 1903, he was only "eligible" I think because originally we were going to start in 1910 or something... I forgot about that.

George Stovey is listed by Baseball Library as finishing in 1896, which I think is right, or at least close. So he wouldn't have been eligible either.

Posted 4:37 p.m., March 27, 2003 (#25) - jimd
Speaking of pretty hefty, have you looked at Dave Orr's measurements?

5'11, 250 lbs. I guess they were more honest about this stuff then.

The average player during those times was 5'9 (compare to 6'1 today) and 170 lbs (compare to 195 today). To translate any player from then to today, add 4 inches to height and 15% to weight. (Anybody know how this compares to growth in the general population?)

Dave Orr translates to 6'3 and 285 lbs. Remind you of any modern 1Bman?

Posted 6:40 p.m., March 27, 2003 (#26) - Brian H.
I think KJOK's list of 15 is not in order of preference its in order of position. Check it out above Orr is first because he's a 1b and all of the Pitchers are last.
As for my preliminary list:

1. Radborne
2-3 Hines/D.White
4-5 Spalding, Carruthers, Wright
6. Jame "Pud" Galvin
7-9 Gore, Barnes, Orr
10. M. Welch
11-12. Sutton, Tip O'Niel
13-14. Mccormick, T. Bond
15. Williamson or Ch. Jones

Bubbling under/honorable mention: H. Richardson, L. Meryle, W. White, Davy Force, Lip Pike, Matt Kilroy & C. Buffinton.

By the way a lot of people have listed KEEFE -- my research suggests he is ("was"?) NOT yet elgible. We should probably decide this once and for all because he would likely score at or near the top of this group for alot of people (including me)

Posted 6:48 p.m., March 27, 2003 (#27) - Mark McKinniss
Two notes:

I am wary of George Wright, because his best seasons were before age 27, in the earliest years of the National League. Knowing what we do about the level of competition ramping up as the NL went along, I think that Wright's mildly unusual career progression might be indicative of something mildly un-Hall-worthy.

If you like Peak, you'll love Tip O'Neill. At least I do. I don't know much about the AA, but he sure did OK in it.
   89. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 27, 2009 at 01:21 AM (#3061060)
Posted 8:47 p.m., March 27, 2003 (#28) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
Smiling Tim Keefe retired after 1893 so he isn't eligible until 1899.

Add 6 to the retirement year, disregarding token appearances. Here's that rule:

"To discount token appearances, a player becomes eligible 5 years after the first time he plays fewer than 10 games in the field or pitches in fewer than 5 games, assuming he never plays in 10/pitches in 5 games again. If he does play in 10/pitch in 5 games later in his career, the HoM ballot committee will determine in which year the player’s HoM eligibility begins."

Craig is right on Stovey and Grant . . .

Frank Grant retired after 1903, so he's eligible in 1909. The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Leagues lists his career from 1886-1905, but it doesn't list a team for him after 1903, so we should probably consider those token appearances.

George Stovey retired after 1896 according to TBENL also, so he's eligibile in 1902.

I'm working on my ballot now . . .

Posted 11:53 p.m., March 27, 2003 (#29) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
Here's my ballot, but first some explanation.

I started with Win Shares. I gave estimated credit for NA seasons. I gave 2X value for defensive WS. I tried to combine peak and career value. I only used the numbers as a guide. I tried to adjust down somewhat players who primarily played in the AA. I only gave Dunlap credit for a 36 WS season in 1884, when he had 54 in the UA, things like that. Sprinkle in some educated guessing on where to place pitchers, and moving some players around where I feel appropriate, and here's what I get. I'll try to come up with a modern player of similar value and position, although maybe not the same type of player (i.e., Schmidt's best year 6x is a good comp for Barnes 1871-76). I'll add notes where I feel like it too . . .

1. Paul Hines. He scored the highest on my system by a long shot (564 ASWS - adjusted Scruffy Win Shares). He had the highest 5-year peak of anyone and 3 seasons of 39 or more WS). I gave him credit for 24 WS per season in the NA. He was truly a great player and is very deserving as the first inducted player.

Just a note throughout this post, I'm referring to normal WS unless I say ASWS, which gives a 50% bonus for defense.

2. Deacon White. He was second highest. I associate him with Craig Biggio, as he played C/3B, and 3B back then was like 2B today. In his time he was a better player than Biggio, who I think is a borderline HoMer in his own right. I gave him credit for 22 WS per season in the NA, which is conservative, he was an all-star 2x. His peak was outstanding.

3. Ezra Sutton. He adjusts incredibly well. Think George Brett here. He was a good defensive player. I gave him credit for 27 WS per season in the NA, he was a 1 1/2 (lost to Levi Meyerle in 1871)x All-Star, averaged 29 WS during his 5 best non-NA seasons. When you adjust he comes out at 460 ASWS.

4. George Gore. Another superstar. Second best 5-year peak of the group, only to Hines (169 WS). 2 seasons over 40 WS. More defensive WS than any OF.

5. Joe Start. Start had 244 WS after the age of 32. I'm not exaggerating that. His peak wasn't spectacular, 130 WS for 5 years, 30, 30, 26 for his 3 best, but again, that didn't start until he was 33 years old. He's the Minnie Minoso of this group, 379 ASWS and his first year in the NA wasn't until he was 28. I only gave him credit for 23 WS per season in the NA, as he wasn't a great NA player (1 all-star team). To put his 244 WS after age 32 in perspective . . . Anson had 297 WS after age 32, Brouthers had 130, Connor 120. He posted 23 WS season at age 42 for Providence in 1885. This ranking is conservative, it gives him no credit for anything he did before 1871, so I might move him higher yet.

6. Ross Barnes. I couldn't rank him above the 4 stars above that also had great peaks, and Start who had a good peak, immense career value and the Minoso factor. But Barnes was a superstar for 6 years, the best player in the game. He was basically the equivalent of Mike Schmidt at his best for 6 years. I gave him credit for 45 WS per season in the NA, and that's conservative, he had 49 in 1876 in the NL. His career ASWS of 349 is good enough itself, when you account for the fact that 85% of came in 6 years and led to 5 pennants, it's pretty amazing.

7. Hardy Richardson. A 2B/LF who also played some 3B and CF. Strong peak, 153 WS over his best 5-year stretch. The best career value 2B of the 19th Century, he drops a notch behind Barnes on the ballot because of Barnes' great peak.

8. Ed Williamson. Think Jeff Kent, only with a really good glove, and only a very good, not great bat for the position. His 80 dWS are among the leaders on the ballot. He adjusts to 318 ASWS, his peak was similar to Sutton's, but nowhere near the career value.

9. Old Hoss Radbourn. Comparing his ERA to the league average, and adjusting for park, I get him at 304-200 for his 11 year career (309-195 actual). I could be convinced to move him down, and he'll drop behind Clarkson and Keefe when they come on the ballot.

10. George Wright. Great peak, he was one of the best players in the NA. I gave him credit for 35 WS per season in the NA. He ends up with 311 ASWS, which is pretty amazing for his short 9 year career. Giving him credit for 11 dWS per NA season, he winds up with 91 dWS which puts him near the top of the list (I'm eyeballing the NA guys).

11. Abner Dalrymple. He had 3 years over 31 WS, with a peak of 44. 150 over a 5-year stretch is a great peak. His career value was pretty solid too.

12. Tom York. His career value of 357 ASWS would have placed him 7th on this ballot, but I moved him down because of his good, not great peak. I gave him credit for 22 WS per season in the NA.

13. Al Spalding. I don't know what to make of his pitching value, but he was always on very good teams, teams with great defensive players like Barnes and Wright. He was a good hitter, and he has a lot of peak value, but not quite the same as Barnes and Wright. I'll admit I could be very wrong on this, feel free to try to convince me to move him up.

14. Charley Jones. Very high peak, but it needs to be downgraded a notch because half of it came in the AA. His career was basically evenly split between the AA and NL, so I moved him down a little.

15. Tip O'Neill. His peak is overrated. First he played nearly his entire career in the AA. His numbers dipped when he moved to the Players' League in 1890, went back up in 1891 in the AA and dropped severly in the NL in 1892. He was going from age 32-34 during those years, but I think it's obvious the NA boosted his numbers. Also, his peak just wasn't that high. He had the great year in 1887 (42 WS), but his other two peak years were 33 and 31 WS, 6 other players on this list had a 3rd best season of 31 WS, and all had more career value. Roger Maris is a great comp, people forget he won 2 MVP awards and call him a one-year wonder. O'Neill had pretty much the same career a couple of great years in a short career, and not enough great years to make him a serious candidate.

As for Dave Orr, it's a lot like O'Neill, there just isn't enough meat to his career. Cecil Fielder is a good comp, although Orr was better at his peak. 41 WS and 38 WS are two great years, but he only had 204 ASWS for his career. The stroke was tragic, but he doesn't get bonus points for it. He also had just 17 dWS, and seeing his measurements, I'd say that it's a good guess he wasn't much defensively.

Frank Fennelly (couldn't resist) actually had two great peak seasons (43 and 34 WS), but he was an AA player. He only play 6.5 years though, he just wasn't a special player. Nice player, doesn't belong on a ballot unless all you care about is peak value (which is reasonable for KJOK), and even then he's an iffy player who should be near the bottom. 196 ASWS.

Posted 1:35 a.m., March 28, 2003 (#30) - KJOK (e-mail)
"I think KJOK's list of 15 is not in order of preference its in order of position. Check it out above Orr is first because he's a 1b and all of the Pitchers are last."

Yes, that is correct. Are we supposed to be putting the players in order??
   90. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 27, 2009 at 01:22 AM (#3061061)
Posted 1:43 a.m., March 28, 2003 (#31) - KJOK (e-mail)
I do have to take exception to the notion that Ezra Sutton was somehow better than Ned Williamson:

EQA
Williamson - .285
Sutton -.289 (with weaker competition)

Adj OPS
Williamson - 112
Sutton -119

TOTAL BASEBALL RATING
Williamson - 10
Sutton - 8

Wins Above Replacement-Position
Williamson - 79
Sutton - 77

Win Shares:
Williamson - 173
Sutton - 158

Bill James All-time ranking
Williamson - 45
Sutton - 98

Defensive Win Shares per 1000 innings
Williamson - 5.5
Sutton - 4.9

Baseball Prospectus Defensive Rating (100=Ave)
Williamson - 124
Sutton - 110

plus Williamson could play an adequate SS

Basically, Sutton was a slightly better hitter, but Williamson was a much better fielder and could hold down a more demanding defensive position.

Posted 1:52 a.m., March 28, 2003 (#32) - KJOK (e-mail)
MattB wrote:
"KJOK,Not to gang up on your ballot but:
Frank Fennelly?"

I'll admit Fennelly was my last choice added, but

1. SS was an important position in that era, and I only had George Wright as a SS on my ballot.

2. Fennelly played over 6,800 innings at SS, which I believe was only topped by Bill Gleason among potential candidates.

3. Fennelly had defensive winshares of 5.5/1000k innings and 106 BP Fielding Rating.

4. Fennelly could hit also - .294 EQA with 118 Adj OPS.

Who else would be a better 2nd SS selection? Other than maybe Jack Rowe, I don't see any...

Posted 9:02 a.m., March 28, 2003 (#33) - MattB
KJOK,

Sorry. I also did not realize that you had not placed the candidates in order. The answer to your question is yes, they need to be ranked so that points can be allotted.

Frank Fennelly may very well be the best choice as second best shortstop of the era.

Where I am not convinced is that the second best shortstop is a better candidate to make the top 15 than, say, Joe Start (perhaps the second best first baseman) or Ross Barnes (perhaps the second best second baseman) or Ezra Sutton (perhaps the second best third baseman).

Posted 9:21 a.m., March 28, 2003 (#34) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
KJOK the WS numbers you cite don't adjust for season length. Williamson's career ended 2 year after Sutton's. I really think it's impossible to look at things in a fair light an conclude Williamson was a better player.

Williamson played 30% of his career at SS, Sutton played 18% of his career there (again, when you adjust for season length), I don't think this proves Williamson was a better defensive player, but even if he was, Sutton was a better hitter and played 5 years longer.

When you adjust for context it's not even close. Sutton's adjOPS was 119, Williamson's 112 and Sutton played 5 years longer. This is a massive difference.

Sutton played 18% of a 16.3 year career or 2.9 seasons at SS. Williamson played 30% of an 11.6 year career or 3.5 season's at SS. The difference is minimal, 3B was the 2nd toughest position at the time (besides Catcher of course, which is a different animal), and that's where the rest of both of their time was.

Seriously, I don't see how this question is remotely close.

As for the Bill James rankings, he blew them off, got lazy, whatever, and he's completely, 100% wrong. I have absolutely no doubt about that.

Posted 9:55 a.m., March 28, 2003 (#35) - Andrew Siegel
Joe--

I understand the point of treating every season (even 30 game seasons) as meaningful competitions for pennants and therefore scaling the WS to 162 games. Still, there are many problems implicit in treating those scaled numbers as if they were actually earned -- some of which I will address in a longer post on the other thread later today.

I think this is immensely relevant when it comes to comparing Williamson and Sutton. The two were players of very similar ability competing at roughly the same time. Their peak numbers and ability-numbers (things like OPS+) are very close. Contemporaries appear to have been more impressed with Williamson. Sutton's career was a bit longer (something like 60 games and 500 plate appearances). Sutton was a better hitter; Williamson a better fielder. I think that an intelligent observer could balance out the plusses in either direction. Since I tend to prefer offense over defense when push comes to shove, think that subjective observers tend to overrate Williamson's positive characteristics (defense particularly arm, toughness, etc.), and give Sutton some credit for the extra 500 PA, I have Sutton one or two spots ahead but it is really close.

The only reason you have Sutton miles ahead is because your system pretends that he played hundreds more games than Williamson. He didn't-- he played 60 more. He didn't have five seasons more PA's than Williamson; he had one season more.

I agree that games played in shorter seasons need to get something of a bump or we wouldn't elect any players from the 1870s, but we have to use common sense too. Sutton and Williamson were players of essentially similar abilities and achievements who got roughly the same number of PA's during the exact same era. It is hard to find two players who are closer.

Posted 10:27 a.m., March 28, 2003 (#36) - MattB
Here is a min-NA study I just did:

The question was raised about how to consider the Boston NA players (Spalding, Barnes, Wright, etc.) since they were essentially an all-star team, and never had to play against each other.

What I did was look at every Boston game against the team that finished second that year (except 1871, where I looked at games against Philadelphia, who finished first.) Thank you Retrosheet.

These games should give a view of how the Boston players did against GOOD competition. (Note, I have no idea which players played which games, but overall, most probably played most.)

Here are the scores: (Boston's first)

1871: (Philadelphia Athletics)

11-8
8-20
23-7
17-14

Total: 59-49

1872: (Philadelphia Athletics)

7-10
13-4
1-9
16-4
4-6
10-8
10-0
1-5

Total: 62-46

1873: (Philadelphia White Stockings)

5-8
8-22
11-6
17-18
23-10
11-8
4-9
7-5
18-7

Total: 104-93

1874: (New York Mutuals)

12-3
11-4
20-14
9-5
11-19
2-5
9-8
8-9
5-8
3-4

Total: 90- 79

1875 (Philadelphia Athletics)

14-5
12-0
3-3
11-6
1-10
10-10
12-4
7-3
16-0
3-6
17-13
15-3

Total: 121-63

Looking at these numbers, it seems that offensively, Boston could take all comers. These games are littered with double digit runs. They scored 436 runs in 43 games, for better than 10 runs per game.

Over those 5 years, Boston scored 3,227 runs in 292 games, which is almost exactly 11 runs per game.

Offensively, therefore, playing the second best team only cost Boston one run per game.

Al Spalding pitched well over 90% of Boston's innings in these years, and well over 90% each individual year except 1875, so looking at Spalding stats against team pitching stats shouldn't be too out of line.

Boston gave up 330 runs is 43 games. That's a run per game average of 7.67.

Over those 5 years, Al Spalding gave up 1553 runs in 2,347.7 IP, for a 5.95 Run Average. Against the best competition, therefore, Spalding gave up almost 2 runs per game more than he did against the league as a whole.

Overall, I would conclude that not having to face McVey, Barnes, and Wright helped Spalding significantly more than not having to face Spalding helped McVey, Barnes, and Wright.
   91. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 27, 2009 at 01:22 AM (#3061062)
Posted 11:20 a.m., March 28, 2003 (#37) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
Andrew, I think you are cutting Sutton short. When the two played in the NL the were essentially similar, except that Williamson was 7 years younger. That's a massive difference.

Sutton's extra years in the NA weren't because he was there and Williamson was off in some inferior league tearing it up. Williamson came up and age 20 and was done by the time he was 32. Sutton came up at age 20 and played until he was 37.

Take a 15 year slice of two players careers. One played from age 25-37, the other from age 20-32. If their numbers during those years are similar, I'll guarantee that in almost every case, the player with the 25-37 slice was a MUCH better player than the other one. I wish there was a way to automate this so I could give example.

Williamson was 7 years younger, and his career last two extra years, where the schedules were longer. The fact that Williamson had nearly as many PA and G are an illusion of circumstance, you need put players in their proper context.

The two players were extremely similar in the NL. When Williamson was being compared to Sutton by his peers, they were comparing a 27-year old to a 34-year old, and if Sutton comes out even in that case, that means he was a much better player.

I was very conservative with Sutton's 'extra credit', I only gave him 27 WS per season, I could have given him more, he had at least 5 years that good in the NL.

I really think this is a no brainer.

Posted 11:20 a.m., March 28, 2003 (#38) - Joe Dimino
oops, that's a 13-year slice . . . the point holds though.

Posted 11:27 a.m., March 28, 2003 (#39) - Joe Dimino
One other thing, it's not like Sutton ends up 12 ASWS ahead and I'm saying it's an obvious choice. It ends up with Sutton at 460 and Williamson at 318. It's a no brainer. Take two players who are similar for 13-15 years, and the other guy plays and extra 5 seasons at a high level . . . who's better? Sutton has a slightly higher peak too, based solely on the NL years, again when he was 7 years older than Williamson.

Posted 12:49 p.m., March 28, 2003 (#40) - Andrew Siegel
But, Joe, those extra win shares aren't real win shares that were won on the field, they're made-up after-the-fact adjustments intended to give some extra credit for the fact that the seasons were shorter in the early years. Your method for leveling the playing field between players with different season lengths is perfectly valid, but it's not the only one. If two players have the same WS/162 games and the same number of games but one of them played 20 full seasons with a 75 game schedule and the other one played 15 full seasons with a 100 game schedule, are their performances equal or was the first player 25% better? That's a question that requires serious thought and not merely an assumption built into a formula.

On a related point that has been debated on previous threads, there's another problem with extrapolating from a 30 or 40 game schedule -- sample size. Guys have hot or cold streaks that last 30 or 40 games all the time. If I earn 5 extra win shares with a torrid month in 2003, I get 5 win shares added to my historical record. Under your system, however, if I have a torrid 30 game stretch in 1871, the multiplier kicks in and I get to add 25 or so extra win shares to my record. Now, that discrepancy might be appropriate given the aims of that project -- because those 30 games were a "season" in 1871 (after which a pennat was awarded) and are only a "month" now -- but that doesn't change the sample size problem. If Mike Lowell had had his April 2002 in 1871, he'd have put up a Hall of Fame season by your measure. Well, if we are blindly measuring value and defining value on an all seasons (of whatever length) are equal basis than I guess that's ok, but it still doesn't make Mike Lowell Mike Scmidt.

Posted 1:08 p.m., March 28, 2003 (#41) - Brian H.
If I recall the AA actually was deemed better than the NL for a year or two there (someone posted some statistical comparisions). The best years of the AA happened to be the years O'Niell peaked at. Also, his Browns beat the NL team in the precursor to the World Series around that time and these games were actually hard fought because of some significant financial insentives and trash talk. This also supports some of Carruthers best seasons (he was an Ace on those Browns).

My thing about Radborne is that he may very well have had the most dominant season by anyone ever which he concluded by winning the very first inter league showdown with Tim Keefe. Also, he was regarded by many closer to the time as "the greatest Pitcher of the 19th Century" (see his Hall of Fame plaque).

Posted 4:19 p.m., March 28, 2003 (#42) - Joe Dimino
Andrew, I don't think it requires serious thought. The first player was clearly more valuable (assuming equal level of play per season), exactly 33% more valuable, because his contributions contributed to 20 pennants, the other player just 15. To me it's absolutely a no-brainer, the pennant is the common denominator, it has to be.

I don't mean to sound like I'm not listening to the other arguments because I am. I just don't see how this issue isn't obvious to anyone who looks at it, but am a stubborn SOB sometimes.

Andrew what do you think of my comments re: Sutton and Williamson and the age difference, etc.. I just don't see how anyone can look at those players and give any credit whatsoever for the NA and not rate Sutton ahead of him. I didn't rate Williamson as chopped liver either, I still have him #8.

Someone raised the issue of Williamson playing SS and I showed the Sutton played nearly as much SS, but again, that goes unnoticed.

Posted 5:34 p.m., March 28, 2003 (#43) - Mark McKinniss
This is a similar problem to trying to figure out how many home runs Babe Ruth would hit if he were playing today. After all, he outhomered other teams, and given the fact that home run rates have doubled since then, he just might hit 130 homers, right?

On the one hand, it's an obvious simple linear equation that gives us the true answer.

On the other hand, we know better than to assume that absolute limits don't apply, that a certain regression would apply, etc.

Linearity in baseball is a tricky matter that does NOT always apply. The more extreme the example (home run rates, 40 game seasons) the less likely a linear solution is the right call.

Posted 6:34 p.m., March 28, 2003 (#44) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
Mark, I think you've got the analogy misplaced. It isn't how many HR Babe Ruth would have hit compared to the league today. It's how many HR would Ruth have hit in 1927 if the schedule were 162 games. That's the issue here. You still compare Ruth to the other players of 1927. That's where Win Shares or TPR or WARP3 come into play, everything is in the scale of wins. You don't treat Ruth as if he hit 130 HR, you give credit for what his 60 HR meant in terms of wins. But you have put everyone on a level playing field in terms of the schedule.

Like I just said on the other thread, if the seasons were to expand to 200 games, does that mean Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns will accomplish more than Sammy Sosa and Gary Sheffield did in their careers (assuming their production is at a similar rate)? I think it's obviously ludicrous to say that they would. It's the same case for the players from the 1870's, especially the ones that lasted into the 1880's and still performed at a high level, like Hines, White, Sutton, Gore, Start, etc.

Posted 6:37 p.m., March 28, 2003 (#45) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
I guess what I'm saying is that you have to at least attempt to reasonably account for the schedule difference, that's all. You can then scale back for timeline as well (which I tried to do). But to throw your hands up in the air and say that a game is a game is a game, without any regard for the impact it had on the particular pennant race involved seems like extremely flawed logic to me.

Posted 6:57 p.m., March 28, 2003 (#46) - Marc
I don't have an opinion re. Tip O'Neill just yet, but re. the AA and Tip's peak seasons, all his black ink are in '86-'87-'88 (in '87 he was the only major leaguer in history, to this day, to lead his lead in all three species of XBH). Here are the league ratings:

86 N -.009 AA -.008
87 N -.001 AA -.007
88 N -.002 AA -.009

.00 = 1881 NL. With the advent of two leagues, both were down relative to earlier. Tip led the AA in RBI the one year the AA was stronger. His really big year '87, the AA was not better.

Re. Radbourn, the HoF enshrined him very early ('39) and all the other guys (Clarkson, Keefe, Welch, Galvin) waited until after 1960. But I've been downgrading him. I agree his '84 season may be the best ever, but look at how fast his ERA+ (by season) fall off (in numerical, not chronological order):

Radbourn 206-151-134-133-122-113-109-106-nothing else over 100
Keefe 170-157-138-138-138-134-126-121-119-114-104
Galvin 158-127-118-117-117-115-114-111-101
Welch 160-142-130-119-117-114-112-111
Clarkson 163-153-150-147-146-139-131-115-110-103

Everything after 2 years Clarkson has a big edge, everything after 4 years ditto for Keefe, everything after 5 years Galvin and Welch are his equals. Granted Clarkson and Keefe are not on the ballot yet but that is just because they were better longer. Even voting in 1898, we would know that significantly better pitchers who were his almost exact contemporaries are coming up on the ballot. DOB:

Clarkson 1861, Galvin '56, Keefe '57, Radbourn '54, Welch '59. Yet Clarkson was pitching in the NL within one year of Radbourn. Galvin started in '75, the others all in '80-'82.

I would rather support a pitcher like Spalding (and maybe, stressing maybe Bond) who clearly stood out among his peers rather than a guy like Radbourn who is only #3 among his peers. And note that even Bond faced tougher competition that Radbourn did in '84:

78 N -.005
79 N -.004
80 N .002
81 N .000
82 N .002 AA -.037
83 N -.003 AA -.027
84 N -.008 AA -.026 U -.065
   92. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 27, 2009 at 01:23 AM (#3061063)
Posted 7:32 p.m., March 28, 2003 (#47) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
Good work Marc. I think the league ratings show that perhaps there is little to no timeline adjustment necessary for the players from the late 70s relative to those from the late 80s, because they were playing in 1 league not 2, so it wasn't as watered down. Very interesting stuff.

Posted 11:44 p.m., March 28, 2003 (#48) - Marc
Joe, unfortunately we don't have league strength numbers for the NA. But working backwards from 1876, one might guess (and it is nothing more than a guess) that the NA was perhaps -.020 to -.030 vs. the 1881 NL. That makes it comparable to the early and late AA.

76 N -.013
77 N -.014
78 N -.005
79 N -.004
80 N .002
81 N .000 - I referenced all to 1881 NL
82 N .002 AA -.037
83 N -.003 AA -.027
84 N -.008 AA -.026 U -.065
85 N -.007 AA -.015
86 N -.009 AA -.008
87 N -.001 AA -.007
88 N -.002 AA -.009
89 N .004 AA -.005
90 N -.005 AA -.036 P .001
91 N .009 AA -.024
92 N .010
93 N .011
94 N .011
95 N .010
96 N .012
97 N .015
98 N .020
99 N .021

But there is a very important difference between the NA and the early and late AA, even assuming that their numerical strength was indeed equal, and it is this: In the early and late '80s, the AA did NOT represent the state of the art. Neither actually did the NL. The state of the art was represented by some NL teams and players and some (fewer) AA teams and players. A player who was, say, 20 percent above the norm in the AA was not a good as a player who was 20 percent above the norm in the NL. A player who earned 25 WS in the AA was not as good as one who earned 25 WS in the NL, and so on. The AA as a whole represented a second tier of play.

Assuming the NA was equivalent to the early and late AA, the NA was, however, the state of the art. It's players were generally the best players in America. A player performing at 20 percent above the league had no peer anywhere else.

That makes an NA player "better" in my way of thinking than an otherwise equivalent player in the AA.

Obviously I cannot make the same argument for the NA vs. the NL, but I think the best players in the NA deserve some credit for being the greatest players in America.

Posted 1:18 a.m., March 29, 2003 (#49) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
Great numbers Marc, thanks!

One note, I don't have the numbers handy, but I know in a similar chart that I've seen, 1875 NA rates higher than 1876 NL and 1874 NA was about even with 1876. The level of play dipped a little because of the transition. I'd be surprised if 1871 NA is worse than -.020, and 1872-73 is probably around -.016 or -.017, assuming I recall correctly.

So basically the toughest leagues during the productive era of these guys careers (they were all retired by 1892), was 1880-82 NL and 1887-89 NL. That's good info to have.

Posted 3:31 p.m., March 29, 2003 (#50) - Rob Wood
Here's my preliminary 1898 ballot.

1. Deacon White
2. Paul Hines
3. George Gore
4. George Wright
5. Ross Barnes
6. Ezra Sutton
7. Hardy Richardson
8. Al Spalding
9. Jim McCormick
10. Ed Williamson
11. Fred Dunlap
12. Mickey Welch
13. Pud Galvin
14. Hoss Radbourn
15. Cal McVey

Posted 8:09 p.m., March 29, 2003 (#51) - Jeff M
Here's my preliminary 1898 ballot:

HINES, PAUL
WHITE, DEACON
BARNES, ROSS
RADBOURN, OLD HOSS
SPALDING, AL
GORE, GEORGE
GALVIN, PUD
WELCH, MICKEY
H.RICHARDSON
MCCORMICK, JIM
WHITE, WILL
BUFFINTON, CHARLIE
CORCORAN, LARRY
BOND, TOMMY
ORR, DAVE

Posted 11:37 p.m., March 29, 2003 (#52) - Sean Gilman (e-mail)
My preliminary ballot:

1. Paul Hines
2. Deacon White
3. Ezra Sutton
4. Hardy Richardson
5. George Gore
6. Joe Start
7. Al Spaulding
8. Ross Barnes
9. George Wright
10.Cal McVey
11.Charley Radbourn
12.(N)ed Williamson
13.Pud Galvin
14.Jim McCormick
15.Lip Pike

Posted 9:07 p.m., March 30, 2003 (#53) - Tom H
Here's my preliminary 1898 ballot, with some commentary

1. Deacon White - Will he be lower than 3rd on anyone's ballot? I give an extra position bonus to catchers, beyond the WS or RCAP (Lee Sinins' tool) or WARP adjustment, because of the grueling toll on a player's career. If you don't do this, I think you'll wind up with far fewer catchers in the HoM than any other position. So in my book Deacon is a clear #1.
2. George Wright
3. Hoss Radbourn - altho I'm still working on the pithcing value thing, anyone with that W-L record, ERA+, AND that many Wins Above Team is impressive
4. Paul Hines
5. Al Spalding
6. Hardy Richardson - he was borderline on my 1906 ballot of 15.
7. George Gore
8. Ross Barnes
9. Ezra Sutton
10. Ed Williamson
11. Joe Start
don't have enuf info to post my last 4 yet. still learnin'.

Posted 12:41 a.m., March 31, 2003 (#54) - Rick A.
My preliminary ballot.

1. Deacon White
2. Paul Hines
3. George Gore
4. Al Spalding
5. Hardy Richardson
6. Ezra Sutton
7. Ross Barnes
8. George Wright
9. Ned Williamson
10. Hoss Radbourn
11. Joe Start
12. Charley Jones
13. Pud Galvin
14. Abner Dalrymple
15. Tip O'Neill

Posted 1:02 a.m., March 31, 2003 (#55) - KJOK (e-mail)
After reading some excellent points above and rethinking some guys, here's my real preliminary ballot, this time in order:

1. Charley Radbourn, P
2. Tony Mullane, P
3. Hardy Richardson, 2B
4. Deacon White, 3B/C
5. Dave Orr, 1B
6. George Gore, CF
7. Tip O'Neill, LF
8. Joe Start, 1B
9. Pud Galvin, P
10.Fred Carroll, C
11.Jim McCormick, P
12.Orator Shaffer, RF
13.Paul Hines, CF
14.Michey Welch, P
15.Al Spalding, P

Posted 1:14 a.m., March 31, 2003 (#56) - KJOK (e-mail)
Sorry about posting another list again, but I accidently left off a three 1870's guys that I definitely think belong which, due to trying to balance positions, is going to push a couple of guys off my list:

1. Charley Radbourn, P
2. Tony Mullane, P
3. Hardy Richardson, 2B
4. Deacon White, 3B/C
5. George Wright, SS
6. Ross Barnes, 2B
7. Dave Orr, 1B
8. George Gore, CF
9. Charley Jones, LF
10. Joe Start, 1B
11. Pud Galvin, P
12.Jim McCormick, P
13.Paul Hines, CF
14.Mickey Welch, P
15.Al Spalding, P

Posted 3:02 p.m., March 31, 2003 (#57) - Brian H.
KJOK - I don't think Mullane is technically elgible this ballot.
   93. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 27, 2009 at 01:24 AM (#3061066)
Posted 4:08 p.m., March 31, 2003 (#58) - Tom H
can someone remind me what indicators we have of pre-1871 accomplishments? Harry Wright (who was 36 on opening day of the NA), Start, anyone else this may apply to? I think we've discussed George Wright enough to know he was a star in the late 1860s.

Posted 5:01 p.m., March 31, 2003 (#59) - Marc
Lip Pike was born 1845 and a noted player as early as 1866. He was 26 when the NA was started and had an NA OPS+ of 161. He was 31 when the NL was formed and had an NL OPS+ of 152 over three years through age 33 (not counting 6 later games). He played about 325 of about 425 NA and NL games in CF, but apparently played most 2B and SS previously.

Dickey Pearce was born in 1836, and thus was 35 when the NA was formed. He played SS throughout his career and led the NA in FA twice. His OPS+ was just 84, but he was at 100 and 109 at age 38 and 39. He played 33 games in the NL finishing up at age 41 but his NL OPS+ was just 44.

Posted 8:24 p.m., March 31, 2003 (#60) - Brian H.
Spalding, Barnes, D.White and Cal McVey were apparently good enough BEFORE 1871 to convince Harry Wright to get them for his seriously stacked Red Stockings team in the NA (this is probably the sort of stacking Steinbrenner dreams of today).

The stats before 1871 are largely incomprehensible to me and I think we need to just sort of acknowledge that these guys -- along with Lip Pike, Start, Force, Pearce, Asa Barnard and the Wrights -- deserve some credit for their almost prehistoric achievments.

Jim Creighton should probably be mentioned too. I have no idea how to evaluate what he did -- it seems like a Greek Myth or something.

Posted 9:06 p.m., March 31, 2003 (#61) - Tom H
Marc, disussing Radbourn and pitchers, wrote:
Re: Radbourn, the HoF enshrined him very early ('39) and all the other guys (Clarkson, Keefe, Welch, Galvin) waited until after 1960... but look at how fast his ERA+ (by season) fall off (in numerical, not chronological order):

Radbourn 206-151-134-133-122-113-109-106
Keefe___ 170-157-138-138-138-134-126-121
Galvin__ 158-127-118-117-117-115-114-111
Welch___ 160-142-130-119-117-114-112-111
Clarkson 163-153-150-147-146-139-131-115

This does show that Radbourn mght not have been the giant that some thought. But putting aside Clarkson and Keefe who aren't eligible yet, I don't see how this makes Galvin and Welch as good as Hoss. His 206 ERA+ year was 678 IP, 2nd highest ever. Sorta like if Wilbur Wood, tossing every 3rd day, had a Pedro/Big Unit-like year, so he went 35 and 8 in the modern era. That makes up for a few average-ish years. It will be hard to bump Radbourn down below #6 on my ballot.

Posted 9:10 p.m., March 31, 2003 (#62) - MarcWaterman, C.A. McVey, G. Wright, Allison, H. Wright, Gould, Asa Brainard, C.J. Sweasy and A.J. Leonard
Red Stockings team as I understand it consisted of F. Waterman, C.A. McVey, G. Wright, Allison, H. Wright, Gould, Asa Brainard, C.J. Sweasy and A.J. Leonard, but no White, Barnes or Spalding. White was already 21 years old, but Barnes and Spalding just 19. Spalding was playing in Rockford, IL, with Cap Anson.

Pitcher Brainard was already 28 yrs old, he went on to pitch 4 years very ineffectively (ERA+ 51) in the NA.

Andy Leonard was probably the best of "the rest." He was 23 in 1869, and went on to play 9 years in the NA and NL, mostly in LF. His NA OPS+ was 121 but in 4 years in the NL he came in at 91.

Fred Waterman was also 23 in '69. He played 4 years in the NA, mostly 3B and a little SS, with an OPS+ of 132.

Catcher Doug Allison was 23-24 in '69, and went on to play 10 years in the NA and NL with an OPS+ of 101 (NA) and 63 (NL). He led the NA and NL in FA for a C once each and has a positive FR, one of the very few of these men to earn a positive FR after '71.

1B Charlie Gould was 21-22 and played 6 years, 4 in the NA (missing '73) with an OPS+ of 90 and 2 in the NL at 101.

2B Charlie Sweasy was 21 and played 7 later seasons with OPS+ of 47 (NA) and 44 (NL).

Not a very impressive group, frankly, except for McVey and the Wrights. It seems doubtful that Gould and Sweasy, for example, were any better in '69 at 21 than they were from 23 to 27 years of age in the NA. Their winning streak is especially impressive given that they don't look that great. It makes on wonder if they ducked anybody on their tour.

The team members were born in New York (Brainard, Waterman, G. Wright), New Jersey (Sweasy), Cincy (Gould), Iowa (McVey), Philly (Allison), and Europe (H. Wright in England, Leonard in Ireland).

Posted 10:55 p.m., March 31, 2003 (#63) - Brian H.
Sorry I confused (combined) the legendary pre-NA Red Stockings with the Boston Red Stockings of the NA that Wright put together for the NA. Anyway I think that all of those players mentioned above deserve some sort of recognition for their pre-NA achievments.

Spalding, by the way, was particularly good before the NA with the Rockford ball club before Harry Wright signed him for the Boston NA team. Also, I noticed that Spalding Major League (NA + NL) avg. was over .300 with better than 1 run scored per game played. Not bad for a Pitcher even if he was surrounded by stacked teams. I think I might have to nudge him up a bit more on my ballot.
   94. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 27, 2009 at 01:25 AM (#3061067)
Posted 12:16 a.m., April 1, 2003 (#64) - Marc
I posted a very preliminary ballot a few days ago, here's how it is evolving.

1. Paul Hines. Up from 7th. What can I say, his NA years boost him above Gore (and all) now that I look at them and the whole package a lot closer.
2. Al Spalding. Down from 1st but still the giant of the first decade. The guy George and Harry Wright almost add up to.
3. Deacon White. Up from 4th, but no peak, I wish there was somebody worth putting ahead of him.
4. George Gore. Up from 5th due to a lack of competition more than anything else.
5. Charles Radbourn. Up from 6th. Not half the pitcher John Clarkson was, nor three-quarters of Tim Keefe. Good thing we're only electing four.
6. Hardy Richardson. Up from 8th. A solid player, but don't forget he only played 41 fewer games in the OF than at 2B.
7. Cal McVey. Extra credit: Red Stockings in '69, still OPS+ 134 in 1879. Still better than most when he quit the NL and played all over the West long after.
8. Charley Jones. Up from 11th even after I discounted his AA years somewhat, but OPS+ 150 hard to beat.
9. Dave Orr. Not in my previous 15, but OPS+ 162 also hard to beat even for another AA guy. This is the guy Tip O'Neill wanted to be.
10. Lip Pike. Up from 15th. Prominent as early as 1866 as I understand it, played mostly IF but CF in NA. OPS+ 152. This is the guy Joe Start wanted to be.
11. Ross Barnes. Down all the way from 2nd. I've always been a big Barnes fan and I don't discount the fair/foul thing. It's just that he declined so young, and it's not like he played much before '71.
12. Larry Corcoran. Not on previous 15, he leapfrogged a lot of pitchers: Only Spalding on this ballot has better ERA+ and his 5 year consecutive peak is better than anybody but Albert Goodwill.
13. Ezra Sutton. Not on previous 15, but you guys are wearing me down. Better than Williamson (just a little) after I looked at the NA.
14. George Wright. All the way down from 3rd. On closer look, the numbers just aren't there, and I think he sometimes gets credit for brother Harry's pioneering work.
15. Ed Williamson. The numbers just aren't there but how come some of the old timers said he was the best player of the 19th century? Gotta respect that.

Mickey Welch, Pud Galvin and Tommy Bond drop off the list. Galvin the Rusty Staub of pitchers, looooooong but not really distinguished career. Bond dominant for awhile but finished at OPS+ 110. Welch never that dominant and 114 just doesn't cut it.

I can change my mind until when?

Posted 12:24 a.m., April 1, 2003 (#65) - KJOK (e-mail)
Brian H. wrote
"KJOK - I don't think Mullane is technically elgible this ballot."

You're right, of course, which means another revision to my preliminary ballot...

Posted 9:32 a.m., April 1, 2003 (#66) - Philip
Here is my preliminary ballot. I gave considerable credit to fielding and a little less to pitching. Also I lean slightly towards high peak versus longevity.

1. White
2. Hines
3. Gore
4. Barnes
5. Sutton
6. Start
7. Wright
8. Spalding
9. Williamson
10. Radbourne
11. Pike
12. York
13. Richardson
14. Jones
15. Galvin

Posted 9:53 a.m., April 1, 2003 (#67) - MattB
I still don't have a preliminary ballot yet. I keep getting stuck with "A is better than B and B is better than C, but C is better than A" problems.

And that doesn't even include the pitchers I have randomly inserted throughout the Top 15 on the theory that some pitchers were probably better than some hitters, but most of them probably weren't.

I hope to have something post-worthy soon that doesn't include Buck Ewing twice (or even once, actually).

Posted 9:53 a.m., April 1, 2003 (#68) - MattB
Also, when did we decide actually balloting would start?

Posted 11:08 a.m., April 1, 2003 (#69) - Andrew Siegel
Here's a revised list (with explanations). Except for spots 14 and 15, I think it's finished:

(1) Paul Hines -- A long, successful career that matches anyone on this list in career value plus three Win Share MVP's. Due to his personal issues and inconsistency, he's probably not quite as good as his numbers, but he's still the best player on this ballot.

(2) Deacon White -- Long, consistent, successful career; gets points for his position as well. Only briefly in the top handful of players in the game, but in the second handful for a dozen years.

(3) George Gore -- Almost even with Hines, not quite as high a peak. When Anson had to choose between the two in real life, he picked Gore. Not sure he made the wrong pick (though, to be fair to Hines, age factored in as well).

(4) Ross Barnes -- As he didn't play before the NA and was done as a star by 1876, he presents a classic peak vs. career issue. He's probably the only player to rank as the game's dominant star for 5 or 6 years and have no further career to speak of. I want to drop him based on the shortness of his career, but, in the end, he was too good a player -- the best hitter in the game and an outstanding fielder at an important position.

(5) Hoss Radbourne -- That one season is so good plus he was the best pitcher in the league 2 other times according to WS. His contemporaries thought he was the best pitcher of their generation. The arguments against him are valid, but, in the end, I think he's a legit HoMer.

(6) George Wright -- The statistics don't quite measure up to the reputation, but still . . . he was arguably the second best player in the NA, gets points for what he did before 1871, and was the best SS in the NL in 1876 (according to WS). He's the only NA star who had the skill set to be successful in every era, which is only marginally relevant but has to count in his favor when we get down to comparing essentially identical careers. When compared to his contemporaries, one of the Top 10 or 15 SS of All Time.

(7) Ezra Sutton -- His offensive numbers are not up to par with those of the sluggers below him, but are still very good when we adjust for the 19th Century defensive spectrum. Given his B+ offense and the fact that none of his contemporaries recognized his greatness, I can't go any higher than this despite Joe's well-argued pleas.

(8) Hardy Richardson -- One great season and a very long solid career. Kind of a 19th Century Joe Torre. The best 2B between Barnes and Childs. I think he's the epitome of a borderline HoMer.

(9) (N)ed Williamson -- Ranks behind Sutton on career value and because subjective reports always overvalue defense. Short career puts him on the bubble for the HoM.

(10) Al Spalding -- Dropping like a rock on my ballot, due to my re-evaluation of the importance of pitching in the 1870s, the evidence that was posted showing that he likely benefited significantly from playing with a team of All-Stars, and the fact that he walked away from the game at 26. I leave him here in deference to the opinions of his contemporaries and his obscene statistics, but fear even this may be a bit high.

(11) Mickey Welch -- I've made the argument in detail elsewhere, but I think he ranks only slightly behind his teammate Tim Keefe. If you look at the transactions of the teams they played for and the usage of the two pitchers, I see Welch as the team's horse, although Keefe was obviously more effective on an inning-by-inning basis. Wouldn't degrade the HoM but isn't exactly banging down the door.

(12) Cal McVey -- If we are going to give guys credit for their pre-NA days, I don't see how we can't give McVey credit for the many years he played out west after leaving the NL. When he played with the NA/NL guys, he was among the best bats in the game (certainly better than Start for example). I'd like to see a bit more "major league" performance on the resume, but I think he was a better player than any of the remaining candidates.

(13) Joe Start -- Amazing late career, gets credit for pre-NA achievements. If he was one of the dominant bats in the NA, I'd have him in the Top 5, but he wasn't even close (ranking behind guys who didn't make the ballot).

(14) Lip Pike -- Also gets credit for his pre-NA career. One of the unsung stars of the NA. Arguably the best player of his generation. On that basis, I want him on the ballot.

(15) Tip O'Neil -- Ranks with Browning, Stovey, and Orr as the best hitters in the AA; longer career than Orr. The numbers we have suggest the AA wasn't as far behind the NL as I had thought. I can't rank him above the top stars of the NA/NL, but am comfortable taking him at the expense of any of the remaining guys (except perhaps Meyerle).

Posted 11:12 a.m., April 1, 2003 (#70) - TomH
-------14. George Wright. All the way down from 3rd. On closer look, the numbers just aren't there--------

Huh? Possibly the most valuable defender of the late 1970s (BJNHA gold glove at shortstop), OPS+ of 125, good career length if you add a bit for pre-NA years. I'd call him even with Pee Wee Reese if Reese had retired early.

many thanks for the pre-71 info. McVey moves on to my ballot!
   95. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 27, 2009 at 01:27 AM (#3061071)
Posted 12:54 p.m., April 1, 2003 (#71) - Carl Goetz (e-mail)
When are final 1898 ballots due? Due we post them here or at yahoogroups?

Posted 1:03 p.m., April 1, 2003 (#72) - Mark McKinniss
Here's my ballot:

1. Ross Barnes (only player on the ballot to be consistently dominant for any extended period of time. remember, you can't hit a double or draw a walk based on the fair-foul rule)
2. Paul Hines
3. Pud Galvin
4. Tip O'Neill
5. Charley Radbourn
6. Hardy Richardson
7. Deacon White
8. Jim Whitney
9. George Gore
10. Jim McCormick
11. Charley Jones
12. Fred Dunlap
13. Mickey Welch
14. Dave Orr
15. Ned Williamson

I've got time for two questions from the audience:

Q1: Why is Deacon White so low on your ballot?

A: Well, for one thing, I wasn't willing to give him a huge boost for catching since catching only made up about a third of his career. For another thing, the evidence is not there that old-school catchers should be subject to the same boost that new-school catchers get. Deacon White finished in the top 10 in at-bats six times! How much of an extra boost am I supposed to give him? Basically, he and Paul Hines has similar length careers, and Hines has decidedly better peak and career numbers. White's spot at 7 seems appropriate.

Q2: Where the hell is George Wright?

A: He finished in a tie for 16th. His career path was such that I believe his numbers to be more a product of (lack of) league strength than anything else. He did get credit for the numbers he put up, and he really did come in 16th on my ballot, but it's my feeling that if he had been born 5 years later, and started his career 5 years later, his name would never even come up.

Thank you, you've been great.

Posted 1:30 p.m., April 1, 2003 (#73) - Andrew Siegel
One more from the audience: What's so great about Pud Galvin?

Posted 1:54 p.m., April 1, 2003 (#74) - Andrew Siegel
One more from the audience: What's so great about Pud Galvin?

Posted 2:19 p.m., April 1, 2003 (#75) - Mark McKinniss
One more from the audience: What's so great about Pud Galvin?

Simple. He had more Win Shares than anyone else ;)

Actually, the single greatest thing about Galvin was his durability. He was good to very good for a very long time, at a time when his contemporaries were dropping out after a few years or so. He was certainly not the most talented pitcher of the era, but he might have added the most value.

I guess when it came down to it, I decided that his pitching record in those days was indicative of someone who was the 3rd or 4th best pitcher in baseball for a period of 15 straight years or so. That to me, was worthy of a vote for induction. Him and Radbourn could probably get switched without me losing any sleep so I made it a judgement call. Hell, he could be as low as 9th, and I might not know the difference. To me, there's two deserving candidates then there's everyone else.

Posted 2:46 p.m., April 1, 2003 (#76) - Andrew Siegel
Looked up Galvin again and I just don't buy it:

(1) He had 17 seasons with at least 10 games -- 10 with an adjusted ERA+ over 100, 7 with an adjusted ERA+ under 100, only 3 with an ERA+ over 120. Look at that again -- he was only better than the league average pitcher in 10 out of 17 seasons.

(2) Though he pitched a lot of league average innings (thereby justly earning a lot of WS), on an inning-by-inning basis he was rarely if ever one of the top 3 or 4 pitchers in baseball. He only cracks the top 4 in adjusted ERA+ twice (once in the dubious 1884 season) and only cracks the Top 5 in ERA once (4th during that 1884 season). Most seasons he was the seventh or eighth best pitcher in the league -- and the league was somewhere between eight and fourteen teams. Given his staying power and the innings he ate, he was better than mediocre but not much better.

Posted 2:57 p.m., April 1, 2003 (#77) - MattB
"I guess when it came down to it, I decided that his pitching record in those days was indicative of someone who was the 3rd or 4th best pitcher in baseball for a period of 15 straight years or so."

But there are only 6 years where he is in the top 4 in wins, 1 year where he is in the top 4 in ERA, and 2 years where he is in the top 10 in ERA+. It looks to me that if you took out his best year (1884), his ERA+ wouldn't even break 100, and even in his best year, he was not as good as Radbourne (who won every 1884 category). And 1884 was diluted by the existence of 3 major leagues.

I see lots of wins and lots of losses. He's basically Bobby Mathews with longer seasons in which to rack up more wins and more losses. Why do I want him on my team rather than, say, Jim McCormick or Mickey Welch.

I would agree that he was "about average, give or take" for 15 years, but not one of the best.

Posted 3:41 p.m., April 1, 2003 (#78) - Mark McKinniss
I'll look into it some more tonight.

Posted 4:34 p.m., April 1, 2003 (#79) - Marc
Further point for consideration re. 1880s pitchers. Almost every single one of them had a career year in '84. The good ones went to work for the credible teams that year and all five HoFers except Clarkson (14 games) beat the hell out of the also-rans.

Keefe (37-17, ERA+ 138)
Galvin (46-22, 158)
Welch (39-21, 119)
Radbourn (59-12, 2.06).

Plus Corcoran (35 wins)
McCormick (mediocre in NL, then 21-3, 166 in UA)
Buffinton (48-16, 135)
Will White (34-18 but just 101 in AA)
Whitney (23-14, 138)
Hecker 52-20, 172

And then at least one of the guys not yet on the ballot:

Mullane 36-26, 135 in AA

Some of these guys had other big years or even a better year or two, but some never did. For a guy like Radbourn, take this season out of his record and he's somewhere between Wayne Garland and Jim Lonborg, maybe Spud Chandler but nowhere near Ed Reulbach. You gotta discount '84 pretty good.
   96. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 27, 2009 at 01:28 AM (#3061072)
Posted 6:17 p.m., April 1, 2003 (#80) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
Once the official balloting opens (this coming Monday) I'll post a new thread for 'final' ballots, which of course can be changed through the following Monday morning, when I'll lock down the thread and add up the votes. If someone posts something mid-week that changes someone's mind, there's no reason people can't change their ballot again. I prefer that to the alternative of everyone waiting until Sunday night to post their ballots and losing more discussion. Let me know if there's a better way to do it.

Andrew Seigel's post of 11:08 a.m. 4/1/03 is a great example of how to post and explain your final ballot.

Mark McKinnis: Catchers offense was putrid in the 19th Century, so the fact that Deacon was able to play the position for 39% of his career (when you weigh each season equally) allowed much better bats in the lineup for his teams. He spent another 32% of his career playing 3B, which was a key defensive position at the time.

I'm going to take a closer look at Galvin too. If he's Niekro or Sutton, I like his candidacy, if he's Frank Tanana, I don't. My guess is that like Kaat or Tommy John, he's somewhere in the middle and that makes it really close.

Marc: RE - Hardy Richardson games played, you posted that he only played 41 more G at 2B than OF, here's what his breakdown looks like when you weigh each season equally:

2B 42%, LF 23 %, 3B 17%, 14% CF, 1 % SS, 1% 1B, 1% RF, 1% C

So he played 59% of his career at 2B and 3B, and another 14% in CF, giving him 73% at 'skill positions' (2B is a borderline skill position, like 3B today).

Also Marc, no Joe Start? Saying Lip is the guy Joe wanted to be is a little harsh no? Joe was pretty darn good in his own merit -- I don't think he wanted to be anyone else . . . just look at what he did from age 33 on in the NL, it seems to me that it would impossible for anyone to be that good that late, especially in an era where young players dominated, if he wasn't superstar caliber in his 20s, I'll admit his NA years were nothing special, but back then 1B weren't using gloves, so it was actually a very important defensive position, that destroyed the hands for hitting purposes.

I'll be re-evaluating my ballot as well, I think Pike, McVey and Welch are going to have to be added somewhere.

Posted 6:20 p.m., April 1, 2003 (#81) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
One other thing on catching in the 19th Century, especially the 70s . . . no gloves. While catchers didn't crouch, they also didn't wear gloves until the late 80s I believe, so what catching does to the knees today, it did to the hands back then. Same for playing 1B, there weren't really ANY good offensive 1B in the NA, so while I discount Start somewhat during that period, I don't discount him nearly as much as others might.

Posted 6:21 p.m., April 1, 2003 (#82) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
One other thing, the part about what catching did the hands/knees, etc., was plaguerized from someone in this group, but I don't remember who. I didn't think of it myself, wanted to give as much credit as I can.

Posted 9:37 p.m., April 1, 2003 (#83) - dan b
1. Hines
2. Gore
3. Williamson. Joe you are wrong on the Williamson/Sutton debate. Your hyper-adjusted stats are leading the electorate down a path towards an egregiously errant selection. Should we choose to enshrine Sutton ahead of Williamson, our HoM will start with a flaw not unlike the HOF selection Tommy McCarthy. James cites an 1894 poll where 3 of 11 contemporary eyewitness experts select Williamson as the greatest PLAYER they ever saw. They aren’t merely suggesting that Williamson is better than Sutton, they are saying he was better than Anson, Brouthers, Connor, Ewing, White, etc. That is why James ranks Williamson so much higher than Sutton, not because he got lazy or is brainless (inferred by his disagreement with your “no brainer”) . In the original HBA, he cites a 1938 poll seeking to identify the greatest 3B ever – Williamson is listed as receiving consideration, Sutton is not. James also names Williamson to his 1880’s Gold Glove team. We all take our baseball history seriously and I am sure most of us have cherished the works of Bill James. His analytical tools are the building blocks we are working with. We accept as fact his theories on the defensive spectrum and shifts in the defensive spectrum. To reject his findings that may reflect a little subjectivity as lazy is wrong.
4. Richardson
5. Radbourne
6. O’Neill
7. White
8. Jones
9. Dalrymple
10. Bond
11. Dunlap
12. Galvin
13. Sutton
14. Welch
15. Robinson – because James puts him over 40 places above Barnes.

Posted 10:57 p.m., April 1, 2003 (#84) - Brian H
Dan B-
I rely on James (and worship at his alter etc.) as much as the next guy but I'm not sure he even considered NA achievments much in his ratings. We should recognize that as a limitation (for our HOM purposes) and not tacitly shaft the NA guys because James didn't include their achievments in his ratings. (This is evidenced by the fact that he never figured out Win Shares for the NA seasons)
That said I'd still take Williamson over Sutton.

By the way Dan B. who is your #15 "Robinson" ?

Posted 11:11 p.m., April 1, 2003 (#85) - DanG
I can't resist a couple obsevations about the consensus thus far.

I don't think I'm prejudicing anyone by stating the obvious, that Paul Hines and Deacon White are dominating most ballots. Seven others who have gained strong support are (alphabetically) Barnes, Gore, Radbourne, Richardson, Spalding, Sutton and Wright.

Ten others also have significant advocates for their election: Galvin, Jones, McCormick, McVey, O'Neill, Orr, Pike, Start, Welch and Williamson.

Half of those latter ten will quickly fade when the newcomers for the 1899 election hit the ballot (O'Rourke, Kelly, Keefe, Caruthers, H.Stovey, Bennett and Browning). I think things are shaping up wonderfully.

Posted 11:21 p.m., April 1, 2003 (#86) - Marc
That could only be William H. "Yank" Robinson to which I must say, huh? James has Yank as his #86 2B with 131 WS and a peak at 24-21-20/101. Didn't know he had Barnes at #126. Now it's true that his adjusted WS add up to 168-37-24-24 and 130, but yahoo. He played from 1982 to '92, mostly AA except 78 games in the NL and, oh yeah, 102 in the UA in '84, where he racked up an impressive OPS+ of 100. Yes, this man was an average offensive player in the UA.

And for his career, in fairness in career OPS+ is 101. And his FR is minus 124.

Let's be honest. I love Bill James and WS, too, but James as much as said he didn't give a d**n nor know a d**n about the 19th century. The proof is right here, Yank Robinson #86 and Fred Dunlap #89.

Dunlap career WS (unadjusted) 165 peak 38-17-17/100 and 27.7/162
Robinson career 131 peak 24-21-20/101 and 21.7/162

In 1884 both played in the UA: Dunlap OPS+ 213 Robinson 100. Get this, both men were 25 years old in '84.

After 1884 Robinson played about 850 games (career total 978) at OPS+ 101. After 1884 Dunlap played another 500 games (career total 965) at OPS+ 132. Dunlap's career FA was .924, Robinson's .883, Dunlap's fielding runs were farther above +100 than Robinson's were below -100.

But James wrote a long essay about the UA not qualifying as a major league (and he is of course right) and so goes out of his way to goose Dunlap. He seems not to have noticed that Robinson spent that season in that minor league and then the bulk of his career in the weaker of the two continuing leagues, and to have done so at a lower level than Dunlap.

I see that you have Dunlap on your ballot four slots ahead of Robinson. If you dig Bill James you'll follow his lead on Dunlap, not on Robinson.

And generally there can be no question that he totally dismisses the 1870s. If you do that across the board and not just to Barnes, how do you get Hines #1?

Posted 11:37 p.m., April 1, 2003 (#87) - Brian H
I'm not sure that James dismisses the 70's -- just the first half of the 70's (the NA).
Hines' best seasons are 78 & 79 when he was James' best player in Baseball. Without the 1st part of the '70's Barnes' career is essentially two years (including the one great season) that's why James ignores him in his rankings (he similarly ignores Spalding).

My understanding is that for us the NA years are open to consideration. And, to some extent, even the years preceding the 1870s can be considered. Unfortunately, I have found that the statistics from befoe the NA are virtually useless.

Posted 8:11 a.m., April 2, 2003 (#88) - TomH
new prelim ballot, posted again mostly because I'm actually inviting everyone's best shot at explaining why "you have ___ way too low (or high)!!", altho I think I'm settled on White’s and Barnes' placements.
1. Deacon White
2. George Wright
3. Paul Hines
4. Hardy Richardson
5. George Gore
6. Hoss Radbourn
7. Al Spalding
8. Ezra Sutton
9. Fred Dunlap
10. Jim McCormick
11. Ed Williamson
12. Ross Barnes
13. Joe Start
14. Cal McVey
15. P Galvin or H Wright or Ch Jones or L Pike
Regarding Sutton/Williamson, we do have to respect opinions of the 19th century guys subjective judgments as valid and important, yet fallible. It’s possible that 3 of 11 men would also vote for Pete Rose as the best player of the late 20th century, but that wouldn’t sway me. Still, if Ed’s high esteem at the time is reason to move Ed Williamson way up on the ballot, by no means is it cause to move Ezra down.
   97. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 27, 2009 at 01:28 AM (#3061073)
Posted 9:32 a.m., April 2, 2003 (#89) - MattB
Still very preliminary, but though I'd throw something out there to work from.

Since we are electing 4, I concentrated most on the top of the ballot, thinking who should be inducted first. Deacon White and Paul Hines seem to be the best overall candidates, and the only ones who I had on my "Top 15" before the years got changed, so they clearly got the Top 2 slots.

After that, I thought that at least one pitcher from the era should be represented, so, still unclear how to rank pitchers against position players, I put Radbourn -- my top pitcher -- third. Al Spalding, my #2 pitcher, therefore drops a few notches. For fourth place, I put my top "early" player. Barnes and Wright were about even, but Wright gets extra pre-NA points so squeeks by Barnes.

The rest of my Top 10, I did the same thing: 5-8 are four more "overall best candidates", and then 9 and 10 are my #2 "early guy" and #2 pitcher.

11-15 are the guys who are left who are not very well ranked at the moment.

1. Paul Hines
2. Deacon White
3. Charley Radbourn
4. George Wright
5. George Gore
6. Ezra Sutton
7. Ned Williamson
8. Tip O'Neill
9. Ross Barnes
10. Al Spalding
11. Hardy Richardson
12. Charley Jones
13. Joe Start
14. Cal McVey
15. Jim McCormick

Posted 10:55 a.m., April 2, 2003 (#90) - Philip
Here's my prelimanary ballot:

I separated my ballot into 3 groups: (1-4) clearly deserving HoMers, (5-9) players making a good case for the HoM, (10-15) players of which I’m not completely convinced.

1. Hines --- Highest peak (if not Barnes) and highest career value. Very good defense at key position
2. White --- Consistently very good offense at very demanding positions. Especially comparing his offense to an average catcher his value becomes apparent. Lack of peak leaves him behind Hines.
3. Gore --- Great 5 year peak, just behind Hines, though better defense at a key position
4. Barnes --- Game’s top all-round player for a 6 year period. That should do it.

5. Sutton --- Very good defense at tough defensive position. Good offense, high career value
6. Wright --- Great peak in NA at the most demanding position. Short career drops him below Sutton
7. Start --- Great career at an old age. Uncertainty about pre-NA years and thus no visible peak drop him slightly
8. Williamson --- Great glove, good offense for a 19th century 3B, though shorter career than Sutton
9. Richardson --- Long consistent career. Most playing time at 2B/LF less demanding defensive positions than those above him.

10. Radbourne --- Praised for 1 tremendous season. Other than that a very good, but not great career
11. McVey
12. Pike --- May well have been best player in baseball pre-NA.
13. Spalding --- I put him here mainly for his accomplishments with the bat
14. York
15. Jones --- Great peak, dropped a bit because of AA

Just off the ballot: Welch, Galvin, Dunlap, O’Neill, Dalrymple, Orr, Bond, McCormick

Posted 12:27 p.m., April 2, 2003 (#91) - Mark McKinniss
I've reviewed Pud Galvin's case...and I'm not any smarter. I can't figure these guys out. I like him, I think he matches up to a Gaylord Perry or something, but I don't know how to judge the early pitchers, and neither does anyone else.

I don't think that the pitchers are worthless however, but with only 1 or 2 pitchers in the rotation, it's hard to prove. I will say that Galvin did significantly better than his teams did without him pitching over the course of his career.

So, I still want a pitcher up there towards the top, and might end up switching Galvin and Radbourn. I don't think the answer with the pitching scene being so strange is to ignore them completely.

One more comment on White: I'm not convinced that early teams understood the concept of defensive spectrums and replacement values. As such, I still have a hard time giving White extra credit for catching, when more often than not his team would fail to fill in the spot that he would be otherwise vacating with anyone worth a damn. I know it's all theoretical, but the philosophies of today don't always map to 130 years ago.

Posted 3:35 p.m., April 2, 2003 (#92) - MattB
"I've reviewed Pud Galvin's case...and I'm not any smarter. I can't figure these guys out. I like him, I think he matches up to a Gaylord Perry or something, but I don't know how to judge the early pitchers, and neither does anyone else."

I don't think it was the comparison to Gaylord Perry that we were questioning. It was the comparison to his contemporaries. The issue is, given Galvin, Radbourn, Spalding, McCormick, Welch, and Mathews, rank them 1 to 6. Many of us have some combination of Radbourn, Spalding, McCormick, and Welch as 1 through 4.

Those names in that ordering are by no means set in stone. But given that general preference, we were curious how your rankings had Galvin jumping to the top. You explained why you thought Galvin was qualified, but the question is what makes him more qualified than the other eligible pitchers?

Posted 4:28 p.m., April 2, 2003 (#93) - KJOK (e-mail)
Just to clarify for Deacon White, he played 7,243 NL Innings at 3B. He played 3,756 NL an NA innings combined at C. I understand trying to adjust for some of the shorter NA seasons, but I think it's giving a false picture of Deacon White being a Catcher when most of his actual playing time was as a 3rd baseman...

Posted 4:39 p.m., April 2, 2003 (#94) - KJOK (e-mail)
George Gore Comments.
There seems to be a lot of support for Hines, when Gore may actually be the better player.

They were basically contemporaries. Although Hines did play longer on both ends of his career, Gore actually had MORE playing time in the middle of career seasons when they both played, a fact that is somewhat skewed by the "short-season" adjustments.

Just some facts to consider:

1. Gore has an EQA of .315 vs. .304 for Hines.
2. Gore has an adjusted OPS of 136 vs. 130 for Hines.
3. Gore has a "HOF Standard Score" of 31 vs. 28 for Hines.
4. Gore has a "HOF Monitor Score" of 55 vs. 50 for Hines.
5. Peak 5 year Win Shares (NA not incl) - Gore -111, Hines - 98
6. Win Shares Per Year (NA not incl) - Gore - 30.9, Hines - 27.2
7. Bill James Ranking - Gore- 40, Hines - 53
8. Def Wins Share/1000 Innings - Gore 4.4, Hines - 3.4

Hines may be a worthy candidate, but Gore should be right up there with him...

Posted 5:02 p.m., April 2, 2003 (#95) - KJOK (e-mail)
Also, to pile back on the Williamson vs. Sutton debate, Baseball Prospectus rates Williamson's 3B defense as 124 (24% above average), which is the highest rating I can find for any 3B (incl Brooks Robinson, Schmidt, etc.) except for Joe Battin, an 1870's guy who played less than half the innings at 3B that Williamson did. Win Shares rates his defense at 5.5/1000 innings, which would be only behind Lave Cross, Jimmy Collins, Tommy Leach & Art Devlin (all of whom fall considerably behind Williamson in the BP system). So, the evidence points to Williamson being equiv. to Ozzie Smith and Bill Mazeroski on defense at his position...

Posted 9:38 p.m., April 2, 2003 (#96) - Brian H
KJOK et al :
The difference between Gore and Hines seems to be that Gore's NL career is worth more but Hines has a NA career that we must account for. Also, Hines had at least 2 seasons when he was (omitting Pitchers) the BEST player Gore may have had one (this is from James).
Yet again the issue is how we treat NA achievments which are harder to evaluate versus NL (or at least post NL achiebments).

With Deacon White this is also a problem. Many of his Catching points are derived from his NA sesons which were shorter. In fact as pointed out above he really played alot more 3B than Catcher (this is why James, who ignores the NA, ranks him as a 3B).

How do we want to evaluate NA acheivments as opposed to post 1876 achievements ?
If we accept James as gospell -- generally not the worst idea but here rather dangerous -- we tacitly ignore the NA because he did.

Posted 9:53 p.m., April 2, 2003 (#97) - dan b
To follow up on my preliminary ballot posted last night, the inclusion of Yank Robinson was intended as a tongue in cheek reminder to all voters holding a high view of Ross Barnes that Bill James refused to put him in his list of the top 125 2B. Yank won’t be on my final ballot. My view on the matter would be that when you accept his exclusion of all NA accomplishments, James makes a valid point to not recognize Barnes on the basis of one great season (of just 66 games) in what would be the weakest year ever over the context of 125 years of baseball. But I also recognize that our context is much different. We are dealing with just 17 years of evolving major league baseball plus the 5 years of the NA. We are choosing from short careers played over short seasons. The best players were all still active in 1893, and therefore ineligible for our first ballot. As poor a choice as I think Barnes would be, it will be difficult to find fifteen players to place ahead of him on our opening ballot.

Do I have to list 15?
   98. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 27, 2009 at 01:29 AM (#3061074)
Posted 10:39 p.m., April 2, 2003 (#98) - Mark McKinniss
You explained why you thought Galvin was qualified, but the question is what makes him more qualified than the other eligible pitchers?

It really comes down to longetivity.

Things start to get a little circular when you're looking at an 8 team league with no more than 1-2 pitchers getting the lion's share of innings, but what we have is ERA, and innings.

Things we know:
-pitchers generally pitch short spectacular careers in this era. Many innings, and then blow up.
-"2nd string" pitchers were generally considerably worse than 1st stringers.

Which means that just showing up was worth something. All the pitchers you named aren't within 100 games or 1000 innings of Galvin. Radbourn is the leader on many ballots: His career was 3/4 as long as Galvin's. Radbourn's ERA+ was 120, Galvin's was 108. For Radbourn to have an ERA+ of 108, he would have had to give up 149 more runs. Let's assume that's worth about 15 wins over 11 seasons. Fine. But then Galvin gives you three more full seasons in which to make up those 15 wins. It's a little more complicated, obviously, but 1500 innings difference is huge.

Galvin v. Spalding. Spalding played 1/2 as long as Galvin. He saved about 217 runs over his career, but then gave up 3000+ innings to Galvin. Plus, with Spalding, he played for the dominant ballclub in a noncompetitive era. What's more likely: That he was really an .800 level pitcher, or that he pitched often enough against the New Havens and the Middletowns of the NA to make him seem that way?

The other pitchers, it's a story where the career ERA+ is in the same ballpark, but the innings are at least 1000 fewer than Galvin.

Posted 11:47 p.m., April 2, 2003 (#99) - DanG
Revisiting the controversy over Ross Barnes. Perhaps no other player on the first ballot will garner as wide a variance in support. Many see him as a top five candidate, a deserving HoMer. Others see him as barely deserving of a vote, either due to his brief career or the slam from Bill James.

I used to be persuaded by James' idea that Barnes was nothing more than a "one trick pony", learning to take advantage of a rule that is not "baseball as we know it". Two things persuade me otherwise: 1) There is every indication that Barnes was a superior fielder. Total Baseball has him first or second in the league in fielding runs every year of the NA. 2) He was one of the league's top sluggers, leading the league in extra base hits three times, and finishing runnerup in another year.

The evidence also indicates that it was injuries, not any rules change, that led to his shortened career. Maybe think of a comparison to Alex Rodriguez. If injuries had ended ARod's career after last season, would you think of him as deserving (forget the 10-year rule) to be in the Hall? Or if Barry Bonds was done after the 1993 season? I think that's about how dominant Barnes was in his time.

Bill James dismisses the first generation of major league stars, saying "I regard the entire generation as suspect, and I will only rate the legitimate stars among them". He considers the 1870s to be strictly minor league baseball. There's two problems with that, mentioned here before, IIRC: 1) This was the highest level the game was played at the time (unlike Buzz Arlett's competition in a later era). Can we penalize a great player for being born too soon to play in the "real majors"? 2) Many young stars of the NA remained stars as the game developed through the 70s and into the 1880's. They could still compete as the game became "major".

The bottom line, while James' arguments may be full of holes, I think Barnes' career was just a little too brief to be a top five candidate in 1898.

Posted 12:01 a.m., April 3, 2003 (#100) - jimd
I would like to point out that in this era of 1-3 man pitching staffs how well a pitcher hits is important because of the large variance in this ability. Here are some stats from 1883:

ER..IP..ERA
070 342 1.84 McCormick
144 632 2.05 Radbourn
128 514 2.24 Whitney

All are pitching in pretty close to neutral parks. Which pitcher do you take? McCormick has the better ERA but Radbourn pitched almost twice as many innings. I take Whitney because of the following info. McCormick created 10 runs, or .26 per game. Radbourn created 41 runs or .58 per game. Whitney created 57 runs, or 1.00 per game. Subtracting these numbers from their ERA's yield the following:

ERA-RC/G
1.58 McCormick
1.47 Radbourn
1.24 Whitney

Whitney has the best combined yield of offense and run-prevention, cancelling out all of the extra runs given up and more due to his heavy bat. This is particularly true if you're somewhat skeptical of the value of pitching vis-a-vis fielding during this era. I know this complicates the evaluations, but there it is.

Posted 6:36 a.m., April 3, 2003 (#101) - Philip
That's interesting. Have you done the same for other pitchers. I am particularly interested in Spalding.

Dan b, the constitution states that you don't need to list 15 players on your ballot.

Posted 9:20 a.m., April 3, 2003 (#102) - ed
"(Barnes) was one of the league's top sluggers, leading the league in extra base hits three times, and finishing runnerup in another year."

Barnes might lead the league in slugging because his batting average was so high, not because he was a power slugger. If you really want to see if he has power or not you should compare his isolated slugging average to his peers.

Posted 9:43 a.m., April 3, 2003 (#103) - Mark McKinniss
ed, I don't know what Barnes' isolated power was, but he led the league in extra base hits three times.

Posted 11:03 a.m., April 3, 2003 (#104) - Howie Menckel
1898 ballot

1. Paul Hines - I agree with those who say Gore is very close, but in part I want a true pioneer of pro baseball in the No. 1 slot.
2. Deacon White - His peers' admiration gives him a final boost that also includes great stats and the catching bonus.
3. George Gore - I'd be annoyed if he didn't also make the first cut. Great all-around player.
4. Ross Barnes - Sandy Koufax-type batter stats, and we know Sandy's going in 75 years from now. Ignore Bill James's doubts.
5. Joe Start - The first "damn good seemingly forever" player, and there's a lot of Merit to that.
6. George Wright - Hard to measure the numbers, but one of the first legends of the game.
7. Ezra Sutton - Closer than Senor DiMino thinks, but ultimately he goes ahead of Williamson.
8. Ned Williamson - Not Better than Ezra (pun alert), but right up there.
9. Hardy Richardson - All due props to career length and consistency, but doesn't excite me as a clear HOM player.
10. Old Hoss Radbourn - Would like to have a pitcher higher, but these don't deserve it. Throw one Hoss season out, and no way he gets a vote. Can't say that of candidates listed much higher.
11. Pud Galvin - Peak's not much, but I think unique careers are worthy of consideration, and this one was at the time.
12. Charley Jones - Quite the NL/AA slugger, but doubt he'll never make my top 15 again.
13. Lip Pike - Better an early superstar than an 1880s star who we're more sure doesn't belong.
14. Albert Spalding - Maybe I'm harsh, but the stats do show he beat up weak competition.
15. Mickey Welch - It's 1898, and I already know that some nearly-retired SPs were better.
   99. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 27, 2009 at 01:29 AM (#3061075)
Posted 11:45 a.m., April 3, 2003 (#105) - Rick A.
Joe,

Just a question on the posting of ballots. As I understand it, we should post on a thread at BBPrimer rather than on the yahoo list. This may not be something to worry about, but anyone with a web browser can come here and place a ballot. Not that I think there is a really huge crowd of people looking to join all of a sudden, but I'd rather not have my ballot devalued because some people decided on the spur of the moment to place a vote.

Is there any way to check that someone voting here is actually registered to vote? I'd personally rather vote here than on yahoo. I come to BaseballPrimer almost every day, and almost never go to yahoo.

I suppose we can all include our e-mail addresses and you can cross-reference that with the yahoo list.

Posted 12:35 p.m., April 3, 2003 (#106) - Howie Menckel
Hey, Rick, I registered at least three months ago, if that's what you mean ;)

But I see the point....

Posted 6:19 p.m., April 3, 2003 (#107) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
Not a lot of time right now guys . . . but let me address a few things quick:

"Dan b, the constitution states that you don't need to list 15 players on your ballot."

I have to look, but the Constitution isn't supposed to say that. You have to list 15 and it has to be legit (you can't list Charlie Comiskey #5 so other relevant guys don't get points). Let's say I really want my 4 in. Why not just list 4, then no one close gets any other points. I hope everyone understands this.

I hadn't thought about the registering thing . . .

I'm open to ideas, but as long as someone comes in with a well reasoned ballot (remember, we have to explain it too, can't just list 1-15), I don't suppose it would hurt anything. I don't want people to have to post their emails here if they don't want to either.

If anyone has an idea for how to work this aspect better, let me know.

Posted 11:47 a.m., April 4, 2003 (#108) - Rick A.
Joe,

Like I said, I may be worrying for nothing. If people have to explain their ballot and not just list 1-15, that may take care of it. I really don't care if someone is registered to vote or not. I just wanted to make sure that people who vote have thought through their ballot and didn't just throw 15 names together.

Posted 10:25 a.m., April 7, 2003 (#109) - TomH
peak vs. career, re: Al Spalding...
I'm mostly a career value guy, without large distinctions for the reasons for a short career. In other words, an injury at age 30 = poor play at age 30 = quitting at age 30, under the logic that the man who did not play had no value. However, in the 1870s, I may bend this for guys who walked away from the game near their peak (like Spalding), inferring that they would NOT have quit while still playing well if they had been at most times and places in MLB history - most guys today, making $3M a year, don't tend to up and quit at 30. But in an era when it was normal to play baseball in your early 20s and then settle down and have a real life, I'm thinking of giving more than my usual does of zilcho credit to those who could have been effective if they had played longer, but chose not to. Any other thoughts here, and guys to whom this may or may not apply?

Posted 12:16 p.m., April 7, 2003 (#110) - Gotsta Know
To whom ever generated this list:
76 N -.013
77 N -.014
78 N -.005
79 N -.004
80 N .002
81 N .000 - I referenced all to 1881 NL
82 N .002 AA -.037
83 N -.003 AA -.027
84 N -.008 AA -.026 U -.065
85 N -.007 AA -.015
86 N -.009 AA -.008
87 N -.001 AA -.007
88 N -.002 AA -.009
89 N .004 AA -.005
90 N -.005 AA -.036 P .001
91 N .009 AA -.024
92 N .010
93 N .011
94 N .011
95 N .010
96 N .012
97 N .015
98 N .020
99 N .021
Am I correctly interpreting this to mean that the NL was 2.1% stronger in 1899 than it was in 1881 and that in 1887, the NL was 0.6% (.999/.993=1.006) stronger than the AA?

Posted 1:02 p.m., April 7, 2003 (#111) - TomH
I didn't post this, but I'm pretty sure it is taken from The Hidden Game by Pete Palmer. It casts the relative league strength in terms of batting average, so that a .300 hitter in 1897 is of the same quality as a .294 hitter in 1899 (.300+.015-.021), assuming their other markers (walks, TB, etc) are equal.

Posted 3:12 p.m., April 7, 2003 (#112) - jimd
Interesting perspective by TomH on career vs. peak.

A couple of points on Spalding: I've been reading a biography of him published around 15-20 years ago. According to that, by 1874 he was the highest paid player on Boston's "All-Star" team (including Barnes, Wright, O'Rourke, White, McVey). When he jumped to Chicago in 1876, he got a share of the gate receipts as part of the deal. He also wound up with a piece of the team (no details given, unfortunately). He became the front-office (club secretary; team management was much less complex back then) when he stepped down as player/field manager in 1877. He made much more money cashing in on his fame than he did actually playing baseball. (baseball book publishing, and
Spalding Sporting Goods, still an active company today). When Hulbert died in 1882, Spalding and a silent partner bought the Chicago team, Spalding becoming team president. (More echoes of Michael Jordan, who bounced a few Spalding balls in his day.) It's still in our "future", but he will head the commission that will promote the Doubleday myth, ultimately resulting in the location of the HOF.

The Wright brothers also founded a sporting goods business during the NA days (Spalding's inspiration in fact). George Wright walked away from the NL during a reserve rule holdout to attend to their business. It also appears that Cal McVey walked away, refusing to play for less than he thought he was worth, though I have no idea what he had going on the side. (The reserve rule was not well received by the stars after the 1879 season; Deacon White held out for half the following season before coming back.)

Posted 4:36 p.m., April 7, 2003 (#113) - Marc
Excellent discussion. I don't like penalizing these guys for doing what most people who had their intelligence and their options would have done.

Great analogy (I think). During WW2, basketball was revolutionized by really TALL players. Everybody knows George Mikan (6-10) because he happened to choose to go play pro ball in the NBL and then the NBA. Nobody today knows Bob Kurland (7 feet) who went to work for the Phillips Petroleum Company and played for the Phillips 76ers "amateur" team in the National Industrial Basketball League (and as a result, later won two Olympic golds). Kurland probably made almost as much money as Mikan as an employee of Phillips and had a job that he could keep at until he was 55 years old rather than be forced to retire at 30-35. It was an economically superior opportunity at that time. But because of the choices they made, one is well remembered, the other pretty much forgotten.

That doesn't change the fact that Kurland was a better player. His team, Oklahoma A&M;(now State) won the NCAA title both his junior and senior years. In their senior years, Mikan's DePaul team declined to play in the NCAA in favor of the then more-prestigous NIT, which DePaul won. In the NCAA-NIT playoff game, Oklahoma State easily beat DePaul and Kurland dominated Mikan, in fact fouling Mikan out in less than 20 minutes.

Spalding was pretty much Bob Kurland, a giant of his time. That he made a more economically attractive choice than playing baseball after 1876 does not negate his ability or achievements.

Posted 8:51 a.m., April 8, 2003 (#114) - TomH
George Wright over George Gore!!

Who would you rather have on your team, a gold glove shortstop who hits .294, or a decent outfielder who hits .315? These are Wright's and Gore's EqAs from Baseball Prospectus.

Career length? Gore played full time until he was 34, Wright until age 32. Wright has no "numbers" from the pre-1871 years. Even being a 'career-value' guy, I can't see any way 2 extra years makes up for the diff in quality. Wright should clearly go in first in my mind.

Posted 9:22 a.m., April 8, 2003 (#115) - Andrew Siegel (e-mail)
Tom--

I think Gore and Wright are close, though I prefer Gore by a few slots.

BUT you have to be fair to Gore -- he wasn't a "decent OF"; he was a gold glove CF (the most defensive WS of any outfielder on the ballot.

Defense helps Wright vs. Gore, but not much.

Posted 9:49 a.m., April 8, 2003 (#116) - TomH
hmmmm... it seems as though 2 systems give 2 very different answers.
The BP player cards show Gore as a below-average OFer (fielding runs above average of -41 for his career), worse than Hines, far worse than Hardy Richardson during his play in the OF. I'm not sure this is the "right" answer, but I've compromised and set Gore's defensive contirbutions in my mind as slightly-above-average. Adding in the position difference bewteen SS and OF makes me choose Wright. I'll check to make sure I'm not using a butterfly ballot and voting for Gore (who invented the internet and the curve ball) by mistake :)

Posted 10:08 a.m., April 8, 2003 (#117) - Andrew Siegel (e-mail)
Wow. If BP is right and Gore's defense goes from superior to subpar, he drops below a bunch of guys, not just Wright. The frustrations of grading players 130 years after the fact.

Posted 11:00 a.m., April 8, 2003 (#118) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
I'm very wary of the Prospectus defensive data as we go further back in time, replacement level is very low, and I have no idea how they adjust for things like staff composition, etc. With sketchy data, I'm more willing to tie myself to a system that ties itself to wins, because wins are a constant. I'm sure many of the assumptions associated with other systems don't compensate for the conditions of the time, such as the changing defensive spectrum, etc.
   100. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 27, 2009 at 01:30 AM (#3061077)
Posted 11:56 a.m., April 8, 2003 (#119) - TomH (e-mail)
I'm wary of ANY defensive data in 1880, but Prospectus seems to me to be as good as any "system", inclduing Win Shares. It actually gives more credit to defense (splitting the hits per balls in play at 70def/30pitch, instead of 50/50 as James does). You got me on defensive spectrum allowances, but for OFers this isn't a big deal, is it?

Posted 12:45 p.m., April 8, 2003 (#120) - Mark McKinniss
Just throwing this out there:

Given that the name of the almighty be-all end-all number from Prospectus is Wins Above Replacement Player, does anyone know that it's not tied to wins?

Posted 12:51 p.m., April 8, 2003 (#121) - MattB
These appear to be the major candidates for consideration for adding to the 1899 ballot (aside from players who were eligible in 1898, but didn't make your top 15.)

Charlie Bennett
Bob Caruthers
Tim Keefe
King Kelly
Harry Larkin
Jocko Milligan
Harry Stovey
Cub Stricker
Curt Welch
Sam Wise

Please let me know if I missed someone who was eligible. Since there is now not a lot of time between ballots, I do not want to be starting to compare players at the end of next week.

Posted 2:25 p.m., April 8, 2003 (#122) - Mark McKinniss
Still no clutch hit about the ballot, or other high profile recruiting/marketing effort. Tabulating 6 ballots won't be too enlightening.

Would that I could, and just 5 days of voting left.

Posted 2:51 p.m., April 8, 2003 (#123) - robc
mattb-
Pete Browning had only 3 games in 1894. Doesnt that make him
1899 eligible? 1893 as last non-token year?

Posted 7:55 p.m., April 8, 2003 (#124) - Marc
Matt and Rob, right on every count. Browning in '99. Where did the list come from? Can you enlighten us further re. other 1900 and '01 eligibles? We received a list long ago starting in '06 but I have not seen a list of priors.

Posted 10:55 p.m., April 8, 2003 (#125) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
Here you go Mark . . . sorry for the delay.

Posted 11:38 p.m., April 8, 2003 (#126) - Marc
Heck, Joe, that's just a three hour delay...no apology needed, really!

Posted 11:50 p.m., April 8, 2003 (#127) - DanG (e-mail)
BB-Ref now gives you a list of every player who played his final game each season. The above link will take you to the 1893 retirees. Of course, you still have to do a little research to find guys like Browning and Jim O'Rourke, who are also eligible in 1899, though they played their final game later on.

Posted 12:16 a.m., April 9, 2003 (#128) - DanG
Another strong crop enters the ballot in 1900 with John Clarkson, John Ward and Tony Mullane leading the way.

The 1901 newcomers are less stellar, led by Jack Glasscock, Oyster Burns and Dave Foutz.

Posted 9:01 a.m., April 9, 2003 (#129) - MattB
Yeah, I completely missed Jim O'Rourke. He should definitely be eligible.

I just ran through the "Last Year Played" column of b-r.

With four inductees in 1898, I was curious whether I would be including four of the new eligibles on my ballot, or if number 16 on my list would get a chance to move up.

Pete Browning, Jim O'Rourke, King Kelly, and Tim Keefe look like definite Top 15ers. Charlie Bennett and Harry Stovey, too, actually, although at first glance they'd be down-ballot.

With 6 new names to intersperse somehow (give or take one or two), it looks like about of my Top 15 will be bumped off (assuming that all of the first inductees were somewhere on my ballot, which seems fairly likely). That means striking at least Pud Galvin and Charley Jones, which I am okay with. Right now, I can't think of a seventh person who would bump off my #13 candidate (Tip O'Neill). If a seventh comes along, I'd probably leave O'Neill on and drop the next higher pitcher (Jim McCormick), leaving the pitching/hitting ratio intact.

Posted 12:06 p.m., April 9, 2003 (#130) - thomas tillman (e-mail)
After reading the Ezra Sutton Ned Williamson debate here, I thought I would add a couple thoughts to the pot. I leave the big decisions as to who is the greatest up to the Baseball Gods.
Did you know that Ned led professional baseball in total homers with 27 from 1884 until 1919 when when Ruth clocked 29. Ned got a great break from his home park rules however. In 1883, if a player hit a ball over the fence, it was a ground rule double. He hit a career high 49 2b's that year and only 2 homers. But in '84, the rule was changed so that a ball over the fence was a homer. I believe that was common in baseball for the most part, but the fences in his Chicago park were considered short by other park standards. So he went an hit 27 homers (25 at home) and dipped to 18 2b's in '84. Maybe because he hit balls way over that fence frequently, he was seen as a real slugger I don't know, but his OBP and Slg are both higher than Ezras. Ned at .332 tgo Ezra's. 315 and Ned at. 384 to Ezra's.381. Big Ned as I've come to call him on my oldtimers fantasy team, also has quite a bit more 2bs, runs scored, rbi's ,TB;s, and SB's(? stat)in just 300 more abs that Sutton. But if you look at his Assists, PO's, DP's and Fldg % where he led the NL may times, then you look & see only a couple times in which Ezra led the NL, I would guess that is where Williamson's reputation is based. He was on an All-Star tour in Europe in the off-season of 1888, when in Paris slid on an infield of crushed cinders and tore open his knee. He played two more years, but it is apparent he was not the same old Ned. Enjoyed the debate of the late 1800's. Keep it gong.
Thomcat

Posted 10:39 p.m., April 9, 2003 (#131) - Marc
We will now be selecting 20 (or maybe it's 19) players by 1906. Let's just say for the sake of argument that these might have been the top 20 players who were on the previous 1906 ballot when we were going to start in 1906.

Roger Connor Dan Brouthers Cap Anson Jim O'Rourke John Clarkson King Kelly Deacon White Buck Ewing Amos Rusie Paul Hines Jack Glasscock John Ward Tim Keefe Hoss Radbourne George Gore Sam Thompson Bid McPhee Ross Barnes Al Spalding

If it plays out this way, then only the first four (in 1898) and two others from the 1898 ballot will make it by then. How many will make it after 1906? The newly eligible list after 1906 is frankly a little weak but our number of electeds drops mostly to one per year: 1907 Hamilton, 1908 Childs (holdover from 1906) or Jennings, 1909 Delahanty, 1910 open unless McGraw (I doubt it), 1911 Nichols and maybe Burkett, 1912 open unless Clark Griffith (no), 1913 Beckley (no), 1914 J. Collins, 1915 G. Davis, Dahlen, 1916 Flick, Joss, Keeler, Waddell?, 1917 Cy Young, 1918 open, 1919 Chance?, 1920 open, 1921 open, 1922 3 Brown, Lajoie, Mathewson, 1924 Crawford, Wagner, Walsh...now it's over for the early guys.

So, anyway, the 1898 guys will mostly have to wait until 1912-13-18 but will get chances then. Overall, however, I doubt that more than 9-10 of our 1898 ballot will get in. Even electing 4 in '98, some guys in the 1898 top 15 will never again make the top 15.
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