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Hall of Merit
— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

1898 Results - Deacon White, Paul Hines, George Gore and Ross Barnes Elected to the Hall of Merit

The Class of 1898 is . . .

Deacon White, Paul Hines, George Gore and Ross Barnes. All are alive in January 1898 and expected to be in at the induction ceremony this August.

The Hall of Merit game between the Cleveland Spiders and Louisville Colonels should be entertaining as well. Louisville has a 24 OF-2B named Wagner that looks like he might turn out okay and Cleveland features Cy Young, who won his 200th game last year.

Here is the full balloting, let’s hope the formatting comes out well smallest text on your browser will help . . .

    Player       Pts Bal     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15
1.  D.White      657  29    13 10  2  2     1  1
2.  P.Hines      654  29    11 13  2     2  1
3.  G.Gore       553  29     1  1 10  6  3  3  3  1  1
4.  R.Barnes     476  28     3     2  6  6  1  2  5  1     1     1
5.  C.Radbourn   427  28     1  1  3  3  3  3  3     1  8  1           1
6.  G.Wright     420  25        2  2  5  4  4  3  3        2
7.  E.Sutton     380  27           1  2  4  6  4  2  1  3  1  1  2
8.  H.Richardson 366  28           1  2  2  4  2  3  5  2  2  2  2  1
9.  A.Spalding   339  25        1  2  1  2  2  3  2  1  5  3  1  1  1
10. E.Williamson 328  28           1     1  2  1  4  8  2  3  3     1  2
11. J.Start      297  24           2     1     4  6  1  2  3  2  1  1  1
12. P.Galvin     209  21           1  1        1     2  1  3  3     6  3
13. C.McVey      198  19        1        1     1  1     2  3  2  7     1
14. T.O'Neill    132  13              1     1  1     2     1     2  2  3
15. L.Pike       123  14.5                  1              2  3  3  4  1.5
16. C.Jones       96  11                             2     1  3  1  3  1
17. M.Welch       95  11.17                       1  1     1  1  3  2  1.17
18. F.Dunlap      87  10                                   2  5  1  2
19. J.McCormick   70   7.17                          2  2     1  1     1.17
20. D.Orr         49   6                                      2  3  1
21. A.Dalrymple   31   4                                1           2  1
22. J.Whitney     24   2                          1     1
23. T.York        22   3                                         1  2
24. T.Bond        21   3.5                                             3.5
25. H.Wright      16   1.67                          1                  .67
26. J.Creighton   12   2                                               2
27. L.Meyerle      7   1.17                                            1.17
28. B.Mathews      7   1                                            1
29. J.Clapp        6   1                                               1
30. H.Nichol       6   1                                               1
31. D.Pearce       6   1                                               1
32. B.Sunday       4    .67                                             .67
33. C.Cummings     1    .17                                             .17
Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: April 15, 2003 at 02:18 AM | 43 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. MattB Posted: April 15, 2003 at 02:43 AM (#511977)
Hey!

Good work us (even though only 2 of my Top 4 made it).

Let's do it again.
   2. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 15, 2003 at 04:52 AM (#511979)
holy smokes... Hines beat Gore by a whooping 101 points! I didn't know that there was that big of a gap between them...

Were you including Hines' NA numbers?
   3. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 15, 2003 at 04:55 AM (#511980)
Good work us (even though only 2 of my Top 4 made it).

I agree (even though only one of my top four made it), too. All four deserve it.
   4. DanG Posted: April 15, 2003 at 06:23 AM (#511981)
About that Hall of Merit game between Louisville and Cleveland: could someone use a simulation and actually play that game? It would add a small historic footing to our endeavors here.

Ya know, Louisville had their own ace at that time, Bert Cunningham. They were a team on the rise, with Wagner and a young Fred Clarke. Sounds like a good game.
   5. Sean Gilman Posted: April 15, 2003 at 06:32 AM (#511982)
Here's a sim of the 98 Colonels and Spiders from whatifsports.com:

http://www.whatifsports.com/mlb/boxscore.asp?GameID=7887156&ad=1
   6. Brian H Posted: April 15, 2003 at 06:38 AM (#511983)
About the Sim -- I just don't see Cy Young coming out in the 6th. I the Managers were imported from the 21st Century.
Congrats to the First Four !
   7. sean gilman Posted: April 15, 2003 at 06:57 AM (#511984)
7th inning, bases loaded with one out, trailing 1-0. I think I might pinch-hit for the pitcher, but if my bullpen was as bad as Cleveland's performed in this game, I might leave him in. Basically: I dunno.
   8. MattB Posted: April 15, 2003 at 11:10 AM (#511985)
I think that, for the next ballot, almost as important as slotting the news guys in determining who should be moved around among the old guys.

So, in that vein . . .

Among the 29 names listed above (i.e., excluding the Top 4, who are now beyond debate), name the one person you think was most severely overvalued by the electorate and the one person you think was most severely undervalued.

My "most undervalued" in Joe Start, who, the more I look at, the more I think could be closer to a real HOMer than I had been thinking before my last ballot. I will be moving him up.

The "most overvalued" I think was Radbourn, which is odd because I actually had him in my Top 4 last time. But with new pitchers coming on the the ballot, I have to start comparing him to more of his peers. Radbourn should not be in my Top 5 for the next ballot.
   9. Marc Posted: April 15, 2003 at 03:04 PM (#511989)
Overvalued--Ezra Sutton among the contenders, Pud Galvin among the non-contenders.

Under--Al Spalding among the contenders, Cal McVey among those who (alas) do not appear to be contenders.

Having peeked ahead at the upcoming eligibles (all the way to 1920) I see us electing another 7 players who were eligible on this ballot. Based on '98 those would be:Radbourn, Wright, Sutton, Richardson, Williamson, Spalding and Start. I'd choose McVey and Pike over Sutton and Start. Compare Pike to Start, everybody.
   10. RobC Posted: April 15, 2003 at 03:16 PM (#511990)
Below is my first cut at an 1899 ballot. Comment free for now. I put where I voted them in 1898 in paranthesis. * indicates I voted them in a HOM qualifying position sometime in the past. You may notice some changes from my last ballot. I have downgraded O'Neill and a few guys switched order. Not surviving from my previous ballot are McCormick (13) and Meyerle (15). I didnt give Browning any hometown advantage, but if/when he gets elected to the HOM, I will take a bottle of bourbon to his gravesite and celebrate it.

1. Jim O'Rourke (-)
2. Hardy Richardson (3*)
3. Charlie Bennett (-)
4. Pud Galvin (4*)
5. King Kelly (-)
6. Harry Stovey (-)
7. George Wright (5)
8. Ezra Sutton (6)
9. Old Hoss Radbourn (10)
10. Fred Dunlap (12)
11. Pete Browning (-)
12. Ned Williamson (11)
13. Tom York (14)
14. Tim Keefe (-)
15. Tip O'Neill (9)
   11. RobC Posted: April 15, 2003 at 03:18 PM (#511991)
Above was supposed to be in the New Eligibles discussion, not here.
   12. MattB Posted: April 15, 2003 at 07:36 PM (#511994)
I'm with Mark and Gregg. Ties are ducking the issues. We are here to rank.
   13. Marc Posted: April 15, 2003 at 07:49 PM (#511995)
Re. ties for 15th, I for one would rather see Candy Cummings get a mention than not and if a tie for 15th is the only way, and Joe's spreadsheet can handle it, make it so.
   14. Carl Goetz Posted: April 15, 2003 at 08:17 PM (#511996)
I agree with 86-ing the ties. We're here to make decisions on who the best 15 eligible players are and where the rank against each other. No one said they would be easy decisions, but they are necessary decisions. If we allow ties for 15th, people will start wanting to have ties for 4th, or 8th or even 1st. I say, rank them 1-15 and be done with it. If you want to add an honorable mention, go ahead, but it shouldn't be worth any points.
   15. Sean Gilman Posted: April 15, 2003 at 08:55 PM (#511999)
Thanks. But the credit for the sim has to go to WhatifSports.com. The best non-real baseball game there is. I've spent more money than I care to remember there over the last 2 years. Highly recommended.
   16. Carl Goetz Posted: April 15, 2003 at 09:20 PM (#512000)
I guess if Joe doesn't care and its only for 15th place, then I don't care either.
   17. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: April 16, 2003 at 03:30 PM (#512003)
Speaking of counts, and re-counts, it wouldn't be a bad idea to have backup counters picked ahead of time, so we don't have to go through the confusion that we had on Monday. If Joe can make a list of everyone who's willing to help (and you can put me on it), then he can rotate through people. It can also be easier if people know they're counting ahead of time and can do it as the voting goes along.

Sound like a good idea? Or am I just solving a problem that doesn't exist?
   18. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 16, 2003 at 04:15 PM (#512004)
I'll volunteer as a re-counter.
   19. Marc Posted: April 16, 2003 at 07:48 PM (#512006)
I wasn't aware of a debacle, unless the numbers above are not accurate.
   20. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 16, 2003 at 08:29 PM (#512008)
Perhaps "debacle" overstates it, but I volunteered to cross-check and then got pulled away by a family emergency and delayed the results for a few hours.

Hope everything is all right.
   21. Carl Goetz Posted: April 17, 2003 at 02:05 PM (#512013)
Does anyone have the current schedule of how many players we will be selecting in each future year? The only schedule i could find had 1906 as our starting point.
   22. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 17, 2003 at 02:09 PM (#512014)
Thanks for the concern, John. Nothing serious -- my infant's babysitter had a health problem and I had to run home and grab my daughter. Everybody's fine though.

Cool!
   23. DanG Posted: April 17, 2003 at 02:45 PM (#512015)
"Carl Goetz:
Does anyone have the current schedule of how many players we will be selecting in each future year? The only schedule i could find had 1906 as our starting point."

From Joe on March 26:
"Switch to an 1898 start. Elect 4 that year. Elect 2 per year until 1905. At this point we've eliminated our backlog. Then we adjust the number of electees so we are never off by more than +/- .5 total HoMers from what we should have.

That gives elections of:
1 in 1906-08, 1910-12, 1914, 1917, 1920, 1924, 1927, 1930, 1933, 1936, 1939, 1942, 1945, 1949, 1952, 1955, 1958, 1966.

2 in 1909, 1913, 1915-16, 1918-19, 1921-23, 1925-26, 1928-29, 1931-32, 1934-35, 1937-38, 1940-41, 1943-44, 1946-48, 1950-51, 1953-54, 1956-57, 1959-65, 1967-70, 1972-74, 1976-77, 1979, 1981, 1983

3 in 1971, 1975, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1984-95, 1997-99, 2001-03, 2005-07.

4 in 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008."
   24. RobC Posted: April 18, 2003 at 01:45 PM (#512016)
Maybe everyone else has already realized this, but so far the HOM is 4/4 in picking members who arent in the HOF. That will end with the 1899 vote, I am pretty sure.
   25. dan b Posted: April 20, 2003 at 01:07 AM (#512017)
Before this thread fades into oblivion, a word from the Renegade Balloteer (Since I now hold the distinction of being the first elector to see a player enshrined without the benefit of a single point from his ballot and I suspect that this will be a lonely distinction until Marc fulfills his promise to leave Anson off his ballot. :-)) My views on the selection of Ross Barnes follow.

I realize we were given the directive to not hold the fair/foul hit thing against Barnes, but since we never saw the game played with the rules he was able to take advantage of, I would suggest this directive was misguided. We know from the writings of the Esteemed Henry Chadwick that the fair/foul hit rule was viewed as a ?problem? and the rules of the game were tinkered with for several seasons before they eliminated the ?problem? in 1877. Imagine how different the game would be today if the solution the Esteemed One advocated had been adopted ? Henry?s plan was to add a tenth player ? a right shortstop ? to close the gaps that were created by attempts to defend against the fair/foul hit. So just where were these gaps Henry was concerned about? I can visualize the corners playing in and guarding the lines. Was the second baseman playing close enough to first base to take the throw? What if there was a runner on first? Where was the shortstop? Would teams on occasion bring in an outfielder to play as the fifth infielder that Henry wanted to add? How much foul ground was there to cover and how far a field was Barnes able to direct the ball? Was he able to reach second on a fair/foul hit for a double? No wonder a player with the special ability to execute a fair/foul hit could lead the league both in hits and extra base hits ? the defense was spread too thin. No wonder observers of the game at the time viewed the rule as a problem that needed correction.

Let me offer a wildly hypothetical illustration from the early days of basketball. Suppose the game was played by short, white guys that couldn?t jump. Since nobody could even touch the rim, there were no rules against goal tending, there was no lane or 3-second rule, and there was a center jump after every basket. Well suppose the Boston Celtics signed Clumsy Oaf, a 6?10? kid out of Slippery Rock Normal School. Oaf couldn?t dribble, couldn?t catch a hard thrown pass, and couldn?t throw one without first taking a few steps. But Oaf had his special skills. He could camp out under the basket and catch the lob passes thrown near the basket and drop the ball in, he could stand under the defensive basket and swat away any attempts the opponent made to score, and he was able to control most of the center jumps. Of course, observers of the day recognized that Oaf?s ?skills? were a problem; the game was broken and needed to be fixed. It took a few years, but by the time they restored balance to the game, Oaf had easily led the league every year in both scoring and blocked shots while leading the Celtics to a few championships. After the rules were changed, Oaf soon found himself moving back to Slippery Rock to teach arithmetic. And 125 years later some well-intentioned basketball fans looked at the stats from an era when the game they love was played in a way they had never seen and chose to honor Oaf as the most dominant player of his time. Of course, if they could have had the benefit of videotape, they would have agreed with the contemporary observers and rejoiced that the game had been repaired.

IMHO we, that is ?you guys? ;-) just elected Oaf.
   26. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 20, 2003 at 01:39 AM (#512018)
dan b:

Except "Oaf" Barnes was an exceptional defensive second baseman and baserunner who had excellent power (which would not be effected by the fair/foul rule).

Barnes suffered an illness which effected his strength in 1877 and was the main reason, not the fair/foul rule, that ended his career prematurely. Both his offense and defense fell to below average levels.
   27. dan b Posted: April 20, 2003 at 02:11 AM (#512019)
John - I will concede that Barnes was good defensively and thereby a better player than my hypothetical Oaf, but how much of his "power" resulted from his ability to take advantage of efforts to stop the fair/foul hit? Since Chadwick wanted to add a tenth fielder to minimize the effects of the fair/foul hit, I assume his unique talents gave him an "Oafish" advantage, not just for bunt singles, but with gaps all over the field that would impact his extra base hit totals as well.
   28. Marc Posted: April 20, 2003 at 02:57 AM (#512020)
The problem with the Barnes/Oaf analogy is that Barnes was real and Oaf is a fiction. Barnes was a real athlete who did a variety of things, not just one, well enough to have value, and in fact have unusual value on the field, value that was recognized by his peers to the extent that the best teams with the most money recruited and paid him to beon their team. If the Oaf analogy were useful, there would in fact be a parallel. I could just as well posit a rhinoceros running back in football and say that they later passed a rule limiting team membership to human beings, therefore negating the 6,000 yards gained by "Rhino" in his one year of play on the gridiron. Very imaginative but less than useful in understanding the real athlete named Ross Barnes.

Now if you had called your fictional player George or Bob instead of Oaf you might have a case. Do you want to say that George Mikan and Bob Kurland are your oafs and their real records should be expunged?
   29. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 20, 2003 at 05:12 AM (#512021)
Since Chadwick wanted to add a tenth fielder to minimize the effects of the fair/foul hit, I assume his unique talents gave him an "Oafish" advantage, not just for bunt singles, but with gaps all over the field that would impact his extra base hit totals as well.

I concede the point that Barnes was helped by the rule. "How much" is the question.

Does anyone know if there were any other players who took advantage of fair/foul rule?
   30. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 20, 2003 at 05:16 AM (#512022)
The Class of 1898 is . . .

Deacon White, Paul Hines, George Gore and Ross Barnes. All are alive in January 1898 and expected to be in at the induction ceremony this August.


It's actually surprising all four would make it to the induction ceremony (and live many more years) when you consider how many ex-major leaguers died before their fiftieth birthday.
   31. Rob Wood Posted: April 20, 2003 at 06:09 AM (#512023)
I too had Barnes way down near the bottom of my first ballot and am a trifle dismayed that we elected him, especially on the first ballot. However, Barnes was a great star in his day.

Indeed, as I reported previously, Cap Anson named Barnes to his personal best all-time team. And the team was named in the 1910's, decades after Barnes retired, of course. Thus, it seems that people even as late as the 1910's did not discount Barnes' achievements as mere artifacts of the fair-foul rule.

Barnes' place in the HOM may have merit if we take a pure value to his team approach (per the majority of voters). And this is the approach that we have all agreed to accept as valid. We can layer other approaches on top of this one, but a player's on-field value to his team is the cornerstone of the HOM.

In closing, our selection of Barnes may well turn out to be a lightning rod both within our group (perhaps as a precedent for subsequent voting) and from outsiders reviewing our selections. We should acknowledge that there was a diversity of opinions on Barnes but that he got enough support, especially due to our focus on on-field value, and move on.
   32. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 20, 2003 at 04:06 PM (#512024)
I too had Barnes way down near the bottom of my first ballot and am a trifle dismayed that we elected him, especially on the first ballot. However, Barnes was a great star in his day.

For the record, I had him at #9. His career wasn't long enough for me to place him at the top of my ballot. Ultimately, I felt he deserved the honor, but I thought he would wait a few more "years."

With that said, we're not talking Tommy McCarthy here, gang.

Happy Easter!
   33. MattB Posted: April 20, 2003 at 04:40 PM (#512025)
You can see from the balloting, that only 11 out of 29 voters had Ross Barnes as a "Top 4" candidate. The votes were diffuse enough after the top 3 that a candidate could be elected without a majority putting him in the top 4.

He did, however, receive a fair amount of support. I'm positive he will not be the electee to receive the least support.
   34. Howie Menckel Posted: April 21, 2003 at 12:11 AM (#512028)
For future observers who wonder about Barnes, he will open up a whole new world of pioneer players to them, which isn't such a bad thing.
Worth noting that 17 of 29 voters had George Wright in the top 6, and six more had him in the top eight. In effect he lost out mainly by four voters not picking him at all. I hope Wright goes in this time..
   35. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 21, 2003 at 01:46 AM (#512029)
I hope Wright goes in this time..

Since we are voting only two players in this year, I seriously doubt it (though I agree that he should be inducted).
   36. Marc Posted: April 21, 2003 at 02:11 AM (#512030)
Having participated in a mock HoF election like this previously, I think I can say the following with some degree of accuracy. Since our players are eligible forever, our backlog will only get bigger and bigger and bigger over time. And no matter how many players we elect, we will continue to spread out our votes over a larger and larger number of players over time. By the time we are done, Ross Barnes will look like the landslide that he was.
   37. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 21, 2003 at 04:30 PM (#512033)
A 95 OPS+ for a Gold Glove SS is a pretty good 'bad year' (Wright in 1877).

He was actually the best second baseman that year.

I agree with the rest of your ost, Joe.
   38. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 21, 2003 at 04:31 PM (#512034)
I also agree with the rest of your post, Joe. :-)
   39. dan b Posted: April 21, 2003 at 05:17 PM (#512035)
Thanks for the feedback on my Barnes/Oaf post.

Rob ? I find it helpful to know that Anson put Barnes on his all-time team, although I must temper that information a bit since they were teammates in 1876. Is anyone aware of any other contemporary accounts that would cite Barnes as an all-time great?

It also helps to know that a majority of the voters didn?t think highly enough of Barnes to put him in their top 4, although he did come in 4th in ?top 4? votes. I would point out that with Radbourne coming in 5th with 427 points, Barnes could have been elected with 8 fifth place votes and 20 sixth place votes (and no vote from me) for 428 points ? meaning that the system we are using could enshrine somebody that nobody thinks highly of.
   40. MattB Posted: April 21, 2003 at 05:38 PM (#512036)
dan b,

That, I believe, was the point. By arranging the ballots so that the top vote-getter gets in, rather than those who receive more than a certain threshold (like in the HOF), you allow for electees who receive fewer votes than whatever threshold you would have otherwise set up.

I'm pretty sure that the next ("1900") election will produce some inductees with very low vote totals.
   41. Marc Posted: April 22, 2003 at 12:03 AM (#512038)
Re. George Wright, here are just some other middle infielders with CAREER (not just 30s) OPS+ below 100:

2B-Fox 94, Schoendienst 93, Maz 84
SS-Reese 98, Rizzuto 93, Aparicio 82

We'll be watching a year and a half from now to see if we're consistent about this ;-)

   42. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 06, 2004 at 11:01 PM (#782040)
This thread is now fully restored.
   43. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 06, 2012 at 03:17 AM (#4318383)
Looking at this for the Deacon White results, I should have kept that "Hall of Merit Game" tradition going. Would have been fun.

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