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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

New Eligibles for 1899

The notable newbies on the ballot (positional thread listing as well). We’ll be electing 2 new members for 1899.

Charlie Bennett (C)
Jocko Milligan (C)
Harry Stovey (1B)
Henry Larkin (1B)
Sam Wise (SS)
George Pinckney (3B)
Jim O’Rourke (LF)
Pete Browning (CF)
King Kelly (RF)
Tim Keefe (P)
Bob Caruthers (P)
Mark Baldwin (P)
Jesse Duryea (P)

I could have missed token appearances, my spreadsheet was set up when I wasn’t worried about token appearances, so I definitely could have missed some, please let me know if we need to fix something.

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: April 15, 2003 at 03:32 AM | 100 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. RobC Posted: April 15, 2003 at 04:49 AM (#512040)
A few other new eligibles:

Cub Stricker (2B)
Curt Welch (CF)
Ed Crane (P)

1899 should be an interesting vote. There is 1 clear cut (to me - but some ballots surprised me in 1898) new candidate for 1 of the 2 available spots, and the other one should be a free-for-all between the best left over candidates and a couple of new guys.

   2. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 15, 2003 at 05:01 AM (#512041)
Of the new eligibles, O'Rourke and Kelly will be somewhere in my top five. Bennett, Keefe, Stovey and Browning should make the ballot, also.

I can't see the AA boys (Mullane and Caruthers). They were not even close to being the best pitchers of their time (and that's including their bats).
   3. DanG Posted: April 15, 2003 at 06:35 AM (#512043)
Comparison of win shares for Bob Caruthers and John Clarkson, 1884-90:

Yr BC JC
84 10 11
85 51 62
86 57 42
87 54 51
88 46 32
89 46 60
90 30 33

Total Caruthers 294, Clarkson 291. Caruthers does seem to be among the best pitchers of his time.

   4. RobC Posted: April 15, 2003 at 11:53 AM (#512044)
bigeasy-

I guess this is why multiple people vote. I consider O'Rourke to be the first "clear cut, must be in the HOM or we made a mistake" player to become eligible. By career or peak. And by peak I mean "best 20 consecutive years".
   5. Howie Menckel Posted: April 15, 2003 at 12:53 PM (#512046)
O'Rourke's similarity-scores partner from age 27 to 35, every year, is... Paul Hines. And each year the comp is over 900. Then he's a "Hardy Richardson" for age 36-37, before returning for two more years of Hines. He's also Hines at age 24, and George Gore at 26, and Ezra Sutton at 22.
   6. MattB Posted: April 15, 2003 at 01:11 PM (#512047)
Also "On the Ballot" in 1899:

Cliff Carroll (average left-fielder)
http://www.baseball-reference.com/c/carrocl01.shtml

Curt Welch (above average center-fielder)
http://www.baseball-reference.com/w/welchcu01.shtml

Sandy Griffin (the greatest player in Rochester Broncos history)
http://www.baseball-reference.com/g/griffsa01.shtml

   7. MattB Posted: April 15, 2003 at 02:27 PM (#512051)
"In 1893, when the pitching distance was moved back to 60'6" from the former 50', he had a sore arm and only played outfield. It was his last major league season, although he played until 1898 in the minors."

It looks to me that he got injured trying to adjust to the new pitching distance.

In any event, even on the basis of the stats presented, I think Bob Caruthers is a serious Top-Of-Ballot candidate.

I think you have to look at it as purely additive. Imagine that Bob Caruthers had an 18 year career, and spent half that career racking up league-leading numbers with his pitching, and spent the other half performing as a well-above-average hitter.

That 18 year career would be a sure-fire HOM career.

Now, think, instead of having that great career over 18 years, it was compressed into nine.

In 1886, Caruthers was #3 in ERA+ (going 30-14) and was #1 in OPS+!
In 1887, Caruthers was #2 in ERA+ (going 29-9) and #3 in OPS+!

And St. Louis won the pennant both years!

I defy you to find anyone who had a single year that was as valuable a season as either of those seasons.

I do not think it is at all exaggeration to compare the value either Bob Caruthers' 1886 or 1887 season to Mark McGwire's 1998 season -- if you assume that Mark McGwire also won 20 games that year for the Cardinals!

I'm not sure exactly how the Similarity Scores work for pitchers' hitting (i.e., how many points are subtracted between pitchers and other positions), but Caruthers' list has a whole lot of non-pitchers on it (including Don Mattingly and Dick Sisler!). His similar pitchers alone include a number of Hall of Famers (including Chief Bender).

There seems to be a feeling that Caruthers is fighting for 15th place on the ballot.

What, exactly, is the argument against my claim that for seven years, between 1886 and 1892, there was no better baseball player anywhere -- in terms of overall contribution to the game -- than Bob Caruthers.

I'm thinking that Kelly, O'Rourke, and Keefe will be the top 3 on my ballot (in some order).

Convince me that Bob Caruthers is not a leading candidate (along with some of my ballot holdovers) for fourth place!

   8. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 15, 2003 at 02:40 PM (#512053)
Total Caruthers 294, Clarkson 291. Caruthers does seem to be among the best pitchers of his time

Besides having 60 more Win Shares over his career, Clarkson played in the more competitive league. I have Clarkson as the best pitcher in baseball for 1889, while Caruthers was never the best pitcher (or player) for any given year at his position.

Plus, Clarkson pitched well from 1891-1894, while Caruthers was out of baseball by 1893.

Caruthers was a fine pitcher/player (as was Mullane), but I can't see electing them over Clarkson, Keefe, Galvin, Radbourn or Welch (who were direct contemporaries). That's way too many pitchers from that era to elect as it is.
   9. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 15, 2003 at 03:02 PM (#512056)
In 1886, Caruthers was #3 in ERA+ (going 30-14) and was #1 in OPS+!
In 1887, Caruthers was #2 in ERA+ (going 29-9) and #3 in OPS+!


I have Dave Foutz tied with Caruthers in 1886 (though Lady Baldwin of the NL was the best pitcher in baseball), while Elmer Smith comfortably beats Parisian Bob in '87. BTW, I am including Caruthers' offensive contributions.

I don't see him as HoM material.

   10. MattB Posted: April 15, 2003 at 03:10 PM (#512057)
Joe, you are right about the playing time issue, but I don't consider that a major demerit. I think he is hurt in people's rankings more by not being the "best" anything, when in fact he was the third or fourth best at lots of things and possibly the best overall.

On the AA quality of compititon issue, these are the numbers from Caruthers' "8 year peak"

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

Note that he switched from the AA to the NL with Brooklyn in 1890, so he was not in the AA in its fading two seasons, and he didn't become a regular until 1885, so his numbers aren't really helped by the weak AA competition before that year.

He actually played in the AA during the five full years that it was at its strongest. He only has 13 1884 games that fell during the AA's weakest five years(it's first three and final two years all had comparison scores of -.020 or more).

While I agree that "AA players" need a level of difficulty adjustment, Caruthers' downward adjustment should be far lower than those players who were "pure AA" guys who racked up lots of wins in 1882-1884. In the five years that Caruthers was in the AA, the two leagues were very similar.

   11. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 15, 2003 at 03:16 PM (#512058)
I have the feeling that some of my fellow Primates are giving Caruthers way too much credit for his hitting. Yes, the man could hit, but he never had the at bats to be seriously considered the best hitter in the AA (or the NL). Could he have been? Probably, but then he wouldn't be pitching. He would have been a position player.
   12. MattB Posted: April 15, 2003 at 03:31 PM (#512059)
"I have Dave Foutz tied with Caruthers in 1886 (though Lady Baldwin of the NL was the best pitcher in baseball), while Elmer Smith comfortably beats Parisian Bob in '87. BTW, I am including Caruthers' offensive contributions."

I can see the Foutz/Caruthers comparison in 1886. They are very comparable, and Foutz had the pitching edge, but I think Caruthers more than made up for it with his hitting. BPro gives Caruthers 16.0 on WARP-1 and give Foutz 15.4. (Lady Baldwin in the NL had 13.8).

In 1887, though, I don't see Elmer Smith as in Caruthers' league at all. They were comparable pitchers (Smith had more innings), but Smith hit .253 (an 83 OPS+) in 198 plate appearances while Caruthers hit .357 (a 168 OPS+) in 436 plate appearances. I really don't see Smith in the same league as Caruthers at all. BPro gives Caruthers the lead on WARP-1 16.2 to 12.2. They are directly comparable, and it's not even close.

I stand by my conclusion that Caruthers was the MVP of both years.

But even if he weren't, I don't think that hurts his case at all.

Caruthers could be the second or third best player every year for 8 years and still be a top-ballot HOMer. Smith, Foutz, and Baldwin are not serious candidates, even if they each had a few good years that surpassed his (which I don't think they did).
   13. Carl Goetz Posted: April 15, 2003 at 03:53 PM (#512060)
Here how I see my ballot shaping up. I'll be adding 8 new eligibles and dropping the 4 already elected(obviously) as well as Spalding, Orr, Dalrymple, and Galvin. They were borderline candidates who were just rounding out my ballot anyway.

1) Jim O'Rourke- He and Kelly are the obvious choices this time around. O'Rourke had a better career and a slightly better 5-year peak, although Kelly had the 2 best single seasons of the 2.
2) King Kelly- See above
3) Tim Keefe- Best pitcher of the eligibles
4) Harry Stovey- Strong peak, Strong career
5) Pete Browning- Ditto to a slightly lesser extent
6) Bob Caruthers- His hitting really moved him up my ballot. I see him as borderline for pitching alone and his hitting sealed the deal.
7) George Wright- Still the best shortstop.
8) Old Hoss Radbourn- I dropped him below Wright mainly because I had him artificially high in the last ballot. The reasoning then was that he was the best pitcher and should be elected. He is no longer the best pitcher and has dropped some accordingly.
9) Ezra Sutton- The top 8 all belong in the HoM eventually in my opinion. These next 3 are all borderline, but I wouldn't be too upset if they make it.
10) Joe Start- Will have to get elected soon because he'll drop alot on my ballot(and maybe even off it) when Brouthers, Anson, and Connor show up.
11) Ned Williamson- I've explained my Sutton/Williamson stance in the last ballot. No one has changed my mind.
12) Hardy Richardson- Best 2ndBaseman now that Barnes is in.
13) Charlie Bennett- Best Catcher now that White is in(until Ewing comes along).
14) Tip O'Neill- Solid peak, but he's just filler to get to 15.
15) Henry Larkin- More filler. Once the big 3 are eligble, that makes Larkin the 6th best 1stbaseman of all-time. Its way too early for 6 of 1 position. I really don't see Larkin as a strong candidate regardless of position. He is the 15th best out of the current crop, though and as such, deserves a few points.

I realize that my top 6 are all newly eligible players and I double-checked my thinking to see if there was a reason for this. My conclusion is that this is just a bumper crop of HoMers.

   14. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 15, 2003 at 04:04 PM (#512061)
Matt, let's try this:
Elmer Smith and Bob Caruthers both had 54 WS in '87. This includes both pitching, defense and hitting. However, Smith did it in only 52 games, while Caruthers did it in 98 games. Who would you pick as the better player?

If you still think it's Caruthers, than Win Shares needs to be flushed down the toilet. While I don't think it's perfect, I don't think Win Shares are that off the mark.

   15. MattB Posted: April 15, 2003 at 04:33 PM (#512062)
The problem is the hitting/pitching breakdown.

Win Shares can be useful for comparing hitters to hitters and pitchers to pitchers, but not really hitters to pitchers for 19th century players. The pitchers' WS get inflated.

That gets in the way of a WS comparison here, because it'll give Smith more pitching WS (probably right) and Caruthers more hitting WS (probably right), but the pitching WS will swamp the hitting.

I don't have the numbers in front of me. I bet, though, if you cut both players pitching WS in half (as others have suggested doing in rating pitchers) that Caruthers comes out as the better player.

The question is, which is more valuable, Smith's extra 106.3 IP, or Caruthers' extra 238 plate appearances?

And, yes, I have no doubt that WS are frequently very off the mark for 19th century players. For correct hitter/pitcher division in the 19th century, I like the WARP-1 numbers, which have Carruthers 33% better for 1887.

Obviously, one of these two calculations (WS or WARP-1) are very wrong. I am very sure that it is the WS number that needs to most adjusting.

But irrespective, as I said above, this argument is secondary. I'm not chaning my overall rating of a player based on whether they peaked the same year that Elmer Smith had a fluke season or the year after.
   16. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 15, 2003 at 06:02 PM (#512064)
But irrespective, as I said above, this argument is secondary. I'm not chaning my overall rating of a player based on whether they peaked the same year that Elmer Smith had a fluke season or the year after.

That wasn't the point of my post. Obviously, that would be idiotic.

The rest of your post, however, had some good points. I don't know if they are valid, but I will take another look at Caruthers.
   17. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 15, 2003 at 06:07 PM (#512065)
BTW, does anyone have a breakdown of what Caruthers did only as a position player for each year that he was full-time pitcher?
   18. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 15, 2003 at 06:11 PM (#512068)
Let me rephrase my question:

BTW, does anyone have a breakdown of what Caruthers did on offense only as a position player for each year that he was full-time pitcher?
   19. Marc Posted: April 15, 2003 at 07:44 PM (#512069)
Very preliminary ballot. Very strong new cohort, some movement among holdovers.

1. King Kelly. Like the guys from the '70s (and for reasons discussed above), very hard to peg. Subjectively (and specifically in comparison with Jim O'Rourke), I peg him high.
2. Al Spalding. Makes natural progression from #3 last year to #2 as both of the guys I had ahead of him are now enshrined. A giant (subjectively).
3. Jim O'Rourke. Great career value, but Kelly has slightly higher NL OPS+ and 3 yrs above O'Rourke's best. And I take Kelly's defensive value to be higher than Gentleman Jim's.
4. Tim Keefe. Radbourn's best season is better than Smilin' Tim's but every year thereafter Keefe is as good or (much) better.
5. Old Hoss Radbourn. Moves up from last year, however, passing McVey, Pike, Wright and Richardson. Don't ask me why.
6. Hardy Richardson also moves up a little, passing Pike and Wright. Don't ask me why. Maybe I am trying to reduce the subjective component as time goes by and the numbers make more sense. Not that much has changed in one year.
7. George Wright. Subjectively I want him 2nd or 3rd but strictly by the numbers he's more like 14th.
8. Cal McVey. Drops a bit, don't ask me why.
9. Pete Browning. Career OPS+ 164 but deduct about 8% for AA.
10. Charlie Bennett. New catcher on the block, better make hay before Ewing is eligible.
11. Lip Pike. Still better than Start.
12. Ed Williamson. Drops one slot, but still better than Sutton.
13. Harry Stovey. Another big OPS+ but deduct 5% for AA.
14. Charley Jones. See Browning, Stovey, just not as high an OPS+ (150) nor entirely AA. Still better than O'Neill.
15. Ezra Sutton. Hanging on, still better than O'Neill, Orr, Start.

Most overrated Pud Galvin. I see him as the weakest of the 1880s 300 gamers and trails Caruthers and Mullane too. Galvin ERA+ 109, above average nine times, below five. Keefe (126) above 12, below 2. Radbourn (120) 8 vs. 3. Next year Clarkson (134) 11 vs. 0 (except one 24 IP year at 69). Smilin' Mickey Welch (114) 9 vs. 3 excluding one 5 IP year.

Most likely to sneak on my ballot by election: Fred Dunlap (OPS+ 132 and pretty good defense). But, must crunch numbers.

   20. MattB Posted: April 15, 2003 at 07:46 PM (#512070)
Provisional ballot for 1899. It's not how I thought it would look when I started.

1. Jim O'Rourke
2. Ezra Sutton -- bumped up. I've reconsidered down Williamson, and the gap between best and second best moves Sutton up.
3. King Kelly -- solid, but I'm not giving him as much "peer-review" credit.
4. George Wright -- Still the top pure-NA candidate.
5. Bob Caruthers -- see lengthy debate above
6. Joe Start -- I knew he had ended the Red Stockings win streak in his pre-NA days. I hadn't realized how good he was all the way back to 1860. He was widely considere to be among the best in the mid-1860s.
7. Tim Keefe -- was expecting him to be higher, but couldn't justify it.
8. Hardy Richardson -- best second baseman
9. Ned Williamson -- downgrade from last time
10. Pete Browning -- couldn't justify putting a third centerfielder (after Hines and Gore got in already) any higher.
11. Harry Stovey -- only the fifth best first baseman, after ABC and Start
12. Charley Radbourn -- serious downgrade, as he is now only the third best pitcher on the ballot.
13. Cal McVey -- upgraded from off-the-ballot after further research
14. Pud Galvin
15. Al Spalding -- five pitchers on my ballot now after none are in, and one may not make it this time. There may be some serious pitcher backlog soon.
   21. MattB Posted: April 15, 2003 at 08:03 PM (#512071)
Also, can anyone explain why people with names like Louis Rogers Browning and Grover Cleveland Alexander get the nickname "Pete"?

Is anyone today who does not have a first or middle name of Peter ever have the nickname "Pete"?
   22. Sean Gilman Posted: April 15, 2003 at 08:09 PM (#512072)
Prelim Ballot:

1. Jim O'Rourke
2. King Kelly
3. Ezra Sutton
4. Hardy Richardson
5. Joe Start
6. Harry Stovey
7. Cal McVey
8. George Wright
9. Charley Radbourne
10.(N)ed Williamson
11.Al Spaulding
12.Lip Pike
13.Pete Browning
14.Tim Keefe
15.Bob Caruthers
   23. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 15, 2003 at 08:25 PM (#512074)
Tentative ballot:

1) Jim O'Rourke

2) King Kelly

3) Al Spalding

4) Ezra Sutton

5) George Wright

6) Hardy Richardson

7) Joe Start

8) Charlie Bennett

9) Cal McVey

10) Tim Keefe

11) Fred Dunlap

12) Ed Williamson

13) Tom York

14) Pete Browning

15) Harry Stovey

I assume there will be some shuffling later on, but I don't see any additions or subtractions (maybe with the last few slots). I'll explain my choices later on when I'm confident that I made the right ones.
   24. MattB Posted: April 15, 2003 at 08:41 PM (#512075)
"Does anybody know who are the new candidates for next year (1900)?"

Looks like a weaker class (but wouldn't it almost have to?)

Realizing that I'm probably missing some token appearance players, I see John Clarkson, Charlie Comiskey, Jerry Denny, Tony Mullane, Paul Radford, Danny Richardson, and Monte Ward.
   25. Rick A. Posted: April 15, 2003 at 09:18 PM (#512078)
My preliminary ballot for 1899.

1. Jim O?Rourke - Highest career value among eligibles. Played 23 years

2. King Kelly ? Close to O?Rourke, but I?ll take O?Rourke?s career value over Kelly

3. Tim Keefe ? Best pitcher eligible

4. Harry Stovey ? AA player, but even with a discount, he rates over other players

5. Pete Browning ? Same thing. Very high peak

6. Hardy Richardson ? Best secondbaseman. Very good career

7. Ezra Sutton ? Still rating him over Williamson

8. Al Spalding ? Moved down some. Had him at #4 last time. Wanted to put a pitcher in my top 5 and Spalding was the best available. Will move down fast with better pitchers on the ballot.

9. George Wright ? Best NA player left

10. Joe Start ? Nice late peak. Long career. Bumped up some.

11. Ned Williamson ? Not as good as Sutton, but still a very good player

12. Hoss Radbourn ? Very good pitcher, but third best on my ballot

13. Charlie Bennett ? Best catcher.

14. Charley Jones - Good peak value, but a little low career-wise

15. Mickey Welch ? Very good pitcher, but not better than Radbourn

Players removed from ballot. Abner Dalrymple, Tip O'Neill.
   26. Marc Posted: April 15, 2003 at 09:37 PM (#512079)
Some myths die really hard, like Keefe dominated shoddy AA competition in his best years. Tim pitched 2 years out of 14 in the AA, yes he pitched well in the AA, and I already discounted Tim's career about 3 percent for 2 peak years in the AA (2/14 X about 20 percent). He progressed from ERA+ of 114 in NL in '82 to 170 in NL in '85, so he woulda been somewhere in between for those two years. As it is he was at 138 both years.

But throw out his two AA years, make them WARP nothing and here's what is left--a better NL-only career on ERA+ (128-120) and on peak (every year except one, and this is with zero credit for the two years in the AA).

Keefe OPS+ peak of 170-157-138-134-126-121 + 3 more years >100
Radbourn OPS+ 206-151-134-133-113-109-106 & no more yers >100

Then give Tim some credit for the fact that he did go out and win 78 games in '83 and '84. Yes the NL was a better league than the AA, but in '83 and '84 it was in decline, too, vs. '81 and '82 so discount Charley's best year a bit then. And, Ed, I don't remember your ballot, but don't forget to discount O'Neill, Orr, Jones, Stovey, etc. Bottom line, NL averaged about 17 percent tougher over the AA's ten seasons but you've got to account for how many years any given player was actually there.

   27. Ken Fischer Posted: April 15, 2003 at 11:44 PM (#512080)
Is Browning eligible for the 1899 election? Didn't he play in 1894?
   28. Sean Gilman Posted: April 15, 2003 at 11:57 PM (#512081)
I think his 3 games in '94 count as a 'token appearance' and are thus disregarded.
   29. Marc Posted: April 16, 2003 at 02:19 AM (#512084)
Not to make this Marc and Ed, Ed and Marc, but...you may have noticed I have Keefe and Radbourn #4 and #5. I still like Keefe a little better, but I also do not mean to slam Hoss.
   30. DanG Posted: April 16, 2003 at 04:39 AM (#512085)
While researching token appearances for upcoming elections, I ran across a few players that the "ballot committee" may have to pass judgement as to their eligibility.

The next election has one minor case, Joe Mulvey. After playing 55 games in 1893, he played none in 1894, then retired for good after playing just 13 games in 1895. Is he now eligible?

A more interesting case is Matt Kilroy. An outstanding pitcher for Baltimore in the late 1880's, he pitched in 8 games in 1894 before disappearing. He resurfaced one last time in 1898, playing 26 games (13 as pitcher). When is he eligible?

Bill Hutchison is similar to Mulvey. He was done after pitching 38 games in 1895. After not pitching in 1896, he ducked back in for his final 6 games pitched in 1897. When is he eligible?

The first superstar the committee should assess is Sam Thompson. He played 119 games in 1896 before succumbing to injuries. He played only 3 in 1897 and 14 in 1898 (plus 8 G in 1906). When is he eligible?

Jack Clements is similar to Thompson. After 99 games in 1898, he played only 4 in 1899 and 16 in 1900. When is he eligible?

Finally, Hugh Duffy might deserve earlier eligibility. Retiring after 79 games in 1901, the Phillies made him manager in 1904. He proceeded to play 18 games that year and 15 in 1905. Also one more in 1906. When is he eligible?

Personally, I favor early eligibility for all these players.

BTW, the record books credit Duffy with 13 walks in 59 PA in 1904. That doesn't seem right, it's WAY out of line with anything else in his career. Is there some way to verify that?

I made a list of other upcoming candidates who ended their career with token appearances, but I don't have it with me. Maybe tomorrow. One that I recall for 1894 retirement is 157-game winner Elton "Icebox" Chamberlain, who didn't play in 1895, then finished with 2 games in 1896.
   31. DanG Posted: April 16, 2003 at 04:46 AM (#512086)
While researching token appearances for upcoming elections, I ran across a few players that the "ballot committee" may have to pass judgement as to their eligibility.

The next election has one minor case, Joe Mulvey. After playing 55 games in 1893, he played none in 1894, then retired for good after playing just 13 games in 1895. Is he now eligible?

A more interesting case is Matt Kilroy. An outstanding pitcher for Baltimore in the late 1880's, he pitched in 8 games in 1894 before disappearing. He resurfaced one last time in 1898, playing 26 games (13 as pitcher). When is he eligible?

Bill Hutchison is similar to Mulvey. He was done after pitching 38 games in 1895. After not pitching in 1896, he ducked back in for his final 6 games pitched in 1897. When is he eligible?

The first superstar the committee should assess is Sam Thompson. He played 119 games in 1896 before succumbing to injuries. He played only 3 in 1897 and 14 in 1898 (plus 8 G in 1906). When is he eligible?

Jack Clements is similar to Thompson. After 99 games in 1898, he played only 4 in 1899 and 16 in 1900. When is he eligible?

Finally, Hugh Duffy might deserve earlier eligibility. Retiring after 79 games in 1901, the Phillies made him manager in 1904. He proceeded to play 18 games that year and 15 in 1905. Also one more in 1906. When is he eligible?

Personally, I favor early eligibility for all these players.

BTW, the record books credit Duffy with 13 walks in 59 PA in 1904. That doesn't seem right, it's WAY out of line with anything else in his career. Is there some way to verify that?

I made a list of other upcoming candidates who ended their career with token appearances, but I don't have it with me. Maybe tomorrow. One that I recall for 1894 retirement is 157-game winner Elton "Icebox" Chamberlain, who didn't play in 1895, then finished with 2 games in 1896.
   32. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 16, 2003 at 04:48 AM (#512087)
John Murphy, why no Radbourn? Don't want too many pitchers on your ballot?
By the looks of things, I guess Clarkson will be the first pitcher to make it in, because this year's spots are all filled.


That's partially it, but I'm not sold on Radbourn. I have him down after Clarkson, Keefe, and Galvin for the '80s pitchers.

Clarkson and the hybrid Monte Ward will easily be on my ballot for 1900. Tony Mullane will have to stay on the bench.

   33. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 16, 2003 at 05:02 AM (#512088)
Re: Tim Keefe

I have him down as the best pitcher in baseball in 1883 (factoring in the week competition in the AA).
   34. RobC Posted: April 16, 2003 at 12:40 PM (#512089)
DanG:

IIRC, token appearances was defined as <10 games in a season. I dont know if the same definition is used for both hitters and pitchers. Hutchison is the only one you mentioned who fits that definition.
   35. Carl Goetz Posted: April 16, 2003 at 01:46 PM (#512091)
DanG,
As for Duffy's 13 BBs in 59 PAs in 1904. It may be way out of line with his career, but 59 PAs isn't a very large sample size. Its certainly well within the bounds of random variance.
   36. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 16, 2003 at 02:07 PM (#512092)
I have him down as the best pitcher in baseball in 1883 (factoring in the weak competition in the AA).
   37. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 16, 2003 at 04:13 PM (#512094)
I have Charlie Bennett rated too low. I'm going to push him up to #6. Don't know why I had him at 8, but I did say I would be doing some shuffling...

A reasonable discount factor for comparing the AA to the NL is 5% right?

For a player who had a long AA career, that's reasonable. Obviously some years were worse than others. The first few and tail end years were worse, while the middle '80s were highly compettitive.
   38. Marc Posted: April 16, 2003 at 10:37 PM (#512098)
If the gist of this post comes through twice, sorry, but I sent a post about an hour ago which did not seem to "take"...???

Anyway, I rate the AA over the course of its ten star-crossed years as about 17% below the NL. This varies widely from 20-30% in the first two and last two years, to <10% mostly in between, and the AA was actually better than the NL in '86. So it matters in discounting what years you're talking about.

Secondly, why discount the PL 10%? It was tougher than the NL. And for that matter, the NL was generally not as good during the AA era as it was in '81. So you might almost want to discount NL players during parts of the '80s, too, though frankly I don't.

Bottom line, I discount Stovey about 5% and Jones about 5% as each spent about half a career in the AA, Stovey in one of its weaker years ('83); O'Neill 5.5%, as he spent most of his career in the AA, including '91; Browning by 8% (9 years, more than any player I'm aware of, in the AA, including '82-'83). I also discount Caruthers about 5.5% (6 of 10 years in AA but none of the weakest years) and Mullane 8% (7 of 13 including '83). For Keefe it is 2/14 of his career @ 20% (weak AA seasons) = 3% overall.
   39. Marc Posted: April 17, 2003 at 01:49 AM (#512100)
Mark, I rely to some degree on WS among other things, and in this case it just happens that I think WS has them (Kelly vs. Stovey) pegged about right--i.e. Kelly 278 CWS, 32nd among RFers; Stovey 265 and 39th among 1B (not clear why James has him among the 1B. I think both should rank higher, BTW, because I don't buy the timeline, but relative to one another, I think this is pretty good.) If you adjust the WS, then, Kelly's edge grows because he played two years earlier, thus two shorter seasons, so on adjWS it's Kelly by 421-381.

On peak WS Stovey has an absolute edge but not by much, and if you look at OPS+ it's pretty even. Whose peak was higher depends on how many seasons deep you want to go. Peak OPS+ seasons:

Kelly 188, 183, 178, 166, 143, 4 more over 130
Stovey 182, 165, 162, 160, 156, 154, 3 more over 130

Then I figure Kelly had more defensive value, so on an absolute basis I like Kelly but they're comparable.

Then I dock Stovey about 5% for about half a career in the AA, and I dock Kelly 2% for one decline year in the AA, which is being generous to Stovey frankly. Based on my formula, which I won't bore you with, Kelly is ahead 200-195 before the discount, 196-185 afterward. A third comp would be Browning, who drops all the way from 204 to 187 with the biggest AA discount of any player (8%).

   40. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 17, 2003 at 05:34 AM (#512101)
I'd like to make a motion that, from this moment on, anybody who uses Bob Caruthers' nickname must now use either "Freedom Loving Bob" or "Liberty Bob." :-)
   41. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 17, 2003 at 05:40 AM (#512102)
Stovey 265 and 39th among 1B (not clear why James has him among the 1B.

Why wouldn't he be with the first basemen? He played the most games there.
   42. Rob Wood Posted: April 17, 2003 at 05:57 AM (#512103)
My 1899 ballot which reflects some shuffling of my 1898 ballot and a healthy dose of 1899 newbies. I reserve the right to modify my ballot later in the week if compelling arguments are forthcoming.

1. Jim O'Rourke. Clear cut top of the class.
2. King Kelly. A great player whose notoriety exceeded his greatness.
3. George Wright. A class act who will soon make the HOM.
4. Ezra Sutton. One of the least known stars of the era.
5. Hardy Richardson. A favorite of mine.
6. Harry Stovey. Unlikely to make a splash on this ballot.
7. Al Spalding. Disagreement on Al. I say he'd honor the HOM.
8. Tim Keefe. To me he is the borderline of serious HOM candidates.
9. Ed Williamson. I'm not sold on his worthiness.
10. Joe Start. Difficult to value his pre-NL greatness.
11. Hoss Radbourn. I'm belatedly adding him on my ballot.
12. Fred Dunlap. Destined to never see the inside of the HOM.
13. Pud Galvin. I like his longevity, but his quality is not great.
14. Charlie Bennett. Remarkable story.
15. Pete Browning. Not one of my favorites.

Does anyone have a sense on how many of these guys will ultimately make the HOM? I have not yet done a trial run of subsequent ballots and would be interested in any thoughts on the matter.

   43. Al Peterson Posted: April 17, 2003 at 12:17 PM (#512105)
New, and maybe improved, prelim ballot for 1899. Minor reshuffling from last year and trying to place the newbies.

1. Jim O'Rourke. OPS+ 114 or higher (usually much higher) 21 straight years. That's good enough for me.
2. George Wright. Still on this guy's bandwagon. Giving credit for SS defense.
3. King Kelly. Numbers very good, just not O'Rourke level.
4. Tim Keefe. Decent career length and peak is there. Pitchers get my respect.
5. Ezra Sutton. Another nod to defense, not shabby when batting either.
6. Harry Stovey. Some convincing arguments made in other discussions.
7. Al Spalding. Short career, not a disgrace to have at this position.
8. Joe Start. OK with adding value for accomplishments before 1871.
9. Old Hoss Radbourn. Hanging around about same place as 1898 ballot.
10. Hardy Richardson. Like, but don't love, this candidate.
11. Pete Browning. See Richardson above.
12. Bob Caruthers. Nice mix of pitcher/hitter, not quite enough of either.
13. Ed Williamson. Widening the gap between him and Sutton.
14. Pud Galvin. Rolled along for long time - I'll give that some credit.
15. Cal McVey. Hanging on to a spot - really just getting a mention for HOM worthiness.

Dropping out from prior ballot: Mickey Welch and Lip Pike. I've left off Charlie Bennett as well. Maybe I'm missing something but he hardly shouts greatness to me.

   44. Marc Posted: April 17, 2003 at 01:34 PM (#512107)
Rob, I ran mock elections through 1920 using our earlier 1906 ballot. It's all guesswork for the 1907-20 eligibles, of course, though you can easily imagine some pretty obvious choices. But I came up with 12 from the 1898 ballot (as late as 1919) and four of the 1899ers (through 1920). That means 12 on the 1899 ballot (plus the four already elected) would go in.

John, Total Baseball says Stovey played 944 games in the outfield and 550 at 1B...?
   45. Carl Goetz Posted: April 17, 2003 at 01:53 PM (#512108)
Marc and Rob,
Baseball-Reference says Stovey played 550-1B, 519-LF, 251-RF, and 176-CF. I guess it depends on whether you consider the outfield all one position or 3 separate positions. I personally consider it 3 separate positions and, thus consider Stovey, primarily a 1stbaseman.
   46. Carl Goetz Posted: April 17, 2003 at 01:56 PM (#512109)
He also pitched in 4 games if anyone cares.
   47. Al Peterson Posted: April 17, 2003 at 01:59 PM (#512110)
I'm with Tom on the number that eventually get in the HOM from this ballot. The pool of players worthy of consideration will continue to get larger and as personal voter preferences come into play you'll see many different names fall into slots 3-6 during non obvious election years. This is not a bad thing I suspect...
   48. Al Peterson Posted: April 17, 2003 at 01:59 PM (#512111)
I'm with Tom on the number that eventually get in the HOM from this ballot. The pool of players worthy of consideration will continue to get larger and as personal voter preferences come into play you'll see many different names fall into slots 3-6 during non obvious election years. This is not a bad thing I suspect...
   49. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 17, 2003 at 02:07 PM (#512112)
Baseball-Reference says Stovey played 550-1B, 519-LF, 251-RF, and 176-CF. I guess it depends on whether you consider the outfield all one position or 3 separate positions. I personally consider it 3 separate positions and, thus consider Stovey, primarily a 1stbaseman.

This is what James was looking at. Personally, I don't like lumping all the outfield positions together myself. They're not exactly the same in responsibilities.
   50. DanG Posted: April 17, 2003 at 02:34 PM (#512113)
For purposes of grouping players for comparative analysis, I think it's best to put Stovey with the Leftfielders. I think of it this way: his primary career defensive position was "corner outfielder".
   51. DanG Posted: April 17, 2003 at 02:55 PM (#512114)
Here's a bio I found of one of my favorites, Dickey Pearce:

"Performing at a top level from 1855 to 1877, Pearce spanned the era from the game's beginnings to the formation of the National league. He and pitcher James Creighton were probably the two first professional baseball players. Pearce sometimes caught Creighton during the famous Brooklyn versus New York All-Star games in the 1850s. Pearce was on the field in 1870 when the Atlantics defeated the Cincinnati Red Stockings, breaking their 88 game winning streak.

At the time, the Atlantics placed him at shortstop, it was the least important position; there was no base to guard and no field to protect. Pearce, the future umpire, developed his role, roaming into the outfield, taking relay throws, backing up bases and shifting positions according to each batter's strengths. Pearce invented the bunt or "baby hit," and was also a master of the fair-foul hit. He was considered the best shortsop in baseball during his entire career except for George Wright duting his very best years."
   52. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 17, 2003 at 03:56 PM (#512115)
Dan, Pearce is one of my favorites, too. I just can't figure out where to put him on my ballot. The same goes for Lip Pike, BTW. Intuitively, I feel they merit the Hall, but quantifying their accomplishments at this point in time is extremely difficult.
   53. Daryn Posted: April 17, 2003 at 04:47 PM (#512117)
has anyone noticed how much more civilized, non-confrontational, thought provoking and just overall better the discussion here is compared to clutch hits. i can't wait until you guys get into the 1920s where i will begin to have a knowledge base of my own to add to enhance the enjoyment of your discussions.

back to your regular programming.
   54. Daryn Posted: April 17, 2003 at 04:49 PM (#512118)
has anyone noticed how much more civilized, non-confrontational, thought provoking and just overall better the discussion here is compared to clutch hits. i can't wait until you guys get into the 1920s where i will begin to have a knowledge base of my own to add to enhance the enjoyment of your discussions.

back to your regular programming.
   55. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 17, 2003 at 05:15 PM (#512121)
has anyone noticed how much more civilized, non-confrontational, thought provoking and just overall better the discussion here is compared to clutch hits.

The problem with Clutch Hits (and I love it, BTW) is that, for many of the threads, there isn't that much to say or think about that hasn't been said already. When you get the threads that are of a political nature, hold on to your hats!

There is much to contemplate in this section of the Primer.
   56. jimd Posted: April 17, 2003 at 05:57 PM (#512123)
This is either a timing coincidence, or Charlie Bennett was taking advantage of some feature of the Detroit ballpark. If it was the latter, he was taking advantage of it better than anybody else did so that value-oriented park adjustments show him to be much more valuable when he played with Detroit than he was before or after in his career. His Detroit years also just happen to coincide with his peak years age 26-33, so it all might be just a big coincidence instead. During those years, both his power and average were considerably higher than during the rest of his career.

Year Ag Tm Lg *OPS+
+--------------+----+
1878 23 MLG NL 89
1880 25 WOR NL 86
1881 26 DTN NL 149
1882 27 DTN NL 151
1883 28 DTN NL 152
1884 29 DTN NL 130
1885 30 DTN NL 161
1886 31 DTN NL 129
1887 32 DTN NL 109
1888 33 DTN NL 137
1889 34 BSN NL 70
1890 35 BSN NL 97
1891 36 BSN NL 85
1892 37 BSN NL 81
1893 38 BSN NL 69

Anybody have any insight into this?

   57. Marc Posted: April 17, 2003 at 06:27 PM (#512124)
Thanks for the info re. Stovey, if I wasn't so lazy I would have looked it up. I thought I saw his OF games all being LF.... I would call him a 1B, too, then. I agree that all OF positions are not created equal.

But, then what say you re. Stan Musial. I for one am tired of being ridiculed for listing him, too, as a 1B.
   58. DanG Posted: April 17, 2003 at 07:05 PM (#512128)
MattB gave us this list of new candidates for the 1900 election: John Clarkson, Charlie Comiskey, Jerry Denny, Tony Mullane, Paul Radford, Danny Richardson, and Monte Ward. To this I added Elton Chamberlain. Those eight appear to be all that matter.

I looked for 1895 retirees for the 1901 election. A decidedly weaker group, Jack Glasscock and Oyster Burns are the best. Pitcher Harry Staley (136 wins) also retired then. With these there are several token appearance candidates:

Arlie Latham is eligible in 1901, after 8 games in 1896 and 6 games in 1899.
Dave Foutz is eligible in 1901, after 2 games in 1896.
Bill Hutchison is eligible in 1901, after no games in 1896 and pitching 6 in 1897.
Matt Kilroy may be eligible in 1901. He is discussed in the "Token appearances" thread.
Those seven appear to be all that matter.

I looked for 1896 retirees for the 1902 election. The big name is Dan Brouthers. Other names include Tommy McCarthy, Connie Mack, Shorty Fuller, Chip McGarr, Doggie Miller and Ad Gumbert. With these there are several token appearance candidates:

Buck Ewing is eligible in 1902, after 1 game in 1897.
Adonis Terry is eligible in 1902, after 1 game in 1897.
Ed Stein is eligible in 1902, after pitching 3 games in 1898.
Sam Thompson may be eligible in 1902. He is discussed in the "Token appearances" thread.
Negro star George Stovey reportedly retired in 1896, so he is eligible in 1902.
Those twelve appear to be all that matter.

   59. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 17, 2003 at 07:11 PM (#512129)
Those 1901 eligibles are pretty feeble. Only Glasscock will make it (and easily).
   60. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 17, 2003 at 07:18 PM (#512130)
Those 1901 eligibles are pretty feeble. Only Glasscock will make it (and easily).

I meant to say he would make it easily on to most ballots. Whether he will be elected is a different story (though I think he should).
   61. Marc Posted: April 17, 2003 at 08:30 PM (#512132)
>Bob Caruthers 193-124 (quite a hitter)

Having looked up Freedom-Loving Bob's (you're welcome) record, I have to respond to this image of Liberty Bob ;-) as "quite a hitter." Not to say that "quite a hitter" is not accurate at some gross level, but, well, it is accurate only at a gross level. I just can't figure this out:

Caruthers OPS+
1884-113 in just approx. 86 PA (AA)
1885-83 in approx. 232 PA
1886-196 in approx. 381 PA
1887-164 in approx. 496 PA
1888-113 in approx. 380 PA
1889-121 in approx. 216 PA
1890-115 in approx. 285 (NL)
1891-120 in approx. 196
1892-131 in approx. 599
1893-119 in approx. 134

1887 was the year that BBs counted as BHs, right? That accts for his BA of .456 that year. But how do you account for this line from 1886-.334/.448/.527. Ignoring '87, his next best numbers are .281/.408/.380 (not all in the same year). Take away '87 and he is NOT a .300 hitter (recorded career BA .301) nor a .400 slugger (recorded career SA exactly .400). If he had been a full-time career OF, he had two of the great fluke seasons of all-time. He's Cy Seymour X 2.

Can anybody account for his '86 and '87 seasons within an otherwise fairly ordinary career trajectory?

   62. jimd Posted: April 17, 2003 at 09:20 PM (#512133)
Yes, Caruthers has an interesting career trajectory. After a warmup year in 1884, he had his best pitching season in 1885. Each year afterwards, his ERA+ slips a little until in 1892 it falls off a cliff (and he is banished to full time duty in the OF).

No question, 1886 and 1887 are his best batting seasons. He is then traded to Brooklyn and settles in at a very-good 113-121 range (Jeter was 113 last year and is 121 career so far, and Bob is playing a much more demanding defensive position, quite well). You can't tell that the team switched leagues or that 1890 was much weaker from his batting numbers. Unfortunately, I have no explanation on why he was so much better in 1886 and 1887 other than speculating on a park effect that suited him more than others and which he lost when he was traded. (He then bumps up to 131 when back in St.Louis in 1892, a little extra evidence in favor, maybe.)
   63. KJOK Posted: April 17, 2003 at 10:38 PM (#512134)
Prelim Ballot - 1899:
1. King Kelly, RF - Best RF of 19th century.
2. Charlie Bennett, C - Pudge Rodriguez on defense, while a better hitter than Joe Start.
3. Cal McVey, C - Not sure why there's not more love for McVey, one of the best players of the 1870's.
4. George Wright, SS - Certainly best SS of the 1870's.
5. Pete Browning, CF/LF - Better hitter than Gore or Hines even considering competition. Loses points for poor CF defense.
6. Jim O'Rourke, LF - Good, very long career. In between Stan Musial and Pete Rose offensively for LF'ers.
7. Harry Stovey, LF/1B - Slightly better hitter and fielder than O'Rourke, but only 2/3rds the career length.
8. Hardy Richardson, 2B - Very consistent, long career. One of top 2nd basemen almost every year.
9. Al Spalding, P - Best pitcher of NA. May have wone 4 or 5 Cy Youngs in row.
10. Ned Williamson, 3B - Fielding was way above everyone else.
11. Ezra Sutton, 3B - Long career. Good hitter, but quite a few mediocre years right in middle of career.
12. Bob Carruthers, P - I've got a bunch of pitchers close together - hitting pushes Carruthers ahead.
13. Charley Radbourn, P - Baseball's Best Pitcher '82-'84.
14. Time Keefe, P - Over 5,000 innings with 125 ERA+ deserves credit.
15. Dave Orr, 1B - Way better hitter than the popular Joe Start in roughly the same number of appearances.



   64. Howie Menckel Posted: April 18, 2003 at 01:00 PM (#512136)
Found it interesting that NO ONE had the White-Hines-Gore-Barnes exacta in that order in the first round. I may have come the closest (hines-white-gore-barnes), not that it matters.
Also, when does our first serious Negro Leagues candidate come up? Even if not sure-fire HOMer, they may at least deserve top 15 votes..

Anyway, a rough draft:

1. Jim O'Rourke - the quantity and quality in one neat package
2. George Wright - class of remaining 1898 class, deserves HOM nod

3. King Kelly - great and charismatic, but can wait a year
4. Tim Keefe - Clarkson should be first P, but he's right behind
5. Ezra Sutton - Offense, defense, career length. solid
6. Hoss Radbourn - I'm still struggling with him, frankly
7. Charlie Bennett - Great C, will be mulled for many years, I bet
8. Joe Start - Respect his WHOLE career, and he's a serious candidate
9. Hardy Richardson - Does anyone want him in HOM, though?
10. Harry Stovey - Have an anti-AA bias, but sweet numbers
11. Pete Browning - See Stovey comment
12. Bob Carruthers - Ok, fascinated by hitter-pitcher combo
13. Al Spalding - Referendum on his ever deserving HOM? No, I say
14. Pud Galvin - there's Merit to this workhorse's career
15. Ed Williamson - Deserves some more ballot time
sending mcvey-oneill-pike-jones-welch, etc. to scrap heap
will have more detail on the final ballot

   65. MattB Posted: April 18, 2003 at 01:39 PM (#512137)
Re: Harry Stovey

I agree with Mark that the two are very comparable. Stovey ranks far behind Kelly on my ballot for two reasons.

1. Kelly caught, too, which gives him a big boost.
2. Among his peers, Kelly was the best (or right around the best) right fielders. Stovey was only the fifth best first baseman among his peers (after Anson, Brouthers, Connor, and Start). Given relatively close stats, best at position will always trump fifth best.
   66. Marc Posted: April 18, 2003 at 04:26 PM (#512139)
The record re. Kelly's fielding is not that clear. To say he was poor means you accept part of his record and not the rest. I think you have to take the whole record. Not that I understand it, of course, but it's just not clear that he was "poor." And I think ranking Stovey ahead of Kelly also sidesteps the AA quality issue. Finally, Browning is a better comp for Kelly (i.e. better than Stovey).
   67. Marc Posted: April 18, 2003 at 05:48 PM (#512141)
The other half of Kelly's defensive record is his assists total which are as high as his pct. is low. I don't claim to understand it, I just don't penalize him (or provide extra credit, either) for something I don't understand.

I agree that he and Stovey come down to AA vs. NL. I don't think my AA discount is excessive compared to some. I do try to apply the "same" discount (depending on the year) to Tim Keefe as Harry Stovey. I've seen some posts here that posit huge discounts for Keefe and little or none for Stovey. I'm not saying that's you, Mark, I don't remember who posts what, but "you" can't have it both ways, so I've tried to quantify it and apply it equally to all (per season).
   68. Howie Menckel Posted: April 18, 2003 at 08:41 PM (#512143)
Tom H: I already HAVE a twin, so that presumably removes the separated-at-birth theory ;)

Geesh, peeked a little at upcoming years, and I have anywhere from 8 to 10 of the next 12 slots (1899-1904) locked in by "automatics." Not much if any breathing room for the guys who miss on that first shot. A total of only eight to be picked from 1906-12, and at least half of THOSE slots are basically unavailable for holdovers, too. Didn't realize how few truly open slots would be available in first 10-15 years.

These poor bastards are like crabs in a barrel, all of 'em trying to get out while few if any will ever succeed...
   69. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 19, 2003 at 03:05 PM (#512147)
David -- Calling Charlie's best comp Brad Ausmus is ludicrous. Idon't say that to be mean, but . . . Ausmus 81 OPS+, Bennett 118. .342/.430 was avg for leaugue in Ausmus' career; .311/.355 was the league in Bennett's career.

I have to agree. Sim scores fell apart on that one. Bennett was arguably the best catcher of the 1880s (Buck Ewing was the best player who caught), while Brad Ausmus was..., well... , Brad Ausmus! :-)
   70. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 19, 2003 at 05:20 PM (#512149)
Just because someone is the best player at his position for an arbitrary period of time (we could just as easily look at 1883-1892), doesn't mean he's HOM material.

No disagreement there, David. Ewing will be at the top of my ballot when he is eligible, while Bennett falls short of that honor.

I think we need to take into account the different workload and abuse levels that the 19th century catcher faced back then as compared to today. I could be wrong, but didn't Bennett have the record for most games as a catcher when he retired?

BTW, I have Bennett as the best catcher for the years 1881, 1882, and 1883.
   71. Jeff M Posted: April 19, 2003 at 10:13 PM (#512151)
Still very confused about why Williamson remains on some ballots, but here's my preliminary take for 1899. I need to take a longer look at Bennett, since there seems to be quite a bit of support for him. He may end up in the Top 15 somewhere.

1. JIM O'ROURKE -- About 50% better than the league as a hitter. Good WS peak and career totals. A long, consistent and well-rounded career.

2. TIM KEEFE -- Tons of black ink spread over many categories. Again, a long and consistent career with lots of wins and good relative ERAs. Amazing between 1883-1890 (followed by his only bad year in 1891).

3. HOSS RADBOURN -- Was 3rd on my 1898 ballot and didn't get in. I Hoss had some really unbelievable seasons. What a workhorse! Have him behind Keefe b/c Keefe's career was longer and more consistent. I would elect him in 1901.

4. KING KELLY -- Not as productive as O'Rourke when considering the boost he got from the ballparks he played in. Don't know what to do with his defense, so I've essentially treated it neutrally. Lots of STATS All-Star games, but I can't help feeling that part of his reputation has more to do with personality than performance. Still, he deserves a very high place on the ballot and think he should be elected around 1901 (though I'm pretty sure everyone else will elect him this time).

5. HARRY STOVEY -- Powerful hitter for his era. Would have been perennial All-Star. Gave approximate 5% discount for AA play and he still ends up 5th on ballot. I would elect him in 1902.

6. PETE BROWNING -- Poor defense puts him behind Kelly as OF. Of the three hitters ahead of him, he may have been more productive, but he gets, an AA discount and had a shorter career than O'Rourke. I would elect him in 1905.

7. BOB CARUTHERS -- Amazing win pct and good ERA with lots of Black Ink. Doesn't dominate like Radbourn for any period and didn't last as long as Keefe, but gets a boost for his hitting. I would elect him around 1905.

8. TIP O'NEILL -- Carryover from 1898 ballot (where he placed 6th). A feared hitter, but gets a bit of a discount because of AA seasons. I would elect him around 1906.

9. AL SPALDING -- Carryover from 1898 ballot where he placed 7th). Was really incredible if the ballpark factors from this era are accurate. His numbers may have been supressed by as much as 8%. Who knows about his pre-1871 days? I would consider electing him around 1906.

10. MICKEY WELCH -- Carryover from 1898 ballot (where he placed 8th). Welch was extremely steady, but loses points because he was not dominant. No black ink (unless you count 2 saves as the league leader), but gray ink is fantastic. I would consider electing him around 1908.

11. JOE START -- Carryover from 1898 ballot (where he placed 10th). Will pale in comparison to future 1B we see. Will be in and out of my ballots for a while, but only bringing up the lower half. Possible he could be elected around 1910 when the retiring talent gets thin.

12. CAL MCVEY -- Carryover from 1898 ballot (where he placed 11th). Would have been a perennial All-Star in his time, but he didn't play very long. Played as much 1B as catcher, but gets a small boost for catching activities. Also a discount for NA career. Long shot to be elected.

13. PUD GALVIN -- Carryover from 1989 ballot (where he placed 12th). Lots of up and down years. A poor win pct for someone of his caliber. Still, he put up big numbers. I don't know where to put him, but I think he ought to stay in the Top 15 at this stage. Long shot to be elected.

14. JIM MCCORMICK -- Carryover from 1898 ballot (where he placed 9th). I've lost some confidence in him. Seemed to have either great years or terrible years, but the great ones show how good he can be. He produced lots of black ink. Will never be elected.

15. HARDY RICHARDSON -- Carryover from 1989 ballot (where he placed 14th). He'll hang around on the ballot, but is a long shot for election. Not really dominant in any category.

Dropped: Charley Jones (13th on 1898 ballot) and Tommy Bond (15th on 1898 ballot).
   72. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 21, 2003 at 01:50 AM (#512156)
I don't believe Bresnahan is as bad a candidate as a lot of others.

I agree with you, Joe. I haven't figured out where he belongs yet, but I feel that he's at least a borderline candidate.
   73. KJOK Posted: April 21, 2003 at 07:52 PM (#512157)
Charlie Bennett and "short" career.

While it's true he may have had a short career relative to non-catchers, he actually had a long catching career relative to his 1880's catching peers:

Name Est.Innings Caught
Charlie Bennett 8100
Silver Flint 6200
Doc Bushong 5900
Buck Ewing 5400
Jock Milligan 5200
   74. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 21, 2003 at 08:07 PM (#512159)
I went back and did that this afternoon and am certainly going to be filing a very different ballot as a result.

The same goes for me.
   75. DanG Posted: April 21, 2003 at 08:24 PM (#512160)
From the Catchers thread:

I'm fairly sure that Deacon White was the first man to catch 400 games, reaching that mark in 1879. He caught very little after that year.

Pop Snyder was right behind White and soon passed him. Snyder reached 800 games caught in 1888 and ended his career in 1891 as the all-time leader with 877.

The year after Snyder retired, Charlie Bennett passed him up. Bennett retired after 1893 with 954 games caught.

The top 16 in games at catcher, through 1892, with year retired:
894 C. Bennett '93
877 P. Snyder '91
743 S. Flint '89
668 D. Bushong '90
646 J. Clements '00
635 B. Ewing '97
566 K. Kelly '93
542 J. Milligan '93
538 B. Holbert '88
534 W. Robinson '02
516 C. Zimmer '03
486 C. Mack '96
472 J. Clapp '83
461 D. Miller '96
459 B. Gilligan '88
458 D. White '90
   76. KJOK Posted: April 21, 2003 at 08:34 PM (#512161)
Thought some of you might find this interesting and may have a bearing on the proceedings here:

In its January 1911 number, three-year-old Baseball Magazine opined, "We believe that our magazine is peculiarly fitted to act in the general province of an umpire in such controversies." It asked readers to send "any scrap of information . . . especially about the older players" and "honest judgment" concerning who was deserving. "[W]e will try to mould from the general consensus of opinion . . . a list which shall stand the test of time as the roll of honor for the leading baseball players of history." In its next six monthly numbers, the magazine named eighteen players to the Hall of Fame.

February: Adrian Anson, Ed Delahanty, Mike Kelly
March: John Ward, Al Spalding, Buck Ewing
April: George Wright, Charles Ferguson, Ed Williamson
May: Dan Brouthers, Charlie Comiskey, Charlie Bennett
June: Fred Pfeffer, Jerry Denny, James Fogarty
July: Nap Lajoie, Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb

http://web.archive.org/web/20040208175456/http://world.std.com/~pgw/Deadball/hof.bbmag.html

   77. Marc Posted: April 22, 2003 at 12:11 AM (#512162)
I don't know what to make of this, and it isn't even Charles Ferguson that bothers me--well, OK, it's Fergy and...the June threesome. Look up Fogarty, BTW, and you will note a strong Philly bias to the proceedings.

Interesting, however, that they elected Cobb on the basis of less than 4.5 seasons! It sure would be interesting if we threw out any retirement requirement and said, just vote for a guy as soon as he has accumulated the necessary resume for you to do so! That would be creative.
   78. Howie Menckel Posted: April 22, 2003 at 01:23 AM (#512163)
Bugs me a little that that baseball mag ALSO has Williamson ahead of Sutton - I know, not scientific, but their battle ironically may keep both out, a la "splitting the vote."

Anyone want to either revive or kill (again) Old Hoss Radbourn? I'm not really enthused about voting him in in "1952" or something. I wanna either help propel him in soon, or let Clarkson and (presumably) Keefe and then Nichols and Cy Young carry the water for the earliest pitching greats.
   79. DanG Posted: April 22, 2003 at 04:43 AM (#512165)
From Win Shares, here are the career defensive innings as estimated by Bill James, along with the defensive grade he assigns them:

8131 C. Bennett A
6594 P. Snyder A+
6222 S. Flint B
5923 D. Bushong B+
5413 B. Ewing A+
5233 C. Mack C+
5203 D. Miller C-
5182 J. Milligan B
4714 B. Holbert A
4365 K. Kelly B

National Association play is not included. King Kelly, apparently, played a lot more partial games at catcher than the others here.

   80. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 22, 2003 at 05:29 AM (#512166)
Gus Schmelz?
   81. Marc Posted: April 22, 2003 at 04:29 PM (#512170)
Charles Ferguson died young (age 24?) after four spectacular seasons as a pitcher and hitter. Better than Caruthers on both counts.
   82. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 22, 2003 at 04:30 PM (#512171)
He managed, at various times, from 1884-1897. He was the skipper of Cincinnati and Columbus in the AA and St. Louis (Maroons), Cleveland, and Washington in the NL.

I had never heard of him before I checked the encyclopedia.

A better question might be: "Charles Ferguson?"

He was the Herb Score or Mark Fidrych of his time. A big "what if?"
   83. KJOK Posted: April 22, 2003 at 06:37 PM (#512172)
Since the Win Shares defensive ratings were presented, thought we should also present the Baseball Prospectus Ratings:

Innings Name WS BP
8131 C. Bennett A 137
6594 P. Snyder A+ 119
6222 S. Flint B 127
5923 D. Bushong B+ 120
5413 B. Ewing A+ 129
5233 C. Mack C+ 101
5203 D. Miller C- 100
5182 J. Milligan B 110
4714 B. Holbert A 132
4365 K. Kelly B 98
   84. KJOK Posted: April 22, 2003 at 07:11 PM (#512175)
Since the Win Shares defensive ratings were presented, thought we should also present the Baseball Prospectus Ratings:

Innings Name WS BP
8131 C. Bennett A 137
6594 P. Snyder A+ 119
6222 S. Flint B 127
5923 D. Bushong B+ 120
5413 B. Ewing A+ 129
5233 C. Mack C+ 101
5203 D. Miller C- 100
5182 J. Milligan B 110
4714 B. Holbert A 132
4365 K. Kelly B 98
   85. jimd Posted: April 22, 2003 at 10:27 PM (#512176)
Charlie Ferguson.

Imagine Roger Clemens dead after 1987. (They are both 21 year-old rookies in '84.)

Yr RCl CFe (ERA+ at the same age)
84 096 084
85 130 126
86 169 166
87 154 140

Who knows what happens afterwards for Ferguson if typhoid doesn't kill him. Odds are Ferguson has the same problems with the pitching distance change after '92 as Clarkson, etc. Also, Clarkson has a similar ERA+ pattern for his seasons at the same age through the 1885 season. (68, 146, 165, 150)

   86. Marc Posted: April 23, 2003 at 12:21 AM (#512177)
Then there's this offensive line for Ferguson .288 .259 .364 .307 .372 .357 .735 .665 122 versus Caruthers at 134 (both debuted in '84). Even if Ferguson had stumbled over the 60 foot distance, four more years at 122 ERA+ and 122 OPS+ in the NL basically makes him better than Caruthers by the AA discount amount (maybe 5%).
   87. Al Peterson Posted: April 23, 2003 at 02:32 PM (#512178)
Adding some thoughts on Harry Stovey since his ranking is going all over the place. Some of this doesn't have a sabermetric slant but oh well.

Whatever discount you want to give for AA ball is fine. But how little respect are we giving a player who was a league leader in homers 5 times, triples 4 times? Maybe people shouldn't get too excited about Black and Grey Ink numbers, but Stovey is at 56/210. An average HOF is at 27/144. The man played OF in addition to 1B for those who want to compare numbers to other 1Bmen only.

Being that good in the AA is still a worthy player to recognize.
   88. MattB Posted: April 24, 2003 at 02:58 PM (#512181)
He was on my 1898 ballot, but was dropped off in 1899. I will take some time over the next week to reconsider his credentials.
   89. Jeff M Posted: April 24, 2003 at 03:03 PM (#512182)
McCormick was 9th on my 1898 ballot. At this point, I have him about 14th on the 1899 ballot. I think he was a very very good pitcher, but just shy of the HOM. I too will take a second look before casting my final ballot in 1899.
   90. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 24, 2003 at 03:15 PM (#512183)
Being that good in the AA is still a worthy player to recognize.

Agreed. I have him as the best first baseman in all of baseball for 1883, plus he gets the nod for 1888 as the best leftfielder. He was also near the top a couple of other seasons.

The problem with him is his career is relatively short for either a first baseman or leftfielder. If he had played a few more seasons, he would have made my top ten.

I have Stovey as the fourth best first baseman of his time. If we include him with the leftfielders, he would place third behind O'Rourke and Tom York. It's close with York, but Stovey has about half the goods of Orator Jim, IMO.

I can see Stovey at the bottom of the ballot, but that's about it.

I encourage a 2nd look at Jim McCormick on your 1900 ballots.

Fine, fine pitcher, but he doesn't belong with Clarkson or Keefe. I have him pegged with Galvin, Radbourn, and Welch. Best pitcher of 1880, though.

BTW, Radbourn could be the best pitcher of the 19th century if we knew what he did prior to the NL. The man was 27 when he made his debut in 1881, yet still managed to win 300 games.
   91. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: April 24, 2003 at 06:33 PM (#512184)
My gut feeling on Williamson's fame is that he played for a Chicago team that was the most famous of its era with Anson, Kelly and the rest, while Sutton was over in Boston with nobody whose fame has endured (check out the 1883 Beaneaters for probably the most anonymous pennant-winners in baseball history). Looking at the guys who picked Williamson in the 1894 poll doesn't show any particular linkages (a la Frankie Frisch). O'Rourke actually played with Sutton in the 1870s, but that was during Ezra's mid-career scuffling, so O'Rourke might have had an unduly negative view of him.

I haven't sorted out my ballot yet, but I have been convinced to change my mind on the Williamson/Sutton debate.
   92. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 24, 2003 at 07:10 PM (#512185)
Ned Williamson. You know, even if Bill James was 40 places off on Sutton, he's still behind Williamson. I'm not sure you're not overadjusting, Joe.

I took this from your 1898 ballot, Devin.

What James missed was Sutton's NA years, plus he ignored the different game schedules between Williamson and Sutton. If he had made an adjustment for the latter, Sutton and Williamson would be in a photo finish race. If James had used the NA numbers, Sutton would have easily lapped Williamson.
   93. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: April 24, 2003 at 08:22 PM (#512186)
Yeah, I was wrong there. What I didn't realize is that in addition to undervaluing Sutton by leaving out the NA, James was also overvaluing Williamson. Like I said, that will be different in my 1899 ballot. My 1898 ballot was really kind of a half-assed job.
   94. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 24, 2003 at 08:28 PM (#512187)
My 1898 ballot was really kind of a half-assed job.

:-D

Don't be so hard on yourself. I'm still questioning some of my picks (and omissions). It's not as easy as it looks.

BTW, I'm always happy to see Ezra get some more love. :-)
   95. Howie Menckel Posted: April 25, 2003 at 01:07 AM (#512188)
For what it's worth, I'm open-minded about at least a half-dozen guys.
Problem is, I see 17 or 18 of the next 22 spots being almost automatics, so there isn't much left for what soon will be seen as perennial runnersup. That makes most of the picking easy, but also puts a ton of pressure on "getting it right" in the few years where we really do have a spot up for grabs. And beyond the top "also-rans" we already see are similar players also begging for support.
Makes you wonder how the hell the HOF found room for so many stiffs!
   96. Marc Posted: April 28, 2003 at 08:35 PM (#512189)
Speaking of Charlie Ferguson (weren't we?), there is a list of Phillies no-hitters in today's USA Today (is that redundant?). Anyway, the first Phillies no-hitter was by Charlie Ferguson, but the list says it was in 1895. That had to be 1885, I would guess.
   97. jimd Posted: April 28, 2003 at 10:21 PM (#512190)
For those who missed it, a Clutch Hit from two months ago about Charlie Ferguson, complete with biographical newspaper article.
   98. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 07, 2004 at 11:19 PM (#783892)
Posts reconstructed up to #112. The rest need Jim's help now.
   99. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 08, 2004 at 02:45 AM (#784151)
"Does anyone have a sense on how many of these guys will ultimately make the HOM?"
My guess is only 6 or 7 guys on this ballot will eventually be honored. The fun will be when 15 "years" from now there are some of us still campaigning and voting for the ones we thought were deserving but have been often passed over. I can see a future set of ballots: a whole pile of "1. Nap Lajoie"s and then some with 2. Harry Stovey, others 2. Hoss Radbourn, still others 2. George Wright or Joe Start......


Nah, that could never happen. :-)

BTW, Tom's guess at how many more HoMers we would have on this ballot was slightly off. Fifteen players have been elected so far (and Pike still has a chance to be #16). Of course, I probably agreed with Tom at the time.
   100. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 05, 2004 at 04:33 PM (#837878)
This thread is fully restored now

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