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

Monday, April 28, 2003

1899 Results - Jim O’Rourke and King Kelly Elected to the Hall of Merit

Jim O’Rourke and King Kelly have been elected by an overwhelming majority to the Hall of Merit. O’Rourke, 48, will be at the ceremony, Kelly died in 1894 and will be honored posthumously.

Buck Freeman, Dan McGann, Gus Weyhing, Bill Dinneen and the Washington Senators will face John McGraw, Wilbert Robinson, Jimmy Sheckard, Joe McGinnity and the Baltimore Orioles in the Hall of Merit game this year.

Tim Keefe, who finished 4th, was the only player besides the electees to be named on all 31 ballots. Twelve players received at least one first or second place ballot, but Wright and the electees were the only ones to receive more than 3 such votes.

RK  LY  Player       Pts Bal    1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15
1.  --  J.O'Rourke   699  31   21  4  3  2     1
2.  --  K.Kelly      625  31    4 12  5  7  1     2
3.   6  G.Wright     505  30    1  6  5  2  2  8  2  1        2           1
4.  --  T.Keefe      480  31       2  6  4  6  3  3  2  2  1           2
5.  --  H.Stovey     410  30    2     1  3  3  5  3  3  2  1  1  2     2  2
6.   5  C.Radbourn   401  29    2  1  3  2  2  1  1  5  3  2     4  2     1
7.   8  H.Richardson 378  29       1     5  1  2  1  4  6  4  1  1  2  1
8.   7  E.Sutton     370  27       1  3  2  6     4  2  2  1  2        2  2
9.   9  A.Spalding   307  23    1  1  3     2  2  2     3  1  3  2  1  1  1
10. 11  J.Start      286  24       1        2  2  1  2  5  2  4  2  1  1  1
11. --  B.Caruthers  279  23       1     1  2  3  2  2     1  4  4  1  1  1
12. --  C.Bennett    272  25       1  1  1  1  1     1  2  5  2  1  3  2  4
13. --  P.Browning   271  25                2  1  2  3  1  5  3  2  2  2  2
14. 10  E.Williamson 250  25                      3  1  3  3  3  6  3     3
15. 13  C.McVey      163  15.5        1        1  3  1        2  1  3  1  2.5
16. 12  P.Galvin     141  13             2        1  1  1  1  2     2  3
17. 15  L.Pike        91  11                      1              3  1  6
18. 14  T.O'Neill     69   7                1        1  1           2     2
19. 18  F.Dunlap*     59   7                               1     1  4  1
20. 17  M.Welch       59   7                         1     1  1        1  3
21. 19  J.McCormick   41   5                               1  1     1     2
22. 31  D.Pearce      32   3                   1                 1  1
23. 16  C.Jones       30   4                                     1     3
24. 22  J.Whitney     24   2                         1     1
25. 23  T.York        20   3                                        1     2
26. --  H.Larkin      10   1.5                                         1   .5
27. 28  B.Mathews      8   1                                        1
28. 24  T.Bond         7   1                                           1
29. 20  D.Orr          6   1                                              1
* won tiebreaker, ahead 7-6 on individual ballots naming either player.

Dropped Out: A.Dalrymple (21), H.Wright (25), J.Creighton (26), L.Meyerle (27),
J.Clapp (29), Hugh Nichol (30), B.Sunday (32), C.Cummings (33).

 

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: April 28, 2003 at 10:00 PM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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Reader Comments and Retorts

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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. Marc Posted: April 28, 2003 at 10:38 PM (#512578)
Most overrated--Stovey
Most underrated--Spalding
   2. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 29, 2003 at 05:00 AM (#512583)
Most overrated: Harry Stovey (I didn't even list him)

Most underrated: Al Spalding (had him #3)

I'm in agreement with Marc.
   3. Sean Gilman Posted: April 29, 2003 at 07:12 AM (#512584)
Sorry, I just got back from work. Here's the link to the HOM Game:
http://www.whatifsports.com/mlb/boxscore.asp?GameID=8129495&ad=1
   4. MattB Posted: April 29, 2003 at 12:57 PM (#512585)
Most overrated: Definitely Stovey
Most underrated: Start and Caruthers
   5. Marc Posted: April 29, 2003 at 05:03 PM (#512587)
Mark, interesting take on how our methodology (extra points for top x number of players on each ballot) affects "over" and "under" rated. I think the notion that Wright is underrated, however, simply means that some people think he is #1 or #2 rather than 3, 5 or 6. In Stovey's case, the folks who said he is overrated have him 12th or 15th or unranked, not 7th.

But your point is an interesting one nevertheless. It will be interesting to see at some future time if an election outcome is swayed by our scoring method. I suspect it will. I doubt if that was the case so far.
   6. Marc Posted: April 29, 2003 at 05:04 PM (#512588)
PS. Of course, the method was MEANT to affect outcomes, otherwise there is no reason to do it.
   7. DanG Posted: April 29, 2003 at 06:12 PM (#512589)
I discern a slightly disturbing trend, a sign that our voters may be prone to some of the ills that plague the BBWAA electorate. There seems to be the tendency among some to arrange their ballot dependent upon who else happens to be on the ballot. That is, rankings are being influenced by competition with similar candidates and are not being arranged simply according to merit.

The clearest indication of this is the voting patterns of George Wright and Hoss Radbourn. In 1898, Radbourn edged Wright in the voting, mainly due to four voters leaving Wright off their ballot. In 1899, Wright finished well ahead of Radbourn. Wright was the only major candidate who experienced a significant increase in support from year one to year two. What changed?

IMO, it was the competition for votes, more than anything else. Wright was no longer being compared unfavorably with Ross Barnes (and to a lesser degree, Deacon White). Some voters give a boost to the best candiate in a category, in this case the "best 1870's candidate" on the ballot. Despite the influx of great new candidates, Wright's 1st-thru-3rd place votes increased from 4 in 1898, to 12 in 1899.

At the same time, Radbourn was suffering by comparison to newbie Tim Keefe. IIRC, several voters even came out and said they were downgrading Hoss because Keefe was now the best pitching candidate. Radbourn's lower-than-11th place votes increased from 2 to 9.

To me, there is no place for this "best in his class" type of balloting. Candidates should be ranked according to their merit, unrelated to whatever similar candidates haapen to also be candidates.

Having said all that, I really don't think we're as prone to this tendency as much as the BBWAA. There are additional factors influencing the phenomena I describe. I doubt that many voters would admit to harboring this tendency, it happens mostly unintentionally. I raise the issue because there seem to be signs of it here, and awareness of the possibility makes it avoidable.
   8. Carl Goetz Posted: April 29, 2003 at 06:34 PM (#512590)
Dan G,
I agree that this would be disturbing when we get to the modern era, but right now, it is extremely difficult to compare hitters to pitchers. I am 1 of the people who put Radbourn 4th on my 1898 ballot and dropped him to 8th later on. He was the best pitcher IMO in 1898 and I had Keefe and Caruthers ahead of him in 1899. Because of this comparison dilemma, voters are trying to fit pitchers into the mix in a statistically agreeable ratio. I myself felt that 3 on the 1st ballot and 5 on the 2nd was a suitable number of pitchers and I tried to disperse them on the ballots evenly. I'll admit that this is a far from perfect method, but at this point, it is hard enough ranking 2 players at the same position(see Sutton/Williamson debate), let along across positions(especially pitchers to hitters). I think the vast majority of people in this group are trying their best to rank the players by merit. Its just an overwhelming task at this point.
   9. MattB Posted: April 29, 2003 at 07:12 PM (#512591)
Dan,

"To me, there is no place for this "best in his class" type of balloting. Candidates should be ranked according to their merit, unrelated to whatever similar candidates haapen to also be candidates."

Except that part of a player's merit is comparative. Who was better: Ezra Sutton or Charley Radbourn? They don't have a lot of factors in common to compare. And there is no single number scale upon which you can compare them (if there were, then you could just use WARP-3 or Win Shares and go home). Part of the analysis was, "Was he the best?" When Sutton and Radbourn were the best at their respective positions, I had them close together.

Now, with the new information of Clarkson, Keefe, and Caruthers joining the ballot, all of whom I consider better than Radbourn, I re-assess Radbourn and think, "Is there a reason to believe that the fourth best pitcher was more valuable than the best third baseman?" I answer "No" and drop Radbourn accordingly.

Did the existence of Clarkson somehow make Radbourn worse than Sutton when he would otherwise have been better? Of course not. But the existence of Clarkson gave me more information that I did not otherwise have that convinced me that Radbourn wasn't as impressive as I originally thought.

My fear is actually the reverse. In a Win Shares centered post-Voros world where everyone is discounting any pitcher performance that relies upon outs on balls in play, I am concerned that reliance on pure ranking will place good infielders over great pitchers. Greg Maddux had an 5.0 WARP-3 in 2002 (but 157 ERA+), Jimmy Rollins had a 5.3 WARP-3 (but an 87 OPS+). Who had the more valuable season? Does it matter that Maddux was near the top of every relevant pitching stat, while Rollins led only in triples?

There is more to comparing Rollins to Maddux than just looking at the two in a vacuum and determining who has more Merit-units. The existence of A-Rod (much better than Rollins) and Randy Johnson (somewhat better than Maddux) will necessarily color your judgment, and rightfully so I think.
   10. RobC Posted: April 29, 2003 at 09:55 PM (#512594)
On the Maddux-Rollins warp-3 issue:

Also note that Maddux only had 199 innings in 2002. In 2002, when he pitched at the same level (155 ERA+) he had 50 more innings, and an 8.2 warp-3. WARP says that playing time matters.
   11. RobC Posted: April 29, 2003 at 09:56 PM (#512595)
That 2002 in the second sentence should be 2000, of course.
   12. Marc Posted: April 30, 2003 at 03:13 AM (#512597)
Oops. A case of mistaken identity. I mistook my own identity. That last post was from me. I meant to address it to Joe. Doh!
   13. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 07, 2004 at 11:34 PM (#783942)
These posts are CLEAN!

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