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

Monday, April 28, 2003

New Eligibles for 1900

The 20th Century is almost upon us (that starts in 1901). William McKinley will be facing off with Williams Jenning Bryan in the Presidential Election. Some other facts about our nation this year:

- 76 million people
- median age is 23 (35 in 1998); life expectancy is 47 (76 in 1998)
- average salary is 18.7 cents an hour (52 hour week on average); $11.48 an hour for a 37.9 hour week in 1998.
- 1 in 7 homes have a bathtub
- 1 in 13 homes have a telephone
- Brownie camera: $1
- lb.of sugar: 4 cents
- dozen eggs: 14 cents
- lb. of butter: 24 cents
- there were 4,000 cars sold, world wide
- 42% of the workforce are farmers (3% in 1998).

Oh yeah, we’ll be electing 2 new members to the Hall of Merit. The top newcomers:

Elton Chamberlain
John Clarkson
Charlie Comiskey
Jerry Denny
George Haddock
Tony Mullane
Paul Radford
Danny Richardson
Larry Twitchell
John Montgomery Ward
Farmer Weaver

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: April 28, 2003 at 10:53 PM | 122 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. RobC Posted: April 28, 2003 at 11:28 PM (#512599)
Here is my 1/2 lb of sugar worth of comments on the next ballot, with comments on things that have changed.

1. Monte Ward (-) High peak. Short career. Twice.
2. Hardy Richardson (2*)
3. Charlie Bennett (3)
4. Pud Galvin (4*)
5. Harry Stovey (6)
6. Old Hoss Radbourn (9) I am valueing pitchers a little higher now.
7. George Wright (7)
8. Ezra Sutton (8)
9. Fred Dunlap (10)
10. Ned Williamson (12)
11. Tim Keefe (14)
12. Jim Whitney (!) He almost made my '98 ballot. Didnt even consider him in '99. Reevaluated pitchers this time, and here he is. I like the peak.
13. Pete Browning (11) If I could ignore the defense...
14. Tom York (13) I considered moving him up to 9. And out of my list all together. He falls somewhere in there.
15. Joe Start (15)

Wheres Clarkson? He's sitting right there with the bottom 7 guys. And McCormick. Throw the 9 in a hat and draw 7 out. Assuming it doesnt change in the next 2 weeks, it probably will in the 2 weeks after that.

   2. Marc Posted: April 29, 2003 at 12:23 AM (#512601)
Wow, the prelims started fast!

1. Spalding (up from 2)
2. Clarkson--best pure pitcher on the board for career value though I like Albert's peak plus some hitting
3. Ward--RobC, I couldn't have said it better but I will in the future.
4. Wright (also 4 last time)--my heart says maybe even #1 but my head says #8, so he goes in between.
5. Keefe (same as last time)--a little heavy on the pitchers this year but we haven't elected any so...
6. Radbourn (up from 10)--I took a look at pitcher hitting which I hadn't done before and Hoss was hardly the best of his day (OPS+ 72, 11 OWS) but it helps
7. McVey (down from 6)
8. Richardson (up from 9)
9. Caruthers (up from 11)--actually I had considered his hitting previously for obvious reasons but I decided Freedom Bob was the best of the AA instead of Pistol Pete
10. Browning (down from 8)
11. Stovey (up from 11)--I'm not a big Stovey fan but we're running out of credible candidates about now
12. Bennett (up from 13)
13. Pike (down from 7)--slips mostly because it's pretty obvious he ain't never gonna get elected, but I still like the guy a lot (e.g. better than his near-contemporary, Start). I'm going to start referring to Pike as "Finish." As in you can have the Start, I'll take the Finish.
14. Sutton (same as last time)
15. Williamson (ditto)

Actually nobody drops off my ballot except some guys named O'Rourke and Kelly. Start and Jones are next but not really close.

   3. Marc Posted: April 29, 2003 at 12:26 AM (#512602)
P.S. re. John Ward. One of his comps is Addie Joss. Another is Maury Wills. Think about it. If Addie Joss dies and comes back as Maury Wills, it adds up to John Ward.
   4. jimd Posted: April 29, 2003 at 01:37 AM (#512603)
Leftover ballot:
1) Radbourn
2) Wright
3) vacant
4) vacant
5) Spalding
6) Keefe
7) Richardson
8) Galvin
9) Bennett
10) Whitney
11) Start
12) Caruthers
13) McCormick
14) Stovey
15) Sutton

New and probably worthy: Ward, Clarkson, Mullane

How much are two marginal HOM careers worth when combined? We'll find out when we consider J.M.Ward. He wasn't as good a pitcher as Radbourn, though they were about equal as hitting pitchers; Ward made himself into a league average hitter later in his career, which when combined with his superlative fielding made him a star SS. But I doubt he made people forget George Wright, who was far more dominant a hitter, at least early in his career (Wright also seems to have possibly been affected by the fair/foul rule change). Ward's combination makes for a more valuable career than anybody on this ballot. (Note: Radbourn replaced Ward as Providence's #1, though it's not clear whose decision this was; was it because the manager saw Hoss as the #1 over Ward or because Ward wanted to convert to a fielder?)

I already have a pitching heavy ballot (7 of 15). Clarkson is another definite inclusion (the eighth; we gotta put some pitchers in the HOM, guys; our disagreements over pitching evaluation are creating a logjam like the 40's HOF). I'm not sure exactly where he will end up on my ballot; at this point, I see him as competitive with Keefe and Galvin.

Mullane will appeal to those who see the AA as fully equal with the NL; I think that would make Mullane competitive with Keefe and Clarkson. But, I don't see the AA as reaching full parity. The first three seasons and the last two are decidedly inferior to the NL. (NA numbers were not provided in that post, but I would hazard those five AA seasons are weaker than the early NA without the
virtue of at least being the best league available.) Four of the other five show as measurably weaker (here the 5% discount seems to be appropriate for 1885-1889). The NL took in four AA franchises during this period (Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and defending champ Brooklyn), draining the AA of significant talent, forcing the AA to raid the high minors for new franchises, and to pick up replacement talent from the dropped NL franchises. IMO, the AA seasons 1882-4 and 1890-1 must be heavily discounted. I don't see Mullane making my ballot, at least until the pitcher backlog begins to be inducted.

   5. MattB Posted: April 29, 2003 at 01:48 AM (#512604)
Okay, class, please tell me what I am missing.

W-L
Bob Caruthers: 218-99
John Ward: 164-102
Advantage: Caruthers

ERA+
Bob Caruthers: 123 (over 2823 innings)
John Ward: 118 (over 2462 innings)
Advantage: Caruthers

Era Adjustment (Pitching)
Caruthers: Late 1880's, AA and NL
Ward: 1878-1883, NL
Advantage: Caruthers

OPS+
Bob Caruthers: 135
John Ward: 93
Advantage: Caruthers

Years, OPS+ over 100
Caruthers: 9
Ward: 6
Advantage: Caruthers

RC/27
Cauruthers: 5.79
Ward: 3.97
Advantage: Caruthers

Ward has 5178 more plate appearances (and 3773 more outs), and the difference was mainly lots of singles. Their walk totals are nearly identical, and Caruthers had more homers and about half as many doubles and triples (despite almost three times as many PAs).

Look at pitching runs on Prospectus: Caruthers wins 595 to 412. Caruthers was clearly the better pitcher.

Look at batting runs: Ward's ahead 313 to 269, but spread over seven more seasons.

Ward does appear to have a big fielding advantage.

Conclusion: Caruthers was the better pitcher. Caruthers was the better hitter per at bat, and was likely better even if you gave Ward twice as many at bats. Are the extra plate appearances at a mediocre or lower level, plus the fielding, enough to put Ward on the tops of ballots, while Caruthers stays at the fringes or off entirely?

What am I missing?

   6. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: April 29, 2003 at 02:42 AM (#512606)
Jim Whitney? I mean, yeah, he was a very good hitter for a pitcher, but he really only had 8 seasons, and he only had an above-average ERA for 5 of them. I know wins and losses are team-dependent, but he had a losing record! I don't know why you'd have him on the ballot and not Caruthers (or several other pitchers).

Oh, and speaking of Freedom Bob, does anybody have a breakdown of his Win Shares into Pitching and Batting by season? It would be helpful to me to try and get a handle on him relative to the rest of the league. (Or, Joe, if you don't mind e-mailing me a copy of your Win Shares spreadsheet, I can figure it out myself.)

As for McCormick, don't forget that he had half a season in the Union Association, with predictable results. I'm not saying he's not a viable candidate, but it took me a minute to catch that, so I thought I'd point it out.
   7. jimd Posted: April 29, 2003 at 02:52 AM (#512607)
Using Adjusted Win Shares, I find that Ward and Caruthers have comparable peaks, similar to a number of other pitchers of this time. WARP3 heavily discounts the AA, so Caruthers loses there. Career is no contest because Ward has a long and valuable second career as a SS. A league average hitter is quite valuable when paired with stellar fielding. Ask Ozzie Smith (who Ward outhits).

If Caruthers is so great a hitter, why is unable to keep an OF job at age 29 with one of the worst teams in the league? Maybe the league just figured out his weakness (this probably happened to Whitney) and he didn't adjust that well. He was great for a short period of time in a questionable league (like Spalding?), but he couldn't hit enough to be an NL outfielder in the 1890's, nor pitch after the mound change, nor do infield defense.

19th century baseball was cruel because of the constantly changing rules which make certain skill combinations valuable and then obsolete nearly overnight. Ask Tommy Bond, who had a great 45 foot curve ball and screw ball for 6 years, about moving the pitcher's box to 50 feet away.
   8. MattB Posted: April 29, 2003 at 02:59 AM (#512608)
Let's try to put some meat on the bones of Joe Start to flesh out the pre-1871 era:

from Long Before the Dodgers: Baseball in Brooklyn, 1855-1884 by James L. Terry, pp. 151-152 (items in [brackets] aren't quotes)

"Beginning in 1860, Joe Start and his longtime teammate Jack Chapman both played their first two seasons with the Enterprise Club of Brooklyn. Both players were recruited by the Atlantics in 1862 and both became major contributors to the championship clubs of Bedford throughout the 1860s.

"With the Atlantics, the sure-handed Start became the premier first baseman in the game and earned the nickname "Old Reliable." Start was also a great hitter who seemed to improve with age. He led the amateur National Association in runs scored in 1865 and in batting average and total hits in 1868. Start is perhaps best remembered for driving in the winning run in the 11th inning of the June 1870 Atlantic victory that ended the two-year winning streak of the Cincinnati Red Stockings.

[Baseball Library also points out that his team was undefeated in 1864 and 1865 http://www.pubdim.net/baseballlibrary/ballplayers/S/Start_Joe.stm ]

[Paragraphs on NA service, NL service and leading Providence to the first World Championship in 1884 as player-captain]

"In his 10 full major league seasons [excluding NA, I guess] Start batted over .300 five times, while his fielding percentage at the game's most active defensive position never dropped below .957. In addition to the quality of play, however, Start earned his nickname for his reputation for honesty and integrity. According to Henry Chadwick, Joe Start "was honored and esteemed by the (baseball) fraternity" because he could "always be relied upon for honest and faithful service.

"After his playing days were over, Start returned to Rhode Island and successfully operated the Lakewood Inn in Warwick for several years. He retired in Paxtuxent Village (now Cranston/ Warwick) in 1919 and returned to Providence in 1922 where he and his wife lived their final years at 50 Hastins Street. Joseph Start died on March 27, 1927, on month after the death of his wife Angeline."
   9. MattB Posted: April 29, 2003 at 03:46 AM (#512610)
Just pointing out that, of the five preliminary ballots so far, there are 8 names in the collective Top 2s.
   10. RobC Posted: April 29, 2003 at 04:08 AM (#512611)
Not only are there 8 names in the top 2, there are 3 #1s who arent in my top 15.
   11. RobC Posted: April 29, 2003 at 04:24 AM (#512613)
Not only are there 8 names in the top 2, there are 3 #1s who arent in my top 15.
   12. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 29, 2003 at 05:20 AM (#512614)
Prelim ballot:

1) Al Spalding

2) Ezra Sutton

3) George Wright

4) John Clarkson: Best pitcher of his era. Best pitcher for 1887 and 1889 (close in 1885 and 1891).

5) Dickey Pearce

6) Cal McVey

7) Monte Ward: Fine pitcher, but never the best for any one season (though close in 1880). He had more worth as a great player at shortstop than pitcher, IMO. Best shortstop for 1890 (close in 1886 and 1887).

8) Hardy Richardson

9) Joe Start

10) Tim Keefe

11) Charlie Bennett

12) Ed Williamson

13) Fred Dunlap

14) Lip Pike

15) Tom York
   13. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 29, 2003 at 05:26 AM (#512615)
BTW, some of you guys really picked up on my "Freedom Bob" suggestion, didn't you? :-)
   14. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 29, 2003 at 05:54 AM (#512616)
Instead of Charlie Comiskey, can I vote for Clifton James? :-)
   15. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 29, 2003 at 06:33 AM (#512617)
Jim Whitney? I mean, yeah, he was a very good hitter for a pitcher, but he really only had 8 seasons, and he only had an above-average ERA for 5 of them. I know wins and losses are team-dependent, but he had a losing record! I don't know why you'd have him on the ballot and not Caruthers (or several other pitchers).

The Grasshopper was the best pitcher for 1881, but I can't see him over Clarkson any way you slice it (peak or career). Not even close.

Hell, as much as Caruthers and Mullane are overrated around here, I'd take them easily over him.

I've been baffled seeing his name on other ballots for the other "years", too. If there is something we are missing, I'd be happy to know what it is.
   16. Howie Menckel Posted: April 29, 2003 at 10:37 AM (#512618)
off the top of my head preliminary....

1. George Wright
2. John Clarkson
3. Tim Keefe
4. Joe Start
5. Old Hoss Radbourn
6. Hardy Richardson
7. Ezra Sutton
8. Monte Ward
9. Bob Caruthers
10. Harry Stovey
11. Pud Galvin
12. Charlie Bennett
13. Al Spalding
14. Cal McVey
15. Pete Browning
   17. MattB Posted: April 29, 2003 at 01:11 PM (#512620)
First look prelim ballot (place last election):

1. John Clarkson -- the best pitcher of the pure-19th century variety deserves the top spot
2. George Wright (2)
3. Ezra Sutton (4)
4. Joe Start (6) -- flipped him and Caruthers, might put him back by election time
5. Bob Caruthers (5)
6. Tim Keefe (7)
7. Hardy Richardson (8)
8. John Ward -- comparable to Caruthers, but I'll take "Freedom Bob"'s career.

This is where I would currently draw my "in/out" line.

T9. Pete Browning (9)
T9. Ned Williamson (10)
T9. Harry Stovey (11) -- people seem to like Stovey a lot more than I do. I will reconsider him and see if I missed something that would bump him up (I see little difference between 9 and 11, so am not averse to rearranging any the above three if the case can be made to do so).
12. Pud Galvin (14) -- flipped Galvin and Radbourne, after noting Radbourn's mediocre post-1884 period (106-102 for the next five years)
13. Cal McVey (13)
14. Charley Radbourn (12)
15. Al Spalding (15)

Charlie Bennett is still a strong 16th, but now he's tied with Tony Mullane.

Nobody drops off from last time, as Clarkson and Ward replace O'Rourke and Kelly in the top 15.

   18. DanG Posted: April 29, 2003 at 01:44 PM (#512621)
Discussion of John Ward is again underway. As always, I encourage others to go back and read the older threads. Six months ago in the Shortstops thread there was a lot of good exchange. This was my analysis:

"I tend to side with Andrew in the discussion about Ward's worthiness. He's not a top 10 player on the first ballot. However, he is a worthy HoMer, eventually.

To get an idea of Ward's quality, I tried to find comparable modern players. BBref has Maury Wills on his comp list, and I think that's actually a damn good comp. Both had higher BA's than the league, but neither walked much so both had OBP's below league. Both were below league in SLG, Wills worse in his era than Ward. Both were outstanding baserunners, regularly among the league leaders in SB.

Ward's peak was slightly higher. Adjusting to 162-game schedule and counting only Ward's seasons after 1883, here are their best ten seasons in win shares:
Ward 33/33/29/24/23/22/21/19/18/17
Wills 32/28/27/22/20/20/19/19/17/16

Ward is consistently 2+ win shares better. This is better than I expected to find. Mostly, it's in the defense. Ward had 6.74 WS/1000 (A+) to Wills' 5.60 (B+).

Summing Ward's adjusted WS 1884-94 I get 249, about equal to Wills' adjusted career total of 255. So Ward was a better player than Wills, a guy who many people think should be in the HoF.

Now, considering Ward's pitching career. BBref gives us Addie Joss as a close comp. In reality, Joss had a much better pitching career, considering the vast changes in the pitcher's job from Ward's time to Joss'.

I decided to do a crude translation of Ward's stats into modern day pitching. Here's what I came up with:

Year...W L...IP
1878 17-10 209
1879 26-10 263
1880 21-13 267
1881 10-10 148
1882 10--7 125
1883 8--6 108
1884 2--2 20
===============
Total 94-58 1141
ERA+: 118

Actually, very similar to Ruth (94-46, 1221 IP, 122 ERA+).

I looked for pitchers since WW-II who had about those career numbers and who in their two or three best years was one of the top pitchers. A lot of the guys you might think of first, like Randy Jones or Jim Maloney had longer careers than this. Or guys like Mark Fidrych or Herb Score were too brief.

I finally settled on Ewell Blackwell as the best modern comp (82-78, 1321 ip, ERA+ 120). Like Ward, he had the big season (22-8, MVP runnerup in 1947), and two or three other years among the best in the game. The Whip's W-L record suffered from playing for weak teams.

Blackwell had 103 career win shares. Ward had 174 pitching wins shares plus about 30 more for his hitting in games he pitched. Dividing that 204 in half (the rule of thumb for pre-1893 pitchers) gives us 102 WS.

Adding together Ward's 249 WS from his SS/2B years and his 102 from his pitching years gives us 351 WS, a clear HoMer.

Hmmm. Maybe he's top ten after all."

   19. MattB Posted: April 29, 2003 at 02:31 PM (#512625)
Let's talk "League Adjustment" for a moment.

The general feeling I get is that AA players are being docked about 10% due to the chart posted previously that the AA was, on average about 0.010 better. (E.g., a .290 hitter in the NL would hit .300 in the AA). Please correct me if that is wrong.

Now, that increased AA batting average could come from two causes: (1) The quality of the pitching overall was worse; or (2) There was a bigger drop-off between the best pitchers and the second tier, so hitters could fatten up on the filler.

I guess it is not obvious to me that the hitting chart provided earlier is necessarily valid in reverse for pitchers. Could it be that the .290 hitters were hitting .300 in the AA not because pitchers like Caruthers weren't as good, but because there were fewer pitchers like Caruthers?
   20. MattB Posted: April 29, 2003 at 02:33 PM (#512626)
Put another way, if I discount the hitters 10%, and then I discout the pitchers 10%, aren't I effectively discounting the league as a whole 20%?
   21. Marc Posted: April 29, 2003 at 02:51 PM (#512627)
Matt, I think if you discount hitters 10% and pitchers 10%, you are saying the league was 10% weaker. As the Temple Cup series showed, the best AA teams were as good as the best NL teams. I think the second tier of AA teams were much weaker than second tier NL teams: they had fewer weaker hitters and weaker pitchers. So the better AA players from Caruthers and Mullane to Browning and Stovey, were both fattening up on the weaker bottom feeders.

Other very important point. The discount for the first two and last two years of the AA should be more like 20 to 30%. In between it went from 10 to 5 to 0 (AA actually better in '86) and back to 5 and then 10 or so). I apply the discount at the player career level just for convenience, though the amount of the discount is calculated for each specific year. In Browning's case, he played through most of the league's history so the average discount there is about 15%, but that only represents about half of his career so .15 x .50 = .075 (actually 8%). One year in the AA at its worst in a 15 year career would be a discount of .30 x .075 = .0225.

To be more specific here are the discounts I use.

McPhee 6%
Dunlap 5% (UA)
Childs 2.5%
Jennings 2%
Glasscock 2%
Herman Long 0.5%
McKean 1%
McGraw 1%
Latham 4%
Stovey 5%
Jones 5%
O'Neill 5%
York 2%
Duffy 1%
Browning 8%
Vn Haltren 1%
Griffin 2%
King Kelly 2%
McCarthy 11%
Keefe 3%
C. Griffith 1.5%
Galvin 0.5%
Caruthers 5%
Mullane 8%
Will White 9%
Whitney 1.5%
   22. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 29, 2003 at 03:08 PM (#512628)
If Magglio Ordonez took to the mound today and had half a HoM career as a pitcher, he'd be right on the bubble of induction in my book.

But Caruthers was hitting like Ordonez (he's really not comparable to Magglio as a hitter, BTW) for less than 300 plate appearances (as in 1887).

The first Caruthers: Let's take 1887 (his best season). He pitched well, though he didn't make the top ten in innings. He can't be considered one of the best pitchers in baseball, but he was good. Plus, he had around 150 plate appearances where he was a hitting machine as a pitcher. Even with his offense, he's still no where near being the most productive player at the position (and that's just his own league).

The second Caruthers: Same year. He was also a hard hitting outfielder (we'll assume he had the same success rate at both positions), except he had less than 300 plate appearances at this position. The real hitters had over 500 plate appearances (O'Neill, Browning, Lyons). We're not talking the Silver Slugger as an outfielder here.

The combination suggests a very good player, but a HoMer? I can't see it. He can't be considered at the top of the field as either a pitcher or an outfielder. Some have suggested that Caruthers had the equivalent of two careers because of his multi-play. As I illustrated above, this is not really the case.

Besides, as someone else mentioned in a prior thread, you have Hecker, Foutz, Mullane, etc., doing the same thing as him. Maybe not as well, but I'm sure that contemporary witnesses were not saying "Oh, my God!" about "Freedom Bob's" dual role.

Overrated, but I'm happy to field contrary opinions. He's still better than Grasshopper Jim Whitney. :-)
   23. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 29, 2003 at 03:13 PM (#512629)
Marc's AA discounts look good. That's about what I have.
   24. DanG Posted: April 29, 2003 at 05:00 PM (#512632)
"On Jim Whitney--

His first 8 seasons (his only full seasons)

187 W, 195 L (.490)

His teams in games when he did not pitch during those 8 seasons

202 W, 281 L (.418)"

So, because the team's other pitchers stink, that makes Whitney great?
   25. Brad Harris Posted: April 29, 2003 at 05:01 PM (#512633)
Some revisions, in addition to filling in the gaps.

1. John Clarkson
2. Ezra Sutton
3. Tim Keefe
4. Charlie Bennett
5. John Montgomery Ward
6. George Wright
7. Bob Caruthers
8. Joe Start
9. Hardy Richardson
10. Harry Stovey
11. Cal McVey
12. Ned Williamson
13. Pete Browning
14. Al Spalding
15. Tony Mullane

I gave a little more credit to earlier stars Spalding and Start and dropped Stovey a fair amount. Largely, movement on this ballot was the result of three well qualified new entrees on the ballot, forcing practically everyone else down a slot or two.

Clarkson's the best candidate on here, imo.

   26. DanG Posted: April 29, 2003 at 05:22 PM (#512634)
"On Jim Whitney--

His first 8 seasons (his only full seasons)

187 W, 195 L (.490)

His teams in games when he did not pitch during those 8 seasons

202 W, 281 L (.418)"

So, because the team's other pitchers stink, that makes Whitney great?
   27. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 29, 2003 at 05:39 PM (#512635)
Note to thebigeasy: Tip O'Neill over Ezra Sutton??? C'mon man!

I can't see O'Neill in the top fifteen. Way too short of a career. BTW, how does he rank ahead of Stovey (who I'm not that crazy about either)?

Joe:

I second your Ezra comments (obviously).
   28. DanG Posted: April 29, 2003 at 06:49 PM (#512637)
It's worth noting that of those 8 seasons, Whitney's teammates finished last or next to last in team offense in 4 of them.

Well, now that's a more significant statement. Does anyone know how his Support Neutral W-L compares to the other candidates'?
   29. Marc Posted: April 29, 2003 at 07:19 PM (#512638)
>What am I missing?

>Era Adjustment (Pitching)
Caruthers: Late 1880's, AA and NL
Ward: 1878-1883, NL
Advantage: Caruthers

Not to belabor this point (OK, to belabor this point), I think this analysis misses on this. The NL from '78 to '81 was the only ML and, as such, was better than any league (NL or AA) through at least the PL of '90 or more likely the NL of '92. The timeline adjustment is less than 10 full years. The proliferation of ML teams during Caruthers' time makes Ward's competition as a pitcher much tougher. (Obviously Ward's career as an infielder came during the "watered-down" period.)

>Ward has 5178 more plate appearances
>Look at batting runs: Ward's ahead 313 to 269
>Ward does appear to have a big fielding advantage
>Are the extra plate appearances at a mediocre or lower level, plus the fielding, enough to put Ward on the tops of ballots

This is trickier. The comparison of Ward and Caruthers is based mostly on rate stats. I think there is value to Ward pulling on his uniform and taking the field to try to help his team win 1100 times (2.5X more times) that Caruthers was on the sideline (1800 career games to about 700). Yes, that's way more than enough to put Ward ahead of Caruthers.

I read once that a 10% difference makes up for 2X longevity. In other words, a 130 OPS+ or ERA+ for 10 years is better than a 120 for 20 years. Can anybody corroborate this? Does anybody know where this claim originated? Can anybody argue the case? I didn't get anything other than the assertion and, frankly, I didn't (don't) accept it, and so I rate Ward higher.

And this is of course not just a 19th century issue but it will "plague"/"enliven" our debate forever.

   30. Rick A. Posted: April 29, 2003 at 07:26 PM (#512639)
Prelim. ballot

1. John Clarkson
2. Tim Keefe
3. Harry Stovey
4. John Ward
5. Pete Browning
6. Hardy Richardson
7. Joe Start
8. Ezra Sutton
9. George Wright
10. Al Spalding
11. Ed Williamson
12. Hoss Radbourn
13. Charlie Bennett
14. Charley Jones
15. Mickey Welch
   31. Marc Posted: April 29, 2003 at 07:38 PM (#512640)
I have no idea if the sample ballots are representative of our whole electorate but on the other hand we have a 1/3 sample now. And the top six seem to be pulling away from the pack pretty clearly. They are (not in rank order):

Clarkson
Keefe

Ward
Wright

Richardson
Sutton

The latter two were only #7 and 8 last time so maybe this is not representative. But it seems important that we get these three pairings right. It is possible that we could elect one from each pairing and not the other, and I mean long-term. I would commend everybody to the pitcher thread from last summer for an exhaustive discussion of Clarkson, Keefe and all the other pitchers on the board. I will check to see if there was (as is likely) some discussion of Ward and Wright, but I doubt that there was much head-to-head discussion of Ezra and Hardy.

   32. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 29, 2003 at 07:53 PM (#512641)
I read once that a 10% difference makes up for 2X longevity. In other words, a 130 OPS+ or ERA+ for 10 years is better than a 120 for 20 years. Can anybody corroborate this? Does anybody know where this claim originated? Can anybody argue the case? I didn't get anything other than the assertion and, frankly, I didn't (don't) accept it, and so I rate Ward higher.

I don't buy it either, Marc. The odds are that the twenty year player had at least a 130 OPS+ (for example) for his first ten years plus ten more years of baseball.

There was a poster here a while back that would rate players solely on the career averages, regardless of how many seasons the particular player had. Dave Orr would be rated higher than Cap Anson because he had a higher OPS+, even though Anson had a gazillion more games played.

Oh, well... :-)
   33. Rob Wood Posted: April 29, 2003 at 09:01 PM (#512648)
Hey Joe, are the final 1900 ballots due at the end of this weeekend (about 5 days from now) or at the end of *next* weekend (about 12 days from now)?

I hope we can switch to a one-ballot per week schedule as we go forward. I love the opportunity to discuss, debate, analyze, persuade, cajole, etc., as much as anybody, but I don't think it requires a full "dead week".

First, despite there being many candidates for the HOM on each ballot, only a small number actually are strong candidates to be elected on any given ballot. This year the two selections will probably come from Clarkson, Wright, Ward, and Keefe.

Second, players remain eligible forever. For example, we'll likely be debating Sutton vs Williamson for quite a few years. So we don't have to worry about allowing enough time to make the entire case this week.

Thanks for listening.
   34. RobC Posted: April 29, 2003 at 09:43 PM (#512649)
A couple of things here. First to RobW: Do you have something to do in 2006 so bad that you need to do 52 votes a year instead of 26? Personally, I would prefer people getting the ballots "right" as soon as possible, so we dont screw up. The week of people going "Jim Whitney? What were you thinking?" helps me. Then I can prepare my final ballot, and submit it during the 2nd week.

Speaking of which, What was I thinking? I think my adding machine has a
1900 bug problem. Anyway, I have looked at pitchers again (Clarkson, Galvin, Keefe, McCormick, Radbourne and Whitney -- Caruthers is in a whole other category, Im still trying to figure him out). Analyzing them 16 different ways, and I got 16 different rankings. What I decided is that
1. I still think Galvin's the best. The extra IP, the big year (636 IP at a 158 ERA+) break him out from the others.
2. I can legitimately rate Keefe, Clarkson, and Radbourn in any order I want.
3. Whitney is probably slightly above McCormick, but you could convince me otherwise. Neither will make my final ballot.
4. Playing around with my earlier list, I now have Galvin 4, Clarkson 5, Keefe 10, Radbourn 11, Whitney out. Adjust others to fit around this.
5. This is all subject to change if any can convince me otherwise.
   35. Sean Gilman Posted: April 29, 2003 at 10:31 PM (#512651)
Prelim Ballot:

1. Ezra Sutton
2. Hardy Richardson
3. John Ward
4. John Clarkson
5. Joe Start
6. George Wright
7. Tim Keefe
8. Harry Stovey
9. Cal McVey
10.Bob Caruthers
11.Tony Mullane
12.Al Spaulding
13.Lip Pike
14.Charlie Bennett
15.Charley Radbourne
   36. jimd Posted: April 29, 2003 at 10:38 PM (#512652)
When evaluating 19th century BB, there are many differing opinions about how to compensate for different season lengths and for differences in league quality. One such opinion is WARP3, on the BP player cards, an important guide for my pitching evaluations. Check out the player cards for Caruthers and Whitney: the difference between the two in WARP1 (basic Wins Above Replacement) is not that much, 88.3 to 79.9, 10% edge to Caruthers, with two top-drawer seasons (86&87;) nearly the equal of Whitney's 1883 season. Now, Davenport doesn't think very highly of the AA at all, WARP2, and when he factors in a schedule length adjustment, WARP3, there is no contest; it's Whitney hands down.

I don't take WARP as gospel. When I did an Adjusted Win Shares analysis with depreciated pitching, I concluded that the two of them had equivalent impact at peak (Caruthers with more actual Win Shares, though Whitney made up the difference when adjusting for season length), and Caruthers had a somewhat better career - IF (big IF) you assume that the league quality was equivalent during their peaks and their overall careers. I don't buy that. (I also don't think that either had a long enough career to worry about the career difference; they're on my ballot purely for peak performance.)

Whitney clearly is the reason that Boston stole a pennant in 1883 (with a little help from Sutton). That counts when I'm trying to decide close calls. It's harder to judge the quality of Caruthers supporting cast in 1889 Brooklyn because it's the AA, so I'll call that a tie with Whitney. It's doubtful that the Browns would have missed any single player; they won without him in 1888 and would have taken 1889 too if he wasn't with the other contender.

Subjectively, I have questions about Caruthers uniqueness, in St. Louis and in the AA. (See my last ballot.) I have little doubt about Whitney's "unusualness"; the NL tried a few rule changes in an attempt to outlaw the distracting acrobatic hop-step-jump delivery of "Grasshopper" Jim (and, I suppose, his imitators). One such required the pitcher to have both feet on the ground when delivering the pitch; it was abandoned shortly after the season started (and must have been written by a non-pitcher). Eventually the pitching box was scrapped in favor of a pitching rubber with which the pitcher had to stay in contact during the entire delivery.

Before the HOM project, I used to regard Whitney as more of a curiousity. I was surprised to see that he was as good as these new integrated metrics make him out to be, and I'm not surprised that the majority isn't seeing him the same way. (I'm also surprised at how well Richardson is scoring; I have to look at him more closely to see why I'm undervaluing him.)

I see Whitney ahead of Caruthers on league quality, both (or neither) as borderline HOM'ers.
   37. jimd Posted: April 29, 2003 at 11:33 PM (#512654)
I think the two week schedule has a good rhythym to it that will be lost with a 10 day/week-and-a-half schedule. It also gives a chance for practically everybody to cast ballots regardless of their vacation plans.

I'm in no hurry and really enjoy the discussions; it's the trip that's worthwhile, not arrival at the endpoint.
   38. Howie Menckel Posted: April 30, 2003 at 12:25 AM (#512655)
Thoughts:
Career counting numbers always have been overrated, but Galvin's just take your breath away. Ok, a lot of it was league average, but the guy pitched a ton when no one else did. He DID have some excellent seasons, too. I'm pretty sure he deserves a spot eventually, and deserves better than to fall off ballots entirely.
I can live with any of the three voting variations.
It is indeed interesting that as enjoyable as the debates are about closely-rated players, it doesn't much figure into who actually makes the HOM - YET.
This pitcher thing is an utter conundrum. No one seems to want a quota, but I wonder if it will take until Kid Nichols before we ever agree on putting one in (we DO want him in, right??). Well, Cy Young will be a lock!
I think Wright and Start are moving up due to the openmindedness of the voters. Some didn't give any credit previously to very early days, but now they are willing to do so, even if at a discount. If they both get in, I'll be a lot more comfortable about early representation....
   39. RobC Posted: April 30, 2003 at 12:25 AM (#512656)
Im with jimd. 1 week of discussion, arguing, changing, discussing some more, changing again then 1 full week of voting seems to work pretty well. Votes have been coming in mostly at the beginning and the end. I wouldnt want to lose voters due to shortening the period.
   40. Marc Posted: April 30, 2003 at 12:52 AM (#512657)
I dunno. Galvin's innings didn't do anything to my breath. I dunno if Phil Niekro is a comp but Phil is #4 in career innings. He'd be more of a Galvin comp in my mind, while Carlton, Perry and Ryan are the Clarkson and Keefe comps among the big inning guys.
   41. Howie Menckel Posted: April 30, 2003 at 01:09 AM (#512658)
Marc,
I'm thinking Niekro with Galvin myself. Not trying to sell him over Clarkson or Keefe, either (or the modern three). I just think he deserves better than to be lost for good, which is what will happen to many early guys, let's face it....
   42. MattB Posted: April 30, 2003 at 02:22 AM (#512660)
I agree that I like the week on/ week off. I'm in no hurry and am enjoying the process. I am also finding that my thinking on various players "evolve" more than just "click". I move a player on my sample ballot, let it sit for a day, and see if it still makes sense later.

I was away from my computer for 4 days last week and didn't have to worry about "missing" anything. I'll be gone a lot in the summer, too, but rarely if ever for two full weeks.

Now I know Mondays are either to start voting or to find out who won. I like that as well.

Some people read at work, others only at home on weekends. We could lose some "weekenders" if we have a voting schedule that sometimes does not fall on a Sunday. Other irregular readers would likely lose track as well.

Another vote for the status quo.
   43. Rob Wood Posted: April 30, 2003 at 05:22 AM (#512662)
7 days should be sufficient for all the stuff we love to do for each ballot. Voters can post their ballots anytime during the week, so everybody would still be able to post no matter when and where they visit the site. Plus, provisions are in place to allow people who go on vacation to "pre-vote" as described in the constitution, so I don't think that should play a significant role in deciding the pace of our voting.

I really feel like we run the risk of losing people and falling below a viable critical mass of participants if we stretch out the voting too much. Once a week seems like the right balance to me. I appreciate Joe's 10-day compromise, but I think there is great value in having a set schedule. Such as ballots are due every Sunday by 6 pm (pacific time zone?), or whatever it is. Having the deadline alternate between Sundays and Wednesdays, say, would probably be too confusing.

Of course, I am more than happy to accede to the wishes of the group consensus. However, it behooves us to think of the other guy when we make up our minds on schedule. It is these "marginal" voters that will likely keep this group afloat. If we have about 30 voters at the beginning, with normal attrition how many do we think we'll have after 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, etc.?

It's not that I'm trying to speed things up. The point of having weekly ballots rather than bi-weekly votes is to maintain our momentum. My fear is that there is just too much down time built into a two-week schedule and all but the hard-core voters will drift away over time under such a schedule.

Anyway, Joe had a neat idea of calculating a pitcher's era-adjusted innings pitched total by considering the IP of the top 3 hurlers in each season. In fact, I have been doing that exact calculation as part of my WMV pitcher career value formulation I co-developed. According to my calculations, the top 10 in era-adjusted career innings pitched are Nolan Ryan, Cy Young, Phil Niekro, Don Sutton, Steve Carlton, Walter Johnson, Warren Spahn, Gaylord Perry, Bert Blyleven, and Early Wynn. Note that Roger Clemens will break into the top 10 later this season.

Finally, in my mock elections I conducted a few months ago, there were several players who got elected long after they retired. Of course, this is due to the quality of the first-timers on some later years being pretty weak. Fred Dunlap and Ed Williamson were elected in 1931. And Stan Coveleski was elected on his 53rd ballot! So it is important for us to get a good handle on the "middle tier" 19th century stars since several of them will likely eventually get elected.

That's all for now.
   44. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 30, 2003 at 05:26 AM (#512663)
I don't really care which schedule you use. I can handle the pressure! :-)
   45. MattB Posted: April 30, 2003 at 11:33 AM (#512665)
Evidence so far shows a gaining of momentum (31 votes v. 29 last time). If we post each ballot result as a "Clutch Hit", I think momentum will be gained because people will feel less insecure about "jumping in" when there is not a new ballot every week. (Gives people more time to catch up.)
   46. Carl Goetz Posted: April 30, 2003 at 01:58 PM (#512666)
I vote for the status quo, but will go with the consensus. Right now we are gaining momentum and we can always change later if we start to lose voters at some point. The trip is fun, lets enjoy it!
   47. Carl Goetz Posted: April 30, 2003 at 02:04 PM (#512667)
jimd,
Where are the player cards located?
   48. Jeff M Posted: April 30, 2003 at 02:18 PM (#512668)
Rather than arguments that Sutton is better than Williamson or Williamson is better than Sutton, could someone explain why you believe either of them belongs in HOM at all? In other words, I'm convinced Sutton is better than Williamson (because I don't think Williamson was more than a slightly above-average player), but I don't see how Sutton holds his own with Stovey, Spalding, Wright, Browning, Radbourn, etc.

I can see Sutton on the ballot, because he was very very good, but I can't see him getting elected. I'm at work and don't have my Historical Abstract in front of me, but isn't Sutton like the 35th best 3B in Bill James' estimation? I don't want to rely on James' rankings as gospel, but do we intend to elect the 34 guys in front of him? That seems like a lot of 3B for a 200 member HOM.

I understand a Brooks Robinson-type argument. Excellent defense and Sutton was the better hitter. But just as an example, he is not as good a hitter as Bill Madlock, and was a far superior defensive player. Assuming the defensive gap between them cancels out the hitting gap (which it probably doesn't, since defense is a smaller part of a player's contribution), would you consider Madlock a slam dunk HOMer? I wouldn't, and I really like Bill Madlock.

As for Williamson, I can't figure out how Williamson even makes a ballot, and I've looked at this over and over and over. It seems to be based on a few comments surrounding his death. He may have been a fantastic 3b, but he played more than 1/3 of his games at short, and he doesn't look too strong there. He moved to SS and virtually never played 3b again.? Why? To make room for Tom Burns at 3B? Some people have Williamson ranked very close to John Ward. I just do not understand.
   49. Jeff M Posted: April 30, 2003 at 02:45 PM (#512669)
Preliminary Ballot for 1900:

1. JOHN CLARKSON -- Absolutely dominant. His stretch from 1885-1889 is unmatched.

2. TIM KEEFE -- (#2) 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 -- (#3) Pitchers are stacking up now, since they have been hammered in the voting. Have him behind Keefe b/c Keefe's career was longer and more consistent.

4. JOHN WARD -- May not be a HOMer as a SS or SP alone, but together, he's there. Considering the support certain one-trick players are getting, I would think a guy who played two significant positions (and played them both well) would be well deserving of HOM status.

5. HARRY STOVEY -- (#5) Powerful hitter for his era. Would have been perennial All-Star. Gave approximate 5% discount for AA play.

6. PETE BROWNING -- (#6) Poor defense hurts him, but I'm surprised how low most voters have him. He was awfully productive, even with an AA discount.

7. BOB CARUTHERS -- (#7) Amazing win pct and good ERA with lots of Black Ink. Doesn't dominate like Clarkson or Radbourn for any period and didn't last as long as Keefe, but gets a big boost for his hitting.

8. TIP O'NEILL -- (#8) A feared hitter who apparently from the voting patterns has virtually no shot at election.

9. AL SPALDING -- (#9) Continue to believe that the electors are not giving him enough credit.

10. MICKEY WELCH -- (#10) 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.

11. GEORGE WRIGHT -- (#11) Said enough about him.

12. TONY MULLANE -- Not sure where to put him. Like Welch, never dominant, but a consistent winner.

13. JOE START -- (#12) 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.

14. PUD GALVIN -- (#14) A poor win pct for someone of his caliber. 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.

15. HARDY RICHARDSON -- He was on the 1898 ballot and off my 1899 ballot, so I'm clearly confused about him. I just can't push him into the upper echelon, though he was the dominant 2b of his time period (if he was a true 2b).

Dropped: Cal McVey and Jim McCormick.
   50. Marc Posted: April 30, 2003 at 03:26 PM (#512670)
Re. the schedule, I am OK with a 1 week or a 2 week cycle, but I think a 10 day cycle is impractical. It is nice to know what is happening on any given day. With a 10 day cycle I would be most people would be confused about whether we're voting on Mon-Wed or Thur-Sat on any given week and that would lose votes.
   51. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 30, 2003 at 03:28 PM (#512671)
Jeff, you appear to be confusing third base back then with now. The position was more like the way we look at second base now. It was much more defense oriented.

Unfortunately, it appears the HoM has had the same reasoning, since third base is the most underrepresented position for the pre-Mathews era.

For his time, Sutton was definitely not Bill Madlock.
   52. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 30, 2003 at 03:30 PM (#512672)
Jeff, who'll be the first third baseman that you will place on your ballot?
   53. Carl Goetz Posted: April 30, 2003 at 03:53 PM (#512674)
Is there a spreadsheet(Excel or 1-2-3) out there with adjusted Win Shares for these players that someone could email me?
   54. Marc Posted: April 30, 2003 at 03:55 PM (#512675)
Jeff, I was struck by your comment re. Al Spalding. You rank him 9th and say that the electors are not giving him enough credit. He finished 9th in both '98 and '99. You too are not giving him enough credit.

In these '00 prelim. ballots, at least, Spalding is now running 8th and Joe Start 7th. This represents a clear case of peak vs. career. Spalding towered over his contemporaries for 7 years. We seem to regard him as #3 after Barnes and Wright but he was the highest paid on his teams which included Barnes and Wright.

Start was probably one of the 2 or 3 best players of the '60s on value over the entire decade but as early as '69 a new breed of stars--G. Wright, Creighton and a few others--had eclipsed him and the earlier stars, and for the '70s Start was probably one of the top 20 players, meaning somewhere in the 15th to 20th range. Yes, he had a long career. But I invite people to think whether you "like" Start because of his long career? Or because he was one of "the best" during the '60s?

If the latter, then you can't discount Barnes, Wright and Spalding due to weak competition in the '70s because it was a lot better than Start's competition in the '60s. If it is the former and you just like Start's long career, then let me tell you about this guy named Rusty Staub.

So Jeff, you're right, Spalding isn't getting enough credit. His contemporaries would have laughed out loud seeing him #9 among our lists of players. ERA+ 138, best on the board. OPS+ 121 in NA, 100 in NL, apparently about a 115 career. He threw 3000 innings, almost 25% more than Sandy Koufax, more than Fernando Valenzuela, more than Hal Newhouser, more than Bob Lemon, more than Lefty Gomez. He was regarded at the time as the best player on five straight pennant winners. Koufax would be happy to have his record.
   55. Rick A. Posted: April 30, 2003 at 04:05 PM (#512676)
I vote for the status quo. I like having a week to discuss and analyze the ballot and I'm in no rush to finish the journey. Also, as other people have pointed out, I think it would be too overwhelming for new voters to analyze the various players, read the arguments, organize a ballot, and be confident enough to vote all in a weeks time. The player lists will also get longer as time goes on, and new voters will need more time to organize their ballots.
   56. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 30, 2003 at 05:05 PM (#512678)
Jeff/the voters have already voted for a third baseman: His name was Deacon White.

I think you meant to address to me.

White was a third baseman for only 32% of his career so that's pushing it somewhat.

Jim Whitney's support-neutral W-L record comes out as 200-190. I believe this is slightly understated, but the point is that he wasn't a losing pitcher in a vacuum...

I don't think anyone is arguing that Whitney wasn't better than his W-L record, but how he could rank ahead of a number of pitchers from the same era (especially Clarkson).
   57. Jeff M Posted: April 30, 2003 at 05:10 PM (#512679)
1. Marc, regarding Al Spalding: I've had Spalding higher, but the non-election of certain higher ranked (by me) players and introduction of new eligibles have pushed him a bit lower...but only for now. He will begin to creep up again and I think he should be elected. I'm not sure where to put him, but he shouldn't be lower than 9 right now. However, I noticed some people don't even have him on the ballot.

2. John: I'm not confused about the role of the 3b in that period. I understand the reasoning that defensively they were more like 2b and I've taken that into account in my evaluation of Sutton. If you read my post again, I'm not saying Madlock and Sutton were comparable defensively or offensively. I'm just using Madlock as a convenient example (off the top of my head) to illustrate a good player that should be on a ballot but probably shouldn't be elected. I'm saying that the margin between Madlock and Sutton's hitting (substantially in favor of Madlock, at whatever position) and the margin between Madlock and Sutton's defense (substantially in favor of Sutton taking into account the 19th century 3b role and their abilities), cancel each other out AT BEST -- if you assume as much weight to 19th century 3b defense as to 20th century hitting. Assume the margins cancel each other out. Do you think of Madlock as a shoo-in HOMer? I don't, but I think he was a helluva player.

Besides that, I'm evaluating the best players overall, not on a position by position basis. I don't care if Sutton was the first or second best 3b during his era if he is the 20th best player (and I think he was about the 16th or 17th best player). I don't necessarily agree that it is an anomaly that 3b has fewer representatives in the HOF. Maybe there should be more representatives, but I believe it is possible that the 3b spot has been occupied by fewer stellar players. I haven't analyzed through the 2003 election, so I'm not stating that as a fact. I'm just saying it is possible. Players who are poor defensive 3b but have good bats often move to 1b (or in the modern game DH -- e.g., Edgar Martinez). Players who are excellent defensive 3b may not have stellar bats (it is still a demanding fielding position -- there just aren't as many chances). Since I've never seen an evaluation system that gives more weight to defense than to hitting, this could account for fewer numbers of 3b in the HOF. There's probably something about this on an old positional thread, so I'll shut up about this now. Before you jump all over this, I'm just speculating. I don't know the answer.

3. John: As for which 3b would be the first to appear on my ballot, Deacon White has already been elected (I had him #2 behind Hines). Who's next? I'm not sure (still at the office here so don't have my materials), but I think Sutton will creep onto the lower half of the ballot in the next few years. I also think Jimmy Collins will be on the ballot.
   58. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 30, 2003 at 05:11 PM (#512680)
My first sentence should have read:

I think you meant to address this to me.
   59. DanG Posted: April 30, 2003 at 05:40 PM (#512681)
Tossing around some names and numbers?

One consideration in assembling our ballots is the issue of equal and fair (or fairly equal) representation across time for the HoM. Let?s look at this from the angle of year of birth.

Hall candidates now cover roughly 11 decades, having been born from the 1850?s through the 1950?s (the only HoFer born in the 1960?s is Puckett; the only ones from the 1840's are Cummings and G. Wright). If we wanted each decade to have equal representation in the HoM, it would look something like this:

1840?s: 3
1850’s: 19
1960’s: 19
1870’s: 19
1880’s: 19
1890’s: 19
1900’s: 19
1910’s: 19
1920’s: 19
1930’s: 19
1940’s: 19
1950’s: 19
1960’s: 5
Total: 217

In fact, we are looking to have gradually increasing representation over time, as population increases and MLB expands. If we start with 15 in the 1850’s and project a 4.5% (BTW, a number with no significance) increase each decade, the scheme looks like this:

1840’s: 3
1850’s: 15
1960’s: 16
1870’s: 16
1880’s: 17
1890’s: 18
1900’s: 19
1910’s: 20
1920’s: 21
1930’s: 22
1940’s: 22
1950’s: 23
1960’s: 5
Total: 217

IIRC, Joe’s scheme isn’t this gradual, starting lower and ending higher.

You may wonder, why did I start with 15 born in the 1850’s? Why not a lower number? The reason is, based on current voting results, we’ll elect at least 15 players born in that decade. Here are significant players born each year through 1864. Likely HoMers are in CAPS:

1835: H. Wright
1836: D. Pearce
1837:
1838: D. Birdsall
1839
1840: A. Reach – J. Knowdell
1841: A. Brainard – W. Fisler
1842: J. START – F. Malone
1843: J. Chapman
1844: G. Zettlein – B. Craver
1845: L. Pike – L. Meyerle – B. Ferguson – D. McBride – N. Cuthbert – E. Mills
1846: A. Leonard – H. Schafer
1847: D. WHITE – G. WRIGHT
1848: C. Cummings
1849: D. Force – J. Devlin – G. Hall – C. Nelson
1850: J. O’ROURKE – R. BARNES – E. SUTTON – A. SPALDING – C. McVey – C. Jones – J. Peters
1851: T. York – B. Mathews – J. Clapp – D. Higham – D. Eggler – P. Gillespie
1852: C. ANSON – P. HINES – G. Bradley – J. Burdock – O. Shaffer – J. Quest
1853: J. Manning – M. Dorgan
1854: C. RADBOURN – C. Bennett – W. White – P. Snyder
1855: H. RICHARDSON – S. Flint – H. Carpenter – J. Morrill
1856: H. STOVEY – P. Galvin – J. McCormick – T. Bond – G. Hecker – D. Foutz – J. Rowe
1857: R. CONNOR – K. KELLY – G. GORE – T. KEEFE – E. Williamson – J. Whitney – A. Dalrymple – N. Hanlon
1858: D. BROUTHERS – T. O’Neill – J. Reilly – G. Wood
1859: B. EWING – J. GLASSCOCK – B. McPHEE – T. Mullane – M. Welch – F. Dunlap – D. Orr – L. Corcoran – B. Hutchison – J. Denny – C. Comiskey
1860: S. THOMPSON – J. WARD – A. Latham – H. Larkin – F. Pfeffer – T. Brown – C. Zimmer – B. Shindle
1861: J. CLARKSON – P. Browning – C. Buffinton – P. Radford – J. Milligan
1862: D. Hoy – E. Morris – C. Welch – G. Pinkney – C. Mack – J. Wolf
1863: J. Ryan – D. McGuire – W. Robinson – T. McCarthy – C. Ferguson – T. Tucker – B. Ely – G. Smith – M. Baldwin
1864: B. CARUTHERS – E. McKean – J. Clements – O. Burns – A. Terry – F. Carroll

There are 17 players who seem to be likely HoMers who were born in the 1850’s. That’s not even counting others possible like Williamson and Bennett. Are we in danger of OVERrepresenting this era? Perhaps the problem is not enough consideration for players born in the 1840’s (and 1830’s) -- we figure to elect only three from that time.

Looking at likely HoMers born in each ten-year period shows this:

1840-49: 3
1841-50: 7
1842-51: 7
1843-52: 8
1844-53: 8
1845-54: 9
1846-55: 10
1847-56: 11
1848-57: 13
1849-58: 14
1850-59: 17
1851-60: 15
1852-61: 16
1853-62: 14
1854-63: 14
1855-64: 14

I put this here just to give people another aspect to consider. If we had decided to make eligibility based on age, how would that change our results? For instance, suppose we had started in 1898, but said you had to be 45 to be eligible. Our first four probably would have been Anson, O’Rourke, White and Hines. Caruthers would not be eligible for another decade.

   60. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 30, 2003 at 05:40 PM (#512682)
Jeff:

The problem with the Sutton/Madlock comparison is Sutton's offense was much more substantial for his era than Madlock's was for his at the position.

If somehow shortstops weren't allowed to make double plays anymore (just play along :-) ), what would happen within a couple of seasons? The position would find more hitters because of the decrease in fielding responsibilities. Many of the past shortstops would start to pale in comparison with the new breed.

I think this is what happened with the third baseman. As the fielding responsibilities for the position decreased, more hitters started to occupy the position. However, we're not really comparing the same positions anymore to be fair to players from before the fifties.
   61. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 30, 2003 at 06:31 PM (#512684)
Dan:

You don't think Jimmy Ryan will get much support?
   62. Marc Posted: April 30, 2003 at 06:45 PM (#512685)
Re. all those pitchers, career totals are one thing and they are important. But the shape of a career is also important. How high a peak? How many years at or near peak? How many years the best or among the best at his position?

I am pretty sure Clarkson-Keefe-Radbourn is the right order (Spalding, too, is a special case) and that everybody else is below the radar because of their high peaks. Then, Clarkson and Keefe are ahead of Radbourn because after about four seasons Hoss falls off dramatically. His peak is high enough and his career short enough that his career totals are still tantalizing. But his fifth or sixth best season is not much.
   63. MattB Posted: April 30, 2003 at 06:46 PM (#512686)
Re: Keefe and Clarkson

I see them as very similar in terms of career value, but Keefe's career started earlier, so the same value was spread over 500 more innings. I also am concerned that Keefe did not have a "career year" like everyone else did in 1884 (see below). What looks like consistency from 1883 to 1885 is actually somewhat of a disappointment, since all leagues were so much worse in 1884. Clarkson was not a "regular" into 1885, so did not have the opportunity to fatten up his stats in 1884 like his competition did. Both Keefe and Clarkson hit the walk around the time of the mound changing distance, so I see their career lengths as somewhat artificial. Clarkson is an easy pick for top pitcher.

Same value in a shorter time period equals higher ranking.

Re: Radbourn and Galvin (especially Radbourn)

Look at the list of Single Season strikeout leaders:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/SO_p_season.shtml

6 out of the top 10 (and 7 out of the top 12, to get to Galvin) were in 1884. Radbourn's freakishly good 1884 was possibly not even the best performance by a pitcher that year. If it was the best, it certainly didn't stand out. I am dubious about ranking Radbourn highly for having high WARP values or wins, because they can be so much effected by freak years such as 1884 when everyone struck out everyone else. When 20% of his wins came in one year of an 11 year career when weird stuff was going on (in the NL, the overarm delivery was legalized, and the talent level was diluted), I see Radbourn and think "fluke".

Galvin is a tougher case, because there might be a time when lots of good can add up to be great. He's been on the bottom of my ballot for a while, but I've been unable to dump him, instead dropping guys who I'd had ranked higher. Maybe I'm misjudging him. I don't know. I can see him higher, but not higher than Clarkson or Keefe.
   64. DanG Posted: April 30, 2003 at 06:57 PM (#512687)
John Murphy: You don't think Jimmy Ryan will get much support?

I haven't looked too closely. But offhand, a career OPS+ of 124 (one year over 150) doesn't seem that great for a sort of center fielder.
   65. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 30, 2003 at 07:04 PM (#512688)
I haven't looked too closely. But offhand, a career OPS+ of 124 (one year over 150) doesn't seem that great for a sort of center fielder.

To be honest, I haven't looked at Ryan closely myself. You might be right.

BTW, your overrepresentation post had some good points.
   66. DanG Posted: April 30, 2003 at 07:35 PM (#512689)
Ryan's still a decade away from the ballot, but just eyeballing him, there are a lot of pluses. He should get good support, not sure if it'll be enough to elect him.

He hit for power and average. His speed looks like a plus and he certainly had a great arm. Had a very long career, half of it played during the "super league" period 1892-1900. This depresses his career OPS+ some.

In my mind he's always paired with George Van Haltren. Either they're both HoMers or neither one is.
   67. Jeff M Posted: April 30, 2003 at 07:47 PM (#512690)
Agree with the Ryan and Van Haltren pairing. I think they both will get significant support. On my ballot, I expect them to be in the middle when they first become eligible. They could sneak in during a weak voting year down the road. Haven't gotten that far yet. HOMers or not, they were both fine players.
   68. DanG Posted: April 30, 2003 at 08:07 PM (#512693)
Andrew Siegel asked: Why do you think we are going to elect Sam Thompson?

Again, just shooting from the hip. I was trying to come up with a number, as much as specific players.

Thompson does great on the Black Ink and the Gray Ink and the HOF Monitor. Of course, a great deal of that is park and era related. He's certainly no shoo-in, but if Stovey is getting in, why not Sam?
   69. MattB Posted: April 30, 2003 at 08:26 PM (#512694)
While were looking years into the future . . .

Is anyone exciting coming on board next year? I see Jack Glasscock and Oyster Burns, neither of whom strikes me as a "Top 5" kind of guy, at first glance.

Am I missing anyone else interesting who had later token appearances?
   70. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 30, 2003 at 08:28 PM (#512695)
I also noticed his 14 WS season in 1876 was for an awful (14-45) Philadelphia team. Sutton had a great year that year, OPS+ 140 played the equivalent of 146 games today, but only picked up 14 WS because his team was truly awful, when you get below .300 WS starts breaking down. It was probably a 30 WS season if he played for a normal team, and we didn't give any extra credit there.

I totally missed that, Joe.
   71. MattB Posted: April 30, 2003 at 09:14 PM (#512698)
Yes, 1882-1884 was a great three year peak. I give him much credit for that.

For the next five years, he was a combined 106-104 with a combined ERA+ just a little over 100. He was essentially average. Then a bump up in the Player's League and he's done.

Top 3, he's golden. Top 5 doesn't add so much. Total career doesn't add much else at all.

"If you take away half of Radbourn's 1884 WARP3, he is STILL ahead of Clarkson."

That's actually not true. Radbourn's WARP-3: 72.7 (12.1 in 1884); Clarkson's WARP-3: 66.9

72.7 - 6.0 = 66.7.

But the point is taken, that on WARP-3 they are comparable.

Look at individual seasons, though, using Pitching Runs Above Replacement. (Adjust for Season by Prospectus)

Clarkson Radbourn
179...........176 (1884)
155...........138
151............97
95.............94
93.............93
90.............85
77.............74

Every year, across the board for both of their prime seasons, Clarkson matched up with and surpasses Radbourn. (Radbourn's best season was actually 1883, when a fluke hitting performance [104 OPS+, versus a career 72] made his combined hitting plus pitching value better than Clarkson's best year. I don't give Radbourn full credit for fluke hitting that year.) When placed in the appropriate context, Clarkson's 1889 pitching performance can be viewed as better than any season of Radbourn's.


   72. RobC Posted: April 30, 2003 at 09:46 PM (#512699)
MattB - I dont think you are missing anyone for next year. But I think I like Glasscock better than you do. Just at a quick glance, he is only our second player with a warp-3 over 100. O'Rourke was the first. Over 60% of his value (using the warp3 numbers) was defensive. He was inconsistent, but had a number of very good years, unlike O'Rourke who had the steady peakless career. A 112 career OPS+ for a SS is pretty good (Ozzie Smith is an 87 by comparison, Cal Ripken is also a 112 - not that Im saying Ripken is a comp, just pointing that out). I havent thought about positioning for 1901 yet, but, depending on who gets in from 1900, he may make a run at my #1 spot.

I will put off any more discussion of Glasscock for 2 weeks.
   73. jimd Posted: April 30, 2003 at 11:06 PM (#512701)
Most of these pitching arguments go 'round and 'round because everybody evaluates them in a different way.

MattB uses Pitching Runs Above Replacement to prove that Clarkson is better than Radbourn. Which would be fine if a run in 1883 meant the same as a run in 1889. But I don't think they do. Runs should be converted to wins (WARP1), adjusted for opposition quality (WARP2), and then adjusted for schedule length (WARP3). (Hitting and fielding taken into account also.)

Clarkson Radbourn J.Whitney
144...........148.......169
138...........121.......135
108...........103.......109
77.............73.........106
57.............72.........73
40.............72.........50
33.............57.........18

Looks a little different now. Radbourn's other seasons trump Clarkson's. (Tossed Whitney in there too just for fun.) I'm not arguing that there is a right answer here; there are a number of pitchers who each were dominating for 3-4 years (sometimes in a row like Radbourn, sometimes not like Clarkson's alternating on-off sequence). They each then filled in the rest of their careers with varying amounts of various quality pitching as the rules changed away from their optimum conditions or the league figured out how to handle their stuff.

   74. jimd Posted: April 30, 2003 at 11:49 PM (#512702)
Joe, what is the point of the Spalding exercise? How does it help us place a value on the pitchers so that we can compare with the position players?

The numbers look pretty but that doesn't mean they convey real value. I think that they imply a very heavy discounting of the value of pitching for that period. I estimate that your method is placing that discount at about 22% of the effectiveness of modern pitching; do we have any justification for discounting it that heavily. (Of course I may be misunderstanding what's going on here.)
   75. Rob Wood Posted: May 01, 2003 at 12:56 AM (#512706)
My prelim 1900 ballot.

1. George Wright
2. John Clarkson
3. Hardy Richardson
4. Ezra Sutton
5. Al Spalding
6. Tim Keefe
7. Harry Stovey
8. John M. Ward
9. Ed Williamson
10. Joe Start
11. Pud Galvin
12. Charlie Bennett
13. Hoss Radbourn
14. Fred Dunlap
15. Cal McVey

Wright and Clarkson are clearly the top 2 in my mind and deserve HOM selection this year.

   76. MattB Posted: May 01, 2003 at 01:26 PM (#512708)
New, improved preliminary ballot.

I disagree with everyone who says that we are unfairly neglecting pitchers. Just because none have made the inducted 6 doesn't mean that they aren't being considered and placed prominently on many ballots. The project was started with a built in "back log" that is being work through. Four pitchers appeared on the 1898 Top 15, and two more should be added this year.

That said, I have decided that I personally have not been giving specific pitchers enough credit, and am adjusting my preliminary ballot accordingly, mainly moving up some of the pitchers who inhabit the bottom half of my ballot.

1. John Clarkson -- the best pitcher of the pure-19th century variety deserves the top spot
2. George Wright (2)
3. Ezra Sutton (4)
4. Joe Start (6)
5. Bob Caruthers (5)
6. Tim Keefe (7)
7. Hardy Richardson (8)
8. Pud Galvin (14) -- had him down by the bottom before, but reconsidered.
9. John Ward -- comparable to Caruthers, but I'll take "Freedom Bob"'s career.
10. Al Spalding (15) -- looking at the baseball through 1876, the top three players were clearly George Wright, Ross Barnes, and Al Spalding. I think it was a mistake that Barnes was inducted before Wright, but I now think all three deserve induction eventually.
11. Charley Radbourn (12) -- great, but not as great as those above. Previous ballots suggest he may get inducted before those I ranked above, which would not be a travesty, even if I wouldn't agree.

This is where I would currently draw my new "in/out" line.

12. Harry Stovey (11) -- people seem to like Stovey a lot more than I do. I will reconsider him and see if I missed something that would bump him up.
13. Pete Browning (9)
14. Ned Williamson (10)
15. Cal McVey (13)

   77. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 01, 2003 at 06:59 PM (#512711)
(8) Ezra Sutton -- my stubborness has stood in the way of the facts

... and this is a good thing? :-)
   78. RobC Posted: May 01, 2003 at 07:45 PM (#512713)
I was looking at the 1900 info at the top of this topic and a question came to mind. Can women vote for the HoM, or do they have to wait until 1920 (with ratification of the 19th amendment)?
   79. MattB Posted: May 01, 2003 at 07:55 PM (#512714)
I believe that only women in Wyoming will be permitted to vote for the HoM.

That will explain any freak votes we get for Mike Devereaux.
   80. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 01, 2003 at 08:03 PM (#512715)
John -- I think Andrew is saying that earlier his stubbornness stood in the way of the facts and he's moving Sutton up now that he's re-evaluated. Correct me if I'm wrong Andrew . .

You're probably right, Joe. Andrew had Sutton at #10 on last year's ballot, so there is some upward movement there.
   81. Marc Posted: May 01, 2003 at 08:36 PM (#512716)
I wonder what that makes me (Sutton @ #14 and not moving up).
   82. DanG Posted: May 02, 2003 at 02:33 AM (#512719)
MattB asked:
"While we're looking years into the future . . .

Is anyone exciting coming on board next year? I see Jack Glasscock and Oyster Burns, neither of whom strikes me as a "Top 5" kind of guy, at first glance.

Am I missing anyone else interesting who had later token appearances?"

RobC's query produced this listing, which agrees with my research, capturing all significant candidates:
1901:
DICK BUCKLEY,1895
OYSTER BURNS,1895
CON DAILY,1895,1896 -> 9
DAVE FOUTZ,1895,1896 -> 2
JACK GLASSCOCK,1895
ARLIE LATHAM,1895,1896 -> 8,1899 -> 6,1909 -> 4
GEORGE TEBEAU,1895
WALT WILMOT,1895,1897 -> 11,1898 -> 35
BILL HUTCHISON,1895,1897 -> 6
PHIL KNELL,1895
HARRY STALEY,1895
SCOTT STRATTON,1895

I don't think the ballot committee will make Wilmot eligible for 1901, not that it matters. Another name discussed as possibly eligible was Matt Kilroy, a top pitcher in the AA in the late 80's.

   83. Marc Posted: May 02, 2003 at 01:35 PM (#512725)
Charlie Comiskey was not only a mediocre baseball player, he was among the more miserable excuses for a human being to have graced the major league stage. There is every likelihood that the Black Sox would never have happened but for him.
   84. RobC Posted: May 02, 2003 at 01:45 PM (#512726)
TomH - Here is my counter-argument: 2? who are you considering putting above him. I cant find anyone. Your analysis is almost exactly what I went thru to put him as my #1. If he had put up the same "value" completely at 1 postition, I dont think there would be any argument. But, because his value is split between pitcher/shortstop, the numbers arent as clear cut. I dont like the idea of looking at win shares or warp3 or tpr without looking at context, but this is one case where those methods actually do a good job of clearing out some of the confusion. Looking at warp3, he becomes a 17 year player with 6 seasons >8 and 6 seasons <4. High peak early in career, followed by a long, very good career. And, he still retired at 34.
   85. DanG Posted: May 02, 2003 at 01:51 PM (#512728)
Perhaps JP does not realize that our voting criteria are different from those used by Cooperstown's Hall. We are not considering all contributions made to baseball, we are considering only those that contributed to the teams' play.

From our Constitution:

"Voters are strongly encouraged to consider only a player?s on-field accomplishments and other factors which had an impact on the outcomes of the player?s baseball games. In addition to major league and Negro League accomplishments, particularly noteworthy minor league or non-US professional league accomplishments can also be considered meritorious (in a HoM perspective) in certain circumstances. However, it would be extremely unlikely for a career minor leaguer or Cuban league player to be elected to the HoM. Accomplishments by the teams that the player managed should not be given consideration (unless he was the team?s player-manager).

A player?s ?personality? is to be considered only to the extent that it affected the outcomes of the player?s games (e.g., via his positive or negative effect on his teammates...."

Then later, the Constitution offers this warning:

"The committee will identify any obviously unintelligent or especially questionable votes (e.g., voting for Clay Bellinger). The committee would then email the voter asking him to re-submit an adjusted ballot. If the voter chooses not to do so, the ballot committee has the authority to exclude the voter?s entire ballot and/or the specific unintelligent or questionable votes."

JP's listing of Comiskey, as well as his justification for Ward at #1, seem to have a lot of influence from non-playing factors.
   86. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 02, 2003 at 02:14 PM (#512729)
If Comiskey had been elected by the HoM based solely for his "accomplishments" on the field, he would be the worst player there. Worse than Highpockets, Pop Haines, the $10,000 Lemon and the lesser Heavenly Twin. That bad.

If there is a more overrated player from the 19th century, please let me know.
   87. Carl Goetz Posted: May 02, 2003 at 02:18 PM (#512730)
Here is my preliminary ballot. I have made a fair amount of changes from the previous ballots. Before, I was going mostly on Win shares for hitters and ERA+ and Fib wins for pitchers. Since I have now discovered the BP Player Cards and have easy access to WARP-3 numbers, I have included that in my analysis.
1) 1) John Clarkson- He had the best 3 and 5-year peak out of the ‘Big 3’ pitchers
2) George Wright- One of the best peaks and best careers of the eligibles and we’re missing his pre-NA years, which were supposedly quite good.
3) Old Hoss Radbourn- 2nd best of the ‘big 3’ based on the same criteria as clarkson
4) Tim Keefe- One of the few guys who didn’t change positions from my last ballot.
5) Monte Ward- Was a great pitcher for a few years, and a great Shortstop for a bunch as well.
6) Joe Start- Great older player. I am ranking him this high because he was known as one of the very best pre-NA players. Based on the stats we have, I would rank him lower than Stovey.
7) Pud Galvin- I’ve underrated him in the last 2 ballots. He had a better peak than I originally though and I like the fact that he ‘survived’ a major ‘era’ change that ‘killed’ many a pitcher. Add to that his obvious career value, and you’ve got a HoMer.
8) Hardy Richardson- I feel I underrated Richardson. Actually its more that I overrated some guys that I had ahead of him. I think my main problem is that I wasn’t adjusting the AA players enough.
9) Charlie Bennett- Best Catcher now that White is in(until Ewing comes along). The more I see, the more I like.
10) Ezra Sutton- Not a big drop, but a drop nonetheless. I just don’t see him or Williamson as quite HoM-Worthy. Sorry Joe.
11) Harry Stovey- I dropped Stovey mainly because I am downgrading his AA accomplishments.
12) Pete Browning- Ditto.
13) Ned Williamson- I've explained my Sutton/Williamson stance before. No one has changed my mind.
14) Jim McCormick- Congrats TomH, you got me to re-examine him, and his peak at least gets him on my ballot. I don’t think he’s quite HoM-worthy, but he may occupy a lower ballot spot for a few years.
15) Mickey Welch- Another guy I re-examined with the whole pitcher debate this week. The thing I really like
about Welch is that his peak, while not spectacular, was consistant. His 5th best year was better than anyone
else’s and his 4th best was better than everyone’s but Galvin.
   88. Howie Menckel Posted: May 02, 2003 at 02:50 PM (#512733)
Well, I'm no Comiskey fan, but let's calm down a minute.
There DOES seem to be a lot of evidence that Comiskey was highly regarded as a baseball player. He WAS a great fielder, all seem to agree. The circumstances of the game WERE a lot different than they are now; maybe observers overrated the value of first-base fielding then, maybe they didn't. None of us ever saw him play a single inning.
I'm not voting for him and wouldn't recommend that someone else would, but this hardly is a "Clay Bellinger moment," either.
I don't want to get to the point where we're simply being asked to rank a 1-15 from a list of 17 approved players. Knocking the vote is fine; we're devil's-advocating all over the place on the discussion weeks. But talk of nullifying a ballot is a little silly when the questioned player is IN the Hall of Fame. Yes, a dumb pick, but geesh...
   89. MattB Posted: May 02, 2003 at 03:04 PM (#512735)
I agree with Howie. Contemporary viewers should be considered valid evidence.

And, after all, Comiskey has a higher WARP-1 score than either Lip Pike or Cal McVey.
   90. Jeff M Posted: May 02, 2003 at 04:03 PM (#512738)
Revised Preliminary Ballot (quite a bit different b/c I've reduced the weight I give to Black Ink and increased the weight given to defense in this era):

Preliminary Ballot for 1900:

1. JOHN CLARKSON -- Absolutely dominant. His stretch from 1885-1889 is unmatched.

2. JOHN WARD -- May not be a HOMer as a SS or SP alone, but together, he's there, as he was quite good at both, and that's a pretty rare package. I think a guy who played two significant positions (and played them both very well) would be well deserving of HOM status. I can probably justify him as a #1, but Clarkson was so dominant, I want him there.

3. TIM KEEFE -- (#2) 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). Probably should be elected in next year's ballot.

4. HOSS RADBOURN -- (#3) Pitchers are stacking up now, since they have been hammered in the voting. Have him behind Keefe b/c Keefe's career was longer and more consistent.

5. AL SPALDING -- (#9) Continue to believe that the electors are not giving him enough credit (and maybe I haven't been either). So he gets a big bump.

6. HARRY STOVEY -- (#5) Powerful hitter for his era. Would have been perennial All-Star. Gave approximate 5% discount for AA play.

7. BOB CARUTHERS -- (#7) Amazing win pct and good ERA with lots of Black Ink. Doesn't dominate like Clarkson or Radbourn for any period and didn't last as long as Keefe, but gets a big boost for his hitting.

8. MICKEY WELCH -- (#10) Welch was extremely steady, but loses points because he was not dominant. Penalized by me on earlier ballots for missing black ink, but gray ink is fantastic and his low black ink shouldn't hold him down.

9. EZRA SUTTON -- (n/a) Part of the fun of the HOM voting is learning some things you didn't know (which also involves the not-so-fun activity of admitting when you are wrong). Ezra enters my ballot here, and justifiably so.

10. PETE BROWNING -- (#6) Poor defense drops him, but I still think he is HOM worthy....it will just take some time to get him there. He was awfully productive, even with an AA discount.

11. GEORGE WRIGHT -- (#11) Said enough about him in previous posts. My line for HOM is drawn after #11.

12. TIP O'NEILL -- (#8) A feared hitter but for a short period of time. Had a good defensive reputation, which keeps him close to Browning (who was a terrible defensive player). Still, they both played in the AA, but Browning put up good numbers for longer.

13. TONY MULLANE -- Not sure where to put him. Like Welch, never dominant, but a consistent winner.

14. PUD GALVIN -- (#14) A poor win pct for someone of his caliber. 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.

15. JOE START -- (#12) 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. We're about to get into prime 1b territory, so I can't justify putting him higher.

Dropped: Cal McVey and Jim McCormick (dropped Hardy Richardson from my first preliminary 1900 ballot).
   91. Carl Goetz Posted: May 02, 2003 at 04:08 PM (#512739)
'But JP, just because there are reports that other teams coveted a player that really shouldn't mean a helluva lot should it? Teams make bad decisions all the time. I'll bet there are plenty of teams out there that covet Garrett Anderson more than Brian Giles, that doesn't make him a better player.'
I agree with this statement, Joe. Isn't this basically the same argument that Al Spalding's supporters are using? Spalding was the highest paid player on his team of HoMers, so he should be in. The statistics(Using Warp-3) only show Spalding as being the 8th or 9th best pitcher of all eligible, yet people are using this evidence to bump him up to 3rd or 4th. We have to at least consider the possibility that Spalding was overpaid or more precisely that his teammates were underpaid. Given Spalding's known business acumen in his post-playing days, is it a stretch to assume that he was alot better than his teammates at negotiating a contract? At least a little better?
   92. Marc Posted: May 02, 2003 at 04:24 PM (#512740)
One of the really interesting features of our current set of candidates is that there are only five players among the 29 or 30 that have received votes in the prelims who were known primarily as hitters. How often over 135 years of baseball history would that happen?

But not only that, the five in question are Browning, Stovey, O'Neill, Jones and York. If we added players who received votes in '99 we would be adding Orr and Larkin. Four of five and five of seven played mostly in the AA.

I don't know what this means (was the AA a "hitters league" and the NL something else, a pitching/defense league?) but I thought it was interesting.
   93. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 02, 2003 at 04:29 PM (#512741)
Carl:

Spalding was the Koufax of the NA. Comiskey was the Comiskey of the AA, NL, and PL.

Do you see a difference here now? :-D
   94. Carl Goetz Posted: May 02, 2003 at 04:50 PM (#512742)
John,
I did not mean to imply that Spalding and Comiskey were comparable, just that the common argument for the 2 is flawed. Comiskey should not even be considered for a ballot. Spalding should be considered and then discarded. Right now, I rank him around 17 or 18, which may get him on the ballot with some weak 'classes' coming up. Spalding has amazing looking stats before you adjust them and I agree that he was valuable(but so was everyone else we're discussing for the HoM), but once adjusted, his statistics do not remind me of Sandy Koufax and, if Spalding is still unelected in 1972, Koufax will be far above him on my ballot.
   95. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 02, 2003 at 05:07 PM (#512744)
I knew what you meant. I was just joking with you. That's why I had the icon I used at the end of my post.

I actually agreed with your post (except for ranking Spalding the 8th or 9th pitcher eligible).

BTW, I would have Koufax higher, too. What I meant was that Spalding was the most dominant pitcher of his time.
   96. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 02, 2003 at 05:09 PM (#512745)
If we're voting and I've got the choice of Koufax or Blyleven, it's a no brainer, I'm going Dutch.

Without a doubt.
   97. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 02, 2003 at 05:18 PM (#512748)
JP:
Another question: Where's Pete Browning for the AA?

Just in case you didn't realize that people had their own hallucinogenic drugs back then... :-)

   98. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 02, 2003 at 05:21 PM (#512750)
That's the reasoning behind why I think Spalding is a little overrated by some.

Except Spalding had a much longer career (13 years) for his time than Koufax did
   99. DanG Posted: May 02, 2003 at 07:20 PM (#512755)
You're forgiven, Dave. It's hard to keep track of things after you've been dead for 106 years.
   100. Marc Posted: May 02, 2003 at 08:24 PM (#512757)
Geez, first we gotta worry about offending the Irish, now the Dutch! What next?
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