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Tuesday, May 27, 2003

1902 Ballot Discussion

Here you go fellas, this list is from Howie Menkel, I don’t have time for links, double-checking it, etc. right now, but I wanted to get the thread started without further delay . . . Here are the new eligibles, quite a class.

DAN BROUTHERS,1896,1904 -> 2
BUCK EWING,1896,1897 -> 1
SHORTY FULLER,1896
CONNIE MACK,1896
TOMMY MCCARTHY,1896
CHIPPY MCGARR,1896
DOGGIE MILLER,1896
SAM THOMPSON,1896,1897 -> 3,1898 -> 14,1906 -> 8
AD GUMBERT,1896
ADONIS TERRY,1896,1897 -> 1
GEORGE STOVEY,Negro Leagues

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: May 27, 2003 at 02:58 PM | 215 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 27, 2003 at 03:09 PM (#513333)
Negro Leaguer Harry Stovey (no relation to George, duh)

Huh? :-)
   2. Jeff M Posted: May 27, 2003 at 03:13 PM (#513334)
What has been decided about Thompson's eligibility? 1904?
   3. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 27, 2003 at 03:19 PM (#513335)
What has been decided about Thompson's eligibility? 1904?

He's eligible now, Jeff.

How about the incomparable Ed Stein and Willie McGill?
   4. MattB Posted: May 27, 2003 at 03:52 PM (#513336)
Well, I've got Brouthers, Ewing, Stovey, and Thompson in my Top 15. Anyone got anyone else, or not have one of those?
   5. dan b Posted: May 27, 2003 at 03:55 PM (#513337)
Anybody not have Brouthers and Ewing as their top 2?
   6. Rusty Priske Posted: May 27, 2003 at 03:58 PM (#513338)
Possibly, but I tend to undervalue the new guys and then bring them up later. At the moment I see Brouthers as 1 or 2 and Ewing around 5.

With the discussions this week, that may change, however.
   7. DanG Posted: May 27, 2003 at 04:04 PM (#513339)
I'm thinking it will take some persuading before I put George Stovey on my ballot.

As for Brouthers and Ewing, perhaps we can use them as a test to weed out those voters who are unqualified to be here. Anyone who fails to list them #1 and 2 will be put on probation by The Standards Committee. (Insert laughing icon here.)
   8. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 27, 2003 at 04:17 PM (#513340)
I'm thinking it will take some persuading before I put George Stovey on my ballot.

I'm not totally sold on him as of yet, either. Yes, he was the greatest black pitcher of his time, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything in itself. I doubt there will be any African-Americans in the Hall who played at that position in the 1980s, either.

If he winds up on my ballot, it will be at the tail end unless persuaded beforehand to move him up.

Joe, does Eric Enders have an opinion about Stovey?
   9. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 27, 2003 at 04:28 PM (#513341)
Prelim ballot:

1) Dan Brouthers (n/a): Without a doubt, the greatest hitter of the 19th century. Best first baseman for 1882, 1887, 1889, 1891, 1892, 1893, and 1894 As strictly a first baseman, had roughly the same value as Cap Anson (in three less seasons).

Hell, we all know he was great! :-)

2) Buck Ewing (n/a): Greatest catcher of the 19th century. Like Brouthers, a no-brainer HoMer. Best catcher for 1884, 1885, 1886 (arguable), 1888, and 1890.

3) Al Spalding (1)

4) Ezra Sutton (2)

5) Jack Glasscock (4)

6) Cal McVey (5)

7) Dickey Pearce (6)

8) Hardy Richardson (7)

9) Joe Start (8)

10) Charlie Bennett (10)

11) Levi Meyerle (11)

12) Ed Williamson (12)

13) Fred Dunlap (13)

14) Lip Pike (14)

15) Old Hoss Radbourn (15)
   10. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 27, 2003 at 04:35 PM (#513342)
Help!

I placed the /b in the <> symbols twice before the word test to try to stop the bold letters. What am I doing wrong?
   11. Rusty Priske Posted: May 27, 2003 at 04:49 PM (#513343)
What do you guys think about the Black Ink/Grey Ink etc. tests that they use on Baseball Reference? Do you think you can use those at all for players of this era?

Buck Ewing's ratings in those categories really surprised me.
   12. Howie Menckel Posted: May 27, 2003 at 05:13 PM (#513346)
Well, at least maybe the tentative list was a help (he said as he blushed).
The list was supposed to say "Negro Leaguer GEORGE Stovey, no relation to HARRY, duh" as a weak nod to the fact that the racism of 100 years ago meant that....
ah, never mind. I'll wait 'til my brain stops thinking it's still a holiday..
   13. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 27, 2003 at 05:14 PM (#513347)
Can whoever fixes the boldface problem please explain how they fixed it?
   14. Rob Wood Posted: May 27, 2003 at 05:42 PM (#513348)
At the risk of being put on probation, my preliminary review has Ewing and Glasscock in a close race for the 2nd spot on my ballot (behind Brouthers).
   15. Marc Posted: May 27, 2003 at 06:06 PM (#513349)
John, you broke it!
   16. MattB Posted: May 27, 2003 at 06:12 PM (#513350)
Gosh. Can't leave you kids alone for a minute.
   17. Rusty Priske Posted: May 27, 2003 at 07:00 PM (#513353)
Because the process is just as entertaining and enlightening as the results.

Do not ignore the journey for the destination.
   18. Howie Menckel Posted: May 27, 2003 at 07:05 PM (#513354)
Ewing is an interesting case.
Before doing too much research, I'd like to hear the case for him being:
a - WAY better than Bennett, and
b - clearly better than someone like Sutton.
Start and others are a different discussion.
Generally, how much defense and catching bonus does Ewing need, if any, to be a Brouthers-like pick??
   19. MattB Posted: May 27, 2003 at 07:07 PM (#513356)
Ugh.

Because I have no idea how everyone has knighted Buck Ewing as the greatest Catcher ever. To me, he looks awful similar to 12th place contestant Charlie Bennett.

Let's compare:

Buck Ewing's career was somewhat longer (about two seasons, give or take), but AS A CATCHER, Charlie Bennett actually caught 50% more games (934 to 636 to Bennett). If I could take just their catching careers, I would think Charlie Bennett was the better of the two. Bennett also has the better career defensive numbers. They both played in the National League with careers that largely overlapped.

Yes, Ewing had some better offensive numbers, but he had a lot of them playing first base and right field. Is that enough to make up for Bennett's superior catching career?

Look at WARP-3. Buck Ewing 84.2. Charlie Bennett, 82.4. And Ewing spread his extra fewer-than-two wins over an additional 1460 plate appearances. Bennett has nearly identical counting stats condensed into largely superior rate stats.

So, tell me, are we undervaluing Charlie Bennett, overvaluing Buck Ewing, or is there something magical about 12 points of OPS+ for a guy who spent less than half of his career as a catcher makes Buck Ewing worthy of ballot-skipping?
   20. Rusty Priske Posted: May 27, 2003 at 07:07 PM (#513357)
Because the process is just as entertaining and enlightening as the results.

Do not ignore the journey for the destination.
   21. DanG Posted: May 27, 2003 at 07:09 PM (#513359)
Questions to be answered in the 1902 election:

1) Will Brouthers be a unanimous choice?
2) Where does Sam Thompson rate?
3) Where does George Stovey rate?
4) Will Caruthers and Galvin continue their ascent?
5) Will Williamson break his free fall?
6) With Radbourn again the top pitcher on the ballot, will he pass last year's newbie Glasscock in the voting?

I'm sure you have questions of your own that the 1902 election will serve to shed light upon. I understand what JP is suggesting, but if we rush this project it will be less than what it could be.

   22. RobC Posted: May 27, 2003 at 07:12 PM (#513360)
DanG - not only are Brouthers-Ewing not 1-2 on my ballot, Ewing isnt in my top 2 of new guys. Brouthers barely hit #1 overall on my ballot. Here is my prelim 1902 ballot:

1. Dan Brouthers (-) - close between him and Glasscock.
2. Jack Glasscock (1*)
3. Hardy Richardson (2*)
4. Pud Galvin (3*)
5. Sam Thompson (-) - He is here for now, could move up 1 or 2 spots.
6. Buck Ewing (-)
7. Charlie Bennett (4)
8. Old Hoss Radbourn (9) - Stovey and Rodbourn switched spots. Huh?!?
9. Ezra Sutton (8)
10. Harry Stovey (7)
11. Pete Browning (11) - typical reorg from here down.
12. Fred Dunlap (10)
13. Tom York (14)
14. Joe Start (12)
15. George Stovey (-) - Until someone proves he should be higher (or lower). Caruthers, Williamson, and McCormick are interested in this spot.
   23. MattB Posted: May 27, 2003 at 07:12 PM (#513361)
I had Bennett around 15th before, but after a direct comparison to Ewing (who I had assumed was a lot better, but doesn't really look it), I may have undervalued him. I currently see them both hovering around 9th or 10th, about equal with Sam Thompson.
   24. Marc Posted: May 27, 2003 at 07:20 PM (#513363)
Who said its a journey not a destination? Right on, bro. And ditto re. Ewing. There's a strong subjective component to his knighthood--the numbers aren't THAT strong--and I think everybody should be open to considering whether the subjective component holds up to scrutiny. I think the jury is out.

Now Anson and Connors, there' a slam dunk. Oops, wrong sport. A walk-off, then.
   25. DanG Posted: May 27, 2003 at 07:21 PM (#513364)
This is the really great thing about this process: every player gets a fresh analysis, regardless of his prior reputation.

"Everyone" knows Ewing was the greatest catcher by far until the 1920's. But when you sit down and start justifying the conventional wisdom, what do you see? A New York bias, perhaps?

Buck Ewing is a HoMer, but he doesn't seem to be a towering giant against the firmament of 19th century baseball. He may not make it on the first ballot. Or maybe he will. The fact that it's not a given is a great thing.

Now let's tear up that clown Brouthers.
   26. Rusty Priske Posted: May 27, 2003 at 07:22 PM (#513365)
Apparently I liked it so much that I said it twice.

Oops. :)
   27. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 27, 2003 at 08:13 PM (#513368)
But he was a helluva player, he was probably the best catcher of the 19th Century (not if you consider Deacon White a catcher),

It's close between those two. It all depends on your positional adjustments. I actually have White rated a little higher myself, so I guess the ghost of a contemporary of Ewing must have taken control of me on my prelim. :-)

Mark -- I hear what you are saying about Hall of Up the Middle, but defense was much more important in the 19th Century. Fewer strikeouts, more errors and little HR power made chain offenses mandatory, and the ability to get an out with the glove has a lot more value in that era than in one dominanted by power hitters (short chains), so the top defensive players were more valuable.

The determining factor for me, though, is that many of the top "up the middle guys" were relatively more durable for their positions than the Brownings, Stoveys, Jones and Thompsons.
   28. dan b Posted: May 27, 2003 at 08:35 PM (#513372)
Will Brouthers be unanimous? Looking back at our 1906 provisional ballots from March, 13 of 13 would have Brouthers #1 on their 1902 ballot. Ewing would be 2nd on 8 of 13.
   29. Rusty Priske Posted: May 27, 2003 at 09:27 PM (#513374)
I know you guys would absolutely rip me over this, but trust me when I say that this is VERY provisional. I expect a lot of movement during the week. I really look forward to reading the whole take on Ewing, because as of now, I don't see it.

1. Radbourne
2. Brouthers (before I vote I will probably relent. I just really think Hoss has been overlooked.)
3. Galvin
4. Glasscock
5. Caruthers
6. H. Stovey
7. Richardson
8. Welch
9. Adonis Terry (I am doing more investigation on him, but he looks better than people seem to think here)
10. Mullane
11. McCormick
12. Ewing (But VERY likely to rise during the week. I tend to start quite conservative and move as I analyze)
13. Browning
14. Sutton
15. Thompson

Dropping off: Foutz, Latham, Hutchison

   30. Rick A. Posted: May 27, 2003 at 09:58 PM (#513375)
1902 Prelim. Ballot

There are changes from my previous ballots, since I've always had trouble deciding where to slot the pitchers in and feel I was probably underrating them. They were all grouped near the end of my ballot. I've mixed them in among the hitters a little more.

1. Dan Brouthers(n/a) - should be unanimous #1 selection
2. Jack Glasscock(3) - Great fielder and very decent hitter. Switched position with Richardson
3. Buck Ewing(n/a) - Not as great as I thought, but still #3 (n/a)
4. Hardy Richardson(2) - Much closer to Ewing than I previously thought.
5. Joe Start (4)
6. Ezra Sutton (5)
7. Al Spalding(9) - First pitcher that I reshuffled in. Probably should be higher, but I can't seem to get him in the top 6
8. Sam Thompson (n/a)
9. Hoss Radbourn(10)
10. Harry Stovey (6) - Moved down because of re-slotting of pitchers. Interesting how far down he's gone on my ballot. He went from #3 in 1900 to #6 in 1901(re-evaluated league competition) to #10 this year(re-slotting of pitchers and new eligibles)
11. Pud Galvin(11)
12. Pete Browning(7) - Had a hard time deciding between Browning's great offense but bad defense vs. Bennett's great defense and decent offense. Also, like Stovey, he's been falling pretty rapidly on my ballots
13. Charlie Bennett(12) - Probably is underrated. A little more playing time would've moved him up alot on my ballot, but sadly that didn't happen. Great defense.
14. Mickey Welch (14)
15. Tie Charley Jones(13) and Cal McVey(15) - Didn't want to have a tie for 15th place, but having a hard time picking just one.
   31. Carl Goetz Posted: May 27, 2003 at 10:15 PM (#513376)
Tentative:
1)Dan Brouthers(New)- The class of this election.
2)Old Hoss Radbourn(2)- Best Pitcher on the board.
3)Jack Glasscock(4)- Moves up 1 spot because 2 players better than him were elected and only 1 new player is better. Pebbly Jack's a no-brainer, but will likely have to wait a few years.
4)Joe Start(5)- Moves up 1 for the same reason as Pebbly Jack. Start is a HoMer and is, IMHO, the most underrated player in these elections by far.
5)Buck Ewing(New)- Is a HoMer, but is overrated and needs to wait a few years.
6)Pud Galvin(6)- Pud's got the Career and his peak is underrated. He's above my theoretical 'In' line.
7)Hardy Richardson(7)- Best 2B out there. Solid peak, solid career.
8)Charlie Bennett(8)- I thought Bennett might drop a little when compared with Ewing, but the fact that he compares so well with Ewing may move him up a notch before my final ballot.
9)Sam Thompson(New)- He's not any better than Richardson or Bennett and his defense keeps him lower than those 2. He's an 'iffy' HoMer in my mind and may move down on this list.
10)Al Spalding(10)- Stayed the same, but actually moved up 1 against the other holdovers.
11)Ezra Sutton(9)- Sutton is definitely on the 'dark side' of my HoM line. I just don't regard him as highly as others.
12)Cal McVey(12)- See Spalding.
13)George Stovey(New)- This is a tentative ranking. I want to hear the 'expert's' opinions on him and do a little more research myself. He could move up or down depend on the results.
14)Ed Williamson(11)- Sutton is still better.
15)Harry Stovey(13)- He's not even the best guy named 'Stovey' any more. As before, I think he's overrated due to gaudy AA numbers.
16)Fred Dunlap(Not Rated)- Will move onto the ballot if I decide I rated G Stovey too highly. Every 'year', I re-consider the top vote getter from last year whom I didn't consider for my own ballot. 2 years ago, I added McCormick and last year I added Caruthers under this personal rule of mine. The purpose of the rule is so I don't ignore a player who others rate highly. I may not include that player on my ballot, but I will at least consider him(this year, my list of players that I am considering is at 28) Dunlap is the deepest I've had to go into the election results to reconsider a player, and I must say, I like what I've found. I like his peak. His total career value is decent, but I would need it to be higher to rate him much higher than 15th on any ballot. He's not an HoMer, but he is a better player than I previously thought.
   32. KJOK Posted: May 27, 2003 at 10:36 PM (#513377)
"So, tell me, are we undervaluing Charlie Bennett, overvaluing Buck Ewing, or is there something magical about 12 points of OPS+ for a guy who spent less than half of his career as a catcher makes Buck Ewing worthy of ballot-skipping? "

Bennett's been consistently undervalued, but even I, #1 Bennett supporter, would put Ewing ahead of Bennett..
   33. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: May 27, 2003 at 10:36 PM (#513378)
I'm not the world's greatest George Stovey expert, but let's start out with his stats from 6 partial seasons in the white minors:

BATTING
122 G
464 AB
68 R
121 H
16 2B
3 3B
1 HR
28 SB
.261 BA

PITCHING
102 G
882 IP
60 W
40 L
814 H
495 R
228 BB
387 K
2.17 ERA (according to Jim Riley)

According to Riley's book, Stovey won 30 games and held opponents to a .167 average in 1886 with Jersey City of the (soon-to-be) International League. The next year, playing with Newark in the same league, he went 34-15. After that season black players were banned from the International League.

Riley fails to explain how Stovey could have won 30 games in 1886 and 34 in 1887, but still have only 60 career victories in white baseball.

In 1886 the New York Giants supposedly tried to hire Stovey to pitch the last four games of the season for them. It didn't work. In 1887 the Giants tried again to hire Stovey but Newark wouldn't sell his contract.

Previous paragraph according to Sol White/Jerry Malloy.

Stovey appears to have been a spectacularly effective pitcher for a few years but with a fairly short career, something like Radbourn, perhaps. His career, as best I can tell, lasted only from 1886-96.

   34. Marc Posted: May 27, 2003 at 11:07 PM (#513379)
>The fact that Bennett caught 85% of the time to Ewing's 49% is a plus for him, not a negative.

I'm not convinced of this. It was customary at this time for guys who could really hit the ball but also catch effectively (Kelly, Ewing, White, et al) to catch less and hit more. Ewing only played a few extra ball games beyond what Bennett played, it's true, but I wonder if Bennett's managers weren't willing to sacrifice his bat in order to have him catch, while Ewing's managers wanted his bat in the lineup. Now, either, you just had managers with differently philosophies, which is possible, or Ewing was just that much better of a hitter.
   35. MattB Posted: May 27, 2003 at 11:09 PM (#513380)
What Eric failed to mention is that the 34 wins in 1887 is an International League record that still stands today.

In my mind, what needs to be considered is exactly what a fair "discount" is. In my mind, the all-time wins record in the IL, playing at a time of low strikeout totals and with minor-league quality defense behind you, is about as close as a pitcher of the era could get to "perfect".

After the "color line" excluded Stovey from the minors, the played for the Cuban Giants, then the premiere all-black team and was a star for them for several years as well.
   36. jimd Posted: May 27, 2003 at 11:32 PM (#513381)
13 of 13 would have Brouthers #1 on their 1902 ballot

Guess you didn't count mine, dan b. I had him 10th, which translates to 3rd on this ballot (behind Glasscock and Radbourn) after you eliminate those elected or not yet eligible.
   37. jimd Posted: May 27, 2003 at 11:44 PM (#513382)
Now, either, you just had managers with differently philosophies

Because of the no-substitution rule (can't change your starting 9 without the opponents permission, though you can move them around to different positions; gone after 1889/1890), there were a number of strategies in use for the RF slot. Some managers liked to put a 2nd pitcher out there (if they had one that could hit, like Caruthers, Foutz, Ferguson, Buffinton, Whitney, etc.) in case they wanted to make a pitching change. Some liked a reserve catcher out there, assuming he could play a little outfield, in case the starting catcher got dinged (probably the most likely injury situation). Some preferred to risk catching injury and pitching ineffectiveness and get a bona-fide hitter (like Thompson) out there. All were valid strategies with different risk-reward patterns. Players that could catch and play another real defensive position like Kelly and O'Rourke were very valuable because they gave the manager added flexibility.
   38. Marc Posted: May 27, 2003 at 11:53 PM (#513383)
The 1902 prelims:

1. Brouthers (new)--the biggest no-brainer #1 yet
2. Spalding (1)--still the highest peak and the highest ERA+ on the board; he could pitch on my slow pitch softball team any day
3. Ewing (new)--in danger of going from over-rated to under-rated in a week
4. Radbourn (4)--now that Clarkson and Keefe are out of the way, he looks better, hard to knock 300 wins no matter what
5. Thompson (new)--also in danger of being under-rated, vastly better competition than, say, H. Stovey
6. Glasscock (6)--might be too low but not a dominating player
7. McVey (7)--did everything Deacon White ever did, only better, just not as long
8. Caruthers (5)--another monstrous peak even with AA discount, but I'm still uncertain, could move up, could move down
9. Richardson (9)--would rank higher if he had played 2B a little longer
10. Browning (8)--164 OPS+ even in AA, fielding not as horrible as his reputation
11. Pike (10)--another giant of the early days, clearly more to offer than Joe Start at least from a peak perspective
12. Bennett (11)--a solid man
13. Start (14)--still somewhat undecided, the published record not inspring, the reputation impressive, will the real Joe Start please stand up, better than Sutton with the '60s thrown in
14. Stovey (15 tie)--still can't get excited, not as good a peak as Browning, better than O'Neill, Jones, Orr
15 tie. Charley Jones (unrated the past 3 elections)--next best hitter on the board
Tony Mullane (15 tie)--next best pitcher on the board though McCormick is tempting
Fred Dunlap (13)-- next best non-corner position player

Dropping out--Sutton (12) has been bouncing around, this week maybe he's the scratch. Yes, I'll compare him head-to-head with Dunlap before I cast a vote, but other than #15 I just can't imagine him bumping anybody else. I like a good high peak, what can I say. The in/out line is somewhere between 8 and 11. I am most uncertain about Caruthers and Start.

2nd group of 17!--McCormick, Sutton, Williamson, Welch, Meyerle, Orr, O'Neill, Galvin, Bond, Pearce, Cummings, Foutz, Corcoran, York, Whitney, S. King and Hecker. Who'd I miss?

Oh yes, George Stovey, pretty much under consideration but based on next to nothing. He could pop onto the ballot, though, I hope he does.
   39. dan b Posted: May 28, 2003 at 02:03 AM (#513384)
jimd - I did notice you had Brouthers 10th on your 3/21 ballot, but on 3/24 you elevated him to 6th behind Connor, O'Rourke, White, Ward and Anson.
   40. favre Posted: May 28, 2003 at 02:24 AM (#513385)
Has anyone else noticed how similar Hardy Richardson and Buck Ewing are?

They both have career OPS+ scores of 130.

They have virtually identical career WARP-3 scores (84.2 for Ewing, 85.1 for Richardson).

Both have long careers (Ewing?s is longer, although he had unproductive years at the very beginning and end).

Both were consistently good batters throughout their careers; neither had a particularly high peak.

Both played a key defensive position well (catcher, second base), but both played substantial part of their careers in the OF (Ewing also played first base). Both played over one hundred games at 3B.

Ewing is better, because he played a more difficult position (particularly in the 19th Century). Still, this comparison only encourages my admiration of Richardson?on the other hand, maybe it will only lower Ewing?s stock.
   41. favre Posted: May 28, 2003 at 03:17 AM (#513387)
I just noticed that, according to BR, Richardson is Ewing's closest comp (886).

I also want to talk about Jack Glasscock. I placed him fourth on my ballot last year, primarily because I was seduced like a Bangkok harlot by his WARP-3 scores. However, I?m glad he wasn?t elected right away, because I have a feeling we?re overrating him a little.

A couple of people have compared him to Luke Appling. While I realize their career OPS+ scores are identical, I don?t think this is a good comp. Appling was an on-base machine. He was in the top ten OBP in nine different seasons, Glasscock in three:

Appling Glasscock
1935-.437-5 1886-.374-8
1936-.474-2 1889-.390-9
1937-.407-10 1890-.395-5
1939-.430-7
1940-.420-6
1943-.419-1
1946-.384-6
1948-.423-3
1949-.439-2

We probably should dismiss the 1943 season; then again, we should probably dismiss the 1890 NL season as well. Either way, Appling was just a different type of player. (in fairness to Glasscock, Jack was a better fielder than Old Aches & Pains).

Someone else suggested Alan Trammell as a comp, who is a more similar type of player: a shortstop who produces runs using good (rather than great) OBP and moderate power. Glasscock may have been a better fielder (Trammell gets a B- from WS, which seems to fly in the face of his raw stats and contemporary opinion). Trammell, however, had more big seasons (1983, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1990 for Alan; 1882, 1886, 1889 for Jack).

Another comparison is Jim Fregosi. Fregosi’s career OPS+ is 113; Glasscock’s is 112. Fregosi’s career lasted 18 years; Glasscock’s 17. Glasscock had productive seasons every year between 1882-1890; Fregosi every year from 1963-1970. Fregosi had one big season, 1964, although his 1967 and 1970 seasons were also quite good. Glasscock was a better fielder, and overall a better player.

So, it seems to me that Glasscock lies on a continuum between Alan Trammell and Jim Fregosi. Is that an HoM’er? Yes, probably. But I don’t mind making him wait, and I think WARP-3 rates him too high. Then again, number crunching is not my forte’; if I’m missing something, please let me know.

   42. Marc Posted: May 28, 2003 at 03:44 AM (#513388)
Clearly the issue with Glasscock is the same as with any but the most obvious, no-brainer HoMer from the 19th century. There are better 20th century players who probably will not fit into the HoM because of the quotas we are using. I happen to think this is OK. I get really tired of hearing that (the royal or collective) "we" MUST put Fred McGriff in the HoF because he has been as valuable as Hank Greenberg or George Sisler or whomever. So what? He is still only about the 10th best 1B of the past 20 years. So I like having a historical distribution. Otherwise we could just leap ahead to 2003 and elect the top 200 (or whatever) players and be done with it.

But anyway, it drives one crazy to think too much about contemporary comps for these guys becuase it implies a methodology that we don't happen to be using.

I don't disagree with a thing you said, BTW.
   43. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 28, 2003 at 05:50 AM (#513389)
Brouthers may not be a unanimous selection, but there is no way any other eligible outfielder or first baseman can be ranked ahead of him. All the others pale in comparison (peak or career).
   44. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 28, 2003 at 05:58 AM (#513390)
Joe, will you be posting the 1901 election results at Clutch Hirs?
   45. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: May 28, 2003 at 07:51 AM (#513391)
I have Jim McCormick, Mickey Welch, Bob Caruthers, Tony Mullane and Al Spalding competing for the last four spots on my ballot. Who should I leave out and why?
   46. Rusty Priske Posted: May 28, 2003 at 10:33 AM (#513393)
Joe,

I spent last night doing research on Adonis Terry and Buck Ewing, trying to see if my initial reactions would be borne out.

They weren't.

Ewing is better than I thought. At the moment I am probably putting him 6th, which is a far cry from the 12th I had him at.

I saw Terry as an all-around player that did a lot for his team. The deeper I looked, I found that he wasn't quite the hitter that I thought he was. For example, I had in my mind that he was one of the five or sixth best combined hitter/pitchers. In fact, Bill James has him somewhere around 14th. He is also not quite the pitcher I thought he was, and now he doesn't have the hitting to prop him up.

So far I have dropped him to 15th, and he may not be done dropping.

By the way, this is why I think it is a good idea to not shorten the discussion period. :)

Also, for anyone who thinks that Brouthers will not be unananimous because of me, I direct you to the comments I put with that post, and to this one. ie. I am not done picking. I tend to bias towards pitchers, but three is a good chance I will relent and move Brouthers ahead of Radbourne.
   47. MattB Posted: May 28, 2003 at 11:43 AM (#513394)
Joe wrote:

"Right now our 10 players break down as:

Up the middle
C - .85
SS - 1.61
3B - .49
CF - 1.97
Total - 4.92"

I understand your point about the value of a third baseman being about equal to that of a second baseman today, but I hardly think that warrants putting third base "up the middle"!
   48. Howie Menckel Posted: May 28, 2003 at 01:14 PM (#513396)
For what it's worth, I'm probably not the only one who has tended to see Ewing as a likely choice this year - but that does NOT mean I'd automatically vote for him myself. Those are two different things.
I tend to be biased against first-time eligibles, simply because I want them to stand up to more than one "year's" worth of criticism. I think Ward should have had to run that gauntlet, and now Glasscock has. Brouthers is an exception, obviously.
From this discussion, there is no doubt that we can use this time to wrestle over Ewing.......
   49. MattB Posted: May 28, 2003 at 01:27 PM (#513397)
John Murphy wrote:

"2) Buck Ewing (n/a): Greatest catcher of the 19th century. Like Brouthers, a no-brainer HoMer. Best catcher for 1884, 1885, 1886 (arguable), 1888, and 1890."

Joe wrote:

"You are right though, Bennett was better in 1881 and 1882 (he was age 26-27, Ewing 21-22), they were equal in 1883 and then Ewing was better the rest of their careers."

Not to pile on Buck Ewing (I am certainly not arguing that he is unworthy, or even that he's not much better than Bennett), but led me continue to knock him down a peg.

1885:

Buck Ewing: 157 OPS+ in 355 plate appearances in 81 games (63 catching). WARP3 of 6.4
Charlie Bennett: 129 OPS+ in 283 PA in 72 games (69 catching). WARP3 of 6.4.

Advantage: Bennett

For 1888, I consider Ewing the second best catcher after King Kelly (due to Kelly's huge offensive numbers), but WARP3 has him second after Charlie Bennett (because of Kelly's poor defense in general, and Ewing's poor defensive performance when not catching, I think.) so it's at least an open question that year.

So, I would say that Ewing did not clearly surpass Bennett for good until around 1889. I would conclude that Charlie Bennett was the best catcher in baseball from about 1881 to 1888, and Buck Ewing was the best from about 1888 to 1893.

   50. MattB Posted: May 28, 2003 at 01:33 PM (#513398)
I agree with Howie that I would have been happier to make Monte Ward wait.

Not that I think he was necessarily a bad choice (I believe I had him seventh or ninth) -- just that he was elected so fast there wasn't much opportunity to analyze what by all accounts was a pretty bizarre career path. He was essentially voted in due to his pitching "peak" value and his shortstop "career" value (he was rarely one of the top shortstops in any league he played in). Again, not that it is a mistake, but I felt like I didn't have a lot of time to think about it.
   51. MattB Posted: May 28, 2003 at 02:09 PM (#513401)
My point was, unlike some others who wish to move to weekly voting, it takes me a long time to nail down a candidate.

When a John Clarkson comes along, and I think, "He looks like the best candidate at the moment, but maybe upon further reflection I can see him dropping as low as third," I have no problem putting him first, because the worst case scenario is that he just gets in one year too early, but obviously belonged anyway.

When a Buck Ewing comes along, however, I think, "For a time, he was the best at his position. He looks at first like top-of-ballot candidate. Maybe he looks at first blush like a second place candidate (that seems to be where everyone else is talking about him. But, upon further reflection, he could turn out to be just a little better than Charlie Bennett, who I have listed #15." If that's the case, I do have a problem listing the player as high as second, because my confidence level is lower and all of my rankings are discounted for confidence levels. (My confidence on Joe Start has been increasing, and he has been moving up my ballot accordingly).

I had Radbourn very high on my first ballot, based on comparisons to other eligible pitchers on the ballot. When I looked again, however, against a backdrop of Clarkson and Keefe, Radbourn didn't look so good, and dropped down considerably. Now, Radbourn may still be worthy, but he is looking less so to me now, and I regret putting him so high at the time, due to his strong numbers, but my low level of confidence.
   52. Philip Posted: May 28, 2003 at 02:11 PM (#513402)
?What do you guys think about the Black Ink/Grey Ink etc. tests that they use on Baseball Reference? Do you think you can use those at all for players of this era??

I don?t like to use these at all for this kind of analysis. Black Ink/Grey Ink offer a very rough indication of performance and as such (if you add a 5 point premium for playing in New York) is better suited for measuring HOF-likelihood than HOM-worthiness.

I hope that the addition of Ewing to the ballot will raise the support for Charlie Bennett. I am also interested to see how people compare Ewing to McVey, the most underrated player yet, IMO. Both have comparable playing time behind the plate (lower pct of games for McVey, but more compared to season length). I have McVey as a much higher peak, while Ewing obviously has a longer recorded career.

My preliminary ballot:
1. Brouthers
2. Start (2)
3. Glasscock (3)
4. Ewing
5. Sutton (4)
6. McVey (5)
7. Bennett (6)
8. Radbourn (7)
9. Richardson (9).
10. Pike (10)
11. Thompson
12. Galvin (12)
13. Spalding (11)
14. Williamson (13)
15. H Stovey (14)

I haven’t looked at George Stovey at all so he still may well push that other Stovey off my ballot.

   53. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 28, 2003 at 02:18 PM (#513403)
I understand the concern and caution with regard to Ward who had a unique career, but, as a general matter, I don't think it is fair or appropriate to dock players' positions on the ballot simply because they are newly eligible.

Besides, it is strictly forbidden in our Constitution.
   54. Marc Posted: May 28, 2003 at 02:25 PM (#513404)
A thought re. John Ward. I have been looking at Ernie Banks lately and Matt's comment about Ward seemed exactly appropriate to Banks. High peak at SS, extended career at 1B but never one of the better 1Bs.

Re. the thought of making players wait a few years to allow a thorough discussion and analysis, I can't agree with that as a methodology for this group. Somebody's going to get elected, and if not John Ward then who? Perhaps some other player about whom there coulda/shoulda/woulda been more discussion or about whom there will be buyer remorse later on. It would be different if we were not on a quota system, but we're always gonna elect somebody. Make one player wait, another goes in. I don't see what we gain, and that's what the two week cycle was for.
   55. Rusty Priske Posted: May 28, 2003 at 02:42 PM (#513405)
I see the point in waiting, but on a personal, case-by-case basis.

What I mean is, put him on the top if you are sure he belongs on top. If you aren't sure, then don't. If you change your mind later, then you can move him up later. This isn't a policy of low-voting the newly eligible, it is just being cautious.

Using the Ward example, I see no problem, but then I thought he was #2 that year regardless. OTOH, I had Mullane 3rd that year. If he had gotten in due to that vote, I would have felt bad if I looked at it, because I have slotted him down each year since then (3 to 8 to 11).

So, for me "it depends".
   56. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 28, 2003 at 02:43 PM (#513406)
?What do you guys think about the Black Ink/Grey Ink etc. tests that they use on Baseball Reference? Do you think you can use those at all for players of this era??

They're nice to use to see if a player has enough "gravitas" for the HoF. Unfortunately, that doesn't always indicate greatness, so I tend to ignore them in my analysis.

Joe:

Good work on Ewing/Bennett. I also agree that OPS+ should be used with caution (especially during this era).

Now about Adonis Terry... :-D
   57. favre Posted: May 28, 2003 at 02:45 PM (#513407)
Joe,

Thanks for your response to the Richardson-Ewing comp. You say that "2B/LF were not key defensive positions in the 19th Cent." I understand that second basemen were generally expected to produce more offense than third basemen until the 1950s. But how can second base not be a key defensive position?
   58. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 28, 2003 at 02:53 PM (#513408)
What I mean is, put him on the top if you are sure he belongs on top. If you aren't sure, then don't. If you change your mind later, then you can move him up later. This isn't a policy of low-voting the newly eligible, it is just being cautious.

I don't have a problem with that. I've done that myself. Thanks for explaining yourself more clearly.

A thought re. John Ward. I have been looking at Ernie Banks lately and Matt's comment about Ward seemed exactly appropriate to Banks. High peak at SS, extended career at 1B but never one of the better 1Bs.

I really don't see a good comparison here. Ward was an above average-near great pitcher who also had an above average/great career at short. Combine that with a fairly long career, he belongs on a ballot.

Banks, OTOH, was a great shorttop, but was only average at best at first. Banks will make my ballot almost solely on his accomplishments at shortstop.
   59. MattB Posted: May 28, 2003 at 02:54 PM (#513409)
Joe, I am unclear on your view of the problem with OPS in the 19th century. Yesterday you wrote:

"OPS+ is ONLY useful for a quick comparison to hitter from this era so you can get a mental picture, it's not really a valid metric for comparing players from this era, because the "O" is much more important than the "S"."

But today, you wrote:

Looking at one of the specific years you note:

"1886: Ewing O +.039; S +.090
1886: Bennett O +.060; S +.033

. . .

And the major difference is that Ewing hit 50 points above the league, Bennett was 18 below. Batting average was much more important then, with runners going from 1st to 3rd more often, walks were less valuable (making OPS+ less relevant). The Runs Created formula that's tailored to this era recognizes this, OPS+ does not. Another side benefit of guys that reached by hits rather than walks is that they probably reached on more of the many errors from the era as well."

I agree with Joe Yesterday, who thought the O was much more important than the S, and would find Charlie's 41 points of O more valuable than Buck's additional 57 points of S. Especially when considering that, even if they somehow even out, Charlie caught almost 40% more games than Buck in 1886.

Today, Joe Today takes a different tack, though. And I do not agree with that.

I cannot give too much credit for the extra bases Ewing took, without having any indication of how often he hurt the team getting thrown out on the basepaths. (The "outs" column on b-r does not seem to include outs made on the basepaths). He certainly has a reputation as a good baserunner, but how much of that is documented? Was he successful more than 2/3 of the time? More than 3/4? Or did he make some great plays, but frequently make the first or last out at third base? Absent better data (and the fact that only 5 or 6 outs on the basebaths would have been enough to drop this advantage into a vice), I am not willing to make too much leeway for Ewing's baserunning.

And I am not willing to minimize the value of Bennett's walks (48 vs. 16, or three times as many) by recognizing that a single is better than a walk. To the extent that is relevant, it is taken into account by slugging%, which gives positive points for singles as well as extra base hits, while not providing any points for for walks. In fact, if you looks at the raw numbers, their extra base hits are nearly identical (Bennett had 2 more doubles and Ewing had two more triples).

In fact, the difference in their slugging is due ENTIRELY to the fact that Ewing's singles count and Bennett's walks don't. Discounting Bennett's OBP for the same reason is essentially "double counting".

At the least, I am not convinced that the 22 more outs Ewing made and 32 fewer walks he earned were compensated for by 28 more singles.

As for Win Shares, I cannot account for the difference, but even if you are right in many of your particulars, I am not at all convinced that Ewing was nearly twice as valuable as Bennett in 1886 (17.4 to 9.1 WS). Defensively, at least, Bennett seems superior that year in each particular.

So, I am faced with 2 abstruse stats: one of which (WARP) places Bennett as 20% better, and the other (WS) places Ewing as 40% better.

Going back to the raw numbers, Ewing wins in singles and has two more triples. He also wins on the "good half" of baserunning, where we have no data on the bad half. Bennett has more walks (and more hits plus walks, so a higher OBP), better defense, and much more time behind the plate.

I think the burden is on Win Shares to explain why taking 32 walks, turning 28 into singles and 4 into outs, and adding 22 outs on top of that is enough to make Ewing almost 3 wins more valuable than the defensively superior Bennett.

   60. Carl Goetz Posted: May 28, 2003 at 03:02 PM (#513410)
I think you have to make a judgement call with each election. If you think Brouthers(for example) is the best player, you should rank him as such and not dock him simply because this is his 1st year of eligibility. We have 2 weeks to analyze a player and you can change your mind it later elections as well. Even if you put Tony Mullane at 3rd, he'll still need quite a bit of support from others to actually be elected. If people were downgrading Glasscock last year simply because it was his 1st year eligible, it may actually have cost him the election because they were so bunched at the top. I guess my point is that we should rank these players each election in the order that each of us feels they belong. Its never going to be perfect, but to submit a list ranking players in a different order than you believe is the correct order undermines the integrity of the HoM.
   61. DanG Posted: May 28, 2003 at 03:04 PM (#513411)
There seems to be some confusion regarding Black/Gray Ink and HOF Standards/Monitor. The former pair is useful, IMO, for comparing players of the same era who have similar defensive responsibilities. Ross Barnes and Deacon White are monsters in Black/Gray Ink, a pretty fair reflection of ther value. They fare much less well in HOF Standards/Monitor. These latter two metrics are of little use in assessing players' values.
   62. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 28, 2003 at 03:19 PM (#513412)
There seems to be some confusion regarding Black/Gray Ink and HOF Standards/Monitor. The former pair is useful, IMO, for comparing players of the same era who have similar defensive responsibilities. Ross Barnes and Deacon White are monsters in Black/Gray Ink, a pretty fair reflection of ther value. They fare much less well in HOF Standards/Monitor. These latter two metrics are of little use in assessing players' values.

I understand the difference between the two, but Black/Gray Ink analysis has its own problems. They still have the elements of a junk stat and should not be relied on too heavily.
   63. MattB Posted: May 28, 2003 at 03:34 PM (#513413)
"If people were downgrading Glasscock last year simply because it was his 1st year eligible, it may actually have cost him the election because they were so bunched at the top."

I'll tell you why I "downgraded" Glasscock (or failed to upgrade him). Because it's 1901. George Wright was clearly the best shortstop in baseball history. Was Glasscock the second best? Maybe, but in 1901, I don't know. It could be that the 1880s were just a down decade for shortstops and Glasscock merely stood out as the best among the mediocre crop. There are certainly indications that that is the case.

In 1901, there's this guy named George Davis who just had a monster decade for New York, far better than anything Glassock ever did, and he's only thirty. Herman Long's been plugging away for over a decade in Boston. Who knows how long he'll go? Same with Bill Dahlen, who's been having some great seasons in Chicago and Brooklyn and Bobby Wallace in Cleveland and St. Louis.

In a year or two, will Glasscock still stand out as the second best shortstop, or will he be tumbling down quickly to just sixth best at his position when he is compared with all of those with whom his career overlapped? In 1901, we don't know.
   64. Howie Menckel Posted: May 28, 2003 at 03:37 PM (#513414)
To clarify: I don't downgrade a first-year candidate because I want a limited list of "first-timers." that's silly, in that some years the fields are so much stronger than others.
but I needed more time to digest Ward's career. I've had enough time to digest Start and G Wright and others, and was more comfortable with my ballots for them. I think I had Glasscock in my top 5, and unless I see negative evidence regarding him, I imagine I'd vote him in by 1905.
Better to elect a good candidate a year late than an ultimately unworthy candidate at all....
   65. Carl Goetz Posted: May 28, 2003 at 03:41 PM (#513415)
Matt,
I certainly didn't mean to suggest that Glasscock didn't get in because people were downgrading him. It was an easily available example of a close race that COULD be affected by someone downgrading a player simply due to it being his 1st year of eligibility. I certainly do not want to start a controversy over Glasscock not being elected in 1901, especially considering the fact that I ranked him 4th myself.
   66. MattB Posted: May 28, 2003 at 03:45 PM (#513416)
Early provisional ballot:

1. Dan Brouthers -- new

2. Joe Start (2)

3. Ezra Sutton (3)

4. Pud Galvin (5) -- switching with Caruthers

5. George Stovey -- new. This issue should be: how did he perform in the best league in which he was permitted to play? The answer, based on the evidence we have, is that he was consistently the best.

6. Bob Caruthers (4)

7. Jack Glasscock (6) --

8. Buck Ewing -- new

9. Sam Thompson -- new

10. Hardy Richardson (8)

11. Charlie Bennett (15) -- big boost with comparison to Ewing

12. Al Spalding (9)

13. Charley Radbourn (10)

14. Cal McVey (13) -- Dropping Ed Williamson this time, which leaves room for first appearances by . . .

15. Lip Pike (14) -- return appearance after two years off-ballot.

Off ballot -- Harry Stovey and Pete Browning. I may put Harry back on, but right now there looks to be room for only one Stovey.
   67. Carl Goetz Posted: May 28, 2003 at 03:54 PM (#513417)
Howie wrote: Better to elect a good candidate a year late than an ultimately unworthy candidate at all....

But what if an unworthy candidate gets elected because a bunch of people downgraded an ultimately worthy candidate. Someone's getting elected every year. I'm not saying either situation is likely to happen. I'm just saying that the risks are the same in either direction, so you might as well just rank the players in the order you feel they belong. I personally would feel alot worse if I downgraded a player because it was his 1st year and an unworthy candidate got in instead, than I would if I submitted my honest opinion list and overrated an unworthy candidate, causing him to get in. At least the latter list would be an honest mistake and not a deliberate fudging of my order.
   68. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: May 28, 2003 at 03:58 PM (#513418)
On the first-ballot issue:

I don't think people should have a policy of holding people back on their first ballot, but I think there may be cases where it's warranted, if you're not certain about a player. For example, on my 1901 ballot, I had Ezra Sutton and Jack Glasscock very close in my mind, and one of the reasons I ultimately put Sutton ahead was because I knew him better, and felt more certain that he should be a HoMer. 2 other things:

1) Once we put someone in the Hall, he's never coming out. If we make a mistake, we can't fix it later. This would argue for giving players as much consideration as possible, which takes more time.

2) There's no time limit on elections. This isn't like the Hall of Fame, where you've got 15 years to get in or you go in the VC mish-mash. Not electing someone in their first year has little impact on their ability to eventually get in. We can elect Ezra Sutton in 1995 if it turns out that way.

So, no, people shouldn't have a "it's his first year, knock him down two slots" policy. But there may be times where people think it's justified, and I don't think it will cause our process any major harm if some voters exercise restraint at times.

Oh, and I agree with MattB about Joe "Sybil" DiMino. It would be appreciated if you could clarify your statements.
   69. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: May 28, 2003 at 04:02 PM (#513421)
While I'm mouthing off - do we have any information available on how other pitchers in George Stovey's leagues performed? MattB said "he was consistently the best", but do we have more to go on than just his win totals?
   70. jimd Posted: May 28, 2003 at 04:10 PM (#513422)
Another comparison is Jim Fregosi. Fregosi?s career OPS+ is 113; Glasscock?s is 112. ... So, it seems to me that Glasscock lies on a continuum between Alan Trammell and Jim Fregosi.

Yes. And Ozzie Smith's career OPS+ is 87. So they are all much much better than Ozzie. ;-)

The problem with this analysis is obvious. At SS, defense counts. A LOT. And in the 19th century, it counts even more than it does now.
   71. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 28, 2003 at 04:21 PM (#513425)
This issue should be: how did he perform in the best league in which he was permitted to play? The answer, based on the evidence we have, is that he was consistently the best.

Actually, IMO, the question should be: how does he compare with his contemporaries (black and white)? If, just for arguments sake, we felt that Stovey was only the sixth best pitcher for his time, he shouldn't be that high on our ballots (or be off them completely). That should be our objective in regard to Negro League players.

BTW, I'm looking forward to see how high "The Black Fred Dunlap" will be on some ballots a few "years" down the road that don't include Dunlap himself now. :-)
   72. MattB Posted: May 28, 2003 at 04:30 PM (#513426)
Oops. Didn't see that it was offense-only. That makes a difference, of course, but I still don't see much of a gap (if any) between them offensively. Even in the 1880s and 1890s, a walk is still ALMOST as good as a single.

My point regarding the stolen bases is that I do not know how to consider that. 18 stolen bases in 18 attempts is a modest plus. 18 stolen bases and 18 caught stealings is another thing altogether.

Considering that, today, only the best base stealers are net positives, even after the break-even point has been well-studied, what evidence do we have that Ewing was on the right side of break-even?

I mean, was Pee Wee Reese a good base stealer in 1950? In 1950, he had 17 stolen bases. Caught stealings weren't recorded. In 1951, he had 20 stolen bases and 14 caught stealings. Which year was better? We don't know, but 1951 was pretty bad. Stolen bases, with a sucess rate, is a meaningless number.

So, not knowing whether to give Ewing credits or demerits for his baserunning, I exclude it from consideration altogether.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/r/reesepe01.shtml
   73. Marc Posted: May 28, 2003 at 05:39 PM (#513428)
Hey, RMc, which Stovey?
   74. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 28, 2003 at 05:43 PM (#513429)
Marc:

Since RMc had Harry Stovey after Radbourn on his last ballot also, I don't think it's George.
   75. jimd Posted: May 28, 2003 at 06:04 PM (#513430)
Bennett played 954 G at Catcher, 130 G at other positions, 1062 G total (22 multi-position G). Ewing played 636 G at Catcher, 709 G at other positions, 1315 G total (30 multi-position G). Bennett has 50% more playing time at catcher in a somewhat shorter career.

Bennett's career got started late (3 years after Ewing) and ended with his tragic accident at age 39. He was always primarily a catcher, though he did play some games at other positions. He was five years older than Ewing, but their careers largely overlap due to Bennett's late start. Ewing's catching career ended early (only 36 G caught after age 30, played RF and then shifted himself to 1B after he became playing-manager), he was shifted to 3B a couple of seasons during his youth and prime (1882 & 87), and he was done at age 37.

Following are their catcher's defensive stats (from their BP player cards).

GC. AdjGC PO... A... E.. DP. PB.
636 614.8 3301 1017 322 078 360 Ewing
957 925.4 4969 1531 485 117 542 Ewing (normalized playing time)
954 925.4 5123 1048 379 114 352 Bennett

Ewing has 483 more Assists, involved in 3 more DP.
The cost is 106 more Errors and 190 more Passed Balls.

Bennett has 154 more PO. From the team data, I estimate that Ewing had 710 non-K putouts (1069 normalized). Bennett had an estimated 1674 non-K putouts. So the actual margin is more like 600 more PO, due to the strike-outs recorded by Ewing's pitching staffs (lot of Keefe and Welch there).

From the assists, it's obvious that Ewing has the arm, a gun resulting in 50% more assists than Bennett, which also motivated the tryouts at 3B. (This would have kept his bat in the lineup if he could handle it, and liked it. His 1882 move looks fine, but he's back at C in 83 for whatever the reason. The 1887 move is less successful; he looks average out there.)

However, Bennett seems to make up the difference in other areas; he was more sure-handed (errors and passed balls), and the putouts indicate that he was either more mobile (pops), quick-handed (back then, foul tips were outs when held onto), maybe a better game-caller (perhaps getting more strike-outs per game then the other catchers on his team), something else I'm overlooking, or some combination of the four.

   76. Marc Posted: May 28, 2003 at 06:06 PM (#513431)
So John, do you memorize everybody's ballot? You could be the next Jerry Lucas!
   77. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 28, 2003 at 06:20 PM (#513432)
So John, do you memorize everybody's ballot? You could be the next Jerry Lucas!

LOL

How about I did a good job at locating his past ballot? I have to think twice about who I have on my ballot. :-)
   78. MattB Posted: May 28, 2003 at 08:01 PM (#513434)
The runs scored may correlate well in the aggregate, but what confidence should I have that it worked to the advantage of New York in 1886? In any event, 18 SB will not lead to a great advantage for Ewing, even if there are no CS to balance them out.

Other WS-centric problems for Bennett:

He was on a "great" team. A .700+ win percentage team will not have receive as many marginal wins from each marginal run that a .500 team will. WS is designed for "normal" team that win between 1/3 and 2/3 of its games. A great player that would add 10 wins to a .500 team will not add 10 wins to a .700 team.

Bennett's team (Detroit) consisted of Dan Brouthers, Jim O'Rourke, Deacon White, Sam Thompson, Fred Dunlap, Jack Rowe, and Hardy Richardson as regulars. Only Fred Hanlon was not more productive than Bennett offensively. When dividing up offensive win shares, the non-linearity of wins should cause Bennett to get squeezed.

Finally, New York outperformed their pythagorean record by 4, Detroit by only 2.

I just don't see a difference that would realistically lead to 3 more offensive wins for Ewing in 1886.
   79. DanG Posted: May 28, 2003 at 08:23 PM (#513435)
RE: The Gray Area

Looking at the voting results and discerning groups of players on our ballot.

1) Soon-to-be HoMers: Jack Glasscock and Charles Radbourn will be elected within our next five elections.
2) Likely to be elected someday: Hardy Richardson, Ezra Sutton, Al Spalding.
3) Top of Gray Area: Harry Stovey, Joe Start, Bob Caruthers, Pud Galvin.
4) Bottom of Gray Area: Charlie Bennett, Pete Browning, Cal McVey, Ed Williamson.
5) Top Also-Rans: Lip Pike, Mickey Welch, Fred Dunlap, Jim McCormick, Tony Mullane, Dickey Pearce, Tip O’Neill.

None of this is written in stone, players can move between classes; Williamson certainly has. But it’s the Gray Area I want to look at more closely.

Personally, I have no problem with electing any of those first seven. However, some of those players do have strong detractors among the voters. Those who think their elections would be mistakes are encouraged to amplify the case against them. Here’s a list of four candidates’ biggest enemies:

Sutton: Mark McKinnis, Brian Hodes, JP Caillault, Ken Fischer, jimd.
Spalding: RobC, Mark McKinnis, Rusty Priske, danb, TomH, James Newburg.
Stovey: John Murphy, thebigeasy, Marc, karlmagnus, TomH, Phillip.
Start: Mark McKinnis, Rusty Priske, ed, Brian Hodes, JP Caillault, JeffM, KJOK.

As I’ve written before, the Gray Area is our most important area of concentration. Electing the right players from this group will ultimately make or break our reputation. Supporters of these candidates are encouraged to continue amplifying the reasons to elect these players. Here’s a list of the Gray Area candidates’ best friends:

Stovey: Mark McKinnis, JP Caillault, danb, JeffM, Ken Fischer, ed.
Start: Phillip, Joe Dimino, James Newburg, MattB, RMc, Howie, DanG.
Caruthers: thebigeasy, RMc, MattB, Ken Fischer, JP Caillault, Rusty Priske.
Galvin: Mark McKinnis, RobC, Rusty Priske, Brian Hodes, MattB, JoeD.
Bennett: KJOK, RobC, James Newburg, Phillip, Brad, TomH.
Browning: KJOK, danb, Ken Fischer, Devin, RickA.
McVey: John Murphy, Phillip, Andrew Seigel, KJOK, Esteban, Marc.
Williamson: MichaelD, danb, RMc, Rob Wood, thebigeasy.

   80. MattB Posted: May 28, 2003 at 09:19 PM (#513438)
MORE DATA ON GEORGE STOVEY.

The problem, of course, is that he does not have more data because he wasn't allowed to play. I am concerned that people will look at his stats, discount them 15% for being in the "minor leagues" and then find him unworthy due to the discount. I am not sure that if you put an All-Star today in the minor leagues today that he would hit for a .500 batting average. There are limits to these things, and comparisons of how an average minor leaguer does when he is promoted may not be helpful in considering George Stovey's stats.

Anyway, here is the data, as far as I could gather:

Career length 1886-1896.

Left handed pitcher from Canada. He was a regular for years with the Cuban Giants, but also played on other teams (there was no exclusivity requirement, I guess).

Known for his "wild" fastball, that kept hitters from digging in at the plate.

Complimented in the Sporting Life (the leading white Sports magazine) especially for his outstanding ability to cover first base on ground balls. They said he could become great "if the team would get behind him." It didn't.

Year by year:

1886.

Started with the Cuban Giants, an all black team. Was almost immediately signed by Jersey City of the Eastern League, where he won 30 games and held opponents to a .167 batting average. This (.167 batting average against) has never been done by a major league regular pitcher.

1887.

Starting pitcher for Newark in the International League. 34-14 over 424 innings pitched. 2.48 ERA. The 34 wins stands as an International League record.

1888.

Began the year for Worcester in the New England League. Was cut after under 100 innings pitched for being "headstrong". Re-joined the all-black Cuban Giants, an independent team. Was their star pitcher.

1889.

Starting pitcher for the Cuban Giants. Also pitched a few innings for Trenton and Philadelphia all-black teams.

1890.

Played white ball for Troy in the New York State League. No stats available. Was also starting pitcher for the Cuban Giants.

1891.

The Cuban Giants changed their name to the New York Big Gorhams. Was widely believed to be the best all-black team of the era, and claimed to win over 100 games that year (not documented), against only 4 losses.

1892.

The Cuban Giants/ NY Gorhams folded. I saw no evidence that Stovey played elsewhere.

1893-1894.

The Cuban Giants reformed, and Stovey was their starting pitcher. No stats.

1895.

Stovey was the starting pitcher for the Cuban X Giants.

1896.

Stovey started the season with the Cuban X Giants and then it looks like he moved to the Brooklyn Colored Giants. The X Giants lost the 1896 black championship to the Cuban Giants 10 games to 1, but I don't think Stovey was with them at the time.

That's it. I believe that the "60 wins" that Eric mentioned above were wins after his 1887 season. I also assume that it is only wins that were recorded. He likely had many more wins that were not included in that total.
   81. Brad Harris Posted: May 28, 2003 at 09:48 PM (#513440)
A preliminary ballot based on adding the newbies to my list of left-overs from 1901:

1. Dan Brothers - ditto: "most obvious" #1 pick so far.
2. Ezra Sutton
3. Jack Glasscock
4. Joe Start
5. Buck Ewing - might go higher by the end of the week
6. Hardy Richardson
7. Charlie Bennett - hope to see him do better in voting this time
8. Cal McVey
9. Bob Caruthers
10. Harry Stovey
11. Al Spalding
12. Ned Williamson
13. Sam Thompson
14. Charley Radbourn - erred in leaving him off ballot last time.
15. Pete Browning

A quick word about seeing a lot of HoMers at key defensive positions this early in the voting: if you were picking a team from scratch, wouldn't you pick the great hitting SS, 2B, C or CF first? They are more rare plus they contribute more (assuming good defense) because of their position. It makes sense that the Hall of Merit would have more of these players, in the early goings, than they do first basemen and corner infielders. It isn't that those other players are being excluded (look at Brouthers, for example), but that there are only a limited number of selections so far and, since we're looking at each players' overall value, we're going to be focusing on the Jack Glasscocks and Buck Ewings of the world more than on the Hardy Richardsons and Joe Starts.

As we add a couple dozen players more to the HoM, you'll begin to see more and more of the "offensive positions" contributing players because there will come a time when there's only one or two middle infielders who are as good as the top 10-15 1B/COF types.

It would be my hope that some deserving 19th century players (like Charlie Bennett and Ezra Sutton) get elected prior to this happening - or they're have to wait a long time before reaching the top of the heap again.

It's not exclusionary, it just appears skewered because of the minute sample size of inductees at this point. Wait and see. The floodgates will open.

Which is why - to answer another question - it's so important for us to spend the time sorting these guys out now. It's not that we need two weeks to decide if Brouthers and Ewing are #1 and #2 on the ballot, but the time will be best used to compare the other 13 players on our consensus ballot so we've got a pecking order for future elections.

Who didn't know that Tim Keefe and George Wright were likely to be the two inductees last time? It wasn't that hard to figure out. Yet I don't recall a suggestion to "fast forward" to the next election. And because we didn't, we had some substantive discussions comparing/contrasting various players with each other.

I think our collective knowledge has been enriched from those discussions and I, for one, would like to see more of the same this week. There's already a fantastic discussion about Ewing which is leading some to a clearer picture of Charlie Bennett's worth. We wouldn't have that if we just skipped to the voting.

Just thought I'd try and give a rational response to those two thoughts expressed above.

By the way, George Stovey doesn't make my ballot without further information and I'm dying to know one other thing...

Does ANYONE forsee a day when Tommy McCarthy will rate on their ballot?

   82. Brad Harris Posted: May 28, 2003 at 10:03 PM (#513443)
A tidbit about Charlie Bennett, which may or may not have been said in previous discussions:

He is the only player to have a stadium named in honor of him.
   83. favre Posted: May 28, 2003 at 11:32 PM (#513445)
Joe--

"But how can second base not be a key defensive position?"

"Because DPs weren't an issue. With all of the running and bunting, the ability to turn a DP wasn't a necessary skill."

Ahhhhh...thank you. That makes sense.

jimd--

"Yes. And Ozzie Smith's career OPS+ is 87. So they are all much much better than Ozzie. ;-)

The problem with this analysis is obvious. At SS, defense counts. A LOT. And in the 19th century, it counts even more than it does now."

I probably wasn't being clear in my analysis. I was not suggesting that "he who has the best career OPS is the best player." I was having some reservations about Glasscock, so I was trying to find a modern day comp in order for me to get a better sense of Jack's value to his team in the 1880s. A couple of people suggested Appling, whom I don't think really works as a comp; Trammell and Fregosi work better, because they are similar types of hitters to Glasscock. Anyway, you're right, as I was thinking about it I was focusing more on hitting than on defense...

The comps were helpful to me, if no one else, because I realized this:

1. Like Fregosi, Glasscock was decent with the bat every season for almost a decade.
   84. MattB Posted: May 29, 2003 at 01:45 AM (#513447)
Welcome redsox1912.

Although I don't know how much I can welcome another vote for Ewing's "versatility". I can't wait until we're debating the relative merits of Harold Baines. "You can't just judge him like a regular right fielder. He was so versatile, he could play DH too!" Catching a lot is much more valuable than alternating between catching and doing stuff that is less valuable than catching.

Also, I don't want to be tagged as the guy who likes Ewing more than Bennett. Just, as the guy who didn't want to skip an election because he assumed that Ewing would go in automatically. If the election goes Brouthers Ewing, that would not be a crime. Just a misdemeanor.
   85. Marc Posted: May 29, 2003 at 01:46 AM (#513448)
Catching was really tough back then and that's a point in Bennett's favor. Or is it? Guys like White and Kelly and Ewing had the athletic skills to play a really difficult position, and so did Bennett. Plusses all around. So Bennett did pretty much nothin' but catch and the other guys played a lot at other positions. How come? The options I can see are:

1. Bennett was that much better behind the plate, or

2. The other guys were that much better with the lumber.

So as a manager you gotta make a choice. Catch a guy maybe 2/3 of the time and then sit him down 1/3. Or catch him half the time, play him elsewhere in the field 1/3 and sit him down 1/6 (half as often as if he were catching more often). Why do I make that choice? I think it's #2 more than #1. They could live without Bennett's bat when he couldn't catch. They couldn't live without Ewing's.
   86. MattB Posted: May 29, 2003 at 01:51 AM (#513449)
And speaking of new voters, where's the Clutch Hit for the new inductees?
   87. jimd Posted: May 29, 2003 at 01:54 AM (#513450)
Welcome redsox1912. You sound like another Royal Rooter. 1912?
   88. Brad Harris Posted: May 29, 2003 at 04:50 AM (#513453)
"But the number one testament to [Ewing's] greatness is that in 7 different seasons he stole as many bases as Harold Baines stole in his lifetime."

That statement is true of 41 other men, besides just Ewing.

Tommy McCarthy is on that list. Should he be on the ballot, too?
   89. Brad Harris Posted: May 29, 2003 at 04:53 AM (#513454)
"But the number one testament to [Ewing's] greatness is that in 7 different seasons he stole as many bases as Harold Baines stole in his lifetime."

That statement is true of 41 other men, besides just Ewing. Harry Stovey is one of those men, by the way. So is Tommy McCarthy. Where do they rate on your ballot?
   90. Brad Harris Posted: May 29, 2003 at 04:58 AM (#513455)
I'd salivating to find out what some of you think of Bad Bill Dahlen, when we get around to him, especially after all the discussion on Glasscock et. al.
   91. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 29, 2003 at 05:24 AM (#513456)
Welcome redsox1912.

Me, too. Hope you hang around for the elections!
   92. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 29, 2003 at 05:31 AM (#513457)
<i>Now Anson and Connors, there' a slam dunk. Oops, wrong sport. A walk-off, then.<i>

I'll have Anson numero uno, but Connors will be behind Spalding and Sutton (probably before Glasscock). Nothing personal - Roger is one of my favorite players (and a certain HoMer).
   93. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 29, 2003 at 05:33 AM (#513458)
Now Anson and Connors, there' a slam dunk. Oops, wrong sport. A walk-off, then.

I'll have Anson numero uno, but Connors will be behind Spalding and Sutton (probably before Glasscock). Nothing personal - Roger is one of my favorite players (and a certain HoMer).
   94. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 29, 2003 at 05:43 AM (#513459)
Re: Sam Thompson (and his right field value twin Mike Tieran).

If you want oufielders from the '90s, wait for Delahanty, Hamilton, Burkett, Duffy, Kelley, Van Haltren and Ryan. They're all better than Big Sam or Silent Mike.

That was some decade for centerfielders.
   95. DanG Posted: May 29, 2003 at 01:33 PM (#513463)
Mark gave us a list that included these immortals:

6. Sam Thompson
   96. DanG Posted: May 29, 2003 at 01:38 PM (#513464)
To MattB: as a fellow FOJS, I must say that is a great analysis of Joe Start's qualifications. You could say something positive about his fielding, as well.

I notice you are also a FOBC. Perhaps you could give Caruthers the same treatment you gave Start.
   97. MattB Posted: May 29, 2003 at 02:10 PM (#513465)
Dan,

Perhaps someone who placed Caruthers first would make a more eloquent case than I could.

As Joe Start moves up into my Top 2, I can make a good case for him because I think his current ranking of 9th results from a severe underappreciation of his case.

I currently have Caruthers ranked about 6 or 7. As such, I'm not on such confident footing that his current rank of 10th is horribly out of line. I was one of his initial defenders primarily because I felt that people were not adequately accounting for his hitting and risked leaving them off of their ballots entirely. Once people began to recognize him as a serious candidate, I am not sure they are doing a poor job of ranking him. Caruthers is currently the third highest ranked pitcher left on the ballot, after Spalding and Radbourn, and just above Galvin. These four are in many ways incommensurable. Spalding is the early star, Radbourn from the next "generation" with a huge peak, Galvin gets the "career" award, and Caruthers mixes peak with hitting. How they are ranked in your mind likely says a lot about how you judge pitchers in general, and there are many valid ways to do so.

In my mind, Start is directly comparable to -- and superior to -- Hardy Richardson, who ranked fifth in 1901. The pitchers all had different skill sets, which makes a direct comparison more difficult. I may jump to his defense if I see him falling below directly comparable pitchers who are clearly inferior, but I don't see it yet.
   98. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 29, 2003 at 02:20 PM (#513466)
This list says something about Thompson's peers: he's no first-ballot pick, that's for sure.

Big Sam was a helluva player... when he played. He wasn't very durable, so that's why I'll be leaving him off. He did have a few damn good seasons, though. The almost exclusively peak guys here will love him.

Funny thing is I expected him to be right up there before I started analyzing his stats. I have him about even with Stovey.
   99. DanG Posted: May 29, 2003 at 02:43 PM (#513468)
A more interesting pair to compare and contrast is Start and Stovey. They both played hitter's positions and have practically been tied in the voting the past two "years". Most of Stovey's friends are enemies of Start (Mark, JP, Jeff, ed, danb).

I would really like to hear why they rate Stovey miles ahead of Start, so we could point out to them what they're missing.;-)
   100. MattB Posted: May 29, 2003 at 02:56 PM (#513469)
Mark wrote:

"Sam Thompson's durability was what it was, but when he "retired" in 1896, he ranked 16th in career at-bats."

Well, just a little bit ahead of flash-in-the-pan players like Joe Start, who played when official seasons were shorter, and who's pre-1871 ABs are not counted.

I would assume every year in the 1880s and 1890s someone retired who fell in the Top 10 in career at-bats, due to the rapidly increasing season lengths toward the beginning of their career. 16th doesn't strike me as that impressive. In any event, it implies 15 hitters I should be considering first.
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