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

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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   101. Carl Goetz Posted: May 29, 2003 at 03:25 PM (#513471)
We're talking about the career ABs lists, not some metric of who was the better player. Matt is right about 1 thing, 16th all-time in 1896 is not all that impressive. I like Thompson, but there's alot of guys that need to go in 1st.
   102. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 29, 2003 at 03:42 PM (#513473)
and 2 aren't getting in without a ticket (Latham, Stovey).

I agree about Latham, but Stovey could make it within a few decades
   103. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 29, 2003 at 04:09 PM (#513474)
However, when he played in the NA in 1872 and 1873 at ages 28 and 29, he sucked. Flat out. Sucked.

Yup, but he was also the best in '71, '78 and '79. He was also good in the eighties, too. I don't know why 1872 and 1873 mean so much (other than the fact he should receive little or no credit for it).

I agree with you on one matter. I think Start was the best first baseman of the 1860s, but I also think Bert Campaneris was the best shortstop of the 1970s. I doubt Campy will be on my ballot. I do think Start was a legitimately great player, but how much in the 1860s is anyone's educated guess. Since he has consistently been ranked in my top ten, I think highly of him.
   104. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: May 29, 2003 at 04:11 PM (#513475)
Ewing - Bennett 1886:

First major discrepancy for WS, is the park factors. Stats has the park factors as Detroit 109 (190 for HR), NY 73 (47 for HR). This is a massive difference. Bennett's offense was inflated 5%, Ewing's deflated about 13% by their respective parks.

The two were very similar in some ways, in other ways they weren't. The difference in their 'marginal' plate appearances:

Ewing: 30-for-42, 14 SB, 2 triples, 12 fewer strikeouts

Bennett: 2-for-2 32 walks, 2 doubles

In the Stats All-Time Handbook there are 24 runs created formulas based on the different data sets available, we all know different years have different statistics available, and how the individual events correspond to run scoring has changed, due to the prevalance of errors, etc.

Looking at the custom RC formula for the NL in 1886 we get:

A: H+BB
   105. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 29, 2003 at 04:19 PM (#513476)
Joe:

B-R uses Total Baseball's park factors.

I agree with you about the one-year factors, except I think they should be used for all eras.
   106. MattB Posted: May 29, 2003 at 04:20 PM (#513477)
Note, however, that in the only 2 seasons that Joe Start and Harry Stovey played together in the same league (1881 and 1882, NL), and hence the only two years we can be confident about their relative strengths, the 38 and 39 year old Joe Start mopped the floor with the 24 and 25 year old Harry Stovey.

I am also unclear why the incomplete (but certainly not nonexistent)stats from the pre-1871 era can be fully discounted due to 2 poor years, but not at all confirmed by 13 good years.
   107. Rusty Priske Posted: May 29, 2003 at 04:22 PM (#513478)
Just a quick note as a "friend of Pud Galvin".

As we celebrate Clemens sitting at 300 wins, we should remember who the first pitcher was to hit that landmark.

Pud Glavin won number 300 on October 5th, 1888 for the Pirates. He went on to win 361.
   108. Rusty Priske Posted: May 29, 2003 at 04:30 PM (#513480)
Some "friend"! I misspelled his name!!

That should be Galvin in the lst line, not Glavin.
   109. MattB Posted: May 29, 2003 at 04:35 PM (#513482)
Joe,

Is that New York park factor for 1886 consistent with earlier and later years, or is it a one year abberation?

It is so far out of line with the other data, and since no players appear to be having unusually bad park-adjusted seasons that year, compared to surrounding seasons, that I've got to assume the Stats park factor is faulty.
   110. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 29, 2003 at 04:38 PM (#513483)
Furthermore, while I'm rambling, I still don't have any idea what it means to be great in the 1860s. Who was Joe Start's competition for the title of 'best 1st baseman of the 1860s'? Didn't the earliest eras see some notably good players not play due to financial reasons? If that's true, what's the significance of Start being dominant in the 60s? That he was independently wealthy?

But this is more relevant if we were ranking the top 100 first baseman. This is not the case, however. we're trying to honor the best players of each era of baseball.

Let me put it this way: I think if Andres Gallaraga and Start were playing first as contemporaries, I think the former would be much better than Old Reliable. I still won't be voting for him many "years" from now.
   111. DanG Posted: May 29, 2003 at 04:43 PM (#513484)
To answer Mark?s arguments for Stovey:

1. Timeline. The result of your analysis is the (IMO, unfortunate) tendency to overpopulate the HoM with a disproportionate share of 1880?s stars, at the expense of fair representation for 1860?s-70?s stars. This should be kept in mind.
   112. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 29, 2003 at 05:22 PM (#513486)
re: Harry Stovey

I actually like him, so I don't consider myself an "enemy." If you are ranking more heavily on peak, I can see Stovey high on a ballot. It's more a difference in philosophy.

I'm not even an "enemy" of Caruthers. While his place on the ballot is disturbing to me, I still think he has a borderline case. That's going to happen and we have to deal with it. I not picking up marbles and walking off in a huff because I don't get my way. :-)
   113. jimd Posted: May 29, 2003 at 05:28 PM (#513487)
On park factors: I believe the STATS calculation is simply the home/away ratio. To use that as a park factor you have to do two things: A) adjust for the fact that the road parks are a biased sample (James does NOT do this in WS; see Total Baseball on how to do this) and B) adjust for the fact that only half your games are at home (James does do this in WS, though he assumes that the schedules are balanced, usually not a problem until 1969, and not that big a deal until the last few years).

If I remember right, Total Baseball adjusts their park factors for both of these, and also claims to adjust for opposition quality within the league (your BPF is adjusted to account for not playing against your defense, while your PPF is adjusted to account for not playing against your offense).

The .73 STATS ratio becomes .76 after accounting for A and .90 after adjusting for B. The 1.09 STATS ratio becomes 1.08 after accounting for A and 1.03 after adjusting for B. I didn't attempt to do the opposition quality adjustment.
   114. DanG Posted: May 29, 2003 at 05:45 PM (#513489)
John wrote:

"I'm not even an "enemy" of Caruthers. While his place on the ballot is disturbing to me, I still think he has a borderline case. That's going to happen and we have to deal with it. I not picking up marbles and walking off in a huff because I don't get my way. :-)"

I didn't present a Caruthers enemy list, but if I did we'd both be on it. It's why I hope his supporters will attempt to state his case succinctly, as Mark did for Stovey. I mean, he's close to making my ballot, but I have a hard time developing a lot of support for short career players unless they win a couple MVP's or something. Bill James has supported his candidacy at times, so that counts for something.

If we had MVP voting results for the 19th century this would all be a lot easier. As I've said, retroactive MVP voting is a good idea for a future project.
   115. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 29, 2003 at 06:15 PM (#513490)
anti-Start: his WS total is inflated by WS' generous boost to merely "showing up". Anyone who has WS, can you run WS (or "double defense WS"?) for our Grey Area guys and take out 12 WS per full season and see how Start's career compares with others? I see Start as clearly on my ballot, but nowhere near top 3. Take out his extra playing time and try to convince me.

Good point. That's why we need to look at his WS per Game:

Dan Brouthers: 34.38
   116. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 29, 2003 at 06:53 PM (#513494)
Andrew:

Start competed, except 1882-1886, in a time where there was only one league. It's a little easier to rank higher in a two league environment. Where would Connor, Brouthers and Anson rank in a one-league era? That has to be factored in.

He was also the best defensive first baseman of all of them.
   117. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 29, 2003 at 08:15 PM (#513497)
Re: Dickey Pearce

While his stats are meager for the NA and NL, I couldn't find a shortstop that was as productive as Pearce after the age of 36 until Bill Dahlen and George Davis. In conjunction with his reputation, this makes his case a little stronger.

Another thing to chew on for my boy! :-)
   118. KJOK Posted: May 29, 2003 at 09:05 PM (#513498)
With Brouthers now on the ballot and people still stumping for Start, it's time to bring up Dave Orr again. Orr is basically Dan Brouthers with a shorter career, or the hitting equivalent of Sandy Koufax. In 5 of 7 years, he was one of the best hitters in baseball. In 1884 & 1885 he WAS the best hitter in the AA, almost winning the triple crown in 1884. I know some are knocking him down for 'level of competition' in the AA, but in 1890, as a 30 year old in the PL, he was 5th in adjusted OPS.

He may not deserve to be in the HOM due to his short career, but he certainly doesn't belong behind 30 other players on the ballot either...
   119. KJOK Posted: May 29, 2003 at 09:07 PM (#513499)
From Baseball-reference.com for Dave Orr:

Most Similar by Age

24. Bill Skowron (959)
   120. Carl Goetz Posted: May 29, 2003 at 09:30 PM (#513500)
Orr just didn't dominate the AA enough for me to consider him. Stovey's peak and career were better and I have him at the bottom of my ballot. Once the ABC's are all eligible, Orr will be at the very best, the 6th best 1B-man. I'm not even sure he's that high. I just can't see him on my ballot.
   121. KJOK Posted: May 29, 2003 at 09:51 PM (#513501)
Preliminary Ballot:

1. Dan Brouthers, 1B, similar to Frank Thomas (poor fielder, awsome hitter).
   122. KJOK Posted: May 29, 2003 at 09:58 PM (#513502)
"Orr just didn't dominate the AA enough for me to consider him. Stovey's peak and career were better and I have him at the bottom of my ballot. Once the ABC's are all eligible, Orr will be at the very best, the 6th best 1B-man. I'm not even sure he's that high. I just can't see him on my ballot."

I has Stovey higher also, but he played about twice as manny innings in the outfield than at 1st, so he probably shouldn't be considered in the 1st basemen discussion. Other than the "ABC" group, I see only Jake Beckley and POSSIBLY Joe Start, due to much longer careers, as the only other 1st baseman that could be ranked ahead of Orr.
   123. KJOK Posted: May 30, 2003 at 04:56 AM (#513504)
OPS+ Finishes for Dave Orr:

Adjusted OPS+ & Rank
   124. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 30, 2003 at 05:04 AM (#513505)
Orr is basically Dan Brouthers with a shorter career

Isn't that like saying she looks just like Pamela Anderson with A-cups? They're not the same, KJOK. :-D

I have Orr as the best first baseman in baseball for 1884. Nice player for a few years, but (unless your making a case for him solely on peak) I can't see him anywhere near a ballot.
   125. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 30, 2003 at 06:01 AM (#513506)
I have Orr as the best first baseman in baseball for 1884. Nice player for a few years, but (unless you're making a case for him solely on peak) I can't see him anywhere near a ballot.
   126. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 30, 2003 at 06:24 AM (#513507)
I see only Jake Beckley and POSSIBLY Joe Start, due to much longer careers, as the only other 1st baseman that could be ranked ahead of Orr.

I have Tommy Tucker a little bit better in value. No, he wasn't the hitter that Orr was (duh!), but he was a much better baserunner and had double the career. I don't think too highly of him, either.

How about Henry Larkin? He's about the same value; a little less peak, but more career.

Orr is nowhere in the vicinity of the A-B-C boys (or Start and Beckley for that matter). If he had kept himself in better condition, then he would have a good case.
   127. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: May 30, 2003 at 07:27 AM (#513508)
Sorry to repost this, but I'm still stumped:

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?
   128. DanG Posted: May 30, 2003 at 01:22 PM (#513510)
I have to agree with Tom. Drop Mullane. Never had a dominant season, career wasn't really long. Drysdale is a similar modern player. Same career length, a bit higher peak for Don. Drysdale also had a little better OPS+.
   129. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 30, 2003 at 02:00 PM (#513511)
Ditto on Mullane. I have McCormick and Welch a good deal better, while Caruthers is slightly better. Spalding is easily the best of that group.
   130. Marc Posted: May 30, 2003 at 02:00 PM (#513512)
Was it Dan who published the friends and enemies list? I want to thank him for leaving me off other than one mention and I forget now who I was associated with. All that aside, I like Spalding and Caruthers more than the consensus. Leave them on your ballots for a high peak, excellent hitting as well as (obviously) pitching and impact on numerous pennant races. I was shocked to find that McCormick was the leading active pitcher on accumulated career WS for three years in the mid- to late-'80s. Keep him.

That leaves Welch and Mullane. I've had Mullane on my ballot and not Welch but for the life of me when forced to look at them head to head, I'm at a loss. Clearly it would be one of the two that you would drop from that group.

But Spalding or Caruthers 15th? Move 'em up! :-)
   131. MattB Posted: May 30, 2003 at 02:16 PM (#513513)
KJOK wrote:

"I has Stovey higher also, but he played about twice as manny innings in the outfield than at 1st, so he probably shouldn't be considered in the 1st basemen discussion. Other than the "ABC" group, I see only Jake Beckley and POSSIBLY Joe Start, due to much longer careers, as the only other 1st baseman that could be ranked ahead of Orr."

I'm with John on this. Beckley was the best of very bad batch of first basemen from the 1890s. When your claim to fame is "I'm the best, now that Anson, Brouthers, Connor, Start, and Stovey have all gotten old or retired," that's not a very strong case. I do't see Beckley as a HoMer, and so I definitely don't see anyone almost as good as Beckley making it.
   132. MattB Posted: May 30, 2003 at 02:32 PM (#513515)
Best shortstops, 1871-1902 (including full careers of those who are active in 1902 and had careers starting in the 19th century).

1. George Wright
   133. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 30, 2003 at 02:34 PM (#513516)
I do't see Beckley as a HoMer, and so I definitely don't see anyone almost as good as Beckley making it.

BTW, I didn't mean to lump Start with Beckley before. Start is much better than Eagle Eye. I haven't looked very hard at Beckley's numbers, but I don't see him in the Hall at the moment, either.
   134. Carl Goetz Posted: May 30, 2003 at 02:35 PM (#513517)
Orr had a nice peak and it was about as long as Koufax's, but that is where the Sandy Koufax of hitters comparison ends. He was nowwhere near as dominant as Koufax was and he played in a time when it was easier to dominate. I don't want to belabor this point, but it seems like every player who had a short career is suddenly called the Sandy Koufax of hitters; of the 1870s; of the 1880s; of right-handed catchers; of 3-legged coconut throwing baboons;etc. Was Eddie Gaedel the Sandy Koufax of Midgets? Dave Orr was a very good player in the 2nd best league available at the time. Even if I agree that Harry Stovey is not a 1stbaseman, Orr is still, at best the 5th best 1B-man in the 19th century. He is not even close to the top 4(A,B,C,Start), either.
   135. Carl Goetz Posted: May 30, 2003 at 02:44 PM (#513518)
Matt,
   136. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 30, 2003 at 02:44 PM (#513519)
Feel free to disagree with the ranking if you wish, but I am fairly confident about them.

I disagree with you about Ward. I have Glasscock with a decent lead over him.

As for the others, I haven't fully analyzed them, but you're probably right. It's not relevant, however, because I'm comparing Glasscock to all the players that are eligible now. That's why I have the Pebbly One ranked at #5.
   137. MattB Posted: May 30, 2003 at 02:58 PM (#513520)
Ward is a special case. I was including his pitching value, although it's not as relevant going forward, since Ward is already in.

My point was perspective. This is the 1902 election coming up, and we are only considering players who had retired by 1896. We should not just be considering what has happened through 1896, but what has happened over the next few years. That is why we are not calling it the 1896 election.

George Davis's career began in 1890, Bill Dahlen's career began in 1891, and Bobby Wallace's career began in 1894. By 1902, I am seeing a career progression for all three that threaten to eclipse Jack Glasscock. Hughie Jennings was on that trajectory a "year" or two ago, but he hit a wall and faded quickly.

I think we should be considering not just what has happened through 1896, but what has happened over the next five years. That additional information is enough to sew doubt in my mind over the qualifications of Glasscock.
   138. Howie Menckel Posted: May 30, 2003 at 03:08 PM (#513521)
Still-pretty-preliminary Ballot:

1. Dan Brouthers
   139. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 30, 2003 at 03:09 PM (#513522)
I think we should be considering not just what has happened through 1896, but what has happened over the next five years. That additional information is enough to sew doubt in my mind over the qualifications of Glasscock.

Except that our Constitution is at odds with this. We're supposed to be ranking, from the eligible players for this particular "year," the best 15 players in order. I think Glasscock is the 5th best player, so that is where I'll place him.
   140. MattB Posted: May 30, 2003 at 03:10 PM (#513523)
Carl,

Perhaps our rating schemes are somewhat different, but when I rate players, I consider how they ranked among their peers. Everyone gets credit for 30 Win Shares, or 10 WARP or whatever, but I place more value on the 30 Win Shares if the player had the most Win Shares of any player at his position. Stovey loses points for only being the fifth best first baseman, while Sutton gains for being the best third baseman of the 19th century. Hence, Sutton ranks higher than Stovey, even though Stovey may have more raw "points."

Under this rating scheme, I was noting that Glasscock is the best shortstop on the ballot, but that has as much to do with a lack of quality shortstops in the 1880s as with Glasscock's greatness.
   141. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 30, 2003 at 03:17 PM (#513525)
Matt, looking at your prelim ballot, we're basically in agreement concerning Glasscock. The way you were "talking,", I thought you had him around 15! :-)
   142. MattB Posted: May 30, 2003 at 03:18 PM (#513526)
redsox1912,

I am not advocating looking ahead to 2003, only to 1902, the year in which the election is being held.
   143. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 30, 2003 at 03:21 PM (#513527)
My thoughts are, that even being the best at a position (which Glasscock is not) over a decade, or such, doesn't neccesarily qualify anyone for membership, if there is a drought at that position of truly great players.

redsox1912, who do you have ranked higher than Glasscock for the eighties?
   144. DanG Posted: May 30, 2003 at 03:36 PM (#513529)
Marc-

You were listed as an enemy of Stovey and a friend of McVey. You're welcome.

The words "friend" and "enemy" are not meant to attribute any particular feelings to voters. They are merely descriptive of voting patterns.

Long ago, I wrote that our reasons for rejecting a player should be as clear as our reasons for electing them. Thus, it is incumbent upon voters who cast extreme ballots to make plausible justifications for their decisions. I think it's a good thing to remind people of this obligation from time to time.

So, it's not a question of anyone casting a vote that is "right" or "wrong", it's about being accountable for the choices made. We're all learning as we go. Swimming against the tide of consensus is great if you're sure of your position; doing so merely to be iconoclastic is nonsense. Revising one's ballot based on new information is the right thing to do; it is not a challenge to your integrity or your analytical acumen.

This is probably going pretty far afield from your post, but I wanted to explain a little of my thinking to others in my presenting the friends and enemies lists.
   145. Carl Goetz Posted: May 30, 2003 at 03:42 PM (#513530)
'Under this rating scheme, I was noting that Glasscock is the best shortstop on the ballot, but that has as much to do with a lack of quality shortstops in the 1880s as with Glasscock's greatness.'
   146. Marc Posted: May 30, 2003 at 04:11 PM (#513534)
I agree with Matt that in 1902 a voter would have had a certain knowledge and perspective about what a great shortstop looks like that he or she might not have had in 1896. Voters in 1902 would not have pretended otherwise. And voters in 2003 but pretending to be in 1902 cannot pretend otherwise either...or I suppose we can since we're just pretending anyway, but I think Matt's is a valid point.

I don't think his point is inconsistent with voting ultimately for and among the top 15 players. But you cannot help but bring all your perspectives to that job.
   147. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 30, 2003 at 04:16 PM (#513535)
Reasonable peak, amazing career value just too good for me to pass up. He'll be #2 or #3 on my ballot again, I can't decide on him or Glasscock right now.

I can't fault your reasoning, Joe. If I had a little more info for each season, I would have more confidence moving him up. My gut reaction says you are probaly closer to the real Start than I, however (and I'm a "friend" of his).
   148. John Posted: May 30, 2003 at 04:45 PM (#513536)
Joe wrote in #87:
   149. DanG Posted: May 30, 2003 at 04:50 PM (#513537)
Joe-

While I basically agree with your idea that Ward should have been subjected to more critical scrutiny, your notion that he was "a decent (not star) pitcher for a few years, and a pretty good SS for about 10" can be questioned.

From what I can see, Ward was one of the NL's top two or three pitchers in 1878, 1879 and 1880 and in the top five in 1881. That's a pretty "decent" run, wouldn't you say? As a shortstop, he was Maury Wills, but with more power and a much better glove. Wills was considered to be a "pretty good" shortstop, wasn't he.

It may be just semantic differences.
   150. Rick A. Posted: May 30, 2003 at 05:10 PM (#513538)
MattB wrote George Davis's career began in 1890, Bill Dahlen's career began in 1891, and Bobby Wallace's career began in 1894. By 1902, I am seeing a career progression for all three that threaten to eclipse Jack Glasscock. I think we should be considering not just what has happened through 1896, but what has happened over the next five years.

But this problem seems to be happening with the real HOF. Ryne Sandberg and Alan Trammell aren't considered HOFers because of the changing play of middle infielders. The career progression so far of Jeter, Garciaparra, A-Rod and Tejada make Sandberg and Trammell seem like lesser players. I know that we all know to make adjustments based on offensive levels and all, but do we really want to replicate a problem that the HOF has? I think we should try to rank the players based on their abilities and rankings from when they played, not compare them to players currently ineligible to be on the ballot.
   151. RobC Posted: May 30, 2003 at 06:08 PM (#513542)
Interesting thing about the spectrum Joe posted. Despite being (supposedly) a bad fielder, Browning played equal amounts of CF and LF and virtually never played RF. While I believe his fielding was bad, if it was truly horrible, wouldnt he have been stuck in RF most of the time?
   152. Marc Posted: May 30, 2003 at 06:13 PM (#513545)
I don't think what redsox was talking about was "penalizing" Glasscock for a star glut in the way we penalize, say, Harry Stovey or somepeople penalize with a timeline. Redsox can speak for himself and I may be wrong about what he said. He is not saying, hey, let's deduct a few WS.

What I "hear" him say, rather, is that we don't give the guy any "juice," we don't give him a bonus, because he played against a weaker field. That's all.

Trammell is no less valuable because of ARod. But he is no more valuable because of Spike Owen, Rey Quinones, Rafael Santana and Jose Uribe. I think the objective is to see each player as he is, but that can be tough depending on the background. How much easier would it be if Bill Dahlen and Hughie Jennings had played in the '80s and Nomar in the '80s, too, instead of all of them lumped together in the two '90s-'00s eras. That is what I hear in redsox' point. Not that we penalize anybody but we try to flatten out the background.
   153. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 30, 2003 at 06:16 PM (#513547)
redsox1912:

The problem is Glasscock had around 3000 more PAs than Rowe, while McKean was a lousy fielder.

BTW, Rowe and McKean are borderline candidates, but I agree they don't belong.

Have you made your prelim ballot yet?
   154. Carl Goetz Posted: May 30, 2003 at 06:52 PM (#513551)
'Carl, I think our differing opinions on what constitutes a drought is just a matter of symantics. You say A Rod and 11 bums constitute a drought and I say that with A Rod in the picture, there is no drought.'
   155. MattB Posted: May 30, 2003 at 07:23 PM (#513552)
Putting numbers on the defensive spectrum:

I completely randomly looked at second and third base in the National League in 1880 and 1980. I looked at put outs, assists, and double plays per game among the regulars at each position for each year to see what a standard "workload" was. This is what I got:

2B: 1880

PO/G: 3.13
   156. RobC Posted: May 30, 2003 at 08:31 PM (#513558)
Constitutional Question for anyone who wants to comment:

I have been looking at the players at the bottom of ballot and guys just off my ballot. And I have reached the following decision.

It would be a mistake if Player X is elected to the HOM.
   157. dan b Posted: May 30, 2003 at 08:31 PM (#513559)
Regarding the value of 3B v. 2B, last night I was reading Harold Seymour's "Baseball - The Early Years" and came across a salary schedule, that if memory serves correctly was:
   158. MattB Posted: May 30, 2003 at 08:43 PM (#513560)
I'll see if I can look at other positions and other years this weekend. I'll also take a look at the range of double plays made at the positions.

My point was that second base may have been less difficult then than now, due to fewer double plays, but there weren't THAT many fewer double plays, and there was a lot more additional responsibility for put outs and assists.

And that third base may have been more difficult then than now, but that is primarily because of more put outs at third base, not because of the longer throw to first.

There are a lot of other unknown variable, aside from those you mentioned (e.g., the difficulty level of the double play). Such as, how important was it, comparatively, for an infielder to get in front of a ball and knock it down, even if there was no chance for an out, to keep a hitter to a single what it would otherwise be a triple?

Could the placing of the better defensive player (with poorer offense) at third be a result of a general misunderstanding of what was important in the game, and only slowly did teams catch on? I mean, I understand your comparison to little league, but 0.42 double plays per game in 1880 is a lot closer to the 0.60 in 1980 than the 0.00 you get in little league.

Anyway, worth a look.
   159. Marc Posted: May 30, 2003 at 08:46 PM (#513561)
RobC, I asked that question many months ago, though the question then was how many players deep the ballots should be. I said ten because, hey, there is no way that there are 15 players deserving of being elected. Now I'm being forced to vote for players that I know in my heart should not be elected.

The answer then was that, well, the MVP voting is analagous, and there is no way that there are 10 players in a given year who should or could possibly be justified winning the MVP award. So forget who should or shouldn't get elected or where the in/out line is, just vote for the top 15. And whatever happens is out of your hands, at that point it's a group thing(k).
   160. Marc Posted: May 30, 2003 at 08:49 PM (#513562)
In othr words vote value not risk. The 30-35 voter sample eliminates the risk.
   161. RobC Posted: May 30, 2003 at 08:54 PM (#513563)
Marc - Sounds good to me, but Im sending the Friends of Albert Spalding to you when they come to lynch me.
   162. Rob Wood Posted: May 30, 2003 at 09:01 PM (#513564)
I wrestle with the issue that RobC brings up often. My view is that our constitution essentially says that we should form our own ballots reflecting our own views, not moving players around to get a better outcome based on other voters' ballots.

The question remains, though, how does one treat two players whose respective values we have differing degrees in confidence in. Personally, I am more "risk averse" near the top of my ballot and more "risk loving" at the lower end of my ballot.

So if I have two players I am wrestling with near the top of my ballot for whom I have a significantly different degree of confidence in my assessments, I generally side with the one I am more sure of. However, I am more willing to elevate the player I am less sure of lower down on my ballot.
   163. dan b Posted: May 30, 2003 at 09:21 PM (#513565)
Interesting voting pattern for Albert Spalding. In 1901 he garnered 5 firsts and 5 ?off the ballots?, 12 top 5?s and 13 out of the top 10. Since I have been identified as an EOAS, let me justify my no vote ? Short career, short seasons, playing on an all-star team against questionable competition at a time when we have no way of knowing what percentage of the best players were in a position to pursue the game as a livelihood. The beginning of professional baseball began just 2 years before the first NA season, and the NA has never been fully accepted as having major league status.

But even conceding that the NA was as good as it got from 1871-1875, Spalding?s stats do not stand out as HoM worthy. Sure he had an ERA+ of 142, but as Joe points out, he didn?t have to face the best hitters and had the benefit of having the best defense behind him. In spite of those advantages, he led the league in ERA+ just one time (1872). He never led the league in (BB+H)/9, placing 3, 2, 5, 4, 6 and 5 from 1871-1876 ? in an 8 team league of 1 man pitching staffs.

Barnes made it without my vote, Spalding will have to do the same.
   164. KJOK Posted: May 30, 2003 at 11:27 PM (#513568)
Since I've been branded as an "enemy" of Joe Start, here's my reasoning:

Start, by having his documented career begin at age 28, actually has made analysis easy for us because, since players peak around 27-28, you can simply take his age 27 year and make it identical to his age 28 year, take his age 26 year and make it identical to his age 29 year, take his age 25 year and make it identical to his age 30 year, etc. until you get back to 1860. If you do this, you'll have a reasonable, documented estimate of his playing ability. Analyzing THAT career, I get - a Tony Perez clone (value-wise). Like Perez, I think Start is a very "famous", very good ballplayer who doesn't quite measure up to his 1st base contemporaries, and doesn't belong in the HOM.
   165. KJOK Posted: May 30, 2003 at 11:38 PM (#513569)
My 2 cents on the 19th century defensive spectrum:

20C: ......SS...C.....2B..CF..3B.......RF...LF..1B....DH
   166. Marc Posted: May 31, 2003 at 12:24 AM (#513570)
Joe Start has been low on my ballot (12-14) and Hardy Richardson a bit higher (6-8-9), but in all 237 posts this week the one that has stuck with me was the one that briefly compared Start and Richardson, not a head-to-head comparison I had ever considered. But I have to admit that when you put these two head-to-head, one of two things happens. Either Start looks better or Richardson looks worse. Now all I gotta do is figure out which.
   167. jimd Posted: May 31, 2003 at 01:26 AM (#513571)
On the SS's. You can't evaluate their career values yet, because these guys have a number of years to go. The 1901 season has just completed. Comparing at the same age, WARP3 has Glasscock with a decent edge over Dahlen (87.3 vs 82.6 at age 31), and he is running neck-and-neck with Davis (84.5 vs 85.4 at age 30). Wallace wouldn't even be mentioned (61.1 vs 41.7 at age 27). You can't yet know that these guys won't decline like Glasscock did after age 32.

In addition Glasscock has a better peak than these guys whether you measure with WARP3 or season-adjusted defense-adjusted Win Shares (if you cut 1880's pitcher's Win Shares down because it's really the defense, then Glasscock is one of the main guys picking up large amounts of those Win Shares).

I see no reason yet to diminish Glasscock because of these "contemporary" SS's.
   168. jimd Posted: May 31, 2003 at 02:21 AM (#513572)
But even conceding that the NA was as good as it got from 1871-1875, Spalding?s stats do not stand out as HoM worthy. Sure he had an ERA+ of 142, but as Joe points out, he didn?t have to face the best hitters and had the benefit of having the best defense behind him. In spite of those advantages, he led the league in ERA+ just one time (1872). He never led the league in (BB+H)/9, placing 3, 2, 5, 4, 6 and 5 from 1871-1876 ? in an 8 team league of 1 man pitching staffs.

But even conceding that the NA was as good as it got from 1871-1875.
   169. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: May 31, 2003 at 03:39 AM (#513573)
1. Dan Brouthers (NR) - What a hitter! Undoubtedly the first SLAM DUNK~! candidate in the voting. Simply no weaknesses with Brouthers; he hit for average and power, could take a walk and control the strike zone, even ran the bases okay. Had a 170 career OPS+, ranking 7th all-time in that stat. Led his leagues in batting five times, OBP five times, SLG seven times and OPS eight times. Also led in extra-base hits five times. Just an amazing ballplayer who hasn't been given his historical due.

2. Joe Start (2) - Was excellent in the twilight of his career, doing enough to suggest that he was a great player in the 1860s. The fact that he was that good while playing in the National League from the age of 33 to 43 is simply amazing, especially considering the rough-and-tumble world of 19th century baseball. He also gets a bit of (subjective) extra credit as one of the game's first stars.

3. Charley Radbourn (3) - An amazing three-year peak with both quality (161 ERA+) and quantity (1785 IP). Didn't do too much outside of that period, though. Those ERA+ and IP numbers are pretty similar to Pedro Martinez's career (171 ERA+ in 1892 IP).

4. Jack Glasscock (4) - The Alan Trammell of 19th century shortstops. Had a long, consistent career with about six All Star-type seasons. Career OPS+ of 112 and an A- defender according to Win Shares. Didn't quite have the peak to be Top Three with a bullet, so I'm slotting him here. In any event, a deserving HOMer.

5. Buck Ewing (NR) - Probably the flashiest candidate eligible. Was acclaimed to be the best catcher of the 19th century, played for one of the most well-known teams and was pretty popular with the fans. His career falls short of the hype, but not by a whole lot. Had 10 seasons with a 130 OPS+.

6. Charlie Bennett (5) - The first full-time catcher to have a real career. Very good with the bat at his best and great behind the plate. From 1881 to 1888, he was a complete player. Had six seasons with a 130 OPS+ and was a better defender than Ewing.

7. Ezra Sutton (6) - Long, productive career. He was a very good hitter and very good fielder at an important defensive position. I like Andrew Siegel's quote about Sutton: "We are measuring value, not conformity to a stereotypical career path."

8. Hardy Richardson (7) - He only comes in below Sutton because he played a less important defensive position. Otherwise, a heavy hitter and slick fielder. There are those who could argue for Richardson over Sutton, and they wouldn't be wrong.

9. Harry Stovey (8) - One of the few 19th century players who could take a walk. He was a complete offensive player in the mold of Bobby Abreu. His 1891 season in the National League, where he put up a 141 OPS+ at the age of 34, showed that his American Association accomplishments have more meat in them than other players in that era.

Another thing I looked at was that Stovey was quite likely the best basestealer among eligible players. He stole 68 bases the first year they kept track of the statistic, at the age of 29. He stole at least 40 bases over the next six years, with a career high of 97 in 1890. Since the stolen base was a much more valuable offensive weapon than it was in the modern era, this can only be a big plus in Stovey's favor.

10. Pete Browning (9) - On my first ballot, I had him as high as fourth. He is, without a doubt, the best eligible hitter. But what keeps him from ranking higher is the fact that there are several players who not only hit well, but were also great defenders in a time where defense was highly important.

Some of the voters here discount Browning for the level of competition he faced and his defensive shortcomings, which would be fair. But I do think that we should also consider that he played while suffering from an inner-ear infection that caused him so much pain that it drove him to drink and, eventually, severe mental illness. Taking that into consideration, I think that more than compensates for any timeline adjustment that would put Sam Thompson ahead of him.

11. Sam Thompson (NR) - It was really tough to not look at his RBI column and completely fall in love with his candidacy. But when you look past the tasty counting stats, there's not a whole lot of there there. His bat alone (146 OPS+) does not make him a lead pipe cinch for induction, and that's basically all he has. He was a decent baserunner (seven years of at least 20 steals) and was a butcher in the outfield, actually ranking worse than Pete Browning, according to Defensive Win Shares.

12. Jim McCormick (11) - Relatively underrated by the voters here. Had one great year in 1883 (342 IP, 170 ERA+) and seemed to be in the 115-130 ERA+ range nearly every year. He pitched about a season less than did Radbourn, and was just a step behind him for peak and career value. Radbourn will probably be elected soon, why not McCormick?

13. Mickey Welch (12) - Welch had two great seasons in 1885 and 1888 and pitched solidly outside of that. Pitched about two more seasons than McCormick, had a higher peak, but didn't have as many good seasons.

14. Bob Caruthers (13) - What bothers me is Caruthers' career progression. His ERA+ declined over the last eight years of his career and had only two impact seasons with the bat. A borderline HOMer, but not a top-three or top-five player. Any time a player's peak seasons fall between the ages of 21 and 23, there's a big concern. It probably reflects somewhat on the level of competition in his league.

15. Fred Dunlap (NR) - Probably the most underrated player eligible. Was an A- defender at second base and had a career OPS+ of 134. His monstrous 1884 campaign (250 OPS+) in the Union Association probably skews his rate stats quite a bit, but the career still looks pretty damned good.
   170. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 31, 2003 at 05:27 AM (#513574)
Since I have been identified as an EOAS, let me justify my no vote ? Short career,

Except that Spalding did not have a short career. He was a star pitcher from 1866 to 1878. That's about as long of a career went back during the 19th century, so that shouldn't be a demerit for him.
   171. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 31, 2003 at 05:38 AM (#513575)
Since I have been identified as an EOAS, let me justify my no vote ? Short career,

Except that Spalding did not have a short career. He was a star pitcher from 1866 to 1878. That's about as long of a career went back during the 19th century, so that shouldn't be a demerit for him.
   172. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 31, 2003 at 05:42 AM (#513576)
Gee,a double-post and a screwup with the HTML earlier this week. ARRGH!!!! :-)

10. Pete Browning (9) - On my first ballot, I had him as high as fourth. He is, without a doubt, the best eligible hitter.

Me thinks you need to update this, James. :-)
   173. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: May 31, 2003 at 07:22 AM (#513577)
Indeed. Meant to do that.
   174. Sean Gilman Posted: May 31, 2003 at 07:47 AM (#513578)
Here's my prelim ballot (finally):

1. Dan Brouthers (-)
   175. John Posted: May 31, 2003 at 05:18 PM (#513579)
I'm not sure that Thompson was such a butcher in the outfield.
   176. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 31, 2003 at 07:33 PM (#513581)
According to the obituary for Sam Thompson in the 1923 Reach Guide. it stated that he wasn't a good fielder by reputation, but a fine batter. I tend to think James is probably closer to the correct analysis of Big Sam than Baseball Prospectus.
   177. KJOK Posted: May 31, 2003 at 11:35 PM (#513582)
"5. The RF at the ballparks he played at was smaller than normal, leading to less chances for him (I couldn't find any diagrams of Recreation Park or the Philly Baseball Grounds, but the Baker bowl had a very small RF)."

John may be on to something here. The Philadelphia Baseball Grounds, where Thompson played from 1887 -1894, was 500 FT in LF, 500 FT in CF, and 310 FT in RF. The Baker Bowl, where Thompson played from 1895 to his career end, was 335-408-272.

Of course, many of the parks in that era had long leftfields and short right fields, which is why they put their poorest outfielders in RF....
   178. DanG Posted: June 01, 2003 at 02:22 AM (#513583)
Too much good discussion this week to comment on everything.

RobC (#226) - Basically, you're talking of a toss-up situation; IMO, either X or Y could be ranked higher. Personally, I take in several factors that aren't strictly value related: 1) Is he a 60's-70's star or more 80's-90's? In the interest of equal representation for eras, I somewhat favor the former players. 2) How is our consensus ranking him? This is a sticky area, one which I don't really want to encourage others to base their votes upon. But I greatly rely on the expertise of others here, not having the time or interest for intricate number crunching; There is far better work being done by others than I could hope to do myself; I have read everything put out by Bill James in the past 21 years and I read every post on this blog (most more than once) seeking information. Research into 19th century players is continually becoming more refined, but we aren't at the same degree of confidence we have for 21st century stars. Simply put, when I reach a deadend in analysis, I'll refer to the consensus for input into my decision.

KJOK (#236) - Perez was never the best firstbaseman in the game. From what we know, Start was #1 at 1b for quite a few years. Anyway, IMO Perez is a deserving HoFer, so Start would be, too.
   179. Marc Posted: June 01, 2003 at 04:02 PM (#513585)
Tom, I don't rely on any one metric but try to look at all of them and determine what the underlying skill set and source of value is. When the various metrics are split, then it's pretty subjective, especially here in the 19th century when our confidence in any of the metrics is a little lower, and particularly when we don't have any metrics for part of a career.

To me, Richardson's documented (I think) offensive (rate) superiority, specifically SA, underlies any particular metric you want to use. Then you obviously have to consider the undocumented (statistically speaking) part of Start's career and consider a position adjustment. Both of those adjustments are subjective, I think. I tend to regard pre-NA and NA achievements as just as valid as NL achievements, conceptually, but that's not the same as knowing what they were.

Short story long, Richardson has a better value rate IMO but I am rethinking Start's 50 percent longer career considering the early 1/3 is poorly documented, and the positional discussion has been enlightening (though I think 2B is making a bit of a comeback, don't you?).
   180. KJOK Posted: June 02, 2003 at 12:56 AM (#513589)
Bennett vs. Ewing:

Innings Caught
   181. Marc Posted: June 02, 2003 at 02:53 AM (#513591)
>Or, at 53, am I too old to even begin to try to understand what the hell you are all talking about?

Being exactly 53 myself, I can tell you that you are too damn old to understand what the hell they are talking about ;-)
   182. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 02, 2003 at 07:15 PM (#513594)
Tom:

Baseball Library states that Thompson started baseball professionally in 1884. It appears the scouting was fine, but that he just wasn't playing before then.

As for Stovey, I have them about equal.
   183. MattB Posted: June 02, 2003 at 08:27 PM (#513595)
Well, this is shaping up to be the closest ballot yet! I'm certainly glad we didn't decide to skip it.

Having already voted, my mind naturally turns to the next election. My current plan is to invoke the "personality" clause to leave Cap Anson off of my ballot for the one year permitted. The Constitution, as written, reads as follows:

"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). In rare and extreme cases, a voter may opt to exclude a player on ?personality? grounds on the first ballot on which the player appears. If that player does not get elected on his first ballot, the voter shall give the player full consideration in all subsequent ballots, regardless of the ?personality? factors."

Now, I am uncertain whether I should attempt to convince others to follow my lead in a united but largely symbolic front of solidarity against his prominent role in implementing the color line (symbolic because he would certainly get in the next year), or if I should let it go and hope I NEVER have to vote for him.
   184. RobC Posted: June 02, 2003 at 09:05 PM (#513597)
MattB - The interesting question to me is can a person be voted in getting only 1st,2nd and Off the Ballot Votes. No one should have Anson less than 2nd unless they dont vote for him.

Using last year as a guide, it looks like 27 1st place votes, plus 8 off the ballot votes would get him in.
   185. Marc Posted: June 02, 2003 at 10:13 PM (#513598)
Having instigated the character clause in discussions many, many moon ago, I will not include Anson on my ballot next year. I hope he gets elected, that way I too will never have to vote for him. All of that aside, the only way Anson is not at the top of my value list is if Brouthers is still there after this year. Ewing better? Connor? Not that I can see. But assuming Brouthers is gone (pretty sure thing) and I indeed boycott Anson, it looks like Spalding and Connor to me.

But (to paraphrase John Madden) WAIT A MINUTE, I haven't even voted in '02 yet....
   186. Jeff M Posted: June 02, 2003 at 10:39 PM (#513599)
In looking over the ballots, I'm shocked about how far Pete Browning has fallen. He is the second best hitter behind Brouthers. Yes his defense was terrible, but was outfield defense so important as to negate the fact that he is a better hitter than the rest of the field -- head and shoulders? Not unless he was so bad defensively as to cost his team one run a game, which seems very very unlikely.

I never thought I would be making this argument, but he's fallen off most ballots completely and I just don't understand it. It's like a gigantic AA discount has crept into the collective consciousness of the electorate.

I think the discount I've applied in the past for the AA is too high. (Same for NA). As I believe Matt B pointed out, the AA from 1883 to 1889 was really pretty good, and probably no discount should apply at all. So a big discount in 81 and 82 is warranted. But 83-89 constitutes the "meat" of the careers of Harry Stovey and Browning, so applying a 10% discount to all of their AA work unfairly knocks them down a notch.
   187. Marc Posted: June 03, 2003 at 02:38 AM (#513600)
Browning has slipped on points but on position I think he has slipped just 1 position (actually 2 because of 3 newly eligibles, but only 1 other player is going to pass him up).

He lost his spot as "hitter" to Sam Thompson, I think.

And a 10 percent AA discount for a career AA guy might be appropriate if that was his whole career. If not--if it was half a career--then you should take the 10 percent discount X 50 percent of the career. But Browning is not dropping due to the discount but due to competition. And Stovey is not really dropping, it's again just that a particular (other) player is moving up.
   188. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 04, 2003 at 05:42 PM (#513601)
My conversation with Dan B. on the ballot thread had me thinking about what the top five in Batting WS would have been if there had only been one league each year for the 19th Century. By doing this, I think we would get a better picture of how dominant certain hitters were during this era. It's just another way to look at the great hitters of that time.

Most Years in the Top Five for Batting WS (adjusted for one league ranking):

D. Brouthers: 10
   189. MattB Posted: June 05, 2003 at 01:19 PM (#513604)
No one has gone 10 for 10, but there are some people who are on track to have only voted in their Top 2 (or 4) people who eventually will be elected for each of the first four elections.

For example, some people voted for George Wright at the top in each of the first four elections. They, therefore, voted for fewer than 10 people with their top slots, but each of those slots is either in or looks to go in soon (Glasscock, Radbourn).
   190. Carl Goetz Posted: June 05, 2003 at 02:03 PM (#513605)
Of players that I have ranked as 'electable'(ie top 4 in the 1st election and top 2 since then), only Old Hoss Radbourn is not in yet. Barnes(8th in 1st election), Ward(5), and Keefe(3) are the only HoMers that were not 'electable' on my ballot. I consider all 3 to be HoMers though. They just went in earlier than I would have liked.
   191. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 05, 2003 at 04:29 PM (#513606)
Thanks, Tom. Here is the Top Five in OPS+. Big Sam does much better here because his durability is not a factor here. Where's Harry Stovey? Not that dominating of a hitter (though his stolen bases are not tallied here). At any rate, this is not meant to be conclusive in any way, but just to add some additional perspective.

D. Brouthers: 11
   192. Jeff M Posted: June 05, 2003 at 08:29 PM (#513607)
Interesting, John.

I note that Browning is very high on both lists and every hitter in front of him has already been elected or surely will be. Yet, he's not even on half of the 1902 ballots and is averaging a #12 on the ballots that name him.

IMO, that's too much of a discount for AA (especially the 1883-1889 years) and below average defense in the outfield. Thompson, on the other hand, is on everyone's ballot, and generally averaging better than a #12 slot.

Defense was more important then, but defense has never been as important as hitting. And if you think his AA numbers are fluke, take a look at 1890 when he tore up the Players' League, which most people seem to think was better than the NL. He wasn't too bad in 1891 either. Then he went nuts, of course, so there's not much to say after that. :)

You don't have to value Pete as highly as he appears on the lists above, but taking him off the ballot entirely seems awfully harsh. He seems to be the current whipping boy. He could flat out hit and there's just no way his defense is so bad as to negate what an amazing hitter he was.
   193. Marc Posted: June 06, 2003 at 01:56 AM (#513608)
Browning has been bouncing around my ballot from 8-12. I like Pete. But I think it's a bit strong to say he's a "whipping boy." Thompson, Stovey and Browning are all very similar. My personal opinion is he (Browning) ranks higher than Stovey based on a higher peak though most seem to disgree. But it's hard to get all three above 10th on a ballot.

Points are important in our voting but they're only a means to an end which is rank order. Pete is only going to drop one slot as far as I can see. Caruthers is dropping three slots this year, I think (three players passing him up from last year's ballot) and Sutton and Spalding are dropping two. I think there's a similar dynamic with Caruthers and Spalding as with Browning--there's a big push on in favor of Galvin, in case you haven't noticed, and so some pitcher(s) has/have got to drop down. As for Sutton, I think Start is the one who is taking votes away from Sutton.

That at least is how I see it. We all have sub-categories of players and if we swap a couple players within a sub-cat (pitchers, sluggers, infielders, etc.) it can cost them three or four slots as the slider moves down to the next spot available to that cateogory. I could be wrong but I think that's the dynamic.

But back to Thompson, Browning and Stovey, I think Thompson benefits both from a league advantage and a timeline advantage (however small). By the league advantage I mean more that he played part of his career in a 12 team environment while Browning, even in '90-'91 played in a 16-25 team environment, as opposed to the AA discount as commonly understood though that is part of it. Yes the PL was as good or better than the NL in '90, but neither were anywhere near as good as the NL a few years later. Those same advantages accrue to Thompson vs. Stovey.
   194. MattB Posted: June 06, 2003 at 02:38 AM (#513609)
I'm reconsidering the merits of each, but Browning had 1200 plate appearances fewer than Thompson, and 1500 fewer than Stovey. That has to count for something to, valuewise.
   195. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 06, 2003 at 05:20 AM (#513610)
Without a doubt, Pete Browning was the better player over Stovey and Thompson when at his best. If we were electing players solely on peak, he would easily be high on my ballot and would be elected fairly quickly (even with the bad defense). His durability is what keeps me from adding his name (and why he's lumped together in my mind with Thompson, Tiernan, Stovey and Jones).
   196. RobC Posted: June 06, 2003 at 03:09 PM (#513611)
here is an updated 1903 eligibles - I lowered games for hitters to 750 and raised IP for pitchers to 1500, per someones suggestion. Hopefully I got everyone important (I am missing any Negro Leaguers).

1903:
   197. DanG Posted: June 06, 2003 at 08:53 PM (#513614)
Reposting of my list on another thread of 1903 eligibles:

1903
   198. RobC Posted: June 06, 2003 at 09:19 PM (#513615)
Stupid pitcher/hitter combo players, screwing up my program. Dan is right, Stivetts isnt eligible until 1905.

However, I think changing the schedule is a bad idea. If we dont have a discussion week, someone will put BERT CUNNINGHAM #2 on their ballot. Or maybe he should be, and they will convince me of it during that week. Actually, I think a week without new candidates will be harder that normal weeks, a year with Anson/Connor on the ballot allows anyone to slack on other positions. But, a year without any new superstars is a year with a fierce battle to grab a HOM spot before the superstars return.

Plus, I think changing the schedule in general is a bad idea.
   199. DanG Posted: June 07, 2003 at 04:22 AM (#513616)
The logic behind the one week suggestion is that, with no new candidates, everyone else just gets bumped up and a couple marginal picks get added on the bottom. Those added at the bottom will be players who were previously dropped when the ballots got crowded.

Sure, those "marginal picks" could possibly make the difference in an election...that's why we even need to bother having a vote. I just don't see where the extra week of rehashing old candidates will prove very fruitful, it seems pretty tedious. If Bert Cunningham truly has a case (ERA+ 91), that will come out. After all, he's eligible forever.

Certainly, we shouldn't take casually the decision to change the two-week schedule. But if we can decide a month or two ahead of time, evyone here will be prepared to handle it. And I think we need to be pretty sure we truly have no viable new candidates. In 1906 and 1910 we truly do not.

Here is the schuedule I suggest:

1902: ballots due by June 8
   200. DanG Posted: June 07, 2003 at 04:46 AM (#513617)
For 1906, the best new candidates I found were a group of pitchers with injured wings, who couldn't continue in 1901 despite the expansion:

Gus Weyhing
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