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Monday, July 07, 2003

1905 Ballot Discussion

I haven’t finished tabulating the 1904 results yet, we’ll get those up a little later, but there’s no reason we can’t get the 1905 discussion going.

I’ll be at the SABR Convention this week, from Wednesday to Sunday, if you’re also there, stop by and say hello!

That will obviously limit my input this week, but I’ll try to check in when I can.

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 07, 2003 at 04:40 PM | 157 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Howie Menckel Posted: July 07, 2003 at 04:53 PM (#515022)
Well, I'd like to go out on a limb and congratulate Jack Glasscock!
   2. KJOK Posted: July 07, 2003 at 06:14 PM (#515026)
Copying this from DanG's post in the previous thread - the newly eligibles... :

***1905 (July 20)?elect 2
   3. Rusty Priske Posted: July 07, 2003 at 06:28 PM (#515027)
Can anyone give a rundown on Bud Fowler?
   4. KJOK Posted: July 07, 2003 at 06:32 PM (#515028)
With Bid McPhee looking like the only "real" HOM candidate in the next 2 incoming classes, and with 3 HOM slots to be filled, the next two elections look to be really wide open and also possibly the last shot for some of these "almost" candidates to get elected for awhile.
   5. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 07, 2003 at 06:36 PM (#515029)
Definite yes to Bid, but all other white players no.

It will be interesting to see how Mike Tiernan is going to do since he's almost identical value career-wise with Sam Thompson. His peak was probably better, too. However, Thompson's gaudy, out-of-context batting stats may hold court. We'll see...

I see Fowler right now as Fred Pfeffer. Quality player who played a considerable amount of time, but just missing. I'm looking forward to discussing his worthiness.
   6. OCF Posted: July 07, 2003 at 06:37 PM (#515030)
I've said that I grew up a fan of Lou Brock. Can I, in good conscience, support Brock here? Ask me that about 80 "years" from now, but not sooner. But I do want to weigh in in support of guys who actually scored runs.

But we have established levels of excellence built up - 20 wins, .400 OBA, and so on, that we just have to clear our minds of in looking at the statistics of another era. For 1880's pitchers, everything about their statistical lines - IP, W/L, etc. - are mind-blowing unless we try to adjust our frame of reference. We run into a similar problem in looking at individual runs scored from the 1890's. So-and-so scored 130 (!) in 5 different seasons - oh, wait, here's someone who scored 150 (!) - but he didn't lead the league, ... . We know we have to tone down the explanation points.

I did something simple-minded. I went through each league from 1876 to 1900 to get two estimates for a "number of distinction" for runs. The first estimate was the average runs scored per team (not per game), divided by 6. The other was the number scored by the player who finished 5th in the league in runs. Since both are easily found on bbref season summaries, this wasn't too hard to do by hand. Both numbers are usually about the same, so I just averaged them to get the "number of distinction." I then set this "number of distinction" equal to 100, and computed each player's runs scaled to this number. Calling this new number "R*", I tried it out on some modern performances to get a feel for how it works:

Woody English 1930 R 152 R* 105
   7. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 07, 2003 at 06:43 PM (#515031)
Can anyone give a rundown on Bud Fowler?

How about from his own "mouth," Rusty? :-)

<i>Posted 9:42 a.m., July 11, 2002 (#15) - Bud Fowler
   8. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 07, 2003 at 06:48 PM (#515033)
test:

The italics were meant to be that way.
   9. Marc Posted: July 07, 2003 at 07:38 PM (#515034)
It would have been fun to compare Glasscock and McPhee on the same ballot. Oh well. If Glasscock is in, wht does that say about Biddy?

AdjCWS--McPhee 377 Glasscock 360
   10. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 07, 2003 at 07:50 PM (#515035)
Prelim:

1) Ezra Sutton (1)

2) Bid McPhee (n/a): Greatest second baseman of the 19th century. If any AA guys should go in, he should be numero uno. Consistently near the top of the list for second baseman (and did it longer than any of them). Best major league second baseman for 1886.

3) Al Spalding (3)

4) Cal McVey (4)

5) Dickey Pearce (5):

6) Hardy Richardson (6)

7) Joe Start (7)

8) Charlie Bennett (8)

9) Billy Nash (9)

10) Levi Meyerle (10)

11) Jack Clement (11)

12) Ed Williamson (12)

13) Fred Dunlap (13)

14) Lip Pike (14)

15) Pud Galvin (15)

Of the other new guys, Mike Tiernan was slightly better than Sam Thompson but is hurt by his short career (like Big Sam). Ed McKean's defense really drags him down. Bill Lange and Jake Stenzel were terrific players, but they make Tiernan look like Cap Anson in terms of career length.

Bud Fowler is still under consideration.
   11. OCF Posted: July 07, 2003 at 07:56 PM (#515036)
Continuing my previous post. I worked up the league "number of distinction" for the NL, AA, and PL from 1876 through 1900, and then converted the career runs scored for most of the players who ever appeared on the league leader lists into R*. I didn't try to adjust for either league strength or team context. Clearly, the team context is an enormous factor. We're dealing with leagues in which it is common for the top scoring team to have twice as many runs as the bottom team. (Don't look at the 2003 AL, nothing happening there, move along folks.) It is common for three of the top 5 in the league to come from the same powerhouse team. The #1 single season R* total I got was 138 for King Kelly, 1887 - and the #3 total was 133 for George Gore on the very same team and year. There were two other R* above 130: Harry Stovey 1885 (AA) and Tom Brown 1891 (AA).

Then to look at some semblence of peak/extended peak I took each player's excess above some threshold for each season and added those up. After some experimentation, I settled on a threshold of 75. I also threw in some weak league adjustments. Adding that up and sorting, I wound up with 5 names on an "A" list and 7 names on a "B" list. These lists do not represent overall value and must still be sorted for various things. They're here for a single purpose - so you can say "Wow, he sure scored a lot of runs!" and have the exclamation point mean something.

The A list:
   12. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 07, 2003 at 08:14 PM (#515039)
BEOANCP

Nineteenth century pitchers? I'd like to know who I am an enemy of.

:-)
   13. Howie Menckel Posted: July 07, 2003 at 09:00 PM (#515041)
It's cool that McPhee played all 18 years in the same town (Cincinnati). Bid likely (eventually) will be our first HOMer to have played all his home games in one city.
   14. Marc Posted: July 07, 2003 at 09:26 PM (#515042)
Hey OCF, was this meant to discourage votes for Bid?

> McPhee: AA 65, 65, 102, 78, 111, 95, 74, 78, NL 100, 87, 88, 70, 67, 73, 60, 34, 58, 46

What do other lines look like for players for whom scoring runs is not nec. their fort
   15. OCF Posted: July 07, 2003 at 09:29 PM (#515043)
What does the typical league leader have in R*, say average 1876-1900 and a range too?

For all the leagues except the 1876 NL (which is just weird), the mean for league leaders is about 118 with a standard deviation of about 8. Out of 36 leagues, the league leader has an R* between 112 and 120 on 20 occasions.

Here's a table, with "NDIS" being "number of distinction":

League NDIS Leader R R* (for leader)
   16. OCF Posted: July 07, 2003 at 09:46 PM (#515044)
Marc -

I included McPhee and Tiernan because they're new this year. I can recall having heard that McPhee had been elected to the Hall of Fame, so I looked him up and my first reaction was, "Wow, he sure scored runs!"

I'm retracting the the "Wow" and the "!", but I'm not discouraging you from voting for McPhee. That's a good record of scoring runs. On my amount-by-which-it-exceeded-75 list, that didn't make the "A" list or the "B" list, but it's easily on the "C" list. It's roughly as good as Sam Thompson (at run scoring), and it's roughly as good as the 19th century portions of the careers of John McGraw, Hughie Jennings, and Herman Long. It's more impressive than Ezra Sutton's post-1876 run-scoring record. It's only a little below Hardy Richardson, Mike Griffin, and Ed Delahanty.

Obviously, there's more to McPhee's case than his ability to score runs. I would assume that anyone who wants to argue his case will talk about his defensive value.

I could give you other lines if you wanted - is there anyone you're particularly interested in?
   17. MattB Posted: July 08, 2003 at 01:26 AM (#515046)
1. Pud Galvin (1) ? Best pitcher on the board. Two pitchers out of ten may be well and good, but they've got to be the right two. Galvin and Spalding should have gone in before Rusie and Ward.
   18. Marc Posted: July 08, 2003 at 02:27 AM (#515047)
1. Al Spalding (1)
   19. Marc Posted: July 08, 2003 at 02:39 AM (#515048)
BTW, I see three prelim ballots with 3-5-and 4 Cooperstown HoFers on them. I know that we are here largely because Cooperstown didn't do real well by the 19th century players, and I don't disagree. But I don't know if our pool is as deep as we think.
   20. Rob Wood Posted: July 08, 2003 at 04:20 AM (#515049)
I am typically a big career value proponent relative to peak value. But Bid McPhee pushes me to the edge. I am not convinced he is such a sure-thing HOM'er.

Unless I am doing something wrong, I see Hardy Richardson as being slightly the better player compared to McPhee. Significantly higher peak value and only somewhat lower career value. I also grant that McPhee was the better defender, but second base defense was not all that critical in that era. But he did a lot of it in the inferior AA.

My prelim prelim ballot has both McPhee and Tiernan around 7th place. I am willing to listen to why I might have McPhee too low.
   21. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 08, 2003 at 06:25 AM (#515051)
14. Mike Tiernan (new)--how is Tiernan comp to Sam Thompson? Tiernan had about three big years at age 21-22-23 but did not sustain it; he was unable to exploit the big offensive years after '93 like Thompson did. I see a bunch more XBH and a much better SA for Big Sam. Tiernan will only make my ballot of I decide to continue with an ultraconservative approach. He has no upside beyond #14.

Are you taking into account defense?
   22. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 08, 2003 at 06:32 AM (#515052)
Best
   23. Chris Cobb Posted: July 08, 2003 at 12:40 PM (#515054)
I've been steady in giving mid-ballot support for Cal McVey, and I'm glad to see him coming back to everyone's attention. But before I consider jumping him up from mid-ballot into the top tier, rather than letting him continue his gradual upward drift, I'd like to have an explanation for his rather poor showing on WARP3 and Pennants Added in comparison to Barnes and Wright, who don't have any more documented career than McVey does. Is the difference from WARP's evaluation of defense?

Of course McVey should get some credit for undocumented parts of his career, but so do Barnes and Wright.
   24. Chris Cobb Posted: July 08, 2003 at 12:50 PM (#515055)
I've been steady in giving mid-ballot support for Cal McVey, and I'm glad to see him coming back to everyone's attention. But before I consider jumping him up from mid-ballot into the top tier, rather than letting him continue his gradual upward drift, I'd like to have an explanation for his rather poor showing on WARP3 and Pennants Added in comparison to Barnes and Wright, who don't have any more documented career than McVey does. Is the difference from WARP's evaluation of defense?

Of course McVey should get some credit for undocumented parts of his career, but so do Barnes and Wright.
   25. Rusty Priske Posted: July 08, 2003 at 12:54 PM (#515056)
Prelim:

1. Hoss. Always the bridesmaid, eh Hoss? I understand, though don't agree. when people say he isn't as good as Spalding or Galvin. But when people put him at the bottom or off the ballot? That I don't understand at all.

2. Galvin
   26. Howie Menckel Posted: July 08, 2003 at 01:07 PM (#515057)
Prelim, but hoping to see evidence rising or dropping some people:

1. Joe Start
   27. RobC Posted: July 08, 2003 at 01:17 PM (#515059)
Guys who it would be a mistake if they arent in the HoM:
   28. Rusty Priske Posted: July 08, 2003 at 02:00 PM (#515061)
Of the 8 different prelim ballots so far, there have been 7 different number ones.
   29. Brad Harris Posted: July 08, 2003 at 02:15 PM (#515062)
1. Joe Start - nothing to change last election's rating
   30. MattB Posted: July 08, 2003 at 02:23 PM (#515063)
I'd be interested in arguments from people who think Hardy Richardson is more valuable than McPhee.

Assuming that this year's ballots track last year's, McPhee could be challenging Richardson for the second slot -- which I think makes for one of the better head-to-head match-ups we've had so far.

I initially have McPhee third and Richardson seventh, but when I see Richardson's peak advantage (even on WARP, which better values McPhee's defense than than WS), I have my doubts.

McPhee leads Richardson in pennants added on both WS and WARP methodologies, but a WS that took league into account would likely have them reversed.

Can anyone make a good argument that Richardson's peak advantage and better league trumps McPhee's career value? I'd certainly be willing to change my ballot if I could be convinced -- they do seem very close.
   31. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 08, 2003 at 02:36 PM (#515064)
I'd be interested in arguments from people who think Hardy Richardson is more valuable than McPhee.

As a FOHR, I'll take it from the opposite tact. Besides having a much shorter career, he had 20% of his value in left field. It's a testament to his peak value that he places as high as he does. He belongs, but in a few more years.
   32. Carl Goetz Posted: July 08, 2003 at 02:54 PM (#515067)
This is extremely preliminary:
   33. Howie Menckel Posted: July 08, 2003 at 03:17 PM (#515069)
Damn, I did not list Bud Fowler.
   34. Rick A. Posted: July 08, 2003 at 05:03 PM (#515070)
Prelim. ballot

1. Al Spalding (1)
   35. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 08, 2003 at 06:19 PM (#515073)
14. Mike Tiernan (new)--how is Tiernan comp to Sam Thompson? Tiernan had about three big years at age 21-22-23 but did not sustain it; he was unable to exploit the big offensive years after '93 like Thompson did. I see a bunch more XBH and a much better SA for Big Sam. Tiernan will only make my ballot of I decide to continue with an ultraconservative approach. He has no upside beyond #14.

Are you taking into account defense?

Now that I look at both of them closer, Tiernan was just a little bit better on defense. He was slightly more durable (packed in less seasons helps his peak numbers)and a much better baserunner. All of that helps to narrow the differences.
   36. OCF Posted: July 08, 2003 at 07:10 PM (#515076)
A side issue raised by looking at individual runs scored:

I don't see how the 126 runs attributed to Ross Barnes for 1876 can possibly be correct. That number fails every test of reasonableness I can imagine.

That team was scoring over 9 runs a game. How can a team possibly score 9 runs a game? By having lots of big innings, huge innings. What happens in a big inning? Everyone scores, all the way around the lineup. If such a team could keep a stable lineup, the runs scored distribution should be flat - flatter than the true offensive skills. That's almost true for the 1876 Chicago team. If we can call Addy + Bielaski one player, they had a very stable lineup. Of the 8 players other than Barnes the runs scored vary only a little, from a low of 54 (Spalding) to a high of 70 (Peters). Addy/Bielaski scored 95% of the runs Anson did even though they reached base only 62% as many times. All of that is normal. Having one guy with nearly twice as many runs as anyone else is not normal, even if he is the best hitter on the team. Barnes reached base 50 more times than White or Hines - how can that be 60 more runs? Even extra base hits don't matter that much - if an inning goes on long enough, everyone who gets on scores.

Can anyone explain this? If we're suspicious of this, are there other totals from other teams and leagues that could earn the same suspicion?
   37. Jeff M Posted: July 08, 2003 at 07:19 PM (#515077)
Would love to hear why people think Mike Griffin and Mike Tiernan ought to be on the ballot (particularly from those who have them in the Top 10). I think they were very good players, but to me, they seem worlds away from HOM consideration.

I don't think these guys were the best players on their teams, or would have regularly made the all-star team. They aren't MVP quality. They weren't the best in their leagues at their positions. They did not have extraordinarily long careers. Contemporaries did not marvel at their abilities. Are they on the ballot primarily because they are fresh faces. There seems to be an element of that in our voting.

I respect their numbers and their quality of play, but I can't see them as HOMers. If they hold their current positions, they may be elected, since we've got some lean years coming up.
   38. Howie Menckel Posted: July 08, 2003 at 07:39 PM (#515078)
1889 Giants, arguably Tiernan's best year. Teammates included HOMers:
   39. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 08, 2003 at 07:51 PM (#515079)
They weren't the best in their leagues at their positions.

I have Tiernan as the best major league rightfielder for 1888 (close in '91) and the best major league centerfielder for 1890 (which is another plus for his competition with Thompson). I don't have Griffin as the best any one year.

I agree that they don't belong, except maybe at the very bottom.
   40. Chris Cobb Posted: July 08, 2003 at 08:14 PM (#515080)
OCF wrote: I don't see how the 126 runs attributed to Ross Barnes for 1876 can possibly be correct. That number fails every test of reasonableness I can imagine.

This number is not out of line, I think, with other runs per _documented_ time reached base data for players with exceptional on-base and baserunning skills in the nineteenth-century game. I don't think scoring 9 runs a game means _big_ innings where everybody scores -- it could mean scoring in pretty much every inning. Remember, there were about 7 errors per team per game, so teams are going to have baserunners more regularly, and those runners move around the bases much more freely. Few DP, few CS remove runners once they reach base. Barnes, batting (I guess) leadoff for a great team, scored a number of runs equal to about 79% of his documented times on base. Because of reaching base on errors, he would have probably another 10-20 times on base not accounted for.

Harry Stovey, another great baserunner, hitting leadoff for a _terrible_ team a few years later, scored a number of runs equal to 72% of his documented times on base. Barnes' 1876 runs scored per documented time on base is quite in line with his own 1873 rate as well. His R* is stratospheric because he every factor is going his way: the best player in the league in reaching base (by far), who is also a great baserunner, who is batting leadoff for the most potent lineup in the league.

This case doesn't lead me to doubt the statistics, but it reinforces the case for the value of baserunning. It's only documented indirectly, but sometimes its impact shows up dramatically.
   41. jimd Posted: July 08, 2003 at 09:14 PM (#515082)
My compilation of OF All-Stars by Win Shares (doesn't distinguish by 'field) has Thompson on twice (86, 87), Tiernan four times (88-91), and Griffin almost making it in 95. I'm not excited about any of them, but then again I'm a BFOAGNCP.
   42. OCF Posted: July 08, 2003 at 09:27 PM (#515083)
Chris, I'd sure like to believe everything you say. I do think that otherwise undocumented baserunning skills are tremendously important, and I'd like to feature Stovey's 1882 season in the argument for Harry.

In 1873, Barnes scored 17% of the runs of a 12 R/G team, leading the team by 125 to 99. In 1876, Barnes scored 20% of the runs of a 9 R/G team, leading the team by 126 to 70. 1874 was the only other year Barnes led the team, and then only by a little. When Stovey scored 23% of his team's runs in 1882, the team was dead last in the league with 4.5 R/G, and he led the team by 90 to 50 (the second best hitter being the pitcher.) I'm not sure how the "lots of little innings" possibility works. If that was a nibble nearly every inning, then the scoring innings would be starting in all different parts of the batting order. If it was a 2-3 run pop every time Barnes came up, then shouldn't the people near him in the order have more R and RBI than the others? That isn't what happened on the Barnes teams. I does look more like that for the 1882 Worcester team - it looks like they needed Stovey to have a scoring inning.

In 1886, King Kelly (no slouch as a baserunner himself) scored 17.2% of the runs of a 7.1 R/G team, while his teammate, Gore, scored 16.9% of the runs.

Who would have more incentive to be aggressive on the basepaths - Barnes, who was surrounded by great hitters, or Stovey, who knew he was what there was? On the other hand, that Worcester team also had terrible pitching/defense, so they were usually behind. The Boston and Chicago teams were usually ahead.

Maybe the 1876 numbers are real. I'm still uneasy about them.

Since no one answered a question I asked elsewhere, I assume there is no data on reaching base on errors at the individual batter level.
   43. Marc Posted: July 08, 2003 at 09:30 PM (#515085)
I can understand a preference for Joe Start over Cal McVey though I do not agree. I start from the basic assumption that McVey had a higher documented (one-year) peak--OPS+ 193 vs. 150 in seasons of similar length. Then there's the extension of that--McVey had an aggregate OPS+ >150 for 9 documented years, Start had a peak around 150 for 3 years. If you respect peak performance at all, the burden of proof after that is to show why McVey was not better. I'm not saying you can't make the case, but from my perspective the burden of proof is on the FOJS.

Then, just a nit: McVey's OPS+ was 134 in his final year (at age 29), yes, below his career, but "fading"? McVey was better than that 7 times in 9 tries, but it is still 7 points better than Start's vaunted NL career.

Finally the post above gives McVey no credit for being recruited by and playing for the greatest team in the history of the game to that point, the Red Stockings. Same pattern--Start was a leading player through most of the decade, McVey had arguably captured a brighter spotlight in the end. All in all, McVey had the vastly higher peak (MVP vs. all-star). How many more seasons at somewhere between above average and all-star makes up for that?
   44. Marc Posted: July 08, 2003 at 11:19 PM (#515088)
As a FOCM, I must say that I do not believe that Cal played in the PCL. The info I have seen suggests that "out west" meant Texas, Louisiana, places like that. Anybody?
   45. Howie Menckel Posted: July 08, 2003 at 11:28 PM (#515089)
I think Joe Start is Carl Yastrzemski.
   46. Marc Posted: July 09, 2003 at 01:03 AM (#515091)
Re. McVey, Meyerle, Pike.

McVey documented 9 years ('71-'79) ~2550 PA OPS+ ~150 played all 9 positions mostly C-1B-RF-3B

Meyerle doc. 7 years ('71-'77) ~1450 PA OPS+ ~160 mostly 3B, some 2B and others

Pike doc. 8 years ('71-'78) ~2000 PA OPS+ ~155 mostly CF, some 2B

FR has them all marginally below average defensively.

Partially documented (ie. lacking normal statistical doc): Meyerle almost nothing. Pike 5 years as an elite middle infielder. McVey 2 years at (help me? 3B? anybody?) with Cincinnati Red Stockings and "several" years (my word) "in the west" after leaving the NL's "new serfdom arrangement" (my words) in '79 (he was said to have resented the league's new management arrangements--not my words).

So Pike seems to have played elite ball for 13 years, McVey for 11 and Meyerle for only about 7-8. But McVey's teams always seemed to be great teams and in no small part because of his contributions, so all in all the consensus seems clearly to be McVey, Pike, Meyerle with Pike closer to McVey than to Meyerle.

For pure peak, however, there is Meyerle '71 and Pike '75 at >200 OPS+ but McVey also had a 190. Meyerle had probably the strongest claim of anybody to challenging Barnes as the best hitter in the NA at any given time. But those 1-2-3 seasons (Meyerle's peak) aside (or even including those) I still think McVey left a huge imprint on baseball from '69 to '79 while Pike and Meyerle's imprint was somewhat more transitory.
   47. Marc Posted: July 09, 2003 at 01:07 AM (#515093)
PS. The other obvious question is how CM and JS compare, and that is a completely different calculus. There is almost no way to compare the two, rather it is all contrast. Peak vs. career; offense (and defense) vs. defense (and offense); and so on. At no time was Start as good a player as any of the three (McVey, Pike, Meyerle) at their respective peaks. But he played both before and after they did. My gut tells me that an extra decade at above average with a peak substantially lower adds up to a Pike, not a McVey, but that is an opinion based on my valuing of peak and career.
   48. Marc Posted: July 09, 2003 at 03:03 AM (#515094)
Tom, Meyerle played mostly 3B and some 2B.
   49. Sean Gilman Posted: July 09, 2003 at 03:45 AM (#515095)
1905 (prelim)

1. Ezra Sutton (1)--Ahead of McPhee and Richardson on both career and peak value.

2. Bid McPhee (-)--I don?t think it?s the novelty, I had McPhee ahead of Richardson on my 1906 ballot. Defense and career value trumps the AA discount, but it?s very close among all my top 3.

3. Hardy Richardson (3)--Ahead of Start on defense and maybe peak.

4. Joe Start (4)--Morre career value than McVey. But a lower (documented) peak.

5. Cal McVey (5)--I like the Ross Barnes comparison a lot.

6. Harry Stovey (6)--I think some people have been applying an awfully harsh AA discount to him. He was a tremendous hitter and looks great in WS pennants added and in the baserunning info that?s been posted.

7. Lip Pike (8)--Not as good in the NA as McVey, but better before. Some credit for McVey's post-NL career moves him ahead.

8. Charley Radbourn (9)--A virtual tie with Galvin, but I don?t think either should be HOMers for awhile.

9. Pud Galvin (10)--Could still move him up.

10. Charlie Bennett (11)--Great defense at catcher keeps him in the middle of the Outfielder/Pitcher Glut.

11. Al Spalding (14)--Here for his hitting and the adulation of his peers. This low because of the defense behind him, the hitters on his team compared to the competition and the amount of credit I give pitching vs. fielding in the pre-93 era. Though, I may be underrating him too much still.

12. Pete Browning (12)--AA discount brings him down to Thompson and Tiernan and Griffin?s level. Browning still has the higher peak though.

13. Mike Tiernan (-)--I don?t think 3 players could be any more equal than Thompson and Tiernan and Griffin. Tiernan has a slight peak advantage over Thompson.

14. Sam Thompson (13)--Lower peak than Tiernan, higher peak than Griffin.

15. Mike Griffin (-)--Defense brings his (relatively) low peak onto the ballot. Just edges Caruthers off the ballot. Still considering Bud Fowler as well. . .
   50. Chris Cobb Posted: July 09, 2003 at 04:35 AM (#515096)
1905 Preliminary Ballot

This is a tough ballot. It was noted that we've had many different players at the top of the ballot -- I can see reasonable points of view for putting any of the top 9 on my ballot in the number 1 slot. I'm still looking for good arguments on those 9, and they could shift around a bit yet.

1. Pud Galvin (2). With Glasscock in, Galvin rises to the top. Most career value of any player on the ballot, even without credit for 76-78, and his peak is also quite strong. With 76-78 included in his career, we get a pitcher with 18 years of major-league calibre pitching. No pitcher prior to Cy Young comes close to that kind of career, and no position player currently on ballot has a more valuable career.
   51. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 09, 2003 at 06:25 AM (#515097)
Hi. I spent a lot of time reading through the HoM threads, sometimes with a lot of fun, sometimes with the unpleasing sentiment of having lost my time. Nevertheless, I consider it a pleasant (I hope) and useful endeavour.

I hesitated a lot before joining in, because a lot of the voters seem to have an agenda - read: get on a guy's bandwagon and stay on it whether it turns out right (Barnes) or not (Start). I also felt some of the discussions were useless or futile: Williamson VS Sutton for two and a half weeks: for me, it comes down to the following question: does Ken Reitz belong in the Hall of Fame (or Merit)? Well...

Also, some guys are still carrying Meyerles and Pearces on their ballots: in the eyes of outsiders, that takes a lot of credit out of the HoM, IMHO.

Anyway, I finally decided to give it a shot; hope it'll be worth it.

I'll provide you with my prelim as soon as it's ready

P.S. If I need to registrate, please let me know how it can be done. Otherwise, I've been contributing to the Primer for a long time and I'm coming back for more. I guess I'm well known around here, even if my favorite adversaries of 6 months ago (Where are you, Jim Rice, Trevise and Steve Treder??) seem to have disappeared!
   52. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 09, 2003 at 07:29 AM (#515098)
Also, some guys are still carrying Meyerles and Pearces on their ballots: in the eyes of outsiders, that takes a lot of credit out of the HoM, IMHO.

Gee, I wonder who you could be referring, too? :-)

David, why are Pearce and Meyerle off limits to you for the Hall? They were, unquestionably, great players for their times. Shouldn't all eras be represented?

Williamson VS Sutton for two and a half weeks: for me, it comes down to the following question: does Ken Reitz belong in the Hall of Fame (or Merit)? Well...

I guess you're talking timeline adjustments here (since Williamson and Sutton were no where near Reitz as third basemen for their era).
   53. Chris Cobb Posted: July 09, 2003 at 01:06 PM (#515101)
John C wrote:

Why are people saying so matter-of-factly that Tiernan is better than Thompson defensively? Is it in the Defensive WS? Is it based on reputation alone?

For me, it is the defensive win shares primarily. I trust their evaluation of 19th-century defense more than WARP3's, and in this case their corroboration by contemporary reputation only solidifies my trust in them. Traditional fielding measures aren't, on their face, reliable. WS shows Tiernan as slightly more valuable defensively than Thompson, and I see that as a reasonable interpretation of the data.

Tiernan's _not_ much better than Thompson -- indeed he's no better than average for RF, but when I have to put two players who have _very_ similar careers in rank order, a small difference may be decisive. I'm not going to rank Thompson higher based on WARP3's argument that he's a superior defensive player, any more than I'm going to take its evaluation of Bid McPhee as the top player currently eligible at face value.
   54. Marc Posted: July 09, 2003 at 01:29 PM (#515102)
Re. Lip Pike's rumored faults:

>Now I take that all with more than a few
   55. karlmagnus Posted: July 09, 2003 at 02:04 PM (#515103)
Interesting if meaningless question for those better than me at making the databases sing. Was there ever a pitchers duel between Old Hoss and Cy Young? One thinks of them as being about 3 generations apart, but actually by birth only 12 1/4 years. Would have been possible in 1891, when both pitched a fair bit (were in different leagues in '90.) Old Hoss well past his peak that year, of course, but interesting to see him against the best.
   56. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 09, 2003 at 02:26 PM (#515106)
There is every reason to believe Meyerle played some ball before the NA (he was 25 in 1871), but, thus far, I have seen no reference to it.

I mention it every week in my notes on Long Levi. :-) He played four years before the NA (1867-1870). By 1870, he was a definite star with the Chicago White Stockings (he was paid the rather large amount of $1500) and considered one of the best hitters already (which is impressive considering he was at third). Eleven years at a defensive position is not bad (though it keeps at #10 on my ballot). Eleven years at first base or in the outfield would be a different story. BTW, there would be no way that he would be on my ballot without those pre-NA years.

I guess I need to flesh out his pre-NA work more in my notes for now on (he also did some pitching and catching during that time). I wish someone had called me on this a long time ago so maybe he would be receiving more than six points.
   57. Jeff M Posted: July 09, 2003 at 02:44 PM (#515107)
I don't have either Meyerle or Pearce on my ballot, but I don't think it's fair to say that having them on some ballots upsets the credibility of the HOM. The reasons for having them there are legitimate and are supportable. The fact that some voters are supporting some players doesn't mean they aren't open minded or are mindlessly riding a bandwagon for those players. We each just have different opinions. Marketplace of ideas. Certainly Pearce and Meyerle don't harm the HOM's credibility more than Tommy McCarthy harms the HOF's credibility.

My only concern about the HOM discussions right now is that I'm seeing increasing reliance on WARP3 (probably because it is readily available on the Web), even though most of us have no idea how it is calculated (particularly the WARP2 timeline adjustment). I would be more comfortable seeing reliance on WARP1 adjusted for length of season (i.e. skipping the WARP2 step). WARP2 just seems like one man's crack at a timeline adjustment without revealing methodology, and I'm not sure how much stock we should be putting in that.
   58. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 09, 2003 at 02:44 PM (#515108)
Ezra Sutton:

He was considered to have one of the best arms of his time during the 1870s. During a contest in Great Britain, he placed second in a throwing contest when he threw a ball 366 feet.

The Sporting Life claimed he was terrific on foul flies. The New York Clipper also noted his accurate and swift arm while also ranking him as one of the best baserunners for the '70s.
   59. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 09, 2003 at 02:47 PM (#515109)
Certainly Pearce and Meyerle don't harm the HOM's credibility more than Tommy McCarthy harms the HOF's credibility.

Except Pearce and Meyerle were stars of the first magnitude for their time, while McCarthy was not. Other than that, they were comparable. :-)
   60. Marc Posted: July 09, 2003 at 02:52 PM (#515110)
Andrew wrote re. Lip Pike:

>I don't see how I can credit the positive stuff and not weigh the negative.

It seems to me that the "positive stuff" is in regards to his play on the field. The negative has to do with his character. Not just pos vs. neg, but different categories of data.

>his fielding numbers were so-so for
   61. Marc Posted: July 09, 2003 at 02:53 PM (#515111)
And if contemporary opinion is a big deal, then explain Ezra Sutton.
   62. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 09, 2003 at 03:00 PM (#515113)
Re: Pearce and Meyerle (and other "ancient stars")

Ignoring them is comparable to not electing Aristotle or Eratosthenes for a science hall of fame. While their knowledge within their particular fields would be tiny compared to the average scientist today, considering their time and place, they were indeed extraordinary individuals who are mentioned in the same breath as Newton, Einstein or Hawking as alltime greats.
   63. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 09, 2003 at 03:05 PM (#515114)
Sorry that I missed your repeated references to Levi's early years. Do you have any more information?

As Curly would say - soytantly! :-) I'll post it sometime today. I should mention that my info is from the SABR book </i>Nineteenth Century Stars</i> (which everybody should here should own). You can pick it up for ten dollars at Amazon.

As for missing my statement, I probably have missed a few myself.
   64. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 09, 2003 at 03:58 PM (#515117)
I just bought the 19th-Century Stars book from Amazon. FWIW, they told me that I got the last in-stock copy.

Sounds like you lucked out. The writing is not always great, but it's still worth the price for the info and photos.

I've alos been reading David Nemec's book on 19th-Century Baseball (which I found at a used bookstore)

I don't have that one. I have Seymour and Voight's books on the subject, but they are best read for the broad overview of baseball they give (as Nemec's does) than for biographical sketches of any particular player of that time.
   65. Brian Posted: July 09, 2003 at 04:15 PM (#515118)
I did some additional research on Thompson while getting up to speed on Tiernan and (I'm sure I'm missing something) it seems to me that Thompson is clearly the superior player in terms of both peak and career. Additionally, Thompson is at least Tiernan's equal in the field. In fact, I think we have been selling Big Sam short across the board.
   66. Marc Posted: July 09, 2003 at 04:29 PM (#515119)
Brian, you haven't missed a thing.

Andrew, thanks for putting it all in perspective. This is exactly right.

>I'm operating on the assumption that the first-tier stars of the 1865-1879 period (Barnes, Wright, White,
   67. Brian H Posted: July 09, 2003 at 04:55 PM (#515120)
I'm not a big proponent of the timeline in general but I think the situation with before 1871 is a little different. At least we have something resembling data for the better players of an orgainzed game competing somewhat consistently against one another for early NL play -- or even NA play. We have little more than stories and 100 + year old reputations for players before that time. Also, we know that the many of the games played before 1871 were quite different that what we consider baseball today (or even what was considered baseball in 1880).

That said I still credit Start, Pearce, Pike et al for their achievments before 1871. Its tough to figure out how much credit. In the extreme case if we recognize the reputations of the players before 1871 I find Creighton nearly as compelling as Start, Pearce, Pike et al.
   68. Jeff M Posted: July 09, 2003 at 05:01 PM (#515121)
I don't have either Meyerle or Pearce on my ballot, but I don't think it's fair to say that having them on some ballots upsets the credibility of the HOM. The reasons for having them there are legitimate and are supportable. The fact that some voters are supporting some players doesn't mean they aren't open minded or are mindlessly riding a bandwagon for those players. We each just have different opinions. Marketplace of ideas. Certainly Pearce and Meyerle don't harm the HOM's credibility more than Tommy McCarthy harms the HOF's credibility.

My only concern about the HOM discussions right now is that I'm seeing increasing reliance on WARP3 (probably because it is readily available on the Web), even though most of us have no idea how it is calculated (particularly the WARP2 timeline adjustment). I would be more comfortable seeing reliance on WARP1 adjusted for length of season (i.e. skipping the WARP2 step). WARP2 just seems like one man's crack at a timeline adjustment without revealing methodology, and I'm not sure how much stock we should be putting in that.
   69. Brian H Posted: July 09, 2003 at 05:09 PM (#515123)
I'm not a big proponent of the timeline in general but I think the situation with before 1871 is a little different. At least we have something resembling data for the better players of an orgainzed game competing somewhat consistently against one another for early NL play -- or even NA play. We have little more than stories and 100 + year old reputations for players before that time. Also, we know that the many of the games played before 1871 were quite different that what we consider baseball today (or even what was considered baseball in 1880).

That said I still credit Start, Pearce, Pike et al for their achievments before 1871. Its tough to figure out how much credit. In the extreme case if we recognize the reputations of the players before 1871 I find Creighton nearly as compelling as Start, Pearce, Pike et al.
   70. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 09, 2003 at 05:14 PM (#515124)
I don't think it should be assumed that all the 1st tier stars of the early game are of more value than the 2nd tier stars of the later game.

Doesn't it work the opposite way? How would modern players perform if they played during that time period? How many batters could execute the fair/foul bunt? How would Martinez fair under the pitching rules of the time? How about fielding without a glove? Why is our game more worthy than theirs?
   71. Brian H Posted: July 09, 2003 at 05:21 PM (#515125)
I'm not a big proponent of the timeline in general but I think the situation with before 1871 is a little different. At least we have something resembling data for the better players of an orgainzed game competing somewhat consistently against one another for early NL play -- or even NA play. We have little more than stories and 100 + year old reputations for players before that time. Also, we know that the many of the games played before 1871 were quite different that what we consider baseball today (or even what was considered baseball in 1880).

That said I still credit Start, Pearce, Pike et al for their achievments before 1871. Its tough to figure out how much credit. In the extreme case if we recognize the reputations of the players before 1871 I find Creighton nearly as compelling as Start, Pearce, Pike et al.
   72. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 09, 2003 at 05:27 PM (#515126)
I find Creighton nearly as compelling as Start, Pearce, Pike et al.

The only problem I have with him is the shortness of his career. I think the Pioneer section would be more appopriate for him.

BTW, has anyone ever heard of someone dying of the same injury as Creighton (rupturing himself while swinging his bat)?
   73. Marc Posted: July 09, 2003 at 05:31 PM (#515127)
John, right on. How about E. Martinez fielding at all, with or without a glove? The burden of proof, IMHO, is on the EONCB to answer your question: "Why is our game more worthy than theirs?"

>Doesn't it work the opposite way? How would modern players perform if they played during that time period?
   74. Chris Cobb Posted: July 09, 2003 at 05:31 PM (#515128)
Brian wrote: I did some additional research on Thompson while getting up to speed on Tiernan and (I'm sure I'm missing something) it seems to me that Thompson is clearly the superior player in terms of both peak and career. Additionally, Thompson is at least Tiernan's equal in the field. In fact, I think we have been selling Big Sam short across the board.
   75. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 09, 2003 at 05:43 PM (#515129)
John, right on. How about E. Martinez fielding at all, with or without a glove? The burden of proof, IMHO, is on the EONCB to answer your question: "Why is our game more worthy than theirs?"

Don't get me wrong, I'd rather have the game of today than of back then (though I do like the recreations that I have seen played). But there is no definite version of baseball. It's what we define it at the time.
   76. OCF Posted: July 09, 2003 at 05:52 PM (#515130)
A cautionary note: What would you have if you could put together a team that included all of McVey, Spalding, Barnes, Anson, and Hines, all of them between 25 and 27 years old? If everything goes wrong, you might have the 1877 Chicago team which went 26-33 and finished 5th. (Something was wrong with Barnes that year and Spalding wasn't the pitcher.)

If you go through the 1870's, the pennant-winning teams usually had 3 to 5 of players that have already been elected to the HoM or are still under serious consideration - and so do quite a few of the teams that finished 2nd and 3rd, like 1871 Boston, 1875 Athletics, 1878 Cincinnati, 1879 Chicago, 1881 Providence, 1881 Buffalo. In 1881, Providence used both Radbourn and Ward as pitchers, and Buffalo had Galvin - and still, every team in the league allowed close to the same 5 runs per game as every other team.
   77. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 09, 2003 at 06:13 PM (#515131)
A cautionary note: What would you have if you could put together a team that included all of McVey, Spalding, Barnes, Anson, and Hines, all of them between 25 and 27 years old? If everything goes wrong, you might have the 1877 Chicago team which went 26-33 and finished 5th. (Something was wrong with Barnes that year and Spalding wasn't the pitcher.)

I don't think I'm following your point. Barnes and Spalding were injured (Spalding was playing first instead of pitching), while Anson had a fine season. Hines wasn't anything special, but he sure was the following couple of years. How is this any different from today?
   78. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 09, 2003 at 06:19 PM (#515132)
In 1881, Providence used both Radbourn and Ward as pitchers, and Buffalo had Galvin - and still, every team in the league allowed close to the same 5 runs per game as every other team.

Isn't this more a question of parity (rather than quality of play)?
   79. Marc Posted: July 09, 2003 at 06:42 PM (#515134)
My take on OCF's point is this--in hindsight, winners look inevitable. Boston and Chicago woulda/coulda/shoulda won regardless, for example, of who their pitcher was. But no, if a player looks like a standout and his team won, then his contribution was probably necessary. Just like today.

It's like the MVP argument of 1995. Albert Belle was deemed unworthy because Cleveland woulda won without him. Say what? The '56 Yankees might have won without Mantle. The '27 Yankees might have won without Ruth. So what? These teams from the 19th century look unbeatable in hindsight but the same team (almost) that won in '75 lost in '77. Why? Becuase some guy who has been argued to have been expendable wasn't there. Hindsight is not 20-20.
   80. KJOK Posted: July 09, 2003 at 06:51 PM (#515136)
While we're re-examining a lot of players, one that I perhaps overlooked is Bill Joyce:

Career OBP Leaders - Min 3000 AB's (+ = HOF)

Rank Player (age) On-base % Bats
   81. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 09, 2003 at 06:52 PM (#515137)
My historical viewpoint has had more to do with the statistical records: how to adjust for them, how much confidence to put in them, etc.

I struggle with those same problems as you and everybody else here does. I think there are legitimate differences of opinion in that regard.
   82. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 09, 2003 at 07:02 PM (#515138)
While we're re-examining a lot of players, one that I perhaps overlooked is Bill Joyce:

Joyce has a great peak argument for him. If you are inclined in that direction, then he's a worthy. However, I need a little more career to go with that.

I prefer Billy Nash. While not nearly as good as Joyce offensively (he was an above average hitter at his position though), he was more durable and a fantastic defensive player.
   83. OCF Posted: July 09, 2003 at 07:04 PM (#515139)
Thanks for the comments, John, Mark and Andrew. I'm not that sure what my point was - I'm mostly just thinking aloud while trying to figure out what to do with Sutton, Start, McVey, Pike, and Spalding, and wondering what games with the bottom teams in the league looked like.

And, yes, I know about such teams as the late-50's Braves or mid-90's Mariners.

On the pitchers, I think I would rather be looking at RA and RA+ instead of ERA and ERA+. I always appreciated that in the first Historical Abstract, James published RA and RA/league (the same information as RA+) for a handful of pitchers.
   84. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 09, 2003 at 07:11 PM (#515140)
I'm not that sure what my point was

You, too? :-)
   85. Brian H Posted: July 09, 2003 at 07:47 PM (#515142)
Thompson v. Tiernan

Here is short summary of my findings on Thompson and Tiernan

Both players played around the same time so I don?t think a great deal of adjustment is required
   86. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 09, 2003 at 08:12 PM (#515143)
Brian H, Win Shares actually shows Tiernan in the more favorable light (slightly) over Thompson peak and career. How James made his rankings are a mystery to me. The only reason that I can envision is the RBI/per game stat which helped Thompson by having great OBA machines in front of him (not that he wasn't good at driving in runs regardless).

I still think Thompson's defense is suspect via BP and goes against contemporary evidence, though we all know this is not infallible.
   87. OCF Posted: July 09, 2003 at 08:12 PM (#515144)
Jason,

If we were running a small Hall, once we had Ruth, Gehrig, Aaron, Mathews, and Spahn we'd be done with those teams. But we're not running a small Hall, so what about Meusel? Pennock? Shawkey? Adcock? Torre? We'll have to argue about many of the people you named, just as we're now arguing about McVey and Spalding.

1871 Boston: McVey, Barnes, G.Wright, Spalding. 2nd place, 2 games out.
   88. Chris Cobb Posted: July 09, 2003 at 08:32 PM (#515146)
Brian,

Thanks for presenting on Thompson v. Tiernan. I think Thompson's advantages in black & grey ink have a lot to do with team context, and other than that, they are very close. Thompson's hitting record is a bit more impressive than I had been giving him credit for, though.

Re Thompson as best position player in 1887 -- probably true, but even here he's a close match for Tiernan, who has a very good case for being the best position player in 1891; he was pretty definitely the best in the NL. Brouthers had a big year in the AA, but the quality of competition in that league's final year is questionable. Tiernan's 1890 was also one of the top two NL seasons that year (Jack Glasscock's might have been better), but there were probably a few better players in the PL that year.
   89. Marc Posted: July 09, 2003 at 09:26 PM (#515147)
Again, I think the discussion of the Boston dynasty is important. In hindsight it seems inevitable that some teams blew everybody away. In some cases we think players and teams really dominated when in fact they won by slight margins. What is inevitable in hindsight was questionable at the time. The Boston teams could have won without Spalding or without White or...? Maybe not. Maybe victory really hung in the balance and it was necessary for all of the players to excel for the "inevitable" outcome to occur.

In other words, the line between immortality or greatness on the one hand, and failure (in sports, that means second place) on the other is a very fine line. It is only at a distance that it looks inevitable.

So 1) the guys who finished second were damn good, better than their reputations, but 2) the guys who finished first can't always live up to our belief that they should have dominated, kicked the holy hell out of people or else, by god, they're overrated. No, they hustled, they worked, they may not really have been more talented, they just hustled and worked some more and they won. That's what made them great. Don't denigrate them just because they skinned by. That's the glory of it.
   90. KJOK Posted: July 10, 2003 at 12:44 AM (#515148)
Thompson vs. Tiernan
   91. jimd Posted: July 10, 2003 at 01:26 AM (#515149)
Jason, excellent stuff on Charlie Bennett. See this for an analysis of Bennett vs Ewing on defense.

The summary is that if you expand Ewing's catching time to match Bennett's and then compare the defensive stats, you get 483 Assists and 3 DP's in Ewing's favor, while Bennett had 106 less errors, 190 less passed balls, and made 605 more non-K putouts, in about 950 games caught.

I think those stats help show why BP rates Bennett defensively ahead of Ewing. I think it also shows why Win Shares rates Ewing ahead of Bennett. This is due to it's high emphasis on base-running kills (Ewing's strength) and low emphasis on "sure-handedness" (Bennett's strength). Bill James' lens is focused on the modern game, and there's a much lower rate of Errors, Passed Balls, and non-K Putouts nowadays, due to modern gloves, modern armor that repositioned the catcher into a crouch directly behind the plate, plus the rule changes in the mid 1890's that redefined caught-foul-tips as strikes instead of outs.
   92. Chris Cobb Posted: July 10, 2003 at 01:11 PM (#515150)
KJOK broughrt up Bill Joyce yesterday, suggesting he receive further consideration. I did some of that yesterday. I'd certainly like to know more about Joyce's story -- his career is very unusual in its shape -- I'm not going to be bringing him onto my ballot.

KJOk presented two stats -- career OBP and career OPS. Joyce does look good in these respects, and for a few years he was an outstanding player, but there are problems with relying too much on either one.

Joyce's career OBP is high in part because he had a short career contained almost entirely within the highest OBP era in baseball history -- 2 of the 5 players ahead of him are his contemporaries, who also had the heart of their career in the 1890s. Despite his high career mark, Joyce never finished higher than 4th in the league in OBP.

Joyce's OPS+ doesn't take into account his fragility: in his short career he only played full seasons a few times. When he played, he was great, but he just didn't play enough. His unadjusted WS for 1894 - 1898 (period during which KJOK suggested he might have been the best position player in baseball):

18, 16, 29, 18, 25
   93. Marc Posted: July 10, 2003 at 02:22 PM (#515152)
TomH, nothing wrong with taking that kind of a look at your ballot but...this is essentially a "toolsy" analysis. When considering value it is entirely possible that a player with a major "toolsy" weakness could still have a lot more value than somebody with good all-around skills. Two words. Ted Williams. Two more. Hank Aaron. "Nice bats but little defensive value."

And BTW: Pete Browning (OPS+ 164), not outstanding?
   94. Howie Menckel Posted: July 10, 2003 at 02:48 PM (#515153)
TomH, you're on the money.
   95. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 10, 2003 at 02:54 PM (#515154)
Maybe Joyce was the best 3rd baseman during his peak, but that's about the biggest "best" he can claim.

I agree Joyce doesn't belong, but being the best third baseman for that five year period is nothing to sneeze at. Win Shares doesn't have a positional adjustment, so comparing Joyce to all those players from 1894-1898 isn't really fair. He was a lot better than some of those players.
   96. Brian H Posted: July 10, 2003 at 03:13 PM (#515155)
I was comparing McPhee and Richardson and discovered that Richardson played the Outfield quite a bit. His batting is very good but it is not as strong when you compare it to the hitting of outfielders like Browning, Stovey and Thompson as when it is placed up against other infielders such as Glasscock, McPhee and Sutton.
   97. jimd Posted: July 10, 2003 at 04:06 PM (#515158)
Win Shares doesn't have a positional adjustment

Sure it does, built into the fielding side. It's why catchers get 20% of the fielding win shares and 1b-men only get 6%, on average. I'm sure James calls it something else, but it's a "positional adjustment"; presumably, it's based on long-term offensive averages instead of re-calculating them every season. To put another one on the hitting side would be redundant.

Joyce is one of about a dozen players in MLB history with over 5000 defensive innings at one position that also earned an F grade from Win Shares for their (lack of) fielding. Anybody know what his contemporaries thought about his fielding?
   98. Marc Posted: July 10, 2003 at 04:12 PM (#515159)
Hardy led the PL in RBI as an OF. I agree he did not hit like Pete Browning (OPS+ 164, EIGHT years in the AA, 5 years elsewhere, led the PL in 2B and BA and OPS+) but he (HR) was an above average hitter for an OF and as a 2B was a SD better than even McPhee. This is spoken as a FOHR, FOBM and FOPB.

I think of Hardy Richardson as Rod Carew except--as a 2B he was almost surely a better fielder, and as a non-2B (comparing HR's years as an OF to Carew's years as a 1B) he (HR) was perhaps a better hitter, or at least one with a bit more power.

Richardson OPS+ at 2B (and 3B) ~131
   99. Howie Menckel Posted: July 10, 2003 at 04:20 PM (#515160)
Mark,
   100. Chris Cobb Posted: July 10, 2003 at 05:42 PM (#515163)
Jason, very nice contextualization of Richardson's history of positional changes!

Re Bill Joyce and positional adjustments in WS: I wasn't meaning to sneeze at Joyce for being the top third basemen in the league over a five year period. That's significant, but it's not enough to put him into serious consideration for the HoM, when those five years are virtually his whole career, and the best players in the league were clustered at other positions -- several shortstops better than Joyce.

I think that certain positional adjustments to WS when rating players at different positions against one another is justified in the context of career value. For a given season, the weight WS gives to each defensive position does a pretty good job of reflecting accurately the contribution of each player to the team -- SS get considerably more defensive WS than RF. So I think that in comparing players over five seasons when they were all active together and at or near their peaks (as I did in looking at Joyce re his contemporaries), little positional adjustment is necessary, as long as the measure of value includes an accurate assessment of defensive value. Catchers are the only players whose positional demands limit their playing time within the context of a season.

However, the players at the easier defensive positions are more likely to remain productive into their late thirties than those who play more demanding positions, so players at the easier positions tend to pick up a bit more career value. A career positional adjustment thus properly takes into account the limits that the physical demands of certain defensive positions place on the careers of those who play the positions. The career value standards for catchers, third basemen, shortstops, center fielders, and second basemen should a bit lower than for first basemen and corner outfielders, but the peak value standards (except for catchers) should not, as long as the measures that we use include defensive value. That's how I see it, anyway.
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