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Monday, August 18, 2003

1908 Ballot Discussion

Hughie Jennings is the only strong candidate among the newcomers this year.

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 18, 2003 at 07:06 PM | 177 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. OCF Posted: August 22, 2003 at 01:52 AM (#516638)
Preliminary ballot. Mostly just my last ballot repeated; the only issue is where to put Hoy and Jennings. Hoy can't make it past Griffin, who isn't in my top 15 (although he could be).

1. Stovey
   102. Marc Posted: August 22, 2003 at 02:48 AM (#516639)
Andrew Siegel in the Ichiro! for MVP thread:

>In MVP voting, I generally agree that the winner should be the guy who put up the best season, period. However...The difference is timing.

>...in reality, no one plays all season for a noncontender. On the first day of the season, everybody is even...if (like this year) he starts slowly, contributes to his team's slide by not performing to his usual standards, and enters August back in the MVP pack, only to break out with a monster month well after his team has been eliminated from contention, then I do think his numbers overstate his "value"...
   103. DanG Posted: August 22, 2003 at 05:02 AM (#516640)
"(#101) - robc
   104. Philip Posted: August 22, 2003 at 11:05 AM (#516642)
">One recent example of this phenomena (though on a winning team) was the year Albert Belle put up a Ruthian season for an Indians team that won the division by 20-something games. The only problem was that almost all his production came after the team had opened up a 16 game lead."

This argument assumes that all wins are not equal. But even if you open with a 16 game lead you have to win a lot more games to win the division. In the end, if a team has won 95 games I believe each one of them has the same value as they contribute to winning the division. Maybe an exception can be made for wins after clinching the division but this effect should be minimal. But then again I would never vote for Ichiro or Tejada for MVP.
   105. Howie Menckel Posted: August 22, 2003 at 11:22 AM (#516643)
I like the idea of something along these lines:
   106. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 22, 2003 at 02:43 PM (#516645)
Howie, I strongly disagree that 6 of Tommy John's last 7 seasons were just working on counting stats. Even a 93 or an 88 season has value to a championship caliber team, as has been pointed out several times on this thread. I can see a slightly higher replacement level for something like this, but not counting anything below average? That just doesn't make any sense to me.

I have to agree. While I would give him minimal credit for those seasons (and I mean minimal), they do have some value.

BTW, John does not belong in the HoM.
   107. Howie Menckel Posted: August 22, 2003 at 04:18 PM (#516647)
Well, I don't firmly use 100, or 90, or anything.
   108. Marc Posted: August 22, 2003 at 04:32 PM (#516649)
When it comes to electing HoFers and HoMers, I like the idea of using a high baseline. I mean who really cares what the average player is doing, he will never rise to the level of HoMers and HoFers. The objective in my mind is not a perfect correlation to runs or wins, it is to successfully distinguish levels of greatness (Billy Hamilton vs. Ezra Sutton vs. Bid McPhee, etc. etc. etc.).

But then when Billy Hamilton or Ezra Sutton has an off year, rather than give a negative score for that year, just pencil in a "0." They neither enhanced nor detracted from their HoM or HoF-worthiness.

This method is a lot like Bill James old Approximate Value except that anything below a 10 (for example, I don't know what the number is) just reverts to zero.

I understand how elegant it is to make the individual numbers add up to actual runs or wins. But frankly, sometimes all of that gets in the way of the hair-splitting that we need to do in this particular exercise.
   109. MattB Posted: August 22, 2003 at 06:11 PM (#516650)
Howie wrote:

"I'd still like to see, at some point, a gentle qualification system - with an opening for a "friend of..." to push to get someone back on the ballot for 10 years or whatever. I really don't see the point of 40 different guys getting 14th and 15th place votes in 1962 or whatever."

Here the problem with losing eligibility. Assume it is a late election, and Bobby Bonds is fighting for induction in a close race with Rabbit Maranville.

With 40 or 41 voters having voted, Maranville leads by 5 points. Now, voter 41 submits his ballot. The bottom of his ballot, considered objectively and fairly, is "14. Bobby Bonds; 15. Ned Williamson; 16. Rabbit Maranville." Bobby Bonds would get 7 points, Maranville would get none, and Bonds would win the election.

Now, assume that Ned Williamson has lost eligibility on whatever "eligibility test" we use. Now, voter 41 bumps Maranville up to 15th (even though there is a player who he really thinks is better who he is forbidden to vote for). Now, Bonds get 7 points and Maranville gets 6, giving the Rabbit the election.

Even if there is no chance of Williamson ever getting elected, it is important to let voters continue to vote for him because it will change the ordering of the other players.
   110. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 22, 2003 at 06:20 PM (#516651)
Even if there is no chance of Williamson ever getting elected, it is important to let voters continue to vote for him because it will change the ordering of the other players.

I agree. Eliminating players after a certain time is a way to stuff them in the closet (never to be seen again).

If, after a 100 "years," I still feel Dickey Pearce belongs on my ballot, I should have the right to do so (and make my case for him). Taking him off only replaces him with (to my mind) an inferior player on my ballot.
   111. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 22, 2003 at 07:14 PM (#516654)
Prelim (with one surprise :-):

1) Ezra Sutton (1):

2) Bid McPhee (2):

3) Cal McVey (4):

4) Dickey Pearce (5):

5) Cupid Childs (6):

6) Joe Start (7)

7) Pud Galvin (n/a)

8) Harry Wright (8)

9) Charlie Bennett (9)

10) Billy Nash (10)

11) Jack Clement (11)

12) Ed Williamson (12)

13) Fred Dunlap (13)

14) Lip Pike (14)

15) Hugh Duffy <15>
   112. Jeff M Posted: August 22, 2003 at 08:39 PM (#516655)
John, everytime I see your ballot, I'm surprised. :)
   113. Marc Posted: August 22, 2003 at 08:47 PM (#516656)
John, if I only have one life to live, let me live it as a blond. And since my team is only gonna win a very few championships during my blondness, I'll take my 5 chances at 1st place with Hughie rather than 20 shots at 2nd with Ezra ;-)

Was your surprise Pud Galvin or Hughie?
   114. Howie Menckel Posted: August 23, 2003 at 12:41 AM (#516658)
I'm picturing Ezra Sutton, a rookie in the 1908 Celestial Baseball League, nervously wondering if he'll be getting any extra support or criticism before we go back to the ballot box on Monday.
   115. Chris Cobb Posted: August 23, 2003 at 02:40 AM (#516659)
1908 Preliminary Ballot

1) Ezra Sutton(1) Third year at the top of my ballot. This is his year.
   116. MattB Posted: August 23, 2003 at 04:09 AM (#516660)
Preliminary Ballot:

1. Joe Start (2) -- Best player of the mid-1860s at a time when first base was a defenseman?s position. Unlike some others who have Start near the top of the ballot, I have not qualms in saying that I believe his peak occurred pre-1871 and that that peak has real value. Deserves a ballot place for professional league play, but first place with the addition of his peak years.

2. Pud Galvin (1) ? No longer #1, but best pitcher by a mile, especially considering the three unrecorded years with Buffalo before the team (and therefore he) joined the majors.

3. Cal McVey (4) -- With Spalding in, he's now my top "pure 1870's" candidate. Start tops him only with 1860s and 1880s stats thrown in.
   117. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 23, 2003 at 06:43 AM (#516661)
7) Charlie Bennett (8) How far ahead of Chief Zimmer will he be? Pretty far, I'm guessing.

Duke Farrell is probably the better comparison.

John, everytime I see your ballot, I'm surprised. :)

Regular riot, Jeff. :-)

Was your surprise Pud Galvin or Hughie?

The Pudster.

John, if I only have one life to live, let me live it as a blond. And since my team is only gonna win a very few championships during my blondness, I'll take my 5 chances at 1st place with Hughie rather than 20 shots at 2nd with Ezra ;-)

It's one thing to say Jennings had a better peak than Sutton. It's another to infer that there was a huge gap between the two players peak-wise. Factor in the huge difference in career value and Ezra wins easily.

That's my opinion and I'm sticking with it. :-)
   118. DanG Posted: August 23, 2003 at 01:12 PM (#516662)
Two quick thoughts:

1) David Nemec's Encyclopedia of 19th Century MLB shows Buffalo with a record of 32-12 in the IA in 1878. Even if you add in the games Pud pitched against NL clubs, his IP are what, maybe 500? To get to that 900+ figure you have to add in a lot of exhibition games against lower-level competition.

2) I may be missing something, but isn't Childs extremely comparable in value to Dunlap? Someone plaease make a comparison showing how Cupid ranks above Fred.
   119. Jeff M Posted: August 23, 2003 at 01:20 PM (#516663)
MattB: Just curious. Why the enormous leaps for Caruthers from #14 to #7 and Mullane from off-ballot to #8?
   120. Howie Menckel Posted: August 23, 2003 at 01:50 PM (#516664)
Dan G:
   121. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 23, 2003 at 03:24 PM (#516665)
2) I may be missing something, but isn't Childs extremely comparable in value to Dunlap? Someone plaease make a comparison showing how Cupid ranks above Fred.

1) Childs played in the much stronger league. Dunlap, while playing in the strongest league for the majority of his career, had to deal with diluted competition.

2) While I disagree with Howie that Dunlap shouldn't get any credit for his 1884 season (I still think he's comfortably ahead of everyone else from the three leagues), the UA distorts his career numbers to a considerable degree.
   122. MattB Posted: August 23, 2003 at 03:32 PM (#516666)
Jeff,

I did a fairly extensive re-analysis of pitchers this week (some of the highlights are in post #18 of this thread). Previously I had been comparing all pitchers against a 'Radbourne' baseline, and with Radbourne and Spalding in, I had only Galvin at the top of my ballot. I also felt that pitchers were somewhere between slightly-underrepresented and adequately-represented, so thought that I must have been missing something in having too few pitchers. I reanalyzed the Top 6 pitchers against each other, and found that they were in many respects very close, and in others less so. Most importantly, I saw that there was clearly an element of "clutch pitching" in their arsenals.

There is also a slightly recursive element in my analysis. The fact that Spalding is considered HoM-worthy is a fact that I include in my subsequent analysis of pitchers -- that is, "Pitcher X is comparable to Spalding or Radbourn" means more after they are inducted than it does before.
   123. Chris Cobb Posted: August 23, 2003 at 03:38 PM (#516667)
I may be missing something, but isn't Childs extremely comparable in value to Dunlap? Someone plaease make a comparison showing how Cupid ranks above Fred.

My adjusted WS (fielding, season, and league-adjusted) don't show the two as particularly close. I discount Dunlap's UA year by 40%, Child's AA year by 11%.

Career WS
   124. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 23, 2003 at 04:05 PM (#516668)
Re: Childs/Dunlap

Adjusted Win Shares tends to overstate Dunlap's numbers to a degree, also. Another area where I agree with Mark McKinniss! :-)
   125. Marc Posted: August 23, 2003 at 04:50 PM (#516669)
I have included both Dunlap and Childs on my ballot at one time or another, but always in the double digits so, frankly, neither is even close to being a HoMer. But I discount Dunlap's '84 WS by 65%--the UA was that weak. So I have Child's with a much better peak.
   126. Marc Posted: August 23, 2003 at 05:01 PM (#516670)
>This argument assumes that all wins are not equal. But even if you open with a 16 game lead you have to win a lot more games to win the division. In the end, if a team has won 95 games I believe each one of them has the same value as they contribute to winning the division. Maybe an exception can be made for wins after clinching the division but this effect should be minimal.

I generally agree with this as it relates to a single season in which there is only a single pennant to be won. But the analogy from a season to a career is quite different. Image that a "real" pennant is awarded weekly or bi-weekly. That's a better analogy for a career.

So the concept of "leverage" would say that RC and WS that occur in a season in which the player's team has a reasonable chance of winning a pennant have more "leverage," more "value" from a pennants-added standpoint, than the same performance in some other season in which the team has no chance.

Now I don't advocate bonus WS on this basis. This, rather, is the argument for giving consideration to peak value as distinguished from career value. Given that "on the average (team or franchise)," most will only have a limited number of such "reasonable chances"--e.g. Minnesota Twins 1965, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1978, 1984, 1987, 1991, 2002, maybe 2003 out of 43 years--then the peak performance that coincides with such seasons--or even peak performances which have the theoretical chance of coinciding with such seasons at a high enough level to make a difference--have more "leverage" and more "value" not in terms of runs or wins but in terms of the value of those runs or wins in re. to the pennant.
   127. RobC Posted: August 23, 2003 at 05:21 PM (#516672)
1. Bid McPhee (1) - Defense and a long career.
   128. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 23, 2003 at 11:12 PM (#516673)
Watch it, John. People will begin to think we're brothers.

Especially with the Irish surnames. :-)
   129. DanG Posted: August 24, 2003 at 04:25 AM (#516674)
Chris Cobb: Thanks for the data on Childs/Dunlap. Clearly, CC is the better man. (Wait, maybe it's the initials. Nah.) However, as someone who has never voted for FD, it hardly screams "HoMer" in the case of Childs.

His career seems to have ended somewhat abruptly. It seems like he was still an above average player in 00-01. Injury?
   130. Chris Cobb Posted: August 24, 2003 at 06:49 PM (#516675)
I had a little free time this afternoon, so here's a start on translated NA WS for players already elected to the HoM: George Wright and Ross Barnes.

George Wright
   131. Marc Posted: August 25, 2003 at 01:17 AM (#516676)
Chris, thanks, great work! 363-361! It seems that we underrated G. Wright, especially when you consider that he played with clearly the best teams in America in 1867, 1869 and 1870--not just played with them, by the way, but was recruited by two different dominant teams to come and play with them. It is hard to say that he was the best player in America in 1871-75, but he was perhaps the best player in America over the four years from 1867-70.

I think it would be fair to award the best player in America (certainly one of the best three) 20 WS per year for those four years, as you have done for Start, McVey, et al. That makes 441. Meanwhile Barnes played with Spalding in Rockford and Chicago over that period, with and against lesser men than Wright, but given his explosion in '71 I don't think 10-10-15-15 is too many, for a total of 413. I think those are eminently fair numbers though obviously everyone can use whatever numbers they like.

I would like to see Spalding next, for obvious reasons, if you can!?
   132. Chris Cobb Posted: August 25, 2003 at 01:33 AM (#516677)
I would like to see Spalding next, for obvious reasons, if you can!?

Well, I did batting WS only for Spalding a while ago, but I'm not able to take on pitching WS for the NA. Since my method involves trying to estimate the numbers that the WS system would produce, given that a) WS doesn't work well for early pitchers and b) conditions for pitchers were changing so rapidly that I don't have a group by which I can satisfactorily calibrate the ratios between WARP & WS, I just don't think I can represent the results as "translated WS."

My current plan is to do Cap Anson, Paul Hines, Jim O'Rourke, and Deacon White over the course of this week. Then I'll repost a summary of all the NA WS translations I have done, and that will be that, unless anybody wants to see any other numbers. I don't think there will be any position-players of note remaining.
   133. Jeff M Posted: August 25, 2003 at 01:18 PM (#516678)
Nothing innovative about this thought, but since Bill James says pitching WS often approximate a pitcher's wins, that's what I do for NA pitching seasons. I calculate their batting and fielding WS with Chris' numbers translated from WARP1. Then I calculate their pitching WS from their Wins, based on the same ratio that pitching WS for their "known" years bears to actual wins for their "known" years. It is no doubt off by a few WS, but I think Chris said there is a similar margin of error in his translation formulas.
   134. Paul Wendt Posted: August 25, 2003 at 03:35 PM (#516679)
<i>Pud Galvin's 1878 season! Pretty impressive, he was. . .
   135. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 25, 2003 at 04:30 PM (#516680)
As usual, good stuff, Chris!
   136. Howie Menckel Posted: August 25, 2003 at 05:46 PM (#516681)
Just noticed that Bill James (I know, insert reverential gasp or sardonic snicker here) in the NHBA rates Pud Galvin as the best minor league player of the 1870s - a time when many minor leagues were as good or better than the 'majors.'
   137. Paul Wendt Posted: August 25, 2003 at 08:58 PM (#516682)
Regarding pitcher workloads in the 1870s, here is some data derived from Frank Vaccaro's log.

Games played and pitcher starts, Boston NL 1878.
   138. Paul Wendt Posted: August 25, 2003 at 09:15 PM (#516683)
Make that 39 and 14 for Buffalo, 26Apr-23Jul. Here is the count by calendar month, April to October. From the Vaccaro logs again.

Boston NL 1878
   139. Chris Cobb Posted: August 25, 2003 at 09:17 PM (#516684)
Paul,

That's very interesting information! Thanks!!

I don't know. Who researches the non-championship games of major league teams and their players?

I guess for baseball historians interested in "the story," games that are essentially exhibitions just aren't very compelling. For those of us (or at least, me!) trying to conceptualize what early pitching was like and how to estimate its value to the team, this additional insight into the workloads of 1870s pitchers is extremely interesting.
   140. Chris Cobb Posted: August 25, 2003 at 09:36 PM (#516685)
Paul,

That's very interesting information! Thanks!!

I don't know. Who researches the non-championship games of major league teams and their players?

I guess for baseball historians interested in "the story," games that are essentially exhibitions just aren't very compelling. For those of us (or at least, me!) trying to conceptualize what early pitching was like and how to estimate its value to the team, this additional insight into the workloads of 1870s pitchers is extremely interesting.
   141. KJOK Posted: August 26, 2003 at 02:01 AM (#516686)
http://www.baseballprimer.com/studies/archives/00000106.shtml#comments_10

Here' a discussion from Tango on BP's WARP method. Bottom line - "The implication with the double-counting error at BP is
   142. Chris Cobb Posted: August 27, 2003 at 03:36 AM (#516687)
This is a response to the Joe Start discussion that sprang up on the ballot thread.

Let me preface all of this by saying that I think Start belongs in the HoM. I don't think he's the top candidate now, but I'm open to arguments that I should give him credit for pre-1865 play, which I am not currently doing.

I think that some of the arguments advanced against him by folks who rank him lower than I do, however, are misguided.

A) In defense of first-base defense:

<i>Howie wrote:
   143. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 27, 2003 at 05:40 AM (#516688)
<i>John Murphy wrote:
   144. Howie Menckel Posted: August 27, 2003 at 12:50 PM (#516689)
That snippet from above on Start was from baseballlibrary.com (yeah, three ls in the middle, looks weird).
   145. MattB Posted: August 27, 2003 at 01:15 PM (#516690)
Here are some more details on Joe Start that I put in a thread a few months ago, that may have been forgotten, or not seen my newcomers:

"Let's try to put some meat on the bones of Joe Start to flesh out the pre-1871 era:

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

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

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

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

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

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

"After his playing days were over, Start returned to Rhode Island and successfully operated the Lakewood Inn in Warwick for several years. He retired in Paxtuxent Village (now Cranston/ Warwick) in 1919 and returned to Providence in 1922 where he and his wife lived their final years at 50 Hastins Street. Joseph Start died on March 27, 1927, on month after the death of his wife Angeline."
   146. Jeff M Posted: August 27, 2003 at 01:24 PM (#516691)
"If y'all want to go at it some more, maybe the ballot discussion would be a better place, to keep the ballot thread clearer?

I agree. I have posted my response over there."

Or better yet, on the Start v. McVey thread. I think the arguments for and against Start are very nearly exhausted at this point. At least I'm exhausted. :)
   147. Howie Menckel Posted: August 27, 2003 at 06:14 PM (#516692)
Ed (from the 1908 ballot thread): Won't Beckley be a HOMer, and one who has to wait 10-15 years before he gets in, either? Am baffled why that comparison is supposed to work against Start...
   148. Howie Menckel Posted: August 27, 2003 at 06:18 PM (#516693)
Ed (from the 1908 ballot thread): Won't Beckley be a HOMer, and one who has to wait 10-15 years before he gets in, either? Am baffled why that comparison is supposed to work against Start...
   149. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 27, 2003 at 06:24 PM (#516694)
Ed (from the 1908 ballot thread): Won't Beckley be a HOMer, and one who has to wait 10-15 years before he gets in, either? Am baffled why that comparison is supposed to work against Start...

Because he's comparing first base than with now. If you do that, that will underrate guys like Beckley and Start.

However, I don't think he's an overwhelming candidate. He should make my ballot somewhere between the middle and the bottom. Lack of a great peak hurts him. Start was more impressive peak and career than Eagle Eye.
   150. Howie Menckel Posted: August 27, 2003 at 06:49 PM (#516695)
Ok, Murph. I really haven't done any Beckley homework yet, so no idea where I really rank him....
   151. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 27, 2003 at 07:09 PM (#516696)
Ok, Murph. I really haven't done any Beckley homework yet, so no idea where I really rank him....

I'm up to the retirees of '18. Let's get a move on, Howie! :-)
   152. Yardape Posted: August 27, 2003 at 07:34 PM (#516697)
I'd like to hear people's thoughts on Start post-1871. It doesn't look to me as though he would have a very impressive case at all, if you only took his documented career. In fact, I doubt he'd ever make my ballot.

Now, he has made my ballot, because I do know how he was regarded in the 1860s, but I'd like to try and get a better handle on how people are viewing Start.
   153. karlmagnus Posted: August 27, 2003 at 07:52 PM (#516698)
Start post 1871 very close to Ezra Sutton's total career, on the numbers - 1B more important than 3B but not much more so at that date. He'd be about 9-10 on my ballot if post 1871 was all he had, but 1860s add at least 50% to his value, IMHO.
   154. karlmagnus Posted: August 27, 2003 at 07:54 PM (#516699)
Sorry, I meant 3B more important than 1B but not much more at that date.
   155. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 27, 2003 at 08:12 PM (#516700)
Start post 1871 very close to Ezra Sutton's total career, on the numbers

I know Ed is going to have a cow, but Start is extremely comparable to Thompson and Tiernan career-wise without his pre-NA career. His peak may not have been as good as those two during his documented career, but he was certainly more durable and consistent. Add just a conservative estimate of Start's statistically invisible career (which I did) and he becomes a HoMer.
   156. Jeff M Posted: August 27, 2003 at 08:41 PM (#516702)
John Murphy wrote re: Beckley: "However, I don't think he's an overwhelming candidate. He should make my ballot somewhere between the middle and the bottom. Lack of a great peak hurts him. Start was more impressive peak and career than Eagle Eye."

I agree. I'm through the 1915 retirees, and I think Beckley will start in the middle at best, and will begin to slide as time progresses. I think Start is quite a bit better.
   157. MattB Posted: August 27, 2003 at 09:13 PM (#516703)
Not to get ahead of ourselves, but Beckley retires as baseball's All-Time Hits, total bases, and times on base leader, third or fourth in doubles (behind Anson and Delahanty, with Lajoie either just past him or about to), and first in triples (he is still fourth).

Unless counting stats count for nothing, Jake Beckley is pretty high up.
   158. Chris Cobb Posted: August 27, 2003 at 09:19 PM (#516704)
My hypothetical placement of Start based purely on post-1870 play is pretty close to karlmagnus's -- ballot-worthy but not a HoMer. I think he'd be in the 9 to 13 range on my ballot, depending on how I ultimately decide to rate his defense (I'm re-thinking that now). His peak is lower than Thompson/Tiernan, but he has more good years. Even a highly conservative assessment for his career 1862-1870 moves him into clear HoMer territory.
   159. Jeff M Posted: August 27, 2003 at 09:54 PM (#516705)
MattB wrote: "Unless counting stats count for nothing, Jake Beckley is pretty high up."

They do count for something, at least for me, but when you park-adjust and normalize them, they aren't quite as impressive. Beckley's long career certainly helps him, because he only hit about 25% better than the average hitter and he did so from a traditionally strong-hitting position. I don't expect him to be much higher than mid-way on my ballot, but I'm sure others will differ.
   160. Marc Posted: August 27, 2003 at 11:31 PM (#516707)
Ouch! I hate it when I get so far behind the discussion.

1. Galvin's IA stuff is great, it adds *a little* to his stature. But the odd fact is we know as much about Start's play in the '60s as Galvin's in the IA.

2. The Wrights are New Yorkers.

3. The only non-New Yorkers who stood out pre-'70 are indeed Spalding and Barnes, then McVey in '69 with Anson shortly on the scene. I agree that this means the pool was smaller, etc. etc., but...

4. The talent pool is a slippery slope. As someone pointed out, the size of the talent pool today could be used as an argument that nobody pre-1947 (say) could possibly be HoF-worthy. Or that in the 22nd century nobody from the 20th century will be regarded as worth a damn.

5. So the question is: to timeline or not to timeline? And if yes, how much (not too steep, now!) and when. I don't accept a *hard in/out line* at any time, not '65, not '71, not '76, not '93, not '01, not '20, not '47, not any time. It's all relative, including the 1860s. Just because I take the '60s seriously does not mean I am riding around on a big dogma.

6. Finally, in Joe Start we have a guy with, what?, 2/3 of the value of Ezra Sutton post-'71 PLUS 12 years of elite play prior to that, during part of which time he was reputed to be the best, or at least one of the best, players in the game (OK, best in New York). Discount all that 're-'71 stuff as hype maybe, but discount it 50%, not 100%. As I said I am 100% certain that they played ball in the '60s, so discount it some but don't pretend it didn't happen. And after you discount Start's pre-'71 career because of "uncertainty" you're still left with a guy who cannot possibly be construed as unballot-worthy.

Because if we cannot consider pre-'71 (qualitative, non-numerical) data because it is just "hype," then I don't see how we can elect any Negro League players, and certainly not anybody pre-1920s (e.g. retired in the '30s and '40s and not eligible here until then).

Someone tell me how we can ignore the '60s and elect a black player with a prime before 1920???
   161. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 28, 2003 at 06:44 AM (#516709)
If Start doesn't make it this year, he'll be in with a couple of years (next year with the old system; the following year with the new one). Unless some of his supporters start to have second thoughts, he's a HoMer.

And if yes, how much (not too steep, now!) and when. I don't accept a *hard in/out line* at any time, not '65, not '71, not '76, not '93, not '01, not '20, not '47

The '20 line for hitters is just as valid as the '93 line is for pitching. The guys who lacked power found their value shrink after the longball revolution. The old "hit 'em where they ain't" style died right about there.

Not that I subscribe to any of these lines myself.

Not to get ahead of ourselves, but Beckley retires as baseball's All-Time Hits, total bases, and times on base leader, third or fourth in doubles (behind Anson and Delahanty, with Lajoie either just past him or about to), and first in triples (he is still fourth).

If we include Anson's NA work and adjust his numbers to the same schedule Jake had (and also adjust for Anson's competition and the prorating schedule error), is there any doubt Cap would be comfortably ahead of Beckley for all-time hits, total bases, and times on base? Connor or Brouthers would have had the triples record, too.

Beckley's career numbers are impressive, but not that impressive. He lucked out because he played during the greater number of scheduled games per season.
   162. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 28, 2003 at 06:47 AM (#516710)
Seriously, I was never angry or anything like that. My only intention was a "friendly" argument and nothing more.

Same here. I didn't take it personal.
   163. Marc Posted: August 28, 2003 at 01:38 PM (#516711)
Clint, nice summation. Despite whatever impression I might have made, I think one can reasonably conclude that Start's '60s play falls somewhere in a range from good to great (I think great), or that one can discount the '60s on the basis of a timeline (though I don't). My main point is simply that it is not reasonable to ignore the '60s altogether.
   164. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 28, 2003 at 06:02 PM (#516716)
Nobody in my opinion has ever been out of line and that's a credit to those involved.

... which you don't always find on Clutch Hits, BTW</i>

The thing that concerns me about some career guys, like Sutton, is that there are a number of seasons in the 6 to 10 Win Share range, which are not great seasons in and of themselves, yet those numbers accumulate over the course of 16 to 18 to 20+ years and are considered in total to be a big deal.

As the self-imposed leader of the FOES, I don't just use the actual WS totals. I also use WS per 162 games to weight the quality of each season. A bad season's weight is negligible for my analysis.

As for all of these "6 to 10 Win Share range" seasons for Sutton, are you doing any prorating to adjust for the different number of scheduled games per season? If you're not, no wonder you're under the impression that Sutton had eight seasons of mediocre play.
   165. Paul Wendt Posted: August 28, 2003 at 07:26 PM (#516717)
Chris Cobb #204:
   166. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 28, 2003 at 07:40 PM (#516718)
When are you going to join us, Paul?

BTW, thanks for the info about Ross Barnes on the SABR site!
   167. Marc Posted: August 28, 2003 at 07:48 PM (#516719)
player .....EqA ...OWP ..WARP3 (ignoring poor years
   168. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 28, 2003 at 08:13 PM (#516720)
McGraw was never among the very best for a 3 or 5 yr peak.

I'll have McGraw somewhere between 10 and 15 on my ballot. I think his peak was significant. Amazing offense for a hot corner guy (and, unlike Bill Joyce, could field).

Delahanty will be no lower than #2. Grant will make it somewhere. Long or Ryan could possibly make the end of my ballot (I doubt it). Van Haltren falls short.
   169. Chris Cobb Posted: August 28, 2003 at 10:00 PM (#516722)
More on early baseball:

<i>"You're also omitting defense, where Start excelled at a tougher position than right field during that time."
   170. Marc Posted: August 29, 2003 at 01:50 AM (#516724)
Chris, your post does not negate my main points. First, the talent pool is the assumption behind timelining. I don't remember if you use a steep timeline or not, I'd guess not because you have a healthy interest in the NA. So we can speculate as we wish on the size of the talent poo

Is it only me? Or does anybody else have this happen. I've been composing a post, and I scrolled up to take another look at a post above, and when I came back my post was gone. Or rather it is obviously here because it is taking up space, except that I can't see any of it. Is it only me?
   171. Marc Posted: August 29, 2003 at 01:54 AM (#516725)
OK where was I? And this time I'll have to remember (or forget as the case may be) Chris' post and just rattle on, but what's new, right?

Chris, your post does not negate my main points.

First, the talent pool is the assumption behind timelining. I don't remember if you use a steep timeline or not, I'd guess not because you have a healthy interest in the NA. So the discussion of the talent pool is interesting, yes, but what does it have to do with player rankings if you don't use a steep timeline?

Second, even if you do timeline, your post suggests the biggest, steepest incline about 1866 or so, which is about when Start was the best player in America. So he did play against the expanding talent pool when he was "prime."

And third, well, I forget what my third point was.
   172. DanG Posted: August 29, 2003 at 04:21 AM (#516726)
Another approach to Start's pre-NA play would be to extrapolate those early years from the data we have, utilizing a form of the old Brock2 formula. IOW, given his value from age 28-on, what value did he probably have in the preceding years?

Given the wear and tear of the early game, it is probable that Start was past his prime in 1871; anecdotal evidence tends to support this, I think. It doesn't seem like much of a stretch to infer that a guy who was posting an OPS+ in the 140's in his mid-30's would've been in the 160's at ages 23-27.

No, I can't prove it, but it's where the evidence leads me.
   173. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 29, 2003 at 04:40 AM (#516727)
No. I was saying if you put Grace back into the 1860's with the limited talent pool that Start had (50-60 random MLB players), Grace would had been one of the best if not the best player of the 1860's.

Ed, you can say that about the 1890s, too. How many southern or western ballplayers were in the majors then? If we want to be consistent, we probably should junk the whole century.

The point should be to honor the best players from each era. I don't understand what the big deal is by inducting Start, H. Wright or whoever from before 1871. It's not like they are taking slots from other eras. I don't think it's too much to ask to elect a few players from that time.

It shouldn't be a matter of Pearce or Sutton or Thompson or Hamilton compared with players of today. If that's the criteria, they all fall short.

It is an analogy. I said 1B is not as important as SS or C, but you wrote back 1B is as important as SS or C, let's see you win a baseball game without a 1B.

First base is as important as the other positions. Now, if you're saying defense at first base is less than SS or C, of course I agree with that. That's not the same thing as what your post implied.

Of course you cannot win without a 1B. It is like the Astros can't win a ballgame without a catcher even if he was as bad as Brad Ausmus, but that doesn't mean Brad Ausmus have the same value as somebody like Jorge Posada.

Of course Ausmus is not the same as Posada. Ed, you're not following my point. The sum total of a first baseman's worth (offense and defense) is just as valuable as the sum total of a catcher's worth (offense and defense). Does that make any sense to you? Obviously, first base is the easiest position to play, so it's easier to find bats there. Defense behind the plate is extremely important, so offense is not needed as much there. Overall, though, the positions are still equally valuable.

As for first base in the 1860s, the gap between it and the more defensive positions was much smaller than it is today. Mo Vaughn or Frank Thomas couldn't play then because the defensive requirements would have been too much.

One of the posters here had a great theory (don't remember who). Because of the fair/foul rule, offense wasn't as necessary. After the abolition of the rule, you start seeing the big sluggers such as Anson, Brouthers, Connor, Orr, etc. start to man that position. But by the turn of the century, increased bunting brought back the lighter hitting but more defensive minded players at first. By the time the lively ball (and less bunting) takes hold, the brawny power guys such as Gehrig, Greenberg Foxx, etc. are back again.
   174. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 29, 2003 at 04:47 AM (#516728)
I'll have McGraw somewhere between 10 and 15 on my ballot. I think his peak was significant. Amazing offense for a hot corner guy (and, unlike Bill Joyce, could field).

Delahanty will be no lower than #2. Grant will make it somewhere. Long or Ryan could possibly make the end of my ballot (I doubt it). Van Haltren falls short.


Damn, I forgot about Zimmer. He's probably going to make my ballot, too. Too many good guys to choose from.
   175. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 29, 2003 at 05:43 PM (#516730)
Ed:

My post was actually a response to a few posts, so I apologize if it appeared that my whole post was directed at you.

As for Grace, he might be a good comparison to Start. However, Grace would not have the same value as he does now. He would stand out because the sluggers wouldn't get the chance to play the position. They would be playing one of the corner outfield positions.

Anyway, Start stood out at first much more than Grace ever did. That's the important point.
   176. OCF Posted: August 29, 2003 at 05:55 PM (#516731)
I have a 1909 question for those who know more history and more of people's stories than I do. Why did John McGraw miss so many games during the seasons of his career? Was it multiple injuries? Was it one chronic injury or illness? Was it ejections and suspensions? Was it contract disputes? What's the story?
   177. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 30, 2003 at 06:15 PM (#516733)
I rather vote for Charley Jones instead.

Charley Jones is a problem for me. I can't figure out what type of boost to give him for the years he missed (unfairly). It's not even a matter of just those two missing years, but the AA ones, too. It's possible he would have done much better there also if his career hadn't been broken up the way it was. He may have been closer to Delahanty than Hoy if not for the blacklist.
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