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

Monday, September 22, 2003

1910 Ballot

This is a very important election, as one of our backlogged candidates will finally get the keys to the exectutive washroom.

So let’s try to be very observant of our ‘best practices’ this week, including explaining votes that deviate wildly from the consensus, especially when you don’t vote for a returning top 10 guy. That would be: Joe Start, Pud Galvin, Bid McPhee, Cal McVey, Charlie Bennett, Harry Stovey, Jimmy Ryan, Frank Grant, Hugh Duffy and Sam Thompson. I know it sounds like a formality, but more than once I’ve been in the middle of explaining my ballot when I’ve realized I really don’t have a great justification for putting a guy in this particular spot, and I’ve adjusted. Kind of like the practice of forcing sports franchises to interview minority coaches. Sometimes, once you get the guy in there, you realize he’s a damn good candidate and you might not have otherwise even bothered to interview him.

Big vote this week, if you are in the middle of any relevant research, or haven’t reviewed your ballot in awhile, this is the week to take a second look. In 1906 a similar ballot was decided by 8.5 points. The following year, one of the two people that left the runner-up off moved him to #6 after reconsidering the evidence. Let’s avoid having that happen again, this time let’s all take an extra minute to review the arguments for an against the top candidates.

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 22, 2003 at 02:26 PM | 122 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 22, 2003 at 03:07 PM (#517771)
Here's my ballot. Again, I use a combination of peak and career for the rankings. I also view each position on an equal basis. This doesn't mean that I have a quota to fill each position for my top ten. Sometimes a position will not have a viable candidate for a certain "year."
   2. Rusty Priske Posted: September 22, 2003 at 04:59 PM (#517772)
1. Pud Galvin (2,2,2) The last great pitcher available not yet in the hall. He was better than a couple of the pitchers who have already made it.

2. Joe Start (3,3,3) He was the best for some years that we have records for, and he was the best for some years that we don't. I don't like anecdotal evidence, but I don't want to leave out a great player just because record keeping wasn't as good as we would like.

3. Bid McPhee (5,4,4) Great career. It would be a mistake if he didn't get in.

4. Cal McVey (6,5,6) The first "non-sure-thing" for me.

5. Jimmy Ryan (7,-,-) A slight bump from last year. He gets the edge over a very tight group.

6. George Van Haltren (4,-,-) I overestimated him a lttle at first, but he is still a great candidate for the Hall.

7. Frank Grant (10,-,-) I am convinced that he belongs in the hall. I'm just not convinced that he belongs in before these other guys.

My solid in-out line is either here...

8. Hugh Duffy (8,6,10)

...or here.

9. Harry Stovey (13,8,11) He bounces around a lot for me, and he has had a steady decline in support on this list.

10. Jim McCormick (11,10,9) He slips ahead of Caruthers as the best pitcher who isn't good enough to be inducted.

11. Bob Caruthers (9,7,7)

12. Tony Mullane (12,12,12)

13. Cupid Childs (15,11,15)

14. Mickey Welch (14,9,8)

15. Sam Thompson (-,13,14) Sam sneaks back on the list since there are no worthy newcomers, imo.

The only top 10 player from last year that I don't have on the list is Charlie Bennett. I think he gets too big a boost from some due to the position he played. I have him at #20 (Tiernan, Jennings, Whitney, Browning, Bennett)
   3. Marc Posted: September 22, 2003 at 06:22 PM (#517775)
My only new "insight" this year is that if no OF not named Delahanty can separate himself from the pack, well, then maybe none of them is all that deserving. So did generally moved the OFers down a tad. I'm pretty sure about who belongs in what category--Must Be HoMers, Deserving, On the Bubble and Ballot Filler--but within the categories is too close to call.

I first compile a consideration set of the top 25 eligible peaks PLUS players from the previous year's top 15, then rank equally for peak and career. Occasionally a top 15 player who would otherwise NOT make my consideration set even breaks into my ballot--Bid McPhee would be such a case.

Must-Be HoMers

1. Joe Start (6-1-1-1 last year) Jumped from 6th to 1st when I found out he was one of the best (if not the best) player of the 1860s. That plus 27 years! The #1 peak and the #1 career. A no-brainer.

2. Cal McVey (2-3-2-3) Just an 11 year career (don't forget the Red Stockings) but with a very high peak (#3). He doesn't even need any credit for his Western years (and doesn't get any; we don't know enough about it) to rate this highly.

Clearly Deserving

3. Charlie Bennett (5-4-4-5) Bennett or Pearce? Pearce or Bennett? Similar players, each mastered a difficult position and played it very well for 15 years. Bennett's career better documented, #7 peak and #10 career.

4. Dickey Pearce (x-10-5-4) I was a latecomer to the Dickey Pearce fan club but when I dug into the '60s, there he was, probably the #2 player of the decade. And since he had played elite ball since way back in '55 he does not need any credit for his NA play (though he gets some) to rate here. #5 peak and #3 career but moved behind Bennett due to Heisenberg's principle.

On the Bubble (I'm a small hall-er)

5. Jim McCormick (14-12-10-8) Best of the available pitchers: nobody has a higher peak AND a better career, though some have one or the other. Leader in active career WS through the mid-'80s. #8 peak and #11 career.

6 (TIE which allots each of them 7th place points, right?). OF glut cop-out alert. Three CFers:
   4. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 22, 2003 at 07:59 PM (#517778)
John Murphy wrote that he "gave [McVey] credit for his pre-NA work", but McVey was 20 years old in his first NA season, so I was wondering how much of a pre-NA career did he have? [Sorry John, I don't mean to always pick on you, maybe for the next election I'll go back to picking on JoeDimino :) ]

No problem, Ed. It's a totally reasonable question (though if you want to pick on someone else, that's OK with me, too :-).

He was the starting right fielder on the best team in the country for 1869 and 1870, so I feel that needed to be added to his ranking.

I wouldn't get hung up on the ages if I were you. As one other poster pointed out a while back, how many people of adult age would have participated in an occupation that had little financial rewards before the NA? It makes sense that there would be more star teenagers during this time.

As for the Civil War taking many of the eligible players in the country, does anyone know what the percentage of casulaties was for just the Northern areas?
   5. Marc Posted: September 22, 2003 at 08:44 PM (#517781)
As John says, Cal McVey was a regular for two years for the Cincy Red Stockings. I can't tell you where he came from prior to that, but one has to wonder--the Red Stockings and manager Harry Wright recruited all over the country to put together a monster team. What did they know about McVey? What had McVey already done prior to '69? I don't know but it had to be something.

I also wonder and wish somebody had interviewed Harry Wright (or maybe they did and I just haven't seen it) but I wonder if they didn't try to recruit Joe Start? Probably not Dickey Pearce since they already had (or obviously WOULD have) Harry's brother George at SS. Or maybe Al Reach at 2B, though he may already have been past his prime?
   6. OCF Posted: September 22, 2003 at 09:56 PM (#517782)
10 (9) Bill Hutchison

The last of his kind. His major league career is too short for me to vote for him, but here's a tidbit. The following lists the major-league leading number of Innings Pitched for each year from 1884 through 1909:

679 623 589 589 586 620 603 561 622 482 447 444 432 368 397 379 343 382 410 434 455 378 358 422 464 365

The entries in boldface are for 1890, 1891, and 1892, and they're all Bill Hutchison. So Hutchison was the last guy to pitch 600 innings in a year - or 500 innings AFAIK. After 1892, that was no longer possible. And he pitched well, too. I'll take his performance over that 3-year span over Rusie, Nichols or Young.
   7. Jeff M Posted: September 22, 2003 at 11:28 PM (#517785)
...but to say we don't know enough about his stats is not a valid reason for not voting for him (or anyone else).

Since Joe's comment was addressed to a new voter, I would like to clarify it, although to some extent Joe does that himself in the same post.

Your methods are your own when determining who to vote for. However, for the integrity of the HOM, we have a minimum standard that can be put into a generic rule: We should evaluate the total mix of information about a player, stats and otherwise.

In the right circumstances, lack of stats certainly may be a valid reason not to vote for someone. If there is substantial "other available information" but few stats, you probably should not use lack of stats as your sole justification for excluding someone. But when the "other available information" is subject to interpretation or a bit soft, then the fact that there are no stats to support it may be a valid reason not to vote for someone (although the real reason isn't stats -- it's being unimpressed with the total mix of information, of which stats form a part).

[None of this is intended as a comment on Frank Grant or any other player].

It is your choice whether to "guess" about a player. What you should do is look at all relevant information (stats and otherwise), test it for authenticity or accuracy to the extent you can, and attempt to reach a reasonable conclusion about the player's status. We all test anectodal information by "who said it," "what were the circumstances under which it was said" etc. We all test statistical information by adjusting for eras, or ballparks, or defenses, or level of competition, or whatever.
   8. Marc Posted: September 23, 2003 at 01:33 AM (#517786)
So lemee guess. Andrew is a lawyer and Jeff is a...counselor?
   9. Chris Cobb Posted: September 23, 2003 at 02:15 AM (#517787)
Brief remarks on Cal McVey:

Ed left him off the ballot in part because his career was a bit too short:

McVey played 11 years at the highest levels of professional baseball available, but only nine of those years are statistically documented. He played another ten years in minor leagues, after leaving the NL while he was still a star. He did not have a short career, and his career trajectory is not similar to G. Wright, Barnes, and Spalding, who had their careers ended early by injury. It is simply false to describe his career as short. Only his statistically documented career is short -- that is a different matter entirely. In any case, he packed enough value into those nine documented years that he merits a ballot spot on their strength alone.

Shawn left McVey off his ballot because he doesn't see the numbers to rate him on this list.

In McVey's 9 documented years, he ranked among the top five position players in win shares 5 times: a record of outstanding play matched only by Hughie Jennnings among currently eligible players. He was an above average player all 9 years: a record of sustained excellence few on the ballot can match. In those nine years, he accumulated more season-adjusted win shares than Sam Thompson, Hughie Jennings, Cupid Childs, Ed Williamson, or Duke Farrell (as well as a number of other eligibles whom I will pass over in silence) did in longer documented careers. McVey's documented career OPS+ was 152, trailing only Lip Pike (155) among eligible players, and he was a competent defensive player at demanding defensive positions: catcher, pre-glove first base, and third base.
   10. DanG Posted: September 23, 2003 at 03:47 AM (#517788)
I came across some interesting info on Cal McVey. I don't think anyone here is giving him a ton of credit for his post-NL career, but it seems that he didn't exactly "play through" the 1880's. I found an article online from The Journal of Sport History, Spring 1990. An excerpt:
   11. Yardape Posted: September 23, 2003 at 04:05 AM (#517789)
1. Frank Grant (2) Others have raised good questions about how good Grant really was. However, I believe his case is strong. I tend to believe the best black player of the 19th Century is worthy of enshrinement, and Grant is almost unanimously regarded as that player. His minor league numbers support the idea that he was good; the demographic questions are relevant, but haven't swayed me yet. I feel as comfortable giving Grant my first-place bonus points as anyone on this year's ballot.

2. Bob Caruthers (3) I've defended Caruthers before. As Mark McKinnis noted, the AA has been underrepresented. While Bid McPhee will probably be the first, I regard Caruthers as the top candidate.

3. Cal McVey (5)

4. Lip Pike (7) After dropping last week, I'm moving him back up over Joe Start. I think the two are very close, much closer than their respective positions on the voting totals would indicate. Pike was one of the best players in the NA, and I think he deserves more consideration.

5. Joe Start (4)

6. Jimmy Ryan (6) The best of the '90s outfield glut that hasn't been elected yet.

7. Jim McCormick (8) The best pure pitcher left. Sorry, Pud.

8. Harry Stovey (9) Another AA player who deserves to be looked at.

9. Tony Mullane (10)

10. Pud Galvin (11) Galvin was an exceptional workhorse, and that gets him on the ballot, but I'm not convinced he was dominant enough to put him at the top of the ballot.

11. George Van Haltren (12)

12. Hugh Duffy (13)

13. Charlie Bennett (14)

14. Charley Jones (15) Credit for his blacklist years lifts him above the other outfielders.

15. Dicky Pearce (n/a) Returns to my ballot this week. Possibly deserves enshrinement, but I consider baseball before the end of the Civil War to still be growing, and I don't know how much credit I can give Pearce for his play in that time. But he played well enough later to deserve consideration, and he may move up.

The only guy I didn't vote for who finished in the top 10 last year is Bid McPhee. He's just off my ballot this year. Even giving as much "career" credit as I can, his total lack of peak makes it hard for me to put him on my ballot. Great defense, but at a less-important defensive position at that time. Sorry Bid.
   12. sean gilman Posted: September 23, 2003 at 06:22 AM (#517790)
1910

1. Joe Start (2)-- He?s got a better peak than McPhee and more career value than McVey, even without counting the 1860s (where all indications are his real peak most likely occurred).

2. Cal McVey (3)-- Bumping McVey?s massive peak advantage over McPhee?s career edge. Only the 60s keep him behind Start.

3. Bid McPhee (4)--Still a great career, don?t mean to slight him by dropping him to 3rd.

4. Pud Galvin (5)--I think I?ve been convinced.

5. 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. More career value than any of the other ?hitters? further down the ballot. Trails Galvin on both WARP1 and WARP3 Pennants Added lists. Much better peak than the other outfielders (by WS). I think he clearly stands out from the glut.

6. Lip Pike (7)--Tough to get a handle on him: not as good in the NA as McVey, but better before; much better in the NA than Start, not as good before. I imagine he?ll be moving up and down my ballot for quite awhile.

7. Charlie Bennett (8)--Great defense and hitting (for a catcher) moves him ahead of the Outfielder/Pitcher Glut, at least according to WARP. I tend to trust Win Shares more though. . . .If he wasn?t a catcher, he wouldn?t be this high, or on my ballot probably. Not sure how justified that is.

8. Pete Browning (9)--AA discount brings him down to the rest of the glut. Browning still has easily the highest peak though.

9. Jimmy Ryan (10)--Any of the next 5 could go in any order.

10. Hugh Duffy (11)--Peak and Career value puts him in the middle of the outfielder glut; comparison to Ryan and VanHaltren shows me I was overrating him. Slightly higher peak than those two, slightly less career value. Decided to rate them by Joe?s adjWSrepl.

11. Gerorge VanHaltren (12)--Solid career WS lead puts these three ahead of the next two.

12. Sam Thompson (13)--His advantage in WARP3 over Tiernan is slightly larger than Tiernan?s advantage over him in Win Shares, so I switched them.

13. Mike Tiernan (14)--About even peakwise with Jennings, significantly more career value though.

14. Hughie Jennings (15)--I didn?t think 3 players could be any more equal than Thompson and Tiernan and Griffin, then Jennings came along and I put him right in-between ?em. Ahead of Griffin on peak.

15. Mike Griffin (-)--Back on the ballot. I have Childs and Grant about even (that?s the best I can do for Grant with the information available) and while Childs and Griffin are essentialy even as far as peak goes, Griffin has a real, though not sizable, advantage in career value.
   13. Jeff M Posted: September 23, 2003 at 01:04 PM (#517793)
So lemee guess. Andrew is a lawyer and Jeff is a...counselor?

:) :) :)

Counselor in the legal sense. Hey, at least I didn't use "inchoate". :)
   14. RobC Posted: September 23, 2003 at 02:45 PM (#517794)
Joe,

Ive mentioned this a couple of times but your response seems to be shooting it down: so I cant vote for Sadaharu Oh in 1985 (or is it 87?)? I didnt realize the North America requirement. Is that really in the constitution?
   15. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 23, 2003 at 02:47 PM (#517795)
Thus, McVey seems to have had a productive year in 1880, but to anyone giving McVey much credit for play after that, I don't see any evidence of production above replacement level.

That's why we need to be on the conservative side at all times. I'd rather elect someone a hundred "years" from now then induct someone we will regret later. We can't correct our mistakes after the fact.

With that said, I wasn't giving Cal any credit for his post-NL career anyway, so there will be no change in my rankings. He still belongs.
   16. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 23, 2003 at 02:54 PM (#517796)
RobC:

All major league players are eligible for the Hall of Merit. Also eligible are all ?excluded? players, most notably Negro Leaguers, and pre-MLB players. Following the timing of Hall of Fame ballots, players are generally eligible for the Hall of Merit five years after their last MLB (or equivalent) season. Unlike the HoF, players? HoM eligibility never expires.

Don't feel bad, Rob. That slipped by me, too. I was looking forward to reviewing Oh's candidacy. Amendment, anyone?
   17. karlmagnus Posted: September 23, 2003 at 03:07 PM (#517797)
I was wondering what to do about the distant "future" -- it will be frightfully boring by 1980, voting mostly for 50s and 60s stars who are all in the HOF anyway; I think adding Oh would be a biggie. I also can't see any argument for not having him #1 on the ballot; he was the top star of a baseball league with 100 million catchment population -- Frank Grant, with Hank Aaron's numbers.
   18. OCF Posted: September 23, 2003 at 04:16 PM (#517799)
Neither a strictly peak nor strictly career voter - more of a "seat of the pants" voter who likes extended peaks. I'm skeptical of all grand statistics - WARP1, WARP3, WS, etc. I'd rather see the details behind them. My 1910 ballot is essentially unchanged from my previous ballots.

1. Harry Stovey (3, 1, 2, 1, 2) The best power-speed combination of his time. Walks were scarce, errors were common, baserunning was largely undocumented - and Harry Stovey scored runs.
   19. MattB Posted: September 23, 2003 at 04:26 PM (#517800)
1. Joe Start (2) -- By 1905, we were supposed to have worked off our ?backlog,? but since then we have elected Spalding and Sutton (who were on the initial 1898 ballots), and 3 of our top 4 carryovers (Start, Galvin, McVey) were eligible in 1898 as well. It looks like the 1870s are finally getting their due.

2. Pud Galvin (4) ? The best pitcher left by a mile, especially considering the three unrecorded years with Buffalo before the team (and therefore he) joined the majors. Everyone below him seems to glom together into an indistinguishable blob.

3. Charlie Bennett (7) ? Another year, another Chief Zimmer, er Jack Clement, um, no wait, now it?s Duke Farrell. Catchers are catching longer, but they're just not catching up to Bennett. He really has to be recognized for what he did compared to his major-league caliber peers. Either catchers were historically awful in the 19th and early 20th centuries, or Bennett is a true great ? even if you discount the defensive value WARP assigns him. If a bottom-level HoMer is about at the 300 Win Shares, that?s about 200 WS above replacement (taking out about 6 WS for about 16 years is about 100 WS). Bennett is 173 above replacement, adjusted for season length. I am more than comfortable giving Bennett the 27 extra WS he needs to get to the 200 level as a ?catcher?s bonus?, recognizing that 173 is 86% of 200, and catcher who catches 86% of his team?s games would be considered great.

4. Harry Stovey (10) ? I am recognizing that ? of course the AA was weaker than the NL ? but I?m thinking the adjustments are way off. A guy who is supposed to be in AAA today would play about 15% worse in the majors, and a replacement level player in the majors will play 15% worse in the minors, but I don?t believe it carries up the ladder. For example, Barry Bonds in 2001 had a 1.379 OPS. Send him to the Pacific Coast League and I honestly don?t believe he would play 15% better than that. Great players in the ?wrong league? (Stovey, McPhee, Browning in the AA, Grant in the Negro leagues), may play as much better as the borderline players with whom the percentages are calculated. Look at Stovey?s (or McPhee?s or Browning?s) raw stats (BA/OBP/SLG) without looking at the season and see if you can figure out where the line is between his ?bad league? seasons and ?good league? seasons. I think good players may have a personal best that they won?t exceed irrespective of the league.

---------------------------------------

Many of have been including ?Personal In/Out? lines, even though that doesn?t really make any sense in the context of the concept, where we?re going to be voting someone in first place even if everyone above our ?In? line is in already. I?m using the concept here to separate those ?Above the Line? who are ?Definitely Ins? and those below who are ?Definitely Outs?. And between them are those who I would put ?On The Line.? These are players who I THINK are great, but I could be wrong about. I don?t really think I can vote for them above people I KNOW are great, but I think it wouldn?t be right to put people I THINK are great below people I KNOW are NOT great. So, here is THE LINE.

5. Frank Grant (3) -- An 18-year career when hardly any players made it that long. International League stats, reputation, and longevity combine to put him on the top of this list. How could anyone put him below players who are CLEARLY NOT HoMers.

6. Cal McVey (5) -- With Spalding in, he's now my top "pure 1870's" candidate. Start tops him only with 1860s and 1880s stats thrown in.

7. Bid McPhee (6) ? Cal McPeak still looking better than Bid McCareer.

8. Bob Caruthers (8) ? Best hitting pitcher (OPS+ and BRARP) by a huge margin. Best winning percentage and ERA+ among serious contenders. WARP-1 is third after Galvin and Mullane.

9. Pete Browning (11) ? really strong peak, no matter the league. See my comments on Stovey and notice that, without even taking league into account, Browning played better in his first four post-AA seasons than he did in his last 4 AA seasons.

10. Dickey Pearce (off) -- ? first appearance by Pearce on my ballot. I didn?t put him on because I only new him as an ?innovator? with a long career. (He ?invented the position of shortstop!?) I wasn?t hearing much about him as a player. I have recently read, however, about the first ever Brooklyn-Manhattan ?What?s a Subway Series?? All-Star series in 1858. It was a best of 3, and in the first game, Pearce wasn?t selected to play and Brooklyn lost. Before the second game, however, the roster was changed slightly and Pearce was added. Brooklyn won (they lost the third game and the series, however). This is the first I?ve seen that Pearce not only PLAYED in the 1850s, but was considered among the best at age 22. Also, in 1866 Pearce jumped temporarily from the Atlantics to the Excelsiors and the team faded. It was only after he returned late in the season that the Atlantics returned to their old form. To see that he not only played in the 1850s, but was considered among the best, is enough to move him up to ?On The Line?. I now see him as the best shortstop available, which is enough to get him to 10th.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

11. Cupid Childs (9) ? McPhee?s career value trumps Childs? peak. He?s the first on the ?Out? Side of the Line.

12. Sam Thompson (15) ? Now think his peak catapults him higher than I had him previously.

13. Jimmy Ryan (12) ? Very strong centerfielder. But not really that much better than the glut (Van Haltren, Duffy, Tiernan,. .. ) so I can't see him really standing out much higher.

14. George Van Haltren (14) ? can?t really complain with those who left him off altogether. I'm usually conservative with first-time placements, but I can't imagine ever placing him any higher than this.

15. Tony Mullane (15) ? The best of pitchers in the pitching glut.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16. Herman Long (13) -- not that much better than McKean or Jennings who are languishing in the low 20s. Dropped when I moved Pearce on.
   20. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 23, 2003 at 04:39 PM (#517802)
Disregard post #31. Duplicate ballot.
   21. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 23, 2003 at 06:17 PM (#517806)
OK, you guys have fun. See you around. Delete my ballot if you wish.

Huh? I hope you're joking. If not, what happened?
   22. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 23, 2003 at 06:22 PM (#517807)
Shawn:

I hope you're not upset over comments about your rankings. I could write a book on all the critiques of mine since '98. :-)

BTW, whether Shawn decides to stay or leave for the next ballot, his ballot for this election should definitely stay.
   23. dan b Posted: September 23, 2003 at 07:34 PM (#517808)
Shawn - Please don't go! My ballot doesn't have a place for Start, McVey, Grant or Pearce either. Our view needs to be heard - we're right!
   24. RobC Posted: September 23, 2003 at 07:41 PM (#517809)
Oh well. (pun intended) At least Buzz Arlett is still eligible (whether to count his West coast career is much more interesting than McVey).
   25. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 23, 2003 at 07:43 PM (#517810)
Shawn - Please don't go! My ballot doesn't have a place for Start, McVey, Grant or Pearce either. Our view needs to be heard - we're right!

Well, let's not get carried away now, Dan. :-)
   26. Al Peterson Posted: September 23, 2003 at 08:08 PM (#517811)
1910 - hot off the presses...

1. Harry Stovey (2). His superior baserunning might not have been caught in the numbers we have to examine. Still think of as Billy Hamilton lite.

1884-1893 Leaders OWP 4000+ PA (numbers lifted off another website so reader beware)

1 Dan Brouthers .787
   27. Jeff M Posted: September 23, 2003 at 08:11 PM (#517812)
OK, you guys have fun. See you around. Delete my ballot if you wish.

In the event Shawn is really gone and won't be checking the posts, I'm going to send him an e-mail.
   28. Jeff M Posted: September 23, 2003 at 08:25 PM (#517815)
Sent Shawn an e-mail asking him to reconsider, and explained that even those of us who have been participating from the early days (including founders like Joe) have had their ballots and selections raked over the coals more times than anyone can count.

To the group: We may want to be a bit more moderate when new people try to participate. We certainly want to adhere to the Constitution and to ensure that the new voter takes it seriously and has done his or her homework; but we should make an effort to address these issues in a gentler fashion, I believe. We are very strongly opinionated people, and we don't have face-to-face relationships, so we probably appear to be in "attack mode" from the get go. The veterans have thick skin as a result, and we also realize that we aren't dealing with any true jerks here. However, I'm not sure that's clear to a newcomer.
   29. Jeff M Posted: September 23, 2003 at 08:39 PM (#517817)
Sent Shawn an e-mail asking him to reconsider, and explained that even those of us who have been participating from the early days (including founders like Joe) have had their ballots and selections raked over the coals more times than anyone can count.

To the group: We may want to be a bit more moderate when new people try to participate. We certainly want to adhere to the Constitution and to ensure that the new voter takes it seriously and has done his or her homework; but we should make an effort to address these issues in a gentler fashion, I believe. We are very strongly opinionated people, and we don't have face-to-face relationships, so we probably appear to be in "attack mode" from the get go. The veterans have thick skin as a result, and we also realize that we aren't dealing with any true jerks here. However, I'm not sure that's clear to a newcomer.
   30. Rick A. Posted: September 23, 2003 at 08:46 PM (#517818)
1910 List

1. Pud Galvin (2) - Still have him ranked over Hoss. Maybe it will be his turn this year.
   31. Marc Posted: September 23, 2003 at 09:57 PM (#517821)
1. You don't HAVE to adjust Carlos Delgado's stats. We have 162 games worth of data.

2. Many people adjust the shorter seasons less than 162 or adjust toward the mean.

3. But if all you use is raw numbers, then you are consigning the pre-'80s or '90s players to hell. Even a guy who played 20 years from 1871-1891 (Ezra Sutton is close to that era) cannot possibly be recognized as an all-time great. Ezra's raw WS according to Bill James, e.g., is about 158, if I recall correctly. You have to accept the outcome of your method and not just say, well, s**t happens. Do you really want to *choose* to say that *nobody* pre-1990 shall be allowed to be a "great" baseball player? It's not an accident if nobody pans out, it is the choice you made.
   32. Chris Cobb Posted: September 23, 2003 at 09:58 PM (#517822)
Many of Ed's positions seem to me to be reasonable, even though I disagree with them, but there are three points that seem less so.

Re: we don't _know_ how good he was in 69 & 70 or after 79 --

Sure, we don't _know_ for certain what McVey did, but to take the
   33. jimd Posted: September 23, 2003 at 11:19 PM (#517824)
The NA season in 1871 opened May 4th, the other years were in mid-April. The last game was October 30th. (I think by then the "traditional" end of the baseball championship season had been established as the 31st.)

The 1871 NA was an experiment. The 9 participating clubs continued to do what they had normally done, which was play "exhibitions" against anyone willing to pay them their guarantee or a good slice of the gate. And, in addition, they agreed to play a best-of-5 series against each other participating club, at their mutual convenience.

Each season was successful enough for the top clubs that the surviving teams committed to playing more and more games against each other, replacing the "exhibitions" against non-NA clubs. By the late 1880's, the teams were playing 140 game league schedules with little spare time for "exhibitions".
   34. Marc Posted: September 24, 2003 at 12:02 AM (#517825)
Chris, absolutely right. "Uncertainty = 0" is not reasonable.

It is also true that McVey was recruited out of the Iowa cornfields by Harry Wright and the Cincy Red Stockings in '69. I don't give him any credit for anything he might have done before '69 because I don't know what he did. And in this case we're not talking uncertainty, we're talking zero knowledge (we know that he could play elite ball in '69, we are uncertain at what specific level; we are uncertain whether he was an elite player in '68). BUT quite clearly he did something before '69 to catch Harry Wright's eye, so therefore to assume he was a "rookie" in '69 would be false. The likelihood is that despite his age he entered the '69 season as a veteran--a young veteran, to be sure--and that he was a contributor even if he batted 8th on opening day.
   35. dan b Posted: September 24, 2003 at 12:03 AM (#517826)
After taking a year off, I am back. This ballot reflects some changes. Still favoring stars of the 90?s and the overlooked AA. I have added 8-year peak to 3-year peak, 5-consecutive year peak, career and WS per 162. I start with a composite ranking = 4xCareer + the 3 peaks + WS per 162 and make adjustments justified by individual components. (Number in parenthesis shows composite rank.)

1. Pud Galvin. I have seen the light and belatedly join the ranks of FOPG. When compared to the other 14 pitchers either already in the HoM or who received votes in 1909, his 57 shutouts are 15 more than anyone else. Only Bond and Ward, who had fewer starts combined than Pud, best his rate of shutouts per start. It?s not high tech, but it shows quality to go with all that quantity.
   36. Chris Cobb Posted: September 24, 2003 at 01:29 AM (#517829)
Sorry to be clogging the ballot thread with posts on McVey, but it seems important to present the case as openly as possible.

dan b wrote:
   37. Rick A. Posted: September 24, 2003 at 01:32 AM (#517830)
Jason,

Actually, I did know that about Pike and McVey. I think I just had brain freeze when I wrote it up. It doesn't change their rankings, though.
   38. dan b Posted: September 24, 2003 at 02:03 AM (#517831)
OK, you got me. The use of the phrase ?way off? was an unfortunate exaggeration of the placement of Hoy v. Start, etc. For the past 2 years, I have expressed the unpopular view that the quality of play in the 1870?s and before was far short of the quality of play in the 1890?s. I have quoted Bill James, cited demographics and travel restrictions among other lines of reasoning. I admit it, I timeline. The WS adjustments I make include a timeline factor that levels off at 1 in 1890. It is my view that the era of Start and McVey is already well represented, it is time to elect the stars of the 90?s and to make sure we don?t overlook the AA.

Oh, and redsox1912 ? I?ve met Joe. He?s not really a meanie. ;-)
   39. Marc Posted: September 24, 2003 at 02:48 AM (#517832)
DanB, I think the likelihood that we will overlook the stars of the '90s is slim to none--we've certainly been friendly to Hamilton and Delahanty. I think the idea that we are likely to overly represent the '70s at the expense of the '90s also is very unlikely. (Right now the list of HoMers from the era of Start and McVey, players whose peak occurred before the NL, consists entirely of Barnes, Wright and Spalding, three names, covering the first 20 years of baseball.) Somebody has posted the "prime" years of our electeds so far, and so far the '80s are way out ahead. The '90s will likely follow suit.

So I think your inference is (first) wrong, but more to the point it is (secondly) a red herring. It is never time to elect a player from a certain group because (we think) he has the characteristics of the group. It is always time to elect the next best eligible player, regardless of group.

Finally, it seems unfair and arbitrary to timeline the '70s vs. the '90s but not the '90s against the 20th century. Timeline or no timeline, fine, but this selective timeline seems pretty, well, arbitrary. The late NA was probably better than the early and late AA.
   40. DanG Posted: September 24, 2003 at 03:30 AM (#517834)
(#55) - Marc wrote:
   41. favre Posted: September 24, 2003 at 03:42 AM (#517835)
1. Joe Start
   42. favre Posted: September 24, 2003 at 03:46 AM (#517836)
AAAARGH...I messed up my ballot (forgot to list #4). Let's try again...

1. Start
   43. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 24, 2003 at 05:08 AM (#517837)
Finally, it seems unfair and arbitrary to timeline the '70s vs. the '90s but not the '90s against the 20th century. Timeline or no timeline, fine, but this selective timeline seems pretty, well, arbitrary. The late NA was probably better than the early and late AA.

Amen, brother. If we were going with a strict timeline (and operating under BBWAA rules), I might have Brouthers, Anson, maybe a couple other players and that's it. Fortunately, we have a built-in mechanism so we won't have a HoM with four people.
   44. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 24, 2003 at 05:23 AM (#517838)
Let's try this again:

Finally, it seems unfair and arbitrary to timeline the '70s vs. the '90s but not the '90s against the 20th century. Timeline or no timeline, fine, but this selective timeline seems pretty, well, arbitrary. The late NA was probably better than the early and late AA.

Amen, brother. If we were going with a strict timeline (and operating under BBWAA rules), I might have Brouthers, Anson, maybe a couple other players from the 19th century and that's it. Fortunately, we have a built-in mechanism so we won't have a HoM with four people from pre-1900.
   45. Philip Posted: September 24, 2003 at 11:07 AM (#517839)
1. Start (1-1-1-1-2) -- Back to the top of my ballot and clearly above the rest. In my top 2 for the 10th time.

2. Bennett (4-4-5-3-3) -- Only great full-time catcher of the first 50 years of baseball. Has never been lower than 7th on my ballot. Should get inducted this decade.
   46. Howie Menckel Posted: September 24, 2003 at 12:21 PM (#517840)
1910 ballot..

1. JOE START - Has always been just off my "vote in" slots, and I weighed this for days. I would NOT give him even a 15th-place vote for his documented career. It's good, but not great. But he's got nearly a decade more of other play, and I'm satisfied that he was a big star in it.
   47. Jeff M Posted: September 24, 2003 at 02:00 PM (#517841)
Dan b wrote: We haven?t come close to electing a player from the AA pool yet, which was certainly bigger and better than the pool Grant was swimming in.

Well put, though I have Grant #12.

Marc wrote: The late NA was probably better than the early and late AA.

I don't know. If you look at the standard deviations of OPS, or O2PS or O3PS, and Unearned RPG, and various other measures, there is a big dropoff in 1875. I don't exactly know what was happening in the year before the NL, but something changed. I'm not convinced there was a smooth transition. We tend to treat the 1876 National League as not much more than a name change from the 1875 National Association, but the numbers don't look like that. 1875 looks a lot more like 1871 than it does 1876. On top of that the AA had some major rule changes to deal with that the NA did not.
   48. Jeff M Posted: September 24, 2003 at 02:04 PM (#517842)
Shawn's gone. He e-mailed expressing a philosophical difference of opinion with respect to research methods. I think his argument amounts to lack of academic freedom.

He isn't bitter about anything. He wishes us the best of luck and invites us to check out his own historical rankings at his blog. I don't know how to incorporate links into a message like this (someone please tell me), but John Murphy received the same e-mail and may want to post the link to Shawn's blog.
   49. RobC Posted: September 24, 2003 at 02:19 PM (#517843)
This ballot varies some from my prelim ballot. More desciptions than I have given in a while. I will try not to lose them.

1. Bid McPhee - The top career value on the ballot this year. As an interesting note, guys with most of their value in fielding are going to have a tendency to not have a great peak. Fielding skill does not have the same season-to-season variance that hitting does.
   50. Jeff M Posted: September 24, 2003 at 02:26 PM (#517844)
And now for the ballot (then I'll shut up). I'll only comment on a player if I have something new to say.

1. Stovey, Harry (#2) -- He has held his position on my ballot for a long time and I think he ought to be the first AA player elected. I suspect, however, that he's going to have to wait awhile.

2. Start, Joe (#3)

3. McVey, Cal (#4) -- As I posted months ago on the Start v. McVey thread, I could reverse Start and McVey's positions with no qualms. They are as dead-even as any two players on my ballot.

4. Bennett, Charlie

5. Browning, Pete (#6)

6. McPhee, Bid (#7)

7. Galvin, Pud (#8) -- The next 15 years are going to produce some serious pitching competition on our ballots vis-a-vis Galvin. He may squeeze in somewhere, but he's got to wait his turn.

--------------------------------HOM LINE----------------------------

8. Tiernan, Mike (#9) -- My outfielder rankings have held steady. Tiernan barely edges Thompson.

9. Thompson, Sam (#10)

10. Jones, Charley (#11) -- I know it is hopeless, but this guy could play. Adjust his numbers (without adding any for his blacklisted years) and he is still quite a good candidate.

11. Long, Herman (#12) -- The HOM is going to get a little heavy on shortstops when Dahlen and Davis pop in, so I don't advocate his election. However, I do think he fits here in the rankings.

12. Grant, Frank (#13) -- I think the group has exhausted this topic until new information comes to light. I believe my ranking gives him the benefit of the doubt; just not to the extent that others do.

13. Welch, Mickey (#14)

14. Duffy, Hugh (#15)

15. Pike, Lip (--) -- Been on my ballot before. Pops on at the end when we elect someone without any new candidates coming on line.

Since Jimmy Ryan was in the Top 10 voting last time and hasn't appeared on my ballot, I'm required to explain. I simply cannot distinguish him in any positive way from a number of other very good outfielders, like Mike Griffin, Cy Seymour or even George van Haltren. He was a very good player but rarely, in my opinion, in the top echelon. To me, he wasn't outstanding. Not an MVP-type player and not even a guy who would consistently over his career have made an all-star team (though he would always have been close).

I'll be interested to see if Ryan moves up in the voting. Anyone in the Top 7 (or so) has some chance of eventual election, and I have a hard time believing anyone would be excited about electing Jimmy Ryan.
   51. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 24, 2003 at 02:39 PM (#517845)
Cool... I finally found out how to use bold face

Makes everythin' purty, don't it? :-)
   52. Jeff M Posted: September 24, 2003 at 02:43 PM (#517846)
I recently received the Simpson's Season 3 DVDs, and in "Homer at the Bat", Mr. Burns wanted to get Creighton for his team of softball ringers.

I like how in 1992, Burns asks Smithers to "scour the American League, the National League, the Negro Leagues!"

Here's the final starting lineup for the Springfield softball team, with how they were recruited (where applicable) and what their ultimate fate was:

# Player -- How recruited -- Fate

1 Steve Sax -- playing at jazz club in the Steve Sax trio -- 6 life sentences

2 Wade Boggs -- n/a -- punched out by Barney

3 Darryl Strawberry -- n/a -- pulled for pinch hitter

4 Jose Canseco -- baseball card convention -- saving burning house

5 Don Mattingly -- washing dishes at home -- kicked off team (Burns orders him to shave his sideburns, even though he doesn't have any)

6 Ken Griffey, Jr.-- n/a -- overdose of nerve tonic

7 Mike Scioscia -- deer hunting -- radiation overdose

8 Ozzie Smith -- touring Graceland -- lost in Mystery Spot*

9 Roger Clemens -- n/a -- thinks he's a chicken

*Mystery spot is "Where logic takes a holiday and all laws of nature are meaningless."
   53. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 24, 2003 at 03:04 PM (#517847)
He isn't bitter about anything. He wishes us the best of luck and invites us to check out his own historical rankings at his blog. I don't know how to incorporate links into a message like this (someone please tell me), but John Murphy received the same e-mail and may want to post the link to Shawn's blog.

Try here: Shawn's Blog.
   54. RobC Posted: September 24, 2003 at 03:14 PM (#517848)
3 Darryl Strawberry -- n/a -- pulled for pinch hitter

For those who havent seen it, Burns pulls Darryl for Homer in
   55. DanG Posted: September 24, 2003 at 03:30 PM (#517849)
This has to be the most far-ranging ballot thread we've had. Not sure that's a good thing...
   56. Carl Goetz Posted: September 24, 2003 at 08:59 PM (#517850)
Here we go:
   57. KJOK Posted: September 24, 2003 at 09:49 PM (#517851)
I look more for wins above AVERAGE as opposed to above REPLACEMENT LEVEL when considering a player's greatness (JUST BEING BETTER THAN REPLACEMENT LEVEL DOES NOT ADVANCE ONE TOWARDS BEING A HOM PLAYER!), while I use best 5 years for a peak, along with heavily weighting C, SS, and 3B defense, and lightly weighting RF and LF defense.

1. CHARLIE BENNETT, C -Comp is Roy Campanella. Until at least Roger Bresnahan, only Ewing was a better Catcher. Catchers may have trouble "adding up" numbers due to the nature of the position, but last I checked you can't play the field without a catcher.

2. JOE START, 1B,- Similar to Tony Perez, IF you assume a normal career progression that is not fully documented. I basically double his documented career value for analysis purposes, and I'm now convinced he's a worthy 1860's/1870's period inductee.

3. HUGHIE JENNINGS, SS ? Best comp may be Lou Boudreau. Great fielder and great hitter for a SS. Only drawback is played 10,000 less SS innings than Dahlen, over 6,000 less than George Davis, but I don?t see how not having 5 years of Jeff Blauser career performance added on makes him NOT a HOM?er . MVP type years 1895, 1896 & 1897.

4. CUPID CHILDS, 2B - Hitting value almost identical to Hardy Richardson, AND played close to 13,000 innings at 2B. Comp is somewhere between Charlie Gehringer to Stan Hack. Only MVP type year was 1890 in weak AA.

5. JOHN MCGRAW, 3B ? Comp is? no one, as there hasn?t really been an infielder who was this good offensively but played so little. Still has to rank as one of THE best 3Bmen of the 19th century. Would be #1 or #2 on this ballot if he had played a little bit more.

6. HUGH DUFFY, CF ? Strong comp with Kirby Puckett. Note quite the hitter that Mike Griffin was, but played a little longer. One MVP Year - 1894.

7. PETE BROWNING, CF/LF - Hits like Joe Jackson, fields like Greg Luzinski playing CF. Still has one of the highest Win Shares/Year for the 19th century. Possible MVP in 1882, 83, 85 & 90 - that should count for quite a bit.

8. JIMMY RYAN, CF/RF ? Comp is Jimmy Wynn. Good hitter, and average fielder who played quite a bit of RF. MVP type year in 1888.

9. GEORGE VAN HALTREN, CF ? Almost identical to Ryan offensively, but loses out due to fielding and no MVP type year.

10. MIKE GRIFFIN, CF ? Fred Lynn offensively, and was a better CF. Seems to be very underrated, but just doesn't stand out enough in crowded OF talent pool.

11. SAM THOMPSON, RF - Harry Heilmann comp. Downgraded a little due to 19th century defensive spectrum. MVP type year in 1887.

12. MIKE TIERNAN, RF ? Similar value to Gary Sheffiield. Just slightly below Sam Thompson. Downgraded a little due to 19th century defensive spectrum. MVP type years in 1889 & 1890.

13. BID McPHEE, 2B ? I think Graig Nettles is his best comp, as he was relatively a much better hitter than Brooks Robinson AND a terrific fielder.

14 CAL McVEY, C/1B - Modern Comp: Gene Tenace, only better and longer career. Best catcher before Ewing/Bennett.

15. TONY MULLANE, P ? Think I?ve missed the boat on Mullane previously. Only 4 Win Shares behind Pud (399 vs. 403) in 1,400 fewer innings (but still a substantial 4,500 innings pitched). Peak almost identical to Pud?s (183 WS vs. 182 over 5 years). ERA+ of 118 vs. Pud?s 109. Don?t see how Pud could possibly rank ahead except on career length alone.

LEFT OFF THE BALLOT:
   58. Howie Menckel Posted: September 24, 2003 at 10:41 PM (#517852)
KJOK, Stovey is OFF and unexplained, or meant to be on?
   59. KJOK Posted: September 25, 2003 at 12:10 AM (#517853)
My Mistake:

HARRY STOVEY, LF/1B - Comp is Albert Belle, only with baserunning ability. MVP type years in 1883, 1888 & 1889. Hard to see what basis he belongs ahead of crowded OF glut of Duffy, Browning, Van Haltren, Ryan, Griffin, Thompson, & Tiernan. If anything, I'd probably be more inclined to remove a couple of those guys from my ballot as opposed to adding Stovey.
   60. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: September 25, 2003 at 02:28 AM (#517854)
Anyone who has Rickey Henderson as the ninth-best major league player of all-time (over the likes of Stan Musial, Michael Jack Schmidt, Cy Young, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Joe Morgan, Eddie Collins and Mickey Mantle, among others) shouldn't have a HOM vote anyway.

By the way, Nolan Ryan is ranked ahead of Christy Mathewson.

(I'm sorry, but I just had to say it...)
   61. Howie Menckel Posted: September 25, 2003 at 03:25 AM (#517855)
Thanks, KJOK........
   62. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 25, 2003 at 04:53 AM (#517856)
Anyone who has Rickey Henderson as the ninth-best major league player of all-time (over the likes of Stan Musial, Michael Jack Schmidt, Cy Young, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Joe Morgan, Eddie Collins and Mickey Mantle, among others) shouldn't have a HOM vote anyway.

By the way, Nolan Ryan is ranked ahead of Christy Mathewson.


I agree with you that Henderson is placed a little too high (and Ryan WAY too high), but I would like to see how Shawn created his rankings before I criticize them. A couple of idiosyncratic choices doesn't mean he's ignorant of baseball history and statistics. He seems sabermetrically literate and definitely not an old fogey as to ranking the more contemporary players.

At any rate, his blog is fun reading!
   63. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 25, 2003 at 05:54 AM (#517858)
I do use a timeline;

Here's my problem with the "timeline" used by some here. It's one thing to normalize statistics (optimally standard deviation) from earlier eras so you don't have Ty Cobb or Honus Wagner looking as if they would dwarf the top guys of our time (except for Barry Bonds, of course! :) The best players of a hundred years ago would still be standouts, but there would be fewer of them.

It's another thing to say that there were no players from a particular era that were great players. There is absolutely no justification to assume this. Not as many good players? Certainly. No great players? I don't buy it.

Besides, the very fact that Dickey Pearce, Joe Start and Harry Wright could still play in their forties illustrates that the talent pool was not that different from the sixties. There is no way that they would have had jobs otherwise.
   64. Jeff M Posted: September 25, 2003 at 11:57 AM (#517859)
KJOK, just so I understand your "comps," if Jimmy Wynn, Gene Tenace and Albert Belle were eligible in this election (instead of Ryan, McVey and Stovey), you would have Wynn at #8 (!), Tenace at #15 and Albert Belle off the ballot?
   65. dan b Posted: September 25, 2003 at 01:00 PM (#517860)
James Newburg?s editorial comments in post #84 would have been better left unsaid. Shawn?s web page shows a serious interest in the history of the game, his input would have been worthwhile. That we have chased him away does not speak well of our character as a group.
   66. Chris Cobb Posted: September 25, 2003 at 02:12 PM (#517863)
My sense is that the ballot should stand; Shawn Weaver said, "Delete my ballot if you wish," leaving it up to us. Our decision should rest, therefore, on whether or not it is a valid ballot, and I think that it is. I firmly disagree with his criteria, but that is a matter for persuasion, not invalidation. The only gray area I see in regard to validity is his treatment of Frank Grant. I don't think that's enough to invalidate the ballot, but if others see that differently, I think they should speak.

I don't think we chased him away, either. If that is how Shawn felt, I am sorry for it, but I don't think we approached his ballot any differently than we've approached other newcomers' ballots, or the ballots of long-standing voters. There are thousands of posts giving evidence of the usual manner of discourse in the group, so newcomers who look around a bit have ample opportunity to familiarize themselves with the process of debate. And I don't think we should change that: its what pushes us to examine our criteria and deepen our knowledge. I'm thinking again about timeline adjustments and about Cal McVey as a result of the arguments others have made, and I hope others are thinking afresh as well in response to my arguments (and I'll have more to make when I have time to lay them out properly :-). Without rigorous but respectful challenges, the HoM would be less an effort to _find_ the best players and more a survey of whom a randomly gathered group of devoted baseball fans already believes to be the best players.
   67. Howie Menckel Posted: September 25, 2003 at 02:36 PM (#517864)
I have Start-Galvin 1-2 (and almost certainly will put the 'loser' as a HOMer for my 1912 ballot), so I'm reasonably objective.
   68. OCF Posted: September 25, 2003 at 02:39 PM (#517865)
I'm with Chris - let's count Shawn's ballot. We should have heterogeneity of viewpoints. (Hang in there, Dan B.)
   69. Marc Posted: September 25, 2003 at 03:24 PM (#517867)
Speaking as a strong FOJS, I think Shawn's ballot should stand, even if it is the difference between my man and some third rate pitcher going into the HoM. Overall his 1910 ballot is not ridiculous by any means. It is not as if he left Babe Ruth off.

The biggest difficulty about not considering non-stat evidence is Negro Leaguers. Joe didn't tell Shawn that our mission in part is to be fair to the Negro Leaguers. No one can be fair to the Negro Leaguers without considering qualitative data.

I have asked the anti-'60s crowd how they intend to address the Negro Leaguers, and have not received any kind of thoughtful answer. My interpretation is that we will vote our prejudices. Shawn said (off line) he could not vote for Negro Leaguers so it is best that he not stay. But his current ballot is as good as any.

PS. A close reading shows any number of ballots that did not comment about top 10 players left off. One ballot has no comments whatsoever. We should apply the same rules to all that Shawn heard about.
   70. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 25, 2003 at 03:30 PM (#517868)
I think his comment about Grant can be read simply to say that he believes that he has enough information to conclude that Grant was the best African-American player of the nineteenth century but not enough information to conclude that he was as good as the 15 guys on his ballot.

There is one problem. Having read his blog last night, I don't think he would vote for any Negro League stars because of the little or lack of documentation on their part. It's one thing to keep Frank Grant off your ballot; it's another to keep Satchel Paige off. That would be a direct violation of our rules. I would vote for removal on that basis.

The shame is I think he would have been a good addition to the group.

BTW, as you can see from my ballot, I have the front runners next to each other, so I don't really care which one goes in this election (just in case anyone sees a nefarious plot on my part to swing the election to the other candidate).
   71. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 25, 2003 at 03:34 PM (#517869)
BTW, I'm not passionate about the removal of Shawn's ballot, so whatever the consensus opinion in regard to it is fine with me.
   72. DanG Posted: September 25, 2003 at 04:00 PM (#517871)
I think we can let Shawn's ballot stand. It seems to be an honest, thought-out effort. I've seen more, IMO, questionable ballots posted in every election. And I've seen less justified ballots, unfortunately.

I agree that it's not that we chased him away. We have guidelines and procedures here that we all need to follow. At least he was honest enough to bow out, rather than flout them.
   73. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 25, 2003 at 04:00 PM (#517872)
Andrew:

Hit one of the dates that look like this: 09/29/2002 - 10/05/2002
   74. Jeff M Posted: September 25, 2003 at 07:57 PM (#517873)
I agree that it's not that we chased him away. We have guidelines and procedures here that we all need to follow. At least he was honest enough to bow out, rather than flout them.

Agreed, but I think we should acknowledge to ourselves that we tend to say "Welcome Newbie" and then open up the machine guns on them. I'm all for requiring justification of ballots, etc., but let's keep in mind that we are all used to each other and already know that it is a friendly group. Let's face it. Every one of us has gotten a little ticked off about something someone here wrote about our ballots or analysis. Our skin has been thickened. New guys aren't so fortunate.

As soon as Shawn arrived, he became the temporary target of our criticism and tests. Put yourself in his shoes. He says "Hi guys, I'd like to vote" and some of us tell him his ballot sucks in so many ways (not just on the Frank Grant issue). I think we probably come off a bit harsh and elitist (which might explain why our numbers aren't really growing). If I were Shawn, I might think "what a bunch of jerks." It is to Shawn's credit that he hasn't expressed this.

I know, and you know, that we aren't actually jerks, but I don't want a negative perception of the group, because I think we would like the project to be considered meritorious.

Anyway, let's try to get these guys up to speed in a gentler way, because coming into this group blind is like storming the beach at Normandy.
   75. sean gilman Posted: September 25, 2003 at 09:01 PM (#517874)
From Our Constitution:

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

While I disagree with Shawn's reasoning on a couple of his selections, I don't think his ballot qualifies as 'obviously unintelligent or especially questionable'. Thus, I think his ballot should stand.

As far as the harshness of our discourse is concerned, this might be the most polite baseball conversation I've seen on the web. It is fundamental to this project that the participants explain and defend their ballots. If someone doesn't want to do that, then this is simply not the project for them.
   76. OCF Posted: September 25, 2003 at 09:15 PM (#517875)
because coming into this group blind is like storming the beach at Normandy.

This caused me to go back and review my own posts on the 1904 discussion and 1904 ballot threads, and the response (or lack of) to those posts. All I can say is, what beach? I stepped off the ferry boat at the dock.
   77. KJOK Posted: September 25, 2003 at 09:24 PM (#517876)
"KJOK, just so I understand your "comps," if Jimmy Wynn, Gene Tenace and Albert Belle were eligible in this election (instead of Ryan, McVey and Stovey), you would have Wynn at #8 (!), Tenace at #15 and Albert Belle off the ballot?"

Yes, No, Yes.

I said "Modern Comp: Gene Tenace, only better and longer career." That BETTER AND LONGER CAREER is important. If Gene Tenace had performed at the same offensive rate for several more years, AND there were no Johnny Bench type catchers in the league, he would be worthy of HOM consideration in my view.
   78. Rob Wood Posted: September 25, 2003 at 10:06 PM (#517877)
I think we should exclude Shawn's ballot. One of our early concerns in the project was the fear of "hit and run" ballots. We even talked about various approaches to ensure that voters take it seriously, follow our guidelines, etc.

I believe that Shawn will not be further participating since he does not want to follow our guidelines. Since his ballot was constructed under those same circumstances, I suggest we exclude his ballot.
   79. Adam Schafer Posted: September 26, 2003 at 04:25 AM (#517880)
1. Charlie Bennett (2) - best catcher availabe, best catcher this side of ewing so far period
   80. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 26, 2003 at 04:59 AM (#517881)
Received my encyclopedia on 1857-1870 baseball last weekend (a steal at $9!!)

What's the name of the book?
   81. Rusty Priske Posted: September 26, 2003 at 12:44 PM (#517883)
I would vote to let the ballot stand.

As for the issue of going easy on the new guys... hmmmm. I have felt that heat, and it is not an enjoyable feeling. On the other hand, anyone willing to vote should have been reading the threads first, so they should already be aware of how we operate.

It is better to call somebody on something than let it slide. If anything, I would watch the tone, but tone is very hard to set in this format.
   82. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 26, 2003 at 02:36 PM (#517884)
Thanks, Patrick. I have to see about making a purchase now!
   83. Jeff M Posted: September 26, 2003 at 03:49 PM (#517887)
Let's just throw out Shawn's ballot. There's enough dissent about it to warrant leaving it out.

As far as the harshness of our discourse is concerned, this might be the most polite baseball conversation I've seen on the web.

Not a good standard to use. :) :) :) Frankly, I don't understand the reluctance to treat newcomers with more respect while requiring explanation of the ballots. Instead, we circle the wagons and say "not our problem," and that gets us nowhere, IMO.

It is fundamental to this project that the participants explain and defend their ballots.

I wrote a lengthy post above agreeing with this, so I hope my comments about our attitude towards Shawn have not been interpreted to mean anything else.

If someone doesn't want to do that, then this is simply not the project for them.

I agree. In Shawn's case, the difference of philosophy means he shouldn't be here. But that doesn't mean we can't treat new people with more respect. I've been part of this group since long before its Constitution was written, so like everyone else here I'm a "company man". But I can still step back and see what an unfriendly environment it might seem to outsiders and newcomers.

One final point. Shawn was called to task for not having Frank Grant on his ballot in 1910 (though he is far from the only one). You know why he wasn't on Shawn's ballot? Because it was pointed out that he may have had Frank Grant <b>too high<b> on his 1909 ballot (at #11). He was comparing Grant to Dunlap based on the famous "black Dunlap" quote and Dunlap wasn't on his 1909 ballot. Marc rightfully suggested that he should reconcile this. He did, and then he was told he was not operating within our rules because he placed too much emphasis on stats. Interesting.
   84. DanG Posted: September 26, 2003 at 04:19 PM (#517889)
Joe wrote:
   85. Howie Menckel Posted: September 26, 2003 at 04:40 PM (#517890)
Have we scared away the rest of the voters?
   86. Rusty Priske Posted: September 26, 2003 at 04:42 PM (#517891)
I think this a very good idea. In fact that is what I did. I read the threads for two "years" before I voted. I think all new voters should have to do this.
   87. Marc Posted: September 26, 2003 at 05:27 PM (#517894)
1) I don't like the idea of a probationary period. It is unfriendly and it is unnecessary. The ballot speaks for itself.

2) A welcome "page" or whatever for newbies would be good!

3) But what if, then, a ballot is questionable? What if when the time comes a Josh Gibson is left off? Or if there are no comments or justification whatsoever? Or a top 10-er is left off and not discussed? We need to be willing to take action...and *not just against newbies.* If we are consistent even with veteran HoMers, then we need not have any guilt about applying the rules to newbies.

4) But if that is the case *and especially when it is the case with a newbie*, I would suggest that somebody from the ballot committee take the appropriate action *Offline* (if possible, if the person's email is available). The problem with Shawn was not Joe's post but it was that ten of us, myself included, all jumped on him. It is not wrong to apply the rules but it is (OK, not specifically wrong, but) unfortunate when we appear unfriendly and make the newbie feel unwanted.

5) I actually don't recall the Shawn Weaver/Frank Grant angle...? Are we confused with some other ballot?
   88. Jeff M Posted: September 26, 2003 at 08:56 PM (#517896)
Marc wrote: I actually don't recall the Shawn Weaver/Frank Grant angle...? Are we confused with some other ballot?

My bad. Sorry Marc. It was MattB that made the comment to Shawn on the 1909 ballot. It was an entirely appropriate comment. Not confused about the ballot or the content -- just got the name of the commenter wrong.
   89. jimd Posted: September 26, 2003 at 11:26 PM (#517897)
Read previous ballots if you want more depth on my reasons for all but the latest eligibles. Unfortunately, I haven't had the time to fine-tune my OF rankings, so this is very similar to last time. (Added blank lines for enhanced readability.)

1) P. Galvin -- I still don't think pitchers get enough love here.

2) C. Bennett -- Best catcher available; stands out from the other catchers far more than any of the other OF'ers do from their pack.

3) B. McPhee -- Very long career; imperceptable peak. Post-27 career played at higher level than Start.

4) J. Start -- Very long career; debatable peak.

5) H. Duffy -- The peak value is enough to distinguish him from the other OF'ers in the pack.

Following are the guys that I might not have in my HOF, but then again I'm a small hall advocate, smaller than the one that exists now. The pool of highly qualified applicants is thin.

6) J. Whitney -- Caruthers-like career in a better league with an inferior team (relative to league) at a time when pitchers had maximum impact (because #1 pitchers did 60-75% of a teams innings; at Caruthers prime it was 40-45%). Highest peak of anybody on the ballot. Put another way, Koufax-like career run in reverse (best first, dwindling off to irrelevance, instead of being irrelevant early and exiting on top).

7) H. Stovey -- I found the baserunning analysis interesting and persuasive; there is a LOT of shadow offense going on due to the errors and baserunning.

8) S. Thompson -- If he had started baseball young instead of doing carpentry, he may already have been elected; great post-27 career.

9) J. Ryan -- I really have to sort out this outfielder pack.

10) G. Van Haltren -- Ditto. I have to find the time (but playoffs are starting...)

11) C. Jones -- Giving him credit for blacklisted seasons.

12) D. Pearce -- I'm not sure he belongs, but I think he's a better choice than my other "almosts".

13) C. McVey -- I not giving him much credit for California; I'm waiting for better evidence of his post-NL career there.

14) F. Grant -- I wish the source of the 1868 birthdate could be identified. I'd be more confident about moving him up if those documented seasons were when he was younger.

15) C. Childs -- His "monster" 1890 AA season is probably comparable in value to Grant's documented IL seasons.

Just missing the cut are Tony Mullane, Mike Griffin, Hughie Jennings, Bob Caruthers, Tommy Bond, Pete Browning, Jim McCormick, Herman Long, Ned Williamson, Fred Dunlap.
   90. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: September 27, 2003 at 04:32 AM (#517898)
I offer my apologies to everyone here for my comment regarding Shawn's rankings. It was one of those times where I should have at least held my tongue and been more diplomatic, but I twisted the knife in a needless and hurtful way. My comments were immature and discouraged discussion on the issue, which is what the Hall Of Merit project is really all about.
   91. Rob Wood Posted: September 27, 2003 at 09:47 PM (#517900)
Here's my 1910 ballot:

1. Pud Galvin -- great pitcher fully deserving of enshrinement
   92. Ken Fischer Posted: September 28, 2003 at 09:47 PM (#517902)
1910 Ballot

Moved everyone up...and made Browning #15...McVey is #23 in my depth chart...he's growing on me but I'm not ready to put him in my top 15.

1-Bid McPhee

2-Joe Start

3-Pud Galvin

4-Harry Stovey

5-Frank Grant

6-George Van Haltren

7-Jimmy Ryan

8-Mike Tiernan

9-Bob Caruthers

10-Dickey Pearce

11-Cupid Childs

12-Hughie Jennings

13-Hugh Duffy

14-Sam Thompson

15-Pete Browning
   93. Howie Menckel Posted: September 28, 2003 at 09:59 PM (#517904)
Ken,
   94. Brad Harris Posted: September 28, 2003 at 10:14 PM (#517905)
Hope this is in before they're all counted...

1. Joe Start
   95. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: September 28, 2003 at 10:30 PM (#517906)
I've been busy this week, so everyone moves up a spot. I haven't had a chance to really analyze the adjusted Win Shares numbers I have, so things could change next week. Hugh Duffy and Herman Long could be making appearances on my ballot.

1. Joe Start - The documented portion of Start's career is similar to Tony Perez. He'd be worth a ballot spot on the basis of his documented career alone. If you put any stock in the idea that he was one of the giants of 1860s baseball, he becomes a first-ballot HOMer. He doesn't necessarily need to be a star throughout the '60s to be high on my ballot. Even if he was only a marginally better player than in the documented portion of his career, he'd still have a 27-year career with a 130 OPS+ and great fielding at first base.

2. Pud Galvin - I had simply missed the boat on him. He's been the highest-ranked pitcher on my ballot, but I hadn't given the proper respect to a pitcher whose career parallels to the likes of Phil Niekro. The Little Steam Engine had the highest peak and highest documented career value of any pitcher on the ballot. His performance in the IL just puts it over the top for me. Won the Win Shares Cy Young Award in 1879.

3. Dickey Pearce - His performance was not only valuable to his teams; it also brought about meaningful changes in the way baseball was played. To be ahead of the curve on something as important as how to play shortstop has a huge impact; plus, Pearce could play a little.

4. Cal McVey - Flip-flopped with Bennett based on my appreciation for his hitting. Just a great hitter.

5. Charlie Bennett - WARP likes him a lot and so do I. A Pudge Rodriguez-type of player, but with more offensive value tied up in on-base percentage. Add that with some outstanding defense behind the dish and you've got yourself a HOMer.

6. Jim McCormick - I strongly feel that McCormick is a HOMer. Pitched nearly 4,300 innings in 10 years, never having an "off" year until his final season in 1887 (322.1 IP, 89 ERA+). Finished with a 118 career ERA+, which places him 14th all-time among the 31 pitchers who pitched as many innings as McCormick did. He also won the Win Shares Cy Young Award in 1880.

7. Bid McPhee - I like Bid McPhee a lot, but not enough to place him in the top three or top five of my ballot. He was a league-average hitter, great baserunner and outstanding fielder. He turned in essentially the same performance for 18 years. If he played shortstop or third base, then he would clearly be a top three selection. But he played second base, which was an important defensive position, just not as important as the positions to his right. Still, a deserving HOMer.

8. Frank Grant - The argument against Grant concerning the small pool of African-American ballplayers in the late 19th century is certainly one with merit, and I take that into account. But Grant did enough in the International League to show that he would have been a very good player if he had the opportunity to play in the major leagues. He managed to last 18 seasons and started his career at second base with every runner coming in spikes high. In the absence of further evidence, he lands here.

9. Harry Stovey - Stovey's strengths are obscured by traditional statistical analysis. A significant amount of his value came from his excellence in the "shadow offense" of 19th-century baseball: base stealing and baserunning. The fact that 30 to 50 percent of the runs scored were unearned would seem to indicate that baserunning and defense had a much bigger impact on offense than at any other time in baseball history. Off of the top of my head, I can't think of a player in the 19th century who is truly comparable to Stovey: a great hitter with walks and power who was also a terror on the basepaths.

10. Pete Browning - I feel bad about knocking him down this far after I've been his biggest booster here, but there are teeny, tiny differences separating players in the top 15. He is the best hitter on the ballot, and the second-best offensive player on the ballot behind Stovey. If he didn't have his inner-ear problems, he'd be a first-ballot HOMer mentioned in the same breath as Brouthers and Connor for his hitting ability.

11. Ed Williamson - I listened too much to the idea that Williamson was overrated, which knocked him down so much in my eyes that I realized I was underrating him. He's one of the all-time great defensive third basemen at a time when defense at the hot corner was more valuable. As a hitter, he had good secondary skills and displayed the ability to get on base and hit with gap power. This made him an asset with the bat despite a batting average below league average.

12. Sam Thompson - Great hitter, arguably the best on the ballot. To me, it boggles the mind that I can place a hitter with a 146 career OPS+ this low on the ballot. But:

1) He basically played 11 full seasons, which is not long for a HOM career.

2) He had little defensive value in an era where defense was a bigger part of the game than at any other time in history.

If he had played 40 years later, I'd be worrying a lot less about his defensive value.

13. Charley Jones - Another player I overlooked. A hitter extraordinare like Thompson, Browning and Stovey. He probably gets underrated because 4,009 plate appearances doesn't look all that impressive to the eye, but in the environment of those shortened seasons, it's equivalent to about 7,200 plate appearances with 162-game schedules. I have him essentially equal with Thompson, though Thompson is ahead due to the level of competition he played against.

(I do give full credit for Jones' blacklisted seasons. His blacklist fell right in the middle of a long peak; therefore I give him credit for two peak seasons (165-170 OPS+).)

14. Hughie Jennings - A great from 1894-1898, a span where he was arguably the best position player in baseball. But he contributed next to nothing outside of those five years. For me, a player needs to perform at a Pedro Martinez/Barry Bonds-type level, a historically great level, over five years if their peak is going to be such a dominant part of their HOM case. In short, I wouldn't put Jennings any higher than I would now, but I'd feel pretty comfortable placing Alex Rodriguez in the Top 10 of a HOM ballot if he retired today.

15. Mickey Welch - Filler.
   96. Chris Cobb Posted: September 28, 2003 at 11:57 PM (#517907)
1910 Ballot

A hard ballot, with lots of players very close together in value. I looked more fully at peak performance this time: the main beneficiary is Hughie Jennings, though John McGraw is much closer now to making my ballot. I looked at career win shares, total win shares above average, rate of win shares over a peak of 5-9 years, seasons in top 5 in win shares, and total seasons above average. I apply a discount to AA seasons, and have added this year a competition discount for the NA, which I apply to peak ratings. WS for pre-1871 play and significant minor league performance are added on a case-by-case basis. I wasn't able to finish a full re-evaluation of pitchers; that will be reflected in my 1911 ballot. (All WS listed are fielding-and-season adjusted.)

1) Pud Galvin (2) 424 CWS. Total peak 126. Peak rate, 79-84 = 32.27WS/450 ip. Among top 3 pitchers 3 times. Galvin has most career value of any nineteenth-century pitcher, and an outstanding peak. A clear-cut #1 for me this year. (Pre-1900 pitcher WS converted from WARP1 but not season-adjusted.)
   97. Esteban Rivera Posted: September 29, 2003 at 12:26 AM (#517908)
Most changes this year are due to a fine tuning of the outfield rankings. Good luck to the candidates:

1. Cal McVey - I strongly feel McVey is a HOMer. Played very demanding positions, produced at high offensive level and, when he left because of the reserve clause, his career was looking like Cap Anson's. Was still playing when he was 40 in the Texas League.

2. Charlie Bennett - Best catcher available. His defense was excellent and his hitting great for a full time catcher, even if his numbers are uneven. Campanella was pretty uneven during his career and not many people discredit his greatness as a catcher.

3. Pud Galvin - Still feel he's very HOM worthy.

4. Joe Start - Was the best "old" player of his time.

5. Harry Stovey - More value than the numbers tell.

6. Bid McPhee - Moves up 2 spots this year.

7. Frank Grant - I am secure with Grant's placement here. Believe he was a great player for his time.

8. Hugh Duffy - His credentials are that he was for a time one of the best players and he produced during the 90's. Then he just fell off. However, I feel his peak gives him the slight edge over Ryan.

9. Pete Browning - Was a heck of a hitter and did it under tremendous duress.

10. Jimmy Ryan - A strong candidate who was effective after his injury. Kind of weird how all the really great outfielders of the 90's had short periods as great and then very good due to either injuries, late starts, or other reasons.

11. Hughie Jennings - A monster for five years. Moves down with my evaluation of outfielders being fine tuned.

12. Sam Thompson - Looking at him again, may have underrated him.

13. Lip Pike - One of the best players in early baseball. Definitely deserves more attention.

14. George Van Haltren - Of all the 90's outfielders on the ballot, the only one that never really cracked the greatness barrier. However, he did make a fantastic career for himself that is ballot-worthy.

15. Mickey Welch - The other 300 game winner left on the ballot. Looking at the comparison done here of Keefe and Welch makes me believe he gets shafted too much for the teams he played on. Kind of like an anti-Pud in that respect.
   98. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: September 29, 2003 at 04:16 AM (#517910)
1. Pud Galvin (2) Clearly the best pitcher on the board. Had a decent peak and a much better career value than anyone we're considering.

2. Charlie Bennett (6) Why move him up? Because I'm more and more certain he should be in. He was just far better than his competitors at his position, looking at peak or career, and that's a HoMer.

3. Joe Start (3) A good player for a long time, and probably one of the best just before we got the numbers.

4. Cal McVey (4) Great peak value. I'd like it if his career was a little longer, but this isn't the strongest ballot we're ever going to see.

5. Bid McPhee (5) Great defensive player, hit well enough to be helpful, but he played in the weaker league and had no peak to speak of.

6. Dickey Pearce (8) Did I just type that? Seriously, I know he was one of the best players in the game for a long time, and I'm OK with putting in guys from the pre-history. (But I can understand if you're not.)

7. Harry Stovey (7) A step ahead of the other outfielders; he did do extremely well in the leagues he played in.

8. Frank Grant (9) Similar to Pearce, but I'm just not quite as certain about how good he really was.

9. Hughie Jennings (12) Clint's research pushes him back up a bit, especially when you look at the 3 and 4 year guys. That is very good company.

10. Lip Pike (10) I may have him too low, but I'm not ready to move him up.

11. Jimmy Ryan (11) The OF glut. Everybody from here on out is practically pick-numbers-out-of-a-hat.

12. Pete Browning (off) Who was saying Pike and McVey had the highest OPS+ on the ballot? Wrong.

13(tie) Hugh Duffy (13)/Mike Griffin (14) I'm kind of making a point here - these guys have very similar values. Griffin's being seriously overlooked.

15. George Van Haltren (15) It's late; I have nothing useful to contribute.

Why isn't Sam Thompson on my ballot? Mainly because I think the good-fielding CFs may be a little more valuable. (Ignore Pete Browning at #12, thanks.) Seriously, he's number 16. None of these guys should really be in.
   99. Ken Fischer Posted: September 29, 2003 at 04:52 AM (#517911)
Howie,
   100. DanG Posted: September 29, 2003 at 02:44 PM (#517912)
12. Pete Browning (off) Who was saying Pike and McVey had the highest OPS+ on the ballot? Wrong.

Top Ten HOM candidates in career OPS+:

164 Levi Meyerle
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