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Tuesday, September 30, 2003

1911 Ballot Discussion

I meant to get this up last night, and I flat out forgot. Sorry for the delay . . . Two big time newbies this year, Jesse Burkett and Kid Nichols.

Two new Negro Leaguers also, I have to research them still, Billy Holland and George Wilson.

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 30, 2003 at 06:54 PM | 96 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Rusty Priske Posted: September 30, 2003 at 07:26 PM (#517943)
This is the easiest #1 so far, in my opinion. Burkett is a bigger question... as in how high. I could move him up a spot still.

1. Nichols
   2. OCF Posted: September 30, 2003 at 07:45 PM (#517944)
I wanted to say something about Andres Galarraga Syndrome. What's that? It's the story of a player who
   3. Jeff M Posted: September 30, 2003 at 08:07 PM (#517945)
I don't think we've talked too much about it, but has anyone come up with a discount for the early AL years and supporting info to back it up? Any thoughts on how long it took to reach parity with the NL?

Rusty: Do you already know who was elected in 1910?
   4. Chris Cobb Posted: September 30, 2003 at 08:48 PM (#517949)
? I don't think we've talked too much about it, but has anyone come up with a discount for the early AL years and supporting info to back it up? Any thoughts on how long it took to reach parity with the NL?

At some point, someone posted Davenport translations for the early AL, along with translations for the AA. I short-sightedly kept the latter but not the former, and I couldn't find the post in the archives, although you can find plenty of interesting discussion of the validity of Davenport translations if you search the primer site for that . . . I know that according to the Dt, the AL strength in 1901 was .93 of the NL, about what the AA was at its best; iirc, it moved pretty rapidly to parity after that. So far I've been discounting 1901 AL 5%, with no discounts applied to later years.

If someone has the Davenport translation numbers, I'd sure appreciate seeing them again!
   5. Rob Wood Posted: September 30, 2003 at 08:49 PM (#517950)
Kid Nichols is the best pitcher that nobody has ever heard of. I am at work so I don't have my personal rankings in front of me, but Nichols is probably around the 10th greatest pitcher of all time. He had the misfortune to pitch at the same time as Cy Young. Plus he pitched during the decade preceding the line of demarcation for a lot of baseball (1900). Is Nichols the greatest player to have thus far hit our ballot -- or am I forgetting someone?
   6. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 30, 2003 at 09:01 PM (#517951)
I'm leaning toward Kid Nichols as #1. It's difficult to compare the second best pitcher of the '90s* (if not the whole 19th century) with the best second baseman of the 19th century. Being second best to Young is not too shabby.

Burkett will take the #3 slot.

* overall career
   7. OCF Posted: September 30, 2003 at 09:07 PM (#517952)
Rob,
   8. Chris Cobb Posted: September 30, 2003 at 09:07 PM (#517953)
The top of my ballot for 1911 will be

1. Kid Nichols
   9. Marc Posted: September 30, 2003 at 09:31 PM (#517954)
Chris, I don't read the '90s as a great era for OFers, specifically. It was a great era for 1) specialization, regardless of the balance of offense and defense. And then 2) it was also a time when the emphasis was on the offense.

In earlier times the best players were best both with the bat and with the, er, well, with the hands. The relative emphasis of offense and defense went back and forth, but best offensive players often were SSs and 2Bs and 3Bs and 1Bs (when 1B was a key defensive position).

By the '90s increased levels of difficulty and complexity demanded more specialization (not everybody could master all the skills anymore) and an increased pool of players to choose from made it possible (players with this specialized skill or that were more likely to be available).

So the best offensive players were clustered more than ever where there was low defensive difficulty, in the OF, and mid-decade at least they had a particularly good opportunity to display their offensive skills. But this was also a great era for players with exactly the opposite mix of skills, the SSs, wasn't it?
   10. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 30, 2003 at 09:36 PM (#517955)
So the best offensive players were clustered more than ever where there was low defensive difficulty, in the OF, and mid-decade at least they had a particularly good opportunity to display their offensive skills. But this was also a great era for players with exactly the opposite mix of skills, the SSs, wasn't it?

Good point, Marc. Davis and Dahlen were more valuable, IMO, than Hamilton, Delahanty and Burkett were.
   11. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 30, 2003 at 09:41 PM (#517956)
Now that I've looked at McPhee and Knichols closer, I'm definitely going with Nichols as #1 and Bid as #2.
   12. OCF Posted: September 30, 2003 at 09:52 PM (#517958)
Young and Nichols, the 11 years they were both in the NL (1890-1900):
   13. RobC Posted: September 30, 2003 at 09:55 PM (#517959)
Clint,

I thought the same about Delahanty. Not sure how he ended up at #2 on anyone's ballot (or #3). Right now I am leaning towards Bid #1 and Kid #2.
   14. karlmagnus Posted: September 30, 2003 at 10:06 PM (#517961)
On the basis of what the Worcester incident says about his ability to play in the major leagues, I have concluded that unlike McVey, Pike hung them up because he was more or less done -- hence I have moved him down a couple of spots, currently just off my provisional ballot. This raises the question of Meyerle, who to my uneducated glance looks by published data a bit better than Pike, and was only 2 months younger (McVey, IMHO, considerbaly better than either). He could clearly still play in 1877; did he go west like McVey, or hang them up like Pike?
   15. jimd Posted: September 30, 2003 at 10:29 PM (#517963)
Here are my two previous posts giving data on this subject:

"19th-Century DERA offset"

"AA/AL vs NL as percent"

The last sentence should read "between NL and the AA at its best." (? Where did that correction go; I remember posting something to that effect earlier. ?)
   16. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 01, 2003 at 12:02 AM (#517965)
I thought the same about Delahanty. Not sure how he ended up at #2 on anyone's ballot (or #3). Right now I am leaning towards Bid #1 and Kid #2.

I should have pointed out during the previous election that Delahanty was ahead of McPhee without a career positional adjustment. After the adjustement is when McPhee moved ahead of Big Ed.

The career adjustment is based on the same logic as my Pop Scriver/Sam Thompson post from the 1910 Ballot Discussion thread. All teams will have a certain number of seasons for each position that will be available to each team (if they played out their careers with one team). Hypothetically, if the average shortstop has a 10 year career, while an average first baseman has a 15 year career, they're both helping their teams the same way by being in the lineup. If (hypothetically again) the average team is missing the services of their best shortstop five seasons less than an average first baseman, all teams are affected and will be not hurt by this effect.

That's why McPhee could move ahead of Delahanty. If you're dealing heavily in peak, than we have a different deal.
   17. Howie Menckel Posted: October 01, 2003 at 12:09 AM (#517966)
TEAMS WITH SIX HALL OF MERIT MEN
   18. Chris Cobb Posted: October 01, 2003 at 12:15 AM (#517967)
On Levi Meyerle's departure from the game, this from the BaseballHistorian site:

Levi Meyerle, Third Baseman, Outfielder, Atlantic of Brooklyn - a well-regarded hitter, the muscular, wafer-thin, 6-ft, 1-inch, 177-pounder's hits were usually booming drives into the outfield. In the National Association's first season, 1871, Meyerle led all players and set a still unbroken record with a resounding .492 batting average, with 64 hits in 130 at-bats spanning 26 games. As was the custom of the day he jumped to Philadelphia for a higher salary in 1873, then on to Chicago for more money in 1874, where he hit a league leading .402. A severely sprain ankle forced him to leave the majors during the 1877 season...

In comparing Meyerle to Pike, another thing to keep in mind is that Pike's peak began earlier than Meyerle's. It's my understanding from the info reported in earlier discussions that Pike was a star professional player from 1865 on, while Meyerle became a noteworthy player a few years later, in 1868 or 1869.
   19. Marc Posted: October 01, 2003 at 12:22 PM (#517969)
We have a history of overrating the newly eligible, just look at Grant and Ryan dropping in '09. So there is probably a little more enthusiasm for Nichols than necessary. But putting him into a '90-'20 grouping is a little unfair too. It is the one least favorable perspective you could possibly put on him.

But he is still #1 on this ballot and the #1 pitcher yet. I'd have to think whether he is the #1 overall. That seems slightly out of scale with conventional wisdom, at least.

Burkett #2 is an even tougher call. That really seems like an overreaction to a new name on the ballot. Top 5 for sure, but #2? He had 16 darn good years but so did a lot of guys, and he had the advantage of some pretty good offensive environments.
   20. Rusty Priske Posted: October 01, 2003 at 12:44 PM (#517970)
Sorry for jumping the gun there. I thought it was obvious who had won.
   21. karlmagnus Posted: October 01, 2003 at 01:35 PM (#517971)
(25) Chris, thank you. Injury is of course a third possibility, that I hadn't (but should have) thought of. Still like Meyerle's peak, though, and will keep him a spot or two ahead of Pike near the bottom of the ballot -- not that either of them are close to election, as the EO70sB seem to be in control!
   22. Jeff M Posted: October 01, 2003 at 01:54 PM (#517972)
Sorry for jumping the gun there. I thought it was obvious who had won.

No problem. I read ballot comments, but I typically don't keep track of the ballots as they are posted. For some reason, I didn't really have a feel for who was going to take this one. I thought it would be Start or McPhee, so I actually was shocked that it was Galvin.

After Nichols gets elected, we are going to see that pitchers are over-represented in the HOM -- big time. I'm not saying that out of any prejudice against pitchers. But after this election, we will have 23 HOMers and 7 of them are pitchers. Doesn't bode well for Vic Willis, Addie Joss, Rube Waddell, Sam Leever, Iron Joe McGinnity or Jack Chesbro, all of whom will become eligible in the next five "years".
   23. RobC Posted: October 01, 2003 at 02:00 PM (#517973)
1. Bid McPhee (1) - The top career value on the ballot. 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.
   24. MattB Posted: October 01, 2003 at 02:15 PM (#517974)
Not to be devil's advocate or anything, but let's take a look:

Kid Nichols v. Mickey Welch

IP: 5056 in longer season (11th all-time) v. 4802 in shorter seasons (15th all-time). Consider that about a draw.

Strikeouts: 1868 (70th all-time) v. 1850 (71st all-time). About even.

Base on Balls: 1268 v. 1297. About even.

Home Runs: 157 v. 106. Advantage Welch.

Nichols has the advantage in Wins and ERA+ (although not in ERA).

I am still having lots of problems distinguishing pitchers in a way that would give me a clearer picture than a formula that equally weighs Wins and ERA+. (say, Wins + 3*ERA+). But when I look at DIPS data, and try to separate pitchers from their teammates, everyone ends up looking the same.
   25. Carl Goetz Posted: October 01, 2003 at 02:48 PM (#517975)
We're electing 2 players in 1911, right?
   26. DanG Posted: October 01, 2003 at 03:01 PM (#517976)
Looking at a survey of Black Ink and Gray Ink. Among other things, it indicates why you might consider Nichols to have greater accomplishments than Welch. Also, Welch played in a two league era where there's more points to go around. Nichols' prime was in a one league era.
   27. MattB Posted: October 01, 2003 at 03:43 PM (#517978)
In an attempt to kill the 1910 thread, I am posting some info on Lip Pike here:

"Reputed to be the organized baseball's first Jewish player and manager, Lip Pike began playing with junior clubs in Brooklyn in the early 1860s. In 1866, he joined the Philadelphia Athletics where he quickly became one of the leagues leading hitters. Pike returned to New York the following year and played two seasons for the Mutuals. The Tammany Hall connections he made with the Mutuals would pay off for Pike in his later years.

"In 1869 Pike joined the Atlantics where for season seasons he played second base in all 106 Atlantics contests. In 1869 he was the team's second leading hitter behind first baseman Joe Start. Pike was an outstanding fielder and base-runner, but he was particularly known as a dead-pull left-handed power hitter. In its 1893 tribute to Pike, the Sporting News described his hitting prowess: 'in his day he could hit the ball as hard as any man in the business . . . during his career [he] had sent the ball over the right field fence of nearly every park in which he had played." According to the New York Times, Pike once hit a towering drive that struck and bent the flagpole high atop the pagoda in the outfield at Union Grounds in Brooklyn."

from "Long Before the Dodgers".

To summarize: Pike was associated with the New York Mutuals, and therefore everything he did was suspect.
   28. OCF Posted: October 01, 2003 at 04:13 PM (#517979)
Kid Nichols v. Mickey Welch

IP: 5056 in longer season (11th all-time) v. 4802 in shorter seasons (15th all-time). Consider that about a draw.


"Longer season" vs. "shorter seasons" is a red herring. The real marker is the 1893 change in pitching distance. Before that, the league-leading IP total was usually about 600; after that it was usually a little over 400. Here are the league ranks for IP:

Welch..... 4 8 - 6 4 2 3 8 5 5
   29. Chris Cobb Posted: October 01, 2003 at 04:15 PM (#517980)
Burkett #2 is an even tougher call. That really seems like an overreaction to a new name on the ballot. Top 5 for sure, but #2? He had 16 darn good years but so did a lot of guys, and he had the advantage of some pretty good offensive environments.

By the numbers I have, Burkett is clearly the top position player on this ballot. He has more fielding-and-season adjusted career win shares (468 -- the next is Start at 423), his total win shares above average is by far the highest (123 -- next is Jennings with 81), his peak rate is third highest after Jennings and McGraw (35.44 over 8 years -- McGraw is at 35.89), he has the most seasons above average (14 -- Van Haltren is next at 13), and he was thrice among the top 5 position players in the game.

If one gives Start a large amount of pre-1871 credit, or if one gives McPhee a large positional bonus and/or credits the WARP fielding numbers, either of them might have a case for ranking ahed of Burkett, but no other position player is close to having a case. I give Start some pre-1871 credit, and I give McPhee some positional bonus, but Burkett still ranks ahead of both as I see it.

Burkett was not quite as good as Delahanty, but he's definite first-ballot HoMer material. But he's coming up with Nichols.

WARP, as far as I can tell, agrees with win shares that Burkett was a great, great player.
   30. Marc Posted: October 01, 2003 at 04:34 PM (#517981)
>To summarize: Pike was associated with the New York Mutuals, and therefore everything he did was
   31. MattB Posted: October 01, 2003 at 04:46 PM (#517982)
In case it wasn't clear, my tongue was firmly in my cheek. Pike was suspected of misdeeds because of his associations with Tammany Hall. That makes complete sense. I have certainly not convicted him, and will likely have him on my ballot.
   32. RobC Posted: October 01, 2003 at 04:58 PM (#517983)
It is striking that stories of Joe Start's prowess in the '60s are hype. Stories of Lip Pike's alleged misdeeds are gospel.

Marc,

Has anyone claimed both of these? Me thinks you are building a nice strawman there.
   33. Jeff M Posted: October 01, 2003 at 05:04 PM (#517984)
I agree wholeheartedly that Welch's IP are not equivalent to Nichols because of the pitching distance. Welch also pitched for a few years in the underhand period.

Adjusting for the increased role fielding played in defense (and the diminished role played by pitching), I have Welch with 356 WS, which is 27.88 per 43 games started. Nichols has smaller adjustments, since pitching became more important as time moved on. I have Nichols with 479 WS, which is 36.71 per 43 games started. The BP analysis also seems to favor Nichols quite a bit.

If you still believe in Linear Weights, Nichols is miles ahead. Welch pitched in ballparks that were hard to hit in. Nichols pitched in batter-friendly parks.

I think it is also useful to ask a few "Keltner" questions, like:

Was Welch ever the best pitcher in the league? He was in the top echelon, but I don't think he was the best. I think Nichols could be considered the best during several years.

Would Welch have won any Cy Young or MVP awards? Seems unlikely. I think Nichols would have taken a couple.

Did Welch impact a significant number of pennant races? Probably three. Nichols influenced about six.

Just things to think about.
   34. Chris Cobb Posted: October 01, 2003 at 05:42 PM (#517985)
After Nichols gets elected, we are going to see that pitchers are over-represented in the HOM -- big time. I'm not saying that out of any prejudice against pitchers. But after this election, we will have 23 HOMers and 7 of them are pitchers.

"over-represented in the HOM -- big time" seems like an overstatement. I figure over the long haul we should have 2 to 2.5 pitchers out of every 10 players, so 5 right now would be a proper percentage. I think we put Rusie and Radbourn in ahead of better position players, which is why pitchers are over-represented at present, and why we have a dearth of mid-ballot pitchers.

Doesn't bode well for Vic Willis, Addie Joss, Rube Waddell, Sam Leever, Iron Joe McGinnity or Jack Chesbro, all of whom will become eligible in the next five "years".

Indeed it doesn't, and that seems right. None of these guys has much of a case on career value. I haven't looked closely at them yet, but unless they show truly outstanding peak value, they won't be close to election. This list doesn't include Clark Griffith, I note. He's going to be a more challenging case than most of these guys when he reaches the ballot in a few years. And a little further down the road is Ed Walsh, who has a short career but a fabulous peak. It's good to know that the balloting isn't going to get dull :-) .
   35. Marc Posted: October 01, 2003 at 05:43 PM (#517986)
RobC, I have no idea if these two assertions came from the same people or not and I didn't mean to imply that they did. But both certainly have been asserted and/or assumed.

MattB, thanks for the clarification. The location of the tongue is difficult to ascertain here on the Internet without the use of the appropriate symbols! But how do you do a tongue in cheek? This is as best as I can figure out: ;-?
   36. Marc Posted: October 01, 2003 at 06:08 PM (#517987)
Oh and (look!) a preliminary ballot!

1. Nichols or Start
   37. Marc Posted: October 01, 2003 at 07:53 PM (#517990)
Jason, my purpose was not to defend Pike's ranking or even his character but to defend us all against inferences disguised as facts. I am quite sure I did a lousy job of any or all, however.
   38. Jeff M Posted: October 01, 2003 at 08:17 PM (#517991)
I figure over the long haul we should have 2 to 2.5 pitchers out of every 10 players, so 5 right now would be a proper percentage.

Maybe that's right for the long haul. I don't know. But by what reasoning should we have 30% pitchers in this particular era when everyone seems to acknowledge that pitching was a significantly smaller part of the game than it is in later years? Maybe 20-25% works for the modern game and/or the long haul, but we're gonna be at 30% after emerging from an era where some pitchers threw underhand, some from as short a distance as 45 feet and some to batters who could call "high" or "low".
   39. Jeff M Posted: October 01, 2003 at 08:21 PM (#517992)
I noticed on the "Let's Get to Know Each Other Thread" that we are going to have a new voter in 1911.

Anybody have further thoughts on orientation, etc.? Based on his introduction, I think Ron should (at a minimum) read the Constitution and post a preliminary ballot on this thread.
   40. Jeff M Posted: October 01, 2003 at 08:45 PM (#517993)
Just posted a message on the "Let's Get to Know Each Other" thread aimed at our new voter. Take a look and add anything that you think is important. Having posted that message, I wish I had italicized the word "independently".
   41. Carl Goetz Posted: October 01, 2003 at 08:51 PM (#517994)
So far 7 of 24 HoMers are pitchers(after the inevitable selection of Nichols) for 29% from this early era. This analysis ignores the fact that, when all is said and done, at least 4 more hitters that are currently eligible are near sure-things to go in(Burkett,McVey,Start,McPhee)and no more pitchers. Also, a few more have at least an outside chance (Jennings,Bennett,Grant,Duffy) and there are no pitchers in this group either. In the end, when considering players who are already in and those who are currently eligible, the percentage of pitchers who are in will likely be much closer to 20% and at least lower than 25%. That seems reasonable to me.
   42. Carl Goetz Posted: October 01, 2003 at 08:54 PM (#517995)
The above players I listed was off the top of my head. I forgot to include Stovey,Thompson, and Ryan is my list of possible-but-not-a-sure-thing players.
   43. Chris Cobb Posted: October 01, 2003 at 09:00 PM (#517996)
?I wrote: I figure over the long haul we should have 2 to 2.5 pitchers out of every 10 players, so 5 right now would be a proper percentage.

Jeff wrote: Maybe that's right for the long haul. I don't know. But by what reasoning should we have 30% pitchers in this particular era when everyone seems to acknowledge that pitching was a significantly smaller part of the game than it is in later years? Maybe 20-25% works for the modern game and/or the long haul, but we're gonna be at 30% after emerging from an era where some pitchers threw underhand, some from as short a distance as 45 feet and some to batters who could call "high" or "low".

Well, I think there are a few points to consider. First, the numbers of players we've elected is still far too small for trends of over-underrepresentation of a position to be discerned with confidence, or for imbalances to be uncorrectable. The only pitchers we're certain to elect between now and 1920 are Kid Nichols and Cy Young, and we'll elect 14 over that 10-year period. If they were the only two, that would put us at 8 of 36 through 1920; we could elect one pitcher more during that time and still be at 25%, which I think would not overweight that Hall with pitchers. As long as we don't elect anyone we later wish to remove, imbalances can and will be corrected over time.

Second, although _pitching_ was a smaller part of the game, _individual pitchers_ could have a greater impact on their team's success, so I'm not at all persuaded that we should have elected fewer pitchers for this era than for later eras. In my personal Hall, Radbourn and Rusie haven't made it in yet, but I think they will make it in the next five years, so I don't think we've made any serious mistakes in whom we've elected.

Third, whatever the views of individual voters may be, our treatment of pitchers so far has been somewhat more cautious than the Hall of Fame's, so there's no appearance that we are stuffing the Hall of Merit full of unworthy hurlers. And I think we're about to get a lot more conservative than the HoF has been -- I'm not thinking that Jack Chesbro or Addie Joss is likely to be voted into the HoM! Willis, McGinnity, and Waddell are going to be borderline candidates.
   44. jimd Posted: October 01, 2003 at 09:35 PM (#517997)
I figure over the long haul we should have 2 to 2.5 pitchers out of every 10 players

Bill James Win Shares allocates 1/3 of the total to the pitchers. Big IF: assume this is correct. Then when teams consist primarily of 4 starting pitchers and 8 starting position players (plus a few backups), all is in balance and each of the 12 starting slots is earning 1/12 of the total value. Therefore, pitchers should be roughly 1/3 of the HOM population. Whether they will have careers of appropriate value and length, or need extra consideration (like catchers) due to wear-and-tear, only time will tell.
   45. OCF Posted: October 01, 2003 at 11:35 PM (#517998)
One last post from my R* series, on runs scored, adjusted for league. The adjustment means that an R* of 100 represents the average of the #5 player in the league and 1/6 of the runs of an average team. That makes 100 a standard of considerable excellence. League-leading is normally around 115, sometimes lower or higher. I have a list of players whom I consider pertinent to this conversation ranked in three ways.

The first way, which I like the best, is the total amount by which the player exceeded 75 per season, with a very mild league strength adjustment. In other words, a line of 102 93 57 80 would be recorded as 27 + 18 + 0 + 5 = 50. Think of it as measure of both breadth and height of peak. I included 3 modern long-career leadoff hitters as a sort of eyball calibration.

(438 Pete Rose)
   46. ronw Posted: October 02, 2003 at 01:16 AM (#517999)
OK, here's my first post so far. I do not disagree with any particular selection to the HoM so far, although the order might have been different than my personal choices. I will try to keep my explanations short, because this list is very preliminary.

1. Nichols - Peak, Career, Pennants, WS, WARP1, WARP3, even TPR, he is a first-ballot hall of famer in many elections.

2. Burkett - He'll have to wait until next year. Outstanding hitter, seems to be an average fielder based on the data and his left field position. (Or were left fielders still the weakest outfielders in the '90's? See Sam Thompson.)

3. McPhee - I was shocked at the lack of AA representation until I read the posts and analyzed the league in comparison to the NL with the various tools you have out there. Still, McPhee showed he could field in the NL just as well as in the AA.

(Will be in line - I predict that the players above this line will eventually make the HoM.)

4. Grant - I played in a fantasy all-time league (not Bill James) with Ted Knorr a couple of years back. Ted was the head of the SABR Negro Leagues Committee. He may still be there, but I am no longer a member. I will have to check my old email to see if I still have what Ted said, but Ted had a very favorable impression of Mr. Grant. Although I have no statistical evidence to back up this ranking

5. Start - OK, I will admit that before I saw your posts, I would have never thought about electing Joe Start. I have two reasons for including him this high: (1) A Jake Beckleyesque long career (a name I pulled out of my head, I haven't done the actual number-crunching yet, and I may not get to it before someone else does); (2) Unknown stats for pre-1871, but a general consensus that he was great from 1866-1871. I recall a King Kelly comment from SABR's 19th Century book, that he thought Start was the greatest player in baseball, pre-NA. Now, Kelly was probably a 10 or 11 year old fan at the time, but he may have had some knowledge of the game even then.

6. Bennett - I like to think of Charlie with two good legs. I also think of him as the second-best catcher in baseball history (and only real 19th century catcher candidate left) from the beginning of time to about 1925.

7. McCormick - Interesting to see how high McCormick rates on the pitching pennants charts. I don't know if he will stay this high.

8. McVey - I may have Cal much higher. I seem to recall analyzing hypothetical All-Star seasons some time ago, and Cal was in the top 10 for number of times selected without making the real HoF.

(I believe that everyone above this line should get in to the HoM.)

9. Pike - I'm not yet convinced about his greatness. He hasn't had the Start/McVey attention, so I'll have to check on his posts. He may move above the should-make the HoM line.

10. Thompson - Before I read this board, I would have thought Sam would be a shoo-in. Now, I will have to examine his career more closely.

11. Stovey - I really need to look at the AA discount effect. I thought this guy was in. He may have scored the highest in my All-Star tally mentioned in McVey above.

12. Whitney - A lesser repeat of the McCormick comment above.

13. Duffy - I'm not a big believer in a peak performer. Hack Wilson, Dizzy Dean, and Sandy Koufax may not ultimately get my vote. (However, I will not say that I won't elect them.) The luck of longetivity will usually get more of my attention.

14. Ryan - When I think of Jimmy Ryan, without checking the numbers, I think of Roy White. I don't think of either in the HoM.

15. Van Haltren - I also think of this guy when I think of Jimmy Ryan.

Some of the missing names who could move in here, in no particular order, are:

Pete Browning
   47. Marc Posted: October 02, 2003 at 01:49 AM (#518000)
Ron, good start. I am probably one of the big peak voters on this board, you say you're not much for peak. So how come your ballot looks like mine? Welc;-)me
   48. Chris Cobb Posted: October 02, 2003 at 02:30 AM (#518001)
Ron, welcome!

If you can find any more info about Frank Grant, _many_ of us will be delighted.
   49. MattB Posted: October 02, 2003 at 03:29 AM (#518002)
I had mentioned on my 1910 ballot that I had found some more information on Dickey Pearce that led me to add him to my ballot. Previously, I had heard him described primarily as an ?innovator? (the bunt, the position of shortstop, etc.) Innovating is great, but if everyone catches on, it doesn?t really give you an advantage. Anyway, here are eight facts that I?ve uncovered about pre-1871 Dickey Pearce.

1. Original member of the 1855 Brooklyn Atlantics.

2. In 1858, the first ?All Star Game? was played, pitting the best of New York against the best of Brooklyn. It was a best-of-three, and Pearce was not picked for game one. Brooklyn lost 8-7. For the second game, shortstop Pigeon was moved to pitcher and Pearce was put at shortstop. Brooklyn won the game 29(!) to 8. New York won the rubber game 29-18, though. This was the first evidence I found that Pearce was not only playing in the 1850s, but was consider All-Star quality.

3. Star players in the amateur days were, of course, unpaid, but occasionally a star would be honored with a ?benefit game? at the end of the season, with the proceeds to go to a home-town star. These were the benefit games of the early 1860s in New York ? 1861 ? Jim Creighton (Excelsiors) and Dickey Pearce (Atlantics) (same game ? the teams played each other); 1863 ? Harry Wright; 1864 ? Joe Start. Not bad company! Further evidence of not only who played on the best teams, but who were considered their team?s stars at year end

4. A report of the Atlantics ? Excelsiors series of 1862, one game of which was won when the Excelsiors, down by one run, hit a ball to the outfield where outfielder Pearce (!) gunned down the runner trying to stretch the hit into a double (some evidence of the good arm). Also, in the Atlantics ? Mutual series of 1862 in Pearce was the team?s catcher! This only comes up, though, because in the final game, in the ninth inning, with the score tied, the Mutual batter struck out, but Pearce failed to catch the ball and did not chase it down. The Mutual player circled the bases for the win.

This game is the source of the most anti-Yogi-Berra-ish baseball quote ever in the history of baseball. Henry Chadwick declared about the game: ?it has now become a common rule of the game that, until the last man is out and the game is really ended, it is never safe to predict who will be the victor, no matter how sure this or that party may think their chances of success are.?

5. An 1865 game is noted for a 12 run inning where the Atlantics clobbered the Mutuals. The 12-run inning featured home runs by Charley Jones, Joe Start, and Dickey Pearce.

6. This is perhaps the strongest evidence of Pearce?s importance to his team. In 1866, Dickey Pearce and teammate Freddy Crane signed jumped over and signed with the Exelsiors. The Exelsiors are undefeated except for a single close loss to the strong Union club (from the Bronx). The Atlantics dropped two games to weak teams from New Jersey. But by mid-season, the pair chose to re-join the Atlantics and both players sat out the month of July to do so (there was a rule that players had to sit out 30 days before they could play for another team mid-season). When the final two games were played against each New Jersey team, the Pearce-ful Atlantics crushed the two New Jersey teams to win the two series. In fact, their only loss for the rest of the season was against the pennant-contender Philadelphia Athletics (they split two games against them). Meanwhile, the Excelsiors faded from contention. With Pearce back in the fold, the Atlantics retained the NA championship in 1866.

7. He was third in NA batting average in 1868.

8. In 1869, the Atlantics and Eckfords played for the National Championship (Cincinnati was, of course, the best team that year, but as professionals they were not eligible for the amateur championship.) The Atlantics won the game when Pearce ended a ninth inning rally by throwing out Eckford Ed Pinkham at home for the final out.

Anyway, in my mind this is more than enough to warrant a mid-ballot placement for Pearce.
   50. MattB Posted: October 02, 2003 at 03:32 AM (#518003)
BTW: If you are too busy to read all of the above, and want one good reason to vote for Dickey Pearce, just read #6.
   51. Jeff M Posted: October 02, 2003 at 01:01 PM (#518005)
...so there's no appearance that we are stuffing the Hall of Merit full of unworthy hurlers

I hope no one interpreted my comments as suggesting that we are stuffing. I was just expressing my opinion that we've elected too many pitchers (or at least too soon, e.g., Spalding, Rusie), but I'm certainly not accusing the group of anything other than a coincidence (and possibly relying too much on pitcher's numbers from the early years). :)

I'm not thinking that Jack Chesbro or Addie Joss is likely to be voted into the HoM! Willis, McGinnity, and Waddell are going to be borderline candidates.

Agreed. I've got them as McGinnity, Waddell and Willis, but very close to each other somewhere in the back 40% of the ballot. Chesbro and Joss will be off the ballot.

The tendency of this group seems to be to discount that impact, but teams won and lost those games because of their pitchers...

Well it's a sliding discount. The further back you go, the more importance fielding has, so the less importance pitching has (at least in the WS splits). I agree that this begins to fade as time moves on. I certainly don't discount Nichols as much as I discount Spalding.

In the context of WS, one of the best ways to look at this (IMO) is the percentage of runs scored in the league that are unearned. It gives you some idea of the importance of good (or bad) fielding. In the NA years, approximately 60% of all runs scored were unearned. During Welch's prime (1887-1892) it hovered around 40%. During Nichols' prime (1897-1901), it was approximately 30%. During Nolan Ryan's prime (1974-1979) it was about 12%. Today, it is 10% or lower.
   52. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 02, 2003 at 01:35 PM (#518006)
Agreed. I've got them as McGinnity, Waddell and Willis, but very close to each other somewhere in the back 40% of the ballot. Chesbro and Joss will be off the ballot.

My order is Willis, McGinnity, Waddell, Joss and Chesbro. The top three are close, however, so I might shuffle them at a later date. The latter two are close also, but farther on down the line.

Griffith was better than all of them, IMO.

BTW, I'll be away in the Lone Star State until Sunday, so you'll have to discuss the merits of the new candidates without my scintillating, yet thought provoking commentary. :-)
   53. Marc Posted: October 02, 2003 at 01:44 PM (#518007)
MattB, great post. Can that be THE Charley Jones who hit that 1865 HR? He would have been 15 at the time, and did not play in the NA until '75.

Also note that the Phil A's of 1866 were Al Reach's team (he was the star 2B).

What is also striking to me is that Pearce, Start and Jack Chapman all played for the Atlantics, three of the "names" that are most mentioned in accounts of '60s ball. They're kinda the Bench, Morgan, Rose of their day. And yet they found some pretty good competition, they lost some games to the other teams. I am not claiming '90s type competition, but the New York scene was competitive. We only know "Bench, Morgan and Rose" from the perspective of 140 years later because they did win. But it was not a cakewalk.

Oh and finally, so Pearce was a "revolver"!? Do we have other evidence of his bad character ;-)
   54. Carl Goetz Posted: October 02, 2003 at 02:29 PM (#518008)
Prelim ballot:
   55. MattB Posted: October 02, 2003 at 02:40 PM (#518009)
Marc,

Good point. This was a case of my fingers getting ahead of my head! I was sort of assuming it was THE Charley Jones as I was typing, and didn't think of the age thing. Going back to my source, I see that it wasn't even A Charley Jones who hit the home run. Rather, it was Pearce, Start, and teammate Charley SMITH, who was a long-time Atlantic as well, but nowhere near as accomplished as anyone else we're discussing.
   56. OCF Posted: October 02, 2003 at 02:52 PM (#518010)
There's an interesting thread-within-a-thread about pitchers yet to come: posts #30, 43, 49, 54, 63, and 64, mostly Jeff M. and Chris Cobb. Here's a thought that fits with that: There are only about twenty 300-game winners in baseball history, and so far, the Hall of Fame has taken all of them. We seem well on the way to omitting Mickey Welch. Will we also omit Eddie Plank?
   57. DanG Posted: October 02, 2003 at 02:52 PM (#518011)
Marc, I also would doubt that was THE Charley Jones. But, for some reason his nickname was "Baby". Where was he through 1874? I need my Nineteenth Century Stars.

Also not that another star of the Phil A's of 1866 was Mr. Lipman Emanuel Pike. Perhaps it was sour grapes, but when the team failed to win the championship, Pike took a lot of blame, as he was not a local boy, and was let go.
   58. Marc Posted: October 02, 2003 at 05:03 PM (#518013)
Dan, the player-manager of the A's was a Yorker, too, Al Reach. There is no way the A's of '66 could possibly have competed without a few ringers. But isn't that a theme of baseball history--that losing teams blamed their best players for their troubles.
   59. Rusty Priske Posted: October 02, 2003 at 05:36 PM (#518014)
Well I have been a reanalysis of Dickey Pearce this week. Up until now he has been only on the periphery of my radar.

However, after reading all that has been posted on him, and comparing him to everyone else available, I find that he still doesn't make my ballot. He drops in at #17, right between Sam Thompson and Mike Tiernan.
   60. Chris Cobb Posted: October 02, 2003 at 09:44 PM (#518018)
Jason, this is another instance where, I must say, I just don't find the BP defensive assessment of outfielders to be credible. There's certainly no evidence that Burkett was a great glove man, but I can't see his defense knocking him down the ballot.

I know it's risky to draw conclusions about fielding from raw stats, but here's the sort of thing that boggles me about BP's fielding ratings:

Season--games--PO--Assists--Errors--DP=FRAR
   61. Brian H Posted: October 03, 2003 at 03:11 AM (#518020)
Just a question --

Assuming he was not a famously bad (Browning) or great fielder (Duffy) -- just how much does it matter whether he was just above or below average in weighing Burkett (an outfielder) ?

By the way James' "Win Shares" book gives the Crab a "B" as a fielder.
   62. Jeff M Posted: October 03, 2003 at 01:24 PM (#518021)
Assuming he was not a famously bad (Browning) or great fielder (Duffy) -- just how much does it matter whether he was just above or below average in weighing Burkett (an outfielder)

I agree (except I think there might be some questions about how "famously bad" Pete Browning was). Burkett was a left fielder (probably for good reason), so he would have to be absolutely horrible defensively for it to adversely impact his status as a potential HoMer, given his tremendous production at the plate.
   63. Al Peterson Posted: October 03, 2003 at 03:23 PM (#518022)
This years fun stuff - prelim version

1. Kid Nichols (-). Won 360 games and, oh by the way, took two years "off" to manage and play in the Western Association. Laps the field on the ballot.

2. Jesse Burkett (-). Pride of Wheeling, WV is a strong candidate who ran into a buzzsaw at the top.

3. Harry Stovey (1). Played in the wrong league in the wrong era. His numbers in the hitting mid-90's would have got him noticed.

4. Bid McPhee (3). Career value as a middle infielder makes up for hitting being a weaker component of his game.

5. Joe Start (5). Be patient FOJS. He's getting there...

6. Cal McVey (4). Always flip-flopping him with Start. Still worthy.

7. Sam Thompson (11). Big mover of the week. In our rush to prove how smart we are and unearth some players that are hidden gems we overlook a pretty darn good player.

8. Charlie Bennett (6). Could help the Tigers more today than Brandon Inge.

9. Hugh Duffy (8). Believe some of the hype so here he falls.

10. Pete Browning (9). Defense be damned - let him go 4 for 4 then bring in the defensive replacement : )

11. Frank Grant (10). Til something really negative comes out about his play.

12. Mike Tiernan (-). Reexamination lets him back on the ballot.

13. Jimmy Ryan (7). Outfielders, outfielders, everywhere.

14. George Van Haltren (12). Look, here's another one!

15. Mickey Welch (13). Welch vs. Nichols doesn't really help Mickey much.

On the outside looking in...16. Tip O'Neill 17. Cupid Childs 18. John McGraw 19. Lip Pike 20. Hughie Jennings
   64. OCF Posted: October 03, 2003 at 04:31 PM (#518024)
Did they try just about every kid as a pitcher? The records of the pitchers of the 1890 New York Giants:
   65. Marc Posted: October 03, 2003 at 04:39 PM (#518025)
I haven't gotten around to Nichols-Start yet, but I see Burkett popping up at #2 a bit and I saw somebody say that he wasn't sure who won in the Burkett-Nichols matchup. So let's consider Burkett-Start. At first blush it's all Jesse.

BRAR--Burkett 915 Start 320
   66. Paul Wendt Posted: October 03, 2003 at 04:42 PM (#518026)
Games played as leadoff batter, NL 1901
   67. Marc Posted: October 03, 2003 at 04:46 PM (#518027)
BTW I shouldn't have used adjWARP1/100 games since I have already adjusted to "simulate" more games. But if you take raw WARP1/100 games, Start is still ahead 6-5.6.
   68. OCF Posted: October 03, 2003 at 05:00 PM (#518028)
Thanks, Paul, that's very interesting. So a significant part of Burkett's large lead on the league in Runs comes from being in the best situation (leadoff) more often than anyone else. It was still a helluva season. I'm going to take a closer look at the 1901 season and at all of the players you named (any excuse to look at Roy Thomas's outlandish statistics). The first think I notice is that St. Louis led the league in R/G without quite leading in OPS or any OPS component.
   69. Marc Posted: October 03, 2003 at 08:59 PM (#518031)
ed, well, first, I'm not comparing Start to Yaz, et al, though frankly they're comp in certain intriguing respects! I'm only comparing him to Burkett, whose birthdate is only 26 years later. So how much timeline do you want? BP deducts 60 percent of Start's value, that's not enough? With a timeline like that, in 100-150 years or so Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds will be bums.

(The question is not whether Joe Start is "better" (i.e. more toolsy) than Paul Waner or not, it is whether he was more valuable to his teams in the 1870s and '80s (and '60s) than Waner was to his in the '20s and '30s, and it's not obvious to me that he was not.)

Second, I didn't ignore the timeline even though I'm not a big fan of timelining--I saw and I understand the WARP2 and WARP3 numbers and I posted them. I chose to use adjWARP1 to calculate WARP/100 games, sure, but I didn't ignore the other numbers. And my final ballot won't be based solely on adjWARP1/100 games, there are other components. So I'm aware of and understand the "timeline" and I don't ignore the passage of time, I just think 60 percent is excessive and I factor it in my own way.

But third, some people, on the other hand, ignore the fact that Joe Start played ball from 1859 to 1970. Why do they do that?
   70. Marc Posted: October 03, 2003 at 09:24 PM (#518032)
1870.

And as a follow-up, I have come to the conclusion that the timeline is strictly tautological. I agree that players have gotten "better" in a toolsy way. Meanwhile, value is value: a win is a win, in 1876 and 1976. A run is not exactly a run (park and era effects), but they're all in the same "ballpark," pardon the pun. But we posit that, surely, Joe Start is not as good as Jesse Burkett or Paul Waner or Yaz and we develop a formula that reflects our assumption. But, voila!, then the formula and the scores it produces (WARP2) become "proof" that Joe Start is not as good as (not as valuable as)...when in fact they are merely mathematical representations of our assumptions.

Again, I don't disagree with the assumption that players are better in a toolsy way--specifically at the average and replacement levels (we don't really know if the greats are any better). And I recognize it was easier to dominate. DanG showed as much with his OPS+ list. But how much adjustment is necessary to account for that? Not 60 percent of Joe Start's raw value (30 percent more than for a guy born 26 years later). That is excessive.

Another way to think about it is Joe Start was probably the best player (or one of the 2-3 best players) in America for 3-5 years. Jesse Burkett was among the 3-5 best players in America (probably never "the" best) for 3-5 years. Prima facie they're very comparable. My question to you, ed, is how many guys from the '90s are better than the very best player in America in the '60s at his prime? 10? 20? 30? 50? Even 10 is excessive.

That's what I believe about the timeline adjustment.
   71. ronw Posted: October 03, 2003 at 10:31 PM (#518033)
>>My question to you, ed, is how many guys from the '90s are better
   72. Jeff M Posted: October 03, 2003 at 10:47 PM (#518034)
But we posit that, surely, Joe Start is not as good as Jesse Burkett or Paul Waner or Yaz and we develop a formula that reflects our assumption. But, voila!, then the formula and the scores it produces (WARP2) become "proof" that Joe Start is not as good as (not as valuable as)...when in fact they are merely mathematical representations of our assumptions.

Thank you for saying this Marc. Apart from the specific issue it addresses, we do tend to reach a conclusion and then research towards it, rather than researching and coming to an objective conclusion.
   73. Marc Posted: October 04, 2003 at 02:14 AM (#518035)
Jeff, thanks. (And I cheerfully admit to having my own biases: a pennant is a pennant, baseball in the 1860s and '70s was valid and important, and the following, for example.)

And Ron, I understand the population or "pool" argument, but my sense is that the pool establishes the norm and/or replacement levels. But the very greatest players are flukes of nature anyway, I don't think the pool is a particularly large influence on the relative greatness of the very best of '65 vs. '95. I agree that training and conditioning, etc., would be a factor, and I think a bigger one.

But in any event, all of that is relative to the "tools" argument. If you could go back to 1865 in your time machine, grab Joe Start, drag him up to '95 and plop him on a MLB playing field, would he still be the best or one of the best? Probably not, and I don't think anybody is saying he would. What I'm saying is that's irrelevant to the value he brought to his team in his own time.
   74. Marc Posted: October 05, 2003 at 01:50 AM (#518037)
ed, please vote for Perry Werden. But on the other hand, if absolute skill (tools) is what this HoM thing is all about and if the size of the pool is decisive then we probably shouldn't elect anybody from the 19th century at all.

My only point and my only beef is that here we are in 1910 using huge timeline adjustments based on population and other factors, when we all know that these very same factors will soon be abandoned by voters in favor of some Brand New Toy.

The 1876 pennant was as valuable as the 1896 and 1976 pennants, and the players who won those pennants had real value. I don't care whether they could play today or not.

>The analogy of early baseball is sorta like the Olympics where records of 30 years ago are constantly being smashed and new standards being placed.

Or in other words, Jesse Owens couldn't make some high school track teams today. He's still the first man in my track hall of fame.
   75. Marc Posted: October 06, 2003 at 12:47 AM (#518039)
OK, Start and Nichols.

Da Kid: PRAR 1230 WARP1 120.7 adjPRAR 917 WARP2 84.4 WARP3 93.3
   76. Howie Menckel Posted: October 06, 2003 at 12:18 PM (#518042)
Tom,
   77. Marc Posted: October 06, 2003 at 01:57 PM (#518043)
TomH, I don't assume your rating of Start and Burkett is based solely on EqA, is it? How big of a difference in EqA could be overcome by greater defensive value and a longer career (27/16ths)? Or is 26 points so big a difference that there's no other considerations that would matter?
   78. Carl Goetz Posted: October 08, 2003 at 02:35 PM (#518045)
I know its not going to matter for at least 70 elections, but does anyone know if WS and Warp adjust closers upwards for the 'leverage' of the innings they pitch in? Just curious.
   79. jimd Posted: October 08, 2003 at 03:37 PM (#518047)
I'm pretty sure WARP does something similar.

See the definition of XIP in the BP Glossary.
   80. DanG Posted: October 08, 2003 at 04:46 PM (#518048)
Win shares for 2003 can be found at the above link. I don't think these are "official".

Gagne did indeed lead NL pitchers with 25 WS. Prior, Schmidt and Hernandez are next with 22 WS.
   81. Paul Wendt Posted: October 08, 2003 at 05:59 PM (#518049)
does anyone know if WS and Warp adjust closers upwards for the 'leverage' of the innings they pitch in?

BTW, Pete Palmer introduced his version in TB6 (1999). The adjustment bears on the calculation of Pitching Wins from Adjusted Pitching Runs, PR+. It is based on official decisions (W, L, S) and innings (IP). See the Glossary.

For an extreme example of the effect, see Tom Gordon 1997-1998.
   82. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 09, 2003 at 10:29 PM (#518050)
I just received my copy of Baseball's First Stars in the mail today. Woo-hoo!

Has anyone seen Mickey Welch's picture in the book? He's the spitting image of George Clooney. Scary!
   83. Marc Posted: October 10, 2003 at 12:15 AM (#518051)
>Has anyone seen Mickey Welch's picture in the book? He's the spitting image of George Clooney.

Oh great, now my wife is gonna make me vote for Mickey Welch!
   84. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 13, 2003 at 03:27 AM (#518052)
Is anyone disturbed (if current trends stay the same) that our Hall will probably be missing a catcher, second baseman, third baseman and (possibly) a first baseman who had their greatest value during the nineties (though one could make an argument for McPhee; Jimmy Collins had most of his value during the first decade of the new century)? Not to mention that the outfield glut doesn't look like it's getting any traction with our voting. For the strongest decade of the 19th century, this seems odd.

Dahlen, Davis, Delahanty, Burkett, and Hamilton seem about it for the position players (though Willie Keeler should make it). I'm not so sure about Beckley. Something to think about...
   85. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: October 13, 2003 at 05:06 AM (#518053)
Yeah, John, that seems a little odd to me as well, although I don't know what to do about it. (And why couldn't you have waited until tomorrow and put this on the 1912 Discussion thread?) It just seems like the 1890s were an era of a lot of good players, but not that many great ones - I don't know why that would be the case.
   86. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 13, 2003 at 05:58 AM (#518054)
(And why couldn't you have waited until tomorrow and put this on the 1912 Discussion thread?)

The thought came to me and I didn't want to forget to post it. However, I'll repost both of our posts tomorrow.
   87. Jeff M Posted: October 13, 2003 at 01:53 PM (#518055)
Is anyone disturbed (if current trends stay the same) that our Hall will probably be missing a catcher, second baseman, third baseman and (possibly) a first baseman who had their greatest value during the nineties...?

This doesn't really bother me, because we are evaluating all of the candidates and just can't find any HoMers. This seems like a problem we've discussed in a different context, which is the lack of must-elect" HoMers in an approximately 20 year period in the first quarter of the 20th century. If they aren't there, they aren't there.

I don't think we ought to stretch to elect a catcher, second baseman or third baseman from the 90s if we otherwise don't think they belong in the HoM. I think it is likely that these positions were in transition and teams were struggling somewhat to decide who should play where (e.g., what level of athleticism was required, wear and tear, etc.). I've been consistently voting for McPhee, though, and he's an 80s and 90s second baseman.

Bottom line: I don't think the best at a particular position for a particular decade has any entitlement to the HoM, particularly since the boundaries of a decade are artificial. If we evaluate 1890-1899, it might look different than if we evaluated 1885-1894. When we start to see 20 year gaps (on a rolling basis), I get a little bit more concerned -- though I have expressed the thought before that talent is not necessarily evenly distributed among the positions over the course of baseball history.
   88. MattB Posted: October 13, 2003 at 02:46 PM (#518056)
I'm with Jeff M here. For the early 1890's, Bid McPhee was the best at second, and from 1897 on, Nap Lajoie is the clear choice. That may be enough. For third base, George Davis will be going in eventually, and was strong in the 1890s. I also think it's too soon to say Jake "Mr. Counting Stats" Beckley won't be going in.

In terms of catchers, I'm not going to worry about militating for any 1890s catchers under Charlie Bennett is in, as he was clearly better than any others.
   89. Marc Posted: October 13, 2003 at 03:02 PM (#518057)
We'll be electing backlog players 75 years from now. It will sort itself out.
   90. Howie Menckel Posted: October 13, 2003 at 03:32 PM (#518058)
(I had posted this in the wrong thread...)

I have the 'HOMer season' tally this way, going out on a limb and counting Nichols as a 1911 electee:
   91. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 13, 2003 at 04:11 PM (#518059)
Well, I guess we'll keep the conversation here. :-)

The point that I was driving at was that the underrepresented positions are all in the infield. We know the '90s were the rowdiest by reputation, plus the schedule increased to 154 games by the end of the decade. Therefore, compared to the other decades, the players in the infield received much more abuse to their bodies.* This phenomena would also make the outfield guys look better in comparison.

I wasn't criticizing anybody here; my third basemen and catchers from the nineties are not rated extremely high on my ballot either. I'm just not sure that we are taking into account (myself included) the physical abuse that the '90s guys received compared to the '60s, '70s and '80s. I think we need to look at the decade more closely.

* The earlier generations also received tremendous abuse to their hands and their share of rough stuff, but the schedule was shorter.
   92. Marc Posted: October 13, 2003 at 04:23 PM (#518060)
John, I said elsewhere that this will sort itself out. Carl made the same point, '90s backlog players can get elected over the next 100 years. Besides McPhee will get in, and Davis and Dahlen.

But as to specific cases in point, I note that you voted for Childs and Nash, that is consistent with your concern. But no Jennings, who would seem to be the poster child for your point.

I think the biggest "test" will be Jimmy Collins. I don't know his biography well enough to know if it screams "wear and tear," like Jennings' does. But his numbers are not that impressive while his impact was huge. For everybody who said Buck Ewing was "the best," two said Jimmy Collins was "the best 3B," and while Ewing had ceased to be the greatest catcher in the popular culture by the time of Mickey Cochrane, Collins hung on to his title 'til after WWII. So if we cannot or do not elect Collins, then I think you've got a beef. Otherwise I'm not particularly concerned.
   93. Chris Cobb Posted: October 13, 2003 at 05:02 PM (#518061)
I share John's concerns about 1890s infielders and catchers not getting enough credit, but I'm not yet convinced that they aren't.

I moved Jennings up significantly on my ballot in 1911 when I became convinced that his peak really was historicaly spectacular, and I'm planning to move Childs up a bit in 1912. He had a truly great run. McGraw and Nash maybe deserve more attention than they've received, but I'm not sure. Childs and Jennings have a good chance of eventual election.

Jimmy Collins is going to get a lot of support: his profile is a lot like Hardy Richardson's, and Richardson went in quite easily. He may not start out at the top of people's ballots, but he's strong across the board: high (but not tip-top) career value, high (but not tip-top) peak, great defense, above average hitter. I'm more curious about the treatment Jake Beckley and Lave Cross will receive. Long careers, and in Cross's case, strong defensive numbers, but less peak than Bid McPhee.

The catchers seem less strong: once McGuire comes on the ballot, there will be four worth talking about -- Clements Zimmer Farrell McGuire -- but none of them have what I would see as a complete package.

Clements is the only one who was a better-than-average hitter, but he had the shortest career of the four, and he wasn't great defensively.

Farrell was an average hitter and very good defensively, but not all that durable as a catcher. His career length comes from his play at third base early in his career.

McGuire played forever and was an average hitter, but his defense was nothing special.

Zimmer played a long time, was very durable and played great defense, but was a below average hitter.

Bennett was a better hitter and better defender than any of these guys and durable enough, which is why he stands out so clearly. I'm having a lot of trouble seeing who is the best of the four, and I just can't see any of them as good enough to support seriously for the HoM. They all seem like very good players, but each of them falls short in some way, and none of them was great enough in some other aspect of their game to compensate.
   94. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 13, 2003 at 06:32 PM (#518062)
But as to specific cases in point, I note that you voted for Childs and Nash, that is consistent with your concern. But no Jennings, who would seem to be the poster child for your point.

I don't think Jennings was (combined peak and career) as good as Childs and Nash. If Jennings had stayed at short instead of moving to first, then it would be a different story.

However, if we are underrating the infielders from that decade, then perhaps Ee-Yah deserves a boost up. I'll be taking a closer look at him.

BTW, I think Jimmy Collins is a HoMer (possibly top five on my ballot his first year). Not as good as Sutton, but worthy, IMO, and better than Nash and Williamson.

I see Beckley making quite a few ballots his first year, but Cross hardly making any impact.
   95. favre Posted: October 13, 2003 at 11:39 PM (#518063)
Re: first basemen from the nineties:

I hope I'm not plagiarizing here--I vaguely remember reading this before--but great first basemen seem to come in bunches. During the 1870s-1880s we had Anson, Brouthers, Connor--first ballot HoMer's elected within a year of each other who were the best hitters of their time (we also have Joe Start, star of the 1860s). Then-- tell me if I'm forgetting somebody--it seems that there is thirty year dry spell for first basemen between the retirement of ABC in the mid-nineties and the emergence of Lou Gehrig. There are some guys with talent in that time period--Jake Beckley, Frank Chance, George Sisler, Ed Konetchy--guys who are maybe among the top 25-35 best first basemen of all time. From 1925 until 1940, of course, was a golden era for first baseman: Gehrig, Foxx, Greenberg, Suttles, Leonard, Mize. Then, after the war, we sem to hit another dry spell from 1945 until 1960--the best first basemen are Hodges, Adcock, Kluzewski, Vernon (although Musial played a great deal of first base during the '50s, and Mize had a couple of great years after the war). In the 1960s we have something of a resurgence: McCovey, Killebrew (if you count him as a first baseman), Cepeda. We are currently at the end of another "golden era" with Thomas, Bagwell, McGwire, McGriff, and Palmeiro, though no era compares to the '20s and '30s.

I don't know if this is true of all positions--I think catchers go through similar waves. It is interesting to chart.
   96. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 14, 2003 at 12:19 AM (#518064)
Favre:

I don't believe every position needs to be represented for each era. I agree talent is not spread evenly and sometimes one position will be the lucky (or unlucky) beneficiary of it. But when I see a few positions having a similar lack of support from us, then my radar picks it up.

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