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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Monday, November 17, 2003

1914 Ballot

So sorry this is late guys. I’m going to be out of the office until Friday and I’ve been preparing for the trip all day, posting the ballot thread slipped my mind.

I don’t have access to my home email either, so anyone that sent a ‘reminder’ I didn’t get it. If you know my work email address, don’t hesitate to send reminders there . . .

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 17, 2003 at 10:59 PM | 77 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Jeff M Posted: November 17, 2003 at 11:37 PM (#519182)
1. Stovey, Harry -- I'm keeping him at #1. I would have elected him way back in 1905. Not quite as good a pure hitter as McVey, and a smaller peak, but a much longer documented career and I give the nod to documentation vs. non-documentation. He was also a run scoring machine with some pop in his bat. I've discounted his years in 83-85 and 89, and he has consistently held his spot on my ballot.

2. McGinnity, Joe -- Solid WS numbers. Fantastic winning percentage and excellent Wins Above Team. Has some nice counting stats and good grey ink scores. Would probably have won 2 Cy Young Awards. Easily the best pitcher available for the ballot. I don't have any confidence that he should be ahead of McVey, but I wouldn't have any confidence that McVey should be ahead of McGinnity, so this is how it shook out.

3. McVey, Cal -- My park-adjusted normalized OPS for him is .892, which is damn good for a career. Essentially an all-star every documented year, and he was consistently 50% better than the league at the plate. Outstanding peak. I have given some intangible credit for pre-NA and post-NL play, but not as much as I gave Start for his pre-NA play (because of the age factor).

4. Bennett, Charlie -- Gets a boost for being a catcher because my rating system seems to undervalue catchers a bit. I've got him about 20-25% better than the league as a hitter, which is pretty good when you consider what an outstanding defender he was. He also has a nice peak compared to other catchers.

5. Kelley, Joe -- Another pure hitter that I've show as about 55% better than the league from a RC/27 perspective. Excellent WS peak and good WS career total. Would not have won MVP awards, but would have been in contention for a few. Was regularly an important player on championship teams.

6. Browning, Pete -- I've been on the Browning bandwagon for a while. His suspect defense drops him behind Stovey, Kelley and McVey. A bit one-dimensional. I have discounted his 82-85 and 89 seasons but he proved in the PL that he was no fluke. I think he's a HoMer.

7. Collins, Jimmy -- Fantastic on defense at a key position. I would have him ranked ahead of McPhee, because he played a tougher position and was a better hitter. Among the best 3b in history (though I admittedly see 3b as a fairly weak position over the course of MLB history).

8. Griffith, Clark -- I believe he is the second best eligible pitcher. An excellent win pct on some bad teams. I boost his win totals and win pct by approximately 1/2 of his Wins Above Team, which are outstanding. Has a nice career Linear Weights total also. I'm not convinced he's a HoMer, but I'm comfortable with his placement here.

9. Thompson, Sam -- Another pure hitter with questionable outfield defense. I don't think he was as good a hitter as Browning. He didn't have an incredible peak or career, from a WS perspective, as outfielders go.

10. Jones, Charley -- I give no additional credit for blacklisted seasons. If I did, he would probably be Top 5. He hit about as well as McVey, with power, but with a smaller WS peak and fewer WS per 162 games.

11. Grant, Frank -- Since our initial discussions, no new evidence has come to light so I haven't really moved him. I don't see clear and convincing evidence that he is a HoMer, but I see evidence he would have been a very good major leaguer. I give him the benefit of the doubt and put him here.

12. Long, Herman -- Not quite the hitter that McPhee or Collins, and not as historically dominant at his position as those guys, but he did play a tougher defensive position very well for a long time. He has a nice WS peak as shortstops go.

13. Welch, Mickey -- Even though it was easier to earn wins then than now, he also had a significantly better win pct than you would expect, given the teams he played on. I don't see him in the HoM, but I think he deserves a spot on the ballot.

14. Duffy, Hugh -- Frankly not a much better hitter than Bennett and at an easier defensive position. He has a decent career length and some nice Run and RBI totals which help get him on the ballot, but not in the HoM. I give him a nod over some of the other outfielders because he contributed to several championship teams from a key position.

15. Jones, Fielder -- This one totally surprised me. He bumps Beckley to #16. Tremendous defense and pretty good peak and career WS numbers. At times hit almost as well as Kelley and Browning. Wish he played a bit longer and had a little more grey ink.

The consensus Top-10ers who I do not include on the ballot are: (1) Jimmy Ryan. I see Ryan as a good, but not great hitter. I don't see much of a peak as outfielders go, his career WS numbers don't floor me compared to other outfielders and he was nothing special defensively. (2) Lip Pike. My ranking of Pike hasn't changed. He's usually lingering at the bottom of my ballot. For some reason, he suddenly shot up on the consensus ballot, though I haven't seen any new evidence that would merit such a change. I would have Pike above Ryan, for sure, and Pike's ranking is probably around #18 in my system.
   2. karlmagnus Posted: November 18, 2003 at 12:36 AM (#519183)
For Meyerle, Pike and McVey, I take adjusted hits as actual hits *130/actual games, normalizing them in each season to 130 games, with the exception of mini-seasons at the end where they were clearly winding down. I have also looked at another metric, total bases+ BBs/plate appearances and (TB+BB)/outs, which puts the 1890s players more into context, with each other although not with the 1870s players, who hardly ever walked (not surprising, with the pitcher allowed 9 balls!).

My 1914 is 1913 with new names added, McGinnity and Kelley in the middle and McGuire dropping off, and further thought on Caruthers and Meyerle, where I?m off-consensus (conclusion: I?m right, consensus wrong!) and Grant, where I?m about at consensus, but confirmed by the new numbers.

Fielder Jones distinctly less good than rest of OF glut, so off the bottom somewhere. Collins a close comp to McPhee, so he's where McPhee would be and just off the ballot this very full year. Have ranked those off the bottom so I can bring them back when ballot empties a bit:

1. (n/a-9-7-5-3-3-3-3-3-3-2-1) Cal McVey ? 1,986 hits in 9 normalized seasons of 1871-79, normalized season by season, at the end of which he was 28 1/2. Peak of 7 successive ?adjusted? 200-hit seasons in 1871-77. Giving any reasonable credit for post-29 puts him in HOM territory, even though he slowed a little from his peak in 1878-79 (to level of 170-hit ?adjusted? seasons.) TB+BB/PA .453, TB+BB/Outs .700, less than Meyerle, but played more. Considerably higher peak than Sutton, even if shorter career. Don?t entirely believe sabermetric ?funny numbers? but to the extent I understand them, they point to McVey.

2. (8-9-8-14-13-11-8-5-4-5-4-5-4-2) Bob Caruthers ? a first class pitcher/position player, with a high peak on some top teams, but a significant AA discount. Only 1,047 ?normalized? hits, so only a moderate addition to his 218 wins, but 218-99 is impressive. Don?t see that Rusie had much over this guy, except an overblown NY reputation, and Griffith clearly wasn?t as good. As a batter TB/PA .483, TB/Outs .793, so significantly better than McPhee and Sutton, close to Stovey and even beats Duffy and van Haltren slightly and Beckley by a significant margin. Compare with Ward, whose TB+BB/PA was .374 and TB+BB/Outs .545 and W-L was 164-102 (ERA+118) Caruthers close contemporary (4 years younger)and even after AA discount was a better hitter and much better pitcher -? so why have we elected Ward and not Caruthers?

3. (15-14-11-12-10-9-6-8-7-7-6-7-6-3) Mickey Welch ? 307-210 comes to impress me more and more (yes, I know it was mostly with the strong Giants.)1885 looks like a pretty good peak too; 44-11 with a 1.67 ERA is pretty impressive, compared for example to Clarkson?s 49-19 at 2.73 in 1889. Welch not as good as Clarkson, but not that far off. Slightly more impressive than Thompson, on review.

4. (N/A-13-13-14-12-11-7-6-6-5-6-5-4) Sam Thompson Only 2,136 hits adjusted to 130 game season. However TB+BB/PA was .534 and TB/Outs .865, among the highest figures on the ballot, so high peak, in a more difficult hitting era than the 1890s guys.

5. (--15-15-15-15-14-13-9-8-11-11-12-11-5) Harry Stovey Best years were in AA, and only 2,084 ?normalized hits (adjusting 1880-92 to 130 games). TB/PA .512, TB/Outs .800, puts him well above McPhee. However, like Thompson, he?s clearly distinguished from the 90s outfielders by having his prime years in the 80s.

6. (N/A) Joe McGinnity. 246-142 is better than either Griffith (237-146) or Rusie (245-174) though not than Caruthers? 218-99. Peak at 35-8 (1904) better than Griffith or Rusie, too. Career ERA+ only 121, but I think that stat is artificially deflated during the peak (or trough) of the Dead Ball Era, when league ERAs were so low -? Pedro?s 285 ERA+ in 2000 is in reality much less impressive than Dutch Leonard?s 279 in 1914 or Mordecai Centennial Peter Brown?s 253 in 1906. Mathewson?s career ERA+ is only 135 compared to John Franco?s 144.

7. Jimmy Ryan (N/A-10-9-8-7-6) Counting stats very similar to Van Haltren and better than Duffy, peak slightly better than Van H, not as good as Duffy. TB+BB/PA .508, TB+BB/Outs .809, higher than Duffy.

8. Joe Kelley (N/A) You?re right, these outfielders really are pretty well indistinguishable ?- Kelley manages to split Ryan and Duffy, which I had thought impossible. TB+BB/PA .501, TB+BB/Outs .830 in mainly 90s career, but 300 fewer hits than Ryan.

9. Jake Beckley (N/A-9) 2930 hits a lot closer to 3000 than Griffith to 300 wins, but TB+BB/PA .455, TB+BB/Outs .707 not as good as outfielder glut -? but more of his career was played in the dead ball ?00s, and as others have suggested 1B was a marginally more important fielding position than LF or RF then.

10. (N/A-6-5-9-8-9-8-7) Hugh Duffy TB+BB/PA of .489 and TB/Outs of .788, but this in the high-offense 1890s, and he?s way below Beckley on total hits. Like the 1894 peak, though ?- and it?s ?94 not ?93, pitchers had had a year to adjust. Drops down because of flood of competition, now behind Ryan and Beckley on counting considerations.

11. Harry Wright (12-15-N/A-11-10-12-10-10-9-8) Better than Pearce, but how good was he really compared to the rest? But I?m convinced by the anecdotal evidence that he has to have been at least as good as this.

12. (N/A-9-12-11-14-13-14-12-11) Levi Meyerle. Normalize 1871-77 season by season to 130 games and he gets 1,577 hits, only 15 less than Pike in 1 less season, and he was only 2 months younger, so 1860s value presumably also close (was baseball better reported in local papers where Pike played?). Better peak, too. TB+BB/PA .482, TB+BB/Outs .751, though this, like McVey and Pike?s figures, includes no ?decline? phase. Also, he was a 3B. Why did Meyerle quit? -- unlike Pike, he was nowhere near done in 1877. OPS+164 vs 152 for McVey and 155 for Pike. Will move up my ballot rapidly in 20s.

13. (N/A-8-7-11-10-10) Frank Grant. The most plausible comparison I?ve seen was to Hardy Richardson, although others are comparing him to the (IMHO) somewhat inferior McPhee. Here he?s sliding down towards McPhee?s spot, as I?ve decided from the lengthy discussion that Meyerle was better. With the figures we have now got, TB+BB/PA .442, TB+BB/Outs .737, assuming (rough guess) 200BB, which makes him slightly better than Richardson and significantly better than McPhee, but against lesser competition. I think I?m happy having him here, and moving him up in 20s as more room appears.

14. George van Haltren (N/A-13-12-13-13-12) Counting stats almost like Delahanty, but again need to be deflated for the 1890s. TB+BB/PA .469, TB+BB/Outs .765, not overwhelming for the 90s. No peak to speak of ?- what happened to him in 1893-95, when he should have been in his prime?

15. Clark Griffith (N/A-14-13) He?s another Amos Rusie, but not quite as good (Rusie was my #12 the year we elected him, I?d have him about 10 on this ballot.) 237 wins is not outstanding, but his winning percentage is good and his 1898 peak is nice ?- but he doesn?t match up to Welch or Caruthers, in my view (Welch?s 1885 is better than Griffith?s 1898.)

OFF LIST

16. Jimmy Collins (N/A) TB+BB .430, TB+BB/Outs .648 and 1999 hits compared to McPhee?s 2250. Very close comp to McPhee, since he was in top league in dead ball era for his non-90s career, rather than 80s AA. OPS+113 vs McPhee 106 for what that?s worth. So I?ve put him where McPhee would have been -? he too will move up list in the 20s.

17. Deacon McGuire (N/A-15) No fewer than 2,821 hits, adjusted to 130-game seasons over 1884-1906, which works just as well for catchers as it does for 1870s players, with the same rationale behind it. Rate stats unexciting though ?TB+BB/PA .412, TB+BB/Outs .630, less good than McPhee (but catcher more difficult than 2B.) Unadjusted or adjusted, almost twice as many hits as Bennett; Bennett?s rate stats better, but this reflect his lack of McGuire?s extended decline phase. If you take the 15 seasons 1887-1902 (he missed 1889), and compare it with Bennett?s 15 year career, McGuire has 1,436 hits vs. 978, and rate stats of 435/675 vs. 454/689. Not much in it compared with Bennett, but a significantly longer career.

18. (N/A-14-N/A) Charlie Bennett Only 1,796 ?normalized? hits over 1878-93, but he was a catcher. However McVey and Clements were catchers too, and both better hitters, while McGuire went on much longer. TB+BB/PA.454, TB/Outs .689, but much shorter career than Start/Sutton. Further thought gets him above Pike and Clements, on edge of ballot, to return no doubt in a weak year, but now below McGuire

19. (9-12-12-11-9-10-10-13-12-15-14-N/A) Lip Pike ? Like Start, give some credit for missing 1860s. However, normalize 1871-78 season by season and he gets 1,592 hits after 26 ? not quite an obvious HOM-er. 4 ?normalized 200-hit? seasons, but only just, whereas Meyerle?s 1871 peak normalizes to 320 (obviously a random fluctuation, but in the right direction!)TB+BB/PA .478, TB+BB/Outs .713 Also, unlike McVey who was clearly damn good in 1880, Pike was through by 1881.

20 (N/A-15-N/A) Pete Browning (mostly AA -- Only 1,986 ?normalized? hits (adjusting 1883-92 to 130-game seasons, and with no AA discount,)However, TB+BB/PA .511, TB+BB/Outs .855.

21. Mike Tiernan ? only 1,983 normalized hits, now some way off bottom of ballot. TB+BB/PA .518, TB+BB/Outs .850, so close to Browning though well behind Thompson

22. (N/A-11-13-12-15-14-N/A) Jack Clements. Normalizing for Clements over 1885-1898 gives him a normalized 2,004 hits, not bad for the most difficult fielding position. TB+BB/PA .455, TB/Outs .696, pretty impressive for a catcher and slightly better than Bennett and McGuire, but he played more in the 1890s than Bennett.

23 Hughie Jennings: Great peak (though not a historic peak like Koufax, Radbourn or McVey.) But his career numbers are mediocre. TB+BB/PA .414, TB+BB/Outs .672, in the high-average 90s, so even his ?rate? stats not overwhelming.

24 Lafe Cross gets lots of points for length of career and hits, but his rate stats are appalling TB+BB/PA .404, TB+BB/Outs .599, substantially worse than McPhee, and it?s mostly 90s (Sutton was .404/.588, but 20 years earlier) ? if you knock out the decline phase, the rate stats are still unexciting and the counting stats then mediocre as well.

25 (N/A-15-N/A) Tom York 2,122 ?normalized? hits, doing it season by season as seasons were lengthening. Primarily OF. Never above 200 ?normalized? hits per season though ? really no peak at all TB+BB/PA.412, TB+BB/Outs.596, not very impressive.

26 Dickey Pearce, -- Poor 1872, so even if you add 1871-2-3 together it?s unimpressive. Not convinced.
   3. dan b Posted: November 18, 2003 at 12:45 AM (#519184)
I look at 8-year peak, 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. Collins (6) I asked myself WWBJD? NBHA puts Collins as 3B #17, highest rank on the ballot.
   4. Marc Posted: November 18, 2003 at 02:16 AM (#519185)
Well, who knew I would end up coming right after my least sim! Here's cancellin' ya out, danb!

Many changes. 1) I have incorporate WARP into my rankings now. 2) I calc. a prime as well as (the previous) peak and career. 3) And switched peak from 3 best and 5 consecutive to 3 consecutive and any 5.

Must-Be HoMers

1. Charlie Bennett (1 last year-4-5) looks good from every angle.

2. Cal McVey (2-3-4) holds his place. Even his career numbers (I include some rates) are very good.

3. Sam Thompson (13-15-15). I had Sam as high as #2 earlier and now, incorporating WARP and looking at a great 9 year prime, I had it right then. Also benefits from any 5 vs. 5 consecutive. Best of glut.

Very Deserving

4. Dickey Pearce (3-7-7) is obviously a subjective choice but based on reputation, career length and decline phase the best IF available.

5. Harry Wright (5-8-9). Based on reputation, career length....

6. Jim McCormick (4-6-6). I'd love to elect a pitcher but he drops down just a tad based on new analysis.

7. Charley Jones (12-x-x) jumps off the page with WARP and any 5.

Deserving

8. Tommy Bond (10-10-10) still has the best 3 year peak on the board.

9. Lip Pike (6-9-11) still looks great for peak and prime, just happened to get skipped by Sam and Charley.

10. Hughie Jennings (9-5-8) still has the best peak for a position player.

11. Harry Stovey (8-12-13) has great career and prime but not much peak (with AA discount).

12. Joe Kelley (new) has a nice peak and a solid prime and career. Gets bogged down in the glut-within-a-glut, but at least that means he's near the top of the glut with Sam and Stovey (I don't consider the earlier OF to be part of the glut; they're each a little more unique). Could move up but I'm trying to resist the tendency to overrate the new guys. You know, the thrill of discovery and all of that.

13. Joe McGinnity (new). Here I'm not trying to restrain my enthusiasm so much as generate some. I am shocked at how hard it is to compare him (and every pitcher from here out, I'm sure) to the left-overs from the 19th century (and how poorly he fares by the current MO). Somehow I didn't have the same trouble with Kid Nichols. Could move up if I can find a method to the madness.

14. Ed Williamson (11-x-x) leaps back up due to nice WARP scores. (Like the Iron Man, I cannot find a method that puts Jimmy Collins where I expected him to be. Sorry, guys, I'll keep trying.)

15. Frank Grant (14-x-x). I've been pushing Grant, I now think there is solid evidence of his level of play, but adding in even a little discount for Hiesenberg's principle among this tough competition...well, this is the best I can do.

Drops out: Clark Griffith (15-13-x). If McG can't do any better than 13th, well....

MIA: Duffy, Ryan, Van Haltren are lost in the glut. Duffy's peak was quicksilver. Childs is behind Grant. Beckley--sorry, did you notice he trails Fred Dunlap and Herman Long on PA?

Close: Pete Browning jumped up ahead of all the MIA on a solid 8 year prime and also benefits from a 5 year non-consecutive peak measure, but he or Childs would be 16th.
   5. Chris Cobb Posted: November 18, 2003 at 04:58 AM (#519187)
1914 Ballot

As I see it, the top six on this ballot are very similar in value; I hope all will eventually be elected. There's a bit of a gap between this group and the next quite level set of players in positions 7-19. All of these players would be decent HoMers, though perhaps most will not be elected. There's another step down at 20 to players that I would rather not see elected, though many of these players were great in some fashion.

A few notes on the numbers. Win shares are adjusted for fielding, season-length, and league quality. Pitchers' win shares are derived from WARP ratings, not official BJWS. In ranking infielders against outfielders and pitchers, I give them a 10% bonus to career value. This last modification is not reflected in the printed numbers.

1) Cal McVey (3) (4) (3) (1) 354 CWS. Total peak = 76. Peak rate, 71-79 = 34.86 Among top 5 position players 5 times, at/above avg. WS in 9 seasons. After a near miss last year, McVey remains at the top of my ballot. His peak is the third-best on the ballot, after Jennings and McCormick, though Kelley's is a close fourth. McVey was more dominant relative to his league than Kelley was. Among the very best in the game for a decade, and possibly longer. Wasn't a great defensive player, but his ability to play key defensive positions and his very high peak make him the best player eligible.
   6. Brian H Posted: November 18, 2003 at 06:16 AM (#519188)
1914 Ballot

1. Jimmy Collins ? For many years many people who were considered important in Baseball viewed Collins as the best 3B of all time. In particular Connie Mack who had about the longest career in baseball even imaginable ranked Collins at #1 in 1950. I don?t think he was the best ever but it started me thinking about who might be better and I came up with a pretty short list. Viewed as simply another position player who hit he wouldn?t rank nearly this high but I am guessing simply running the numbers doesn?t nearly capture his greatness.

2. Hugh Jennings ? His peak is among the highest ever for a SS. He was not merely the top SS (in an era as competitve as our own) he was arguably the MVP in 1895 & ?96. Despite his short career Jennings is still the all-time HBP leader. Like teammate McGraw, he fully understood the importance of simply getting on base.

3. Bobby Carruthers ? A tremendous winner. For my money the best AA player of all. He had an enormous amount of pennant impact. Most of his best years were during the years the AA was nearly on par with the NL. Carruthers? weakness is the brevity of his career ? 2828 IP. However, he also played 388 games as a position player (almost exactly his total as a Pitcher).

4. Joe Kelley ? A better hitter than the other outfielders and accomplished most of it against top -flight competition. Kelley was also an integral part of the Baltimore Orioles championship teams.

5. Hugh Duffy ?Duffy was integral part of Boston?s ?team of the 90?s?. He had an exceptional peak and enough of a career that I can?t call it a fluke.

6. Joe McGinitty ? perhaps he belongs a bit higher. STATS awards him 2 Cy Young seasons and he was chosen as a STATS all-star 4 times. In peak he trails only Carruthers of the Pitchers eligible.

7. Big Sam Thompson ? Still the best power hitter on the ballot. I see him as a slightly above average fielder with a cannon ? I don?t know what the answer on his fielding is but it seems our ballots are all over the place on it. Sam made 6 Stats All-star teams and won 1 MVP.

8. Harry Stovey ? The AA?s premier position player. The only player to average a run for each game played in his career that we have not elected (the other 2: Hamilton and Gore). 1 STATs MVP and 5 All-Stars.

9. Clark Griffith ? He played primarily when times were tough for Pitchers and in highly competitive NL of the 1890?s. The quality of his era and his competition during most of his career is what puts him above Mullane, McCormick and Mathews.10. Cupid Childs ? I had him above McPhee based on his peak and strength of competition. He made 5 STATS all-star teams.

10. JJ McGraw ? Very tough to rank Mugsy with the short and injury plagued career. When he played he was incredibly valuable and, it wouldn?t surprise me if he was even valuable to his teams when he was injured just by his presence. McGraw was brilliant/devious and all about winning. Although he was a contemporary of Jimmy Collins McGraw made 2 all-star teams at 3rd Base.

11. Pete Browning ? Probably the greatest beneficiary of my AA review. The Gladiator was named to 8 STATS All-Star teams (but this includes the early years of the AA). Browning was not as good all around as Stovey but rates aobve another notable contemporary, O?Niell based on his career.

12. Jimmy Ryan ? Among the best Ofs for many years; some pennant contribution and impressive longevity numbers.

13. Herman Long. A very nice career, he was the original ?Flying Dutchman.? James mentions him as the most under-appreciated player of his era. Received a lot more of votes in the initial HOF elections than many players who were ultimately inducted. Probably he gets lost amidst a bumper crop of SSs in the late 19th century (Jennings, Wallace, Dahlen, Geo. Davis etc.). Nonetheless made 2 STATS AS teams. Here the question: if he was a 1B would he rank much lower?

14 Mickey Welch ? 300 + wins, some pennant contributions, not as dominant as Keefe, Radborne or Clarkson. Not as much longevity as Galvin. Still impressive career numbers against the best competition of the era.

15. Cal McVey ? Multi-talented in the field he could play the toughest positions while putting up near MVP numbers. Short career and limited documentation hold him back. STATS put him on 3 All-Star teams (STATS only started with 1876).

Notable by their absence:

Charlie Bennett ? Still the best Catcher available but not quite able to make the ballot now that 1890?s crew (who I am partisan to) are eligible.

Frank Grant ? When it comes to evaluating the Negro League players I have to trust the experts and they don?t seem to think Grant was that great.

Jake Beckley ? I thought about him just as a hitter and he made the very bottom of the list. Then I thought about fielding and the value of a first baseman and it seemed to me that an equally good-hitting SS is more valuable than a 1B even though for some strange reason there were few good hitting 1Bs and several standout SSs during much of Beckley?s career. After all a good SS can play 1B when hurt (see Jennings) Beckley could never have played SS.

Lip Pike ? He was very good, but I am not convinced what he did in the 1870?s etc. measures up to what the players above did mostly in the 1880?s-early 1900?s.
   7. Brian H Posted: November 18, 2003 at 07:44 AM (#519189)
Darn!
   8. Rusty Priske Posted: November 18, 2003 at 02:50 PM (#519191)
I know that my number 1 spot is going to be contraversial, but I stand by it.

1. George Van Haltren (2,5,6) He did more for his teams than anyone else eligible. If that sounds like I am purely a career voter, that is because I am. When I compare a player to another player after they have stopped playing, I am comparing career. If I was isntead asked "Who had the best three year run" or soemthing to that effect, this would be a different list.

2. Cal McVey (4,4,5) Deserves a spot. I thought he had won last year.

3. Jimmy Ryan (5,6,7) Next to Van Haltren, the best of the "glut".

4. Hugh Duffy (7,8,8)

5. Frank Grant (6,7,9) Uncomfortable leaving him out. Uncomfortable putting him in.

6. Jake Beckley (3,-,-) Slipped a bit.

7. Joe Kelley (new)

8. Jim McCormick (9,11,11) Best pitcher on the ballot. All the deserving ones are already in.

9. Bob Caruthers (11,12,12)

10. Harry Stovey (10,9,10) Seems to hav enajoyed a jump in popularity amongst the voters of late. I don't see why.

11. Mickey Welch (8,10,14)

12. Dickey Pearce (12,15,-)

13. Tony Mullane (13,13,13)

14. Fielder Jones (new)

15. Cupid Childs (15,14,15)

Next Five: Sam Thompson, Clark Griffith, Lave Cross, Jimmy Collins, Mike Tiernan.

The top candidates not making my ballot are Charlie Bennett and Sam Thompson. My views on Bennett are well-established. I just don't give the same "catcher-bump" that some do. For Thompson, I have nothing agaisnt him. He just doesn't quite make the cut. He is awfully close though.
   9. MattB Posted: November 18, 2003 at 03:45 PM (#519192)
Several big changes, even since my preliminary ballot. Mostly involving my reconsideration of Jimmy Collins, pushing him up from about 25th to 8th on my ballot.

1. Harry Stovey ? AA may have been weaker overall, but that doesn't mean it didn't have any stars. McPhee is a start, but the best hitter of the league should be in too.

2. Charlie Bennett ? far and away the best catcher available. If what he did weren?t that valuable, there?d be more like him. But there aren?t.

3. Frank Grant ? might have him below Caruthers and McVey if I could trust Cal and Parisian Bob?s defensive statistics, league discounts, and league replacement values. Without any hard numbers I can trust for Caruthers and McVey, though, I?m more comfortable with case for Grant, which is more straightforward, and where I have to make fewer assumptions.

4. Bob Caruthers -- been up, down, and now back up. Higher WARP-1 than anyone except Mullane, who earned lots of his in 1882 and 1883 AA.

5. Cal McVey ? Information about what he did ?out West? about as fleshed out as Huck Finn?s ?lighting out for the territories? at the end of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

6. Jake Beckley ? more triples than you can shake a stick at, and retired at or near the top of every counting stat in the books.

7. Joe Kelley ? Currently on the top of the heap of those eligible, but not elite among his peers (i.e., not better than Hamilton, Delahany, Burkett and Clarke, at least).

8. Jimmy Colllins ? I was wrong to leave him off of my preliminary ballot. Best third basemen in 1897 (NL), 1901, 1905, and 1907 (AL). Second best in 1896 and 1898 (NL) and 1902, 1903, and 1904 (AL). That puts him on the All-Star Team (starter or backup) 9 out of 10 years! At a tough position, that?s enough of a peak for me.

9. Jim McCormick ? Best NL pitcher in 1880 and best UA pitcher in 1884 (well, someone had to be best!). Great career around his peek.

10. Mickey Welch ? I firmly believe that 300 wins meant as much then as it does now.

11. Pete Browning ? I agree with those who say the AA was like the USFL, great players, but no depth. Browning was one of the great players.

12. Joe McGinnity ? among the best of his generation. Best NL pitcher of 1900, 1903, and 1904. In the ?Top 5? the surrounding years.

13. Dickey Pearce ? More valuable than Herman Long

14. Cupid Childs ? great peak, but not much around it.

15. Sam Thompson ? best peak of the outfield glut, finished below Kelley?s best career.
   10. RobC Posted: November 18, 2003 at 04:19 PM (#519193)
Primarily a career voter, although I also consider 5yr peak (non-consecutive) strongly. Basically, I double count a player's best 5 years. Use a bajillion other factors to make small adjustments, including one I call the herd factor: Assume the highly unlikely possibility that I might be wrong, what does everyone else think about these players? This factor gets McVey into my top 15, for example.

Another comment. We, including myself, have been referring to an OF glut. There isnt an OF glut. There is a CF glut. At RF and LF there are not a glut of players. Basically, there are 2 RFs under serious consideration and only 1 LF, while there are at least 5 CFs. Kelley isnt near the top of the glut, he is far and away the best candidate at his position.

More importantly, there are a glut of players of all positions, whose values are in a relatively small range. #6-22 on my ballot are all very close, and could easily be rearranged with a few different assumptions.

1. Sam Thompson (2) - Moves up a spot with no strong additions to the ballot this year.
   11. OCF Posted: November 18, 2003 at 05:36 PM (#519194)
ed - in your listings in #9, isn't there a chance that the 1918 AL should have three names, just like the 1887 and 1889 AA, and for the same reason?
   12. OCF Posted: November 18, 2003 at 06:33 PM (#519195)
Jimmy Collins 3B - Revolutionalized third base defense.

Look, I want to find a way to support Collins - but what exactly does this line mean? Collins wasn't the exactly the first mobile, athletic man to play 3B. I've looked at Collins's defensive statistics, and they do look very good - but they don't look like someone who was playing a different game than people like Lave Cross or Billy Nash. Collins's contemporaries heaped praise on him, but so did Williamson's. As the bunt grew in popularity in the 1900's, third basemen were going to have to play shallower and charge more often - maybe Collins figured that out quickly, but someone was bound to in any case. With more bunts come fewer DP's - and, indeed, Nash had more DP's in fewer innings than Collins. There are defensive metrics that say that Collins was outstanding, and we might as well take those at face value - but I don't see going beyond them.
   13. DanG Posted: November 18, 2003 at 06:44 PM (#519196)
If those voting Collins high on their ballot would explain just what sets him apart from Williamson, it would be a great service to those of us trying to find meaningful distinctions between the two of them.

Thank you.
   14. MattB Posted: November 18, 2003 at 06:59 PM (#519197)
If those voting Collins high on their ballot would explain just what sets him apart from Williamson, it would be a great service to those of us trying to find meaningful distinctions between the two of them.

For me it is simple.

Williamson was best 3rd baseman in the NL only in the weak 1884 year. (He was also the best shortstop late in his career, in 1888.) He was the second best third baseman in 1878, 1879, 1882, and 1885.

As I state in my ballot, Collins was: "Best third basemen in 1897 (NL), 1901, 1905, and 1907 (AL). Second best in 1896 and 1898 (NL) and 1902, 1903, and 1904 (AL). That puts him on the All-Star Team (starter or backup) 9 out of 10 years! At a tough position, that?s enough of a peak for me."

Two firsts, and four seconds isn't nearly as impressive as four firsts, and five seconds. I have Williamson in the 16-20 range.
   15. Marc Posted: November 18, 2003 at 07:02 PM (#519198)
Once upon a time, someone complained that Ross Barnes had been elected without a real consensus of support. Based on my experience in other projects like this one, I said, "You ain't seen nothin' yet." DanG has more such experience.

I never thought we would be fragmenting so soon, however! Right now we have four players who have 1st place votes but who were not named at all on 3 (or more) ballots! (McVey, Bennett, Collins MIA on 3 ballots, VanHaltren on 5.) And these 4 players account for more than 50 percent os the 1sts so far. Then you've also got 1st place votes for Thompson and McGinnity and each of them has also been left off (1 and 2) ballots (respectively).

And then guys like Caruthers with a 2nd and a 3rd, but has missed more ballots than he's made, and Jennings a 2nd and a 4th, ditto. Only Stovey and Kelley have been named on every (one of 9) ballots and each of them has been rated as low as 14th and 12th, respectively.

My point is not to be critical of anybody. This is hard! My ballot is the most (shall we say) unique, so far.

But it kinda makes the '03 AL MVP (and Ross Barnes for HoM) look like a landslide!
   16. Chris Cobb Posted: November 18, 2003 at 07:27 PM (#519199)
Marc,

This is the most fragmentary year we'll see for some time, I think. I would wish for a bit more presentation of questions and debates about ballot placements, along the lines of DanG's. Is it possible that we could keep the ballot discussion thread going alongside the ballot, this year? I'd really like to see a thorough defense of Sam Thompson for the #1 position, for instance.
   17. RobC Posted: November 18, 2003 at 07:28 PM (#519200)
Marc,

I dont think this is surprising at all considering the lack of true quality candidates right now.

Using Warp3, Thompson has the highest career value at 86.3, which isnt all that high for a HoMer (which is why, amongst other reasons, that he isnt one yet). There are 9 players within 10 WARP of him and another 10 within 20 WARP. That is 1-2 real good seasons. Realistically, there is not much difference between these 20 guys, so other considerations (peak, defense, OPS+, etc etc) decide the order. The clear cut guys (like next year) will unite the ballots. Everyone **should** have the same top two next year (although order may be different). Anyone who doesnt have Davis and Dahlen 1-2 (in either order) next year has some 'splainin' to do.
   18. ronw Posted: November 18, 2003 at 07:48 PM (#519201)
I have a real ballot shakeup this year, even significantly different from my previous ballots. Essentially, since there appears to be several "gluts," I compared each player to the others in their "glut." If anyone stood out significantly from their respective "glut" they were rated higher on my ballot. When two players from different gluts seemed to be at the top of their respective glut, but not significantly so, I made subjective calls.

Realistically, I could see anyone from my ballot, and many who did not, making the HOM in the later lean years. We just don't have true standouts right now. The difference in quality between #1 and #15 on my ballot is not significant right now.

Gluts in no particular order

Catchers - Bennett, McVey, Zimmer, McGuire, Clements, Farrell, Peitz, O'Connor, Schreckengost. (OK, it is a glut behind McVey.)

Pitchers - McCormick, Welch, Whitney, Mullane, Bond, Mathews, Griffith, Caruthers, McGinnity.

Infielders - Beckley, Collins, Cross, Long, Williamson, Childs, Dunlap, McKean, Nash, Jennings, McGraw. (In my system, post 1890 1B are infielders; pre 1890 1B are outfielders.)

Outfielders - Stovey, Kelley, Ryan, Thompson, York, Duffy, Griffin, Van Haltren, F. Jones, C. Jones, Tiernan, Browning.

1. Cal McVey - The highest vote totals for an unelected player every year from 1906-1913. Also significantly above the catchers or infielder gluts.

2. Charlie Bennett - This guy is so far above the other catchers that he deserves his own category.

3. Jim McCormick - My biggest surprise. He appears to be significantly better than all available pitchers. It seems like we missed looking at Jim, who is very comparable to Radbourn.

4. Jimmy Collins - Right about here the differences between players and their glut are not outstanding. Collins rises to the top of the infielder glut, but not by much. His subjective placement here is due to contemporary comments, by individuals like Connie Mack, John McGraw, Cap Anson, Ty Cobb etc., who may not name Collins as their all-time best 3B, but at least mention him. Williamson gets named by some, but not by others, probably because they never saw him play (Anson excepted).

5. Harry Stovey - At the top of the outfielder glut, but not by much. His ability to play infield keeps him high on my ballot.

6. Frank Grant - No idea where he should be in the glut, but I'm also not sure about where the gluts should be. I notice that I am subconciously alternating infielders and outfielders.

7. Joe Kelley - The best pure outfielder available, but not by a significant margin.

8. Jimmy Ryan - In fact, Ryan gets close, because of his long career and a slight peak.

9. Sam Thompson - Thompson still continues to languish in the middle of my outfield pack, no matter which rating system I use.

10. Lip Pike - Could have been at the top of the system with a few more documented years. I do take them into account, however, which is why he makes my ballot.

11. Jake Beckley - I think my new system may overrate long careers for infielders. My next three infielders are all long career, low peak men who have not yet gotten a vote from me.

12. Lave Cross - Nothing outstanding, but he racked up the counting stats in comparison to a very weak glut.

13. Herman Long - Surprisingly close to Cross and Beckley in terms of career value, and at a more demanding position.

14. Ed Williamson - Reasons he is ranked below Collins: 1. About 70% of Williamson's career is played in multi-league seasons, as opposed to about 50% for Collins. 2. The remainder of Williamson's career is in the weaker 1878-1881 NL, compared to the stronger 1895-1900 NL of Collins' time. 3. Collins' pennants added and adjusted numbers seem slightly higher, with Williamson only leading in WARP1 numbers.

15. Mickey Welch - Mickey barely rises above the remaining pitchers, as he has a slightly longer career in a better league.

Others who finished in the consensus top 15 last year - Any of these players could be ranked, and are comparable to anyone on the ballot. They dropped off this year.

Outfielders - Hugh Duffy and George Van Haltren. Probably 16th and 17th on this ballot. Both stayed just below Kelley, Ryan and Thompson in my ranking system. Griffin and York are bunched with them, and Fielder Jones, Charlie Jones, Mike Tiernan and Pete Browning are not far behind.

Infielders - Hugh Jennings, Dickey Pearce, and Cupid Childs. Jennings will probably never make my personal HOM. I just need a longer, better career than 5 years of phenomenal combined with 6 years of below average play. 10 years of slightly above average play is just subjectively more impressive to me. Pearce will probably make my ballot during the lean years. Childs seems a lot like Fred Dunlap, even to the extent of playing in a local softball league and getting major league credit for it. I don't hold that against them, but they didn't do enough against major leaguers to make my ballot this year.

Catchers - After McVey and Bennett get in, I won't be supporting any of the catcher "glut" listed for the HOM.

Pitchers - Griffith. Clark does not stand out above McGinnity, Mullane, Whitney, Bond, Mathews or Caruthers.

I am looking forward to copying my #2-#14 as #3-#15 next "year." We should think about just having the relatively easy vote in one week, rather than two weeks, unless people really want to debate how their #1 and #2 slots will be filled. Mine will read: 1. Davis 2. Dahlen.
   19. Marc Posted: November 18, 2003 at 08:03 PM (#519202)
Well, I agree that Davis and Dahlen (or Dahlen and Davis) will unite us at the very top, but we will still have everybody from McGinnity and Collins to Bennett and Caruthers, among others, bouncing around from #3 to below #15. I don't really think that Keeler or Flick (or Waddell or Joss) will unite us in '16 or Frank Chance in '19 or Bresnahan in '21, and other than Cy Young in '17 these are the biggest names coming up. And how 'bout the sleeper-of-the-decade, Jimmy Sheckard? I'll bet he will be anywhere from #2 to #30 on some ballots.

I think the free-for-all is here to stay, and the united years will be the exception. Nothin' wrong with that, unless you're bothered by the fact that 40 statheads are pretty much demonstrating that there is no real unity in statheadism.
   20. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 18, 2003 at 08:17 PM (#519203)
Marc:

Since Joe is busy and I'm one of his lieutenants (:-), I'll be the one to mention it: Maybe we should lay off the posting any updates of the rankings (partial or whole). I think there is a time and a place for it, but it should be done after the balloting is over. We don't want anybody to change their vote due to the placement of their favorite player.

I have no problem your bringing to our attention the phenomena that you have noticed, but let's not be too specific.
   21. DanG Posted: November 18, 2003 at 08:44 PM (#519204)
Marc, don't forget Fred Clarke in 1917 as a Big Name.

Yes, the free-for-all fragmenting is here to stay. Sometimes I seem to detect a streak of contrariness permeating the realms of statheadism. "My Best-of-all-possible-systems says this. Damn the consensus, full ballots ahead!"

This has been submitted before, but I think it would be beneficial if we went to a 20-man ballot at some point to combat the frags. Many here already are submitting their top 20, so I don't think anyone would have a problem ranking that many. After about 40 elections.

The top would still get 20+bonus, the #20 would still get 6 points, with even increments of 0.736842105 (14/19) between each place.

After 40 more elections we could go to a 25-man ballot. The even increments would be 0.583333333 (14/24) between each place.

This would more realistically reflect the smaller and smaller differences between players on the ballot.

I think this needs to be seriously considered. I don't think it causes any undue upheaval; the implementation of these changes would be virtually seamless, I think.

If you're having a problem now in our 17th election, just wait. "You ain't seen nothin' yet."
   22. OCF Posted: November 19, 2003 at 01:44 AM (#519207)
Fair enough, ed. After I wrote that, I went back and looked at it myself. I have no problem saying that the Babe's pitching value pushes him past Cobb, but I hadn't realized how good a year Johnson had had. Johnson allowed more than his share of unearned runs, and Ruth less than his share, but even if you go by Run Average, Johnson has the RA+ advantage over Ruth of something like 181 to 127, on twice as many innings.

But if there had been a BBWAA voted MVP award that year, the writers would have picked Ruth. (Biases in operation: the Red Sox won the pennant, and the writers always like a good story line.)
   23. EricC Posted: November 19, 2003 at 03:56 AM (#519208)
My rating system is based on the premise that a player's greatness is measured by how extraordinary his performance was over his prime. The implementation is very simple: rating equals strength of prime plus length of prime. "Prime" is optimized for each player, rather than being a fixed length, but for most "normal" players is the entire career as a regular. Strength is measured compared with contemporaries at the same position, and in the majors as a whole. Strength is averaged over a player's prime, so poor years within a prime can substantially hurt a player's case.

In the past week, I discovered that I was not giving enough credit for MVP-type seasons. Jennings and McGraw, particularly, benefit from the new scheme. I've also now given fair credit for position players who also pitched, helping Van Haltren in particular.

In the detailed ratings below, "player" refers to "position player".

1. Hughie Jennings (8-8-3) Best player in baseball 1896; 2nd best in 1897. 5 consecutive years in top 10. Best SS 1894,1895,1896 & 1898. 2nd best SS in 1897. In The Politics of Glory , Bill James said that the selection of Jennings to the HoF was a mistake. Bill James was wrong. Many candidates on my ballot only had one year in their carreer as good as Jennings was every year from 1894 to 1898. Expect a Davis-Dahlen-Jennings shortshop trifecta in 1915.
   24. Sean Gilman Posted: November 19, 2003 at 08:03 AM (#519209)
1914

1. Cal McVey (1)--McVey?s massive peak advantage goes over Stovey?s career edge.
   25. Howie Menckel Posted: November 19, 2003 at 02:13 PM (#519211)
1914

1. CAL MCVEY - Top 5 in BA six times in seven years - three of those times as a catcher. Switched away from C in 1878-79 when he moved to Cincy, which had some guy named Deacon White behind the plate. Not a short career by 1870s standards, and deserves at least a nod for both pre- and post-NA/NL play. Once Cal is elected, we are respectable on 1860-79, and maybe room for 1-2 more.
   26. DanG Posted: November 19, 2003 at 04:47 PM (#519212)
This is a tough ballot to get a handle on. I?m not sure I?m being fair to Collins and McGinnity, but they?re new and there?s plenty of time to move them up from #15-16.

In 1914, Joe Kelley and Fielder Jones pile on to the outfield glut, while Jimmy Collins will try to show that he?s not Ed Williamson and Joe McGinnity will try to show that he is Amos Rusie II. In 1915, George Davis and Bill Dahlen will blow away the backlog while Jack Chesbro challenges us to discover why Cooperstown picked him. In 1916, Keeler and Flick try to show they ain?t glut while Waddell (deceased), Joss (deceased) and Willis continue the pitcher flood.

1) McVey (1,3,4)? I think we should try to get the first-tier stars of the 1870?s and 1880?s enshrined before electing any second-tier stars of the 1890?s. A great hitter (152 OPS+) at important defensive positions who had nine great seasons in the top league of the time. Evidence shows his post-NL career was not long.

2) H. Stovey (3,5,6)? Players with .140+ Isolated Power 1876-1924 (6000+ PA):
   27. Marc Posted: November 19, 2003 at 05:59 PM (#519213)
DanG, he was better than McPhee and played 50 percent longer than Childs?
   28. DanG Posted: November 19, 2003 at 06:31 PM (#519214)
he was better than McPhee and played 50 percent longer than Childs?
   29. Rick A. Posted: November 19, 2003 at 06:32 PM (#519215)
Some changes in my ballot. I?m looking at amount of value above-average(was looking at percentage of career above-average before, but realized that might be unfair to players who just hung around a little too long.) I?m now looking at the amount of WS and Warp per season that was above-average as well as prime value.

1. Cal McVey (1) - Never had an off-year. Every season ranked as above average, also gets subjective bonus for undocumented play.
   30. RobC Posted: November 19, 2003 at 07:36 PM (#519216)
I forgot to explain VanHaltren and Pike on my ballot. VanHaltren has been on it before and is close, he is somewhere in the 16-21 group (I didnt bother to specifically rank them, although looking at it quickly, he would be #17, between McCormick and Welch). I took a look at Pike again because of his placement. Giving him some credit for his pre-NA play (more than I give McVey, less than I gave Start), he at least becomes interesting, but not near ballot worthy. ~31st plus or minus 5 spots.
   31. Al Peterson Posted: November 19, 2003 at 07:48 PM (#519217)
Changes at the bottom of the ballot mostly. Those players are ones I'm not sold on for the HOM anyways. My ballot includes a milder AA discount and some credit for pre-1871 play (or also minor league performance).

1. Harry Stovey (1). Continue to be a big fan. Forgotten to an extent since he got out of organized baseball after he was done.
   32. Yardape Posted: November 19, 2003 at 11:50 PM (#519218)
1. Joe McGinnity (n/a) I was going to support McGinnity anyways, but Clint's post #3 on the discussion thread spells it out nicely. Against top-notch competition, McGinnity was an outstanding pitcher. His career may not have been tremendously long, but he was good enough during it to warrant this spot. There are a number of good pitchers coming on the ballot in the next few years, but McGinnity looks to be the best of them to me. Well, other than Young.

2. Frank Grant (1) I defended him last week when I had him at #1; I won't go too far into it this week. But all the evidence we have points to him being a great player; the reputation he enjoyed, including this week's revelation of the glowing caption in Sol White's book; the IL numbers; the other numbers presented this week...I've supported Grant since he came on the ballot, and I've seen nothing to change my mind yet.

3. Bob Caruthers (2) Others have taken up his case this week as well. A great pitcher/hitter combo, dominating the AA at that league's peak.

4. Cal McVey (3) I had hoped he would make it last week. Fortunately, he probably won't wait much longer.

5. Lip Pike (4) It's good to see him getting some support. One of the top players of the '70s, he didn't have a terribly long career, but it was long enough to establish his case, IMO.

6. Jimmy Ryan (5) The best combination of career and peak of the recent outfielders, in my view.

7. Jim McCormick (6) The best pure pitcher from the 19th Century left. I don't believe we're overflowing with pitchers yet.

8. Harry Stovey (7) McPhee's broken the ice, but how about we put one of the top hitters of the AA in?

9. Tony Mullane (8) Not that far behind McCormick, but weaker leagues keep him down.

10. Joe Kelley (n/a)The best position-player newcomer. Slots in near the top of the outfielders. For now, at least.

11. George Van Haltren (9)Loses a spot to Kelley, not that there's a lot of difference.

12. Hugh Duffy (10) A good defensive player, apparently, which lifts him on the ballot, but not enough offense outside of his monster year to lift him to the top.

13. Charlie Bennett (11) Currently dominates the catchers on the ballot, but I'm only willing to take that so far.

14. Charley Jones (12) Compares well with the outfielders just off my ballot, and given some credit for his blacklist years, jumps over them.

15. Dicky Pearce (13) I'm not the biggest fan of pre-1866 baseball around, but he was clearly great, and I'd feel a lot more comfortable putting Pearce in than anyone else I could put on the ballot.

Notable omissions: Sam Thompson. I haven't had him on in years. A somewhat short career, and too much of his case rests on RBIs for my tastes.

Jake Beckley. I love peak. I've set up my rankings so that career is considered and given weight, as I think is reflected in my ballot, but there's just no way Beckley can stack up with the players on the ballot with basically no peak. Hughie Jennings will be back on my ballot before Beckley ever makes it.
   33. Rob Wood Posted: November 20, 2003 at 03:27 AM (#519219)
My final 1914 ballot:

1. Cal McVey -- great player whose time has come
   34. EricC Posted: November 20, 2003 at 12:56 PM (#519220)
<i> Jake Beckley - We put Joe Start in so I'm fine skipping another long term 1B.
   35. Al Peterson Posted: November 20, 2003 at 03:33 PM (#519222)
But isn't being a long term 1B, in itself, a good thing? What other factors influenced your ranking of Beckley?

Three things really:

1. Lack of a peak. Many people have stated this one as a reason Jake doesn't go higher. I lean to peak players a slight bit.
   36. MattB Posted: November 20, 2003 at 03:52 PM (#519223)
"3. Questionable defense at 1B. I've read a couple of items on Beckley that state he wasn't all that great of a defensive 1B anyways. Something about he couldn't throw well at all. Anybody have evidence to support/detract from this argument?"

It was my understanding the Beckley was a master of the "hidden ball" trick, and used it often with fair success. That's something that likely gets obscured in defensive ratings.
   37. OCF Posted: November 20, 2003 at 05:01 PM (#519225)
1914 ballot
   38. Rob Wood Posted: November 20, 2003 at 06:17 PM (#519226)
In reply to TomH's inquiry, I do have a bunch of pitchers just hovering at the very bottom of my ballot. Guys like McCormick, Caruthers, Griffith, McGinnity, and Welch. This time I slotted Griffith in the 15th position. I really don't think any of them deserve serious consideration for the HOM, though they are all somewhat ballot worthy.
   39. ronw Posted: November 20, 2003 at 06:25 PM (#519227)
"It was my understanding the Beckley was a master of the "hidden ball" trick, and used it often with fair success. That's something that likely gets obscured in defensive ratings."

Retrosheet has a Hidden Ball Tricks section in its "Special lists" category. It is probably not complete, but interestingly, Jake Beckley is only listed twice, both in a 9-day span in 1893. On May 22, 1893, he got Kid Gleason with the trick and on May 30, 1893, he embarrased Joe Kelley. Besides one other play in the 1890's, in 1894, by Ed Cartwright, there were no other hidden ball tricks listed. These two plays COULD have made Beckley's reputation as a hidden ball trickster for his entire career, even if he never pulled it off again.
   40. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 20, 2003 at 09:42 PM (#519229)
I'm still weeding out my old system and adding new candidates for my new one. I'm still not totally finished yet so I assume there will some more changes (but hopefully not as many) by next "year."

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."
   41. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 20, 2003 at 09:58 PM (#519230)
Before I'm scolded (and rightfully so):

For the newbies, I didn't include Kelly and McGinnity because they weren't that impressive for their eras. I'm working on an addition to my ranking system for pitchers based on staff rotation numbers (four-man, five-man, etc.) for a particular time so I may change my mind about him.

Grant is still in limbo until I can get a handle on the IA's quality so as to prorate his career numbers. Until then, he stays off.

Beckley had a long career, but so did many first baseman back then. Even with the higher defensive fielding responsibilities for first base during that time, he still didn't stand out greatly. There's more of the ubiquitous (at least when referencing him here) Mark Grace than Joe Start in "Eagle Eye."

Pike is still not out of it yet. As God is my witness, I will finally may a determination on him by 1915! :-)
   42. jimd Posted: November 21, 2003 at 12:55 AM (#519231)
Read previous ballots if you want more depth on my reasons for all but the latest eligibles. This is very similar to last time; for a small-hall advocate like myself, this is getting close to hold my nose and vote.

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

2) J. Kelley -- WARP finds him as good as Thompson (who WARP loves), Win Shares finds him to be better. This puts him enough ahead of the OF glut to move into #2 on this weak ballot. I think there's too many outfielders, but the currently eligible IF'ers seem so far behind in absolute value and I know there are some very good SS's becoming eligible soon.

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 qualified applicants is very thin.

3) J. Whitney -- Still the best peak value not yet elected. Boston dropped him after they acquired Radbourn after the Providence team disbanded. They had high hopes for Buffinton, but then Charlie developed arm trouble. When was the first contract sale? Trade? Anybody know?

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

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

6) H. Duffy -- The peak value is enough to distinguish him from the other OF'ers in the pack. However, Kelley tops him, so I've decided that it's not enough for Duffy to be in my "must-get-in" group.

7) J. Ryan -- The next three guys are so close, I could draw them from a hat and live with the order.

8) H. Stovey -- Decided that I was giving too much extra credit for the baserunning.

9) G. Van Haltren -- Nothing more to add.

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

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

12) J. Beckley -- I'm open to someone making a good case for why 1b is more important defensively than the OF'ers.

13) F. Grant -- If he was a potential "super-star", you'd think there'd be more stories about him and discussion elsewhere.

14) T. Bond -- Win Shares gives him a very high peak; sometimes I'm dubious, other weeks I can be convinced of his ballot worthiness. Needs an advocate, but that's not me, at least right now.

15) H. Jennings -- He was so very good just long enough that he can't be ignored.

Just missing the cut are Mike Griffin, Lave Cross, Bob Caruthers, Jim McCormick, Cupid Childs, Jimmy Collins, Harry Wright, Ned Williamson, Lip Pike, Fred Dunlap.

I discovered a minor error in my calculations for Cross; the correction was just big enough to knock him off my ballot. Collins comes up short in (adjusted) absolute-value. I may need to develop some system for accomodating positional scarcity.

Why isn't Pike higher? Basically, too short a career and too speculative a peak value.
   43. Chris Cobb Posted: November 21, 2003 at 05:58 AM (#519234)
Patrick wrote: I think those that don?t have Thompson No. 1 need to explain more than those that do. It?s a competitive ballot this year, and I would expect this year to break the record for number of players receiving a vote. Having said that, the fact that 20% of the voters think the best hitter available is not worthy of being among the top 15 on this list is amazing. WS are wrong in so many other places, and they are wrong here. Would have been elected a decade ago if his ?88 or ?97 season wasn?t injury-impaired.

Well, I'll do some more 'splainin'. Thompson is the best hitter available by a small margin, and his career is shorter than those of other players, and his defense is worse than that other players, by much larger margins. That's my best interpretation of the numbers. I've been watching the discussion of Thompson for about 10 elections now, and although Thompson's evaluation in WS has often been challenged or dismissed, nobody has yet demonstrated how or why that evaluation is wrong. I've looked at it, and I haven't been able to determine that win shares is in error here. Various folks have been able to demonstrate problems with WS underrating fielding, overrating pitching, over- or under- rating players in connection with teams' variance from Pythagorean expected wins, and I've made adjustments for all of those issues, but nobody has demonstrated that these problems apply to Thompson. I admit that I haven't done a thorough check on Pythagorean issues in Thompson's numbers since my methods for making those comparisons have gotten more sophisticated. I should go back and do that.

But it continues to appear to me that the argument for Thompson as the top player runs something like this: he's the best hitter, and those other issues couldn't possibly be important enough to outweigh that. And that argument doesn't move me. I don't complain about people having Thompson on the ballot, even high on the ballot. If one accepts the WARP evaluation of him wholesale, he looks great, and my grasp of the fielding issues is not yet sufficient for me to offer a fully reasoned argument against accepting the WARP numbers. But I've looked at the WARP evaluation of him in comparison to Kelley and to Duffy, and Thompson still doesn't come out on top. So I have raised a question when I have seen Thompson placed in the top position.

If anyone supporting Thompson's candidacy can show me where WS are in error on him, I'll readily change my evaluation of him, but in the absence of such evidence, he rates where he rates. And I'm not done examining the evidence myself. The recent discussion of fielding has opened up some new possibilities for cross-checking the fielding values in WARP & WS, so that may uncover evidence that justifies moving Thompson up. But I need to see it.
   44. Jeff M Posted: November 21, 2003 at 11:47 AM (#519235)
I think those that don?t have Thompson No. 1 need to explain more than those that do.

This is a somewhat odd approach. Presuming someone is #1 unless proven otherwise? :-)

Having said that, the fact that 20% of the voters think the best hitter available is not worthy of being among the top 15 on this list is amazing.

I have Thompson ranked #9, so I don't entirely disagree with your point, but I don't think it is so clear that Thompson is the best hitter on the ballot. Look at any of the runs created stats, whether RC/27, EQA, linear weights, Base Runs, etc. I think Browning, Charley Jones and Tiernan may all have a claim to that title (and Kelley, McVey and Stovey aren't far behind). This group may be ranked a variety of other ways (career length, defense, etc.), but they are pretty comparable hitters.

So to get back to the first statement: Before I can consider placing the "best hitter" #1 on my ballot, he actually has to be the best hitter.
   45. Howie Menckel Posted: November 21, 2003 at 02:19 PM (#519238)
A problem with Thompson is same one that others had with my "pet," Tiernan: the number of missed games. Many of the 'rate' stats don't capture Sam's many absences.
   46. Carl Goetz Posted: November 21, 2003 at 04:30 PM (#519239)
I agree with Chris and am 1 of those who have not had Thompson on my ballot for quite some time. As a rule, I trusr WS over W3 because I understand how WS was calculated and if I don't agree with part of that, I can make an educated adjustment. I don't have that comfort level with W3. I, like Chris, have seen no actual evidence that WS is underating Thompson's defense. It's funny that Tiernan was mentioned, because I have Tiernan and Thompson as almost equals as overall players. In the OF glut, I have Pike, Ryan, Kelley, Stovey, Duffy, Charley Jones, and Browning ahead of those 2 and Van Haltren as roughly equal(though with more Career and less peak value). Assuming I ignore Tiernan and VH, I would still have to include 8 OFs on my ballot to get Thompson on there. I'm not opposed to an 8 OF ballot per se, but I don't think the field of players at other postions is quite weak enough to include 8 OFs this year. I just don't see Thompson as anything special(compared to other HoM candidates, anyway). You do have to play defense and I don't think Thompson contributes that much defensively. Again, if there is some evidence that WS shortchanges Thompson in some way that it does not shortchange other OFs, let me hear and I will make my own adjustments.
   47. DanG Posted: November 21, 2003 at 05:23 PM (#519240)
jimd wrote: Why isn't Pike higher? Basically, too short a career and too speculative a peak value.

As a FOLP, it troubles me to see his career called "short". Lip played 13 full seasons (1866-78), longer than most of the guys Jim is voting for. Also, at his documented peak, 1874-76, he posted OPS+ figures of 170, 202, 174. How are those numbers "speculative?"

As for his whereabouts in 1879-80, his play those years adds nothing to his value. This is from the SABR Bioproject link above.

"Pike slipped down to the minor leagues in 1879 and played for teams in Springfield and Albany. Captain and center fielder for the Springfield club, he appeared in a total of 53 games and hit .356.

Beginning the 1880 season with Albany, Pike showed he still had home run power, as evidenced by this report in The Baseball Chronology regarding the game of May 21, 1880:

"In Albany's Riverside Park, Lip Pike hits a ball over the wall and into the river. Right fielder Lon Knight begins to go after the ball in a boat but gives up. Few parks have ground rules about giving the batter an automatic home run on a hit over the fence."

According to David Nemec:

"Pike played for the Albany team until it disbanded in July. He then played for the Unions of Brooklyn in a three-team tournament held at the Union Grounds on August 18th, featuring the Washington and Rochester teams. Pike also played for the New York Metropolitan team. He appeared in a total of 12 games and batted .241.

"Pike opened the [1881] season playing second base for his old Atlantic team in a minor league and working in the mercantile business. However, in late August he was called up by the National League Worchester Ruby Legs when Arthur Irwin was disabled. He joined Worchester on August 27th, played center field and batted second. In six games he went 3-for-25, a mere .120 batting average."
   48. Carl Goetz Posted: November 21, 2003 at 06:13 PM (#519242)
2) How much are any of these dead ball outfielders contributing?

Exactly my point. If WS is treating Thompson's defense so poorly, why isn't doing the same to the other OFs?
   49. Chris Cobb Posted: November 21, 2003 at 08:02 PM (#519243)
How much are any of these dead ball outfielders contributing? There are certainly different levels of ability, but does that mean much on the value scale here? It's not like there were 300 ft line drive rockets being hit that had to be tracked down.

This is data jimd assembled a month or two ago in response to a similar question:

----- SO's C-SO Infd Outf -- SO's C-SO Infd Outf
   50. Carl Goetz Posted: November 21, 2003 at 08:11 PM (#519244)
I guess I picked the wrong election to have a week's vacation during. No matter, I'm caught up, now.
   51. Howie Menckel Posted: November 21, 2003 at 08:12 PM (#519245)
Wow.
   52. Marc Posted: November 21, 2003 at 09:59 PM (#519246)
>Charlie Bennett. I?ve explained my position before. You?ve got to play to help your team win. So, you?ve got
   53. Carl Goetz Posted: November 21, 2003 at 11:00 PM (#519247)
Just for the record, Charlie Bennett played in about 2/3 of his team's games through the course of his career. In his five-year prime(1881-1885), he played in almost 90% of his team's games. This is solid for a catcher with modern equipment and medical care. Its amazing for a 19th century catcher. You can leave him off your ballot, but he most certainly was not a part-time player.
   54. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 21, 2003 at 11:43 PM (#519248)
One would think that Marc and Carl's observations about Bennett would be a Superfly Snuka leap on the notion that he was a part-time player. However, I wouldn't hold my breath.
   55. karlmagnus Posted: November 22, 2003 at 12:00 AM (#519249)
He may have been a full time player, but he accumulated only part time's worth of statistics as a hitter. As we get more players in the mix, Bennett drops, he doesn't rise, IMHO.
   56. favre Posted: November 22, 2003 at 05:05 AM (#519251)
1. Cal McVey
   57. Paul Wendt Posted: November 22, 2003 at 08:48 PM (#519253)
J. Whitney -- Still the best peak value not yet elected. Boston dropped him after they acquired Radbourn after the Providence team disbanded. They had high hopes for Buffinton, but then Charlie developed arm trouble. When was the first contract sale? Trade? Anybody know?

See the "Nineteenth Century Transactions Register" by David Ball.
   58. Howie Menckel Posted: November 23, 2003 at 02:41 AM (#519257)
RMc, there's a ballot glitch in the middle of yours.
   59. Jeff M Posted: November 23, 2003 at 03:28 AM (#519259)
2. Harry Stovey--How this guy has not made it yet is mind-boggling. Best all-around player on the ballot.

Mark, so why isn't Stovey #1 on your ballot? (He's #1 on mine)
   60. Adam Schafer Posted: November 23, 2003 at 09:19 AM (#519261)
forgive the brief comments on my ballot. i've been (and am still currently) pressed for time. didn't think i was even going to get one in this week, but i found a couple free minutes. if i need to elaborate on anyone, review last years ballot, if better explanation is still needed just ask. i'll be more than happy to explain any of my rankings.

1. Charlie Bennett (1) - There's no reason for him to be anywhere else on my ballot but here

2. Cal McVey (2) - He's awfully close to Bennett in my rankings

3. Sam Thompson (4) - Moves up with the election of Bid last year

4. Joe McGinnity (n/a) - led the league in wins 5 times...the same amount as Cy Young

5. George Van Haltren (5) - holding steady at #5, still the best of the OF glut in my opinion

6. Jimmy Ryan (6) - Not sure that he belongs in our Hall, but had a good career

7. Jimmy Collins (n/a) - possibly the greatest third baseman to date, but my jury is still out on him

8. Jake Beckley (7) - nothing new to add

9. Hugh Duffy (8) - All peak

10. Clark Griffith (9) - good peak, never led the league in wins which really hurts his chances with me

11. Joe Kelley (n/a) - great player, decent career, just doesn't measure up to the rest of the OF glut

12. Hughie Jennings (12) - I'm beginning to warm on him a little bit

13. Bob Carruthers (11) - good pitcher, good hitter, if he was only GREAT at one or the other

14. Harry Stovey (13) - I just don't see what all the fuss about him is for.

15. Deacon McGuire (10) - I've kept him on my ballot for as long as I can justify, but even I'm losing any good reason to keep him on. This is probably his last appearance for me. Hats off to a fine catcher.
   61. Esteban Rivera Posted: November 23, 2003 at 09:47 PM (#519263)
A lot of worthy newcomers this year.

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. Joe McGinnity - Compiled an awesome record in only a decade and began past the usual starting age for a ballplayer in the majors. The best pitcher or runner up for half his career.

4. Jimmy Collins - The best thirdbaseman of his time. Great defense and hitting for the position. Edges out Williamson and Cross.

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

6. Sam Thompson - A heck of an offensive machine. Reputed to have the best arm of his time. As the saying goes if you run and throw center, if you run but can't throw left, if you can throw but can't run right, if neither first base. I actually believe Thompson could have played center since he could run and he could definitely throw. However he never was because when he began in Detroit they already had Ned Hanlon in center, so of to right he went to stay since he became a darn good rightfielder. I'll try to go more in depth during next week.

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

8. Hughie Jennings - A historical monster for five years.

9. Joe Kelley - His career gives him a slight edge over Hugh Duffy in his debut on my ballot. Don't see the impact that Stovey or Thompson had.

10. 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 and Van Haltren.

11. Frank Grant - Still believe he was great, it just gets a bit harder to justify placing him higher than the ones above.

12. Jake Beckley - The very definition of being very good for a long time. Falls a bit this year as I get a better handle on his long career.

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

14. Clark Griffith - His impressive record on weak teams and in a high offense era makes hin the top pitching candidate on my ballot. However, all the talk this time about the value of pitchers has made me decide to redesign my pitcher evaluation for next time. Next year may move up or down.

15. Ed Williamson - Ol'Ed can thank Collins for the reevaluation which brings him back ont my ballot. Maybe we let too much air out of the hype?

My next five would be George Van Haltren, Jimmy Ryan, Mickey Welch, Lave Cross, and Charley Jones. They just got bumped by the newcomers.
   62. Howie Menckel Posted: November 23, 2003 at 10:49 PM (#519264)
Can we get some top 15 comments from Michael D?
   63. Ken Fischer Posted: November 24, 2003 at 02:23 AM (#519265)
1914 Ballot

Here?s my ballot plus #16-#25?I still don?t have Lip Pike on my top 15 ballot. I?m not ready to give him the leap of faith I?ve already given to the pre-1870 careers of Joe Start, George Wright and Cal McVey. I spent more time on deciding the order of this ballot than any other. It was a tough one. Have only two pitchers...need to examine that more closely next time around
   64. KJOK Posted: November 24, 2003 at 05:54 AM (#519267)
I look more for wins above AVERAGE as opposed to above REPLACEMENT LEVEL when considering a player's greatness, and I look at least 5 years for a peak, along with heavily weighting C, SS, and 3B defense.

1. CHARLIE BENNETT, C -Comp is Roy Campanella. Until at least Roger Bresnahan, only Ewing was a better Catcher. Look how far ahead he is of Clements, McGuire, Zimmer, Farrell, Carroll, Milligan & Peitz.

2. HUGHIE JENNINGS, SS ? Best comp may be Lou Boudreau. Great fielder and great hitter for a SS. Only drawback is shorter than normal HOM carrer, 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.

3. 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. Now that McPhee and Richardson are in, Childs should be in also. Only MVP type year was 1890 in weak AA.

4. 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.

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

6. 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 - I count that quite a bit in moving him up the OF glut pack.

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

8. JIMMY COLLINS, 3B ? Ken Boyer offensively, right with Williamson and Cross defensively.

9. JAKE BECKLEY, 1B ? Comp is Tony Perez or Sam Crawford. Never had an MVP-type year, as Black Ink score is only 1!! BUT, his Gray Ink is 165, so he?s the poster boy of being very good for a very long time to be HOM worthy.

10. 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.

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

12. JOE KELLEY, LF/CF ? Best comp may be Bob Johnson. Falls right in to the middle of the outfield glut. Never really had an ?MVP? year, yet peak was better than Harry Stovey?s.

13. HARRY STOVEY, LF/1B - Comp is Albert Belle, only with baserunning ability. MVP type years in 1883, 1888 & 1889. Decided Stovey should be ahead of Griffin, Thompson & Tiernan this time.

14. TONY MULLANE, P ? Only 4 Win Shares behind Galvin (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.

15. LAVE CROSS, 3B - Comp is Nellie Fox. Terrific fielder at important 19th century defensive position. Just edges out similar player in Bid McPhee due to positional adjustment. Rivals Ned Williamson and Jimmy Collins as greatest defensive 3B ever.

LEFT OFF THE BALLOT:
   65. KJOK Posted: November 24, 2003 at 06:30 AM (#519268)
This should probably go under the discussion thread, but since the election is almost over, I'll post it here.

From the SABR List - Pete Palmer is coming out with a new "Total Baseball" Encyclopedia in March (may not be called Total Baseball) and has apparently revised his fielding metric, and especially his catcher fielding metric. The new calculations apparently produce the following new Rating/Rankings for catchers:

no. 33(on the all-time list for non-pitchers) Hartnett, 44.3
   66. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: November 24, 2003 at 08:50 AM (#519269)
I'm taking the coming week off for vacation, so I can stay up REALLY late to do my ballot. Some big changes this week in the lower half of the ballot.

1)Charlie Bennett (1) He's much better than any of the other C's available, and that feels like a HoMer to me. Reasonably good hitter, great fielder.

2)Cal McVey (2) Just an outstanding hitter, and added some defensive value with ability to play catcher.

3)Harry Stovey (4) He had power and speed, was a dominant hitter in his leagues for several years. Definitely ahead of the rest of the OF/1B types.

4)Jimmy Collins (new) Reminiscent of Bid McPhee - an excellent fielder, although his offense was better. I see him as signifcantly better than Cross and Williamson.

5)Lip Pike (5) A very good hitter, just a little uncertain about how good his undocumented play was.

6)Dickey Pearce (6) Definitely a star, and would rather have him in than anyone below him.

7)Frank Grant (7) People keep coming up with positive evidence, but I still don't think we know as much about him as we do about Pearce.

8)Joe Kelley (new) Just a little bit ahead of the OF glut. A better hitter than the CFs, and a better fielder than the other LF/RFs.

9)Jim McCormick (NR) I admit, I probably had not been considering the pitchers seriously enough in recent years. Benefited from a comparison with McGinnity. 9 times in top 10 in ERA+, compared to 5 for McGinnity. He was stuck on lousy teams, so you can't compare his W-L record. This may all change again next time around.

10)Hughie Jennings (8) Just an amazing peak, although we all know that's all there is.

11)Jake Beckley (10) And going the other way, I'm also willing to credit the guys who were good for a very long time.

12)Joe McGinnity (new) 3 times as the best pitcher in the league by WS (and twice as the best in baseball, with the 3rd losing out to only the best season in the 20th century) feels like a HoMer to me, but I just couldn't put him above McCormick.

13)Jimmy Ryan (12) Very slightly ahead of the other OFs; I don't think any of the glut will ever make my HoM.

14)Mike Griffin (11) OK, maybe he's not better than Ryan, but I still think it's very close.

15)Ed Williamson (NR) Comes back as a result of reevaluating the 3B. Decent hitter, excellent fielder - but still no Ezra Sutton.

Others:
   67. Philip Posted: November 24, 2003 at 10:48 AM (#519270)
I had no time this week to write up explanations. So only a few comments for the newbies. The others are explained at greater length on the previous ballot. Next time I will be more elaborate.

1. Pike
   68. Jeff M Posted: November 24, 2003 at 03:46 PM (#519271)
Jeff, Stovey may be the best all-around player, but that wouldn't necessarily make him the best player.

Okay. I misinterpreted your words. By "best all-around player" you mean most well-rounded. :)
   69. jimd Posted: November 24, 2003 at 11:42 PM (#519273)
Lip played 13 full seasons (1866-78), longer than most of the guys Jim is voting for

Well, conceding 13 seasons for Lip, then by my counts:

Longer: (7) Bennett, Kelley, Ryan, Van Haltren, Pearce, Beckley, Grant
   70. jimd Posted: November 25, 2003 at 12:35 AM (#519274)
See the "Nineteenth Century Transactions Register" by David Ball.

Thank you very much, Paul.

--------------------------
   71. jimd Posted: November 25, 2003 at 01:30 AM (#519275)
See the "Nineteenth Century Transactions Register" by David Ball.

Some fascinating stuff in here. There may be an earlier one, but this has got to rate as one of the earliest all-time BAD transactions (judged from hindsight).

April 21, 1887: Chicago traded pitcher Jim McCormick to Pittsburgh for pitcher-outfielder George Van Haltren and about $2,000.

1887 was to be McCormick's last season (basically league-average pitcher). Van Haltren had not yet played in the majors. Not quite "Anderson for Bagwell" but getting there.
   72. jimd Posted: November 25, 2003 at 01:36 AM (#519276)
Oops. That's Andersen, not Anderson.
   73. Marc Posted: November 25, 2003 at 01:44 AM (#519277)
jimd, I guess I could go look up your ballot, but which Jones are you talking about? Don't forget Charlie! I can't imagine Fielder being a better value!

> Top WARP-3 peaks (not yet elected): Whitney, Jennings, McCormick, Bennett, Kelley

Top aWS peaks (not yet elected): Bond, Caruthers, Whitney, Hecker, Stivetts

Blended: Whitney, Bennett, Bond, Jennings, Caruthers

PS. Being a "peak" guy, I am happy to say that I am voting for most of these--i.e. Jennings, McCormick, Bennett, Kelley and Bond. I also have voted for Whitney and Caruthers, not Hecker and Stivetts. To me, this group ought to get more serious consideration than it does.
   74. jimd Posted: November 25, 2003 at 01:51 AM (#519278)
Shorter: (6) Whitney, Thompson, C.Jones, McVey, Bond, Jennings

Sorry. I did get the C. in there once but not often enough.

I don't take Hecker and Stivetts seriously; too much of their value comes from the AA's AAA years (ditto for Mullane).
   75. DanG Posted: November 25, 2003 at 02:54 PM (#519279)
jimd:

I think you read more into my comment than I intended. Your original comment was Why isn't Pike higher? Basically, too short a career and too speculative a peak value.

Too often I've seen Lip miscast in this way; my intent was to demonstrate succinctly why these are false notions (#59). So it's not that we're in any major disagreement on the other names you mentioned. It's mainly that those reasons for leaving Pike off your ballot don't hold water.

Like Marc, you're much more a peak voter than myself. That's fine, but to me, Whitney, Bond and Jennings would not to have A LOT higher peaks than Pike in order to be ranked above him, give their MUCH shorter careers.

BTW, Bennett played in half his teams' games in only 12 years, fewer years as a regular than Pike. And for Grant we simply don't know how many years he was a regular player.
   76. jimd Posted: November 25, 2003 at 08:14 PM (#519280)
First of all, let me say that I think that Pike was a fine player. I've defended him here previously against the allegations of excessive "revolving". I've also been consistent in my ratings of players from that generation, in that I was a lukewarm Start supporter, I do not support McVey's induction (I don't oppose it either), and see Pike as another step below them.

I look for players who were either: arguably the best player in baseball (or close to it) for a period of time (high peak), or who had exceptionally long and valuable careers. Those with both go right to the top of the ballot; those with neither will slip behind a player with just one of those two properties. I don't give the 1860's full credit for peak until the regional game starts to go national, which is why I don't have Pearce near the top of my ballot. Maybe I'm underrating Pike but I haven't gotten the impression that he was considered the best; contrast with his contemporaries, George Wright and Ross Barnes.

BTW, Bennett played in half his teams' games in only 12 years, fewer years as a regular than Pike. And for Grant we simply don't know how many years he was a regular player.

By this standard, there are no regular pitchers after the mound was moved until relievers started pitching in more than half of the games in the 1960's. I use a definition where the league-leading catcher in GP sets the standard (I'd prefer defensive innings but that's not available), and everyone who played more than half of that is a regular. The standard at each position is self-defining, though it usually only makes a real difference at Pitcher and Catcher. Bennett is a regular 14 seasons by this definition, adding 1887 and 1893 to your count. Pike is also a borderline regular in 1878 (he was cut by Cincinnati near midseason).

Grant, conceded; he would have been better listed as "Unknown".
   77. Marc Posted: November 25, 2003 at 09:07 PM (#519281)
Earlier I noted that Joe McGinnity was a part-time player.

How many games Bennett played in is not the point. The question is how valuable he was. If he played more games than other catchers of the time (which he did), and if the replacement level at catcher was execrable (which it was), then the value he delivered (above replacement) by playing 75-80% of the time was more than most OF playing every day.

Anyone who has pitchers on their ballot should re-think this part-time thing as it relates to catchers through about 1925 or so.

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