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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Monday, November 24, 2003

1915 Ballot Discussion

Let’s get the 1915 discussion going.

I won’t have the full results up today, but I should be able to have them posted by Wednesday (I’ll be busy tomorrow and don’t see the time freeing up). I’ll post the totals of the top candidates in the discussion portion so we can move forward.

Here are the top new candidates . . . a couple of big guns are coming on this year.

***1915 (December 7)—elect 2
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)
398 126.7 1890 George Davis-SS/3b (1940)
394 126.8 1891 Bill Dahlen-SS (1950)
207 67.5 1899 Jimmy Williams-2b (1965)
205 57.0 1897 Claude Ritchey-2b (1951)
209 43.4 1899 Jack Chesbro-P (1931)
200 43.1 1898 Bill Dinneen-P (1955)
172 34.3 1899 Harry Howell-P (1956)
113 35.1 1901 Hobe Ferris-2b (1938)
131 17.3 1899 Tully Sparks-P (1937)

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 24, 2003 at 11:28 PM | 151 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 24, 2003 at 11:39 PM (#519283)
Based on John Murphy's preliminary tally (can someone else send one so that I can compare?) the winner is . . .

Please. I'll be shocked it if I got it perfectly right. :-)
   2. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 24, 2003 at 11:52 PM (#519284)
Prelim:

1) Pete Browning
   3. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 25, 2003 at 12:11 AM (#519285)
Joe Kelley:

I could vote for the fourth best leftfielder of his era (Delahanty, Burkett and Clarke were certainly better) if he had been at least close to the other three. He really wasn't.

I have him down as the best in left field for 1894 and as the best NL first baseman in 1901. We're not talking about a really great peak here.

His career length, while very good, wasn't truly outstanding either.

I can see him at the bottom of a ballot (because he was a very good player), but not near the top.
   4. OCF Posted: November 25, 2003 at 12:30 AM (#519287)
Pre-preliminary ballot:

1. Dahlen or Davis
   5. Howie Menckel Posted: November 25, 2003 at 12:40 AM (#519288)
just my offbeat way of looking at things....

HOMers by various eras

ERA I: The Pioneers (10): All got their ML start by the second year of organized ball; more than half stretched their careers well into the '80s and '90s.
   6. OCF Posted: November 25, 2003 at 01:19 AM (#519290)
Howie (#7),

Since you're definining your eras by the beginnings of careers, Davis and Dahlen clearly belong to era III, so that era will be represented by infielders. Willie Keeler and Cy Young also belong to era III.

I've been saying that the next big project and debate will be the rating and placement of short-career era IV pitchers, of whom McGinnity is the first of many.

Is there another gap between era III and era IV? Do we have many worthy players starting out in the mid-90's?
   7. OCF Posted: November 25, 2003 at 01:36 AM (#519291)
<i>Dahlen had a BA of .272 and a secondary average of .288.
   8. Marc Posted: November 25, 2003 at 01:47 AM (#519292)
John and Joe, I must have missed a couple-three ballots somewhere, I have McVey winning 687-568 out of a total of 39 ballots...??? Did you note that there was at least one (and I think two) voters who voted twice--i.e. who submitted (a) correction(s)?
   9. Marc Posted: November 25, 2003 at 01:52 AM (#519293)
My sheet also has your #4-5 and #14-15 flip-flopped. No biggies.

Whaddya think the casual baseball history fan would say to Kelley topping Collins?

Also I think there were significant changes further down the ballot. Caruthers rallied (up at least 3 slots), Clark Griffith slipped (at least 4 slots).

OK, so who wants to argue about the new 2Bs? I think Ritchey was better than Williams and Hobe Ferriss is seriously underrated!

I dunno, I've already got enough SSs on my ballot ;-)
   10. Marc Posted: November 25, 2003 at 02:05 AM (#519294)
Prelim.

1. Dahlen or Davis
   11. jimd Posted: November 25, 2003 at 02:19 AM (#519295)
There was something going on that derailed many of the outfielders from the '80s (Browning, O'Neill and Stovey in particular) so that they didn't have the same length of careers as later on.

Maybe it was a combination of two things: contraction in 1892 combined with the "outfielder glut" of young talented players of the 1890's? That might be enough to explain it.

Getting more speculative, and reaching for a third reason, maybe there was also a change in style of OF play. There's a significant increase on PO's made in the OF during the 1890's, and a drop in assists. Were the 80's OF'ers playing shallower, sort of backing up the IF'ers, while the 90's guys played a more modern game, made necessary by more harder hit balls due to the pitching change? Did this change the "requirements" for being an OF'er, the younger guys adapting while the older guys retired?
   12. jimd Posted: November 25, 2003 at 02:21 AM (#519296)
There was something going on that derailed many of the outfielders from the '80s (Browning, O'Neill and Stovey in particular) so that they didn't have the same length of careers as later on.

Oops. Forgot to cite that. It's from John Murphy's 1914 ballot, reasoning behind votes for Browning and O'Neill.
   13. Howie Menckel Posted: November 25, 2003 at 02:53 AM (#519298)
As a Hall of Famer, Chesbro probably deserves some discussion.
   14. Howie Menckel Posted: November 25, 2003 at 03:10 AM (#519299)
TEAMS WITH SIX HALL OF MERIT MEN
   15. Marc Posted: November 25, 2003 at 03:45 AM (#519301)
I'm with Clint. I love a peak, but even I refuse to be knocked out by a one year peak.
   16. Howie Menckel Posted: November 25, 2003 at 03:51 AM (#519302)
And of course.... Congrats to Harry Stovey...

(Unofficial) Career votes-points leaders
   17. MattB Posted: November 25, 2003 at 03:54 AM (#519303)
Also I think there were significant changes further down the ballot. Caruthers rallied (up at least 3 slots), Clark Griffith slipped (at least 4 slots).

Caruthers is a guy who is going to have to keep being re-examined. He's unlike anyone else on the ballot, and each generation he's going to measure up well on some standards and less well on others. He's in my "19th Century Player Most Likely To Be Elected in the 21st Century" category.

Chesbro falls into the "just short" category. He actually has the heart of a HoM career. If he had pitched as a 23-24 year old, or as a 36-37 year old, he'd have a good case. As it is, he's two good years short.

I'm glad to see Griffith is fading on comparison to McGinnity.

This year, as the top of the ballot seems pretty set (Davis is #1 and Dahlen is #2, for sure), I'm reconsidering other pitchers.

Bobby Mathews, I think, was the 2nd best pitcher of the 1870s, after Spalding, and I might have under-rated him.

Also, I'm going to compare Gus Weyhing's 7 year peak, 1887-1893, to other 7-year peaks.
   18. Howie Menckel Posted: November 25, 2003 at 03:55 AM (#519304)
Well, Chesbro top 5 in wins 5 times, top 10 in IP 5 times, and ERA+ four times.
   19. jimd Posted: November 25, 2003 at 04:19 AM (#519305)
Davis is #1 and Dahlen is #2, for sure

Or vice-versa, depending on your hitting vs fielding weight.

I can't see ranking Chesbro ahead of McGinnity, unless that one year has a very high weight.
   20. Howie Menckel Posted: November 25, 2003 at 05:06 AM (#519307)
yest,
   21. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 25, 2003 at 06:26 AM (#519309)
As a Hall of Famer, Chesbro probably deserves some discussion.

Well, I have Mathewson, Plank, Brown, Willis, McGinnity, Walsh, Waddell, Tannehil, and Orth as better than Chesbro. That doesn't sound like a HoMer to me even if you are more inclined to add pitchers to your ballot than myself.

John, I match the summarized results above exactly. Good Work. :^)

Yip-pie!!! :-)

Getting more speculative, and reaching for a third reason, maybe there was also a change in style of OF play. There's a significant increase on PO's made in the OF during the 1890's, and a drop in assists. Were the 80's OF'ers playing shallower, sort of backing up the IF'ers, while the 90's guys played a more modern game, made necessary by more harder hit balls due to the pitching change? Did this change the "requirements" for being an OF'er, the younger guys adapting while the older guys retired?

I think the '80s guys were just getting beat up more than the later guys, but I am intrigued by this theory, though. It certainly may have played some role here.
   22. KJOK Posted: November 25, 2003 at 08:08 AM (#519311)
Wins are a team stat, not REALLY a pitcher effectiveness stat. Yes, McGinnity won a lot of games, and that is in his favor. However, from 1899-1907 McGinnity BY FAR pitched more GAMES than anyone else, so he SHOULD have won a lot of games. I mean, he also allowed a lot of HITS and RUNS, which are bad, right?

Basically, McGinnity benefited from McGraw's use of 3/4 man rotations, while some teams (see 1903 Cubs, for example) were actually using 5 man rotations! It was a very transitional period for pitching...
   23. Rusty Priske Posted: November 25, 2003 at 02:42 PM (#519313)
Did I see a first place vore for Pete Browning up there. Wow. I though my Van Haltren #1 was out of left field...:)

My prelim

1. George Davis
   24. Howie Menckel Posted: November 25, 2003 at 02:50 PM (#519314)
KJOK,
   25. Chris Cobb Posted: November 25, 2003 at 03:46 PM (#519316)
yest wrote:
   26. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 25, 2003 at 04:48 PM (#519317)
Did I see a first place vore for Pete Browning up there. Wow. I though my Van Haltren #1 was out of left field...:)

I was actually surprised myself. However, if you compare him to his peers (which is not easy because of the many different positions he played), he outdistanced the vast majority of his competition. His abbreviated career wasn't as short for the 1880s as it would have been during the '90s, plus he did have an impressive peak.

I'm actually happy to see him high because of the unhappy life he had to live.

It appears we're on the same page with Van Haltren.
   27. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 25, 2003 at 05:06 PM (#519319)
Nolan:

You still weren't close to being the best pitcher for your time.
   28. OCF Posted: November 25, 2003 at 05:33 PM (#519320)
What did Bill James say in the NBJHBA about Davis and Dahlen? He has Davis 14th and Dahlen 21st among shortstops. What do his numbers show?
   29. Marc Posted: November 25, 2003 at 05:46 PM (#519321)
OCF, I have certainly wondered how Dahlen and Davis' rankings could be so far apart. The only things I can think of are perhaps Davis' leadership skills/abilities/accomplishments and the fact that he missed a full season due to factors beyond his control (i.e. legal/politics). Put both of those things into Bill's bullshit dump and I guess I can see a gap. Yeah, as to their ranking vs. Luis, you gotta have one monster of a timeline for that to happen, but Bill was up to that task. The real question is Luis' ranking vs. another couple dozen 20th century SSs.
   30. Howie Menckel Posted: November 25, 2003 at 06:44 PM (#519324)
Nolan: The questioning of McGinnity noted that he pitched in an awful lot of games to get his wins. Surely you don't want to go down that road!!
   31. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 25, 2003 at 06:48 PM (#519325)
What if Earl Weaver hadn't courageously moved Cal Ripken to shortstop in the summer of 1982? If he had played third base his entire career, he certainly would have helped his team win many fewer games, and may not be a HoFer. But would he have been any less of a ballplayer,

No, but he certainly would have helped his team to a lesser extent at third than short.
   32. ronw Posted: November 25, 2003 at 07:16 PM (#519327)
Having just purchased the NBJHBA, I too was surprised at the discrepancy between Davis (#14) and Dahlen (#21) on his shortstop list. Even more surprising than both being below Aparicio in the rankings, is that their short-career contemporary, Hughie Jennings, is sandwiched between them, at #18. As has been previously posted, this ranking of Jennings appears to fly in the face of James' earlier argument that Jennings does not belong in the HOF.

Perhaps, like me, Bill is slowly realizing that an outstanding peak can make up for a short career. After all, he does have Koufax as the 14th best pitcher. I may have to reconsider Jennings, who is currently languishing at the bottom of my HOM consideration pile, next to his teammate John McGraw.
   33. DanG Posted: November 25, 2003 at 07:19 PM (#519328)
John Murphy wrote:

However, if you compare him to his peers (which is not easy because of the many different positions he played), he outdistanced the vast majority of his competition. His abbreviated career wasn't as short for the 1880s as it would have been during the '90s, plus he did have an impressive peak.

I'm actually happy to see him high because of the unhappy life he had to live.


I dunno, if that's the argument for Pete he doesn't sound like he's within sniffing distance of the HoM.

How about my favorite challenge, really I think of it as a litmus test: Assume we elected your guy. If you were on a radio talk show or an on-line chat and you had to explain to the reasonably knowledgeable fan why Pete Browning is in the Hall, what would you say? It's gotta be short and persuasive, say, less than 100 words. You can use common sabermetric measures in the argument.
   34. DanG Posted: November 25, 2003 at 07:29 PM (#519329)
Cal McVey is the 9th out of our 28 HoMers whom Cooperstown has snubbed. Number ten is on deck:

Deacon White
   35. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 25, 2003 at 07:52 PM (#519331)
I dunno, if that's the argument for Pete he doesn't sound like he's within sniffing distance of the HoM.

Well, he was a great hitter. Nobody can deny that. His fielding overall was poor (though it appears he was good at the beginning of his career), but it still wasn't enough to deter him from being the best major league second baseman for '82, the best major league leftfielder for '83 (close in '90), the best major league centerfielder for 1887 and the best AA centerfielder for '85. He was legitimately great at his peak.

What hurt him in my eyes originally was the brevity of his career. However, (for career length), the '80s were different from the '70s and '90s (and later). If you don't take that into account, I feel you are underrating Browning, Stovey and O'Neill.

If today's game became tough to the point that the average career was halved, would we compare these players to other generations without taking that point into account. I hope that wouldn't be the case.

As I (and Chris Cobb) have stated before - context, context, context!
   36. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 25, 2003 at 07:56 PM (#519332)
I don't know why James did what he did. It may be because of the intangibles. But there may be an alternative explanation, if you buy the notion that you should compare guys to others at their positions. Under that measure, Davis comes out ahead because he played some 3B, not despite it.

Clint, that's why I have Davis and Dahlen placed on my ballot the way I do. Doing what you suggest creates a gap between those two that wasn't evident initially when I first read the NBHA.
   37. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 25, 2003 at 07:58 PM (#519333)
Cal McVey is the 9th out of our 28 HoMers whom Cooperstown has snubbed. Number ten is on deck:

... and number eleven is on the steps (Stovey).
   38. MattB Posted: November 25, 2003 at 08:05 PM (#519334)
"If you were on a radio talk show or an on-line chat and you had to explain to the reasonably knowledgeable fan why Pete Browning is in the Hall, what would you say?"

Best pure hitter in his the American Association's history. Best pure hitter in Player's League history. And never a liability defensively. With pitcher Bob Caruthers, led his team to four consecutive AA championships. During his career peak (ages 24-30), he was "Most Similar" to a top-half Hall of Famer every year (usually Honus Wagner).

No questioning his value to his team, but maybe needs some "League adjustments" for the AA? But League Adjustments understate Browning's ability, because they are calculated based on the marginal player. In an extreme case, Barry Bonds had 1.381 OPS in 2002. If he got demoted to the PCL midseason, would his OPS have been 1.650 there? Of course not. The best AA players were just as good as the best NL players (compare their 1890+ stats when they were in the same league), but are getting "adjusted" out of contention.

Was that under 100 words? If not, just go with the first paragraph.
   39. RobC Posted: November 25, 2003 at 08:11 PM (#519335)
Prelim Ballot:

1. Dahlen - If you had asked me when this project started, I would have said, "Davis over Dahlen. No question." If you want to have Davis first I wont complain. Back in 1898 or so, I said that when (if?) Browning is elected I will go to his grave site, and toast his election to the HoM with some quality KY bourbon. I stand by this. But Browning #1?
   40. Chris Cobb Posted: November 25, 2003 at 08:21 PM (#519336)
John, I'm not convinced yet that the career context for 1880s outfielders was different than it was for outfielders in other periods. How broad-based is your survey of outfield careers and the age at which outfielders stopped being productive? O'Neill's career, for instance, is short because he didn't become a regular until he was 26. His career ending at 34 doesn't seem especially truncated in comparison to other outfielders.

On Davis vs. Dahlen: it seems to me that the arguments that are advantaging Davis either on the ability side or on the better-than-position side of things because he played third base for a while are misguided. Their career and peak values independent of position are very close. If Dahlen had been at third and Davis at short, their "best at position" numbers would simply switch. Dahlen has fewer top seasons at short because his peak ran directly against Jennings's, which was the best of any player at any position in the 1890s. Furthermore, while I've been a supporter of Hughie Jennings for a long time, he by no means deserves to rank higher than either Dahlen or Davis. At his best he was better than either of them, but not by very much. They were both _great_ players for a long time. They have more above average seasons than Jennings has seasons.
   41. KJOK Posted: November 25, 2003 at 08:25 PM (#519337)
"There is a point at which some pitchers find a way to win games. "

This has been studied numerous times, and each study points to this being false. Pitchers do not "find a way to win" or "pitch to the score."

And if you think about it logically, a pitcher has no idea in the beginning of a game whether his team is going to score 1 run or 12 runs, so IF there was a skill to "find a way to win" the pitcher would only be able to display that skill in the 8th or 9th inning...
   42. karlmagnus Posted: November 25, 2003 at 08:39 PM (#519338)
It's an interesting question whether pitchers "know how to win games" but I wouldn't rule it out. In the early innings, most games settle down to a tight game/pitchers duel or a blowout/slugfest (one big inning can change one into the other, of course.) The microstrategies appropriate to the various types of games are quite different, and a pitcher who was quick to figure out the optimum micro-strategy would presumably win more games than his raw ERA numbers would suggest. Matthewson's "Pitching in a pinch" summarizes it, at least for his generation; if it's not a pinch, you don't bear down, thus saving yourself for the 30-win season.

Batters who are aware of "working the count" have somewhat changed this, of course, but our 1912 HOM game, in which Smokey Joe Wood won with an 89-pitch complete game, indicates what was possible in 1912, and may not be possible now.
   43. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 25, 2003 at 08:40 PM (#519339)
John, I'm not convinced yet that the career context for 1880s outfielders was different than it was for outfielders in other periods. How broad-based is your survey of outfield careers and the age at which outfielders stopped being productive? O'Neill's career, for instance, is short because he didn't become a regular until he was 26. His career ending at 34 doesn't seem especially truncated in comparison to other outfielders.

I take the eight best players during the subject's career with weights for the players who had the most seasons with the subject. I do this for every position that the subject played a majority of games for a season (for Browning, I would have to create position comparisons for him at second, centerfield, left field and third). I also use standard deviation (instead of normalization) so the subject won't stand out unfairly because his competition was lacking.

Whether it was attrition, jimd's theory, harmonic convergence or whatever, something was going on during the 1880s that wasn't happening during other eras in the outfield and needs to be addressed.
   44. KJOK Posted: November 25, 2003 at 08:40 PM (#519340)
Also, if you're not convinced Nolan Ryan was 'unlucky' check out Aaron's Nov. 24 blog entry at http://www.aarongleeman.com/
   45. Marc Posted: November 25, 2003 at 08:54 PM (#519341)
>By my count and using WS as the measure, Davis was the best player in baseball at his position five times:
   46. Paul Wendt Posted: November 25, 2003 at 08:57 PM (#519342)
Cleveland won a half-pennant in 1892.
   47. jimd Posted: November 25, 2003 at 08:58 PM (#519343)
With pitcher Bob Caruthers, led his team to four consecutive AA championships.

Ummm, MattB? He was a BROWNing, but not a BROWN. He played for LOUISville, not st. LOUIS. ;-)
   48. Howie Menckel Posted: November 25, 2003 at 09:15 PM (#519344)
KJOK, from the article:
   49. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 25, 2003 at 09:26 PM (#519345)
As for #11, I'm not convinced that Charlie Bennett won't be #11. He is right on Stovey's heels. Of course, we haven't seen the 1914 results....

Speaking of the results, if anyone has compiled rankings of the candidates, please send them to me at the above e-mail address so as to compare them with mine.

Thanks!
   50. Marc Posted: November 25, 2003 at 09:33 PM (#519346)
John, see Patrick W. (#16). Maybe you have his email?
   51. MattB Posted: November 25, 2003 at 09:52 PM (#519347)
He was also named Louis.

Obviously, I was typing faster than I was thinking.
   52. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 25, 2003 at 09:57 PM (#519348)
John, see Patrick W. (#16). Maybe you have his email?

I don't have his, but both of our compiled results are in agreement so there's no need for his. However, the ones contrary to post #1 should be sent to me (like yours, Marc).
   53. Marc Posted: November 25, 2003 at 10:02 PM (#519349)
John, I only have 39 ballots. It will take a while to figure out who I missed. Do you need one bad enough? I couldn't respond til mid-evening.
   54. Chris Cobb Posted: November 25, 2003 at 10:08 PM (#519350)
It's an interesting question whether pitchers "know how to win games" but I wouldn't rule it out. . . . The microstrategies appropriate to the various types of games are quite different, and a pitcher who was quick to figure out the optimum micro-strategy would presumably win more games than his raw ERA numbers would suggest. Matthewson's "Pitching in a pinch" summarizes it, at least for his generation; if it's not a pinch, you don't bear down, thus saving yourself for the 30-win season.

I think we're going to have an excellent opportunity to look at evidence on this subject starting in 1916, when Clark Griffith and Rube Waddell are under consideration together.
   55. Chris Cobb Posted: November 25, 2003 at 10:26 PM (#519351)
Tom H. asked: Can someone please post Wins Above Team for McGinnity and Griffith, and confirm that For Jim McCormick, the answer is 64? Thanks.

I can't confirm McCormick yet, (and I'm not sure how valuable this stat is for the early 1880s) but, if my calculations are correct, these are the numbers for McGinnity and Griffith.

McGinnity -- 12 wins above team
   56. Rob Wood Posted: November 25, 2003 at 10:54 PM (#519352)
My recently developed Win Values casts light on the issue of how much information a pitcher's win totals convey. I agree with the earlier comment that the pendulum (in analytical circles) has swung too far. Pitcher wins should not be completely ignored.

Even if it is not an ability, per se, in many cases the pitcher deserves a good deal of the credit for his team winning (close) games. See my Win Values articles in the Authors section of the Primer website for more data, discussion, etc.

I will comment specifically about my rather uninspired view of McGinnity at a later time.
   57. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 25, 2003 at 11:08 PM (#519353)
Patrick W:

I think we were off a little on C. and F. Jones. Would you mind double-checking those two? Thanks!
   58. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 25, 2003 at 11:11 PM (#519354)
John, I only have 39 ballots. It will take a while to figure out who I missed. Do you need one bad enough? I couldn't respond til mid-evening.

I didn't mean to sound like it was an order, BTW. :-) If you can send it sometime tonight, that would be great!
   59. Howie Menckel Posted: November 25, 2003 at 11:40 PM (#519355)
Appreciate the observation, Rob.

Truthfully, compared to the efforts of you and others, I'm hanging on over here with intuition, duct tape, and baling wire - which is why I'm more involved in playing devil's advocate and raising questions than in trying to be too dogmatic.
   60. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 25, 2003 at 11:47 PM (#519356)
Marc:

Don't worry about sending it to me. We have it double-checked now.
   61. favre Posted: November 26, 2003 at 01:12 AM (#519358)
Prelim ballot

1. (tie) Bill Dahlen
   62. OCF Posted: November 26, 2003 at 01:41 AM (#519359)
Paul in #61 offers a glimpse at the 1892 Spiders, just before they traded away George Davis. Even without Davis, the team had plenty of talent - Cy Young, Jesse Burkett, Chief Zimmer, among others. Even without Davis, they came to have terrific offense at SS in Ed McKean. In the first 7 seasons of the 12-team "big league", they had a record of 548-396 (.581) and finished 2nd three times (counting 1892), 3rd once, 5th twice, and 6th once. The high water mark came in 1895 with a 2nd place finish just 3 games behind the Orioles.

This all got me looking at the events of '98-'99-'00. The four teams that survived the wreck of the AA (Louisville, Washington, St. Louis, and Baltimore) moved immediately to the sub-basement of the NL. Baltimore escaped to launch its championship run in 1894, but of the other three ex-AA teams, only one ever (through 1898) finished better than 9th: Washington in 7th place 32 games out in '97, and they went right back down the next year. Louisville was showing some signs of life, having come up with Wagner and Clarke, but (1) Wagner and Clarke were 24 and 25 in 1898, which isn't all that young for alleged emerging stars, and (2) the Colonels still couldn't get above 9th place.

The evil of cross-ownership started making its effects felt between 1898 and 1899. The major stars of the Baltimore dynasty (Keeler, Kelley, and Jennings, but not McGraw) went to Brooklyn. Every good player from Cleveland went to St. Louis. Brooklyn, which had been visiting the sub-basement (10th place, 46 games out) shot up to first, but somehow the Orioles managed to survive as at least a good team. One footnote about a player moving the "wrong" way: Joe McGinnity went from 1898 Brooklyn to 1899 Baltimore.

But the greatest evil was the St. Louis/Cleveland situation. St. Louis had never strayed from the bottom of the league, and had just finished 63.5 games out two years in a row. Cleveland in 1898 finished 5th at 81-68; we've been talking about their talent core. With Young, Burkett, and anywone else with a pulse in St. Louis for 1899, the teams exchanged positions: 12th to 5th, 5th to an infamous 12th.

The decmimation of Louisville in favor of Pittsburgh didn't happen until after the 1899 season, as the 4 old AA teams were all contracted away. Oops, not quite those 4 - St. Louis had stolen Cleveland's ticket for survival. And the Orioles were contracted away despite still being respectable.
   63. jimd Posted: November 26, 2003 at 03:15 AM (#519360)
An addendum to OCF's excellent summary. IIRC, Louisville (Dreyfuss) didn't purchase Pittsburgh until after the 1899 season, but before the decision was made to contract. When the contraction came, each of the three two-team syndicates chose which team to keep, and each naturally chose the larger market: large market Brooklyn vs medium market Baltimore, medium market Pittsburgh vs smallest market Louisville, upper medium St. Louis vs lower medium Cleveland. Washington, by far the smallest of the remaining cities (government not yet being a major industry), was simply bought out.

The remaining 8 teams were located in 7 of the top 8 markets (or 8 of the top 9, depending on whether you view New York/Brooklyn as one market or two). Baltimore was the only one missing. Compared to the founding season of 1876, the NL lineup is almost identical but stronger, with Brooklyn replacing Hartford, and Pittsburgh replacing Louisville. The NL should have been invulnerable; that they weren't is a testament to a) the players dislike for the owners, and b) the fans distaste for the poor officiating and rough style of play.
   64. EricC Posted: November 26, 2003 at 03:41 AM (#519361)
1915 prelim. I've recalculated league conversion factors, giving a minor boost to AA stars, compared with before. Davis and Dahlen enter as #1 and #2. The rest are almost in the same order as on the 1914 ballot.

1. George Davis (N) Best player in baseball, 1897, twice in top 3, 7 times in top 10. Best 3B 1894; best SS 1900. 2nd-best 3B or SS 9 other times.

2. Bill Dahlen (N) Best player in baseball, 1892, twice in top 3, 3 times in top 10. Best SS 1892 and 1899, 2nd best SS 4 other times.

Um, shouldn't we elect Tommy McCarthy to the HoM first, before we start thinking about Davis and Dahlen?... Davis and Dahlen are about equal in total WS, but Davis had better rate stats.

3. Hughie Jennings (1)
   65. Chris Cobb Posted: November 26, 2003 at 05:39 AM (#519362)
<i>McGinnity -- 12 wins above team
   66. KJOK Posted: November 26, 2003 at 06:22 AM (#519363)
McGinnity's wins above team is 26.8, which places him around the top 40 all-time.

Some others deadball pitchers:
   67. Chris Cobb Posted: November 26, 2003 at 06:52 AM (#519364)
KJOK,

What number do you have for Griffith? Did your not including him mean that your number matches mine?
   68. Max Parkinson Posted: November 26, 2003 at 04:43 PM (#519365)
Gents,

I've been following along since near the beginning of this project, and I'd like to thank each of you - I've certainly learned a great deal this year about 19thC ball. Before I commit to joining, I would like to spend a couple of "years" putting together my voting lists based on my own calculations as opposed to weighing other's arguments, which I have been doing pretty much adhoc.
   69. OCF Posted: November 26, 2003 at 06:18 PM (#519366)
I've got a colleague who grew up in Baltimore and is still an Orioles fan. I keep explaining to him how many reasons Baltimore has to hate the New York metro area and its teams and former teams. Consider the following things that all happened within a short time:

1. Ned Hanlon takes over a losing team and builds the Oriole dynasty that finishes 1-1-1-2-2 in a 12-team league over a 5 year period.

2. A two-team ownership syndicate moves Hanlon and the best of the playing talent to Brooklyn, creating an instant pennant winner in Brooklyn using Baltimore parts.

3. McGraw, remaining behind in Baltimore, shows his managerial talent by taking the scrap he's left with and fashioning a 5th place finish out of it.

4. The owners disband those Orioles anyway, leaving Baltimore (see #79) as the largest city without a major league team.

5. The American League claims Baltimore, recycles the name Orioles, and hires McGraw to manage. The team finishes above .500 in 1901.

6. After just a year and a half in Baltimore, the AL team relocates to New York, eventually to become the Yankees. Once again, Baltimore has no team.

7. After being given two chances to build teams in Baltimore, only to have the rug pulled from under each, John McGraw begins his long-team managerial career with the one New York team we haven't mentioned yet - the Giants. Some of the players he uses, like Roger Bresnahan, Jack Dunn, and Joe McGinnity, had been on one or both of his Baltimore teams.

(Jack Dunn's minor League Orioles, Dunn vs. the Federal League, and Babe Ruth being sold to Boston - that's all a different chapter.)
   70. KJOK Posted: November 26, 2003 at 07:48 PM (#519367)
"What number do you have for Griffith? Did your not including him mean that your number matches mine? "

Chris, sorry but I just had enough time to swipe the numbers out of "Hidden Game of Baseball" and Pete Palmer didn't include 19th century pitchers. When I have a chance to actually calculate the numbers I'll let you know.
   71. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 26, 2003 at 08:18 PM (#519368)
Does anyone know if BRARP is park adjusted? Thanks in advance.
   72. jimd Posted: November 26, 2003 at 08:57 PM (#519369)
Does anyone know if BRARP is park adjusted?

Yes it is. It is also scaled to a 4.5 RPG environment.
   73. jimd Posted: November 26, 2003 at 09:03 PM (#519370)
After being given two chances to build teams in Baltimore, only to have the rug pulled from under each, John McGraw ...

McGraw played a major role in pulling the rug from under himself in the AL. And his jump to the NL played a role in Baltimore losing the Orioles, IIRC.
   74. jimd Posted: November 26, 2003 at 09:48 PM (#519371)
The remaining 8 teams were located in 7 of the top 8 markets (or 8 of the top 9, depending on whether you view New York/Brooklyn as one market or two).

Correction: the above is true if I used 1890 census figures. By 1900, the rapidly growing Great Lakes cities of Cleveland and Buffalo (also San Francisco) had surpassed Cincinnati in population. Why Buffalo was bypassed by the AL in favor of smaller cities like Detroit, Milwaukee, or Washington has always been a mystery to me.
   75. Carl Goetz Posted: November 26, 2003 at 11:51 PM (#519372)
OK, here's my first crack at this:
   76. Daryn Posted: November 27, 2003 at 12:08 AM (#519373)
I have been lurking for 16 years and have a bit of a bias against pre-1900 achievements so I have decided not to vote until now. Due to my work schedule I may not get to vote every year from here on in, but I will try. I like career more than peak (but short great careers attract me too), Win Shares better than some of the more advanced metrics and am still swayed by the big numbers like 300 wins, 500 homers and 3000 hits. In accordance with the Rules (which seem to be more honoured in the breach), I will include a somewhat detailed analysis of my picks in my actual ballot next week, but here are my prelim picks:

1. Davis
   77. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 27, 2003 at 12:30 AM (#519374)
Glad to have you part of the experience, Daryn!

I have been lurking for 16 years and have a bit of a bias against pre-1900 achievements so I have decided not to vote until now.

Since you have thirteen players who played the majority of their careers during the 19th century on your ballot, your bias against them doesn't seem to be too strong. :-)
   78. Marc Posted: November 27, 2003 at 12:48 AM (#519375)
I'll echo John's welcome, and especially note your votes for Bennett and Pike. I don't see any bias at all.
   79. Paul Wendt Posted: November 27, 2003 at 12:52 AM (#519376)
OCF:
   80. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 27, 2003 at 12:59 AM (#519377)
and Leever and Phillippe?

I haven't worked on them yet, but (tentatively) I would agree with you. As if Chesbro needed you to pile on him a little more... :-)
   81. jimd Posted: November 27, 2003 at 01:41 AM (#519378)
The new BP player cards are now available. Have fun guys.

Caveat for what follows: I don't have copies of the old player cards available with me here. Just a list of career and peak value summary numbers.

Some first impressions. 1870's guys take a hit. Defensive OF's take a hit. (Duffy, Griffin, Tiernan lose more than 10% while the long-timers Ryan and Van Haltren gain more than 10% of their "old" career value.) Some other big winners (not that they need it): King Kelly, George Gore, Roger Connor. Connor is now close enough to Anson to be a serious candidate for "Player of the 19th Century". Stovey does not appear to have changed net, though I can't compare the AA hitting discounts.

Catchers take a hit collectively. Bennett is still competitive with Ewing. Early defensive IF's take a big hit (the recall campaign for Sutton is beginning soon ;-). Not the 90's guys though; Cross is neutral, Collins and Childs gain. Jennings is Babe Ruth with the leather for a short time.

1870's pitchers and AA pitchers make huge gains. Spalding and Caruthers now look like bona-fide stars under WARP-3. Early 1880's pitchers take a hit, though not Radbourn. He improves quite a bit while McCormick declines considerably; they are no longer "twins". The "replace Galvin with Caruthers" movement is also beginning soon ;-).

I'm sure others will have more comments.
   82. Paul Wendt Posted: November 27, 2003 at 02:01 AM (#519379)
OCF:
   83. jimd Posted: November 27, 2003 at 02:25 AM (#519380)
Think of the 1899-1900 contraction as a retreat from the South.

Maybe these prejudices also factored into it.

I think a market viewpoint is sufficient explanation though, with the notable exception of a strong attendance in the smaller Cincinnati market trumping a weak attendance in the larger Baltimore market, not to mention the specific market locations of the syndicates making Baltimore's contraction more convenient.
   84. Paul Wendt Posted: November 27, 2003 at 02:45 AM (#519381)
jimd quoted OCF and replied:
   85. Marc Posted: November 27, 2003 at 02:54 AM (#519382)
jimd, sign me up for the recall Sutton and Galvin campaigns ;-)
   86. Paul Wendt Posted: November 27, 2003 at 03:07 AM (#519383)
jimd quoted me:
   87. Paul Wendt Posted: November 27, 2003 at 03:13 AM (#519384)
jimd:
   88. Marc Posted: November 27, 2003 at 05:10 AM (#519386)
>Are there any traditional stats that show he was good enough to
   89. Chris Cobb Posted: November 27, 2003 at 05:33 AM (#519387)
Quick Guide to changes in pitchers' WARP1 from 2002 cards to 2003
   90. Brian H Posted: November 27, 2003 at 06:45 AM (#519391)
I guess Bobby Caruthers had a great year in 2003 -- at least according to Warp 1. He is now the highest ranking non-HOMer Pithcer and even outscores all of the HOMers except Nichols and Rusie.

Still, I would like to see more from WARP 1 than the results -- as my Math teacher used to insist "I need to see your work." That said I appreciate Chris' work and his explanation of why Bobby C. had a great '03 and why Bobby M.(Mathews) had such a bad year.
   91. Howie Menckel Posted: November 27, 2003 at 02:23 PM (#519393)
yest,
   92. EricC Posted: November 27, 2003 at 03:56 PM (#519394)
yest- Do you agree with the following: (1) The HoM should have a reasonable balance among players at different positions; (2) players at defensive positions such as shortshop and catcher should not be rated according to how their batting stats compare with the batting stats of outfielders (3) defense matters?

Thorn and Palmers's Total Baseball is one of the few sources that give some rankings of players by position using traditional stats. It should be available in your local library. Unfortunately, I have only Total Baseball I at hand, so Trammell, Ozzie, Ripken, Jeter, Nomar, and A-Rod are missing from the following, but through 1988:

George Davis' .295 BA is the 8th best ever for a SS. That guy could flat out hit. Dahlen's batting average of .272 is close to league average for his time, though he was above average in slugging. In comparison, Ozzie Smith has a BA that was close to league average, but he was well below average in slugging.

Now consider defense. A useful traditional stat for defense is how many defensive outs (putouts plus assists) a player makes per game. Through 1988, Davis and Dahlen were number 2 and 4 among shortshops is defensive outs per game. Because he played more games at shortshops, Dahlen's 12350 defensive outs are the third most ever at shortshop (through 1988), behind only Aparicio and Maranville. He might have been number 1 if his teams had played a 154 game schedule for his whole career. In My Thirty Years in Baseball , John McGraw said, "I traded Charlie Babb and Jack Cronin to Brooklyn for Bill Dahlen. That, by the way, I consider the most successful deal I ever made. It gave me just want I wanted- a great defensive shortshop. There were mighty few better than Dahlen."

In short, by traditional stats, Davis was one of the best SS ever both in hitting and defense. Dahlen was above average in hitting, and historically great on defense. Both had long careers. Finally, check out baseballreference.com. It gives lists of the most similar players to any given player, based on how much their career batting stats differ. George Davis and Bill Dahlen look great in this context, also.
   93. Chris Cobb Posted: November 27, 2003 at 04:09 PM (#519395)
Yest,

Traditional statistics are essentially useless _in their raw form_ for assessing fielding value. If you want to start to understand measures of fieldiing value, go into the baseball primer archives and read Mike Emigh's excellent series of articles from last year about the current state of fielding analysis. Or read "win-based fielding analysis," pp. 350-358 in _The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract_, which you can probably get from your local library if you don't want to buy it. Even though the win shares system has some problems, James's explanation of how one has to deal with fielding statistics to begin to get meaningful evidence is excellent. Or read the series on fielding analysis now being posted on the Primer's main page (though it is written presuming a fair amount of prior knowledge in the reader, I think). Skepticism about any given sabermetric analysis can be salutary, but you appear, I must say, to be exercising aggressive ignorance rather than careful skepticism. I'm not asking you to accept the sabermetric evidence without understanding its basis; I am asking you to study the matter before you dismiss the evidence. If a player's value were reliably and obviously documented only in the traditional statistics, there would be no need for further statistical analysis.

In this case, the results of sabermetric fielding analysis are corroborated by the contemporary observation of one John McGraw, who wrote:

"I traded Charlie Babb and Jack Cronin to Brooklyn for Bill Dahlen. That, by the way, I consider the most succesful deal I ever made. It gave me just what I wanted -- a great defensive shortstop. There were mighty few better than Dahlen." from _My Thirty Years in Baseball_, quoted in NBJHBA, p. 607

Dahlen played for McGraw on the Giants during their great run in the mid-1900s. This was late in Dahlen's career, so the fact that he was a great defensive shortstop then is pretty good evidence that he had been an even better defensive shortstop in his prime, and that's what the defensive metrics show.
   94. Marc Posted: November 27, 2003 at 05:55 PM (#519396)
yest says:

>Then can I assume you'll also elect Bobby Wallace with a 332 on base% 358 slugginng avg. 2309 hits 2383
   95. Marc Posted: November 27, 2003 at 05:58 PM (#519397)
PS. If the idea was to enshrine conventional wisdom, we could just vote to endorse Cooperstown. Count me out!
   96. OCF Posted: November 27, 2003 at 06:45 PM (#519398)
Paul and jimd -
   97. Marc Posted: November 28, 2003 at 01:35 AM (#519400)
Brian, Wagner makes 6.
   98. MattB Posted: November 28, 2003 at 02:41 AM (#519403)
Hello Sean!

The elections are held every other week, from Monday to Monday. There will be one beginning Monday, December 1, and people will be voting between the 1st and the 8th.
   99. Adam Schafer Posted: November 28, 2003 at 02:45 AM (#519404)
It's Thanksgiving day and I'm bored, so I took a little time to sit down and make a prelim.

1. Charlie Bennett (1) - Dahlen and Davis are recieving a lot of support in the prelim ballots b/c they were shortstops. I am one that believes there should be a balance in the position players throughout our HOM. I'll believe that Davis and maybe Dahlen should be in the HOM, but I feel that Bennett stands out above all other catchers of his era than Dahlen and Davis standout against the other shortstops of their era.

2. George Davis (n/a) - Had the same amount of at bats as Dahlen, but had 200 more hits, and beat Dahlen out in nearly every other offensive category. Not to shabby for someone that didn't even start out as a shortstop. He's definitely superior to Dahlen in my eyes.

3. Sam Thompson (4) - I'm not a big fan of peak, I much prefer career, but Thompson was a VERY dominate player for 10 years.

4. Bill Dahlen (n/a) - I don't really have much to say about him that hasn't already been said, but I don't believe that he was quite the player that Davis was. Very good, yes, as good as Davis, No.

5. Jake Beckley (8) - Being a career lover, I can't help but like Beckley. Maybe he didn't have much of a peak, but neither has Palmeiro and I wouldn't hesitate to keep Palmeiro out of the Hall.

6. George Van Haltren (5) - Still my favorite of the elegible outfielders.

7. Jimmy Ryan (6) - Amazingly close to Van Haltren

8. Jimmy Collins (7) - I honestly thought that he would be moving up this year, but Dahlen and Davis prevented that from happening.

9. Hugh Duffy (9) - Excellant peak, with a couple more productive years and Duffy could have been very high on my ballot.

10. Hughie Jennings (12) - Hughie has much the same problem that Hugh does. All peak, and not enough career.

11. Joe McGinnity (4) - Joe takes a huge nose dive this year. I might have severly overrated him on the previous ballot. Started a lot more games than most other pitchers which would account for the inflated stats.

12. Bobby Carruthers (13) - He's still hanging on

13. Joe Kelley (11) - just another OF in the glut

14. Clark Griffith (10) - A good pitcher, a good manager, a good baseball person

15. Harry Stovey (14) - Just not impressed with anything done in AA at this point
   100. Marc Posted: November 28, 2003 at 05:59 AM (#519407)
>I wouldn't hesitate to keep Palmeiro out of the Hall.

Adam, I agree with you 100% on this one.
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