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

Monday, January 05, 2004

1917 Ballot

Quite a group of newcomers, led by Cy Young and Fred Clarke.

We’ll be electing 2 players this year.

1917 New Eligibles:
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)
634 164.3 1890 Cy Young-P (1955)
400 105.1 1894 Fred Clarke-LF (1960)
260 80.5 1899 Roy Thomas-CF (1959)
249 69.6 1894 Fred Tenney-1b (1952)
223 51.1 1899 Topsy Hartsel-LF (1944)
238 46.7 1896 Harry Davis-1b (1947)
237 46.0 1898 Frank Chance-1b (1924)
208 46.6 1898 Harry Steinfeldt-3b (1914)
184 49.9 1899 Kid Elberfeld-SS (1944)
202 43.1 1898 Bill Donovan-P (1923)
153 38.3 1901 Wid Conroy-3b (1959)
187 23.4 1902 Patsy Dougherty-LF (1940)
146 27.7 1899 Charlie Hemphill-CF (1953)
099 32.8 1903 Lee Tannehill-3B (1938)
119 24.6 1903 Doc Gessler-RF (1924)
120 10.4 1901 Kitty Bransfield-1b (1947)
(Negro). 1887 Sol White-2b/3b (1955)

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: January 05, 2004 at 03:59 PM | 77 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Daryn Posted: January 05, 2004 at 04:30 PM (#520544)
I have redone my rating system. I have 11 data points for hitting and 9 for pitching. I try to weigh peak and career equally, though a long prime will help a player with a short career. I also like pitchers and am sensitive to position scarcity (Bennett and Collins only make my ballot due to their positions).
   2. MattB Posted: January 05, 2004 at 05:52 PM (#520546)
1. Denton True Young ? Didn?t win any Cy Young awards during his long career, so that?s got to count against him, but with these new ?sabremetric? measures, I see that the major leagues in something called ?BB/9? 14 times. This is actually more times than anyone has led ANY single category, according to BBref. BBref, also lists an obscure stat called ?Wins.? It attempts to assign to a pitcher a rough measure of his own contribution to the team by awarding a starting pitcher a ?Win? each time he pitches at least 5 innings, leaves with a lead, and his teammates maintain that lead for the remainder of the game. I think this ?Wins? stat has a chance to catch on, although it?s method of determination may be a little too obscure to go completely mainstream. Anyway, Young is the all-time leader in that stat, too.

2. Fred Clarke ? The existence of truly great players like Fred Clarke make me less willing to vote for the other ?glut? players.

3 . Charlie Bennett ? If Bennett were the best catcher on the ballot, but indistinguishable from a dozen others, I'd say, "Hey, there weren't that many great catchers in his era." But when he's head and shoulders against all others in his (and subsequent) eras, I say that whatever stat is showing his unworthy is fatally flawed. Made my personal HoM in 1912.

4. Frank Grant ? As Favre argued, there may be flaws with any argument for him, but there simply aren?t any arguments against him. Made my personal HoM in 1914.

5. Bob Caruthers ? The best overall player among the non-Young pitchers, although not the best in any specific category.

6. Sol White ? Directly comparable to Frank Grant. I might have the order reversed, but I?ll start conservatively with him. Successful against all opponents, and viewed as the best in his prime (as witnessed by other teams signing him away after he leads his teams to victory). Those who refuse to vote for Grant because he didn?t make any ?expert?s top list should note that Sol White does make the SABR?s Negro League Top 40 (tied for 35th). The fact that he played until 1911 probably has a lot to do with the view that he was better than Grant, since many experts simply exclude pre-20th century or pre-?League-play? candidates.

7. Joe Kelley -- Best of the non-Clarke outfielders still on the ballot.

8. Jimmy Collins ? Best of his era, and above average in everything.

9. Jake Beckley ? Racked up the counting stats. He's a pure-career value pick that would not be on my ballot if his counting stats were not #1 among his contemporaries. You can't be second-best in counting stats and go in without a peak of any note, but first-best cracks my ballot. Will follow the Charlie Bennett route to induction as the percentage of 1B HoMers shrinks and shrinks and Beckley stands out from the pack more and more.

10. Elmer Flick ? Sam Thompson in a more important defensive position trumps Sam Thompson.

11. Joe McGinnity -- Best of the short-career pitchers of the early 1900s. Career numbers may not stack up well, but he was the best pitcher in baseball in several different years, and in the Top 5 in numerous others.

12. Vic Willis ? It was a mistake to omit him last year. This was Jim McCormick?s spot, but Willis is simply the better choice here.

13. Pete Browning -- I'd take him in any trade straight up for Van Haltren, Griffin, Duffy, etc. without a second thought.

14. Rube Waddell -- Just missed 200 wins, but he was clearly a great pitcher.

15. Mickey Welch -- 300 wins is still 300 wins, no matter how much you want to knock it down. I feel a little uncomfortable putting his below a 190 win pitcher with 2000 fewer innings, but I'd certainly feel uncomfortable putting him off the ballot altogether.

16. Wee Willie Keeler
   3. karlmagnus Posted: January 05, 2004 at 07:59 PM (#520548)
If one of these magic WARP numbers says Caruthers was a lousy fielder, I beg leave to doubt it. He was 5 foot 7, 135 pounds, enormously physically active and out of the game by 30. We're not talking Mo Vaughan here!
   4. Rusty Priske Posted: January 05, 2004 at 08:52 PM (#520551)
1. Cy Young (new)

The best candidate thus far. If he isn't unanimous at #1 I'll be pretty surprised.

2. Fred Clarke (new)

Nearly as sure a thing, imo. I can see wavering, though.

3. Willie Keeler (2,-,-)

I'm surprised at the Wee Willie nay-sayers here. He is a sure thing HoMer.

4. Bob Caruthers (4,9,9)

He has jumped ahead of Kelley and Van Haltren for me (two players who are already in my personal HoM) after the discussion about him the last few weeks.

5. Joe Kelley (1,3,7)

Still a sure thing.

6. George Van Haltren (3,4,1)

Dropping, but I still think he belongs for sure.

Below here are guys I still support but are less automatic, in my eyes.

7. Elmer Flick (-,-,-)

I underrated him his first week.

8. Frank Grant (6,8,5)
   5. Al Peterson Posted: January 05, 2004 at 09:26 PM (#520554)
Happy New Year to all. Top of the ballot has a couple of studs.

1. Cy Young (-). Numbers to boggle the mind. His star shone bright for 2+ decades.

2. Fred Clarke (-). Big stick with reportedly Gold Glove quality fielding. The SABR website has Clarke down as getting a retroactive GG for the 1900s from STATS. Managed a bit also.

3. Joe Kelley (2). Close to Clarke and above the other OFs.

4. Charlie Bennett (4). Did thankless job better than the rest. Positional adjustment means numbers do measure up quite as well nor do they have to.

5. Sam Thompson (3). Crammed a lot into his short career. Defense not as suspect given position he played.

6. Rube Waddell (5). Best saves were reportedly people from burning buildings. True or not it makes for a good story.

7. Wee Willie Keeler (7). Let the flood of fly catchers commence.... This one is known for a catchy saying and being on some good Oriole teams. Won some batting titles along the way.

8. Jimmy Ryan (6). Got a jolt from the juiced mid-90s.

9. Hugh Duffy (8). Mix of fielding and hitting prowess.

10. Elmer Flick (10). Peak-riffic player lacking just enough length to prevent much upward movement.

11. Joe McGinnity (9). Long career with only a portion in the majors. Who knows if he had tried to stick around the big leagues...

12. Pete Browning (11). Victim of league contraction and his other demons before his time should have been up.

13. Sol White (-). Same ballpark as Grant in terms of playing so I'll tie them together.

14. Frank Grant (12). The amount of evidence for his case only takes him so high on the ballot before others with more knowns skip over his position on the ballot.

15. Jimmy Collins (13). This might be a sabrmetric Hall but I'll take this hot corner guy any day when the leather needs to be flashed.

Also receiving USA Today votes:

16. Vic Willis (14). Will be back probably.
   6. OCF Posted: January 05, 2004 at 11:06 PM (#520558)
1. D. T. Young (new) I'll use Chris J.'s line: he's the best two pitchers on the ballot.
   7. Paul Wendt Posted: January 05, 2004 at 11:51 PM (#520561)
karlmagnus #2
   8. Jeff M Posted: January 06, 2004 at 12:47 AM (#520563)
1. Young, Cy -- Easy call.

2. Clarke, Fred -- Tons of WS, outhit the league by about 70%, was an excellent defensive outfielder and stood out on some very good teams. Clearly the best OF eligible.

3. Flick, Elmer -- I see Flick as better than Keeler. Keeler has more counting stats b/c he played much longer. Flick was a top ten-er more often than Keeler in a bunch of different significant hitting categories. In my opinion, Flick would have made more all-star teams. Flick's extra power helps him a bunch and allowed him to create more runs per out. Their 3-year and 5-consec-year WS peaks are comparable, but Flick pulls ahead in a 7-year measure. Keeler gets big points for long career. Who knows? It ain't an exact science...

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. I saw someone say they had a glut of catchers hanging just off the ballot. To me, that means the person's system doesn't value catchers sufficiently to get any of them elected. I had the same problem for a while, so I adjusted my system.

5. Kelley, Joe -- Another pure hitter that I 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 Kelley. 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. 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. I?ve had a hard time deciding how to separate McGinnity and Griffith, so rather than move Griffith up, I?ve moved McGinnity down a few spots for now.

8. Keeler, Willie -- See comment above re: Flick

9. 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).

10. Griffith, Clark -- I believe he is the third 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.

11. Waddell, Rube -- Comparable to Griffith, but win totals are far less impressive. Can?t see putting him ahead of Griffith, unless you overvalue strikeouts.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. Welch, Mickey -- Pops back on my ballot after a short absence, just ahead of Vic Willis.

The Top Ten-er who isn't on my ballot is Caruthers. He has been on my ballot from time to time near the bottom. I respect his playing career and believe he is a fine player, but not a superstar in the same group with these other guys. Also, I'm always suspect when there is a meteoric rise in the consensus voting for a player. Sort of a player du jour. Caruthers went from consensus #14 to a consensus #8, and that's a huge jump when you are talking about 40+ eligible voters. We'll see if that momentum carries over.
   9. Marc Posted: January 06, 2004 at 01:50 AM (#520564)
My consideration set this year was 47 players, because I got a nagging feeling that I hadn?t really looked at some possibly deserving players. (Most of the "old new" players in the consideration set?guys like Ginger Beaumont, Fred Pfeffer, Bill Bradley, etc., didn?t really pan out, but at least they had their day in court.) Then I ranked all 47 players on 22 different variables, but the final rankings also include a dollop of my own special "BS." If it's good enough for Bill James, it's good enough for me.

No-Brainers

1. Cy Young (new)--Only the #3 peak after Bond and Caruthers, but the #1 prime (an amazing 19 years at a level that most players do not sustain half as long) and of course, therefore, the #1 career.

2. Sam Thompson (3-4-1 last year)--not the greatest peak, especially if you like seeing it in consecutive years, but the #2 prime (9 years at a 31 WS and 11.7 WARP/year).

3. Dickey Pearce (4-5-4)--a subjective placement, obviously. The Bid McPhee of his day perhaps?a lot of peak and prime value, though I cannot necessarily infer how high of a peak.

4. Fred Clarke (new)--only the #31 peak but a remarkable prime, stretching out to 14-15 years at 26 WS and 8.8 WARP/year. Only Young and Beckley sustained their prime longer, and Beckley was obviously at a much lower level. So, also, the #2 career behind Cy.

Deserving

5. Elmer Flick (x-5)--only the #15 peak but the #3 prime, 10 years at 33 and 10.1.

6. Charlie Bennett (1-3-2)--dropping, I guess I have come to see high peak (his strongest suit) as not quite as dominant. Still he?s #8 for 3 year WS peak and #8 for Pennants Added, among those players for whom I have those numbers.

7. Harry Wright (5-8-9)--another subjective placement, but a longer prime than most.

8. Bob Caruthers (x-x-3)?a unique talent, best of the AA, better than Stovey and McPhee, the #2 peak on the board.

Maybe Deserving

9. Charley Jones (7-10-8)--#9 peak if you don?t insist on it coming consecutively, and the #8 prime (9 years at 31 and 10.2).

10. Jim McCormick (6-6-6)--the hardest job yet here at HoM, ranking pre- versus post-?03 pitchers. But even with a 50 percent pre-?93 pitcher discount (the WS being redistributed to the defense), he still comes up with the #2 adjWS total for 5 years.

11. Joe Kelley (12-13-14)--One of the most balanced resum?s in terms of peak (#19), prime (#16) and career (#9) but more easily distinguished from Clarke and Flick and Jones than from Ryan and Duffy and Keeler.

12. Hughie Jennings (10-11-10)--#5 peak (#1 among position players), but only the #32 career.

13. Tommy Bond (8-9-7)--#1 peak on the board but only the #36 career out of a 47 player consideration set.

14. Ed Williamson (14-14-13)--had fallen off my ballot until comparisons with Jimmy Collins gave him new life. Very, very comparable to Collins but with a better peak.

Not HoMers

15. Jim Whitney (never before)--Hard to distinguish from Bob Caruthers, so slot him in.

Fell off--Lip Pike (9-7-11) and Jimmy Collins (x-15-15). I have voted for Pike for 19 straight elections but I now see his peak (my favorite toy) as not quite as dominant as before. Definitely high compared to the glut, but? Collins by the numbers looks like one of the most overrated players we?ve seen so far, though the fact that he played 3B (and nobody who played 3B had much longevity) keeps him close.

Also highly regarded--Frank Grant (#16 this year), Jimmy Ryan, Hugh Duffy, Pete Browning, Joe McGinnity.

From the top 10--Willie Keeler looks more like the glut than not. An 11 year prime, it's true, but shorter than Clarke's and at lower rates (27 and 9.4) than the guys I rated and well below some. McGinnity has emerged as the best of the 20th century pitchers, other than Young, and very comparable to Jim McCormick but McCormick had a higher peak and 800 more innings. (Bond, meanwhile, prospered in the smallest major leagues [8 teams] ever, except for '00.)
   10. Marc Posted: January 06, 2004 at 01:54 AM (#520565)
BTW, I'm not going to be tracking 22 variables any more, too time consuming. The closest correlate to the variables that I use is Pennants Added but I don't know the formulas and they're not always updated. No criticism of Joe, he's got plenty to do. But those PAs are a very interesting reflection of how peaks work within careers. Maybe I can find the formulas somewhere or...can anybody point to 'em?
   11. MattB Posted: January 06, 2004 at 03:21 AM (#520571)
How odd that neither Dave Roberts and Harold Thurmer can spell Bob Caruthers' name correctly.

I'm wondering if maybe these ballots are based solely on unadjusted one-year peak? Or perhaps some sort of random number generator?

As much as I'd like to get two more friends of Freedom Bob on board (irrespective of their views on Frank Chance and Larry Corcoran), I'm assuming that these ballots will be discarded, whether explanations are eventually forthcoming or not.
   12. Yardape Posted: January 06, 2004 at 03:42 AM (#520573)
1. Cy Young (n/a) Um, yeah.

2. Fred Clarke (n/a) He didn't distance himself as much as I would have thought-he's much closer to #3 than #1-but he's still clearly the best outfielder on the ballot. Not quite as good a hitter as Flick in his prime, but played for much longer, pushing him up here.

3. Elmer Flick (2) A better hitter than Clarke, but a relatively short career keeps him behind Clarke.

4. Bob Caruthers (1) None of the arguments on the new thread do much to knock down Caruthers in my view. Taking his career as a whole, he was the best player in the AA at his peak, and I love peak.

5. Joe McGinnity (3) A good pitcher and a workhorse. What's not to like?

6. Frank Grant (9) I dropped him a lot last week; I think too much. So he's rising a bit again this week as I try and get a handle on where to place him. This looks good. For now.

7. Lip Pike (4) The last of the 1870s players who deserves serious consideration, IMO, but I do think he ranks high enough to go in.

8. Rube Waddell (5) The only thing holding him down seems to be wins; I don't think it's entirely his fault. Or even mostly his fault.

9. Jimmy Ryan (6) He's not very exciting, but I think he's tops of the glut. There's not much difference between Ryan and the next few on the ballot, though.

10. Vic Willis (8) Sort of in the McGinnity mold, though not as good. Which is why he's lower.

11. Joe Kelley (10) He's on the verge of being elected, and though I think there are better outfielders on the ballot, he won't be a disgrace.

12. Willie Keeler (11) Neither would Keeler, although I do think he's overrated. Singles hitters have value, but it would have been nice if he'd done something else.

13. George Van Haltren (12)

14. Charley Jones (13)

15. Charlie Bennett (14) The bottom of the ballot hangers-on. I give some boost to Bennett for being a catcher in a difficult era, but not enough of one to get him higher on this ballot.

Jimmy Collins doesn't get the bump Bennett does, and so languishes just off my ballot. Just not up to reputation.

Sam Thompson also doesn't make my ballot, again. I remember when I first started this project, everyone was talking about how indistinguishible Thompson, Tiernan and Griffith were. Now, Tiernan and Griffin are nearly invisible, while Thompson is still getting support. I thought we were right the first time, which is why Thompson is keeping them company off my ballot. Plus, his really poor showing on peak measures (thanks Clint, #107 on the discussion thread) does not help his case with me.

Also, he's not top-10, but this is, I think, the first time Jim McCormick has not appeared on my ballot.
   13. favre Posted: January 06, 2004 at 04:19 AM (#520574)
In order to get a handle on the pitchers, I compared their seven best seasons in terms of ERA+ and IP, then gave a lot of credit for additional career and some credit for peak. I also compared batters in a similar manner.

1. Cy Young
   14. RobC Posted: January 06, 2004 at 04:34 AM (#520575)
Marc:

BP 2002, p. 470 - Essay entitled "The Problem with 'Peak'" by Michael Wolverton. Or google, Im sure the formula is out there somewhere. I would type it in, but Im lazy.
   15. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 06, 2004 at 06:25 AM (#520576)
I'm wondering if maybe these ballots are based solely on unadjusted one-year peak? Or perhaps some sort of random number generator?

If it were based on one-year peak, I might be able to go along with it (not that I would agree with it, mind you). But I think your random number generator is closest to the truth. Totally indefensible. Wid Conroy?!?

Joe, that amendment is needed more than ever!
   16. Sean Gilman Posted: January 06, 2004 at 08:57 AM (#520578)
1917

1. Cy Young (-)--He?s good.

2. Fred Clarke (-)--Him too.

3. Joe Kelley (1)--Solidly behind Clarke and ahead of the rest of the pack one career value.

4. Lip Pike (3)--Tough to get a handle on him: not as good in the NA as McVey, but better before; much better in the NA than Start, not as good before.

5. Charlie Bennett (4)--Great defense and hitting (for a catcher) moves him ahead of the OFG2.

6. Elmer Flick (5)--A kind of jumbo-sized Sam Thompson: long, high peak with no padding to his career. May deserve to rank ahead of Pike.

7. Willie Keeler (6)--Lotsa career value (more than Duffy) and a better peak than Ryan/Van Haltren puts him just behind Flick.

8. Hugh Duffy (7)--Peak and Career edge on Browning after the AA discount.

9. Pete Browning (8)--AA discount and short career drops him behind the rest of the mid-ballot OFG.

10. Jimmy Collins (9)--Comparable Peak and Career values to the OFG3. I don?t want to have positional quotas, but the fact that he?s the best at his position of his time (clearly) has to make him stand out from the identical outfielders.

11. Dickey Pearce (10)--The best shortstop of his time stays ahead of the OFG3. I really doubt Harry Wright will ever make it on my ballot though. . .I think I?m gonna pair him with Collins the way I?ve paired Grant with Childs, seems like a good comp to me. . .

12. Bob Caruthers (11)--Parisian Bob?s triumphant return to my ballot. I?m still not sure about McGinnity/Waddell/Willis/Joss etc. I think it?s likely none of these guys will be able to seperate themselves from the pack and will end up in Van Haltren Limbo. I?m really unsure if McGinnity or Joss shouldn't be in this spot instead. . .maybe next year. . .

13. Hughie Jennings (12)--Like Sam Thompson, only a slightly better peak and he was a shortstop instead of a right-fielder.

14. Cupid Childs (13)--I could put the next 10 players or so in almost any order. Decided to err on the side of not having 10+ outfielders on my ballot.

15. Frank Grant (14)--I think slightly-less-than-Childs is his most reasonable level.
   17. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: January 06, 2004 at 04:13 PM (#520580)
Andrew - it's there, but there's no space between votes 5 & 6.
   18. Chris Cobb Posted: January 06, 2004 at 04:34 PM (#520581)
Ratio of Pitcher's winning percentage to team winning percentage without pitcher for some eligible pitchers of interest.

Addie Joss 1.223
   19. RobC Posted: January 06, 2004 at 05:16 PM (#520582)
1. Cy Young (-)
   20. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: January 06, 2004 at 07:41 PM (#520583)
1. Cy Young

No need to even discuss this one.

2. Hughie Jennings

The only man in this ballot who was ever the best position player in baseball. Cy Young was probably the best player overall at some point. Players 2-8 are all extremely close. Jennings may be too high, but I don't know what to do with his eye-popping defensive ability so I rated it as best I could - and it gives him huge props. Jennings's Orioles teams had some very ordinary pitchers, and yet at the top of the league in runs allowed every single year.

3. Elmer Flick

Were it not for illness, he'd have eye-popping career totals. Was coming into his own as a hitter late in his career.

4. Fred Clarke

On Clarke vs. Keeler, I'm convinced. Clarke's fielding was really tremendous.

5. Willie Keeler

Keeler's slightly longer career puts him marginally ahead of some of the other candidates, but some awful years at the end of his career when he was hanging on take away some of the impact of his impressive peak.

6. Sam Thompson

Elmer Flick's predecessor in the Phillies outfield. Maybe my timeline adjustment is too high, but he drops down below Flick because of it.

7. Rube Waddell

I love players who can do things no one else can. Rube was blowing it by people when no one else was, and to me that's a test of supreme quality. In my view, he's really hurt by the fact that his skills were a poor match for his era.

8. Joe Kelley

Very unfair to Kelley to have him so low, when he is so close to the top of the ballot. Bill James rates him an A- outfielder, same as Fred Clarke, but I'm not sure why he does this... Kelley's defensive numbers aren't as good, though they are real good.

9. Iron Man Joe McGinnity

Again, a pitcher who could do (slightly less impressive) things no one else could - and owed it all to the easy underhand delivery. I had McGinnity much lower on my ballot until I considered the impact of his long minor league career. 417 career wins in the majors and minors combined.

10. Frank Grant

We've had some good discussion of Grant on this ballot. My best guess is that Grant is one of the best players of his time. Tough decision between Grant and McGinnity.

11. Bob Caruthers

Does this make me a FOBC? An EOBC? Indifferent to BC? I'm not sure. Of all the very good players in the post-NA history of baseball, Caruthers is probably the hardest one to evaluate. He has to rank ahead of Joss because of his offensive contributions. Caruthers is the last man on the ballot that I would currently consider for the HoM.

12. George Van Haltren

Mr. Consistency. With so many of the players above him dominant players, Van Haltren suffers by comparison.

13. Addie Joss

Speaking of dominant players! Joss might move way up, I still don't know what to do with him. The 160-97 mark is for real, but what's interesting about Joss is how much his team appears to pick him up. His best years are all in years where the Indians play well, and it may be that some of Joss's greatness is really the greatness of Bill Bradley, Terry Turner, and Nap Lajoie.

14. Jimmy Collins

The George Van Haltren of third base. Slightly shorter career than Van Haltren (and worse hitting) moves him below, despite awesome defense at a more important position.

15. Pete Browning

Manny Ramirez. Yes, he couldn't play much outfield, and he played in a weak league for a long while, but he dominated a real good league in 1890 and anyway, Manny Ramirez is Manny Ramirez.

Not there

Sol White (White wasn't as good as Grant, played later in a tougher era, but I may still move him up. His Philly Giants are a hell of a team, but he can't be admitted on his team's pass)
   21. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: January 06, 2004 at 07:54 PM (#520584)
1. Cy Young

No need to even discuss this one.

2. Hughie Jennings

The only man in this ballot who was ever the best position player in baseball. Cy Young was probably the best player overall at some point. Players 2-8 are all extremely close. Jennings may be too high, but I don't know what to do with his eye-popping defensive ability so I rated it as best I could - and it gives him huge props. Jennings's Orioles teams had some very ordinary pitchers, and yet at the top of the league in runs allowed every single year.

3. Elmer Flick

Were it not for illness, he'd have eye-popping career totals. Was coming into his own as a hitter late in his career.

4. Fred Clarke

On Clarke vs. Keeler, I'm convinced. Clarke's fielding was really tremendous.

5. Willie Keeler

Keeler's slightly longer career puts him marginally ahead of some of the other candidates, but some awful years at the end of his career when he was hanging on take away some of the impact of his impressive peak.

6. Sam Thompson

Elmer Flick's predecessor in the Phillies outfield. Maybe my timeline adjustment is too high, but he drops down below Flick because of it.

7. Rube Waddell

I love players who can do things no one else can. Rube was blowing it by people when no one else was, and to me that's a test of supreme quality. In my view, he's really hurt by the fact that his skills were a poor match for his era.

8. Joe Kelley

Very unfair to Kelley to have him so low, when he is so close to the top of the ballot. Bill James rates him an A- outfielder, same as Fred Clarke, but I'm not sure why he does this... Kelley's defensive numbers aren't as good, though they are real good.

9. Iron Man Joe McGinnity

Again, a pitcher who could do (slightly less impressive) things no one else could - and owed it all to the easy underhand delivery. I had McGinnity much lower on my ballot until I considered the impact of his long minor league career. 417 career wins in the majors and minors combined.

10. Frank Grant

We've had some good discussion of Grant on this ballot. My best guess is that Grant is one of the best players of his time. Tough decision between Grant and McGinnity.

11. Bob Caruthers

Does this make me a FOBC? An EOBC? Indifferent to BC? I'm not sure. Of all the very good players in the post-NA history of baseball, Caruthers is probably the hardest one to evaluate. He has to rank ahead of Joss because of his offensive contributions. Caruthers is the last man on the ballot that I would currently consider for the HoM.

12. George Van Haltren

Mr. Consistency. With so many of the players above him dominant players, Van Haltren suffers by comparison.

13. Addie Joss

Speaking of dominant players! Joss might move way up, I still don't know what to do with him. The 160-97 mark is for real, but what's interesting about Joss is how much his team appears to pick him up. His best years are all in years where the Indians play well, and it may be that some of Joss's greatness is really the greatness of Bill Bradley, Terry Turner, and Nap Lajoie.

14. Jimmy Collins

The George Van Haltren of third base. Slightly shorter career than Van Haltren (and worse hitting) moves him below, despite awesome defense at a more important position.

15. Pete Browning

Manny Ramirez. Yes, he couldn't play much outfield, and he played in a weak league for a long while, but he dominated a real good league in 1890 and anyway, Manny Ramirez is Manny Ramirez.

Not there

Sol White (White wasn't as good as Grant, played later in a tougher era, but I may still move him up. His Philly Giants are a hell of a team, but he can't be admitted on his team's pass)
   22. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: January 06, 2004 at 07:55 PM (#520585)
Sorry for the double post.
   23. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: January 06, 2004 at 10:11 PM (#520586)
I also took a run at some of the other new guys who I didn't list...

249 69.6 1894 Fred Tenney-1b (1952)

Such a player - a singles-hitting leadoff man who plays first base - no longer exists. Tenney's comp list is almost perfect, a long string of leadoff-hitting centerfielders, none of whom are probably HoM quality but many of whom are close. The difference? Tenney has less defensive value than these guys.

223 51.1 1899 Topsy Hartsel-LF (1944)

Very comparable to Roy Thomas, less defensive value and not quite as good a leadoff man.

238 46.7 1896 Harry Davis-1b (1947)

Four straight home run crowns, a very good player, seems to have been used as a platoon player for a long time.

237 46.0 1898 Frank Chance-1b (1924)

Close to the top 15, but his career value isn't quite there because of all the abbreviated seasons. If he'd been able to play more often during his peak, I think he'd be in my list.

208 46.6 1898 Harry Steinfeldt-3b (1914)
   24. ronw Posted: January 06, 2004 at 10:31 PM (#520587)
1917 BALLOT

1. Denton True Young The best of all eligible players, including those already elected. Probably the second-best of all time up to 1917. Did he like being called Cy? Paul probably knows.
   25. ronw Posted: January 06, 2004 at 10:31 PM (#520588)
Sorry</b>
   26. ronw Posted: January 06, 2004 at 10:32 PM (#520589)
Hopefully it is fixed now.
   27. EricC Posted: January 07, 2004 at 12:55 AM (#520591)
I had McGinnity much lower on my ballot until I considered the impact of his long minor league career.

Is it legitimate to consider the value of McGinnity's minor league career on the 1917 ballot? McGinnity played in the minors as late as 1925.
   28. EricC Posted: January 07, 2004 at 02:09 AM (#520593)
1917 ballot. Only minor changes since prelim. Season-by-season ratings for each player determined relative to peers, and based on (unadjusted) win shares per plate appearance (for batters) or ERA+ (for pitchers). The best string of consecutive seasons (the "prime") is then determined for each player. Final ratings are based on "strength plus length" of prime.

1. Cy Young (N) P. 1890-1911: 138 ERA+ in 7354.7 IP.

2. Fred Clarke (N) LF. Prime 1895-1911. 395 (prime) WS/8258 PA; 28.7 WS/600 PA. Doesn't beat Flick by much, but I don't think anybody will complain about where he ends up. Based on play through 1911, Clarke, Flick, Keeler, and Crawford (not yet eligible) are the "must-elect" OF of the 1900s. Kelley is next in line from the 1890s. Beyond that, electing OF at the Ryan/Van Haltren level would neither help nor hurt the HoM. One or more of the "glut" might eventually make it, but there's only so much room for OF from any one decade.

3. Elmer Flick (1) RF. 1898-1910: 291 WS/6414 PA; 27.2 WS/600 PA. Flick's peak trumps Keeler's career. What a difference a few years makes, as baseball entered the deadball era. Most similar batter by similarity scores is Kip Selbach, but they were as different as night and day with respect to league averages.

4. Willie Keeler (3) RF. 1892-1910: 333 WS/9594 PA; 20.8 WS/600 PA. Great in the first half of his career, then ran up impressive career totals. Switch to the AL in 1903 is part of the reason that the AL quickly became stronger than the NL. Decline in league average performance over his career makes his slow decline look more severe than it really was.

5. George "Rube" Waddell (4) P. 1897-1909: 136 ERA+ in 2928.3 IP. Great combination of career length, good years, and Cy Young-type years (1904 -1905). I weigh ERA+ titles and near misses very highly in my system, which breaks up the potential pitcher glut.

6. Hughie Jennings (2) SS. 1894-1898: 150 WS/2989 PA; 30.1 WS/600 PA. My system rewards the high peak types such as Jennings, McGraw, and Chance. Is it coincidence that they were all winning managers? Highest WS/600 rate of any player on the ballot.

7. Addie Joss (7) P. 1902-1910: 142 ERA+ in 2327.0 IP. 8.5 years at this level is no fluke.

8. Lip Pike (5) IF/RF/CF. Prime 1866(?)-1878. 158 OPS+ in 2006 PA in NA/NL. I trust the numbers. The quality of competition in the NA was only a little lower than in the NL. A forgotten star; a borderline HoMer.

9. John McGraw (6) 3B. 1894-1901: 169 WS/3618 PA; 28.0 WS/600 PA. Best 3B of 1890s. 3rd strongest prime of any player on ballot.

10. Jake Beckley (11) 1B. 1888-1906: 318 WS/10348 PA; 18.4 WS/600 PA. Could be counted on to be average to very good for 17 straight years of full-time play. Career is similar in many ways to that of Eddie Murray, though Beckley was not quite as good.

11. Frank Chance (N) C-OF-1B. 1899-1911: 226 WS/5057 PA; 26.8 WS 600 PA. Look- a catcher finally appears on my ballot! :-) Great peak. Razor-thin margin between Beckley and Chance.

12. Joe Kelley (12) LF/CF/1B. 1893-1904: 272 WS/6644 PA; 24.6 WS/600 PA. See Fred Clarke comment. Strong prime raises him above Ryan/Van H/Duffy, etc.

13. Jimmy Collins (13) 3B. 1895-1907: 267 WS/6982 PA; 22.9 WS/600 PA. Was very good, but just below the level that would make him an automatic HoMer.

14. Vic Willis (15) P. 1898-1910: 118 ERA+ in 3996.0 innings. My system sees him as McGinnity quality with two more years of quantity. Those extra years are enough to make a big difference.

15. Jimmy Ryan (14) OF. 1885-1903: 310 non-pitching WS/9106 PA = 20.4 WS/600, + 6 pitching WS. See Fred Clarke and Joe Kelley comments.

Best of the rest:

16. Cupid Childs. Best 2B of 1890s. Best at position 6 times. I regret dropping Childs off my ballot this year, but the bottom half of the ballot is tight, and the mix of new players that I've added to my candidate pool since last year drops Childs a little relative to his contemporaries at other positions.

17. Sol White, 18. Frank Grant. I've been tying Grant to Childs on my ballot, but my first impression of White is that he deserves to rate above Grant, so he splits the two. The problem with Grant is that a long career at 2B does not prove that a player is HoM-worthy, as shown for example by Kid Gleason, Bobby Lowe, Fred Pfeffer, and Joe Quinn.

19. Dickey Pearce, 20. George Van Haltren, 21. Hugh Duffy, 22. Mike Tiernan, 23. Harry Wright, 24. Clark Griffith,

25. Charlie Bennett. Only appears head and shoulders above other C in WARP ratings. (16th in pennants added by WARP3, only 51st by Win Shares.) HoMers by fraction of career games as catcher: Ewing 0.47, K.Kelly 0.36, McVey 0.30 (documented), D. White 0.28, O'Rourke 0.11. By this count, there's 1.52 catchers in the HoM already, on pace for about 10 or 11. This pace is a bit on the low side, but acceptable to me. It would take evidence over time (most likely decades) that the pace of catcher induction into the HoM is slowing before I'd start giving a substantial positional boost to catchers.

26. Lave Cross, 27. Charley Jones, 28. Fielder Jones, 29. Deacon McGuire,

30. Sam Thompson. Looks great by traditional stats, but doesn't look so great when career length and the degree of competitive imbalance of his era are factored in.

32. Joe McGinnity. More quantity than quality. W/L record more impressive than Willis', but I do not consider W/L records in my ratings. Career ERA+ of 121, and BP DERA data do not suggest that his ERA was especially helped or hurt by his defense.

44. Bob Caruthers. I didn't mean to antagonize anybody by my previous comments on Caruthers, but I strongly believe that the case for BC as a great player doesn't "add up". I don't like to debate pitchers by W/L, but here goes: BC had a career W/L record of 218-99, almost all on good teams. Taking into account team fielding, the fact that a pitcher only accounts for 1/9 of a team's at-bats, and the fact that pitchers don't have to compete against their own teammates, Guy Hecker had virtually the same combined pitching/batting strength relative to league as BC. But because he was usually on not-so-great teams, his W/L record was 173-146, in 3 percent more career innings than BC. Let's split the difference, and say that 196-122 would be a representative career record for BC with league average teammates. However, he played in the 1880s, when pitchers pitched more innings than ever since. By the 1900's, pitchers were pitching 1/3 fewer innings per season than in the mid-1880s. So Caruthers' equivalent, on an average team in the 1900s, would have had a career W/L record something like 131-81. Even Chesbro's record was more impressive than this. And this is before any deductions for the level of play in the AA. Caruthers looks more like Guy Hecker with better teammates than like a HoMer.
   29. Marc Posted: January 07, 2004 at 02:14 AM (#520594)
yest, this is why WAT is a slippery stat. You proposed it as proof of Welch's greatness, somebody showed that it didn't really set him apart from a bunch of other guys, and now you're appealing to a subjective feature. If your stat doesn't hold up on its own, the subjective assist isn't going to get you there either.

And besides that, until you show that Welch's teammate was better than the other guy's teammates, you're still only telling half the story.

The question is not whether Welch was good or not. Was he better than the other candidates? Again, WAT isn't getting you there.
   30. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 07, 2004 at 06:18 PM (#520598)
Great site. I landed here in the past without searching around. I'll give explanations as time permits. Also, are you guys taking this through to the present, building your own Hall of Fame as it were, with plaques and all? Now that's a great idea.

We are moving toward the present. It will take a few years, though.

The mission of the project is to create an alternate Hall with the same number of inductees as the one in Cooperstown, but without the George Kellys, Rube Marquards and Tommy McCarthys cluttering up the joint (replaced by the Ezra Suttons, Deacon Whites and George Gores).
   31. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 07, 2004 at 10:41 PM (#520606)
I s'pose you're going to accept #61 and not ours! Now our feelings are really hurt!
   32. Rick A. Posted: January 07, 2004 at 10:42 PM (#520607)
1917 Ballot

1. Cy Young (n/e) ? This guy seemed pretty good to me.
   33. Brad G. Posted: January 07, 2004 at 10:43 PM (#520608)
1917 Ballot

1. Cy Young (n/e)- 511 Wins: almost 100 more than the Big Train, the next pitcher on the list. Also holds all-time Loss record, incidentally, but that list is dominated by all-time greats. Lost his last major league game 1-0 to an outstanding rookie named Grover Cleveland Alexander. Would have won many Walter Johnson Awards had his career come a couple decades later.

2. Elmer Flick (2)- comes across well in Peak Win Shares as well as WARP numbers. Huge OPS+ (149). Hughie Jennings once tried to trade Ty Cobb to the Indians for Flick (likely more for personality reasons than for playing ability) (NBJHBA). Part of perhaps the greatest outfield of the 19th century (along with Delahanty and Roy Thomas, Phillies, 1889).

3. Willie Keeler (4)- outshines Flick in WARP and career Win Shares, but shows a weak peak.

4. Sam Thompson (3)- maybe I should be content with Stovey getting in, but as long as the Thompson torch is still alive, I gotta plead a case for him as well. Big HR numbers for his time, and HUGE RBI totals. OPS+ = 146. Tons of Black and Grey Ink. Considered the top RF of the 1880?s, even though he only played half the decade.

5. Fred Clarke (n/e)- I have to admit Clarke is being slightly (very slightly) penalized here for being a first-time eligible, but he?s certainly no Cy Young. I imagine Clarke will find his way into the HoM soon- but I can wait ?til next year?.

6. Hugh Duffy (5)- Had a real nice career; joined my personal HoM years ago. Similar to Thompson, he put up big numbers against questionable competition.

7. Joe Kelley (8)- A big hit around here; the WARP guys love him, OPS+ = 133.

8. Joe McGinnity (6)- No longer the best eligible pitcher, but the Iron Man is still worthy of heavy consideration. Great peak numbers, short career? depends what you value.

9. Jimmy Collins (9)- Looks great in WARP, but lack of Win Shares leaves him perennially out of the running. Still the best infielder eligible, in my opinion.

10. Jimmy Ryan (11)- I get these two Irish Jimmy blokes mixed up all the time. Again, nice WARP, low peak. Solid career Win Shares, however.

11. Harry Davis (n/e)- Was this the best 1B of the century?s first decade? Not enough in the numbers to convince me of HoM merit.

12. George Van Haltren (14)- I like George. He?s hanging by a thread at this point, but he had a real nice career.

13. Frank Grant (13)- I actually had a dream (really!) that stats for Grant?s career became available, and we were able to put him on a level playing field with the rest of these characters. Even operating under the ?best Negro player of the 19th century? assumption, however, I can?t find enough evidence to place him higher on the list. I read all the arguments, pro and con, and defer to ?experts? on the subject from a variety of sources. Unfortunately (?unfortunate? because I have earned a lot of respect and admiration for the guy), not even subjectivity can overcome the lack of solid evidence in this case.

14. Cy Seymour (7)- I may be the only one ever to vote for the ?other? Cy, so I suppose I should offer some explanation. Well? Seymour was a good (if a bit inconsistent) hitter with an excellent peak. He averaged close to 29 Win Shares per 162 games. And Cy II was a drinking man.

Seymour also pitched for the first several years of his career, leading the league in strikeouts in 1898 and placing second in two other seasons (incidentally, he had no control whatsoever, and led the league in BBs those same three years).

In his ?fluke? hitting year, 1905, Cy posted an outrageous 181 OPS+ (career OPS+ was 118). That year, he led the league in BA, TB, RBI, H, OPS+, Slug, D, T, and EBH. He was 2nd in Home Runs with 8.

15. Roy Thomas (n/e)- Newcomer who shouldn?t go unnoticed. He?s no Cy Seymour, but, what the hell?. Actually (for what it?s worth), Bill James ranks Van Haltren, Thomas, and Seymour as #s 28, 29, and 30 respectively on his all-time CF list. Jimmy Ryan comes in at #26, while Hugh Duffy trumps ?em all at #26. Incidentally, Gore ranks at #50, and Hines at #53. Of all the CFs we?ve seen so far, only Billy Hamilton cracks the top 10 (at #9).

Not here:

Charlie Bennett- Which is the flawed stat? 157 Career Win Shares? 52 WS3? 78 WS5? 24 WS/162 games? OPS+ = 118? Black Ink = 0? Grey Ink = 64? I?m sorry, I just don?t see it.

Bob Caruthers- Drops down to #17 (Waddell #16). These two might come back next year (it looks to be a weak one).
   34. favre Posted: January 08, 2004 at 12:30 AM (#520609)
It?s clear we need a ?New Voters? link on the main page. That way, if a new voter submits a ballot on the ballot thread, we have a link to which we can refer them. I?m a teacher on my second day off from snow, so I?ve taken the liberty of writing one up. Tell me if you think it?s appropriate.

NEW VOTERS

Welcome to the Hall of Merit! We think this project is both educational and a lot of fun, and we hope that you enjoy participating. We have also put a great deal of time and effort into this enterprise and take it pretty seriously. Therefore, we ask new voters to observe the following steps.

1. All new voters must submit a preliminary ballot on the current ballot discussion thread. Once they do this, they are eligible to vote in the following year (i.e, if you submit a preliminary ballot in the 1917 discussion thread, you will be eligible to vote in 1918).
   35. favre Posted: January 08, 2004 at 12:33 AM (#520610)
I put the "New Voters" post on the discussion thread for...well, discussion.
   36. Paul Wendt Posted: January 08, 2004 at 01:21 AM (#520613)
Craig B #43
   37. Paul Wendt Posted: January 08, 2004 at 01:31 AM (#520614)
yest #49 on the rivals of Mickey Welch
   38. dan b Posted: January 08, 2004 at 02:27 AM (#520615)
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. I use the same system for 60? 6? era pitchers. (Number in parenthesis shows composite rank.)
   39. Howie Menckel Posted: January 08, 2004 at 02:32 AM (#520616)
1917 ballot

We have four clear HOM OFs to induct, I guess we'll knock off one here and more in the next 2-3 years.
   40. Howie Menckel Posted: January 08, 2004 at 02:39 AM (#520617)
Oops, Top 10er I DIDN'T vote for is...

SAM THOMPSON - Drop the part-seasons, and his career looks Kiner-esque. The Ribbys are a little Joe Carter-esque. Problem is, I don't what their HOM chances are, either. Very borderline. Second time off my ballot entirely.
   41. EricC Posted: January 08, 2004 at 04:25 AM (#520620)
Don't even think of voting for Bob Caruthers.

Huh? As one of the biggest skeptics of Caruthers on this board, let me say that new voters are of course welcome to vote for Caruthers, as long as they follow the constitution: Voters agree to take the voting seriously and to put in sufficient time in researching the merits of the players and in filling out their ballots. Voters who do not take the voting seriously, on the other hand, should be ignored, whether or not they have Caruthers at #1. :-)
   42. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: January 08, 2004 at 04:57 AM (#520621)
1. Cy Young (new). He's the two best pitchers on the ballot. FWIW, here's his RSI adjusted W/L records from 1901-onward:
   43. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 08, 2004 at 09:34 PM (#520624)
Here's my ballot. Again, I use a combination of peak and career for the rankings. Therefore, career guys will mix with peak guys on my ballot. 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."
   44. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 08, 2004 at 09:45 PM (#520625)
Addendum:

McGinnity is another close one, too. I like Willis better (who may be back next year on my ballot).
   45. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 09, 2004 at 05:35 AM (#520628)
Each of them were dominant for quite a few years at their position and arguably better than McPhee and Sutton (at least Bill James thinks so).

I think James is a little off with the McPhee/Childs comparison and way off with the Sutton/Collins comparison.
   46. Carl Goetz Posted: January 09, 2004 at 03:54 PM (#520630)
First of all, let me welcome Cy Young and Fred Clarke into my personal HoM. Here we go:
   47. OCF Posted: January 09, 2004 at 06:21 PM (#520633)
I'm starting to do running vote tallies - not that there's a whole lot of suspense about who's going to win this year. I do have a question:

The "Harold Thurmer" and "Dave Roberts" posts, #23-#27, are clearly not valid ballots, for multiple reasons, and I'm not including them in the tally. But what about Sean's #61? I couldn't find anything on the discussion thread from Sean, so there aren't any explanations. Is Sean's ballot valid or not?
   48. Carl Goetz Posted: January 09, 2004 at 06:40 PM (#520635)
'Joe McGinnity-Best pitcher in the 00s not named Young.

We take issue with that statement. (But then so might Eddie Plank, Ed Walsh, Addie Joss and Rube Waddell). In fact, we all object to naming the elderly Young as the best pitcher in the 00s. '

Sorry guys. I meant 'Best eligible pitcher in the 00s not named Young.' No offense intended.
   49. jimd Posted: January 10, 2004 at 03:44 AM (#520636)
Read previous ballots if you want more depth on my reasons for all but the latest eligibles.

1) Cy Young -- Best career available, WARP or WS. Best peak available, WARP or WS. I don't recall seeing that dominant combination before. Overall, Anson tops him in Career (adjusted) WS, but not career WARP-3. (I don't have my notes on overall peak handy at the moment.)

2) F. Clarke -- Better than the glut, though not by as much as I expected. More valuable career than any of the others; by WARP3, a little bit more valuable than Keeler, by WS, a lot. He was not that highly regarded by the HOF voters (BBWAA peak at 25%) before the VC tapped him in 1945. Any insights on that?

3) C. Bennett -- Best catcher available; stands out from the other catchers far more than any of the other OF'ers do from their pack. He's in my personal HOM, instead of McVey. Click to see my previous arguments in favor of Bennett I'm not excited about any of these guys (except Cy) but I think the catcher has more merit than another 90's outfielder or another 80's or 00's pitcher.

Chris J. did an excellent writeup on him (click through and scroll down), but didn't go far enough. During the 1881-85 period, Bennett is just about as full-time as the other players (because the schedules were short), similar to the ratio between a modern catcher and a modern everyday-player. This went downhill when the schedules got longer, but Bennett was NOT a part-time player during his peak seasons.

Also, for those amongst you who use Win Shares. I assume you reduce the value of pitchers in this era (don't we all). Those are defensive Win Shares, and if they don't go to the pitcher, they have to go to the fielders around him (they can't evaporate, and the offense has already gotten their fair share under the formulas). The defensive spectrum dictates that when Keefe and Welch have their shares reduced, SS Ward and C Ewing get much of them than do 1B Connor and RF Tiernan. Similarly for Bennett; he played a key defensive position (and played it very well) when key defensive positions were more important than they've now become (they've all lost value relative to the pitcher as the balance of the game changed). If you're not adjusting for that, you're not giving Bennett his full due.

4) W. Keeler -- There appears to be some kind of "backlash" here against him because he was a singles hitter; singles are still more valuable than walks. These 3 OF's (#4-6) bring different combos of career and peak to the ballot, and I could order them randomly and live with it. Made my personal HOM last year instead of Stovey.

5) E. Flick -- Both systems agree that he had a very high peak, though they disagree about the relative value of his career.

6) J. Kelley -- Still better than the glut; the revisions have reinforced that.

7) B. Caruthers -- At the moment, he looks like he is the best pitcher available. None of the pitching candidates have long valuable careers (except maybe Mullane, if you don't discount the early AA much), so I rate them solely on peak. Under WARP's modified AA pitching discounts, Parisian Bob looks much better.

8) H. Jennings -- He was so very good just long enough that he can't be ignored. Now vaults over the glut. If Win Shares loved him more, he'd move up even further.

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 has quite a few marginal guys, but only one no-brainer (of the highest magnitude, too).

9) J. Whitney -- I know, I know, but he scores where he scores. He still has a better peak than any of the new pitching candidates (using WARP or WS).

10) J. Ryan -- Now looks a little better than Van Haltren.

11) G. Van Haltren -- Tagging along behind Ryan.

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

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

14) J. Collins -- Nice blend of career and peak.

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

Just missing the cut are:
   50. DanG Posted: January 10, 2004 at 04:57 AM (#520637)
Short on time (again), one new exhibit added (Clarke). In 1917, Young and Clarke gain election over a stellar crop of newbies. The 1918 election picks up one of the backlog. In 1919 Jimmy Sheckard joins the OF scramble, while two more backloggers gain election.

1) Young ? The best we?ve seen so far.(?) A unanimous election almost seems like an inadequate way to honor guys like him. After this, our 20th election, perhaps we might consider a special election to elevate five HoMers to an elite inner circle.

2) Clarke ? Discussion satisfies me that he?s at the top of the OF gang, but not by a lot. OPS over .780, 1895-1907, minimum 5000 PA:
   51. Adam Schafer Posted: January 10, 2004 at 10:10 PM (#520638)
I'm still pressed for time, so my comments are brief this year

1. Cy Young (n/a) - Even the most adamant supporter of Charlie Bennett couldn't possibly imagine putting him ahead of Young

2. Charlie Bennett (1) - This most definitely isn't the year that he's going to make it, but 2 years from now is looking pretty good.

3. Fred Clarke (n/a) - There's nothing good left to say about him that hasn't been said. The best of the outfielders. Managing looks excellant. The other outfielders on the ballot hurt him in my rankings b/c he wasn't as superior to the other outfielders as Bennett is to the other catchers.

4. Willie Keeler (2) - Willie ranks a lot closer to Clarke than I originally thought. Had Clarke not managed, Willie might have the #3 spot on my ballot.

5. Mickey Welch (15) - A huge jump this year. So he pitched for great teams. So those great teams may have one the games for him. SO he pitched in a lot of games each year and when you pitch that many games, you're bound to win as many games as he did. They are the same conditions that Keefe had. I'm not getting so crazy here that I'm saying Welch as great a player as Keefe. He wasn't, but if we penalized Keefe for all the same things that everyone is penalizing Welch for, then Keefe wouldn't be a HOMer. I just think that I have been following the crowd too much on Welch and have allowed myself to have double standards. Do I think he was better than Waddell, McGinnity, and Joss? Yes, I do. I didn't want to go overboard, but I seriously think Welch will be moving up ahead of Keeler on my ballot. POSSIBLY even ahead of Bennett, which says a lot as I have been a very strong supporter of Bennett. I know that this is not going to be a popular decision on my part, but I have to do what I feel is right.

6. Sam Thompson (3) - It's beginning to get harder and harder for me to pick the #6-#10 spots. Great peak. 10 great years.

7. Jake Beckley (4) - I'm still a career lover

8. Jimmy Collins (5) - Stands out from the other thirdbasemen.

9. Joe Kelley (12) - He's beginning to grow on my a little more. A small but welcome climb up from my previous ballots

10. Elmer Flick (8) - He didn't move down on my ballot, it's just that others moved up.

11. George Van Haltren (6) - I was sad to see him go down in my rankings, but he's where he deserves to be right now.

12. Jimmy Ryan (7) - Suffered the same fate this year as Van Haltren

13. Joe McGinnity (11) - I honestly thought he would be moving up this year.

14. Hugh Duffy (9) - Moves down, but really doesn't seperate himself from the rest of the glut

15. Hughie Jennings (10) - He'll move back up a little when Young and Clarke get in
   52. Rob Wood Posted: January 11, 2004 at 08:07 AM (#520643)
My 1917 ballot:

1. Cy Young. Greatest pitcher until Walter Johnson.
   53. Marc Posted: January 11, 2004 at 07:10 PM (#520645)
I don't think there's a correct ratio. In every case, it comes down to candidate A and candidate B. Cy Young does quite nicely in any such pairing. But if it's, say, Joe McGinnity and Elmer Flick, well, it's not a question whether you prefer a pitcher or an OF, it's a question whether you prefer Joe or Elmer.
   54. Howie Menckel Posted: January 11, 2004 at 07:52 PM (#520646)
Well, Cy Young becomes the 8th (or 9th, with Ward) P, which helps.

It is interesting - we could elect just Mathewson and Plank in the next 6-8 years, and still only be a little 'light' in that respect.

This pitching glut is reminiscent of the glut that seemingly will drag down all the '1890s OFs' except Kelley and the hybrids like Flick and Keeler. And I'm ok with that.

After this election, we'll have 3 obvious OF HOMers, plus consideration of C Bennett and 3B Collins, wild-cards Grant and Caruthers, and also McGinnity/Waddell, etc.
   55. EricC Posted: January 11, 2004 at 08:06 PM (#520647)
we could elect just Mathewson and Plank in the next 6-8 years, and still be only a little "light" in that respect.

And don't forget Walsh.
   56. EricC Posted: January 11, 2004 at 08:10 PM (#520648)
Or Brown.
   57. Chris Cobb Posted: January 11, 2004 at 09:42 PM (#520650)
1917 Prelim Ballot
   58. Howie Menckel Posted: January 11, 2004 at 09:45 PM (#520651)
Walsh basically pitched for seven years, didn't win 200 games, and is nine years from eligibility.
   59. Chris Cobb Posted: January 11, 2004 at 10:49 PM (#520652)
Walsh basically pitched for seven years, didn't win 200 games, and is nine years from eligibility.

Walsh's later years most fall below our token appearance threshold. He reaches the ballot in 1920.
   60. Howie Menckel Posted: January 12, 2004 at 12:32 AM (#520653)
Cheating ahead a little, that's one spectacular seven-year effort by Walsh. Will be interesting to see how he fares vs McGinnity (quantity) and Joss (quality).
   61. Marc Posted: January 12, 2004 at 12:49 AM (#520654)
Clint, my turn to agree with you...almost entirely. Certainly every voter has an obligation, to him or herself as much as to the cause, to come up with ways to evaluate, rate and rank pitchers and position players in the same consideration set. But even if pitching is 1/3 (I think it's more like 37.5%) of the game, if that pitching value distributes itself out widely enough, I could imagine a HoM with far fewer pitchers. I'm not saying the value does distribute itself that way, but it "could." And if it did, I could imagine a HoM with far fewer pitchers. In the real world, it doesn't distribute that widely, but you get my point. Value is lumpy, like the distribution of matter after the big bang, and our job is to find the lumps, regardless of wherever they may be.
   62. Ken Fischer Posted: January 12, 2004 at 01:19 AM (#520655)
1917 Ballot
   63. Esteban Rivera Posted: January 12, 2004 at 01:28 AM (#520656)
Getting in before time's up.

1. Cy Young - Did some stuff well or so I've heard.

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. Fred Clarke - Tops the outfielders in all around value when you combine peak, prime and career.

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

5. Sam Thompson - A heck of an offensive machine. Reputed to have the best arm of his time.

6. Elmer Flick - See him about even with Thompson. Slots right behind him on the ballot. Fantastic player in terms of peak.

7. 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

8. Rube Waddell - Was a special picher. I buy the run support analysis and also believe in the higher value of being a phenomenal K artist in his time and place. His career record isn't that impressive but you have to remember that there were some stretches where he was jettisoned because his managers did not know how to deal with his unique personality.

9. Willie Keeler - Fantastic career numbers but was not great in other offensive aspects besides batting average. However, he is definitely worthy. Moves up this year.

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

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

12. Joe Kelley - His career gives him a slight edge over Hugh Duffy. Don't see the impact that Stovey or Thompson had.

13. 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.

14. Frank Grant - Still believe he was great, it just gets a bit harder to justify placing him higher than the ones above.
   64. KJOK Posted: January 12, 2004 at 03:00 AM (#520658)
Up until now I've just been keeping my returning players in roughly the same places and "slotting in" the newly eligible players. However, with the break in voting, I redid my analysis on all players, replacing about 10 factors with OWP (Neutral W/L% for pitchers), playing time, and defense (Win Share/BP) - and more strictly applying my belief that "HOM worthy" should be measured from at least a .500 baseline. Because of this, my ballot has had some major changes for the first time:

1. John McGraw, 3B. McGraw was to 3rd basemen what Ruth was to RF'ers in the 1920. He only had 5,000 plate appearances, but I've been discounting him for low playing time way too much as he provided more value in those appearances than all of his contemporary 3rd baseman. Average fielder, but incredible .727 OWP.

2. Pete Browning, CF. Super .745 OWP in over 5,300 PA's. Despite low playing time and poor CF defense, he belongs on offense alone.

3. Hughie Jennings, SS. .607 OWP PLUS Excellent SS defense in 5,654 plate appearances.

4. Charlie Bennett, C. Having been the biggest FOCB, sorry to see him drop a little, but his offense wasn't really THAT much better than Jack Clements. Bennett does still outdistance all of his contemporaries on defense, however, which moves him up to here.

5. Rube Waddell, P. .631 Neut. W% in almost 3,000 innings.

6. Denny Lyons, 3B. Big mover up here, as Lyons really distances himself offensively from his 3B contemporaries (except McGraw, of course.) .658 OWP in 5,000 plate appearances with a fair glove.

7. Frank Chance, 1B. .720 OWP. Very Good fielder back when 1st base was more important defensively.

8. Cupid Childs, 2B. .609 OWP will playing average 2B in over 6,700 plate appearances.

9. Elmer Flick, RF. Excellent .737 OWP while playing an average RF in over 6,400 plate appearances moves Flick above the outfield glut.

10. Addie Joss, P. High .661 Neut. W% enough to move him even though he only pitched 2,327 innings.

11. Fred Clarke, LF. .667 OWP over a long career (9,800 PA's) AND was an excellent LFer defensively.

12. Sam Thompson, RF. Another big mover up my ballot. .684 OWP over 6,500 PA's with average RF defense.

13. Jimmy Collins, 3B. Being one of the greatest defensive 3B of all time puts him on the ballot, but a .550 OWP in 7,460 Plate Appearances for a 3rd baseman is not too shabby either.

14. Joe Kelley, RF. Very Good defensive RF'er who had .665 OWP over 8,139 plate appearances.

15. Bob Caruthers, P. Actually pitched BETTER than McGinnity, although in 600 less innings. His hitting value added to that puts him on the ballot.

JUST MISSED:

Joe McGinnity, P. .593 Neut W% in 3,400 innings.
   65. KJOK Posted: January 12, 2004 at 03:06 AM (#520659)
Aggghh! Sorry to double post, but right after I hit post I saw that I completely skipped Cy Young, who was actually at the top of my ballot.

1. Cy Young, P. Blows away every one this time.

2. John McGraw, 3B. McGraw was to 3rd basemen what Ruth was to RF'ers in the 1920. He only had 5,000 plate appearances, but I've been discounting him for low playing time way too much as he provided more value in those appearances than all of his contemporary 3rd baseman. Average fielder, but incredible .727 OWP.

3. Pete Browning, CF. Super .745 OWP in over 5,300 PA's. Despite low playing time and poor CF defense, he belongs on offense alone.

4. Hughie Jennings, SS. .607 OWP PLUS Excellent SS defense in 5,654 plate appearances.

5. Charlie Bennett, C. Having been the biggest FOCB, sorry to see him drop a little, but his offense wasn't really THAT much better than Jack Clements. Bennett does still outdistance all of his contemporaries on defense, however, which moves him up to here.

6. Rube Waddell, P. .631 Neut. W% in almost 3,000 innings.

7. Denny Lyons, 3B. Big mover up here, as Lyons really distances himself offensively from his 3B contemporaries (except McGraw, of course.) .658 OWP in 5,000 plate appearances with a fair glove.

8. Frank Chance, 1B. .720 OWP. Very Good fielder back when 1st base was more important defensively.

9. Cupid Childs, 2B. .609 OWP will playing average 2B in over 6,700 plate appearances.

10. Elmer Flick, RF. Excellent .737 OWP while playing an average RF in over 6,400 plate appearances moves Flick above the outfield glut.

11. Addie Joss, P. High .661 Neut. W% enough to move him even though he only pitched 2,327 innings.

12. Fred Clarke, LF. .667 OWP over a long career (9,800 PA's) AND was an excellent LFer defensively.

13. Sam Thompson, RF. Another big mover up my ballot. .684 OWP over 6,500 PA's with average RF defense.

14. Jimmy Collins, 3B. Being one of the greatest defensive 3B of all time puts him on the ballot, but a .550 OWP in 7,460 Plate Appearances for a 3rd baseman is not too shabby either.

15. Joe Kelley, RF. Very Good defensive RF'er who had .665 OWP over 8,139 plate appearances.

JUST MISSED:

Bob Caruthers, P. Actually pitched BETTER than McGinnity, although in 600 less innings. His hitting value added to that puts him closest to the ballot.
   66. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: January 12, 2004 at 07:08 AM (#520661)
Good grief, it's late.

1. Cy Young (new) Why? Well, he's CY-FRICKIN'-YOUNG, that's why!

2. Fred Clarke (new) Ahead of everyone else on the board for career value, and a reasonably good peak.

3. Charlie Bennett (1) To answer Clint, it's not a lack of catchers in the HoM, it's that Bennett is SO far ahead of all the other catchers, it's a sign of his quality.

4. Jimmy Collins (3) Not unlike Bennett, quite a bit better than any other 3B under consideration.

5. Joe Kelley (7) Kelley/Flick/Keeler are all pretty close, goes ahead this year due to greater consistency.

6. Lip Pike (5) One of the best players of his era, the last NA star out there.

7. Dickey Pearce (6) If it wasn't for the early stars, there wouldn't be the later stars, and he was the best of his time.

8. Elmer Flick (4) I guess maybe I'm not moving as much towards peak as I thought last time.

9. Willie Keeler (8) #3 in the group, who'll get in first? Certainly qualified for induction.

10. Hughie Jennings (9) An absolutely dominant peak.

11. Frank Grant (10) Don't know if he'll ever make my personal HoM, but no complaints if he does. Sol White comes in at #18.

12. Bob Caruthers (11) Should I have a non-Cy pitcher higher than 12? Probably, but I can't find enough reasons to distinguish them.

13. Jake Beckley (12) Played forever and piled up stats, but he was always a good player.

14. Jim McCormick (13) No matter how I look at the numbers, I can't put any of the other pitchers ahead of him.

15. Joe McGinnity (14) I'd like to rank him higher, but I can't put him ahead of McCormick.

Dropped out: Addie Joss. Dropped him behind Waddell, too. I don't know what to make of the "big games" analysis, and his peak's certainly no better than the Iron Man.

Not to be rude, but it's late, and I've explained why I leave out Thompson or Ryan or whoever else in previous years, so I'm ending it here.
   67. Philip Posted: January 12, 2004 at 11:48 AM (#520662)
1. Cy Young (new) ? No need to explain

2. Clarke (new) ? Blows away the field on career and prime measures.

3. Kelley (4-6-1) ? Quite comfortably third on my ballot. Great combination of peak, prime and career without really excelling in one of these categories.

4. Bennett (4-2-2) ? Does reasonably well in peak and prime and gets a bonus for being a scarce commodity.
   68. OCF Posted: January 12, 2004 at 06:10 PM (#520668)
Joe D: (Keeler)...best comp IMO is Tony Gwynn.

I see that too, Joe, but there's quite a large difference between Keeler in his mid to late 30's and Gwynn in his mid to late 30's (and early 40's). Keeler did get a slightly earlier start on his career, having cups of coffee at 20 and 21 and becoming full-time at 22, while Gwynn was part-time and 22 and 23 and became full-time at 24. But look at this for the tail end of their careers, from age 32 on.

Keeler
   69. Paul Wendt Posted: January 12, 2004 at 09:23 PM (#520672)
Al Lopez had his 95th birthday in August 2003. Al Lopez BTW is only one of three ex-MLB players that played in the 1920's that is still alive, along with pitchers Paul Hopkins, 99 years old, and Bob Cremins, 97 years old, while ex-Negro League star Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe is still alive at 101 years old.

Paul Hopkins died ten days ago.
   70. Rusty Priske Posted: January 13, 2004 at 12:52 PM (#520675)
Young was only unanimous if the selectively enforced rules are selectively enforced this week.
   71. Paul Wendt Posted: January 13, 2004 at 04:42 PM (#520676)
ed #124
   72. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 13, 2004 at 06:04 PM (#520677)
Young was only unanimous if the selectively enforced rules are selectively enforced this week.

Care to elaborate, Rusty?
   73. OCF Posted: January 13, 2004 at 06:13 PM (#520678)
The only ballots not naming Young first were the "Harold Thurmer" and "Dave Roberts" posts, #23-#27, and KJOK's mistake, #115. KJOK immediately fixed his mistake, so #115 is not a ballot and #116 is. As for #23-#27: it's not really a matter of selective enforcement. Posts of random nonsense simply cannot be considered ballots. The "selective enforcement" issue concerns Sean's post #61, which is unexplained. But that won't affect unanimity.
   74. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 13, 2004 at 06:29 PM (#520679)
The "selective enforcement" issue concerns Sean's post #61, which is unexplained.

... and Joe was leaning toward not accepting his ballot (which would have been worthy) the last I heard anyway.
   75. ronw Posted: January 13, 2004 at 07:29 PM (#520680)
This seems to be the perfect year to enforce the "no explanations" rule, since it won't affect the outcome. I also think that this rule is being consistently enforced. As I recall, RMc was expressly warned about his (or her) lack of explanations a few ballots ago. The warning consisted of "If you don't explain your ballot, your vote won't count." This is the first election since that warning where ballots have been submitted without comment.

Now, this does not apply to the "explain the consensus top-10 you left out" rule. That rule has not been consistently enforced.

As one of the unofficial talliers, I did not count Sean's post, Harold Thurmer's post, or Dave Roberts's post. The rule is simple, provide some brief explanation of your ballot. If Roberts or Thurmer were to have small comments like, "Cy Young is overrated," or "Wid Conroy has a cool name," I would be objecting to their exclusion. However, they provided nothing. Its unfortunate that Sean got lumped in with them, but he is aware of the explanation rule, and could easily fix his problem.
   76. OCF Posted: January 14, 2004 at 12:41 AM (#520686)
If Sean's belated explanations were to suffice to make his ballot acceptible, the effects on the rankings would be:

Keeler would still be 5th, but the gap between Kelley and Keeler would close to 5 points.

The 10th place tie bewteen Grant and Thompson would be broken in favor of Grant.

Joss would go ahead of Griffith into 21st.

Sol White would go ahead of Childs into 25th.

Young would still be unanimous with 46 votes.
   77. Rusty Priske Posted: January 15, 2004 at 02:52 PM (#520688)
I wasn't complaining, I was just saying that there are two ballots listed that don't have Cy Young first. They can be discarded by enforcing the "no comments" rule.

Since we don't always discard ballots for that reason, it is "selectively enforced".

However, by gettign Sean to add comments, you were consistant this week.

That's all.

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