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Hall of Merit
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Monday, December 22, 2003

1917 Ballot Discussion

Cy Young and Fred Clarke head the new eligibles.

This election won’t start until January 5, so take your time discussing.

Let me know if you’d like to open any other threads for discussion over the holidays, and a Happy Holidays to all of you too!

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 22, 2003 at 09:41 PM | 125 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Chris Cobb Posted: January 03, 2004 at 07:19 PM (#520353)
Clint,

On re-reading my post, I realize that it sounded rather like an ad hominem attack, which was inappropriate. I apologize. I spoke as if you were attempting to mislead, where in fact all I really wanted to say was that in Clarke's case the standard Jamesian ways of looking at peak value are quite unusually ineffective in revealing his peak _ability_. If you compare your avg. value in top 5 consecutive seasons with my 5-consecutive season peak rate, you'll see that the position of the other 8 players on the two lists is quite similar, while Clarke's is very different. His injuries in what would otherwise have probably been the best seasons of a career otherwise exceptionally long and generally durable give him an odd profile, in which his best seasons are widely separated and fall outside his period of peak ability.

Because of these injuries, Clarke's best seven seasons are somewhat lower than the best seven seasons of Flick, Duffy, and Kelley, however you divide them up, as you showed.

However, and this is perhaps the most important point, the fact that Flick, Duffy, and Kelley were slightly better than Clarke in their top seven seasons is outweighed by the fact that Clarke has another 8 above-average seasons beyond those seven, where F, D, K have only 2 or 3 each. If you even go out to their top ten seasons, Clarke passes Duffy and Kelley in total win shares, and he trails Flick by only one. If one is interested in value in a pennants-added sense, there's no way that F,D, and K's slightly higher value in peak seasons is outweighed by Clarke's huge advantage in above average seasons. If we had pennants-added numbers for Clarke, I am confident that he would lead all eligible outfielders by a substantial margin.
   102. Marc Posted: January 04, 2004 at 12:32 AM (#520354)
Apropos of the Chris/Clint discussion, I posted my top 25 peaks in #102 and noted that Clarke and Keeler are not among them. In #122 I also noted that OF have a hard time competing on peak. Because among the caliber of C-2B-SS-3B whom we are considering for HoM, many at one time or another hit like an OF and also had more defensive value than an OF can accumulate.

So I balance my (3 and 5 year) peak ratings by a prime rating, a period of time that flexes to the player's yearly performance. Here are the top 25 "active" primes including the number of years (numbers of years can vary from WARP to WS). I have STOPPED using rate stats because of their ambiguity as it relates to real impact.

1. Cy Young--15 to 19 years!
   103. Marc Posted: January 04, 2004 at 05:19 AM (#520356)
Bobby, Bobby, Bobby, read post #102. All will be revealed.
   104. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: January 04, 2004 at 12:28 PM (#520357)
Alright, I've got the top three set on my 1917 ballot:

1. Cy Young: The NL Years (1890-1900)
   105. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: January 04, 2004 at 01:12 PM (#520358)
I know I'll be ducking some rotten tomatoes in this crowd for saying this, but I think if used properly, GPA is a better measurement of hitting value than OPS+. Of course, you would have to adjust all players to a fixed hitting context, but, for me, it more accurately reflects the importance of on-base percentage than does OPS+.

Take a look at the following two players:

Player A: .353 OBP/.519 SLG/.872 OPS
   106. OCF Posted: January 04, 2004 at 04:23 PM (#520359)
In the Topsy Hartsel comment in the NBJHBA, James creates a rating for leadoff hitters: "... take the number of times the player has been on first base, multiply by .35, his times on second by .55, his times on third by .8 and his home runs by 1". Then convert into Expected Runs Scored per 27 outs, and adjust for league context. The top players on this measure are Williams, Ruth, Mantle, Barry Bonds - not leadoff hitters. Among those who actually were leadoff hitters:

1. 167 Rickey Henderson
   107. Howie Menckel Posted: January 05, 2004 at 12:21 AM (#520361)
I see Clarke, Kelley, Keeler, and Flick as pretty clear HOMers, which frankly makes it difficult for me to care about any other OFs. I'd consider Pike as a last 1870s guy, but he's not a must and I doubt we'll ever run short of OFs again.
   108. Paul Wendt Posted: January 05, 2004 at 05:12 PM (#520362)
Craig B #88
   109. Paul Wendt Posted: January 05, 2004 at 05:54 PM (#520363)
Chris Cobb #126
   110. OCF Posted: January 05, 2004 at 06:06 PM (#520364)
Another example for Craig and Paul, although not quite as spectacular: Jose Cruz. After a promising start, he had OPS+ of 80 and 91 at age 24-25 for the Cardinals, then a year at age 26 in which he mostly didn't have a job. After being traded to the Astros, he had a 6-year peak at ages 27-32 with OPS+ averaging 125 or so, then he started to fade, then he had two years at ages 35-36 at above 140. At age 36 he hit 13 triples and went 22-8 as a base stealer.

Clemente and Cruz hung onto their gains beyond 5 years and remained strong players into their late 30's. Jennings became a first baseman at 30, a weaker hitter at 31, and a part-time player at 32.
   111. Paul Wendt Posted: January 05, 2004 at 06:08 PM (#520365)
Clarke was a sensation in 1995, his first full season. See his record in context of the awful Louisville team and it is easy to imagine why.
   112. Paul Wendt Posted: January 05, 2004 at 06:19 PM (#520366)
Clarke was a sensation in 1995, his first full season. See his record in context of the awful Louisville team and it is easy to imagine why. http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/LOU/1895.shtml</i>

25-year-old rookie Jimmy Collins was second on the team with 10 Win Shares in 96 games. Collins made his professional debut 16 May 1893 for Buffalo(EL), age 23y-4m, fresh from the Buffalo sandlots. --Joe Overfield, in Baseball's First Stars (SABR 1996).
   113. Paul Wendt Posted: January 06, 2004 at 04:54 PM (#520369)
JeffM, 1917 Ballot #20
   114. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 07, 2004 at 06:09 PM (#520372)
....or at least, I Should have, but for some reason the record keepers gave the title to my teammate with a 7-1 record, over my 44-11 mark.

Sounds ludicrous to me, too, Mickey.
   115. MattB Posted: January 07, 2004 at 06:41 PM (#520373)
From BBref

"Winning Percentage

The minimum number of decisions is the number team games that season divided by twelve."

112 games divided by 12 = 9.3 decisions. Richardson has 8, so should not qualify.
   116. favre Posted: January 08, 2004 at 12:32 AM (#520374)
It?s clear we need a ?New Voters? link on the main page. That way, if new voters submit ballots 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).
   117. OCF Posted: January 08, 2004 at 12:56 AM (#520375)
About that Joe Jackson election referred to in favre's post - this seems a good time to quote the pertinent paragraphs from the "constitution."

A player?s ?personality? is to be considered only to the extent that it affected the outcomes of the player?s games (e.g., via his positive or negative effect on his teammates). In rare and extreme cases, a voter may opt to exclude a player on ?personality? grounds on the first ballot on which the player appears. If that player does not get elected on his first ballot, the voter shall give the player full consideration in all subsequent ballots, regardless of the ?personality? factors.

Allegations (proven or otherwise) about throwing baseball games may be especially troubling to some voters. It would be appropriate for such a voter to discount such a player?s accomplishments to some degree. In rare and extreme cases, it may even be appropriate for such a voter to choose not to vote for an otherwise worthy candidate.


My own intentions are to observe a 1-year boycott of Jackson and Cicotte, with the boycott extending to not even discussing their qualifications on that year's discussion thread. After that, I will place them as their playing abilities indicate. In the case of Hal Chase, I think we'll have to consider the direct damage he did to his teams' pennant chances by his illicit activities to be a substantial part of his value - substantial enough that I'll probably never vote for him.
   118. jimd Posted: January 08, 2004 at 03:56 AM (#520376)
I can't see Chase being a serious candidate. Viewed through the lens of WARP, Fred Tenney was a better hitter and a better fielder, with a more valuable career and a higher peak (and played on some winning teams).

I remember reading stories about Chase when I was young, and was astounded (and disappointed) when I first saw his career record in the encyclopedia. I was expecting another Joe Jackson. I guess he was more highlight reel than a day-in-day-out doing-it guy.
   119. jimd Posted: January 08, 2004 at 04:02 AM (#520377)
I agree with favre. We do have to put some mechanisms in place to ensure that new voters have done some homework before we are faced with a ballot-stuffing "scandal". Controversies may lie ahead, we should be ready.
   120. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 08, 2004 at 06:54 AM (#520378)
Jackson won't me on my ballot his first year of eligibility. I don't view him as a first-year guy anyway (unless your standard is extreme peak). No proration of his stats by me, either.

Cicotte and Chase will not be on my ballot at all (especially the latter).

As for "new voters," Joe is putting the finishing touches on something to that effect.
   121. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 08, 2004 at 06:58 AM (#520379)
Actually, I'm not sure if Cicotte will or won't be on my ballot. Worry about it then.
   122. Daryn Posted: January 08, 2004 at 06:42 PM (#520380)
Is anyone interested in putting a cap on the number of voters. Say 100 or 200? Or putting a cap on when new voters will no longer be accepted -- say after 1945 or 1960, something like that.
   123. favre Posted: January 09, 2004 at 12:16 AM (#520381)
"As for 'new voters', Joe is putting the finishing touches on something to that effect."

Great. I hope I didn't step on anyone's toes by writing one up myself. I just know you guys are very busy, and I had some time on my hands.
   124. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 09, 2004 at 12:40 AM (#520382)
Great. I hope I didn't step on anyone's toes by writing one up myself. I just know you guys are very busy, and I had some time on my hands.

No problem, favre. Thank you for your effort! Maybe we can use part of it for the proposed amendments).
   125. Howie Menckel Posted: January 10, 2004 at 10:31 PM (#520383)
Ironic how this exercise leads us to discuss borderline guys endlessly and superstars so much less. Ah well.

Here's one: Young and Burkett played together for 11 seasons, the most of any Hall of Merit duo. 1891-98 with Cleveland, then they go over to St. Louis for 1899-00. In 1905, as Burkett wraps up his career, he again hooks up with Young in Boston.

Now, Jesse was known as the "Crab" for his obnoxious personality.

So was Young the most durable in putting up with pain in the necks as well as the most durable pitcher ever?
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