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Monday, February 23, 2004

1921 Ballot Discussion

We’ll place the new Negro League eligibility rules into effect this year (see the thread). Newcomers:

***1921 (March 7)?elect 2
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)
328 74.8 1899 Tommy Leach-CF/3b (1969)
258 65.6 1902 Joe Tinker-SS (1948)
255 56.4 1902 George Mullin-P (1944)
231 53.7 1901 Roger Bresnahan-C (1944)
163 39.1 1904 Hooks Wiltse-P (1959)
151 37.8 1904 Frank Smith-P (1952)
149 34.8 1904 Jim Delahanty-2b (1953)
138 34.1 1906 Frank LaPorte-2b (1939)
140 31.7 1906 Red Murray-RF (1958)
138 30.3 1905 Al Bridwell-SS (1969)
125 33.9 1910 Russ Ford-P (1960)
118 31.0 1902 Germany Schaefer-2b (1919)
126 25.1 1909 Steve Evans-RF (1943)
111 25.4 1904 George Stovall-1b (1951)
NEGRO LEAGUES Home Run Johnson

I see it as 3 borderline players (Leach, Tinker and Bresnahan) and one solid Negro League candidate. The job gets a little tougher this year . . .

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: February 23, 2004 at 12:01 PM | 298 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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Page 3 of 3 pages  < 1 2 3
   201. Howie Menckel Posted: February 28, 2004 at 02:53 AM (#522286)
TEAMS WITH SIX HALL OF MERIT MEN
   202. Howie Menckel Posted: February 28, 2004 at 02:57 AM (#522287)
HOM TEAMMATES/total seasons played with them
   203. Howie Menckel Posted: February 28, 2004 at 03:40 AM (#522288)
To the fake Howie,
   204. Marc Posted: February 28, 2004 at 04:02 AM (#522289)
I admit it, I am the fake Howie. I meant to address my comments to Howie.... Duh.

PS. Howie, great stuff.

> 1892 New York NL Gore O'Rourke Ewing Rusie Richardson Keeler EIGHTH

All a guy can say is !

'Course what was the average age? Actually the average was probably normal. An ice and fire aggregation of the worst kind.
   205. jimd Posted: February 28, 2004 at 04:48 AM (#522290)
RSI (Run Support Index).
   206. Howie Menckel Posted: February 28, 2004 at 05:15 AM (#522291)
Marc,
   207. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: February 28, 2004 at 05:49 AM (#522292)
Griffith is +9 for his career. I think some here have been interpreting Delta-W as "clutch" pitching. It may also include that, but it also involves excess Run Support. (Clemens 2001 is +5).

Clemens has had lousy run support. Better than Waddell, but worse than Walsh.
   208. jimd Posted: February 28, 2004 at 05:58 AM (#522293)
Yes indeed, Clemens is -4 for his career. He was -14 for his last decade in Boston. But 2001 was his 20-3 season with the phenomenal run-support that was so outrageous that the media picked up on it.
   209. jimd Posted: February 28, 2004 at 06:06 AM (#522294)
I don't think Delta-W is a perfect match for your RSI. Yours is a more focused statistic that I'm sure does a better job. My point is that Run Support impacts Delta-W; there appears to be other stuff at work, too ("clutch"?) but the Run Support would have to removed from it before attempting to identify the residue.
   210. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: February 28, 2004 at 06:20 AM (#522295)
Yes indeed, Clemens is -4 for his career. He was -14 for his last decade in Boston. But 2001 was his 20-3 season with the phenomenal run-support that was so outrageous that the media picked up on it.

His RSI that year was about 121 or 122. Not great, just really good. But it was: consistent, & came with a really good bullpen (he left losing 9 times). Bob Welch in 1990 was a similar season - RSI barely over 120, but the A's were doing it every dang day & Eck & the boys held on to every lead.
   211. Howie Menckel Posted: February 28, 2004 at 03:56 PM (#522297)
1892: 12-team NL, including the worst six-HOMer team ever......

The NY Giants (71-80) finish eighth with this crew:
   212. Paul Wendt Posted: February 28, 2004 at 07:15 PM (#522298)
Casey Elston #151
   213. RobC Posted: February 28, 2004 at 07:38 PM (#522299)
Paul,

I like the foyer or merit. Very nice.

Casey,

Also, in addition to what Paul said, Gore was elected well before Ryan and Duffy made the ballot. They never "competed" for the same ballot spot, so it could be possible for both of them to be clearly better than Gore and never make the HoM, while Gore is deserving of the spot he has. No injustice will have been done. If Gore was one of the top 4 in 1898 (I think I had him 7th, but I may have been underrating him) then he deserves the spot, regardless of how many later players were better than him.
   214. Paul Wendt Posted: February 28, 2004 at 07:41 PM (#522300)
To those, not C.E., who speak broadly of "19th century players", here is Coda to my own article #256.
   215. Paul Wendt Posted: February 28, 2004 at 09:24 PM (#522301)
Howie Menckel #255
   216. Marc Posted: February 28, 2004 at 10:12 PM (#522302)
>And let's not forget Mickey Welch, who got to pitch the final game of his career. Nine runs, eight earned, 11
   217. Howie Menckel Posted: February 28, 2004 at 11:44 PM (#522303)
Good catch, Paul.
   218. Marc Posted: February 29, 2004 at 04:09 AM (#522305)
post 189
   219. OCF Posted: February 29, 2004 at 06:51 PM (#522307)
Charlie Bennett and Roger Bresnahan.

Bennett has served a for a long, slow time as an also-ran on our ballots. The electorate has collectively judged him to be superior to such outfielders as Ryan, Van Haltren, Duffy, Thompson and Scheckard. His time appears to have nearly come, along with Jimmy Collins. But now comes his first real competitor at his own position, Roger Breshahan. How do Bresnahan and Bennett stack up?

The way I look at it, I see Bresnahan as having a substantial offensive advantage over Bennett. If we correct for the run-scarce environment he played in, Breshanan's offensive contributions were reasonably similar to those of Cupid Childs and distinctly better than those of Tommy Leach. Bennett is just not in that neigborhood offensively. But Bennett also played in a time of much shorter seasons, and some of Bresnahan's best offensive seasons (notably 1903 and 1904) came when he was being used as an outfielder, not a catcher.
   220. Marc Posted: February 29, 2004 at 09:57 PM (#522308)
I'm sure everybody is as sick of this discussion as I am.

Keefe beats Welch on 19 out of 19 measures and by wide margins on most of them. Was Welch "lucky" to have comparable WL records? I really don't care what word you use.

But the reason Keefe "waltzed" into HoM and Welch is not even in the foyer cannot seriously be a mystery.
   221. Marc Posted: February 29, 2004 at 09:58 PM (#522309)
Best OPS+ (over 120; * are non-catcher years and ^ are non-batting championship eligible years)

Bennett 161 155 151 149 138 132 128
   222. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 29, 2004 at 11:03 PM (#522310)
Marc:

Is a 160 OPS+ from 1885 the same as a 160 OPS+ from 1903? IMO, the latter was more valuable due to greater competition.

And before you say that I'm guilty of using a timeline, I'm not. :-)
   223. Marc Posted: March 01, 2004 at 12:24 AM (#522311)
The question is equally whether a 161 OPS+ (and a 155 and a 151 and a 149) for an A defensive catcher is the same as a 160 from a mediocre CF and a 146 and a 145 from a non-batting title-eligible catcher?

In fairness giving Bresnahan credit for all years in which he was batting title eligible, but including two years in which he was not a catcher:

Bennett 161 155 151 149 138 132 128
   224. karlmagnus Posted: March 01, 2004 at 12:34 AM (#522312)
A more interesting comparison to Welch is not Keefe (better han Welch, bu very marginally so) but Clarkson, whom HOM voters treated with the utmost deference, but who doesn't appear to have been much better -- Welch's 1885 was better than Clarkson's 1889, for example. Welch had some mediocre seasons at the start and end of his career, which drag down his ERA+, but his overall record was better than any of the short career Deadballers (yes, Young, Matty, Nichols and Plank were better, but nobody else in 1890-1910 was). Peak was fully comparable to Clarkson or Keefe, so should we really penalize him heavily for being overworked at a young age and getting arm trouble late in his career. I agree he's a Tier 2 or 3 HOM'er, asis caruthers, but he stands up vry well against several we've elected, whther career types (Start, Sutton, Keeler) or peak types (Rusie, Walsh, Flick.) ERA+ isn't everything -- whileit's a useful; tool it's not entirely fair to measure pitchers against a stat they didn't know existed; they were pitching for Wins.
   225. EricC Posted: March 01, 2004 at 12:35 AM (#522313)
Marc- leaving aside any comments about your methods or conclusions on Bennett vs. Bresnahan, could you double check your data - if I'm not mistaken, Bennett was not eligible for the batting title in two of the years that you have included in your comparison #269 (1886 and 1888).
   226. karlmagnus Posted: March 01, 2004 at 12:39 AM (#522314)
Sorry about the typos -- pressed the wrong button before proofreading!
   227. karlmagnus Posted: March 01, 2004 at 12:55 AM (#522315)
Sorry about the typos -- pressed the wrong button before proofreading!
   228. karlmagnus Posted: March 01, 2004 at 12:59 AM (#522316)
Sorry about the typos -- pressed the wrong button before proofreading!
   229. Howie Menckel Posted: March 01, 2004 at 01:35 AM (#522317)
Marc,
   230. Marc Posted: March 01, 2004 at 02:15 AM (#522318)
EricC, you are correct, my error.

Bennett 161 155 151 149 132
   231. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 01, 2004 at 02:26 AM (#522319)
The Welch/Keefe argument can only be reasonably solved by inning-by-inning comparisons. If Keefe was losing games because of two runs in the first inning (while Welch was winning those type of games), that's bad luck (not "not knowing how to win" crap). However, if Welch was giving up a few more runs when he had a big lead to work with, I'll listen to that argument.
   232. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 01, 2004 at 02:35 AM (#522320)
Bresnahan/Bennett:

I guess the best way to compare them as hitters is to see where they ranked among catchers for their respective eras. Instead of 3.1 at bats per game to qualify, how about 2.1? I have to do some more thing about how to correctly go about it.
   233. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 01, 2004 at 02:38 AM (#522321)
I have to do some more thinking about how to correctly go about it.
   234. KJOK Posted: March 01, 2004 at 05:40 AM (#522323)
I've posted my basic methodology and assumptions in creating MLE's for Negro League Players to the HOM Yahoo egroup if anyone is interested. Hopefully it'a little clearer than mud. Also, keep in mind that it's a work in process, so any suggestions for improvement are definitely welcome.
   235. KJOK Posted: March 01, 2004 at 06:24 AM (#522324)
Using OWP, playing time, and defense (Win Shares/BP) for position players, applied to .500 baseline. Using Runs Saved Above Average and Support Neutral Fibonacci Wins for Pitchers.

1. JOHN McGRAW, 3B. .727 OWP. 459 RCAP. 4,909 PAs. Def: AVERAGE. McGraw was to 3rd basemen what Ruth was to RF'ers in the 1920. He didn?t have a long career, but he?s being discounted for low playing time way too much as he provided more value in those few appearances than all of his contemporary 3rd baseman.

2. PETE BROWNING, CF/LF. .745 OWP. 478 RCAP. 5,315 PAs. Def: POOR. Baseball?s premier hitter in the 1880?s.

3. HUGHIE JENNINGS, SS. .607 OWP. 263 RCAP. 5,650 PAs. Def: EXCELLENT. Best SS of the 1890?s.

4. ROGER BRESNAHAN, C. .651 OWP. 282 RCAP, 5,373 PA?s. Def: AVERAGE. Best hitting Catcher between Ewing and Cochrane/Dickey.

5. CHARLIE BENNETT, C . .568 OWP. 196 RCAP. 4,310 PAs. Def: EXCELLENT. His offense wasn't really THAT much better than Jack Clements but Bennett does still outdistance all of his contemporaries on defense, however. Hit like Roy Campanella and fielded like Johnny Bench.

6. HOME RUN JOHNSON, 2B/SS Great hitter and played important middle infield defensive positions. By my method his neutral MLE?s are .390 OBP, .501 SLG, 1460 Runs Created in around 8,500 PA?s!

7. TONY MULLANE, P. 241 RSAA, and 240 Neut_Fibonacci_Wins.

8. RUBE WADDELL, P. 254 RSAA, and 222 Neut_Fibonacci_Wins.

9. DENNY LYONS, 3B. .658 OWP. 326 RCAP. 5,021 PAs. Def: FAIR. Lyons really distances himself offensively from his 3B contemporaries (except McGraw, of course.) and really deserves a lot more support.

10. FRANK CHANCE, 1B. .720 OWP. 308 RCAP. 5,099 PAs. Def: VERY GOOD. Excellent hitter and good fielder back when 1st base was more important defensively.

11. CUPID CHILDS, 2B. .609 OWP. 354 RCAP. 6,762 PAs. Def: AVERAGE. Best 2nd baseman of the 1890?s.

12. JOE McGINNITY, P. 238 RSAA, 208 Neut_Fibonacci_Wins.

13. JIMMY COLLINS, 3B. .550 OWP. 148 RCAP. 7,460 PAs. Def: EXCELLENT. Being one of the greatest defensive 3B of all time puts him on the ballot, but his hitting was pretty good also.

14. BOBBY WALLACE, SS. .522 OWP (.546 thru 1910). 195 RCAP (211 thru 1910). 9,612 PAs. Def: VERY GOOD. Hung around ala Pete Rose after 1910. Also outstanding defensive 3B in the 2 years he played there.

15. TOMMY LEACH, CF/3B. .552 OWP, 121 RCAP, 9,051 PA?s. Def: EXCELLENT ? 3B, VERY GOOD ? CF. Just slightly below Collins defensively, and he played longer. Basically did everything well, but doesn?t have the one outstanding area to get noticed.

LEFT OFF THE BALLOT:
   236. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 01, 2004 at 07:34 AM (#522326)
I would say that an easy way to compare Bennett and Bresnahan offensively would be to look at their offensive WS, with the seasons adjusted to a 162-game schedule.

Joe, if you do it your way, the catchers of the 1870s come out as iron men. Cal McVey and Deacon White had multiple seasons behind the plate where they played all of their teams' scheduled games. It wasn't too hard when you were playing 60-70 games for a season. You just can't extrapolate a catcher's workload then (or from the 1880s) without some drawing in of the outliers.

Bennett played when the schedule was a little longer than the 1870s, but it still wasn't a 154 game schedule.

If we went to a 300 game schedule, does that mean the John Clapp of 1876 could play every game with the new schedule? I would love to be his orthopedic specialist! :-)
   237. EricC Posted: March 01, 2004 at 12:28 PM (#522330)
When did catching become a taxing position?

I don't know if this answers the question, but typical catcher playing time relative to other positions took a big drop between 1882 and 1884. Actually, catcher playing time remained fairly steady, while typical playing time at other positions increased as the schedule increased from 84 to more than 110 games per season.
   238. KJOK Posted: March 01, 2004 at 05:36 PM (#522332)
KJOK - how did you get Beckley's defense as average? I've always thought he was a great defensive player. I'm not challenging your methodology per se, just curious about it.
   239. OCF Posted: March 01, 2004 at 05:48 PM (#522333)
Looking only at OPS sells Bresnahan short, as his offensive shape was unbalanced and OBP rich. In 1908, Bresnahan (catching full-time) had a .401 OBP in a .315 league (and just .359 slugging in a .325 league). His OBP was 3rd in the league that year. Bresnahan was in the top 10 in the league in OBP (actually top 6) 7 times. The best Bennett could do in OBP was 7th or 8th 3 times. When he was in his 20's Breshahan stole bases as much as most deadball players, once finishing 8th in the league. We don't know whether Bennett stole bases in his 20's; he didn't in his 30's. I was looking at RC from a STATS handbook when I made post #265. I'll stand by my comment that Bresnahan was a better offensive player than Bennett, career and peak. However, some of that for Bresnahan, including his single best offensive year in 1903, came as an outfielder, and Bennett seems to have been the superior fielder.
   240. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 01, 2004 at 06:07 PM (#522334)
John - the catchers of that day had the value of iron-men, and that's what they deserve credit for. VALUE, not ability is what should be measured.

Actually, I am crediting value over ability. It was just as valuable for a team to have Bresnahan's number of games played behind the plate as it was for Bennett's teams - if not more.

I can't see giving credit to someone for doing something that was patently easier to do during his time. But that's only my opinion...
   241. Marc Posted: March 01, 2004 at 06:21 PM (#522335)
I see Bennett as being one of the top 5 position players 3 times ('81-'83). It is true that, being a catcher, his ability to play "every day" was to some degree a function of the short season (days off). But the value is there--150-160 OPS+ and A defense at a key position.

Bresnahan was never one of the top 5 position players, never an MVP candidate. Bennett was. Bennett's peak was much more valuable than Bresnahan's as a reflection of his time, the conditions, the competition.
   242. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 01, 2004 at 06:29 PM (#522336)
Bresnahan was never one of the top 5 position players, never an MVP candidate. Bennett was. Bennett's peak was much more valuable than Bresnahan's as a reflection of his time, the conditions, the competition.

Well, using this logic, 19th century pitchers had more "value" at their peaks than later generations. I'm not buying it with them or with the different eras of catchers.
   243. Marc Posted: March 01, 2004 at 06:57 PM (#522337)
John, that's not what I'm saying. In fact, Bennett's contributions were more unique than those of Clarkson, Keefe, Radbourn, et al, just by virtue of the fact that there were a number of 300 game winners and in any given year there were a number of 50 WS pitchers. If you didn't happen to have Clarkson on your staff, there was somebody else who could fill a "similar" role. Other than a few of them, of course, you had to replace them every few years which makes Clarkson et al more valuable (along with the obvious fact that they won 300 games).

But if you didn't have Charlie Bennett on your team there was nobody you could get to fill that role in that way. You could get a good defender who would hit about .220. The same is true of Bresnahan except that once he moved to the OF, well, then the average NL CF was just as valuable.
   244. OCF Posted: March 01, 2004 at 07:08 PM (#522338)
Bresnahan was never one of the top 5 position players, never an MVP candidate.

Let's take a look at 1908. Of course, no one other than Wagner was an MVP candidate, but suppose Wagner had signed with a higher league. Who would have been the NL MVP then? Here are some candidates:

Roger Breshnahan .283/.401/.359, 14 SB, 140 games, catcher.
   245. OCF Posted: March 01, 2004 at 08:13 PM (#522339)
Bresnahan, Breshahan, Breshnahan - so my typing fingers don't like that name. You know who I mean.
   246. Marc Posted: March 01, 2004 at 08:24 PM (#522340)
Bresnahan...I have noticed the same thing. Not a natural combination of letters at all. All the more reason to leave him off my ballot ;-)

BTW, I agree that worrying about whether Bresnahan is top 5 in 1908 or not is hair-aplitting, certainly he is in the top 6-8. Donlin and Tenney were a lot more involved in the Giants' run-scoring however. If Bresnahan were an A-level defender that wouldn't matter so much. Also Joe Tinker's R + RBI are +17 vs. Bresnahan in a *less productive* lineup (the Giants outscored the Cubs by 27 runs) and a vastly better defender. I think Tink is the obvious #2 to Wagner.
   247. OCF Posted: March 01, 2004 at 08:43 PM (#522341)
Re: 1908. A feature recently added to bbref is age: oldest player and youngest player, on the leaderboards. Check out who the youngest NL player in 1908 was. Yes, him - and this was the year his name became legend.
   248. jimd Posted: March 01, 2004 at 10:02 PM (#522342)
The Win Shares analysis of NL 1908 (pitchers in italics):

Wagner 59 (no contest)

The others:
   249. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 01, 2004 at 11:44 PM (#522343)
But if you didn't have Charlie Bennett on your team there was nobody you could get to fill that role in that way. You could get a good defender who would hit about .220. The same is true of Bresnahan except that once he moved to the OF, well, then the average NL CF was just as valuable.

I'm not questioning Bennett's value. I had him on my ballot for quite a few "years." What I am questioning is Bennett over Bresnahan. I think the Duke was more durable and a better offensive player for his time (plus a greater peak player) than Bennett was (though Bennett was obviously the superior fielder). While I detest the timeline, Bresnahan did achieve his numbers against greater competition than Bennett.

On my ballot, I posted that Bresnahan was the poor man's Ewing, while Kling was the poor man's Bennett. I think the comparisons are apt.
   250. jimd Posted: March 02, 2004 at 01:33 AM (#522344)
What I am questioning is Bennett over Bresnahan. I think the Duke was more durable

What is the evidence for that? Despite the gloves, pads, and shinguards, Bresnahan appeared in only 20 more games at catcher than Bennett. BP's estimate of defensive innings has Charlie catching 30 more full games than Roger, who has a lot of partial games-caught. (Don't know if he's leaving for a defensive replacement, or coming in as a pinch-hitter and staying, or both.) According to the norms of each era, Charlie caught 14.5 seasons, Roger caught 10.5. (See Catcher's thread for more details on that calculation. If this was adjusted for the partial games it would be something like 14.0 to 9.5.)

and a better offensive player for his time

True, but the difference is not that large, particularly if you only count the time spent as a catcher. Charlie has a career OPS+ of 118; Roger is 126. If you remove the two years spent in CF (1903-4), Roger's OPS+ is 120, not significantly greater than Bennett.

(plus a greater peak player) than Bennett was

Using WARP-1, which is NOT adjusted for season length, or for league quality. Roger's best seasons were 1906, 1908, and 1903 (WARP-1 of 8.8, 8.7, 8.3). Bennett has four seasons better than that, 1881-3, and 1885 (9.3, 9.5, 9.9, and 9.5).
   251. Marc Posted: March 02, 2004 at 02:16 AM (#522345)
>Bresnahan was the poor man's Ewing, while Kling was the poor man's
   252. jimd Posted: March 02, 2004 at 04:00 AM (#522347)
Catcher was always a "taxing" position whose GP was less than the other position players. Even in the 1870's, catching Al Spalding barehanded was not a pleasant proposition; he was whipping the ball in there underhand from 45 feet away, and standing back 15 feet just made the distance 60 feet or so. It got worse in the late 1870's when the pitching restrictions were loosened and sub-mariner style was allowed; imagine catching Bradford or Kim without a glove. Basically, with the 84 game schedule (1879-82), catchers were doing about the same % of the schedule as modern (2003) catchers do, with some guys (like White and Bennett and Snyder and Flint) able to handle a little extra.

During the 1880's the schedules lengthened and overhand pitching was allowed. Catchers could not take any more abuse, and by 1887, most teams were using 3 catchers on a regular basis. With the no-substitution rule still in effect, having a Kelly or O'Rourke that could both catch and play another position gave a manager the flexibility to handle minor injuries with a simple position swap, while not hurting the team when the swap wasn't necessary.

Eventually, the machismo gave way to sanity, and armor was adopted which allowed teams to eliminate one catcher and get the better catchers into more games. I'm not sure when catchers went into the crouch behind the plate close to the batter, but it may have coincided with the pitching distance change, as well as the adoption of the catching equipment. After that, catching time gradually rose to its modern levels as the equipment got better.

Post Ewing, it appears to me that most teams thought that a hitting catcher was a waste of a hitter if he could also play the outfield. (Weighing the value of a few good seasons vs the value of a good career.) So I don't think the quality of player at the position matched that at the other positions. (Don't really have any evidence for this; just an opinion.)
   253. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 02, 2004 at 07:21 AM (#522348)
I'm not sure what you mean by this. Bennett played in the better league of his era, and his peak was in the 8-team NL before the AA had any real effect on the NL. Bresnahan played in the weaker league of his era, which was an expansion era. Chicago, Pittsburgh and New York posted such gaudy Winning Percentages because Boston, Brooklyn, and St. Louis were not really major-league clubs. Take Brooklyn for example: between the departure of Sheckard in 1905 and the arrival of Wheat in 1910, there is not one player on that team that would get a serious look for a HOM ballot; well, Nap Rucker, maybe.

It's extremely arguable that Bresnahan played against weaker competition than Bennett. I know WARP says the opposite, but the Dick Cramer study from the seventies says the opposite of them. I know how Cramer got his results and could start duplicating them tomorrow; I have no idea how BP figured out their adjustments. If anyone knows, that would be great to know. Until then BP's numbers are questionable at best. BTW, Cramer agrees with BP concerning the NL besting the AL during the fifties.

As for the gaudy winning percentages, you can't determine the talent pool from that. All that means is the talent wasn't as evenly distributed in the NL as it was in the AL.

According to the norms of each era, Charlie caught 14.5 seasons, Roger caught 10.5. (See Catcher's thread for more details on that calculation.

Again, you just can't do that. You can prorate Bennett all day to a greater schedule, but his legs would still only be able to stand so many games.

With that said, I misread Bresnahan's numbers earlier so I'll concede that Bennett was the more durable.
   254. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 02, 2004 at 06:44 PM (#522350)
I peg him just below Lajoie.

I'm going with Christy over Nap, but I'm not 100% sure that is correct.

I am 100% sure, however, that they both belong in the top two (though someone may differ if they are strong peak voters).
   255. karlmagnus Posted: March 02, 2004 at 07:14 PM (#522351)
According to my metrics, Nap wasn't quite the hitter Caruthers was (ducks behind parapet to avoid flying missiles!)
   256. Chris Cobb Posted: March 02, 2004 at 07:25 PM (#522352)
I'm going with Christy over Nap, but I'm not 100% sure that is correct.

I am 100% sure, however, that they both belong in the top two (though someone may differ if they are strong peak voters).


Well, their peaks don't look too shabby too me, either.

Mathewson's WS, 03-13
   257. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 02, 2004 at 07:26 PM (#522353)
According to my metrics, Nap wasn't quite the hitter Caruthers was (ducks behind parapet to avoid flying missiles!)

No flying missles from me, but just a perplexed look. Sabermetric or non-sabermetric analysis, it looks like to me that Nap is head and shoulders over Caruthers. Not even close.
   258. OCF Posted: March 02, 2004 at 07:38 PM (#522354)
Where would a flank outfielder who hit exactly like Lajoie belong on the ballot? Remember that we elected Clarke and Flick rather quickly and are likely to give a friendly reception to Magee. Lajoie is well ahead of Clarke, Flick, or Magee as a hitter. The issues around Nap have to do with things like the nature of 2B in his time, the true meaning of his defensive statistics, and the strength of the 1901 AL. All of these debates would matter if he and Eddie Collins were to appear on the same ballot and we had to choose between them. But for the simple question of whether to elect Lajoie, they don't matter.
   259. karlmagnus Posted: March 02, 2004 at 07:45 PM (#522355)
Obviously Nap had 3 1/2 times the number of plate appearances, so his value as a hitter is correspondingly greater. But I was surpised that if you look at TB+BB/PA and TB+BB/Outs, Nap's career figures were .477/.757 compared to Caruthers' .483/.793 -- and Caruthers was esentially done when batting exploded after 1893, while Nap started in '97, so their eras aren't that far out. Also, if you look at 1.8*OBP+SLG compared to league for Caruthers 1886 (his best batting year) and Nap's 1904 (his best year, slightly better than '01, which was in any case in a weak league) they are identical to 2DP at 1.48, though I grant you Nap edges out Caruthers in the third DP 1.484/1.478.

I don't really defend "Caruthers was better than Nap" but it's surprisingly close. My main point is that you have to take Caruthers' hitting seriously, which is why voters like you and Joe D. who have him off the ballot are I think allowing annoyance to cloud judgment -- it's been obvious over 20 "years" that you both know far more than I do about how to do this, but I think you're wrong in this instance.
   260. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 02, 2004 at 09:35 PM (#522356)
I don't really defend "Caruthers was better than Nap" but it's surprisingly close. My main point is that you have to take Caruthers' hitting seriously, which is why voters like you and Joe D. who have him off the ballot are I think allowing annoyance to cloud judgment -- it's been obvious over 20 "years" that you both know far more than I do about how to do this, but I think you're wrong in this instance.

First of all, I'm not annoyed with Caruthers on some of the ballots here. I disagree with it, but he did have an impressive peak. He's definitely not Rube Marquard.

Secondly, I don't know how obvious it is that I know more about how to do this project than you since I've changed my ranking system four times and counting. In other words, I don't think I know it all.

All of these debates would matter if he and Eddie Collins were to appear on the same ballot and we had to choose between them.

I'd take Collins.
   261. jimd Posted: March 03, 2004 at 03:54 AM (#522357)
As for the gaudy winning percentages, you can't determine the talent pool from that. All that means is the talent wasn't as evenly distributed in the NL as it was in the AL.

Total agreement John. Though I've seen it argued elsewhere that the NL was better than the AL due to their success in the WS (OTOH, they won somewhat less World Series games than expected given the WPct of the teams involved).

I can't replicate BP's results. They have said it's based on the same methodology as their MLEs. I don't follow the minors, so I have no opinion on how good their modern MLEs are.

I have posted some other stuff here in the past which tends to support BP's conclusion. The AL has about 60% of the NL regulars from 1900 each season from 1902-04 (it continues beyond that but the relevance of this stat declines each season.) Median career length of NL regulars was shorter, suggesting that NL players were closer to replacment (unless someone has an alternate explanation). BP's results agree with opinion about the NL over AL of the 50's/60's; with the AL over NL of the 10's; with the NL over the AA in the 1880's; I have no reason to doubt their conclusion in the 1900's.

If someone else can design the methodology/calculations needed for a good study, I have the Lahman DB installed and can do the SQL queries in my free time. (I'm an amateur when it comes to statistical analysis; I do database programming for a living.)

"According to the norms of each era, Charlie caught 14.5 seasons, Roger caught 10.5. (See Catcher's thread for more details on that calculation."

Again, you just can't do that. You can prorate Bennett all day to a greater schedule, but his legs would still only be able to stand so many games.

I agree Bennett could not play much more, but Anson, et al, were also limited to 84 games in those years, so you can't expand Anson, etc., and then not expand the catchers/pitchers without totally misrepresenting the relationship between their values. I don't play "what if the schedule was longer?"; I put seasons on the same scale to better compare them in a common frame of reference.

I didn't prorate Bennett to a longer schedule anyway. Did you read my Catcher's post? I measured his playing time relative to the conventions of his day. Isn't that essentially what you do as part of your ratings? You're welcome to critique my methodology over on the Catcher's thread if you like.
   262. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: March 03, 2004 at 06:29 AM (#522358)
I'll be gone most of next week, so while I'm thinking of it, here's the RSI, Adjusted W/L & +/- in Def WS for Mordecai Brown, Christy Mathewson, & Nap Rucker. Brown first:

Brown:
   263. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: March 03, 2004 at 06:35 AM (#522359)
There's a few typos up there. Sorry. I'm tired. FWIW, Friend's RSI was 92.29.

Joe, did you get my RSI file this time?
   264. Jeff M Posted: March 03, 2004 at 05:27 PM (#522360)
Chris J, would you mind e-mailing me the RSI file, or pointing me to your original post where you explained the methodology? I missed it somehow.

Thanks.
   265. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: March 03, 2004 at 05:43 PM (#522361)
Click here for a description of what RSI (Run Support Index is & how it's figured).

Click here for an explanation of how adjusted W/L records are figured at.

Click here for the defensive win shares stuff.
   266. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: March 03, 2004 at 05:46 PM (#522362)
Jeff - If you want the RSI file I'll send you as much as I can fit on a disk. Advance warning: it's a big freakin' file (last time I e-mailed it to some one it used up 800 bytes (or whatever the terms is - I have no idea) of space. Sheet one has single season info - about 2700-2800 single seasons RSI'd & sheet two is career info.
   267. Jeff M Posted: March 03, 2004 at 05:56 PM (#522363)
Chris J, that would be great. If you can e-mail it without much trouble, my e-mail is .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) I have broadband, so I ought to be able to download it quickly, but I certain understand if it would take you too long to attach and send.

Thanks.
   268. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: March 03, 2004 at 06:01 PM (#522364)
OK, I'll send it. But I probably won't be able to do it until tonight or maybe tommorrow.

Anyone else want a copy? Send e-mail to the above address & I'll get one to you.
   269. Jeff M Posted: March 03, 2004 at 07:11 PM (#522365)
Chris J, that would be great. If you can e-mail it without much trouble, my e-mail is .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) I have broadband, so I ought to be able to download it quickly, but I certain understand if it would take you too long to attach and send.

Thanks.
   270. Jeff M Posted: March 03, 2004 at 08:40 PM (#522366)
Chris J, that would be great. If you can e-mail it without much trouble, my e-mail is .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) I have broadband, so I ought to be able to download it quickly, but I certain understand if it would take you too long to attach and send.

Thanks.
   271. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: March 03, 2004 at 10:05 PM (#522367)
Jeff - I just sent you a copy. But only one - did you want another two? :)
   272. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 03, 2004 at 10:38 PM (#522370)
Total agreement John. Though I've seen it argued elsewhere that the NL was better than the AL due to their success in the WS (OTOH, they won somewhat less World Series games than expected given the WPct of the teams involved).

BTW, I'm not saying that BP is wrong, only that it would be nice if I could duplicate it. The Cramer study compared each season for a player to every other one he played. Though its primary goal (to see if batting skill has increased over the years) fell apart, the differences between the leagues for any given season look sound.

It's odd that the BP numbers match the Cramer study for the 1880s and 1950s, but don't for the Deadball Era.

I'll keep an open mind about BP's conclusions, nevertheless.
   273. jimd Posted: March 03, 2004 at 10:58 PM (#522371)
My limited understanding of BP's method is that they also compare every season for a player against each other. The differences must lie in the metric used as a basis for comparison, and perhaps in the weights attached to each comparison.
   274. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 03, 2004 at 11:32 PM (#522372)
I didn't prorate Bennett to a longer schedule anyway. Did you read my Catcher's post? I measured his playing time relative to the conventions of his day. Isn't that essentially what you do as part of your ratings?

That's basically what I'm doing (I use your post from the Catcher thread from time-to-time, BTW).

The difference between our rankings seems to be based on BP's and Cramer's conclusions concerning the relative strengths of the majors during the Deadball Era. Since we're not 100% sure what BP is doing (though yours posts give me a somewhat clearer picture), it's really a matter then of who you trust. For time being, I'll stick with Cramer.

I should point out that all my posts were more Bresnahan supporting than Bennett bashing. I'm fine with Bennett's possible election this week.
   275. Marc Posted: March 04, 2004 at 12:18 AM (#522373)
It occured to me to check how much WARP was hurting Bresnahan on my ballot. Actually I can't really say, I just did a very Q & D comparison of the 5 position players who bring up the rear end of my ballot (approx #25-30), those being Tinker, Leach, Chance, Beckley and Bresnahan.

On three WS measures that I use (3 year cons. peak, any 5 year peak, WS/prime season) Bresnahan came in 1st, 2nd and 3rd among the 4. On WARP, 4th, 4th, 4th.

That's not to say he would move up much if I only used WS. For 3 cons. year peak, the only additional position player (out of about 24) that he passes up is Wallace. Ditto for the 5 year non-cons. peak. For WS/prime season it's Wallace and Sheckard, but Bresnahan's prime is only 6 years to their 14 apiece.

But it's true that WARP is pretty hard on the guy.
   276. Jeff M Posted: March 04, 2004 at 07:49 AM (#522374)
Jeff - I just sent you a copy. But only one - did you want another two?

:) It's disturbing when a message sends itself every 1.5 hours. I wasn't even in my office when the second two were sent. Bizarre.

BTW, I don't know who "ntr Jeff M" is.

Where's my copy? Butch is sure going to be sore when he hears about this!

Funny. I've always been surprised that hardly anybody knows Spanky's last name was McFarland.
   277. sean gilman Posted: March 04, 2004 at 09:16 AM (#522375)
ntr = 'Not The Real'

but it wasn't me. . .
   278. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 04, 2004 at 08:08 PM (#522376)
Funny. I've always been surprised that hardly anybody knows Spanky's last name was McFarland.

Since Spanky was my favorite Rascal, I was compelled to make the post. :-)
   279. ronw Posted: March 05, 2004 at 05:26 PM (#522377)
Hey! I just realized this (1921) is the 50th year of organized baseball. Maybe this post deserves a separate thread.

My All-Time All-Star team in baseball's first 50 years (in order):

P: Cy Young, Kid Nichols, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, John Clarkson, Pete Alexander
   280. Marc Posted: March 05, 2004 at 07:09 PM (#522378)
Ron, good catch. Here's my all-time (50 year) team, limited however to players who are retired and eligible for the HoM, making it pretty much the 19th century team (except for Ed Walsh).

First Team
   281. Marc Posted: March 05, 2004 at 09:48 PM (#522381)
Well, Pops, I missed Charlie Bennett, too, who is most definitely in my HoM.

As for Deacon, he played enough 3B to be my 3B ahead of Williamson, Sutton, even Jimmy Collins. Are you gonna tell me I can't back you up with G. Davis, too?
   282. Marc Posted: March 05, 2004 at 10:57 PM (#522383)
PS. Cappy, you are an a**h*le and a racist and since it's my team, no you can't play.
   283. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: March 05, 2004 at 11:30 PM (#522384)
That can't be the real Cap Anson. The real Cap Anson would be complaining that Ron Wargo put him on the same team as Grant Johnson
   284. ronw Posted: March 06, 2004 at 07:22 PM (#522385)
Just realized I forgot Monte Ward on my P-H list.
   285. Paul Wendt Posted: March 08, 2004 at 05:24 AM (#522386)
jimd #315
   286. Paul Wendt Posted: March 08, 2004 at 05:52 AM (#522387)
By the same cybermetric --Cramer stats & graph, Wendt eyeball classification--

AA batting skill relative to NL, assessed by Dick Cramer 1980

AA batting ~equal to NL: 1886
   287. Paul Wendt Posted: March 09, 2004 at 04:04 AM (#522388)
Marc #303<i>
   288. Paul Wendt Posted: March 09, 2004 at 04:13 AM (#522389)
John Murphy #292<i>
   289. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 11, 2004 at 01:44 AM (#522390)
<i>If I understand, that is
   290. jimd Posted: March 11, 2004 at 02:30 AM (#522391)
All the Deadball backstops would have achieved the same feat in 1876 without breaking a sweat.

Sure, John, if they could bring back their masks, gloves, pads, and shinguards in the time machine. And if the manager persisted in playing them. The deadball-style catchers would be much less effective in the NA because a) crouching behind the plate gave up on a lot of one-bounce foul balls that an 1870's catcher playing 15 feet behind the plate would expect to catch for outs, and b) if they did move back they would be more vulnerable to fair-foul hits (not to mention passed balls) due to the mobility disadvantage that the gear incurred. It's not quite the same position because the rules are different.
   291. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 11, 2004 at 07:06 AM (#522392)
jimd:

I wasn't talking quality, but only number of games.

I have no doubt that any of the star Deadball catchers could have caught 66 games in 1876 or 32 games in 1871 under the same exact conditions (including standing instead of crouching) within those two seasons.

I'm not saying necessarily that they would be as good quality-wise (or visa versa). The baseball "time machine" doesn't always work properly (unless someone really thinks the Tommy Leach of 1902 would hit over a hundred homers in today's game). :-)
   292. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 11, 2004 at 06:07 PM (#522394)
You guys are living in the past. Feel free to join the rest of us in swingin' 1922.

Yowsa, yowsa, yowsa and vo-do-de-do to you, Clint! :-)
   293. jimd Posted: March 11, 2004 at 07:34 PM (#522395)
I have no doubt that any of the star Deadball catchers could have caught 66 games in 1876 or 32 games in 1871

Deacon White led the majors both of those seasons with 63 and 29 games caught respectively. So, I'm not sure whether you're asserting that Star Deadball catchers could have done better, or saying something else entirely. (I don't want to misinterpret and go off on another tangent from the one we're already on ;-)
   294. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 11, 2004 at 08:39 PM (#522396)
So, I'm not sure whether you're asserting that Star Deadball catchers could have done better, or saying something else entirely.

What I'm saying is that the top Deadball stars could have caught as many games (as a percentage of scheduled games) if they had played in the NA or early NL. I'm not saying they could have done better because I honestly haven't a clue if they could or not.

In other words, Deacon White may have led all catchers in games in 1908, but I don't see him catching 154 games (and doing it in multiple years).
   295. jimd Posted: March 12, 2004 at 12:39 AM (#522397)
but I don't see [Deacon White] catching 154 games (and doing it in multiple years).

Whatever it would have taken to beat out George Gibson (and vice versa ;-)

Games Caught by a Catcher
   296. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 12, 2004 at 12:43 AM (#522398)
Good stuff, Jim!
   297. jimd Posted: March 12, 2004 at 01:47 AM (#522399)
Thanks. I noticed this trivia while I was digging out the record list so I might as well put it here.

1908 appears to be the year that the shinguards caught on. 132 was the record, and you could count on one hand the prior number of 120+ seasons. 6 guys made it past 120 in 1908, Gibson outlasting them all to set the new record. Red Dooin would tie that 140 the next year, but Gibson was bumping his record up to 150. Just to make sure, Gibson caught 143 in 1910, but the rest of the catchers conceded the issue, nobody else making it to 120.

With Gibson safely retired and schedules back to 154 games, it looks like the AL catchers made a group run at his record in 1920; three of them broke the AL record of 141 while Ray Schalk bagged the prize.

The record was not secure though. Three guys got into the 145-147 range during the 20's/30's. It looks like those guys during the war, maybe with no illusions of holding down a starting spot afterwards, both got the idea of breaking the "Games Caught" record. I assume that they noticed each other doing it (one guy in each league), but both got lucky with injury, and nature cooperated by granting each the same number of games. Mike Tresh may have tried the same stunt the following season, and so caught all of his team's games, but had multiple games cancelled, finishing at 150 (no bonus for being a copycat).

Enjoy ;-)
   298. Howie Menckel Posted: March 12, 2004 at 02:23 AM (#522400)
Unique stuff, Jimd!
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