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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

1922 Ballot Discussion

 WS   W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died) 
496 176.4 1896  Nap Lajoie-2b (1959)
426 128.8 1901  Christy Mathewson-P (1925)
296  70.3 1903  Mordecai Brown-P (1948)
222  70.8 1904  Miller Huggins-2b (1929)
206  48.3 1905  Ed Reulbach-P (1961)
177  54.3 1907  Nap Rucker-P (1970)
158  30.9 1905  Solly Hofman-CF (1956)
138  34.6 1908  Chief Wilson-RF (1954)
120  31.9 1907  Otto Knabe-2b (1961)
135  28.8 1908  Doc Crandall-P (1951)
114  30.2 1906  Roy Hartzell-RF/3b (1961)
 91  14.4 1902  Red Dooin-C (1952)

Pretty strong entry class this year . . . let me know if there are any Negro League candidates, or anyone else that I may have missed. 1921 results should be up sometime tomorrow.

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: March 09, 2004 at 07:13 AM | 225 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. OCF Posted: March 11, 2004 at 07:02 PM (#522722)
Context, context, everything has a context. We try as hard as we can to be fair to people, but it's not easy to get past the distortions. We all recognize that an extremely favorable context can make a rather ordinary player appear to have extraordinary accomplishments. We recognize that Dante Bichette and Vinny Castilla were never particularly good. But Larry Walker and Todd Helton are extremely good players, aren't they? Sure, you can argue that Walker should have finished 2nd behind Piazza the year he won the MVP, but he was a legitimate MVP candidate, wasn't he? That's our problem: if someone who is very good is placed in a favorable environment, how can we tell if he's great or merely very good? How good is Todd Helton?

Mordecai Brown was certainly very good. He even beat Matty regularly, although we recognize that that was the Cubs beating the Giants - pitchers don't win games all by themselves. Sure, Matty was much better - that part is easy. But does Brown belong 3rd on the ballot (as daryn would have it) or 25th (as Chris Cobb would have it)? So far, I'm a lot closer to agreeing with daryn. But the question isn't an easy one.
   102. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 11, 2004 at 07:31 PM (#522723)
OCF:

I guess what you're saying is baseball analysis is not for sissies!
   103. kjok Posted: March 11, 2004 at 08:18 PM (#522724)
Well, I appear to be the "king" of liking good middle infielders even with short careers (see McGraw), but Huggins isn't even sniffing my top 15, so I just can't see him making too many ballots...
   104. OCF Posted: March 11, 2004 at 11:08 PM (#522725)
I've had Roy Thomas on my ballot a couple of times. I never put Topsy Harstel up there, but I took a long look at him. I like "pure leadoff" hitters. So I want to like Miller Huggins. The way I've been looking at offense - RC above average or 80% of average for the outs used, scaled to the same league R/G - is friendly to Huggins, and he looks pretty good. But "pretty good" means his offense compares well to Bobby Wallace and Jimmy Collins - and Huggins does not have the kind of defensive value that put Collins in the HoM and makes Wallace a candidate. He's well short of the Thomas/Hartsel offensive neighborhood. I want to be able to support him, but the best I can see is the #20-25 range, and maybe not even that.
   105. Max Parkinson Posted: March 12, 2004 at 12:05 AM (#522726)
All,

I'm off to Florida tonight for the next 12 days for Spring Training. I'm not sure that I'll be able to post from the road, so if I'm MIA, will one of you post this "emergency back-up" next week? I'd really appreciate it.

1. Nap Lajoie
   106. OCF Posted: March 12, 2004 at 01:22 AM (#522727)
Chris Cobb: Brown has only two great years, but was substantially above average in value for most of his career.

FWIW, the RA+ system sees it as three great years:
   107. Chris Cobb Posted: March 12, 2004 at 04:36 AM (#522728)
<i>FWIW, the RA+ system sees it as three great years:
   108. Philip Posted: March 12, 2004 at 03:29 PM (#522729)
Provisional ballot:

NB's:
   109. OCF Posted: March 12, 2004 at 04:48 PM (#522730)
<i>Posted 8:49 p.m., March 9, 2004 (#153) - Hall of Famer Happy Jack Chesbro
   110. OCF Posted: March 12, 2004 at 05:27 PM (#522731)
One of the odd things about the discussion for an election like this is that there are so few things to be said about "shoo-in" candidates like Lajoie and Mathewson.

All, right, I'll say something about Lajoie. The following numbers are Runs Created above league-average RC for the outs used, scaled to a 5.00 R/G league. The numbers are given year-by-year and in total.

Joe Kelley
   111. RobC Posted: March 12, 2004 at 05:45 PM (#522732)
I chose an obvous vote to make some changes to my system. Gives me a few extra weeks to work out any kinks. Below is my prelim top30, final top15 will probably match this. Explanations to follow sometime next week.

1. Lajoie
   112. Marc Posted: March 12, 2004 at 06:02 PM (#522733)
The odd thing about pitchers is this.

Among position players, the same players generally had the highest peaks and the most career value. Jennings is pretty much the exception who proved the rule. OK, Joe Jackson. No, that proves the rule even more so.

Among pitchers, no. Matty was no better than some others at his peak (I defeine peak as 3-5 best years). He was better for his prime (or what some people call extended peak) and for his career because his arm didn't give out.

I've never voted for Mickey Welch but I just realized he is almost the only eligible pitcher who had a "long" career free (more or less) of career-threatening arm trouble (who had a career trajectory similar to a position player) whom we have not elected. Are there others?

But generally, comparing the "long career" pitchers to the "short career" pitchers has never really been a problem. The long guys get elected, the short guys scuffle around for a decade or two (though there are exceptions to that like Rusie and Walsh). The real problem is comparing the short career pitchers with everybody else. For some reason, RobC's positioning of Caruthers, Brown, McGinnity, Waddell and McCormick on his ballot, though not at all unusual, triggered this thought. That and the fact that all of them had one or two years where they were the equal of the great Christy Mathewson, whereas the also-rans among the position players (again with one exception) could never have been, even for one year, confused with Lajoie or Wagner (as OCF suggests in the previous post).
   113. OCF Posted: March 12, 2004 at 06:54 PM (#522734)
<i>Explanations to follow sometime next week.

8. Cross
   114. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: March 12, 2004 at 06:57 PM (#522735)
My take on Chris' RSI data is that Waddell's W/L shortfall has more to do with run support than intelligence, but that's certainly debatable.

Personally, I think it has more to do with the massive amount of unearned runs he allowed, which I think ties into his mind, but that last bit is of course conjecture.

How pitchers under/overachieved . . . I've been tracking this on my RSI data. The following list is a comparison of a pitcher's actual W/L record & a pythag'd version of his W/L record given his real-life run support & RA/9IP. For some reason, good pitchers tend to end up losing some wins by this method. I have no idea why. Here's a list involving pitchers retired or retiring around this time (+ is good, - is bad):

Chesboro +4
   115. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: March 12, 2004 at 07:05 PM (#522736)
I've never voted for Mickey Welch but I just realized he is almost the only eligible pitcher who had a "long" career free (more or less) of career-threatening arm trouble (who had a career trajectory similar to a position player) whom we have not elected. Are there others?

Jack Powell. I guess Tony Mullane.
   116. Marc Posted: March 12, 2004 at 07:07 PM (#522737)
>For some reason, good pitchers tend to end up losing some wins by this method. I have
   117. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: March 12, 2004 at 07:18 PM (#522738)
Provisional ballot:

1. Nap Lajoie. For the obvious reasons
   118. Howie Menckel Posted: March 12, 2004 at 09:14 PM (#522739)
HOMers (39) by position, roughly chronologically

CATCHER (3): Cal McVey (C-1B), Buck Ewing (C-1/0), Charlie Bennett; see also White, Kelly
   119. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 12, 2004 at 09:29 PM (#522740)
Thanks, Howie!
   120. jimd Posted: March 12, 2004 at 11:44 PM (#522741)
HOMer Games played by position:

RF: 5776 10.5%
   121. Jim Sp Posted: March 13, 2004 at 12:01 AM (#522742)
Old Hoss also won 20 games for the 1889 Boston Beaneaters...
   122. jimd Posted: March 13, 2004 at 12:21 AM (#522743)
Maybe there was a game where Radbourn relieved Clarkson or vice-versa.
   123. Howie Menckel Posted: March 13, 2004 at 01:46 AM (#522744)
jimd, here's a contender, sort of.

1891 Boston NL Kelly Clarkson Nichols Stovey Kelley Bennett FIRST
   124. jimd Posted: March 13, 2004 at 02:03 AM (#522745)
It's too bad we don't have box-scores yet for the 19th century. We can be pretty certain about 11 HOMers in those 1889 Bos-NY games; going for 12 requires speculation (which makes it fun ;-)
   125. Howie Menckel Posted: March 14, 2004 at 07:35 PM (#522746)
As a kid, we all think it's Nap La-JOEY.
   126. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 14, 2004 at 08:15 PM (#522747)
As a kid, we all think it's Nap La-JOEY.

Actually, I thought it was La-JOY.

Which reminds me - PRIME-ER, or PRIHM-ER?

Definitelt the latter.
   127. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 14, 2004 at 08:24 PM (#522749)
Which reminds me - PRIME-ER, or PRIHM-ER?

Definitely the latter.
   128. Howie Menckel Posted: March 14, 2004 at 10:28 PM (#522751)
Baseball PRIHM-ER continues to log entrants in for various 50-member NCAA pools. Yardape and I got in "Group 1."
   129. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 15, 2004 at 03:36 AM (#522753)
I didn't know that, Cliff. I got my pronunciation of his name ("LA-Joe-AY") from Vin Scully during the eighties.

BTW, is Ed Cicotte's surname "SEA-cot" (as heard in "Eight Men Out") or Chi-CO-te (sounds similar to coyote)? The latter pronunciation was heard on a MLB film narrated by Donald Sutherland during the eighties, too.
   130. Yardape Posted: March 15, 2004 at 05:58 PM (#522754)
It's La-ZWAH. See the Spring 1988 The National Pastime.



That's also what it says in the Deadball FAQ on this very site (under Workbooks).
   131. DanG Posted: March 16, 2004 at 04:29 AM (#522755)
Players passing away in 1922.

HoMers:
   132. Jeff M Posted: March 16, 2004 at 06:54 AM (#522756)
It's La-ZWAH. See the Spring 1988 The National Pastime.

That makes sense if you think of the French phrase joie de vive. Seems like "La-ZWAH" isn't quite right, though. Doesn't sound French that way. Maybe "La-ZHWAH". I think you need the "zh" sound to pronounce "joie," but maybe there are some French speakers here that could comment.
   133. Philip Posted: March 16, 2004 at 08:02 AM (#522757)
but maybe there are some French speakers here that could comment.

That's correct Jeff.
   134. Chris Cobb Posted: March 16, 2004 at 04:33 PM (#522760)
For English speakers looking for an instance in English of the ZH sound, the z in "azure" comes close.
   135. Marc Posted: March 16, 2004 at 04:39 PM (#522761)
How about those of us who have trouble with English and French?
   136. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 16, 2004 at 05:11 PM (#522762)
His black ink total is ?TWO.

Tom, didn't you just vote for a catcher in the fourth slot with the amazing black ink total of ZERO. :-)

BTW, I know Charlie did better than Roger with the gray ink.
   137. Chris Cobb Posted: March 16, 2004 at 05:32 PM (#522764)
Since I have often written as a friend of Grant "Home Run" Johnson, I thought it might be useful to respond to some of the arguments advanced for leaving him off the ballot.

Dan b. wrote: My personal HoM shows a disdain for the pioneer and ?stars of barely organized ball? types, Johnson is not my idea of a HoMer. I will be advocating election of ~25 negro leaguers. Johnson is not one of them.

Dan, it's a mistake to equate the degree of economic organization present in black baseball with the quality of the players. According to the records documented by Holway, the best black teams began holding their own against major-league competition in the period of 1905-1910. The ball they played was as organized as they could arrange. Black players and teams joined minor leagues when they could in the 1880s and 1890s; when these were closed to them they played in semi-professional leagues, where they totally outclassed their competition. They played in organized leagues in Cuba during the winters. They measured their skills against the standard of white major-league players.

Remember also that there were two major factors that slowed down the organization of the negro leagues: (1) they didn't _want_ to be segregated, and forming a league would institutionalize segregation; (2) the black community lacked access to the capital that would have made building and sustain a league infrastructure readily practical.

Because of the peculiar institution of segregation, the use of "organization" as an index of quality of play just doesn't work for black baseball.

Yest wrote: Home Run Johnson the gaps in his career keep him down

Yest, to echo an earlier comment, what gaps? Remember that the gaps are in the _record_ of his career, not in his career itself. Are you referring to 1901-02, when there are not records of him playing for a top team? Or are you referring to the lack of statistics for much of his career? Even though Johnson's statistical record is _far_ from complete, it is consistently strong. By chance, there are more records from the first years of his career and the latter years of his career than for the middle years of his career, and he looks like an outstanding player both early and late. Given the usual shape of players' careers, it's pretty unlikely that he was outstanding at the ends of his career and mediocre in the middle, especially since the best teams kept hiring him. How, except by being an outstanding player, could he have sustained his career between 1896 and 1910, moving from one top team to another?

Clint wrote:. As for Home Run Johnson, the consensus among the experts (though certainly not the unanimous opinion) is that Frank Grant was better. If Grant?s not on the ballot, then Johnson?s not either.

Clint, in weighing the importance of "expert" opinions, you might consider that the main sources we have for expert opinion -- James' NBJHBA and the polls in _Cool Papas and Double Duties_ are not necessarily informed by the data we now have available to us from Holway's _Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues_ and Riley's _Encyclopedia_. These two books were published in 2001 and 2002. CPDD and NBJHBA were both published in 2001. Riley's data was probably not new when it was collected, but much of Holway's was, and it is from Holway that we get the fullest record of Grant Johnson's career performance. So we can't necessarily take records of expert opinion to be records of fully informed opinion, given the information we now have available to us. Holway himself, who, I am sure, knows the statistical record of early black baseball better than anyone, rates Johnson as the #2 negro-league second baseman of all time.
   138. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 16, 2004 at 06:17 PM (#522765)
Many proper nouns of french origin in the US (Des Moines, Orleans, etc.) aren't exactly pronounced the way they would be in France.

I know Jim Beauchamp's name is pronounced BEE-cham, but is the correct French pronunciation BOW (as in bowtie) -shomp?
   139. Marc Posted: March 16, 2004 at 08:01 PM (#522766)
Primey for Chris Cobb. With all due respect to everybody--and I don't by any means say that everybody should have to vote for HR Johnson and/or Frank Grant; Grant is not on my ballot this year--but: To write them off because of the competition they played against and/or the "lack of organization" is to give honor to the racism that imposed those two limitations.

Great players are always outliers. If you don't think they were great players (they didn't "outlie" far enough) that's fine, though I will also say that small sample be damned. Their performance against major leaguers is the best evidence we have of what kind of outliers they were.

But to put them into a select (i.e. small, persecuted, marginalized, discrimated against) pool and then to assign them the attributes of the pool with no recourse to "rise above" that pool, well, all I can say is that Jim Crow thanks you for your blessings.
   140. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 16, 2004 at 08:13 PM (#522767)
Their performance against major leaguers is the best evidence we have of what kind of outliers they were.

Well, ... yes and no. It depends upon who the Negro Leaguers were up against. When I see a Negro League team vanquishing a major league team with that great HoF pitcher George Kelly on the mound, I'm somewhat skeptical of the outcome. :-)

With that said, I'm in agreement with you and Chris.
   141. Paul Wendt Posted: March 18, 2004 at 03:41 AM (#522768)
David Foss #156
   142. jimd Posted: March 18, 2004 at 04:25 AM (#522769)
<i>
   143. jimd Posted: March 18, 2004 at 04:33 AM (#522770)
Paul, did the article indicate whether Lajoie was French-Canadian? There were many people immigrating into New England from the Maritimes and Quebec during that period. It might even affect the pronunciation slightly as they do have a distinct accent (or so I've been told, my French being rudimentary and bad).
   144. Chris Cobb Posted: March 18, 2004 at 05:09 AM (#522771)
jimd,

My sense of the usage of "Franco-American" is that it means "descended from immigrants from French Canada."

paul wrote: Did Napoleon Lajoie learn French at home? I recall reading that but I did not find it in a quick search of SABR-L just now.

The Quebecois who moved to New England in the second half of the nineteenth century (mostly to work in the mills) held very strongly to their language (as one might expect, given the history of French Canada . . . ) It was only after the second world war that its use within the community began to fade, and it still has not died out, though it may in another generation, unless there's a revival of it. So if Lajoie was born into a Franco-American family that had immigrated recently from Canada, it is all but certain that he would have learned French at home.

I lived in Lewistown, Maine, for a year, which has the largest population of French speakers in North America outside of Canada, so I learned a bit about the history of the Franco-American community while I was there . . .
   145. Yardape Posted: March 18, 2004 at 05:14 AM (#522772)
Copied over from the ballot thread, in a vain effort to keep that thread from getting cluttered:

the man did dominate the AA for a brief period of time

Yup, and so did Tony Mullane, Silver King, Guy Hecker, Will White, and Dave Foutz. It was a lot easier to be Babe Ruth in the AA.


None of those guys dominated the AA the way Caruthers did. Caruthers five best years total 73.3 raw WARP 1. The best guy on your list is Hecker, whose best five years total out to 63.6. (And even that's probably generous, as Hecker's peak is centered a few years earlier than Caruthers, when the AA was weaker). Will White? His best season doesn't crack Caruthers' top five.

On best single-season, Mullane, King and Hecker all score better than Caruthers by WARP1. Mullane and Hecker did it during the earlier days of the AA, again. King did it during the heart of the AA's strong period, and also had a similar season in the Player's League. (Suggesting maybe the AA wasn't that bad '87-89?)

Look, I don't honestly think anyone here has an irrational grudge against Caruthers or anything like that. But sometimes I look at some of the arguments against him, and I wonder if they would be advanced against anyone else. Caruthers is a peak candidate, no doubt about it, but it was a very strong peak, five exceptional years. Throwing out guys who had one shining season doesn't really diminish the fact that Caruthers did it consistently, while none of the guys you named did.

I think the mistake here is, again, looking at Caruthers as a pitcher and saying, oh, and he had some hitting value, too. In Jim Sp's post, he said:

The next year Caruthers has his best season, 482 IP, 158 ERA+, didn't hit so well that year as he did later. We're supposed to believe that Caruthers' peak was uniquely great?

The next year here refers to 1885. But it wasn't his best year, at least not according to WARP1. The next three, 1886-1888 were all better, in fact. I know people don't like WS for 19th Century Pitchers (rightly, I might add). WARP1 is not league adjusted, but it does show Caruthers dominated the AA (however highly you value that league, he's about the best candidate left from it). Or is there some problem with WARP in the 19th Century that I don't know about?
   146. Philip Posted: March 18, 2004 at 10:40 AM (#522773)
jimd wrote:From what I've read about Ty Cobb, he was (amongst many other things) a very selfish player. Batting average was the primary metric of those days. I get the impression that he would not do anything that would have hurt his BA, such as trading off average for increased power, even if that might have helped his team win more games. If he'd known that he would later be judged by OPS instead, he may well have changed his mind and optimized his game differently.

This argument which is also used against ERA(+) should be irrelevant for this project. It is the renowned value vs ability argument. His value came from contributing to wins, however you may want to measure this. If Cobb would have improved his contribution to wins by optimizing his OPS, that would have been great. But he didn't, so he shouldn't get credit for this.
   147. Philip Posted: March 18, 2004 at 01:34 PM (#522775)
What does this mean:
   148. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 18, 2004 at 06:10 PM (#522780)
Look, I don't honestly think anyone here has an irrational grudge against Caruthers or anything like that. But sometimes I look at some of the arguments against him, and I wonder if they would be advanced against anyone else.

Which sounds like you're saying that some of us have an irrational grudge against Bob Caruthers, hmm? :-)
   149. Yardape Posted: March 18, 2004 at 06:36 PM (#522781)
Yeah, that's what it sounds like John, but I don't really mean it. Really, it's probably me that gets irrational about it, since we've had so many Caruthers debates. Of course there's going to be arguments for/against him that don't get brought up with other players, simply because we talk about Caruthers more.

I should probably drop this now, before I get myself in trouble. :)
   150. Jim Sp Posted: March 18, 2004 at 06:41 PM (#522782)
Actually, I should disclose that the Caruthers estate still owes my family money. I think that's been clouding my judgement in this case.
   151. Jim Sp Posted: March 18, 2004 at 06:49 PM (#522783)
Yardape,
   152. OCF Posted: March 18, 2004 at 06:58 PM (#522784)
Tom -

I've been running a calculation, based on a STATS encylopedia, of what amounts to RC - (avg RC for outs used), adjusted to a 5.0 R/G environment, but not adjusted for position. I haven't been going through the intermediate step of OWP - just using a straight proportional adjustment. On that I have Flick at 569 and McGraw at 367, so they're not close. Another item of interest in that Frank Chance checks in at 489, closer to Flick than to McGraw. It turns out I have quite a few players ranked ahead of McGraw on this: Jimmy Sheckard, the Duffy/Ryan/Van H crowd, Jake Beckley, Roy Thomas, Topsy Hartsel (!). Now I may be doing something systematically wrong, or what I'm doing may have some systematic 1900's over 1890's bias. But the Flick over McGraw advantage isn't just about replacement level - Flick had a very high peak.
   153. Rick A. Posted: March 18, 2004 at 07:23 PM (#522785)
Primey for Chris Cobb

Howzabout, instead of nominating for Primeys in here, we call them Homeys?

Or would that sound inappropriate? (ex. Chris Cobb is a Homey) :-)
   154. Rick A. Posted: March 18, 2004 at 08:16 PM (#522787)
Look, I don't honestly think anyone here has an irrational grudge against Caruthers or anything like that. But sometimes I look at some of the arguments against him, and I wonder if they would be advanced against anyone else. Caruthers is a peak candidate, no doubt about it, but it was a very strong peak, five exceptional years. Throwing out guys who had one shining season doesn't really diminish the fact that Caruthers did it consistently, while none of the guys you named did.

Yardape,
   155. Chris Cobb Posted: March 18, 2004 at 09:42 PM (#522790)
He also had a great season in the 1890 Player's League, which might be considered the strongest league in the 19th Century.

I believe this view of the Player's League's strength is incorrect. Evidence suggests that it was the strongest of the _three_ major leagues in 1890, but given that the talent spread over 24 teams in 1890 would be concentrated onto just 16 teams in 1891 and 12 in 1892, it seems unlikely that the strength of the Player's League was superior to the strength of the NL, 1892-1899.
   156. jimd Posted: March 18, 2004 at 10:29 PM (#522791)
jimd,

My sense of the usage of "Franco-American" is that it means "descended from immigrants from French Canada."


"French-Canadian" is the term I've usually heard (and my wife qualifies with three grandparents from the Maritimes), so I was just wondering if "Franco-American" meant from France instead of French Canada.

*******

jimd wrote:From what I've read about Ty Cobb, ...

This argument which is also used against ERA(+)...


Philip, we're getting circular here. I brought up Ty Cobb as an example for the ERA argument.
   157. Rick A. Posted: March 18, 2004 at 11:02 PM (#522792)
I believe this view of the Player's League's strength is incorrect. Evidence suggests that it was the strongest of the _three_ major leagues in 1890, but given that the talent spread over 24 teams in 1890 would be concentrated onto just 16 teams in 1891 and 12 in 1892, it seems unlikely that the strength of the Player's League was superior to the strength of the NL, 1892-1899.

Chris, you are, of course, correct. The Player's League was not the strongest league of the 19th Century. Sorry about that.

However, it was still the strongest league that year, and Browning did have a strong season that year.
   158. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: March 19, 2004 at 04:07 AM (#522794)
Just dumped the RSI career info in the HoM yahoo group (the e-mail should be forthcoming as I write this). There's four W/L records there, so if there's any confusion as to what they mean, check this post that will hopefully explain them. The column headers should work, but if not check the link. It's similar to the e-mails I've sent Joe (but keep apparently getting lost in cyberspace) except that: 1) there's a few more columns of info & 2) I've now had the time to double check all four W/L columns, whereas previously I'd only doublechecked 2 of them (very little difference, but I did catch at least one error - with David Wells).

Feel free to disregard all post-1922 pitchers. That would be in the spirit of the rules. I put everyone in because there's no way I want to keep adjusting that thing at the end of every election.

Let me know if there's any questions/comments/complaints or whatever.
   159. Jeff M Posted: March 19, 2004 at 05:49 AM (#522795)
<i>My client recommended the "HOMey" phrase several "years" ago.
   160. Brian H Posted: March 19, 2004 at 06:01 AM (#522796)
I was going through a few of the threads and was frequently boggled by the abundance of acronyms used to denote various statistical measurements.
   161. KJOK Posted: March 19, 2004 at 06:30 AM (#522797)
RE:McGraw

1. Yes, playing in a high offense context does "help" a little in building up the measures of Runs Above Average/Runs Above Position. However, the "correct" adjustment would be to divide by the number of "runs needed per win" to get WINS Above Average/WINS Above Positon. For low scoring eras, this number is around 9, and for high scoring eras, around 11.

2. My argument for McGraw is:

a. From 1893 - 1901, John McGraw was close to being the BEST PLAYER in baseball. That's a NINE year period.

b. During this time, there was practically NO dilution from the talent he played against (AA, PL gone, best players in the country no longer stayed in high minors IF they were good enough to play in NL) except for a little in 1901 due to the AL.

c. Relative to HIS POSITION, he stood out far, far from the "average" 3rd baseman. Probably farther than even Charlie Bennett.

D. Teams do NOT replace starters with "replacement level" players. When that star doesn't play or retires, the most likely playing level of the person playing in his place is average (actually, slightly ABOVE average as starting players are, ON AVERAGE, slightly above the overall league average). So, when measuring a player, ESPECIALLY when the question at hand is who are the GREATEST players and not just measuring who "contributes" to a team's season, ABOVE AVERAGE is the correct measurement.
   162. KJOK Posted: March 19, 2004 at 06:49 AM (#522798)
OK, I looked it up, and these should be the correct "runs to win" converters for the seasons McGraw played:

1891 NL 11.08
   163. KJOK Posted: March 19, 2004 at 07:28 AM (#522799)
Oops, I posted the RPG results instead of the Runs per Win conversion numbers (what I get for posting so late in the day..)

Here are the REALLY CORRECT Factors:

McGraw
   164. Rick A. Posted: March 19, 2004 at 04:56 PM (#522800)
Charley Jones,

If you look, I have you ranked 12th on my ballot.

I think what really hurts you is those two missing years. I've given you credit for two prime years during those two years, since you were clearly in your prime when they happened and it shouldn't be held against you to be paid for your job. Other voters, however, may be ignoring those 2 years or only giving you minimum value for those years.
   165. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 19, 2004 at 05:21 PM (#522801)
I've given you credit for two prime years during those two years, since you were clearly in your prime when they happened and it shouldn't be held against you to be paid for your job.

That's what I'm doing, too. I'm also doing it for Mullane, though I still don't see him as ballot worthy yet.
   166. Rick A. Posted: March 19, 2004 at 05:21 PM (#522802)
Actually, this brings up an interesting question.

I took an average of the raw WS from the 2 seasons before Charley Jones' suspension and the 2 after and season-adjusted them. If Charley Jones had played those two years he missed and had an average prime year,, he would have an additional 62.3 WS.

My question is, would that be enough to elect him to the HOM? I think it might. At the least, he would compare to Harry Stovey, who also played in both the AA and the NL. Stovey was a better fielder and baserunner, but Jones (and Browning) was a clearly better hitter(especially with Jones' two missing prime years included.)

I am really interested in how other voters are handling these missing years. They were clearly in Jones' prime, and it wasn't his fault that he was blackballed (unlike Joe Jackson and Cicotte). He wanted to be paid for the work he'd done.

We have voters here who are projecting a full hitting career for Bob Caruthers, even though he had only 1/3 of a hitters career (if that). Couldn't we project what Charley Jones would have done for just two years in his prime, especially when they are surronded by documented, great years?
   167. Rick A. Posted: March 19, 2004 at 05:52 PM (#522803)
Here is a list of season-adjusted league adjusted WS for both Stovey and Jones. I've included two average prime years (documented above) for Jones for the seasons he missed. Ranked from best to worst.

CJ HS
   168. Adam Schafer Posted: March 19, 2004 at 07:18 PM (#522805)
Rick A.
   169. Jeff M Posted: March 19, 2004 at 08:22 PM (#522806)
I am really interested in how other voters are handling these missing years. They were clearly in Jones' prime, and it wasn't his fault that he was blackballed (unlike Joe Jackson and Cicotte). He wanted to be paid for the work he'd done.

I'm a big fan of Charley Jones vis-a-vis the HOM. He is currently #8 on my ballot and was higher before the big names started becoming eligible. However, I have him there WITHOUT giving him credit for two missing years. I think he was damned good anyway, and a borderline HOMer. If I gave him credit for the two missing years, he would probably be #4 behind Nap, Matty and Mordecai.

I also want to add that we shouldn't sanction career extrapolation simply because one voter has decided to take his favorite player (Caruthers) and apply an extrapolation technique to that player only. I will be reconsidering this extrapolation idea for the WWII players, however.
   170. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 19, 2004 at 09:17 PM (#522807)
What I cannot allow myself to do though, is give them any actual credit for having played, simply becasue they DIDN'T play, again, no fault of their own.

Adam, If we were talking about "augmenting" their personal statistics so as to elevate them in the record book, I totally agree with that. There should be zero argument concerning that: what they did is what they did.

But what we're talking about is moving Hank Greenberg from a middle-of-the-pack ballot pick (some might have him at the top due to his high peak, regardless) to a first-ballot pick. I think that is an honor that should be given to him, IMO, due to his service for his country.
   171. Jim Sp Posted: March 19, 2004 at 09:26 PM (#522808)
Charley Jones also has the Sam Thompson problem from the point of view of career voters, in that his first big major league season that I can see was at age 26. Does anyone know if he was dominating a good league before that?
   172. Rick A. Posted: March 19, 2004 at 09:52 PM (#522810)
I'm a big fan of Charley Jones vis-a-vis the HOM. He is currently #8 on my ballot and was higher before the big names started becoming eligible. However, I have him there WITHOUT giving him credit for two missing years. I think he was damned good anyway, and a borderline HOMer.

Jeff,

That's my point, really. He's a borderline HOMer, even without the missing years. Yet, every year, he hardly gets any support. And if you add even a conservative amount of value for those years, then he is a mid-range HOMer.

I've seen posts about how Frank Grant and Home Run Johnson are being doubly discriminated against, because of a lack of stats based on their race. While not at the same level, isn't Charley Jones being discriminated against, because of a lack of stats those years, based on wanting to be paid and the damn reserve clause? He couldn't help that, just as Grant and Johnson couldn't help not being able to accumulate stats in their cases. Are we saying that, if he would just play for free, that he would be a near-HOMer, but because he selfishly decided to stand up for his rights, not only isn't he a HOMer, but he isn't even close?

I also want to add that we shouldn't sanction career extrapolation simply because one voter has decided to take his favorite player (Caruthers) and apply an extrapolation technique to that player only. I will be reconsidering this extrapolation idea for the WWII players, however.

Jeff, I agree with this. I don't agree with karl's methods in regards to Caruthers, and I think it's ridiculous to extrapolate a whole career for him. But Jones missed just two years in his prime, with great years, both before and after. I really don't think it would be a stretch to give him even a little credit for those two years. You do state that you would be willing to consider extrapolation for WWII players, why is this any different?
   173. Rick A. Posted: March 19, 2004 at 10:07 PM (#522811)
Adam,

That's not a bad policy to practice, and I could agree with that, especially if it was for an extended period of time. However, shouldn't we be giving them the benefit of the doubt, especially in light of the fact that it's just couple of years and he has a proven track record, both before and after? Yes, Charley Jones could have turned into Tony Conigliaro during those years, but isn't it more likely that he would have continued to play at his established level those years?
   174. Jim Sp Posted: March 19, 2004 at 10:23 PM (#522812)
I was actually 25 in '75, Jim.

Right, but with only 51 AB.
   175. karlmagnus Posted: March 19, 2004 at 11:22 PM (#522814)
Nobody's extrapolating Caruthers; I'm simply adding the value of his hitting to that of his pitching, to get an idea of his overall value, either as a pitcher or a hitter. As I've said, 2/3 of Matty plus 1/3 of Nap gives you 100% of a combination Matty-Nap (no, NOT half of this imaginary being.) If you take only Caruthers' pitching and ignore his hitting, he's around the bottom of the ballot, along with Mullane and Welch (but ahead of the overrated Rube, in my view), but that grossly undervalues his overall contribution. There's no extrapolation involved, no allowances for seasons lost to sore arms (the pitcher that represents Caruthers' value and the hitter that represents Caruthers' value would have had to play longer than the real Caruthers, because they would have been unable to match Caruthers' value per season. However, Caruthers himself achieved a very high overall value in few seasons, because his best seasons were like Ruth '17/'18, or, as someone pointed out, Ruth '23.) His career value is easily HOM-worthy, his peak value to his team was unworldly.

I had hoped that my "Caruthers #1" effort, which is in no way "strategic" (because except for a minor knock-on effect on the placing of Matty and Nap it has no effect on this year's ballot) would have caused EOBC to smack themselves on the head and say "Gee, I don't agree with that, but if he's even arguably as good as Matty, or Nap I must have goofed." Doesn't seem to have happened. Pity.
   176. Jeff M Posted: March 20, 2004 at 12:02 AM (#522815)
"Gee, I don't agree with that, but if he's even arguably as good as Matty, or Nap I must have goofed."

I'm not an EOBC. I have him #11. The problem is that he isn't arguably as good as Matty or Nap, unless someone making an argument -- any argument -- makes something arguable.
   177. karlmagnus Posted: March 20, 2004 at 12:26 AM (#522816)
I can't stop myself, I tried! His peak, when hitting and piching are included, is significantly higher than Matty's or Nap's, unless you apply a fiece discount to the AA. It's not higher than Ruth's, he's not better than Honus -- those aren't arguable. Matty and Nap, in my view are arguable. Crawford and Plank, next year, will be even more arguable :)).

(I intend to follow the logic of my position and put Parisan Bob ahead of Crawford and Plank; hopefully everyone will realise that this is essentially the same point made twice, and not start all over again.)
   178. EricC Posted: March 20, 2004 at 12:42 AM (#522817)
karlmagnus-

Believe it or not, I actually understand what you're getting at in your arguments for Caruthers. But there is a fallacy in your argument: if you are going to use W/L record to argue for a pitcher, then how well he batted in games that he pitched is completely irrelevant - any contributions from his bat or lack thereof that helped his team to win or lose will already show up in the W/L record. Instead of pitcher Caruthers + batter Caruthers, the appropriate way to look at him is pitcher Caruthers + outfielder Caruthers. OF Caruthers only only played 388 games in the field and did not have 1/3 of a HoM career by any argument.

The additional errors in your argument are (1) using pitcher Caruthers' actual 218-99 record, instead of estimating what his record would be on an average team in an average league with average support. My best calculation is that his support-neutral record would have been something like 197-120. (2) Comparing OF Caruthers with middle infielder Lajoie instead of with other OF. OF Caruthers rate of production looks like John Titus' to me. To me, a 197-120 pre-1893 pitcher who played 388 additional games in the field as the equivalent of John Titus is not worthy of the HoM. I understand that your opinion is different (you use peak as part of your argument), but, explained this way, don't you as least see the other viewpoint?
   179. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 20, 2004 at 01:04 AM (#522818)
Instead of pitcher Caruthers + batter Caruthers, the appropriate way to look at him is pitcher Caruthers + outfielder Caruthers. OF Caruthers only only played 388 games in the field and did not have 1/3 of a HoM career by any argument.

This has been my argument against Caruthers from the beginning. Good expanation, Eric.

His peak, when hitting and piching are included, is significantly higher than Matty's or Nap's, unless you apply a fiece discount to the AA.

I actually think the AA was pretty strong, so no major deduction from me in that regard. But does anyone really think the Parisian one's contemporaries thought that his peak was greater than Matty or Nap? It was certainly impressive, but historically so? That I don't buy for a minute (and don't even mention his peak and Ruth's in the same breath!) :-)
   180. karlmagnus Posted: March 20, 2004 at 01:48 AM (#522819)
If you remove Caruthers' hitting on days when he pitched, you can't then normalize to "support-neutral;" to do both is double counting. Also, pitchers play in the infield, so his fielding value is split about 50-50 between infielder and outfielder.

I do see the strength of moderate anti-Caruthers arguments about career length and strength of his team, of course I do. He's one of the most diifficult players to assess, so there is a wide range of places you could put him on the ballot, not including above Honus, but yes (just) including above Matty and Nap, if you give him a bonus for peak and uniqueness, as I think you should. You could also if you don't like the AA and think his hitting career was too short to value highly, reasonably put him just off the ballot in this very strong year, meaning he'll segue back on in '26 or so. But further off than that, I just don't buy it as a defensible argument.
   181. karlmagnus Posted: March 20, 2004 at 01:52 AM (#522820)
If you remove Caruthers' hitting on days when he pitched, you can't then normalize to "support-neutral;" to do both is double counting. Also, pitchers play in the infield, so his fielding value is split about 50-50 between infielder and outfielder.

I do see the strength of moderate anti-Caruthers arguments about career length and strength of his team, of course I do. He's one of the most diifficult players to assess, so there is a wide range of places you could put him on the ballot, not including above Honus, but yes (just) including above Matty and Nap, if you give him a bonus for peak and uniqueness, as I think you should. You could also if you don't like the AA and think his hitting career was too short to value highly, reasonably put him just off the ballot in this very strong year, meaning he'll segue back on in '26 or so. But further off than that, I just don't buy it as a defensible argument.
   182. jimd Posted: March 20, 2004 at 02:39 AM (#522821)
My best calculation is that his support-neutral record would have been something like 197-120.

Is his hitting value included in that "support-neutral" calculation?

Instead of pitcher Caruthers + batter Caruthers, the appropriate way to look at him is pitcher Caruthers + outfielder Caruthers.

It's fine to look at his OF value as additional "bonus" value.

However, you still have to incorporate his hitting into the assessment of Caruthers, the pitcher. Every run he contributes on offense (above and beyond the average pitcher) cancels one run he surrenders on defense. If you don't adjust his ERA+ to account for that, you're missing his total value. (Easier is to use a combined metric such as WARP, but if you insist on using ERA+, you have to include the hitting.)
   183. Howie Menckel Posted: March 20, 2004 at 03:09 AM (#522822)
Karl,
   184. EricC Posted: March 20, 2004 at 04:03 AM (#522823)
My best calculation is that his support-neutral record would have been something like 197-120.

Is his hitting value included in that "support-neutral" calculation?

jimd- I agree completely. I did include his hitting value in my "support-neutral" calculation, and I should have said so. If he had hit only as well as an average pitcher of his time, I estimate his "support neutral/average league" W/L would have been around 187-130.
   185. Chris Cobb Posted: March 20, 2004 at 05:42 AM (#522824)
FWIW, My estimate of Caruthers' support-neutral record (including offensive support, defensive support, and taking into account Caruthers' own value as a hitter) is about 192-125, in the ballpark with Eric's estimates.

In my view, that makes him, quality-wise, fairly similar to Rube Waddell, _prior to_ discounting for pre-1893 pitching conditions and for AA competion _and prior to_ adding in Caruthers' play in the outfield, which includes two outstanding half seasons in 1886-1887, one good season in 1892, and a few bits and pieces elsewhere. I see Caruthers' value from positional play as outweighing the discounts somewhat, so I rank him ahead of Waddell. But that still puts him at 17 on my ballot.
   186. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 20, 2004 at 06:03 AM (#522825)
<i> Karl,
   187. Adam Schafer Posted: March 20, 2004 at 07:27 AM (#522826)
"Yes, Charley Jones could have turned into Tony Conigliaro during those years, but isn't it more likely that he would have continued to play at his established level those years?"

Is it likely?? Maybe so. Is it possible that he could have been Conigliaro?? Maybe so. He didn't play those years, so we'll never know. I don't mind filling in some gaps here and there for those who played before good statistics were kept, or for the Negro League players, but I just can't get myself to fill in gaps and make assumptions when a player just didn't play at all. What if Mo Vaughn had been blackballed and not been able to play the year he got hurt?? He might have had a HOF worthy career. Charley very well could have had a career ending injury one of those years. We just don't know.

While mainly a career voter, Greenburg will get an extremely high vote from me from his peak. I view him career wise as similar to Ralph Kiner. Very productive, in a relatively short, but still respecatable amount of time. I myself cannot give him credit for the War years. Again, I respect him 100% for going, especially in the fashion the he in particular went. I'm grateful for all of the players that fought, and I honestly wish more mention was made of each and every player that fought. They all have a spot in my heart for what they did, but there are too many "ifs". What if Dom DiMaggio had played those years and won a couple batting titles and tacked on another 400 hits or so? Would he go from barely cracking any ballots to a mid ballot guy?? How about Cecil Travis?? Johnny Pesky would sure be looking good. The point is pretty much moot b/c Greenburg is still going to be very high on my ballot, and while some star players lost some statistics (Feller, DiMaggio, Williams, etc), they were SO good that it's not going to affect their rankings at all. The only players that this is going to hurt in MY rankings, are some of my personal favorites that I love to sit and dream about what could have been, I'm very partial to Cecil Travis and think he could've put up an excellant career. Maybe HOM worthy, maybe not. It never actually happened, so we'll never know. I'll vote for him as one of my all time favorites, but I seriously doubt that he'll be appearing anywhere on my ballot, regardless of how I feel for him as a person.

I probably should've found a better way to describe why I won't be voting for Charley, but this is what first came to my mind.
   188. Marc Posted: March 20, 2004 at 03:15 PM (#522827)
I posted somewhere else, but I can't remember when, a set of various different reasons why a player misses playing time. I won't repeat the whole thing but there are two principles involved:

1. Is the reason for missing playing time a more or less "normal" type of event that could and did affect a lot of players? An on-the-field injury--even getting hit by a pitch--is the most obvious case where, yes, this is an entirely normal, everyday event that comes with the territory. So injured players don't get any extra credit. Going to fight WWII or being a black person pre-1947 are not "normal." They have nothing intrinsically to do with the playing of the game and they only affected certain players at a certain time and place, so I am willing to give extra credit for that.

2. Was the missed playing time the result of some "choice" that the player made or was it forced on him by somebody else's choice. A holdout, strike, etc., is pretty gray territory. But gray or not, it looks to me like Charley Jones was clearly a victim not only of somebody else's choice but of a malicious and unfair one. Frank Baker OTOH just wanted more money, he wasn't forced to play for nothing. What about Curt Flood? Well, he made a choice, regardless of how noble the sentiment or values behind it, he made a choice, he did something no other player did. It wasn't forced upon him.

These principles don't cover all cases. A non-baseball related illness (G. Sisler, Joss, Flick) would seem by these criteria to be a candidate for X-credit, but there I also say no.

But to me the obvious cases for X-credit are black players before '47, WWII (and that very very rare player who took time out for WWI, in fact Pete Alexander is the only one I'm aware of off-hand). But I think Charley Jones also qualifies, but not Cal McVey who made a choice that was available to all players, he just chose differently.

Bill James has made the distinction between the question of whether a player "might have been" a great player--e.g. Pete Reiser if he hadn't gotten hurt--or whether he already was a great player. There is no doubt that Ted Williams would have had 5 monster years but for WWII and Korea. It is in fact a lot *more speculative* to say he might have gotten injured during those years than it is to say that he was a great player and would have had very productive years.

This is a good principle, in my view, though not always easy to apply to individual cases. But Ted Williams and Cecil Travis are not the difficult cases. Travis might have declined with or without WWII, it is speculative to say he would *not* have declined but for the war. It is not speculative to say Williams would have been great.

Of course, it *is* speculative to say that even a Josh Gibson or a Satchel Paige would have been Bill Dickey or Lou Gehrig or Bob Feller. It is *not* speculative to say that they were great baseball players. This is where imagination has to take over.
   189. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 20, 2004 at 04:56 PM (#522828)
Frank Baker OTOH just wanted more money, he wasn't forced to play for nothing.

Edd Roush is another one that comes to mind.
   190. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 20, 2004 at 11:09 PM (#522829)
BTW, does anyone know why Rube Waddell is ballot worthy (no problem with that - I have him at #15), while Vic Willis is nowhere to be seen? I don't understand that.
   191. Yardape Posted: March 20, 2004 at 11:41 PM (#522830)
I've got them both on my ballot, John, so I can't tell you.
   192. OCF Posted: March 20, 2004 at 11:53 PM (#522831)
Through the first 39 ballots cast this year, John is the best FOVW, having voted him 6th. The second best FOVW is Yardape, who has him 10th. I'm tied for 3rd as a FOVW, having him 12th (and Waddell 13th). I disagree with John about quite a few things, but I'm with him on this one. John, Yardape, and I all also have Willis ahead of Griffith.
   193. Marc Posted: March 21, 2004 at 02:56 AM (#522832)
Well, I don't support either of them so I can't help either! I am planning a fairly comprehensive new look at pitchers for the upcoming drought period, however, because Brown made me re-think McGinnityand it snowballed from there. I forgot to put Willis (and Joss) on my list of pitchers to look at again, but I'm willing to do that. But right now I'm inclined to think that (other than Matty) the best are Brown, McGinnity, maybe Griffith, maybe Waddell, and then somebody from the McCormick-Bond-Welch pre-'93 crowd.
   194. Paul Wendt Posted: March 21, 2004 at 03:12 AM (#522833)
jimd #163
   195. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 21, 2004 at 05:38 AM (#522834)
I disagree with John about quite a few things, but I'm with him on this one.

I have eleven players that you also have on your ballot, so we're not that far off. Our big difference appears to be with the pre-1880's players.
   196. Paul Wendt Posted: March 21, 2004 at 06:49 PM (#522835)
jimd #163
   197. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 21, 2004 at 07:08 PM (#522836)
Paul, do you plan on posting that every fourteen hours? :-D
   198. Paul Wendt Posted: March 21, 2004 at 07:22 PM (#522837)
I think the project would benefit from a specialized discussion of missing seasons and short careers, voluntary actions and involuntary effects --rather than sprinkling Ted Williams and Tony Conigliaro throughout the annual Discussions and Ballots.

That said :-)
   199. Paul Wendt Posted: March 21, 2004 at 07:41 PM (#522838)
KJOK #192
   200. Paul Wendt Posted: March 21, 2004 at 07:53 PM (#522839)
Paul, do you plan on posting that every fourteen hours? :-D

Alas, John, #228 will not be here when I next connect to the 'net and reload the Hall of Merit.
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