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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 08:13 AM | 225 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   201. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 21, 2004 at 09:19 PM (#522840)
the "problem" of credit for missing seasons is crucial only for career voters and is all-important only for pure careerists, those who measure value by the simple sum of single-season value over all seasons and those (probably none) who derive value from career totals alone. For example, it is only for a careerist that a vote for Charley Jones must be based on giving credit for two years on the blacklist.

This is true, but since the vast majority of us use career as a major component for our evaluations, missing seasons can alter the ranking of a candidate to a significant degree.

<i>Alas, John, #228 will not be here when I next connect to the 'net and reload the Hall of Merit.
   202. Marc Posted: March 21, 2004 at 09:29 PM (#522841)
> I think the project would benefit from a specialized discussion of missing seasons and short careers, voluntary actions and involuntary effects

I would endorse that.

>That said :-) the "problem" of credit for missing seasons is crucial only for career voters... For example, it is only for a careerist that a vote for Charley Jones must be based on giving credit for two years on the blacklist.

And as always, Paul is correct. I mentioned Charley's case because I am a FOCJ. But as a peak/prime voter, I've had Charley as high as 6th on my ballot w/o any X-credit for his blacklist years. The thing that made a difference for Charley and for Sam Thompson, however, was when I decided NOT to define a peak by consecutive seasons only. Now I use 3 consecutive and any 5 (the opposite of James' definition). But even for "3 consecutive," I allow Charley's 1880 and 1883 as "consecutive;" ditto Ted Williams 1942 and 1946. If a player misses an entire season due to injury, then that doesn't count against the peak either, but if he plays, say, 80-100-120 games due to injury, that's too bad, that is part of his consecutive run.
   203. Jeff M Posted: March 22, 2004 at 03:10 AM (#522842)
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.

Well, I've got Waddell at #15 (wow, do we actually agree?) and Willis at #21, which isn't really that big a difference in my system.

I account for the difference like this:

(1) Waddell has significantly higher 3-year, 5-year consecutive and 7-year WARP1 peaks, and more WARP1 per 1000 IP -- and doesn't lag much behind Willis in overall career (maybe a season's worth); and

(2) in LWTS, they are about the same career-wise, but if you factor NRA and DERA (from the BP cards) into the LWTS calculation -- for purposes of taking into account the quality of defensive play behind them -- Willis' LWTS drops significantly and Waddell's stays about the same.

Not claiming these are overwhelming factors in Waddell's favor -- that's just how I separated them.
   204. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 22, 2004 at 04:25 AM (#522843)
(1) Waddell has significantly higher 3-year, 5-year consecutive and 7-year WARP1 peaks, and more WARP1 per 1000 IP -- and doesn't lag much behind Willis in overall career (maybe a season's worth); and

(2) in LWTS, they are about the same career-wise, but if you factor NRA and DERA (from the BP cards) into the LWTS calculation -- for purposes of taking into account the quality of defensive play behind them -- Willis' LWTS drops significantly and Waddell's stays about the same.


I'm curious, Jeff - why didn't just use WARP3? Willis has 62.6 to Waddell's 61.6 (and Willis leads in spite of the questionable deductions that the system gives NL players from that era). WARP3 takes into account the quality of defensive play behind both of them, too.

BTW, I have some problems with all three WARPs (as I do with Win Shares to a less extent), so I don't want to be accused of propping up my argument with a system that I'm not really comfortable with. But the two major all-encompasssing statistical systems don't really show why Waddell is so much greater than Willis, so I'm still somewhat baffled about why the huge differential.
   205. Jeff M Posted: March 22, 2004 at 04:47 AM (#522844)
I'm curious, Jeff - why didn't just use WARP3?

Because I don't know how they've computed the transition from WARP1 to WARP2, and I've always been skeptical of the adjustment factor. Plus, as I think you may have argued before (and/or Marc and Matt have argued, I think), I hate relying on a formula for which no explanation is provided.

But WARP3 doesn't make much difference for Waddell and Willis, in my system. Willis leads on career in WARP1 too, but it's fairly close. The peaks aren't that close, though. Waddell seems like the winner there.

Incidentally, although I often cite WARP1, I do make a season-length adjustment for hitters...so I sort of get WARP3 without the WARP2 adjustment. I don't do this for pitchers, on the theory that in the early years (where an adjustment would be meaningful), they were pitching about as much as they could anyway.

I'm still somewhat baffled about why the huge differential.

I assume you mean this with respect to the consensus, and not the difference between my #15 and #21 ranking. :)
   206. Jeff M Posted: March 22, 2004 at 04:52 AM (#522845)
By the way, what ever happened to Matt B? Does he still vote?
   207. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 22, 2004 at 06:40 AM (#522846)
Plus, as I think you may have argued before (and/or Marc and Matt have argued, I think), I hate relying on a formula for which no explanation is provided.

I agree, though someone here stated that there is one (I haven't seen it as of yet). I wasn't, in any way, questioning your methods, but was just curious.

I assume you mean this with respect to the consensus, and not the difference between my #15 and #21 ranking. :)

Yes, the consensus. :-)

Well, I've got Waddell at #15 (wow, do we actually agree?)

As with OCF, I have eleven of your choices, so I'm not that far off with you, either.

By the way, what ever happened to Matt B? Does he still vote?

Since he submitted his ballot this week, I guess he still does. :-D
   208. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 22, 2004 at 07:32 AM (#522850)
I don't totally agree Paul. Phil Rizzuto missed his age 25-27 seasons, generally among the best of a player's career (especially for middle infielders, who don't usually age well). I plan on giving him credit for what a typical player would have missed, based on his age 23-24 and 28-29 seasons (I'll look at players with similar WS totals at those ages, and make a best guess as to Rizzuto's missing years). This is very likely to give him a higher peak.

Pee Wee Reese is another that comes to mind.
   209. Marc Posted: March 22, 2004 at 04:26 PM (#522854)
Re. missing data (seasons): I said it's not tricky or speculative to think that Ted Williams racks up monster seasons in '42-'45 but rather that it is *more speculative* to assume he gets injured if he's not flying fighter jets.

Obviously the cases of Reese and Rizutto are trickier but at least you've got '41 and '46, pre- and post- to project from. The really tricky ones are the guys whose debut and/or career was delayed. Like Warren Spahn who pitched 4 games in '42 but then didn't pitch again until '46. The problem of course being he had no established level, but being "ready" at least for a cup of coffee in '42 and more than ready in '46, his career would have taken off somewhere in the interim. Ralph Kiner is another case and there are many, many more. Of course these are cases (Spahn especially) where it might not matter what if any credit you give them for that period. Williams either.

But back to Reese and Rizutto. It matters a lot what you do with '42-'45. I give them credit, not because they need it and not even because it is "fair" in any "moral" sense. Rather it is simply most likely that they would have played "every day" and would have had value much like '41 or '46. It's all a question of how big of an assumption you want to make. The idea that they would have been injured and had no value is too big of an assumption. Somebody should figure out the odds of that. In the whole history of baseball, how many regular players miss whole seasons to injury?

But here is where I differ from Joe. I also can't quite bring myself to assume or even to project that they would have a peak in '42-'45 that would be higher than '41, '46 or some other time. I project "flat" value, not a standard career curve. I cannot bring myself to rate Reese on the basis of his hypothetical 1945 peak. But he woulda/coulda/shoulda played and his (flatly) projected '45 value goes into his prime and his career. This is also where, in computing peak, that '41-'42-'46 is calculated as being consecutive seasons.
   210. Adam Schafer Posted: March 22, 2004 at 05:41 PM (#522855)
Joe, I don't mean to beat a dead horse, or to comment on something that you obviously feel quite strongly about, and I definitely don't mean this to be disrespectful. I'll be the first to admit that the WWII reference may not have been the best one in the world as it really has no effect anyway. Just a quick look at the players it affected, Greenburg, DiMaggio, Appling, Ted Williams, Musial, Early Wynn, Spahn, Billy Herman, Mize, Reese, Arky Vaughan, Enos Slaughter, Bobby Doerr, Rizzuto, Feller, Cecil Travis, Buddy Lewis, Johnny Pesky, Dom DiMaggio, Henrich, and the list goes on. Taking a look at the list, what players that missed those years IF given 0 credit for them is going to actually be affected? Possibly Rizzuto, Herman, and Slaughter of HOF members, and then the rest who are non-HOF memebers. Of all of the other HOF members, their careers are already extremely well defined cases for the most part. No one is going to sit here and look at Greenburg and move him way down the ballot b/c he didn't hit 160 more homeruns, or not vote for DiMaggio b/c he didn't get 600 more hits, or Appling b/c he wasn't one of the greatest SS for one less season than he actually was. The players that are worthy, are worthy regardless. They all had extended peaks and decent careers with or without the missing war years. They AREN'T going to be affected. Players that are already borderline cases and will probably draw weak support anyway (i.e. Slaughter) and the players such as Pesky, Travis, etc are the only ones who WILL suffer. If we don't want to be lazy, then we need to sit here and figure out what type of career Cecil would have had if he hadn't of gotten the frost bite on his feet at the Battle of the Bulge that ruined his otherwise promising career. We need to give Pesky 600 more hits and then realize that he had 2000 hits in 10 years and that maybe he's one of the most deserving SS of all time. If we agree to sit here and piece together the careers of those players who truly got hurt by WWII, then I promise to have Greenburg #2 instead of #3 on my ballot, and Slaughter #18 instead of #19. Is it really "ludicrous and indefensible" for one of these players to be one or two spots lower? Seeing as how we aren't even there yet and that I don't even know if something like that is the way the group was heading, I'll admit that since I don't even know that much, that I should've kept my mouth shut about the whole thing until better informed. My apologies for stirring everyone up before we even got to a point that we needed to consider it.
   211. Daryn Posted: March 22, 2004 at 06:14 PM (#522856)
JoeDimino,

As you may recall, I am among the minority that disagrees with you on war credit. I would ask you to to leave room for the possibility that extremely intelligent people can nonetheless disagree with you. I am neither cowed nor convinced by you telling me that my position is ludicrous and indefensible. Fortunately, neither am I reactionary. I will listen to your views and ignore your rhetoric/insults. However, it seems very unlikely that telling people that their views are ludicrous will help this discussion.

I admire your fire and I admire your intensity. But there are going to be a lot of people you meet in your life who disagree with you and some of them are going to be really smart, even smarter than you are.
   212. Marc Posted: March 22, 2004 at 07:10 PM (#522857)
As Paul W. suggested, if a thread can be devoted to beating Bob Caruthers about the groinal area, this is worthy of a thread.

As to Cecil Travis, I think it is "wrong," not in a moral sense, but in a logical sense, to do anything other than extrapolate what they did before and after. If they were washed up in '46 then there is not much to extrapolate from.

The question is what is most likely to have happened, and guys like Travis, who had 5-6 great years then faded at an early age, they're a dime a dozen. It is not unlikely that he coulda faded without WWII. After all, other guys fought in WWII and came back strong. If Travis coulda kept going at a high peak for another 5-6 years, the evidence would be there in '46-'47-'48. Instead the evidence says otherwise.

So the basic questions are:

1. Should there be any credit at all given? I say yes.

2. Then, how much? What is most likely to have happened based on the evidence, especially the evidence of '41-'42-'46-'47? I'm not willing to go to either extreme of saying they get no credit or they would have been injured, nor that they would have played above their '41-'42-'46-'47 level. I'm in the middle.
   213. Adam Schafer Posted: March 22, 2004 at 07:35 PM (#522858)
Although one of my all time favorites, I don't plan on voting for Travis. Just a note on Travis though, who's to say that he would've faded? I'm not saying he was definiately on track for a Hall of Fame (or Merit) career, but he left on a very strong note. Led the league in hits, 2nd in Batting Average, and high in all of the other basic stats that are easily available. He wasn't much on peak, but was very consistent. What Cecil DID DO, is serve his country in WWII and fought at the Battle of the Bulge. A small quote from Abe Schear

"Courageously fighting with the 76th Infantry in the Battle of the Bulge, he went several days without food or water, incurring severe frostbite of his feet. Despite his injury and the fact that he was eligible for discharge, Cecil asked to be sent to the Pacific when the war in Europe was subsiding."

Again, I'm not trying to petition for Travis, I honestly don't plan on voting for him myself. I just wanted to offer some explanation as to why he didn't perform well after returning from the war.
   214. Daryn Posted: March 23, 2004 at 07:05 PM (#522861)
Joe,

I might be able to meet you halfway. The most convincing argument you provide is that if you give no credit for WWII service than a bunch of people who were born in or about 1920 would be prejudiced because they had to/chose to fought in the war.

Nonetheless, I am unwilling to fabricate what isn't there. Ted Williams simply did not hit 522 homeruns, nor did he reach 3000 hits. His peak did not include the years 1943-1945. It simply didn't happen.

However, I will recognize that I could readjust my career standards for those affected by a war or a strike. Instead of having 20 years to make a career, they only had 17. This makes their career stats look approximately 15% better. I'll think about that. It is easy to do with the realities we face, since the wars were relatively short. But if the war was from 1943-1951, I just wouldn't do it. It is too much conjecture. Too much what might've been. And that position makes me question the validity of the first position -- giving the 15% credit. If I wouldn't give 50% credit for a longer war, I shouldn't give 15% credit for a shorter war.

I'll give it some more thought when we hear more opinions on a person for which it counts (Rizzuto).
   215. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 23, 2004 at 07:47 PM (#522862)
Instead of having 20 years to make a career, they only had 17. This makes their career stats look approximately 15% better.

That's roughly what I'm doing. While I'm totally against the notion of zero credit for the war years, I think a conservative approach is necessary.
   216. ronw Posted: March 24, 2004 at 06:53 PM (#522865)
daryn said I'll give it some more thought when we hear more opinions on a person for which it counts (Rizzuto).

What about Maranville and 1918? Will one year be enough to push a borderline HOMer over the top?

Or what about Hank Gowdy and 1917-1918? Could he be a viable candidate with some credit for those years?

I'd like to see a list of players who served in WWI, which we should be considering very soon, if anyone has access to it. (Part of me thinks it is in one of my encyclopedias at home, I should probably check before asking.)

The WWI test will be a good one for WWII players, because it is shorter, and not as many players missed time for service.
   217. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 25, 2004 at 01:47 AM (#522867)
re:257

That's why I said roughly. I don't think you can create a one-size-fits-all approach for the WWII guys, so I am in agreement with you.
   218. Marc Posted: March 25, 2004 at 04:51 AM (#522868)
John, Joe, et al. I don't have a fixed method. Basically I just eyeball what they did before and after and draw the best *flat* line that I can. I don't infer a career-high peak. And if the player was not particularly durable '41-'42-'46-'47 I reflect that. But I certainly wouldn't assume that a guy would get injured and miss a whole season.

What do you do with guys like Kiner, who started in '46 at age 24 by leading the league in HR, but had no ML experience previously? Actually I can answer my own question to this degree: If I had his minor league records (assuming he played pre-war), I would try to infer the best (most accurate) flat line from that.

Or a Spahn, who had a cup of coffee in '42, threw 24 games in '46, then was a star in '47...or Bob Lemon who like Kiner started in '46...but guys who unlike a Reese or a Rizutto had no real established level prior to the war but whose debut was clearly delayed. What do you do with that?
   219. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 25, 2004 at 05:44 AM (#522869)
What do you do with that?

You pull out your hair and scream! :-)
   220. Paul Wendt Posted: March 25, 2004 at 06:28 AM (#522870)
I think the project would benefit from a separate discussion of missing seasons and short careers, voluntary choices and involuntary effects.

Ron Wargo #258
   221. OCF Posted: March 25, 2004 at 06:03 PM (#522872)
Or a Spahn, who had a cup of coffee in '42, threw 24 games in '46, then was a star in '47...

You have to be very careful with pitchers, and Spahn in particular. Of course, Spahn is a "shoo-in" or "no-brainer" anyway. But ask this: what happened to most of the pitchers who acheived great success before the age of 24 or so? Because they were successful early, they pitched a lot of innings early in their careers - and many of them peaked early, never matching in their later careers those great early years. Dwight Gooden, Vida Blue - you could name a dozen more stories like that. Spahn was prevented from pitching in his early 20's, and he when he did get started he went on and on, pitching with great effectiveness into his 40's. With Spahn, there's a very real possibility that without WWII, he might have had less of a career.

Bob Feller did peak young and rack up the miles on his arm early. When he missed nearly four years, was that four years in which he would have been great? Or was it time for his arm to rejuvenate that gave his career a second wind? We'll never know.
   222. Marc Posted: March 25, 2004 at 07:01 PM (#522873)
O, I agree. Very tricky stuff.

Flip side of coin. Prince Hal Newhouser. It stands to reason that his '44-'45 seasons would be discounted. Except, hey, he was almost as good in '46.

Lou Boudreau, Vern Stephens...how much of a discount. They were spectacular after the war.

Very tricky.
   223. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 25, 2004 at 07:06 PM (#522875)
OCF:

Early Wynn is another one (to a lesser extent).
   224. Chris Cobb Posted: March 25, 2004 at 07:15 PM (#522876)
Red Faber and Eppa Rixey are two players who missed about two years, in effect for HOM purposes. (In 1919, each lost about half a year measured by playing time; each suffered his career-worst season measured by ERA+.) Offhand, I suppose that Faber is a better HOF/HOM candidate than Rizzuto. Anyway, Faber is a World War I example.

From my reading around in Riley, it looks like a lot of black players fought in WWI, though I can't off the top of my head think of any likely candidates whose standing would be affected. Once the thread gets started, I'll see if I can give better info.

Dobie Moore played ball in the Army for a number of years before he left the service to play ball in the Negro Leagues, but that's a somewhat different matter. I think his candidacy is going to generate lots of discussion . . .
   225. jimd Posted: March 25, 2004 at 07:21 PM (#522877)
For those who have any edition of the Neft-Cohen baseball encyclopedia, military service is marked for many players in 1918 and a few in 1919. Also marked is "war work", which was working for an "essential industry" as an alternative to military service. Baseball was deemed not "essential" which was why it was shut down in early September.

Joe Jackson is marked for "war work". He is also marked as a "hold-out", so it will take somebody with better sources than I have to figure out how much time he lost voluntarily at the beginning of the season, and how much he lost involuntarily at the end.

A caution on the "war work". There are only a few players marked as such and they are all from the 1917 World Series participants (White Sox-Giants), so I don't know if this would indicate incomplete records overall and a source only covering these two teams, or just random chance, or some other explanation.

People have already mentioned many of the notable players with military service. A few others: Pete Alexander (like he'll need the extra credit), Sam Rice (age 28), and young Herb Pennock. The latter will require some discussion as he was not a regular starter in 1917 but moved into the "rotation" in 1919; was he ready in 1918?

The length of service can also vary widely as some players were drafted mid-season. It looks like Eddie Collins lost maybe a month to his service in 1918, young Harry Heilmann maybe two, tops.
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