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

Monday, April 19, 2004

1925 Ballot Discussion

1925 (May 2)?elect 2

 WS  W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)
354 77.5 1904 Sherry Magee-LF (1929)
231 43.0 1905 Hal Chase-1b (1947)
214 42.1 1908 Heinie Zimmerman-3b (1969)
171 50.7 1904 Terry Turner-SS/3b (1960)
198 41.9 1904 Red Ames-P (1936)
161 31.8 1911 Red Smith-3b (1966)
132 34.5 1908 Jack Barry-SS (1961)
130 32.2 1910 Chick Gandil-1b (1970)
132 30.6 1905 Lefty Leifield-P (1970)
125 26.6 1912 Larry Cheney-P (1969)
104 27.6 1912 Lee Magee-CF/2b (1966)
110 24.0 1911 Vic Saier-1b (1967)

DanG sent me the death list, but due to email difficulties, I can’t post it now. Will edit this later today or tomorrow with that info.

I don’t believe any new Negro Leaguers are eligible, let me know if that’s mistaken . . .

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: April 19, 2004 at 10:15 AM | 243 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Daryn Posted: April 19, 2004 at 01:18 PM (#523776)
Let me be the first to place Magee among the backlog. I have him as the best white hitter available.

1. Joe Mcginnity ? First time at the top of my ballot. Led league in wins 5 times, averaged 25 wins a year, led league in IP 4 straight years. Very close in value to first ballot inductee Walsh. Just flipped him with Brown.

2. Mordecai Brown ? very close to Mcginnity, top 5 pitcher in the league 7 consecutive times, 8 total. On win/loss only, Mcginnity had brown?s career and then went 7-12. I think they are about that close, but I am dropping him below McGinnity based on Chris? great analysis of the Cubs? fielding and the comparison of McGinnity against replacement level pitchers for all of his extra innings each year. I like that latter idea a lot and will try to incorporate it into my rankings in the future.

3. Grant Johnson - best blackball player to date. I?d really like to see he and Grant and Rube all make it.

4. Frank Grant ? no stats, gut pick based on descriptions of a great excluded player. I?m more sold on him than before based on the commentaries in the past few weeks.

5. Andrew Foster ? All three of these blackball stars should be in by 1932. Could easily be 6th on this ballot, or even 4th. I think his legend is a bit enhanced by his managerial and executive prowess. Still, Wagner said he might have been the best. Best Rube-related stat ? his Chicago Leland Giants went 123-6 in 1910.

6. Mickey Welch ? 300 wins, lots of grey ink. Welch is the last person on my ballot that I really care about being in the Hall of Merit; and sadly he looks like the person on my ballot who has one of the worst chances of making it in.

7. Sherry Magee ? this is as low as I could start him. He could?ve been as high as third. 7 times top 6 in OPS and OPS+, 3 times leading the league in rbis and extra base hits. Really great offensive player in the deadball era, and his career spanned 14 good years.

8. Jake Beckley -- ~3000 hits but no black ink at all. My type of hall of meriter. The Beckley supporters have done some pretty good analysis of how strong his career was, even absent a real peak. Baseballreality.com has him as the best first baseman in baseball for a long time. Surprised how ?close? he is to Crawford.

9. Sam Thompson ? 8 dominating years, great ops+, lots of black ink in multiple categories. I have lowered him as it becomes apparent that others of his value are entering the ballot more frequently. I am lowering him again because I am more convinced his defense faired poorly compared to others on and near this ballot.

10. Bob Caruthers ? nice Winning percentage, great peak, short career, surprisingly low era+, 130 ops+ as a hitter . Karlmagnus? tactics notwithstanding, he has convinced me that this guy should be in (which was my original thought in any event). A record 6th pitcher on my ballot.

11. Roger Bresnahan ? Great OBP, arguably the best catcher in baseball for a six year period. Counting stats, like all catchers of this time and earlier, are really poor. Maybe I have him too high -- it?s here or just off the ballot. Tight ballot; I am sure he is better than Pike and below, but not necessarily better than Leach and above.

12. Bobby Wallace ? like Sheckard, too many Win Shares to ignore, but unless he was a great defender (and people seem to think he was, .34ws/1000 from an A) he doesn?t belong close to this high. Is he Ozzie or Tony Fernandez? I do compare ss?s as hitters to other hitters and as fielders to other ss?s. I don?t think this is wrong.

13. Jimmy Sheckard ? I can?t ignore 339 win shares and he did walk a lot ? throw in above average defense, a home run title and strong seasons 8 years apart and I guess I wouldn?t be embarrassed if he got in.

14. Tommy Leach ? slightly inferior to Sheckard, better fielder, worse hitter. I don?t like either of them really. Apparently I like peak a little more than I thought. Going into this I thought that 300 WS would make a candidate an easy choice. Back on the ballot.

15. Lip Pike ? 4 monster seasons, career too short. I re-evaluated him (he was as high as 9th on my ballot) ? I was giving him too much credit for his age 21 to 25 years. His is the kind of peak I can support. Back on the ballot.

Hal Chase isn't that close to the ballot for me.
   2. Marc Posted: April 19, 2004 at 02:27 PM (#523778)
Andrew, good question, but I see Magee as more comp to Jimmy Sheckard. But the 3 leading LFers--Sheckard, Magee and Jones--are pretty close and all will be on my ballot, probably in the 6-12 range.
   3. Chris Cobb Posted: April 19, 2004 at 02:34 PM (#523780)
Brief Prelim Ballot, to show where I land Magee:

1. Grant Johnson
   4. Chris Cobb Posted: April 19, 2004 at 02:44 PM (#523781)
I hate to have to apologize for my top pick, but SOMEBODY has to go #1, and frankly everyone else at this point has a few warts too. Which is why the next few years (1925-1931) ballots will be our most important, as the easy choices are gone. How many different #1s will we get this week? Twelve?

While I don't plan on apologizing for my top pick this year, I think Tom is generally in the right about what we are facing over the next few years. Therefore, I think voters who have been timelining Pearce and Pike out of the picture ought to think carefully about whether that's really the best way to go. We'll have a choice between electing players who were maybe the 15th to the 20th best players of their era and electing a player who was (arguably) the best of his time (Dickey Pearce) and who was pretty clearly one of the top 10 players of his time (Lip Pike). Yes, the pools were smaller, but the greatness of these players in their context is incontestable, whereas the greatness of the more recent alternatives we'll be considering is less so.
   5. karlmagnus Posted: April 19, 2004 at 03:14 PM (#523783)
On the Baker Bowl, what about the 1911 cork centered ball? A tiny ballpark wouldn't have mattered much with the old woolly ball, but with a tauter ball, home runs would become possible without a Mickey Mantle-sized clout. That and the ballparks would make the Baker Bowl's PF shift sharply from 1909-13.
   6. Marc Posted: April 19, 2004 at 03:34 PM (#523786)
I am absolutely not going to apologize for my #1 and 2, as soon as I figure out who they are!

Unlike some of you, I have the luxury of my own personal backlog of PHoMers:

Caruthers 1905
   7. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 19, 2004 at 03:42 PM (#523788)
This week's thought question: what separates Magee and Charley Jones other than their birthdays?

Three extra years as a starter. Sounds minor, but when you figure Jones only started 10 years, that's a 30% advantage for Magee. Plus he did more in his 2 non-starter seasons at the edges of his career. Plus there's the AA factor with Jones.

Anyone have any info on how much Magee gained from his home parks. Didn't the Braves play in a giant cavern of a stadium at the time?

I find it interesting how he went from the Phillies in 1914 from the Braves in 1915. Wrong way, Sherry!

Quick eyeball - to me, he looks more impressive than to the rest of you. An OPS+ of 137 in about 2000 games reminds me more of a Sam Crawford-lite than anything else. My goal these days is to put a new candidate as low on the first ballot as I can justify (not out of some lame desire to reserve "first-ballot" status to the greats, but so that we dont' accidently rush into putting someone in without giving them the fullest consideration) & right now I have a hard time justifying putting him lower than 3rd on my ballot. Maybe 2nd.
   8. OCF Posted: April 19, 2004 at 03:44 PM (#523789)
...IF my previous top 2 were elected in 1924...

TomH: the polls may still be open, but that's an extremely safe assumption.

My own highest-ranked among those lot likely to be elected is Sheckard. Now along comes Magee, who was more of a hitter. Magee had monster offensive years in 1910 and 1907, very good years in 1906 and 1914, and the rest of it isn't too shabby. As an offensive player, I've got him ranking right with Clarke, and ahead of Kelley, Keeler, and even Flick. So now the question becomes: do I have any reason not to put him #1?
   9. Jim Sp Posted: April 19, 2004 at 03:48 PM (#523790)
Leach makes my ballot for the first time. Knocking Brown down some for the Cubs defense, but he's still at the top of my ballot. Call me a traditionalist I guess. Apparently I like Magee more than most. I park adjust for the Baker Bowl, but if he had a unique ability to take advantage of it then he gets credit for that.

Magee and Plank look to make my HoM this year.

1) Brown--Brown went 127-44 with an ERA of 1.42 in 1461 IP from 1906-1910. Although I appreciate the quality of the Cubs' defense, and the low run context of the era, that's quite a run.
   10. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 19, 2004 at 04:16 PM (#523792)
Re: Dickey Pearce

Can someone show me how Babe Ruth wouldn't have been as great playing in a league where all the players played like myself (which would be pretty bad) compared to his own era? As far as I'm concerned, he would be the same player, though he would obviously dominate the hypothetical league a hundred times more compared to what he really did during the twenties.

The same thing applies for Pearce. I don't care if his competition wasn't as good as the NL was twenty years later. Nobody argues the point that Pearce was the best for a very long time at his position. He was certainly the best at his position before the Civil War, so I don't see how the war quality argument should pop up in the discussion. He played to win with teams that played to win. He played as long as any shortstop did during the 19th century. His documented statistics are better than for any 19th century shortstop.

That should be ballot worthy.
   11. Daryn Posted: April 19, 2004 at 04:26 PM (#523793)
Re Pearce

With apologies to John, I agree with Andrew and funnily, 1866 is also the cut off date for me. It doesn't hurt Pike because he was so young, so I have him on my ballot. But it eliminates the majority of Pearce's "career". The other question I have for Pearce fans is if he was so great, why does he have only one good season, if that, after the age of 34. For HoMs still playing into their late thirties, I expect better results.
   12. KJOK Posted: April 19, 2004 at 04:36 PM (#523794)
Re Magee and Shibe Park:

Park had almost no impact on Magee. From 1904-1914, Philly games averaged 8.00 runs in Shibe and 7.79 runs on the road, for a park adjustment of just 1.4%. That despite the fact that HR's were 29% greater in Shibe than on the road - there just weren't ENOUGH HR's to make that much difference in scoring.
   13. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 19, 2004 at 04:40 PM (#523795)
The other question I have for Pearce fans is if he was so great, why does he have only one good season, if that, after the age of 34. For HoMs still playing into their late thirties, I expect better results.

He was a year older, Daryn (not that it makes that much of a deal). Again, compare his documented stats to Glasscock or any other shortstop during the 19th century. He compares favorably to any of them.
   14. Daryn Posted: April 19, 2004 at 04:57 PM (#523797)
John/David,

Good points - I guess that is why I was lurking from the start and didn't start voting until 1914 or so. My expectations of players are 20th century-based and I have trouble make the proper allowances for the early players. Similarly, based on modern principles as well, I can't bring myself to vote for Jennings due to his very short career.

I'd probably have trouble voting for Foxx and Matthews if I had to guess at their early careers in the same we have to guess at Pearce's.
   15. KJOK Posted: April 19, 2004 at 05:18 PM (#523799)
Philly games averaged 8.00 runs in Shibe - obviously, I meant BAKER BOWL and NOT Shibe!
   16. Chris Cobb Posted: April 19, 2004 at 05:22 PM (#523801)
Selected Shorstops' OPS+, ages 35 - 39 (not all seasons are as starters)

Pearce ? 76, 36, 80, 106, 98

Davis ? 120, 94, 81, 29, --

Dahlen ? 99, 102, 69, 94, 94

Glasscock ? 75, --- (last 5 seasons, 31-35 ? 85, 109, 112, 72, 75)

Wagner ? 173, 134, 156, 145, 113

Jennings -- ---- (last 5 seasons, 29-34 ? 125, 87, 100, 111, 60)

Long ? 50, 69, 52, 57, --

Tinker -- -16, --- (last 5 seasons, 31-35 ? 86, 127, 94, 117, -16)

Wallace ? 92, 108, 66, 89, 60

Wright ? 19, --- (last 5 seasons 31-35 ? 57, 122, 72, 58, 19)
   17. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 19, 2004 at 05:22 PM (#523802)
What stats are avalible besides his NA stats?

His NA stats were the ones that I was referring to.
   18. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 19, 2004 at 05:39 PM (#523803)
Just in case I wasn't clear, I meant shortstops who were in their late thirties during the 19th century. I wasn't including Dahlen or Davis.
   19. Rusty Priske Posted: April 19, 2004 at 05:58 PM (#523806)
I don't think we have to worry about banning Chase. He isn't even close to the HOM.

By prelim. Obviously I have Magee a little higher than most, but no apologies. :)

No clear cut winners this week. It shoudl be interesting.

1. Sherry Magee (new)
   20. OCF Posted: April 19, 2004 at 05:58 PM (#523807)
Bill James wrote a great deal about Hal Chase in the original Historical Baseball Abstract, and repeated most of it in the new one. In another place, as part of a list of banned players, he gets off this one-liner: "Presumably holds the all-time record for games fixed."

Ascertaining the likelyhood of that statement being correct would seem to lie utterly beyond the scope of further historical research. But is there any good reason to doubt it?

If I were to assume Chase were honest, I'd rank him about with Wildfire Schulte - and Schulte failed to draw a vote last year. I'd boycott him, of course, but the question is moot.
   21. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 19, 2004 at 06:26 PM (#523809)
Pearce is tough to judge as he's a middle infielder. I'd have to check at home, but I seem to recall that he was no longer a *hitting* star on Brooklyn by this time.

Of course, George Wright took over as the Honus Wagner for that era after '66, though Pearce was still considered the second best at the position for a while.

What I don't understand is the people who want to give him major subjective points for being universally acknowledged as one of the very best players in the game in the early 1860s?

Speaking for myself, I'm not giving him subjective points, per se. What we have here is a player who had a fine peak and a long career. His peak may not have rivaled Wagner, Wright or Jennings, but I think it was substantial enough (coupled with the lengthy career) to place him high on my ballot.
   22. Daryn Posted: April 19, 2004 at 06:31 PM (#523810)
I know it doesn't matter for Chase, but I thought we weren't allowed to boycott players (except for the first year) based on gambling, racism etc.? Is that the rule?
   23. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 19, 2004 at 06:34 PM (#523811)
I know it doesn't matter for Chase, but I thought we weren't allowed to boycott players (except for the first year) based on gambling, racism etc.? Is that the rule?

Yes.
   24. Marc Posted: April 19, 2004 at 06:45 PM (#523812)
Great post #27 by Chris Cobb. For a guy like Dickey Pearce, you've got to remember that what we see (statistically) is not only a decline but a "late" decline. What kind of career would you extrapolate forward from that? Somebody said Wallace, and that's probably an acceptable approximation.

Was he a hitting star after 1866 or after 1870 or after..? Well, was Bobby Wallace a "hitting star"? Was Jack Glasscock a "hitting star"? No, they were acceptable hitter given that they were gold glove SS. A gold glove SS with OPS+ 100 is an all-star. An all-star SS at age 35-39 (and with 15 prior years in the bank) is a HoMer.
   25. Chris Cobb Posted: April 19, 2004 at 07:23 PM (#523813)
What I don't understand is the people who want to give him major subjective points for being universally acknowledged as one of the very best players in the game in the early 1860s?

I made the argument that it makes more sense to value players who we know were the clearly among the best of their generation (even though we are aware that their time featured weaker competition and a smaller population pools than another time) than players who were, say, somewhere between the 15th and 20th best players of their generation.

This does not seem to me to be a method that gives subjective bonuses but a mostly objective scale of measurement that offers different results from those offered by a comprehensive metric. The uncertainly shifting competition levels of the first 50 years of professional baseball make a measures derived from, say, win share totals (grouped in various ways to define peak, prime, career, or rate values) somewhat uncertain: players of different eras may look better or worse due to quality of competion issues that we can't reliably identify or compensate for. Ranking players within their generations and then comparing where players rank in these lists offers a scale that changes the impact of these competition issues.

Right now, for instance, generational rankings lead me to believe that the 1880s are somewhat overrepresented in the HoM because we didn't, and don't, know exactly how much to discount the stars of that era for the relative weakness of their competition. One way to correct for this is to use a quota that allots an equivalent number of spots for players from a defined time period. (I find it convenient to think about decades, but other units of time would be just as valid.) I don't use the quota strictly; I look at it as a check against what my primary system tells me.

Looked at from the perspective of period quotas, the HoM appears to have many more stars from the 1880s than from any other decade; the 1890s and 1900s are behind but gaining steadily and appropriately on the 1880s; the 1870s have significantly fewer representatives (but there were fewer teams and players), and the 1860s have about 1.5 representatives.

Right now, my period rankings tell me that we have only two eligible players who were top-10 players for their eras: Grant Johnson, who is #9 for the aughts, and Dickey Pearce, #2 for the 1860s. (Behind them are Lip Pikie at #11 for the 1870s, Jimmy Sheckard at #12 for the aughts, Frank Grant at #14 for the 1890s, Mickey Welch at appx. #15 for the 1880s).

I have no way of saying for sure how much of a competition discount should be applied to 1860s baseball in comparison to 1919 baseball, although I know that it must be significant.

I am pretty certain, however, that Dickey Pearce was, in the context of the 1860s, perhaps the top player of his time, certainly one of the top four players. Joe Start, Harry Wright, and George Wright are the other players with arguments for being the best.

Given these circumstances, are we more likely to go right in our effort to honor the best eligible player by electing Dickey Pearce than by electing Jimmy Sheckard or Sherry Magee (who I see as #16 for his time)? I think we are more likely to go right by honoring Pearce. I have more confidence that he was great, in his context, than I have that Sheckard was great.

In my view, therefore, we would do well, in the next few years, to elect a couple of the top players from the more thinly represented 1860s and 1870s who were clearly great in their time. We ought to elect at least another 4-5 players each from the 1890s and the aughts as well before we enshrine any other 1880s stars.

I've come around to the view that Welch and Caruthers are better than some of their contemporaries who are already elected, and I hope we'll get around to electing them at some point. But I think period rankings, and a losely applied period quota, give us a more reliable guide to comparing greatness between eras than comparisons based strictly on the statistical records of the players, because the weighing of competition quality is always an uncertain exercise.

If one employs a period ranking system, Dickey Pearce looks like a player we surely ought to elect.
   26. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 19, 2004 at 07:28 PM (#523814)
Looking at Sherry Magee a little more, you know who he really reminds me of? Joe Kelley

...............SM...JK
   27. Brad G. Posted: April 19, 2004 at 07:40 PM (#523815)
Sherry Magee Defense = B- in Win Shares
   28. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 19, 2004 at 07:41 PM (#523816)
I don't have the win shares book with me right now - what info does it give about his defense?

James gives him a B-

I still don't know if he makes my ballot or not, but I'm hoping he does.
   29. karlmagnus Posted: April 19, 2004 at 07:48 PM (#523817)
Another shortish career and stats, while boosted by the Baker Bowl, well short of Duffy/Ryan/Van H. If we want more 90s players, and more outfielders, I think those 3 have prior claim, particularly Duffy. Magee looks to me like Beckley minus 800 hits.
   30. Jeff M Posted: April 19, 2004 at 07:52 PM (#523818)
"Presumably holds the all-time record for games fixed."

Does this count for black ink/grey ink tests? Shoeless Joe and Charlie Hustle won't need the extra black ink/grey ink points, but Hal Chase and Eddie Cicotte might.
   31. Marc Posted: April 19, 2004 at 07:56 PM (#523819)
I'm going to quit offering my opinion here and instead I'm just going to say "see Chris Cobb," in this case #39.

By analogy, did anybody notice that the NCAA buckets all-Final Four team was 3 guys from the champ and 2 from the runner-up. Now, does anybody seriously think that a team can get to the Final Four if their best player is not even as good as the 3rd best player on one of the other teams? Very unlikely, but it happens year after year after year. Sure that guy got to play 2 games versus 1, but that doesn't make him better.

The same thing is happening here--the categorical rejection. His team didn't get to the championship game, he only played one game--screw 'im. That's a categorical rejection, not a considered one that says, ok, here are two guys who could be on the all-star team. Which of these two players was better? That question doesn't even get asked.

Same here. Pearce = 1860s, Joe Blow * 1860s, so I vote for Joe Blow. It seems that the thing to do would be to look at the record and see if Joe was really the better player or not. And ask yourself whether the game really changed so much that the 15th best player of the '80s is better (or more to the point, has more value) than the 2nd best player of a mere 20 years before?
   32. karlmagnus Posted: April 19, 2004 at 08:02 PM (#523820)
The problem with the "15th best player of the 1880s" argument against more 80s stars is that it doesn't allow for mistakes. IMHO, we have already elected the 15th best player of the 1880s -- George Gore or Ezra Sutton -- and are looking at two players in Caruthers and Welch who were substantially better than that. Caruthers in particular was #1 in the AA and in the top 2-3 in baseball from 1885-87.
   33. Daryn Posted: April 19, 2004 at 08:09 PM (#523821)
Marc,

I think you are missing our point. I don't think anyone here has any porblem with saying that the 3rd best player of the aughts ought to rank higher than the 15th best player of the 50s. The problem is that at a certain point at the beginning it wasn't even baseball as we know it. Sometime in the 1840s 10 guys in New York started playing a game that became baseball -- history never catalogued those guys, but the best out of those 10 is not a HoMer in my view. He is a pioneer. At some point you have discounted these early pioneers -- you may have chosen 1850 or 1855 as your cutoff -- I have chosen 1866 and sometimes I think 1871 is a better cutoff.

In any event, it is not that I doubt that Pearce was one of the best from 55 to 65 and it is not that I doubt that the best of earlier eras should be ahead of the not-quite-the-best of latter eras, it is that i'm not sure it was close enough to baseball between 1855 and 1865 in both rules and level of competition to count. It was closer to pick-up rounders against his buddies than it was to the game that was played 50 years later.
   34. Al Peterson Posted: April 19, 2004 at 08:20 PM (#523822)
Alright, I'll throw my hat into the ring about the 1860s, Peace, Pike and the other early timers. From the constitution:

"Voters are strongly encouraged to consider only a player?s on-field accomplishments and other factors which had an impact on the outcomes of the player?s baseball games. "

The phrase throwing me into lukewarm support of the earliest players is 'impact on the outcomes of the player's baseball games.' More of the early baseball contests were staged exhibitions and games versus amateur teams/clubs which were clearly divergent in talent level. Where is the relative parity of teams to compare when trying to determine great performers? Is Pearce helping his team win in a 31-9 blowout where somebody from the crowd could come in, play shortshop, and still have the New York nine win 25 - 15?

The benefit of the 1870s is the professional aspect of the NA. The dream of making a living hitting the round ball with a stick probably drew more talent into a more concentrated grouping of squads. I like that when trying to evaluate value of a player versus others playing at the same time. The further into the 1870s the more confident I become.

I guess that makes me a timeliner. Well, at least my ballot isn't everyone active in 1915...
   35. ronw Posted: April 19, 2004 at 08:30 PM (#523823)
One fan's opinion of the new candidates, based on raw WS

Sherry Magee - 12 HOM seasons (MVP Candidate 1906, 1907, 1910, All-Star Candidate 1905, 1908-1909, 1911-1915, 1918) He'll make my ballot. I have him nearly identical in value to Jimmy Sheckard.

Hal Chase - 9 HOM seasons (Never MVP Candidate, All-Star Candidate 1906-1907, 1909-1910, 1914-1917, 1919) In 1919 and 1920, we've got a lot of "suspect" retirements. Some say if Cobb and Speaker's scandal had come to light earlier, they would be on that quiet list of retirees. Remember, Chase is not on baseball's banned list. He can be elected to the HOF. Based on the glowing comments of his contemporaries, he's my pick for most overrated player of this class. Then again, he might have been that good, and just throwing games more often than we suspect.

Heinie Zimmerman - 9 HOM seasons (MVP Candidate 1912, All-Star Candidate 1911, 1913-1919) - One of two new eligibles with an MVP season. Also never banned, but a "suspect" retiree. (To be honest, I don't trust anyone from 1916-1920. FWIW, an interesting question mark for a 1919-1920 retiree is Larry Doyle. Never any allegations against him, but he was still decent when he retired in '20 and Doyle was a teammate of Chase and Zimmerman in '19.)

Terry Turner - 3 HOM seasons (All-Star Candidate 1906, 1907, 1912) Deadball Committee "mascot's" career spanned 1901-1919.

Red Ames - 4 HOM seasons (All-Star Candidate 1911, 1913, 1914, 1917) Most overrated pitcher of the class. In the back of my mind, I always thought he was better than this. Shows what the New York media will do for a player's reputation, at least in my head.

Red Smith - 7 HOM seasons (All-Star Candidate 1912-1918) My pick for the underrated player of the class. Key mid-season pickup for the Miracle Braves.

Jack Barry - 5 HOM seasons (All-Star Candidate 1910-1914) - The least-known member of the $100,000 infield was a solid infielder.

Chick Gandil - 5 HOM seasons (All-Star Candidate 1912-1915, 1917) OK, he was actually banned, for good reason.

Lefty Leifield - 6 HOM seasons (All-Star Candidate 1906-1911) Most underrated pitcher of this class.

Larry Cheney - 5 HOM seasons (All-Star Candidate 1912-1914, 1916, 1918) - Not much to say about him.

Lee Magee - 2 HOM seasons (All-Star Candidate 1916, 1918) - Our second banned player. In no danger of making the HOM or the HOF, but some theories say he may have kept Sherry Magee out due to a confusion of names. I don't know that I accept those theories.

Vic Saier - 3 HOM seasons (All-Star Candidate 1913-1915) Good replacement for Frank Chance for three years.
   36. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 19, 2004 at 08:30 PM (#523824)
IMHO, we have already elected the 15th best player of the 1880s -- George Gore or Ezra Sutton

Since Sutton played most of his teams' scheduled games during the '70s, it's rather dubious to lump him with '80s guys (though he obviously straddled both eras). Sort of lumping Pete Alexander with the 1920s pitchers.

How about Sutton as the 15th best player of the whole 19th century? I think even that's too low for, easily, the greatest third baseman of that era.
   37. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 19, 2004 at 08:32 PM (#523825)
BTW, Gore was much better than the 15th best player for the 1880s.
   38. Marc Posted: April 19, 2004 at 08:35 PM (#523826)
>It was closer to pick-up rounders against his buddies than it was to the game that was played
   39. Marc Posted: April 19, 2004 at 08:38 PM (#523827)
>Is Pearce helping his team win in a 31-9
   40. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 19, 2004 at 08:56 PM (#523828)
It's the difference between Eric Clapton and 100 guys who now can play his best chops faster than he could (or would have wanted, BTW). It's the Chuck-Berry-wasn't-a-very-good-guitar-player argument and its an anachronism.

Exactly. He might not have been as competitive of a guitarist within today's field, but his licks were revolutionary for that era of rock 'n' roll. Can anybody picture a Hall of Fame without him?

The flip side is, without the contributions of a Berry, Holly, Eddy, Diddley, etc., the Claptons, Hendrixs, Vaughans, Mayers, etc. wouldn't have been (or still are) what they became.
   41. Al Peterson Posted: April 19, 2004 at 08:58 PM (#523829)
That is the argument against Albert Belle for MVP. The Indians would have won the pennant without him, so he's not the MVP.

The Yankees would have won the World Championship in 1927 without Babe Ruth. So?


No point I guess. Just saying that since I don't know for sure that Pearce was playing anywhere near the best competition it makes it harder to say with 100% certainty that he was indeed "the greatest of his time".

Ruth I'm more sure he was at least the best of white baseball. By that time the major leagues were where you went when you excelled, with a few exceptions.

I'd vote against Albert Belle because I'm a Tiger fan :-)
   42. jimd Posted: April 19, 2004 at 09:52 PM (#523830)
Why did Joe Start play so poorly?

Pure speculations on my part, here. Theory I; he was bothered by
   43. Marc Posted: April 19, 2004 at 10:21 PM (#523831)
I'm a Twins fan so I should just keep this to myself, but that's a point I sometimes make about Kirby Puckett. He pulled the ball back over the wall, he threw out the runner at the plate. He was a spectacular defender, but those two things combined happened, what?, 8 or 10 times a year, if that? It's a "toolsy" argument.
   44. OCF Posted: April 19, 2004 at 10:30 PM (#523832)
But if you add in all those routine plays as well, BP does have Puckett as an above average CF (positive FRAA), while they have Chase as a below average 1B (negative FRAA). In particular, Chase seems to have a high number of errors. Now, as for why he committed those errors ...
   45. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 19, 2004 at 11:53 PM (#523834)
Its nice that you're thinking of us for the HOM, but who are Eddy, Diddley and Clapton?

LOL
   46. Marc Posted: April 20, 2004 at 12:32 AM (#523835)
Right. Toolsy * not valuable, but it * valuable either. Toolsy and valuable are pretty much independent variables.
   47. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 20, 2004 at 02:59 AM (#523837)
Provisional ballot:

1. Grant Johnson
   48. Marc Posted: April 20, 2004 at 02:54 PM (#523839)
Joe, I think Pearce is very analogous to Joe Start. Many voters saw Joe Start as a 16 year major leaguer with an OPS+ of 127. As such his comps might include guys like:

Bottomly 16 years-124
   49. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 20, 2004 at 03:02 PM (#523840)
My thought on Pearce is that he just isn't under the scope of the group. We're going from 1871 forward.
   50. Daryn Posted: April 20, 2004 at 03:55 PM (#523841)
But if Pearce is in, why doesn't the 1860s get the same representation as the 1870s? And if it does, who are the other nine or so guys we should be electing. I'm almost convinced to jump Pearce from 23 to 8 on my ballot, but what about his superstar contemporaries (and yes, I know, Pike is one and Wright and Start, electees, are two others). The decade is still underrepresented if it counts as a decade.
   51. Marc Posted: April 20, 2004 at 04:56 PM (#523843)
daryn, I am thrilled that you might move Pearce up on your ballot. OTOH, your comment has a bit of reductio ad absurdum. IOW, if I move Pearce up, then I have to move Reach up and I have to move Zettlein up and I have to move Harry Wright up and I have to move Chapman up and I have to move...and clearly it is absurd to move all of them up, and therefore it is absurd to move Pearce up. (Sorry, you probably know what reductio ad absurdum means....)

But anyway, my answer to reductio ad absurdum is always that we can split hairs and split them well. This is like the idea that banning fully automatic assault weapons is exactly the same thing as coming into my house and taking away my shotgun. Well, they're not the same thing.

We can successfully split the hairs that need to be split in order to give the '60s guys a fair shot, even if splitting those hairs means that Pearce is the only one we feel like honoring. I don't think our HoM would be dishonored in the least if Harry Wright were also to be elected and maybe even Al Reach, but I would never insist on triple-or-nothin.'
   52. Chris Cobb Posted: April 20, 2004 at 05:31 PM (#523844)
But if Pearce is in, why doesn't the 1860s get the same representation as the 1870s? And if it does, who are the other nine or so guys we should be electing.

For the same reason the 1870s don't get the same representation as the 1880s: the pool of players (and the population pool from which they are drawn) is smaller. Some voters argue that there isn't a pool yet because there isn't professional base ball; I think there is, and that we need to draw from it a bit more than we have.

In the 1870s, there are typically eight top-level professional teams, as compared to 16 in the 1880s.

For the 1860s, we have to make a judgment about what sort of a professional-team-equivalent to assign. My off-the-cuff figure is 2-4; I think I _could_ support the election of 2-5 players overall as the best of the 1860s. I'm not saying I _would_; right now I see three as the right number: Start, Pearce, half of George Wright, half of Lip Pike.

That said, the candidates worth looking at, in my opinion, are these:

Dickey Pearce
   53. Daryn Posted: April 20, 2004 at 05:34 PM (#523845)
Well, I think you've won me over. Check the next ballot thread for the results. Only 20 more voters to go!!
   54. PhillyBooster Posted: April 20, 2004 at 05:40 PM (#523846)
Personally, I've got nothing against Pearce, but I don't think he was as good as Pike. As Pike moves up, I could see Pearce moving on.
   55. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 20, 2004 at 05:48 PM (#523847)
From our constitution:

Also eligible are all ?excluded? players, most notably Negro Leaguers, and pre-MLB players.

Joe, according to this passage (and please correct me if I'm wrong), Pearce is well within the scope of this project and definitely is entitled a shot at the ballot as much as Josh Gibson or Smokey Joe Williams both do. There's no mention here of keeping out any pre-1866 players.

With that said, I would still be willing to go with my proposal from a few months back that would give the star 1860s players the recognition they deserve (without giving them the greater honor of the HoM). It wouldn't be a backdoor attempt to get them in (though they do have the right to be eligible for the HoM as staed in our Constitution) and they would be honored (but not to the same degree as the HoMers). I still think it's a reasonable compromise.

BTW, as I have mentioned in previous posts, the election process is not a zero-sum game. Electing Pearce does not mean that Bob Caruthers, Sam Thompson or Jimmy Sheckard may never enter our Hall (though they would have to wait a little longer).
   56. Marc Posted: April 20, 2004 at 05:50 PM (#523848)
At the risk of triggering a reductio ad absurdum reaction... the one additional name worth considering is Jim Creighton. Yeah, I know, only played three years. But relative to his times, his impact was huge. It was as if Mark McGwire or Barry Bonds dropped out of the sky and hit 180 home runs or so in three years and then died. I'm not saying we would elect them or that we should elect him. But part of this whole project, I think, is that at least in this busy, don't-give-a-damn world we live in, there are 45 guys who care to pause and remember George Zettlein, Lefty Leifield and Jimmie Lyons.
   57. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 20, 2004 at 05:54 PM (#523849)
<i>Dickey Pearce
   58. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 20, 2004 at 06:20 PM (#523851)
John the main reason I'm not voting for Pierce is because I don't any evidance on how good he was pre NA

Well, the evidence that I have is from contemporary sources. They suggest that he was the best until 1867 when George Wright comes on the scene. Since he practically invented the position, it's not surprising that he dominated shortstop for as long as he did. Some may say that he was helped in this domination by the fact that he created shortstop the way we know it today and shouldn't be given credit for this, but you could say the same thing about Babe Ruth popularizing the uppercut during the twenties.
   59. stephen Posted: April 20, 2004 at 06:28 PM (#523852)
I find the argument that it is in the HoM charter to consider pre-MLB players as the most compelling. As a voter, you don't get to arbitrarily assign your own criteria on eligibility. If we are instructed to vote for pre-1867 players, then we should do so, with an appropriate timeline adjustment.

Pearce and Pike will climb up my next ballot accordingly.
   60. KJOK Posted: April 20, 2004 at 06:29 PM (#523853)
Apply the Joe Start standard to Pearce, it is only fair to do that. I think we, has a group, have done this. Joe Start had SIXTEEN YEARS of performance in "major" leagues, and they were pretty good years. Pearce had seven, and they are basically unremarkable (in 1972 his OPS+ was 36!)
   61. Marc Posted: April 20, 2004 at 06:47 PM (#523855)
John, you short-change Dickey Pearce a bit. His case is not that he was the best SS of the '60s. It is that he was the second best player in the game in the '60s (him and/or Harry Wright).

yest, what you seem to be saying is that there is no evidence that you wish to accept. There is much evidence, as in every book about early baseball that has ever been published along with every contemporary source such as Chadwick.

KJOK, like yest you don't want to know anything other than 36, 36, 36, 36. That's your choice. We've got career voters and peak voters. I guess you're a trough voter. Pearce once had an OPS of 36. Pearce once had an OPS of 36. Pearce once had an OPS of 36. (Oh, and a 100 and a 109 and gold gloves at age 38-39, but never mind that.)

Oh well. At least he is being discussed.
   62. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 20, 2004 at 07:09 PM (#523856)
John, you short-change Dickey Pearce a bit. His case is not that he was the best SS of the '60s. It is that he was the second best player in the game in the '60s (him and/or Harry Wright).

No disagreement about Pearce. I think you're absolutely on the Marc. :-D

or is it because he practically invented the position that they suggest that he was the best until George Wright..

No, it's because he was the top shortstop by exclamation. If there had been an All-Star game every year from 1856 to 1866 (and there were a couple, BTW), you would have seen him manned at the position (unless he was the All-Star catcher instead for a particular year*).

* catching was considered tougher defensivly than pitching at the time

Pearce and Pike will climb up my next ballot accordingly.

Glad to hear it, Stephen!
   63. karlmagnus Posted: April 20, 2004 at 07:13 PM (#523857)
The 36 and the 109 are both spurious, because of 1870s season lengths and thus random fluctuation -- it's like Meyerle's 240 in 1871, which was really just a hot streak. Pearce's average OPS+ after 1871 was 78. While that suggests he was a competent player, it does NOT support him as HOM-worthy.

If we're electing people who were "the best" before 1871, we need to elect Alexander Cartwright. Having invented the game he must, until he explained it to others, have been the best at it :))

I'm not wholly anti pioneers, but prefer Wright to Pearce; the anecdotal evidence is just as strong and the post 1871 play is rather better.
   64. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 20, 2004 at 07:34 PM (#523859)
I was a much better hitter than my brother Abner.

Since brother Abner never played the game, I'm not shocked that you were better. In fact, everyone voting here was better.

Okay, now let's get to the meat of your snarky post. Since there were no leagues set up to play baseball (or whatever it was then) in the 1830s, nobody here will be advocating any players from that era (which is good because I have no idea who the hell played the game then).

I would also not advocate Alexander Cartwright or Doc Adams for this wing of the HoM, too. I think we should stick with professional players instead of amateurs. Besides, nobody knows how good Cartwright or Adams were, but we know pretty well how good Pearce was.
   65. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 20, 2004 at 07:42 PM (#523860)
The 36 and the 109 are both spurious, because of 1870s season lengths and thus random fluctuation -- it's like Meyerle's 240 in 1871, which was really just a hot streak. Pearce's average OPS+ after 1871 was 78. While that suggests he was a competent player, it does NOT support him as HOM-worthy.

I actually agree with much of your post. In fact, that is why I wanted to keep the discussion in the 19th century instead of comparing Pearce with Ripken or Cronin in their late thirties.

But the thing that you're missing is the abuse that infielders took back then. That Pearce was able to post the OPS+ that he did barehanded (and with the roughhouse shenanigans that players back then were involved with) up to the age of forty is a great testament to his greatness (coupled with the eyewitness accounts).
   66. Chris Cobb Posted: April 20, 2004 at 07:47 PM (#523861)
Pearce's average OPS+ after 1871 was 78. While that suggests he was a competent player, it does NOT support him as HOM-worthy.

Agreed; based on these numbers alone, we don't know whether we're looking at a player with a career like Tommy Corcoran's, like Rabbit Maranville's, or like George Davis's.

But the reports (and limited statistics) from the 1860s rule out ranking Pearce as a player of Corcoran's stature. Maranville is still possible, I think, but we're then we're talking about a borderline HoMer.
   67. karlmagnus Posted: April 20, 2004 at 07:51 PM (#523862)
It's very tricky; I agree that the abuse factor means that the 78 OPS+ doesn't rule out the possibility of Pearce having been HOM-worthy in his 20s. On the other hand, how important was SS then compared to later? -- you wouldn't have needed one against Ross Barnes, for example! It doesn't seem sensible to give SS much of a bonus compared to 1B or 3B.

Abner Doubleday is more worthy of the HOM than me; neither of us have played the game, but in 1839, when he's supposed to have invented it, he was 25 years younger than me and a lot fitter, so at least he COULD have played it competently :))
   68. Marc Posted: April 20, 2004 at 07:53 PM (#523863)
I don't disagree with karl either. That is why posts like Chris Cobb's (#27 above) are useful and informative, while #79 is meant to persuade by obfuscation (OK, and parts of #81).

;-)

Anyone who wants more than 36 and 109, see post #27. Again, it's not like we lack information on this.
   69. Chris Cobb Posted: April 20, 2004 at 07:58 PM (#523864)
Anyone who wants more than 36 and 109, see post #27. Again, it's not like we lack information on this.

While I appreciate Marc's praise, I'd add that it wouldn't be too hard to expand the comparison set on that OPS+ significantly to increase its reliability. Throw in Tommy Corcoran, for sure, and long-career third basemen and second basemen, too, and see how Pearce looks in that company.
   70. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 20, 2004 at 08:10 PM (#523865)
Abner Doubleday is more worthy of the HOM than me; neither of us have played the game, but in 1839, when he's supposed to have invented it, he was 25 years younger than me and a lot fitter, so at least he COULD have played it competently :))

Abner Doubleday had absolutely zilch to do with baseball. He was a competent officer during the Civil War who fired the first Union shot at Fort Sumter, but there is no evidence that he ever saw a game in his life (forget about inventing the game himself). Al Spalding was the one who propagated that myth. That's why Abner hasn't been elected to the HoF (and hopefully never will!) Nelson Doubleday would be a better choice. :-D
   71. Al Peterson Posted: April 20, 2004 at 08:14 PM (#523866)
Well, Pearce is getting plenty of press here in 1925. The arguments are convincing (to an extent). Most likely be moving onto my ballot this year or next but down toward the bottom.

The sad thing is that when that 1st ballot came out in 1898 all those Pearce supporters backed him with...1 15th place vote. When it would have been easiest with the smallest pool of players to sort through Dickey got the thumbs down almost unanimously.

Goes to show us that researching these things is a very long process.
   72. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 20, 2004 at 08:16 PM (#523867)
On the other hand, how important was SS then compared to later? -- you wouldn't have needed one against Ross Barnes, for example!

The funny thing about your statement is that, before Pearce came on the scene, shortstop was by far the easiest defensive position in the game. Almost overnight, Pearce pushed the position high up the defensive spectrum to roughly where it is today.
   73. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 20, 2004 at 08:19 PM (#523868)
The sad thing is that when that 1st ballot came out in 1898 all those Pearce supporters backed him with...1 15th place vote. When it would have been easiest with the smallest pool of players to sort through Dickey got the thumbs down almost unanimously.

I left him off my ballot in '98 because I didn't have any information about him at the time. He made my ballot the next "year" when that problem was corrected.
   74. karlmagnus Posted: April 20, 2004 at 08:36 PM (#523869)
I've just been side-tracked from income-producing activity to spend 20 minutes on this -- I already knew Doubleday didn't invent baseball, but was diverted by #84 and John's #85. In 1839, the popularly supposed date, Doubleday was at West Point, not in Cooperstown.

However, VERY interestingly, Arlington Cemetary's bio on Doubleday makes the baseball claim, but gives an earlier date, of 1835, when Doubleday was 16, and living in Cooperstown.

We actually KNOW that neither Doubleday nor Cartwright invented baseball; it's a derivative of the English rounders, a kids' game with rules quite close to 1850s baseball (that, I have played, but 40 years ago, before I was ever in the U.S.), and was mentioned in a Boston paper in the 1820s and by the British politician's wife Lady Hervey in correspondence about 1750, as a well known boys' diversion.

It is thus quite likely that the 16 year old Doubleday, learning about baseball maybe from a Boston area friend, brought it to Cooperstown and taught it to Graves (Spalding's 1907 informant), maybe even writing down a code of rules. Naturally, having not actually invented the game, and anyway having done whatever he did at 16, it didn't make it into his memoirs.

He probably did see a number of baseball games; he retired to New Jersey in 1873 and was president of the Theosophical Society in NY for a number of years before he died in 1893. No reason for him not to have taken in a ballgame or two, particularly if he'd liked it in his youth -- but no reason to devote attention to it in his memoirs, either.
   75. Marc Posted: April 20, 2004 at 08:38 PM (#523870)
Besides, pretty much everybody in the top 15 in 1898 is now in the HoM. I doubt that that will be true of 1925. Besides, if our 1898 ballot was really enlightened, then Ed Williamson would be a N-B.
   76. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 20, 2004 at 11:44 PM (#523873)
Karl:

I have never read anything about Doubleday playing any variation of baseball before - interesting stuff! His connection to baseball roots is still infinitesimal, but at least there's something there now.

<i>John on this just a few questions
   77. Marc Posted: April 21, 2004 at 12:36 AM (#523874)
> But the reports (and limited statistics) from the 1860s rule out ranking Pearce as a player of Corcoran's stature.

How exactly do they do that? What stats?

And how exactly is it that you can "what stats" when you want to say Pearce was no good, and then say the stats prove your point???
   78. Al Peterson Posted: April 21, 2004 at 01:37 PM (#523875)
We're at the quarter pole for the 20th century. I'm reaching into the 19th century for the #1 spot.

1925 prelim ballot. One worthy new eligible to add to the ballot. Most everyone else is in the same general position.

1. Sam Thompson (2). Patiently waiting his turn. During 10 year period (1886-1895) was top 10 in league in total bases 9 times. .308 EQA, .684 OWP, man could hit a little.

2. Joe McGinnity (4). Quanity of work for the 1900s impressive to say the least. Helped the team by taking the ball often which led to high value for those years. Top 5 in IP for six straight years (1899-1904). Nine year span (1899-1907) of 123 ERA+ over 3235 IP. Good thing he threw sidearm with that workload.

3. Jimmy Ryan (5). Giving credit of CF being more valuable than LF in terms of defensive spectrum. Being very good for long periods of time gets some points from me.

4. George Van Haltren (6). Similar arguments to Ryan, just a little less to them.

5. Sherry Magee (-). Better hitter than Sheckard, not as good a fielder. The batting numbers are good enough to nudge him over his fellow leftfielder.

6. Three Finger Brown (7). Has stood up pretty well to analysis of Cub defense, team quality questions. Don't forget his key stat - Wins per Finger.

7. Frank Grant (8). Still convinced we dealing with a quality player who deserves recognition.

8. Pete Browning (9). Don't know why I soured on him to such an extreme. Even with league discounts he swung some mean lumber. Let me throw out some numbers. Career OPS+ = 162 which puts him in company with names like Foxx, McGwire, Frank Thomas. Discount it because of AA play? At the OPS+ = 147 level you're talking Heilmann, McCovey, and Schmidt. That's some pretty lofty company. Batting Average Placement within league 1882-1891: 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 2, 3, -, 1, 3. Had a career .341 average in a league environment of .257 . Offensive Winning Percentage - .745. His guy was a WOW when hitting. He might not be the ideal multi-dimensional player but when you are this much an outlier at part of the game its going to get a bonus from me.

9. Jimmy Sheckard (10). Another well-rounded player, successful for the great Cub teams.

10. Rube Waddell (11). His strikeout numbers were well ahead of his time. Suffered from inconsistent offensive support. Had the sizzle of a star player in contrast to the substance of Plank.

11. John McGraw (12). Limited playing time but what he did with it is nonetheless outstanding. Positional bump as well.

12. Home Run Johnson (13). Weighed the evidence, can provide some ballot support. Probably ranking him mostly as SS.

13. Bob Caruthers (14). My tug-of-war with his value continues. I'm more sure now that if push came to shove Freedom Bob deserves in before the rest below him.

14. Jake Beckley (15). Tougher and tougher to ignore with dearth of 1B for a number of years; career totals eventually add up to quite the player despite lack of peak.

15. Hugh Duffy (17). Couple of great spikes to go with other uneven performances. Gets bump based on contemporary opinion as being one heck of a ballplayer.

Fighting for position:

16. Dickey Pearce. Impressed by the fact he was a regular in the NA at an age that was very old compared to most players. Still unsure as to career arc - was he a Cal Ripken, Alan Trammell, Dave Concepcion, none of the above? The reviews from early baseball are glowing - the issue of competition level at an unorganized time is frustrating.
   79. jimd Posted: April 21, 2004 at 10:16 PM (#523880)
Some player purchases from the 1880's (note the escalation):

September 16, 1885: Detroit bought out the Buffalo club for a reported $7,000. The deal included the purchase of the entire Buffalo franchise and all assets, and the Buffalo club operated through the end of the season with a new board of directors dominated by the Detroit owners. However, Detroit's principal purpose in the deal was not to run the Buffalo club, a sure money-loser, but to acquire for their own team Buffalo's so-called Big Four, third baseman [Deacon] Jim White, shortstop-catcher Jack Rowe, first baseman Dan Brouthers and second baseman-outfielder Hardy Richardson.

August 6, 1886: Detroit purchased second baseman Fred Dunlap for a reported $4,700, generally described as the largest price paid for a player to that date.

November 24 1886: New York purchased ? outfielder George Gore from Chicago. Some reports said Gore signed with the Giants after being released unconditionally at his own request, but others said more plausibly that there was a sales price of $3,500 or higher.

February 14, 1887: Boston purchased outfielder-catcher Mike "King" Kelly from Chicago for $10,000, an amount more than twice as large as any previous reported payment for a player (see August 6, 1886). The deal was very highly publicized, and the amount of the sale price attracted so much interest and scepticism that the check was displayed in a Boston storefront window. With the contract and his reported $5,000 salary, Kelly was dubbed the "$15,000 Beauty," but it was later revealed that his contract was actually for $4,000 .

about early November, 1887 Pittsburgh purchased second baseman Fred Dunlap from Detroit for a sum reported at $4,000 or $5,000.

November 26, 1887: Brooklyn purchased pitcher Bob Caruthers from St. Louis for a price most often, and probably correctly, given as $8,250, although some reports are slightly different. This was the highest price ever paid for a single American Association player.

November 29, 1887: Brooklyn purchased pitcher Dave Foutz from St. Louis for $5,500. If reported terms are correct, then in less than a week the Foutz sale together with the two on November 21 and one on November 26, netted St. Louis more than $21,000, a year's payroll for one of the weaker major league clubs. Nearly all the money came from Brooklyn, which thus began its rise to championship status.

April 3, 1888: Boston purchased pitcher John Clarkson from Chicago for $10,000, matching the record price paid for Mike Kelly in a deal between the same teams once year earlier (see February 14, 1887).

October 16, 1888: Philadelphia purchased outfielder Sam Thompson from the disbanding Detroit club for $5,000.

about October 16, 1888: Boston purchased catchers Charlie Bennett and Charlie Ganzel; third baseman Deacon Jim White; outfielder-infielder Hardy Richardson; and first baseman Dan Brouthers from the disbanding Detroit club. ... Richardson's price was widely and plausibly quoted as $8,000, and Brouthers' was probably about the same or a little less. Ganzel's price was given as $5,000. Bennett, arguably the best catcher in the game other than Buck Ewing, can hardly have been less expensive than Ganzel.

****

Note that Caruther's purchase price was the second highest to date, behind only Boston's purchase of King Kelly. Clarkson would also go higher than him that winter, but Brouthers and Richardson went for comparable prices the following winter. He was certainly perceived to have superstar value during this period of time. (As was Fred Dunlap, a couple of years earlier.)
   80. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 21, 2004 at 10:18 PM (#523881)
Prelim:

1) Dickey Pearce-SS/C</b> (2)
   81. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 21, 2004 at 10:24 PM (#523882)
Note that Caruther's purchase price was the second highest to date, behind only Boston's purchase of King Kelly. Clarkson would also go higher than him that winter, but Brouthers and Richardson went for comparable prices the following winter. He was certainly perceived to have superstar value during this period of time.

I have never said he wasn't a terrific player at his peak. For a couple of years, he was certainly among the elite. But his purchase price indicates that he wasn't perceived as Ruth or Bonds compared to his contemporaries either.
   82. Marc Posted: April 21, 2004 at 11:06 PM (#523883)
Here is a complete list of players who dominated the game in their day to the same extent or more as Ruth and Bonds:
   83. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 21, 2004 at 11:20 PM (#523884)
Here is a complete list of players who dominated the game in their day to the same extent or more as Ruth and Bonds:

Marc, my point was that he wasn't head and shoulders above his contemporaries for 1886 and 1887 (which is why I disagree with the notion that his peak was Ruthian). I thought my point was clear.
   84. jimd Posted: April 21, 2004 at 11:35 PM (#523885)
In two seasons, 1886-7, Caruthers had acquired a reputation/purchase-price that Brouthers or Richardson had required 8 or 9 years to acquire. Similarly, Clarkson would acquire in 2 years a reputation/purchase-price that Kelly had required a decade to acquire. I'm sure the purchasers were aware of the short shelf-life for pitchers, so a similar purchase price should mean an expectation of getting that value in a much shorter period of time.
   85. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 21, 2004 at 11:46 PM (#523886)
In two seasons, 1886-7, Caruthers had acquired a reputation/purchase-price that Brouthers or Richardson had required 8 or 9 years to acquire. Similarly, Clarkson would acquire in 2 years a reputation/purchase-price that Kelly had required a decade to acquire.

Is this true or does it mean that the majors were just becoming more profitable? Hardy Richardson may have made much more money than Ross Barnes or George Wright ever did, but I doubt anyone than would have thought True Blue was better than those two at their primes (and Richardson was certainly good). I bet we could find similar examples after Messerschmidt in '75 after the reserve clause was abolished, too.
   86. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 21, 2004 at 11:50 PM (#523887)
Hardy Richardson may have made much more money than Ross Barnes or George Wright ever did, but I doubt anyone then would have thought True Blue was better than those two at their primes (and Richardson was certainly good).
   87. Marc Posted: April 21, 2004 at 11:55 PM (#523888)
I don't doubt that there was more money available and that was part of it. I remember that Kirby Puckett was once the highest payed player in the MLs...for literally a matter of a couple days. But even if Caruthers had the highest sale price and/or highest salary for just a couple days or weeks or months, it is part of a pattern that says he was at one time about as highly regarded as anybody.

John, did I miss somebody saying he was Ruthian? The only post related to that was your post that said he wasn't Ruthian, and of course he wasn't.
   88. Paul Wendt Posted: April 21, 2004 at 11:57 PM (#523889)
jimd,
   89. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 22, 2004 at 12:03 AM (#523890)
Remember, this whole discussion started because MattB wanted a reason why anyone would place Duffy over Van Haltren. I wasn't attacking anyone's reasoning for giving Caruthers a ballot slot. I was only trying to explain why the pitcher/position players of that era do not do the same thing for me as they do for others here. But if you disagree, that's cool.
   90. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 22, 2004 at 12:06 AM (#523891)
John, did I miss somebody saying he was Ruthian? The only post related to that was your post that said he wasn't Ruthian, and of course he wasn't.

I was referring to something I saw weeks ago. It definitely wasn't anything that you said.
   91. jimd Posted: April 22, 2004 at 12:22 AM (#523892)
Sorry, Paul. This got accidentally omitted when I cut and pasted.

***

There's some other fascinating reading in the linked document.
   92. jimd Posted: April 22, 2004 at 12:36 AM (#523893)
John, you're missing my point. The sales in question are in a similar timeframe.

86-87 offseason: Kelly for 10K
   93. jimd Posted: April 22, 2004 at 12:54 AM (#523895)
Agreed, Joe. If you use the WARP numbers, or place any stock in the quantified contemporary opinions (sale prices, salary numbers), he was Ruthian for a couple of years, and a top player for some years after that. (Clarkson has a similar tale to tell, but with an alternating on-year/off-year pattern that spreads his career over more seasons.)
   94. karlmagnus Posted: April 22, 2004 at 02:20 AM (#523896)
Caruthers' peak was Ruthian in the most literal sense, but the Ruth of 1917-18, not the Ruth of 1920-21.
   95. jimd Posted: April 22, 2004 at 03:59 AM (#523897)
Caruthers (123) peers in ERA+ include:
   96. Howie Menckel Posted: April 22, 2004 at 11:59 AM (#523899)
all-time HOM point-vote-getters thru 1924.
   97. Howie Menckel Posted: April 22, 2004 at 01:04 PM (#523901)
updating, still fiddling with later categories, though...

ERA I: The Pioneers (10): All got their ML start by the second year of organized ball; more than half stretched their careers well into the '80s and '90s.
   98. Marc Posted: April 22, 2004 at 01:09 PM (#523902)
>
   99. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 22, 2004 at 01:29 PM (#523904)
<i>Comparison with other OFers/1Bmen doing well in previous ballots:

Player?.. BRAR ..FRAA(P) Qual ADJ .EqA. Yrs OWP RCAA
   100. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 22, 2004 at 01:30 PM (#523905)
<i>Caruthers (123) peers in ERA+ include:
Page 1 of 3 pages  1 2 3 > 

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