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— 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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   101. OCF Posted: April 22, 2004 at 02:00 PM (#523907)
TomH's chart shows Thompson with more RCAA than Magee, but bear this in mind: In Magee's time, each of those runs above average was worth quite a bit more than it was in Thomspson's time.

I've got my own version, using a different source (a Stats encylopedia) for RC and trying to scale each year to a common offensive context. Here's what I get:
   102. RobC Posted: April 22, 2004 at 02:13 PM (#523908)
Prelim ballot, mostly just shifting guys up 2 spots, with some other minor adjusts. Herman Long and Fielder Jones move in at bottom of ballot. Only new guy is Magee at 19.

1. Wallace (2)
   103. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 22, 2004 at 02:39 PM (#523910)
One thing that needs to be taken into account is the different attrition levels for outfielders from the 19th century compared to later generations. That's why I have Sam Thompson slightly ahead of Sherry Magee and Jimmy Sheckard.
   104. jimd Posted: April 22, 2004 at 02:46 PM (#523911)
Iron Man, the Old Fox, and Knuckles also pitched against competition that was vastly better than the mid-80s AA.

Since when did you become the advocate for a steep timeline Joe?

Caruthers pitched in the AA and his peak coincided with it's peak. The difference was comparable to NL over AL in 1901 or AL over NL for the next few years after that (if you buy into WARP-3). Iron Man is in the same situation as Caruthers for his time period; pitching in the weaker league. Arguing that his competition was vastly better is arguing for a steep timeline (which you usually argue against).

Old Fox and Knuckles pitched in the best league for their times, but WARP-3 still considers Caruthers to have had the more valuable career. If you want to advocate and present evidence for a more radical AA discount than BP currently uses, I'll listen.

Or if someone wants to present evidence that any of these three were paid as (or close to) the top pitcher in baseball during their career, I'll listen to that, too.
   105. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 22, 2004 at 03:00 PM (#523912)
John, you're missing my point.

Jim, I understand your point, but I think you're reading too much into the numbers.

Does the purchase price suggest he was a player of All-Star quality? Without a doubt.

Caruthers and Clarkson were two-year wonders and had the examples of Spalding/Bond/Radbourn etc to discourage the expectation of many more years to recover the expense.

This is were we disagree. Were owners really that conscious of the different attrition levels between positions back then? I would be shocked if this were the case since the professional game was still in its infancy (and didn't have that many seasons to see patterns yet). Besides, since Caruthers was only 23 at the time of the sale, I think it's fair to say that an owner would expect quite a few years more of productivity from Parisian Bob (especially with the bat).

BTW, does anyone know what the dimensions were for the first Sportsman Park?
   106. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 22, 2004 at 03:04 PM (#523913)
Caruthers pitched in the AA and his peak coincided with it's peak

I agree with this, BTW. This is definitely a plus in Caruthers' favor, IMO.
   107. OCF Posted: April 22, 2004 at 03:21 PM (#523914)
Altho I assume Thompson belongs on your chart somewhere...if he's below 500, I don't think I'd trust the conversion.

Thompson 381. Then you don't trust the conversion.
   108. jimd Posted: April 22, 2004 at 03:21 PM (#523915)
but I think you're reading too much into the numbers.

It's quite possible that I am. But there's also a difference between some of the subtle distinctions that you detect, and the sharp divide between pitchers and the other guys. Bond was toast at 25 and Spalding at 26, so the average owner should have been aware of the speculative nature of pitchers. Ward saw the pattern clear enough that he moved to SS to prolong his career, but he was probably smarter than the average owner ;-)
   109. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 22, 2004 at 07:33 PM (#523916)
Ward saw the pattern clear enough that he moved to SS to prolong his career, but he was probably smarter than the average owner ;-)

No, disagreement there. :-)

<i>Caruthers (123) peers in ERA+ include:
   110. Paul Wendt Posted: April 22, 2004 at 07:47 PM (#523918)
Howie Menckel #127
   111. jimd Posted: April 22, 2004 at 08:23 PM (#523919)
I once said:
   112. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 22, 2004 at 08:35 PM (#523920)
<i>A true contemporary of Griffith and McGinnity pitched more than twice as many innings. And a contemporary of Cicotte went more than 2000 IP past him, too.
   113. Howie Menckel Posted: April 22, 2004 at 08:47 PM (#523921)
Well, I'll be darned. Paul Wendt is right about that "Galvin/Clarkson" inconsistency. By my method, Clarkson would be an "1884 debut," lessening the gap between one era to another.

I'll beef that whole thing someday. Funny, I spend a good part of my time these days listening to talk about "Browning"; too bad it's not about ol' Pete...
   114. Howie Menckel Posted: April 22, 2004 at 09:49 PM (#523922)
Nomination for HOMers you're least likely to picture as having played together:
   115. jimd Posted: April 22, 2004 at 10:49 PM (#523923)
The attrition rate appears to have been higher for the generation of pitchers after Caruthers (which curtailed more pitchers in their prime) than during his own era. IOW (and IMO), Brown, Griffith, McGinnity and Willis would have been closer to the top pitchers for career innings pitched during the 1880s than they were during their own time).

You're not making sense to me. (Probably my fault.)

I would think that Caruthers would be part of that attrited generation, he not surviving long past the 1891 contraction. In an expansion era, he may have gotten more chances to hang around.

Iron Man and the Old Fox were part of an expansion generation. They got every opportunity to pitch longer. McGinnity didn't, going back to the minors and pitching forever. Griffith became a playing-manager, pitching himself whenever he thought it was in his own best interests. Knuckles just hung around with the wrong crowd and got caught.
   116. ronw Posted: April 22, 2004 at 10:53 PM (#523924)
Top Ten Finishes among unelected candidates:

20 - Sam Thompson (1902-08, 1910, 1912-1916, 1918-1924)
   117. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 22, 2004 at 10:55 PM (#523925)
Just looking up some odds'n'ends on marginal players & found out something incredible about Mickey Welch.

In 1885, the Giants lost the pennant to the Cubs by 2 games, so I thought I'd see how Welch did against the Cubs that year. Here's the results:

Date, score, opposing pitcher
   118. Marc Posted: April 22, 2004 at 11:16 PM (#523926)
Since the debate re. Parisian Bob keeps going in circles, I 'll repeat myself, too.

The knock on the AA is being overstated considering we've elected McPhee and Stovey. I don't remember hearing a whole lot about how weak the AA was until Caruthers became the top rated AA player under consideration. When jimd says Caruthers hit like Stovey, well, Stovey already got the AA discount and got elected. To say that he hit like Stovey but then you've got to apply the AA discount, well, that makes two discounts by my count.

And then the short-career thing...great point re. McGinnity and Brown. If you want to knock Caruthers because he wasn't Clarkson, well, Iron and Three weren't Young either.

And then the timeline thing...

I just have to chime in and say that I see double standards on all three of those points, the AA, the short career and the timeline. Either they're valid points for evaluation (for all) or they're not. You can't just trot them out for certain guys.

And I think the analogy to Jennings is appropriate. Nobody was Ruthian, but Caruthers certainly was Jenningsian (a new word!), except almost certainly more valuable. Bill James thinks so.
   119. OCF Posted: April 22, 2004 at 11:54 PM (#523927)
<i> player... RCAA 'adjRCAA' "factor"
   120. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 23, 2004 at 12:00 AM (#523928)
And I think the analogy to Jennings is appropriate. Nobody was Ruthian, but Caruthers certainly was Jenningsian (a new word!), except almost certainly more valuable. Bill James thinks so.

But Jennings is not on my ballot either. :-)

I just have to chime in and say that I see double standards on all three of those points, the AA, the short career and the timeline. Either they're valid points for evaluation (for all) or they're not. You can't just trot them out for certain guys.

Okay, your first point about the AA - no double standard by me

The second - the same there.

The third - ditto.

Since I have no animus against Caruthers, the St. Louis Browns, pitcher/position players or even Parisians :-), there would be no need for a double standard, right?

You're not making sense to me. (Probably my fault.)

No, probably mine.

I would think that Caruthers would be part of that attrited generation, he not surviving long past the 1891 contraction. In an expansion era, he may have gotten more chances to hang around.

I actually agree with that point (as I have pointed out in other thread), since I do take that into account across the board for that generation. It's still not enough.

What I mean by attrition is having the "stuff" to be able to pitch for a long time. There were many pitchers who were able to win 200 games relative to the number of starters during the 1880s compared to post-1890. The latter generations couldn't handle the extra burden young pitchers had to face after 1893. IOW, if the 1880 generation had come a decade later, maybe one of them might have hit 300 wins (with far fewer 200+ winners).

Iron Man and the Old Fox were part of an expansion generation. They got every opportunity to pitch longer. McGinnity didn't, going back to the minors and pitching forever. Griffith became a playing-manager, pitching himself whenever he thought it was in his own best interests. Knuckles just hung around with the wrong crowd and got caught.

The problem the FOBC have is peak voters vs career voters (and peak/career voters like the majority of voters here). That's where your "battle" has to be fought. That is not going to be easy.
   121. OCF Posted: April 23, 2004 at 03:39 AM (#523930)
TomH, I'll take a couple of days before trying to get back to you. Have to let this one sit.

Now as for Chris J.'s #151: It's been a while since I voted for an 1880's pitcher, and the last 1880's pitcher I did vote for was McCormick. What you've got in #151 is a little thing - but it's not the only little thing. Over the last couple of weeks, there's been a steady drumbeat of pieces of information about Welch, no one of them overwhelming - but each little item has seemed to come out in Welch's favor. I'm on the verge of reconsidering my previous ranking of 1880's pitchers and putting Welch on top - maybe even on the ballot. Chris and Chris - does this make sense to you?
   122. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 23, 2004 at 04:06 AM (#523931)
OCF: It makes sense to me, but I have Welch 2nd among 1880s pitchers.

FWIW, in pennant race situations (how his team did when he started against teams who finished either first or within 10 games of first in the years his teams came within 10 games of first - man than sounds a lot more wordy than it should) he was only a .500 pitcher for his career. After going 7-2 in '85, he went 3-6-1 in '88 (including 2 wins against George Van Haltren) & 1-3 in '89 (split 2 games against Radbourn & lost twice to Clarkson). That gave him a total record of 11-11-1 in those games.

Also, I'm going through game-by-game year-by-year & seeing how he did against each teams so far. When I'm done I'll measure how likely was he to pitch against good teams or bad teams, how he did against them over all, etc. Fun facts so far: in 1880 he went 0-7 against the Cubs (& 0-2 against them the next year), but compensated by going 16-0 (!) against Buffalo & Cincinnati (both of whom sucked). Went 9-2 against Buffalo the next year.

One other thing I've found out is why he was so good in 1885: the league sucked. Or I should say, that all the talent was on two teams - his team & the Cubs (who to his credit he handled well). The rest of the league had a combined winning percentage under .400. Here's NY's record in games when Welch started against all the other teams plus those teams winning percentages that year.
   123. Paul Wendt Posted: April 23, 2004 at 01:47 PM (#523932)
The rest of the league had a combined winning percentage under .400.

Does not compute. Given a uniform number of decisions, two teams @ .767 implies six @ .411, and the 1885 result was very close to that.
   124. Paul Wendt Posted: April 23, 2004 at 01:49 PM (#523933)
The rest of the league had a combined winning percentage under .400.

Does not compute. Given a uniform number of decisions, two teams @ .767 implies six @ .411, and the 1885 result was very close to that.
   125. Chris Cobb Posted: April 23, 2004 at 02:11 PM (#523934)
Tom H.,

Welch will be making my ballot this year, for what it's worth. I'm convinced that he is the best remaining candidate from the 1880s.

I'm on the verge of reconsidering my previous ranking of 1880's pitchers and putting Welch on top - maybe even on the ballot.

I don't think he's the best pitcher from the 1880s (not sure whether you meant best overall or best eligible). I haven't finished my review of 1880s pitchers (been sidetracked in that project by Negro-League stuff), but I have done John Clarkson, and I definitely rank him ahead of Welch. His 1887 and 1889 seasons were better than any seasons Welch ever had, and the rest of his career is about as good as Welch's. I definitely rank Welch ahead of Caruthers and Keefe, though.
   126. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 23, 2004 at 02:21 PM (#523935)
Does not compute. Given a uniform number of decisions, two teams @ .767 implies six @ .411, and the 1885 result was very close to that.

You're right, I was a little off in my math - actual record for the rest was 270-390, "good" for a pct of .409. The larger point still stands: the rest of the league was pretty bad. The Mets had a .410 WPct last year? Can you imagine if a pitcher got to face them 6 out of every 7 starts the entire year? That's Welch & Clarkson (& Keefe & Jim McCormick) in 1885.
   127. Marc Posted: April 23, 2004 at 02:38 PM (#523936)
The only problem I have with the Mickey Welch discussion is this.

When we look at Mickey more or less in isolation--e.g. how did he do in pennant races, what was his run support, defensive support, etc.--well, how does that tell you that Mickey was better than, say, Jim McCormick? If we spent as much time and energy looking at the details of Jim McCormick's career, maybe a bunch of little things would jump out at us the make him look like a HoMer.

A comparative approach answers the question, who is the best candidate? The approach of micro-analysis of one career answers the question, should I spend some more time comparing Mickey Welch to the field? It does not answer the question, is he the best candidate.
   128. Chris Cobb Posted: April 23, 2004 at 03:02 PM (#523937)
A comparative approach answers the question, who is the best candidate? The approach of micro-analysis of one career answers the question, should I spend some more time comparing Mickey Welch to the field? It does not answer the question, is he the best candidate.

Marc, I agree with the importance of a comparative approach. Although I haven't presented the data that backs up my evaluations, I am basing it on a comparative approach. I should add that I have done a full study of McCormick as well as Welch, so my ranking of 1880s pitchers now is Clarkson, Welch, Caruthers, Keefe, McCormick, with Galvin, Radbourn, Mullane, Whitney, King, and Buffinton still to re-examine, in that order.

The Mets had a .410 WPct last year? Can you imagine if a pitcher got to face them 6 out of every 7 starts the entire year? That's Welch & Clarkson (& Keefe & Jim McCormick) in 1885.

True, though the fact that New York and Chicago had most of the best pitching in the league also contributed to their dominance of their opponents. Adjusting for offensive and defensive support, here's what I have for these four pitchers in 1885

Clarkson 623 IP, 53-16, 7.7 wins above average pitcher in the same # of innings
   129. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 23, 2004 at 03:30 PM (#523938)
When we look at Mickey more or less in isolation--e.g. how did he do in pennant races, what was his run support, defensive support, etc.--well, how does that tell you that Mickey was better than, say, Jim McCormick?

That's kinda my plan eventually. Unless I get sick of it. FWIW, Bob Caruthers was also .500 in pennant games (24-24). I changed the rules a little bit for him becaus his teams ran away with it by such wide margins so many times - I included games against the 2nd place finishers from 1885-7. He was 8-10 in those games & 16-14 in the other, closer races. Year-by-year:

1884..1-0
   130. jimd Posted: April 23, 2004 at 05:48 PM (#523940)
What I mean by attrition is having the "stuff" to be able to pitch for a long time. There were many pitchers who were able to win 200 games relative to the number of starters during the 1880s compared to post-1890. The latter generations couldn't handle the extra burden young pitchers had to face after 1893.

Still not gettting it (probably still my fault).

Pitchers born 1851-1860 winning 200 games: 9
   131. karlmagnus Posted: April 23, 2004 at 06:18 PM (#523941)
Jimd, a superb logical refutation of that very tired argument.
   132. karlmagnus Posted: April 23, 2004 at 06:29 PM (#523942)
Also, to explode the "too many 80s pitchers" argument against Caruthers and Welch:

1850s: 3 HOMers + Welch
   133. karlmagnus Posted: April 23, 2004 at 06:34 PM (#523943)
Slight error, I forgot McGinnity. If we elect him it's 4/4/5/3, assuming we elect Caruthers, Welch and Brown, but not Griffith or Waddell.
   134. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 23, 2004 at 06:51 PM (#523944)
<i>Still not gettting it (probably still my fault).

Pitchers born 1851-1860 winning 200 games: 9
   135. PhillyBooster Posted: April 23, 2004 at 07:00 PM (#523945)
I've got no problem adding another pitcher or two from any decade, but the fact that the pitchers who won 200 games in the 1880s were all born in different years doesn't disprove that it was easier to win games in that decade. If most decades had five 200 game winners, but one decade had ten because the very young and very old ("wrong decade" pitchers) were picking up lots of victories in that decade, isn't that evidence that it was easier to win then? Age usually corresponds to years playing baseball very well, but unless we want to consider Rusie and McGinnity contemporaries, it is the places they don't watch up that help tell the story.

200 Wins, based on decade in which most (or plurality) of the games were won:

1870 (3) Mathews, Spalding, Bond

1880 (11) Galvin, Keefe, Clarkson, Radbourn, Welch, Mullane, McCormick, Buffinton, White, Caruthers, King

1890 (6) Young, Nichols, Weyhing, Rusie, Griffith, Stivetts

1900 (7) Mathewson, Plank, Willis, McGinnity, Brown, Mullin, Orth
   136. karlmagnus Posted: April 23, 2004 at 07:01 PM (#523946)
On that argment, we should give a bonus for 80s pitchers and players, since they were less likely to face the bottom end of expanded rosters.

The roster size question suggests very strongly that timelining between 1880 and 1910, and/or discounting the AA, is in fact incorrect, because roster sizes increased steadily through the period, so competitive strength did NOT increase, as more and more marginal players played roles.
   137. Marc Posted: April 23, 2004 at 07:06 PM (#523947)
>How many starting pitchers were there in the 1880s compared to the aughts? Without question, there were more 200+ winners as a
   138. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 23, 2004 at 07:09 PM (#523948)
The roster size question suggests very strongly that timelining between 1880 and 1910, and/or discounting the AA, is in fact incorrect, because roster sizes increased steadily through the period, so competitive strength did NOT increase, as more and more marginal players played roles.

... and if this were the case, the differential between the best and worst pitchers would have increased thoughout the years (but this didn't happen because there were more quality pitchers to pick from).

PhillyBooster (Matt): Good job!
   139. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 23, 2004 at 07:14 PM (#523949)
John, I'm not sure I'm convinced that that is a useful measure of the total level of skill in the pool and/or the level of skill among the top few practioners thereof.

Well, I'm assuming most people agree that there were more quality players at the beginning of the 20th century than there were in the 1880s (which was implied in my comments).

As you know, I'm against timelining, but that doesn't mean I feel that there were equal numbers of great players in the 1880s as there were in the 1980s.
   140. karlmagnus Posted: April 23, 2004 at 07:22 PM (#523950)
I'd rather watch an 1880s ballgame than a 1900s ballgame -- and I'd rather watch either than a 1950s ballgame -- which the Yankees would in any case inevitably win :(( The possibility that the pitcher would emerge and batter you into submission with the bat made the game intrinsically more interesting -- like the DH, but without the old lumbering fatties!
   141. karlmagnus Posted: April 23, 2004 at 07:26 PM (#523951)
Cricket fans, incidentally will know that there is no reason why pitchers should not be good hitters -- Ian Botham, Imran Khan and Kapil Dev in the 1980s and Freddie Flintoff today are all quite capable of seizing control of a game as batsmen, and on one occasion (1981) Botham seized an entire Test match series, destroying the opposition alternately as batsman and bowler, like a much larger and hairier Caruthers.
   142. Marc Posted: April 23, 2004 at 08:50 PM (#523952)
>As you know, I'm against timelining, but that doesn't mean I feel that there were equal numbers of great players in the 1880s as there
   143. Paul Wendt Posted: April 23, 2004 at 10:45 PM (#523953)
karlmagnus #172
   144. Howie Menckel Posted: April 24, 2004 at 02:04 PM (#523955)
Soudns like a great weekend for voters to sum up why we should or should NOT vote M Brown, HR Johnson, or J McGinnity into the HOM.
   145. Howie Menckel Posted: April 24, 2004 at 02:05 PM (#523956)
Er, that's "sounds."
   146. Paul Wendt Posted: April 24, 2004 at 02:54 PM (#523957)
John Murphy #170
   147. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 24, 2004 at 03:37 PM (#523958)
Paul:

Research? Me? Just because I'm on the SABR Statistical Committee doesn't mean that I have do work, does it? :-)

You're right, BTW. Unfortunately, it probably will sit next to twenty other research projects that are halfway completed before I was diverted somewhere else. However, I'll see if I can find some time for this since there is some interest.
   148. karlmagnus Posted: April 24, 2004 at 05:22 PM (#523959)
Joe and Phillybooster, I couldn't disagree more; that's not the way statistics work.

The supply of great ballplayers should statistically be roughly constant per head of population over time, but the toing and froing in baseball's structure, and the relative attractiveness of baseball as an occupation cause fluctuations. Thus there were very few great pitchers in the 1890s, because it was a rough game, causing frequent injuries, with few opportunities to break in and lousy money if you did. For every Caruthers, overworked at a young age and then forced out by contraction in 1891-93 there was a McGinnity, only 7 years younger than Caruthers, but trapped down in the minors until 1899, when he was 28.

The supply of great players remained constant, but some environments, such as the 1880s (lots of teams and good money), allowed them to get opportunities a a young age, and produced young stars (who, if pitchers burnt out early and were discarded in 1891-93) while other environments such as the 1890s blocked prgress, and produced older stars in the 1900s, when progress was resumed.

Assuming that there were no backball stars in Grant's generation but 25 in the 1930s is another example of this fallacy (which we seem likely to perpetuate by delaying electing Grant for 20 years ater he becomes eligible, and then electing every second stringer from the Kansas City Monarchs.) It was the environment that changed, not the number of great players.
   149. Marc Posted: April 24, 2004 at 05:43 PM (#523960)
I'm with karl on this one (#185), which is sort of what I tried to say in #173. The fact that players had the ability to succeed is more of what we are trying to measure here. The fact that the environment enabled some to succeed and stifled others is less of what we are trying to measure, methinks. Those who were stifled need not be honored. Those who succeeded need not be belittled too much.
   150. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 24, 2004 at 06:01 PM (#523961)
Those who were stifled need not be honored. Those who succeeded need not be belittled too much.

Then you are against park factors? :-D
   151. Marc Posted: April 24, 2004 at 06:18 PM (#523962)
OK, now what I really came to say. I "reconsidered" LF-CF-RF this week and now to integrate them and the 1B, too. I rank my consideration set(s) on 8 peak, 10 (sometimes 11) prime and 4 career measures; rank them numerically, then apply some subjectivity a la James' BS dump. If you want more detail (yeah, right), check out the 1B-LF-CF-RF threads.

1. Sam Thompson--#4 peak, #1 prime, #2 career. Not much of a 3 year consecutive peak, a nice 5 year non-consecutive peak, and LWTS loves the hell out of him across peak, prime, career. Note: Among the 10 of 14 candidates for whom we have pennants added, Thompson is #1.

2. Charley Jones--#1 peak, #3 prime, #8 career. Very dominant on the peak and his prime rates are stellar. No X-credit for blackball years.

3. Jimmy Sheckard--#2 peak, #2 prime, #3 (tie) career. WARP loves the guy even more than Big Sam. #1 3 year peak, #1 total prime, #1 career on adjWARP1.

4. Lip Pike--#10 prime, #10 prime, #5 career. The numbers include no credit for pre-1870. The final rating clearly does.

5. Pete Browning--#3 peak, #4 (tie) prime, #3 (tie) career. LWTS likes Pete. Some of you don't like LWTS. Pete is probably the prime beneficiary (in this classification) of my reconsideration.

6. Sherry Magee--#9 peak, #4 (tie) prime, #1 career. I've always loved Sherry. On many occasions I've said he is the best 20th century player not in the Coop HoF. This result kinda makes me want to be more of a career voter. But this is where he comes out.

The In/Out Line might be about here, and then again it might not.

7. Hugh Duffy--#6, #8, #10. Still can't decide about Hugh, Van and Jimmy, other than that they're too close to call (and that Mike Tiernan now makes them a four-some). Right now it's Hugh who will be just missing my ballot.

8. George Van Haltren--#11, #6, #6.
   152. Marc Posted: April 24, 2004 at 06:32 PM (#523963)
PS. The above is for those players for whom we have some numbers. Harry Wright is also on my list.
   153. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 24, 2004 at 08:27 PM (#523964)
Been looking at pitchers, as usual. . . . Going through the logs & seeing how many times pitcher X pitched against teams Y, & Z every year & totalling it up to see how it comes out. Looking at how many times a pitcher pitched against teams with WPCts 700 or higher, 600-99, 500-99, etc. Here's how it comes out (records in para. for those I have records for):

Bob Caruthers:
   154. Marc Posted: April 24, 2004 at 10:28 PM (#523966)
David, I don't mean to repeat the Ed Williamson discussion. And I don't know what options Dooin had that year. But the fact that he threw Magee in there seems like a plus for Magee, more than the fact that he wasn't very good is a minus on his record.

Now, if he had been a horsebleep SS for ten years, well, then that would be what he was--a horsebleep SS. But under the circumstances, I would say that Magee was "a so-so LF (and a great hitter) who his manager for reasons unknown to us today thought might be able to bail his team out of what must have been a terrible mess by filling in at SS."
   155. Marc Posted: April 24, 2004 at 10:30 PM (#523967)
And thanks, David. Yeah, at least take a look at Charley! Anybody who likes Pete Browning oughta like Charley at least a little!
   156. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 25, 2004 at 01:32 AM (#523968)
Did Clark Griffith:

700s..4
   157. Paul Wendt Posted: April 25, 2004 at 04:33 PM (#523974)
Chris J #190
   158. Paul Wendt Posted: April 25, 2004 at 04:55 PM (#523975)
Average number of games scheduled, NL 1890s:
   159. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 25, 2004 at 05:10 PM (#523976)
Of course, there may be clerical errors by Chris J & his computer (and he may know that).

By me? Oh yeah. By my computer. Not possible - I did this using pen & paper & calculator. (So increase odds I made some errors along the way).

"OTOH, in 1908, Joe McGinnity was just as clearly being reserved to pitch against only 2nd division teams."

Thanks Chris - that makes the 105 ERA+ much less impressive and reinforces the fact that he went to the minors because he was done in the majors, not because he wanted to be closer to home or anything.


And he allowed 7 fewer earned runs than one would expect him to given his the percent of unearned runs/total runs on the 1908 Giants. He really wasn't very good that year.
   160. Paul Wendt Posted: April 25, 2004 at 05:59 PM (#523977)
yours truly #200
   161. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 25, 2004 at 06:24 PM (#523978)
By me? Oh yeah. By my computer. Not possible - I did this using pen & paper & calculator. (So increase odds I made some errors along the way).

Have you been introduced to a wonderful invention called the spreadsheet? :-D
   162. Marc Posted: April 25, 2004 at 07:51 PM (#523979)
Note that the AA-NL parity is shown in at least one and maybe more statistical studies. It is not clear what the basis is for the following except for a clear dislike for Bob Caruthers. This point was not made in re. Harry Stovey or Bid McPhee, who played in the same league.

>I do believe the AA was significantly weaker throughout it's history, I don't believe parity was achieved in the 1885-87
   163. Marc Posted: April 25, 2004 at 09:29 PM (#523980)
PS. Temple Cup Series 1885: St. Louis AA 3 Chicago White Stockings 3, 1 tie

1886: St. Louis 4 Chicago 2

Chicago 6 St. L. 0 Clarkson over Foutz
   164. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 26, 2004 at 03:31 AM (#523981)
Have you been introduced to a wonderful invention called the spreadsheet?

Yea, but I can't get it to work with retrosheet. When I try it all gets lumped in as one long inseperable column that I can't separate. Thought it would really help to copy into excel & then sort by pitcher or score or something, but it's all officially just one long extended part of Column A when I try to do it. Sucks.
   165. KJOK Posted: April 26, 2004 at 04:37 AM (#523982)
Chris J.

Highlight column A, and then go to TOOLS on the menu bar, and select TEXT TO COLUMNS and follow the prompts to get the data separated into columns.
   166. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 26, 2004 at 05:36 AM (#523983)
Highlight column A, and then go to TOOLS on the menu bar, and select TEXT TO COLUMNS and follow the prompts to get the data separated into columns.

That's how I would do it, too.
   167. Paul Wendt Posted: April 26, 2004 at 06:36 AM (#523984)
Joe D
   168. karlmagnus Posted: April 26, 2004 at 09:21 AM (#523987)
Joe, his peak was smewhat better than Babe Ruth in 1917-18, he has the 7th best WPct in history, well over 200 wins (25 more than Walsh) and he hit better than Stovey. It's not really arguable, beyond a point -- you can put him low on the ballot by heavily discounting the AA, but anyone who in 1925 has Caruthers off the ballot is possessed by an irrational dislike of Caruthers.
   169. Philip Posted: April 26, 2004 at 12:31 PM (#523990)
I've never heard of anyone timelining height and weight before!! :-)
   170. karlmagnus Posted: April 26, 2004 at 01:23 PM (#523991)
Joe you had Elmer Flick #3 in 1918 and Ed Walsh (25 fewer wins than Caruthers) #5 in 1920, so short careers aren't a big problem for you (as they are for me; I had Flick and Walsh just off my ballot, but Caruthers was unique, and Joe Jackson, next year, was SO good he also belongs near the top.)

Caruthers pitched for 9 years, not 7. If you took only the first 7 years, before his arm went bad, he would have been 198-75, and second best W/L in history. 218 wins is plenty to iron out random fluctuations in W/L.

You are correct that he was however not quite the hitter Stovey was; about 1% worse, no more, over their respective careers (Caruthers too had a decline phase.)

I actually don't at all want to be snitty to the devisor of this truly splendid project, but you always say "someone convince me" on your ballot comment about Caruthers, then won't allow yourself to be moved even a little by the huge amount of evidence presented on behalf of this unique talent. (1917-18 weren't Ruth's best seasons, but not far off; it's truly a "Ruthian peak.")
   171. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 26, 2004 at 02:31 PM (#523992)
Highlight column A, and then go to TOOLS on the menu bar, and select TEXT TO COLUMNS and follow the prompts to get the data separated into columns.

Hmmm, let's see if this works for me . . . Well, we got a problem. I go to Tools on the menu bar & I don't get a "Text to Columns" option. Instead, I get the following options: Spelling, Error Checking, Speech, Share Workbook, Track Changes, Compare & Merge Workbooks, Protection, Online Colloboration, Goal Seek, Scenarios, Formula Auditin, Tools on the Web, Macro, Add Ins, Auto Correct Option, Customize, and Options. But no Text to Columns. :(
   172. Marc Posted: April 26, 2004 at 03:33 PM (#523993)
As a side comment (to my ballot) that doesn't need to clog up the ballot thread: Anybody might think I'm obsessing with the 19th century:

1. Dickey Pearce (1-3-4-4-2 last year)
   173. Philip Posted: April 26, 2004 at 03:52 PM (#523994)
Chris,

Try the Data menu
   174. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 26, 2004 at 04:05 PM (#523995)
Chris,

Try the Data menu


Well that worked! Thanks to everyone!
   175. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 26, 2004 at 04:27 PM (#523996)
Karl there is NO IRRATIONAL DISLIKE OF CARUTHERS, and his peak is NOT that of Ruth 1917-18.

Same here. Besides, I'm more concerned with Karl's irrational dislike of Dickey Pearce. :-D
   176. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: April 26, 2004 at 08:18 PM (#523997)
where can I vote for the 1925 election?
   177. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 26, 2004 at 08:32 PM (#523998)
Welcome, Dan!

You can vote at the 1925 Ballot
   178. PhillyBooster Posted: April 26, 2004 at 09:20 PM (#523999)
In my mind, it is not the length of greatness that defines value, but the total greatness. To me, if a player played for 2 years, pitched every game and won, and got 600 hits per season, and then retired with 324 wins and 1200 hits, he is a HoMer based on CAREER value, not just because of (or even leaving aside) his great peak. I think the difference between those who irrationally like Caruthers and those who irrationally dislike him is in how they see his CAREER value.

Going by WARP-1, for example, Caruthers leads all eligible pitchers. WARP is a CAREER measure, not a peak measure.
   179. Marc Posted: April 26, 2004 at 10:24 PM (#524000)
Was Caruthers' peak Ruthian? What was claimed is that it was equivalent to Ruth's great hit/pitch peak of '16-'17, not his "real" peak in the early '20s.

1886-Caruthers 63 BRAR + 15 FRAR + 83 PRAR = 161 RAR
   180. jimd Posted: April 26, 2004 at 10:25 PM (#524001)
At his best, Caruthers was a better hitter than Stovey was. Stovey's best EQA was his .308 in 1888 and 1889 (adjusted for league quality). Caruthers did a .336 in 1886 and a .327 in 1887. Adjusted for league quality, he has a career .292 EQA compared to Stovey's .293. If you want to cite Stovey's performances in the AAA-strength AA of the early 1880's before Caruthers arrived, go right ahead but it weakens your point.

I think what the BC skeptics are missing is this: The pitching value and the hitting value are additive. If you don't add them together, if you say he was a very good pitcher (but not a great one) and he was a very good hitter (but not a great one), you're missing the total value of the combination. It's like a sportswriter who says someone only hit about .280 and he only hit 350 HR and he only played 3B, so he doesn't stand out for his average or his power or his glove. Yet each portion of that combination adds together to a total which is very valuable.
   181. PhillyBooster Posted: April 26, 2004 at 11:59 PM (#524002)
For the record, I don't think anything about Caruthers qualifies as "Ruthian." But I also don't think it has too. He just has to qualify as "McGinnitian" to finish where he does on my ballot (about 5th or so this year).
   182. DanG Posted: April 27, 2004 at 04:15 AM (#524003)
Given Joe's email difficulties, I'll post this now.

Players Passing Away in 1924

Age Eligible
   183. karlmagnus Posted: April 27, 2004 at 01:00 PM (#524005)
Joe, thank you. Obviously it's for the FOBC to give him the top 5 spots, but if he's to have any chance of entry into the HOM before the door effectively closes in 1933 the EOBC need to be convinced enough to have him on the ballot, too. Hopefully other EOBC will review the evidence and put him on the bottom of their ballots (or close, to come on in a weak year, though actually I'm getting less convinced that this 1924-32 "drought" is going to open very many slots, with at least one plausible newbie in several years, plus good Negro League players in others.)
   184. Marc Posted: April 27, 2004 at 01:12 PM (#524006)
Right now I believe we're on track to elect Thompson, Caruthers, Pearce and Pike in '32 and '33. If we do that I will stop whining about the 19th century. It will be a battle.
   185. karlmagnus Posted: April 27, 2004 at 01:42 PM (#524007)
Marc, in 1933 we're going to elect Walter Johnson and (not quite so certainly) Zack Wheat. If the 19th C. guys don't make it by the end of the Hoover administration, they're toast (actually, since we vote in January, I guess '33 is while Hoover's still in office, too.)

It's a very interesting question what will happen if we have a shortage of good new candidates in, say, 1975. My guess is that there will always be candidates from a decade or so back, the equivalent of McGinnity or Duffy, so that candidates from three quarters of a century back won't get a look in, because the majority of the electorate will have forgotten about them, so they won't get the low-ballot votes they need to get in. There will probably still be FOBC and FO Dickey Pearce in 1975, but the great mass of those who are indifferent about those particular candidates won't have them, say 12th in a weak year, so they won't get the chance to slip through.

In a completely rational world, in which everybody considered the entire universe of ballplayers available at each election, that wouldn't happen, of course, but I don't think that's the way real voting systems work.

If we get a block of weak years, like 1924-32, backers of ancient candidates may have another shot, because they'll be able to agitate for several "years" in advance and raise their candidates' profile. But I'm not sure any more blocks of weak years exist.
   186. karlmagnus Posted: April 27, 2004 at 02:00 PM (#524009)
Andrew, I agree with you also; ancient candidates without noisy sponsors have even less chance. But noisy sponsors are not going to be able to keep up the required noise level between now and 1975, to ensure their candidate finds the "gap" -- the electorate will tune them out during the 40 years in which their candidate has no chance.

The Tiernan/Thompson differential is, I agree, very small indeed. If Thompson had been elected early, and Duffy/Ryan/Van H hadn't come along, Tiernan would either have been elected or have a very good shot today. But as it is he's been drowned in a sea of candidates who, as we recede from their era, look more and more similar.
   187. Marc Posted: April 27, 2004 at 02:13 PM (#524010)
Actually I agree with karl's first statement. For the current backlog, 1932 is it.

From now thru '32 the newly eligibles with a good shot are Magee, Jackson, Baker for sure; Santop, Hill and Poles ranging from probably to maybe; Hooper and W. Cooper maybe (at best).

With 15 spots to be elected that leaves anywhere from 8-12 backloggers to get elected. You know who the backloggers are, and at the bottom of that list it is going to get pretty dicey. Who will it be--Pike or Hooper? Caruthers or W. Cooper (or Carl Mays, for that matter). Grant or Poles (of course, neither of these would be conventional. We are cursed to live in interesting times.
   188. Jim Sp Posted: April 27, 2004 at 05:30 PM (#524011)
I'd add Larry Doyle to the list of new candidates with a good shot. Joe Wood will be a lively debate I'd guess as well.
   189. jimd Posted: April 27, 2004 at 06:48 PM (#524013)
Joe, my experience with the BP numbers is that the BRARP column is FYI only. IOW, when it comes to calculating WARP-1, hitters do not have a position; the position information is already contained in the FRAR/PRAR data, and the BRAR column is used to measure the hitting contribution, so the hitting replacement level is the same for everybody. So Caruthers hitting is not being overrated.

More later; work is calling.
   190. Marc Posted: April 27, 2004 at 07:33 PM (#524014)
I've always thought that Leapin' Larry Doyle was underrated, that along with Sherry Magee he is the other great 20th century player overlooked by the Coop. But in my reconsideration of 2Bs eligible today or becoming so by 1939, here's what I came up with (* means eligible now). Sorry, Larry, sorry, Jim Sp, though if I have underrated 2Bs generally then Larry is next. And how the hell do I KNOW that he wasn't better than Monroe, Dunlap and Grant? I don't. But no way he was better than Cupid.

1. Collins
   191. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 27, 2004 at 08:09 PM (#524015)
It appears the website upgrade is happening this week
   192. Marc Posted: April 27, 2004 at 10:13 PM (#524018)
Yes, the WARPs changed, in some cases very dramatically, around the first of the year. Somebody may understand exactly why, but it's not me. New adjustments to replacement level, maybe? Or the league and timeline difficulty adjustments?
   193. jimd Posted: April 27, 2004 at 10:52 PM (#524019)
Caruthers did not have a Ruthian peak. Period.

That depends. If you use WARP-1 and adjust it linearly and believe that all major-league seasons are created equal, then he clearly did, though not a Ruthian prime. So the advocates are not lying prevaricators. If you want to take into account that it's the 1880's AA (as I do), well Delahantian is more appropriate, not quite Mathewsonian.

[lot's of stuff about peaks]

Joe, we deeply miss your Pennants Added calculations. Maybe someday you'll find the time ;-(

Does Caruthers offense make up for the clear pitching edge I give Joss

Clearly under WARP-1 with it's Ruthian seasons, he does. Under WARP-2 (the intermediate metric that BP calculates which includes the "league quality" adjustments, but not the season-length adjustments), it turns out that Bob's hitting still does. BP has Joss 85 runs ahead for his pitching, plus another 19 runs ahead for his fielding. (BTW, both were excellent fielding pitchers for their time and league, though BP cuts Caruthers to average in an "All-Time" fielding context.) But Caruthers is 239 runs ahead for his hitting, yielding a grand total of 135 runs which translates to 14.7 wins; Caruthers then gains more with some partial credit for the shorter seasons.

To me, below a certain point, the career value debates are meaningless. Nobody's electing either of these guys for their career value, so why bother. I debate it only because others seem to think it is important. Also, if you're going to say that so-and-so pitched more innings that Bob, you should be fair and point out that Bob has this-many-more AB than so-and-so; 5 seasons worth of HOM quality hitting beefs up the 7 season pitching resume so that he becomes competitive with the 10-12 season career players.

In the context of his time,

Let's look at these guys in the context of their own times. Joss' 5-yr peak lies from 1905-09. During that period, by WARP-1 he's the 4th best pitcher in MLB, behind Mathewson, Walsh, and Brown, and the 23rd best player in baseball (total value). WARP-3 discounts the NL players and the infielders, so Joss rises to 8th, just between George Stone and Doc White, but he's still the 4th best pitcher. OTOH, Bob's 5-yr peak is 20 years before in 1885-89. By WARP-1 he's the best player in baseball, bar none, and it's not close (11.5 wins). WARP-3 applies its AA discount, so he falls back, slipping between Roger Connor and John Clarkson, all the way down to the #2 slot and still the best pitcher, by nearly one win.

Look, I know Bob didn't last, but for awhile he was the best, or very close to it; he was paid as such and commanded a transaction price as such, so he's not just a sabrmetric invention.
   194. jimd Posted: April 27, 2004 at 11:00 PM (#524020)
Marc, I think there were some significant changes to the fielding calculations in general, and I know the pitcher's fielding was added then. I also noticed some changes to the league quality adjustments, most dramatically to the 1870's and the AA pitchers. (Spalding now looks like a real candidate, and the new numbers revived Bob Caruther's candidacy.) Joe has noted a change in the WARP-3 adjustments that affected the NA guys the most (now get even less credit for shorter seasons).
   195. Marc Posted: April 27, 2004 at 11:18 PM (#524021)
jimd, yes, the season adjustment was reduced from ^2/3 to ^1/2. Not a lot but if you played, say, 80-100 games, it's enough.
   196. Marc Posted: April 28, 2004 at 03:46 AM (#524024)
yest, your argument against Grant Johnson is not unreasonable until you get to the part in capital letters. The lack of data is not his fault, it is the fault of Cap Anson and yours and my ancestors and everybody who drove him and his teammates underground. If you think the data we have doesn't indicate a HoMer, that's fine. I understand some skepticism. But to say that we are lacking information, as if that's some kind of clincher, well, considering the reason why we have a lack of data (same reason some of his "kind" ended up hanging from lampposts) works in his favor. Call it affirmative action if you like, but to say, "once in the shadows, always in the shadows"...well, that is not acceptable to me.
   197. Chris Cobb Posted: April 28, 2004 at 04:28 AM (#524025)
I haven't been a huge advocate for Frank Grant, so I'll leave the counterarguments to others, but I've made the case for Johnson, so I'll do so again.

The anecdotal evidence is much better on Rube Foster (considered by some the BEST PITCHER IN BASEBALL). Most of the contemporary reports on HR. Johnson state if he played he would?ve be a star. SO WHAT Sam Thompson, Rube Waddell, Hugh Duffy ext. were considered stars even Tom McCarthy was considered a star and nobodies advocating his election.

So what you're saying then, is that Johnson's contemporary reputation neither proves nor disproves his merit. I would agree.

The stats that were given for him by the Riley's Encyclopedia were only for a very minimal amount of at bats (hitting 320 in 384 at bats). WERE NOT EVEN TALKING ABOUGHT 1 SEASONS WORTH OF AT BATS.

The record is not quite so limited as that, but that record is what we have to work with. You are wrong, you have been wrong, and you will continue to be wrong if you simply dismiss the only data available because it isn't complete enough to be 100% reliable. You know very well why there isn't more information on Johnson, and it has nothing to do with his quality as a player.

First, let me present his full extant record:

172-479 .359 in Cuban play over 5 seasons
   198. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 28, 2004 at 04:44 AM (#524026)
Well, I guess I don't have to defend Home Run Johnson now - Chris said everything that I would have and then some).
   199. Chris Cobb Posted: April 28, 2004 at 05:32 AM (#524027)
Well, you could defend Frank Grant, John :-) .
   200. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 28, 2004 at 03:25 PM (#524029)
Well, you could defend Frank Grant, John :-) .

While I'm friendly towards Grant, someone like Joe D. or Howie Menckel would probably be better at a defense of Frank Grant than I.
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