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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Monday, June 07, 2004

1928 Ballot Discussion

1928 (June 20)—elect 2
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)

301 80.9 1909 Frank Baker-3b (1963)
266 66.1 1907 Clyde Milan-CF (1953)
232 68.0 1909 Donie Bush-SS (1972)
218 57.5 1909 Art Fletcher-SS (1950)
193 55.6 1909 Joe Wood-P/RF (1985)
161 41.9 1911 Burt Shotton-CF/LF (1962)
143 40.9 1909 Jimmy Austin-3B (1965)
137 33.4 1910 Jack Graney-LF (1978)

Negro Leaguers
1928 (June 20)—elect 2
HF% Career   Name-pos (born) BJ – MVP - All-Star
00% 1907-22 Sam Mongin-3B (1884) - 0 - 1*

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 07, 2004 at 08:15 AM | 278 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. DavidFoss Posted: June 11, 2004 at 09:07 PM (#671831)
Great numbers OCF... looks like we're doing pretty well by your count... with Brown right above the in-out line perhaps...

It'll be interesting to see what we do with Eppa Rixey.
   102. jimd Posted: June 11, 2004 at 11:04 PM (#671965)
Question - why would I include fielding runs for pitchers in my evaluation? Isn't the pitcher's fielding already accounted for in his runs allowed and ERA? Has anyone proven they can reliably evaluate pitcher fielding without play-by-play data?

Pitcher makes an error on a play that should have ended the inning. All subsequent runs are unearned, just as if the SS threw the ball away.

Similarly, in BP's analysis, once the ball is in play, pitcher as pitcher has done his job. Pitcher as fielder takes over if he makes a PO, A, or E; just as if the ball went to SS instead.

So pitcher as pitcher and pitcher as fielder are two separate categories.

Like all of Davenport's calculations, we can't see the innards. OTOH, Ed Walsh in 1907 made 70% more fielding plays than the average pitcher (4 Assists per Game). If he wasn't a great fielding pitcher, then he's violating DIPS by inducing more easy comebackers to himself instead of the other IFers. Either way, he probably deserves extra credit.
   103. jimd Posted: June 11, 2004 at 11:12 PM (#671983)
It'll be interesting to see what we do with Eppa Rixey.

For those who give war credits, Rixey served all of 1918 and part of 1919 (half?).
   104. OCF Posted: June 12, 2004 at 12:07 AM (#672141)
My project for "Let's make sure we don't forget him while we induct the great players who come on the ballot with him" is Stan Covaleski. But Rixey is also worth a long look.
   105. ronw Posted: June 12, 2004 at 12:13 AM (#672163)
I too am interested to see what we do with the Tommy John's and Frank Tanana's of the '20's, namely HOFers Eppa Rixey, Red Faber, Burleigh Grimes, Herb Pennock, and maybe Stan Coveleski, not to mention non HOFers Carl Mays, Urban Shocker, and Dolf Luque. None of them is a shoo-in, but career voters may be impressed.

I'm deliberately not including HOFers Waite Hoyt and Jesse Haines in that mix, who each had somewhat of a '30's relief career. Haines, FWIW, gets my vote as the all-time worst HOF pick.
   106. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: June 12, 2004 at 03:48 PM (#672926)
For those who give war credits, Rixey served all of 1918 and part of 1919 (half?).

I thought he was injured.

My project for "Let's make sure we don't forget him while we induct the great players who come on the ballot with him" is Stan Covaleski.

Yea, I've always liked SC, too.

I too am interested to see what we do with the Tommy John's and Frank Tanana's of the '20's, namely HOFers Eppa Rixey, Red Faber, Burleigh Grimes, Herb Pennock, and maybe Stan Coveleski, not to mention non HOFers Carl Mays, Urban Shocker, and Dolf Luque.

Don't have the adjusted numbers with me, but Pennock had terriffic run support - a career RSI around/over 110. Grimes also loses several games when his W/L record is adjusted for run support - which is pretty bad considering how lackluster his Pct is w/out adjusted. Faber's career RSI was right around 100 or 101. Rixey picks up some wins when his record is adjusted.

Fun fact: when adjusted for run support, Red Ruffing has as many wins and two more losses than Gus Weyhing.
   107. Brad Harris Posted: June 12, 2004 at 04:52 PM (#672955)
My !@*%#&)^$#@+0! browser just folded half-way through and none of my post of left to re-submit. Aargh!!!

Here's the essentials, I suppose:

(1) Still reviewing all candidates under light of new (to me) info.
(2) Thank God we'll elect at least one carry-over this year.
(3) I've already reshuffled a few of mine since last year.

And here are the lucky butt-heads...

1. Frank Baker
2. Dickey Pearce
3. Jimmy Sheckard
4. Bob Caruthers
5. Lip Pike
6. Eddie Cicotte
7. Gavvy Cravath
8. Sam Thompson
9. Larry Doyle
10. Ed Konetchy
11. Cupid Childs
12. Jimmy Ryan
13. George Van Haltren
14. Joe McGinnity
15. Bobby Wallace
   108. Brad Harris Posted: June 12, 2004 at 04:55 PM (#672958)
1) Baker
2) Pearce
3) Sheckard
4) Caruthers
5) Pike
6) Cicotte
7) Cravath
8) Thompson
9) Doyle
10) Konetchy
11) Childs
12) Ryan
13) Van Haltren
14) McGinnity
15) Wallace
   109. Brad Harris Posted: June 12, 2004 at 04:56 PM (#672960)
ARGH!!!!!

Is this going to ever submit a freakin' comment!?!
   110. Brad Harris Posted: June 12, 2004 at 04:58 PM (#672962)
Oops....didn't notice that "Page 1 of 2 pages" thing.

Is my face red. LOL
   111. Brad Harris Posted: June 12, 2004 at 05:04 PM (#672966)
Btw...have we got updated "future eligible candidates" lists for the next several years? I'd like to start planning ahead as I review my ballot in the next 2-3 weeks.

Thanks.
   112. DavidFoss Posted: June 12, 2004 at 05:29 PM (#672982)
There's a New Eligbles year by year thread...

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primer/hom_discussion/new_eligibles_year_by_year/P200/
   113. robc Posted: June 13, 2004 at 03:40 AM (#673803)
jimd,

BP doesnt use a complete DIPS approach, I believe it is 70%. Thus, a pitcher is still on the hook for 30% of the responsibility of a ball in play.
   114. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 13, 2004 at 04:33 PM (#674028)
I am trying to incorporate DIPS ERA into my rankings for the 1928 ballot but am having some trouble. I have calculated DIPS ERA's for all the pitchers I am considering as well as their league averages, and thus derived a DIPS ERA+ statistic. But I am finding that with the exception of Rube Waddell (obviously), all the pitchers are within a 90-110 dERA+ band, despite having actual ERA+ much higher. This suggests that in the deadball era, the DIPS formula was reversed: the differences in pitchers' $K, $BB, and $HR were small, while the differences in their $H were quite large. Can anyone help me figure this out? Is there any way to apply the DIPS principle to these guys? Thanks.
   115. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 13, 2004 at 05:30 PM (#674086)
BTW, here are my calculated career dERA+ for pitchers on this ballot:

Rube Waddell 123
Eddie Cicotte 108
Addie Joss 108
Hippo Vaughn 105
Clark Griffith 104 (11% AA discount for 1891)
Bob Caruthers 100 (11% AA discount for 1884-89)
Vic Willis 99
Joe McGinnity 96

And the top 10 dERA+ seasons for pitchers on this ballot:

1. 138, Rube Waddell 1903 (2.48 dERA, 3.42 league dERA)
2. 136, Rube Waddell 1902 (2.95 dERA, 4.00 league dERA)
3. 131, Rube Waddell 1904 (2.54 dERA, 3.32 league dERA)
4. 127, Rube Waddell 1905 (2.69 dERA, 3.42 league dERA)
5. 125, Rube Waddell 1907 (2.77 dERA, 3.46 league dERA)
6. 124, Eddie Cicotte 1918 (3.17 dERA, 3.92 league dERA)
7. 123, Rube Waddell 1900 (3.30 dERA, 4.06 league dERA)
8. 121, Rube Waddell 1908 (2.79 dERA, 3.38 league dERA)
9. 119, Eddie Cicotte 1917 (3.20 dERA, 3.81 league dERA)
10. 118, Eddie Cicotte 1919 (3.36 dERA, 3.95 league dERA)

for comparison:

146 Walter Johnson 1912 (2.47, 3.62)
146 Christy Mathewson 1908 (2.50, 3.66)
135 Ed Walsh 1910 (2.59, 3.50)
134 Pete Alexander 1915 (2.72, 3.64)
   116. DavidFoss Posted: June 13, 2004 at 06:35 PM (#674248)
Well, Cicotte was a knuckleballer. Those pitchers are known DIPS outliers (except I'm not sure if he's outlying in the expected direction).

Strange to see Waddell's '03 season on top when is 02 & 04-05 are usually considered superior. Are you including HBP numbers? Pitchers tended to hit lots of batters in this period (though that would only help Waddell '03.

I've heard no claims that DIPS works for dead-ballers. Its possible with $HR so low and outfield's so large (and outfielders so shallow) that doubles and triples would not be pitcher independent. Its also possible that spitballers need the same adjustments that knuckleballers would.

Just for comparison, how our the career dERA+ for the inductees (Brown, Plank, Walsh, Mathewson)?
   117. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 13, 2004 at 06:35 PM (#674249)
oh yeah, and the extreme of this is:

295, Pedro Martinez 1999 (1.57, 4.65)
   118. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 13, 2004 at 07:11 PM (#674391)
I am including HBP numbers. There is much less variability in DIPS ERA than regular ERA (that is the point), and Waddell's dERA+ from 02-05 were all in the same band (136, 138, 131, 127). Waddell's BABIP in 1903 was much higher than the other years, which I would regard as luck but perhaps isn't.
Yes, I should put in the knuckler adjustment for Cicotte, which increases his career dERA+ to 116. Do you have any idea how I might come up with a spitter adjustment?
Good point about extra-base hits over outfielder heads being equivalent to HRs today.
Maybe instead of using a .295ish BABIP I should just use the league BABIP for each year. Don't know if that would make a difference.

Three-Finger Brown: I don't know what Federal League discount to use. Without one, he is at 111 career dERA+. From 1906-1911 his dERA+ were definitely excellent: 118, 118, 116, 128, 121, 120. And of course he had Tinker to Evers to Chance, which clearly helped his BABIP.

Eddie Plank: Again, don't know how to discount his FL season; he's at 106, peaking at 120 in 1913 and 117 in 1914 (he had 126 in the 1915 Federal League but I imagine that gets discounted lower). I never loved Plank as much as the rest of the electorate anyway.

Ed Walsh: dERA+ likes him a lot: 119 career, with 5 seasons over 120 and 2 over 130 (1910, 11). A spitballer BABIP adjustment would make him look even better.

Christy Mathewson: the Big Six's greatness is also borne out by dERA+. He had a 120 career dERA+, and a superb peak: from 1903-1912, he was 128 118 128 105 125 146 137 130 132 125.

Maybe this isn't such a bad measure after all. Ideas for improvement would be greatly appreciated.
   119. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 13, 2004 at 07:12 PM (#674400)
Also, as these numbers are of course packed into a tighter band than real ERA+, I should clearly use z-scores rather than just dERA+. I can't do this til tomorrow though.
   120. Jeff M Posted: June 13, 2004 at 08:35 PM (#674922)
does anyone have Mickey Welch's Wins Above Team calculation?

It's a big number. From Total Baseball, the seasonal totals, followed by career:

8.3
4.5
1.8
3.6
11.2
7.9
(2.3)
2.4
(3.1)
2.7
3.1
(2.4)
0
Total: 37.7
   121. Jeff M Posted: June 13, 2004 at 08:52 PM (#675053)
Dan, when you use the term "dERA" are you referring to DIPS ERA, or the "DERA" reported on the BP cards, or are they the same thing?

Just want to keep my acronyms straight.

I do something that I think is a little bit similar. I still use Palmer's pitching linear weights as a factor in my analysis (it's basically ERA+ weighted by innings and park-adjusted).

I then adjust the LWTS number by a factor determined by comparing the pitcher's DERA and NRA from the BP cards (i.e., if NRA is higher than DERA, the defense behind the pitcher was below average). I take this DERA LWTS and treat it like WS and WARP -- that is, I determine it for 3 and 7 year peaks, 5 year consecutive peaks, career and on a per 1000 IP basis.
   122. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 13, 2004 at 10:17 PM (#675209)
I mean DIPS ERA.
   123. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 14, 2004 at 04:48 AM (#675848)
I am getting super confused trying to calculate this stuff--can someone help me? I can't seem to make the figures for batters faced add up. Take, for example, Jack Stivetts of the 1891 American Association St. Louis Browns. He pitched 440 innings, surrendered 357 hits, and walked 232. Before counting errors, that's (440*3) = 1320 batters who made outs, plus 357 hits and 232 walks is 1909 batters. But his baseball-reference page says he only faced 1701 batters. What on earth am I doing wrong?
   124. DavidFoss Posted: June 14, 2004 at 05:59 AM (#675888)
Well, there's outs on the bases. Sounds like a lot of outs on the bases though.

Palmer/Gillette Baseball Encyclopedia has his OAV at .214 which puts his OAB at 1168 and BFP at 1900.

Looking at the team pages, baseball-reference doesn't have BFP for all the pitchers for that year. Maybe they got the number wrong. *shrug*
   125. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 14, 2004 at 07:12 AM (#675917)
"I am getting super confused trying to calculate this stuff--can someone help me? I can't seem to make the figures for batters faced add up. Take, for example, Jack Stivetts of the 1891 American Association St. Louis Browns. He pitched 440 innings, surrendered 357 hits, and walked 232. Before counting errors, that's (440*3) = 1320 batters who made outs, plus 357 hits and 232 walks is 1909 batters. But his baseball-reference page says he only faced 1701 batters. What on earth am I doing wrong?"

Don't forget double plays and caught stealings, the of which were many I'd imagine (which would be included in outs on bases) too. Generally I think the Stats All-Time Handbook uses 2.9*IP, not 3.
   126. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 14, 2004 at 07:15 AM (#675918)
Best bet is to figure the number for the league that fits for X in:

TBF=X*IP+H+BB+HBP. Then use that same X for everyone when you don't have any other data. You actually could figure it for each team if you want to get really fancy . . .
   127. TomH Posted: June 14, 2004 at 11:34 AM (#675940)
A comprehensive look at the five pitchers who fared best on the 1928 ballot:

Wins - The most basic measure
Welch by far has the most at 307. Then McGinnity 246, Griffith 237, Caruthers 218, Waddell 193.

Wins minus Losses – include penalty for bad stuff
Caruthers win this round with 119. Next, McGin 104, Welch 97, Griffith 91, Waddell 50

RSI W-L record – taking into account their run support
Caruthers 204-113
Welch…... 304-213
McGin…... 239-149
Griffith… 233-150
Waddell.. 201-135

Wins Above Team – taking into account one’s mates
Griffith the winner with 46. Then Welch 38, McGin 34, Cauthers 32, Waddell 18

ERA+ - preventing runs, career rate
Waddell 134, Caruthers 123, Griffith and McGin 121, Welch 113

DERA – BP’s taking into account defense, and league quality
Waddell wins going away with 3.79, then Griffith 4.04, McGin 4.09, Caruthers 4.12, Welch 4.35

EqA – could they hit?
Caruthers 288!! Griffith 217 Welch 214 McGin 165 Waddell 163

WARP3 – BP’s career accomplishments
Caruthers 71 Griffith 69 Waddell 60 McGin 59 Welch 49

Win Shares – BJ’s career accomplishments
Welch 354 Caruthers 338 (pre-1893)
Griffith 273 McGin 269 Waddell 240 (post-1893)

Other notes:
Welch has NO black ink – unless you count leading the league in walks.
Griffith was matched against the tougher opponents more than the ‘normal’ amount. He also ‘pitched to the score’, as indicated anecdotally and by the fact his W-L record is better than his ERA would suggest.
Obviously the guys who pitched in the 1880s were able to rack up more IP (and Wins) than those after the mound distance was lengthened.

We’re on track to honor Joe Mac this week. I’m OK with that, but if I were to honor only one of these 5 hurlers, there is no doubt which one I would take. By both won-loss record in context of team, and by ERA in context of league and defense and career length, and with a smattering of a good bat thrown in, Clark Griffith to me is the clear choice. I’m apparently the Best FOCG – but tell me, everyone else, why he is buried on so many ballots?
   128. TomH Posted: June 14, 2004 at 12:23 PM (#675944)
John McGraw will probably (finally) make my ballot this week. I understand why those who are big on 'career value above replacment' don't have Mugsy listed, but I'm surprised at his lack of support among Peak voters. His OWP simply dwarfs everyone else on our ballot (.727) except for Pete "AA" Browning...and he played third base (as well as some shrtstop)! His Runs Created Above Average, which accounts for playing time, also dominates the board. Even discounting this for the high-run environment shouldn't dim this accomplishment all that much. I'm not quite at the KJOK level of support for McGraw, but I can at least understand why Mugsy might be rated #1. Those who are in love with, say, Addie Joss, might wish to reconsider McGraw this week.
   129. Jeff M Posted: June 14, 2004 at 12:53 PM (#675951)
Clark Griffith to me is the clear choice. I’m apparently the Best FOCG – but tell me, everyone else, why he is buried on so many ballots?

I too think Griffith is underrated by the group, but if I looked at the data in your post and nothing else, Caruthers looks like the winner.

I've got McGinnity (#2) and Caruthers (#4) about even, but give the nod to McGinnity b/c his numbers are less skewed by the idiosyncracies of pitching statistics pre-1893 and b/c Caruthers gets an AA discount. They are followed by Griffith (#8), then Waddell (#10) and then Welch (who is off the ballot).

I've got Griffith ahead of Waddell primarily b/c of WARP and b/c some of Waddell's credit comes from strikeouts, which look more important than they are (glamour stat).

Welch has NO black ink...

Out of the five pitchers, I have Welch last, and it's true he has NO black ink. However, of the five, he easily has the best grey ink, so it's no like he wasn't contending for the black ink on a regular basis.
   130. andrew siegel Posted: June 14, 2004 at 01:23 PM (#675960)
On the pitcher discussion:

I think they are all credible candidates (top 30) but none of them are knocking down the door (I'm going to have Caruthers and McGinnity somewhere around 10th and the others off ballot).

What I want to emphasize, however, is the importance of getting our decisions on them right. By my calculations, each of them ranks significantly below the pitchers we have inducted so far (with the possible exception of Spalding, who is a special case). Our decisions on these guys and the career pitchers from the 1920s are going to set our baseline for pitchers. I advise a lot of thought and careful voting, b/c/ if we are too inclusive with these guys, our only options will be to have a pitcher-dominated HoM or to use disproportionately harsh standards on later pitchers.
   131. DanG Posted: June 14, 2004 at 05:14 PM (#676182)
Looking at some of the leading pitchers in the Johnson-Alexander era, the teens and twenties. This covers the leading MLB pitcher candidates through the early 1940’s.

Leaders in ERA+, 2400+ IP
146 Walter Johnson
135 Pete Alexander
127 Stan Coveleski
125 Dazzy Vance
124 Urban Shocker
123 Eddie Cicotte
121 Eddie Rommel
120 Hippo Vaughn
119 Red Faber
119 Carl Mays
117 Dolf Luque
117 Babe Adams
116 Wilbur Cooper
115 Eppa Rixey
114 Jack Quinn

Leaders in IP
5915 Walter Johnson
5190 Pete Alexander
4495 Eppa Rixey
4180 Burleigh Grimes
4087 Red Faber
3920 Jack Quinn
3883 Sad Sam Jones
3762 Waite Hoyt
3572 Herb Pennock
3480 Wilbur Cooper
3391 Hooks Dauss
3307 Rube Marquard
3223 Eddie Cicotte
3220 Dolf Luque
3209 Jesse Haines

Leaders in CG%, 2400+ IP
79.5 Walter Johnson
73.1 Pete Alexander
71.1 Carl Mays
69.5 Eddie Cicotte
69.5 Jeff Pfeffer
68.7 Wilbur Cooper
65.0 Hippo Vaughn
64.7 Burleigh Grimes
64.5 Dazzy Vance
63.5 George Uhle
63.3 Urban Shocker
63.1 Hooks Dauss
61.6 Slim Sallee
61.5 Joe Bush
59.0 Eddie Rommel

Leader in Wins Above Team
90.0 Walter Johnson
81.6 Pete Alexander
33.2 Dazzy Vance
30.8 Eddie Rommel
30.2 Urban Shocker
24.5 Herb Pennock
23.5 Red Faber
23.5 Joe Wood
21.9 Carl Mays
21.3 Hippo Vaughn
21.3 Burleigh Grimes
21.0 George Uhle
20.6 Slim Sallee
20.2 Babe Adams
20.1 Stan Coveleski

Pitchers Leading in OPS+ as Hitters, 2400+ IP
86 George Uhle
82 Carl Mays
76 Walter Johnson
72 Joe Bush
61 Wilbur Cooper
58 Burleigh Grimes
57 Art Nehf
55 Urban Shocker
54 Hooks Dauss
54 Dolf Luque
52 Bill Sherdel
50 Babe Adams
48 Tom Zachary
45 Sad Sam Jones
43 Pete Alexander
   132. jimd Posted: June 14, 2004 at 05:15 PM (#676185)
For those who give war credits, Rixey served all of 1918 and part of 1919 (half?).

I thought he was injured.


My source for the Military Service was the Neft&Cohen; Baseball Encyclopedia. baseballlibrary.com also has Rixey serving all of 1918, but no mention of 1919. Maybe that leaves 1919 in some doubt?

[Rixey] missed the 1918 season, serving overseas with an army chemical-warfare division.
   133. jimd Posted: June 14, 2004 at 05:25 PM (#676198)
BP doesnt use a complete DIPS approach, I believe it is 70%. Thus, a pitcher is still on the hook for 30% of the responsibility of a ball in play.

That's good to know. I never remember the exact % of BP's responsibility, though I know it gives more fielding credit than Win Share's 50-50 approach.

My point with Walsh (and pitcher fielding) was that, no matter how the responsibility is divided, having 70% more "range" than the average pitcher is a positive credit, whether you believe it was his fielding or induced by his pitching skill.
   134. karlmagnus Posted: June 14, 2004 at 05:33 PM (#676207)
If Rixey was in the same unit as Christy Mathewson, he was gassed when a training exercise went wrong. That could certainly explain his absence for part of 1919, and he should be given at least 100% credit if not 200% for the time missed.
   135. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 14, 2004 at 05:45 PM (#676222)
An eight-year, mediocre career in Philadelphia was interrupted in 1918 and part of 1919 by Rixey's serving as a lieutenant in an Army Chemical Warfare Division overseas during World War I.
   136. OCF Posted: June 14, 2004 at 06:03 PM (#676242)
One word of caution on pitcher's range: there are some discretionary plays in there, especially for putouts.

Babe Ruth was always quite high in putouts. The most extreme example was 1918, when he had 19 putouts in 20 games as pitcher. For contrast, in 1918, Johnson had 15 putouts in 39 games and Cicotte 9 putouts in 38 games. What could that mean? Possibilities include:
(1) Ruth, the egomaniac, called off infielders and caught his own popups when other pitchers weren't doing that.
(2) Yankee first basemen ranged further off the bag and made their pitchers cover more, or
(3) There's some stat leakage here involved games in which Ruth moved from P to OF.

My money's on #1.
   137. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: June 14, 2004 at 06:29 PM (#676291)
Re: Rixey, p869 of the NBJHA lists 9 pitchers who James said had army/shoulder injury but came back from it to make his Top 100. On Eppa Rixey he just says:

"was thought to be washed up in 1919-1920, but had his best seasons after that, and pitched until 1933."

That's what I was thinking of. Later on, in the Eppa Rixey comment itself on p900, James writes:

When the Phillies sold Pete Alexander to the Cubs in late 1917, Eppa Rixey was so disgusted that he joined the Army. With World War I underway everybody had conflicts about whether to stay or go. rixey said that he had hoped to pitch one more year in the majors and had planned to take his chances on the draft, but the sale of Alexander (and Bill Killefer) had wrecked the team, and he decided to heck with it. He fought a year in Europe, returned to the Phillies - and pitched fifteen more seasons in the National League."

So I guess he did serve.
   138. karlmagnus Posted: June 14, 2004 at 06:29 PM (#676293)
Yankee first basemen were pretty well irrelevant to Ruth's putouts in 1918. Jeez!!
   139. OCF Posted: June 14, 2004 at 06:48 PM (#676332)
Oops. Sorry to offend those who live in the northeastern part of the country and would never confuse the two teams.
   140. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 14, 2004 at 08:45 PM (#676508)
"We’re on track to honor Joe Mac this week. I’m OK with that, but if I were to honor only one of these 5 hurlers, there is no doubt which one I would take. By both won-loss record in context of team, and by ERA in context of league and defense and career length, and with a smattering of a good bat thrown in, Clark Griffith to me is the clear choice. I’m apparently the Best FOCG – but tell me, everyone else, why he is buried on so many ballots?"

I agree Tom. Carurthers only looks tops based on what you posted if you don't discount the AA at all. Just with the raw numbers and no discount, I'd drop his W-L to 4th, not first. Griffith had 29 more wins and 37 more losses, I'd take 29-37 over 0-0. Not to mention tougher competition. Of course that doesn't account for Caruthers' hitting, etc. I'm just talking about the pitching records.

But Griffith's career was substantially longer when compared with his contemporaries, which counts for something with me. I also think replacement level for pitchers was higher for pitchers when there were fewer pitchers getting the call for each team. I believe replacement level is generally the level of the worst regulars, and if there are few regulars to go around, the replacement level should one go down is higher. This hurts the 1880s pitchers vs. the 1900s pitchers in my analysis. Caruthers could move up for me this week, but he won't be ahead of Griffith.

Griffith looks great now that I've added up the numbers for BRARP+FRAA+PRAR and adjusted for season length; for everyone on the ballot. He'll get a significant bump from me this week. I've definitely been undrerrating him.
   141. DavidFoss Posted: June 15, 2004 at 05:30 AM (#677001)
OK... Win Shares defensive letter grades for Childs and Doyle:

Childs -- B+
Doyle -- C+

I realize OBP-heavy is better in OPS, but I thought there was a post before that said that this didn't matter so much for OPS+.

Anyhow, I'll probably just slot them together on my ballot and vote soon.
   142. DavidFoss Posted: June 15, 2004 at 05:34 AM (#677004)
Oh... and I posted this on the other thread but in numerical fielding Win Shares:

Doyle 50.3 of 287.8 total (17.48%)
Childs 57.0 of 236.7 total (24.08%)
   143. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 15, 2004 at 06:10 AM (#677021)
I realize OBP-heavy is better in OPS, but I thought there was a post before that said that this didn't matter so much for OPS+.

You have to remember that Childs OPS+ was created in a one-league environment where all the best players were located. Doyle's OPS+ would not be as impressive if he had played under similar conditions. Of course, the competition did improve during Doyle's time so that has to be factored in. It's a matter of balancing everything to see who weighs more quality-wise.

HoM balloting is not for wimps! :-)
   144. DavidFoss Posted: June 15, 2004 at 06:38 AM (#677027)
Well, his best year was in a 3-league environment... discounting that season from 180 to 140 or so will probably drop his career number a few points.

I was referring to a discussion that was had last year or the year before. The nature of OPS+ not being 100*OPS/lgOPS but being 100*(OBP/lgOBP + SLG/lgSLG - 1) meant that OBP and SLG are weighted more on their own scales and that OPS+ more closely matches OTS+ which is closer the RC+... the heavier weight on the OBP is not as necessary. That's what I thought I'd read. Could be that Child's OBP's are significantly large enough to still tilt this scale. This could be necessary, or it could be a case of a run estimator acting weird at high OBP (batting yourself in so to speak)... and the glossary at BP doesn't state if they use MLV to compensate for that.

*Sigh* Yup... HOM balloting is not for wimps! Ahh... looking forward to 1934... I think I'll have Tris Speaker 5th... that's two years worth of slam dunk inductees in front of one of the greatest players of all time. A ways to go yet... must focus... :-)
   145. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 15, 2004 at 07:41 AM (#677048)
David, I don't understand that, perhaps I'm missing something? But a league average OBP is roughly .330 over time, SLG about .395.

So it's weighing .001 of OBP the same as .0012 of SLG which is about 6:5, but not near the 2:1 that is reasonable. So it's slightly better than OPS, but not nearly enough.

Again, unless I'm missing something, which is entirely possible, I've only glanced at it.
   146. TomH Posted: June 15, 2004 at 12:13 PM (#677077)
Most would peg the relative importance of OBP to SLG at about 1.6:1, not 2:1, I believe.

Childs and Doyle, as much as any two players at the same position, really do come out much differently in 2 rating systems:
Doyle has a .632 to .609 edge in OWP using James' methods, but Childs has a higher EqA (303 to 295). There's a good mini-project for somebody....
   147. Jeff M Posted: June 15, 2004 at 01:07 PM (#677090)
You have to remember that Childs OPS+ was created in a one-league environment where all the best players were located. Doyle's OPS+ would not be as impressive if he had played under similar conditions. Of course, the competition did improve during Doyle's time so that has to be factored in.

I think this basically comes out as a wash.

John's comment relates to competition generally, but I was curious who the other second basemen in the league were when these guys were playing (i.e., which 2b they were competing against for honors). I picked the season for Childs and Doyle when they were 28 years old (random...but they both had good seasons at that age).

Note, this is for fun...I don't think it has any bearing on answering which player was better.

CHILDS:

Heinie Reitz
Dick Padden
Bill Hallman
John O'Brien
Tommy Dowd
Tom Daly
Bobby Lowe
Kid Gleason (pitching days were over)
Fred Pfeffer
Bid McPhee

DOYLE:

Bill Rodgers
Bert Niehoff
Jim "Anti-inflammatory" Viox
George Cutshaw
Miller Huggins
Heinie Zimmerman
Johnny Evers

Childs' competition at 2b looks tougher. There's a HoMer in there (though he's winding down at that point) and Daly, Lowe and Pfeffer were good position players. The average player on Childs' list played 12.8 seasons and had 145.8 WS (I ignored Gleason's pitching years). Not bad.

On Doyle's side, Evers, Zimmerman and Huggins were good players, but the rest were pretty awful (Cutshaw wasn't horrible). The average player on Doyle's list played 9.9 seasons and had 137.7 WS.

I decided to see who was in the AL in Doyle's 28th year, because while Doyle wasn't competing against those second baseman for retroactive all-star honors, he competed against them for "best in the league". Here they are:

Ralph Young
Eddie Foster
Lute Boone
Heinie Wagner
Del Pratt
Bill Wambsganss
Eddie Collins
Nap Lajoie

Well, that's a better looking group. Two of the best players ever, plus a couple of other decent players in Pratt and Wambsganss.

I know I should be applying myself to something useful, but I feel rewarded by the presence of three Heinie's in one study.

By the way, Butts Wagner also played during Childs' era...and even played 5 games at 2b!
   148. DavidFoss Posted: June 15, 2004 at 02:46 PM (#677184)
David, I don't understand that, perhaps I'm missing something? But a league average OBP is roughly .330 over time, SLG about .395.


Well, I'm using first principles to try and remember why OBP has a higher weight. I was sure it was because OBP*SLG was the RC formula and not OBP+SLG... I could be wrong... or it could just be part of it.

I should just trust the formulas, because a lot of hard work and testing went into those.

Its just details, but I was convinced that Doyle was a better hitter by rate. OPS+ says so, batting win shares seems to say so, why does EQA say so?

Here is OWP for 2B's with 6000+ PA:

CAREER
1871-1921
2B

OWP OWP
1 Nap Lajoie .729
2 Eddie Collins .721
3 Larry Doyle .632
4 Cupid Childs .609
5 Johnny Evers .558
6 Miller Huggins .555
7 Del Pratt .552
8 Bid McPhee .540

*shrug*. I didn't think that EQR and RC would give such different results. Its close though and for now I just put them 14/15 on my ballot. Will update next week if something else comes out.
   149. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: June 15, 2004 at 11:17 PM (#678124)
Gratuitous self-promotion:

I've restarted my RSI website. The old one collapsed due to problems involving archiving snafus & its unwillingnes to update the public info when I re-published it, thus sapped my will to actually do anything with it.

So far I've only got: What is RSI, How W/L records are adjusted, and a complete list of the career RSIs & Adj'd W/L records for the 191 pitchers I've done it for. Hopefully, I'll do more before getting really really bored. I do intend to prioritize putting up info on 19th century & deadballers, in deference to this project. The archiving already works here better than it ever did on the old site. Don't expect any quick work though.
   150. Jeff M Posted: June 16, 2004 at 01:27 AM (#678430)
Chris J: That's great. I think your link might have a typo in it, because it didn't really take me to the site. I found it anyway, and here's a link that I think works, though for some reason I can only paste this as text...the link code doesn't seem to work for me (my fault I'm sure).

http://runsupportindex.blogspot.com
   151. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 16, 2004 at 01:55 AM (#678563)
I've just finished calculating a new form of defense-independent ERA, so I'll share the results here.

I found that unlike more recent years, deadball pitchers absolutely had the ability to prevent hits on balls in play--every pitcher I am considering on the ballot had a career BABIP lower than that of his teammates. To correct for effects of fielding and park, however, I conducted the following process:

1. Take a pitcher's real-life $K, $HR, $BB, and $HB for each year.
2. Calculate the ratio of his BABIP to that of his teammates' for each year.
3. Smooth out the noise in this data by replacing the actual ratio each year with the following formula: 1/4 the ratio in a given year, plus 1/4 the ratio over the three-year interval (one year on either side), plus 1/4 the ratio over the five-year interval (two years on either side), plus 1/4 the career ratio.
4. Multiply this smoothed ratio by the league BABIP each year to get a $H for each year.
5. Use Extrapolated Runs values to get a dERA from the Ks, HRs, BBs, HB's, and adjusted base hits.
6. Compare this dERA to the league dERA to get a dERA+.

Here are the pitchers I have figured data for:

1. Ed Walsh (1904-1917)
1904 103, 1905 123, 147, 144, 198, 176, 206, 143, 140, 107, 118, 175, 1916 96, 1917 76, career 151


2. Addie Joss (1902-10)
1902 138, 1903 142, 138, 129, 134, 138, 178, 1909 148, 1910 145, career 143

3. Christy Mathewson (1900-16)
1900 91, 1901 137, 119, 140, 122, 145, 111, 154, 205, 191, 147, 142, 131, 123, 107, 1915 103, 1916 97, career 134

4. Rube Waddell (1897-1910)
1897 107, 1899 122, 135, 117, 144, 137, 129, 132, 112, 117, 117, 1909 108, 1910 95, career 125

4. (tie) Mordecai Brown (1903-1916)
1903 103, 1904 125, 120, 134, 135, 157, 158, 132, 120, 108, 99, 118 (FL), 1915 120 (FL), 1916 108, career 125

6. Vic Willis (1898-1910)
1898 114, 1899 126, 101, 128, 134, 126, 118, 107, 125, 129, 129, 1909 120, 1910 112, career 121

7. Joe McGinnity (1899-1908)
1899 119, 1900 108, 114, 130, 139, 130, 116, 118, 1907 106, 1908 87, career 118

8. Eddie Plank (1901-1917)
1901 116, 1902 112, 108, 107, 115, 111, 108, 126, 113, 113, 117, 110, 122, 121, 147 (FL_, 1916 117, 1917 116, career 116

9. Clark Griffith (1891-1906)
1891 92 (AA), 1893 114, 108, 99, 114, 118, 140, 136, 130, 128, 94, 107, 95, 1905 131, 1906 97, career 115

10. Eddie Cicotte (1905-1920)
1905 74, 1908 94, 95, 89, 97, 99, 112, 115, 116, 112, 141, 132, 1919 141, 1920 116, career 113

11. Bob Caruthers (1884-1892)
1884 (AA) 125, 1885 (AA) 113, 120 (AA), 117 (AA), 122 (AA), 109 (AA), 105, 1891 102, 1892 82
   152. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 16, 2004 at 01:59 AM (#678582)
Discussion: you all can make what you want of this, but I think a defense-independent ERA+ that takes account of a pitcher's ability to prevent hits on balls in play is a valuable stat. I never really understood the arguments undercutting Rube Waddell's high ERA+, but just based on his HR, BB, K, HB rates and his ability relative to his teammates to prevent hits on balls in play, he comes out pretty high here. All in all, this seems to correlate fairly well to ERA+, suggesting to my mind that ERA+ is a pretty solid stat after all. Please post questions or comments on the methodology or results, as I will be incorporating these numbers into my rankings. The one thing that leaps to my mind is that if a pitcher had teammates who were also good at preventing hits on balls in play, his ability would appear lower than it was in this stat. Not sure how to correct for that.
   153. DavidFoss Posted: June 16, 2004 at 03:08 AM (#678985)
Hmmm... if you don't hold BABIP constant, doesn't it up the Defense back into Defense-Independent-PS?

Don't you have some sort of Component ERA going on? Not that that doesn't have value in and of itself.
   154. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 16, 2004 at 06:03 AM (#679482)
Yes and no. This number includes a PITCHER's ability to prevent hits on balls in play, but not the effects of his fielders, park, or luck, and thus is a defense-independent ERA. To get a pitcher's $H, I compare him to his teammates to see how much better/worse he was than them, and multiply that (averaged over time) ratio by the league average BABIP. Make sense?
   155. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 16, 2004 at 07:23 AM (#679496)
Part II:
I have calculated, as above, defense-independent ERA's for these 11 pitchers (our four modern era pitching HoM'ers plus the pitchers I'm considering on this ballot). Now, factoring innings pitched, straight-line-adjusting for season length, and using the Pythagenport formula with replacement level set at 1.25*league dERA, I have converted these ERA's into Wins Above Replacement, BP-style (no timeline or league quality adjustments yet). Here is my data:

1. Christy Mathewson
Year dWARP dERA+
1900   0.3    91
1901  10.1   137
1902   6.4   119
1903  11.7   140
1904   7.7   122
1905  10.0   145
1906   4.7   111
1907   9.6   154
1908  14.6   205
1909   9.8   191
1910   9.5   147
1911   9.1   142
1912   8.2   131
1913   6.7   123
1914   4.9   107
1915   2.6   103
1916   0.8    97
TOT  126.6   134


2. Ed Walsh
Year dWARP dERA+
1904   1.5   103
1905   2.8   123
1906   8.0   147
1907  11.5   144
1908  18.0   198
1909   8.2   176
1910  14.6   206
1911  10.5   143
1912  10.9   140
1913   1.7   107
1914   1.0   117
1915   1.0   175
1916   0.0    96
1917  -0.1    76
TOT   89.7   151


3. Eddie Plank
Year dWARP dERA+
1901   6.2   116
1902   6.4   112
1903   6.2   108
1904   5.4   107
1905   6.2   115
1906   3.8   111
1907   5.4   108
1908   5.3   126
1909   4.8   113
1910   4.4   113
1911   5.5   117
1912   5.0   110
1913   5.2   122
1914   3.9   121
1915   7.7   147 (Federal League)
1916   4.6   117
1917   2.5   116
TOT   88.7   116


4. Clark Griffith
Year dWARP dERA+
1891   2.2    92 (American Association)
1893   0.5   114
1894   6.0   108
1895   5.2    99
1896   8.0   114
1897   8.9   118
1898  11.0   140
1899  10.5   136
1900   7.9   130
1901   8.4   128
1902   2.3    94
1903   3.8   107
1904   0.9    95
1905   2.4   131
1906   0.6    97
TOT   78.7   115


5. Iron Joe McGinnity
Year dWARP dERA+
1899   8.6   119
1900   6.7   108
1901   9.2   114
1902  10.1   130
1903  13.7   139
1904   9.8   130
1905   6.4   116
1906   7.1   118
1907   4.8   106
1908   0.9    87
TOT   77.3   118


6. Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown
Year dWARP dERA+
1903   3.4   103
1904   5.0   125
1905   5.3   120
1906   6.9   134
1907   5.8   135
1908   9.1   157
1909  10.4   158
1910   7.9   132
1911   5.9   120
1912   1.5   108
1913   2.1    99
1914   5.3   118 (Federal League)
1915   4.9   120 (Federal League)
1916   0.7   108
TOT   74.2   125


7. Rube Waddell
Year dWARP dERA+
1897   0.3   107
1899   1.9   122
1900   6.5   135
1901   5.8   117
1902   9.3   144
1903   9.7   137
1904   8.9   129
1905   7.8   132
1906   4.9   112
1907   5.5   117
1908   5.6   117
1909   3.5   108
1910   0.3    95
TOT   70.2   125


8. Vic Willis
Year dWARP dERA+
1898   4.1    99
1899   7.0   111
1900   1.8    89
1901   6.4   113
1902   9.2   118
1903   5.7   112
1904   5.1   104
1905   3.4    96
1906   5.7   113
1907   5.8   118
1908   5.7   117
1909   4.6   109
1910   3.2   104
TOT   67.6   107

9. Addie Joss
<pre>
Year dWARP dERA+
1902   8.7   138
1903   8.7   142
1904   4.9   138
1905   6.6   129
1906   6.8   134
1907   8.7   138
1908  11.1   178
1909   6.8   148
1910   2.9   145
TOT   65.1   143


10. Parisian Bob Caruthers
(not including hitting)
Year dWARP dERA+
1884   2.6   125 (American Association)
1885  12.0   113 (American Association)
1886   9.2   120 (American Association)
1887   8.4   117 (American Association)
1888   9.0   122 (American Association)
1889   8.9   109 (American Association)
1890   5.7   105
1891   4.7   102
1892   0.2    82
TOT   60.8   111


11. Eddie Cicotte
Year dWARP dERA+
1905  -0.1    74
1908   1.9    94
1909   1.4    95
1910   1.4    89
1911   2.6    97
1912   2.4    99
1913   4.9   112
1914   4.8   115
1915   4.2   116
1916   3.1   112
1917   9.0   141
1918   8.1   132
1919   9.7   141
1920   6.4   116
TOT   59.8   113
   156. PhillyBooster Posted: June 16, 2004 at 01:13 PM (#679569)
Hey, Dan. Can you throw in numbers for Mickey Welch, who is one of the top-ranked pitchers on the ballot?

Thanks.
   157. Jeff M Posted: June 16, 2004 at 01:16 PM (#679573)
Dan, that's interesting stuff.

I wonder if we'll see Griffith move up a notch or two in the balloting as a result.

By the way, do you ever sleep?
   158. DanG Posted: June 16, 2004 at 01:20 PM (#679577)
Also, a request for Jim McCormick, who was more highly regarded here in the past.
   159. Jeff M Posted: June 16, 2004 at 01:57 PM (#679617)
Also, a request for Jim McCormick, who was more highly regarded here in the past.

True. He's completely fallen off the radar.
   160. PhillyBooster Posted: June 16, 2004 at 04:05 PM (#679797)
HOFers Eppa Rixey, Red Faber, Burleigh Grimes, Herb Pennock, and maybe Stan Coveleski, not to mention non HOFers Carl Mays, Urban Shocker, and Dolf Luque. None of them is a shoo-in, but career voters may be impressed.

In my mind, Rixey in the only "top half" type candidate from this group.

Looking ahead, I think the toughest call -- I could see him being either a #1 or off-ballot --
is Red Ruffing. What do you do with a guy with 273 wins, who pitched forever, is top 30 in wins and innings, but who only has an ERA+ of 109 and led the league in losses more than in wins? Throw in the fact that he was a below-average pitcher until age 28 and that he lost 2.5 years to WWII in his age 38-40 "prime".

His "most similars" list is a Who's Who of the Dubiously Large Counting Stats (Gus Weyhing, Tony Mullane, Dennis Martinez, Jack Morris . . .) plus Grimes, Faber, etc.

In my mind, how we treat Red Ruffing will indicate whether the HoM with end up closer to 20% pitchers or closer to 33% pitchers.
   161. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 16, 2004 at 04:38 PM (#679853)
Hehe. I just graduated college and don't start my job til June 28, so I've got two weeks to drink, sleep around, and, um, play with baseball statistics. :)

The next step for me with this is to give credit to fielders in this--I am giving these pitchers each league-average fielding but crediting them for it 100%. How do I do this?

A note on Griffith: I used to really not like him; he barely made my ballot. And his lifetime dERA+ of 115 is nothing remarkable, way worse than, say, Addie Joss' 143.
But he had a real ability to prevent hits on balls in play from 1898-1901--his BABIP was just 85% of his teammates over that span (similar to McGinnity in 02-04, Walsh 08-10, and Mathewson 07-09). His 1898 season was actually not nearly as terrific as it appears, as he stranded an ungodly proportion of runners. He was almost as good in 1899 (1898 $K = .069, $BB+HBP = .057, $HR = .01, BABIP = 84% of team; 1899 $K = .054, $BB+HBP = .055, $HR = .004, BABIP = 85% of team). And he threw lots of innings.
   162. DavidFoss Posted: June 16, 2004 at 04:48 PM (#679874)
There was a book on the "Worst Pitchers of All-Time" and the had single season worst pitchers awards, and Ruffing won at least two of them in the 20's. I think the Award was named after Bill "Skunk" Stearns of the NA.

Anyhow, they also had an award called the "Sell Your Soul to the Devil" award for pitchers that show a large change in their fortunes. Camilio Pascual was honored for this, even Jerry Koosman's revival in MN after some horrible years for the Mets in the mid-70s got a mention.

The big winner for this award was Red Ruffing. Ruffing had negative WAT numbers for the awful 20's Red Sox and positive WAT numbers for the mighty 30s Yankees. Simply one of the biggest turnarounds in history and it would be fun to here some anecdote of a coach's or player's advice that accounted for this turnaround. So, its almost like he wo

Anyhow, his peak years were solid but by no means spectacular... since he his prime is aslo in the Negro League hey-day he might have trouble getting to the top of a ballot (I've been wrong about that before though).
   163. DavidFoss Posted: June 16, 2004 at 04:51 PM (#679880)
Gosh I hate being distracted multiple times in the middle of typing an entry. Sorry about all the homophonic typos and sentence fragments. Splitting Ruffings numbers into SOX-only, Yanks-only, and total would be very interesting...

Still got 15-20 years before he is eligible though.
   164. Jeff M Posted: June 16, 2004 at 04:58 PM (#679892)
...got two weeks to drink, sleep around, and, um, play with baseball statistics.

In that order????
   165. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 16, 2004 at 05:12 PM (#679912)
The numbers for Welch are going to be very unreliable because he basically pitched the entire season for some of his teams, or split it with one other guy (often Keefe, who has already been inducted and was presumably also good at preventing hits on balls in play, which would lead to an understatement of Welch's ability). This is especially problematic in Welch's best ERA+ year, 1885. He and Keefe each pitched half the season, and each had a BABIP around .235. The league BABIP was .273. Clearly, Welch is getting no credit for his ability to prevent hits on balls in play here, although he shouldn't get full credit either, as he had, according to Win Shares, his league's best defensive catcher, shortstop, and first baseman, and second-best defensive ssecond baseman and third baseman (and the pitchers who combined for the measly 102 innings not pitched by Keefe or Welch also had a .237 BABIP). Does anyone have ideas for how to address this?
With such a small sample size of teammates to compare his BABIP too, take these results with a grain of salt.

Mickey Welch
<pre>
Year dWARP dERA+
1880 16.0 108
1881 9.7 105
1882 3.1 89
1883 8.8 101
1884 13.4 112
1885 11.3 110
1886 6.4 95
1887 7.6 109
1888 5.3 98
1889 5.5 99
1890 5.0 103
1891 0.1 81
1892 -0.1 62
TOT 92.1 102
   166. PhillyBooster Posted: June 16, 2004 at 05:43 PM (#679953)
The related interesting Welch/Keefe stat can be seen in their Baseball Prospectus pages, which tracks Hits on Balls on Play Below Team (Delta-H), and Runs Below Projected Based on Hits Allowed (Delta-R).

Keefe had a Delta-H of -105 and a Delta-R of -34.
Welch had a Delta-H of -42 and a Delta-R of -262.

So, it looks to me like Keefe was better at preventing hits on balls in play, but Welch was MUCH better at preventing his hits from turning into runs -- Clutch Pitching.

It makes sense when you look at their peripheral numbers as teammates, where Keefe leads considerably, and then look at the results -- wins -- which finds them nearly identical.
   167. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 16, 2004 at 05:48 PM (#679958)
I really don't understand how BP is coming up with such different delta-H's for Keefe and Welch in '85--they had the same BABIP! This makes no sense to me.
   168. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 16, 2004 at 05:58 PM (#679988)
Jim McCormick encounters the same problems as Welch, occasionally even more severe. In 1880, he threw nearly 87% of his team's innings, making comparisons to his teammates very unreliable.

McCormick's WARP numbers are so high because, of course, he pitched almost the entire season for many of his teams. Welch tops out at 16.0 WARP, while McCormick has four years above 18 maxing out at 25, because his dERA+ were significantly higher than Welch's, due to a higher strikeout rate. He appears to have been somewhat better at preventing hits on BIP than Welch, although Welch's ability may be understated due to his pitching alongside Keefe.

Nonetheless, here's what I've got:

Jim McCormick
Year dWARP dERA+
1878   4.3   107
1879  18.5   115
1880  24.9   124
1881  20.7   122
1882  18.9   113
1883  11.0   117
1884   7.8   115 (partially in Union Assoc.)
1885   3.2    95
1886   3.0    90
1887   4.1    95
TOT  116.4   112
   169. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 16, 2004 at 06:00 PM (#679992)
Also, of course, these WARP totals have the same problem as Win Shares for pre-1893 pitchers. If you toss 80-90% of a team's innings at even a league average level, you are going to be many, many wins above replacement.
   170. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: June 16, 2004 at 06:16 PM (#680025)
This is especially problematic in Welch's best ERA+ year, 1885. He and Keefe each pitched half the season, and each had a BABIP around .235. The league BABIP was .273.

1885's a very strange year. All the talent was on two teams - Giants & Cubs - & the rest of the league wasn't very good. It's no accident that Clarkson & Welch had their big win years that season or that McCormick had his gaudiest non-UA winning percentage that year. It was also Keefe's best single season winning percentage. All of them deserve some sort of discount, IMHO. May have something to do with why the Giants team BABIP was so much lower than the league average.

So, it looks to me like Keefe was better at preventing hits on balls in play, but Welch was MUCH better at preventing his hits from turning into runs -- Clutch Pitching.

Along those clutch pitching lines Mickey Welch won 13 more games than he should've based on his RA & the team's RS in his career - only Bobby Mathews, Roger Clemens & Rick Wise did better. Keefe lost 18 more games than one would've expected based on RS & RA, tying Curt Simmons for the worst mark ever.
   171. OCF Posted: June 16, 2004 at 06:27 PM (#680042)
I added Red Ruffing to the RA+ PythPat calculation referred to in post #100 on this thread. He comes out at 269-214, which isn't very far from his actual record.

I now have six pitchers clustered between 200 and 206 RA+ equivalent FWP: McGinnity, Ruffing, Coveleski, Rixie, Faber, and Vance. Ruffing, Rixie, and Faber reached this neigborhood through bulk; Coveleski and Vance have fewer innings but a higher winning percentage. McGinnity is in between, but more of his value is concentrated in his top two seasons. What are some of the other ways these six are unlike each other? How did each one's defensive backing compare to the others in this group?
   172. PhillyBooster Posted: June 16, 2004 at 07:08 PM (#680129)
Back of the envelope splits for Ruffing:

Boston: 39-96 (.289 W%), 1122.3 IP, 92 ERA+.

New York(and Chicago): 234-129 (.644 W%), 3221.7 IP, 115 ERA+.

I tried to find someone who had a career comparable to Ruffing in New York, with comparable wins, Win%, and ERA+. The best I could come up with was NOBODY. Nobody was able to keep up that sort of win% for so long with such a low ERA+. Ron Guidry and Ed Lopat were vaguely close, although not really (Guidrey had a higher ERA+, and Lopat had a lower win%), both in about 1000 fewer innings.

Red Ruffing in New York was either the Clutchest pitcher ever, had the most run support in history, or was the luckiest sumbitch to ever grace Yankee Stadium.
   173. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: June 16, 2004 at 07:21 PM (#680153)
Red Ruffing in New York was either the Clutchest pitcher ever, had the most run support in history, or was the luckiest sumbitch to ever grace Yankee Stadium.

He did have an RSI over 120 in his post-Red Sox days, which would put him among the best post-Nat'l Ass'n pitchers ever in terms of run support. His Red Sox RSI was around 80, which is equivilent (yea, I know, I can't spell) to the run support of Eddie Smith, who has the worst run support of anyone I've come across.
   174. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 16, 2004 at 07:49 PM (#680216)
A few questions:

1. Can you convert Win Shares to runs at 3.33 R/WS?

2. Is data available on the league average fielding WS at each position for each year? Are fielding WS equal to fielding runs above replacement divided by 3.33 (or some similar number)?
   175. PhillyBooster Posted: June 16, 2004 at 08:01 PM (#680250)
If Primer-world, illicit abbreviation of Association is banned.

Back in Prospectus Delta-Land, check out Ruffing's Run Delta. I shifts from large positive numbers to large negative numbers at the instant of the trade to New York, so it is looking like the perfect storm of run support and stranded runners.

I'm certainly not saying I wouldn't vote for him (especially after giving fair credit for 2.5 missed seasons in WWII), but I think it is a perfect example of Charlie Hough Syndrome.

Is great something you can BECOME at age 37 when looking back in retrospect, or does there have to be some indication of greatness somewhere in his prime?

At age 34, he was Most Similar to Joe Bush, and the comparison is actually a good one. 17 seasons of Joe Bush is clearly not a HoMer. Is 22 seasons of Joe Bush a HoMer? 25 seasons (Ruffing plus war credit)?

I don't know. One side of me says that you have to add up all the credits. The other side says that 100 years of Joe Bush is still just Joe Bush.
   176. karlmagnus Posted: June 16, 2004 at 08:01 PM (#680251)
Here's a thought experiment. Suppose we ran an alternative HOM in which time ran backwards, so that players became eligible 5 years before their debut, and we started in say 1990 (players debuting after 1996 not yet having accumulated enough PT to be eligible) and then ran backwards year by year, as in the HOM, to 1898 or 1890 using the HOM schedule for the number to be elected in each year. Apart from some inevitable shuffling in 1985-90, would we elect the same players and if not, what would the differences be?
   177. karlmagnus Posted: June 16, 2004 at 08:08 PM (#680271)
Sorry, no, if the real HOM is 1898-2007, then going backwards over 110 years takes you only to 1881, which eliminates all players debuting before 1887. So we'd have to have a "thin" election schedule stretching right back to say 1860.

My guess is, it wouldn't make much difference, but the short career retire-at-30 players, (Rusie, Flick, Joss and, yes, Caruthers) would lose out since they'd appear rather after their long career contemporaries. But would there be other differnces?
   178. PhillyBooster Posted: June 16, 2004 at 08:25 PM (#680299)
The countereffect would be that short-career start-at-30 players (McGinnity, Cravath, etc.)would gain an advantage by coming on the ballot before their precocious contemporaries.
   179. OCF Posted: June 16, 2004 at 08:52 PM (#680333)
The complication in what PhillyBooster just said is that you may encounter a "token in reverse" effect. Dazzy Vance had 30 sub-mediocre innings at age 24 and 2.3 "let's forget that ever happened" innings at age 27 before getting his real start at age 31.
   180. DavidFoss Posted: June 16, 2004 at 08:55 PM (#680338)
I dunno... things would change quite a bit if we went backwards. A lot of people have been inducted due to ballot-timing. A candidate gap like the one we are currently in would favor candidates on the other side of the gap.
   181. PhillyBooster Posted: June 16, 2004 at 09:27 PM (#680372)
Well, let's see. If the first election is 1990 for all players debuting in 1996, then the top of the ballot has to be Vlad Guerrero and Andruw Jones. 1990 is an Elect 3 year, so I'd say it's a toss-up between Bobby Abreu and Jason Kendall for the third slot.
   182. Michael Bass Posted: June 16, 2004 at 09:32 PM (#680378)
That would be messy at first, because you'd be dealing with incomplete careers.

Aside from that, I don't know the exact locations of all the canidate gaps, but the further into the project gaps come, the less "troublesome" they are, because with a bigger backlog, the odds of having better players at the top of it are pretty low.

As it stands now, I will predict that whoever we take in the last year of this backlog will be the "worst" players selected in the entire project. That's not meant as an insult to the players, someone has to be 200th out of 200; I just think it's gonna be them.
   183. Guapo Posted: June 16, 2004 at 09:37 PM (#680389)
Hmmm. Assuming Andruw Jones gets inducted into the Bizarro-HOM in 1990, he'll be all of 13 years old.

The honor should soften the transition from junior high into high school, but I can't imagine his parents will be too thrilled about him traveling up from Curacao for the induction ceremony....
   184. jimd Posted: June 16, 2004 at 09:40 PM (#680393)
Also, of course, these WARP totals have the same problem as Win Shares for pre-1893 pitchers.

It's not the same at all. Win Shares asserts that pitching is always 33% of the game (plus or minus a couple of % points). WARP allows a much wider range in the pitching/fielding split.

Radbourn won 60 games in 1884. For Win Shares, this means about 60 Win Shares, plus extra credit for his 205 ERA+, and more credit because of the fielding cap, and maybe a little bit extra for hitting above .200 OWP. Total 89 Win Shares, or approximately 30 Wins above Replacement.

WARP-1 has him at 17.7 (approximately 53 Win Shares). The excellent fielding behind him gets a chance to claim about 40% of the credit that Win Shares gives to Hoss. What's left is still enough to give Radbourn more WARP than any position player I've noticed in 1884 (though I haven't yet conducted an exhaustive search).

If you toss 80-90% of a team's innings at even a league average level, you are going to be many, many wins above replacement.

That's true in any era. It's also true for position players, who accumulate WARP for average play too.

This highlights something that I've said before. The game is structurally different in the early 1880's. Good pitchers were more important then than they are now. This is due to the huge amount of innings that they throw, combined with the fact that pitchers were nearly as effective then as they are today (strikeout rates are comparable to the 1930's/1940's/1950's).

Pitchers have more value then due to the large amount of innings they throw. And position players have less value then because the seasons are shorter. They have less "time" to impact the season, to accumulate the small edges that add up over the long season of today. If you adjust the hitters but not the pitchers for these short seasons, you distort the original relationship between the hitters and pitchers of that time.

I think this also influenced the quality of the athletes that went into different positions. If you had a player that could do both, well, in Ruth's time, you became a hitter. Because you had to be Walter Johnson to be as good as Ty Cobb in any given season; being Addie Joss wasn't enough (quality at lesser quantity); being Joe McGinnity wasn't enough (quantity at lesser quality). And if you could be both, being a hitter meant it was more likely to have a long career.

OTOH, in the early 1880's, you became a pitcher, because you were almost full-time (just like a modern catcher), and the team got the benefit of both your bat and your arm. The longer schedules of the late 1880's altered this balance away from the pitcher and towards the position player.
   185. PhillyBooster Posted: June 16, 2004 at 09:51 PM (#680405)
1989: Giambi and Jeter. #3 would the other of Abreu or Kendall.

1988: A-Rod and holdovers Rolen and Pettitte. Garrett Anderson and Jeff Cirillo are top holdovers.

1987: Chipper Jones, Carlos Delgado, and either Shawn Green, Jim Edmonds or a holdover.

1986: Javy Lopez, Mike Piazza, and Pedro Martinez

1985: Jeff Bagwell, I-Rod, Mike Mussina. Kenny Lofton carries over.

1984: Weak year. Frank Thomas and then two carryovers. I'll go with Kenny Lofton and Garrett Anderson. Moises Alou and Luis Gonzalez are the top carryovers.

1983: Start with Sammy Sosa. After that, I'm stuck. More carryovers? Larry Walker? John Olerud? Albert Belle? Steve Finley? Marquis Grissom?

Okay. I did 8 years. How many of these guys do you think will make the HoM? I'm not optomistic for half of them. On the other hand, you start moving through the backlog pretty quickly if you have a two year dead-spot and you are electing 3 per year, so maybe all these guys will make it.
   186. karlmagnus Posted: June 16, 2004 at 10:26 PM (#680435)
The reverse-HOM is interesting, isn't it -- with the high election rate in the 1980s and 1970s, you'd probably get some pretty mediocre electees. Conversely, that should mean that if Parisian Bob, Pearce, Beckley, Welch et al don't make it now, they should have a real shot in say 1985. The problem is, we may by then have an electorate that's never heard of them.

I think the weakest HOMers may come in the years with a high election rate, as we run out of good ideas, and elect a relatively modern second rater instead of an 1860s-1880s star. We only have 9 more to elect before 1932; if you assume Santop and Baker are certain, and Poles and Hooper strongly supported, then any of McGinnity, Wallace, Sheckard, Thompson, Caruthers, Pearce, Pike or Beckley is likely to find by 2007 that there are several players worse than him in the HOM. Welch, well down the current list, may well deserve election in 1985 but not be able to get elected.
   187. Jeff M Posted: June 16, 2004 at 10:37 PM (#680447)
Red Ruffing in New York was either the Clutchest pitcher ever, had the most run support in history, or was the luckiest sumbitch to ever grace Yankee Stadium.

Bill James has an essay entitled "Lucky B*stards" in The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers. It's a familiar and simple study of expected wins vs. actual wins (and expected win% vs. actual win%), using the pythagorean method and making park adjustments.

He only lists top ten career luckiest, and Ruffing isn't in there, but Raschi is #1. He also includes a quote from Waite Hoyt: "The secret of success as a pitcher lies in getting a job with the Yankees."

Here's a thought experiment. Suppose we ran an alternative HOM in which time ran backwards...

Karl, are you trying to make my brain explode? I can hardly decide how to vote as it is. Maybe it would be like a HOM version of the movie Memento. However, I endorse the idea on grounds that it would be several human years and 75 HOM years before sunnyday starts to hate me. :)
   188. karlmagnus Posted: June 16, 2004 at 10:46 PM (#680457)
Incidentally, for the reverse HOM, the 5 year rule wouldn't be necessary (since we have the luxury of moving in the opposite direction in time!) Therefore the first election in 1990 would include all players beginning in 1991 or later -- i.e pretty well on in their careers by now. That would increase the available pool in the early elections, which seems necessary.

You also need to figure out what years the pre-1881 slots are coming from -- logically the most recent ones, so maybe you do 2 a year solidly from 1990 to 1913, with a 3-year every 5 years to 1945, then add the additional 20 that's generated into 1861-1880. Also if say Andrew Jones doesn't quite make it in 1990, having only 8 years of ML experience, but has a career year in 2006, he may suddenly rocket up the ballot in say 1930, which we'd be doing in October 2006.
   189. Jeff M Posted: June 16, 2004 at 10:54 PM (#680467)
2. Is data available on the league average fielding WS at each position for each year?

I haven't seen any data in this format. The WS book has "norms" by position for players who played within certain ranges of innings, but that information represents the average over all of baseball history. Still, it's better than trying to calculate it on your own if you are looking for some numbers to experiment with.

If you don't have the WS book I can transcribe the norms for you (wouldn't take too long).

Are fielding WS equal to fielding runs above replacement divided by 3.33 (or some similar number)?

I'd be surprised if it is that simple, particularly since WARP and WS rarely agree on the fielding attributes of a player. James determines fielding WS by using an artificial claim points system at the team level, and later apportioning those among the position players by using another set of claim points. I think the odds would be slim that his artificial claim points system would translate neatly into the way WARP determines fielding runs, but I guess it's possible.

Seems like one of the earliest things I remember Chris Cobb posting was a formula that got us from WARP to WS. I don't know if he ever broke it into components.
   190. PhillyBooster Posted: June 17, 2004 at 03:03 AM (#681489)
Well, the continuing and growing support for the lines of Pearce and Caruthers and Pike make me think that they won't sink into oblivion, even if they have to wait until 2007.

Looking at the eligible players for the "real" elections in the mid-1980s, I can tell you right now that Bobby Bonds (who I had imagined would be borderline) is going to be First Ballot (in the top 3 in his election year). The real question are going to be the hitting equivalents of Red Ruffing, who all retired in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Each year seems to have one or two Lou Brocks or Willie McCoveys, and then a half dozen outfielders and first basemen who played forever and had a 110 OPS+ (Willie Davis, George Scott, Jose Cardenal, Willie Horton, Lee May . . .)

When it comes down to Jake Beckley versus the fourth best first baseman of the 1970s, I would hope that even a elderly Floridian would be able to pick Beckley.
   191. Jeff M Posted: June 17, 2004 at 04:00 AM (#681762)
I would hope that even a elderly Floridian would be able to pick Beckley.

As a Florida resident, I can assure you that our election procedures under the watch of Jeb Bush ensure that elderly Floridians who have trouble with ballots still manage to have their votes counted. :)

Unless they aren't white. I'm embarrassed to say that I was born and raised (and still live) in a Florida county in which nearly 1/2 of the minority ballots weren't counted. Who knows, maybe mine wasn't either. It was a tricky ballot. I know who I voted for, but I had to read the ballot three times to make sure. And I've got 20 years of education under my belt.

As for the baseball aspect of the comment, I agree with you on Beckley over the guys mentioned in parentheses, although maybe not over McCovey. An outfielder or first baseman in the 110 OPS+ range isn't really in HOM territory in my opinion. I'm looking for guys with at least 120 OPS+ at those positions.
   192. Chris Cobb Posted: June 17, 2004 at 04:12 AM (#681808)
Dave Rosenheck asked:

Are fielding WS equal to fielding runs above replacement divided by 3.33 (or some similar number)?

Jeff M. responded:

I'd be surprised if it is that simple, particularly since WARP and WS rarely agree on the fielding attributes of a player. . . .

Seems like one of the earliest things I remember Chris Cobb posting was a formula that got us from WARP to WS. I don't know if he ever broke it into components.


My experience in translating WARP into WS matches Jeff M.'s account. For Batting Runs above Replacement, 10 BRAR is usually approximately equal to 3 WS, once one adjusts for differences in replacement level, and that difference is typically 3 - 3.5 WS/162 games. For Fieldng Runs above Replacement, there's much less consistency. As jimd mentioned above, WARP allows the balance between pitching, fielding, and hitting to shift radically with changes in the games, whereas WS treats this balance as more or less fixed. In the early game, WARP typically gives fielders FRAR that are much higher that WS * 3.3. WARP also apportions fielding credit differently within teams, so that much of the additional credit to fielding per team in the early game goes to the middle infielders. Those are the broad, systemic differences. They also differ widely on individual players for reasons that, without a full disclosure of the WARP system, are impossible to determine.

When I developed translations from WARP to WS for National Association players, I tried to estimate the number of win shares that system would likely award, given WARP's assessment of the player's fielding, with each position treated differently.
   193. PhillyBooster Posted: June 17, 2004 at 02:07 PM (#682103)
Right. My point was that a Brock or a McCovey or a Delahanty would be a top-ballot choice in any era. If it were 1909, we'd elect him and move on to the next year. In 1999, we'd elect him Delahanty (as we did), and then have two more spaces for two other inductees.
   194. Michael Bass Posted: June 17, 2004 at 02:25 PM (#682114)
I'm getting...oh...50 years off topic here, but am I the only one who doesn't think Brock will be a lock (at least on the first ballot)? The steals are very nice, but he had a 109 OPS+, was a notoriously poor defender in an OF corner, and had virtually no peak.
   195. PhillyBooster Posted: June 17, 2004 at 02:36 PM (#682120)
I had put these in more details in the positional threads, but I think they are gone now. This is my 50 Player Consideration Set. It is made up of the Top 5 Eligible at each position (10 for pitchers).

Bold made my 1928 ballot, italics made my Top 30, plain text fell outside the Top 30 (and are not necessarily in my Top 50, since I haven't compared them to #6 in the other positions). The only position that didn't make the Top 15 this year was Left Field, but that's because my Top 2 left fielders (Jackson and Hill) were inducted last year.

P: Caruthers, McGinnity, Foster, Welch, Griffith, McCormick, Willis, Waddell, Mullane, Cicotte

C: Bresnahan, Clements, McGuire, Meyers, Kling

1B: Beckley, Chance, Konetchy, S. White, Orr

2B: Childs, Evers, Doyle, Monroe, Dunlap

SS: Pearce, Wallace, Jennings, Tinker, Long

3B: Baker, Williamson,McGraw, Leach, Cross

LF: Sheckard, C. Jones, York, O'Neill, Dougherty

CF: Pike, van Haltren,Browning, Duffy, F. Jones

RF: Cravath, Thompson, Tiernan, Donovan, O. Burns
   196. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: June 17, 2004 at 02:46 PM (#682130)
Back in Prospectus Delta-Land, check out Ruffing's Run Delta. I shifts from large positive numbers to large negative numbers at the instant of the trade to New York, so it is looking like the perfect storm of run support and stranded runners.

Yea, I've seen that. He reminds me a bit of Jaime Moyer in that respect. I wonder how much it has to do with defense & the way that defense improves the pitcher's confidence. The Yanks under McCarthy were always a terrific fielding team, & the recent Mariners have generally been a very good fielding team. Helps make outs out of hits & maybe gives the pitcher more confidence to throw pitches that he otherwise wouldn't. Look at Ruffing's K:W ratio - it improves dramatically when he gets to New York.
   197. PhillyBooster Posted: June 17, 2004 at 02:59 PM (#682157)
Michael,

I am trying to imagine the 1985 election. Leaving aside the token rule, the newly eligible are here. We are electing 3. Maybe you like Thurman Munson. Is Brock not the second best there? Who goes over him? Mickey Lolich? Ken Holtzman?

Maybe there are two carryovers. Check out the previous year. It's an "Elect 2" in 1984. I see some good middle infielders(Sandy Alomar, Sr., Davey Johnson, Jim Fregosi), and an above average outfielder (Ron Fairly). I don't see any of them crowding out Brock.

Back up one more year to 1983 (elect 2), and you've got these guys. Dick Allen, Boog Powell, and Brooks Robinson gives you one carryover to 1984. Nobody else catches my eye. It'll be Joe Torre as the only other ballot-worthy.

Anyway, that's 3 years, for 7 inductees, and only about 3 "first ballot" guys. That leaves about 4 guys to be inducted from either the rest of the players listed above, or else the pre-1982 backlog. Maybe there will be a bunch of backlogged guys clamorring for spots, but if his competition is Jimmy Ryan and Rube Waddell, then it looks to me that Brock waltzes right in.
   198. Michael Bass Posted: June 17, 2004 at 03:11 PM (#682186)
Quick run through from the list you gave.

Willis Davis seems around as good if not better than Brock. Less OPS+, but a good (not great) defensive CF.

Munsen - I'd have to see how we're doing on catchers at that time. He'd have his support, of course.

Catfish and Lolich bring decent cases to the table. Like Munsen, they depend on what our pitcher standard is at that moment in time. I think they're both better than McGinnity, who's going in. :)

My point isn't so much that Brock won't go in, it's just that he's not a mortal lock. Hell, even with timelining, WARP3 has Jimmy Ryan better than him in both peak and career.
   199. DavidFoss Posted: June 17, 2004 at 03:39 PM (#682234)
Hmmm... maybe there will be another candidate gap in the early 80s? There is a slew of great players eligible in in the late 70s (Mays, Aaron, FRobby, Kaline, Gibson, etc) and a slew of greats eligible in the late 80s (Palmer, Bench, Yaz, McCovey) I wouldn't worry about it. There are going to be a ton of candidates in the backlog at that point.

Catfish sailed into the HOF because he played for great teams in pitchers parks in a pitchers era... he also retired early which allowed him to escape comparison with his superior contemporaries. He's younger than Carlton, Jenkins, Perry, Sutton, Seaver and probably more.

Exactly how is Catfish better than McGinnity? Maybe some timeline adjustments don't favor McGinnity. Lolich simply has a weak case. There are going to be a ton of pitchers in his group.

Hmmm... I just realized there are about 110 weeks to go before we can start debating their candidacies.
   200. OCF Posted: June 17, 2004 at 03:44 PM (#682246)
Look, guys, I'm in an odd situation here. When I was a young baseball fan, was there one player in particular that I followed, one player whose batting average I recalculated after each at bat to see whether he could reach or stay at .300? The answer to that question is Lou Brock. I'm going to have enough problems with dispassionate analysis when the time comes; I'm sure not going to engage in it early. How about letting him sit quietly until he's almost eligible?
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