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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Monday, August 16, 2004

1933 Ballot Discussion

1933 (August 29)—elect 2
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)

560 197.9 1907 Walter Johnson-P (1946)
380 95.2 1909 Zack Wheat-LF (1972)
272 83.5 1913 Heinie Groh-3B (1968)
239 69.9 1912 Roger Peckinpaugh-SS (1977)
225 73.6 1916 Urban Shocker-P (1928)
223 65.5 1913 Bob Shawkey-P (1980)
231 50.9 1913 Jack Fournier-1B (1973)
191 62.7 1913 Ray Schalk-C (1970)
178 50.8 1915 Baby Doll Jacobson-CF (1977)
191 46.0 1915 Lee Meadows-P (1963)
179 40.9 1914 Jack Tobin-RF (1969)
146 42.0 1912 George Mogridge-P (1962)
151 34.4 1917 Dutch Ruether-P (1970)
156 36.9 1915 Jesse Barnes-P (1961)
137 36.1 1915 Sherry Smith-P (1949)
161 38.4 1918 Irish Meusel-LF (1963)
139 43.1 1914 Frank Snyder-C (1962)
141 36.5 1915 Billy Southworth-RF (1969)
107 26.6 1920 Aaron Ward-2B (1961)
100 33.2 1921 Johnny Bassler-C (1979)

HF% Career Name-pos (born) BJ – MVP - All-Star
04% 21-27 Pablo Mesa-OF (1902) - 0 - 0*
00% 16-27 Bartolo Portuondo-3B (??) - 0 - 3*


Not as good as the crop from 1934 (what other year is?), but this year’s candidates are a strong bunch in their own right. 


Players Passing Away in 1932

HoMers
Age Elected

74 1902 Dan Brouthers-1B

Candidates
Age Eligible

77 1895 John Morrill-1B
72 1903 Fred Pfeffer-2B
68 1898 Charlie Getzein-P
62 1911 Candy LaChance-1B
55 1914 Sammy Strang-3B/2B

Future Candidates
29 1937 Chino Smith-RF


Thanks to Dan G. for the necrology!

 

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 16, 2004 at 03:35 PM | 262 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Chris Cobb Posted: August 17, 2004 at 06:56 PM (#802185)
I wrote:

In considering Groh vs. Williamson, their peak rank within their position is similar, but if you look at where they rank relative to the best position players overall, Groh is clearly ahead.

Phillybooster wrote:

That's reasonable, but is 3B really the same position in 1878 and 1918? Weren't 3Bs in Grohs time expected to be more of an offensive contributor? Sutton got some votes on the "3B was more like 2B" theory. If the same goes for Williamson, then maybe the proper comparisons for total value for all position players are Miller Huggins, Johnny Evers, and George Cutshaw, not Heinie Groh.

I guess I don't see the relevance of a change in the nature of third base as a defensive position to answering the question: "was this player one of the best five players in baseball"? A player's value will be the sum of his offensive and defensive contributions. If one looks at total win shares for position players in 1879, here are the win shares earned:

22 Paul Hines
21 Charley Jones
20 King Kelly
17 John O'Rourke, Jim O'Rourke, Ed Williamson, Deacon White

Williamson included more defensive value in his 17 win shares than any of the other top players, and less offensive value. This is the closest Williamson came to being the best player in baseball for a given season.

For Groh, in 1917 it's
46 Cobb
38 Hornsby
37 Speaker
37 Groh
34 G. J. Burns

In 1918 it's
31 Cobb
29 Hooper
28 Groh
28 Hollocher
27 Speaker

Both years Groh had the second-most defensive value among the top 5 players, after Speaker. These seasons are as close as Groh came to being the best player in baseball in a single season. I think he was closer to the top for longer than Williamson at a point in baseball history when there was more and better competition for the top spot. His peak value is not vastly superior to Williamson's, but it is superior. (Groh was also the sixth-best player in 1919. fwiw: he misses the top 5 because Ruth became primarily a hitter that year).

Why does it matter what kind of position third base is for this kind of comparison, except insofar as it leads us to question the accuracy of the metric?
   102. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 17, 2004 at 06:57 PM (#802188)
Well, I'm already sold on Groh. Groh's time is quite a bit more documented, so another Pearce-like candidacy where word-of-mouth support builds for three decades is unlikely. :-)

That's very true, David. Plus, he doesn't have the timeline hurting him either.

I think his case is more like his brother at third Ezra Sutton, though Groh doesn't have to worry about an NA demerit as Sutton did with some voters.

Otherwise I agree with the new requirement, provided it's only applied to the obvious like Santop -- I see no reason why I should have to justify not voting for borderline candidates like Groh (ducks!)

A guy that can be argued as the best at his position as many times as Groh can not be considered borderline.

Roger Peckinpaugh is a player you don't have to acknowledge. Lee Meadows you don't have to do so either.

Jack Fornier and Urban Shocker should be acknowledged.

If there is a buzz surrounding a player, include him.

We could institute a requirement that returning voters each "year" have to find a DIFFERENT reason for not voting for Beckley. That would keep things interesting :-))

Whew! Don't have to worry about that now! :-)
   103. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 17, 2004 at 06:58 PM (#802193)
I am sorry to report that karlmagnus has been taken to the emergency room after being struck in the head by a mysterious assailant wielding a bottle-shaped baseball bat. Detectives believe alcohol was involved.

LOL

Eric, isn't alcohol always involved? :-)
   104. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 17, 2004 at 07:06 PM (#802208)
Can we have threads for Williams, Torriente and LLoyd? I'd like to figure out where to put them on next year's ballot. Taylor too, I guess.

Sounds like an excellent idea, Daryn. I'll set them up sometime today.
   105. karlmagnus Posted: August 17, 2004 at 07:08 PM (#802214)
Fornier and Shocker are a case in point -- you need an OBJECTIVE standard if you're going to disqualify people's ballots (I don't intend to comment on those two, who had their points but aren't close to my ballot.)

We could have a requirement that all players with over 250WS or more than a 50% vote on the Negro League HOF poll need to be commented on -- that would solve the problem, as it's very unlikley that any player who didn't fulfil one of those two criteria would be elected on the first ballot, and once he's been on for a ballot, the "top 10" rule would apply.
   106. Chris Cobb Posted: August 17, 2004 at 07:10 PM (#802217)
1933 Preliminary Ballot

A fine crop of new eligibles! Seven players of interest, four of whom my ballot, some at the top: everybody else slides down, preparing for next year's plunge when the Class of '34 arrives.

1. Walter Johnson (n/e). Well, he was pretty good, I guess.
2. Zack Wheat (n/e) I can see why people want to be cautious, but I can't see a competition discount large enough to drop Wheat below any of the returning candidates. An excellent hitter even if he didn't take enough walks. Well-positioned by his hitting style to take advantage of the lively ball, and he did, racking up the best career value for a position player that we've seen since Sam Crawford was elected. Didn't have near the peak value that Crawford did (or that Joe Jackson or Frank Baker did, for that matter), but it was good enough to place him here.
3. George Van Haltren (2) The best remaining player from the still-underrepresented 1890s. All-round, consistent talent; just the sort of player who has been underrated in traditional discussions of merit. As Andrew Siegel has stressed, while he doesn’t have a peak that is very high, he was consistently well above average: he didn’t accumulate his value by stringing together the 18-20 ws seasons; he was consistently stringing together 25-30 ws seasons. That makes him significantly more valuable, in my view, than folks like Ryan, Beckley, and Cross.
4. Clark Griffith. (3) I think he has an argument to have been better than Rusie. My system shows him at 33.5 support-neutral wins above average. Like Van Haltren he lacks the high peak that appeals to some voters, but, also like Van Haltren, he was consistently above average, not just average.
5. Mickey Welch. (4) 8th-10th best player of the 1880s. Like Griffith, 33.5 support-neutral wins above average. Accomplished this feat against weaker competition in much easier conditions for pitchers, so despite higher career value, he ranks just below Griffith.
6. Heinie Groh (n/e) A player about whom I knew nothing when this project began, and now I look forward to his election before too many years have passed! An integral part of a great Cincinnati team. Career was short, but long enough to match the career value of other short-career infield candidates like Doyle, Childs, Williamson, and his peak was better than any of theirs. In fact, it was a pretty amazing five-year peak, second only to Jennings among position-player eligibles. And he's a third baseman. What's not to like? Slots in behind the “great career value” crowd, but ahead of the other peak candidates like Jennings and Pike.
7. Hughie Jennings (5) The third 1890s star now featured prominently on my ballot. While I understood those who favor Cupid Childs, I’m just not convinced that the “best second baseman” argument matters, and Jennings, at his best, was the best position player of the era. During his 1894-1898 peak, he was the best player in baseball, and better than a pair of contemporary first-ballot HoMers, Billy Hamilton and Ed Delahanty, who were also at their peaks during these years.
8. Tommy Leach (10) Comparison to Groh pointed out that I had been underrating him.
9. Lip Pike. (7) Career wasn’t long, but he was a regular longer than Hugh Duffy, Pete Browning, or Sam Thompson.
10. Urban Shocker (n/e) A very underrated player; he might well be a HoMer. Like Cooper below, he may move up or down significantly as I study his pitching contemporaries more fully. He was definitely better than Cooper, however: even though Cooper threw considerably more innings, Shocker's career is more valuable: he had a couple of great seasons in 1920 and 1921, and he was above average every single year he pitched. He and Mendez are very close in value as my system sees it, but Shocker is slightly ahead.
11. Spotswood Poles (8) His peak was short, but strong in relation to his contemporaries.
12. Jose Mendez (9) Mendez was lights-out during his peak, which is better than that of any eligible pitcher aside from Johnson. After 1914 he didn’t pitch much, but he remained a highly effective in a limited role. He’s a borderline candidate.
13. Larry Doyle (11).
14. Hugh Duffy (12).
15. Gavvy Cravath (13). I give him substantial credit for his play in Minnesota in the AA (he was clearly good enough to start in the majors), and part-time credit for his last two PCL seasons.

Consensus Top 10 players not on my ballot

Jimmy Ryan – see #20 below
Jake Beckley – see #32 below
   107. Chris Cobb Posted: August 17, 2004 at 07:11 PM (#802222)
Off Ballot

16. Wilbur Cooper (15) A consistently fine pitcher for 8 years. A Griffithesque career, but not quite as high a peak, and a couple of bad years outside his peak. Could move up or down significantly as I study his contemporaries, pitching and non-pitching, in more depth. He might be a worthy HoMer in his context – just don’t know yet.
17. Rube Waddell (22) Moves up on reevaluation in comparison to later pitchers. I don’t see him as a HoMer, but he’s a bit better than I had credited him.
18. George Burns (17)
19. Roger Bresnahan (14) Top catcher of the aughts. Nudged off the ballot this year, and dropped a bit more by the reevaluation of Waddell, so it's going to be a long while before he makes it back on the ballot. Genuinely great player (his peak rate trails only (Jennings, Chance, McGraw, and Pike among eligible position players), but not enough playing time or defensive value to be a HoMer.
20. Jimmy Ryan (16) Fourteenth best player of the 1890s. Decided I’d rather have Cravath or Bresnahan or Cooper than Ryan. They were all more consistently excellent.
21. Cupid Childs (18)
22. Bill Monroe (19)
23. Dobie Moore (20)
24. Harry Hooper (21)
25. Herman Long (23)
26. Tommy Bond (24)
27. Bobby Veach (25)
28. Charley Jones (26)
29. Bruce Petway (27)
30. Fielder Jones (28)
31. Babe Adams (29)
32. Jake Beckley (30) Beckley just doesn’t appear outstanding in comparison to his contemporaries. Lack of better first-basemen could give him a positional boost, but right now I don’t see the justification for a positional bonus for first base.
33. Frank Chance (31)
34. Tony Mullane (32)
35. Dick McBride (33)
36. Ed Konetchy (34)
37. Lave Cross (35)
38. Addie Joss (40)
39. John McGraw (36)
40. Johnny Evers (38)

Dropping out of the top 40

42. Joe Tinker (37)
41. Ed Williamson (39)

Reconsideration of pitchers edges Joss past this pair; Evers passes them on reconsideration of his hitting.

Other new eligibles worthy of mention:

75. Jack Fournier. If we're wondering why there is such a dearth of great first-basemen during the deadball era, Fournier's career offers one answer. He was a great-hit, poor-field first baseman. A year after leading the AL in slugging in 1915, he lost the starting job to a good-field, weak-hit minor-league journeyman player, and he didn't become a starter again until 1920, so he lost most of four prime seasons at the big-league level. If anyone has minor-league stats on him, I'd be quite willing to use them to give him some major-league credit: that would probably jump him close to, if not into, my top 40. If his talents had been valued and honed, he might well have gone on to a HoM career.

77. Roger Peckinpaugh. Great defensive shortstop who sometimes hit well, sometimes didn't. A fine player, but a notch below Bancroft, Maranville, and Sewell among his contemporaries.

82. Bob Shawkey. A very good pitcher. Better than Hooks Dauss, but a significant step down from Hippo Vaughn among his near contemporaries. Comfortably in the top 100 eligibles, but not close to the top 40.

?? Lee Meadows. Probably won’t break the top 40, but could surprise. I’m going to give him a look.
   108. OCF Posted: August 17, 2004 at 07:32 PM (#802252)
I wasn't talking about disqualifying ballots for anything short of ignoring Walter Johnson - I was simply talking about a standard of courtesy to one's fellow voters, to be upheld as an ideal. My idea of "significant" newcomers on the 1932 ballot was just Santop, and on the 1933 ballot, just Wheat and Groh (with Johnson in a different category). That matches pretty well what karlmagnus said in #105. Of course, we should all be looking at 5 to 10 players more than that (I haven't put Meadows into my charts yet but I will), but there may not be that much point to reporting a conclusion of "good player, but not enough."
   109. Brad Harris Posted: August 17, 2004 at 07:34 PM (#802259)
Not going to miss THIS election. Preliminary:

1. Walter Johnson
2. Zach Wheat
3. Lip Pike
4. Gavvy Cravath
5. Eddie Cicotte
6. George Van Haltren
7. Heinie Groh
8. Cupid Childs
9. Clark Griffith
10. Larry Doyle
11. Jimmy Ryan
12. Rube Waddell
13. Spotswood Poles
14. Jose Mendez
15. Ed Konetchy
   110. jimd Posted: August 17, 2004 at 08:00 PM (#802312)
Some omissions from Chris Cobb's WARP-3 list in post 67 (prior page).

99.0 Carey
95.7 Hooper
95.2 Wheat

87.8 Sewell
87.1 Beckley
86.7 Rice
86.6 Van Haltren
   111. Daryn Posted: August 17, 2004 at 08:02 PM (#802322)
I don't plan on commenting on Shocker or Fournier -- players who don't make my top 25 only survive as a number in my system. They can be revived if they get support here.

If we are going to make a rule about commenting on newcomers, it should be something hard and fast, even if NLers fall through the cracks for one year -- I'd say 250 winshares and 75 warp3 (conveniently avoiding shocker) are worth commenting about.

On Groh, I think he'll fall behind Beckley (also 6 years best at his position) among this group, which may keep him out forever. I have him ten spaces behing beckley, hanging on the end of the ballot.
   112. TomH Posted: August 17, 2004 at 08:03 PM (#802324)
Threads for the Big Three Black Newbies (BTBNs)? If we were constructing an inner-circle HoM (1/4th the size), that would be crucial. If you care which one goes in first, I guess it's useful. If you want to see learn about what everyone else has to offer, it would be informative and fun. But if we only care about whether or not they get in.....I can answer that one easy: Eins, Zwei, Drei!

And no, I won't have Tyrus Raymond Cobb anywhere but numero uno.
   113. PhillyBooster Posted: August 17, 2004 at 08:06 PM (#802331)
Roger Peckinpaugh is a player you don't have to acknowledge. Lee Meadows you don't have to do so either.

Jack Fornier and Urban Shocker should be acknowledged.



Fournier might make my ballot as a "Pete Browning" clone. Maybe not. I don't see giving him extra points for getting cut after hitting like Travis Lee without the glove.

I against requiring an explanation of Fournier, however. He and Shocker have obvious flaws with their candidacy (namely, 2600 innings and 6000 PAs).

I don't think we need a dozen people with Beckley and GVH on their ballots to explain why they are omitting guys with less than 250 Win Shares.
   114. jimd Posted: August 17, 2004 at 08:07 PM (#802332)
BTW, despite all the sniping back and forth between WS and WARP supporters, the two systems agree on who the top-9 position players were in 1879, though not completely on the order. (I was just curious due to Chris' post #1 above, and I had 1879 WARP handy).

1879 Top 9 position players
Win Shares vs New WARP-1
22   Paul Hines         33 (11.1) 1-1
21   Charley Jones      31 (10.4) 2-2
20   King Kelly         27 ( 9.1) 3-3
17.6 John O'Rourke      25 ( 8.4) 4-5
17.3 Ed Williamson      25 ( 8.3) 5-6
17.2 Jim O'Rourke       24 ( 8.1) 6-7
16.8 Deacon White       23 ( 7.7) 7-9
16   George Wright      27 ( 8.9) 8-4
14.4 Tom York           24 ( 7.9) 9-8

Also, Wins Above Replacement now appears to be a misnomer; while they are based on RAR, they now appear to add up to close to the number of wins in the league. WARP Shares, perhaps?
   115. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 17, 2004 at 08:21 PM (#802357)
In re Groh and the shift in the defensive spectrum... Ironically, Groh spent his first three seasons as a 2B then emerged as an all-around star once he went over to third permanently in 1915. Not sure what to make of that info, but it seemed interesting.

Also, would anyone else besides me be interested in opening a Negro Leaguer thread on Jules Thomas? He seems like he might be worth exploring in greater depth despite the flood of 1934 guys, particularly so that we have a good read on him in any upcoming lean years (espeially in the 60s and mid 70s).
   116. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 17, 2004 at 08:31 PM (#802375)
I wasn't talking about disqualifying ballots for anything short of ignoring Walter Johnson - I was simply talking about a standard of courtesy to one's fellow voters, to be upheld as an ideal.

Same here, karlmagnus. I don't want to disqualify any ballots over this.

My idea of "significant" newcomers on the 1932 ballot was just Santop, and on the 1933 ballot, just Wheat and Groh (with Johnson in a different category).

I agree, OCF. I mentioned Shocker and Fournier before because there was some talk about them. But if they only make a couple of ballots, I wouldn't worry about them.
   117. Chris Cobb Posted: August 17, 2004 at 08:38 PM (#802388)
Also, would anyone else besides me be interested in opening a Negro Leaguer thread on Jules Thomas?

I would. I think Thomas is worth discussing.
   118. Chris Cobb Posted: August 17, 2004 at 08:39 PM (#802391)
Some omissions from Chris Cobb's WARP-3 list in post 67 (prior page)

Thanks, jimd! I left Wheat off deliberately, since I don't think he'll be part of the discussion in 1938-40, but I overlooked (perhaps repressed?) Harry Hooper.
   119. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 17, 2004 at 09:17 PM (#802460)
On Groh, I think he'll fall behind Beckley (also 6 years best at his position)

Daryn, what years do you have Beckley as the best major league player (not just for the NL)? I have Beckley in 1899 and that's it.
   120. yest Posted: August 17, 2004 at 09:51 PM (#802515)
Also, since you're in Cooperstown, as your initiation you have to surreptitiously go over to that other Hall, remove certain plaques, and replace them with plaques of Joe Dimino's construction. You may give the old Hall plaques to existing HOM voters. I'd like Tommy McCarthy's plaque for my living room.

I'd like Mickey Welch's just to put back up when we finally elect him.
   121. karlmagnus Posted: August 17, 2004 at 09:52 PM (#802517)
I'll take the Beckley, for safe keeping.
   122. jimd Posted: August 17, 2004 at 10:02 PM (#802527)
Can I have the Chesbro? It's been 100 years now, but a Boston-New York pennant race with a happy ending is worth savoring.
   123. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 17, 2004 at 10:09 PM (#802531)
Can I have the Chesbro?

IIRC, that plaque should go to Ron Wargo. :-)

BTW, pages have been set up for Lloyd, Torriente, Williams, Thomas and Taylor.
   124. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: August 17, 2004 at 10:16 PM (#802539)
OK, I've decided I'm actually going to start voting in this election, if that's OK with you guys. Speak now or forever hold your piece.

Just remember, when I'm MIA for the 1945 election, or when I pick Willie Wells first over Mel Ott in 1953 -- you were warned!
   125. jimd Posted: August 17, 2004 at 10:34 PM (#802553)
Glad to have you join us, TdiEE. It should be fun.
   126. yest Posted: August 17, 2004 at 11:05 PM (#802588)
I'm MIA for the 1945 election
whats that mean
   127. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: August 17, 2004 at 11:14 PM (#802603)
It means that my personal and work schedules are somewhat unpredictable, so there may be a time in the future where I don't have enough time to compose an intelligent ballot. I probably won't be able to vote in every single election.
   128. PhillyBooster Posted: August 17, 2004 at 11:59 PM (#802711)
Was not there a "Ballot Results" thread on Santop adn Foster this morning?

Why can't I find it?
   129. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 18, 2004 at 12:06 AM (#802734)
OK, I've decided I'm actually going to start voting in this election, if that's OK with you guys. Speak now or forever hold your piece.

Glad to have you on board, Eric! No more lurking in the shadows anymore. :-)
   130. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 18, 2004 at 12:11 AM (#802751)
Was not there a "Ballot Results" thread on Santop adn Foster this morning?

Why can't I find it?


I removed it, Matt, because it wasn't supposed to be available yet. I must have made it "open" by accident. :-(

When Joe creates the Election Results page with the compiled numbers, I'll reactivate it again and insert it in the Primer section (where it belongs). All comments from today will still be there.
   131. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 18, 2004 at 01:57 AM (#803214)
but I can't see a competition discount large enough to drop Wheat below any of the returning candidates.

Without taking into account the attrition rate for different positions and eras, I would agree with you. Alas, I do. :-)
   132. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 18, 2004 at 03:47 AM (#803535)
Did a little work on Meadows & I'm too lazy to post it in full form on my site, so I'll jump dump the basics here (click on the links for an explanation of what the heck the terms mean).

He had a MOWP of .507, a MOWP+ of 100, a MOWP+6 of 124, & a MOWP+4 of 102.

So he was matched up against the best teams in the league a disproportionate number of times (only in 1919 did he have fewer GS than would be expected against teams with a Pct of .600 or higher), but that's the only real notable part in how he was used.
   133. TomH Posted: August 18, 2004 at 01:44 PM (#803840)
I'm cautious about new guys on the ballot, but it looks like Wheat has to be the highest OFer available.

Pike has Slightly higher rate stats, but between career length and league quality, I have to put Zack ahead.

As others have pointed out, Van Haltren is by many measures not quite as good.

Hooper has a slightly higher WARP3. This is because he gains one 'win' per year as an AL guy -sorry, I just cannot see making that much of a league adjustment. Was the avg AL team 13 wins a year better than the avg NL team? Naah.

If you compare him to Beckley, Wheat has a much higher OWP, and played almost as long.

Seems like a clear HoMer to me. Too bad he never got his face on a box of Wheaties!
   134. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 18, 2004 at 02:41 PM (#803937)
Pike has Slightly higher rate stats, but between career length and league quality, I have to put Zack ahead.

Pike had a considerable amount of value at second, so that pushes him a little higher for me.
   135. karlmagnus Posted: August 18, 2004 at 03:32 PM (#804051)
Adjust Beckley to full season length, and he has 12% more hits than Wheat. Wheat will be #4, after Johnson, Beckley and Welch, though I agree 2/3/4 are close.
   136. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 18, 2004 at 04:03 PM (#804110)
Adjust Beckley to full season length, and he has 12% more hits than Wheat.

Yeah, but Beckley got to play through all the Roaring '90s - even the '20s weren't that hit-crazy. (And without doing the math, my guesstimate is that Beckley had a greater percent of his career in high scoring years than Wheat did).
   137. Daryn Posted: August 18, 2004 at 04:21 PM (#804152)
John, my statement is based on the Baseball Reality Timeline, which I find to be very interesting, if only a rough guide. I don't think they mean that he was the best every year, but that over the 8 year period (not 6 as I stated) he was the best "generally". They have him as the best between 1895 and 1902, between Brouthers and Chance. Groh is the best between 1915 and 1920 between Baker and Traynor (though noone is considered the best for 1921 and 1922).

Baseball reality's description of their process is on the website, and they do not divide players into leagues as far as I can tell.

If you go to baseballreality.com you will see what looks like a fantasy league but at the bottom of the page they have a link to their timeline.
   138. Daryn Posted: August 18, 2004 at 04:25 PM (#804161)
For example, for 200-2003, they have Todd Helton as the best first baseman. Clearly, he hasn't been the best first baseman in baseball every one of those years (if any of them for that matter). As I said, it is pretty rough.

I have seen the work on this site that demonstrates that Beckley really was the 2nd or 3rd best firstbaseman most of the time during his peak, but since I am generally a career voter, Beckley/Palmeiro types are easy decisions for me.
   139. jimd Posted: August 18, 2004 at 05:45 PM (#804318)
Was the avg AL team 13 wins a year better than the avg NL team?

The betting public of 1919 tends to agree with this assessment. The Black Sox finished with a record 8 games inferior to the Reds and were still strong favorites.

1919 World Series (5-3):
Cincinnati Reds (96-44, NL) vs. Chicago White Sox (88-52, AL)
   140. TomH Posted: August 18, 2004 at 07:21 PM (#804489)
I think Bill James explained that this was likely due to the recent success of AL teams in the WS over NL teams that probably didn't really belong there / just happened to win a pennant.
   141. karlmagnus Posted: August 18, 2004 at 07:39 PM (#804531)
The White Sox had won just 2 years before, and the Red Sox and A's had formed winning dynasties, whereas no NL team had been dominant since the 1911-13 Giants. It made sense that people would expect the NL team to win -- Cincinnati hadn't traditionally been strong, and looked like a fluke.
   142. Jim Sp Posted: August 18, 2004 at 07:45 PM (#804537)
Anybody know any other World Series gambling data from that period? That would be very interesting...

FWIW, on the new eligibles I have:

WalterJohnson, easy #1.

ZackWheat, aka Beckley Plus, at #3.

HeinieGroh, #4. I guess where you put him depends on how much you like third basemen. Compares pretty well with Collins, only Baker is clearly better among 3B so far.

JackFournier about #20, off the ballot

The other guys are way off...

UrbanShocker about #50.
RaySchalk, maybe #60.
BobShawkey
FrankSnyder
RogerPeckinpaugh
LeeMeadows
JohnnyBassler
Baby DollJacobson
GeorgeMogridge
JesseBarnes
SherrySmith
IrishMeusel
JackTobin
   143. jimd Posted: August 18, 2004 at 07:47 PM (#804544)
How recent was "recent"? The AL had won 8 of the last 9, 1910-1918, the Miracle Braves being the exception. The NL record in World Series games over that span was 17-32 (.347), including the sweep by the Braves, statistically significant at 95% confidence level. The composite regular season record of the 1st place teams over those 9 years was AL: 870-473 (.648) to NL: 867-485 (.641), a neglible difference.

The circumstantial evidence from the World Series imbalance and the super-star imbalance and the public perception all indicate that the league-quality difference was real.
   144. karlmagnus Posted: August 18, 2004 at 07:59 PM (#804563)
Real, but inexplicable. There were no economic or social factors that I can think of that would have made a difference, unlike the 1880s AA or the 1950s NL. The financially strongest franchise was the Giants, not the Highlanders/Yankees. The weakest was the St. Louis Browns, though the Boston Braves ran them close. The cheapest cheapskate was the AL Comiskey. So why would the NL be weaker, other than random fluctuation, for which I don't think we should penalize players -- it's double counting and/or a self-fulfilling prophecy.
   145. DavidFoss Posted: August 18, 2004 at 08:17 PM (#804580)
Doesn't seem like there was a lot of interleague transactions in this time period. I was looking for players who hopped leagues and was having trouble getting even a small sample. What were the rules for interleague trades in the 1910s?
   146. karlmagnus Posted: August 18, 2004 at 08:35 PM (#804602)
Also, come to think of it, we have the advantage over the bookies of 1919 of being able to run the time loop the other way. The 1921-23 Giants were a hell of a team, very dominant in WS. OK the 8 Black Sox plus Chapman left the game in 1920, but why should this have changed the competitive balance by more than a percent or two?
   147. jimd Posted: August 18, 2004 at 08:59 PM (#804634)
There were no economic or social factors that I can think of that would have made a difference, unlike the 1880s AA or the 1950s NL.

The AL got a significant jump on the NL in signing talent outside of the NorthEast, particularly from the deep South. This is similar to the NL getting the jump on the AL wrt the Negro Leagues in the 50's.

What were the rules for interleague trades in the 1910s?

IIRC, all AL interleague transactions had to be approved by the league president. Ban Johnson would not let anybody of any value go the NL. Some hard feelings still existed.

why should this have changed the competitive balance by more than a percent or two

Think about it karl. Take one team out of 8 and restock it almost entirely with replacement players (2003 Tigers, 1962 Mets, 1932 Red Sox). It's a significant hit in the talent dept for the AL.

The leagues are a lot smaller then, only 64 position players are starting regulars in the league, so individuals have significant effects. Just having Babe Ruth in the league improves the average team in the AL by 2+ games wrt the NL. (The effect is concentrated into one lucky team, but the impact is signficant on the league average.) Cobb, Collins, Speaker, Johnson, Baker, Jackson are each players in the 1.3-1.7 range and are offset by only Alexander and Hornsby. These rough back-of-the-envelope calculations with the top stars explain about 8-9 games of the difference per team, AL vs NL; the rest of the NL starters need to be a game better than their AL counterparts to bring the leagues back into balance.
   148. jimd Posted: August 18, 2004 at 09:03 PM (#804642)
the rest of the NL starters each need to be a game better than their AL counterparts to bring the leagues back into balance.
   149. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: August 18, 2004 at 09:14 PM (#804666)
why should this have changed the competitive balance by more than a percent or two
...
Think about it karl. Take one team out of 8 and restock it almost entirely with replacement players (2003 Tigers, 1962 Mets, 1932 Red Sox). It's a significant hit in the talent dept for the AL.


There are a few problems with your answer, jimd.

1. They weren't stocking it "almost entirely with replacement players." They were replacing 8 guys, 3 of whom (Gandil, Risberg, McMullin) were useless anyway.

2. They didn't get replacement-level players to take their place. They got good hitters like Harry Hooper and Bibb Falk, as well as a shortstop who was significantly better than Risberg. They took a hit on the pitching staff, certainly, but they weren't decimated to nearly the degree that you imply.
   150. OCF Posted: August 18, 2004 at 09:25 PM (#804691)
There may be an untapped source of data to bring to bear on the question of relative league strength: minor league records and MLE's. Oh, it would be an utterly enormous amount of work for someone or some group, but it wouldn't be completely impossible.

The AL and NL executed very few trades with each other. The few players we have with both AL and NL records, like Fournier, didn't pass directly from one major league to the other, but rather dropped back to the minors before coming up again. But most players would have played in the minors. The independent operators who dominated the minor leagues would have sold players to either league and accepted loans or assignments of players from either league. If you had the records of 20 players each who went from the IL to the NL, the IL to the AL, the PCL to the AL, ..., and throw in some players who went from the IL to the PCL or vice versa just to calibrate that... It all sounds very difficult, but some of those records must exist.
   151. Rick A. Posted: August 18, 2004 at 09:28 PM (#804697)
Am I completely missing the boat in regards to Heinie Groh? I just don't see him as a HOM'er or even getting a place on my ballot. I have him ranked as the 3rd(or 4th) best third baseman eligible, behind Williamson and Leach, and very close to McGraw.

I think the difference is how my system looks at players. I tend to focus on extended prime/above average value/career value, which Groh is a little short on. He has a nice peak, but it's too short to register highly on my system. He's also too short on above average value and career value. I've bumped him up some, because of his high peak, but that still leaves him 26th on my ballot.

Here are some numbers to see how I'm ranking the thirdbasemen. WS are adjusted for season length, league quality, and fielding adjusted

Name      Career WS  Extended Prime   Total Above average WS

Willamson   231.3      132.9             205.6
Leach       264.5      76.8              219.6
Groh        220.6      88.7              158.7
McGraw      193.5      83.3              188.7


Based on these numbers, he seems much closer to McGraw than to Williamson or Leach. McGraw also has the higher OPS+ 135-118.
   152. Chris Cobb Posted: August 18, 2004 at 09:32 PM (#804700)
The leagues are a lot smaller then, only 64 position players are starting regulars in the league, so individuals have significant effects. Just having Babe Ruth in the league improves the average team in the AL by 2+ games wrt the NL. (The effect is concentrated into one lucky team, but the impact is signficant on the league average.) Cobb, Collins, Speaker, Johnson, Baker, Jackson are each players in the 1.3-1.7 range and are offset by only Alexander and Hornsby.

jimd, I think I accept the reasoning that a higher concentration of stars in the AL made it a stronger league, but I don't see how their effect can be as large as you are claiming. For you to say that having Ruth in the league improves the average team in the AL by 2+ games wrt to the NL, doesn't that mean that Ruth is 16+ wins better than at least an average starter, in not the best player in the NL? At his best, he might be 16+ wins better than replacment, but better than average? Or is my approach to the math completely confused?
   153. karlmagnus Posted: August 18, 2004 at 09:38 PM (#804712)
Rick A. I see Groh and Cupid Childs as very closely equivalent, as I think does John Murphy (forgive me if I'm taking your name in vain.) Whether 3B was more of a hitters' position or less than 2B in 1925 or 1895 is a matter for debate, but it can't be debateable that at both eras, they were pretty close. If you add 2Bs to your 3B consideration set, it may help analysis.
   154. jimd Posted: August 18, 2004 at 09:48 PM (#804727)
3 of whom (Gandil, Risberg, McMullin) were useless anyway.

McMullin, absolutely. The other two were maybe average (on a good day), but that has some value. Unless you're definition of zero value is "average", not "replacement".

They got good hitters like Harry Hooper

Where'd they come from? Elsewhere in the league. Who were they replaced with on that team? Replacement level players, ultimately.

I'm looking at it league wide, and the AL didn't have a closet full of valuable players to be used only in the event of a major scandal. According to WARP-1 and Win Shares, about 7-8% of the league's talent was banned, and you can add another % point for Chapman.
   155. Rick A. Posted: August 18, 2004 at 09:50 PM (#804732)
Karl,

If you add 2Bs to your 3B consideration set, it may help analysis.

Yes, it may. Groh does have more career value than Childs, but Childs beats him on extended prime and above average value. Groh may move up a couple of slots, because of his comparison to Childs, but I can't see more than that.

Also, it doesn't change the fact that he is the third (or fourth) best thirdbaseman on my ballot.
   156. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 18, 2004 at 10:01 PM (#804749)
2. They didn't get replacement-level players to take their place. They got good hitters like Harry Hooper and Bibb Falk

Falk, OK, but Hooper was already established in the league. Instead of that replacement level player ending up on the White Sox, he ended up on the Red Sox.
   157. jimd Posted: August 18, 2004 at 10:03 PM (#804751)
For you to say that having Ruth in the league improves the average team in the AL by 2+ games wrt to the NL, doesn't that mean that Ruth is 16+ wins better than at least an average starter, in not the best player in the NL?

No, I'm saying he's about 16+ over replacement. And that's who he replaces, the replacement level RF, unless that team is inordinately fond of him for some inexplicable reason. But that still increases the amount of talent in the league by 16+ games, an average of 2+ per team.

Assume for argument's sake that the replacement level RF had been playing for NY, and that the two leagues were equal before Ruth arrived. NYY improves by 16+ games, each of the other 7 teams losing 2+ extra games because it's a closed system. But the 75-79 team in the AL is still just as strong as the 77-77 team in the NL. If they had balanced interleague play, everybody but NYY would lose 1+ additional games, instead of 2+ in the AL and 0 in the NL, and all the 77 win teams in both leagues would now win 76.
   158. Rick A. Posted: August 18, 2004 at 10:11 PM (#804771)
but that still leaves him 26th on my ballot.

Actually, I'm wrong about that. I have 4 HOM who are not in my PHOM in my ballot list, so he'd move up to 22nd place on my ballot. Not as far away from my ballot as I thought. (Still the 3rd best thirdbaseman eligible though)
   159. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: August 18, 2004 at 10:25 PM (#804799)
Falk, OK, but Hooper was already established in the league. Instead of that replacement level player ending up on the White Sox, he ended up on the Red Sox.

They got Falk from the University of Texas and SS Ernie Johnson and 1B Earl Sheehy from the minor leagues. They also got a bunch of lousy pitchers from the minors.

The only player they got from another AL team was Hooper, and if you're going to base an entire argument about league strength around Harry Hooper... well, that's an argument I'd like to hear.
   160. OCF Posted: August 18, 2004 at 10:25 PM (#804801)
Assorted comments:

I looked at Lee Meadows. Good pitcher, but something like the neighborhood of Marquard and Dauss. I didn't see enough to make him a candidate.

Roger Peckinpaugh: Strictly for offense - OK, I admit, it's awfully silly to say that about a glove-first SS - I have him similar to, but behind, Herman Long. I'd rather have Long's hitting and I'd rather have Tinker's hitting. Considering the defensive reputations of both Long and Tinker, I've got Peckinpaugh behind both of them, and that's not on the ballot. (Don't ask yet how anyone compares to Rabbit Maranville - I'll be so confused about Maranville when the time comes that I don't want to start on him early.)

Heine Groh: Trying to fit Groh into the combined 3B-2B picture keeps making me want to bring back Johnny Evers as a candidate. Of all the 2B-3B we have, Doyle is the best offensive player and the worst defender. I'm still going with the stick, and I'll have Doyle ahead of Groh - but Groh will at least make the ballot.

Ray Schalk: Not Wally Schang. Not even Johnny Kling. Not on the ballot.
   161. jimd Posted: August 18, 2004 at 10:30 PM (#804816)
if you're going to base an entire argument about league strength around Harry Hooper

Just a reminder: you brought up Harry Hooper; not me, nor Chris J.
   162. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 18, 2004 at 11:03 PM (#804858)
They got Falk from the University of Texas and SS Ernie Johnson and 1B Earl Sheehy from the minor leagues. They also got a bunch of lousy pitchers from the minors.

The only player they got from another AL team was Hooper, and if you're going to base an entire argument about league strength around Harry Hooper... well, that's an argument I'd like to hear.


I wasn't trying to make that argument. You said that the Black Sox didn't hurt the average league quality because they were able to plug those holes. That works if you're talking minor leaguers or NL players, but if they get another player from the league, that just creates a hole elsewhere on the team.

Ironically, your own post (the bold-faced section) does about as a better job arguing that the league quality went down as a result of the Black Sox scandal as anything else in this thread. Replacing two of the best pitchers on the best team with "a bunch of lousy minor pitchers from the minors" would definately hurt league quality.

What about the other 14 guys tossed? The guys I can think of (Kauff, Chase, Hendrix, Zimmerman) were all NLers at the time, hurting the argument that the ejections accounted for a difference in league quality.
   163. jimd Posted: August 18, 2004 at 11:15 PM (#804882)
hurting the argument that the ejections accounted for a difference in league quality

Have to look at the timing of the ejections and the player quality. The Black Sox mass-ejection does help account for moving the AL closer to the NL during the early 20's.
   164. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 19, 2004 at 12:23 AM (#805093)
Here are some numbers to see how I'm ranking the thirdbasemen. WS are adjusted for season length, league quality, and fielding adjusted


Name Career WS Extended Prime Total Above average WS

Willamson 231.3 132.9 205.6
Leach 264.5 76.8 219.6
Groh 220.6 88.7 158.7
McGraw 193.5 83.3 188.7


Rick, how are you coming up with these numbers?

If I'm reading you right, Traynor won't be anywhere near your ballot either. Maybe Stan Hack may make the bottom of your ballot someday. Does that make any sense to you (this is coming from a person who had to come to grips with wacky results from older systems, mind you :-)?
   165. Michael Bass Posted: August 19, 2004 at 12:55 AM (#805240)
I like Groh a lot, but I'll just say that Traynor, who has somewhat above average career value and very little peak value, is gonna be nowhere near my ballot. Let's just say he's below the "Hooper line".
   166. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 19, 2004 at 01:48 AM (#805497)
One thing I've been doing a lot of lately is going back over HoMers & candidates & figuring out how long their careers would be if we put everyone from every season on a 154 game schedule. I end up tallying them as X.Y seasons played (Beckely, for example, had 16.8 seasons played). Top 10 at each position that I've found (it ain't like I've checked everyone, but I have checked about 190ish):

SS:
1. Honus Wagner 18.4
2. Bill Dahlen 17.0
3. George Davis 16.3
4. Bobby Wallace 16.0
5. John Ward 15.8
6. Tommy Corcoran 15.3
7. Jack Glasscock 14.9
8. Herman Long 13.5
9. Davey Force 13.4
10. Roger Peckinpaugh 13.3

RF
1. Sam Crawford 16.7
2. Harry Hooper 15.2
3. Willie Keeler 14.8
4. King Kelly 13.6
5. Patsy Donovan 12.9
6. Wildfire Schulte 11.7
7. Jack Tobin 10.8
8. Mike Tiernan 10.7
9. Sam Thompson 10.6
10. Elmer Flick 9.9

LF
1. Jim O'Rourke 20.2
2. Zach Wheat 15.9
3. Fred Clarke 15.3
4. Jesse Burkett 14.6
5. Jimmy Sheckard 14.1
6. Sherry Magee 13.7
7t. Ed Delahanty 13.3
7t. Tom York 13.3
9. Joe Kelley 13.0
10. Harry Stovey 12.6

CF
1. Paul Hines 18.0
2. Jimmy Ryan 14.6
3. George Van Haltren 14.2
4. Tom Brown 14.1
5t. Dummy Hoy 13.0
5t. Clyde Milan 13.0
7. Hugh Duffy 12.5
8. Fielder Jones 12.2
9. George Gore 11.6
10. Billy Hamilton 11.5

C
1. Deacon McGuire 13.3
2. Ray Schalk 11.6
3. Duke Farrell 11.1
4. Buck Ewing 11.0
5. Wilbert Robinson 9.9
6. Charlie Bennett 9.8
7. Doggie Miller 9.8
8. Roger Bresnahan 9.5
9. Chief Zimmer 9.3
10. John Clapp 9.0

3B
1. Deacon White 17.7
2. Lave Cross 16.0
3. Ezra Sutton 15.9
4. Tommy Leach 14.2
5t. Larry Gardner 12.6
5t. Arlie Latham 12.6
7. Bob Ferguson 12.0
8. Jimmy Collins 11.9
9. Billy Nash 11.7
10. Ed Williamson 11.5

2B
1. Nap Lajoie 16.5
2. Bid McPhee 16.4
3. Jack Burdock 14.4
4. Kid Gleason 13.7
5. Fred Pfeffer 13.5
6. Jack Quinn 13.1
7. Donie Bush 12.8
8. Bobby Lowe 12.7
9t. Hardy Richardson 12.9
9t. Del Pratt 12.9

1B
1. Cap Anson 25.3
2. Jake Beckley 16.8
3. Roger Connor 16.5
4. Joe Start 14.4
5. Stuffy McInnis 14.1
6. Dan Brouthers 14.0
7. Ed Konetchy 13.7
8. Fred Tenney 13.5
9. Jake Daubert 13.3
10. John Morrill 13.2

Top 10 Highest of the Current Candidates
1. Jack Beckley 16.8
2. Lave Cross 16.0
3. Zach Wheat 15.9
4. Tommy Corcroan 15.3
5. Harry Hooper 15.2
6. Jimmy Ryan 14.6
7. Jack Burdock 14.4
8t. George Van Haltren 14.2
8t. Tommy Leach 14.2
10t. Stuffy McInnis 14.1
10t. Tom Brown 14.1
   167. OCF Posted: August 19, 2004 at 01:58 AM (#805522)
Chris, the numbers you have for such players as Wagner, Ward, and Leach make clear that you're refering to total seasons as a major league baseball player, not at any particular position. Which is fair, because it's the number I would want to see - but it doesn't mean that Bresnahan has as 9.5 years of catching.
   168. EricC Posted: August 19, 2004 at 02:01 AM (#805527)
Doesn't seem like there was a lot of interleague transactions in this time period. I was looking for players who hopped leagues and was having trouble getting even a small sample.

Here are the players that I found with at least 1400 plate appearances or 600 IP in both the AL and NL between 1903 and 1927. (It's possible that I missed somebody):

Hal Chase, Jim Delahanty, Jack Fournier, Bill Hinchman, Dick Hoblitzel, Doc Lavan, Stuffy McInnis, Ivy Olson

Jack Coombs, Earl Hamilton, Carl Mays, Earl Moore, Dutch Reuther, Sherry Smith

If you use before and after performances of players who switched leagues to compare leagues, be sure to note the players' ages. For example, if a player has a 100 OPS+ at age 27 in league A and a 100 OPS+ at age 37 in league B, that gives evidence that league A is stronger, not that the leagues are equal.
   169. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 19, 2004 at 02:18 AM (#805564)
Chris, the numbers you have for such players as Wagner, Ward, and Leach make clear that you're refering to total seasons as a major league baseball player, not at any particular position. Which is fair, because it's the number I would want to see - but it doesn't mean that Bresnahan has as 9.5 years of catching.

True & good point. It makes Deacon McGuire that much more impressive, because not only does he have a decent lead on everyone else at catcher, but he caught about 90%+ of those games.
   170. DavidFoss Posted: August 19, 2004 at 02:18 AM (#805566)
Great numbers, Chris J.

Quantity does not necessarily mean quality, but its often so difficult with partial seasons to judge just how durable a player has been. The variable season lengths of the 19th century compound this issue. Thanks for the numbers.

OCF's suggestion of breaking down the numbers by position would be a really cool enhancement. Something that would weight Sutton's 29 games at 1B in '76 as half a season, but 27 games at 3B in '88 as a fifth of a season. In fact, that final breakdown would make a great additional line to the HOM plaques.
   171. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 19, 2004 at 02:25 AM (#805570)
Provisional ballot:

1. Walter Johnson (new). Well that was easy.

2. Zach Wheat (new). I believe in treating newbies cautionsly, but this is as low as I can possibly imagine putting him. Big heaping gobs of career value.

3. Jake Beckley (4,3,2,1,2). I'll let others vote for the best players. I'll vote for the best careers.

4. Clark Griffith (8,6,5,3,3). Nice career, nice prime.

5. Mickey Welch (6,5,4,4,4). Thank you retrosheet. Turns out he earned those 300 wins. Offensive support only gave him 3-4 wins.

6. Tommy Leach (9,7,6,6,5). Mutlitalented player. Terrific defense at two positions & he was a good hitter. Fine player for a long time (14.2 seasons worth of games by my reckonin').

7. George Van Haltren (12,9,7,7,6). Very good player for an extended period of time who could do numerous things well.

8. Jimmy Ryan (13,10,8,8,7). GVH without the ability to pitch.

9. Cupid Childs (14,12,10,9,9). Looking at him again & I think he's better than the infielders I was putting just above him. The D & OBP keep him above Larry Doyle.

10. Larry Doyle (16,13,11,10,10). I'd say he's about as close to Childs as Ryan is to GVH.

11. Gavvy Cravath (19,15,13,12,12). Toughie to figure. Gets some minor league credit, but loses some due to park factors (a homer champion hitting all his homers at home?) Sure you could argue that it shows he's really taking full advantage of his home park, but I'd like to see my sluggers be able to hit the ball in other parks also.

12. Bill Monroe (22,17,14,13,13). He looks better in comparison to the later negro league arrivals (Poles, Donaldson, Lyons) than the initial ones (Johnson, Grant).

13. Lave Cross (37,25,23,22,16). Weird career. OK for a long time. Great defense, but banal offense. Possibly the worst hitter to ever get 2500 hits, but still, he got those hits and had that glove, and he played in a tough time. Just keeps rising on me.

14. Heine Groh (new). Better bat than Cross, but duration, glove, & era all break this one for Lave. A real wildcard as he could jump up as I haven't compared him to Leach much yet.

15. Bobby Veach (14,14). Very good player for a time. A little longer or a little better and he'd be considerably higher. 12.4 seasons worth of games by my reckonin'.

16. Spot Poles

17. Charlie Jones (17,14,12,11,11). Great hitter for a while. Drops as I find out his late start wasn't caused by the MLB's inability to recruit guys in the deep south.
18. Jake Fournier (new). Heckuva hitter. Seems like he lost his job through bad play one year so I'm not giving him much minor league credit. 9.9 yrs.
17. Harry Hooper
18. Addie Joss
19. Pete Browning
20. Lip Pike
21. Deacon McGuire (23,21). Odd choice, but he out-quantities all other catchers (easily) & did so while producing good quality. I reckon him at 13.0 seasons played - 90% at catcher.
22. Urban Shocker (new). I like him, but I can't justify putting him over Joss, who's off my ballot.
   172. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 19, 2004 at 02:27 AM (#805572)
OCF's suggestion of breaking down the numbers by position would be a really cool enhancement.

If anyone else is interested, they can do it, as I just don't have the gumption to do it.
   173. yest Posted: August 19, 2004 at 03:04 AM (#805656)
some facts on Ray Schalk
record for times leading the AL in putouts led 9 times next best is Yogi Berra with 8
record for consecutive times leading the AL in putouts led 8 years in a row next best is Jim Sundberg and Ossee Schreckengost with 6
led the AL in fielding% 8 times.
led the AL in double plays 4 times.
led the AL in assists 2 times.
has only 98 past balls
981 fielding%
caught 100 games 12 times 11 in a row
never played a game at another position besides catcher
2nd most career assists (1811) Deacon McGuire beats him by 48 assists.
according to baseball reference most career double plays (226) beating Steve O'Neill (193) by 33 double plays
according to Total Baseball most career double plays (226) beating Yogi Berra and Steve O'Neill (175) by 51 double plays
as of 1932 holds the record for most putouts (7168)
Ty Cobb thought he was the best catcher of his era.
   174. Chris Cobb Posted: August 19, 2004 at 04:00 AM (#805739)
jimd wrote in post 57 above:

No, I'm saying he's about 16+ over replacement. And that's who he replaces, the replacement level RF, unless that team is inordinately fond of him for some inexplicable reason. But that still increases the amount of talent in the league by 16+ games, an average of 2+ per team.

OK. Having thought this through, I see that you are correct, assuming that the major leagues system of replacement is perfectly efficient. I don't think it is, but the change in league quality produced by the arrival of a 16 win+ player is about right.

In post #47, jimd wrote:

Cobb, Collins, Speaker, Johnson, Baker, Jackson are each players in the 1.3-1.7 range and are offset by only Alexander and Hornsby. These rough back-of-the-envelope calculations with the top stars explain about 8-9 games of the difference per team, AL vs NL; the rest of the NL starters need to be a game better than their AL counterparts to bring the leagues back into balance.

Two questions about this. First, are wins above replacement fungible between offense and defense? That is, does the presence of great hitters in one league lower the average value of pitchers in that league by raising the "level of competition"? In my efforts to imagine how the effect of adding or subtracting an outlying great player works, I imagine that they are not: that levels of offensive and defensive competition are independent.

Second, if the presence of the AL top stars explains about 8-9 games of the difference per team, where does the rest come from? I did a simple, limited follow-up study to your back-of-the-envelope analysis to see how the win shares of the middle tier of players in the two leagues are affected by the presence of a group of top players in the AL. It looks to me like the NL has more good players, even if you replace the top players with replacement level substitutes and redistribute the win shares to the good players to bring up their totals. Now, I've only looked a a small sample, so its content could be misleading, but from what I've seen so far, it looks like NL depth offsets some of the impact of the great AL players on competition levels. The WARP competition adjustments seem to suggest that the middle pool of players in the NL was also worse than their AL counterparts, after the impact of the greats is accounted for. Is that what you think WARP shows? If so, do you see any evidence to justify that position?

I would accept, at this point, the need to make a competition adjustment between leagues amounting to as much as half of the discount WARP appears to apply, but I remain skeptical about the rest, but, as you see, I'm keeping an open mind and trying to think through what you have to show!
   175. Brad Harris Posted: August 19, 2004 at 01:49 PM (#806004)
It occurred to me that every couple of elections I overhaul a good portion of my ballot based changing attitudes, new evidence or (sometimes) whims (for lack of a better word). Thus, there's very little consistency in my voting. Obviously, I'm not investing the time I'd like to in this and I know my ballot is the worse for that. I've decided to correct that, beginning with 1933's ballot.

I am compiling information into a candidate "database" based on those accomplishments I feel merit election and at the point where I have all the information in front of me, I can begin making consistent positions on issues that effect each ballot. Until that time, I'm going to vote with the concensus in order to expedite better candidates getting elected and to minimize my "distraction" with any one ballot. Except in the case of obvious newcomers, I will be voting right in line with the pecking order of returning candidates for the next few weeks until I get my [stuff] together.

1933 Ballot
1. Walter Johnson
2. Zack Wheat
3. George Van Haltren
4. Clark Griffith
5. Lip Pike
6. Heinie Groh
7. Jake Beckley
8. Hughie Jennings
9. Rube Waddell
10. Hugh Duffy
11. Roger Bresnahan
12. Mickey Welch
13. Cupid Childs
14. Jimmy Ryan
15. Pete Browning

Now...it's time to hit the books.
   176. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 19, 2004 at 01:52 PM (#806011)
some facts on Ray Schalk

Some facts about Ray Schalk:

He won't be on my ballot. :-)
   177. Al Peterson Posted: August 19, 2004 at 02:36 PM (#806069)
Looking quickly at another new eligible: Baby Doll Jacobson. I take it 1918 was a war year for him?

Also, 6'3" 215 lb CF at that time must have been huge.
   178. Rick A. Posted: August 19, 2004 at 02:45 PM (#806086)
Rick, how are you coming up with these numbers?

John,
Career WS are season-adjusted, league-adjusted, fielding-adjusted WS from Joe's Pennants Added spreadsheet(The WS above replacement column)

Extended Prime are the total WS from that column in seasons when the player contributed 20 WS or more.

Total above average WS are total WS from the same column in seasons when the player contributed 14 WS or more.

All that being said, the numbers aren't the only things that determine a players ranking. They just give me a starting point in regards to his ranking. Players may move up or down based on a variety of other factors such as defensive value, positional balance, whether he was the best player at his position in his era, how long he was the best, type of environment he played in(not just league strength, but league conditions as well, i.e. 1890's infielders moving up because of the roughness of that time period), etc.

I currently have Groh rated 20th-22nd, which is just outside my ballot. Players have moved from that range onto my ballot before when it's been determined that I've undervalued them. Childs and Jennings are good examples of players who were off my ballot that I've re-evaluated and I currently have them about mid-ballot. So Groh still may move up (or down) when new information comes to light.

If I'm reading you right, Traynor won't be anywhere near your ballot either. Maybe Stan Hack may make the bottom of your ballot someday.

Haven't really evaluated them yet, but taking a quick look at them right now. Traynor has very good career value with some above average years and a few peak years. Seems like Van Haltren, who is currently on my ballot, except he is a third baseman, so he'd probably rank higher then VH. Hack seems to have a longer extended prime than Groh and much better career value than both, so he'd probably be even higher. This is just a quick evaluation and they may move when I look at them fully, but this is where I see them right now.
   179. Rick A. Posted: August 19, 2004 at 02:58 PM (#806098)
Actually, Groh looks like a pretty good match with McGraw to me.

McGraw has higher AAWS(above average WS), OPS+ and was a little better defensively.

Groh has a higher career value, peak value, and a slightly higher prime value.

Both were considered the best thirdbaseman of their time.

I'd probably have Groh a little higher than McGraw, because he played more than McGraw did, but they aren't too far apart.
   180. DavidFoss Posted: August 19, 2004 at 03:32 PM (#806157)
Re: Groh & McGraw

Good comparison, Rick. I'm an FOJMcG, and I agree with your analysis. I'll probably place Groh above McGraw (and McGraw is #3 in my backlog).

McGraw was an amazing player, but playing-time issues have wreaked havoc on his electability here. Shifting to managing while young hurts him, but that missing year in the mid-90s really kills him as well. At least Jennings' peak years were consecutive.

Groh's peak is still very high for a 3B in this era and he managed to stay in the line-up consistently enough to give a little more meat to his career numbers.
   181. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 19, 2004 at 03:41 PM (#806173)
Extended Prime are the total WS from that column in seasons when the player contributed 20 WS or more.

But how can Williamson be kicking Groh's butt all over the place here? Groh was an outstanding fielder in own right and a better hitter than Ed. Competition-wise, Groh has it all over Williamson. I don't see it.
   182. PhillyBooster Posted: August 19, 2004 at 03:46 PM (#806183)
Except in the case of obvious newcomers, I will be voting right in line with the pecking order of returning candidates for the next few weeks until I get my [stuff] together.

Not to be harsh, but how is voting based solely on last years' ballot preferable to not voting at all? It strikes me as worse, since you are giving strong support to, say, George van Haltren, based not on any beliefs on your part, but solely because it is how the group voted last week.

Suppose I uncover some new evidence or present in a clearer form old evidence that GVH is overrated, and this convinces some voters to change their mind and downgrade him. In a close election, your vote based on "last year" could still push him into a elected spot There have been several elections where a player who was not "on deck" jumped ahead on new data and won. A vote based solely on "old data" would restrain that trend.

Your intent seems to be to not "change" the outcome. But by reinforcing the status quo, you actually make it more difficult for others to change the outcome as well.
   183. Howie Menckel Posted: August 19, 2004 at 03:55 PM (#806204)
I gotta go with Phillybooster here.
I understand Brad's sentiment, but it's a mistake.
It's one thing to stick with your OWN pecking order pending a more thorough review. It's quite another to simply "autopilot" a ballot based on what other people think...
   184. PhillyBooster Posted: August 19, 2004 at 03:57 PM (#806210)
I have read so far that Groh is comparable to, but slightly better than, Williamson, McGraw, Leach, Cross, Evers, Childs . . .

The arguments seem credible individually, but collectively I'm having problems squaring "just barely better" than guys I have ranked 10th, 20th, 30th, 40th, etc.

I have nothing productive to add, but I'm having a heluva time between "Just better than Leach, therefore 24th place," and "just better than Leach, therefore I should have Leach/Williamson/Evers, etc. on my ballot." The former seems unfair to Groh. The latter, since I can't have 15 middle infielders on my ballot, seems unfair to everyone except Groh.
   185. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 19, 2004 at 04:01 PM (#806220)
It's one thing to stick with your OWN pecking order pending a more thorough review. It's quite another to simply "autopilot" a ballot based on what other people think...

I have to agree with Matt and Howie here.
   186. karlmagnus Posted: August 19, 2004 at 04:06 PM (#806230)
I have Groh just worse than Childs, if that's any help :-))

The other problem with autopilot ballots is that they artificially exaggerate differences that may be very small. The difference between Van H at 3 and Beckley at 6 in '32 was only 38 points, less than the 40 point difference between Beckley at 6 and Jennings at 7. Not only do you equalize the size of differences between candidates that weren't equal you would, if there were no good new candidates in '33, exaggerate them by placing Van H at 1 and Griffith at 2, thus giving a Griffith/Pike differential of 7 points, while all other differentials (except Monroe/Jones, also 7 points) were at 1.

I'm afraid your system sounds a good idea but isn't. Why not submit prelim ballots in 33 and 34 (in which years you're probably not going to affect the results anyway) and then come in with a real considered ballot in '35 or '36, when it starts to mean something again.
   187. Rick A. Posted: August 19, 2004 at 04:11 PM (#806242)
But how can Williamson be kicking Groh's butt all over the place here? Groh was an outstanding fielder in own right and a better hitter than Ed. Competition-wise, Groh has it all over Williamson. I don't see it.

Maybe we're using different league adjustments or fielding adjustments or something. I also don't timeline, so that could be it. We'll just have to agree to disagree here.

As for Williamson, I think he is very under-rated here. Yes, he's not Ezra Sutton or Jimmy Collins, but he's not too far away from them, either. He was also a very good defensive thirdbaseman, better than Groh (though Groh was good too) at a time when defense was more important than in Groh's time.
   188. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 19, 2004 at 04:29 PM (#806287)
Maybe we're using different league adjustments or fielding adjustments or something. I also don't timeline, so that could be it.

I'm using WS as you are, so that's not the problem.

I also don't timeline either, but that means that the best players from the 19th century will be on an even playing field with later generations. They shouldn't appear to be superior though.
   189. Daryn Posted: August 19, 2004 at 04:43 PM (#806323)
I agree with Philly, Howie and John. Can we get a ruling on Brad's ballot?
   190. DavidFoss Posted: August 19, 2004 at 05:17 PM (#806426)
I agree with Philly, Howie and John. Can we get a ruling on Brad's ballot?

What does Brad think was wrong with his preliminary ballot? (#9 above) opposed to his consensus+new ballot (#75)?

He's "hitting the books"? The baseball books? Or is he out of action studying for some big work-related exam (the bar, series-7, etc). If its the baseball books, I don't get it.

1934-35 are the sleeper years... probably 36 as well. That should give him six weeks to re-vamp things. I would suggest that he stick to his guns for 1933-35.
   191. sunnyday2 Posted: August 19, 2004 at 05:34 PM (#806478)
Prelim. (*PHoM)

1. Walter Johnson* (new). Is a comment needed?

2. Hughie Jennings* (1). Still the highest peak of any eligible position player.

3. Heinie Groh* (new). Speaking as a long-time FOEW (perhaps best FOEW?), Groh was better than Ed and better than Jimmy Collins. The only 3B who was better as of 1933 was Baker.

4. Lip Pike* (3). The case against Lip Pike last week was unconvincing in the extreme. We were asked to believe that while RC formulae created for and from the modern game are not valid for the 1870s, yet ROE formulae created for and from the modern game ARE valid for the 1870s. Not only that but these two assertions taken together were inferred to somehow apply especially and particularly to Pike and to no one else. Pike stays in place among the backlog.

5. Jose Mendez (6). Being cautious, so he stays just low enough to stay out of my PHoM. Very intriguing talent, but needs more thought and discussion.

6. Rube Waddell* (5). New list of pre-WWII 20th century non-NB (not named Johnson, Alex, Grove, Hubbell and not yet HoM) pitchers:

Dean
Waddell
Vance
Coveleski
Joss
Ruffing
Bucky Walters
Rixey
Wilbur Cooper
Grimes
Cicotte
Lyons
Gomez
Vaughn
Willis

7. Pete Browning (9). Breakthrough, moves ahead of Charley Jones.

8. Larry Doyle (14).
9. Charley Jones* (7).
10. Tommy Bond* (4).

11. Zack Wheat (new). No, I didn't discount Wheat because we have already elected too many borderline LFers. I ranked him where he goes because he IS a borderline LFer. Best of the lot, mind you, but still part of a "klumpp" that includes Stovey, Kelley, Sheckard, Magee and Hill.

12. Cupid Childs* (13)
13. Ed Williamson* (12).
14. Bill Monroe (11)
15. Dobie Moore (10). Where is the love?

Drops out: Spot Poles (15).
16-20. Poles, Duffy, Joss, Bresnahan, Leach
21-25. Dunlap, Mullane, Veach, W. Cooper (if eligible), Cicotte (if Cooper not eligible yet), Sol White.
   192. sunnyday2 Posted: August 19, 2004 at 05:36 PM (#806488)
Re. Brad's ballot, c'mon, at least give Brad some credit for imagination. Besides, there's a lot of group-think here anyway. This is just a difference of degree, not of kind.
   193. sunnyday2 Posted: August 19, 2004 at 05:44 PM (#806521)
Required comments.

(P.S. I don't think yest owed Louis Santop a mention. I think requiring comments on "significant" newbies is a stretch. Define "significant.")

Van Haltren, Griffith, Beckley all lack a peak that a peak voter like me looks for (no disrespect to Van and Clark, whose peaks were a lot better than Jake's, but still not good enough). Duffy and Bresnahan are close to my ballot. Welch? I've given up worrying about him and gone back to my original position which was that ERA+ and WARP are pretty clear on Mickey's ability. The anomolies in his record will just have to be anomolies--they don't explain away his ERA+ and WARP.

Oh, okay, I will mention some more of the newbies. Peckinpaugh looks weaker on close inspection than I thought. Only about #10 at his position. Fournier is intriguing. A peak voter could make a case for Jack as the best 1B eligible this year. Whoda thunk that Ray Schalk would make no ripples in the HoM pond, but he will not. And Shocker, yes, he's better than I thought. To continue the pitcher list under Waddell:

Faber
Ferrell
Warneke
Shocker
Mays
Luque

So Urban is at the bottom of the top 20 non-NBs of 1900-1945, but at least he's on the list, and I wouldn't have thought he would be ahead of Mays and Luque til I looked pretty close.

Gotta love Lee Meadows, all the way up to about #100 on my ballot. But a nice story, worth remembering.
   194. Daryn Posted: August 19, 2004 at 05:45 PM (#806523)
But at least we pretend we are thinking individually.
   195. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 19, 2004 at 06:03 PM (#806584)
He's "hitting the books"? The baseball books?

Going over my earlier ballots, I think I flunked my exams a few times. :-)
   196. Michael Bass Posted: August 19, 2004 at 06:24 PM (#806674)
I have to go with Daryn on this one; I'd rather see someone base a ballot of their own outdated thinking than just taking the rankings of everyone else. Or if you feel you need to sit out a couple elections, that's OK, too.

---------------------------

Moving to my own ballot, I've decided to take a different track as to a certain group of players. These are players, I don't think are worthy of a vote on my ballot, but on whom I recognize a good argument that they should be there. On the other hand, there comes a point for players I feel I have a good grip on that I am essentially completely sure are unworthy of votes on my ballot. I've moved 6 players right above that point; we'll call it the "Hooper line".

In order:

17. Pike
18. Browning
19. C. Jones
20. Welch
21. Williamson
22. Bond

This is not enough to get them on my ballot, but it does get them to where they will get on the ballot before my confirmed "no" votes do.

And certainly, these guys are not locked into these positions. I could have my mind changed on one or more, rocketing them up to the ballot, or I could be convinced they are 100% unworthy and drop them back down. Also others could jump up into this group if someone were to create some doubt in my mind about my conclusions.
   197. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 19, 2004 at 07:08 PM (#806922)
Not to be harsh, but how is voting based solely on last years' ballot preferable to not voting at all? It strikes me as worse, since you are giving strong support to, say, George van Haltren, based not on any beliefs on your part, but solely because it is how the group voted last week.

Absolutely. If you're too busy to prep a ballot you're comfortable with, then don't vote. I don't think anyone here has a problem with a person skipping an election.

Re. Brad's ballot, c'mon, at least give Brad some credit for imagination. Besides, there's a lot of group-think here anyway. This is just a difference of degree, not of kind.

Disagree. I think the difference between having others influence your thinking and letting others do your thinking for you is a difference of kind, not of degree.

I don't mean this as a slam on Brad & I'm sorry if it's coming out that way. If a person can't present a ballot that he's comfortable with, & doesn't have time to revamp his ballot to make it suitable, take the election off. There's no shame in that. Heck, we just discussed with Enders earlier in this thread that occassional voters ain't frowned on.
   198. jimd Posted: August 19, 2004 at 11:47 PM (#807652)
That is, does the presence of great hitters in one league lower the average value of pitchers in that league by raising the "level of competition"?

It would if it wasn't corrected for. If league-centered OPS+ and ERA+ are the metrics of choice, then addition of Ruth to one league will impact the league averages for both offense and for pitching. Enough so that a 100 OPS+ in the NL would be the same as a 98 OPS+ in the AL, and NL 200 = AL 196. Put the 5 best hitters in the majors in the same league, and the effect increases accordingly. Ruth's impact on ERA+ would be similar.

if the presence of the AL top stars explains about 8-9 games of the difference per team, where does the rest come from?

I assume a complete analysis such as Davenport performs captures all of the difference. Explaining most of it makes me more comfortable with his final result.

It looks to me like the NL has more good players ... Now, I've only looked a a small sample, so its content could be misleading,

I haven't done this next level of analysis of which you did a small sample, so this may well be true. I would note that if we removed the excess "superstars" from the AL, their shares are redistributed to all players in the league. Adding 1-2 Win Shares per season to each of those players may make them look better in the resulting AL/NL comparison. I'll have to try this experiment.
   199. Chris Cobb Posted: August 20, 2004 at 02:47 AM (#808381)
It would if it wasn't corrected for. If league-centered OPS+ and ERA+ are the metrics of choice

Win shares is the metric I was interested in, actually, so I decided to get off my butt and do another quick study. I inserted an unbelievably great offensive player (+150 runs) to an eight-team league in which an average team scored and allowed 600 runs. In consequence of this player's raising the level of competition, the hitters on an average team lose 12.4 offensive win shares. Defenders on the average team lose 7.7 defensive win shares. So, unless changes in park factor (which I didn't want to try to calculate) as a result of adding the great hitter affect the change, the great hitter’s raising the level of competition will affect position players at, very roughly, twice the rate that it will affect pitchers.

Turning the study around, I ran it with an unimaginably great pitcher added (150 RSAR). Hitters on an average team lose 7.0 offensive win shares. Defenders on the average team lose 14.1 ws.

If both the great hitter and the great pitcher are in the league, the formerly average team loses 13.3 win shares total on offense and 14.4 win shares total on defense, so they even each other out

So, it looks like at the level of the comprehensive metric, competition levels for pitchers and hitters can be different. Competition level for each is influenced more by the other people playing their role than by the opponents they directly face during an at bat.

On quick inspection, it's not clear whether WARP treats competition levels semi-independently or no. Here are W1/W2 splits for two strong pitchers and two strong hitters, AL & NL, in 1916, 1917, 1918.

Cooper -- 6.2/5.2 -- 6.8/5.4 -- 7.9/6.5
Cicotte -- 6.3/5.9 -- 13.4/12.4 -- 5.4/4.0
Wheat -- 10.9/8.7 -- 5.7/4.1 -- 5.7/4.2
Hooper -- 8.2/7.7 -- 7.5/6.6 -- 9.0/7.6

There are many unknown factors at work since W2 contains various all-time adjustments as well as a contemporary competition adjustment.

Don't know whether any of this is of any usefulness, but I've been thinking about it, trying to decide what to do about competition adjustments, so I decided to post it in case anyone is curious or can figure out what it means better than I have.
   200. sunnyday2 Posted: August 20, 2004 at 03:08 AM (#808527)
Brad said something in his 57th post since the big server snafu, and Chris J. in his 3,335th post and Howie in his 830th and Philly in his 886th were quick to criticize. In fact:

>If you're too busy to prep a ballot that you're comfortable with, then don't vote.

Well, I am not going to tell you in my 144th post (that would be this one) how comfortable I am or am not with my ballot. But it is likely I have spent somewhere in the range of 1/8th to 1/30th as much time on it as some others have done. So I guess your invitation probably applies to me too.

When I find the time to post here about once a week, and my 143rd post is instantaneously refuted by somebody's 800th+ or 3000th post, it really separates us outsiders from this project.

Of course, that's just my "impression."
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