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Monday, August 30, 2004

1934 Ballot Discussion

Here we go. The grand pooh-bah, so to speak . . .

1934 (September 12)—elect 2
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)
722 206.3 1905 Ty Cobb-CF (1961)
630 188.6 1908 Tris Speaker-CF (1958)
574 182.8 1908 Eddie Collins-2B (1951)
245 80.8 1916 Stan Coveleski-P (1984)
195 64.0 1913 Joe Bush-P (1974)
203 48.1 1915 Wally Pipp-1B (1965)
170 45.7 1913 Bill Doak-P (1954)
133 43.0 1920 Bucky Harris-2B (1977)
152 48.5 1912 Steve O’Neill-C (1962)
157 39.1 1913 Les Mann-LF/CF (1962)
130 32.5 1917 Joe Harris-1B (1959)
093 36.2 1920 Slim Harriss-P (1963)
102 22.5 1917 Vic Aldridge-P (1973)
110 23.4 1917 Jimmy Ring-P (1965)
Negro Lg 1905 Pop Lloyd-SS (1964)
Negro Lg 1910 Smokey Joe Williams-P (1946)
Negro Lg 1913 Cristobal Torriente-RF (1938)
Negro Lg 1910 Ben Taylor-1B (1953)

Pretty amazing class, 5 easy HoMers, 2 more very strong candidates and a tweener. Discuss.

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 30, 2004 at 09:22 AM | 194 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 30, 2004 at 09:36 AM (#827109)
Hot topics post
   2. TomH Posted: August 30, 2004 at 11:58 AM (#827118)
prelim
1 Ty
2/3 Tris and Eddie
4/5 Smokey Joe and Pop
6 Torriente
7 thru 15 - kinda irrelevant for now

Only enlightening thing I have to say is that Tris Speaker took unusual advantage of his home parks.
Home OPS .989
Road OPS .860
And the park effects in Bos and Cleve were not that large. Much of the difference is a huge advantage in doubles (469 at home, 322 away) Doesn't change my ranking of him much - he was noted for his intelligence, and maybe he would find ways to adapt to any circumtances.
   3. TomH Posted: August 30, 2004 at 11:59 AM (#827119)
oops/typo
Speaker
Home OPS .989
Road OPS .870 (NOT .860)
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: August 30, 2004 at 12:33 PM (#827133)
TRIS SPEAKER from baseballlibrary.com
(listing non-stat type stuff)

"Bought in 1907 by the Red Sox for $750 from Houston of the Texas League, he did not hit, and the next spring, without a Boston contract, he was left behind at Little Rock as payment for the use of the training camp. His quick Southern League success convinced the Red Sox to recall him, as previously agreed, for $500.

He did not take kindly to personal criticism. In 1910 he sustained an early-season batting slump and manager Patsy Donovan politely suggested he temporarily yield his third batting spot. "Like hell I will!" replied Speaker, who finished the season at .340 as Boston's best batter.

Speaker received $50 each time he hit the Bull Durham sign, first at Huntington Avenue, later at Fenway Park. He advertised Boston Garters, had a two-dollar straw hat named in his honor, and received free manufacturers' mackinaws and heavy sweaters. Hassan cigarettes created the most popular tobacco trading cards of Speaker, with four depicting his progress around the bases.

Red Sox President Joe Lannin infuriated Speaker after the 1915 Series victory by proposing a salary cut to under $10,000 because of his falling batting average. Angry, the Speaker would not sign, and Lannin traded him to Cleveland. For the next eleven years, he averaged .354.

In 1926 a gambling scandal broke concerning a questionable game between Detroit and Cleveland in 1919. Speaker and Ty Cobb were alleged to have participated, and AL president Ban Johnson secured their "resignations" as managers to protect baseball's image.
   5. Howie Menckel Posted: August 30, 2004 at 12:41 PM (#827134)
EDDIE COLLINS
baseballlibrary.com

"Cocky" Collins was an adroit bunter, a slashing, lefthanded-batting hit-and-run man, and a brilliant baserunner. In the dugout or on the coaching lines, he was a canny, sign-stealing, intuitive strategist.

Collins's background was atypical of a player of the early 1900s. He starred as captain of Columbia University's baseball team. Barred from playing his senior year because he had disguised himself as "Eddie Sullivan" to play professionally (even getting into a few games with the Athletics), Collins was named Columbia's coach, and stayed to get his degree.

In 1918 Collins joined the Marines, but was back the next season on another pennant-winner, the infamous 1919 Chicago "Black Sox." As one of the "honest players," he was unforgiving of the eight who had sold out, yet described the team as the greatest on which he had played, winning despite hostility, feuds, and outright crookedness.

Connie Mack invited his former star to return to his rebuilt Philadelphia A's in 1927. Collins occasionally played, was third-base coach and, unofficially, assistant manager.
The promise of the Shibe brothers (the A's owners) and Mack that Collins would succeed old Connie (then 67) kept Collins on hand. Fortunately he didn't stay around long, since Mack didn't retire until age 88.

Instead, Collins's opportunity to run a team came with the Boston Red Sox. He and Tom Yawkey were alumni of the same prep school and became friends. The millionaire sportsman, on Collins's advice, purchased the Red Sox and brought Collins in as part-owner and GM. Collins began rebuilding a team that had never recovered from the sale of stars to the Yankees a decade earlier.
Collins went on just one scouting trip for the Red Sox, to California, but came back with two extraordinary prospects, Bobby Doerr and Ted Williams."
   6. Howie Menckel Posted: August 30, 2004 at 12:48 PM (#827139)
TY COBB
arguably there is no news that we haven't all heard before, but..

"The Tigers took a third straight AL pennant in 1909. In the first game of a three-game set against the A's in Detroit on August 24, Cobb's sharpened spikes opened up an ugly gash in third baseman Frank Baker's arm. Although the popular Baker finished the game, the Tigers swept the series to take first place and A's fans were incensed. The two teams met again in Philadelphia near the end of the season. Cobb had received telegraphed death threats that many, but not he, took seriously. Cobb got a police escort to and from the ballpark. Policemen ringed the field and plainclothesmen wandered the stands.

Despite five straight winning seasons as manager, Cobb, followed a week later by Indians player-manager Speaker, suddenly retired after the 1926 season. The day after Christmas in 1926, the public found out why: Dutch Leonard, a disgruntled former player who had been released by both managers, accused Cobb and Speaker of fixing a game on September 24, 1919. Both stars, plus Cleveland outfielder Smokey Joe Wood, had allegedly agreed to let Detroit win the game to give the Tigers third place. Upon hearing the allegations, American League president Ban Johnson forced the two stars to quit. But Commissioner Kenesaw Landis cleared and reinstated both players when Leonard refused to leave California to testify. Cobb ended up in Philadelphia with Connie Mack, who defended the hated Cobb during the ordeal.

In a 1947 old-timers game in Yankee Stadium, Cobb warned catcher Benny Bengough to move back since he hadn't swung a bat in almost 20 years. Bengough stepped back to avoid getting smacked by Cobb's unpracticed backswing. Cobb then laid a perfect bunt down in front of the plate, and easily beat the throw from a huffing and embarrassed Bengough.

Cobb was the first witness in the 1951 congressional hearing on the reserve clause, testifying in favor of it. "Baseball," the fiery Cobb asserted, "is a sport. It's never been a business."
   7. Howie Menckel Posted: August 30, 2004 at 12:52 PM (#827141)
SMOKEY JOE WILLIAMS
again baseballlibrary.com

"The greatest black pitcher of the opening decades of the 20th century, Smokey Joe Williams was a 6'5" 205-lb fireballer with exceptional control, a soft-spoken man of Negro and American Indian ancestry. Rube Foster signed him for the Chicago Leland Giants in 1910. He played for the New York Lincoln Giants from 1912 through 1923, and while no complete statistics exist, those were probably his peak years.

Williams's strikeout feats were legendary. In 1930, at age 44, he struck out 27 while one-hitting the Kansas City Monarchs over 12 innings.

In exhibition games against major leaguers, Williams compiled a 22-7-1 record with 12 shutouts. Two of the losses came when he was 45 years old; two others were in 1-0 games. In 1912, he shut out the National League champion New York Giants, 6-0. In 1915, he struck out 10 while hurling a 1-0, three-hit shutout over Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander and the Phillies. In a 1917 exhibition, he no-hit the Giants and struck out 20, but lost 1-0 on an error.
Ty Cobb, never a friend to the black player, said Williams would have been a "sure 30-game winner" if he had played in the majors.
   8. Howie Menckel Posted: August 30, 2004 at 12:58 PM (#827143)
Last but not least, POP LLOYD

"Pop Lloyd played on at least a dozen different teams in his 26-year career. When asked why so many teams, Lloyd replied, "Where the money was, that's where I played."
A tall, angular man with a Dick Tracy profile, Lloyd was a nondrinking, soft-spoken gentleman who seldom cursed.

Lloyd was a lefthanded line-drive hitter who used a closed stance. He held the bat in the cradle of his left elbow, and would uncoil to unleash a controlled attack on the baseball. A gifted runner with long, smooth strides, he deceived opponents into underrating his speed. He was often compared to Honus Wagner.

Lloyd began as a catcher in 1905 with the Macon Acmes, who could not provide him with a mask. After one season, he moved to the Cuban X-Giants as an infielder.

Rube Foster enticed Lloyd to join his Chicago American Giants, and from 1914 through 1917 Lloyd batted cleanup for the four-time Western League champions. His teammates there included such greats as Oscar Charleston, Bingo DeMoss, Louis Santop, Smokey Joe Williams, and Cannonball Dick Redding. Chicago won world championships in '14 and '17.

Lloyd played 12 seasons in Cuba, where he earned the nickname El Cuchara - The Shovel. He was known for scooping up handfuls of dirt while adeptly fielding his position.
He excelled in a 1910 series played in Havana against the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers won 7 of the 12 games, with Ty Cobb hitting .369 in five contests. But Cobb's average was only good enough for fourth place; Lloyd batted .500 in 12 games. In 29 recorded games against white major leaguers, Lloyd batted .321.

As Lloyd's legs began to go, he moved from SS to first base.
When Babe Ruth was interviewed by pioneering announcer Graham McNamee, he was asked who was the greatest player of all time. Ruth asked, "You mean major leaguers?" "No," replied McNamee, "the greatest player anywhere." "In that case," responded Ruth, "I'd pick John Henry Lloyd."
   9. PhillyBooster Posted: August 30, 2004 at 01:13 PM (#827149)
And yet again . . .

1. Jack Beckley
2. Mickey Welch . . .

Oh, wait. Never mind.
   10. Rusty Priske Posted: August 30, 2004 at 01:18 PM (#827152)
Prelim.

Seven new entries for me. Five in the top five spots and one that actually debuted last year, but I undervalued him.

My PHoM are also the Top 2 on my ballot, obviously.

1. Ty Cobb
2. Pop Lloyd
3. Tris Speaker
4. Smokey Joe Williams
5. Eddie Collins
6. George Van Haltren
7. Jake Beckley
8. Mickey Welch
9. Lip Pike
10. Tommy Leach
11. Jimmy Ryan
12. Cristobel Torriente
13. Hugh Duffy
14. Harry Hooper
15. Heinie Groh

16-20. Griffith, Monroe, Childs, Poles, Doyle
21-25. Powell, Moore, Mullane, Willis, Burns
26-30. F.Jones, White, Mendez, Veach, Gleason
   11. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 30, 2004 at 01:21 PM (#827155)
1934 Preliminary Ballot

I feel reasonably confident in this ballot except for one name: Ben Taylor. I think I've got him just about right, but I'm not exactly sure. He seems to have decent career value (300+ win shares), but not much of a peak to speak of---though seemingly more than Beckley. But I think much of the value difference between Becks Lite's and Taylor's peaks stems from Taylor's pitching. I guess it's an open question whether or not Taylor would have spent much time on the mound in the majors, but since there are several MLB players of his time who converted from the mound, it's probably not out of the question. How is anyone else approaching their ranking of Taylor on this ballot?

1. Tyrus Raymond
2. Tris Speaker
3. Smokey Joe Williams
4. Eddie Collins
5. John Henry Lloyd
6. Cristobal Torriente
7. GVH
8. Spots Poles
9. Cupid Childs
10. Hughie Jennings
11. Bobby Veach
12. Ben Taylor
13. Heinie Groh
14. Bill Monroe
15. Jimmy Ryan
   12. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 30, 2004 at 01:28 PM (#827160)
Prelim:

1) Collins
2) Williams
3) Cobb
4) Lloyd
5) Speaker
6) Childs
7) Groh
8) Pike
9) C. Jones
10) Torriente (probably will move up few)
11) Willis
12) York
13) Beckley
14) Welch
15) Waddell
   13. karlmagnus Posted: August 30, 2004 at 01:45 PM (#827180)
The Ruth comment on Lloyd is presumably a neat way to avoid looking vain (more important then than now) and not boost Cobb, whom he hated. Plus it probably played well in NY.

prelim:

1) Cobb
2)Collins
3) Speaker
4) Williams
5) Lloyd
6) Beckley
7) Welch
8) Torriente
9) Cicotte
10) Browing
11) Griffith
12) Childs
13) Groh
14) Leever
15) Covaleski
Taylor's in the low 20s, will make ballot in a weak year, probably.
   14. DavidFoss Posted: August 30, 2004 at 01:50 PM (#827184)
First thoughts...

1. Cobb -- Is there anything Ty didn't do? Well, he could have done it if he'd wanted to. :-)

2. Lloyd
3. Williams
4. Collins
5. Speaker -- Easily top 10 all time so far... fifth on this ballot.

6. Pike
7. Groh
8. Coveleski -- Am I overzealous? No early love for Stan?

9. Doyle
10. CJones
11. Torriente -- Will probably move up by the time we vote this year. I would like to hear more discussion

12. McGraw -- I like him, but I might be throwing in the towel

13. Jennings
14. Childs
15. Griffith
   15. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 30, 2004 at 02:04 PM (#827206)
   16. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 30, 2004 at 02:08 PM (#827209)
8. Coveleski -- Am I overzealous? No early love for Stan?

Maybe in a couple of years (he's extremely close to making my ballot with all of these great newbies this "year.").

Way too much competition this year!

BTW, glad to see that Joe's house problems are all straightened out and that he'll be policing this site more often from now on.
   17. sunnyday2 Posted: August 30, 2004 at 02:09 PM (#827210)
Prelim. (* denotes PHoM)

1. Cobb*
2. Speaker*
3. Collins
4. Lloyd
5. Williams

This is the utterly conventional ranking such as I might have submitted a year or ten years ago (real time). I have learned here (HoM project) that Lloyd and Williams are surely even better than I had thought...but better than Ty, Tris and Eddie? Dunno.

OTOH I am intrigued by the post (I forget by whom) that said that if one was managing a MLB team circa 1907 and one had knowledge of how these five players would fare throughout their careers, and taking character into consideration, one would certainly not pick Cobb for one's team. Taking character and position (difficulty of replacing) into account I could argue for Lloyd, Collins, Williams, Speaker and Cobb in that order.

But for now, I'll stick with the conventional approach, and all five will go into HoM and PHoM just as fast as the rules allow regardless.

6. Jennings*
7. Groh*

Best of the backlog.

8. Torriente
9. Mendez

Not sure Torriente was better than Mendez, though the case for Mendez relies on skills more than value, so I'll go this way for now. Torriente strikes me as "merely" Clemente to a class of Mantle-Mays-Honus Wagner clones. As for Mendez, is he Caruthers or Spalding, or just Joe Wood?

Then more backlog.

10. Waddell*
11. C. Jones*
12. Bond*
13. Childs*
14. Williamson*
15. Doyle or Monroe

Dropped out:

Pike* (was #4)--very likely victim of anti-Semitism in the 1870s and of some pretty wacky theories in the 21st century. To wit: His record should be uniquely and especially downgraded because of "all those errors." I would think a guy who hit the ball hard (lots of XBHs and TBs and SA and OPS) and ran like the wind would put more, not less, pressure on a shaky defense...? And then there's my 50 year rule. He's been eligible for 50 years. Time to move on.

Browning (was 12)
D. Moore (was 15)

Close
17-20. Browning, Moore, Dunlap, Poles
21-25. Coveleski, Joss, Leach, McCormick, Duffy
26-30. Taylor, Van Haltren, Bresnahan, Ryan, Tinker

Other Newbies:

Coveleski--among the better second tier (non-NB) pitching contenders, a probably someday HoMer but not even on the ballot today! Between Waddell and Joss? More thought needed.

Taylor--lots more thought needed. Highest ranking 1B on my ballot now, but as a peak voter I can see his career value, but how high was his peak, really? Or was he more sim to Beckley, who has never been on my ballot? Was he better than Sisler, who will be eligible long before Taylor gets elected? Or Bill Terry? Right now, no.
   18. Chris Cobb Posted: August 30, 2004 at 02:41 PM (#827261)
1934 Prelimary Ballot

Well, this is an impressive group of new candidates, isn’t it? Our biggest “great player glut” ever. Top 7 candidates are all new.

1. Ty Cobb. (n/e) More hitting advantage than the defensive advantages of Speaker or Collins can make up for. I have him as the #2 player all time so far, behind Wagner and ahead of Johson.
2. Tris Speaker. (n/e) Best defensive centerfielder of all time? Just slightly ahead of Collins. #4 all time so far.
3. Eddie Collins. (n/e). Would have placed at #1 on all but three ballots so far. This year he may not get elected. #6 all time so far, as Cy Young splits Speaker and Collins.
4. John Henry Lloyd. (n/e) Tremendous career value, but his hitting (still very good) leaves him a bit behind the three stars from the major leagues.
5. Joe Williams. (n/e) Study of his Negro-League record makes him look more like Bob Feller than like Pete Alexander, _if_ Bob Feller hadn’t missed four years for WWII and had pitched successfully until he was 40. I have his career support-neutral ERA+ at about 122, in about 5200 ip. That's awesome, but I think he'll be elected from the number 2 slot in 1936, behind Pete Alexander.
6. Cristobal Torriente. (n/e) Best Negro-League outfielder so far eligible. Similar in value to Ed Delahanty; Delahanty was better hitter, but Torriente makes up ground on defense. Would have been a first-ballot HoMer in many elections, as Delanty was. Arriving with the glut, he’ll wait a while. Better than Zack Wheat.
7. Stan Coveleski. (n/e). Early prelims have Coveleski way underrated! Better than I thought he was. Neither his offensive nor his fielding support was anything special, and he still managed a .600 winning percentage. My system sees him as 38 support-neutral wins above average. That’s a good notch better than any of the returning pitchers. See Shocker comment below for more on evaluating 1920s pitchers vs. deadball pitchers.
8. Clark Griffith. (3) Top returning candidate. Best remaining player from the still-underrepresented 1890s. I think he was 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. Griffith and Van Haltren will be back in the electable mix 1938-40, once the glut has gone in.
9. George Van Haltren (4)
10. Mickey Welch.
11. Heinie Groh (6) Curious to see how he's going to do in 1933.
12. Hughie Jennings (7)
13. Tommy Leach (8)
14. Lip Pike. (9) Still around; makes my ballot for the 32nd consecutive election. When I first voted in 1903, Pike was 14th on my ballot; the 13 players above him have all been elected, except for Mickey Welch. No one below him has been. Pike is the quintessential borderline candidate. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Pike sitting about here in the mid-1960s, with everyone above him this year (except for Mickey Welch) elected once again.
15. Urban Shocker (10) Grabs the last ballot spot. A very underrated player; he might well be a HoMer. He and Mendez are very close in value as my system sees it, but Shocker is slightly ahead. In comparing Shocker to a pitcher like Waddell, the electorate should keep in mind that average innings pitched for a starting pitcher dropped from an average of 277 for 1900-1909 to 230 for 1917-1926 as conditions for pitchers became increasingly difficult. In that context, Shocker’s innings-pitched totals are as good as Waddell’s, and he was a more consistently effective pitcher.
   19. andrew siegel Posted: August 30, 2004 at 02:54 PM (#827279)
So far I have it:

(1) Cobb
(2) Collins
(3) Speaker
(4) Lloyd
(5) Williams
(6) Torriente
(7) Childs (3rd)
(8) Van Haltren (4th)
(9) Jennings (5th)
(10) Groh (6th)
(11) Coveleski
(12) Chance (7th)
(13) Duffy (8th)
(14) Pike (9th)
(15) Beckley (10th)

Taylor is in the 20's. Ryan, Bresnahan, and Doyle drop out but will return within a decade. Jones and Willis drop out perhaps never to return.
   20. OCF Posted: August 30, 2004 at 03:13 PM (#827310)
A few years ago, I asked myself this question: If you were a manager who could see the future, and around 1910 you were offered one centerfielder of your choice around whom to build your team for the next decade, who would you pick? I'd nearly convinced myself that I'd take Speaker. The line of reasoning: the only real advantage Cobb has over Speaker is 20 or 25 points worth of BA. Speaker drew slightly more walks and had a slightly higher isolated power. Pick Speaker and you get better defense, and besides, his personality won't tear your team apart like Cobb's.

On second thought, there's no such thing as "only" 20 or 25 points of BA, especially when it's that high a BA. The offensive difference is just too big.

Pre-prelim:
1. Cobb
2. Collins
3. Speaker
4. Williams
5. Lloyd
On the ballot: Torriente (I need some way to decide how to place him compared to Van Haltren/Ryan).
On the ballot, above Waddell (highest rated white pitcher): Coveleski.
   21. PhillyBooster Posted: August 30, 2004 at 03:57 PM (#827364)
Unformed thoughts on Stan Covaleski:

Pitcher who had their Age 27 year between 1916 and 1920, by innings pitched, with ERA+ in parenthesis.
4495.....Rixey (115)
4087.....Faber (119)
3883.....Jones (104)
3480.....Cooper (116)
3391.....Dauss (102)
3220.....Luque (117)
3087.....Bush (99)
<
b>3082.....Covaleski</b> (127)
3021.....Mays (119)
2967.....Vance (125


In fact, 24 pitchers who had their age 27 season between 1916 and 1920 through at least 2000 innings in their career.

The only pitcher who we have seriously considered who ranked as low at 8th in his 5 year block in Inning Pitched was Addie Joss, who was 9th in 190-1910, but had a 142 OPS+.

Caruthers was 7th in IP among players who turned 27 in 1891-1895. Monte Ward was 7th in IP among pitchers who turned 27 in 1886-1890.

Among the 1911-1915 pitchers, Cicotte finished fourth in IP ,with 3223 (after Johnson, Alexander, and Quinn), with a 123 ERA+.

I haven't made up my mind yet, but I don't see how Covaleski could possibly rank above Cicotte, and I don't have Cicotte on my ballot. Maybe the answer is to put them both on. I don't know. but compared to his immediate peers, Covaleski's 3000 innings seems a lot less impressive
   22. mbd1mbd1 Posted: August 30, 2004 at 04:01 PM (#827375)
Here's how I see this fun ballot so far...

1. Cobb
2. Speaker
3. Collins
4. Williams
5. Lloyd
6. Torriente
7-9. GVH, Beckley, Hooper
10. Ben Taylor
11-15. Ryan, Duffy, Willis, Leach, Burns
16. Coveleski
17-20. Veach, Griffith, Waddell, Groh
   23. karlmagnus Posted: August 30, 2004 at 04:07 PM (#827385)
Phillybooster, an interesting list -- but Coveleski looks better than any of the 7 above him, at least he actually won rather than just turning up. Since we need more pitchers, I put both heim and Cicotte on the ballot, with Cicotte higher, but you may also want to look at more 1880-1910 pitchers -- this generation just may not have been very good, once Johnson and Alex are elected. Random fluctuations happen to a much greater extent than one intuitively believes.
   24. DavidFoss Posted: August 30, 2004 at 04:18 PM (#827402)
Phillybooster --

I like that list. Interpretation of the list is subjective of course, but I still like the list. Looks like an interesting way to try and compare pitcher durability across eras. Should help with the non-shoo-in candidates.
   25. Chris Cobb Posted: August 30, 2004 at 05:01 PM (#827455)
I haven't made up my mind yet, but I don't see how Covaleski could possibly rank above Cicotte, and I don't have Cicotte on my ballot.

1) Better ERA+, and not because he had better fielding help: BP's DERA rates Coveleski better as well.

2) Had less opportunity than Ciciotte to accumulate innings when pitchers were hurling more, so Cicotte's advantage in ip is negligible when looked at in context.

3) Didn't throw a World Series.


Comparing Coveleski to his age cohort, his ERA+ advantage is _very_ significant. Remember that because of the way ERA+ is calculated, each point of difference has more impact on wins and losses the closer you get to 100. Coveleski's ERA+ advantage greatly outweighs the ip advantages of Bush, Luque, Dauss, Cooper, and Jones. Only Faber and Rixey have enough innings to _possibly_ outweigh Coveleski's ERA+ advantage. Both will probably have higher career value, but their peaks are no match for Coveleski's. Both ran up a lot of innings pitching a lot of average seasons. I've studied Faber, and I believe Coveleski was significantly better. I haven't done Rixey yet, but there are strong suggestions that Coveleski was the more valuable pitcher.

Seasons pitching 200 innings
Rixey -- 12
Coveleski -- 11
Faber -- 10
Cicotte -- 10

Seasons pitching 200 innings with a 120 ERA+ or better
Rixey -- 6
Coveleski -- 9
Faber -- 5
Cicotte -- 4

None of these pitchers can match Coveleski's combination of durability and excellence within the context of single seasons, so the heart of Coveleski's career is much stronger than any of these other pitchers. Rixey's durability might outweigh Coveleski's peak, and Vance might have been Coveleski's equal, but among this group of pitchers, my sense right now is that Coveleski was probably the best, and that even if he's not he's well placed in the HoM pitching cohort of this generation.
   26. Jim Sp Posted: August 30, 2004 at 05:32 PM (#827503)
I've got Ben Taylor about even with Mendez at #18, but I need to do more research on him. It looks like I'll have some time before his placement is critical...


1)Cobb--
2)Speaker--
3)Collins--
4)Lloyd--No disrespect to Lloyd, but I have Collins at #13 all time. Unbelievable competition on this ballot.
5)Smokey Joe Williams--
6) Torriente --
7)Doyle— His hitting is legitimately outstanding, he played 2nd base, and the competition on the ballot is not strong. C+ defender by Win Shares, terrible by WARP. My rating of Doyle I think is out of sync with the electorate because I don’t discount the NL during this time, I treat 2nd base as a defensive bonus position until 1920, and I use Win Shares defensive ratings not WARP. Compare to contemporary George Cutshaw, who was a regular 2B for 11 years with an OPS+ of 86. Doyle’s 126 OPS+ at 2B is only exceeded by Hornsby, Lajoie, Collins, Morgan, Robinson, Richardson, and Dunlap. #19 all time in innings at 2B. Regularly in the 2B defensive Win Shares leaders, WS Gold Glove in 1917. Top 10 in Win Shares 1909-12, 1915.
8)Groh--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.
9)Beckley— Behind the big 3, much better than other dead-ball 1B. Win Shares best fielder at 1B in 1893, 1895, 1899, and 1900. Add in 2930 hits, with power and walks. No peak but a lot of consistent production.
10)Waddell—Waddell has a run of 7 years (1902-1908) in which he was blowing people away, striking out people at rate that is extremely high for the era. Each year allowing at least 20% fewer runs than an average pitcher, in three of those years with an ERA+ over 165. 134 ERA+ in 3000 IP is worthy, his W/L record isn’t impressive because his run support wasn’t impressive. A seven year peak for a pitcher is much more rare than a seven year peak for a hitter, I give the short peak pitchers a lot more credit than the short peak hitters.
11)Cravath— Great peak, great high minor league play.
12)Bill Monroe—Riley’s Biographical Encylopedia likes him a lot.
13)Bresnahan--Best hitting year was as a CF, not a C, so that hurts him a bit.
14)Coveleski--I expect he will be waiting on the bubble for a while.
15)Griffith—Comp is Marichal, plus he could hit.
   27. ronw Posted: August 30, 2004 at 06:06 PM (#827539)
For the ones that matter:

1. Cobb - .367! OK, now its .366 with revisions. Still, that's his lifetime average, amazing in any era. PHOM 1934.

2. Lloyd - The next four are probably tied, but Lloyd is the only other player on this ballot with the "greatest player ever" tag being applied. PHOM 1934.

3. Collins - Greatest 2B ever, IMHO. He and Speaker are really tied. PHOM 1935.

4. Speaker - My pick for the most underrated great player ever, just nudging Frank Robinson. PHOM 1935.

5. Williams - Again, tied with the three ahead of him. If he is on schedule, he will be elected with Alexander in two years. Seems appropriate. PHOM 1936.

--GAP--

6. Torriente - Won't get in until 1937.

The rest of my 3-11 ballot slots in at 7-15. Coveleski and Taylor miss out this year, but will make future ballots.
   28. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 30, 2004 at 06:38 PM (#827579)
Anyone who thinks they have the top five 100% correct are delusional. :-)
   29. karlmagnus Posted: August 30, 2004 at 06:46 PM (#827593)
John, there are only 120 possibilities. With 50+ voters, it's VERY likely that someone will get it right :-))
   30. TomH Posted: August 30, 2004 at 06:55 PM (#827609)
prelim (and final) 1934 ballot from Tom "seriously delusional" Hanrahan:

This is a great 3 weeks to force myself to be busied with more important but less fun things in life. So, I submit this: please count it as my ballot. I certainly don't think my initial gut placement of Williams, Lloyd, Torriente, and Coveleski is necessarily correct, but for this project it won't matter much if I'm off a bit.

Now if I can only make myself stop reading everything on this board 3 times a day....

1-Ty Cobb (new)
Arguably the greatest CF ever
2-Tris Speaker (new)
Arguably the greatest defensive outfielder ever, and greatest defensive player before WWII.
3-Eddie Collins (new)
Arguably the greatest second baseman ever
4-Pop Lloyd (new)
Somewhat plausibly the greatest shortstop ever
5-Smokey Joe Williams (new)
Arguably the greatest Negro League pitcher ever
6-Cristobal Torriente (new)
7-Clark Griffith (2)
Like my wonderful wife: the more I look, the more pure gold I find underneath :)
8-Stan Coveleski (new)
And he might belong above Mr. Griffith

Other very fine ballplayers:
9-George Van Haltren (4)
Hit. Ran. Played defense. Pitched. Long career. Played in one-league 1890s. Solidly on my ballot.
10-John McGraw (5)
I’m a career voter, but Mugsy accomplished more in a few years than most others did in many. RCAP ain’t a perfect tool, but it can’t be THAT far off that McGraw gets no mention from us. KJOK will keep me from being the best FOJMcG.
11-Lip Pike (6)
AdjEqA of .302. Fine WS and OPS+. Played infield too. Concerns about his ethics’ affect on team performance made me drop him a bit.
12-Rube Waddell (7)
Six time leader in KOs, 3 ERA+ titles. Unearned runs drag him down a bit.
13-Heinie Groh (8)
Almost as much value in twelve years as Leach had in seventeen.
14-Roger Bresnahan (9)
A nod to position scarcity. A great player when he was on the field.
15-Addie Joss (10)
Bonus points for his great pennant exploits.

This of course assumes WJ and ZW get elected in '33; if not, I 'spose this ballot don't count.

Lots of players drop off; I hope we are a bit lenient on the "need to justify" rule next week :)
   31. PhillyBooster Posted: August 30, 2004 at 07:03 PM (#827623)
2) Had less opportunity than Ciciotte to accumulate innings when pitchers were hurling more, so Cicotte's advantage in ip is negligible when looked at in context.

But my point above is that this may not actually be true.

I showed above that Covaleski was 8th in IP among his age-group.

Here is Cicotte's: those who turned age 27 from 1911-1915.


5914.....Johnson
5190.....Alexander
3920.....Quinn
3307.....Marquard
3223.....Cicotte
3017.....Bender
2822.....Sallee
2730.....Vaughn
2517.....Benton
2407.....Pfeffer



Only 15 players has 2000 IP from this 5-year band, 9 fewer than the 1916-1920 group. So while perhaps some pitchers were pitching more per year, the top pitchers were, on the whole, having shorter careers. Note that the #10 pitcher 500 fewer innings than the #10 pitcher from 1916-1920 (Vance). Also note that while Cicotte is #2 among AL pitcher in IP (after Johnson), Covaleski is 5th (after Faber, Jones, Dauss, and Bush).

Here are some totals for each 5-year band, from 1906 (the first year that most 27-year olds played full careers in the 16 team AL/NL environment) until 1940, after which WWII plays a huge role in career length.

Years: Pitchers with 3000+ IP, Pitchers with 2000+ IP (including also those with 3000+)

1906-1910: 4, 16
1911-1915: 6, 15
1916-1920: 9, 24
1921-1925: 5, 14
1926-1930: 8, 15
1931-1935: 4, 17
1936-1940: 3, 13

There is a clear bulge in 2000 IP pitchers, despite the fact that many of the 1916-1920 pitchers had several seasons curtailed by war. I don't know if it's just a random fluctuation, or if it has to do with pitcher loads decreasing while arm strength was prepared to throw longer seasons, or some other reason, but the fact is that baseball was churning out five 2000 IP guys per year in this period instead of the more normal three.

For completeness, here are the earlier years. Note that the second most productive band for pitchers is 1896-1900.

1881-1885: 7, 8 (no one between Guy Hecker at 2906 IP, and Dave Foutz at 1997 IP)
1886-1890: 6, 9
1891-1895: 5, 18
1896-1900: 7, 19
   32. robc Posted: August 30, 2004 at 07:04 PM (#827626)
Havent finished a prelim ballot yet, but its looking like this:

New guys 1-6, 12, 16. Sorry Stan. You have to wait until next year.

My top 5 in the John Murphy Lotto are: Cobb, Speaker, Lloyd, Collins, Williams.

Torriente is 6th for the same reason Santop was first on my ballot. There isnt anyone better to put there. Ben Taylor comes in at 12 right now, Coveleski beats out Waddell for best White pitcher by a miniscule amount.
   33. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 30, 2004 at 07:13 PM (#827642)
My top 5 in the John Murphy Lotto are: Cobb, Speaker, Lloyd, Collins, Williams.

Remember: you've got to be in it to win it! :-)

John, there are only 120 possibilities. With 50+ voters, it's VERY likely that someone will get it right :-))

LOL
   34. Chris Cobb Posted: August 30, 2004 at 07:25 PM (#827657)
There is a clear bulge in 2000 IP pitchers, despite the fact that many of the 1916-1920 pitchers had several seasons curtailed by war. I don't know if it's just a random fluctuation, or if it has to do with pitcher loads decreasing while arm strength was prepared to throw longer seasons, or some other reason, but the fact is that baseball was churning out five 2000 IP guys per year in this period instead of the more normal three.

Innings per pitcher dropped pretty sharply during the 1920s, so # of pitchers each team used was expanding at this time. I suspect that pitchers who reached their prime at or before 1920 were thus well-positioned to hold onto positions as 5th starters or relief pitchers that were being created over the course of the decade. Certainly Mays, Luque, Dauss, and Faber extended their careers by becoming relief pitchers, positions that didn't exist prior to 1923 or so, and for which there was a deeper pool of competition after 1930, as the larger staffs created a larger pool of pitchers with big-league experience.
   35. Sean M Posted: August 30, 2004 at 07:57 PM (#827737)
After a quick summer away from the computer I back and ready to vote. I have checked in periodically to see the winners and am pleased to see that Pearce and Frank Grant finally made it!

Wow, I return to possibly the greatest class ever...are there any greater classes ahead?

Prelim:
1.Ty Cobb
2.Eddie Collins
3.Joe Williams
4.Tris Speaker
5.Pop Lloyd
6.Cristobal Torriente
7.Rube Waddell
8.Jake Beckley
9.Mickey Welch
10.george Van Haltren
11.Eddie Cicotte
12.Heinie Groh
13.Stan Coveleski
14.Ben Taylor
15.Ryan
   36. Kelly in SD Posted: August 30, 2004 at 08:46 PM (#827801)
Player Profiles for New Candidates with 200+ Win Shares (Not that we don't have a good picture of who these players are). I didn't profile the Negro League players because the experts have done a great job over on the Negro League Profile Threads...

Ty Cobb
Teams: Det 1905-1926, PhiA 1927-1928.
Record: .366/.433/.512. 1933 RBI, 2245 R
Win Shares: Career 722; 3 yrs cons 136; 7 best yrs 311; per 162g 38.55. Seasons with 20+: 20. Seasons with 30+: 12. Seasons with 40+: 8.
AllStars: STATS 16, WS 13, Majors 12
OPS+: 167
Black Ink/Grey Ink: 150/417
Bill James Rank: 2
Defense: Center, WS "B+" with 3 Gold Gloves.
Top 10s: OBP 21 times with 7 firsts and 20 years in a row. BA 20 times with 11 or 12 firsts and 18 years in a row. OPS 19 times with 10 firsts and 14 years in a row. SLG 16 times with 8 firsts and 13 years in a row. And ON and ON and ON - just look at BaseballReference.com.
Other: An A S S. Too bad the Tigers had such difficulty developing pitching - even when he was the manager. There was one thing he couldn't do.

And now for something completely different ...
Eddie Collins
Teams: PhiA 1906-1914, ChiA 1915-1926, PhiA 1927-1930.
Record: .333/.424/.429. 1300 RBI, 1821 R
Win Shares: Career 574; 3 yrs cons 122; 7 best yrs 278; per 162g 32.91. Seasons with 20+: 16. Seasons with 30+: 10. Seasons with 40+: 3.
AllStars: STATS 14, WS 15, Majors 10
OPS+: 141
Black Ink/Grey Ink: 19/271
Bill James Rank: 2
Defense: Second Base, WS "A-" with 8 Gold Gloves.
Top 10s: OBP 18 times all in a row but no firsts (Cobb and Ruth will do that). SBs 17 times with 4 firsts. BA 15 times. Walks 14 times with one first. OPS+ 14 times with no firsts. Runs 11 firsts with three firsts. Go to Baseballreference.com ...

The Grey Eagle
Tris Speaker
Teams: BosA 1907-1915, Cle 1916-1926, Was 1927, PhiA 1928.
Record: .345/.428/.500. 1537 RBI, 1882 R
Win Shares: Career 630; 3 yrs cons 132; 7 best yrs 285; per 162g 36.59. Seasons with 20+: 19. Seasons with 30+: 11. Seasons with 40+: 3. Seasons with 50+: 1.
AllStars: STATS 12, WS 13, Majors 12
OPS+: 158
Black Ink/Grey Ink: 34/346
Bill James Rank: 4
Defense: Center Field, WS "A+" with 11 Gold Gloves.
Top 10s: OPS+, OBP 17 times and 17 in a row with 4 firsts in OBP and one in OPS+. SLG, BA, 16 times each with one first in each. Doubles 16 times with 8 firsts and most all-time. Just go to Baseballreference.com.

Hey, don't forget ...
Wally Pipp
Teams: Det 1913, NYA 1915-1925, Cin 1926-1928.
Record: .345/.428/.500. 1537 RBI, 1882 R
Win Shares: Career 203; 3 yrs cons 55; 7 best yrs 130; per 162g 17.56. Seasons with 20+: 2.
AllStars: STATS 1, WS 0, Majors 0
OPS+: 104
Black Ink/Grey Ink: 9/92
Bill James Rank: 83
Defense: First Base, WS "A" with 5 Gold Gloves.
Top 10s: Triples 7 times with one first. Home Runs 6 times with two firsts. RBI 5 times. BA, SLG 2 times.
   37. Kelly in SD Posted: August 30, 2004 at 08:48 PM (#827803)
The top 10 comment for Eddie Collins should read: Runs 11 times with three firsts.
   38. Kelly in SD Posted: August 30, 2004 at 09:05 PM (#827831)
Reposting from the Pitchers Thread: Stan Coveleski.
Stanley Coveleski
Teams: PhiA 1912, Cle 1916-1924, Was 1925-1927, NYA 1928.
Record: 215-142 .602 WL%, 2.88 era/3.60 runs allowed / LgERA 3.65, K/W 1.22, WH9IP=11.22
Win Shares: Career 245; 3 yrs cons 88; 7 best yrs 187; per 40 starts 23. Seasons with 20+: 7. Seasons with 30+: 1.
AllStars: STATS 4, WS 4
Fibonacci WinPoints: 202
ERA+: 127
Black Ink/Grey Ink: 22/193
Bill James Rank: 58
Top 10s: ERA, SHo 9 times with 2 firsts in each. aERA+ 8 times with 2 firsts. IP 8 times. CG, BB/9IP 7 times. Wins, Strikeouts, BBH/9IP 6 times each with one first in Ks and baserunners. WL%, H/9IP 4 times each with one first in WL%, 2 firsts in hits.
World Series Teams: 1920 (3-0, .67 ERA 3 CG), 1925 (0-2, 3.77 ERA), 1928 (did not pitch)
Run Support Index: 100.57 so received average support
Defensive Support: +4.8 (approx 45th among pre-1930 pitchers)
Chris J. WL adjusted for Run and Defensive Support: 212-145
Other: Most similar pitchers include 10 pitchers with similarity scores over 900 - he is not a highly individual pitcher, though it includes one HoMer. Most similar: Carl Mays, Freddie Fitzsimmons, Eddie Cicotte, Jack Chesbro, McGinnity, Warneke, Buffington, Clark Griffith, Wilbur Cooper, Babe Adams
Career Breakdowns:
Against HoMers and top pitchers of the day since no HoMers yet:
Johnson     2-8
Cicotte     2-2
Bush        6-3
Quinn       5-2
Mays        4-0
Shawkey     6-4
Shocker     4-6
Faber       9-3
Leonard     3-5
Dauss       5-1
Ehmke       3-2
Pennock     6-2
Uhle        1-0
Rommel      4-5
Hoyt        2-9
Ruffing     2-0
Grove       1-0
total      65-52  .556   

Record depending on opponent's finish:
 
finish  Coveleski
1st      14-30
         .318
2nd      22-18
         .550
3rd      26-21
         .553
4th      30-19
         .612
5th      28-18
         .609
6th      26-16
         .619
7th      31-17
         .646
8th      37-14
         .725        

Records against over/under .500 teams
Record  Coveleski
.500+    91-87
         .508
.500-   123-66  
         .651    
   39. Howie Menckel Posted: August 30, 2004 at 09:21 PM (#827843)
I think this may have some utility, just not sure what yet (maybe identifying excesses/shortages of HOM arrivals?).
Here are the arrival and departure dates of HOMers (discounting token appearances). Your mileage may vary slightly with Negro Leaguers.

1983-94 and 1917-18 look like biggest exoduses so far.


1856 - ADD Pearce

1860 - ADD Start

1864 - ADD Wright

1868 - ADD Barnes, Spalding
1869 - ADD White, McVey
1870 - ADD Sutton
1871 - ADD Anson
1872 - ADD Hines, O'Rourke

1877 - SUBTRACT Pearce
1878 - ADD Kelly, Ward, Bennett SUBTRACT Spalding
1879 - ADD Gore, Brouthers, Glasscock, Richardson, Galvin
1880 - ADD Keefe, Ewing, Connor, H Stovey SUBTRACT McVey
1881 - ADD Radbourn
1882 - ADD McPhee SUBTRACT Barnes
1883 - SUBTRACT Wright
1884 - ADD Clarkson, Caruthers
1885 - ADD Thompson
1886 - ADD Grant
1887 - SUBTRACT Start
1888 - ADD Hamilton, Delahanty
1889 - ADD Rusie SUBTRACT Sutton
1890 - ADD Nichols, Burkett, Davis, Young
1891 - ADD Dahlen, Kelley SUBTRACT White
1892 - ADD Keeler SUBTRACT Hines, Radbourn
1893 - SUBTRACT Gore, Richardson, Galvin
1894 - ADD Clarke SUBTRACT O'Rourke, Kelly, Keefe, Stovey, Caruthers
1895 - ADD Collins, HR Johnson, Wallace SUBTRACT Clarkson, Ward
1896 - ADD Lajoie SUBTRACT Glasscock
1897 - ADD Wagner, Sheckard SUBTRACT Brouthers, Ewing
1898 - ADD Flick SUBTRACT Anson, Connor
1899 - ADD Crawford, McGinnity SUBTRACT Rusie, Thompson
1900 - SUBTRACT McPhee
1901 - ADD Mathewson, Plank, Hill
1902 - ADD Foster SUBTRACT Hamilton
1903 - ADD Brown
1904 - ADD Walsh, Magee SUBTRACT Delahanty, Grant

1906 - SUBTRACT Nichols, Burkett
1907 - W Johnson

1909 - ADD Baker, Wheat SUBTRACT Kelley, Collins, McGinnity
1910 - ADD Jackson, Santop SUBTRACT Davis, Dahlen
1911 - SUBTRACT Flick, Keeler
1912 - SUBTRACT Young, Clarke


1914 - SUBTRACT Walsh, Sheckard

1917 - SUBTRACT Lajoie, Mathewson, Johnson, Brown, Foster
1918 - SUBTRACT Wagner, Crawford, Plank
1919 - SUBTRACT Wallace
1920 - SUBTRACT Magee
1921 - SUBTRACT Jackson

1923 - SUBTRACT Baker

1925 - SUBTRACT - Hill
1926 - SUBTRACT Santop
   40. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 30, 2004 at 09:44 PM (#827861)
Provisional ballot - over half are newbies (!!):

1. Ty Cobb (new). The conventional wisdom's right.

2. Tris Speaker (new). He'd be in fourth except that he has (by far) the most fielding win shares of any outfielder ever.

3. Pop Lloyd (new). Yes many Negro Leaguers played forever, but were any as good as long as this shortstop?

4. Eddie Collins (new). A personal favorite, this class is whacko-nutty deep in new candidates.

5. Smokey Joe Williams (new). Terrific.

6. Crisotbal Torriente (new). Zach Wheat retired at the right time - all 6 are better than him.

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

8. Clark Griffith (6,5,3,3,4). Personal favorite 1890s pitcher. Nice career, nice prime. The median winning percentage of his opponent one of the highest of the pitchers I've checked. Jumps past Welch due to both the overall quality of play in the 1890s.

9. Stan Coveleski (new). Minor 1890s adjustment keeps CG ahead of him. SC had great numbers and he earned them.

10. Mickey Welch (5,4,4,4,5). Thank you retrosheet. Turns out he earned those 300 wins. Offensive support only gave him 3-4 wins. Defensive support, though a little above average, was actually worse the defensive support of all major non-Galvin pitchers in the 1880s. In 1885, against the Cubs, he faced off against John Clarkson 7 times & won every game.

11. Lave Cross (25,23,22,16,6). Weird career. OK for a long time. Great defense, but banal offense. Spent a few years as one of the worst hitting 3Bmen around, but overall he had an OPS+ of 100, which is above average for the 2nd most important glove position. And oh yeah, he's possibly the greatest defensive player ever at third, and he did it forever. Gets some bonus for playing some time at catcher. 16.0 seasons played.

12. George Van Haltren (9,7,7,6,7). Very good player for an extended period of time who could do numerous things well. Nice career. Nice peak. Could pitch. Played 14.2 seasons worth of games (including as pitcher) by my reckonin'.

13. Jimmy Ryan (10,8,8,7,8). GVH without the ability to pitch. Played 14.6 seasons worth of games, by my reckonin'.

14. Ben Taylor (new). Heckuva hitter for quite a while.

15. Cupid Childs (12,10,9,9,9). 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. 10.5 seasons worth of games by my reckonin'.
   41. ronw Posted: August 30, 2004 at 10:00 PM (#827871)
Maybe this deserves its own thread.

It's 1934, an perfect time to ask:

Who is the greatest player ever?

I begrudgingly say the greatest eligible is Ty Cobb. Many people will say Honus Wagner. Some might even say Walter Johnson. Any other candidates?

Of course, it being January 1934, I think one more player (although still active) had a good enough 1933 to top the career WS and WARP lists, and he likely has the best peak ever, so my vote goes for greatest player as of January '34 goes to:

Babe Ruth.
   42. ronw Posted: August 30, 2004 at 10:01 PM (#827873)
Originally, "perfect" read "excellent."
   43. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 30, 2004 at 10:07 PM (#827880)
Who is the greatest player ever?

Honus Wagner. Hands down. The rest can go home now.
   44. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 30, 2004 at 10:10 PM (#827884)
Of course, it being January 1934, I think one more player (although still active) had a good enough 1933 to top the career WS and WARP lists, and he likely has the best peak ever, so my vote goes for greatest player as of January '34 goes to:

Babe Ruth.


I wouldn't argue you that one. I still think one can reasonably argue Wagner, but Ruth's pitching makes it tough. At this time, I'm undecided between the two.
   45. karlmagnus Posted: August 30, 2004 at 10:19 PM (#827892)
There's this 15 year old kid I saw playing high school ball in San Diego doesn't look bad, either. I think I'll go with him :-))
   46. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 30, 2004 at 10:23 PM (#827897)
There's this 15 year old kid I saw playing high school ball in San Diego doesn't look bad, either. I think I'll go with him :-))

If we're talking the greatest hitter, I'll put my money on that youngster. :-)
   47. Max Parkinson Posted: August 30, 2004 at 11:25 PM (#827933)
Prelim '34 ballot (with so many thanks that I don't have to explain why my system hated Zack Wheat...) - MP HoMers in bold.

1. Cobb
2. Collins
3. Lloyd
4. Speaker
5. Williams
6. Jennings (even I won't take fandom too far...)
7. Torriente
8. Hooper
9. Coveleski
10. Pike
11. Veach
12. Griffith
13. Cicotte
14. McCormick
15. Taylor

16-20. Shocker, F. Jones, Van Haltren, Mendez, Bond
21-25. Nash, Petway, Beckley, Groh, Williamson
26-30. Ryan, Cross, Monroe, Whitney, Buffinton
31-35. McGraw, Konetchy, King, Waddell, Moore
36-40. Dauss, Force, Long, Seymour, Ji. Williams
41-45. Childs, Cravath, Duffy, Tenney, Griffin
46-50. Shawkey, Tannehill, Willis, D. White, Breitenstein
   48. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 31, 2004 at 03:30 AM (#828147)
"And then there's my 50 year rule. He's been eligible for 50 years. Time to move on."

Mark, I'm sorry, but you don't get to make a 50-year rule. We specifically keep players eligible forever, and if you think Pike is deserving. Your #4 ranking of him last week indicates that you do, as well as the star indicatnig he's in your personal Hall of Merit. You can't just drop him becasue it's 'time to move on'. Sorry buddy :-)

Think about it. What if John Murphy had done that with Dickey Pearce, for example, say he had a 30-year rule :-)

I hope you understand, but we set the rules that way for a reason, and everyone needs to comply . . .

Seriously, if you think he belongs
   49. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 31, 2004 at 03:30 AM (#828150)
Oops, it's Marc, right - sorry about that too!
   50. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 31, 2004 at 03:31 AM (#828152)
From post 16:

"BTW, glad to see that Joe's house problems are all straightened out and that he'll be policing this site more often from now on."

Ask and ye shall receive . . .
   51. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 31, 2004 at 03:37 AM (#828156)
Think about it. What if John Murphy had done that with Dickey Pearce, for example, say he had a 30-year rule :-)

Never! I couldn't let the little fella down!

:-)
   52. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 31, 2004 at 03:39 AM (#828158)
Ask and ye shall receive . . .

Not that I was complaining, Joe, but it does makes it a little easier for me (though I don't mind stepping in a pinch, of course).
   53. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 31, 2004 at 03:43 AM (#828161)
"I like that list. Interpretation of the list is subjective of course, but I still like the list. Looks like an interesting way to try and compare pitcher durability across eras."

That's referring to Philly Booster's list in Post #21.

I like the list too, but I'm cautious of ranking pitchers by IP which is a variable directly related to when you pitch, not your birthday. Rixey had tossed more than 40% of his career at a point when Vance had thrown 33 IP. I can't see them as true contemporaries - any more than Mike Mussina and Mark Buehrle are, for example.

It's a minor nit to pick. But I think it would be even better if the list was centered on say the point a pitcher hit his mid-point in career IP or something (which could also be much harder to figure out I realize).

Most of those guys were true contemporaries of Coveleski though, so the points made are still reasonable. Like I said, it's just a minor nit.

I'm 31 now. If I get that knuckleball cranking and I hit the majors next year, I shouldn't be being compared to guys my age in terms of performance standards like IP, etc. The standards of 2000 (my age 27 season) wouldn't be relevant at all to my career rankings.
   54. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 31, 2004 at 03:45 AM (#828163)
"I like the list too, but I'm cautious of ranking pitchers by IP which is a variable directly related to when you pitch, not your birthday"

I meant to say that I'm cautious of ranking pitchers by IP and age at the same time. I assume the point came across in the rest of my post but just figured I'd clarify.
   55. andrew siegel Posted: August 31, 2004 at 04:02 AM (#828172)
Over on the pitching thread, I'm calculating pitching "seasons" by going year-by-year and crediting the pitcher with 1.00 seasons if they were 5th in the league in IP, with proportionately more if they were in the top 4, and with proportionately less if they were below 5th. Some interesting results thus far with many more to come. The most important thing I've done is confirmed my intuition that Griffith's career was actually fairly short (9.8 "seasons," same as Walsh, just above Rusie, behind McGinnity among others). Griffith's workload looks superficially good but that is b/c/ we mentally group him with pitchers from a later era where IP totals have nose-dived. He doesn't have great longevity, particularly impressive rate stats, or a great peak. I'll take Willis or Cooper over Cal.
   56. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 31, 2004 at 04:05 AM (#828173)
Andrew, would it be more fair to use a number based on the number of teams in the league or something? 5th in 1916 is not as impressive as 5th in 2004, for example.
   57. DavidFoss Posted: August 31, 2004 at 04:10 AM (#828176)
Yeah... C'mon Marc, I thought you were a fierce anti-timeliner! Lipman climbed back up to 4th place last year. This is like that year that the White Sox had a fire sale when they were only 3 games out.

The anti-Pike campaign does not appear to be working too much. There have been a number of things said against him in the past couple of 'years'. Some point have merit, but some points look manufactured to build up the case against him.

-- I'll agree you Marc in that the ROE issue seemed a bit strange. I've never heard of giving subjective bonuses to guys that are right-handed groundball hitters. Hitting behind the runner wasn't important back then? Weren't the weaker fielders on the right side of the infield back then as well?

-- The pay for play scandal was a bit of a joke... players were being paid before 1866. Pearce & Creighton hosted exhibition games for cash in 1861. Pike was rookie on the top team in the country (Phi-Athletic) that featured Reach and McBride in their primes. The fact that he could command a salary on such a team as a rookie is a compliment.

-- Player movement was allowed. No reserve clause, yet. George Wright acted like a mercenary at times.

Pike is still a borderline candidate (or else he would have been inducted already), but he was such a great hitter for a dozen years that he'll remain high on my ballot for quite a while.
   58. Paul Wendt Posted: August 31, 2004 at 04:10 AM (#828177)
Chris Cobb:
average innings pitched for a starting pitcher dropped from an average of 277 for 1900-1909 to 230 for 1917-1926

I suppose that those are the 10-year (selected for Waddell and Shocker) averages of some annual statistic. How is it calculated?

--
Phillybooster focuses on age cohorts defined by successive 5-year periods (1911-1915, 1916-1920). Five years is awfully short for a "changing conditions" interpretation, especially with the strict qualification (2000 career IP) that limits each cohort to single-digit size. Successive periods rather than moving ones (1911-1915, 1912-1916) add another arbitrary element.
   59. andrew siegel Posted: August 31, 2004 at 04:19 AM (#828189)
Joe--

I thought about that and considered it but rejected it for 4 reasons:

(1) I had Brent's numbers to work with if I used 5th place.
(2) I like having a fixed standard rather than shifting it around every time league configuration changes.
(3) It would create real problems for dealing with the pre-1890 guys who, even with the bump of fewer teams, do rather poorly in this metric.
(4) I think there is some merit to suggesting that a team's expectations of what constiutes a full-time season by their all-star pitcher are fairly static--it's ok if a few guys pitch more innings but we expect you to be somewhere up near the league lead. (Granted, no one cares if Roger Clemens finishes 4th or 7th, but . . .)

Anyway, I'm a back of the envelope guy-- I'll trade 10% accuracy for 50% conveneience any day of the week.
   60. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 31, 2004 at 04:54 AM (#828209)
Andrew -

1 - Fair enough - no problem there.

2 - Why? The league configuration is everything. Everything a player does is in the context of the league(s). That's a bit of an oversimplification, but not much of one.

3 - That's the point - I would think a metric should be constructed independent of what the results are going to be. Work out the theory, apply the formula, and let the results tell you what they tell you.

4 - Again, leading a 14 or 16 team league is a much tougher task than leading an 8-team league.

"Anyway, I'm a back of the envelope guy-- I'll trade 10% accuracy for 50% conveneience any day of the week."

Absolutely agree. It's not a huge deal, but I think it makes a difference, especially in something like 'seasons' pitched, where a 10% difference in IP (not that it's likely to be that high) would give a pitcher with 10 years 11, etc..
   61. andrew siegel Posted: August 31, 2004 at 05:15 AM (#828225)
Let's see what the difference would be if we did it your way, Joe. How about setting the marker placement (against which all other workloads are measured) at half of the number of teams in the league?

Well, then we'll sometimes need to go as high as 3rd in the league and will have to go to 7th or 8th for most of the last 30 years, but will be using 4th, 5th, or 6th for the great bulk of seasons in baseball history.

How big is the difference between 4th, 5th, and 6th in a league in IP? Let's look. In the 2003 NL, 0 difference between 4th and 5th, 2.3 innings between 5th and 6th, 2.3 total. 1993 NL? 1.3/2.3/4. 1963 NL? 6.3/9/15.3.

In total, I surveyed 15 seasons. The differences are within 2% about half the time and withing 5% over 90% of the time. That's a lower margin of error than I would have thought.
   62. Kelly in SD Posted: August 31, 2004 at 06:59 AM (#828357)
Prelim Ballot

1. Micke ... Just Kidding
1. Tyrus Raymond Cobb: A jerk, an a s s, a racist, and one of the most driven players ever. Huge win shares career-peak-prime-rate. It may seem incredible, but Cobb has almost 100 win shares more than Speaker. Most all of his totals are a touch higher than Speaker and Collins. Great All Star totals.
2. Eddie Collins: In contrast to the above. His raw totals are below Speaker's, but among his position, he is the best we will see for a long while. Speaker is the best fielding centerfielder and second best overall centerfielder we have considered, the only problem is he is competing against the best centerfielder.
3. John Henry "Pops" Lloyd. It would be entertaining to see a HoM induction ceremony with Cobb next to Lloyd wouldn't it?
Another candidate for best player ever at his position which is saying something considering Honus would be out there as well.
4. Tris Speaker: An amazing player. Just right this second he is waiting for the second year of eligibility. Comparisons are easy with Cobb since they played the same position in the same league at the same time. He just doesn't quite meet Cobb. Best ever (up to 1934) at their position is the de facto standard for the new guys.
5. Joe Williams: Best/Second best pitcher in NeL history. Long career at very high level.
Any of the above five is a number one any year.
6. Cristobal Torriente: One of the best NeL centerfielders. A number one in many years.
7. Welch
8. Browning
9. Leach (longer prime than Groh)
10. Groh
11. Childs
12. Duffy
13. Veach
14. Burns
15. Becks (what would a Spice Girl circa 1895 have been like?)

In consideration set: C Jones, F Jones, GVH, Ben Taylor, Coveleski, Willis, Chance, Pike, Cooper.
   63. OCF Posted: August 31, 2004 at 07:44 AM (#828386)
Bill James on Eddie Collins:

Collins is described by various sources as the best bunter in the history of baseball, the best hit-and-run man in the history of baseball, the best defensive second baseman in the history of baseball, the best sign-stealer who ever lived, and the greatest World Series star who ever lived. Kid Gleason ...[and] ... Connie Mack said that Collins was the greatest team player who ever lived. Billy Evans ... and umpire..., later a GM, said that Collins was the quickest thinker he ever saw. It seems unlikely that all of these claims are true.
   64. sunnyday2 Posted: August 31, 2004 at 12:33 PM (#828451)
Re. 50 year rule...I was so sure that nobody read a word I posted anymore.

But (I wondered) if there are so many FOLP, how come nobody had responded to the weird anti-Pike comments of the past couple years? Thx to DavidFoss for weighing in.

If Pike came in 4th, BTW, I assume Heinie Meine, er, Groh, came in 3rd??? Wow.

Note also that Pike actually fell off of my ballot once before.

The point of the 50 year rule, BTW, is that my ballot (even now with this class of '34 to contend with) consists of at least 7 players who are in my PHoM and not in the HoM. For those of us whose PHoMs differ significantly (I mean, look at yest who appears to have maybe 15-18 differences?), my ballot could be very very static forever. i.e. Childs, Williamson, C. Jones, Jennings will probably still be in the top 10 in 50 years. It gets a bit boring submitting the same ballot over and over. Need some way to shake things up just for fun!
   65. Chris Cobb Posted: August 31, 2004 at 01:19 PM (#828468)
Paul Wendt asked:

I suppose that those are the 10-year (selected for Waddell and Shocker) averages of some annual statistic. How is it calculated?

Yes. It's a two-step process. First, I determine how many full-time starters are being used in the majors in each season (a number that gradually moves from 1 in the 1870s to 4 in the 1920s). In the discussion of pitcher usage on the 1933 ballot-discussion thread I presented my determinations. You can compare jimd's more systematic approach to the same matter there also. Using his numbers for full-time pitchers would yield lower results, but I think the difference between the periods would be similar.

Once I've settled on the number of full-time starters per team, it's simply a matter of adding up the innings pitched for the top N pitchers (in terms of ip) on each team, then dividing by the number of pitchers to find a league average for each season.

I selected the careers of Waddell and Shocker since those were the pitchers in question, but I have season-by-season data from 1875, so I can watch trends develop. The discussion on the ballot-discussion thread indicates that some tracking of career-lengths trends is needed also. It looks like Andrew Siegel is taking up that project.
   66. DanG Posted: August 31, 2004 at 01:38 PM (#828481)
Marc, it's all in how you say it. If you're ready to cut bait on someone's candidacy, don't say "He's been eligible for 50 years. Time to move on."

Use any or all of these sometimes-seen concepts:

1) My new system hurts him significantly.

2) Recent discussion convinces me I had been overrating him.

3) New WARP really trashes him!

4) With the small timeline I use he can't measure up to newer candidates.

5) Questions about his character won't go away and I've downgraded him accordingly.

6) I decided we've elected enough of the 1870's crowd.
   67. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 31, 2004 at 01:43 PM (#828488)
But (I wondered) if there are so many FOLP, how come nobody had responded to the weird anti-Pike comments of the past couple years?

I did respond to them thirty years ago when they were brought up. Maybe I need to be reptitive about him, too.

It gets a bit boring submitting the same ballot over and over. Need some way to shake things up just for fun!

I hope you are kidding, Marc, because the point of this exercise is to submit the top fifteen players eligible, not to be entertained. Besides, the anti-timeline brigade needs one of its most passionate spokesman in their ranks! :-)

If Pike came in 4th, BTW, I assume Heinie Meine, er, Groh, came in 3rd??? Wow.

He was comfortably ahead of all the other runner-ups. It'll take a few years, but he should make the HoM within ten years (which seems to be a pattern with most third basemen here :-( ).
   68. PhillyBooster Posted: August 31, 2004 at 01:47 PM (#828491)
I like the list too, but I'm cautious of ranking pitchers by IP which is a variable directly related to when you pitch, not your birthday. Rixey had tossed more than 40% of his career at a point when Vance had thrown 33 IP. I can't see them as true contemporaries - any more than Mike Mussina and Mark Buehrle are, for example.

The numbers can be moved around however you feel is most useful. I used 5 year blocks to get a feel for the ebb and flow, but they can always be combined to get bigger pictures. If, as Chris points out, the increased use of relivers in the late 1920s led to increased career lengths, then that is a relevant factor to consider.

Also, by combining 5-year segments, I see that from 1901-1915 there were fourteen 3000 IP pitchers. From 1916-1930 there were 22, and from 1931-1945 there were eight. It is important to recognize that impending "pitching bulge", especially now as we consider one of the first members of it. Of course, Covaleski won't be inducted this year, but he does seem to be across that magic 3000 IP barrier that seems to prevent many from voting for "short career" pitchers.

My point is pointing out the bulge is that, although Covaleski is on the high side of 3000 IP, compared to his contemporaries -- however defined, since Covaleski does have a "normal" career path, but almost all of whom are not yet eligible, Stan was actually more comparable in IP to pitchers in the 26-2700 IP range.

I questioned yesterday how Covaleski could rank higher than Cicotte. Chris suggested it was because Cicotte pitched in an era when more innings were more common. I pointed out that in fact Cicotte's "era" (which was really only a few years earlier) actually had lower IP totals than Covaleski.

When positing that Covaleski and Cicotte are in different eras, the bands necessarily have to be sliced narrowly enough to distinguish them!

Now, I see that among pitchers who were about age 27 in the beginning of the modern AL/NL era (1901-1905), Rube Waddell's 2961 IP (and 134 ERA+) is fifth after Plank (122 ERA+), Powell (106 ERA+), Willis (118 ERA+) and Dineen (107 ERA+). All five pitched in both the 19th and 20th centuries, so are true contemporaries.

At present I am still grappling with Covaleski, but n my mind, being fifth in IP among contemporaries witha 134 ERA+ (Waddell) has to top being 8th with a 127 ERA+ (Covaleski). And all three (Cicotte, Waddell, Covaleski) have to fall below Welch, who was 8th ALL-TIME is innings pitched (to date) behind 6 HoMers and Bobby Mathews, who ranked up lots of late career innings in early AA seasons.

At present, then, my ranking of pitchers looks like:

1. Williams
2. Welch
3. Griffith
4. Cicotte
5. Waddell
6. Covaleski or Willis

As I said, I am not an "enemy" of Stan Covaleski. He looks like a definitely viable candidate worth considering, and is probably among the best (top 3 or 5) of his era. But, in my mind at least, he ranks lower (both in absolute terms and relative to each other) than than at least five other pitchers. At present, that is not enough to get him on my ballot.

To get him on, I'd need to see that I am missing something important. But in my analysis, if you plot quantity (IP compared to peers) on one axis and quality (ERA+) on another, Covaleski just seem to fall a little short.
   69. andrew siegel Posted: August 31, 2004 at 02:01 PM (#828503)
PhillyBooster prompts me, but this is a general response to all the fans of Rube Waddell:

I just don't get the Waddell candidacy. His career isn't particularly long (I have it as moderately short; PhillyBooster's methods making it moderately long); his RA+ numbers are much worse than his ERA+ numbers; he underachieved his RA numbers in wins by a big amount for reasons that should be obvious to anyone who is not a Rube; he was easily distractable by fire engines, puppies, and rubber snakes (see Bill James essay); you needed to give him a personal escort to the stadium; and even with all the special treatment he was likely to go AWOL for a month or be too drunk to pitch in the big game.

I feel about him the way Bill James famously felt about Dick Allen, "If that is an [HoMer], I'm a lug nut."
   70. PhillyBooster Posted: August 31, 2004 at 02:37 PM (#828541)
For what it's worth, Waddell is not on my ballot either. My point was only that Covaleski gives you only 120 more innings (at a time when many of his peers gave us even more than 120 more innings), but Waddell gives you 7 more points of ERA+. While Waddell does have a higher percentage of unearned runs. (33% of total runs for Waddell, versus 20% for Covaleski), he also has over twice as many strikeouts (2316 verus 981) against an almost identical number of walks (803 to 802). While it's close, I'd give the edge of Wadddell.
   71. Howie Menckel Posted: August 31, 2004 at 02:41 PM (#828547)
I'm with you, andrew.

I think strikeout totals often are an excellent indicator of future greatness. Give me Waddell's early years, and I might predict spectacular success.
But if it doesn't quite come, what good are the strikeouts? The W-L suggests strongly that this guy couldn't handle pressure. It would be a heckuva coincidence if the guy with the 'out-of-kilter' W-L vs ERA+ also just happened to be er, concentration-challenged in his overall life.
I just don't think ol' Rube survives a reality check.
   72. DavidFoss Posted: August 31, 2004 at 02:44 PM (#828550)
Use any or all of these sometimes-seen concepts:


:-)

Yeah, there are so many voters and ballots right now that laying low would seem to be the easiest way to make a major ballot change. Last week's attempt of an all-consensus ballot probably would have gone unnoticed if the voter simply said that he had "revamped his system". Anyhow, I'm glad when voters are honest with their reasons. It helps with the discussion and debate.

Dropping an unpopular candidate from a ballot is a legitimate issue. I've had John McGraw in my top five for a couple years now, but he's been hovering in the 25-35 range for the past 20 elections. Because of this, I'm finding it easier to justify having other candidates leap-frog him.

I just don't see giving up on a candidate who has as much suppport as Pike, though.
   73. andrew siegel Posted: August 31, 2004 at 02:58 PM (#828565)
I think the stats favor Covaleski over Waddell, but my bigger point is that the stats are only part of the picture for Waddell. He was a drain on a team's energy and resources, couldn't be counted on to show up and show up sober, and was a dolt on the field. A very sad and interesting human interest story but didn't help you win as much as his stats would suggest.
   74. DavidFoss Posted: August 31, 2004 at 03:31 PM (#828609)
I think strikeout totals often are an excellent indicator of future greatness.

High strikeout totals are usually an indicator of a pitcher who doesn't need to rely as much on his defense to help him get outs. This would appear to be an important trait in Waddell's era. A high-strikeout pitcher who gives up a lot of unearned runs makes me scratch my head.

I think the reality check may just apply to Rube.
   75. PhillyBooster Posted: August 31, 2004 at 04:09 PM (#828670)
Hm.

If I were King of Baseball Primer (or if I had my own little weblog on it), I would run a Pitcher's Hall of Merit.

The problem with the current system (and I'm not saying that any alternate system would have fewer problems), is that there are really two axes upon which he rate pitchers: (1) relative to each other, (2) relative to position players.

As a result, our overall ranking of pitchers relative to each other don't really reflect (1). Instead, they reflect (1) among the subset of (2) who ranks pitchers relatively high.

While I haven't looked at it, I'd bet if you looked that voters who favored inducted over past elections, that they gave an overall higher percentage of their votes to pitchers overall than did Griffith and Waddell voters.
   76. Chris Cobb Posted: August 31, 2004 at 04:10 PM (#828674)
At present I am still grappling with Covaleski, but n my mind, being fifth in IP among contemporaries witha 134 ERA+ (Waddell) has to top being 8th with a 127 ERA+ (Covaleski).

Andrew has already pointed out the way in which Waddell's unusual propensity to give up unearned runs makes ERA+ a somewhat unreliable measure of Waddell's value. However, I would also add that ERA+ needs to be considered within the scoring context in which it is produced for its value to be entirely clear. First, higher ERA+ values are easier to achieve in a low-run environment, and, second, they will contribute to team wins at a lower rate under those conditions, as the pythpat exponent calculations will show. So it's not axiomatically true that Waddell's 134 ERA+ is actually more valuable than Coveleski's 127 ERA+, even without considering the unearned runs problem.

he also has over twice as many strikeouts (2316 verus 981) against an almost identical number of walks (803 to 802). While it's close, I'd give the edge of Wadddell.

Again, consider the context.

AL 1905 3008 BB, 5107 K

AL 1920 3807 BB, 3635 K

Waddell was a great strikeout pitcher while Coveleski wasn't, but he was a good one in his context; Coveleski (in context) was better at preventing walks than Waddell. Coveleski was also brilliant at preventing hits on balls in play: BP lists him at -165 hits on balls in play for his career; Waddell gave up 39 more hits than expected on balls in play. That difference of 204 hits makes up for a lot of extra K's on Rube's side.

Win Shares provides evidence for the need to contextualize ERA+ and for the way in which ERA+'s relationship to value is not linear. Here are the careers of Waddell and Coveleski, with seasons arranged from highest to lowest in WS. ERA+ and IP listed for each season.

Waddell
35 -- 179 -- 328.7 (1905)
33 -- 179 -- 276.7 (1902)
32 -- 165 -- 383 (1904)
27 -- 125 -- 324 (1903)
21 -- 126 -- 285.7 (1908)
20 -- 121 -- 284.7 (1907)
18 -- 123 -- 272.7 (1906)
17 -- 107 -- 251.3 (1901)
16 -- 153 -- 208.7 (1900)
12 -- 102 -- 220.3 (1909)

Coveleski
32 -- 152 -- 315 (1920)
29 -- 164 -- 311 (1918)
29 -- 156 -- 298 (1917)
27 -- 128 -- 286 (1919)
25 -- 127 -- 315 (1921)
23 -- 148 -- 241 (1925)
22 -- 120 -- 276.7 (1922)
16 -- 144 -- 228 (1923)
16 -- 124 -- 245.3 (1926)
12 -- 106 -- 240.3 (1924)
11 -- 88 -- 232 (1916)

In higher offensive environments, ERA+s drop, so that a higher ERA+ in a lower-scoring environment may be less valuable than a lower one in a higher-schoring environment: witness Waddell's 1905 vs. his 1902, and Coveleski's 1918 vs. 1920.

FWIW, BP sees their career success in preventing runs as equal

Waddell -- DERA 3.58
Coveleski -- DERA 3.58

However, they see their value as quite different
Waddell -- 72.8 WARP, 67.7 WARP 3
Coveleski -- 86.8 WARP 1, 80.7 WARP 3

In this case, I think WARP has it about right.
   77. OCF Posted: August 31, 2004 at 06:28 PM (#828964)
In my RA+, IP system (which counts the unearned runs) I have Waddell at 200-129, Coveleski at 209-134. That's a very close call, but it's a slight edge to Coveleski. They were both bad hitters, can't make much of that either way. Waddell was working at a time during which it was easier for pitchers to pile up large number of innings in a season. Of course, the reduced seasonal workload in Coveleski's time may have facilitated longer careers. Waddell was brilliant but unreliable. Coveleski was allowed to use a tactic (the spitball) that was prohibited to others during his career.

I put that all together and come up with a ranking that puts Coveleski ahead of Waddell, with both of them ahead of Griffith.

There's a group of 5 pitchers for whom I'm having a very difficult time coming up with a ranking. Coveleski is the first of the five to become eligible. The other four are Rixie, Faber, Ruffing, and Vance. At the moment, I would put all five of them ahead of Waddell.
   78. jimd Posted: August 31, 2004 at 06:30 PM (#828975)
John Henry Lloyd, aka El Cuchara - The Shovel. He was known for scooping up handfuls of dirt while adeptly fielding his position.

Johannes Peter Wagner - "When he fielded grounders, his huge hands also collected large scoops of infield dirt, which accompanied his throws to first like the tail of a comet."

Gotta love the folklore.
   79. OCF Posted: August 31, 2004 at 06:37 PM (#828993)
We've got leftover outfielders all over the ballot. We have the 1890's cluster of VH, Ryan, and Duffy. We have the 1910's cluster of Veach, Hooper, and Burns. We have the special case of Pike, the special case of C. Jones, the special case of Cravath, the special case of Browning. F. Jones drew a 2nd place vote last year.

In the preliminary ballots above, I see a number of voters placing Cristobal Torriente 6th. Would one or two of those people please give at greater length the argument for Torriente ahead of all of those I just named? I'm undecided on that point myself and would like to see more on the subject.
   80. DanG Posted: August 31, 2004 at 07:19 PM (#829085)
Very interesting commentary on Waddell. The thought occurs to me that a pitcher of Waddell's makeup would need to get a lot of strikeouts in order to be successful in MLB at that time.

It was the height of Scientific Baseball, where the subtleties often made the difference between winning and losing. A player as "unscientific" as Waddell would be at quite a disadvantage in that environment. The equalizer was that nigh-unhittable heater.

It raises many side issues, like What tricks did teams commonly use to manufacture runs against Waddell?

I wonder if there's any way to check this, but I would imagine it was relatively easy to steal against Waddell.

I would assume that it was critical for Rube and his catcher to have an unusually close rapport. It's no wonder they made Schreckengost his roommate.
   81. Dolf Lucky Posted: August 31, 2004 at 07:22 PM (#829098)
Did BPro change their naming methodology for players with apostrophes in their name?

I ask because my calculation page is woefully incomplete without the WARP scores for Steve O'Neill, candidate extraordinaire.
   82. Thane of Bagarth Posted: August 31, 2004 at 07:50 PM (#829144)
In the preliminary ballots above, I see a number of voters placing Cristobal Torriente 6th. Would one or two of those people please give at greater length the argument for Torriente ahead of all of those I just named? .

Preliminarily speaking, I think Torriente will be in my top 10, most likely behind Pike and Browning, but ahead of the Duffy/GVH/Ryan/etc. crowd (none of that part of the OF glut were on my previous ballots). From what I can recall about Torriente, he seems to have had a higher peak and stood out more among his contemporaries than any of the guys in "the outfield glut," and he played for 15+ seasons and pitched a bit, too. He'll be below Pike and Browning on my ballot because I'm not as convinced he was more dominant than they were. (I like to vote for players have dominated in their time. Mmmm...150 OPS+)

Somebody famous (I forget who--it's in Riley's book) once said of Cristobal walking down the street, "There goes a ballclub." Surely that's too subjective to sway my vote, but it's impressive still. I think the Clemente comparisons are not too far off.
   83. Thane of Bagarth Posted: August 31, 2004 at 08:00 PM (#829160)
I was thinking preliminarily that Ben Taylor would be in my top 10 as well as Torriente, but now it looks like he's destined to be somewhere between 11 and 15.

Taylor is arguably the 2nd best 1B in Negro League history--Buck Leonard is the obvious #1 and Mule Suttles is the arguable #2/#3. I think if we had better data from BT's playing days he might stand out more than Suttles, especially considering Taylor got rave reviews on defense while Suttles seems to have stunk it up. Plus, Mule played in a more offensive era so he's got all these great home run stories to spread his legend (the stats are impressive, too, when available).

I can't make up my mind where I would put the the "Black Lou Gehrig" if he were eligible this year, so it's even harder to place his positional runner-up.
   84. Daryn Posted: August 31, 2004 at 08:01 PM (#829163)
Boring three years ahead. Prelim.

1. Cobb – Led the league in adjusted OPS 11 times and is pretty much the all time leader (hitting division) in HOF Standards (Ink Tests/Standards/Monitor). He’d make my top ten all time – maybe top 5. I’m not sure any of the other candidates this year would (make my top 5).

2. Lloyd -- I think 600 Win Shares is about right. He could be below Speaker, but I think there is more of a chance he compares to Cobb and Ruth (inner-inner circle).

3. Williams – I believe he would have had 350+ wins in the majors, and that puts him here.

4. Collins – Collins over Speaker was my toughest choice. It is really all about the position, plus he did do well in the MVP voting. I find it difficult to try and parse it when it doesn’t matter.

5. Speaker – ridiculously qualified first ballot HoMer. I like the 3500 hits. Would have been #1 in about 30 of the ballots we’ve done so far.

6. Mickey Welch – 300 wins, lots of grey ink. RSI data is helping Welch – those wins are real. Compares fairly well to Keefe.

7. Jake Beckley -- ~3000 hits but no black ink at all. Baseballreality.com has him as the best first baseman in baseball for a long time. Crawford (HOMer) and Wheat (HOMer) are two of his three most similars.

8. Cristobal Torriente – nice ball player – maybe a little worse than Clemente will be.

9. Roger Bresnahan – Great OBP, arguably the best catcher in baseball for a six year period. Counting stats, like all catchers of this time and earlier, are really poor.

10. Rube Waddell -- I like the three times ERA+ lead, the career 134 ERA+ and, of course, all those strikeouts (plus the 1905 Triple Crown).

11. Lip Pike – 4 monster seasons, 4 more not too bad, plus 4 undocumented.

12. Tommy Leach – 300+ WS has to mean something.

13. Bill Munroe – I think he was pretty good. Any blackball player that is even talked about as among the best 70 years later is pretty good. I’ll take McGraw’s word for it.

14. Clark Griffith – 921 similarity score with mcginnity, who was 1st on my ballot when elected.

15. Jose Mendez – somewhere between here and Waddell seems about right.

16. Childs
19. Heinie Groh
20. George Van Haltren
23. Duffy
25. Stan Coveleski
26. Ben Taylor
27. Jennings
28. Dobie Moore
30. Shocker and the rest of the pitching glut.
   85. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 31, 2004 at 08:22 PM (#829204)
OCF, I was actually kind of wondering the opposite about Torriente! I thought a lot of prelims had him very low compared to my impressions of him.

I'm not as good with the Negro Leaguers as I ought to be, and I rely heavily on Riley, Chris Cobb's insights, and the I9s projections, but I think Torriente was head and shoulders above the usual OF glut.

If you just take the i9s projection and run a short-form winshares analysis on it with the assumption that Torriente is an A outfielder, you'll come up with around 450 win shares. With the standard 5% reduction, you're left with around 425-430.

3 year (non consecutive) peak: 130 plus WS
5 year consecutive peak: 170 WS
10 year consecutive prime: 325 WS

I don't do a lot of specific career shaping, so my numbers are possibly a bit off, but I just try to get a semi-specific some kind of idea of what a guy looks like.

Then there's all the subjective stuff like was mentioned earlier, and including Bill James referring to him as a "Superstar."

Anyway, that's where I'm at with Torriente. It's not perfect, but he pretty clearly seems much more impressive than the main glut of OFs below him.
   86. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: August 31, 2004 at 08:27 PM (#829215)
Preliminary...

1. Ty Cobb
2. Pop Lloyd
3. Smoky Joe Williams
4. Eddie Collins
5. Tris Speaker
6. Cristobal Torriente

BIG HUGE GAP

7. Jose Mendez
8. Pete Browning
9. Rube Waddell
10. Hughie Jennings
11. Spots Poles
12. Gavy Cravath
13. Jake Beckley
14. Bill Monroe
15. George Van Haltren
-----------
16. Lip Pike
17. Larry Doyle
18. Roger Bresnahan
19. Frank Chance
20. Stan Coveleski
(21. Heinie Groh)

For me, the toughest call here is between Williams and Collins for 3rd place. It's just really damned hard to evaluate Smoky Joe. I've given him the benefit of the doubt here, but that could well change before the election.

FWIW, Bill James ranks the six main contenders thusly (all-time rank in parentheses):

1. Cobb (5)
2. Speaker (11)
3. Collins (18)
4. Lloyd (27)
5. Williams (52)
6. Torriente (67)

James manages to significantly overrate Speaker, which is a very hard thing to do. (James has Tris as better than Henry Aaron, Pete Alexander, Gehrig, Bonds, Paige and Grove, among others.)
   87. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 31, 2004 at 08:37 PM (#829239)
I'm calculating pitching "seasons" by going year-by-year and crediting the pitcher with 1.00 seasons if they were 5th in the league in IP, with proportionately more if they were in the top 4, and with proportionately less if they were below 5th. Some interesting results thus far with many more to come. The most important thing I've done is confirmed my intuition that Griffith's career was actually fairly short

Is that fifth in the league or the entire season (all leagues combined). I figure it's the former & if that's the case it would tend to (slightly) underrepresent the careers of 1890s guys because there only 5 guys can get 1.0 seasons or better per year while other years can get 10 such pitchers. Still, your overall point on CG would remain valid.

In the preliminary ballots above, I see a number of voters placing Cristobal Torriente 6th. Would one or two of those people please give at greater length the argument for Torriente ahead of all of those I just named?

For me, I looked at the Negro League stats in the last McMillian 'cyclopedia. Compared to his main contemporary outfielder, Pete Hill, it's no contest - Torriente blows him out of the water. Near as I can tell Torriente was the best pure hitter of the Negro Leagues of his generation (though defensive position keeps Lloyd well above him).
   88. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 31, 2004 at 08:39 PM (#829244)
James manages to significantly overrate Speaker, which is a very hard thing to do. (James has Tris as better than Henry Aaron, Pete Alexander, Gehrig, Bonds, Paige and Grove, among others.)

There's a Craig Biggio joke here somewhere, I just can't quite place it.
   89. Guapo Posted: August 31, 2004 at 08:47 PM (#829252)
Why is Torriente not in the Hall of Fame? How can we rectify that situation?
   90. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 31, 2004 at 08:50 PM (#829256)
Given the structure of the Vets committee, I'm not sure how any Vets-Committee candidate could get elected, let alone one that probably few if any living HOFs saw play in leagues that most Vets voters probably don't really have much knowledge of anyway.
   91. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 31, 2004 at 08:52 PM (#829261)
that most Vets voters probably don't really have much knowledge of anyway.

That's a bit of an overstatement since Banks, Mays, Irvin, and Aaron, off the top of my head, all played in those leagues. Sorry to get all hyperbolic there.
   92. Howie Menckel Posted: August 31, 2004 at 09:10 PM (#829297)
I was close to running some baseballlibrary info on Torriente, too, near the top of the thread; couldn't decide if he 'belonged with the others.'
So what the heck, here goes, did leave in a little stat info in this case..

"Torriente, a slugging Negro League superstar, was one of the three greatest Cuban players (with Jose Mendez and Martin Dihigo) to have been kept out of the American major leagues because of race. He had a light complexion and, according to teammate Jelly Gardner, the New York Giants' John McGraw would have signed him to a major league contract had it not been for Torriente's kinky hair.
Torriente was a powerful, 5'9" lefthanded pull-hitter, and a notorious bad-ball hitter. He began his career in the U.S. in 1914 with the touring Cuban Stars. An outstanding outfielder with great range and a strong arm, when he joined the Chicago American Giants in 1919, Hall of Famer Oscar Charleston moved from centerfield to left field. Torriente batted .396 in 1920, and until 1925 never dipped below .332.
When he dropped to .241 in 1925, he was traded to the Kansas City Monarchs, with whom he bounced back to hit .339 in 1926. In the 12 documented years that Torriente played in the Cuban League, he hit .352.
Against major leaguers in exhibition play, he hit .281 (27-for-96) with three HR. He reportedly died of tuberculosis in Cuba in 1948.
   93. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: August 31, 2004 at 09:24 PM (#829330)
That's a bit of an overstatement since Banks, Mays, Irvin, and Aaron, off the top of my head, all played in those leagues.

Well, if you're able to get Aaron's opinion regarding Cristobal Torriente, I'd be quite impressed. He was 4 years old when Torriente died.
   94. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: August 31, 2004 at 09:27 PM (#829340)
In the 12 documented years that Torriente played in the Cuban League, he hit .352.

The Cuban League was usually known as a pitcher's league, so to hit .352 over 12 years there is extremely impressive.
   95. Howie Menckel Posted: September 01, 2004 at 12:16 AM (#829902)
This is odd.
Almost all HOMers get elected and immediately can claim several HOM teammates. Then they add some more along the way.
Yet I didn't find a single HOMer teammate for Johnson or Wheat as they join the immortals (though that changes this upcoming year).
Basically, they toiled most of their careers before meeting HOM buddies..
   96. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: September 01, 2004 at 12:24 AM (#829957)
Wheat was a teammate of Bill Dahlen, just barely.

And of course, he was also a teammate of both likely 1934 inductees (Collins and Cobb).
   97. Howie Menckel Posted: September 01, 2004 at 01:30 AM (#830221)
Right, TdiEE.
My lists only include 10 G minimums to ignore token appearances.
I don't think there IS a second 'likely' 1934 inductee, just yet.
   98. sunnyday2 Posted: September 01, 2004 at 03:30 AM (#830491)
DanG (#66): Good advice, no doubt.

Joe (#48): Does this mean I have to start voting for Harry Wright again? Actually, my new system hurts him signific;-)ntly.

Finally, methinks TdiEE (#86) manages to significantly underrate Speaker.
   99. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: September 01, 2004 at 01:32 PM (#830865)
Finally, methinks TdiEE (#86) manages to significantly underrate Speaker.

Look, I love Tris Speaker. He was a fabulous player, and one of my favorites. But he wasn't better than Hank Aaron and Lefty Grove.
   100. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 01, 2004 at 01:43 PM (#830880)
Look, I love Tris Speaker. He was a fabulous player, and one of my favorites. But he wasn't better than Hank Aaron and Lefty Grove.

...or Mike Schmidt, who should be in the top ten, too.
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