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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

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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   101. Chris Cobb Posted: September 01, 2004 at 02:16 PM (#830930)
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.

In context, Speaker's value and Aaron's value are very close. If one accepts that Aaron played against better competition (and I think he did) then Aaron moves ahead.

As to Grove, now we're getting into that question of how one defines "better." I'd rank Speaker above Grove without hesitation, but I can see how those who value pitchers differently might disagree. (For that matter, I'd rank Speaker above Gehrig without hesitation, also. In 1999, I'd have ranked Speaker over Barry Bonds, also. Bonds has risen ini stature just a bit since then . . . )

The pertinent comparisons to Speaker for this election are Collins and Lloyd, however. Who slots in at #2 behind Cobb at #1?

Win shares has Speaker over Collins (James's ranking is consistent with the results of his system), while WARP has Collins edging Speaker (which is consistent with its favorable evaluations of second basemen). Lloyd, obviously, is harder to evaluate.

I'd be interested in seeing how voters are deciding on their ranking of this trio. I think WARP typically overrates second basemen, so right now I'm going with the WS view, as I usually do with position players, but I'm open to persuasion.

I also haven't studied Lloyd thoroughly yet. I have him at #4, but I'm open to persuasion on that placement also.
   102. PhillyBooster Posted: September 01, 2004 at 02:46 PM (#830951)
Prelim: "Greatest X on the Ballot" Edition. Looks like John Murphy and I are the only ones with Eddie Collins in the top spot so far.

1. Eddie Collins (n/e)-- Greatest second baseman of all time.
2. Pop Lloyd (n/e) -- Greatest Negro League player to date
3.Ty Cobb (n/e)-- Possibly the greatest centerfielder of all-time. Loses out to Collins on defense, intangibles, and post-season play.
4. Joe Williams (n/e) -- best Negro League pitcher to date.
5. Tris Speaker (n/e) -- First player on ballot who is not arguably the best anything.
6. Jake Beckley (2) -- best non-new player on the ballot
7. Mickey Welch (3) -- Best 19th century player on the ballot
8. Cristobal Torriente (n/e) -- Best Cuban player on the ballot
9. Jose Mendez (5) -- Best Cuban pitcher on the ballot
10. Gavy Cravath (6) -- Best PCL, American Association, and dead-ball slugger on the ballot.
11. Lip Pike (7) -- Best NA player on the ballot
12. Roger Bresnahan (8) -- Top catcher on the ballot.
13. Pete Browning (10) -- Top AA star on the ballot.
14. Bill Monroe (11) -- West from #1 black player on the ballot to #4.
15. Clark Griffith (13) -- Top 1890s pitcher on the ballot.

Dropping off for the moment: Childs, Groh, van Haltren, and Chance.

I'd been comparing Covaleski to Cicotte and Waddell, but neither of them made it either. It looks like he'd have to be better than Clark Griffith to make my ballot. Anyone want to make that case? Ben Taylor also considered, but does not make my ballot.
   103. PhillyBooster Posted: September 01, 2004 at 02:57 PM (#830959)
Also, ll HoMer voters who do not listen to Morning Edition should check out this morning's commentary by Frank Deford. Just click on Frank's name and scroll down to the story entitled "Twyman and Stokes: Friendship That Transcends Time."

While it is a story about basketball (both played in the NBA), friendship across race (Twyman was white and Stokes was black), overcoming disability, and the fog of receding memory, I listened to it primarily as a "Peak versus Career" story as Jack Tyman, a basketball player with a long and successful "career" who is in the NBA Hall of Fame lobbied for years and eventually succeeded in 2004 in inducting his friend Maurice Stokes, whose career for was cut short by injury, but was inarguably the more talented of the two when they were playing.

I was probably the only NPR listener this morning who, while listening to the story, was considering the possible ramifications for Pete Browning!
   104. dan b Posted: September 01, 2004 at 03:22 PM (#830988)
I use WS, and look at best 3 and 8 year peaks (non-consecutive), best 5 and 10 year peaks consecutive, WS/162 and career. The order is the same for all 6 - Cobb, Speaker, Collins. I concur with James' top 100 list on this ballot and will put Lloyd, Williams and Torriente in the 4-5-6 spots on my ballot.
   105. jhwinfrey Posted: September 01, 2004 at 03:25 PM (#830991)
This year, I'd put the top 16 in the HoM.

1. Ty Cobb (ne)--Explain to me again how he only won one MVP award?

2. Pop Lloyd (ne)--The only other guy on the ballot who could be the best player ever.

3. Smokey Joe Williams (ne)--Believed to have thrown about 40 no-hitters. Take that, Nolan.

4. Eddie Collins (ne)--Hit .328 in 34 postseason games, and holds the career lead in sacrifice hits.

5. Tris Speaker (ne)--The all-time doubles king would have been 1st on all but one of my other ballots (1933).

6. Christobal Torriente (ne)--Much closer to Speaker and Cobb than to Pike and Van Haltren, IMHO.

7. Mickey Welch (1,1,1,1,1,1,2,2)--All of those ones look silly when you see all the guys ahead of him this year. But he's still the best of the rest.

8. Ben Taylor (ne)--I don't see a reason to rank him below Beckley. In my judgement, he matches Beckley in career and far surpasses him in peak and prime.

9. Jake Beckley (6,3,5,4,4,3,3,4)--86 home runs! Not bad at all. :)

10. Rube Waddell (5,8,8,6,5,4,5,6)--No one had more strikeouts in the first decade of the 20th century.

11. Clark Griffith (11,8,5)--46 Wins Above Team. That's antihistamine numbers.

12. Bill Monroe (15,nr,14,12,11,6,7,7)--Best of the 2nd-tier middle infielders.

13. Jose Mendez (4,8)--About halfway between Smokey Joe and John Donaldson.

14. Lip Pike (13,14,12,10,8,8,9,9)--I'd like to see him eventually inducted, but it may be a long road.

15. Cupid Childs (13,15,14)--Just hanging on.

Squished off the ballot:
16. Roger Bresnahan (9,11,9,7,6,7,10,10)
PHOM In/Out Line
17. George Van Haltren (14,15,13,13,12,10,11,11)
18. Spotswood Poles (11,9,9,12,12)
19. Bruce Petway (14,12,14,13)
20. Jim McCormick (15,nr,13,15)

Other notables:
21. Tommy Leach
23. Jules Thomas
24. Addie Joss
29. Jimmy Ryan
30. Hugh Duffy
32. Heinie Groh--I'm taking a closer look at him this week, to see what I'm missing. It may be that I am simply under-rating third basemen.
51. Stan Coveleski--This seems a little low to me, and indicates that my era adjustments need some tinkering.
58. Hughie Jennings--I still haven't seen the light on Ee-yah.
69. Bullet Joe Bush
70. Wally Pipp--The Wally Pipp Line has now replaced the Ross Youngs Line at the bottom of my ballot consideration list.
   106. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: September 01, 2004 at 04:10 PM (#831060)
Explain to me again how he only won one MVP award?

Uh, because it didn't exist for most of his career? (Assuming that was a serious question...)
   107. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 01, 2004 at 04:30 PM (#831092)
32. Heinie Groh--I'm taking a closer look at him this week, to see what I'm missing. It may be that I am simply under-rating third basemen.

Hmm...could be! :-D
   108. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: September 01, 2004 at 05:39 PM (#831205)
Explain to me again how he only won one MVP award?

IIRC, once a player won the award then, they were removed from consideration from future awards.
   109. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: September 01, 2004 at 05:41 PM (#831208)
51. Stan Coveleski--This seems a little low to me,

I'd agree that it's a little low.
   110. Paul Wendt Posted: September 01, 2004 at 06:26 PM (#831293)
Chris Cobb
Coveleski was also brilliant at preventing hits on balls in play

In his excellent presentation on Balls in Play at SABR33, Tom Tippett showed that knuckleball pitchers consistently yield fewer hits than average. I asked him about spitball pitchers, especially the heavy duty grandfathers who were regular pitchers for several years after the spitball was generally outlawed (Coveleski, Shocker, Faber, Quinn, Grimes ). They were outside his 2003 population, but Tom agreed with my expectation that that group also yielded few hits and he hoped to study them soon. Perhaps he has published further research on the 'net?

--
Lloyd and Williams are two of very few (5?) who are sometimes called the greatest player or pitcher of the "Negro Leagues" --meaning black pro baseball. But they were elected to the NBHOF relatively slowly. That implies (but doesn't prove) that lesser players of their era, little remembered in the 1970s, probably deserved to be the 10th or 15th Negro League induction but were overlooked entirely.

When the HOF began to select from the Negro Leagues, the 1910s were as distant as the first decade of the National League had been when the HOF was founded.
   111. Evan Posted: September 01, 2004 at 06:49 PM (#831339)
IIRC, once a player won the award then, they were removed from consideration from future awards.

Seems unlikely, since the Big Train won in both 1913 and 1924. They clearly didn't like having people win too often, since after winning in 1923, Babe Ruth did not receive a single vote in 1927

The simpler answer is that the Tigers weren't good enough. No one won an MVP whose team finished lower than 2nd place, other than Rogers Hornsby in 1925, but he had a triple crown to go along with it. Jimmie Foxx did the same in 1933 as the first person in the AL to win an MVP for a 3rd place or lower team.

But the MVP voting back then is deeply weird, anyway - on what basis was Roger Peckinpaugh given the MVP in 1925? His team won the pennant, but lost the series, he didn't do anything well, and was pretty clearly the seventh best player on his own team, after Johnson, Coveleski, Rice, Goslin, Judge and Ruel. Huh?
   112. Evan Posted: September 01, 2004 at 06:59 PM (#831365)
Voters could, however, only vote for 1 player per team. With only 8 voters, really a monumentally stupid system. I'm embarrassed that I ever thought MVP voting from this period should even count for anything. Of course, the same could be said today, as well.
   113. Daryn Posted: September 01, 2004 at 07:02 PM (#831370)
Bill James has a nice detailed history of the MVP awards in a few of his books, but the bottom line is that in some years past electees were not eligible and in some years there was no award. The rules changed relatively frequently since the sponsors changed frequently. If I recall correctly, it was a car dealer who sponsored some of the early awards and back then it seemed wasteful to give more than one car to the same person, so that was the genesis of the you can't win twice rule.

Ruth's no votes in 1927 were not because the populace was unimpressed.
   114. Evan Posted: September 01, 2004 at 07:04 PM (#831374)
You're right - he actually got no votes because Gehrig and Lazzeri got the 1st place votes, so there was no one left to vote for him.
   115. OCF Posted: September 01, 2004 at 07:27 PM (#831412)
The car dealer was Chalmers, and for them the "only once" rule was partly so they wouldn't keep giving cars to Ty Cobb, whom everyone hated. Johnson's 1913 award was a Chalmers award. That went away, and there was no such award in the AL for a few years, notably including the years 1918-1921. The revived award was the League Award, which is what Johnson got in 1924. (It went to Ruth in 1923.) Then that went away, to be replaced a few years later by the MVP. It was always the sportswriters voting, and the voting structure was similar, but the name of the award was different.

There's lots of room to speculate about what might have happened in the missing years. Some of the questions:

Would the writers have elected Ruth in 1918? I think they would have. He was a unique story; the combination of his hitting and his pitching would have appealed to the idea that the award fell under the their judgment, and the Red Sox won the pennant. You can, of course, argue that Johnson might have deserved it.

Would they have elected Jackson in 1919? Since the White Sox won the pennant and Jackson had a high BA, it fits their prejudices. They wouldn't have understood the meaning of Ruth's OBP and SLG. But, having elected Jackson, would they have called a special election to rescind the vote a year later?

There was no award in 1920 and 1921. The only thing worth speculating about there is whether Ruth might have caused them to overturn the "only once" rule. The League Award Ruth did win was for 1923, which is very much a "and who else could you have voted for, anyway" situation.

I am convinced of one thing, however: had the voting structure and eligibility rules been what they are today, Gehrig would still have won the 1927 MVP. The closest parallel I can think of is the 1989 NL vote between Kevin Mitchell and Will Clark, with the reasons for voting for Gehrig (new big story, RBI) being the same as the reasons for voting for Mitchell. That and the fact that he might have deserved it anyway, at least to within the error in any of our Grand Unified Metrics.
   116. DavidFoss Posted: September 01, 2004 at 07:33 PM (#831422)
Ruth lost in 1926 to George Burns as well. I think Ruth was "ineligible" once he won the first time.

Not sure how Hornsby won again in 1929, but other than that year, no previous winner got much support prior to 1930.

Today's award dates from 1931, lots of trivia questions are prefaced with "Since the modern award was instituted in 1931".

Did any other publications (Sporting News, Reach, whatever) have Players of the Year awards of some type?
   117. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 01, 2004 at 07:38 PM (#831427)
Ruth lost in 1926 to George Burns as well. I think Ruth was "ineligible" once he won the first time.

For the AL MVP award that was created during the twenties, a player could only win the award once. Silly, IMO.

They changed the rules during the thirties.
   118. yest Posted: September 01, 2004 at 07:56 PM (#831455)
one of the rules for the Chalmers award was a player couldn't win more then once.

The league Awarard of the twenties had the same rule only in the AL

also Sisler's got a legitimate shot at the MVP in 1920
   119. DavidFoss Posted: September 01, 2004 at 08:09 PM (#831484)
Sisler's got a legitimate shot at the MVP in 1920

Ruth's play was a bit too "Bondsian" in 1920, though Sisler was clearly the #2 hitter that year.

1922 was a better year to unseat the Babe. Sisler had competition from Speaker & Cobb that year, though.
   120. Rick A. Posted: September 01, 2004 at 09:00 PM (#831583)
OK, I'll be going on vacation for the next 2 weeks. This is my official 1934 ballot. Could someone move it over to the 1934 ballot thread when it is up? Thanks.

PHOM
Ty Cobb
Pop Lloyd

1934 Ballot
1.Ty Cobb – One of the top 2 players who’ve been eligible so far. (The other is Honus Wagner)
2.Pop Lloyd – Would rank #1 in almost any other election. Only one thing stands out for me. People have compared him to Honus Wagner, and they’ve been taken seriously. This is enough to get up to #2 on the ballot.
3.Smokey Joe Williams – Would rank #1 in almost any other election. Looking forward to when Satchel Paige gets on the ballot to see who really was the best pitcher in Negro Leagues history.
4.Eddie Collins – Would rank #1 in almost any other election. (Does anyone else sense a pattern here) As far as I’m concerned “Cocky” Collins had every right to be cocky.
5.Tris Speaker – Would rank #1 in almost any other election. Just slightly behind Collins. Amazing that a player of this quality is ranked #5.
6.Cristobal Torriente –Would rank #1 in … well, some elections. Blows HOMer Pete Hill away. Great career and peak value.
7.Charley Jones – Would rank #1 in … well, no he wouldn’t. Very good hitter, though. 96% of value is above average. Truly great hitter who missed 2 years in his prime. Elected PHOM in 1926.
8.Lip Pike – 95% of documented career is above average. Fresh look at Charley Jones, Pike, and Browning made me change my order of them. Elected PHOM in 1918.
9.Pete Browning – 61% of value is prime, 89% of value is above average. Elected PHOM in 1929
10.Cupid Childs – Good hitter. Not as good defensively as McPhee. 84% of career above average.
11.Hughie Jennings – 77% of value is prime alone. Unfortunately, that’s all he’s got. Still that’s enough to get him this high. Re-evaluated 1890’s infielders since they seemed to get beat up during their playing days.
12.Stan Coveleski – Not sure if I’m overrating him or underrating him. Need to see some more of his contemporaries to get a real handle on him.
13.Ed Williamson – Overvalued him in previous elections. Much closer to Groh and Leach than I thought. Still a damn good player, though. Still may be overrating him. Elected PHOM in 1931
14.Hugh Duffy – 82% of career is above-average. Great defense. Took another look at him and he moved up a couple of spots
15.Tommy Leach – Good peak and decent career. I’ll take Leach’s career over Groh’s peak.

Required Explanations
16.Heinie Groh – Took a fresh look at Groh and other thirdbasemen. Very close to Leach, but I like Leach’s career a little more than Groh’s peak. A couple more years would’ve moved him up quite a bit.

20.George Van Haltren –I tend to really like steady careers like Van Haltren, Griffin, Beckley, but just can’t see him jumping over anyone on my ballot.

22.Clark Griffith –Won lots of games with bad teams. Was overrating him, so he dropped a few slots.

26.Rube Waddell –Impressive SO ability, but his record should be SO much better than it actually is.

30.Mickey Welch – Never sure about Welch. Compares with McCormick and Mullane, but I’m always re-evaluating these 3.

Off the ballot
16-20 Groh, Cooper, Mendez, Monroe, Van Haltren
21-25 Poles, Griffith, Willis, Doyle, Tiernan
26-30 Waddell, Bresnahan, McGraw, Bond, Welch
31-35 Griffin, Chance, Burns, Veach, Ryan
   121. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 01, 2004 at 09:07 PM (#831597)
Could someone move it over to the 1934 ballot thread when it is up?

No problem, Rick. Have fun!
   122. OCF Posted: September 01, 2004 at 09:07 PM (#831599)
Note to the ballot-moving volunteer - that's two: TomH (#30) and Rick A. (#120).
   123. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 01, 2004 at 09:11 PM (#831606)
Note to the ballot-moving volunteer - that's two: TomH (#30) and Rick A. (#120).

Gotcha.
   124. OCF Posted: September 01, 2004 at 09:18 PM (#831612)
People have compared him to Honus Wagner, and they’ve been taken seriously.

That's a legitimate and powerful argument. I have only one nagging doubt about it - as great as his contemporaries thought Wagner was, I think they still underrated him. Wagner didn't look like a shortstop, and I've seen things written about Wagner that don't bother talking about his defense. His batting averages in 1904-1909 lose some luster if unfairly compared to what people did in 1911-12.

Of course, Lloyd might also have been underrated. Wagner was usually the strongest person on the field when he played - was that also true of Lloyd?
   125. OCF Posted: September 01, 2004 at 10:01 PM (#831682)
Some wild guesses about AL MVP's, had there been modern rules:

1917: Cicotte. (The White Sox won, although there is an argument for Cobb)
1918: Ruth (a great story).
1919: Jackson, erupting a year later into the biggest controversy ever for the MVP. Of course, it should have been Ruth.
1920: Ruth.
1921: Ruth.
1922: Sisler. His moment in the sun with that .420 BA, and the Browns were only a game out. Ruth missed too many games. The paleo-saber types are trying to drum up support for Speaker, but it's hard to sell a player on a .500 team.
1923: Ruth (actual vote, and an easy one).
1924: The toughest case. Ruth was all-galaxy, of course: led the league in OPS by .291, in runs by 28, in TB by 85, in HR by 19. But THE SENATORS WON THE PENNANT. The actual vote for Johnson, easy because Ruth was ineligible, might just be what they would have done anyway. (Paleo-saber-rattling for Ruth aside.)
1925: Peckinpaugh. Hey, that's who they did vote for, and there's really no obvious candidate. The Yankees found out the hard way just how valuable Ruth was. The Senators ran away with it, but Johnson had less to do with it than Coveleski, and what Coveleski did doesn't look like an MVP year for a pitcher. Cobb and Speaker were less than full time, and it's hard to get that excited about Heilmann.
1926: Ruth. He's back. The Yankees are back. What else is there to say? (Actual award: Burns, with Ruth ineligible.)
1927: Gehrig.
1928: Ruth (his 6th?). Tough case, but the Yankees did win the pennant and Ruth was pretty obviously the best offensive player on the Yankees and in the league. Gehrig was nearly as good. The A's made a run at it, and were full of good players: Foxx, Simmons, Grove, Cochrane, even Cobb. Actual vote: Cochrane, with Ruth and Gehrig both ineligible.
1929. Simmons. The pennant and the RBI's. No actual vote. I remember seeing a version of Total Baseball with an article on hypothetical awards give this to Fonseca. The batting champ, (The batting champ, but from a not-close 3rd place team, not near the league lead in R or RBI? I don't see it.)
   126. KJOK Posted: September 01, 2004 at 10:11 PM (#831691)
Somewhat ironic that 3 of the most famous racist ballplayers, Cobb, Speaker, and Collins, could be sharing the podium with Lloyd or Williams....
   127. KJOK Posted: September 01, 2004 at 10:15 PM (#831697)
Newbie Preliminary slotting:

1. Cobb
2. Collins
3. Speaker
4. Lloyd - Closest comp appears to be Joe Cronin to Honus Wagner.
5. Smokey Joe Williams - Comp is Pete Alexander
9. Covaleskie
13. Torriente - Comps are Dwight Evans and Enos Slaughter.
Off Ballot - Ben Taylor - Comp is Ed Konetchy.
   128. DavidFoss Posted: September 01, 2004 at 10:17 PM (#831704)
Somewhat ironic that 3 of the most famous racist ballplayers, Cobb, Speaker, and Collins, could be sharing the podium with Lloyd or Williams....

OK... aside from the fact that many ballplayers were racist in 1920 (many Americans were racist in 1920), what are the particular racist stories about Speaker and Collins?

No argument here, I'm just interested in hearing the stories (or a link to them).
   129. KJOK Posted: September 01, 2004 at 10:25 PM (#831714)
Speaker was widely rumored to be in the KKK.

For Collins, the issue comes out more after his playing days. Read "Shut Out: A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston" for the full story of how the Red Sox were not only the last team to integrate, but were apparently the last team to hire ANY black employees, during the time that Yawkey had given Collins power over the franchise.
   130. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 01, 2004 at 10:48 PM (#831736)
Somewhat ironic that 3 of the most famous racist ballplayers, Cobb, Speaker, and Collins, could be sharing the podium with Lloyd or Williams....

Speaker was a member of the KKK, but this was when it was more a political party than what we think of it today. He actually was very supportive of many African-American players when they started to come into the majors.

As for Collins, was it him or Pinky Higgins who was the racist (or was it both of them)?
   131. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 01, 2004 at 10:50 PM (#831739)
Hornsby was also a KKK member, I believe, but he wasn't very partial to black ballplayers (though he wasn't a virulent racist).
   132. KJOK Posted: September 01, 2004 at 10:57 PM (#831748)
From Maurey Allen's review of SHUT OUT:

"In a strong book on the raging racism of the Boston franchise, lain at the feet of owner Tom Yawkey, GM Eddie Collins and manager Pinky Higgins, sportswriter Howard Bryant has detailed the Boston epic in "Shut Out: A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston" (Routledge, $27.50).

Bryant, one of the few black baseball beat reporters, describes the Boston attitude toward a guy named Robinson in 1945 and another kid named Willie Mays in 1950 trying for a Fenway spot.

He describes Yawkey, the owner, as more or less a laissez faire racist while Collins and especially Higgins were of the old Cap Anson school."
   133. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: September 02, 2004 at 12:21 AM (#832004)
I asked him about spitball pitchers, especially the heavy duty grandfathers who were regular pitchers for several years after the spitball was generally outlawed (Coveleski, Shocker, Faber, Quinn, Grimes ). They were outside his 2003 population, but Tom agreed with my expectation that that group also yielded few hits and he hoped to study them soon. Perhaps he has published further research on the 'net?

A few years ago I was looking at the Hit-Deltas (AKA the Voros Number) on the Prospectus Player cards for a lot of pitchers (all HoFers, all listed in the Top 100 of the NBJHA, etc) & keeping track of anyone who ever had more than a +/-10 point season. The single best Hit Delta ever? Red Faber with a -59 in 1921, narrowly edging Pud Galvin's -55 in 1884 (where he piched shiteloads more than Faber did). So yea, I'd say there's reason to believe spitters could prevent balls off of hits in play.

(Though to be fair, IIRC, Gaylord Perry was the highest ranked pitcher in the BJNHA to have a plus HD).
   134. sunnyday2 Posted: September 02, 2004 at 03:29 AM (#832770)
jhwinfrey (#5) might be underrating 3B. More likely, however--noting the absence of Larry Doyle from your top 21--is that you are accepting WARP's massive discounts of the deadball NL, which especially seems to impact position players who peaked during the depths of the deadball in the late 1910s.
   135. Chris Cobb Posted: September 02, 2004 at 04:11 AM (#832793)
Griffith vs. Coveleski

Phillybooster, I think, asked for a comparison of Coveleski to Griffith. Let me start off by saying that, outside of their ranking against their immediate contemporaries, these two are quite close. I have them at 7 & 8 on my ballot. Most measures show the two of them close. I present a lot of different ways of looking at them here, with some analysis at the end of each section.

WARP

Career WARP1, adj. for season length:
Coveleski, 94.6
Griffith 93.68

Career WARP3
Coveleski, 80.7
Griffith, 70.7

Top 3, W1 (season-adj.), W3
Coveleski 12.4, 10.6
Griffith 12.0, 9.6

Top 5 con, W1 (season-adj.), W3
Coveleski 11.3, 9.6
Griffith 10.9, 8.3

DERA, career
Coveleski 3.58
Griffith 3.81

If you trust WARP, Coveleski has to rate ahead, as he beats Griffith on every measure. One may not like WARP3, but even in season-adjusted WARP1, Coveleski wins.

WIN SHARES

Career WS, adj. for season length
Griffith 296
Coveleski 267

Top 3, season-adj.
Coveleski 34.6
Griffith 34.2

Top 5 con, season-adj.
Coveleski 31.74
Griffith 31.24

career rate
Coveleski 29.85
Griffith 29.25

peak rate
Coveleski 33.74 ws/365 ip
Griffith 31.44 ws/365 ip

Coveleski edges Griffith on peak; Griffith has a solid career ws advantage. In my view, WS continues to overrate pitchers prior to 1920, though not as dramatically as it does pre-1893 pitchers. I think WARP’s numbers are closer to accurate, since they adjust their formulas as the game changes. WS’s single-formula approach distorts the early game. So I am dubious of Griffith’s advantage in career value here.


ERA+

career
Coveleski 127
Griffith 123

in league leaders (top 8 in eight-team leagues, top 12 in 12-team leagues & 1900)
Coveleski 8, 2 times #1
Griffith 7 (5 listed in BB-ref, + 11th in 1897 and 1900) 1 time #1

Pretty close here. Coveleski slightly ahead, but given the effects of scoring environments on ERA+ scores, I don’t know that the difference between them on this measure is truly significant. Other indicators suggest that Griffith had slightly better fielding support than Coveleski, so I’m inclined to say that his edge here should be credited to him.

INNINGS PITCHED

career
Griffith 3387
Coveleski 3082

in league leaders (top 8 or top 12 as above)
Coveleski 6 (8 in BB-ref, -2 for 10th place)
Griffith 2 + 1 (2 listed in BB-ref, + 12th in 1898

Griffith has more career innings; Coveleski was stronger on a seasonal basis vs. contemporaries

Black Ink
Coveleski 22
Griffith 11

Gray Ink
Coveleski 193
Griffith 134

Coveleski has the edge here

HOME-GROWN MEASURES

IP & ERA+ in age cohorts determined by Phillybooster
Coveleski 8 ip career ip, 2? in ERA+ (trails Joe Wood?)
Griffith 3 ip career, 3 in ERA+ ?? (trails Nichols and Rusie in both) anyone else??

If I have Griffith right, he is very well-positioned among his immediate peers. Coveleski is less obviously a strong candidate by this measure of career ip, though his ERA+ standing is very strong, if I have that right. Advantage: Griffith

seasons (as calculated by Andrew Siegel)
Coveleski 11.1
Griffith 9.8

Advantage: Coveleski

RSI data (as calculated by Chris J.

Run-support neutral records
Griffith 233-150, .608 wp
Coveleski 214-143, .599 wp

Fielding support
Coveleski, +4.8 WS
Griffith, +6.3 WS

MOWP
Griffith .525
Coveleski .497

MOWP+
Coveleski 107
Griffith 107

MOWP+6
Coveleski 123
Griffith 109

MOWP+4 (low is good, showing fewer starts than expected vs. very weak competition)
Coveleski 91
Griffith 105

Very close. Griffith has more decisions and a better WP, but Coveleski appears to have been used against tougher competition.

<b>Support-Neutral records</b.> as calculated by me, using Chris J.’s RSIs and an estimate of fielder’s runs saved above average, based on defensive efficiency.

Wins better than an average pitcher with the same run support and fielding support
Coveleski 38.5
Griffith 36.5

Support Neutral record, winning percentage
Coveleski 216-141, .605
Griffith 229-154, .598

Griffith has a slight edge in decisions; Coveleski has a slight edge in quality. When I put their performance into contemporary context, Coveleski comes out slightly ahead on career, season-adjusted win shares, 325 to 315, and is farther ahead on peak.

Overall, pretty much all measures show Coveleski as stronger on peak. Measures are split on career value; it depends on how you contextualize their careers.
   136. Al Peterson Posted: September 02, 2004 at 01:44 PM (#833030)
Since Coveleski is getting plenty of debate back in the 1928 ballot discussion DanG placed some pitcher rankings when comparing within era. Post #31 is the place.

Pitchers
   137. PhillyBooster Posted: September 02, 2004 at 02:12 PM (#833053)
Overall, pretty much all measures show Coveleski as stronger on peak. Measures are split on career value; it depends on how you contextualize their careers.

Deeply over-contextualized comparison of Griffith and Covaleski using no numbers (as Chris used up all the good numbers above, to generally useful effect. I have nothing to add to his good statistical summary):

Assume for the moment that Griffith is the top 1890s pitcher not in the HoM and that Covaleski is the top 1920s pitcher not in the Hall of Fame.

Who is Covaleski better than? Assumedly #2 is one of Rixey, Vance, Mays, Luque, or Hoyt. If Covaleski is really first, that strikes me as a very tight group. Whoever is #2 or #3 is very close in value to Covaleski.

Who is Griffith better than? Silver King? Jack Stivetts? Adonis Terry? It's difficult to even find a next-best 1890s pitcher. Griffith simply towers above them all.

In context, Griffith towers over other non-HoMers much more than Covaleski does. He's the bigger outlier. That indicates to me that Griffith should go in first, and therefore be ranked higher.
   138. andrew siegel Posted: September 02, 2004 at 02:45 PM (#833096)
Well, Griffith towers over the other unelected 1890s pitchers, but we've already elected 3 guys who towered over him. During the 1920s, nobody towered over Covalseski. (If you are talking about whole careers, Johnson and Alexander obviously do, but they are more 1910s pitchers whose best years were behind them by the 1920s.)
   139. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 02, 2004 at 03:00 PM (#833110)
During the 1920s, nobody towered over Covalseski.

Except for Vance, though I don't think he towered over Covaleski by much.
   140. OCF Posted: September 02, 2004 at 03:24 PM (#833148)
I'm trying to imagine Ty Cobb projected forward into our era of free agency and 9-figure contracts. (I have no doubt that he could adapt his skills to the game being played.) Would he have hired Scott Boras or would he have represented himself? Would his ever-acrimonious contract negotiations have gotten him booed in his home ballpark as well as everywhere on the road? Would have played for 4 or 5 teams in his career, always playing at a very high level? In his own day the reserve clause was ironclad and the players had almost no leverage. Given leverage, and the chance to make a buck, Cobb would have used it.
   141. Chris Cobb Posted: September 02, 2004 at 03:38 PM (#833165)
If you are talking about whole careers, Johnson and Alexander obviously [tower over Coveleski], but they are more 1910s pitchers whose best years were behind them by the 1920s.

Despite the fact that Alexander was better in the teens, he was still probably the top pitcher of the 1920s.

WS for pitchers 1920-29, as calculated by James
CWS Pitcher Sum of top 3 seasons in decade
210 Pete Alexander 91
210 Burleigh Grimes 91
201 Eppa Rixey 75
191 Dolf Luque 89
182 Urban Shocker 84
179 Red Faber 93
177 Dazzy Vance 93
177 Herb Pennock 73
171 Waite Hoyt 69
165 George Uhle 83
154 Sam Jones 71
148 Stan Coveleski 80
146 Walter Johnson 78
146 Wilbur Cooper 85
145 Carl Mays 82

Win shares isn't altogether reliable on pitchers, and the slice of pitchers' careers that fall in this decade isn't necessarily representative, but I think it's a useful reminder of how good Pete Alexander was for how long.

Right now I have Coveleski at #2 after Alexander for this era, but I've only started to study Rixey and haven't touched Vance at all.

We should also remember that there's a good set of Negro-League pitchers during the 1920s, none of whom (aside from Joe Williams, who, like Alexander, had his best years in the teens) is yet eligible. They are more exact contemporaries of Dazzy Vance than of Coveleski, since they hit their stride only after 1920, but we ought to begin thinking about Bullet Joe Rogan, Nip Winters, Lefty Andy Cooper, William Bell, Sam Streeter, and Big Bill Foster, all of whom come on the scene between 1920 and 1925.
   142. PhillyBooster Posted: September 02, 2004 at 03:40 PM (#833166)
Well, Griffith towers over the other unelected 1890s pitchers, but we've already elected 3 guys who towered over him. During the 1920s, nobody towered over Covalseski.

I subscribe to a sort of "bell curve" theory of talent. The further you are along the bell curve, the bigger the gap is between you and the next group of players. That's why I like Bresnahan -- because he towers over the other catchers he played against.

One way to measure talent is an "absolute" measure -- whoever has the most Win Shares/ WARP/ whatever goes on top. That fails to take into account value relative to peers.

Anothe way to measure talent is completely relative. The best 1980s pitcher (Jack Morris) is just as valuable as the best 1890s pitcher (Cy Young). They were just a product of their times, and absolute value doesn't matter because it would have been impossible for Morris to put up Young's numbers, even if he had the same talent, because of how the game was played. That doesn't seem to work either.

So, instead I look at the bell curve. How far away is the guy from his era's "pack". Young towers, while Morris merely leads. So rank Young higher. Bresnahan also towers, so gets a high ranking compared to guys like van Haltren -- who has higher absolute numbers, but is much closer to the pack.

To me, when absolute values are similar, distance from the "pack" is more important. How else can you tell how the 4th best 1890s pitcher compares to the 1st or 2nd best 1920s pitcher without resorting to "4 is a higher number"?
   143. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 02, 2004 at 04:07 PM (#833210)
The best 1980s pitcher (Jack Morris) is just as valuable as the best 1890s pitcher (Cy Young).

Don't you mean Steib instead of Morris? :-)
   144. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 02, 2004 at 04:11 PM (#833217)
WS for pitchers 1920-29, as calculated by James
CWS Pitcher Sum of top 3 seasons in decade
210 Pete Alexander 91
210 Burleigh Grimes 91
201 Eppa Rixey 75
191 Dolf Luque 89
182 Urban Shocker 84
179 Red Faber 93
177 Dazzy Vance 93
177 Herb Pennock 73
171 Waite Hoyt 69
165 George Uhle 83
154 Sam Jones 71
148 Stan Coveleski 80
146 Walter Johnson 78
146 Wilbur Cooper 85
145 Carl Mays 82


The idea of Coveleski towering over anybody during the twenties seems even sillier now. :-)
   145. karlmagnus Posted: September 02, 2004 at 04:15 PM (#833224)
Part of the problem is the decade definition. Neither Stieb nor Morris were as good as Roger Clemons, Steve Carlton or Nolan Ryan, all of whom pitched substantially in the 1980s. So if you look simply at 1980-1989, without checking 1975-84, 1978-87 and 1982-91 and 1985-94 you may be fooling yourself. If you do that test, Covaleski has some bigger competitors in 1918-27 or 1915-24, and Groive dominates in 1925-34. Only in the exact decade of the 20s is he close to the top. Still HOM-worthy in my view, but not an overpoweringly strong candidate.
   146. karlmagnus Posted: September 02, 2004 at 04:17 PM (#833226)
Conversely, as not-Grandma has just demonstrated, 1920-29 is probably not Covaleski's optimum period, but probably something like 1917-26.
   147. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 02, 2004 at 04:19 PM (#833231)
Conversely, as not-Grandma has just demonstrated, 1920-29 is probably not Covaleski's optimum period, but probably something like 1917-26.

Good point, karlmagnus.
   148. OCF Posted: September 02, 2004 at 04:30 PM (#833245)
Repeating some of my numbers. The first two are the RA+/IP equivalent W-L record. The third number is a "big years bonus" gotten by converting each season equivalent record into FWP, finding the amount (if any) by which this exceeded 15, and adding those number up over a career

Coveleski  209-134  61
Rixie      275-224  19
Faber      255-199  41
Vance      201-129  58
Willis     248-196  44 (adjusted for defensive support)
Waddell    200-129  59
Adams      201-132  40 (not adjusted the way Willis was)
Cicotte    209-149  48
Griffith   203-146  43
Shocker    181-117  29
Luque      203-154  33


The single biggest year of any of these is Griffith's 1898 (27-9), althouth that is essentially matched by Luque's 1923 (27-9), Cicotte's 1917 (28-11), and Faber's 1921 (27-10). The greater IP/season characteristic of their times would give Griffith, Willis, and Waddell an intrinsic advantage in accumulating the "big year bonus" points - neverthless, Coveleski scores the highest on this without any one year to match the outlier seasons mentioned above.

Willis and Griffith aren't exact contemporaries, but they do have overlapping careers, and I would take Willis as part of the "pack" PhillyBooster is trying to separate Griffith from. Al Orth is a fairly close contemporary of Griffith; I have him at 195-177, which is quite a ways behind. Quite a few pitchers came on the scene around 1898-99: McGinnity, Waddell, Willis, Chesbro, Powell, Leever. They match up about as well with one side of Griffith's career as Rusie does with the other. The argument for Griffith comes down to this: there was a period of several years in the mid-late '90's during which Griffith was clearly the best pitcher other than the two outliers Young and Nichols. (Rusie was mostly done by then.)

I have no trouble making Coveleski the highest ranking white pitcher on my ballot this year, and although he's far from a slam dunk, I think he's worthy of eventual election.
   149. karlmagnus Posted: September 02, 2004 at 05:21 PM (#833329)
I have to say I think Leever's a good match for any of the 90s/00s picthers except Young and Nichols; he simply lacks about 40 wins and 40 losses from the Griffith/McGinnity level because of not having got going till 27 (if you think he'd have been bettr than .500 or accumulated more than 40 wins from ages 24-26 he's better than them.) Would be good if he could be included in these pitcher comparison tables.

I have Griffith 11, Leever 14, Covaleski 15 in 1934, in other words very close.
   150. karlmagnus Posted: September 02, 2004 at 05:22 PM (#833335)
BTW, Cicotte slightly ahead of all of them, at 9 -- would have had more of a career than any of the other 3, had it not been artificially truncated by Judge Landis.
   151. andrew siegel Posted: September 02, 2004 at 07:40 PM (#833580)
Griffith is in an odd position: he trails 2 or 3 contemporaries by a country mile and leads the rest of his exact contemporaries by the same margin. I guess the issue for Griffith comes down to how you evaluate the lack of other guys who put together a good 7-10 year run centering in the 1890s: was it uniquely difficult to have even 7 or 8 good years in that era (making Griffith's achievment HoM worthy and Young's and Nichol's deification-worthy) or was there just a run of bad luck among his talented contemporaries that makes a good but not great pitcher like Griffith look artifically good?
   152. Kelly in SD Posted: September 02, 2004 at 07:47 PM (#833588)
Just a reminder: from the Constitution:
Voters are strongly encouraged to consider only a player’s on-field accomplishments and other factors which had an impact on the outcomes of the player’s baseball games
We don't get to extrapolate unless a player was unfairly prevented from partcipating in the majors (such as institutional racism, minor league system, or war).
   153. Rick A. Posted: September 02, 2004 at 08:35 PM (#833652)
The best 1980s pitcher (Jack Morris) is just as valuable as the best 1890s pitcher (Cy Young).

Don't you mean Steib instead of Morris? :-)


This is also a nitpick, but the best 1890's pitcher was Kid Nichols.
   154. Kelly in SD Posted: September 02, 2004 at 08:35 PM (#833653)
This has been posted before but ...
Sam Leever lacks 40 wins and 40 losses because he wasn't good enough to be in the majors long enough to get that much playing time. He didn't reach the majors for good until age 27 because it took him a long time to develop a curveball good enough that it would draw the attention of major league baseball. He did not have a great fastball. Once he developed his great curve, he was signed to a contract at age 25 in 1897. He pitched well in the Atlantic League that year. In 1898, he started with Pittsburgh, but didn't stick and was sent down and called up at the end of the season. In 1899 he was great.
Leever was great in the innings he pitched, but he pitched fewer innings than other candidates because he wasn't ready. He was not toiling away trapped in the minors.
   155. karlmagnus Posted: September 02, 2004 at 08:38 PM (#833656)
What's unfair? IMHO, the leagues were full of unsavory characters in 1910-20, Landis needed to make an example of someone, and chose the Black Sox. I don't and wouldn't make a big shift in Cicotte's position, but I do round up rather than down (this is a MUCH more inexact science than many pretend.) Others are doing it for Cravath and Joe D wanted to do it for stolen car salesman Benny Kauff. Also, several have said they knock off genuine documented Cicotte years for some damn reason or another; I regard that as MUCH more unacceptable.
   156. karlmagnus Posted: September 02, 2004 at 08:40 PM (#833663)
Leever didn't develop his curveball till his mid 20s because he didn't try to. He had a decent job as a schoolteacher and ML baseball was a mess, with a salary cap and teams going out of business right left and center. As a quiet, well organized individual, I'm sure he felt he didn't need the harassment of attempting a baseball career in the circs of 1891-95.
   157. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 02, 2004 at 08:46 PM (#833678)
This is also a nitpick, but the best 1890's pitcher was Kid Nichols.

That's true, too.

Others are doing it for Cravath and Joe D wanted to do it for stolen car salesman Benny Kauff.

Well, Cravath does fall under the umbrella of the Constitution, while Kauff may have been actually railroaded so his career was hurt in a Charley Jones way.

Cicotte, of course, has a huge stink surrounding him of his own doing. :-)
   158. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 02, 2004 at 08:49 PM (#833683)
As a quiet, well organized individual, I'm sure he felt he didn't need the harassment of attempting a baseball career in the circs of 1891-95.

But there is difference between choosing not to play and being denied the right to play. The latter is acceptable for extrapolation, but the former?
   159. karlmagnus Posted: September 02, 2004 at 08:54 PM (#833692)
Unless you believe as I do that the NY Giants threw the 1917 WS but nobody was looking :-))

There's no question that Kauff was a stolen car salesman; the only question is whether he knew the car was stolen.

Why is it unfair that Cravath had to play in the minors -- that's just the way the system worked -- but fair that because the Red Sox traded Cicotte to the White Sox in 1912, he was then made to work for a psycho with no legitimate way out because of the reserve clause? Had he stayed with the Red Sox, Frazee would have paid him quite well, then sold him to the Yankees where he's have a plaque up in Yankee Stadium and be in the HOF today (as a knuckler, he had at least 5 more good years, absent injury.)
   160. Kelly in SD Posted: September 02, 2004 at 09:05 PM (#833709)
Philosophically, we disagree on unfair.
A. Cicotte and the Black Sox were NOT singled out by Landis or the Leagues. B. Less than a year before they threw the World Series a very well-known player was put on trial to decide it he should be thrown out of baseball for throwing games.
A. Cicotte was not singled out.
Cicotte was one of about 20 players who were suspended or not welcome in baseball after 1920. The players included: Hal Chase, Eddie Cicotte, Cozy Dolan, Phil Douglas, Happy Felsch, Ray Fisher, Chick Gandil, Joe Gedeon, Claude Hendrix, Buck Herzog, Joe Jackson, Benny Kauff, Fred McMullen, Jimmy O'Connell, Gene Paulette, Swede Risberg, Buck Weaver, Lefty Williams, and Heinie Zimmerman. Landis definitely did not apply the same standard with each person. However, none of the other groups other than the Black Sox threw the World Series. If a player such as O'Connell was suspended for life for offering another player $500 if "you don't bear down too hard against us today," what is the "fair" punishment for throwing the World Series?
B. Players knew the possibility of lifetime suspension existed.
Hal Chase was investigated and put on trial by the National League after the 1918 season because charges made by Christy Mathewson that Chase violate National League Rule 40. Rule 40 stated "Any person who shall be proven guilty of offering, agreeing, conspiring or attempting to cause any game of ball to result otherwise than on its merits under the playing rules, shall be forever disqualified..." I assume the American League had a similar rule. As this trial occurred in the winter before the 1919 season, Cicotte and the other Black Sox would have known about the possibility of permanent suspension.
   161. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 02, 2004 at 09:12 PM (#833721)
he was then made to work for a psycho with no legitimate way out because of the reserve clause?

And this is different from the other 15 teams how? :-D
   162. karlmagnus Posted: September 02, 2004 at 09:24 PM (#833732)
Frazee wasn't a psycho; he was a fast talking theater promoter, very successful, who overextended himself in 1919-20.
   163. Kelly in SD Posted: September 02, 2004 at 09:28 PM (#833739)
I discount Cicotte's 1919 season totally and the 1920 season to some degree. My basis is this part of the Constitution:
Allegations (proven or otherwise) about throwing baseball games may be especially troubling to some voters. It would be appropriate for such a voter to discount such a player’s accomplishments to some degree.
My rationale is that the point of the season is to try to win the World Series. Cicotte and the Black Sox got to the World Series and then threw it. All the regular season achievements of those who threw the Series were essentially worthless. Real wins and losses resulted from their actions and their teammates actions. But, they made those achievements worthless by throwing the Series. My judgment here is harsh. But my strong belief is that 8 players purposefully threw away the point of the season.
My rationale for reducing the 1920 season is something about which I go back and forth. Sometimes I reduce it because the White Sox were in contention late in the season when the news about the Fix broke, the Black Sox were suspended and the White Sox did not win the pennant they could have. So, the players previous game throwing caused them to be incapable of contributing to the current year's pennant chase. Other times, I don't reduce this season.

In general though, Cicotte doesn't enough career for me to vote for even if I give him full credit for 1919 and 1920. His peak, prime, and career numbers are not high enough for me.
   164. karlmagnus Posted: September 02, 2004 at 09:38 PM (#833755)
We'll have to agree to differ, though as the second greatest FO Eddie Cicotte (I had him 4th in '32 and 5th in '33) I have to say that you'll probably win in the end; he doesn't have that Noble Pioneer Dickie Pearce quality that gets people elected after 33 years of trying :-))

But Cicotte does to me appear the best pitcher of his generation except for Barney and Alex, by a significant margin, so the only argument is how much I should discount him for not having quite as much career as I normally like. It's that discount I waive for him (obviously, if he had a Beckley-length career, he'd deserve a premium, but he doesn't get any hidden weightings of that kind.)
   165. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 02, 2004 at 09:53 PM (#833775)
Frazee wasn't a psycho; he was a fast talking theater promoter, very successful, who overextended himself in 1919-20.

Karlmagnus, I was being facetious. I do think the idea that Comiskey was a psycho is a tad extreme, don't you?
   166. karlmagnus Posted: September 02, 2004 at 09:56 PM (#833780)
No. I've HAD bosses like that!
   167. karlmagnus Posted: September 02, 2004 at 10:03 PM (#833787)
Perhaps you don't understand. It's not the Curse of bae Ruth, it's the Curse of Eddie Cicotte, traded by the Red Sox and his career ruined by scandal. ONLY WHEN CICOTTE IS ELECTED TO THE HOM CAN THE RED SOX WIN THE WORLD SERIES.

As we approach close to October 2004, this becomes an urgent matter. I figure he HAS to make it by 1937 :-))
   168. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 02, 2004 at 10:08 PM (#833789)
No. I've HAD bosses like that!

LOL

As we approach close to October 2004, this becomes an urgent matter. I figure he HAS to make it by 1937 :-))


Double LOL
   169. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 02, 2004 at 11:38 PM (#833967)
Updated prelim:

1) John Henry Lloyd
2) Eddie Collins
3) Ty Cobb
4) Smokey Joe Williams
5) Tris Speaker
6) Cupid Childs
7) Heinie Groh
8) Cristobal Torriente
9) Lip Pike
10) Charley Jones
11) Vic Willis
12) Tom York
13) Jake Beckley
14) Mickey Welch
15) Rube Waddell

Ben Taylor looks something like Ed Konetchy; may reappear on my ballot some day with Big Ed.

Coveleski could also pop on my ballot within a few years after the big five make the HoM. Adding six new players to my ballot has created some backlog!
   170. Michael Bass Posted: September 02, 2004 at 11:59 PM (#834040)
My prelim...

The big 5 are nearly inseparable. I view the major leaguers as Cobb/Speaker/Collins. The question is where to slot the NLers in, other than Torriente, who seems a rather obvious 6th.

I'm a big Williams fan. I think he was not far behind Johnson as a pitcher, and that is high praise indeed from me. Lloyd, I expected to have high, but I don't get the feel that his peak was as high as some of these others. That's probably unfair, but it's the feel I currently have. His career obviously is amazing, but it's not like these other guys don't have long careers as well.

Coveleski I love, he's the top white pitcher on my ballot. I do think he's better than Waddell (that has been the topic of some strong degree of discussion), and Waddell was the former holder of that title. Great peak, strong career. FWIW, Waddell falls off my ballot this year, but will be back soon enough.

1. Cobb
2. Williams
3. Speaker
4. Collins
5. Lloyd
6. Torriente
7. Jennings
8. Groh
9. Coveleski
10. Duffy
11. Griffin
12. Veach
13. Poles
14. F. Jones
15. Mendez
   171. Chris Cobb Posted: September 03, 2004 at 12:17 AM (#834124)
Why is it unfair that Cravath had to play in the minors -- that's just the way the system worked -- but fair that because the Red Sox traded Cicotte to the White Sox in 1912, he was then made to work for a psycho with no legitimate way out because of the reserve clause?

Here's what the Constitution says about minor league play:

From the Constitution: "In addition to major league and Negro League accomplishments, particularly noteworthy minor league or non-US professional league accomplishments can also be considered meritorious (in a HoM perspective) in certain circumstances."

Here's what I see as the principle: The Hall of Merit seeks to identify and honor the greatest ballplayers of all time. (It's only when the Constitution sets out to define eligibility that it mentions "major league players.") For a variety of reasons, a great ballplayer might be playing in a league other than the majors at a given point, so when we identify meritorious play in another league, we should give the player credit for it. Gavvy Cravath was a star player in 1910: he just happened to be a star player for Minneapolis in the American Association rather than for a major-league team. It's appopriate, in identifying merit, to recognize his accomplishments.

The reason to give Cravath credit is not "fairness," but merit. He had it in 1910, even though he wasn't playing in the majors. After 1920, Cicotte didn't, since despite his talent, he could no longer contribute to a professional baseball team in any organized league.
   172. Daryn Posted: September 03, 2004 at 03:57 PM (#835308)
Sisler: Sissler or Sizzler?
Cicotte: Chi-coat-ee or See-kot?
Waddell: Waddle or Wa-Dell?
Ruth: Rooth or Ruhth?
   173. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 03, 2004 at 04:05 PM (#835316)
Sisler: Sissler or Sizzler?
Cicotte: Chi-coat-ee or See-kot?
Waddell: Waddle or Wa-Dell?
Ruth: Rooth or Ruhth?


Gorgeous George: I don't really know; I've always heard it pronounced as Sissler
The crook: See-kot
The kook: Wa-Dell
The Bambino: Rooth, without question
   174. Daryn Posted: September 03, 2004 at 04:58 PM (#835378)
The Ruth part was supposed to be a joke, John.
   175. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 03, 2004 at 05:01 PM (#835381)
The Ruth part was supposed to be a joke, John.

I know. Forgot the damn emoticon. :-(
   176. jhwinfrey Posted: September 04, 2004 at 02:59 PM (#836848)
That's funny, I've always pronounced it "Sih-cot-tee". But I grew up on a dirt farm...
   177. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 04, 2004 at 06:44 PM (#837147)
Does anybody have the unadjusted NRA and DERa career numbers for Stan Coveleski? For some reason, there's a problem with the BP Player Card section and I can't access that information now.

Thanks!
   178. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 04, 2004 at 10:13 PM (#837560)
Okay, this is it. After looking at Chris Cobb's work on Smokey Joe, this will be the order of the top five candidates on my ballot Monday:

1) Collins
2) Cobb
3) Speaker
4) Lloyd
5) Williams
   179. Chris Cobb Posted: September 05, 2004 at 02:38 PM (#837852)
Does anybody have the unadjusted NRA and DERa career numbers for Stan Coveleski? For some reason, there's a problem with the BP Player Card section and I can't access that information now.

Stan Coveleski
NRA -- 3.59
DERA -- 3.59
   180. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 05, 2004 at 02:41 PM (#837853)
Thanks, Chris! Did you have those numbers stored on your computer or were you able to access them on the Web? It appears that retired players are not accessible at the present time at BP.
   181. Howie Menckel Posted: September 05, 2004 at 03:05 PM (#837856)
from baseball1.com....

David Nevard (A Red Sox Journal) sent me the item below, which is an excerpt from a piece Ring Lardner wrote for the Chicago Examiner, 7/21/12. Eddie Cicotte was traded to the Chisox that year, and this was Ring's way of introducing him. (He added that it was properly pronounced "See-cot.") This is also the first documented association between Cicotte and gambling.



EDDIE CICOTTE by Ring Lardner

This pretty name of mine is not

As some folks claim,

just plain Si-cot;

Nor is it, as some have it, Sic-ot,

Although I'm sure

I don't know why not.

And furthermore, take this from me,

I don't pronounce it Sick-o-tee;

And you can also make a note

That it is surely not Si-cote.

You stand to win some easy cash

By betting it's not succotash.
   182. EricC Posted: September 05, 2004 at 04:06 PM (#837867)
1934 prelim.

1. Ty Cobb
2. Tris Speaker
3. Eddie Collins
4. John Henry Lloyd
5. Joe Williams

(do I win the lottery?)

6. Stan Coveleski
7. Cristobal Torriente
8. Roger Bresnahan
9. Jake Beckley
10. George "Rube" Waddell
11. Harry Hooper
12. Eddie Cicotte
13. Heinie Groh
14. Ray Schalk
15. George Van Haltren

Knocked off: Ryan, Shocker, Pike, Chance, Mendez
   183. Chris Cobb Posted: September 05, 2004 at 04:24 PM (#837874)
John,

I had it in my records. I checked the Prospectus this morning to see if the numbers were available again, and, when they weren't, I posted what I had.
   184. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: September 05, 2004 at 07:21 PM (#838106)
Took a li'l break. Came back for this one.
Prelim ballot:

1934
1 Ty Cobb: "A genius in spikes." -- Plaque outside Tiger Stadium
2 John Henry Lloyd: "The greatest player anywhere." - Babe Ruth
3 Tris Speaker: One of the greatest ever…but did he throw games?
4 Smokey Joe Williams: Greatest black pitcher not named Leroy.
5 Eddie Collins: No disrespect, but Pop was better.
6 Cristobal Torriente: Lord, how this man could hit.
7 Jake Beckley: Consistent, but WAY below the top contenders.
8 George van Haltren: Bob Caruthers' evil twin.
9 Heinie Groh: I'm not afraid to show off my Heinie.
10 Lip Pike: If only he was ten years younger…
11 Hughie Jennings: Ee-Yah…!!
12 Rube Waddell: Great pitcher, mostly remembered as a punchline.
13 Mickey Welch: 300 wins…howzabout some love?
14 Roger Bresnahan: Fiery!
15 Pete Browning: Gladiator or crazy drunk? You decide.
   185. Paul Wendt Posted: September 05, 2004 at 10:32 PM (#838371)
Explain to me again how [Cobb] only won one MVP award?

Several people replied that the award winner was ineligible in subsequent years. Not so, 1911-1914. Some even provided a reason, related to the expensive award of a new car. Actually, Chalmers awarded a car to both of the disputed AL batting champions in 1910, Cobb and Lajoie, so Cobb already won his second in 1911.

1911 winners Ty Cobb and Fred Schulte "voluntarily withdrew from the competition in 1912" [Bill Deane]. In the event, Cobb ranked tie for 7th; Schulte came up empty.

1912 AL winner Tris Speaker ranked 4th in 1913, a strong 4th, and tie for 12th in 1914. NL winners Larry Doyle 1912 and Jake Daubert 1913 both got a few points in the next year, as Cobb did each year.

Chalmers Award, Detail Vote 1911-1914
   186. karlmagnus Posted: September 05, 2004 at 11:58 PM (#838426)
All the 1903 re-runs have knocked the "best of all time" thread off hot topics -- think we need a link to it.
   187. OCF Posted: September 06, 2004 at 04:45 AM (#838555)
3 Tris Speaker: One of the greatest ever…but did he throw games?

From what I've read: that letter Cobb wrote doesn't look very good, but there was a hearing before Landis, and the only fair way I have of interpreting the outcome is that Cobb and Speaker were acquitted. Despite the letter, I'm not holding this incident against Cobb. In all of it, I don't see anything that looks like evidence against Speaker, other than hearsay from Leonard. I may be suspicious of Cobb, but I think Speaker was slandered.

Welcome back, RMc. In some future year, I'll lobby you on behalf of Coveleski ahead of Waddell and Welch, but it will take a little while for that to be an issue.
   188. OCF Posted: September 06, 2004 at 05:00 AM (#838557)
Thanks, Paul, for the info on the Chalmers award. I'm one of the ones who was shooting my mouth off without knowing the truth. But Cobb and Schulte both "voluntarily withdrew"? There was some broad sentiment out there, some kind of wind blowing. And by bowing out, Cobb helped set an informal precedent, and that precedent got formalized with the League Award in the next decade.

What if he hadn't withdrawn? The most telling statistic: Boston, 105-47 and ran away with the pennant. Detroit, 69-84, 6th place. The writers always did like the winning team. Speaker would have won anyway. (And Schulte would have been no factor in the vote in the NL.)
   189. Chris Cobb Posted: September 07, 2004 at 02:00 AM (#839498)
Here's a question for Chris J. --

I've just been working on Eppa Rixey and I'm starting in on Dolf Luque, and I'm struck by their RSIs during their years together in Cincinnati, 1921-29:

Year -- Rixey -- Luque
1921 -- 93 -- 90
1922 -- 100 -- 71
1923 -- 96 -- 95
1924 -- 96 -- 87
1925 -- 100 -- 75
1926 -- 129 -- 88
1927 -- 115 -- 86
1928 -- 83 -- 91
1929 -- 78 -- 75

Rixey's is higher than Luque's 8 of 9 years, often by very hefty margins. Is this an indication that Luque was facing much tougher competition than Rixey was? I doubt it's just luck, but I'm wondering if there are other possible explanations.

What's your view of these guys during their seasons with the Reds?
   190. Brad Harris Posted: September 11, 2004 at 01:21 PM (#848700)
GREAT bunch of newcomers!

1. Ty Cobb
2. Eddie Collins - best 2B beats 2nd/3rd best CF
3. Tris Speaker
4. Pop Lloyd
5. Christobal Torriente
6. Smokey Joe Williams
7. Lip Pike
8. Heinie Groh
9. Jose Mendez
10. Rube Waddell
11. Ed Konetchy
12. Larry Doyle
13. Stan Coveleski
14. Clark Griffith
15. Mickey Welch

Geez...lots of pitchers on here suddenly. :)
   191. PhillyBooster Posted: September 11, 2004 at 06:14 PM (#848870)
I doubt it's just luck, but I'm wondering if there are other possible explanations.

I have no handle on the difference in runs created between extremely bad hitters, but it seem to me that the fact that Luque's OPS was over 100 points higher might have something to do with it. Sure, the pitcher with the 54 OPS+ isn't going to be playing the outfield on his off-days like Bob Caruthers, but if the point of comparison is Rixey's 22 OPS+, maybe some of the run support can be attributed to Luque himself?
   192. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: September 11, 2004 at 07:16 PM (#848899)
Huh. Never noticed that before. Going off of Philly Booster - here's OPS+ for both of them those years

......ER....DL
1921..-13..72
1922..13...35
1923..-4...41
1924..49...28
1925..17...65
1926..36...119
1927..64...47
1928..10...-1
1929..24...71

OK, clearly Phillybooster had it backwards. Now it makes even less sense.

No idea of strength of opposition. All I'll say is that this ISN'T unprecendented. From 1964-1971 both Juan Marichal & Gaylord Perry were the mainstays of the Giants staff, both starting over 250 games. Marichal's RSI for those years was around 120. Perry's RSI was around 97-98.

You can see a much lesser example of what I call "Marichal-Perry effect" with Koufax & Drysdale (about a 5-6 point edge to Koufax despite Drysdale being a far better hitter). Also exists with Welch & Keefe in NY but that's been sorta explained & with Glavine & Maddux in Atlanta (that's caused by the difference betweeen Paul Bako & Javy Lopez).

This may just be another good example of it, or it could be Rixey being reserved against the tougher teams. Heck I dunno - a lot of platooning on that roster that worked to Rixey's advantage? I doubt it - you wouldn't find the RSI difference so consistent.

One thing I just noticed: Luque's only year with the better RSI was his only year with an inferior OPS+. Uh, OK.

I'm going to be too busy getting as much of my Dr Memory stuff ready before Steve Treder writes an article on it for The Hardball Times to really look at this, though. Ah well, they ain't on the ballot for months anyway.
   193. Chris Cobb Posted: September 11, 2004 at 08:45 PM (#848968)
I'm going to be too busy getting as much of my Dr Memory stuff ready before Steve Treder writes an article on it for The Hardball Times to really look at this, though. Ah well, they ain't on the ballot for months anyway.

No hurry. I'm just trying to get my 1920s pitchers in order, and I don't think we're likely to elect Coveleski before Rixey and Faber become eligible in 1939 (though it's possible he'll be on the cusp of election in 1938).

Just count me as interested when you do get around to calculating strength of opposition for this pair; my guess is that the strength of opposition factor may play an important role in both candidacies.

But the hitting of Luque and Rixey clearly isn't the determining factor, or, as you note, the effect would be exactly the opposite of what we observe.

Now, for a pitcher who probably did give a statistically significant boost to his own RSI, have a look at Carl Mays, whose OPS was 90 points higher than Luque's, and Luque was a pretty decent hitter for a pitcher. Carl Mays and Rabbit Maranville have the same career OPS+, 82.
   194. PhillyBooster Posted: September 12, 2004 at 04:50 PM (#850032)
Oops! I did get that backwards. Even if it doesn't explain this difference, one would expect it to be something that needs to be adjusted for, if the differences are large enough to be relevant.
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