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Hall of Merit
— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

1934 Election Results: “The Georgia Peach” Steals HoM Standing Up; “The Grey Eagle” Swoops in, Too!

With a record 56 ballots submitted this year, batting legend Ty Cobb easily won the first spot for induction into the Hall of Merit in his first year of eligibility. Competing against the greatest array of first-year talent ever seen, Cobb fought them off as if they were opponents on the field and recorded the highest point total ever (1,334).

Facing a tough battle for the second spot, centerfielder extraordinaire Tris Speaker narrowly beat out Philadelphia A’s great Eddie Collins by a mere 14 points (Negro League star shortstop John Henry Lloyd was not that far off either).

Beside those newbies, Smokey Joe Williams, Cristobal Torriente and Stan Coveleski also had very impressive first-year showings (especially the first two greats).

Of the returnees, Heinie Groh easily beat out the rest and showed that his support from last year wasn’t based on “new-car smell.” :-)

The other top-ten returnees were Jake Beckley and Lip Pike.

RK   LY  Player              PTS  Bal   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 1  n/e  Ty Cobb            1334   56  52  3     1                                 
 2  n/e  Tris Speaker       1102   56   1 22 17 10  6                              
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 3  n/e  Eddie Collins      1088   56   2 17 23 11  3                              
 4  n/e  John Henry Lloyd   1032   56   1 13  8 21 13                              
 5  n/e  Smokey Joe Williams 923   56      1  8 13 31  2                 1         
 6  n/e  Cristobal Torriente 787   55               2 38  5  5  1  1  1  1  1      
 7    3  Heinie Groh         427   41                     5  5  7  3  6  5  4  2  4
 8  n/e  Stan Coveleski      369   37                  1  3  4  6  2  4  5  4  1  7
 9    6  Jake Beckley        337   31                  2  6  6  3        5  4  2  3
10    4  Lip Pike            300   26                  2  6  3  3  2  6     1  3   
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
11    5  George Van Haltren  293   27                  1  5  4  3  4     4  1  2  3
12    9  Rube Waddell        268   25                     3  3  4  6  1  3  2  2  1
13    7  Clark Griffith      266   26                     3  2  4  4  4  1  3  3  2
14   10  Mickey Welch        264   23               1  4  4  2  1  2  2  2  1  2  2
15    8  Hughie Jennings     258   24                  3  2  3  2  4  2  1  3  1  3
16   14  Pete Browning       211   18                  1  4  4  3  2     1  1  1  1
17   15  Jimmy Ryan          189   19                     1  3  2  2  4  1  2  1  3
18   11  Cupid Childs        184   20                  1  1     2  2  3  3  1  2  5
19   12  Hugh Duffy          179   19                     2  1  3  1     3  3  4  2
20   13  Roger Bresnahan     162   19                        1  1  2  2  2  3  5  3
21   16  Tommy Leach         133   14                        1  2  3     3  2  2  1
22   17  Jose Mendez         128   14                     1     3  2        4     4
23   18  Bill Monroe          99   11                     1        2  1  2  1  3  1
24  n/e  Ben Taylor           87   10                              2  2  1  2  2  1
25   19  Charley Jones        86    8                     1  2     1  2  1        1
26   22  Harry Hooper         83    8                        1  2  1  2     1  1   
27   20  Larry Doyle          73    6                     2  1  1  1     1         
28   21  Spotswood Poles      67    7                        2        1  1  1  2   
29   24  Addie Joss           57    6                           1  2  1        1  1
30   28  John McGraw          52    5                  1           1  1  1     1   
31   23  Bobby Veach          50    6                                 2  1  1  1  1
32   31  Fielder Jones        49    5                     1        2           1  1
33   29  Gavy Cravath         48    5                              1  2  1  1      
34   25  Ed Cicotte           46    5                           1        2  2      
35   26  Frank Chance         45    5                        1        1  1     1  1
36   30  Ed Williamson        32    4                                 1     1  2   
37   27  Urban Shocker        28    4                                       1  2  1
38   33  Vic Willis           25    3                                 1     1  1   
39   35  Lave Cross           23    2                        1        1            
40   32  George J. Burns      19    3                                          1  2
41T  38  Wilbur Cooper        19    2                        1                    1
41T  36  Ed Konetchy          19    2                                 1  1         
43   40  Ray Schalk           15    2                                       1  1   
44   45T Silver King          12    1                           1                  
45   45T Donie Bush           11    1                              1               
46T  37  Tommy Bond           10    1                                 1            
46T  41  Mike Griffin         10    1                                 1            
48T  39  Mike Tiernan          9    1                                    1         
48T  51  Tom York              9    1                                    1         
50T  42  Fred Dunlap           8    1                                       1      
50T  48  Duke Farrell          8    1                                       1      
50T  53T Ross Youngs           8    1                                       1      
53T  52  John Donaldson        7    1                                          1   
53T  53T Sam Leever            7    1                                          1   
53T  43  Jim McCormick         7    1                                          1   
56   44  Tony Mullane          6    1                                             1
Dropped Out: Jake Daubert(56T), Jack Fournier(49T), Herman Long(49T), Bobby Mathews(56T), Dobie Moore(34), Bruce Petway(55), Del Pratt(47), Joe Tinker(56T).

 

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 14, 2004 at 02:18 PM | 62 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 14, 2004 at 03:53 PM (#853947)
Moving this to hot topics...
   2. Paul Wendt Posted: September 14, 2004 at 04:10 PM (#853975)
Congratulations!
to JoeD and team. So far, the electorate has grown like a tree, not like a weed. Some of the older works have survived the software hurricane.

Shouldn't there be a place where these great players are honored? If we start work now, maybe we can put something together before the centennial in 1939. What do you think of Cooperstown, where Abner Doubleday invented the game?
   3. Buddha Posted: September 14, 2004 at 04:33 PM (#854011)
Who voted Ty Cobb FOURTH? Good lord.
   4. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 14, 2004 at 04:45 PM (#854029)
Who voted Ty Cobb FOURTH? Good lord.

The person in question had Collins (I agree), Williams and Lloyd above Cobb. While I disagree with the last two over Cobb, they were mega-star players. There is a case for them, IMO.
   5. karlmagnus Posted: September 14, 2004 at 04:57 PM (#854050)
I'm very glad Ty scored top at something. He was never going to be unanimous, he wasn't the unanimous type, but to score the most points ever, and come clear top in a field of this quality, is one hell of an achievement. Ruth may beat his points total in '41, but he won't be competing against Collins, Speaker, Lloyd and Williams.

As I said in my ballot, I have a very soft spot for the man. He was no hick -- very shrewd investor indeed, and if it hadn't been for the abolitionists, his great uncle Howell Cobb might have been President -- Howell was Buchanan's Treasury Secretary and, as a conservative Union Democrat, his chosen successor, apparently.
   6. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 14, 2004 at 05:08 PM (#854071)
Ruth may beat his points total in '41, but he won't be competing against Collins, Speaker, Lloyd and Williams.

If Ruth had been eligible in '34, he still would have been unanimous. At least, I would think he would be. :-0
   7. karlmagnus Posted: September 14, 2004 at 05:21 PM (#854092)
Wrong, John, because I get to vote. Ruth would have been #3 on my ballot in '34, after Ty and Collins. Fewer hits than Beckley, after all. He should never have given up pitching -- cost him the chance to be another Parisian Bob!

I expect to have him #1 in 1941, but he's no Ty, IMO.
   8. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 14, 2004 at 05:46 PM (#854138)
I'm glad that Ruth wasn't eligible in '34 then. :-0
   9. PhillyBooster Posted: September 14, 2004 at 06:14 PM (#854200)
Who voted Ty Cobb FOURTH? Good lord.

The person in question had Collins (I agree), Williams and Lloyd above Cobb. While I disagree with the last two over Cobb, they were mega-star players. There is a case for them, IMO.


Honestly, it never even occurred to me that I'd be the only one to have him so low. My thought going in was, "Wow, 6 of the best players ever, I bet they'll end up all mixed up." Speaker, Collins, and Lloyd ended up getting votes for all top 5 spaces. I just assumed that Cobb would too.

Ranking the Caucasians Collins/Cobb/Speaker and the Negro Leaguers Lloyd/Williams/Torriente was the easy part. Intermingling them was tougher. Cobb could have easily ended up 2nd or 3rd. And I certainly never argued during the discussion week that anyone was "overrating" Cobb by putting him first.
   10. PhillyBooster Posted: September 14, 2004 at 06:18 PM (#854204)
Also, as one of one two Eddie Collins first-place voters, I'd be remiss if I did not point out that, absent the "bonus points" for finishing 1 or 2, Collins would have edged out Speaker for second place.
   11. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 14, 2004 at 06:31 PM (#854222)
Also, as one of one two Eddie Collins first-place voters, I'd be remiss if I did not point out that, absent the "bonus points" for finishing 1 or 2, Collins would have edged out Speaker for second place.

As the other one who placed Collins at #1, I'm certainly not upset that Speaker squeaked by, but it would have been nice if he had waited one more election...
   12. Lemon Curry? Posted: September 14, 2004 at 07:21 PM (#854345)
I'm very glad Ty scored top at something. He was never going to be unanimous, he wasn't the unanimous type,

I totally disagree. The only reason Cobb isn't unanimous is because he became eligible in one of the strongest years ever. If Cobb had entered the ballot in just about any other year, he would have been the unanimous #1. Surely you're not suggesting that he would have gotten anything but first-place votes if he had been eligible in, say, 1931.
   13. karlmagnus Posted: September 14, 2004 at 07:35 PM (#854385)
There were "he mustn't be unanimous" votes on Anson and I assumed that whatever year he came up there would be some on Cobb, too (though the case for them is MUCH weaker.) I was surprised and pleased how little anti-Cobb voting we saw
   14. Buddha Posted: September 14, 2004 at 07:37 PM (#854392)
I love Eddie Collins. I think he's the greatest second baseman of all time. However, he's not as good as Ty Cobb. Never was, never will be. He never hit as well as Cobb, ever. And they both played important defenisve positions. I have not seen one system that ranks Collins ahead of Cobb. The only assumption I can make as to why someone would consider Collins a better player than Cobb is that they don't like Cobb. Which is understandable.

As for the Negro League players, it seems difficult to measure their statistics when compared to major leaguers. Most accounts I have read placed the negro leagues as comparable to Triple A baseball in terms of quality.

I'm sure these are topics that have been debated time and again on this particular topic, but I'm new to this.

By the way, how does one get to vote?

Oh, and since I'm IN Joe's DMB League and was the victim of many Howard Ehmke wins (including #30 IIRC), I'll second his notion as to how fun it is to see players you recognize come up on these ballots. Long live Heinie Mueller!
   15. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 14, 2004 at 07:47 PM (#854406)
The only assumption I can make as to why someone would consider Collins a better player than Cobb is that they don't like Cobb. Which is understandable.

Except that wasn't my reason, Buddah. My reason was that infielders get beat up far more than outfielders do. Even if they can play for twenty years, their hitting suffers compared to the outfielders. Just because the systems don't take into account attrition levels makes them correct.

I still though it was a tie, so then I used some tie-breaker stuff like World Series play and Collins being the more team-oriented player.
   16. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 14, 2004 at 07:52 PM (#854419)
Buddah, submit a prelim at the discussion thread first. Just pick your fifteen players from best to worst with a small an explanation for each.

If you have one of the top-ten candidates from '34 off your ballot, please give a small explanation for this, too.

Just check one of the earlier ballots to get a better idea how to construct your ballot. If you have any more questions, let us know.
   17. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 14, 2004 at 07:55 PM (#854428)
BTW, I won't be submitting a thread for the Primer group. I have to now agree with Jim Furtado that people will notice our version without having to make a duplicate. Thanks to Jim for allowing it regardless!
   18. Buddha Posted: September 14, 2004 at 07:56 PM (#854432)
Well, we will disagree then. Because even if Eddie Collins did get "beat up" more than Ty Cobb (which isn't really proveable), Cobb still out hit him by a wide margin. And it's not like Cobb played left field either.

As far as World Series play, Collins had 3 good WS and 3 bad WS. Cobb had one good WS and two bad WS. Doesn't seem like that much of a difference to me. It's not Ty's fault he wasn't on the great teams that Collins was.

But that's what's fun about baseball stats. There's always room for disagreement. At least it's fun for me. Then again, I'm kind of a nerd, and probably one of Ty Cobb's biggest fans.
   19. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 14, 2004 at 08:09 PM (#854462)
Well, we will disagree then. Because even if Eddie Collins did get "beat up" more than Ty Cobb (which isn't really proveable), Cobb still out hit him by a wide margin.

It is provable that infielders get beat up far more than outfielders. Just check 130+ seasons to see that outfielders will play far more games than infielders and be able to retain their peak numbers for a far longer time.

As for Cobb's hitting, no one is denying that he was the better hitter. But he was still playing the easier position on the body.

Take a look at Eddie Collin's Win Shares or WARP and compare them to other second basemen. He stands out about as much as Cobb does with the outfielders.

But that's what's fun about baseball stats. There's always room for disagreement. At least it's fun for me. Then again, I'm kind of a nerd, and probably one of Ty Cobb's biggest fans.

I agree about the fun aspect of baseball stats. I enjoy debating different approaches for analyzing them.

As for Cobb, I'm probably more sympathetic to him than the average fan (though he had his problems :-)
   20. Buddha Posted: September 14, 2004 at 09:22 PM (#854610)
"It is provable that infielders get beat up far more than outfielders. Just check 130+ seasons to see that outfielders will play far more games than infielders and be able to retain their peak numbers for a far longer time."

That doesn't necessarily prove that. I would think in general that infielders might get beaten up more than outfielders. However, the 130+ seasons for outfielders for longer periods of time could have to do with the fact that better offensive players are put in the outfield and better defensive players are put in the infield. Again, this is all generalizing. I can see someone playing centerfield (Darin Erstad, Jim Edmonds) and getting beaten up a lot more than someone playing second base.
   21. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: September 14, 2004 at 09:36 PM (#854624)
As far as World Series play, Collins had 3 good WS and 3 bad WS. Cobb had one good WS and two bad WS. Doesn't seem like that much of a difference to me.

Talk about misleading! Even accepting your categorization above, Collins' three "good" Series were far, far better than Cobb's lone "good" one.

Ty Cobb was (fairly or not) considered a huge flop in the World Series. All three times he played in the WS, his performance in the Series was significantly below his regular season performance. (Even in his one "good" Series.)

Eddie Collins was (fairly or not) considered one of the greatest World Series heroes of all time. Not once, not twice, but three times, he far surpassed his regular season performance in the World Series. Three times, his team won the World Series largely because of his efforts.

You're certainly correct in noting that it wasn't Cobb's fault that the Tigers failed to make the World Series more often. But still, Collins took far, far greater advantage of those postseason opportunities than Cobb did. Saying there's "not that much of a difference" in their World Series records is about as false as a statement can get.
   22. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 14, 2004 at 09:43 PM (#854630)
I was surprised and pleased how little anti-Cobb voting we saw

There wasn't any anti-Cobb sentiment at all (at least in the way that you mean).
   23. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: September 14, 2004 at 09:48 PM (#854639)
The reason for that is simple: Cobb was a sick bastard, but was still a better ballplayer than all those other guys.

I placed Cobb 1st on my ballot because he was the best player, but if I were a real-life GM I would have picked him no higher than 4th from our pool of 1934 eligibles.
   24. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 14, 2004 at 09:53 PM (#854644)
However, the 130+ seasons for outfielders for longer periods of time could have to do with the fact that better offensive players are put in the outfield and better defensive players are put in the infield.

Without a doubt. But the infielder is still, on average, going to take more of a beating and will have his career records affected by it.

Again, I can see the argument for Cobb over Collins. My point is that they're much closer than they appear to be at first glance.

I can see someone playing centerfield (Darin Erstad, Jim Edmonds) and getting beaten up a lot more than someone playing second base.

Well, Pete Reiser was hurt more often than probably anybody at any position, but I wouldn't use him as an example to support your theory either. :-D
   25. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 14, 2004 at 10:01 PM (#854647)
BTW Buddah, you can vote for anybody that you want as long as you let me beat you head-to-head every time in the Kiddo League. :-D
   26. DavidFoss Posted: September 14, 2004 at 10:47 PM (#854744)
Without a doubt. But the infielder is still, on average, going to take more of a beating and will have his career records affected by it.

Yeah, I struggled with Collins/Speaker for a while. Partly due to this positional adjustment that you are talking about.

In the end, I went with Speaker for two reasons. First, he was such a great fielder in CF that I thought he contributing more value fielding that Collins did. Secondly, second base was not quite as much the defensive position that it is today. If we are going to be giving 3B a larger boost before WWII, I can see a case for giving 2B a smaller boost before WWII.

Again, Eddie Collins was such a great player for such a long time and I hope that finishing 3rd behind Cobb and Speaker is not construed as any resistance whatsoever to his induction.
   27. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 14, 2004 at 11:29 PM (#854839)
Again, Eddie Collins was such a great player for such a long time and I hope that finishing 3rd behind Cobb and Speaker is not construed as any resistance whatsoever to his induction.

Heck, no! :-)
   28. sunnyday2 Posted: September 15, 2004 at 12:21 AM (#855073)
1. Somebody rated Ty Cobb 4th on the 1934 ballot.

2. Somebody else said that there could not possibly be any valid explanation for ranking Cobb 4th.

Oh, and the latter poster went on to say, therefore, that rating Cobb 4th could only be the result of bias.

Well, seriously, does anybody really want to argue that statement #2 is less biased than #1?

I had Cobb #1 but I also agree that if I had been a GM in about 1905 with perfect future knowledge of the 5 (or 6) careers in question, I would have taken Cobb about 5th.
   29. My Pet Goat Posted: September 15, 2004 at 12:45 AM (#855214)
Statistically, I don't think there is any way Cobb could conceivably rank fourth on the 1934 ballot, unless you have Speaker fifth. (Because they played the same position at the same time, and Cobb was superior in every [offensive] regard.)

But I can definitely see somebody applying the "If I were a real GM..." criteria in the voting, and being forced to pick others ahead of Cobb. Cobb carried real-life baggage with him, and it's up to each voter to decide how much that baggage hurt his team. So I don't think placing Cobb 4th is indefensible at all.
   30. Jeff M Posted: September 15, 2004 at 03:55 AM (#855945)
My reason was that infielders get beat up far more than outfielders do.

I don't disagree with you there, John, but to quantify it a little bit, would Collins have gotten 150 more hitting WS if he played outfield? We'll never know, but that's a lot. Also consider that WS already takes into account that he gets more credit for playing 2b and dealing with more plays. That doesn't account for the "beating" of course. But, if you took the wear and tear off of him and put him in the outfield, you'd also have take away about 2.5 WS per season on defense. So now we'd have to say that Collins would get 200 more hitting WS in the outfield to match Cobb. That's a huge statement.

Also, since we are comparing these two particular players in this context, how do you factor in that Cobb probably played the game harder than any player in history, save maybe Pete Rose? Cobb took a beating too...it just wasn't defensively.

:)
   31. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 15, 2004 at 09:30 AM (#856155)
Thanks John for getting this up, and both John and Ron for getting tallies in this week.

Thanks for your comment #2 Paul, I agree, this has turned out better than I ever would have imagined.

So good in fact that I'm having trouble keeping up with everything that is being posted! :-(

I want to reiterate that if there's an issue that needs my attention, or you ask me a question etc.; please don't hesitate to also email me, as that could at times (when I'm off Thursday/Friday especially) greatly expedite a response.

Thanks again to all of you for your contributions. I can't express how pleased I am with how this has gone so far.

--Joe
   32. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 15, 2004 at 01:35 PM (#856224)
I don't disagree with you there, John, but to quantify it a little bit, would Collins have gotten 150 more hitting WS if he played outfield? We'll never know, but that's a lot. Also consider that WS already takes into account that he gets more credit for playing 2b and dealing with more plays. That doesn't account for the "beating" of course. But, if you took the wear and tear off of him and put him in the outfield, you'd also have take away about 2.5 WS per season on defense. So now we'd have to say that Collins would get 200 more hitting WS in the outfield to match Cobb. That's a huge statement.

I'm not sure if centerfield was as difficult during this era than what we think it was (which would affect Win Shares and WARP). Offense increased at this position, plus a huge number of 300+ players at that position (Cobb, Speaker, Carey, Roush, Torriente) were created. Now Speaker and Cobb may be considered outliers and skew the numbers for centerfielders, but the Deadball Era is filled with outliers at other positions, so I'm somewhat skeptical of totally negating the results with that answer.

Again, I would be foolish if I were stating that Cobb was a terrible choice for #1. In fact, I would concede that he may be the best choice (I mentioned on my ballot that it was pretty much a tie), but it's much closer between him and Collins than it seems at first.

Cobb took a beating too...it just wasn't defensively.

I can't debate that point. :-)
   33. PhillyBooster Posted: September 15, 2004 at 01:50 PM (#856244)
Statistically, I don't think there is any way Cobb could conceivably rank fourth on the 1934 ballot, unless you have Speaker fifth.

Yes, that's exactly how my ballot read. Collins, Lloyd, Williams, Cobb, Speaker.

As far as whether the vote was a result of "bias" goes, I don't think there can be any stronger bias than the strong belief that the three other players were more valuable to their teams than Cobb was. I, in fact, voted solely on basis of that bias.
   34. ronw Posted: September 15, 2004 at 04:06 PM (#856496)
Ruth would have been #3 on my ballot in '34, after Ty and Collins. Fewer hits than Beckley, after all.

Number three, karlmagnus? Even with your aversion to sabermetrics, its tough to put Ruth below Eddie Collins on an all-time list.

Yes, Ruth had fewer hits than Beckley. However, Ruth had <u>many</u> more walks than Jake (or Ty, or Eddie, or anyone until Rickey and Barry).

Here are some rankings, based on traditional numbers:

Hits plus walks

1. Cobb 5438 (4189 H, 1249 BB)
2. Ruth 4935 (2873 H, 2062 BB)
3. Speaker 4895 (3514 H, 1381 BB)
4. Collins 4814 (3315 H, 1499 BB)

This is with Ruth pitching full time for three years, and part time for two more.

Just for fun, Beckley is at 3546 (2930 H, 616 BB). Of course, Jake should get some season-length adjustments, which would push his totals higher, but he would have to be adjusted upwards nearly 40% to catch the big 4 (50% for Cobb).

Because you do believe that doubles and triples were similar to homeruns, lets see counting stats for extra base hits:

1. Ruth 1356 (506 2B, 136 3B, 714 HR)
2. Cobb 1136 (724 2B, 295 3B, 117 HR)
3. Speaker 1131 (792 2B, 222 3B, 117 HR)
4. Collins 672 (438 2B, 187 3B, 47 HR)

The Babe more than doubles Collins, who would rank ahead of Ruth in your system. Yes, he played nearly his full career with the lively ball, whereas Collins played less than half his career there, so some adjustment might be necessary. Of course, when the adjustments are made, we are getting into sabermetrics, where its clear Ruth dominates everyone, despite playing in the lively ball era.

By the way, even Beckley's extra base hits beat Collins, at 802 (473 2B, 243 3B, 86 HR).

I agree with you that Beckley should be elected some day, and I think you were joking when you said a couple of threads back that you would put him over Ruth. However, since you mentioned that you would put Collins over Ruth, I thought you might want to take another look at the Babe.

(Note that I am not criticizing you for putting Ty Cobb over the Babe. Although I think you would be in the minority, and I disagree, I can see that argument. I don't see a good argument for Eddie Collins over Babe Ruth, however.)
   35. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 15, 2004 at 04:14 PM (#856515)
The only player that could compete with Ruth for the top spot is Wagner, IMO.
   36. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: September 15, 2004 at 04:58 PM (#856604)
What real life baggage did Cobb carry? Is there evidence that his teammates disliked him? I thought that it was mainly the opposition that disliked him. If racism is the issue, wasn't Speaker a KKK member? In any case, is Collins the best player ever not to make the HOM cut?
   37. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 15, 2004 at 05:02 PM (#856618)
In any case, is Collins the best player ever not to make the HOM cut?

Without a doubt.
   38. karlmagnus Posted: September 15, 2004 at 05:15 PM (#856652)
1) I think Ruth/Collins is pretty close, because Collins was a 2B. I regard Ruth/Cobb as a fairly clear win for Cobb, but recognize I'm in a minority on that one. Ruth/Beckley I don't seriously contest, though it is surprising that Ruth had fewer hits, and I do think one of Beckley's great strengths is that his career can be put up against obvious HOMers (even if not quite Ruth) and not suffer by the comparison.

2) Assuming you were a GM who wanted to win a pennant, and not one who wanted an easy life and a comfortable 4th place finish, you'd be mad not to take Cobb, even against HOM 1934 competition. He had trouble his first couple of years, being far too aggressive for a rookie and from a weird background, but once he became a recognized superstar, around 1909 or so, he was greatly respected and supported by his teammates. The fact that in his last years he was able to play for such a soft sell artist as Connie Mack is evidence of this. He was of course hated by the opposition, mainly because he was so aggressive, but that won a lot of ballgames.

On racism, I think he had the normal social attitudes of 1910, mixed with a lot of aggression -- it sometimes got him into trouble. Nothing he couldn't handle, though.
   39. Paul Wendt Posted: September 15, 2004 at 10:07 PM (#857392)
> Cobb took a beating too...it just wasn't defensively.

I can't debate that point. :-)


Indeed! When I saw a photo of a chair flying into the stands, in the morning paper, my first thought was TY COBB. The chair played the part of Cobb.

--
Ty Cobb missed some games.
Number of seasons,
150 140 games played
(1918-1919 prorated to 154-game schedule)
_6 11 Cobb (11 of 18 seasons, 1907-1924; age 20-37)
_8 16 Speaker (16 of 19, 1909-1927; age 21-39)
11 13 Collins (13 of 16, 1909-1924; age 22-37)

--
Before Clyde Milan (1908-1919), Speaker, Cobb, Carey and Roush (to 1929), only three people played 12 major league seasons as a regular centerfielder.
16 Paul Hines
13 Dummy Hoy (also Dave Eggler, 13 beginning 1868)
12 Mike Griffin
Who's in Center? Long Careers beginning before 1920

--
About the career Win Shares: I wonder whether the system overrates CFs.
   40. Buddha Posted: September 15, 2004 at 10:20 PM (#857401)
"But I can definitely see somebody applying the "If I were a real GM..." criteria in the voting, and being forced to pick others ahead of Cobb. Cobb carried real-life baggage with him, and it's up to each voter to decide how much that baggage hurt his team. So I don't think placing Cobb 4th is indefensible at all."

Well, being a smart GM, I would assume you would take into account all of the attitudes of the rest of the players on your team too. Which, IMO, would preculde you from taking any black players at all. So which other players from this list would you take above Cobb?

I mean, people seem to think Ty Cobb was a colossal jerk, and he probably was (especially if you weren't white). But if you're picking teammates in this era and concerned about baggage and chemistry, I KNOW you're not picking black players.
   41. Buddha Posted: September 15, 2004 at 10:22 PM (#857402)
"The only player that could compete with Ruth for the top spot is Wagner, IMO."

I would place Cobb, Williams, Bonds and maybe Mayes above Wagner.
   42. Buddha Posted: September 15, 2004 at 10:23 PM (#857406)
Tha should be Mays. Sorry "Say Hey"...
   43. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: September 15, 2004 at 10:41 PM (#857430)
Well, being a smart GM, I would assume you would take into account all of the attitudes of the rest of the players on your team too. Which, IMO, would preculde you from taking any black players at all....if you're picking teammates in this era and concerned about baggage and chemistry, I KNOW you're not picking black players.

Sure I am. Even in 1910 or whatever, the vast majority of major leaguers would have willingly played alongside a black teammate if one had been signed. Remember all those barnstorming games -- obviously they didn't have a problem being on the same field. And also remember, Ty Cobb was really the first bona fide Southerner in the major leagues. When Cobb, Collins, et al, were in their heyday, the population of Southern ballplayers who later gave Jackie Robinson such a hard time did not yet exist.
   44. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: September 15, 2004 at 10:46 PM (#857439)
Buddha,
I'm interested in hearing an argument for how Ted Williams was better than Honus Wagner. The only way I can see reaching that conclusion is applying a huge timeline factor and/or wartime credit.
   45. Buddha Posted: September 15, 2004 at 10:51 PM (#857442)
Ted Williams: War time credit.

Black players: Big difference between playing on the same field and playing on the same team.
   46. Buddha Posted: September 15, 2004 at 10:54 PM (#857445)
Also, let's not diminish the skills of the Splendid Splinter. He was a better hitter than Honus Wagner was.
   47. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 15, 2004 at 10:54 PM (#857446)
I would place Cobb, Williams, Bonds and maybe Mayes above Wagner.

I was referring to players up to '35, Buddah.
   48. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 15, 2004 at 10:58 PM (#857454)
The case for Wagner over everybody else is that he's the only player who is, without a doubt, the best at his position for career and peak. That really can't be said for anyone else except (maybe) Ruth.
   49. Paul Wendt Posted: September 15, 2004 at 11:00 PM (#857457)
Blech. "About the career Win Shares: I wonder whether the system overrates CFs."

Re #32, I mean that credit for CF defense must be a big part of the impressive career Win Shares.

Does anyone here have a database to answer questions like this: Who ranks Carey and Roush higher than Bill James does by career Win Shares?

John Murphy #32
I'm not sure if centerfield was as difficult during this era than what we think it was (which would affect Win Shares and WARP). Offense increased at this position, plus a huge number of 300+ players at that position (Cobb, Speaker, Carey, Roush, Torriente) were created. Now Speaker and Cobb may be considered outliers and skew the numbers for centerfielders, but the Deadball Era is filled with outliers at other positions, so I'm somewhat skeptical of totally negating the results with that answer.
   50. KJOK Posted: September 16, 2004 at 12:33 AM (#857661)
Secondly, second base was not quite as much the defensive position that it is today. If we are going to be giving 3B a larger boost before WWII, I can see a case for giving 2B a smaller boost before WWII

Jumping in a little late, it is very important to note that CF was not quite the defensive position in the 1910's that it is today. In the deadball era, more of the action was on the infield.

My estimated 1900-1920 defensive spectrum is:

C___SS__3B_2B__1B_CF_LF_RF
   51. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 16, 2004 at 12:43 AM (#857689)
C___SS__3B_2B__1B_CF_LF_RF

That's about where I have it, too.
   52. Dolf Lucky Posted: September 16, 2004 at 01:35 AM (#857826)
Completely off-topic message to Buddha, whose favorite NBA team has won the title since I stopped going to Clutch Hits:

Congrats. You called way back in Jan/Feb that the Pistons were title-caliber, and I said you were nuts. I realize you were being a homer somewhat, but that's still a great call. I contend that if Cassell never hurts his back, the trophy is sitting two states to the left, but as Bill Simmons points out: when your major offseason acquisition is a 34 y.o. point guard, you gotta expect the oldness. Maybe next year.

Oh, and as for baseball...clearly you can tell what a clubhouse distraction Ty Cobb since he was traded so many times. Sure, he's alluring at first, but after a year or two...you're wanting to send him packing, which is exactly what happened.
   53. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 16, 2004 at 01:53 AM (#857870)
Oh, and as for baseball...clearly you can tell what a clubhouse distraction Ty Cobb since he was traded so many times. Sure, he's alluring at first, but after a year or two...you're wanting to send him packing, which is exactly what happened.

Well, he almost was traded because he was a clubhouse distraction for Elmer Flick, but obviously that would have been a horrible transaction for the Tigers.
   54. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 16, 2004 at 04:43 AM (#858202)
"I'm not sure if centerfield was as difficult during this era than what we think it was (which would affect Win Shares and WARP). Offense increased at this position, plus a huge number of 300+ players at that position (Cobb, Speaker, Carey, Roush, Torriente) were created. Now Speaker and Cobb may be considered outliers and skew the numbers for centerfielders, but the Deadball Era is filled with outliers at other positions, so I'm somewhat skeptical of totally negating the results with that answer."

John, I would not even include the best players at a position when trying to figure a defensive spectrum, toughness of position in an era, etc.

I would take the bottom 10-15% of regulars (as Robert Dudek has done in prior studies) at a position and check their offensive levels. Once you are outside of leagues like high school where the best hitters pitch too; or college, where the best hitters sometimes play SS; I think this works very well. Your conclusions should never be thrown off by a star or two or three (as SS in the AL would be today); the only way to ensure that is to eliminate them from the equation altogether.


I agree with KJOK and John's idea of the deadball era defensive spectrum as well.
   55. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 16, 2004 at 04:47 AM (#858207)
Are the oodles of stories about how Cobb's teammates hated him? I think considering Cobb's 'jerk-factor' in his rating is ridiculous.

Sure he was hated around the league, but I don't think his teammates had too many issues . . . he seems to me like the classic guy that you'd love if he was on your team and hate otherwise.
   56. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 16, 2004 at 04:56 AM (#858214)
Regarding Ruth/Collins; Karl, what do you think of Barry Bonds? He doesn't pile up a boatload of hits either, but he's pretty good.

Bill James said it the best - there is absolutely no way that you can comprehensively study the issue and not come up with Babe Ruth in the #1 spot. It's simply impossible, even if you give Williams war-time credit; even if you consider that Ruth didn't face black competition. He's simply too far off the charts for those things to close the gap.

The only one that has a reasonable case in my opinion is Wagner, because his defensive contribution is harder to compare with Ruth's offense.
   57. karlmagnus Posted: September 16, 2004 at 01:22 PM (#858436)
Joe I read the article in which Bill James said you couldn't study the matter and not come up with Ruth, and I disagreed. It's a very flat plateau at the top; you can make a case for Ruth, Cobb, Wagner, Williams and Bonds plus probably Josh Gibson and Sadaharu Oh. I would simply put Ruth at the lower end of that gently sloping plateau and Cobb, Williams and probbaly Bonds (if he breaks Aaron's record, which will mean another 2 good seasons) at the top end. But others will disagree; unlike James I don't make a living at this stuff.

Baseball in this respect is oddly different to cricket, where there are really only two towering figures, W.G. Grace and Don Bradman and while you have to give Grace points for pioneering, there's no way in the end not to choose Bradman, whose Test Match (international) batting average was 99.94 compared to the #2 guy's 60.5.
   58. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 16, 2004 at 01:39 PM (#858450)
John, I would not even include the best players at a position when trying to figure a defensive spectrum, toughness of position in an era, etc.

No real disagreement with you there, Joe.
   59. Buddha Posted: September 16, 2004 at 03:45 PM (#858630)
dolf: Thanks! Although, full disclosure, I thought they would lose to the Lakers in 6. And if Karl malone hadn't gotten hurt, it might have been a different series.
   60. sunnyday2 Posted: September 16, 2004 at 08:48 PM (#859134)
Yes but wasn't it a wonderful thing that Karl did get hurt. Couldn't have happened to a more deserving guy. Oh, and a team that I enjoyed watching lose so very much. But seriously, is Malone one of the worst human beings ever in the NBA, as in "dirty player"?
   61. Paul Wendt Posted: September 19, 2004 at 12:33 AM (#863273)
Buddha #45
Black players: Big difference between playing on the same field and playing on the same team.

Yes. Of course, there were players who protested/refused to play on the same field, and they may have been crucial in completing the color line.

JoeD:
John, I would not even include the best players at a position when trying to figure a defensive spectrum, toughness of position in an era, etc.

I would take the bottom 10-15% of regulars (as Robert Dudek has done in prior studies) at a position and check their offensive levels.


I'm sure the general point is valid, but the bottom 10-15% of regulars is about 1 per 8-team league (depends on definition of "regular"). That seems extreme to me, even if the measure is an 11-year moving average (1906 is the average of 1896-1916). Throws out too much baby with bathwater. How about the bottom 50%?
   62. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 19, 2004 at 09:18 AM (#863425)
"I'm sure the general point is valid, but the bottom 10-15% of regulars is about 1 per 8-team league (depends on definition of "regular"). That seems extreme to me, even if the measure is an 11-year moving average (1906 is the average of 1896-1916). Throws out too much baby with bathwater. How about the bottom 50%?"

I wouldn't want to go any higher than the top 25%. The middle player in a league is nowhere near replacement level, average players are extremely valuable. Ask Seattle 2002 (my favorite example) what difference an average 3B would have made . . .

The top 10-15% of a 16 team league is only 2 players, you are right - so I'd say take the bottom 3, which is a little less than 20%; 10-15 was too low.

I wouldn't use an 11-year moving average either, the game is too dynamic for that. I know we'd like a big sample, but the game changes way too much over any 20-year period. I'd use no more than a 5-year spread - like 1903 is based on 1901-05. You'll still see the trend moving that way . . .

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