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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

1936 Ballot Discussion

“Alex the Great” appears to be the diamond from this group. Harry Heilmann, George Sisler, Dave Bancroft and Negro Leaguer Oliver Marcelle are the other strong candidates of ‘36 (especially “Slug”).

1936 (October 10)—elect 2
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)

476 144.4 1911 Pete Alexander-P (1950)
356 98.1 1914 Harry Heilmann-RF (1951)
292 68.2 1915 George Sisler-1B (1973)
269 76.9 1915 Dave Bancroft-SS (1972)
235 65.6 1913 Cy Williams-CF (1974)
184 50.1 1920 Bob Meusel-LF/RF (1977)
153 42.9 1921 Curt Walker-RF (1955)
125 38.7 1919 Ira Flagstead-CF (1940)
121 36.8 1917 Hal Carlson-P (1930)
108 30.2 1921 Johnny Morrison-P (1966)
110 32.0 1921 Bubbles Hargrave-C (1969)

1936 (October 10)—elect 2
HF% Career Name-pos (born) BJ – MVP - All-Star

80% 18-30 Oliver Marcelle-3B (1897) #3 3b - 0 - 4*
00% 09-30 Bombin Pedroso-P/OF (??) - 0 - 1*
00% 15-30 Plunk Drake-P (1895) - 1 - 0*


Players Passing Away in 1935

HoMers
Age Elected

83 1898 Paul Hines-CF

Candidates
Age Eligible

88 1883 Harry Schafer-3B
72 1896 Hank O’Day-P/Ump
72 1896 Billy Sunday-RF/CF
71 1905 Tommy Tucker-1b
67 1908 Steve Brodie-CF
65 1906 Ted Breitenstein-P
60 1909 Gene DeMontreville-2b
59 1914 Case Patten-P

Thanks to Dan for the necrology!

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 28, 2004 at 12:06 AM | 210 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 29, 2004 at 10:49 PM (#886387)
My bad. Nevermind my previous post, it never happened. NEVER HAPPENED! got that?

Got what? :-)
   102. Chris Cobb Posted: September 30, 2004 at 12:37 AM (#886702)
1936 Preliminary Ballot

Another great set of new candidates!

1. Pete Alexander. (n/e). Likely one of the top 5 pitchers all time.
2. Joe Williams. (3) Likely one of the top 10 pitchers all time.
3. Cristobal Torriente. (4) A shoo-in for 1937.
4. Harry Heilmann. (n/e) What a hitter! Not much of a right fielder. Shoo-in for 1937.
5. Stan Coveleski. (5). Unlike the other eligible pitchers with similar records, Coveleski didn’t benefit from above-average run support or fielding support.
6. Clark Griffith. (6) Best remaining player from the still-underrepresented 1890s. Statistically similar to Coveleski, but at a time when his innings pitched didn’t mean as much.
7. Hughie Jennings (7) The second 1890s star still featured on my ballot. While I see why some favor Childs over Jennings, I’m just not convinced that the “best second baseman” argument matters, and Jennings, at his best, was the best position player of the era, a point on which WARP and win shares agree. During his 1894-1898 peak, he was the best position player in baseball, and better than a pair of contemporary first-ballot HoMers, Billy Hamilton and Ed Delahanty, who were also at their peaks during these years. I love Heinie Groh and I’m glad he looks to be on track for election, but we really ought to put Jennings in first.
8. Mickey Welch. (8) 8th-10th best player of the 1880s. We have “enough” 1880s pitchers, but not necessarily the right ones. Welch belongs in.
9. Heinie Groh (9) . One of the best peaks of the teens, setting aside the all-time greats.
10. Jose Mendez (16) Moves up a lot this year, for two reasons. First, work with Luque has given me increased confidence in Mendez’s Cuban numbers. I’m pretty sure he had an HoM-worthy peak. Shortness of his great years keeps him down on the ballot, but I’m more confident in him. Second, my re-evaluation of the value of outfield defense continued this year, dropping several outfielders in relation to Mendez.
11.Max Carey (10). One of the best defensive outfielders of all time, and so he rates just ahead of Van Haltren, who was somewhat better with the stick but not a great glove in center.
12. George Van Haltren (11) All-around, consistent talent.
13. Tommy Leach (12) Another player similar to Carey. Last star of the aughts who is a serious candidate for election in my view. He slipped through the cracks in the teens elections, but I think he’ll continue to rise now.
14. Lip Pike. (13) Still around, treading water until the next gap in great new arrivals gives an early player another shot at election. He makes my ballot for the 34th consecutive election. He had a great peak, however one adjusts for era.
15. Urban Shocker (14) A very underrated player; he might well be a HoMer. He had a couple of great seasons in 1920 and 1921, and he was above average every single year he pitched. In comparing Shocker to a pitcher like Waddell, the electorate should keep in mind that average innings pitched for a starting pitcher dropped from an average of 277 for 1900-1909 to 230 for 1917-1926 as conditions for pitchers became increasingly difficult. In that context, Shocker’s innings-pitched totals are as good as Waddell’s, and he was a more consistently effective pitcher.

Top Ten Returning Players from 1934 Who Don’t Make my 1935 Ballot

Rube Waddell; see #22 below
Jake Beckley: see #39 below
   103. Chris Cobb Posted: September 30, 2004 at 12:40 AM (#886711)
1936 Off-Ballot

16. George Sisler (n/e). Looks like he will just miss my ballot in his first year of eligibility. These ballots are so strong right now, that players who I see as reasonable candidates for the HoM, like Sisler and Doyle, are not even getting onto my ballot.
17. Larry Doyle (17).
18. Spotswood Poles (15) Drops this year with outfield defense reevaluation.
19. Harry Hooper (18).
20. Hugh Duffy (19).
21. Wilbur Cooper (20)
22. Rube Waddell (21) See Shocker comment above for more on how I compare Waddell to later pitchers. Waddell was a great talent, and he was one of the greatest characters in the history of major-league baseball. He’s thus deserving of his place in the Hall of Fame, but I think his value is below the threshold for Hall of Merit induction. In the context of his time, just the eighth-best pitcher of the aughts.
23. Carl Mays (22).
24. Ben Taylor (23)
25. Bobby Veach (24)
26. Roger Bresnahan (25)
27. Jimmy Ryan (26)
28. Cupid Childs (27).
29. Fielder Jones (28)
30. Dobie Moore (29)
31. Gavvy Cravath (30)
32. Herman Long (31)
33. Tommy Bond (32)
34. George J. Burns (33)
35. Charley Jones (34)
36. Bruce Petway (35)
37. Bill Monroe (36)
38. Babe Adams (37)
39. Jake Beckley (38) Like Childs, Beckley just doesn’t appear outstanding in comparison to his contemporaries. Lack of better first-basemen could give him a positional boost, but right now I don’t see the justification for a positional bonus for first base.
40. Dave Bancroft (n/e). Just manages to squeeze into the top 40. He was a fine player, but unless my estimate of his fielding value is radically underestimated, he’s not good enough to be a serious candidate. Questions about quality of competition in the NL also lead me to keep him lower.

Dropping out of the Top 40.

41. Frank Chance (39)
42. Tony Mullane (40)

These two being pushed out of the top 40 gives me a strong sense of how deep the ballot has become, very quickly. Chance debuted at 23 in 1921 and was ranked at 25 in 1930. Now, five years later, he’s dropped 16 spots. Mullane, like other 1880s pitchers has bounced around my rankings a lot. He’s never made my ballot, but he ranked at 17 in 1906 and was in the top 20 as late as 1915. We talked about the candidate drought of the late 1920s, but looking at my ballots in a longer perspective, it’s clear that the rankings were in a fairly steady state for nearly 20 years, from about 1912 to 1932. During these years electees moved up and off the ballot at about the same rate that new candidates moved into the top 40. That pattern has now changed drastically; I wonder when, if ever, we will reach a steady-state situation again.

Not counting players already elected, the following players have been added to my top 40 since 1930: Pete Alexander, Joe Williams, Cristobal Torriente, Stan Coveleski, Harry Heilmann, Heinie Groh, Max Carey, Urban Shocker, Jose Mendez, George Sisler, Harry Hooper, Wilbur Cooper, Carl Mays, Ben Taylor, Bobby Veach, Dobie Moore, George J. Burns, Babe Adams, Dave Bancroft.

They have pushed out of my top 40 Frank Chance, Tony Mullane, Dick McBride, Lave Cross, Ed Konetchy, John McGraw. Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, Ed Williamson, John Donaldson, Davy Force, Addie Joss, Eddie Cicotte, Jim McCormick, Mike Tiernan, and Tom York.

Other new eligibles worthy of note:

Oliver Marcelle. A fine player, possibly the best defensive third baseman of the 1920s. Comparable in a lot of ways to Dave Bancroft, he combined MLE-average offense and gold glove defense. A gold-glove third baseman is less valuable than a gold-glove shortstop, however, and that, combined with a shorter career than Bancroft’s, keeps Marcelle out of the top 40.
   104. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: September 30, 2004 at 03:23 AM (#887325)
1. Pete Alexander (new). Duh.

2. Smokey Joe Williams (5,3). Terrific.

3. Crisotbal Torriente (6,4). Zach Wheat retired at the right time - all 6 are better than him.

4. Harry Heilmann (new). Standard reasons.

5. Jake Beckley (1,2,3,7,5). I'll let others vote for the best players. I'll vote for the best careers.

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

7. Stan Coveleski (9,7). Minor 1890s adjustment keeps CG ahead of him. SC had great numbers and he earned them.

8. Mickey Welch (4,4,5,10,8). Thank you retrosheet. Turns out he earned those 300 wins. Offensive support only gave him 3-4 wins. Defensive support, though a little above average, was actually worse the defensive support of all major non-Galvin pitchers in the 1880s. In 1885, against the Cubs, he faced off against John Clarkson 7 times & won every game.

9. Lave Cross (22,16,6,11,10). Weird career. OK for a long time. Great defense, but banal offense. Spent a few years as one of the worst hitting 3Bmen around, but overall he had an OPS+ of 100, which is above average for the 2nd most important glove position. And oh yeah, he's possibly the greatest defensive player ever at third, and he did it forever. Gets some bonus for playing some time at catcher. 16.0 seasons played.

10. George Van Haltren (7,6,7,12,11). Very good player for an extended period of time who could do numerous things well. Nice career. Nice peak. Could pitch. Played 14.2 seasons worth of games (including as pitcher) by my reckonin'.

11. Jimmy Ryan (8,7,8,13,12). GVH without the ability to pitch. Played 14.6 seasons worth of games, by my reckonin'.

12. Max Carey (9). Not fully sure about this ranking. Very low OPS+ for an outfielder, but given his defense, stolen bases (and stolen base percenage), as well as the high percent OBP made up of his OPS, he may be the outfielder most underrated by OPS+. Quality of competition adjustment keeps him below the 1890s guys.

13. Cupid Childs (9,9,9,15,14). Looking at him again & I think he's better than the infielders I was putting just above him. The D & OBP keep him above Larry Doyle. 10.5 seasons worth of games by my reckonin'.

14. Heine Groh (10,16,15). 11.1 seasons played. Better prime & bat than Leach, and off-sets Leach's career numbers because Groh spent all his time at the more important 3B position.

15. George Sisler (new). Longtime favorite player of mine, but this maybe where he belongs. Great prime & great counting stats - but the former wasn't quite great enough and the latter are largely inflated by his era.
   105. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: September 30, 2004 at 03:28 AM (#887339)
Other newbies:

Oliver Marcelle: Good, but not good enough. To me, 3B rivals 2B as the weakest position among the Negro Leaguers (only saved from the bottom spot by the fearsome Jud Wilson) and Marcelle was the 3rd or 4th best guy at that position.

Dave Bancroft: Good player who was a teammate of Frankie Frisch.

Cy Williams: I like him & he's probably a lot closer to my ballot than most voters, but I see his value being a little too centered on his ballpark. (I'd prefer to vote for candidates whose value could be transfered from ballpark to ballpark). I do intend to give him a closer look though. He's probably in my top 25, mayb top 20.
   106. TomH Posted: September 30, 2004 at 11:01 AM (#887884)
from the death list
72 1896 Billy Sunday-RF/CF
--
Just a side note. I remember my grandmother's sister (1898-1985) telling me about listening to Billy Sunday preach. Apparently as dynamic behind a pulpit as on the basepaths.
   107. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 30, 2004 at 01:39 PM (#887975)
Burt Lancaster stole Sunday's famous baseball-runner's slide that Sunday would use during his sermons for the movie "Elmer Gantry."
   108. robc Posted: September 30, 2004 at 03:35 PM (#888200)
Prelim:

1. Pete Alexander - I originally had Williams #1 although it was real close. Then I realized I forgot to adjust Alexander for the war. Does anyone know if Pete is short for Grover or for Cleveland?
2. Joe Williams
3. Cristobal Torriente
4. Harry Heilmann
5. Max Carey
6. Lave Cross
7. Harry Hooper
8. Heinie Groh
9. Bobby Veach
10. Stan Coveleski
11. Ben Taylor
12. Jake Beckley
13. Fielder Jones
14. Cupid Childs
15. Rube Waddell

16. Dave Bancroft
17. Mike Tiernan
18. Roger Bresnahan
19. Tommy Leach
20. Clark Griffith
21. George J. Burns
22. Hughie Jennings
23. George VanHaltren
24. Vic Willis
25. Jimmy Ryan
26. Del Pratt
27. Joe Tinker
28. Ed Konetchy
28. Billy Nash
30. Herman Long
   109. robc Posted: September 30, 2004 at 03:38 PM (#888205)
oops, end of prelim wrong, should be

28. Konetchy
29. Nash
30. McGraw
31. Shocker
32. Sisler - in case you were wondering where he was.

Long has fallen a bit.
   110. karlmagnus Posted: September 30, 2004 at 03:41 PM (#888211)
I believe both. His uncle Millard Fillmore Alexander was commonly known as "Jim." :-))
   111. DavidFoss Posted: September 30, 2004 at 03:45 PM (#888223)
I believe both. His uncle Millard Fillmore Alexander was commonly known as "Jim." :-))

I had an old boss whose first name and middle initial were "Howard J." who always went by "Mike". Somebody asked him why and he just said "I like the name Mike".
   112. andrew siegel Posted: September 30, 2004 at 04:55 PM (#888359)
Ballot holds steady, except that Jennings drops a few notches:

(1) Alexander (new)--By 10% over Williams.
(2) Williams (3rd)-- Great.
(3) Torriente (4th)-- Heilmann was likely a better hitter, but Torriente appears to have been a good enough hitter for his other advantages to kick in. I'm willing to be convinced otherwise, however.
(4) Heilmann (new)-- See above.
(5) Childs (5th)-- The remaining career candidates don't have high enough peaks to rank this high and Childs had a much longer period of excellence (particularly when adjusted for era and position) than any of the other peak-oriented candidates.
(6) Van Haltren (6th)--His usual level of performance was a notch above that of Ryan, Beckley, and Carey and two notches above Hooper.
(7) Groh (8th)-- After closer examinations of the records of all the peak-prime candidates, Jennings's peak not good enough to keep him above Heinie.
(8) Covaleski (9th)-- Clears the bar.
(9) Duffy (10th)-- If I could clear my lingering doubts about how his WS are so high, would jump to 5th on this ballot.
(10) Jennings (7th)-- Career numbers rank a notch below Chance, roughly even with McGraw and Sisler; his plausible claim to have been briefly the best player in baseball keeps him above those guys for now.
(11) Chance (11th)-- In his career, he had more offensive value than pre-injury Sisler and more defensive value in roughly 10% more playing time. Post-injury Sisler doesn't do anything one or the other for me, so the debate between them comes down to (1) whether Sisler's packing the same amount of playing time into fewer seasons produced more or less value and (2) whether Chance's intangibles add any value. On (1), I'm fairly certain that Chance used himself intelligently and maximized the value of his plate apperances. On (2), I think the evidence is overwhelming that he deserves a minor boost. For those reasons, I have Chance about 10% ahead of Sisler, which is about 7 spots.
(12) Pike (12th)-- Holding steady.
(13) Beckley (13th)-- Gradually being convinced. He might skip some of these guys in the coming years.
(14) Ryan (14th)--Very similar to Beckley.
(15) Willis (15th)-- The next best pitcher.

I've got Sisler #18 right now, ever so slightly ahead of John McGraw. Bancroft is down in the 40's with Tinker and Long. Marcelle ranks somewhere between Billy Nash and Miller Huggins, which would probably be in the 60's if I was keep score that far down.
   113. DanG Posted: September 30, 2004 at 05:04 PM (#888378)
This was talked about yesterday, about who is newly eligible after 1950. Preliminarily, here are the leading MLB candidates 1951-54:

1951 Foxx
1952 Ott, Dickey
1953 Greenberg, Ruffing, Hack, Herman, Grandma Murphy
1954 Vaughan, Medwick, Walters

Along with the later Negro league stars it looks like the 1950's will have plenty of worthy players to elect.
   114. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 30, 2004 at 05:19 PM (#888413)
Grandma Murphy

Obviously, I love this guy, but is he really HoM material?
   115. DanG Posted: September 30, 2004 at 06:17 PM (#888601)
Just thought I'd sneak in a curveball.
   116. PhillyBooster Posted: September 30, 2004 at 06:23 PM (#888628)
Now that really depends if there's anyone other than him and Pedro Borbon left to vote on, doesn't it?
   117. OCF Posted: September 30, 2004 at 07:00 PM (#888779)
Pedro Borbon isn't even the best pitcher on the "all-royalty" team; I'm partial to John Tudor myself.
   118. jimd Posted: September 30, 2004 at 07:44 PM (#888947)
Silver King gets my vote.
   119. karlmagnus Posted: September 30, 2004 at 08:07 PM (#889084)
Dave Stewart runs them close. But for a position player, I'll take Dr Strangeglove.
   120. DavidFoss Posted: September 30, 2004 at 08:37 PM (#889265)
Duke Snider would be great in the field with Earl Averill backing him up. Prince would, of course, back up King Kelly behind the plate... with Earl Battey backing up him.

Gotta get Count Sensenderfer in there somewhere.

Of course, karlmagnus is honorary bat boy.
   121. Rick A. Posted: September 30, 2004 at 09:39 PM (#889666)
Prelim ballot

1. Pete Alexander
2. Smokey Joe Williams
3. Cristobal Torriente
4. Charley Jones
5. Harry Heilmann
6. Lip Pike
7. Pete Browning
8. Cupid Childs
9. Stan Coveleski
10. Hughie Jennings
11. Carl Mays
12. Ed Williamson
13. Hugh Duffy
14. Tommy Leach
15. Heinie Groh

16-20 Mendez, Griffith, Carey, Cooper, Monroe
21-25 F. Jones, Van Haltren, Poles, Willis, Doyle
26-30 Waddell, Sisler, Bond, Tiernan, Bresnahan
31-35 McGraw, Welch, Griffin, Chance, Moore

New eligibles not on ballot
27. George Sisler – Could rank 5 spots higher, but could equally rank 5 spots lower.

48. Dave Bancroft – Very close to Tinker. Joins him in the Hall of Very Good.

62. Oliver Marcelle
   122. dan b Posted: September 30, 2004 at 10:16 PM (#889847)
My 1936 absentee ballot follows:

Win shares are my metric of choice. My composite ranking = 5 x Career + (3 best years)/3 + (5 best consecutive years)/5 + (8 best years)/8 + (10 best consecutive years)/10 + WS per 162. I then make adjustments justified by individual components with a touch of subjectivity thrown in. I use the same system for hitters and for 60’ 6” era pitchers. I also look at WS w/o defense for a hitting only ranking. (Number in parenthesis shows composite rank.)


1. Alexander (1)
2. Williams Best player to wait 3 years for induction
3. Torriente best player to receive no “elect me” votes on his first ballot.
4. Heilmann (1) Best hitter on ballot.
5.Groh (4) Eventual PHoM.
6.Duffy (2). PHoM in 1912. 2nd in 8 and 10 year peaks.
7.Griffith (3) 4th best pitcher of 90’s belongs in, PHoM in 1913.
8.Jennings (13) – PHoM in 1908. Played on 3 championship teams during his 5-year run as a superstar.
9.Waddell (4) I like his peak and K’s. 2nd best LHP to date. PHoM 1926.
10.Leach (7) 6th in 8-yr peak, 4th in career. PHoM 1926.
11. Carey (5) 2nd in career, 8th in 10 year peak.
12.Willis (2) – 2nd in career, 3rd in 3-year peak. By WS, best NL pitcher in 1899 and 1901, 2nd best in 1902 and 1906.
13.Coveleski (5) 6th best pitcher on the ballot. Compared to the P ranked above, doesn’t stand out either peak or career.
14.Burns,GJ (3) 3rd in 8 and 10 year peaks. 3rd best hitter.
15.Bresnahan (27) Big position bonus to fill the void behind the plate. HoM will be flawed if we do not induct at least one Major League catcher who played between Buck Ewing’s retirement in 1897 and Gabby Hartnett’s debut in 1922. Dead ball era committee has him #1. PHoM 1928
16.Sisler (14) – 2nd best hitter on ballot.
   123. DavidFoss Posted: September 30, 2004 at 10:27 PM (#889874)
My 1936 absentee ballot follows

Is this an instruction to repost that ballot to the ballot thread next week?
   124. Brent Posted: October 01, 2004 at 02:33 AM (#890646)
With the return of baseball to Washington, some of you may be interested in a feature on the Washington Post Web site on DC's last (and only) World Series champions, the 1924 Senators. (Not all that long ago for you Boston and Chicago fans.) It includes day-by-day detailed reports on each game, images of the original box scores, and some daily news from other teams. Besides HOMer Walter Johnson, the team featured future HOM candidates Sam Rice (eligible in 1940) and Goose Goslin (1944).

Go Senators?/Nats?/Grays?/Monuments?/Expos!
   125. OCF Posted: October 01, 2004 at 06:27 AM (#890981)
Besides HOMer Walter Johnson, the team featured future HOM candidates Sam Rice (eligible in 1940) and Goose Goslin (1944).

I was about to say Stan Coveleski, but the facts got in the way of that. Coveleski spent 1924 in Cleveland. In the '24/'25 offseason, the Senators traded two guys with cup of coffee careers for Coveleski, who had two good years left. With Coveleski going 20-5, the Senators also won the 1925 pennant but lost the World Series.

Senators won League Awards (MVP) in both years: Johnson in 1924 and Roger Peckinpaugh in 1925.
   126. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 01, 2004 at 01:09 PM (#891167)
Here is a question...

Since we only take weeks off when there are holidays, what holiday is going on this week? I thought Yom Kippur was last week, so that isn't it (Unless it is a week long holiday). If I am being insensitive to someone's religion or upbringing here I apologize, its just that I am ignorant you see.
   127. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: October 01, 2004 at 01:17 PM (#891173)
Since we only take weeks off when there are holidays, what holiday is going on this week?

We're not taking the week of. It goes one week discussion thread on upcoming ballot to go over the new candidates & debate on old ones. Next week the ballot. Next week discussion, next week ballot. In a world without holidays, the HoM would conceivably run 26 elections a year.
   128. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 01, 2004 at 02:25 PM (#891227)
I see, I should really read the rules. Told you I was ingnorant!
   129. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 01, 2004 at 02:54 PM (#891278)
Prelim ballot...

1. Pete Alexander (x)
2. Smokey Joe Williams (3)
3. Harry Heilman(x)
4. Cristobal Torriente (4)- Torriente may have been teh better play, especially with defense, etc. factored in. However, I am inclined to take the player for which we know how goo dhe was over the player for whom we have a very good idea how good he was.
5. Heinie Groh (5)
6. Hughie Jennings (15)- Down to Jennings are the guys who I believe will one day make my PHOM, I am not entirely convinced of anyone below them.
7. Max Carey (6)
8. Stan Coveleski (7)
9. Lip Pike (8)
10. Cupid Childs (10)
11. Tommy Leach (x)
12. George Van Haltren (11)- I am a peak guy, but the length of his career is still very impressive, I mean how many guys have primes over a decade long?
13. Rube Waddell(13)
14. George Sisler (x)
15. Roy Thomas - eight straight years of 9+ WARP1, 9 straight years with a least 20 WS, a career .413 OBP, decent CF defense. I guess some will ask if Thomas why not F. Jones? Not really sure, I guess I just like Thomas better. Although Fielder is close.

16-20 (Duffy,Bresnahan,Beckley,Mendez,Bancroft)
21-25 (F. Jones,Marcelle,Monroe,C. Jones,Browning)
26-30 (Griffith,Shocker,Mays,Ryan,Cicotte)
31-35 (Chance,Evers,Taylor,Doyle,Cravath)
36-40 (Leever,Sheckard,Petway,Burns,Poles)
41-45 (Welch,Konetchy,Daubert,Hooper,Schalk)
46-50 (K.Williams,C.Williams,Ehmke,DeMoss,Chacon)
   130. DavidFoss Posted: October 01, 2004 at 03:07 PM (#891315)
1924 is not just a great season for Washington baseball, its a great season period. Two memorable pennant races and a great world series.
   131. KJOK Posted: October 02, 2004 at 02:33 AM (#892713)
Does anyone know if Pete is short for Grover or for Cleveland?

Neither one! :>)
   132. Adam Schafer Posted: October 02, 2004 at 06:45 AM (#893269)
I do not know if I will be around to post my ballot next week. If I am not, would someone be so kind as to post this for me. Thanks in advance!

1. Pete Alexander (n/a) - A no brainer, especially when everyone already knows I have a tendency to vote for pitchers anyway.

2. Smokey Joe Williams (3) - Simply amazing that someone so good had to wait so long to get in.

3. Harry Heilmann (n/a) - I love the peak, career and consistency, I wish I could've had him at #1.

4. Mickey Welch (4) - These recent ballots sure hurt his #1 and #2 ranking I've been keeping him at. I'm beginning to realize that he's probably never going to get elected. He'll stay near the top of my ballot every year even if I'm the last one voting for him.

5. George Sisler (n/a) - Sisler couldn't play after '23?? Placed in the top 10 for hits 4 times after '23. He wasn't necassarily dang near winning batting titles every year like he had been, but since when is having roughly a .320 batting average over that span of time a bad thing? I'll be the first to admit that he wasn't the player that he was before, but I'll also be the first to admit that even though he wasn't AS good, he was still better than most. He wasn't stricly a singles hitter as Ichiro is, he was still getting the extra base hits. He was still nearly able to get in 2 100 RBI seasons. Again, not the player he was, but still very good. The peak may not have been there after '23, but the career was great. I'm sure I'm going to get flamed for having him
this high on my ballot, but I truly believe that he has been severely overanalyzed. Much better peak than Carey and much better career numbers than Carey despite nearly 1100 less at bats. Although there's always exceptions, I'm much more a career voter than I am peak.

6. Clark Griffith (5) - Same old story for Clark

7. Stan Coveleski (6) - I initially had him ranked 17th on my ballot, but since then I've read everyone's comments on him and have

decided that I had him way too low.

8. Rube Waddell (7) - The top 5 in strikeouts for 10 consecutive years. He's #10 in the all-time ERA leaders.

9. Cristobal Torriente (8) - EXCELLANT player, just not in Pop or Smokey Joe territory

-----------------------My PHOM line-----------------------------------------------------------

10. Lip Pike (9) - I bump him ahead of a couple others this year as I am convinced he was a bigger stud than I was willing to let

myself believe. I can see him finally getting in one of these days.

11. George Van Haltren (10) - Moves ahead of Beckley and Bresnahan.

12. Jose Mendez (11) - I thought I'd have him a lot higher than this, but I just don't feel like I have a firm grasp of his career

yet. I do feel much more comfortable with him than I do with Rube Foster though.

13. Jake Beckley (12) - Big drop for a guy that would've been #2 on my ballot this year. I didn't find any reason to like him any

less, I just found justification in moving several others higher than him.

14. Max Carey (13) - Not much peak, but enough career to scratch in at #13

15. Roger Bresnahan (14) - It's no secret that I love catchers. I would've ranked Roger higher had he caught more and played the

OF less during his peak years.

16. Carl Mays (15) - People may laugh that he made my ballot, but Carl could pitch. With Sisler and Welch so high, I already have two unpopular votes, so what's one more for them to laugh at?

17. Hughie Jennings (16) - Nothing new to add

18. Heinie Groh (17) - One of the best thirdbasemen to date. Not enough career value for me to seriously consider him.

19. Bobby Veach (18) - Not enough career for him to merit a higher ranking on my ballot, but enough peak to grab a lower spot.

20. Jimmy Ryan (19) - A watered down Van Haltren

21. Eddie Cicotte (20) - Underrated in my opinion. May not be HOM material, but underrated nonetheless.

22. Urban Shocker (21) - 8 good pitching seasons. Nothing spectacular, but a respectable career.

23. Hugh Duffy (22) - Back onto my ballot. No new thoughts on him

24 Harry Hooper (23) - nothing overly impressive about his career. I originally thought he would rank much higher than this on my

initial ballot, but he just doesn't meet the qualifications in my mind that everyone above him does.

25. Jim McCormick (24) - He's no Mickey Welch
   133. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 02, 2004 at 01:47 PM (#893444)
He wasn't necassarily dang near winning batting titles every year like he had been, but since when is having roughly a .320 batting average over that span of time a bad thing?

When you're a first baseman during the twenties.
   134. DavidFoss Posted: October 02, 2004 at 02:21 PM (#893471)
since when is having roughly a .320 batting average over that span of time a bad thing?

Sounds impressive, but .320 between 1924 and 1930 is only good for 21st among all major leaguers with 3000+ PA. He was hitting in a .290 league, so his AVG+ is only 111.

His .355 OBP in this time period was exactly league average and his .428 SLG was just above the .408 mark for his league.

There were 8 1B-men with 3000 PA between 1924 and 1930. Sisler ranked 4th in AVG+, 7th in OBP+, 5th in SLG+ and 6th in RC+.

Overall, in my opinion, the best was Gehrig, Terry and Bottomley form a group behind him, then Judge and Blue are close together. Sisler looks about even with Grimm. Phil Todt brings up the rear in almost every statistical measure.
   135. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 02, 2004 at 03:30 PM (#893506)
Sisler's OPS+ ranking as a first baseman (1924-1930)

1924: 8th in the AL; tied for 12th in the majors
1925: 5th in the AL; tenth in the majors
1926: 7th in the AL; tied for 13th in the majors
1927: 3th in the AL; tenth in the majors
1928: 6th in the NL; eleventh in the majors
1929: 5th in the NL; twelfth in the majors
1930: 8th in the NL; fifteenth in the majors

George who?

He was consistently below average after 1922.
   136. Howie Menckel Posted: October 02, 2004 at 06:05 PM (#893573)
Yeah, it's crucial that we as a group understand that hitting .320 in a .290 era without many walks and little power while playing 1B does little if anything for an HOM resume. Actually, I know that we do get it already, but the clearer we make that statement, the better.

That said, I like Sisler's seven-year earlier peak. Tough ballot right now, but he was damn good for that stretch. The 'other' career is a wash; does add counting stats but at slightly below average performance - and way below when position is taken into account.
Bill James had a point in tackling the Sisler myth, but let's ourselves tackle him fairly as a sweet seven-year guy a la numerous others we've judged.
   137. Michael Bass Posted: October 02, 2004 at 06:41 PM (#893618)
Alexander is the "duh" player of the ballot. I still rate Williams ahead of him, but not by much after war credit. Obviously, these are our two inductees this season.

I like Heilman a lot. Solid peak combined with plenty of career value. I think he was a slightly better hitter than Torriente, but had much less fielding value, so he slides in right behind Cristobal.

Sisler does very little for me. His peak needed to be historic as bad as the second half of his career was, and aside from one amazing season (which is deservingly getting a lot of attention nowdays), the peak wasn't really very special. In fact, I have another first ballot guy, Bancoft, one slot ahead of Sisler, both well off the ballot.

Marcelle I am not particularly comfortable with. His bat does not scream HOMer to me. I would still like to see a WS breakdown on him in his thread. His bat isn't that bad, though, and his glove reputation lifts him a bit. I have him a few slots down from Monroe, who did have a much better bat, for the moment.

Still unfortunately haven't had time for my OF reconsideration. Fortunately, we're still on no-brainers for the moment.

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

1. Williams
2. Alexander
3. Torriente
4. Heilman
5. Jennings
6. Groh
7. Coveleski
8. Poles
9. Mendez
10. Waddell
11. Browning
12. Veach
13. Duffy
14. F. Jones
15. Griffin
   138. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 02, 2004 at 07:22 PM (#893676)
Why Williams over Alexander?

I am not trying to attack anyone who thinks this, just trying to understand. The way I see it we KNOW that Pete was one of the 5-10-15 pitchers ever. We HAVE A GOOD IDEA that Williams was. Not that Smokey Joe isn't an HOMer but do we have any hard evidence that he was better than Pete? Same with Torriente and Heilman. I feel the burden of proof should lie with those who are putting subjective candidates above comparable candidates for which we have more data.
   139. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: October 03, 2004 at 03:04 AM (#894734)
You'll get the e-mail, but I just updated the at-bats file at the Yahoo! group, going through the 1936 election - well, the presumed results, anyway. If we assume the 1900s are mostly done, they're clocking in at about 9-10% of all MLB at-bats by HoMers, which is close to James' "historical average", and down from about 13% in the 1890s (which makes sense, with expansion.) The AL is clearly ahead from 1902 on, with about 10-12%, compared to the NL's 7-8%.

When you get into the 1910s, the disparity gets wider. By 1916, it's 8.8& for the AL to 3.9% for the NL. If you wanted to take this as another reason to vote for Heinie Groh, I wouldn't complain about that. :)
   140. Michael Bass Posted: October 03, 2004 at 03:34 AM (#894767)
I feel the burden of proof should lie with those who are putting subjective candidates above comparable candidates for which we have more data.

I believe this to be an incorrect view of what we should be doing and perhaps to be against our rules. Your system basically punishes Negro Leaguers for having incomplete records, which is only because they were excluded from baseball. We are called upon to form our best guess from the available record for these players. How each voter does this is up to that individual, but putting a player below a comparable white player because "we're more sure" about the major leaguer just seems wrong to me.
   141. Brent Posted: October 03, 2004 at 03:37 AM (#894770)
I feel the burden of proof should lie with those who are putting subjective candidates above comparable candidates for which we have more data.

This seems like a reasonable position. In fact, it's the way we all deal with uncertain information in our day-to-day life. If I sit next to someone on the bus who starts telling me that Mr. 3000 is the greatest baseball movie ever made, I'm obviously going to be skeptical and not rush out to the theater.

But when you start requiring a higher "burden of proof" for all of the "subjective candidates," what are we really talking about? It means taking our best available information about Negro league candidates and then discounting it. And the final result is that the same group that suffered from discrimination throughout their playing days now suffers discrimination in evaluating their credentials for the Hall of Merit. We know that Alexander won 373 games, but we only guess that Williams would have won 400 had he had the same opportunities. So we downgrade Williams and Lloyd and Torriente - maybe they'll still make it in - and we also downgrade Mendez and Poles and Monroe, and as a result maybe they won't make it in.

The one thing I know for certain about the quality of Negro league play is that when integration finally took place in the 1950s, 30 to 40 percent of the top players in baseball were African American. I can't know that the same percentage applied in the 1910s and 20s, but I believe that the best black ballplayers were comparable with the best white players during that era as well.

So I'm not going to have any part of downgrading "subjective candidates." I agree that it's tough to know where they rank. The folks posting on the Negro league discussion threads have been very helpful in gathering and evaluating information on these candidates. But ultimately I'm making my best guess and refusing to discount these players for the imprecise nature of the available data. In my opinion, that's the treatment that this generation of great players deserve.

By the way, I'm picking Alexander ahead of Williams, but I see it as close.
   142. Brent Posted: October 03, 2004 at 04:49 AM (#894854)
In # 77 sunnyday2 wrote:
I was looking ahead last night too and came up with the following list of HoMers through 1950.

I decided to take a look at where we are heading with the distribution of HOM players by position. I counted the positions of current HOMers based on the position that is in bold on their plaque; if two positions are in bold, I counted the first as 0.6 and the second as 0.4.

P 16.4
C 4.6
1B 4.8
2B 5.6
3B 3.4
SS 9.6
LF 9
CF 6.4
RF 5.2

It's clear that 3B and, to a lesser extent, C and 1B are underrepresented, while SS and LF are overrepresented. The appropriate representation of pitchers is, of course, a matter of opinion and probably some disagreement. Right now it's 25 percent pitchers; personally, I would prefer a little larger share, maybe 30 percent.

If the candidates listed by sunnyday2 are elected, by 1950 the composition would be:

P 24.8
C 6.6
1B 7.4
2B 8.6
3B 4.4
SS 10.6
LF 11.4
CF 11.8
RF 9.4

In this scenario, all of the outfield positions would be overrepresented, while the other positions, except 2B, would be underrepresented. 3B would have only about half as many inductees as one would expect if each position were equally represented.

In coming elections I suggest that we should look closely at some of the marginal candidates coming up to see whether some of the candidates at underrepresented positions, such as Traynor or Schang, might not be preferable to marginal outfielders, such as Roush or Carey. While we can't aim for complete equality among positions, I do think outfielders may be getting to be overrepresented.
   143. Brent Posted: October 03, 2004 at 04:52 AM (#894867)
Correction, I should have said "except SS and 2B, would be underrepresented."
   144. DavidFoss Posted: October 03, 2004 at 05:37 AM (#894943)
some of the candidates at underrepresented positions, such as Traynor or Schang,

Traynor was a SABR whipping boy for a long time, but the backlash has subsided now and we can rationally judge the high-BA guys. He's not a bad candidate.

Thankfully for the catcher's, sunnyday2 forgot Gabby Hartnett who should get inducted before 1950.

There are a *lot* of Negro League shoo-in's in the late 40s and early 50s. I'm not a quota person, but the extremely high percentage is causing some flags to be raised in my head. How many "hypothetical teams" do the Negro Leagues have in the determination of the count of New Eligibles? With no MLB candidate gap, what explains the high number of NNL shoo-ins? Timing of career ends? Top heavy nature of NNL talent curve? (Its said the NNL was AAA-level, but there was no ML level for the stars to rise to).

Could some of those NNL giants end up being as overrated as some of their white contemporaries are?
   145. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 03, 2004 at 12:55 PM (#895103)
Sorry if the 'burden of proof' thing was a little harsh. On most accounts, what Chris Cobb et al have done in the Negro League threads is good enough for me. I do have Williams second and Torriente fourth on my prelim ballot while Mendez, Monroe, and Marcelle have all had a good bit of consideration for said ballot. Its just that when faced with a decision between two comparable and/or equal players, I will go with the guy that has the more complete record. So it is Alexander over Williams for me and Heilman over Torriente.

Torriente's argument over Heilman deals with defense, and we have no data on that defense. Maybe it is enough to push him over the top , maybe not. But we know that Heilman was the better hitter and I think by a decent margin.

I understand it is a slippery slope and that I may have come off too harsh, but I feel my stance on this is correct. If faced with a decision between two very comparable players, go with the guy that you KNOW how great he was over the one for which we HAVE A GOOD IDEA how great he was.
   146. yest Posted: October 03, 2004 at 02:29 PM (#895130)
Since we only take weeks off when there are holidays, what holiday is going on this week? I thought Yom Kippur was last week, so that isn't it (Unless it is a week long holiday). If I am being insensitive to someone's religion or upbringing here I apologize, its just that I am ignorant you see.

succos (and it's a week long)
   147. Michael Bass Posted: October 03, 2004 at 06:37 PM (#895394)
If faced with a decision between two very comparable players, go with the guy that you KNOW how great he was over the one for which we HAVE A GOOD IDEA how great he was.

And I still feel this is a wrong and borderline "rulebreaking" punishment of Negro League players for having been exluded from the big leagues.
   148. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 03, 2004 at 07:26 PM (#895491)
Can I ask how it is 'rulebreaking'? We are supposed to vote for who we believe was best on the field. And I dont' believe this has effected my ballot much at all. I still have Smokey Joe Williams as the second best overall player and Cristobal Torriente as the second best position player. It's not like I am punishing Williams in comparison or Coveleski or Torriente in comparision to Carey. If I am 'punishing' these players I am only doing this when I see very little difference between two guys, this year happens to be an exception.

I apologize for the whole 'burden of proof' thing, but at the same time If I were to say that I want to vote for Bobby Estalella because he was a minor league monster, don't I have to prove that his minor league performance would have been HOM worthy in the Major Leagues or Negro Leagues? Chris Cobb has done this to great effect for Negro League players in the player threads, enough for me to likely have three consecutive years where a NeL player makes my PHOM. But I am not sure the evidence we have is enough, let alone conclusive if we had more of it. So I am choosing the guy for which we have more data.

Chances are we will have to just agree to disagree.

Am I missing something in regards to Williams v. Alexander? If I am I will gladly change my choice.
   149. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 03, 2004 at 07:29 PM (#895495)
I'm placing Alexander above Williams because I feel that's where their numbers lead me to. If Smokey Joe's numbers looked better to me, than I would place him above Pete.

With that said, it doesn't appear to me that jscmeagol is being unfair to Negro League players at this time. If he were placing a top-ten guy like Josh Gibson over Harry Heilmann (no offense to Slug!), then that would be different
   150. DavidFoss Posted: October 03, 2004 at 08:31 PM (#895593)
Chris Cobb has done this to great effect for Negro League players in the player threads, enough for me to likely have three consecutive years where a NeL player makes my PHOM. But I am not sure the evidence we have is enough, let alone conclusive if we had more of it. So I am choosing the guy for which we have more data.

My ballot is also going Pete, Joe, Harry, Cristobal. So no argument about this specific case.

It just your reasoning might be a bit worrisome. The lack of data isn't due to era (Dickey Pearce) or inefficient scouting (Gavvy Cravath), the lack of data is due to NeL-ers being kept out of MLB by the color line.

These guys are shoo-ins, but at some point we are going to have borderline contemporaries -- one MLB and one NeL -- dueling it out for induction. Its possible that your reasoning could be interpreted as "Tie Goes to the White Guy" which would not go over very well. This probably isn't exactly what you were trying to say or how you would have chosen to phrase it, but that's the possible objection as I see it.

That said, and I said this above, I'm wondering how many NeL-ers from the 30s are as overrated as their white counterparts from the same era. The late 40s/early 50s balloting should be interesting.
   151. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 03, 2004 at 10:21 PM (#895790)
David,

You are right. That isn't what I am trying to say, but my posts have come off that way I apologize to you, Michael, and everyone else. Believe me if the decision were one like that I would take it very seriously and not just write off the Negro League player.

As for overrating 30's era Nelers, I think we just need to keep the numbers somewhat comparable to 20s or 10s or earlier Nelers. Which will be really rough to do seeing how unorganized NeL baseball was prior to Rube Foster. Although looking across my infield I only see three or four guys I would say are shoo-in material (Leonard, Dandridge, Wells, maybe Johnson?).

Would I also be correct in saying that this woudld be the era that we have the most data for translation? Or at least more than pervious eras. So yeah, should be interesting.
   152. Chris Cobb Posted: October 04, 2004 at 03:21 AM (#896103)
That said, and I said this above, I'm wondering how many NeL-ers from the 30s are as overrated as their white counterparts from the same era. The late 40s/early 50s balloting should be interesting.

One thing that I can say about this is that almost all of the candidates Sunnyday2 was listing as probable electees are clearly in the top echelon of the Negro Leagues. He's not talking about players who are mid-level stars in a Negro-League context who are overrated now by the general public because they hit .300 and drove in 120 runs when everybody was doing it or because they were friends of Frankie Frisch. The question for us will be how to rank them among the white MLers.
   153. Rusty Priske Posted: October 04, 2004 at 12:20 PM (#896520)
I will be away for the next two weeks due to a death in the family.

Would someone please post my ballot from the prelim list? It is post #29 on the first page of this thread. Or don't. Whatever. I don't know how much I contribute here regardless.
   154. Rusty Priske Posted: October 04, 2004 at 12:21 PM (#896521)
Please ignore the whining from the last post. I'm not in top form just now.
   155. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 04, 2004 at 01:49 PM (#896580)
I'll do it, Rusty. Sorry about your loss.
   156. TomH Posted: October 04, 2004 at 02:37 PM (#896669)
My take on the
"If faced with a decision between two very comparable players, go with the guy that you KNOW how great he was over the one for which we HAVE A GOOD IDEA how great he was." discussion:
--
If I'm making up a personal all-time CF list, I'm fairly comfortable with the placement of Mays, Cobb, Mantle, Speaker, DiMaggio. Is it possible that Oscar Charleston was better than them all? Sure. Is it possible that he was worse than them all - well, given that he wasn't the first one or second or third) elected from the NegLeg to the HoF, yes, it is. So despite the best stat evidence, I DO make a conservative assumption and not place him as high as Bill James does.

However, since this exercise is about the HoM, we have to be fair to the banned black players in general - and to be too conservative will mean electing fewer blacks than is "just". I have no problem putting Smokey Joe below Alexander on my ballot, even if my best guess was they were equal - it really doesn't matter to me what order we elect them in. But when it comes to the borderline guys, we need to be fair both ways. I expect there to be - and there SHOULD be - enough policing action on the threads if it seems we are trending toward too few or too many early black stars, just like there is for balancing out eras, pitcher/hitters, and positions.
   157. jimd Posted: October 04, 2004 at 05:43 PM (#897044)
I like Sisler's seven-year earlier peak

Looking through the lens of WARP, it appears like Sisler was a) very similar to Keith Hernandez, b) but with one huge season (1920) stolen from Ty Cobb, then c) became J.T. Snow during his comeback.

I don't he's going to make my ballot.
   158. TomH Posted: October 04, 2004 at 05:53 PM (#897062)
from the ballot thread, I quote "....I've got serious reservations about inducting one of the worst right fielders in major league history."
--
How sure are we of this? By win shares, he may be one of the worst AMONG THOSE WHO HAD A VERY LONG CAREER. Thorw in a few buthcers who weren't good enough to stay out inthe field for 15 years, and we may get a really different answer.

By WARP fielding numbers, he is about 30 runs below average for his whole career in RF - hoo boy, a huge 30 runs in 11 years. I bet we could find a lot of guys who were worse than that. HH will be high on my ballot.
   159. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 04, 2004 at 06:03 PM (#897102)
HH will be high on my ballot.

Boy, I was shocked to read that at the end of your post, Tom. :-)

buthcers

butchers?
   160. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 04, 2004 at 06:08 PM (#897113)
By win shares, he may be one of the worst AMONG THOSE WHO HAD A VERY LONG CAREER.

Basically, Win Shares says that Heilmann was mediocre or maybe slightly below mediocre as a rightfielder. Their grading is tougher on the corner outfielders than on the centerfielders.
   161. KJOK Posted: October 06, 2004 at 12:53 AM (#900072)
Heilmann Win Shares Fielding Per Year:

1914 - 0.6
1916 - 2.0
1917 - 2.6
1918 - 0.9
1919 - 1.4
1920 - 2.6
1921 - 2.0
1922 - 1.1
1923 - 2.2
1924 - 3.0
1925 - 2.5
1926 - 1.5
1927 - 2.1
1928 - 2.2
1929 - 1.1
1930 - 3.0
1931 - 0.1
   162. robc Posted: October 06, 2004 at 02:39 AM (#900424)
Looking at Heilmann's defense on prospectus...

Of his -50 runs below average, -21 of them came at first base, including -23 in the 1919-20 when he was primarily a 1B. On a per game basis, he was a much worse 1B than he was a RF.

1B -21 in 448 games
RF -24 in 1518 games
and just to note it:
2B -3 in just 17 games
   163. robc Posted: October 06, 2004 at 02:50 AM (#900458)
off topic, but I noticed that prospectus has 2004 warp numbers up. Bonds passed Aaron in Warp3 this year, he is .8 behind his godfather and if 2005 equals 2004, he will pass Ruth. Actually, since we are discussing 1936 elections in the fall of 1935, it is on topic sorta, since Ruth just retired earlier this year.
   164. Philip Posted: October 06, 2004 at 10:11 AM (#900667)
Can anyone post yearly Win Shares for Heilmann and Sisler. Heilmann is very underrated by WARP, so this will help me a lot!
Thanks!
   165. andrew siegel Posted: October 06, 2004 at 01:08 PM (#900695)
Heilmann:

chroologicaly: 3, 17, 18, 12, 23, 16, 28, 24, 35, 30, 30, 27, 32, 22, 19, 20, 0

descending: 35, 32, 30, 30, 28, 27, 24, 23, 22, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 12, 3, 0

Sisler:

chron: 10, 25, 29, 22, 24, 33, 27, 29, [missed season], 11, 19, 11, 16, 15, 13, 8

descending: 33, 29, 29, 27, 25, 24, 22, 19, 16, 15, 13, 11, 11, 10, 8

This is very interesting. Heilmann looks like a bottom half HoMer. Sisler doesn't look anywhere near an HoMer at first blush. However, if you think (as many of us do) that WS underrates 1B defense by as much as 2 WS/ season, Sisler's record moves much closer to Heilmann's (3 WS behind total over their 7 best seasons, around 30 behind over their careers). That would suggest the two should be a lot closer on our ballots than they currently are. I'm not sure yet how to handle this--my inclination is that I have Sisler about right but may have overrated Heilmann. What do others think?
   166. yest Posted: October 06, 2004 at 02:57 PM (#900793)
doesn't win shares underate players on bad teams and Sisler played on some terrible teams.
   167. karlmagnus Posted: October 06, 2004 at 03:25 PM (#900813)
WS presumably also overrates players on very good teams, particularly flukishly good teams like the 04 Yankees. To be used with GREAT caution, I think.
   168. andrew siegel Posted: October 06, 2004 at 03:42 PM (#900831)
Two distinct issues:

(1) WS clearly and explicitly underrates performers on historically bad teams. In fact, you might say the system simply doesn't work for teams with .300 or so winning percentages. But that is very few teams. The system seems to have no consistent bias between players of equivalent talents on say .400 winning percentage teams and .600 winning percentage teams.

(2) By tying win shares to wins, WS gives proportionately more credit to players on teams that exceed their pythagorean projections (and proportionately less credit to teams that fail to meet their projections) than other systems). Whether that is a flaw or a virtue of the system is in the eye of the beholder. Strong cases can and have been made both ways.
   169. DavidFoss Posted: October 06, 2004 at 04:27 PM (#900906)
doesn't win shares underate players on bad teams and Sisler played on some terrible teams.

The Browns were a historically bad franchise, but they weren't that bad when Sisler was there (except maybe 1927... but their bounce back in 1928 with Blue at 1B is hardly support for Sisler).

No obvious trend in over/underperforming their pythag projection either.
   170. KJOK Posted: October 06, 2004 at 09:04 PM (#901442)
doesn't win shares underate players on bad teams and Sisler played on some terrible teams.
No. James spends what seems like 100 pages in the book proving that it does not under or over-rate players based on the teams W/L record.

HOWEVER, if a team underperforms their pythag projection, that underperformance is "credited" to each player....
   171. KJOK Posted: October 06, 2004 at 09:08 PM (#901450)
Two distinct issues:

(1) WS clearly and explicitly underrates performers on historically bad teams. In fact, you might say the system simply doesn't work for teams with .300 or so winning percentages. But that is very few teams. The system seems to have no consistent bias between players of equivalent talents on say .400 winning percentage teams and .600 winning percentage teams.

(2) By tying win shares to wins, WS gives proportionately more credit to players on teams that exceed their pythagorean projections (and proportionately less credit to teams that fail to meet their projections) than other systems). Whether that is a flaw or a virtue of the system is in the eye of the beholder. Strong cases can and have been made both ways.


Sorry, I somehow missed Andrew's post - he explained Win Shares better and more correctly....
   172. jimd Posted: October 06, 2004 at 09:35 PM (#901515)
James spends what seems like 100 pages in the book proving that it does not under or over-rate players based on the teams W/L record.

Actually, he gives many examples that demonstrate that in his hand-picked cases that things work out OK. And it's true that for a very large percentage of teams, things work out OK. Similar records will usually yield similar results, after park effects are accounted for.

But extreme teams have problems. Non-linear effects occur where a) historically good teams do not have enough Win Shares to spread around to reflect the production (add another superstar to a .700 team and most of the added production goes into bigger blowouts, not wins), and b) historically bad teams do not distribute the existing Win Shares properly (negative Win Shares actually serve a purpose here).

Also, offense is favored over defense. Start with an evenly balanced .500 team. Hold the defense constant and improve the offense, you will find that the number of defensive win shares drops as the team adds offensive win shares faster than wins. Hold the offense constant and improve the defense, you will find that the number of offensive win shares rises as the team adds wins faster than defensive win shares. Again though, for the huge majority of teams, these are minor effects that only are noticeable at the extremes.
   173. jimd Posted: October 06, 2004 at 09:42 PM (#901532)
Note: the latter assumes a Pythagorean model of winning. If you use a linear winning model, all works out fine, except that it won't work in real life.
   174. Paul Wendt Posted: October 07, 2004 at 01:16 AM (#901955)
Unfortunately, I don't know who played left and who right after the 19-aughts. Anyway, in Heilmann's time:

<u>Outfield defense assessed by Win Shares (WS/1000)</u>
PWaner 3.03, Burns 2.88, Schulte 2.86, Wheat 2.82, Rice 2.79 [RF in Griffith Stadium], Medwick 2.79, Magee 2.71, Hooper 2.61, Goslin 2.58 [large LF in Griffith], Manush 2.43, Crawford 2.37, BJohnson 2.31, Ruth 2.29, Ott 2.24, Heilmann 1.73.

Between Wee Willie and the Splendid Splinter, that's about it among the top 110 in innings played thru 2001 (Heilmann is #110).

Maybe there was unusually little RF action in Detroit (see Kaline, Crawford; Manush?). Maybe there is a Heilmann-specific bias (partial games
played? check his PA/game). Maybe Win Shares is simply a bad measure of outfield defense.

But Harry Heilmann was as bad as any outfielder who ever played a lot of innings, according to Win Shares. You can't get around that.
   175. Paul Wendt Posted: October 07, 2004 at 01:21 AM (#901967)
[That was page 2. This is page 1.]

Tom H made a good point, not quoted, that RF defense isn't very important.

John Murphy #160
> [Tom H] By win shares, he may be one of the worst
> AMONG THOSE WHO HAD A VERY LONG CAREER.

Basically, Win Shares says that Heilmann was mediocre or maybe slightly below mediocre as a rightfielder. Their grading is tougher on the corner outfielders than on the centerfielders.


--
Er, what am I missing? A clerical error in the book?

TomH pulls one punch (maybe one of the worst) and John Murphy pulls two (maybe slightly below mediocre). Strictly as a capsule of the Win Shares evaluation, that is ludicrously soft on Heilmann. Win Shares does assess him as just about the all-time worst outfielder who played a lot of innings. There's no getting around that. No maybe, no slightly. According to Win Shares, Heilmann was one of the butchers, entirely out of place among the mediocre.

Among all 10000-inning outfielders thru 2001, 260 of them, Heilmann is third from the bottom, 258th, by Win Shares per 1000 innings.

<u>WS/1000 rank - Name - WS/1000 - OF innings rank</u>
260. Jeff Burroughs 1.69 (#219 in innings played)
259. Greg Luzinski 1.73 (#250)
258. Harry Heilmann 1.79 (#110)

None of the other 257 is in the 1.80s: next, Frank Howard 1.91 (#191).
Among the 109 outfielders with more innings than Heilmann, only three
others are below 2.00 WS/1000: Winfield, Donovan, Staub.

Recent famous RFs: Clemente 2.87, Evans 2.82, Kaline 2.70.
Recent respected RFs: Aaron 2.63, Parker 2.63, Robinson 2.58
Recent ridiculed RF: Jackson 2.28
   176. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 07, 2004 at 01:42 AM (#902028)
TomH pulls one punch (maybe one of the worst) and John Murphy pulls two (maybe slightly below mediocre). Strictly as a capsule of the Win Shares evaluation, that is ludicrously soft on Heilmann.

You're probably right, Paul. Personally, I think he was below average and have rated him so on my ballot. The problem that I had was that the grading between the best and worst righfielders is not that far off, so I assumed that Win Shares didn't feel he was that bad. On further examination, I was wrong.
   177. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 07, 2004 at 04:48 AM (#902781)
"By win shares, he may be one of the worst AMONG THOSE WHO HAD A VERY LONG CAREER."

It is quite possible that the defensive innings estimates are off.

It is quite possible there is a park effect going on here.

WS had Craig Biggio as a star CF last year, PBP data said he was horrible - I'll take the PBP data.

WS is a very good guess defensively - it's accurate probably 70/75% in it's evaluations. But much of the subjective picture you can piece together on Heilmann would lead you to believe he was a decent OF (good assist totals, played some CF when he was young, he was fast, etc.). Absent eyewitness reports calling him a butcher, I'm going to chalk the WS numbers (which aren't that bad, when you compare him to players with less time) up to a statistical aberration, and I consider Heilmann to be a slightly below average RF, but not a butcher of historic proportions.

I mean WS is saying he was 1.09 WS per 1000 innings worse than Clemente. That is equivalent to about 5 runs a year. RF defense just isn't all that important, even if he was as bad as WS guesses he was.
   178. andrew siegel Posted: October 07, 2004 at 09:40 AM (#903018)
Incidentally, WARP (which consistently values defense more highly than WS) has Clemente about 9 runs per 1000 innings better than Heilmann. What is that, about 13 runs per season? Still not the biggest deal, but more important.
   179. Chris Cobb Posted: October 07, 2004 at 02:11 PM (#903094)
Moving this from the ballot to the ballot discussion, since it doesn't look like we're going to get a WS methodology thread any time soon . . .

Karlmagnus' talk of laser guns and magic like hyperbole to me. Win shares isn't performing any mathematical functions that someone with a high-school mathematics background can't understand.

The serious issue (if there is an issue) is the one he raises here:

[WS]rests on a whole lot of assumptions (like the Pythagorean formula) that have no sound basis in theory and may not work in practice when conditions vary wildly.

I have two questions for karlmagnus:

What exactly do you mean by "have no sound basis in theory"? What would a sound basis in theory be, and why would it improve any method? (I have no advanced degree in mathematics, so I really have no idea what standards you are referring to here.)

Is it not the case that what you are calling "assumptions" are estimates? Win shares is based on certain ideas about how value is created in baseball, and it uses those ideas to guide its calculations. It seems to me that you disagree with win shares less with respect to mathematical principle -- a problem with its formulas that would lead its calculations to miss the mark it they aim for -- than with respect to baseball.

Let me make this issue more concrete. The win shares formulas are based on the idea that two basic mathematical formulas -- the runs created formula and the pythagorean formula -- give us a pretty good estimate of how to explain the relationship between individual batting, pitching, and fielding data, and wins.

The runs created formula gets us from individual batting data -- hits, walks, x-base hits, sb, etc. -- to runs. The marginal runs version of the pythag formula gets us from runs to wins.

What are the problems with these formulas? Are they mathematical problems, or baseball problems, or data problems?

I'm basically asking you to make your objections substantive or to give them a rest. That win shares is not a perfect system is generally understood by those of us (a large majority of the electorate) who make use of them. The fact that it is not a perfect system is no reason to abandon it without clear evidence that use of it does more harm than good. Your criticisms of it, which seem on their face to be hyperbolic, have done nothing substantive to make that case. Rather, they seem to assume that because win shares isn't perfect and because it's using some sort of magic, mumbo-jumbo method to reach its conclusions, it should simply be abandoned. The mumbo-jumbo claim is wrong, and the "isn't perfect" claim is insufficient.

While I'm arguing in favor of win shares here, I'm not accepting them uncritically. I don't use the win shares formula in assessing pre-1930 pitchers, and I modify the fielding results in a variety of ways. So if you give me some good arguments, I'm eager to listen and learn. But if you're just heckling, I won't take you seriously.

Having now looked at a lot of players through the WS lens, it seems frequently very distorting, being up to a third out in either direction (or, if you like, 50% high and 33% low.)

OK. This is a pretty clear claim, that for a career, WS says a player that we should see as having a value of, say, 300 win shares should be matched with players with 400 win shares or 200 win shares, or that for a season, a player whom it says earned 21 win shares (slightly above average) actually should be viewed as earning 28 win shares (all-star level) or as earning 14 win shares (well below average).

Are you talking about careers, or seasons?

Would you be willing to present a few examples, season or career, where you see WS as being off by this sort of amount, and explain why?
   180. karlmagnus Posted: October 07, 2004 at 02:54 PM (#903146)
Win shares is a little like the Black-Scholes options valuation formula, about which I have considerable experience. It makes some basic assumptions about randomness and independentness that frequently turn out to be incorrect. Because I don't trust its assumptions, I don't trust the result, however straightforward the math may be (I quite grant you, it's a lot easier than Black-Scholes.)

Assumptions it makes that appear to me shaky include but are not limited to the following:

(i) Pythagoran run/win formula. The latest version I've seen of this has the exponent of 1.82 instead of 2, a clear fudge. It's a neat rule of thumb, that appears to have worked in the past, but even in the 1984 Abstract where James introduced it, 3 teams were more than 10 wins off the predicted result. 3 out of 24 is too high an error rate for something with which you are comparing the great ballplayers of all history.

(ii) conversion of hits, errors and walks into runs. These conversions depend very heavily on when you're playing the game and how -- the conversion for the 1985 Cardinals is very different from that for the 2003 Red Sox ('85 Cardinals much more efficient at run creation.)

(iii) Arithmetic calculations of the value of e.g. stolen bases are not the best determinant of their value. A base stealer has more value to the offense than the net value of the bases he steals, because he changes the defense's approach and distracts pitcher and fielders from watching the batters. Henderson had this effect even when playing for the Red Sox in 2002, when he was 43. This is "Old scout" lore, but it's clearly the case when you look at some unexpected failures and successes. It's difficult to measure because it affects batting averages, ERA and error rates, all at once, so that's why WS ignores it. Equally, the value of a stolen base is greater if it's in a league/period with few stolen bases (say, the 1960s and 1970s); in the 1890s everybody was better trained to deal with base stealers and the error level was higher anyway -- so Lou Brock's stolen bases were more valuable than Sliding Billy Hamilton's.

(iv) WS assumes that both leagues are equal and quality doesn't change over the years. The latter assumption brings a philosophical question about timelining, the former doesn't. The 2004 NL was almost certainly NOT as good as the 2004 AL, or at least no better; the 2004 WS figures are thus nonsense. Also, the DH messes up the calculation, by 10% or so, which is not nothing.

(v) the split between offesne and defense, and many of the metrics relating to fielding, are pulled out of thin air and don't relate to much in the real world.

Finally, we cannot assume that when WS is off base, it's just random fluctuation -- there appear to be systemic errors, particularly on the fielding side, that result in e.g. Carey and Hooper and Van Haltren getting more WS than, from an inspection of their stats or their contemporary reputations, they deserve, and other players, such as Hal Chase and, peeking forward to 1937, Wally Schang less.

WS is a thoroughly non-transparent metric, that doesn't measure what it claims to measure. It is not wholly worthless, but it is of only moderate value, and certainly shouldn't be used as the principal tool when assessing Merit.
   181. DavidFoss Posted: October 07, 2004 at 03:41 PM (#903215)
Pythagoran run/win formula. The latest version I've seen of this has the exponent of 1.82 instead of 2, a clear fudge.

That latest version is at least ten years old now. The exponent can be determined from the offense levels. By "PythagoPat" is (RS+RA)^(0.279757)... not sure if RS&RA; is for the league or for each team. Anyhow, the exponent is quite a bit different in 1908 than it is in 1930. An exponent of 1.82 is about an 8.5-9.0 R/G context (both teams).

Many people are using this nowadays. Unfortunately, when I google it, and check all the hits, the people there all tell me to google it for details. :-) Is there a PythagoPat for Beginners webpage? Or maybe a Mathematical Basis for PythagoPat webpage to determinine if the formula is empirical, or if there is math theory behind it.
   182. karlmagnus Posted: October 07, 2004 at 04:20 PM (#903267)
I have also seen the revised formula that varies the exponent with RS and RA. However, it doesn't look right to me. If you assume that everything's random, given the quality of the team, then what you're essentially doing in each game is comparing two nine-inning lengths of Markov chain, with the frequency of run "bumps" on the chain depending on the quality of the team, and the one with more "bumps" being the winner -- if both have equal numbers of "bumps" go on selecting link by link until you get a winner. There's a mathematical formula you could derive for that system; unfortunately, statistics wasn't really my subject and so I don't know it.

This would work fine and give you a mathematically sound answer (albeit one with assumptions about randomness that may not be true and probably aren't)if the team with more total bases won it, but they don't; an Earl Weaver 3-run-homer team scores runs in a quite different pattern to the 1985 Cardinals. The Pythagoreamn formula does not reflect this complexity; I therefore take it to be a simplistic bit of data-mining and not in any way mathematically justified.

As I say, WS is very un-transparent, and there is every reason for sensible people not to trust it.
   183. karlmagnus Posted: October 07, 2004 at 04:30 PM (#903290)
I hope incidentally that this will convince Joe and others that what may appear in me to be sheer mindless prejudice is in reality sheer mindless prejudice allied to considerable skill in deploying fog-clouds of mathematical jargon :-))
   184. jimd Posted: October 07, 2004 at 05:40 PM (#903433)
the pythagorean formula

has nothing to do with Win Shares! It is not incorporated in it's formulae any place that I know of. That's one of the primary criticisms of it; the runs-to-wins conversion is strictly linear. It's linear base is why Win Shares has problems with extreme teams (extreme winners, extreme losers, extreme run producing teams, extreme run prevention teams).
   185. karlmagnus Posted: October 07, 2004 at 05:56 PM (#903459)
Jimd, I refer you to Chris Cobb in post 179. Let me know when you've reached an agreement.
   186. jimd Posted: October 07, 2004 at 06:00 PM (#903469)
(v) the split between offesne and defense, and many of the metrics relating to fielding, are pulled out of thin air and don't relate to much in the real world.

Have to agree with karlmagnus on this one. The 50-50 offense/defense split was purely theoretical, and elegant, like Aristotle's assertion that heavier objects fall faster than lighter objects. Sounds good. Galileo disproved that one and helped found modern physics (with an assist from Newton, et al.)

Value in baseball comes not from elegant theoretical splits, but from the surplus over replacement. If pitchers are extremely scarce (as they were in the late 1880's after a rapid expansion in the number of innings required by each team) then good pitchers become more valuable, because the replacement level is lower.
   187. jimd Posted: October 07, 2004 at 06:04 PM (#903477)
OTOH, I agree with Chris on the offensive metrics. They are well understood for the modern game and correlate quite well at the team level. Their applicability before 1920 is more questionable but they still provide a good guide. Pitching and defense is the debating ground where much work is being done and still more needs to be done before the metrics reach the acceptability level of those on offense.
   188. Chris Cobb Posted: October 07, 2004 at 07:32 PM (#903642)
Jimd, I refer you to Chris Cobb in post 179. Let me know when you've reached an agreement.

jimd is correct: WS gets from runs to wins using based on the fact that one can get fairly reliable projections of wins from a team's marginal runs, so it distributes the team's win shares between offense and defense based on the ratio of marginal runs scored to marginal runs saved.

I was misremembering the first step in calculating win shares above and using terminology loosely

<objects fall faster than lighter objects. </i>

Well, technically it's a 48-52 split, and it was not made for purely theoretical reasons, more for presentational elegance (pitchers don't lag too far behind position players, no negative win shares for batters needed). That doesn't mean it's right, but this is a crucial point at which the WS system could reasonably be adjusted.
   189. andrew siegel Posted: October 07, 2004 at 07:41 PM (#903657)
I'm very much enjoying this conversation. I have one suggestion for those who think there are systemic flaws in WS. If you could hypothesize the types of players (defined by position, skill set, era, good team vs. bad team, team's relationship to pythagorean projection, etc.) that you think WS systematically over- or under-rates it would be of great utility to both this discussion and the more specific evaluation of candidates.
   190. jimd Posted: October 07, 2004 at 08:11 PM (#903697)
Well, technically it's a 48-52 split,

It was originally a 50-50 split, as presented in the BJNHBA. James apparently discovered he couldn't hold to that and have modern pitchers get reasonable values, hence the change. The fielding cap we've discussed in "years" past also transfers value to the pitchers, this time from the fielders. The accounting system used for pitcher's hitting (as discussed on this year's ballot thread) tends to flatten hitting values while spreading pitching values; using negative win shares as hardballtimes does moves net value from pitchers to hitters, possibly against James' intent.

I remember TangoTiger suggesting something like a 60-40 Win Shares split in favor of defense, and having a pythagorean justification for it. This would make Win Shares much closer to WARP (except for the pitching/fielding split).
   191. jimd Posted: October 07, 2004 at 08:18 PM (#903715)
using negative batting win shares as hardballtimes does moves net value from pitchers to hitters

Negative pitching win shares does not; it has different problems.
   192. DavidFoss Posted: October 07, 2004 at 09:02 PM (#903832)
so it distributes the team's win shares between offense and defense based on the ratio of marginal runs scored to marginal runs saved.

There is indeed a rescaling of a players Win Shares for teams that overperform or underperform what their marginal runs scored and marginal runs saved would predict.

We got sidetracked with the Pythag stuff... I guess they don't use that particular measure for converting runs to wins... sorry about that. :-)
   193. Chris Cobb Posted: October 08, 2004 at 01:33 AM (#904362)
Continuing the discussion:

(iv) WS assumes that both leagues are equal and quality doesn't change over the years. The latter assumption brings a philosophical question about timelining, the former doesn't. The 2004 NL was almost certainly NOT as good as the 2004 AL, or at least no better; the 2004 WS figures are thus nonsense. Also, the DH messes up the calculation, by 10% or so, which is not nothing.

Well, the win shares system does not assume that the leagues are equal or that quality doesn't change. It simply calculates value _within_ a given league and given season. If one treats a win share from a given league in a given season as exactly equal to a win share in another league or another season, one is making a mistake. But that doesn't mean that the system is inaccurate. And win shares are in no way _worse_ in this respect than more elementary calculated statistics like slugging percentage.

(iii) Arithmetic calculations of the value of e.g. stolen bases are not the best determinant of their value. A base stealer has more value to the offense than the net value of the bases he steals, because he changes the defense's approach and distracts pitcher and fielders from watching the batters. Henderson had this effect even when playing for the Red Sox in 2002, when he was 43.

This seems likely, but how large an effect is it? Particularly in the case of Henderson, who was a part-time player, it ought to be demonstrable statistically that batting averages went up more with him on first than with other players on first. If the effect is large enough to be measurable in this way, then one should be able take it into account. Surely it's been studied?

there appear to be systemic errors, particularly on the fielding side, that result in e.g. Carey and Hooper and Van Haltren getting more WS than, from an inspection of their stats or their contemporary reputations, they deserve, and other players, such as Hal Chase and, peeking forward to 1937, Wally Schang less.

I find it interesting that two of the three players listed as having too many win shares are players who were among the best base-stealers of their era, since that would seem to be an aspect of value that WS would underrate. As to Carey and Hooper having more fielding value than fits their reputations -- as far as I know, they had reputations as great defensive outfielders, a claim that WS supports. Both were also players who believed in taking a walk at a time when the value of walks was not generally understood, so I can see why they would have been better offensive players than their reputations acknowledged. Chase, on the other hand, was not much for plate discipline. WS doesn't back up his fielding rep, but there may be a good reason for that: Chase may have been simply putting on a show.

I don't know anything about Wally Schang's reputation: did he have a reputation as a great fielder or as, overall, a great player?
   194. Andrew M Posted: October 08, 2004 at 02:40 AM (#904512)
Hi guys. I've been following your discussions since the mid-20s (HoM time) and finally found the time to put together a ballot and consult John M. on the finer points of submitting the same. So here is my first attempt for your consideration. I have to tell you found this to be much harder and more time consuming than I thought it would be....

1. Pete Alexander. Well, that wasn't too hard. One of the best ever, etc.
2. Smokey Joe Williams. Possibly the all-time best Negro League pitcher. Don't know whether he was as good as Alex, but he may have been.
3. Cristobal Torriente. Ahead of Heilmann b/c evidence suggests he was faster, a better fielder, and seems to have played at his peak longer. (HH's first 6 years in the ML don't look all that special to me.) Also, seems often to be described with superlatives you don't often here about Heilmann (e.g. "If I should see Torriente walking up the other side of the street I would say 'There goes a ball club.'")
4. Harry Heilmann. OPS+ of 148. 4 years of 30+ WS. Maybe the 2nd best OF in MLB 1923-27. Lots to like. Too bad about the fielding.
5. Heinie Groh. I may be over-valuing position scarcity, but the best NL 3B for a half dozen years, best MLB 3B 1917-20, MVP candidate 1917-19. Excellent fielding. (OK, I know it's a flawed stat, but his lifetime fielding pct. at 3B is an astounding .967) Short career, but not as short as Childs or Jennings.
6. Hugh Duffy. I've stared at the stats for contemporaries Duffy, Ryan, and Van Haltren for way too long and read all your previous discussions and all I can conclude is that they look very similar. I've listed Duffy first for his (mostly) higher peak numbers, black ink, and defense measured by defensive WS per 1000 and Rate 2 score. Rapid decline at 33, but by then he'd accumulated 6500 or so ABs and that's enough for me.
7. Geo. Van Haltren. Long career. Enough peak. 13 WS seasons above 20, 2500+ hits, plus 700 innings of OK pitching.
8. Lip Pike. Though I was initially skeptical, I buy the arguments in his favor. Dominant slugger (7 times in Top 10 slugging pct.) for the 2000 ABs we know about. 155 OPS+. Played almost every position on the field (though some not often or well.) Fast enough to outrace a horse and, presumably, other animals as well. I wish there was more hard evidence to go on, but I am comfortable placing him somewhere in the top 15.
9. Larry Doyle. Though WARP3 hates him, I have Doyle ahead of Childs because I perceive him to be a more dominant and versatile offensive player (e.g. his gray ink is in things like HRs and slugging pct. while Childs's is in walks and OBA), he has 900 more ABs, and I agree with those who have written that his defense cannot have been that bad, right?
10. Jimmy Ryan. I like him slightly less than Van H. because of what look to me like slightly less impressive WARP3 totals and fewer games in CF. On the other hand, Ryan's got better OPS+ numbers and BP's "translated batting statistics" credit him with the equivalent of 415(!) HRs, though I don't know how they calculated this.
11. Cupid Childs. See comment on Doyle. Without a doubt the best 2B of 1896. Got on base a lot. Relative to his ABs, his WARP3 score is comparable to Groh's.
12. Bobby Veach. Best player who was born or, as in his case, died on my birthday (Aug. 7). Outstanding peak between 1915-21 when he looks to me like the best AL OF not named Cobb, Jackson, Speaker, or Ruth. Would have legitimate HoM claim if only he could have played as long as, say, Max Carey.
13. Rube Waddell. Not only terrific peak numbers and lots of Ks, but also top 10 in fewest hits per 9 innings for 8 years, shutouts for 9 years, etc.
14. Ben Taylor. .334 lifetime BA (per Riley), by reputation a good fielding 1B who began as a pticher. WS and i9s estimates convince me he is a notch or two ahead of Sisler or Beckley.
15. Max Carey. Initially had him 5th, but became progresively less impressed (for now.) Very good at stealing bases and playing CF, and I suppose doing that for 9500 ABs is worth something. Not quite sure what to do with him yet. Does have the late-career surge so many of these guys don't.

As this is my first ballot, I'll go ahead and give you my next 5.

16. Tommy Leach. Seems to belong somewhere around Carey. Played a long time, but, according to B-R.com, hit .269 in a league where the average was .267, and though his career slugging average is .21 above the league, he only finished in the top 10 three time. Given extra credit for 955 games of good 3B play.
17. Stan Coveleski. Very similar to Waddell.
18. George Sisler. I'm not settled on how good his pre-injury numbers really were. Impressive OPS+ and reputation among those who, unlike any of us (I assume...) actually saw him play. I recall seeing somewhere that his home stats were much better than away stats in his big seasons. Possibly the best player ever to come from the U. of Michigan. (Sisler or Barry Larkin.)
19. George J. Burns. Like Doyle, doesn't do well in the BP metrics, but has lots of WS, peak, black, and gray ink. Short-ish career, but very durable and finished with over 7000 ABs--more than Groh, Doyle, Veach, or Childs.
20. Urban Shocker. 7 very good to excellent seasons before his heart gave out.

Required disclosure:
Jake Beckley. Just not enough peak for me.

Thanks guys.
   195. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 08, 2004 at 03:07 AM (#904545)
Looks fine, Andrew. Anytime you want to submit an actual ballot, go right ahead.

Welcome!
   196. KJOK Posted: October 08, 2004 at 03:47 PM (#905026)
We got sidetracked with the Pythag stuff... I guess they don't use that particular measure for converting runs to wins... sorry about that. :-)
Actually, I couple of us mispoke about Win Shares and Pythag (faulty memory, I guess, at least for me!) but this is important:

1. Win Shares does NOT use Pythag, but uses ACTUAL Wins and Losses.

2. This, IMO, is the PROBLEM!

3. As an example, take the 2004 Yankees. They won 101 games, for 303 Win Shares. Based on Pythag, using runs scored and allowed, they "should" have only won 89 games. Now imagine the exact same Team, Yankees II, with the exact same statistics for every player, only they "underperform" their Pythag Wins by 12 instead of overperform. They would have 77 Wins, for 221 Wins Shares.

4. So, every member of the team would have identical "performance" but every player on Yankees I would have 37% more Win Shares for 2004 than the identical player, with IDENTICAL statistics, on Yankees II.
   197. Howie Menckel Posted: October 08, 2004 at 03:49 PM (#905031)
Since first-ballot winners don't get as much discussion, excerpts from baseballlibrary.com.....

"Pete had difficulty with everything in life except pitching. He was a solitary man and said little - and that in a small, whispery voice.
In spite of rumors of his pitching drunk or badly hung over, alcohol had no discernible effect on Alexander's performance until late in his career. He also suffered from epilepsy, which was sometimes mistaken for drunken behavior. The disease first appeared in 1918 during his service in France with the artillery, which partially deafened him.
Alexander was ungainly, with a shambling walk; his uniform never seemed to fit properly, and his cap looked a size too small. Yet his pitching motion was economical, apparently effortless, and marvelously graceful. His windup was minimal, his stride short, his delivery three-quarters overhand. His right arm swung across his chest and the ball seemed to emerge from his shirtfront.
He had a live fastball that moved in on righthanded hitters and a sharp-breaking curve. He kept the ball low and on the outside of the plate.
The whiskey and age took their toll. After leaving the majors, he pitched in demeaning circumstances with touring teams until he was 51."
   198. OCF Posted: October 08, 2004 at 03:59 PM (#905053)
In our own time, we've grown used to the idea that contending teams make deals in midseason to enhance their postseason chances, and it's reasonably common that these deals involve well-known older players (e.g., Steve Finley, Larry Walker). In the history of such deals, here's one that stands out as one that really worked:

(Pete Alexander) June 22, 1926: Selected off waivers by the St. Louis Cardinals from the Chicago Cubs.
   199. DanG Posted: October 08, 2004 at 05:23 PM (#905232)
Win shares giving players credit for actual wins is not the problem; those are real wins and someone should get credit. The problem is in the assumption that they should be evenly distributed throughout the team, preoportional to calculated win shares. This assumes that we are measuring everything that is relevant and the rest is attributed to luck.

Why should it be assumed this "overperformance" is due to luck? Has there been a systematic study done of teams that over/under perform their Pythag Pct by big margins? Can we identify specific tendencies of these teams? or is there no consistent, identifiable factors? Maybe it is random? I don't know.

I assume, perhaps incorrectly, that there are indicators for teams that greatly over/under perform. I mean something besides performance in clutch situations, since I've never seen this demonstrated to be a skill, but rather to randomly vary from year to year. Can a correlation be found between +/- Pythag pct and team speed? or team defense? or bullpen performance?

If indicators of + performance can be identified, we will know who deserves the greater portion of these "extra" win shares. Maybe Posada deserves a larger portion of these than Sheffield, who seems like a player whoses contribution would be entirely captured by the metrics in use.
   200. robc Posted: October 08, 2004 at 06:10 PM (#905308)
I know that James did studies that teams that "overperform" tend to do worse the next year and vice versa. In other words, there tends to be no consistency to over/under performing. That would imply that there arent indicators of over/under performing, that it is random.

I dont know how thorough his studies were, so he may have missed something.
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