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

Monday, October 25, 2004

1938 Ballot Discussion

As I see it, Eddie Rommel is the only new candidate with a snowball’s chance in hell of making someone’s ballot this “year.” IOW, not a very strong batch of candidates.

1938 (November 7)—elect 2
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)

209 66.5 1920 Eddie Rommel-P (1970)
198 49.7 1921 Lu Blue-1B (1958)
193 47.3 1916 George Kelly-1B (1984)
183 43.8 1916 Charlie Jamieson-LF (1969)
149 36.8 1914 Rube Bressler-LF/P (1966)
133 32.0 1916 Clarence Mitchell-P (1963)
109 30.7 1918 Cliff Heathcote-RF (1939)
092 25.2 1923 Freddy Leach-LF (1981)
107 25.5 1920 Hod Ford-SS/2B (1977)
070 15.0 1922 Joe Hauser-1B (1997)

1938 (November 7)—elect 2
HF% Career Name-pos (born) BJ – MVP - All-Star

4% 15-32 Frank Warfield-2B(1895)#8 2b - 0 - 4*
0% 20-32 Reuben Curry-P (1899) 0.5 - 1*


Players Passing Away in 1937

HoMers
Age Elected

90 1901 George Wright-SS
80 1916 Harry Stovey-LF/1B
69 1926 Frank Grant-2B

Candidates
Age Eligible

81 1895 Hick Carpenter-3B
79 1898 Ned Hanlon-CF/Mgr
78 1897 John Reilly-1B
78 1898 Welday Walker-LF
74 1896 Ed Morris-P
68 1913 Jack O’Connor-C
64 1911 Duff Cooley-LF
62 1915 Tully Sparks-P
50 1931 Rube Benton-P
49 1929 Eddie Foster-3b

Once again, thanks to Dan and Chris for the lists!

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 25, 2004 at 03:09 PM | 165 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. DanG Posted: October 25, 2004 at 03:40 PM (#936547)
To give credit to whom it's due, thanks to Chris Cobb for the information on Negro League candidates.
   2. OCF Posted: October 25, 2004 at 03:46 PM (#936553)
There's a very interesting group of pitchers poised to come onto the ballot in 1939-40-41: Rixey, Faber, Grimes, Pennock, Luque, et al. They'll be a worthy subject for debate. Rommel's problem is that he's on the short end of that group.
   3. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 25, 2004 at 05:36 PM (#936712)
Re Frank Warfield:

He seems like Bingo DeMoss v. 2.0 to me. Wicked good fielder with a bat that only a Rey Sanchez could love. IOW, he's not a HOMer.

To add to OCF's comment about the 1939 ballot: We'll also have a pair of Negro Leaguers in Nip Winters and Heavy Johnson who may require some discussion. Winters in particular seems like a tough one to figure out because of his wildness, but we also have to reckon how to credit Johnson for his time in the military.
   4. OCF Posted: October 25, 2004 at 07:04 PM (#936814)
Lu Blue is at least a good enough player to be considered for the "All-Color" team that includes Vida Blue, Shawn Green, Doc White, Bud Black,... The competition there is for the first base spot on that team between Blue and Bill White. Both have 1600-1700 game careers. White has the OPS+ advantage, 117-109, but Blue's line is unbalanced in favor of OBP.

OK, it's not the HoM. But it's something to talk about.
   5. yest Posted: October 25, 2004 at 07:36 PM (#936832)
What abought Hank Greenberg at first
   6. Reidmar the Mediocre Posted: October 25, 2004 at 07:39 PM (#936836)
Posted by Hall of Frischer George Kelly on October 25, 2004 at 02:50 PM (#936832)

Will I make it?
   7. Chris Cobb Posted: October 25, 2004 at 07:56 PM (#936857)
A few quick comments on pitchers:

1) Eddie Rommel looks great in WARP. I think their analysis shows what RA+ and WS don't fully account for: his fielding support was below average for his career. He has a DERA of 3.73, WARP1 71.6 and W3 of 61.4. All very nice numbers.

All that said, Urban Shocker shows up with a DERA of 3.64, a W1 of 79.2 and W3 of 70.3 (all in just a few more innings pitched).

Shocker himself has only made a handful of ballots (he's on mine, so I would argue that he's being underrated in general), so I don't see how Rommel has much of a case against the current competition. He's much better than he is remembered as being, but nevertheless he's not ballot-worthy.

2) Nip Winters will merit a long look in 1939. He was definitely an outstanding pitcher for a few years (his 27-4 record in 1924 is the best w-l record against Negro-League competition ever). The questions to be answered about him are, first, how much did he benefit from pitching for good teams and, second, does he have enough career value to be a serious candidate?
   8. Howie Menckel Posted: October 26, 2004 at 01:19 AM (#937179)
This is a big year for us, fellas.
We've had lots of no-brainers for a while, and some more good ones on the way.
This time around, we want to be sure to pick players we'll be still glad to have chosen 20 "years" later.
Time for all of us to think these things through harder than ever..
   9. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 26, 2004 at 01:38 AM (#937198)
Will I make it?

Not in this Hall, buddy.

Time for all of us to think these things through harder than ever..

I think these type of years are more important than the ones for Ruth, Mays and Clemens. The latter ones can be phoned in.

With that said, I would be truly shocked to see anybody knock Groh and Coveleksi out of the running next year. They're just too far ahead for anybody to catch up to them. Coveleski has 150 pts more than Carey.
   10. PhillyBooster Posted: October 26, 2004 at 02:33 AM (#937237)
Well, wait until I start my smear campaign! Don't you suspect that if there were any terrorist HoM voters, they'd be voting for Groh? Isn't it likely that a vote for Coveleski will inexorably result in the elimination of your social security benefits?

Isn't it time you reconsidered the Beckley/Welch ticket in '38?
   11. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: October 26, 2004 at 02:46 AM (#937254)
I have to say I'm surprised Coveleski is doing as well as he is. I guess I overlooked it between the combination of the "no-brainer" elections and my own distractions at work. He's on my ballot, but towards the bottom. I agree that he's clearly ahead of his contemporaries on the ballot, but I'm not sure he's so much better as to justify his high placement.

In fairness, I may well be underrating pitchers in general - only having 3 on my ballot last year, and all in the bottom 5 (Redding, Mendez, and Coveleski, with Griffith due to come back on this year).

Sorry that I don't have an actual argument here, I just wanted to register my surprise.
   12. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 26, 2004 at 03:11 AM (#937267)
Well, wait until I start my smear campaign! Don't you suspect that if there were any terrorist HoM voters, they'd be voting for Groh? Isn't it likely that a vote for Coveleski will inexorably result in the elimination of your social security benefits?

I liked how you gave it to both sides, Matt. No need for a political war here, I always say! :-)

Isn't it time you reconsidered the Beckley/Welch ticket in '38?

They'll both be in my top ten for this election.
   13. Howie Menckel Posted: October 26, 2004 at 11:54 AM (#937393)
If Coveleski rates ahead of the Rixey, Faber, Grimes, Pennock, Luque crop, then no need for him to wait.
If not, I think putting him in now is problematic. That's what I'll be exploring this week..
   14. Rusty Priske Posted: October 26, 2004 at 12:39 PM (#937411)
Prelim:

My PHoM inductees look to be Max Carey and Lip Pike (finally!).

1. Max Carey (2,4,4)
2. Mickey Welch (6,8,6)
3. Jake Beckley (4,6,7)
4. Lip Pike (7,9,9)
5. George Van Haltren (3,7,5)
6. Tommy Leach (9,10,12)
7. Edd Roush (8,x,x)
8. George Sisler (12,x,x)
9. Hugh Duffy (13,13,13)
10. Jimmy Ryan (10,11,10)
11. Heinie Groh (14,14,14)
12. Harry Hooper (12,12,11)
13. Clark Griffith (x,x,x)
14. Cupid Childs (x,x,x)
15. Bill Monroe (15,15,15)

16-20. Powell, Doyle, Poles, Redding, Burns
21-25. Willis, Moore, Mullane, White, McCormick
26-30. Gleason, Waddell, Jennings, Browning, F. Jones
   15. TomH Posted: October 26, 2004 at 12:43 PM (#937417)
Bresnahan vs Schang

Using two metrics with no league qual adjustment:

By WARP1, Schang is 6 wins ahead (81 to 75) in his good 17 years, to Roger's 14 years. Two wins per extra year ain't much quality.

By Win Shares, Schnag is 14 WS ahead in 1.6 extra "full years" of 648 PA. Again, less than 10 WS per year is evidecne Schang was worse, not better.

League quality adjustments could change the assessment. In Schang's first ballot year, I was a bit conservative, and put him lower than Bresnahan. I may change that this ballot, but it's close, especially if you give Roger any credit for versatility, which is very reasonable.
   16. Al Peterson Posted: October 26, 2004 at 01:34 PM (#937449)
Looked at George Sisler again since he climbed to 10th in '37. I think there was some underrating going on by me. During a seven year stretch (1916-1922) he had 5 years of > 150 OPS+, 6 years of >140 OPS+. Throw in that before the injury he was a good defensive 1B and dangerous basestealer he looks very good.

I know some of us like to frown upon opinion based evaluation of players but there is lots of evidence Sisler was a special player. The Hall of Fame election of 1939 - received more votes than Eddie Collins and Willie Keeler. Many baseball men who picked alltime teams from yesteryear would mention Sisler or Gehrig as the 1st basemen of choice - no doubt remembering his peak performance.

Sisler will be moving onto my ballot this year. Maybe sometimes numbers tell only the partial story...
   17. DavidFoss Posted: October 26, 2004 at 01:54 PM (#937480)
I have to say I'm surprised Coveleski is doing as well as he is. I guess I overlooked it between the combination of the "no-brainer" elections and my own distractions at work. He's on my ballot, but towards the bottom.

I think one of the big advantages that Groh & Coveleski have had so far is that they are on so many ballots. Each is on 45+ ballots and no one else is on even 35. They are on my ballot, too, (and it the top 5 as well) so I am not complaining, but if someone is going to catch them they are going to have to start appearing on many more ballots.

Looking down the ballot, I don't really see why Carey is doing so much better than his contemporaries (and he older backlog candidates, too).
   18. jhwinfrey Posted: October 26, 2004 at 02:07 PM (#937502)
George "Highpockets" Kelly ranks the highest of the newbies for me--I give him too much credit for his defense and his nickname, probably. He makes my top 25 but may never make a ballot.

Lu Blue comes next, basically Kelly Lite. I have him around George H. Burns and Bobby Veach around 40th.

Eddie Rommel doesn't score many points in my system--I have him ranking between Urban Shocker and Bob Shawkey.

Frank Warfield is down in Donie Bush territory.
   19. Michael Bass Posted: October 26, 2004 at 02:10 PM (#937511)
If Coveleski rates ahead of the Rixey, Faber, Grimes, Pennock, Luque crop, then no need for him to wait.
If not, I think putting him in now is problematic. That's what I'll be exploring this week..


I will once again complain (in my typical whiny fashion) that we should not be comparing players to who is coming, but to the players against whom we are ranking them right now.
   20. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: October 26, 2004 at 02:12 PM (#937514)
Happy birthday Joe Dimino.
   21. PhillyBooster Posted: October 26, 2004 at 02:26 PM (#937534)

I will once again complain (in my typical whiny fashion) that we should not be comparing players to who is coming, but to the players against whom we are ranking them right now.


Of course, one aspect is rankings is "quality compared to his peers".

In my ranking system, Cicotte and Coveleski are very close (and Cicotte higher) largely because Cicotte was the third best (white) pitcher of his era (after Walter Johnson and Pete Alexander) and Coveleski was only the fourth best of his (after Eppa Rixey, Red Faber, and Dolf Luque).
   22. Chris Cobb Posted: October 26, 2004 at 02:47 PM (#937572)
George "Highpockets" Kelly ranks the highest of the newbies for me--I give him too much credit for his defense and his nickname, probably. He makes my top 25 but may never make a ballot.

I know it doesn't make any real difference, since Kelly is never going to come close to election, but he shoiuld have a tough time making it into the top 100 candidates right now, let alone top 25. There are probably 10 stronger candidates at first base alone: Sisler, Taylor, Beckley, Chance, Konetchy, Fournier, Daubert, Davis, Tenney, Morrill.

Of course, one aspect is rankings is "quality compared to his peers".

In my ranking system, Cicotte and Coveleski are very close (and Cicotte higher) largely because Cicotte was the third best (white) pitcher of his era (after Walter Johnson and Pete Alexander) and Coveleski was only the fourth best of his (after Eppa Rixey, Red Faber, and Dolf Luque).


I agree with Phillybooster that it's legitimate to include a player's ranking against his peers as part of an assessment of where he should rank overall. I disagree with his assessment of Coveleski versus his peers. I have him second, behind Rixey (and _just_ behind Rixey -- I'm waiting to see Chris J.'s analysis of the quality of Rixey's opposition before I make a final determination here), but comfortably ahead of Faber and Luque (even giving Luque credit for Cuban pitching prior to getting his chance in the majors).
   23. DanG Posted: October 26, 2004 at 02:58 PM (#937594)
The Hall of Merit and The New BJHBA

This is the first in a series of surveys comparing the rankings in the New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract with the Hall of Merit selections.

CATCHERS (HoMers, Candidates)

1.Berra, Y
2.Bench, J
3.Campanella, R
4.Cochrane, M
5.Piazza, M
6.Fisk, C
7.Dickey, B
8.Carter, G
9.Hartnett, G
10.Simmons, T

11.Torre, J
12.Freehan, B
13.Rodriguez, I
14.Munson, T
15.Howard, E
16.Bresnahan, R
17.Ewing, B
18.Porter, D
19.Parrish, L
20.Schang, W

21.Boone, B
22.Lombardi, E
23.Tenace, G
24.McCarver, T
25.Daulton, D
26.Haller, T
27.Roseboro, J
28.Burgess, S
29.Ferrell, R
30.Crandall, D

35.Schalk, R
40.McGuire, D
45.Farrell, D

46.O.Farrell, B
47.Bassler, J
48.Kling, J

49.Bennett, C
51.Ruel, M
54.O’Neill, S
58.Clements, J
60.Meyers, C
61.Snyder, F
62.Zimmer, C


2.(Negro League)Santop, L
5.(Negro League)Petway, B

Three of the catchers we’ve elected are among James’ rankings; Deacon White is listed with the thirdbasemen and Cal McVey is timelined into oblivion. Roger Bresnahan (#16) and Wally Schang (#20) are currently our only candidates among James’ top 30 catchers in history, although Bruce Petway could also be included among those. Newly eligible in the next five years are Bob O’Farrell, Muddy Ruel and Mickey Cochrane.
   24. DanG Posted: October 26, 2004 at 03:07 PM (#937596)
The Hall of Merit and The New BJHBA

This is the second in a series of surveys comparing the rankings in the New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract with the Hall of Merit selections. Keep in mind these rankings date from about the beginning of the 2001 season and tend to favor peak-heavy players. Also, the HoM rejects the extreme timeline penalty employed by James.

FIRSTBASEMEN (HoMers, Candidates)

1.Gehrig L
2.Foxx, J
3.McGwire, M
4.Bagwell, J
5.Murray, E
6.Mize, J
7.Killebrew, H
8.Greenberg, H
9.McCovey, W
10.Thomas, F

11.Anson, C
12.Mattingly, D
13.Perez, T
14.Clark, W
15.Allen, D
16.Hernandez, K
17.Cepeda O
18.Brouthers, D
19.Palmeiro, R
20.Cash, N

21.McGriff, F
22.Connor, R
23.Vernon, M
24.Sisler, G
25.Chance, F

26.Terry, B
27.Powell, B
28.Cooper, C
29.Camilli, D
30.Hodges, G

35.Fournier, J
36.Bottomley, J
44.Judge, J
48.Konetchy, E
52.Beckley, J
60.Davis, H
61.Daubert, J
65.Kelly, G
68.McInnis, S
69.Larkin, H
70.Tenney, F

107. Start, J
3.(Negro League)Taylor, B

All four of the firstbasemen we’ve elected are among James’ rankings. George Sisler (#24) and Frank Chance (#25) are currently our only candidates among James’ top 30 firstbasemen in history, although Ben Taylor could also be included among those. Newly eligible in the next five years are Joe Judge, Bill Terry and Jim Bottomley.
   25. Howie Menckel Posted: October 26, 2004 at 03:59 PM (#937661)
Michael,
Without considering a candidate's true peers, we could run into a situation where someone gets elected only because he was unable to play quite as long as a peer.
For example, take two 230-171 pitchers with all identical secondary stats. One is able to pitch parts of three more seasons beyond that, going 16-16 with a 100 ERA+.
The first pitcher becomes eligible within a down cycle, and gets elected in his second try.
The second pitcher arrives in a difficult ballot time, necessarily gets pushed back for 5-6 years, and by that time all of their other contemporaries have become eligible. The superior rivals of both pitchers all get elected, and this sends Pitcher 2 into oblivion.
So now we've elected Pitcher 1, who seems to have benefited purely from the luck of his exact retirement year (as opposed to perhaps benefiting from playing in a particular era, which is a different argument entirely).

If the exact pitching numbers seem to throw off the argument, adjust 'em as you see fit. And this isn't specifically about Covaleski-Rixey or any other pair.

I'm not talking about a big adjustment; it's not like I'm going to slide Covaleski (who I like) off the ballot or something. This is nuance.

And if I'm missing something here, I'm open to changing course.
   26. PhillyBooster Posted: October 26, 2004 at 04:03 PM (#937672)
With heavy timelining, we haven't gotten to a lot of the Top 20 guys yet in most categories.

Leaving aside the pre-1934 backlog, at catcher, I'd say everyone from Ewing up (top 17) goes in, plus Negro Leaguers, and at first base we'd go down to about number 27 (Boog Powell), which is essentially only the Top 20, since about a half dozen guys above Powell won't be eligible until after 2000.

I'm still very curious to see how far down the backlog we dip as the "border" candidates expand. Will Keith Hernandez get inducted, or will we only have about a dozen first basemen?
   27. Rick A. Posted: October 26, 2004 at 05:49 PM (#937793)
There are probably 10 stronger candidates at first base alone: Sisler, Taylor, Beckley, Chance, Konetchy, Fournier, Daubert, Davis, Tenney, Morrill.

The only first basemen I have him higher than in my consideration set is George H. Burns and Lu Blue. Man, what a bad selection!!
   28. OCF Posted: October 26, 2004 at 07:04 PM (#937977)
I agree with Howie's response (#25) to Michael Bass's complaint (#19) about bringing not-yet-eligible players into the conversation. Faber, Rixie, Ruffing, Vance, and Luque are very much part of the context for Coveleski (as well as Mays, Cicotte, and Adams), and no one of them stands out as obviously superior to the others. Nearly all of these guys have retired already, so we know their full records. They just haven't served their 5-year waiting period yet. Personally, I'm planning to take Coveleski and Vance (in some not-yet-decided order) as my top two of the group. That's a peak-leaning opinion. I could certainly see that someone else with a more career-leaning view might want to put Faber and Rixie ahead of Coveleski and Vance.

But there's a problem associated with being cautious with Coveleski (or, in their own times, Rusie, Flick, Joe Jackson): the only way to do that is to put someone else higher on your ballot than you might otherwise have done. Does that other person really deserve so high a placement?
   29. Howie Menckel Posted: October 26, 2004 at 07:29 PM (#938030)
Yes, OCF, it is a delicate dance.

I'm not sure I can define this issue exactly, but I do see Michael's point of view. I think what I do is a little different than what he fears, however.
   30. Michael Bass Posted: October 26, 2004 at 07:46 PM (#938068)
I probably was too harsh to begin with, I certainly see the merit in measuring a player against his peers, even if he retires a little early. I think that is a (minor, but existing) flaw in our methodology, most easily shown by Joe Jackson cruising in against a weak backlog of players he was 10 years younger than.

OCF states my concern pretty well though. My worry is what might go on is:

- One decides that 5 SPs are better than Player X currently on the ballot. Coveleski is one of those players, but is 5th on that list. Coveleski is then downgraded below Player X so he doesn't go in before his peer SPs who the voter has ranked higher, despite the fact that the voter feels Coveleski is more meritorious than Player X.
   31. DanG Posted: October 26, 2004 at 08:06 PM (#938127)
The Hall of Merit and The New BJHBA

This is the third in a series of surveys comparing the rankings in the New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract with the Hall of Merit selections. Keep in mind these rankings date from about the beginning of the 2001 season and tend to favor peak-heavy players. Also, the HoM rejects the extreme timeline penalty employed by James.

SECONDBASEMEN (HoMers, Candidates)

1.Morgan J
2.Collins E
3.Hornsby R (1941)
4.Robinson, J
5.Biggio, C
6.Lajoie, N
7.Sandberg, R
8.Gehringer, C
9.Carew, R
10.Alomar, R

11.Frisch, F (1943)
12.Grich, B
13.Whitaker, L
14.Herman, B
15.Fox, N
16.Gordon, J
17.Randolph, W
18.Doerr, B
19.Lazzeri, T
20.Doyle, L
21.Knoblauch, C
22.McAuliffe, D
23.Lopes, D
24.Myer, B
25.Evers, J
26.Childs, C

27.Gilliam, J
28.Schoendienst, R
29.Mazeroski, B
30.McPhee, B

35.Pratt, D
37.Huggins, M
38.Richardson, H
43.Bishop, M (1941)
51.Murphy, D
54.Williams, J
55.Daly, T
56.Lowe, B

58.McManus, M (1940)
59.Ritchey, C

1.(Negro League)DeMoss, B
5.(Negro League)Monroe, B

6.(Negro League)Grant, F

Five of the secondbasemen we’ve elected are among James’ rankings; Ross Barnes is timelined into oblivion. Larry Doyle (#20), Johnny Evers (#25) and Cupid Childs (#26) are currently the candidates among James’ top 30 2B in history, although Bingo DeMoss and Bill Monroe could also be included among those. Newly eligible in the next five years are Marty McManus, Rogers Hornsby, Max Bishop and Frankie Frisch.
   32. DanG Posted: October 26, 2004 at 08:12 PM (#938148)
The Hall of Merit and The New BJHBA

This is the fourth in a series of surveys comparing the rankings in the New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract with the Hall of Merit selections. Keep in mind these rankings date from about the beginning of the 2001 season and tend to favor peak-heavy players. Also, the HoM rejects the extreme timeline penalty employed by James.

THIRDBASEMEN (HoMers, Candidates)

1.Schmidt, M
2.Brett, G
3.Mathews, E
4.Boggs, W
5.Baker, H
6.Santo, R
7.Robinson, B
8.Molitor, P
9.Hack, S
10.Evans, D

11.Bando, S
12.Boyer, K
13.Nettles, G
14.Rosen, A
15.Traynor, P (1941)
16.Cey, R
17.Collins, J
18.Elliott, B
19.Bell, B
20.Leach, T

21.Groh, H
22.Ventura, R
23.Williams, M
24.Yost, E
25.Caminiti, K
26.McGraw, J
27.Wallach, T
28.Jones, C
29.Gardner, L
30.Kell, G

33.Cross, L
42.Lyons, D

43.Lindstrom, F (1942)
45.Williamson, E
46.Bradley, B
49.Nash, B
51.Zimmerman, H
54.Latham, A
57.Steinfeldt, H
58.Devlin, A

76.White, D
98.Sutton, E


2.(Negro League)Johnson, J (1943)
3.(Negro League)Marcelle, O
5.(Negro League)Malarcher, D (1940)

All four of the thirdbasemen we’ve elected (including Groh) are among James’ rankings, along with White. Tommy Leach (#20), John McGraw (#26) and Larry Gardner (#29) are currently the candidates among James’ top 30 3B in history, although Oliver Marcelle could also be included among those. Newly eligible in the next five years are Dave Malarcher, Pie Traynor, Freddie Lindstrom and Judy Johnson.
   33. jimd Posted: October 26, 2004 at 08:53 PM (#938232)
With heavy timelining, we haven't gotten to a lot of the Top 20 guys yet in most categories.

Reality check. Electing the top-15 at each everyday position, plus an appropriate number of pitchers (50-60) yields a total of 170-180 players. Add 45-55 Negro Leaguers and 19th century players discriminated against by the James timeline and the HOM is full.

On the peers argument. By the constitution, we are charged with ordering the eligible players. We cannot "downgrade" a player just to prevent his being elected, that only opens the door for someone even less worthy to be elected. (OTOH, incorporating into the rating a player's relative standing amongst his peers is quite valid; I do that also.) The voting process will favor some fringe candidates over others simply due to timing.
   34. jimd Posted: October 26, 2004 at 09:11 PM (#938267)
21.Groh, H

Jumping the gun a bit there, DanG.
   35. PhillyBooster Posted: October 26, 2004 at 09:13 PM (#938272)
Not saying you're wrong, or even that I disagree. Here's the Top 15 first basemen, for example, excluding Negro Leaguers, 19th century players, and anyone not eligible until after 2000.

1.Gehrig L
2.Foxx, J
<strike>3.McGwire, M. </strike>
<strike>4.Bagwell, J</strike>
<strike>5.Murray, E</strike>
6.Mize, J
7.Killebrew, H
8.Greenberg, H
9.McCovey, W
<strike>10.Thomas, F</strike>

<strike>11.Anson, C</strike>
<strike>12.Mattingly, D</strike>
13.Perez, T
<strike>14.Clark, W</strike>
15.Allen, D
16.Hernandez, K
17.Cepeda O
<strike>18.Brouthers, D</strike>
<strike>19.Palmeiro, R</strike>
20.Cash, N

<strike>21.McGriff, F</strike>
<strike>22.Connor, R</strike>
23.Vernon, M
24.Sisler, G
25.Chance, F
26.Terry, B

You say Top 15, I say Top 30. We might be talking about the same people.
   36. jimd Posted: October 26, 2004 at 09:36 PM (#938312)
My count was based on 225 elected through 2005. Murray and Mattingly would be eligible by then but not Will Clark (2006). There's a lot of modern 1b-men on the BJ list, so in that case the "top-15" (modern and NL and 19thC adjusted)actually goes down to #24, Sisler. I assume that debate will swirl around most players in the lower half of each top-15 list, plus the next dozen or so. I also assume that we won't necessarily accept all of James' top-15 (adjusted) at each position.
   37. jimd Posted: October 26, 2004 at 09:48 PM (#938329)
Just checking the other positions: while 1b adjusts down to 24, Catcher goes to 18 (remove Piazza, IRod, and Ewing), 2B to 17 (remove Biggio and Alomar), and 3B to 15 (Boggs is eligible in 2005).
   38. Howie Menckel Posted: October 26, 2004 at 10:00 PM (#938346)
jimd, I don't really disagree with your point on 'timelining,' either. I think we're all not so far apart on this.
   39. karlmagnus Posted: October 26, 2004 at 10:59 PM (#938419)
I have to say I think James' lists are pretty worthless, since not only does he steeply timeline in general but he also has a ridiculous affection for anybody active during his adult life -- after 1975 or so. A list that says Bagwell, Murray, Thomas, Mattingly, Clark, Allen and Cepeda are all better than Brouthers, and that puts Beckley at #51, in spite of him being I think #5 in that group in terms of hits, playing shorter seasons and without modern medicine, is scrap paper as far as the HOM is concerned.
   40. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 26, 2004 at 11:15 PM (#938432)
karlmagnus, to be fair to Bill James, I doubt you could find any analyst*, sabermetric or non-sabermetric, that would have Beckley at #5. BTW, I'm not talking a swipe at Eagle Eye, since he is in my top ten.

* other than you, of course :-)
   41. jimd Posted: October 26, 2004 at 11:55 PM (#938473)
My point is simply that there is no room for everybody in the (adjusted) Top-20, never mind Top-30. The way that the election process is structured, many of BJ's 70's/80's picks will face stiff competition from the backlog and not get elected by 2005.
   42. Cblau Posted: October 27, 2004 at 01:50 AM (#938799)
TomH wrote:
By Win Shares, Schnag (sic) is 14 WS ahead in 1.6 extra "full years" of 648 PA. Again, less than 10 WS per year is evidecne (sic) Schang was worse, not better.
No, it is evidence he was better, since he had exactly as good a career as Bresnahan, then was good enough to keep playing Major League baseball for another 1.6 years.
   43. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 27, 2004 at 02:12 AM (#938877)
I, for one have no problem with Jake Beckley being that low. Well, maybe not 51, but outside the top forty? Sure. Of course I am of the peak crowd who doesn't think Beckley should be in the HOM, whereas you are the opposite, which I understand.
   44. TomH Posted: October 27, 2004 at 11:35 AM (#939402)
By Win Shares, Schang is 14 WS ahead in 1.6 extra "full years".

No, it is evidence he was better, since he had exactly as good a career as Bresnahan, then was good enough to keep playing Major League baseball for another 1.6 years.
----------
Completely, completely disagree. Playing MLB for 1.6 years and gaining 14 win shares is evidence that the player ought to be in the minors, or at least benched. It's like saying that Hank Aaron and Ted Williams were equal players, but you give Aaron the edge because he was "good enough" to play 2 extra years (1975 and 76) as a lousy DH.
   45. Chris Cobb Posted: October 27, 2004 at 02:54 PM (#939588)
Howie Menckel wrote: This time around, we want to be sure to pick players we'll be still glad to have chosen 20 "years" later. Time for all of us to think these things through harder than ever.

DavisFoss wrote: I think one of the big advantages that Groh & Coveleski have had so far is that they are on so many ballots. Each is on 45+ ballots and no one else is on even 35. . . .

I would agree, and I think the electorate would be making two sound choices in 1938 in Groh and Coveleski, but, as part of thinking things through harder this year, I want to make a pitch for a candidate who is appearing on about 50% of ballots, Hughie Jennings.

I want to persuade career-oriented voters to give a bit more emphasis to a peak of the height achieved by Jennings, and I’ll do that by comparing Jennings to Carey and Beckley, the two career value candidates who rank ahead of him.

I want to look at these candidates by focusing on their strengths -- career for C & B, peak for Jennings -- in relation to HoM standards. I’ll use my season-and-fielding adjusted win shares, which give a bit more advantage to infielders than straight win shares, though probably not quite as much as WARP. Different metrics would yield somewhat different results, but as I’m not making _fine_ distinctions here, though, so I hope my conclusion will be valid for many systems.

First, career. I have Beckley at 384 career win shares, Carey at 390. In terms of career value, they are most similar to this group of players, which includes all position players 10 cws above and below them.

398 Bid McPhee
396 Willie Keeler
393 George Van Haltren
392 Jack Glasscock
392 George Gore
390 Max Carey
387 Sherry Magee
384 Jimmy Ryan
384 Jake Beckley
384 Harry Heilmann
382 Jimmy Sheckard
374 Tommy Leach

7 of 12 in this group have been elected to the HoM.

There are 24 position players with more career win shares than the players in this group, all of whom are in the HoM (I include in this count players to whom I have given estimated win shares for play prior to 1871, but not Negro-League players.)

There are 12 position players in the HoM below this group. So electing all of the unelected in this group on the basis of their career value would put them in the lower half bottom half of HoM position players in career win shares, though above the bottom quarter.

Now peak, using five-year consecutive win-share totals. Hughie Jennings has 196 win shares over his best five consecutive seasons. Looking 10 win shares above and below, that puts him in this group:

206 George Wright
201 Roger Connor
196 Hughie Jennings
194 Dan Brouthers
194 Paul Hines
190 Jim O’Rourke
189 Nap Lajoie
188 Billy Hamilton
188 Ed Delahanty
187 Home Run Baker

9 of 10 in this group have been elected to the HoM.

There are 6 position players with higher 5-year peaks than this group:

261 Honus Wagner
229 Ross Barnes
229 Ty Cobb
227 Tris Speaker
209 Eddie Collins

This group includes one short-career NA star and the four greatest position players so far eligible. Jennings’ peak ranks in the next tier below theirs among the best ever. Among players not yet eligible, he also ranks behind Ruth, Hornsby, and Gehrig, but that gives him the #11 5-year peak among position players for the first 70 years of professional baseball.

There are 37 HoM position players with lower 5-year peaks than Jennings. Jennings, if elected, would be in the top 25% of all HoM position players by this measure. Jennings’ strong point, his peak, is much more outstanding than is the strong point, career, of Carey and Beckley.

On the flip side, Carey and Beckley would be near the bottom of the HoM position players in peak value by the 5-year measure. Carey would top only Start, McPhee, Wallace, and Thompson among non-catchers (he is even with Bennett and tops Ewing by one). Beckley would be last, by a considerable margin (115 for Beckley to 136 for McPhee/Wallace).

Jennings would be at the bottom of the HoM in career value likewise, topping only Charlie Bennett and trailing the next-lowest by a considerable margin (272 for Jennings to 302 for Thompson).

But wouldn’t it make sense for the lowest career value in the HoM to be someone who ranks near the top in peak value? The career-value candidates are not outstanding as career value candidates. I would ask those who have left Jennings off their ballots to remember that Jennings turned in a performance over a five-year period (during which his team won three pennants and finished second twice in a twelve-team league) that has been bettered only by Honus Wagner, Babe Ruth, Ross Barnes, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Rogers Hornsby, Eddie Collins, George Wright, Lou Gehrig, and Roger Connor among position players so far in baseball history.
   46. karlmagnus Posted: October 27, 2004 at 03:50 PM (#939701)
Chris Cobb, very interesting analysis, and quite persuasive on Jennings. I thought however that we were agreed that WS undervalues pre-1920 1st basemen, in which case Beckley moves up a bit -- if 10 more WS, he's still in your first group, if 20+ more WS, he's significantly above it. because he stuck around for so long, the WS leverage of a small change in this area is substantial.
   47. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 27, 2004 at 04:10 PM (#939744)
I thought however that we were agreed that WS undervalues pre-1920 1st basemen

IIRC, I think Chris stated that he doesn't agree with that assessment, karlmagnus.
   48. Howie Menckel Posted: October 27, 2004 at 04:24 PM (#939774)
Chris Cobb's analysis touches on what I am struggling to get at.
I tend to be a little more career-oriented, and haven't necessarily bought Jennings as a HOMer (though he's usually always on my ballot somewhere). So I get comfortable putting Beckley 10 and Jennings 13 or whatever.
But when Beckley can climb into the top 5, I look particularly closely at whether he should be IN the HOM. Maybe I'd rather have a Jennings.

One could knock me for not already having Jennings ahead of Beckley, then. But I just feel like Beckley has commanded a ballot spot no matter what the competition because of his longevity, whereas I haven't always felt the "need" to list Jennings.
I guess I subconsciously warm to a limited number of high-peak players. When that number gets close to zero, Jennings starts to look pretty good.
   49. Chris Cobb Posted: October 27, 2004 at 04:27 PM (#939783)
IIRC, I think Chris stated that he doesn't agree with that assessment, karlmagnus.

Well, I agree that WS undervalues the defense of pre-1920 first-basemen more than it undervalues defense at any other position. The WS total I have for Beckley includes an upward adjustment of Beckley's fielding. I increase first-basemen fielding win shares prior to 1920 by 50%, where I increase win shares for other positions by 10-30%, depending on the position and the conditions.

So Beckley's 384 total includes this increase. I believe that some voters argue for an even greater increase than that, arguing that first base was more important defensively than center field, at least prior to 1900. I don't see evidence for that. More important than right field, yes. Close to or even equal to left field, yes. But no higher than that in the defensive spectrum.
   50. andrew siegel Posted: October 27, 2004 at 04:34 PM (#939803)
Interesting that Chris decided to focus on Jennings, as I have independently decided to jump him to number 1 on my ballot for this year.

I agree with the bulk of his argument.

Here's one additional point that convinced me to jump Jennings to the top of the list. Jennings is said to have only had five worthwhile seasons, but those years were so good that (if you don't count the UA and discount the 1890 AA by even 7%) his total WARP1 for his best EIGHT years is the highest of any candidate on the ballot. And that is without giving him any additional credit for the shortness of his seasons or the strength of the one-league environment in which he played.

Now, WARP isn't the be all and end all and eight years doesn't a full career make, but that's still an interesting fact and an important chit.
   51. PhillyBooster Posted: October 27, 2004 at 04:36 PM (#939805)
While I'm certainly amenable to a good "peak" case, my problem is the arbitrary selection of "5 year consecutive" -- the measure that puts Jennings in the best possible light.

Just for an example from the current crop, how does Jennings stand in "7 year consecutive" against George Sisler? Or "6/7 year non-consecutive" against Cupid Childs (who is closer to my ballot than Jennings is currently)?

Personally, I miss Joe's "pennants added" feature that meshed career and peak in an interesting way. I'm not averse to Jennings (he's been on my ballot before), but for me, the problem is, I know what "career value" is. I don't really know what "peak value" means. Five year consecutive seems fine, but no more so than any of several other measures.

I think, though, if I had to pick in the abstract, and sort of concretize the way I consider peak, I'd pick "best 8 year non-consecutive" (what some call "prime" or the "heart" of a career.)

Five good years, and you're not even eligible for free agency yet. Can you imagine anyone getting into the HoF today based on what they did solely when they were arb eligible?
   52. Chris Cobb Posted: October 27, 2004 at 05:18 PM (#939866)
While I'm certainly amenable to a good "peak" case, my problem is the arbitrary selection of "5 year consecutive" -- the measure that puts Jennings in the best possible light.

It wasn't arbitrary. I picked it to focus on the candidate's strongest point, just as career value is Carey's and Beckley's strongest point.

Jennings' five-year peak is good enough that his seven-year peak is still the best on the ballot, as I measure it.

Jennings 219
Groh 218
Sisler 214
Childs 212

His advantage edge here is small, unlike his five-year edge, but it's still there. And none of these three players has any above-average value to offer outside of their seven-year run.

Five good years, and you're not even eligible for free agency yet. Can you imagine anyone getting into the HoF today based on what they did solely when they were arb eligible?

Well, Jennings peaked in his 4-8 seasons, after two good but not outstanding seasons and a season mostly lost to injury. He then had four mediocre seasons after his run of greatness.

If you're looking for a modern comp, Dale Murphy and Don Mattingly are probably the best matches for Jennings in terms of career shape and career value. Both have some support for the HoF, but are not close to being elected. Both were superstars at their peak. However, neither was clearly the best player in baseball during their peak run. Imagine that either one had been Barry Bonds from 1990-1993, 1995 (to avoid the strike business) during their peak instead of Dale Murphy and Don Mattingly.

Mattingly, best five 146
Murphy, best five 150
Bonds, 90-93, 95 198

I think if they had been that good during their peak years, they would be serious candidates for the HoF right now, esp. if it was clear that they had lost their peak ability due to a baseball-related injury, as was (I think) the case with Hughie Jennings.
   53. andrew siegel Posted: October 27, 2004 at 05:57 PM (#939960)
So, on WS, Jennings had the best 7 year peak and on WARP he has the best 8 year peak (discounting 1890 AA and 1884 UA). On this (fairly weak) ballot, that's good enough for me.
   54. jimd Posted: October 27, 2004 at 06:17 PM (#940014)
"Though durable, Jennings suffered an incredible string of mishaps on and off the field. He was often hit by pitches; a then-record 49 times in 1896 alone. Two skull fractures, one the result of an accidental dive into an empty swimming pool, slowed but did not stop him. "
BaseballLibrary.com

During Jennings 5-yr peak, he led the league in HBP, every year, usually by a lot. His 5 year total was 202; the nearest competitor was at 83. He was hit more often than many players (eg Beckley, Clarke, Keeler) walked.

During his managerial career, he was a notorious drinker. IIRC, Sam Crawford (though it may have been Davy Jones) talked about this at some length in "The Glory of Their Times". (Can't help wondering whether this played any part in the swimming pool incident.)

He also worked as a baseball coach at Cornell instead of going to spring training, and earned a law degree part-time during the offseasons, passing the bar in 1905.
   55. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 27, 2004 at 07:08 PM (#940106)
Prelim:

1) Childs
2) Groh
3) Coveleski
4) Pike
5) C. Jones
6) Willis
7) York
8) Beckley
9) Welch
10) Waddell
11) Méndez
12) Konetchy
13) Van Haltren
14) Duffy
15) Bresnahan
   56. andrew siegel Posted: October 27, 2004 at 07:41 PM (#940217)
Prelim:

(1) Jennings (6th)
(2) Childs (5th)
(3) Van Haltren (3rd)
(4) Pike (10th)
(5) Coveleski (4th)
(6) Groh (7th)
(7) Duffy (8th)
(8) Chance (9th)
(9) C. Jones (unranked)--Realized I had goofed dropping him.
(10) Roush (11th)
(11) Ryan (12th)
(12) Willis (13th)
(13) Carey (14th)
(14) Sisler (15th)
(15) McGraw (unranked)

Next bunch (rough order): Veach, Beckley, Bresnahan, Schang, Veach, Mendez, Doyle, Monroe, Redding, Welch, Griffin, Browning, Cicotte, Griffith.
   57. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 27, 2004 at 08:00 PM (#940279)
On Stan Coveleski's likely plaque, should I use Coveleski or Coveleskie (the way it was written during his playing career)?
   58. PhillyBooster Posted: October 27, 2004 at 08:39 PM (#940377)
It wasn't arbitrary. I picked it to focus on the candidate's strongest point, just as career value is Carey's and Beckley's strongest point.

No, I agree that it's certainly Jenning's strongest point, my point was only that if you have a list of players and you're thinking "How should I rank them," there's very little a priori reason to go with 5-year peak.

If think I were going to construct a "peak" measure to measure true peak value, I'd weight it 10% one-year peak, 10% two-year peak, etc., so that it could take into account people whose peaks were varying lengths (if your peak was more than 10 years, you're a superstar and don't need extra "peak" points). Jennings would score very highly on the first five measures, and then progressively worse. I don't know. He'd probably still be near the top of the peak-o-meter, but maybe not THE top.

I don't know. I'll look at him again before next week. I used to have him above Childs, and then I switched them (I don't remember why), and now Childs in 18th on my ballot.

Jennings certainly has a better shot of seeing my ballot than Rommel does.
   59. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 27, 2004 at 08:47 PM (#940394)
Jennings certainly has a better shot of seeing my ballot than Rommel does.

True, but I'll take Rommel over Yodl or Donitz anyday. :-)
   60. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 27, 2004 at 08:47 PM (#940395)
I do appreaciate teh stumping for Jennings (my prelim #2) but I fear that he will be the first player to make my PHOM that won't make the HOM. Shame. As for the career guys, Max Carey will probably be fifth and Jake Beckley around 32nd.

Oh, and John, you should probably use the name Stan used during his playing career. Though I don't know what our history on this is.
   61. OCF Posted: October 27, 2004 at 08:48 PM (#940399)
On Stan Coveleski's likely plaque, should I use Coveleski or Coveleskie (the way it was written during his playing career)?

I think on my ballot, I'll go back to voting for Stanislaus Kowalewski (hearing that second "w" sound in my mind). Not that that helps you any.
   62. Evan Posted: October 27, 2004 at 08:54 PM (#940415)
Considering he was alive when his HOF plaque was made, and it reads "Coveleski", that's probably the way he preferred it.

Stan Coveleski HOF Plaque
   63. Rick A. Posted: October 27, 2004 at 08:57 PM (#940419)
Prelim ballot

1. C. Jones
2. Pike
3. Browning
4. Childs
5. Coveleski
6. Jennings
7. Mays
8. Groh
9. Duffy
10. Leach
11. Mendez
12. Williamson
13. Griffith
14. Redding
15. Roush

16-20 Monroe, Carey, Sisler, Bresnahan, Schang
21-25 Cooper, F. Jones, Van Haltren, Poles, McGraw
26-30 Willis, Doyle, Waddell, Bond, Moore
31-35 Taylor, Tiernan, Chance, Welch, Griffin
36-40 Burns, Veach, R. Thomas, Ryan, Long
41-45 Schalk, Dunlap, Bancroft, Tinker, Beckley
46-50 Mullane, Joss, Hooper, McCormick, Evers
   64. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 27, 2004 at 09:18 PM (#940471)
Considering he was alive when his HOF plaque was made, and it reads "Coveleski", that's probably the way he preferred it.

I think that does it for me.
   65. karlmagnus Posted: October 27, 2004 at 09:30 PM (#940492)
If we're getting picky, I rather doubt that heinie Groh's birth registry entry read "Heinie Groh" either. We'll just have to go with the Anglicisations that were most accepted by the players themselves.
   66. PhillyBooster Posted: October 27, 2004 at 09:36 PM (#940506)
Okay, I recognize that it's all over but the dancing for Stanislaus, but just for the sake of my own ballot, I had him #16 last year, and would default up to #14 this year if I don't reconsider anyone.

But now I'm reconsidering.

I generally lumped Vic Willis into the "short career 1900s" pitchers, but in fact he pitched 1000 innings more than Covaleski, and one more season.

Looking at peripherals bt season, compared to their respective peers:

Stat: #1/Top 5/ Top 10

Strikeouts
Cov.: 1/3/6
Willis: 1/4/7

Innings:
Cov.: 0/5/8
Willis: 1/4/9

BB+H/9
Cov.: 1/4/6
Willis: 0/3/4

Win Shares:
Coveleski: 245
WIllis: 293

Top ERA+ Seasons:
Cov.: 164, 156, 152, 148
Willis: 167, 154, 153, 130

Essentially, Coveleski walked fewer, Willis struck out more, and for 9 points of ERA+ over his career Willis gave you almost 1000 more innings (and 500 more than HoMer McGinnity).

Also, I believe that Willis was in front of a lower quality defense (and team) for many years.

Also, Willis has, by far, the cooler middle name.
   67. OCF Posted: October 27, 2004 at 11:41 PM (#940685)
Also, I believe that Willis was in front of a lower quality defense (and team) for many years.

This is essentially backwards. Willis had a long enough career that he pitched in front of defenses of several different qualities. But he broke into the majors pitching in front of one of the great defensive teams of all times - Frank Selee's Beaneaters with Herman Long, Jimmy Collins, Hugh Duffy, et al. Late in his career he had the Pirates' defense with Wagner and Leach. We know that Selee built for defense and taught defense. By the late oughts, the best defensive team was the Cubs (also Selee's team although the manager's job had passed to Chance), but the Pirates were similar to the Cubs in a number of important respects. Both the Cubs and the Pirates featured great success by multiple pitchers, none of whom was overworked.

But your larger point is that Willis is being underrated and you may be onto something there. If I did Willis's RA+-equivalent record without attempting to adjust for defense, I would have him as the #1 available pitcher, ahead of Coveleski and ahead of all of the 39-40-41 pitcher crowd (Rixey, Faber, Vance, ....). My attempt to do a defensive adjustment for him brought him down to essentially the same number of FWP as the similarly adjusted Mordecai Brown, behind - but just slightly behind - Coveleski, Rixey, Faber, and Vance. Faber is the most similar in career IP and peak contributions.

Then I've been knocking him down from there - his generation is already well-represented in the HoM (McGinnity, Walsh, Brown, Plank, Rube Foster). Maybe it was easier to be a pitcher right then. (Although note that Willis's best years came in a high run environment at the beginning of his career.) He's not getting much ballot support from the others here. So I had him at 21st on my 1937 ballot. But if you say he should be higher, I don't have much of an argument against that.
   68. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: October 27, 2004 at 11:41 PM (#940686)
Re: Vic Willis vs. Stan Coveleskie:

Vic had a better defense - he's Def Adj is +8.8 Fielding Win Shares to Coveleskie's +4.8 FWS. Willis's defense behind him sucked from 1903-5, but was fine the rest of the time - heck, it was great early on.

Had similar MOWPs, and MOWP+s, but Coveleski was far more likely to start against teams with a .600 winning percentage - his MOWP+6 was 123 compared to 97 for Willis.

Coveleski also had a superior W/K ratio - his Dr Memory K/BB number (K/W ratio adjusted for era) was 130, and Willis's was 110.
   69. EricC Posted: October 27, 2004 at 11:46 PM (#940697)
1938 prelim.

1. Wally Schang. The HoF managed to elect Bresnahan and Schalk among 1900-1930 era ML catchers. Schang appears like a better overall choice. The usual metrics may not do justice to catchers from this era, or I may have them too high.

2. Stan Coveleksi. Too bad that he won't hang around long enough to be directly compared with many of his contemporaries in the upcoming glut of borderline pitchers, but he looks near the top anyway.

3. Roger Bresnahan
4. Harry Hooper
5. Jake Beckley
6. Ray Schalk
7. George "Rube" Waddell
8. Jose Mendez
9. Eddie Cicotte
10. Urban Shocker
11. Heinie Groh
12. George Van Haltren
13. Lip Pike
14. Jimmy Ryan

15. Eddie Rommel. For pitchers that don't strike me as obvious HoMers, Total Pitcher Rating provides a sanity check. Rommel is confirmed as a borderline candidate.

Not making my ballot:

George Kelly. Would not even make my top 200. I estimate that, if we elected everybody at least as good as Kelly to the HoM, it would have at least 1100 members.
   70. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: October 27, 2004 at 11:56 PM (#940712)
But your larger point is that Willis is being underrated and you may be onto something there. If I did Willis's RA+-equivalent record without attempting to adjust for defense, I would have him as the #1 available pitcher

Vic's W/L problem is that he underachiever. Given his actual RA & his actual run support, he should've won 10 more games than he actually did. That's Exhibit A for why his W/L record doesn't match the ERA+.
   71. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 27, 2004 at 11:57 PM (#940716)
While I like Covaleski better, I think Willis is being seriously underrated by the electorate. Of course, I think pitchers in general are being somewhat underrated, IMO.

karlmagnus:

I have no intention of typing their birth names on their plaques. I do think we should go with the names that they used during their career. However, since Evan pointed out that Coveleski's HoF plaque didn't use the e (and Coveleksi was alive at the time to protest it), I don't think we should use Coveleskie.
   72. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 28, 2004 at 12:03 AM (#940725)
2. Stan Coveleksi. Too bad that he won't hang around long enough to be directly compared with many of his contemporaries in the upcoming glut of borderline pitchers, but he looks near the top anyway.

Other than Johnson and Alexander, I have Covaleski above Grimes, Faber, Vance and Rixey (in that order). All four will make my ballot at some time, however.
   73. jimd Posted: October 28, 2004 at 12:03 AM (#940726)
On measuring peak: it's largely a matter of taste. I use James' 2 measures (best 3 anytime, best 5 consecutive) supplemented by two more: 2nd best season (can he do it again? eliminates fluke #1's), and "prime 9" (best 5 consecutive plus the four best seasons not in that streak). Numbers are slightly less than James' for most players, though it's harsh on those with nothing outside the James' peak; players with long extended peaks move up. Jennings' best 5 is so good that he still has an outstanding peak with this measure.
   74. OCF Posted: October 28, 2004 at 12:17 AM (#940750)
Unrelated point, inspired by a Primer thread in which Roger Clemens is quoted as being "99% retired." I've only got that RA+/Pythpat calculation done through about Grove, Ruffing, and Hoyt. But I went ahead and did it for Clemens. For his career, he comes out at the equivalent of 324-173, which is pretty close to his actual 328-164. In doing that, I assign one decision for each 9 IP. The actual ratio of innings to decisions for 1900-1930 long-career pitchers mostly lies between 8.5 and 9.0, with many near 8.75. Clemens pitched in a very different environment - what are his IP per decision? They're 8.72; right in the middle of the pack for the old guys. Modern starters have handed many innings per start over the the bullpen, but in so doing have handed a proportionate number of decisions over the the bullpen as well.

The 361 FWP for Clemens' equivalent 324-173 would put him behind only Young, Johnson, and Alexander among the pitchers I've worked up, and essentially tied with a defense-adjusted version of Nichols. He's ahead of Grove and Mathewson, although Grove is close enough to talk about minor league performance.
   75. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: October 28, 2004 at 12:23 AM (#940768)
Other than Johnson and Alexander, I have Covaleski above Grimes, Faber, Vance and Rixey (in that order).

Vance is a fantastic pitcher. The more I find out about him, the better he comes off. My info on him is right here.

I don't see how anyone puts Coveleski ahead of him. Vance had the better prime, played behind worse defenses, was maybe the greatest stikeout pitcher ever (by the Dr Memory stuff, he was the greatest strikeout pitcher ever, and has the best K/W ratio, adjuted, ever). His run support was horrific. He had a better prime/peak. What's Coveleski got going for him? 115 more innings? That's it & it ain't even near enough to put him ahead of Vance. I also get a kick out of Vance's record against HoF pitchers.
   76. Chris Cobb Posted: October 28, 2004 at 12:28 AM (#940784)
my point was only that if you have a list of players and you're thinking "How should I rank them," there's very little a priori reason to go with 5-year peak.

Point taken. I used 5-year peak as the example metric primarily because it is well-known and easy for others to calculate within their own systems. In my own rankings, I actually use two measures of peak that I think are a good deal less arbitrary, but less well-known. They illustrate the quality of Jennings' peak similarly.

The first measure is what I call peak rate. Rather than being a raw win share total over 5 years, it is the player's win share rate for a period of no less than 5 years, extending as long as it needs to beyond five years to secure the player's best rate. This measure eliminates the impact of variations in playing time due to injury, etc. that affect raw totals, so it gives a fairer comparison of how good players were at their best. Almost every player's career has a rate curve with a single large peak, so few players' peak ability is misrepresented by this measure. Here's a list of all the position players through the 1937 season (omissions of active players are possible) who have achieved a peak rate of 35+ ws/162 games (using my fielding-adj. win shares) over a 5 or more season peak:

56.10 Honus Wagner, 05-09
53.70 Babe Ruth, 20-24
49.21 Ross Barnes, 71-76
49.01 Ty Cobb, 09-13
46.16 Tris Speaker, 12-17
46.03 Nap Lajoie, 01-05
45.45 George Wright, 71-76
44.22 Rogers Hornsby, 20-24
43.98 Eddie Collins, 09-15
41.56 Dan Brouthers, 82-86
41.19 Hughie Jennings, 94-98
40.92 Lou Gehrig, 27-31
40.89 Billy Hamilton, 94-98
40.44 Ed Delahanty, 95-99
40.17 Roger Connor, 84-88
39.02 George Gore, 80-86
38.85 Frank Chance, 03-07
38.64 Ezra Sutton, 71-75
38.45 Paul Hines, 78-82
37.68 Frank Baker, 09-14
37.59 King Kelly, 84-89
37.34 Joe Jackson, 16-20
37.18 Jimmy Foxx, 30-34
37.10 Jim O’Rourke, 76-80
36.98 Deacon White, 73-79
36.47 Jesse Burkett, 95-99
36.41 Fred Clarke, 00-04
35.89 John McGraw, 93-00
35.66 Buck Ewing, 81-86
35.51 Heinie Groh, 16-20
35.52 Cap Anson, 76-82
35.47 Joe Kelley, 94-99
35.38 Sam Crawford, 05-09
35.27 Edd Roush, 17-21
35.26 Levi Meyerle, 71-75
35.14 Lip Pike, 71-75

Jennings places in this list about where he places on the 5-year raw WS peak list. If one extends the peak period to 7 years, Jennings' rate still comes in above 35 -- 35.98. His position within this group would drop, but so would that of many other players.

The second measure is a measure I call "total peak." This measure adds up the win shares that a player is above average in each season of his career: it's meant to be a career peak measure, which eliminates the arbitrary length element that makes most peak measures tricky to interpret. This results fo this measure will vary depending on how one decides what "average" is, but results will at least be similar. Jennings does not appear among the all time greats on this measure, but he does beat all other eligible position players fairly handily.

Total Peak among eligible position players

81 Hughie Jennings
73 Hugh Duffy
68 Charley Jones
68 Roger Bresnahan (catcher adj.)
66 Heinie Groh
65 Mike Tiernan
64 Edd Roush
64 George J. Burns
62 George Sisler
62 Roy Thomas
62 Abner Dalrymple
60 Cy Seymour
59 Ed Williamson
59 Pete Browning
58 Max Carey
58 George Van Haltren
58 Bobby Veach
57 Tommy Leach
56 Fielder Jones
55 Elmer Smith
55 Johnny Kling (catcher adj.)
54 Tip O’Neill
52 Cupid Childs
51 Ross Youngs
50 Jimmy Ryan
50 Gavvy Cravath
50 Jack Fournier

This measure, because of its career component, favors outfielders heavily – 18 in this list out of 27 are outfielders, so Jennings' topping it is the more impressive.

The combination of Jennings' peak rate, which ranks among the all-time greats, and his very respectable total peak, which puts him ahead of all eligible competitors, outweighs his weak career totals in my evaluation of him. I think he is the most meritorious position player now eligible, with Heinie Groh, who also does very well by both peak measures and has 10% more career value than Jennings, is second.
   77. OCF Posted: October 28, 2004 at 01:01 AM (#940922)
For peak/prime measurements, in my various ad hoc systems, I like to set some seasonal threshold and then add up all contributions above that threshold over as many seasons as possible. Say I have some measurement in which 15 is a good number - anyone at 15 is at least a minor star. Then take someone with 22, 28, 38, 10, 26, 27, 20, and then a long run of 11's and 13's. Add up what's over 15: 7+13+23+0+11+12+5 = 71. jimd said he doesn't like fluke #1 seasons, so maybe he doesn't like that so much of this guy's value is that one monster 38 season. But he has by this measure a bigger peak than this second case: 12, 18, 42, 39, 3, 22, 14, 4: 0+3+27+24+0+7 = 61. Now maybe I've got the wrong theshold here, but I like to set it well above average to let those who truly have peaks shine through.

I've got Jennings lower than most. I see the point that those 5 years could easily be outshining someone else's 8 years or 11 years or whatever. But we need to be very sure that we've got the evaluation of those 5 years right. I know the systematic defense systems rank him very highly, and those systems are supposed to correct for discretional plays (e.g., the distribution of putouts between SS and 2B) - I'm just not 100% sure that that's been done right for Jennings, and his lack of value outside those 5 years doesn't help our confidence. Also: an unsual fraction of his offensive value comes from HBP. Of course that should be real value but for some reason it leaves me uncomfortable.
   78. PhillyBooster Posted: October 28, 2004 at 02:08 PM (#942289)
Vic had a better defense - he's Def Adj is +8.8 Fielding Win Shares to Coveleskie's +4.8 FWS. Willis's defense behind him sucked from 1903-5, but was fine the rest of the time - heck, it was great early on.

Yes, I was looking at the middle of his career ('03-'05) and generalizing. I'll defer to a more complete analysis that shows Willis had a better defense. His record in those "bad" years, though was 42-72 (.368) despite an ERA+ of almost exactly 100. One has to expect that he lost more than 10 "expected wins" in those years alone.

Those three years come between his "early good" years (109-75, .592) and his "late good" years (98-58, .628).

Add those together (career minus 1903-1905), and you get 207-133, .609 in 3026 innings, with an ERA+ of 124.

Compare that to Covaleski's 215-142, .602 127 ERA+

So, on the one hand, Covaleski had practically identical numbers to Willis, despite Willis having slightly better defense. On the other hand, Willis also had three more years as an average pitcher in front of a horrible team.

Does it make up the difference? I think it does. Even if it doesn't, though, it hardly warrants the 550 point gap between them on the ballots.
   79. Paul Wendt Posted: October 28, 2004 at 07:26 PM (#942746)
Phillybooster #51:
Can you imagine anyone getting into the HoF today based on what they did solely when they were arb eligible?

Chris Cobb #52:
Mattingly, best five 146
Murphy, best five 150
Bonds, 90-93, 95 198

I think if they had been that good during their peak years, they would be serious candidates for the HoF right now, esp. if it was clear that they had lost their peak ability due to a baseball-related injury, as was (I think) the case with Hughie Jennings.


I doubt that that Bonds peak is generally considered higher than those Mattingly and Murphy peaks, so I doubt the example. But I'm sure that the HOF would have modified its 10-year rule for Mariano Rivera, had his career ended a year ago; maybe if his career had ended after Y2K. (Youngsters: that's Year 2000.)

Dan Greenia:
Three of the catchers we’ve elected are among James’ rankings; Deacon White is listed with the thirdbasemen and Cal McVey is timelined into oblivion.

[Re 1Bmen:] the HoM rejects the extreme timeline penalty employed by James.

[Re 2Bmen:] Ross Barnes is timelined into oblivion.


The Bill James timeline is significant but McVey and Barnes are consigned to oblivion first because BJ started counting in 1876, second because Win Shares is a share of games played and the early seasons were short. White and Hines (#1-2 in the HOM) suffer first because the early season were short, second or third because of the timeline adjustment.

Phillybooster #58:
If think I were going to construct a "peak" measure to measure true peak value, I'd weight it 10% one-year peak, 10% two-year peak, etc., so that it could take into account people whose peaks were varying lengths.

I think it is better to accept that peak (or prime) is multi-dimensional. Given a satisfying single-season measure, plot each player's n-year peaks, the max sum or max avg of n years as a function of n, in two dimensions. Assess peaks according to your personal judgments of equivalence, which can be represented as curves in the same 2-D space. (cf Indifference Curves in the standard economic model of the consumer.)
   80. Chris Cobb Posted: October 28, 2004 at 07:39 PM (#942768)
I doubt that that Bonds peak is generally considered higher than those Mattingly and Murphy peaks, so I doubt the example.

Well, consider the fact that Bonds won three MVP awards in those five years and narrowly missed a fourth, while Murphy won two MVPs and Mattingly one as evidence that Bonds' performance was more highly regarded in general. It's my recollection that the majority of baseball writers regarded Barry Bonds as the best player in baseball in first half of the 1990s, and the most complete player the game had seen in a long time. (They still disliked him personally, of course.) While Murphy and Mattingly were highly regarded, I don't think either of them would have been regarded by the majority of writers as the best player in baseball over their five-year peaks.
   81. Michael Bass Posted: October 29, 2004 at 01:54 AM (#943259)
Rommell is a near complete non factor for my ballot, and the Negro Leaguers leave no impression whatsoever. Therefore, this is a pretty boring week, with everyone just moving up 2 slots (my top 2 were elected last election).

The one semi-interesting note is that Hughie Jennings gets to #1 on my ballot, after many times being quite close. Congrats to Hughie! I suspect, as he is unlikely to be elected, he will be #1 on my ballot many more times, or at least until I find another semi-unpopular candidate that I like better.

One exception: on further look at Spotswood Poles, I think it'd let him drift a little far up the ballot. I still like him, and wonder at what's happened to all his votes, but not enough to be #4 on the ballot.

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

1. Jennings
2. Groh
3. Coveleski
4. Mendez
5. Waddell
6. Browning
7. Veach
8. Poles
9. Redding
10. Moore
11. Childs
12. Monroe
13. Duffy
14. Van Haltren
15. Carey
   82. Chris Cobb Posted: October 29, 2004 at 02:25 AM (#943282)
A few responses on Coveleski vs. Willis

Top ERA+ seasons:
Cov.: 164, 156, 152, 148
Willis: 167, 154, 153, 130


Willis's top seasons are helped more than his other seasons are by defensive support. Here are _6_ top ERA+s calculated from WARP's DERA, which adjusts ERA for fielding support:

Coveleski 154, 149, 143, 143, 135, 132
Willis 144, 142, 141, 138, 122, 117

Overall, Coveleski's peak ERA+ advantage over Willis is consistent and substantial, even when one uses the numbers that give Willis a boost for defensive support, as their top 10 finishes in ERA+ show.

Times in Top 10, top 5, top 2 in ERA+

Coveleski 8, 5, 5
Willis 5, 3, 2

Willis does have an advantage in peak innings pitched, but it is not as large

Times in top 10, 5, 2 in IP

Willis 9, 5, 2
Coveleski 8, 5, 0

So, on the one hand, Covaleski had practically identical numbers to Willis, despite Willis having slightly better defense. On the other hand, Willis also had three more years as an average pitcher in front of a horrible team.

To this list should be added that Coveleski achieved his slightly superior numbers by these career measures (ERA+ and IP) despite pitching in an era in which it was harder to throw a lot of innings in a single season, despite pitching in an era in which it was harder to achieve a high ERA+ (as shown by C's much stronger top 10 placements despite similar absolute ERA+ values), and despite pitching against generally tougher competition.

Win shares, which gives Willis an advantage in career win shares, adjusts for few of these factors. WARP, which adjusts for them, gives Coveleski the advantage in both career WARP1 and WARP3, 87.4 to 80.0 in WARP1, 77.4 to 56 in WARP3.
   83. karlmagnus Posted: October 29, 2004 at 12:26 PM (#943501)
Apart from Rogan, who's in there somewhere, Grimes looks to me the best of the pre-'42 bunch, with clearly the best W-L 270-212 with a pretty mediocre Brooklyn team -- yes I know his ERA+ is only 103, but I think that's a fluke, like Welch's 113, that doesn't reflect real pitching ability. Second is Faber, at 254-213 and a 119 ERA+. Coveleski/Mays/Grimes is close; Coveleski's better than all the others (better than Mays, too, but Mays could hit a bit.) Vance at 197-140, with the same team as Grimes, is very unimpressive -- a notch below on the ballot, with Waddell -- also a career OPS+ of 10, pathetic. Grimes, Coveleski, Mays (incluidng hitting) and Faber are just a little better than Willis, who's at the edge of my ballot, the others are worse.
   84. karlmagnus Posted: October 29, 2004 at 12:30 PM (#943505)
Sorry, Grimes ERA+ 107 not 103. All these pitchers are very borderline, Cicotte at 207-149 with an ERA+ of 123 as good as any of them, and better if you give even a small bonus for the years he was forced to miss.
   85. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: October 29, 2004 at 01:43 PM (#943587)
A thought for John or Joe or whoever - The next ballot thread or results thread you may want to post in primer - might be some baseball starved fans looking for something to do with their extra time.
   86. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 29, 2004 at 02:07 PM (#943626)
A thought for John or Joe or whoever - The next ballot thread or results thread you may want to post in primer - might be some baseball starved fans looking for something to do with their extra time.

The head honcho here (Jim Furtado) wasn't too keen on more threads in that section because of duplication. He did give me permission to do so if I wanted to, but I decided against doing so anyway. Anybody viewing the BTF home page can see the new HoM threads in the Blogpen area, so I think Jim was correct in his judgment. Besides, it appears we have been gaining new coverts and fans recently, so our threads are being seen by new viewers.
   87. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 29, 2004 at 02:12 PM (#943635)
Cicotte at 207-149 with an ERA+ of 123 as good as any of them, and better if you give even a small bonus for the years he was forced to miss.

Poor Eddie. Minding his own business and what happens? Landis throws him out for no damn reason. The nerve! :-)
   88. Chris Cobb Posted: October 29, 2004 at 02:44 PM (#943701)
Grimes looks to me the best of the pre-'42 bunch, with clearly the best W-L 270-212 with a pretty mediocre Brooklyn team -- yes I know his ERA+ is only 103, but I think that's a fluke, like Welch's 113, that doesn't reflect real pitching ability. . . Vance at 197-140, with the same team as Grimes, is very unimpressive -- a notch below on the ballot, with Waddell.

Karlmagnus, I would urge you to read Chris J.'s analysis of Vance's run support and his analysis of the quality of the teams Vance faced. (He put the link to his analysis in post 75.)

Quick summary: Grimes' career run support was 7% better than league average, while Vance's career run support was 10% below league average. Vance was clearly Brooklyn's #1 starter, facing a disproportionately high number of good teams (and, one guesses, from his run support, good pitchers).

A quick Pythagorean calcuation from run support shows that an average pitcher with Grimes' support (and durability) would go 257-225. Grimes beat an average pitcher by 13 wins. The same calculation for Vance shows an average pitcher with his run support and durability going 151-186. Vance beat an average pitcher by 46 wins. That's impressive.

So, yes, Grimes knew how to win -- he got his teammates to score a lot of runs for him :-) .

And yes, Grimes was a better hitter than Vance, so he contributed to his superior run support. A rough and dirty estimate suggests that if Grimes had hit like Vance, he would have won about 7 fewer games. If Vance had hit like Grimes, he would have won about 5 more. If we figure Grimes (OPS+ 58) and Vance (OPS+ 10) are equally above and below an average pitcher OPS+ of 35, that would make Grimes 17 wins better than an average pitcher for his career, Vance 43 wins better, rather than 13 and 46.
   89. karlmagnus Posted: October 29, 2004 at 03:38 PM (#943812)
Grimes however had 40.9% more career than Vance. That is not chopped liver. I am very unimpressed with 20s win numbers, and believe that "random" fluctuations in talent are far greater than most sabermetricians believe, so that it's perfectly possible that one reason for the end of the "dead ball era" was that '20s pitchers were lousy, and only with the Grove/Hubbell generation did some decent ones reappear. Having said that most of these guys will appear in the 12-25 spots on my ballot in the next few years, with Coveleski towards the top and no, Vance NOT near him.

It is now quite clear that Cicotte was shafted by the random trading event of being dealt by the Red Sox to Comiskey in 1912. His dominance as a pitcher has been exemplified by his success in placing an 80 year CURSE on the Red Sox, presumably when banned from baseball in 1921, only lifted when a knuckleballer started Game 1 of the World Series for the Red Sox, as Cicotte should have done 3 times (OK, Wood would have started in 1912, I'm sure Cicotte would accept that.)
   90. ronw Posted: October 29, 2004 at 04:05 PM (#943865)
Just looking at pre-42 pitchers who may enjoy some support in the few backlog years (38, 39, 40). I'm also leaving off some of the barely-supported holdovers (McCormick, Bond, Leever, Mullane)

A. Cooper
W. Cooper
Cicotte
Coveleski
Faber
Griffith
Grimes
Joss
Mays
Mendez
Pennock
Redding
Rixey
Rogan
Shocker
Vance
Waddell
Welch
Willis
Winters

That's 20 pitchers, none of whom (except maybe Rogan) truly stand out. It looks like Coveleski will be elected next year, but he does not appear better than the rest of this group.

Plus, we've got at least Bill Foster (43), Wes Ferrell (44), Waite Hoyt (44), Dizzy Dean (46), Lefty Grove (47), Charlie Root (47), Ted Lyons (48), Larry French (48), Lefty Gomez (48), Carl Hubbell (49), Tommy Bridges (49), Lon Warneke (49) coming up. Of those, Bill Foster, Grove, and Hubbell appear automatic, with the rest thrown into the mix above. There are probably others who I am forgetting, and this only goes through '49.

I think everybody should take a good hard look at Coveleski this week, like Howie said I like Stan, but he is just off my ballot, and will stay there in '38.

Of course, voters should compare him to those eligible, and this may be a class with no one who is meritorious. This may just be a year that the system benefits Stan. I suggest that you look at Coveleski next to each person on your ballot. Is he really better or worse than that person? Are you making a judgment call based on a perception of a lack of pitching in the Hall? Is your perception based on Coveleski's documented stats, as opposed to Negro Leaguers or Lip Pike (our last pre-NA holdover)?
   91. ronw Posted: October 29, 2004 at 04:11 PM (#943868)
Stupid non-editing. Howie didn't say he had Coveleski off his ballot, he said that everyone should look at Stan this week.

I have Coveleski off my ballot. There should have been a period between said and I in the penultimate paragraph from #90.
   92. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 29, 2004 at 08:04 PM (#944240)
I will say that Coveleski is currently #4 on my ballot but after reading most of this thread a part of me wants to drop him down. However, I actually like him more than I like Carey, Pike, Leach, Redding, etc. Hell, I like him more than everyone other than my top 3 (of course), which will most likely be Groh, Jennings, and Childs in that order.

So maybe over the next few days we should look not at where Coveleski ranks among his pitching peers, but where he ranks against the position players on the ballot that he seems to be beating. If we as a group don't seem to think that now is a good time to elect a pitcher who may or may not be better than his peers, then maybe we should be coming up with reasons why he should be dropped for say Max Carey, Hugh Duffy, or even a Bill Monroe.
   93. Howie Menckel Posted: October 29, 2004 at 08:22 PM (#944265)
Well, I don't foresee a big drop for Covaleski on my ballot; as you say, there are a limited number of players most of us could like better for various reasons (Pike, Jennings, Welch, Redding for four wildly different examples). He fares very well against most of the eligible players, I think.
   94. OCF Posted: October 29, 2004 at 09:24 PM (#944376)
Just looking at pre-42 pitchers who may enjoy some support in the few backlog years (38, 39, 40).

I'd add one name to Ron's list: Dolf Luque. Here are my RA+-equivalent records, with a "big years" score for years with single-season equivalent FWP above 15.
Pitcher       W-L   EqFWP  Big years score
A. Cooper   (not available)
W. Cooper   220-166  180    23
Cicotte     209-149  181    48
Coveleski   209-134  203    61
Faber       255-199  200    41
Griffith    203-146  175    43
Grimes      242-222  147    25
Joss        161- 98  164    40
Luque       203-154  164    33
Mays        189-146  150    13
Mendez      (not available)
Pennock     216-181  152    26
Redding     (not available)
Rixey       275-224  202    19
Rogan       (not available)
Shocker     181-117  173    29
Vance       201-129  194    58
Waddell     200-129  191    59
Welch       (not done)
Willis      248-196  192    44  (defense-adjusted)
Winters     (not available)

I agree that Covaleski does not stand out above that group; there are a lot of pitchers of similar quality in there. However, I am inclined to take him as probably the #2 pitcher in the group, behind only Vance. Therefore, I have no particular qualms about him being elected at this time. I won't have him at #1 on my ballot, but then I have my own windmill to tilt at (Larry Doyle). However, I can see the fact that Coveleski is elected being used - legitimately - as an argument for, say, Rixie or Faber.
   95. The Erskine Thomason of UBW Posted: October 29, 2004 at 10:46 PM (#944462)
I have a few questions to ask in the spirit of looking at certain issues I'm facing from different perspectives.

First, Beckley has been a paragon of the no-peak, long-career candidates, totaling 318 WS while never accruing more than 23 in a season (or in warp1, the only one of the two I have s-b-s access to: 113.5 and 8.9). Meanwhile, there is another candidate, Tommy Leach, of similar ilk who has 329 WS (114.4 warp1) with a higher peak (122 WS in 5 consecutive yrs and 48 warp1 in his top 5 seasons compared to Beckley's 97 and 39.5). However, Beckley landed on 27 ballots for 389 points while Leach was on only 19 ballots for 209 points.

Charting their career s-b-s w\ warp1 from their best to last, Leach's was better than Beckley in each of their 10 best seasons (by large margins in their top 5), and while Beckley had better totals in their 10 worst--testifying to his consistency--the gap isn't large until Leach's final three seasons and your talking an average of 4.5 warp1 a yr during that time span.

Now, I'm a little new so I know that all of you probably know stuff from prior discussions--such as the defensive spectrum issue, so I'm curious why Beckley rates better than Leach on several people's ballots.

Second, Waddell v. Coveleski. I really feel like I'm not in the know on something because the gap between these two in the voting is pretty large--45 ballots and 605 points for Coveleski, 27 ballots and 328 points for Waddell--yet those two seem rather close to me.

Coveleski has the edge on years (1), g (45), ip (120.2), w (23), and WS (5), yet Waddell has the edge in the rate stats (other than UERA), and, it seems to me, peak (and K's, of course . . . ). Waddell has a marked edge in Black Ink, HoF Stand., and HoF Mon., while Coveleski is ahead in Gray Ink.

One thing I haven't looked into enough yet is how they rank against their peers, so I'm wondering if the difference between 1897-1910 and 1912-28 is such that Waddell's stats were easier to achieve than Coveleski's were to the point that he is as less valuable as the voting suggests?

Third (and finally--whew!), has anyone noticed that warp1 and WS seems to disagree on the value of Cupid Childs? I'll try a little comparison here between him and Larry Doyle:

Cupid Childs:   102.7  15 13.4 12.1
                 238   32  31   27

Larry Doyle
:     94.1  9.3 8.7  8.6
                 289   33  29   28 


Or maybe the disagreement is over Doyle. Or both. I wish I had s-b-s WS info so I could compare the two and find where things differ. As of now, Doyle rates better by WS (which James does), and Childs rates better by warp1.
   96. Chris Cobb Posted: October 30, 2004 at 01:47 AM (#944550)
Erskine Thomason:

Good questions and astute observations! I'll throw out a few responses.

1) I agree with you 100% on Leach vs. Beckley. Nevetheless, Beckley would look stronger if a) you adjust his seasonal WS or WARP1 totals (and Leach's) to a standard season length of 154 or 162 games and b) if you adjust his fielding WS upward because of the system's substantial underrating of 1B defensive value. Some might argue that a similar adjustment is needed to WARP fielding runs, but I don't think so. With these adjustments, Beckley's career totals rise above Leach's, though he still trails on peak quite a bit.

Beckley also benefits (wrongly, in my view) from offensive counting stat totals helped by his playing through the 1890s, from skepticism about defensive metrics.

Leach seems to be hurt in ways I can't quite explain by his splitting his career between 3B and CF.

2) On this one, I agree with the electoral majority. Waddell and Coveleski look close, for the reasons you mention, but there are good reasons to rank Waddell lower.

Waddell tends to be ranked lower for three reasons: a) as you suspect, he ranks lower among the pitchers of the deadball era than Coveleski ranks among the early liveball pitchers, b) his actual won-lost record doesn't match what his component stats say he should have achieved for reasons that seem attributable to Waddell (he consistently allowed a larger percentage of unearned runs in comparison to runs than his teammates, for example), and c) his advantages in Black Ink are tied to features of his career that are not direct indicators of pitching success (strikeouts are good, but run prevention is what actually matters -- black ink counts them, but not ERA+) and his advantages in HoM Standards are tied to stats that were easier to acquire in the deadball era than in the lively ball era (low ERA, for example).

3) On Childs and Doyle: This systemic disagreement is not quite as complicated as it first appears. Season-adjusting win shares will close the gap in the WS evaluation of Childs and Doyle. Adjusting Child's monster 1890 season downwards by 10-15% because it was achieved against extremely weak competition in the AA will lower his peak a bit. If you make those changes, WS will treat Doyle and Childs as fairly even, though Childs will have the higher peak. WARP prefers Doyle by a large margin because it sees his defense as poor, while WS sees it as adequate.
   97. Chris Cobb Posted: October 30, 2004 at 03:48 AM (#944589)
Reuben Currie is eligible this year, and while I don't think he's close to ballot-worthy, he had a nice career that's worth a look. Here's his Negro-League pitching record, according to Holway's data.

Rube Currie Career Record

1920 KC Mon 12-13, 122 K
1921 KC Mon 13-12
1922 KC Mon 19-11, 83 K, 4.29 TRA
1923 KC Mon 23-11, 63 K
1924 Hilldale 2-6
1925 Hilldale 13-2, 4.00 TRA
1926 Chi AG 8-4
1927 Chi AG 4-5
1928 Det Stars 7-5
1929 no record in league play
1930 Bal Bsox 2-1
1931 no record in league play
1932 KC Mon 0-1

Career 103-71

He was an important part of the first great Monarch teams of 1922 & 1923. He the #2 pitcher on that staff behind Joe Rogan. He had another fine year for Hilldale in 1925, and pitched in the Negro World Series in 1924, 1925, 1926, and 1927.

I think he could have won 100 to 125 games in the majors.
   98. Kelly in SD Posted: October 30, 2004 at 11:06 AM (#944684)
Now that the house is coming together and I have access to the Win Shares Book again, I did a little comparison with the pitchers of teens/twenties who are under/will be under consideration. I looked a best 3 consecutive years, best any 7 years, win shares per 40 starts (starts + .6 relief app), 20/25/30 WS seasons, appearances as STATS and Win Shares All-Stars. Coveleski came out near the top in most categories, but not so much that he would be the one you would automatically think would be enshrined.
I put the players in order of win shares for no particular reason.
player  cws 3yr  7yr  40s  20/25/30 SAS WSAS Yrs
Rixey   315  73  164  19.8  8/2/0    5   6   15.9
Faber   292  93  163  19.6  4/3/2    2   2   14.9
Quinn   287  55  146  18.2  2/1/1*   1*  1*  15.8
Grimes  286  72  181  20.1  7/4/2    5   6   14.2
Cooper  266  85  179  22.5  9/4/1    4   5   11.8
Hoyt    262  66  146  18.3  5/0/0    3   0   14.3
Mays    256  85  182  24.1  8/4/2    6   4   10.6
Cov'ski 245  88  187  23.1  7/5/1    4   4   10.6
Luque   241  80  154  20.2  3/2/1    1   3   11.9
Vance   241  77  176  23.9  5/4/2    4   4   10.1
Pennock 240  73  147  17.8  4/1/0    4   2   13.5
Shocker 225  84  166  24.0  5/3/1    5   3    9.4
Shawkey 223  71  158  21.0  4/3/0    2   4   10.6
Rommel  209  73  148  20.9  4/2/0    1   2   10.0
*big year was in Federal League


I think we should think long and hard about our ballots this week.
First, there is not a great deal separating most of the above pitchers. These pitchers most similar pitchers include the other pitchers (except Vance b/c of the Ks). What separates one pitcher over another?
Why has Coveleski received such strong support? Coveleski does have the best ERA+ of the bunch, but his 127 is not that much better than Rommel's 121 or Shocker's 124. Among this narrow selection of pitchers, his Black Ink is a distant 4th behind Grimes and Vance. His Grey Ink is a solid 2nd behind Grimes. His K/W is in the middle of the pack at best. He did not have a long career. Was his peak that strong that he deserves enshrinement?
Third, consider the current post 1893 pitcher enshrinees. Coveleski would have the following ranks assuming election:
ERA+: 9/11
Wins: 10/11
Win %age: 9/11
K/W: 10/11
Win Shares in 3 cons. years: tied for last
Win Shares in 7 years: last
20+ Win Share seasons: tied for last
30+ Win Share seasons: tied for last
Black Ink: 10/11
Grey Ink: 8/11
STATS or Win Shares All-Star: 10/11 in each.

Perhaps those comparisons are unfair as they include several very long career pitchers. (I think players need to be compared to all who have gone before them, but for argument's sake) Even comparing him to the shorter career post-93 pitchers - Brown, McGinnity, Walsh, and Rusie - leaves him at the back of the pack.

Lastly, it is 1938. And we have seen 13 years of Grove. Plus Ferrell, Hubbell, Dean, and Lyons. And the gentlemen who are coming up for consideration in the next few years. Does Coveleski deserve enshrinement based on when he retired/injured/date of birth?

Before I did this comparison, Coveleski just made my ballot. After this comparison, I don't think of him as a Hall of Merit'er. I don't see him as the best pitcher in a single season, let alone for a considerable period. He was among the better pitchers for many years. But even his 4 times as a Win Shares All-Star (I define as the top 4 pitchers per league) is matched or bettered by Shawkey, Mays, Vance, Grimes, Rixey and cannot be compared to Johnson or Alexander.

I think the Coveleski Train is unstoppable at this point, but I am going to try to act like Spider-Man anyway.

YMMV
   99. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 30, 2004 at 06:41 PM (#944884)
Even comparing him to the shorter career post-93 pitchers - Brown, McGinnity, Walsh, and Rusie - leaves him at the back of the pack.

Should we be comparing a (for the most part) Lively Ball pitcher with a Deadball Era or 19th century pitcher without making proper adjustments?

BTW, one thing that I have noticed is, among all nine positions, pitchers have the most difficulty achieving a high percentage of league leading performances. IOW, throughout their careers, Ruth and Wagner averaged more than 80% of their position's major league superiority, while I have Johnson just barely hitting 60%. There are many players from the other eight position with averages over 60%, but pitchers get hurt due to the demands bestowed upon them. Something to think about when evaluating the hurlers.
   100. OCF Posted: October 31, 2004 at 12:10 AM (#944991)
Just to say I'd done it, I put George Kelly and Lu Blue into my favorite offensive system. Kelly came out (in offense) a dead-even match with the wrong George Burns, and also very similar to Stuffy McInnis. Kelly, Burns, and McInnis were a little behind Blue and Hal Chase, who were in turn well behind Jake Daubert and Joe Judge. Since I haven't been voting for Daubert, or for Konetchy whom I have ahead of Daubert, that pretty much seals "never" for the ballot status of Kelly and Blue.

Since we're aiming for the same size hall as the Hall of Fame, and since we're including quite a few people they didn't - the likes of Barnes, McVey, Sutton, Grant Johnson, Pete Hill, and so on - then we have to leave that many people out. Kelly is one of the easy ones; some other such choices will be more difficult.
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