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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

1939 Ballot Discussion

Some fine new candidates in a somewhat weak “year” will make it verrrrrryyy interesting for ‘39.

1939 (November 21)—elect 2
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)

302 86.5 1913 Rabbit Maranville-SS (1954)
292 85.4 1914 Red Faber-P (1976)
315 78.5 1912 Eppa Rixey-P (1963)
277 87.8 1921 Joe Sewell-SS/3B (1990)
287 80.1 1909 Jack Quinn-P (1946)
141 36.3 1924 Ray Kremer-P (1965)
139 36.8 1924 Glenn Wright-SS (1984)
128 33.5 1924 Sam “Dolly” Gray-P (1953)
121 34.8 1924 Taylor Douthit-CF (1986)
110 29.2 1924 Harry Rice-CF/RF (1971)
104 26.4 1920 Bernie Friberg-3B/2B (1958)
090 27.3 1923 Sloppy Thurston-P (1973)
100 22.3 1922 Bob Fothergill-LF (1938)
099 21.4 1921 Lew Fonseca-1B/2B (1989)

1939 (November 21)—elect 2
HF% Career Name-pos (born) BJ – MVP - All-Star

20% 20-33 Nip Winters-P (1899) 5.5 - 6*
12% 22-33 Heavy Johnson-OF (1896) #8 lf - 0 - 4*
0% 19-33 Jelly Gardner-RF (1895) #8 rf - 0 - 1*
0% 20-33 Highpockets Hudspeth-1b (??) #7 1b - 0 - 0*

Players Passing Away in 1938

HoMers
Age Elected

43 1937 Cristobal Torriente-CF

Candidates
Age Eligible

82 1896 Guy Hecker-P/1B
72 1909 Tom Daly-2b
70 1903 Silver King-P
69 1907 Bill Everitt-1b/3b
65 1907 Pink Hawley-P
64 1913 Jack W. Taylor-P
60 1915 Hobe Ferris-2b
57 1917 Lee Tannehill-3B
40 1939 Bob Fothergill-LF

Thanks to Dan and Chris for the lists!

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 09, 2004 at 02:10 AM | 249 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   201. Cblau Posted: November 17, 2004 at 04:27 AM (#969701)
Regarding Brent's thought-provoking post on contributing to a pennant winner:
I agree with Joe Dimino's comments. Obviously a pennant contender is going to have lots of good players, but almost all will have at least one weak spot, where even a below average player could help them.

More importantly, if the Giants had lost Red Murray and his 27 WS, would they be automatically able to replace him with an above-average, 16 WS player just because they were a "pennant contender?" I think Murray's value to a pennant contender or anyone is how much better he is than the next-best player available to that club.
   202. Brent Posted: November 17, 2004 at 06:03 AM (#969792)
I certainly agree that "most pennant winners have at least one below-average regular" - in fact that's a direct quote from my earlier post. In my example I specifically pointed to the 1909 Pittsburgh team, which was below average at both 1B and RF.

But the fact that there are often holes in the lineup of most pennant contenders doesn't negate the main point I was trying to make, that pennant contenders actively try to search out and select above-average players. That means that many or most regulars do not play well enough to play for the top teams. How many ML third basemen played well enough to have played for the Yankees this year? Only two may have played better than the Yankees' incumbent. Similarly small numbers played better than their right and left fielders, shortstop, and catcher. (I'm ignoring modern-day complications like multi-year contracts and no-trade clauses). I see the bottom line being that fewer than half the regular players in MLB played well enough to have played for the Yankees, even after accounting for their obvious problem at second base.

Now in late 20th/early 21st century baseball the threshold for "pennant replacement value" has surely dropped somewhat, simply because with divisions and wild cards there are a lot more pennant contenders. Nevertheless the general principle remains - the threshold to play for a pennant contender isn't a fixed constant, as we usually think of the "replacement value" for playing in the major leagues, but generally a player has to be pretty good or a pennant contender will start looking to replace him with somebody better. And for teams that could afford to invest in talent, there have always been mechanisms available that have allowed them to obtain the talent.

There are examples, such as Ernie Banks, where great talent wasn't matched to a great team. But the majority of top players have played for above-average teams - in fact, teams that were above average even after accounting for the great player's own contributions to winning. This point was made by Bill James in TNBJHBA in his Tris Speaker comment. (For some reason, this tendency doesn't seem to be as strong for pitchers as it is for position players - I can think of a number of outstanding pitchers who played for below-average teams.)
   203. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 17, 2004 at 12:03 PM (#970149)
"But the fact that there are often holes in the lineup of most pennant contenders doesn't negate the main point I was trying to make, that pennant contenders actively try to search out and select above-average players."

All teams actively try to search out and select above-average players.

It doesn't matter that some teams are better at this - part of that is simply luck, that the players they chose just happened to turn out better. If you randomly re-distributed all MLB players, each one would have the same chance of ending up on the eventual pennant winner. I just think this is a red herring.

"But the majority of top players have played for above-average teams"

Of course, that's what makes them above average teams. Doesn't mean that average players don't have value. Again, Cliff's Red Murray example is perfect.

"I see the bottom line being that fewer than half the regular players in MLB played well enough to have played for the Yankees, even after accounting for their obvious problem at second base."

Fewer than half of the regular players in MLB played well enough to play for a team 1 game over .500, theoretically. I still don't see why that matters.

I think this is the same as salary surveys. The best teams tend to pay the most, of course, because the best players generally make the most. What came first the chicken or the egg. Does it even matter?
   204. jimd Posted: November 17, 2004 at 11:02 PM (#971085)
Having the 25th best 2B-man in MLB has some value (in a 30 team league), but not a lot. (Summarizing Joe Dimino, accurately I hope.)

If a team considers itself a championship contender, this player is a liability. (Summarizing Brent, accurately I hope.)

I see no contradiction between the two positions.

****

Measuring value as above "replacement level" is the way we usually do it. It doesn't have to be the only way to do it. I know some voters take "value above average" into consideration. I see no reason not to measure "championship value".

However, I would quarrel with calculating negative "championship value" and including it in the total, just as I would with calculating "value below average" and including that with the "value above average". These guys are trying to make a living, not compile HOM resumes maximizing arcane stats. If someone wants to pay them to play when they are below average or not of championship caliber, that should not be counted against them.

Count the positive value but ignore the negative value.
   205. karlmagnus Posted: November 17, 2004 at 11:45 PM (#971185)
Interesting question is whether the reserve system actually helped thge average player, in terms of career stability. Once you were established as 2nd baseman for say the St. Louis Browns, only soemthing out of their lousy farm system could replace you, and so a bad year or even the beginning of decline didn't necessarily end your career. These days, if you have a bad year, the GM just picks up a checkbook or heads for the waiver wire, and you're much more likely to end your career prematurely. Brain Daubach, for example, a perfectly adequate average 1B for the Red Sox until 2002, with very little obvious decline since, has no career security today, because he's not established with a team, whereas in 1935 he'd probably still have been a regular.
   206. jimd Posted: November 18, 2004 at 12:27 AM (#971253)
Good point karl. The law of inertia operated in many cases. Some teams had to be convinced that the replacement was clearly better before paying good money to a top minor league team for a "career minor leaguer"; that player would now be a minor-league free agent and be invited to spring training as a "non-roster" player.

Though for each Daubach that it helped, there is another Daubach that flunked his one or two major league tryouts, and then spent the rest of his career playing in the PCL (or IL or AA), nobody willing to take another chance on him.
   207. DavidFoss Posted: November 18, 2004 at 10:23 PM (#972874)
Has a Joe Rogan thread been requested yet? He's eligible next year, no? I'm interested in hearing more about him.
   208. Michael Bass Posted: November 18, 2004 at 10:31 PM (#972890)
I asked before, got no response, so I'll try again. :)

What hitters, aside from Maranville, should I be looking at for potential WWI credit?
   209. jimd Posted: November 18, 2004 at 10:59 PM (#972943)
Sam Rice, when we get to him.
   210. DavidFoss Posted: November 19, 2004 at 12:06 AM (#973038)
I asked before, got no response, so I'll try again. :)

What hitters, aside from Maranville, should I be looking at for potential WWI credit?


Sports Encylopedia:Baseball is a good source for this. They usually but an "(MS)" by all the players who missed significant time for military service. They even had a extra page for a full list from 43-45. That won't help us yet, but scanning the 1918 pages for "MS" should be fruitful.

Unfortunately, military service is almost the only thing that encyclopedia is good for. I'm not sure I have it in town. (It might be boxed up in an attic at my parents place). I'll check when I get home.
   211. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 19, 2004 at 12:24 AM (#973053)
Unfortunately, military service is almost the only thing that encyclopedia is good for.

At one time, it was great for the full rosters for each team.
   212. jimd Posted: November 19, 2004 at 12:28 AM (#973058)
I posted their complete list here.
   213. DavidFoss Posted: November 19, 2004 at 12:30 AM (#973061)
At one time, it was great for the full rosters for each team.

Sure... it was totally awesome at one point. My copy is well worn, but its also quite dusty at the moment.

They haven't updated the format in quite some time now. Missing some important numbers as well. Not just the SABR ones, either, I think it was missing OBP. Anyhow, I'll look when I get home.
   214. DavidFoss Posted: November 19, 2004 at 12:35 AM (#973068)
Thanks jimd! That's exactly what I was going to look for. Quite well done!
   215. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 19, 2004 at 12:42 AM (#973076)
I agree, David. I haven't looked at my copies in years.
   216. Rick A. Posted: November 19, 2004 at 12:52 AM (#973091)
What hitters, aside from Maranville, should I be looking at for potential WWI credit?

I have a spreadsheet that lists military service. Not exactly sure where I got it from, but I think it was on the hom yahoo groups page at one point. It's not there now though, so who knows. I'll post it on the hom groups page.

Just noticed that it has a lot more infomrmation than just military service on it.

If anyone knows who wrote it, that would be great. I'm positive it was someone in our group, but I'm not sure who it was, and I'd like to acknowledge the work they've done.
   217. Michael Bass Posted: November 19, 2004 at 03:59 AM (#973255)
Thanks! Looks like no other serious names on this ballot other than Maranville are listed among the hitters. I noticed Rice among those coming up, is there anyone else we should keep a close eye on in the next few years?
   218. Brent Posted: November 19, 2004 at 04:35 AM (#973264)
There's also Spottswood Poles.
   219. Howie Menckel Posted: November 20, 2004 at 03:21 PM (#975239)
This multi-sided race makes that Presidential Florida 2000 thing look like a cakewalk.
Woulda been funny if Donie Bush and George Gore had been battling for the last HOM spot!
Heck, let's throw in Larry Cheney and Jim Joe Edwards while we're at it!
   220. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 20, 2004 at 04:13 PM (#975251)
LOL
   221. TomH Posted: November 20, 2004 at 05:52 PM (#975315)
Just got a new SBAR pub in the mail, which has an article about Van Haltren. On etidbit I didn't know (or had forgotten); George hit .500 in the 1894 Temple Cup, helping his Giants sweep the Baltimore club, 4 games to none.
   222. Paul Wendt Posted: November 20, 2004 at 05:59 PM (#975322)
Kelly #1
Interesting Fact 2: In his 1920 season where he went 23-13 for the second place White Sox, Faber seemed to face an usually large number of good or name pitchers

Maybe his manager didn't trust one or two of his teammates.
   223. Paul Wendt Posted: November 20, 2004 at 06:44 PM (#975345)
The SABR pub, Road Trips (collected from the Annual Convention publications 1984-2004), arrived here November 10. About 50 articles, mainly two pages. Five articles broadly covering matters that have been featured in discussion here since my arrival in 1904:

Bud Fowler, Black Baseball Star
The 1878 Buffalo Bisons
Silent George Burns
Cal McVey Goes West
George Van Haltren

Two observations:

George Burns spent a few years on the NY Giants bench beside John McGraw. Compare and contrast with players "trapped" in the minors.

Darryl Brock suggests that Cal McVey's move to San Francisco 1879-1880 was spontaneous.
   224. Paul Wendt Posted: November 20, 2004 at 07:44 PM (#975374)
Cblau 1903 Ballot #102
Several voters have referred to Max Carey as a leadoff hitter.
[compare Willie Keeler twenty years ago]
It would be more correct to call him a leadoff-type hitter, since he only hit first 696 out of his nearly 2500 games. He likely hit third
more often than first. George J. Burns hit leadoff nearly twice as many times as Carey. See Herm Krabbenhoft's article.

newsletter inclg Krabbenhoff on leadoff batters

The Deadball Era Cmte, SABR, compiled "Typical Lineups 1901-1919" for Deadball Stars of the N.L.. Acc/ that work, Max Carey typically batted {2 2 1 1 2 1 3} in 1912-1918 and was not in the typical lineup 1911 or 1919.

Along the same lines, the DEC biography of Ginger Beaumont says that "in the early days of the deadball era, [he] was considered baseball's finest leadoff man." According to Typical Lineups, Beaumont batted {2 2 1 2 3 1} for Pittsburgh 1901-1906, then {4 2 4} for Philadephia. Around the NL in the 1900s, only Roy Thomas PHI, Jimmy Slagle CHI, and Miller Huggins CIN was a regular leadoff batter as many as four years in a row.

There aren't many regular, career leadoff batters.
   225. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: November 21, 2004 at 12:19 AM (#975561)
Dolf Luque.

And some modifications made at Eppa Rixey, but it's the same stuff I put on the Luque comments.
   226. Howie Menckel Posted: November 21, 2004 at 12:41 AM (#975567)
Through 35 ballots, only twice has a new ballot arrival not changed at least part of the top 5 (both in the early 20s of the compilation).
We've learned a few things at this point, but a lot of road still to be traveled..
   227. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 21, 2004 at 02:04 AM (#975627)
Since Jake Beckley is one of the seven candidates(so far :-) that I have a plaque half-done, which cap should he wear if he were to win this "year's" crap shoot? I think the Pirates' cap should be the one since he played the longest there, but the Reds may also have an argument. Any suggestions?
   228. karlmagnus Posted: November 21, 2004 at 02:14 AM (#975635)
I'd be very surprised if you don't have another couple of decades before you need the Beckley plaque, though I'll cheer when he makes it, but just in case I vote for the Pirates. I'm very much in favour of players being given the cap of the team that brought them up and developed them; thus Babe Ruth and Tris Speaker are clearly Red Sox!
   229. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 21, 2004 at 02:16 AM (#975637)
I'm very much in favour of players being given the cap of the team that brought them up and developed them; thus Babe Ruth and Tris Speaker are clearly Red Sox!

Your team won after 86 years. That should be enough for you. :-D
   230. DavidFoss Posted: November 21, 2004 at 02:54 AM (#975657)
I think the Pirates' cap should be the one since he played the longest there, but the Reds may also have an argument. Any suggestions?

If there is a strong objection, I wouldn't fight it, but Pirates is fine with me. Its pretty close between the Pirates & Reds especially if you choose not to count his PL season as also being "Pittsburgh".

FWIW, the HOF website has a picture of him in a Pirates jersey. His plaque has him wearing a pillbox hat with no letter on it... but it seems to be modeled after that same Pirates photo.
   231. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 21, 2004 at 04:38 AM (#975701)
FWIW, the HOF website has a picture of him in a Pirates jersey. His plaque has him wearing a pillbox hat with no letter on it... but it seems to be modeled after that same Pirates photo.

I think you're right, David. It's a logical assumption at any rate.
   232. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: November 21, 2004 at 05:13 AM (#975724)
Well, he pulled the hidden ball trick on Joe Kelley in Pitt, but he hit three triples in one game off of Kid Nichols while a Red. . . .

I'd say Pitt also, just because there were only 12 teams in the 1890s, and thus his numbers from those years are affected by the lack of diluted competition.

Also, FWIW - Burliegh Grimes:

MOWP - 519/520 (retrosheet lists him with 496 starts - only 29 in 1918) and it gets caught at 298 at .519 or under, and 298 at .520 or over
MOWP+ - 105
MOWP+6 - 113
MOWP+4 - 91
   233. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 21, 2004 at 05:55 AM (#975758)
Re Beckley, I'd go with Pittsburgh too. It's really too close to call, but as was mentioned, tie should probably go to the team he came up with.
   234. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 21, 2004 at 07:37 PM (#976073)
How about Lip Pike? Now that's a tough one. I lean toward a St. Louis cap because he played the longest there and had his best offensive stats post-1870, but what about his 1867-68 New York Mutual years? He also played two years there. Any thoughts?
   235. yest Posted: November 21, 2004 at 07:45 PM (#976075)
in my phom I have beckley and pike in st louis.
   236. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 21, 2004 at 07:57 PM (#976082)
I forgot about Pike with the Brooklyn Atlantics. He played for two years there at a high level of performance, plus he played (I believe) on his only championship team in 1870 with them. The Atlantics may be the best choice over St. Louis and New York.

in my phom I have beckley and pike in st louis.

I can't see St. Louis for Beckley at all. He didn't play as much (or as well) as he did in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.
   237. yest Posted: November 21, 2004 at 09:23 PM (#976116)
I can't see St. Louis for Beckley at all. He didn't play as much (or as well) as he did in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

either can I that was supposed to say in my phom I have beckley in Cincinnati and pike in st louis.
I got to learn to edit my posts better
   238. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 21, 2004 at 10:01 PM (#976132)
I got to learn to edit my posts better

LOL
   239. Paul Wendt Posted: November 21, 2004 at 10:27 PM (#976148)
Lip Pike should wear the professional ballplayer cap. Did either Association have a logo?

- two years each for five clubs, one year each for three others, bit parts for four others. I think of him as a Mutual or Haymaker but the record doesn't support that. NY Mutual is out. See Pike's personal share of team games played, year by year 1866-1878.

16/25/25 - Athletic
(1867: 6/21/23 - Irvington NJ)
21/29/30, 25/42/41 - Mutual
48/48, 56/56 - Atlantic (pro games: 22/22, 36/36)
28/28 - Haymaker
56/58, 56/57 - Baltimore
52/53 - Hartford
70/70, 63/64 - St Louis
58/58, 31/61 - Cincinnati
(1878: 5/62 - Providence)

Before 1869, the two denominators are the number of games played by the team leader and the team sum W+L+T, both according to Marshall Wright.

That data alone doesn't mean Pike and his team played fewer games in 1871 than in '69 or '70, or fewer in '72-74 than in '75. Beginning in 1871, stats have been compiled only for league games, but the league teams stopped playing in-season games against outsiders only gradually.
In 1869-70, the Atlantics played 22 and 36 pro games, according to Wright. For 1871, the log by Frank Vaccaro shows 40 games played by Troy including 29 NA games. Collectively, those numbers suggest Troy 1871 about 25% rather than 50% below Atlantic 1870 in number of games.
   240. karlmagnus Posted: November 21, 2004 at 11:19 PM (#976169)
I like Troy NY as a city, and it doesn't get enough respect. If we let him in, I vote for the Haymakers!
   241. DavidFoss Posted: November 21, 2004 at 11:35 PM (#976180)
- two years each for five clubs, one year each for three others, bit parts for four others.

Yup... tough pick. There was no Reserve Clause in the Pike Era. I agree with the NYMutual veto. I would also count out Cincy. I like Saint Louis better than Baltimore. I would pick Saint Louis in a close one over Brooklyn.

John, you're tantalizing us here, though! :-) I'm not so sure that either Pike or Beckley have broad enough support to win this year. Nothing like getting fitted for the rings in the 7th inning stretch of a close game.
   242. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 21, 2004 at 11:45 PM (#976187)
John, you're tantalizing us here, though! :-) I'm not so sure that either Pike or Beckley have broad enough support to win this year. Nothing like getting fitted for the rings in the 7th inning stretch of a close game.

Believe me, I'm not hinting at anything by mentioning both of them, David. They and six other players have reasonable shots so I just want to be prepared to have two plaques ready by tomorrow night. It's anybody's election still. I honestly have no idea who those two lucky guys will be.
   243. karlmagnus Posted: November 21, 2004 at 11:49 PM (#976191)
Pike/Beckley or Beckley/Pike would be the most fun, I agree. Would show we're not timelining! Then we can elect Browning and Welch the year Ruth and Hornsby come up, which might even get us a little media play!
   244. Cblau Posted: November 21, 2004 at 11:56 PM (#976201)
I'd go with Brooklyn for Pike, since he settled there after his playing days. That's probably what he'd pick.
   245. karlmagnus Posted: November 22, 2004 at 12:02 AM (#976204)
From what I've read of Pike, if we gave him the choice he'd probably auction the HOM cap rights to whoever offered him most :-))
   246. DavidFoss Posted: November 22, 2004 at 12:04 AM (#976206)
I like Troy NY as a city, and it doesn't get enough respect. If we let him in, I vote for the Haymakers!

You do? I went to college at RPI. Just visited there last month.

The city of Troy has been quite dead for at least 50 years now, but there is indeed quite a bit of nice architecture there. If there is ever enough job-growth in the Capital Region, there is a lot of promising buildings in Troy waiting to be refurbished. They just don't build new buildings like they used to.

There's a Baseball Monument in the north side of town dedicated to the Union Lansingburgh (1866-70), Troy Haymakers (1871-72) & Troy Cities (1879-82) teams. There are plaques for local-boy HOF-ers King Kelly and Johnny Evers and a tribute to HOF-ers Brouthers, Connor, Ewing, Keefe & Welch who played for Troy. Another plaque on the monument claims that the Troy is the "Birthplace of the San Francisco Giants" because most of the players on the final Troy team ended up playing for the inaugural NY-NL team the following year.
   247. DavidFoss Posted: November 22, 2004 at 12:20 AM (#976218)
I'd go with Brooklyn for Pike, since he settled there after his playing days. That's probably what he'd pick.

This is enough to switch my vote.
   248. Chris Cobb Posted: November 22, 2004 at 03:53 AM (#976406)
Quick response to sunnyday2's queries about Rogan and Beckwith.

Rogan's going to be complicated to assess (the last of the two-way stars), but I think the value is probably there to make him a clear HoMer. His career in the field was longer than his career as a pitcher, and he should be getting more credit for playing ball with the Infantry Wreckers than either Dobie Moore or Heavy Johnson. He was 31 when he joined the Monarchs in July, 1920.

Beckwith's case is less clear, but he's a stronger NeL candidate than any we've seen since since Torriente was elected (aside from Rogan, of course). He was one of the top hitters in the NeL through the 1920s, and he played important defensive positions (though not all that well). The i9s home run numbers for him are not credible, I believe, but he had Rogers Hornsby-type power.
   249. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 22, 2004 at 07:19 PM (#977544)
Any other players that are newly eligible in 1940 that need a thread set up for them?
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