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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Sunday, December 19, 2004

1942 Ballot Discussion

The ballot thread will be posted one week later than normal (Jan.3).

Bill Terry is the only position player this “year” that should make any impact on our ballots. As for pitchers, Firpo Marberry had a unique enough career that he may show some considerable strength as a candidate.

1942 (January 2)—elect 2
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)

278 83.8 1924 Bill Terry-1B (1989)
205 64.2 1919 Tom Zachary-P (1969)
196 52.1 1921 Bing Miller-RF (1966)
211 56.6 1923 Travis Jackson-SS (1987)
177 52.2 1924 Firpo Marberry-RP (1976)
193 54.1 1924 Fred Lindstrom-3B/CF (1981)
198 38.0 1918 Charlie Grimm-1B (1983)
156 42.3 1926 Alvin “General” Crowder-P (1972)
130 42.9 1927 Watty Clark-P (1972)
122 29.8 1928 George Earnshaw-P (1976)
114 34.8 1928 George Blaeholder-P (1947)
096 26.3 1928 Bill Walker-P (1966)
095 25.2 1930 George Watkins-RF (1970)
103 20.6 1926 Mark Koenig-SS (1993)
092 34.5 1928 Ray Benge-P (1997)
016 03.8 1931 Buzz Arlett-RF (1964)

1942 (January 2)—elect 2
HF% Career Name-pos (born) BJ - MVP - All-Star

04% 21-36 Sam Streeter-P (1900)1 – 0*
00% 20-36 Bill Riggins-SS (??) #5 SS - 0 – 0*
00% 20-38 Clint Thomas-CF (1896) #6 cf - 0 - 3
00% 16-36 Chaney White-OF (??) #7 cf- 0 - 2*
00% 20-36 Ed “Huck” Rile-P/1B (??) #8 1b - 1 - 0*

Players Passing Away in 1941
HoMers
Age Elected

None

Candidates
Age Eligible

84 1890 Tommy Bond-P
82 1897 Mickey Welch-P
76 1904 Jack Clements-C
75 1904 Bill Joyce-3b
65 1915 Frank Isbell-1B
58 1929 Bruce Petway-C
51 1931 Howie Shanks-LF/3b
50 1931 Ivy Wingo-C
45 1941 Andy Cooper-P

Upcoming Candidate
37 1944 Lou Gehrig-1B

My favorite ballplayer of all-time, it always pains me to read this even though he died 24 years before I was even born.

Much obliged to Dan G and Chris Cobb for the lists again!

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 19, 2004 at 02:36 AM | 266 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   201. Chris Cobb Posted: December 29, 2004 at 10:25 PM (#1045559)
Certainly we should moderate that reality a bit, but sometimes we throw away the underlying reality that, e.g., Rube Waddell was a better pitcher than Wes Ferrell (or insert your own choice of names here).

Quite likely true. But in determining which of them was a better player, Ferrell's huge advantage in batting value will need to be taken into account. It might not make up the difference, but it's entirely possible that it could.
   202. sunnyday2 Posted: December 29, 2004 at 10:37 PM (#1045571)
I'll give you a whole team of favorite no vote-getters:

C- John Clapp, who has, however, never been on my ballot
1B- Harry Davis, ditto
2B- Fred Dunlap
SS- Dave Bancroft, or does he have too many votes? Well, IMO, he has too few!
3B- Ed Williamson--see Bancroft. Or else Billy Nash for a real darkhorse
LF-
CF- Spot Poles is slowly sinking in the west
RF- Mike Tiernan--see Poles
P- Tommy Bond and Jim McCormick; Addie Joss among 20C pitchers

Among all of these, Williamson and Bond are already PHoM. Joss, McCormick and Bancroft will be back when we return to backlog days. Dunlap and Poles are darker horses, yet, and the others (Clapp, Davis, Nash and Tiernan--no.)
   203. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: December 29, 2004 at 11:47 PM (#1045647)
Phillybooster,

I am a fan of Roy Thomas, I believe he is somewhere around 21 or 22, in fact I gave him a #15 vote in one election, the only point he received. I love High OBP guys and he has an nice peak/prime. I guess it is just that I can't see putting him over GVH, Duffy, and Roush, my top 3 CFers. I want to put him on the ballot though as he was a Phillie.
   204. jonesy Posted: December 30, 2004 at 12:08 AM (#1045682)
Posted by sunnyday2 on December 29, 2004 at 11:37 AM (#1044757)
jonesy (#75) used the 3 years that Grove and Ferrell were teammates. Why? Because it was favorable to Ferrell's case. Next question?

********

Sorry to have ruffled your feathers on the ERA+ issue, Sunny, but isn't determining value what it is all about?

I have never made the claim that Ferrell had the career value of Grove, have I? I do claim that during their mutual peak careers -- 1929 through 1936 -- that Ferrell was a higher impact player than Grove was, and if they always performed on the same team and against similar opposition, then Wes would, based on his hitting, have been the bigger star. You'll get no argument from me that Grove's peak value ran longer.


Why wouldn't I use the exact three years that they were teammates? Isn't that the best comparison? And by the way, I started off the comparison using the 1929-1931 season, when they were not teammates.

The end of July,1935:

Grove was Cronin's last hope. The Red Sox needed a win on Sunday to avoid the sweep. The scoring seesawed back and forth. Boston tallied once in the opening frame but Grove gave up two in the second inning, issuing two passes -- one with the bases loaded -- after a couple of scratch hits and Detroit took a 2-1 lead. Boston went ahead in the fifth inning on Rick Ferrell's triple, Cronin's single and a double by Dahlgren. Detroit tied it in the top of the eighth before Boston went back up by a run in the home half.

The ninth inning was something to behold. Fox led off with a double. Grove retired Walker on strikes and Gehringer on a fly ball. Greenberg came to the plate, and with the left-handed Goslin due next, Cronin decided to walk him. Grove, though not happy with the strategy, followed orders. Goslin and Rogell followed with singles, and by the time Grove recorded the last out of the inning, he trailed by two runs.

Grove was down in the lockeroom when Wes Ferrell -- pinch-hitting for Lefty, hit a walk-off, three-run, pinch-hit homer to win the game 7-6 for Lefty.


Grove's 13th victory of 1935 was a 5-4 decision in 11 innings over the Athletics on August 3. His dark side emerged after two early fielding miscues. "Twice," noted the Boston Post, "Grove failed to run out ground hits yesterday, and in the first stanza he lost a base hit because of that failure. It looked as though Lefty became a bit peeved because of Bill Werber's bad throw."

Grove trailed 3-1 going into the bottom of the eighth but after two singles, a sacrifice and an intentional pass to Rick Ferrell, Wes Ferrell singled in the tying run with a pinch-hit (batting for the 2bman). Philadelphia went up 4-3 in the 11th but Boston came back with two for the Grove victory. Without Wes' hit, Grove would have lost the game in regulation.


Grove's 18th victory of 1935 was a 9-5 decision over the Browns on September 15. Lyn Lary opened the game with a hit but Lefty retired the next two hitters. Then three straight walks, a single and a triple followed and Grove was down 5-0.

Lefty was still trailing by that margin after Cronin popped out to start the home sixth. Three straight singles followed and a run was in and two were out when Grove was due to hit.

"Boston's No. 1 hero, Wes Ferrell," wrote the Globe, "went to bat for his pal, Grove, in the midst of this rally and singled off the scoreboard to knock in a run."

The Red Sox scored six times that inning and Grove, trailing 5-1 when Wes hit for him, was the winning pitcher.


In these three at bats Wes knocked in five runs for Lefty and all resulted in pitching wins for Grove. Lefty himself knocked in but five runs all season, four of them coming in one game that he lost 7-6.

It's all about the timing.
   205. DavidFoss Posted: December 30, 2004 at 12:34 AM (#1045749)
I dunno jonesy... I don't want to sound anti-Ferrell, but I'm certainly not willing to concede that Wes was better than Lefty from 1929-36. You can list all the anecdotes you'd like, but six ERA titles, two Triple Crowns and an MVP is quite a bit of ground to make up.

If you like irony and you want to talk timing then you can talk about what would happen if Wes was eligible in 1942 instead of 1944. This year he would have had a reasonable shot and Ferrell vs Vance arguments would be the theme of this thread. But by 1944, the Ferrell vs Vance comparisons will be moot and there will be new strong backlog of candidates starting to accumulate. Then it will be Ferrell vs Dean and Ferrell vs Lyons and Ferrell vs Griffith and Ferrell vs Waddell. Those will be a lot more interesting than Ferrell vs Grove.

Looking forward to a Wes Ferrell thread next month.
   206. jonesy Posted: December 30, 2004 at 12:46 AM (#1045778)
David,

Not a problem. The key would have to have been that Grove and Ferrell had been used in a similar fashion by the same manager to make my point.

In a nutshell, I would give 1929 and 1930 to Ferrell, 1931 to Grove, 1932 a tie, 1933 and 1934 cancelling each other out to injury, 1935 to Ferrell and 1936 a tie.

From May 1 of 1930 through almost the end of May of 1931, Ferrell made 13 starts against NY and Philly, two of the greatest lineups of all time, while over that same period, Grove made none. Yeah, I know the arguments. But it's tough to level the playing field.

Of course there will be a whole book out on Ferrell come the spring. I think it will be clear that Ferrell was the bigger impact player of the two, hands down.
   207. jimd Posted: December 30, 2004 at 03:45 AM (#1045981)
WARP-1 (from Baseball Prospectus)
      Grove Ferrell  Most valuable pitcher (123) in majors
1929    7.9     8.9  Marberry, Lucas, Hudlin
1930   12.4    12.0  Grove, Ferrell, Stewart
1931   11.9    11.5  Grove, Ferrell, Benge
1932   11.7     9.7  Grove, Hubbell, Warneke
1933    9.6     6.6  Hubbell, Warneke, Schumacher
1934     .8     6.5  Dean, Davis, Hubbell
1935   11.3    14.1  Ferrell, Grove, Dean
1936   12.2    10.7  Hubbell, Grove, Ferrell
      -----   -----
29-36  77.8    80.0

Total 134.4    88.4 
It's close, but BP agrees that Ferrell was more valuable than Grove for the 8 years 1929-1936 (thanks to Grove's wasted 1934 season, 109.3 innings of near replacement level pitching).
   208. DavidFoss Posted: December 30, 2004 at 05:14 AM (#1046078)
Yes, its closer than I thought it was. Win Shares has Grove up 223-209.

Sinins has Grove up 406-252 in RSAA but Ferrell is up 100-(-21) in RCAP, so that's a net advantage to Grove of 385-352. Ferrell's slim lead in IP (2109-2057) makes that a little bit closer, too.

I'm totally picking nits with this next statement here, but I'm not exactly sure what BP has against Grove's 1929. Both WS and RSAA rate him as the best pitcher that year.

Anyways, I'm a peak voter and the fact that its even close between Ferrell & Grove from 1929-1936 will mean that Ferrell will get strong consideration from me when he's eligible.
   209. jonesy Posted: December 30, 2004 at 11:33 AM (#1046372)
Wow, that's a shocker. After all these years of screaming to a deaf audience, I didn't think anyone was paying attention.

David, Grove's 1929 season was very odd. He started out on fire going 15-2 with a 1.83 ERA in his first 157 IP but just 5-4 with a 4.10 ERA in his last 118.2 IP. He had some type of arm/finger problem that prevented him from going very deep in ball games. He left games behind on seven occasions only to see that great Philly offense come back and take him off the hook. Thus the 20-6 record which is 26 decisions in 37 starts. 11 no-decisions was a huge number for that period. Grove was also a two-team pitching terror, winning 7 games against the lousy Red Sox team and five against the Indians.

Ferrell was a rookie reliever/spot starter the first half of the season going 6-7 with a 4.31 ERA in his first 85.2 IP but 15-3 with a 3.21 after winning a spot as a regular starter. Ferrell dominated the three best hitting teams in the league; Detroit, NY and Phil.

Ferrell drew minor MVP support in the two polls of that year, while Grove drew no support at all. Grove had four or five teammates that drew votes.

In a nutshell for 1930 and 1931, the main statistical roadblock is that Ferrell was unable to dominate both the Yanks and A's at the same time. His pitching crushed the A's in '30 and the Yank's in '31, but the Yank's did a number on him in '30 and the A's in '31.

Grove never had to face the A's and Mack pretty much avoided using Grove against NY in '30 and '31.

The W-L records of Grove and Ferrell were actually quite similar vs the other teams. Grove had the edge in ERA but Ferrell made up the difference with his offensive production.

I am very suprised, but very happy, with the warp support. I have it broken down a little finer because I have had the opportunity to review each of Ferrell's games and most of Grove's in that period. I actually read all of the game accounts in the Cleveland and Boston papers. Knowing when hits and errors actually ocurred in game, whose pitching on short rest, and how the actual writers, fans and players of the day viewed things really opens one's eyes.

I initially started posting this material on SABRL years ago and met the same skepticism that I have encountered in virtually all locations I have mentioned this. Several years ago on some website I was surfing through I read a Davenport post in which he mentioned reading the Grove/Ferrell posts on SABRL and he agreed that my point --Ferrell facing tougher competition in '30 and '31 -- made a lot of sense and needed to be adjusted for. Looks like someone finally paid attention.
   210. DavidFoss Posted: December 30, 2004 at 04:18 PM (#1046488)
Don't worry, jonesy, I might have played the skeptic in this thread, but I can be fair if I want to. :-) I don't think the ears around here are deaf, its probably a combination of it being Christmas week and the fact that Wes is not eligible for another two years.

Voters in this election cycle are re-evaulating Vance and the rest of the backlog to see if they are truly worthy of induction. Also, they are rushing to evaluate Terry as a modest amount of support may earn him a first ballot induction.

In a few weeks, once we have a "Wes Ferrell" thread, it will be much easier for all of us to find all of your posts if they are all in there. I hope you've saved them. "Page 3 of the 1942 discussion" will seem extremely hard to find by the time he's eligible.

This is a very smart and rigorous group of guys. It always amazes me the quality of analysis that goes on here. I have trouble reading other boards, now. :-) Ferrell will get his fair hearing against all the other ballot eligibles. He doesn't have to be better than Grove to be inducted.... its only the Griffiths, Lyons's, Rixey's, Dean's and Ruffing's he needs to worry about.
   211. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 30, 2004 at 05:07 PM (#1046541)
Looks like someone finally paid attention.

We're all paying attention, jonesy. However, since Ferrell is not eligible yet, he's not on our radar.
   212. EricC Posted: January 02, 2005 at 09:43 PM (#1051655)
1942 prelim. No newcomers make the ballot; others mostly move up 2 places.

1. Wally Schang
2. Joe Sewell
3. Rogar Bresnahan
4. Eppa Rixey
5. Pie Traynor. 15th among all 3B in Bill James' NBJHBA and only makes 10 ballots out of 53?
6. Sam Rice
7. Harry Hooper
8. Jose Mendez
9. George "Rube" Waddell
10. Jake Beckley
11. Urban Shocker
12. Ray Schalk
13. Jack Quinn
14. Dazzy Vance. Some excellent years in a good career that was not particularly long. Similar case as Waddell and Cicotte; not sure why he is so much more popular.
15. Eddie Cicotte

17. George Van Haltren
19. Hughie Jennings
23. Clark Griffith
39. George Sisler
47. Tommy Leach. Prime was during the nadir of NL weakness. Probably because this is not taken into account in many sabermetric measures, such as pennants added, he has overshot his "fair market value" in the consensus ratings.

Top newbie:
40. Bill Terry. Most similar career: Mike Tiernan
   213. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 03, 2005 at 04:27 PM (#1052795)
The Gavy Cravath discussion about Baker Bowl's dimensions reminded me to ask the group a completely tangential question. Check out this link about Dodger Stadium's current renovation:

http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/la/news/la_news.jsp?ymd=20041019&content_id=899982&vkey=news_la&fext;=.jspDodger Stadium Renovations

It could be logical that Ks, AVG, and BBs (and other events?) might all go up in Chavez Ravine with fewer foul pop-outs. But is there any way to predict the degree of change?

Does anyone know of any studies that attempt to demonstrate the relationship between changes in park configurations and the subsequent redistribution of batting events?

I know that one's way out there, so thanks for bearing with me....

Thanks!

Doc C ; )
   214. jimd Posted: January 03, 2005 at 07:13 PM (#1053291)
I read a Davenport post in which he mentioned reading the Grove/Ferrell posts on SABRL and he agreed that my point --Ferrell facing tougher competition in '30 and '31 -- made a lot of sense and needed to be adjusted for. Looks like someone finally paid attention.

The interesting question is: does WARP actually adjust for this?

Before I read this post, I would have said "No". The sketchy documention implied to me that the competition adjustment was a team based one, like the competition adjustment built into the Total Baseball/baseball-reference.com "Park Factors". That's an adjustment that accounts for the Yankee offense not playing the Yankee defense and the Brown defense not facing the Browns offense. (And I would wonder whether it also accounted for modern imbalanced schedules.)

It requires game-by-game logs to adjust pitchers at the level of inseason opponents, and my guess would have been: No, that wasn't accounted for. There was no hint of adjustments on that level.

IF (big if) it is adjusted for with Wes Ferrell, then it's probably also built into the WARP ratings for Three-Finger Brown, Joe McGinnity, Clark Griffith, Mickey Welch, and any other pitchers for whom people have granted or advocated giving special credit for managerial pitching matchups.
   215. KJOK Posted: January 04, 2005 at 03:04 AM (#1054717)
..like the competition adjustment built into the Total Baseball/baseball-reference.com "Park Factors". That's an adjustment that accounts for the Yankee offense not playing the Yankee defense and the Brown defense not facing the Browns offense. (And I would wonder whether it also accounted for modern imbalanced schedules.)

No, the Total Baseball Park factors do NOT account for imbalanced schedules. High Boskage House Park Factors are the only ones I know that adjust for imbalanced schedules.
   216. jimd Posted: January 04, 2005 at 03:37 AM (#1054780)
(And I would wonder whether it also accounted for modern imbalanced schedules.)

Sorry, didn't express myself at all well there. I was wondering whether WARP accounted for imbalanced schedules. I know that Total Baseball (as documented in the 1993 edition) does not.
   217. Tiboreau Posted: January 05, 2005 at 01:51 AM (#1057186)
Daryn, in the 1942 ballot thread, commented that:

I still can't figure out why Rice is so far behind Beckley and Sisler in everyone's minds.

Honestly, I'm kind of surprised you have Rice high on your ballot while Harry Hooper is nowhere to be seen.
[b]            G   AB    H  SB  OPS    TPA  TOB SB%* OPS+     R  RBI[/b]
Hooper   2309 8785 2466 375 .755  10244 3678 75.6  114  1429  817
Rice     2404 9269 2987 351 .801  10246 3751 71.1  112  1514 1078

[b]         WARP1 WARP3  TOP5   PA   1   2   3[
/b]
Hooper   106.1  87.8  38.6 .693  8.7 8.5 7.8
Rice     100.4  81.1  36.4 .685  8.5 8.3 7.7

[b]
*[/b]-figured with incomplete CS info 


The "TOP5" column is their top 5 consecutive years, and their "1 2 3" columns are their top 3 non-consecutive years. Unfortunately I don't have access to their Win Shares.

The only big factor in Rice's favor are his hits and RBI. Yet, when you consider the Hooper's advantages in walks and HBP he pulls remarkably close in times on base. And there are the very different run environments each played in. Both players had long careers that were very good but never great. WARP gives a small advantage to Hooper, and their Pen. Add. are almost equal. Neither has the peak I'd personally expect out of HoMer, but both are very similar and if you support one I very much see supporting the other.

Comparing Rice with Beckley and Sisler . . . well, considering when Beckley played, his peak and career value climb higher than Rice's--and his Pen. Add. is .714 versus Rice's .685--while George "It was the Best of Times, and It was the Worst of Times" Sisler is a bit . . . confusing.
   218. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: January 05, 2005 at 03:20 AM (#1057360)
Rice and Sisler are very different players. Sisler had a much much much better peak than Rice (who scores a zero for his peak in my WS system) and Rice had more average or above seasons and thus more career value. I believe that OFers are a little overrated by Win Shares, or they at least have longer careers becasue their position is less stressful. Considering all of these Sisler will be on my ballot in the bottom half, Rice will be anywhere from 30-35.
   219. Howie Menckel Posted: January 05, 2005 at 04:07 AM (#1057540)
Well, good to be back.
For some reason I can't post a message anymore here at work.
   220. Daryn Posted: January 05, 2005 at 02:47 PM (#1058191)
Thanks Tiboreau and J. I do have Hooper at 29 or 30, which you can see from my older ballots. To me, the 500 hits difference is huge. I have probably the most career focused ballot in the group, so I don't mind Rice's lack of peak. I also don't use WARP, because I don't trust it. I know I must be misevaluating something since the other career/traditional stats/Win Shares voters who like players like Beckley are not supporting Rice either. Maybe its the OPS+.
   221. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: January 05, 2005 at 03:08 PM (#1058201)
Daryn,

Are you adjusting Beckley's numbers for schedule? I know that this adds 20-30 WS to his total. I would imagine that it also adds 100+ hits to his total.
   222. Michael Bass Posted: January 05, 2005 at 04:31 PM (#1058343)
As Tiboreau pointed out, one of the key features of the difference between Rice and Hooper is the eras they played in:

League averages for Hooper's career: .272/.342/.364

League averages for Rice's career: .286/.354/.400

That's a lot of difference. I don't know if it makes up the 500 hits in your system, but it has to be factored in. To show how much of a difference that is, Rice has a raw OPS advantage of 801 to 755. But his OPS+ is actually lower than Hooper's, 114 to 112. Might be a park difference in there, too, just a touch too lazy to look.
   223. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: January 05, 2005 at 04:46 PM (#1058375)
I think Rice played in a strong pitcher's park. Don't know how Fenway played pre-Monster, however.
   224. jimd Posted: January 05, 2005 at 07:36 PM (#1058779)
Don't know how Fenway played pre-Monster, however.

Fenway always had the Monster. Before 1933, it was covered with ads, the park had a terrible hitting background, and the RF bullpens were in play (did not exist). (There also was an incline all along the Monster's base, like Enron center field, only steeper, known as Duffy's Cliff after Duffy Lewis who played left during Hooper's era.) Fenway played as a hitter's park in 1912-3, but was a medium-to-strong pitcher's park after. Hooper also played his last five years in old Comiskey.

Rice has a small disadvantage in parks, but has a big advantage in league-context because his career is almost entirely in the 1920's/30's, while Hooper is the 1910's/early 20's. BP's "translated" statistics (which account for context) narrow that 521-hit edge to 323.

The rest is defense. Rice was a somewhat above average RF (102 rating) while Hooper was excellent (105 rating). This says that Hooper saved 3 additional runs per 100 games with his fielding. Over 2000+ games in RF, that adds up.
   225. jimd Posted: January 05, 2005 at 07:41 PM (#1058791)
Just a note. Fenway was renovated in 1933(34?) after Yawkey purchased it. However, the bullpens were not added until 1940, give or take a year (allegedly to give young Ted an easier HR-shot, like the short porch in Yankee Stadium for Ruth).
   226. DavidFoss Posted: January 05, 2005 at 08:18 PM (#1058879)
Just a note. Fenway was renovated in 1933(34?) after Yawkey purchased it. However, the bullpens were not added until 1940, give or take a year (allegedly to give young Ted an easier HR-shot, like the short porch in Yankee Stadium for Ruth).

Here is the link to info about the park:

Fenway Park

The 1933-34 renovation was severe enough for bb-reference to change the ballpark designation from "Fenway Park I" to "Fenway Park II".
   227. jimd Posted: January 05, 2005 at 09:48 PM (#1059118)
Here's a link to a photo of original Fenway (it's better in poster form; I couldn't find a high-res net version).

Note that the bleachers do not extend to the wall in left-center. A ball could maybe roll all the way to the back of the current bleachers, so the 550'/593' dead center distance may be plausible.
   228. PhillyBooster Posted: January 06, 2005 at 03:56 PM (#1060409)
Hey, I was just noticing that if I wanted to make a comment on Heavy Johnson or Dave Malarcher, he's got a thread right up top, but if I want to comment on Vic Willis or Gavvy Cravath . . . not so much.

While I understand that the "Top" part of the HoM front page is getting crowded, can I suggest a collection of links for the individually discussed Caucasian League players?
   229. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 06, 2005 at 04:02 PM (#1060419)
While I understand that the "Top" part of the HoM front page is getting crowded, can I suggest a collection of links for the individually discussed Caucasian League players?

They're already there, Matt, under Selected 19th Century Players and Selected 20th Century Players.
   230. PhillyBooster Posted: January 06, 2005 at 04:32 PM (#1060481)
Oops! Maybe I should change my complaint to just the fact that the front is too crowded.

:-)
   231. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 06, 2005 at 04:37 PM (#1060489)
Oops! Maybe I should change my complaint to just the fact that the front is too crowded.

LOL

I've been thinking about taking the Negro League thread off for a while (but leaving the link in the Important Link section, of course), but Joe was the one that placed it there originally, so I want to hear what he thinks about it first.
   232. jimd Posted: January 06, 2005 at 08:50 PM (#1061248)
While we're discussing links ... I may have mentioned this before (;-), but maybe Joe's new Pennants Added threads could also be linked to the HOM front page too?
   233. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 07, 2005 at 01:32 AM (#1062026)
I may have mentioned this before (;-), but maybe Joe's new Pennants Added threads could also be linked to the HOM front page too?

Done.
   234. Brent Posted: January 07, 2005 at 08:27 AM (#1062963)
I've been thinking about taking the Negro League thread off for a while

As someone who joined the project a few "years" ago, I probably was most dependent on the front page during the period that I explored the site and "lurked," learning about what you all were doing. I think we should keep the site accessible to potential voters.

Since new voters may not be very familiar with the Negro League candidates, I think it's useful to keep their pages up front - at least for the candidates who are "active." On the other hand, many of the names have received little or no support, so my suggestion would be to leave players like Beckwith, Mendez, Monroe, and Moore on the front, but then add an "other" link to a page that would provide the links to Pelayo Chacon and Andy Cooper.
   235. Howie Menckel Posted: January 08, 2005 at 02:27 AM (#1064708)
HOMers by year (10 G min)
1856-63 - 1 to 2
1864-71 - 2 to 10
1872-78 - 8 to 12
1879-80 - 16 to 17
1881-89 - 20 to 25
1890-92 - 29 to 30
1893--- - 26
1894-03 - 20 to 22
1904-09 - 24 to 26
1910-17 - 25 to 30
1918-24 - 19 to 23
1925-27 - 16 to 18
1928------ 14
then down to single digits for the moment

You can see the steady increase, then the drop for 1894 to 1903. Looks like 1910 to 1917 has almost caught the 1890-92 peak already, and subsequent years are moving up nicely.
I don't automatically have a problem with that variance. But isn't it weird that it happens just as we revert to one league?
Did it get harder to stand out in an extremely competitive league, and have we failed to recognize that - and then instead enshrined those who benefited from the return to two leagues?
It's not quite that simple, but I don't think that's all wrong, either.
   236. KJOK Posted: January 08, 2005 at 02:43 AM (#1064744)
Interesting. If you start from 1890, where you had the PL also, you did have quite a transition in # of "major league" positions from 1890 to 1893, which certainly SHOULD have impacted the quality of play in a positive direction by 1893-95...
   237. KJOK Posted: January 08, 2005 at 02:56 AM (#1064766)
I decided to run a little test, looking at what % of players from one year "returned" to the majors the next, the thought being that a low returning % might indicate a jump in competetion, with a high returning % indicating a decline in league quality:

Year% Returned
1872 70.5%
1873 62.5%
1874 69.3%
1875 79.9%
1876 47.7%
1877 54.3%
1878 49.0%
1879 56.1%
1880 59.1%
1881 66.9%
1882 78.2%
1883 63.5%
1884 86.7%
1885 42.7%
1886 65.1%
1887 67.0%
1888 72.1%
1889 68.9%
1890 79.0%
1891 53.3%
1892 57.8%
1893 64.7%
1894 69.1%
1895 65.1%
1896 69.4%
1897 67.2%
1898 74.3%
1899 71.6%
1900 49.4%
1901 89.5%
1902 66.2%
1903 66.7%
1904 66.4%
1905 70.4%
1906 69.1%
1907 70.2%
1908 66.6%
1909 70.9%
1910 65.1%
1911 62.7%
1912 63.3%
1913 60.0%
1914 71.0%
1915 69.3%
1916 54.5%
   238. KJOK Posted: January 08, 2005 at 03:13 AM (#1064792)
Some general comments:

1876 - First year of NL, with some of the NA teams going elsewhere, so the returning % drops as expected (to 48%)

1882 - AA comes in, and % goes up from 67% to 78%.

1884 - UA comes in, and % goes up from 64% to 87%

1885 - UA gone, and % goes down drastically from 87% to 43%.

1890 - PL comes in, and % goes up from 69% to 79%.

1891 - PL gone, and % goes down from 79% to 53%.

1892 - First year that's a bit counterintuitive, as with AA gone return% goes UP from 58% to 65%?! The only thing I can think of is that 65% is still lower than the normal % from a few years prior, so maybe it took 2 years to "weed out" the "inferior" players that came in to MLB with the three 1890 leagues?

1898 - Return% up to 74%, which seems to be the highest to date NOT impacted by expansion.

1900 - Contraction, and the return% goes all the way down to 49%!!

1901 - Expansion with AL, and return% skyrockets to 90%.

1914 - Federal League, return% goes from 60% to 71%.

1916 - Federal League gone, return% goes from 69% to 55%.
   239. KJOK Posted: January 08, 2005 at 03:16 AM (#1064801)
And FYI here are the numbers around WWII and integration:

1938 73.9%
1939 73.9%
1940 73.3%
1941 75.9%
1942 69.2%
1943 61.2%
1944 64.3%
1945 64.3%
1946 51.5%
1947 64.5%
1948 70.8%
1949 74.6%
1950 72.2%
1951 75.6%
1952 77.1%
   240. DavidFoss Posted: January 08, 2005 at 05:07 AM (#1064999)
Top players 1894-1903 by RCAA & RSAA

C -- Grady, Bresnahan, Clements, Kling
1B -- Beckley, Chance, Hickman, JDoyle, McGann
2B -- Lajoie, JWilliams, Daly, Childs, McPhee
3B -- McGraw, Joyce, JCollins, Bradley, Strang
SS -- Wagner, GDavis, Jennings, Dahlen, Keister, BWallace
LF -- Delahanty, Burkett, JKelley, FClarke, Sheckard, Selbach
CF -- Hamilton, Stenzel, BLange, Van Haltren, Duffy
RF -- Keeler, Flick, Freeman, SThompson, Tiernan, Crawford
P -- Young, Nichols, Griffith, Rusie, Cuppy, McGinnity, Willis, Hahn

A few notes:

A little endpoint fun here I suppose. This misses the Anson's & Brouthers' on the early end and the Plank's & Mathewson's on the later end. Its those with a significant value in the 1894-03 period. Still it ends up being 21 MLB HOM-ers (23 if you include FGrant & HRJohnson). So it roughly matches Howie's numbers. What I'm looking for is who we might have missed from this era.

-- Catchers -- really weak this era. Bresnahan probably makes it on 1903 alone (when he wasn't catching)
-- First base -- relatively weak as well, especially after Beckley who has gotten a lot of support here. Chance was indeed around since 1898 looking for a position to play... and it is playing time issues have been keeping him out.
-- Second base -- Doesn't include Childs excellent 90-93 numbers. Daly had a few good years, but he converted from catcher late and then missed about two years in the middle of his prime.
-- Third base -- McGraw & Joyce could sure hit! Too bad they couldn't stay in the lineup.
-- Shortstop -- Well represented. Also, Jennings has great support for someone with such a short career.
-- LF/RF -- Well represented. Freeman's career too short... Tiernan has gotten some support
-- Centerfield -- Stenzel & Lange's careers were both brief. Van Haltren & Duffy have come close to the HOM before.
-- Pitcher -- Frames Griffith's prime perfectly. Griffith has been close for a while. Willis has his supporters. Cuppy needed a couple of more years.

This is all hitting. Fielding would boost the rankings of several players for sure (JCollins, Duffy, etc), plus others that don't make the list (Lave Cross).

1941 results: Griffith-6, Jennings-7, Beckley-10, VanHaltren-11, Duffy-14, Childs-16, Bresnahan-21, Willis-34, McGraw-35, Chance-39
   241. Howie Menckel Posted: January 08, 2005 at 02:27 PM (#1065470)
Good stuff, David.
I do think of Griffith, Childs, and maybe Van Haltren re this topic. Jennings is getting good support for a meteoric effort, regardless of his era, and Beckley played forever. Maybe Duffy gets a little help with this consideration, too.
   242. Chris Cobb Posted: January 08, 2005 at 04:24 PM (#1065516)
I would add that Griffith lost major-league service time to contraction: he played in the AA in 1891, but did not play in the majors in 1892 or most of 1893. He wasn't outstanding in 1891, but he was good for a rookie. Those who dock Griffith for shortness of career might consider that contraction directly contributed to its shortness.

Does anyone know anything about where Griffith was playing in 1892 and most of 1893?
   243. Howie Menckel Posted: January 08, 2005 at 07:42 PM (#1065696)
not sure yet on 1892

in 1893, this from baseballlibrary.com

"In 1893 Griffith assembled a 30-18 record for the Oakland Oaks (Pacific Coast League). When the Oaks' owners, in mid-season, did not come up with back pay owed the players, Griffith organized his teammates to strike. Needing employment, several of them, including Griffith, audaciously found work as itinerant vaudevillians in San Francisco's Barbary Coast district. When the owners found enough money, the greasepaint was abandoned and the season was completed."


Sometimes I wish someone smarter and with more time was Griffith's biggest champion. The pieces are there, I think, but I haven't gotten to them strongly or quickly enough......
   244. Howie Menckel Posted: January 08, 2005 at 07:46 PM (#1065703)
I think Griffith was in the Western League in 1892...
   245. DanG Posted: January 09, 2005 at 04:18 AM (#1066464)
Daguerreotypes shows Griffith with Oakland in 1893, as was said, 30-18.

In 1892 he played with Tacoma in the P. N. W., presumably Pacific North West league. He was 13-7 in 24 G.

In 1891 he played in the AA. In 1890, age 20, he was 27-7 in 34 G with Milwaukee in the Western league. With MLB players in short supply, it's a bit strange he wasn't tried by a big league team. Relics like Bob Barr were exhumed. The concept of Proven Veterans seems to be alive and well.
   246. Chris Cobb Posted: January 09, 2005 at 04:50 AM (#1066540)
Since guile seems to have been an important part of Griffith's success from the beginning, I can imagine that he just didn't _look_ all that impressive to people trying to evaluate his talent (however that came about in those days).

That's pure speculation, of course, but it _is_ somewhat surprising, given that he never pitched badly in his early trials in the majors, that he didn't catch on more readily.
   247. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 09, 2005 at 03:27 PM (#1067297)
If we could get MLEs for those seasons of Griffith, that might be enough to push him on to my ballot.
   248. DanG Posted: January 09, 2005 at 03:49 PM (#1067300)
Sorry, I was cut off short in #45. Completing Griffith's minor league record.

In 1888 with Bloomington in the Cent.-Int. St. league he was 10-4 in 14G. K/W was 123/16.

Also in 1888, with Milwaukee in the Western league he was 12-10 in 23 G. K/W was 130/50.

In 1889 with Milwaukee he was 18-13 in 31 G. K/W was 159/91.

These two years probably don't add to his value much, but there it is.
   249. DanG Posted: January 09, 2005 at 03:59 PM (#1067306)
Another player whose minor league play should be scrutinized is Waddell. He had all the ability in the world, but had a tough time settling in to the majors.

1898 - Detroit - Western - 4-4, 9 G, 31/30 K/W.

1899 - Columbus/GrandRapids - American (Western) - 27-13 (also 7-2 in NL), 42 G, 330 IP, 154 R.

1900 - Milwaukee - American - 10-3 (also 9-11 in NL), 15 G, 129 IP, 28 R, 75/20 K/W.

1902 - Los Angeles - PCL - 12-8 (also 23-7 in AL), 20 G, 178 IP, 66 R, 142/37 K/W.

1910 - Newark - Eastern - 5-3, 15 G, 97 IP, 53/41 K/W.

1911 - Minneapolis - AA - 20-17, 54 G, 300 IP, 133 R, 185/96 K/W.

1912 - Minneapolis - AA - 12-6, 33 G, 151 IP, 67 R, 113/59 K/W.

1913 - Virginia - Northern - 3-9, 15 G, 84 IP, 82/20 K/W.
   250. Paul Wendt Posted: January 09, 2005 at 05:57 PM (#1067394)
Interpretation of Howie Menckel's annual count is not simple. Why the low numbers of HOMers active during 1894-1903? Do the low numbers mean that the HOM should include more players of that time?

1901-1903 is the big "surprise" because the number of jobs was high. I looked at those seasons systematically, a few HOM decades ago. There were few 20-22 year old players in the majors, not to mention teenagers.

Unsystematically today:
Was Sam Crawford the only teenage HOMer during this decade? Bobby Wallace was 20 when he debuted in 1894; 22 at his "non-pitcher debut."

Jimmy Collins, Lajoie and Wagner were 25-21-23 years old in their debut seasons 1895-96-97. Magee, Cobb, Eddie Collins and Speaker were 19-18-19-19 in 1904-05-06-07. The difference in ages is about four years.

If there had been 16 teams in the 1890s, would the HOM include more players from that time? Yes. Maybe some men not now in the HOM. Certainly the Menckel counts would be higher because some men now in the HOM would have reached the majors one to three seasons earlier.

This note makes a theoretical point about the Menckel counts, illustrated by a few prominent players from the mid/late 90s and a few from the mid/late 00s. No more than that. First, my treatment is not systematic. Second, if the illustrated difference between periods is general, the 00s rather than the 90s may be the exception.
   251. Paul Wendt Posted: January 09, 2005 at 06:09 PM (#1067398)
Cobb wasn't ready in 1905: .240 batting average in 164 PA. He contrasted his own .240 with the rookie records of Lajoie, Wagner and others, in his told-to autobiography. He vaulted to the majors from Augusta because of injuries (principally Jimmy Barrett's Apr/May injury; Cobb was not the first solution).
   252. Paul Wendt Posted: January 09, 2005 at 06:57 PM (#1067456)
KJOK #38 in comment on his #37
1892 - First year that's a bit counterintuitive, as with AA gone return% goes UP from 58% to 65%?!
53% to 58%

The only thing I can think of is that 65% is still lower than the normal % from a few years prior, so maybe it took 2 years to "weed out" the "inferior" players that came in to MLB with the three 1890 leagues?

The number of franchises in 1890, 1891 and 1892 was 24:16:12
==> successive decreases 66% and 75%

One AA club failed in 1890 and one in 1891; both franchises were awarded to new clubs midseason, who used mainly-new players. ==> 25:17:12
==> successive decreases 68% and 70%.


Cliff Blau, League Operating Rules
The 13-man inseason roster limit was imposed June 1892. Cliff Blau shows no increase during the 1890s. Did he miss an increase in 1898 that would explain the increase in NL job retention rate? I recall reading of 16(NL) and 14(AL) for 1901 described with sthe implication that 16 was a decrease, an economy measure. (There may have been one or two size changes during 1901. The NL did delay the cutdown date as a wartime tactic.)

Cliff shows the offseason reserve limit 18 in 1900 but the inseason roster limit still only 13. He shows NL increases to 15 for 1901, 16 for 1904, 25 for 1909 inseason rosters. I suppose the 25-man limit was not binding for most teams; ie, all teams nearly always at the limit in 1908, but most teams usually below the limit in 1909.
   253. DavidFoss Posted: January 09, 2005 at 09:21 PM (#1067821)
Was Sam Crawford the only teenage HOMer during this decade? Bobby Wallace was 20 when he debuted in 1894; 22 at his "non-pitcher debut."

Jimmy Sheckard.

Not just HOM-ers either, of all players Sheckard's 459 PA in 1898 is the only season where a teenager was a "regular" between 1894 & 1903.

SEASON
1894-1903
AGE < 20

PLATE APPEARANCES             YEAR     PA       AGE    
1    Jimmy Sheckard           1898      459       19   
2    Sam Crawford             1899      133       19   
3    Chief Bender             1903      129       19   
4    Ike Samuls               1895       83       19   
5    Jimmy Sheckard           1897       55       18   
6    Brownie Foreman          1895       54       19   
7    Sammy Strang             1896       52       19   
8    Jim St.Vrain             1902       34       19   
9    Doc Amole                1897       31       18   
10   Doc Amole                1898       21       19   
   254. Paul Wendt Posted: January 10, 2005 at 04:03 PM (#1069730)
Thanks.
I suppose that teenage pitchers played a greater role than other teens, yet Bender was the only teenage "regular pitcher."

(Above I cited debut seasons, some of which do not qualify for Howie Menckel's count, much less constitute "regular" play such as Sheckard's. Clarke, JCollins, Lajoie, and Wagner were regular players during their debut seasons, albeit not from opening day.)
   255. DanG Posted: January 10, 2005 at 04:32 PM (#1069787)
Belated happy birthday to the Hall of Merit blog, which celebrated three years of unparalleled baseball research on January 8, 2005.
   256. jimd Posted: January 10, 2005 at 08:10 PM (#1070315)
With MLB players in short supply, it's a bit strange he wasn't tried by a big league team. Relics like Bob Barr were exhumed. The concept of Proven Veterans seems to be alive and well.

There's no evidence of a bias against young pitchers in 1890.

Birthdate
05/30/71 Amos Rusie (2nd season in NL, 18 months younger)
11/20/69 Clark Griffith (playing in minors)
10/02/69 Scott Stratton (3rd season at Louisville AA and a month older)
09/14/69 Kid Nichols (rookie, two months older)
03/14/69 Billy Rhines (rookie, eight months older)

For whatever the reason, Griffith just did not get the chance that the others did.
   257. Chris Cobb Posted: January 10, 2005 at 09:11 PM (#1070446)
Does anyone have minor-league records from 1887-1889 for any of these pitchers? Did they look, qualitatively, different from Griffith?

Obviously, in 1891 both Rusie and Nichols performed much better in the majors than Griffith did, but how did they look at the beginning of the 1889 and 1890 seasons?
   258. DanG Posted: January 10, 2005 at 09:27 PM (#1070481)
There's no evidence of a bias against young pitchers in 1890.

C'mon, I didn't just make this up. There is some evidence. You show all of two young pitchers (Nichols, Rhines) who became established in MLB in 1890.

Besides Barr, I find five other pitchers 28 and older who increased their IP by at least 100 from 1889 to 1890.

Ed Cushman, 38
Ed Green, 40
Mark Mattimore, 31
Bill Hutchison, 30
Ed Crane, 28

Admittedly, this is a small study and may not reflect an actual trend. Probably the thing to do is to look at the average age of all starting pitchers in 1890 versus 1889 and 1891, weighted by IP, to establish if there was a real pattern of bias against young pitchers.
   259. jimd Posted: January 10, 2005 at 11:01 PM (#1070697)
You show all of two young pitchers (Nichols, Rhines) who became established in MLB in 1890.

Before I ever heard of the HOM, I had set up a DB of MLB "regulars" using the following def'n. A regular played more than 1/2 the G of the league leader at his position; pitchers were extended to also include those with more than 1/2 the GS or 1/2 the IP of the league leader at those stats. It may not be the best def'n, but it's serviceable.

This was Stratton's third season with Louisville but first year as a "regular"; it was also Rusie's first year as a "regular".

Monty Ward, Silver King, and Amos Rusie were all 18 when they made their debuts. Larry Corcoran, Mickey Welch, John Clarkson, and Bob Caruthers were all 20 when they made their debuts. In 1887, 9 out of 33 "regular" pitchers were 21 or younger; 6 were 30 or older (Radbourn at 33 was the geezer.)

Counting 1893 and earlier, there were 47 pitchers who were 21 or less in their first season as a "regular". Counting 1893 and earlier, there were 44 pitchers who had a season as a "regular" pitcher at the age of 28 or older. This is from a total population of 156 players that qualified as a "regular" pitcher between 1871 and 1893.

Why would there be age bias against Griffith and not against the others?
   260. jimd Posted: January 10, 2005 at 11:16 PM (#1070741)
Probably the thing to do is to look at the average age of all starting pitchers in 1890 versus 1889 and 1891, weighted by IP,

1887 24.7
1888 24.6
1889 25.0
1890 25.0
1891 25.2
1892 25.9

By decade:
1870's 23.1 (19.1 in 1878)
1880's 24.4
1890's 25.7
1900's 27.8
1910's 27.2
1920's 29.0
1930's 29.4
1940's 29.8 (30.7 in 1945)
1950's 29.0
1960's 27.9
1970's 27.9
1980's 28.8
1990's 28.9

In general, the 19th century loved young pitchers.
   261. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 10, 2005 at 11:20 PM (#1070752)
Belated happy birthday to the Hall of Merit blog, which celebrated three years of unparalleled baseball research on January 8, 2005.

Seconded! :-)
   262. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: January 10, 2005 at 11:24 PM (#1070758)
Pitchers might be more dramatic, but I'd guess the 19th Century was younger across the board. I don't suppose you have the numbers handy?
   263. DavidFoss Posted: January 10, 2005 at 11:26 PM (#1070766)
Admittedly, this is a small study and may not reflect an actual trend. Probably the thing to do is to look at the average age of all starting pitchers in 1890 versus 1889 and 1891, weighted by IP, to establish if there was a real pattern of bias against young pitchers.

I can check this on the Sinin database when I get home.

I did similar Plate Appearances runs for teenagers using 1880-1893 and 1904-1919 and found many more teenage regulars than the gap in between (which is just Sheckard).

One thing I did notice about the 1880-1893 search that I did was the large amount of hits that 1884 & 1890 received. More than half of the total by my vague visual recollection. That didn't surprise me becuase those were the three league seasons.

I forget the specific reason for these searches. More teenage regulars implies a dip in league quality?
   264. Paul Wendt Posted: January 10, 2005 at 11:31 PM (#1070781)
Perhaps DanG has in mind that there should have been a marked one-year 1890 increase in number of young mlb players, matching the one-year increase in number of mlb teams.
   265. jimd Posted: January 10, 2005 at 11:49 PM (#1070829)
With MLB players in short supply, it's a bit strange he wasn't tried by a big league team. Relics like Bob Barr were exhumed. The concept of Proven Veterans seems to be alive and well.

The implication I took from this quote was: Griffith didn't get a chance in 1890 because MLB teams preferred "Proven Veterans". Given the relatively large number of "Young Pitching Phenoms", I see little evidence for this.
   266. DanG Posted: January 12, 2005 at 05:45 AM (#1073969)
I love suggesting studies for others to tackle...

Paul is close to what I had in mind. Wasn't there a marked increase in number of young MLB players in 1890?

It's really more this: OK, it's 1890, I have just lost my starting pitcher to a new league. Who can I get to replace him? Did teams that year have a greater tendency to Go with the Ed Green/Ed Cushman/Bob Barr/Mark Mattimore retread PVs, who were out of MLB again the next year? Or was there a greater tendency to try an unproven youngster like Nichols/Rhines/Griffith who had a chance to develop into something? I don't know the answer.
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