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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Monday, March 07, 2005

1947 Ballot Discussion

Our 50th election!

1947 (March 13)—elect 2
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)

391 127.2 1925 Lefty Grove-P (1975)
325 113.1 1923 Gabby Hartnett-C (1972)
258 73.9 1926 Buddy Myer-2B (1974)
223 62.7 1923 Charlie Root-P (1970)
222 61.7 1925 Freddie Fitzsimmons-P (1979)
175 51.5 1927 Bump Hadley-P (1963)
170 51.8 1932 Jo-Jo Moore-LF (2001)
159 50.2 1931 Joe Vosmik-LF (1962)
149 49.4 1928 Spud Davis-C (1984)
150 36.9 1927 Danny MacFayden-P (1972)
121 39.8 1928 Leo Durocher-SS (1991)
111 34.2 1932 Bill Swift-P (1969)
112 30.5 1933 Odell Hale-2B/3B (1980)
104 32.9 1933 Monte Pearson-P (1978)

1947 (March 13)—elect 2
HF% Career Name-pos (born) BJ – MVP - All-Star

80% 22-45 Jud Wilson-3B/1B (1899) #4 3b - 0 - 11*
00% 20-41 Connie Rector-P (??) 1 - 1*

Players Passing Away in 1946

Age Elected

60 1936 Smokey Joe Williams-P
59 1933 Walter Johnson-P

Age Eligible

62 1939 Jack Quinn-P
57 1924 Jeff Tesreau-P
42 1945 Tony Lazzeri-2B

As always, thanks Dan and Chris!

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 07, 2005 at 01:40 AM | 127 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Sean Gilman Posted: March 13, 2005 at 09:39 PM (#1197146)
I'll be 29 in a couple weeks and I've voted in every election.

I lurked around the HOM ever since the 'something better' article.
   102. sunnyday2 Posted: March 13, 2005 at 11:17 PM (#1197257)
I'm with Gary on Dobie Moore, but I'll go further.

1st, as Gary notes, he DID play baseball. To pretend otherwise is silly, not to mention unfair.

2nd, this is particularly unfair because as a black man he could hardly choose to play in the MLs. I mean, here's a guy who for reasons of racism had limited choices available and left a limited statistical legacy. To arbitrarily disallow any of the evidence of his ability and his career amplifies the injustices previously done.

3rd, the "choice" between the army and the NeLs is a false choice, too. I mean the NeLs were extremely unstable economically.

In summary, to disallow any of Dobie Moore's record is unfair and to suggest that he had "choices" similar to those of white players or of contemporary players is simply inaccurate.
   103. sunnyday2 Posted: March 13, 2005 at 11:34 PM (#1197283)
Re. Hank Greenberg, or any other player affected by WWII, I guess I don't exactly understand what is being suggested.

If he enlisted, does this mean he was a man of superior character and should therefore get extra credit over players who waited to be drafted? I would certainly disagree with this in that we are not supposed to be voting on "character."

Or, if he enlisted, was this a "career choice" and therefore he should get less credit than a player who waited to be drafted? I also disagree with this. If fighting in WWII were a career choice and not a national emergency, then we wouldn't be making any adjustments for anybody. To penalize a guy who went above and beyond the call of duty is beyond understanding.

In fact, the idea that Hank Greenberg should have chosen not to serve his country is like suggesting that Dobie Moore should have chosen to play baseball somewhere where he would have been more visible.

Considering their respective time, place and character: Not possible.
   104. ronw Posted: March 14, 2005 at 01:36 AM (#1197454)
So, that other Hall has recently elected HOMers:

Jesse Burkett
Joe McGinnity
Eddie Plank
Ed Walsh

and non-HOMers with some support (current or past)

Clark Griffith
Rube Waddell
Frank Chance
Johnny Evers
Joe Tinker

and the following two who have never received more than token HOM support.

Hall of Famer Happy Jack Chesbro
Tommy McCarthy

Who voted for those last two?
   105. PhillyBooster Posted: March 14, 2005 at 02:05 PM (#1197892)

Or, if he enlisted, was this a "career choice" and therefore he should get less credit than a player who waited to be drafted?

Just curious, Marc. If Carlos Delgado decides tomorrow -- in a sudden burst of patriotism -- to join the Marines for a 2 year stint, and misses his age 33 and 34 seasons fighting in Iraq, does he get full credit for those major league seasons? What if he joins the peace corps and builds a bridge in Malawi?

For Hank Greenburg, it doesn't matter. In my line of work, we learn that when the boss says, "You many chose to quit now, but if you chose not to, I will fire you," you have not made an independent employment decision. Similarly, enlisting versus getting drafted in WWII is just a question of which happened first -- there is no substantive difference. But in an era without a draft, chosing to be a soldier is simply a career choice -- certainly one of numerous ways for a patriot to serve his country, but I don't think one that warrants unique considerations.

I am therefore torn on Dobie Moore, who played on Army teams in peacetime. While I recognize all the factors Marc mentioned in #102, it strikes me also as somewhat comparable to Sam Leever's "decision" to teach school and play baseball on Sundays during an unstable time in white baseball.
   106. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: March 14, 2005 at 03:22 PM (#1198013)
We're really talking about two different points with Moore and Greenberg.


I entered the discussion of Moore (way back when!) with the same stance, but thanks to a reality check, I've come to see it this way:
Moore's entrance into the army was indeed a career choice. But that career choice for Moore and blacks of his time was more like choosing which team to barnstorm with. The army was simply another team to join, though one probably more dependable and with better fringe benefits than other independent barnstorming outfits. Put another way, Moore was a free agent, and he signed with the Uncle Sams for a five-year deal.

The fact that Rogan and others extremely talented players made the same choice should emphasize that this was indeed a choice of team/venue rather than a choice not to play pro ball.

As someone who has previously argued in favor of not offering credit to players who enlisted before they could be conscripted, I'm beginning to change my tune.

While in principle, I still believe that a player who chooses to enlist ahead of the draft should receive no credit for making a value-based decision, and while I further believe that much of the impetus to give credit for WW2 enlistment comes from voters' own personal moral codes and not from the HOM's constitution, ... I'm coming to realize that the level of separation between the two (enlisting and conscription) is often rather granular. And the reporting on which happened to whom is sometimes contradictory.

So I've decided to offer credit all around because, frankly, I'm not a biographical expert on anyone but myself (and even then, perhaps an unreliable biographical narrator!), and I simply don't have the time and patience to go through every career at that level of detail when the net result is extraordinarily unlikely to be the difference between in and out. Applying a blanket system of credit versus not applying such a system seems like a fine-enough dinstinction in determining merit.

After all, borderline players' cases have hinged on equally granular things that happen on the field rather than on the battlefield as well as more macro stuff. There's enough gray area out there to make this specific point about method of induction a bit more of a red herring than even my idealistic nature can handle.
   107. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: March 14, 2005 at 10:07 PM (#1198706)
Sorry about the mistake. Greenberg didn't enlist after 1940, he was drafted. I got this mixed up because he re-enlisted after his tour of duty expired the next year. I remember reading about the plaudits he got for that decisions and for some reason thought it was for enlisting originally. I believe he does deserve full credit for 1941-1944 and half of 1945.

Players who enlisted in WWII (After Pearl Harbor) did so in order to pick choose where they went and what they did. If they wanted to go to Great Lakes or Norfolk to play ball enlisted would make sure that happened. If they were drafted, the top guys at those and other bases might try to being them in, but there were no guarantees. They should still recieve credit because they were getting drafted anyway.

It is kinda like joining the Navy in the early days of Vietnam so you had a choice of where you served when you knew you were going to be drafted anyway.
   108. jimd Posted: March 15, 2005 at 12:44 AM (#1199003)
Greenberg didn't enlist after 1940, he was drafted. I got this mixed up because he re-enlisted after his tour of duty expired the next year.

IIRC, he was discharged on 12/5/41 and reenlisted a few (three?) days later (understandably).
   109. sunnyday2 Posted: March 15, 2005 at 03:01 AM (#1199128)
Matt, your hypothetical e.g. of Carlos Delgado going to Malawi to build a latrine clarifies the issues in play here.

1. How meaningful are the "choices" that a player has to make?

2. What is the nature of the evidence of his value and/or ability?

3. Did the player actually play ball or not?

Delgado, in your e.g., clearly has the ability (freedom from constraints imposed by racism, for instance, and the economic independence) to exercise a virtually unbridled freedom of choice.

We also know in voluminous detail about Delgado's ability--both while actually playing, and what he might have done if he had chosen not to play. IOW how much extra credit to give if you decide he warrants it.

Greenberg apparently had little or no freedom of choice, but here again we know a lot about his ability and we know how much extra credit to give if you decide he merits any at all.

Leever...well, we don't know how much freedom of choice he had, or at least I don't. What were his economic conditions? What were the risks, etc., of playing major league ball? Or were the constraints ones of family demands or wishes? Or was he simply not good enough to play in the majors? I don't think we know, and most people seem reluctant to give extra credit to a player who wasn't playing elite ball if we can't make a pretty ironclad case for why we should.

Finally, Dobie Moore. He is exactly the opposite of the Delgado case. We know a lot about why he ended up where he did, why he made the choice that he did. What we don't know is a whole lot about what kind of baseball player he was, how much credit to give for his time with the Wreckers. But not knowing as much about his ability and his record (compared to Delgado and Greenberg, at least) is all the more reason why we need to examine and credit the full resume. There is no way to calculate his value, and if we could it would be hypothetical, not real, in the way that Beckwith's and Suttles' and Beckwith's MLEs are hypothetical. They answer the question what if, not what really happened.

So with Moore we want to understand his ability, which was real. We can't do that by amputating a third to a half of his career.

Secondly, it seems obvious to me to give him credit because unlike Delgado (in the e.g.) and Leever *he was playing baseball.* Elite baseball. It is likely that the Wreckers were better than half the teams, or more, in the NeLs. I could understand not giving Hank Greenberg extra credit--he wasn't playing baseball. I don't agree with it, but I understand.

But I don't understand why would you withold credit from a guy who was playing baseball. IOW we are not talking about any extra credit whatsoever here. We are only talking about credit for playing baseball, which is what he was doing.

And his freedom of choice was constrained more in the way that Greenberg's was than they way that Delgado's or Leever's were in these examples. There was no way he could play in the MLs, like Greenberg after being drafted. Yet his circumstances allowed him to play baseball and he played it against almost as tough of competition as he possibly could. Certainly his case is as good (I would argue better) than Cravath's or Arlett's or Grove's in Baltimore. He played against very good competition because he wasn't allowed to play against much better.

The Delgado e.g. only makes Moore's case for "credit," not X-credit, stronger and more clear.
   110. Dag Nabbit at Posted: March 15, 2005 at 04:56 AM (#1199281)
FWIW, the new updated '05 Baseball Encyclopedia lists pitcher run support for each season for each pitcher in the pitcher register.
   111. DavidFoss Posted: March 15, 2005 at 05:53 PM (#1200053)
FWIW, the new updated '05 Baseball Encyclopedia lists pitcher run support for each season for each pitcher in the pitcher register.

Plus, bb-ref got a nice update for the second straight week. OPS+ & ERA+ appear on all the team & league pages now. They list awards shares. Also, there are now yearly MLB leaderboards and new leaderboard entry for AB/K. (Sewell has nine straight titles).
   112. Michael Bass Posted: March 15, 2005 at 08:47 PM (#1200407)
By those metrics, Beckley and Sisler are up there, and Terry wasn't.

Using WS as my base, I have the same order, karlmagnus, FWIW.

Sisler: 33, 29, 29, 27, 25, 24, 22, 19, 16, 14, 13, 11, 11, 10, 8

Terry: 32, 32, 29, 29, 27, 24, 24, 23, 21, 18, 8, 7, 4

Seems like a fairly clear advantage to Terry to me (unless one is giving credit to Sisler for his extra crappy years). Now, I know your system drops Terry because he had better 1B contemporaries, but my point here is that he was better (if marginally) by raw WS.

As for the WARP changes, I'm at a loss; everyone else seems to be changing by tenths of points, Sisler booms. Someone suggested a 1B defense change in the Ballot thread; suppose that is possible. But everyone else I've looked at either stayed about the same or dropped, Sisler's the only candidate in my (brief) search to have boomed. Possible this is another calculation error (a la Browning back in the day)? Or maybe a correction of an old error?
   113. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 15, 2005 at 09:23 PM (#1200472)
Seems like a fairly clear advantage to Terry to me (unless one is giving credit to Sisler for his extra crappy years). Now, I know your system drops Terry because he had better 1B contemporaries, but my point here is that he was better (if marginally) by raw WS.

But as Bill James would point out here (and demonstrated with his rankings), we shouldn't totally rely on the raw WS.
   114. andrew siegel Posted: March 15, 2005 at 09:46 PM (#1200507)
The new WARP numbers close the defensive gap between the two so much that it turns Sisler into the clearly superior player. Still, I think the new WARP numbers argue more strongly for the exclusion of Terry than for the inclusion of Sisler. I think we may come to regret his election more than any other 20th-century major leaguer.
   115. Brent Posted: March 16, 2005 at 01:04 AM (#1200730)
I notice at least one calculation error on the BP site. The team "totals" for WARP1/3 are no longer equal to the sum of the individual players.
   116. Howie Menckel Posted: March 16, 2005 at 02:34 AM (#1200823)
I just hope that those who valued Sisler less due to the previous WARP numbers give him FULL credit back now. Hell, he got passed over when he had a shot in weak years, so even that doesn't even the scales, arguably.
As far as I'm concerned, it only makes sense to judge guys on offensive scales first. THEN make the defensive adjustments you like, but from an accurate offensive context. I'm not knocking major bonuses for defense, but I combined defensive measures with defensive reputations in the early years of the project.

I had no idea why Terry sailed in so easily; if it was because of this metric, I'll have a queasy feeling in my stomach.
   117. TomH Posted: March 16, 2005 at 12:11 PM (#1201145)
FWIW, I use WARP as one leg of a three- or four-legged stool. Even with the recent changes, I have Terry quite a few places above Sisler, who is still struggling to make the edge of my ballot.
   118. Daryn Posted: March 16, 2005 at 01:45 PM (#1201160)
Terry's election was just a product of the system -- he had no more real support than any of the top 8 candidates in 1942 (all had at least as many elect-me votes). He just had a lot of low ballot support. He beat out Rixey, Sewell and Beckwith, all of whom should make it one day. If he hadn't made it then, he would have made it later. I had him 15th -- if 7 people like me had dropped him a couple spaces, Rixey'd be in and Terry would be at the top of our backlog. Six of one...
   119. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: March 16, 2005 at 01:49 PM (#1201161)
I just ran the new WARP numbers through my system and here is what I got.

First, seasons about 4 WARP

Terry - 11.2, 11.2, 9.9, 7.9, 7.3, 7.0, 6.5, 4.8, 4.4 (9)

Sisler - 13.2, 8.7, 8.3, 8.2, 8.0, 7.7, 7.0 (7)

Career WARP
Terry 78.1
Sisler 80.1

WARP over 4.0
Terry 34.2
Sisler 33.1

WARP over 7.0 (my peak measure)
Terry 12.5
Sisler 11.4

The difference is smaller but Terry still comes out ahead, one could call it even. In WS, the winner is clearly Terry since Sisler receives very little credit from 1924 on (my cutoffs are 15 and 25)

I think the line falls between them, though Terry still isn't in my PHOM. I did put him 4th the year he got in, he would currently be 6th or 7th.

Come to think of it, Bill Terry is likely to end up in the HOM without being in a majority of PHOM. I think that most voters had him above Sisler and in the top 4-10. When everyone puts you at those spots in a weak year you get in.
   120. Dag Nabbit at Posted: March 17, 2005 at 06:21 PM (#1203409)
This is getting a little ahead of things, but just in case I forget later on. . . . . Between now and the 1951 election, could someone look up the minor league numbers on Curt Davis? He had over 160 win shares despite not cracking the bigs until he was in his 30s. I know that's the most career win shares for a starting pitcher who didn't debut until his 30s, and I'm half-assuming it's the record for anyone.

He's likely completely off everyone's radar, but it would interesting to find out his background.
   121. OCF Posted: March 17, 2005 at 06:58 PM (#1203488)
I know that's the most career win shares for a starting pitcher who didn't debut until his 30s

Only 33 bad innings - if they were at the end of his career, we'd call them token appearences under HoM rules - stand in the way of saying Dazzy Vance debuted at the age of 31. In Vance's case, no one made any claims of significant minor league value.

Stuff happens. By all means, let's find out about Davis's biography.
   122. Howie Menckel Posted: March 17, 2005 at 08:14 PM (#1203726)
Curt Davis was a star with the San Francisco Seals for 5-6 years, I'm pretty sure, before getting the MLB 'call'.
   123. DavidFoss Posted: March 17, 2005 at 08:39 PM (#1203774)
Curt Davis was a star with the San Francisco Seals for 5-6 years, I'm pretty sure, before getting the MLB 'call'.

Yup... a quick google shows the following link:

   124. Dag Nabbit at Posted: March 19, 2005 at 04:38 AM (#1206448)
FWIW, (I'll probably re-post this in next week's discussion thread to ensure everyone who is interested sees it) I just greatly extended my Mickey Welch comments. Mainly, I did a big old extensive breakdown of the opposing pitchers he tended to be paired off against vs. those Keefe regularly faced from 1885-9.
   125. Howie Menckel Posted: March 19, 2005 at 02:05 PM (#1206815)
Wow, Chris J, that is fantastic stuff.

Was an early Welch fan, and this helps him overall in my eyes. I love the fleshed-out sense of Welch battling and beating the best Ps, and I picture Clarkson hiding under a seat on the team bus whenever ol' Mickey came to town.

Their overall cases are quite different, but Welch has a little bit of Schilling in him. Schilling still doesn't look that great on the flat stats page, but anyone who follows baseball recognizes him as belonging in a discussion of the game's great pitchers. They also seem to thrive on the most challenging of pitching opponents.

Welch likely moves up on my next ballot. I've just been looking for a more tangible case to be made for him. And while not all of this study benefits him (Keefe faced better teams while Welch took on better hurlers), overall I believe it does.
   126. Paul Wendt Posted: March 20, 2005 at 03:55 PM (#1208233)
Yet, for those who rely on ERA etc rather than Wins etc, the opposing team quality (offense, not W-L) is crucial and the opposing pitcher quality is irrelevant.
   127. Dag Nabbit at Posted: March 20, 2005 at 05:56 PM (#1208320)
Yet, for those who rely on ERA etc rather than Wins etc, the opposing team quality (offense, not W-L) is crucial and the opposing pitcher quality is irrelevant.

Good point.
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