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

Monday, July 11, 2005

1956 Ballot Discussion

1956 (July 25)—elect 2
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)

378 115.9 1931 Luke Appling-SS (1991)
242 76.6 1938 Joe Gordon-2B (1978)
199 69.3 1938 Ken Keltner-3B (1991)
208 65.9 1937 Tommy Henrich-RF (living)
138 54.1 1939 Eddie Miller-SS (1997)
134 51.4 1937 Johnny VanderMeer (1997)
129 37.8 1934 Al Benton-RP (1968)
119 39.2 1939 Kirby Higbe-P (1985)
082 26.0 1942 Harry Walker-CF (1999)
062 21.8 1944 Joe Page-RP (1980)

1956 (July 17)—elect 2
HF% Career Name-pos (born) BJ – MVP - All-Star

00% 40-50 Verdell Mathis-P (1914) 0 - 2*

Players Passing Away in 1955

HoMers
Age Elected

88 1917 Cy Young-P
81 1923 Honus Wagner-SS

Candidates
Age Eligible

88 1906 Gus Weyhing-P
87 1917 Sol White-2b/3b
85 1912 Clark Griffith-P
79 1920 Danny Murphy-2b/RF
78 1915 Bill Dinneen-P
69 1930 Shano Collins-RF
59 1936 Curt Walker-RF
52 1948 Clint Brown-RP
50 1944 John Stone-LF/RF
48 1952 George Caster-RP
40 1952 Frankie Hayes-C

As always, many thanks to Dan and Chris for allowing me to appropriate their lists!

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 11, 2005 at 12:19 AM | 165 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 12, 2005 at 12:09 AM (#1464903)
Appling and Gordon are the two newbies to watch this election.
   2. Jim Sp Posted: July 12, 2005 at 12:58 AM (#1465136)
Appling and Suttles for my PHoM this year. Beckwith made it in 1940.

Gordon #13.

Keltner and Henrich had nice careers, but nowhere near the ballot.

Waddell, Cravath, Monroe, Schang, Bresnahan, Griffith, Joss, Jose Mendez, and Welch are in my PHoM but off my ballot.

1)Appling--easy choice. A shortstop who could hit, what's not to like?
2)Beckwith-- A great hitter, he played a considerable amount at the difficult end of the defensive spectrum. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on his “unusual circumstances”. His selection as manager indicates to me that his intangibles weren’t all negative. He made my PHoM in 1940 over Coveleski and Faber.
3)Suttles--
4)Averill--Looks like a HoMer to me even without PCL credit, but I do give him some PCL credit as he was obviously major league quality before arriving in the majors. Compare him to Goslin: Averill has a higher OPS+ (133/128), and is an A+ CF vs. a C+ LF. Goslin has career length, mostly because Averill plays in the PCL for a while.
5)Mackey--#2 on my 1949 prelim, but more data on his hitting has dropped him to here.
6)Cool Papa Bell--If Max Carey is in, Cool Papa should be too.
7)Sewell--109 OPS+, reasonably long career, good shortstop (A- Win Shares). Yes, I am allowing for his switch to 3B at the end of his career.
8)Medwick--
9)Bob Johnson--A very underrated player. Usually I'm a WS guy but this time I think Warp has it right.
10)Billy Herman-- I’m still perplexed trying to figure out his career relative to the defensive spectrum shift at 2B. He looks good compared to modern 2B, not so great compared to early lively ball 2B. Gets two years war credit, that helps too.
11)Doyle— His hitting is legitimately outstanding, he played 2nd base, and a C+ defender by Win Shares. 126 career OPS+, compare to contemporary George Cutshaw, who was a regular 2B for 11 years with an OPS+ of 86. #19 all time in innings at 2B. Regularly in the 2B defensive Win Shares leaders, WS Gold Glove in 1917. Top 10 in Win Shares 1909-12, 1915.
12)Stan Hack--His time will come, I think. I like him better than Groh, who I voted for.
13)Gordon
14)Beckley— Behind the big 3, much better than other dead-ball 1B. Win Shares best fielder at 1B in 1893, 1895, 1899, and 1900. Add in 2930 hits, with power and walks. No peak but a lot of consistent production, we’re not talking about Ed Kranepool here.
15)Rixey—Early Wynn will be the next pitcher with more IP, his W/L percentage isn’t high because he didn’t get a lot of support. ERA+ is very good at 115 for such a long career.

Ruffing#30, he’s HoVG but I don’t like him as much as the consensus.
Hughie Jennings—impressive peak, not enough career.
Ferrell—one of the top 100 pitchers of all time, but not on my ballot currently.
   3. DavidFoss Posted: July 12, 2005 at 01:00 AM (#1465140)
88 1917 Cy Young-P
81 1923 Honus Wagner-SS


RIP to two members of the innermost inner circle.
   4. sunnyday2 Posted: July 12, 2005 at 01:11 AM (#1465166)
I'll bite. 1956 prelim.

1. Hughie Jennings (2-3-3, PHoM 1927)
2. Dobie Moore (3-4-4, PHoM 1942)

Through most of baseball history--with the exception of the period from Ernie Banks to Robin Yount (or maybe from Arky Vaughan to Robin Yount with the exception of Ernie Banks)--the best all-around athletes and baseball players have found their way to the SS position. So I don't mind loading the HoM with SSs.

And I also believe that Merit includes value, which is quantitative, and "greatness," which is qualitative. And 3 to 5 years is plenty of time to exhibit that quality of greatness, and Jennings and Moore did that, to a higher degree than any other eligible players.

3. Mule Suttles (5-7-5, PHoM 1956)
4. Joe Medwick (6-2-new, PHoM 1954)
5. George Sisler (7-5-6, PHoM 1938)

I re-evaluated players whose position was essentially "hitter" in order to try to get Buck Leonard right. As a result of that re-eval, Suttles jumped Medwick and Sisler. But these are still the best three combo peak/prime hitters there are.

6. Luke Appling (new)

Basically takes Willie Wells' slot on the ballot. But does he go PHoM this year? I've got a backlog of HoM/not PHoMers awaiting selection, too. Teddy Lyons is the top pitcher, Wells is substantially comparable to Appling, and among the deeper backlog Harry Stovey jumped up tall in my hitter re-eval. So it could be any one of the four, I don't know yet.

7. Tommy Bond (8-6-7, PHoM 1929)
8. Rube Waddell (9-9-9, PHoM 1932)
9. Jose Mendez (10-10-11)

The best of the pitchers--Bond for his massive WS peak (even after i give half of them to his fielders), Waddell his peak/prime ERA+, and Mendez for a great peak against a Cuban League that was essentially equal to the NeLs. Mendez also pitched very very well against ML competition, and it was usually the better ML teams that were out barnstorming or else all-star teams.

10. John Beckwith (11-13-12)

Moved up a little in my hitter re-eval. Yes, he played the left side of the IF, but he played it indifferently. So I rate him basically as a "hitter."

11. Billy Herman (12-11-10)
12. Edd Roush (14-12-13)

Now it's time for a couple guys who played both sides of the ball. This week's project is to re-eval 2Bs, and I admit that at a glance Herman is not that far ahead of Gordon (or Doyle or Childs or Dunlap or Monroe; Lazzeri I think I have eliminated from serious contention). So this could change. But I also need to re-eval CF but it won't be this week. Maybe when DiMaggio joins the fun would be a good time.

13. Addie Joss (x-x-14)

Prime ERA+ 145.

Then, should I fill out my ballot with a hitter and if so Browning, Cravath, C. Jones or Klein? Or a two-way guy, and if so somebody with more O (Bell, Doyle) or more D (Ed Williamson) or more balance (like newbie Gordon or a backlogger like Childs)? For now, let's note that the two-way guys are harder to find than the great hitters, so:

14. Ed Williamson (x-15-x, PHoM 1924)
15. Joe Gordon (new)

The rest of my first ring consideration set

16. Larry Doyle (15-x-15)
17. Pete Browning (last on ballot in 1938)
18. Charley Jones (13-x-x, PHoM 1921)
19. Gavy Cravath (last on ballot in 1952)
20. Chuck Klein (x-14-x)
21. Cupid Childs (last on ballot 1942, PHoM 1925)
22. Cool Papa Bell (last on ballot 1951)

Also PHoM: Harry Wright (no longer in top 100)

Top 15 consensus, not in my top 22: Ruffing (#32), Hack (#28), Ferrell (#34), Averill (#27), Rixey (#23), Mackey (#35), Griffith (#26). I don't find fault with anybody in consensus top 15, all are in my top 35.
   5. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: July 12, 2005 at 02:23 AM (#1465337)
A couple of semi-random thoughts that occured to me while I was writing up my last ballot (they're in there, but there's a lot of verbiage there.)

1) Somebody (karlmagnus, I think, but I'm not certain) argued that it made sense for there to be fewer third basemen in the HoM, because a lot of them were shortstops who couldn't play defense well enough. I think that's an oversimplification, but in any case it doesn't apply to Tommy Leach. In fact, it applies less to Tommy Leach than to ANYONE ELSE IN BASEBALL HISTORY.

2) Is Cool Papa Bell pretty much just Spotswood Poles with a better publicity campaign? I'm honestly not sure.
   6. sunnyday2 Posted: July 12, 2005 at 02:28 AM (#1465344)
And now we know that Alejandro Oms played more CF than RF, too, and Oms hit like Paul Waner while Bell hit like Max Carey. Nice parallelism there.

The CF glut just keeps getting hairier and hairier. Can't wait for the '70s.
   7. Chris Cobb Posted: July 12, 2005 at 02:48 AM (#1465400)
1956 Prelim, no discussion yet

1. Luke Appling
2. John Beckwith
3. Clark Griffith
4. Hughie Jennings
5. Eppa Rixey
6. Mule Suttles
7. Wes Ferrell
8. George Van Haltren
9. Edd Roush
10. Alejandro Oms (very tentative placement)
11. Tommy Leach
12. Billy Herman
13. Stan Hack
14. Red Ruffing
15. Biz Mackey

Joe Gordon is not far off the ballot at #22.
   8. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 12, 2005 at 03:11 AM (#1465454)
Just moving this over from the Eligibles Thread where i posted it earlier to this thread where it more appropriately belongs.

Based on Riley’s bios, here are the seasons in which the players Dr. Chaleeko asked about will become eligible, in chronological order:

Henry McHenry 1956
Pullman Porter 1956

Porter and McHenry are worth some discussion if not threads.

Here's some quick stuff on each of them:
Porter
NgL totals (1932-1946)
45-29, .608; 8.2 WAT.

He pitched through 1950 in the Negro Leagues, then went to the International League sometime in the early 1950s for a year or two. Riley's a little confused about which year(s) exactly.

MxL info

1939, he went 10-7 for Tampico, sporting a 2.28 ERA in 146 Innings. 117 H, 35 BB, 111 K, 10 CG, 2 SHO.

1940: 21-14 for a 41-50 team, 3.34 ERA for a 4.46 team in a 4.73 league; 296 innings. 232 ks led the league.

1941: hard luck: 11-16 for a 51-44 team, but a 4.47 ERA on a 4.71 team in a 4.77 league; 235 innings.

1942: 5-8 for a 39-41 team; 103 innings; 5.66 ERA for a 5.20 ERA team in a 4.38 league

1943: 3 innings in Mex.

1946: 2-2 for a 47-48 team; 38.67 innings; 5.12 ERA for a 3.62 team.

I can post complete Porter stats later on if he gets a thread.

McHenry
NgLs (1930-1947)
69-50, .579; 16.1 WAT
[1932-1936 is extremely sketchy; I don't have Riley in front of me, but I think he was probably barnstorming with KC or something similar beause there's virtually no data on him in Holway for the period.]

1937: McHenry went 2-1 in Cuba.

1939: McHenry went 10-14 in Puerto Rico.

In his customary style, Holway gives no ERA, peripherals, or team records, so I can't you any context on either of these seasons.

He was known as "Cream" for his complexion, and he was not a good hitter.

MxL
1940: 2-5 for a 40-35 team; 6.91 ERA for a 4.43 team in a 4.73 league

1941: 2-3 in 42 innings for a 40-57 team; 6.38 ERA for a 4.70 team in a 4.77 league

1942: 3-3 in 68 innings for a 40-45 team; 4.48 ERA for a 4.42 team in a 4.38 league

1943: 17-10 in 254 innings for a two teams with a total 3.22 ERA in a 3.90 league. I estimate his splits this way:
15-10 for 42-51 Tampico
2-0 for 38-50 Mexico.

1944: 16-12 in 221 innings for two teams; 4.03 ERA in a 4.28 league. I estimate his splits this way:
8-3 for 40-47 Tampico
8-9 for 52-37 Veracruz.

1945: 12-12 for 52-43 team; 182 innings; 5.44 ERA for a 4.41 team (I haven't calculated the league's ERA yet).

1949: 6-12 for a 46-39 team ; 153.33 innings; 3.35 ERA for a 4.31 team in a 4.00 league.

I can post complete McHenry stats later on if he gets a thread.
   9. KJOK Posted: July 12, 2005 at 04:11 AM (#1465591)
2) Is Cool Papa Bell pretty much just Spotswood Poles with a better publicity campaign? I'm honestly not sure.

I think Bell's legend has as much to do with his Coors Field-type home park as with any publicity campaign. I'm sure it seemed to his opponents that he was constantly on the bases, terrorizing them, scoring runs, etc.
   10. andrew siegel Posted: July 12, 2005 at 01:08 PM (#1465922)
Current top 50, no comments except for new guys:

(1) Beckwith
(2) Suttles
(3) Jennings
(4) Appling--Worthy HoMer. Great bulk, good peak, the peak/prime voter in me just thinks it is a little more imperative that we honor the three above.
(5) Van Haltren
(6) Moore
(7) Ferrell
(8) Averill
(9) Ruffing
(10) Childs
(11) Herman
(12) Duffy
(13) Rixey
(14) Medwick
(15) Sewell
------------
(16) Mackey
(17) C. Jones
(18) Roush
(19) Redding
(20) Gordon-- Nice peak, not a terribly short career if you give full war credit, a half-step behind Childs and Herman but in the mix.
(21) Hack
(22) Grimes
(23) Bell
(24) Bresnahan
(25) Ryan
--------------
(26) Chance
(27) Sisler
(28) Willis
(29) B. Johnson
(30) Griffith
(31) Beckley
(32) Mendez
(33) Cravath
(34) Leach
(35) Lundy
(36) Schang
(37) Monroe
(38) Doyle
(39) Walters
(40) Berger
(41) McGraw
(42) Oms
(43) Dean
(44) Veach
(45) Welch
(46) Bancroft
(47) Williamson
(48) H. Smith
(49) Cuyler
(50) Browning

That's where I lose confidence. I could rank my next 50 position players, but I am not well versed enough in Cicotte vs. Mays vs. Shocker vs. Bridges, etc.
   11. Carl G Posted: July 12, 2005 at 01:48 PM (#1465953)
Here's my prelim. Its also my final ballot since I'm leaving for Boston tomorrow. Could somebody please move this to the ballot thread next Monday? I had a tough time ranking this ballot so consensus scores will be interesting. Lots of guys who are HoM worthy in my opinion, but no clear-cut-inner-circle-no-brainer guys. I predict Appling and Suttles(maybe Beckwith) will be the end result. Without further ado; my ballot:

1-Luke Appling-A couple nice peak years; though I downgrade '43(his best season) slightly. Enormous career value(even without any credit for 44-45; and he certainly deserves some). He's not inner-circle, but he's certainly a no-brainer for induction.
2-Billy Herman-Fantastic from 32-40. Good during the war, but I took a little credit away for 43-45.
3-John Beckwith-Suttles was a better hitter, but I think Beckwith had more value.
4-Mule Suttles-See Beckwith. Best NegL power hitter not named Gibson
5-Red Ruffing-Nice long(but not spectacularily high) peak with the Yanks, plus 1 strong year with the Sox. More Career value than Rixey, even giving Rixey wartime credit. I'm willing to say he's the best pitcher on the ballot right now.(note:with Brown elected, this sentence is true once again)
6-Earl Averill-With PCL credit, you can add career value to an already nice peak.
7-Eppa Rixey-Great Long Career; long enough that his near total lack of peak doesn't kill him.
8-Jake Beckley-He's not inner-circle, but definitely 'in' when the back-log-clearing years come around.
9-Joe Gordon-Nice Peak. Gets a little war credit for 44-45 and a slight downgrade on '43; although '43 is in line with the years before so my downgrade is very slight.
10-Dick Redding-One of the great Negro League pitchers
11-Stan Hack-Pretty slick fielder and a good hitter. I took a little away for his 43-45 numbers or he would be higher.
12-Gavvy Cravath-Giving him credit back to '07 gives him pretty solid career numbers to go with the peak.
13-Hughie Jennings-5 phenomenal years. Its enough, I think, but he'll need to wait.
14-Clark Griffith-Long career, solid peak.
15-George Sisler-The peak is hard to ignore.
16-Wes Ferrell-He's not Grove, Hubbell, Ruffing, or Lyons, but he's 5th this period. I upped him in 29-31 for pitching against much tougher offenses than Grove did.
17-Mel Harder-Nice Prime from 32-39, but not a lot else.
18-Ernie Lombardi-Solid for quite a while. I give him a little PCL credit
19-Wally Schang-I like his offense from the catcher slot.
20-Joe Sewell-Slick fielder, above average hitter. He's in my gray area where I don't know if he's HoM-worthy or not(this started around Sisler and will end several players off my ballot)
21-Joe Medwick-Strong corner OF. Phenomenal in '37

I think going to Medwick at #21 covers everyone who was in the top10 last year.
   12. Rusty Priske Posted: July 12, 2005 at 02:03 PM (#1465968)
Prelim:

PHoM Luke Appling & Ted Lyons. Lyons makes my PHoM seven years after the HoM. He is oen shoprt of the record of 8 years, held by Elmer Flick.

1. Luke Appling
2. Mule Suttles
3. Stan Hack
4. Red Ruffing
5. John Beckwith
6. George Van Haltren
7. Mickey Welch
8. Joe Medwick
9. Jake Beckley
10. Eppa Rixey
11. Billy Herman
12. Biz Mackey
13. Cool Papa Bell
14. Tommy Leach
15. George Sisler

16-20. Roush, DUffy, Moore, Rice, Averill
21-25. Monroe, Powell, Griffith, Jennings, Ryan
26-30. Mullane, Streeter, H.Smith, White, McCormick
   13. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 12, 2005 at 03:17 PM (#1466089)
John "DCMG" Murphy, please copy this ballot to the ballot thread at the appropriate time.

Thank you!

1956 BALLOT
1. Luke Appling: Better than Beckwith who is my top infielder, and probably better than Wells was.
2. Mule Suttles: Best corner player available.
3. John Beckwith: Underrated by our MLEs I think.
4. Alejandro Oms: If he were just a CF, he'd be better than Averill, Duffy, Leach, and the rest of the glut. If he were just a corner OF, he'd be better than any candidate. In other words, I see him as the best available OF candidate as of now.
5. Hugh Duffy: Best CF available, 1890s division.
5a. Martin Dihigo.
6. Joe Medwick: Huge peak, enough career.
7. Jose Mendez: Where's the love for him? Better than the several available peaktastic pitchers.
8. Gavy Cravath: Medwick with only a really good peak.
9. Geo. Van Haltren: It's just the same old story, a vote for love and glory, a case of done and dead....
10. Leroy Matlock: Can I make another Andy Griffith joke here? This guy's looking rather like the Walters/Ferrell duo to me, but a little more dominant.
11. Bucky Walters: CFs be damned, my new fetish is voting for high-peak, short career hurlers.
12. Wes Ferrell: See comment for Walters.
13. Geo. J. Burns: You don't really love me, you just keep me hanging on....
14. Spots Poles: Better than C.P. Bell. Poles is the one who shoulda got Bell's votes in all them Cool Pappcock polls.
15. Stan Hack: The appearance of Matlock, Appling, and Oms means a downward tilt to his ballot position. It's not personal, just business.

NEWBIES
Joe Gordon: didn't deserve that MVP, isn't as good as Childs, and Childs is in the high teens, low 20s.

Heinrich: I've always liked this guy, but he can't get enough war credit to be a serious candidate.

Ken Keltner: Appropriate isn't it that we finally get around to nixing one of the keys to James's Politics of Glory.

As for the top tens...you all know where I stand. Griffith's not too close, Rixey's just off the end, so is Herman, so are they all I suppose.

My consensus score might take a beating this week, but this is where I'm at. I
   14. Daryn Posted: July 12, 2005 at 05:20 PM (#1466432)
Please post this to the ballot thread as I will be on vacation until August 2nd.

Gordon is in the 20s for me.

1. Luke Appling – great numbers for a middle infielder – would have had 3000 hits if it were not for the war. Clearly better than my best hitter remaining from last year’s ballot.

2. Mickey Welch – 300 wins, lots of grey ink. RSI data shows those wins are real. Compares fairly well to Keefe. I like his oft repeated record against HoMers.

3. Jake Beckley -- ~3000 hits but no black ink at all. Crawford (HOMer) and Wheat (HOMer) are two of his three most similars. 3200+ hits adjusted to 162 games.

4. Eppa Rixey – see Grimes comment.

5. Red Ruffing – fits nicely in between Rixey and Grimes – definitely better than Grimes, perhaps better than Rixey.

6. Burleigh Grimes – as a career voter, I have difficulty seeing the vast difference others see between Rixey and Grimes. There is not much of a spread between Rixey and Ferrell, a six person group of whiteball pitchers that includes Waddell and Griffith, the latter of whom I am souring on.

7. Dick Redding – probably the 6th best blackball pitcher of all-time (behind, at least, Williams and Paige and likely behind the Fosters and Brown), and that is good enough for me.

8. Biz Mackey – I vote career over peak, so I like Mackey the best of the eligible catchers. It is close though, and Mackey is not that much ahead of Schang (who I have in at 29).

9. George Sisler – I like the hits, the OPS+ and the batting average.

10. Cool Papa Bell – I have decided to move Bell up from the outfield glut to here, ahead of Suttles and Beckwith. As flawed as they may be, I have chosen to rely, in part, on the 1952 Courier poll and more importantly the 1999 SABR poll. I know the former has its flaws but it doesn’t appear to canonize Bell (he is a 2nd team all-star there). I know the SABR poll takes into account non-playing influence, but it has Bell ahead of Charleston and Gibson, among others, and that must mean something (particularly when it accords with all the anecdotal evidence and a possible Cobb MLE of over 4000 hits).

11. Mule Suttles – I’m getting more sold on Suttles and less sold on Beckwith. Suttles’ MLE WS are tough to overlook even if you apply a modest discount.

12. Joe Medwick – 10 time all-star, great 1935-1938 peak. Edges ahead of the outfield glut.

13. Roger Bresnahan – Great OBP, arguably the best catcher in baseball for a six year period. Counting stats, like all catchers of this time and earlier, are really poor. I like him better than Schang because he compared better to his contemporaries, if you count him as a catcher.

14. Beckwith –The Beckwith thread is funny – Gadfly has him hitting .400 with 40HRs per year and Cobb has him at 315 career WS, which is pretty much how I see him.

15. Rube Waddell -- I like the three times ERA+ lead, the career 134 ERA+ and, of course, all those strikeouts (plus the 1905 Triple Crown).

16. Billy Herman – close to Sewell (but ahead by 5 spots now), the all-star games are impressive. This is the beginning of my defensive infield positions glut – Herman, Sewell, Leach, Hack, Traynor, Gordon and Monroe are all pretty close to me.

17. Stan Hack – either just better or just worse than Traynor. I’m starting him here.

20. Clark Griffith – 921 similarity score with mcginnity, who was 1st on my ballot when elected. He is barely better than Ferrell, Harder, Warneke, Smith, Bridges, Gomez, Hoyt, Mendez, Joss, Dean, Luque, Pennock, Quinn, McCormick, Cicotte, Willis, Bender, Mays, Cooper, Shocker, Mullane, Byrd and Mullin.

26. Wes Ferrell -- I like the hitting but the pitching is not so impressive.

35. Earl Averill -- Carey-lite.

46. Jennings – he’d be lower for me if you guys weren’t all so sure he was great. Peak alone is insufficient for me.
   15. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 12, 2005 at 05:27 PM (#1466456)
I'll take care of all three ballots for next week.
   16. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: July 12, 2005 at 05:55 PM (#1466532)
Been inventing a new stat which I'll probably dump on the site eventually: AOWP - Average Opponent Winning Percentage.

I only did MOWP earlier because it was clear to me that AOWP would take more work than MOWP, and while that's true, I just belatedly realized that about 90% of the work in figuring AOWP is already done in figuring MOWP.

Most guys see their numbers fall from MOWP to AOWP. For example, both Carl Hubbell and Mordecai Brown - who have some of the best MOWPs there is - have AOWPs of .506ish. About 20 points lower than their MOWPs.

Of the 20+ (23?) guys I've done so far, Thornton Lee has the best AOWP - .515. Of the serious candidates that I've checked on, the best is Bucky Walters at .511.

Wes Ferrell's in the .490s.

Jesse Haines had a MOWP of around .482 or .483. Oy! I know that no one was ever going to vote for him, but it's worth noting he started 9 games total against first division teams in his last five seasons. I think he had 18 starts against sub-.400 teams in that same time. And he's got a plaque in Cooperstown.
   17. karlmagnus Posted: July 12, 2005 at 06:11 PM (#1466583)
Interesting. Where are Rixey and Ruffing? -- the statistic might be significant in both cases, I would think.
   18. ronw Posted: July 12, 2005 at 06:25 PM (#1466631)
OK, time for the annual list of "RonStars" for the game tonight.

For newer voters, RonStars are people who make the All-Star team for the first time, have no teammates named to the team, and are not starting. For example, this year Moises Alou, Luis Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez, Mike Sweeney, Bob Wickman, and Ichiro Suzuki all have no teammates in Detroit, but they made the team before, so they can't be RonStars. Brian Roberts is a first-time All-Star, but he is starting, so he can't qualify. Chris Cordero is also a first-time All-Star, and isn't starting, but he has a teammate (Livan Hernandez) selected.

I like the "every team represented" rule, and always cheer for these players to get in the game, which keeps my interest going during a lopsided game in the late innings. I usually pick one favorite RonStar for each team.

This years' RonStars:

NL

SS - Felipe Lopez, Cin - He looks likely to make future games. My favorite RonStars are players who are not likely to make another All-Star game.

OF - Carlos Lee, Mil - Has deserved it in past years, and may deserve nomination again.

P - Jake Peavy, SD - I thought he might get selected last year.

RP - Brian Fuentes, Col - Just missed being a RonStar selection, because I think he probably won't get into the game with Lidge, Wagner, Isringhausen, Cordero, and even Smoltz as the probable mid to late inning relievers.

OF - JASON BAY, Pitt - This years' favorite RonStar. Due to their dismal status and lack of a franchise player (like Mike Sweeney in KC, who seems to make the All-Star team every year) the Pirates have had several RonStars of late. Bay cemented his position as this years' favorite NL RonStar with his oh-fer in the home run contest. GO Jason!


AL

RP - Danys Baez, TB - A great RonStar team (since 1998, they have had RonStars: Carl Crawford - 2004; Lance Carter - 2003; Randy Winn - 2002; Rolando Arrojo - 1998) has never had a favorite representative, and just misses this year.

MR - JUSTIN DUCHSCHERER, OAK - Harkening back to the late 70's A's RonStar tradition (Matt Keough 1978, Jeff Newman 1979), no one thought of Justin as a possible All-Star at the beginning of the year (or probably until July 1 of this year). Put him in Francona!
   19. Howie Menckel Posted: July 12, 2005 at 08:21 PM (#1466934)
Off the beaten path:
Looks like we'll hold the '2006' election in late June 'real 2007', at this rate.
But the "2007" vote - would that be in the middle of the REAL 2007? As in being six months behind, in effect?
If so, would we vote again six months later, in Jan 2008, for the 2008 electees?
and then only once a year after that?

I know there is some thought that the thing might just close down after we 'catch up,' but let's play with the alternative for the moment.
   20. Chris Cobb Posted: July 12, 2005 at 08:36 PM (#1466989)
Looks like we'll hold the '2006' election in late June 'real 2007', at this rate.
But the "2007" vote - would that be in the middle of the REAL 2007? As in being six months behind, in effect?


That's what I've assumed.

If so, would we vote again six months later, in Jan 2008, for the 2008 electees?
and then only once a year after that?


We could hardly go any faster :-).

I hope that the project will continue: Joe has plotted out the number of electees per year through 2040, I think, so certainly the intent to continue is there.

If we start to work on a managerial wing after we catch up to the present on players, that'll give us something to discuss on a more regular basis.
   21. karlmagnus Posted: July 12, 2005 at 09:29 PM (#1467126)
Maybe we'll have built up so much temporal momentum by 2007 that we'll be able to just carry on electing every 2 weeks, getting to 2200 in the spring of 2011 :-))
   22. sunnyday2 Posted: July 12, 2005 at 09:44 PM (#1467173)
>Maybe we'll have built up so much temporal momentum by 2007 that we'll be able to just carry on electing every 2 weeks, getting to 2200 in the spring of 2011 :-))

Of course, we'll have to continue refining our data sources and analytical tools. Just a little.
   23. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 12, 2005 at 10:21 PM (#1467312)
Of course, we'll have to continue refining our data sources and analytical tools. Just a little.

We could develop an exciting new variation on BP's stats called tWARP3, short for Time-Warped Wins Above Replacment Adjusted for Past and Future Levels of Competition.
   24. jimd Posted: July 12, 2005 at 10:40 PM (#1467375)
TWWARPAFFAPLOC -- I like it Dr C. except that it won't fit in the column headings very well ;-)
   25. Michael Bass Posted: July 12, 2005 at 10:41 PM (#1467378)
Prelim Ballot

Oms continues to be an open issue. I await Win Shares estimates on him before making a call.

1. Appling - I do love the shortstops, but this guy is an obvious #1.
2. Ferrll
3. Jennings
4. Herman
5. Mendez
6. Beckwith
7. Moore
8. Ruffing
9. Averill
10. Walters
11. Gordon - I like him. Career shape not unlike Joe Sewell; not exceptionally long, but not short, and almost all prime. Add in some war credit, and here we are.
12. Dean
13. Sewell
14. Griffith
15. Johnson
   26. sunnyday2 Posted: July 12, 2005 at 10:42 PM (#1467384)
But certainly we will be able by 2010 or so to predict who the great players post-2020 will be by virtue of DNA analyses. And then Doc's TWWARPAFFAPLOC kicks in.
   27. Jeff M Posted: July 13, 2005 at 02:13 AM (#1468022)
I had forgotten about the "RonStars." I must be the Hall of Merit's official namer. So far I can take credit for both "RonStars" and "HoMer" (inspired by a very early post while watching an episode of The Simpsons)...although lets face it, more credit ought to go to Ron and Joe for inventing the underlying concepts. :) :) :)

If any of your wives are pregnant, let me know and I'll come up with some names. ;)
   28. Jeff M Posted: July 13, 2005 at 02:22 AM (#1468052)
I think Bell's legend has as much to do with his Coors Field-type home park as with any publicity campaign. I'm sure it seemed to his opponents that he was constantly on the bases, terrorizing them, scoring runs, etc.

I also have a theory (or just a hypothesis) that reputations are inflated more when a player has a truly outstanding skill that stands above skills of contemporaries. Speed is one of the skills that tends to impress. If Bell was really as fast as rumored -- enough to get the other players talking -- that would give him quite a boost.

I think of Maury Wills the same way based on base stealing ability, though I will reserve final judgment until we get there (and being a shortstop will help him).
   29. ronw Posted: July 13, 2005 at 05:59 AM (#1468313)
JeffM:

I had forgotten that you came up with the name. Thanks again for giving shorthand idea to a little way to enjoy games like this year. (although neither of my favorite RonStars got in the game!)

Other RonStars Baez and Fuentes rode the bench in Detroit this year, but Lopez, Carlos Lee and Peavy played. Jake Peavy, wearing a hideous tan road uniform, got a strikeout in his 2/3 of a scoreless inning in the 8th, Felipe Lopez played 3B and got a hit in his only at bat, and Carlos Lee had a RBI in his three at bats. A pretty successful day for the 2005 RonStars who played.
   30. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 13, 2005 at 11:44 AM (#1468429)
"Looks like we'll hold the '2006' election in late June 'real 2007', at this rate.
But the "2007" vote - would that be in the middle of the REAL 2007? As in being six months behind, in effect?
If so, would we vote again six months later, in Jan 2008, for the 2008 electees?
and then only once a year after that?

I know there is some thought that the thing might just close down after we 'catch up,' but let's play with the alternative for the moment."

I hope we keep this going after summer 2007!

As for when to elect, I would think we'd want our results posted before the BBWAA and Veterans Committee vote for the equivalent season, just in case we would possibly influence a voter (yeah right!).

So in August 2005, the guys that retired after 1999 go into the HoF, right? That would mean those guys vote in December 2004 for 1999 retires. So in November 2007, we should be voting on guys that retired after the 2002 season. So our 2008 election will take place in November 2007, if that makes sense . . .

Does this seem reasonable?
   31. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 13, 2005 at 11:46 AM (#1468430)
Even if we don't influence any actual voters, maybe we'll influence people who discuss the voting in places such as BTF . . .
   32. Howie Menckel Posted: July 13, 2005 at 12:15 PM (#1468438)
Yes, Joe, I think voting is in December and announcement in January, so the November plan is pretty good.
And a good kickoff to the offseason to boot!
   33. Howie Menckel Posted: July 13, 2005 at 12:17 PM (#1468439)
I actually know about a dozen voters, too, so once it's more 'public' your hope might have some 'merit.'
   34. sunnyday2 Posted: July 13, 2005 at 01:04 PM (#1468463)
I understand that someday we will be voting for newly eligibles about the same time as the BBWAA. That presents one type of opportunity, and I hope the gist of the above discussion was that we would go first!

But the bigger opportunity, especially in re. to the VC vote, is to get our picks publicized on a grander scale. I mean, the players the VC will be considering will have been decided here one way or another long before. E.g. Ron Santo maybe goes in in his first 1-3 years, Gil Hodges and Tony Oliva are either in or they're among the deep backlog, or maybe Oliva is in the front backlog, who knows.

It seems to me what we ought to be looking for is a "news hook" whereby maybe we get some regular columnist--preferably at a national media outlet--to write us up and maybe even get Joe on some talk shows to be interviewed about the whole project.

If anybody really thinks or hopes that we can influence things, we need to start our campaign now, or rather when the next round of HoF voting is taking place. Because I would guess that that (during HoF voting) is the only time our project will be of interest (if any) to the wider world. So that gives us, now, only 2 more bites at the apple.
   35. Jeff M Posted: July 13, 2005 at 01:22 PM (#1468485)
Somebody (karlmagnus, I think, but I'm not certain) argued that it made sense for there to be fewer third basemen in the HoM, because a lot of them were shortstops who couldn't play defense well enough.

I didn't see Karl's post (if in fact it was Karl), but I recall debating this in the early days. I remember thinking 3b appeared to be weak (in terms of HoM talent), and I remember others saying the distribution of talent must have been equal at the positions, since everyone is put to their highest and best use and should be compared against their peers at the position.

I have a few tools at my disposal now that I didn't have them, and I used one of them just to get a picture of the dispersal of talent among third basemen on the one hand, and shortstops on the other. I chose to compare them on Batting Win Shares, primarily as a quick way to compare them on park-adjusted runs created without having to apply all the different era-specific formulas and add them up.

I ignored Fielding Win Shares for the moment, because shortstops have always had tougher fielding responsibilities than third basemen and I really wanted to see how hitting talent was dispersed. Plus, I know many of you are not comfortable with the Win Shares fielding system. Batting Win Shares correlates very well with the WARP measures of hitting (in my limited testing).

I only included players who played the respective positions most of their careers. I excluded any player who couldn't manage to accumulate more than 15 career batting Win Shares.

The median of the Batting WS for third basemen was 58 (mean was 80). The standard deviation was 66. The curve is very flat and skewed heavily toward the lower end of the batting WS range, as you might imagine.

The median of the Batting WS for shortstops was 51 (mean was 75). The standard deviation was 66, it is is also skewed heavily toward the lower end of the batting WS range. It is a much flatter curve than even the one for third basemen.

I'm not going to pretend to be a statistician, but it looks to me like third basemen are not significantly better hitters than shortstops, since they only accumulate (on average, or at the median) an additional 5 win shares for hitting over the course of the average career. When you factor in that shortstops are going to get a much bigger boost from defensive evaluation methods, It's hard to see how you'd honor more third basemen than shortstops.

On the other hand, the hitting talent seems to be dispersed more widely among shortstops than third basemen. You'd think that would give us a clearer "cluster" of top notch talent at 3b and that it would be harder to pick out the great shortstops. Among 3b, 44 have better than 150 batting Win Shares (and 108 batting WS gets you in the top quartile). Among shortstops, 35 have better than 150 batting Win Shares (and 95 batting WS gets you in the top quartile). So there's a similar cluster at the top of both positions.

Again, defense would close the gap and probably put shortstops ahead, but this paints a picture that seems to better support the idea that just as many third basemen should be honored.

(By the way, the batting WS numbers for second basemen are very very similar to those of shortstops. Their curves are similarly shaped, though of course they would not get the same defensive boost as shortstops.)

Anyone with actual statistical expertise have a comment that might help, since I'm shootin' in the dark?
   36. karlmagnus Posted: July 13, 2005 at 01:33 PM (#1468506)
If the hitting talent is dispersed more widely among SS than 3B,(i.e. the standrad deviation of SS hitting ability is greater -- you do mean that, don't you) and both distributions are normal, then surely the +3 Standard Deviation for 3B should be flat with the +2.5SD for SS (say) and so at the very top there should be several times as many elite SS as 3B.

That's what statistics appears to say. If it doesn't, or if I've misunderstood the data as you set them out, please enlighten me.

But if statistics does say that, then you would reasonably expect a HOM/HOF to have far more SS than 3B
   37. yest Posted: July 13, 2005 at 03:52 PM (#1468822)
Ron have there ever been perinial all stars that started of as Ronstars
   38. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 13, 2005 at 05:06 PM (#1469046)
Is RonStars a division of Ronco and do you handle the spray-on hair and pocket fisherman? :-)
   39. jingoist Posted: July 13, 2005 at 08:24 PM (#1469633)
Long time lurker; occasional poster doing so once again.
I see Ken Keltner is eligible this year.
I'm assuming this is the Keltner for whom the famous Keltner test to determine Hall of Fame worthiness was named.
How did that whole Keltner test ever evolve?
Who came up with the 12 catagories and why was it named for Keltner; a very nice player but obviously NOT a serious HoF candidate.

ps.... anybody think GVH, Duffy or Ryan get into the HoM anytime soon? I know they're marginal and Averill probably deserves to go in before they do, but I really like those three.
   40. DavidFoss Posted: July 13, 2005 at 09:14 PM (#1469752)
ps.... anybody think GVH, Duffy or Ryan get into the HoM anytime soon?

Soon? No. In Ryan's case, he hasn't gotten a single vote in a couple of years.

Starting in 1958, it looks like we're going to start getting into the backlog again. Things should really start getting interesting at that point... especially as elect-me vote bonuses start coming into play for non-shoo-in candidates. As for GVH & Duffy, you never know. The large number of new 2B candidates is actually increasing interest in the old candidates like Childs. I wouldn't rule out a run by one of them, but I'm not necessarily going to expect one.
   41. jimd Posted: July 13, 2005 at 09:16 PM (#1469758)
How did that whole Keltner test ever evolve?

It's from Bill James' "The Politics of Glory". If you're interested in the HOF/HOM (which you are since you lurk here and occasionally post) then get a copy from your local library and enjoy.
   42. PhillyBooster Posted: July 13, 2005 at 09:21 PM (#1469768)
jingoist,

In the Politics of Glory, Bill James writes about the standards that should/ have been developed for Hall of Fame players.

Most of these standards where totally objective (e.g., the "Hall of Fame Monitor" and "Black Ink Scores" you see on bb-ref.)

The last one was what James called, I believe, the "Ken Keltner List", and was the "subjective portion" of the examination. Once you narrowed down your candidates using the objective criteria, then you used the Keltner List as a final step to divide the worthies from the non-worthies.

James ran the Ken Keltner list with (who else?) Mr. Keltner -- I believe under the assumption that he was a borderline candidate as a top third baseman with marginal stats, and determined that he was, in fact, not worthy.

Some people misinterpret the Keltner List as James's whole system, rather than just one part of it, but it is the most complex and the easiest to start debates over, so it gets more play.
   43. jimd Posted: July 13, 2005 at 09:26 PM (#1469778)
   44. karlmagnus Posted: July 13, 2005 at 10:35 PM (#1469900)
The Keltner list tends to favor peak candidates. Caruthers aced it, whereas Beckley has much more trouble with it.
   45. jimd Posted: July 13, 2005 at 10:51 PM (#1469919)
<objective (e.g., the "Hall of Fame Monitor" and "Black Ink Scores" you see on bb-ref.)</i>

These are "objective" in the sense that they are attempting to measure what the BBWAA voters will think of the candidate. That is, they attempt to predict who WILL be elected, which is a much different thing than trying to determine who SHOULD be elected.

MVP's don't always go to the best player.

ERA titles don't always go to the best pitcher.

Batting/RBI/HR titles don't always go to the best offensive players (park effects, single skill, etc.)

The weights assigned to the accomplishments do not reflect sabrmetric value but reflect "voter impression" value.

Which is why I usually ignore Black Ink/HOF Monitor. They are not measures for who SHOULD be elected, but predictors for who WILL be elected.
   46. OCF Posted: July 13, 2005 at 11:04 PM (#1469936)
The Keltner list was first published in one of the yearly Baseball Abstracts from the mid-80's. I have it around at home somewhere, but it may take me a while to find it.

James described being on the receiving end or a coordinated mailing campaign from a committee whose purpose was to promote Ken Keltner for the Hall of Fame. He detailed their mailings, and then proceeded to shred the arguments made on those (an easy target.) But then, what? Keltner was a very good baseball player. What would be a good way to frame the debate about whether he belongs in the Hall of Fame? Hence the list. In the same article, James wound up pointing to Bob Elliot. Not "Elliot should be in the HoF" but more that Elliot probably should be considered before Keltner.
   47. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: July 14, 2005 at 12:10 AM (#1470142)
Karl,

Maybe that is because Caruthers is a deserving HOMer and Beckley is not!!!

;-)
   48. Howie Menckel Posted: July 14, 2005 at 12:51 AM (#1470246)
Yes, OCF, the James approach was that Keltner might be the most extreme of the many "lowest common denominator" pushes for the Hall of Fame. The reasoning was always "more hits than HOFer X, more doubles than HOFer Y," etc.

I'll never forget a Baseball Digest article as a kid that was pushing Riggs Stephenson for the Hall of Fame (I think another had Van Haltren, ironically). I'd have to look up whether Stephenson is an even crazier pitch than Keltner.
   49. Jeff M Posted: July 14, 2005 at 02:00 AM (#1470341)
If the hitting talent is dispersed more widely among SS than 3B,(i.e. the standrad deviation of SS hitting ability is greater -- you do mean that, don't you) and both distributions are normal, then surely the +3 Standard Deviation for 3B should be flat with the +2.5SD for SS (say) and so at the very top there should be several times as many elite SS as 3B.

The standard deviations for shortstop and 3b hitting ability are exactly the same, but the shortstops have a slightly smaller mean and median so the same standard deviation is more significant for the shortstops.

And it DEFINITELY is not a normal distribution. The means and medians are way apart. The third basemen have a skew of 1.7 and kurtosis of 3.7. Shortstops have a skew of 2.2 and a kurtosis of 7.9!
   50. DanG Posted: July 14, 2005 at 02:18 AM (#1470364)
Marc in #34:

But the bigger opportunity, especially in re. to the VC vote, is to get our picks publicized on a grander scale. I mean, the players the VC will be considering will have been decided here one way or another long before. E.g. Ron Santo maybe goes in in his first 1-3 years, Gil Hodges and Tony Oliva are either in or they're among the deep backlog, or maybe Oliva is in the front backlog, who knows.

It seems to me what we ought to be looking for is a "news hook" whereby maybe we get some regular columnist--preferably at a national media outlet--to write us up and maybe even get Joe on some talk shows to be interviewed about the whole project.

If anybody really thinks or hopes that we can influence things, we need to start our campaign now, or rather when the next round of HoF voting is taking place. Because I would guess that that (during HoF voting) is the only time our project will be of interest (if any) to the wider world. So that gives us, now, only 2 more bites at the apple.


We now have about five months to make an impression on the initial screeners for the veterans committee 2007 election. Assuming they follow the same schedule as the last election, this December a “BBWAA Board-appointed committee of historians travels to Cooperstown to complete lists of players, managers, umpires and executives, to be sent to a Screening Committee.” This historical committee will “identify 200 candidates for the Players Ballot and 60 candidates for the Composite Ballot.” Those are quotes from the HOF website.

So I think we would do well to act upon Marc’s suggestion and make a push now to try to have an impact on the process. IIRC, the so-called BBWAA Historical Overview Committee is comprised of BBWAA members. Anybody know who has been on this committee?

Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted-One moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip? Yo.

Then again, they’re only interested in the guys they played with/against. And they’re not doing Negro leaguers just now. We haven’t gotten to the modern era yet, so do we really have anyone to recommend to them?

In addition, if they shoot another blank in the 2007 election, there will likely be another reform to the process, so how hard should we push to influence a likley-to-be-aborted process?
   51. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: July 14, 2005 at 02:47 AM (#1470406)
On a less serious note, a thought that was inspired by the BTF Apparel thread over in Primer. When we're caught up, I was thinking that it would be very cool if we could get "Hall of Merit" T-Shirts made up, with some sort of picture or slogan on the front*, and the names of all the HoMers listed on the back. Obviously, listing 200+ names on a T-shirt is a bit of a logistical challenge, so they might be more expensive to have made up, but I don't know anything about that stuff. Would folks be interested in that?

*Maybe a picture of a HoMer who's not in the HoF? We could have a Special Election to decide which one. ;)
   52. Howie Menckel Posted: July 14, 2005 at 03:07 AM (#1470434)
So hypothetically, if I once worked for several years with the President of the BBWAA, what would you shoot for?
   53. sunnyday2 Posted: July 14, 2005 at 03:19 AM (#1470461)
Howie, if you had an entre, I'd suggest that we use Devin's suggestion of a special election among all of the HoM/not HoF players so far, to pick the top 5. Then we prepare a dossier on those 5 players. Presumably it could all be done electronically. Who "we" is is of course a question.
   54. Chris Cobb Posted: July 14, 2005 at 03:19 AM (#1470462)
We haven’t gotten to the modern era yet, so do we really have anyone to recommend to them?

By December, there's a good chance that we will have elected the following white, 20th-century players:

Stan Hack (probable)
Wes Ferrell (probable)
Heinie Groh
Jimmy Sheckard
Sherry Magee
Joe Jackson (ineligible for HoF)

If we were to start trying to get the HoF's attention, this is not the group of our electees not enshrined there to whom I would want to call attention to first :-).

We have much stronger lists for Negro-League stars and 19th-century stars:

NeL -- Ray Brown, Frank Grant, Pete Hill, Grant Johnson, Louis Santop, Cristobal Torriente, Jud Wilson, John Beckwith (probable), Mule Suttles (probable) (others also possible but far from certain at present)

19th-century -- Ross Barnes, Charlie Bennett, Bob Caruthers, Bill Dahlen, John Glasscock, George Gore, Paul Hines, Cal McVey, Dickey Pearce, Lip Pike, Hardy Richardson, Joe Start, Harry Stovey, Ezra Sutton, Deacon White.

These lists have the players whose exclusion from Cooperstown is scandalous. But there's no chance that the Coop will look at any of these players right now, is there?

by the end of next summer, we'll have reached 1984, so if the same HoF system is still in place, we might be in a position to stump for folks like Ron Santo and Dick Allen, whom we may recently have elected. But still, our most important positive work has been identifying meritorious 19th-century players and Negro League players overlooked by the HoF. (Our most important negative work has been leaving a lot of 20th-century Cooperstown electees _out_ of the Hom!)
   55. Howie Menckel Posted: July 14, 2005 at 03:26 AM (#1470477)
Well, I at least could inquire as to the possible usefulness of making suggestions.
Though it might be a little tricky to be both ask to be taken seriously, yet ask not to be publicized. I'd be starting with some goodwill, but this is not the type of person who would want to receive useful information yet not give credit where credit is due.
   56. sunnyday2 Posted: July 14, 2005 at 03:27 AM (#1470479)
Chris, I'd go at 'em now and again in 2 years. They're not going to take note and listen and see us as credible right out of the chute. So go at 'em now and maybe in 2 years they begin to take notice.

So how about that special election to select our top 5 HoM/not HoF?

And we don't second guess what they want to hear, we give 'em our best shot other than Joe Jackson who is just flat ineligible. But otherwise maybe it's Torriente or Suttles or HR Johnson or Ross Barnes or Bob Caruthers or Bill Dahlen--yes, Bill Dahlen, for sure--and maybe Joe Start and Harry Stovey and probably Deacon White. I'm pretty sure none of your 20C MLers make the top 5 anyway.
   57. Howie Menckel Posted: July 14, 2005 at 03:36 AM (#1470496)
More off the beaten path:
Longest string of years with no HOM qualifier at the INF position (half a team's games, main position, or 162 IP equivalent):

1893-09 (17) C
1905-10 (6) 1B
1912-17 (6) 1B
1934-37 (4) 3B

P.S. The 1911 1B qualifier was Nap Lajoie (barely), 41 1B, 37 2B. Otherwise it's 13 straight for 1B.
From 1898-1923, there never was more than 1 1B qualifier. Yet in 1934-35, there were SEVEN HOMers at 1B.
The only missing year for SS after 1865 is 1923.
Only missing year for 2B after 1881 is 1905.

One other note: for 1936, we have 10 ALers, 7 NLers, and 9 Negro Leaguers.
   58. Chris Cobb Posted: July 14, 2005 at 03:54 AM (#1470514)
So how about that special election to select our top 5 HoM/not HoF?

I think it would be a fun project, as well as a good way to select candidates to present the HoF veterans committee. I ranked the top 25 HoMers-not-HoFers at the halfway point, but as the election idea never went anywhere, I never uploaded the list.
   59. DanG Posted: July 14, 2005 at 03:56 AM (#1470517)
Howie wrote:
So hypothetically, if I once worked for several years with the President of the BBWAA, what would you shoot for?

Total reform.

OK, that's quite a provocative What If. Unfortunately, there's far too much "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality to overcome. What is obvious to me is very difficult to convey to "those who will not see."

BTF posted an article of mine in the Articles section last November. It admittedly has some problems, but I tried to lay out my latest thinking on HOF reform. Here's a summary of the suggestions:

The first thing to do is announce a long-term plan to improve the election process. Some of the objectives are: 1) to make the process more open, 2) to ensure that all voters are well qualified for the task, 3) to excite more interest among the fans by encouraging discussion among and between the voters and fans, 4) to eventually phase out the veterans committee player election.

Some ideas for reforming the election process:
1)Make the balloting public. It would be pretty simple to use the Hall's website to publish every ballot, providing the voter's address or email so fans can easily interact with them.
2)Clarify the rules for voting. You need to tell the voters, in underlined capitals, something like this: TO MAINTAIN YOUR PRIVILEGES AS A MEMBER OF THE ELECTORATE FOR THE HALL OF FAME, YOU ARE REQUIRED TO UPHOLD CERTAIN RESPONSIBILITIES. IT IS EXPECTED YOU WILL UNDERTAKE A THOROUGH AND CAREFUL STUDY OF ALL THE CANDIDATES, MINDFUL OF THE LEVELS OF CHARACTER AND STATISTICAL STANDARDS ATTAINED BY THE TYPICAL MEMBER OF THE HALL OF FAME. YOU ARE EXPECTED TO LIST UP TO TEN PLAYERS WHO, IN YOUR ANALYSIS, MOST EXCEED THE MINIMUM STANDARDS ESTABLISHED BY PAST SELECTIONS TO THE HALL. DENYING A VOTE TO A PLAYER ONLY BECAUSE HE IS IN HIS FIRST YEAR ELIGIBLE IS NOT ALLOWED. BLANK BALLOTS WILL NOT BE INCLUDED IN THE VOTING TALLY.
3)Limit the number of voters. Take control of the process. Pick a number; somewhere in the range of 100 to 250 seems sensible, and choose from among the applicants for voting privileges. Then institute a set turnover percentage, say 20% each year. This could be the process:
a)Stop automatically sending out ballots. Make them apply for one.
b)On the ballot application, have them complete this sentence: "I am qualified to be an elector for the Hall of Fame because...."
c)Track each voter's record. You should know who is consistently casting short ballots and whose ballots are highly idiosyncratic.
d)Establish a set number of voters.
4)Use a runoff election. If the regular balloting results in no player, or only one, gaining the 75% needed for election, hold a runoff election to elect one player. Induct the top vote getter, even if they receive less than 75% support in the runoff.
Go The Distance - If you really want to do it right, get rid of the VC and then.
5)Make everyone eligible.
6)Require filled ballots.
   60. Howie Menckel Posted: July 14, 2005 at 04:39 AM (#1470614)
Well, some of the members I know, let's just say they're not exactly up to speed on WARP.
Or Win Shares.
Or OPS+.
Or OPS.
Or ERA+.
Or OBP.

But I'm a pretty reasonable person, would be able to be practical about it, I think.
   61. KJOK Posted: July 14, 2005 at 06:32 AM (#1470754)
1893-09 (17) C
1905-10 (6) 1B
1912-17 (6) 1B
1934-37 (4) 3B

P.S. The 1911 1B qualifier was Nap Lajoie (barely), 41 1B, 37 2B. Otherwise it's 13 straight for 1B.


Catchers - Bresnahan and Schang?
1st Basemen - Sisler, Beckley and Taylor?
   62. DavidFoss Posted: July 14, 2005 at 03:06 PM (#1471105)
Catchers - Bresnahan and Schang?
1st Basemen - Sisler, Beckley and Taylor?


Schang didn't debut until 1913.
Bresnahan is 1901,1905-1915 (with only 28 G in 1912)

Beckley clips a couple of years off the front (1888-1907 with only 32 games in 1907) and Sisler a couple of years off the back (1915-1930), but the gap is still there. Taylor shifted from the mound in 1912 or so, so he'd fix the second half of that.

Frank Chance would fix the other half. If someone want to go back in time and get Chance to wear a batting helmet, he'd probably be a HOM-er who would span the whole gap.
   63. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 14, 2005 at 03:08 PM (#1471109)
But still, our most important positive work has been identifying meritorious 19th-century players and Negro League players overlooked by the HoF. (Our most important negative work has been leaving a lot of 20th-century Cooperstown electees _out_ of the Hom!)

I obviously whole heartedly agree with your first sentence, Chris. I'm not sure if the second sentence is tongue-in-cheek, though. Could you elaborate further?
   64. PhillyBooster Posted: July 14, 2005 at 03:11 PM (#1471117)
I think Chris is distinguishing positive acts of commission (Negro Leaguers) with positive acts of omission (20th century Cooperstowners) -- "negative work" means "good acts of omission," not "bad acts."
   65. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 14, 2005 at 03:14 PM (#1471125)
Gotcha, Matt.
   66. DavidFoss Posted: July 14, 2005 at 03:46 PM (#1471235)
Happy Birthday to Grandma Murphy!
   67. sunnyday2 Posted: July 14, 2005 at 06:38 PM (#1471787)
bump
   68. Jim Sp Posted: July 14, 2005 at 06:59 PM (#1471859)
This is off topic, but anyone else think hockey is heading toward a repeat of the Black Sox scandal?

Hmmm...I wonder if I can place a bet in Vegas on the chances of a fixed Stanley Cup...
   69. sunnyday2 Posted: July 14, 2005 at 07:34 PM (#1471997)
Jim, dunno about that but I think the union might be looking for new leadership. They turned down a salary cap of 42% of revenues 18 months ago and just settled for 39.
   70. KJOK Posted: July 14, 2005 at 09:04 PM (#1472252)
Schang didn't debut until 1913.
Bresnahan is 1901,1905-1915 (with only 28 G in 1912)

Beckley clips a couple of years off the front (1888-1907 with only 32 games in 1907) and Sisler a couple of years off the back (1915-1930), but the gap is still there. Taylor shifted from the mound in 1912 or so, so he'd fix the second half of that.

Frank Chance would fix the other half. If someone want to go back in time and get Chance to wear a batting helmet, he'd probably be a HOM-er who would span the whole gap.


I still wonder if maybe we're applying too high a "career" standard for "early" era (1893-1920 roughly) infielders. The best players simply didn't have long careers:

CATCHERS
Roger Bresnahan
Ossee Schreckengost
Chief Meyers

FIRST BASE
Frank Chance
Ed Konetchy
Harry Davis

SECOND BASE
Larry Doyle
Johnny Evers
Miller Huggins

SHORT STOP
Jennings
Rabbit Maranville
Donie Bush

THIRD BASE
McGraw

All of these guys were the best at their positions in their leagues for MULTIPLE years, but can't seem to get any traction in the voting. Infield play back then was wild and rough, with players trying to go from first to third on infield outs, spikes flying into fielders, etc. Maybe we need to account for that?!
   71. karlmagnus Posted: July 14, 2005 at 09:29 PM (#1472302)
Or maybe give proper recgnition to those early infielders who DID have long careers, such as Lave Cross and of course JAKE BECKLEY!
   72. sunnyday2 Posted: July 14, 2005 at 09:45 PM (#1472334)
Kevin, with Chance and Evers on that list, surely Tinker's gotta be there too. The best of the three IMO, and surely more valuable than Donie Bush. Also McGraw has great rates but not enough accum.

But the general point is valid. Nobody was particularly "durable" in those IFs, and anybody who gives a catcher bonus might consider an IF bonus.
   73. Howie Menckel Posted: July 15, 2005 at 12:33 AM (#1472884)
I agree with KJOk's point, with Childs leading the way. I've voted for Chance and McGraw and Bresnahan and Doyle (pretty recently) even Cross in the past. We're looking for the best players throughout eras.
   74. Jeff M Posted: July 15, 2005 at 01:18 AM (#1473116)
I'm all for reconsidering candidates if we have new information about them or new and meaningful methods of evaluation have arisen since their original consideration.

I would not advocate, however, elevating a candidate's status simply because we spot a gap somewhere. I agree "we're looking for the best players throughout eras" but not that we are looking for the best players by era.
   75. jingoist Posted: July 15, 2005 at 02:17 AM (#1473497)
karlmangus makes an excellant point.
I continuously see posters extoll the virtues of their pet players relatively short-lived mlb careers as having great peaks yet they barely played 1000 games.
Why not recognize Jake Beckleys accomplishments for what they are. He was second only to Cap Anson in hits, games played, etc for players of that era.
The HoF "didn't make a mistake with Jake"!
Give it up for Jake!
   76. Howie Menckel Posted: July 15, 2005 at 03:33 AM (#1473711)
I agree also with Jeff M.
And recognize jingoist's point as well. Beckley was unique.
   77. Chris Cobb Posted: July 15, 2005 at 05:02 AM (#1473825)
All of these guys were the best at their positions in their leagues for MULTIPLE years, but can't seem to get any traction in the voting.

It would be helpful for me to see some comparative data on this point. How many times were these guys the best at their position, and how do those figures compare to other players whom we have/have not elected?

One reason that I have long supported Hughie Jennings' candidacy is that I know that WARP and WS see him as not only the best at his position, but among the top 5 position players in 5 seasons, and I know that very few players have had peaks that high.

I don't have the same framework for judging "best at position" counts. Anybody have that data? If so, who looks outstanding by this measure? What is the threshold of greatness?
   78. jimd Posted: July 16, 2005 at 03:22 AM (#1476249)
bump
   79. Michael Bass Posted: July 16, 2005 at 04:12 PM (#1476723)
There hasn't been much (any?) discussion of what I consider the most intereting issue of the week: That of the second election slot.

It's pretty clearly down to Suttles vs. Beckwith, with Suttles winning unless some major electoral change happens. I am a Beckwith man between these two myself; simply think he had a longer peak and a lot more defensive value, even if you believe the worst about his defense.

Any Beckwith fan smarter than I want to make the case for him vs. Suttles? Suttles fans want to make the case why Suttles over Beckwith? It probably doesn't matter, as they are both going in soon, but for this year, I find this to be the intriguing question between two superficially similar, yet in many key ways different, players.
   80. sunnyday2 Posted: July 16, 2005 at 06:14 PM (#1476944)
Michael, double check the Beckwith and Suttles threads, then you tell me!?

Both 137 OPS+, Beckwith mediocre fielder at 3B-SS, Suttles mediocre fielder at 1B -LF, Suttles on WS 353-317 with (now I've already forgotten, but is it?) a whole 2,000 extra projected PAs?

I had Leonard #4 and Suttles #5 last "year" and I've already decided that was a mistake, I think Suttles was probably a better hitter and a few more PAs.
   81. DavidFoss Posted: July 16, 2005 at 06:22 PM (#1476958)
I am a Beckwith man between these two myself; simply think he had a longer peak and a lot more defensive value, even if you believe the worst about his defense.

This is my opinion, too. I've been ranking Beckwith 2nd the past few elections... ahead of one inductee and behind another.

They are really close with the bat. Same career total. Other than Suttles' big year (and a half) its a similar career shape, too.

MS -- 219-158-155-153-152-142-140-137-136-133
JB -- 161-157-156-155-149-148-147-144-138-135

(Suttles half-year omitted).

My feeling is that its just so much more rare to find this type of player at 3B-SS than it is at OF-1B.
   82. DavidFoss Posted: July 16, 2005 at 07:15 PM (#1477081)
The Beckwith/Suttles issue is a bit moot, though.

The important decisions are lining up for a couple years from now. Friends and especially foes of Herman/Medwick/Hack/Ruffing might want to get their points in early as the electorate tends to not change its mind overnight. Note that other great HOM candidacy rushes in the past (Pearce/RFoster) were a few years in the making.
   83. Chris Cobb Posted: July 16, 2005 at 09:35 PM (#1477239)
I have collated jimd’s “WARP best at position” lists to look at how this measure functions as an indicator of HoM-worthiness. The table below lists

1) Under “Best at P,” the number of seasons in which the player was ranked as either #1 at position or as in “top N players in the league;

2) the number of seasons in which the player was not actually #1 at his position (this # appears in parentheses after teh “best at position” total);

3) Under “Top N in L,” the number of seasons in which the player was ranked among the top N players;

4) the positions at which the player was best.

An (A) after the player’s name indicates that he was significantly active after 1940 and therefore may have additional seasons as “best at position” not included in jimd’s lists.

The players are listed in descending order, sorted first by years as best at position, second by years among top N players, and third by years player was actually #1 at the position. The breaks indicate points at which the percentage of players who have been elected to the HoM changes significantly.


Player            Best at P Top N in L  Pos
Tris Speaker      17 (10)   17          CF
Honus Wagner      14 (1)    14          SS, 3B, RF
Ty Cobb           14 (3)    14          CF, RF
Eddie Collins     14 (4)    14          2B
Nap Lajoie        13 (3)    12          2B, 1B
Babe Ruth         12 (2)    12          RF, LF
Lou Gehrig        12 (5)    12          1B
Rogers Hornsby    11 (3)    11          2B, 3B, SS
Roger Connor      11 (3)     7          1B
Mel Ott (A)       10 (3)    10          RF, 3B
Bobby Wallace     10 (9)    10          SS
Charlie Gehringer  9 (4)     9          2B
Ed Delahanty       9 (4)     9          LF
Bid McPhee         8 (2)     7          2B
Jesse Burkett      8 (5)     7          LF
--------------------100% line-----------------
George Wright      7         7          SS, 2B
Arky Vaughan (A)   7 (1)     7          SS
George Davis       7 (2)     7          SS, 3B
Frankie Frisch     7 (5)     7          2B, 3B
Bill Dahlen        7 (5)     7          SS, 3B
Jack Glasscock     7 (1)     6          SS
Dan Brouthers      7 (2)     6          1B
Frank Baker        7 (1)     5          3B
George Sisler      7         3          1B
Joe Sewell         6 (1)     6          SS
Fred Dunlap        6 (1)     6          2B
Ross Barnes        6 (1)     6          2B
Al Simmons         6 (2)     6          LF, CF
Cap Anson          6 (3)     6          1B, 3B
Jimmie Foxx (A)    6 (3)     6          1B
Bobby Veach        6 (3)     6          LF
Paul Waner         6 (5)     6          RF
Harry Heilmann     6 (4)     5          RF
Heinie Groh        6         4          3B
Sam Thompson       6         4          RF
Paul Hines         6 (2)     4          CF
Billy Hamilton     5 (1)     5          CF, LF
Joe Cronin         5 (2)     5          SS
Elmer Flick        5 (2)     5          RF, CF
Hughie Jennings    5 (2)     5          SS
Joe Kelley         5 (4)     5          LF
Cupid Childs       5 (1)     4          2B
Sam Crawford       5 (2)     4          RF, CF
Max Carey          5 (4)     4          CF, LF
Deacon White       5         3          C, 1B
Lip Pike           5 (1)     3          CF, LF
George J. Burns    5 (2)     3          LF
King Kelly         5         2          RF, C
Mickey Cochrane    5         1          C
Gabby Hartnett     5         0          C
--------------------80% line------------------
Joe Dimaggio (A)   4         4          CF
Joe Jackson        4         4          RF, LF
Fielder Jones      4 (1)     4          CF
Harry Stovey       4 (1)     4          LF, RF, 1B
George Gore        4 (1)     4          CF
Hank Greenberg (A) 4 (2)     4          1B, LF
Hack Wilson        4 (2)     4          CF
Roy Thomas         4 (2)     4          CF
Jimmy Williams     4 (3)     4          2B, 3B
Billy Herman (A)   4 (3)     4          2B
Bill Bradley       4         3          3B
Earl Averill       4 (1)     3          CF
Jimmy Collins      4 (1)     3          3B
Ned Williamson     4 (1)     3          3B
Bill Dickey        4         2          C
Buck Ewing         4         2          C
Abner Dalrymple    4         2          LF
Jim O’Rourke       4         2          RF, LF, CF
Cal McVey          4         2          1B, RF, 3B
Pie Traynor        4         1          3B
Harry Hooper       4         1          RF
Ed Konetchy        4         1          1B
Ezra Sutton        4 (1)     1          3B
--------------------50% line------------------
Davy Force         3         3          3B, SS
George Stone       3         3          LF
Johnny Mize (A)    3 (1)     3          1B
Wally Berger       3 (1)     3          CF
Jimmy Sheckard     3 (1)     3          LF
Fred Clarke        3 (1)     3          LF
Dick Bartell       3 (2)     3          SS
Bill Terry         3 (2)     3          1B
Chuck Klein        3 (2)     3          RF
Tony Lazzeri       3 (2)     3          2B
Johnny Mostil      3 (2)     3          CF
Goose Goslin       3 (2)     3          LF
Dave Bancroft      3 (2)     3          SS
Zack Wheat         3 (2)     3          LF
Art Fletcher       3 (2)     3          SS
Miller Huggins     3 (2)     3          2B
George McBride     3 (3)     3          SS
Joe Medwick        3         2          LF
John McGraw        3         2          3B
Mike Griffin       3         2          CF
Charlie Bennett    3         2          C
Charlie Jones      3         2          LF
Andy Leonard       3         2          LF
Willie Keeler      3 (1)     2          RF
Ginger Beaumont    3 (2)     2          CF
Frank Chance       3         1          1B
Mike Tiernan       3         1          RF, CF
Orator Schaffer    3         1          RF
Joe Start          3         1          1B
Dave Eggler        3         1          CF
Hugh Duffy         3 (1)     1          CF, RF
Pete Browning      3 (1)     1          CF, LF
Chief Myers        3         0          C
Ed McFarland       3         0          C
Jake Beckley       3         0          1B
--------------------25% line------------------


56 players with 2 seasons as “best at position”
   84. Chris Cobb Posted: July 16, 2005 at 09:38 PM (#1477240)
Best at Position Table continued

Player            Best at P Top N in L  Pos
Ted Williams (A)   2         2          LF, RF
Joe Gordon (A)     2         2          2B
George Van Haltren 2         2          CF
Herman Long        2         2          SS
Denny Lyons        2         2          3B
Fred Pfeffer       2         2          2B
Monte Ward         2         2          SS
Harlond Clift (A)  2 (1)     2          3B
Stan Hack (A)      2 (1)     2          3B
Bob Johnson (A)    2 (1)     2          LF
Buddy Meyer (A)    2 (1)     2          2B
Tony Cuccinello    2 (1)     2          2B
Travis Jackson     2 (1)     2          SS
Ross Youngs        2 (1)     2          RF
Ray Chapman        2 (1)     2          SS
Buck Herzog        2 (1)     2          SS
Sherry Magee       2 (1)     2          LF
Jimmy Barrett      2 (1)     2          CF
Tom Daly           2 (1)     2          2B
Jimmy Ryan         2 (1)     2          CF
Bob Allen          2 (1)     2          SS
Hardy Richardson   2 (1)     2          2B, LF
Joe Gerhardt       2 (1)     2          2B
John Peters        2 (1)     2          SS
Tom York           2 (1)     2          LF
Bill Craver        2 (1)     2          2B
Luke Appling (A)   2 (2)     2          SS
Lonny Frey (A)     2 (2)     2          2B
Dolph Camilli  (A) 2 (2)     2          1B
Babe Herman        2 (2)     2          RF
Max Bishop         2 (2)     2          2B
Kiki Cuyler        2 (2)     2          RF, LF
Topper Rigney      2 (2)     2          SS
Edd Roush          2 (2)     2          CF
Del Pratt          2 (2)     2          2B
Donie Bush         2 (2)     2          SS
Joe Tinker         2 (2)     2          SS
Freddie Parent     2 (2)     2          SS
Danny Murphy       2 (2)     2          2B
Elmer Smith        2 (2)     2          LF
Jack Burdock       2 (2)     2          2B 
Jack Fournier      2         1          1B
Stuffy McInnis     2         1          1B
George Gibson      2         1          C
Arlie Latham       2         1          3B
Tommy Leach        2 (1)     1          CF, 3B
Art Devlin         2 (1)     1          3B
Muddy Ruel         2         0          C
Ray Schalk         2         0          C
Johnny Kling       2         0          C
Fred Tenney        2         0          1B
Deacon McGuire     2         0          C
Duke Farell        2         0          C
Jack Clements      2         0          C
Lew Brown          2         0          C
--------------------5% line------------------
No Major-league position player HoMers with less than 2 yrs. "WARP Best at Position"


ML PP Candidates with less than 2 yrs. best at position who received votes in 1955

Gavvy Cravath
Wally Schang
Roger Bresnahan
Larry Doyle
Ernie Lombardi
Sam Rice
   85. Chris Cobb Posted: July 16, 2005 at 09:45 PM (#1477248)
A few notes on this table:

100% of eligible players with 8 or more "best at position" seasons have been elected to the HoM.

80%, 28 of 35, of eligible players with 5-7 "best at position seasons have been elected to the HoM.

The seven anomalous cases are

George Sisler
Joe Sewell
Fred Dunlap
Bobby Veach
Hughie Jennings
Cupid Childs
George J. Burns

While one may not agree with the WARP system in certain respects, this "best at position" analysis shows a high degree of correlation between its results and HoM standards for election. It suggests that these 7 players are particularly deserving of a close look to see if there is a good reason why they have not been elected. Some remain strong candidates: others have disappeared from the balloting.
   86. Jeff M Posted: July 16, 2005 at 10:48 PM (#1477290)
While one may not agree with the WARP system in certain respects...

Just a quick reminder that WARP's defense is as screwed up as WS defense is for 19th century and early 20th century, but in the opposite direction.

Joe Dimino looked at the issue closely and determined that FRAA was the more accurate stat to factor into WARP, instead of FRAR. I have not gone quite so far, but I tend to take the average of FRAA and FRAR in computing WARP.

I suspect this affects Bid McPhee more than just about anyone (at least anyone I can think of). Using my averaging method would take him from a WARP of 11.0 to about 8.4 in 1889, and from 10.0 to about 7.5 in 1891, two of the years in which he is designated as the best 2b by WARP. If you use Joe's method, you'll get a 5.7 and 4.8 respectively.

The second place guy in 1889, Lou Bierbauer, would go from an 11.1 to a 8.7, pushing him ahead of McPhee (which he actually is anyway, if you use WARP1, which you should on a season-length adjusted basis, even if you believe strongly in the WARP system). If you use Joe's method you get about a 6.1, for an even bigger lead over McPhee.

The second place guy in 1891 was Jack Crooks, I think, although he has exactly the same WARP1 as Bid McPhee but is not listed as the best 2b. He would go from a 10.0 to a 7.9, pushing him ahead of McPhee. Joe's method would give him a 5.4, which is also ahead of McPhee.

Win Shares (adjusted for its fielding deficiencies) has McPhee 3d in 1889 and 4th in 1889.

I'm not picking on McPhee. Just illustrating (1) the issue with WARP fielding and (2) that reliance on any one system is dangerous.
   87. Jeff M Posted: July 16, 2005 at 11:17 PM (#1477315)
To more vividly illustrate the need to adjust WARP's defense (and I'm sorry to pick on McPhee, but he is a glaring example):

In 1884 BP gives McPhee a FRAR of 88, a huge number. To put it in context, Dave Orr, who led the 1884 American Assocation in OPS+ and Runs Created (and therefore was probably the best hitter that year in the AA), produced a BRAR of 77. Orr hit .354/.362/.539 and had an OPS+ of 192.

So WARP is saying that McPhee was 11 runs better just on defense than the best hitter in the league was at the plate. And remember, second base was still behind third base on the defensive spectrum, and of course behind catcher and shortstop (and maybe center field if you just flip flop 3b and 2b on the spectrum).

No doubt he was good defensively, but at the 4th or 5th most important defensive position, how can he be more valuable on defense than the league's best hitter is on offense?

The best hitter in the 1884 NL was King Kelly (although you could argue for Brouthers). Kelly had BRAR of 75, and thus his hitting was also not as valuable as McPhee's defense, according to WARP. Kelly hit .354/.414/.524 and had an OPS+ of 184.

1884 was not an anomaly. McPhee tops 76 BRAR six times in WARP on defense alone.
   88. Chris Cobb Posted: July 17, 2005 at 12:55 AM (#1477472)
But is WARP's overrating of defense the reason Sisler, Sewell, Dunlap, Veach, Jennings, Childs, and Burns appear so high on this list?

Any list like this that simply collates a metric's measure will replicate its biases, which we should not ignore, but where that collation replicates our own selections closely, it seems reasonable to consider the anomalous cases carefully.

It'd be useful to see what a similar collation of win shares' measures would show. Would it turn up the same set of candidates, or a different set?

I'm not saying everyone ought to vote for all of these guys. I had only one of them on my ballot in 1955. But if it's possible that deserving candidates have fallen through the cracks, this is one way to look for them.

Let's see how KJOK's list of overlooked candidates fares overall in this ranking:

Here it is, annotated:


CATCHERS
Roger Bresnahan -- WARP "best at position" doesn't support him, fewer than 2 b.a.p. years, probably because WARP sees his defense as poor
Ossee Schreckengost -- Likewise
Chief Meyers -- does well, with 3 "best of position" years, but there are a lot of other players at this level who are not getting support.

FIRST BASE
Frank Chance -- comes out like Meyers.
Ed Konetchy -- Shows a little better than Chance, at the tail end of the 50% HoMer range with 4 "best at position" years
Harry Davis -- His case isn't supported by this measure, placed in the "definitely no" group of players with fewer than 2 "best at position" years.

SECOND BASE
Larry Doyle -- His case isn't supported (WARP hates his fielding); fewer than 2 b.a.p. years
Johnny Evers -- His case isn't supported, fewer than 2 b.a.p. years
Miller Huggins -- With three b.a.p. years, he does well, but isn't set apart.

SHORT STOP
Jennings -- With 5 b.a.p. years, his case as a serious candidate is supported
Rabbit Maranville -- His case isn't supported, only 1 b.a.p. year
Donie Bush -- With 2 b.a.p. years, his case isn't helped

THIRD BASE
McGraw -- with 3 b.a.p years, he does well, but isn't set apart.

So, putting the two perspectives together, KJOK's picks line up like this:

Favored by both: Jennings, Konetchy

Favored by KJOK, WARP "b.a.p." is neutral to moderately supportive: Huggins, McGraw, Chance, Meyers, Bush

Favored by KJOK, rejected by WARP "b.a.p": Bresnahan, Schreckengost, Davis, Doyle, Evers, Maranville

KJOK, how do Sisler, Dunlap, Veach, Childs, and Burns do by your measures?
   89. Chris Cobb Posted: July 17, 2005 at 12:57 AM (#1477479)
And Sewell?
   90. sunnyday2 Posted: July 17, 2005 at 01:10 AM (#1477510)
The problem with Sisler and Veach and Burns is that, in a manner of speaking, their position is "hitter." Since the position of "hitter" might be thought of as including 1B-LF-RF, though I wouldn't argue they're synonymous, the question is, Were they among the approximately three b.a.p. at the position of hitter? Sisler probably yes at least a couple times if not mroe, Veach and Burns probably not more than once or twice if at all.

Then, considering that this is a WARP-based metric, I would have to guess that Dunlap and Childs, in particular, and maybe Jennings, are helped by WARP's big defensive boost.

That leaves Sewell by this method. (Though I of course remain a big supporter of Jennings and Sisler.)
   91. KJOK Posted: July 17, 2005 at 02:06 AM (#1477692)
KJOK, how do Sisler, Dunlap, Veach, Childs, and Burns do by your measures? And Sewell?

I should emphasize that I was just throwing out some names in support of a theory that certain positions in certain eras are getting 'short-changed' due to changes in career lengths, probably due to medical advances, change in playing style, etc.

Since my personal method weighs heavily how a player does vs. his peers, Childs & Sewell have already been in my "top 20" for quite a while, along with Bresnahan, McGraw and Chance.

Dunlap has been stuck behind Childs and Monroe on my 2nd baseman list for awhile, while Veach and Burns have been stuck in my big logjam of outfielders just off the ballot.

The player who's probably going to move up in light of this new data is Beckley - just like a catcher who catches 140 games when most others catch 80, Beckley had a long career AND some seasons he was best at position at a time when others had much shorter productive 1st base careers.
   92. Howie Menckel Posted: July 17, 2005 at 04:30 AM (#1477762)
Ah, Beckley.
Conceding that the "most similar players" lists are part parlor game, it is interesting that Beckley has 9 HOFers and Jimmy Ryan in his top 10. 7 of 'em are HOMers as well.
Sam Crawford is his top comp, and Crawford is his most similar batter by age every year from age 25 to 37 (except age 34, which is HOMer Joe Kelley). Zack Wheat is his age 38-39 comp.

There is no non-HOMer I've seen that is anything like him, for decades around.
   93. Jeff M Posted: July 17, 2005 at 05:36 AM (#1477790)
It'd be useful to see what a similar collation of win shares' measures would show.

I posted the list for second basemen on the second basemen thread, with compensation for Win Shares' defensive shortcomings in the early years. Unfortunately, it took me 4 hours to do the second basemen, so doing everyone might not be feasible.

Then, considering that this is a WARP-based metric, I would have to guess that Dunlap and Childs, in particular, and maybe Jennings, are helped by WARP's big defensive boost.

Jennings had some big BRAR years, but he doesn't suffer quite as much as Childs and Dunlap (who apparently saved 91 runs with his glove alone in 1884, which would be an MVP season for anyone at the plate).

I note that Childs fares much better than the other un-elected second basemen in Win Shares when you fix the defensive suppression. That's over on the second basemen thread, where I came up with a little point system that is sort of the same thing that Chris did with all the players based on WARP.
   94. DavidFoss Posted: July 18, 2005 at 05:17 AM (#1479361)
Just thought I'd sneak in a quick note about Johnny VanderMeer before discussion closes for the week. The consecutive no-hitters on June 11 & 15 of 1938 are one of those isolated achievements that isn't going to 'merit' any votes here, but it was the talk of MLB when it happened.

He was chosen as The Sporting News's Player of the Year for 1938 over stellar performances by Foxx, Lombardi, Ott, Mize, etc. Plus, the HOF voters gave him much more respect than most of the other guys with lifetime 119-121 records. He never came near induction (max ~30%) but he did better than Newhouser, Lemon and Snider in his last years on the ballot.
   95. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 18, 2005 at 04:37 PM (#1480093)
The Beckwith/Suttles issue is a bit moot, though.

True, David. While Beckwith may have to wait a little longer, I have no doubt now that he will eventually go in (as will Suttles, of course). Therefore, no more mindless rambling posts in defense of Mr. Beckwith from me. :-)
   96. OCF Posted: July 18, 2005 at 06:30 PM (#1480381)
VanderMeer:

With a negative war adjustment (mostly for 1943) but no assumption about possible credit for 1944 and 1945, I get a career RA+ PythPat record of 125-108, so he IS better than his actual record.

I have his 1938 virtual record as 15-10. After nearly disappearing (arm injury?) he would basically match that for three years starting in 1941: 15-10, 16-11, 18-15.

A good pitcher. Of course, there have been a lot of other good pitchers - Schoolboy Rowe, Ray Kremer, Firpo Marberry ...
   97. jimd Posted: July 18, 2005 at 06:39 PM (#1480413)
Just a quick reminder that WARP's defense is as screwed up as WS defense is for 19th century and early 20th century, but in the opposite direction.

Of course, this is just an opinion. It fails to take into account the incredible variance that we find in 19th century fielding. It also fails to take into account just how badly screwed up WS defense is in the 19th century (89 Win Shares for Radbourn in 1884 over a 112 game schedule; the adjustments cited would bring this down to about 77, still way too high).

Let's look at 2B stats from two fielders from the 1884 AA, Bid McPhee (since you brought him up) and Cub Stricker. Stricker was a regular 2b-man from 1882-1892.

GmP PtO Ast Er DP FRAA
112 415 365 64 74 30 McPhee
107 280 257 80 40 -28 Stricker

As you can see, McPhee made 135 extra putouts, 108 extra assists, nearly double the double-plays, while making 16 less errors. This is quite a difference in fielding performance, an extra PO and an extra Assist in each game. Stricker is rated to be as bad as McPhee is good. Also note that Stricker in 1884 played 2B for the defending champion Philadelphia Athletics (he was their 2B-man from 1882-1885); we're comparing players from two contenders, not first and last place teams.

In case anyone wants to bring up discretionary put-outs involving the SS, here are the team SS stats for that season.

GmP PtO Ast Er DP FRAA
116 119 319 96 38 -5 1884 Cincinnati (Peoples/Fennelly/etc)
112 122 383 61 30 13 1884 Philadelphia (Houck)

Very little difference in the SS Putouts, though Cincy does have a personel problem at SS.

I do want to emphasize though, while I'm one of its staunchest defenders here, I don't fully trust WARP (or any ubersystem), though I trust it more than Win Shares, particularly before 1920. I use both when compiling my rankings.
   98. jimd Posted: July 18, 2005 at 11:19 PM (#1481386)
Chris, thank you for your analysis of the usefulness of "top-season" counts, and their correlation with HOM election. I've been integrating these into my system over the past few months (whenever I have some free time, which is less than I'd like).

Pitcher counts follow, but also note that Ruth qualified 3 additional times as a pitcher (making 16 total), and Ward also qualified twice as a pitcher (making 4 total).

8+ (100% above; 100% here): 15 Cy Young; 11 Walter Johnson; 9 Christy Mathewson, Lefty Grove; 8 Pete Alexander

6-5 (80% above; 75% here): 6 Amos Rusie; 5 Al Spalding, Jim Whitney, Kid Nichols, Ed Walsh, Stan Coveleski, Dazzy Vance, Wes Ferrell

4 (50% above; 67% here): Charles Radbourn, John Clarkson, Ted Breitenstein, Joe McGinnity, Carl Hubbell, Dizzy Dean

3 (25% above; 35% here): Tommy Bond, Pud Galvin, Tim Keefe, Charlie Ferguson, Bob Caruthers, Charlie Buffinton, Bill Hutchison, Clark Griffith, Noodles Hahn, Rube Waddell, 3Finger Brown, (Babe Ruth), Ted Lyons, Lefty Gomez, Bob Feller (A)

2 (5% above; 3% here): Jim Devlin, (Monte Ward), Jim McCormick, Matt Kilroy, Silver King, Jesse Tannehill, Vic Willis, Addie Joss, Nap Rucker, Eddie Cicotte, Hippo Vaughn, Bob Shawkey, Jim Bagby, Burleigh Grimes, Red Faber, Urban Shocker, Eddie Rommel, Howard Ehmke, Dolf Luque, Herb Pennock, George Uhle, Tommy Thomas, Red Lucas, Ed Brandt, Lon Warneke, Mel Harder, Curt Davis, Red Ruffing, Bill Lee (A), Bobo Newsom (A), Claude Passeau (A)

Extraneous notes:
Wagner 1902: He played 136 of 142 games that year and was a TOP star but had no position. 44 SS, 32 1B, 30 RF, 20 LF, 11 CF, 1 2B, 1 P. Win Shares lists him as OF, JeffM at SS.
Ruth 1934: He split his time between RF and LF, and was (barely) a TOP star that year, but under my WARP classification system does not qualify as a regular at either position.

No Major-league position player HoMers with less than 2 yrs. "WARP Best at Position"

Only one pitcher HOMer with less than 2yrs "WARP Best at Position":
Eddie Plank.

The player who's probably going to move up in light of this new data is Beckley

And people say that Sewell had weak competition at his position?
   99. Jeff M Posted: July 19, 2005 at 02:20 AM (#1482066)
Of course, this is just an opinion.

Agreed. But widely held. :)

I use both too, with upward defensive adjustments in WS and downward defensive adjustments in WARP1.

And basically, 1884 is screwed up all the way around.
   100. Jeff M Posted: July 19, 2005 at 02:21 AM (#1482070)
Of course, this is just an opinion.

Agreed. But widely held. :)

I use both too, with upward defensive adjustments in WS and downward defensive adjustments in WARP1.

And basically, 1884 is screwed up all the way around.
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