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Monday, August 08, 2005

1958 Ballot Discussion

Our first three-HoMer election!

1958 (August 22)—elect 2
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)

228 83.8 1939 Dizzy Trout-P (1972)
220 74.1 1940 Dom DiMaggio-CF (living)
188 61.3 1942 Tommy Holmes-RF/CF (living)
177 58.8 1940 Marty Marion-SS (living)
155 42.6 1940 Johnny Hopp-CF/1B (2003)
118 48.3 1939 Fred Hutchinson-P (1964)
111 43.3 1939 Phil Masi-C (1990)
125 37.3 1940 Pete Reiser-CF (1981)
106 36.7 1937 Birdie Tebbets-C (1999)
061 15.4 1942 Sam Jethroe-CF (2001)

1958 (August 14)—elect 2
HF% Career Name-pos (born) BJ – MVP - All-Star

60% 35-56 Willard Brown-CF (1911) #2 rf - 5 - 9*
04% 30-54 Quincy Trouppe-C (1912) #7 c - 0 - 3*
00% 40-53 Baldy Souell-3B (1913)0 - 3*

Players Passing Away in 1957
HoMers
Age Elected

None

Candidates
Age Eligible

94 1907 Frank Foreman-P
74 1924 Jack Coombs-P
68 1923 Jim Scott-P
66 1940 Dolf Luque-P
53 1944 Tommy Thevenow-SS
50 1954 Fritz Ostermueller-P
46 1951 Max Butcher-P

As always, thanks to Dan and Chris for the lists!

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 08, 2005 at 09:53 PM | 156 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. sunnyday2 Posted: August 15, 2005 at 04:01 PM (#1547007)
Chris, I'd be curious to know what the 5 "underrated" seasons (low 10, <.500) and 6 "overrated" (top 10, >.625) seasons are.
   102. karlmagnus Posted: August 15, 2005 at 04:45 PM (#1547071)
Chris Cobb, once again a very interesting analysis of WS. The probelm surely arises not only in assessing peak shares, but also in assessing careers of those on persistently very good teams or relatively poor teams. Thus WS will overrate Gordon and Ruffing, and underrate Beckley, Klein and Rixey, will it not? (3-5 WS per annum particularly adds up if you have a very long career, doesn't it?) The 50s Yankees and 40s/50s Dodgers would seem particular impending problems here.
   103. sunnyday2 Posted: August 15, 2005 at 05:08 PM (#1547103)
karl, the large majority of cases Chris studied were not affected one way or the other. I don't think this is a persistent issue, and James himself discussed the problem in his book. He showed evidence that there was NO problem, of course, whereas Chris has shown that there is sometimes a problem. But sometimes, not persistently. Unfortunately we don't know what variables account for those cases.

But as Chris said, there are going to be rare cases where any of this matters--e.g. Medwick and Sisler, where Medwick's big year gets 40 WS and Sisler's similar season gets 30.

>Thus WS will overrate Gordon and Ruffing, and underrate Beckley, Klein and Rixey, will it not? (3-5 WS per annum particularly adds up if you have a very long career, doesn't it?)

This is a hypothesis and at the present time an unproven one. 3-5 WS per year would add up if there were a persistent tendency for WS to be 3-5 WS off. But as only an occasional issue, the effect is more likely to be 3-5 WS (one anamolous season) in a career.
   104. Carl G Posted: August 15, 2005 at 05:09 PM (#1547104)
Chris,
I see what you are saying about players on bad teams vs those on good/great teams as it makes logical sense that adding a great player will help a good team more than a bad because the good team already has good players. Its an exponential effect that 2 great players on a great team will generate more runs than the sum of each individually if they were stuck on 2 different teams.
You'll have to explain the competition argument though, because that doesn't make as much sense to me. Aren't the park factors used adjusted for the fact that the hitters don't face there own pitchers and vice versa?
   105. KJOK Posted: August 15, 2005 at 06:09 PM (#1547200)
I agree with Carl - what the data shows is not necessarily some "systematic" win shares error. I think it can be explained by two items:

1. Interaction between players in a lineup - as Carl pointed out, a "100 Runs Created" and a "120 Runs Created" player will together on the same team create about 225 Runs Created between them.

A 100 Runs Created player and a regularly playing 45 Runs Created player will create about 140 team Runs Created. This is why Base Runs is a superior runs formula to Runs Created - it accounts for player batting interaction.

2. "Good" teams in fact exceed their "expected" wins more often that not, so these are the teams that generally have more "excess" win shares to distribute among the 9 positions.
   106. DavidFoss Posted: August 15, 2005 at 06:26 PM (#1547238)
Its an exponential effect that 2 great players on a great team will generate more runs than the sum of each individually if they were stuck on 2 different teams.

This may be true with raw runs, but when converting to wins there will also be diminishing returns. Its a lot easier to add 5 wins to a .500 team than it is to add 5 wins to a .600 team.
   107. Chris Cobb Posted: August 15, 2005 at 06:46 PM (#1547279)
You'll have to explain the competition argument though, because that doesn't make as much sense to me. Aren't the park factors used adjusted for the fact that the hitters don't face there own pitchers and vice versa?

jimd is the expert on this point, not me, but it's my understanding that the park effects used in win shares do not include this sort of adjustment.

I hope jimd will be able to address this questions more effectively than I can off the top of my head.

The probelm surely arises not only in assessing peak shares, but also in assessing careers of those on persistently very good teams or relatively poor teams.

My study only documents this effect at very high-value seasons, so I can't say for sure how it affects players with 130 OPS+ seasons. I also can't say that a notable difference appears between players on, say, .450 teams and players on .550 teams. I assume that the effect within this range must generally be small, or James himself would have noted it. I expect that some effect would be present, but proportionately smaller. Given enough time, the framework of the study could be replicated for other levels of individual and team performance.
   108. TomH Posted: August 15, 2005 at 07:39 PM (#1547397)
War discount, shmor discount!!

Well, not really, but what I mean to say is I thin we are collectively OVERcorrecting for players who played during WWII. Kinda like some of you claim about Pete Browning and the AA.

The two studies that attempted to actually look at the data and come up with a correction factor have concluded that average batting skill declined by about .015 (or less). That is merely 9 hits per full year. Or 6-7 runs a year per batter. About 0.7 WARP, or 2 Win Shares. 7 or 8 OPS+ points.

Big whup.

Now, maybe the studies are wrong. Okay, invent your own discount, based on a gut feel estimate of star players missing. How much do you want to penalize players? Would they all have hit 30-35 points less? That would mean the team in 1944 would have scored 1 less run per game in 1946. And allowed one run more run per game. And only won 30% of their contests.

That seems too large to me, but let's assume it is true. Now you have 16 OPS+ points, or 1.4 wins a year. And if someone played 2 war years, they lose a total of Maybe 3 wins, or 2.5 OPS+ points, or .012ish OWP points. So, for example, Boudreau's career OWP might go from .620 to an 'adjusted for WWII' .608.

And no, 1943 was not a true War Year. It is unfair to apply anything more than a very modest discount for the guys who played; there were still a lot of quality men in the game that season.

IMHO.
   109. Howie Menckel Posted: August 16, 2005 at 12:15 AM (#1548057)
What do people rate as discounts for the 1942-45 seasons? Which ones do people knock off more, or less, for?
Part of this is obvious (many players didn't go in to the Army right away), but I'm curious if there is a systematic conclusion of how many 'regulars' were missing per year, etc..
   110. Cblau Posted: August 16, 2005 at 12:43 AM (#1548171)
win shares systematically overrates players on good teams and underrates players on bad teams, because it does not adjust for the fact that good teams don't have to play themselves.

This is impossible. If players on good teams were overrated by WS due to competition issues, then the total WS on those teams would be >3 times wins. I agree with KJOK's point number 2 above.
   111. Chris Cobb Posted: August 16, 2005 at 02:39 AM (#1548515)
I agree with Carl - what the data shows is not necessarily some "systematic" win shares error. I think it can be explained by two items:

1. Interaction between players in a lineup - as Carl pointed out, a "100 Runs Created" and a "120 Runs Created" player will together on the same team create about 225 Runs Created between them.

A 100 Runs Created player and a regularly playing 45 Runs Created player will create about 140 team Runs Created. This is why Base Runs is a superior runs formula to Runs Created - it accounts for player batting interaction.


If win shares does not adjust for this effect, would that not be a systematic win shares error?

2. "Good" teams in fact exceed their "expected" wins more often that not, so these are the teams that generally have more "excess" win shares to distribute among the 9 positions.

True, but I don't _think_ that the data that I have collected suggest a strong correlation between very high bws rates relative to statistically documented batting events as measured by OPS+ or EQA. That is an effect I was looking for, but I didn't notice any patterns as I was examining the data.

I can easily check the data I've gathered on this point, and will do so over the next day or two as I have time.

However, I can also say that, in the Foxx case, team divergence from expected wins is not nearly enough to account for the observed differences (to really pin this down, one would also have to look at how the teams' expected runs diverged from their actual runs, too--that's data I don't have). In the Foxx case, we know that he earned 18% more win shares per game in 1938 on a good team than in 1935 for a bad one with virtually identical batting stats.

1935 .179 (corrected from .185 in post 100--I misremembered Foxx's pinch hit at bats for 1935)
1938 .219

His team in 1935 was 58-91, 3 games under their pyth projection. Foxx as a hitter earned 26.3 of his team's 174 win shares, or 15.1%. If there were 9 extra ws to distribute, Foxx would get another 1.4, bringing him up to 27.7, or .188/g.

His team in 1938 was 88-61, 1 game over their pyth projection. Foxx as a hitter earned 32.7 of his teams 264 ws, or 12.4%. If his team had 3 less ws to distribute, Foxx would lose .4, bringing him down to 32.3, or .217 per game.

The calculations suggest that in this case, actual wins vs. pythagorean wins accounts for 17% of the otherwise unexplained difference.

This sort of analysis leads me to believe that win shares' use of actual wins rather than Pythagorean wins is a factor in differences in seasonal rates, but it's probably minor in comparison to the effect of team winning percentage. A look at correlations between teams' performance re Pythagoras will better evidence.
   112. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 16, 2005 at 04:52 AM (#1548758)
"jimd is the expert on this point, not me, but it's my understanding that the park effects used in win shares do not include this sort of adjustment."

This is correct. WS uses a 5-year park factor, based 1/2 on the current and 1/8 each on the surrounding 4 seasons in the park (assuming no dimension changes). Pre-1909 (IIRC) 1-year factors are used. But the factors are the basic ones found in the Stats All-Time Handbook, not the total baseball ones that account for competition. Note - except in cases like the 1870s Spalding teams where one team destroys the league, it is usually a very minor correction to what would otherwise be the result.

"However, I can also say that, in the Foxx case, team divergence from expected wins is not nearly enough to account for the observed differences (to really pin this down, one would also have to look at how the teams' expected runs diverged from their actual runs, too--that's data I don't have)."

Bingo - I don't have the time to look it up now either, but I'd almost guarantee that's where the rest of difference comes from (the Pythagorean discrepancy covers 1.8/6 or 30% of the discrepancy, I don't know how Chris only sees this as explaining 17% of it - don't have to add the errors, not subtract them? I could be wrong . . .)

WS does account for the 'exponential RC' issue, because all RC estimates (sometimes we forget these are all estimates and not facts) are then made to add up to team runs scored. I'll look when I get home (unless someone else has access to the Stats All-Time HB now?), but I'd bet Foxx had very different RC and RC/27 totals in 1935 despite having similar stats.
   113. KJOK Posted: August 16, 2005 at 06:38 AM (#1548871)
WS does account for the 'exponential RC' issue, because all RC estimates (sometimes we forget these are all estimates and not facts) are then made to add up to team runs scored. I'll look when I get home (unless someone else has access to the Stats All-Time HB now?), but I'd bet Foxx had very different RC and RC/27 totals in 1935 despite having similar stats.

Yes, I forgot all about that, so my point #1 is incorrect. However, my hypothesis #2 plus the hypothesis about expected runs diverging from actual runs may explain the differences - again because "good" teams more often than not score more runs than expected based on their component batting stats.
   114. Chris Cobb Posted: August 16, 2005 at 01:29 PM (#1549002)
Thanks, everybody, for careful analysis of the win share issues I've been raising. To sum up, response to my concerns about ws evaluations of great seasons have so far identified four factors:

1) Park factors are not adjusted for team quality
2) Pythagorean issues (more often favors good teams)
3) Actual runs diverging from expected runs (favors good teams)
4) Non-linear relation between runs and wins (a factor only for very extreme teams)

None of these are big issues in themselves: no single issue is likely to change a the win-share total for a great season by more than a couple of win shares, and all except the park factors are accepted as part of the premises of the system. I'd pose the issue, then, as whether it's right to attribute all of these factors to an individual player's performance, especially because they typically line up in favor of players on good teams and against players on bad teams, so that the effects are magnified. The issue seems important to consider, I think, because these factors can have large effects on the great seasons that are especially important in our evaluations.

It's one thing to say that we've identified all the factors that give Jimmie Foxx 6 more win shares in 1938 than in 1935 for the same EQA. It's another to say that, having identified and understood those factors, we believe that inclusion of these factors in the assessment accurately reflects differences in Foxx's merit as player in those two seasons.

For myself, it's one thing to have been intellectually aware that these issues with win shares were out there; it's another thing to see the magnitude of their combined effects.
   115. sunnyday2 Posted: August 16, 2005 at 01:36 PM (#1549009)
Now that I've voted, 1959 prelim. Another NB year but some interesting challenges down ballot.

1. Paige
2. Mize

Or 1. Mize, 2. Paige. Pretty obvious HoM and PHoM.

3. Jennings
4. Moore
5. Medwick
6. Sisler
7. Bond
8. Waddell
9. Mendez

Everybody moves down 2.

10. Dandridge

This will be a tough call but I would prelim him here to make sure he gets sufficient consideration and analysis.

11. W. Brown

This assumes that a certain troika of players ranked in the #8 through #14 range on my 1958 ballot get elected.

12. Joss
13. Williamson
14. Browning
15. C. Jones

All stay where they are as 3 drop off the ballot (elected) and 3 come on.

Other newbies: Elliott is in Hack's class, at a glance, and I had Hack #14, but I do expect Elliott to fall short, more in the #20-25 range, or maybe that's too high. Maybe I've overrated Hack. Wright appears similar to Oms, who is currently #26, as a hitter but with less defensive value. Maybe #30ish.

Total on ballot--5 pitchers, 6 hitters, 2 fielders, 2 hitter/fielders who would therefore be near the top of my ballot.

Also--4 from real 19C, 1 from 1890s, 3 deadball, 1 straddle deadball/1920s, 1 1920s, 1 1930s, 4 WWII era.
   116. sunnyday2 Posted: August 16, 2005 at 01:38 PM (#1549011)
Re. Quincy Trouppe, he was only an all-star 3 times. Is this largely because of Josh Gibson, or who else was winning those all-star nods?
   117. TomH Posted: August 16, 2005 at 01:55 PM (#1549025)
trying to get a handle on Willard Brown.

His best comp to me seems Averill, who was on almost half of our ballots last election, and finished 11th.

Hitting: if the MLE conversions are near correct, small edge to Earl based on higher OBP. Averill could trade walks and doubles for Brown's extra home runs and outs.

Fielding: a mediocre CF (EA) versus a poor SS - medicore CF - good corner OF. Seems a tie.

Career length: Edge to WB, but gets smaller with PCL credit for EA.

If WB's NeL rep were higher, I would put him even or just above Averill. Right now he's a few spots lower. I think.
   118. sunnyday2 Posted: August 16, 2005 at 04:03 PM (#1549284)
How about a thread for Luke Easter, BTW. I don't know that he's a strong candidate but I am curious to know more about him.
   119. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: August 17, 2005 at 06:23 AM (#1551725)
I'm going on vacation for a few days, but I'm supposed to be getting back Monday afternoon. If I do, I'll submit a ballot then. If I haven't said anything by Monday at 8, then use this one (which is just last year's with Brown added, it may well be what I wind up with):

1. Billy Herman (3) It does seem odd that he piled up such high WARP numbers with a pedestrian OPS+, but the Win Shares are pretty good as well. Could be a bit high, but to me looks like the clear best at 2B.

2. Tommy Leach (4) Excellent fielder at important positions, OK hitter. One of the most complete players on the ballot. We're definitely short on third basemen, and I think he's the best available candidate. Made my PHoM in 1940.

3. Bill Monroe (5) A good player at an important defensive position, with a great reputation for his fielding. Might be better than Herman, but there isn't enough evidence there for me to feel certain about that. Made my PHoM in 1939.

4. Wes Ferrell (6) His peak is pretty huge, but his career is short for a HoMer. Dean's 5-year peak might be better (depends on your Uber-System), but there's no argument that Ferrell's 8-year run was a cut above.

5. Stan Hack (7) Very close to Leach for me, but falls just short. I lean more towards career, and with a cutback for wartime, Leach definitely has the advantage.

6. Red Ruffing (8) I'm not saying I completely agree with Kelly's analysis: 1)The "anybody could have done it" argument is belied by few of the other guys lasting more than a year or two. 2)His non-Yankee time has some value - he threw a lot of innings in Boston. 3)When a team is as good as the Yankees, how much better can a pitcher be? I'd be interested to see a comparison to Three Finger Brown - everybody pitched well for the Cubs, too. All that said, it's at least enough to get me to flip him with Ferrell for the 3rd ballot in a row (the weird thing is that Hack keeps staying in between them)

7. Lou Boudreau (9) I can see the reasons to be cautious, but among the shortstops he stands out on both sides of the ball. I honestly can't see how you can have Doerr or Gordon ahead of him, even with a war penalty.

8. Dick Redding (10) At this stage of the Negro League pitcher analysis, nobody from the crowd has moved ahead of Cannonball Dick to me. I'm not sure the teens need many more pitchers, but better him than Rixey, or one of the hard-to-discern 30's OF.

9. Willard Brown (new) I think he's better than all the current OF candidates, but I'm not really sure I've got a handle on him yet.

10. Earl Averill (11) His record appears close to the old CF glut, with a better OPS+ and peak, but a shorter career. Adding in the PCL credit puts him just ahead. The closer I look, the less certain I feel about this, though.

11. Joe Sewell (12) While I have Boudreau higher, I do think the two are somewhat comparable. Boudreau's a little better, but he was playing in wartime, and the first half of his era is much better represented at SS in the HoM (Cronin, Wells, Appling, Vaughan) than Sewell (Lloyd or Wells, and Beckwith). They're not that far apart to me. Made my PHoM in 1939.

12. Joe Medwick (13) It's hard for me to see much difference between him, Averill and Johnson. It may come down to whether you trust WS or WARP, and I try to look at both, so I wind up confused.

13. Cupid Childs (14) He could hit the ball pretty well for a 2B and his defense was decent. His career is on the short side, but he was the best second baseman of the 1890s, whatever you feel that's worth (among white players, at least). He does look awfully similar to Gordon, and is clearly behind Herman. Made my PHoM in 1932.

14. George Van Haltren (15) Consistently good, but never great. There's a lot of guys like him, so it's hard for me to pick any of them out as HoM-worthy.

15. Alejandro Oms (16) He's definitely a candidate, and for now I like him better than Cool Papa Bell, but he's also one more OF from a well-represented era.
   120. Howie Menckel Posted: August 17, 2005 at 02:31 PM (#1551949)
Early in my due diligence, I already am further understanding now that WW II war credit/penalty may make all the difference for some guys. Two good examples, as usual OPS+ in yrs as regular, asterisks for 1943-45:


BILLY HERMAN
135* 33 29 28 28 20 05 03 02 01 -05 -07 -10
(1943)

LOU BOUDREAU
165 45* 33* 31* 17 16 13 07 -01
(1944-43-45)

Both are excellent fielders at key positions, Boudreau maybe a more key spot, but Herman maybe even more above his colleagues.

Raw numbers: Herman the edge only in 5th/6th best years, and that's after being pummeled at 1-2. Boudreau better at 7th/8th best, and Herman's extras beyond that are worth something (he's valuable even when he's around 100 OPS+, fielding that way at that spot).

The case for most of Boudreau's greatness comes in war years, though. Yet he also was MVP in a fully-stocked 1948 AL. So he could have done it in the mid-1940s anyway? Tough question.

For Herman, a couple of 110s for 1944-45 seem about right, and that really helps his cause. I can't say I fully give someone credit for something they didn't do, but it's a consideration.

At this point, it now looks like Herman will pass Boudreau in my rankings. Not sure how much of a hit Boudreau will take, but can I realistically put him ahead of Jennings, for instance?
   121. Howie Menckel Posted: August 17, 2005 at 03:05 PM (#1552015)
I just wanted to revive this post by phillybooster, because it was so intriguing:

Posted by PhillyBooster on June 02, 2005 at 11:59 AM (#1376694)
I think the comparisons to Rixey, Faber and Lyons are misplaced. I like these comparisons better.

Player A: 3082 IP, ERA+ 127, OPS+ 9

Player B: 3169 IP, ERA+ 120, OPS+ 81

Player C: 2623 IP, ERA+ 117, OPS+ 100

Player A is HoMer Stan Coveleski. Player C is Top 10 candidate Wes Ferrell.

In between the two are "Player B", which is Red Ruffing's stats as a Yankee only.

In my mind, Red Sox stats don't add anything to the discussion, and only confuse the issue, making it seem like comparisons to "4000 inning" pitchers are more relevant to comparisons to "3000 inning" pitchers.

Now, I had Coveleski #15 on my ballot when he went in, and Ferrell is currently in my 16-20 range, so Ruffing may go there are well. All three were, in my opinion, a notch below the 4000+ triumvirate above.
   122. TomH Posted: August 17, 2005 at 03:49 PM (#1552104)
Agree, Howie; phillybooster's point about looking at Ruffing minus the bad years is spot on. However, I have Ferrell over Red based on Red's assistance from the Yankee defense.
   123. Howie Menckel Posted: August 17, 2005 at 03:53 PM (#1552111)
Showcase showdown:
Sisler vs Medwick vs Averill

GEORGE SISLER
14 years regular, played thru WW I
81 70 61* 57* 54 40 32 10 10 01 -02 -09 -15 -19
1917 is the 161, 1918 is the 157

JOE MEDWICK
12 years regular, career was near end at WW II
80 56 51 42 40 32* 31 31 23 19 15 -03*
Oddly, had the 97 OPS+ in 1943, and the 132 in 1944

EARL AVERILL
11 years MLB regular (one barely), no war issues, maybe 130/130 minors credit
59 49 49 42 39 35 33 30* 30* 20 19 16 02
I listed the 130s, if you want to give them

...............................

Truncated version

GEORGE SISLER 81 70 61* 57 54 40 32 10 10 01 -02 -09 -15 -19
JOE MEDWICK 80 56 51 42 40 32* 31 31 23 19 15 -03*
EARL AVERILL 59 49 49 42 39 35 33 30* 30* 20 19 16 02

Notes: Sisler is noticeably better by this measure than Medwick in each of the top six years, and wins again at the 7th. After that, Medwick offers 31/23/19/15 to Sisler's 10/10/01/-02, a big edge to Medwick there.
Averill seems to me a half-step behind Medwick even with the minors credit, Medwick about that one monster year ahead.

Opinions on which of the three gets the most defensive credit?
   124. DavidFoss Posted: August 17, 2005 at 04:05 PM (#1552134)
14 years regular, played thru WW I

Is there an implied shift in league competitiveness due to WWI, or is it just a season-length adjustment? I know some guys missed time, but I hadn't seen any discussions about players needing a discount for their play in 1918-19.

I'm just asking because those asterisks for Medwick/Averill indicate some sort of war credit/discount needs to be mentally accounted for in some way.
   125. Howie Menckel Posted: August 17, 2005 at 05:26 PM (#1552356)
David,
It seems like a lot of HOMers missed at least part of a season during WW I, and the 1918 season was shortened as well.
The asterisks aren't really to say the seasons aren't worthy; just alerts that those figures were during war years, possible projected minor league credit, barely full-seasons (like 410 ABs), etc.
   126. OCF Posted: August 17, 2005 at 06:45 PM (#1552614)
My offensive system - scaled RCAA - sees this a little different:
Sisler    70 68 51 46 44 37 35 15 10 10  5 -3 -7 -9 -9
Medwick   97 66 64 35 33 29 28 26 24 21 16  7  7  5 -2 -5 -9
Averill   52 52 49 41 41 31 30  *  * 29 26 22  3 -2 -5

Your 1918 asterisk for Sisler lands on the "37" above. Medwick's WWII years have already been adjusted and are among his lower-value years anyway.

The "97" for Medwick is 1937. As to why this is ranked so much higher than any Sisler year - I suppose that, for the same OPS+, RC likes Medwick's higher-secondary-average shape better than it does Sisler's singles-heavy stats.
   127. Howie Menckel Posted: August 19, 2005 at 02:00 PM (#1557312)
Howie's Baker's Dozen of pitchers rankings for 1958 (another 8 or 9 Ps have fewer than 35 votes, apologies to them)

1. EPPA RIXEY - Matches Ruffing in top 3-4 years except for hitting credit; then slowly but surely maintains an advantage. WW I credit as well. Am now more comfortable than ever putting Eppa here.

2. RED RUFFING - Moves up in my rankings, a little WW II credit helps, and he really racked up the innings.

3. WES FERRELL - Close call, but the mighty bat and the high volume of innings in peak years gets it done.

4. DICK REDDING - Could even claim No. 3; a little bit caught between peak/career types, and of course parts of career shrouded by history. A rare Negro League pitcher who lasted, deserves much credit for that.

5. CLARK GRIFFITH - I don't believe the amazing W-L is a fluke; pitching conditions were a ton different then, and he was focused on Ws in a non-HR era. Lack of innings a problem, I admit, but he stands out over most contemporaries for the body of work.

6. JOSE MENDEZ - Guessing that the Reuschel comparison doesn't do him justice; the Hershiser one might. Hitting credit, but I wish he had pitched more documented innings.

7. RUBE WADDELL - Moves up based on astounding four-year ERA+s (179-79-65-53), but was the anti-Griffith. HOM-quality stuff, but unearned run totals suggest a guy who unraveled easily.

8. MICKEY WELCH - The Ws are great, but hovered in the 3 to 5 ranking in IP when only a dozen or so guys were hurling serious innings. One outstanding, one excellent, one very good year ERA+-wise. The category is not a perfect tool out of that era, but the dominance wasn't there. Presumably slips off my ballot.

9. BUCKY WALTERS - No denying the two top years, and piled up the innings. But 3rd/4th best yrs tinged by WW II, and only two more of note beyond that. Better than I thought.

10. TOMMY BRIDGES - I can see how he's gotten votes - six years of 140+ ERA+. But look closer, they often came in under 200 IP. Maybe a modest war credit year.

11. DIZZY TROUT - Another guy who struggled to get 200 IP in many seasons, and WW II is a big factor here. Did have a little staying power, though.

12. BURLEIGH GRIMES - Still don't like. I'll grant you six solid years, but not mind-boggling ERA+s or IP totals, and only 10 seasons above ERA+ sea level. Pitched like a minor-leaguer in many seasons, so doesn't really have the production that Rixey and Ruffing did.

13. DIZZY DEAN - I'll grant that ERA+ underrates his better seasons a bit, but I'd put Hughie Jennings' top 4 seasons over his.
   128. Howie Menckel Posted: August 19, 2005 at 03:26 PM (#1557518)
Howie's 2B-3B-SS-C Baker's Dozen rankings (Doyle, McGraw, Lombardi, Monroe maybe will be rated next 'year,' focused more on top 35 guys or so for now)

1. BILLY HERMAN - I've come around on him. Great fielder, pretty long career for INF, war credit, six 120 OPS+ seasons, etc.
2. CUPID CHILDS - I discount the crap out of the silly 1890 AA season, but still find seven 120 OPS+s. A full-length career for the brutal era as well.
3. LOU BOUDREAU - Drops to here, could fall fuether someday. Had a best year outside WW II, which is key. One more good year, and I'd be a lot more comfortable with him.
4. STAN HACK - OK, finally have warmed up a tad. Plenty of solid years outside WW II, seems like a decent fielder, slight position bonus.
5. BOBBY DOERR - Full-length career, too, but I have a huge problem with his only great year being a war one. Noses Gordon only on fielding; anyone claim Gordon could pick it like Doerr?
6. JOE GORDON - A bit underrated, another with sevne years of 120 OPS+ if you give him one for the war.
7. HUGHIE JENNINGS - I've voted for him dozens of times, but fresh look hurts him. Fifth year is only OK, sixth year worthless and seventh year worse than that.
8. DOBIE MOORE - Like Mendez, I just don't think he actually played a ton of games. HOM-level talent, perhaps, but even given the severe limitations of his time I just don't quite see enough.
9. TOMMY LEACH - One huge year would have moved him up. Hybrid also had only 7-8 seasons of note, some in OF.
10. JOE SEWELL - Did have one huge year (1923), but otherwise has no 120 OPS+s. Slight bonus for tough league, and was productive for a decade, but I sense more a lack of AL SS talent than the idea that it was so brutal to play there - a la 1890s Inf or almost anytime at C.
11. ROGER BRESNAHAN - Confounding career; actually has better shot at ballot than Sewell. If we ever run short of Cs
100 G 8 times, OF in two best years
62 40 40 39 31 29* 24* 13
12. BIZ MACKEY - I like the Sisler and Deacon McGuire comparisons in his thread - Sisler, one good half-career, one 'not worth much' half-career; McGuire, played forever as a C but not always that often, or that well. Unfortunately for Biz, the latter seems more on the money. He's fallen off my radar, as fielding by a C is not as key in my eyes as 2B-SS, among others.
13. WALLY SCHANG - Another confounding one; sexy OPS+s in part-time duty. I can see the case for him as end-ballot fodder, just won't make mine.
   129. Howie Menckel Posted: August 19, 2005 at 04:24 PM (#1557670)
Howie's Baker's Dozen of 1B-OFs:

1. JAKE BECKLEY - His OPS+s as a regular:
152 44 38 33 31 28 27 27 26 26 26 24 22 12 12 05 02
Amazing. His fielding had value, he played every day, he hit well - there's nothing remotely like this list among the unelecteds. 13 OPS+s of 120 or better. Rivals came and went, it's only he who lasted.

2. GEORGE SISLER - The battle with Medwick was instructive: There is an argument that his best season was better than George's, but it's debatable and too many voters are using other systems that work against Sisler. Guess I'm a contrarian.

3. PETE BROWNING - Seven OPS+s above 163. 10 regular seasons, a good number for the era. Would be No. 1 on my ballot if he could field. He stunk at it, but played some 16 pct of his career in the infield. Was OF fielding hugely important in this era?

4. COOL PAPA BELL - Allowing for park and steals leading him to be quite overrated. But if we just 'rated' him, he'd be in the HOM a decade ago. Discounting the myth doesn't mean ignoring a very long and productive career.

5. JOE MEDWICK - Helped a little by the review. Very nice 5, 8 10-year numbers.

6. EARL AVERILL - A rare clear example for minor league credit, it lifts him several notches here but not quite above Medwick (boy, is it close).

7. ALEJANDRO OMS - I refer to him as a 'Bernie Williams' in his thread. I love his ability to match or outhit several HOMers in competition together, so ability is there. A little leery on career length, so for now he's here.

8. CHARLEY JONES - Poor man's Pete Browning, some 'missing-year' credit. Not thrilled that he seemed so little remembered by contemporaries, far as I can see.

9. BOB JOHNSON - WORST OPS+ in career was 125. But only one over 155 was in 1944, so discount a bit. Very solid, good prime length, but not quite there.

10. GAVVY CRAVATH - Awesome five-year peak, can give some minors credit to extend it a few years, but still not enough overall.

11. EDD ROUSH - Solid numbers even for OF, but not a great league and missed numerous games pretty often. Doesn't quite rate.

12. GEORGE VAN HALTREN - Can't shine Beckley's shoes, even with fielding bonus. Never a single 140 OPS+, only nine above 120. Woulda been a real mistake by us, we dodged a bullet.

13. HUGH DUFFY - Not close. Only one year of great import; otherwise just a solid player.
   130. TomH Posted: August 19, 2005 at 06:00 PM (#1557873)
Howie, did you include Willard Brown in your figurin?

I disagree about GVH and Beckley. MOST metrics show GVH to be the better hitter by rate. Using OPS+, the most favorbale metric toward Beckley (except for "hits") their career OPS+ are only different by 4. But Van Haltren's OPS+ is more on-base heavy. He has 270 extra steals, which were more important in 1900. By both EqA and OWP, Van Haltren leads Beckley. Beckely had 1250 more PAs, but GVH had 690 more innings pitched, so career length isn't Jake's trump card either.
   131. karlmagnus Posted: August 19, 2005 at 06:10 PM (#1557890)
Beckley's OPS+ was suppressed by playing much of his career in a park where it was impossible to hit home runs -- thus the 243 triples, 4th all-time. Beckley's WS are suppressed compared to most great players by having played on mostly lousy teams. Beckley's hits are marginally suppressed by having played short seasons for most of his career.

GVH was a very good player, and is only just off my ballot, along with Duffy, but Beckley was significantly better, for significantly longer.
   132. Howie Menckel Posted: August 19, 2005 at 06:59 PM (#1558030)
TomH:
WBrown is off-ballot, at the moment below Oms, around Johnson-Cravath teritory. I don't like even his Negro Leagues league quality, and of course his bouncing around (not all his choice) is problematic. I should have mentioned him, though.

I'll grant you the IP from Van Haltren, which used to sneak him onto my ballot sometimes decades ago. But he just had fewer seasons where he seemed like a 'solid' player compared to Beckley.
I was probably exaggerating in my comment, but his ranking isn't likely to move much and I wouldn't be surprised if he fails to get back on my ballot for good.
   133. Mike Webber Posted: August 19, 2005 at 07:08 PM (#1558056)
CAREER
1888-1907

HOMERUNS HR
1 Hugh Duffy 106
2 Jimmy Ryan 103
T3 Sam Thompson 101
T3 Ed Delahanty 101
5 Roger Connor 99
6 Mike Tiernan 96
7 Herman Long 91
8 Jake Beckley 86
9 Buck Freeman 82
10 Bill Dahlen 79

Above from the Sabermetric Encyclopedia

So Beckley lost what? 20 total bases at most? Wrong era to claim that parks really supressed anyones homers very much.

Not to mention that a big percentage of all the homers on the list above are Inside the Park variety. A smaller park would have likely hurt his triple numbers w/o helping his homer totals much.
   134. Mike Webber Posted: August 19, 2005 at 07:32 PM (#1558117)
11. EDD ROUSH - Solid numbers even for OF, but not a great league and missed numerous games pretty often. Doesn't quite rate.

I just don't buy the weak era arguement in this time period. What are the markers of a weak league in this era? One team doesn't dominate, in fact other than the Cardinals this is one of the most diversely competitive times in NL history. I know Davenport does majors to minors translations for the period to access strength, but when I saw this method presented in Milwaukee at a SABR convention I was left skeptical.
   135. Howie Menckel Posted: August 19, 2005 at 08:02 PM (#1558196)
I'm swayable on that point, Mike, although it wouldn't likely affect his rank anyway.
   136. Howie Menckel Posted: August 19, 2005 at 08:56 PM (#1558358)
I was a little skeptical how Beckwith would fare on the "HOM teammates" chart, but seems like he got to play ball with a lot of legends, actually:


JOHN BECKWITH
with BFoster CHI AM GIA 1923
with Hill BAL BLA SOX 1924
with Wilson BAL BLA SOX 1924-25
with Charleston HARR GIA 1926-27
with Dihigo HOME GRE 1928
with Williams HOME GRE 1928-29
with Lloyd NY LINC GIA 1930
with Stearnes NY LINC GIA 1930

any corrections or additions?
   137. Howie Menckel Posted: August 19, 2005 at 09:31 PM (#1558438)
I have the Negro Leaguers having more HOMers than the National League each year from 1920-40 (ok, two ties).

Usually close, though, like 13-11 or 10-9 or whatever.
   138. karlmagnus Posted: August 20, 2005 at 12:21 AM (#1558689)
Following is HR and triples for the list above:

HRTriplesTotalTrip%
Connor13823337162.80%
Beckley8624332973.86%
Thompson12716028755.75%
Delahanty10118528664.69%
Ryan11815727557.09%
Tiernan10616226860.45%
Dahlen8416324765.99%
Duffy10611922552.89%
Freeman8213121361.50%
Long919718851.60%
Av59.20%
Adj. Beckley134195329

From this you see that beckley is second only to Connor in "long hits." If you give him the same triples/HR percentage as the other nine, he gets to 134HR, second only to Connor. This increases his OPS by 48 bases or 1%, and makes his OPS+ 126 or 127. Not huge, but not negligible.
   139. karlmagnus Posted: August 20, 2005 at 12:23 AM (#1558695)
HRTriplesTotalTrip%
Connor13823337162.80%
Try again
Beckley/86/243/329/73.86%
Thompson/127/160/287/55.75%
Delahanty/101/185/286/64.69%
Ryan/118/157/275/57.09%
Tiernan/106/162/268/60.45%
Dahlen/84/163/247/65.99%
Duffy/106/119/225/52.89%
Freeman/82/131/213/61.50%
Long/91/97/188/51.60%
Avof 9 non-Beckley/59.20%
Adj. Beckley/134/195/329
   140. karlmagnus Posted: August 20, 2005 at 12:25 AM (#1558698)
And again, dammit!

HR/Triples/Total/Trip%
Connor/138/233/371/62.80%
Beckley/86/243/329/73.86%
Thompson/127/160/287/55.75%
Delahanty/101/185/286/64.69%
Ryan/118/157/275/57.09%
Tiernan/106/162/268/60.45%
Dahlen/84/163/247/65.99%
Duffy/106/119/225/52.89%
Freeman/82/131/213/61.50%
Long/91/97/188/51.60%
Avof 9 non-Beckley/59.20%
Adj. Beckley/134/195/329
   141. Mike Webber Posted: August 20, 2005 at 02:23 AM (#1559003)
This increases his OPS by 48 bases or 1%, and makes his OPS+ 126 or 127. Not huge, but not negligible.

But if he was in a park that didn't hurt his HR totals as much, the park context would change, and his OPS+ would remain constant.
   142. Gary A Posted: August 20, 2005 at 03:40 AM (#1559241)
For Beckwith's HOM teammates, add: Torriente CHI AM GTS 1922-23.
   143. karlmagnus Posted: August 20, 2005 at 02:16 PM (#1559770)
Mike, that's assuming the park factors allows properly for suppression of home runs, which I doubt, in a case where it seems to have swallowed about 1/3 of them. The reality was, beckley was a better hitter than all of the above except, marginally, Connor.
   144. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 22, 2005 at 01:10 AM (#1562508)
Do we need threads for Dutch Leonard, Bobo Newsom, and Max Lanier? All three really don't stand out to me, but maybe some of you disagree. I'd rather not have too many threads if possible, though.
   145. sunnyday2 Posted: August 22, 2005 at 01:37 AM (#1562548)
Maybe one thread for all 3, and maybe add in other pitchers from '59-'60ish?

Newsom was surely a better pitcher than his WL record. Sort of the latter day Pud Galvin. Leonard has a surprisingly high ERA+ if I recall. Not HoMers by any means but interesting guys. And Lanier with the whole Mexican thing.
   146. Cblau Posted: August 22, 2005 at 01:42 AM (#1562558)
I'd like to see one on Leonard. Probably the most underrated pitcher in history. According to Chris J.'s site, suffered from the worst fielding support of any pitcher he's looked at.
   147. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 22, 2005 at 04:47 AM (#1562797)
Do we need threads for Dutch Leonard, Bobo Newsom, and Max Lanier? All three really don't stand out to me, but maybe some of you disagree. I'd rather not have too many threads if possible, though.

Semi-serious question: is there any difference between Bobo Newsom and Red Ruffing aside from their teammates?


I'd like to see one on Leonard. Probably the most underrated pitcher in history. According to Chris J.'s site, suffered from the worst fielding support of any pitcher he's looked at.

And benefitted more from unearned runs than any pitcher. Or near the most at least.
   148. KJOK Posted: August 22, 2005 at 06:50 AM (#1562911)
Do we need threads for Dutch Leonard, Bobo Newsom, and Max Lanier?

I think Harry Brecheen would get a thread before Max Lanier would even get considered....
   149. Sean Gilman Posted: August 22, 2005 at 07:54 AM (#1562945)
Howie wrote:


3. PETE BROWNING - Seven OPS+s above 163. 10 regular seasons, a good number for the era. Would be No. 1 on my ballot if he could field. He stunk at it, but played some 16 pct of his career in the infield. Was OF fielding hugely important in this era?


I don't think that's an accurate characterization of Browning's fielding over the course of his career. He stunk sometimes. One the whole, he was a little below average. What's your basis for this claim?
   150. Howie Menckel Posted: August 22, 2005 at 12:39 PM (#1563001)
Sean,
Don't shoot the messenger ;)

If even half of the electorate believed that "on the whole, he was a little below average" in fielding, I think Browning would have been elected 30 years ago. No?

Anyway, Browning has some years where his fielding numbers look so awful that it appears he 'stunk at it.' Other years, you don't see that.

You may want to get an "elect Browning" campaign going; I've already got him at No. 3...
   151. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 22, 2005 at 01:32 PM (#1563032)
Semi-serious question: is there any difference between Bobo Newsom and Red Ruffing aside from their teammates?

Ruffing does have many more innings pitched, despite the fact that he missed some time during WWII and Newsom never left baseball for military service. Bobo's stats also need to be adjusted for '44-'45.

But it does look like he has a case to be heard, though.

Maybe one thread for all 3, and maybe add in other pitchers from '59-'60ish?

I'll think I'll split it in two: one for Leonard and Newsom and the other for Lanier and Brecheen.
   152. jimd Posted: August 22, 2005 at 08:46 PM (#1563896)
This is impossible. If players on good teams were overrated by WS due to competition issues, then the total WS on those teams would be >3 times wins.

Reprinted from other thread here:

There is also a second effect which comes into play here. Good teams get more Win Shares to begin with, because they play easier schedules.

Take the 1932 Yankees (107-47), 1932 Red Sox (43-111), and a hypothetical .500 team (77-77). Let's complete the rest of the balanced schedule by assuming that each team also played against itself, going 11-11. Yanks (118-58), Red Sox (54-122), .500 (88-88). Now, rescale those records back to 154 games. Yanks (103-51), Red Sox (47-107), .500 (77-77).

As you can see, the Yankees effectively won 4 extra games because they didn't have to play against a team as good as themselves. The Red Sox lost 4 extra games because they didn't get the benefit of playing a team as bad as they were. 4 extra wins is 12 extra Win Shares, or 1 for each starting player on the team. It's within James' range of acceptable error, so it's no big deal for any individual season.

But it can add up over a career if the player plays mostly for good teams, or mostly for bad teams. A player who compiles a .600 team winning percentage (such as Charlie Keller .618) over his career gets about .5 extra win shares each 154 game season. A player who compiles a .400 team winning percentage (such as Indian Bob Johnson .414) over his career loses about that amount.

This is another effect that can add or subtract about 10 Win Shares over a career.

"Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." -- Lewis Carroll
   153. Mark Donelson Posted: August 22, 2005 at 11:48 PM (#1564250)
New voter here (if approved); here's my prelim ballot:


I’m a pretty firm peak voter, though a really strong career argument can sway me as well. Still, I’m mostly peak...as if you wouldn’t be able to tell that by my first vote.


1. Hughie Jennings. Four incredible seasons. Yes, there’s not much else, but when the four years are this good, especially given his exceptional fielding, that’s enough for me.


2. Billy Herman. The best of the crowded 2B field remaining, in my opinion by a decent margin. For his position, his peak/prime is pretty impressive, and his career numbers are hard for even me to argue with. (Besides being a peak voter, I have a middle infield weakness. Or do I mean strength?)


3. Rube Waddell. I’m very high on Waddell, just starting with his PRAA.When you stack him up against Ferrell, it’s almost like a miniature peak-career fight, with Waddell as the peak-within-peak guy (at least with OPS+). For me, the strikeouts and the immense peaks make him an easy choice.


4. George Sisler. Yes, he’s definitely way overrated historically. But I don’t want to penalize him for not being as good as his reputation, or for playing when he was no longer all that good a player. He was one of the top few hitters in the league for a decent amount of time, and that gets him a good spot on my ballot.


5. Wes Ferrell. The peak, the prime, and the remarkable hitting get him in for me. I don’t think he was quite as dominant as Waddell at his best, but he extended his really valuable years longer than Waddell.


6. Stan Hack, 3B. He’s not my typical kind of candidate, but his numbers are hard to argue with. Good if small peak, great prime, and solid career. At his position, in this period, that’s a rarity.


7. Joe Medwick. Incredible peak player; the great career tailoff. I was inclined at first to put him higher, but the lack of just about anything beyond the great peak--not even defense--drops him for me to this level.


8. Dobie Moore. I’m still feeling my way on the Negro League players who aren’t blatantly obvious (all of whom you’ve already elected). But I go for Moore’s great peak of six great seasons, plus stellar defense, by all accounts.


9. Hugh Duffy. Another peak favorite. One of the top few players in the game for at least five years; that, along with his defense (at least per WS), is good enough for me to put him at the top of the CF glut.


10. Biz Mackey, C. Someone made the “Just a Friend” joke already, so I’ll spare everyone. Cochrane-lite, it would appear, and while the second half of his career isn’t terribly good, the first half is remarkably strong, by all appearances. That, for a catcher, is enough to earn my vote.


11. Dizzy Dean. Again, PRAA sells me on Dean. I know there’s nothing but peak here, and it’s even shorter than Jennings’s, really (only two years when he’s clearly the best around). But that peak, that peak…it’s too good for me to ignore.


12. Lou Boudreau. If his peak other than the 1948 season wasn’t ALL during the war years, I’d be more inclined to put him high up; he did have 9 really good years as among the best defensive shortstops ever. But since 3 of those 9--some of the best of the 9--are a bit inflated, his case falls a bit. That one peak year is pretty great, though, especially given the defense. Not close to Jennings’s peak, though, so he doesn’t get to the top half of my ballot..


13. Cupid Childs. Another guy with a short-career problem. And he has neither the stratospheric peak of Jennings nor his great defense. I don’t think the peak he does have is enough to get him into Billy Herman territory at this position, but he deserves to be considered a reasonably strong candidate.


14. Earl Averill. The peak is good, the prime excellent, and the defense strong. That pulls him onto my ballot as my second member of the CF group (the others are mostly crowded just off-ballot).


15. José Méndez. If the estimates are remotely on target, this guy was something else. years of 30-40 WS as a peak is pretty strong, and he did have value otherwise, though the brevity of his stardom is something of a downer for him. He just sneaks on.


Required explanations:


Red Ruffing: 24th. Just not enough peak for me. Frankly, not really enough career either; he kind of falls into the cracks between, and the prime’s not impressive enough for me to put him higher.


Eppa Rixey: 20th. Great career, but again, not enough peak for me. Some great years, but not great enough to get past the other pitchers.


Clark Griffith: 32nd. Not-quite-great peak, not-quite-great career.


Jake Beckley: 28th. The Clark Griffith of hitters; he just seems peakless. Very good for a long time, but never much more than very good.
   154. OCF Posted: August 22, 2005 at 11:57 PM (#1564286)
No fatal flaws that I can see; as a ballot, this would appear to be legal.
   155. DavidFoss Posted: August 23, 2005 at 12:03 AM (#1564303)
Welcome Mark!
   156. karlmagnus Posted: August 23, 2005 at 12:11 AM (#1564326)
Welcome, Mark. However, I'm coming to the conclusion we should impose a baseball literacy test for new voters -- a 1000 word essay on "The life and career of Jake Beckley" :-))

In reality, you undoubtedly know a hell of a lot more about all this than I did when I first voted, back in 1900, but after 58 "years" man and boy, I think I'm getting the hang!
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