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Sunday, August 21, 2005

1959 Ballot Discussion

1959 (September 5)—elect 2
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)

338 98.9 1936 Johnny Mize-1B (1993)
287 91.0 1940 Bob Elliott-3B (1966)
233 89.2 1934 Dutch Leonard-P (1983)
237 80.9 1934 Bobo Newsom-P (1962)
223 73.7 1939 Bill Nicholson-RF (1996)
191 66.7 1943 Eddie Stanky-2B (1999)
173 63.7 1943 Harry Brecheen-P (2004)
147 52.8 1939 Joe Dobson-P (1994)
145 49.2 1941 Jerry Priddy-2B (1980)
146 43.9 1939 Barney McCosky-CF/LF (1996)
132 46.2 1938 Max Lanier-P (living)
103 42.4 1946 Ewell Blackwell-P (1996)
114 33.9 1943 Connie Ryan-2B (1996)
107 33.7 1942 Johnny Lindell-CF/LF (1985)
102 32.0 1943 Billy Johnson-3B (living)
086 24.3 1941 Pat Mullin-RF/LF (1999)
063 15.0 1915 Luke Easter-1B (1979)

1959 (August 28)—elect 2
HF% Career Name-pos (born) BJ – MVP - All-Star

HF 27-53 Satchel Paige-P (1906) 2 – 1*
HF 33-53 Ray Dandridge-3B (1913) #1 3b 0 - 1*
52% 32-56 Wild Bill Wright-OF (1914) #4 rf 0 - 4*
00% 37-53 Dave Barnhill-P (1914)1 - 1*

Players Passing Away in 1958
HoMers
Age Elected

70 1934 Tris Speaker-CF
49 1952 Mel Ott-RF

Candidates
Age Eligible

89 1910 Jack Doyle-1b
83 1914 Luther “Dummy” Taylor-P
74 1921 Red Murray-RF
61 1936 Ike Boone-RF
61 1938 Lu Blue-1B
59 1939 Bernie Friberg-3B/2B
53 1949 Chuck Klein-RF
48 1950 Frank Demaree-RF/CF
45 1953 Mort Cooper-P
39 1957 Snuffy Stirnweiss-2B

My compliments to Dan and Chris for the lists!

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 21, 2005 at 11:18 PM | 161 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 23, 2005 at 12:16 AM (#1564351)
Interesting election coming up...
   2. sunnyday2 Posted: August 23, 2005 at 01:04 AM (#1564593)
I had forgotten that Mel Ott died so young. Was that a car accident?

And Snuffy Stirnweiss...if the WWII discount is really only so very slight, as some studies seemed to show, and if the AL in 1944 and 1945 was better than as recently as 1930-1931, and if you're an extreme peak voter, then Stirnweiss could command more attention.

Anybody know what happened to Snuffy?

Also Chuck Klein and Mort Cooper? Another couple of guys who died younger than my age right now. Oh, and Jack Doyle, too. (Kidding.)

And why do I always get Eddie Stanky and Johnny Pesky mixed up? One of 'em jumped on somebody's back once.
   3. Kelly in SD Posted: August 23, 2005 at 01:45 AM (#1564759)
Some notes...

Johnny Mize spent 3 full years in WWII. In the 4 years leading up to WWII, he had 33 ws, 33, 26, and 32 and followed it with seasons of 22, 32, and 30. I give full WWII credit of 28 ws per season. Based on that, he has a career close to Jimmie Foxx though not quite as high a peak or prime.

Do our NeL translator's think they will be able to do some form of translations for Luke Easter by the 1960 election? I don't think he has any chance this year with Mize, Paige, and Dandridge.

With the election of Stan Hack, I urge the voters to look at the next great third baseman, Bob Elliott. Both were B- fielders. Both were selected best in their league 4 times by STATS. WS has Hack the best in the NL 7 times, Elliott 6 times, best in majors Hack 6 times, Elliott 4 times.

Hack had OPS+ of 119 that is OBP heavy, Elliott has a 124 that is more SLG. Hack hit .301 / .394 / .397 while Elliott is .289 / .375 / .440. Hack's isolated walk is .093 and Elliott's is .086.

Hack has a slightly higher peak with 3 seasons of 30+ win shares while Elliott has none. Hack has a slight advantage in career win shares 316 to 287, but I give a slight WWII discount so the difference is 306 to 287. Their best 3 consecutive seasons are Hack 81 to Elliott 79. Their best 7 years are Hack 194 (I discount to 187) to Elliott 180.

There are differences, but since Hack did receive the 2nd most points in the last election and the differences are quite small by defense, OPS, and Win Shares, I would expect Elliott to do reasonably well...Either that or what are the differences that would cause a Hack voter to not vote for Elliott? Thanks for the knowledge.
   4. Paul Wendt Posted: August 23, 2005 at 02:24 AM (#1564914)
Secretary Murphy
Interesting election coming up...

It looks like a snooze to me, one of those fortnights when this year's election is not really the point.

The most active discussants can afford to take a long view (they have three weeks to stop Medwick) or simply take a breather (MLEs aren't really needed for Dandridge).

Kelly
I don't think he has any chance this year with Mize, Paige, and Dandridge.

Am I missing something? Does Dandridge or anyone else but Mize and Paige have a chance?

(I'm still under the SABR Convention and so on.
See you next month.)
   5. PhillyBooster Posted: August 23, 2005 at 02:30 AM (#1564928)
I am also strongly considered a mid-ballot slot for Bob Elliott.

Anyone want to talk me down?
   6. sunnyday2 Posted: August 23, 2005 at 02:54 AM (#1565003)
Kelly, the next great 3B is Ray Dandridge!
   7. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 23, 2005 at 02:58 AM (#1565025)
Haven't done this kind of thing before, but a quick run-down of my off-the-cuff feelings about the candidates:

-Johnny Mize-1B NB, esp with War credit
-Bob Elliott-3B just off my 3B radar. HOVG. There's no real difference that I can see between him, Toby Harrah, and Ken Boyer.
-Dutch Leonard- Not close to my ballot, outside my pitching consideration set.
-Bobo Newsom-P Around #80-#90 among pitchers I've ranked. Right around Uhle, Trout, Tiant, Derringer, Harder.
-Bill Nicholson-RF Peakish, but mostly a nonfactor.
-Eddie Stanky-2B Well off my consideration radar, around 110-120 among 2B/SS/pre-War 3B, near to McAullife, A Fletcher, J Williams, B Lewis.
-Harry Brecheen-P Well off the consideration set; my system sees him as a close comp for Clark Griffith, Thorton Lee, and others.
-Jerry Priddy-2B I liked reading about him in TPOG.
-Max Lanier-P (living) Check out the Re-evaluating NgL Pitchers thread for specific information (around post 110-120) on Lanier and Maglie's Mexican hollidays. The league was very strong in those two years and both pitchers essentially matched their peak production. Lanier should get a little discussion if no votes.
-Ewell Blackwell-P Think about if Dan Patrick had had a crack at this guy..."The Whhhip."
Johnny Lindell-CF/LF And he pitched too!
-Luke Easter-1B One of our trickiest candidates yet, and one where the MLEs will only scratch the surface. Legendary power, but how much legend and how much fact? The answer to the latter will determine his placement on many ballots.

-Satchel Paige-P Ixnay on the ainbray.
-Ray Dandridge-3B My Mexican translations (see his thread) show that his walk rate was puny, leading me to believe that Dandridge may have been very overrated by his contemporaries because of his ability to put bat on ball. His high averages account for most of his OBP and his power came mostly in the form of doubles. We need a very careful screening of his MLEs to figure out whether he was Stan Hack or Hacktastic.
-Wild Bill Wright-OF Another tricky one. His Mexican numbers are through his peak are very good but not amazing, especially not for a corner outfielder. His long, graceful decline both hurts and helps him (no ugly cliff jumping, but not an extraordinary prime either). We'll need to see how his NgL translations come through before we make any firm conclusions, but right now, he's well behind Oms in my book.
-Dave Barnhill-P This guy's a real wild card. He was a true ace in the NgLs just before integration, pitched three seasons in Minneapolis (two good, one pretty bad), but never got called up to the Giants. But, as Sunnday has pointed out, the Giants stuck to the unofficial quota system, robbing Barnhill, Dandridge, and others of a chance to be productive, effective players. I'd love for Chris Cobb to check this guy out and see what kind of translation comes out for him. I've got a feeling that he's in the same kind of vein as Leon Day, Hilton Smith, and others, but he could be better than those guys as well.
   8. Mike Webber Posted: August 23, 2005 at 04:29 AM (#1565293)
Kelly from SD wrote over in the results thread
Could the big backers of Medwick (those who voted him 1 through 4) please describe why he is so attractive? Is it the peak? If yes, how do you respond to the idea that many of the 1930s Cards teams overachieved their pythag projections.

Yr+/- Pythag
1933     
-3
1934      5
1935      2
1936     10
1937     
-1
1938     
-5
1939      1

Total     9 


Data from BB-Ref, of course

To the Pythag question I will respond this way:

a) really just the 1936 team was way over their pythag.

b) When someone exceeds their pythag now they are lucky or they have a good bullpen. Dizzy Dean may be the reason, he led the league with 11 saves that year in 17 relief appearances.

c) What difference does it make? Do you think 27 win shares over a period of 7 years somehow have all ended up with Medwick? In 1937 Medwick's really big year they did not meet their pythag, but just narrowly missed it.


All the guys still on the ballot have flaws, I guess I just see fewer flaws in Medwick's arguement than most of the others.
   9. Sean Gilman Posted: August 23, 2005 at 08:36 AM (#1565510)
howie wrote:

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...


No shots intended Howie. . .

I did a long post about Browning's defense at the end of one of the discussion threads a few 'years' ago, in response to some of TomH's concerns. There are definitely odd things going on with defensive stats the years Browning rates so horribly.

I don't know that there's ever been a thorough discussion of him though. Don't know why. Definitely our biggest oversight thus far in my opinion. People just seem to make excuses not to consider him (the AA, too many players from the 1880s, bad defense for 3 years, etc.) I don't get it.

Anyway, i'll try to find that post about his defense.
   10. Sean Gilman Posted: August 23, 2005 at 08:42 AM (#1565512)
This isn't the one, but is interesting nonetheless, from the end of the 1956 discussion:

Over the course of their careers:

Player, FRAR, FRAA

Browning, 248, -43

Kingman, 89, -42

Stuart, 110, -30

Thomas, -21, -84

Ramirez, 87, -20


That gap between Browning's FRAR and his FRAA seem rather large. . .

By the way, Frank Thomas had a negative FRAR every year from 1991-1997, when he finally started DHing more than playing first.

Also interesting: Thomas and Browning currently have identical OPS+s of 162. So there you go: Pete Browning is Frank Thomas with better defense.
   11. Sean Gilman Posted: August 23, 2005 at 09:05 AM (#1565514)
here we go, also from 1956. TomH is the one quoted in italics:

a little intersting tidbit, and this thread seems the best place to put it for lack of anywhere else--

Pete Browning, who truly was a great, great hitter, had quite the time fielding his position of CF in 1886. From bb-ref.com, there were 6 'regular' CFers that year. Among the other 5, their range factors were between 1.80 and 2.29. Pete's was 1.49. The other five had fielding pcts between .878 and .952. Browning's was .791.

Pete's ratio of putouts-to-errors was just under 3.5, as compared to a league avg of almost 8.

I hereby nominate his 1886 year as the "least valuable season ever by a hitter with an OPS+ of over 150".


Certainly is odd, considering that in the surrounding seasons Browning hovers around league average in both Center and Left Field, accoding to BP's stats.

The Louisville team in 1886 was second in the league in Ks with 720. Third place had only 583. And they were third in the league in fewest home runs allowed with 16. They finished second in first base putouts (behind Dave Orr's New York team).

Joining Browning in the outfield was rightfielder Jimmy Wolf, who had more putouts than Browning, a .934 FP and 1.84 RF. Browning played only 82 games in center that year, someone named Lou Sylvester played center for 45 games. Despite having above average RFs in both 1885 and 1887, Slyvester managed only a worse-than-Browning 1.40 RF in 1886. Joe Strauss played 67 games in Leftfield, about twice as many as Browning. He put up a 1.56 RF.

In the surrounding seasons, Browning's range factors are well above average (2.09, 2.25, 1.92, 1.98; for his career 2.04 vs. a lgRF of 1.90). And 86 and 87 are by far his worst seasons in terms of errors, with 86 his only spectacularly bad fielding percentage year.

It looks to me like there's something odd going on in Louisville in 1886. Seems a lot more reasonable than a decent fielder having a historically bad season at age 25 in the midst of a string of above average years.
   12. sunnyday2 Posted: August 23, 2005 at 12:48 PM (#1565549)
Wow! Let me be the first with props to BTF for the cool new login box! And more to the point, upon logging in I was returned directly to page I was on! Cool!

Re. Browning's 1886 fielding, does anybody know when his health problems began? Considering it was some sort of ear/inner ear thing (right?), it certainly would affect equilibrium. Of course that should affect hitting too. But maybe it was a health/ill health issue, one that he was able subsequently to adjust to a little better?
   13. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 23, 2005 at 01:14 PM (#1565588)
Re. Browning's 1886 fielding, does anybody know when his health problems began?

IIRC, his health problems coincided with his regressed fielding.
   14. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 23, 2005 at 01:21 PM (#1565596)
It looks like a snooze to me, one of those fortnights when this year's election is not really the point.

I was actually being a little facetious there, Paul. :-) I don't forsee anything like we just witnessed in '58.

It will be nice to see Mize sail in rather than waiting all those years for the HOF. Paige is a lock, while Dandridge looks like he wont have any problems, either.
   15. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 23, 2005 at 01:39 PM (#1565623)
...while Dandridge looks like he wont have any problems, either.

John, not to pick on you, but I'm not so sure here. As I mentioned above, Dandridge appears to be vastly overrated by history. Take a look on his thread at how the Mexican conversions play out. His OPS+ ping-pongs between 85 and 110 because he never walks and doesn't hit for much power.

Like Cool Papa Bell, he appears at first blush to be more hype than fact, and I really think we need to reserve judgment on his candidacy until we have a better sense of his translated NgL stats.
   16. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 23, 2005 at 01:55 PM (#1565653)
John, not to pick on you, but I'm not so sure here. As I mentioned above, Dandridge appears to be vastly overrated by history. Take a look on his thread at how the Mexican conversions play out. His OPS+ ping-pongs between 85 and 110 because he never walks and doesn't hit for much power.

To be honest with you, Eric, I haven't seen that thread since I originally posted it. :-) It must have disappeared from the Hot Topics section before I had a chance to peruse it. Still, how I missed it I haven't a clue. Maybe during the convention?

Going over your numbers...yeah, that doesn't look like a HoMer to me. Certainly not a candidate that will sail in.

Looks like another great fielder whose overall worth was magnified erroneously over the years.
   17. andrew siegel Posted: August 23, 2005 at 04:21 PM (#1566071)
My project for this week is to re-evaluate guys I once voted for but no longer support.

I may be missing a few, but here are the ones I rememberin rough order of how quickly they fell off my ballot:

O'Neil, McCormick, Tiernan, Griffin, Browning, Welch, Griffith, Veach, Beckley, Williamson, Willis, Doyle, Chance, Roush, Grimes, Ryan, Charley Jones.

There are probably a few guys like Fielder Jones, Tommy Bond, Joe Tinker, etc. who I flirted with long enough to give a 15th place vote to, but that is not really the group of guys I'm going after anyway.

Let me know if I forgot any obvious ones.
   18. Michael Bass Posted: August 23, 2005 at 05:28 PM (#1566255)
So there you go: Pete Browning is Frank Thomas with better defense.

I assume (hope?) you are at least a little kidding here.

In case you're not, two minor matters...

1) 8478 PA vs. 5315 PA. And no, it's not all schedule length, Thomas is in his 16th season vs. Browning's 13th, and more importantly, Browning missed parts of most seasons you ever played in.

2) Even if you don't timeline, even if you believe the AA at its height was a 100% equal major league, you can't seriously contend that none of Browning's seasons need discounting.

I like Browning (he's just off ballot), but saying he's even remotely Frank Thomas is a bit of a joke to me.
   19. sunnyday2 Posted: August 23, 2005 at 07:23 PM (#1566537)
Michael, if you normalize Browning to 154 game seasons, and if you don't timeline and if you believe the AA is 100 percent ML throughout its history, then what would the discount be about?

I see Pete playing about 30 percent shorter seasons on average than 154, and I do discount the AA by an average of 8 percent, so no, I don't see Browning as being Frank Thomas.

As noted above they have the same OPS+ but Frank has an extra 3000 PAs. By the time I adjust, I have them with about the same PAs but Thomas with about a 6 point edge on OPS+.

Still, other than those things, what would the discount be for?
   20. Michael Bass Posted: August 23, 2005 at 07:30 PM (#1566557)
I think the assertion that the early AA was a true major league is pretty ridiculous on its face, as much as calling the FL or UA a 100% major league, but I guess that's not unanimous. Personally, I think even the AA at its height was not a true major league, more like a really good AAA, or, a better analogy maybe, the Negro Leagues, with a few stars and a lot of riffraff.

But even if you say the prime AA was major league, the early and late AA (note, the late AA really doesn't affect Browning's case much, the early AA definately does) clearly was not, even if, like the FL and UA, it is erroneously considered so by MLB.
   21. jimd Posted: August 23, 2005 at 11:05 PM (#1567101)
Davenport's numbers indicate that, relative to the NL of the same era, the AA 1884-89 is major league - albeit a weak major league, about as major league as the AL of the late 1950's/early 60's or the NL of the late 1910's/early 1920's. Similarly, 1883 and 1891 would be analogous to the Feds, and 1882 and 1890 are weaker still.
   22. Cblau Posted: August 24, 2005 at 02:10 AM (#1567788)
As for Browning's 1886 fielding numbers, ever consider that they are just wrong? I mean, statistics from that period have been known to have the occasional error, and I don't know that anyone is going through the records checking for those in fielding stats. Still, I only found 4 putouts missing from the team's total vs. innings. Maybe Browning was playing drunk the whole year. Also not too unlikely.
   23. Cblau Posted: August 24, 2005 at 02:12 AM (#1567802)
As for Browning's 1886 fielding numbers, ever consider that they are just wrong? I mean, statistics from that period have been known to have the occasional error, and I don't know that anyone is going through the records checking for those in fielding stats. Still, I only found 4 putouts missing from the team's total vs. innings. Maybe Browning was playing drunk the whole year. Also not too unlikely.
   24. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: August 24, 2005 at 03:05 AM (#1568019)
OK, here's a comparison: Joe Medwick/Bob Johnson

WARP1/WARP3/WS
Medwick: 96.1/87.5/312
Johnson: 102.2/91.4/287

Johnson takes a bigger hit from the WARP1 to WARP 3 translation, but still comes out ahead.

Now, if you look at just the 13 years where they were both playing, that takes 4 years off of Medwick's career - where his WS were 4,3,5 and 0. I think we can safely say that no one's electing him to the HoM because of what he did in those years. That drops the WS difference to 300-287 for 13 seasons. That's 1 WS a year, and I think a significant portion of that involves Medwick consistently playing on good teams and Johnson consistently playing on bad ones.

Medwick did have a higher peak, but Johnson was more consistent - remarkably so, for 13 seasons, where his lowest WS was 18, his lowest WARP1 was 6.2, and his lowest WARP3 was 5.4. He was a consistently good, sometimes great, player for 13 years. He had a higher OPS+ than Medwick, 138 to 134, although if you again throw out Medwick's extra years (OPS+ of 137, 128, 118 and 23, in a total of 380 PA) it might close the gap a bit.

Fielding depends on whose evaluation you prefer - overall, I think it's pretty much a wash.

I can understand, especially if you're a big peak voter, having Medwick slightly ahead. But last year Medwick came in 4th and Johnson came in 40th. To me, there's no way that makes any sense.
   25. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: August 24, 2005 at 07:10 AM (#1568390)
Of course, Medwick and Johnson both eat the dust of my #3 for 1959...Charlie Keller. The war robbed him of two 30 WS seasons. I give him full credit for those two seasons. Here's his WS with my adjustments for season length, timeline and defense:

Charlie Keller

1939...22
1940...24
1941...31
1942...34
1943...36
1944...34
1945...33
1946...31
1947...10
1948...8
1949...5
1950...3
1951...2
Total...273

I had no idea how dominant Keller was in the 1940s until I crunched the numbers. There isn't a single player on the ballot, other than Paige and Mize, who played at an MVP level for six seasons.

(Incidentially, Keller and Mize both have six seasons with 30 WS. I give Mize 28 WS for each of the three seasons he served in the military.)
   26. Sean Gilman Posted: August 24, 2005 at 07:38 AM (#1568400)
On Pete Browning and the AA and not being a "Major League":

1. What do you mean by "major league"? Everyone at the time thought the AA was enough of a major league to play a proto-world series with the National League. Is that not enough to make it a Major League? Why not?

2. If the AA is a Major League, then why are we discounting players' performance in it? For that matter, why discount the NL versus the AL when both are considered Major Leagues by anyone? Are we really that confident in our ability to detect the true talent level of a league via the meager statistical tools at our disposal?

3. If the AA is not a major league, then how un-major is it? Has anyone here studied it at all? All I've ever seen are the studies of relative batting average between leagues that were posted here in the beginning of this project. Seemed to me that everyone just arbitrarily picked a number (or numbers), discounted every stat by an AA player by that flat rate and left it at that. As far as I know, the AA has never received the systematic study the the Negro, Mexican, PCL and Cuban Leagues have gotten. Neither have the players in the AA received the benefits of the doubt that players in those other leagues have gotten.

4. Can anyone tell me what effect the AA being weaker had on Pete Browning's stats? In 1890, he played in the "best" league in the country and put up a 169 OPS+, a .351 EQA, led the league in AVG, 2nd in OBP, 5th in SLG. He hit .373 that year, which was his third best average ever. The best was in 1887, a year most think the AA was on a par with the NL, when he hit .402. Second best was 1882, when he hit .378 as a 21 year old.

The argument is that great players are uniquely penalized by quality of competition studies. Barry Bonds in AAA will not hit .500 with 100 home runs. We see this consistently in the translations of Negro Leaguers when their peaks almost never match up to what one would expect them to be. That is because great players are necessarily outliers: they are better than their competition. In other words, if the average AA player is 10% worse than the average NL player, that does not mean that the best player in the AA is 10% worse than the best player in the NL. This uniquely impacts players like Browning who are, admittedly, lacking in career value relative to most HOM outfielders. His case rests on his peak, and league discounts uniquely undervalue that peak.
   27. Sean Gilman Posted: August 24, 2005 at 08:02 AM (#1568403)
On Pete Browning and Frank Thomas:

Yes I was kidding, a little. The comment grew out of a discussion of Browning's fielding. Looking for negative FRARs, oI noticed an apparent similarity between the two and thought it instructive. Not voting for Browning because his defensive stats are weirdly bad for a few years in the middle of his career seems to me much like not voting for Thomas because of his defense: it totally misses the point.

As for Michael's 2 points:

1. Yes, Thomas has played three more years than Browning. No, that doesn't tell the whole story. Take out partial seasons, and Browning played 12 years (1894 shouldn't count), while Thomas has played. . .12 seasons (partial years in 90, 01, 04 and 05). Though, to be fair, one should add up Thomas's partial seasons and make it 13.

2. This is beside the point anyway. If Thomas hadn't played a game after 2000, he'd likely still be a HOMer (and yes, his OPS+ would be higher).

3. I think 1882 and 1883 should be discounted. I don't believe anyone considered them to be a major league at the time. I picked an arbitrary 10% with which to discount those two seasons, after a schedule adjustment. I'd be happy to be persuaded of a better number to discount those years by.

4. Given sunnyday's adjustments to Browning's PAs and OPS+, is the difference between a sure-fire HOMer and a perpetual also-ran 6 points of OPS+ despite a 40 run FRAA gap? In other words, does anyone besides me think comparing Browning to Thomas is reasonable?
   28. Sean Gilman Posted: August 24, 2005 at 08:09 AM (#1568409)
Maybe Browning was playing drunk the whole year. Also not too unlikely.

Unless alcohol has some ability to cause bad defense while not affecting hitting, I imagine that's not the explanation.

Maybe the whole AA was drunk all the time. I hear they might have played on Sundays too. . .
   29. Kelly in SD Posted: August 24, 2005 at 08:59 AM (#1568412)
Referring to the Dandridge comment... I just found Holway's Blackball Stars book at a used book store and read the chapter on Dandridge. I just read the Dandridge thread.

OOOOPS.

Always remember to make sure the pool has water in it before attempting a cannonball...
   30. Kelly in SD Posted: August 24, 2005 at 10:33 AM (#1568414)
Has anyone read Nemec's Beer and Whiskey League? I got it last year and haven't had time to read it. It is a year-by-year look at the American Assoc. I'll see if I can get to it in the next few days...

Regarding Browning's stats in 1886: The numbers remind me of some of King Kelly's outfield numbers.

King Kelly outfield numbers
Year Gm FPct LgPct Range LgRange
1878 47 .765 .834 1.60 1.72
1879 29 .747 .838 2.03 1.85
1880 64 .779 .855 1.27 1.76
1881 72 .841 .871 1.61 2.00

These are not the only years where he has such trouble. Bill James brought up the idea that Kelly would often come in to cover bunts in expected sacrifice situations to explain the incredibly high error and assists rates.

Maybe Kelly and Browning would sometimes play like a shortstop but on the rightfield side of the diamond? I have read a variety of things about when infielders started to play off the bases. Did some teams bring an outfielder in to act as a fifth infielder? That would make sense if the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd basemen were all playing close to the bags.

On the same trip I picked up Blackball Stars, I picked up Slide Kelly Slide - the King Kelly bio. Maybe that has some info.

Ok, digress much? The point being that Browning is not the only outfielder to have such bad numbers.

Ok, I decided to glance at BB-Ref a bit. Browning's 1886 is NOT out of place for the era:

1882 AA Tom Brown RF fields .728 compared to Lg OFs .847 while playing 45 games.
George Seward fields at .776 while playing 35 games, mainly RF.
Ed Swartwood plays 73 games, 1/3 CF, 2/3 RF and fields .788 making 29 errors while only making 9 assists.
It is not just the new AA. Orator Shaffer has a .804 Pct compared to NL avg .855 in 84 games.

1883: NL first.
Charlie Buffington (when not pitching??) plays 51 games in the outfield (40 in right) and fields .756 compared to league OF pct. .849.
Bill Harbidge fields at a .796 clip while playing mainly CF (36 of 44) and Tom Mansell fields a fine .758 in 34 games in RF.
Also Mickey Welch, while playing the outfield when not starting, fields a fine .750 in 38 games, making 17 errors. And he is not just hiding in RF. Half of his games are in center.

There are lots more examples. Go to BBRef and look at the fielding numbers for 1880s outfielders.

I wonder if these are throwing or catching errors? I imagine catching a hardhit ball in flight without a glove is difficult as is fielding a ball on the non-manicured fields of the 1880s. I can also imagine many errors could be the result of outfielders playing close to the infield and trying to get putouts on balls that would normally be singles. - Like Chuck Klein would do in Baker Bowl.
Hypothetically, man on first, the ball is hit up the middle where a shallow centerfielder tries to make the force play throwing to the second basemen or shortstop covering second base.
Considering how accurate/inaccurate outfielders' throws are today and the number of good throws that are not held by the receiving infielder, I could see there being lots of errors on throws back in to the infield where outfielders were trying to make force plays.
The infielder receiving the ball is not accustommed to doing this and the chances are the throw may not be accurate. The game was still going through radical changes. It was barely 20 years since John Murphy's favorite cause created the "modern" shortstop position. Some teams/managers/coaches may have been aggressive with their outfielders.

Another possibility is the sun. Remember these "stadiums" do not have big grandstands to block out the sun and the outfielders are not wearing their "flip-downs" or their Oakleys or whatever. I imagine the sun could just be vicious, especially in late afternoon.

Lastly, with all the errors being made in 1886, I really don't think Browning's errors may have meant much. In the AA that year, the best fielding team made 487 errors and the worst 637 in about 140 games or 3.5 to 4.5 errors per game. Errors happened. Browning had 211 chances and fielded .791. (153 PO + 14 Ass + 44 Err). If he fielded the league average for an outfielder of .877 while making the same PO and Ass he would make 23 errors. (167 good plays divided by xx total plays = .877 and the diff b/t xx and the good plays are errors.) So, if he had been average, he would make 21 fewer errors. On a team that made 593 errors and allowed 380
unearned runs, 21 fewer errors doesn't matter a whole lot. The team would still have the 2nd worst fielding percentage either way. If someone shoots you, it doesn't matter if they give you a paper cut too. (Unless it's on your tongue and the rub lemon juice in it, but that's another story...)

I have put waaaaayyyy too much thought into this. If this is way beyong rambing, well its late and I am going to bed.
   31. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 24, 2005 at 11:39 AM (#1568424)
Sean, I think it's very obvious that the AA was significantly weaker than the NL 1882-83 (it was an expansion league - I think of it like the USFL, barely equal 1884-88 and signficantly weaker after 1889-91 (as it was falling apart). We discussed this ad nausuem back in the 1900-20 elections.

**********

Great comments so far. I'm going to take another look at Bob Johnson, Browning and Charlie Keller this time around. I don't see any of them cracking the ballot (except maybe Johnson) but they do deserve another deeper look. I'm also going to revisit Carl Mays, Urban Shocker and Rube Waddell.
   32. Sean Gilman Posted: August 24, 2005 at 12:06 PM (#1568435)
Joe, I agree that 82 and 83 are weaker leagues. But I don't know what that means for Browning's merit as a player. How or how much to adjust his stats.

We did discuss the AA at length in the beginning of this project, but I wonder if we would reach the same conclusions now, with all we've learned with Negro and other non-Major League translations since that time. Seems to me that once we got to the 20th Century, a lot of people just decided they didn't want to deal with the AA or the 1880s anymore.

The man has the 12th greatest OPS+ of all-time. Just how bad does the AA in 1882 and 1883 have to be to make that not HOM worthy?
   33. Howie Menckel Posted: August 24, 2005 at 12:18 PM (#1568442)
I tend to agree with Sean; while Browning could have played in the NL (unlike later Negro Leaguers), he didn't know that league was going to survive until the present day - while his league would go under. These were baseball's early days.
You could knock 20 OPS+ points off each year and still elect him, no?
I also always was leery of putting too much weight on 19th century fielding stats. Exceptions were guys like McPhee, who had both great stats and a great reputation there.
   34. TomH Posted: August 24, 2005 at 01:38 PM (#1568502)
Dave Orr's OPS+ is 161; within a whisker of Browning's.
His three highest WARP1 totals are higher: 13.1, 12.6, 11.0 to 12.6, 10.7, 10.6.
He also excelled in the 1890 PL, outslugging Browning that year.
He left the game after age 30, when still playing very well - obviously cutting drasticaly into his career stats.
--
I don't intend to start a campaign for Orr. But there are reasons that Browning, despite his great rate stats, doesn't appear on more ballots.

If OPS+ is Browning's biggest claim, why did he only lead his league in OPS+ twice in his career? Other leaders in that era included Cyrus (Ed) Smartwood, Long John Reilly and Tommy Tucker. Tucker hit .372 at the age of 25 in the AA, and reverted to a below average hitter in the NL.

Pete was a great hitter. Not a historically great hitter though, and if we can't find a place for sluggers like Klein and Keller and Hack Wilson and Gavvy Cravath, I'm not sure why we would single out Browning as HoM worthy.
   35. andrew siegel Posted: August 24, 2005 at 01:55 PM (#1568530)
Every time I have looked at Browning, whether statistically or subjectively, I come to the same conclusion: he was a good enough hitter to overcome 2 out of his 3 big negatives (AA discount, fielding, and career length) but not all three.

To be more specific:

(1) If the AA was as good as any other major league, his 162 OPS+ would be so high up the all-time list that there would be no precedent for leaving him out even if he only did it for about 9.8 seasons and was a negative with the glove. Joe Jackson would be a good comp. Or Frank Thomas if he retired a few years ago.

(2) If he were a 145 or so OPS+ OF with negative defensive but a medium long career he would still rank ahead of guys like Goslin, Wheat, Medwick, etc., who were minimally more valuable defensively but had substantially less offensive value. Harry Heilmann might be a good comp.

(3) If he had a 145+ OPS and average to slightly above average OF defense, but with a fairly short career, he'd be a more borderline candidate, but would comp fairly well to some guys who got elected like Elmer Flick. (Sam Thompson is in this category if you believe WARP's assessment of his defense.)

With all three negatives, I see him in roughly the same boat as Mike Tiernan or, if you give minor league credit, Gavvy Cravath or Jack Fournier. (I have Cravath about 40th; Browning about 50th; Tiernan and Fournier each about 60th.)
   36. DavidFoss Posted: August 24, 2005 at 05:52 PM (#1569132)
Anybody know what happened to Snuffy?

Snuffy Deadball Obit

Train Wreck on the Newark Bay Bridge. The drawbridge was open and the train plunged into the Bay.
   37. Kelly in SD Posted: August 24, 2005 at 07:45 PM (#1569539)
Re: Browning's defense.

1882: above league average for plays per game and pct at second and short and a little below average pct at third.

1883: above average pct and plays per game in outfield. below average at short.

1884: below average at third base in both. way above average in the outfield and at first.

1885: above average in both in the outfield

1886: no bueno in the outfield

1887: above average in plays per game, below average in pct in outfield.

1888: above average in plays per game, slightly below average in pct in outfield.

1889: average in plays, slightly below average in pct in outfield.

1890: above avg in plays, average in pct in outfield.

1891: above avg in plays per game, average in pct in outfield.

1892: above average in plays per game, average in pct in outfield.

1893: average in plays per game, below average in pct in outfield.

This is not Dave Kingman or Greg Luzinski in the field. He had a couple of bad years and a lot that were average. Combined with his hitting, that is quite a player.
   38. Mark Donelson Posted: August 24, 2005 at 07:56 PM (#1569573)
Re Browning, and his peers (and if this has been addressed elsewhere, forgive the newbie and direct me to that discussion, wherever it may be):

I know that using WS to evaluate 19th-c pitchers is, well, tricky, given their massive workloads, and so when Tim Keefe has 70 WS for a season, you don't exactly take it at face value.

Does it follow, then, that WS significantly UNDERestimates 19th-c. hitters, particularly in the 1880s? Do we have any clue how much? That would help me a lot with my evaluation of Browning (and others).
   39. Chris Cobb Posted: August 24, 2005 at 08:05 PM (#1569603)
19th-century win shares underrate the value of fielding, not the value of hitting.
   40. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 24, 2005 at 08:24 PM (#1569676)
If anyone's curious, I'm tyring to think up ways to improve RSI. There's a whole thread about it on prime. If anyone has anything to add, I'd love to hear it (there, not hear, like to keep the comments as centralized as I can).
   41. sunnyday2 Posted: August 24, 2005 at 08:25 PM (#1569683)
Mark,

I'm with Chris. Fielding was much more important, what with many more balls in play and a vastly greater differential between good fielding and bad.

So I eval. 19C pitchers by:

1. Normalize to 154 games. Yes, this increases pitcher WS to really astronomical proportions, but then...

2. Give half their WS to their fielders. All you have to do is take the WS book and find how many fielding WS the 19C players had (this would be up through 1893 only) and double them. (You don't have to worry who fielding behind what pitcher etc. etc. Just double them for all fielders.)

3. And don't forget to cut the pitching WS in half.

You're still going to have some very large pitching WS, but so what? They are certainly valid for comparing one 19C pitcher to another. As for comparing 19C pitchers to 20C pitchers, there are some interesting methods to adjust for that. One is to use a measure IP+ which measures how much of a workhorse a pitcher is relative to his peers. Using this number instead of raw IP and making WS or other adjustments from there, helps equalize everybody. It's lots of work, however, as you really need to do it every year and then add it up or average it. Not good to just compute a career number, especially during periods when workloads were changing rapidly.

But as for the position players, it is vastly more fair to evaluate a good glove/weak hit SS against his big stick corner OF teammate this way. The whole point of these adjustments, really, is to evaluate fielders better, almost more than pitchers.
   42. Chris Cobb Posted: August 24, 2005 at 08:38 PM (#1569732)
One addition/qualification to Sunnyday2's method, which is a reasonable approach:

The percentage of fielding plays that were handled by catchers and by infielders before 1900 was considerably higher than in the modern game, with the catcher's share rising sharply the farther back you go. So there's an argument for increasing catcher and infielder win shares by a greater percentage than outfielder win shares.

I tend to increase catcher and first-base fielding win shares by 1.5, 2b/3b/ss by 1.3, and outfielders by 1.1 before 1890 and not at all after 1890. That doesn't balance exactly with win shares transferred from pitchers as sunnyday2's method does, but it can give a somewhat more nuanced view of fielding responsibility.
   43. jimd Posted: August 24, 2005 at 08:49 PM (#1569761)
Does it follow, then, that WS significantly UNDERestimates 19th-c. hitters, particularly in the 1880s?

NO! There is no reason, whatsoever, to think that the balance between run-scoring and run-prevention was different. This would be detectable by examining RF and RA at the team level. If offense was significantly more important, then the variance of RF would be much larger than for RA. Teams would have large differences in runs scored but everybody would give up a similar runs against (after adjusting for not playing against themselves). (Think bowling leagues, pins-scored and pins-against, for the ultimate no-defense situation.) [Thank you, tangotiger, for this line of argument.]

A fundamental flaw in Win Shares is it's assumption that the split between pitching and fielding has stayed essentially constant over time.
   44. Mark Donelson Posted: August 24, 2005 at 09:04 PM (#1569812)
Thanks, everyone. That makes much more sense.

If I'd thought about five more minutes, I would probably have realized fielding was the answer to my question...sorry, it's been a hellish day at work today!

I'll take all of your advice into account in my analysis. I had more or less intuited already what to do about the pitchers (both compared to each other and to 20th-c. pitchers), but this helps immensely in evaluating the nonpitchers. Thanks again.
   45. sunnyday2 Posted: August 24, 2005 at 09:08 PM (#1569825)
Mark, and you don't notice after all of this--Tommy Bond is a pretty obvious HoMer! :-)
   46. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: August 24, 2005 at 09:11 PM (#1569834)
This wasn't mentioned because it seems obvious but I will say it anyway, 1880's pitchers also have high WS numbers because they pitched A LOT of innings. There were only 4-5 guys who pitched for a team, instead of 8-10 for much of the early 20th century and something like 15-20 today. Again that seems obvious but it wasn't mentioned.
   47. Sean Gilman Posted: August 24, 2005 at 09:13 PM (#1569838)
Dave Orr's OPS+ is 161; within a whisker of Browning's.
His three highest WARP1 totals are higher: 13.1, 12.6, 11.0 to 12.6, 10.7, 10.6.
He also excelled in the 1890 PL, outslugging Browning that year.
He left the game after age 30, when still playing very well - obviously cutting drasticaly into his career stats.
--
I don't intend to start a campaign for Orr. But there are reasons that Browning, despite his great rate stats, doesn't appear on more ballots.


We've been over this before Tom, but Orr played only 7 full seasons, a little over half of Browning's career length. If he had played another 5 or so seasons at the same terrific rate he played his first 7, then, and only then, would he be a reasonable comp for Pete Browning. I have no idea why you think Orr is at all relevant.
   48. sunnyday2 Posted: August 24, 2005 at 09:26 PM (#1569861)
As a peak voter, I kinda like Orr. He is still in my consideration set of a dozen or so 1B. But obviously if he was as good as Pete Browning for half as long, he's gonna be well behind him on the ballot.

Also, j is exactly right. Pitchers from the 1870s (!!!) and '80s pitched a lot of innings. PitchING might be half as valuable as it is after 1893. But if it is spread out among half as many pitchers or less, then an individual pitcher certainly can produce a tremendous amount of value.

E.g Tommy Bond!

Thanks to Mark for enabling me to speak the name--Tommy Bond--a few times today. And to point out that, yes, 1870s and 1880s pitchers were indeed valuable. Have I said that? That the best ones were extremely valuable?...
   49. Michael Bass Posted: August 24, 2005 at 10:25 PM (#1569957)
FWIW, the mention of the importance of 1880s fielding reminds me of another one of my just off-ballot players, who I'm always half tempted to jack up into ballot consideration: Fred Dunlap. He was both by numbers and by reputation an amazing fielder (even if 2B was behind 3B on the defensive scale back then, the increased overall importance of defense surely makes his amazing fielding more valuable even than today, when 2B > 3B). He also, as you may have noticed, could hit quite well.

To be fair, he's a peak candidate, but whatta peak!
   50. jimd Posted: August 24, 2005 at 10:42 PM (#1569983)
Always remember to make sure the pool has water in it before attempting a cannonball...

He pulled a "Jennings", eh? At least not head-first, apparently.

"Though durable, Jennings suffered an incredible string of mishaps on and off the field. He was often hit by pitches; a then-record 49 times in 1896 alone. Two skull fractures, one the result of an accidental dive into an empty swimming pool, slowed but did not stop him. " -- baseballlibrary.com
   51. sunnyday2 Posted: August 24, 2005 at 10:42 PM (#1569987)
He's (Dunlap) been on my ballot before and is still around #30. And that is after discounting his UA season by 65 percent.
   52. jimd Posted: August 24, 2005 at 10:46 PM (#1569992)
I'm always half tempted to jack up into ballot consideration

Surrender to that temptation... ;-)
   53. Kelly in SD Posted: August 24, 2005 at 10:47 PM (#1569996)
Re: Browning only winning the OPS+ title 2 times.
Year / Browning's OPS and OPS+ then rank
1882: .940 / 222. 1st by .081 / 29
1883: .842 / 177. 3rd by .027 and 2nd by 7
1884: .829 / 173. 6th by .089 and 5th by 19
1885: .923 / 190. 1st by .022 and 2nd by 2
1886: .830 / 154. 5th by .144 and 6th by 46.
1887: 1.011 / 177. 2nd by .169 and 2nd by 34.
1888: .816 / 163. 4th by .048 and 3rd by 7
1889: not in either top 10.
1890: .976 / 169. 2nd by .022 and 1st by 13
1891: .818 / 138. 6th by .064 and 6th by 22

Compared to Frank Thomas.
1991: 1.006 / 180. 1st by .016 and 9
1992: .975 / 174. 1st by .005 and 2nd by 1
1993: 1.033 / 177. 2nd by .039 and 2nd by 8
1994: 1.217 / 212. 1st by .065 and 1st by 20
1995: 1.061 / 178. 3rd by .046 and 3rd by 5 (McGwire did not have quite enough plate apps to qualify but had a OPS of 1.125 and Thomas would have been 4th...)
1996: 1.085 / 178. 2nd by .113 and 2nd by 25
1997: 1.067 / 181. 1st by .039 and 1st by 17
1998: not injured, but not in either top 10
1999: not injured, but not in either top 10
2000: 1.061 / 160. 4th by .093 and 6th by 28.

Yes, Thomas is better, but I would consider Thomas a lock for the HoM. And Thomas had all the mobility of a pyramid. If you can stand next to someone like that and not look bad, that is impressive.

Hank Greenberg (HoMer) had a career 158 OPS+ and he never led his league.

Joe Jackson (HoMer) had a career 170 OPS+ and he never led his league.

Harry Stovey (HoMer) played in the AA with Browning from 1883 to 1889, then the PL with Browning, then NL in 1891 with Browning. He had a career OPS+ of 143. He never led the league in OPS.
Comparing the 2:
1883. Stovey was .010 better in OPS, Browning was 16 better in OPS+.
1884. Stovey was .084 better in OPS, Stovey was 13 better in OPS+.
1885. Browning was .065 better in OPS, Browning was 27 better in OPS+.
1886. Browning was .013 better in OPS, Stovey was 1 better in OPS+.
1887. Browning was .224 better in OPS, Browning was 59 better in OPS+.
1888. Stovey was .009 better in OPS, Stovey was 1 better in OPS+.
1889. Stovey was .227 better in OPS, Stovey was 63 better in OPS+.
1890. Browning was .098 better in OPS, Browning was 42 better in OPS+.
1891. Stovey was .053 better in OPS, Stovey was 3 better in OPS+.

Stovey is better than Browning 5 times to 4 in each.

There are some on the OPS+ list who did dominate their leagues: Bonds, Ruth, Cobb, Hornsby, Brouthers, Musial. But there are also players like Dick Allen (156 OPS+) who led three times and had lots of top 10s or Johnny Mize (158) who led 2 times with lots of top 10s.
OR Tris Speaker - much longer career of course - who only led the AL one time in OPS+. And not because of Cobb, Speaker only had 2 other years where he missed out on leading the league b/c of Cobb. Otherwise, he had lots of top 10s.

The players in front of Browning in various years include:
1882: Browning was first.
1883: Ed Swartwood - career 141 OPS+, and Harry Stovey (HoMer).
1884: John Reilly - career 128 OPS+ and probably the best first basemen in the AA, Stovey(HoMer), Dave Orr - career 161 OPS+ who would be HoMer if he did not retire after the Players' League collapsed, and Fennelly (career year).
1885: Orr we have already discussed.
1886: Caruthers (HoMer)(led league in OBP), Orr, Stovey (HoMer), and the only pitcher to lead the league in Avg - Guy Hecker.
1887: Tip O'Neill. Greatest fluke year ever or most dominating year ever.
1888: Reilly and Stovey again.
1889: bad year
1890: 1st in PL ahead of Roger Connor, Jake Beckley, Jimmy Ryan, Buck Ewing, George Gore, Dan Brouthers, Jim O'Rourke, etc.
1891: Mike Tiernan (overlooked player), Roger Connor (HoMer), Billy Hamilton (HoMer), Stovey (HoMer), and Bug Holliday - career 125 OPS+ in 1890s one league play.

Browning was not behind Pete Gray when he was not first. He was behind HoMers, a player with a 161 OPS+ in a short career, a player with a career 141 OPS+, a first baseman forgotten b/c he didn't play in the NL but with a career 128 OPS+, and Tip O'Neill who finished with a 142 OPS+ in a 10 year career.
Just because they didn't play in the NL in the 1880s, doesn't mean they sucked. It is not unlike players who chose to play in the ABA instead of the NBA and who are forgotten now.
   54. jimd Posted: August 24, 2005 at 11:29 PM (#1570116)
Dave Orr - career 161 OPS+ who would be HoMer if he did not retire after the Players' League collapsed

IIRC, his career was cut short by a stroke. (He is listed at 5'11" and 250 lbs.)

1884 was Orr's "rookie" year at age 25. Anyone know what he was doing before then? My guess would be playing for one of NY's elite teams. For 5 seasons (1878-1882), New York/Brooklyn had no "major league" team, yet by the 1880 census it had 10% more population than the 8 cities of the 1881-1882 NL combined. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the best NY teams were better than the 1882 AA.
   55. jimd Posted: August 24, 2005 at 11:37 PM (#1570155)
1884 was Orr's "rookie" year at age 25.

Should read 24. He turned 25 in September.
   56. Cblau Posted: August 25, 2005 at 12:58 AM (#1570492)
Orr played minor league ball in 1883. I think he played amateur/semi-pro ball before that. He wasn't on the only professional team in NY at that time, the Metropolitans. Reilly was their first baseman.
   57. jimd Posted: August 25, 2005 at 01:15 AM (#1570550)
baseballreference.com says that Orr in 1883 had some tryouts with the new major-league teams in NY (both leagues expanded there that year, under the same ownership, IIRC). In May he played one game with the AA Metropolitans (1 for 4, a double). Later, one game with the NL Gothams/Giants (0 for 3). And finally a 12 game stint with the Metropolitans (201 OPS+) that appears to have landed him a permanent job.

Did you intend 1882 instead of 1883? Or are there two NY teams named the Metropolitans in 1883? Thanks as always for the info.
   58. jimd Posted: August 25, 2005 at 01:17 AM (#1570560)
"expanded" is a poor choice of words. The AA expanded, the NL moved in.
   59. TomH Posted: August 25, 2005 at 11:48 AM (#1571833)
"We've been over this before Tom, but Orr played only 7 full seasons, a little over half of Browning's career length."
--
By games played, a much better metric than 'years', Orr's career length is two-thirds of Browning's. And much of the difference is that Orr didn't play at ages 21-23 like Pete, even though the data certainly suggests he could have played well at those ages.
   60. TomH Posted: August 25, 2005 at 01:29 PM (#1571898)
Johnny Mize, all-time placement:

first base is a funny position.

Lou Gehirg is almost unanmimously considered to be the best ever (unless you move Musial to 1B)

Jimmie Foxx would be almost universally declared #2.

And after that, there are probably 10 guys who would get support for the mythical third string.
McGwire, Bagwell, Thomas from the current era.
Anson, Brouthers, Connor from the 19th century.
Killebrew and McCovey from the power 60s.
Greenberg and Mize from the live ball era.
Eddie Murray? Maybe Pujols by 2012?

Mize's argument, given war credit and understanding that the NL had less offense than the AL in his day, has as good a case as anyone else in this group.
   61. Rusty Priske Posted: August 25, 2005 at 01:41 PM (#1571911)
Prelim.

Bigger shuffles than normal this week.

I feel that I ahve gone from overrating Paige to underrating him. We'll see where he settles out.

PHoM: Johhny Mize and Biz Mackey

1. Mickey Welch
2. Johnny Mize
3. Jake Beckley
4. Red Ruffing
5. Eppa Rixey
6. George Van Haltren
7. Willard Brown
8. Biz Mackey
9. Joe Medwick
10. Cool Papa Bell
11. George Sisler
12. Dobie Moore
13. Sam Rice
14. Tommy Leach
15. Quincy Trouppe

16-20. Duffy, Childs, Roush, Powell, Ryan
21-25. Grimes, Monroe, Mullane, H. Smith, Streeter
26-30. White, Redding, Doerr, Browning, Sewell
   62. sunnyday2 Posted: August 25, 2005 at 02:23 PM (#1571981)
This year I was most curious to learn about the 2Bs--Stanky, Priddy, and Ryan.

Stanky is obviously the best of the bunch with his 191 WS and 67 WARP3. James has him #34 among 2Bs at 191/30-28-27/113/24.6.

Priddy is famous for coming up with Rizzuto as a great glove, but then flaming out pretty quick (lost his job as a rookie with a 50 OPS+) and ending up in prison. James has him #73 at 145/24-20-20/87/18.1.

James comps him to Maz 219/23-21-20/92/16.4 (.260/.299/.367/84). Looks to me like Priddy was better except Maz lasted 50 percent longer.

Ryan is not famous for anything. He was a journeyman who lost his starting job to Stanky and was a back-up on the Braves 1948 pennant winners. 114/17-17-15/76, His career high BA when eligible was .265. Career OPS+ 90.

Priddy played 1941-53 (age 21-33) 1,296 games
Ryan 1942-54 (age 22-34) 1,184 games
Stanky 1943-53 (age 26-36) 1,259 games

After the Cubs sent Billy Herman to Brooklyn, they played Lou Stringer at 2B for two years while the 24-25 year old Stanky (fill in the blank, I don't know). He finally made the bigs in 1943 but had OPS+ 88 and then a 74 in just 13 games, and then the Cubs sent him to Brooklyn, too, where he replaced, er, Billy Herman. When Herman came back from the war, they kept Stanky and sent Herman to Boston. Two years later, of course, they sent Stanky to Boston, too, and replaced him with you-know-who. Stanky of course manned 2B in Jackie's rookie year. Then he was with the Gi'nts in '51. So he was involved in some very significant history. Was it he who jumped on Bobby Thomson's back?

Priddy .265/.353/.373/97 B, though James once said he and Rizutto are among the best DP combos ever
Ryan .248/.337/.357/90 C
Stanky .268/.410/.348/109 B+ though acc. to one measure he had the least range of the 3

Priddy played the most games and played with the fewest teams (4). Stanky was as much of a journeyman as Ryan (5 teams) but was coveted by better teams and came out of it with vastly more notoriety. Stanky actually hit with less power than Connie Ryan, but the big difference among these three was Stanky's walks. He led the NL in BB 3 times and OBA twice (and runs scored once in 1945).

But frankly looking at their WS, I'm not sure Stanky's rather large peak edge isn't possibly an artifact of being on better teams. He was not that much better than these other two guys. Not that you would have traded him even up, but Priddy and Ryan were certainly competent.
   63. Michael Bass Posted: August 25, 2005 at 02:29 PM (#1572001)
I feel that I ahve gone from overrating Paige to underrating him. We'll see where he settles out.

If by underrating him, you mean not in your top 30 (as opposed to just not having slotted him yet), then I'd have to agree. ;)

----------------------------------

Somehow, I missed one of Sean's responses to my post earlier. I don't have the time (or the knowledge, sadly) to respond to the whole thing, but, I will respond to a couple.

1. What do you mean by "major league"? Everyone at the time thought the AA was enough of a major league to play a proto-world series with the National League. Is that not enough to make it a Major League? Why not?

2. If the AA is a Major League, then why are we discounting players' performance in it? For that matter, why discount the NL versus the AL when both are considered Major Leagues by anyone? Are we really that confident in our ability to detect the true talent level of a league via the meager statistical tools at our disposal?


Because we shouldn't give boosts to players who were fortunate enough to play in a weaker league? That's not rewarding merit, that's rewarding luck. If you were fortunate enough to have your contract purchased by the New York Giants rather than the New York Yankees in the 1910s, your stats looked better because of it. This is something we should recognize and not be rewarding.

The AA may or may not have been a true major league in its prime (probably it was, though the exhibition World Series is indicative of little, I feel; it was played because people thought it could make money). It certainly was not for someof Browning's years.

In fact, I question whether first season should be counted for him at all. When discussing minor league credit, many people agreed that it should only be given in exceptional "he should have been up" circumstances. Almost *all* major league quality players had a monster minor league season. Isn't it likely that the 1882 AA was simply Browning's monster minor league season? Wasn't the AA basically Double A calibre at best at that point? Shouldn't we lop it off, or, in the alternate, start backtracking everyone else on the ballot and start counting their incredible 20-21 YO performances in A or AA ball?

Finally, as to your last question, it's a bit late in the game I think to be questioning whether we can judge by the "meager statistical tools" at our disposal, given that most of the Negro League players we have considered have been voted in or left out based almost entirely on those tools.
   64. Chris Cobb Posted: August 25, 2005 at 02:38 PM (#1572025)
But frankly looking at their WS, I'm not sure Stanky's rather large peak edge isn't possibly an artifact of being on better teams

Not that Stanky's an HoM candidate, but, as he beats Priddy and Ryan by about the same ratio in WARP3 as he does in win shares, I think it safe to say that his superiority in win shares is not an artifact of playing on better teams. He looks _slightly_ better by win shares than by WARP, but that's it.

WARP agrees that Stanky was the best fielder of the 3 (in fact, WARP sees him as an outstanding defensive player), and, well, he has 50 points of OBP on Priddy and 80 on Ryan. That's huge.
   65. andrew siegel Posted: August 25, 2005 at 02:53 PM (#1572071)
Now that we have seen MLE's or some similar calculation for most of the Negro League greats, I think it is fair to say that the guys who peaked between say 1930 and 1940 are, on balance, showing worse on the MLE's than their reputations, that guys who peaked earlier are on balance showing better, and that guys who peaked later are all over the place (e.g., Brown and Troupe better, Dandridge and Day worse).

There are two obvious explanations:

(1) The guys who played in the Negro Leagues during the most fondly remembered years got all the ink, the guys who played earlier lost out, and the guys who played later were well remembered but also haphazardly discounted when it came time to take accounts.

(2) The uniform league strength adjustments we have been making to Negro League stats underrate players from the league's toughest days in comparison to players from their weaker days. (And the very latest players are all over the place largely b/c/ so many of their seasons were played in leagues other than the Negro major leagues, but also b/c/ of differences in strength between the two negro leagues at that time).

I think both (1) and (2) are right, but have no idea their relative importance. Figuring out the answer is crucial to determining the HoM fate of Mackey, Bell, Moore, Lundy, Brown, and a half dozen others. Any thoughts as to how we can proceed in uncovering the answer?
   66. karlmagnus Posted: August 25, 2005 at 03:11 PM (#1572136)
I don't think there's a lot of evidence that the NEL was weaker in the 1920s than the 1930s, if anything the opposite. Except for Josh Gibson, the best NEL players appear to have been centered in the 20s not the 30s.

In our current efforts, we appear to be giving prime NEL ratings to seaosns in Mexico and Cuba which had only a few ML or ML equivalent players, and will only have been NEL quality at their very best. Certainly for example,you can't assume that because the Mexican league may have been equivalent to the NEL for a year or two, it was equivalent for the whole 1935-50 period. Thus players with non-NEL experience in the 1940s are almost certainly being overrated.

Conversely, I was happy to vote for such as Grant and Hill on very little evidence indeed, because I felt they were likely to have been underrated by a history that didn't start looking at them till about 50 years after they retired. For the same reason, I'm strongly convinced that Smokey Joe was better than Paige.

I am VERY unwilling to elect significant numbers of 1930/40s NEL players not already enshrined, since I think Bell/Mackey/Dandridge demonstrate that the HOF after 1970 gave them a warm glow of reminiscence that they didn't entirely deserve. Such as Moore, Oms and Ben Taylor on the other hand, are a different story.
   67. sunnyday2 Posted: August 25, 2005 at 03:52 PM (#1572265)
All of this goes double for pitchers BTW. I'm not sure that Mendez, Redding, Cooper and Winters didn't face tougher competition than Paige, H. Smith, L. Day, Byrd and Brewer, though of course I'm not sure they did.

I think it is also true that the later guys are vulnerable to issues associated with what karl said, that is playing here there and everywhere. There are a lot of very small sample "seasons" for pitchers--10-12 starts--and the potential for over-work, sore arms and all, so most of the later guys, including Satch, have the odd season-let somewhere where they stunk.

As to position players, I think Mackey and Trouppe, Taylor, Bill Monroe, Dobie Moore and Dick Lundy, Oms and Willard Brown deserve continuing consideration. Like karl, I think the verdict on most of the others is in and not worthy of appeal.

I only wish that Oms had had a couple of daughters and named them Uma and Oprah.
   68. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 25, 2005 at 05:16 PM (#1572496)
Posted by Ivan Grushenko of HK in STL on August 24, 2005 at 04:11 PM (#1569622)
So far the Hall of Merit has elected Cristobal Torriente (CF, not on the ballot listed above) and Martin Dihigo (listed above as a pitcher but really a hybrid of pitcher and position player). Torriente is a serious omission from this ballot - I would put him among the top 3 outfielders. We're also giving some consideration to Jose Mendez (P) and Alejandro Oms (OF), who finished 25th and 26th on our 1958 ballot. In particular, Mendez gets far more votes from us than Luque.

Yes, and other omissions include Cepeda Sr, and others who did not play much or at all in the US (either MLB or Negro Leagues), and therefore are not being considered much for the HOM.

Also shouldn't Bruce Chen get something in the Chinese-Panamanian division?


This was a response to OCF's original post on the Latino-Chevy thread on Primer a few days ago.

Is there a case for Cepeda, Sr.?
   69. Chris Cobb Posted: August 25, 2005 at 05:47 PM (#1572627)
Perucho Cepeda (along with Francisco Coimbre and Tetelo Vargas) came up for discussion briefly in the early 1950s as Latin candidates who might have been overlooked.

At that time, Gadfly gave more information about them and also gave the opinion that Alejandro Oms was more deserving than the other three (I think he though Cepeda was probably next in line). It was that discussion that prompted me to undertake serious work on Oms. Cepeda, Coimbre, and Vargas are certainly deserving of more consideration than they have received. To give them serious analysis, though, would entail a much deeper engagement with the Puerto Rican Winter League than we have so far managed. I'm doubtful that Coimbre or Vargas would be serious candidates. Their stats in limited NeL play are very good but not outstanding in that context. Cepeda, as noted above, never played in the U.S., so his case would depend entirely upon interpretation of the PWL record. Since he might be the best of the three, he is probably the most serious omission.

You can track down Gadfly's posts for more info.
   70. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 25, 2005 at 06:15 PM (#1572731)
Thanks, Chris. Sometime today, I'll will set up a thread for him. If he's a serious candidate, then he deserves more debate than has been given to him so far.
   71. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 25, 2005 at 06:21 PM (#1572760)
I'd like to add two names to these lists of possibly overlooked Latinos as well.

Ramon Bragana and Miguel "Cocaina" Garcia. I know they both played extensively in the Mexican League and in the various carribean winter leagues. I think they may have both had some NgL exposure as well, though I don't know to what extent. They're both pitchers which makes them doubly inscrutable....

One Lation coming up who I think we might want to really home in on is Silvio Garcia (nickname: Cuba Libra). He was a two-way player: a pitcher and shortstop. He played in about every league imaginable, including the NgLs, MxL, CWL, and (I think) PRWL. As I've been researching various players' records, his keeps popping up as being excellent.

One more guy to add to the list might be Claro Duany who seems to have had a very good peak just after the war in various Latino leagues, but I know precious little about him beyond that.
   72. sunnyday2 Posted: August 25, 2005 at 06:37 PM (#1572836)
John, why not a thread for Latino candidates generally or else title it as Cepeda, Coimbre, Vargas, Bragana, Duany and Garcia, or whatever. I agree that we ought to not let Latinos who didn't nec. play in the U.S. be missed.

Or, John, should we just go read the Latino thread on BP? Is there stuff there that would be helpful? What's the link?
   73. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 25, 2005 at 06:46 PM (#1572876)
Oh, oh, oh. One more name. Bobby Avila. While Avila's mostly remembered for hitting .350something in the 1950s with the Tribe, he played in Mexico and throughout the Carribean in the 1940s. He'll merit some special attention when the time comes to make sure we're not missing half his career.
   74. Rusty Priske Posted: August 25, 2005 at 07:30 PM (#1573059)
If by underrating him, you mean not in your top 30 (as opposed to just not having slotted him yet), then I'd have to agree. ;)

He is not slotted.

My first reaction was to have him at #1.

I looked at the nubmers available, read what I could, and then found him sitting just off my ballot.

This just feels wrong.

I will be ready the threads very closely between now and next week.
   75. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 25, 2005 at 07:43 PM (#1573143)
Just as an FYI, here's the major NgL hitters that are coming up for review over the next several elections. I'm hoping that KJOK can continue to post the scans he's lately been posting for these guys because his information is much more complete than the sources I have available to me.

J. "DCMG" Murphy, if we're still trying to be an election ahead of ourselves on creating threads for NgL player discussion, then a thread for Silvio Garcia would be much appreciated (when you have a chance, of course).

Hitters coming up through 1965 who I'll try to get some MLEs worked up for as they become eligible....

1960
Silvio Garcia

1961
Pee Wee Butts

1962
Jackie Robinson
Hank Thompson
Bus Clarkson
Monte Irvin

1963
Roy Campanella
Artie Wilson

1964
Bonnie Serrell

1965
Bobby Avila
Lary Doby

I'll try to stick to hitters because, quite honetsly, I have trouble with pitchers. Chris Cobb does a much better job with them, and perhaps by concentrating on the hitters, I can give him some extra room to work on the hurlers.
   76. Cblau Posted: August 26, 2005 at 02:11 AM (#1574155)
In reply to #57, I meant 1883. That year Orr played for Newark, except for the two stray ML games. After the minor league season ended, he played for the Mets.
   77. Sean Gilman Posted: August 26, 2005 at 07:32 AM (#1574721)
Because we shouldn't give boosts to players who were fortunate enough to play in a weaker league? That's not rewarding merit, that's rewarding luck. If you were fortunate enough to have your contract purchased by the New York Giants rather than the New York Yankees in the 1910s, your stats looked better because of it. This is something we should recognize and not be rewarding.

Looks to me like you're punishing players for something they have absolutely no control over. A player in 1910 who wanted to play at the highest level available to him would not refuse to sign with the New York Giants because it wasn't as good a league as the AL. A Major League is a Major League.

And this ignores the whole 'great players are uniquely penalized by blanket league discounts' argument, which I happen to think is one of the strongest pro-Browning arguments.

[em[The AA may or may not have been a true major league in its prime (probably it was, though the exhibition World Series is indicative of little, I feel; it was played because people thought it could make money). It certainly was not for someof Browning's years.

Why would it make money if not because it provided competition on a relatively equal playing field. If people didn't think the two leagues were both Major, why would they watch the games?

In fact, I question whether first season should be counted for him at all. When discussing minor league credit, many people agreed that it should only be given in exceptional "he should have been up" circumstances. Almost *all* major league quality players had a monster minor league season. Isn't it likely that the 1882 AA was simply Browning's monster minor league season? Wasn't the AA basically Double A calibre at best at that point? Shouldn't we lop it off, or, in the alternate, start backtracking everyone else on the ballot and start counting their incredible 20-21 YO performances in A or AA ball?

I mean no offense, but this is just flat-out ridiculous. No one thinks the UA is a major league, but nobody has claimed we should just pretend Fred Dunlap didn't play baseball that year.

1882 needs to be discounted, but you haven't provided any reason to discount more than, say, the 65% discount for the UA (which I think would be excessive, the AA had many more good players than the UA did), let alone a 100% discount for that year. Nor have you provided any reason to think that was his first season. In fact, Browning had been playing professionally in Louisville since 1877.

Finally, as to your last question, it's a bit late in the game I think to be questioning whether we can judge by the "meager statistical tools" at our disposal, given that most of the Negro League players we have considered have been voted in or left out based almost entirely on those tools.

The tools we use to evaluate Negro Leaguers are much more advanced than what we have had for the AA. They have been created, vetted and improved consistently for the last year or more.

All we've had for the AA are an old study of batting average, some guesses about WARP's discounts and the application of arbitrary percentages and quotas.
   78. Michael Bass Posted: August 26, 2005 at 07:46 AM (#1574723)
Looks to me like you're punishing players for something they have absolutely no control over. A player in 1910 who wanted to play at the highest level available to him would not refuse to sign with the New York Giants because it wasn't as good a league as the AL. A Major League is a Major League.

How on earth is it punishing them to normalize their stats in comparison to those who played in a tougher league at the same time? You're acting like Larry Doyle would have had the same stats in the AL. New flash: He wouldn't. You are rewarding players for luck that they had absolutely no control over if you don't adjust for it.

If people didn't think the two leagues were both Major, why would they watch the games?

I don't particularly care what people back then thought. A lot of fans, quite honestly, think a lot of silly things.

I mean no offense, but this is just flat-out ridiculous. No one thinks the UA is a major league, but nobody has claimed we should just pretend Fred Dunlap didn't play baseball that year.

1882 needs to be discounted, but you haven't provided any reason to discount more than, say, the 65% discount for the UA (which I think would be excessive, the AA had many more good players than the UA did), let alone a 100% discount for that year. Nor have you provided any reason to think that was his first season. In fact, Browning had been playing professionally in Louisville since 1877.


Dunlap is a completely irrelevant comparison. That was in the middle of his career. My point with Browning was that his 1882 may well have just been the great minor league player most HOM candiadtes are assumed to have and get no credit for.

Your second point may well be valid; I don't know much about his pre-AA days, or how good he or his league was pre-82.

The tools we use to evaluate Negro Leaguers are much more advanced than what we have had for the AA. They have been created, vetted and improved consistently for the last year or more.

All we've had for the AA are an old study of batting average, some guesses about WARP's discounts and the application of arbitrary percentages and quotas.


Note: The following comments are *not* to disparage the good work Chris Cobb has done.

The NL translations are based on, I believe, a dozen or so players, several of whom have severe age questions. The NL translations include 100% guesswork as to walks in many/most cases, as they simply were not recorded in the NLs.

Nothing's perfect, but it seems you are dismissing what we do have on the AA because you don't like the results. We don't know the exact formula that Davenport uses, but we know the gist: It is much like Chris does with the NL conversions, charting changes in player performances the year before and after a league change. It deserves at least as much credence as we give Chris's work, perhaps moreso with thinks like walks and more accurate park factors to work with.
   79. Sean Gilman Posted: August 26, 2005 at 10:47 AM (#1574742)
How on earth is it punishing them to normalize their stats in comparison to those who played in a tougher league at the same time? You're acting like Larry Doyle would have had the same stats in the AL. New flash: He wouldn't. You are rewarding players for luck that they had absolutely no control over if you don't adjust for it.

I'm not, I'm acting like I don't care what stats Larry Doyle would have put up in the AL. I know what he did in the Major Leagues, and that's enough for me.

It's punishing them for not joining what we think is the superior league, when all they wanted was to play at the highest level available to them: the major leagues.

Dunlap is a completely irrelevant comparison. That was in the middle of his career. My point with Browning was that his 1882 may well have just been the great minor league player most HOM candiadtes are assumed to have and get no credit for.

Your second point may well be valid; I don't know much about his pre-AA days, or how good he or his league was pre-82.


The point with the Dunlap comparison is that even if the league is awful (and I really doubt the 1882 AA was as bad as the UA), you still don't pretend it didn't happen just because someone happened to have a great year in a weak league.

Browning played for the semi-pro team in Louisville starting in 1877 (when he was 15 years old). According to:
http://www.jockbio.com/Classic/Browning/Browning_1.html
he even pitched a shutout against the National League Louisville team that season. He was a star in Louisville before the AA was formed.

Nothing's perfect, but it seems you are dismissing what we do have on the AA because you don't like the results.

I think I've provided quite a bit of rational justification for my opinion of Browning and the AA. You're welcome to disagree with me, but I really think that this kind of insult is uncalled for.

Frankly, if you can't defend your position without resorting to impugning the motives of people who disagree with you, I don't know why I should continue this conversation with you.
   80. Howie Menckel Posted: August 26, 2005 at 12:30 PM (#1574764)
Was just looking for the list of "HOM, not HOF" and "HOF, not HOM" that someone posted recently.

Is that cool enough to be on the main links page, anyway? Seems like a good way to lure a straggler in - I think the numbers of each are larger than a fan would expect...
   81. sunnyday2 Posted: August 26, 2005 at 01:09 PM (#1574813)
Re. the discussion among Sean, Michael and Howie: To me the key point was Sean's comment about a 100% discount.

Anything less than 100% is really immaterial. OK, can be material. But I doubt that an 8% discount for the average AA season is keeping Browning out of the HoM, or that a 2-3-4% or even 8% discount (or whatever people use) for the NL of the 1910s is what is keeping Doyle or Cravath or Roush out. Or that even a 65% discount for the UA is what is keeping Dunlap out.

(Granted that a 25% discount versus the MLE version of 8-10% for the NeLs might be keeping a couple of folks out.)

But still, the big issue is as Sean says, the 100% discount.

Bill James is honest and up front about first constructing a statistical rating and then injecting his "bullshirt dump" in constructing his final list. Unfortunately, the BS dump often functions as a 100% discount. And I think it functions in the same way for some of us.

E.g. James gives Browning 225 WS. Some of us normalize that to 154 games which is about a 30% boost to around 292, give or take. Some then discount that for the AA. I use 8%, pushing him back to about 269. (But of course I'm a peak/prime voter so Pete does well with me and the 269 or 225 or 292 is not entirely relevant.)

Of course the 269 isn't really very competitive today and neither is 292. But 292 certainly was once (Sam Thompson got in with less) and even 269 was at least worthy of consideration.

But I am quite sure that some of us, in our BS dump (and I don't use the term "BS" as a pejorative, again James used it to describe his own method), but in our BS dump we say, OK, 225, 269, 292, whatever, but then he played in the AA and he was a lousy fielder. Well of course the fielding is already in the uber-stat, but in the end we just say, the hell with it, the hell with Browning, he played in the AA and he was a lousy fielder. End of story.

That sorta sounds like a 100% discount to me.

The many many other examples would be not considering Dobie Moore's years with the Wreckers, which I think is unfair. OTOH sometimes a 100% discount seems appropriate to me, so, yes I'm guilty too. I don't have Buzz Arlett in my top 100, e.g. But I have Gavy Cravath in my top 20.

I just think, especially in the case of the NeLers but in other cases as well, if a guy was on a baseball diamond somewhere other than the MLs, we ought at least to consider that play and how it fits into a career curve. The burden of proof ought to be on justifying the 100% discount rather than on including those seasons in some fashion or another.

I discount the UA 65%. Was it a ML? No. I include some of Cravath's AAA time, yet AAA is not ML by definition. Some time ago I asked, if we're going to consider Buzz Arlett and the MxL and VenezuelanL and etc. etc., then why not George Sisler's time at the University of Michigan. I was roundly hooted down for that one. But I will repeat--if a guy demonstrated at some time that he was a MLer, and at some other time he was on a baseball diamond somewhere, it seems arbitrary to me to say that this league gets an 8% discount and that one a 10% and the other one 15%, and then everything else is 100%.
   82. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 26, 2005 at 03:29 PM (#1575040)
Sorry about not setting up those threads, but Jim Furtado has been revamping the ExpressionEngine program that I use to set up the threads, so I haven't had full access to all my normal functions at that site. Jim said I should have full access sometime today, so they should up and running fairly shortly.
   83. Chris Cobb Posted: August 26, 2005 at 04:37 PM (#1575221)
Re. the discussion among Sean, Michael and Howie: To me the key point was Sean's comment about a 100% discount.

Anything less than 100% is really immaterial. OK, can be material. But I doubt that an 8% discount for the average AA season is keeping Browning out of the HoM, or that a 2-3-4% or even 8% discount (or whatever people use) for the NL of the 1910s is what is keeping Doyle or Cravath or Roush out. Or that even a 65% discount for the UA is what is keeping Dunlap out.


A 100% discount is flat-out wrong. The idea of not giving Browning any credit for 1882, for example, is ridiculous and probably unconstitutional. Yes, it was a very weak league, but they were playing major-league baseball.

That said, I disagree with the claim that a 5% discount isn't keeping Browning out of the HoM. That's more or less what I apply, and I haven't ever supported Browning for election.

Let's talk about this in terms of OPS+ and the NeL conversions. If Browning's career is adjusted using a .975/.95 discount to BA and slugging, that drops his career OPS+ to 153.

If his playing time is normalized to 154-game seasons, it goes up from 1183 games to 1474, with 1300 during his 10-year prime from 1882-1891.

He is a below-average fielder without a competition adjustment. He's definitely a bad fielder with a competition adjustment.

This gives us a snapshot of Browning as
153 OPS+ 1474 games played, 1300 games in 10-yr. prime, bad fielder (cf, corner of, if)

That makes him comparable to the following group of later players:

Wally Berger
138 OPS+ 1350 gp, 1328 in 10-yr. prime, average in cf

Hack Wilson
144 OPS+, 1348 gp, 1271 in 10-yr prime, poor in cf

Ralph Kiner
149 OPS+, 1472 gp, 1472 in 10-yr prime, bad left-fielder


This comparison does not take into account any competition adjustments between eras, and it shows Browning as slightly better, at best, than short-career heavy-hitting outfielders Berger and Wilson, both of whom are virtually without any support from the electorate at all. It shows him as highly similar to Ralph Kiner, who may get serious consideration in a few years, but is nothing like a shoo-in. When his value is taken in league-adjusted context, these are his peers.

The only way a player with Browning's credentials looks like a top candidate is if one doesn't discount his accomplishments at all. If one adjusts for the AA but not for the 1880s, he looks like a borderline candidate. If one adjusts for the 1880s vs. the 1930s and 1940s, he drops below the borderline candidate level.
   84. Michael Bass Posted: August 26, 2005 at 05:11 PM (#1575300)
Sean - I apologize for the over the top rhetoric, I shouldn't be posting so late at night. :) I think we have to agree to disagree, especially on the "quality of major league" point, where I think we both think the other is insane.

As for 1882, I do not toss it out completely, just sort of putting it out for discussion. I do, however, disagree with:

Yes, it was a very weak league, but they were playing major-league baseball.

If the AA had dried up after 1883 and, thus, was never later given major league recognition, would that make 1882 any less meritorious? Does the fact that it did eventually become respectable make 1882 *more* meritorious? I don't care what it was called in retrospect, the 1882 AA (and the 1884 UA and the FL) were not major leagues. Does that mean we should wipe those records away? No. I give credit to Averill and Cravath, and I give credit for the UA and early AA. Just much lesser than raw stats would suggest.

Finally, I will admit that, like Chris suggests in his last sentence, what really keeps Browning off my ballot is that I do timeline. I have a feeling I would have PHOM'd him sometime in the 20s backlog otherwise, and he's still in my top 20, but he doesn't comp well to the newcomers coming up regularly. Same with Dunlap. Timelining is one of those things that isn't even worth arguing about any more, so I try not to bring it up in discussions like these.
   85. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 26, 2005 at 05:21 PM (#1575323)
Provisional ballot:

Hall of Merit ballot

1. Satchel Paige. May as well look back, Satch. No one's gaining on you.

2 Johnny Mize. Most underrated player ever? Well, so much for the easy part of the ballot. . . .

3. Clark Griffith. Personal favorite 1890s pitcher. Nice career, nice prime. The Rodney Dangerfield of the Hall of Merit.

4. Cool Papa Bell. I try to balance the info in the threads with general reputation. Also, I think the MLEs might underrate him (see my comment about Ichiro in the Bell thread).

5. George Van Haltren Very good player for an extended period of time who could do numerous things well. Nice career. Nice peak. Could pitch.

6. Mickey Welch. Thank you retrosheet. Turns out he earned those 300 wins. Offensive support only gave him 3-4 wins. Defensive support, though a little above average, was actually worse the defensive support of all major non-Galvin pitchers in the 1880s. In 1885, against the Cubs, he faced off against John Clarkson 7 times & won every game.

7. Biz Mackey. Better than Schang, and I have Schang on the ballot. IIRC, he's the #1 choice of both experts and players in the "Cool Papas and Double Duties" book as best Negro Leaguer not in Cooperstown.

8. Eppa Rixey. I like the big long career guys (that's the only reason Eppa even makes my ballot). I'm giving him a little WWI credit. I see him as not quite as good in his era as Mickey Welch was in his era.

9. Edd Rousch. Nice prime, good career length, good fielding, nice on the baseball paths. An overall good player.

10. Jake Beckley. You young'uns ain't going to believe this but in my first few elections I was the Best Friend of Jake (yes, even better than karlmangus). The more I look the less impressed I am. Created a lot of runs for his teams but also created a lot of outs for them.

11. Tommy Leach. All-time great fielder and a good hitter, too. Plus he played forever.

12. Wally Schang. Caught over 1400 games with a 117 OPS+? There's something you don't see everyday.

13. Wes Ferrell. He was a monster for a while, and lasted just long enough to rack up some decent career numbers.

14. Jimmy Ryan. A poor man's Van Haltren.

15. Bob Johnson. Coin flip between him and Medwick. The fourt point lead in OPS+ gives Johnson the razor thin edge for now.

16. Joe Medwick. Great prime, nice career, but he's a tweener. Needs a little bit more of something.

17. George Sisler. Really falls off for me in reevaluation. Great prime, but only seven years worth mentioning.

18. Cupid Childs. The D & OBP keep him above Larry Doyle. I buy the argument that it was tough to be an infielder in the 1890s.

19. Lave Cross. FREE LAVE!! One of the greatest fielders ever, an adequate bat, long career, caught some, too.

20. Joe Sewell. I'm not that high on any of the shortstops, but he's the best

21. Larry Doyle. Needed some better defense or another year or two. If he had that he'd be near the top of my ballot. Tough crowd.

22. Ernie Lombardi. Great hitting prime at a tough position to hit at. Terrible defense, though.

23. Red Ruffing. I'd like to see more from a guy pitching for the Yanks.
   86. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 26, 2005 at 05:32 PM (#1575355)
Since Chris J. brought up whether or not Bell is underrated by the MLEs....

When I did that little workup for Bell, I examined his walk rate. It is roughly consonant with the major league average when seen through the lens of the league he was in.

Chris Cobb comped CPB's walk rate to Max Carey's. The Mexican numbers suggest this is a reasonable approach. If anything, Carey walked a little more often, but it's close enough that the comparison works more than it doesn't. Which, in turn, means that since the walk rate looks good, that means that, if the AVG conversion is correct, then the OBP+ component of the OPS+ conversion should look good.

So the question again comes back to Bell's slugging. Were all his xBHs the result of speed or power or ballpark or everything?
   87. ronw Posted: August 26, 2005 at 05:37 PM (#1575371)
Howie wrote:

Was just looking for the list of "HOM, not HOF" and "HOF, not HOM" that someone posted recently.

Is that cool enough to be on the main links page, anyway? Seems like a good way to lure a straggler in - I think the numbers of each are larger than a fan would expect...


Here is my latest through 1959. I would be willing send John Murphy an update each election.

Eligible Through 1959

30 HOM not HOF

Barnes, Ross
Beckwith, John
Bennett, Charlie
Brown, Ray
Caruthers, Bob
Dahlen, Bill
Glasscock, Jack
Gore, George
Grant, Frank
Groh, Heinie
Hack, Stan
Hill, Pete
Hines, Paul
Jackson, Joe
Johnson, Grant
Magee, Sherry
McVey, Cal
Pearce, Dickey
Pike, Lip
Richardson, Hardy
Santop, Louis
Sheckard, Jimmy
Start, Joe
Stovey, Harry
Suttles, Mule
Sutton, Ezra
Torriente, Christobal
White, Deacon
Wilson, Jud

58 HOF not HOM

Averill, Earl
Bancroft, Dave
Beckley, Jake
Bell, Cool Papa
Bender, Chief
Bottomley, Jim
Bresnahan, Roger
Chance, Frank
Chesbro, Jack
Combs, Earle
Cuyler, Kiki
Dandridge, Ray
Dean, Dizzy
Doerr, Bobby
Duffy, Hugh
Evers, Johnny
Ferrell, Rick
Gomez, Lefty
Griffith, Clark
Grimes, Burleigh
Hafey, Chick
Haines, Jesse
Hooper, Harry
Hoyt, Waite
Jackson, Travis
Jennings, Hugh
Johnson, Judy
Joss, Addie
Kelly, George
Klein, Chuck
Lazzeri, Tony
Lindstrom, Freddy
Lombardi, Ernie
Manush, Heinie
Maranville, Rabbit
Marquard, Rube
McCarthy, Tommy
McGraw, John
Medwick, Joe
Mize, Johnny
Paige, Satchel
Pennock, Herb
Rice, Sam
Rixey, Eppa
Roush, Edd
Ruffing, Red
Schalk, Ray
Sewell, Joe
Sisler, George
Smith, Hilton
Tinker, Joe
Traynor, Pie
Waddell, Rube
Waner, Lloyd
Welch, Mickey
Willis, Vic
Wilson, Hack
Youngs, Ross
   88. ronw Posted: August 26, 2005 at 05:38 PM (#1575372)
That's 29 HOM not HOF, not 30. Stupid math.
   89. sunnyday2 Posted: August 26, 2005 at 06:49 PM (#1575565)
Chrisw C., I think you said exactly what Michael said, only in different words. IOW it's not the 5=8% competition discount that keeps Browning off ballots, it's the timeline.
   90. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 26, 2005 at 07:04 PM (#1575608)
I should note, in trying to get back into the HoM swing of things, I: 1) looked through the Negro Leagues threads of the most important return-ees, 2) took a look at 32 of the leading white hitters at b-ref, noting their career length, career OPS+, top ten single season OPS+s, and also checked their career win shares & defensive letter grade and similar stuff. The most notable returnees I didn't check on were John McGraw, George Burns, and Dom Dimaggio - none of whom I'd vote for. 3) I did no new research at all on the pitchers. I've already done some research on those guys.

Question - what't the big deal about Earl Averill? Compare him to say, Edd Rousch. Here are their top ten single season OPS+s:

....ER...EA
1.
..159..159
2.
..153..149
3.
..148..149
4.
..147..142
5.
..143..139
6.
..141..135
7.
..134..133
8.
..124..120
9.
..124..119
10..123
..116 


Pretty dang similar, I'd say with a narrow lead to Rousch. Averill had a higher career OPS+ 133-126, but I'd say that's due to Averill having no career outside his prime while Rousch did have some extra hang around time. For me, that wipes out Averill's advantage in that category.

Rousch's OPS is also more OBP-heavy. And he stole a lot more bases. Averill does have an edge in the field, but they were both fantastic fielders. That might erase the differences on the basepaths, but not career length.

Meanwhile, Rousch came in 37th last election while Averill came in 9th. I don't get it.
   91. sunnyday2 Posted: August 26, 2005 at 07:05 PM (#1575611)
Here's where I've ended up after lots of interesting discussions and comps this week/year.

1. Mize--PHoM
2. Paige--PHoM
3. Jennings
4. Moore
5. Medwick
6. Sisler
7. Bond
7a. Boudreau
8. Wadddell
9. Mendez
9a. Beckwith
10. Joss

11. Williamson
12. Brown
13. Browning
14. C. Jones
14a. Hack
15. Gordon

16. Klein
17. Doyle
18. Cravath
19. Doerr
20. Duffy

21. Trouppe
21a. Stovey
22. Rixey
23. Averill
24. Childs
25. Dean
26. Oms
27. Monroe
28. Cicotte
29. Sewell
30. McCormick

Other notables who have been a topic of discussion this weekor are required:

32. Bell
34. Bresnahan
37. Ruffing
39. Mackey
40. Ferrell
42. Redding
43. Keller
45. Dunlap
46. H. Smith

53. Dandridge
68. Lombardi
78. Easter
96. Wright

Newbies 1960 and 1961 have been incorporated into the master list (but not 1962 or subsequent). They would slot in as follows:

Newhouser--#8 in 1960 and he and Boudreau go PHoM
Day--#39 in 1960
Kiner--#1 in 1961 after Mize and Paige are gone, PHoM
Vern Stephens--roundabout #16 in 1961, right among the Gordon-Doerr-Doyle-Childs-Hack group.

Of all of the above, I still need to take another look at the catchers. The gap from Trouppe to Mackey looks too wide, but for now, there it is. And I am open to seeing more of Leon Day's record but so far he comps Hilton Smith for me.
   92. andrew siegel Posted: August 26, 2005 at 07:05 PM (#1575613)
A tentative ballot:

(1) Paige (new)-- His quality is harder to determine from his records than most other NeL's due to his team jumping, barnstorming, clowning, etc. I still think that if he had been white, he'd have been dropped in a rotation at 22 and put up a Tom Seaver/Greg Maddux/ Christy Mathewson level career. Since that is informed speculation rather than something more concrete, I can't argue with anyone who has him lower based on the numbers.

(2) Mize (new)--Fully qualified.

(3) Jennings (2nd)
(4) Van Hatlren (3rd)

(5) Moore (6th)--The best SS of the early 1920s. I'm finally willing to give him full credit for his A-level peak.

(6) Ferrell (4th)
(7) Averill (5th)

(8) Rixey (8th)
(9) Childs (7th)-- Drops a spot due to nagging concerns about career length.

(10) Duffy (10th)--Hugh and his doppleganger might deserve to rank behind the knot of OF/1B with longer careers currently ranked 13-17 but, for now, I'm partial to their well-rounded skill sets.
(11) Oms (11th)

(12) Ruffing (14th)-- Trying to keep him one step, rather than two, behind Rixey.

(13) Medwick (13th)--I have re-evaluated Jimmy Ryan, Beckley, and Roush, and come to the conclusion that they are all essentially equal in value to Medwick and Sisler. I have thought long and hard about whether to move Medwick and Sisler down or move the others up. In the end, I just think these guys had more value than the alternatives such as Charley Jones, Joe Sewell, or Bobby Doerr. So, they go 13-17.
(14) Jimmy Ryan (off ballot, somewhere in the 20's)
(15) Sisler (12th)

(Roush is 16; Beckley is 17.)
   93. sunnyday2 Posted: August 26, 2005 at 07:06 PM (#1575614)
Oh, and forgot to list the other newbie, Bob Elliott, who is at #33.
   94. Michael Bass Posted: August 26, 2005 at 07:23 PM (#1575659)
Meanwhile, Rousch came in 37th last election while Averill came in 9th. I don't get it.

Seems pretty simple to me. Roush was basically incapable of staying in the lineup, and thus has little in the way of peak, and a limited prime. Averill, meanwhile, was a workhorse his entire productive major league career.
   95. Sean Gilman Posted: August 26, 2005 at 07:44 PM (#1575704)
Sean - I apologize for the over the top rhetoric, I shouldn't be posting so late at night. :) I think we have to agree to disagree, especially on the "quality of major league" point, where I think we both think the other is insane.

Fair enough, Michael. I should plead 'posting late at night' myself.

I don't think you're insane, I just disagree with you. I can certianly understand your point of view. Much of this project is far more subjective than it seems most of us are willing to admit. It's the combination of our different subjectivites that gives the HOM its meaningfulness.

Finally, I will admit that, like Chris suggests in his last sentence, what really keeps Browning off my ballot is that I do timeline.

I agree it probably isn't worth arguing about anymore, but suffice it to say I'm 100% opposed to timelining.
   96. Sean Gilman Posted: August 26, 2005 at 07:51 PM (#1575715)
Adding to the above OPS+ comparison of Averill and Roush:

....ER...EA...PB
1...159..159..222 (1882)
2...153..149..190
3...148..149..177 (1883)
4...147..142..177
5...143..139..173
6...141..135..169
7...134..133..163
8...124..120..154
9...124..119..151
10..123..116..138
   97. Trevor P. Posted: August 26, 2005 at 08:02 PM (#1575724)
My question for this election is: will Stan Hack voters be supporting Bob Elliott's candidacy? I had Hack 2nd on last year's ballot, and I fully expect to have Elliott top five this year. Taking a look at their top-ten seasons in OPS+ (I've thrown in Heinie Groh as well, for the sake of comparison) Elliott seems to come out well ahead of Hack:

OPS Hack Elliott Groh
1 142* 147 150
2 142* 145 148
3 132* 140 143
4 132 135 131
5 129 134* 123
6 125 134* 122
7 118* 126 121
8 111 123* 120
9 105 116* 107
10 105* 112 103

(Stars indicate seasons from 1941-1945)

Hack's peak comes during the war years, while Elliott's is after, which I think would appeal to peak voters. Granted, Hack's OPS is weighted more to the OBP side of the equation, but enough to make up the difference? I don't know; especially since Elliott knew how to take a walk or two, as well (top ten in the league, in both walks and OBP, four times).

Fielding-wise, according to FRAA they're pretty similar: Hack is -19 FRAA for his career while Elliott is -9. (Of course, Groh's fielding beats both of them.)

Yet I'm getting the feeling, in the upcoming election, that Elliott's going to be squeezed off ballots which Hack appeared on the year prior. Am I wrong in assuming that? Am I missing something in this analysis?
   98. Trevor P. Posted: August 26, 2005 at 08:05 PM (#1575731)
Sorry 'bout the formatting. How do you make a nice clean table?
   99. andrew siegel Posted: August 26, 2005 at 08:25 PM (#1575772)
Roush v. Averill

The two are basically even in your OPS+ chart, but Averill needs some minor league credit, played in a better league, was a better defender, and was much more durable.

Because of those differences, I have Averill 7th and Roush 16th this time, but I agree they are basically similar players.
   100. Chris Cobb Posted: August 26, 2005 at 08:31 PM (#1575790)
Trevor,

If you're wondering why Elliott will be getting less support than Hack, you need look no farther than win shares.

OPS+ sees Elliott as the better hitter:

Elliott 1978 g, 124 OPS+
Hack 1938 g, 119 OPS+.

WARP1 sees the two as almost identical, correctly (I think) weighting Hack's great OBP a bit more heavily:

Elliott 1978 g, .295 EQA, 569 BRAR
Hack 1938 g, .296 EQA, 582 BRAR

Hack is 13 BRAR above replacement, or 4 win shares, ahead.

Win shares, however, sees Hack as a more productive hitter:

Elliott, 237.5 bws
Hack 250.5 bws

Hack is 13 win shares ahead


On the defensive side, WARP sees Hack's defense as somewhat more valuable, mostly it seems because he played his whole career at third, where Elliott played about 500 games in the outfield, mostly in the corners (a detail that shouldn't be overlooked).

Elliott 257 FRAR
Hack 278 FRAR

Hack is 21 FRAR, or 6 win shares, ahead

Win shares sees Hack's defense as distinctly superior:

Elliott 51.4 fws
Hack 65.7 fws

Hack is 14.3 win shares ahead.

If you trust WARP, Hack is about 10 win shares better than Elliott for his career.

If you trust win shares, Hack is about 27.3 win shares ahead, which with the win shares rounding becomes 29 win shares.

That's a very big difference.

I haven't done the study yet, but if I were a betting man, I'd put good money on Hack's teams' winning percentage being a good deal better than Elliott's over the course of their careers.
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