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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Sunday, January 22, 2006

1969 Ballot Discussion

1969 (January 30)-elect 2
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)

604 188.1 1942 Stan Musial-LF/1B (living)
375 119.5 1947 Yogi Berra-C (living)
309 107.9 1941 Early Wynn-P (1999)
263 76.6 1947 Gil Hodges-1B (1972)
209 69.8 1947 Sherm Lollar-C (1977)
219 57.4 1947 Vic Wertz-RF/1B (1983)
181 62.8 1951 Johnny Logan-SS (living)
157 40.7 1952 Johnny Temple-2B (1994)
132 45.3 1954 Don Hoak-3B (1969)
118 45.3 1954 Frank Sullivan-P (living)
116 37.8 1952 Wally Post-RF (1982)
117 31.8 1951 Charlie Maxwell-LF (living)
102 28.8 1953 Daryl Spencer-SS/2B (living)
103 24.0 1954 Jim Lemon-RF/LF (living)

HF% Career Name-pos (born) BJ – MVP - All-Star
00% 3?-63 Diomedes Olivo-P (1919) – 0 – 0

Players Passing Away in 1968
HoMers
Age Elected

88 1924 Sam Crawford-RF
78 1938 Heinie Groh-3B
67 1956 Mule Suttles-1B/LF

Candidates
Age Eligible

86 1923 Hans Lobert-3b
86 1932 Babe Adams-P
77 1929 Earl Hamilton-P
77 1932 Hank Severeid-C
72 1937 Bill Sherdel-P
72 1937 Rip Collins-P
61 1949 Tommy Bridges-P
57 1956 Al Benton-RP
54 1962 Ellis Kinder-RP/SP
48 1961 Vern Stephens-SS

Thanks to Dan and Chris!

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 22, 2006 at 09:20 PM | 234 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 24, 2006 at 02:08 AM (#1835114)
hot topics
   2. sunnyday2 Posted: January 24, 2006 at 02:23 AM (#1835132)
1. Musial
2. Berra
3. who cares
   3. TomH Posted: January 24, 2006 at 02:25 AM (#1835136)
marc and I appear to be in agreement!
   4. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 24, 2006 at 02:29 AM (#1835139)
marc and I appear to be in agreement!

Ditto. I'm finishing up their plaques already.
   5. karlmagnus Posted: January 24, 2006 at 02:48 AM (#1835175)
1. Musial
2. Beckley
3. Berra

-- speaking personally!
   6. OCF Posted: January 24, 2006 at 03:10 AM (#1835216)
There are new candidates who will obviously be elected as soon as possible - Musial and Berra this time, and looking ahead you can see a list of such candidates. Then there's the established backlog, for which the support has been getting flatter and more spread out as they approach the top.

We do need to respect the third category: new candidates who need to be accurately placed against the backlog. This year, that's Wynn and Hodges. We owe it to these guys to give them a fair shot against our "old teddy bear candidates." Personally, I have Hodges falling out of contention immediately, but he is a popular HoF candidate, and I'm sure some of us will want to retain him. Wynn is going to be in my top 30 with a good chance at top 15; I'll need to spend some effort figuring out just where.
   7. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: January 24, 2006 at 03:47 AM (#1835275)
Karl,

Can I ask why Beckley is ahead of Berra for you?

I can't really see hits as Berra had more a) power and b)patience, plus he played a position that a) caused him to miss 15-20 games a season at least and b) generally wears players out early

I honestly have no earthly idea why Eagle Eye would be about Yogi. None.

Can you enlighten me?
   8. caspian88 Posted: January 24, 2006 at 03:48 AM (#1835277)
Hi. I'm looking to join in with the HOM, and apparantly I'm just supposed to post my ballot here, so I shall. I'm not quite finished yet, but here's the first few players on what would be my ballot:

1. Stan Musial - better hitter than Berra, and Berra's position advantage doesn't come close to overcoming that.
2. Yogi Berra - better hitter than anyone else on the ballot, and a catcher with a long career. These two were obvious.
3. Early Wynn - I haven't been able to accurately judge the Negro League pitchers yet, so he might move. Among major league pitchers, he's the best available, and I find him slightly better than Doerr or Bell. Short peak, though, and it wasn't terribly great (judging by ERA+, IP, and WARP3).
4. Cool Papa Bell - I read the discussion thread on him, and using his comps, this is about where I'd place him. A great fielder with excellent speed and on-base ability, maybe some power - Max Carey was brought up, but Bell was probobly better than that. I'd not put Carey this high, but I'd put Carey Plus about here.
5. Bobby Doerr - he appears to be a great hitting second baseman, which was becoming a rarity in his day. His defense is rated as "awesome" by BP, and WARP3 has his peak the equal of Gordon's, with more career value.
6. Clark Griffith - his peak was about as good as Wynn's (ERA+, IP, WARP3), but much less career value hurts him. I'd take Griffith's peak over Hodges' consistency.
   9. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: January 24, 2006 at 04:39 AM (#1835333)
Welcome!

Just a few tidbits, WARP3's timelining makes it nearly impossible to compare Wynn to Griffith. Look at WARP1 or WARP3 rankings within era to compare them. Or you could just use DERA and the translated stats. This problem will arise often if you use WARP3 to compare players across eras.

Also, do you have Gordon close to Doerr? If not you may have forgetten to give Gordon an extra season of war credit (Gordon missed two, Doerr one?) By WS I like Gordon's peak and prime much better, especially with war credit. Doerr does have more career I will admit. Still, I can't see how the two could be more than a few spots apart.
   10. sunnyday2 Posted: January 24, 2006 at 05:13 AM (#1835386)
>We do need to respect the third category: new candidates who need to be accurately placed against the backlog.

It looks to me that this is not a problem. All of the new guys are going to get elected ASAP.
   11. caspian88 Posted: January 24, 2006 at 06:28 AM (#1835483)
Good catch on Gordon - I don't see how I missed out on the war with him. I remembered Doerr's war season.
   12. Chris Cobb Posted: January 24, 2006 at 06:44 AM (#1835498)
It looks to me that this is not a problem. All of the new guys are going to get elected ASAP.

Well, they are either going to be elected almost immediately or be dismissed as serious candidates almost as immediately.

So far, not a single 1950s player has entered the "probably elect" backlog.

Lemon and Ashburn, not among the first-tier greats of the decade, have been elected very quickly.

Newcombe, Vernon, Rosen, Schoendienst, and Yost have been immediately buried.

This bifurcation is is partly a consequence of having a long baseball history behind us now. If the "could to probably elect" backlog is, more or less, the top 18 returning players each year, we now have 9 decades worth of players to drop into those spots. Assuming even distribution by decade, that would be 2 players from each decade in that backlog. Anyone even slightly above that narrow slice of borderline territory within each decade's ranking sails right in. Anyone even slightly below lands at #40 and drops from serious consideration. (Of course, our actual backlog is not so evenly divided, reflecting uneven distributions of talent and somewhat uneven treatments of different eras by the electorate, but the principle nevertheless holds that as more players gain eligibility, smaller and smaller differences in merit will create larger and larger differences in ranking.)

But it's still troubling: As I see it, there are only three 1950s stars between Richie Ashburn/Bob Lemon and Don Newcombe/Mickey Vernon in my rankings: Billy Pierce, Nellie Fox, and Minnie Minoso. These must be, if any will be, the borderline group for this decade. Will these three enter into the "could-to-probably elect" backlog, or will they sail over the top, or will they be buried?

Are the borderline players of earlier decades being fairly compared to the borderline players who are now becoming eligible? Ashburn's speedy election has made me more doubtful of this than I was before the 1968 results.
   13. jingoist Posted: January 24, 2006 at 10:45 AM (#1835605)
Bifurcation....now there's a word seldom seen in a baseball blog posting. I like it though; very much.
It aptly describes the phenomenon occuring; namely guys like Ashburn get elected ASAP and the Duffy's/GVH/Roush's languish and perhaps never get pulled into hall.
I gotta believe GVH was every bit the hitter Richie was, even better perhaps. He certainly drove in almost twice as many runs, stole more than twice as many bases and scored 300 more runs while drawing 300 fewer walks. And the folks who like Duffy's slugging gotta be asking, "Where's the respect"?
Yeah, I know it's an integrated league that Ashburn played in, thus a larger talent pool but it's not a highly integrated league....that doesn't happen until the '60's.

I think Chris is really onto something here and it bears additional analysis and discussion.
   14. TomH Posted: January 24, 2006 at 02:07 PM (#1835633)
big jump for Doerr this week. Can't say with total confidence it ISN'T deserved, but my quick take on Doerr vs Gordon:

a. very even w/ WII credit
b. pennant impact

I'm not a huge believer in counting team performance (sorry Phil Rizzuto), BUT. Doerr's team lost a lot of close pennant races (it is historically popular to blame Ted, the big gun, but in actuality Ted played well down the stretch in 48 and 49, their most heart-breaking years). Attaching a teensy portion of 'lost-pennant blame' to the Sox star 2Bman puts him below his contemporary for the Yankess.

and this is from a die-hard Sox fan.
   15. karlmagnus Posted: January 24, 2006 at 02:15 PM (#1835635)
jschmeagol, Beckley had a much longer career, at a defensive position that was only moderately less salient (and Berra was an OF for some of his career) and Berra played in the weker of the two leagues, for by far the strongest team in it (thus against weak opposition) whereas much of Beckley's career was in a 1-league environment. I grant you it's close, but not all that close.

It's not close enough for a tiebreaker, but if it were, Berra wouldn't get it. Damn Yankee!
   16. Jeff M Posted: January 24, 2006 at 02:16 PM (#1835636)
Karl, Can I ask why Beckley is ahead of Berra for you?

Are you still trying to solve the Beckley riddle? Schroedinger's Cat was an easier conundrum. LOL

   17. karlmagnus Posted: January 24, 2006 at 02:18 PM (#1835638)
The closer and arguable race is Berra/Schnozz, which looks to me very tight indeed, once you take league strength into consideration.
   18. Rusty Priske Posted: January 24, 2006 at 02:32 PM (#1835647)
Prelim

1. Stan Musial
2. Yogi Berra
3. George Van Haltren
4. Willard Brown
5. Jake Beckley
6. Cool Papa Bell
7. Biz Mackey
8. Mickey Welch
9. Dobie Moore
10. George Sisler
11. Hugh Duffy
12. Tommy Leach
13. Early Wynn
14. Edd Roush
15. Quincy Trouppe

16-20. Griffith, Ryan, Doerr, Rice, Childs
21-25. Redding, Sewell, Smith, Streeter, White
26-30. Strong, Gleason, Grimes, Kiner, Willis
   19. Howie Menckel Posted: January 24, 2006 at 02:55 PM (#1835662)
I find it astounding that Ashburn could get elected over Cool Papa Bell AND George Van Haltren (and I'm not even a fan of Van Haltren; he went No. 15 for me while Ashburn went unselected).

The key: Be the best borderline guy available in a weak balloting year. Bleh.
   20. sunnyday2 Posted: January 24, 2006 at 03:16 PM (#1835670)
>The closer and arguable race is Berra/Schnozz, which looks to me very tight indeed, once you take league strength into consideration.

If league strength is trump, then forget Schnozz, elect all of Richie Ashburn's contemporaries, starting with Gil Hodges. If league strength is trump.

>The key: Be the best borderline guy available in a weak balloting year. Bleh.

No, be the newest borderline guy....
   21. Howie Menckel Posted: January 24, 2006 at 03:19 PM (#1835672)
Yes, Marc, I meant "best NEW borderline guy available..."
   22. andrew siegel Posted: January 24, 2006 at 03:22 PM (#1835676)
I am skeptical that Richie Ashburn benefited from a shiny new toy effect. Most of the longterm voters are conservative in their ballot placements of new guys to ward off the effect. As a result, Ashburn came in 16th-20th on an awful lot of ballots, often with comments saying "might deserve to be higher" or "I'm being cautious." Similar comments were seen on a number of ballots that had him #12-15. I, for one, had him number 7 on my (unposted) prelim, dropped him to #13 on my submitted ballot, and decided over the course of the week that my initial inclinations had been closer to the truth. If unelected, he would have moved up somewhere between four and seven spots on my next ballot.
   23. Chris Cobb Posted: January 24, 2006 at 03:37 PM (#1835690)
The key for Ashburn was his 100+ WARP3, I think. I would guess that helped him to secure his elect-me votes, which put him over the top, and were the only part of the balloting that really surprised me.

In 1969, Musial, Berra, and Wynn will head my ballot, in that order. Wynn's placement is slightly uncertain, but he won't be lower than 4th on my ballot.

Wynn's pre-Cleveland record isn't impressive, but he was an average to above average pitcher 1943-47 (missing 1945 and half of 1946, it looks like, to the war). He was terrible in 1942 and 1948, and my system basically zeros out those two seasons, but that still that leaves him with a strong peak with Cleveland and over 4000 IP. I think he's a bit better than Rixey, whom we just elected, and whom I had at #2. I'm still weighing him vs. Griffith, who was #1 on my ballot in 1968. Griffith is the 4th best pitcher of the 1890s, Wynn the 4th best of the 1950s, behind Spahn, Roberts, and Ford. Griffith always knew how to win, Wynn didn't, but Wynn also helped his teams as an innings-eater; Griffith didn't.
   24. Chris Cobb Posted: January 24, 2006 at 04:33 PM (#1835745)
I should add that in voting for Wynn I'm not sure we shouldn't instead by voting for Mel Harder, who looks to me to have an increasingly good case for induction into a coaches and manager's wing, if we ever have one.

How many other pitching coaches can be seen as directly responsible for teaching two Hall of Famers how to pitch? Harder gets credit for both Lemon and Wynn.
   25. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: January 24, 2006 at 04:40 PM (#1835757)
You are right Jeff I shouldn't even ask karl about Beckley and just assume he ranks in his top 30 players of all time for no good reason. ugh.
   26. DL from MN Posted: January 24, 2006 at 04:58 PM (#1835799)
I actually have Wynn as slightly below Rixey but it's darned close.

I'd like to figure out how to place Dick Redding and Jose Mendez better on the ballot. For lack of a better method I've just joined them at the hip to pitchers that seem comparable. I've got Redding slotted between Vic Willis and Tom Bridges and I've got Mendez just ahead of Bucky Walters. It is a pain to use the search to find the player threads (they're obscured by the ballot threads) so I wouldn't mind if they were bumped up to the top. I should look over Willard Brown in more detail also since he's in the top 10 and I have him at 27.

prelim ballot
1. Musial, Stan
2. Berra, Yogi
3. Mackey, Biz
4. Griffith, Clark
5. Bell, Cool Papa
6. Trouppe, Quincy
7. Wynn, Early
8. Sewell, Joe
9. Van Haltren, George
10. Doerr, Bobby
11. Johnson, Bob
12. Willis, Vic
13. Redding, Dick
14. Bridges, Tommy
15. Oms, Alejandro (looking ahead I have Minoso right behind Oms)
----
16. Beckley, Jake
17. Leach, Tommy
18. Waddell, Rube
19. Cravath, Gavy
20. Moore, Dobie
21. Mendez, Jose
22. Walters, Bucky
23. Ryan, Jimmy
24. Roush, Edd
25. Gordon, Joe

Gil Hodges slots around 43.
   27. Daryn Posted: January 24, 2006 at 05:19 PM (#1835847)
For those who have Welch on their ballots, how do you compare him to Wynn?

Here is my top 5 prelim. I've got two 3000s and two 300s in my top 5:

1. Musial -- his most similar player scores a 763. That’s Rickey good.

2. Berra – best catcher to date. As Yogi says, “It’s tough to make predictions, specially about the future”, but I think this will be the only ballot we get to vote for Berra so it won’t be like “déjà vu all over again”.

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

4. Cool Papa Bell – It seems likely he would have exceeded 3000 hits with tremendous speed and great defense in a key position.

5. Early Wynn – starting him low, he’s a good comp for Welch and may be better. I’m sure most voters here will have him well above Welch. Definitely, IMO, better than Grimes, who I have at 6.
   28. sunnyday2 Posted: January 24, 2006 at 05:21 PM (#1835852)
>The key for Ashburn was his 100+ WARP3, I think. I would guess that helped him to secure his elect-me votes, which put him over the top, and were the only part of the balloting that really surprised me.

If this is the HoWARP3, then the backlog is gonna do pretty horsebleep from here on out. I know the veteran HoM voters have all come to peace with WARP's gigantic timeline adjustments, or not (as my case, not). I hope the newer HoMies understand what WARP is doing. It is not measuring value, it is measuring ability--whether an old-timer could jump off the time machine and play ball today. If that's your idea of "fair to all eras," so be it. But if WARP3 is the be all and end all, we shoulda started voting in 2005 and gone backwards. Using WARP3 implies that you want the 220 players with the most ability, not the most valuable or meritorous from "all eras."
   29. sunnyday2 Posted: January 24, 2006 at 05:24 PM (#1835859)
PS. Jake Beckley has never been on my ballot and is currently languishing down in the second 50 somewhere. Nevertheless, to say that karl supports Beckley for no good reason is a bit ego-centric. A guy who gets 2,930 hits in short seasons with a ton of 3B will be in my consideration set, anyway, forever, and not for no good reason.

As far as I'm concerned, karl has better reason to support Beckley those (whomever they support) based on 2006-centric numbers like WARP3. In my little world, WARP3 is no good reason.
   30. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: January 24, 2006 at 05:50 PM (#1835899)
I didn't say he supports him for no good reason, many people here support him for the HOM. I don't think anyone else thinks he is better than Yogi Berra.

Berra has a good argument to be the best ML catcher ever (he is obivously no Gibson).

Beckley, whatever his merits, has no argument to be amongst the top 10 1B ever. I think even his supporters here will agree with that.

I think it dubious to suggest that 1B in the 1890's was very close in importance as C in the 1950's.

I think it is highly dubious to give credit for a longer career to a player who plays a position with relatively little wear and tear when in comparison with one that plays a position known for its wear and tear. It is not like Berra was a three year wonder or anything.

I think it dubious to believe that the 1890's, while better than succeeding decades, was as tough as the AL of the 1950's. Especially enough to give a player from the 1890's a noticable boost.

I don't consider concepts that are dubious to be good reasons. Supporting him and having him at the top of this backlog is fine, I disagree strongly, but this backlog isn't that great. Putting him above Berra means that you are either putting Beckley into your top 30 or 40 players ever or severely underrating Berra. Karl's explanation seems to be a combination of both and they are not good reasons in my reckoning.
   31. Dizzypaco Posted: January 24, 2006 at 06:06 PM (#1835926)
There are members of the BBWAA who voted for Walt Weiss, Gregg Jefferies, and Doug Jones for the Hall of Fame this year, which I am taking to mean they think these three guys are hall worthy. There are voters on this site who think Jake Beckley was better than Yogi Berra. Neither should be taken seriously, and neither affects who gets in and who doesn't to the HOF/HOM. However, we should be careful about making fun of writers who hold strange opinions about who deserves to go in the HOF.
   32. ronw Posted: January 24, 2006 at 06:18 PM (#1835943)
sunnyday2

It's not just WARP3 that timelines. Because WARP1 moves the pitching replacement level down over time, modern pitchers will have more PRAR, and higher relative WARP1 numbers. In effect, this is a double-timeline.

I understand that the replacement levels are being moved because pitchers become less dependent on their fielders.

Case in point - pitchers within about 100 IP of Early Wynn (4500 IP)

Wynn - 4564 IP, 1244 PRAR, 116.9 WARP1
Clarkson - 4536.3 IP, 842 PRAR, 92.5 WARP1
Radbourn - 4535.3 IP, 660 PRAR, 83.1 WARP1
Mullane - 4531.3 IP, 652 PRAR, 88.8 WARP1
Plank - 4495.7 IP, 1050 PRAR, 108.2 WARP1
Rixey - 4494.7 IP, 1019 PRAR, 96.9 WARP1

Wynn has more WARP1, and substantially more PRAR than all the older pitchers (nearly 2 times more than the 1880's pitchers!)

Pause for Marc's anti-timelining scream

Now let's make Marc really happy with two more future 1st ballot HOMers:

Kaat - 4530.3 IP, 1102 PRAR, 106.1 WARP1
Jenkins - 4500.7 IP, 1308 PRAR, 123.8 WARP1

I don't think that our voters are solely looking at the career lines, but I really don't think Wynn/Jenkins are that much better than all of the pitchers with similar career IP.

Remember, these numbers also get further adjusted in favor of modern further if you use WARP3.

I like WARP, but I don't believe it can effectively be used for cross-era comparison of pitchers. Of course, this ineffectiveness is no different than Win Shares, which favors the older pitchers.
   33. sunnyday2 Posted: January 24, 2006 at 06:18 PM (#1835944)
>just assume he ranks in his top 30 players of all time for no good reason. ugh.

Direct quote.
   34. sunnyday2 Posted: January 24, 2006 at 06:21 PM (#1835953)
Ron, I am thrilled to be utterly contemptuous of WARP1 as well as WARP3 ;-) Thanks for giving me a reason.
   35. Chris Cobb Posted: January 24, 2006 at 06:21 PM (#1835954)
Mightn't our time be better spent in talking some more about players who aren't Jake Beckley?

Just hoping :-) .
   36. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: January 24, 2006 at 06:26 PM (#1835969)
And many people not in someone's top 30 players of all-time can be supported for a hall that honors 220 players.

In order to put Beckley in your top 30, you would need to make the assumptions made to place him above someone like Yogi Berra.

That was my point.

How is it hard to belive that you can have someone in your top 200 but not your top 30? That there can be godo reasons for the former but not for the latter?

By the way I don't know that karl has Beckley in his top 30 I was just picking an absurd number. Maybe I should have said "Above Yogi Berra" instead of "In his Top 30".
   37. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: January 24, 2006 at 06:35 PM (#1835991)
good point Chris. I will drop the topic.

At the same time isn't there a good reason to drop the replacement level of pitchers through time as they become less dependent on their defenses? WARP2/3's timelining is mostly about quality of competition, which I find to be too strong. The change in replacement level supposedly tracks differences in the game. If defenses become less important, it would stand to reason that pitchers become more important. This would cause the replacement level to drop (bad pitchers have more of an effect on the game) and would make good pitchers worth more. How is this different from valuing 1B more than CF in the 1890's or 3B more than 2B before 1930. The game changed and players values changed to reflect this. I find this to be perfectly acceptable.

On the same note does this mean we are then underrating defensive wizards from earlier times like Dave Bancroft, Pie Traynor, or someone even earlier? If so have we been overrating or have we overrated earlier pitchers. This coudl effect Clark Griffith, Mickey Welch, etc.

Or could this mean that we should skewer more towards pitching in the future with otherwise borderline guys like Guidry or Kaat making it in while leaving out guys like Smith and Mazeroski who might make it in without taking this effect into account?
   38. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: January 24, 2006 at 06:38 PM (#1836001)
Regarding Doerr/Gordon, I re-read that chapter in Politics of Glory last night, and here's my thoughts:

James's argument for Gordon is largely based on the comparison between Doerr and Gordon's road hitting statistics. On the other hand, when you look at measures such as OPS+, while Gordon has an advantage, it doesn't appear to be that great. That leads to 2 thoughts:

1)James may be underrating Doerr, because he shouldn't be penalized for making good use of Fenway Park.
2)OPS+ may be underrating Gordon because it doesn't take into account the greater difficulties that Yankee Stadium presented for a right-handed hitter in this era. Granted, there are always more right-handed hitters, but if the park played unusually well for left-handers and unusually bad for right-handers, then a generic ballpark adjustment isn't going to adequately reflect a player's value.

I'm not sure which of these make more sense to people. One other thing is that James sort of downplays Doerr's fielding advantage, emphasizing that Doerr has great fielding statistics, implying that they're inaccurate in some way.

BTW, if anyone has the year-by-year breakdowns of Doerr & Gordon's batting and fielding Win Shares, I'd appreciate it if you could e-mail me a copy. I'm thinking about trying to do a yearly comparison of the two, since their careers parallel.
   39. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: January 24, 2006 at 06:48 PM (#1836019)
I think you could have either one at the top (I prefer Gordon), but I can't see a reason to have more than 5-7 players between them. And Devin is probalby right on both accounts. However, James does say that adjusting park effects for handedness doesn't track value as much as it does ability (I think this is in the Win Shares book).

My personal view on this is that handedness and other variations in park effects should be taken into account when a player is being acquired or projected forward. Otherwise (MVP calculation, HOM type projects, etc.) regular park effects probalby track value better.

Did the Red Sox have a groundball staff in the late 40's? I am pretty sure that Gordon has the higher WS grade, though I don't have the numbers in front of me. He does have the better rep.
   40. karlmagnus Posted: January 24, 2006 at 07:00 PM (#1836039)
Mock as much as you like guys, but nobody has answered my league quality point in respect of Berra. IF the AL was substantially inferior to the NL in the 1950s, and the Yankees won the AL almost every year, then 1950s Yankees were playing against competition substantially worse than everbody else's, and equivalent in quality to the 1880s AA (when timelinining is removed). If we believe this, their stats need to be corrected for it. Mantle's an NB (as was Caruthers) and so's Berra, but Berra's about #120 not #30 (I would rank Beckley about #110.) Rizzutto we may well have overrated (though much of his Merit came in the 1940s, when the same doeasn't quite apply.) Whitey Ford, on the other hand, far from being Chairman of the Board, may have to be demoted to Assistant Vice President.
   41. karlmagnus Posted: January 24, 2006 at 07:06 PM (#1836054)
Sorry, my boo-boo, we haven't elected Rizzutto, we've deep-sixed him. My point stands; HOF overrates 50s Yankees, we shouldn't.
   42. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 24, 2006 at 07:49 PM (#1836114)
Okay, a bunch of responses:

However, we should be careful about making fun of writers who hold strange opinions about who deserves to go in the HOF.

Diz, I disagree with you on this one. The writers are becoming increasingly idiosyncratic in their selections, and not calling them on the rug (or making fun, whichever) for it is how they can be made somewhat accountable. If a guy votes for Hal Morris and not Blyleven (say), why should I take the HOF's selection process seriously?

2)OPS+ may be underrating Gordon because it doesn't take into account the greater difficulties that Yankee Stadium presented for a right-handed hitter in this era.

I think this is an entirely plausible line of logic. We don't seem to have L/R PFs, and in places like Yankee Stadium, Fenway, or Forbes Field they would probably be extremely valuable to have. In fact, they probably make/break a case like Gordon's. Or on the flip side will help us better understand whether a lefty like Nettles or Mattingly was really hitting into a, roughly, 98 PF or whether lefties hit into PFs around 102 and righties around 94 (or whatever the case may be).

The change in replacement level supposedly tracks differences in the game. If defenses become less important, it would stand to reason that pitchers become more important.

OK, then back to Ozzie Smith. If it's true that defense is progressively more pitcher-centric, then isn't Rabbit Marranville's defensive performance more (perhaps much more) impressive than Ozzie's? Or Rizzuto's? Does it mean that being rated the best defensive SS ever is not as electable of a trait as it once was? Especially when he played on turf?

Or to put it another way, how many runs more or less valuable is a typical position player in 1917 or 1933 than now?
   43. Dizzypaco Posted: January 24, 2006 at 08:06 PM (#1836143)
If a guy votes for Hal Morris and not Blyleven (say), why should I take the HOF's selection process seriously?

If I guy thinks Jake Beckley is comparable to Willie Mays, or better than Yogi berra, why should I take the HOM's selction process seriously?
   44. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 24, 2006 at 08:13 PM (#1836153)
Because Jake Beckley is much closer to Willie Mays than Hal Morris is to Bert Blyleven.

But more to the point, at the HOM you get to tell Karlmagnus all about why he's wrong and he gets to defend himself.

In the HOF world, the writers have no such public accountability.
   45. sunnyday2 Posted: January 24, 2006 at 08:17 PM (#1836160)
My turn for random thoughts:

1.

>On the same note does this mean we are then underrating defensive wizards from earlier times like Dave Bancroft, Pie Traynor, or someone even earlier?

Maybe ;-)

2.

To me the problem with WARP is not the changing specifications per se. It is that WARP places old timers at a virtually insurmountable disadvantage. If we are electing the Hall of WARP then Richie Ashburn is the first of a flood of players who will blow away a bunch of guys who, sans timeline, had every bit as much impact on the game, and often more, in their own time. WARP is meant to id the top 225 players of all-time. It is not useful for being "fair to all eras."

I have had Gordon ahead of Doerr from day one--until 1968 when I had Doerr #14 and Gordon #15 (and Doyle #13; the previous week it was Gordon #14, Doyle #15 and Doerr #16). I think it was a moment of weakness. Gordon has better hitting rate stats and, therefore, a higher peak. Doerr had in balance about one extra productive season, after you adjust both for seasons lost to WWII. Usually I would go peak vs. career, but these (three) guys are just so close....

3. Whitey Ford is a great ####### pitcher. Early Wynn could not hold his jock strap. Sorry about the technical talk. ;-)
   46. TomH Posted: January 24, 2006 at 08:20 PM (#1836167)
I do believe the AL was inferior to the NL in the 1950s.

To adjust for this, I add about 1 WS per full year to NL players. Or 0.3 WARP, or .007 batting average (and oba and slg).

I cannot see any logical reason to DOWNGRADE AL players in comparison to previous years, such as 1940. It wasn't that the AL got worse, it was that the NL got BETTER by adding players who used to play in the NegLg. It as if the Majors contracted with the Dominican leagues in 2007, with most of the Dominican stars going to the NL. To compare the 1950s AL with the 1880s AA is absurd.

By 1975 or so, the AL was back even with the NL. At that point I will add 1 WS to players in BOTH leagues. Except the schedule was 5% longer, so for players with 20 WS or about 160 hits, it comes out in the wash.
   47. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 24, 2006 at 08:23 PM (#1836175)
Or for that matter, there's this...

Hal Morris 5
Ozzie Guillen 5
Gary Gaetti 4
Rick Aguilera 3
Doug Jones 2
Greg Jefferies 2
Walt Weiss 1
Gary DiSarcina 0
Alex Fernandez 0

As was pointed out earlier none of these guys should have likely gotten a single vote. I don't know if some one really thuoght these players deserved a plaque, but I doubt it.

I'm a bit conspiratorial and cynical, and I find it more likely they voted for the guy who did them a favor at some point, or who was the source for a "one clubhouse source says..." piece, or whatever.

Why shouldn't that voter be asked explain him or herself? And why shouldn't they be poked fun at for voting for Hal (Freakin'!) Morris?
   48. andrew siegel Posted: January 24, 2006 at 08:34 PM (#1836197)
If you were to grant the accuracy of the WS numbers, it is hard to make a case for Doerr over Gordon. With proper credit for time lost to war and proper deductions for quality of competition during the war, the two are essentially even in career WS. (FWIW, my adjusted numbers have Gordon at 300 and Doerr at 297.) Since Gordon has substantially higher peak numbers and spent a season or two in the minors waiting for Lazzeri that Doerr spent learning on the job in the majors, Gordon's WS profile is clearly better than Doerr's.

Of course, you don't need to grant the accuracy of the WS numbers. Lots of systems, WARP for example, have Doerr ahead. There are a number of areas of dispute between the various systems, the major one being the quality of Gordon's defense. WS has Gordon and Doerr as virtually interchangable defensively, while WARP has Doerr substantially better than Gordon based on an assessment that Gordon was a terrible defensive 2B for the last few seasons of his career.

For now, I am largely rejecting WARP's late-career defensive numbers for Gordon b/c/ the subjective reports we have make no mention of such a decline, because WARP tends to overstate the importance of 2B defense in general, and because the change in his recorded defensive performance largely tracks his change in team (which raises the spectre of a park or team effect). However, I remain open to persuasion on this issue. If anyone has any information on how other semi-trustworthy defensive metrics deals with Gordon's defense, I would appreciate getting a look at it.
   49. Daryn Posted: January 24, 2006 at 08:37 PM (#1836200)
I honestly think some of the Hal Morris votes were people who thought they were voting for Jack Morris.
   50. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 24, 2006 at 08:45 PM (#1836213)
Berra has a good argument to be the best ML catcher ever (he is obivously no Gibson).

Beckley, whatever his merits, has no argument to be amongst the top 10 1B ever. I think even his supporters here will agree with that.


Absolutely my position about both of them. Berra is inner-circle, while Beckley is a non-inner-circle HoMer, IMO.

My point stands; HOF overrates 50s Yankees, we shouldn't.

You said the same thing about the Dodgers, too. Doesn't dominating your leagues for a decade (and then some) indicate that they had a few HoM-quality guys playing for them?
   51. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 24, 2006 at 08:45 PM (#1836215)
I honestly think some of the Hal Morris votes were people who thought they were voting for Jack Morris.
Daryn,

That's an interesting question, and if it's true then there's three things that leap to mind:

a) is this a hanging-chad kind of thing where writers can't figure out the ballot? (Having not seen the actual ballot, I ask: How hard can "vote for ten" be?)

b) shouldn't people who can't distinguish the two probably have their credentials thoroughly reviewed anyway, because the two players are nothing alike?

c) if they don't take enough time with baseball's highest honor to even bother checking the correct box (or whatever mechanism the ballot works by) and proofing their selections, then they're probably not giving it the kind of time and reflection it needs. (which means that either the job is not doable in the amount of time any writer has or that the writer himself is not giving it ample attention.)
   52. sunnyday2 Posted: January 24, 2006 at 08:53 PM (#1836226)
>Why shouldn't that voter be asked explain him or herself? And why shouldn't they be poked fun at for voting for Hal (Freakin'!) Morris?

If Will Clark had gotten the five votes that went to Hal Morris, he would still be eligible in 2007.
   53. TomH Posted: January 24, 2006 at 09:01 PM (#1836238)
I hereby timeline check mineself! approx midpoint years for my 15 ballot guys last election.

ballot spots . career centered at
1, 4,10,13, 14 1890-1905
3, 5, 7,11, 12 ..1920-30
2, 6, 8, 9, 15 ...1940-55

I pass mine check. Yay for me. I go back to work :)
   54. DavidFoss Posted: January 24, 2006 at 09:01 PM (#1836239)
If Will Clark had gotten the five votes that went to Hal Morris, he would still be eligible in 2007.

I think its clear that not many checked the maximum of ten names on the ballot. Its likely that Morris didn't take any votes away from anyone.
   55. karlmagnus Posted: January 24, 2006 at 09:49 PM (#1836326)
John, they did have some HOM calibre guys playing for them, name of Mantle and Berra, plus Slaughter for a year or two. Ford's not that far off. However I have to say the utter dominance of the 50s Yankees has always puzzled me, and others have remarked on it. Probably a fluke; Red Sox had nothing much other than Williams after about '52, Indians hadn't much hitting and White Sox were fast but not a great team. Who apart from Mantle, Berra and Ford off those teams do you expect to go into the HOM?
   56. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 24, 2006 at 10:00 PM (#1836351)
Who apart from Mantle, Berra and Ford off those teams do you expect to go into the HOM?

That's it, but that's not too shabby. :-)
   57. Mike Webber Posted: January 24, 2006 at 10:03 PM (#1836364)
BTW, if anyone has the year-by-year breakdowns of Doerr & Gordon's batting and fielding Win Shares, I'd appreciate it if you could e-mail me a copy.

Player:  GordonJoe
Year of Birth
:   1915
Year        Hit  Field  Pitch     Sum    WS
1938      12.14   6.42   0.00    18.56   19
1939      18.03   6.95   0.00    24.98   25
1940      18.57   7.43   0.00    26.00   26
1941      18.27   5.93   0.00    24.20   24
1942      24.56   6.46   0.00    31.02   31
1943      19.79   8.40   0.00    28.19   28
1944       0.00   0.00   0.00     0.00    0
1945       0.00   0.00   0.00     0.00    0
1946       3.53   5.69   0.00     9.23    9
1947      19.49   5.80   0.00    25.29   25
1948      17.88   6.28   0.00    24.16   24
1949      12.30   7.10   0.00    19.40   19
1950       8.23   3.38   0.00    11.61   12
Totals   172.81  69.84   0.00   242.64  242


Player
:  DoerrBobby
Year of Birth
:   1918
Year        Hit  Field  Pitch     Sum    WS
1937       0.44   1.64   0.00     2.08    2
1938       8.06   6.19   0.00    14.24   14
1939      10.87   6.63   0.00    17.51   17
1940      15.54   5.88   0.00    21.42   21
1941      11.56   3.67   0.00    15.23   15
1942      17.91   6.32   0.00    24.23   24
1943      16.09   7.77   0.00    23.87   24
1944      24.08   3.03   0.00    27.11   27
1945       0.00   0.00   0.00     0.00    0
1946      16.90  10.44   0.00    27.34   27
1947      10.77   7.79   0.00    18.57   19
1948      20.35   6.31   0.00    26.65   27
1949      16.14   8.68   0.00    24.82   25
1950      15.71   6.94   0.00    22.65   23
1951      11.99   4.38   0.00    16.37   16
Totals   196.40  85.68   0.00   282.08  281 
   58. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 24, 2006 at 10:08 PM (#1836380)
WS per 162 Games:

Doerr: 24.51
Gordon: 25.02
   59. OCF Posted: January 24, 2006 at 10:19 PM (#1836416)
Who apart from Mantle, Berra and Ford off those teams do you expect to go into the HOM?

They had that, but that's not enough. The 60's Giants had Mays, McCovey, Marichal, and and they didn't dominate. The late-50's Braves had Aaron, Matthews, and Spahn - what's not to like about that core? The story of those Yankees is also about Gil McDougald, Hank Bauer, Bob Cerv, a bunch of interchangeable pitchers being put in a position to succeed, and so on. A lot of the history of baseball involves the "Hall of the Very Good" and even the merely good players.
   60. Mark Donelson Posted: January 24, 2006 at 10:55 PM (#1836505)
A lot of the history of baseball involves the "Hall of the Very Good" and even the merely good players.

For a more recent example, see the late '90s Yankees. A lot (too much?) has been written about the lack of HOF-caliber players on those teams. But there are a lot of HOVG and good types.
   61. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: January 24, 2006 at 11:13 PM (#1836545)
In fact the Yankees entire history is really about that to some degree. Look at the best players at each position for the Red Sox and Yankees (including pitching rotations) and tell me they aren't even. The Red Sox may even be favored to win a series with that group. However, the Yankees have had tonds of HOVG or HOG types to fill around them.

And who is overrating the 1950's Yankees? The HOF has only Mantle, Berra, Ford, and Rizzuto. That is one mistake, which isn't too bad for a team that dominated the decade. It is the 20's/30's Yankees that are filled with HOF mistakes (Hoyt, Pennock, Lazzeri, Combs) not the 1950's Yankees.

Still, the point I think stands that the 1950's AL isnt' any worse than any leagues before it, it just didn't progress as much as the 1950's NL because the NL was more inclusive of NeL players (and dark latinos as well).

Karl,

I figured that your ranking of Beckley over Berra (sorry) dealt with a big overrating of Beckley. While I think you overrated Beckley by a lot it seems it is a really large underrating of Berra that has caused this. Where do you rank Berra amongst ML catchers? I would have to think that Berra can't be ranked lower than #5 and that the #5 catcher of all-time should be in the top 75 players of all-time. Otherwise, you may be underrating catchers for whatever reason (short careers, low amounts of games played per season, etc.)
   62. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 24, 2006 at 11:19 PM (#1836559)
Late 1998-9 Yankees

HOM/HOF material:
Jeter
Rivera
Clemens
Raines (though not in a full-time role)

Borderline HOM/HOF
Williams
Posada (still climbing)
Cone

HOVG
O'Neill
Wells
Pettitte
Knoblauch
Strawberry

GOOD
C. DAvis
T. Martinez
O. Hernandez?

OTHER
Brosius
A whole mess of relivers
   63. sunnyday2 Posted: January 24, 2006 at 11:20 PM (#1836560)
Oops my BS detector was going off and I finally found the offending entry.

>they did have some HOM calibre guys playing for them, name of Mantle and Berra...Ford's not that far off.
   64. jimd Posted: January 24, 2006 at 11:38 PM (#1836591)
BUT. Doerr's team lost a lot of close pennant races

Composite record 1946-1950
(regular season, excluding 1948 tiebreaker game):
BOS 473 297 .614 -
NYY 473 297 .614 -

Head-to-head, these two teams went 55-55 over the 5 years.

These two teams were about as even as two rivals ever could be for the 5 year period. Yet, the Yanks won 3 World Series, the Red Sox none.

There were some pivotal "decision" games played that color the whole perception of that period.

1946: Sox lose World Series Game 7 in St Louis 3-4
1947: Yanks win World Series Game 7 in New York 5-2
1948: Sox lose pennant tie-breaker game in Boston 3-8
----- (Cleveland goes on to win World Series in 6)
1949: Sox lose pennant in New York 3-5
----- (teams were tied before this last game)
----- (Yanks go on to win World Series in 5)

Reverse those 4 games, and the Yanks win only 1 Series (1950 sweep over Whiz Kids) and the Sox win 3 (maybe, if you assume they could also beat the Series-losing team).

The point is that those games were essentially coin flips, critical games against quality opponents. And the Sox lost the coin flip all three times. The Yanks won both of theirs. Maybe it was their character. Maybe it was just luck.
   65. Mark Donelson Posted: January 25, 2006 at 12:17 AM (#1836667)
Does anyone have any more information on Diomedes Olivo than what's on his thread, or what's easily searchable on Google?
   66. KJOK Posted: January 25, 2006 at 12:18 AM (#1836671)
WS per 162 Games:

Doerr: 24.51
Gordon: 25.02


PLAYER OVERALL WINS:
Doerr - 40 (!)
Gordon - 29
   67. favre Posted: January 25, 2006 at 12:33 AM (#1836705)
OK, so looking at Mike's post #57, re. Gordon and Doerr (thanks Mike)

5-year-peak (non consecutive) WS

Gordon 31, 28, 26, 25, 25
Doerr 27, 27, 27, 25, 24

5-year-peak (consecutive) WS

Gordon 134
Doerr 121

Career OPS+

Gordon 120
Doerr 115

Career WS

Gordon 242
Doerr 281

That's without war credit. If you give Doerr 27 WS for 1945 (he had 27 in both '44 and '46), and you give Gordon two years at 24 (his lowest total between 1939 and 1948, sans 1946), then the new career totals are:

Gordon 290
Doerr 306

So if you are a career voter who gives no war credit, I can see picking Doerr over Gordon. Other than that, it looks to me like Gordon was the better player; similar careers with war credit, but Joe had a better peak. Of course, I haven't looked at WARP...would someone who has Doerr over Gordon like to talk about this?
   68. favre Posted: January 25, 2006 at 12:35 AM (#1836710)
Oh, and of course John already posted the WS/162:

Gordon 25.02
Doerr 24.51
   69. favre Posted: January 25, 2006 at 12:41 AM (#1836721)
OK, so here are the WARP scores (although I don't think these are the latest versions):

Gordon 76.6
Doerr 98.3

Is this why Doerr is so far ahead? Are the people who support him WARP-ers?
   70. OCF Posted: January 25, 2006 at 01:26 AM (#1836777)
I had them both off-ballot. Gordon 19, Stephens 24, Doerr 25. Also Rizzuto 17. When the whole lot of the 40's middle infielders came up, I wasn't that impressed with any of them, even with WWII credit - perhaps because I've been fairly conservative with that credit.
   71. andrew siegel Posted: January 25, 2006 at 01:38 AM (#1836783)
What happened to Gordon in 1946? I've been giving him extra credit for that year assuming that his 9 WS were either war-related lack of playing time or adjustment problems related to returning from war. If I am wrong to give him some extra credit for that season, then he slips behind Doerr on career WS by about 15, closing the gap between them on my ballot.
   72. jimd Posted: January 25, 2006 at 02:02 AM (#1836800)
It's not just WARP3 that timelines. Because WARP1 moves the pitching replacement level down over time, modern pitchers will have more PRAR, and higher relative WARP1 numbers. In effect, this is a double-timeline.

Win Shares attempts to do a similar thing, adjusting the balance between fielding and pitching based on strikeouts. However, the adjustment is so conservative about this that it is practically ineffective. It results in Charles Radbourn receiving 147 WS in 1884 (adjusted to 162 game season). And you think WARP's pitching formulas are out of whack?

These two systems (WS,WARP1) have a great deal of similarities in terms of their overall structures. They differ in their emphases. Win Shares loves offense, and OF'ers, and CF'ers beyond reason. WARP loves defense, IFers when K-rates are low, pitchers when K-rates are high.

These systems are elaborate models that, in the end, reflect the biases of their creators in how the different aspects of the game should be weighted.

Pick the one that reflects your own biases, or better yet accept input from both and from external sources to obtain a more balanced view.
   73. ronw Posted: January 25, 2006 at 03:26 AM (#1836859)
jimd

I agree. I "accept input from both and from external sources to obtain a more balanced view."
   74. karlmagnus Posted: January 25, 2006 at 03:49 AM (#1836871)
In a 162 game season, Old Hoss would have gone 83-17. Worth 147 win shares in anybody's book, in my view!
   75. Cblau Posted: January 25, 2006 at 04:37 AM (#1836887)
I agree with a lot of the comments in posts 10-20. Ashburn didn't look like a much better candidate than Tommy Leach. Ashburn's OPS+ was 111, Leach's 109. Granted Ashburn's is OBA-heavy. Leach had more PA after adjusting for season length. Leach was A+ at both 3B and CF. Nobody's claiming Ashburn had a great peak. The only explanation for Ashburn's much-greater voting support is heavy timelining/league strength adjustments.
   76. TomH Posted: January 25, 2006 at 02:57 PM (#1837063)
A note about WARP, recent HoM honorees such as Ahsburn, timelining, etc:

While I understand the frustration of some that we honored the White-Haired One in his first election while worthy backloggers still languish, allow me to point out that Ashburn didn't eactly get a ringing endorsement. He was on 28 of 45 ballots. If you assume that he averaged about "21st" place on the 17 ballots that didn't contain his name, his average overall placment was 12th. 12th! But in a 'down' year, that was good enough to fit right behind Mr. Rixey and ahead of Mr. Mackey. Neither of THOSE gentlemen got ringing endorsements, either; the only difference is we spent more weeks coming to our non-consensus conclusions on them.

In 'down' years, we will elect guys that will be consensus 'lower tier' HoMers. Well, somebody has to fit that description, and Ashburn and Rixie will do nicely.

For those that believe WARP3 (for example) has to much timeline built in, I'd recommend attempting to convince us that "too many" players who retired by 1965 have been inducted as compared to those in 1900 or 1940. I would listen to this argument, if accompanied by appropriate data, far better than "grumble grumble I hate WARP it disses oldtimers grumble".
   77. sunnyday2 Posted: January 25, 2006 at 03:27 PM (#1837094)
>For those that believe WARP3 (for example) has to much timeline built in, I'd recommend attempting to convince us that "too many" players who retired by 1965 have been inducted as compared to those in 1900 or 1940. I would listen to this argument, if accompanied by appropriate data, far better than "grumble grumble I hate WARP it disses oldtimers grumble".

TomH, this is a fair point. But I don't have the time to do it. In the meantime, those who actually use W and especially W3 should have an interest in assessing their own methods. If from this point forward, every Richie Ashburn that comes along is better on W3 than every GVH and Sisler and Duffy and..., which seems to me to be very likely, then I think it is pretty legitimate to say the W3 has a built-in bias that everybody ought to be sensitive to.

IOW it's up to all of us to police our own methods. Yes it's also incumbent on society's malcontents to demonstrate that their malcontentions are justified. But all of us have to take ownership of our own methods, too.
   78. sunnyday2 Posted: January 25, 2006 at 03:31 PM (#1837100)
PS. As for me, my methods (or outcomes, at least) have been criticized as being "reverse timelined." I don't know if I've really responded directly to that, but for the first X number of years here I was consistently in the bottom quartile on consensus scores and, much to my chagrin, I have consistently been in about the third quartile now for the past 15-20 years. I'm still a peak/prime voter so I like Koufax and Ford over Early Wynn (by a country mile) but I think I'm a bit more balanced between old-timers and newbies generally.

I do see a number of ballots that have from 0 to 1 guy out of 15 whose prime was before maybe 1935. That to me represents an imbalance that is much greater than what I see favoring old-timers, karl and Jake Beckley to the contrary notwithstanding.
   79. Daryn Posted: January 25, 2006 at 03:41 PM (#1837116)
I would have to think that Berra can't be ranked lower than #5 and that the #5 catcher of all-time should be in the top 75 players of all-time.

I think that is the big philosophical question about catchers. If you just took WS or WARP you might have 5 catchers in the top 225 of all-time players -- you might have fewer. Which raises two big questions --

1. can you have a valid HoM with only 5 or fewer catchers? The post above would say you should have 15 catchers in the HoM. How low can you go on that number and still be creating a valid Hom? If no catcher ever earned more than 250 WS, could you have a valid HoM without any catchers?

2. If you resign yourself to a need of a quota of catchers, whether it be 5 or 15 or somewhere in between, can you rank them all (or most of them) in the 210-225 range? I think you can do the latter, which wouldn't quite justify Beckley over Berra (who I have at #2 or #3 among ML catchers all time), but could justify Beckley over pretty much every other catcher, if you are a career focused voter, as many of us are.
   80. karlmagnus Posted: January 25, 2006 at 04:03 PM (#1837132)
I certainly think Berra's in the catcher top 10, but Gibson, Bench, Fisk (600 more games caught), Piazza and Cochrane would all be ahead of him, and Ewing, Carter, Schang, Hartnett, Dickey and Lombardi would all be close -- probably 1-2 others after 1960. League adjustment for a 1950s Yankee brings him significantly back to the pack in my view, though even without that Gibson, Bench and Fisk are ahead.

He's clearly in the top 10 though, and may be #6-7, thus clearly HOMable. However that doesn't necessarily make him "better than Beckley" who as I've said I don't consider borderline.
   81. Dizzypaco Posted: January 25, 2006 at 04:32 PM (#1837174)
1. can you have a valid HoM with only 5 or fewer catchers?

No.

If no catcher ever earned more than 250 WS, could you have a valid HoM without any catchers?

No.
   82. DavidFoss Posted: January 25, 2006 at 04:44 PM (#1837188)
PLAYER OVERALL WINS

What is this number?
   83. DL from MN Posted: January 25, 2006 at 04:52 PM (#1837205)
Wasn't timelining countered by giving the first 30 years of the ballot specifically to those players? I don't think timelining is the reason Jake Beckley has splintered support, it's a clear peak v. career argument.
   84. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: January 25, 2006 at 05:09 PM (#1837227)
I feel really queasy about Berra (or any other player) being docked for being a 1950's yankee when compared to any player not from the 1950s NL. It is not like the Yankees were winning 105 games a year like the late 30's Yankees. I could see not giving him an extra timeline because of it but I dont' think the 1950's AL was any worse than teh 1940's AL and was probably better thant he 1930's AL. Or the 1930's NL that Lombardi played in. Certainly better than Schang's 1910's and 1920's AL.
   85. karlmagnus Posted: January 25, 2006 at 05:15 PM (#1837237)
Jschmeagol, the 1950s AL was so unbalanced they made a movie about it. This was not true about the 1930s AL or the 1910s/1920sAL. The 1950sAL was not historically bad, but the Yankees' opposition was historiclaly ineffective.

It's not relevant to Berra anyway, he's going in. May be relevant to Ford; I don't yet know.
   86. karlmagnus Posted: January 25, 2006 at 05:24 PM (#1837251)
Incidentally, players such as Wynn who played for non-Yankee teams in the 1950s AL should be docked very little for league quality. Unlike Yankee players, they got to play 1/7 of their schedule against the Yankees.

Theer is really no other period of this length (1949-64) in which one team was so dominant. The 1936-39 Yankees were better, but only for 4 years.
   87. Chris Cobb Posted: January 25, 2006 at 05:28 PM (#1837259)
Wasn't timelining countered by giving the first 30 years of the ballot specifically to those players?

It was partially countered by this (certainly for this reason we have given the 19th century a much fairer shake than the HoF), but the schedule of elections was also somewhat backloaded, meaning ratio of ballot spots to new candidates will be rising just a bit as we move toward the present, if my understanding of the election schedule is correct. So it's nnot enough to say, "well, they had their chance." Also, the unevenness of the flow of great players to eligibility also makes it crucial not to write off the backlog. From about 1940 to 1960, for example, we added many more candidates whom we generally agreed should be elected than we were able to elect immediately when they became eligible. We have only now (mostly) cleared those players out and are seeing as top candidates again players who were on the cusp of election 36-40 years ago.

I don't think timelining is the reason Jake Beckley has splintered support, it's a clear peak v. career argument.

Beckley has always had particularly splintered support for these reason, and none of the longtime candidates who have not yet been electd has a perfect resume: if they did they would already have been elected. The question is whether their strong but imperfect records are being given fair consideration against the strong but imperferct records presented by new candidates.

To work out a thorough assessment on the timeline/competition quality issues, you would need also to consider the merits of

Mickey Welch and Tommy Bond (value of pitching pre-1893, overall quality of competition)
Pete Browning and Charley Jones (overall comp. quality, AA as weaker league issues, Jones' blacklisting)
Clark Griffith, George Van Haltren, Jake Beckley, Hugh Duffy, Cupid Childs, John McGraw, Jimmy Ryan (overall comp quality, effects of contraction on career length & league quality, effects of rough play on infielder careers, effects of new distance on pitching careers)
Roger Bresnahan and Wally Schang (effects on catcher pt of pre-modern equipment catching)
Edd Roush, Burleigh Grimes (timelining, NL as weaker league in teens and twenties)
and the treatment of Negro-League players overall.
   88. DavidFoss Posted: January 25, 2006 at 05:34 PM (#1837271)
Jschmeagol, the 1950s AL was so unbalanced they made a movie about it. This was not true about the 1930s AL or the 1910s/1920sAL. The 1950sAL was not historically bad, but the Yankees' opposition was historiclaly ineffective.

I assume you are referring to the 1954 book "The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant" that turned into the top Broadway musical "Damn Yankees".

The only year the Yankees won 100 games in the 1950s was the year they finished second (1954).

The AL did have three perennial also-rans in the Senators/Browns-O's/Athletics. Those three garnered an extremely high percentage of the 6th/7th/8th standing positions in the decade. The NL only had two such teams -- the Cubs and the Pirates, but for not quite as long as the AL troika.
   89. sunnyday2 Posted: January 25, 2006 at 05:38 PM (#1837285)
Player Overall Wins is the old Linear Weights or Total Player Rating measure, as it has evolved. It used to be the overall measure in Total Baseball, not POW is in The Baseball Encyclopedia of Pete Palmer's.

Basically it is LWTS, which has generally fallen into disregard, largely as a result of the attacks of Bill James. The primary gripe is its use of the average as the 0 point, with player ratings year to year being + of - from there. IOW a player can have a nice career and then lose a half dozen points in decline. This I agree is ridiculous. A player who accumulated 40 POWs or TPRs or LWTs over a 15 year career cannot retire at less than 40, IMO.

Still given the quirks of WS and WARP, I would have to say that LWTs has been dissed somewhat more than it deserves. Try this. Take all the LWTs and convert any negative numbers to 0s. See if that floats your boat.
   90. Dizzypaco Posted: January 25, 2006 at 05:40 PM (#1837287)
If the 50's Yankees are so overrated due to the quality of the competition, and the 50's national league was much more competitive, wouldn't you expect the Yankees to be dominated, over a number of years, by their National League opponents? After all, they were facing the very best the National League had to offer year after year.

Yet the opposite occurred - the Yankees dominated their competition. From 1949 to 1962, the Yankees went 45-30 in world series games; 75 games is not a tiny sample.
   91. sunnyday2 Posted: January 25, 2006 at 05:50 PM (#1837309)
>he 1950sAL was not historically bad, but the Yankees' opposition was historiclaly ineffective.

I don't think that's correct at all.

• The Indians and White Sox were consistently competitive, in the case of Chicago vastly more so than they had been at any time since the Black Sox.

• The Red Sox were in decline from the '40s but were more competitive than they had been in the '30s.

• The Senators were better than in the '40s.

• The Browns/Orioles were improving rapidly by the latter '50s.

• The Tigers had been much better in the early '40s but otherwise were up and down in both decades.

• The A's were among the worst franchises in ML history from '33 on. They stunk in the '50s but they stunk just as bad in the '40s.

Compared to the '30s and '40s the Tigers and Red Sox are probably the only AL franchises that were more ineffective in the '50s than in the previous generation.

Or to look at it another way, in the 1930s a total of 7 teams (Phi and Wash and Det twice each and Bos once) other than the Yankees finished within 10 games of first place. In the '40s the number was 15 but 5 of them in '44 and '45 alone. In the '50s the number 13, arguably a better showing by non-Yankees than the previous 20 years.
   92. DavidFoss Posted: January 25, 2006 at 05:56 PM (#1837329)
1936-39 Yankees were better, but only for 4 years.

Well, that's basically the same team that also won the AL in 1941-43 as well. :-)

-- Main reason why history has overrated the 1950s Yankees: 8 pennants in the decade

Main reason why we now consider those Yankees overrated: They never really had a year where they blew away the opposition (until expansion). There was no 1927, 1939 or 1998 Yankee club in there. No 1969 O's, no 1975-6 Reds, no 1906 Cubs, 1930 Athletics or 1909 Pirates. So, in the *grand* scheme of things they were just an extremely consistent 95 Win team for over a decade.
   93. Mike Webber Posted: January 25, 2006 at 06:20 PM (#1837372)
If you just took WS or WARP you might have 5 catchers in the top 225 of all-time players -- you might have fewer.

Of the top 226 Win Share (283 Win Shares - Minoso and Buffington tie for 225th, Jim Rice has 282) totals of all time how many are catchers?

Yogi Berra - 375
Carlton Fisk - 368
Johnny Bench - 356
Gary Carter - 337
Gabby hartnett - 325
Ted Simmons - 315
Bill Dickey - 314
Mike Piazza - 309

Does Joe Torre fit on this list? I'd call him a catcher

Joe Torre 315

Plus some other guys that were sort of catchers, but I wouldn't call them one:

Jimmie Foxx, Craig Biggio, Cap Anson, Jim O'Rourke, Dale Murphy, and Brian Downing - who is really more in the Torre group than this group.

Just out of the top 226,
King Kelly 278, Mickey Cocharne 275, Ivan Rodriguez 272, Bill Freehan 267

Other active players? BJ Surhoff 230, Javvy Lopez 189, Jason Kendall 177, Posada 173. I'd guess all this guys are pretty iffy, I kind of think that after Ivan and Piazza the next best active bet is Victor Martinez but he is many knee surgeries from the list.


IMO win shares does give catchers a pretty fair shake, but of course the individual voter has to realize that medical advances, and modern equipment, makes the big career totals of modern players more easily attainable.
   94. Daryn Posted: January 25, 2006 at 06:50 PM (#1837414)
Interesting list -- it is not going to take much "affirmative action" to get 15 catchers into our HoM.
   95. KJOK Posted: January 25, 2006 at 07:26 PM (#1837477)
Player Overall Wins is the old Linear Weights or Total Player Rating measure, as it has evolved. It used to be the overall measure in Total Baseball, not POW is in The Baseball Encyclopedia of Pete Palmer's.

Basically it is LWTS, which has generally fallen into disregard, largely as a result of the attacks of Bill James. The primary gripe is its use of the average as the 0 point, with player ratings year to year being + of - from there. IOW a player can have a nice career and then lose a half dozen points in decline. This I agree is ridiculous. A player who accumulated 40 POWs or TPRs or LWTs over a 15 year career cannot retire at less than 40, IMO.

Still given the quirks of WS and WARP, I would have to say that LWTs has been dissed somewhat more than it deserves. Try this. Take all the LWTs and convert any negative numbers to 0s. See if that floats your boat.


Yes, I would just add:

1. An average baseline is not appropriate if you're trying to decide who the 25th man on your roster should be, but to determine the greatest players in Baseball History, your baseline probably should be AT LEAST .500.

2. WS, among it's many problems, uses a baseline of .250 Win%. Even if you think .500 baseline is too high, .250 certainly seems WAY too low.

3. WARP has a baseline of around .350 I think, due to the combining of Batting and Fielding replacement levels into one player replacement level. This is around the level for a good AA player, which also seems like too low of a baseline to measure greatness.

4. Player Overall Wins also gets some criticism for "overvaluing" good middle infield fielding. However, if you look at how players rank by position vs. other positions, Player Overall Wins gives you a much more balanced mix of "TOP" players across positions than Win Shares, which gives you a lot of corner OFers and 1st basemen, but not many SS or Catchers.
   96. Chris Cobb Posted: January 25, 2006 at 07:36 PM (#1837491)
In my system, I look at both career value above replacement and career value above average. It's quite easy with win shares to calculate the theoretical value of an average player over the course of a season and so calculate win shares above average.

A similar setting of average could be done for WARP as well, or one could use the provided BRAA, FRAA, and PRAA in place of the values above replacement level.
   97. sunnyday2 Posted: January 25, 2006 at 07:37 PM (#1837492)
K, yeah, I have never abandoned LWTS, it has its points. I have never done a systematic correction but I do think it is useful--for purposes of picking a HoM--to take the negative numbers and change them to 0. That way a player does not lose value that he has already produced. I mean if a player has a big year and leads his team to the pennant, and the next year he tanks, well, they don't take the pennant away, and so we shouldn't deduct that value already earned.

It has some specific fielding issues that have been described elsewhere, but those relate mostly to inferring defensive innings from PAs. In small quantities, as when a former great is relegated to a bench role, it can go waaaay off.

And yes, it values middle IFers of good defensive value much more highly than WS or WARP. This does not in any way prove that LWTS is the one that's wrong.
   98. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: January 25, 2006 at 07:43 PM (#1837508)
Thanks for the Gordon/Doerr info, Mike. I don't know about all of it, but I think a large part of Doerr's big WARP advantage comes from their fielding analysis, although I'm not sure why.
   99. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 25, 2006 at 07:46 PM (#1837514)
4. Player Overall Wins also gets some criticism for "overvaluing" good middle infield fielding. However, if you look at how players rank by position vs. other positions, Player Overall Wins gives you a much more balanced mix of "TOP" players across positions than Win Shares, which gives you a lot of corner OFers and 1st basemen, but not many SS or Catchers.

I don't think that's why it was criticized, Kevin. It's Glen Hubbard. It's Nap Lajoie. It's Bobby Doerr. It's Joe Morgan. It's Roy Smalley. It's Richie Ashburn. It's Puddin' Head Jones. It's Eddie Yost. It's Steve Garvey. It's Bill Buckner.

I don't know if the new version of LWTS has adjusted for the past mistakes, but those mistakes are what hurt TPI's reputation back then.

Are Win Shares perfect in regard to fielding? No, but there are less head-scratching selections there than with the other system.
   100. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: January 25, 2006 at 07:56 PM (#1837531)
The biggest defensive problem with LWTS is that FR doesn't adjust for things like groundball/flybal pitching staff, who took the throws on grounders at 1B, etc. James goes over this pretty well in the WS book. The offensive system is really not that much worse than anything else, maybe a little general.

For adjsuting LWTS, I wouldn't make everything below 0 a 0, ut instead turn -2.5 (or thereabouts) to 0 for career and then only look at a player's best seasons for 0

For WS, 15 WS is pretty close to an average season for anyone who isn't a catcher or pitcher. From tehre it is pretty easy to calculate value above average or something really close to it. I am not sure what the WS/g or per 100g would be for gus who only played half a season. But then again I dont' like to break things down into units smaller than one season so I don't really give a lot of credit to partial seasons.
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