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

Sunday, May 28, 2006

1978 Ballot Discussion

1978 (Jun 12)—elect 2
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)

377 122.4 1955 Roberto Clemente-RF (1972)
256 92.4 1952 Hoyt Wilhelm-RP (2002)
219 86.5 1956 Bill Mazeroski-2B
253 71.6 1959 Maury Wills-SS
179 56.5 1962 Tom Haller-C (2004)
194 44.7 1964 Don Buford-LF/2B
148 48.2 1964 Wes Parker-1B
162 41.2 1961 Don Mincher-1B
145 42.9 1960 Ron Hansen-SS
133 47.9 1963 Gary Peters-P
135 43.4 1960 Julian Javier-2B
119 45.1 1962 Joe Horlen-P
136 38.5 1962 Donn Clendenon-1B
108 42.4 1956 Moe Drabowsky-RP
115 34.6 1964 Denny McLain-P
107 37.0 1955 Ted Abernathy-RP
100 35.2 1960 Phil Regan-RP
097 34.7 1964 Bobby Knoop-2B
108 27.6 1965 Curt Blefary-LF (2001)
106 28.3 1965 Jim Lefebvre-2B

Players Passing Away in 1977

HoMers
Age Elected

None

Candidates
Age Eligible

89 1930 Del Pratt-2b
86 1933 Roger Peckinpaugh-SS
86 1933 Baby Doll Jacobson-CF
84 1931 Milt Stock-3b
84 1931 Nemo Leibold-CF/RF
81 1934 Bucky Harris-2B/Mgr
81 1935 Elam Vangilder-P
81 1936 Bob Meusel-LF/RF
79 1938 Hod Ford-SS/2B
76——Cal Hubbard-HOF Umpire
75 1940 Johnny Frederick-CF
70 1946 Oral Hildebrand-P
70 1946 Tex Carleton-P
69 1951 Al Smith-P
69 1953 Ernie Lombardi-C
67 1952 Jimmy Brown-2B/3B
67 1953 Bill Lee-P
62 1951 Mayo Smith-LF/Mgr
53 1969 Sherm Lollar-C
43 1975 Turk Farrell-RP

Upcoming Candidate
30 1982 Danny Frisella-RP

Thanks, Dan!

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 28, 2006 at 07:55 PM | 136 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Daryn Posted: June 05, 2006 at 02:05 PM (#2051687)
Kelly, you can relax - he was obfuscating the arguments. Blowing smoke over the flaws.

Well, he did say he was sleep deprived.
   102. Paul Wendt Posted: June 05, 2006 at 02:58 PM (#2051733)
Peter Morris, in his wonderful new book, A Game of Inches, writes that the bunt pretty much disappeared from around 1877-1885, until Arlie Latham repopularized it. I'd think it did increase some in the 1890's, since that's when there were a lot of complaints about it. But that may be mainly due to the using it to tire out the pitcher by intentionally fouling off pitches.

Bunting was common in 1900 and common enough in 1895-1896 that Jimmy Collins was a sensation fielding bunts.

And Williamson moved to shortstop after 1885.

(It may not help Beckley but) we have dispensed with this.
from the stories about Ed Williamson and other early third basemen and their abilities to handle bunts/the importance of handling bunts, I don't think bunts increased from the 1880s to the 1890s.

By 1900, some teams used the sacrifice bunt heavily.
   103. karlmagnus Posted: June 05, 2006 at 03:36 PM (#2051763)
There is no annual level of WS at which a HOMer begins, as our enthusiasm for Hoyt Wilhelm is demonstrating. I absolutely agree that Beckley's career pattern is startlingly flat; it is his one major failing. Nevetheless the overall level at which it was flat, and the career he accumulated, make him easily worthy of the HOM, probably in the middle third. Attacks on his drinking, throwing arm from 1B, and wobbles in bunting percentages are obfuscation, as is the Keltner List, which favors peak players like Caruthers (his superb performance on that list was ignored by most) over career players like Beckley.
   104. jimd Posted: June 05, 2006 at 07:58 PM (#2052135)
It was mostly the pitcher who fielded them, followed by the third baseman, catcher, then first baseman I'd say.

I'd think it did increase some in the 1890's, since that's when there were a lot of complaints about it. But that may be mainly due to the using it to tire out the pitcher by intentionally fouling off pitches.

When the pitcher's location was changed, it would be natural for there to be a rise in bunt attempts. The pitcher was further away from making a play, making the defense more vulnerable.

Also, bunting down the 3rd-base line was a low risk play. If it rolled foul, it was not a strike (no foul balls were strikes yet); if it stayed fair, a speedy runner could beat it out. I remember reading years ago that the foul bunt rule was added to remedy this situation, a speedster bunting down the line until one stayed fair (or the 3rd-base man came in, creating an opportunity to slap one past him); three unsuccessful tries and you're out.
   105. Kelly in SD Posted: June 06, 2006 at 08:35 PM (#2053937)
... are obfuscation, as is the Keltner List, which favors peak players like Caruthers (his superb performance on that list was ignored by most) over career players like Beckley.

From Webster's Collegiate Dictionary:
obfuscate: to make obscure or to confuse.

When I put together a Keltner List, the purpose is to show all the facets of a player's career. Their strong points, their weak points, and everything in between. I thought I presented as many facts about Beckley's career so as to present the most complete picture of it I could. I guess the presentation of facts which are not totally supportive of a player's candidacy should not presented when trying to understand a player's merit.

In the end, I guess I am trying to obfuscate Beckley's candidacy because I am trying to present as complete a picture of the player's career, rather than just write a supportive puff piece.

I have always believed the Hall of Merit called for a discussion of a player's strengths and weaknesses and that each voter would consider those strengths and weaknesses and vote accordingly. Apparently, I have misunderstood. I should only look at the positives for each player.

Thank you for making it clear to me.

Bye,
Kelly
   106. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 06, 2006 at 09:08 PM (#2054008)
Beckley's never going to do well on the Keltner List because its peak oriented. Since nobody (not even the King of the Franks) is trying to pretend that Eagle Eye had a fantastic peak, Kelly's list probably wont have any effect on the electorate.

Beckley has and will always be high on the "career list" of prospective candidates. In that regard, he's going to be an extremely tough guy to knock down.

BTW Kelly, your analysis was very fair, though there are a couple of points of yours that are arguable.
   107. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 07, 2006 at 06:51 PM (#2055312)
So...

Who else in the group has Tom Haller ranked higher at his position than they have Maury Wills or Bill Mazeroski ranked at their positions?

For me Haller appears to be a top-30 catcher all time, Wills top-40 SS, and Maz a top-55 2B.
   108. DL from MN Posted: June 08, 2006 at 06:47 PM (#2056338)
Bob Johnson v. Minnie Minoso

Minoso played more 3B, Johnson played more CF. Johnson actually debuted at a later age than Minoso so there is more potential for alternate league credit. Both players played in the minors after retiring. Both players wer 7 time all-stars. Neither player was in the postseason. Minoso was a better basestealer.

from http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2005/12/a_long_time_ago.php
"Johnson failed trials with San Francisco, Hollywood, and Los Angeles. He did not play professionally until Wichita of the Western League signed him in 1929. Johnson played in 145 games at two levels and batted .262 with 21 HR while slugging .503. After again hitting 21 HR (in just over 500 AB) the following season in Portland, he went to spring training with the Philadelphia A's but didn't make the roster due to his inability to hit the curveball. Over the next two seasons in the minors, Johnson batted a combined .334 with 51 HR while slugging .567 and showing both patience at the plate and a powerful throwing arm in the outfield."

"With the war over, Johnson pushing 40, and the return of Ted Williams, the Red Sox and Johnson parted company and he continued his career with the Milwaukee Brewers in the American Association.

Despite his advanced athletic age, Johnson managed to hit .270 with 13 HR and a .456 SLG in 94 games. He moved on to Seattle of the Pacific Coast League for the next two years, batting .292 with 35 doubles, 12 HR and a .441 SLG in 487 AB."


> it should be mentioned again that Bob Johnson looks a lot like Minoso

Bob was a Cherokee. They both experienced racism of the time. Johnson didn't have a language barrier though.
   109. OCF Posted: June 10, 2006 at 04:34 AM (#2058871)
Here's an excerpt from the 1916 ballot tally:

(The first 11 on the ballot have all been elected since then)
12. Waddell 306
13. Duffy 250
14. Pike 240
15. Van Haltren 231
16. Jennings 227
17. Beckley 219
18. Ryan 217
19. Pearce 167
20. Browning 161
21. Joss 128
22. Griffith 123
23. Chance 83
24. Welch 78
25. Sol White 73
26. Childs 63
...
31. C. Jones 31

Pike, Jennings, Pearce, and Griffith rose up out of that group to be elected. Their cases are different, and not the subject of this post.

Now let's look at the 1977 ballot tally:

8. Beckley 312
9. Duffy 309
12. Childs 286
14. Van Haltren 265
16. Waddell 252
18. Browning 248
19. C. Jones 225
23. Welch 188
39. Ryan 57
42. Joss 47
52. Chance 29
(Sol White is gone)

Now there are a lot of questions to be asked there. Here's one I'm interested in: how did Beckley overtake and go ahead of all of the outfielders? (Apart from karlmagnus's relentless campaigning, that is.)

Let me explain my basic offensive method. I find RC and RC/27 outs from a Stats Handbook. I then find the park-adjusted league context, and subtract that times outs from the RC to get RCAA. Then I use a Pythaganport exponent to create a runs-to-wins conversion factor (it takes more runs to make a win in a higher scoring environment). I divide the RCAA by this factor to get a scaled version of RCAA, denominated in wins (or something like that). When I report this to you, I usually multiply by 10 to get a two-digit integer per season. I have several tweaks and adjustments to this, including subtracting 75% of league average runs rather than all of them to get a more career-sensitive number.

Here is that basic scaled RCAA-in-wins number, year by year, sorted from best to worst, for a number of people. There's no scaling for season length, but it's such a peak-friendly number anyway that it doesn't matter all that much.

Beckley     38 36 34 29 29 27 24 20 20 20 19 19 15 15 13 10  8  4 -8-11
Van Haltren 48 45 40 38 37 35 34 24 24 22 22 16 13 10  4 
-4-13
Duffy       69 58 44 36 35 35 34 22 21  7  7  6  1  0  0  0 
-1
Ryan        62 51 48 37 31 25 21 18 16 11 10 10 10  7  6  3  2 
-6
Kelley      70 69 62 51 38 34 31 24 23 22 20 19  8  6  1 
-2-15
Keeler      73 47 44 38 36 33 34 34 27 25 23 21  5  5  4  3  3  1
-28
Thompson    60 55 49 44 34 31 26 21 19 19 18  7  4  0 
-2
Sisler      70 68 51 46 44 37 35 15 10 10  5 
----9
Childs      60 53 48 36 34 28 23 16 10 
---5-19 


On this scale, Duffy and Ryan have better 3 top years than Van Haltren, but Van Haltren takes over starting with year 4 and going the most of the rest of the way down. Val Haltren's advantage over Beckley encompasses the 11 best years; only after that do you see Beckley's career-length advantage. One can see how Kelley and Keeler were elected; Thompson's case is considerably less clear.

Apart from career value and counting stats, the points made most often in Beckley's favor (and these points intertwine) are defensive value and position scarcity. But how scarce was 1B, anyway? We have no HoMers with 1B careers in this time period, but plenty of other people played some first. Joe Kelley was primarily a 1B in 1901 and again in 1904. Nap Lajoie played about a season's worth of 1B scattered over several years in the early teens. Sam Crawford played 150 games of 1B over several seasons. If you go looking for more examples, you'll find them. Yes, we already have plenty of outfielders from this time, but maybe that's just where the best players tended to be sent. Who really had the most defensive value of this group (apart from Childs, whose shorter career must also be considered)? I'd have to say Duffy.

On an unrelated topic: top-20 results from ARML 2006 (HS math contest I was at last weekend):

1. North Carolina
2. Montgomery County (MD)
3T. Texas
3T. Lehigh Valley (PA)
5. Chicago
6. San Francisco Bay Area
7. Phillips Exeter (NH)
8. Georgia
9. Thomas Jefferson HSST (VA)
10. Massachusetts
11. Washington (the state)
12. New York City
13. Acad. for Adv. Science and Technology (NJ)
14. Southern California (that's us!)
15T. Upstate NY
15T. Alabama
17. Indiana
18. Colorado
19T. Minnesota
19T. Taiwan
   110. Howie Menckel Posted: June 10, 2006 at 05:50 AM (#2058935)
Wow, quite the assault on Beckley of late.

I find things like RCAA interesting, but hardly dispositive.

Beckley seemed to be playing a position where OFs could fake it for a year, or other guys could be good for a year. But no one else lasted. And back then, it was an important defensive position.

Listen, I sympathize with what a guy like Willard Brown went through, of course. But are some willing to forgive his OBPs sins, yet cast a harsher light on Beckley?

I'm not sure.
But I truly don't think any of us want to pander to any candidate, or hold anyone to a different standard.
   111. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 10, 2006 at 12:19 PM (#2059015)
Wow, quite the assault on Beckley of late.

I think a guy with over 300 WS (without prorating for schedule concerns) should be afforded a little more respect around here (BTW, he's not on my ballot at the moment, so I'm not being a fanboy here). While I don't think he's the best backlogger out there, he's not chopped liver, either.

Any voters who value career should, without a doubt, have him on their radar.
   112. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: June 10, 2006 at 12:47 PM (#2059027)
If any number of OFers coudl go and 'fake it' for a year could that be seen as evidence that 1B wasn't as valuable defensively as we think it was? And 1B was still an offensive position and Beckley simply wasn't a great offensive player, he was good, very good maybe, but most 1B are. Even in the 1890's.
   113. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 10, 2006 at 01:47 PM (#2059051)
If any number of OFers coudl go and 'fake it' for a year could that be seen as evidence that 1B wasn't as valuable defensively as we think it was?

Only if they inserted defensive duds at the position. I don't think that was the case (I'll give you Bill Joyce, but he was out of baseball the following year after posting a 125 OPS+ - he actually doesn't help your case).

Besides, nobody is saying that 1B was the same as shortstop. It was tougher back then, but let's be realistic here.
   114. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 10, 2006 at 02:01 PM (#2059058)
(I'll give you Bill Joyce, but he was out of baseball the following year after posting a 125 OPS+ - he actually doesn't necessarily help your case).

That's better.
   115. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: June 10, 2006 at 04:58 PM (#2059130)
I agree, I just think the defense thing gets overstated some when used to help Beckley. My major point was that he certainly was never a great offensive player despite playing at an offensive position (wasn't the average still pretty high during this period even if there weren't that many stars?). Of the players above He lookis like he should rank 8th out of 9 and #9 was a Middle Infielder with a much higher peak.
   116. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 10, 2006 at 05:35 PM (#2059162)
(wasn't the average still pretty high during this period even if there weren't that many stars?).

I believe that's not the case, Mark. Jimd or KJOK could help us out here. IIRC, first basemen weren't that great offensively during the "Inside Baseball" era.
   117. Paul Wendt Posted: June 10, 2006 at 07:21 PM (#2059298)
I'll give you Bill Joyce, but he was out of baseball the following year after posting a 125 OPS+

I think he was asking for player-manager (paid more than the maximum player salary) with control of the roster.
   118. DavidFoss Posted: June 10, 2006 at 07:27 PM (#2059306)
Here are the performances of NL first basemen versus the pitchers-removed context. Data from Lee Sinin's encylopedia.

Year  avgobpslg (lavg/lobp/lslg)  av+/ob+/sl+/ops+
-----------------------------------------------------
1892 .272/.350/.386 (.252/.325/.337)  108/108/115/122
1893 .290
/.368/.400 (.286/.364/.389)  101/101/103/104
1894 .314
/.379/.450 (.316/.387/.445)   9998/10199
1895 .297
/.357/.407 (.303/.369/.409)   9897/10096
1896 .287
/.347/.389 (.298/.363/.397)   96969894
1897 .304
/.361/.420 (.298/.363/.397)  10299/106/105
1898 .276
/.340/.359 (.278/.343/.357)   9999/101/100
1899 .287
/.345/.376 (.290/.353/.378)   99989997
1900 .286
/.344/.371 (.287/.348/.378)  100999897
1901 .273
/.322/.358 (.276/.331/.360)   99979997
1902 .279
/.338/.348 (.267/.322/.329)  104/105/106/111
1903 .285
/.357/.369 (.278/.341/.362)  103/105/102/107 
   119. Brent Posted: June 11, 2006 at 03:16 AM (#2059627)
Returning to the discussion a couple of days ago of Minoso and Johnson, on the ballot thread Trevor P wrote:

That comparison reinforces an important point - even when you ignore Johnson's war-inflated seasons (like that 177 OPS+ Johnson posts in 1944), his offensive prime stacks up pretty well against both Minoso and Clemente.

A lot of Johnson vs. Minoso comes down to defense - WS sees Minoso as better; FRAA doesn't. That's what I'll be chewing on before I post my ballot this weekend.


I agree that defense is important to the comparison. The case of Minoso again illustrates a point that I have made several times on these threads--the BP fielding ratings don't correlate very well with player reputation and the judgment of expert observers. BP rates Minoso as a slightly above average right fielder (rate =101, where 100 is average). Yet Minoso won Gold Gloves in 3 of the first 4 seasons they were available (1957, 1959-60), even though he was 31 years old when they were first awarded. I have also read many comments saying the Minoso was an outstanding fielder. Win shares agrees, rating him as a significantly above average corner outfielder. BP doesn't.

For periods before play-by-play data, I consider expert opinion to be the most reliable measure of fielding ability. Fielding win shares correlate well enough with expert opinion that I use them for my defensive evaluations, occasionally modifying them when they disagree with expert opinion. However, I don't trust the BP ratings. I'm not sure what their problem is - they get a lot of players right, but in too many cases their ratings don't seem plausible. My guess is that they don't do a good job of identifying groundball and flyball pitching staffs.

The other reason that Minoso is high on my ballot and Johnson isn't is that we've elected 29 players with careers centered in the 1930s, but only 14 with careers centered in the 1950s. I believe that this is a direct consequence of integration and the contraction of the Negro Leagues--the good players were crowded onto fewer teams, making it more difficult to put up big statistics relative to league. Therefore, even though Minoso and Johnson had the same OPS+ during their 10-year primes, I consider Minoso's to have been more impressive. I'd rather elect the # 15 player of the 1950s than the # 30 player of the 1930s.
   120. Mike Emeigh Posted: June 11, 2006 at 03:32 AM (#2059657)
For periods before play-by-play data, I consider expert opinion to be the most reliable measure of fielding ability.


If what you mean by "expert opinion" is "consensus", then I agree.

I don't trust the BP ratings. I'm not sure what their problem is - they get a lot of players right, but in too many cases their ratings don't seem plausible. My guess is that they don't do a good job of identifying groundball and flyball pitching staffs.


The problem, in a nutshell, is the problem that every non-PBP system has to some extent - there is just no good way without PBP to tell the difference between a player who makes plays because he's good at making plays and a player who makes plays because he has lots of opportunities to make them. Fielding WS does a reasonable job at matching reputation largely because James designed the system so that players with good reputations *would* rank highly.

-- MWE
   121. Daryn Posted: June 11, 2006 at 03:35 AM (#2059662)
top-20 results from ARML 2006

How many teams were there?

Congrats, anyway, but extra congrats if there were 100 or more teams.
   122. Brent Posted: June 11, 2006 at 04:06 AM (#2059714)
If what you mean by "expert opinion" is "consensus", then I agree.

When they started awarding Gold Gloves, it became possible to measure the consensus opinion. Although we sometimes complain about particular Gold Glove awards, it sure is useful to have the history of the awards available as a record of the consensus. Before Gold Gloves all we have are the comments of individual writers or observers. I try to consider how knowledgeable the author was and whether he had an axe to grind.
   123. OCF Posted: June 11, 2006 at 08:17 PM (#2060133)
Daryn: 113 teams from 48 organization. (Most organizations, including ours, field multiple teams.)
   124. Mike Emeigh Posted: June 12, 2006 at 03:05 PM (#2061027)
Before Gold Gloves all we have are the comments of individual writers or observers.


You can usually find consensus there, too. Even if you discount the FPA "Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance" witticism, the consensus opinion was that the '06-'12 Cubs did, in fact, have outstanding infield defense.

-- MWE
   125. OCF Posted: June 12, 2006 at 03:30 PM (#2061059)
...the consensus opinion was that the '06-'12 Cubs did, in fact, have outstanding infield defense.

As we're aware around here. A good place to look would be the Mordecai Brown thread. We elected him anyway, but there's a definite sense that he's somewhat overrated by his statistics. Outstanding outfield defense, too, which was a factor in our election of Jimmy Scheckard. If T-E-C had had longer effective playing careers, they'd all be candidates, and Chance still gets some votes. But were the Cubs all that much better than the Pirates?
   126. DL from MN Posted: June 12, 2006 at 09:19 PM (#2061422)
I decided to crosspost this here in order to get the large number of voters voting for Dick Redding to defend him as significantly better than Dwight Gooden.

I'm seeing a lot in common between Dick Redding and Dwight Gooden. Great fastballs, some tremendous seasons at the beginning of the career with high strikeout rates and exceptional in-game durability, a few effective but not dominating seasons after that and generally ineffective after age 32/33. Gooden would have to end up in the top 5 in a "best fastballs of the 80's discussion" along with Clemens (the modern day Walter Johnson). I ran Doc Gooden through my spreadsheet and he ended up within 3 spots of where I currently have Dick Redding.
   127. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 12, 2006 at 09:38 PM (#2061449)
Did Redding ever have a season like Gooden's '85?
   128. sunnyday2 Posted: June 12, 2006 at 09:52 PM (#2061472)
>Did Redding ever have s season like Gooden's '85?

Did Drysdale? Did Bunning? Did Warren Spahn?

OTOH were Gooden's 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th best years as good as Redding's? I don't think so. And certainly not his 10th.
   129. Mike Emeigh Posted: June 12, 2006 at 09:57 PM (#2061479)
But were the Cubs all that much better than the Pirates?


From what I can tell, the consensus opinion from the era is that the Cubs were, in fact, better than the Pirates defensively, and I'm inclined to accept that. The typical articles about the Pirates tended to stress the offense, and Wagner's all-around play, but the defense and pitching weren't mentioned a whole lot. With the Cubs, it was the opposite.

Johnny Evers, from what I can tell, was a brilliant defensive second baseman. I've made this argument a couple of times before, but I think that Evers's defensive role in the Braves' 1914 championship was pivotal (and, I should note, recognized with a Chalmers Award by the observers of the time). Bill James (the writer, not the pitcher) made a big deal out of the platooning, but relative to the league the Braves in 1914 improved defensively much more than they improved offensively. Stallings did elevate Bill James (the pitcher, not the writer) into a more prominent role, and gave Tyler and Rudolph more innings, at Hub Perdue's expense, but other than that the key pitchers were virtually the same group in 1914 as in 1913. But the one major change to the defense was the swap of 2Bs with the Cubs - and I think it's no accident that the Braves and Cubs changed places in the defensive stats, especially DPs, between 1913 and 1914.

-- MWE
   130. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 13, 2006 at 12:51 AM (#2061636)
>Did Redding ever have a season like Gooden's '85?

Did Drysdale? Did Bunning? Did Warren Spahn?

OTOH were Gooden's 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th best years as good as Redding's? I don't think so. And certainly not his 10th.


I wasn't trying to be snarky, Marc. I was just too busy to check Redding's thread myself to see how good his best season was.
   131. Paul Wendt Posted: June 13, 2006 at 03:37 AM (#2061799)
.
Mike Emeigh wrote
The problem, in a nutshell, is the problem that every non-PBP system has to some extent - there is just no good way without PBP to tell the difference between a player who makes plays because he's good at making plays and a player who makes plays because he has lots of opportunities to make them. Fielding WS does a reasonable job at matching reputation largely because James designed the system so that players with good reputations *would* rank highly.

What do you mean? Tinkering with the parameters?

--
The typical articles about the Pirates tended to stress the offense, and Wagner's all-around play, but the defense and pitching weren't mentioned a whole lot. With the Cubs, it was the opposite.

The Pirates pitching staff was renowned when the team was at its peak, 1900-1902 (pennants 1901-1903 but I haven't read anything much after 1902). Among the fixtures, Clarke and Ritchie were considered top fielders. Leach and Wagner no, but they weren't fixtures until '02 and '03. Beaumont no. Zimmer maybe had a top reputation for fielding or for arm, but it was also said that he could afford to lead the Players' Association because he was all done.

Sheckard was a talent. . . . a talent benched essentially for Hugh Jennings at 1B in 1900. I recall reading of concern about his defense. I don't mean consensus. It's difficult to learn common views much less consensus. It's relatively easy to get a lot of the same view because of the way newspaper resources are structured (microfilm rolls from one source, a few papers of record at ProQuest, Francis Richter and many correspondents stable at Sporting Life).

Sheckard and Steinfeldt arrived in Chicago only in 1906, for their 10th and 9th seasons at ages 27 and 28, having been regular players at ages about 19.5 and 20.8.
That's quite a year for Steinfeldt at bat. Wow, OPS+ : 151 77 89 158 around the horn and 136 at catcher.
I ramble when I should be reading old newspapers.
   132. sunnyday2 Posted: June 13, 2006 at 03:49 AM (#2061812)
John, I didn't think you were and I certainly wasn't trying to be. I was agreeing that Gooden had a hell of a year and just pointing out that not having a year like that by itself just isn't a negative.
   133. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 13, 2006 at 01:38 PM (#2061944)
John, I didn't think you were and I certainly wasn't trying to be. I was agreeing that Gooden had a hell of a year and just pointing out that not having a year like that by itself just isn't a negative.

I definitely agree. BTW, I personally think Redding's case is greater than Doc's. I just don't see him as the same type of pitcher, tha's all.
   134. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 13, 2006 at 02:36 PM (#2061987)
I definitely agree. BTW, I personally think Redding's case is greater than Doc's.

Gee, I thought I had a better case than Cannonball, myself.
   135. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 13, 2006 at 03:12 PM (#2062021)
Gee, I thought I had a better case than Cannonball, myself.

Well, you do run better MLEs than Redding would have.

;-)
   136. Mike Emeigh Posted: June 13, 2006 at 03:46 PM (#2062049)
The Pirates pitching staff was renowned when the team was at its peak, 1900-1902 (pennants 1901-1903 but I haven't read anything much after 1902).


Well, in '01 and '02 they had Chesbro/Tannehill/Leever/Phillippe. In 1903 they pitched six consecutive shutouts. Yet most of the local writing (especially after '03) was about the hitting, especially Wagner, and the articles that I read from other soucrs (mostly Chi and StL) also stressed the hitting.

The problem, in a nutshell, is the problem that every non-PBP system has to some extent - there is just no good way without PBP to tell the difference between a player who makes plays because he's good at making plays and a player who makes plays because he has lots of opportunities to make them. Fielding WS does a reasonable job at matching reputation largely because James designed the system so that players with good reputations *would* rank highly.

What do you mean? Tinkering with the parameters?


James wrote a fairly long article, Fielding Gold Gloves, in the WS book which he compares the results from WS to the actual GGs awrded and the likely GGs that would have been awarded had they existed at the time. That article is written in such a way as to make it clear that James validated Defensive WS by comparing the results to how fielders were "perceived". I don't think that there's anything wrong with that. It is incredibly hard to devise an objective system to measure the value of fielding - I'd argue that even ZR and UZR have a non-negligable subjective component in the system - and I think there are good reasons to value contemporary opinion in any evaluation system.

-- MWE
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