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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Monday, June 12, 2006

1979 Ballot Discussion

1979 (June 26)—elect 2
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)

642 208.1 1951 Willie Mays-CF
293 85.0 1956 Luis Aparicio-SS
297 73.9 1960 Frank Howard-LF/RF
241 70.6 1959 Johnny Callison-RF
241 59.2 1958 Felipe Alou-RF/CF
210 71.1 1958 Milt Pappas-P
142 54.1 1960 Chris Short-P (1991)
125 47.1 1961 Ron Perranoski-RP
139 38.5 1966 Tommie Agee-CF (2001)
115 43.1 1964 Gene Alley-SS
139 33.1 1962 Joe Pepitone-1B
103 35.9 1961 Bobby Bolin-P
106 33.1 1960 Eddie Fisher-RP
098 32.2 1963 Ray Culp-P
105 28.2 1965 Rick Reichardt-LF
108 25.7 1967 Mike Andrews-2B

Players Passing Away in 1978
HoMers
Age Elected

74 1945 Bill Foster-P
63 1956 Joe Gordon-2B

Candidates
Age Eligible

91 1928 Jack Graney-LF
90——Joe McCarthy-P/HOF Mgr
86 1935 George Harper-RF
85 1943 Jesse Haines-P
84 1935 George H. Burns-1B
83——Ford Frick-HOF Commissioner
82 1943 Rube Walberg-P
75 1945 Carl Reynolds-RF/CF
69 1947 Monte Pearson-P
68 1951 Gene Moore-RF
68 1953 Bill Dietrich-P
68 1954 George McQuinn-1B
58 1961 Billy Cox-3B
49 1972 Jim Gilliam-2B/3B

Upcoming Candidate
27 1984 Lyman Bostock-CF/RF

As always, thanks to Dan!

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 12, 2006 at 12:09 AM | 268 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 20, 2006 at 06:03 PM (#2069729)
Cliff, I tried e-mailing you in response to your own e-mail, but I was told that your account was inactive. I'll respond here instead.

I've got Nash as captain 1891-1895. Perhaps you are just referring to
pennant-winning years.


According to SABR's Baseball's First Stars, Rich Eldred wrote that Nash only captained for two seasons. He stepped down after the second season because he felt it was hurting his play.
   102. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 20, 2006 at 06:37 PM (#2069769)
91 1928 Jack Graney-LF

His biggest claim to fame was as the first athlete to become an announcer, which he did for the Indians for many a year.
   103. mulder & scully Posted: June 23, 2006 at 07:01 PM (#2073500)
Ok, I am too involved with this thing not to take a little time to vote. Formerly Kelly in SD.

1979 Prelim:

1. Willie Mays: Yes
2. Mickey Welch: The weight of the evidence.
3. Charley Jones: The weight of the evidence. A top 10 position player from 1876 to 1885. Please see the Keltner List on his thread. All-time, through 1979, Jones ranks in a knot of five left fielders between 8th and 12th all-time. The other four are Simmons, Clarke, Stovey, and Magee.
4. Pete Browning: Hitter. Ranks at the top of a group of 5 center fielders between 13th and 17th all-time. Doby, Hill, and Brown are in the HoM, Duffy is not.
5. Charlie Keller: MVP level play for 6 straight years with 1.75 years of War credit. Only DiMaggio, Williams, and Musial were better in the 1940s before he hurt his back. I have him as the 13th best left fielder through 1979.
6. Hugh Duffy: A key member of the best team of the 1890s. Please see the Keltner List for him. Ranks in a group of 5 center fielders between 13th and 17th all-time. Doby, Hill, and Brown are in the HoM, Browning is not.
7. Quincy Troupe: A great hitting catcher whose nomadic career has done wonders to hide his value. I ask the many voters who trust the MLEs of elected or balloted NeLers to look again at Troupe. 10th best catcher of all time as of 1979.
8. Jose Mendez: From 1910 to 1914, only Johnson and Alexander were better. A gigantic peak.
9. Bucky Walters: Best peak available (tied with Dean) among eligible white players.
10. Alejandro Ohms: Many years of all-star-plus years (over 25 win shares.) 19th among centerfielders through 1979.
11. Cupid Childs: Best second baseman of 1890s and its not close. 11th all-time among second basemen.
12. Vic Willis: Take another look. 4 times one of the top 2 pitchers in the National League.
13. Dobie Moore: Banks before Banks. I may have to move them closer on the final ballot. My system finds them quite comparable. In a knot between 11th and 15th among shortstops through 1979 with Glasscock, Reese, Banks, and Jennings – all HoMers.
14. Tommy Leach: Great defense. Good hitting at two key defensive positions. A key player in one of the best defensive teams ever. 9th best third baseman if all credit for career is at third, 24th best center fielder if all credit is at CF. Split the difference and he is about even with Hack and Sutton.
15. Gavy Cravath: Credit for 1909, 1910, 1911. All players, All times. All-Star 5 times by STATS and Win Shares.

16-20:
Chance:
Howard: These four players are ranked as the best leftfielders in my system. There is no difference between them.
Burns:
Kiner: Just a hair behind Burns for best LF on my board.
Minoso: Just a hair behind Howard, Burns and Minoso for best LF. I can't put all three on the ballot so none of them go.

21-25:
Redding: Not enough shoulder seasons to go with the big 4 years.
Grimes:
Cooper, Wilbur: He and Bunning are very similar, but Bunning is slightly better in several ways so there is a 13 space gap between them.
Roush:
Bresnahan:

26-30
Doyle:
Easter:
Long:
Rosen:
Stephens:

31-35
Sisler: His raw numbers are heavily park influenced. Too bad he couldn't walk. His peak is just not high enough, nor is his prime. First base and center field have the highest standards for me. He doesn't meet them.
Van Haltren: Lots of years of 25+ win shares in the 1890s. Too bad the other outfielders were putting up better every year.
Dean:
Waddell:
Fox:

36-40:
Schang:
Tiernan:
Fournier:
Carl Mays:
Monroe:

41-45:
Scales:
McGraw:
Sewell: A good player, but just a little short.
Berger:
Clarkson:

46-50:
Elliott:
Shocker:
Jones, F:
Denny Lyons:
Ed Williamson:

Others:
Beckley: 11th best available first baseman. Around 140th among all eligible players.
   104. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 23, 2006 at 10:29 PM (#2073767)
91 1928 Jack Graney-LF

His biggest claim to fame was as the first athlete to become an announcer, which he did for the Indians for many a year.


I'm blaming Graney for McCarver, Morgan, and Lyons!!!
   105. Brent Posted: June 24, 2006 at 05:59 AM (#2074389)
On the ballot thread (# 85) John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy wrote:

I agree [Sisler]'s not the best candidate available and I have him near the bottom of my ballot, but would you agree that he's not your typical OPS+ of 124 hitter?

Sisler's unusual career shape, with 7 years of feast followed by 7 years of famine, is precisely the aspect of his career that I was trying to focus on. I think his career profile is perfectly designed to maximize the values that receive the most weight in the most common evaluation schemes while minimizing the values of those parts of a career that typically receive little weight. That's the essence of why I think he is being overrated by this electorate.

Based on comments made in the discussions, my guess is that the most common evluation systems are similar to the one that Bill James used in TNBJHBA -- some combination of a measure of peak value, such as 3 highest seasons or 5 highest seasons, perhaps a measure of prime such as 7 (or 9) highest seasons, and finally a measure of career value such as career win shares or WARP3 or whatever other indicator one is using. (For some reason, we never look at even-numbered spans of seasons!) As an example, I remember when Gadfly was still voting that he provided us with his formula; my recollection is that it was calculated as career WS plus 5 times the WS for the player's 5 best seasons. Some voters may permit non-consecutive peaks while others focus on peaks or primes consisting of consecutive seasons. Sisler's career--with a couple of great seasons for a peak, a nice prime of 7 excellent consecutive seasons, and a long 15-season career to run up the career value--is clearly going to show up well in such a system (which unfortunately hasn't been updated since the 1949 election).

All evaluation systems have their quirks, emphasizing some aspects of a player's performance while giving less weight to other aspects. I see two potential problems with the peak/prime/career systems that I've just been describing. One is that they may be too sensitive to the essentially arbitrary choice of number of seasons to highlight. For example, in comparing two candidates using a 3-7-career system, a voter may not give sufficient attention to a candidate who does much better than another in his 8th and 9th-best seasons, because those seasons receive much less weight. I've given the example of Cravath as a player who was similar to Sisler in his 7-year prime (including Cravath's prime seasons in the minor leagues), but who outperformed Sisler in non-prime seasons. Bill James pointed to an example of this type of rating quirk in comparing Cobb and Mantle, observing that although Mantle led Cobb in three-best seasons, "Cobb's fourth-best, fith-best, sixth-best, and seventh-best seasons are far better than Mantle's." James used this quirk as a reason to move Cobb higher than his simple rating system would have implied.

The other problem I'd like to point to is that if one is using either career win shares or career WARP, the replacement level is too low and players with average to below-average seasons will be overvalued. This is important for Sisler because 4 of his non-prime seasons (1924, 26, 29 and 30) are essentially replacement-level performances. For calculating pennants added, Joe adjusted the win shares replacement levels to avoid giving credit for sub-replacement level performance; Sisler didn't do very well in that system.

I think it's important for all of us to think about whatever system we are using and consider whether the system's quirks might be causing us to underrate a deserving or overrate an undeserving candidate. I think that the particular quirks of the peak/prime/career-type systems may be causing Sisler to be overrated. (Though I suspect it's too late for me to stop the train in this case.)
   106. Brent Posted: June 24, 2006 at 06:02 AM (#2074390)
Note of clarification - I added the parenthetical "(which unfortunately hasn't been updated since the 1949 election)" just before posting and placed it in the wrong spot--it was supposed to come after the reference to "pennants added."
   107. EricC Posted: June 24, 2006 at 10:56 AM (#2074411)
I think his career profile is perfectly designed to maximize the values that receive the most weight in the most common evaluation schemes while minimizing the values of those parts of a career that typically receive little weight.

Well said.

Also, from the 1979 ballot thread:


Brent> I don't understand how most of the rest of the electorate, who understand that an OPS+ of 124 simply isn't that impressive for a first baseman, came to view him as one of the 15 best qualified candidates.

Paul Wendt> True, but Goose and Country waltzed in at 127 and 123 in the corner.


While OPS+ is often mentioned here, it is flawed, because it rates OBP+ as heavily as SLG+. In fact, a one percent improvement in OBP+ is more valuable than a one percent improvement in SLG+. Sisler had a relatively poor-OBP 124 OPS+, and, in this case, Slaughter's 123 OPS+ was actually more valuable. (Not that players should be judged by average career batting performance alone, but a reminder that OPS+ should not be used to compare players unless its flaws are accounted for.)
   108. karlmagnus Posted: June 24, 2006 at 01:12 PM (#2074421)
There's actually very little in it between Sisler and Slaughter. Sisler 379/468 vs Slaughter 382/453 -- thought there wouldn't be, as Sisler partly predated the HR fest after 1920. I have to say I'm old fashioned enough to be impressed by a .340 vcareer batting average, which is what Sisler was monitoring himself by, and not worry that he didn't walk much, since nobody was telling him to do so.
   109. Howie Menckel Posted: June 24, 2006 at 01:23 PM (#2074423)
Well, I'm pretty sure the "OPS+ is flawed" argument itself is flawed.
Whenever I call someone on it, they say that the more extreme cases in effect give 2-3 bonus pts to a Sisler type. Worth considering in those cases, but that is not going to turn Sisler from an apparent HOMer into an also-ran.

Sisler has waited a half-century to get in. I hardly think we're wildly overrating him. I agree that he hits the spot for 3-year and 7-year fans, and for some career numbers fans. Yet I'd also say he is overly penalized by others who say, "Ah, his career OPS+ isn't that good." His mediocre seasons, it seems to me, drag down his rating on at least as many ballots compared to those where he benefits from counting-stats fans.
I see his 'second career' as fairly irrelevant, not really adding to his case yet not really detracting much from his prime, which is his real case.

Hoenstly, Brent, I don't see how a guy who spent a number of years as a truly great players, and then waits 50 years, comes across as so overrated to you. Any holdover you name as an alternative, I can present a pretty damning case against. In fact, that's what makes them holdovers.
   110. sunnyday2 Posted: June 24, 2006 at 02:44 PM (#2074445)
I once had a boss who defined everybody by our weaknesses. Then I had a boss who figured out what everybody COULD do, and had us do that.

All of us evaluate some players vis-a-vis their strengths and others their weaknesses. Once a voter decides which to focus on--Sisler or anybody--their strengths or their weaknesses--the die is pretty much cast, and then we look at the numbers that support the case.

How else can Sisler and Beckley rate anywhere from #1 to #140? It takes a totally different mindset, subjectively, to make for that kind of a differential. And obviously the dichotomies are bigger for some players, whose records have dichotomies in them already for us to fix on.

For Sisler, then, is it the first 7 years, or the second, that is definitive? That has made all the difference.
   111. Brent Posted: June 24, 2006 at 02:51 PM (#2074449)
While OPS+ is often mentioned here, it is flawed, because it rates OBP+ as heavily as SLG+. In fact, a one percent improvement in OBP+ is more valuable than a one percent improvement in SLG+. Sisler had a relatively poor-OBP 124 OPS+, and, in this case, Slaughter's 123 OPS+ was actually more valuable.

I've been playing around trying to come up with a simple formula to "fix" the problem of OPS overweighting SLG+ and underweighting OBP+. Recall that the formula for OPS+ is:

OPS+ = 100 * (OBP/lgOBP* + SLG/lgSLG* -1)

Based on an article by Tangotiger, which suggests that OBA should receive about 64 percent more weight than SLG, I'd suggest the following version (I'll call it weighted OPS+ or WOPS+):

WOPS+ = 100 * ((5/4)OBP/lgOBP* + (3/4)*SLG/lgSLG* -1)

Because (5/4)/(3/4) = 5/3 = 1.67, it gives about 67 percent more weight to OBP, which is certainly within the range of accuracy of Tango's article. (Those who crave precision could use weights of (41/33) for OBP/lgOBP* and (25/33) for SLG/lgSLG* -- the ratio 41/25 is precisely 1.64. I'll also note, however, that in other postings Tango has said that OBP should get about 80 percent more weight than SLG, which would imply weights of (9/7) and (5/7).)

As EricC suggested, giving more appropriate weights moves Slaughter ahead of Sisler:
Player       OPS+  WOPS+
Slaughter    123    123
Sisler       124    121 

Although Sisler and Slaughter had about the same OBP, Sisler's came with a higher park-adjusted league OBP, giving him a lower OBP+ and causing his WOPS+ to drop compared to his OPS+.

The adjustment particularly affects players with very unequal OBP and SLG components. For example, OPS+ undervalues my favorite shortstop, Phil Rizzuto. Scooter's OBP+ is 101, but lacking power, his SLG+ is only 92, giving him an OPS+ of 93. Using the more appropriately weighted WOPS+, his score rises to 95. (Of course, the main reasons Scooter is on my ballot are defense and war credit.) We'll see an even more extreme case of this when we get to Ozzie Smith, who, despite his OPS+, was actually a pretty good hitter for a shortstop.
   112. Howie Menckel Posted: June 24, 2006 at 03:06 PM (#2074454)
Brent,
I tend to agree with your mathematics there.

But isn't that adjustment so low as to be barely worth mentioning?
Yet this 'flaw' is mentioned often, in too many cases without the clarification of how little it changes the numbers.
   113. Brent Posted: June 24, 2006 at 03:17 PM (#2074459)
Howie wrote:

I see his 'second career' as fairly irrelevant, not really adding to his case yet not really detracting much from his prime, which is his real case.

I agree that Sisler's prime is his real case. However, there are a number of shorter career candidates with similar primes who haven't been getting nearly as many votes--Keller, Cravath, and guys who've never gotten much support like Tiernan, Hack Wilson, and Chuck Klein. (I would have included Kiner in this list, except for some unknown reason his support has surged recently.) The fact that Sisler has done so much better made me wonder whether his advantage wasn't the length of his career and his "7 years of famine," and if so, whether it really made sense for his edge to come from seasons of that quality.

I admit that all our backlog candidates are flawed and maybe Sisler's flaws just happen to look bigger to me than they do to you. Maybe Sisler had virtues that the majority of voters see that I just can't see. Look, I'm never going to convince you, or probably anyone else, so I promise this will be my last anti-Sisler posting.

Sunnyday2,

I agree that we all approach our evaluations with different mindsets that are revealed with extreme players like Sisler, Beckley, Kiner, Jennings, and Koufax. However, rather than saying that some voters focus on strengths and others on weaknesses, I think it would be more accurate to say that some voters focus more on certain strengths, which cause them also to focus on the related weaknesses. For example, in evaluating corner outfielder I probably give more weight to defense than some voters here. For some candidates that means I'm focusing on their strength while for others that's their weakness.
   114. Brent Posted: June 24, 2006 at 03:27 PM (#2074460)
Howie wrote:

But isn't that adjustment so low as to be barely worth mentioning?

Probably 90 percent of the time it isn't worth mentioning, but in some cases players can be on or off ballot because of differences of 3 points or 5 points of OPS+. In extreme cases, like Ozzie Smith, it makes enough difference to really change his perception as a hitter.

OPS+ is a pretty good summary statistic, but it isn't optimally designed and it omits other things (like base running or GIDP) that can be relevant to particular candidates. I think it's worth always being aware of its imperfections.
   115. sunnyday2 Posted: June 24, 2006 at 04:46 PM (#2074492)
>Player OPS+ WOPS+
>Slaughter 123 123
>Sisler 124 121

This all assumes that one single career number is what we're after.

(*The following numbers are from Palmer and Gillette, Baseball Encyclopedia, 2004, and I've been told these numbers differ from ones more widely seen, but you get the gist.)

Sisler 179-69-63-59-53-37-33
Slaughter 153-41-39-31-31-30-30

Each had 7 years >130, though it's true that Slaughter missed 3 full seasons to the war, coming right after his 153. I gave Enos 3 years at 142 which is why he was an easy HoMer to me. But for our purposes here, I'm just looking at the components of his actual career 121*.)

Sisler (cont.)119-9-0-(+4 years <100)
Slaughter (cont.) 127-20-16-11-9-4-0-(97)

Slaughter one more year <130 and obviously with a much better "average" performance level during the decline. But Sisler's better years were +26-28-24-28-22-7-3. Slaughter was of course more valuable by a similar amount if you took the bottom seven. But for a peak voter like me, the point is that Sisler at his best was clearly a greater baseball player than Slaughter ever was. I'm going to elect Sisler first head to head on their strengths rather than Slaughter on a head to head comparison of their weaker years. And we are not electing a Hall of Value but a Hall of Merit. To me that means, was this a "great" player or not, and Sisler clearly was. There weren't 150ish position players who were better, in fact there were few enough that a guy like Slaughter with a peak of (WWII adjusted) 5 years >140 and 5 more >130 plus 8 more years of bulk is an easy choice. But Slaughter goes in after the really great players like Sisler go in for me. The fact that Sisler ended up with an OPS+ a couple points higher or lower than Slaughter is not a particularly interesting fact either way.
   116. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 24, 2006 at 10:50 PM (#2074860)
The other thing to note about Sisler is that if he racked up those numbers in a later generation, he would be that much further away from electability. IOW, an 124 OPS+ during Sislers' era for a first baseman is not the same as it would have been in the 1950's (Gil Hodges says hello)*.

* Of course, Sisler would still do better than Gil due to his greater peak.
   117. TomH Posted: June 25, 2006 at 01:21 AM (#2074875)
I've been playing around trying to come up with a simple formula to "fix" the problem of OPS overweighting SLG+ and underweighting OBP+. Recall that the formula for OPS+ is:
------------ OPS+ = 100 * (OBP/lgOBP* + SLG/lgSLG* -1)
Based on an article by Tangotiger, which suggests that OBA should receive about 64 percent more weight than SLG


BUT. Since the OPS+ fromula is already dividing player OBP and SLG by league avg, and since SLG is typically 30% higher than OBP, there is a (approx, depending on the league) 30% inherent advantage for OBP in the formula, and so the further adjustment should be closer to an additional 25%-30%, which aint TOO much of an adjustment.

OPS+ is somewhat coarse, but of all the coarse measurements, it's the best IMHO. And if it's off, its more off for the Hendersons/Raines/Cobbs of the world than for the Dave Kingmans or Eddie Yosts.
   118. Brent Posted: June 25, 2006 at 04:49 AM (#2074948)
BUT. Since the OPS+ fromula is already dividing player OBP and SLG by league avg, and since SLG is typically 30% higher than OBP, there is a (approx, depending on the league) 30% inherent advantage for OBP in the formula, and so the further adjustment should be closer to an additional 25%-30%, which aint TOO much of an adjustment.

Thanks. You make a good observation that I hadn't thought of. However, SLG has been 30% higher than OBP only for about the last 10 years (when the number of home runs took off). Historically 10 to 15% has been more typical, with SLG sometimes rising to 20% higher than OBP and during the deadball era dropping to about the same as OBP. That suggests that if we want to find the "right" weights for OPS+ it might take a bit of work and the weights would need to vary from year to year.
   119. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: June 25, 2006 at 11:28 AM (#2075026)
As a a pretty strict peak voter I would like to say that I the reason that Sisler has been bouncing on and off my ballot for the past 25+ yeras is that his peak/prime isn't historic. I agree with Brent that I am nto sure why Sisler gets so much more support than guys like Keller and Kiner. Keller, especially, who I see as vastly superior (or maybe easily superior) to Gorgeous George. Keller, with WWII and MiL credit has almost as many MVP level seasons as Sisler does good ones. In other words I think that Sisler last seven yeras as what is pushing him ahead of those guys and he really didnt' add much value in those seven years.
   120. sunnyday2 Posted: June 25, 2006 at 01:22 PM (#2075045)
j, you answered your own question. Even WITH MiL credit (as well as WWII credit) Keller still has approx. the same career as Kiner and approx. the same prime as Sisler. And I'd guess that most voters are not onboard with MiL credit, and some are not even on board with WWII credit. So that's a lot of ways for Keller to come up short.
   121. EricC Posted: June 25, 2006 at 01:29 PM (#2075046)
BUT. Since the OPS+ fromula is already dividing player OBP and SLG by league avg, and since SLG is typically 30% higher than OBP, there is a (approx, depending on the league) 30% inherent advantage for OBP in the formula, and so the further adjustment should be closer to an additional 25%-30%, which aint TOO much of an adjustment.

In the run created formula, OBP and SLG appear as a product. Raising either of them by 1 percent raises the product by 1 percent. The raw values of either do not matter.

The reason why a one percent increase in OBP has more impact than a one percent increase in SLG becomes apparent in a team context. By increasing your OBP, you make fewer outs, giving your teammates more opportunities to score runs.
   122. karlmagnus Posted: June 25, 2006 at 02:48 PM (#2075066)
Eric C, that would be correct if the standard deviation of OBP and that of SLG for full time players was the same, but it's not -- that of SLG is an order of magnitude higher. Hence, because of its greater variability, SLG is currently more weighted in the OPS+ formula. However, in the Beckley/early Sisler era, the variation in SLG was much less than it is today - thus a 124 for a Beckley or Sisler is better than a 124 for a Kingman (115) or McGwire (163), players that modern OPS+ overrates -- 163 WAY overrates McGwire's position in the pantheon, in particular. Kiner and keller fall into the Kingman/McGwire category too, although less extreme.

As for Ozzie, so what if his 87 becomes a 90. Even adding my 25 point SS bonus, he's still only 115 and hence not close.
   123. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 25, 2006 at 02:58 PM (#2075070)
Doesn't SLG have a higher correlation to scoring than OBP does? IIRC, The Hidden Game of Baseball spotlighted that. Even when using a version that included SB and CS, it still lagged behind SLG.
   124. TomH Posted: June 25, 2006 at 07:10 PM (#2075371)
Yes, SLG corelates better, precisely becaue of what karlmagnus said - there is more variability. But one point of SLG is worht less than one point of OBP.
   125. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 25, 2006 at 07:46 PM (#2075430)
But one point of SLG is worht less than one point of OBP.

Agreed.
   126. Chris Cobb Posted: June 25, 2006 at 08:02 PM (#2075444)
As for Ozzie, so what if his 87 becomes a 90. Even adding my 25 point SS bonus, he's still only 115 and hence not close.

It's a long while before he actually becomes eligible, but I'll point out that when one takes into account Ozzie's OBP+, excellent SB performance in both rate and volume, and fairly low rate of GIDP, his career offensive value is right about league average. He is _significantly_ underrated by OPS+, and a back-of-envelope adjustment doesn't make an adequate correction.
   127. Brent Posted: June 25, 2006 at 11:32 PM (#2075563)
Here's another version of weighted OPS+ (see # 111 above) that takes account of the comment from TomH in # 117:

WOPS+ = 100 * [1.167(OBP/lgOBP*) + .833(SLG/lgSLG*) -1]

As recommended by Tangotiger, OBP's weight is about 64 percent larger than SLG's. I take account that the OPS formula divides by league averages by using the average (pitcher-excluded) OBP and SLG for all major leagues 1876-2005, OBP = .335 and SLG = .392. In other words,

(1.167/.833)/(.335/.392) = 1.64.

As Chris Cobb observes, even reweighted OPS+ doesn't take account of stolen bases, GIDP, clutch performance, etc. The uberstats may take account of some of these statistics.
   128. Howie Menckel Posted: June 26, 2006 at 12:15 AM (#2075579)
I give some off-the-napkin allowance for high-pct basestealers and such, but realistically I still think we're talking veryclose tiebreaker material here. Not unreasonable, but I just want us all to keep in fair context.

I do agree that Ozzie is an extreme case in many ways.
   129. sunnyday2 Posted: June 26, 2006 at 01:10 AM (#2075643)
If he was indeed a league average offensive player, then case closed. But was he? Not necessarily on the back of my napkin., but there is the little problem with tonight's dinner obliterating some important information.
   130. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: June 26, 2006 at 03:06 AM (#2075841)
When they finally get around to perfecting Bistromathics, that'll be a feature, not a bug.
   131. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 26, 2006 at 05:27 PM (#2076417)
I think his career profile is perfectly designed to maximize the values that receive the most weight in the most common evaluation schemes while minimizing the values of those parts of a career that typically receive little weight.

Also working in Sisler's favor is that he's one of the few cases of a fairly long career where the nonconsecutive and consecutive prime/peak folks agree on where in his career the peak and prime lay.
   132. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: June 26, 2006 at 10:00 PM (#2076857)
I would like to vote for the first time in this election, so I'm going to put my ballot up here for perusal and see if its ok to go in the main thread:

My philosophy: PEAK PEAK PEAK. To me, I don't want any team comprised of non-HoM players, playing at their peak, to be able to beat a team of HoM players, also at their peak. No Jake Beckleys for me. I also put a major premium on consecutive or near-consecutive peak (eg, peak interrupted by one injury year). If a player is wildly inconsistent, its impossible for a team to utilize him correctly, and that makes him less valuble. My general rule of them is 3 year peak minimum for players, 2 year peak minimum for pitchers but I prefer 3 years for the pitchers. I give some amorphous extra credit for 5 year prime.

My ballot:

1)Willie Mays. Duh.
2)Ralph Kiner-He's a truly awesome hitter, Sisler's equal or probably superior. He's no great shakes in the field, but, he'd have to be Luzinski-like to not be HoM worthy. He wasn't that bad. The preeminent NL slugger of his generation.
3)Jose Mendez-I'm persuaded by the work of others that he would have had a super, Koufax-like peak if he pitched in the majors. That's superior to the others on the ballot.
4)Charlie Keller-Not much distinguishes Kiner and Keller, though I fear that Keller may have been helped (or rather, less hurt) by his park, and so is overrated by OPS+.
5)Dizzy Dean-For 3 years, best NL pitcher behind Hubbell. As a bonus, his team won the WS during one of those years.
6)Gavvy Cravath-I give him credit for missed seasons in his "true" prime; I don't buy the "not good enough for the bigs" argument. It would be shocking for a player with his post-prime not to have a HOM worth prime (though not impossible: see Hondo). Because of the strength of what is, and probably what was, he should be in.
7)Rube Waddell-A 2 year peak, but oh, what a peak. Best pitcher in the majors after Mathewson at his best.
8)George Sisler-I think that it's sort of hard to make the case for Gorgeous George when guys like Kiner are still kicking around the backlog. A great hitter (probably ~165OPS+ over his prime), but was he better enough as an all-around guy to jump ahead of the corner OF's? I don't think so.
9)Al Rosen- Brilliant, in an era when teams were still putting out offensive stiffs at 3B. Who was his competition in the AL, Nellie Fox? You can't judge him against the 3B's that follow him, IMO.
10)Minnie Minoso-Gavvy-lite. See above.
11)Bucky Walters-It's really only 2 great years, but those 2 great years are better than (for instance) Grimes's 2 great years. Similar to Dean, but w/o the T.T.O. style of pitching.
12) Ken Boyer-He's not Rosen, but that's no disqualification. Great all-around player. Probably even stronger from a career-value POV.
13) Vern Stephens- I don't get why he doesn't get more love. Even ignoring his war years, he's a well-above average hitter who doesn't kill you in the field. And he's a SS. Sure, he's partially a creation of Fenway, and he was a drunk, but there aren't enough SS's of his caliber for that to be a disqualifier (unlike, say, Chuck Klein and Hack Wilson, who face the glut of corner OF).
14) Joe Sewell-His best year screams "BIPA fluke!" to me, but he's still, like Stephens, an above average (115OPS) hitter who plays SS for you. I don't really have any opinion as to the order of Sewell or Stephens-think of it as a tie.
15) Roger Bresnahan-Yes, he's an odd case...and yes, he gets killed on the Ink. But I still think that when you factor in the difficulties of what he did, when he did it, he belongs.
   133. OCF Posted: June 26, 2006 at 10:13 PM (#2076900)
Yeah, I think that passes muster - just my opinion. But go ahead and post it.

There are other peak voters, but you may find it hard to hold to that extreme a position consistently - if you're even that consistently extreme now. You may find that there are many others who fit into your very short time frames (especially pitchers) who don't have the career. For instance: why Walters but not Gomez? (And in the future, what about Gooden?) And Bresnahan - you do know that in his best offensive years, he was an outfielder, right?
   134. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: June 26, 2006 at 10:16 PM (#2076907)

There are other peak voters, but you may find it hard to hold to that extreme a position consistently - if you're even that consistently extreme now. You may find that there are many others who fit into your very short time frames (especially pitchers) who don't have the career. For instance: why Walters but not Gomez? (And in the future, what about Gooden?) And Bresnahan - you do know that in his best offensive years, he was an outfielder, right?



To answer your question, I've been chewing on Gooden, mentally, for awhile already. W/r/t Lefty Gomez, my problem with him is that none of his great years were consecutive. And yes, I am aware of that for Bresnahan.
   135. DavidFoss Posted: June 26, 2006 at 10:24 PM (#2076912)
Who was his competition in the AL, Nellie Fox?

Even though I'm not a Fox fan, in all fairness, Nellie played 2B.

Acceptable ballot IMHO. Mentioning why you didn't vote for Duffy and Redding is also required (you mentioned Beckley up top), perhaps add a note when you copy to the ballot thread.
   136. sunnyday2 Posted: June 26, 2006 at 10:35 PM (#2076919)
Always happy to have another real peak voter on board.
   137. Sean Gilman Posted: June 26, 2006 at 10:36 PM (#2076920)
I wonder what you think, as a peak voter, of Pete Browning and Charley Jones (along with Hugh Duffy, I guess) who seem to be the consensus picks for best remaining peak position players of the 19th century.
   138. Chris Fluit Posted: June 26, 2006 at 10:45 PM (#2076928)
I don't see any objections to the ballot (other than the required disclosures mentioned by David Foss). Welcome to the Hall of Merit, Bernie!
   139. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: June 26, 2006 at 10:46 PM (#2076930)
I wonder what you think, as a peak voter, of Pete Browning and Charley Jones (along with Hugh Duffy, I guess) who seem to be the consensus picks for best remaining peak position players of the 19th century.


I am going to reconsider 19th century guys as it goes along....but due to my general ignorance of that era, I need to start with guys from the Modern.


The peak guy I really have a hard-on for? Smokey Joe Wood. He'd probably start for the non-HoM team in my imaginary HoM v. non-HoM matchup, don't you think?
   140. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2006 at 10:47 PM (#2076931)
Yeah, I think that passes muster - just my opinion. But go ahead and post it.

I agree. Welcome, Billy!
   141. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2006 at 10:50 PM (#2076934)
I wonder what you think, as a peak voter, of Pete Browning and Charley Jones (along with Hugh Duffy, I guess)

Don't forget Childs, since he has more support than Browning and Jones.
   142. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: June 26, 2006 at 10:51 PM (#2076935)
Don't forget Childs, since he has more support than Browning and Jones.


My concern with Childs, who I did look at, was that his contact skills weren't so great. In an errorific era (god, that's an awesome phrase), I'd rather take the BA-heavy OBP than the BB-heavy OBP. If that makes any sense.
   143. DavidFoss Posted: June 26, 2006 at 10:52 PM (#2076936)
Smokey Joe Wood. He'd probably start for the non-HoM team in my imaginary HoM v. non-HoM matchup, don't you think?

Even peak voters (like myself) have a line they draw for when the career is just too short. I do vote for McGraw and Keller, but Wood makes Koufax and Dean look like marathon runners.
   144. OCF Posted: June 26, 2006 at 10:58 PM (#2076937)
The peak guy I really have a hard-on for? Smokey Joe Wood. He'd probably start for the non-HoM team in my imaginary HoM v. non-HoM matchup, don't you think?

I've got a real obscurity for you out of the 19-oughts: George Stone, outfielder.
   145. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 26, 2006 at 10:59 PM (#2076938)
"I wonder what you think, as a peak voter, of Pete Browning and Charley Jones (along with Hugh Duffy, I guess) who seem to be the consensus picks for best remaining peak position players of the 19th century.

I am going to reconsider 19th century guys as it goes along....but due to my general ignorance of that era, I need to start with guys from the Modern.

The peak guy I really have a hard-on for? Smokey Joe Wood. He'd probably start for the non-HoM team in my imaginary HoM v. non-HoM matchup, don't you think?"

Welcome aboard Bernie - always good to have a Yankee fan join the crowd.

A few things, thanks for your honesty - but if you aren't considering 19th Century guys, I don't know how we can consider it a valid ballot. I understand wanting to start with the guys you know - but that's only fine for starting the process, not for voting. I hope you understand that. One of my biggest fears as this moves into the time that everyone remembers is that we are going to get a slew of new voters that only vote for the guys they remember.

Obviously, that's not the case here - you are going back to the deadball era - but there's still another 30 years of baseball to consider.

I hate to be the tough one here, but I guess that's sort of my job :-) But I don't think the ballot is valid for that reason.

We'll gladly welcome it once you give full consideration to the 19th Century players.

As was said above, I think Charley Jones and Cupid Childs will do pretty well by you - Browning will depend on how much you discount the AA.

Does anyone object to this? We're going to have to be a little more vigilant here as we move forward . . . feel free to speak up anyone, if you think I'm off base here.
   146. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: June 26, 2006 at 11:06 PM (#2076943)

Even peak voters (like myself) have a line they draw for when the career is just too short. I do vote for McGraw and Keller, but Wood makes Koufax and Dean look like marathon runners.


McGraw is an interesting case..he was actually the highest 19th century guy on my list for (someone to read the thread about before next election).

As for Wood...on the one hand, you can argue that he has that awesome peak year, and his team win the world series....and that peak year is so extraordinary that it, combined with the 2 other years where he's great but not durable, suggests that he was, indeed, as good as that year indicates (not as good as Johnson, maybe tied with Walsh). OTOH, the Sox probably win the pennant without him, and he nearly loses the 1912 series for them (gets lit up in game 7, gives up a run in the 10th in game 8).

But oh, that one great year...
   147. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2006 at 11:07 PM (#2076944)
Does anyone object to this? We're going to have to be a little more vigilant here as we move forward . . . feel free to speak up anyone, if you think I'm off base here.

At this point, Joe, it's not going to change anything either way. I do agree that, for the future, Bernie (I posted Billy before, which shows my age :-) nneeds to consider the 19th century guys before he can submit a ballot (which doesn't mean that he needs to have one on his ballot, of course). But that's why you're the Commish and get paid the big bucks, Joe. :-) If that's your final decision, I wont contest it.
   148. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 26, 2006 at 11:07 PM (#2076945)
Just a few comments, since I've been really diving into the pitchers of late - hope this helps

Regarding Wood - his peak really isn't all that.

He basically had one great year, one very good year, and one good year - but even the one great year is somewhat overblown when you go back and look at it in the context of it's time - I mean Walter Johnson's year in 1913 - now that's the kind of peak that could stand out as a 1-year Hall of Fame peak - that year dwarfs Wood's big year. Dizzy Trout had a better peak and more career, for example. So did Dolf Luque. His peak just isn't all that extraordinary - and there is nothing else.

Same for Joss - those ERA+ numbers are nice, but he just didn't throw a lot of innings in his time - he only had 2 years that were even among the league leaders. Mel Parnell had a better peak.

Again, welcome aboard!
   149. Sean Gilman Posted: June 26, 2006 at 11:08 PM (#2076947)
Don't forget Childs, since he has more support than Browning and Jones.

Definitely, without a doubt.
   150. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: June 26, 2006 at 11:10 PM (#2076950)
As was said above, I think Charley Jones and Cupid Childs will do pretty well by you - Browning will depend on how much you discount the AA.

Does anyone object to this? We're going to have to be a little more vigilant here as we move forward . . . feel free to speak up anyone, if you think I'm off base here.


I did review McGraw, Childs, Browning. I did not look closely at Charley Jones.

The biggest concern, for me, is the quality of league adjustment. I don't want to treat the pre-1900 stats the same as modern stats, but I'm not sure how much I want to discount them. I feel much more confident about that sort of analysis with modern players.
   151. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 26, 2006 at 11:12 PM (#2076955)
Good points John - but I really do think we need to set good precendents - if the ballot isn't going to make a difference, all the more reason to uphold the standards.

I'm really not trying to be a ball-buster - I think this is a very important issue that's going to keep cropping up . . . any thoughts?
   152. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 26, 2006 at 11:18 PM (#2076966)
Bernie - there is nothing magical that happened in 1900 that made it easier to play baseball. If any line is to be drawn it would be 1892/1893 when they moved the mound back - the 12-team 1890s NL was a much tougher league than the early 1900s 16-team MLB for one.

We've specifically set out to treat all eras as equal, give consideration to everyone, etc..

I'm out of time right now, have a 7:30 haircut appointment . . . I'll be back on a little later.
   153. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: June 26, 2006 at 11:18 PM (#2076968)
This is the kind of thing that I have trouble with. From the Cupid Childs discussion:

CC: 37-33-32-28-24-23-21-21-19-13-12-07

Childs looks better at the top of the list at first, but that top season is the 1890-AA. The year after they lost both Brooklyn and Cincy and the year of the PL. There is a lot of league quality debate out there, but I think there is a consensus about the 1890 AA. How much to discount that season, I don't know. Drop it down to 28 and they are pretty even again. Drop it less and Childs still has a slightly higher peak.


I mean, where to begin? I wouldn't know that the 1890 AA was weak. I wouldn't know how to quantify that weakness. How the heck can I properly assess Childs?
   154. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 26, 2006 at 11:19 PM (#2076969)
Should say 'harder' not easier in the first sentence - duh . . . OK, now I'm really out for a bit . . .
   155. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2006 at 11:25 PM (#2076979)
Good points John - but I really do think we need to set good precendents - if the ballot isn't going to make a difference, all the more reason to uphold the standards.

No, I agree, Joe. If I had noticed that passage about the 19th century, I probably would have spoken up myself. Besides, no one can say that you're being unfair since you weren't able to vote in election yourself only a few years ago due to our rules. :-)
   156. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2006 at 11:28 PM (#2076985)
I mean, where to begin? I wouldn't know that the 1890 AA was weak. I wouldn't know how to quantify that weakness. How the heck can I properly assess Childs?

There are numbers somewhere indicating the strength for each year in our archives, Bernie.
   157. DavidFoss Posted: June 26, 2006 at 11:32 PM (#2076992)
I mean, where to begin? I wouldn't know that the 1890 AA was weak. I wouldn't know how to quantify that weakness. How the heck can I properly assess Childs?

Maybe it would be best to wait a couple of weeks until you catch up on some of the 19th century stuff -- rather than cramming it into the last 40 minutes here.

The AA was considered weaker than the NL for the most part. The differences between the two leagues were greater earlier (1882-83) and later (1890-91) in the middle, the AA was fairly strong (though still not quite up to par). Strong enough that many teams from that era (Cardinals, Dodgers, Pirates, Reds, Orioles, Was, Lou) ended up jumping to the NL and often performing well after the jump.

But 1890 was the year of the players rebellion with the third league (Players League) stealing much of the talent. It put a strain on the stability of the other two leagues and when the PL folded, most of the talent concentrated back in the NL leaving the 1891 AA very weak.

That's the top-of-my-head-nutshell version. I think we probably have a few threads on league quality. The "AA-discount" was taken quite seriously early on and was a major stumbling block for primarily-AA inductees such as McPhee, Stovey and Caruthers. How big the discount is is still a contentious issue as many of Pete Browning's fans feel the discounts by BP for him are far too harsh.
   158. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: June 26, 2006 at 11:34 PM (#2076998)
My instinct is to say that we should be inclusive, that it's too late for Bernie to try and fix his ballot now, and that, while he's not complying with the Constitution, he's not trying to subvert our process. (And it's better that he's honest and do the best job he feels he can, rather than skimming some threads and sticking a couple of 19th-Century players to make his ballot look good. On a totally unrelated note, don't ask me to defend my 1898 ballot, ever.)

On the other hand, the reason you have rules and enforce them is so that, if there ever is a serious argument, you can argue your fairness and consistency. So, if Joe decides to be the hard cop, it's totally understandable.

Maybe a compromise position is to count Bernie's ballot for determining who's a top-10 returnee next year.

Anyway, I've got to post my ballot and catch a train home.
   159. DavidFoss Posted: June 26, 2006 at 11:34 PM (#2076999)
   160. Lemon Curry? Posted: June 26, 2006 at 11:36 PM (#2077003)
Don't forget this guy. Now, that's a monster peak... ;-)
   161. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: June 26, 2006 at 11:53 PM (#2077016)
I'm perfectly happy to wait till next election to submit my ballot. After all, I doubt it'll make any difference, and I'll be happy to review the 19th century guys more closely (which was my plan, anyways).
   162. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2006 at 11:56 PM (#2077019)
You're a good man, Bernie. :-)
   163. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: June 27, 2006 at 12:02 AM (#2077021)
What's funny is that the guy posting most recently in the League Qualty Thread, Dan Rosenheck, is a friend of mine, and we constantly discuss baseball history on AIM, which is why I decided to vote in the first place, since I was putting so much thought into stuff like this anyways. Kinda ironic, as Michael Kay would say. I had no idea he'd posted in that.

I find that thread woefully inadequate to asses the value of 19th century players. I'm not worried so much about the leagues vis-a-vis each other (though that is important) but rather how much of a timeline effect to apply. I think that the case that baseball players as a whole have gotten strong with time (average height+weight, better nutrition, increasingly modern training techniques, clear improvement in other sports where imnprovement is easily quantifiable, harder for great players to "dominate" with time.
   164. DavidFoss Posted: June 27, 2006 at 12:04 AM (#2077024)
I'm not worried so much about the leagues vis-a-vis each other (though that is important) but rather how much of a timeline effect to apply.

Excuse me while I duck. :-)
   165. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: June 27, 2006 at 12:07 AM (#2077030)
I think that the case that baseball players as a whole have gotten strong with time

should read: "the case is strong that"
   166. jimd Posted: June 27, 2006 at 12:08 AM (#2077031)
Restart the timeline debate ...

On the one hand, there's Bernie's position.

On the other hand, there's "a pennant is a pennant" no matter when it was won, and that value is a relative thing so that being great in 1882 was just as valuable as being great in 1982.
   167. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: June 27, 2006 at 12:08 AM (#2077032)
actually, I completely butchered post 163. It doesn't even resemble the english language. You get my drift, but somewhere, one of my english teachers is spinning in her grave and she ain't even dead yet.
   168. DavidFoss Posted: June 27, 2006 at 12:13 AM (#2077039)
Seriously. For the most part we treat a pennant as a pennant here. Equal representation of all eras is a paraphrase of the constitution.

On one hand the 19th century guys have been eligible for 70+ years and we've inducted all the easy choices among them, on the other hand we'd like the 'borderline guys' not to be slanted towards modern eras.

Some of the older eras are extremely well represented (~1888-92, 1930s) and it its not "timelining" to say that enough of their superior contemporaries have been inducted and the era does not need more slots. Many people do just this. But "timelining" is a bit of a fighting word around here. To say that Pete Browning is not as good as Hack Wilson simply because he's fifty years older is not fair.

I think its safe we are done with the pre-NA era (1850s-60s). The 1870s are pretty much locked up as well except for Charlie Jones and a couple of guys vote for Tommy Bond. The 80s & 90s with Welch, Browning, Duffy, Van Haltren, Beckley, and forgive-me-if-I-forgot-your-fave certainly deserve a look see. For a while the mid-to-late 90s were underrepresented but I'm not sure if that's still true since we've inducted Griffith & Jennings since the cries of underrepresentation were first heard.

Era representation lists are posted periodically here to keep us up to speed on which eras are over/under represented and whether or not there is any rationale for that (i.e. NeLer's in the 1930s).
   169. DavidFoss Posted: June 27, 2006 at 12:16 AM (#2077043)
It doesn't even resemble the english language

I regularly cringe when I re-read my posts. Little connecting words often get skipped between my thoughts and my fingers. I should really get in the habit of reading them before I click submit as there is no edit-post function on this board.
   170. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: June 27, 2006 at 12:22 AM (#2077048)
Well, a ban of timelining is not clearly written into the constitution. There are a few relevant phrases:

We will start with the 19th century players on the first HoM ballot, and then step through baseball history one year at a time. Our goal is to identify the best players of each era and elect them to the Hall of Merit."

Voters are strongly encouraged to consider only a player’s on-field accomplishments and other factors which had an impact on the outcomes of the player’s baseball games. When tallying up value for an eligible player, any managerial contributions created as a player/manager should not be included under any circumstances. In addition to major league and Negro League accomplishments, particularly noteworthy minor league or non-US professional league accomplishments can also be considered meritorious (in a HoM perspective) in certain circumstances. However, it would be extremely unlikely for a career minor leaguer or Cuban league player to be elected to the HoM.


I mean, it all depends how you define "best", or "accomplishments" doesnt it? Personally, I think you want to identify the </i>best players ever, rather than the most valuble</i> players ever-that's already reflected in my peak-heavy ballot. I'm certainly not arguing for a 100% timeline adjustment, but few of the 19th C guys are above borderline, even from a peak perspective, ya know? If faced with Player X, who played in 1890, and Player Y, who played in 1950, and they're pretty much equally valuble from my perspective, I'm going to err with the more recent player, not because I'm more familiar with him, but simply because I think there's damn good reason to believe he was a better baseball player. It's very important for me to quantify this as much as possible, because that can make all the difference..(just as an example, its one of the reasons I placed Sisler behind Kiner & Keller).
   171. sunnyday2 Posted: June 27, 2006 at 01:05 AM (#2077100)
There are lots of timeliners here, though everybody knows I'm not one of them.

But I can live with timelining. Unless 1900 (or whatever) is the beginning of time. It's not. Time began about 1865.

>If faced with Player X, who played in 1890, and Player Y, who played in 1950, and they're pretty much equally valuble from my perspective, I'm going to err with the more recent player, not because I'm more familiar with him, but simply because I think there's damn good reason to believe he was a better baseball player.

I think everybody, even me, would agree with this. It's just that two players are almost never equally valuable. I mean, splitting hairs is what we do. I think most of us try to parse that last dollop of value and not go to the tie-breaker. But still, sure players today are better. And the "pool" argument is that because the pool is better, therefore when comparing two players who rank about the same relative to their respective pools, the one in the better pool is better. I think that is what you are saying.

I think you have to be careful of that assumption, however, because the really great players are outliers. We don't really know that the great players of the 1880s wouldn't be stars today. And why wouldn't we assume that if they had to compete with today's players, they then would have had the same training, nutrition and conditioning, etc., that players today have?

So it's all very tricky, IMO.
   172. Cblau Posted: June 27, 2006 at 01:42 AM (#2077162)
FWIW, I'd have accepted B Williams' ballot. He obviously at least looked at 19th C. players, and he does say that he will be reconsidering them. I see that comment about many players on many ballots, and they aren't excluded.
   173. sunnyday2 Posted: June 27, 2006 at 02:44 AM (#2077283)
The difference is B Williams is a new voter, and he arrived in the last hour of the last day. He seems happy to be accepted for 1980, at least hopefully that's the case.
   174. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 27, 2006 at 03:23 AM (#2077304)
Cblau - I didn't want to keep blurring the line - this seemed like a good place to draw it.

From his posts before I posted - unless I missed something, which is possible - I took it that he hadn't even considered 19th century guys, especially this comment:

"I am going to reconsider 19th century guys as it goes along....but due to my general ignorance of that era, I need to start with guys from the Modern."


I'm sure Bernie is going to catch up, but in the mean time, we can't just say your vote is good, even though you admitted to being ignorant of 30% of the history we've covered to this point (30 of the 100 or so years where the eligibles on this ballot were good players) - and have any credibility when someone who has much less understanding tries to vote. I think this is a reasonable spot to draw the line.

Bernie will consider the 1871-1899 players much more thoroughly and be ready to vote for 1980. I think that's very reasonable.

Again, still open to discussion on the issue . . .
   175. ronw Posted: June 27, 2006 at 03:41 AM (#2077312)
Again, still open to discussion on the issue . . .

Shouldn't Bernie be made to dress in an outlandishly garish outfit, stand up and sing his school's fight song during the HOM voter meal, and conclude his ballot with a pie to the face? After all, the rest of us had to do it.
   176. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: June 27, 2006 at 04:30 AM (#2077348)
I mean, where to begin? I wouldn't know that the 1890 AA was weak. I wouldn't know how to quantify that weakness. How the heck can I properly assess Childs?

Umm, do some research, rather than dropping by 5 minutes before the deadline and putting in a ballot?


Honestly, go #### yourself. I don't know who you are, how old you are, or how smart you are, but I've spent a goddamned substantial portion of my life reading, thinking, and learning about baseball. It wouldn't hurt alot of people here to take a good, introspective look at the error bars on their analyses of 19th C. players in the first place. I mean, who the hell do you think you are?
   177. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: June 27, 2006 at 04:51 AM (#2077363)
I have no problem with Bernie's ballot. I would just say that you can't put older players in a modern league and see hwo they would perform without realizing that the older player would also have the nutrition, weight training and video advantages as well. However, I don't think you are doing this. The best argument fo rtimelining is the inclusion of black, latino, and asian players as well as population growth and the inclusion of other regions within the United States.

Plus I would welcome anyone who has Charlie Keller in their top 5! ;-)
   178. OCF Posted: June 27, 2006 at 05:09 AM (#2077368)
It's OK the way it turned out, but had it been up to me, I would have counted Bernie's ballot. In fact, I already said that, since I was the one who urged him to copy it over to the ballot thread. But I'm also OK with the way it turned out. I welcome him (we'll need to figure out what we want to shorten his handle to) to our ranks of voters for next year.

The person who made comment #174 is not an HOM voter, nor, as far as I can tell, a regular contributor to our debates. Even though more time to deal with the ballot might have been useful, I don't find that comment to be helpful.
   179. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: June 27, 2006 at 07:48 AM (#2077405)
For dealing with 19th century players, I would advise that you not come up with actual numerical amounts to discount/adjust their numbers to make it easier to evaluate them against later players. If you do this, and they are only partially accurate, and then you come back to do a reval in a few months, you may find that you could take that numerical adjustment as gospel (easy to do) when it isn't such a thing.

For me I do discount great years during this era as it was easier to have one and I do competition disocunts, but they are more subjective than objective. For instance, I have placed Browning a few spots below Kiner and Keller, even though their numbers would make them pretty even players, because the 1880's AA was a weak league. But there is no hard numerical value I put on it because of the high probability that said value will be wildly inaccurate. I think this is kosher since these ranking are always going to be very subjective no matter how accurate our statistics get.

As a peak voter I would suggest Childs, Duffy and Browning, all three were in my top 10 last year and are in my PHOM. I am not as fond of Charley Jones but that is mostly because I dont' give him a lot of credit for his blacklisted time as I see him as just as culpable as teh lague for this time. This is an unpopular decision around here and we have had soem arguemnts about it. Still, Jones is in my top 50.

But for embarrassment purposes you could always take a look at my first ballot (1935). It didn't really matter as we were still dealing with the stellar 1934 class, but I haad Beckley on my ballot (he is currently aroudn #80 or so) at #15 and Hughie Jennings at #14. Two elections later Jennings was at teh top of my backlong until his well-deserved election in 1960 (our finest moment....;-)). So I can't say that I knew that much abou the 19th century, or at least I hadn't really figured how to deal with all of the info, at the time of my first ballot.

And I hate to continure this post, but I also want to cahgne direction and say that Joe may be right to be a stickler for this. Nothing against Bernie and his honesty, but there is a danger of new voters coming in specifically to vote on the players they know. New voters are welcome and needed to bring in fresh points of view and to rehash old arguments that may have grown stale, but they must be willing to learn about 19th century players and others that are before their time. Except for Jake Beckley, screw him...

Finally done.
   180. sunnyday2 Posted: June 27, 2006 at 09:48 AM (#2077414)
Re. the 19C, remember, too, that they played short seasons, well, except for a few years in the '90s. But going back to the early '80s (say, Ed Williamson, e.g.), let's say he earned 15 WS in 80 games on year. Well, that's 30 in 160 games. Then discount if you must, but a straight discount from 15 is a double discount, as someone just said somewhere in here yesterday.
   181. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 27, 2006 at 12:27 PM (#2077435)
The person who made comment #174 is not an HOM voter, nor, as far as I can tell, a regular contributor to our debates. Even though more time to deal with the ballot might have been useful, I don't find that comment to be helpful.

I agree, OCF. That post could have been framed better, to say the least.
   182. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 27, 2006 at 01:31 PM (#2077491)
Taking this from Jschmeagol's post on the 1980 discussion thread - not sure which spot is better . . .

"I don't think that having more electees now presents a problem. There should be more HOMers from the modern era because there are more players playing professional baseball at the highest level. It's that easy."


This gets towards the discussion of 19th Century players regarding Bernie's ballot too . . . The skew towards more electees in modern times is not entirely because we wanted more modern candidates.

We erred, very cautiously (probably too cautiously in retrospect) towards more electees in later elections because the understanding was that all eras would be treated equally, and it would be worse to elect too many too soon than to force others to wait.

That's also the reason we have perpetual eligibility - if we wanted to basically write off eras and timeline, we could have put in a 15-year rule.

I want to re-emphasize, baseball did not begin in 1900. There's nothing magical that happened that year to make the game tougher or increase the level of competition - it's just a nice round number that was an easy cutoff point for sportswriters.

Bernie quoted a passage from the constitution . . .

Well, a ban of timelining is not clearly written into the constitution. There are a few relevant phrases:

We will start with the 19th century players on the first HoM ballot, and then step through baseball history one year at a time. Our goal is to identify the best players of each era and elect them to the Hall of Merit."

Voters are strongly encouraged to consider only a player’s on-field accomplishments and other factors which had an impact on the outcomes of the player’s baseball games. When tallying up value for an eligible player, any managerial contributions created as a player/manager should not be included under any circumstances. In addition to major league and Negro League accomplishments, particularly noteworthy minor league or non-US professional league accomplishments can also be considered meritorious (in a HoM perspective) in certain circumstances. However, it would be extremely unlikely for a career minor leaguer or Cuban league player to be elected to the HoM.


I mean, it all depends how you define "best", or "accomplishments" doesnt it? Personally, I think you want to identify the </i>best players ever, rather than the most valuble</i> players ever-that's already reflected in my peak-heavy ballot. I'm certainly not arguing for a 100% timeline adjustment, but few of the 19th C guys are above borderline, even from a peak perspective, ya know?


While best is open to the interpretation of the voter - it's explicit that each era is given full consideration - you left that out of your analysis Bernie.

Again, the intent of this from the beginning has been to consider everyone, forever.
   183. sunnyday2 Posted: June 27, 2006 at 02:55 PM (#2077558)
Joe sez:

>We erred, very cautiously (probably too cautiously in retrospect) towards more electees in later elections because the understanding was that all eras would be treated equally, and it would be worse to elect too many too soon than to force others to wait.

To me, this means that modern players (Drysdale, Bunning, Ashburn, Cepeda, Norm Cash, whomever) can reasonably be asked to wait, too. All of them are viable candidates, to be sure, but all of them are also borderliners, and to me "borderline" = "wait."

The point of the "wait" being to compare the newbies to the backlog on a more or less equal footing--i.e. when both are equally in the backlog, as opposed to when one is a backlogger and the other a newbie. IOW "wait" a bit to see how the newer borderliners feel after they've been around for awhile to be sure whether they feel like HoMers or not. Joe Sewell may well get elected someday but it is to our credit that he went through the mill rather than straight on in. The same would be true of the more contemporary borderliners.

In the HoF there are two kinds of HoFers--BBWAA selections and VC selections. (Yes there are some other categories but these are the biggies.) Similarly for us there are the quick and easy choices and the borderliners. I like to keep them separate.
   184. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: June 27, 2006 at 03:07 PM (#2077572)
When I say quantifiable, I don't mean, "a 200OPS+ in 1886 is equivalent to 183.1OPS+ in 2003. I mean, I want to be able to look at someone's stats from 1880 and guesstimate, with some element of accuracy, how they would have performed in the modern game. IMO, I have that confidence with some of the Negro League players, but I don't have that with the 19th century players, yet.

Having spent some time looking at it tonight, I think the guys I'm most interested in are Duffy, Browning, and McGraw. I'm less enthusiastic about Childs and Jones.
   185. Chris Fluit Posted: June 27, 2006 at 03:22 PM (#2077582)
Re: post 185. That's why I found Lemon Curry's list of electorate support in the 1979 results thread to be so interesting. It does show that even though guys like Faber, Terry, Ashburn and Bunning were elected on their first ballot, the support for them as HoMers wasn't significantly higher than it was for other players who had to wait like Gordon, Sisler, Jennings or Bell.
   186. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: June 27, 2006 at 03:32 PM (#2077593)
Ok, so here's an example of why I'm concerned.

Leaving out the 19th century for a second, I made a histogram of the dates of all the top 100 OPS+'s in ML history from 1901 to 1994 (leaving out the steroid era). I made 10-year buckets, except a 12 year bucket from 1941-1953 to compensate for the war. Here's what I get:

1911 9
1921 12
1931 17
1941 7
1953 5
1963 7
1973 5
1983 2
1993 3

Now there's probably some interesting decade-to-decade, stuff going on in there relating to expansion and run environment, but there's a distinct long-term tendency towards more difficulty in dominating the league. For a pure-peak voter like me, this raises the issue of how to treat monster seasons from the distant past.
   187. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 27, 2006 at 03:59 PM (#2077610)
My greater concern is 20 CFs and 29 1930s guys (as seen in another thred).

Some 1930s guys might be 1940s guys without the war. And some 1930s guys are pumped up by the documented NgL players, many of whose careers centered there. But 29 is at least ten more than the rest of the decades, probably 15 more, and I doubt that's really covered by the exceptions I've noted.

As for the 20 CFs, I've been going off on positional balance lately, and this is probably the case in point. On the other hand, I boldly predict we won't elect many, if any future CFs until about 2015-2020. If we elect one or none by 2007, we should be within one or two players of the total that positional balance would recommend. And that's OK. I think that those players are coming off of the bottom of the catching and/or third-base ranks right now. So Bresnahan, Williamson, E Howard.
   188. karlmagnus Posted: June 27, 2006 at 04:04 PM (#2077617)
Yes, but if you avoid drawing arbitrary boundaries and include the steroid era your conclusion is blown to smithereens, since there are no fewer than 16 such examples in 1994-2005. If the constitution says you don't timeline, as a voter you shouldn't timeline. Coming along 3/4 of the way through the project and skewing the results by timelining, whatever the alleged justification, wrecks the validity of the project for everybody else, because if 1/3 of the voters are timelining, the overall result will still be significantly timelined.
   189. karlmagnus Posted: June 27, 2006 at 04:09 PM (#2077621)
My last post responded to 188. Dr C., I was a lone voice pointing out the huge excess of 1930s players we were electing at the time; the reason was our overvaluation of conversions from the Negro leagues, so we elected far more NgLers than their population would merit. Ending up with twice as many HOMers from the 1930s is an inevitable result of electing the entire starting lineup of the 1939 Kansas City Monarchs.

It's done now, all election processes have their flaws, and the overall HOm result is still excellenbt and much better than the HOF.
   190. Dizzypaco Posted: June 27, 2006 at 04:18 PM (#2077631)
The problem of decade parity is going to get much worse for the players who played the majority of their careers in the 1970's and 1980's. The peaks weren't that high, and even the players who were putting up some of the best numbers or were thought of as the best players (Dave Parker, Jim Rice, Dale Murphy, etc) didn't have long careers or don't seem that impressive. There were a few great ones (Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, George Brett, Mike Schmidt, Cal Ripken, Tom Seaver), but far less than in almost any other era. Compare this with the 20's and 30's, or the post war era (1946 through the late 60's). There seem to be less guys dominating the game like they did back then. Even the superstars don't initially seem to be at the Mickey Mantle/Willie Mays/Ted Williams/Stan Musial/Babe Ruth/Lou Gehrig/Ty Cobb/Walter Johnson levels that other eras had.

The 1990's have seen a return of all time greats, with Bonds/Clemens/Maddux/ARod and others.
   191. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: June 27, 2006 at 04:27 PM (#2077638)
Yes, but if you avoid drawing arbitrary boundaries and include the steroid era your conclusion is blown to smithereens, since there are no fewer than 16 such examples in 1994-2005. If the constitution says you don't timeline, as a voter you shouldn't timeline. Coming along 3/4 of the way through the project and skewing the results by timelining, whatever the alleged justification, wrecks the validity of the project for everybody else, because if 1/3 of the voters are timelining, the overall result will still be significantly timelined.


The constitution doesn't specify no timelining. It only specifies that equal consideration must be given to players in all eras. If I think that it was easier to achieve a dominant performance in an earlier era, it only makes sense to discount that performance so that I would vote for a consistent caliber of player, rather than a consistent set of statistics that don't reflect the same underlying ability.

It obviously tweaks people to here this discussion w/r/t the 19th century, but the same issues will be faced with players post 1994. It's pretty obvious there was a fundamental change in the frequency of league domination, and its not all accomodated by Bonds' brilliance. Call it steroids or call it expansion, but it certainly invites consideration.
   192. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 27, 2006 at 04:32 PM (#2077645)
and its not all accomodated by Bonds' brilliance

To be fair, Bonds had help. Giambi, A-Rod, Thomas were all dominating figures in this period. And pujols is now. And not all them are considered likely ped users either, so the return to dominance has not been a simple thing to understand.
   193. DavidFoss Posted: June 27, 2006 at 05:10 PM (#2077686)
If I think that it was easier to achieve a dominant performance in an earlier era, it only makes sense to discount that performance so that I would vote for a consistent caliber of player, rather than a consistent set of statistics that don't reflect the same underlying ability.

Comparison of value to contemporaries is certainly allowed. Saying that Ollie Oldtimer's OPS+ of 140 is ranks 12th in his era while Mickey Modernguy's OPS+ of 140 ranks 8th in his era and then use that to favor Mickey then that is certainly acceptable logic. Lots of people do that. Its basically the argument that's been keeping Mickey Welch and his 300 wins out of the HOM for decades -- too many superior contemporaries. (although he certainly has his loyal voters who disagree with the consensus on that one).

Lots of other things to consider when making a comparison like that, of course. League size is one. Was the glut or shortage of quality contemporaries a fluke/fad or was it real? (Bill Dickey was a no-brainer, but the 4th best catcher of another era (say the 00's) is off the radar).
   194. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 27, 2006 at 05:22 PM (#2077710)
Re: post 185. That's why I found Lemon Curry's list of electorate support in the 1979 results thread to be so interesting. It does show that even though guys like Faber, Terry, Ashburn and Bunning were elected on their first ballot, the support for them as HoMers wasn't significantly higher than it was for other players who had to wait like Gordon, Sisler, Jennings or Bell.

I agree that was interesting, Chris.

My last post responded to 188. Dr C., I was a lone voice pointing out the huge excess of 1930s players we were electing at the time; the reason was our overvaluation of conversions from the Negro leagues, so we elected far more NgLers than their population would merit. Ending up with twice as many HOMers from the 1930s is an inevitable result of electing the entire starting lineup of the 1939 Kansas City Monarchs.

If we overrated anybody from the 1930's, it certainly wasn't the Black guys.
   195. DavidFoss Posted: June 27, 2006 at 05:25 PM (#2077718)
I think after 82 ballots over three calendar years the electorate knows about certain phrases that will cause large amounts of contention here. "Timelining" and "No-Brainer" being two of them. We've almost got our own little notion of political correctness going on here.

I think you are getting the right idea. Our electorate is very fragmented and disjointed. Ballot explanations are mainly to ensure that candidates are not forgotten and are you sure you want to leave them off. A simple "Yes, I'm sure" is usually plenty explanation (although a detailed discussion is helpful/great when available because that is what we do here :-)).

Welcome to the board and normally we wouldn't make such a deal as to whether to accept your ballot, its just that you were asking some pretty interesting questions with less than an hour to go. :-) We usually don't get new voters that late on monday.
   196. Dizzypaco Posted: June 27, 2006 at 05:43 PM (#2077736)
The problem with the 1930's, is that you have your major leagues, with its 16 teams, and the Negro Leagues, with its whatever number of teams, and the total adds up to a lot more than 16. By the mid 1950's, you are back down to 16 teams. It only makes sense that an era with 30 or so major league equivalent teams is going to produce more players with impressive statistics than an era with 16 teams.
   197. DavidFoss Posted: June 27, 2006 at 05:46 PM (#2077739)
If we overrated anybody from the 1930's, it certainly wasn't the Black guys.

Here's a guess at the bottom nine (I hope this isn't too incendiary):

Averill, Bell, Ferrell, Herman, Lyons, Medwick, Ruffing, Suttles, Terry

You could certainly argue that some of these guys may have been inducted earlier than needed (not all of them). Its hard to imagine any of these guys not at the top of our current backlog if they weren't still eligible. I think it was Chris Cobb who said way-back-when that the 1930s really did have more stars than most eras.
   198. sunnyday2 Posted: June 27, 2006 at 05:47 PM (#2077741)
I think that everybody knows and agrees that it was easier to dominate in earlier times, but the the real question is "So what?" How exactly do you compare Pete Browning and Frank Howard? As long as you ARE considering and comparing them (or other players from each era), it doesn't matter a whole lot HOW you compare them. It is very very hard to get into too much trouble here. (An occasional flame war, sure, but a ballot thrown out? No.) But for each of us individually, that is the question, "How to compare across eras."

Not that comparing offense versus defense, not to mention hitting versus pitching, and etc. etc., is any easier.
   199. DavidFoss Posted: June 27, 2006 at 05:49 PM (#2077745)
Dr. C's page-turning bump protocol post (or however he phrased that so that it sounded official). :-)
   200. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 27, 2006 at 06:04 PM (#2077766)
Averill, Bell, Ferrell, Herman, Lyons, Medwick, Ruffing, Suttles, Terry

You could certainly argue that some of these guys may have been inducted earlier than needed (not all of them). Its hard to imagine any of these guys not at the top of our current backlog if they weren't still eligible. I think it was Chris Cobb who said way-back-when that the 1930s really did have more stars than most eras.


Let me clear that I don't have a major problem with the number of players from the '30's that we have elected so far. My only point was only that if we want to point fingers at one group for the overrepresentation, then that finger should be pointed at the Caucasian players. Davids list above confirms this.
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