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

Monday, June 26, 2006

1980 Ballot Discussion

1980 (July 10)—elect 3
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)

443 118.4 1954 Al Kaline-RF
324 105.9 1960 Ron Santo-3B
315 95.1 1959 Norm Cash-1B (1986)
310 86.6 1958 Orlando Cepeda-1B
263 92.2 1960 Juan Marichal-P
241 62.0 1961 Dick McAuliffe-2B/SS
177 63.1 1964 Mel Stottlemyre-P
191 47.0 1963 Ron Hunt-2B
176 52.1 1962 Denis Menke-SS
179 47.8 1961 Matty Alou-CF
149 57.5 1961 Johnny Edwards-C
135 51.4 1957 Don McMahon-RP (1987)
148 41.1 1964 Jim Ray Hart-3B
125 42.4 1957 Juan Pizarro-P
124 40.7 1962 Bob Veale-P
117 42.4 1964 Dick Green-2B
116 36.4 1960 Steve Barber-P
108 38.9 1967 Don Wilson-P (1975)
127 30.3 1965 Horace Clarke-2B
096 39.2 1959 Bob Miller-RP (1993)
113 31.8 1962 Jim Hickman-RF/CF
125 26.9 1965 Glenn Beckert-2B
120 24.9 1967 Mike Epstein-1B
102 17.7 1965 Paul Schaal-3B

Players Passing Away in 1979
HoMers
Age Elected

78 1946 Turkey Stearnes-CF
70 1958 Stan Hack-3B

Candidates
Age Eligible

93 1924 Cy Slapnicka-P/Scout
91 1927 Duffy Lewis-LF
90 1930 Amos Strunk-CF
84 1933 Johnny Bassler-C
82——Warren Giles-HOF NL President
78 1947 Freddie Fitzsimmons-P
75 1939 Dale Alexander-1B
75——Walter O’Malley-Owner
66 1952 Hal Trosky-1B
63 1959 Luke Easter-1B

Upcoming Candidate
32 1985 Thurman Munson-C

 

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2006 at 04:12 AM | 478 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   301. sunnyday2 Posted: July 11, 2006 at 04:32 PM (#2095429)
>My point is that it's much easier to be a HOMer the further back you were born.

(Sound of crickets chirping)

We are soon electing 3 every year. For many years at the beginning we elected 1.

But even then, so what?

If the idea is to keep 19C players out, we have failed. We have failed to carry out some vision that does not belong to us and that we never embraced. Big failure. Oh woe is me.
   302. yest Posted: July 11, 2006 at 04:35 PM (#2095434)
bump
   303. Daryn Posted: July 11, 2006 at 04:40 PM (#2095437)
Besides, we may find out centuries from now that the players we think are great from more recent times wouldn't look that impressive then. Would we have to remove them from the HoM so we could add some VG players from the future?

This is the whole point isn't it? The HoM or HoF is an enduring historical institution. We are just catching up to the present day now but the point is to continue onwards after 2007. With that as the premise, it simply is non-sensical to elect 150 or so of our 225 members from those that started their career after 1970 even if you believe as I and Argonautical do, that the current above average players are substantially better players than the stars from a 100 years ago. 100 years from now you'd have to throw oput all the Jacque Jones and replace them with thr 9th best leftfielders from 2100. What is the point of that?

By the way, I am not convinced that the 4th best player in a 20 team league is equal to the 2nd best player in a ten team league. Is the 100th tallest person in a 2 billion person world equivalent to the 50th tallest person in a 1 billion person world? All things being equal, I'd say no. In our case, due to integration, as one example, all things aren't equal, but it seems that people are excepting the general numerical assumption, all things being otherwise equal.
   304. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: July 11, 2006 at 04:41 PM (#2095439)
Argo, there is a real good chance that Ralph Kiner ends up in the HOM and if you want to preach the gospel on Charlie Keller feel free! However, there are other considerations besides OPS+ and career PA's. For instance, how good was a player at his peak, how good of a defender he was, etc.

Doc,

You went to Gettysburg huh? I went to Dickinson so I guess that means we are rivals. Of course our two biggest rivals were F&M and Johns Hopkins.

I do have a Gettysburg story though. During my sophomore year Dickinson College first got a hockey team. We would play local colleges, even bigger schools like Shippensburg. However, we were awful at hockey, just plain awful. So instead of cheer on the team, we would get drunk and go and berate the other school. When we played Gettysburg we got down like 2-0 in the 1st period and soemone started a 'sayf-tee school" chant since many people who applied to either Dickinson or Gettysburg applied to both. For some reason this really made the Gettysburg fans in attendance really quiet, which only spurred the Dickinson contingent on further. They really didn't seem to have a comeback. Oddly enough we were in a much better mood after our usual 7-1 drubbing then most Gettysburg fans seemed to be. It was like some sort of moral victory. I dont know maybe it was the beer. So whenever I see Gettysburg College, which happens to be a very good school I don't mean to knock it, the first I think of is 'sayf-tee school'.

Oh and I grew up in Lancaster County.
   305. Daryn Posted: July 11, 2006 at 04:45 PM (#2095445)
accepting

Sorry about the other typos too.
   306. Argonautical Posted: July 11, 2006 at 04:49 PM (#2095451)
And you know exactly how it was?

No one can know exactly, but it is silly to, as Bartleby, "prefer not to" think about it.

The assumption that Phil Rizzuto is a bad HoF choice is another, well, assumption. It depends on whether you value defense or not.

It think it depends on whether you value his announcing or not.

And the presumption that Buddy Bell was better than Ezra Sutton is, again, a presumption. Provide some analysis.

Win Shares per Plate Appearance. Bell, 15.0 per 500 PA's. Sutton, 17.7 (this doesn't count the NA). Considering the differences in league quality I don't think Sutton's performance is at all superior. Harrah is at 16.8, Elliott at 17.7.

We've all done that. He went in on the numbers, which is more defensible than keeping him out because--omigod--he played in the 1870s!

The danger is in sticking him in just because he played in the 1870s, as I think you've done with a few, just because they played early where it was easier to look good, and because no one else seemed better at the time.
   307. Argonautical Posted: July 11, 2006 at 04:57 PM (#2095455)
If the idea is to keep 19C players out, we have failed. We have failed to carry out some vision that does not belong to us and that we never embraced. Big failure. Oh woe is me.

That's not the idea at all, and I'm surprised you can hear the crickets with all the chatter that's going on.
   308. Argonautical Posted: July 11, 2006 at 05:00 PM (#2095458)
Argo, there is a real good chance that Ralph Kiner ends up in the HOM and if you want to preach the gospel on Charlie Keller feel free! However, there are other considerations besides OPS+ and career PA's. For instance, how good was a player at his peak, how good of a defender he was, etc.

Yes, and either way you look at it the selection of Cal McVey is ridiculous compared to the omission of those others I've named.
   309. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 11, 2006 at 05:02 PM (#2095463)
I think the new voter who spearheaded the Dihigo candidacy had a name that includes "Jones" -- I forget the exact name. Smart guy and its unfortunate that he didn't stick here.

That would be David C. Jones. When Dihigo went in, I made it a point to acknowledge his advocacy.
   310. sunnyday2 Posted: July 11, 2006 at 05:08 PM (#2095469)
Argo, why are you slumming here with 75 people of whom you have no respect whatsoever.
   311. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 11, 2006 at 05:13 PM (#2095472)
No, it is a fact. There just haven't been many great players at that position. You can give third basemen all the bonus points you want, it still can't obscure the fact that until recently third base never attracted the big players to the degree that other positions did.

1) Nobody is giving third base bonus points. Third base was, unquestionably, a much tougher position back then. If you doubt it, you're free to do the research yourself. Adjusting for this fact is not extra credit. Again, it's no different than using context-related stats.

2) Since we have elected only 9 third basemen up to this point, which is easily the fewest at any position, we don't disagree that the position was weaker than the others. That still has nothing to do with the qualifications of a Sutton or Collins

3) The Schmidt-Mathews generation of third baseman came about when the position changed (or when managers finally realized it), not because they miraculously were created somehow. A Bobby Bonilla or Bob Horner would never have been placed at the position seventy years earlier.
   312. Argonautical Posted: July 11, 2006 at 05:14 PM (#2095474)
Argo, why are you slumming here with 75 people of whom you have no respect whatsoever.

I've been enjoying talking here, and it has been interesting to read what others have to say. I concede I have trouble seeing where some of you guys are coming from, but I suppose that's why people talk. Am I being asked to leave?
   313. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 11, 2006 at 05:22 PM (#2095484)
The danger is in sticking him in just because he played in the 1870s, as I think you've done with a few, just because they played early where it was easier to look good, and because no one else seemed better at the time.

The players we elected from the 1870's were all dominating players, many who were great players from the 1860's which doesn't show up if you're just looking at a baseball encyclopedia.

Win Shares per Plate Appearance. Bell, 15.0 per 500 PA's. Sutton, 17.7 (this doesn't count the NA). Considering the differences in league quality I don't think Sutton's performance is at all superior. Harrah is at 16.8, Elliott at 17.7.

Why exclude the NA? It was the best ML of it's time.

I agree that Bob Elliott is worthy of the HoM, BTW, and have him on my ballot. But he still wasn't the dominating player that Sutton was.
   314. Argonautical Posted: July 11, 2006 at 05:22 PM (#2095485)
2) Since we have elected only 9 third basemen up to this point, which is easily the fewest at any position, we don't disagree that the position was weaker than the others. That still has nothing to do with the qualifications of a Sutton or Collins

I am told that because Sutton happened to be the best of a bad lot, that is a reason to induct him in. Of course that had to do with his qualifications, if that is a point of view that had any sway.
   315. DavidFoss Posted: July 11, 2006 at 05:23 PM (#2095486)
Am I being asked to leave?

If you keep making crazy inferences like this you may have people who'd like to. :-)

No one has asked you to leave and this is a public forum and I don't think anyone could ask you to leave if they even wanted to.

In fact, the "newbie lurker commentary" has also been a periodic injection of debate here as well. It can be fruitful to rehash debates from many years ago to remind us all what we are doing here. You are also part of the process! :-)
   316. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 11, 2006 at 05:23 PM (#2095489)
Am I being asked to leave?

As long as you're civil, you're welcome to stay, Argo.
   317. DavidFoss Posted: July 11, 2006 at 05:27 PM (#2095493)
Yes, and either way you look at it the selection of Cal McVey is ridiculous compared to the omission of those others I've named.

McVey was one of the best hitters of the 1870s and gets credit for 1869-70 with the Red Stockings as well. He was also inducted long before many of the others you named even became eligible.
   318. Argonautical Posted: July 11, 2006 at 05:29 PM (#2095495)
The players we elected from the 1870's were all dominating players, many who were great players from the 1860's which doesn't show up if you're just looking at a baseball encyclopedia.

McVey was 20 when the National Association started. He doesn't lose anything that any player since doesn't also lose. Am I correct that Dickey Pearce was elected partly on grounds that he was supposedly one of the best hitters of the 1860s?

Why exclude the NA? It was the best ML of it's time.

I didn't. Total Baseball does, and I'm not able to calculate win shares for him.

I agree that Bob Elliott is worthy of the HoM, BTW, and have him on my ballot. But he still wasn't the dominating player that Sutton was.

That's one of those special circumstances I was talking about earlier. League quality, nothing more or less.
   319. karlmagnus Posted: July 11, 2006 at 05:31 PM (#2095496)
As an FO Cal McVey, we took account of his pre-NA play and of the fact that he went out West in 1878 and continued playing in the California minor leagues, having a significant role in their development. Even his ML career, when you normalize the seasons, was not all that short. And there's no question he was a hugely dominant player in his time. We went the other way on Levi Meyerle, whose OPS+ was even higher at 164 (and whose 1871 leaves Cash's 1961 in the dust) but who had an even shorter career and didn't do much outside his ML play.

I think Kiner will be elected, and I have him on the edge of my ballot, but it's close. McVey took over a decade to get elected, as well -- the difference between the two in the end may be between election on the 17th ballot and election on the 50th, which isn't huge.
   320. DL from MN Posted: July 11, 2006 at 05:31 PM (#2095497)
> Who knows if his shoulder injury last year would have been career ending without
> modern medicine?

In 15 years we enter the era of performance enhancing surgery. Will Tommy John be the first major candidate to benefit from a surgical fix to a previously career ending injury? Are there any 80's candidates who benefited from the arthoscope?
   321. Argonautical Posted: July 11, 2006 at 05:31 PM (#2095499)
He was also inducted long before many of the others you named even became eligible.

I think you made a mistake to start the voting in "1898". For better perspective I would have begun it in 1920 or so. Starting so early left too much opportunity for a weak candidate to break in.
   322. DavidFoss Posted: July 11, 2006 at 05:34 PM (#2095505)
Argo, the issue of 3B being a more defensive position before WWII has been well discussed in the baseball literature. 3B and 2B have traded places in the defensive spectrum through history.
   323. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 11, 2006 at 05:37 PM (#2095508)
"I don't think the extra years Sutton has is very significant, when you consider Elliott's superior hitting and the tougher competition he faced. Does anyone here really think that Sutton was a better player than Bell and Harrah? Really? Because I think you guys are going to end up leaving the latter two out in the cold."


I do. I don't think it's all that close. Against the players of his time, when you adjust for the length of the schedule he racked up about 450 WS. Bell and Harrah can't touch that. They weren't the best of their generation, Sutton was. Again, it's not close IMO.

I like Harrah, he was a good hitter for the positions he played, but his D was terrible. He'll be interesting.

Bell was very, very good. I'm not sure where he's going to land just yet.
   324. DanG Posted: July 11, 2006 at 05:45 PM (#2095517)
I think you made a mistake to start the voting in "1898". For better perspective I would have begun it in 1920 or so.

Guys, Argo is a strict timeliner. He has no interest in our prime directive. He is interested in ability, not value to one's team.

That being said, it is a pretty interesting discussion.
   325. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 11, 2006 at 05:48 PM (#2095519)
Argo, the issue of 3B being a more defensive position before WWII has been well discussed in the baseball literature. 3B and 2B have traded places in the defensive spectrum through history.

First base is not the same position that it once was, either. Joe Start would have had a hard time being elected if he played modern first base during his era, but that position had a far greater defensive responsibility back then.
   326. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 11, 2006 at 05:50 PM (#2095523)
I think that it's dangerous to use Win Shares for comparing pre-1893 candidates to post-1893 candidates.

James made an assertion in WS that the pitching/fielding division is more or less constant across history (67.5 pitching/32.5 fielding). In a general sense, this is true in the liveball era, but as you go further back in history, fielding becomes more important relative to pitching - there are few walks, few strikeouts, and more IPHRs as a percentage of the total number of HRs, and error counts and PBs also take on more importance. IMO, WS significantly overvalues pitchers relative to hitters prior to 1893, less so between 1893 and the start of the live ball era.

-- MWE
   327. DavidFoss Posted: July 11, 2006 at 05:51 PM (#2095524)
Joe Start would have had a hard time being elected if he played modern first base during his era, but that position had a far greater defensive responsibility back then.

At least until his 1860s batting numbers became available. He was the best hitter on a top team for several years running and that added to his healthy 70s-80s numbers makes him a shoo-in regardless of the defense IMHO.
   328. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 11, 2006 at 05:55 PM (#2095526)
For some reason this really made the Gettysburg fans in attendance really quiet
That's because most of the people at Gettysburg suck (at least when I was there). They were
a) stupid sheep
b) whose Daddy was the vice-president of some big company like ConRail
c) but whose grades, scores, and intellect were poor enough in high school that Daddy couldn't buy them into a prestigious school
d) who spent most of their time loudly self-medicating with Natty-Light beer pong in the basement of a foul-smelling, nearly condemned frat house full of others of their kind
e) whose power of self-reflection was virtually nonexistent
and so therefore
f) wouldn't be able to come up with any decent come backs to your taunts.

It's sad, really---almost as sad as the fact that I still resent them and judge them to this day.

Oh and I grew up in Lancaster County.
Woooooo! Imported from Lancaster County!

My best pal grew up in Honeybrook.
   329. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: July 11, 2006 at 06:21 PM (#2095552)
I glanced at the thread late to see if I missed anything really important, and I saw Bernie's Howard comments, but missed the lead up. Apologies. I didn't realize Kaline was completely off of his ballot, and that many logical flaws in the reasoning for his being left off were exposed. In the end B Williams even agreed that he was too harsh on Kaline. At that point I would have asked him to resubmit.

I mean what is the point of forcing everyone to explain their ballot, and challenging people if we never enforce the voiding of clearly illogical ballots, that aren't consistent with their own reasoning? I'm especially referring to the Kaline/Keller/Kiner comparison, and the comparison of Minoso to many players who had equivalent peaks, as well the correction to Minoso's age from what BW was thinking it was.


"Many logical flaws in the reasoning"? I think not. The only flaw exposed was that I was treating Minoso as though his reported age is correct. It appears that it wasn't, and I don't think Minoso will be on my next ballot. His spot would be replaced by either Chuck Klein or Al Kaline, and the order of the bottom 15 would switch around somewhat.

There has been no rebuttal to the point that Kaline's 3 best years are worse than the 3 best years of Kiner and Keller. None. You can yell, you can scream, you can stamp your foot and wish it weren't true, but Kaline's 3 year hitting peak wouldn't be on the ballot among corner OF. The only way to bump him up is to give him subjective points for difficulty in dominating the league in the AL for much of his career, and to give him lots of defensive, baserunning credit. Kaline obviously deserves some defense+speed credit-how much determines where his 3 year peak falls.

There has been no rebuttal to my notion of identifying the "best" player, rather than "the one who as accumulated the most valuble statistics". If we're merely trying to identify the players with the best statistics, then this should be a trivial endeavor; merely plug in your spreadsheet were you keep your favorite offesnive metric, add a dollop of defense (either quantitatively or qualitatively, depending on when they played and how much you trust defensive stats). Sort, and copy-paste your top 15 into the text box on the ballot thread, add a pithy comment on each player, and voila, you've just voted.

I think this is silly, and ultimately kind of trivial. Depending on how you weigh X, or how much subjective bonus you give "y", you might switch around the guys on the border, since the margin b/w each player decreases as you you head away from the outliers in the distribution, but lets be honest; we have a pretty good idea of how valuble each major league player was, more or less, so deciding which backlog players get elected merely reflects the biases and subjective adjustments of the largest proportion of the electorate, rather than any material difference between the value of the two players. I, for one, decided to start voting because I felt that the balance between career voters and peak voters in the HoM had skewed so far toward career that it was leading to really weird results, like (for example) the non-election of Ralph Kiner. Since career v. peak is basically a subjective value judgement, I think that systems either work best if they are either treated separately (a la the original BJHBA) or in some roughly-equal mixture (like the NBJHBA). The problem with the HoM is that you have many people voting entirely based upon career (the Beckley-ites) some weighing career more than peak, some weighing peak more than career, but, AFAIK, no one who was ignoring career entirely. My aim (other than to have an excuse to examine the records of some great players, which is worthwhile in-and-of-itself) was to counterbalance the careerophiles. I'm a peak guy, and I felt that guys like Kiner or Waddell should be elected. Kiner's still alive, you know, and I'm sure he'd get a kick out of this too, just like Santo.

My ballot met all the requirements as set out in the constitution. I applied a consistent test to all candidates (how good a baseball player do I believe that they were in their prime). I supported my decision with logic. I make mistakes (Minoso), but last I checked perfection wasn't a qualification for ballot submission.

W/r/t timelining, I think you're just assuming that being fair to all eras guarantees the result that a similar number of players will be elected from all eras. I disagree. I think that being fair to all eras means treating all players equally, which necessitates adjustments for quality of league. You have provided NO, none, zip evidence that the quality of play in the 1880's majors was the same as in 1920, was the same as in 2000. Set aside nutitrition and training; do you really think that 1880's baseball was as effective in identifying and collecting the best athletes in the country as, say 1960's baseball?

If you want me to vote purely on value, I will do so...average out the best 3 years in OPS+, make a defensive adjustment, a playing time adjustment and voila. It's not going to make all-that much of a difference, except to knock down guys like Elston Howard.

Also, why do Negro Leaguers and Minor Leaguers get the boost of "imaginary" major league equivalence, whereas I'm barred from making the same adjustment for a player who was stuck in a unfavorable ballpark because he was controlled by a team that played in, say Yankee Stadium. Why do I need to be conservative when it comes to granting war credit? Why have people jumped on me for making the "he was awesome from age 30-32, he probably was better from age 26-29. If a team obviously blocks or messes with a player, and he was subject to the reserve clause, doesn't he deserve consideration even if MLE's don't exist? (Because, say, he was stuck on the bench, or because the park unusually affected his particular skillset).
   330. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 11, 2006 at 06:36 PM (#2095568)
Also, why do Negro Leaguers and Minor Leaguers get the boost of "imaginary" major league equivalence

Because it's actually reality-based and not imaginary, Bernie?
   331. Daryn Posted: July 11, 2006 at 06:39 PM (#2095572)
The problem with the HoM is that you have many people voting entirely based upon career (the Beckley-ites) some weighing career more than peak, some weighing peak more than career, but, AFAIK, no one who was ignoring career entirely. My aim (other than to have an excuse to examine the records of some great players, which is worthwhile in-and-of-itself) was to counterbalance the careerophiles.

But is your 100% peak ballot a reflection of your view of how you should vote for HoM candidates or is it an artifact created to make the consensus result closer to your view of how the candidates should be evaluated? If you, independently, would weight peak 90% and career 10% but are voting peak 100% to skew the consensus closer to peak, I think that is unconstitutional.
   332. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 11, 2006 at 06:40 PM (#2095575)
Bernie,

I agree with many things you've said. I've got Howard on my ballot, and I've gone on record, in this thread I think, that Kaline's peak is uniformly unimpressive. This last point, as you say, is virtually unassailable. Kaline's peak is impressive only if his position is C, 2B or SS, or if he's a 1920s 3B. As a RF, his peak ranks him near the edge of the in/out line; it's his career and prime value that vault him into the top 15 RFs.

Why do I need to be conservative when it comes to granting war credit?
I think that the answer may lie in how such credits are determined. For NgLs and MiLs, we base MLEs on existing data. For war there's no data. Simple as that. The existing data gives shape and scope to our translations. With war, a more conservative approach is probably warranted because of the lack of shape presented by army years. Even though I suspect that Phil Rizzuto or Joe Gordon may have performed at or near peak level during the war, there's no way I can give them peak-level credit on principle.

You have provided NO, none, zip evidence that the quality of play in the 1880's majors was the same as in 1920, was the same as in 2000.
Why do you need evidence of something no one denies the truth of? Baseball is of a higher quality now than it was 100 years ago. Sure! But our mandate is to weigh all players equally and consider their greatness within the context of their own time: a pennant is a pennant is a pennant. And George Washington has as great an argument for being a great general as Patton or Schwarzkopf. A war's a war's a war.
   333. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 11, 2006 at 06:42 PM (#2095578)
My aim (other than to have an excuse to examine the records of some great players, which is worthwhile in-and-of-itself) was to counterbalance the careerophiles.
I don't want to press this point too much, but this is strategic voting in some fashion or another.
   334. Daryn Posted: July 11, 2006 at 06:48 PM (#2095583)
I don't want to press this point too much, but this is strategic voting in some fashion or another.

Yes, as he has stated it, it is.
   335. rawagman Posted: July 11, 2006 at 07:03 PM (#2095596)
Bernie - I like your peakness, not so much your reason for it. Don't be a reactionary. Strive for the truth. Aim for the best.

And take another look at Hugh Duffy.
   336. Sean Gilman Posted: July 11, 2006 at 07:40 PM (#2095632)
If you wanna see a really good peak, check out Pete Browning. . . .
   337. Rob_Wood Posted: July 11, 2006 at 07:49 PM (#2095643)
Only looking at 3-year peaks is presumably unconstitutional. We are all tasked with evaluating players' total contribution to winning games (pennants). A voter may take the approach of weighting "peak" more than "career", but no voter can ignore non-peak seasons.

Others have posted names of players who would appear on the ballot of a voter using this strict peak-only approach. BW does not include many of these players since he probably recognizes the limitation to this approach. (I think this is one of Joe's points.)

But this peak vs career distinction is largely a red herring as Joe and others have demonstrated. The extra "credit" a great season provides in winning a pennant (say) is far less than many imagine. That is, the value of a 0+10 career is around 10% higher than a 5+5 career. So even if your objective is to maximize chance of winning pennants, only a small amount of extra credit is earned by high-peak seasons.

The reason is related to the famous Bill James rant against Pete Palmer measuring everything relative to league average. Being average provides teams with value, a lot of value. Many pennants were won because teams had a lot of average players (in addition to some great ones). Many pennants were lost because teams did not have average players, only some great and a lot of crappy players. The difference between average and replacement can be large, on the same order of magnitude as the difference between average and top 10 player in the league.

I think it is important for all voters to frequently reexamine their evaluation methods and approaches, and new voices help in this process. But I don't think it is appropriate for a new voter to selectively use an approach that is designed to counterbalance the group's voting tendencies.
   338. Al Peterson Posted: July 11, 2006 at 08:25 PM (#2095688)
Good discussion, hitting areas we have gone over before but should be revisited.

Bernie saying he wanted to see the HOM go in a different direction is no different than each of us wanting the Hall to be in our own image. Isn't that why people have PHOM? You vote saying "If the Hall was just my vote here is who I would want in." We label ourselves peak, career, prime, whatever. Every vote is strategic in that we put our value system in the ballot ordering, be damned what other people have concluded.

On with the regularly scheduled debate...
   339. rawagman Posted: July 11, 2006 at 09:04 PM (#2095719)
Many pennants were won because teams had a lot of average players (in addition to some great ones).

On those pennant winners, the average guys were definately more replaceable than the greats.

Then again, I am the rare peak/career guy. Prime means (almost) nothing. It's more like that part I have to take for granted at this level. When applying for an upper management position, your high school grades should carry no relevance.

At this level, you must have either had a long, good career, or a sustained peak.
   340. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: July 11, 2006 at 09:51 PM (#2095762)
My aim (other than to have an excuse to examine the records of some great players, which is worthwhile in-and-of-itself) was to counterbalance the careerophiles.
I don't want to press this point too much, but this is strategic voting in some fashion or another.



Not, its not. If I were making my personal HoM, it would be based entirely upon peak. Actually, that's not entirely true: I would have to separate HoM's, one for peak, one for career, since I think they're ultimately two different questions. If I had to pick one, I'd pick peak, because I think that the most important question any HoF can answer is "who were the best baseball players ever, at their best?". Jake Beckley was NEVER the answer to that question at any point in his career, neither was Raffy Palmiero.

Don't confuse what motivated me to vote-mydesire to counterbalance the careerophiles-with strategic voting. If, for example, I took a guy with a great peak, but a good career as well, and put him lower on my ballot for the express purpose of helping Kiner, then that would be strategic. I'm not doing that, I'm evaluating each candidate based purely upon peak and slotting them accordingly. This is no different than someone evaluating a candidate upon career Win Shares or Pennants Added or similar.

If you wanna see a really good peak, check out Pete Browning. . . .

I don't believe that Browning sufficiently domiated the weak leagues of his era to be a legitimate candidate, not when guys like Kiner, who OWNED the post-integration NL, are still around (and yes, I have Kiner #1, so that's not a disqualificatrion, but you get my point).

Only looking at 3-year peaks is presumably unconstitutional. We are all tasked with evaluating players' total contribution to winning games (pennants). A voter may take the approach of weighting "peak" more than "career", but no voter can ignore non-peak seasons.

Ah, but see, I would take the team with the "best players" over the team with the "guys who accumulated the most value" every time, and I would win! The "best players" would win the most games. The value that a player generates is altered frequently by forces beyond his control, and its a flawed measure of the quality of the player. It is but one of many tools we can use to assess whether someone was a great baseball player.

Bernie - I like your peakness, not so much your reason for it. Don't be a reactionary. Strive for the truth. Aim for the best.

rawagman, I can remember having a Sutton v. Koufax argument with one of my friends when I was in summer camp, age 13. If I'm being reactionary ( I probably am), then its a long-held reactionary belief that most baseball rankings arbitrarily give too-great weight to career value.


I think that the answer may lie in how such credits are determined. For NgLs and MiLs, we base MLEs on existing data. For war there's no data. Simple as that. The existing data gives shape and scope to our translations. With war, a more conservative approach is probably warranted because of the lack of shape presented by army years. Even though I suspect that Phil Rizzuto or Joe Gordon may have performed at or near peak level during the war, there's no way I can give them peak-level credit on principle.

Dr. Chaleeko, while I greatly appreciate your Negro League work (its made me aware of guys like Mendez, who is a worthy great), I disagree with your assement of "data". There <u>is</u> data; its the years before and after the war. I don't think that our certainty in predicting the quality of Negro Leaguer A, with MLE OPS+'s from age 25-30 of:

120-138-145-150-135-140

is any less than our certainty in assessing Major Leaguer B, who served in his age 27 and 28 seasons:

120-138-xxx-xxx-135-140

So I would treat both players equally.
   341. DavidFoss Posted: July 11, 2006 at 10:26 PM (#2095788)
BW. I may not agree with all of your answers, but they look like answers I've heard other people use here before.

Thanks for the follow-up on strategic voting. It doesn't look like you are doing that. Your initial response was phrased in such as way as to imply that you might have been. In fact, your initial response to many things is often phrased in a way to cause more alarm than is evident after you fully explain things. :-) Thanks for patiently following up on our questions.
   342. Sean Gilman Posted: July 11, 2006 at 10:26 PM (#2095789)
If you wanna see a really good peak, check out Pete Browning. . . .

I don't believe that Browning sufficiently domiated the weak leagues of his era to be a legitimate candidate, not when guys like Kiner, who OWNED the post-integration NL, are still around (and yes, I have Kiner #1, so that's not a disqualificatrion, but you get my point).


What criteria do you use to make this assertion? What would Browning have had to have done to match Kiner's "dominance", in your mind?

Earlier in this thread I wrote this:

So, let's compare grey ink. Here's the ranks in top ten for OPS+ for a number of hitters:

Browning: 1, 2, 5, 2, 6, 2, 3, 1, 6
Kiner: 1, 4, 1, 4, 7
Keller: 8, 6, 4, 2, 1, 4
Thompson: 2, 9, 5, 3, 2
Flick: 3, 10, 2, 7, 10, 2, 1, 3, 3
JJackson: 2, 2, 2, 5, 5, 3, 5, 3, 4
CJones: 7, 3, 3, 2, 5, 5, 7, 5
Orr: 1, 1, 2, 6, 5
Stovey: 10, 3, 3, 4, 5, 2, 2, 5
Connor: 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 1, 2, 2, 3, 2
Tiernan: 7, 4, 1, 1, 7, 10, 4
Brouthers: 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 3, 3, 7, 1, 1 (wow!)


Those from the expansion era have an additional hurdle, there being more teams post-1961. But here's some numbers for them too:

Howard: 5, 7, 6, 2, 3, 2, 9
Cash: 2, 4, 8, 2, 8, 5
Cepeda: 10, 7, 8, 4, 3, 7, 4
Belle: 8, 2, 2, 7, 1
Ramirez: 6, 9, 10, 1, 2, 4, 2, 2, 3, 5
Giambi: 7, 1, 1, 3, 3, 6
EMartinez: 9, 3, 1, 3, 3, 3, 6, 5, 5 (woohoo!)


Kiner didn't OWN the NL by this criteria, certainly not in comparison to Browning's dominance of his time, inferior only to Dan Brouthers and Roger Connor (and maybe Harry Stovey).

And on another thread I added this to a comparison Howie started:

Some OFs and 1Bs, adj OPS+, 100 or better, about 435+ PA for 154 G or 460+ for 162 G (see notes):

AlKaline 176 62 62 52 45 44 43 40 39 34 30 28 17 08 06
Clemente 170 68 51 49 48 46 45 45 35 35 21 15 05
DuSnider 172 70 66 56 42 40 40 36 23 18
MMinoso 155 51 49 40 36 35 33 31 21 16 13 08
BJohnson 174 55 47 41 43 35 34 30 29 29 27 25 25
FHoward 177 77 70 53 46 44 37 28 27 11
NorCash 201 50 48 42 36 35 34 29 28 28 26 20
OCepeda 165 64 57 48 35 34 33 31 29 25 17 10 06
RalKiner 184 84 73 56 46 40 32 21 17
PBrowning 222 90 77 77 73 69 63 54 38 32


I understand that you think Browning's OPS+ numbers are inflated for whatever reasons. Do you have some kind of statistical factor by which you adjust his year by year numbers, or do you just dismiss his candidacy entirely or simply rank him low enough in your consideration set so the issue becomes irrelevant? This question is for everyone, not just Bernie. What do you think Browning's adjusted OPS+, or adjusted WARP, or adjusted Win Shares, or Adjusted Pennants Added or Adjusted RCAA or Adjusted Hits should be?

(I really am sorry to see Bernie singled out the way he has been the last couple weeks. It's a matter of timing and circumstance that his ballots have become the lightening rod for a discussion that's been going off and on since the inception of the HOM. I feel a little responsible since my response to his Browning comments started this whole 200 comment firestorm. It's nothing personal, Bernie).
   343. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 11, 2006 at 11:42 PM (#2095836)
"His logic may differ from most of yours, may even violate the rules of the Hall of Merit, but if so that's a flaw of your institution."


That couldn't be a more ridiculous statement.

Bernie is a very smart guy (obviously), but he still has to follow the rules, just like everyone else. No one can just do as they please if they don't like the rules - and it most definitely isn't a flaw of the institution. The instution is what it is, and that is pretty much exactly the what the founder (me) and the founding participants wanted it to be.

**********

Wow Dr. C - My girlfriend is from Lansdale, she went to North Penn, class of 1990. Her sister graduated in 1992. Small world!

**********

The thing that really got me going on Yuengling were the black & white commercials from the early 1990s, proclaiming, "America's Oldest is Still America's Best". I loved those.

I took a brewery tour back in the mid-90s, it was great. Dick Yuengling's daughter even served us a few beers at the end. It was like drinking with royalty.
   344. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 12, 2006 at 12:13 AM (#2095857)
Also, why do Negro Leaguers and Minor Leaguers get the boost of "imaginary" major league equivalence, whereas I'm barred from making the same adjustment for a player who was stuck in a unfavorable ballpark because he was controlled by a team that played in, say Yankee Stadium.


Who said you are barred from doing this? I've done it. I'm sure others have. It's a significant part of Rizzuto's arguement for one. He played in the absolute worst park possible for his skill set.

Why do I need to be conservative when it comes to granting war credit?


You don't. I'm as liberal as it gets with war credit. I treat it just like being trapped in the Negro Leagues.

Why have people jumped on me for making the "he was awesome from age 30-32, he probably was better from age 26-29. If a team obviously blocks or messes with a player, and he was subject to the reserve clause, doesn't he deserve consideration even if MLE's don't exist? (Because, say, he was stuck on the bench, or because the park unusually affected his particular skillset).


I agree with that too - I've given Howard a decent amount of extra credit, as described below.
   345. Howie Menckel Posted: July 12, 2006 at 12:24 AM (#2095880)
Argo,
Are you an attorney?
If not, you've missed your calling.

I can't figure out if you deliberately, or accidentally, write messages in such a fashion as to offend people.

Both you and B Williams potentially have a lot to offer here, but I'll gently and politely that the tone, in each case, needs a little work.

B Williams, I have both Beckley and Kiner near the top of my ballot. Some of us are not pure peaksters or longevity voters; I prefer prime to peak, but unrivaled or nearly-unrivaled career tallies for one's era also impresses me.
   346. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 12, 2006 at 12:41 AM (#2095916)
Wow Dr. C - My girlfriend is from Lansdale, she went to North Penn, class of 1990. Her sister graduated in 1992. Small world!

No way! What's your girlfriend's name? (You can tell her mine's Eric Chalek, but if she remembers, she'll surely shudder.)
   347. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 12, 2006 at 12:47 AM (#2095933)
In fairness to Argo and BW, I think that stepping into our somewhat more polite discussion forum from others where things may be a little more freespirited is kind of awkward. I hope they'll continue to post and to challenge the various conventional wisdoms that have grown up in our little imaginary world. Even with all the wonderful crosstalk we have here, without new, energetic posters like them, I know I can get to resting on my intellectual laurels and probably smugly so. It's good to be challenged.
   348. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 12, 2006 at 03:56 AM (#2096421)
Girlfriend is Crissy Stem, her sister is Amy. I know it was a big school, do you remember them by any chance?

Their best friends were three girls named Becky, Gina and Pam. Becky dated some dude named Herb.
   349. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 12, 2006 at 04:08 AM (#2096427)
BTW, I agree with Howie 345 and Dr. C in 347, definitely good to be challenged, definitely good to have dissenting opinion, that's why it's a project with 52 voters, and not me making my own selections every two weeks and writing about them. That's why this is a 'forum' and not a 'blog'.

But it's give and take. I've certainly changed my opinions on many things over the course of this project, as have many of us. We are open to being convinced that we're not on the right track with something.

When we stand our ground, yelling louder isn't going to change our minds, presenting evidence to back up the opinions tend to be the best way to turn that trick.

Sorry we've gotten off to a rough start Bernie, hopefully we smooth this over and you continue to contribute.

As for the logistics that caused some of this, on the other thread I proposed that all newbie's have to have their ballots posted by Wednesday, so that if there are any issues, they can be worked out, and my having to make a last second call on the validity of the ballot can be avoided.
   350. DanG Posted: July 12, 2006 at 05:27 AM (#2096463)
B_Williams: I can remember having a Sutton v. Koufax argument with one of my friends when I was in summer camp, age 13. If I'm being reactionary ( I probably am), then its a long-held reactionary belief that most baseball rankings arbitrarily give too-great weight to career value.

It would be interesting if you could quantify that belief. Here's one rather simple way to look at it, comparing Koufax to Sutton. Win shares is my metric of choice.

Let’s say that for a full time starting pitcher the replacement level is 10 WS. That’s vague enough to be true. Using this threshold, Koufax had only six seasons where he made a contribution to his team. Sutton exceeded this mark in 18 seasons. Here’s their seasons of WS over 10:

SK 35-33-32-24-20-15
DS 24-22-21-20-20-17-17-17-15-14-14-13-13-11-11-11-11-11

Koufax has a total of 159 for those six years. Subtracting our replacement level of ten times 6 years gives him 99 WS over rep level for his career.

Sutton has a total of 282 for those 18 years. One of those was the strike shortened 1981. We’ll make the rep level 7 for that year. Subtracting our rep level of ten times 17 years, minus 7 more, gives him 105 WS over rep level for his career.

But Koufax had Big Years. What should be added for those? Let’s call a BY any season a pitcher has more than 24 WS. In SK’s three Big Years he had 35-33-32 WS, an even 100 WS or 70 WS over rep level. We’ll give him a 10% BY bonus for those years, as Rob suggests, adding another 7 WS over rep level. That boosts his career total to 106 WS over rep level. He beats Sutton! Yay!!

By my reckoning there is no significant difference in value between the two pitchers. Sure, Koufax was racking up 11 more WS per year at his 3-year peak than Sutton. That’s nearly four wins more than Sutton was contributing at his peak. But Sutton was contributing 3.4 WS over rep level for twelve extra years that Koufax was sitting around retired. IMO it’s a wash.
   351. DL from MN Posted: July 12, 2006 at 01:38 PM (#2096594)
"29 players and not a single third baseman.
No real candidates either (well MLB candidates I should say).
The top 3B of the 30s by almost any measure are Clift, Hack, Martin & Rolfe. (with a nod to Traynor & Lindstrom carrying over from the previous decade)."

Ray Dandridge looks pretty good in comparison to those guys. Has anyone run a Dandridge v. Traynor compare/contrast? I came to the same conclusion as TomH in the Dandridge thread that Dandridge is a great comp for Traynor. I see Traynor in several voters backlogs but Dandridge doesn't appear in any of them.
   352. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 12, 2006 at 03:31 PM (#2096735)
Dandridge is Traynor lite. He's got the glove by reputation, but our translations indicate that his average was lower, his power was lower, and he drew fewer walks.

I just worked the league averages from the Hall's .pdf into my translation, and Dandridge goes from .292/.369/91 OPS+/232.6 WS to .287/.365/89 OPS+/220.5 WS. In the new translation, his only 20+ WS season is that big outlier in 1934, and it's a gigantic 37 WS year. I think there's park factors involved, though given how poor his next couple years were, it's hard to prove it. Ruppert stadium was a 300/380/300 configuration.

It's possible that Dandridge has a couple more years in his career than I have assumed in my MLEs. Depends on whether you think his awful 1949 year would have jettisoned him from the majors, and whether his subsequent play was strong enough to get him back to the majors or at least keep his job if 1949 didn't do him in. I'm not sure of it, so I didn't assume it.

Anyhoo, now looking at Potty Traynor: .320/.435/107 OPS+/274 WS. Not a good match. Kell? .306/.414/111 OPS+/229 WS. Hmmmm. Lansford is the same guy as Kell.

Turns out that a good match for Dandridge the hitter seems to be Don Mueller: .296/.390/89 OPS+/92 WS. But his career is too short.

Someone like Aurelio Rodriguez is too awful of a hitter to make sense as a comp.

I suspect that Terry Pendleton with a little more average is probably the best comp. Milt Stock's probably another good one. Across the diamond Red Schoendienst or Nellie Fox (sans speed and possibly longevity) seem like good points of comparison.
   353. DL from MN Posted: July 12, 2006 at 03:41 PM (#2096744)
That puts him next to Dick Lundy in my spreadsheet. I don't think Judy Johnson makes my top 100. The Negro Leagues had a lot of good catchers and not very many good 3B. There may have been a bit of a selection bias favoring catchers over third basemen.
   354. Esteban Rivera Posted: July 12, 2006 at 03:55 PM (#2096759)
Wouldn't a spray hitter like Dandridge suffer less of a change in average, if any at all?
   355. DL from MN Posted: July 12, 2006 at 04:37 PM (#2096793)
That assumes his strikeout rate stays constant
   356. TomH Posted: July 12, 2006 at 04:47 PM (#2096807)
re: what Browning's rates (like OPS+) would be in some other league---

Pete's BP card (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/dt/brownpe01.shtml) shows that Pete would lose about 15 more 'runs' of value per year, in barely over half a season played, if he were in a top-notch league in 1882-84 instead of the AA. The AA was better in 85 and folllowing. That's almost two 'Runs Created per game', or .150 OWP, or 50 pts of batting average, or 25-30 in OPS+. Many have questioned whether the discount should be this high, and in particular they use Browning's successful 1890 year and the general premise that 'greatness cannot take full advantage of a lower level league'. As such, I personally only use about 2/3 of the discount above.
   357. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 12, 2006 at 05:13 PM (#2096829)
Wouldn't a spray hitter like Dandridge suffer less of a change in average, if any at all?
I can only speak to this mechanically with any certainty. I use a discount rate of X% for each league. Per the protocol established by Chris Cobb (and Bill James), take the discount off there, then the square of the discount is the SLG discount.

That's the mechanics.

I think they do make some sense. Losing power, even when you're a low-wattage guy, will still cause some loss of hits. If you lose too much power, they can play the outfield in and cut off line drives. If you lose power, you can't get into the gaps. That sort of thing. But also, I think the presumption is simply that there's better breaking balls, changes, and fastballs at the big league level. With better stuff, a guy is likely to be off stride more often. If it means he's losing a hit a week, well, that's the difference between 180 hits in 600 ABs (.300) and hitting .257 (26 fewer hits, one per week). Obviously, that's more than we're projecting here.

Dandridge hit about .315 in his 700 odd NgL ABs. We trim 10% off that up front, and he's at .284. Prorate to 600 AB. At .315 that's 189 hits. At .284 that's 170 hits. He's "losing" 19 hits, or about .7 hits per week. This isn't an exact thing because it's impacted by the league batting average and the weight of his plate appearances, but close enough for our purposes. Of nearly equal importance, I think, would be park factors. We don't have them yet, but I suspect strongly that they will not help Dandridge all that much because the Newark Parks are reputed to be hitters parks. Gary A is sort of working toward this grail, but I have little hope of having MxL PFs. Maybe we'll be able to get minor league ones someday to help round out these MLEs.
   358. Sean Gilman Posted: July 12, 2006 at 07:34 PM (#2096979)
Pete's BP card (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/dt/brownpe01.shtml) shows that Pete would lose about 15 more 'runs' of value per year, in barely over half a season played, if he were in a top-notch league in 1882-84 instead of the AA. The AA was better in 85 and folllowing. That's almost two 'Runs Created per game', or .150 OWP, or 50 pts of batting average, or 25-30 in OPS+. Many have questioned whether the discount should be this high, and in particular they use Browning's successful 1890 year and the general premise that 'greatness cannot take full advantage of a lower level league'. As such, I personally only use about 2/3 of the discount above.

I don't follow how a loss of 15 runs a year equates to 50 points of batting average or 30 points of OPS+. . . .

Comparing Davenport's WARP discounts (which are extremely liberal, on the Estimating League Quality thread, someone cited an email from him showing that the AA was never better than the Japanese Leagues are today and were at best at the level of today's AAA) for Dan Brouthers and Pete Browning (Brouthers spent the 1880s in the NL, of course). Here are their BRAA in WARP1 and then WARP3:

1882:
Browning: 59 - 31 -47%
Brouthers: 52 - 44 -15%

1883:
Browning: 45 - 25 -44%
Brouthers: 56 - 47 -16%

1884:
Browning: 49 - 23 -53%
Brouthers: 50 - 36 -28%

1885:
Browning: 65 - 42 -35%
Brouthers: 66 - 53 -20%

1886:
Browning: 37 - 21 -43%
Brouthers: 78 - 63 -19%

1887:
Browning: 56 - 38 -32%
Brouthers: 51 - 42 -18%

1888:
Browning: 34 - 24 -29%
Brouthers: 62 - 51 -18%

1889:
Browning: 2 - -4 -33%
Brouthers: 51 - 44 -14%


This seems to have the relative league qualities fluctuating all over the place. Leaving aside the question of whether this kind of specificity of estimation is even possible, Davenports appears to have the AA get steadily worse from 82 to 84, then become closest in quality to the NL in the years 85 and 87 - 89, with a reversion to 83 level in 1886, for some reason.

For a baseline, let's look at the adjustments when they were in the same league, the 1890 PL and the 92-93 NL (Brouthers spent 1891 in the AA).

1890:
Browning: 58 - 47 -19%
Brouthers: 37 - 27 -27%

1892:
Browning: 21 - 16 -24%
Brouthers: 74 - 64 -14%

1893:
Browning: 21 - 18 -14%
Brouthers: 29 - 25 -14%

Brouthers appears to get a bigger discount in 1890 than Browning in about the same amount of playing time. I can't figure why that would be. Let alone why Browning then gets the bigger discount in 1892 (that may be playing time, Browning had about half as many PAs as Brouthers that year).

Anyway, at its best, the AA appears to be a little bit worse than Brouthers's experience of the PL or Browning's of the 1892 NL.

These adjustments aren't especially sensible to me. They include the WARP2 -> WARP3 adjustment for season length, and I've no idea how that would effect these results. Nor do I know how an adjustment to Davenport's BRAA translates into OPS+ or RC or Win Shares or even WARP itself.
   359. Argonautical Posted: July 12, 2006 at 07:50 PM (#2096992)
I do. I don't think it's all that close. Against the players of his time, when you adjust for the length of the schedule he racked up about 450 WS. Bell and Harrah can't touch that. They weren't the best of their generation, Sutton was. Again, it's not close IMO.

How did you manage that? I just did the extrapolating myself, to 154 game seasons. Here is Sutton:

1876: 12.8
1877: 23.1
1878: 18
1879: 14.3
1880: 16.2
1881: 22.3
1882: 16.5
1883: 33
1884: 39
1885: 30
1886: 21
1887: 14
1888: 2.3
Total 1876-1888: 262.5

I can't get Sutton's NA win share totals from Total Baseball, but I think it unlikely he was churning out 40 WS seasons there every year, just to degenerate into Toby Harrah's clear inferior the next half-dozen of them. For the record, Toby Harrah vs. Ezra Sutton, aged 25-37:

Year....Harrah......Sutton......Best
25......20..........13..........Harrah
26......32..........23..........Harrah
27......24..........18..........Harrah
28......25..........14..........Harrah
29......15..........16..........Sutton
30......24..........22..........Harrah
31......23..........16 1/2......Harrah
32......18..........33..........Sutton
33......28..........39..........Sutton
34......16..........30..........Sutton
35......5...........21..........Sutton
36......17..........14..........Harrah
37......7...........2...........Harrah
Tot.....254.........262 1/2.....Sutton 5, Harrah 8

Sutton's best year came in 1884, when the Union Association war was going on. Ignoring the issue of league quality, these players are about equal, with Harrah the more consistently good. Once you actually pay attention to it, there's no way Harrah doesn't come out ahead.

Why is this man whom Toby Harrah could engage in a head-to-head fight and win more often than he lost in your Hall of Merit? You tell me it's because he was the best at his position for a certain amount of time. I say that's not good enough of a reason. You shouldn't elect somebody just because most of the guys around him weren't very good. You should elect a man because he himself was an outstanding player, and I don't believe somebody Harrah could take to the mat in a grapple meets that standard.
   360. Argonautical Posted: July 12, 2006 at 07:53 PM (#2096996)
Guys, Argo is a strict timeliner. He has no interest in our prime directive. He is interested in ability, not value to one's team.

Not even you guys measure value to one team equally. 30 win shares in the International League are not judged equivalent to an equal number in the American League. All I am saying is that major league quality changes over time too, and I don't see why one should ignore it in comparing players over time.
   361. Argonautical Posted: July 12, 2006 at 08:07 PM (#2097011)
That couldn't be a more ridiculous statement.

Bernie is a very smart guy (obviously), but he still has to follow the rules, just like everyone else. No one can just do as they please if they don't like the rules - and it most definitely isn't a flaw of the institution. The instution is what it is, and that is pretty much exactly the what the founder (me) and the founding participants wanted it to be.


It's a flaw of your institution because it excludes clearly smart and knowledgeable people only because their logic and reasoning differs from yours. All the Hall of Fame does in its rules is try to define a pool of players for people to consider ---- minimum 10 years, not permanently banned from baseball. Outside of that they don't try to tell voters how to think in evaluating who was best or not. You do.
   362. DavidFoss Posted: July 12, 2006 at 08:11 PM (#2097017)
I just did the extrapolating myself, to 154 game seasons

Why 154? Harrah played 162 game seasons? Also, I'm not sure WS extrapolates that well due to how it deals with 19th century pitching. (No way a 140 OPS+ 1B-men is only 13 WS which is what extrapolation does to Sutton in 1876)

Two of Sutton's best years were 1871 & 1875. Which you don't list. Sutton also gets credit for 1870. Sutton had a nasty mid-career slump at ages 27-29 and 31 which is when most other players peak, so he won't do as well in age-vs-age comps.

Lastly, you mention Toby Harrah like he's some sort of awful player. Most similar to Bobby Grich. Has WS seasons of 32-28-25-24-24. His OPS+ line looks comparable to Ken Boyer at first glance and Ken Boyer has fans here.

Maybe Toby Harrah PLUS a WS advantage PLUS two extra peak seasons is worth some votes. Maybe its worth an induction. Often the difference between an inductee and an also ran is less.

Who should be have voted for in 1908? ELEVEN guys below Sutton have since been inducted. Duffy, Childs, Tiernan, Browning, Williamson are the choices.
   363. mulder & scully Posted: July 12, 2006 at 08:12 PM (#2097018)
Sutton's 1871-1875 in the NA. I don't remember the thread where these originally appeared. I think these were some of Chris Cobb's first translated stats.
year age WS WSadj to 154 games
1871 20 08 40
1872 21 02 18
1873 22 11 34
1874 23 10 29
1875 24 17 36

I believe the adjusted stats adjust for the differing level of quality among the team in the NA in each league. I believe the teams that were really awful were dropped and the remaining teams had their records refigured. Win shares were then allocated based on the revised team records.

Harrah's age 22-24 seasons: 7, 13, 13 vs. Sutton's:
age 22: 34 to 7
age 23: 29 to 13
age 24: 36 to 13

Should some air be let out of Sutton's seasons because of the translation up to 154 games? Maybe yes. But that is a huge difference - 99 to 33.

Funny thing is that they are not close to one another at any age except for age 36.
   364. Argonautical Posted: July 12, 2006 at 08:21 PM (#2097028)
Argo,
Are you an attorney?
If not, you've missed your calling.

I can't figure out if you deliberately, or accidentally, write messages in such a fashion as to offend people.


There is nothing I've said that could be offensive to an adult. I have said I don't understand some of you, and I have questioned some of the Hall of Merit's rules, but I don't think that such behavior would be threatening except in a religious forum.
   365. karlmagnus Posted: July 12, 2006 at 08:24 PM (#2097034)
Ardo, you can have a new HOF which timelines; it's a perfectly sensible idea, though IMHO much less interesting than the HOM. What you can't usefully have is a HOM in which some timeline and some don't, because the effect of those who timeline will be to timeline the entire voting process, albeit on a lesser slope than the individual timeliners. The guys who set up the HOM (of whom I was alas not one) decided not to timeline; I became a voter in "1900" because I agreed with this decision. However much we respect the right of you and B. Williams to a contrary opinion, we cannot allow you to enter the voting process with a timeline at this point, because by doing so you would be overruling the decision of the HOM not to have one, and its 83 "years" of voting on that basis.
   366. DavidFoss Posted: July 12, 2006 at 08:25 PM (#2097035)
All the Hall of Fame does in its rules is try to define a pool of players for people to consider ---- minimum 10 years, not permanently banned from baseball. Outside of that they don't try to tell voters how to think in evaluating who was best or not. You do.

The HOF certainly has a couple of more restrictions that that.
link

Plus, I think you are overstating the amount of rules that we have. Our Constitution is not that long and our electorate is certainly not single-minded.
   367. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 12, 2006 at 08:26 PM (#2097038)
Harrah vs Sutton

I've previously expressed my own current belief that Harrah's nearly (if not) HOMable. A deeply underrated player. I like him better than Nettles, but that's just one guy's thinking. Anyway, but when you compare to Sutton it's not as close as all that. And doing it by age is a red herring, so....

Line 'em up!
Best to worst
ES 39 33 30 23 22 21 18 16 16 14 14 13 2
TH 32 28 25 24 24 23 20 18 17 16 15  7 5 

Those three big years at the left end of Sutton's line are impressive, and they make up some of the minimal differences in value by their concentrated impact. But Sutton's NA WS, which our own Chris Cobb has calculated based on James's formula are in fact outstanding. Extending the chart by using Chris's NA shares regressed over a 162 schedule...and by including all of Harrah's seasons (including prorating 1981 to 162 games):

Best to worst
ES 39 37 35 34 33 30 29 26 23 22 21 18 16 16 14 14 13  2 
326
TH 32 28 27 25 24 24 23 20 17 16 15 13 13  7  7  5 
-- --   = 296 


Sutton has an abundant, obvious advantage here. I suspect that you will choose to argue then that the NA is not an MLB-equivalent league. But for our purposes it clearly is major league as the best available and highest-quality league in its time, and that's been our policy.

And more to the point, in a larger sense the quality of the major league realtive to other major leagues is irrelevant. So long as it's major, and unless the league quality issues are so glaring as to present a massive hurdle (like the UA, maybe the FL, perhaps the early AA), then a pennant is a pennant is a pennant because the vast majority of major leagues appear to fall within minute gradations of one another. Does anyone really think that the NL of 1916 was 10% or more worse than the AL? Or 10% better than the 1897 NL? Or 20% worse than the 1982 AL? I just don't see it. If that's the road you travel, then one way or another you get a HOM that (to argue hyperbolically) is 75% Dwight Evanses and 25% Babe Ruth, Cap Anson and friends.

To pick apart the pennant is a pennant argument is easy, you're doing it now, but replacing it with an equally robust and equally fair model for HOM selection is the hard part. So, not to be confrontational, but what's your model? And get specific because we're at T-minus 25 years and counting.
   368. Argonautical Posted: July 12, 2006 at 08:36 PM (#2097048)
I did not mention Harrah like he's some sort of awful player. He's a good player who will never be elected to anything, and Sutton was the same until the Hall of Merit got hold of him. I picked 154 because it's a far more rational adjustment for pre-integration players, and truth to tell for these early years I think I'm being generous at that. You can add Sutton's early years, but only if you do the same for Harrah. And if you're going to max out those tiny NA seasons, to get the true value of the player I think it's wiser to do the expansion using his averages for the entire period. In 30 games there's too much room for variation, and in those early years there are plenty of examples of this. Orator Shaffer, an average hitter, once had an OPS+ near 200 in 1878. John Cassidy, who was even worse, hit over 180 the year before. And Cal McVey once had an OPS+ of 110 in a year of the National Assocation, and he was not that bad. The cycles of variation that can happen when you look at players' stats in that first decade are scary sometimes.
   369. Argonautical Posted: July 12, 2006 at 08:39 PM (#2097051)
What you can't usefully have is a HOM in which some timeline and some don't, because the effect of those who timeline will be to timeline the entire voting process, albeit on a lesser slope than the individual timeliners.

Honestly, why not? What is the matter with having different sorts of voters? "Because it's in the rules" is not the answer I'm seeking. I'm asking why it's in the rules.
   370. Sean Gilman Posted: July 12, 2006 at 08:43 PM (#2097057)
And if you're going to max out those tiny NA seasons, to get the true value of the player I think it's wiser to do the expansion using his averages for the entire period. In 30 games there's too much room for variation, and in those early years there are plenty of examples of this. Orator Shaffer, an average hitter, once had an OPS+ near 200 in 1878. John Cassidy, who was even worse, hit over 180 the year before. And Cal McVey once had an OPS+ of 110 in a year of the National Assocation, and he was not that bad. The cycles of variation that can happen when you look at players' stats in that first decade are scary sometimes.

A 200 OPS+ in 30 games of a 30 game season is exactly as valuable as a 200 OPS+ in 162 games of a 162 games season. That's what it means for a pennant to be a pennant.
   371. Argonautical Posted: July 12, 2006 at 08:46 PM (#2097060)
The HOF certainly has a couple of more restrictions that that.

Not any that are germane to my point. They don't tell voters how to think, which is why the Hall of Fame is capable of adjusting to a more sabermetric-friendly group. All that has to happen is for more voters to think that way. Your rules lock in a line of thought, which is a shame. Some day, there will probably be an encylopedia published with good reasonable estimates of league quality for each year printed alongside a player's record, just like the STATS All-Time Handbook published league ERA, Park factor and Runs per Game alongside each player's record 10 years ago. Your rules won't permit anyone to acknowledge that.
   372. Argonautical Posted: July 12, 2006 at 08:51 PM (#2097061)
A 200 OPS+ in 30 games of a 30 game season is exactly as valuable as a 200 OPS+ in 162 games of a 162 games season. That's what it means for a pennant to be a pennant.

So if somebody had a 2.250 OPS in a strike-shortened six-game season you'd rate it equally with a 162 game season?

I'm talking about figuring out how good the player actually was, by *my* lights. It's fine for you to have a system that takes it pennant by pennant (though I think it's really taken too far with supershort seasons); I just don't think it's a very good one for getting at what I'm driving at.
   373. Sean Gilman Posted: July 12, 2006 at 08:54 PM (#2097063)
They don't tell voters how to think, which is why the Hall of Fame is capable of adjusting to a more sabermetric-friendly group. All that has to happen is for more voters to think that way. Your rules lock in a line of thought, which is a shame.

We also lock in a line of thought that says you can't base your vote on how nice you thought a particular player was to you. All in all, I think we come out ahead.
   374. mulder & scully Posted: July 12, 2006 at 08:55 PM (#2097064)
I'm sorry you are not that familiar with baseball in the 19th century, but Sutton was the best long-time thirdbaseman until Frank Baker, and Baker didn't start until 1908. Sutton fielded well and hit extremely well. A 119 OPS+ at third when it was basically shortstop in defensive importance? Compare to Groh's 118, Hack's 118, and Collins' 113 and Sutton is solidly fits in the HoM. Also, if you adjust win shares to 154 or 162 games, Sutton has 6 years over 30 win shares. The next third baseman to do that (not including NeL'ers) was Eddie Mathews. Sutton was an excellent third baseman. Is he an inner-circle HoMer? No. Is he the bottom of the barrel? No.
   375. DavidFoss Posted: July 12, 2006 at 08:55 PM (#2097065)
There is nothing I've said that could be offensive to an adult.

I just love the wordings of these statements. :-) Its priceless. Backhandly offensive even when talking about being backhandly offensive. :-)

As Joe said (and Chris Cobb has said before in other threads), I don't think anyone takes too much personal offense from your statements, but you won't win many friends or converts wording things that way. Winning a debate with person X about player Y is one thing, but there are also fifty other posters reading along and without their votes, its not going to help player Y.

I understand being backhandedly offensive is the safest way to gain short-term leverage in some forums, but its been the same group of guys here for a few calendar years now and its not that we're naive or 'nice', but we'd just drive each other nuts if we acted that way all the time for that long.

I do appreciate your strong critiques about our methods. ;-)
   376. Sean Gilman Posted: July 12, 2006 at 08:57 PM (#2097070)
So if somebody had a 2.250 OPS in a strike-shortened six-game season you'd rate it equally with a 162 game season?

Yup. It'd help the player's team get a pennant exactly the same amount.

I'm talking about figuring out how good the player actually was, by *my* lights. It's fine for you to have a system that takes it pennant by pennant (though I think it's really taken too far with supershort seasons); I just don't think it's a very good one for getting at what I'm driving at.

Well, I don't know what your lights are. *I'm* only interested in what a player does on the field to help his team win.
   377. DavidFoss Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:00 PM (#2097072)
"Because it's in the rules" is not the answer I'm seeking. I'm asking why it's in the rules.

If I'm not mistaken, there were at least several months of debate before the first vote, it might have been over a year. That was before my time. Perhaps the old threads are still around or one of the founders might let you know.
   378. Argonautical Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:00 PM (#2097073)
Does anyone really think that the NL of 1916 was 10% or more worse than the AL? Or 10% better than the 1897 NL? Or 20% worse than the 1982 AL? I just don't see it. If that's the road you travel, then one way or another you get a HOM that (to argue hyperbolically) is 75% Dwight Evanses and 25% Babe Ruth, Cap Anson and friends.

I actually have no idea how it'd turn out, and I'm surprised that you do. It's taken the Hall of Merit several years to get this far, and they're not done yet. I do think it would be an interesting project, but the fact is I don't have a model that I'd want to inflict on everybody. I just question why you guys feel the need to do that for others. If I were running a voting group I'd be content to have a bunch of smart people make their rankings according to the system which makes the best sense to them, and let the chips fall as they may. There are too many different good minds in the world to want to have only a few.
   379. Argonautical Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:05 PM (#2097077)
We also lock in a line of thought that says you can't base your vote on how nice you thought a particular player was to you. All in all, I think we come out ahead.

I honestly don't think your system is better than the BBWAA. Most of the Hall's mistakes come out of the VC. The BBWAA is not perfect of course, which happens when you have a lot of different people coming together trying to hash out something, but let's face it, you guys ain't either.
   380. Sean Gilman Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:06 PM (#2097078)
If I'm not mistaken, there were at least several months of debate before the first vote, it might have been over a year. That was before my time. Perhaps the old threads are still around or one of the founders might let you know.

IIRC, there was about two years between Joe's initial article and the first ballot. Not all of that was spent on debating timelines, of course, (I remember endless arguments about ballot structure above anything else), but they were indeed well discussed.
   381. mulder & scully Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:06 PM (#2097079)
Yes, the line of thought is to consider all the players from all times fairly. That cannot happen if a voter summarily decides that current day players are so much better that early players do not deserve induction. Yes they have better food/training/transportation/innoculations/etc. Of course they are better athletes. The game changes. Early players could not help when they were born.
We are trying to identify the players with the most merit from when they played. That is what the "Framers" decided over 3 years /80 elections ago. If you want to massively timeline, there are many other projects of this type out there. I believe some of the voters here are also involved in a group on another website where they are voting for the top 225 players of all time, from 1 to 225, with all players eligible starting from the beginning.
Just my dos centavos.
   382. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:09 PM (#2097084)
Honestly, why not? What is the matter with having different sorts of voters? "Because it's in the rules" is not the answer I'm seeking. I'm asking why it's in the rules.

I suspect this is a Joe/John question, but I'll offer a snappy retort.

If you think Ezra Sutton is problematic, you'd better take a look at the Negro League threads. You've got QoP issues, documentation issues, uncertainties of all sorts. In fact, that's what everything comes down to, uncertainties. If you're telling me that Toby Harrah is as good or better than Ezra Sutton and you're steadfastly avoiding the NA, it's because you are uncertain that the NA and any research done on it has enough cache to create certainty about its participants.

Ultimately timelining is a concern about how certain we are about a league's quality or our own historical evaluation. But sometimes you just have to embrace uncertainty, otherwise you live in fear of being wrong about Jud Wilson or Ezra Sutton or whoever. If you don't embrace uncertainty, you cannot find revelatory information, you can only find confirmation of what you think you know.
   383. Sean Gilman Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:11 PM (#2097085)
I just question why you guys feel the need to do that for others. If I were running a voting group I'd be content to have a bunch of smart people make their rankings according to the system which makes the best sense to them, and let the chips fall as they may. There are too many different good minds in the world to want to have only a few.

I think you labor under the misapprehension that people get their ballots rejected for timelining. That has never happened and it never will.

Some voters think it's wrong, some even think the Constitution prohibits it. But that's a matter of interpretation of what the phrase "fair to all eras" means. It's debatable, not prohibited.
   384. Argonautical Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:12 PM (#2097086)
I'm sorry you are not that familiar with baseball in the 19th century

I actually know more about 1870s baseball than I do 1970s, and I try not to be "sorry" when other people have different opinions than I do. I just don't think it's a wise idea to look at one sliver of baseball history and not at the rest, and Sutton is a poor specimen in any overall list of great third basemen. I don't think it really matters that he was tops for a time, since it was only because the position was weak.
   385. Sean Gilman Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:15 PM (#2097088)
Sutton is a poor specimen in any overall list of great third basemen. I don't think it really matters that he was tops for a time, since it was only because the position was weak.

Continuing to assert this despite the (unresponded to) evidentiary objections made to it in this very thread is not especially persuasive.
   386. DavidFoss Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:15 PM (#2097089)
Not any that are germane to my point.

Less, yes. But 'not any' is false. There's an explicit instruction to not elect players on single season or single game achievements.

They don't tell voters how to think, which is why the Hall of Fame is capable of adjusting to a more sabermetric-friendly group. All that has to happen is for more voters to think that way. Your rules lock in a line of thought, which is a shame. Some day, there will probably be an encylopedia published with good reasonable estimates of league quality for each year printed alongside a player's record, just like the STATS All-Time Handbook published league ERA, Park factor and Runs per Game alongside each player's record 10 years ago. Your rules won't permit anyone to acknowledge that.

You are grossly overstating our restrictions. We have a very diverse electorate. New 19th century data has been made available since the voting started. New NeL data. WARP has been adjusted several times.

Our voters use many different methods. Some use WS, some use WARP, some use OPS+/ERA+. Some use batting average and 'singles'. Some give lots of extra credit for wars and minors, some refuse to give any. Some favor glove-men, some like bats. Some like pitchers relative to position players more than others. Some rank relief pitchers higher than others. One guy made sure his top 25 had positions that matched a typical roster. Some favor long careers, some like high peaks. Some strive to balance by era, some don't as much. The list goes on and on and on.

We didn't even end up having a problem with Bernie's ballot once he clearly stated what he was doing. Turned out his initial statements were phrased in such as way as to make his ballot sound more controversial than it really was. We worked it out, no big deal. Construction criticism is always welcome, but I think your big debate against our strong restrictions is a debate against a strawman.
   387. Argonautical Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:24 PM (#2097092)
I just love the wordings of these statements. :-) Its priceless. Backhandly offensive even when talking about being backhandly offensive. :-)

Forums quickly collapse when someone tries to inject personal issues into a debate. Howie called me out, and for nothing really. That ticked me off, to tell you the truth, because I think I've been more than civil despite being insulted and mocked a few times by a poster or two. I haven't called anybody any names, and I really don't want to get into a debate about who was insensitive or not. I just want to talk baseball.
   388. DavidFoss Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:31 PM (#2097096)
I just want to talk baseball.

Fair enough. Lets move on then.
   389. Argonautical Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:33 PM (#2097097)
the line of thought is to consider all the players from all times fairly. That cannot happen if a voter summarily decides that current day players are so much better that early players do not deserve induction.

I don't think that's really at issue. I've never said you can't vote for early players. I've said major league quality is not a constant, and I think it's better to try to look at that when comparing players across eras than not to. Honestly, though, I would not care if a voter did decide not to vote for any of them, if he had rational reasons. I think the only thing you can expect of a voter in a system like this is that they take their job seriously, and try to be as honest to their true beliefs as possible. People's minds work differently and they will come out with widely differing results.
   390. Argonautical Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:36 PM (#2097099)
Ultimately timelining is a concern about how certain we are about a league's quality or our own historical evaluation. But sometimes you just have to embrace uncertainty, otherwise you live in fear of being wrong about Jud Wilson or Ezra Sutton or whoever. If you don't embrace uncertainty, you cannot find revelatory information, you can only find confirmation of what you think you know.

I think that makes complete sense. What I don't see is what is wrong with tipping towards the other end, or just settling somewhere in-between. I was told 150 posts ago that timelining was a no-no.
   391. Argonautical Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:39 PM (#2097100)
I think you labor under the misapprehension that people get their ballots rejected for timelining. That has never happened and it never will.

Some voters think it's wrong, some even think the Constitution prohibits it. But that's a matter of interpretation of what the phrase "fair to all eras" means. It's debatable, not prohibited.


I have been receiving a lot of different answers on this. So, what is it? Maybe one of the founders can give us the definitive word. I was under the impression that Bernie had two ballots rejected because of issues like this.
   392. Argonautical Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:41 PM (#2097102)
Continuing to assert this despite the (unresponded to) evidentiary objections made to it in this very thread is not especially persuasive.

Which are?
   393. Sean Gilman Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:43 PM (#2097103)
Bernie's first ballot was, I believe, not counted because he submitted it 30 minutes before balloting closed and he said he hadn't had time to research the 19th century properly. Had he posted it a day or two earlier, he would have had time to examine the whole player pool and his ballot would have been fine.

His second ballot, while some people raised objections to some of his reasoning, was perfectly reasonable and acceptable.

I believe John Murphey explained in this thread that the only 3 ballots we've ever rejected were Bernie's first and two that placed Wid Conroy above Cy Young for no apparent reason.
   394. DavidFoss Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:44 PM (#2097105)
Which are?

Post 374 is a nice start. Second sentence on.
   395. Sean Gilman Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:44 PM (#2097108)
Which are?

posts 363 and 367.
   396. Sean Gilman Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:46 PM (#2097109)
John Murphey

Sorry John! A typo, not a misspelling.
   397. Argonautical Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:49 PM (#2097112)
Less, yes. But 'not any' is false. There's an explicit instruction to not elect players on single season or single game achievements.

Ah, I see, but that is a very narrow guideline, and one never used to restrict the electorate, as you can see by the vote totals of Don Larsen and Johnny Vander Meer. I think the HOM's guidelines are far more sweeping, unless I have been wrongly informed, as a few people have just been telling me.
   398. Rob_Wood Posted: July 12, 2006 at 10:29 PM (#2097128)
The term "timelining" can mean different things. For example, I can think of three distinct meanings. First, taking into account the varying "ease" in which a star can stand apart from his cohorts. Some of us have used standard deviation metrics to operationalize this idea, but the metric is not that important. I think nearly everyone can agree that it was easier to dominate a league 100-125 years ago than 25 years ago. This pertains to what statisticians call thick vs thin distributions.

Second, taking into account varying "league quality" throughout baseball history. This is usually but not always a reference to divergent *contemporaneous* leagues such as the American and National Leagues. It definitely applies to leagues such as the Federal League and Union Association. Possibly also to MLB during WWII, etc. Trying to reflect how close the league was to the best possible baseball of its time.

Thirdly, taking into account that today's players are much better than yesterday's players in some absolute sense. I would guess that nobody doubts the veracity of that statement. Bill James in his NHBA even has an explicit formula of how he debits players of long ago (based upon year of birth if I remember right). Thus, he has many examples of very good modern players ranking above great players of long ago.

The first two flavors of timelining listed above are not really timelining in the narrow sense of the word and, more importantly, are allowed (even encouraged) in the Hall of Merit.

The third flavor of timelining is strictly prohibited. Thus the phrase that a pennant is a pennant whenever achieved.

Hope this clears up the semantic confusion.
   399. BTL: Lesser Primate, 4th Class Trainee Posted: July 12, 2006 at 10:30 PM (#2097129)
Ardo and anyone else who may not be very familiar with the HOM: Actual HOMers are better able to address the following, but I think they assume people are familiar with the history of the HOM. Discussion about starting the HOM appears to have begun before January 2002, as in that month this specific blog appears to have been created. The first vote was not until April 2003. From January 2002-April 2003 there were numerous discussions about the voting process, the Constitution, etc. It once was easy to find various threads, but this site has been reorganized and the archives are divided by months. If you go back to the archives in 2002, many threads deal with the issues you have raised. I do recall that there were still some discussion going on just before the time of the first election, but one poster commented that elections had to begin or people were going to drop out of the project due to the tremendous delay between project inception and the first vote. (I didn't learn about the HOM until 1932, but I used to go back to review various threads, in hopes of one day becoming a voter). If they had waited until a perfect system was devised, we'd still be waiting for the first vote.

I haven't examined the Constitution closely, but the HOMers have invested a big chunk of time and effort over the years, and whether the rules are written or unwritten, this voting process has now gone on for over two years, over 80 elections based on certain rules. They only have about 25 elections to go before they catch up to present day. Because they have invested so much in this process, the HOMers may be a little sensitive about changes proposed after this project has gone on so long and after there has been so much debate and discussion in past years.

I might also mention that I have only read less than a handful of offensive comments in about 1 and 1/2 years on HOM threads, about the same number that I'll see on the regular BTF site in about ten minutes. The HOM is nothing like the rest of BTF in tone, thankfully.
   400. Argonautical Posted: July 12, 2006 at 11:54 PM (#2097169)
Post 374 claims Sutton has 6 years over 30 win shares: I get only three, and though I can't calculate NA win shares, I'm dubious of the method I'm told was used (for reasons given in 368). I don't think it's fair anyway to count Sutton's earlier numbers without counting other players' comparable minor league numbers, since all any player can do is play at the highest level his skills and circumstances allow. The more recent you go, that's the minors. For Sutton, the narrow talent pool made that the majors by default.

Using Bill James's historical abstract, I looked up all the third basemen who seemed to have any sort of claim in this discussion. I tried to be generous to get as many names as I could. I counted only what they did in the majors from the age of 25 on --- the cutoff date I used for each year was July 15. For all the shortened seasons I knew about (strike seasons, scheduled slashed by war, and early baseball in general) I expanded it out to 154 games before integration, 162 afterward. As I said in another post, I don't think the white-only players need any edge. You can disagree if you want to and make your own calculations.

Judging by the period in which I can compare all these guys by what is in my hands, Sutton's best five years totaled 147 win shares. This is beneath Brett (159), Mathews (172), Boggs (165), Baker (176), Santo (154), Collins (154), Hack (148), Rosen (154), and Groh (158) for 10th place. Behind that are Molitor (148), C. Jones (144), Evans (142), Bonilla (140), Leach (138), Harrah (137), Bando (136), Robinson (135), Elliott (135), Boyer (134), Caminiti (134), Ho. Johnson (132), Williams (129), Nettles (128), Devlin (128), Cey (127), Yost (124), Ventura (123), Wallach (123), Gardner (122), Bell (120), Williamson (120), Latham (121), Joyce (118), Traynor (118), McGraw (109), Cross (113), Gaetti (94), plus a few other guys spotted here and there I didn't bother to list.

He ranks 15th in schedule-adjusted win shares in a career from 25-on.

Boggs....387
Evans....358
Molitor..358
Brett....344
Nettles..320
Robinson.299
Hack.....294
Mathews..296
Collins..296
Cey......286
Cross....286
Leach....268
Boyer....265
Harrah...264
SUTTON...262
Baker....261
Bando....260
Bonilla..251
Caminiti.249
Jones....248
Elliott..248
Groh.....248
Gardner..246
Williams.236
Ventura..235
Santo....230
Wallach..233
Bell.....228
Gaetti...227
Dykes....216
Traynor..215
Latham...213
Yost.....207
Rosen....185
Devlin...173
Johnson..170
Joyce....155
Williamson..148

When did you elect him? Among players who did most of what they did pre-WW1, he ranks beneath Collins in both measures, is far far behind Baker in peak and just one ahead of him in total win shares, and he's behind Groh in peak but 14 total winshares ahead of him. Career-wise, he's also behind Lave Cross (have any of you read that funny note from Chadwick complaining about the superglove he was using in one of the mid-90s Spalding Guides?) and Leach.

What's a rough and ready Triple A discount nowadays? Maybe 90%? If you give that to Sutton, and look at players who spent most of their time after 1960, that puts his peak behind Brett, Mathews, Boggs, Santo, Molitor, Chipper Jones, Darrell Evans, Bobby Bonilla, Toby Harrah, Sal Bando, Brooks Robinson, Ken Boyer, Ken Caminiti and ties it with Howard Johnson's.

Career-wise (with people he's behind in both categories listed in caps), he slips behind BOGGS, EVANS, MOLITOR, BRETT, Nettles, ROBINSON, MATHEWS, Cey, BOYER, HARRAH, BANDO, BONILLA, CAMINITI, JONES, and ties it with Matt Williams.

I'm sorry, but I do not think Ezra Sutton was an all-time great third baseman.
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