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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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   401. DavidFoss Posted: July 13, 2006 at 12:04 AM (#2097175)
He ranks 15th in schedule-adjusted win shares in a career from 25-on

Considering he's missing *SIX* years before age 25, including at least two couple of peak seasons, I think that's impressive.

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

Well, no one said he was inner circle. Don't change the discussion here. He wasn't a unanimous choice, if you were a voter back then (I wasn't) and didn't like Sutton you could choose not to vote for him. But the voters spoke and he's in.

Where did you get your WS by age database? That looks like a neat tool.
   402. DavidFoss Posted: July 13, 2006 at 12:05 AM (#2097176)
bump
   403. Argonautical Posted: July 13, 2006 at 12:13 AM (#2097180)
Well, no one said he was inner circle. Don't change the discussion here. He wasn't a unanimous choice, if you were a voter back then (I wasn't) and didn't like Sutton you could choose not to vote for him. But the voters spoke and he's in.

I'm not disputing that. I just don't think he was a very good selection.

Where did you get your WS by age database? That looks like a neat tool.

It would be a neat tool if I had it. No sir, that is a calculator, thumbing through pages of Total Baseball, looking up pages on Baseball Reference for team games in years I suspected needed it, and two hours of neck-cricking work.
   404. DavidFoss Posted: July 13, 2006 at 12:17 AM (#2097183)
When did you elect him?

He was inducted in 1908. Collins retired in '08, Cross in '07.

He beat Start, McPhee, Galvin, McVey, Stovey and Bennett who were since inducted. Then Duffy. Then the since-inducted Thompson & Jennings. Then Childs, Tiernan & Browning. It was an elect-one election.

If you are saying you'd rather second-tier stars of the modern era be honored instead of the best players of the 1870s-80s then that's just a disagreement with the way the project was designed. The election schedule was chosen in a way to force us to honor guys like Sutton, McVey, Glasscock, HRichardson, etc.
   405. Argonautical Posted: July 13, 2006 at 12:38 AM (#2097185)
If you are saying you'd rather second-tier stars of the modern era be honored instead of the best players of the 1870s-80s then that's just a disagreement with the way the project was designed.

I don't think we're really being forced to make a choice between Sutton and Harrah. What I'm saying is that neither of them probably deserves to be elected.
   406. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 13, 2006 at 01:34 AM (#2097222)
I don't think we're really being forced to make a choice between Sutton and Harrah. What I'm saying is that neither of them probably deserves to be elected.

Here's where I'm coming from here: if a fan/player from the 1870's-1880's said that Sutton wasn't worthy of the HoM, I don't think they would understand it. An average contemporary of Harrah, however, wouldn't even question his exclusion.
   407. Argonautical Posted: July 13, 2006 at 01:37 AM (#2097223)
Here's where I'm coming from here: if a fan/player from the 1870's-1880's said that Sutton wasn't worthy of the HoM, I don't think they would understand it. An average contemporary of Harrah, however, wouldn't even question his exclusion.

Here's where I'm coming from: it's 2006! We don't need to justify ourselves to 1880s fans. Bobby Richardson once finished 2nd in an MVP vote, and in the top ten the next year. Do we really care that people in 1962 would think we were morons if we ranked Richardson far, far below that level in those years?
   408. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 13, 2006 at 02:05 AM (#2097236)
Here's where I'm coming from: it's 2006! We don't need to justify ourselves to 1880s fans. Bobby Richardson once finished 2nd in an MVP vote, and in the top ten the next year. Do we really care that people in 1962 would think we were morons if we ranked Richardson far, far below that level in those years?

Except Sutton's value can be quantified, while Richardson's can't.

I think we're just going to agree to disagree on this point.
   409. Howie Menckel Posted: July 13, 2006 at 02:05 AM (#2097238)
Per Post 399: I believe I'm the guy you're referring to who pushed for us to finally get the voting started. The effort to make the project as effective as possible was so earnest that I felt as if it has gone overboard. Considering how well it turned out, I'm glad there was so much care taken beforehand AND that it got going when it did.

As for Argonautical:
I see a couple of possibilities here.
One is that you have are an extraordinarily skilled debater whose brilliance is mistaken by numerous dolts here on the HOM threads for arrogance and an obstinant refusal to engage in respectful give-and-take.
I suspect that you want to hear any of the other alternatives - which is too bad, because if you figured out how to get across your assertions without giving off such a strong odor of being condescending, you'd be a lot more successful in trying to get your point across.

I mean, the fact that you don't think Sutton is a HOMer, fine.
The fact that you prefer modern players, fine.
And so forth.

But there's a saying in poker - there's always a sucker at the table. If you look around the room and you're stumped trying to figure out who's the sucker, here's a hint: It's you.
It's like that, too, when enough people are put off by your tone. If you're stumped trying to figure out why, here's a hint: It's you.
   410. Argonautical Posted: July 13, 2006 at 02:13 AM (#2097244)
Howie--- if you do have that big a problem with me, report me to the moderator and see if he agrees. You and I had never exchanged a word to my knowledge until you chimed in just to tell me what a jerk I was. I don't want to hear it ---- but the moderator probably does if it's the truth.

Other than that, if you want to talk baseball it'd probably be a pleasure talking with you. I had the feeling most people were enjoying it, and I really do think it's unfortunate you aren't.
   411. Howie Menckel Posted: July 13, 2006 at 02:29 AM (#2097250)
Argo,
I'm moving on.
I tried to point out that I think you've been hurting your own cause with the tone you've used - not in every post, but in many.
You know a lot about baseball, and I'd rather just read your opinions, and not the stuff that seems to be so negative about a four-year project. There's constructive criticism, and then there's other stuff.

So in all seriousness, I will start over in terms of reading your posts.
I'd rather not wind up making my own criticisms of you, as my very point is to suggest taking things to a higher ground. I promise that is the place to which I am now returning.
Good luck, stick around, and enjoy the project.
   412. Paul Wendt Posted: July 13, 2006 at 02:36 AM (#2097252)
It once was easy to find various threads, but this site has been reorganized and the archives are divided by months.

It was never easy to find content --although, yes, it was once easy to find threads by title. I don't know what Jim Furtado and colleagues, if any, anticipated or aspired to for Baseball Think Factory, nor the look of the site or maturity of the organization before the boards/forums medium. I do know that the content was not seriously archived at all. Acres of boards :-) were discarded by imposing a limit, 500 words?, years after many of those articles were written. John Murphy recovered much of the HOM content from outside sources such as but not only Google cache. He earned thanks from everyone. Instead, I think, he got the Secretary Generalship.

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.

over three years.
   413. Paul Wendt Posted: July 13, 2006 at 02:49 AM (#2097255)
Ideally this positional replacement level would be calculated by using the bottom 15% of regulars at a position, as opposed to the average. Unfortunately, that information doesn't exist right now - and it would be incredibly labor intensive to come up with - it's a lot harder than you think to figure out who the 'regulars' are at a position - and when players play multiple positions in a season, you have to guesstimate how many PA he had at each position and prorate his replacement level hitter accordingly.

Eventually, I'd love to do it, but I'm going to have to hook up with a programmer that can turn my ideas into code :-)


When you have your programmer, Joe, I hope you will go about it another way. Replacement should be defined by some continuous functions. It's only without the programmer that you should think in terms of "the bottom 15% of regulars" at all. "Regulars" are players but replacement should be defined in terms of play.
You'll be the theorist, I suppose, teaching the programmer about all this.

--
El Chaleeko went to college in Southern Pennsylvania, etc.

This has been covered before.

Search the web for
: chaleeko yuengling
and you will not find many publications, only one via Google; evidently it hasn't yet indexed this thread.

--
By the way, is Newly Eligibles the longest HOM thread?
Is it one of the longest at BTF?
   414. DanG Posted: July 13, 2006 at 02:54 AM (#2097259)
This bears repeating at this point.

From Our Constitution - Statement of Purpose:

"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.

The HoM journey throughout baseball history will be just as important as the final destination. Lively, spirited discussion will help shape voters’ beliefs regarding the relative merits of baseball’s best players. All members are expected to be considerate of others’ opinions/arguments and be willing to consider alternative points of view. Disagreements will inevitably arise, but we will strive to maintain civility at all times."
   415. DavidFoss Posted: July 13, 2006 at 02:55 AM (#2097261)
By the way, is Newly Eligibles the longest HOM thread?

I don't know if its the longest, but the Plaque Room is longer than Newly Eligibles.
   416. DanG Posted: July 13, 2006 at 03:08 AM (#2097263)
Something Better

The orginal HoM article from 12/11/01, now residing in Primate Studies.
   417. Sean Gilman Posted: July 13, 2006 at 08:20 AM (#2097362)
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.

I bet you can find a lot of crappy HOMers if you choose to ignore the NA. Ross Barnes, Al Spalding, Joe Start, Cal McVey, Dickey Pearce and, yes, Ezra Sutton. That's not especially interesting, however.

Hank Aaron would make a pretty bad HOMer if you chose to ignore the NL, doncha think?
   418. rawagman Posted: July 13, 2006 at 09:50 AM (#2097377)
This discussion is so last year.
   419. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 13, 2006 at 11:56 AM (#2097387)
I bet you can find a lot of crappy HOMers if you choose to ignore the NA. Ross Barnes, Al Spalding, Joe Start, Cal McVey, Dickey Pearce and, yes, Ezra Sutton.

...or before the NA, too. Without it, Pearce has no case, while the others have much tougher arguments. Only Sutton would be unaffected in that regard.
   420. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 13, 2006 at 02:02 PM (#2097469)
I don't think we're really being forced to make a choice between Sutton and Harrah. What I'm saying is that neither of them probably deserves to be elected.

What I read you saying here is that you'd generally prefer a smaller hall.
1) Sutton, by the list you gave above, is 15th in sked-adj career WS.
2) We're slated to induct around 225 or so guys; estimating 30% or so pitching leaves around 155-160 position players; divide by eight, that's about 18-20 guys per position.
3) You also don't like Harrah for the HOM, and he ranks in 14th place with 264 WS.

So you disagree with Sutton's selection but also with Harrah---a modern player--- even though by the measure you've chosen, they both sit above the in/out line (the HOM replacement level, if you will). I'm left to assume that either:
a) You think third base is not as important historically as the other positions and so doesn't warrant selections below the 13th person ranked by your measure, or
b) You are a small-hall guy.

I'm going with b. Which is fine, but we've got a fixed number of inductees, so you'll always be frustrated by our mandate because we are, in fact, forced to elect someone in every election (unlike the Hall).

In fact, what the whole thing says to me is that you're (justifiably) frustrated with the HOF but also frustrated with the HOM---the former has no vision, and the latter has a vision that's not synchronous with your own. That's cool with me, I'm glad there's diversity of opinion in the world on what constitutes greatness, and I'm glad you're quizzing us about ours. Just remember that our rules were indeed set up (by people other than me) for specific purposes (namely electing people, representing pre-1876 and NgL players, being fair to all candidates at all times, and looking at the totality of on-field accomplishments), and those purposes may simply be in disagreement with your own thinking. I for one would love to see an alternative model, not to implement it (we're too far along), but certainly to compare/contrast with our own. And not to use it to prop ours up or poke wholes in yours (and vise verse), but just to see how different ideas of greatness lead to different structures.


el Chaleeko went to college in Southern Pennsylvania, etc.

This has been covered before.

Search the web for
: chaleeko yuengling
and you will not find many publications, only one via Google; evidently it hasn't yet indexed this thread.


Thank god my illustrious history hasn't been confined to one thread! May the tales of Dr. Chaleeko's exploits travel far and wide, winning new converts to the candidacies of Jose Mendez, Billy Pierce, Charley Jones, and Quincy Trouppe!!!!!
   421. Daryn Posted: July 13, 2006 at 02:41 PM (#2097495)
By the way, is Newly Eligibles the longest HOM thread?

I don't know if its the longest, but the Plaque Room is longer than Newly Eligibles.


Neither are close. There are more than a dozen (probably two dozen) 1000+ post threads (not including close to 100 1000+ post Lounge threads). In addition to some regular PETCO-type threads that just got long, the March Madness thread each year typically tops 3000 posts.
   422. Daryn Posted: July 13, 2006 at 02:45 PM (#2097498)
Argonautical,

This may not be a surprise to you, but almost all of the voters have 1 or 3 or 5 HoM inductees about whom they feel or unqualified (yest has 32 or so), and they fell this much stronger than you do about Sutton. For me Hughie Jennings tops this list, but there are have been approximately 5 electees who were elected when they weren't in my top 25. Almost all of us can say that and almost all of us have someone who was elected that wasn't even in our top 50.
   423. Daryn Posted: July 13, 2006 at 02:46 PM (#2097499)
<strike>or</strike> are unqualified.
   424. DanG Posted: July 13, 2006 at 03:19 PM (#2097513)
In fact, what the whole thing says to me is that you're (justifiably) frustrated with the HOF but also frustrated with the HOM---the former has no vision, and the latter has a vision that's not synchronous with your own. That's cool with me, I'm glad there's diversity of opinion in the world on what constitutes greatness, and I'm glad you're quizzing us about ours. Just remember that our rules were indeed set up (by people other than me) for specific purposes (namely electing people, representing pre-1876 and NgL players, being fair to all candidates at all times, and looking at the totality of on-field accomplishments), and those purposes may simply be in disagreement with your own thinking. I for one would love to see an alternative model, not to implement it (we're too far along), but certainly to compare/contrast with our own. And not to use it to prop ours up or poke wholes in yours (and vise verse), but just to see how different ideas of greatness lead to different structures.

This sums things up nicely. Much of what Argonautical takes issue with is "settled law", the decisions made years ago as to how to run this project.

Alternative structures for a similar project to follow this one are something that can be discussed. I suspect that when Joe/John get around to posting my article "Something Else Better: The Hall of Merit MMP Project" (hint, hint) that this sort of discussion will follow. Perhaps Argo will prove to be instrumental in developing the rules for that project.
   425. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 13, 2006 at 04:03 PM (#2097550)
I suspect that when Joe/John get around to posting my article "Something Else Better: The Hall of Merit MMP Project" (hint, hint) that this sort of discussion will follow.

Ain't me, Dan. It's the Boss Man that's holding things up. :-)
   426. DavidFoss Posted: July 13, 2006 at 04:05 PM (#2097552)
Consider me tantalized. :-) As a teaser could we at least know what MMP stands for?
   427. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 13, 2006 at 05:44 PM (#2097657)
Most Malevolent Poster
M&M's Provider
Mount McKinley Parachuttist
Montenegro Mounted Police
Mr. Morgan's Protege (aka the McCarver Project)
Mozzarella and Mortadella on Pumpernickel
Magnus, Murphy, and Paul (Wendt)
Machiavellian Mischief Plot
   428. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 13, 2006 at 05:45 PM (#2097659)
And how could I forget?

Magical Mystery Project
   429. DavidFoss Posted: July 13, 2006 at 05:58 PM (#2097673)
At least its not The TTP Project.
   430. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 13, 2006 at 06:10 PM (#2097688)
TTP? Huh. Consider me stumped. Do I wanted to know this one?
   431. DavidFoss Posted: July 13, 2006 at 06:17 PM (#2097697)
Do I wanted to know this one?

Probably not. :-) Its from a classic old Dilbert strip. TTP stands for "The TTP Project". Its a recursively self-referencing three-letter acronym (or TLA for short :-)).
   432. Daryn Posted: July 13, 2006 at 06:27 PM (#2097706)
Merit Manager Project?
_____ Manager Pioneer?
   433. jingoist Posted: July 13, 2006 at 07:59 PM (#2097807)
The Untied States, by most observers, would be classified as a very successful democracy.
Though we are about 220 or so years old as a constitutionaly constructed country, we have found from time to time that our original constitution needs a bit of tweaking.
Congrees and 3/4 of the 50 states must ratify such constitutional amendments.
Perhaps a similar process could be established should the HoM voters feel the constitution needs changing?
My own opinion is that you guys are doing just fine and that late-comers to the party don't get to complain about the refreshments being served if they weren't at the party creation meeting in the first place.
keep up the good work guys!
ps has there ever been any female voters?
Curious as when I try to explain what your mission entails to my wife of 40 years, she just gets a blank look on her face and wonders what it's all about. Sort of like watching the 3 stooges. She dont get it.
   434. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 13, 2006 at 08:31 PM (#2097870)
ps has there ever been any female voters?
I don't think any have ever identified themselves. But then again, there aren't exactly tons of them on the BTF site in general.

Which reminds me of a tacky topic that Mrs. Dr. Chaleeko often brings up during baseball games on TV. She often gets angry at the attractive female sidelines reporters at baseball (or any sport) games. Mrs. Dr. C is very much a feminist, but she often says things like "She obviously doesn't know anything about baseball, she's only there for her good looks." I agree with Mrs. Dr. C wholeheartedly when she says this. But I'm not sure that I should.

Isn't it possible that attractive young women with sports knowledge are knocking at the doors of sports carriers looking for on-camera jobs? Isn't it cynical to think that sports carriers are merely trolling about for nice faces they can put in front of a camera and avoiding less attractive women? And does the fact that the women on the tube are generally dressed more provacatively than the men on the same telecast suggest anything about how or why these women are em/deployed?

And furthermore, as a feminist-thinking man, what should my position be? Support the women no matter whether I think they may be being used as eye candy, or decry the practice all together?

Does anyone else find this to be a knotty issue too?
   435. Argonautical Posted: July 14, 2006 at 10:38 PM (#2099306)
bet you can find a lot of crappy HOMers if you choose to ignore the NA. Ross Barnes, Al Spalding, Joe Start, Cal McVey, Dickey Pearce and, yes, Ezra Sutton. That's not especially interesting, however.

Hank Aaron would make a pretty bad HOMer if you chose to ignore the NL, doncha think?


If I were writing this for a book I'd expend the effort to dig up the minor league and college stats of all these players, calculate park effects, league run levels and win shares, try to rate all these varying levels of competition as fairly as I was capable, and set it out that way, because I do want every player to be treated as fairly as possible. And with what I have right now, I did that the best way I could. Your judgment on him may differ from mine and that is your right, but if Ezra Sutton was an all-time great third baseman that fact has so far not shown itself to me, and in number 400 I gave my best explanation why.
   436. Argonautical Posted: July 14, 2006 at 10:43 PM (#2099309)
.or before the NA, too. Without it, Pearce has no case, while the others have much tougher arguments. Only Sutton would be unaffected in that regard.

I asked this much earlier in the thread, but I think it got lost in the talk about other players. Was Dickey Pearce elected partly on the belief that he was one of the best hitters of the 1860s? I'm asking, because someone in another BTF thread several months ago mentioned that he had been elected to the HOM, and said that by way of explanation.
   437. DavidFoss Posted: July 14, 2006 at 10:53 PM (#2099317)
Was Dickey Pearce elected partly on the belief that he was one of the best hitters of the 1860s? I'm asking, because someone in another BTF thread several months ago mentioned that he had been elected to the HOM, and said that by way of explanation.

Yes, specifically the early-to-mid 1860s and the late 1850s as well. Fielding at SS was a factor as well. The electorate came to the consensus that she should be inducted in 1931 or so after decades of discussion.
   438. DavidFoss Posted: July 14, 2006 at 10:58 PM (#2099320)
if Ezra Sutton was an all-time great third baseman that fact has so far not shown itself to me, and in number 400 I gave my best explanation why.

And we rebutted with the fact that 1870-75 were not considered in your post 400. Note how far he jumps up the list if you include earlier ages. Not everyone loves every induction here, not everyone loved the Sutton induction, but I think even Sutton's detractors understand why people voted for him.
   439. Argonautical Posted: July 14, 2006 at 11:05 PM (#2099330)
So you disagree with Sutton's selection but also with Harrah---a modern player--- even though by the measure you've chosen, they both sit above the in/out line (the HOM replacement level, if you will). I'm left to assume that either:
a) You think third base is not as important historically as the other positions and so doesn't warrant selections below the 13th person ranked by your measure, or
b) You are a small-hall guy.


I suppose both, by default. The Hall of Fame has about 250 members, and if I was given a list of eligible players and (without a lot of analysis) asked to check yes or no on them, I suspect I'd come up with about 170 players. If you want to expand that out to 250 players, then maybe Harrah makes it for some analysts (I believe you've said you're an admirer) but I think you will acknowledge you're probably in the minority. In a 250 member Hall, in this Hall, Harrah will probably not make it. Neither will Mickey Vernon. Or Jose Cruz. I believe Frank Howard got dropped like Effa Manley's used panties as soon as he entered the balloting. It's the weaker or equivalent players in earlier times who did get in which I find troubling. Sean Gilman and others have explained where they were coming from in deciding this. All right. But if the Hall of Merit does get better known --- and I think it will as it advances toward more modern players --- I think you should prepare yourselves to hear more of these criticisms. I'm not that original; if they occurred to me, I think they must also have occurred to others.

And not to use it to prop ours up or poke wholes in yours (and vise verse), but just to see how different ideas of greatness lead to different structures.

It is interesting, isn't it? I was just thinking of Bill James 1985 vs. today. Twenty years ago, he was high on George Sisler and positive that Ozzie Smith was the National League MVP. I don't think he ever gave a list of who he'd consider Hall-worthy then to be compared with the rankings in his last Abstract, but I think a comparison would have been fascinating.
   440. DanG Posted: July 14, 2006 at 11:11 PM (#2099334)
Consider me tantalized. :-) As a teaser could we at least know what MMP stands for?
David, did you get the email I sent yesterday?
   441. Argonautical Posted: July 14, 2006 at 11:17 PM (#2099345)
Yes, specifically the early-to-mid 1860s and the late 1850s as well. Fielding at SS was a factor as well. The electorate came to the consensus that she should be inducted in 1931 or so after decades of discussion.

I won't comment on his fielding. If you felt that compelling enough to warrant induction, so be it. But I cannot see Pearce as one of the best hitters of the 1860s. His numbers, such as they are, actually look pretty terrible. He routinely averaged over 3 outs a game, meaning he was one of the worst hitters on his teams. His runs per out are weak and far inferior to other star players of the time; I believe Al Reach, George Wright and Ross Barnes have the best figures of the period. Maybe there's editorial comment which insists this --- Pearce was reportedly a good bunter --- but Jack Barry used to get a bunch of press for clutch hits too, and in spite of that I can't rank him as one of the best hitters of his time.
   442. Argonautical Posted: July 14, 2006 at 11:21 PM (#2099353)
And we rebutted with the fact that 1870-75 were not considered in your post 400. Note how far he jumps up the list if you include earlier ages. Not everyone loves every induction here, not everyone loved the Sutton induction, but I think even Sutton's detractors understand why people voted for him.

And I rebut that by saying it's not fair to everybody else to count all of Sutton's pro-career and not theirs. I realize why people voted for him; I just don't think the reasons are that convincing, and like you tell me I'm not alone.
   443. DavidFoss Posted: July 14, 2006 at 11:25 PM (#2099359)
And I rebut that by saying it's not fair to everybody else to count all of Sutton's pro-career and not theirs

Well, I meant to say if others' pre-25 career was included as well.
   444. DavidFoss Posted: July 15, 2006 at 12:12 AM (#2099409)
I realize why people voted for him; I just don't think the reasons are that convincing, and like you tell me I'm not alone.

I felt on the hook explaining the pre-25 issue, but we can simply agree to disagree on Sutton.
   445. DavidFoss Posted: July 15, 2006 at 01:16 AM (#2099481)
But I cannot see Pearce as one of the best hitters of the 1860s. His numbers, such as they are, actually look pretty terrible. He routinely averaged over 3 outs a game, meaning he was one of the worst hitters on his teams. His runs per out are weak and far inferior to other star players of the time; I believe Al Reach, George Wright and Ross Barnes have the best figures of the period.

The Pearce candidacy was pretty interesting. Read the late 1920s discussion threads for details. I can summarize a bit here.

The NABBP data we had up Pearce as Atlantics' top run scorer in 59, 61, and 62 and second in 63, 64, 67 and 68 and third in 57 and 60. Considering that the Atlantics were champs six times in this period (59-61, 64-66) and that Pearce played important defensive positions, then its likely he would have been a strong MVP candidate in several of these seasons.

It is clear that after the Civil War (Pearce turned 30 in 1866) that Pearce had lost a step offensively. Also, after the Civil War, the state of the game got bigger and more widespread. Also, after the Civil War, they started keeping more detailed hitting records. If Pearce had put up his 57-64 numbers eight years later, we probably would have inducted him much sooner. As it was, a combination of his early hitting prowess, his strong fielding record at important positions, and his incredibly long career ended up pushing his candidacy over the top. (You wouldn't be alone if you wouldn't have voted for him, though). To tell you the truth, we didn't look at the Outs (or Hands Lost) data very much (if at all). It wasn't clear to anyone how those were scored in terms of force-outs, fielders choices and such.

You are certainly correct about the late-60s and Reach and George Wright. George Wright's numbers are simply jaw-droppingly awesome and I personally think he's "inner-circle good". Reach put up some great hitting numbers in 67-69 and 71, but the rest of his career was unremarkable and he didn't play a key defensive position. Barnes was more of an 1870s guy. He had a nice year in 68 but nothing like he would show in the 70s.

We tried to be as throrough as we could scanning the 50s and 60s for other star players to see if the guys we were looking at were indeed good compared to the field. Pike and Start also were inducted with help from 60s. McVey's two years in Cincy certainly helped as well. Spalding's Rockford numbers probably helped him out. Sutton and Deacon White were inducted without considering the year or two in Cleveland that we discovered later.

We also looked at Charles Smith, Ferguson, McBride, Meyerle and Harry Wright. Jim Creighton certainly had an impact, but his career was too short even for peak-lovers. The main issue with most of the pre-1866 players was that not many of them made it to see the NA which narrowed the field quite a bit.

Pearce and Pike were the last of this era to get inducted. No one else appears to be on anyone's radar anymore, so I think we've closed the book on the pre-NA era as far as the HOM is concerned.
   446. Brent Posted: July 15, 2006 at 04:27 AM (#2099620)
A few comments for Argonautical:

- Sutton was elected in the 1908 election when the only other significant third base candidate was Ned Williamson. Sutton's election didn't keep Harrah or Cey or Boyer out of the Hall of Merit. Duffy, Childs, Browning and Tiernan were the players who were eligible in 1908 and who were passed over because of Sutton's election.

- We've selected, by my count, 42 players whose careers were centered in the 19th century. Most of these (39) were elected by the 1931 election. In other words, our 19th century honorees were mostly elected in votes against other 19th century candidates. This was obviously intentional. By setting the first election for 1898, the organizers of this project made it inevitable that a fairly large number of 19th century players would be included. I haven't heard you argue that Sutton wasn't one of the best players of the 19th century; yet that is the basis on which he was elected. If you wish to critique our judgment as voters, that's the basis on which we should be critiqued. The comparison between Sutton and Harrah is only relevant to commenting on the overall design of our voting system.

- I see the HoM project as having three main goals:
a) To simulate the selections of a hall honoring baseball players throughout the history of the game had it had a better design and set of rules than those Cooperstown has followed.
b) To provide a forum for participants to slowly walk their way through baseball history, examining the credentials of a half-dozen outstanding players each fortnight. By specifically including the National Association and the Negro Leagues, it also required us to do some research on some less known parts of baseball history.
c) By doing a) and b), identify 200+ "meritorious" players who are worthy to be remembered and honored.

Based on your comments, it seems that your interest is in c), and specifically, in selecting players from the modern era, who you believe are better than those from earlier eras. The design of our project is obviously incompatible with that objective. There are alternative HoF projects on other Web sites -- in fact, I think the baseball-fever site has two such projects. I think your interests would be better met by one of those projects. (Or if you're really ambitious, you could always start your own project that is specifically designed with your own set of rules and objectives). We clearly do not intend to make any fundamental changes to the design of this project.

But if the Hall of Merit does get better known --- and I think it will as it advances toward more modern players --- I think you should prepare yourselves to hear more of these criticisms. I'm not that original; if they occurred to me, I think they must also have occurred to others.

No, your criticisms aren't original. I was just looking at the 1899 ballot and there was a lively debate then about the quality of the National Association and whether Wright, Start, and Pearce should get credit for pre-NA play. If some of us seem irritable, perhaps it's because these same issues have been debated so often over the last 3+ years.

And while it's flattering to think the the Hall of Merit might get better known, I'm realistic enough to know that alternative HoFs are a dime a dozen and it is unlikely that future historians will cite our list as the definitive one. If this project is remembered at all, I think it will be because we took the time to explore some of the dusty corners of baseball history and in doing so, made some interesting and delightful discoveries about half-forgotten players (including the maligned Sutton and Pearce). We adjusted for park effects on Pete Hill's statistics. We investigated the validity of Riley's attacks on the character of John Beckwith. We learned (with help from researcher Gary A) which Negro League players took walks and which ones swung away. We put together the statistics on the careers of players like Quincy Trouppe who played throughout the hemisphere. We deciphered the quality of the Cuban League to learn about Alejandro Oms. We reconstructed the minor league record of Gavy Cravath. You are free to differ with us on the philosophy underlying our selections to the Hall, but it's our record of research that has made the HoM project interesting and worthwhile, and hopefully will have some lasting impact.
   447. Howie Menckel Posted: July 15, 2006 at 05:13 AM (#2099640)
Huzzahs for Brent and David Foss...

Or is it "ee=yah"?
   448. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 15, 2006 at 09:51 AM (#2099737)
I've finally caught up my reading on this thread.

I really don't have much to add, I basically agree with what's been said in 'defense' of what we're doing here. Not that I feel it needs a defense, but I appreciate those that are responding. It's been an interesting discussion.

I would say that we chose 1898 pretty carefully. Looking back, that was a mistake, we should have started in 1892, on a scale starting with one player a year, and eventually 'catching up' by 1906 to where we actually ended up. That's how my personal Hall of Merit will work if I ever get around to finishing it :-)

Just to clarify, the entire point of this project is come up with:

1) A Hall of Fame that has roughly the same number of players as the actual one. The idea was to find out who the mistakes are in the Hall of Fame. I never has an issue with the size of the Hall of Fame, I've always felt they should be electing 2 or 3 players every year.

2) Start it back when it should have started, long before 1936, 65 years after the NA started playing. By starting after a 1/4 century had been played as opposed to almost 3/4 of a century, we were forced to honor the best players from every era and treat all eras equally (that doesn't mean equal numbers from every decade, of course a 30-team league will generate more Hall of Famers than an 8-team league).

That's the whole point of the exercise. We only back-loaded the elections because we were of the mind that it's better to make some guys wait than elect them prematurely. You can undo a mistake of omission, not one of comission.

Looking back, I'd have set the induction schedule to skew slightly more towards the earlier years. Especially the 19th Century, where I think we have room for about 2 or 4 more guys (Beckley, Childs, one or two of the OFs, though my mind changes as to who every other week it seems like) from the 19th Century.

**********

So just to be clear, the end result of this is not a list of the 220 greatest players of all-time. At least not if you are of the mind that Jacque Jones is a better player than Ed Delahanty (great analogy, whoever came up with that one) or Tino Martinez was better than Joe Start. I have no interest in such a list, and since this started as my idea that was never a consideration.

If what you want is a list of the 220 greatest players ever, this isn't the right project.

***********

Really quick on Sutton - counting his NA days isn't like counting somebody else's minor league career - that wasn't a minor league. It was the best league around. That's nothing like counting Toby Harrah playing for Pittsfield in 1970. Sutton was a star in the best league in the world when he was playing in the NA. That deserves to be credited, whether or not the powers that be decide it was a 'major league' or not.
   449. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 15, 2006 at 10:02 AM (#2099740)
By the way, I've done the league adjustments through the mid-30s, and if the numbers are even remotely close to being accurate, they'll surprise you some. Baseball from 1881 through 1935 or so didn't improve nearly as rapidly as you'd think. If I were going to cut off 'modern' baseball in terms of competition level, you could make a case for going as far back as 1881, definitely not any later than 1892. I guess you could use 1893 since the mound moved back that year, but the quality of play didn't change much.

That 1901 is used my most is really just laziness from the sportswriters of the early part of this century, and it doesn't hurt that it's a nice round number. The quality of play in the 1890s was probably better than that of most of the deadball era.

The 1901 expansion didn't entirely wash out until after the Federal League folded, and then MLB took a step back in the early 1920s, partially because who knows how many great young players never got the chance because they died or were injured in WWI, partially because a bunch of good players were banned for life. I think that's part of the reason guys like Alexander, Cobb, Speaker, Johnson, etc. were able to have such long careers, the game got a little easier as they should have been fading away, so they aged better than would otherwise have been expected.

Anyway the point of that rant is that there is little reason to draw the line at 1901.
   450. Argonautical Posted: July 15, 2006 at 01:02 PM (#2099762)
I want to say more about Dickey Pearce, but I'll get to that later when I have in my hand a computer disk I want to access.

- Sutton was elected in the 1908 election when the only other significant third base candidate was Ned Williamson. Sutton's election didn't keep Harrah or Cey or Boyer out of the Hall of Merit. Duffy, Childs, Browning and Tiernan were the players who were eligible in 1908 and who were passed over because of Sutton's election.

I disagree. There are thousands of players and only 250 spots to fill. The more lesser players you put in, the fewer greater or equal players will make it. This is the case with McVey and Howard, with Sheckard and Cruz, with Start and Vernon, with Sutton and Harrah. Since you put a cap on the number of people who could be inducted each player is always in competition with another.

I haven't heard you argue that Sutton wasn't one of the best players of the 19th century; yet that is the basis on which he was elected. If you wish to critique our judgment as voters, that's the basis on which we should be critiqued. The comparison between Sutton and Harrah is only relevant to commenting on the overall design of our voting system.

I can buy him as the best third baseman of the 19th century. But I don't think that means much since he's such a weak player to play that role. And I have to say that your belief on how you should be critiqued or not is incompatible with Joe's understanding (448) that this project was begun with the "idea ... to find out who the mistakes are in the Hall of Fame." And not just Joe --- that attitude is pervasive throughout your membership, judging from the comments I've seen. That goal has little relevance unless the idea was to select candidates with the same basic purpose as the Hall --- and the Hall does not presume to claim that its selections from one period are shielded from criticism which compares them with players of another. If your system results in blatant inequalities which makes it easier for someone to be elected to the Hall of Merit the earlier they were born, you may be content with that, but it seriously weakens any standing you would have to criticize the old Hall for its "mistakes".
   451. Argonautical Posted: July 15, 2006 at 01:09 PM (#2099766)
Really quick on Sutton - counting his NA days isn't like counting somebody else's minor league career - that wasn't a minor league. It was the best league around. That's nothing like counting Toby Harrah playing for Pittsfield in 1970. Sutton was a star in the best league in the world when he was playing in the NA. That deserves to be credited, whether or not the powers that be decide it was a 'major league' or not.

It was the best league in the world only because there wasn't any other around. There were just about 300 pros in the country at the time --- less, actually, I think. Compare that to the thousands of professionals active around the country when Harrah was doing what he could at Pittsfield. Harrah might have been just as good as Sutton, but it was a lot, lot harder to break in.
   452. Argonautical Posted: July 15, 2006 at 01:53 PM (#2099772)
By the way, I've done the league adjustments through the mid-30s, and if the numbers are even remotely close to being accurate, they'll surprise you some. Baseball from 1881 through 1935 or so didn't improve nearly as rapidly as you'd think. If I were going to cut off 'modern' baseball in terms of competition level, you could make a case for going as far back as 1881, definitely not any later than 1892. I guess you could use 1893 since the mound moved back that year, but the quality of play didn't change much.

That's interesting, Joe. League quality has been on my mind lately, and it's occurred to me that even if you could give it a rating, that wouldn't be quite the whole story. Obviously, the makeup of the league strongly affects how you will perform. We all know the platoon differentials some people have. The wrinkle here is that the amount of left-handed pitching in the majors has not been at all constant. Sometimes it's as low as 15%, other years and other leagues it approaches 40%. When it comes to some players, I believe its effect can really be traced.

In the 1985 Historical Abstract, Bill James gives Jimmy Sheckard the honor of having the "Most Unpredictable Career" of the 1900-09 decade. I don't think it is if you look at certain things; in fact, if you were a fan at the time I think it's possible Sheckard was the decade's most predictable player, *if* you knew just what to look for.

Bear in mind first that there was an odd discrepancy in the amount of left-handed pitching between the two major leagues early last century. It took a while for them to reach parity, and then the numbers for both started exploding in the mid-teens.

YEAR...........AL % of LHP........ NL%
1901...........23.7...............17.3
1902...........21.8...............19.0
1903...........25.4...............15.3
1904...........27.1...............17.8
1905...........25.9...............15.2
1906...........23.3...............23.7
1907...........24.4...............25.2
1908...........18.8...............27.1
1909...........23.7...............25.3
1910...........22.8...............21.2
1911...........22.5...............19.4
1912...........17.9...............28.3
1913...........28.4...............27.6
1914...........30.7...............27.6
1915...........30.0...............24.4
1916...........31.8...............30.4

When you account for the freakishly low amount of left-handed pitching early in the decade, and then its sudden rise with an occasional dip, Sheckard's oddball career trajectory comes strongly into focus.

Jimmy Sheckard, LHH
YEAR....AGE.....OPS+......LHP%
1901....22......168.......17.3
1902....23......122.......19.0
1903....24......161.......15.3
1904....25.......97.......17.8
1905....26......142.......15.2
1906....27......112.......23.7
1907....28......112.......25.2
1908....29......101.......27.1
1909....30......109.......25.3
1910....31......114.......21.2
1911....32......130.......19.4
1912....33......102.......28.3
1913....34.......76.......27.6

In the years left-handed pitching was below 20% of the league innings, Sheckard's OPS+'s were 168, 161, 142, 130, 122, and an anomalous 97. In the years left-handed innings were above 20%, they were 114, 112, 112, 109, 102, 101 and 76, in spite of taking place in what ought to have been his prime years, ages 27-31.

Basically, every year left-handed pitching went up, Sheckard's OPS+ decreased from the year before; every year it went down, the OPS+ went up. The only exceptions are 1907, when left-handed pitching went up a point & a half but his OPS+ stayed steady at 112, and 1913, in which left-handed pitching went down 7/10ths of a point although his OPS+ tanked drastically.

Sheckard's off-year in 1906 (the year the Cubs won 116 games) seems weird to James; you get the impression from him that it was just a case of Sheckard's typical bad-timing. Most likely, it's explained by the huge jump in left-handed pitching which took place that year ---- an increase over 50% from the previous year. And for Sheckard it was probably worse than that; his own club staff, the Cubs, ranked 7th in left-handed innings that year, so he must have been facing left-handers a little more than the league averages would suggest.

We have Sheckard's platoon differentials for 1911 from Retrosheet and they don't look that drastic, but I think the total trend here is unmistakable.
   453. DavidFoss Posted: July 15, 2006 at 03:30 PM (#2099818)
David, did you get the email I sent yesterday?

Nope. I tried sending you something. If that doesn't work, I'll hunt the yahoo groups archive for your address. Let me know if I should do that.
   454. DavidFoss Posted: July 15, 2006 at 04:13 PM (#2099844)
And not just Joe --- that attitude is pervasive throughout your membership, judging from the comments I've seen. That goal has little relevance unless the idea was to select candidates with the same basic purpose as the Hall --- and the Hall does not presume to claim that its selections from one period are shielded from criticism which compares them with players of another. If your system results in blatant inequalities which makes it easier for someone to be elected to the Hall of Merit the earlier they were born, you may be content with that, but it seriously weakens any standing you would have to criticize the old Hall for its "mistakes".

You were called out on your attitude a couple of days ago and then cried that was unfair. No we are being called out on ours? Aren't we just supposed to be talking baseball here?

Is it so wrong for voters here to use Tommy McCarthy, George Kelly, Lloyd Waner et al as motivation for keeping up with with the project?

"blatant inequalities which makes it easier for someone to be elected to the Hall of Merit the earlier they were born"

?!?

We've responded to this several times. Obviously, you disagree with the election schedule that encouraged a higher 19th century representation. We understand that you disagree. Could the HOM have made a different decision? Yes. Is there one 'right' way to pick an election schedule? No, but a decision had to be made (after much debate).

But, repeating your disagreement over and over with strong inflammatory language which claims opinion ('blatant inequalities') as fact isn't going to get your point across better, its going to make me think that I am being trolled. Am I on the hook? I've tried to be patient and lively debate is what this type of board is all about but at what point is more explanation simply going to give you more to nitpick?
   455. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 15, 2006 at 04:17 PM (#2099845)
If what you want is a list of the 220 greatest players ever, this isn't the right project.
I disagree with Joe here. I mostly think that I've been voting for the best 220 players in history. They aren't all on the board at once, but over time, given how the vote works, it seems to me that our group's concensus is ultimately getting very close to that 220. Maybe we get the best 210 and a few stray mistakes, but 90% is damn close, and those 10% errors are all arguable and are backloggers exactly because their cases are iffy. There's fifty iffy people to elect. No list, no matter how well researched will turn up the best 220 without debatable candidates at the bottom of the list.

Basically, every year left-handed pitching went up, Sheckard's OPS+ decreased from the year before.
Thanks, Argo! This is fascinating way to look at Sheckard's career. Do you have a sense of what other modern or older careers might be similarly effected, especially for borderlilne candidates?
   456. mulder & scully Posted: July 15, 2006 at 07:47 PM (#2100030)
Argo-

When the HoM was being debated, it was decided to start the elections in 1898. The purpose of this decision was to honor players of all generations. This is evident in the decision to base election on highest or two highest vote getters in each election, rather than using a percentage of votes received as the Hall of Fame does. Those who chose to participate understood that they would be voting for, and electing, early players. Those who chose to participate had to submit a ballot of 15 players each year. There was no option to vote "none of the above."

The HoM, to me, is based on the premise that a pennant is a pennant. That you can't help when you are born; you can only play the game under the conditions available to you. To me, this activity is an effort find the best players from throughout history. And by best, I mean those who contributed the most to their teams winning. It is not about who had the most talent - if it was Rube Waddell would have been inducted "years" ago. Or the Hall of Fame - because then Phil Rizzuto would have been inducted already. It is about contributions to helping your team win.

It is easy to say that today's players are "better." They are better athletes, yes. But that is all context. If Jacque Jones was born in 1875 he would have had a great chance of dying from a disease that we are now immunized against. He probably would not have gone to high school. He would not have had access to organized training, Little League, from the age of 6. He would not have great nutrition. He would not have advanced weight training. Of course athletes of today are better as athletes than they were one hundred or one hundred fifty years ago. Context is hugely important. Jim Thome would not have a job in Dead Ball baseball, yet I think he will make the HoM eventually. Frank Chance may be in the Hall of Merit if he played between the 1960s and 1980s - the batting helmet would save him from the many concussions which ended his career so early.

From your posts, I believe you believe in a smaller hall and all of the players from baseball history should be considered at the same time with little or no impact given for context. That's cool. But that is not what this project is about.

Thank you for the lively debate and the interesting information about Jimmy Sheckard. Other reasons for his lower OPS+ include having a bottle of ammonia thrown at and shatter on his face during the 1908 season. Thrown by teammate Chief Zimmerman. Also, he did rake up some "Ink" from 1906 to 1910:
1906: Runs - 3rd - 90, Total Bases - 9th - 194, Doubles - 4th - 27, Triples - 7th - 10, Walks - 10th - 67, Runs Created - 10th - 66, Extra Base Hits - 6th - 38, Times on Base - 9th - 217, Sacrifices - 1st - 40.
1907: OBP - 9th - .373, R - 6th - 76, 2B - 6th - 23, BB - 6th - 76, SB - 10th - 31, ToB - 9th - 211, Sac - 3rd - 35.
1908: Ammonia in face year. BB - 5th - 62
1909: R - 10th - 81, 2b - 4th - 29, BB - 4th - 72, Sac - 1st - 46,
1910: 2B - 9th - 27, HR - 7th - 5, BB - 5th - 83, Sac - 4th - 31.

It appears that Sheckard could not get singles when hitting against lefties, because he still walked and hit doubles.
   457. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: July 15, 2006 at 09:43 PM (#2100146)
By the way, I've done the league adjustments through the mid-30s, and if the numbers are even remotely close to being accurate, they'll surprise you some. Baseball from 1881 through 1935 or so didn't improve nearly as rapidly as you'd think. If I were going to cut off 'modern' baseball in terms of competition level, you could make a case for going as far back as 1881, definitely not any later than 1892. I guess you could use 1893 since the mound moved back that year, but the quality of play didn't change much.

That 1901 is used my most is really just laziness from the sportswriters of the early part of this century, and it doesn't hurt that it's a nice round number. The quality of play in the 1890s was probably better than that of most of the deadball era.



How did you do this Joe? I agree that the average level of play may have actually declined after the 1901 major league expansion, but I think that more great players played at the major league level after that time as the game reached full national participation. It's really two different questions;

1) How many great players were playing at any given time?
2) What was the mean level of play in the league?

Obviously 2 affects 1 by altering where you place replacement level, but I think that they may be different questions.

Also, I'm curious how you compare the 1880's to the post-1893 era. I find it very hard to believe that they were comparable based upon my own, admittedly scanty and preliminary, work.
   458. Howie Menckel Posted: July 16, 2006 at 01:15 AM (#2100382)
I enjoyed that analysis of Sheckard's platoon splits. Very interesting.
   459. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 16, 2006 at 09:39 AM (#2100572)
The Sheckard platoon split theory is pretty darned interesting, I too am curious as to whether or not it applies to others.

B Williams, check out the Gibson thread - I didn't do the comparisons using the raw data on my own or anything. I'm using the Prospectus NRA adjusted for all-time vs. adjusted for season, which I think shows pretty reasononably what happened. It passes all of the 'smell' tests, like NA/NL getting better in the late 1870s, big drop back in 1882, progressive improvement in the 1890s, huge improvement from NL 1900, big drop back in 1901, etc..

If what you want is a list of the 220 greatest players ever, this isn't the right project.
I disagree with Joe here. I mostly think that I've been voting for the best 220 players in history.


I agree with you - I thought I was obvious in couching my remarks by saying, if you think Jacque Jones was better than Ed Delahanty we aren't picking the 220 best players ever. Sorry for any confusion.

As M&S put very well, you can only play the game that is available to you . . .
   460. Argonautical Posted: July 16, 2006 at 01:32 PM (#2100608)
You were called out on your attitude a couple of days ago and then cried that was unfair. No we are being called out on ours? Aren't we just supposed to be talking baseball here?

I wasn't calling anybody out, and I don't think it's offensive to note that a lot of you --- I would say all, but people being eclectic there's probably somebody different --- do appear to think that one of the HOM's goals is to correct the HOF's mistakes. In fact I think that's totally uncontroversial. Would it be too personal of me if I said that I agreed with you that the HOF's made mistakes?..... While I'm a bit confused about what you thought crossed a line, if you took the the word "attitude" as an insult, I wasn't using it disparagingly. I was only using it in the sense of "belief" or "opinion".

Is it so wrong for voters here to use Tommy McCarthy, George Kelly, Lloyd Waner et al as motivation for keeping up with with the project?

Nope, but I was responding to a statement saying your own Hall should be immune from the kind of criticism the other Hall gets for guys like McCarthy, Kelly and Waner. There's nothing I'm doing with McVey, Sutton and Sheckard that hasn't always been done with the real Hall when obvious disparities exist. If you can live with those results, more power to you all. But it does seem puzzling to an outsider if the other Hall's disparities were part of your motivation. What were you trying to fix?

As to the rest, David, since it's coming out of my mouth I don't think anyone could be confused that it's my opinion blatant inequalities resulted. It is not inflammatory language, anymore than calling Lloyd Waner a mistake is inflammatory against the Hall of Fame. Now can we go back to baseball?
   461. Argonautical Posted: July 16, 2006 at 02:09 PM (#2100620)
Thanks, Argo! This is fascinating way to look at Sheckard's career. Do you have a sense of what other modern or older careers might be similarly effected, especially for borderlilne candidates?

I do not know. I discovered this by accident while studying something else. It was that dip in 1911 which made me think to see if the fluctuations might have some relation to Sheckard.

Fred Luderus and Claude Rossman's stats also display the same ambling after the changes in left-handed pitching. Wildfire Schulte too, I think --- from 1908 to 1911 his OPS+ rose every year, as left-handed pitching declined; when the use of lefties shot up in 1912, his OPS+ plunged over 50 points. It might be significant that Cy Seymour's fluke season came when left-handed pitching in the National League was at its lowest of the Dead Ball Era. I haven't done a full-scale study of this to see how many players are hugely affected by this --- in checking I have noticed many are not --- but when they are, it's very striking.

If somebody who doesn't have access to the numbers would like to look into this themselves and see if they can dig up something, these are the league levels of LHP in the twentieth century, up through the late '50s when Retrosheet fills in.

Percentage of league innings by left-handers
YEAR.......AL.........NL
1901.......23.7......17.3
1902.......21.8......19.0
1903.......25.4......15.3
1904.......27.1......17.8
1905.......25.9......15.2
1906.......23.3......23.7
1907.......24.4......25.2
1908.......18.8......27.1
1909.......23.7......25.3
1910.......22.8......21.2
1911.......22.5......19.4
1912.......17.9......28.3
1913.......28.4......27.6
1914.......30.7......27.6
1915.......30.0......24.4
1916.......31.8......30.4
1917.......25.1......30.5
1918.......23.3......31.1
1919.......25.9......28.6
1920.......25.7......24.4
1921.......25.7......28.6
1922.......19.8......22.3
1923.......23.3......25.5
1924.......29.5......22.3
1925.......33.8......28.4
1926.......31.4......23.1
1927.......28.0......22.0
1928.......23.3......27.5
1929.......25.5......28.2
1930.......23.8......29.5
1931.......26.8......29.7
1932.......25.8......24.4
1933.......23.2......20.4
1934.......19.7......21.2
1935.......24.4......24.3
1936.......18.7......14.2
1937.......21.0......23.1
1938.......21.3......22.7
1939.......22.1......17.9
1940.......25.5......18.5
1941.......21.7......21.7
1942.......18.3......21.1
1943.......17.4......21.6
1944.......17.2......21.1
1945.......19.6......18.4
1946.......21.6......32.6
1947.......17.5......31.0
1948.......27.3......32.1
1949.......35.3......36.6
1950.......36.0......32.7
1951.......32.7......29.6
1952.......31.6......27.5
1953.......30.5......30.2
1954.......27.7......28.4
1955.......30.5......26.8
1956.......30.6......22.4
1957.......23.0......22.5
1958.......21.2......26.4

I caution that these numbers could be misleading for a handful of players. Some teams as late as the '30s have no left-handers on their staff, while there are quite a few team staffs who got 600 innings or more from lefties --- in a league which maybe had only 2500 left-handed innings total (the A's in 1928, for example --- at the bottom of the league the White Sox had less than 30).
   462. Argonautical Posted: July 16, 2006 at 02:30 PM (#2100637)
From your posts, I believe you believe in a smaller hall and all of the players from baseball history should be considered at the same time with little or no impact given for context. That's cool. But that is not what this project is about.

I have no objection to anything you say, except this. I believe context is of the utmost importance. When you put somebody like Ezra Sutton in the context of the wider history of third basemen, for example, my belief is that his case doesn't really hold up. The context of a player, the further back he played, is that he probably played in a league less competitive than ones more recent. I don't think that context should be ignored when ranking one man against another. We may have different ideas on what to look at for context, but if they're different it doesn't mean one of us is ignoring it.
   463. Argonautical Posted: July 16, 2006 at 03:00 PM (#2100671)
There is one thing I'd like to say before I get to work on Pearce. In talking about the Hall of Merit's selections I have not meant to put anybody on the spot, and it concerns me I may have made some people feel like they were. I fully realize that if I were in your shoes, drawing up a ballot based on the pool of players then available, I may well have helped put in one of the guys I've complained about, if only by necessity --- I take you all at your word that each of these guys seemed the best guy at the time. Rating players when it's interesting is always a challenge, and it's something I hope you've all had fun doing. All I would say is that I think your system created disparities in the chances each player had to make the Hall of Merit, particularly the moderns. It's an observation about an inanimate institution --- I mean it, and I hope you take it, as nothing more.
   464. DavidFoss Posted: July 16, 2006 at 03:44 PM (#2100684)
since it's coming out of my mouth I don't think anyone could be confused that it's my opinion blatant inequalities resulted. It is not inflammatory language, anymore than calling Lloyd Waner a mistake is inflammatory against the Hall of Fame.

Well -- toning myself down :-) -- you know we have both facts and opinions around here and often times the electorate would like to be sure when they are reading one and not the other. Your fascinating look at Sheckard and platoon splits was great, but it did come out of your mouth and it did contain quite a bit of verifiable facts. Then you seemlessly shift and use words like 'blatant' or 'obvious' when you could have used phrases like 'what I think are blatant' or 'what I think are obvious'. And its only inflamatory in the sense that it appears to beg some sort of response -- when many responses had already been given on that particular point. I'm not taking these remarks personally.

I realize that I'm bordering on insane-hypersensitve here, but I'm trying to balance that with lay-down-and-be-a-doormat. Our usual primary litigator in these types of discussons (Chris Cobb) is on vacation this week. :-)

Its just such a diverse electorate here. Many voters take pride in our representation of the 1870s and many voters actually like the fact that our arguable 'borderline inductees' are distributed across eras as well (We've had modern versions of those as well). People I would never vote for sometimes go in first ballot here and some guys that look like slam dunks will be left off some people's ballots.
   465. DavidFoss Posted: July 16, 2006 at 03:55 PM (#2100689)
Some teams as late as the '30s have no left-handers on their staff, while there are quite a few team staffs who got 600 innings or more from lefties --- in a league which maybe had only 2500 left-handed innings total

The conventional wisdom would have the Yankees with more lefties and the Red Sox with fewer lefties (with Grove the most famous of the exceptions).

While this analysis is great and helps paint a better picture of a player's career which I always like. Is this just painting a better picture of the player's ability and not of his after-the-fact value? If a guy got all the platoon splits in a park that favored his swing and he was unique enough in that the park factor didn't pick up on this, then didn't that help his team win? The analysis is still great, but should we use it for candidate evaluations?
   466. DavidFoss Posted: July 16, 2006 at 04:02 PM (#2100694)
There is one thing I'd like to say before I get to work on Pearce

Don't worry about being too critical of Pearce. He was one of our least documented inductees. Any new information you have on 1860s play, or new insights on how to analyze the little data we have on this time period would be more than welcome.
   467. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 16, 2006 at 05:26 PM (#2100792)
-I caution that these numbers could be misleading for a handful of players.

-Some teams as late as the '30s have no left-handers on their staff, while there are quite a few team staffs who got 600 innings or more from lefties --- in a league which maybe had only 2500 left-handed innings total

Argo, I agree that they could be misleading for the reason in the second italicized item. If sheckard's teams had a disproportionate number of lefties in a given season, he could very well be facing a diluted pool of lefty pitchers among the other seven teams. Seems to me that this problem is attenuated by expansion since one team's pitcher acquisitions will tip the balance less dramatically toward the handedness of their hitters. So the first step would be to figure out how many at bats he (or Seymour or Luderus or whoever) had against lefties versus what an average lefty hitter would have had against lefties, then go from there. Of course in a single season it's a small sample thing, but it could still reveal some strong tendencies.
   468. mulder & scully Posted: July 16, 2006 at 10:15 PM (#2101294)
Argo,
Regarding context, I see your point. But, with our project we are only looking at the context for players up to the then current election, as opposed to the all-time context. Very easy to see how the two different uses of context could give differing views of a player.

Regarding lefties and 1906-1910 -
Does anyone know who might be responsible for the additional innings pitched and consequent reduction of a few players batting stats? Ok, I looked to see who would impact Jimmy Sheckard.
I am looking at a copy of the Sports Encyclopedia Baseball. These are the following left-handed pitchers who pitched over 100 innings in 1906 in the NL:

NY: Hooks Wiltse, 16-11 2.28 ERA (2nd on team in ERA, 4th in pct, 3rd in IP)
PIT: Lefty Leifield, 18-13 1.86 ERA (2nd on team in ERA, 4th in pct, 3rd in IP)
PHI: Johnny Lush, 18-15 2.37 ERA (2nd on team in ERA, 1st in pct, 2nd in IP)
BRO: Jim Pastorius, 10-14 3.61 ERA (last on team in ERA, 3rd in pct, last in IP)
CIN: Jake Weimer, 20-14 2.21 ERA (1st on team in ERA, 1st in pct, 1st in IP)
STL: Carl Druhot, 8-9 2.63 ERA w/STL, 4.32 w/ CIN (3rd in ERA, 3rd in pct, last in IP)
STL: Ed Karger, 7-19 2.72 ERA w/STL, 1.93 w/PIT (4th in ERA, 5th in pct, 2nd in IP)
BOS: Irv Young, 16-25 2.92 ERA, (2nd in ERA, 1st in pct, 1st in IP)

Wiltse had 197 innings in 1905. Would be a starter in the NL from 1904-1912.
Leifield had his first full year in 1906, threw only 56 IP in 1905. Would be a starter in the NL from 1906-1911.
Lush had his first full year in 1906, threw only 17 IP in 1905. Would be a starter in the NL from 1906-1910.
Pastorius was in his rookie year in 1906. Would be a starter in the NL from 1906-1908.
Weimer was in his fourth year as a regular starter. He had been on the Cubs in 1903-1905. Would be a starter in NL from 1906-1908.
Druhot was in his only full year in the majors.
Karger was in his rookie year. Would be a starter in the NL from 1906-1908.
Young was in his second full year. Would be a starter in the NL from 1905-1909.

So there are 5 lefties making their debuts as full-time starters: Leifield, Lush, Pastorius, Druhot, and Karger.
And 1 leftie making his debut away from the Cubs: Weimer.
The six players went 91-84, threw 1429 innings, gave up 401 earned runs, for an ERA of 2.53. The league ERA (not including Chicago) was 2.75. I think the ERA+ would be 109.

Adding 6 pitchers who averaged 15-14 109 ERA+ and 238 IP each would definitely have an effect on left handed hitters.

The Cubs had a leftie starter also, Jack Pfeister who went 20-8 with a 1.56 ERA in 242 IP.

Every left-handed pitcher in the NL was a good one it appears.
   469. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 17, 2006 at 12:11 AM (#2101526)
I disagree. There are thousands of players and only 250 spots to fill.

This is actually not correct. Catching up to the HOF doesn't mean the end of the project. We'll still have elections once a year (a real year :-), so all remaining candidates still have a shot at the HoM.
   470. DanG Posted: July 17, 2006 at 02:20 PM (#2102151)
Argonautical has mentioned this on several occasions: how is the HoM going to be viewed by outsiders? Will the project appear credible to them, will our choices seem reasonable? How can we justify our “blatant inequalities”? I’ve been concerned with this issue from time to time, but I’ve recently come to a resolution on it. The simple answer is, we can’t. Joe Fan will never “get” the HoM, and that’s something we shouldn’t be too concerned about.

Here’s the apparent contradiction the HoM is based upon. The institution is ostensibly egalitarian, meaning anyone who wants to join in is free to do so, we’re just talkin’ baseball here. In actuality, the HoM is an elitist institution. This is due partly to our rules, but more to the level of discourse, IMO. Joe Fan, who knows or cares little about baseball history, can see pretty quickly that he’d rather spend his time elsewhere.

This is all good, IMO. The main problem with the HOF, even more than with their rules, is their electors are not selected for the task at hand. They are given a job for which they are not qualified. This is especially exacerbated by the veterans committee and its celebrity electorate. They are charged with a more difficult task than the BBWAA (who get to usher in the no brainers). The VC has to separate the ins from the outs on the margins of the HOF.

The HOF needs to employ an elite electorate, members whose statistical and historical acumen is obvious. It’s the only way to ensure that their selections are not only qualified, but carry the imprimatur of a credible jury.

At the HoM, this is what we have. Our electorate, IMO, is just such an elite electorate as is needed by the HOF VC. This may seem doubtful at first blush, since our panel is self-selected. But, think back to my second paragraph; Joe Fan has left the building. I think it’s because we have built what is sometimes referred to as “an institution of excellence”. We have the requisite expertise, and continue to input sufficient energy to achieve an excellent result. The issues we wrangle over have little interest to Joe Fan.

This doesn’t mean for a second that we should ignore or denigrate outsiders and lurkers. Input of fresh energy and ideas only makes the project stronger. And if we can help raise someone’s level of thought to new plateaus, that is a great thing. Maintaining a spirit of openness and cordiality is imperative.
   471. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 17, 2006 at 02:56 PM (#2102175)
This doesn’t mean for a second that we should ignore or denigrate outsiders and lurkers. Input of fresh energy and ideas only makes the project stronger. And if we can help raise someone’s level of thought to new plateaus, that is a great thing. Maintaining a spirit of openness and cordiality is imperative.
Couldn't agree more on this one, Dan. Nor on the notion of an institution of excellence. It seems like the HOM, which includes lurkers and electors, is extremely sensitive to maintaining the integrity of not only the institution, but also the culture that's sprung up within it.

As to how people will see it from the outside, I don't think that we can ever care about that. We do our work and the chips fall where they may. But, that said, by maintaining an inclusive culture we also do not close the door to interested outsiders who might take the HOM further into the mainstream.
   472. karlmagnus Posted: July 17, 2006 at 03:08 PM (#2102183)
Speaking personally, while I (obviously) have a great interest in the subject, and a reasonable statistical and historical capability, there have to be 10,000-50,000 people in the US who are more qualified than me to vote in the HOM. However, by doing so for 80 "years" I have maybe raised my qualification to a higher level. I hope so, anyway, and certainly think the HOM's voting structure and "Delphi-method" argments structure is enormously powerful in achieving a result close to optimal -- in other words, even if the top 50 baseball "experts" in the world voted, they would do no better than us HOM electors.
   473. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 17, 2006 at 03:10 PM (#2102186)
The thing that separates us from the HOF and almost every other similar institution is our "paper trail." If anyone from the outside wants to know why we voted in a certain player (or excluded him), all they need to do is read the old threads where we did the analysis.
   474. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 17, 2006 at 03:12 PM (#2102188)
I hope so, anyway, and certainly think the HOM's voting structure and "Delphi-method" argments structure is enormously powerful in achieving a result close to optimal -- in other words, even if the top 50 baseball "experts" in the world voted, they would do no better than us HOM electors.

I think you're 100% correct, karlmagnus.
   475. DanG Posted: July 17, 2006 at 05:26 PM (#2102282)
"Delphi-method" - Great term that wasn't familiar to me! See, right there, I've just had my "level of thought" raised. Thanks karlmgnus!
   476. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 17, 2006 at 06:00 PM (#2102303)
"Delphi-method" - Great term that wasn't familiar to me! See, right there, I've just had my "level of thought" raised. Thanks karlmgnus!

Ditto. I wikipediaed it after seeing the post. Very interesting.
   477. karlmagnus Posted: July 17, 2006 at 06:26 PM (#2102324)
Thanks, guys. Get your business buzz-words here :-))
   478. jingoist Posted: July 17, 2006 at 06:56 PM (#2102357)
Long-time lurker; semi-frequent poster here.
Starting with DanG's post this morning I think you guys are on the right track as it relates to the "meaningfulness" of the HoM and to whom it will be meaningful.
Dan's right, the classic Joe Fan may stumble upon the HoM process, view what is transpiring and either "get it or get out".
That's what I did 2 + years ago. I stumbled here from baseballreference.com.
I came, I saw, I got it.

But,(and it's a very BIG but) I am also sanguine enough about my lack of skills as they relate to the statistical analysis that you gentlemen employ to make your selections to know that I can't go there with any real depth of knowledge but I can appreciate what others do.

That said, while I don't feel qualified skillwise to vote I do enjoy observing and commenting on the process.
Its been great fun.
Keep up the good work guys.
I surely appreciate your continued commitment to the process.
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