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

Monday, September 18, 2006

1986 Ballot Discussion

1986 (October 2)—elect 2
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)

408 101.2 1959 Willie McCovey-1B
233 53.2 1964 Willie Horton-LF
212 57.0 1965 Jose Cardenal-CF/RF
183 58.7 1965 Paul Blair-CF
165 55.3 1970 Dave Cash-2B
157 53.3 1969 Manny Sanguillen-C
146 55.9 1967 John Hiller-RP
141 42.7 1966 Bud Harrelson-SS
142 40.6 1965 Ken Henderson-CF/LF
147 31.7 1970 Ralph Garr-LF
114 46.5 1968 Marty Pattin-P
117 32.9 1970 Bernie Carbo-RF/LF
106 35.6 1973 JR Richard-P

Players Passing Away in 1985
HoMers
Age Elected

None

Candidates
Age Eligible

95 1928 Joe Wood-P/RF
92 1940 Burleigh Grimes-P
91 1932 Bill Wambsganss-2B
87 1940 Riggs Stephenson-LF
86 1940 George Uhle-P
84 1945 Ossie Bluege-3B
84 1946 Syl Johnson-P
83 1944 Guy Bush-P
81 1948 Sam West-CF
73 1951 Van Mungo-P
70 1956 Kirby Higbe-P
68 1959 Johnny Lindell-CF/LF
58 1968 Bob Nieman-LF
51 1974 Roger Maris-RF
48 1969 Bill Kunkel-RP/Umpire

Thanks, Dan!

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 18, 2006 at 08:31 PM | 331 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. TomH Posted: September 20, 2006 at 05:20 PM (#2183097)
Can someone link me the thread or post where the latest/greatest MLEs for negLg stars is located? Or re-post it here? And do we have them for Bill Monroe? I'd like to reconsider his case this week as the precious #15 spot on my ballot goes up for grabs. Thanks!
   102. OCF Posted: September 20, 2006 at 05:27 PM (#2183105)
Re: Waddell 1900

It was a very impressive season, but please note that 42.7% of his runs allowed were unearned. For the rest of the team it was 29.7% UER.

My back-of-the-envelope adjustment knocks him down to and adjERA+ of 125 for that year. (Assume same RA, adjust ER to match 29.7% UER). Still pretty solid and this was one of Waddell's largest UER% seasons. Plus, that's a strong adjustment as we haven't been discounting other pitcher's ERA+'s. We may only want to scale by Waddell's career UER rates to allow for the same random chance that other pitchers have in their ERA+ lines.

I agree the UER's are high, but we can't throw these seasons out. We should find some systematic way to figure out how valuable he was.


In my entirely RA-based system, I have his 1900 as an RA+ of 130 and an equivalent record of 14-9.

Here, his whole career in my systsm

Year RA+ Eq. record
1897 154 01-00
1899 130 05-03
1900 130 14-09
1901 098 14-14
1902 170 22-09
1903 141 23-13
1904 141 27-15
1905 169 26-11
1906 119 17-13
1907 106 17-15
1908 120 18-13
1909 104 13-12
1910 070 01-02
   103. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 20, 2006 at 05:44 PM (#2183126)
We’re comparing era dominance from a career perspective. It is entirely fair to compare Pierce and Waddell during their ages 18-39 seasons (their entire careers).

I would agree if they were solely major league pitchers, but they weren't for a few of those years added. I would either use just the years they hurled in the majors or include minor league IP for their non-major league years.
   104. sunnyday2 Posted: September 20, 2006 at 05:52 PM (#2183136)
For NeLers, go to the HoM Home page, click on More Information, then click on Negro League Stars or something like that. As far as I know you just have to go through each player's thread (from back to front) and ferret out the most recent numbers.
   105. sunnyday2 Posted: September 20, 2006 at 05:54 PM (#2183140)
>But he was pitching when guys like Walsh were ringing up big IP totals in the mid 00's.

Well the only guys on the list twice are Walsh and Mcginnity, each of whom had a short career, and Cy Young who comps nobody. Waddell is on the list once which is as often aas Mathewson or Willis or Chesbro are on it, and one more time than 3 Finger Brown is on it.
   106. sunnyday2 Posted: September 20, 2006 at 05:57 PM (#2183144)
>This discussion has driven me to a little research and I'm finally willing to give Rube minor league credit for 1899 when he won 27 games for Columbus.

Figuring those 27 wins = 27 WS X .85 (some might use .9) = at least 23 additional career WS, and that's just the one year. He also spent most of '97 and all of '98 in the minors and part of '00.
   107. DL from MN Posted: September 20, 2006 at 06:16 PM (#2183167)
> He also spent most of '97 and all of '98 in the minors and part of '00.

mostly with lower level leagues (semipro in Canada) than the Western league. Also he was only 21 years old in 1898 so pitching in the minors isn't odd.

From wikipedia:
"Waddell left his next team, Detroit of the Western League, to pitch in Canada. He pitched for Columbus of the Western League in 1899, continued with the team when the franchise moved mid-season to Grand Rapids, and finished with a record of 26-8. He rejoined Louisville in the final month of the 1899 season and won seven of nine decisions. When the National League contracted to eight teams for the 1900 season, Louisville lost its franchise. Louisville's top players, included Waddell, were transferred to Pittsburgh.

Waddell debuted with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1900, leading the National League in ERA. But even then, despite his rookie success, Waddell disappeared to pitch for Milwaukee for several weeks in the summer of 1900. Milwaukee was in the newly-organized American League, which was not yet a direct or legitimate competitor to the NL. By 1901, Waddell had worn out his welcome and his contract was sold to the Cubs, who ended up suspending him for the last month of the season-- which Waddell promptly spent pitching for a semi-pro team in Wisconsin. Waddell then joined a barnstorming team until 1902, when he was signed by the Philadelphia Athletics."

"After his major league career was over, Waddell pitched for parts of three more years in the minor leagues, including a 20-win season for Minneapolis in 1911."

I think the 'lack of innings' is a red herring. When Waddell was around he pitched plenty.
   108. rawagman Posted: September 20, 2006 at 06:35 PM (#2183187)
And when he wasn't around, he also pitched plenty.
Think about it a bit. The World Series was just getting established at that time. In it's second year, it was cancelled. Prior to the World Series, the differences between leagues all began with dollars.
A real ballplayer plays ball. Professionally speaking, he pays where he's paid.
If John McGraw was able not to acknowledge the new AL - who are we to say what should have been acknowledged prior to 1902?
Why do we call the minor leagues prior to the establishment of the annual World Series, "The Minor Leagues"? What made them minor?
Then we should ask - how much, if any, should we acknowledge Waddell's work with the Minneapolis Millers post 1909? He was still pitching at a pretty decent level, apparently. I have read (forget where) that his career was ended by taking a pitch on on his left elbow. As a lefty, batting righty, his pitching arm was facing the opposing pitcher. That injury helped to establish the unwritten rule that pitchers should not bat opposite the side they pitch.
Even today, we see very few righties batting lefthanded, and even fewer (almost negligible) lefties batting right handed.
   109. Dizzypaco Posted: September 20, 2006 at 06:53 PM (#2183211)
If John McGraw was able not to acknowledge the new AL - who are we to say what should have been acknowledged prior to 1902?
Why do we call the minor leagues prior to the establishment of the annual World Series, "The Minor Leagues"? What made them minor?


This is a real good point, but it doesn't start in 1903. Under the modern farm system, in which the best minor league players are usually promoted in some organized system, its clear what's minor and what's major. But prior to the development of the modern farm system, under Branch Rickey among others, how can we really say that any league was minor, if it was independent? The teams were trying to win, players were doing their best to help them win, and there was no real system to promote the best players.

This also makes MLE's very problematic prior to the 40's or 50's. We have a pretty good idea now of the differences in quality between various levels of minor leagues. Many years ago, when leagues were independent, the quality of each league probably varied greatly from decade to decade, if not year to year. If this is true, a lot of the MLEs for the minors may be just guesswork.
   110. DanG Posted: September 20, 2006 at 06:59 PM (#2183216)
This was posted two months ago in the Rube Waddell thread by mulder & scully:

"Early Rube Waddell Timeline:
1897: Signs a $500 contract with Louisville at age 18. Jumps team after being fined $50 by Fred Clarke for excessive drinking. Pitches 2 games.
1898: Goes to Detroit of the Western League. Pitches 9 games and jumps team to pitch semi-pro in Canada
1899: Returns to Western League with Columbus-Grand Rapids and wins 27 games. Louisville gives him another chance, goes 7-2.
1900: Goes 8-13 with Pit but leads league in ERA. Jumps team/farmed out/let go with sighs of relief to play for Connie Mack with Milwaukee in the Western League in July. After going 10-3 in the summer for Milwaukee, Pit demands his return. Finishes year with league best ERA.
1901: Clarke again fed up with Waddell after 2 starts at beginning of season. Dreyfuss sells him to the Cubs. Suspended for last month of season for erratic behavior. Plays for semi-pro team in Wisconsin.
1901-02: Hooks up with barnstorming team and makes it to California where Mack signs him for the Athletics in early summer of 1902.
From Total Ballplayers.

Personally, I give extra credit rather liberally. Charley Jones gets 2+ years for suspension, Ralph Kiner gets one for WWII, Keller gets 1.75 for WWII, and big believer in NeL MLEs. But I have not given credit to Waddell before because I don't see his minor league sojourns as anyone's fault but his own.

1897: NL Louisville - At 18, he was good enough to be a major leaguer, but Fred Clarke tried to reign him in and Waddell jumped the team.
1898: Western League Detroit - Jumps the team to pitch semi-pro ball in Canada.
1900: NL Pittsburgh - leads the league in ERA but jumps team in middle of year to play for Connie Mack in Western League Milwaukee, before returning at end of year.
1901: NL Pittsburgh - Clarke finally at wits end and has Dreyfuss sell Waddell to Cubs. Cubs suspend him for last month of season. Ends up in California barnstorming.
1902: Wins 10-12 games in Los Angeles before Mack purchases contract for Athletics.

The contraction years were 1899 and 1900.
In 1899, Waddell was 20 years old and had jumped 2 contracts in two years. I could see a team being hesitant about bringing him back.
In 1900, Waddell started the year with Pitt, but jumped team/left team/ something in the middle of the season, but was brought back by the end of the season.

To me, I see a player who was okay with playing in the "major" leagues, but was also okay with not playing. I see Fred Clarke bring him back to his team two times after he jumped the team. Many players were blackballed for such. Waddell wasn't. I don't see a player trapped. I don't see his career being hurt much, if at all, by the 4 team contraction. I see a player with phenomenal talent who got every chance in the book.
Personally, that is why I don't think Waddell deserves any minor league credit. Your Mileage May Vary."

Stories of Rube's eccentricities and how they negatively impacted his career are well known. I'm with m & s in that when assessing Waddell I wouldn't stray too far from what he actually managed to compile in MLB.
   111. rawagman Posted: September 20, 2006 at 07:07 PM (#2183226)
That is all well and good, but evades the point - what was so "major" about what he was jumping?
If a player jumped a contract from a smaller league around the turn of the century to play for a "bigger" team, would we be talking of docking him?
It is only history that tells us what was Major league and what was minor league. At the time, he went where he could pitch.
I only give Jones partial credit because I cannot account for his having played ball for the entire length of his blackballedness. Waddell was always playing ball. He didn't jump teams to go fishing. Workouts, maybe.
1) Rube Waddell was pitchng until his unthinking heroism killed him at the age of 37.
2) Wherever he pitched, he pitched wonderfully. Strength of league caveats are always in application, but he was pitching.
   112. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: September 20, 2006 at 07:22 PM (#2183234)
It is only history that tells us what was Major league and what was minor league.

Is it? I was under the impression the AL declared itself a major league in 1901 by moving teams to cities to compete directly with NL teams, and more importantly openly engaging in bidding wars for players with the NL. If a league isn't trying to gain players from the major league (which everyone agreed the NL was) then it's accepting a subservient position to it. Changing its name from Western League to American League is also a sign of its ambition. It ain't just history.

I don't see why getting multiple suspension from different teams should be ignored. His arm wasn't the problem, but numerous baseball managers didn't think it was worth the baggage. If it's just one manager, I can see a case being made that it's just the manager's inability to cope. But it was more than one. And Clarke had a pretty good repuation as a manager. And other teams were skittish to pick him up. The A's had 50 decisions finished in 1902 before Mack picked him up. Imagine a scenario where a man leads the league in ERA & is second in K's in 2006, and then spends the about a half-season's worth of games in 2007 and 2008 in the Northern League despite not having anything wrong with his arm.

Anyone know what happened in 1905? He didn't start until the 15th game of the year.
   113. sunnyday2 Posted: September 20, 2006 at 07:39 PM (#2183256)
>It is only history that tells us what was Major league and what was minor league. At the time, he went where he could pitch.

If it didn't say "pitch," I'd think we were still talking about Lip Pike, if anybody remembers that discussion. He moved around a lot (this was in the 1860s and early '70s) so he must have been a bum. No, he liked to eat.
   114. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 20, 2006 at 07:41 PM (#2183263)
Figuring those 27 wins = 27 WS X .85 (some might use .9) = at least 23 additional career WS, and that's just the one year. He also spent most of '97 and all of '98 in the minors and part of '00.

If you're thinking MLE here, I'm not certain that wins match WS exactly that well. Gimmie the ERA and league ERA and I'm with you.

It is only history that tells us what was Major league and what was minor league. At the time, he went where he could pitch.

A Mr. Cravath on the phone for you, sir!

"After his major league career was over, Waddell pitched for parts of three more years in the minor leagues, including a 20-win season for Minneapolis in 1911."

Speaking of whom, teammates with Cactus Gavy!

I think the 'lack of innings' is a red herring. When Waddell was around he pitched plenty.

I don't see this sistuation as like Dick Allen's. Well, I do, but I don't. Alike in that both players had mental issues (in my opinion) that their teams were simply unprepared to deal with. In Allen's case, there's lots of other stuff too. In Waddell's case, it's a foggy thing to know. But Allen's absences appear to be a case of the player fighting against personal demons AND the reserve clause with hatred of his team as the prime motivator. In Waddell's case, one gets a strong impression that Rube wasn't fighting anyone, he just stayed and went as he wanted to. Which could be legend and legacy or it could be real conflicts with ownership. More pressing, however, I suppose that at this time the reserve clause must have been in one of its weaker moments having not yet been buttressed by the Feds anti-trust exemption ruling and with the NL facing down the AL threat in 1901-1903 and having no good response to the player raids other than the Nap Lajoie law suit.

So Waddell's packing up seems somewhat spur of the moment and the NL teams aren't in too much of a position to deal effectively with it. Which makes it decidedly different than Allen's situation when seventy years later the Lords had not only locked players down but (per S Treder's article on the 1972 season) the players may also have believed they were second-class citizens in the baseball world without a shred of power beyond holding out.
   115. rawagman Posted: September 20, 2006 at 07:46 PM (#2183271)
League ambition means nothing. The league had no history. Other leagues had already come with the highest of ambitions and faded within two years. Other leagues were yet to come. Leagues and teams were unstable.
A MLB player today has a union protecting his job, television and other multi-media contracts for almost unfathomable sums of money guaranteeing his personal financial stability and prosperity as long as he is not a complete and utter moron. With the stakes higher for the clubs, the clubs need the malcontents and malingerers more than the players need them. Especially the m&m's who have talent (Waddell, et al)
Rube Waddell had no real guarantee that he would ever make any real money playing ball. In fact, very early along, he was fined $50 for drinking. According to mulder's post - he was fined 10% of his annual salary in 1897 (at the age of 18) for "excessive drinking." There are many examples in those times of miserly owners looking for excuses to dock the pay of his players. Rube was caught having a beer - A-ha! Dock his pay. Would today's Player's Union stand for that? I don't think so. So we dock Rube for standing up for his rights as an employee. For not thinking that these Major leagues were busher than bush.
The game in Rube Waddell's time was played to different moral standards (by players, management and fans) than was the game in Billy Pierce's time and the game in Randy Johnson's time.

Before I go on, it should be noted that I do not give Rube Waddell MiL credit. I am judging him based on his MLB career. But I am reading attempts to dock that, as well as dock his time "elsewhere." It makes no sense.

We talk about giving cedit for WWI/II. We talk about being fair to "integration-era" players. We cry out at the unfairness that deprived Charley Jones of playing. So Rube Waddell was treated like an indentured servant and decided he would rather try playing where the leash wasn't so tight. We don't care so much anymore. The majors had to prove themselves to Rube Waddell - not the other way around.
   116. rawagman Posted: September 20, 2006 at 07:49 PM (#2183275)
Doc - I'm a big booster of Cravath as well.
   117. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 20, 2006 at 08:02 PM (#2183288)
So Rube Waddell was treated like an indentured servant and decided he would rather try playing where the leash wasn't so tight.

I'd agree if we knew this was true. Do we? Or do is what we know that Rube was easily lured away from his contracts? Was Rube really battling his employers? Or was he flaky? The legend is so big on him that I don't have any idea. But the bigger picture is that the NL was a clearl established major league that drew the vastest majority of big-time talent in the areas it was strong in at the time. The NL was the standard bearer of the time and other leagues had to prove they were major. The had already proved that it could crush leagues with major ambitions and that it could crush player revolts as well because it was well financed and ruthless. Which is pretty much how you get to the top of idustry as far as most capitalists are concerned...espeically in the McKinley era. The league had nothing to prove to Rube.
   118. sunnyday2 Posted: September 20, 2006 at 08:10 PM (#2183297)
>I'm not certain that wins match WS exactly that well.

Understood.

>In Waddell's case, it's a foggy thing to know.

Bingo.

>Or do is what we know that Rube was easily lured away from his contracts? Was Rube really battling his employers?

So why go back over this again? It's a foggy thing to know. That he won 26 games in the Western League in '99 over and above what he did in the NL is not foggy. He won 33 games that year, not 7.

>Before I go on, it should be noted that I do not give Rube Waddell MiL credit.

I don't either, but as a peak voter it doesn't really matter much. I do appeal to "career voters" to consider his career, not just a slice thereof. As was said, he went where he could pitch and he pitched and pitched and pitched effectively.
   119. DanG Posted: September 20, 2006 at 08:15 PM (#2183305)
So Rube Waddell was treated like an indentured servant and decided he would rather try playing where the leash wasn't so tight. We don't care so much anymore. The majors had to prove themselves to Rube Waddell - not the other way around.

So Rube Waddell = Curt Flood? That's contrary to the image of Waddell created by his legacy. He's always described as a flake; or as his nickname says, "Rube".

Here's an excerpt from his bio at BBLibrary:

"It was rumored that gamblers paid Waddell to fake an arm injury and sit out the 1905 World Series against the Giants. "That's ridiculous," maintained Mack. "Money meant nothing to him." In truth, Waddell had fallen on his left arm while horsing around with teammate Andy Coakley. It stiffened up overnight, and he didn't pitch again that season. Though he pitched four more ML seasons, he never again threw with the same snap.

It is believed Waddell never made more than $2,800 a year, and he spent money as fast as he got it. For a time the A's paid him in dollar bills, hoping to make his money last longer. He was forever borrowing or conning extra money out of Mack.

Waddell enjoyed waving his teammates off the field and then striking out the side. He actually did so only in exhibition games, since the rules prohibit playing with fewer than nine men on the field in regulation play. But, in a league game in Detroit, Waddell had his outfielders come in close and sit down on the grass. He struck out the side. Once the stunt almost backfired. Pitching an exhibition in Memphis, he took the field alone with his catcher, Doc Powers, for the last three innings. With two out in the ninth, Powers dropped a third strike, allowing the batter to reach first. The next two hitters patted flies that fell behind the mound. Waddell ran himself ragged but finally fanned the last man.

Waddell wrestled alligators in Florida, hung around in firehouses, married two women who then left him, and tended bar when he wasn't the saloon's best customer. He held up the start of games he was scheduled to pitch while he played marbles with children outside the park. There was a provision in Waddell's contract barring him from eating Animal Crackers in bed. In those days, two players had to share a double bed on the road, and Ossie Schreckengost was Waddell's catcher and roommate. "Schreck wouldn't sign unless he saw that clause in Waddell's contract," said Mack, "so I wrote it in there, and the Rube stuck to it."

Though Waddell was always a fan favorite, his erratic behavior and declining effectiveness strained the tolerance of his teammates. Some threatened not to report in the spring of 1908 unless Mack got rid of him. Waddell was shipped to the Browns."

He wasn't jumping teams due to money, so much as due to his mercurial personality and/or his teams finally reaching the breaking point, despite his enormous talent.
   120. rawagman Posted: September 20, 2006 at 08:19 PM (#2183307)
Maybe that explains why Rube didn't stick around the NL for too long but only found himself as an AL pitcher.
We do know that Rube initially jumped Louisville after being fined. We do know that he resurfaced in other leagues immediately.
We do know his NL managers were not so patient with him.
We do know Connie Mack (AL) was very patient with him.

I would like to know what lured him away in 1900 and 1901. Has anyone read his biography?
I would be happy if people would agree to the point that Waddell was always pitching. The argument lies in why was he moving around so much?
If you agree to the fact that he was pitching and that the movement was not connected to effectiveness, then all of his play should be in his credit and we can only translate the numbers to adjust for level of competition.
These are not "Charlie Keller, show-me" issues. These are freedom vs. system issues.
   121. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: September 20, 2006 at 08:25 PM (#2183309)
I agree he was always pitching. If I wanted to be a dick I'd say no because of 1905, but that's only 2 weeks.

That being said, I don't know if it's a freedom vs. system issue or an issue about a headcase. I'd support giving a player any extra credit when outside forces cause him to miss playing time (segregation, war, unfairly trapped in minors, etc), but with Waddell it looks like the concern was with his head.
   122. DL from MN Posted: September 20, 2006 at 08:33 PM (#2183314)
If ever a guy merited a book it's Rube Waddell. Has anyone read the book by Alan Howard Levy? If so, do you recommend it?
   123. rawagman Posted: September 20, 2006 at 08:37 PM (#2183319)
A word about Waddell's effectiveness at MLB level.
We all know that he lead the league in K's for 6 staright years. Take a look at those leader boards. He wasn't just leading the league. He was in his own league.
He would routinely be around 2K/9 more than the runner-up! From 1900-1909 he was also getting grey ink points in the K/BB category. He was actually a decent hitter in his first few seasons, then fell off the charts there. Wonder why?
He was used in releif extensively from 1905 onwards, as already mentioned. This severely ate into his CG% rates. If you want to fault him for less IP, there's your answer. Between 1900-1904, he completed 141 of 163 starts. 86.5%. Impressive enough for me. From 1905-1909, he began to be used infrequently in relief 3-11 appearances per season. In that time he completed 110 of 165 starts. 66.7%.
If Pierce gets Leverage index, why not Waddell - usage certainly playd a big part in his numbers.
   124. Chris Cobb Posted: September 20, 2006 at 08:53 PM (#2183332)
Rube Waddell's peak 1902-06 ought to be a major exhibit in Connie Mack's HoM case for the managerial wing, if it ever opens (not that he's a borderline case . . . )

I think reasonable voters could go either way on MiL credit for Waddell. If the goal of a season is to win a pennant, then Waddell should get no credit for his minor-league play, since his unwillingness to stick with a team diminished his value to his teams. If the goal of a season is to play outstanding baseball against whomever you find to play against and in which there is enough money to be a professional ballplayer, Waddell should get MiL credit, because he was always playing baseball, and playing well.

In my view, Waddell doesn't need MiL credit to merit election, but MiL credit for 1898-02 play outside the majors would move him closer to the top of my ballot.

My mind is not made up.
   125. rawagman Posted: September 20, 2006 at 09:01 PM (#2183336)
Last point before I go to bed (I'm back in Israel) - if the point of playing is to win the pennant, and all victories on the road to the pennant are equal, does it make a difference if a certain player contributed 10 wins to one team's pennant chase and another 10 wins to another team's chase in a single season? Is it less than having contributed 20 wins to the same team?
If the latter is the case, do we have to dock season's wherein a player is traded mid-way?
   126. DavidFoss Posted: September 20, 2006 at 09:08 PM (#2183344)
If ever a guy merited a book it's Rube Waddell.

Its too bad the SABR Bio for Waddell is not ready yet.

I think Paul Wendt is on another committee (19thCent) but I wonder if he has access to any preliminary drafts that might exist for that.
   127. OCF Posted: September 20, 2006 at 09:12 PM (#2183348)
The following message is from the son of OCF - I'm quoting an email he sent me:

In the HOM discussion, you wrote this about J.R. Richard: "he had a peak "season" (approximately from the 1979 All-Star break to the same point in 1980.)" I spent a few minutes on Retrosheet, and put together that season, using the All-Star break as endpoints. This is 68 team games in 1979 and 88 in 1980. The endpoints aren't particularly friendly to Richard; his medical problems started affecting his pitching three weeks before the break in 1980, and he missed a start during that time. He had only one start after the break.

Summary numbers: 21-7 with a 1.84 ERA. 271 strikeouts in 244 innings over 32 starts. Batters hit .172 and slugged .226 against him. He only allowed 5 HR, and two of those were in the very last start included. He was very easy to run on; basestealers went 25-3 against him (plus two pickoffs).

...

I glanced at his bbref page. His most similar player through age 29 and age 30? Bob Gibson.
   128. Chris Cobb Posted: September 20, 2006 at 09:23 PM (#2183357)
If the latter is the case, do we have to dock season's wherein a player is traded mid-way?

I'm not sure how seriously you are asking this question, but here's an attempt at a serious answer.

If a player is traded mid-season, then the team trading him has decided that the most valuable contribution the player can make to the team is to play on another team: his obligation to that team is ended by the exchange of his value for another player. If the team has made a bad decision and loses value by the transaction, that is the team's problem, not the player's. He has contributed to his teams in the way that he has been asked to do by the team.

If a player jumps a team, then the team simply loses that player's value, at the player's discretion, and in breach of contract. If the contract is itself unfair or coercive (as all contracts under the Reserve Clause might be considered) or has not been honored by the team, then the player has justification for jumping the team, because he is being exploited. If not, then the player has shown that he doesn't place much value on the ideal of a team. In a team sport, that has to be seen, I think, as potentially diminishing a player's value, because his intellectual/emotional talents are not perfectly suited to the requirements of the game.

It's not always a good thing to be a "team player" (I'm often not much of one, by some lights). But if we are evaluating the merits of players in a team sport, then the inlcination or capability to be a "team player" is part of the skill set that produces merit.
   129. OCF Posted: September 20, 2006 at 09:39 PM (#2183379)
Re #127: he also sent me a spreadsheet of those 32 starts. Just for fun, I calculated (Bill James) game scores. Those were 50 or higher in 28 of the 32 games and 70 or higher in 19 of them, averaging 70. They included game scores of 94, 94, 90, 90, 89, 89, 85, 85, 83, 81, 81, 80.

In my previous post I called Richard a threat to throw a no-hitter every time out. That didn't quite happen during this span, but there was a 1-hitter (4/19/80), a 2-hitter (8/27/79) and several 3-hitters.
   130. KJOK Posted: September 20, 2006 at 11:08 PM (#2183453)
Anyone know what happened in 1905? He didn't start until the 15th game of the year.

Looks like Mack only needed 3 starters due to the schedule, so he was using Waddell as a 'super reliever' - he appeared starting in the 2nd game of the year.
   131. jimd Posted: September 21, 2006 at 12:32 AM (#2183549)
how can we really say that any league was minor, if it was independent?

How can we really say that the Pac-10 is better than the Ivy League? ;-)

Actually, there was an entity referred to as "organized ball". There was a National Agreement, with rules and an arbitration board, that leagues signed on to. It's purpose was to protect contracts and team territorial rights. "You agree to leave our's alone, and we'll all agree to leave your's alone." Spink's book "The National Game" (published 1910) lists nearly 50 signatories to the 1903 edition of the Agreement, leagues as prominent as the American Association and Pacific Coast League, and as obscure as the Southern California Trolley League, and the Eastern Kansas League (as distinct from the Central Kansas League, the Kansas State League, and the Missouri-Iowa-Nebraska-Kansas League, all signatories perhaps to keep the baseball peace in Kansas).

Contract jumping was a common problem. Players often used assumed names. Players as good as Waddell had problems keeping their identity secret though; that combination of talent and personality was too unusual.
   132. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 21, 2006 at 01:17 AM (#2183629)
The following message is from the son of OCF

So Son of OCF is a lurker!

Well, if she wasn't married, I'd suggest hoooking Son of OCF up with Mrs. Dr. Chaleeko.... ; )
   133. Daryn Posted: September 21, 2006 at 01:40 AM (#2183665)
Son of OCF should stay away from OnWi.
   134. rawagman Posted: September 21, 2006 at 04:28 AM (#2183837)
My trading question was more than partially rhetoric. But you gave a good answer Chris.
   135. Rusty Priske Posted: September 21, 2006 at 12:54 PM (#2183919)
Prelim:

PHoM: Willie McCovey & Joe McGinnity

(Longest gap between HoM and PHoM induction to date - 58 years)

1. Willie McCovey
2. Jake Beckley
3. George Van Haltren
4. Nellie Fox
5. Mickey Welch
6. Jimmy Wynn
7. Lou Brock
8. Dobie Moore
9. Tommy Leach
10. Edd Roush
11. Quincy Trouppe
12. Hugh Duffy
13. Norm Cash
14. Minnie Minoso
15. Orlando Cepeda

16-20. Childs, Rice, Boyer, Kiner, Ryan
21-25. Pierce, Mullane, Redding, Willis, Streeter
26-30. Grimes, Johnson, Strong, Gleason, Greene
   136. DL from MN Posted: September 21, 2006 at 01:09 PM (#2183929)
One pitcher in your top 20?!
   137. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: September 21, 2006 at 01:29 PM (#2183943)
A few things:

1) I'd like to warn people against is the following logic:

"Win Shares/RSAA/'Your Metric Here' were easier to earn in the aughts, because pitchers pitched more innings/games. So I dock Waddell a few win shares in his prime years. But Pierce had a longer prime than Waddell, and earned more win shares."

This is double-docking Waddell, because people in his era tended to pitch more innings per season in shorter careers. You can't penalize him for a shorter prime but take away his in-season advantage, because that's just magicking away innings that he pitched at an HoM level.

2) Does anyone know what was going on with pitcher usage in the 1903-1907ish AL? 1903, nobody pitches many innings; league leaders pitch ~340-350 innings. 1904, Chesboro pitches 450, a clear outlier. Everyone's total go up that year because of the long season, but then in 1905-1906, the season is almost as long but IP totals go back to 1903 levels. For the rest of the decade, most top starters are pitching under 330IP per season despite the 150+ game schedule.

Why do MLB-wide innings totals collapse in the first half of the aughts?
Why is Ed Walsh such an outlier in the AL in the 2nd half of the decade?

We need to know these things to contexualize Waddell's durability.

3)Waddell pitches more like a 1990's pitcher than a 1900's guy-lots of TTO, limited BIP. That results in much higher pitches per inning than his contemporaries, and that helps explain his low IP counts. He's throwing as many, or more, pitches than most of his contemporaries.

For example, using the Tangotigers's Basic Pitch Count estimator in 1903:

Name        Pitches
Waddell        4953
Young        4750
Plank        4954 


In 1904:
Name        Pitches
Waddell        5832
Chesb        6420
Powell        5693
Mullin        5800 


I thought that was neat, though not very relevant to his candidacy.
   138. TomH Posted: September 21, 2006 at 05:49 PM (#2184130)
Tom versus the world, chapter 46:

Actually, there are very few guys in the HoM at the current time that I would not personally back. In Hanrahan's omnisicent and perfect universe, 8 not-yet-honored men would already be HoMers: Pierce, Beckley, Walters, McGraw, Boyer, Childs, Van Haltren, and Bob Johnson. These will probably be #2-#9 on next year's ballot. Seems likely we'll eventually take at 3 or more of them.
My lowest-ranked HoMers are Averill, Medwick, Doerr, Rube Foster, Faber, Dick Allen, Sisler, and Jennings; and even two of these would make my ballot today, were they eligible. Really spiltting hairs among Bob Johnson and Averill, for example. Most of the reason of our differences I understand is more a personal taste difference (peak? what is this peak you speak of?) than analytical difference.

So, all in all, I am a happy HoM voter. Huzzah for all of you :)
   139. Juan V Posted: September 21, 2006 at 05:51 PM (#2184133)
Prelim ballot. I have incorporated the new WARPs into my scores. Also, I reviewed Keller and Miñoso, with beneficial effects to both (and a really big one in Miñoso´s case).

1) Willie McCovey
2) Ralph Kiner
3) Cupid Childs
4) Alejandro Oms
5) Quincy Trouppe
6) Gavvy Cravath
7) Ken Boyer
8) Billy Pierce
9) Cannonball Dick Redding
10) Jimmy Ryan
11) Minnie Miñoso
12) Bob Johnson
13) Jimmy Wynn
14) Jim Fregosi
15) Rube Waddell
   140. Rusty Priske Posted: September 21, 2006 at 06:24 PM (#2184162)
One pitcher in your top 20?!

Well, 1.25 really. However, this is because of your arbitrary cut-off at 20. I could say 1.25 on my ballot, which is low, but not crazy low.

Or you could go from 20 to 25 and see that I have 6.25 pitches in that stretch.
   141. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 21, 2006 at 07:05 PM (#2184200)
I have incorporated the new WARPs into my scores....

Ugh, they changed again? Which hour was that?
   142. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 21, 2006 at 08:20 PM (#2184324)
Ugh, they changed again? Which hour was that?

Too late. Changed again. :-)
   143. DavidFoss Posted: September 21, 2006 at 08:41 PM (#2184346)
Ugh, they changed again? Which hour was that?

:-)

Looks like they were tweaked somewhere between Aug 14th and Sept 18th. I used DanG's Newly eligible lists to track see when his posts started diverging from what is currently (see post timestamp) at the site.
   144. jimd Posted: September 21, 2006 at 08:46 PM (#2184352)
Too late. Changed again. :-)

At least they get better...
   145. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 21, 2006 at 08:53 PM (#2184360)
At least they get better...

I'm completely lost as to whether they are getting better or worse or even how they are changing. JimD, do you have a sense of what the change is?
   146. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 21, 2006 at 09:28 PM (#2184407)
Too late. Changed again. :-)

At least they get better...


Maybe, Jim. I honestly don't know.
   147. DL from MN Posted: September 21, 2006 at 09:31 PM (#2184411)
This time they left hitting alone and adjusted defense.
   148. Mike Webber Posted: September 21, 2006 at 09:54 PM (#2184454)
So did they bump up Edd Roush, or did the #### him over?
   149. Mike Webber Posted: September 21, 2006 at 10:01 PM (#2184469)
Serious question, unlike the one above,

What is the difference between time-lining and using WARP 3?
   150. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 21, 2006 at 10:48 PM (#2184530)
What is the difference between time-lining and using WARP 3?

I don't see any, Mike, but maybe I'm wrong.
   151. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 21, 2006 at 11:16 PM (#2184561)
This time they left hitting alone and adjusted defense.

can anyone describe the kind of adjustment? philosophical or maintenance? is it big or small? or is there a source where i can read about it?
   152. Chris Cobb Posted: September 21, 2006 at 11:46 PM (#2184594)
So did they bump up Edd Roush, or did the #### him over?

They #### him over: he dropped from 107.9 WARP1 to 103.0 WARP1. I can't tell exactly how they did it, since the data I have from the previous installment doesn't break out the various components, but he is now _significantly_ below average defensively for a centerfielder, -76 FRAA for his career, so I suspect that's the source of most of the change.
   153. Howie Menckel Posted: September 22, 2006 at 12:33 AM (#2184648)
Do get back to me when they get it 'right,' lol
   154. Chris Cobb Posted: September 22, 2006 at 12:46 AM (#2184659)
What is the difference between time-lining and using WARP 3?

Well, if the term "timelining" is used to mean what Bill James does in the NBJHBA, then the difference is this: when one timelines, one gives a player a bonus simply for having been born later. WARP3's adjustments are not a timelining in that sense. They are adjustments (1) based on calculated levels of competition for each league season so that every player is compared to the same standard for an average player and (2) translating all defensive value into an "all-time context" in which the difference between average and replacement level is consistent for all players at a given position.

Now, the effects of timelining and using WARP3 are generally similar, in that both approaches rate chronologically later players more highly, but the methodology is different, and, as the competition level adjustments in WARP do not vary evenly over time, some earlier leagues show quite well in WARP3, while others show quite poorly.
   155. OCF Posted: September 22, 2006 at 01:13 AM (#2184688)
Looking at a few of the guys down the list at the top of this page:

Dave Cash and Ken Henderson - I suppose they won't be getting any votes, but there's always potential for confusion. I guess Dave Henderson won't be eligible for a few years - and don't say his name in close proximity to an Angels fan.

---

Over on the Brock thread, I listed a set of characteristics for a "Brock-type" player. Does Ralph "Roadrunner" Garr qualify?

>Bats leadoff (or else defers to another Brock-type on the same team).

Yes, mostly. Early in his career (thank you, bbreg lineups feature!) he batted 2nd quite a bit of the time, behind various leadoff hitters, including Felix Millan. (Millan wasn't a "Brock-type": as a skinny little middle infielder who didn't strike out, he's closer to the "bat control" #2 hitter stereotype.)

>Big-time base stealer, consistently among the league leaders.

Umm - only halfway. His top 4 base stealing years were 35-11, 30-14, 25-9, 26-16 - not particularly close to being among the league leaders.

>Plays LF, or divides time between LF and CF. Takes criticism for his defense - even it it's just unjustified carping about his arm strength.

Yes, although he also spent a lot of time in RF. (But then, Brock himself played RF in Chicago.) Had lots of assists in LF, somewhat fewer in RF. Meets the spirit of the requirement.

>Not in the lineup to hit HR. (May hit a few anyway.)

For sure. Hit 10-11 HR per year in Atlanta, fewer after he left.

>Good batting average, albeit usually not a batting champion.

Maybe a little better than that: .306 lifetime BA; won a batting championship in 1974, also led league in triples that year. .353/.383/.503. If Willie McGee and Ichiro could win MVP's for doing that, why did Garr finish 12th in the voting? (Partial answer: Garr only played 143 games; McGee and Ichiro had more. And the Braves had a .500 team. And Brock himself stole 118 bases that year, finishing 2nd in the voting. And the winner was the name we won't speak in front of Dag Nabbit.)

>May strike out more than you think a non-power hitter should.

Not really. Garr struck out well under 10% of the time.

So - nowhere near as good a match on the "Brock-meter" as you're going to find, but could possibly be considered a member of the class anyway.

He mostly stopped stealing bases after the age of 28; he was out of the league at 34. Again, the length and steadiness of Brock's career stands in contrast to most of those in his own type.

---

Bernie Carbo: Oct. 21, 1975. Need I say more?
   156. OCF Posted: September 22, 2006 at 02:00 AM (#2184726)
Well, maybe there is more to say about Carbo. He came up at the same time at Hal McRae, and in the 1970 pennant-winning year, he and McRae were the RF platoon for Sparky's pennant-winning Reds. As the lefty hitter, Carbo got more chances; he hit a ton (OPS+ 169); McRae didn't. Really, who wouldn't want the future of a 22-year-old outfielder who can put up .310/.454/.551 in a 365-AB platoon season? It never really panned out. Carbo maybe wan't ever really the hitter of that first magical year, but he was always a hitter. For the next few years, he kept losing playing time to such non-hitters as Cesar Geronimo (in Cincy) and Luis Melendez (in St. Louis). Landing in Boston got him into the WS, but Boston didn't exactly have an opening for an outfielder at the time. His career high in PA was that platoon season as a rookie. Rewind the tape; start him off with a different set of opportunities. I think he could have been a much bigger star than he was.
   157. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 22, 2006 at 03:56 AM (#2184764)
Regarding Waddell and Pierce, he's my tale of the tape for them, using my system which adjusts innings for era, etc., etc. . . .

(BTW - I stopped reading around post #37, I'll catch up later, but I'm too busy to go to #150+ right now).

#31 Pierce .810 Pennants Added (through 1984)
#39 Waddell .750 Pennants Added

Def.Adjusted Runs Allowed - Pierce 3.91, Waddell 3.49 (4.50 = league average)

Translated IP = Pierce 3440.3, Waddell 2454.7 - compared to his peers, Pierce threw a lot more innings.

WAR = Pierce 62.4, Waddell 55.5

Batting Runs Above Replacement = Pierce -4, Waddell -13

Bullpen Support/Inherited Runners Prevented/Bequeathed runner support = Pierce 7.9 runs (meaning he looks slightly worse than he actually was); Waddell unknown.

Relieving: Pierce 228 IP, 1.4 LI; Waddell 220.3 IP, 1.3 LI.

League Adjustment: For quality of league, not timelining, but adjusting for differences between the leagues within a season, expansion, etc.. Pierce -.06, Waddell -.03.

That means both played in slightly weak leagues (Waddell because of expansion, Pierce because the NL was far superior) but Pierce's were weaker. That number means Pierce's DRA would be .06 lower if we didn't account for this, Waddell's .03 lower.

Quality of Defense: Pierce .11, Waddell -.05. That means Pierce's defense was far better behind him than Waddell's was. If you don't account for this Pierce's DRA drops by .11, Waddell's rises by .05.

Now the good stuff . . . Peak:

Top 5 seasons:

Pierce: 7.7, 6.5, 6.5, 5.8, 5.6 (32.0)
Waddell: 9.9, 8.8, 7.0, 6.5, 5.2 (37.4)

Top 3 Consecutive:

Pierce: 18.5
Waddell: 23.5

Make of it what you will. For me it's a clear win for Waddell on peak, a clear win for Pierce on career.

Comparing them to their peers in terms of PA:

Young 1.900
Mathewson 1.385
Nichols 1.229
Plank 1.098
Walsh .908
Cicotte .755
Brown .751
Waddell .750
Adams .729
Griffith .725
Willis .721
McGinnity .712

*********

Spahn 1.622
Feller 1.466
Roberts 1.262
Wynn 1.010
Ford .964
Pierce .810
Newcombe .775 (with plenty of extra credit)
Leonard .750
Lemon .740
Trucks .730
Friend .698
   158. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 22, 2006 at 03:57 AM (#2184765)
test . . .
   159. karlmagnus Posted: September 22, 2006 at 11:52 AM (#2184826)
Joe, does your PA figure for Waddell give him any minor league credit? As discussed, I think he deserves at least a season or so -- being no Einstein, he was unable to figure out where the best opportunities lay in the very confusing period of 1898-1901. We would after all give him full credit if he'd played for the 1899 Spiders, who can't have been better than dozens of minor league teams.
   160. karlmagnus Posted: September 22, 2006 at 12:30 PM (#2184836)
Another question. What did we do about minor league credit for Dummy Hoy, who I think was elegible in 1908? He played for the Chicago White Sox in 1900 (the champion of the pre-ML American League, which is why I thought of him at this point) but didn't come up until 1888 when he was 26. He had 2044 hits and walked a lot; if you add minor league credit and adjust for schedule he must have a reasonable Beckley-esque case even though his OPS+ was only 109 (but that's higher than Brock or Carey.)
   161. sunnyday2 Posted: September 22, 2006 at 01:27 PM (#2184865)
Re. the PA list Joe provided in #157.

Sometimes we see lists like this and the conclusion is, see, it was easier to do X when Y was playing and so Z was the better player/pitcher.

Why doesn't that logic apply here? Taking 1 vs. 1, 2 vs. 2, etc., 7 of 11 more modern pitchers get more PA than their counterparts from the turn of the century while #8 (Waddell and Leonard) are a dead heat at .75.

I also realize there are a couple Leonard voters but, seriously, who thinks that Leonard was the pitcher that Waddell was?

And if the argument is that Waddell only gets .75 because he was stupid, what does that say about Clark Griffith (.725) and McGinnity (.712) or Bob Lemon (.740) for that matter?

We are into the backlog, deep into the backlog. A pitcher with .75 PA will be one of the lower rated pitchers we've elected--though not the lowest, by any means. So would a pitcher with .810.
   162. Max Parkinson Posted: September 22, 2006 at 02:01 PM (#2184897)
Re: Pierce vs. Waddell

Now I'm going to ask you all to ignore any numbers on the two for a minute, and just go with me on this...

It's pretty generally accepted that the single greatest talent difference between the leagues since the turn of the last century (other than perhaps this year, haha) was the NL-AL gap from 1947-61, no? I mean, even the voters here who balked at the notion of AL superiority in '02-'08 and the teens (some would say into the twenties) believe that the NL was way stronger than the AL right after integration, right?

If (when) we elect Pierce, he will be the 5th AL pitcher whose prime was in that era, following Wynn, Ford, Lemon, 1/2 of Feller and 1/2 of Wilhelm. Before anyone jumps in to say that Wilhelm was in the NL from '52 through part of '57, I don't think that he was getting elected to this hall based on his work as a Giant. It was his time in Baltimore that was truly great, at least for me. Which is why I'm only counting the half of Wilhelm ('57-'61).

For the same period, we've elected 2 NL pitchers, Spahn and Roberts (although for my money, those two are better than anyone on the list above).

Again, I can already hear the responses: Right edge of the talent distribution, yada yada yada. But just using common sense, if the NL was really that much better than the junior circuit during Pierce's prime, isn't at least a little odd that we're electing 2.5 times as many pitchers from the weak loop?

I'm asking these questions because I don't know the answer. Are we missing NL pitchers? The only one that comes to mind is Newcombe. Are we overvaluing AL pitchers from that period, including Wynn, Lemon, Ford and Pierce? It's a little late for the first three on that list. The whole league strength issue has always bothered me here, in that it's completely rejected by some voters (A pennant is a pennant is a pennant), and only applied by some others on certain players, and not others....
   163. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 22, 2006 at 02:03 PM (#2184901)
OK, let's get down to the brass tacks, shall we?

Pierce and/or Waddell

vs.

Kiner and/or Minoso and/or Childs

Steel-cage match. Discuss.

(I like Pierce and Childs, better than the others. Pierce is in the middle of my all-time pitchers list, Waddell off the end; Kiner and Minoso are like the 24th and 25th LFs on my LF list, Childs is about 18th eligible people elected above them.)
   164. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: September 22, 2006 at 02:38 PM (#2184943)
Re: WARP3

You can use WARP3 if you use it only to compare players from teh same 10-20 year swath instead of looking at everyone all-time, then you are not timelining. I like WARP3's league adjustments, but I think they overdue it on the all-time adjustments, if that makes sense.

Also,

From Doc's little hypothetical above I would probably take any of those players except for Minoso. I wouldn't mind having as good a discussion on him as we have had on Waddell/Pierce this year and Joe Sewell last year. Above I made a case that Minoso wasn't much better than, and may not have been as good as, George Burns. I wouldn't mind hearing why someone would vote for Minoso without placing Burns very high.
   165. sunnyday2 Posted: September 22, 2006 at 02:44 PM (#2184954)
I'm with Max. The top pitchers on my ballot right now are Waddell, Joss, Redding and Cicotte, and it occurs to me that they don't represent a very well-balanced group era-wise. The next pitchers off-ballot are Hilton Smith, Bucky Walters, Newcombe and Dean. There are no other pitchers in my top 100 whose prime was not before WWII and/or in the NeLs. So I guess it's back to the drawing board.

Or support Newcombe, or Pierce.

Of course, in my perfect world, Dobie Moore is the next guy. (Discuss ;-)

I'm more worried about PHoM than HoM, however. My top 5 candidates for the second slot are Cicotte, F. Howard, (Ashburn), Cravath, Hack and Cepeda, with Rizzuto, Minoso, E. Howard, (Bunning) and (Doerr) next. I am having a very hard time distinguishing any one of them from the rest. Kiner, Minoso and Childs are already PHoM, and F. Howard, Cravath and Cepeda are basically clones of one another.
   166. DavidFoss Posted: September 22, 2006 at 02:47 PM (#2184959)
I'm asking these questions because I don't know the answer. Are we missing NL pitchers? The only one that comes to mind is Newcombe.

Drysdale was quite effective starting in the second half of 1956. He would at least offset Wilhelm (though Bunning was doing well in the AL by then as well).

The NL seems to have a plethora of shorter career guys from this era:

Jansen, Maglie, Sain, Roe, Pollet, Antonelli.

Of course, the AL can counter with guys like:

Lary, Raschi, Reynolds, Garcia, Parnell

------

I think Maglie's candidacy had some buzz at some point. He needed credit for his missed time, of course, and I don't think we could agree to give him enough credit though there is an interesting 'what if' story there. There is always Newcombe.

Are there league-quality arguments that make Curt Simmons compare well to Billy Pierce or is Simmons' career shape too strange?
   167. Daryn Posted: September 22, 2006 at 03:18 PM (#2184985)
Now that we are in the deep backlog, I have decided that I no longer wish to honour truly borderline career candidates when a truly great peak candidate exists. The only beneficiary of this change in philosophy for me has been Pete Browning, who moves from off ballot to 11th. Browning only has 15 votes and I get the sense that there are more than 15 peak-centric voters here. If you are a peak voter, how do you keep Browning off your ballot? That 82-88 is insanely good, even taking into account in-season durability. His worst OPS+ in 7 years was a 154. Everyone's fielding was bad back then. Is it the AA discount? If it is, it must be steep discount. Was it the drinking? It's the drinking isn't it? You can tell me.
   168. karlmagnus Posted: September 22, 2006 at 03:22 PM (#2184993)
If we elected Browning and Waddell the same year we could FINALLY conquer the scourge of Prohibitionism! :-)
   169. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: September 22, 2006 at 03:58 PM (#2185028)
Now that we are in the deep backlog, I have decided that I no longer wish to honour truly borderline career candidates when a truly great peak candidate exists. The only beneficiary of this change in philosophy for me has been Pete Browning, who moves from off ballot to 11th. Browning only has 15 votes and I get the sense that there are more than 15 peak-centric voters here. If you are a peak voter, how do you keep Browning off your ballot? That 82-88 is insanely good, even taking into account in-season durability. His worst OPS+ in 7 years was a 154. Everyone's fielding was bad back then. Is it the AA discount? If it is, it must be steep discount. Was it the drinking? It's the drinking isn't it? You can tell me.

For, its a combination of 4 things:

1) It's the 1880's. I looked at the demographics of baseball back then, and its a Northeatern, regional game, even more than it was 10 years later. The big leagues weren't efficient at identifying and acquiring the best talent. One of the things I fully appreciate now, that I didn't when I started voting, was the superior strngth of the 1890's NL; but the 1880's Majors were really weak/dilute. That doesn't make Browning unelectable, it just means that I expect him to exceed his peers by more than, say, Duffy or Childs.

2) The drinking is a big issue. When you read the papers of the day, you get the sense that this was sort of a Dick Allen crossed with a Rube Waddell problem-he's not just drunk, he's an #######. People have tried to excuse the drinking by arguing that it was self-medication for untreated mastoiditis. Even if that's true, I don't think it matters, and I'm not convinced that its true. If he was just a plain-ol' alcholic, how would we know? If the drinking was related to illness, should we give bonus points to other players who had non-baseball-injuries/illness, like Gehrig?

3) The fielding. Contemporary newspaper articles also indicate that he was regarded as a terrible fielder, even relative to his peers. I know that he played some infield, which isn't consistent with the idea that he was a bad fielder, but that's how his peers assessed him.

4) The competition: Take Rube Waddell Waddell was also a flake, a drunk, and scores below average in pretty much any non-pitching respect. But his peak would have better than everyone else's without the mishegoss, and the craziness merely brings him back to the pack. With Browning, I think he's already in the pack; I don't judge his peak as any better than Roush or Duffy or [insert 1930's CF here]. Therefore, the non-hitting stuff brings him below the pack.
   170. DavidFoss Posted: September 22, 2006 at 04:20 PM (#2185058)
Browning only has 15 votes and I get the sense that there are more than 15 peak-centric voters here. If you are a peak voter, how do you keep Browning off your ballot?

I'm a peak voter and he's been hovering on the border of my ballot for years -- usually just off.

I really don't care about the drinking or the personality (I only worry about that in extreme cases). The other issues add up, though. (AA discount, in-season durability, career length) The poor fielding makes me treat him more like a corner than a CF. From this time period, I prefer Charley Jones (with blacklist credit).
   171. Daryn Posted: September 22, 2006 at 04:31 PM (#2185071)
I know that he played some infield, which isn't consistent with the idea that he was a bad fielder, but that's how his peers assessed him.

He played a lot of centrefield too, which is also inconsistent with the idea that he was an execrable fielder. In fact, he played there more than any other position. His range factor was also above average. Did he have a bad arm/inaccurate arm? Looking at the numbers, it looks like a lot of throwing errors as opposed to fielding errors.
   172. Chris Fluit Posted: September 22, 2006 at 05:01 PM (#2185091)
A few thoughts regarding various players:

1. Charlie Keller. While I'm pretty generous with military credit and Negro League credit, I'm fairly conservative when it comes to minor league credit. As far as Keller is concerned, that means I only give him 1.67 years of military credit. He missed all of 1944 so he gets full credit for that year. But I just don't see how you can justify giving him more than 100 games worth of credit for 1944. Even when he was playing full-time, the most games he ever recorded were 150 and 152. An extra hundred games, giving him 144 on the season, would make '44 his third-most durable year. Like I said, I'm pretty generous with war credit, but I don't see how you can go higher than that. So Keller is picking up about 50 more WS due to military credit (30 for his missing year, 20 for his partial year). But that's all I give him. Others are arguing that he had two great years in the minors. He got to the majors one year later than he might've if he was attached to a less successful franchise. But he still got to the majors at the age of 22. This isn't a Lefty Grove situation- held back until he has 25. This isn't even a Rube Waddell situation in which it wasn't always clear which leagues were major and which were minor. This is a guy who got to the majors when he was 22. That's not especially old for a rookie. I know that others disagree, but Keller gets no minor league credit from me. When I look at Keller, I see a guy who earned roughly 210 WS on the field, and has 260 thanks to credit. That isn't particularly impressive for a corner outfielder. That isn't particularly meritorious.

2. Pete Browning. I'm not a straight peak voter by any means but I do think Browning is a strong candidate. However, he's been hovering between 20 and 25 on my ballot which means he may get there some day but hasn't made it yet. He's actually in the neighborhood of Ralph Kiner, and I have the two of them as the 5th and 6th best outfielders. I don't penalize him for the drinking. And I don't really discount for playing in the AA. I just think that we have a couple of other candidates who are better. However, I admit that career considerations are a big part of that (especially in the cases of Brock and Minoso).

3. Rube Waddell and Billy Pierce. I've got both of them on my ballot and I'd be happy to see either of them elected. Waddell gets onto my ballot without any minor league credit.
   173. DanG Posted: September 22, 2006 at 05:09 PM (#2185103)
Outstanding article on Browning at the SABR Bioproject.

but the 1880's Majors were really weak/dilute

If this had a major effect, then wouldn't you expect to see all the stars of the 1880's get plowed under by the rushing tide of improvement in the 1890's?

I think the quality of play in the 1890's increased due to contraction more than better scouting.
   174. Mark Donelson Posted: September 22, 2006 at 05:19 PM (#2185115)
Re Browning: I agree entirely with David Foss on the subject, including the bit about Charley Jones. Browning's at #16 for me this time around, though, so he'll be on my ballot eventually.

Re Keller: Given that he was recording 30-plus-WS seasons in those 140-game seasons in that period, I'm perfectly happy to concede he'd only have managed 144 for 1945--it still boosts his case an awful lot. Then again, I'm a peak voter.

Re midcentury NL pitchers: Sunny, can you make a peak argument for Newcombe? I've been trying to find a way for "years" now, but even with the boost I give pitchers from this period (like Pierce, who's approaching my ballot and in my pHOM now), I can't make it make sense. Which makes me feel that it's just not there.
   175. sunnyday2 Posted: September 22, 2006 at 05:23 PM (#2185120)
Pete Browning:

1) the demographics and competition are 1 point, not 2. And "a pennant is a pennant" as far as I'm concerned. I don't know if B Williams is supporting anybody from the 19th century but surely these arguments could be used against anybody. And since they apply to entire cohorts, I don't pay them any mind. The idea is to honor the best players within cohorts, not to dismiss entire cohorts out of hand.

2) as to the drinking and the fielding, they're already reflected in his Win Shares.

3) actually there is a competition issue. I discount the AA not in a blanket way but year to year and I don't remember exactly but it's like 35 percent in '82, declining to 25-15-5-0-and then back up to about 15 again, though that is after Browning has gone. On average it comes out to 8 percent. You can't just eyeball Browning and say, well, he CAN'T be that good, he's a drunk, and work up your discounts from there. There are studies that try to take a scientific approach to it, whether they're entirely successful or not, they're still the best evidence we have. And take off 8 percent and you've still got a superstar.

In short, I like Pete.
   176. Chris Fluit Posted: September 22, 2006 at 05:24 PM (#2185121)
Starting this summer and into this fall, I've been reading a number of books on the Negro Leagues (this isn't the first time, just the latest binge). One book in particular really highlighted the difficulty in assessing Negro League players: John Holway's Black Diamonds: Life in the Negro Leagues from the Men Who Lived It. Holway writes a great introduction. He makes the case for why black players were every bit as good as their white counterparts. He points to documented statistics and confirmed situations. And he points to the records of Negro Leaguers when playing against major league competition, whether it's in Caribbean leagues or as part of barnstorming exhibitions. In over 400 exhibitions, the Negro League players won 260 to 160 for white major leaguers. And Holway dismisses the usual counter-arguments by showing that the white major leaguers were at least trying to win. Obviously, these players were just as good as the players in the major leagues and deserve to be recognized.

However, the rest of the book features the recollections of the Negro League players themselves and it demonstrates why its so difficult to trust some of the stories. There's a lot of bragging going on. Chet Brewer will talk about how there was nobody that could beat him. He'd beat Satchel Paige, he'd beat Leroy Matlock, he'd beat this guy and that guy and the other guy. And Brewer will tell us that he belongs in the Hall of Fame just as much as Paige because he was every bit as good. And then you see the statistics (which Holway conveniently provides). Yup, Brewer had some great years in which he beat all challengers, going 18-3 or 17-2. But in between those great years, he was a .500 pitcher most of the time. Another player will tell us that he could get a hit off of anybody. There was nobody who could get him out. He hit Bob Feller. He hit Johhny Sain. He hit everybody. Listening to this guy, you'd think he was Rogers Hornsby- nobody can get him out. And then you look at the record (again conveniently provided by Holway). Yup, in a seven-game series against a major league exhibition roster, he did get some hits. He went 1 for 4 in 5of 7 games with 2 doubles for a .220 average. Sure, you could get a hit off of Bob Feller. But he got you out plenty of times, too. If you only listen to the stories, you'd think every guy belonged in the Hall of Fame. They're constantly telling you how this guy was the best guy ever and that guy was the best ever doing something else and nobody could ever get a hit off of me or get me out. And you know that they can't all be telling the truth. They can't all be the best ever. So it's hard not to become too skeptical, and dismiss everything as exaggeration.

So how do we make the necessary distinctions? How do we tell who's a .220 hitter bragging that he could get a hit off of anybody and who are the players that could go up against major league talent and win 260 games?

One way to tell is to look at the statistical evidence. We know which players got the most home runs year in and year out. We know which players were consistently leading the league in wins. But that doesn't make the anecdotal evidence completely useless. You can't always trust what a player will tell you about himself. You can trust what a player will tell you about his teammates a little bit more, but there's still a lot of "the best evers" going on. However, you can tell something about what a player will say about his opponents. Who are the guys that he's constantly trying to measure himself up against? Who are the other players that he constantly fears? It's not a perfect guide. A player will try to measure himself up against somebody who's more famous than meritoriouis. But when the same players keep showing up in personal recollections again and again, then you know that they must have been good. When players do grudgingly give respect to their opponents, you know those must have been the best. Still, not a perfect guide. You still need the statistics to corroborate the recollections.

So what kind of conclusions did I come away with (from that book and others)? One, we made the right decisions on some of these players that we've already enshrined- including a few that had to wait like Mule Suttles and Willard Brown. Two, there are still a few worthy candidates out there- especially Dick Redding.
   177. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: September 22, 2006 at 05:36 PM (#2185139)
One point from the SABR biography. It claims the following about Browning:

"Moreover, the newspapers of his day published numerous accounts of his defensive prowess, those accounts running the entire length of his active major-league career."


This isn't true, at least based upon my look through the record. There are some mentions of Browning's "prowness"; often in a game recap that will cite a good defensive play. But the general tenor of writing about Browning's defense is unquestionably negative, and I invite any HoM voter to look through old newspapers an cooborate this.

note: I'd cut&paste; excerpts, but the ProQuest Historical Newspapers database is all graphics, no text, and searching through it is a painstaking process...it'd be quite alot of work.
   178. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: September 22, 2006 at 08:01 PM (#2185294)
Chris F,

The problem that I have with your Keller analysis is that you pretty much don't mention his peak. Without Minor league credit and with pretty muc hthe same war credit you gave I have him with 6 seasons above 30 WS (what Bill James labels an 'MVP type' year. If you add oen season of MiL credit at 28 WS that gives him 7 seasons at or just below MVP level. No one else on the ballot can say that. Except for McCovey, who will be my #1. Keller's candidacy doesn't depend on getting to 300 WS, hwoever if you can put him anywhere near there (I have him over 300 WS) the lack of career arguemnt melts away.

I also am not sure why it matters that he was only 22 when he debuted for the Yankees. He showed that he was ready for the majors and then some and if he had been owned by pretty much any other team in the Majors he would have arrived at the age of 21 and played at a very high level. I don't see how age really matters.

Prelim

1. McCovey
2. Keller
3. Childs
4. Duffy
5. Redding
6. Kiner
7. Walters
8. Wynn
9. Moore
10. Browning
11. Trouppe
12. Waddell
13. E. Howard
14. Dean
15. Cravath

And I am going to keep stating this since we are getting close to voting time and he might get in this year, How is Minnie Minoso any different from George Burns, Bobby Veach, or Bob Johnson?
   179. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 22, 2006 at 08:53 PM (#2185377)
From this time period, I prefer Charley Jones (with blacklist credit).

I'm downright Fossian on this point, as you can see from pretty much every ballot I've cast for the last 20-30 years.

Now editing down Chris F's comments for space:
You can't always trust what a player will tell you about himself. You can trust what a player will tell you about his teammates a little bit more, but there's still a lot of "the best evers" going on. However, you can tell something about what a player will say about his opponents....Still, not a perfect guide. You still need the statistics to corroborate the recollections.

I have not read the book in question. But it or others like it and its spirit are very clearly reflected in a wide variety of other sources. Like Riley for instance. There's multiple issues I see here.
1) There's so much player movement inthe NgLs that many times a player's teammates and his opponents are the same guys. Maybe not in a certain specific game or season or league, but most of these guys played with one another on some NgL/barnstorming/winter-league/latino-league/indie team of some variety.

2) I get the very distinct impression that as a community of players these guys (smartly) have chosen to be very liberal with their endorsements of self and others, understanding that their common position within the sports consciousness depends strongly on their oral histories. As a group they probably recognize that they need to play everyone up to maintain visibility and recognition. And that recognition can come with some nice perks. Just ask Buck O'Neill. [no offense to him, of course.] If I were them I'd do the same.

2a) Besides, these guys have pride. They're not going to run down the people and leagues they were in because all that would do is undercut their own belief in the quality of the ball they played. Even so, offering a straight-up no puffing opinion could be seen as an admisson that they didn't play MLB-level ball, so I'd think they are probably rhetoro-politically doing the smart thing all around.

3) In a funny way, it's the same thing as the much-hated McCarver/Morgan/old-timer diatribe about how baseball nowadays stinks and how back when they played.... (James refers to this as "Old ballplayers die hard" I think.) Except that the NgLs seem to put a positive spin on things. They don't run down the present, instead they will sometiems talk about great black athletes or how the game has changed for the better since their time. Whether it's calculated or not by this particular community of players, the net effect, in my mind, is to make these players loveable. They recall their time with candor but also with fondness, and they don't dwell on the negative, and they show admiration for people who came later. It makes for great copy and fun oral history.

Anyway, this is a long-winded (surprise!) way of saying that I don't really trust much of anything that comes out of any old ballplayer's mouth (esp really old players' mouths) whether they played for MLB or the NgLs. I'm inclined to see it as a way to verify details or a jumping-off point for investigating a claim or incident. But for all the usual forest v. trees reasons and many more, if I'm looking for opinions about who should be in the HOM, I think there's big and often unexplainable issues with using the oral history of the leagues.

On the other hand, some of that oral history is real history, and that's why we buy historians' books, to see how they sift through the evidence and draw conclusions. It's the best we can do, and we probably need the filter to avoid being overwhelmed by stories.
   180. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 22, 2006 at 08:58 PM (#2185386)
Oh, I've been meaning to ask the group this for about 30-50 'years.' Does anyone know, regarding Rube's last name....

WAH-duhl (as in waddle)

or

wah-DELL

Thanks!
   181. Mike Webber Posted: September 22, 2006 at 11:07 PM (#2185480)
They recall their time with candor but also with fondness, and they don't dwell on the negative, and they show admiration for people who came later. It makes for great copy and fun oral history.


This has a little bit of regional effect - or the Buck O'Neil effect maybe. Guys that played with the Monarchs - Buck, Satch, Connie Johnson, Brewer, - those guys loved being Monarchs, being ball players. But not every where, Quincy Trouppe for instance, his bio is "20 Years Too Soon: Prelude to Major-League Integrated Baseball." I think generally its an East-West thing.

And then you see the statistics (which Holway conveniently provides).

This is one of those things I tip toe around, like the WARP, where I try to hint to you that its just not right, without pissing anyone off. Holway - thank goodness he was out there interviewing these guys before they passed away. But his statistical work, is shaky at best.
   182. Howie Menckel Posted: September 22, 2006 at 11:37 PM (#2185507)
Tom Waddell was Wa-DELL, and as far as I know all Waddells are pronounced that way.

As opposed to 1972 800 meter Olympic gold medalist Dave Wattle..
   183. OCF Posted: September 23, 2006 at 01:38 AM (#2185602)
Let's take a look at the season just past, the 1985 season. There were, as usual, a variety of great performances and not-so-great performances. But there were two performances that were utterly extraordinary, things that you just don't see every year.

The first was that Rickey Henderson scored 146 runs while playing 143 games. No one had scored that many runs in a season since the 1930's.

The second was Dwight Gooden's pitching performance. A league-leading 276.7 IP at an ERA+ of 226. I don't know for sure what is the best pitching season since the deadball era, but I do know that Gooden's season is right up there as a serious candidate. It's a season that can stand alongside Gibson's 1968.

Henderson finished 3rd in the AL MVP vote, with no first place votes. Gooden was 4th in the NL vote, with one first place vote. I can see the argument for Brett ahead of Henderson, but not Mattingly. And the NL vote was a travesty - Gooden '85 is the best case I've ever seen for a starting pitcher as MVP.
   184. OCF Posted: September 23, 2006 at 01:41 AM (#2185605)
But let me talk about the Cardinals. No, let's not dwell on the World Series - let's talk about the whole season and how it came to be.

Whitey had had his triumph with the 1982 team, trying out his speed-and-defense formula. But life wasn't so kind to him in the intervening years. One big thing that happened was cocaine. Lonnie Smith went into a rehab clinic, and came out apparently clean - but also a distinctly lesser player that he was before he took the cure. And Keith Hernandez got packed off to the Mets in a trade that didn't come close to recovering fair value for him - only gradually did the the full background of that, with its own cocaine revelations, leak out. That opened a hole at first base, and Whitey tried a number of outfielders there - the youngster Van Slyke, the designated superstar-in-waiting David Green, eventually the established (and declining with age) RF, George Hendrick.

Whitey then broke another hole in the '82 infield in 1984 by trading Ken Oberkfell (who still appeared to be a good player) in mid-June for a bench player (Mike Jorgensen) and a lefty reliever (Ken Dayley). He tried the 23-year old Van Slyke at 3B for about a month, then in mid-July, he installed the rookie Terry Pendleton. Pendleton hit over his head for the rest of the '84 season, but was clearly the real deal on defense. (I've never seen another 3B who could turn his back and chase a foul popup quite as well as Pendleton - yes, there are more important plays, and he did those well too, but he was just so good at this.)

Several things went right, including Pendleton's debut and Sutter having the best of his Cardinal years - and the team was still only 6 games over .500 and lucky to be that. And Sutter declared free agency and wasn't going to come back. The loss of Sutter dominated conversation about the team's prospects. But Whitey had one good hand to play: a brilliant "shuffle trade." Trade away his stopgap first baseman, the not-much-left-in-the-tank Hendick, to Pittsburgh for a very good but underappreciated starter: John Tudor. Then turn around and trade a fungible starter (LaPoint), a blocked-in-the-minors SS (Uribe) and the ex-superstar-in-waiting (David Green) to the Giants to fill the need for a first baseman and a big bat in a big way: Jack Clark. (The rumor mill has it that Green was an alcoholic. In retrospect, I also wonder by how many years his alleged birthdate - 1960, in Nicaragua - is in error.)

-- continued ---
   185. OCF Posted: September 23, 2006 at 01:43 AM (#2185606)
Spring training in 1985 was dominated by Whitey talking about Vince Coleman. Coleman had been stealing prodigious numbers of bases in the minor leagues - while giving very little evidence that he could be a major league hitter. In 1983 in Macon, Coleman batted .350/.425/.399 with 145 SB and 99 runs in 113 games. Of course, that's as a 22-year old in A ball. In AAA the next year, he batted .257/.323/.334 - with 101 steals in 152 games. At the end of spring training, Whitey sent him down to Louisville, all the while publicly bemoaning that he had had to do that. A week later, an injury gave him the excuse to call Coleman up, and he immediately installed him into the lineup. And Coleman played, every day, although once everyone was healthy, there were too many outfielders (Smith, McGee, Van Slyke) and it wasn't obvious that Coleman shouldn't be the one sitting out. So Whitey dropped the other shoe - trading Lonnie Smith to the Royals for no immediate (and little future) value. He really did want Coleman in the lineup. The lineup stabilized as Coleman in left batting leadoff, McGee in center batting 2nd, and Van Slyke in right batting mostly 5th.

So, what difference did it make to the team to replace Lonnie Smith as the leadoff hitter with Coleman? Their offensive value was fairly similar - and not all that impressive for a LF. (Coleman had an 85 OPS+, Smith a 91 OPS+ that year.) I will claim that the change did benefit the Cardinals in two ways, both of them with a large psychological component.

1. Coleman may not have had more offensive value than Smith, but a much larger fraction of it lay in his baserunning and basestealing. And that was the headline for the team - the biggest baddest bunch of basestealers you ever saw. The team's basestealing went 312-96 for the year. The psychological thing: any kind of self-image is a good thing for a team, and this was the hook for these guys.

2. Coleman was a better defensive outfielder than Smith. More that that - Smith was scary as a defensive outfielder, racking up 10 or so errors every year, and finding creative ways to misplay balls. I'm not sure the damage was ever that great - but it looked bad. Coleman looked good out there, even though he too committed errors. (He also racked up plenty of assists - another marker in the idea that outfield assists often depend as much on speed as arm.)

And that had a psychological impact. Here I'm localizing that impact on one head: that of John Tudor. Whitey was quoted as saying that he needed his pitchers to throw strikes, to challenge the hitters - and that in particular, he wanted his leftys to pitch inside to right handed batters. And even though Tudor wasn't exactly quotable, I did see references to him repeating this as the party line. And I think it wasn't just lip service - I think intellectually, he agreed. Your head can agree with this notion - but will your gut go along? I think that depends on what you see if you look back over your right shoulder. If you're in Fenway, and you see the Green Monster when you look that way, I think that would be a problem for your gut. Now bring him into spacious Busch with that fence pleasingly far off in the distance. A scary outfielder like Lonnie Smith sort of spoils the view. Replace him with the much better looking (and even faster) Coleman, and now the view takes in Coleman and McGee and then up to the foreground where the picture can be dominated by the wondrous Ozzie, and by Pendleton, with help from Herr's DP pivot.

Tudor's gut was just fine, and he burst forth with the best year of his career. He was efficient with his pitches and able to go deep in or complete games. And the rest of the Cardinal staff also pitched efficiently and went deep in games. That big concern about losing Sutter? The resulting "bullpen by committee," headed by the righty-lefty combo of Lahti and Dayley, just weren't needed all that often, and when they were needed, they did just fine. (And Todd Worrell had taken over as the closer by year's end.)

I know there are people around here who hate this team and all it stood for; to me it was a beautiful team. Pitchers throwing strikes, three centerfielders chasing down everything in the gaps, Ozzie working his magic, double plays snuffing out rallies. The team of 7 leadoff hitters and Jack Clark (actually, that phrase describes the 1987 team better than the 1985 team - in 1985 Nieto and Pendleton were really no kind of hitter at all.)

And still it took breaks - most astonishingly, when Clark went down with an injury for the last month, the 34-year-old Cesar Cedeño, acquired on the cheap, stepped in and hit .434/.463/.750 in 82 PA. And the two home runs off Tom Neidenfuer in the NLCS - one by the expected danger (Jack Clark) and one by ... Ozzie?
   186. Howie Menckel Posted: September 23, 2006 at 01:47 AM (#2185609)
I saw at least a dozen of Gooden's 1985 home starts in person in 1985.
Sat behind home plate EVERY time - that's where you had to be.

The amount of balls fouled straight back was uncanny, and I've never again seen anything like it.
This is when the fans in the OF had the "K" cards that got draped along as each strikeout piled up.

I think the "everybody stands and rhythmically claps" idea started with Guidry in 1978.
And I believe the "K" cards started with Gooden, but jump in if there are earlier examples.....

Don't get me started with David Green, a member of my mid-1980s fantasy teams....
   187. Cblau Posted: September 23, 2006 at 02:16 AM (#2185621)
I have to agree with Chris Fluit regarding Keller.

Keller's first game in 1945 was on August 19. The Yankees had played 105 games through August 18. Keller played the second game of the DH on the 19th; he then played 43 of the last 45. I can't see giving him more than 100 games of war credit.
   188. Howie Menckel Posted: September 23, 2006 at 03:11 AM (#2185644)
I see Keller as a guy who couldn't have been Kiner, if only. But I'm not sure.

Kiner? He WAS Kiner, no credit needed...
   189. sunnyday2 Posted: September 23, 2006 at 03:20 AM (#2185648)
>As opposed to 1972 800 meter Olympic gold medalist Dave Wattle..

From Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, BTW, and he's the guy who forgot to take his hat off on the medal stand. Big scandal that year.
   190. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: September 23, 2006 at 03:27 AM (#2185650)
But Howie, could't that be said of everyone whose prime happened to coincide with the war? And if so, wouldn't someone jsut be systematically underrating an entire generation of guys if they adopted that policy?

As for 1945, 1.75 is a little hugh, 1.67 is probably better. Either way I award Keller with 22 extra WS that season, which I think is in line with his performance. 9 in 45 team games is is about 20 and then I adjust to 162 games as I have done with every season to keep this on an even keel. This gives him 31 or 32 (I forget) WS, an MVP level season.
   191. Howie Menckel Posted: September 23, 2006 at 03:46 AM (#2185655)
jschmeagol,
I am not a big underrater of WW II guys like some are, having been a pretty high voter of Doerr and Gordon for example.

The problem with Keller for me is that it's a lot easier to 'fill in the gaps' of a long-prime career than it is to accept mythical high-peak seasons for a guy who clearly had no shot at being a long-career guy in any era. I'm just not sure he could have been healthy enough to actually produce the extra super-seasons.
McoCovey is an interesting comp in a way - he failed to reach 500 PA in 1959-62, 1964, 1971-76... if a war interrupted a part of that series, some here, it seems, would give him full credit for missed years. But he had his chance, and just couldn't play every day.
Yes, Keller had a healthy 1946, so it's tempting to extrapolate the 600 PAs in 1944-45. But past 1946, he only has 755 more PA.

I just don't think Keller, a monster rate guy like Chance and McGraw, could have maintained the pace.
Still, I respect those who vote for him. He does have a case.
   192. Brent Posted: September 23, 2006 at 04:03 AM (#2185666)
In June 1947, Keller had a serious back injury and afterward was never healthy enough to be an everyday player. But I don't see any evidence that he was especially injury-prone before 1947. After playing 111 games his rookie season, he played 138-140-152-141-150 games (excluding 1944-45 when the interruption was military service). Unless you're arguing that without the War his back injury would have come earlier, it seems to me that the most reasonable guess for what he would have played is 140 to 150 games.
   193. Howie Menckel Posted: September 23, 2006 at 04:20 AM (#2185690)
Fair point, Brent.
There's just no way to know.

I may not be right about this, but I tend to be very reasonable about quality ear credit but leery of BIG war credit.
My mind's not set in stone on this.
Frankly, the prime that Kiner really DID have does play into it, probably.
   194. Howie Menckel Posted: September 23, 2006 at 04:22 AM (#2185691)
lol, that's "WAR credit"
   195. Chris Fluit Posted: September 23, 2006 at 05:00 AM (#2185744)
Dr. Chaleeko, thanks for replying to my comments regarding Negro League players and their recollections. I agree with a lot of what you had to say. Just a few responses of my own.

1. Buck O'Neil was one of the players interviewed in that book and he came off very differently than the others. For one thing, his stories about himself were always about interesting things that happened on the road but never about how great he was. He was very modest, always ready to deflect praise to others. And he was truthful. He admitted that he usually batted sixth. And although he batted third from time to time, he was just as likely to bat second which happened to be the spot in the order he preferred. From O'Neil, you just don't get the sense that you're running into the same embellishment that you are from others. Of course, that's why he's so likable and such a great ambassador for the game. He has a way of praising his fellow players without running down either his white contemporaries or modern players.

2. You mentioned the "old man diatribe" and you're right, it isn't limited to just Negro League players, or even baseball players for that matter. I've heard plenty of "old man diatribes" about everything "modern" from music to education. Unfortunately, these particular old men weren't immune to it. And some of them did run down the newer generations- both the one that played immediately after them ('50s-'60s) and then the current one ('80s). "Today's players don't know how to bunt." "Today's players don't know how to position themselves properly for fielding." Surprisingly, Jim Bunning and Ozzie Smith were two of the players that were mentioned negatively by people in this particular book.

3. I also noticed a corollary to the "old man diatribe" and the disdain for the younger generation. I also ran across the occasional lack of respect for the earlier generation. These were players that had been active during the deadball era and were now coaches during the liveball era of the '30s and '40s. And some of them coached with the old-style mentality. So there were quite a few negative comments about these old guys as coaches. Ben Taylor, for example, was cited as an old school coach who didn't keep up with the game.

4. I agree that the oral histories, though interesting, aren't enough to enshrine a player in either Hall. But as you note, they do make for a good jumping-off point. If everybody was so impressed with Dick Redding and Leroy Matlock, do their records corroborate them as great players? After all, they could have had the stuff of a Daniel Cabrera, who has all of the talent of a Randy Johnson but isn't able to harness it consistently or of a J.R. Richard who was kind of like a comet that burned brightly but not for long. I've already looked at most of their records. As a Friend-of-Redding based on his record, it was nice to see that he did have the respect (and sometimes fear) of his opponents. It lends credence to his candidacy, though it wouldn't create it on its own. As I said in my first post, reading this book (among others) did confirm a lot of the decisions we made. We made the right decisions on Suttles and Brown. And we made the right decisions on Brewer and O'Neil, the latter should be in the other Hall as an ambassador and pioneer but not in this Hall on his playing career alone.
   196. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 23, 2006 at 12:18 PM (#2185876)
3. I also noticed a corollary to the "old man diatribe" and the disdain for the younger generation. I also ran across the occasional lack of respect for the earlier generation. These were players that had been active during the deadball era and were now coaches during the liveball era of the '30s and '40s. And some of them coached with the old-style mentality.

Being told that you're not as good as the previous generation probably doesn't enhance respect for your elders, either. :-)
   197. TomH Posted: September 23, 2006 at 01:18 PM (#2185897)
how is Minoso different than B Johnson, the quesiton is asked....

And I answer, he ain't. They are twins. Back-to-back on my ballot. Not sure why the Indian isn't rated higher by our consensus.
   198. Howie Menckel Posted: September 23, 2006 at 02:07 PM (#2185920)
Right, Minoso are neck-and-neck on my ballot as well..
   199. Howie Menckel Posted: September 23, 2006 at 02:09 PM (#2185922)
man, I gotta start editing my messages here. I'm used to posting anywhere else, then immediately editing. No such luck here, and if you even put your finger NEAR that "submit your comment button," it's all over.

............
Right, Minoso and Johnson are neck-and-neck on my ballot as well..
   200. Delorians Posted: September 23, 2006 at 02:34 PM (#2185932)
I saw at least a dozen of Gooden's 1985 home starts in person in 1985.
Sat behind home plate EVERY time - that's where you had to be.

The amount of balls fouled straight back was uncanny, and I've never again seen anything like it.
This is when the fans in the OF had the "K" cards that got draped along as each strikeout piled up.

I think the "everybody stands and rhythmically claps" idea started with Guidry in 1978.
And I believe the "K" cards started with Gooden, but jump in if there are earlier examples.....


I remember watching or listening to Gooden games during this era, when he was in the 9th inning with a comfortable lead going for a complete game. He'd get a strikeout for out 1, strikeout for out 2, and the fans were on their feet, screaming for him to strike out the side. And a couple of times, when he got the third out on a ball in play, to finish the complete game victory, the home croud went silent. You'd think they'd just lost the game, when in fact they had just won (on a non-strikeout). He didn't have the nickname 'Dr.K' for nothing...
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