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— 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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   201. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: September 23, 2006 at 03:55 PM (#2185967)
Howie,

(and Tom) I can respect that. But obviously there are a number of people who don't because one is on the brink of election in teh next few years and the other is not in our top 20 IIRC. George Burns should be in there as well, IMO. I think he is even better than Minoso but reasonable people can disagree.

Brent makes a great point on Keller's injury, expecially if you consider that while in teh service ballpalyers either played ball or were in combat (with a few exceptions like DiMaggio, who was sick for about a year). Both activities are at least as taxing as playing baseball. If Keller would have injured his back(something that is usually more about when than if if you have a bad back) back home playing ball, wouldn't he have done the same playing ball in the Pacific? In Combat? Playing ball at military bases here? I woudl think so.

Also, I am not giving Keller's peak seasons, none of the three years that are given to him for MiL or WWII credit (or helped by WWII credit) are in his top 3 seasons. So every season of credit I am giving him is not part of his three year peak and they are still very good seasons. And he isn't a rate guy in the Chance/McGraw mold as he does have many seasons with a lot of value above replacement because he played more full seasons.
   202. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 23, 2006 at 05:55 PM (#2186037)
If everybody was so impressed with Dick Redding and Leroy Matlock, do their records corroborate them as great players?

Ahhh, Leroy Matlock. As much as any player, not including QT, Matlock is probably hurt by oral history. While there's praise for him, I wonder if as wide a range of guys got to play with and against him as others.
a) he came up in the era right after the NNL collapse during the depression and when players and teams were dispersed into independent barnstorming units.
b) he spent at least a third of his career pitching in the DR or in Mexico.
c) there's nothing on him after 1942 at all
d) he didn't, one way or another, make it through to integration, so he also lacks the cache of having gotten a deal or having played in the integrated minors where we could at least translate his numbers with a decent amount of "certainty."

As you all know (and were reminded by DanG's post) I had a bit of a crush on Matlock for a while. The truth is I still do, but I don't think I can adequately support his candidacy because there's not enough information about him. For instance, if/why his career ended. Was it the war? If so, that's very different than if it's injury. His performance in Mexico leading to his leaving the game isn't superb, but it's also not the sort that gets a guy bounced either.
The lack of league context in the mid 1930s doesn't do much to help him, nor again does the lack of league context from his DR time. I have a very strong intuition that Matlock is probably on par with Mendez, Walters, Lemon, Newhouser, Pierce, and other medium-career/highly effective pitchers (bunning/drysdale/mcginnity/griffith?), but I can't prove it. Yet. Some day. I won't call him an oversight for us, nor really a regret of mine, because it's still to early to know if that's apt given what we don't know about him. But I will say that with any luck he'll be a strong contender in the HOM class of 2010 or 2015.

His case is probably something like John Donaldson's. A case where more information and better information and more biography might really help us understand him much better. Enough that we could construct a case instead of a conjecture.

Which reminds me. Where are we at with Hilton Smith?
   203. TomH Posted: September 23, 2006 at 07:42 PM (#2186104)
jschmeagol's request for Minoso/Burns/Veach/Johnson analysis

this shouldn't be tough I suppose; all good corner OFers, and no one with a real strong or real weak peak.

Career Translated at bats and EqA from BP (league length and strength adjustment, but without the strange WARP fielding replacement to deal with)
Minoso. 6694 .297
Burns... 7615 .277
Veach.. 7726 .283
Johnson 7050 .305

Minoso should get some non-MLB credit to give him more ABs.
Burns and Veach really couldn't hit with the other two guys, which is why they are far off my ballot.
I guess the real question is, since we've already elected a bajillion OFers, how many more do we want? I'd ask anyone with a heavy OF-laden ballot (5 or more, or 3 of the top 8-to-10) to consider balance. Maybe that's another way of jschmeagol saying that Minoso isn't THAT much better than a whole pile of other mashers who couldn't pick up ground balls and throw them to first, or squat, or fire strikes.
   204. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 23, 2006 at 07:55 PM (#2186114)
Maybe that's another way of jschmeagol saying that Minoso isn't THAT much better than a whole pile of other mashers who couldn't pick up ground balls and throw them to first, or squat, or fire strikes.

YES! This is the forrest and the players are the trees. We can compare Oaks (Minoso) to Maples (Burns) to Pines (Veach) to Elms (Johnson), but they are all taller than ferns and shorter than redwoods, and the HOM is full of redwoods.

Bad metaphor, I know.

Anyway, none of those four guys is all that special, and while that's the nature of the borderliners, guys like Pierce, QT, Bresnahan, and Childs are more impressive in comparison to their positional peers than these guys.

And besides which, Charley Jones has got to be in the LF discussion.
   205. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 23, 2006 at 09:17 PM (#2186156)
Minoso. 6694 .297
Burns... 7615 .277
Veach.. 7726 .283
Johnson 7050 .305

Minoso should get some non-MLB credit to give him more ABs.


Minoso is the only one who played in the infield, so that has some extra value. How much depends on how much you value third base over left field.

Minnie was also more dominating among his peers in left field. Again, how much you weigh that is variable among each voter.

I now have Minoso at #13 and with McCovey coming on board, he'll move to at least #14. The others are not on my ballot, which is reasonable considering Minoso's slotting.
   206. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 23, 2006 at 09:19 PM (#2186158)
As you all know (and were reminded by DanG's post) I had a bit of a crush on Matlock for a while.

Grandpa Chaleeko Simpson:

I want my Matlock...in the Hall of Merit! ;-)
   207. Howie Menckel Posted: September 23, 2006 at 11:12 PM (#2186212)
Re OF-1B "glut"

Counting McCovey as in for 1986 (ok, a gamble, lol), we get to:

HOM batters by percentage of games played at position (min. 10 pct at a position, otherwise it's not listed and not tallied)

C (11.01)
1B (17.64)
2B (12.11)
3B (10.44)
SS (16.30)
OF (48.79)
DH (0.21)
P (44.64)

So:
1B-OF-DH at.. 66.64
C-2B-3B-SS at 49.86
P at......... 44.64

Y'all decide if that's in the right ballpark; I don't really have an opinion yet.
I had an OF or 1B at 1, 3, 8, 9, 12, 14 in the last election.
I had Ps at 2, 5, 13, 15.
And C-2B-3B-SS at 4, 6, 7, 10, 11.

Huh, I guess that's spreading it around respectably well, without an actual quota.
   208. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 24, 2006 at 06:14 AM (#2186349)
Grandpa Chaleeko Simpson

Are we almost there yet? ... Where are we going?
   209. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: September 24, 2006 at 02:48 PM (#2186422)
Tom,

Thanks for responding. I do have a few questions however.

1) Aren't the translated stats adjusted for all-time? I know that they adjust IP for pitchers and things like that but is there a competition adjustment in there? This would hurt Burns and Veach the most, though Johnson shouldn't look that good this way.

2) While I honestly don't know about Veach as a fielder I always got the sense that Burns was a superb LFer in the Henderson/Bonds mold (i.e. he may have been able to play CF). Is this correct? Could it be why Burns makes up so much ground in WS?

3) What do you think would happen to Minoso's Eqa if we were to include his NeL/MiL time? I would think it would drop a little as the MLE's that we have only give him one prime season and a few filler seasons IIRC (This is counting his first decent years as his 'hey, look at me year'). I think that would cause the gap to shorten a bit as well.

However, overall, I must admit that Bob JOhnson looks the best of that group, though the chart above doens't show season by season. I will admit that Minoso has the msot career in WS (with NeL credit), but I wonder if top 5 or top 7 makes things look any different.

I do have 4 OFers in my top 10 and one at #15, so I may want to rethink that. However, Keller and Kiner are two guys I have been voting for for ages and they may be the two best peak candidates, Duffy is another one I have voted for since I don't know when. I guess I would rather have those three than guys like Bell, Carey, and Ashburn. Browning (#10) and Cravath (#15) are the other OFers. I have four pitchers on my ballot (Redding, Walters, Waddell, Dean), Two catchers (Trouppe and Howard, though Torre and Freehan were recently there) and 3 IF (Childs, Moore, Boyer). It does seem that we miss 2B and 3B the most but we do have enough SS's (another reason why we should have waited on Sewell? ;-)). So maybe we should look at Boyer/Elliot/McGraw/Rosen and Childs/Fox/Monroe/Doyle. Although we do have a number of 3B candidates coming up in Schmidt/Evans/Brett/Boggs and even Nettles/Harrah/Bell/Guerrero.

Wow that last paragraph is really scatterbrained...
   210. Willie Mays Hayes Posted: September 24, 2006 at 11:37 PM (#2186716)
Prelim Ballot:

1. Willie McCovey: Best candidate available. 211 OPS+ peak season. A professional hitter.
2. Ralph Kiner: Tremendous hitter. Seven home run titles! Easy number 2.
3. Dobie Moore: I'm convinced. Great hitter at SS.
4. Hugh Duffy: 16.72 RC/27 in his best season. That's freakin awesome. Good glove, made his teams better. I like him a lot.
5. Ken Boyer: Brooks Robinson-lite, but with a peak.
6. Billy Pierce: Excellent peak for a pitcher of his day. Super close to, but a tiny bit better than:
7. Rube Waddell: Awesome peak, good/great prime.
8. Charlie Keller: Poor man's Kiner. Close to Kiner with war credit, but not quite there, and definitely wouldn't have 7 HR titles.
9. Pete Browning: Re-evaluation of peak OF's moves him up here. He could rake. Perhaps an early-day Dick Allen?
10. Thurman Munson: I might get some heat for this placement, but I think Thurm transcended the numbers. A great leader, he was the unifying force in those "Bronx Zoo" clubhouses. He was a pretty good player, too.
11. Alejandro Oms: I was missing a lot on him for a while. Nice player.
12. Jake Beckley: Took a closer look at him, and moved him here. I wasn't giving him enough credit for the glove. Some sort of a peak, and he'd be top 5.
13. Minnie Minoso: Still don't know what to make of him.
14. Cupid Childs: Pretty good second baseman, both with the bat and the glove.
15. George Van Haltren: Offensively similar to Beckley, but Beckley's defense outweighs GVH's pitching credit.

16-20: Norm Cash, Chuck Klein, Frank Howard, Lou Brock, Ben Taylor
21-40: Roy White, Mickey Lolich, Dick Redding, Addie Joss, Nellie Fox, Charley Jones, Dizzy Dean, Gavvy Cravath, Roger Bresnahan, Quincy Trouppe, Sam Rice, Pie Traynor, Vada Pinson, Jimmy Wynn, Orlando Cepeda, Catfish Hunter, Bob Johnson, John McGraw, Wally Schang, Phil Rizzuto
   211. TomH Posted: September 25, 2006 at 01:27 AM (#2186772)
It does seem that we miss 2B and 3B the most but we do have enough SS's (another reason why we should have waited on Sewell? ;-)).

Hey, we elected Sewell cause he was 1/3 3Bman !! :)
   212. sunnyday2 Posted: September 25, 2006 at 02:51 AM (#2186812)
I don't mind that there are "too many" SS. A lot of the best athletes have always been there (except 1950-1970 or thereabouts, there has been some discussion of same but I wonder if Marty Marion wasn't really to blame...?).
   213. TomH Posted: September 25, 2006 at 07:38 PM (#2187304)
I'd like to hear any new Bucky Walters analysis; right now he's #6 on my pending ballot, but I'll hold off voting if I missed some recent insights.
   214. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 25, 2006 at 07:59 PM (#2187325)
I'd like to hear any new Bucky Walters analysis; right now he's #6 on my pending ballot, but I'll hold off voting if I missed some recent insights.

Well, we know his pitching was leveraged to about the same rate as Pierce and had a greater peak than the latter, but Walters still lags way behind. :-(
   215. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 25, 2006 at 08:40 PM (#2187363)
Well, we know his pitching was leveraged to about the same rate as Pierce and had a greater peak than the latter, but Walters still lags way behind. :-(

I reckon that Pierce had more shoulder seasons, which is why he lags. I have walters on top because I of the big peak years. I like peak in my pitchers. Eppa and Red never really made me sing, but Wes Ferrell or someone are more my speed. But also Walters' peak is more pronounced relative to his NL peers than Pierce's, or Waddell's relative to their peers. Or more pronounced than Lefty Gomez's. Remember that's in my system, surely everyone else's mileage will vary a LOT.

And he could hit.
   216. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: September 26, 2006 at 12:15 AM (#2187520)
I have Walters as my top MLB pitcher (behind only Redding) so I wouldn't mind hearing what new evidence that Bernie has.
   217. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 26, 2006 at 12:52 AM (#2187550)
I reckon that Pierce had more shoulder seasons, which is why he lags. I have walters on top because I of the big peak years.

Remember I write for a living....

What this shoulda said was:

I reckon that Pierce had more shoulder seasons, which is why Walters lags. But I have walters on top because of the big peak years.
   218. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: September 26, 2006 at 01:02 AM (#2187560)
Sorry...I'm held up at work (stupid proposal deadline, and a practice LSAT to take...urgh..).


Here's a brief summary:

The long-and-short of it is that Walters benefited from some insane defensive support during his peak. This you probably knew.

What you may not have known is that if you look at batters faced, Walters wasn't substantially more durable than his peers. Without the defensive support, he possibly/probably would not have lead the league in IP during most of his peak.

There's no doubt that 1939 is a massive year, but his 2nd and 3rd best years score behind both Waddell's and Pierce's a neutral context once you account for the durability factor...for most pitchers, the difference is trivial, but pitching in front of a .730 DEF distorts everything.
   219. jimd Posted: September 26, 2006 at 01:34 AM (#2187605)
Without the defensive support, he possibly/probably would not have lead the league in IP during most of his peak.

Walters led the NL in Batters Faced in 1939 and 1940, and was 2nd in 1941 (the three years he led the NL in IP). Yes, the defense saved him some hits (and runs) but let's not overstate the effect.
   220. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: September 26, 2006 at 04:29 AM (#2187787)

Walters led the NL in Batters Faced in 1939 and 1940, and was 2nd in 1941 (the three years he led the NL in IP). Yes, the defense saved him some hits (and runs) but let's not overstate the effect.


True, but in 1940, for instance, the difference is probably about 10-15 innings, which is enough to knock him down to 2nd in IP in that year.

The problem with Walters is that once you adjust 1940 for defensive support, he's a one year guy. That 1939 is awesome, practically Walsh-ian (OK, maybe thats an exagerration, but he's like the best hitting pitcher in the league and the best pitching pitcher in the league at the same time). But 1940 and 1941 are basically identical good-but-not awesome years, and considering that Walters has only 4 above-average seasons in a non-war context, he needs 4 AWESOME seasons to be ballot worthy.

Though it was alluded to in his discussion thread, I don't think people fully appreciate the extent of the defense behind Walters. In 1940 the Reds had a .730 def eff, 2nd place was .714, median was below .700. We're not talking about run of the mill effects here; that's historic defense.

Cincinnati was in the Top 3 in the league in DEF and DP every year of Walters' peak-and he was a GB, high BIP pitcher.

Paul Derringer, pitching for the Reds at the same time, experiences a very similar career pattern to Walters; consistently mediocre before the late '30's-early 40's Reds, dramatically more effective with that defense behind him. 2 other Reds starters, Whitey Moore and Junior Thompson, had their only effective seasons in front of that 1939-1941 Reds defense. Darn near EVERY pitcher had a peak year in 1940. That's no coincidence.
   221. Howie Menckel Posted: September 26, 2006 at 04:41 AM (#2187800)
Interesting 'food for thought,' b williams....
   222. Howie Menckel Posted: September 26, 2006 at 05:11 AM (#2187828)
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/26/sports/baseball/26oldest.html?hp&ex=1159329600&en=639236c1b6b8651d&ei=5094&partner=homepage

This is a NY Times article claiming an interview with a 110-yr-old Negro League vet.

Considering the Times track record with accuracy the last 10 years, take it for what it's worth.
But if true, it's pretty interesting..
   223. karlmagnus Posted: September 26, 2006 at 12:52 PM (#2187922)
Looking at 1880s pitchers, it occurrred to me to check unearned runs, which were as follows (I have no idea how to make tables line up.)

xxxx ER R UER UER Ratio
Keefe 1472 2468 996 40.36%
Radbourn 1348 2275 927 40.75%
Clarkson 1417 2376 959 40.36%
Galvin 1910 3355 1445 43.07%
Caruthers 891 1393 502 36.04%
Welch 1447 2556 1109 43.39%

This shows that Welch was about 5% (3/60) worse at preventing UER than all his HOM contemporaries except Galvin. Given that Welch's ERA is his main weakness, I think I've decided he was an innings eater, and will downgrade him next year. Alas, poor Mickey....
   224. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 26, 2006 at 01:28 PM (#2187956)
Nice work, Karl, thanks for sharing that.

+++++

Anyone: wouldn't Walters' WARP scores and DERA factor the Reds historic defense into their evaluations? And/or how much does WS take that defense into account?
   225. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: September 26, 2006 at 02:15 PM (#2188011)
WS caps defense, so I am nto so sure it would take that fully into account. However, DERA and WARP do take defense into account, though not DER, just WARP defensive reading IIRC.

BW,

If Walters led the NL in batters faced in 1940, how could you also adjust him to 2nd in IP in a nuetral context? Wouldn't he still be leading the league in IP in said context if he was durable enough to face the most batters?
   226. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: September 26, 2006 at 02:41 PM (#2188040)
BW,

If Walters led the NL in batters faced in 1940, how could you also adjust him to 2nd in IP in a nuetral context? Wouldn't he still be leading the league in IP in said context if he was durable enough to face the most batters?


Not necessarily. The BF to IP relationship is a function of how efficiently a pitcher gets batters out; essentially the inverse of OBP. If, as in the case of 1940 Bucky Walters, around 30 outs would have been hits in a neutral context, then Walters would have to face a minimum of 30 more batters to get through the same number of innings....and if any of those 30 guys gets on base (lets say 8 of them)..and 2 of those 8 get on base...it comes out to about 40 extra batters.

In 1940, Walters averaged 3.95 BF per innings...now, that goes up in the neutral context, but for the sake of simplicity, lets estimate that 40 extra batters is around 9 2/3-10 extra IP. That's how I make the correction.
   227. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: September 26, 2006 at 02:45 PM (#2188045)
Anyone: wouldn't Walters' WARP scores and DERA factor the Reds historic defense into their evaluations? And/or how much does WS take that defense into account?

It should, and it does; if you go to Walters' DT page on BP.com, you'll see that 1940 is judged less valuble than 1941 in WARP3. You'll also see that Walters' DERA is distinctly unimpressive.

Nevertheless, in BP's WARP3, Walters 3 year peak still surpasses Pierce's, largely on the strength of the monster 1939. It falls well below Waddell's.
   228. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: September 26, 2006 at 02:48 PM (#2188048)
In 1940, Walters averaged 3.95 BF per innings...now, that goes up in the neutral context, but for the sake of simplicity, lets estimate that 40 extra batters is around 9 2/3-10 extra IP. That's how I make the correction.

One other thing; in 1939, Walters was insanely hit-lucky. I'm reluctant to "correct" that, because he was so effective that it might have been skill. But that year he allowed 40 extra hits, which propagates to over 50 extra batters, which is 13 extra innings by the same logic.
   229. rawagman Posted: September 26, 2006 at 03:00 PM (#2188068)
Career wise, Walters' ERA+ and DERA rates are middling in this group of middling greatness. Career DERA of 4.10. Compares poorly to Waddell (3.73), Gomez (3.93), Bridges (3.81), Dean (3.52), Pierce, Joss, Warnecke, etc.. His career was not especially long either. He pitched maybe 150 more innings than a Waddell. Career ERA+ 115. He's great by peak only methods, but not so hot using peak/career.
   230. TomH Posted: September 26, 2006 at 03:02 PM (#2188073)
DERA nails Walters for a Huge .50 hit in 1939, so if you're using WARP, the fine Reds defense has been accounted for. Even accouting for this, he's got a better WARP record than any pitche on the ballot excpet Pierce. In 1939, Bucky did lead the league in strikeouts, so he helepd himself too.

His career looks better in Win Shares than everyone else, too.

He hit well; OPS over .600 for his career.

He pitched well in the post-season (ERA 2.79), including a 2-0 mark in the 7-game Tiger win in 1940.

He had a peak and a prime. He had a career (3100 innings, 115 ERA+). He won an MVP award and finished 3rd and 5th in other years.
   231. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: September 26, 2006 at 03:06 PM (#2188075)
DERA nails Walters for a Huge .50 hit in 1939, so if you're using WARP, the fine Reds defense has been accounted for. Even accouting for this, he's got a better WARP record than any pitche on the ballot excpet Pierce. In 1939, Bucky did lead the league in strikeouts, so he helepd himself too.

His career looks better in Win Shares than everyone else, too.

He hit well; OPS over .600 for his career.

He pitched well in the post-season (ERA 2.79), including a 2-0 mark in the 7-game Tiger win in 1940.

He had a peak and a prime. He had a career (3100 innings, 115 ERA+). He won an MVP award and finished 3rd and 5th in other years.


TomH-

Can't use crude counting stats with Walters, because he got a huge boost from 1943-1945....that affects career IP and ERA+ profoundly. And WARP3 sucks at the war discount...if Walters WARP only needs a 0.2-0.3 discount in the war years, then I'm Darryl Strawberry.
   232. TomH Posted: September 26, 2006 at 03:07 PM (#2188076)
Oh, and he played 200 games in the INFIELD (3B and some 2B).

Previous posted research shows he was matched against strong hitting oppponents as well.

But yes, we oughta shave some credit off the defense-enhanced peak, just like I do for Jim "sure was lucky I had Blair, Belanger, and Brooks behind me" Palmer. I think I'll drop him one ballot spot this week.
   233. TomH Posted: September 26, 2006 at 03:12 PM (#2188080)
Can't use crude counting stats with Walters, because he got a huge boost from 1943-1945
...and Rube Waddell got a huge boost for playing in the 1900s decade while Walters would be one of the comparatively few pitchers we've honored from around WWII.
   234. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 26, 2006 at 03:17 PM (#2188087)
Walters WARP only needs a 0.2-0.3 discount in the war years

Well, I shave 10% for the war years from everyone, so I've at least covered that....

I should add that Joe's Pennants Added and WAR numbers show Walters as very effective indeed. Not the most effective/valuable (that would be Pierce...well or Quinn depending on how you like your extra-curricular adjustments) but Walters is strongly positioned in the bunch right behind him. And Joe does have some kind of defensive adjustment, though I'm not sure how he calculates it.
   235. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: September 26, 2006 at 03:19 PM (#2188091)
...and Rube Waddell got a huge boost for playing in the 1900s decade while Walters would be one of the comparatively few pitchers we've honored from around WWII.


Dude, that's timelining.
   236. TomH Posted: September 26, 2006 at 04:05 PM (#2188140)
Noting that we have elected fewer pitchers from the 1940 decade than the 1900 decade is timelining????? If so, I is guilty as charged. And proud of it :)
   237. DavidFoss Posted: September 26, 2006 at 05:10 PM (#2188226)
Noting that we have elected fewer pitchers from the 1940 decade than the 1900 decade is timelining?????

I think BWDTC was being sarcastic. :-)

Saying an oldtimer is not as good because "it was a different game" or "the game was not as mature" or "wouldn't be able to compete if a time machine transported him to today" is timelining.

Saying an oldtimer is not as good because he ranks lower compared to his contemporaries than a modern player ranks does is not timelining. That's just being "fair to all eras". I've definitely been one to honor the oldtimers in the past, but we should also keep a vigilant eye that we do have some reasonable level of balance across era.
   238. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: September 26, 2006 at 05:30 PM (#2188252)
I've definitely been one to honor the oldtimers in the past, but we should also keep a vigilant eye that we do have some reasonable level of balance across era.

I strenuously disagree with this argument in general. Forget Walters, I mean, in the larger sense.

We're dealing with such a small sample size that balance from decade to decade is not only not guaranteed, but unlikely.

Look at it this way. Say that there's a 1 in 3 chance of a HOM pitcher entering the league in any given year. The odds of going 10 years without ANY HOM pitchers entering the league is 7.3%; not huge, but not insignificant when we're looking at a 140 year interval.

Demographics or era balance is NOT a sufficient argument to justify inducting someone who is below the usual standards for the HOM, because there's no guarantee that HOM-caliber players are distributed equally among all populations or generations.
   239. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: September 26, 2006 at 05:33 PM (#2188255)
Look at it this way. Say that there's a 1 in 3 chance of a HOM pitcher entering the league in any given year. The odds of going 10 years without ANY HOM pitchers entering the league is 7.3%; not huge, but not insignificant when we're looking at a 140 year interval.

Correction; the odds are 1.8%. I accidentally entered .77^10 into Excel rather than .67^10
   240. DavidFoss Posted: September 26, 2006 at 05:36 PM (#2188258)
Era Balance -- Waddell vs Walters:

Waddell (1899-1910) overlaps with ten HOM-ers:

MBrown,RFoster,CGriffith,WJohnson,CMathewson,JMcGinnity,KNichols,EPlank,EWalsh,CYoung

Walters (1935-47) overlaps with ten HOM-ers:

RBrown,BFeller,WFerrell,LGrove,CHubbell,TLyons,HNewhouser,SPaige,RRuffing,EWynn

... but if not for the war he could possibly have overlapped with two others (BLemon & WSpahn)
... and then there are the two split-position NeL-ers (Dihigo & Rogan) (don't know the details on when they pitched off the top of my head)

So, while its true that assigning "1940s" to Walters makes it look like he's from an underrepresented time, he definitely overlaps with the latter parts of numerous 1930s stars. (just as Waddell is overlapping with parts of guys like Nichols & Johnson).
   241. Chris Cobb Posted: September 26, 2006 at 05:46 PM (#2188271)
Rogan was not pitching at a ML-level by the time Walters started pitching.
Dihigo was.
   242. TomH Posted: September 26, 2006 at 05:49 PM (#2188277)
B Williams is right, of course; we can't "force" X guys into each hole, any more than we can say DiMaggio wasn't a great player simply because there were 4 or 5 CFers that were better; hey, CF is stacked, so be it; let's dump the small sample arguments.

However, when cutting a wider swath and deeper swath, it's a useful argument. Maybe I oughta look at how Waddell measures up aganst the 15th to 20th best pitcher of 1896-1913, versus a similar period for Walters, say 1932-1949.
   243. DavidFoss Posted: September 26, 2006 at 05:54 PM (#2188280)
Demographics or era balance is NOT a sufficient argument to justify inducting someone who is below the usual standards for the HOM, because there's no guarantee that HOM-caliber players are distributed equally among all populations or generations.

Agreed. I inserted the word 'reasonable' in an attempt to make things less cut-and-dry. There have certainly been star-gluts and star-shortages at certain positions in certain eras... and its not always due to the position becoming more or less 'difficult'. Sometimes its random. We inducted at least five HOM 1B from 1935, I certainly don't think that means we should have five HOM 1B from 1905 or 1955.

But, I do think that era balance (although certainly not sufficient) can be part of an argument for a player. Gluts and shortages ask us to take a second look and see if we've missed something.
   244. sunnyday2 Posted: September 26, 2006 at 06:19 PM (#2188301)
>Demographics or era balance is NOT a sufficient argument to justify inducting someone who is below the usual standards for the HOM,

Of course, but now you've put a whole 'nother debate on the table. What are the standards? There is every likelihood that we will be electing the worst HoMers in coming years as we move to "elect-3" years. The standards are movable.

So, are demographics or era balance a sufficient argument to justify inducting one worthy candidate versus another? That is the question.

I absolutely agree (and have said many many times) that HoMers are outliers, so era and position balance are not necessarily indicative of the bestest of the best. And yet, I guess I'm saying they're reasonable tie-breakers. But more to the point, I'm also saying that "the usual standards" are a chimera, too.
   245. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 26, 2006 at 07:03 PM (#2188341)
From OCF's ballot:

Lost starts (and thus IP) to being used - effectively - as a reliever.

Lately this has made me wonder a bit. Is leverage enough to document what we might call "missing SP innings"? That is the innings a pitcher doesn't throw because he's either (a) held back for tougher opponents or (b) used in relief between starts.

In today's rotation-based system it hsoudln't have much effect, but in the 1900s-1950s, when the Brown/Grove/Pierce model of pitcher usage was in vogue, were any of these guys losing bulk innings due to their relief work or the way they were spotted? And if so how does it change our perceptions of them? Whitey Ford would want to know. Bucky Walters would want to know. Relief leverage may cover this, but perhaps also we should consider whether Chris J's OPP win pct research should be used to leverage starting innings, or whether PBP research can help us spot places where the pitcher would have been normally used to start but wasn't because of his own shortcomings but because of managerial decision-making.

So in a hypothetical example, imagine pitcher A throws a season of 200 innings.

TOTAL: 200 innings
REL INN: 30 innnings
REL LEV: 1.50

We already use this idea to say that the guy has thrown the equivalent of 215 innings with leverage (170 SP innings plus 30 * 1.5 relief innings). But now...

SP INN: 170
SP LEV: 1.10

Now, that's the equivalent of 187 innings (170 * 1.1). Added to his leveraged relief innings it's 187 SP innings plus 45 relief innings or 232 total. Which means he's pitching the equivalent of 16% more innings due to their importance than the league average hurler.

I think Chris J's work probably eventually leads to the SP LEV number and IIRC, he's already showed some of that to us. Which leaves the question, does that upward adjustment correctly calibrate the number of innings a guy would be missing?

That I don't know about. Wouldn't it depend on how many starts he sacrificed to the pen or to spotting? It would be difficult to know since if guys are spotted leaguewide there's no way to say what a typical starter's load looks like.... Is there?
   246. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 26, 2006 at 07:12 PM (#2188348)
I certainly don't think that means we should have five HOM 1B from 1905 or 1955.

so era and position balance are not necessarily indicative of the bestest of the best. And yet, I guess I'm saying they're reasonable tie-breakers. But more to the point, I'm also saying that "the usual standards" are a chimera, too.

Which digs back into the question of catchers before 1970 and third basemen before 1970 versus corner outfielders and first basemen.... Doesn't it always?
   247. sunnyday2 Posted: September 26, 2006 at 07:14 PM (#2188350)
If a starter pitches the 9th inning in a 2-1 game, does he get credit for the same leverage (for that inning) that the reliever does who only pitches the 9th inning? If not, there is something rotten in Denmark.
   248. Chris Cobb Posted: September 26, 2006 at 07:40 PM (#2188365)
If a starter pitches the 9th inning in a 2-1 game, does he get credit for the same leverage (for that inning) that the reliever does who only pitches the 9th inning? If not, there is something rotten in Denmark.

If we're doing an inning-by-inning leverage analysis, then in principle, yes, of course. Right now, we don't, so far as I know, have a source of data that actually calculates leverage indices for starters. BP has leverage data for relievers, but not for starters.

Chris J's work (so far) looks at a different kind of starting pitcher leverage: usage against better than average opponents. His studies RSI have leverage implications, but they don't

Discussions of leverage have made me aware in ways I wasn't before about the importance for starter value of pitching deep into games. I treat CG as a more important stat than I used to, and I'd like to start looking more at IP/start.

I'm not sure that an inning-by-inning leverage index for starters would be all that meaningful a stat, however, because starters are used selectively according to leverage, as relief pitchers are (except in the way that Chris J. has looked at). Their total IP are not reduced in order to increase their leverage.
   249. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 27, 2006 at 12:05 AM (#2188596)
Their total IP are not reduced in order to increase their leverage.

Except in the way that Chris J's opp win pct stuff looks at it. If, that is, you take leverage in a starting role in the more general sense of facing more difficult competition than other starters on your team or in your league do.

Whitey Ford in this way was a highly leveraged starter. His actual inning-by-inning leverage is not that interesting to me, but more that his manager felt that using him in crucial starts against the best teams was. It's an indicator of value/ability/effectiveness that COULD negatively impact the total innings throws, which is why I'm wondering if an adjustment would help clarify guys like ford and pierce.
   250. sunnyday2 Posted: September 27, 2006 at 12:10 AM (#2188601)
>I'm not sure that an inning-by-inning leverage index for starters would be all that meaningful a stat, however, because starters are used selectively according to leverage, as relief pitchers are

I think you starters are NOT used selectively...?

But...but....

The point here is not so much one of comparing starters to starters, it is of comparing starters to relievers. Leverage artificially and unfairly increased the value of relievers if other pitchers (starters) who pitch under the same circumstances don't get the same juice.
   251. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 27, 2006 at 12:44 AM (#2188628)
The point here is not so much one of comparing starters to starters

No I think that's exactly the point I'm trying to make. Whitey Ford's innings were pretty low for a top-shelf pitcher. Stengel saved him for the best teams they faced, which must have reduced his innings but increased the leverage of his starts (in a different sense than bullpen leverage, i.e. not in-game leverage but in-standings leverage). Right, so an imaginary real-life example. Let's say we've got two pitchers who we'll call Whitey and Turley. Let's say that in a given season they show up this way:

Whitey
200 total innings
120 vs. top three opponents
80 vs. lesser four opponents

Turley
225 total innings
75 vs. top three opponents
150 vs. lesser three opponents

I bet this would be extreme, but you get the picture. Since Turley faces the bottom half of the league all the time, he's racking up lots more innings since the team faces them more often than the top three AND it's bound to be easier to coast through Balto/Wash/Phi's lineups than DET/CHI/CLE. So it's an open question about how many innings Ford is losing or Turley is gaining. And it's all based on the strength of the opponent's team and the vagaries of the scheduling. In the same way that leveraged relief innings tell us who's throwing the vital innings and credit them for doing so, we should be able to say that Ford's 200 innings is equal to Turley's 225 (or some such statement like that) that assess the value and the scarcity of disproportionate innings against top competition.

Your point about the inning-by-inning leverage of SP may also be true, and I don't mean to dismiss it, it's just not the avenue of inquiry I'm going down right now.
   252. sunnyday2 Posted: September 27, 2006 at 01:03 AM (#2188646)
Well, but then in addition to that, if you applied to it the kind of leverage we credit relievers with, how would that affect Ford vs. whomever? I mean, is it not more valuable for a starting pitcher to pitch the 9th inning of a close game just as it is more valuable for a reliever to do so? And did Stengel let Turley do that? Did he let Ford do that?

But, anyway, I'm more interested in how much we are overrating relievers by giving them extra credit for coming out of the bullpen fresh to do something that we don't give starters any extra credit for when they've also pitched the previous 8. Seems grossly unfair.
   253. Chris Cobb Posted: September 27, 2006 at 01:55 AM (#2188687)
I'm not sure that an inning-by-inning leverage index for starters would be all that meaningful a stat, however, because starters areNOT used selectively according to leverage, as relief pitchers are (except in the way that Chris J. has looked at). Their total IP are not reduced in order to increase their leverage.

Yes, there should have been a "not" there.

Sunnyday2 wrote:

But, anyway, I'm more interested in how much we are overrating relievers by giving them extra credit for coming out of the bullpen fresh to do something that we don't give starters any extra credit for when they've also pitched the previous 8. Seems grossly unfair.

But starters throw a lot of low-leverage innings, too. I believe that studies of starting pitcher leverage of an inning-by-inning sort have found that the overall leverage index for good starting pitchers doesn't move far from 1.0 in recent decades, at least. I report that from memory, so I could be wrong, but that's what I recall. I think there's material about this matter on Tangotiger's site.

If we are overrating relievers, it's not exactly showing up in the voting. How much support has John Hiller gotten?

Dr. Chaleeko wrote:

Whitey Ford in this way was a highly leveraged starter. His actual inning-by-inning leverage is not that interesting to me, but more that his manager felt that using him in crucial starts against the best teams was. It's an indicator of value/ability/effectiveness that COULD negatively impact the total innings throws, which is why I'm wondering if an adjustment would help clarify guys like ford and pierce.

Well, Chris J's opponent-strength measures tend to show that, although there are noticeable differences, they work out to just a few percentage points over a career even in the most extreme cases, so it seems unlikely that the negative effect on IP would be significant, though if the pitcher makes fewer starts and pitches fewer innings in many of those starts because of the greater difficulty of the competition, it's possible that some meaningful suppression of IP totals would result.

I don't see how such an effect could be measured systematically, but a comparison of a team's SP usage patterns in a season could point up missed starts or longer intervals between starts for a pitcher being spotted against good teams, and a pitcher's IP/start versus each team could also provide some suggestive evidence about lost innings.

Even if suggestive evidence were found in studies of the careers of, say, Ford and Pierce, the value of this information for the electorate would still be questionable because we wouldn't have the capacity to examine all candidates equally.

I think there are some interesting questions here, and I'd be curious to see what studies of this sort would turn up, but I am doubtful that their findings would be meaningful for the purposes of the HoM.
   254. sunnyday2 Posted: September 27, 2006 at 03:24 AM (#2188781)
>If we are overrating relievers, it's not exactly showing up in the voting. How much support has John Hiller gotten?

John Hiller wasn't gonna get elected regardless. The test will be the more recent, high-leverage, brand name relievers versus their starting peers--e.g. Sutter versus Stieb, or Henke versus Hershiser, et cetera.
   255. Chris Cobb Posted: September 27, 2006 at 04:04 AM (#2188834)
John Hiller wasn't gonna get elected regardless. The test will be the more recent, high-leverage, brand name relievers versus their starting peers--e.g. Sutter versus Stieb, or Henke versus Hershiser, et cetera.

I know you don't do WARP, so this comment may not mean much, but WARP1 tries to do leverage, and it shows both Henke and Sutter to be very similar to not-a-chance-at-election John Hiller in career value. Sutter might have a bit more peak, but none of his seasons are as good as Hiller's two-year peak in 1973-74, and Henke does not have much in the way of peak, though we was consistently very good. When I have compared WARP1's estimated leverage values to exactly calculated leverage values, I have consistently found that WARP's estimates do not to undervalue leverage by more than 20% over a career, and often less. Adjusting more precisely for leverage didn't get Hiller anywhere near my ballot (or anyone else's so far, I think), and it won't get either Sutter or Henke anywhere close, either, though their reputations (especially Sutter's) may give them more support than Hiller is enjoying. I just don't see the numbers we have available suggesting that we prefer Henke to Stieb or Sutter to Hershiser. That doesn't mean we're going to elect those starters -- Stieb looks like he is going to be a much-debated candidate and I expect him to draw more support than Hershiser will -- but they will be borderliners. Sutter is probably and Henke is almost certainly headed for the deep backlog.
   256. rawagman Posted: September 27, 2006 at 04:05 AM (#2188841)
Forget Hiller - it seems that Pierce gets alot of electorate leverage because he releived sometimes.
But so did Rube Waddell - and I have already shown in this discussion how that hurt his CG% i the seasons wherein he releived frequently.
In this case - are we giving equal recognition for equal value?
   257. favre Posted: September 27, 2006 at 01:36 PM (#2189063)
I want to throw my two cents in regarding the "balanced eras" debate:

Obviously we want to avoid putting in players who don't mean HoM standards just to fill an era "slot"--i.e., there simply is not a catcher from the 1890s who is worth inducting just to give us one for the decade. But era balance isn't just about underrpresenation; it's about overrpresentation as well. The fact is, we weren't very attentive about era representation, and now the 1925-1940 period has a big bulge of Hall of Meriters, with guys like Bill Terry and Red Ruffing and Joe Medwick and Earl Averill and Cool Papa Bell and Ted Lyons. None of these guys were chumps, but I'm not convinced they were better than Charley Jones or Frank Chance or Vic Willis or Tommy Leach or Rube Waddell or other guys who played in eras less well represented.

I mean, I helped create the bulge; Earl Averill was #1 on my ballot the year he was elected. But now we have this era which has considerably more HoM'rs than any other. It has been said, with justification, that we're dealing with three major leagues in this period--the American, National, and Negro--so we're going to have more HoM'rs from the era. Fair enough. Of course, if baseball had been integrated during this period, I'm guessing at least some of the guys I mentioned above would not be in the Hall, but that's playing a big "what if" game. In the end, though, we're stating that this era simply had more meritorious players than others--interestingly, we resemble the Hall of Fame in that respect. Comparing some of the players elected in that era with players who have not yet been inducted, I'm not sure that's the case.

There's nothing to be done about it now, of course; and, again, it's not like we should be reeling with embarassment by our selections of players. But I do feel justified in trying to balance eras and positions on my ballot now.
   258. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: September 27, 2006 at 02:44 PM (#2189119)
during this period, I'm guessing at least some of the guys I mentioned above would not be in the Hall, but that's playing a big "what if" game. In the end, though, we're stating that this era simply had more meritorious players than others--interestingly, we resemble the Hall of Fame in that respect. Comparing some of the players elected in that era with players who have not yet been inducted, I'm not sure that's the case.

There's nothing to be done about it now, of course; and, again, it's not like we should be reeling with embarassment by our selections of players. But I do feel justified in trying to balance eras and positions on my ballot now.


But you're assuming that its not possible that 1925-1940 may actually have been populated by more meritorious players! If you take 7 15 year intervals, the odds that one of them may contain more HoM caliber players is very high.

Then on top of that, you've got the various sociological factors that may affect how many of the greatest athletes get funneled to the MLB, and the whole thing devolves into a mess. I think that the notion of demographic-balance-voting requires some real data to support it, rather than speculative hand-waving!
   259. rawagman Posted: September 27, 2006 at 03:20 PM (#2189149)
I don't think this timelining issue is muh to get excited about.
We understand (or should be expected to understand) that what we are dealing with are margins of small sample sizes. We are functionally unable to make assurances that X (being timelined representation - positional or not) will always be X.

We are aware (or should be) that at any given point, X can morph into X+1, X+3, X-3 or some such differential.

We are intelligent enough (or should be expected to be) that we will intuitively know the difference between acceptable variations in the derivates, (right term?) and the unacceptable.
   260. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: September 27, 2006 at 03:29 PM (#2189157)

We are intelligent enough (or should be expected to be) that we will intuitively know the difference between acceptable variations in the derivates, (right term?) and the unacceptable.



There have been posts in this thread indicating the contrary, and posts in NgL threads indicating that the writers believed that there should a populationally proportionate number of black HoFers. While I think that intellectually people realize about the small-sample artifacts, emotionally, they want to be "fair" to all eras and races, and the proportion excuse provides a vehicle for that.
   261. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 27, 2006 at 04:08 PM (#2189198)
BW,

Depends on whose arguments you're using. karl has long argued for the demographic point of view with the percentage of NgL HOMers being proportionate to the population at large. Sunny has long espoused that HOMers are outliers and so they are frequently not subject to such constraints. Others have argued that with three full leagues operating at once, and with our system set up to embrace all three at once in its own demographic, that we're electing just about the right number of guys based on the total player pool at any moment. Lots and lots of subarguments could be made on any of these, probably including ones concerning the geographic penetration of the leagues' scouting/player-development apparatti and the increasing encroachment of the lesser sports on baseball's ability to sign and develop talent.

Anyway, I think there's still another way to look at the by-era question (and by extension the by-position question). That's to say that perhaps each era needn't reach the average number of electees to be perfectly fair, but that it at least have a certain minimal number of electees to have fairness. Which is sort of like the difference between replacement and average. With a HOM of 220 guys and 30% pitchers, we'll have 154 position players. Divide by eight positions, and that's 19.25 players per position (let's forget the DHs for a moment). Does that mean that each position must include 19 players (and that four of them have 20)? Perhaps not. So what's the minimum for fairness? 15? 16? 10? The Hall says it's like 11 or 13 (on a 200-or-so-man roster). I would bet that if we took a straw poll, we'd probably all agree that 15 or 16 out of 19.25 at each position was probably a fair representation given the vagaries of some positions. That's like 75-80% of perfectly balanced representation by position. We'd be doing our job if we approached that level of balance, especially per The Coop...our designated touchstone for comparison.

Anyway, so maybe balance is a relative term and it connotes a certain basic level of representation instead of perfect representation.
   262. favre Posted: September 27, 2006 at 04:11 PM (#2189203)
But you're assuming that its not possible that 1925-1940 may actually have been populated by more meritorious players! If you take 7 15 year intervals, the odds that one of them may contain more HoM caliber players is very high.


About ten years ago I gathered the all-star seasons of Hall of Meriters into five year cohorts and posted them on the discussion thread; I'll run the updated versions next year. So far they are very consistent. From 1901-1965, about 25-30 HoMr's were having all-star seasons per five-year period, except 1921-25 (34 HoM'rs) and 1926-'30, '31-'35, '36-40 (about 42 HoMr's each). So that means there are, what, 30-40% more HoM'rs in the period '26-40 period than in any other fifteen-year period from 1901-1965.

Is it statistically probable that there are 30-40% more HoMr's in a fifteen-year period than the rest of 1901-65? I mean, it's certainly possible, but is it probable? I'm not a statistician, so if you guys say that it's likely, I can't argue with you.

Still, my guess is there are three reasons this occurred: 1. There was, in fact, a bump of meritorious players during this period, although not quite as much as we elected 2. As previously mentioned, we're really dealing with three leagues during this period, which means we were going to elect more 3. I'll take the heat for saying this: I think as an electorate we became a little infatuated with the era. I'm not sure why that is. The Hall of Fame did as well, but they were looking at batting averages and Frisch was putting his friends in the Hall; obviously neither was the case with us. And we did a much better job with the era than Cooperstown. There's just several guys from the era that I wouldn't have put in, and who, IMO, had weaker cases than other guys from other eras. I would take Jake Beckley and Frank Chance over Bill Terry; Vic Willis or Rube Waddell over Red Ruffing; Charley Jones or Gavvy Cravath over Joe Medwick; Tommy Leach over Earl Averill.

Again, that's just my opinion; if you want to dismiss as "speculative hand-waving," so be it. OTOH, I don't see why I should assume that a 30-40% increase over a given fifteen-year period is perfectly normal; and since we've elected about six or seven players from the era that I disagree with, I think it's reasonable for me to wonder if looking for more era balance would have been helpful.
   263. favre Posted: September 27, 2006 at 04:32 PM (#2189231)
I think as an electorate we became a little infatuated with the era.

It suddenly occurred to me that this statement could be interpreted much more strongly than I intended--that it was somehow unreasonable to vote for Ruffing or Medwick or Terry. I don't mean that at all. I didn't agree with those picks, but there were perfectly valid reasons for voting for them. Sorry if I offended anyone.

I do wonder if there is something about that era that is skewing the numbers, even sabermetric ones.
   264. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 27, 2006 at 05:08 PM (#2189268)
Favre,

I think you're hitting on an interesting point. Let's break it down by leagues here.

There are 496 team seasons in each MLB league bewteen 1920-1950. By my hand count there's about 345 team seasons in the NgL in this time. In any given season that's about 70% more combined total team seasons than in the majors alone.

How many players are we talking about? Let's say that each MLB team uses 20 players pretty regularly during the period. 13120 player seasons. But let's say the average career is about 7 player seasons. Dividing that makes about 1875 MLB players. Now let's say that the typical NgL team uses 16 players a year with seven-season careers as before. That's 5520 player seasons and 789 total players. Now we've got an estimate for 2664 total players, which is 42% more players than in MLB alone.

How many HOMers does that augur? I don't know because I haven't counted, but let's say 2.5 percent of the total pool of regulars. That would mean 47 MLB players and 20 NgLs for a total of 67 for the period (or 2.2 electees per cycle). Which means that we'd elect 42.6% more players en toto than we would doing just MLB guys. In other words, if my assumptions are anywhere close to correct (and they may not be, it's off the top of my head), then we're probably around the "mathematically correct" total of enshrinees for the period given the four-league structure.

Now the question raised somewhere above is whether or not they'd all be HOMers in an integrated league structure. That's not even close to answerable theoretically...but in terms of our mission it may not matter. We are in the business of recognizing great players. There were four major leagues in operation as far as we are concerned, two white, two black. We're selecting the best from each, not the best combined. That's not my interpretation, that's what the language of our constitution and the traditions of the institution have repeatedly directed us to do.

Refining my above assumptions and really nailing some of this info down would help, but I think generally we're doing pretty well given the mandate and the state of the game at that time. The bump up in the total electees 1920-1950, coinciding with the four leagues, has probably played out exactly as the framers set it up to.
   265. KJOK Posted: September 27, 2006 at 05:26 PM (#2189288)
<I>Still, my guess is there are three reasons this occurred: 1. There was, in fact, a bump of meritorious players during this period, although not quite as much as we elected 2. As previously mentioned, we're really dealing with three leagues during this period, which means we were going to elect more 3. I'll take the heat for saying this: I think as an electorate we became a little infatuated with the era. I'm not sure why that is. The Hall of Fame did as well, but they were looking at batting averages and Frisch was putting his friends in the Hall; obviously neither was the case with us. And we did a much better job with the era than Cooperstown. There's just several guys from the era that I wouldn't have put in, and who, IMO, had weaker cases than other guys from other eras. I would take Jake Beckley and Frank Chance over Bill Terry; Vic Willis or Rube Waddell over Red Ruffing; Charley Jones or Gavvy Cravath over Joe Medwick; Tommy Leach over Earl Averill. <I>

Some excellent points here, but in my own opinion, I think the #1 reason we have an "era problem" is because it coincided with the time when players began to ROUTINELY have "long careers." Of course, there were always long career players from Anson to Beckley to Cobb, etc., but moving into the 30's almost all "great" players had long careers, plus you had a lot of "very good" players who had long careers relative to the pre-1920's eras. (I don't really care "why" this happened, but I'd guess a combination of medical improvements, injury prevention, and economic factors)

I think evaluating based on careers, particularly using Win Shares, causes the electorate to view players in this era as more "meritorious" than in earlier eras, and is why we continue to 'miss the boat' on players like McGraw, Chance & Bresnahan and instead elect Averill, Slaughter, Doerr, etc.
   266. KJOK Posted: September 27, 2006 at 05:36 PM (#2189295)
Still, my guess is there are three reasons this occurred: 1. There was, in fact, a bump of meritorious players during this period, although not quite as much as we elected 2. As previously mentioned, we're really dealing with three leagues during this period, which means we were going to elect more 3. I'll take the heat for saying this: I think as an electorate we became a little infatuated with the era. I'm not sure why that is. The Hall of Fame did as well, but they were looking at batting averages and Frisch was putting his friends in the Hall; obviously neither was the case with us. And we did a much better job with the era than Cooperstown. There's just several guys from the era that I wouldn't have put in, and who, IMO, had weaker cases than other guys from other eras. I would take Jake Beckley and Frank Chance over Bill Terry; Vic Willis or Rube Waddell over Red Ruffing; Charley Jones or Gavvy Cravath over Joe Medwick; Tommy Leach over Earl Averill.

Some excellent points here, but in my own opinion, I think the #1 reason we have an "era problem" is because it coincided with the time when players began to ROUTINELY have "long careers." Of course, there were always long career players from Anson to Beckley to Cobb, etc., but moving into the 30's almost all "great" players had long careers, plus you had a lot of "very good" players who had long careers relative to the pre-1920's eras. (I don't really care "why" this happened, but I'd guess a combination of medical improvements, injury prevention, and economic factors)

I think evaluating based on careers, particularly using Win Shares, causes the electorate to view players in this era as more "meritorious" than in earlier eras, and is why we continue to 'miss the boat' on players like McGraw, Chance & Bresnahan and instead elect Averill, Slaughter, Doerr, etc.
   267. favre Posted: September 27, 2006 at 07:18 PM (#2189382)
Great analysis, Dr. C, and aninteresting point, KJOK. Thanks guys.
   268. TomH Posted: September 27, 2006 at 08:20 PM (#2189457)
nice points, guys.

For those bemoaning our tendency to honor the guys whose primes were in the 1920s and 30s, take heart; the top backlogger from the last election who fits in that time finished 10th. Of our next couple of dozen honorees, this group may take an O-fer.
   269. Howie Menckel Posted: September 28, 2006 at 02:14 AM (#2189912)
Catching up:
- I do believe we have leaned toward the 'pennant is a pennant is a pennant' approach, hence the 1920s-1930s 'excess.' That doesn't really bother me all that much.
- We've done a pretty nice job of electing 1850s-1900s players. I have a few more pretty high, but it's in the ballpark, I think.
   270. Chris Cobb Posted: September 28, 2006 at 02:56 AM (#2189970)
On issue of 1920s-1930s representation:

For the most part, I think we have not gone overboard on 1920s & 1930s players. All indications are that 1) the talent pool for the major leagues was just as large or larger than in had been in the years prior to 1920 and that 2) the quality of play was just as high or higher than in had been in the years prior to 1920.
3) The Negro Leagues came into their own, and as high or higher a percentage of black athletes were drawn into baseball than had been before, or would be after. There's every indication that this was just a great era for professional baseball.

However, KJOK's point about longer careers bears careful consideration. To see if career patterns and election patterns changed around 1920 and after, I looked at the peak rate (a player's rate over his best 5 consecutive seasons) for all HoMers and top candidates, sorted into decade groups. If great players having shorter careers was more typical prior to 1920 and those players had been dismissed by our voting, then more unelected players would appear among the top peak rate playerrs for each decade. I decided to count the unelected players whose peak rates were top 10 for their decade by both WARP and WS.

This is what I found:

1870s (WS) Levi Meyerle, #6. (WARP1) Davy Force, #4; Tommy Bond, #5, Levi Meyerle, #6.
1880s (WS) None [Browning might be top 10 w/out AA discount]. (WARP1) Fred Dunlap #1 [with UA discount!].
1890s (WS) John McGraw #5; (WARP1) Cupid Childs #10. [McGraw #11]
1900s (WS) Frank Chance #5; Rube Waddell #6; Addie Joss #8; (WARP1) Rube Waddell #8.
1910s (WS) None; (WARP1) None.
1920s (WS) None; (WARP1) None.
1930s (WS) None; (WARP1) None.
1940s (WS) Charlie Keller #7; (WARP1) Charlie Keller #8 [no war credit counted in either peak measure].
1950s (WS) Al Rosen #9; (WARP1) None.
1960s (WS) None; (WARP1) None.

Very few players with truly top-level talent over at least five seasons have not had enough seasonal/career value to win election to the HoM, and the large majority of those are early players, and two even of those (Waddell and Childs) have a very good shot at election even without a reevaluation by the electorate.

So the fullest list of languishing top-talent players with short careers is (as the comprehensive metrics see it -- pitching ws and NA ws, I should note, are my own modified brew):

Levi Meyerle
Tommy Bond
Davy Force
Pete Browning
Fred Dunlap
John McGraw
Frank Chance
Addie Joss
Charlie Keller
Al Rosen

I don't assemble this list to advocate for these players as a group, but I think they are an interesting group, and I thought it worth reinforcing KJOK's point about changing career patterns due in part to better medical care: Meyerle, McGraw, Browning, Chance, and Joss all suffered from conditions that might have been prevented/mended later. A bad back could still take you down in the 1940s and 1950s, but losing career to broken ankles, beanballs, and disease seems to have been more readily avoided.
   271. Chris Cobb Posted: September 28, 2006 at 03:05 AM (#2189985)
I should also note: the list does make it crystal clear that players of this talent virtually never have careers this short without some adverse event or events playing a role. The only players in this group who don't (as far as I know) have a sad or strange story connected with them are Davy Force (who might qualify via the fair-foul hit rule change), Fred Dunlap, and Cupid Childs. And all of them may be on the list because WARP1 overrates 19th century second-basemen. But as ballplayers go, this is one hard-luck group . . .
   272. KJOK Posted: September 28, 2006 at 04:33 AM (#2190093)
Thanks for putting analysis to my suppositions Chris.

I'd also guess that if you "position adjusted" Win Shares for your study that Bresnahan's name would pop up in there...
   273. sunnyday2 Posted: September 28, 2006 at 05:03 AM (#2190126)
>There have been posts in this thread indicating the contrary, and posts in NgL threads indicating that the writers believed that there should a populationally proportionate number of black HoFers.

Well, it's been argued, but it's not what we've done.
   274. Sean Gilman Posted: September 28, 2006 at 05:14 AM (#2190148)
Browning doesn't make your top ten in WARP1 peak rate?
   275. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 28, 2006 at 09:02 AM (#2190211)
About ten years ago I gathered the all-star seasons of Hall of Meriters into five year cohorts and posted them on the discussion thread; I'll run the updated versions next year. So far they are very consistent. From 1901-1965, about 25-30 HoMr's were having all-star seasons per five-year period, except 1921-25 (34 HoM'rs) and 1926-'30, '31-'35, '36-40 (about 42 HoMr's each). So that means there are, what, 30-40% more HoM'rs in the period '26-40 period than in any other fifteen-year period from 1901-1965.


Part of the reason for this is that baseball of the 1930s was the highest quality there ever was to that point. You hadn't had an expansion in 40 years by the time WWII hit (save for the Federal League); yet the population was expanding and there was little competition from other sports.

There are all sort of reasons why the post-war generation would generate fewer HoMers than pre-war, including short careers, because if even a few people decide to not give war credit, then they've made the decision for the group that we won't give war credit (because the elections are so close, a block that chooses not to credit these players can do enough damage to their causes all by itself).

Also post-war other sports start creeping into the equation. A few 18-22 year olds that may have become HoMers were probably killed or crippled in WWII, not to mention that a whole generation lost 3 years of development time.

I still think the late 1930s were a stronger caliber of baseball than the early 1950s even with integration. Integration probably closed the gap to make the late 50s even with the late 30s . . .
   276. sunnyday2 Posted: September 28, 2006 at 11:49 AM (#2190229)
Interesting question, though one that we have discussed many times before: that is, when was baseball at its best? When, IOW, was there the greatest ratio of talent to roster slots?

The denominator is fairly easy--roster slots, though one could argue that we are not just talking ML teams, and certainly we have to include the NeLs. If we do that, if we include the NeLs in the equation, then one could say that baseball was in fact at its most over-expanded state in the '20s and '30s, when there were so many more teams than there would be in the '50s and beyond. OTOH one could argue that there was for all intents and purposes almost no black talent pool before 1920 because, while there were black ballplayers, they didn't really participate in the market. So maybe the '20s and '30s were actually no weaker--the additional teams mirrored the additional talent.

Still, pegging the numerator in the equation--the talent pool--is fiendishly tricky, assuming you want to distinguish the talent pool from the general population. Not everybody is a ballplayer, not every sub-group produces ballplayers, and some qualified athletes indeed bleed off into other opportunities. Still if you posited, at a 40,000 foot level, that the talent pool has expanded in more or less straight line fashion since 1865, I think you would probably fit your data points pretty well.

Roster slots, then, increase (and sometimes decrease) in fits and starts. So it seems clear enough that periods just before expansion and/or after contraction would see the best ball. From that perspective it seems to me that the '50s would have vastly better talent, on average. than the '30s (just as the 1890s would be better than the 1880s).

The '60s saw 4 more ML teams, or a 25 percent increase from 1960 to 1970, but as black players went from a few to a great many, I would guess the talent pool expanded more than that, even with the growth of professional football and basketball.

Then there were only 2 ML teams each added in 1977, 1993 and 1998 (I think it was), going up 25 percent from 24 to 30 over a period of more than 30 years. And I would have to guess that the talent pool againincreased more than 25 percent with the influx of Latin players, and despite what with the disapperance of the black ballplayer and also with growing participation in other sports.

That's a hypothesis, which more to the point, means that the caliber of ball today should be higher than at any time since the first expansion in 1961, and probably higher than the theoretical high point in 1960, and ergo higher than at any time in history.

Underlying all of the this is the vexing question of whether we are trying to honor value or ability, however. By virtue of the large number of HoMers from the 1930s, when IMO baseball was weak because of the very large number of "ML" (including NeL) roster spots available, it seems clear that (apart from the question of what we are trying to do) we are honoring value, which is to say we are responding more to opportunities (the denominator in the basic equation) than to the talent pool (the numerator). Arguments that go to the size of the talent pool are apparently just tie-breakers. Or to give an example, the number of HoMers from the 1950s (when baseball was at a theoretical high point in quality) is constrained more by the fact that there were 16 teams than by the fact that the talent pool was as big or bigger than it ever was.
   277. Chris Cobb Posted: September 28, 2006 at 12:23 PM (#2190238)
Browning doesn't make your top ten in WARP1 peak rate?

No, he doesn't. In my own rankings, I apply an AA discount (steep for very early AA), that puts Brownnig at 13.95 WARP1/162 g. That's good for the 22nd spot.

When I removed the AA discount, he rose to 16.03 WARP1/162 g. That's stronger-looking, but it's still only good for 11th place, assuming lifting the AA discount from someone else doesn't move them up, too (I didn't check every AA player without a discount). If I'd noticed that Browning got as close as 11th place with the discount removed, I would have mentioned it. I also should have made it clear that my WARP1 numbers included a discount, but I didn't check my records as carefully as I should have on that point.

WARP pings Browning pretty seriously for his fielding, and it places great emphasis on infield defense in the 1880s.

Top 10 rates for 1880s players, WARP1
Dunlap 18.86, Radbourn 18.3, Brouthers 17.93, Gore 17.52, Caruthers 17.05, Anson 16.76 (all 1870s seasons), Hines 16.65, Connor 16.63, Richardson 16.51, Ewing 16.16 (Without AA discount, Bid McPhee bumps Ewing for the 10 spot with 16.45).

Top 10 rates for 1880s players, WS (pws heavily modified, fws boosted 30%)
Brouthers 41.56, Connor 40.17, Gore 39.02, Hines 37.9, Kelly 37.59, Ewing 35.66, Anson 35.52, Caruthers 35.25, O'Rourke 35.14, Richardson 34.41

(Browning with AA discount is 33.66, so it's clear that without the discount he'd flip into the top 10 by WS, either just ahead or just behind Hines & Kelly).

A couple of caveats:

(1) my system groups players by the decade in which they had the most value, but their peaks may lie partly outside that decade. Position-player value above replacement is declines sharply, as WARP1 sees it, through the late 1870s and all of the 1880s as value shifts from fielders to pitchers. So players whose total career value groups them in the 1880s but whose peaks began in the late 1870s have an edge in peak rate over players like Browning, whose peaks were somewhat later.

(2) My 1880s stats are based on WARP1 numbers from March of 2005. There have been two revisions of WARP1 since then, so anyone running this study with the current numbers might get slightly different results.
   278. karlmagnus Posted: September 28, 2006 at 12:28 PM (#2190240)
Sunnyday2, doesn't the theoretical high point of the talent pool come in 1900, with only 8 ML teams. With the baby boom less than 14 at the time, I would guess that 1960's ballplayer-age population was less than twice 1900's.

Who had a very good season in 1900 and is therefore undervalued by the electorate? Well -- I'm sure there was someone; probably an infielder, which was more difficult at that time ... the name's on the tip of my tongue....
   279. rawagman Posted: September 28, 2006 at 12:33 PM (#2190241)
I forget where exactly, but somewhere in the NBJHBA, he makes the point that early in the days of baseball, there was a greater disparity between the great players and the replacement level.
At a certain point, the average began catching up with the great, so the overall level of play improved, but the great players couldn't stick out quite as much.
It could be that with improved scouting, ballplayers who had the stuff to succeed were more involved in 1920's-1930's baseball - the Babe Ruth effect would have driven many good athletes into trying the same course themselves. There happened to be a slightly increased number of the greats playing at baseball's highest levels, but the replacements were still at the same replacement level as they were 20-30 years prior.
After the 1930's several effects (post-Depression, WWII) would have stopped this flow of over-abundance. By the 50's, once the flow of youth into baseball would have been able to right itself fully and integrate with the NeL's, the replacement level was also ripe for the increase and it became more difficult for players to truly stick out - witness the drying up of big peaks until the change in the pitching game in the 60's.
   280. karlmagnus Posted: September 28, 2006 at 12:34 PM (#2190242)
BTW yes, I remmebr you have to knock out African-Americans from the 1900 population to compare fairly. Even so, I think 1900 wins it, because 1960's population was so age-skewed towards kids; the 1930s were years of "birth dearth" for obvious reasons.
   281. TomH Posted: September 28, 2006 at 01:50 PM (#2190291)
There are all sort of reasons why the post-war generation would generate fewer HoMers than pre-war...

I still think the late 1930s were a stronger caliber of baseball than the early 1950s even with integration. Integration probably closed the gap to make the late 50s even with the late 30s


Joe, I've read your analysis in this area, and it's both courageous and insightful, but I still have a hard time swallowing your conclusion.

It would seem that increased TV exposure and more $$ for players would bring more great athletes into baseball in the 1950s. Farm systems were more developed, and they were less free (more slaves of the MLB clubs) which should have aided the scouting process and getting the best talent into MLB; you really have far fewer Gavy Cravaths or Lefty Groves stuck in the minors in 1955. The NFL and NBA I doubt drained more than a few extra MLB careers in the 50s vice the 30s. Yes, the two Wars stole careers, but when you consider that probably 30% of the best players were dark-skinned by the fuly integrated game, thus "contracting" all MLB-quality play into 16 teams, I gotta believe the late 50s were 1 or 2 cuts above the 1930s. But I will admit it is probably to a degree less than I would have supposed a mere brief month ago.
   282. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 28, 2006 at 02:15 PM (#2190319)
with the influx of Latin players,

E tu, Sunnyday2?

Sic temper tyrannus!!!!
   283. DavidFoss Posted: September 28, 2006 at 02:40 PM (#2190353)
The only players in this group who don't (as far as I know) have a sad or strange story connected with them are Davy Force (who might qualify via the fair-foul hit rule change), Fred Dunlap, and Cupid Childs.

Cupid Childs had a bad bout with malaria in early 1899 and was never the same player after that. He ended up dying of Bright's disease at the age of 45. SABR Bio
   284. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: September 28, 2006 at 02:47 PM (#2190359)
Karl,

The problem is that in 1900 we are still talking mostly about East Coast whites playing, maybe a few guys form the midwest. The talent pool isn't the total white population because every white kid did not really have an equal chance to play in the NL. Add onto this a few other things like the beginnings of an influz of Latino (many times from outside the country)and as well as black players into baseball and the incredibly inefficient player development system around the turn of the century and I highly doubt that 1900 was a high point in baseball competitiveness. Was 1900 higher than 1901-1910? Yes, but higher than 1960? Come on.

I would also agree with Sunnyday that today is the highest point of baseball competitiveness.
   285. Chris Cobb Posted: September 28, 2006 at 03:12 PM (#2190390)
David Foss wrote:

Cupid Childs had a bad bout with malaria in early 1899 and was never the same player after that. He ended up dying of Bright's disease at the age of 45.

Sad, but fascinating, and it gives further reinforcement to the pattern of disease and injury bringing down top players prior to 1920.

KJOK wrote:

Thanks for putting analysis to my suppositions Chris.

My pleasure. Thank you for putting forward a provocative supposition!

I'd also guess that if you "position adjusted" Win Shares for your study that Bresnahan's name would pop up in there

Peak rate is the one ranking stat that I don't adjust for position, since playing time disparities are the chief factor differentiating the career and peak values of different positions. Catchers tend to have lower per-game rates, nevertheless, because they more frequently play partial games than other positions and because their defensive responsibilities sap their offense, though the latter effect tends to kick in more strongly after the peak seasons, so it affects career rates more than peak ones. I can still see an argument for doing a position adjustment, but I don't know how I would make it.

Certainly, among catchers, Bresnahan ranks among the highest all time in peak rate relative to his contemporaries, as WS sees it, at least. I think he shows up around 11 or 12 on the 1900 decade list. His peak includes quite a bit of time in centerfield, however. When I am at home tonight and have my full spreadsheets at my disposal, I'll do a study of Bresnahan's rate compared to his peers, compared to other catchers compared to their peers.
   286. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 28, 2006 at 09:26 PM (#2190701)
I just wanted to let you guys know that I'm back full-time, now that I have my provisional license to sell real estate now. :-)

I'll finally start tallying up ballots sometime this week and should have a ballot ready to post tomorrow. I'll also try to catch up with all posts from the past few days.
   287. rawagman Posted: September 28, 2006 at 09:52 PM (#2190728)
congrats, John!
   288. jimd Posted: September 28, 2006 at 11:22 PM (#2190780)
Hey, we're talking demographic stuff. Some fuel for the fires here:

The estimated US population today is just shy of 300M. Say it could support 32 teams. If we assume in the past that there was equal incentive to play, equal opportunity to play, and equal efficiency at finding the players (all false to varying degrees, but you have to start with some assumptions, and modify from there), then:

2006: 300M 32 teams
1950: 152M 16 teams
1900: 76M 8 teams
1870: 38M 4 teams

The population of 1900 could have supported 8 MLB teams at a modern level. They weren't at a modern level because of issues with incentive, opportunity, and efficiency, but the population base was there. (Extra issues include balancing non-US players vs competition from other major sports, etc., when calculating the true base for modern MLB.)
   289. jimd Posted: September 28, 2006 at 11:47 PM (#2190797)
The problem is that in 1900 we are still talking mostly about East Coast whites playing, maybe a few guys form the midwest.

This is overstating that case. HOMers came from all over the Union. Anson and McVey were from Iowa, Spalding and Barnes from Illinois, Galvin from Missouri, Glasscock from West Virginia, Thompson and Rusie from Indiana. The West did not have much impact, but it did not have much population either (less than 5% of 1900 census). The South was the missing element, both black and white (90% of blacks lived in the south; less than 2% of the non-southern population was black). MLB drew from all over (inefficiently, I'll grant you) the country, except for the South, very conspicuous by its absence, enough that one might wonder if there was discrimination against that region.
   290. TomH Posted: September 29, 2006 at 12:32 AM (#2190815)
when I want to sell my house, John, I'll let you know. Probably the day after I die :)
   291. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: September 29, 2006 at 12:41 AM (#2190821)
This is overstating that case. HOMers came from all over the Union. Anson and McVey were from Iowa, Spalding and Barnes from Illinois, Galvin from Missouri, Glasscock from West Virginia, Thompson and Rusie from Indiana. The West did not have much impact, but it did not have much population either (less than 5% of 1900 census). The South was the missing element, both black and white (90% of blacks lived in the south; less than 2% of the non-southern population was black). MLB drew from all over (inefficiently, I'll grant you) the country, except for the South, very conspicuous by its absence, enough that one might wonder if there was discrimination against that region.


Indeed. The pattern of baseballs regional expansion goes something like:

1880's: Dominated by Northeast and PA
1890's: Northeast, GLakes, OHV, Mid Atlantic
1900's: Dixie.

In the traditional story of baseball's expansion, Ty Cobb was the flagbearer for the new generation of Southern athletes in the aughts.
   292. sunnyday2 Posted: September 29, 2006 at 01:08 AM (#2190873)
So the US population today is about double 1950 while the number of ML teams has just less than doubled.

But in 1950 you had barely scratched the surface on black talent--of course in 2006 you have relatively little black talent in the pool anymore, either. So the the big wild card is Latin talent. As a result, I would say that competition today is at least somewhat better than in 1950, along with the fact that the number of teams has not quite kept pace.

Clearly in 1900 competition was also not as tough because you had no black talent in the pool--and a year earlier and throughout most of the '90s you had 12 teams, so '90s ball was diluted, too.
   293. yest Posted: September 29, 2006 at 02:05 AM (#2190984)
today your now missing a lot of other wise would be players (black, white and latin) who live in cities in the noth east due to a increasing limitiation of fields (the decreasing number of field and the increasing hardships of getting permits are) and players (schools are droping baseball teams)
   294. DavidFoss Posted: September 29, 2006 at 02:15 AM (#2190995)
The 2007 HOF Veterans Committee ballot has been released. The 27 names feature HOM-ers Dick Allen, Wes Ferrell and Ron Santo.

2007 HOF VC
   295. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 29, 2006 at 02:28 AM (#2191007)
Plus Gordon and Torre too.

I'm shocked (shocked!!!) that Bill Dahlen's not on that list.... ; )
   296. Chris Cobb Posted: September 29, 2006 at 03:22 AM (#2191056)
Following up on KJOK’s question about Roger Bresnahan’s peak rate relative to other catchers, here is a ranking of major-league catchers’ peak rates by their rank within their decade cohort through the 1970s. It’s possible that I missed some early catchers from the 1870s and 1880s who would have made this list, but, although I have treated decades equally, I think it is less impressive for catchers who peaked before 1885 to place highly, both because the pool was so much smaller and because it was easier for catchers to stay healthy before the schedule began to expand and pitchers began to throw hard.

On Bresnahan: WARP1 sees his peak effectiveness as being outstanding, but not so outstanding as to place him ahead of all other eligible catchers by this measure. WS does see him as the top unelected eligible catcher by this measure. By both measures, Elston Howard would appear to have a very comparable peak case to Bresnahan.

I was surprised to see Jack Clements on both lists. This way of looking at catchers sure reinforces Johnny Bench’s greatness.

WARP1
1. Deacon White 1870s #7
1. Johnny Bench 1970s #7
3. Cal McVey 1870s #10
3. Buck Ewing 1880s #10
5. Charlie Bennett 1880s #15
5. Yogi Berra 1950s #15
7. Roy Campanella 1950s #18
8. Jack Clements 1890s #19
9. Chief Zimmer 1890s #22
9. Johnny King 1900s #22
11. Joe Torre 1960s #23
12. Ted Simmons 1970s #24
13. Roger Bresnahan 1900s #25
13. Elston Howard 1960s #25
15. Mickey Cochrane 1930s #26
16. Bill Dickey 1930s #30
16. Gene Tenace 1970s #30
18. Bill Freehan 1960s #31
18. Darrell Porter 1970s #31
20. Ray Schalk 1910s #32
20. Thurman Munson 1970s #32

WS
1. Deacon White 1870s #4
2. Buck Ewing 1880s #6
3. Cal McVey 1870s #8
4. Yogi Berra 1950s #9
4. Johnny Bench 1970s #9
6. Mickey Cochrane 1930s #11
7. Roy Campanella 1950s #13
8. Roger Bresnahan 1900s #14
9. Bill Dickey 1930s #15
10. Charlie Bennett 1880s #18
10. Elston Howard 1960s #18
12. Gene Tenace 1970s #20
13. Ted Simmons 1970s #21
14. Bill Freehan 1960s #22
15. Jack Clements 1890s #24
15. Thurrman Munson 1970s #24
17. Wally Schang 1920s #26
18. Darrell Porter 1970s #28
19. Gabby Hartnett 1930s #29
20. Joe Torre 1960s #32

Note: Negro-League players are included in the decade cohorts, but I have not included them in the rankings because peak estimates for them are not very precise. It appears that Josh Gibson would top the rankings as the #1-#3 player for the 1930s, Louis Santop would probably place around #15 to #25 for the 1910s, Quincy Trouppe would place around #28-#32 for the 1940s, and Biz Mackey (whose strength is not in his peak) would not place within the ML top 20.
   297. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: September 29, 2006 at 03:33 AM (#2191067)
Chris,

Have you taken into consideration the different positions that players played? For instance Joe Torre and Regoer Bresnahan did not play their entire careers at catcher, which may skew things a little bit.
   298. yest Posted: September 29, 2006 at 05:18 AM (#2191167)
no Billy Southworth :,O ?????
   299. Chris Cobb Posted: September 29, 2006 at 05:19 AM (#2191169)
Have you taken into consideration the different positions that players played? For instance Joe Torre and Regoer Bresnahan did not play their entire careers at catcher, which may skew things a little bit.

In a word, no.

This measure tracks each player's performance during his five best consecutive years, by rate, and compares him to his immediate peers, and then to players from other decades based on his rank relative to his peers. The player may or may not have been playing exclusively as a catcher during that period.

Since my goal is to show how these players performed at their best, the fact that they may have been playing other positions as well as catcher is not something this measure tracks.

For the purposes of giving a sense of how Bresnahan stacks up relative to the "hard luck 10" I identified in post 270 above, I thought it would be useful to contextualize him in relation to other catchers as well as in relation to his immediate peers.

Since only 6 catchers (Gibson, White, McVey, Ewing, Berra, and Bench) have managed to place in the top 10 by rate in their decade peer groups, and three of those peaked before 1885 and the other 3 are the three greatest catchers ever (through 1986), it does appear that catchers have a harder time achieving a great peak rate than players at other positions, since one would expect about 10 players per position. This difficulty may suggest that players who played positions other than catcher during their peak but who were mainly catchers during their career would have an advantage in peak rate comparisons.

As I am not trying to make an argument about how to evaluate these players but am simply sharing data that I have that others may find interesting, I don't see that the data can be "skewed." It measures what it measures, and as long as it is clear what is being measured, one can decide how to use the data as part of an evaluation.

Catchers listed above who spent c. 1/3 to 1/2 of their playing time during their peaks:

Bresnahan, about 1/2 by WARP, 1/3 by WS (WS peak 1903-08, WARP1, 1903-07, Bres. caught 126 games in 08)
Ewing, about 1/3 (his peak is 1881-86)
McVey, about 1/2 (his peak is 1871-75)
Schang, about 1/3 (his peak in WARP1 is 1916-20, WS 1913-22, so less than 1/3 by WS)
Tenace, about 1/3 (his peak 1975-79)
Torre, about 1/3 (his peak 1963-67)
White, about 1/3 (his peak 1875-79)
   300. yest Posted: September 29, 2006 at 05:29 AM (#2191183)
did anyone else notice the compositite ballot was the exact same as last time
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