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

Sunday, October 15, 2006

1988 Ballot Discussion

1988 (October 30)—elect 2
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)

370 101.3 1963 Willie Stargell-LF/1B (2001)
325 86.4 1967 Reggie Smith-CF/RF
256 97.1 1964 Luis Tiant-P
277 71.9 1969 Bobby Murcer-RF/CF*
225 56.6 1967 Lee May-1B
161 58.9 1967 Sparky Lyle-RP
199 44.2 1970 John Mayberry-1B
162 55.2 1967 Mark Belanger-SS (1998)
173 43.0 1968 Joe Rudi-LF
130 48.8 1968 Stan Bahnsen-P
138 42.5 1968 Del Unser-CF
125 46.8 1969 Bill Lee-P
139 39.7 1974 Ron LeFlore-CF
141 34.3 1971 Willie Montanez-1B
110 41.6 1973 Doc Medich-P
120 31.2 1969 Jim Spencer-1B (2002)

Players Passing Away in 1987
HoMers
Age Elected

None

Candidates
Age Eligible

92 1943 Bob Smith-P/SS
86 1945 Luke Sewell-C
84 1943 Babe Herman-RF
83 1942 Travis Jackson-SS
82 1945 Pinky Whitney-3B
81 1951 Paul Derringer-P
79 1948 Larry French-P
79 1948 George Selkirk-RF/LF
78 1946 Zeke Bonura-1B
69 1957 Jim Russell-LF
65 1962 Dale Mitchell-LF
57 1980 Don McMahon-RP
51 1974 Dick Howser-SS/Mgr
50 1975 Jerry Adair-2B
49 1982 Jim Brewer-RP

Thanks, Dan!

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 15, 2006 at 07:57 PM | 319 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. jimd Posted: October 18, 2006 at 02:26 AM (#2215862)
Anyway, who are the possible problem children?

I would submit that they are most likely the ones who had the most trouble getting elected.

That is (in reverse chronological order): Bell, Medwick, Ruffing, Ferrell, Averill.

Terry straddled the 1920's/1930's and so beat the rush; he didn't have any trouble getting elected, but the pool was depleted at that point, getting elected ahead of Rixey, Sewell, Beckwith, Griffith, Jennings, Sisler, Waddell, and Mendez, deep backloggers all (except for Beckwith who had his own set of issues to be discussed and was in his 3rd election). I'm not sure he should be included in this discussion.

I find the issue with the 1930's to come down to the following two-sided question. Was it an expansion era and therefore the numbers should have been discounted appropriately? Or was it truly a Golden Era?

I think a good case can be built for the latter, as WARP-3 appears to indicate.
   102. jimd Posted: October 18, 2006 at 02:30 AM (#2215872)
I think a good case can be built for the latter, as WARP-3 appears to indicate.

And Joe has posted a good portion of the argument. ;-)
   103. jimd Posted: October 18, 2006 at 02:36 AM (#2215884)
Something seems to have been going on here.

I think it has to do with the combination of those two factors. Expansion of the number of teams, and expansion of the number of pitching roles. We had a similar situation in the 1880's, with similar results: a large number of viable pitching candidates. They probably would have had longer careers too but they ran into contraction and a major change in the pitching mechanics.
   104. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 18, 2006 at 02:52 AM (#2215942)
1. I might characterize Lefty Grove as split 20's/30's, the A's dynasty was 29-31 iwth a secondplace in 1928 and in 24/25, Grove was in Baltimore pitching at a level that was certainly MLB quality, if not all-star.

2. Intersting thought about leadoff hitters and teh uberstats Tom. I hadn't thought about the latter point. however, the viewpoint you take is getting dangerously close to the theory behind WPA, which I don't buy. You can't control if the teammates in front of you are getting on base to make your at bat more valuable. At the same time, you can't really control whether or not you hit leadoff or 2nd or 7th. However, hitting leadoff gives a player more actual value in that have more PA's. It is a fine line to walk but I am willing to except the uberstat stance here. I don't like WPA because i believe that a single is a single and a double is a double, etc. There should be more value given to one in the 7th with runners on in a tight game vs. one in blowout, they take the same abount of skill. Batters are leveraged like pitchers are. Then again, one could argue that they are slightly leveraged because the best hitters are put into positions where they should get up with runners on. I think I am talking in circles.

3. As for the 1930's, there doesn't have to be a higher level of play overall for there to be more HOMers, it is possible that the levle of play was the same but there were more HOM level players. Well, that and Red Ruffing and Cool Papa bell were mistakes...;-)
   105. DavidFoss Posted: October 18, 2006 at 02:52 AM (#2215948)
Simmons: close, but 30s only

I think I was the guy who mentioned the endpoint issue. For fun, I looked at the best 10-year fit for 1930s guys.

25-34 Lyons, Simmons
26-35 Cochrane, Terry
27-36 Gehrig, Waner
28-37 Grove, Hartnett
29-38 Averill, Ferrell, Foxx, Gehringer
30-39 Cronin, Dickey, Hubbell, Ott
32-41 Ruffing, Vaughn
33-42 Medwick
34-43 Greenberg(MLE), Herman

So, although I would argue that Simmons should be added to your list of Tweener (very mediocre after 1934), I was wrong in that the 30s is a pretty good bin for this group. Shifting the bins to 33-42 to frame WWII would lose the top four guys and put the next two on the border, but it might also pick up guys like Appling, Hack and perhaps even Dimaggio, Feller and Mize from the 40s.

Hmmm... not sure I have a cogent point here, but I had too much fun to not post. ;-)
   106. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 18, 2006 at 03:17 AM (#2216044)
OCF's post got me thinking about the 1987 Cardinals and there 7 leadoff hitters. That was the team that was in RBI baseball, maybe my favorite nintendo game of all-time. The funniest thing about the Cardinals is that game was that everyone but Clark was fast. My brother would always beat me by hitting a single and just getting into a series of rundown with Coleman, Smith, McGee, Herr and Co. until he got home. The only hope I had was to pitch really well, which I was able to do when I was the AL All-Stars and Bret Saberhagen.
   107. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 18, 2006 at 03:37 AM (#2216119)
For the few Jack Quinn supporters out there:

Quinn's World Series totals are 11 IP in 3 different series, ERA of 8.44, 0-1 record.


Context is everything - for one his team won 2 of the 3 series, so he didn't exactly kill them.

He was age 38, 46 and 47 for those outings. It's 11 innings and 1 start. Not exactly a deal-breaker for the other 3900+ IP he threw in the majors with a 114 ERA+, 247 wins and 57 saves - not to mention 3 pretty good years in the PCL.

A Quinn tidbit, he's buried in Pottsville, PA, in the same cemetary as Jake Daubert, home of Yuengling beer!
   108. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 18, 2006 at 03:47 AM (#2216162)
I have Red Ruffing as the #11 pitcher of all time to this point. He defintely wasn't a mistake. I also have 117/829 of his value as with the stick, you need to count that too. He was the most valuable hitting pitcher of the 20th century, IMO (Ferrell was 103 BRAR).

Even without the hitting I'd have him around 16-17. He threw a ton of innings, has a nice though not spectacular peak. He was a great player.
   109. Chris Cobb Posted: October 18, 2006 at 04:12 AM (#2216202)
I wrote:

I think that this idea is a bit of a stretch. I am not inclined to believe that merit is randomly distributed. Professional baseball seeks to identify and cultivate talent and to inculcate skill. Given the continual efforts of teams to develop great players, why shouldn't the production of great players be roughly proportional to the resources of the industry? Baseball players aren't widgets, but I would suggest that "baseball aptitude" is not terribly rare among human beings. The development of that aptitude would depend mostly on the ability of teams to recruit and train people with baseball aptitude, and the ability of professional leagues to do so is surely related to their financial viability. (Incentives for fans and for players are co-related.)

R. Cano wrote:

Everything you're saying is true, but how does that support the notion of equal number of HoM-caliber players in every decade? Aren't you basically supporting the notion that some decades will produce more HoMers than others? (Unless you believe that the system is perfectly calibrated to produce precisely 17 HoMers per year...)

Well, for one thing, the resources of the industry do have some relationship to the number of major-league teams (and professional teams overall), so that the relative stability of the majors in size from the 1880s through the 1950s would suggest that the number of great players being produced would also be relatively stable.

I don't put too much stock in the "17 HoMers per decade" figure, actually, because there's a certain smoothing going on in the accounting. Why is Anson counted in the 1870s but not the 1880s? Why is Cy Young counted in the 1890s but not the 1900s? There are a number of cases where judgment calls have been made about where to place a player that create an image of greater regularity in the numbers than a more detailed, season-by-season accounting would support. _My_ own decade-by-decade accounting shows somewhat more variation. The decades check in at 2, 8, 17, 13.5, 18.5, 13, 20.5, 27, 17.5, 17, 19, 0 for 1860 through 1970 so far. I don't set too much store by my own decadal numbers, but they show me that the "all-17s" version has a certain arbitrariness to it. I see a pattern that shows a relatively steady correlation between # of teams and # of HoMers, with some variation due to randomness and the changing strength of the professional game.
   110. KJOK Posted: October 18, 2006 at 05:51 AM (#2216287)
I wrote:

"The main point is that Brock has about 10 other corner OF'ers in HIS TIME that are better than him, while Beckley is in the top 2 or 3 at his positon during HIS TIME. Any player with Brock's ranking relative to his peers shouldn't even be in the discussion."

and a reply was:

Brock finished 28 in last year's voting, with 11 votes. 60 others who got votes did worse than Brock. In the Hall of Merit's spirit, perhaps we could refrain from calling those who support Brock or any other less well liked candidate "ridiculous" or suggesting that we should not even be contemplating their candidacies.

First, I should clarify that 'shouldn't even be in the discussion' refers to Brock in the Beckley discussion/comparison, NOT that Brock shouldn't be in the HOM discussion!

Second, I presented 'facts' (Brock's ranking in his era vs. Beckley in his) and then gave my interpetation for discussion (Brock doesn't belong in the Beckley discussion as a comparative). I don't see anything at all in that which would be against the "HOM Spirit", or that called those who support Brock "ridiculous" in any way, or suggested "that we should not even be contemplating their candidacies". As I see it, presenting some facts, then giving our opinions/interpretations is EXACTLY what the "HOM Spirit" is all about!
   111. DavidFoss Posted: October 18, 2006 at 06:26 AM (#2216302)
OCF's post got me thinking about the 1987 Cardinals and there 7 leadoff hitters

2nd in the league in runs with a 94 OPS+. Holy Piranhas, Batman! ;-) 1st in OBP and first in steals.
   112. DavidFoss Posted: October 18, 2006 at 07:22 AM (#2216313)
Since we are walking down memory lane, we can't pass up an oppurtunity to talk about the 1987 Twins.

- Outscored during the season (Pythag record of 79-83). They were 56-25 at home and 29-52 on the road. Back then, home-field advantage was a four-year rotation and both 1987 & 1991 were years that the AL West was guaranteed home-field the whole way.
- Their offense included four 28+ HR sluggers (Hrbek, Brunansky, Gaetti & Puckett) an average hitting SS and holes everywhere else. The C,2B & LF (Laudner, Lombardozzi & Gladden) had OPS+'s of 64,69 & 75 but each one of those three hit well in the World Series (Gladden had a great ALCS).
- Their pitching included one of Viola's better seasons, a decent season from Blyleven despite giving up 46 gopher balls (four short of his previous season's record), the serviceable Les Straker. Several guys tried to fill out the remain two spots. Mike Smithson's 5.94 ERA puts him #4 on the depth chart. Joe Niekro (and his emery board), Steve Carlton, and Mark Portugal are familar names, but they all had ERA's of over 6 that year. Relief ace Juan Berenguer performed admirably in six spot starts.
- In the AL West, the defending champion Angels collapsed all the way to last place. The A's were a year away from a dynasty (lacked pitching) and the Royals' aging hitters couldn't support their fine pitching staff.
- The Twins picked got Don Baylor to clear waivers and traded a PTBNL for him just before September 1st. He did not hit well in September, but had an excellent World Series with a key homer in Game 6 to tie the game. That homer and Hrbek's grand slam the following inning really turned the whole series back around.
- Key Cardinal batter Jack Clark sprained his ankle on September 9th and did not play in the World Series.
- A very memorable World Series (at least for Twins fans :)). 7 home victories for the first time. The Twins outscored the Cardinals 29-10 in their first three victories and were outscored 14-5 in their three road losses. Then in Game 7, Viola spotted the Cardinals two runs in the top of the second inning. The Twins nibbled away with single runs in the 2nd, 5th, 6th and 8th innings while Viola & Reardon shut down the Cardinals the rest of the way.
   113. fra paolo Posted: October 18, 2006 at 01:36 PM (#2216401)
I’m puzzled by how some pairs or groups of players who seem to have similar cases for HoM membership
don’t draw similar levels of votes. Here’s two examples which seem currently relevant to me:

<u>Freehan vs Munson</U>
Freehan and Munson are very closely matched on prime value. Freehan has a couple more peak seasons, but Munson
rapidly catches up across the whole prime period. Furthermore, though Freehan has a better record on errors, Munson
cleans his clock on throwing out runners. I can see where career voters might discount Munson for his absence of a
decline phase, but peak/prime types really should take a closer look at Munson.

Best 5 seasons, WARP3
Munson    9.5   9.4   8.0   7.7   7.6   Career 72.8
Freehan  11.3   9.6   8.1   7.0   5.8   Career 77.6

<u>Nellie Fox vs Bill Mazeroski (and Tony Oliva)</u>
I think the complete absence of support for Mazeroski’s candidacy is the worst mistake made by the HoM electorate
in my short time as an active voter. If any player can point to his fielding record and say, “this is good enough to
add five wins a season” it seems to me to be Maz.

Best 5 seasons WARP3
Mazeroski   9.4   9.3   9.1   8.6   8.6   Career   98.8
Fox        12.1    10.0   8.9   7.9   7.7 Career   98.2

That Fox is making a strong run at election while Mazeroski hasn’t got a single vote in 1987 makes me want to say
“shame on you”. Fox is without doubt a better hitter, and his four Most Hits titles certainly deserve recognition, but
if one thinks four Most Hits titles are worthy of recognition, where does that leave five? Where’s the love for Tony Oliva?
I think there's a touch of Antiestablishmentarianism Gone Wild going on here. Maz ought to be in the same vicinity as
Fox, and can point to his Legendary Home Run in the Count the Rings category. It doesn't matter if it was a fluke.
He did it.
   114. rawagman Posted: October 18, 2006 at 02:17 PM (#2216435)
I think the most pertinent comparison that should be made at this point is Jake Beckley (the incumbent) vs Ben Taylor (the dark horse).
Both long career 1B in the time before the Babe. Ben continued into that era, but his prime, peak was during it.
Both men noted for their gloves, but it seems to this voter that Taylor's glove has more to back up that reputation - an era more noted for bunting, contemporary accounts and a rep as the best fielding 1B in NeL history.
I am at work, so don't have the numbers with me, but Beckley out PA's Taylor by a few hundred, according to MLE's. Call it an extra season. OPS+ (career) show Beckley as a 125 man. Taylor MLE's to 138.
That's a pretty hefty difference that one extra season probably doesn't cover. Bill James pointed out that most of a player's value comes in being average (100). So if Beckley's extra value is 25 and Taylor's is 38, simple aritmetic says that Taylor had 50% more extra value than did our incumbent.
I actually think Taylor looks more like a George Sisler with a longer career, maybe a slightly flatter arc.

So, if you like Beckley, that fine. But what do you do with Ben Taylor?
   115. sunnyday2 Posted: October 18, 2006 at 02:22 PM (#2216441)
I don't think talent is proportional to the resources of the industry and besides, what resources are we talking about. I mean, can we quantify that? Are we just talking how many teams there are, or are we talking the quality of those resources toward developing talent? Too many variables, too slippery if you ask me.

And besides, what about pre-ML resources--kid leagues and coaching, high schools, American Legion, colleges, etc. etc. etc. Those, it seems to me, would have more impact. And clearly the lack of opportunity (and then the opportunity) to do other things--boxing, football, basketball, go to college, be a lawyer, go into business, etc. etc.--would clearly have an impact.

I would be quite sure that talent correlates vastly more with the total population pool, though even then at the far right hand end of the curve it is somewhat randomized. Of course, things like WWII stifle everybody and everything.

But while the qualitative talent follows the pool, value follows opportunity (number of ML and MLE teams) and the '30s outcome and argument clearly demonstrates this. So we are a HoM, with M = value, not ability. And I'm OK with that. Otherwise how do you get those 19C guys in there?
   116. Mike Webber Posted: October 18, 2006 at 03:19 PM (#2216509)
So, if you like Beckley, that fine. But what do you do with Ben Taylor?


The Commish brought up /bumped up the Taylor thread this week. I re-read the thread and these are my mis-givings about Taylor:

1) my personal feeling was there were too much ambiguity to feel that the 138 OPS was valid. Hey, it could be higher!

2) Fielding - well there are no stats here, and the player who was considered the greatest fielding firstbaseman of this era was
regularly throwing games, so it goes to show what observation can tell you. That said I don't doubt he was a very good fielder, what he was worth though is a guess at best.

3) League/opponents strength, I doubt it was very high or very consistent.

4) Taylor was from the most famous family in Negro League baseball, and there was an element of Negro League baseball that was more "entertainment" than pure competition. Think the Northern League, or the Atlantic League. My local Northern League team had David Segui out there playing 1b two years ago. He's a KCK native, his dad is a famous ballplayer, and at 37-38 he was a little bit of a draw, and still a good fielding 1b. Don't you think that when Taylor was 40 something there was little of that type of thing going on?

5) Speaking of Taylor's family, the HOF vote takes into account his entire contributions, including managing, and coaching Buck Leonard. There is no doubt that he and CI, Jim and John, all were good players and well respected by their peers.

I wish we had something more concrete to go on, but I'd say on the credibility scale his arguements are limited. I'm not a Beckley supporter, but I think Cepeda, Cash and Vernon all have firmer footing to stand on that Taylor.

In some ways it is like saying, "I can point to what is wrong with Cepeda, but I can't with Taylor so he should rate higher."
   117. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 18, 2006 at 04:28 PM (#2216574)
Let's talk again about Brock and Beckley's OPS+. EQA sees them at .282 (Brock) and .289 (Beckley) in its WARP1 phase. That's 3% difference instead of 15% difference, which is substantial deviationi from OPS+. And as we know WS sees Brock has being a better overall player though he played a similar defensive position. What's going on?

I think the answer could have to do with their respective run environments. I thought I'd see whether the relationship between the player's RC/27 and the league's R/G was having any kind of effect here. Using stats available on bb-ref (namely outs, rc, rc/g, lg r/g, and PFs), I figured both players' run contexts for their careers.

Beckley created 5.86 R/G. His leagues scored 5.24 r/g. His home parks overall understate his offense relative to the league by about 1.5%. Adjusting him for his parks, his RC/27 becomes 5.92 rc/g. His ratio of padj rc/g to the lgr/g is 1.13. I further went ahead and calculated an offensive winning percentage. I'm not sure I did it correctly, but what I did was use Beckley's padjrc/g as the RS term, the lg r/g as the RA term. But rather than squaring them or using 1.8, I used pythagenpat to determine the exponent. I did this with JoeD's voice in my head. Joe has been a strong proponent of using pythagenpat because of its increased sensitivities to extreme offensive conditions, and the difference in offensive environments between these guys is rather extreme: Beckley played in an environment that scored 29% more runs per game. Beckley's OWP by this method is .561. A typical team of all Beckleys would win 91 games on average.

I went back to Brock next. Brock created 5.01 R/G, 15% fewer than Beckley. His leagues scored 4.05 R/G, 23% fewer than Beckley's. Brock's home parks increased offense slightly, about 2%. Adjusting him for his parks, his RC/27 becomes 4.91. 21% lower than Beckley's. Brock's ratio of padj RC/27 to the lg r/g is 1.21. That's 8% better than Beckley's performance compared to their respective leagues. Brock's OWP as calculated above is .590. A typical team of Brocks would win 96 games on average.

I think that this little bit of figuring begins to explain why both WS and WARP see Brock's offense as much closer to Beckley's than OPS does. I see several cavaets here worth pointing out:

1) I used pitcher-inclusive data here because it was what was available at the bb-ref league pages. I would guess that skews it a little toward Brock since pitchers were somewhat better hitters in Beckley's day. Now checking in the SBE, pitcher OPS in Beckley's 20 years was .525 in the aggregate, while batters-only hit .710. In Brock's day pitchers hit .372, while batters hit .718. That's a pretty good sized difference there. It is mitigated somewhat by the fact that pitchers batted less often in Brock's day (109527 in Beckley's day, with SACs undocumented for several years, 94229 AB+BB+HPB+SAC for Brock).

2) I may have calculated OWP incorrectly or misapplied the park factor. I used a 104 PF to mean "multiply by .96, not .98." Chris J has claimed the latter recently, while several others have claimed the former. I'll go with the several, but no offense to Chris!

3) This doesn't include baserunning. SB were not included at all, and CS were not used in figuring the outs. However, Beckley's era lacks SAC info in several years and it lacks GIDP totally, so this work's in Eagle Eye's favor.

I think that the 1st and second items probably balance out, though I'm not certain. If I've calculated this stuff incorrectly, let me know, and I'll happily go back and redo it.

Conclusion: The OPS+ difference overstates the difference in the offensive contributions of Beckley and Brock and lends support to the value judgements made by WS and WARP. It further supports the notion that Beckley may not easily distinguishable from a pack of low-peak, long career players, headed by Brock, who are not receiving substantial support at this time.

Implication: If this is a kosher method to use, it may be advisable to apply it to compare Wynn to Duffy/GVH/Ryan for voters who rely on OPS+ when doing cross-generational analyses.

Please let me know if you think I did the math wrong. I think this a potentially important argument to several players, and I'd rather get it right than not.
   118. DavidFoss Posted: October 18, 2006 at 04:42 PM (#2216581)
2) I may have calculated OWP incorrectly or misapplied the park factor. I used a 104 PF to mean "multiply by .96, not .98." Chris J has claimed the latter recently, while several others have claimed the former. I'll go with the several, but no offense to Chris!

Technically it should be "divide by 1.04" instead of "multiply by .96". That's a nitpick that only makes a small difference for extreme parks, but you might as well fix your spreadsheet. Also,Chris J has it correct.
   119. OCF Posted: October 18, 2006 at 04:57 PM (#2216591)
Dr. Chaleeko: those charts that I periodically produce, that I call "context-modified RCAA" - they're very close to what you describe. If there are significant differences, they'd be due to me using a different raw source - a Stats Handbook - than most people. I think I've got a post on the Brock thread that falls into this category.
   120. DavidFoss Posted: October 18, 2006 at 05:00 PM (#2216593)
3) This doesn't include baserunning. SB were not included at all, and CS were not used in figuring the outs. However, Beckley's era lacks SAC info in several years and it lacks GIDP totally, so this work's in Eagle Eye's favor.

It looks like it does include baserunning. Your base numbers of 5.86 RC/27 and 5.01 RC/27 are right out of bb-ref. Those include all the SB and CS-Out information available to them. I'm confused.
   121. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 18, 2006 at 05:14 PM (#2216603)
OK, I recalculated with division rather than subraction, and the result is substantially similar, as one would expect.

Beckley gains a bit.

Beckley: OWP = .563 (91.2 wins in 162)
Brock: OWP = .590 (95.6 wins in 162)

But he loses it again when you go from the the 104 = 104 thing to the 104 = 102 halfsies thing:

Beckley: OWP = .559 (90.56 wins per 162)
Brock: OWP = .594 (96.22 wins per 162)

Wow, I get a peak into the mind of OCF! I've always liked your charts, though I've never really quite understood their background. Now I get it, and it makes a lot of sense. Cool. Context is everything....
   122. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 18, 2006 at 05:25 PM (#2216619)
It looks like it does include baserunning. Your base numbers of 5.86 RC/27 and 5.01 RC/27 are right out of bb-ref. Those include all the SB and CS-Out information available to them. I'm confused.

I'm sorry, David, you are correct. I don't know why I thought that, but I went back and checked it out, and I was absolutley incorrect in stating his baserunning was not included. I apologize to everyone for any confusion here.

Since this includes baserunning whatever net positive Brock sees from it is built in, however, due to gaps in the record for SACs and GIDPs, Beckley benefits by their omission. I don't think it's not enough to alter my conclusion because Beckley only has downside from here and couldn't catch up even if the GIDPs and SACs were known.

I think the pitcher-batting issue is potentially bigger, and I don't know how much it would effect my conclusion. I don't think it's likely to draw Beckley ahead of Brock, but it would surely even things up. But my interest is in knowing whether Beckley's offense is better enough than Brock's to account for the difference in their vote totals, and I don't think the pitcher batting is likely enough to show a substantial difference between the players even if it moved Beckley ahead. And regardless, it still points out that OPS+ does have severe limitations when it's used for comparing two wildly divergent offensive environments.
   123. DavidFoss Posted: October 18, 2006 at 05:50 PM (#2216631)
But he loses it again when you go from the the 104 = 104 thing to the 104 = 102 halfsies thing

No halfsies. My Chris J link was to say that Chris doesn't support the halfsies, not that the halfsies are correct. PF's are already adjusted for road games.
   124. Juan V Posted: October 18, 2006 at 05:53 PM (#2216632)
1988 prelim

1) Willie Stargell
2) Cupid Childs
3) Quincy Trouppe
4) Alejandro Oms
Given that I keep reading nice things about Quincy, I moved him up a notch.
5) Gavvy Cravath
6) Ken Boyer
7) Charley Jones
All those teams getting in and out of leagues during his time caused me to botch the playing-time adjustment. Once I looked at it more carefully, he makes the jump.
8 & 9) The Jimmies, Wynn & Ryan
10) Tony Lazzeri
Seriously, am I missing something?
11) Luis Tiant
12) Bob Johnson
13) Jim Fregosi
14) Dobie Moore
15) Jake Beckley
   125. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 18, 2006 at 05:59 PM (#2216640)
Ugh. How did I get that wrong?

Returning then to our previous post in #122, picking it up with the part where I go form mutliplying by .98 instead of dividing by 1.02...

Beckley: OWP = .563 (91.2 wins in 162)
Brock: OWP = .590 (95.6 wins in 162)

That's where it stands. Unless I screwed up something else... ; )

Thanks for the pointers, everyone.
   126. Mark Donelson Posted: October 18, 2006 at 06:24 PM (#2216659)
I posted this in the Stargell thread, but no one seems to be over there of late:

Fellow peaksters (particularly Sunny, since you liked Howard, IIRC, and seem to be partial to Stargell as well): Stargell vs. Frank Howard. Talk amongst yourselves.

I know Willie's rates were better, but in overall peak-season value, does Howard catch him? If not, why not?
   127. rawagman Posted: October 18, 2006 at 07:24 PM (#2216721)
My turn for a 1988 prelim. Before this becomes a final ballot, I need more info about Bus Clarkson. I was led to understand that he was a 3B primarily and a SS sometimes. That would put him at 31 for me. If I am mistaken, and he was a primary (more than 50%) SS, he gets alot closer, if not enters the ballot proper. Out of last year's ballot, Kiner and Minoso were on my ballot, Pierce not. Minoso was not PHOM, but I realized (belatedly) that I was a bit off on him. So he joins Billy Williams in clearing up my HOM, not PHOM backlog this year.
If Billy Williams was not 1st ballot for me, Willie Stargell won't be either. But he's close. He starts off at 11, Reggie Smith at 15 - Much better than Jimmy Wynn.

1)Hugh Duffy (PHOM)
2)Ben Taylor (PHOM)
3)Gavvy Cravath (PHOM)
4)Lefty Gomez (PHOM)
5)Edd Roush (PHOM)
6)Nellie Fox (PHOM)
7)Quincy Trouppe (PHOM)
((7a)Billy Williams)) (PHOM)
((7b)Minnie Minoso)) (PHOM)
8)Tommy Bridges
9)Vern Stephens
((9a)Bill Freehan))
((9b)Biz Mackey))

10)Bobby Veach
11)Willie Stargell
12)Orlando Cepeda
13)Ken Boyer
14)Wally Berger
15)Reggie Smith
16)Dizzy Dean
((16a)Juan Marichal))
17)Ernie Lombardi
18)Roger Bresnahan
19)Al Rosen
20)Mickey Welch
((20a)Jim Bunning))
((20b)Billy Pierce))

21)Dick Redding (PHOM)
22)Chuck Klein
23)Tony Oliva
24)Jim Bottomley
((24a)Joe Gordon))
25)Dobie Moore
26)Addie Joss
27)Cupid Childs
28)Pete Browning
29)Bucky Walters
30)Charley Jones
   128. sunnyday2 Posted: October 18, 2006 at 08:16 PM (#2216783)
>10) Tony Lazzeri Seriously, am I missing something?

Y;-)s
   129. Chris Fluit Posted: October 18, 2006 at 08:18 PM (#2216787)
my early impressions concerning newbies:

Willie Stargell: clearly the best first baseman on the ballot, but I'm not quite as enamored with Willie as the rest of the electorate. He looks slightly overrated and will land between 4 and 7 on my ballot. That's still plenty good enough to go PHoM this year though.

Luis Tiant: I used to be convinced he belonged in the Hall of Fame because he compared favorably to so many pitchers that were already inducted- especially his contemporary Catfish Hunter. But now I'm starting to think that the problem isn't so much that Tiant isn't in, but that Hunter is. I have Tiant as the 7th best pitcher right now, still ahead of Hunter but sandwiched between Vic Willis and Tommy Bridges. However, I feel that he's more likely to slide down than work his way back up.

Reggie Smith: Way down on my list. I prefer George Van Haltren to Reggie Smith and considering how often I've argued against Van Haltren, that's not a good sign for Mr. Smith.

Over the past couple of elections, I've been catching up to the '70s HoM inductees in my PHoM as Mackey, Sisler and Gordon have gone in in '85, '86 and '87. The trend continues in '88 as Jim Bunning goes PHoM as well as HoM.
   130. sunnyday2 Posted: October 18, 2006 at 08:25 PM (#2216792)
From Stargell thread, except with F. Howard added in:

Win Shares

Stargell 370/36-35-29-27-26-25-22-22-21-20-18-17-17-16-13 = 344 WS in 15 yrs ? 10 (22.9/yr)
FHoward 297/38-34-30-28-25-25-23-23-21-13-13-10 = 283 WS in 12 yrs ? 10 (23.6/yr)
Cepeda 310/34-30-29-26-26-23-23-21-20-19-19-17-13 = 300 WS in 13 yrs ? 10 (23.1/yr)
McCovey 408/39-34-34-33-29-29-25-24-22-16-16-16-13-12-12-12-11-10 = 387 in 18 yrs (21.5/yr)

OPS+ (in ? 100 games)

Stargell 147/189-88-69-66-64-64-56-47-38-36-30-29-25-24-23-4 in 16 years and 7270 AB+BB (450/yr)
FHoward 143/180-73-72-54-51-48-46-38-27-15-14-5 in 12 years and 6700 AB+BB (560/yr)
Cepeda 133/166-66-58-35-34-33-32-30-30-26-16-9-7 in 13 years and 8400 AB+BB (650/yr)
McCovey 148/212-83-76-64-63-62-61-61-52-51-31-30-30-26-8-3 in 16 yrs and 7020 AB+BB (440/yr)

Clearly Stargell is better on OPS+ except for year 3 but the extra 100 (!) PAs per prime season is a lot for Howard and so their WS/yr for the prime 12 years is a very very very slight edge to Frank. But then Willie still has 3 more productive years. As a peak voter, I jsut can't give Frank and edge, and the career is the tie-breaker.

As I said in the Stargell thread, Pops is more McCovey while, I've said many times, Frank is pretty much indistinguishable from Cepeda. Frank and Pops are closer than Stretch and Baby Bull. But the basic point remains.
   131. rawagman Posted: October 18, 2006 at 08:48 PM (#2216810)
An intersting article on Ben Taylor. http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/sports/15156047.htm

Mike made some solid points about him. I am convinced that his career was a solid one spanning from 1913-1929. Hitting above .300 according to online, unreferenced sources in all but one of his seasons recommends the justification of his longevity.
Oscar Charlseton thought he was the best ever NeL 1B. Many other polls of the late 40's/ early 50's (including the famed Pittsburgh Courier poll) had him second behind only Buck Leonard, Ben "Old Reliable" Taylor's protege.

Are the MLE's as well thought out as some of the others we have benefited by?
I don't know. Maybe someone can review them?
   132. OCF Posted: October 18, 2006 at 09:27 PM (#2216824)
As I said in the Stargell thread, Pops is more McCovey while, I've said many times, Frank is pretty much indistinguishable from Cepeda.

I've been voting for both Cepeda and Howard. I've got Cepeda ahead, for a complicated mix of reasons, but I could easily see going the other way with those two. But I agree with your main point. Stargell isn't all that close to being McCovey for me but there's a large gap below him down to Cepeda, Cash, Howard, or Powell. For offense, I see the following as good matches for Stargell: Kaline, Heilmann, and Paul Waner. With those comparables, he's a HoMer, and not a borderline case.
   133. Mark Donelson Posted: October 18, 2006 at 10:33 PM (#2216855)
As a peak voter, I jsut can't give Frank and edge, and the career is the tie-breaker.

I guess I can't argue with that. It's real close, though. And I don't share the love for Cepeda, whose peak looks slightly but decidedly lower to me. I mean, he's in my consideration set, certainly, but I much prefer Howard and Stargell.

For offense, I see the following as good matches for Stargell: Kaline, Heilmann, and Paul Waner. With those comparables, he's a HoMer, and not a borderline case.

I agree that Stargell's not borderline, and he'll make my pHOM immediately, but given that I have more than the average number of pHOM/not HOM types and vice versa, my actual ballot is clogged with a lot of folks I prefer to Pops. Not sure yet whether he'll end up on the end of the ballot or just off. The same was true of Kaline, who was at the low end of my ballot when he became eligible and was elected; I wasn't around early enough for either Heilmann or Waner, though both are in my pHOM.

I like McCovey better than the whole bunch of 'em.

Where does Jimmy Wynn fit into this picture for you folks, just to throw another name out there?
   134. Howie Menckel Posted: October 19, 2006 at 12:04 AM (#2216897)
Most OF HOMers, season (must have played half his team's games):

1924 (13) - Cobb, Speaker, Wheat, Carey, Torriente, Heilmann, Ruth, Charleston, Goslin, Stearnes, Simmons, Suttles, Bell
1925 (12) -
1926 (13) -
1927 (12) - (mostly same group these 3 years)

1951 (12) - DiMaggio, Slaughter, TWilliams, Musial OF-1B, Irvin OF-1B, Doby, Kiner, Ashburn, Snider, Minoso OF-3B, Mantle, Mays

1954 (12) - TWilliams, Irvin, Musial, Doby, JRobinson OF-3B, Kiner, Ashburn, Snider, Mantle, Mays, Aaron, Kaline
1955 (12) -
1956 (12) -
1957 (12) - (mostly same group these 3 years)

1950s look done, except Boyer OF-3B in 1957.
1920s can add Roush
   135. Howie Menckel Posted: October 19, 2006 at 12:12 AM (#2216906)
10+ P HOMers, 1 IP per G or 35 G

1908 (10) - Young McGinnity Waddell Plank Mathewson RFoster TF Brown Walsh WJohnson Mendez

1915 (10) - Plank Mathewson RFoster TF Brown WJohnson Williams Alexander Rixey Faber Ruth

1925 (11) - WJohnson Williams Alexander Rixey Faber Covaleski Rogan Vance Lyons Grove Ruffing
1926 (12) -
1927 (11) -
1928 (11) -
1929 (12) - (slowly changing in these years)
1930 (11) -
1931 (10) -
1932 (11) - Williams Vance Lyons Grove Ruffing BFoster Paige Hubbell Ferrell RBrown Dihigo

1962 (11) - Wynn Spahn Roberts Pierce Wilhelm Ford Drysdale Bunning Koufax Marichal Gibson
1963 (10) - Spahn Roberts Pierce Wilhelm Ford Drysdale Bunning Koufax Marichal Gibson

(almost)
1964-65 (9) - Spahn Roberts Wilhelm Ford Drysdale Bunning Koufax Marichal Gibson

Redding would be 1911-21, roughly
Grimes would be 1917-31
Perry would be 1964-83
   136. Chris Cobb Posted: October 19, 2006 at 12:51 AM (#2217002)
Dr. Chaleeko wrote:

Beckley: OWP = .563 (91.2 wins in 162)
Brock: OWP = .590 (95.6 wins in 162)



KJOK's 1987 ballot lists a .596 OWP for Beckley. What would account for the discrepancy?
   137. OCF Posted: October 19, 2006 at 01:01 AM (#2217017)
OCF's post got me thinking about the 1987 Cardinals and there 7 leadoff hitters

2nd in the league in runs with a 94 OPS+. Holy Piranhas, Batman! ;-) 1st in OBP and first in steals.


The flip side, for 1987, is the Cleveland Indians. With an team OPS+ of 95, they were 3rd from the bottom of the AL in runs scored. They were also 3rd from the bottom in OBP.

One of my favorite pieces of comparison is 1987 Brook Jacoby and 1987 Tim Wallach. The questions to compare them on:

1. Objectively, which one of Jacoby or Wallach had the better year? Or was it close?
2. How many RBI did each have?
3. How many MVP votes did each have? (See #2.)
4. And who was batting in front of each one?
   138. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 19, 2006 at 01:24 AM (#2217085)
i don't know the discrepancy, it could be sources, maybe KJ used a different exponent. i used bb-ref for all sources. My method was this:

1) for each season adjust player's rc/g for park
2) for each season find player's padj rc by multiply padj rc/g * (outs/27)
3) sum all sesaons of padj rc to find career padj rc
4) find career career rc/g by dividing caeer padj rc by (career outs/27)
5) for each season find lg r for player's (outs/27)
6) sum up lg's r to find lg's "career" r
7) find lg's "career" r/g divide lg's r by (player's career out/27)
8) use pythag to find offensive winning percentage with player's padj career rc/g as the RS term and league's career r/g as the RA term, using pythagenpat to determine exponents.

That's it. OCF and I compared notes, and we're getting similar results. His source appears to have different numbers than mine for RC and PF which is causing differences between them, but it's generally the same shape.

Again, much obliged for any help.
   139. Ardo Posted: October 19, 2006 at 02:54 AM (#2217371)
1988 Prelim

1. Charley Jones
2. Wally Schang
3. Jimmy Wynn
4. Willie Stargell
5. Quincy Trouppe
6. Luis Tiant
7. Norm Cash
8. Dick Redding
9. Edd Roush
10. Ken Boyer
11. Nellie Fox
12. Rabbit Maranville
13. Orlando Cepeda
14. Thurmon Munson
15. Jake Beckley

16-20: Browning, Bonds, E. Howard, Bridges, Easter.
   140. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 19, 2006 at 02:55 AM (#2217375)
Beckley OWP: .596
Pos avg: .522 (Beckley +.074)

Brock OWP: .567
Pos avg: .549 (Brock +.018)

IMO, there's no comparison between them as hitters.

Raffy Palmeiro: .642
Pos avg: .569 (Palmeiro +.073)

Harry Hooper: .574
Pos avg: .560 (Hooper +.014)

IMO, those are valid comparisons to Beckley and Brock.

I know some are saying that it doesn't matter that 1B didn't hit in Beckley's time - I think it does. If you say that doesn't matter, then you say that the managers of that time were complete idiots. Because if 1B was that easy, why wouldn't they have some of those better hitting OF play 1B instead?
   141. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 19, 2006 at 02:57 AM (#2217376)
Dr. C - I pulled my OWP number directly from the Sinins Encyclopedia.
   142. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 19, 2006 at 03:02 AM (#2217386)
I'm not forgetting Konetchy, when talking about Beckley that is . . . he was pretty darned good too, .603 to Pos. Avg. of .522, but his career wasn't as long or I'd be championing him as well.
   143. KJOK Posted: October 19, 2006 at 04:28 AM (#2217524)
Dr. C - I pulled my OWP number directly from the Sinins Encyclopedia.
I don't calculate my own OWP any more, but also get mine from the Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia.
   144. jingoist Posted: October 19, 2006 at 08:11 AM (#2217563)
Howie M; just an FYI...I noticed in your latest posting of HOMers by % at position that Eddie Matthews seems to be missing from the 3B group.
His addition will help bring that position closer to the norm.

I'm really enjoying the debate over the "in/out" line for HoM membership, especially as it relates to several long time candidates such as Beckley, Childs, etc.

Interesting discussion as to why we arent "balanced" by # of HoMers/decade. I agree it would be foolish to apply specific bias to certain candidates to help alleviate this perceived anomaly. I dont think it is a statistical anomaly; I think we haven't reconciled root/influential causes from outside baseball and their effect on the times.
The 20's were trully boom-times for Americans; post WWI economy boom, war over, surging industrial expansion followed by the bust 30's when jobs were scarce and guys who might have worked in mills/plants were playing bball cause it was a steady paycheck. Not sure how large a role economics play in this but I bet its substantial.

I am looking forward to the discussions about the upcoming glut of HoM qualified pitchers from the late 60's and 1970's.
We haven't seen this many qualified guys as a % of the player pool since the 1880's.
I'm surprised that Vietnam didn't have a more deliterious effect on the talent pool of the late 60' and early 70's. Maybe draft deferments were easier to get then than during WWII.

Lastly, to those "best friends of__________"; I really appreciate the efforts you each undertake to show your favorite candidate(s) in the best of lights but some of you are undoubtedly going to be disappointed in the final HoM makeup.
Rest assured that there is another Hall, not quite so vaunted as the HoM, called the Hall of the Very Good and it will be filled with 500 to 1000 guys who were/are truly memorable for their many exploits on the ballfield and those of your favorites who don't make the HoM will be "inner-circle" guys in the HoVG!
   145. TomH Posted: October 19, 2006 at 09:30 AM (#2217574)
MLB Runs Saved Above Average leaders for pitchers, for 15 yr periods at 5 yr intervals

No that RSAA is the best measure, but merely to show differences over time

1946-1960
1 Warren Spahn 302
2 Billy Pierce 216
3 Robin Roberts 209
4 Whitey Ford 199
5 Mel Parnell 187
6 Bob Lemon 180
7 Hal Newhouser 167
8 Harry Brecheen 159
9 Ellis Kinder 155
10 Ed Lopat 152

1951-1965
1 Whitey Ford 288
2 Warren Spahn 228
3 Hoyt Wilhelm 222
T4 Don Drysdale 219
T4 Billy Pierce 219
6 Robin Roberts 189
7 Jim Bunning 171
8 Curt Simmons 166
9 Sandy Koufax 162
10 Larry Jackson 138

1956-1970
1 Bob Gibson 305
2 Juan Marichal 252
3 Jim Bunning 242
4 Whitey Ford 237
5 Don Drysdale 229
6 Hoyt Wilhelm 216
7 Sandy Koufax 215
8 Larry Jackson 168
9 Ferguson Jenkins 134
10 Dean Chance 131

1961-1975
1 Bob Gibson 358
2 Tom Seaver 276
3 Gaylord Perry 265
4 Juan Marichal 247
5 Ferguson Jenkins 218
T6 Phil Niekro 211
T6 Sandy Koufax 211
8 Jim Palmer 203
9 Jim Kaat 191
10 Bert Blyleven 171

1966-1980
1 Tom Seaver 365
2 Gaylord Perry 336
3 Phil Niekro 325
4 Jim Palmer 309
5 Ferguson Jenkins 279
6 Steve Carlton 267
7 Bert Blyleven 259 higher than 2nd place in many other 15-yr spans!
8 Bob Gibson 228
9 Tommy John 192
10 Luis Tiant 171

1971-1985
1 Bert Blyleven 337
2 Steve Carlton 277
3 Tom Seaver 275
4 Phil Niekro 269
5 Jim Palmer 262
6 Gaylord Perry 202
7 Dave Stieb 195
T8 Rick Reuschel 169
T8 Don Sutton 169
10 Steve Rogers 157

1976-1990
1 Dave Stieb 245
2 Roger Clemens 230
3 Bert Blyleven 182
4 Rick Reuschel 174
5 Ron Guidry 166
6 Dennis Eckersley 156
7 Goose Gossage 151
8 Dan Quisenberry 148 3 relievers crack the top 10; where are the ace starters?
9 John Tudor 144
10 Steve Carlton 143

1981-1995
1 Roger Clemens 385
2 Greg Maddux 253
3 Dave Stieb 225
4 Bret Saberhagen 206
5 Jimmy Key 175
6 David Cone 169
7 Frank Viola 164
8 Kevin Appier 163
T9 Lee Smith 141
T9 Jose Rijo 141

1986-2000
1 Roger Clemens 566 YOWZA!
2 Greg Maddux 466
3 Randy Johnson 334
4 Pedro Martinez 325
5 Kevin Brown 270
6 Tom Glavine 235
T7 Mike Mussina 230
T7 David Cone 230
9 Kevin Appier 222
10 Chuck Finley 214
   146. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 19, 2006 at 09:49 AM (#2217576)
Great list Tom - not sure what to make of it yet, but interesting nonetheless.

Dr. C - I finally reread your post about OWP - using BB-Ref to come up with that is tough, especially 19th Century wise. The RC formulas are pretty brutal for 19th Century teams - huge error margins. You'd really need to compare him to the league RC/G, not league R/G - because those two numbers are likely very different - and using R/G is either going to overrate or underrate everyone in that league - depending on which way the error bar is tilting that season.

Also, I'm not sure, but I think BB-Ref is still using the old runs created formula, which isn't very accurate for individual players, due to the way it combines OBP and SLG.
   147. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: October 19, 2006 at 09:51 AM (#2217577)
After much consideration, I'm switching from Win Shares to WARP as my main uber-stat for evaluating pitchers. I think WARP "gets" pitching more accurately than WS. I'm also using Joe's pitcher data, most notably Translated Innings pitched. Anyway, it's drastically changing my ballot. I haven't ran Dean's numbers yet; he might sneak on here.

1988 Prelim Ballot, v2.0

1. Keller
2. Stargell
3. Trouppe
4. Oms
5. Tiant (101 WARP1; 2 seasons over 10, 3 more over 8)

6. Trout (90 WARP1; 15.8 (!) for that great 1944, 10.6 and 9.9 -- an absolutely monster peak for a pitcher, tempered slightly by the war)
7. Wynn
8. Roush
9. Leach
10. Redding

11. Duffy
12. Cravath
13. Newcombe
14. Rizzuto
15. Fox
   148. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 19, 2006 at 09:51 AM (#2217578)
Also, because the CS and other data is often missing, you can't really use 27 outs either. I'd suggest using whatever the known league outs/game are for the season instead. If not, you'll severely underrate players from years that have fewer outs accounted for.
   149. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 19, 2006 at 10:01 AM (#2217579)
Hey James, if you are using my translated IP data, let me give you my ratings on the eligibles (and some soon to be eligibles)

Pitcher       PA  DRA   tIP   WAR
11. Perry   1.157 4.04 5159.0 86.6
18. Jenkins  .989 4.02 4322.7 74.7
24. Quinn    .932 4.07 4463.0 73.2
30. John     .866 4.26 4748.7 68.6
33. Shocker  .830 3.55 2668.0 61.4
35. Bridges  .821 3.73 3131.3 62.9
----------------------------------
36. Grimes   .797 4.30 3991.7 60.1
----------------------------------
37. Newcombe .786 4.09 3169.0 59.3
38. Hoyt     .785 4.00 3628.3 60.8
39. Walters  .765 4.07 3081.0 56.4
41. Leonard  .761 3.91 3325.7 58.7
42. Cicotte  .760 3.79 2874.3 56.3
43. Tiant    .755 4.03 3362.3 58.1
45. Luque    .753 4.02 3180.3 57.3
46. Shawkey  .750 3.85 2999.3 57.1
48. Uhle     .748 4.18 3025.3 56.0
49. Trucks   .746 3.91 3278.3 57.4
50. French   .744 4.01 3377.0 57.4
56. Trout    .727 3.95 2838.7 54.0
57. Dean     .725 3.35 2008.3 51.3
73. Kaat     .683 4.62 4566.0 53.4 


Grimes is my in/out borderline guy - somedays I want him in, some days out. You can see how it bunches after him or with him (which depends on the wind direction that day for me) - which is why I get the sense that everyone above that should be in.
   150. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: October 19, 2006 at 10:15 AM (#2217580)
Joe, that's kind of what I'm feeling about Grimes, too. Shocker, Dean and Bridges are just below my in/out line; Grimes is just off my ballot.
   151. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 19, 2006 at 01:16 PM (#2217626)
Because if 1B was that easy, why wouldn't they have some of those better hitting OF play 1B instead?


Because having the best possible "team" defense was more important to managers, in that era, than having the best possible "team" offense. Teams didn't regularly play good hit/no field types *anywhere* until the mid-1920s when the home run became a real offensive weapon.

The evidence suggests that players who were moved from other positions (specifically middle infield and catcher) were moved to 1B not because defense at 1B was considered especially important, but because the players were having problems staying healthy and were moved to 1B to keep them in the lineup.

It's not that 1B was easy, but it was even then still considered "easier" than other positions.

-- MWE
   152. sunnyday2 Posted: October 19, 2006 at 01:24 PM (#2217637)
Maybe somebody can explain to me the case for Luis Tiant, I mean besides the fact that we saw him pitch and we loved him. (Do Newk's numbers include any XC for NeL, Korean War, etc??? And the rankings (Newk #37, Tiant #43) are among all pitchers all time, or what?

>37. Newcombe .786 4.09 3169.0 59.3
38. Hoyt .785 4.00 3628.3 60.8
39. Walters .765 4.07 3081.0 56.4
41. Leonard .761 3.91 3325.7 58.7
42. Cicotte .760 3.79 2874.3 56.3
43. Tiant .755 4.03 3362.3 58.1
   153. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 19, 2006 at 01:30 PM (#2217644)
Two items this morning from the jingosit caught my attention.

1) Vietnam. Nam at least some small effect. Al Bumbry, Garry Maddox, Ken Holtzman, Tug McGraw, Nolan Ryan, Ted Simmons, Rick Monday, Davey Lopes, and Bobby Murcer were, I believe, all in the military at this time in some fashion. Bumbry was actually a platoon leader in Vietnam IIRC, and I think Maddox went overseas. Could be wrong on that. I'm pretty sure the other guys were all reservists, who did stateside stuff but missed games because of their basic training and subsequent weekend commitments. Lopes, in fact, didn't debut until age 27ish with the military eating up some of his career-development time in the minors.

I'd wager that other players were also affected by Vietnam in these same ways.

This artile (http://www.vva.org/TheVeteran/2004_05/feature_ballPlayer.htm) claims that a fellow named Gleason was the only MLBer to serve in Vietnam.

This article (http://www.herald-journal.com/archives/2006/sports/mk050106.html) references Monday's reservist stint and Bumbry and Maddox.

This article makes reference to Tim Johnson's tour, but more interesting says that ballplayers had an exemption from combat duty (http://www.mudvillegazette.com/archives/000421.html).

An interesting chart on baseballcrank shows draft totals for the vietnam era (http://www.baseballcrank.com/archives2/2005/06/politics_the_vi_2.php):
1962 82,060
1963 119,265
1964 112,386
1965 230,991
1966 382,010
1967 228,263
1968 296,406
1969 283,586
1970 162,746
1971 94,092
1972 49,514
1973 646

I guess what I'd take from all this is that we need to be more careful about looking for stuff like reservist hitches to make sure that players aren't missing substantial chunks of time (every two weekends, six months a year, possibility of 12 games a season, nearly a tenth of the year, perhaps more if the guy goes to basic.)
   154. fra paolo Posted: October 19, 2006 at 01:38 PM (#2217654)
Assists being the currency of excellence for middle infielders, here are Bill Mazeroski's numbers, during his prime years, 1958-1968

1958 496 (1st, 116 better than 2d place Blasingame)
1959 373 (7th, 83 behind 1st place Taylor)
1960 449 (1st, 43 better than 2d place Taylor)
1961 505 (1st, 16 better than 2d place Bolling)
1962 509 (1st, 20 better than 2d place Hubbs)
1963 506 (1st, 16 better than 2d place Hubbs)
1964 543 (1st 143 better than 2d place Javier)
1965 439 (4th, 55 behind 1st place Beckert)
1966 538 (1st, 136 better than 2d place Beckert)
1967 498 (1st, 76 better than 2d place Beckert)
1968 467 (1st, 6 better than 2d place Beckert)

To be so consistent in topping 500, especially four years in a row, looks extraordinary to me. Furthermore, he wasn't just a few ahead of the same guys, he was massively ahead in some years, comparable to 2006 Orlando Hudson in the NL. He only really had one bad year, 1959. Was he injured?

Personally, I wonder if people here discount offensive shortcomings too much. How often do fielders consistently add a couple of wins a year with their gloves? There's a contribution on the Bancroft et. al. thread (#153, IIRC) that shows how we favour good hitting shortstops, and I assume the same applies to second sackers. It would be interesting if someone could supply Mazeroski’s RCAP, as I haven't done the OPS+ comparison yet.

He's going to be on my ballot in 1988, and he deserves to be on a lot more, even if only as a 15th-place acknowledgment of being an excellent fielder for a very long time indeed.
   155. TomH Posted: October 19, 2006 at 01:43 PM (#2217658)
Compared to Walters, the highest returnee on our backlog from Marc's cropped list, Luis has more career length, more total WARP3, lower DERA, 8 seasons of 6+ WARP to Bucky's 6 seasons, didn't pitch through WWII.... lots of advanatges (unless you give mucho bonus to Bucky's great and brief 1939-40 peak). Bucky's on my ballot, and I think Luis will sneak on also.
   156. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 19, 2006 at 02:00 PM (#2217680)
More on the reserves/guard (pejoratively called Champagne Units apparently).

This from http://graphics.boston.com/news/politics/campaign2000/news/Bradley_in_Vietnam_era_role_in_military_not_in_war+.shtml.

A Pentagon study in the spring of 1967 found 360 pro players in the reserves and National Guard. Red Sox pitcher Jim Lonborg, New York Mets pitchers Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan, and Knicks star Cazzie Russell were on the list.

Two more hurlers for the list above.

Ooh, and another, Bill Campbell, 1968-1969, looks like he may have seen combat,(http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/history/2004/040603.htm)

And Pudge Fisk, too. While in the minors. (http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/hof_weekend/2000/speeches/fisk_carlton.htm)

I went to the University of New Hampshire on a basketball scholarship. Dreamed of becoming a power forward for the Celtics. Power forwards don't usually stop growing about 6'1".

But, you know, that was the time when the country was in turmoil: the Vietnam War. And I really have a deep spiritual sense about my fate … if it had not been for a couple guys. Sergeant Robert Kenyon, who is not here with us anymore, and Lieutenant Jim Carroll, the US Army Reserve in Chester, Vermont. In 1967 I joined them — was sent to basic training at Fort Dix. And throughout my minor league career the coaches I played for had to work around my monthly weekend army duties, and my two week summer camp. And they were most gracious and most understanding of some of the inadequacies they saw in me coming back from summer camp.

Rac Slider in Waterloo, Iowa, and Matt Sczesny in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Billy Gardner in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. And Darrell Johnson, who probably taught me more about the method to the madness of putting fingers down, than anybody up to that point. And I thank him for that. And by the way, my Army Reserve numbers: AR-11-4-8-5-5-2-9, Sir.
   157. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 19, 2006 at 02:19 PM (#2217699)
To be so consistent in topping 500, especially four years in a row, looks extraordinary to me. Furthermore, he wasn't just a few ahead of the same guys, he was massively ahead in some years, comparable to 2006 Orlando Hudson in the NL.


Three things here:

1. Playing time. Mazeroski was very durable for much of his career. He missed time with injuries in both 1959 and 1965, but he avoided truly serious injury until 1969 (and that injury more or less finished off his career).

2. Double plays. The vast majority of Mazeroski's extra assists occurred on the DP pivot. Maz absolutely refused to back away from sliding baserunners, could not be taken out easily, and had one of the quickest releases of any 2B I've seen - he was called "No-Touch" for a reason.

3. Ground ball pitchers. Mazeroski did NOT have extraordinary range (good, not great), but he did play behind a lot of guys whose forte was keeping the ball down.

-- MWE
   158. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: October 19, 2006 at 03:17 PM (#2217760)
Random Note:


I was checking out some defensive numbers for pitchers on my ballot, and I noticed that Carl Mays has excellent, bordering on obscene defensive support for much of his prime. Much like Bucky Walters, I question to what extent Mays's pitching excellence is a defensve-induced mirage. He'll be dropping off my ballot next year.
   159. fra paolo Posted: October 19, 2006 at 03:33 PM (#2217783)
Maz absolutely refused to back away from sliding baserunners, could not be taken out easily, and had one of the quickest releases of any 2B I've seen

Yes, and Babe Ruth could hit home runs. They are both skills that made them valuable, even meritorious, players.

Ground ball pitchers. Mazeroski did NOT have extraordinary range (good, not great), but he did play behind a lot of guys whose forte was keeping the ball down.

If the effect is extreme, it should show up in my future studies. When I looked at team totals during Sewell’s career, it quickly became clear if an AL shortstop was having an unusual number of opportunities.
   160. DavidFoss Posted: October 19, 2006 at 03:52 PM (#2217808)
2. Double plays. The vast majority of Mazeroski's extra assists occurred on the DP pivot. Maz absolutely refused to back away from sliding baserunners, could not be taken out easily, and had one of the quickest releases of any 2B I've seen - he was called "No-Touch" for a reason.

Yeah, a DP-version of fra paolo's table in post #155 would be more impressive than the assist version. Maz is on the short-list of best defensive infielders of all-time.
   161. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 19, 2006 at 04:15 PM (#2217830)
If you make appropriate adjutsments for DPs and balls in play, Mazeroski's assist totals aren't *that* extraordinary, is all that I'm saying. He's still very good, even in context, but he isn't as dominant.

You also have a bit of a chicken-egg argument here - did the Pirates go looking for pitchers who threw grounders because of the infielders?

-- MWE
   162. fra paolo Posted: October 19, 2006 at 04:41 PM (#2217873)
If you make appropriate adjutsments for DPs and balls in play, Mazeroski's assist totals aren't *that* extraordinary

I don't understand why one would want to discount the DPs if Mazeroski is making lots of them because he can make the pivot far better than other player. He's got a talent that deserves recognition.

Mazeroski to me is a symbol of the way the electorate seems uncertain about how to deal with defensive merit. At the moment, I don't plan on putting him in an 'elect me' slot, but he doesn't deserve his current fate, languishing among the anonymous mass of candidates.

In due course I'll post an OPS+ against Position, a DP version of my earlier table, and a of gauge how much the Pirates' staff was GB-oriented. I have no idea how long all this will take.
   163. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 19, 2006 at 05:13 PM (#2217910)
Fra,

I think what Mike is saying is that Maz's high assist totals are not an accurate reflection of his range. To give him credit for being the best ever at the DP and then give him credit for his range based on teh assist totals would be double counting.

As or us underrating defense first MIers, I see the point. Every decade or so I tend to look over guys like Maranville, Bancroft, and Maz to make sure that I am not systematically or unfairly underrating them. However, each time I look over them it becomes more apparent that no matter how good you are on defense, you still need to be a very good offensive player to have the value that I am looking for (as a peak voter, this may be more pronounced). I just can't imagine a defender ever having as much defensive value to support below average offensive value at a HOM level for more than a year or two, there is just much more potential for greatness in offense. So while it is nice to have the best every fielders recognized I am not so sure that they should be elected just because they are the best ever at a certain skill.

My ranking right now of defense first MIers looks like this (from memory)

1. Fox
2. Rizzuto
3. Lundy - Does he count? I have always htought of him as more of a hybrid like Sewell
4. Bancroft
5. Maz
6. Maranville

None of these guys is higher than 23 right now because I just dont' think you can add as much value above average/replacement on defense as you can on offense. Also, I have Traynor between Bancroft and Maz, he is someone that may be in consideration here.

And finally,

I do wodner if I am not overrating the later defensive first types as defense generally becomes less important as the years go by. So maybe Bancroft should be above Rizzuto (and Sewell for that matter, but that is another argument).

Also, while not defense only, Hughie Jennings great peak was in part fueled by being the best defensive shortstop in baseball over those four to six glorious years. Just thought I would do my best Karlmagnus/Bob Caruthers impression.
   164. fra paolo Posted: October 19, 2006 at 06:35 PM (#2217997)
I think what Mike is saying is that Maz's high assist totals are not an accurate reflection of his range. To give him credit for being the best ever at the DP and then give him credit for his range based on teh assist totals would be double counting.

I get Mike's point, but it seems to me that if a man has 500 assists, it doesn't really matter so much how he got them. In my limited experience of looking at these things, 500 is a big number for a second baseman, whether he's getting them for double plays or whether he is getting them for having great range.

I'm a positional balance man. One must give greater weight judging players relative to their positional peers, than to do a direct comparison between a leftfielder and a shortstop. Mazeroski stands comparison with Fox, so I don't understand why there is such a disparity between their vote totals, except if people here value Fox's superior hitting over Maz’s fielding. And that doesn't make sense. Each FRAA is the same value as each BRAA. And Mazeroski is aguably the greatest defensive player of all time, plus he's got World Series heroic values.
   165. sunnyday2 Posted: October 19, 2006 at 07:43 PM (#2218055)
Lundy counts. He was a SS first last and always.
   166. Mark Donelson Posted: October 19, 2006 at 09:10 PM (#2218124)
Each FRAA is the same value as each BRAA.

Well, I think you've hit on it right there--not everyone accepts that, I would say, and that's why Fox does better.

plus he's got World Series heroic values.

You're gonna make me pull out Don Larsen again, arentcha? ;)
   167. OCF Posted: October 19, 2006 at 09:39 PM (#2218153)
Answering my own 1987 question about comparing Brook Jacoby and Tim Wallach:

First, note that this was Jacoby's single best season, and an outlier in the context of his career. It was one of Wallach's better seasons, but likely not his best and certainly no outlier. In terms of established ability at the time, you'd rather have Wallach. But the question wasn't about established ability - it was about one season worth of performance in 1987.

Underlying the comparison: the AL scored 4.90 runs per game and had a league average OBP of .333. The NL scored 4.52 R/G with an OBP of .328. Montreal and Cleveland were both mild hitters parks, with PF of 103 and 101.

Brook Jacoby played 155 G, 144 of them at 3B, and had 620 PA. He batted all over the order but mostly 6th and 7th. Cleveland did have some good OBP's at the top of the order: Brett Butler, leading off, with a .399, and Julio Franco in the #2 or #3 slot, with an OBP of .389. (Yes, Julio Franco - 28 years old at the time, which was older than Brook Jacoby or Joe Carter.) But those guys were quite a few lineup spots away from Jacoby. In between was the middle of the order. Joe Carter hit 32 HR and had an OBP of .304. Mel Hall only hit 18 HR but his OBP was .309. And some of the time, Cory Snyder was in there, with 33 HR and an OBP of .273 (!). There were even a few games of Carmen Castillo, OBP .296.

So how did Jacoby perform? .300/.387/.541, OPS+ 142. He hit 32 HR, and had the astonishingly low total of 69 RBI.

Tim Wallach played 153 G, 150 of them at 3B, and had 640 PA. He batted predominantly cleanup for the Expos. At the beginning of the year, Tim Raines was out of the lineup (collusion - you remember that?) and several different sets of people batted at the top of the order. For a while, Andres Galarraga (OBP .361, lots of doubles, few HR) was batting third. After Raines returned and through the first half and more of the season, the front three in the order were Casey Candaele, Mitch Webster, and Raines. Candaele was nothing special (.330 OBP) but Webster was good (.361, 33-10 as a basestealer). And Raines was astonishing: .429 OBP, lots of XBH, 50-5 as a basestealer. Later in the season, the order became Raines-Webster-Hubie Brooks-Wallach. Brooks's OBP of .301 sort of spoils the picture, but that's still Raines and Webster not too far in front of Wallach.

So how did Wallach perform? .298/.343/.514, OPS+ 121. He hit 26 HR and had the astonishingly high total of 123 RBI.

Jacoby got no AL MVP votes at all; it's fair to say that he wasn't even in anyone's consideration set. But Wallach finished 4th in the NL MVP vote - ahead of Raines, ahead of Strawberry, ahead of Gwynn, ahead of Eric Davis. (My personal opinion as expressed in 1987: Gwynn for MVP).

I don't know the situational stats for the year; it wouldn't surprise me to find out that Wallach did better than Jacoby with runners on base. But that's not what accounts for the bulk of the difference between 123 RBI and 69 RBI. The BBWAA voters get no prize for not seeing the context. The traditional mindset was always so focused on "protection" and the batter behind the given batter than few seemed to notice the batter in front - and notice that batting right behind Tim Raines might indeed be a very goood thing for your RBI opportunities, while batting behind a whole bunch of non-selective home run hitters like Carter, Hall, and Snyder might have the opposite effect.
   168. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 20, 2006 at 12:47 AM (#2218472)
Quick thought experiment based on Fra Paolo's comparing Maz's DP skill to Babe's skill at HRs.

If you turned 161 DPs in a season, how many runs are you denying the other team? Jim Furtado's XR (for use with seasons 1955-present) weights DPS at .37 runs. So 60 runs worth of DPs.

How many homers would 60 runs be worth? XR weights homers at 1.44 runs. So 60/1.44 = 42 homers.

From a strictly accounting-level point of view, in his very best season, Mazeroski's DPs could be seen as accounting for about the same as the HRs of one of the best HR hitters in the game. Let's chart out his yearly DPcumHR totals:
YEAR DPS DPR DPHR
-----------------
1956  56  21  14
1957  96  36  25
1958 118  44  30
1959 100  37  26
1960 127  47  33
1961 144  53  37
1962 138  51  35
1963 131  48  34
1964 122  45  31
1965 113  42  29
1966 161  60  41
1967 131  48  34
1968 107  40  27
1969  46  17  12
1970  87  32  22
1971  22   8   6
1972   7   3   2
=================
    
1706 631 438
DPR 
DP .37
DPHR 
DPR 1.44 


For his career, Maz's DPs (all 1706) would account for 631 runs. That's 438 homers, about the same as a player considered to have just one dimension to his game...Dave Kingman (442). From a total, raw numbers point of view, Maz is a big homer hitter. But there's issues of course. Mostly of what you might call playing time.

The Pirates played 2707 games during Maz's career (well, that's how many GS they have). Pirate pitchers went 24284 innings. For argument's sake, let's say that Maz played in 8.25 defensive innings per fielding game at 2B (2094) and that the average defensive game is 8.5 innings. That means he played in 97% of all innings in games he appeared. (BP estimates 2044 games, and I think that means they'd have him in there for 9 innings per, or 18396 innings, so my esitmate will ultimately be generous to Maz.) That would give him 17275 defensive innings, or 71% of all PBG defensive innings during his career. How many DP opps, roughly, did he have? I think Bill James has done this work already, but I'll just make a guesstimate because it's probably worth going through the exercise.

-The Pirates pitching gave up 32163 baserunners (H + BB + HPB).
-They removed 738 baserunners from DP contention via WP + BK; subratcting from the previous figure: 31425.
-Opposing managers removed many runners from the DP by the SAC. I don't know exactly how many SACs the Pirates gave up, so I'll estimate. The NL had 1006508 PAs in the 1955-1972 period and saced 11976 times, a rate of 1.1%. The Pirates faced 102322 batters, at 1%, that's 1126 estimated SACs. Subratcting that's 30299.
-Subtract 1887 HR, that's 28412 guys at first.
-I don't have 2B and 3B handy for the Pirates, but using the league's totals to approximate, they gave up exBH 4.2% of all PAs, or 4298 2B and 3B. Subtracting again, that's 24114 runners. I know there were a lot of triples in Pirates home games, I don't know how Forbes affected doubles. I'd guess the net effect would wash out compared to BP's defensive-game estimate.)
-We need to pull out SB and CS. I'll once again estimate using the league's average: 1862 SB+CS against. Down to 22252.
-But there's ROEs too. Let's figure 120 team errors a year just to approximate, not all of them leave a man at first, so let's guess and say 24000 runners at first base.
-Now let's make one final unsupported assumption, that all on-base events are spread evenly among the three out-states, so that two-thirds of his runners at first base were DP candidates. That's 16000 runners.
-Using our out-states assumptions, we can guessimate that for 8000 of those on-base events, the runner was on board for two more outs, and for another 8000 on board for one more out before the DP was rendered impossible by the out-state. So back to 24,000 runners at first on plays where the DP was possible.
-We need to also account for pitcher's strikeouts, taking two-thirds like the hits. 14314 * .67 = 9590. But only 1/3 removes the DP, so half this total needs to be halved (I think?). So 7192. Remove from the 24,000, that's 16808.
-Maz sees 71% of those runners (per above), or 11934 potential DP candidates.
-His rate of DP turns is around 14%. 631 runs (as above) divided by 11934 opportunities is .053 R/DPopp. He has 2176 games and 11934 opps, or 5.48 opps per game, which is .29 DPruns/game. If you will.

What about Kingman and his homers?
-442 homers
-7429 PAs
-minus 16 SACs and 72 IBB: 7341.
-Kingman has 7341 "homer opportunities." We already noted above that 1.44 r/HR, so 636 HRr/7341 HRopps, or .087 HRr/HRopps.
He played 1941 games and had 3.78 HRopps per game. So .33 HRr/game, 14% better than the estimate for the runs/g Maz is getting from his DPs despite the "raw" total of DPr and HRr being within a percentage of one another.

Which is to say that without applying a barometer of some sort (average/replacement/bench), Kingman's homers concentrate more runny goodness into each game than Maz's DPs do (if our DP opps estimate is anywhere near realistic). The implication, of course, is that if you had two one-dimensional players, one with light-tower power, one with DPs, you'd be hard pressed not to take the HR guy. Maz is the best of the best in DPs, but his DP skill, far and away his most impressive skill, appears to have as much or less total or per opportunity value than the one really impressive skill of a guy this electorate will (rightly) pass clear over in 1992. Maz may make up some ground in other phases of the game, including his fielding range and perhaps his batting (relative to Kingman's lack of those surrounding skills), I don't know how much, nor whether both guys would be far enough below HOM level players that it wouldn't matter.

(By the by, I think this experiment is probably incomplete without a consideration of park and run context for Kingman or ground-ball and run context for Maz, but it's just a starting point in a larger conversation.)

One more quickie. A pure singles hitter, 100% singles, would get .50 runs per hit, per XR. So, he'd need 1262 hits to equal the DPr total of Maz's DPs.
   169. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 20, 2006 at 12:48 AM (#2218481)
Regarding Mazeroski, there's a great article the Win Shares book that compares Willie Randolph's defense to Mazeroski's . . .

********

Maybe somebody can explain to me the case for Luis Tiant, I mean besides the fact that we saw him pitch and we loved him. (Do Newk's numbers include any XC for NeL, Korean War, etc??? And the rankings (Newk #37, Tiant #43) are among all pitchers all time, or what?

>37. Newcombe .786 4.09 3169.0 59.3
38. Hoyt .785 4.00 3628.3 60.8
39. Walters .765 4.07 3081.0 56.4
41. Leonard .761 3.91 3325.7 58.7
42. Cicotte .760 3.79 2874.3 56.3
43. Tiant .755 4.03 3362.3 58.1


Newcombe gets credit for 1946-48 in those numbers as well as two years for Korea. On the pitchers thread, I go into detail as to who gets what credit.

The ranking numbers include all post-1893 starting pitchers eligible for the 1988 ballot (that I've run, but I with over 200 starters in there, I can't imagine I've missed anyone that would be in the top 50). Also inlcuded are prominent 1989 eligibles, and Tommy John. Blyleven, Seaver and Palmer have not been run yet.
   170. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 20, 2006 at 12:56 AM (#2218494)
Dr. C - you have to give some of the credit for the DP to the pitcher right? Also the DP XR weight is debiting the hitter for both outs, but the first out is just a routine play (would have to be, or there's no way you could turn two), so I think you've WAY overstated the value to the fielder on the DP.

Also, don't forget that the 'replacement level' 2B is going to be an average fielder, so you really only should be looking at the 'marginal DP's' he turns, and compare that to the marginal HR a guy like Kingman or Ruth hits.

It's definitely an interesting line to go down in terms of research (and much like the James article I mentioned in #170), but just wanted to give a reality check on the impact of each DP, that's all.
   171. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 20, 2006 at 01:20 AM (#2218575)
To give him credit for being the best ever at the DP and then give him credit for his range based on the assist totals would be double counting.


Yep. It's possible to have both great range *and* be skilled at the DP, of course - but you can't give credit for range until you do a DP adjustment, and you also have to do a BIP adjustment. Both of those can be done reasonably accurately without PBP data, and those will get you closer. But then you have GB/FB and left side/right side, and you can't do either of those with any degree of accuracy without PBP data - which is where FRAA and WS, et. al. have problems, and why they are unreliable measures.

I do wonder if I am not overrating the later defensive first types as defense generally becomes less important as the years go by. So maybe Bancroft should be above Rizzuto (and Sewell for that matter, but that is another argument).


In a value-to-team sense, probably not.

As team defense becomes less important, teams tend to value defense less. At individual positions, then, you are likely to see more variance among teams, and thus the best defenders are likely to have more value vs. the typical defender. Bancroft may be a 115 defender, Rizzuto a 110, but the typical SS of Bancroft's era might have been a 109, while the typical SS of Rizzuto's might have been a 102, and Rizzuto would have more value-to-team.

-- MWE
   172. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 20, 2006 at 02:31 AM (#2218894)
Dr. C - you have to give some of the credit for the DP to the pitcher right? Also the DP XR weight is debiting the hitter for both outs, but the first out is just a routine play (would have to be, or there's no way you could turn two), so I think you've WAY overstated the value to the fielder on the DP.

Joe, I'd agree with you on all counts, and you have to give some credit for the DP to the other throwing fielder involved in it (if there is one). A good feed has importance, and the pivot isn't the only play involved. My analysis was far from complete, more like an entry way into the question of the relative value queried by Fra Paola. But beyond that, what's really going on is that I gave Maz the benefit of the doubt as best I could. And when we do that, looking at the most positive scenario for his DPs, they aren't quite as valuable as a one-dimensional slugger's homers. They may be more impressive relative to other 2Bs' DPs turned, but that doesn't make them as valuable. So when we really dig into it, we're very likely to find that Maz's DPs don't add up to all that much value as the comparison to a homer hitter would suggest.

Also, don't forget that the 'replacement level' 2B is going to be an average fielder, so you really only should be looking at the 'marginal DP's' he turns, and compare that to the marginal HR a guy like Kingman or Ruth hits.

Again, I agree with you, and as I noted in the post, I was looking only at the total-accounting point of view to get a general sense of value.

It's definitely an interesting line to go down in terms of research (and much like the James article I mentioned in #170), but just wanted to give a reality check on the impact of each DP, that's all.

Appreciated as always!
   173. Cblau Posted: October 20, 2006 at 03:20 AM (#2219076)
Re #154:
Roy Gleason was the only player to serve in Vietnam AFTER playing in the majors.

Bobby Murcer served full-time in the army, missing all of the 1967 and 1968 seasons (and incidentally playing little to no baseball in that time.) Roy White, I believe, was a reservist; I think that accounts for his missing games in 1969.
   174. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 20, 2006 at 04:09 AM (#2219219)
Of course one FRAA is worth as much as one BRAA, actually it is probalby worth more than that more like one FRAA is worth like 1.05 BRAA if you take pythag into account (I didn't do the math). However, it is much easier for a player to have 40 BRAA as compared to 40 FRAA. Therefore it is easier for a position player to amass enough BRAA to reach the level of a great palyer, say 10 wins over replacement.

And no, one FRAA shoudln't be adjusted to account for it being harder to reach. A run is a run right?

Mike,

I see your point, but most of the fielding value of those from long ago comes from the pitchers. So while it may be easier to stand out defensively among your peers today (assuming thsi is true) and have more FRAA or FRAR, you are taking runs from a much smaller pool because pitchers are getting credit for all of the extra K's they are throwing. I still think that a great defender from the 1990's did not contribute as much as a great defender form the 1910's because pitching (not pitchers who are throwing far fewer innings) is worth more and there is only so much value to go around really.
   175. sunnyday2 Posted: October 20, 2006 at 04:10 AM (#2219223)
Isn't the point that a DP is usually a collaboration of 3 fielders, not that they each have 1/3 of the difficulty or 1/3 of the value, but still I don't think you can give Maz all of the runs saved by a DP. And I would also guess that he wasn't always the pivot man. So I think we're maybe getting just a bit carried away.
   176. fra paolo Posted: October 20, 2006 at 09:37 AM (#2219375)
In order to get a better handle on Mazeroski's range, I performed the following exercise. I took Mazeroski's assists during 1958-68, subtracted the Double Plays, and then did the same for all those who finished first or second in assists by 2bmen in the NL between 1958 and 1968, only counting those seasons where they played 120 games at 2b.

1958
Mazeroski 378
Blasingame 283
Taylor 241

1959
Taylor 351
Blasingame 335
Mazeroski 273

1960
Mazeroski 322
Taylor 319
Blasingame 243

1961
Mazeroski 361
Bolling 377
Blasingame 251

1962
Hubbs 386
Mazeroski 371
Javier 318
Blasingame 286
Taylor 284

1963
Hubbs 397
Mazeroski 375
Javier 322
Taylor 310
Bolling 272

1964
Mazeroski 421
Javier 304
Taylor 264

1965
Beckert 393
Mazeroski 326
Bolling 303
Taylor 264

1966
Mazeroski 377
Beckert 313
Javier 275

1967
Mazeroski 367
Beckert 333
Javier 280

1968
Mazeroski 360
Beckert 354
Javier 271

Although I didn't do the calculation, I also eyeballed data for many more 2bmen during this period. In that respect you'll have to take my word of it that Mazeroski, with the exceptions of 1959 and 1965, is invariably first or second in the league, and with a marked gap between him and 3d place. I don't put too much weight on the 1965 result, because there is something very odd about that year. Overall assists by 2bmen jump to 4900, by far the highest during this period. (Second is 1968, with 4718.) Relative to his peers, Mazeroski makes lots of non-DP assists, on a consistent basis.

Well, I think you've hit on it right there--not everyone accepts that, I would say

If that's true, it's a shocking indictment of people. The whole point of a linear weighting system is to enable direct comparisons of different skill sets. Why bother with this whole exercise if you don't accept that a fielding heavy 9.4 WARP is worth 94 percent of a more balanced 10 WARP?

It seems to me the argument against Maz hinges on two areas. One, his bat is barely league average at best (although we don't know how he compares with 2bmen of his career yet). The other is that it is easier to replace a part of his value with a replacement player. In the latter case, I wonder if the electorate is underestimating just how difficult it is to attain the levels Mazeroski did as a fielder. Ask yourself if you really know how many assists a league-average 2bman makes, and how often players exceed that average to the extent Mazeroski does. In his time Mazeroski's achievement looks extraordinary.
   177. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 20, 2006 at 09:43 AM (#2219377)
"It seems to me the argument against Maz hinges on two areas. One, his bat is barely league average at best (although we don't know how he compares with 2bmen of his career yet)."

Mazeroski's OWP was .400. Average for 2B through his career was .410 - which is very low historically speaking - 2B hit as bad during this time as they ever have. For example, 2B was not in a great boom from 1992-2002, but the league average for Biggio during that time was .456.
   178. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 20, 2006 at 09:45 AM (#2219379)
Nellie Fox, for example was .483 vs. a league average of .421. But a lot of people don't think he hit enough (which blows my mind, considering the length of his career).

Heck, Jerry Remy was .415 vs. a league average of .438.

Willie Randolph .550 vs. a league average of .447. He's going to be VERY high on my ballot come 1998.
   179. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 20, 2006 at 01:48 PM (#2219474)
I still think that a great defender from the 1990's did not contribute as much as a great defender form the 1910's because pitching (not pitchers who are throwing far fewer innings) is worth more and there is only so much value to go around really.


Well, you can look at the issue either way. You can look at it in terms to total value, or you can look at it in terms of relative value. Both are valid ways of looking at value, and neither is IMO "right" by definition.

The biggest problem with evaluating defense is that defenders get few chances to affect a game unless balls are hit in their direction, and even the best fielder's value is limited if the opposing team can't be induced to hit the ball to him. Is it right to penalize someone like Rizzuto, for example, if he converted, say, four of every five balls hit in his vicinity for outs but saw 50-75 fewer balls per season than some like Bancroft, who also may have converted four of every five balls hit to him? Every non-PBP based system for evaluating defense will impose some penalty on the player who actually sees fewer balls, even if he's just as good at fielding the ones that he does see. If your system is based on figuring out a player's total value (above a baseline of zero), that penalty is probably unimportant to you. But in almost any other value approach, it becomes essential to know something about the opportunity. For hitters and pitchers, we can fairly accurately estimate their opportunities. For fielders, we can't.

-- MWE
   180. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 20, 2006 at 03:54 PM (#2219597)
Mike,

The relative value would be much more important, I think, if we were just comparing 2B or just comparing SS's. However, since we are comparing SS's to P (and OFers as well) the value interplay between SS and P, weighting more and more toward P as time moves on (in general of course) ends up being important. I do understand that it isn't fair to Rizzuto that he played in an era where he didn't get a many balls hit to him and it is even more unfair to Omar Vizquel. However, to pretend they were the same you would also have to pretend that pitching was the same, which would really hurt modern pitchers.

However, I do wonder if some of this isn't negated by what you said earlier about relative value. Maybe the Vizquels and Smiths aren't hurt as much by this as the Jeters and Youngs since the former are performing at a higher level above average and getting a larger slice of the pie percentage wise. In other words the gap in total value of SS defensive is fel tmore by those at the bottom of teh cale than those at the top.

By the way, is there evdience that this does happen?
   181. Mark Donelson Posted: October 20, 2006 at 04:46 PM (#2219648)
Why bother with this whole exercise if you don't accept that a fielding heavy 9.4 WARP is worth 94 percent of a more balanced 10 WARP?

You're forgetting that some voters don't accept (at least without major caveats) WARP at all.
   182. sunnyday2 Posted: October 20, 2006 at 05:08 PM (#2219670)
>Why bother with this whole exercise if you don't accept that a fielding heavy 9.4 WARP is worth 94 percent of a more balanced 10 WARP?
>>You're forgetting that some voters don't accept (at least without major caveats) WARP at all.

Setting aside WARP, the question is this, I think: A run saved in the field has the same value as a run created with a bat. (Of course, the run saved is shared with the pitcher, etc. etc. etc. but you get the idea.) And obviously there is disagreement about how to quantify the run saved (and the run created, for that matter). But hopefully people would agree that a run saved is equal to a run created.
   183. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: October 20, 2006 at 05:28 PM (#2219687)
But hopefully people would agree that a run saved is equal to a run created.

I disagree with this.
   184. Chris Fluit Posted: October 20, 2006 at 06:03 PM (#2219710)
The defensive discussion has been very interesting to read, however I just want to reply to one other Mazeroski-related point: Don Larsen's perfect game in the World Series wasn't enough to turn him into a HoMer. Joe Carter will likely fall short despite his World Series-winning home run. And the same is true for Mazeroski. If the rest of his career is not HoM-worthy, then a timely playoff blast isn't going to push him over the top. The rest of this discussion may convince some of us that a defensive specialist like Maz belongs in the HoM. But if he's in, it's because his career is worthy and not because of one magical moment.
   185. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 20, 2006 at 06:11 PM (#2219717)
But hopefully people would agree that a run saved is equal to a run created.


For an average team, a run prevented is usually worth slightly more than a run created. But the impact of runs on wins isn't linear (it's more of an S-curve, linear over a typical range of team run scoring but flattening out at the extremes), and depending where you are on the run creation/run prevention curves, the relationship between the two can change.

-- MWE
   186. Dizzypaco Posted: October 20, 2006 at 06:28 PM (#2219734)
But hopefully people would agree that a run saved is equal to a run created.

Part of the problem is this:

Its relatively easy to compute the number of runs a player creates on offense (or creates above average, or above replacement, etc.) There are a few different formulas, but you can be pretty sure that a player that appears to be 40 offensive runs above replacement using any reasonable formula is in fact doing close to that.

Our confidence in being able to interpret defensive numbers is, or should be, much less precise. So if a player appears to have saved 40 runs against replacement using some formula, I think there should be more of a question whether this acutally happened.

Given the lack of confidence in the precision of defensive numbers, it makes some sense why some would place a slightly greater focus on offensive numbers.
   187. Mark Donelson Posted: October 20, 2006 at 06:38 PM (#2219749)
But hopefully people would agree that a run saved is equal to a run created.

But how far does that get you if you can't agree on how to quantify the runs saved? That's what I was getting at--if you don't trust WARP's defensive measures, you don't necessarily believe it when it tells you Maz and Fox are even when you take both offense and defense into account. (You could say the same about WS saying they're not so close, of course.)
   188. Mark Donelson Posted: October 20, 2006 at 06:39 PM (#2219751)
Our confidence in being able to interpret defensive numbers is, or should be, much less precise. So if a player appears to have saved 40 runs against replacement using some formula, I think there should be more of a question whether this acutally happened.

This is a much more concisely put version of what I was trying to say. :)
   189. fra paolo Posted: October 20, 2006 at 07:19 PM (#2219782)
You're forgetting that some voters don't accept (at least without major caveats) WARP at all.

No, I just used WARP and itsBRAA, BRAP, FRAA and FRAP progenitors because they are readily available through a Web site I can access at work. I personally ignore both WARP and Win Shares to an equal extent, which is why I have focused throughout on actual assists, relative to Mazeroski's peers. People seem to prefer dealing in WARPs and WSs and OWPs. I just went along with the crowd in my initial comment to draw attention to the fact that Fox and Mazeroski aren't as far apart as their relative votinig strength would show.

Given the lack of confidence in the precision of defensive numbers, it makes some sense why some would place a slightly greater focus on offensive numbers.

Well, maybe. One could take the example of how much confidence one can put in the data we've seen for Negro Leaguers. How precise are those numbers? (I was very sceptical of Jose Mendez's at first.) More or less than some kind of linear weighting of fielding? Or Brock2 estimates of war credit or other missing years? I think voters don't place a <u>slightly</u> greater focus on offense, but a <u>significantly</u> greater focus.

The debate seems to have drifted to fielding metric theory, and away from Mazeroski's real numbers. I return to the question raised by me in post 177 - is Mazeroski's defensive contribution, as shown in his record of assists during his prime, extraordinary or not?
   190. baudib Posted: October 20, 2006 at 07:30 PM (#2219789)
Jacoby was horrendous with RISP in 1987. It's in my Elias book around here somewhere.
   191. sunnyday2 Posted: October 20, 2006 at 07:35 PM (#2219798)
I don't know how you can separate the theory from the fact. The idea that raw assists are indicative of defensive value is, after all, a theory.

But even if you agree that, yes, the assist totals shown in #177 are "extraordinary," you still have to answer the question of how much that really matters in the context of the other things that 2B do, including hit.

The trouble with assists is that I don't know of any way to add them to, say, hits or runs scored to come up with a comprehensive metric.

In the Bancroft, Sewell, Maranville thread I posted the results of a study by David Neft way back in 1986 rating the SSs. His metric gave more importance to defense than offense by a ratio of about 5 to 4, and the SS ratings it produced were eye-opening, to say the least. Dave Bancroft #2 and Arky Vaughan #19. Some might accept that as a reasonable finding. (Some might accept it as a reasonable finding that Maz is #2 and Rogers Hornsby is #19. Most would probably not.) But if you do accept that Bancroft is #2 and Vaughan #19 based on defense being more important than offense by a mere 5:4 ratio, then the more common perception that Vaughan is #2 and Bancroft #19 would probably imply a 2:1 ratio where batting is 2 and fielding is 1 (just a guess). That also might be way too much.

But assists by themselves don't help any, not at all, with the problem of integration or aggregation of the various skills.

And by the way, you don't have to believe that offense is "more important" than defense to place more emphasis on the offensive part of the equation when ranking players. You only have to believe that the range of performance on offense is bigger than the range of performance (from best to worst) in defense, and I think there is some evidence for that. In other words, if the best hitter (among SSs or 2Bs or whatever) is also the worst fielder, and the best fielder the worst hitter, then the likelihood is that the best hitter/worst fielder is more valuable than his opposite. Which of course brings us back to Maz.
   192. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 20, 2006 at 08:00 PM (#2219816)
Given the lack of confidence in the precision of defensive numbers, it makes some sense why some would place a slightly greater focus on offensive numbers.


But that shouldn't lead anyone to the conclusion that the defensive numbers should be discarded. Maybe it means that you use broader gradations - maybe letter grades like James does, rather than runs - maybe it means you make subjective adjustments, maybe it means you look for other ways to assess defensive value. But the one thing that I don't think you can fairly do is discard defense as a consideration. (Not that anyone is, mind you.)

Had I been voting for the HOM in the 20s, Johnny Evers would have been on my ballot someplace, certainly ahead of Larry Doyle. Almost all of the contemporary evidence suggests that Evers was the best defensive 2B of that time, and while I don't know off the top of my head what the numeric methods show, I do know that (a) Evers was essentially traded straight up for Boston 2B Bill Sweeney prior to the 1914 season, (b) Boston won the 1914 pennant with most of the same pitchers that pitched for the team in 1913, (c) most of the improvement for the Braves in 1914 was on defense, (d) the most significant change on the defense occurred at 2B, and (e) Evers won the Chalmers Award (with Maranville second and Bill James third). What we remember *now* about the Miracle Braves (thanks to the other Bill James) was the platooning, and the platooning did get mentioned in news articles. But Stallings himself credited his defense - in particular, Evers and Maranville - for the Braves' success, and there is no question that other observers of the time recognized Evers's key defensive role as well.

-- MWE
   193. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 20, 2006 at 08:28 PM (#2219842)
And by the way, you don't have to believe that offense is "more important" than defense to place more emphasis on the offensive part of the equation when ranking players. You only have to believe that the range of performance on offense is bigger than the range of performance (from best to worst) in defense, and I think there is some evidence for that. In other words, if the best hitter (among SSs or 2Bs or whatever) is also the worst fielder, and the best fielder the worst hitter, then the likelihood is that the best hitter/worst fielder is more valuable than his opposite. Which of course brings us back to Maz.


Apart from the fact that Mazeroski was much closer to being an average hitter for the position than he was to being the worst hitter for the position, I think there's a problem with the assumption that the range of performance on offense is bigger than the range of performance of defense - once you consider the value of a play saved. One play made saves, on average, somwhere between .6 and .8 runs (depending on the assumptions that go into your model). 20 runs, then, is somewhere between 25 and 35 plays - or something like 1-1 1/2 plays a week. Do you think the difference between the best fielder and the worst fielder at a position is that small?

The evidence suggests that it's probably not on the order of a play a game difference, and maybe not even a play every other game. But if you get into the realm of a play saved every third game, then it's plausible that the top-to-bottom difference is as large as 40 runs.

-- MWE
   194. sunnyday2 Posted: October 20, 2006 at 08:40 PM (#2219854)
>But if you get into the realm of a play saved every third game, then it's plausible that the top-to-bottom difference is as large as 40 runs.

I don't doubt that. To follow up on your example, though, what is the difference between Evers and Doyle with the bat? Maybe it is less than 40 runs.

Or another, what about Bill Mazeroski and Jeff Kent? Offense and defense?

And Mike, what about Arky Vaughan and Dave Bancroft? Dave Neft seemed to agree with you (at least as of 1986) that the defensive difference, in favor of Bancroft, was in fact larger than the offensive? Do you think that holds?
   195. jimd Posted: October 20, 2006 at 11:54 PM (#2219969)
But if you get into the realm of a play saved every third game

Two plays a week.

The difference between a .260 and a .360 hitter is two hits a week.

This is a large difference.
   196. OCF Posted: October 21, 2006 at 02:59 AM (#2220017)
Since he's eligible this year, now's the time to ask about him - one of the most iconic members of the "glove man" type: Mark Belanger.

We know he was a multiple Gold Glove winner, but what do all of the various defensive metrics say about him?

He was mostly a non-hitter. What about the years when he did have offensive value, like 1969, 1971, or 1976 when he had OPS+ of 95-100? How valuable a player was he in those years?
   197. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 21, 2006 at 07:42 PM (#2220315)
Mark Belanger: the latter-day Roy McMillan? Or George McBride?
   198. sunnyday2 Posted: October 21, 2006 at 07:53 PM (#2220321)
I guess this is a pretty serious question.

>Two plays a week.

>The difference between a .260 and a .360 hitter is two hits a week.

Do we think there are two plays a week's worth of difference between, say, Bill Mazeroski and Larry Doyle? If yes, note that there is not 100 points worth of BA difference, and so Maz would be better than Doyle....

Or would he? What if those 2 extra hits a week are XBH? Say it's a double and a home run per week. Oh, and an extra walk once a week. Now what are we talking about? Two defensive plays a week? Or maybe three? How about four?

I dunno the answers, maybe somebody can expound on these differences between the differences between offensive and defensive performances. How a defensive advantage really correlates to an offensive one.
   199. fra paolo Posted: October 21, 2006 at 11:06 PM (#2220435)
The trouble with assists is that I don't know of any way to add them to, say, hits or runs scored to come up with a comprehensive metric....You only have to believe that the range of performance on offense is bigger than the range of performance (from best to worst) in defense, and I think there is some evidence for that.

Maybe you're asking the wrong question. Perhaps the metric is a chimaera. Regardless of the variability of defensive performance, with Mazeroski one has a defensive superstar. Even our imprecise measures such as Fielding Runs suggest that his defense is having a major impact during a season.

What bothers me about the treatment of Mazeroski is the way people seem to be ignoring the Defensive Question. If we don't know how exactly to evaluate Mazeroski in a way to add them to runs scored, then the question arises over whether one gives him the benefit of the doubt. The consensus is that one should not. Yet my ESPN Encyclopedia shows him with a total during his prime of 307 Fielding Runs. If a pitcher amassed 300 Pitching Runs, he would be getting people's attention, I'm sure, because his Ks, his BB/K, his ERA would also probably be high.

Now, Mazeroski is not amassing his defensive reputation in a way that is not visible in the record. He's got lots of assists, lots of DPs. Yet because of the uncertainty, people disregard a player who is at an extreme level of achievement, which they wouldn't do in any batting or pitching category. How much do we think Fielding Runs might overestimate value - 5%, 20%, 80%? I get the impression no-one thinks it might underestimate value. The bias seems automatically against giving credit for defense. Why?

My ESPN encyclopedia shows that over a 14-year prime Nellie Fox produced -49 Batting Runs and 77 Fielding Runs. Mazeroski, over an 11-year prime, gave -127 Batting Runs and 307 Fielding Runs. We can also see that WARP puts them even over their careers, while Fox has a big lead on Win Shares, 304-219 according to the NBJBBHA. The only thing one can conclude is that you all think Mr James has got the best system for measuring relative abilities in pre-play-by-play metric era, that Fielding Runs and WARP are useless, because every single voter is ignoring what they show about Bill Mazeroski.

But assists by themselves don't help any, not at all, with the problem of integration or aggregation of the various skills.

I can't agree with that. We know from all fielding metrics that a play made has a value, a value one can use to estimate the value of an assist. One could turn the question around and say that home runs do nothing to help with the problem, because we can't tell how many home runs are equal to 373 assists. It all depends on where one starts from. An out in a linear weighting formula can have a value of .19. Give the full value to the assist, and one gets 70.9 runs, or the same as 56 homers valued at 1.27 each. Choose another value, and you can still work something out.
   200. fra paolo Posted: October 21, 2006 at 11:22 PM (#2220446)
My preliminary ballot. I'm going away for a week tomorrow, and if a storm brews that keeps me from getting home for several days (don't laugh, it happened to some friends of mine), so that I can't post a ballot on Monday week, please use this in the voting. I'm only commenting on newcomers to my ballot.

1-Cupid Childs
2-Jimmy Wynn
3-Willie Stargell. He's good when he can play, but he only averages 128 games per year during his prime, and I dock points when a position player falls below 145/162. I may still have him too high here, on that basis.
4-Ken Boyer
5-Thurman Munson
6-Bucky Walters
7-Alejandro Oms
8-Orlando Cepeda
9-Dave Bancroft. I think he's the best shortstop in the backog at the moment. His main drawback is a lack of playing time.
10-Bill Mazeroski. Here he is, the man of the hour. He's only this low because of my positional balance fetish. If Childs is elected, expect him to rise a few more places.
11-Elston Howard.
12-Charley Jones
13-Edd Roush
14-Dizzy Trout. I've got him second-best in the pitcher backlog, but there's a couple more names I really should look at again.
15-Lou Brock.
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