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— 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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   301. sunnyday2 Posted: October 26, 2006 at 07:29 PM (#2225194)
Of course we are into a backlog period right now, especially as it relates to pitchers. The top rated pitcher is Redding at #13. Have we ever not had a pitcher in our top 12? So there are objections to all of them.

13. Redding has some questions which relate as much to lack of data as to documented weakness. He is already in my PHoM but I am not all that enthusiastic--I vastly preferred Waddell. Still he remains clearly one of the top 5 pitchers, at least,and #16 on my ballot.

17. Walters--the war is a non-issue for me. As a peak voter, his case depends almost not at all on the war years. The big problem for Walters is not his defensive support, IMO, but his short peak. He has moved up my ballot recently, if only because of a dearth of pitchers. That is what kept him lower for many years. But it's a hell of a peak. #20 on my ballot.

22. Grimes--not a fave for me, as a peak voter. #68.

29. Welch--been there, done that. #72, one slot ahead of Tony Mullane.

30. Dean--nice peak, but not actually as good as Walters'. #21.

34. Bridges--I never quite understood the appeal. #64.

36. Willis--in my PHoM, effective, workhorse, what's not to like? Well, there are other pitchers from his era who were better--most all of them elected, especially now with Waddell finally getting in. There's a case to be made here, but he has recently moved all the way down to #41 on my ballot.

43. Joss--in my PHoM for years, still #6 on my ballot. Sure he didn't "eat" innings, but nobody was more effective who ate more of them.

46. Mays--I got nuthin' against Carl Mays other than he killed Ray Chapman. Sure he was a good pitcher, but so were a dozen of his contemporaries. #78.

50T. Trout--don't get it. Not top 100.

52. Cicotte--yes. Not in my PHoM but lurking. #15.

59. Quinn--the Eskimo rates higher than Jack.

62T. Mullane--see Welch.

64. Gomez--nice peak, #37.

66. Shocker--another of those tweeners, nice peak, nice career, but doesn't really stand out on either count. #58.

67. Newcombe--recently moved up to #19 on my ballot. There has probably never been a pitcher (okay, George Stovall) who had more career interruptions thrown at him and still pitched at a Cy Young level in the MLs at his best. I can easily imagine conditions under which he was at least Billy Pierce if not Early Wynn. And given the various circumstances all of which victimized Newk, he is one guy for whom a bit of imagination is in order.

73T. Wilbur Cooper--I can understand the case for him, but Vic Willis blows him away. #97.

75. Leever--no.

79. Trucks--no.

83T. Hilton Smith--I like him, he sure had the peak and it is possible to imagine him as, well, Bob Gibson would be a bit too much to hope, but maybe "the black Jim Bunning." #25.

Others in my top 100: 29. Tommy Bond, 45. Luis Tiant, 55. Dolf Luque (another case where a bit of imagination is needed), 65. Jim McCormick, 69. Andy Cooper, 76. Bill Byrd, 87. Silver King, 90. Jim Whitney, HM. Jim Creighton (the pitcher they wanted Candy Cummings to be).

There is a case for all of these guys, and there is a case against all of these guys. As you can easily surmise from my ballot rankings, the strongest cases for and/or the weakest cases against would be:

Best case for (strong strengths): Joss, Dean, Walters. And personal fave Tommy Bond.
Weakest case against (no glaring weakness): Cicotte, Redding, Newcombe. And personal fave Jim McCormick.
   302. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 26, 2006 at 08:11 PM (#2225234)
Sunny,

I saw that you voted for Reggie Smith this week. I was wondering as a peak voter waht exactly you see in Smith. I don't really get it and I have him outside of my top 60, I perfer Papa bonds who is #50 for me. Care to enlighten me?
   303. sunnyday2 Posted: October 26, 2006 at 08:27 PM (#2225244)
I basically use Win Shares and OPS+. WS of course prefers Bonds, but Reggie2's OPS advantage is a more compelling one than Bonds' WS advantage.

Bonds 129/152-46-41-38-35-33-32-23-19-16 (only 10 years > 100 in ? 100 games)
Reggie2 136/168-64-58-48-42-42-37-33-28-26-25-16 (12 years)

I mean, this is not even close, especially considering Reggie2 also played a more valuable defensive position throughout most of his peak.

On WS it is true that Bonds gets the top 4 years (4 > 30, while Reggie2 had none > 30), but Bonds 5th best year is a 24. Reggie beats Bobby on years 8-1-1 over the next 10 years. I prefer the peak if all else is equal or even close to equal but here Reggie2's advantage is just too much to ignore.

Wynn has a better story than Bonds as he actually beats Reggie2 for 7 years on WS before Reggie2's career advantage kicks in, and on OPS+ Wynn is much close to Reggie than Bonds is. I'm glad you didn't ask me about Wynn ;-) whom I am perhaps underrating. As has been said, he and Reggie2 are pretty close and I have Reggie2 at #10 and Wynn at #43. Oops, though as I've said before, if you use some kind of global method to rate players at a macro-level, you are always going to get head-to-heads that don't work. That is one of my conundrums right now: Reggie2 and Wynn. But I have no problem with Reggie2 over Bonds.

And I also have Reggie2 ahead of the cluster of low/off ballot (#10-20) hitters Cepeda, F. Howard, Cravath, Cash. Keller is ahead of them all. I don't see any of them having the kind of peak Keller (and Kiner and Roush) have. So, yes, I'm a peak voter when I have a truly dominating peak. In the absence of that, on the borderlines, I do tend to consider careers a little more strongly. Oh, and in Reggie's case, he hit "like" (give or take) the Cepedas while also fielding CF.
   304. mulder & scully Posted: October 26, 2006 at 09:02 PM (#2225263)
Some comments similar to sunnyday2's

13. Redding: #28, though PHOM. Moved down because of concerns of how much there is outside of his big four years. If I was more a peak voter, he'd still be on my ballot.

17. Walters: #7, PHOM. The best NL pitcher between Hubbell and Spahn/Roberts. Four fantastic years, plus good career bulk. Has seven years out of 8 where his worst ERA+ is 123 (and one 93 after throwing 1200+ innings over 4 years): 168, 152, 127, 123, 93, 146, 143, 131. ERA+ rank each year: 1st, 1st, 5th, 6th, NR, 2nd, 4th. IP rank each year: 1st, 1st, 1st, 6th, NR, 4th, NR, NR

22. Grimes: #20, PHOM. 6 times a league all-star including 4 seconds and 1 first impress this prime-centric voter.

29. Welch: #1, PHOM. Best pitcher in league in 1885. Record against other HoMers: 62-37 with a winning record whether the Giants were better or worse than the other HoMer's team in a given year. From Chris J.'s lamented RunSupportIndex Blog, every 1880's HoMer had better offensive and defensive support than Welch except for Galvin. To me, if you have comparable career results and routinely defeat other HoMer pitchers despite them having better offensive and defensive support, you are a Hall of Meriter yourself - or the biggest fluke in history.

30. Dean: #34. Great 3 years, plus 2 all-star years. Then nothing.

34. Bridges: Below 60. Don't understand the appeal.

36. Willis: #12. Best pitcher in NL twice, 1899 and 1901. Second best twice more, plus several other good years. Lot of innings at a high level.

43. Joss: Below 60. Understand the appeal, but he did not have the innings that every other great pitcher of his era did (even less than Waddell, who I never voted for.)

46. Mays: #46. Nice run from 1916-1921. The best offensive and defensive support of any pitcher except Al Spalding - again from Chris J.'s old site.

50. Trout: Below 60. Don't get it.

52. Cicotte: Below 60 - before I dock him for throwing the 1919 and 1920 seasons.

59. Quinn: Below 60. No peak and his prime is not high enough.

62T. Mullane: Need to look at him again now that I finished redoing my top 60.

64. Gomez: Below 60. Better than Ruffing when they were both on the Yankees. Ruffing was worse than team against first division teams when on the Yankees, Gomez was significantly better.

66. Shocker: #54. Nice run in the 20s, but no big years to push him higher. Did face tougher than expected opponents.

67. Newcombe: #21. Top 5 starter in NL in 1949, 1950, 1951, 1955, 1956, 1959. Plus 2 years for Korea - 1952, 1953. With a little minor league credit for 1949 when he started the year in the minors, 1949 joins 1956 as a best in league year.

73T. Wilbur Cooper: #19, PHOM. Top 5 in NL for 8 straight years, 1917-1924, plus a 6th in 1916. 2 fifths, 2 fourths 1 third, 2 seconds, and 1 first. That is pitching a high level with fantastic consistency.

75. Leever: No

79. Trucks: No

83T. Smith: Part of my ongoing research into NeL pitchers with Bill Byrd and Andy Cooper.

Others in my top 60: Luis Tiant, #44 with some good years, but a lot of pitchers had more of them during the 60s and 70s. Sal Maglie, #45 with various bits of extra credit. Lon Warneke: Dean-lite #51,
   305. sunnyday2 Posted: October 26, 2006 at 09:13 PM (#2225269)
Maglie always intrigued me, a more checkered career than any other white pitcher (or probably any other white player). That is, more missing time. Reminds me of Newcombe in that respect. But then I look closer and there is less documented excellence than Newk, and less to add to the documented record for events outside of his control. Newk minus minus, more like it.

Warneke is not in my top 100 which is probably a mistake, but even so top 50-60 is probably out of the question, so until we expand the ballot a bit, it doesn't have a practical impact.
   306. Chris Fluit Posted: October 26, 2006 at 10:47 PM (#2225315)
302. sunnyday2 Posted: October 26, 2006 at 03:29 PM (#2225194)
Of course we are into a backlog period right now, especially as it relates to pitchers. The top rated pitcher is Redding at #13. Have we ever not had a pitcher in our top 12?


The answer is "Yes." When Pud Galvin was elected in 1910, Jim McCormick was the highest ranked returning pitcher at #17. In 1911, newcomer Kid Nichols was elected on his first try, making McCormick the top returnee again although he had now fallen to #19. In 1912, McCormick was knocked out of his top spot by Clark Griffith who passed him to become the top returning pitcher at #17. Griffith held on to the post for another year, although he continued to gain momentum and had made it as high as #14 in 1913.

The dry spell for pitchers ended in 1914 when Joe McGinnity became eligible. McGinnity entered the backlog at #8 that year and hung around as a top ten returnee for a number of years. By the time McGinnity was elected, Bob Caruthers and Clark Griffith had both pushed their way into the top ten. Though Caruthers would be elected and Griffith would lose ground, the Hall of Merit would have a string of pitchers keep up a presence in the top ten, and usually in the top five- from Coveleski to Bill Foster to Rixey to Ruffing to Griffith again.

Pitchers almost experienced a second dry spell in 1972, the year after Griffith was elected. That year, Cannonball Dick Redding was the top returning pitcher at exactly 10th. Redding moved further up the next year, eventually being joined and passed by Mendez, Pierce and Waddell. Which brings us to the present. Redding is once again the top returnee for pitchers but at #13, this is the lowest that the top returning pitcher has ranked since Clark Griffith's 14 in 1913.
   307. DavidFoss Posted: October 26, 2006 at 11:02 PM (#2225323)
Three of our last eight inductees have been pitchers and the flood of 70s greats starts next year. I don't see a big deal in pitchers having a year off from time to time between inductions and eligibilities.

I'll still vote for Redding like I always do, but I'm not going to bend over backwards to find a new pitcher for my ballot.

Perhaps we should take a second look at Redding. I know new data came out that made everyone second guess him, but didn't he pack in enough value when he was younger?
   308. rawagman Posted: October 27, 2006 at 02:56 AM (#2225677)
Robby- I personally support Lefty Gomez (I'm his best friend) and Tommy Bridges.
The Bridges reason is simply his consistency. He pitched at a consistently high level for a number of seasons - I value consistently very highly for pitchers.

As for Lefty, well, I may have been Waddell's biggest fan (up there, anyway). I see alot of Waddell in Gomez. A career, while not long, was longer than Dean's. Over ten seasons, easy. Career rate stats are exceptional (ERA+, DERA). Incredible ink. 2 time pitching triple crown - that's a peak! Also, he quit the game of his own accord when he realized that his peak was over - had offers to play ball in war time, but chose not to.
   309. Chris Cobb Posted: October 27, 2006 at 03:13 AM (#2225727)
Also, he quit the game of his own accord when he realized that his peak was over - had offers to play ball in war time, but chose not to.

Whatever the stories are, the fact is that when Gomez left the game, he wasn't getting major-league hitters out: his ERA+ for seasons after 1939 were 61, 105, 80, and 55. If he had continued to pitch after the early 1943 season, there's no evidence that it would have added any significant value to his career.

Overall, I can't see how a serious case could be made that Lefty Gomez is more meritorious than Luis Tiant. Gomez's ink is bolstered by pitching in a great pitcher's park (esp. for left-handers) and for a great team, while Tiant's _second_ peak was accomplished in Fenway Park when it was (as has been noted in the Yaz discussions) a tremendous hitters' park.

Not that I'm all for inducting Tiant now, but he was a lot better than Lefty Gomez.
   310. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 27, 2006 at 03:34 AM (#2225786)
Decent points on Smith Sunny. I do have them both in my top 70, with Bonds at #50.

And Wynn is a good comparison, Wynn has a very nice peak, and Reggie seems to not have had much of one (WARP does like his peak better than WS).
   311. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 27, 2006 at 03:50 AM (#2225836)
On Smith V. Bonds, I just checked Eqa and it has a similar view as OPS+ on the two. However, Bonds usually had about 100 more PA's per season than Smith and some of Smith's best years were in seasons with less than 500 PA. In seasons durability and hitting leadoff seem to have been Bobby Bonds biggest asset over Reggie Smith and WS does love in season durability.

WARP has teh same view as WS, even though its rate stat, Eqa, disagrees. Bonds has four seasons over 9 WARP and seven over eight, those numbers are 1 and 2 for Smith. It would seem that PA's are a part of this but Bonds is also seen as the better defender with a few more runs above replacement (which does take postiion difference into the equation). Is this possible? Was Smith really not that good?
   312. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 27, 2006 at 04:00 AM (#2225864)
Oh, and I should also mention that Smith's two best years according to Eqa, '77 and '78, came as a RF, as well as a season tied for his third best, 1980. Of course he only had 352 AB+BB in that seasons. Does OPS+ show the same thing? If so, the statement that Smith had more defensive value in his prime may need to be amended. It seems that he was better offensively later in his career, at a time when he wasn't playing quite as much and when he was playing RF. This may be why is peak is lower, his offensive and defensive peaks do not match up much.
   313. TomH Posted: October 27, 2006 at 07:52 PM (#2226489)
looking for guidance / recommendations:

I am writing up a post explaining how I am wrestling with how much creidt to give for post-season performance. I'm working on this because I've been unable to come to grips well with Mr. Brock, and Rollie Fingers is looming.

So, what thread should I stick this on? It might last longer than one ballot discussion year.
   314. rawagman Posted: October 28, 2006 at 03:04 AM (#2226884)
I think that watching this World Series has convinced me to look more closely at pitcher's fielding in my rankings.
   315. KJOK Posted: October 28, 2006 at 06:48 AM (#2227184)
TomH

It doesn't fit per the title, but I think the best place to put "methodology" discussions might be the "Battle of the Uberstat" thread?
   316. sunnyday2 Posted: October 28, 2006 at 01:44 PM (#2227239)
>I think that watching this World Series has convinced me to look more closely at pitcher's fielding in my rankings.

No ####. Has anybody ever seen such a pathetic exhibition of any particular aspect of the game as that?
   317. fra paolo Posted: October 28, 2006 at 11:46 PM (#2227432)
I see in my absence, the debate got very interesting. I could comment on many things, but I think there are three salient points that have been raised.

Re: mulder&scully; in post 203.
Comparing the numbers of Randolph and Mazeroski directly doesn't necessarily work under the linear weighting system, because the player's fielding rate is compared to the league's. If there is a radical difference in the number of or ratio between PO, A, E and DP in their respective leagues, then the results for similar numbers will be different. I haven't looked at the figures, so it may be that the severe result is still severe.

The formula for assigning player runs starts with a Player Fielding Rate, calculated as follows for 2B: 2*(PO+2A-E+DP)
While Win Shares calculates claim points for 2B as follows: (PO+2A-5E+DP+2*RBP), where RBP is based on Range Factor. (Source http://walksaber.blogspot.com/2006/01/win-shares-walkthrough-pt-7-conclusion.html)

So Win Shares penalizes errors more heavily, but gives a bonus for being better relative to other 2B on one's team. The formulas are very similar.

I don't think anyone is ignoring the fielding evidence...and we're still not 100% sure how to interpret the statistical evidence, so you have to make of it what you can. [Mike Emeigh in 256]

I would argue that voters <u>are subconsciously</u> ignoring the fielding evidence. In support, I offer this thread from my last post to 275. Every time someone starts to anaylse fielding theory, they start using guesses as to player's numbers. No-one (including me) has actually told us how many plays an NL-average 2B made in the 1960s, for example. People look at a WS or WARP number but go no further. So I return to a question I asked earlier: How much superior was Mazeroski's fielding record to average 2B? (In 1966, Mazeroski made 538 assists in 1452.33 innings, while other NL 2B made 4166 in 13,098.67. Maz was around 16 percent better than the average.)

This is why I think that the cost of a play not made is NOT equal to (hit + out), as many people assume, but is some value less than that....Larry Doyle was a better hitter unadjusted than Mazeroski adjusted, not a gack-awful defender, and isn't sniffing a lot of ballots. I would guess that no matter how much credit you give Mazeroski for defense and longevity he probably has to rank behind Doyle (at least) on a list of 2Bs. I think it does get him a little deeper into the discussion though.[Mike Emeigh in 270]

A-ha! I'm having some effect, then! Seriously, though, when I did my little calculation of the worth of Mazeroski's assists, I used an out value only. And, of course, a part of the value needs to be transferred to the pitcher and to the guy who made the put out. However, in terms of linear weights, you're still probably looking at a multiplier in the vicinity of .19, once one adds the full value of the out to a partial value for a lost hit.
   318. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 29, 2006 at 06:45 PM (#2227634)
No-one (including me) has actually told us how many plays an NL-average 2B made in the 1960s, for example.


There are two reasons for that:

1. No one knows. We don't know how many 2B putouts+assists were plays made by the 2B vs plays made by someone else where the 2B was an intermediary. Do you give the 2B credit for a play made for covering 2B on a forceout or a caught stealing, for covering 1B on a sacrifice, for acting as the relay man on a play where the runner is cut down at the plate, or for acting as one of the middle men in a rundown play when a runner is picked off first?
2. Even if we knew how many plays an average 2B made, the question would still be: how many plays would an average 2B have made given a different number of opportunities to make plays? We don't consider RBIs by themselves as indicative of a high-quality hitter, or single-season W/L record by itself as indicative of a high-quality pitcher, because we know that those statistics are to a large extent about opportunity as well as quality.

James wrote two very good articles about this issue in the Win Shares book: one about Richie Ashburn and Granny Hamner, and one about Jerry Lumpe and Bobby Richardson (the adjusted range factors article).

-- MWE
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