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

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

1989 Ballot Discussion

1989 (November 13)—elect 3
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)

488 140.1 1961 Carl Yastrzemski-LF/1B
369 136.3 1963 Gaylord Perry-P
356 128.0 1968 Johnny Bench-C
323 121.4 1966 Fergie Jenkins-P
268 102.3 1960 Jim Kaat-P
280 91.4 1964 Bert Campaneris-SS
231 73.9 1970 Gene Tenace-C/1B
197 62.7 1969 Don Money-3B
178 52.9 1973 Richie Zisk-RF/DH
156 57.9 1972 Jon Matlack-P
141 52.4 1965 Rudy May-P
137 52.2 1971 Ken Forsch-P*
134 49.5 1966 Woodie Fryman-P
131 50.5 1969 Steve Renko-P
123 50.1 1972 Jim Barr-P
130 43.0 1971 Joe Ferguson-C
132 39.0 1974 Bake McBride-RF/CF
115 43.2 1972 Dave Goltz-P
124 37.3 1967 Aurelio Rodriguez-3B (2000)

Players Passing Away in 1988
HoMers
Age Elected

85 1949 Carl Hubbell-P

Candidates
Age Eligible

94 1937 Edd Roush-CF
92 1932 Whitey Witt-CF/SS
91 1941 Bob O’Farrell-C
90 1943 Jigger Statz-CF
88 1940 Willie Kamm-3B
88 1943 Tommy Thomas-P
87 1937 Pete Donohue-P
87 1946 Newt Allen-2B
83 1946 Wally Berger-CF
71 1953 Jim Bagby, Jr.-P
69 1961 Vic Raschi-P
63 1967 Ted Kluszewski-1B
57 1972 Harvey Kuenn-SS/RF

Thanks, Dan!

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 31, 2006 at 01:35 AM | 273 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. EricC Posted: November 02, 2006 at 01:54 AM (#2229960)
As published by Stephen J. Gould in his essay "Why nobody hits .400 any more", the coefficient of variation of batting average (100 times the standard deviation divided by the mean) averaged 19.25 in the 1870s, 18.45 in the 1880s (peaking around 23(!) in 1886), 15.60 in the 1890s, 14.97 in the 1900s, 13.97 in the 1910s, and between 12 and 13 since then. Thus, a good player in the 1880s had an environment that allowed him to achieve a higher performance relative to average or replacement level baselines than would have been possible in later decades. This effect obviously carries over to sabermetric ratings, although I know of no quantitative studies on this topic.
   102. EricC Posted: November 02, 2006 at 02:03 AM (#2229965)
>>And the result may have looked something like.... Hugh Duffy. :-)

Not sure what the :-) means so just to be clear: Browning played 11 full and one half season. Duffy played 11 full and three half seasons.

And then Duffy's second best seasonal OPS+ is either a 149 in the 1891 AA or a 125 in the NL. Browning's 11th best out of 11 was an adjusted 137.


Durability. Percentage of team games played, sorted in reverse order by season:

Duffy: 100/100/100/100/99/99/98/97/96/94/91/57/52/39/12/10/1
Browning: 100/96/94/90/86/86/81/76/71/68/59/45/3

Add up fractionally, Duffy had a 12.5 season career, and Browning 9.6. Duffy has a 30 percent career length advantage. Note that this measure is independent of schedule length.

OPS+. Note a comprehensive measure of value, because of (1) defense: Duffy A+/ 93 FRAA. Browning C+/(minus) 42 FRAA and (2) league strength: much stronger in Duffy's case.

Putting everything together, I stand by my conclusion: by a comprehensive metric adjusted for league strength, Duffy was as about as valuable as Browning when he played and played for a significantly longer time.
   103. Sean Gilman Posted: November 02, 2006 at 02:16 AM (#2229976)
Before the voting began I posted an Excel spreadsheet to the Yahoo Groups with the league-year standard deviation in OPS (I think I used OPS) among regulars. As Tom and others have commented, the standard deviation was very high initially and steadily declined until the early 20th century. It then has declined at a much slower rate until the present day.

I wonder if OPS behaves differently than OPS+ (aside from the obvious offense level fluctuations, which must gum things up), or if the standard deviation among league leaders tracks with the standard deviation among regulars. Or if there's any reason why it shouldn't.

Mostly, I'm curious if WARP3 shows any difference over time (it should not).

It may be a semantic issue to say that this tracks league quality. If you prefer, I think it is safe to say that it tracks how easy/difficult it was to stand above the mythical league average player.

It may be semantics, but doesn't it also show how easy/difficult it is to be be well below the mythical league average? Does the standard deviation decline because the bottom rises or because the top sinks, and can we tell the difference?

And does frequency of performance necessarily equal difficulty of performance?
   104. Sean Gilman Posted: November 02, 2006 at 02:23 AM (#2229987)
Thus, a good player in the 1880s had an environment that allowed him to achieve a higher performance relative to average or replacement level baselines than would have been possible in later decades. This effect obviously carries over to sabermetric ratings, although I know of no quantitative studies on this topic.

I don't think it's obvious that as goes batting average, so goes the other stats. Parks were more extreme the further back in history you go, which would effect the range of batting average, along with various rules changes.

Why 1886? That wasn't the year they counted walks as hits, was it?
   105. Sean Gilman Posted: November 02, 2006 at 02:36 AM (#2230002)
Putting everything together, I stand by my conclusion: by a comprehensive metric adjusted for league strength, Duffy was as about as valuable as Browning when he played and played for a significantly longer time.

Here's what WARP3 says:

Duffy: 9.1 7.4 7.1 6.7 6.5 6.4 5.9 5.2 3.6 3.2 3.2 3.1 1.7 1.6 0.3 0.2 0.0
PeteB: 9.2 8.8 7.7 6.8 6.7 5.6 4.9 4.3 4.3 3.3 2.7 0.4 0.0


So, assuming you buy WARP3, Duffy and Browning look similar. Browning's better each the first 5 years, Duffy's next three years are better and he pulls ahead of Browning's total in year 10. Depending on your preference for peak/prime/career, I can see a reasonable case for either other the other.

They're both on my ballot and in my PHOM.
   106. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: November 02, 2006 at 03:32 AM (#2230030)
I do want to say that while I buy the standard deviation argument, in fact I think I brought it up in this thread, I do not think that this necessary denotes league quality. At least it should not for our purposes. What it does say is that if there is aplayer with a 150 career OPS+ who played in the 1880's and one in the 1960, the 1960's player was probably a better hitter. This should be born out by rank within league, once the # of teams in the respective leagues are adjusted for.

'zop,

I do agree with you somewhat about Jones. I have never completely understood why he deserves two plus years of blacklisted credit, he was the one who left the teama nd he was teh one who then sued teh team. I can see giving him credit for 1882 when the AA cowtowed to the NL desires and blacklisted him as well. But as for 1880 and 1881 I remain unconvinced. I know that Mulder and Scully says he wants to do a retelling this week, I hope we get throught this before the next backlog election as I am afraid that Jones may sneak in without the big discussion that perennial canddiates like Sewell, Childs, Jennings, and in the future Beckley and Fox have had.
   107. Mike Webber Posted: November 02, 2006 at 03:40 AM (#2230035)
rawagman Posted: November 01, 2006 at 01:48 AM (#2229438)
Can anyone offer me an explanation as to why Jim Kaat won so many Gold Gloves?


Why Kaat won so many gold gloves - he was a very nimble pitcher, good at pouncing on grounders and bunts, and just like with Raffy Palmiero (and lots of others) he kept winning gold gloves long after his peak. With the sample size of pitcher's fielding plays being so small it makes it even harder to demonstrate that their time has come and gone.

A panel of expert for John Dewan's Fielding Bible 2007 selected Greg Maddux the best fielding pitcher in the game today, so it is completely possible that a smart pitcher that finishes in good fielding and considers playing defense part of his job could still be very good at an advanced age. The amount or ground and the type of hits you can reasonably expect them to cover may have more to do with smarts and want to, than raw physical skills needed at SS, 2b, or CF.

Trivia: Do you know who the lifetime leader in putouts for a pitcher is?

I am adding a fielding element to my pitcher grades - so far, Walters, Newcombe and Willis have benefited.


With the exception of errors (maybe) be careful you aren't really just double counting. Yes, I watched the Tiger pitchers throw the ball all over the park last week, but if Willis (a guy I like) was an excellent fielder, it already shows up all over his record, in his ERA, his W-L record, his H/9IP ect. This is why pitcher fielding isn't specifically seperated out in Win Shares - I asked Bill when working through the formulas.
   108. OCF Posted: November 02, 2006 at 03:52 AM (#2230038)
That's what I said in post #63 on the Kaat thread.
   109. Daryn Posted: November 02, 2006 at 05:01 AM (#2230063)
I will be on vacation next week, so if I don't get to post on the 13th, please take this as my 1989 ballot.

1. Bench -- I have a big gap between 1 and 2.
2. Yaz -- number 1 in most years
3. Perry -- number 1 in many years

4. Lou Brock, of – I think the post season value and the tremendous speed put him ahead of the similar long-career peakless Beckley. OCF sums up his case in post 126 of the Brock thread. Number of unelected Hall of Fame or Hall of Merit eligible players with more hits than Brock: Zero. Number of people in the history of the world with more MLB hits than Brock: 21.

5. Jake Beckley, 1b -- ~3000 hits but no peak at all. Crawford (HOMer) and Wheat (HOMer) are two of his three most similars. 3200+ hits adjusted to 162 games. He doesn’t need defensive bonus points to rate this high in my opinion.

6. Jenkins -- I don't see him as much better than Grimes (John and Kaat aren't too far off either). Canadian, eh?

7. Mickey Welch, p – 300 wins, lots of grey ink. RSI data shows those wins are real. Compares fairly well to Keefe. I like his dominating record against HoMers. He hasn't been this low for me in 50 years.

8. Dick Redding, p – probably the 6th best blackball pitcher of all-time (behind, at least, Williams and Paige and likely behind the Fosters and Brown), and that is good enough for me.

9. Burleigh Grimes, p – as a career voter, I have difficulty seeing the vast difference others see between Rixey and Faber (both now elected) and Grimes.

10. Nellie Fox, 2b -- I like the great defense, the 12 all star appearances, the MVP and the 2600 hits from a fielding position.

11. Addie Joss, p – I don’t like short careers much, but I cannot ignore the best WHIP of all-time, the second best all-time ERA, the 12th best ERA+ and the nice winning percentage. He is barely better than (this is an unordered list) Hunter, Harder, Warneke, Smith, Bridges, Gomez, Hoyt, Dean, Luque, Pennock, Trucks, Matthews, Quinn, McCormick, Cicotte, Willis, Walters, Bender, Mays, Cooper, Shocker, Mullane (highest WS of any non-candidate by far), Byrd and Mullin.

Six pitchers in my top-11 -- I'm the anti-consensus.

I don’t think any of the guys below this sentence are deserving.

12. Pete Browning, of – Joe Jackson’s most similar player, and they are pretty close – I have him as about 4/5ths of Jackson, who was 2nd on my ballot when elected. Pete Browning is a benefactor of a decision I made in 1986. I’m a career voter, but I have decided that I’d rather honour a great peak than the 210th best career candidate.

13. Luis Tiant, p – I don’t have a problem with 11 pitchers from the 70s making our Hall. Talent isn’t evenly distributed and I have no problem with acknowledging value attached to favourable conditions. See Welch, Mickey, for the other side of the same coin.

14. Orlando Cepeda, 1b – He is a very difficult choice for me because he isn’t significantly better than Roush, Howard, Colavito and Cash, but the slight difference means more than 30 spaces on this ballot. Maybe he should be 30 places lower too -- but I just don't know who to put above him.

15. George Van Haltren, of – 40 wins, 2500 hits, never dominated. Pretty good adjusted win shares.

16. Jimmy Ryan, of – 2500 hits, good speed, lots of runs. Hurt by timelining. I used to have Duffy close to Ryan and GVH and then decided he was not as worthy. Still, Duffy is only 15 spots back.

17. Sam Rice, of -- 2987 hits speaks to me.

18. Pie Traynor, 3b -- I think he would have been a multiple time all-star.

19. Ken Boyer – nice glove – pretty indistinguishable from Gordon, Sewell and Leach.

20. Roger Bresnahan – Great OBP, arguably the best catcher in baseball for a six year period. Counting stats, like all catchers of this time and earlier, are really poor. I like him better than Schang because he compared better to his contemporaries, if you count him as a catcher.

21. Dobie Moore
22. Kitty Kaat -- I'm trying not to double count his hitting and fielding, but the latter was historically great.
23. Aparicio -- those 1000 extra outs separate him from Fox, as does the poorer defence.
24. Dizzy Dean

Wynn is not close for me, Jones is even further off. I was going to say I thought Jones would be the worst mistake we ever made -- but I spent part of this week reading everything here on the site and I have changed my mind about that -- I can see the argument for him, it just doesn't compel me. Roush, like Duffy, could easily be 15th on this ballot. Instead, he is in the 30s.
   110. mulder & scully Posted: November 02, 2006 at 09:17 AM (#2230112)
Charley Jones' Blacklisting and why I give him full credit.

From Total Ballclubs by Dewey and Acocella, 2005, p. 50.

A description of Arthur Soden, the leader of the three owners of the Boston Braves and the creator of the Reserve Clause: "(A) manically frugal man." He and the other two owners would take tickets so they wouldn't have to pay others and abolished all complimentary passes (except for their own). Also, had their players go into the stands after foul balls to save money. Other teams had other employees do this, but they were too cheap to pay additional staff.

Timeline:
1878-1879 offseason: George Wright and Jim O'Rourke jump to Providence. Soden proposes the Reserve Clause to take effect for the 1880 season.
1880 August: Jones complains about not being paid and asked for what he is owed. Soden said he would look into it when the team returned to Boston from their road trip. Soden has team leave Jones in Cleveland and accuses him of jumping the team.

From Retrosheet: Boston had its last home game on Aug 7, 1880. It would be on the road for one month, returning to Boston for a September 9, 1880 game against Worcester. Boston was in Cleveland Aug 31 - Sep 2. Jones played in 66 games and Boston played 86 (40 wins, 44 losses, and 2 ties). The games in Cleveland are games 66, 67, and 68.
If Jones demanded his pay in Cleveland and the players were paid on the 15th/30th (a total assumption by me) then Jones would have been missing a month's worth of pay when he made his demand. His demand was for $378.

From NBJHBA, pp. 696-697. I'll summarize b/c I don't want to violate copyright laws.
Jones liked to party and dress well. Jones and Boston have been arguing about a variety of topics all summer. Jones demands his pay and Boston refuses to pay. After Boston refuses to pay, Jones sits out one game. Manager H. Wright asks for advice from Boston. They immediately release him and expell/blacklist him from the league.
The Boston team secretary sends Jones a letter asking him to compute what he is owed. The team does not agree and does not pay him anything, including for the month of August which he is clearly owed. Most of the newspapers of the day supported Jones in this fight.
Jones gets a court judgment for his owed pay. Boston refuses to comply with the court order. Jones goes back to court and the court attaches a 1881 Boston-Cleveland game to get Jones his money.
Jones opens a laundry and plays independent league baseball in 1881 because the National League is the only major league option.

My historical summary:
While the custom of only paying meal money on road trips may have existed, the players had to face the danger of their team going belly-up at any point. If the players were on a road trip, they were out of luck. Here is a sample of collapsing teams from the early National League:
1876, Philadelphia and New York owners decide to not make their final roadtrips because they are broke - players do not receive final paychecks.
In 1877, the National League Cincinnati team, of which Jones was a player, actually disbanded and released all their players after 17 games because the team was broke.
1878
August 31, Milwaukee Grays players stage a mini-strike because they have not been paid their due paychecks. Several more days passed before some pay was received. Three players brought formal charges at the December league meetings for non-payment. The League gave owner William Rogers 20 days to pay the players and then withdraw from the League. He dissolved the team.
December 4, the owner of the Indianapolis Blues withdrew his team from the National League because he was broke. This was December 4. Many players had not been paid the full amounts owed to them in their contracts.
1879, by which time Jones was in Boston, Cincinnati's ownership waited until almost the end of the season, but on September 24, 1879 gave their players one week's notice that they would all be released.
Also 1879, on September 11, 1879, the Syracuse Stars are disbanded and forfeit the remainder of their games because they are broke.
See respective team entries in the Total Ballclubs book.

So in Jones' first 4 years in the National League, SEVEN teams either quit or stop paying their players. If you were Jones and had not received two straight paychecks, even if customary, wouldn't you want your pay when it was due?

1880-1881 offseason
Jones sues Boston for his back pay in an Ohio court. Biographical Encyclopedia Baseball, p. 571.

1881, May 14, Boston's share of the gate at Cleveland is attached to cover the amount owed Jones. Tensions are not lessened and blacklisting continues for 1881 season. ibid.

1881-1882 offseason/founding of American Association.
From David Nemec's The Beer and Whiskey League.
Team organizer Oliver Caylor signs Jones to a contract under assumption AA would agree to reinstate blacklisted NL players. p. 23
Cincinnati signs Sam Wise from NL Boston in violation of Reserve Clause causing Boston to sue Cincinnati. p. 25
In retaliation for Cincinnati's signing of Wise, Boston leads NL threats (not specified) that causes AA to renege on promises to sign blacklisted players.
From James, pp 696-97, Jones sues Cincinnati on his 1882 contract. During this trial, it is ALLEGED that Jones was blacklisted not just for jumping his team, but also alcoholism and insubordination. Jones loses this trial.

1882-1883 offseason.
Both leagues are raiding each other's rosters in violation of the reserve clause and Jones signs with Cincinnati again. General knowledge.
   111. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 02, 2006 at 09:18 AM (#2230113)
I don't see how Freehan and Munson were very comparable. I had Freehan with a similar peak/prime as Roy Campanella w/o NeL credit and Munson, while a decetn candidate I guess, is behind Trouppe, Howard, and Bresnahan for me. How exactly are you finding them as equals? I know that last question seemed a little snotty, I am only asking.


Munson was the better fielder.

Munson career OPS+ 116, Freehan 112 (Freehan's career about 1000 PA or 2 seasons longer).

Munson OPS+ more OBP heavy too.

Freehan better overall peak, but Munson's 1973 was basically as good as anything Freehan did.

Freehan 1.28 MVP award shares, Munson 1.50.

Munson 7 ASG, 3 GG, Freehan 11 ASG, 5 GG (I still think Munson was the better fielder, much tougher competition for ASG and GG in the 1970s AL than 1960s).

I have Freehan ahead by a hair. The years they were both on my ballot I had Freehan 10 and Munson 12. I think they are extremly similar.
   112. mulder & scully Posted: November 02, 2006 at 09:19 AM (#2230114)
Was Jones blameless? No.
I think he was significantly screwed by Arthur Soden and the Boston Braves. It was a circumstance of the times. Arthur Soden was trying to create and enforce the reserve clause to prevent players from jumping their teams over pay disputes and getting better contracts. Seven National League teams had folded and/or failed to pay their players what they were owed in the previous four years. One of those teams was Jones' and a second was a team for which he had played the year previous. We don't know what actually caused the rift between Jones and the Braves, just that it existed. We do know that Arthur Soden blacklisted Jones for more than two years for trying to enforce his contractual rights. Arthur Soden treatment of Jones was an integral part of baseball owners' efforts to exert total control over their players.
   113. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 02, 2006 at 09:33 AM (#2230117)
Gene Tenace is going to be tough as hell for me. There's a lot of John McGraw/Frank Chance going on there in terms of career length. But good God, a 135 OPS+, 900 games caught, plus another 4 full seasons at 1B. He was durable too, he missed 10 games from 1973-75 in the middle of his team winning everything in site (almost) and putting up a WS MVP the year before that run.

I love this guy, but I just don't know if there's enough to get him over the hump and into serious consideration for me. I hope he isn't dismissed lightly . . . I know there aren't many players I'd rather have had in the mid-1970s.
   114. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 02, 2006 at 03:34 PM (#2230178)
I got no issue with saying Jones might have had some blame but his fate ultimately rested in the hands of the running dogs of capitalism and their lackeys on the courts.

But I'm pretty much a socialist-worker type with an axe to grind.... ; )
   115. DL from MN Posted: November 02, 2006 at 04:14 PM (#2230193)
> Dizzy Trout - Probably the best three-season peak of any player in the backlog

I would go with Dick Redding as the best 3 season pitching peak among backlog players. Most would put Dizzy Dean above Dizzy Trout when it comes to 3 season peaks also.
   116. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: November 02, 2006 at 04:19 PM (#2230198)
What I got from James was that Jones wanted the money because he was a partier and such a free spender even though it was against custom for teams to carry so much money with them on the road. Then when he didn't get it he dicided to try and get some leverage by sitting out a game. So it just seems that he wasn't getting paid not because he was getting stiffed but because that was just how the business worked and he tried to change it because he had already psent all or most of his money on booze, fine clothes, and women. It is not like he had been wronged at this point. Did teams ever pay their players during long road trips? Is this all that Jones would relaly have changed, making teams carry around thousands of dollars while they travel the country? he was wronged when he was blacklisted but he didn't get blacklisted fighting the good fight, so to speak, he got blacklisted for wanting more money and wanting to be treated differently than his teammates (who also weren't getting paid on the road trip and seemed to be able to get by). I am fine with giving Jones credit for 1882, the AA should have let him play but I am not sure about 1881 and I say no on the rest of 1880. I know this will get me in a lot of trouble but I sometimes get the feeling that Jones and others simlar get extra credit not necessarily because they deserve it but instead for political/ideological resons among voters, a lot of us seem to be pro-labor. (ducks)

Still, even with credit I don't see how he was better than Charlie Keller.
   117. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 02, 2006 at 05:19 PM (#2230222)
OK, now that the pro-Jones people have had the chance to present their case..


I don't see the grounds for credit. Because of his decision to fight the owner of his team in court, Jones added no value to his team during those years. Whether or not Jones was a good baseball player in that interval is irrelevant. To give Jones credit is to essentially reward his politics.

What if a player had boycotted MLB from 1947-1949 because he believed he shouldn't have to play with black players. Would we give him credit for the years he missed? How is that different from Jones?
   118. sunnyday2 Posted: November 02, 2006 at 05:28 PM (#2230231)
>that was just how the business worked
>he got blacklisted for wanting more money and wanting to be treated differently than his teammates

I don't know that he would have objected to his teammates getting whatever he got.

Substitute Curt Flood for Charley Jones..."that was just how the business worked."
   119. Chris Cobb Posted: November 02, 2006 at 05:44 PM (#2230241)
What I got from James was that Jones wanted the money because he was a partier and such a free spender even though it was against custom for teams to carry so much money with them on the road. . . . I know this will get me in a lot of trouble but I sometimes get the feeling that Jones and others simlar get extra credit not necessarily because they deserve it but instead for political/ideological resons among voters, a lot of us seem to be pro-labor. (ducks)

Any judgment about extra/compensatory credit for players who lose playing time for reasons other than injury will necessarily be ideological. James's way of telling Jones's story is itself informed by ideology: he tells Charley Jones's story in a way that is consistent with his telling of John Beckwith's story and Dick Allen's story, for example. I'm not accusing James of being deliberately manipulative in some way -- he's telling the stories the way he sees them. But the way he sees them is part of a larger way of seeing the world that one may or may not see as accurate.

My point is that, in taking James's version of Charley Jones's story as evidence that Jones doesn't "deserve" credit, your own analysis is also influenced by ideology. Therefore, I don't think it is pertinent to question any position on the Charley Jones questions simply because it is "ideological." Every position will be so, either explicitly or implicitly, and unless we have a Constitutional directive on how to handle the case, all ideologies are admissable to our deliberations.

I am fine with giving Jones credit for 1882, the AA should have let him play but I am not sure about 1881 and I say no on the rest of 1880.

I don't understand why you would distinguish between 1881 and 1882, especially if you are making a moral argument against Jones. How can it be right for the NL to punish Jones but not right for AA to agree to go along with the NL? If Jones was such a trouble-maker as to negate his value to his teams (the Bill James argument against Dick Allen/John Beckwith types), then why were the AA teams so ready to hire Jones? Clearly, both leagues were motivated primarily by what they perceived as economic interests that were unconnected to fielding a good team: why say that one league should have hired Jones but the other league was right not to?

Moreover, the distinction between 1882 and 1881 purely on the basis of the AA's existence seems arbitrary in itself. If the AA had formed one season prior, would you then give Jones MLE credit for 1881? According to Mulder and Scully's history above, Jones was actually playing baseball in 1881 (in an independent league) at the highest level that was available to him at that time. If he was playing ball, shouldn't he get credit for it? (It would be helpful to know, actually, if Jones played in an independent league in 1882 as well.)

Still, even with credit I don't see how he was better than Charlie Keller.

I agree.
   120. Chris Cobb Posted: November 02, 2006 at 06:01 PM (#2230250)
I don't see the grounds for credit. Because of his decision to fight the owner of his team in court, Jones added no value to his team during those years. Whether or not Jones was a good baseball player in that interval is irrelevant. To give Jones credit is to essentially reward his politics.

If Jones was playing for an independent team during those years, wasn't he adding values to those teams?

What if a player had boycotted MLB from 1947-1949 because he believed he shouldn't have to play with black players. Would we give him credit for the years he missed? How is that different from Jones?

This is a poor comparison. If a white player had been banned from baseball for sitting out a game in protest against having to play against black players, then the cases would be somewhat analogous. Jones's case is closer to that of the black players who were excluded from the majors than it is to this hypothetical boycotter. In assessing Jones's "value to his teams," the fact that he was _blacklisted_ cannot be simply dismissed from a comprehensive assessment of the case. The NL decided that it was in their economic interests to exclude Jones, even though he was one of the top players in the league. They traded his value as a player for the value of tighter control over all players.

If we do not simply accept that Jones was playing baseball in 1881 (and 1882?) and give him estimated credit for that, the question we face is, do we accept the NL's conclusion that Jones was more valuable to them not playing than playing as an indication that he had no merit as a player during those two seasons? I do not accept that conclusion: I do not believe that the league's conception of its economic interests is a reliable indicator of an individual player's merits in those cases when the league's conception of its economic interests diverges from the individual teams' economic interest in fielding as competititve a squad as it possibly can.
   121. sunnyday2 Posted: November 02, 2006 at 06:21 PM (#2230266)
Exactly. Nobody ever made the judgment that Charley Jones was not a ML-caliber player, just as nobody ever made the judgment that black players prior to 1947 were not good enough to play ML ball. Nobody made that judgment either way because they were "out" for other reasons. As Bill James says of, say, Ted Williams during WWII. We're not hypothesizing about what kind of player he was, we already know the answer to that. It's not what he could have done, it's what he was. Charley Jones, too, was the same player whether he was allowed to play in the ML or not.

Like I said, would you give credit to Curt Flood for rocking the boat, or not? The same logic would apply to Charley Jones, IMO.
   122. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 02, 2006 at 06:58 PM (#2230299)

Like I said, would you give credit to Curt Flood for rocking the boat, or not? The same logic would apply to Charley Jones, IMO.


No, I wouldn't give points to Flood or Jones. IMO, you don't get HoM points for politics. If the HoM considered off-the-field achievements, then Flood would definately receive extra credit.
   123. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: November 02, 2006 at 07:11 PM (#2230305)
I am not sure about givign credit to Curt Flood, thought it isn't an issue we really had to tackle here. Flood was not a HOM level player anyway and it seemed that he only missed some shoulder seasons at the end of his career. But it is a good question.

As for 1882 and not 1881, Jones troubles seem to have been with the NL/Boston ownership and not with the AA. So if he is sitting out/suing the NL and not the AA, he should be allowed to play for the latter (if he chooses). Though, if the decision not to play in 1881 rests largely with Jones and his decision to sue then he is making a decision not to play baseball, which isn't too much different from many other guys who have made that decision and I don't think that decision makes him eligible for credit. However, I see your point Chris. I guess my acceptance of 1882 is a way of saying that what happened seems to have been 50% Jones fault and 50% the fault of ownership and therefore I am giving him about 50% credit. I maybe I should say that I am giving him only one year without saying which year it is to reflect this judgement. Giving him half credit for each year would not be helpful in my peak centered system, so one full year was the decision.

My reference to Bill James was largely in reference to Mulder and Scully's use of James, I thought that my understanding of hwat he said was different than from Kelly's. And i will admit that there is some ideological bent in my stance, though it is odd because usually I am not with owndership in anything. Must be something subconcious...

However, maybe teh more pertinent question is if Jones is really as deserving as Keller, Wynn, or Browning, or even a guy like Frank Howard, Wally Berger, or Orlando Cepeda. How about Bob JOhnson, Bobby Veach, or George Burns? Right now I have Jones in with the last trio, a decent bit behind the first trio, who are all in my PHOM.
   124. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 02, 2006 at 07:21 PM (#2230311)
I do not accept that conclusion: I do not believe that the league's conception of its economic interests is a reliable indicator of an individual player's merits in those cases when the league's conception of its economic interests diverges from the individual teams' economic interest in fielding as competititve a squad as it possibly can.

Right on, brother. If the Lords of Baseball's opinion of the relative merits of their economic and competitive interests were accurate barometers of a player's value, then the Baker holdouts and Roush holdouts would be moot points, we'd just accept that the teams were acting in their best competitive interests, which clearly they were not. It's simply another form of distortion.

A better example: collusion. Tim Raines loses 1/6th of a season to collusion. Was it in any owner's best competitive interest to not sign Tim Raines? Of course not. In the end, the courts ruled in favor of the players because they agreed that the clubs had not acted out of the game's best economic interest, but rather out of a vindictive, monopolistic, and ultimately greedily unfair insistence that their vision of the game's economics (i.e. that the owners, as the capitalists, present all the risk and therefore deserve to rake in profits with no quarter to the players, and that they should be allowed to actively squash player compensation to below-market value in order to pursue their vision) was incompatible with fair business practice. By ownership's logic, Raines deserved his one-month banishment because he wouldn't acquiesce. The courts disagreed, and most of us do too.

Look, as you review these cases, what stands out among Jones, Raines, Flood, Mullane, Roush, Baker, even Allen? It's not the indivdual circumstances so much as the owners' continual and obsessive suppressions of player freedom and player compensation in any and every way. [Heck, the new CBA settles a 2002-2003 collusion case by having the owners pay into a general fund to avoid a court proceeding (I think Maury Brown reported on it on BP, or else it was on HBT).] While I personally do review each case at individually, I also side with the players almost every time, except in instances of gambling-related suspensions. It's not just grinding my axe, it's that any player who makes any kind of stink faced expulsion until the labor movement gets well under way and until the union gets strong enough to fight ownership. Why would someone risk their career unless they felt that working conditions were grossly unfair or that their rights were violated?

You can say that Charley Jones was around too early to be considered part of the reserve-era or whatever, but the fact is that the club banished him on shaky legal and competitive grounds (particularly in retrospect) because it didn't want to brook any dissent from its employees. And the same club did it again in 1885 when Tony Mullane wanted a raise---or at least didn't want to take a pay cut. Banished him for a year. It's the very act of dissent that sent the Cincy team into fits. The money was important, but the dissent was the real treason. Because dissent could lead to demands to share profits and power with the players and lead away from strongarming them into a reserve system where their rights would be systematically abrogated for 100 years. Call it a Marxist class struggle interpretation if you want, but I see economic tyranny here and that is acceptable in no form, and surely not in baseball. Is it different than coal miners wanting to be paid in something other than company-store credits? Is his expulsion terribly different than being harrased (or shot) by Pinkertons? Is Cincy choosing to play someone else rather than negotiate with him different than bringing scabs into the mines? The team had many options available to it, and it chose the most draconian. That's not the foundation of a good case against Jones.
   125. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 02, 2006 at 07:33 PM (#2230323)
IMO, you don't get HoM points for politics.

It's not politics; it's an intance of the targeted application of undue force in response to a player's request, which then bent Jones's career out of shape. It's the recognition that his playing days were unequally and unfairly truncated through a series of disproportionately severe sanctions levied by a tyrannical ownership group.

Jones was not a political figure, hell, he disappeared after his career and is among SABR's most wanted list of deceased players with no info about them. In fact, I couldn't tell you anything about Jones's politics. For all I know he voted for pro-business parties. You want politics, talk about Jim Bunning.

Politics may be a lens to see things through, but it is not the facts. Anyway, your stance is not without politics; the mere presence of the issue of ideology versus no ideology necessitates your stated apolitical stance. You've got a stance, and that's politics/ideology.
   126. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: November 02, 2006 at 07:48 PM (#2230333)
However, can we really view these cases in retrospect? Shouldnt' we view them in the context that they are in, i.e. late 19th century America/business culture? Can we really give him points because what the owners did was not something that coudl be done over a century later?

I also don't see how Jones' actions didn't constitute politics. They may not have had anything to do with what we think of as the political realm today, but it was still politics. Politics is about eh mediation of differences and esptablishment of priniciples, I think that is what was going on here.
   127. sunnyday2 Posted: November 02, 2006 at 08:09 PM (#2230350)
Oh oh.
   128. TomH Posted: November 02, 2006 at 08:15 PM (#2230352)
Dom DiMaggio's career ended after hs age 35 season. He had, up to that point, never had an OPS+ below 100 (although he was headed that way), and was still playing gold glove defense.

In the NBJHA, James writes that DiMaggio had eye surgery, after which he was ready to come back and play, but his manager (Boudreau) benched him in favor of some guy named Tommy Umphlet (who couldn't hit). And so, having no bargaining chips as a 1950s player, Dom simply retired.

1. Can anyone confirm this story?
2. If true exactly as written, shouldn't we consider giving DiMaggio more 'shoulder season' credit?
   129. DL from MN Posted: November 02, 2006 at 09:09 PM (#2230379)
If true his manager determined that Dom DiMaggio wasn't as good as a guy who couldn't hit. I think you need some documented evidence he could still see the ball and hit it. He went all of 1 for 3 after the surgery.
   130. Mike Webber Posted: November 02, 2006 at 09:26 PM (#2230395)
Tom H:
Let's just assume the story is true, here is how I see Dom's case:

220 career Win Shares, but missed three seasons for the war, so tack on 75 more. Add a shoulder season of 10. Now he's at 305.

At 305 you get to be in the discussion, right there witch guys like Fielder Jones with 290 Win Shares - and no 30 WS seasons, Harry Hooper at 321 Wins Shares - and no 30 WS seasons, Sam Rice with 327 Win Shares - and no 30 WS seasons, GVH with 303 non-pichting win shares. Dom's top WS season was 28 by the way.

I think its fair that Dom be in the discussion, and anyone voting for Hooper, or Jones or Sam Rice should welcome you to the club, but I think you'd have to make some big assumptions to differentiate him from the rest of this group. And since this group is generally considered behind the Wynn, Roush, Duffy group, well you are really battling up hill.

You know who I think Dom DiMaggio is? Brett Butler, with out the three year WW2 gap. Ok there are differences, one is a Lefty one is a righty. DiMaggio was a Great fielder, and Butler was a solid centerfielder who never won a gold glove. Neither had any real power, though Dom hit a lot more doubles - wanna bet the Green Monster had something to do with that?

Value wise though, I think Dom is Brett.
   131. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 02, 2006 at 09:28 PM (#2230398)
However, can we really view these cases in retrospect? Shouldnt' we view them in the context that they are in, i.e. late 19th century America/business culture? Can we really give him points because what the owners did was not something that coudl be done over a century later?

I also don't see how Jones' actions didn't constitute politics. They may not have had anything to do with what we think of as the political realm today, but it was still politics. Politics is about eh mediation of differences and esptablishment of priniciples, I think that is what was going on here.


This is exactly my sentiment,and kudos to Mark S. for expressing it so well.
   132. Chris Cobb Posted: November 02, 2006 at 09:41 PM (#2230409)
However, can we really view these cases in retrospect? Shouldnt' we view them in the context that they are in, i.e. late 19th century America/business culture? Can we really give him points because what the owners did was not something that coudl be done over a century later?

I would argue against conceptualizing credit for Jones as the equivalent of compensation awarded in a law suit. I would argue that instead we should think through the case of credit for Jones based on whether or not the league's decision that Jones had no value to them as a baseball player was a reasonable assessment of his baseball value or not. If their decision to zero out his value was dead wrong, then we should give him credit to arrive at a more accurate overall view of Jones's merit. If they were right to be rid of a pain in the ass, then we could respect their judgment as reasonable. For myself on this point, I think Eric's comparison of Jones to Raines is a relevant modern analogy, a case in which teams are refusing the services of an obviously top-notch player in order to secure an (anti-competitive) economic advantage. It's not a question of whether, politically, economically, or morally, they were right or wrong (though I believe they were wrong in all these respects), but whether our view of the player is being distorted by management choices that had nothing to do with a player's real merit but that adversely affected his playing time. The Dom Dimaggio case is also relevant, though I think there is a crucial difference between considering that management may have _misjudged_ a player (see also the case of Cravath, Gavvy) and considering that management may have rejected a player on grounds entirely unrelated to the judgment of his merits.

I also don't see how Jones' actions didn't constitute politics. They may not have had anything to do with what we think of as the political realm today, but it was still politics

I agree. Just as our positions on Jones necessarily have an ideology, so Jones's actions necessarily have a politics, whether or not (and it's likely not), Jones thinking of his actions as political.
   133. sunnyday2 Posted: November 02, 2006 at 09:45 PM (#2230410)
Whether Jones' actions were political or not bears no relevance to the question of what kind of ballplayer he was in '81 and '82.
   134. TomH Posted: November 02, 2006 at 09:52 PM (#2230414)
Mike, that's reasonable, although probably a bit conservative. Dom could have had three shoulder seasons of 18, 15, 11, and 9 instead of one season of 10 WS, but we'll never know (Butler had 67 WS from age 36 onward!). As far as his comps with other guys, WS typically gives less credit to the true gold gloves, so I think Dom is understated by WS.

But the crux of the question, as DL pointed out, was whether Dom could still play and Boudreau couldn't see it (in 3 at bats!!), or was his surery enough to be basically career-ending. I wonder if any books about the 1950s Red Sox or AL would have some info there.
   135. Mark Donelson Posted: November 02, 2006 at 10:18 PM (#2230422)
I would argue that instead we should think through the case of credit for Jones based on whether or not the league's decision that Jones had no value to them as a baseball player was a reasonable assessment of his baseball value or not. If their decision to zero out his value was dead wrong, then we should give him credit to arrive at a more accurate overall view of Jones's merit.

I think this is the heart of the matter. All this nonsense about politics is a) semantics and b) irrelevant.
   136. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 02, 2006 at 10:40 PM (#2230439)
So Dom never played MiL ball after his MLB career? That's pretty interesting in and of itself then. Or if he did return to the diamond somewhere, that would be interesting to know. Too bad they didn't have lasics back then!
   137. Mike Webber Posted: November 02, 2006 at 10:41 PM (#2230440)
Real Grass, Real Heroes
by Dom Dimaggio, Bill Gilbert (With)

I think I have this book somewhere Tom H, if not maybe someone else has it handy and can check it?

Either way I'll dig around a little and see what is said. I have recently read The Teammates and I don't think there is any info in there.
   138. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 02, 2006 at 10:55 PM (#2230450)
would argue against conceptualizing credit for Jones as the equivalent of compensation awarded in a law suit. I would argue that instead we should think through the case of credit for Jones based on whether or not the league's decision that Jones had no value to them as a baseball player was a reasonable assessment of his baseball value or not. If their decision to zero out his value was dead wrong, then we should give him credit to arrive at a more accurate overall view of Jones's merit.

What about a player banned for gambling, or for steroids? Those players certainly have value as baseball players, but are prevented from playing because they violated the rules of the league. If Jones wanted to be paid in a manner contrary to the rules of the league, and the league blackballed him for that opinion, how does that differ from a player who gambled in spite of the rule against it and was banned. If the league (in other words, the sum of the owners) decides that an action is worthy of a ban, then the players value is zero as a Major League baseball player in that season.
   139. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: November 02, 2006 at 10:59 PM (#2230453)
The problem however is the question of how much of the credit/blame for Jones not playing in 1881 and 1882 should go to Jones himself? If some of it should then we shouldn't be giving him credit for his vlaue as a player during those seasons. If we were to find that Jones was the reason he didn't play over these years (I am not saying that he is) then how would this be any different than the years that Sam Leever took off? Leever most likely would have been a very good NL pitcher during his teaching years, but he instead decided to teach. Should we give him credit for the value as a baseball player that he had? Should we give credit for to a player, like maybe Sandy Koufax who retired early when he still had some value as a baseball player? Maybe a better example is Michael Jordan or Barry Sanders (though different sports).

This discussion of politics matters because I don't think we should give full credit to someone who missed time in part because of his own actions, otherwise we are opening a pandoras box to giving credit to all kinds of other players from Koufax and Leever to Jose Canseco (who was blacklisted at the end of his career, or at least claims he was) and the Black Sox group who may or may not have been wronged by being made an example of. It isn't semantics, it is deciding whether or not Jones deserves credit for the years in which he had value, not whether or not he had value at all as a baseball player, he certainly did. Then again so do the others mentioned. I don't think that whether or not he had value shoudl be the end of the discussion.

And I finally figured out what ideological bias I am exhibiting here. It has nothing to do with labor/management but instead is the idea that nothing happens for only one reason and therefore there is usually not only a single party to be blamed for anything. Obviously this will only be taken so far in our context, Charlie Keller and Phil Rizzuto are not to blame for being drafted, or at least not enough to take credit away from them, but you get my point. Just want to show where I am coming from.
   140. mulder & scully Posted: November 02, 2006 at 11:29 PM (#2230477)
I just want to make sure everyone understands a couple of things about the Jones situation.

1. His contract, like all the baseball contracts, required him to be paid in full either on a monthly or bi-weekly basis. (I have read both in regards to Jones. In any case, he was owed for all of August on August 31, 1880 and he did not receive any of it).
2. It was a custom that many teams did not do this on road trips because of concerns for carrying large sums of money.
3. There are a number of instances of players in the early history of the National League who would protest/mini-strike in order to ensure they would be paid. This was also an established custom. Can't just be pro-Owner and say they can ignore their contractual obligations but players cannot.
4. Boston sent a letter to Jones asking how much he was due after the season. Ownership did not agree with how much Jones wanted and ended negotiations. Jones had still not been paid for his August work remember. He played every game that month.
5. Jones had to sue to get his back wages.
6. Jones won in court.
7. Boston would not pay the court ordered amount.
8. Jones had to go to court again to attach Boston's share of the gate the next time Boston was in Ohio jurisdiction in order for him to receive his court ordered amount.
9. Boston continues blacklisting Jones.

The blacklisting continues because Jones wants to be paid for the work he did and Boston did not want to pay him.

During this time, lead owner of Boston, Arthur Soden, is trying to create/impose the Reserve Clause for the express purpose of having much greater control of his players. Jones' actions are a direct challenge to Soden. I do not believe Jones was doing anything for political reasons. I think he just wanted to get paid (for whatever reason). I believe Soden was doing this for expressly political purposes. He was showing the players that ownership had all the power, that players did not have the right to enforce their own contractual rights, that players were fungible assets who had to know their place.

This is the moment when owners, under Soden's direction, are creating the reserve system that will control players for the next 90 years.
   141. Chris Cobb Posted: November 02, 2006 at 11:40 PM (#2230485)
What about a player banned for gambling, or for steroids? Those players certainly have value as baseball players, but are prevented from playing because they violated the rules of the league. If Jones wanted to be paid in a manner contrary to the rules of the league, and the league blackballed him for that opinion, how does that differ from a player who gambled in spite of the rule against it and was banned. If the league (in other words, the sum of the owners) decides that an action is worthy of a ban, then the players value is zero as a Major League baseball player in that season.

Players banned for gambling or for steroids break rules that apply to the integrity of the game as played. Gambling players, by destroying the integrity of the game, directly negate their own on-the-field value. Violaters of the steroid rules are gaining a competitive advantage for cheating (just like players who doctor baseballs or bats), and the penalties for cheating are part of the rules that maintain the integrity of the game. Contract disputes arise over rules that apply to the integrity of baseball teams as businesses. These rules have no direct impact on the integrity of the game or the outcome of games, _except_ insofar as they enable or prevent a player from getting onto the field in the first place.

I agree that the player's value is zero to Major League baseball in a season in which he doesn't play Major League baseball, but it does not follow in every case that his merit as a baseball player in that season is also zero.

It is not clear from the record, as I understand it, whether Jones wanted to be paid in a manner contrary to the rules of the league or whether he wanted to be paid in a manner contrary to the customs of the league, which were not consistent with their own rules or with his contract as written.
   142. Chris Cobb Posted: November 02, 2006 at 11:43 PM (#2230486)
It is not clear from the record, as I understand it, whether Jones wanted to be paid in a manner contrary to the rules of the league or whether he wanted to be paid in a manner contrary to the customs of the league, which were not consistent with their own rules or with his contract as written.

I wrote that before seeing Mulder & Scully's post 140, which clarifies the record on this point considerably. I am pleased to see that we share the notion that there is a meaningful difference between policies, customs, and contracts.
   143. sunnyday2 Posted: November 03, 2006 at 12:18 AM (#2230528)
>otherwise we are opening a pandoras box to giving credit to all kinds of other players from Koufax and Leever to Jose Canseco (who was blacklisted at the end of his career, or at least claims he was) and the Black Sox group who may or may not have been wronged by being made an example of.

Every case is unique. Injuries are a part of the game, illness is a part of life. As for Canseco, well, let's examine the record, I have no idea whether he should get extra credit other than I remember him as a pretty sorry ballplayer near the end.

On the other end of the spectrum, whole cohorts who are all affected by the same thing (black players before 1947, WWII generation) almost always get extra credit from me. There is nothing intrinsic about baseball reflected in those situations. The day they were born they were destined to miss opportunities to play ML ball.

Jones is surely in between. But just because not every player protested the reserve clause and etc. etc. doesn't make it right or Jones wrong.
   144. OCF Posted: November 03, 2006 at 12:18 AM (#2230529)
I started tallying ballots in 1916. I'll present the top 40 from what I've got labeled as the 1916 ballot (it might actually be 1917), but I'll leave out anyone who has been elected by now. So any missing spots in the list represent a player who rose up, gained places, and got elected. The 19th century, and comparisons of 19th century players, were more on our mind and more familiar to us then than now.

1916 ballot:

13. Duffy 250
15. Van Haltren 231
17. Beckley 219
18. Ryan 217
20. Browning 161
21. Joss 128
23. Chance 83
24. Welch 78
25. Sol White 73
27. Willis 60
28. McCormick 48
29. McGraw 41
30. H. Wright 37
31. C. Jones 36
32. Long 26
33. Cross 23
34. Thomas 22
35. Whitney 18
36. Tiernan 15
37. Willamson 14
37. Lyons 14
39. O'Neill 13
39. F. Jones 13

As another point in the evolution, let's look at 1932, the last backlog year before the onslaught of the great 1933-34 new eligibles:

1932 ballot:

3. Van Haltren 533
9. Duffy 415
10. Bresnahan 392
11. Welch 380
13. Browning 359
14. Ryan 348
15. Leach 312
17. Monroe 284
18. C. Jones 234
19. Poles 231
20. Doyle 199
(from here down, just those who were on the 1916 ballot)
23. Chance 153
25. McGraw 133
26. Joss 116
27. Williamson 112
31. Willis 90
32. F. Jones 85
33. Cross 46
34. Bond 45
35. Griffin 41
38. McCormick 29
39. Tiernan 25
40. Dunlap 22

Jones has a case, but lots of players have cases. Jones's suspension and involuntary time away from the game - we knew about that in 1916, didn't we? Charley Jones could mash - and so could Mike Tiernan. Jones is a "bat" - and as has been noted, we may have a slight oversupply of "bats" and (since we can't de-elect anyone like Sam Thompson) we should be more cautious about them going forward.

The candidates with the most to lose in Jones's rise are the remaining 1890's outfielders: Van Haltren, Duffy, Ryan.

Is the increase in Jones's support, his leaving the likes of Tiernan and Chance far behind, his leapfrogging of Ryan, GVH, Duffy, and so on, the result of real changes in analysis and of new information? Or is it just a matter of attention? In other words is the relative fate of Jones and Van Haltren determined most by their own playing quality or by the arguing style of their supporters?
   145. sunnyday2 Posted: November 03, 2006 at 12:55 AM (#2230555)
Not that old line again.

The answer to your question is No.
   146. DavidFoss Posted: November 03, 2006 at 01:35 AM (#2230580)
Charley Jones could mash - and so could Mike Tiernan.

Jones hit better than Tiernan did -- by quite a bit actually.

his leapfrogging of Ryan, GVH, Duffy

These guys are mainly career candidates with relatively low career rate stats. Charley Jones is more of a high-peak masher like Kiner, Keller and Cravath. Certain career shapes have aged better than others for a variety of reasons. Peak & career voters being different subsets of the electorate. The relative rarity of certain career shapes has helped keep certain types of candidates hold their position in the backlog against the newer eligibles.

That logic might not be airtight now that I'm reading it again -- there are quite a few high peak mashers in the current backlog (Cravath, Keller, Howard, Cepeda) -- but I do think that is what has been happening... candidates of guys with the big peaks and high career rates are aging better.
   147. Howie Menckel Posted: November 03, 2006 at 02:16 AM (#2230612)
I tend to give credit for anyone playing at the highest level which is allowed him based on outside influences, not his own choice.
I agree that Jones had a right to gripe, and I don't blame him in a 'real world' sense.

But I'm trying to elect Hall of Merit players, and basically I focus on what players actually did.
WW II, color line, even many early 1900s minor league reserve issues - the player has no real say in that.
But Jones (and Cicotte and friends, a wildly different example) made a choice that led to his not playing in the highest league.
Of course I can see why Jones reacted the way he did, but I don't really see how I have to give him credit for making a choice - even if it's a reasonable one.
The credit stuff in some posts here does seem like a vaguely emotional, 'let's stick it to the man' type stuff (no offense intended, just my impression). Are the Jones backers the same ones who boycotted Anson or Jackson for a year? I didn't really get that one, either.

I don't have a particular pro-labor or business stance, personally, by the way - it varies from case to case.

As for what Jones DID do, I always liked Kiner a lot better, Browning a bit better, and Keller a little better. I like Cravath and maybe Howard better, too. I'm not sure extra credit would put Jones on my ballot anyway.
   148. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 03, 2006 at 02:16 AM (#2230614)
And the same club did it again in 1885 when Tony Mullane wanted a raise---or at least didn't want to take a pay cut. Banished him for a year. It's the very act of dissent that sent the Cincy team into fits.

Apologies for the portion of my post above in which I mixed up Soden's Boston team with the Cincinatti ownership that banished Mullane for a year. The principle is the same, that ownership has a long-standing history of overzealous discilpinary action when players had the temerity to ask for something management didn't like. And that these actions were particularly vicious around the time of Jones as the owners manacled the players via the reserve system. But my error may have created even more confusion than the Jones case creates by itself! Sorry about that.
   149. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 03, 2006 at 02:57 AM (#2230626)
The credit stuff in some posts here does seem like a vaguely emotional, 'let's stick it to the man' type stuff (no offense intended, just my impression).

Well, I came out and said that I lean that way, after all! So no offense taken, and I think it's perfectly fair for you to call me out for stirring the pot. Sometimes I just get on a roll. : )

But ultimately I came to this project not knowing much about who would require credit and who wouldn't. I give credit all over the joint (though less than some other electors for sure), and while I like to stick it to the man (although there are plenty of instances in life where I am or am emblamatic of the man...), the larger picture is "Was this player subjected to unequal forces outside his control which distort our view of him." As Sunny2 noted earlier, we know the player that Ted Williams was during the war. We know the player Charley Jones was during his war with Soden. I'm trying to see a career context for a guy whose career is all screwed up, and I think Jones's context is incomplete without an assessment of his 1880-1882 seasons.

Contrast that with two other situations which some electors might choose to work through differently. Ryne Sandberg and Frank Baker. Both of them retired for a season and then came back. I'm not giving credit there. That's an abundantly clear instance of a player walking away, and there's no force outside of his control that is bending his career out of whack. Or when Arky Vaughan quit the Dodgers in mid-year because he thought Durocher was being a dink. No credit from me.

Wars, racism, birthdates, birthplaces (Japan, mostly), collusion, and unfair labor practices are very much outside the control of the player. If Charley Jones thought his career would be trainwrecked by his actions, I can't imagine he'd have risked his livelihood so cavalierly. It's ownership's draconian response to Jones' protest that blows the situation up. And Jones has no control over that.

Are the Jones backers the same ones who boycotted Anson or Jackson for a year? I didn't really get that one, either.

I wasn't around then, but to answer your question, I don't endorse the boycott of Anson or the Jackson-Cicotte gang. I voted for Whitey Ford; I'll vote for Perry, and I'll be voting for Pete Rose when he comes up. And McGwire too. And Palmeiro.
   150. Howie Menckel Posted: November 03, 2006 at 03:05 AM (#2230629)
Thanks, Doctor.

But how was this "out of Jones' control?"

I mean, it stinks to get paid late for your work, but this is 1880 - the world stinks in a lot of ways, for a lot of people. Hell, it's only 15 years after the Civil War ended.

Was he the only guy on the team who didn't get any money in August?
   151. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 03, 2006 at 03:23 AM (#2230635)
Howie,

What I mean is that Jones has no control over how the club reacts to his request and his protest. He takes the action that seems appropriate, and the club goes ballistic. After taking his action, how can he exert any control? Especially when he's immediately suspended indefinitely? If you want to suggest that he could control the situation by taking less money, I'd ask whether that's taking control or ceding it.
   152. Brent Posted: November 03, 2006 at 05:56 AM (#2230738)
I agree with giving Jones blacklist credit. Among the events chronicled in # 110, the only one that might be considered the fault of Jones was his sitting out one game (something a number of HoMers are known to have done). The rest of the events entirely represent overreaction by the owners and their efforts to exert and demonstrate control over the players.

On the other hand, the career of Charley Jones closely parallels that of Gavy Cravath -- and it seems to me that Cravath was almost surely better. Jones reached the "majors" (NA) at age 25 and was a regular the following season; Cravath spent ages 22 to 26 in the PCL, but was clearly ready for the majors by age 25. Both had a 2+ year gap in the middle of their major league careers. Jones's gap was probably 99% outside his control, but there is no question that Cravath's gap was due to the reserve clause and therefore 100% outside his control. Cravath's play during the gap is very well documented - he was playing for the Minneapolis Millers and his performance translates to a major league all-star or even MVP level; Jones's gap is not documented. Both players were regulars until age 37. Cravath led the league in OPS+ twice and had five seasons in the top 5; Jones never led the league, but had six seasons in the top 5. Cravath's career OPS+ was 150, Jones's was 149.

However, I have no doubts that the NL of the 1910s, although somewhat weaker than the contemporary AL, was a much stronger league than the AA of 1883-85. Therefore, I have no doubt that Cravath was a significantly better hitter than Jones. Jones may have been a better fielder, but I doubt the difference could have been large enough to make up for Cravath's hitting advantage. While Jones was a fine player, I think Cravath has to rank ahead of him.
   153. Brent Posted: November 03, 2006 at 06:09 AM (#2230743)
Regarding Dom DiMaggio, I'm more interested in the issue of credit at the other end of his career.

Before the Red Sox purchased his contract, he had 3 good seasons with the independent San Francisco Seals, hitting .306, 307, and .360. I think he deserves major league credit for at least the last of those seasons. On the Dom DiMaggio thread I compared him to Max Carey. With WWII and PCL credit, I think DiMaggio's basically Max Carey minus Carey's 4 throw-away seasons at the end of his career. Of course, if Carey were still eligible, I'd have him ranked about # 40, which is about where I have D DiMaggio ranked. A very good player, but not quite HoM worthy.
   154. Howie Menckel Posted: November 03, 2006 at 02:28 PM (#2230811)
Agreed on the Cravath issue, Brent...
   155. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 03, 2006 at 03:15 PM (#2230833)
Brent/Howie,

Very interestig point about Cravath. I have him on the borderline but Jones well above. I'll revisit my rankings of each later on this week(end) when I have a few moments and see why I've got such a difference.
   156. Chris Cobb Posted: November 03, 2006 at 04:04 PM (#2230879)
I agree that Cravath and Jones are very close: they're maybe 5 spots apart in my rankings. I give Jones a slight edge for two reasons: (1) His defense was quite a bit better than Cravath's and (2) his peak begins in the late 1870s, when the quality of competition was actually higher than it would be after the advent of the AA. So I don't see Cravath's advantage in league quality as being all that large.
   157. DL from MN Posted: November 03, 2006 at 04:15 PM (#2230890)
As far as "bat" backlog candidates go, this is how I rank (I'm not a peak voter):

Bob Johnson (good fielder)
Norm Cash (good fielder)
Jake Beckley (good fielder)
Reggie Smith (good fielder)
Jim Wynn (played CF)
Edd Roush (played CF)
Orlando Cepeda (long career)
Charlie Keller (good fielder)
Luke Easter (ok fielder)
Frank Howard
Bobby Bonds (good fielder)
Gavy Cravath
Alejandro Oms (played CF)
Ben Taylor (good fielder)
Boog Powell (OUT)
Kiki Cuyler (good fielder)
Jimmy Ryan (good fielder)
George Van Haltren (played CF)
Roy Thomas (played CF)
Rocky Colavito (ok fielder)
Ed Konetchy (good fielder)
Pete Browning
Charley Jones
Chuck Klein
Tommy Heinrich
Sam Rice
Spots Poles
Bobby Veach
Hugh Duffy
Gil Hodges
Mickey Vernon
Augie Galan
Lou Brock

I have Pete Browning and Charley Jones roughly equivalent to Rocky Colavito. Nobody is voting for Rocky Colavito. Those OPS+ numbers are really shiny but I think that mainly means the replacement level was lower

Player BRAA
Colavito 371
Browning 489
ChyJones 304

You have to take some air out of Browning's numbers and you can give some credit to Charley Jones but in the end I like Colavito better. I apologize if the numbers aren't quite right, I got them out of my spreadsheet without checking BP.
   158. sunnyday2 Posted: November 03, 2006 at 04:20 PM (#2230897)
Hitters 1989 (mostly 1B-LF-RF-some "hit first" CF though some more defensive-oriented CF are not included here)

2. Yaz
7. Pete Browning
11. Charley Jones--in fact the NL of the late '70s was better than the NL would be again for 15 years
12. Charlie Keller
13. Reggie Smith--defense is not ignored, and helps
14. Orlando Cepeda

16. Gavvy Cravath
17. Frank Howard
25. Jim Wynn
(27a. Willie Keeler)
28. Alejandro Oms
30. Norm Cash

33. Bobby Estalella--the #1 all-time mystery man
35. Chuck Klein
37. Bobby Bonds
39. Jake Beckley
40. Luke Easter
45. Hack Wilson
47. Rocky Colavito
50. Wally Berger
53. Lou Brock
54. Tony Oliva
56. Bob Johnson
   159. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: November 03, 2006 at 05:36 PM (#2230939)
This seems like fun...

Keller
Duffy
Wynn
Browning
Cravath
Oms (does he count)
GVH
Berger
Roush
Howard
Cepeda
Burns
Veach
C. Jones/R.Thomas
Wilson
Klein
Johnson
Easter
Cash


Sunny,

What numbers are you looking at that has Jones ahead of Keller? I just don't see it.
   160. rawagman Posted: November 03, 2006 at 05:49 PM (#2230944)
My own hitter ranking - all eligible players who do not get a significant fielding boost. No catchers, middle infielders, Boyer, Kell, Duffy or Roush.
My system rewards hitters who hit better than other hitters in their league as well as consistency. Peakless primes don't score well. I can live with that.

2. Yastrzemski
6. Taylor
7. Cravath
14. Veach
(14a. Stargell)
15. Cepeda
17. Berger
18. Smith
20. Clarkson
23. Rosen
26. Klein
27. Oliva
28. C. Jones
29. Bottomley
32. Browning
39. Keller
40. Cash
41. McGraw
42. Ryan
43. C. Williams
44. Camilli
46. Reiser
48. McCormick
49. Elliott
50. Bando
51. Traynor
55. B. Johnson
58. Leach
61. Beckley
66. Pinson
67. O'Neill
68. Colavito
69. Lyons
71. Van Haltren
73. Cuyler
75. Oms
   161. sunnyday2 Posted: November 03, 2006 at 06:12 PM (#2230966)
So far 4 votes for best "hitters" tabulated 24-23-22-17...6.

Cravath 61
Keller 60
Cepeda 55
Wynn 50--3 ballots, not clear whether the 4th voter regards him as not that good or not a "hitter"
Yaz 48--2 ballots, two voters included backlog only
R. Smith and Browning 47 each--one regarded Browning as not good enough to make the list, not clear why Smith misses one ballot
C. Jones 37.5--3 ballots, one regarded him as not good enough
F. Howard 35--3 ballots, one not good enough
Oms 34--3 ballots, one not good enough
Cash 33--2 ballots, 2 not good enough!
Taylor 30--2 ballots, 1 not good enough, 1 not clear
Beckley 28--2 ballots, 1 not good enough, 1 not clear
Berger 28--2 ballots, 1 not good enough, 1 not clear
Roush 27--2 ballots, 2 consider him not a "hitter"

Roush would apparently rate higher among these 4 voters expanding to include all players, and I have him higher. I have Browning and Jones higher and Wynn a little lower. But otherwise the top 9, at least, not only look like the right guys but represent some level of consensus.
   162. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 03, 2006 at 06:24 PM (#2230974)
OK, comparing my Jones/Cravath adjustments.

Let’s start with Jones. Before anything else, I had to figure Jones’ sked-adj WS.

SCH   EST   SCH    QoP   QoP    
YEAR  WS  ADJ  SCH G ADJ WS  ADJ  ADJ WS
-----------------------------------------
1875     
KEO    1  11.5   
---   11.5  1.00  11.5
HAR    0   2.0   
---    0.0  1.00   0.0
1876   9   2.31   70   20.8  1.00  20.8
1877   9   2.70   60   24.3  1.00  24.3
1878  12   2.70   60   32.4  1.00  32.4
1879  21   1.93   84   40.5  1.00  40.5
1880  12   1.93   84   23.1  1.00  23.1
1881   X   
---  ---    ---    ---   ---
1882   X   ---  ---    ---    ---   ---
1883  18   1.65   98   29.8   .75  22.3
1884  27   1.47  110   37.4   .85  31.8
1885  24   1.45  112   35.4  1.00  35.4
1886  18   1.16  140   23.3  1.00  23.3
1887  11   1.16  140   14.6  1.00  14.6
1888   0   1.16  140    0.0  1.00   0.0
=========================================
TOT  162              289.7       280.1 


OK, so here we have Jones’s schedule adjusted, QoP adjusted WS. A couple quick hits:
-I know Joe D usually prefers team-games adjustments, I just use estimated league sked length because, frankly, it’s simpler. I estimate league schedule length by eyeballing the total games of the teams and rounding up to the nearest whole number divisible by (total teams – 1). I use these estimates for all players. I have looked into regression, but after the NA its results are not terribly different than this method, and so I feel comfortable that this works.
-Thanks to Chris C. for the NA WS. For the NA year, I partitioned Jones’ season between the two teams, basing it on the fact that he played 92% of his games with KEO and 7% with HAR.
-Your QoP or sked adj will undoubtedly vary.

OK, how about Cravath.

SCH   EST   SCH    QoP   QoP    
YEAR  WS  ADJ  SCH G ADJ WS  ADJ  ADJ WS
-----------------------------------------
1908  12 1.05   154   12.6   1.0   12.6
1909   2 1.05   154    2.1   1.0    2.1
1912  15 1.05   154   15.8   1.0   15.8
1913  29 1.05   154   30.5   1.0   30.5
1914  28 1.05   154   29.4   1.0   29.4
1915  35 1.05   154   36.8   1.0   36.8
1916  26 1.05   154   27.3   1.0   27.3
1917  26 1.05   154   27.3   1.0   27.3
1918  11 1.25   130   13.8   1.0   13.8
1919  16 1.16   140   18.6   1.0   18.6
1920   2 1.05   154    2.1   1.0    2.1
==========================================
TOT  202             216.3        216.3 


Notes:
-For 1918 I use a guesstimate of 130 games since every team finished around there.

Now, so where does the credit come in? For Jones, it’s pretty simple. For 1881 and 1882 I’ll use a simple average of the four nearest seasons, which takes into account any propensity for injury and effectiveness during this part of his career.


SCH EST SCH QoP QoP 4-YR
YEAR WS ADJ SCH G ADJ WS ADJ ADJ WS AVG WS
------------------------------------------------
1875
KEO 1 11.5 --- 11.5 1.00 11.5
HAR 0 2.0 --- 0.0 1.00 0.0
1876 9 2.31 70 20.8 1.00 20.8
1877 9 2.70 60 24.3 1.00 24.3
1878 12 2.70 60 32.4 1.00 32.4

1879 21 1.93 84 40.5 1.00 40.5
1880 12 1.93 84 23.1 1.00 23.1
1881 X --- --- --- --- --- 29.4
1882 X --- --- --- --- --- 29.4
1883 18 1.65 98 29.8 .75 22.3
1884 27 1.47 110 37.4 .85 31.8

1885 24 1.45 112 35.4 1.00 35.4
1886 18 1.16 140 23.3 1.00 23.3
1887 11 1.16 140 14.6 1.00 14.6
1888 0 1.16 140 0.0 1.00 0.0
================================================
TOT 162 289.7 280.1 338.9


You could do this other ways. You could use the three nearest seasons for instance. Doing so would get you slightly lower totals by one or two WS each year.

There is the question of 1880. I’m unclear whether Jones missed much if any time due to the team’s freakout. I don’t imagine that it would add but a WS or two anyway, so I’m unconcerned about it. And that pretty much does it for Jones. If we had any data for 1881-1882 indy leagues he was in, we could create a potentially more accurate view of his career, but this addresses the question pretty squarely.

Turning back to Cravath now.

There are a lot of seasons in play where he a credit scenario is possible. He was in the PCL from 1903-1907 and the new, old AA from 1909-1911, with some of the latter interspersed within his MLB time.

A hundred years ago either Brent and I both ended up working up some estimates for his MiL MLEs. I’ve mostly just incorporated them into my own rankings en toto. Via them, we see Cravath as an average player by 1905 (101 OPS+), and improving on that in 1906 (109 OPS+). So I start my figuring at 1906.

Here’s what the final WS translations looked like (post 176 on Gavy’s thread):

1906 16.0
1907 21.3
1909 17.3
1910 28.5
1911 32.5

Now integrating with the info above and adjusting for sked on the MLEs:

SCH   EST   SCH    QoP   QoP    MLE   MLE
YEAR  WS  ADJ  SCH G ADJ WS  ADJ  ADJ WS   WS  SCH ADJ
-------------------------------------------------------
1906  -- 1.05   ---    ---   ---    ---   16.0  16.8
1907  
-- 1.05   ---    ---   ---    ---   21.3  22.4
1908  12 1.05   154   12.6   1.0   12.6
1909   2 1.05   154    2.1   1.0    2.1   17.3  18.2
1910  
-- 1.05   ---    ---   ---    ---   28.5  29.9
1911  
-- 1.05   ---    ---   ---    ---   32.5  34.1
1912  15 1.05   154   15.8   1.0   15.8
1913  29 1.05   154   30.5   1.0   30.5
1914  28 1.05   154   29.4   1.0   29.4
1915  35 1.05   154   36.8   1.0   36.8
1916  26 1.05   154   27.3   1.0   27.3
1917  26 1.05   154   27.3   1.0   27.3
1918  11 1.25   130   13.8   1.0   13.8
1919  16 1.16   140   18.6   1.0   18.6
1920   2 1.05   154    2.1   1.0    2.1
=======================================================
TOT  202             216.3        216.3  331.9  337.7 


And there you have it. Let’s line them up side by side best to worst and rounded.

CJ GC
------
41 37
35 34
32 31
32 30
29 29
29 27
24 27
23 22
23 20
22 19
21 17
15 16
12 14
 0 13
    2 


It ends up pretty close, but Jones has a pretty clear advantage over their top dozen or so seasons, only losing value to Cravath in the penultimate season. By my interval system, Jones is a dead ringer for Joe Kelley and ranks 16th among LFs all time and 13th among LFs through 1989/1990. Cravath in the interval system ranks about 23rd all time and 18th among RFs through 1989/1990. As small as the distinctions are among players up and down the ballot, I’m comfortable with those relative rankings.

Because of their twisted career shapes, however, I’m not yet able to run them through my Keltner-based system. I mean I have, but neither’s scores are reflective of the additional credit seasons. Jones scores 27 out of 90, which is good for 24th all time among LFs and 20th by 1989/1990. Cravath scores 31 out of 90, good for 24th all time and 17th all time. Because I have not yet determined precisely how I will implement credit seasons into this system, it’s difficult to say which of the two is closer to his “true” ranking, but both are right at the borderline.

So there’s one elector’s answer.
   163. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 03, 2006 at 06:28 PM (#2230979)
sorry about the formatting stuff. I'm having trouble getting a rows of text to line up above my legend lines lately. and i plum forgot to use hte pre tags in the middle.... but you get the gist. if anyone wants me to reformat say the word and i'll do it.

oh to clear something up that was ambiguous above. the reason i find it simpler to use a league-sked adj not a team-sked games adj is that it's directly applicable to everyone in the league, so i only figure it once.
   164. sunnyday2 Posted: November 03, 2006 at 06:31 PM (#2230981)
I personally discount the AA a little more than Doc does. But as a peak voter Charley still comes out with a small but significant advantage for peak. A 10-15 WS edge on the bottom end of Cravath's career does not erase the slight but fairly consistent peak edge for Jones. For me, both are among the top 6 "hitters" in the backlog along with Browning, Cepeda, F. Howard, Keller.

In fact I have Browning and Jones at the top, then Keller, then Cepeda, Howard and Cravath are pretty interchangeable.
   165. mulder & scully Posted: November 03, 2006 at 07:14 PM (#2231004)
For information's sake, Jones missed the last 20 games of the 1880 season with the suspension/blacklisting. He played 66 of 86 games and was suspended/blacklisted while the team was in/approaching Cleveland which was Aug 31/Sep 1/Sep 2. From 1876-1879, Jones played between 98 and 100% of his team's games, so he missed about 23% of the 1880 season.
   166. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: November 03, 2006 at 08:29 PM (#2231075)
Doc,

I am not sure I caught exactly where you did the league adjustment for Jones playing in the AA from 1883 to 1885. I take it that is what you meant by QOP but I didnt' see any numbers. I wouldn't mind seeing those to make sure they are the ones I use (which are generally the 35-0-15 that we have talked about before) and if not then I coudl make my own adjustments.

Also, I would like to add that you may need to take the effect of it being easier to have really high number in the late 1870's and 1880's than thirty years later when Cravath played. Was Jones even the best in his league during his 40 WS season? Ho wmany times has that ever happened? And was this season seriously better than anything done in the 1980's (outisde of maybe Will Clark's 1989)? I remain skeptical about that. However, maybe your Keltner test thingy woudl adjsut for this a little bit.

I think the above adjustments (and the fact that a number of us don't buy that Jones deserves 2.23 seasons of credit, I certainly don't think he deserves credit for 1880) puts him below Cravath. Not to mention Keller, who has 7 30+ WS seasons to Jones 4. Not that you mentioned Keller or anything.
   167. sunnyday2 Posted: November 03, 2006 at 08:42 PM (#2231089)
Mark, that was the .75 and .85 in the chart (and the 1.00 for several years). Like I said I would discount a tad more than that, though I agree that the AA was essentially equal to the NL for a couple years at its peak. My differential from Doc's discounting would be no more than 3-5 additional percent per year on average. He is what I would call "close enough" on the QoP. IOW 320-340 WS is about right. It comes down to whether one timelines them or not.
   168. Mike Webber Posted: November 03, 2006 at 09:15 PM (#2231110)
Karl M wrote:
1. Yaz
2. Beckley
3. Perry
4. Joss
5. Jenkins
6. Bench


Hey Karl, if you have a minute, and maybe you already have this in a spread sheet, where would you rank Beckley all time among first basemen, and where would you slot Bench among catchers?

I was thinking about this because I see Yaz as the 5th best LF of all time, and Bench as having a strong arguement for top 3 all-time at catcher. Based on that Bench will be my number one on this ballot. Basically one of the pitchers would have to be top 15 or so to nudge these two out of the top 2 spots, and I don't see Perry there.

My other point being that I can't see how Beckley would be in the all-time top 10 at first base, even for his biggest fan. The competition is just too tough.
   169. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: November 03, 2006 at 09:40 PM (#2231126)
Sunny, you are probably right, I didn't pick up on what those numbers meant.

However, there is a discount that is not timelining. It is the discount that we have talked about in this thread, the 'its easier to post gaudy numbers in 19th c, pre-1893, whever, than it is in the modern era. This isn't a discount across the board like timelining would be. It would really only effect the seasons in which a player was really really good and not the seasons where he is merely good, slightly above average, or average. I think if you dont' do this you end up overrating players of this era.

Also, can you really just extrapolate number linearally (not spelled right, I know) from a 100 game season to a 162 game season? Should there be some form of regression to account for hot and cold streaks? So if a guy in a 100 game season has enough WS for it to be 40 in a season, should he really get like 40 WS instead of 36 or 37? I am asking not only because it matters to Charley Jones and Pete Browning but also because it matters for the best seasons of Albert Belle, Frank THomas, and Jeff Bagwell's career (though Bagwell was hurt at the end of 1994 and shouldnt' get any more credit for that season). In other words the strike years, do they get extrapolated in a linear fashion or should there be some form of regression?

Also, I know that one coudl argue that a player could get hurt in teh extra 60 or so games we are giving him credit for, I think this is valid but one must also take into account that health services were much muc worse 130 years ago then they are today. If we are going to extrapolate games into a modern contet maybe we should also give these players the benefit of the doubt and do a linear game translation.
   170. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: November 03, 2006 at 09:42 PM (#2231129)
Another thing about schedule adjusting, one reason for regressions among NeL candidates was that we only had about 40 games worth of data a season (if not less) and therefore regressions were needed or we would have had some really weird career shapes. I think the same should be done for 19th century players.

And if you aren't for regressing those seasons at all then you should do the same for Belle and Co. in a few years.
   171. sunnyday2 Posted: November 03, 2006 at 09:56 PM (#2231146)
Mark, good point. There are in fact 3 different kinds of discounts...

1. the AA discount because it was not the best league at the time.

2. the "it's easier to dominate" discount, which is in the eye of the beholder but which still tries to correlate value over time.

3. the "timeline," which assumes that players over time have developed better and better skills and ability, which has little or nothing to do with value.

I tend to lump the latter 2 together sometimes but they are different concepts.

4. Adjusting season length, but then regressing because we don't believe a player would necessarily double all of his numbers going from an 80 game season to 160. is not IMO a discount per se. That's something different again.

But all of these are adjustments that one might make to Charley Jones or whomever. I do NOT choose to make adjustment #3 however.
   172. Sean Gilman Posted: November 03, 2006 at 10:00 PM (#2231150)
My "hitters" (1B/OF) rankings:

Yastrzemski
Browning
C. Jones
Leach
Roush
Duffy
Van Haltren
Ohms
Wynn
Bonds
Howard
Pinson
Berger
Cash
Murcer
Cepeda
Brock
Ryan
Keller
Cravath
R. Smith
Beckley
Veach
White
Oliva
Powell
Vernon
Taylor
Klein
Burns
Colavito
Tiernan
   173. Sean Gilman Posted: November 03, 2006 at 10:08 PM (#2231159)
Another thing about schedule adjusting, one reason for regressions among NeL candidates was that we only had about 40 games worth of data a season (if not less) and therefore regressions were needed or we would have had some really weird career shapes. I think the same should be done for 19th century players.

I'm absolutely opposed to this. 15 Wins Shares in an 81 game season is exactly as valuable in that season as 30 Win Shares in a 162 game season. Treating a pennant as a pennant means that an 81 game pennant is just as valuable as a 162 game pennant.
   174. TomH Posted: November 03, 2006 at 10:44 PM (#2231189)
.... is exactly as valuable as 5 win shares in a 27 game season. But lots of guys have put up OPS+ of 230 or EqA of .420 or OWP of .880 over 27 games. And for those who base their ratings on best peak seasons and lining up their rate stats, there ought to be a schedule-length adjustment.
   175. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: November 03, 2006 at 10:54 PM (#2231201)
I agree with Tom, what a player does in 81 games isn't necessarily teh best barometer of what he does in 162 games.

I also agree with Sunny in that #3 FOR OUR PURPOSES shouldnt' relaly be used but we have ahd that discussion many times. I do think the other three 'discounts' are appropriate, however.
   176. mulder & scully Posted: November 03, 2006 at 11:05 PM (#2231209)
Jones' rank in league in each year. Also, see the Charley Jones/Lip Pike thread posts 7-24 where this is in full detail.

1876: Jones is between the 6th and 10th best position player - around Anson, Clapp, McVey. Yes, he only had 9 win shares, but his team was way below the win shares replacement percentage (.138 to .200). See Chris Cobb's and others methods for adjusting Jones for how crappy his team was.
1877: Not in top 10, though he again has the greatest percentage of his team's win shares. The Reds are again last, though not as awful as before.
1878: Tied for 4th best in league with Jim O'Rourke and two others, behind Paul Hines, Tom York, and Orator Shaffer.
1879: Second in league to Paul Hines, 22 - 21.
1880: Misses almost 1/4 of season. He has 12 in that time. If you adjust for blacklisting, he is tied for 8th with King Kelly with 16. Finishing ahead of him are HoMers: George Gore, Cap Anson, Paul Hines, Roger Connor, Jim O'Rourke, and non-HoMers Abner Dalrymple and Fred Dunlap.
1881: Blacklisted
1882: Blacklisted
1883: 7th in AA behind HoMer Stovey, Moynahan, Bradley, Browning, Swartwood, and O'Brien.
1884: 1st in league, tied with Dave Orr.
1885: 3rd in league, behind Pete Browning and Dave Orr.

I see a top 10 player in 1876, 1878, 1879, 1883, 1884, and 1885. I add 3 more years because I give blacklist credit. His established level for his entire career was as one of the ten most valuable position players in his league, and often a top 5 performer.
   177. DavidFoss Posted: November 03, 2006 at 11:05 PM (#2231211)
I agree with Tom, what a player does in 81 games isn't necessarily teh best barometer of what he does in 162 games.

Well, if his short-season averages jumped up and down like Lip Pike's did, then I would agree. Those peaks and valleys should be smoothed out. But Charley Jones was pretty consistent so discounting his numbers is not exactly fair. He's got a 164 OPS+ through his first 5+ seasons. Sure, don't give him a 'peak bonus' for 1879, but it unreasonable to say that *every* half-season of his was his hot half season that would have regressed if given more playing time.
   178. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 03, 2006 at 11:09 PM (#2231215)
What about players who enlisted (Feller? Greenberg?) They made a choice not to play. Should they get war credit under your policy?

This ground was covered back in the day, and since I was the guy who tried that line of logic before, I'll cover it here. I felt this way to start, but I canged my mind. Why? Beause I was persuaded by this logic: if you didn't sign up you'd get drafted. Simple as that. I wouldn't doubt but that some guys went in early to get commissions or to have their pick of the service before getting drafted or what have you.

In addition, I think there's another way to look at the era. This time period, 1941-1945 was exceptional. Players would never leave to join the armed forces in mid-career except in times of extreme duress for their country/world. Look at how Korean players have attempted to circumvent their country's military-service laws in recent years. I just don't think you could ever find examples of players who quite baseball to join a corps in mid-career. Doesn't happen. And if it did happen, it would be so rare as to have little bearing on the WW2 era anyway. The bigger picture is that the conditions of the era were such that enlisting versus drafting was not the great distinction we've both attempted to make it out to be.

I would also speculate as to whether or not the economics of the era would reinforce this notion. Coming off the great depression, and with the country, presumably, not quite on the stable economic footing it would be after the war, it probably makes little economic sense fora player to quit since he'd be making mondo money compared to some poor unemployed guy or compared to some guy cultivating dust outside of Tulsa. People didn't make decisions within the normal framework. It was the times.
   179. Sean Gilman Posted: November 03, 2006 at 11:19 PM (#2231220)
Since we don't particularly care what a player's level of ability over a 162 game season is, what does it matter how much they peak or valley over shorter seasons? Pike's valleys get extrapolated to 162 games the same as his peaks, his value to his team's is unchanged.

This is a value/ability question. Regressing short season players diminishes their value in the quest for some hypothetical measurement of their supposed ability. Since what we are measuring (as I understand it) is the value a player created in the seasons he played, I don't see how regressing in this instance is at all appropriate.

When adjusting short season players we are not imagining a counter factual world wherein the 1876 NL played 162 games and then guessing what each player's season would then have looked like in that world, but instead simply translating one mathematical term into another: 10/40 = 40/160.
   180. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 03, 2006 at 11:26 PM (#2231222)
Re: Jones and the sked. The following applies to hitters only.

I'm one of these pennant is a pennant types who says flags fly forever. But let's think backwards a second on this question of Jones's sked versus Cravath's. What if instead of raising everyone up to 162 games, we cut everyone back to the 60 games of Jones's 1877-1878 seasons? What would we get?

The exact same thing.

With great careers totaling in the 200s.

Either you believe in adjustments upward or you don't. That 110 games is closer to 162 seems to inspire more confidence in the linear model, but in reality, that's illusory. It makes us feel safer about our conclusions, but it takes one game, not sixty to break a leg and lose your career. But that's not really the point, right? The point is that you've got to compare one player to another somehow. The point is that everyone is playing a season in whatever increment that means. And when one guy plays in a time when 15 WS is average, and another plays where 15 WS is kickin' butt, you got to do something. You can Keltnerize it if you want, but I hate to say it, there's schedule extrapolation in some of the categories I use in the Keltner scores. You cannot realistially assess whether a player meets the HOF or HOM's WS standards without ratcheting up for sked or down for it. The same goes for comping a guy's career against another's. You can't do it when Jones is a 161 WS guy and Chet Lemon is in the 200s. And I like Chet Lemon!

We're all extrapoloating. Even if we don't put it in a table and have a specific value for it, we do it mentally. Otherwise we couldn't do this job. Without the schedule adjustment it's apples and oranges. And pears and bananas and cumquats too.

Kelly, thanks on the 1880 info on Jones. I'm going to use it to revise my findings on him.
   181. sunnyday2 Posted: November 04, 2006 at 12:47 AM (#2231274)
>What about players who enlisted (Feller? Greenberg?) They made a choice not to play. Should they get war credit under your policy?

Yes absolutely.
   182. karlmagnus Posted: November 04, 2006 at 12:47 AM (#2231275)
Mike Webber, I don't do it that way, partly because I don't think the number of great players is evenly split between positions. It's very clear that the very best catchers (with the possible exception of Gibson) simply aren't as good as the Ruth/Cobb/Bonds level of outfielders, because if Ty Cobb had signed with Augusta as a catcher, he'd have been converted to the outfield in about a week -- far too good a hitter to risk getting banged up and anyway lose 1/4 of each season. So the fact that Bench is, to me about the 5th best catcher of all time (Gibson, Hartnett, Berra, probably Piazza or IRod ahead of him) is not all that impressive -- perfectly possible for say the 12th best 1B (about where Beckley is, I think) to be better. As for pitchers, the 15th best pitcher would be equivalent to a 5th best position player, but actually I would put Perry about #25-30, still comfortably in a HOM with 65-70 pitchers.
   183. sunnyday2 Posted: November 04, 2006 at 12:56 AM (#2231278)
I think it helps to think of pitchers. In Jones' day, teams carried 2 pitchers and they threw 50+ games and 400-500 IP each. Could they really carry the whole load if their teams had played 162 games--i.e. if they had played 5 games a week instead of 3? No. (Their arms mostly fell off after a few years anyway.)

This doesn't apply to position players to quite the same extreme, but I think it applies. If Charley Jones or Pete Browning plays 80 out of 80 games, and I have to decide whether to vote for Jones or Browning versus Cepeda or F. Howard and they played 145 games, is it really fair to extrapolate Jones and Browning to 160 games? They didn't play 160 games. They did play a full season. So I think a compromise is in order, that they should fall somewhere between 80 and 160--probably a lot closer to 160, but not 160.
   184. DavidFoss Posted: November 04, 2006 at 01:16 AM (#2231289)
Greenberg?

This *was* covered back in the day. Greenberg got a low draft number and was hounded by the press becuase of it. There was talk of a possible deferment due to his bum legs and feet which stirred up more controversy.

SABR Bio

Anyhow, I know we went over this 'years' ago, but there somehow Greenberg's induction of the service is often remembered much differently (I had first heard a much different story as well) and its worth repeating to get it right.
   185. Sean Gilman Posted: November 04, 2006 at 01:29 AM (#2231296)
I think it helps to think of pitchers. In Jones' day, teams carried 2 pitchers and they threw 50+ games and 400-500 IP each. Could they really carry the whole load if their teams had played 162 games--i.e. if they had played 5 games a week instead of 3? No. (Their arms mostly fell off after a few years anyway.)

This doesn't apply to position players to quite the same extreme, but I think it applies. If Charley Jones or Pete Browning plays 80 out of 80 games, and I have to decide whether to vote for Jones or Browning versus Cepeda or F. Howard and they played 145 games, is it really fair to extrapolate Jones and Browning to 160 games? They didn't play 160 games. They did play a full season. So I think a compromise is in order, that they should fall somewhere between 80 and 160--probably a lot closer to 160, but not 160.


But those questions (how many innings could he pitch? how many games did he have the ability to play?) have no bearing on how much the player contributed to his team winning a pennant.

19th Century pitchers should be adjusted because pitching was less valuable relative to defense and hitting, not because their arms would fall off in a hypothetical world.
   186. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 04, 2006 at 01:56 AM (#2231320)

But those questions (how many innings could he pitch? how many games did he have the ability to play?) have no bearing on how much the player contributed to his team winning a pennant.


But if it was easier for a player to contribute to his team winning a pennant in 1880-something, then his "contribution above replacement" is lower.

It seems insane to me to do a straighline-adjustment to short 19th century seasons, especially since there's such strong evidence from 1981 and 1994 that short seasons correlate with outlier numbers.
   187. sunnyday2 Posted: November 04, 2006 at 03:24 AM (#2231347)
Sean, how many 19C pitchers are in your PHoM? Because if you do a straight line adjustment, you should have about 50 of them. Unless you want to say that they had no value, and I've heard that argument. They were batting practice pitchers and the fielders did all the work. I don't believe that myself. So you need a more plausible way to calibrate 19C pitchers versus 20C.
   188. DavidFoss Posted: November 04, 2006 at 03:36 AM (#2231352)
It seems insane to me to do a straighline-adjustment to short 19th century seasons, especially since there's such strong evidence from 1981 and 1994 that short seasons correlate with outlier numbers.

I understand your concern. No one is claiming that you straight-line adjust Orator Shaffer's 1878 season.

But when every season is a short season, what do you regress the numbers to? Neighboring seasons. Charley Jones' full time NL seasons go 154-168-158-183-156. Smooth those out if you want, but discounting them *all* isn't right. *Every* season was not a small-sample size fluke.
   189. Chris Cobb Posted: November 04, 2006 at 03:46 AM (#2231355)
It seems insane to me to do a straighline-adjustment to short 19th century seasons, especially since there's such strong evidence from 1981 and 1994 that short seasons correlate with outlier numbers.

It depends on what you mean by "short" seasons.

From my experience doing regressions on Negro League data, I've found that regression seldom makes significant changes to seasons in which the sample sizes is 80 games or more.

If I recall correctly, Eric C. as Dr. Chaleeko did a regression study of early NL seasons using the methodology we developed for NeL regression, and he found, similarly, that the changes produced by regression analysis were too small to make it worth bothering with.

I agree that there is a correlation between outlier numbers and shorter seasons in 1981 and 1994, but, those outlier seasons were nevertheless accomplished by a handful of players in each case. For most players, their results in these seasons were not outliers.

If you do a regression analysis of Charley Jones's career, you maybe shave 2-4 win shares off of his top season, but his lower seasons will get raised by a similar amount, so his career value will look pretty similar, and his peak will be a little flatter and a little longer.
   190. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 04, 2006 at 04:36 AM (#2231371)

But when every season is a short season, what do you regress the numbers to? Neighboring seasons. Charley Jones' full time NL seasons go 154-168-158-183-156. Smooth those out if you want, but discounting them *all* isn't right. *Every* season was not a small-sample size fluke.


Well, I agree with most of what you're saying here. There's no question that, when playing, Charley Jones was an awesome hitter.

Let's set aside, for the moment, the "credit" issue, looking instead at the comparison between Jones and the other high-backlog "bats". I'm going to ignore fielding, because I don't think we have a freakin' clue what kind of value OF defense had circa 1880, and none of these guys was Paul Blair. Because of the season-length issues, I'm going to use EQA to compare prime years of the bats

Jones (age 27-35): .351-.324-.353-.327-XXX-XXX-.316-.341-.325
Keller (age 22-29): .323-.319-.338-.339-.334-XXX-(half).344-.328-(half).334
Cravath (age 31-36):.284-.331-.329-.327-.318-.314
Browning (age 22-29): .353-.341-.359-.321-.338-.325-.265-.349

Now, call me crazy, but I don't see that much of a difference between Jones and the others, especially when an appropriately conservative credit is given for missed seasons...I mean, the real reason Jones shows up so high on some systems is that people have been assigning him 40 WS for his 1879 season, and that's slightly insane. If you take that number and factor it into the credit you're awarding for the missed seasons, then Jones's value gets even more distorted.
   191. Chris Cobb Posted: November 04, 2006 at 05:04 AM (#2231386)
Now, call me crazy, but I don't see that much of a difference between Jones and the others,

A quick look at the ballot results from the last two seasons for Jones, Keller, Cravath, and Browning would indicate that the electorate, in the aggregate would not dream of calling this conclusion crazy:

Rank
88 87 Name      Points  Ballots
7  16 C
Jones   346      21
10 14 Browning   315      22
14 12 Keller     289      19
16 19 Cravath    263      21 


The top and bottom in this group of 4 were separated by 10 ballot positions in 1988, 8 in 1987. The 1, 2, 3, 4, order of 1988 was 3, 2, 1, 4 in 1987. The members of this group appeared on almost the same number of ballots. The electorate, in the aggregate, is treating them as highly similar.
   192. Brent Posted: November 04, 2006 at 06:58 AM (#2231409)
# 177: Jones' rank in league in each year.

For comparison, here's comparable information for Cravath:

1906: MLE 16 win shares, not in top 20 position players in either league.
1907: MLE 21 win shares, would rank 10th among position players in the AL or 13th in the NL.
1908: AL, 12 win shares, not in top 20.
1909: 20 win shares (combined AL plus minor league MLE), would rank 15th in AL.
1910: MLE 28.5 win shares, would rank 5th in the AL (behind Lajoie, Cobb, Collins, Speaker) or 4th in the NL (behind Magee, Holman, Wagner).
1911: MLE 33 win shares, would rank 5th in AL (behind Cobb, Jackson, Baker, Collins) or 1st in the NL.
1912: 15 win shares, not in top 20.
1913: 29 win shares, led league.
1914: 28 win shares, 3rd in league (behind Burns, Magee).
1915: 35 win shares, led league.
1916: 26 win shares, tied for 6th (behind Wheat, Hornsby, Kauff, Maranville, Paskert; tied with Hinchman, Konetchy).
1917: 26 win shares, tied for 7th (behind Hornsby, Groh, Burns, Kauff, Roush, Fletcher; tied with Zimmerman).
1918-20: 11-16-2 win shares; not in top 20.

Led league twice (1913, 1915), and according to MLEs might have led a third time (1911).
Top ten in league 7 or 8 times (in 1910-11-13-14-15-16-17, and possibly in 1907).

Comparing with # 177 for Jones, they're obvioiusly quite similar records, but considering that the AA was a weak league, Cravath's record looks more impressive to me.
   193. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 04, 2006 at 07:50 AM (#2231419)
Regarding the short-seasons and regression, in my opinion, it is 100% wrong to regress a short schedule season.

As was said, 15 wins shares in an 81 game season is exactly as valuable and does as much to win a pennant in that season as 30 in a 162 game season.

A pennant is a pennant. 5 WS in a 27-game season is just as valuable too, if the championship season was only 27 games. It doesn't matter, IMO. We care about what he did, not what he would have done had the schedule been longer.

******

As far as the team games vs. league games in adjusting, I suppose that's not a huge deal. But using Win Shares, you need to adjust based on decisions, not games. Team decisions were often off team games by quite a few due to rainouts. Since WS only credits based on wins and losses, the adjustment needs to do the same.
   194. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 04, 2006 at 07:54 AM (#2231421)
I have Keller, Jones and Cravath on my ballot.

I have Cravath significantly ahead of the other two. When you throw in his work in Minneapolis, he's got them on career length. I have Jones and Keller as basically the same player.
   195. Brent Posted: November 04, 2006 at 08:14 AM (#2231429)
Chris Cobb # 156 wrote: I give Jones a slight edge for two reasons: (1) His defense was quite a bit better than Cravath's and (2) his peak begins in the late 1870s, when the quality of competition was actually higher than it would be after the advent of the AA.

While I don't disagree that Jones was the better fielder, I think Cravath's fielding reputation may have been unfairly hurt because his major league statistics come mostly at ages 31 and older. At a younger age he appears to have had decent speed. Also, I'd guess that playing right field in the Baker Bowl couldn't have helped his range (though it probably helped his assist totals.)

I missed out on most of this group's early discussions of 19th century league quality, but my perception of the NL's first few seasons is of a pretty weak league:
- In 1876, after successfully capturing most of the top players from the NA, the New York and Philadelphia franchises lost money, failed to complete their final road tours, and were expelled from the league, shrinking the league to 6 teams. Hartford also lost money and moved to Brooklyn, where they played the next season as the Brooklyn Hartfords.
- In 1877, the International Association was formed. Although histories often describe it as the first minor league, I think it's pretty clear that it was intended to be a competitor to the NL. Some historians consider it to have been another major league. In the NL, several Louisville players were found to have participated in throwing games and after the season were expelled from baseball. In the aftermath, Louisville and St. Louis (which had already signed expelled Louisville players, Devlin and Hall) withdrew from the league, as did the money-losing Brooklyn franchise.
- In 1878, 3 top independent teams, Providence, Indianapolis, and Milwaukee, were invited to join the league. Indianapolis and Milwaukee, however, lost money and dropped out after one season.
- In 1879, the NL expanded to 8 teams by adding 4 teams (2 to replace Indianapolis and Milwaukee and 2 additional new franchises). In the process, they delivered a death blow to the International Association's major league aspirations by recruiting Buffalo (the IA's 1878 pennant winner), Syracuse, and Troy from the IA. The independent Cleveland Forest City franchise also joined the NL. Buffalo, with much the same lineup that had won the IA championship (including HoMers Pud Galvin and Hardy Richardson), placed third in the NL race. Syracuse disbanded two weeks before the end of the season and forfeited its final games.
- In 1880, Worcester of the National Base Ball Association (the International Association had changed its name after its only Canadian franchise dropped out) joined the league to take the place of Syracuse. They end in 5th place with a 40-43 record.

Looking at this period, I see a league that is economically on the brink, facing a serious competitor in the IA, and also struggling to differentiate itself from the independent teams. The fact that several times independent or IA teams entered the NL and did well their first season with essentially the same lineup suggests that there was not yet a large gap between the NL and its competitors. Here are a couple of quotes:

"From its inception, the NL had a difficult relationship with the independent clubs, many of which considered themselves the equal of NL teams." Total Ballclubs, p. 287.

"In 1877, the Louisville Commercial printed a standing of the best clubs in America at the end of the season, sort of like a modern college football poll. The list made no distinction between the National League teams and teams in other leagues, which shows the position that the league held in public opinion of that time. It was a good league; it later became the major league." - Jim Baker in The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, (1985 edition), p. 15.

By 1879, it appears that the NL was starting to assert its supremacy. But I can't see a case fo an argument that the NL of 1876-1880 was stronger than the NL of 1912-20.
   196. Sean Gilman Posted: November 04, 2006 at 10:27 AM (#2231456)
'Zop wrote:

But if it was easier for a player to contribute to his team winning a pennant in 1880-something, then his "contribution above replacement" is lower.

Well, that's a different argument, one carried out earlier this week in this thread. There's room for reasonable people to disagree on the issue, but I think I'm right. :)

It seems insane to me to do a straightline-adjustment to short 19th century seasons, especially since there's such strong evidence from 1981 and 1994 that short seasons correlate with outlier numbers.

Whether a season is an outlier or not doesn't make it any less valuable.

sunnyday wrote:

Sean, how many 19C pitchers are in your PHoM? Because if you do a straight line adjustment, you should have about 50 of them. Unless you want to say that they had no value, and I've heard that argument. They were batting practice pitchers and the fielders did all the work. I don't believe that myself. So you need a more plausible way to calibrate 19C pitchers versus 20C.

I'm, pretty sure my PHOM matches the actual HOM on pitchers, though I inducted griffith much earlier and Spalding much later. The fact is their value has to be adjusted down, not because of schedule-length, but because pitching was much less valuable on a per-inning basis relative to fielding and hitting. I wouldn't call them batting practice pitchers, but they're closer to that than 600 innings of Pedro Martinez circa 2000.
   197. mulder & scully Posted: November 04, 2006 at 10:49 AM (#2231458)
I have Jones, Browning, Keller, and Cravath on my ballot.
   198. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 04, 2006 at 01:40 PM (#2231470)
The other thing about outlier seasons is that, well, who cares? Outlier seasons are outliers because they occur within the contexts of careers which present no otherwise comparable seasons. In our assessments, I'd say that we've recognized these for what they are, flukes and valuable but ultiamately abberant seasons within a guy's career. Guys like Jones, who mashed year in and out, are the ones getting consideration.
   199. Brent Posted: November 04, 2006 at 02:47 PM (#2231485)
Looking back at my post # 196, I see that I misworded a sentence on the 1876 season. Let me try again:

- At the start of the 1876, the NL was successful in signing most of the top players from the NA. However, the season was not as successful, as the New York and Philadelphia franchises lost money, failed to complete their final road tours, and were expelled from the league, shrinking the league to 6 teams.
   200. sunnyday2 Posted: November 04, 2006 at 03:06 PM (#2231493)
>The fact is their value has to be adjusted down, not because of schedule-length, but because pitching was much less valuable on a per-inning basis relative to fielding and hitting. I wouldn't call them batting practice pitchers, but they're closer to that than 600 innings of Pedro Martinez circa 2000.

I actually agree with this, I myself take half the pitcher WS prior to 1893 and give them to the defense. I do it because otherwise you end up with 1000 WS pitchers after you adjust for season length. It is expedient to do this.

But is it right?

I have my doubts that this is historically correct. Jim Creighton was a sensation and was regarded as the greatest and most influential baseball player ever, becaue he flouted the rules about serving up the ball for hitters to hit it. IOW he made it hard for hitters to hit the ball, he tried to get them out. The powers that be found it impossible to enforce the rules, that is, to make a judgment about what was permissible and what was not, and his style of pitching became the norm pretty much immediately.

It is not credible to think that 16 years later pitchers were still doing what Creighton had made obsolete.

My other analogy is slow pitch softball. Anyone who thinks a pitcher is a pitcher is a pitcher, even in slow pitch softball, hasn't played the game. Having played it for 25 years, it is obvious there is real skill in pitching slow pitch. Again, I can't really believe--whether it is expedient to say so or not--that baseball pitchers didn't know this and act on it after Creighton.
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