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

Sunday, February 11, 2007

1995 Ballot Discussion

1995 (March 5)—elect 3
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)

467 157.4 1973 Mike Schmidt-3B
363 116.1 1971 Darrell Evans-3B/1B
301 109.8 1972 Buddy Bell-3B
289 108.5 1964 Tommy John-P
282 84.3 1975 Jim Rice-LF
206 90.9 1971 Chris Speier-SS
200 69.0 1974 Jim Sundberg-C
194 68.3 1970 Jerry Reuss-P*
192 68.3 1971 Doyle Alexander-P
173 54.9 1979 Dwayne Murphy-CF
159 62.8 1975 Kent Tekulve-RP
155 58.1 1975 Rick Rhoden-P
149 59.3 1977 Bob Stanley-RP
140 55.5 1978 Glenn Hubbard-2B
154 44.8 1974 Bob Forsch-P
146 46.0 1975 Manny Trillo-2B
134 38.2 1977 Lee Mazzilli-CF/PH
109 46.7 1977 Willie Hernandez-RP
131 37.6 1977 Tony Armas-RF/CF
126 38.8 1980 Leon Durham-1B
115 42.1 1977 Craig Reynolds-SS
102 43.4 1978 Shane Rawley-P
109 39.4 1977 Mike Krukow-P
118 36.0 1975 Alan Ashby-C

Players Passing Away in 1994
HoMers
Age Elected

None

Candidates
Age Eligible

92 1938 Jimmie Reese-2B/Coach
87 1953 Si Johnson-P
85 1951 Mike Kreevich-CF
82 1957 Ray Mueller-C
80 1953 Eddie Smith-P
80 1959 Ray Dandridge-3B
79 1957 Buddy Rosar-C
77 1955 Elbie Fletcher-1B
77 1959 Joe Dobson-P
77 1960 Allie Reynolds-P
75 1958 Don Kolloway-2B
72——Chub Feeney-NL President
68 1971 Harvey Haddix-P
66 1969 Johnny Temple-2B
63 1976 Hank Aguirre-RP
60 1969 Marv Throneberry-1B
54 1982 Cesar Tovar-CF/LF

Upcoming Candidate
37 1997 Eric Show-P

Thanks, Dan!

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 11, 2007 at 09:43 PM | 343 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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Page 3 of 4 pages  < 1 2 3 4 > 
   201. Brent Posted: February 23, 2007 at 05:54 AM (#2302177)
Dan,

Let me try another example to see if I can persuade you of the error of your ways. ;-)

Suppose team # 1 has a player (Player A) who has a great first half. He's earned 3.5 WARP2 (a rate of 7 WARP2/Yr), and then at the half-way point he's injured and is out for the season. They replace him with Player B who is only slightly above replacement -- he earns 0.5 WARP2 (a rate of 1 WARP2/Yr). According to your salary calculation formula, Player A's performance is worth $6.6 million and Player B's is worth $0.3 million.

Now suppose team # 2 has Player C who also has a great first half. Like Player A, he earns 3.5 WARP2 through the middle of the season. After the half-way point, however, he goes into a slump and earns only 0.5 WARP2 over the last half of the season; that is, Player C's performance was identical to the performances of Players A and B. Doesn't consistency require that Player C's performance be valued the same as the total of A and B ($6.9 million)? Yet, according to your formula, Player C's season was worth $5.0 million.

In order to treat identical performances the same, it appears to me that you need to apply the non-linear salary formula to the seasonal totals rather than to the rates.
   202. Brent Posted: February 23, 2007 at 06:05 AM (#2302179)
Let me correct what I just wrote. If you apply the salary formula to the seasonal totals rather than to the rates, you get Player A worth $4.0 million, Player B worth $0.3 million, and Player C still worth $5.0 million. So now you have the opposite problem--Player C is worth more than the combined total of A and B. I don't see a way to force the total of A and B to equal C without making the salaries attributed to A and B dependent on each other's performances--which is something I don't think you want in an evaluation system. My intuition says Player C really is worth slightly more than the combination of A and B, because he was more dependable and freed up a bench slot that could be used for other purposes. But if you want the values of A+B to equal C, I'm puzzled as to how to get there.
   203. DanG Posted: February 23, 2007 at 06:19 AM (#2302183)
I don't see any "fallacy" there?

The fallacy is in constructing a line of analysis where a "120 OPS+ guy is worth exactly 0." In our world, he has tons of value.

the peak voter's philosophy is "in a higher league, average players would be minor leaguers."

While that is certainly true, it's also irrelevant. You can as easily say "in a lower league, average players would be HoMers." So what?

It always goes back to value. I agree that two 30 win share seasons are more valuable than three 20 win share seasons. How much? If it's worth a 20% bonus (a number picked out of the air) then we can add 6 WS to the first guy's career. That doesn't come close to making a HoMer out of McGraw or Dean.
   204. DL from MN Posted: February 23, 2007 at 07:08 AM (#2302198)
You have to subtract out the effects of using that roster spot on B instead of D who could have provided benefit in a different way.
   205. Brent Posted: February 23, 2007 at 01:40 PM (#2302227)
After giving it a little more thought, I think the resolution to my paradox is that when a player misses time you have to assume that he will be replaced by a replacement level player. That, after all, is the definition of replacement level, and we can't let a system get convoluted by the fact that occasionally a better-than-replacement level player will be available.

If we assume that Player B had a WARP2 of zero, and we also assume that Player C had a WARP2 of zero over the last half of the season, then the value of Player A + Player B = value of Player C (= $4.0 million) provided the salary formula is applied to seasonal totals rather than to rates. I agree with Dan G's comment that imagining a higher league in which average players are minor leaguers is irrelevant; if your system is based on replacement level, you need to consistently apply the concept (to seasonal levels, not to rates).
   206. sunnyday2 Posted: February 23, 2007 at 01:43 PM (#2302228)
I used to use a system in which you had to be an all-star to score any points at all (ok, not you, but rather MLB players). 3 points for a top 5 MVP candidate, 2 for a 1st team all-star (so players at every position could have 2 point seasons), and 1 for the 2nd and 3rd team all-stars. The results were interesting. This was through 2000.

C--Berra 28 Carter and Cochrane 23
1B--Anson 37 Gehrig 36 Brouthers 31
2B--Collins 36 Lajoie 34.5 Hornsby 30
SS--Wagner 39 Ripken 27 Vaughan 22.5
3B--Schmidt 34 Brooks 24 Traynor 23
LF--Williams 36.5 Bonds 33 Delahanty 27
CF--Cobb 41 Mays 39 Speaker 37
RF--Ruth 40 Aaron 38.5 Crawford 31.5
Multi--Rose 31
SP--Spahn 36 Johnson 34 Matty 32

The big catch is this was designed to be very position-specific, so let's say Stan Musial's score specifically at 1B was 17 points earned at 1B plus half of the other 26 that he earned at other positions for a position-specific score of 30. His total total of 43 is actually second best to Wagner's 44 (but Wagner at SS just gets 34 plus half of 10, if you follow).

And guys like Pie Traynor could do well who had weak competition at his position.

The real problem wth this is that, say, Spahn's 3 point seasons are exactly as valuable as Johnson's, which doesn't reflect reality. It's really a collapsed version, you might say, of James' old Approximate Value. The good thing about it is a pennant is a pennant.

So anyway, this is what you get when a less than all-star caliber season is worth 0. I haven't actually used this system in many years. But it is also true that this exercise opened my eyes to guys like Ted Simmons (#8 catcher), Larry Doyle (#9), Dahlen and Davis (#4 and 5 at SS), Lave Cross (#10), Sherry Magee (#9), Sam Thompson (#8), and Clemens and Maddux were already #8 and 9.
   207. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 23, 2007 at 03:46 PM (#2302262)
you had to be an all-star to score any points at all (ok, not you, but rather MLB players).

Don't worry, you're talking to nothing but All-Stars, here. ; )
   208. Juan V Posted: February 23, 2007 at 04:24 PM (#2302286)
Prelim time!

1) Mike Schmidt: ...........
2) Quincy Trouppe
3) Ale Oms
4) Gavvy Cravath
5) Jimmy Wynn
6) Darrell Evans: A tricky one, since properly assessing the 1B/DH years is very important. This is where my current system says he belongs, but I would prefer if he waited at least one year, so I can look at him with my still-under-development position adjustment systems.
7) Jimmy Ryan
8) Tony Lazzeri
9) Ron Cey
10) John McGraw
11) Bob Johnson
12) Luis Tiant
13) Charley Jones
14) Gene Tenace
15) Jim Fregosi
   209. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: February 23, 2007 at 07:19 PM (#2302439)
Prelim

Schmidt, Evans and one of Oms/Fingers/Willis will make my PHOM.

1. Schmidt
2. Keller
3. Duffy
4. Redding
5. Walters
6. Evans - He might go a little lower, but we are deep enough in teh backlog that everyone has major questions about them. While I support the HOM being the size that it is or will be, only Keller and Schmidt represent guys that I have no doubt belong.
7. Wynn
8. Trouppe
9. E. Howard
10. Browning
11. Cravath
12. Dean
13. Oms
14. Fingers
15. Willis
   210. KJOK Posted: February 23, 2007 at 07:28 PM (#2302444)
The fallacy is in constructing a line of analysis where a "120 OPS+ guy is worth exactly 0." In our world, he has tons of value.

"Our World" here is the Hall of Merit. It's no fallacy that the 'in/out' line for a season to be "Hall of Merit worthy" or for a season to 'advance' a player towards "Hall of Merit" standing would be 120 OPS+.

You have players like Jack Clark, Pedro Guerrero, Ken Williams, etc. (all Career 137 OPS+), who certainly had many seasons over 120 OPS+, and they're not making the Hall of Merit.
   211. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: February 24, 2007 at 02:37 AM (#2302626)
OK, Brent:

1. I think you were right the first time. A half-season at a 7-win rate is worth $6.6M, a half-season at a 1-win rate is worth $0.3M, and a full season at a 4-win rate is worth $5M.

2. You write, "Doesn't consistency require that Player C's performance be valued the same as the total of A and B?" Only if you are a pure career voter. What you are saying is no different than saying that "consistency requires" that a 10-win season and a 2-win season be worth the same as two 6-win seasons. The career voter agrees, the peak voter doesn't. If you artificially divide a season into two half-seasons as you do, each with their own pennant, then I would agree that the half-season at a 7-win rate plus the half-season at a 1-win rate are worth more together than two half-seasons at a 4-win rate.

3. I really have two "systems" here--my WARP statistic, which I am eager to promote and hope that voters will use in their analyses, and my salary estimator, which I apply to my WARP data to come up with my own Hall of Merit ballot. The former determines value above replacement; the latter is a means to interpret the Merit of that value above replacement. I hope people who are paying attention (all two of you) aren't confusing the two.

DanG, well, I think both WS and WARP underrate McGraw (I'm not sure why, I'll see if I can figure it out before the next election). For me, McGraw was such a force when he was on the field that he belongs. I'm happy to spell out the math if you are actually interested. Dean definitely falls short in my book.
   212. Brent Posted: February 24, 2007 at 04:13 AM (#2302662)
Dan,

1. Logically inconsistent. Player C had a half-season at a 7-win rate and a half-season at a 1-win rate, exactly the same as Players A and B. It makes no sense that his season is valued less.

2. Incorrect -- what I am saying is quite different than saying that a 10-win season and a 2-win season must be worth same as two 6-win seasons. The difference is that baseball is structures around pennants and seasons (except for the handful of seasons when the season was split into first-half and second half pennant races). For purposes of winning a pennant, a half season of 7-win rate plus a half-season of 1-win rate is worth exactly the same as a full season at a 4-win rate. But a 10-win season and 2-win season is more likely to win a pennant than two 6-win seasons.

3. Thank for the reminder.
   213. OCF Posted: February 24, 2007 at 06:16 AM (#2302700)
I'm thinking about someone who won't be eligible for a long time to come: Rickey Henderson. Bill James famously said that if you cut him in half you'd have two Hall of Famers. So I tried that: I created Rickey I and Rickey II. Rickey I played only for Oakland and then New York, and his career ended in mid-1989 at the moment he was traded back to Oakland. Rickey II began playing in Oakland in mid-1989 and wound up with a lot of different teams before he was done. Rickey I had an 11-year career, but both the first and last are partial years. Rickey II played in at least parts of 15 years. Rickey I will look better in the chart below, but Rickey II has an MVP.

The procedure I'm using is keyed to a Stats Handbook that ends with 1999. Hence the last four years of Rickey II have been supplied by a method which may not match the preceding years - those years all turn out to have negative RCAA.

Here are Rickey I and Rickey II, along with an number of candidates, elected or still pending:

Rickey I  79 58 55 51 50 47 45 36 29 12  3
Rickey II 83 55 46 45 41 33 22 22 19 15 13 
---3-14
Keller    75 68 65 54 48 47 22 20  7  6  3  1  0
Cravath   71 58 52 47 45 38 22 16  5  4  2
Kiner     81 76 70 42 41 28 24 20 10  7
Minoso    59 57 50 44 42 41 39 36 23 21 21
-12
Colavito  69 61 49 40 35 32 26 25 21 13  5  3  2
F
.Howard  72 71 63 46 41 40 36 35 35 12 12  8  3
Cash     100 45 45 38 37 33 33 31 29 29 23 21 17 15  3
Cepeda    70 63 55 45 43 42 38 30 26 20 13 12  5  3
Wynn      76 58 57 56 52 48 39 34 19 15  7  6 
-4-11-12
Smith     64 49 42 42 37 34 30 30 29 29 27 23 12  9  7 
--3
Singleton 68 63 55 47 46 43 30 25 19 17 15 11  2  2
-25
Bonds     55 52 48 46 46 35 32 28 27 24 22 16 
--6
Colavito  69 61 49 40 35 32 26 25 21 13  5  3  2  1
Powell    64 59 50 50 42 33 30 30 23 21 18 11 10  1 
---


Yeah, I think that's two HoMers - or at least one clear HoMer and one decent candidate.
   214. OCF Posted: February 24, 2007 at 06:18 AM (#2302701)
Wynn and Rickey I match up pretty well on the chart above.
   215. OCF Posted: February 24, 2007 at 07:40 AM (#2302714)
So with the change of sources, I don't entirely trust my 2000-2003 estimates of Rickey Henderson to match up with the stuff I was doing through 1999 - and in those last four years, Rickey wasn't playing full time and wasn't playing particularly well. If that's the case, what am I supposed to do about Barry Bonds? Well, there's always the option of not even trying to compare those years.

Barry Bonds, 1986-1999:

112 98 94 75 75 75 70 67 59 54 46 29 18 15 
   216. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 24, 2007 at 02:39 PM (#2302745)
OCF,

That reminds me of something similar I once did for Hank Aaron...

Aaron’s career is so monumental in size and scope that you could easily create two players from him and each would be a Hall of Famer or nearly. Split him up virtually any way you like, and you’ll still get two short-career Hall of Famers. Even the most dichotomous split does it, or nearly so. Here’s the worst-case scenario, a split where his eleven best and twelve worst seasons are grouped together:
G   AB    R    H  HR  AVG  SLG OPS+  WS
------------------------------------------------------
BEST HANK   1698 6623 1211 2100 414 .317 .580 165  384
WORST HANK  1600 5741  963 1671 341 .291 .525 143  259 

The Best career is obviously a HOM/HOF, a better version of Dick Allen. The Worst career is pretty damned close, very similar to Albert Belle.
   217. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: February 24, 2007 at 05:24 PM (#2302770)
I have to say that I am with Brent on this one. As an avowed peak voter I don't look at anything smaller than one season because Pennants are handed out each seasons, not each half season. Being in first place at teh All-Star break is nice, it means you are probably the favorite to win the division/pennant, but it doesn't mean you have won anything. There is still half a season left (actually about 70 games, but you get the point).

With that in mind, I would rate the two players that Brent mentioned as equals, and the first player (who got hurt after playing very, very well) as not as valuable as the two guys who played all season. Now with WS, which gives out credit for below replacement level baseball, this gets a little distorted. At the same time, I do like how it is tied to actual wins, and since a team of replacement level players woudl still win about 40-50 games a seasons, WS need to be given out for below replacement level seasons.
   218. DanG Posted: February 24, 2007 at 06:04 PM (#2302784)
It's no fallacy that the 'in/out' line for a season to be "Hall of Merit worthy" or for a season to 'advance' a player towards "Hall of Merit" standing would be 120 OPS+.

Only to a voter not interested in measuring total value.

You have players like Jack Clark, Pedro Guerrero, Ken Williams, etc. (all Career 137 OPS+), who certainly had many seasons over 120 OPS+, and they're not making the Hall of Merit.


Which kinda proves what I'm saying. Those guys need more value than just the great peaks they compiled.
   219. OCF Posted: February 24, 2007 at 06:30 PM (#2302791)
To bring this (and the discussion of peak is pertinent) back to an acute issue before us: Jimmy Wynn, and our election due to begin on Monday. There's a Jimmy Wynn thread going on right now elsewhere on BTF. When I pointed out that we are on the immediate brink of electing Wynn, a number of posters, including Walt Davis, Steve Treder, and our former voter RMc expressed considerable skepticism regarding his qualifications.

How sure are we that this is what we want to do? Could a Wynn supporter reprise and review the essentials of his case? Why Wynn instead of ____ ?
   220. Chris Cobb Posted: February 24, 2007 at 07:16 PM (#2302804)
OCF, where is the Jimmy Wynn thread?
   221. OCF Posted: February 24, 2007 at 07:26 PM (#2302809)
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/newsstand/discussion/
mysa_oliver_in_todays_era_wynn_would_be_superstar_rr/
   222. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 24, 2007 at 09:15 PM (#2302839)
OCF, I'm waiting for the Ray Oyler Would Have Been a Superstar in Today's Era thread. :-) Not that I don't think Wynn is a worthy, mind you.
   223. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 24, 2007 at 09:19 PM (#2302843)
How sure are we that this is what we want to do? Could a Wynn supporter reprise and review the essentials of his case? Why Wynn instead of ____ ?

Among all-time center fielders, Wynn would have to be placed higher up the list (certainly in the top-15) than almost anybody else that you could name compared to all-time greats at their positions.
   224. Michael Bass Posted: February 24, 2007 at 10:02 PM (#2302855)
My prelim. PHOM are Schmidt, Evans, and Tony Perez (who's not on ballot, 20th)

1. Schmidt - Obvious. For the record, I'd rank him ahead of every one from the last few stacked elections, well ahead in fact, even of Seaver and Rose.
2. Dunlap
3. Elliot
4. Bob Johnson
5. Rizzuto
6. Trouppe
7. Maraville
8. Walters
9. Redding
10. Evans - The difference between him (on ballot) and Nettles/Bell (off ballot) is about 1-2 decent, not star seasons in my system. Looking at the careers, that seems about right.
11. Concepcion
12. Shocker
13. Grimes
14. Bancroft
15. Monroe

22. Bell - A dead ringer for Nettles (23) in my system.
51. John - Not all that different from Sutton in my system. About 15 slots behind where Sutton would be if he were still on the ballot
63. Rice - Not deserving of ridicule as a candidate. I would not put him in, but he's close enough to the borderline that it's not entirely ridiculous to enshrine him. Mind you, he's also not the obvious slam-dunk some Sox fans would have you believe.
68. Speier - Had no idea he was this good; I am just old enough to remember the tail end of his career when he was a random SS bouncing around the bigs. Had a real nice start to his career, though.
   225. Juan V Posted: February 25, 2007 at 01:11 AM (#2302907)
Guys, something I want to consult. My new offense spreadsheet is almost done, and I added a neat little adjustment for the "career filler" years depending on position (since, as we have seen, the hitter positions tend to have longer careers). I wanted to ask if I could use that in my evaluations here.
   226. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 25, 2007 at 01:41 AM (#2302915)
I don't see any problems with that, Juan.
   227. Paul Wendt Posted: February 25, 2007 at 02:07 AM (#2302922)
Michael Bass, best friend of how many players?
--

> Why Wynn instead of ____ ?

Among all-time center fielders, Wynn would have to be placed higher up the list (certainly in the top-15) than almost anybody else that you could name compared to all-time greats at their positions.


No, there is the question how much a centerfielder is Wynn? And the bigger question, that will never go away, in this instance, should the HOM honor equal numbers of CF, LF, RF?
   228. Howie Menckel Posted: February 25, 2007 at 02:22 AM (#2302923)
Has anyone read the new book on Edd Roush?
I just saw it in the bookstore today, something like "Red Legs and Black Sox."

I think his granddaughter wrote it, although at a glance it looks pretty professional.

There's also one out about the Negro Leagues. I think it may have been about an old-time umpire in the league? In the foreword, Walter Cronkite (who must be around 90) says his grandfather was a huge Negro Leagues fan. I think they used to go to games together, which could have been in the 1920s and 1930s.
I wonder if Cronkite has ever written about some of those heroes?
   229. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 25, 2007 at 02:37 AM (#2302926)
No, there is the question how much a centerfielder is Wynn? And the bigger question, that will never go away, in this instance, should the HOM honor equal numbers of CF, LF, RF?

I've taken all of that into account, Paul, and I still say yes to Wynn as a HoMer.
   230. Paul Wendt Posted: February 25, 2007 at 03:06 AM (#2302934)
Eric Chalek on his new system #161
-Same goes for Cash among 1Bs. When Hernandez is eligible (next year?) I think that Cash will no longer be the best available 1B and will tumble down the rankings. I've got him as just a teensy-weensy bit over the in line, but I'm not wild to support him. I may return Leach to the ballot instead.
(emphasis mine)

I think this aspect of Dr C's new point system would be a "feature" if the HOM ballot were "vote for one" but it is a "bug" in the real HOM.

#167
Herman Long has continually been a thorn in my side. So the last several years, I've decided to just go with the flow. And why not? He was, for a short time, the best player in the NL, for a longer time the best SS in the league, a good hitter for his position, and a fine fielder. A better version of Bancroft, IMO.

For what short time do you have him the best player in the NL? (and best in baseball?)
For what longer time the best shortstop --better than young Bill Dahlen, before Davis at ss and before Jennings?

Dan R #189
+20-level defense at a very tough third base position). I know it's only one year and that McGraw didn't even play the full season,

wow.
btw, Clay Davenport rates him average over career but +16 each in 1899 and 1895.
   231. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 25, 2007 at 03:20 AM (#2302936)
22. Bell - A dead ringer for Nettles (23) in my system.

Nice.

Do you think Red Sox nation will be steamed about your Rice comments?
   232. Paul Wendt Posted: February 25, 2007 at 03:22 AM (#2302938)
btw, John McGraw probably made his reputation as manager in 1899. With the transfer of other stars and manager/part-owner Ned Hanlon to Brooklyn, McGraw negotiated to remain in Baltimore and manage the Orioles. Their performance seemed nearly miraculous to some observers, maybe a plus surprise to all.
   233. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: February 25, 2007 at 03:51 AM (#2302942)
I dunno how many wins McGraw added with his managing, but the .547 OBP with 73 steals and Gold Glove defense at a scarce position were worth over 12 wins all by themselves, and the Spiders added about five wins above average to every other team with their awfulness. Without McGraw and the Spiders, Baltimore would have been just a .448 team, which I imagine was in line with their low preseason expectations. They did have some early seasons from Sheckard and McGinnity, and Ducky Holmes and Bill Keister played at an All-Star level for them as well.
   234. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 25, 2007 at 04:19 AM (#2302950)
I think this aspect of Dr C's new point system would be a "feature" if the HOM ballot were "vote for one" but it is a "bug" in the real HOM.

Depends. I bonus the best candidate at each position to push them up the ballot relative to other candidates at their position. Cash's downward movement will therefore accurately reflect the fact that he'll no longer be the best candidate available at his position. And, anyway, I do always reserve the right to add a little subjective leavening to the ballot box batter.

For what short time do you have him the best player in the NL? (and best in baseball?)
For what longer time the best shortstop --better than young Bill Dahlen, before Davis at ss and before Jennings?


My WS-based system (which spits back leader and players within 5 and 10 percent of leader) compares players' performance over three-year periods (representing the smallest unit of time within which a player might be able to establish a claim as the best in his league or best at position). It shows Long's claims on best SS in his league going this way:
-1891, within 10% of Glasscock, tied with McKean, behind Ward
-1892, top SS
-1893, top SS
-1894, top SS, Dahlen within 5%
-1895, within 5% of McKean, Dahlen within 10%.

In 1893, Long was good enough to be the best overall player in the NL, though is reign was short lived due to the emergence of Duffy and Jennings. While it may seem brief, this is actually pretty good for non top-five SS, particularly as pertains to having a claim as the best player in the league. In fact, Long is the first NL shortstop to have a best-player-in-league claim, per my system (G. Wright did it in the NA). The list of SS who place #1 among all players in their leagues include:
Wright
Wagner
Jennings
Vaughan
Stephens (in war time)
Yount
Ripken
A-Rod

So that's select company.
   235. jingoist Posted: February 25, 2007 at 04:30 AM (#2302954)
Glad to see old "double d" getting so much worthy praise.
If we had a better way to measure his fielding value I've no doubt that he would be voted in.
I like him as much if not better than Ashburn.
Frank Howard doesn't look so bad in OCF's rankings either but I fear he will fall a bit short of election. Too bad we cant award points for being a great and kind human being. Were that so, Frank would go in on the very next ballot.
   236. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: February 25, 2007 at 04:46 AM (#2302961)
Dr. C,

Are we talking about the same player here?

In 1893, Herman Long had a 95 OPS+ (although his steals and OBP-heavy production made him a nudge above a league-average hitter). John McGraw played a full season at shortstop and had a 129 OPS+. Long did play excellent defense and McGraw fielded badly, which does narrow the gap substantially, but still...the defensive gap between them would have to be *forty-two runs* to make Long's season more valuable. And neither one of them was anywhere *close* to the best player in the league...Big Ed Delahanty rang up a 166 OPS+ while playing an absolutely superlative outfield and was quite clearly the league's top player. Long wasn't even among the top ten.

In 1894 he was even further back....his OPS+ was 104 and his fielding took a major slide back, to basically league average. He wasn't among the *thirty* best players in the league in 1894. Bill Dahlen had a 137 OPS+ with above average defense and was clearly the best SS in the league. Hughie Jennings was close behind.

Maybe you're saying that he was the best SS for the 1892-4 and 1893-5 periods...I don't have my own numbers for 1892, but I don't see how you could put him ahead of Dahlen for 1893-5...(and given how good Dahlen was in 1892, nor for 1892-4 for that matter)...Dahlen schools him on just about every measure I can think of.

You sure you don't have a typo somewhere in your spreadsheet?
   237. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 25, 2007 at 03:45 PM (#2303053)
Dan,

I'm taking a three-year average of the players at SS, averaging their perfermance versus the best postion-player performance in the league. I allow interleague movement, but the player must have played SS all three years to qualify, which is at issue for Dahlen.

= average( year n[player / WSMVP], year n-1[player / WSMVP], year n-2[player / WSMVP] )

I use this for both overall and at-position performance.

Here's the figures for the players in question:
YEAR WSMVP HL  BD  ED
----------------------
1891  36  .65 .71 .32
1892  34  .70 .73 .46
1893  28  .85 .60 .64
1894  33  .75 .69 .75
1895  35  .65 .62 .85 


HL's 1889 is AA, but I apply a QoP discount.

SSwise, Dahlen played primarily 3B in 1891 (and in fact split 1892 between SS and 3B), and so for this purpose I'm not considering him a SS until 1894. Top-player-wise, Delahanty was, indeed, 1893's best total player, the WSMVP. But I'm not asking that question here; I'm asking Does he have a claim as the best player in his league? That's different than Was he the best player in 1893. I'm not phrasing this terribly clearly but the difference lies in being the best one year versus someone with a claim as being best over time. That's what I'm getting at.

I give one-season credit for All-Star and MVP peformances, I give seperate credit for these questions.
   238. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 25, 2007 at 04:06 PM (#2303062)
I realized the chart I just posted was misleading. I was trying to figure out how to best represent the data, and I forgot to pull the second column out. There's no one-to-one relationship between the second column and the other columns. I'm sorry for any confusion, none intended.
   239. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: February 25, 2007 at 05:14 PM (#2303109)
1. Let this be example #9999999 in the what-is-Win-Shares-smoking debate. In 1893, John McGraw had a 129 OPS+/.308 EqA in 597 PA, while Long had a 95 OPS+/.263 EqA in 630 PA. I don't care how you stretch it, that's a massive difference--4.1 wins to be exact. According to Win Shares, the gap is 0.2 wins. I imagine the fact that Boston outperformed its component stats by a whopping 14.4 wins, and that they played in an extreme hitters' park which perhaps James is insufficiently correcting for, may account for some of the difference, but suggesting that McGraw and Long had virtually equal offensive value that year is simply ludicrous. If you want to use Win Shares, that's all well and good, but don't do it blindly, you have to correct for its most extreme excesses...otherwise you'll wind up thinking that Herman Long was basically as good a hitter as John McGraw in 1893.

2. So what you're saying is that Long was one of the top players in the league over the 1891-93 time period. It seems pretty clear to me that Billy Hamilton was notably better--his 1893 was injury-shortened but stellar, and his 1891 and 2 were fantabular. It's hard for me to see any case that Long was better than Hamilton during those years. Brouthers is close, his massive 1891 was in the AA and he only played a half-season in 1893, but he tore the snot out of the ball whenever and wherever he played. I'd take Cupid Childs' 107 BRAA+FRAA at 2B for those years over Long's 76 at SS, but it's close. Dahlen's value is similar too. I might be forgetting someone...Long is clearly inferior to Hamilton for those years, but he's among the 5-10 best for that interval, however much that's worth.

3. As for being the top shortstop, Dahlen played a majority of his games at SS in 1892 and 1893. If you're not calling him a SS, what are you calling him? He was clearly superior to Long from 1892-4 and every three-year interval thereafter.
   240. Paul Wendt Posted: February 25, 2007 at 05:54 PM (#2303124)
Without McGraw and the Spiders, Baltimore would have been just a .448 team, which I imagine was in line with their low preseason expectations. They did have some early seasons from Sheckard and McGinnity, and Ducky Holmes and Bill Keister played at an All-Star level for them as well.

In effect, Sheckard was relegated to Baltimore when Kelley and Keeler were promoted to Brooklyn. Sheckard was a known quantity, not yet a player in the class of Kelley, Keeler, and Fielder Jones. (Brooklyn also lost Mike Griffin in the syndicate deal, because he refused the demotion in rank and salary that followed from taking Hanlon as manager. He did win his case in court.)

The Orioles enjoyed the kaboom that was elderly rookie of the year Joe McGinnity, first in wins, third by ERA+. (Wow, first of five consecutive seasons leading the league in batters.) Hanlon selected the pitchers he wanted, not including McGinnity because he didn't know McGinnity. According to the contemporary news I have read, Hanlon promised McGraw that he would take his choice of players for Brooklyn in the spring, and not disturb Orioles further. Contrast Tebeau and the Robisons in St Louis and Cleveland, who used the latter as a farm team. Beating St Louis in particular, in the standings, was a real feather in McGraw's cap (and earned him thousands in extra salary from St Louis next year).
   241. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 25, 2007 at 06:04 PM (#2303130)
Thanks, Dan!
   242. Michael Bass Posted: February 25, 2007 at 11:16 PM (#2303257)
Michael Bass, best friend of how many players?

Yeah, I don't know when I fell off the consensus bandwagon, but I surely have. Obvious explanation is my like of high defensive value players with adequate bats at key positions (mainly SS). And I have a longstanding affinity for Fred Dunlap that I'm pretty well going with the flow on at this point. Bob Elliot, I'm still not sure what's not to like, at worst he's Stan HAck lite, and we elected Stan 30+ years ago.

It's also just quite possible that I am an idiot. :)

Do you think Red Sox nation will be steamed about your Rice comments?

Oh, I'm sure there are irrational fans of about every modern player who will get hacked when we trash them, there are just more Red Sox fans (and thus more irrational Red Sox fans) than most teams. I imagine we'll get a similar treatment for Mattingly when he comes up, and I'm a touched surprised we haven't heard more from Cards/Dodgers fans about Garvey and Brock, given the shabby treatment we've tossed them.
   243. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: February 25, 2007 at 11:22 PM (#2303260)
Come to think of it, has anyone looked into the 1890's Boston teams' consistent outperformance of their component stats?

Below are BaseRuns estimates for the Beaneaters' runs scored and allowed, their actual runs scored and allowed, their Pythagorean wins based on the BaseRuns estimates, their Pythagorean wins based on their actual RS/RA, their actual wins, and the gaps between their actual and projected runs scored (DRS), actual and projected runs allowed (DRA), and actual wins and actual RS/RA-based Pythagorean wins (DW).

Year BSRS   RS BSRA   RA BSRPythW PythW     W DRS DRA   DW
1893  907 1008  819  795     71.4  80.4  86.0 101 -24  5.6
1894 1149 1220  997 1002     76.3  80.3  83.0  71   5  2.7
1895  868  907  823  826     69.1  71.9  71.0  39   3 -0.9
1896  835  860  738  761     73.7  73.7  74.0  25  23  0.3
1897  953 1025  712  665     85.2  93.7  93.0  72 -47 -0.7
1898  828  872  636  614     93.0  98.8 102.0  44 -22  3.2
1899  824  858  680  645     89.9  96.3  95.0  34 -35 -1.3
1900  757  778  724  739     72.1  72.5  66.0  21  15 -6.5


The team definitely did outperform its actual RS/RA up through 1899, but not by a huge margin; the DW numbers are certainly within the range of randomness. The low DRA numbers from 1897-99 are explained entirely by the fact that Boston led the league in fielding percentage all three of those years (and that will be reflected in Win Shares/FRAA assessments of the team's players). But the DRS numbers are both enormous and very consistent. Somehow, Boston was able to convert hits and walks into runs at a rate faaar higher than any other team.

Here are the possible explanations I can see for this:

1. They were a high-contact, low-strikeout team, which increased the number of errors committed against them. This is definitely true for the latter part of the 1890s, but strikeouts were so rare in that era anyway that it's hard to attribute more than a handful of extra errors to this.

2. They were a team full of flyball hitters, which kept them out of double plays and got them extra sacrifice flies.

3. They were superlative baserunners, with low caught-stealing rates and a strong ability to take the extra base. This would certainly apply to Billy Hamilton in the latter years.

4. They had a real ability to improve their performance at the plate with runners on base. Are splits available, or can they be reconstructed, for this time period?

5. There was some aspect of their hitter-friendly home park that they were able to take advantage of but their opponents weren't, *beyond* its propensity to increase hits and walks in general.

Rather than simply divide up this overperformance among each player evenly and credit for it as Win Shares does, I'd like to see if we can actually try to explain it. Any ideas?
   244. Paul Wendt Posted: February 26, 2007 at 12:49 AM (#2303291)
.
Do we have earned runs scored or first base on errors? Season totals may be in some contemporary Guide or newspaper, as game data is in many box scores.

(But the runs allowed and fielding records make it unlikely that the official scorer in Boston generally favored pitchers at the expense of batters and fielders, and it isn't plausible to me that any scorer would favor specifically visiting pitchers at the expense of home batters and visiting fielders.)
   245. Mike Green Posted: February 27, 2007 at 11:05 PM (#2304150)
I just received from SABR "Deadball Stars of the American League, to which Paul Wendt contributed. It's a fabulous book, which I could not put down. Buck Freeman, Brother Matthias (who taught the "incorrigible" Babe Ruth to swing) and Chick Stahl are now part of my baseball lexicon.
   246. sunnyday2 Posted: February 28, 2007 at 07:24 PM (#2304540)
Random Thoughts II

Jesse Owens is a white sprinter? How the hell did I miss that?

But it is true that Jesse Owens' times today wouldn't make the Olympic team from a slow country. So he's not a track HoFer, obviously.
   247. rawagman Posted: February 28, 2007 at 07:46 PM (#2304569)
a possible discussion point for kwarren, debating skill and value/merit.
I'm sure we have all, many times over our baseball watching lives, seen well-hyped, five tool super-stud prospects, who all had more talent in the pinky fingernail then the incumbent starter had in their whole bodies, right?
I'm also pretty sure we've all experienced said phenom crash and burn in their big league trial and never go on to much.
At the end of the day, no one really remembers the name of that talented bum. But we all remember the name of the no-talent bum who somehow played well enough to keep his job for years.
The Hall of Merit, unless I am very much mistaken, has essentially nothing to do with talent, but everything to do with value, ie. production.
   248. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:27 PM (#2304614)
In terms of a timeline adjustment, I've been very impressed by Dan R's work, which incorporates standard deviations and league factors such as integration and expansion. If you group his annual league adjustments by decade, here's what you get (I divided the 40s for obvious reasons):

0.74 1893-00
0.80 1901-10
0.87 1911-20
0.83 1921-30
0.84 1931-40
0.82 1941-45
0.93 1946-50
0.94 1951-60
0.89 1961-70
0.95 1971-80
1.00 1981-90
0.93 1991-00

This isn't the ideal grouping, but it seems like a good start. 1991-92 should be categorized with the preceding decade, and the 1993-2000 adjustment should be a couple hundredths lower. The second half of the 1900s decade was played at a significantly higher level than the first (.84 v .77), but the rest of the pre-integration era conforms fairly well to this breakdown. Certainly the annual league adjustments would provide a more accurate measure, but hopefully this will be of some benefit for the purpose of evaluating a large number of candidates in a short amount of time.
   249. Dizzypaco Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:39 PM (#2304620)
The Hall of Merit, unless I am very much mistaken, has essentially nothing to do with talent, but everything to do with value, ie. production.

I disagree, at least in part. The whole idea of extra credit for missed years, whether due to war or segregation, or any other reason, is based on talent and not value. The people who missed time during World War II had, literally, zero value during those years - but they were talented ball players. Same thing with those who were unable to play before integration - they are being given credit based on their talent, not their value.

This isn't the ideal grouping, but it seems like a good start.

I disagree with this as well. I haven't studied the methodology enough to make convincing arguments why the numbers are inaccurate, but I am 100% convinced they are. I don't think the actual level of talent in the first part of the 20th century is in the same ballpark as it is later in the century. Differences in scouting, organized ball at lower levels, available talent pool, competition from the minors, body size, and several other factors are simply too great.
   250. Chris Fluit Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:45 PM (#2304624)
I think that the track and field example shows the flaws in kwarren's system of thinking.

Who would you put in the track and field hall of fame? Would it be the sprinters with the best ever times? Or would it be the sprinters who were the best of their times?

If you answer the first, then you might be inclined to include Jason Gardner. He ran a 10.12 in the 2004 Olympic Games. That's certainly better than Ralph Craig Cook who only ran a 10.8 or Jesse Owens who only ran a 10.3 But here's the difference. When Jason Gardner ran his 10.12, it was in a semi-final heat. He finished fifth and didn't even make the finals. When Ralph Craig Cook ran his 10.8, it was in 1912 and it was good enough for the gold medal in the final. When Jesse Owens ran his 10.3, it was 1936 and it was good enough for the gold medal.

Who would I put in the track and field hall of fame? I'd put in the guys with the gold medals over the guys who couldn't even make the finals. I'd put in the guy from 1912 and 1936 over the guy from 2004, even if the guy from 2004 had a better exact time. And that's the tack that the real track and field hall of fame is taking- honoring the players who were the best of their time. One of their recent inductees was Fred Wolcott who ran from 1938-1941, setting four world records and won 13 national championships. If Fred Wolcott ran his 1941 record time of 13.70 in the 110 m hurdles in the 2004 Olympics, he wouldn't have even made the finals. But it doesn't matter that Fred Wolcott wouldn't have won in 2004. What matters is that Fred Wolcott did win a national championship in 1941, and that he held the world record.

The track and field hall of fame isn't set up to honor the best ever times, otherwise it would have to boot players out as their times are exceeded by new generations. No, it's set up to honor the best of their time.

Getting back to baseball, I think we should be doing the same thing- honoring the best players of their time. And even if someone disagrees with that, it's mandated by our constitution. We're supposed to be fair to all eras and that means that a borderline candidate from the 1890s gets the same consideration as a borderline candidate from the 1970s. Now, we may end up having more 1970s inductees than 1890s ones by a margin of about 22-17. And that's okay. Nobody's arguing for a strict quota system. But to say that the 23rd through 37th best players from the 1970s are all better than the 18th best player from the 1890s (or any other decade)... well, that's as ridiculous as saying that a guy who can't even win a 2004 semi-final is better than a guy who won the gold medal and set the world record in 1936 or 1941.
   251. rawagman Posted: February 28, 2007 at 09:27 PM (#2304667)
Dizzypaco - I see where you're coming from in your argument against my statement, but I'll try to explain the anomaly that MLE's bring up.
The MLE's are crediting value that has been certified - not just talent. As far as we know, the most talented player(s) never made it out of an army uniform.
The Negro League and (occasional) minor league MLE's are awarded when that player's value level has already been established, but were forced away from the game for a reason external to themselves. The MLE simply prevents a hole in that player's value and creates one in a fashion that can be inferred from the established value patterns of that player both before and after the missing value period.
Negro League MLE's are real value. These players gave real, tangible value to the teams they played on. The MLE's simply try to translate the vlaue given in one system (one set of circumstances) to another, parallel set of the same.
Is that clearer?
   252. DavidFoss Posted: February 28, 2007 at 09:46 PM (#2304686)
I think that the track and field example shows the flaws in kwarren's system of thinking.

Its not really a "flaw". Its just not what we agreed to do.

I mean, Bill James ranks Don Mattingly and Will Clark ahead of Dan Brouthers and Roger Connor. That's not "wrong", but its certainly not how the HOM would see it. Even taking in league stddevs, theres little doubt that Brouthers and Connor were bigger stars for longer periods in their day than Mattingly and Clark were in theirs. But if you start mentioning the evolution of the game and imagine time machines transporting the older guys into the modern era, then it brings certainly brings the older guys down several pegs.
   253. Dizzypaco Posted: February 28, 2007 at 09:47 PM (#2304687)
Is that clearer?

I understand your point, I just disagree with it. If you are giving MLE credit for Negro League performance, that's value. The people played, their performance had value, and you are translating that value to the major league level. But if the player didn't play at all, he didn't have value. Period. The war is a reason he had no value, but he had no value.

Let's put it this way. Would you have voted for Ted Williams for the most valuable player of the American League in 1943? Would you have put him third? Tenth? Of course not - you wouldn't have voted for him at all. And the reason is that he had no value. The war explains why he had no value, but it doesn't give him value.

I'm not saying we shouldn't take into account the war or segregation when voting for the HOM. I'm just saying we shouldn't claim its value we are measuring.

But to say that the 23rd through 37th best players from the 1970s are all better than the 18th best player from the 1890s (or any other decade)... well, that's as ridiculous as saying that a guy who can't even win a 2004 semi-final is better than a guy who won the gold medal and set the world record in 1936 or 1941.

Chris, I agreed with almost everything you said up to this point. There is a difference between evaluating who's "best" and who should be voted into a Hall of Fame. I might vote for relatively equal numbers of players to be inducted from each era - but its not because I think the players are equally "good". I would vote for Jesse Owens to go into the Track Hall of Fame no matter how his numbers compare with modern runners. But I don't think its at all ridiculous to say that the 37th best runner today is better than the 18th best runner from 100 years ago.
   254. Dizzypaco Posted: February 28, 2007 at 10:04 PM (#2304707)
While we're on the topic...

There are lots of reasons, outside a player's control, why value might dip or go away. For example, his manager may be an idiot, and only played him part of the time, despite the fact that he clearly deserved to play more, in the midst of an HOF career. Or he might have played the same position as another all time great (such as Willie McCovey in the beginning of his career). Or he may have played a position where he had less value for reasons outside his control (such as Darrell Evans in 1976 and 1977, or ARod when they moved him to third). Sometimes these things can creates holes in their value - Darrell Evans certainly had less value for a couple years in the middle of his career for this reason.

So why do we give MLE credit for some things and not others? Sometimes, it seems like we give MLE credit when we like the reason they missed time, and we don't give MLE credit when we don't like the reason. Fighting for your country is noble, so we give MLE credit. There's nothing particularly noble about sitting on the bench because your manager doesn't know what he's doing.

Finally, why does someone get credit for minor league performance, but not when he's sitting on the bench in the majors?
   255. Juan V Posted: February 28, 2007 at 10:05 PM (#2304709)
Guys, I've been thinking about it, and I think I will take a break from voting this "year". This is because, given the transitional state of my evaluation stuff, I feel I can't take a good and fair enough look at the candidates with what I have. If I can transplant my entire consideration set to the new system and digest its conclusions on time, I will post a late ballot.

Now, y'all do me a favor and elect Quincy Trouppe ;-)
   256. Chris Fluit Posted: February 28, 2007 at 11:09 PM (#2304753)
Chris, I agreed with almost everything you said up to this point. There is a difference between evaluating who's "best" and who should be voted into a Hall of Fame. I might vote for relatively equal numbers of players to be inducted from each era - but its not because I think the players are equally "good". I would vote for Jesse Owens to go into the Track Hall of Fame no matter how his numbers compare with modern runners. But I don't think its at all ridiculous to say that the 37th best runner today is better than the 18th best runner from 100 years ago.

How 'bout we meet in the middle and replace the word "better" with the phrase "more deserving." Would that work for you?
   257. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: March 01, 2007 at 12:29 AM (#2304804)
Dandy Little Glove Man, thanks very much--I'm glad you've found my research useful. Dizzypaco, I can only clarify once more--adjusting for standard deviation is *NOT THE SAME THING AS ADJUSTING FOR QUALITY OF PLAY*. People conflate the two because of Stephen Jay Gould's argument about .400 hitters, but I happen to disagree with it. In any individual year-to-year change, an increase in league quality will indeed decrease the standard deviation, because the good players keep their same ability level while the bad players are replaced by better ones. This is true, for example, through war years, the 1950's integration process, and in reverse in expansion years. But over a timeframe of decades, *everyone* gets better--the bad become decent, and the good become great--so the standard deviation, ceteris paribus, should not change. I don't, in fact, believe that the level of play in 1993 was worse than in 1914, or anywhere close to it--I just think that the 1993 league was "easier to dominate" because of the expansion. It's a serious mistake to blend them together.
   258. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 01, 2007 at 01:34 AM (#2304837)
The track and field hall of fame isn't set up to honor the best ever times, otherwise it would have to boot players out as their times are exceeded by new generations. No, it's set up to honor the best of their time.

How many times have you read that Johnny Weismuller couldn't beat the top women today in swimming? Yet, could you imagine the U.S. Olympic or International Swimming Halls of Fame without him? They would be worthless institutions without him, IMO.

BTW, one of the Hall of Merit's best friends, Dave Johnson, is trying to model the National Track and Field Hall of Fame after our own model.
   259. sunnyday2 Posted: March 01, 2007 at 02:15 AM (#2304856)
Diz, I guess I flatter myself (too much, no doubt) that there's a good rationale for awarding some MLE and not others. It comes down to this.

#### happens. Guys get hurt, they get held back by their manager, their GM, by this and that. Every ML player in the history of the game has been subject to all of that, at least potentially. So let it go.

But some #### doesn't just happen, it really happens. It happens to everybody. Everybody on the day they were born--if they were born black before 1920-1925. If they were born 1910-1920ish. The day they were born they were destined to NOT play in the MLs at times when they were plenty good enough to do so. This is beyond the vagaries of the game. Entire generations would be wiped out with some sort of consideration. So give it.

That's how I see it anyway.
   260. Howie Menckel Posted: March 01, 2007 at 02:30 AM (#2304867)
Juan V,
I don't know how you vote (I don't pay attention to who votes for whom), but I'd gently encourage you to consider voting this year anyway - unless you think your previous incarnation of merit was disastrously off.
All of us change concepts over time, and that's fine.
   261. sunnyday2 Posted: March 01, 2007 at 02:44 AM (#2304875)
I meant to say:

Entire generations would be wiped out withOUT some sort of consideration. So give it.
   262. Juan V Posted: March 01, 2007 at 02:58 AM (#2304883)
Howie,

I'll try to have everything done on time so I can vote. Generally, my old and new systems don't seem to disagree that much, although there are some cases of wild divergence (specially with the third basemen, and old centerfielders). Still, I prefer to have a fuller picture on each candidate, and comparing Player A (for whom I have the info from both systems) and Player B (who I haven't ran through the new one yet) isn't fun. Also, I'm taking the opportunity to take a second look at players I had discarded earlier.

I guess, what I could do is cast a vote on Sunday or Monday, regardless of where I'm at. Although if I work fast and have the time, I may have all the considered players done in the new system by then.
   263. Howie Menckel Posted: March 01, 2007 at 03:17 AM (#2304895)
Responses:

"Top white sprinters in the 1900 to 1950 era - 10.30 to 10.40 for 100m
Top black sprinters - we don't know, they weren't allowed to compete but ran their own races and didn't record times."

As another poster noted, Jesse Owens, indeed. And my father went to high school with white Marty Glickman, who didn't get to compete alongside Jesse at the 1936 Games because for Hitler, Jews were the ultimate evil, while blacks weren't even feared as athletes (insert Simpsons' Nelson Muntz "HA-HA" here).
.......

"There have been 55 previous elections to induct players from the pre-itegration era. If they haven't been inducted yet, there must be enough doubt that we don't need to push their cases too much further.."

Which might be why, as probably the guy with more preferred selections already elected than any voter, my ballot might seem so odd to you.

.....
"Even Jim Ryan..would be nothing special now"

I saw Jim Ryun run, and he was something special. Trust me on this.

....
"Were I a HOM voter, I'd be rather annoyed that you're coming in here at the end, setting arbitrary cut-offs in who you will consider, making incorrect assumptions about the structure of the voting and why older players are still on the ballot."

Almost five years into the process, the thought has crossed my mind.

...

"Whether you count my ballot or now is of little consequence to me. I will still participate in discussions and evaluations of players......"

You are welcome to keep participating.

......
"For those dazzled by modern save totals, realize that Fingers was in the top 4 in his league in SVs 11 times (to 8 for Sutter and 7 for Rivera)."
"Hopefully nobody raised their hand. I believe you've mistaken us for Joe Fan."

Veteran voters already know that in the 1970s (and I watched those games), saves were of no huge significance. The point of these 'firemen,' as they were called, was to give his team the best chance to win. They often entered during tie games, or in mid-inning with runners on, etc. Aside from the 100 or so relief wins that Fingers had, it turns out that he also saved more games relative to his peers than many legendary relievers did.
....

"4. ROLLIE FINGERS -
9. BRUCE SUTTER -

Two relievers in the top nine. Wow."

This is amusing in many ways, perhaps most of all because I may be one of the least reliever-passionate voters here. Remember first that I have precious few holdovers I'd like to see elected. Then, Fingers' contribution is exponentially beyond what today's relievers do - see Joe D's analysis (for me, Rivera will need that ridiculous 1995-2000 postseason performance to get carried into the HOM). Sutter is a guy I cannot believe got into the HOF before Gossage, a much more accomplished reliever. But with few 'must-votes' and an intent to be fair, there he is on my ballot. A couple of times in this project, I have given down-ballot status to guys who I didn't want elected, and I 'helped' them get there. But one of our credos is that there is no strategic voting.
..................

"I apologize to all those that my ignorance is offending. Sorry. When I started reading about the Hall of Merit voting, I had no idea that it had already been decided that we must have equal representation from each time period. Since that is the case I guess it forces us to a look at uninducted players from before WWII if that time period is under represented."

You won't believe this from this message, but I accept this and am quite willing to move on. Actually, to me that comments speaks better of you than all of the others combined.
Seems to me you are very passionate about baseball, which is wonderful. I'll gingerly suggest a lighter touch as a "freshman" in a crop of seniors, but I promise you that the last four years have shown over and over that the group enjoys being challenged - in fact, we need it to ensure we are on the right track.

I'm not a pacificst (obviously, from this post), but I never hold a grudge, I promise.
   264. Howie Menckel Posted: March 01, 2007 at 03:22 AM (#2304897)
Juan V,
I respect any decision you make.

I guess I'm just saying that all of us are evolving, so you don't have to feel as if you HAVE to drop out of the process for a year. We value your vote..
   265. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: March 01, 2007 at 03:48 AM (#2304905)
Howie, you've raised an interesting point. As we've moved to the 3-week cycle it's turned out that we've had a suprising amount of challenging discussion. I think that discussion has been primarily sparked by our newest voters (though Dan R had merely been on extended vacation). So cheers to new voters and to energizing discussion!

And cheers to Dave Johnson's Track HOF!
   266. jingoist Posted: March 01, 2007 at 04:42 AM (#2304920)
I continue to read postings about how if we brought old-timers forward into todays MLB baseball the current crop, or recently retired superstars, would completely outshine them.

I gotta believe that had Dan Brouthers and Roger Conner had been born in 1970 instead of 1870, and both were exposed to baseball from the time they were youngsters, were spotted as talents at an early age and had that talent nurtured at every level as they moved forward, had all the nutrition and strength/flexability training available today, I've no doubt either of those two could have kicked Wil Clarks *ss all over the field.
Would they dominate MLB today as they did then?
Probably not, 'cause this Pujols guy could turn out to be the guy to knock Lou G.out of the all-time #1 position, but that's another story for another time.
Honus Wagner, with todays ball, bat and glove would have astounded fans throughout MLB.
Would he lead the league in batting 8 times in a 20 year career? Doubtful.
Could he steal 722 bases in todays game? Probably not.
But other than A-Rod (if he still played SS) and maybe Jeter, I'm reasonably confident that Honus would win all the gold-gloves and put up .325/.400/.525 numbers on a consistent basis.

Talent is talent and those guys excelled in spite of the conditions they played in back then and would excell today if given all the advantages todays players received during their liftime.
   267. djrelays Posted: March 01, 2007 at 05:19 AM (#2304926)
I'm afraid my lurking time has suffered recently, enough so that I only found kwarren's track and field comments today while I was flying down to, well, not Rio, but Fort Lauderdale. Anyway, Chris Fluitt (#250) handled the issues pretty well, but I'll add my two cents.

I've been sitting on/chairing the National Track & Field Hall of Fame restructuring committee, now finishing its work after a little more than two years. I also chair the Veterans Screening Panel.

We began the restructuring as a means to redress omissions of past generations of great athletes, as well as to put into place a better format for electing the most deserving modern athletes. There had been too many years of Frankie-Frisch-type elections, and we've created means to virtually discontinue this.

When the restructuring committee was formed, I immediately re-read Bill James's "The Politics of Glory." Then I searched for formats for various halls of fame, looked for discussions of problems, and finally found the HoM site in its early years.

After a fair amount of research, it was fairly easy to conclude that the HoM is the best conceived Hall I've seen. What you discussed about the formation and methodologies wasn't much different than what other halls face, but your discussion was thoughtful, well articulated, and--most important--open to scrutiny.

The T&F HoF has stolen several of your ideas--only good ideas are worth stealing--and adapted many to our own set of problems. But the basic premise of any hall is that all generations must be honored on their own terms. Because if you believe in a timeline then there is no point in undertaking this exercise: ten or twenty years later you'd decide that almost everyone you inducted is now inferior to the newer athletes.

I could go on longer, but it would quickly devolve into picky things that don't serve the main point: that you're on the right path, and the little hiccups you've had have mostly righted themselves. I look forward to the next few backlogs debates/elections, because in some ways that's how the HoM will ultimately define itself by determining the final in/out line. Have fun, I will!
   268. Chris Cobb Posted: March 01, 2007 at 05:42 AM (#2304929)
But the basic premise of any hall is that all generations must be honored on their own terms. Because if you believe in a timeline then there is no point in undertaking this exercise: ten or twenty years later you'd decide that almost everyone you inducted is now inferior to the newer athletes.

Thanks for articulating this essential point so clearly and firmly!
   269. Brent Posted: March 01, 2007 at 05:45 AM (#2304934)
Dizzypaco wrote:

But if the player didn't play at all, he didn't have value. Period. The war is a reason he had no value, but he had no value.

If your point is that voters don't necessarily have to use "value" as their only criteria in voting, then I agree with you. I've never assumed that "merit" necessarily means the same thing as "value." I do give war credit, though--Ted Williams didn't cease to be a great hitter when he changed from a baseball uniform to an army uniform.

Also, it's probably worth noting that quite a few of the ballplayers who served in the military continued to play baseball at a very high level (though, not Ted Williams). Military units were able to form teams of ex-major leaguers to play other units, so one shouldn't assume that players in the military "didn't play at all" or didn't have value as baseball players. I don't know of any compilation of baseball statistics for military teams, but I would love to see the statistics if someone could put them together.

Finally, why does someone get credit for minor league performance, but not when he's sitting on the bench in the majors?

Because things haven't been the way they are now (which is a pretty good reason to learn something about baseball history).

For about the last fifty years, minor league baseball's main function has been to serve as training for the major leagues. There's a clear hierarchy: major league stars>major league regulars > major league bench players > minor league prospects > minor leaguers who are no longer prospects. This, however, has not always been the relationship, and if you go back 80 or 100 years, it was not unusual for the minor leagues to hold onto players who were capable of being major league stars. Lefty Grove was a great pitcher from 1920-24 for Baltimore in the International League before Baltimore's owner was finally forced to sell him (for more than $100,000). Joe DiMaggio, Paul Waner, and others were huge, nationally known stars in the minor leagues years before they arrived in the majors.

Our voters are pretty conservative about giving minor league credit. Certainly no one is giving a player minor league credit unless he was significantly better than a bench player. Minor league credit generally has fallen into one of three categories:

1. Players whose contracts were held by independent minor league teams. Prior to 1925 almost all minor league teams were independent, but with the development of farm systems, the independent minors gradually faded until by about 1960 they were essentially gone. If a player was under contract to a minor league team, the majors couldn't "call him up" unless the minor league owner was willing to sell him. Furthermore, because of the reserve clause players were not free to leave their minor league teams and sign with a major league team. Top minor league teams often didn't want to sell their stars because (a) they wanted to wait to get a better offer, or (b) they wanted to hold onto their star players in order to win their minor league pennant. Popular star players on a strong minor league team in a major city such as Baltimore, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, or San Francisco could be worth more there than in a weak major league city. (For example, in 1928 the San Francisco Seals had higher attendance than 6 of the 16 major league teams.) There was a minor league draft, so teams usually eventually had to give up their best players, but they could hold onto them for at least three years, and sometimes much longer.

Minor league credit for players who spent significant time on independent teams probably helped Earl Averill get elected to the HoM, and may also have helped a couple of other candidates. Among the current candidates, Gavy Cravath's case is most dependent on credit for his play with independent minor league teams.

2. African-American players during the integration era (1947-60) faced discrimination or implicit quotas for reaching the majors. Older players often simply weren't given much of a chance, and some of them became career minor leaguers. Younger players often had to spend much more time in the minors than comparable white players. Among the players we've elected, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Minnie Minoso, and perhaps a couple of others are examples of players who were given credit for unnecessary time spent in the minors. Willard Brown is an example of a player who never got a fair chance to play in the majors. Among our candidates, Elston Howard, Luke Easter, Bus Clarkson, and Don Newcombe are examples of players whose track to the majors was delayed because of the color of their skin.

3. The third category is a bit more controversial. Occasionally extremely strong major league systems have "hoarded" young players in the majors, leaving them in the minors even though they are capable of playing well in the majors, just because they already had lots of talent and wanted to hold onto their future talent. The prime example is the Yankees organization in the late 1930s. Not only were they one of the greatest major league teams in baseball history, but they also had the top teams in two of the highest level minor leagues--Newark in the International League and Kansas City in the American Association. Arguably several star players, including Charlie Keller, Joe Gordon, and Phil Rizzuto, were delayed in their advancement to the majors because the Yankees didn't need them but also didn't want to sell or trade them. I don't think voters are in agreement that players in this category deserve minor league credit, but some voters are giving them credit (especially to Keller).
   270. sunnyday2 Posted: March 01, 2007 at 05:57 AM (#2304938)
I'm with jingo. Whether Dan Brouthers could have stepped off of a time machine from 1890 to the present and immediately been a star is irrelevant. I mean, could Babe Ruth have done that?

The real question is, if they were in the here and now, but arrived by virtue of being born when today's stars were born, and got the same coaching, the same playing time, nutrition, conditioning, equipment, etc. etc., then could they play? Well, the truth is we don't know. But I believe the answer is yes. It is silly to penalize Dan Brouthers just because there weren't any Wheaties, etc., in his day.
   271. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 01, 2007 at 02:58 PM (#2305007)
The real question is, if they were in the here and now, but arrived by virtue of being born when today's stars were born, and got the same coaching, the same playing time, nutrition, conditioning, equipment, etc. etc., then could they play? Well, the truth is we don't know. But I believe the answer is yes. It is silly to penalize Dan Brouthers just because there weren't any Wheaties, etc., in his day.

Right, Marc.

As I have also pointed out in the past, the tough timeliners never look at it the other way. Would Clemens, Pujols, ARod, etc. been the same players if they had been born in the 1860s as they are now? I seriously doubt it.

Timelining is fun as an exercise to see how much better today's players are compared to earlier eras, but it doesn't really belong in determining the greats of the game for any type of pantheon, IMO.
   272. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: March 01, 2007 at 03:05 PM (#2305013)
But standard deviations do belong! :)

Does anyone happen to have data on what % of major leaguers were fighting in 1918, 1943, 1944, and 1945?
   273. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 01, 2007 at 03:11 PM (#2305015)
From the ballot thread:

Perhaps if I use WARP1 instead of WARP3 I would end up with some pre-integration players in my top 15. Failing that I could incorporate an adjustment factor to force the best of them to appear on my ballot.

The best thing to do, Ken, is to use whatever system that you choose and then use your own judgment to correct any biases inherent in them.

We also don't want you to set up a quota system. Each era, as you no doubt know, have different numbers of great players. IOW, we don't want you to "rig" your system to meet a predetermined number of players for each timeframe. "Fairness to all eras" just means that everyone gets a fair shake, all things equal.

BTW, I'm glad that you're trying to work within our Constitution's rules. :-)
   274. Dizzypaco Posted: March 01, 2007 at 03:13 PM (#2305019)
The real question is, if they were in the here and now, but arrived by virtue of being born when today's stars were born, and got the same coaching, the same playing time, nutrition, conditioning, equipment, etc. etc., then could they play? Well, the truth is we don't know. But I believe the answer is yes.

I believe the answer is, most likely, no. Its not just about nutrition, conditioning, and equipment. Its about the true available talent pool. In the 19th century, very, very few people were (a) playing baseball regularly at a young age, (b) play some type of organized ball, (c)
in a location where a major league scout may notice them (d) were lucky enough to have a scout come to the location (e) have a good day when that scout was visiting and (f) have the right skin color. In the modern game, we not only draw from people around the world, of every ethnicity, but we have a sophisticated system for identifying potential talent, and then putting them into a minor league system that further determines the best players. In short, the reason some of us are saying that players are better than they used to be is not just nutrition and training - its that we have a much better system for identifying major league talent, bringing up the quality of play by a substantial amount.

If ARod and Pujols were alive in the 19th century, they wouldn't have been allowed to play. If Clemens was around, there's a good chance he would have never been discovered by a scout.

Despite these beliefs, I still believe that we should treat players from all eras relatively equally when it comes to voting for HOF/HOM honors, with the possible exception of the real early days of baseball (1870s and possibly 1880's).


If your point is that voters don't necessarily have to use "value" as their only criteria in voting, then I agree with you.


This is exactly my point, Brent. I'm for considering war service and segregation precisely because value is not the only criteria.
   275. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 01, 2007 at 03:18 PM (#2305022)
But standard deviations do belong! :)

:-)

Yes, a Levi Meyerle born in the 1970s may still have been a top player, but a .492 BA? It ain't going to happen.
   276. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 01, 2007 at 03:20 PM (#2305023)
If ARod and Pujols were alive in the 19th century, they wouldn't have been allowed to play. If Clemens was around, there's a good chance he would have never been discovered by a scout.

Well, you know what I meant, Diz. ;-)
   277. Dizzypaco Posted: March 01, 2007 at 03:28 PM (#2305032)
I should add that in the earliest days of baseball, there weren't any scouts at all. I'm not an expert on this, but I believe they simply used a tryout system. You can correct me if I'm wrong. It seems like it was almost a crapshoot whether a person had a chance to play major league baseball.
   278. rawagman Posted: March 01, 2007 at 05:17 PM (#2305157)
Very off-topic here, but I'm not sure where else I could ask something like this.
I grew up playing in roto leagues and their absence these last two seasons in Israel has been tangible.
I tried a few online versions but without knowing the people I was competing against, I was not able to feel much passion about them.
Would any of the electorate and/or lurkers be interested in creating a draft style online roto league? Yahoo style would work for me, for lack of a better/cheaper alternative. I prefer my roto leagues to be deep, to use many statistical categories. I want competition, passionate roto players.
Would that interest any of you?
I'm not so concerned at the "playing for money" aspect, but I'm not against something moderate.
   279. rawagman Posted: March 01, 2007 at 05:26 PM (#2305168)
Very off-topic here, but I'm not sure where else I could ask something like this.
I grew up playing in roto leagues and their absence these last two seasons in Israel has been tangible.
I tried a few online versions but without knowing the people I was competing against, I was not able to feel much passion about them.
Would any of the electorate and/or lurkers be interested in creating a draft style online roto league? Yahoo style would work for me, for lack of a better/cheaper alternative. I prefer my roto leagues to be deep, to use many statistical categories. I want competition, passionate roto players.
Would that interest any of you?
I'm not so concerned at the "playing for money" aspect, but I'm not against something moderate.
   280. DL from MN Posted: March 01, 2007 at 05:44 PM (#2305194)
> So why do we give MLE credit for some things and not others?

Because it isn't the hall of value.

I'd like to see JuanV and kwarren vote this year. We let yest vote every year and his ballots are inscrutable.
   281. Dizzypaco Posted: March 01, 2007 at 06:03 PM (#2305219)
Well, you know what I meant, Diz. ;-)

Yes John, but my point is that if there are 30 superstars playing baseball today, and 200 more very good players, only 2 or 3 would be playing 100 years ago, with 10 or 15 very good players. So what happened is that a guy that was only very good was able to absolutely dominate, because the competition wasn't that good. Take someone that is a solid player today - Moises Alou, just to take a name at random. If 90% of today's major leaguers weren't playing in the majors, and the spots were filled in with a variety of minor leaguers, college players, and other similar types, Alou would look like a clear HoF/HoM player. His numbers would be dominant.
   282. DL from MN Posted: March 01, 2007 at 06:20 PM (#2305234)
> Would Clemens, Pujols, ARod, etc. been the same players if they had been born in the 1860s
> as they are now? I seriously doubt it.

Tommy John sure wouldn't be getting any support based solely on his pre-surgery years.

> But standard deviations do belong! :)

One question, how do you justify using standard deviations when the distribution of player talent is probably not a normal distribution (or more accurately, is the tail of a normal distribution)? Should the distribution be normalized before you do stdevs?
   283. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: March 01, 2007 at 07:09 PM (#2305280)
DL from MN, the same thought has occurred to me, but my one semester of college statistics only dealt with normal distributions...if you wouldn't mind showing me how, I'm sure it would improve the accuracy of the findings.
   284. Chris Fluit Posted: March 01, 2007 at 07:09 PM (#2305281)
Re: post 270:
I know that Rube Waddell's case was enhanced by his minor league experience and that helped him out in the eyes and on the ballots of several voters.
   285. Juan V Posted: March 01, 2007 at 07:22 PM (#2305288)
Re: Standard deviations

I guess, the number of players involved in any season (sample size) is large enough, the Central Limit Theorem applies. So, in this case, we can pretend talent is normally distributed ;-)
   286. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 01, 2007 at 07:44 PM (#2305312)
I'd like to see JuanV and kwarren vote this year.

I must have missed it, but what's wrong with Juan's ballot?

Yes John, but my point is that if there are 30 superstars playing baseball today, and 200 more very good players, only 2 or 3 would be playing 100 years ago, with 10 or 15 very good players. So what happened is that a guy that was only very good was able to absolutely dominate, because the competition wasn't that good. Take someone that is a solid player today - Moises Alou, just to take a name at random. If 90% of today's major leaguers weren't playing in the majors, and the spots were filled in with a variety of minor leaguers, college players, and other similar types, Alou would look like a clear HoF/HoM player. His numbers would be dominant.

Absolutely, Diz. That's why finding out how many percentage points a player exceeded the average player's production just wouldn't cut it. But when I'm comparing a top player from years ago, I take that into account. As I hinted with Meyerle's great season above, you can't just take his batting average or use relative numbers to ascertain the quality of his play. You would also need to look at the standard deviation of that particular stat to see if the size of his dominance was due to a lack of quality players. But that doesn't mean that his season was legitimately great, either.
   287. DL from MN Posted: March 01, 2007 at 07:46 PM (#2305316)
First step is to run Anderson-Darling normality check on it ( free download http://analyse-it.com/anderson-darling-normality-test_y.htm ). If that fails, try a skewness-kurtosis check ( http://www.wessa.net/skewkurt.wasp ). If it isn't normal then your outliers and the heavy sort could really mess with the data. Minitab has a trial period and it can do all this and more.

A quick sanity check is to see if the average and the median are close to each other. If they aren't then it indicates that heavy sorting (roster limits) or outliers (Babe Ruth, 1921) make statistical analysis assumptions incorrect. If the avg is much higher than the median, you can throw out the outlier and recompute. If the avg is much lower than the median than you have lots of really bad replacement-level players weighing down the average which would make the era look like it had more stars.
   288. TomH Posted: March 01, 2007 at 07:50 PM (#2305321)
IMHO...

Despite talent not being normally distributed, the standard deviation is still a reasonable proxy for "variation" between one era and another. No, not because of central limit theorem (don't get me started, it's a really long discussion...), but it is fairly robust. Using percentiles or quartiles would be OK too, and probably give you similar answers. In the same way, many use rank in top of league to measure domination (see refs to back/grey ink).

Yes, you COULD spend lots of effort "normalizing" data through lots of complicated functions that few of us would agree on and most of us would find whizzing over our heads, but I suspect the gain of such effort would be small.
   289. DL from MN Posted: March 01, 2007 at 08:38 PM (#2305361)
Alternately you could just assume that the standard deviation of the overall talent pool (men) has remained constant over the last 150 years and we're measuring the tail of that normal distribution. In this case we can just use replacement level and not worry about standard deviations because stdev of the overall distribution isn't changing much year to year due to sufficiently large size of the talent pool.
   290. Dizzypaco Posted: March 01, 2007 at 08:39 PM (#2305363)
There's an assumption being made here that I don't necessarily agree with. The assumption is that if standard deviation or variation is low, than the level of competition is high. I don't think that necessarily follows. I think the overall level of play in the 19th century was far lower than it is today, regardless of the standard deviation from year to year. I think there's some correlation between variance and quality of play, but its so far from perfect that it doesn't have much use.

I think you are left with two options - either downgrade all players from the early days, for the reasons I laid out above, or treat them similar to the way you would treat players from today. When it comes to electing people to the HOF/HOM, I would treat the numbers not very different than the way I would treat them today even though I'm completely convinced that the level of competition is vastly superior today than it was in the 19th century.
   291. Juan V Posted: March 01, 2007 at 08:45 PM (#2305371)
I must have missed it, but what's wrong with Juan's ballot?


It doesn't exist ;-) See #256.

By the way, a lot of free time just opened up for me for the next few days, so I will be posting a ballot after all. It´ll just take me some time.
   292. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 01, 2007 at 08:54 PM (#2305375)
I'm glad that I could help, Juan. ;-)
   293. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 01, 2007 at 09:02 PM (#2305391)
even though I'm completely convinced that the level of competition is vastly superior today than it was in the 19th century.

I don't think anyone here disputes that, Diz.
   294. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: March 01, 2007 at 09:48 PM (#2305427)
DL from MN, well the stdev of the tail end most certainly does change meaningfully from year to year due to things like run scoring and expansion, in value if not necessarily in ability. And Dizzypaco, I agree with you completely that stdev does NOT = quality of play, and I have been trying to repeat this to anyone who will listen for weeks! See y post #258 and the entire thread on my WARP. I do NOT think we should penalize old-timers who played in the best leagues of their time for quality of play (although I do think we should take factors like dilution of talent in 1884 due to the UA, or increase in league strength in 1900 due to contraction, into account). But I DO think we should adjust for the "ease of domination" of those leagues, as measured by the regression-projected standard deviation.
   295. DL from MN Posted: March 01, 2007 at 09:59 PM (#2305433)
My point is the stdev of the tail is NOT the stdev of the normal distribution of talent. I understand that run scoring changes year to year but that just means you should normalize the distributions. Some years the top player will be 8 stdevs out, some years 6.

Can you check which years the average and the median are the furthest apart to see if something jumps out?
   296. Dizzypaco Posted: March 01, 2007 at 10:02 PM (#2305434)
even though I'm completely convinced that the level of competition is vastly superior today than it was in the 19th century.

I don't think anyone here disputes that, Diz.


John, you said earlier that Clemens and ARod wouldn't be the same players in the 19th century that they are today. Sunnyday said,

The real question is, if they were in the here and now, but arrived by virtue of being born when today's stars were born, and got the same coaching, the same playing time, nutrition, conditioning, equipment, etc. etc., then could they play? Well, the truth is we don't know. But I believe the answer is yes. It is silly to penalize Dan Brouthers just because there weren't any Wheaties, etc., in his day.

It is this that I am disputing. The implication is that players in the 18th century were just as good as the ones playing today, they just didn't have the benefit of modern technology and coaching. I don't think that's true at all, for the reasons I already laid out. Its not just the quality of play that was lower. It was the quality of the players as well.
   297. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 01, 2007 at 10:12 PM (#2305442)
It was the quality of the players as well.

You don't think being bigger, stronger, better coached, having better medicine and surgical techniques at your disposal, etc. wouldn't help the average 19th century player if they had been born in 1980 significantly?
   298. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 01, 2007 at 10:17 PM (#2305445)
BTW, one thing that the majority of us agree upon here is that, while the top 19th century players may have been just as good as today's players if they had the same advantages, that doesn't mean that there were as many then.
   299. Dizzypaco Posted: March 01, 2007 at 10:26 PM (#2305452)
You don't think being bigger, stronger, better coached, having better medicine and surgical techniques at your disposal, etc. wouldn't help the average 19th century player if they had been born in 1980 significantly?

It would have helped them. It wouldn't have necessarily turned them into major leaguers. If you took a pretty good athlete from today, good enough to play minor league ball but not good enough to play major league ball, and you stuck them in 19th century baseball, my guess is that the player would have been good enough to play in the majors, and possibly even dominate - even without modern technology, etc., on his side.

Why do I believe this? Because the realistic talent pool was so different, by a massive scale.
   300. Dizzypaco Posted: March 01, 2007 at 10:36 PM (#2305458)
Just to reiterate, I think people are vastly underestimating the difference in the talent pool. In today's game, there may be over 1 million kids playing little league. Of those kids, the best go on to play for their high school. Of those, the very best go on to play at the college level, or are drafted into the minors. Of those, the very best go on to play in the majors. We start with a population in the millions, and funnel it down to a few hundred. And that's not including international players.

In the 19th century, what were teams drawing from? The few hundred potential players that showed up for a tryout? Maybe it was more - maybe they drew from over 1,000 people who were interested. But nothing - nothing - like the millions that they draw from effectively today.
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