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

Sunday, May 06, 2007

1999 Ballot Discussion

1999 (May 28)—elect 3
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)

432 133.2 1974 George Brett-3B
423 131.9 1974 Robin Yount-SS/CF
334 141.6 1968 Nolan Ryan-P
368 114.9 1972 Carlton Fisk-C
294 91.8 1977 Dale Murphy-CF/RF
241 110.0 1974 Frank Tanana-P
198 64.0 1982 Steve Sax-2B*
182 69.8 1975 John Candelaria-P
193 60.6 1983 Bill Doran-2B
171 48.4 1981 George Bell-LF
132 59.5 1983 Mike Boddicker-P
138 55.2 1980 Charlie Leibrandt-P
147 50.4 1980 Dickie Thon-SS
141 52.2 1983 Pete O’Brien-1B
134 45.0 1979 Alfredo Griffin-SS
132 42.2 1985 Glenn Davis-1B
117 46.6 1981 Mike Witt-P
118 39.8 1985 Rob Deer-RF*
104 44.9 1981 Bob Ojeda-P*
114 39.3 1984 Dan Gladden-LF

Players Passing Away in 1998
Age Elected

77 1960 Hal Newhouser-P

Age Eligible

91——Gene Autry-Owner
86 1954 Denny Galehouse-P
83——Harry Caray-Broadcaster
82——Jack Brickhouse-Broadcaster
81 1949 Al Campanis-2B/GM
77 1965 Jim Hearn-P
77 1967 Elmer Valo-RF
69 1969 Bill Tuttle-CF
54 1988 Mark Belanger-SS
45 1996 Dan Quisenberry-RP

Thanks, Dan!

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 06, 2007 at 05:34 PM | 252 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   201. Paul Wendt Posted: May 26, 2007 at 12:39 AM (#2378908)
So among other things, DanR, you have 3Bmen among the mlb leaders thus:
1894 - 4 of top 10 players
1897 - 3 of top 14 players
1898 - 2 of top 3 players

It appears that the best 3Bmen are very good, so all the action making 3B a weak position is at the bottom. (For everyone's benefit I underscore) Strong seasons by Cross, Joyce, Davis, Collins, Wallace, Williams, Bradley, Leach have no impact on WAR, only on WAAverage.
   202. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 26, 2007 at 02:00 AM (#2379102)
Chris Fluit--yes, Traynor was the best 3B in his league, no doubt. But he was not substantially better than the worst 3B in his league, at least not to a Meritorious degree--they were all bunched together, preventing any of them from accruing much value. By contrast, McGraw exceeded his equally weak positional baseline by a much, much larger amount.

That is correct, I measure positional strength above the worst 3/8 of regulars in the league. The fact that another team has a Jimmy Collins doesn't make it any easier to fill in for John McGraw when he goes down.

Here is the # of top 10 overall players at each position, 1893-1900, for whatever that's worth (I don't think it says much, but I have the data so why not post it):

Year  C 1B 2B 3B SS CF LF/RF
1893  0  0  2  2  1  1     4
1894  0  0  0  4  2  2     2
1895  0  0  0  0  1  4     5
1896  0  0  1  1  2  1     5
1897  0  1  0  1  2  1     5
1898  0  0  2  3  2  1     2
1899  0  0  0  2  2  1     5
1900  0  0  1  1  2  1     5 

What this tells me: Catchers of this era simply didn't stay on the field enough to distinguish themselves from one another. There was simply a "star drought" at 1B (the guy in 1897 is Nap Lajoie!), and a corresponding "star glut" on the right side of the infield, as you had guys like Jennings, McGraw, Dahlen, and Davis putting up all-world seasons at the same time as teams were running out Chippy McGarr and Joe Dolan. My system may be a little too friendly to outfielders of this period due to the presence of ghastly players like Bill Hassamaer and Farmer Weaver dragging down the worst-regulars average more than their counterparts in the infield.
   203. Juan V Posted: May 26, 2007 at 02:13 AM (#2379151)
Chippy McGarr

Please, tell me this is a guy who got his uniform dirty and made productive outs... :)
   204. DanG Posted: May 26, 2007 at 05:35 AM (#2379483)
Real quick. Isn't a problem with Dan R's method is it assumes that positions are not fungible? (One of my favorite "fun" words!) That is, I can only replace a third baseman with another third baseman? Obviously, not true.

And why were so many non-hitters playing at 3B (and C) around McGraw's time? Were teams so "blinded" into believing you HAD to have a certain level of defense at these positions that they would tolerate a guy who hits like a pitcher? Or were the defensive demands really vastly greater than popular formulas lead us to believe?
   205. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 26, 2007 at 08:45 AM (#2379519)
DanG, my method doesn't exactly assume that positions aren't fungible at all, but it does assume that teams are using their resources optimally when assessing the relative depth of positions. I myself recognize that this may lead to a slight overvaluation of 1890's OF, due to the prevalance of clearly sub-replacement OF getting full-time jobs on the former AA teams of the era (just check out Farmer Weaver in 1894--he blows the worst-regulars average out of the water all by himself). Anecdotally, you would expect 3B to be much more demanding in the 1890's than it is today, due to more ground balls, more bunts, more right-handed hitters, and worse gloves (plus fewer K and HR which made all fielding more important relative to pitching). Catcher, if I'm not mistaken, was indubitably more demanding then due to the lack of gear, and also the high SB attempt rate of the period would lead to a greater emphasis on arm for catchers relative to hitting than in the present day.
   206. sunnyday2 Posted: May 26, 2007 at 05:35 PM (#2379652)
>Isn't a problem with Dan R's method is it assumes that positions are not fungible?

Well, there's bigger ones.

a. Sample size. If we said that Anson-Brouthers-Connor and/or Gehrig-Foxx-Greenberg didn't dominate "enough," we would all know that you had a sampling problem. But Dan's "actual replacement value" is based on 3 players.

b. But that's not even really the problem, it's more of a symptom. The problem is the assumption of a perfect market, that those 3 players are the very "best of the rest," that there's nobody out there who is any better than Chippy McGarr, rather than that maybe some manager or GM is stupid or lazy or both. Even today we know that's not true. In the 1890s? How about all those years when the Newark Bears and KC (AAA team) were better than some AL teams? The worst 3 MLers do not define the overall talent pool. Sometimes they approximate it (and part of their failure to more fully define the talent pool is Dan G's issue), sometimes not even that.

Actually the most interesting issue is one I haven't seen addressed, at least not in the following terms. And I'm saying issue, not problem. Take McGraw. There's two ways that McGraw could be "better." Either he could actually be better (in his case, more playing time in his best years would be a good method). Or Chippy McGarr could have been a little bit worse. Either one would have the same effect. If the latter, McGraw is the same player but he's "better" in Dan's system.

OK, he's not better, he's just more valuable. So Dan's system measures value, not skill or ability. Great.

I would guess that most of us bow at the altar of value vs. ability. I know I have. But when push comes to shove, it's tough to pull the trigger on a guy like, say, Jake Beckley or Davey Concepcion, who were more valuable than good. It's a lot more fun pulling the trigger for a guy like Charley Keller, who is more good than valuable.

And for those voters who kind of like ability, the question also remains, how, if at all, does Dan's system reflect ability? Dan's system is based on the degree to which a player dominates and it adjusts for the "ease" or "difficulty" of dominating at different times. This assumes a cause and effect--that the structure of the game in some way determines whether it is easy or hard to dominate, and players dominate or don't because of those external factors. (I asked the question and that's the answer I got: The structure of the game at different times determines whether a player can dominate or not.)

As I see it, the alternative hypothesis is that players dominate or not because of their abilities. The "structure of the game" which is embodied in Dan's SDs flow from individual players, not the other way around. The cause is the player's abilities, the apparent "structure of the game" is the effect. That would be the alternative hypothesis.

I haven't seen where the flow of cause and effect has been demonstrated one way or the other. I asked that question, too, and the answer was, "the correlations are high and I'm satisfied that they're meaningful." Correlations and cause and effect are two different things. Now, maybe the answer re. cause and effect is "it doesn't matter," because we don't care about ability, only value. That in fact would be a third hypothesis: We don't know what the cause and effect is and we don't (in fact, we shouldn't) care.

Anyway, those are some theoretical issues that remain outstanding, at least as far as my meager understanding goes. Dan says he's got the facts, and I don't doubt it. But all the facts in the world don't guarantee wisdom without a good theory. I'm not saying Dan doesn't have a good theory, maybe I just don't have the big picture.
   207. Paul Wendt Posted: May 26, 2007 at 05:39 PM (#2379657)
Farmer Weaver - I don't know but I guess a veteran player, considered a hero of the 1990 champions (the team won mainly by ERA+=150), gets one really bad half season before he loses his job. Five full seasons at OPS+ 101-113-99-91-99, then 35 in 64 games. Never a star, presumably a league-average outfielder only once.

So what do you make of Hal Lanier, San Francisco Giants 1963-71?
3B - SS - 2B
119 - 84 - 82 ; career year? for veteran 3B Davenport, fair production up the middle, 103 wins including pennant playoff
_82 - 62 - 62 ; same personnel Jim Davenport - Jose Pagan - Chuck Hiller
132 - 56 - 75 ; Jim Ray Hart and Hal Lanier at third and second, it's a career year at bat for Lanier
131 - 47 - 52 ; Dick Schofield at short where Pagan & Tito Fuentes play about 20g each at 48 and 39
131 - 74 - 50 ; Fuentes at short
152 - 43 - 61 ; Lanier and Fuentes switch places; Dick Groat plays about 20g at 31; Hart now half-time in outfield, sharing third with Davenport (115); fielding games sum to 194 - 209 - 225 ==> 32 - 47 - 63 switches and substitutions
_63 - 39 - 103 ; Davenport and Ron Hunt at third and second; Hart still almost half-time 3B at 129
_72 - 46 - 100 ; Lanier reverses downward trend at bat
_92 - 47 - 110 ; Al Gallagher at third with Hart about one-third time at 113
105 - 81 - 87 ; Chris Speier at short; Lanier (63) the second 3Bman, total 109g 227pa; team wins division

In 1972 the Yankees buy Lanier who splits third with three others and in 1973 backs up at short. OPS+ 44 and 40 in 95 games, 197 pa.
   208. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 26, 2007 at 06:12 PM (#2379672)

If anyone in the group is familiar with The China Study and wouldn't mind sharing any thoughts about its conclusions or methodology or any thoughts on the quality of the critiques from the Masterjohn/WAPF group, I'll be much obliged for the insight. Thanks!

   209. Howie Menckel Posted: May 26, 2007 at 06:17 PM (#2379674)
"my method.... does assume that teams are using their resources optimally when assessing the relative depth of positions."

Mine doesn't, frankly.

I remember those early 1970s days. Teams couldn't FIND a skinny enough SS. It was like an anorexia contest. Develop a bicep, and it's time to sit down, lol.

Some of them were whippet fielders who got to everything, even if they couldn't hit.
And some of them were just skinny guys with glasses who couldn't field or hit, but hey, they looked about right.

I hope someday we'll also laugh at managers who in the 2000s sat their best reliever when it was 3-3 in the 9th, saving them for the next night when they could "save" a 6-3 game.
   210. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 26, 2007 at 06:18 PM (#2379675)

If anyone in the group is familiar with The China Study and wouldn't mind sharing any thoughts about its conclusions or methodology or any thoughts on the quality of the critiques from the Masterjohn/WAPF group, I'll be much obliged for the insight. Thanks!


RRRRgghhh. I meant to say, please email me with this. didn't mean to say that anyone should take up this board's space with it. Thanks.
   211. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 26, 2007 at 06:25 PM (#2379679)
I think the chart that Dan ran of the top-X players at each position in the 1890s represents a potential contradiction to his point about McGraw's dominance of the position. 3B is equally dominant in that chart to SS, which is frequently cited as a dominant position in the era. While the reason might have a lot to do with transient "not-true" 3Bs, it's nonetheless true that there were 14 3Bs and 14 SSs on in those listings (some of whom were McGraw, himself, of course!).

It seems inconsistent to say that McGraw is HOMable for dominating his peers so much when his peers were equally represented among the game's best players as the Jennings-era SS were. I say this especially within a context of the HOM where we tilt to value.
   212. Paul Wendt Posted: May 26, 2007 at 06:28 PM (#2379681)
That table should be labeled
3B - SS - 2B : OPS+ for the team's "regular" player

Why was it difficult for Dave Concepcion to dominate ten years later? Same reason the Giants won in 1962 (playoff over Dodgers) and 1971 (one game over Dodgers). Kidding, Dave, but I guess that playing Hal Lanier regularly would have caused the Giants to lose in '62 and '71. Will Clark, Kevin Mitchell, and Roger Craig would be the first SF Giants in postseason play. By the way, utility infielder Chris Speier, tenth man by plate appearances, is the first with OPS+ < 100.

Marc S schreit:
Dan's "actual replacement value" is based on 3 players.
But that's not even really the problem, it's more of a symptom. The problem is the assumption of a perfect market, that those 3 players are the very "best of the rest,"

Granting the theory for now, measuring Freely Available Talent must be an artful science, nothing like turning a crank --or even using a slide rule, for a younger analogy. A major advance probably awaits a lot of arduous data-gathering because comprehensive playing statistics for the best minor leagues must be invaluable.

That much is true for batting talent alone. In order to improve a lot on fielding win shares or FRAA, we need a lot more data for the major leagues. (Mike Emeigh has concluded that we need play-by-play. For the majors today, that limits to 50 seasons of nearly complete coverage plus NL 1911 with more than half coverage.)
   213. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 26, 2007 at 07:05 PM (#2379710)

1. Thanks for your thoughtful post. You and I have differed on a lot of points on these discussion threads, but I really do appreciate your taking the time to think through and analyze the theory, methodology, and implications of my research.

2. You're wrong about the sample size. It is a nine-year moving average of the worst 3/8 of regulars in both leagues. In the 1890's, that's 4.5 players * 9 years = a sample of 41 players per year-position.

3. Yes, you're right about the efficient market assumption. But isn't that true of everything? If you're defining rep level as a % of average (which I think is a grave mistake), you're still assuming that the league average is arrived at in the most efficient manner. How is my system more guilty of that than any other means of calculating replacement level? And how would you go about defining replacement level without making an implicit efficient markets hypothesis?

4. I am very sensitive to the cause-and-effect issue, but I think that my findings certainly pass a causality smell test. If run scoring goes up, we would expect stdev to go up, since each player gets more PA to distinguish himself from his peers--and indeed it does. If expansion takes place, we would expect stdev to go up, since you've added a bunch of bad players to the league, improving the performance of everyone else relative to the average--and indeed it does. If a war takes place, we would expect to see stdev go up in the league that keeps more of its stars (the NL) and go down in the league that loses more of its stars (the AL)--and indeed that's what happened. If we add a DH to a league, we would expect stdevs to go down, since it adds more roughly league average bats to the league--and indeed it did. These empirical results are so intuitive that I don't see why you'd be so skeptical about them.

Paul Wendt--if a guy didn't lead his team in PA at a position, he's not in my worst-regulars calculation.

Dr. Chaleeko--this is just about average vs. replacement. Do you think ARod, Jeter, Nomar, and Tejada should be docked for playing in the same league at the same time? I don't--I think they were all just great players. The presence of a Tejada didn't make it any easier for other teams to find a Nomar in the minors. The same is true of the 1890's--the presence of Collins doesn't make McGraw any less valuable in my opinion.
   214. Paul Wendt Posted: May 26, 2007 at 08:24 PM (#2379736)
By the way, Hal Lanier is the guy in bold

Paul Wendt--if a guy didn't lead his team in PA at a position, he's not in my worst-regulars calculation.

I was kidding about Hal Lanier sticking around thru the Concepcion era, but I am seriously speculating that he was below replacement level, yet unreplaced for several seasons.

Regarding bill Farmer Weaver 1894, DanR, in making him the poster boy you are giving the Louisville management a hard time on a close call. Baseball-reference lists Twitchell and Clarke as regulars although both played LF, with Twitchell evidently replaced by rookie Clarke (debut Jun 30). I see the point in listing Weaver, overall 64g 253pa, thus both seventh on team and third among "outfielders". But he is only second among RFs who played 38-33-26-17-8-5-2 games there, and he played only 35 game in the outfield. So I hope he doesn't really blow the regulars average by himself; the measure should be weighted by playing time even for regulars.
> . . . check out Farmer Weaver in 1894--he blows the worst-regulars average out of the water all by himself
For Pittsburgh later in the same season he played 14-5-12 games C-3B-SS. Until today I thought he was a catcher because iirc he was hanging around in 190 (maybe in the AL, or I'm confusing him with Farmer Steelman).

Weaver succeeded Browning in centerfield late in 1888. Browning was injured, I suppose, but Weaver remained in center 1889 and then Browning left to the PL. Those were the days: September 16 debut and 26 games played. (A few years later, some minor league contracts ran until Sep 15 and seasons closed that day or the preceding weekend. Maybe also in 1894.)
The Transactions Database does not include the release of Weaver or his sale (hard to believe) to Pittsburgh. It's plausible that Fred Clarke replaced Weaver rather than Twitchell, or replaced both, on the Louisville roster. (Clarke debut Jun 30; team played 54 games before, 76 after)

Farmer Weaver, most similar players by age
25. Kirby Puckett (that is after the championship season, career year)
26. Mickey Rivers
and on downhill from there.

Any player can be interesting.

Related to market (im)perfection, I see that Weaver was born in Parkersburg WV, played 6+ mlb seasons in Louisville and part of one in Pittsburgh. Flanking him in the garden for the great 1889 team, Pete Browning (Lou 1882-89) and Jimmy Wolf (Lou 1882-91) were both Louisville natives. 1889 aside, they were also the team's best players, so this observation is not much evidence for imperfection. Maybe it is suggestive.
   215. Paul Wendt Posted: May 26, 2007 at 08:51 PM (#2379751)
Chippy McGarr
Here seems to be a quality poster boy at 3B.

Two mlb seasons as a regular player, lastest for Boston NL 1890 while Billy Nash is in the Players League between five-year runs as the regular man. Three years later a second career at age 30, getting the regular job as manager Patsy Tebeau moves across the infield to first. And this is a very good team, defending split-season champion, finishing 3-6-2-2 in among 12 teams while he achieves OPS+ 87-59-62-62 with 353 games played in the latter three seasons. Cleveland, we have a problem.

In splitting 3B with the manager, McGarr succeeds George Davis (1892 fielding games: of 44, 3b-ss-2b 79-20-3).

Chippy McGarr
Please, tell me this is a guy who got his uniform dirty and made productive outs... :)

They say Tebeau demanded it. Some say playing dirty in more ways than one.
   216. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 26, 2007 at 10:05 PM (#2379768)
A major advance probably awaits a lot of arduous data-gathering because comprehensive playing statistics for the best minor leagues must be invaluable.

I agree on this. I've queried Dan previously about what the real measuring stick for FAT/replacement level is viz the minors, and we had a very informative discussion about it. I think a summarization of that converstaion would go this way (and Dan, please feel free to clarify if I have misrepresented your thoughts at any point):

1) There's probably FAT guys in the minors who are better than some or all of the bottom three regulars in the league that Dan uses: there may be many, but we don't really know that now, and we'd need more info to know.

2) He's unsure how much actual difference including them would make.

3) We'd need reliable data for them for the type we have for MLB.

4) We'd need an accurate MLE formula for them so we could compare to the MLB regulars.

5) It would be a whole hell of a lot of work, and it could yield some very important information.

6) It would be worth it, especially if someone else was doing it!!!! : )

7) For now, he's doing the best he can with what he's got.

A specific objection I raised)
This would be especially important information for the integration era when MLB level black players were blocked in the minors. Many meet the FAT definition, yet were much better performers than FATs.

Very poor paraphrase of Dan's response to this objection)
[Dan, this is the part I remember least well, but I'll try it, please correct me as needed.]
But if MLB isn't giving these guys a shot anyway, are they really FAT? They are restricted talent of some sort that is but isn't part of the open talent market. Are they some other special case? We need to study this issue more when reliable MiL data becomes available.
   217. Juan V Posted: May 26, 2007 at 10:16 PM (#2379772)
Question to DanR: Did you try season lenght as an independent variable for projecting standard deviations? Shorter seasons would mean less opportunities for players to converge to their "true talent levels", and eyeballing the strike seasons suggest that looking at this possibility would be a good idea. We discussed Dewey Evans' big 1981 season in his thread, and there's also Grich, Ryan, Schmidt... and in '94, Bagwell, Thomas, Matt Williams...
   218. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 26, 2007 at 11:27 PM (#2379844)
Paul Wendt, thanks for your investigations into the Neifi Perezes of yesteryear! I was exaggerating about Weaver--with outfielders, it's actually a 120-player sample (4.5 players per year * 9 years * 3 outfield positions), so it would be pretty tough for one guy to blow the average all by himself. But there were enough similarly putrid outfielders in those days to drag down the average a few ticks of a win (0.2 would be my guess) below its range for the 20th century. I do think this leads to a slight overrating of 1890s outfielders in my system, albeit not enough to make me a supporter of Duffy or Van Haltren.

I could try to weight it by playing time (following Nate's example of capping each weight at 130 PA, for example), but I feel that the samples are large enough that that's probably not necessary. I could try it out for one position and see if the results changed much (if they did, I'd definitely do it for all positions, it would just take a lot of time and work).

Dr. Chaleeko, yes, all of the above is accurate. Specifically, I said that I don't think the freezing-out of Bus Clarkson types in the early 1950s is a replacement level issue; I think it's a quality of play issue. Pre-1947, Jackie Robinson was himself a freely available player, but if we included him in our replacement level calculations for 2B, we'd have the whole league below replacement level! Setting the rep level is important for getting the relative valuation of positions and of peak vs. career correct, and I feel that including players who were locked out of MLB would distort those crucial ratios. I would just penalize all pre-1970 players or so to varying degrees for not playing in fully integrated leagues. (I definitely think we should have elected fewer borderliners from the 30s--how would Earl Averill and Bill Terry's OPS+'s have looked if their league averages were pulled up by Josh Gibson?)

I would also reiterate that I am not asserting that the freely available level is equal to the worst-regulars average. Rather, I am assuming (without a shred of evidence!) that the gap between the worst-regulars average and the freely available level at each position has remained stable over time. I use Nate Silver's definition of freely available (over age 27 and making less than twice the league minimum salary) and his 1985-2005 data to establish the freely available level, compare that to the worst-regulars averages for each position in that timespan, and then hold that gap steady as I go backwards in time. E.g. the worst 3/8 of starting MLB first basemen averaged 0.3 standard deviation-adjusted wins per 162 games above overall major league average from 1985-2005, while Nate found that the freely available level for 1B was 0.2 wins below overall major league average. So I define 1B rep level as 0.5 standard deviation-adjusted wins per 162 games below the average production per 162 games of the worst 3/8 of starting major league 1B for the decade surrounding the year in question. (That was a mouthful!) In the end, I'm relying on Nate's definition of freely available for my calculation of replacement level, and I'm comfortable with that, so these concerns about incorporating minor league players into my system are secondary for me.

Juan V, I most certainly did included season length as an independent variable in my standard deviation regression, and I couldn't get a statistically significant correlation no matter how many ways I tried to slice it. I can send you the data if you want and if you can find a way to get a relationship with p < .05, I'll be eternally grateful!
   219. Paul Wendt Posted: May 27, 2007 at 12:42 AM (#2379968)
I could try to weight it by playing time (following Nate's example of capping each weight at 130 PA, for example), but I feel that the samples are large enough that that's probably not necessary. I could try it out for one position and see if the results changed much (if they did, I'd definitely do it for all positions, it would just take a lot of time and work).

Probably you are right. I was thinking of three players at one outfield position.

exaggerating about Weaver--with outfielders, it's actually a 120-player sample (4.5 players per year * 9 years * 3 outfield positions),

That must be 4.5 not 3 because league size is approximately 12 rather than 8, during the 1890-1898 reference period (reference for Weaver 1894, his final part-season). 120 is a big lot of players, the 13.5 worst-rate players among 36 "regular" outfielders each season, nearly the worst 120 of 312 over nine years, granting the 12-team approximation.

The perfect market and the incorporation of expansion must be bigger issues. There are routine challenges making moving averages work around endpoints and big changepoints. And there must be some baseball-specific challenges. One might suppose that major league(s) selected the best players with unusual efficiency in 1891-93 and 1916-17, using the information generated by recently more extensive major league play.

I am assuming (without a shred of evidence!) that the gap between the worst-regulars average and the freely available level at each position has remained stable over time.

OK, that clarifies the waters

<i>I use Nate Silver's definition of freely available (over age 27 and making less than twice the league minimum salary) and his 1985-2005 data to establish the freely available level, compare that to the worst-regulars averages for each position in that timespan, and then hold that gap steady as I go backwards in time. E.g. the worst 3/8 of starting MLB first basemen averaged 0.3 standard deviation-adjusted wins per 162 games above overall major league average from 1985-2005, while Nate found that the freely available level for 1B was 0.2 wins below overall major league average. So I define 1B rep level as 0.5 standard deviation-adjusted wins per 162 games below the average production per 162 games of the worst 3/8 of starting major league 1B for the decade surrounding the year in question. (That was a mouthful!)

still clear :-)
   220. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 27, 2007 at 12:54 AM (#2379990)
Right, it's the worst 3/8 of MLB regulars. For 1998-2006 the OF replacement level is derived from a sample of 30 MLB teams * 3/8 of regulars * 3 OF positions * 9 years = 304 players! I don't think sample sizes are the issue here.
   221. Howie Menckel Posted: May 27, 2007 at 02:33 PM (#2380339)
In the main BTF section, there's a link to a "Walk like a SABRmetician" blog.

He picks his favorite 60 SPs, but in stages. So far he just starts with the also-rans.

"Now, let me tell you that pitchers 61-73 on my list, in rough chronological order are: Sam Leever, Ed Reulbach, Chief Bender, Carl Mays, Bob Shawkey, Dolf Luque, Burleigh Grimes, Herb Pennock, Bucky Walters, Jerry Koosman, Jim Kaat, [Bret Saberhagen, and David Cone]."

We've elected none of those, with Walters and Grimes our favorites and Mays and Luque having garnered attention at times.

He says Cicotte would be on the list "on talent alone," but the scandal erased him.

He says Jack Morris and these Hall of Famers not already listed also didn't make it: "Lefty Gomez, Catfish Hunter, Bob Lemon, Jesse Haines, Jack Chesbro, Dizzy Dean, and Rube Marquard."

Interesting that of that group, only Lemon is a HOMer (hey, don't blame me!).

Huh, at the bottom he gives props to the Hall of Merit, notes only one other HOMer not in his top 60 - Wes Ferrell.
   222. Paul Wendt Posted: May 27, 2007 at 04:50 PM (#2380403)
The first comment in reply to Walk's my-top-60-starters-warmup:
How could you have missed Chris Jaffe's spectacular series on pitcher leveraging:

This is old hat to others but I am slow. Even in the limited world of historical ballplayer evaluation I might dozens of articles by people who participated here but I won't know it because they write under pseudonyms either here or there. And I probably know more real names than many others do, thanks to the SABR directory and email list.
   223. DanG Posted: May 28, 2007 at 04:21 AM (#2381003)
Let me see if I can explain a bit more clearly.

I said that Dan R's method assumes that positions are not fungible. By this I'm thinking that it is a mistake to only look at the pool of FAT-firstbasmen, when nearly any pro playing is capable of handling the position. So when considering who comprises the pool of replacement level firstbasemen, you have to incorporate every player above a certain offensive level, no matter what position they're currently playing - I'm saying that since almost anyone can play first, the replacement pool is comprised of anyone who can hit, not just firstbasemen.

In the case of 1890's thirdbasemen, the pool of FAT actually includes many player who are not currently playing 3B. Most any SS could handle the position. Some of the more talented fielders at other positions would also be capable of replacing a 3B.

The further left (less fielding demands) you go on the defensive spectrum the larger is the pool of FAT available to be replacements. Does that make sense?
   224. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: May 28, 2007 at 05:01 AM (#2381017)
Frickin' IE just reloaded the page for no reason and dumped a lot of this comment.

Anyway, some seriously overdue possible suggestions for Chris Fluit's lists:

C: Darrell Porter (will probably get dumped from my spreadsheet soon)
1B: Luke Easter, as someone said, and Frank Chance, as no one said?
2B: Del Pratt!, Bobby Avila, Fred Dunlap, George Scales

The other thing I wanted to bring up, just as something odd I found. Here are lists for a bunch of 1970s-80s 3Bmen by my homemade uber-rate-stats (WS, WARP1 and FRAR/100 PA). The FRAR I use is the "All-Time" version, because the WARP1 FRAR really doesn't work for 19th-century players. Anyway, the effect for these guys should be minimal.

1. Mike Schmidt - 4.641
2. George Brett - 3.716
3. Sal Bando - 3.415
4. Darrell Evans - 3.381
5. Ron Cey - 3.356
6. Toby Harrah - 3.274
7. Graig Nettles - 3.139
8. Buddy Bell - 3.007

OK, nothing unusual there.

Now, the WARP1/100 PA:
1. Mike Schmidt - 1.564
2. Ron Cey - 1.143
3. George Brett - 1.040
4. Darrell Evans - 1.035
5. Buddy Bell - 0.994
6. Graig Nettles - 0.980
7. Sal Bando - 0.975
8. Toby Harrah - 0.907

HUH? What is Brett doing behind Cey and not much ahead of Bell, Nettles and Bando?

Let's look at the defensive version:
1. Mike Schmidt - 4.969
2. Buddy Bell - 4.796
3. Graig Nettles - 4.263
4. Ron Cey - 3.823
5. Darrell Evans - 3.223
6. Toby Harrah - 3.103
7. Sal Bando - 2.642
8. George Brett - 2.125

Well, that probably "explains" it. But it doesn't answer the question of why BP thinks Brett is such a bad fielder. While he wasn't noted for his defense, he wasn't supposed to be a butcher, either. James has him rated as a B. He did get moved to DH/1B in the latter career, but not as early as Evans (although the inflation of Evans' uber-fielding-ratings by Niekro has been discussed in the past). Heck, Tony Perez comes in at a 2.753, and nobody thinks Perez was better than Brett.

This isn't going to matter for Brett's election, but it might shed some light on WARP's rankings, if anyone's got an idea for the apparent discrepancy.
   225. Chris Fluit Posted: May 28, 2007 at 05:21 AM (#2381021)
Yes, it does. And here are some examples for you:

In 1924, the Dodgers had the worst 3B in the NL: Milt Stock with an OPS+ of 55. The next year, they moved Jimmy Johnston over from SS (and foolishly moved Stock over to 2B).
In 1926, the Phillies had the worst 3B in the NL: Huber with an OPS+ of 74. The next year, they moved Bernie Friberg over from 2B (though Friberg would be an even worse OPS+ of 61).
In 1929, the Cubs had the second worst 3B in the NL: McMillan with an OPS+ of 76. The next year, they moved English over from SS.
In 1930, the Browns had the worst 3B in the AL: Frank O'Rourke with an OPS+ of 66. The next year, they moved Red Kress over from SS.
In 1931, the Braves had the worst 3B in the NL: Billy Urbanski with an OPS+ of 58. The next year, they moved Urbanski to SS.
   226. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 28, 2007 at 12:41 PM (#2381157)
DanG, what you are saying definitely does make sense, although given how SS-heavy my ballots are already, any modification further emphasizing position scarcity might propel guys like Bert Campaneris into my top 10! That said, I think what you are proposing would be exceedingly difficult to execute, because of 1) changes in the defensive spectrum over time 2) the fact that players do go through an adjustment period when they are moved down the spectrum--look what happened to Mike Piazza at 1B and 3) the fact that not all transitions are created equal (SS has a lower rep level than C, but you certainly wouldn't move a SS to C!).
   227. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 28, 2007 at 12:41 PM (#2381158)
I have posted 5 new player threads for the 2000 election. Anyone else that you want? Viola, Welch and McReynolds look like good candidates for their own thread, but I'll let you guys decide.

If you want more, I'll post them in a week. Don't want to clog up the Hot Topics section.
   228. Chris Fluit Posted: May 28, 2007 at 03:36 PM (#2381236)
Replying to Devin McCullen's suggestions:

C: Darrell Porter
You're right. I completely missed Porter. With 222 WS and 76.2 WARP, he definitely should have been in my consideration set. And he's a better candidate than Tenace, in my opinion. However, I wouldn't put him ahead of Munson or Schang which leaves Porter on the wrong side of the arbitrary in-out line.

1B: Frank Chance
I'm as surprised as you are that nobody mentioned Chance. I guess TomH wasn't paying attention that day. Anyway, although I do take peak and prime into consideration, I am not a pure peak voter. I tend to lean more to prime/career. And Chance simply doesn't have the career. The year he became eligible, he was third among 1B in both WS and WARP behind Fred Tenney and Harry Davis (249/69.6 and 238/46.7 to 237/46.0). I will admit that Chance is a better player than Tenney or Davis but that does illustrate how weak Chance is on career numbers.

1B: Luke Easter
I'm usually a big advocate of Negro League players (witness the high placement of Taylor, Easter and integration-era Elston Howard) but I can't support all of them. Easter is one of the odd men out. There are just too many holes in his candidacy for me to be comfortable voting for him. Was he a talented player? Definitely. I've heard Ryan Howard compared to him. But is he more Meritorious than the other players I had listed? I just can't say that he was.

2B: Del Pratt
Another one I missed. With WS and WARP of 242 and 79.2, he was within the limits of my cut-off points. He was also within the lower limits, ahead of only Mazeroski in WS and Evers, Doyle and Lazzeri in WARP. He's a more complete player than either Doyle or Lazzeri so I'd probably have him ahead of them (plus, he's another knock against Doyle in that he's a concurrent 2B who was able to hit without being defensively deficient) but he'd still be short of the imaginary in/out line.

2B: Fred Dunlap
I'll admit that my knowledge is weak pre-1890. However, like Chance, I simply don't see the career value for Dunlap. He has only 8 full seasons (1880-86 and then again in '89) and his peak is artificially inflated by that one big year in the United Association. After that, he falls off pretty severely.

2B: Bobby Avila
Fred Dunlap may deserve some 19th century consideration for his shorter career; Bobby Avila does not. I've got him with the same 8 full seasons, and less in-season durability to Dunlap who was playing nearly every game in 6 of his 8 seasons. Avila may appeal to small-peak voters who look only at top three seasons (his 1954 is really good) but he doesn't even have a good prime as he starts to fall off precipitously in his 4th best season.

2B: George Scales
I took a full look at a bunch of the long career Negro League second basemen about a year ago- not just Scales, but also Sol White, Sammy Hughes and Newt Allen- when I realized we hadn't elected any NeL 2B to the Hall of Merit. I'm not opposed to the long career middle infielder- and everyone in this group would have made fine Major Leaguers- but the only NeL 2B who looked worthy of Hall-consideration prior to Jackie Robinson was Bill Monroe. The Hall of Fame data shows Scales with a higher SLG than I had previously thought, but I'm still not sold on him as being ballot-worthy.
   229. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 28, 2007 at 03:56 PM (#2381245)
Fred Dunlap may deserve some 19th century consideration for his shorter career; Bobby Avila does not.

I agree, since Bobby didn't play in the 19th century.

   230. Paul Wendt Posted: May 28, 2007 at 06:01 PM (#2381317)
Chris Fluit on Del Pratt
he's another knock against Doyle in that he's a concurrent 2B who was able to hit without being defensively deficient

Looking at Pratt by OPS+, he enjoyed only mlb five seasons, then suffered the early decline attributed to Dunlap, who played very well until (probably injury) sometime during his eighth season. On the other hand, Dunlap contributed very little afterward, and Pratt continued at average-plus for eight more fullish seasons.

It's easy to suppose Pratt would have been welcome in the majors a couple years before his superior 1912 debut. The SABR Collegiate Cmte (via BB-Ref) reports him "Years Attnd" Georgia Tech 1906-1907 and University of Alabama 1908-1909. I guess that is four spring baseball seasons. Earlier, I know, some colleges played fall and spring so one might play 1906-1907 in one academic year.
   231. Chris Fluit Posted: May 28, 2007 at 07:02 PM (#2381376)
Since the election isn't closing until tomorrow, I might as well keep generating some discussion with my positional rankers.

Third base was slightly more difficult to determine than Catcher, First and Second. I do think that positional and era representation are worth considering. For the first 9 decades of professional baseball (1870s-1950s), the HoM has honored 7 3B: Sutton, White, Collins, Baker, Groh, Hack and Mathews (plus 2 Negro Leaguers Beckwith and Wilson). For the next 3 decades (1960s-1980s), we'll be honoring at least 7 again: Boyer, Robinson, Santo, Schmidt, Evans, Brett and the upcoming Boggs. Half of our inductees come from the first 90 years; the other half from the last 30 years. That strikes me as wildly out of proportion. Of the top ten eligible 3B, once again half of them come from the most recent 3 decades. So I started out by looking at the 3B as two separate groups. One group comprised all of the "early" 3B: Cross, Leach, Traynor, Elliott and Clarkson. The other group comprised all of the '70s 3B: Bando, Nettles, Harrah, Bell and Cey whose first full seasons were 1968, '70, '71, '72 and '73 respectively. As for how I determined the consideration set, I used a cut-off of 270 career WS. Below that, there's a pretty big gap down to Kell at 229. And yes, that leaves out the peak-heavy John McGraw and the 19th-century Ned Williamson.

Leach: 328
Elliott: 287
Cross: 278
Traynor: 274

Elliott: 96.0
Cross: 80.9
Leach: 74.8
Traynor: 69.5

OPS+ in PA
Elliott: 124 in 8190
Leach: 109 in 9051
Traynor: 107 in 8293
Cross: 100 in 9710

RC and RC/27
Traynor: 1192 and 5.89
Elliott: 1179 and 5.97
Cross: 1150 and 4.73
Leach: 997 and 4.43

Cross: B (plus time at C)
Leach: B (plus time at CF)
Traynor: B-
Elliott: C

Nettles: 321
Bell: 301
Harrah: 287
Bando: 283
Cey: 280

Bell: 109.8
Nettles: 105.2
Cey: 97.0
Harrah: 89.7
Bando: 78.3

OPS+ in PA:
Cey: 121 in 8344
Bando: 119 in 8288
Harrah: 114 in 8766
Nettles: 110 in 10,226
Bell: 108 in 10,609

RC and RC/27
Bell: 1253 and 4.86
Nettles: 1245 and 4.74
Cey: 1127 and 5.42
Harrah: 1071 and 4.95
Bando: 1014 and 4.90

Bell: A
Nettles: A-
Cey: A-
Bando: B-
Harrah: C (below average defensively at SS, 3B and 2B)

10. Toby Harrah: Toby Harrah looks to be the worst of this group. Despite 500 more PAs, Harrah created only 57 more runs than Bando. He's in the middle or at the back of every category. And though Harrah deserves some consideration for playing SS, he didn't actually play SS all that well. He was a below average SS, then a below average 3B, then a below average 2B. I'm not taking anything away from his great 1975, but he didn't have enough other great years to go along with it.

8 and 9. Sal Bando and Lave Cross: They're very different players but I keep going back and forth concerning which one is actually better. Bando is a great peak candidate. His run from 1969-1974 is matched only by Elliott's run from 1947-1951. But his career numbers are abysmal. 2nd last in WS, last in WARP, last in Runs Created and a full 2000 PA behind Nettles and Bell. On the other side, there's Cross, who doesn't have the biggest peak but who played for a long time. His 9710 PA trail only Nettles and Bell, and he did that in shorter seasons while more players were getting injured. And though Cross' peak doesn't match Elliott or Bando, he does have a bit of one. I have him as an All-Star 4 times- 1894, 1901, 1904 and 1906. But here's the problem I have with Cross: his valley stands out nearly as much as his peak. From 1895-97, Cross finished 10th, 10th and 11th in a 12-team league in OPS+ at his position. His 1899 and 1900 are also low, though so few 3B played full-time in those injury ravaged years that he was only 1 of 2 3B to qualify for a full season each year. Then 2 of his best years (1901 and 1902) came in the first two years of the AL before it had gotten up to full strength. A peak with little career and a career with as many valleys as peaks. One may be better than the other (I lean towards Cross), but I'd leave both below my in/out line.

7. Buddy Bell: The first of the border-liners. I have a tough time placing Bell. By career measurements, he stands up pretty well. 1st in RC, 1st in WARP, 3rd in WS behind Nettles and Leach. His rates aren't that far behind (108 OPS+ and 4.86 RC/27) and he was probably the best defender in the group. But here are the problems I have with Bell. He wasn't the best defender of his day. He overlaps too much with Brooks Robinson and Aurelio Rodriguez for that to be true. And he may have been better than Nettles or Cey but it wasn't by that great an amount. So there's only so much that his defense can help him out. And for too many years, he was right around the offensive median. Here's his OPS+ rank from 1973 to 1979: 15, 18, 15, 12, 10, 15, 10. He turned it on in 1980 (he'd have been an All-Star in '80, '81 and '84) but there were too many lean years before his late peak, and his late peak just isn't big enough to make up for it.

6. Ron Cey: Like Bando, Ron Cey is light when it comes to career numbers. Among this set of '70s batters, he's last in WS, second last in PA, 3rd in WARP and 3rd in RC. But there are several reasons why I prefer Cey to Bando, and why Cey is in the gray area of the borderline while Bando is below. One, Cey was significantly better defensively. Two, Cey had more good years than Bando. Three, Cey's bad years weren't as bad as Bando's. Two and three result in four, Cey's career rate stats weren't pulled down as much by his bad years. Five, Cey's peak is somewhat obscured by the presence of Schmidt and Brett (both of whom beat him in OPS+ in Cey's peak years of '76, '79 and '81). As for a head to head with Bell: in the 14 seasons that they both played, Cey has the better OPS+ in 10, Bell in 4.

5. Tommy Leach: Just as Cey struck me as an better version of Bando, Leach is a better version of Cross. His career is pretty long for his era (over 9000 PA). He has a decent peak, though it's not consecutive. And he spent some time at another defensive position (CF instead of C). I prefer Leach to Cross for several reasons. One, his early peak in '02 and '03 came in the stronger, not the weaker league. Two, his bad years weren't as many or as bad (though he was 7th out of 7 everyday centerfielders in 1911). Three, he had more good years: I have him as a 6-time All-Star (in '02, '03, '07, '08, '13 and '14) to Cross' 4. More career weight and more All-Star seasons keep him ahead of Cey, though that's not surprising as I had Cross edge Bando as well.

3 and 4. Bob Elliott and Bus Clarkson: Elliott looks so much like Bando that it's odd to see them this far apart. However, I like Elliott's peak even more than Bando's as it was more consistent and ranks higher in his league (though Bando was playing in larger post-expansion leagues). I also like that there's more of a secondary peak: Bando had that one good year in '78, Elliott had three from '42 to '44 (though the latter two were against war-time competition). And I like that Elliott built up better career numbers, beating Bando across the board in WS, WARP and RC. As for Clarkson, I recently flipped him with Elliott. At first, Clarkson's offensive numbers looked too similar to Elliott's to put him ahead. However, Clarkson did play a few more years than Elliott did and was a significantly better defensive player, even putting in some time at short. Clarkson's defense and career push him ahead of Elliott but they're still very close.

2. Graig Nettles: As hard for me to place as Bell was. The peak/prime difference between Bell and Nettles isn't as great as it was between Bell and Cey. However, in 15 common seasons, Nettles had the better OPS+ in 9 of them, while Bell had the better year in only 6. Then, Nettles matches Bell in the career categories, beating him in WS, finishing second in WARP, and second by only 8 in RC. Though they're similar players, I think that Nettles clearly beats Bell. As I went Bando-Cross-Bell in the lower group, I was going to go Cey-Leach-Nettles in this group. But were Elliott and Clarkson really better than Nettles? I pushed Clarkson ahead of Elliott because of defense and career, but Nettles has an even better case for defense and career than Clarkson. He's either right behind them in 4th, or just ahead of them in 2nd.

1. Pie Traynor: Overrated by non-Sabermetricians? Certainly. He's not as good as Jimmy Collins or Stan Hack or even Heinie Groh. Those .300 seasons can be deceptive and he was only an average defender. Conversely underrated by Hall of Merit voters? I think so. His 274 WS are the same as Collins and 2 better than Groh. And as I posted earlier, he was top 3 in OPS+ for his position in 11 consecutive years and 1st in 6 of them. I love that long, consistent prime though I wish that he had even that one outstanding season like a Joe Sewell.
   232. Chris Fluit Posted: May 28, 2007 at 08:43 PM (#2381466)
And I thought 3B was challenging. Among eligible and upcoming SS, there were 18 players who fell between 225 and 305 career WS (listed chronologically): Herman Long, Joe Tinker, Dave Bancroft, Rabbit Maranville, Dick Lundy, Dick Bartell, Johnny Pesky (187 actual, climbs into the group with war credit), Vern Stephens, Phil Rizzuto, Artie Wilson, Dick Groat, Maury Wills, Luis Aparicio, Jim Fregosi, Bert Campaneris, Dave Concepcion, Tony Fernandez and Jay Bell. Whew! That's a lot of guys to look at. The other thing that made SS challenging was the importance of defense and speed.

18. Dick Groat: Clearly the bottom rung on this ladder: lowest WS, lowest RC, not a great defender. WARP likes him a bit more, depositing him 9th out of the 18. The interesting thing about looking at Groat's defense was seeing the very high double play total of 1237 in 1877 games. Maybe there's something to the idea that Groat's double-play partner Mazeroski was especially good at turning two.

16 and 17. Jim Fregosi and Maury Wills: Fregosi is pretty light on career totals. His 7402 PA beats only Stephens, Tinker and the war-shortened Pesky and Rizzuto (the latter two pass him with credit). He beats only Tinker and an unadjusted Pesky in WARP. WS likes him a bit better but he's still coming in 11th. However, I'd still take him ahead of Wills. Wills had 900 more PA than Fregosi but could only squeeze an extra 3.1 WARP out of it. Plus, Fregosi is the better defender while Wills negated a lot of his speed advantage by getting caught often (his 73% SB rate trails Concepcion, Campaneris and Aparicio).

15. Vern Stephens: Another light career guy. His high OPS+ is inflated by playing against war-time competition. And he beats out Groat as the worst defender on the list. Stephens lost the most in this re-evaluation.

14. Joe Tinker: I was accused of underrating Johnny Evers and now I have Tinker pretty low, too. His career rank is similar to Wills and Fregosi but Tinker's low rating is better than theirs because of the shorter season and era. But it's not enough to make up the gap between Tinker and the guys ahead of him.

13. Johnny Pesky: I like Johnny Pesky. I'd love to have him ranked higher, but I just couldn't do it. Along with Tinker, he makes up the bottom of the borderline. War credit pushes his WS and WARP totals to 247 and 73.1 but that's still only middle of the group for WARP and lower for WS. It's enough to push him past his fellow Red Sock Stephens, but not enough to make him an obvious candidate. Plus, though not quite as bad as Stephens, Pesky wasn't a great defender.

11 and 12. Dick Bartell and Jay Bell: Bartell and Bell turn out to be very similar players. They're close in WS (252-245), close in RC (1075-1057) and identical in WARP (92.0 to 92.0). Both were slightly above average- but not outstanding- defenders. However, Bell had the advantage of the 162 game schedule so Bartell put up these identical numbers in slightly fewer opportunities, giving him the small lead.

10. Bert Campaneris: Campaneris does very well in both WS and WARP. He's tied for 3rd in WS and 5th in WARP. But his RC- even after being adjusted to include speed numbers- is lower than both Bartell and Bell. I can make the excuse that he played in a lower offensive era than those two but while it's enough to pass that pair, it's not enough to jump higher on the list than that.

9. Herman Long: The toughest guy to place. For a bit, I had him as high as 7th but that seemed too much like over-rating him. He doesn't do that well in the uber-stats, tied with Stephens for 7th in WS (9th after giving others war credit and MLEs) and tied for 9th in WARP (10th after adjustments). However, he's very strong in some other numbers, such as finishing 2nd to only Aparicio in Runs Created. He looks good here, which is about where WS and WARP put him.

7 and 8. Dave Bancroft and Artie Wilson: This is the top of the borderline. The Hall of Merit wouldn't be diminished by having them in, nor would it be shamed by having them out. Again, two very similar players. Bancroft has a good lead in WS, 269 to 249, but only a narrow lead in WARP, 68.5 to 67.6, and RC, 935 to 923. Plus, they were both above average defenders though neither is reputed to be as high in the stratosphere of great defenders as Maranville, Rizzuto or Aparicio. Bancroft has the slight lead, but Wilson isn't too far behind.

6. Tony Fernandez: This result surprised me. I like the Blue Jays but I never thought of Tony Fernandez as a Hall of Famer. However, he's tied for 4th in WS (6th after handing out credit to others) and 2nd in WARP even after all adjustments. He's tied with Aparicio for 1st in Runs Created, though he drops behind him when RC are adjusted for speed. And he was an above average defender. I don't know if we'll get deep enough into the backlog for Fernandez to make my ballot but I'd love to see it happen.

5. Rabbit Maranville: The ultimate career candidate. Maranville is first in WS with 302. Not a great peak candidate, which is why WARP has him in the middle of the pack with 73.1. He did have a pair of good offensive years in 1921 and 1922 but otherwise, he was in the line-up because of his outstanding glove. Still, the glove kept him in the line-up long enough that he built up some nice career numbers.

4. Phil Rizzuto: A much better combination of peak and career, after receiving war credit of course. Credit for his three missing years pushes Rizzuto up to 301 WS, just behind Maranville. It also pushes him up to an impressive 92.2 WARP. Unlike Maranville, Rizzuto actually has a peak worth talking about- that 1950 with 113.3 RC is phenomenal. However, even with war credit, Rizzuto is only looking at 13 full seasons which is good enough to push him ahead of Maranville but not by a lot.

3. Dick Lundy: All of the new MLEs for Clarkson and Wilson are causing us to forget about some earlier stars. Lundy has had a couple of different MLEs worked up for him which put him with an OPS+ between 94 and 104. The Hall of Fame research shows that he walked more often than he was originally given credit for so there's a good chance that he's closer to the 104 than the 94. Upper projections gave him 300 WS and a 105 WARP, but even slightly less optimistic numbers of 275 and 85 would land him about here. Plus, he had more peak seasons than either Rizzuto or Maranville and anchored championship teams for two separate franchises. Lundy was already one of the next in line to make my ballot before this re-evaluation and this more recent look only confirmed his high placement.

2. Luis Aparicio: I figured that this re-eval would be a good chance to discard a lot of the "teddy bears" that were clogging up my ballot. However, here's one personal favorite that continued to get a high ranking. His 293 WS rank behind only Maranville and a war credited Rizzuto. His 85.0 WARP is 6th (or 8th after giving others their due). His 1092 RC are first, and that's even before being adjusted for speed. And of all of the speedsters in this group, Aparicio had the best SB percentage. Plus, he had a long defensive prime from 1958 to 1970 with some truly outstanding years from 1958-1960. Furthermore, metrics which ignore speed underrate his peak: he had 4 years of more than 80 RC and 7 of more than 75. I could have been happy hanging on to this "teddy bear" except for another surprise.

1. Dave Concepcion: I did not expect this, but I just couldn't ignore the numbers. Concepcion has 269 WS, tied for 5th (7th after giving others credit). He's first in WARP (and he stays first even after giving others credit). He's 7th in RC when ignoring speed but he jumps to 5th when including it. He easily made my top five (with Aparicio, Maranville, Rizzuto and Lundy) on career considerations alone. Then, I started comparing peak and prime. Rizzuto, Maranville and Lundy each have one bigger season than Concepcion (Maranville in '22, Lundy in '24 and Rizzuto in '50). But Concepcion overtakes both Rizzuto and Maranville with the second-best season and stays comfortably ahead until the 9th or 10th season. He does the same thing to Aparicio, beating him in RC and RC/27 each of the top 8 seasons. That's a real dominance, not in peak, but in length and strength of prime. With that, Concepcion leaps over the career candidates, into first place in my positional rankings and onto my next ballot. Oh, and if a nearly-pure peak voter who relies heavily on replacement value like Dan R and a prime/career voter who doesn't like myself can agree about Dave Concepcion, he's definitely a candidate who appeals to a wide cross-section of voters.
   233. Paul Wendt Posted: May 28, 2007 at 10:36 PM (#2381540)
Thane in 1999 Ballot
7) Frank Tanana
His WARP totals are very good (111 WARP3 career, 47 top 5 seasons), but Win Shares has him as run of the mill. I lean a little more towards WARP in my rankings so Tanana is in the top half of the ballot this year.

I am surprised to see Tanana pull a #7 (and some smaller votes elsewhere) but not so much as I am surprised to see 111 WARP3. Does anyone know how about many eligible pitchers have higher ratings? My impression is that good shortstops are the players WARP most "overrates" if the HOM is a point of reference --eg, Maranville, Bancroft, Tinker-- but I generated that impression by looking up numerous fielders and no pitchers, and by looking up WARP1.

Chris Fluit on walter Rabbit Maranville
He did have a pair of good offensive years in 1921 and 1922 but otherwise, he was in the line-up because of his outstanding glove.

He scored more runs in 1921-22. But there is a reason 1920 demarcates the so-called dead ball and lively ball, and he moved from a bad team in a huge ballpark to a good team in a smaller one. Except for the teammate effect --that is, at the team level-- baseball-reference tries to show the runs inflation directly with AIR, one of its "Special Batting" statistics. For Maranville in Boston and Pittsburgh, AIR is 93-83-78-75-74-76-79-87 and 109-113-109-106)

[more moved to the thread for Maranville among others]
   234. DanG Posted: May 29, 2007 at 01:47 AM (#2381924)
DanG, what you are saying definitely does make sense, ... That said, I think what you are proposing would be exceedingly difficult to execute

No doubt, very difficult to execute. I don't see an easy way around the issue. Can we just ignore it? The question being, is the magnitude of this "fungibility effect" large enough that it would invalidate your approach to player valuation?
   235. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: May 29, 2007 at 02:38 AM (#2382128)
Paul, I know on my spreadsheet, except for Ryan, there's nobody with a higher WARP 1 or 3 than Tanana. That's 20 guys (Alphabetically, Bridges, Cicotte, Cooper, Dean, Grimes, John, Kaat Leonard, Luque, Mays, McCormick, Mullane, Newcombe, Reuschel, Shocker, Stieb, Tiant, Walters, Welch and Willis.) However, he's barely ahead of John (112.5-110.6 on WARP 1, 111.3-108.7 on WARP 3), and trails him 289-241 in Win Shares and 111-106 on ERA+. So I'm not quite sure why the Thane has John down at #23. (Lack of peak, for a guess.)

On another topic, after cheering on Del Pratt again yesterday, I felt compelled to come up with this: The Del Pratt All-Star Team. These are players who are not HoFers, not HoMers, not PHoMers, but who I had either barely heard of or severly underappreciated before this project, and now realize are very good players, certainly worthy of being in my consideration set. These are the guys I'd really like to vote for, but can't quite.

C: Thurman Munson
1B: Ed Konetchy
2B: Del Pratt
SS: Jim Fregosi
3B: Ron Cey
LF: Bobby Veach
CF: Mike Griffin
RF: Frank Howard
SP: Jim McCormick
SP: Dolf Luque
SP: Dutch Leonard
SP: Bill Byrd
(I really can't think of any relievers that fit.)
Guys who are a little too good because they might make my PHoM before we're done include Luis Tiant, Don Newcombe, Alejandro Oms, Charley Jones and Elston Howard.
   236. Chris Fluit Posted: May 29, 2007 at 03:07 AM (#2382162)
RP: (for me at least) John Hiller and Mike Marshall
   237. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: May 29, 2007 at 04:12 AM (#2382215)
Yeah, I guess I'd go with Hiller. I probably didn't analyze him as closely as I should have, and I don't have him in my consideration set, but he does fit with the concept to me. Also, Dave Bancroft would have been perfect as my SS, except he's already in the HoF. Frickin' Frisch.
   238. DL from MN Posted: May 29, 2007 at 01:37 PM (#2382369)
Thanks for mentioning Pratt, I'd overlooked him. He fits in near Johnny Pesky on my spreadsheet. My SS for this criteria is definitely Dick Bartell.
   239. Cblau Posted: May 29, 2007 at 10:16 PM (#2382924)
Here's one I don't get, from Mulder and Scully's ballot:
13. Don Newcombe (phom) – Lots of innings every year at a top 10 ERA+ rate will do it for me.
In any case, I have Newcombe as the best pitcher in the NL in 1949 (tied with Spahn and Pollet based on 21 WS plus 3) and in 1956. He is in the top 5 in the NL in 1950, 1951, 1955, and 1959. Now, add in 1952 and 1953.
I see an 8 time all-star (6 if you don’t give Korean credit) with 7 years out of 8. If you don’t give the credit, then its 5 years out of the 6 he played.

How about K/W? 8 straight top 10s not including Korea (52-54) with 5 top 3s and only one worse than 6th. Even if you add in 1954, its 8 years out of 9.
How about WHIP? 7 top 10s out of 8, not including Korea, with 6 top 5s and 2 firsts.

Let's see- Newcombe had 4 years when he was in the top 10 in both ERA+ and innings. Nolan Ryan had 5 (the post claims 4).
Ryan was TSN Pitcher of the Year in 1977. He finished in the top 5 in Cy Young voting 6 times. Ryan was an actual all-star 8 times, to 4 for Newcombe.
How about K/W? 8 top 10's for Ryan, including a #1.
How about WHIP? 9 top 10s, including 3 straight in the top 2.
So, going by his criteria, Ryan is better than Newcombe, yet Newcombe is #13 while Ryan is #16. He says Ryan has only 7 seasons with an ERA+ over 120; Newcombe has 4, with a peak of 130. Ryan's best was 142 (ignoring the 194 in strike-shortened 1981.)
   240. mulder & scully Posted: May 29, 2007 at 10:50 PM (#2382948)
Yes, it was 5 and not 4.
Newcombe won the Cy Young once, Ryan never.
I give Newcombe credit for his two years in Korea at the top 10 IP/ERA+ level, so that's 6.
Also, giving credit for the two years in Korea, that's 9 years of WHIP top 10s for Newc also.
Add the two Korea years of ERA+ top 10s and that is 8 for Newc to Ryan's 7.
K/W ratio? Yes, Ryan has 8 with one first. Newc has 8 with one first without any credit for the Korean years.
MVP voting? Ryan has .23 shares for his career, Newcombe has 1.13.
All-Star games? Means less than nothing to me.

So that's it. I add in two full all-star (top 4 or 5 pitchers in the National League with all the attendant supporting numbers) seasons to Newc for Korea. It comes down to 3 spots on my ballot. Ryan isn't going in anyway this year.
   241. DL from MN Posted: May 29, 2007 at 11:21 PM (#2383033)
I just don't get M&S's ballot in general. Mickey Welch, Bucky Walters, Vic Willis, Don Newcombe and Wilbur Cooper all above Nolan Ryan. Take Ryan v. Welch for example. Nolan Ryan has 500 more innings than Welch at a comparable career ERA+ AND RYAN PITCHED 100 YEARS LATER! Here's a simple ERA+ and IP chart

Pitcher IP ERA+
NoRyan 5386 112
MWelch 4802 113
Walters 3104 115
VWillis 3996 118
WCooper 3480 116
Newcombe 2154 114

I can basically cherry pick years to come up with careers more impressive than ALL of these pitchers. Ryan's top 2770+ innings pitched would include 1970, 1972-74, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1987, 1989-1991. All of those years are ABOVE 114 ERA+. Of the remainder there are an additional 1341 innings above league average (100-110 ERA+) and 602.3 innings just slightly below league average (98 ERA+ which would be around league average for a starting pitcher).

Ryan has 7 top 10s (including 2 #1s) in Adjusted ERA+ IN A 24-26 team league with five man rotations. Welch has 7 top 10s (zero #1s) in an 8 team league with 2-1/2 man rotations. That's the difference between being in the top 8% of your league and being in the top 50% of your league.

The ERA+ advantage for Walters disappears when you war adjust so you essentially have 3100 innings at the same rate as Ryan's 5400. With the selective endpoints of Ryan's top 3500 innings he blows away Wilbur Cooper. Newk doesn't even come within spitting distance. Vic Willis I can see someone advocating for if they like peak but the difference in era makes up for the fairly similar results over 4000 innings, plus Ryan has 600 innings of career bulk on top of it with non-negligible value.

Nolan Ryan is overrated because his reputation is much higher than his numbers. His numbers speak for themselves though and they're flat out better than anyone else eligible among pitchers.
   242. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 29, 2007 at 11:26 PM (#2383050)
It all depends on what Kelly is measuring. If he's more of a prime guy, his ballot makes more sense.

All I know is that he helped my consensus score, so I'm all for his ballot. :-D
   243. mulder & scully Posted: May 30, 2007 at 06:00 AM (#2384148)
I like prime. EVERY ballot I write that. I just don't understand the fascination with Nolan Ryan. NO ONE GAVE A RAT'S ASS when I didn't have Sutton on my ballot all the way down at 27th in 1994. Let's compare Sutton to Ryan:

More wins: tie, if you include post-season (I don't), then Sutton
Fewer losses: Sutton, by 36
Consequently, higher winning percentage: Sutton, .559 to .526 (or per 162 games, 90.5 - 71.5 vs. 85 - 77)
Innings pitched: Ryan, by 103.66
Grey Ink: Ryan, by 11, 251 to 240
ERA+: Ryan, by 4, 112 to 108
WHIP: Sutton, by .105 (or almost a baserunner per game), 1.142 (51st all-time) to 1.247 (not in top 100)
Shutouts: Ryan, by 3, 61 to 58
Games Started: Ryan, by 17, 773 to 756
Strikeouts: Ryan, by 2140, 5714 to 3574
Fewer Hits: Ryan, by 769, 3923 to 4692
More Walks: Ryan, by 1452, 2795 to 1343
Most HBP: Ryan, by 76, 158 to 82
Wild Pitches: Ryan, by 165, 277 to 112
Errors: Ryan, by 59, 90 to 31

Top 10s in ERA+: 7 each. Ryan: 1, 1, 3, 5, 7, 7, 10. Sutton: 2, 2, 4, 7, 9, 10, 10
IP rank in corresponding years: NR, 9, 3, 3, 6, NR, 8 and 5, NR, 9, NR, 8, 8, 7
Top 10s in IP: Ryan, 9 times and Sutton, 10 times
Top 10s in K/9: Ryan, 20 times with 18 in 1st/2nd and Sutton, 12 times
Top 10s in H/9: Ryan, 18 times with 15 in 1st/2nd and Sutton, 10 times
Top 10s in WHIP: Ryan, 9 times with 2 firsts and Sutton, 14 times with 4 firsts (including 1981 when Ryan led with his 191 ERA+)
Top 10s in K/W: Ryan, 8 times with 1 first and Sutton, 16 times with 3 firsts.
Top 10s in BB/9: Ryan, 0, and Sutton, 13 times.

Win Shares: Ryan 334 to 319
DERA (adjusted for season and all-time): Ryan 4.15 and Sutton 4.25 (that's .10 per 9 innings or 3 runs per 270 innings)

I don't see the the large enough difference to put Ryan more than 11 spots higher than I placed Sutton in 1994.
   244. OCF Posted: May 30, 2007 at 06:39 AM (#2384156)
I'm not disuputing that Sutton and Ryan were close. In fact, that's what it says in my ballot statement: "Sutton with no-hitters." But I'm much more of a career voter, especially with pitchers, than mulder & scully, and I had Sutton high on my ballot - so Ryan at #4 wasn't a difficult call for me.
   245. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 30, 2007 at 12:44 PM (#2384228)
What separates Ryan from Sutton to me is that Ryan had a peak, while Sutton was devoid of one. When you combine his peak with his better pitching (they certainly weren't equals career-wise), Ryan isn't really near Sutton, IMO.
   246. DL from MN Posted: May 30, 2007 at 01:33 PM (#2384254)
I guess what I don't understand is the fascination with Mickey Welch. The guy was in the top half of pitchers in his league 7 times out of 12, never higher than 3rd (15th percentile). Nolan Ryan was in the top 8% of his league 7 times and in the top third 12 times. Top 10 doesn't mean nearly as much when there are 20 starting pitchers as it does when there are 120.

I think Ryan has a pretty impressive prime (7 years in the top 8%) so I guess I don't understand 'prime'. I think you underrated Sutton also but I don't think Sutton's credentials are as strong as Nolan Ryan's.
   247. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 30, 2007 at 03:13 PM (#2384381)
FWIW, I like Ryan better than Welch, but Smiling Mickey more than Black & Decker.
   248. jimd Posted: May 31, 2007 at 01:20 AM (#2385341)
Top 30 Pitchers by WARP1 (eligible thru 1999)

2107 Johnson
1944 Young
1638 Alexander
1538 Spahn
1487 Seaver

1434 Mathewson
1429 Blyleven
1411 Grove
1410 Niekro
1407 Perry

1390 Ryan
1311 Carlton
1268 Roberts
1260 Jenkins
1258 Nichols

1197 Gibson
1173 Wynn
1154 Sutton
1142 Ruffing
1125 Tanana

1108 Feller
1107 John
1091 Newhouser
1085 Plank
1068 Palmer

1060 Lyons
1045 Hubbell
1018 Tiant
1013 Rusie
_999 Kaat
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