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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Sunday, July 29, 2007

2003 Ballot Discussion

2003 (Aug 20)—elect 3
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos

437 137.7 1977 Eddie Murray-1B
346 111.6 1982 Ryne Sandberg-2B
295 99.5 1982 Brett Butler-CF
198 82.5 1981 Lee Smith-RP
175 69.8 1981 Tony Pena-C
168 70.4 1981 Fernando Valenzuela-P
184 57.6 1985 Mickey Tettleton-C
174 58.4 1987 Kevin Seitzer-3B
157 57.9 1985 Greg Gagne-SS
159 50.4 1985 Darren Daulton-C
136 50.4 1988 Jody Reed-2B
117 53.0 1983 Kevin Gross-P
130 42.5 1982 Don Slaught-C
105 41.7 1986 Todd Worrell-RP
103 41.7 1987 John Smiley-P

Players Passing Away in 2002
Age Elected

86 1965 Enos Slaughter-RF
83 1966 Ted Williams-LF
80 1978 Hoyt Wilhelm-RP

Age Eligible

96 1946 Willis Hudlin-P
93 1953 Mel Harder-P
92 1949 Mace Brown-RP
91 1952 Frankie Crosetti-SS
87 1951 Pete Gray-LF/CF
85 1960 Ken Raffensberger-P
82 1963 Steve Gromek-P
79 1963 Wes Westrum-C
77——Jack Buck-Broadcaster
73 1970 Al Smith-RF/LF
70 1972 Dick Stuart-1B
70 1976 Ron Kline-RP
69 1976 Johnny Roseboro-C
67 1977 Lee Maye-LF/RF
60 1981 Dave McNally-P
54 1988 Jim Spencer-1B
50 1992 Al Cowens-RF
50 1993 Darrell Porter-C

Upcoming Candidate
33 2008 Darryl Kile-P

Thanks, Dan!


John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 29, 2007 at 03:19 PM | 198 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 31, 2007 at 02:04 AM (#2462357)
Murray and Sandberg are locks, while Smith will be the strongest of the rest.
   2. Daryn Posted: July 31, 2007 at 02:09 AM (#2462365)
I always had too many Willis Hudlins.
   3. OCF Posted: July 31, 2007 at 02:13 AM (#2462369)
Lots of catchers on the ballot this time. I'll confess that, as a Cardinal fan, I thought trading Van Slyke for Pena was a good thing. So I was wrong about that. But Pena, who never met a pitch he didn't like, could hardly be more different from Tettlton and Daulton, who were TTO hitters long before I'd ever heard that acronym. Speaking of Tettleton: some of those Tiger teams - leading the league in batters' strikeouts by a mile and a half but also leading the league in walks and HR - were quite something. Any Tiger fans of that generation around to talk about them?
   4. Cblau Posted: July 31, 2007 at 02:16 AM (#2462371)
Either that's a different Lee Smith than I think it is, or the RF next to his name should be RP.
   5. Cblau Posted: July 31, 2007 at 02:21 AM (#2462381)
I've got an article on Lee Maye up at the SABR BioProject site, but it's crappy. Don't read it. Listen to the man's music instead- Arthur Lee Maye and the Crowns.
   6. mulder & scully Posted: July 31, 2007 at 05:09 AM (#2462589)
First, the Comic-Con was awesome, despite over 120,000 total attendees over 4.5 days. Amazing what crowd control and overlapping the popular panels will do, isn't it.

Second, a prelim:

1. Sandberg
2. Charley Jones
3. Murray
4. Welch
5. Browning
6. Walters
7. Clarkson
8. Duffy
9. Leach
10. Willis
11. Cravath
12. Burns
13. Newcombe
14. Cooper
15. Bresnahan / Howard / Parrish - best available catcher? or Lee Smith ? or Herman Long / Vern Stephens / Rizzuto - best available SS or Ohms back on ballot? or do Frank Chance or Burleigh Grimes sneak onto the ballot?

Yes, Murray behind Jones. Like Dan said on the Murray thread, there is a very good consecutive prime 1978-1985, plus 1990. The rest of the years don't add much to his candidacy. Murray has by far the worst OPS+ of any first baseman in my top 20 first basemen.

PHOM: Sandberg (8th-ish all-time 2b as of right now 2007), Murray (12th-ish all-time 1b), and your guess is as good as mine for the 3rd spot.
   7. ronw Posted: July 31, 2007 at 06:11 AM (#2462622)
83 1966 Ted Williams-LF

Is his head still in that cryogenics facility in Arizona? Very bizarre situation.
   8. Rusty Priske Posted: July 31, 2007 at 12:43 PM (#2462702)

PHoM: Murray, Sandberg, Butler (Freehan gets edged out from the backlist again)

1. Eddie Murray
2. Tony Perez
3. Andre Dawson
4. Ryne Sandberg
5. Tommy Leach
6. George Van Haltren
7. Mickey Welch
8. Lou Brock
9. Rusty Staub
10. Graig Nettles
11. Reggie Smith
12. Hugh Duffy
13. Norm Cash
14. Orlando Cepeda
15. Bob Johnson

16-20. Browning, Redding, Singleton, Puckett, Willis
21-25. Bonds, Mullane, Butler, Murphy, Streeter
26-20. Grimes, Strong, McCormick, Greene, Gleason

Lee Smith is at about #55.
   9. DL from MN Posted: July 31, 2007 at 03:22 PM (#2462843)
2003 prelim

1) Eddie Murray
2) Ryne Sandberg - 1 and 2 are close on top seasons but are easily separated by career value.
3) Luis Tiant - Top 3 seasons WARP - Stieb 29.2, Tiant 30.3 - Tiant wins on peak. Top 8 seasons WARP - Stieb 67.8, Tiant 67.4 - tied on prime. Stieb only has 2 seasons over 4 WARP outside of his best 8 and Tiant has 5 - Tiant wins Career. Can someone figure out why Win Shares don't like Tiant? The only advantages I've seen for Stieb are Win Shares and consecutiveness of prime.
4) Bus Clarkson
5) Bob Johnson
6) Norm Cash
7) Tommy Bridges
8) Graig Nettles
9) Rick Reuschel
10) Ron Cey
11) Reggie Smith
12) Buddy Bell
13) Rusty Staub
14) Tony Perez
15) Gavy Cravath

16-20) Virgil Trucks, Bob Elliott, Ben Taylor, Jack Clark, Tommy John
21-25) Roger Bresnahan, Lee Smith, Dave Bancroft, Frank Tanana, Orlando Cepeda
26-30) Tommy Leach, Bobby Bonds, Thurman Munson, Dick Redding, Johnny Evers

Lee Smith makes my PHoM but not my ballot. Could we elect some pitchers and third basemen?
   10. Chris Fluit Posted: July 31, 2007 at 03:43 PM (#2462868)
We did just elect Dave Stieb.
   11. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:06 PM (#2462891)

-Eddie Murray---I remember him being known for several things. (1) Consistency (2) Durability (3) Clutch performance (4) Bases loaded performance (5) Not talking to the media. We all know how consistent he was, so that's probably accurate. He played about 92% of his teams scheduled games, and if knock off his final 55 game partial season, it's 95%. Nice. How about clutch?
Career OPS = 835
RISP OPS = 889
2-out RISP = 855
Tie game = 869
Inn 7-9 = 827
Ex Inn = 818

It's not unreasonable to say he was good under pressure. With the bases full, his OPS was 1126 with 19 grand slams. I'll take it!

And, of course, we know he was taciturn with the scribes. Murray was my good pal Greg's favorite player growing up. Greg often told me that despite Murray's silence, he was said to be a guy who kept the clubhouse loose through a blend of good-natured joking and leadershippy stuff. Anyway, I always saw Murray as being pretty classy because he kept himself in good shape, didn't use the media to grind axes, even when he could have done so, and generally stuck to his guns and let his play do the talking. He's been hired and fired a couple times as a hitting coach I think, and I suspect he'd probably have a good approach to pass along to younger hitters.

-Ryne Sandberg---Jared Sandberg's uncle. That's his claim to fame, right? Seriously, I wonder about his year off. He said it was to be with the kids, but does anyone know anything else about it? Depression? Injury? Fight with management/manager? Or did he just know that his salad days were long over? He was coming off an 85 OPS+, and his offensive game was dropping like a rock. After his time off, he posted a 98 and an 83 OPS+, suggesting that the skid was real. Done at age 37. Non-seq: 76% SB rate.

-Brett Butler---Didn't he have his own sitcom in the 1990s? Butler is not-quite the CF version of Ozzie Smith. Or put another way, he's Ashburn lite...doing everything but hit for high average and power. Butler has the 9th highest eqBR since 1972, about 4-5 wins' worth. In fairness, he hit for a higher average than Ozzie but stole at a much, much worse clip. We liked Ashburn, maybe too much, but he's probably now marginal enough that we're unlikely to elect a lesser version of him. Chris's comparison to Puckett is revealing about BOTH players and should give us pause about each.

-Lee Smith---See my notes on his inn/app in his thread. I suppose it cuts both ways. On one hand we could say: See, the strict usage standards cut down his value! Or we could say: See, the strict usage standards allowed his career to go on extra long since he might not have had enough stamina to go more than one inning in his 30s. Maybe it's some of both? He's a total puzzle to me, as all relievers are, really, but I agree with Joe Dimino that Smith probably IS the in/out line.

-Tony Pena---When I was growing up, Pena was the very sort of player who ended up being part of those sucker deals you got from your sharkier baseball-card pals. "You give me Dale Murphy, I'll give you Tony Pena---he's an All-Star, you know---and Tim Stoddard, and Storm Davis, and Claudell Washington---I'm pretty sure he was an All-Star---and Alan Bannister, and Criag Lefferts, and Biff Pocoroba. Look seven for one!" I fell for this kind of thing too many times. Anyway, Pena was sort of fun, the template for Benito Santiago in certain ways. He had some funny crouches to avoid straining his knees, and he seemed to come up with key hits from time to time in situations where you thought he wouldn't. Gun for an arm too. And never met a pitch he didn't like.

-Fernando Valenzuela---I saw him pitch once in my life. It was debut for the Phillies. By that time he was relying a lot on a straight change, and he was masterful at pulling the string on it and getting guys way out in front. Lots of long, foul homeruns by righties. Anyway, he was effective, in fact looking up his game log, he went six full, six hits, two walks, one k, one UER, no ER. And because it was the Phillies, he got an ND. The fans were totally psyched for him, and frankly, he was fun to watch.

-Mickey Tettleton---Late bloomer or oppressed by the man? The prodigious power he was known for simply didn't appear at the MLB level until age 27. Before that his average ping-ponged between .200 and .250, and his resultant SLG was in the .350-.375 range, but that .125-150 ISO was still 50-100 points lower than it would be in future years. The walks, however, were always there, which kept his OPS+ in the near-average range. Surfing over to the Cube... Tettleton spent three straight years at A+ Modesto from 1981-1983 (ages 20-22). I don't know what the leagues' averages were, but his lines were
246/435/377 in 48 G
249/400/415 in 88 G
243/376/357 in 124 G

In other words, not far away from what he actually did during his first few years in the majors, with 110-135 ISOs and lots of walks. Also notably consistent. Also by his third year, probably a bit old for a catching prospect in that league.

In 1984 at Albany/Colonie in the usually offensively challenged EL, he went 231/345/349 in 86 games. He was called up anyway and went 263/352/355 in 33 games...the same performance.

In 1985 he mostly played in Oakland, 78 games at 251/344/351. He went back to A+ Modesto and his 214/214/429 in 4 games, possibly on rehab?

In 1986 he spent 15 games at Modesto going 238/484/405. Here's the first inkling of the tremendous power with his 167 ISO a big improeemnt over the 110-120 ISOs of his previous seasons. In Oakland he went 204/325/389, again showing ISO improvement up to 185. He was 25.

In the Rabbit Ball Year of 1987 he spent 82 games in Oakland with a yucky 194/292/322 line plus 3 game in Modesto: 364/417/1000.

In 1988, he spent 19 games in the IL at Rachacha: 244/380/439. A 195 ISO in those 19 games. Then in Balto, 261/330/424, a 163 ISO. While 1989 is usually seen as his Fruit Loops breakthrough, it's really 1988 where he is breaking through, consistently putting up numbers that are quite good for a C. If you were a fantasy player in 1989, you'd have wanted to buy low on him.

There's some interesting questions to ask about Tettleton.
(1) Why did his power take so long to develop?
(2) Was his development hurt by returning to Modesto time and again?
(3) Was his inability to stick with Oakland a reflection of a ballpark and a player-type clashing?

This third question makes some sense to me. Oakland is known as a pitcher's park. In that time, before Mt Davis supposedly changed the wind patterns, it impeded power more than today IIRC. And as we all know, the park has humongous foul ground. Tettleton's game is predicated on powerful uppercutting, so presuambly he's a fly-ball hitter. In a park with a vast foul ground, some of Tettleton's pop fouls and fly-ball fouls (resulting from an uppercut swing) will be caught for outs instead of harmlessly falling in the stands. In addition, if the park plays long, more of his long flies are swallowed up by the park. And who knows if visibility issues (were they present) might affect a TTO guy more than another hitter since they see so many pitches.

How might we know if this hypothesis was true? His performance in other parks could help. When he went to Detroit he cemented his power-hitting reputation. He continued in this way with two years in Texas too. But even moving to Baltimore, which was closer to neutral than the Colessium, yielded fast, dramatic results. His home/away splits generally support my theory, but not absolutely:
OPS home/away
1984:  777/624  
:  645/749
:  675/754
:  602/633
1988:  832/685
:  813/703
1991:  900/856
:  953/748
:  840/888
:  922/843
:  868/763
:  592/337 

He's got a fairly nasty reverse split in Oakland, and a normal to favorable split in the other parks. Perhaps there's something to the idea that an extreme TTO player in Oakland in the mid-1980s would have an especially tough time. Knowing more about Modesto's park would help us understand his transformation a bit better too, does anyone know where that info might be?

-Kevin Seitzer---He's going to be better than Brett, right?

-Greg Gagne---Interesting to me that his name is Gag-nee, but the pitcher is Gahn-yay.... Gagne seemed to me to be the nearly perfectly average shortstop of his time. Not awesome with the glove, but a little above average, while not quite average with the bat. That'll buy you a long career if you can keep it up.

-Darren Daulton---Wow. From Phils hero to UFOlogist.... Although those two things may not be any more celebrated than the other. Did collisions and knee injuries ruin his HOM chances? Maybe. He's a top-40 catcher as-is, and those missing, injury-riddled years would have done a lot to add bulk or even a prime to his very nice peak. Anyway, he's got that classic tent-peg shape, like a big wedge: super broad shoulders, tapering down to a lithe lower body. He was stacked, and I wouldn't want to run into him in a home-plate smash-up.

-Jody Reed---Bad advice from his agent, eh? Good player. James thinks he's one of the best fielding 2Bs ever, and he certainly was good. As a hitter he had his moments, showing good ability to put bat on ball, draw the occasional walk, do the little stuff, hit some doubles, and sometimes hit .300. Good little player to have around.

-Kevin Gross---Talk about roughing it on the mound.... Another guy who generally seemed to define average through much of his career. An average MLB starter, who somehow got paid like a star. The days of Gross/Rawley/Howell were, well, eventful for Phils fans. Throw in an Indian Summer of Pat Combs and you could almost see how they could make 3rd place.

-Don Slaught---His nickname should have been "On." Aside from his being awful defensively and pretty good offensively, I mainly remember him for his getting hit in the face. Didn't he then start wearing the cross-bar batting helmet, a la Terry Steinbach?

-Todd Worrell---Very underrated. He was tremendously effective, and talented enough that a major career disruption for very serious arm surgery didn't do much to diminish his effectiveness when he was finally rehabilitated. I'd take him over Tim any day. With him, the 1987 Cards missed Bruce Sutter nary a whit.

-John Smiley---He always seemed to me better than he was, but I was growing up a couple years in P-burgh, where his appreciation was, naturally, at its highest. As it were, I suspect he was Viola-lite or something along those lines. Which meant a few pretty good years, and one or two really good ones, then arm troubles and the end. He never seemed very smiley to me, more in the Tekulve mode of tall, lean, kind of angular, adenoidal, a bit sallow, perhaps. All told, a good pitcher, but I'm frankly surprised he notched 100 WS or 40 WARP.
   12. ronw Posted: July 31, 2007 at 05:26 PM (#2462999)
From the 2002 Results Thread:

We have a total of 18 spots left (3 per year from 2003-2008).

It looks like the remaining elections will be:

2003 - Murray, Sandberg, backlog
2004 - Molitor, Eckersley, backlog
2005 - Boggs, backlog, backlog
2006 - Will Clark, backlog, backlog
2007 - Ripken, Gwynn, McGwire
2008 - Raines, backlog, backlog

McGwire will have some protests, and I could be overestimating support for Will Clark, but I think each of them makes it sometime before we go to yearly voting. That leaves only 8 spots for the backlog.

The current backlog probably consists of just 12 individuals(everyone who received 200-300 points in the last election):

OF Pete Browning, C Roger Bresnahan, OF Charley Jones, OF Bob Johnson, OF Andre Dawson, P Dick Redding, 1B-3B Tony Perez, OF Hugh Duffy, OF Kirby Puckett, 3B-OF Tommy Leach, P Bucky Walters, and OF Gavy Cravath

Per Howie's list in the "Eligibles" thread, the following 15 individuals could become backloggers:

2003 - OF Brett Butler, RP Lee Smith
2004 - P Dennis Martinez, OF Joe Carter
2005 - UT Tony Phillips, P Bret Saberhagen
2006 - OF Albert Belle, P Orel Hershiser, P Dwight Gooden
2007 - OF-DH Harold Baines, SS Tony Fernandez, OF Paul O'Neill, P David Cone
2008 - P Chuck Finley, P Chuck Knoblauch

Of course, some of these guys will have more support than others, but none looks like they will clearly break free of the backlog.

Check your ballots, we don't have many left. It is very likely that only 8 of these guys will join the Hall of Merit by January 2008. Anyone whose name doesn't appear above is also very likely a lost cause (yes, I'm talking to you, George Van Haltren, Sal Bando, Lou Brock, Ben Taylor, Bill Monroe, and Luis Tiant from my ballot). It is unconstitutional to abandon lost causes, but everyone should make sure their ballots accurately reflect their current thinking.
   13. Jim Sp Posted: July 31, 2007 at 05:34 PM (#2463010)
Butler #40, Lee Smith #69

1) Sandberg
2) Eddie Murray
3) John McGraw--Ultra-dominant player when healthy.
4) Bob Johnson-- WinShares says C fielder, warp thinks he’s considerably better than that. Very high assist totals from LF. Played CF for a terrible 1938 A’s team, also a little bit of 2B and 3B. On the whole I think the record indicates that he was actually a good defensive player. I also suspect that his WinShares suffer from playing on some horrible teams. May have struggled trying to get a break, tough to grab playing time on the great A’s teams earlier in his career. Never did anything but mash despite late ML start at age 27. 1934-1942 is a HoM worth prime in my view. PHoM in 1970.
5) Rizzuto--The man lost his age 25, 26, and 27 seasons to the war, right after a very good season in 1942. One of the best fielding shortstops of all time. A 93 career OPS+ is strong for a grade A shortstop, not weak. Great peak season in 1950 (11.4 warp3). PHoM 1977.
6) Concepcion--Grade A+ shortstop and could hit some too. Weak hitting at the beginning and end, but above average during prime 1973-1982. Warp3 prime: 10.7, 10.2, 10.2, 9.7, 8.8, 8.7, 8.3, 8.0. Note that Win Shares is conservative in assigning fielding credit to the great fielders. PHoM 1994.
7) BancroftConvinced now that the BP warp discount
8) Nettles--Great fielder with quite a bit of pop in his bat. Best Warp3: 10.7, 10.2, 8.9, 8.4, 8.2. PHoM 1995.
9) Charley Jones--A masher whose prime was destroyed by the blacklist.
10) Stephens-- PHoM in 1961. Looks underrated to me. Best years by Warp3 10.2, 10.1, 8.9, 8.5, 8.0, 7.8. Another player short on career length, but I like the prime.
11) Bobby Bonds--PHoM 1986. 1969 -75, 77 are all very good to MVP candidate seasons. Career 130 OPS+ plus good speed, a good enough fielder to play some CF. Is only lacking longevity.
12) Buddy Bell--The number of other 3b candidates should not be held against him. Compare him to the average starting 3b of the era and clearly he was a superior player. Compare Bell’s 108 OPS+ to say Ray Knight (99), Phil Garner (99), Enos Cabell (93)—none of whom were good fielders at 3rd. It’s a tough position. Apparently I’m doomed to end this exercise with 10 third baseman on my ballot.
13) Cey--I’ll take the plunge on Cey. I like Elliott, so indeed Cey shows up on my ballot. Power, walks, and defense at 3rd…wish the Mets didn’t spend 40 years looking for that. He didn’t look like a ballplayer but he was a good one. Best Warp3 10.5, 9.6, 9.2, 9.1, 9.0, 8.9. Interesting that Hack and Groh are in while Elliott and Cey are out, I have them in the same bunch. PHoM 1997.
14) Elliott--PHoM in 1960. The hitting for a 3B in his era is outstanding. Best years by warp3: 10.9, 9.4, 9.2, 8.7, 7.7, 7.3, 7.0. Strong prime trumps an early decline in my view.
15) Bresnahan
   14. Rusty Priske Posted: July 31, 2007 at 05:38 PM (#2463016)
I remember the year George Van Haltren JUST missed being elected. I was dissapointed because I knew that was it. If he wasn't going to make it that year, he was never getting in.
   15. ronw Posted: July 31, 2007 at 05:51 PM (#2463028)
Ah, yes. 1932. Rube Foster narrowly defeated Van Haltren. Foster's stock shot up after Chris Cobb performed an extensive analysis causing the electorate to truly think of Rube as the pitcher rather than the executive. In 1931 Foster leapt over Van Haltren, Beckley, Pike and Griffith to finish second to Dickey Pearce (in an elect-1 year), and in 1932 Foster finished a distant second to Louis Santop.
   16. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 31, 2007 at 05:54 PM (#2463032)
I think you've got a typo on Bancroft, Jim Sp. He's missing his commentary.
   17. Jim Sp Posted: July 31, 2007 at 06:06 PM (#2463046)
Oops, Bancroft's BP NL warp scores are heavily discounted due to league quality issues, now I think that the discount is excessive.
   18. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 31, 2007 at 06:30 PM (#2463112)
Either that's a different Lee Smith than I think it is, or the RF next to his name should be RP.

Dan made a typo there. I'll correct it in a moment.

As for '03, it will either be Sandberg and Murray or Murray and Sandberg at the top of my ballot.
   19. dlf Posted: July 31, 2007 at 06:52 PM (#2463163)
-Ryne Sandberg ... Seriously, I wonder about his year off. He said it was to be with the kids, but does anyone know anything else about it? Depression? Injury? Fight with management/manager? Or did he just know that his salad days were long over?

Marital difficulties. Alledgedly, Cindy Sandberg was making the rounds of Ryno's teamates.
   20. . . . . . . . . . . Posted: July 31, 2007 at 07:49 PM (#2463333)
A brief blurb in support of Roger Bresnahan:

First off, the durability problem shouldn't matter to peak voters. Lets set aside Bresnahan's seasons as a CF or as a job-sharing catcher (more on those later).

Bresnahan's case to the peak voter should rest on a remarkable 4 season peak as a catcher (1905-1908). Bresnahan had OPS+'s of 124, 144, 118 and 161; and games played at catcher of: 87, 82, 95, and 139.

But, isn't 87 and 92 games played a partial season?

NO. And this is an essential point. The elecorate is not properly correcting for the low games-played totals for catchers of that era.

Take 1905, for instance. Bresnahan's OPS was 124, and he played 87 games at catcher. But the NL leader in games played at catcher only played 107 games (with a 75 OPS+), and the 3rd highest catcher-games-played total in the NL that season was 89 (with a 61 OPS+!) Bresnahan had the 4th highest catcher-games-played [CGP] total in the NL that season, in other words; he was an average starter!

On top of his contribution at catcher, Bresnahan played 17 games elsewhere at his usual high you should think of Bresnahan as a typical regular catcher of his day in terms of durability, PLUS he gave you an extra 17 games filling in elsewhere.

I mentioned the 1st and 3rd high catcher-games-played totals because I used those numbers to estimate how many games a "durable" starter would play. You can't do an "average of the starters + 1 stdev" estimate because so many teams are using full job-sharing arrangements, with 2 catchers getting ~80 do you define a starter? So instead, I just averaged the 1st and 3rd highest CGP totals.

From 1905 to 1908, Bresnahan was 4th, 5th, 4th, and 2nd in the (8 team) league in CGP, and in those seasons played 89%, 81%, 93%, and 102% of the 1st-3rd average CGP. Make no mistake: Bresnahan was an regular with average durability. In the modern context, that's like a catcher playing ~105-118 games behind the plate each season over his 4 year prime: to put names to those numbers, somewhere between 2006 Johnny Estrada (low) and 2006 Paul LoDuca (high) for all 4 seasons.

And as a hitter, of course, Bresnahan was a superstar. In league where guys with 80 OPS+'s weren't just starting at catcher, but keeping their jobs for season after season, Bresnahan was delivering a 135-140 OPS+ as a catcher. Guys like Dan R. can better qualify his hitting contributions, but that just gives you an idea...

So thats the peak case. But on top of that you've got the 2 seasons in CF as a superlative hitter, and shoulder seasons at catcher with excellent stats by rate. Indeed, some of those "partial seasons" represent a bigger contribution than you'd imagine; in 1911 and 1914 he was 7th in the league in CGP, so still "technically" a regular.

All in all, I think the burden lies on the peak voter to explain why he's NOT voting for Bresnahan, and I also think the "prime" case is exceptionally strong. If you're a strict careerist then hes probably not getting your vote, but I'm interested to hear how those whose systems would allow them to vote for a short-career player are concluding that Bresnahan isn't worthy.
   21. OCF Posted: August 01, 2007 at 12:47 AM (#2463919)
Re Tony Pena: He had some funny crouches ...

Crouch? With the bases empty, Pena actually sat on the ground. I recall him with his right leg extended out straight on the ground and his left leg tucked up next to him. He could spring up from there reasonably quickly, although if he routinely caught a pitch, he'd stay seated and throw it back to the pitcher from there. One of his stated reasons for doing that was that it helped him give a low target to his pitchers. With runners on base, he adopted a conventional crouch.

If anyone ever wants to try this again, I'd suggest as a first concern: you'd better make sure you can keep a high fastball out of the umpire's face. Let any of those go through, and the man will have his ways of getting back at you.
   22. OCF Posted: August 01, 2007 at 12:57 AM (#2463956)
Four catchers listed above - two for whom I have an image of quick, athletic catchers who were free-swinging high-average hitters, and two for whom I have an image of big, slow TTO hitters. Reality is more shaded and complicated. Listed height and weight is often fictional and doesn't account for changes over the course of a career, but looking at it anyway, Pena is listed as 6-0, 181, Tettleton as 6-2, 212, with Slaught and Daulton in between. Here are some other aspects of them. I'm listing the BA/OBP/SLG as the difference from the park-adjusted league averages (per bb-ref). Of course, a single career number can mislead - all of these guys had up and down years.

Pena: .005/-.025/-.034, 80-63 SB-CS, 1950 of his 1988 total games at catcher.
Slaught: .019/.008/.008, 19-15 SB-CS, 1237 of his 1327 total games at catcher.
Daulton: -.020/.024/.025, 50-10 SB-CS, 965 of his 1161 total games at catcher (most of the difference is a late-career season as a 1B-RF).
Tettleton: -.022/.047/.045, 23-29 SB-CS, 872 of his 1485 total games at catcher (lots of time as a DH-1B).

I didn't know about Daulton's SB numbers until just now.
   23. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: August 01, 2007 at 05:05 AM (#2465242)
I should probably be checking this myself, but how does Bresnahan's 4-year peak compare with Elston Howard's? (61-64)
   24. . . . . . . . . . . Posted: August 01, 2007 at 05:40 AM (#2465260)
I should probably be checking this myself, but how does Bresnahan's 4-year peak compare with Elston Howard's? (61-64)

Superficially similar, but I believe Bresnahan's is better once you crunch the #'s. The post-expansion AL of the early 60's was aneasy environment to dominate-it's readily apparent even looking at the OPS+ leaderboards from, say, 1959 to 1963-there's a big change in 1961. On top of that, the AL was the weaker league, and Howard was playing on the strongest team in that weak league during his peak. Dan R. can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that on every measure but straight OPS+, Bresnahan comes out ahead of Howard. And on OPS+, its basically a dead heat.

That being said, Howard's 4-year peak is a dandy, and easily ballotable for the peak-centered voter (he's around 17 on my list right now). But when you factor in Bresnahan's much greater value outside of the 4-year peak, he comes out distinctly ahead of Howard.
   25. . . . . . . . . . . Posted: August 01, 2007 at 05:44 AM (#2465264)
Jeez, and I forgot the most important difference:

While the typical starter in Bresnahan's era was putting up an 80 OPS+ (except Kling, who had a sweet peak of his own), Howard's AL contemporaries were Sherm Lollar, Johnny Romano, Earl Battey, Gus Triandos... the average starting catcher in the early 60's AL was much better than the average starting catcher in the aughts.
   26. sunnyday2 Posted: August 01, 2007 at 11:47 AM (#2465348)
I've recently revamped my system. It was way too complicated. I had a consideration set of 150 + ties. I've reduced it to 50 + ties. I'm using WS and my own annual MVP and all-star lists. I'm still consulting OPS+ and ERA+ but as more of a tie-breaker than as a major consideration. I haven't used WARP in over 50 years. I just can't be updating my spreadsheets every few weeks.

The bottom line, to me, is this. A player cannot become great. He either is at some specific time in his career, or he isn't. So if a player isn't an MVP candidate or an all-star he just can't be a HoMer. My system had become a little too cute and had lost sight of that basic principle. IOW I had some career type candidates in there who simply had never been great players, had never had a peak or any real consequence.

It sure seems to me that the credible candidates are:

Arms (13)

The credible starting pitchers are a) Dizzy Dean, and Tommy Bond and b) (for borderline) Joss, Walters, Cicotte, (Early Wynn, HoM/not PHoM), (Sutton), (Bunning), Wilbur Cooper and Newcombe. Newk is a special case and becomes pretty much of an a) when you consider NgL credit, military service and the oddities of the integration era. Oh and Dick Redding is hangin' out there, the only NgL still in the running IMO.

The credible relievers are Dan Quisenberry and Bruce Sutter, both a) candidates. Sorry, Lee Smith.

Bats (10-12)

At 1B you've got a) Don Mattingly and b) Perez and Cepeda.

At the corners you've got a) well pretty much nobody and b) Parker, Klein, J. Rice, Oliva, Brock, C. Jones and Browning, not necessarily in that order. Frank Howard and Luke Easter are hovering above the abyss.

Gloves (12-14)

OK you can't quite make uncomplicated, except at catcher where it's a) Munson and E.Howard, and b) Bresnahan. HoM/not PHoM are Trouppe and Mackey and, sorry, they're dropping out. Howard, along with Newcombe (I'm no longer considering Bus Clarkson) are the big victims of the integration era when the NgL disappeared but ML opportunities didn't really open up as fast as we would like to think. Howard was partly victimized by Casey Stengel (OK and by Yogi Berra) while Bresnahan was sabatoged by a manager named Bresnahan. Howard gets some extra consideration for that, Rajah doesn't. Lombardi? No.

At SS you got a bunch of guys including a) Aparicio, Stephens and Rizzuto and b) Pesky and Dick Lundy. I've never supported Luis but I can't quite get past the massive consensus among those who saw him.

At 2B/3B (meaning old-time 3B and modern 2B) you've got a) Pie Traynor (see Luis Aparicio), (Lou Whitaker) and Ed Williamson and b) Tommy Leach. We have underrated Red Schoendienst I think, whom I prefer to, say, (Willie Randolph).

Hybrids (6-12)

Good 3B (and old-time 2B) and CF have always contributed on both sides of the ball, that's what I mean by hybrid. You've got a) Kirby Puckett, Andre Dawson, Larry Doyle and (Ken Boyer) and b) Dale Murphy and Al Rosen. Sal Bando, Hack Wilson, Bob Elliott, Graig Nettles and Hugh Duffy are all c's, hangin' by a thread. Monroe and Oms are the NgL still out there.

That makes 61 backlog candidates (50 + ties) but about a) 18 and b) 23 and c) 20 though the line between b and c is not clear.
   27. sunnyday2 Posted: August 01, 2007 at 12:37 PM (#2465379)
2003 (elect 3)

I am mostly a peak voter and I’ve made a major overhaul to my system since 2000. It got too complicated. And so I also cut my consideration set from 150+ players to 50+.

Now it’s a little less than half Win Shares, and a little less than half how a player performs on my own MVP and post-season all-star lists. I do consider other info but not WARP. Sorry, I just can’t be updating my spreadsheets every few weeks.

Previously it was a lot of OPS+ and ERA+. Now they’re among the 10 percent of other stuff that I consider.

Underlying principles. 1) A player cannot become great by hanging around. He either is great in some time and place, or he’s not. You can’t become great by being good for a long time. That just means he’s good for a long time. To me, meritorious means great at some time and place, though I also insist on a peak of at least 3 years. 2) A pennant is a pennant. It matters what league a player is in. Sure, it’s the luck of the draw, but careers are filled with such luck and we can’t equalize it all. Except 3) I equalize the impact of WWII as best as I can because it affected an entire cohort as a cohort, not individual careers. And of course the NgL gets full consideration, as well as players who fell through the cracks for odd racial circumstances (e.g. E. Howard, Newcombe, Estalella, Clarkson).

To recap (since I didn’t vote in 2001 and 2002):

PHoM 2000—Goose Gossage, Nolan Ryan, Joe Kelley
PHoM 2001—Kirby Puckett*, Don Mattingly*, Dave Winfield
PHoM 2002—Ozzie Smith, Thurman Munson*, Dizzy Dean*
PHoM 2003—Eddie Murray, Ryne Sandberg, Alan Trammell

* PHoM/not HoM

HoM/not PHoM since 2000—Lou Whitaker, Willie Randolph, Dave Stieb

1. Eddie Murray (new, PHoM 2003)
2. Ryne Sandberg (new, PHoM 2003)—the easiest picks of the new millennium so far

3. Dizzy Dean (5-6-42, PHoM 2002)—for a peak voter, the one big oversight of the HoM project to date

4. Kirby Puckett (2-1-new, PHoM 2001)—right place, right time; I understand the knock on Kirby in the theoretical world, but in the real world there’s not an eligible player who made more of a difference in terms of team success, at least the way I saw it

5. Elston Howard (9-12-15, PHoM 1994)—weird career, continual loss of opportunities that he was more than ready to take on, the potential comp was Mickey Cochrane

6. Thurman Munson (4-5-43, PHoM 2002)—all he did was win

7. Don Mattingly (3-3-new, PHoM 2001)—another real difference-maker though the team success somehow didn’t follow

8. Don Newcombe (7-8-10, PHoM 1997)—missed more opportunities than anybody; coulda been Robin Roberts

9. Ed Williamson (6-2-3, PHoM 1924)—more peak and more glove than than almost any other available IF; the knock seems to be those 27 HR but he didn’t make the rules and I don’t see how they hurt his team

10. Andre Dawson (8-new, PHoM 2003)—didn’t deserve the MVP in ’87 but I don’t deduct for that

11. Phil Rizzuto (12-13-13, PHoM 1995)—wow, lots of Yankees on this list; fact is, I hate the Yankees, but they had the horses or in this case the gloves

12. Pete Browning (10-9-4, PHoM 1961)—even with AA discount, way too much offense to ignore

(12a. Alan Trammell [11-new]—his value proposition suffers by comparison to Ripken and Yount, but still….)

13. Larry Doyle (14-10-8, PHoM 1975)—an eminently deserving MVP at his best

14. Pie Traynor (19-20-52)—I won’t say he’s a huge oversight like a Dizzy Dean, but if you believe 3B was a glove position, a perennial all-star whom everybody thought was the best ever is hard to overlook

15. Vern Stephens (13-14-26)—Stephens or Rizzuto, matched opposites—offense vs. defense, served in the military vs. played ball through the war, team success vs. not so much team succes, remembered fondlvy vs. not remembered at all; both underrated

The Drop-Outs 2000-2003

16. Charley Jones (15-11-6, PHoM 1921)
19. Chuck Klein (16-15-34)
22. Addie Joss (25-16-5, PHoM 1967)
33. Dick Redding (28-12-12, PHoM 1971)
38. Reggie Smith (35-24-14, PHoM 1988)
39. Frank Howard (36-21-9, PHoM 1987)
40. Gavvy Cravath (37-36-11, PHoM 1995)

Close—i.e. right around in/out line, as I think we will elect another 7-8 or so backloggers before we’re done

16. Charley Jones (15-11-6, PHoM 1921)
17. Tommy Bond (23-38-50, PHoM 1929)
18. Dan Quisenberry (20-26-24)
19. Chuck Klein (16-15-34)
20. Dale Murphy (17-17-40)
21. Tony Perez (21-23-33)
(21a. Ken Boyer [25a-42a-35b])
22. Addie Joss (25-16-5, PHoM 1967)
23. Johnny Pesky (24-39-18)

HoVG—and, for many, the HoO (Hall of Overrateds)

24. Dave Parker (32-33-56)
25. Jim Rice (18-29-73)
26. Sal Bando (22-28-28)
27. Luis Aparicio (39-56-109)
(27a. Lou Whitaker [29a-19-new])
28. Bruce Sutter (40-35-35)
29. Tommy Leach (49-37-17, PHoM 1998)
30. Tony Oliva (31-34-83)

31. Hack Wilson (26-31-44)
32. Eddie Cicotte (27-40-32)
33. Dick Redding (28-12-12, PHoM 1971)
(33a. Early Wynn [40a-35a-89b)
34. Hugh Duffy (29-32-30)
35. Orlando Cepeda (30-18-16, PHoM 1987)
(35a. Jim Bunning [31a-32b-30a])
36. Wally Berger (33-55-64)
37. Al Rosen (34-22-23)
(37a. Don Sutton [34a-33a-35a])
38. Reggie Smith (35-24-14, PHoM 1988)
39. Frank Howard (36-21-9, PHoM 1987)
40. Gavvy Cravath (37-36-11, PHoM 1995)
(40a. Quincy Trouppe [37a-24a-21a])

41. Alejandro Oms (38-25-24)
(41a. Joe Sewell [38a-32a-25a])
(41b. Wes Ferrell [40b-43a-69a])
42. George Burns (41-80-92)
43. Rocky Colavito (42-79-85)
44. Wilbur Cooper (43-75-70)
45. Luis Tiant (44-67-55)
46. Carl Mays (45-94-107)
47. Bobby Bonds (46-64-38)
48. Roger Bresnahan (47-27-27)
49. Vic Willis (48-42-22)
(49a. Jimmy Sheckard [49a-38a-20a])
50. Dick Lundy (50-41-49)

Honorable Mention

Fred Dunlap (HM-30-25)
(Dewey Evans [HM-38b-23a])
Norm Cash (HM-43-29)
Bucky Walters (HM-44-45)
George Foster (HM-NR)
Harry Davis (HM-NR)
Graig Nettles (HM-73-67)
Bobby Veach (HM-102-102)
Burleigh Grimes (HM-45-31)
Dave Steib (HM-46-46)
Hilton Smith (HM-47-51)
Luke Easter (HM-48-58)
Lefty Gomez (HM-52-47)
Bobby Estalella (HM-63-66)
Tommy Bridges (HM-72-61)
Leroy Matlock (HM-98-90)
Dolf Luque (HM-101-93)
Joe Tinker (HM-112-112)

Lundy and Bresnahan are underrated here, I will be pulling them up to the high 20s/30ish, HoVG territory however, not into likely PHoM territory just now.
   28. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: August 01, 2007 at 02:28 PM (#2465466)
My WARP2 have Bresnahan at 6.0, 4.6, 4.4, 6.7, 4.1, and 6.2 from 1903-08. They have Howard at 5.4 in 1961, 5.1 in 1964, 4.7 in 1963, 3.3 in 1958, and 2.7 in 1962. And that's before counting the fact that catchers of Bresnahan's day played fewer games per season *and* had shorter careers than those of Howard's.
   29. sunnyday2 Posted: August 01, 2007 at 02:48 PM (#2465483)
The circumstances of Howard's career, like say Don Newcombe's or Bus Clarkson's, are pretty special and unusual. Except of course with Howard and Newcombe (or Cravath), unlike Clarkson, there's the illusion of a more or less "normal" ML career. But I think you have to look beyond the actual ML career to encompass all of Howard's values. Looking only at his ML career is like looking only at Monte Irvin's ML career.

Bobby Estalella, BTW, is the other special case among special cases--another guy whose ML career might look like it expresses his values in a more or less normal way, but no. He, as far as I am concerned, should be getting all those votes that go to Clarkson.

As I said, however, Bresnahan is one player along with Lundy whose position in my prelim top 50 doesn't look right. He should probably be more like #25 or so (Lundy probably not quite that high). There is probably no position where the consideration set (Munson-Howard-Bresnahan) is separated from the rest by as bright a line as at catcher.
   30. . . . . . . . . . . Posted: August 01, 2007 at 04:07 PM (#2465581)
The circumstances of Howard's career, like say Don Newcombe's or Bus Clarkson's, are pretty special and unusual.

I am among Howard's biggest fans in the electorate (I've voted for him multiple times). But I strongly disagree with your argument and believe it to be unconstitutional.

We're the Hall of Merit; we're supposed to assess tangible value. While no one would argue that Howard wasn't screwed by the Yankees, the big league evidence is indisputable. Each season from 1957-1960, he had over 300 AB's; his OPS+ over that 4 year interval comes out to ~100.

We can't vote on what we think "could have" or "should have" been when a statistically significant record exists that shows the contrary. The whole point of this endeavor was to rate players upon their true value, avoiding, as much as possible, personal biases.

I think it's unconstitutional to ignore Howard's pre 1961 MLB record and replace it with a woulda-coulda. If we're going to give imaginary credit to players who got screwed by bad player development, we're going to have to reassess a whole bunch of white players too...
   31. Chris Cobb Posted: August 01, 2007 at 04:44 PM (#2465648)
'zop, I think you are misreading what sunnyday2 said, which was

But I think you have to look beyond the actual ML career to encompass all of Howard's values. Looking only at his ML career is like looking only at Monte Irvin's ML career.

That means that in the cases of Howard, Newcombe, and Cravath, there are good justifications for giving them major-league credit for minor-league play, even though a cursory inspection of their career would not indicate that minor-league credit is justified. It's not "woulda-coulda," it's value. If my recollection is correct, sunnyday2 is ordinarily against giving minor-league credit, because doing so raises questions of fairness -- why do it in this case but not in others. His post offers an explanation of why he is willing to do it in these cases.

I would also note that, for peak voters, such as sunnyday2, minor-league credit usually isn't relevant, since players are very seldom performing at a major-league MVP level, which is what his system cares about, outside the major leagues (career NeL players are of course the usual exception to this pattern). Howard, Newcombe, and Cravath are three instances where players who appear to have had a prime in the major leagues may actually be missing some of that prime.
   32. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 01, 2007 at 04:49 PM (#2465654)
That said, Howard's MiL numbers aren't that impressive until the year before he's called up.
   33. . . . . . . . . . . Posted: August 01, 2007 at 06:29 PM (#2465785)
Howard was in the majors at 26. He did have impressive #'s at age 25 at Newark, IIRC, but, there's no missing prime there. I find it hard to give missing-peak credit to a guy who, in over 200 MLB games at age 27 and 28, was below average.

Obviously the Yanks screwed Howard up, but why stop at Howard? The Reds screwed up Paul O'Neill and probably deprived him of a HoM-caliber career based upon what he did from age 30-38 with the Yankees; should we give O'Neill credit for all the time that Pinella was making him upper cut? What about David Ortiz; does he get credit from age 22 to 26 with the Twins?
   34. Mike Green Posted: August 01, 2007 at 06:44 PM (#2465800)
Or to put it another way, the Yankees put Jorge Posada on the slow plan and didn't give him 450 PAs until he was 28. He seems to have turned out OK. There's an argument that for catchers, the peak has more to do with mileage than age. At a minimum, it seems to be more of a combination than is true for other positions, probably because "the wear issue" is more significant for catchers. Howard's peak was in his 30s.

Out of curiosity, I wonder how people rank the Yankee catchers over time. Berra, Dickey, Posada, Howard, I presume?
   35. jimd Posted: August 01, 2007 at 06:50 PM (#2465805)
Oldest living HOMer
1898 -- Deacon White (elected, age 50)
1901 -- George Wright (elected, age 54)
1912 -- Joe Start (elected, age 69; died, age 84)
1927 -- George Wright (age 80; died, age 90)
1937 -- Deacon White (age 89; died, age 91)
1939 -- Jack Glasscock (age 79; died, age 87)
1947 -- Cy Young (age 79; died, age 88)
1955 -- Grant Johnson (age 83; died, age 92)
1964 -- Elmer Flick (age 88; died, age 94)
1971 -- Zach Wheat (age 82; died, age 83)
1972 -- Red Faber (age 83; died, age 88)
1976 -- Stan Coveleski (age 87; died, age 94)
1984 -- Bill Terry (age 85)
1985 -- Joe Sewell (elected, age 86; died, age 91)
1990 -- Charlie Gehringer (age 86; died, age 89)
1993 -- Buck Leonard (age 86; died, age 90)
1997 -- Joe DiMaggio (age 83; died, age 84)
1999 -- Enos Slaughter (age 82; died, age 86)
2002 -- Bobby Doerr (age 84; )
   36. Juan V Posted: August 01, 2007 at 07:00 PM (#2465812)

Out of curiosity, I wonder how people rank the Yankee catchers over time. Berra, Dickey, Posada, Howard, I presume?

Off the top of my head..

Berra, Dickey, Posada, Munson, Howard....
   37. sunnyday2 Posted: August 01, 2007 at 07:01 PM (#2465816)
From the Elston Howard thread. Obviously one can argue the details but basically we're talking pre-1955 value here and that represents a combo of things. MiL credit, analogous to Cravath, Keller, Averill, et al. Mil credit, like Ted Williams and Pete Alexander and all the WWII vets. And NgL credit, same as 100 guys. The difference is there wasn't a NgL for him to play in after 1950. I can't justify pretending he wasn't out there just because there wasn't a NgL for him. IOW all of the factors that go into evaluating Ellie Howard are factors that have been used 100 times.

In short, none of this is new. It's just that with 5 years left, it's time to #### or get off the pot. A group that wants to shake up the establishment a little bit could do worse than lob Elston Howard (or Bobby Estalella or Don Newcombe) out there.

From his thread.

9. Eric Chalek (Dr. Chaleeko) Posted: April 03, 2006 at 02:33 PM (#1933355)
Howard's pre-MLB record

1948 NAL KC 19 OF/C/2B 51 24 99 28 48 8 3 2 1 .283 .485
1949 NAL KC 20 OF/C/2B 85 307 83 134 20 8 5 .270 .436
1950 NAL KC 21 OF/C/2B 73 48 188 60 92 13 5 3 0 .319 .489

1950 CL MSK 21 OF 54 184 52 89 6 2 9 0 .283 .484

1953 AA KC 24 OF/C 154 139 497 142 212 22 9 10 3 .286 .427

1954 INT TOR 25 C/OF 154 138 497 164 283 21 16 22 2 .330 .569

1954 PRW SJ 25 C 72 121 45 81 7 4 7 .372 .669

13. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 03, 2006 at 03:03 PM (#1933638)
Great stuff, Eric.

Going over the numbers, I might possibly give him credit for everything after 1950.

14. Eric Chalek (Dr. Chaleeko) Posted: April 03, 2006 at 03:19 PM (#1933787)
Before my catcher bonusing process, Howard's not all that close to my ballot (in other words, not very close to electable for a catcher).

After catcher bonus, he moves up somewhat so that he is just outside, and I mean just outside, my own boundaries for electable, among MLB catchers.

After other Negro League players are added to the mix, he drops back a couple slots.

But with a single year of credit (1954), he leaps forward again, coming to rest just behind Bresnahan and Mackey, a smidge ahead of Bennett, a spot or two inside of my personal in/out line. Given the uncertainty around his career due to
-Color line
-General slowness of integration
-Especially torpid pace of the Yankees' integration
-Uncertainty of translations

I think this is probably a prudent placement, neither an overreach, nor overly conservative either. He had some tremendous peak seasons which scream HOMer, but his career length is clearly an issue, just like for Bresnahan. I have Bresnahan toward the back of the pack among catchers, which is now where I have Howard.

He's very likely to receive a vote from me in the 1974 election, perhaps debuting within the top dozen on my ballot (though to be fair I have not yet analyzed the entire ballot and we don't yet know this week's results).

23. Joe Dimino Posted: April 13, 2006 at 07:17 AM (#1960029)

Anyway, he was definitely in the military 1951-52.

There's definitely an interesting case here. Catching 1138 games with a career 108 OPS+ and peak with 6 years over 110, and as high as 153 is a heckuva player. He must have been highly regarded, because he made the All-Star team as an 82 OPS+ OF/C in 1957, and was an all-star every year from 1957-65.

A peak voter should love his 1961-64. You could make a case for him being top 10 all-time peak as a catcher.

24. Eric Chalek (Dr. Chaleeko) Posted: April 13, 2006 at 03:44 PM (#1961418)
This is not a call to give Elston any credit beyond what one would normally give him for MS and NgLs, but just something to think about.

The guy starts his pro career in the NgLs at age 19 right as the Negro Leagues are winding down. The best old timers are on the wane, the best short timers are out the door. He stays two years, during which the quality of play presumably drops tremendously even from 1948.

Finally Howard makes the jump at age 21 into a decent lower-level club and makes a good transition. Entering his age 22 year, he goes into the military for two years. I don't know how much ball he played there, but it most certainly would not have been of a high enough caliber to help him continue his development. At best, I think he would have maintained his worst he might fall behind his peers.

When he gets out, he's a 23-year old OF/C who hasn't played a professional game in two years and has spent just a quarter season in "organized" ball. Think about that a second. You're a big-league team thinking about Howard and you see three years in a league you probably don't respect (unless you are Bill Veeck), and one-quarter year in the Central League, and that's it. And nothing overwhelming anywhere. It's somewhat miraculous that he actually ended up in a AAA level league.

After two years in AAA he makes the majors at age 26, where he's a part timer for a while, then finally settles in as a great catcher for a few years , mostly after his age-27 season.

You have to imagine that Howard's development as a player was severely hampered by his circumstance, even more so than top Negro League players like Irvin and Doby whose pre-MLB Negro leagues were much stronger and for whom the Mexican League may also have been stronger than Howard's NgLs. Again I'm not suggesting any extra credit to acknowledge this, but rather a simple recognition of how great of a player he must have been to have been so hampered and still have a late-career blossoming that included five wonderful peak seasons in the 1960s.

29. jimd Posted: April 13, 2006 at 06:21 PM (#1961649)

Stack those 4 seasons against Josh Gibson's MLE's at the same age and you get:
Howard: 29, 20, 28, 32
Gibson: 31, 28, 29, deceased
Hartnett: 21, 24, 26, 18, (25)

38. Eric Chalek (Dr. Chaleeko) Posted: April 09, 2007 at 10:13 PM (#2330749)
I've rerun Ellie Howard's pre-MLB career through the new MLE system. It comes out pretty similarly. Difference of a couple-few win shares. But I'll report in on it anyway, just for posterity's sake.

Elston Howard
Revised MLE version 1.0

AGE outs pa ab h tb bb sh hpb sb cs gdp rc avg obp slg ops+
1948 19 193 276 255 65 105 18 1 1 1 0 7 35 .255 .302 .413 89
1949 20 349 492 455 110 179 33 3 2 0 0 12 58 .242 .292 .394 81
1950 21 352 506 469 121 194 33 2 2 0 0 12 65 .258 .305 .414 83
1951 22 359 514 477 123 193 32 2 2 1 0 13 64 .258 .303 .405 90
1952 23 360 505 471 115 181 30 2 2 1 0 12 57 .244 .288 .384 86
1953 24 360 513 475 120 179 34 2 2 3 1 12 59 .252 .301 .376 82
1954 25 339 502 466 132 229 32 2 2 2 0 12 80 .283 .328 .490 122
2313 3308 3069 786 1260 211 15 13 7 2 79 419 .256 .303 .411 90

bws fws ws Of% C%
1948 5.5 2.5 8.0 .5 .5
1949 8.3 4.5 12.8 .5 .5
1950 9.0 4.6 13.6 .5 .5
1951 10.4 4.7 15.1 .5 .5
1952 10.1 4.6 14.8 .5 .5
1953 9.5 4.7 14.2 .5 .5
1954 18.7 5.0 23.7 .4 .6
71.6 30.6 102.2

SFWS comes in at 106.

Much as last time around, the result is that Howard appears to have taken a sudden and massive step forward with the bat in 1954. Since he was 25 in that year and had been subjected to many career-delaying forces, I guess it's not altogether surprising. That said, if he's really more catcher than outfielder, then it's not impossible that he was ready for big-league action in 1953 since his OPS though lower than average, was within the realm for catchers. In 1953, the average catcher had a .714 OPS. Howard's MLE OPS of .677 was 95% of the position's average, and WS, WARP, and contemporary accounts peg him as a good defensive catcher, perhaps good enough to hold serve as his bat developed.

39. sunnyday2 Posted: April 09, 2007 at 11:52 PM (#2330825)
If you like Doc's WS for Ellie Howard, then, just to fill out the record.

1948 8
1949 13
1950 14
1951 15
1952 15
1953 14
1954 24
Sub-Total 102

1955 11
1956 6
1957 6
1958 18
1959 14

1960 10
1961 29
1962 20
1963 28
1964 32
1965 8
1966 11
1967 4
1968 8
Sub-Total 203

Total 305

My personal belief is that the 102 is a bit much. If he was really born in 1929, then 1951-52 is probably more like a normal starting point (though in reality he was in the military at that time). But then, looking at his record from 1961-64 (age 32-35), it is obvious that he was capable of much more in 1959 and 1960, at a minimum. And if you're willing to entertain 24 WS in 1954, then 6 is completely unreasonable for 1956 and 1957. So one could say he was held back rather dramatically as a member of the New York Yankees.

Overall, it basically washes out, and I think 305 is a reasonable total, though I could probably be convinced that 275 is a better number, but with the same peak. 32-29-28-24-20 probably understates his peak, but there it is.

Howard 275/32-29-28-24-20 this is the worst-worst case, could easily be higher for career
Mackey 248/26-23-20-19-19 nowhere near Ellie's class
Trouppe 256/31-27-26-26-24 comparable if you assume Howard's worst possible case
Bresnahan 234/29-29-27-27-23 short all around, and not a full time C
Lombardi 218/24-19-17-17-17 nowhere near Ellie's class
Munson 206/26-25-24-23-22 short all around
Howard is #16 on (off) this week's ballot and is in my PHoM. A hugely deserving player. Trouppe is the obvious comp.

40. sunnyday2 Posted: April 09, 2007 at 11:57 PM (#2330828)
And best case he is pretty much Ted Simmons.

Howard 305/32-29-28-24-20
Simmons 315/30-28-28-28-23

Howard 108/156-41-31-27-22-16-15 (7 yrs ? 100 and ? 100 games)
Simmons 118/150-45-41-37-27-24-17-17-15 (12)

Howard A-/101 dWS (@305 total)
Simmons C/72
   38. Mike Green Posted: August 01, 2007 at 07:02 PM (#2465818)
Speaking of catchers, I took another look at Bresnahan-Schang. Bresnahan at his peak was a leadoff hitter, and when you think about it a very, very good one. Roughly comparable to Ichiro Suzuki, although understandably not as durable! Schang usually hit 8th, even at his peak. With both players deriving a significant portion of their offensive value from the ability to reach base, the batting order position is, I think, important.
   39. . . . . . . . . . . Posted: August 01, 2007 at 07:11 PM (#2465831)

In short, none of this is new. It's just that with 5 years left, it's time to #### or get off the pot. A group that wants to shake up the establishment a little bit could do worse than lob Elston Howard (or Bobby Estalella or Don Newcombe) out there.

Our interest isn't in "shaking up the establishment". Instead, it lies in ensuring that the most qualified candidates are elected based upon tangible evidence of value. If that forces us to elect boring players like Bresnahan and Browning; well, that's where the data leads us.
   40. DavidFoss Posted: August 01, 2007 at 07:12 PM (#2465832)
Oldest living HOMer
2002 -- Bobby Doerr (age 84; )

We've reached the present day as Bobby Doerr is still alive in 2007. Rizzuto is older and is the oldest living HOF-er, but we're unlikely to induct him here soon.
   41. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 01, 2007 at 07:14 PM (#2465834)
Oldest living HOMer
2002 -- Bobby Doerr (age 84; )

Congratulations, Bobby Doerr! He's pretty likely to be our oldest living HOMer after the 2007 vote, too, right?
   42. jimd Posted: August 01, 2007 at 07:33 PM (#2465850)
Congratulations, Bobby Doerr! He's pretty likely to be our oldest living HOMer after the 2007 vote, too, right?

God willing, as they say.

He celebrated his 89th birthday last April 7th, and is in good health, as far as I know. (I don't recall any notes in the Boston papers recently stating otherwise. Did he attend the ceremonies at the Coop last weekend?)
   43. sunnyday2 Posted: August 01, 2007 at 07:57 PM (#2465878)
Our interest is in applying a little bit of imagination IMO. That's where military credit and MLEs and minor league credit and ideas like that that, frankly, I had never seen before the HoM, that's where those ideas come in. I'm not gonna shut off the imagination now in 2003. Though OTOH it really doesn't take much imagination at all to see Ellie Howard's as a 275 WS career. All that is is using the tools that have been developed through the history of this project, and I find that using them produces results that are tangible. If anybody, OTOH, sees Elston Howard as a 203 tangible WS player, that is his prerogative, lacking in imagination though it may be.

Similarly if anyone sees Phil Rizutto as a 231 WS player, that is their prerogative, but I respectfully disagree. 305, I say. And boring old Pete Browning at 225 WS? Well, hello, of course we adjust to 162 games thereby inferring all kinds of imaginary value that Bill James, at least, refused to acknowledge. But so be it, he wouldn't be on my ballot with 225 WS and a 30-28-23 peak, but there he is. And Don Newcombe is not on my ballot as a 176 WS pitcher. James rates him at #46 all-time with 176 tangible WS. He of course adjusts for what he calls the "bullshirt factor." No, I say, quantify that bullshirt, that NgL service, that military service, that MiL play. And if Howard is just a 203 WS player, then Luis Aparicio is the best available SS at 293 WS. Well, no, my intuition and my imagination says no, that can't be right. And if a little bit of imagination is unconstitutional, then what can be said for standard deviations?

So what ought to be unconstitutional if it isn't is not using the imagination that God gave us. And the data, plus a little bit of imagination, says to me that Elston Howard is the best catcher available.
   44. . . . . . . . . . . Posted: August 01, 2007 at 08:14 PM (#2465895)

So what ought to be unconstitutional if it isn't is not using the imagination that God gave us. And the data, plus a little bit of imagination, says to me that Elston Howard is the best catcher available.

I hope you use your imagination equally to "imagine" candidacies for players of all ethnicities. If you feel that giving a guy MLB credit for 4 seasons before age 25, in which his MLE OPS+ went above 90 ONE TIME, is fair imagination, then frankly there's no point in trying to reason with you. Nevertheless, if you have time, please quantify how Howard is a better candidate than Bresnahan.
   45. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: August 01, 2007 at 08:19 PM (#2465902)
sunnyday, what do stdevs have to do with this? They require no imagination whatsoever--they are an easily measurable statistic. Do you really think that a 150 OPS+ in the 1896 NL (when the top 5 were 190, 165, 161, 158 157) is worth as many pennants as a
   46. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: August 01, 2007 at 08:24 PM (#2465909)
argh, that wasn't supposed to post. What I meant was:

sunnyday, what do stdevs have to do with this? They require no imagination whatsoever--they are an easily measurable statistic. Do you really think that a 150 OPS+ in the 1896 NL (when the top 5 were 190, 165, 161, 158 157) is worth as many pennants as a 150 OPS+ in in the 1986 NL (when the top 5 were 152, 146, 141, 140, 138)? If so, I give up. If not, I don't see why you paint this rudimentary concept as some pie-in-the-sky idea--and in a completely unrelated debate, no less.
   47. jimd Posted: August 01, 2007 at 08:38 PM (#2465922)
Oldest living HOMer
2002 -- Bobby Doerr (age 84; )

Bob Feller is 7 months younger.
   48. DanG Posted: August 01, 2007 at 08:39 PM (#2465924)
Welcome back, Marc. ;->
   49. Juan V Posted: August 01, 2007 at 09:03 PM (#2465957)

1) Ryno. Marginally below Grich
2) Steady Eddie. Similar career value to Sandberg, but spread over a lot more seasons with the expected peak results.

3) Tiant
4) Cravath
5) Clarkson
6) Willis
7) Jones
8) Bresnahan
9) Oms
10) Concepción
11) Lazzeri
12) Dunlap
13) Taylor
14) Perez
15) Quinn

Smith and Butler look like upper-tier HoVG to me. Smith does seem like the reliever closest to the borderline amongst those we have seen.
   50. sunnyday2 Posted: August 01, 2007 at 09:27 PM (#2465981)
>there's no point in trying to reason with you.

Actually I wish you would.

DanR, you give yourself too little credit. Relativity is a measurable concept, but no that's not it. Concepts aren't measurable. All the data in the world doesn't add up to relativity without a little imagination. If SDs were that simple, everybody would have been using them. MiL credit is quantifiable, not actually measurable, strictly speaking, but quantifiable. But it took somebody with some imagination to propose the idea and operationalize it and show all of us HoMies that it would be a valuable thing for us to use. Thinking of it and doing it are two different things. Thinking of it is an act of imagination. My point is if it's unacceptable to hypothesize Elston Howard as a 275 WS player then why would one ever worry about SDs? If imagination is out on the one count, then is it out on all counts? Or if we're just picking and choosing and if we're saying that "I'll decide when you can use your imagination and when you can't," well, good luck.

But back to Elston Howard, I've quantified that I think he is a 275 WS player, just as Phil Rizutto is a 305 WS player and Don Newcombe is a 262 WS pitcher (not just the lousy 176 that James gives him) and Johnny Pesky is a 274 WS player and Larry Doyle is at 295 (not 289) after WWI credit and Fred Dunlap is a 223 (not a 165 as shown in the book) so on. Like I said, none of this is new, it has been going on since before 1898.
   51. . . . . . . . . . . Posted: August 01, 2007 at 09:35 PM (#2465987)
But back to Elston Howard, I've quantified that I think he is a 275 WS player

How many WSdo you assign to Roger Bresnahan, and how are you "imagining" a correction for the low catcher durability of his era?
   52. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: August 01, 2007 at 09:48 PM (#2466001)
I guess all I'm saying is, I can tell you exactly what the standard deviation was in any league-season in MLB history with 100% accuracy. You can't tell me what Elston Howard would have done if he had been a major league starter for the years that he wasn't with any sort of certainty. One is simple measurement, the other is speculation/extrapolation.

Clearly, I'm in favor of speculation/extrapolation in some cases; I'm Johnny Pesky's best friend in the group. But my arguments about Pesky's "missing peak" are *not* the same as my arguments about correcting for standard deviations in order to assess the pennant-winning impact of a given WARP/WS score. Reasonable people can use their imaginations, as you put it, in different ways when considering the former question; the latter is no less a mathematical truth than 2 + 2 = 4. It's true that I've had to battle to get the group to consider standard deviations in its analysis, but I think that's just because people a)are rigidly set in their ways or b) don't trust my work because I don't have the sabermetric bona fides of a Baseball Prospectus or a Bill James. But I haven't seen anyone actually post disagreeing with me on the merits of the concept, that a 150 OPS+ in a league where the stdev is 50 wins fewer pennants than a 150 OPS+ in a league where the stdev is 10. (If anyone has such an argument, please do share it with us!)
   53. yest Posted: August 01, 2007 at 10:10 PM (#2466027)
Did he attend the ceremonies at the Coop last weekend?)

yes he was even honered
   54. sunnyday2 Posted: August 01, 2007 at 10:17 PM (#2466034)
DanR, if you insist that there was no imagination required at any time in developing and implementing SDs, you da man! Forget I used SDs as an example of using one's imagination in the HoM project. It is not essential to my point that there is imagination needed to compare Fred Dunlap to Bill Monroe to Willie Randolph, or Rabbit Maranville to Dick Lundy to Phil Rizzuto to Alan Trammell. Hell, you need an imagination even to sort out Rizutto, Pesky and Stephens and they were almost exact contemporaries.

>You can't tell me what Elston Howard would have done if he had been a major league starter for the years that he wasn't with any sort of certainty.

And you can't tell me what Pete Browning would have done in a 162 game season, or Johnny Pesky in 1943. I don't crave "certainty" enough to throw up my hands. Throw up maybe, but not my hands.

As to catcher durability, I am a friend to catchers. I don't think there's a ML catcher who is HoM/not PHoM, though Trouppe and Mackey are not PHoM. I was a big supporter of Charley Bennett and I have 2 catchers near the top of my ballot. I use a catcher bonus but it does not work specifically to Bresnahan's advantage vis-a-vis other catchers. As a peak voter, there is also the fact that Ellie Howard was once an MVP. I don't think anybody ever thought Rajah was the MVP. There is a qualitative difference there which piques my imagination.
   55. rawagman Posted: August 01, 2007 at 11:04 PM (#2466092)
2003 prelim - 1st 15, 2nd 15 and other consensus top 10 guys/newbies not in my top 30.
1)Ryne Sandberg - The quintessential allround ballplayer. (PHOM)
2)Hugh Duffy (PHOM)
3)Ben Taylor (PHOM)
4)Eddie Murray - Eerily similar to to the man above him. I could have flipped the two, but I choose to pay homage to sunnyday2 and imagination here. Much of Taylor's prime was scarcely documented. I believe that Murray-level play was the minimum that Taylor reached. There is a very good chance that he was markedly better as well. (PHOM)
5)Tommy Bridges (PHOM)
6)Kirby Puckett (PHOM)
7)Lefty Gomez (PHOM)
8)Charley Jones (PHOM)
9)Vern Stephens (PHOM)
10)Dale Murphy (PHOM)
11)Gavvy Cravath (PHOM)
12)Bob Johnson (PHOM)
13)Bobby Veach (PHOM)
14)Orlando Cepeda (PHOM)
((14a)Dave Stieb)) (PHOM)
15)Andre Dawson
16)Al Oliver
17)Tony Oliva
((17a)Dwight Evans))
18)Jack Clark
19)Jim Rice
20)Wally Berger
21)Dizzy Dean
22)Don Mattingly
23)Bus Clarkson
((23a)Darrell Evans))
24)Dan Quisenberry
25)Lee Smith - He didn't have the stellar peak of the two closers around him, but his prime outlasted them both. And his peak is really not that far below Sutter's, at least.
26)Bruce Sutter
27)Ernie Lombardi
((27a)Jimmy Wynn))
28)Alejandro Oms
29)Reggie Smith
30)Dick Redding (PHOM)

44)Tony Perez - I wasn't giving him the extra glove credit he earned through 5 seasons as the Reds' 3B. Still, no peak. As far as 1B go, I have Cepeda up higher because of his very nice peak and his not too short career as a regular. Ben Taylor suffers from a lack of documented stats. The stats there show that he could flat out mash the ball by dead-ball standards. Contemporaries say his glove was the best they had ever seen at 1B. Very apt, in this year of the Hernandez discussion. How much as a scoop worth? I think it's worth alot. I maintain that while a below average defensive 1B can cause little harm, an above average glove at 1B will provide a hefty bonus to the team lucky enough to employ one.
52)Brett Butler - Some are calling him an equivalent to Kirby. I'm not seeing it. At Kirby's best, he was the best. At Butler's best, he was very good. My system will always take the guy who was the best for a stretch.
56)Roger Bresnahan - Not like the two above or below, he is among those negatively affected by my new adjustments. Have been convinced to ease up slightly on his in season durability issue, but even so, here he is.
57)Pete Browning - A superior masher, but a horrible person to have on your team. No defensive value whatsoever and very very poor durability. Worse than most contemporary catchers.
   56. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: August 01, 2007 at 11:47 PM (#2466179)
Hahah. Well, the standard deviation concept is not particularly revolutionary, no. What I *do* take credit for is the idea of searching for the causes of changes in standard deviation--to be able to distinguish leagues that were truly easier to dominate from those that simply happened to have a high or low number of great seasons--and for obtaining statistically significant and easily applicable results. Now all I have to do is get people to pay attention to them.

I never said I needed certainty, I agree with making the best guesstimate possible. I think you are being too generous to Howard for his pre-1954 play, but of course neither one of us is right or wrong.
   57. jimd Posted: August 02, 2007 at 01:29 AM (#2466603)
yes he was even honered

Very glad to hear that.
I haven't read the sports pages the past couple of days (just glanced); I need to catch up.
   58. sunnyday2 Posted: August 02, 2007 at 02:00 AM (#2466713)
Wow. Do I ever lead an exciting life. I drove across that ####### bridge twice today. And my wife used to work in a building from the roof of which you could throw a rock onto the surface of that bridge. She is convinced that she knows people who are in the water. That would be a synonym for dead.

The bridge in question lands about 6 blocks from the Metrodome where the Twins and Royals are currently tied 2-2. (Baseball content.)
   59. Rob_Wood Posted: August 02, 2007 at 02:03 AM (#2466732)
I am going on vacation. Can someone move this over to the 2003 ballot thread when it is available? Thanks much.

2003 ballot from this career voter (low replacement level):

1. Eddie Murray - consistently great; very high career value
2. Ryne Sandberg - one of my favorite players
3. George Van Haltren - deserving star of the underrepresented 1890s
4. Graig Nettles - super fielder; I am surprised by his lack of support
5. Bob Johnson - solid hitter, solid career (w/1 year minor lg credit)
6. Bobby Bonds - good combo of peak and career
7. Tony Perez - good career though he was barely an adequate 3B defensively
8. Bob Elliott - good 3B mired with woeful Pirates and Braves
9. Tommy Bridges - luv the strikeouts & win pct, with minor league and wwii credit
10. Andre Dawson - very difficult to place; depends on your view of his defense
11. Rusty Staub - good peak + good career (similar to Perez)
12. Charley Jones - great player, with 2 years of lockout credit
13. Reggie Smith - boost from center field play and japan
14. Chuck Klein - very good peak and career (even after adjusting for park)
15. Rabbit Maranville - better career than most realize (with credit for 1918)
16-20 Hack Wilson, Pie Traynor, Bus Clarkson, Jack Clark, Luis Aparicio

Not voting for Dick Redding (around 50th), Pete Browning (around 100th),
Roger Bresnahan (around 75th), and newcomer Lee Smith (around 50th).
   60. Howie Menckel Posted: August 02, 2007 at 03:33 AM (#2467057)
"Wow. Do I ever lead an exciting life. I drove across that ####### bridge twice today. And my wife used to work in a building from the roof of which you could throw a rock onto the surface of that bridge. She is convinced that she knows people who are in the water. That would be a synonym for dead."

sunnyday, my sympathies - and most of all my relief for you.

If there was ANY way for this sense you feel to translate properly over to non-NYers re 9-11-01, and if there was ANY way for a NY-er to communicate the exponential difference without annoying anyone from anywhere else, and if there was ANY way for any tragedy to make all of us feel like neighbors, and if there was ANY way for this discussion to happen where it felt less like "can you top this" and more like, 'We act tough, but we're still wounded,' that would be an awesome start.

But even here, I'm not sure the effort can be made without devolving into something worse.

I actually have NO problem with people from other regions not grasping what they cannot see here, seriously.
I have never once seen a tourist at Ground Zero just lamenting, "Eh..."
They have that right to do so, for sure, and they should.
But it doesn't happen that I've seen.

Apologies if it's the wrong sentiment, and delete at will.
This one hit me hard, again, and the lead-in hit close to home.

God bless us every one.
   61. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 02, 2007 at 01:35 PM (#2467284)
Howie and Marc,

I cross a major bridge going to work (I-95 as it crosses the mighty Piscataqua), and I admit, my wife and I looked at each other nervously this morning as we started up its steep ascent.... No matter how long the odds are, "What if it could happen here?" is always uncomfortable.
   62. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 02, 2007 at 01:43 PM (#2467300)
Rob Wood:

I'll take care of it for you.

Glad that you're okay, Marc.
   63. DL from MN Posted: August 02, 2007 at 01:52 PM (#2467314)
I can't believe that bridge fell. It is probably the busiest bridge crossing in the state and I'd guess everyone who lives in Minnesota has crossed that bridge at some point. I've crossed over it the past two weekends. I'm glad the damage is actually as small as it currently seems to be. It could have been much worse.

While we're still struggling with the catastrophe a lot of us are also trying to figure out how to get through Minneapolis now. It won't be easy to re-route 150,000 cars a day for the next few years. The Twins played the game last night because they didn't want to turn 25,000 fans back out onto the roads just after the incident without some guidance of how to get back home safely. They've cancelled today's game and are trying to figure out how to get Friday's crowd to the ballpark and back.
   64. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 02, 2007 at 03:01 PM (#2467397)
Glad to see that you're safe, too, DL.
   65. Willie Mays Hayes Posted: August 02, 2007 at 03:12 PM (#2467410)

Glad to hear you're both OK, and my hope is that your friends and family are as well.

Crossed the Michael Morano (nee Mianus) bridge on my way in to work today and held my breath. Scary stuff for sure.
   66. DavidFoss Posted: August 02, 2007 at 03:45 PM (#2467445)
I'm glad the damage is actually as small as it currently seems to be. It could have been much worse.

Agreed. I've been amazed that so many people on the bridge survived the collapse. Mississippi bridge crossings in the Twin Cities can be quite high. This particular bridge is also immediately downstream from Saint Anthony Falls which made the water a much shallower than usual which helped

My relatives are all in Saint Paul (everyone is OK) and due to the way the roads are laid out, none of us can remember the last time we drove across that bridge. Its all so completely random though. No storm, no earthquake... it wasn't a 'ricketty old bridge' either, it's half the age of the historic Cedar Avenue bridge just downstream.

These bridges don't get fixed overnight either. Theres's going to be a lot of extra traffic on 94 & 280 for the next few years. 94 was already at full capacity and 280 wasn't built for that volume of traffic.

On a baseball related note, it is right by the stadium and the collapse occurred an hour before game time. Its likely that some of the southbound traffic was going to the game.
   67. . . . . . . . . . . Posted: August 02, 2007 at 03:59 PM (#2467456)
Theres's going to be a lot of extra traffic on 94 & 280 for the next few years.

Meh, you can throw a quickie truss up there in a few months. Constructing the permanent replacement will take years, but that's a separate issue.
   68. DL from MN Posted: August 02, 2007 at 05:43 PM (#2467549)
> Theres's going to be a lot of extra traffic on 94 & 280 for the next few years. 94 was
> already at full capacity and 280 wasn't built for that volume of traffic.

Which means lots of extra accidents. This is going to impact the area long after CNN leaves.
   69. sunnyday2 Posted: August 02, 2007 at 06:06 PM (#2467609)
I just found out that my cousin's nephew (his wife's sister's son) was on the bridge. He is in IC with a head injury. 27 yrs old with a wife and a 14 month old. I don't know him but my cousin and his wife live in he same town we do and are good friends. That is all they know right now. The names of the dead and injured are not yet public so we don't know their stories--whether, e.g., any of them were on their way to the ball game.
   70. Rusty Priske Posted: August 02, 2007 at 06:56 PM (#2467792)
Oh my god. I was tied up in meetings all day and I just heard about this.

Just horrible.
   71. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 02, 2007 at 07:02 PM (#2467819)
Oh my god. I was tied up in meetings all day and I just heard about this.

Just horrible.

You didn't hear about it last night, Rusty?
   72. Rusty Priske Posted: August 02, 2007 at 08:04 PM (#2468061)
No. I spent last night working on a project... I wasn't connected with any sort of news source.
   73. sunnyday2 Posted: August 02, 2007 at 08:16 PM (#2468106)
4 confirmed dead as of now, but the divers have been unable to do much today due to some really nasty currents--man-made eddies, they call them, swirling around the debris. But they've mapped the cars via sonar and there's very little doubt there are people in many of them. There are 20 people known to be missing. I heard a story just now about the Ingebritsen family (sp?). Mom called last night to say she was on her way home, and she crossed that bridge every night to do it, and hasn't been heard from since.
   74. jimd Posted: August 02, 2007 at 08:18 PM (#2468112)
You didn't hear about it last night, Rusty?

I was working late last night, saw sunny's post shortly before leaving, and had no clue what he was talking about. Caught the end of the Sox game on car radio and the post-game, and then flipped to another station for the news at 11. Then the tragedy became clear.

My daily commute takes me through Boston on 93-N/S, which includes in succession a new two-mile tunnel, a new bridge over the Charles River, and a few miles of older double-decker highway. I do not want to contemplate the collapse of any portion of the Interstate highway system.

   75. jimd Posted: August 02, 2007 at 08:19 PM (#2468118)
Try that link again...

You didn't hear about it last night, Rusty?

I was working late last night, saw sunny's post shortly before leaving, and had no clue what he was talking about. Caught the end of the Sox game on car radio and the post-game, and then flipped to another station for the news at 11. Then the tragedy became clear.

My daily commute takes me through Boston on 93-N/S, which includes in succession a new two-mile tunnel, a new bridge over the Charles River, and a few miles of older double-decker highway. I do not want to contemplate the collapse of any portion of the Interstate highway system.

   76. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: August 03, 2007 at 07:53 AM (#2468881)
Jim, I pulled the link out of #74, since it was making the page about a mile wide . . . I tried to delete the comment, but I couldn't - probably because John posted the thread.
   77. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: August 03, 2007 at 07:56 AM (#2468882)
Really sorry to hear about your cousin's nephew sunnyday. What a horrible tragedy this whole thing is.
   78. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: August 03, 2007 at 08:00 AM (#2468883)
"Oh my god. I was tied up in meetings all day and I just heard about this."

If you think that's bad, in the spring of 1995, I had to take a trip for work, I was a traveling admissions rep at the time. Left on a Tuesday, driving through PA for 4 days - brought 3 friends along. I'd drop them in bars while I made my appointments, then I'd go back and join them.

We get back home Friday night, party all weekend. Sunday afternoon we are getting set to watch an NBA playoff game, and they take a moment of silence for 'the tragedy'. None of us had any idea of what they were talking about.

It was the Oklahoma City bombing. Didn't know about it for almost a week. It's pretty amazing how dependent on the media we are to know anything that happens at all.
   79. Rusty Priske Posted: August 03, 2007 at 12:18 PM (#2468928)
To be fair, I'm sure I normally would have heard about it before I did, but I'm in the home stretch for getting my first book published. It didn't seem like anything was important enough to pull me away from that.

It turns out that I was very wrong.
   80. sunnyday2 Posted: August 03, 2007 at 12:54 PM (#2468948)
Rusty, what is your book about? What kind of book? And congrats. It's a great achievement.
   81. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 03, 2007 at 01:05 PM (#2468954)
a new bridge over the Charles River

As a nouvelle-transplant BoSox fan who used to be a NY Sports fan (then a Phils fan), I cheerfully refer to this bridge as the Buckner bridge. Which has the nasty double entendre of referring obliquely to the Bruckner expressway near Yankee Stadium.

jimd, i somehow never picked up that you were a fellow Boston Metro Area resident. we should organize a New England HOM Meetup in the Boston area sometime. That at least puts you, me, and Wendt in front of some frosty mugs. Is anyone else in the vicinity? Vaux used to be....
   82. Rusty Priske Posted: August 03, 2007 at 07:14 PM (#2469422)
Oh, nothing that anyone here would be interested in, I expect. It is a collection of stories I wrote while working for the Warlord Collectible Card Game. I am just putting a collection together to have available when I am at gaming shows and tournaments (like GenCon in two weeks, which is why I am a deadline.)
   83. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: August 04, 2007 at 06:18 AM (#2470541)
Speaking of meetups, I'm going to be at GenCon as well. I think there may be an Indianapolis primate or two also. And it's what, a 2 hour drive for Joe? ;)
   84. Howie Menckel Posted: August 04, 2007 at 03:09 PM (#2470694)
HOM by pct of games at each position in the field or DH, thru 2002

HOM batters by percentage of games played at position (min. 10 pct at a position, otherwise it's not listed and not tallied)

If 65 pct is your cutoff, then we have elected 15 Cs, 15 1Bs, 18 2Bs, 10 3Bs, 19 SSs, 57 OFs, 59 Ps.
If 50 pct is your cutoff, then we have elected 15 Cs, 17 1Bs, 18 2Bs, 14 3Bs, 21 SSs, 61 OFs, 59 Ps.

C (15.01) - Cochrane 100, Dickey 100, Hartnett 98, JGibson 95, Campanella 95, Freehan 90, GCarter 90, Fisk 90, Bennett 88, Berra 87, Mackey 80, Bench 78, TSimmons 77, Santop 75, Trouppe 65, Ewing 47, Torre 41, Kelly 36, McVey 30, White 28, O'Rourke 11

1B (21.36) - Start 100, Gehrig 100, Mize 100, KHernandez 100, Beckley 100, Terry 99, Brouthers 98, Sisler 97, Leonard 95, Connor 88, McCovey 88, Foxx 87, Anson 83, Greenberg 83, Suttles 70, Banks 51, Carew 50, Allen 47, Wilson 45, Killebrew 40, Stargell 40, Stovey 37, Torre 36, Charleston 35, Musial 35, DaEvans 32, McVey 31, Rose 27, Jennings 26, Lloyd 25, Yastrzemski 23, Heilmann 22, Ewing 19, Kelley 16, Delahanty 15, Hines 12, Lajoie 12, Mantle 11, FRobinson 11, Spalding 10, O'Rourke 10, Dihigo 10, JRobinson 10, Irvin 10

2B (18.59) - McPhee 100, Doerr 100, Childs 100, NFox 100, Gehringer 99, Morgan 99, Whitaker 99, Randolph 99, E Collins 98, Gordon 98, Herman 95, Grich 86, Lajoie 83, Frisch 77, Hornsby 72, Grant 70, Barnes 69, JRobinson 65, Carew 47, Richardson 43, HR Johnson 25, Ward 24, Groh 20, Hill 20, Pike 18, Rose 18, Dihigo 15, Wright 10, Wilson 10

3B (14.79) - Baker 100, BRobinson 99, J Collins 98, Hack 98, Santo 95, Mathews 93, Schmidt 92, Boyer 90, Groh 79, Sutton 69, Brett 63, DaEvans 54, White 51, Beckwith 50, Wilson 40, Allen 38, Sewell 34, Killebrew 33, Trouppe 25, Torre 23, Davis 22, Frisch 20, Rose 18, Wallace 17, Dihigo 15, JRobinson 15, McVey 14, Richardson 13, Vaughan 11, Ott 10

SS (19.67) - OSmith 100, Pearce 96, Boudreau 95, Reese 95, Trammell 95, Glasscock 94, Appling 94, Cronin 92, Wells 90, Moore 90, GWright 89, Dahlen 88, Vaughan 85, Wallace 74, Jennings 70, HR Johnson 70, Lloyd 70, Wagner 68, Sewell 65, Davis 58, Yount 52, Banks 45, Ward 39, Beckwith 35, Barnes 28, Grant 20, Sutton 19, Hornsby 16, Dihigo 15, Irvin 10, WBrown 10

OF (58.23) - Carey 100, Clarke 100, Hamilton 100, Thompson 100, Wheat 100, Goslin 100, DiMaggio 100, Averill 100, Doby 100, Slaughter 100, TWilliams 100, Ashburn 100, Snider 100, Clemente 100, Keller 100, Simmons 99, Burkett 99, Cobb 99, Flick 99, Gore 99, Sheckard 99, Speaker 99, Medwick 99, Roush 99, SJJackson 98, Stearnes 98, Keeler 97, PWaner 97, Mays 97, JWynn 97, Kiner 96, CP Bell 95, Crawford 94, Minoso 93, Magee 91, Ott 90, Kaline 89, Mantle 88, Aaron 86, BWilliams 86, WBrown 85, Winfield 85, DwEvans 83, Hines 82, Torriente 80, Kelley 79, Ruth 79, Heilmann 77, FRobinson 77, RJackson 77, Irvin 75, Pike 73, Delahanty 72, Hill 70, O'Rourke 69, Rogan 65, Musial 65, Stovey 63, Yastrzemski 63, Charleston 60, Stargell 60, Kelly 47, Yount 43, HRichardson 40, Rose 38, Caruthers 33, Suttles 30, Killebrew 20, Santop 20, Dihigo 20, McVey 18, Ewing 17, Greenberg 17, Allen 15, Davis 13, Wagner 13, Berra 13, McCovey 12, Spalding 11, Ward 10, White 10, JRobinson 10, Trouppe 10

DH (1.23) - RJackson 23, Brett 19, Winfield 14, Yastrzemski 13, TSimmons 12, FRobinson 11, DwEvans 11, BWilliams 10, DaEvans 10

P (58.64) - Alexander 100, Covaleski 100, Faber 100, Plank 100, Vance 100, Grove 100, Hubbell 100, Lyons 100, Newhouser 100, Feller 100, Ruffing 100, Rixey 100, Wynn 100, Spahn 100, Roberts 100, Koufax 100, W Ford 100, Drysdale 100, Bunning 100, Wilhelm 100, Marichal 100, Gibson 100, Waddell 100, Pierce 100, GPerry 100, Palmer 100, Jenkins 100, Seaver 100, Carlton 100, Niekro 100, Sutton 100, Blyleven 100, Ryan 100, Gossage 100, Fingers 100, Stieb, R Foster 99, MBrown 99, Mathewson 99, Walsh 99, SJ Williams 99, Young 99, B Foster 99, Paige 99, WJohnson 98, McGinnity 98, WFerrell 97, Lemon 97, Keefe 96, Nichols 96, Rusie 95, RBrown 95, Griffith 95, Clarkson 94, Galvin 92, Mendez 90, Radbourn 78, Spalding 80, Caruthers 66, Rogan 35, Dihigo 25, Ward 25, Ruth 20

Caveats: Totals treat all careers as equal. A little off on players like McVey and Sutton due to changing schedule length. Guesstimates on Negro Leaguers. Hybrid P-hitters such as Ward, Ruth, Caruthers, Spalding have estimates that attempt to reflect their respective roles.
   85. Kenn Posted: August 04, 2007 at 03:23 PM (#2470710)
Hi. I’ve been lurking at Baseball Primer for a long time, and this past year I’ve been avidly following the HOM. I love the discussions in this part of the site. I can’t claim anything like the level of knowledge of most people here, but there seems to be a slow decrease in voters, so I’d like to try for a bit. Plus, it was really fun to look through the numbers of a lot of players.

That said, my “system” is pretty rudimentary. I judge fielder offense by OPS+ weighted by year-by-year playing time. I then give credit for fielding, using a within-position range based on work I’ve read at BTF (Dial, mostly), and position vs. position scaling based on what seems reasonable, general consensus, etc. That part bothers me a little, as well as using consensus and reputation rather than hard numbers to place fielders within their positions. However, it seems to work: as this is how I account for different batting expectations between positions, I was looking for fielding weights that give decent positional balance, and that turned out to be the case. There’s a bit of a bias towards long career, good fielding players, but that pretty much reflects my personal tastes.

With pitchers, I’m much more amenable to peakiness, or maybe "prime-ness", and use ERA+ with a higher baseline, weighted again for GS and IP. I’d like for my expectations of GS and IP to be better adjusted for era, but I haven’t had time to look at that much yet. Other adjustments for hitting, defense, etc. I try to make based on my impressions from discussions here, but they are fairly conservative changes.

Anyway, my preliminary ballot, for you review.

1. Ryne Sandburg: Clearly number one for me.

2. Charley Jones: I do give blacklist credit, and with it he has substantially more playing time than Pete Browning. Along with a fielding edge, that separates them a long, long way on my ballot, and even a bit on Murray. Too much?

3. Eddie Murray: Very good for a very long time. As I start with mediocre 1B as my "zero" defensive credit, all 1B tend to come out lower than I expect, which may call for adjustment.

4. Dave Concepcion: The flip side, of course, is that I give quite a bit of credit for excellent fielding over a long time at key defensive positions.

5. Addie Joss: Short career, but unlike hitters, I like short careers in pitchers if they are consistent at their high level. Based on *ERA+ at least, Joss certainly qualifies. Maybe he didn’t have as many starts as I would expect for his era, though, which concerns me.

6. Reggie Smith:

7. Andre Dawson: Smith and Dawson are about where prime and career balance out for me, and both get credited as good fielders.

8. Bill Monroe: I use the most recent MLEs I can find at BTF for Negro League candidates, but I also have to discount them to avoid having all of them at the top of my ballot. Are they done assuming a 154 or a 162 game schedule? Nevertheless, Monroe is definitely my favorite among Negro Leaguers, and very deserving in my opinion.

9. Tommy Bridges: My next favorite pitcher. Solid, steady numbers, even with a slight war discount.

10. Luis Aparicio: Does well for similar reasons as Concepcion. Clearly worse with the bat, but the long career fielding earns him credit, and base-running reputation (which I don't explicitly include) helps me feel okay with his being higher than I expected.

11. Ernie Lombardi: Gets a good bump as a catcher, and seems extremely well-qualified. I’m surprised he doesn’t get more support.

12. Phil Rizzuto: Even war credit doesn’t give him the career of my other middle infielders, but benefits in a similar way with a decent bat, excellent glove.

13. Jimmy Ryan: My favorite of the old CFs, just slightly ahead of Van Haltren, well ahead of Duffy, with the ordering mostly due to career length.

14. Ed Cicotte: Similar to Joss, even though it pains me to vote for a Black Sock.

15. Dick Redding: As my next favorite pitcher, he gets a few spot boost onto the ballot. On one hand, I feel that the HOM should have a greater percentage of pitchers, so I’m trying to keep a good number on my ballot, but on the other hand, I feel that all the pitchers have more warts than the batters I’m voting for. Redding’s reputation in his time makes me feel more comfortable about the boost than I might be for other pitchers.

Next 15:
16. Fred Lynn
17. Ben Taylor
18. Rick Reuschal
19. George Van Haltren
20. Craig Nettles
21. Alejandro Oms
22. Tony Perez
23. Vada Pinson
24. Bus Clarkson
25. Sam Rice
26. George Scales
27. Tommy John
28. Johnny Pesky
29. Bobby Bonds
30. Bob Johnson

Pete Browning (#71): Not enough playing time for my tastes. Is there some credit others are giving him?
Roger Bresnahan (#45): Would love to vote for him, and would be happy if he were elected, but in my system he doesn’t do very well, again for playing time.
Bob Johnson (#30), Tony Perez (#22), and Alejandro Oms (#21): All do well with me; I just like others (particularly middle infielders) better.
Hugh Duffy (#57): Again, not enough career for my tastes.
Kirby Puckett (#46): Ditto. I guess my preferences are clear. Had hoped he’d do better.
Tommy Leach (#75): I admit, Leach is someone I don’t know much about. Can someone please explain his case? I can’t see him getting on ballot, but in this case I don’t know why he comes out so far from consensus.
Bucky Walters (#56): I adjust up a little for his bat, but he also played during the war for (I think) a good defense, and his typical year just isn’t that high. Does okay, but only about 12th among pitchers for me.
Gavvy Cravath (#73): Similar to Browning.

Lee Smith (#66): I believe the HOM should have several relievers, so they may deserve a greater adjustment than I’m giving, but I don’t see myself needing to worry too much about that at this point. His value in my system is very similar to Sutter, Quiz, and Hiller, and none stands out enough that I would place them over the bar.
Brett Butler (#112, i.e., down where there are probably any number of players I haven’t ranked that are ahead of him).
   86. . . . . . . . . . . Posted: August 04, 2007 at 03:27 PM (#2470717)
Pete Browning (#71): Not enough playing time for my tastes. Is there some credit others are giving him?
Roger Bresnahan (#45): Would love to vote for him, and would be happy if he were elected, but in my system he doesn’t do very well, again for playing time.

Are you adjusting for short seasons in the 1880s, and the extreme durability issues of deadball catchers (where the league leader could have <110 games played)?
   87. Howie Menckel Posted: August 04, 2007 at 03:59 PM (#2470743)
Looks pretty good at a glance.

For IP expectations, I tend to look at top 10s by year as a rough start. It tells you something about Joss vs Stieb, for example.
   88. Howie Menckel Posted: August 04, 2007 at 04:07 PM (#2470752)
too early to conclude anything, but trend so far is AL edge starting about 25 years ago (Sandberg-Murray will basically be an NL-AL 1980s draw). Some of it is older NL stars migrating to the AL.
Let's start with 1983:

NL, 10 G+ or equivalent
1983 (12) - Rose, Morgan, Niekro, Jenkins, Bench, Seaver, Carlton, Ryan, DaEvans, Schmidt, KHernandez, GCarter, OSmith
1984 (9) - Rose, Carlton, Ryan, Schmidt, Gossage, KHernandez, GCarter, OSmith
1985 (8) - Rose, Carlton*, Ryan, Schmidt, Gossage, KHernandez, GCarter, OSmith
1986 (8.6) - Rose*, Carlton**, Ryan, TSimmons, Schmidt, Gossage, KHernandez, GCarter, OSmith
1987 (7) - Ryan, TSimmons, Schmidt, Gossage, KHernandez, GCarter, OSmith
1988 (8) - Sutton*, Ryan, TSimmons, Schmidt, Gossage, KHernandez, GCarter, OSmith
1989 (5.7) - DaEvans, Schmidt*, Gossage**, KHernandez*, GCarter*, Randolph, OSmith

AL, 10+ G or equivalent
1983 (19) - GPerry, Yastrzemski, Palmer*, Sutton, Carew, RJackson, TSimmons, Grich, Blyleven*, Fisk, DwEvans, Gossage, Brett, Yount, Winfield, Randolph, Whitaker, Trammell, Stieb
1984 (20) - Morgan, Niekro, Sutton, Seaver, Carew, RJackson, DaEvans, Fingers, TSimmons, Grich, Blyleven, Fisk, DwEvans, Brett, Yount, Winfield, Randolph, Whitaker, Trammell, Stieb
1985 (19) - Niekro, Sutton, Seaver, Carew, RJackson, DaEvans, Fingers, TSimmons, Grich, Blyleven, Fisk, DwEvans, Brett, Yount, Winfield, Randolph, Whitaker, Trammell, Stieb
1986 (16.4) - Niekro, Sutton, Seaver, Carlton**, RJackson, DaEvans, Grich, Blyleven, Fisk, DwEvans, Brett, Yount, Winfield, Randolph, Whitaker, Trammell, Stieb
1987 (15) - Niekro**, Sutton, Carlton*, DaEvans, RJackson, Blyleven, Fisk, DwEvans, Brett, Yount, Winfield, Randolph, Whitaker, Trammell, Stieb
1988 (11) - DaEvans, Blyleven, Fisk, DwEvans, Brett, Yount, Winfield, Randolph, Whitaker, Trammell, Stieb
1989 (9.3) - Ryan, Blyleven, Fisk, DwEvans, Gossage**, Brett, Yount, Whitaker, Trammell, Stieb
   89. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 04, 2007 at 05:04 PM (#2470806)
Welcome, Kenn!

Your ballot is certainly constitutional, since it includes comments and it's friendly to all eras (including 19th century, WWII and NeL players). Unless someone raises an objection, you can submit your ballot when the ballot thread appears on Aug 13.

It would be nice if you had more of the players that I support on your ballot, of course :-), but it's great to see that you support Charley Jones. Of course, now we'll have the enemies of Charley worried that he might sneak in next "year" and will plan their counterattack. :-D
   90. sunnyday2 Posted: August 04, 2007 at 05:24 PM (#2470824)
How can Charley Jones be #2 and Pete Browning #71? Even with blacklist credit, they're not that far apart on playing time...and very comparable with the bat of course.
   91. Kenn Posted: August 04, 2007 at 06:03 PM (#2470852)
Are you adjusting for short seasons in the 1880s, and the extreme durability issues of deadball catchers (where the league leader could have <110 games played)?

How can Charley Jones be #2 and Pete Browning #71? Even with blacklist credit, they're not that far apart on playing time...and very comparable with the bat of course.

That's kind of my question, too. In both cases, I'm adjusting to equivalent 162 game seasons basedon the percentage of a teams games played each year. Charley Jones , by my count, played virtually all his teams games when playing, while from 86-92 Browning is only playing about 70% of his teams' games. As a result, by my calculation Charley Jones has slightly more games before blacklist credit, and many more afterwards. I'm inclined to ease up Browning's league discount and fielding rating, because I agree they should be closer, but the big difference is in that in-season durability, which will keep them a ways apart. If I'm missing something or not being fair, let me know.

As for Bresnahan, I thought I'd accounted for shorted catching seasns, but I was wrong. Thanks! He moves up to the twenties at least, maybe on ballot.

For IP expectations, I tend to look at top 10s by year as a rough start. It tells you something about Joss vs Stieb, for example.

I was thinking of doing something like that. Glad it has a note of approval. That will be a project for this week.

Thanks for the comments.
   92. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: August 04, 2007 at 06:21 PM (#2470868)

Welcome aboard. I don't know if you've seen any of my vitriolic screeds in your lurking, but I've developed a wins-above-replacement statistic that I think might be helpful in addressing some of your questions/concerns. As far as positional weightings are concerned, I use as a basis the Freely Available Talent levels empirically determined by Nate Silver, which were derived by looking at all major leaguers earning less than twice the league minimum salary over age 27, and then adjust them going back through time by looking at changes in the average performance of the worst 3/8 of major league regulars at each position. In practice, you're basically right about the weights--replacement level at 1B is pretty close to league average for most of the modern era (and actually slightly above it in the immediate pre-DH era), although meaningufully lower pre-1950 and particularly as you get into the deadball era--but it might be helpful to have them quantified. If you're interested, I'd be happy to send you the data, along with an explanation of the methodology.

I'm personally thrilled to see Concepción and Smith on your ballot. A few comments:

1. I am the number one friend of shortstops on this board--I usually have 5 and sometimes 6 of them on my ballot--but I would *strongly* encourage you to reassess Aparicio. I, and nearly everyone else in the group, has him way down on the list of backlog shortstops. The main contenders are Concepción and Rizzuto (who you have), plus Bancroft (who you do not). At the very least, swapping Bancroft for Aparicio would increase your consensus score significantly, and I imagine you'll be hard-pressed to make a case that Aparicio was better (although of course I'm all ears!). I also support Pesky, who is a Charlie Kelleresque peak-lost-to-the-war argument, and Dagoberto Campaneris and Toby Harrah, whose candidacies (like Concepción's largely), depend on the fact that the 1970s were a period when replacement level for shortstops reached its historical low, and were a extremely difficult leagues to dominate/excel in (unlike the expansionary 1960's). Career voters with very low replacement levels also back Rabbit Maranville, who stuck around forever. I don't see how Aparicio holds up against any of these guys. Take a look.

2. I vote for Jones highly as well, and have him as superior to Browning for just the reasons you describe. But the gap you put between them is *enormous*...can defense and more time in the NL really count for 69 ballot spots?

3. What are you basing your claim that Dawson was a good fielder on? All the available defensive statistics show him as basically average.

4. Lombardi over Bresnahan? Take a look at what other catchers were doing in the aughts, in terms of productivity, durability, and career length, and you'll see that Bresnahan stands out far more than Lombardi does.

5. If you like long-career D, have you given any thought to Nettles?

Really nice to have a new, thoughtful voter among us. I look forward to your contributions.

   93. Kenn Posted: August 04, 2007 at 06:28 PM (#2470874)
Ok, double checked and see where I had a mistake on Jones' playing time. That pulls him down a few slots, while the changes to Browning I mentioned make a bigger difference than I expected, up to ~25. Probably still a larger gap than most people would have, but I can live with this. Better check Cravath, too.
   94. Kenn Posted: August 04, 2007 at 07:10 PM (#2470892)

Hi. I have been following your campaigns, and expected you would chime in aggressively :) Thanks.

I have been paying attention to your work, I like it, and it would be nice to bring it into my rankings, but I wanted to start by evaluating players on my own grounds, and to do a large number of players quickly to start off. That leads to some typos of course (Browning and Bresnahan needed revision, I've already found), which is why it's good to keep me honest. I'm also not likely to ever be as peak oriented as you are, which leads to some differences.

With the shortstops, I can understand where the differences come from, but have to think about how "right" they are. In basing offensive scores off overall average, I will miss the low replacement eras that you emphasize. From there, lots of playing time as a good defender is worth a lot to me. Luis Aparicio scores highly for this (Maranville, ~#50, has in-season durability issues here). Now, what I see this missing is that defenders have decline phases, too, which I may not be appreciating enough. This would drop both Aparicio and Concepcion, Aparicio more. So you have me as a career voter, working against average more than replacement, and perhaps overly generous with fielding credit. This explains the differences, but doesn't necessarily justify them.

For the defenders you mentioned, Nettles (#20), Pesky, (#28), and Harrah (#38) all do fairly well with me, in my opinion. Bancroft and Campaneris do not, with Bancroft seeming much more out of place. I'll probably look at them head to head from here. Aparicio might drop off my ballot, but the beneficiary would probably be Nettles or Van Haltren, at this point (I trust their results a bit better than my other just-off-ballot folks).

Dawson's defense I'm basing off reputation and gold gloves, which is dangerous, of course. I'd ideally give reputation and metrics about equal weight, but I haven't compiled metrics thoroughly enough. I'd consider downgrading him a bit, say halfway between where he is now and average, but he probably won't drop off ballot.

Anything else? :)
   95. Howie Menckel Posted: August 04, 2007 at 07:42 PM (#2470916)
Ultimately I wouldn't necessarily adjust every time someone points out a potential issue - although considering everything certainly doesn't hurt.
At some point you're going to make decisions that a lot of smart people will disagree with, since there IS no agreement among any of the top 20-30 backloggers...
   96. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 04, 2007 at 07:51 PM (#2470924)
The main thing that Kenn should do at the present time is go over the guys that have a reasonable chance of being inducted in 2003. Whether or not Ed Cicotte belongs on his ballot is not as important as the question concerning Browning, Bresnahan and Charley Jones for the time being.
   97. Esteban Rivera Posted: August 04, 2007 at 08:19 PM (#2470969)
Welcome Kenn! I second what John suggests. Go over the top ten returnees and make sure you have them correctly placed according to your viewpoint. You've no doubt noticed that you will receive some critiques regarding your ballot. Don't worry, that's normal. These can be helpful to make sure you haven't missed anything. The important thing to remember is to make sure your view is the one being presented. We want Kenn's opinion on the players, not a clone of one of us. Again, welcome brave soul.
   98. rawagman Posted: August 04, 2007 at 09:00 PM (#2471059)
Welcome aboard Kenn. Your ballot seems well though out and representative of a very well defined set of criteria for merit.
I would also like to reiterate what John and Esteban have pointed out.
Please do go over the high backlog as an immediate thing (ie - before your ballot is officially submitted) - I would recommend an in-depth study of the top twenty guys for a good start.
Also - do not feel too compelled by the favourite candidates of others. Unless you agree with the argument being presented. I share several view points with you, but not all. But that's ok.
Welcome aboard, and good luck. I think you'll enjoy the rest if the exercise.
   99. Kenn Posted: August 04, 2007 at 10:52 PM (#2471148)
Hello again,

Thanks for the welcomes. It seems I come off as very accommodating, to which I first say don't worry - I'm not likely to shift too much, more look for errors. But I also say, fine, and I think that may reflect what is unique about my perspective on the HOM. As an outsider, what has really fascinated me about the HOM is watching the entire length of the backlog. It's such a wonderful ranking of the near misses, very good, and might-have-beens. I'm not terribly committed to any particular candidate at this point, and in some sense I'd see any of the top 20 or so as worthy, based on the consensus of the group. Now, I intend to be very conscientious and consistent regarding the candidates near election, as I know how very important the results are to those of you who have been voting for a long time. But if I seem especially eager to look into other players, it's because what's really exciting to me is adding my voice to long list of ballot results in its entirety, through the other players I believe belong at the top. Honestly, I think that's one of the best parts of the project.

Okay, back in a few days. Thanks for the feedback!
   100. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: August 04, 2007 at 10:58 PM (#2471151)
What are you basing your claim that Dawson was a good fielder on? All the available defensive statistics show him as basically average.

This is not true. You mean to say that your favored stats, principally Defensive Regression Analysis and FRAA as far as I can tell, show him as basically average. Two important notes about Dawson and DRA:
1) 1981, Dawson's best year in virtually all respects, is excluded from the data set
2) DRA makes no attempt to account for an outfielder's ability to hold baserunners

The second point is especially important, as studies have shown Dawson to be historically great in his ability to prevent baserunner advancement. John Walsh's work in THT with respect to Outfielder Arm Ratings indicates that Dawson has the second-best Hold Rate among center fielders of the past 50 years. Similarly, Clem Comley's presentation for SABR 30 (available on Retrosheet under the Research tab) shows Dawson's 1978 to be the #4 player-season in terms of CF arms from 1959 to 1987, at 9.2 runs above average. In spite of having played CF for just 7 years, Dawson is among the top 5 for career runs saved at the position under both methods. While these studies could not possibly measure the impact of an outfielder's arm in every situation and likely relied on data that was not 100% complete, they do represent valuable information demonstrating elite aspects of Dawson's defense that is not incorporated into the statistics to which Dan refers.

As a final rebuttal to the quoted statement, Dawson was annually among the league leaders in Range Factor as a center fielder, and 1981 -- the season excluded from DRA -- was his best season by far in that regard. He was also significantly above average in terms of fielding percentage and assists as a CF, meaning that he excelled in all of the traditional defensive statistics. Obviously most of us now view these as inferior stats, but it's ridiculous to claim that every metric shows Dawson to be a middling defender, and I'm not so sure that FRAA and the other comprehensive non-PBP stats are much better than traditional stats or a player's defensive reputation. Probably some mix of all the available information would be closer to the truth.
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