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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Monday, September 24, 2007

2005 Ballot (Elect Three)

Prominent new candidates: Wade Boggs, Bret Saberhagen, Tony Phillips, Chili Davis, Gary Gaetti, Darryl Strawberry, Mark Langston and Willie McGee.

Top-ten returnees: Pete Browning, Kirby Puckett, Bob Johnson, Andre Dawson, Alejandro Oms, Cannonball Dick Redding and Bucky Walters.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 24, 2007 at 12:07 PM | 119 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. EricC Posted: October 01, 2007 at 10:47 PM (#2553625)
2005 ballot.

1. Wade Boggs Generally all-star level of 3B play with lots of playing time through his decade+ prime.

2. Wally Schang Correcting for the 154-game schedule and the WWI-shortened seasons, has as much career value as Freehan in as many games, at least by Win Shares. Schang's lesser season-by-season totals is because in-season catcher usage was lower during his time than afterwards. The Bresnahan argument applies to Schang, too. Career leader in WS among major league catchers when he retired. A case where WARP is not as flattering as WS, perhaps accounting for Schang's lack of support.

3. Tommy John Career pitching candidate in the mold of Faber or E. Wynn. Kaat is also similar. I can see how some voters would not put Tommy John within a mile of their ballots; on the other hand, John's decent showing in the most recent mock BBWAA election shows that some level of support exists.

4. Brian Downing This is a vote that will raise eyebrows, I'm sure. I have double-checked the numbers, and did not find any errors or compelling reasons to change my methodology, although the subjective strangeness of the outcome makes me question most (1) whether the career value portion of DH-era players ratings should be docked because careers tended to be longer (2) whether being among the best DH in a season is worth as many peak points as I'm giving. He ends up so high from a combination of every quirk in my system breaking in his favor: catcher "bonus" for the catcher years, treatment of DH as a position in itself, population-based timelining, and consideration of league strength/affect of DH in a league.

5. Jack Clark Most similar players: R. Smith, Burkett, Heilmann, Cepeda, Singleton A "tweener" career that was good enough for long enough to land on my ballot.

6. Rusty Staub Looks like career >> peak to me. Will not help my consensus score, as similar players are the very very good types who don't make the HoM (or the HoF, unless they attain magic numbers like 3000 hits). I should call the bats that crowd the middle to bottom of my ballot "quadruple-A HoM candidates". Why did Dw. Evans get elected to the HoM, and not Staub too?

7. Norm Cash Among better 1B most seasons 1960-1971, and occasional all-star level. More consistent than Cepeda, but less playing time per season.

8. Orlando Cepeda Among better 1B most of years during 1959-1967 and occasionally all-star level; career totals padded 1968-1974. Cepeda, Cash, and F. Howard are a set of near-exact contemporary "bat" candidates who played in the 1960s, a tricky era in which to judge the potential bottom-half-of-the-HoM "bats".

9. Lance Parrish Had two or three excellent seasons, but his career was greater than his peak. An offensive plus who caught many games; 5th all-time in HR as a C; played in strong leagues. These credentials help place him on my catcher-heavy ballot.

10. Elston Howard Multiple years of all star play at catcher; 1961-1964 "workload" also noteworthy. A peak that few catchers have attained, but very little outside the peak.

11. Reggie Smith Among better RF most years during the 1970s; respectable career totals; played CF in addition to RF. One stat that I've tabulated for fun is career Win Shares times career WS per plate appearance. It's not a perfect stat, but does correlate well with HoM selections. In this measure, Reggie Smith is the highest unelected player. That doesn't prove that he's a HoMer, but does suggest searching for reasons for his lack of support: (1) he's a 'tweener' between peak and career; (2) he missed a lot of playing time so that while his rate stats were always well above average, they don't show always lead to high season-by-season totals for those who look at things that way (3) he split defense among several positions; some may be rating him as a RF and neglecting his CF play.

12. Mickey Vernon Did have some all-star type seasons at 1B, but basically a "career" candidate all the way. Credit for two years missed to WWII, and belief that pre-expansion 1950s baseball had some of the toughest competiton of all time, based on teams/population. Among top contenders for "Hall of Fame chance hurt by WWII", as listed in Bill James' NBJHBA.

13. Ken Singleton Multiple all star-type seasons 1975-1979; MVP level 1977 season. Very durable in 1972-1983 prime; not much outside this. List of similar players suggests that he will not make it to the HoM easily, if at all.

14. Gene Tenace Consistent, high secondary average, run producing catcher. Would appear to be clearly below the consensus in/out line for catchers, but I rate catchers higher than most.

15. Dennis Martinez Very long career for his era and the very good seasons overcomes the less than spectacular average career ERA+.

Puckett 16th.

Aside from Boggs, a number of the new candidates have interesting Hall of Very Good arguments, but none are HoM-worthy, imo.

I have Bill Byrd a touch above Redding, and Sol White as the unelected NeL candidate that I rate the highest.

Bob Johnson: on the basis of his major league record (WWII seasons must be appropriately discounted), definitely not a HoMer, therefore, supporters must be giving him extra credit. Sam Rice is a more deserving late starter.

Pete Browning: whatever the HoM decides, I believe that, ultimately, he will be viewed as a HoVG player at the level of Mike Tiernan/Hack Wilson.

Andre Dawson and Tony Perez are birds of a feather, in the same boat as Dave Parker. All have HoM-worthy career credentials, but get knocked below my ballot by their lack of peak.

Bucky Walters's case has issues of quality vs. career length, and WWII level of competition. Ultimately not enough high-quality seasons for my taste.

Ohms is hurt, in my view, by the large number of better qualified CF who were exact contemporaries.
   102. Arrieta, Gentile Arrieta Posted: October 01, 2007 at 10:52 PM (#2553628)
For the first time in a while, I’ve got to tack 2 backloggers onto my ballot. Most of the time, disappeared electees and newbies have balanced.

2005 ballot:

1. Wade Boggs, 3b: Clearly the best candidate on the board, but I’m with karl on this one – kind of a boring player. When I think of Boggs, two things come to mind:
a) The Cheers episode where Wade comes into the bar and the gang think he’s not the real Boggs, but an imposter sent as a prank; they wind up chasing him out of the bar and pantsing him (this violent act of course takes place offstage, in the traditions of Greek tragedy); and
b) The “Super Chicken” theme song! (for you youngsters, that from George of Jungle TV show)

2. Andre Dawson, cf/rf: Looks like the major knock on this 5-tool player is that he lacks the 6th tool that’s sort of become a sabermetric touchstone -- drawing walks. All the backlog outfielders have one or more warts. With all else he offers, this is one I can live with. If I had him on my team, I wouldn’t trade him for any of the other eligible outfielders.

3. Bobby Bonds, rf: 5-tool outfielder. Had the speed and skill to play center, at least early on, but the Giants had some other guy there already. (eligible 1987, PHOM 1996)

4. Orlando Cepeda, 1b: Has the peak/prime edge over Perez and Cash, MVP (whether deserved or not). (eligible 1980, PHOM 1996)

5. Carl Mays, sp: Good peak candidate, pretty good hitter. (eligible 1935, PHOM 1986)

6. Lee Smith, rp: Standout reliever for many years. His best seasons are spread out in his career. (He was pretty spread out himself.) Career vote.

7. Lou Brock, lf: Great player in a narrow sense. OPS+ underrates him. Post-season play elevates him. (eligible 1985, PHOM !997)

8. Bruce Sutter, rp: Terrific ERA+ and incredible WS rate. Established the mold for the modern closer, but wasn’t confined to the 1-inning regimen. Career’s a bit short. (eligible 1994, PHOM 1997)

9. Kirby Puckett, cf: Only 12 seasons, but really nice ones. (eligible 2001, PHOM 2002)

10. Lance Parrish, c: I’m a little surprised he comes out so well, but here he is. 9-time first- or second-team all-star, 324 HR, A-rated defender.

11. Burleigh Grimes, sp: 270 wins, .560 W%, Retro-Cy, 5 STATS AS, 9 all-star quality seasons. Too many bad seasons have ruined his chances. (eligible 1940, PHOM 1942)

12. Phil Rizzuto, ss: I’d like a little more peak, but with credit for the missing years, he’s got the career value. Great defense, infield anchor for a bunch of pennant winners. (eligible 1962)

13. Lefty Gomez, sp: Low innings total, but a terrific peak, more career than Dean, good black & gray ink, HOFS, HOFM, W-L, ERA. Pitched for a lot of good teams. He had something to do with that. (eligible 1948)

14. Pie Traynor, 3b: 11 quality seasons, 6-time STATS all-star, but he might have been a standout over a weak field. A ballot on-again, off-again. (eligible 1941, PHOM 1987)

15. Tommy John, sp: There’s little peak but a lot of career.


Required comments:
Pete Browning, cf: In my PHOM (’27), and I now think that was a mistake (Beckley wasn’t). Monster hitter, monstrous on defense. That he was dominant despite in-season durability problems says quite a bit about the league.
Bob Johnson, lf: The career isn’t overly long, the peak isn’t outstanding, but he was one of the top outfielders in his league almost every year. He’s fallen back, there’s nothing exciting there. (eligible 1951)
Bucky Walters, sp: Good peak but overall W/L & ERA+ aren’t outstanding in context of career length.
Alejandro Oms, cf: The translated numbers look pretty good, but it’s not like we’re hurting for outfielders of either race from that era. I wonder if he’s really a better candidate than, say, Monroe, Lundy (we seem to have warmed up to glovemen a bit lately) or Taylor.
Dick Redding, sp: Long career flame-thrower, top 5(?) 10(?) Negro League pitcher. PHOM 1966 but I’ve cooled off since.

New folks:
Saberhagen: He’s a possibility but there’s that even/odd problem. Wish he had another good season or a little more bulk.
Strawberry: What a shame.
   103. Juan V Posted: October 01, 2007 at 10:53 PM (#2553629)
So, shall we roll out the unanimity carpet for the Chicken Man?
   104. jimd Posted: October 01, 2007 at 11:02 PM (#2553639)
Does Bucky remain one of the top 5 pitchers in MLB in each of those 3 years (1939-41) using your numbers Dan?
   105. jimd Posted: October 01, 2007 at 11:03 PM (#2553640)
testing
   106. jimd Posted: October 01, 2007 at 11:03 PM (#2553641)
Now it's there...
   107. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 01, 2007 at 11:09 PM (#2553651)
I'll have to check, I'm traveling at the moment but I'll post as soon as I get back.
   108. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 01, 2007 at 11:12 PM (#2553652)
So, shall we roll out the unanimity carpet for the Chicken Man?


Yes, but please no hints about the other two inductees.

Thanks!
   109. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 01, 2007 at 11:25 PM (#2553663)
My ballot:

Since some people asked us to include what we consider . . . I try to look at it all. I'm a career voter mostly - not because I have any bias towards it, but just because the numbers (and every study I've ever seen) tell me that peaks are overrated and 5+5 is only about 10-15% less valuable than 10+0.

I give full war credit, and I think it's a major mistake not to when comparing players across eras. My biggest regret on this project is that we didn't require all voters to give war credit like we did with Negro League credit. I see no difference, both were a circumstance of the player's birthday that was beyond his control. I also follow similar philosophy on strikes. I think it's a cop out to say we don't know so it's a zero. If a guy was a 25 WS a year player before and after the war, a zero is a much bigger mistake than giving him three 25s. As far as injury you just credit a guy based on his playing time before and after the war. There's no reason to assume he would have been any more (or less) injury prone during those years.

I'll give minor league credit for players trapped - once they've had a 'here I am, let me play!' season.

Of late I've been much more hands on in rating the pitchers than the position players. I'm very confident in my pitcher rankings. My position player rankings I'm less confident in, but there are only so many hours in the day, and because of that you'll see more position players moving around from week to week than pitchers.

No Honorable Mentions this week while I still work through the ballot.

1. Wade Boggs 3B (n/e) - Easy choice this week. Ranks behind only Schmidt, Brett and Matthews at the hot corner.

2. Rick Reuschel SP (3) - This ranking surprises me a great deal. It's one thing to 'discover' an Ezra Sutton (I mean as a group, not that I discovered him first or anything) who played 130 years ago. But Rick Reuschel was there, right before my very eyes. He pitched in the World Series for my favorite team when I was turning 9 years old. And I never had a clue he was this good.

My Pennants Added system, which account for fielding support, parks, bullpen support, etc.; shows him as the #32 pitcher eligible, right behind Dazzy Vance, Ed Walsh and Amos Rusie, and ahead of Jim Bunning, Sandy Koufax and Juan Marichal.

He isn't peakless either. His top 4 years are similar to that of Ron Guidry or Mike Scott - both considered 'peak' candidates. His 1977 was every bit as valuable as Bunning's 1966. Bunning definitely has him beat in years 2-5, but Reuschel makes it up with more quality in the back end. I get them essentially equal, Reuschel was a little better inning for inning, Bunning had a higher peak, but in the end they even out.

I have Reuschel with a 115 DRA+ over 3745 tIP, Bunning was 113 over 3739 tIP. This is where I would have ranked Bunning, who sailed into the Hall of Merit, I have no issue putting Reuschel here.

Even when I take my numbers, but filter them through a Bill James-type NHBA scoring system (that heavily focuses on peak), Reuschel still comes out as the #51 starter eligible, in a group with guys like Jim Palmer, Noodles Hahn, Eddie Rommel, Tex Hughson, Clark Griffith and Whitey Ford. Hahn, Rommel and Hughson all had very nice peaks.

Using a JAWS scoring system, he comes out as the #38 starter, in a group with Wes Ferrell, Jack Quinn, Palmer, Stan Coveleski, Red Faber and Urban Shocker.

I am saying that Reuschel was every bit as good as the Jims, Palmer and Bunning. The only difference between Palmer and Reuschel is park and defense. Reuschel's 1977 was better than any season Palmer had. Palmer, like Bunning was better than Reuschel in the 2-5 best seasons, but by less than a win a year, and over the course of their careers, Reuschel was better, 115 DRA+ to Palmer's 113 (in a similar number of innings, Palmer had 3781 tIP. He had the one great year, and was very good from 1973-81 and 1985, 1987-89. That's a record that not a lot of pitchers can match.

3. Jack Quinn SP (4) - I'm giving him credit for 1916-18 where he was pitching (quite well) in the PCL after the Federal League went belly-up. He gets a big leverage bonus for his nearly 800 IP of relief work at a LI of 1.26. Without any PCL credit I still have him between Bridges and Grimes.

4. Tommy John SP (5) - Tons of career value. I would probably be sick to my stomach if Jim Kaat (who did very well in the Veteran's Committee balloting this year) got in and John did not. On the surface (career W-L) they appear similar, but when you adjust for everything, they aren't close. I have John as similar to, but better than Burleigh Grimes - about 800 more translated IP, at a 106 rate instead of a 104 rate. That's more than enough to offset Grimes peak edge. I get John somewhere between Eppa Rixey/Red Faber and Grimes on the continuum. He's over the in/out line for me. I also give no extra credit for his poineering the surgery - someone had to be first.

5. Graig Nettles 3B (6) - Would be higher, but the AL was weak relative to the NL throughout his career and that's not accounted for in Dan R's system. Vacuum cleaner at 3B, one HR title, another runner-up. He was a better hitter than Brooksy, almost his equal with the glove. Almost as long of a career, and while he wasn't as good as Robinson, Brooks had plenty of room to spare. I think he belongs.

6. Bret Saberhagen SP (n/e) - Great peak, others with similar years 1-4 are Phil Niekro, Don Drysdale and Joe McGinnity. Saberhagen tracks McGinnity for years 5-7 as well, though he can't keep pace with Niekro and Drysdale after year 4. I'm on record as saying McGinnity was a mistake, but Saberhagen has a lot better filler (128 career DRA+ vs. 115 in a similar number of translated IP), and he's definitely a better choice than McGinnity.

7. Urban Shocker SP (7) - Vaulted in 1981, with 1918 war credit (he was having a great year), and an adjustment for the AL being much better than the NL during his time. He was a great pitcher, peak guys should really look closer at him. He'd be a no brainer without his illness, which should not impact a peak vote.

8. Phil Rizzuto SS (8) - Lost 3 prime years to WWII. Great defense, and a huge year in 1950 also. He looks even better than I realized with Dan's system and I'm moving him up according. His death has nothing to do with this, other than that I looked him over again, and I liked what I saw. RIP Scooter.

9. Tommy Bridges SP (9) - Unspectacular peak (although he would have won the 1936 AL Cy Young Award if it had been invented), but a lot of career value. War credit helps nudge him above Trout and Leonard. He could obviously still pitch when he left for the war, and was still good when he returned for a short time. I give him 2 years of credit at his 1941-43 level.

10. Andre Dawson CF/RF (14) - I've moved a couple of bats ahead of the 1970s shortstops. See his thread for more detailed comments. Essentially I think there's enough of a combination of peak/career (especially once full credit is given for 1981) to push him onto the ballot. I'm shocked to realize that Randolph was the better player, as both were among my handful of favorite players growing up.

11. Gavy Cravath RF (10) - Either he was a freak of nature, or there's a lot missing. I vote for the latter. Check out his thread for deeper discussion of the specifics, including a great analysis from Gadfly. He's the kind of guy we were hoping to catch when we started this project.

12. Tommy Leach 3B/CF (15) - I was a big fan of his awhile back, then he faded. He's back now, in no small part because of Dan R's work.

13. Dave Concepcion SS (11) - Better than I realized, and was really hurt by the 1981 strike, which occurred during his best season (and a season where the Reds had the best record in baseball, but missed the playoffs). Still no Trammell or Ozzie, but a very good player indeed. We could do worse than induct him.

14. Bert Campaneris SS (12) - .470 OWP, in an era where the average SS was at .372. Long (9625 PA) career as well, and a good fielder (62 FRAA). System says to rank him ahead of Concepcion pretty clearly, but I haven't been able to bring myself to do it just yet.

15. Thurman Munson C (13) - Better than I realized - just a hair behind Freehan. Better career D, better career O, but Freehan played more and had the higher peak. Very, very close.


Mandatory comments:

Pete Browning - would be by far our biggest mistake. Hack Wilson would be an equivalent electee. Please don't do this. Stieb or Charley Jones would be light years better as choices.

Kirby Puckett - Loved to watch him play, but there's just not enough there. DanR's numbers show him similar to Rizzuto - before giving any war credit.

Bob Johnson - He's in the mix - but slides down when you deflate his numbers from WWII.

Alejandro Oms - He's back on my radar, but I see him between Dawson and Indian Bob. Dawson is barely hitting my ballot, so Oms is not on it.

Dick Redding - he was good, but I think we are overrating him. I can't see how he's better than Grimes.

Bucky Walters - Currently #26. Big years, good hitter for a pitcher, career kind of short though. Basically tied with Newcombe and Grimes.

Newbies:

Mark Langston - Basically a spitting image of Fernando in terms of value, although he never had a year as good as Fernando 1981.
   110. OCF Posted: October 01, 2007 at 11:34 PM (#2553673)
The election is probably over - any new ballot cast at this point would be from someone who hasn't voted in at least 5 years. 53 voters, 109 candidates. Consensus scores low and fairly tightly bunched. Boggs is unanimous; further announcements must await the official deadline.
   111. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 01, 2007 at 11:37 PM (#2553677)
Thanks, Joe! :-D
   112. jimd Posted: October 01, 2007 at 11:40 PM (#2553682)
53 voters, Was this a typo? I count 54.
   113. sunnyday2 Posted: October 01, 2007 at 11:40 PM (#2553684)
Surprise, surprise!
   114. Juan V Posted: October 01, 2007 at 11:58 PM (#2553706)
jimd: My ballot was posted twice, just in case.
   115. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 02, 2007 at 12:00 AM (#2553710)
The election is now over. Results will be posted at 10.

Please no hints.
   116. DavidFoss Posted: October 02, 2007 at 12:00 AM (#2553711)
time test
   117. jimd Posted: October 02, 2007 at 12:18 AM (#2553740)
I note a ballot from each of the same 54 voters that voted last year.
   118. OCF Posted: October 02, 2007 at 12:19 AM (#2553746)
Oh, right. It is 54. Sorry.
   119. jimd Posted: October 02, 2007 at 02:03 AM (#2554157)
And the other two winners are ... ?
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