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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Sunday, February 11, 2007

2007 Veterans Committee Discussion - Composite

We’ll have one week of discussion and then the ballot thread will be posted next Monday (the election will end on Feb. 26).

Eligible candidates: Buzzie Bavasi, August Busch Jr., Harry Dalton, Charlie Finley, Doug Harvey, Whitey Herzog, Bowie Kuhn, Billy Martin, Marvin Miller, Walter O’Malley, Gabe Paul, Paul Richards, Bill White, Dick Williams and Phil Wrigley .

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 11, 2007 at 09:59 PM | 86 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 12, 2007 at 01:28 PM (#2295901)
hot topics
   2. rawagman Posted: February 12, 2007 at 02:04 PM (#2295907)
I have to ask - how can I even go about measuring this guys?
Do we use QuesTec? (Harvey) Championships formed? (Bavasi/Dalton) Championships managed? (Martin/Herzog/Williams) Contributions to the game? (Kuhn/Miller/White) Demerits to the game? (Finley/O'Malley) Having lots of money of which a portion was used on professional baseball and a larger portion was gained from professional baseball? (Busch, Wrigley) Some intricate combination of all? (Paul/Richards)
   3. BDC Posted: February 12, 2007 at 02:46 PM (#2295920)
Marvin Miller is a very important figure. I also think that managers are slightly under-represented in Cooperstown, so I would probably lean toward voting for Martin and Williams unless compelling arguments surface against them. They were both brilliant managers, though not in the mentoring-tomorrow's-leaders-through-their-entire-youngadulthood mold. More the scare-the-beJaysus-out-of-them while kicking-their-rears mold.
   4. rawagman Posted: February 12, 2007 at 02:50 PM (#2295925)
I have to think that Billy Martin as a hall of famer would rankle more nosehairs than a plaque for Pete Rose.
   5. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 12, 2007 at 03:58 PM (#2295944)
Totally off the cuff

Guys Who I Think Have a Good Case
Harry Dalton
Whitey Herzog
Billy Martin
Marvin Miller
Dick Williams

Guys Who Might Have a Case
Charlie Finley
Walter O’Malley
Gabe Paul
Paul Richards

Guys Who I Don't Think Have a Case
Bowie Kuhn
Bill White

Guys I'm Unsure About
Buzzie Bavasi
August Busch Jr.
Doug Harvey
Phil Wrigley
   6. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: February 12, 2007 at 04:10 PM (#2295951)
In Ron Luciano's books in the 1980s, Doug Harvey came off like the umpire's umpire. Did everything by the book, did it all very well, and was routinely lauded as the best and most professional umpire. There's a reason why he finished on top of the veteran committee's ballot last time. There's a reason why people nicknamed him "God" toward the end of his career. They thought that much of him. He's possibly the best regarded ump since Bill Klem.

I'd support Finley, Harvey, Martin, Miller, O'Malley, and Williams. I'm on the fence on Herzog and Richards. Both were great, but both are a little short in career. Richards is especially short, but I'm really impressed at how he laid down a foundation for two different franchises that allowed them to succeed well after he'd gone. Herzog had a longer managerial career, but I do think his Game 7 meltdown in 1985 should be held against him, which might be enough to keep this borderliner out. I'm leaning to yes on Richards and no for Herzog.
   7. rawagman Posted: February 12, 2007 at 04:16 PM (#2295956)
Off the cuff, I support induction for Miller, Williams, Paul, Dalton, Bavasi, Harvey. No respect for team owners. Merit for being rich? No thanks.
   8. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 12, 2007 at 04:23 PM (#2295964)
What's the case for Bavasi, I don't know hardly nothing about him?
   9. sunnyday2 Posted: February 12, 2007 at 04:27 PM (#2295969)
Two guys who were the best of their sub-set are indeed Doug Harvey and Marvin Miller.

I don't claim to know enough about the GM types. I am probably merely dating myself by preferring Paul and Richards but I don't feel strongly.

As to the owners, if all it takes is owning then fine elect Phil Wrigley. If every commissioner there ever was needs to be there elect Bowie Kuhn. But frankly those are the last two I would support. O'Malley maybe.

But since the likelihood is they'll elect nobody, I'd settle for two and if its's two it would clearly be Harvey and Miller.
   10. BDC Posted: February 12, 2007 at 04:29 PM (#2295974)
Herzog is an interesting case. He had a lot of success in both KC and St Louis, yet like Tommy LaSorda, one senses that he was even better at talking up his successes than he was at achieving them. That doesn't detract from those successes, but it makes Herzog loom a great deal larger in people's minds than, say, Tom Kelly, who won almost as many games as Herzog and twice as many World Series.
   11. rawagman Posted: February 12, 2007 at 04:33 PM (#2295978)
Eric - check the business of baseball website. They recently ran interviews with 30 or so people intricately connected to the game, including Bavasi and Paul. Good reading.
   12. DL from MN Posted: February 12, 2007 at 05:10 PM (#2295999)
COMPOSITE
Harry Dalton
Charlie Finley
Doug Harvey
Marvin Miller
Walter O'Malley
Bill White
Dick Williams

I'd love to know more about Paul, Richards and Bavasi.
   13. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: February 12, 2007 at 07:20 PM (#2296097)
My basic thought on owners is that there are 3 basic approaches to "merit" in their case:

1) Was his team successful on the field?
2) Was his team successful as a business?
3) Was he influential in the evolution of baseball?

This is why I support Walter O'Malley, and don't support Charlie Finley. To go point by point:

1) Both teams were very successful on the field. O'Malley's success lasted a lot longer, but Finley had much more involvement in creating the success of his team. They both get good marks here.

2) I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that what O'Malley got out of Los Angeles was the best deal in American sports history. The Dodgers were a well-run, profitable team for his whole tenure.

Finley was a great GM, but a terrible owner. He did a bad job in Kansas City and was forced to move the team, and after all of his stars left in free agency in Oakland, he let the franchise decay to almost irrelevance. There's a story I've read that when the new regime took over, the GM asked for a list of the season-ticket holders - and it was on one sheet of paper.

3) O'Malley was one of the most powerful owners ever, and he basically ran the National League (see Veeck as in Wreck for the differences between the AL and NL expansions in the early 60s.) Was he a positive influence? If you didn't live in Brooklyn, probably. Before Treder gets in here, it's true that baseball would have been better served if they had kept one if not both teams in New York and created expansion teams in LA and San Fran. Still, the Dodgers were probably the success story of the 1960s, helping to keep baseball growing and getting it more publicity than any other team.

Finley had lots of ideas about baseball. Some of them were good, some of them weren't. But the unfortunate truth is that, mostly because of his combative personality, he was never in any position to get the powers in baseball to listen to him. He wanted to be influential, but he simply wasn't.

So, I would tend to give O'Malley high marks in all 3 areas, while Finley gets a big plus in the first, a big minus in the second, and essentially nothing in the third. Now, if you don't think that O'Malley's influence was that good for baseball, you might disagree. The other thing I'll add is that if you're talking about the Hall of Fame, I think, to an extent, it exists to honor those who had a major influence on the game, whether you think it was good or not. And by that standard, there aren't a lot of people more qualified than Walter O'Malley. (And it should go without saying that one of those who undoubtedly is is Marvin Miller.)
   14. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 12, 2007 at 07:40 PM (#2296119)
So if I'm reading this right, then O'Malley's major innovation was seeing the vast potential that Westward expansion had for baseball. And his minor innovation was setting the par excellence example for running a baseball club. And he was at the head of a team that was a winner for 30 years under his control.

What's the negative, here?



DL, why do you support Bill White?
   15. OCF Posted: February 12, 2007 at 07:56 PM (#2296147)
I'm simply not ready to participate in this. It feels to me that I needed to have argued through the merits and demerits of Ban Johnson, John McGraw, Rube Foster, Judge Landis, Connie Mack, Branch Rickey, Joe McCarthy, Gus Greenlee and a hundred other people even to have the background to start the conversation about this group.
   16. rico vanian Posted: February 12, 2007 at 08:00 PM (#2296156)
Doug Harvey- If Umpire's are eligible, then he's his rep is best one out there.
Marvin Miller- At least partially responsible for transforming the game on a fianncial and competetive basis. Whether this a good thing or not is debatable.
Bowie Kuhn- Presided (mostly successfully) over the most turbulent period in MLB history (to that time.
Dick Williams - Great manager in both leagues.
   17. DL from MN Posted: February 12, 2007 at 08:26 PM (#2296173)
Bill White mainly for pioneering.
   18. BDC Posted: February 12, 2007 at 08:27 PM (#2296176)
While I think that Cooperstown doesn't honor quite enough managers, I think there are now more than enough executives in the Hall, including league presidents and commissioners. Both O'Malley and Finley are famous figures, but I don't know that they need plaques to underscore that. It seems to me that both of them got more from the game than they gave back (though I don't have quantitative data to back up that claim :)
   19. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 12, 2007 at 09:02 PM (#2296194)
Bill White mainly for pioneering.

In what ways?
   20. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: February 13, 2007 at 01:40 PM (#2296715)
Has anyone developed a Keltner like list for managers? The reason I ask is that I'm working on a bio for SABR about Bily Southworth and I'd like a qualitative way to compare him to other HOF and HOVG managers.
   21. sunnyday2 Posted: February 13, 2007 at 01:48 PM (#2296720)
Is Billy Southworth in the HoF?

Can anybody list the managers who are? Did they induct Ned Hanlon but not Frank Selee or was it the other way around?
   22. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 13, 2007 at 03:18 PM (#2296753)
bb-ref says....

Sparky
Sele
Lasagna
Hanlon
Weaver
Durocher
Alston
Lopez
Rube Foster
Harris
Stengel
Huggins
McCechknie sp???
McCarthy
Uncle Wilbert
Mack
McGraw

In addition, there are two exec/pioneers who might be considered MGR inductees in large part:
Harry Wright (basball's first MGR of note)
Clark Griffith (an owner-operator like Mack, though with better playing credentials)

Which makes 19 total guys who are either MGR inductees or pioneer/execs with largely MGR-based credentials.

Somebody asked about Keltner questions for managers, and I think that James probably addresses this idea in some fashion in his managers book. But here's some possible questions we could use:
1) Was he the best manager in his league or era?
2) If this man was a team's manager, would the team be more or less likely to win the pennant?
3) Is he the best manager not in the HOF?
4) Is he the best manager of his era not in the HOF?
5) Is there evidence that the manager was better or worse than his record suggests? How often did his teams exceed reputation? How often did they underperform?
6) Did he manage in a lot of pennant races? Did his teams tend to perform well in pennant races, or did they collapse?
7) Was the manager a good tactician? Did he frequently win or cost his teams games through his in-game maneuvers?
8) Are managers with comparable records in the HOF?
9) Does the manager's career meet the HOF's standards for managers?
10) How many World Series did he win? How many pennants? How often was he in the first division?
11) What impact did this manager have on baseball history? Did he invent or hone new tactics or ways of approaching strategy, managing, or roster usage?
12) Did he uphold the standards of sportsmanship which the Hall's guidelines ask for?

OK, that's just a quick take on it based on teh player Keltners.
   23. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: February 13, 2007 at 03:18 PM (#2296754)
Is Billy Southworth in the HoF?


He isn't.
   24. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 13, 2007 at 03:28 PM (#2296758)
Is Billy Southworth in the HoF?

Amazingly, no. Here's the top 20 guys in wins and win% who aren't enshrined:

WINS
Tony LaRussa* 2297
Bobby Cox* 2171
Joe Torre* 1973
Gene Mauch 1902
Ralph Houk 1619
Dick Williams 1571
Lou Piniella 1519
Jimmie Dykes 1406
Chuck Tanner 1352
Charlie Grimm 1287
Whitey Herzog 1281
Billy Martin 1253
Bill Rigney 1239
Jim Leyland* 1164
Dusty Baker* 1162
John McNamara 1160
Davey Johnson 1148
Mike Hargrove* 1143
Tom Kelly 1140
Art Howe 1129

WIN%
Jim Mutrie .611
Billy Southworth .597
Davey Johnson .564
Bobby Cox* .563
Pat Moran .561
Steve O'Neill .559
Patsy Tebeau .555
Billy Martin .553
Charlie Grimm .547
Fielder Jones .540
Danny Murtaugh .540
Herman Franks .537
Mike Scioscia*.537
Joe Torre* .537
Tony LaRussa* .536
Jimy Williams .535
Danny Ozark .533
Whitey Herzog .532
Dusty Baker* .527
Hank Bauer .522
   25. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 13, 2007 at 04:02 PM (#2296774)
OK, so I took all the 18 guys I mentioned above who were MLB managers, and I averaged out their vital managering stats. If you run a straight average for them, then the typical HOF MGR looks like this:

3468 G, 1857 W, 1582 L, .536 %, 2 WS wins, 2 losing WS appearances, 2 league championships in years where no WS was played or division championships.

But, Mack is such a huge outlier that I thought I'd try something else. Instead I took each manager and prorated his record to 3000 games:

3000 G, 1728 W, 1272 L, .576%, 2 WS wins, 2 losing ws apps, 2 league championships in years where no WS was played or division championships.

You could do a lot more with this data. You could schedule adjust the MGRs records, you could figure out their pythagorean up/down, etc. But I'll let someone else do that. Below is a table listing each manager's vitals for anyone interested.

pnt or
name                  g    w     l    pct  ws w  ws l   div
--------------------------------------------------------------
mackconnie       7755  3731  3948 0.486   5      3     1
mcgraw
john       4769  2763  1948 0.586   3      6     1
anderson
sparky   4030  2194  1834 0.545   3      2     2
harris
bucky      4408  2157  2218 0.493   2      1     0
mccarthy
joe      3487  2125  1333 0.615   7      2     0
alston
walt       3658  2040  1613 0.558   4      3     0
durocher
leo      3739  2008  1709 0.540   1      2     0
stengel
casey     3766  1905  1842 0.508   7      3     0
weaver
earl       2541  1480  1060 0.583   1      3     2
mckechnie
bill    3647  1896  1723 0.524   2      2     0
lasorda
tommy     3041  1599  1439 0.526   2      2     4
griffith
clark    2918  1491  1367 0.522   0      0     1
huggins
miller    2570  1413  1134 0.555   3      3     0
lopez
al          2425  1410  1004 0.584   0      2     0
robinson
wilbert  2819  1399  1398 0.500   0      2     0
hanlon
ned        2530  1313  1164 0.530   0      0     5
selee
frank       2180  1284   862 0.598   0      0     5
wright
harry      2145  1225   885 0.581   0      0     6
=============================================================
TOTAL             62428 33433 28481 0.536  40     36    27

AVERAGE            3468  1857  1582 0.536   2      2     2 
   26. DL from MN Posted: February 13, 2007 at 04:16 PM (#2296778)
James had good ideas for a "baseball card stat line for managers". It included stolen base percentages, added value on bunts and hit & runs, etc. I think the biggest impact a manager can have today is managing the pitching staff and bullpen.

I don't think anyone up for election can meet the "best not elected" criteria. It's pretty clear to me that Cox, Torre and LaRussa are more worthy than Martin, Herzog or Williams. I'd vote for Martin but he was never able to sustain success. I agree with Bob Dernier that Herzog wasn't any better than Tom Kelly.
   27. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: February 13, 2007 at 05:03 PM (#2296815)
Thanks Dr. Chaleeko. I appreciate it.
   28. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: February 13, 2007 at 05:42 PM (#2296840)
Going by me (non-HoFers in bold):

Joe McCarthy +1798.24 runs
Al Lopez +991.91
John McGraw +954.87
Bill McKechnie +877.55
Billy Southworth +761.57
Walt Alston +727.34
Earl Weaver +700.61
Miller Huggins +677.65
Billy Martin +646.87
Casey Stengel +633.87
Sparky Anderson +633.19
Whitey Herzog +494.87
Frank Seele +468.50
Leo Durocher +464.17
Dick Williams +445.05
Paul Richards +355.37
Ned Hanlon +340.46
Bucky Harris +77.71
Wilbert Robinson -99.97
Tommy Lasorda -123.17
Connie Mack -891.63

I'm not including current guys because the Birnbaum dataabse only goes up through 2001.

I mentioned in part 2 that I think this systm is unfair to Lasorda, and obviously Mack was better than that, but on the whole the HoF's done a good job. Everyone in the top 12 is in except LaRussa (who will get in), Billy Martin, and the wildly overqualified Billy Southworth. After that, the next best non-HoF managers are Frank Chance, Fred Clarke and, um, Buck Ewing? Well, all three of those guys ar actually in Cooperstown anyway. Then Herzog, whose got a good shot, then Joe Cronin, who is in. The break seems to be around +450 runs. Right there and just under are Grimm, Dick Williams, Davey Johnson, Pat Moran, and Gene Mauch. The only HoFers under that mark are Hanlon (and the Birnbaum database doesn't cover his entire career), Mack (who was fantastic when younger), Wilbert Robinson (a mistake of a selection), Bucky Harris (journeyman par excellance?) and Lasorda.

I guess Richards really didn't have a long enough career.
   29. jingoist Posted: February 13, 2007 at 05:55 PM (#2296858)
Billy Martin ruined more young pitching arms; he destroyed those kids in Oakland.
He was a loudmouth, a bore and a drunk. And pretty much a dufus as I recall.
If this was the "DHoF", he goes in there automatically.
   30. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 13, 2007 at 06:43 PM (#2296894)
But Martin also had an uncanny ability to take so-so teams and put them into contention essentially over night.
   31. Chris Fluit Posted: February 13, 2007 at 07:13 PM (#2296908)
Comparing managers actual w/l record to their pythagorean w/l record (complete seasons only):

Whitey Herzog
1976 Kansas City -2
1977 Kansas City +4
1978 Kansas City -1
1979 Kansas City +1
1981 St. Louis +3
1982 St. Louis +2 (WS)
1983 St. Louis +1
1984 St. Louis +2
1985 St. Louis +1 (NL)
1986 St. Louis even
1987 St. Louis +4 (NL)
1988 St. Louis +2
1989 St. Louis +2
total: +19

Billy Martin:
1969 Minnesota -2
1971 Detroit +4
1972 Detroit +2
1975 Texas +5
1976 NYY even (AL)
1977 NYY +1 (WS)
1980 Oakland -3
1981 Oakland +3
1982 Oakland -1
1983 NYY +3
total: +12

Dick Williams:
1966 Boston -1 (AL)
1967 Boston +5
1968 Boston +6
1971 Oakland +6
1972 Oakland -4 (WS)
1973 Oakland -2 (WS)
1975 California +2
1977 Montreal +1
1978 Montreal -8
1979 Montreal +1
1980 Montreal +2
1981 Montreal even
1982 San Diego -2
1983 San Diego even
1984 San Diego +5 (NL)
1985 San Diego -1
1987 Seattle +1
total: +11

Billy Southworth
1940 St. Louis +3
1941 St. Louis +5
1942 St. Louis -1 (WS)
1943 St. Louis +4 (NL)
1944 St. Louis -2 (WS)
1945 St. Louis even
1946 Boston even
1947 Boston +1
1948 Boston -2 (NL)
1949 Boston -1
1950 Boston +1
total: +8

By this comparison (which certainly isn't the complete picture), Herzog comes out the best. His Cardinals teams were consistently playing above their pythagorean records, +1 or +2 most years, never below and as high as +4 for the pennant year in 1987. He wasn't quite as good at his first stop in Kansas City but he still comes out ahead. Billy Martin's record is all over the place. With so many partial seasons to his credit, it's hard to know the whole story. He has able to get some of his teams to play well above their pythag rate in Detroit and Texas but his playoff success was mostly with teams playing at their level. Dick Williams is even more inconsistent that Martin. He has the highest hights (+6s in Boston and Oakland, +5s in Boston and with a pennant winner in San Diego), but also the lowest lows (that -8 in Montreal is awful) and his World Series winners were actually playing below their record. Billy Southworth comes out short on the total, but that's partly a product of having fewer seasons to his name than the three on the ballot. He had his Browns playing well-above pythag in three of his seasons, and the two below were only slightly below but they came with teams that won 106 and 105 games instead of 107. He was certainly a more consistent manager than either Martin or Williams.
   32. BDC Posted: February 13, 2007 at 07:48 PM (#2296934)
I am never quite sure what to make of comparing a manager's W/L records to Pythagoras. It does seem that some managers' teams consistently outperform the old guy, but to what extent that might depend on a manager's decisions and to what extent there are bunches of other contexts, who knows.

Take the 1978 Montreal Expos and their frightful Pythagorean deficit. Could be that Williams made bad tactical decisions, could be that he didn't use his bullpen well (and it wasn't much of a bullpen to start with). But you look at the scores of Expos games that year and you notice that they won a few extreme games: 19-5 over the Reds (5/7); 11-2 over the Cardinals (5/25); 15-1 over the Pirates (5/27); 19-0 over the Braves (7/30). That's 64-8 in just four games. In their other 158 games the Expos underperformed Pythagoras by only four games, meaning that each of those lopsided victories contributes a full game of underperformance to their 162-game record, unless my logic is gravely wrong and it usually is.
   33. Chris Fluit Posted: February 13, 2007 at 09:31 PM (#2297011)
Thanks, Bob. As I said, the comparison between the actual W/L record and the Pythagorean formula doesn't tell the whole story. But I would think that a manager whose teams consistently perform above pythag (hello, Whitey!) should have that point considered in their favor.
   34. jimd Posted: February 13, 2007 at 09:50 PM (#2297027)
In addition, there are two exec/pioneers who might be considered MGR inductees in large part:
Harry Wright (basball's first MGR of note)
Clark Griffith (an owner-operator like Mack, though with better playing credentials)


And Charles Comiskey.

Successful (won at least two pennants) HOF hybrids include: Cap Anson, Fred Clarke, Jimmy Collins, Frank Chance, Hughie Jennings, Rogers Hornsby, Mickey Cochrane, Bill Terry, Red Schoendienst, Yogi Berra, Bob Lemon.
   35. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 13, 2007 at 10:35 PM (#2297082)
You're probably right about Commiskey, jimd, I should have spotted that one. The other guys mentioned (to whom you could add Cobb and Speaker too) were marked as players by bb-ref so I chose not to include them. Among them I'd probably only consider Schoendienst, Chance, Jennings's HOF inductions as having considerable weight invested in their managing (with Clarke possibly also included).
   36. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 14, 2007 at 03:52 AM (#2297345)
OK, I'm still forming up my consideration set, but after some discussion, I think I can do a little more sifting

Guys Who I Think Have a Good Case
Harry Dalton
Whitey Herzog
Billy Martin
Marvin Miller
Dick Williams
Doug Harvey

Guys Who Might Have a Case
Walter O’Malley
Gabe Paul

Guys I'm Unsure About
Buzzie Bavasi

Among the Good Case guys, I think Herzog's the top manager, but I haven't pegged Martin or Williams quite yet. Miller, Dalton, and Harvey all seem like guys I could vote for.

Among the Mights, I think O'Malley's got good stuff, and I don't really see the downside to him.

I finally got around to looking up Bavasi, and here's the digest (from Wiki):

-Established the Nashua team in 1946 that housed Campy and Newc and did a lot of organizing to ensure a smooth transition for players of color. Continued that role as GM of Montreal for a couple years.

-Established Dodgerland in Vero Beach, in part to avoid local racism toward recently integrated players.

-Became GM of Dodgers in 1951, and guided them to 8 pennants through 1968, introducing Koufax and Drysdale among others. Was GM during the move to LA.

-Became GM and part owner of the Padres in 1968. His people drafted Dave Winfield...which was about the best thing that happened to SD in that time.

-In 1978, he took over the Angels, and the team went twice to the playoffs in his reign there.

That's a pretty compelling resume.

Actually, here's Dalton too:

-1954, he became the top guy in the Orioles farm system, sowing the seeds for the success of the 1960s by developing stars like Brooks and Palmer

-Became Balto GM in 1965, immediately traded for F-Rob. Led the team to several pennants until his departure in 1971. He hired Earl Weaver, and was responsible for the emergance of Bobby Grich, Don Baylor, and other young players.

-Took over the Angels in 1971, staying til 1977. He immediately aqcuired Nolan Ryan. His teams didn't win much in California. In 1977, Bavasi was hired and Dalton was let go.

-In 1978 Dalton became GM of the Brewers. He made the Simmons/Vukovich/Fingers deals and also got Don Sutton. By 1982, they had not only had their first .500 year but made the WS too. They sporadically contended for the next several years, and Dalton was forced out for Sal Bando in 1991.

Gabe Paul:

-Reds GM, mid-late 1950s, who, I think, was responsible for Frob and Pinson. Left in 1960 for Houston, left there before the team played a game, then to Cleveland where his teams stank (and he was an owner), sold his share and went to the Yankees in 1973 where this happened:

The key to re-building the Yankees was a series of trades that Paul pulled off. He acquired in succession: Graig Nettles, Chris Chambliss, Dick Tidrow and Oscar Gamble from his former team the Indians in exchange for some loose change; Lou Piniella from the Royals; Mickey Rivers and Ed Figueroa from the Angels; Willie Randolph, Ken Brett and Dock Ellis from the Pirates; and Bucky Dent from the White Sox. He also signed Catfish Hunter and Reggie Jackson as free agents.

So now let me section it up:

Managers
1 Herzog
2? Martin/Williams

Umps
1 Harvey

Execs
1 Miller
2? Dalton/Bavasi
3? O'Malley
4? Gabe Paul

I'm feeling pretty good about Herzog, Harvey, Miller. I think Dalton is a good choice too, and Bavasi is probably as well. I need to do more work on Martin and Williams, though.
   37. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 14, 2007 at 04:00 AM (#2297352)
Candidates definitely making my ballot:

Harry Dalton
Doug Harvey
Marvin Miller
Walter O'Malley (boy, this Brooklyn-born voter recoils at that thought, but...)
Dick Williams

Beyond that, I'm still thinking.
   38. DL from MN Posted: February 14, 2007 at 03:47 PM (#2297533)
I think Billy Martin was a terrific manager who got a lot out of his team. I also think it was telling that Steinbrenner had to keep firing him and replacing him with Bob Lemon to keep the team from chaos and mutiny.

Read Lords of the Realm by Helyar and you'll get a very good sense of O'Malley, Miller and Finley. It will also spell out why Busch doesn't deserve to be on this list.
   39. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 14, 2007 at 04:10 PM (#2297561)
It will also spell out why Busch doesn't deserve to be on this list.

I'm on the fence over him, but he does have some great teams attached to his name. He might not have been the brains behind the teams' contruction, but he did hire the right guys to do it for him.
   40. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 14, 2007 at 04:27 PM (#2297581)
but he did hire the right guys to do it for him.

Meh. Not enough. O'Malley's case isn't about winning or hiring the right guys, it's about his vision to expand to the west coast, and his success in implementing it. I don't think that Busch has anything like that attached to him, but i'm not an authority on him. He's not an innovator who reshaped the game.

Now let me present the anti-O'Malley argument as I'm theorizing it. Treder or someone else should __PLEASE__ correct me if I'm overreaching in my conjecutres. The argument against O'Malley (viz the move) is, I think, that it was an anti-competitive practice geared to (a) reduce the PCL to feeder-league servitude in a time when it had major league aspirations (b) maintain the control and leverage that MLB had over the amount and price of talent (c) sustain the reserve clause.

By driving a stake in the heart of the PCL's plans to go major, MLB would head off any reserve battles resulting from jumping between leagues (a battle they narrowly avoided with the Mexican jumping league), they would continue to suppress salaries since there would be no open-market competition (as happened at the beginning of the AL and the FL), and they could reap the bounty of the West Coast fans, probably increasing their overall market share, rather than ceeding half the country to the PCL.

As a practical business move, O'Malley's move was pure genius for MLB and for the Dodgers. But if my scenarizing is correct, I'm not sure that anti-competitive practices are something I will choose to support with my vote.


Now, someone please tell me why Dick Williams but why not Billy Martin. Or vise verse.
   41. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: February 14, 2007 at 04:30 PM (#2297584)
Of course Bavasi also sired the current GM of the Mariners giving some people some amazing comedy over at the U.S.S. Mariner blog and such gems as the Raul Ibanez and Richie Sexson contracts.
   42. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: February 14, 2007 at 05:06 PM (#2297617)
Now, someone please tell me why Dick Williams but why not Billy Martin. Or vise verse.

Williams, not Martin:
- Williams could not only improve a team, but win pennants with them. He's the 2nd man in baseball history to win pennants with 3 different clubs. The first, Bill McKechnie, is in Cooperstown. Unless backed by Steinbrenner's pockets, Martin only turned teams into second place finishers before wearing out his welcome. Flags fly forever. Second place finishes don't.
- He was surly and combative, but he never got into fistfights with his players.
- Largely as a result of the previous one, Williams had the advantage of wearing out his welcome and getting fired by management before he completely screwed up the team.
- Tactical genius. By my study he was the sixth best manager in baseball history in getting his offense to score more runs than it should've according to runs created (a sign that he was good at offensive strategy). Combined the last two components (the tactical ones) and he's the ninth best manager ever. (He was good in all five categories, but then again so was Martin).
- Teams were willing to hire him for decades. After a dozen years, only Steinbrenner would take a chance on Martin.
- Came back from 2 games down to nothing in the best-of-five 1984 NLCS to win it all. Won one of the tightest pennant races ever in 1967.
- He managed to keep Oakland focused for 3 years under Charles Finley's madness. There's no way Martin could have done that for more than a year without self-destructing. Williams helped minimize the turbulence, which Martin never could do, and left on his own terms, quitting after the 1973 Series. For all the publicity the late '70s Yanks had as a troublesome clubhouse under a hellish owner, the Oakland situation was far more turbulent.
- Never shredded an entire pitching staff's arm in the quest for a .500 season like Martin did in 1980. Hey, at least Lonborg got overused in the midst of one of the greatest pennant races ever.
- 800 more games managed.

Martin, not Williams:
- So he didn't win as many pennants as Dick Williams. He had much worse teams than Dick Williams. Don't look at how good the teams were when he was there. Look at what they were like before he showed up. The Rangers had lost 90+ games four years in a row, including two straight with 100 losses. Martin showed up in September 1973. They were 48-91 (under Whitey Herzog!), on pace for a 56 win season. He improved them slightly down the stretch and then put them in second place the next year. When Oakland hired them, they had just gone 54-108 the year before with an owner who was so irate/peevish at having lost his players that he seemed to go out of his way to alienate everyone (and he was normally good at doing that without trying). Martin put them in second place in his first season. He also improved the Tigers by 18 games, the Twins by 12 games, and gave the Yanks their first pennant in over a decade.
- In a losing streak in Detriot, he filled out his line up card by picking names out of a hat. The dirt slow slugging lead off hitter scored the winning run when driven in by the no-hit middle infielder slotted in the clean up spot. Ya gotta love that story.
- Not as great a tactical genius as Williams, but one of the greatest motivators of all-time. Few things really can put the fear of God into someone like the thought that an irate Billy Martin will come after him.
- His aggressive style really helped some of the players under his wing. In 1979, Rickey Henderson attempted to steal bases 44 times in 89 games. Under Martin he got 376 green lights in 415 games. How many other managers would allow that level of daring on the bases, even by Henderson?
- No huge mancrush on the Neifi Perez of the 1970s, Rodney Scott.
- Teams always performed well under Martin. The Angels and Mariners floundered under Williams. That's 700 games -- almost the entire difference in their career lengths.
- .553 career winning percentage. WIlliams had .520

Random thought - Fib. Win Points for managers:
Dick Williams: 937
Billy Martin 933.

Yowza!
   43. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 14, 2007 at 05:26 PM (#2297635)
Meh. Not enough. O'Malley's case isn't about winning or hiring the right guys, it's about his vision to expand to the west coast, and his success in implementing it. I don't think that Busch has anything like that attached to him, but i'm not an authority on him. He's not an innovator who reshaped the game.

In O'Malley's case, I view his candidacy as a combination of innovator and winne. Together, that's a tough act for almost any owner to best, IMO.
   44. Chris Fluit Posted: February 15, 2007 at 02:30 AM (#2298060)
I'm convinced that I'm going to vote for Harvey, Herzog, Miller and O'Malley. I'm not sure about the others, especially the general managers. Does anybody feel like doing a pros and cons argument fro them, a la Dag Nabbit's manager post #42.
   45. Chris Fluit Posted: February 15, 2007 at 02:31 AM (#2298061)
I'm convinced that I'm going to vote for Harvey, Herzog, Miller and O'Malley. I'm not sure about the others, especially the general managers. Does anybody feel like doing a pros and cons argument for them, a la Dag Nabbit's manager post #42?
   46. musial6 Posted: February 15, 2007 at 04:30 PM (#2298241)
I'm glad to see Billy Southworth getting metioned. In my opinion, he's got a better case than any of the Cardinals (Herzog, White, Busch) being considered.

It seems odd that a guy who won 2 WS as a manager (plus another as a player), managed a 2nd franchise to the WS, managed one of the greatest teams ever (1942 Cardinals), ranks 2nd in (post-deadball) winning %, and 11th all-time in wins over .500 (when all other managers in the top 18 are enshrined or will be once they retire) is NOT in the Hall of Fame.

Is there some story behind his absence? Did Frankie Frisch have him blacklisted?
   47. yest Posted: February 15, 2007 at 08:33 PM (#2298477)
in
Billy Southworth (an honorary vote to the best candidte which once again those fools decided to leave out)
Whitey Herzog manged sucsfully in KC and great in ST. Louis (keep in mind if a manager helps his players hit better (like he did with Ozzie)his pythagrom expectation goes up)
Dick Williams (could take good talent farther then most others)

ont the fence
Billy Martin his ruining youg arms and unicke personality keep him out for now

maybe (need more positive info if not no vote)
Buzzie Bavasi (what decisions did <u>he</u> actualy make?)
August Busch Jr. (not sure exactly what he did besides owning the team)
Harry Dalton (what decisions did <u>he</u> actualy make?)
Charlie Finley (more personality then credentials)
Doug Harvey umpires that you never saw umpire would always be the hardest (though I think the best way to vote on them would be every player who ever played in a game umped by him should have a vote)
Bowie Kuhn (what positive decisions did he make?)
Walter O’Malley (how much did <u>he</u> actualy do to make the Dodgers the team that they became?)
Gabe Paul (what decisions did <u>he</u> actualy make?)
Bill White (don't know any decions that he did but no matter what gets some extras points for his playing)
Phil Wrigley (what did <u>he</u> actualy do besides sign the checks and cash them in?)

no
Paul Richards (not good enough log enough)(how did he get MVP votes)

never
Marvin Miller changing the game dosn't warn't induction only positive changes should get him in
   48. DL from MN Posted: February 15, 2007 at 09:20 PM (#2298525)
I think Doug Harvey had a majority (though not 75%) in the last election from players, writers and broadcasters who saw him umpire.
   49. yest Posted: February 15, 2007 at 10:00 PM (#2298544)
how many of those actualy did see him ump?
considering around half of them were AL players, writers, and broadcasters.
   50. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: February 15, 2007 at 10:49 PM (#2298579)
Is there some story behind his absence? Did Frankie Frisch have him blacklisted?


I didn't even think about that, but now that you mention it.... They were teammates on both the Giants and Redbirds. Southworth managed Frisch for half a season.


I see that the HOF has BBWAA results online, but I have yet to find a source for old Veteran's Committee votes. Did Sporting News carry them? I couldn't find them in the ProQuest papers.
   51. Maury Brown Posted: February 16, 2007 at 07:18 AM (#2298834)
This is a no brainer... Marvin Miller should have been in the HOF the second he was eligible. He's one -- if not the -- most important figure in the history of the game. You have to put him up there with Hulbert, or Johnson, or Chadwick, or Spalding... any of those that we revere from when the business of the game became critical in its ascension.

As for O'Malley... he was a visionary, even with the vilification that comes with the move to LA, which has been oversimplified by somehow removing Robert Moses from the mix. He had designs for a domed stadium in Brooklyn before Hofheinz thought of doing so in Houston.

O'Malley was able to see how LA, and the rest of West was simply a matter of travel technology making it possible. He was smart enough to get out there before anyone else, stopped the PCL from becoming a third major league, and Dodger Stadium became a watershed for how ballparks would be designed.

As for Buzzie... I love the guy. One of the nicest people I've ever been lucky enough to talk to, but if it comes down to one, it's Miller, and if there is a way for two to get in, you bring in O'Malley.
   52. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 16, 2007 at 03:03 PM (#2298879)
He's one -- if not the -- most important figure in the history of the game.

He's definitely one and deserves induction, Maury, but the most important one would be stretching it a little too much, IMO.
   53. Rocco's Not-so Malfunctioning Mitochondria Posted: February 16, 2007 at 04:11 PM (#2298911)
I'm not sure how what Marvin Miller did changed the game in a negative way. Best I can tell, he made positive changes in increasing the leverage of the players and helping to spread the wealth. IMHO, it was Bowie Kuhn's huge tactical errors in negotiating that allowed the players association to turn into the behemoth it is today. I guess you can make the argument that Miller took it too far and should have been looking out more in the interests of the game rather than his clients, but that wouldn't have made him particularly good at what he did, would it? If Kuhn had been more willing to sit at the table to begin with, baseball today would probably have a salary cap and would be able to protect owners from themselves when they go out and make stupid decisions.

Not that my opinion matters, because I'm just a lurker, but I would say that Miller being out of the Hall is probably the greatest running omission from the Hall, period.
   54. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 16, 2007 at 04:43 PM (#2298933)
Marvin Miller shouldn't be blamed for the levels of compensation the players have, nor, for that matter should the union. The players are well compensated because there's a lot of money in the game, not because the union pushed for changes and negotiated a quasi-free market for talent. The huge revenues and very healthy profit margins are the "problem," player compensation merely reflects the state of the game.

How do we know this is true? Because player salaries mostly track revenues in the free agent era. Revnues have mushroomed in the last 30 years, and player salaries have consistently followed them upward. This is exactly what happens in the usual marketplace. We're probably all making better money than our grandparents and parents did at the same age (assuming no unsual mitigating factors like disease). The economy is bigger, the profits are healthy, and the price paid for attracting top-level talent (which helps businesses innovate and grow) has gone up. The same is true in baseball.

What's different about baseball is that before Marvin Miller the price of talent in the marketplace was suppressed by management, so people who grew up in the 1940s-1960s have a lower benchmark for athlete compensation and were thrown for a loop when one day the players started earning treble or more of what they made before. Miller negotiated fair compensation practices, not more money.

In addition, we can talk about "all the greed and money" and "making more than schoolteachers," but if we wanted atheletes to make less money, then baseball teams would have to make less money, which means that all of us would have to stop going to games, buying merch, and frequenting baseball-related websites that used MLB logos.

I mean, yeah, I want teachers to make more, but if you demand lower player compensation, then you're just saying that the owners should keep more profit. So if you want to deride the players for their money (and Miller for helping them make it), then you need to deride the owners for making profit, and you have to garnish the wages of the playres and the profits of the owners, then redistribute them to the teachers in equal or proportional amounts.
   55. Chris Cobb Posted: February 16, 2007 at 06:12 PM (#2298998)
I'd rather take Hulbert and Landis out of the Hall than put Miller in, but it doesn't work that way. Nothing at all against Miller, but I think the business matters he deals with are too indirectly related to the game on the field. But I didn't define the parameters of the HoF, so I'll probably vote for him.

Great discussion on this thread, btw. I have learned a lot, enough that I feel I can actually cast a modestly informed vote!
   56. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 16, 2007 at 07:14 PM (#2299023)
I'd rather take Hulbert and Landis out of the Hall than put Miller in, but it doesn't work that way.

I think this is a very interesting point to discuss. Chris is saying, I think, that he'd prefer a Hall where the contributions of its members are of the on-the-field sort. I think you might even be able to paraphrase my paraphrase as: made measureable contributions to a team's success and failure. (What the measuring stick looks like, we'll leave aside.) There's a secondary aspect to this line of thinking that is also compelling. The Hall has every reason to curry favor with MLB to maintain its position as Sport's premier historical institution. MLB's blessing is very important to The Coop. To which end, inducting MLB's presiding officers and its influential power brokers/owners carries a whiff of...well, not quite impropriety, but not quite wholesomeness, either. At least with GMs, MGRs, and players, you can point specific contributions and maybe measure them in some way. With these guys, it's awfully easy to induct an owner or officer of some stripe without much gain or loss of credibility among the fans. Pick an inducted league president or commish other than Landis: who cares about them? No one but the people who run the game.

I'm not saying that's how it actually is, only that it's something The Hall has to be really careful about, and it's a potential reason not to induct such figures.

On the other hand, in Miller's defense, there's a line of thinking that suggests Miller actually has improved the game on the field almost directly. Namely that toppling the reserve clause created an team-building alternative that allowed clubs to improve more quickly than before and may also have reduced dynastic tendencies in the richest clubs (it clearly did not eliminate such tendencies). In general, free agency, and its attendant player movement, have allowed the quality of teams to be more equal from top to bottom than in any other period in the game's history. So the average fan probably saw better baseball than did the fan of prior generations. In that sense, Miller's victory in the Messersmith case had major on-field effects, was the most important quality-of-play improvement since integration, and was probably the most important quality of play innovation since the mound moved to 60'6". Maury should please, please correct me if I've misinterpreted this! Anyway, that's a pretty formidable legacy.
   57. Chris Fluit Posted: February 16, 2007 at 08:47 PM (#2299066)
I see that the HOF has BBWAA results online, but I have yet to find a source for old Veteran's Committee votes. Did Sporting News carry them? I couldn't find them in the ProQuest papers.

That's just it. The Veterans Committee votes and proceedings were not made public prior to 2003. They announced when a certain player or executive was elected, but that's all. They did not announce by how many votes, who voted for him, and who else came close. This is part of the problem with the old Veterans Committee. Due to its secrecy and lack of public accountability, committee members were more prone to cronyism and vote-trading.
   58. Mike Webber Posted: February 16, 2007 at 10:25 PM (#2299104)
Wanna know why Vic Willis is in the HOF?
Well, this is the story I heard, he got 75% of the votes one year, and then they basically re-negged decided not to put him in. The story leaks out of course, and the family gets involved and the next year he gets in.
That's probably not even in the top 10 of dumb/embarassing things the VC has done.
   59. OCF Posted: February 16, 2007 at 10:32 PM (#2299106)
Procedurally dumb/embarassing and bad PR, maybe. There's nothing embarassing about actually having elected Vic Willis - we haven't, but he's still got some support around here after all of these years.
   60. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: February 16, 2007 at 10:37 PM (#2299109)
Thanks, Chris Fluit.
   61. Chris Fluit Posted: February 16, 2007 at 10:45 PM (#2299115)
You're welcome.
   62. LargeBill Posted: February 17, 2007 at 02:44 AM (#2299215)
Miller has absolutely no business in the BASEBALL Hall of Fame. If there is a union negotiators Hall of Fame put him in there.
   63. Brent Posted: February 17, 2007 at 05:10 AM (#2299246)
O'Malley's case isn't about winning or hiring the right guys, it's about his vision to expand to the west coast, and his success in implementing it.

I don't see a lot of genius in moving to Los Angeles in 1957. LA was by far the largest city without major league baseball. Major league expansion to the west coast was inevitable once the technology and cost of air transportation made it viable.

Could the PCL have succeeded in their aspirations to become a third major league? I think that only might have happened if the 1950s franchises had all been independent. But by the 1950s many of them were controlled by major league teams. In particular, the strongest franchise, the LA Angels, had been owned by Wrigley for more than three decades -- it was Wrigley's sale of the team to O'Malley that made it possible for the Dodgers to move. With the PCL's strongest franchise under the control of a major league owner, I think it was inevitable that the major leagues would eventually move into Los Angeles.
   64. sunnyday2 Posted: February 17, 2007 at 02:17 PM (#2299300)
As Chris and other has said, the whole thing about Marvin Miller is an Economics 101 lesson, nothing more. Baseball is a market in which the players' talents are in short supply--that is, talents above average, talents above replacement, that is--and money is plentiful. There's nothing surprising about what's happened since the baseball "talent market" was created.

All Miller did--with help from others, of course--was to help to dismantle a system that prevented baseball from working like a real market. That's not to say that there aren't a variety of ways (micro-economically speaking) for the talent market to have worked, and I think you could say that Miller et al vastly out-smarted Kuhn and the owners and created a market that provides players with more leverage than they might otherwise have gotten. Specifically, you don't really need a union to have a market. I mean, you probably needed a union to get the restraints that prevented baseball from acting like a market removed. But today, you could get rid of the union and still have a more or less free market in which players get multi million dollar contracts every day.

So whether you think Miller is a HoFer probably reflects your generalized beliefs about unions, no? Do they protect "workers" in some necessary and positive way? Or do they exploit markets and create inefficiency? Do they institutionalize greed or mitigate it? The correct answer is probably, both, but it's in human nature to focus more on one side of any equation.
   65. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 17, 2007 at 04:31 PM (#2299329)
Mortal locks:

O'Malley. Love him or hate him, the most influential owner in baseball history. And as an aside, perhaps the most fan-friendly owner of the past 49 years, from the standpoint of ticket prices and stadium maintenance.

(You'll note that I say 49 rather than 50 or 60, because of course you have to leave the Brooklyn fans out of this....)

Miller. Love him or hate him, what he represented is largely responsible for the game we have today, both for better and for worse. You can say that he was simply a catalyst for changes that would have eventually occured without him, but you could say the same thing about nearly every social leader.

Pretty good cases:

Kuhn. The only question about Kuhn is whether he was steering a ship or riding a raft. There is no question that the game prospered to an unprecedented level during his 15 year run.

Dalton. Dr. Chaleeko puts his case forward better than I could in # 36 above, and I can't see much of a case against him.

Herzog. Unbelievably irritating, opinionated, and whiny, and I'll never again see a team that I'll love to hate more than the 1985 Cardinals. But you have to give the man credit: He took two small market franchises and led them both to mini-dynastic success, fitting his talent to the ballpark and doing as good a job in that respect as any manager since the deadball era. Sort of like a rednecked version of LaRussa.

Harvey. I'll defer to others with more knowledge of his career than I have, and you have to acknowledge that it would be hard to imagine a tougher class of baseball people to organize and fight for.

If you value a certain type of manager:

Williams
Martin


You all know the ups and downs of these two: Great for a year or two, but is that enough for the HOF? Herzog's overall record seems much more solid to me than these two, even though as a Yankee fan I still cherish lots of memories of Martin as a player.

The rest of them seem pretty marginal. Finley had a great eye for talent and self-promotion, but having gone to many A's games in the early 70's I can testify with some knowledge that his real sense of marketing was the worst I've ever seen. Even granting the competition from across the Bay, he could have drawn way more than he did if he hadn't consistently treated the fans like dirt. In that respect he should have been much more like O'Malley and less like Dan Snyder.

Paul Richards is the only other one with much of a distinctive input, and what he did to pitchers foreshadowed the human shredding machine that was Billy Martin. Take a look at all those great young Orioles arms he overworked to the point where they nearly all burned out way before their time. It's a frightening roll call.
   66. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 17, 2007 at 04:38 PM (#2299334)
So whether you think Miller is a HoFer probably reflects your generalized beliefs about unions, no? Do they protect "workers" in some necessary and positive way? Or do they exploit markets and create inefficiency? Do they institutionalize greed or mitigate it? The correct answer is probably, both, but it's in human nature to focus more on one side of any equation.

You can also turn this kind of logic around to say that the same kinds of things about any owner/MLB exec. In the extreme you can say that Branch Rickey's integration was simply an economically incentivized maneuver to reap the benefits of an untapped market. Or you can say that O'Malley's move to the West Coast was simply the fulfillment of marketplace trends. Etc.... And I guess this is the problem with execs, there's no real parameters to look at them with, and there's no sense of what "value" or even "ability" are in their ranks.

So I think it has to bring you back to questions like
-Did his actions create a positive sea change in how MLB does business?
-Did his actions create positive conditions for the improvement of play?
-Did his actions ultimately enhance the pro baseball experience for fans?

I think we can answer these things in the affirmative for persons like O'Malley and Miller, just as we can for Ban Johnson and William Hulbert and Henry Chadwick. And we can probably also say the same for Judge Landis. Certainly not for Bowie Kuhn or Pete Uberroth or Don Fehr or Bud Selig.
   67. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 17, 2007 at 07:33 PM (#2299392)
Kuhn. The only question about Kuhn is whether he was steering a ship or riding a raft. There is no question that the game prospered to an unprecedented level during his 15 year run.

Yeah, he's in my personal limbo, too. I may be wrong, but he doesn't come across as a catalyst for any of the watershed moments that occurred in baseball during his term, so he's off my ballot right now. With that said, I agree with Andy that he shouldn't be totally dismissed.
   68. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 17, 2007 at 07:38 PM (#2299393)
And we can probably also say the same for Judge Landis.

The way I see it is, if he's not worthy of being honored, then no commissioner is worthy. Even with his negatives, the man was important to our game.
   69. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 17, 2007 at 07:51 PM (#2299397)
So whether you think Miller is a HoFer probably reflects your generalized beliefs about unions, no?

I would say a qualified no in regard to that, Marc. Conservatives are usually more antagonistic toward unions than liberals, but many from the economic branch tended to support Miller anyway because they felt free agency was the free market at its finest. IOW, the MLBPA wasn't your typical union then or even now, despite their solid support of the players.

Yes, I know I'm wading into an area that I usually eschew here at BBTF, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we can behave appropriately. Right? Right?! :-D
   70. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 17, 2007 at 07:53 PM (#2299398)
And we can probably also say the same for Judge Landis.

The way I see it is, if he's not worthy of being honored, then no commissioner is worthy. Even with his negatives, the man was important to our game.


This may be the overstatement of the century, but I'd say that that's the understatement of the year. Landis was the only Commsissioner we've ever had who was anything beyond a pure owner's puppet when it came to weighing their narrow interests against the overall good of the game.

(OK, that's an overstatement, too. You can add a bit of Chandler, Giamatti, and Vincent to that list, and a few of Kuhn's better moments vs. Finley. But put them all together and they're still dwarfed by Landis.)
   71. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 17, 2007 at 09:28 PM (#2299423)
I would say a qualified no in regard to that, Marc. Conservatives are usually more antagonistic toward unions than liberals, but many from the economic branch tended to support Miller anyway because they felt free agency was the free market at its finest. IOW, the MLBPA wasn't your typical union then or even now, despite their solid support of the players.

John, I agree with you. But at the same time I agree with this statement of Sunny's:

All Miller did--with help from others, of course--was to help to dismantle a system that prevented baseball from working like a real market.

Which is why I believe that Sunny's other statement ("So whether you think Miller is a HoFer probably reflects your generalized beliefs about unions, no?") is a red herring. (Though in his defense he offers an alternative hypothesis as well.

I think that for Miller (and other exec candidates) to be appropriately judged, we must look at how they contributed to the on-field product. And Miller's contribution is absolutely gigantic because it ushered in baseball's first sustained period of true competitive balance. And while there have been some erosions of that competitive balance recently, in ATL and NY specifically (and, you might say, in Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay), competitive balance has generally been the rule of the day since. Miller's actions (in concert with the amateur draft) helped more teams have more access to top talent, and that's good for everyone (players, teams, fans).

Adding the question of unionization can only make the debate more partisan, particularly when the union today is a far different beast than it was in 1976. Focusing on the changes Miller's activities wrought, however, makes a very strong case for his HOF inclusion.
   72. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 17, 2007 at 11:37 PM (#2299483)
Andy and Eric:

I agree 100% with both of your posts. Spot on.
   73. Brent Posted: February 18, 2007 at 09:33 AM (#2299595)
And Miller's contribution is absolutely gigantic because it ushered in baseball's first sustained period of true competitive balance.

What exactly is the argument that Miller played a key role in ushering in the era of competitive balance? (I'm not trying to be argumentative, I just want to make sure I understand the reasoning.)
   74. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 18, 2007 at 07:21 PM (#2299693)
Brent,

My reasoning (which could always be faulty!) is

Premise: free agency changed the game for the better by ushering in competetive balance through marketplace forces, which had hitherto been suppressed (except in the initial signing of players and later in the draft)

Big event that led to free agency: the Seitz decision.

Miller's involvement: As leader of the union and its chief strategist, Miller (and the union) supported Messersmith and McNally in Seitz's court. On Miller's (and the union's) advice, they did not sign their contracts and so played out the option, which Miller believed entitled them to become free agents. After the win, he then counseled other players to do the same. Finally with the leverage he obtained, he subsequently negotiated with the owners to introduce a free agency system that allowed players to move around, which ultimately benefited fans and the game as a whole.

Opinion: Miller's strategizing as the MLBPA's head was key to the success of the Seitz decision and to the negotiations that led to a formal free agency system. The competitive balance we have enjoyed since is good for fans and teams and players, and has led to a baseball boom in revenues and attendance, while improving the quality of play on the field by making more teams competitive and having fewer dogs in the field.
   75. Brent Posted: February 19, 2007 at 06:31 AM (#2299881)
It's interesting that free agency is credited with creating competitive balance in the 1970s and 80s and blamed for reducing competitive balance in the 1990s and 2000s.

Basically, free agency allows a team that has money to spend but doesn't have players to trade to improve by signing free agents. It should improve competitive balance if the teams that are weak in talent tend to be cash-rich, and hurt competitive balance if the teams that are weak in talent tend to be cash-poor.

It seems to me that the unique feature of the 1970s and 80s that led to competitive balance was a more equitable cash flow. Prior to the 1970s, teams were largely dependent on ticket sales for revenue; the large cities tended to do better because they drew more fans to the gate. During the 1970s and 80s, national broadcasting rights became a major source of revenue, which I assume especially helped the teams in the smaller markets. By the 1990s, regional cable networks were again boosting the revenue of the large-market teams, allowing them to outbid the small market teams. (I'm not an expert on the business of baseball, so if my story is wrong, please correct me.) My guess is that changing sources of revenue had more to do with competitive balance than free agency.

Another change happened at the same time as free agency that often goes unnoticed. When Finley tried to sell his stars rather than lose them to free agency, Kuhn disallowed the sales. Prior to 1975, cash-rich, talent-poor teams were able to buy players from teams that wanted to sell. After 1975, they had to bid for free agents. The effects on player salaries was obvious, but it seems to me that under both systems, cash-rich, talent-poor teams could buy players -- the difference was that before 1975 the proceeds went to the selling owner, whereas after 1975 the proceeds went to the player. But it isn't clear that the effects on competitive balance were any different.

I'm not arguing against Miller as a candidate...I think he played an historic role in reshaping player-management relations. But I'm not sure I buy the argument that free agency was the key to improved competitive balance.
   76. sunnyday2 Posted: February 19, 2007 at 12:52 PM (#2299923)
Of course, one can also argue Marvin Miller--like Branch Rickey--as someone who did the right thing, forget what it's on-the-field impact was.

The on-the-field impact piece is tricky, too, BTW. I mean, integration didn't enhance competitive balance, it helped Rickey and his Dodgers to dominate, at least initially. It is true, of course, that there was unusual competitive balance--at least at the top of the heap, measured in World Series appearances--after free agency, but not immediately.

And you can argue whether Judge Landis wasn't in certain very real ways a negative influence and morally at least ambiguous.

And you can argue whether Miller is the one who should be recognized for free agency or whether it should be somebody else. But you can't argue that free agency hasn't been a very very very big thing.
   77. rawagman Posted: February 19, 2007 at 01:35 PM (#2299926)
I guess it's time for a preliminary composite ballot for me here. I will not claim that I have any firm handle on the accomplishments of any of these men, but the Hall makes room for non-players and these are the guys who came up, and among them are some who I think might be worthy of a plaque:
1) Doug Harvey - How many older umps have you heard of?
2) Marvin Miller - This is a peak vote. What he worked for has affected every young boy from Newfoundland to Osaka. I also come from a union background.
3)Bill White - Not sure what he actually did as NL President, but he was a HOVG as a 1B only. Add some service to the game and the total value of his case should be clear.
4) Dick Williams - Got the A's to win in spite of Chuck Finley (conspicous by his absence here).
5) Whitey Herzog - If Lasorda, why not Herzog. His teams carried his brand and were very successful.
6) Walter O'Malley - I'm not comfortable with owners in the Hall, but I think the move out of Brooklyn was at least partially inevitable, and he had a direct hand in building a dynasty.
7) Gabe Paul - Contributions to baseball in Houston and to rebuilding the Yankees to perennial championship contenders in the late 70's.
   78. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 19, 2007 at 01:39 PM (#2299928)
Brent,

It's too early in the day to add much to it, but that's an excellent summary of the interplay between free agency, revenue, and competitive balance over the course of the past 32 years. Free agency is a bit like free speech, in that you know it's a good and necessary thing for many reasons, but by itself it's no guarantee of good results.
   79. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 19, 2007 at 03:44 PM (#2299960)
Agreed that free agency alone does not make for competetive balance, so let me elaborate a bit on this idea. While you are obviously correct that creating a free market for talent when the teams have a more equivalent cash flow is conducive to competitive balance, I think the bigger picture isn't as simple as the haves buy more and the have nots buy less. The macro here is that free agency:
a) can help teams turn around quickly
b) disallows or makes very difficult the long-term hoarding of talent
c) adds diversity to the group of team-building strategies GMs have to improve (which also includes the drafts, trading, and amatuer/international scouting/sigings)
d) may allow for greater between-league parity through rapid interleague movement.

That goes well beyond big wallets buying and spending, particularly since they don't actually consume all the good/great talent.
   80. sunnyday2 Posted: February 19, 2007 at 03:56 PM (#2299965)
When we talk about competitive balance, we're usually talking about what happens at the top, not at the bottom. Is that right? I mean, that at least is my take.
   81. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 19, 2007 at 04:18 PM (#2299977)
Agreed that free agency alone does not make for competetive balance, so let me elaborate a bit on this idea. While you are obviously correct that creating a free market for talent when the teams have a more equivalent cash flow is conducive to competitive balance, I think the bigger picture isn't as simple as the haves buy more and the have nots buy less. The macro here is that free agency:

a) can help teams turn around quickly


True

b) disallows or makes very difficult the long-term hoarding of talent

This part is not so clear. Look at how the Yankees were able to retain most all of their homegrown talent from the 90's well through their respective primes, and look how Cleveland wasn't, and how Montreal had their annual salary dumps. This is what most people are thinking about when they decry the effects of free agency on competitive balance, that and the fact that the HOF-level players eventually all seem to gravitate towards the big market teams. The bottom line is that it's becoming almost impossible for the smaller market teams to retain any superstar-level player during the first contract negotiation after his first breakout season. Even with a first rate organization and farm system, it's a case of small market teams having to run harder and harder just to maintain their pace.

c) adds diversity to the group of team-building strategies GMs have to improve (which also includes the drafts, trading, and amatuer/international scouting/sigings)

True.

d) may allow for greater between-league parity through rapid interleague movement.

Also true. It's only your second point that I'd want to qualify.
   82. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 19, 2007 at 05:37 PM (#2300029)
b) disallows or makes very difficult the long-term hoarding of talent

This part is not so clear. Look at how the Yankees were able to retain most all of their homegrown talent from the 90's well through their respective primes, and look how Cleveland wasn't, and how Montreal had their annual salary dumps. This is what most people are thinking about when they decry the effects of free agency on competitive balance, that and the fact that the HOF-level players eventually all seem to gravitate towards the big market teams. The bottom line is that it's becoming almost impossible for the smaller market teams to retain any superstar-level player during the first contract negotiation after his first breakout season. Even with a first rate organization and farm system, it's a case of small market teams having to run harder and harder just to maintain their pace.


-Disallows in that teams cannot hold the exclusive rights to a player ad infinitum without his consent. I think there's a substantial difference between hoarding and contract extensions for players. The Yanks are forced to negotiate a new compensation package with Jeter when his contract ends, and he has an established market from which to negotiate his position. Before FA, players could be renewed year after year with no good bargaining position.

-Makes difficult in that it's really expensive to sign several top FAs and maintain a budget. It's really hard to be the Smith brothers of baseball---especially when you consider that there's only so many lineup slots to buy for. No team has tried to buy more talent than it needs to strip the market of talent.
   83. Jim P Posted: February 20, 2007 at 04:12 PM (#2300432)
Here is a Keltner list that we came up with for Contibutors (non-players) in the Ultimate (frisbee) Hall of Fame.

Questions to Consider:

Can the history of Ultimate be written without including this candidate?

Was the way the game was played significantly impacted by changes introduced by the candidate?

Was the way the sport was administered or organized significantly impacted by changes introduced by the candidate or by their contributions?

Did the candidate make his impact over an extended period of time? Is that impact still being felt today

Were the candidate’s accomplishments widely recognized at the time and/or did they become apparent only after the passage of time?

Did the candidate have a significant playing career which, while perhaps not sufficiently outstanding to qualify for an Ultimate Hall of Fame spot solely on playing merits, nonetheless strengthens the overall candidacy?
   84. Jim P Posted: February 20, 2007 at 04:13 PM (#2300433)
Here is a Keltner list that we came up with for Contibutors (non-players) in the Ultimate (frisbee) Hall of Fame.

Questions to Consider:

Can the history of Ultimate be written without including this candidate?

Was the way the game was played significantly impacted by changes introduced by the candidate?

Was the way the sport was administered or organized significantly impacted by changes introduced by the candidate or by their contributions?

Did the candidate make his impact over an extended period of time? Is that impact still being felt today

Were the candidate’s accomplishments widely recognized at the time and/or did they become apparent only after the passage of time?
   85. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 20, 2007 at 05:35 PM (#2300477)
Dr. C,

Point well taken, but although the financial realities of free agency and the luxury tax even constrict the Yankees somewhat (hence no Beltran), it also makes it nearly impossible for a geograpically isolated, small market team to retain a truly great player for long. Look at the career paths of Beltran and Johnny Damon, just to take two of the more blatant examples of what I'm talking about: KC to Houston to New York; and KC to Oakland to Boston to New York. Notice a pattern there? What you have now (and I'm not saying it's always a bad thing) is that just about the only way for small market team to compete on the Minnesota or Oakland level is to come up with a farm system and / or a GM on the levels of those two teams---which unfortunately is a zero sum game, since it's often a lot easier for a rich team to simply sign (or retain) proven talent than it is for any team to spot it and sign it in the first place---and keep doing it.

The interesting development is going to be if an unfettered Brian Cashman proves to be a Billy Beane with a nearly unlimited budget. That's what some of us were saying five years ago, but it's really only beginning to loom as a possibility now, with Steinbrenner fast losing his day-to-day grip on the team. As a Yankee fan, I love it, but as a baseball fan, I'm not so sure. I'm also not so sure that a judgment on the effects of free agency is still a bit of a way down the road from a final tally.
   86. yest Posted: February 21, 2007 at 08:17 PM (#2301253)
does any one know differant players that came for or against Harvey's induction?

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