Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Hall of Merit > Discussion
Hall of Merit
— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Monday, December 29, 2008

2009 Veterans Committee Discussion - Players

We’ll have one week of discussion and then the ballot thread will be posted next Sunday (the election will end on Jan. 11).

Eligible candidates (pick up to four from each group): Pre-war candidates: Bill Dahlen, Wes Ferrell, Joe Gordon, Sherry Magee, Carl Mays, Allie Reynolds, Vern Stephens, Mickey Vernon, Bucky Walters and Deacon White; Post-war candidates: Dick Allen, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, Al Oliver, Vada Pinson, Ron Santo, Luis Tiant, Joe Torre and Maury Wills;

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 29, 2008 at 01:29 AM | 96 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Related News:

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 29, 2008 at 04:10 AM (#3039343)
Prelim:

Allen
Dahlen
Gordon
Santo
Torre
Walters
White
   2. Juan V Posted: December 29, 2008 at 04:15 AM (#3039346)
PHoMers in there:

Allen
Dahlen
Ferrell
Gordon
Magee
Santo
Tiant
Torre
White
   3. Mark Donelson Posted: December 29, 2008 at 05:10 AM (#3039362)
Prelim:

Allen
Dahlen
Ferrell
Gordon
Santo
Tiant
Torre
Walters
White
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: December 29, 2008 at 05:23 AM (#3039369)
Prelim and probably postlim

Allen
Dahlen
Gordon
Magee
Santo
Torre
Walters
White
   5. Bucky Posted: December 29, 2008 at 05:51 AM (#3039375)
Joe Gordon, Ron Santo, and Joe Torre off the top of my head. The rest I will have to look at a bit.
   6. HGM Posted: December 29, 2008 at 06:16 AM (#3039381)
Bill Dahlen, Joe Gordon, Sherry Magee, Joe Torre, Ron Santo, Deacon White definite, still on the edge with Dick Allen and Wes Ferrell
   7. sunnyday2 Posted: December 29, 2008 at 02:06 PM (#3039452)
I guess I'm totally out of touch. But is this an actual ballot that a HoF panel will be voting on? I thought they already elected that perennial favorite--nobody. I get that Joe Gordon was a different, more reasonable panel.
   8. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 29, 2008 at 02:13 PM (#3039454)
I guess I'm totally out of touch. But is this an actual ballot that a HoF panel will be voting on?


That's the actual ballot that was used a few weeks ago, Marc.

BTW, I would have posted this earlier, but I forgot again that the Vets are doing this stupid December voting now. What happened to February?
   9. Chris Fluit Posted: December 29, 2008 at 03:45 PM (#3039480)
Allen
Dahlen
Gordon
Magee
Santo
Tiant
Torre
Walters
White
   10. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 29, 2008 at 03:59 PM (#3039488)
Prelim:

Magee
Torre
White

Magee should have been in a long time ago. He was probably the second-best all-around player in the NL (albeit several miles behind Wagner) from 1906-1912.

Gordon's career was a bit on the short side for me, even considering WWII. What bothers me about Santo is that he took substantial advantage of Wrigley Field, and that a good portion of his value was tied up in walks during a period where walks were least valuable. Dahlen's one of those guys whose career looks better in retrospect than it did at the time. Quite honestly, the only reason I see that he's drawing as much attention from this group is that he was a SS, and we have a strong tendency here to view the defensive responsibility of a SS as similar to the way we view it today when there wasn't quite the degree of separation between SS and the surrounding positions (2B, 3B, and arguably CF) as there is now.

-- MWE
   11. karlmagnus Posted: December 29, 2008 at 04:41 PM (#3039521)
Allen
Dahlen
Santo
Tiant
Torre
White
   12. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 29, 2008 at 04:42 PM (#3039522)
What bothers me about Santo is that he took substantial advantage of Wrigley Field, and that a good portion of his value was tied up in walks during a period where walks were least valuable.


Since run scoring was at its nadir since 1920, wouldn't walks have been more valuable during Santo's career, Mike? If not, which era do you think bases on balls were most valuable?

Quite honestly, the only reason I see that he's drawing as much attention from this group is that he was a SS, and we have a strong tendency here to view the defensive responsibility of a SS as similar to the way we view it today when there wasn't quite the degree of separation between SS and the surrounding positions (2B, 3B, and arguably CF) as there is now.


How many shortstops in ML history could hit like Dahlen, while also being able to field the position and play for 20 years? Not too many by my count.
   13. OCF Posted: December 29, 2008 at 05:05 PM (#3039543)
I don't really see where Mike was coming from in some of that (including why he mentioned CF at all). It does appear that defense was a larger factor in winning and losing than it would become later, and Frank Selee's defense-first model of how to build a team was enjoying great success. 2B had more a tendency to be hitters, and the DB wasn't that big a factor - so the only "neighboring position" worth talking about is 3B.

OK, let's take Jimmy Collins. Do you think Jimmy Collins belongs in the Hall of Fame? Collins may not be an inner circle player, but he seems to fit quite comfortably within the Hall. He was a late bloomer who didn't reach his offensive peak until he was in his 30's. His 1725 game career doesn't look all that long by modern standards but for the 1890's-1900's it was a long, productive career. He had a career OPS+ of 113.

Dahlen played in 2443 games - 700 games, nearly 5 full seasons, more than Collins, and nearly all of it at SS or 3B (mostly SS). His career OPS+ was 109, but I'll assure you that if you cut it down to his first 1700 or so games, it would be higher than Collins. My own RC-related takes on offense show Dahlen as a clearly better offensive player than Collins.

Was Collins a better offensive player than Dahlen? I don't see that, in fact I show the arrow pointing the other way.

Was Collins a better defensive 3B than Dahlen was a defensive SS? Collins did have a tremendous reputation, and the reputation seems to have been justified - but the evidence is also there that Dahlen was a standout defensive SS as well. In the long campaign to elect Hughie Jennings to the HoF, a large point made by the supporters of Jennings was that he reached a superstar-level defensive peak (for a very short time). I was always a little skeptical of that - including that I'm not convinced that Jennings was ever a better defensive SS than Dahlen. And Dahlen did it for many more years.

It seems that to argue the Collins belongs and Dahlen doesn't, you'll have to argue that a 3B was intrinsically more valuable than a SS, and I don't see how that will wash at all. And to argue that Collins doesn't belong either would seem to be a very strange argument.

My offensive system shows Dahlen's value as being close to Alan Trammell - less peak value than Trammell, more career. I see his offensive peak as being in the same neigborhood as the likes of Junior Stephens, Jim Fregosi, and Jonny Pesky - and of course, Dahlen had more career than any of those. Brooks Robinson is another comp for Dahlen - and again, that's only if you equate SS and 3B.
   14. OCF Posted: December 29, 2008 at 05:36 PM (#3039577)
I do understand Mike's point about the walks. Walks - OBP in general - are part of the fuel for sequential offense, for run-scoring sequences that require the combination of several separate acts. As pitching-ascendent times lower the probabilities of each separate positive offensive act, they lower the probability of the combination even further. Seqeuential offense declines in importance. It becomes relatively more important to be able to score runs with a single act - the HR becomes more important.

For a model of how to construct an offense in low-scoring circumstances, think about the 70's Dodgers. They never had particularly good team BA or particularly good team OBP. They weren't a sequencial-offense team. But they did have guys all up and down the lineup who could hit HR.

But I think Mike is carrying this a bit too far. Baseball at 3.7 R/G is not a fundamentally different game than baseball at 4.7 R/G. I can recall 10-run innings happening even in 1968. And to use it to disparage the case for Santo - well, Santo hit HR, too.

---

Prelim:

Dahlen
White
Magee
Santo
Torre
Allen (Yes, I thought about Andy's HoF/HoM distinction and HW's long-stated objections)

I'm on the fence about Ferrell - ultimately I helped elect him to the HoM, but I now think I was using a too-low baseline for his offensive value and my have overstated the importance of his hitting.
I'm also on the fence about Gordon - I see him as a borderliner. And Tiant is another borderliner.

By the way, what exactly is Grich's status? He's not on this ballot.
   15. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 29, 2008 at 06:55 PM (#3039653)
I do understand Mike's point about the walks. Walks - OBP in general - are part of the fuel for sequential offense, for run-scoring sequences that require the combination of several separate acts. As pitching-ascendent times lower the probabilities of each separate positive offensive act, they lower the probability of the combination even further. Seqeuential offense declines in importance. It becomes relatively more important to be able to score runs with a single act - the HR becomes more important.


I agree that home runs become even more important than walks during pitching ascendant-times, though I'm not convinced that walks were less valuable during the '60s than they were at other times.

By the way, what exactly is Grich's status? He's not on this ballot.


How he keeps getting ignored is a mystery to me.
   16. Mike Webber Posted: December 29, 2008 at 07:28 PM (#3039696)
Per the Hall of Fame rules, are we allowed to include managerial credit on these people?
I believe Torre has been on every prelim above, so maybe it doesn't matter for him but I think Hodges and maybe Gordon could use the push they would get. Bill Dahlen and Maury Wills though may prefer to be judged without managerial records coming into play :)
   17. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: December 29, 2008 at 07:32 PM (#3039700)
Per the Hall of Fame rules, are we allowed to include managerial credit on these people?

Doesn't the HoF have a separate section of the vets commitee set up to look at umps & managers?
   18. Paul Wendt Posted: December 29, 2008 at 07:58 PM (#3039729)
14. OCF Posted: December 29, 2008 at 12:36 PM (#3039577)
I do understand Mike's point about the walks. Walks - OBP in general - are part of the fuel for sequential offense, for run-scoring sequences that require the combination of several separate acts. As pitching-ascendent times lower the probabilities of each separate positive offensive act, they lower the probability of the combination even further. Seqeuential offense declines in importance. It becomes relatively more important to be able to score runs with a single act - the HR becomes more important.

In those times, where sequential offense faces greater challenges, home runs are relatively more valuable than walks and other hits. But walks are relatively more valuable than singles at least and doubles probably, because the runner advancement value of the base hits is relatively diminished. Right?

--
16. Mike Webber Posted: December 29, 2008 at 02:28 PM (#3039696)
Per the Hall of Fame rules, are we allowed to include managerial credit on these people?

Yes, it all counts. That is, the voters decide how much to count every part. The rules about counting this and not that pertain to eligibility and nomination and the competing jurisdictions of the different "committees".

--
Joe Torre may one day be nominated for consideration as a manager by another committee. It convened only months after the reform (Dec 2007) and cleared away some of his rivals.

--
Bobby Grich was eligible but the Historical Overview Committee did not nominate him this year. Steve Garvey was the only youngcomer nominated.
   19. Obama Bomaye Posted: December 29, 2008 at 08:04 PM (#3039734)
I'm not convinced that walks were less valuable during the '60s than they were at other times.

Well, they were. It's hard to score on a walk when no one else is hitting. OBP becomes relatively more valuable in high-scoring contexts, and SLG becomes relatively more valuable in low-scoring ones.
   20. Mark Donelson Posted: December 29, 2008 at 08:10 PM (#3039738)
Whoops, I missed Magee--he should have been on my prelim too. (I guess I could just rectify that on the real ballot.)
   21. sunnyday2 Posted: December 29, 2008 at 08:18 PM (#3039744)
How many can we vote for? Didn't the VC limit it to...5? I'm gonna ignore that, since it might be wrong anyway, and just say, here are the guys who are in my PHoM.

Allen
Dahlen
Gordon
Magee
Santo
Torre
Walters
White

Stephens and Tiant are the other 2 guys who remain within shouting distance but I'll hold off on them til another day.
   22. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 29, 2008 at 08:44 PM (#3039761)
I'm not convinced that walks were less valuable during the '60s than they were at other times.

Well, they were. It's hard to score on a walk when no one else is hitting. OBP becomes relatively more valuable in high-scoring contexts, and SLG becomes relatively more valuable in low-scoring ones.


There are two parts here. A walk in the '60s was less likely to lead to a run than a walk in the '20s, because of the scoring context. But a run in the '60s was more likely to lead to a win than a run in the '20s... because of the scoring context. On the one hand, wins are what we're ultimately after, and I'd expect 120 walks in the '60s to be better than 120 walks in 1999; on the other hand, Santo wasn't leading the league with 120 walks, he was leading the league with 95. It's quite possible that 95 walks in 1966 wouldn't be as valuable as 120 walks in 1999.

I think this would be splitting hairs in Santo's case from the perspective of a lot of the voters here, because he's regarded by many as well above the in-out line anyway.

As far as home-field advantage goes... I took a half-baked look at whether Santo should be penalized for it, based on a simple example, and it worked out to be something like a 1-win per year deduction for someone with a very extreme split in a hitter's park, as compared to someone with a more normal split. Santo's splits are extreme, but not as extreme as the ones I used in my quick look, so I'd tentatively take a little less than that away from him in the years when he had his most outrageous splits. But again, this was quite half-baked and would need a lot of firming up before I'd use it for anything.
   23. John DiFool2 Posted: December 29, 2008 at 08:45 PM (#3039764)
Walks can double the value of a HR by someone coming up behind you-don't mistake Runs Created/OPS for how baseball actually works.

[#21] Yes-are we operating here with the four player limit as they did on the actual ballot?
   24. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 29, 2008 at 09:07 PM (#3039788)
Per the Hall of Fame rules, are we allowed to include managerial credit on these people?


They do, so I don't know why you can't, Mike.
   25. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 29, 2008 at 09:11 PM (#3039789)
There are two parts here. A walk in the '60s was less likely to lead to a run than a walk in the '20s, because of the scoring context. But a run in the '60s was more likely to lead to a win than a run in the '20s... because of the scoring context.


Exactly my point, Eric.

On the one hand, wins are what we're ultimately after, and I'd expect 120 walks in the '60s to be better than 120 walks in 1999; on the other hand, Santo wasn't leading the league with 120 walks, he was leading the league with 95. It's quite possible that 95 walks in 1966 wouldn't be as valuable as 120 walks in 1999.


That's certainly possible.
   26. ronw Posted: December 29, 2008 at 09:28 PM (#3039800)
Prelim:

Allen
Dahlen
Ferrell
Gordon
Magee
Santo
Tiant
Torre
White

Except Tiant, all HOMers.
   27. DCA Posted: December 29, 2008 at 09:44 PM (#3039820)
Any rules that are important to know here? Can I vote for all of them if I choose?
   28. DL from MN Posted: December 29, 2008 at 10:54 PM (#3039872)
Dick Allen
Bill Dahlen
Wes Ferrell
Joe Gordon
Sherry Magee
Ron Santo
Luis Tiant
Joe Torre
Bucky Walters
Deacon White
   29. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 29, 2008 at 11:53 PM (#3039919)
Any rules that are important to know here? Can I vote for all of them if I choose?


I'll be posting the rules next week, but you should know about the number of players to check off on your ballot.

The Vets Committe had two ballots of ten candidates each this year. One was for the pre-WWII players, while the other one was for the post-war candidates. Therefore, I will have to have two ballots now, where we can vote for up to 4 players on each one.
   30. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 29, 2008 at 11:58 PM (#3039923)
BTW, the two ballots thing is a surprise to me. Why do they have to make things so difficult?

For those who have made prelims with more than 4 candidates from one subgroup, I apologize for not pointing this out.
   31. Mark Donelson Posted: December 30, 2008 at 12:02 AM (#3039927)
Therefore, I will have to have two ballots now, where we can vote for up to 4 players on each one.

Gosh, we gotta be all realistic now? ;)

Well, in that case, I guess I should redo my prelim, since I'll have to make a cut or two.

Pre-WWII
Dahlen
Ferrell
Magee
White

Post-WWII
Allen
Santo
Tiant
Torre

Looking like Walters and Gordon are the odd men out this time around. I'd hope they remain eligible--how does that work, anyway? Do they just start over with a committee next time, or do the rejects this time remain on the ballot?
   32. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 30, 2008 at 12:11 AM (#3039934)
Updated Prelim:

Pre-war:
Dahlen
Gordon
Walters
White

Post-war:
Allen
Santo
Torre

I have updated the header for this thread, BTW.
   33. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 30, 2008 at 12:15 AM (#3039938)
Gosh, we gotta be all realistic now? ;)


If at all possible. :-)

Looking like Walters and Gordon are the odd men out this time around. I'd hope they remain eligible--how does that work, anyway? Do they just start over with a committee next time, or do the rejects this time remain on the ballot?


Gordon is a HOFer-elect now, so he won't be on regardless, but I am not sure about the rejects for the next election, Mark.
   34. Paul Wendt Posted: December 30, 2008 at 12:16 AM (#3039939)
Well, they were. It's hard to score on a walk when no one else is hitting. OBP becomes relatively more valuable in high-scoring contexts, and SLG becomes relatively more valuable in low-scoring ones.

Does the run-scoring context matter?

Reaching base is relatively valuable when slugging is relatively high.
Slugging is relatively valuable when reaching is relatively high.

Why does it matter whether reaching and slugging are absolutely high or low, as in high-scoring and low-scoring times abstracted from details?

--
30. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 29, 2008 at 06:58 PM (#3039923)
BTW, the two ballots thing is a surprise to me. Why do they have to make things so difficult?

The Board and the living members revised their arrangement after another round of fruitless voting two years ago. The living members now have exclusive jurisdiction, no mixing with honored writers and broadcasters (who may be big Ron Santo fans). But the scope of their jurisdiction has been cut back to recent players, those with mlb debuts after 1942. I suppose that both sides were happy with this one.
   35. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 30, 2008 at 12:20 AM (#3039942)
Thanks, Paul!
   36. Paul Wendt Posted: December 30, 2008 at 12:20 AM (#3039944)
Looking like Walters and Gordon are the odd men out this time around. I'd hope they remain eligible--how does that work, anyway? Do they just start over with a committee next time, or do the rejects this time remain on the ballot?

Gordon is the one they elected this time around. Everyone remains eligible unless there is another reform. What is the half-life for a veterans committee structure?

The committee nominates a slate of candidates for each election.
   37. Paul Wendt Posted: December 30, 2008 at 12:24 AM (#3039949)
Among other things, I have posted some information about the "Historical Overview Committee" at baseball-fever .
   38. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 30, 2008 at 08:22 PM (#3040468)
Pre WW II Candidates:
Bill Dahlen
Wes Ferrell
Sherry Magee
Deacon White

Post-war candidates:
Dick Allen
Ron Santo (no extra credit awarded for announcing skills)
Luis Tiant
Joe Torre (hybrid value for playing career and managing)
   39. rawagman Posted: December 30, 2008 at 08:51 PM (#3040497)
The recent actual election of Joe Gordon to the Hall has had the side benefit of me reviewing my rankings of him in my PHOM backlog and, as a further corollary, my positional weightings for the backlog of 2B and catchers in general.
Prelim ballot:
Pre WWII Ballots:
Bill Dahlen - in
Wes Ferrell - elected to the HOM before I joine the fun, therefore ineligible for my PHOM, but not the type of player I generally support
Joe Gordon - I would have preferred to see Vern Stephens elected
Sherry Magee - in
Carl Mays - not interested
Allie Reynolds - very much not interested
Vern Stephens - in
Mickey Vernon - solid player, not a hall of famer though, even with war credit
Bucky Walters - maybe 6th on this ballot for me - I don't support him for the Hall of Merit, either
Deacon White - in


Post WWII Ballot:
Dick Allen - in
Gil Hodges - with managerial credit, he is a close 5th behind Oliva
Jim Kaat - not a huge fan - also not sure of how to value media career accomplishments
Tony Oliva - in
Al Oliver - He is on the cusp of my PHOM (I may be his 2nd biggest fan in the HOM electorate), but is 6th here once I factor in Hodges as a manager
Vada Pinson - not a big fan
Ron Santo - in
Luis Tiant - maybe 7th
Joe Torre - in - this is with or without the managerial stuff
Maury Wills - no thanks
   40. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 30, 2008 at 09:20 PM (#3040508)
Prelim:

Gordon
Magee - pretty damn impressive career for one played exclusively in the dead ball era

And of course Torre's a slam dunk if you include his managing, but I thought that this was for playing careers only. In which case, no Torre.

Maybes, but leaning slightly towards yes:

Allen
Santo

Genuinely puzzled about Deacon White. How to interpret those numbers in the context of an era I know nothing about?

And dammit, I want Reynolds/Raschi/Lopat as an entry. They were the best (or at least the best ring-gathering) starting trio in history, a veritable Koufax and then some for 5 years, but unfortunately this seems to be for individual players only. Pity.
   41. HGM Posted: December 30, 2008 at 09:36 PM (#3040523)
Updated:

Pre-1943:
Dahlen
Gordon
Magee
White

Post-1943:
Torre
Santo
   42. OCF Posted: December 30, 2008 at 09:45 PM (#3040530)
Andy:

With regard to your puzzlement about Deacon White: the capsule summary would be that he played forever, he played valuable positions (including C and 3B), and he hit forever. For the expert summary, consider this: in the Hall of Merit's inaugural election in 1898, which was preceded by extensive discussion (that I had no part of), the whole sweep of baseball history up to that time was available. Of the players eligible for that election, something like 15 or 16 have eventually been elected to the Hall of Merit, and a few others (Ed Williamson, Mickey Welch) still draw votes. Against that background, White was the single leading vote getter. Take that as a collective expert opinion.

You really need to take another look at Bill Dahlen.

Even as a player, Torre makes a plausible candidate. He really could hit, and he played a lot of catcher. Note that we did elect him to the HoM purely as a player, not that he's a slam dunk that way.

How are Reynolds/Raschi/Lopat more impressive than Wynn/Garcia/Lemon? I'd also suggest that some part of what you perceive as the value of Reynolds et al is really the value of Rizzuto, DiMaggio, McDougald and the rest of the gloves.
   43. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 30, 2008 at 09:57 PM (#3040535)
With regard to your puzzlement about Deacon White: the capsule summary would be that he played forever, he played valuable positions (including C and 3B), and he hit forever. For the expert summary, consider this: in the Hall of Merit's inaugural election in 1898, which was preceded by extensive discussion (that I had no part of), the whole sweep of baseball history up to that time was available. Of the players eligible for that election, something like 15 or 16 have eventually been elected to the Hall of Merit, and a few others (Ed Williamson, Mickey Welch) still draw votes. Against that background, White was the single leading vote getter. Take that as a collective expert opinion.


White was also the best catcher of the 1870s, bar none.

He's one of the most inexplicable HOF omissions, IMO, since he's so far above the HOF standard.
   44. jimd Posted: December 30, 2008 at 11:05 PM (#3040570)
Old-Timers Committee:
White
Dahlen
Ferrell
Gordon

Veterans Committee:
Santo
Torre
Allen
Tiant
   45. DCA Posted: December 30, 2008 at 11:25 PM (#3040579)
Dahlen
Gordon
Stephens
White
(would vote for Magee also if I could)

Allen
Santo
Torre
(rare to find myself voting for less than the max, but I don't think the others are deserving)
   46. DL from MN Posted: December 31, 2008 at 03:42 AM (#3040671)
Bill Dahlen
Joe Gordon
Sherry Magee
Deacon White

Dick Allen
Ron Santo
Luis Tiant
Joe Torre

What screening committee leaves out Bobby Grich but passes through Maury Wills?!
   47. JPWF13 Posted: December 31, 2008 at 03:53 PM (#3040865)
Bill Dahlen
Sherry Magee
Deacon White
Joe Gordon


Dick Allen
Ron Santo
Joe Torre


None of the pitchers, Ferrell was the most interesting case due to his hitting, worth approx 120 runs over the average pitcher... that makes his 116 ERA+ equivalent to another pitcher's 124/125- but he had only 2600 ip...
close but no...
   48. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 31, 2008 at 04:37 PM (#3040924)
Andy:

With regard to your puzzlement about Deacon White: the capsule summary would be that he played forever, he played valuable positions (including C and 3B), and he hit forever. For the expert summary, consider this: in the Hall of Merit's inaugural election in 1898, which was preceded by extensive discussion (that I had no part of), the whole sweep of baseball history up to that time was available. Of the players eligible for that election, something like 15 or 16 have eventually been elected to the Hall of Merit, and a few others (Ed Williamson, Mickey Welch) still draw votes. Against that background, White was the single leading vote getter. Take that as a collective expert opinion.


Thanks, OCF. That provides a lot more context than you can get from simply looking at the BB-ref page.

You really need to take another look at Bill Dahlen.

I did. You're right. He'd get my vote.

Even as a player, Torre makes a plausible candidate. He really could hit, and he played a lot of catcher. Note that we did elect him to the HoM purely as a player, not that he's a slam dunk that way.

HoVG IMO, though given his position you could argue him into a big Hall. The problem is that he never caught a game after he was 29.

How are Reynolds/Raschi/Lopat more impressive than Wynn/Garcia/Lemon? I'd also suggest that some part of what you perceive as the value of Reynolds et al is really the value of Rizzuto, DiMaggio, McDougald and the rest of the gloves.

Five straight World Series in which they collectively posted an ERA a full run below their regular season averages, three of which were against the Boys of Summer, is a feat that you can't simply chalk up to the defense. On many levels it was a classic team accomplishment, but those three starters were the heart of that team, and the biggest reason for their unprecedented (and unequaled) run. Dimaggio was aging, injured, and at the end ineffective. Mantle was only a serious factor in 1952-53. Rizzuto faded quickly after 1950. McDougald had a great rookie year in 1951 but never came close to matching that until later in his career. The only real star who was around for the whole stretch was Berra, and it wasn't until about 1950 or 1951 that he was even allowed to call their pitches.

I'm not saying that you couldn't make a case for Lemon/Wynn/Garcia as well, although in the cases of Lemon and Wynn it would be a bit redundant, since they've already made it on their own.

The plaque I'd like to put in Cooperstown for Reynolds/Raschi/Lopat would be more along the lines of Unique Feats by a Collective Group of Pitchers, none of whom are individually Hallworthy. I know that this isn't a majority sentiment here, but I still maintain that what the Yanks did between 1949 and 1953 remains the greatest team accomplishment in MLB history. And Reynolds, Raschi and Lopat were the most important component of that team.
   49. Mark Donelson Posted: January 01, 2009 at 02:03 AM (#3041400)
Gordon is the one they elected this time around.

Yeah, I know--I meant Gordon would still be around for me, in that fake pHOM-ish alternate universe. Which makes no sense, I realize, since these votes don't work that way...
   50. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: January 02, 2009 at 12:21 AM (#3041672)
Moscow Hiding In The Shadows--you wouldn't happen to be the guy who wrote a book on Reynolds, Raschi, and Lopat, and emailed me about them after reading a New York Times column I wrote, would you?
   51. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 02, 2009 at 04:50 PM (#3041968)
Moscow Hiding In The Shadows--you wouldn't happen to be the guy who wrote a book on Reynolds, Raschi, and Lopat, and emailed me about them after reading a New York Times column I wrote, would you?


Though Andy owned a book store for years, he's never mentioned that he was also a writer, Dan.
   52. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: January 02, 2009 at 05:15 PM (#3041987)
Dan, I may well have written you an e-mail if you wrote about them in the Times, since I've been known to do such things on a lazy Sunday morning, but I don't even own the book. I had to borrow a copy from a friend to read it myself. I tend to buy McFarland books only when their steep paperback-only prices get knocked way down, though admittedly that terrific R-R-L book was tempting even at the list price.
   53. Nolan Giesbrecht Posted: January 05, 2009 at 01:18 AM (#3043178)
Pre-war candidates:

Bill Dahlen- Yes, well above the HoF in/out line.
Wes Farrell- No, even with his hitting prowess, he falls a little short. Too little career length.
Joe Gordon- Yes
Carl Mays- No, seems like a very close match with David Cone who I wouldn't vote for, but could be convinced otherwise.
Allie Reynolds- No
Sherry Magee- NoA close fifth
Vern Stephens- Yes, seems like a Gordon clone except with more career [or just about even with war credit for Gordon] and played a more important defensive position.
Mickey Vernon- No
Bucky Walters- No
Deacon White- Yes, like Dahlen, overqualified.

Post-war Candidates:

Dick Allen- Yes
Gil Hodges- No
Jim Kaat- No
Tony Oliva- No
Al Oliver- No
Vada Pinson- No
Ron Santo- Yes
Luis Tiant- No
Joe Torre- Yes
Maury Wills- Nope
   54. alilisd Posted: January 05, 2009 at 07:07 AM (#3043301)
Something I've been wondering about lately is the arguments against players, such as Santo or Jim Rice, who have significant home/road splits. It seems to me that being highly productive at home is very important since 50% of the games are played there. Granted another 50% are played on the road, but it doesn't seem as if the two examples I've given above were horrible players on the road, probably more like average or even a bit above average. Given that they were well above average at home, and it is their overall performance which is being evaluated, why do people downgrade them for the home/road split?
   55. OCF Posted: January 05, 2009 at 07:39 AM (#3043312)
For what it's worth (and I speak only for myself, not for anyone else), I don't consider the home-road split at all, and I don't consider what, hypothetically, the player would have done in another home park - that is, it's a matter of value rather than ability. Given that, I consider a one-size-fits-all park factor appropriate. Both Rice and Santo have to be downgraded because their home parks were, in general, hitters parks - but that's simply a matter of considering the win value of the runs they produced. So Rice and Santo do earn credit for overproducing at home, just as Jimmy Wynn earns credit for overproducing at home in a pitchers park. And Santo evaluates to a clear HoMer, Wynn evaluates to a borderline in/out candidate, and Rice evaluates to nowhere close - but that's a matter of considering the whole argument for each.
   56. Tony Ling Posted: January 05, 2009 at 06:19 PM (#3043524)
Dahlen
Gordon
Stephens
Mays

Allen
Santo
Tiant
Torre
   57. Rusty Priske Posted: January 05, 2009 at 10:19 PM (#3043798)
Dahlen
Magee
White

```````

Allen
Santo
Torre
   58. bjhanke Posted: January 08, 2009 at 11:22 AM (#3046176)
This essay, comprising this post and the next due to the list's size limit on posts, is something that I promised the people who are working on ranking the players already in the Hall of Merit. This is done by position. The first one was catcher. I listed Deacon White last, and said that I thought he was overmatched by the group. This comment, shall we say, drew some flak. My reasoning was the Deacon White counts as a third baseman, not a catcher, and so is going to be overmatched by any group of actual catchers. This, too, drew flak. People contended that White's Full Season Equivalencies (FSEs, meaning the percentage of a Full Season that the player actually played) were about the same at catcher as at third, and he had more value in his catcher years, so he counts as a catcher. I promised a long essay powered by a chart that I had made up some 15 years ago for a magazine article. Well, I ran out of time to do this until now. This is the essay I promised.

Quick Note: Before I get into this I want to make it clear that I consider Deacon White to be the best catcher of the 1870s. But I consider him, over his whole career, to be a third baseman. I don't find any contradiction there. He played more than one decade. In one decade, he's a catcher. The rest of the time, he's a third baseman. So both statements can be true at the same time. I voted for the Deacon first among all the pre-WWII players on the HoF poll currently running on Baseball Think Factory, but I'm voting for him as a third baseman who played a lot of catcher, not a catcher who played a lot of third. I thought I ought to include this note so people know what I do think as the conclusion of all this.

Back to the essay. The essence of my argument is that you absolutely cannot use normal FSE procedures to deal with 19th century catchers, because the playing times are all messed up. I had noticed, when writing the article 15 years ago, that playing time for catchers decreases, as a percentage of the schedule, as you go back in time until 1900. Then an odd thing happens. The percents of schedules played start to go back up. This makes no sense. The reason that catcher playing times go down as you go back in time is that the conditions of the game were harsher on the catcher's body. No mitt. No glove, really early. No face masks. No chest protectors or shin guards. Lousy playing surfaces. Medical treatments much weaker than we have now. None of this is reversed as you go back into the 19th century. The only thing that happens is that the schedules start to get shorter and shorter until they are really really short.

I speculated that the reason the playing time percents were going back up was that the schedules were so short that even the primitive conditions of the time did not have enough chance to wear the catchers out within a season. And therefore, I concluded that you cannot use the FSEs generated by the raw playing time percentages in those short schedules. I call those "blind" FSEs. You have to use "capped" FSEs; FSEs that have a cap applied so that they can't be higher than those in later years.

Here's what I did 15 years ago: I made a list of all seasons from 1900 onward, skipping the 19th century. I went through Neft & Cohen and found the 4 highest catcher playing time percentages in the National League. I stuck to the NL to keep the number of teams somewhere near constant. It isn't constant, but it was the best I could think of. And besides, the top four percentages are all going to be full time starting catchers. That's why just four. I then discarded the highest one of the four, which is nothing more than good statistical practice. I averaged the #2 through #4 playing times. That average became the playing time percentage for a sturdy starting catcher for that year.

Then I made up a chart of those percentages for those years, to set up the decline curve. I ran the curve back to 1871. Then I used those extrapolated curve numbers to generate caps for 19th century catcher playing time percents. Please note that I did not do a really good job of running the curve back into the 19th century. A good job would involve a mathematical concept called curve fitting. I remember it from my college days. I was told that it was hard and that the test questions we got were artificially easy. I was told to not try curve fitting in the real world unless I got in good practice first with the technique. So I did not do that. If anyone here actually knows how to do curve fitting and is willing to extrapolate my numbers back into the 19th century with that technique, I would be very grateful. I did what I could with the tools I know how to use.

One of the results of all that analysis was to conclude that Deacon White counted as a third baseman, not as a catcher. Please note that I did not use the same reasoning that Bill James does in his Historical Abstract. Bill counts Deacon White as a third baseman instead of a catcher because Bill does not count the National Association as a major league. Deacon was a catcher in the NA. Take that out and he's without question a third baseman. I include the NA, but I apply caps to his FSEs.

I have long since lost my every-year list, but I did make one up using every five years, instead of absolutely every year.

So, here's the list. The first column is the year.

The second column is the average of the #2 through #4 catcher playing times, multiplied out to a 162-game schedule. That is, in 1905, the real average of loads 2-4 is 105 games, in a 154-game schedule. 162 / 154 x 105 = 110, so 110 is what appears. In 1960, the real average is 123. That multiplies out to the 130 that appear. But in 1965, the schedules have gone to 162 games. The actual average of 2-4 is 135, and that is what shows on the list.

The third column is the percentage of the schedule that column 2 represents. That is, in 1905, 110 / 162 = .68. And 105 / 154 = .68 as well, of course. So .68 is what appears on the list. The percentage does not vary when we multiply through to 162 games. It is the percentages that become the data items on the eventual chart, plotted against the years.

Note: There are two obvious data blips here. In 1945, we were still in WWII, and so a lot of the full time catchers were in the army. Teams had to do things like platoon their backups. Some of the starters came back late in the year and claimed their jobs back. So the percentages are low. And in 1995, there was a small work stoppage that dropped the schedules down to 144 games. I made no adjustments for 1945, so the percent is low, but I did compute the 1995 percents with a schedule of 144 games.

Year G/162 Percent
1905 110 .68
1910 127 .78
1915 125 .77
1920 110 .68
1925 114 .70
1930 127 .78
1935 128 .79
1940 121 .75
1945 107 .66
1950 135 .83
1955 127 .78
1960 130 .80
1965 135 .83
1970 145 .90
1975 137 .85
1980 140 .86
1985 146 .90
1990 141 .87
1995 129 .90

As you can see, the percentage of the schedule that a sturdy starting catcher can play has been going up steadily over the century. This, of course, is the result of better playing conditions, from new and better equipment to the quality of the playing surfaces to better medical care. To represent this, I made the chart I mentioned above. I listed the years on the x-axis and percents on the y. Then I took the chart and ran it back to 1870, one year before the start of the National Association.

I do not have a chart here because I don't know how to post a chart up to this list. You can plot your own, using the list above.
   59. bjhanke Posted: January 08, 2009 at 11:27 AM (#3046177)
Now, there is one problem. By "ran the chart back" I mean that I plotted the data points on graph paper, took out a French curve, and did the best I could to extrapolate the data curve back by eyeballing. This is not the recommended method. The recommended method is the aforementioned curve fitting. If anyone here knows how to do curve fitting and is willing to run the chart back and tell me what the actual data points should be for the 19th century, I promise to use that instead of my eyeballs onto graph paper. But this is what I have now. And, to be honest, I don't think that curve fitting will change things much. The curve is pretty obvious.

So what did the French curve say? Here's the chart from 1900 back to 1870. It's formatted the same as the chart above.

Year Cap Cap FSE
1900 108 .67
1895 106 .65
1890 104 .64
1885 101 .63
1880 98 .61
1875 95 .59
1870 91 .56

What I did from there was to use these percentages, interpolating for years that are not divisible by 5, to generate what I call the Playing Time Cap. What I mean by the term "Cap" is that the number I have on the chart is the MAXIMUM number (or percent of 162) of games that I think a sturdy starting catcher could have played had his team back then actually scheduled 162 league games. I use that as a cap on FSEs. And thus, for Deacon White's 1871 campaign, where he played all 29 of his team's 29-game schedule, which is 100% and so generates a blind FSE of 1.00, I use the Cap, which is 92 games over 162, or a FSE of .57.

In practice, it's easier than that. Because I used percents to make up the chart, I can just take the percent and use it for the Cap FSE. So, the maximum FSE that a catcher can have in 1875 is .59, for 1885 it's .63 and so on. A catcher can have a smaller FSE than the Cap, because his actual playing time might drop below the Cap percentage. But he can never have a higher FSE than the Cap.

In Deacon White's case, as in almost all from back then, this can be tricky, because he seldom played all his games at catcher, and there are shared games. For example, in 1872, White's Cleveland team only played 22 games in their schedule. According to BB-Ref, White played 14 games at catcher, 7 at second base, and 5 in the outfield. That comes to 26 games. So there must be shared games, where the Deacon changed position within the game. What I did was this: If catcher is the position at which White played the most games in that season, I count the whole season. If catcher is not his primary position, I only count the games at catcher. So I count all 22 games in 1872, but in 1877, when Boston used him primarily at first base and he only played 14 (possibly shared) games at catcher, I count only the 14 against the cap. But I do count all 14.

The reason for this is that it is, in effect, the rule I used to compile the chart in the first place. I looked for the four highest numbers of games played each year by the person listed in Neft and Cohen as the team's starting catcher. The people in that group all played the bulk of their games at catcher. If there was someone like White in 1877 involved, that player would never count, because he would never be included in the top four. So the rule is to count all games played if catcher was the primary position. Count only games at catcher if it was a lesser position for that player that year.

This means that in 1871, White gets a catcher FSE of .56, which is what my chart has for the 1871 Cap. In 1877, though, when the team schedule was 60 games, and Deacon White only played 7 of them at catcher, he gets a percentage of 7 / 60 = 11.7%. His FSE becomes 0.12, not the Cap percentage, which would be 0.60. Here are all the years when Deacon White played even one game at catcher, along with their FSEs

Year G at C GP G Sched % Cap % Final FSE
1871 29 29 29 100 56 56
1872 14 22 22 100 57 57
1873 56 60 60 100 58 58
1874 58 70 70 100 58 58
1875 75 80 82 98 59 59
1876 63 66 66 100 59 59
1877 7 59 60 12 60 12
1878 48 61 61 100 60 60
1879 59 78 80 98 61 61
1881 4 78 83 5 61 5
1882 20 83 84 24 62 24
1883 22 94 97 23 62 23
1884 3 110 111 3 63 3

Deacon's total Final FSE as a catcher? It's the sum of the last column, taken as percentages of Full Seasons. That comes to 5.35 FSE as a catcher. Not quite 5 and a half seasons. It is, though, the second-highest number of games that Deacon played at any position. The most? Third base. In terms of raw games, it's no contest. Deacon played 827 games at third and only 458 at catcher. But the bulk of the catcher games are early, when the schedules were short. The bulk at third are late, in larger schedules. So, using the exact same rules as when computing catcher FSEs, how many third base FSEs does Deacon have? Skipping the lists and addition, it's 7.64 FSE. That includes some seasons where Deacon did not play all his games at third, but gets credit for every game he played at any position, just like when computing the catcher FSEs. Same rules for both positions.

And the result is that Deacon White comes out as a third baseman, by 2.29 FSE. That is, Deacon's FSEs at third are 43% more than his FSEs at catcher. 2.29 / 5.35 = 43%.

Disclaimer: When I computed out the FSEs for third base, I used blind FSEs. That is, I applied no caps of any kind. Why, when I did just apply caps to catcher? Because there's no decrease in playing time at third base as you go back in time. Here's a quick list of years and percents of schedule played for the 2nd through 4th highest games played at third base in the NL:

1905 95%
1910 95%
1990 96%
1995 97%

These are the beginning and end years of my catcher list. If you see any big decrease in playing time percentages here, you're looking at something that I can't see. In other words, when you're dealing with 3rd base, blind FSEs are appropriate. It's only at catcher that they are a problem.

There can be counterarguments, based on concepts like Pennants Added. If you treat the 1871 pennant, in a schedule of 29 games, as equal to the pennant of 1888, which involved 134 scheduled games, then you can argue that Deacon added more pennants at catcher. He played 100% of his team's schedule in 1871, all at catcher, and only 93% in 1888, all at third. So by this method, he gets more credit for 1871 than for 1888. You'll conclude that he had more "value" as a catcher if you do this.

But what have you really done? You've just computed out the blind FSE, that's all. You're just using the numbers from the "%" column in my list above. Yes, that will work. You add up that column and you get 8.63 FSE. That's more than his third base FSEs. But you've used blind FSEs at 19th century catcher. I think that's totally inappropriate. I don't think that there is any way, if the 1871 Cleveland team had scheduled 162 games, that Deacon White, or anyone else, could have played all 162 with a majority at catcher. I think that .56 FSE is a whole lot closer to reality than 1.00 is. This is, BTW, why I don't use Pennants Added. They don't work for early catchers.

Anyway, that's my argument. To sum up, here's what I contend:

1) Because of playing conditions, catchers play much less of their team's schedules in early baseball than in the modern game.
2) You can work the curve of percentages back to about 1900 without trouble, but then the percents start to go back up as you go back in time, because the schedules are so short that they don't tax the ability of even catchers to play every day.
3) If you extrapolate the playing time curve back into the 19th century, you come up with caps on playing time that are very severe. Less than 60% by the time of the National Association.
4) Because of this, you can't use blind FSEs for 19th century catchers. You have to use capped FSEs.
5) If you use capped FSEs, as you should, Deacon White can't help turning out to be a third baseman. Only blind FSEs will get him considered a catcher, and blind FSEs are not legitimate when dealing with catchers of his time.

Thanks to all of you who waded through all of this. I hope it helps make sense of my opinion of Deacon White.

- Brock Hanke
   60. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 08, 2009 at 01:16 PM (#3046185)
Brock, while I appreciate all of the work you put into this, how can White be considered primarily a third baseman when he was the greatest catcher of the 1870s? That is where his greatness lies, not at third base where he was okay but really didn't distinguish himself there.

Should Ernie Banks be considered a first baseman, since he played more games there? Of course not. His first base years don't help his HOF/HoM case that much at all. It's his years at short that define him. Same goes for White behind the plate.
   61. karlmagnus Posted: January 08, 2009 at 01:30 PM (#3046188)
The only reason you normalize 1870s seasons to 154 or 162 games is to equalize their weighting against other seasons. If you then adjust for catchers by giving them a playing time lower than in any actual historical period you are penalizing them -- top first string catchers have never played 56% of the games and in the real world 1871 they played close to 100%. In any case, catchers have to do more work per game than outfielders or even 3B, so docking them for missing games is unfair in that respect too -- if Joe Torre (say) played a modestly higher number of games at 3B than at catcher, that doesn't make him a 3B because he had more activity per game as a catcher.

In White's case I think it's damn close. Even without your rounding down of playing time, but with season length corrections, he still had more time as a 3B. On the other hand, his peak years were as catcher, and he was a more distinguished catcher than 3B. Flip a coin, frankly, though I would incline to catcher for Grandma's reasons.
   62. DL from MN Posted: January 08, 2009 at 04:40 PM (#3046349)
The "eyeball" curve fit might not be right partly because I don't know that the playing conditions for catchers in 1870 were as stressful as the playing conditions in 1890. It is possible the curve should go down as pitchers improved their velocity and breaking pitches (making catching harder) and back up again as the equipment became available to compensate. You're assuming a linear to geometric decline as you reverse backwards but there has to be diminishing returns on the extrapolation or else at some point you'll predict nobody could complete a game as a catcher in 1720.
   63. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:36 PM (#3046437)
This is White's case in a nutshell: if he had retired after his last season as a full-time catcher, he most likely would still have made the HoM. He had zero chance based solely on his non-backstop seasons.

He's a catcher.
   64. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:40 PM (#3046443)
Of course, since Brock voted for White anyway, he can think he was an umpire for all I care. :-D
   65. jimd Posted: January 08, 2009 at 10:24 PM (#3046920)
You're assuming a linear to geometric decline as you reverse backwards but there has to be diminishing returns on the extrapolation or else at some point you'll predict nobody could complete a game as a catcher in 1720.

To curve fit, you need some real data points and can then reasonably interpolate between them. Extrapolation beyond the last real data point can lead to questionable results.
   66. Paul Wendt Posted: January 11, 2009 at 11:38 PM (#3048999)
Full Seasons squivalent games is neutral regarding the general expansion of schedules moving forward in time or the general contraction of schedules moving backward in time. It is one way of weighing Seasons or calendar time rather than games or plate appearances. There is no need to approve Deacon White playing 162 games at catcher in 1871, or 140 games, or even 110 games some other year in the early 1870s; the point is that he played 1 or 7/8 or 2/3 full season.

If that is unappealing imagine that the National League of 1886 scheduled 63 games rather than 126, and divide most components of his 1886 record by two.

--
Most players are better in their twenties than in their thirties and White was no exception. Further he was half-way through his thirties, 34.6 years old!, when he settled in at thirdbase, a role he had filled in merely ten major games [too few to bother with conversion to FSE] thru age 34.
(Compare and contrast Jim O'Rourke who was 37.7 when he finally settled at leftfield. He had previously served as a regular leftfielder more than once.)
This is true, but its purpose is to cast the game- or PA-counting bottom lines in absurd light. It does not contribute to the explanation of Full Seasons --neither measured by reference to games or to PA or to defensive innings, nor in abstraction from any particular measurement.
   67. Paul Wendt Posted: January 12, 2009 at 05:04 AM (#3049159)
copied from the ballot thread
Pre-1943

3. Paul Wendt Posted: January 11, 2009 at 10:55 PM (#3049156)
Last winter's special election for "Group 2" covered the Hall of Merit members from the relevant time period, approximately. The HOM subgroup ranked Bobby Grich number one but the Cooperstown's nominating committee passed him by.

Above I say "approximatley" because there was a mismatch.

[quoting the Hall of Merit Archives]
>>
* Election Results: Grich and Santo Are Tops for Group 2! Posted: February 10, 2008 at 02:54 PM
* Ballot Thread: Group 2 - careers 1943-1987 Posted: February 04, 2008 at 05:59 PM
* Ranking Hall of Merit players not in the Hall of Fame: Group 2, careers span 1943-87 Posted: January 27, 2008 at 06:24 PM
<<

Those thread titles by Secretary Murphy match the scope of Cooperstown veterans committee jurisdiction, and the present thread, but we put a few later players in Hall of Merit Group 2. Two of them, Ted Simmons and Darrell Evans fared very well and Graig Nettles also ran. Cooperstown's nominators didn't pass them by with Bobby Grich; rather, they played in the majors to 1988 or 1989 and were not yet eligible for this cycle of veterans committee consideration.
   68. Paul Wendt Posted: January 12, 2009 at 05:17 AM (#3049170)
Post-War, or 1943-1987 [which should be the title of #67 also]

Coopertown's "Historical Overview Committee (nominating committee since 2002)" didn't name anyone new to this ballot. All ten were on the 27-man ballot in 2007, where they ranked 1 to 6, 8, 9, 12, and 17. The ballot differs from the previous election's top ten by including Al Oliver and Dick Allen in place of Don Newcombe and Roger Maris.

Three of the ten are Hall of Merit members and nine HOM members were eligible for this election. In the HOM "Group 2" election last winter, whose scope nearly matches this election, the trio Santo-Allen-Torre ranked 2-3-6 where two mismatches in scope ranked 4-5.
(The mismatches were Ted Simmons and Darrell Evans. Bobby Grich won the Group 2 election but Coopertown's committee didn't nominate him.)
   69. Paul Wendt Posted: January 12, 2009 at 06:13 AM (#3049200)
61. karlmagnus Posted: January 08, 2009 at 07:30 AM (#3046188)
The only reason you normalize 1870s seasons to 154 or 162 games is to equalize their weighting against other seasons. . . .

In White's case I think it's damn close. Even without your rounding down of playing time, but with season length corrections, he still had more time as a 3B. On the other hand, his peak years were as catcher, and he was a more distinguished catcher than 3B. Flip a coin, frankly, though I would incline to catcher for Grandma's reasons.

(my emphasis)
karlemagne, Have you completed any such calculation? If so, by what method?

For his league career 1871-1890, which misses part of his work as catcher but none of his work at third, Deacon White played
Full Seasons (based on fielding games)
7.42, catcher
7.11, thirdbase
(Recognizing 1869 and 1870, I say "about nine seasons".)

In this he may be contrasted with Ernie Banks and Rod Carew who played more full seaosons at first than at short and second.
   70. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: January 15, 2009 at 09:41 PM (#3052979)
Thinking about Gil Hodges . . . who would be good two-way candidates? I'm thinking of guys who wouldn't be in the Hall of Fame as players or managers, or maybe borderline in one area where the other pushes them over.

I guess the poster-boys are guys like McGraw and Torre, who can be reasonably justified as both player AND manager.

But I'm thinking one level lower. Kind of like Al Lopez and Red Schoendienst. I'm not thinking of guys that only played or managed a little, you should at least be considered 'good' at both. Think of Cecil Cooper if he goes on to a really good, long, managerial career (he did a pretty good job last year). Ozzie Guillen could have a shot here someday, Dusty Baker would if he weren't a horrible manager. Mike Scioscia could be on the list some day. I would say Felipe Alou and Roger Craig might be a bit short.

Off the top of my head, the best candidates are:

Lou Piniella
Gil Hodges
Alvin Dark
Davey Johnson

They used to elect guys like this . . . Bucky Harris, Leo Durocher . . . the 'lifetime achievement across multiple fields award', if you will.

I'm not too up on which players were managers before the 1970s or so. Just curious.
   71. djrelays Posted: January 15, 2009 at 09:59 PM (#3053016)
70. Joe Dimino Posted: January 15, 2009 at 03:41 PM (#3052979)
Thinking about Gil Hodges . . . who would be good two-way candidates? I'm thinking of guys who wouldn't be in the Hall of Fame as players or managers, or maybe borderline in one area where the other pushes them over.


You seem to have named the most obvious of those not in the HoF. That lower rung could include Harvey Kuenn, Jimmie Dykes, Birdie Tebbetts and Don Baylor. But that's slim pickin's!
   72. DanG Posted: January 15, 2009 at 10:28 PM (#3053060)
Paul Wendt and myself were cooking these up not long ago.

Other player/manager combos that quickly come to mind are Charlie Grimm, Steve O'Neill, Mike Hargrove and Jim Fregosi.

Two player/umpire combos worth looking at are Eddie Rommell and Bill Dinneen.

A few more interesting combination careers are Bill White, Charlie Ferguson and Al Reach.
   73. DanG Posted: January 15, 2009 at 10:29 PM (#3053065)
Charlie Ferguson


Sorry, that should say Bob Ferguson.
   74. Paul Wendt Posted: January 16, 2009 at 12:15 AM (#3053209)
Bucky Harris (in) won back-to-back pennants with the Senators. I'm not sure that his playing achievements helped him get elected, merely that it was greater to be player-manager than manager alone.

Burt Shotton (out) - scape goat or just a goat?
He was a very good player for a few years when the Browns had Pratt & Shotton or Shotton & Pratt. There must have been a lot of high hopes in 1916, with George Sisler a junior member of the firm, Fielder Jones at the helm, the Federal League players, and more money in the coffer.
--

I don't believe the voters give much cross-attention any more. If manager Frank Robinsonhad been Vada Pinson as a player, or player Pinson became Frobby as a manager, would he be in the Hall of Fame? Yes, I think so, but that is two rather high standards.

Lou Piniella is overrated as a player, I believe. That will work in his favor but I doubt that there is enough "rating" to help elect him. (There was more of it after he stuck out his glove and stabbed a one-hopper in the sun; that is why Jim Rice's loud out sent a runner to third rather than tie the playoff game in '78.) He will get in if he accomplishes enough to get in as a manager. Now when was the last time the Chicago won back-to-back titles? The last time was one hundred years prior, but alas for Lou, titles are not what they were.

Mike Hargrove laid the groundwork in Cleveland to move from one manager's stool to another for a long time. I didn't think much of his work but he didn't suffer much downtime before taking up new jobs in Baltimore and Seattle. Last year, however, he closed the book quite firmly by quitting midseason. I doubt that he can go back to the majors.
He is underrated as a player, I know, but it won't matter.
   75. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: January 16, 2009 at 12:22 AM (#3053213)
Bill White is a pretty good one, even though his service wasn't as a manager. He was a good player, announcer forever, then league president - that's a pretty good run.

I don't really think of Hargrove as being close as a player or a manager, he's kind of a poor man's Piniella.

Piniella has been a helluva manager and he was a good player. In my mind he should be an easy Hall of Famer based on the rules they have.
   76. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 16, 2009 at 12:27 AM (#3053216)
How about Fielder Jones?
   77. Paul Wendt Posted: January 16, 2009 at 12:28 AM (#3053218)
Dick McBride should get credit for the captain/manager role. Of course he needs credit for the mid- and late 1860s, moreso and desperately.

Steve O'Neill, dang mentioned.
He put a very good W-L record down on paper and he was a star player in his way. Certainly he would fit right in the Hall of Fame we have --and the one they had in the 1960s.

Alvin Dark is another in that line,
a generation later, in more floodlight as a player, in less success as a manager

I suppose that Dark and Eddie Stanky were recognized could-bes when they hung it up as players. Since their time we do not have many players who retire as recognized could-bes. (could-be longtime managers, that is)
   78. DL from MN Posted: January 16, 2009 at 12:41 AM (#3053230)
Billy Martin's playing record doesn't hurt him but it doesn't help him too much. Birdie Tebbetts was a 4 time all-star as a player. Then there's Newt Allen and the Taylors from the Negro Leagues.
   79. jimd Posted: January 17, 2009 at 02:03 AM (#3054091)
I guess the poster-boys are guys like McGraw and Torre

McGraw and Torre are the two-stage guys, HOM-level players, good managers later.

Cap Anson and Fred Clarke are the dominant player-managers.
Anson managed the Colts (Cubs) to 5 NL champions 1880-82, 1885-86, and 4 2nds
Clarke managed the Pirates to 4 NL champions 1901-03, 1909 (World Series Champ), and 5 2nds
Note: Pre-1968 I consider a 2nd equivalent to a modern wild-card.

Other HOMers that reached at least 800 Wins. In order of Wins:
Griffith Cronin Jennings Boudreau Frisch FRobinson Terry
Griffith -- 1 Pennant (1901 CWS) 4 2nds (2 NYA, 2 Was)
Cronin -- 2 Pennants (1933 Was, 1946 Bos) 4 2nds (Bos)
Boudreau -- 1 WC (1948 Cle)
Frisch -- 1 WC (1934 StL) 3 2nds (2 StL, 1 Pit)
FRobinson -- no playoffs
Terry -- 1 WC (1933 NYG) 2 Pennants (1936-37 NYG) 1 2nd (also NYG)
Jennings -- 3 Pennants (1907-09 Det) 2 2nds (Det)
Jennings is also now given credit for filling in for McGraw in 1924 (pennant) and 1925 (2nd) when McGraw could not manage.

FRobinson and Boudreau were not that successful as managers.
The others bolster their HOF cases (not that some of them need much bolstering).
   80. Sunday silence Posted: January 24, 2009 at 08:36 AM (#3059570)
I'm not exactly sure which players listed here this applies to, but since my comment is directed towards the old days it should fit right in here:

Has anyone made any corrections for the dearth of left handed pitching that left handed hitters faced in the old days? And I say "old days" because basically left handed pitching has been on a slow steady rise since I guess the 1920s or so.

In Cobb's hey day he was facing lefties maybe 15% of the time, this number has been slowly increasing since then. I guess it leveled off by the 1970s.

But what about it? How much of an advantage did left handed hitters like Cobb get by facing primarily right handers? I am guessing maybe 8-10 pts. Does anyone even have r/l splits for those days?

Should it be accounted for? I do. Cobb would no doubt be facing much more left handers in this era..
   81. Paul Wendt Posted: January 24, 2009 at 10:58 PM (#3059759)
Has anyone made any corrections for the dearth of left handed pitching that left handed hitters faced in the old days? And I say "old days" because basically left handed pitching has been on a slow steady rise since I guess the 1920s or so.

As far as I know, no one incorporates the differences inf left/right batting or pitching frequencies between contemporary leagues, such as the AL and NL in 1970. At the same time, no one here incorporates the interleague play that now (a) provides some evidence about quality and (b) unbalances the playing schedules in a new way.

For system-builders and other analysts who tread here, I believe that the latter projects are more natural ones to undertake first, mainly because we are "all" keen on the synchronous work, balancing the various conditions and opportunities at every given time.
   82. Sunday silence Posted: January 24, 2009 at 11:19 PM (#3059769)
Yeah ok. But to me it seems that there might be very large discrepancies here that might be interesting to track. Just quickly looking at modern platoon differentials, most batters gain about 25 pts in BA and some 50 pts or more. It is not hard to theorize that certain Left hand batters might have taken advantage of this to a large extent. If someone like Cobb was gaining as much as 50 pts in batting a 12 pt correction might be needed (15% lefties pre 1920 vs 40% modern, just a guess). So Cobb might come out dead even with a right hander like Hornsby. It seems obvious to me, not hard to implement and the findings could have significant effect on how we evaluate lefties in the old days. Otherwise we are forced to conclude that most of the best batters were left handed.
   83. OCF Posted: January 25, 2009 at 12:09 AM (#3059776)
Otherwise we are forced to conclude that most of the best batters were left handed.

And most successful NBA players were unusually tall. Look, I understand what you're trying to do, but philosophically I would not try to correct for it at all. Cobb had a number of physical skills that he was born with - he was tall, strong, and fast, he had excellent hand-eye-coordination, and he could bat left-handed. And all of those skills allowed him to do things that won baseball games.
   84. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: January 25, 2009 at 12:40 AM (#3059782)
Two-way candidates (ignoring if they are/not in Cooperstown for the moment):

Cap Anson
Charles Comiskey (actually, a three-way canddiate)
Frank Chance
Fred Clarke
Buck Ewing
Clark Griffith (another three-way)
Ned Hanlon? Was he any good as a player? Too lazy to check
Hughie Jennings
Fielder Jones
John McGraw
Wilbert Robinson
Lou Boudreau
Joe Cronin
Jimmy Dykes
Frankie Frisch
Charlie Grimm
Bucky Harris
Miller Huggins
Steve O'Neill
Burt Shotton
Billy Southworth
Bill Terry
Alvin Dark
Gil Hodges
Al Lopez
Red Schoendienst
Birdie Tebbetts?
Roger Craig (three-way, if you count coaching)
Jim Fregosi
Cito Gaston
Davey Johnson
Billy Martin
Frank Robinson
Felipe Alou
Dusty Baker
Phil Garner
Ozzie Guillen
Mike Hargrove
Art Howe
Lou Piniella
Mike Scioscia
Joe Torre

I'm casting a broad net there as possible two-wayers.

Among those not in Cooperstown (and ignoring those still managing), I suppose the most prominent are: Fielder Jones, Jimmy Dykes, Charlie Grimm, Gil Hodges, Roger Craig, Davey Johnson, Billy Martin, Felipe Alou, Phil Garner, Mike Hargrove, and Art Howe.

Based on upwards of 5 seconds reflection, I'd rank their overall candidacies as:
1. Billy Martin
2. Charlie Grimm
3. Gil Hodges
4. Felipe Alou
5. Fielder Jones
6. Jimmy Dykes
7. Davey Johnson
8. Mike Hargrove
9. Phil Garner
10. Roger Craig
11. Art Howe
   85. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: January 25, 2009 at 12:42 AM (#3059784)
They used to elect guys like this . . . Bucky Harris, Leo Durocher . . . the 'lifetime achievement across multiple fields award', if you will.

Both were put in as managers, not lifetime picks. Harris was the third winningest manager (career-wise) until the 1990s. Heck, Bill James used to write that Durocher was clearly the most deserving manager not elected to Cooperstown before he got in.
   86. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: January 25, 2009 at 12:49 AM (#3059785)
In Cobb's hey day he was facing lefties maybe 15% of the time

From 1910-19, the Tigers played 1,506 games. The opposing stating pitcher was a southpaw 520 times, 34.5% of the games. Lefties started over 40% of all games in 1910, 1913, 1914 (and also 1909, though I didn't include that in the just-listed sample).
   87. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: January 25, 2009 at 12:50 AM (#3059786)
FRobinson and Boudreau were not that successful as managers.

Well, Frank Robinson got stuck on a series of utterly dreadful squads, though.
   88. OCF Posted: January 25, 2009 at 01:25 AM (#3059792)
One thing about handedness: since the establishment in of reasonably rigid pitching rotations, it's been fairly random which pitcher faces which team. But rigid rotations have only really been with us since about the 1960's. Before then, managers may well have adjusted and played with the teams their various pitchers faced - with platoon considerations being one of the reasons that were used. It's been noted that Warren Spahn generally did not face the Dodgers, whose strength was in RHB. I'd imagine that a team with a higher than usual concentration of hitting value in LHB (such at the Ruth-Gehrig Yankees) might see a few more LHP.
   89. Paul Wendt Posted: January 25, 2009 at 03:27 AM (#3059815)
Using lahman5.4 (1871-2006) I don't see extremes anything like you two guestimate and calculate.

1910
AL: 23.0% of pitcher starts (289 L, 964 R, 3 missing)
NL: 18.4% of pitcher starts (229 L, 1013 R, 0 missing)

Will anyone confirm or correct those details for 1910?

==
== what follows relies on the same data, I know, and some methods, I think
== so what follows must be doubted for now
==

Left-hand pitchers worked about 15% of innings in NA 1871 (more than 98% of innings known); barely 1% in 1872 (many missing hands); no innings in NL 1876 (more than 99% known).

Left-hand pitchers first surpassed 5% of NL innings in 1879 and 10% in 1880 (J Lee Richmond) . . . 15% in 1886, 20% and 25% in 1887 . . . yet worked barely 5% in 1891(!) Yet 15% and 20% shares were the rule including 20% in 1900 when there were only eight MLB teams who concentrated "all" the most desirable players. In 1901 the lefty share of innings was about NL 17% and AL 26%.

left-hand pitcher share of innings (all major leagues)
1876-1881: ~ 7% ( 6.8% with 1.3% missing)
1882-1892: >15% (15.4% with 8.5% missing)
1893-1900: ~19% (18.5% with 3.0% missing)
1901-1909: ~22% (21.6% with 0.4% missing)
1910-1919 : 25.4% (25.4 with 0.02 missing)
1920-1929 : 26.9%
1930-1939 : 22.9%
1940-1949 : 24.0%
1950-1959 : 27.8%
1960-1969 : 29.2%
1970-1979 : 31.5%
1980-1989 : 31.0%
1990-1999 : 28.2%
2000-2006 : 25.9%

Those shares are not equal to the frequencies for any particular batter or team, of course.
   90. Sunday silence Posted: January 25, 2009 at 06:48 PM (#3059995)
Wow, I know I had done some quick calculations based on counting the number of lefties the Baseball encyclopedia. I am sorry my memory/math was so messed up here.

He (Cobb) might face more lefties in late innings/leverage situations today, relief pitching being what it is, but obviously that wouldnt account for a lot of AB.

Damn I really thought lefy pitchers were a lot less than that..
   91. Chris Fluit Posted: January 25, 2009 at 10:51 PM (#3060154)
Based on upwards of 5 seconds reflection, I'd rank their overall candidacies as:
1. Billy Martin
2. Charlie Grimm
3. Gil Hodges
4. Felipe Alou
5. Fielder Jones
6. Jimmy Dykes
7. Davey Johnson
8. Mike Hargrove
9. Phil Garner
10. Roger Craig
11. Art Howe


The Hall of Fame has pretty much stopped electing hybrid candidates. Either you're good enough as a player (according to their measurements anyway) or good enough as a manager. But if you weren't good enough as either, the combination of the two doesn't get you in either (nor does extra credit for broadcasting, coaching, scouting or what have you). So no more Wilbert Robinsons.

However, of your list, I think that the top two candidates should be elected on managerial credit alone. Three pennants for Martin and a pair of World Series. Four pennants for Grimm, though no luck in the actual Series (pre-black cat and everything). Both certainly meet the established threshhold for managers.
   92. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 26, 2009 at 01:31 AM (#3060255)
The Hall of Fame has pretty much stopped electing hybrid candidates. Either you're good enough as a player (according to their measurements anyway) or good enough as a manager.


Which is the way it should be, IMO. The Buck O'Neill Award is ready for them, however.
   93. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 26, 2009 at 02:48 AM (#3060289)
Ned Hanlon? Was he any good as a player?


His raw stats don't look great, but in the context of his time, he was a fair hitter with excellent speed who drew an above-average number of walks, stole some bases, and was an outstanding defensive CF. It's hard to think of a good modern-day comp, because players with that skill set don't play well in today's game. Maybe Vince Coleman with about 30 more points of OBP and a better glove.

-- MWE
   94. jimd Posted: January 26, 2009 at 09:46 PM (#3060789)
Ned Hanlon? Was he any good as a player?

He hit about as well as Lou Piniella (EQA .274 to .272).
His career was about as long as Lou Piniella's. (1267G [1781 adj] to 1747G)
He played CF while Lou played LF/RF.
That captures the difference in value right there.
   95. Paul Wendt Posted: January 26, 2009 at 10:10 PM (#3060829)
I was going to say they played entirely different shapes, because Hanlon "fell off the peak" in the middle of his career. On the contrary, Hanlon put up OPS+ 84 two season running but Lou Piniella put up 79 in a full season, skip one, then OPS+ 40 in a half season's play. That's close enough for me so I won't say anything.

No, I can't resist. Hanlon batted with fair power in his first two seasons in Detroit. He was excellent at drawing walks when that was difficult to do.
bases on balls, league rank - 10 4 2 5 5 ; 5 - - - 10 -
(10 4 represents the two seasons with extra-base power(= speed?) and 5 ; 5 represents the top of his peak and the plummet)

They cut the number of balls for a walk progressively during his career; meanwhile they didn't count steals until his 1886 plummet as a batter.
stolen bases, league rank ............ ; 3 4 - 6 4 7

So we see the oddity that he was among the walks leaders as a young man, among the steals leaders in middle age --and essentially-bench manager of the Orioles age 34.8 to 41.2
   96. Paul Wendt Posted: January 27, 2009 at 01:02 AM (#3061038)
86. Dag Nabbit Posted: January 24, 2009 at 06:49 PM (#3059785)
> In Cobb's hey day he was facing lefties maybe 15% of the time

From 1910-19, the Tigers played 1,506 games. The opposing stating pitcher was a southpaw 520 times, 34.5% of the games. Lefties started over 40% of all games in 1910, 1913, 1914 (and also 1909, though I didn't include that in the just-listed sample).


all games?
Dag Nabbit, Chris J
Do you mean Tigers games as in the first sentence?

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
dirk
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

Syndicate

Demarini, Easton and TPX Baseball Bats

 

 

 

 

Page rendered in 1.0698 seconds
49 querie(s) executed