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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Saturday, February 05, 2011

2012 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion

2012 (November 28, 2011)—elect 3
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos

311 57.3 1991 Bernie Williams-CF
232 44.2 1993 Tim Salmon-RF
194 39.5 1994 Javy Lopez-C
211 31.3 1995 Edgardo Alfonzo-3B/2B
157 45.4 1995 Brad Radke-P
222 14.5 1986 Ruben Sierra-RF
166 23.0 1992 Brian Jordan-RF
170 13.0 1993 J.T. Snow-1B*
166 14.4 1993 Jeromy Burnitz-RF
162 17.1 1992 Eric Young-2B
126 30.5 1991 Jeff Fassero-P
120 30.8 1990 Scott Erickson-P
140 23.2 1996 Bill Mueller-3B
143 20.5 1995 Phil Nevin-3B/1B
153 11.9 1993 Vinny Castilla-3B
148 12.9 1995 Carl Everett-CF/RF
142 13.7 1996 Matt Lawton-RF/LF
121 26.0 1999 Corey Koskie-3B
100 24.0 1992 Pedro Astacio-P
135 12.2 1996 Joe Randa-3B
125 13.9 1991 Jose Vizcaino-SS/2B

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: February 05, 2011 at 12:12 PM | 341 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   201. Rob_Wood Posted: November 29, 2011 at 05:57 AM (#4002696)
Thanks DL for these lists. By comparing/contrasting them to my own, it will help me develop a better ballot going forward. Only quibble is the Roy White I know was an outfielder (not a first baseman).
   202. DL from MN Posted: November 29, 2011 at 02:45 PM (#4002799)
Thanks, don't know why I never caught that. My next 1B on the list are Rusty Staub and Fred McGriff

I peeked at DRA and it has Traynor 90 runs above average for his career. He looks better if you snip off the tails (bad SS, old 3B) which I tend to do if the player was not contributing anymore. It also confirms that in the mid-1920's Traynor was really good defensively.

I think I should probably buy the book if I'm going to use the appendices to completely revamp my spreadsheet.
   203. DL from MN Posted: November 29, 2011 at 03:30 PM (#4002835)
1-Fred Dunlap

I took a good look at Dunlap when going over the 19C players this year. In the end I came away believing he took advantage of poor competition more than anything else. There just wasn't enough outside of that season in the Union Association. Here's my calculated WARP2 numbers for Dunlap by season. He shows up as a 3-4 win player for 7 years and not much after that.

WARP2 year
4.5 1880
4.1 1881
3.5 1882
4.5 1883
8.6 1884 UA
3.3 1885
1.5 1886 SLM
1.5 1886 DET
1.9 1887
1.6 1888
0.7 1889
-0.2 1890
   204. Howie Menckel Posted: November 29, 2011 at 04:15 PM (#4002880)
"My next 1B on the list are Rusty Staub...."

Staub career games played
1675 OF
426 1B
   205. DL from MN Posted: November 29, 2011 at 04:27 PM (#4002897)
If you look at my lists I'm putting people under as many categories as make sense (Lave Cross ranked as a 3B and a C, Tommy Leach as a 3B and an OF).
   206. cricketing baseballer Posted: November 29, 2011 at 04:34 PM (#4002900)
I find Traynor has suffered a little unfairly at the hands of the electorate.

1) In terms of his own career (1920-37), he is the best 3B there is by Win Shares Above Bench, WAR and Win Shares. His WSAB advantage is HUGE.
2) Measured by WSASB, he was the best 3B in white baseball five times. That's actually a lot.
3) Going by the James' New Historical Baseball Abstract, the only 3B before his time listed is Home Run Baker. It's not clear that James would list any Negro Leaguer active during or before Traynor's time as better than Traynor.
4) When Traynor was elected in 1948 to the Hall of Fame, in 1948, the only 3B you can add to the NHBA list of those better than Traynor is Stan Hack, whose career had just finished in 1947, and Ray Dandridge.
5) If you read his HoM thread, Traynor is being judged not only against his peers at the time of his election, but also against the better 3B who came on the ballot later.
6) He came on the ballot in 1941, the same year as Ruth and Hornsby, who just overwhelm him in value. Had he been held over a year or two (as a 1937 career-end date would have justified) he would have been either second or third, and very close to the man ahead of him in Win Share terms (both of whom are now HoMers). IOW, he looked much more of an also-ran than he really was.

I know there are three good arguments against Traynor (3B weak during his career, low peak, needs a segregation deduction if one does that sort of thing). But since this is a backlog election, he's the sort of candidate people might want to reassess.
   207. DL from MN Posted: November 29, 2011 at 04:43 PM (#4002906)
On relief pitchers:

I won't consider a relief pitcher as a "separate" position, instead ranking them among other pitchers. I think Gossage is comfortably above the in/out line for a pitcher so I could support a reliever not quite as good as Goose. I see Lee Smith as not significantly different than Rollie Fingers and I have Smith as my best available reliever. Ultimately I think Fingers is not quite good enough. This is a change since I believe I voted for him. Trevor Hoffmann is better than either of those two but I'm not sure if he'll make it on my list. He's clearly qualified by HoF standards.
   208. cricketing baseballer Posted: November 29, 2011 at 04:45 PM (#4002909)
Another character I'd put in a word for is Vic Willis. I reckon he's got about six All-Star calibre seasons in a relatively short career. My defense-independent pitching system ranks his 1902 season very high, while WSAB really likes his 1899 and 1901 seasons.
   209. DL from MN Posted: November 29, 2011 at 04:51 PM (#4002913)
Vic Willis is pitcher #29 for me. He's a little less peaky than the pitchers ahead of him like Matlock and Dean and his bat doesn't help him at all. The "relatively short career" is what holds him back the most for me.
   210. cricketing baseballer Posted: November 29, 2011 at 05:07 PM (#4002923)
Dean's 1934, 1935 and 1936 seasons come out even better than Willis' 1902 season in my defence-independent ERA measure. But Willis has nine +5 'Wins Above Average Pitcher' seasons to Dean's six. (Kevin Brown, elected last year, also had nine.)

EDIT: I have Willis about ten per cent ahead of Dean on overall career value, but it is within the 'margin of error' I mentally allow for in my head.
   211. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 29, 2011 at 09:10 PM (#4003146)
I am a big opponent of Traynor. He's just like Mickey Vernon--there's no rule that being the best player at your position during your career automatically makes you HoM-worthy. Positions can have star gluts and droughts, as can leagues as a whole (which is why my WARP adjust for standard deviations based on structural factors like run scoring and expansion, rather than the actual distribution of performances in any given league-season).
   212. DL from MN Posted: November 29, 2011 at 09:52 PM (#4003171)
I think Traynor is considerably better than Mickey Vernon or Gil Hodges. I agree that there can be droughts, Jim Fregosi isn't worth a vote just because there is nobody else to vote for. In this case there isn't actually a drought. His contemporaries who were better just weren't playing in the same league. That said, I would caution against going solely with defensive statistics for players who didn't have gloves and ignore reputation.
   213. DL from MN Posted: November 29, 2011 at 10:32 PM (#4003190)
And I just found a math error for Lave Cross. He's dropping to 7th at 3B and 2nd at C.
   214. DL from MN Posted: November 29, 2011 at 10:57 PM (#4003199)
So looking over the top returning eligible candidates the only one I would be upset about is Hugh Duffy. The rest are in my PHoM and on my ballot. Duffy is my 59th best player available.

Top returning players from 2011 balloting
Palmeiro, Rafael
Cone, David
Reuschel, Rick
Rizzuto, Phil
Tiant, Luis
Redding, Dick
Duffy, Hugh
   215. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 03:53 PM (#4003572)
DL from MN, Fregosi's pretty close if you ask me. And doesn't that defeat the only argument in favor of Traynor? If he wasn't even the best player at his position of his era, then there is even less reason to vote for him, no? The difference between Fregosi and Traynor is that when Traynor was playing, guys like Joe Dugan (82 career OPS+) were freely available at third base, whereas when Fregosi was playing you had to settle for guys like Hal Lanier (49 career OPS+, great glove) or Don Kessinger (73 career OPS+, poor glove).
   216. DL from MN Posted: November 30, 2011 at 05:19 PM (#4003674)
Traynor's best argument for me is that he's about as good as Ken Boyer. It has nothing to do with being best of his era, mostly because he wasn't. I'm not voting for him in this election, haven't voted for him and don't plan to vote for him with the upcoming group of stars about to force highly qualified guys off my ballot.
   217. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 05:55 PM (#4003718)
I see Boyer as one of our mistakes.
   218. cricketing baseballer Posted: November 30, 2011 at 08:20 PM (#4003921)
If he wasn't even the best player at his position of his era, then there is even less reason to vote for him, no?

I don't think it is by any means settled that Traynor wasn't the best player at his position during his career. As I said earlier, certain ueberstats rate him as the best 3b in the major-leagues during 1920-37, and in one case (by no means the worst method) by a considerable margin.

If one defines Traynor's era as 'the pre-integration Live Ball', then his only white rival in ueberstat terms is Stan Hack, who needs some war deductions applied. Traynor has a few Negro League rivals, but it is unfortunately difficult for any Negro-League evidence to be conclusive.

Personally, I find the debate over Traynor undervalues his consistency at the top, which no other players I've looked at so far for this ballot achieve. I haven't gone through everyone on my shortlist yet, but Concepcion is the only player with anything like Traynor's consistency in being best at his position season after season. And even he falls short.

I definitely would rank Traynor ahead of Rizzuto (even with war credit). But he seems likely to be listed below several of the pitchers on my ballot. I'm guessing I'll put him somewhere between sixth and tenth. We'll see. I'm still finding new players I want to look at.
   219. DL from MN Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:49 PM (#4004001)
> below several of the pitchers on my ballot

Good. Pitching, pitching and more pitching should be this year's motto.
   220. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 01, 2011 at 02:59 AM (#4004207)
Again, Traynor provided far less value above his era's Joe Dugan baseline than Concepción did above his era's Rob Picciolo baseline. Although I in fact prefer Campaneris to Concepción.
   221. DL from MN Posted: December 02, 2011 at 09:51 PM (#4005430)
On Tommy Bridges

Palmeiro and Cone are far and away the eligibles with the most support according to last year's ballot. I thought it would be interesting to contrast Tommy Bridges with David Cone using Dan R's data.

Player WARP2 PWAA top3 top7
Bridges 52.1 26.7 16.4 33.5
DCone 57.0 26.0 19.1 39

Cone looks superior pretty much across the board until you consider that Tommy Bridges missed 2 seasons due to WWII. He was 37-38 years old but was pitching very well just before the war. If you give him 2 more years at the average of his previous 3 seasons (4.4 WAR) and knock off 10% for age each year (3.9, 3.5) his numbers change to

Bridges 59.5 31.5 16.4 33.5

He also has 45 innings of very good postseason pitching to add to his resume.

The key with Bridges is in his "bad" seasons he was actually quite good but wasn't putting up innings. This is why he's a backlogger and hasn't been elected yet. If you use a peak measure of "best 3 seasons" he isn't going to impress. If you look at PWAA nobody else comes close. He tops Ed Walsh and Whitey Ford. He had more value above average than any other eligible pitcher, he just spread it out over a bunch of years.
   222. Rob_Wood Posted: December 03, 2011 at 08:26 PM (#4005892)
Tommy Bridges is my top-ranked pitcher and he will definitely be in my top 10 this ballot.

As DL describes, Bridges may at first appear borderline ballot-worthy, but when you take into account he missed two full seasons due to WWII (and his good minor league pitching in 1947-48 after the Tigers released him in 1946), I think the ballot case for Bridges is convincing.

He was best known for his curveball but his fastball was decent enough. It's a little difficult to appreciate by looking at his stats but in his era (the hit happy American League of the 1930's, one of the highest offensive eras ever), Bridges was a strikeout pitcher. He led the league in SO twice and was nine times in the ML top 10 in SO/IP. Recall there were actually more walks than strikeouts during this era.

Bridges probably deserves a modest World Series boost as well. He was 4-1 in his five WS starts, with all four wins being complete games. Bridges pitched two complete game victories (including the final game) in the 1935 Series as the Tigers won their first ever World Series.

Please give Bridges another serious look as you are putting together your HOM ballot.
   223. theorioleway Posted: December 04, 2011 at 04:58 PM (#4006533)
Thank you for the reminder about Bridges' war credit--I had somehow forgotten this, and it definitely puts him into consideration.

I've also been looking at the DRA numbers, which have some interesting results (Tinker being the best defensive SS, for example). Does anyone know what the v-TM column means?
   224. DL from MN Posted: December 05, 2011 at 04:31 PM (#4007222)
I would caution against going solely with defensive statistics for players who didn't have gloves

Just to clarify - I meant the equipment "glove" as in the webbed Bill Doak model that was introduced in 1920.

When you think of sports equipment the eras split out pretty nicely with other breaks in baseball history. The first gloves show up in 1880 but padded gloves aren't common until the 1890s. 1893 is a historical break with the movement of the pitcher's rubber and 1892 contraction of the American Association into the NL. The deadball era ends right as the Bill Doak glove is introduced and the spitball is outlawed. Peach basket gloves show up after WWII and the mound gets lowered leading to the year of the pitcher. Batting helmets and turf stadiums arrive in the 1970s.

My guess is we need slightly different models for defense in each era because the curve fits will be different.

Traynor fits into the "liveball" era but it is likely that people had not adjusted their perception of what makes a great fielding 3B. Simply taking full advantage of a webbed glove would make him stand out over previous eras.
   225. DL from MN Posted: December 05, 2011 at 04:34 PM (#4007229)
Congratulations to Ron Santo. Take him off the "HoM only" list.
   226. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 08, 2011 at 04:30 AM (#4009883)
OK, so. Rick Reuschel. Let's just get this straight. By raw metrics:

Advanced: I have plenty of quibbles with the innards of CHONE's methodology, but I haven't had the time to get my own numbers right so let's use his as an opening gambit. Every pitcher above Reuschel in career CHONE WAR is either already in the Hall of Merit or will be once eligible. Moreover, all ten post-1893 pitchers below Reuschel are in or will be once eligible as well. That alone is pretty compelling evidence of an oversight.

Basic: As a reality check, let's just try the robotic (ERA+ - 80)*IP/1000. Reuschel ranks 58th among post-1893 P. 48 of those 58 are in the HoM or will be when eligible. The remaining 9 are Vic Willis (152), Addie Joss (144), Eddie Cicotte (139), Jack Quinn (133), Tommy Bridges (130), Wilbur Cooper (125), Dolf Luque (122), Luis Tiant (122), and Carl Mays (121). Willis, Joss, Cicotte, Quinn, Cooper, and Mays all pitched in the deadball era when SP were expected to throw 300+ innings--if they're anywhere close to a guy from the 80s, they're not as Meritorious. So that leaves Bridges, Luque, and Tiant.

Bridges, who is entitled to a bit of war credit as well, has some strong supporters in the electorate, and I wouldn't be outraged if he got in. But he's a weird fish. On one hand he has a very short career: in his era Ruffing threw 4,400 innings, Lyons 4,200, Grove 4,000, Hubbell 3,600, and even guys like Mel Harder, Bobo Newsom, and Paul Derringer were in the mid-3,000's. On the other, he has no peak: his highest seasonal ERA+ was 146, and he never sniffed the leaderboard in innings any of the years he was over 140. In his best season, 1936, he was way behind Hubbell and Grove and roughly the same as Johnny Allen and good-not-great campaigns from Dean and Ferrell. I suppose that makes Bridges a "prime" candidate? But for me it just makes him the wrong side of borderline.

So that leaves Tiant and Luque. I'll vote for all three, but have Reuschel first. Tiant and Reuschel are very similar in ERA+ and IP. But Tiant was slightly helped by his fielders, while Reuschel was significantly hurt by his. And Tiant's career centered on the glut of monster pitching seasons around 1970, whereas Reuschel spent half of his in the "pitching drought" of the 1980's, when seasonal innings pitched were already coming down but standard deviations for ERA+ were still at historical lows. Given that the 1980s were also a very low-stdev era for hitters, I find it hard to believe that players were bunched so much more closely together for so long by random chance. It seems much more likely that there were systemic factors at work preventing players from exceeding the league average by as much as they did in other eras, and that they harmed Reuschel's statistics. With the contextual factors clearly favoring Reuschel, and nothing pulling back Tiant's way, I see Reuschel as clearly superior.

As for Luque, I don't know why I haven't voted for him before. Coming back to his thread I see I had noticed him in the past but was waiting for his MLEs which never got compiled. The 1920s were really hard to dominate, and in that context his 1923 towers over the era just like Gooden's 1985. It's one of the greatest pitching seasons ever. Moreover, he deserves to be credited for his years outside of MLB--he threw only 13 innings in the majors by age 26 and 200 by age 28. He'll be fairly high up my ballot.
   227. DL from MN Posted: December 08, 2011 at 03:29 PM (#4010121)
the mound gets lowered leading to the year of the pitcher

That was not right. The mound gets lowered because of the year of the pitcher. The lowered mound didn't help pitchers.
   228. The Honorable Ardo Posted: December 10, 2011 at 08:23 AM (#4012363)
Prelim for now.

1. Luque
2. Schang
3. Tommy John
4. Buddy Bell
5. Raffy
6. Tiant
7. Bando
8. Reuschel
9. Cone
10. Hilton Smith
11. Rizzuto
12. Lee Smith
---(another gap)---
13. Cash
14. Leach
15. Munson

On Hugh Duffy: His career is Norm Cash-like with many good years and a freak offensive outlier. You'd have to convince me he had a great CF glove to move him onto the ballot. If not, Bernie Williams was a more meritious player.

Buzzing (in no particular order):

Vic Willis
Bobby Bonds
   229. The Honorable Ardo Posted: December 10, 2011 at 08:46 AM (#4012366)
Friends of Bert Campaneris and Dave Concepcion,

Why should either of these players make my ballot? I'm open to convincing arguments.
   230. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 10, 2011 at 01:02 PM (#4012389)
You called? :)

If you've got Bando that high on your ballot, you're probably using BBref/CHONE WAR. I developed my own WAR system for position players well before Sean Smith (CHONE/AROM) did, but didn't manage to get it on Sean Forman's website. :) (I also never found the time to perfect the pitcher metric and run it all the way back in time, so it's not like I got screwed out of credit or anything). Back in the day I had to argue that my numbers were a better indicator of Merit than Win Shares or old BP WARP which had about an AA minor league replacement level. There's a long discussion thread on my research here, and the data used to be available on Tango's website and linked from the top of that page, but apparently was recently taken down. I believe it's still available in the Hall of Merit Yahoo group, or I can send it to you directly.

Sean's metric closely tracks mine for the most part. But one of our biggest areas of divergence is on positional weightings. Sean's method is to base them on position-switchers. He looks at guys who played multiple infield or outfield positions in the same year, and compares how their aggregate fielding quality (as measured by TotalZone) changed on a per-game basis as they moved around the diamond. Then to separate infielders from outfielders, he uses average hitting quality as a proxy (e.g., if OF outhit IF by 10 runs a year, then IF must have 10 more runs of fielding value a year). I have no idea what he does for catchers. To track the evolution of the defensive spectrum over time, he repeats this method for each calendar-year decade (1960-69, etc.)

I have three objections to this. The first, a small one, is that it is done using discrete decades rather than a moving average, so that the positional weights change suddenly and significantly each time the calendar turns from a 9 to an 0. The second is that the system automatically evens out IF and OF, when there is no reason to assume that the aggregate production of the two groups of players will always be the same.

The bigger obstacle is that I don't think that position-switchers are a good way to measure intrinsic defensive value. The selection bias issue seems completely overwhelming to me--the only guys who get asked to switch positions are those who the manager thinks would do better at another position. By definition, that makes them completely unrepresentative of the fielding skills of players at their position overall. Sure, maybe true utility infielders tell you something. But just as often you're going to get guys who are being moved off shortstop because they don't have the arm (to second) or range (to third) for it, or from center field to the corners because they can't cover enough ground. As a result, the improvement to their fielding relative to positional average at their new spot will be particularly big--bigger than it would be for players at their position as a whole.

I use a different approach. My starting point is Nate Silver's study of Freely Available Talent from 2006. He looked at all players from 1985-2005 who made less than twice the minimum salary and were at least 27 years old, which seems a reasonable definition of scrap-heap journeymen. He then broke down their aggregate production by position. I take those values as my starting point.

I then put together a list of the team leaders in games played at each position in each season, and rank them for each league-position-season by their per-game hitting plus baserunning relative to average. Since positional values are in fact determined by replacement level--the reason a 100 OPS+ at SS is worth more than a 100 OPS+ at 1B is because you can call up a better hitter at 1B than you can at SS if your guy gets hurt--I average the offensive rates of the worst 3/8 of starters for each league-position-season. This avoids the influence of "star gluts" like 1930s 1B/50s CF/90s SS or droughts like 1920s 3B/50s 1B distorting the positional values. I compare the average production of the worst 3/8 of regulars at each position from 1985-2005 to Nate's Freely Available Talent values, and note the difference, measured in wins per game. Finally, I make a completely unsupported and unjustified assumption that the gap between the worst-regulars average and the Freely Available Talent level at each position is static over time. That enables me to take a nine-year moving average of the worst regulars at each position going back in time, adjust it for the gap to Freely Available Talent, and call that replacement level.

(continued in next post)
   231. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 10, 2011 at 01:32 PM (#4012396)
This yields a fascinating graph of the defensive spectrum over the game's history. You can clearly see 2B getting easier in the deadball era and then harder, 1B and 3B getting easier after the war, C getting easier at the dawn of the liveball era, etc. But the finding with the biggest influence on my voting was the absolute wasteland that was shortstop from about 1965-1990. Guys like Tim Foli and Rafael Ramírez were able to amass 6,000-PA careers at a combined hitting + baserunning + fielding rate of 2.6-2.7 wins below average per year. Hal Lanier had a .529 career OPS in 4,000 PA. How about Rob Picciolo, with his .200/.218/.258 mark in 446 PA in 1977, or Mario Mendoza himself with .198/.216/.249 in 401 PA in 1979? These guys were b-a-d like no one's been bad before or since.

What was going on? Did some thought virus infect all the game's general managers for a 25-year stretch? Or had the sport changed in such a way that made shortstop harder to play in that time period? We can never know for sure, but my assumption is that it is the latter. The drop in SS replacement level coincides neatly with both the advent of turf fields, which sped up ground balls, and with the mega-expansion of 1961-69, which I believe affected the most defensively demanding position more than it did the easier ones. So my WAR are very favorable to SS from this period--not just Campaneris and Concepción, who I vote for, but also Jim Fregosi and Toby Harrah and Tony Fernández, who I see as borderline, and Ripken, Trammell, and Yount, who I see as otherworldly historic greats. By contrast, Sean's method of using position-switchers within the IF but keeping the OF/IF balance constant "redistributes" much of the "credit" for the shortstops' poor hitting to second and particularly third basemen, which is why he's so high on Bando and Bell.
   232. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 10, 2011 at 05:51 PM (#4012534)
As a case study, let's compare the c.1970 A's teammates Bando and Campaneris in modified versions of both my WAR and Sean's. To put the two systems on the same page, I'll go component by component.


Sean breaks up hitting into raw batting runs, double-play avoidance, and inducing errors. I haven't factored in ROE's. He also converts DP, error, and baserunning runs to wins at a flat 10 runs a win while allowing batting runs to float with the run environment, whereas I denominate everything exclusively in wins. Sean doesn't adjust for season length; I do. Finally, I measure against the league average, so with the advent of the DH all my batting wins above average go down. This is compensated in my replacement levels, but I'll move it over here.

Here's what Sean has for Campaneris and Bando:


Year  Bat ROE DP BaseR
-5   1  0     0
-4  -1  1     2
-1   3  2     9
-9   2  2     3
1968   11   1  2     3
-17   3  1    10
1970   10   1  2     3
-19   3  1     8
-14   3  0     7
-9  -2  1     3
1974   13   1  1     4
-3   1  1     0
-3   0  2     3
-19   6  2    -3
-23  -2  0     2
-14   4 -1     1
-7  -1  1     0
-2  -1  1     0
1983    1   1  1    
-114  23 20    51 

Converting the batting runs to wins at a floating rate, the others to wins at 10 runs a win, and straight-line adjusting 1972 and 1981 to 1962 games, we get the following offensive wins above average:

1966  1.3
1968  2.0
1970  1.7
1974  2.0
1976  0.2

Now, repeating the same for Sal:

Year Bat ROE DP BaseR OWAA
1966   0   0  0    
-5   2  1     0 -0.3
1968   5   1  1     1  0.9
1969  52   5  0     1  6.4
1970  29   0  0     1  3.3
1971  27   1  0    
-1  3.1
1972  10   0  0     2  1.5
1973  48   1  0     1  5.4
1974  27   3  0     1  3.4
1975   2   0  1     2  0.5
1976  22   2  1     1  2.9
-3  -1  1     4  0.1
1978  22  
-1  2     1  2.6
-14   1 -1     0 -1.4
-13   2 -1    --1.3
-1   1  0    --0.1
TOTL 208  17  5    11 26.7 

OK, now for my versions of the two players. I originally used James Click's and then Dan Fox's baserunning metrics, but I don't seem to have them on this hard drive at the moment so I'm happy to use Sean's. I'll use Sean's ROE numbers as well. These are all in wins, and adjusted to a pitchers-excluded average for pre-DH seasons.


Year   Bat  ROE   DP BaseR OWAA
-0.6  0.1  0.1   0.0 -0.3
1965   0.2 
-0.1  0.3   0.2  0.7
-0.4  0.3  0.1   0.9  1.0
-1.1  0.2  0.4   0.3 -0.2
1968   1.7  0.1  0.3   0.3  2.4
-2.0  0.3  0.2   1.0 -0.5
1970   1.1  0.1  0.3   0.3  1.8
-2.0  0.3  0.4   0.8 -0.6
-1.8  0.3  0.2   0.7 -0.6
-1.3 -0.2  0.1   0.3 -1.1
1974   1.1  0.1  0.1   0.4  1.7
-0.3  0.1  0.1   0.0 -0.1
-0.1  0.0  0.3   0.3  0.5
-1.5  0.6  0.4  -0.3 -0.8
-2.2 -0.2  0.1   0.2 -2.1
-1.4  0.4 -0.1   0.1 -1.0
-0.8 -0.1  0.1   0.0 -0.8
-0.3 -0.1  0.2   0.0 -0.1
-0.1  0.1  0.0  -0.4 -0.5
-11.7  2.3  3.7   5.1 -0.6 

Pretty much the same. Sean and I basically agree that Campaneris was a league-average offensive player for his career.

...and Sal:

Year  Bat  ROE   DP BaseR OWAA
1966  0.0  0.0  0.1  
-0.1  0.0
-0.5  0.2 -0.1   0.0 -0.4
1968  0.9  0.1  0.1   0.1  1.2
1969  5.4  0.5 
-0.1   0.1  5.9
1970  3.3  0.0 
-0.2   0.1  3.3
1971  3.3  0.1  0.0  
-0.1  3.3
1972  1.8  0.0  0.1   0.2  2.0
1973  4.6  0.1 
-0.1   0.1  4.7
1974  2.8  0.3  0.2   0.1  3.5
1975  0.4  0.0  0.2   0.2  0.8
1976  2.6  0.2  0.3   0.1  3.2
1977  0.5 
-0.1  0.2   0.4  1.0
1978  2.9 
-0.1 -0.2   0.1  2.7
-1.2  0.1  0.0   0.0 -1.1
-1.4  0.2  0.0  -0.1 -1.3
-0.3  0.1  0.0  -0.1 -0.3 
TOTL 25.1  1.7  0.4   1.1 28.3 

Again, next to no difference. The assessments of the players' offensive value relative to league average are the same.


Sean's system relies entirely on his own TotalZone fielding metric. I don't have any particular quibbles with TotalZone's methodology, but nor do I think it's any better a measure of turning batted balls into outs than Dan Fox's Simple Fielding Runs or Michael Humphreys's DRA, the other two systems available for that time period. So let's just take a straight average of the three glove metrics, converting them all to wins (TZ at a flat rate, SFR and DRA at a floating rate). I'll then add on TZ's double-play metric separately, since I don't think SFR or DRA take account of turning two.


-5  -3   1 --0.6
--13   2 --0.6
-17  -4  16 --0.3
-8  -7   9 --0.3
1968  10   7  19  2  1.7
1969   9  10  10  0  1.1
1970  11   9  13  1  1.3
1971  19   7  
-1  3  1.2
1972   8  13  25  2  2.0
1973  21  18  26  2  2.5
1974   5   6   5  1  0.7
1975   4   3  16 
-2  0.6
1976  10  11  20 
-2  1.3
1977  24  16   8  1  1.7
1978   0   1 
-11 --0.5
1979   9  
-5  -9  2  0.0
-6  -6  -5  1 -0.5
-1  -2   1  0 -0.1
-2  ---0.2
TOTL  89  59 144  3 11.1 

OK, there's a difference. Sean's fielding metric is much harsher to Campaneris than DRA and particularly SFR are, which doesn't show him with the early-career defensive struggles that the other two metrics do. I'd be very interested to hear some anecdotal/scouting reports on Campaneris's glove from 1964-67.


1966   5  1   2  0  0.3
1967   9  7   7  0  0.9
--2  13  1  0.3
1969   2  1   5  1  0.4
-4  4   8  0  0.3
-10  6   1  0 -0.1
1972   8 10  14  1  1.3
-17 -6   8 --0.6
--4   6  0 -0.2
-8  3  17  2  0.6
1976   0  1  11  1  0.6
-4  5   5  2  0.4
1978   4  8   5  0  0.6
-12 -3   1  0 -0.5
--4  -4  1 -0.3
-1  0   1  0  0.0
-47 27  99  8  3.9 

Well, the difference between DRA's and SFR's takes on Bando's glove is striking and concerning. We shouldn't have measurements of the same raw Retrosheet data disagreeing by 150 runs on a guy who played for 15 years. But, the average of the two comes right out to where TotalZone had him anyway.

The next step involves a unique aspect of my WAR system: the standard deviation adjustment. It's explained in detail on my WAR thread, but it's basically a way to account for factors like run scoring and expansion that affect how far player performances are spread out from the mean. Since Bando and Campaneris played in the same league at the same time, it shouldn't make much of a difference, but let's toss it in any for gits and shiggles. The fact that Bando's best year was in the big expansion season hurts his peak.

The units here are offensive wins above league average plus fielding wins above positional average, as derived above.

Year Campy Bando LgAdj Campy2 Bando2
-0.9       0.983   -0.9       
1965   0.0       0.977    0.0       
1966   0.7   0.3 0.999    0.7    0.3
-0.5   0.5 0.985   -0.5    0.5
1968   4.1   1.5 1.003    4.1    1.5
1969   0.6   6.3 0.948    0.6    5.9
1970   3.1   3.5 0.949    2.9    3.4
1971   0.6   3.1 0.962    0.6    3.0
1972   1.4   3.4 0.970    1.3    3.3
1973   1.4   4.1 0.947    1.3    3.9
1974   2.4   3.2 0.963    2.3    3.1
1975   0.5   1.4 0.943    0.5    1.3
1976   1.8   3.8 0.948    1.7    3.6
1977   1.0   1.4 0.907    0.9    1.2
-2.6   3.2 0.919   -2.4    3.0
-1.0  -1.6 0.913   -0.9   -1.5
-1.2  -1.5 0.929   -1.2   -1.4
-0.2  -0.4 0.950   -0.2   -0.3
-0.7       0.954   -0.6       
TOTL  10.5  32.2         10.3   30.7 

Next we can add on replacement level. For me, this is a flat 2.1 wins per season (defined as total league PA divided by nine times the number of teams). It seems that Sean changes this value at decade intervals as well: it looks to be 1.9 wins per 162 games in the 60s and 80s, but 2.15 or so in the 70s. I'll adjust his replacement levels for standard deviation as well (mine already are). That comes out as follows:

Year Me-Campy Me-Bando Sean-Campy Sean-Bando
1964      0.9                 0.8          
1965      2.0                 1.7           
1966      1.9      0.1        1.6        0.1
1967      2.0      0.5        1.7        0.4
1968      2.2      2.1        1.8        1.9
1969      1.8      2.3        1.5        1.8
1970      2.0      2.0        1.9        2.0
1971      1.9      2.0        1.7        2.0
1972      2.2      2.1        2.0        2.0
1973      2.0      2.1        1.9        2.1
1974      1.8      1.9        1.7        1.9
1975      1.8      2.0        1.7        2.1
1976      1.9      2.0        1.9        2.0
1977      1.9      2.0        1.8        1.9
1978      0.9      2.0        0.9        1.8
1979      0.8      1.7        0.8        1.6
1980      0.7      0.9        0.7        0.8
1981      0.4      0.3        0.4        0.3
1983      0.5                 0.5                 
TOTL     29.7     25.8       27.0       24.7 

Looks like I'm using a slightly lower replacement level than Sean is, but that's splitting hairs.
   233. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 10, 2011 at 05:55 PM (#4012538)
Adding it all up and adjusting all the components for standard deviations, here's where the two of us stand on these players so far:


Year Me-OWAA Me-FWAA Me-Rep Me-WAR Sean-OWAA Sean-FWAA Sean-Rep Sean-WAR
-0.3    -0.6    0.9    0.0 |      -0.4      -0.6      0.8     -0.2
1965     0.6    
-0.6    2.0    2.0 |      -0.2      -1.4      1.7      0.1
1966     1.0    
-0.3    1.9    2.6 |       1.3      -0.5      1.6      2.4
-0.2    -0.3    2.0    1.5 |      -0.4      -0.8      1.7      0.5
1968     2.4     1.7    2.2    6.3 
|       2.0       0.9      1.8      4.7
-0.5     1.0    1.8    2.4 |      -0.5       0.9      1.5      2.0
1970     1.7     1.2    2.0    4.9 
|       1.6       0.9      1.9      4.5
-0.6     1.2    1.9    2.5 |      -1.0       1.0      1.7      1.7
-0.6     1.9    2.2    3.6 |      -0.7       1.5      2.0      2.8
-1.1     2.4    2.0    3.3 |      -0.7       1.9      1.9      3.1
1974     1.6     0.7    1.8    4.1 
|       2.0       0.7      1.7      4.3
-0.1     0.6    1.8    2.3 |      -0.1       0.1      1.7      1.7
1976     0.4     1.2    1.9    3.6 
|       0.2       0.9      1.9      2.9
-0.7     1.6    1.9    2.7 |      -1.3       1.5      1.8      2.0
-1.9    -0.4    0.9   -1.4 |      -2.3       0.0      0.9     -1.4
-0.9     0.0    0.8   -0.1 |      -0.9      -0.3      0.8     -0.4
-0.7    -0.4    0.7   -0.5 |      -0.7      -0.5      0.7     -0.4
-0.1    -0.1    0.4    0.3 |      -0.2      -0.3      0.4      0.0
-0.4    -0.2    0.5   -0.2 |      -0.1      -0.3      0.5      0.1
-0.2    10.5   29.7   39.9 |      -2.5       5.8     27.0     30.3 

OK, now we're starting to see some differences. I like his bat two wins better, his glove almost five wins better (because DRA and SFR are much kinder to him than TZ), and his longevity 3 wins better due to a lower replacement level.


Year Me-OWAA Me-FWAA Me-Rep Me-WAR Sean-OWAA Sean-FWAA Sean-Rep Sean-WAR
1966     0.0     0.3    0.1    0.4 
|      -0.1       0.1      0.1      0.1
-0.4     0.9    0.5    0.9 |      -0.3       0.7      0.4      0.8
1968     1.2     0.3    2.1    3.6 
|       0.9      -0.1      1.9      2.7
1969     5.6     0.4    2.3    8.2 
|       6.0       0.2      1.8      8.0
1970     3.1     0.3    2.0    5.3 
|       3.1       0.4      2.0      5.5
1971     3.2    
-0.1    2.0    5.0 |       3.0       0.6      2.0      5.6
1972     2.0     1.3    2.1    5.4 
|       1.4       1.1      2.0      4.5
1973     4.4    
-0.6    2.1    6.0 |       5.1      -0.7      2.1      6.5
1974     3.3    
-0.2    1.9    5.0 |       3.3      -0.4      1.9      4.8
1975     0.8     0.6    2.0    3.4 
|       0.5       0.5      2.1      3.1
1976     3.0     0.5    2.0    5.5 
|       2.7       0.2      2.0      4.9
1977     0.9     0.3    2.0    3.3 
|       0.1       0.7      1.9      2.7
1978     2.5     0.5    2.0    4.9 
|       2.4       0.8      1.8      5.0
-1.0    -0.4    1.7    0.2 |      -1.3      -0.3      1.6      0.0
-1.2    -0.3    0.9   -0.5 |      -1.2      -0.3      0.8     -0.7
-0.3     0.0    0.3    0.0 |      -0.1       0.0      0.3      0.2
TOTL    27.0     3.7   25.8   56.5 
|      25.4       3.6     24.7     53.7 

Pretty much dead even here.

Ah, but there's one last, critical step: the position adjustment. Remember, I'm weighting shortstop based on the performance of the worst 3/8 of starters in the league, the Folis and Rafael Ramírezes and the occasional Picciolo or Mendoza. Sean is distributing their craptasticness evenly around the infield, and then using position-switchers to determine the relative weights of the infield positions. Here's what Sean has to say about the 1970's:

The infield/outfield gap keeps getting bigger as we go back in time, for this decade it’s 20.2 on offense and 8.6 on defense. Center fielders had only a 5.6 run advantage on the corners. Second basemen were 7.6 runs worse than shortstops, but 3.4 run better than third basemen. So if we add that up, shortstops must have been 10 or more runs better than third basemen, right?

If only it was that easy. In fact, players who played both third and short in the 1970’s were 1.1 runs worse as third basemen. Sometimes the pieces of this data puzzle do not fit very well together. In every other decade, shortstops were at least 4.7 runs better than third basemen and at least 6.6 runs excluding the 2000’s. For the 1970’s the other pieces – shortstop to 2B, 2B to 3B, show the normal pattern. Chalk this one up to a fluke...

He proceeds to weight shortstop only 6 runs higher than 2B and 3B. Here are our position adjustments for the two players, accounting for standard deviations:

Year Me-Campy Me-Bando Sean-Campy Sean-Bando
1964      0.8                 0.1           
1965      1.6                 0.5           
1966      1.8      0.0        0.9        0.0
1967      2.0      0.0        0.9        0.1
1968      2.3     
-0.2        1.0        0.4
1969      2.0     
-0.5        0.8        0.4
1970      2.3     
-0.3        0.9        0.4
1971      2.1     
-0.2        0.9        0.4
1972      2.3     
-0.2        1.0        0.4
1973      2.2     
-0.1        0.9        0.4
1974      1.9     
-0.2        0.8        0.3
1975      1.8     
-0.1        0.8        0.4
1976      1.9      0.0        0.9        0.4
1977      1.8      0.0        0.9        0.1
1978      0.9      0.0        0.5        0.2
1979      0.9      0.0        0.4        0.1
1980      0.7      0.0        0.3       
1981      0.0      0.0        0.0       
1983      0.1                 0.1           
TOTL     29.5     
-1.8       12.3        3.6 

That is absolutely huge. I think the gap in positional value between Campaneris and Bando was worth a whopping 31.3 wins. Sean says it was worth 8.7. Tack on the positional adjustments, and here's the final accounting:


Year Me-OWAA Me-FWAA Me-Pos Me-Rep Me-WAR Sean-OWAA Sean-FWAA Sean-Pos Sean-Rep Sean-WAR
-0.3    -0.6    0.8    0.9    0.8 |      -0.4      -0.6      0.1      0.8     -0.1
1965     0.6    
-0.6    1.6    2.0    3.6 |      -0.2      -1.4      0.5      1.7      0.6
1966     1.0    
-0.3    1.8    1.9    4.4 |       1.3      -0.5      0.9      1.6      3.3
-0.2    -0.3    2.0    2.0    3.5 |      -0.4      -0.8      0.9      1.7      1.4
1968     2.4     1.7    2.3    2.2    8.6 
|       2.0       0.9      1.0      1.8      5.7
-0.5     1.0    2.0    1.8    4.4 |      -0.5       0.9      0.8      1.5      2.8
1970     1.7     1.2    2.3    2.0    7.2 
|       1.6       0.9      0.9      1.9      5.4
-0.6     1.2    2.1    1.9    4.6 |      -1.0       1.0      0.9      1.7      2.6
-0.6     1.9    2.3    2.2    5.9 |      -0.7       1.5      1.0      2.0      3.8
-1.1     2.4    2.2    2.0    5.5 |      -0.7       1.9      0.9      1.9      4.0
1974     1.6     0.7    1.9    1.8    6.0 
|       2.0       0.7      0.8      1.7      5.1
-0.1     0.6    1.8    1.8    4.1 |      -0.1       0.1      0.8      1.7      2.5
1976     0.4     1.2    1.9    1.9    5.5 
|       0.2       0.9      0.9      1.9      3.8
-0.7     1.6    1.8    1.9    4.5 |      -1.3       1.5      0.9      1.8      2.9
-1.9    -0.4    0.9    0.9   -0.5 |      -2.3       0.0      0.5      0.9     -0.9
-0.9     0.0    0.9    0.8    0.8 |      -0.9      -0.3      0.4      0.8      0.0
-0.7    -0.4    0.7    0.7    0.2 |      -0.7      -0.5      0.3      0.7     -0.1
-0.1    -0.1    0.0    0.4    0.3 |      -0.2      -0.3      0.0      0.4      0.0
-0.4    -0.2    0.1    0.5   -0.1 |      -0.1      -0.3      0.1      0.5      0.2
-0.2    10.5   29.5   29.7   69.3 |      -2.5       5.8     12.3     27.0     43.0 


Year Me-OWAA Me-FWAA Me-Pos Me-Rep Me-WAR Sean-OWAA Sean-FWAA Sean-Pos Sean-Rep Sean-WAR
1966     0.0     0.3    0.0    0.1    0.4 
|      -0.1       0.1      0.0      0.1      0.1
-0.4     0.9    0.0    0.5    0.9 |      -0.3       0.7      0.1      0.4      0.9
1968     1.2     0.3   
-0.2    2.1    3.4 |       0.9      -0.1      0.4      1.9      3.1
1969     5.6     0.4   
-0.5    2.3    7.7 |       6.0       0.2      0.4      1.8      8.4
1970     3.1     0.3   
-0.3    2.0    5.0 |       3.1       0.4      0.4      2.0      5.9
1971     3.2    
-0.1   -0.2    2.0    4.8 |       3.0       0.6      0.4      2.0      6.0
1972     2.0     1.3   
-0.2    2.1    5.2 |       1.4       1.1      0.4      2.0      5.0
1973     4.4    
-0.6   -0.1    2.1    5.9 |       5.1      -0.7      0.4      2.1      6.9
1974     3.3    
-0.2   -0.2    1.9    4.8 |       3.3      -0.4      0.3      1.9      5.1
1975     0.8     0.6   
-0.1    2.0    3.2 |       0.5       0.5      0.4      2.1      3.4
1976     3.0     0.5    0.0    2.0    5.6 
|       2.7       0.2      0.4      2.0      5.3
1977     0.9     0.3    0.0    2.0    3.2 
|       0.1       0.7      0.1      1.9      2.8
1978     2.5     0.5    0.0    2.0    5.0 
|       2.4       0.8      0.2      1.8      5.2
-1.0    -0.4    0.0    1.7    0.2 |      -1.3      -0.3      0.1      1.6      0.1
-1.2    -0.3    0.0    0.9   -0.5 |      -1.2      -0.3     -0.1      0.8     -0.8
-0.3     0.0    0.0    0.3    0.0 |      -0.1       0.0     -0.1      0.3      0.0
TOTL    27.0     3.7   
-1.8   25.8   54.7 |      25.4       3.6      3.6     24.7     57.3 
   234. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 10, 2011 at 06:16 PM (#4012553)
So, who's right? I think this leaves the realm of objective evaluation and enters the territory of each voter's subjective definition of Merit. I can say that Dagoberto Campaneris (and to a slightly lesser extent David Concepción, and then Harrah and Fregosi) provided his teams with 15 more wins over the worst starters at his position than Sal Bando did at his. He thus represented a greater contribution to his teams' pennants than did every other position player on the ballot, and many players who have already been inducted to the Hall of Merit as well.

Does that make him deserving? I say so. Other voters counter that the real replacement shortstops just happened to be playing other positions, and that it's not fair to credit Campaneris and Concepción for their managers' incompetence. Bobby Grich or Aurelio Rodríguez certainly could have handled shortstop (and did, briefly, although Rodríguez couldn't hit). I don't think Schmidt or Brooks or Nettles or Bell or Wallach could have, although I suppose Cal Ripken did come up as a third baseman. Did Glenn Hubbard have the arm? I dunno. Frank White played some short as a youngster. We'll never know.

But I'm not into counterfactuals. The A's had Campaneris, and the Reds had Concepción, and they won, while the Blue Jays had Alfredo Griffin, adn they lost. That's good enough for my ballot.
   235. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 11, 2011 at 09:32 PM (#4013531)
Just to hammer the point home further: There were 596 player-seasons from 1965-1990 where a guy whose primary position was shortstop had at least half a full season's PA. If you go by CHONE WAR, fully one-quarter of them were below replacement level. That means that there were about six teams a year who were starting a guy worse than a freely available replacement over a 25-year period. Color me skeptical. Replacement level is supposed to be a baseline for accumulating MLB value; there's no way that starts at the 25th percentile of starters. It should start at, like, the 5th.
   236. Howie Menckel Posted: December 11, 2011 at 10:29 PM (#4013558)
Very well reasoned, and kind of you to offer the contrarian view as well. I tend to hold that view, but it's true that there was an advantage gained because most teams had guys who couldn't hit a bull in the ass with a handful of sand playing SS.

I remember this era well, and managers and GMs recognized that you DID need good fielders at SS due to the arrival of Astroturf. I'd say they overcorrected, though.

So it makes sense to me to split the baby, to an extent. These SSs DID help their team a lot due to the differential, but I'm not giving them 100 pct credit for that because that gives them all of the credit for what I still see as a MLB-wide strategic error trend.

Concepcion was on my last ballot and will be on this one as well. Campy Campaneris? I'll take one more look.
   237. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 11, 2011 at 11:51 PM (#4013612)
I now definitely see Campaneris as superior to Concepción, although I vote for both of them. Same OPS+, same career length, roughly the same era, better baserunner, maybe a worse fielder maybe not, higher peak. I don't see how you can have one but not the other unless the one is at the very tail end of your ballot. Mathematically, if you're saying half-credit, then you're looking at a positional adjustment of about +16 or so for SS, which would put Campaneris at 60.3 WAR, which is at the lower end of guaranteed-induction range (unless you believe TotalZone's evaluation of his glove to the complete exclusion of DRA and SFR).
   238. Rob_Wood Posted: December 12, 2011 at 05:53 AM (#4013800)
Thanks Dan for the info and the methodological description. It gives us alot to think about. I am basically taking the same position as Howie above. GMs and Managers seemed to go gaga about SS defense in the time period in question. So I don't think it fair to give the entire "surplus" to the good-hitting shortstops (who could also field) of that era. Splitting the baby in half seems about right to me too.

That got me thinking about when artificial turf became prevalent. Here is my remembrance, though I might be off on a few:

Houston Astrodome 1966- (first year was a new type of grass strain that died)
Cincinnati Riverfront Stadium 1970-
Pittsburgh Three Rivers Stadium 1970-
St Louis New Busch Stadium 1970-95
San Francisco Candlestick Park 1970-78
Philadelphia Veterans Stadium 1971-
Montreal Olympic Stadium 1977-

Kansas City Royals Stadium 1973-
Seattle Kingdome 1977-
Toronto Exhibition Stadium 1977-
Minnesota Metrodome 1982-

Based upon the league disparity highlighted above, does the SS defense phenomenon appear more in the NL than in the AL?

Also, artificial turf was thought to significantly increase the value of speed (both on offense and defense). I wonder how much of the mis-judgment on SS defense was really a (over-)reliance on speed.
   239. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 13, 2011 at 12:04 AM (#4014533)
Dan, sorry if I missed it, but have you updated your data to include 2006?

Put me in the camp that gives full credit for SSs from the turf era. It doesn't matter if the GMs were wrong. Those players provided real value to their teams, and that value is directly comparable to others from their era.
   240. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 13, 2011 at 12:07 AM (#4014537)
Also, artificial turf was thought to significantly increase the value of speed (both on offense and defense). I wonder how much of the mis-judgment on SS defense was really a (over-)reliance on speed.

I don't remember the defensive SSs and 2Bs of this era as being particularly fast were they?
   241. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 13, 2011 at 12:27 AM (#4014557)
No, I simply haven't had time, but I'm happy to do any specific players by hand if you need them.

That is obviously the position I take as well. Value is value. Here's a question: why Bresnahan but not Campaneris or Concepción? He clearly got in because the replacement deadball C's were so weak...

If you're talking 70's, then Concepción and Campaneris were fast, Belanger could run a bit, and Burleson and Dent were not. It's a wonder I don't vote for Belanger given that he seems to clearly be the best fielder on a per-inning basis like evar. But his hitting was just that bad. I would see him as a down-ballot MVP candidate in 1976.
   242. OCF Posted: December 13, 2011 at 06:33 AM (#4014815)
Dal Maxvill was a 60's glove man, offense somewhere between Belanger and Mendoza, who wasn't particularly fast. His career wound down just as the artificial turf era was beginning.

I would see [Belanger] as a down-ballot MVP candidate in 1976.

Maxvill in 1968?
   243. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 13, 2011 at 01:15 PM (#4014866)
Not quite. His OPS+ that year was a full nine points lower than Belanger's in '76, in fewer PA. And TotalZone at least, weirdly, sees '68 as a defensive off year for him.
   244. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 13, 2011 at 04:31 PM (#4015097)
No, I simply haven't had time, but I'm happy to do any specific players by hand if you need them.

Bernie, Salmon, Javy are the only real candidates among the hitters, so they'd do. Radke, Fassero, Erickson if you have a pitcher system now.
   245. Juan V Posted: December 14, 2011 at 06:44 PM (#4016401)
Before I post the final ballot, any opinions on Bernie? I have him comfortably away from the ballot based on Dan's numbers, but I've run some scenarios for his fielding just to check. If I make him an average fielder for his career, he makes the lower spots of my ballot.

#203: Sorry for the delay. When I last checked on him (using BB-ref WAR), I thought that he provided enough value in the NL to make '84 look like a regular career year once regressed. Which gives him a very good peak/prime IMO.
   246. DL from MN Posted: December 14, 2011 at 08:11 PM (#4016481)
Bernie's reputation was never "average" compared to other centerfielders. Scouts, fans and the stats agree that he was below average defensively.
   247. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 15, 2011 at 02:00 PM (#4016946)
I thought scouts, fans, and stats agreed Bernie's glove sucked at the end of his career, but disagreed on whether he was mediocre or excellent at his peak.
   248. DL from MN Posted: December 15, 2011 at 04:10 PM (#4017026)
Bernie's arm was never that good. His range was never more than average.
   249. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 15, 2011 at 06:28 PM (#4017156)
A further point on Bando: the A's lineup scored 32 more runs in 1973 than their offensive stats would suggest. So if you don't believe in crediting individual hitters for their lineup's overall sequencing of hits and walks, good or bad, then you need to knock off 3-4 runs from all their hitters that year. That takes some of the shine off of Bando's second-best season, and along with my docking him for the high standard deviation of the 1969 mega-expansion partially explains why I'm not as impressed with his peak as CHONE WAR is.
   250. DL from MN Posted: December 15, 2011 at 09:35 PM (#4017357)
I will give you the benefit of the doubt on comment 247 since Bernie won 4 gold gloves. Some people did think his defense was excellent. He also had a full season of postseason plate appearances (121G, 545PA) and I haven't really considered that at all.
   251. sunnyday2 Posted: December 15, 2011 at 11:11 PM (#4017429)
I don't give SS too much X-credit for the period in question. I wonder if ML GMs and managers were leaving better options in AAA because they didn't fit the mold (too tall, hit too much)? Or perhaps there were no better options in AAA (freely available) because anybody who could hit the ball was moved off of SS in Class A? If the latter, then that is evidence of the mass psychosis theorem. In short, this appears to be a "best of a bad lot" argument, analogous to the argument for 1st half-century catchers and/or ?200 IP pitchers in recent years.
   252. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 15, 2011 at 11:52 PM (#4017447)
Thanks for the response, Sunnyday. Bresnahan was indeed elected on that basis. Did you vote for him?

The trick in my book is to distinguish between "star droughts," when a position simply didn't happen to have any great players, and eras where great players' stats relative to the overall league average were reduced by the demands of the position. I believe that my worst-regulars average provides a baseline for how hard a position actually was to play, and that value accumulated above that level is real and Meritorious. That's what separates the Bresnahans and Campaneris/Concepcións from the Pie Traynors and Mickey Vernons. All were the best at their position in their era. But Bresnahan and the shortstops were light years better than what the teams weakest at their positions were playing, while Traynor and Vernon exceeded that standard by much less. If you don't think worst-regulars is a valid indication of positional value, then obviously you don't want to vote based on my metric.
   253. rawagman Posted: December 16, 2011 at 12:35 PM (#4017613)
I've been busy, but want to stay involved in this special and important project. I will attempt to incorporate updated fielding numbers into my system before posting my official ballot over the weekend.
In any case, we all knew this would be a backlog ballot. I'm not nearly as impressed by Bernie Williams as I thought I would be - closer to Fred Lynn than the HOM. And I never jumped on the Reuschel train. I urge that we give long looks to Tommy Bridges, Hugh Duffy and Ben Taylor while we can.

1)Hugh Duffy (PHOM)
2)David Cone (PHOM)
3)Tommy Bridges (PHOM)
4)Ben Taylor (PHOM)
5)Rafael Palmeiro (PHOM)
((5a)Kevin Brown)) (PHOM)
6)Kirby Puckett (PHOM)
7)Fred McGriff (PHOM)
8)Lefty Gomez (PHOM)
9)Bus Clarkson(PHOM)
10)Dale Murphy (PHOM)
11)Vern Stephens (PHOM)
12)Gavvy Cravath(PHOM)
13)Bob Johnson(PHOM)
14)Dick Redding(PHOM)
15)Tony Oliva (PHOM)
((15a)Joe Gordon)) (PHOM)

They also competed
16)Bobby Veach (PHOM)
17)Dizzy Dean
18)Orlando Cepeda (PHOM)
19)Al Oliver
((19a)Andre Dawson))
20)Albert Belle
21)Jack Clark
22)Jim Rice
23)Wally Berger
24)Don Mattingly
25)Ernie Lombardi
((25a)Jimmy Wynn))
26)Ron Guidry
27)Al Rosen
((27a)Jim Bunning))
((27b)Billy Pierce))
((27c)Graig Nettles))

28)Dan Quisenberry
29)Lee Smith
30)Lance Parrish
   254. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 16, 2011 at 01:10 PM (#4017624)
rawagman--Are you aware that there was a slightly portly character named Rick Reuschel who used to throw some baseballs awhile back? You clearly have no problem with pitchers given the presence of Redding, Lefty Gomez, Bridges, and Cone on your ballot. Wasn't Reuschel better than all of them? (See reasoning above). An explanation at least would be welcome if he wasn't an unintentional oversight.

By the way, apparently groupthink regarding guys who could handle SS but were put at 3B because of their size didn't go out of style with disco...
   255. bjhanke Posted: December 16, 2011 at 04:12 PM (#4017742)
DL, comment #203 -

You have exactly the same opinion of Fred Dunlap that I have, for exactly the same reasons. Just thought you might like to know. Arlie Latham or Ed Swartwood, over in the AA, would be better bets, despite being in the AA. - Brock Hanke
   256. rawagman Posted: December 16, 2011 at 07:23 PM (#4017946)
Dan R - I did mention that I wasn't a huge fan of the huge man in the pre-amble to my post. Never have been - he's never received a ballot slot from me before.
I want to look at some updated numbers before posting my final ballot this weekend, but would be surprised if he made it that far up my rankings.
I value peak in pitchers moreso than with position players.
In summary, he has not been overlooked, but I will have another glance before posting. Can you post the comment number with your reasoning "above"?
   257. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 16, 2011 at 08:32 PM (#4018013)
rawagman--Forgive me, I just looked at the ballot, not the prologue. My basic case for Reuschel is in comment #226, but that focuses more on career value than peak. In the narrowest sense, Reuschel probably has the second-best peak on the ballot, in that he has the second-best individual season after Adolfo Luque's mindboggling 1923. He was second in MLB in ERA+ despite having quite poor fielders behind him, behind only John Candelaria who benefited from strong defensive support and threw fewer innings. If you'll allow me to rely on CHONE WAR as a shortcut--while I have a lot of issues with it, it's basically close on in this case--Reuschel's 1977 was the fourth-best single pitcher-season from 1974 (the first year after the "big SP" period came to a closed) to 1989, his last season, behind only Gooden's 1985 (maybe the best pitcher-season ever), Carlton's 1980, and Niekro's 1978 (which is just a pure volume case--he threw 334 innings thanks to his knuckling). (I certainly would rank Reuschel's '77 below Guidry's '78, Scott's '86, and Saberhagen's '89 as well, but that's quibbling--point is, it was a f'ing awesome season). Now, it's true he doesn't have a second Cy Young-type year--he didn't have the innings in '85--but he certainly showed true greatness at least once, and then yes it's a prime/career case. He has one fewer superstar season than Tiant, but his career is centered around a much less easier period for SP to dominate.
   258. theorioleway Posted: December 17, 2011 at 02:04 AM (#4018216)
DL from MN (or Dan R since you are the SS guru): Why Bancroft over Tinker? Is it because of the competition of his era? I figured it would be better to ask here so as to not clutter up the ballot thread.
   259. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 17, 2011 at 02:39 AM (#4018224)
I'm on my iPad so don't have all the numbers handy, but just eyeballing it, isn't Bancroft Tinker with two extra seasons?
   260. theorioleway Posted: December 17, 2011 at 05:03 AM (#4018287)
Bancroft played 109 more games than Tinker. Bancroft with 100 wRC+/98 OPS+, Tinker 97 wRC+/96 OPS+. Somehow FanGraphs gives Tinker 41.8 wRAA (including base running?) compared to Bancroft's 33.3, B-R gives Bancroft 18 batting runs to Tinker's -20. But Tinker gets 21 B-R base running runs to Bancroft's 2. And Tinker gets the nod on defensive numbers: 180-93 in B-R defensive runs, 281-147 via DRA. I also thought the perceived general wisdom was that Tinker was great on defense, so the numbers seem feasible.
   261. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 17, 2011 at 05:20 AM (#4018291)
Now on my computer, my offensive numbers show a much bigger hitting gap than OPS+ suggests--0.8 wins a season (or about 9 points of OPS+, instead of the actual 2). I suspect that's because Bancroft had an extremely OBP-heavy OPS+ (lifetime OBP only .003 lower than lifetime SLG) in a high-offense era--similar to the John McGraw phenomenon. And the gap in plate appearances is significantly greater than the gap in games played. I use PA as my playing time denominator.
   262. theorioleway Posted: December 17, 2011 at 04:01 PM (#4018411)
Thanks Dan R. I don't know why I didn't look at PA last night...the 1092 difference is basically 2 seasons.
   263. Nate the Neptunian Posted: December 18, 2011 at 07:46 PM (#4018966)
Hiya. Sorry for not being around for the MMP votes recently, but I've been busy with some RL stuff, and had some database issues I had to fix to boot. Anyway, I'm close to having a HOM ballot done, but I'm not quite where I'd like to be with some of the NgL players and other special cases. Any chance of an extension this year? Looking at the ballot thread, I only see 14 ballots with a few days left.
   264. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 18, 2011 at 11:01 PM (#4019047)
14 ballots so far ... Any idea of how many more we might get before Wednesday night?
   265. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 18, 2011 at 11:04 PM (#4019048)
And thinking of Nate's post ... Would an extension matter for anyone? I really don't want to give an extension - but if it's the difference in a bunch of ballots I'd think we'd need to consider it.
   266. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 18, 2011 at 11:10 PM (#4019049)
Many voters always wait until the last minute. Shouldn't we just email longtime members of the electorate to remind them?
   267. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 19, 2011 at 12:18 AM (#4019060)
Done. Just sent the email you suggested Dan..
   268. Nate the Neptunian Posted: December 19, 2011 at 02:11 AM (#4019111)
I'm not sure I'll finish by Wednesday. If there's another week, then I should get it done with time to spare. But if I'm the only one who's running late, I wouldn't expect to it be held up just for me.
   269. Nate the Neptunian Posted: December 19, 2011 at 06:18 AM (#4019197)
Well, I worked on it, and I do have a ballot now. I'm posting it here first so people can take a look at it and raise objections if they like. Also, I don't have comments yet for the returning 15 I left off, so I'll work on that before I post my ballot for real.

The number after each player is how many points they generated in my system. I discussed how I assigned points upthread starting at post #39. Briefly, I use three uber systems (WAR and WSAB from Baseball Gauge, and a WAA system I cobbled together from wOBA, DRA, and a couple other things) and a bunch of other stats to assign points for each year of a player's career based on whether it was a prime year, whether they were best in baseball, at their position, within a top % in baseball or at thier position, and so on. It rewards prime/peak, and positional dominance. I don't look at a player's career stats at all in normal situations, but will if I need a tie-breaker.

I've looked through basically every Negro League thread on this site, but only ended up estimating points for Dick Redding, Hilton Smith, Bus Clarkson, Ben Taylor, Carlos Moran, and one special guest (who appears at #20). I wanted to do more, but I didn't get around to them when I should have, so ran out of time, and those five seemed like the only ones who had any shot at being elected this year. My goal for next year is to estimate points for a bunch of others.

1) Tommy Leach (340) 13 year prime. Very good fielder at 3B according to DRA (which makes me wonder why he was moved), and later excelled at CF. Earns more points via fielding than any other player in my top 100, except for Buddy Bell (who had a shorter prime and wasn't as good of a hitter, in context).
2) Rafael Palmeiro (330) Case is well known. Looong prime (16 years). Was a good fielder at 1B. Only once best at position though, and that was at DH in '99.
3) Pie Traynor (313) Discussed him early in the 2011 Discussion thread. 11 year prime. rWAR pans his defense, which is at odds with his reputation and with his DRA numbers. Using the later assesment of his defense, I like him considerably more than his near contemporary, Stan Hack.
4) Bobby Bonds (306) 12 year prime. 3 times among the top players in baseball, and the best at RF ('70, '71, and '73).
5) Rick Reuschel (303) Top eligible pitcher. 13 year prime. Best at position in '77. Among the top players at position 7 times. Decent hitter for a pitcher.
6) Frank Chance (299) Fairly short prime, only 9 years. Was best player at 1B in 6 seasons though (every year from 1903 to 1908), which my system likes.
7) Dale Murphy (296) Very short prime for a HOMish player, at only 7 years, but is helped by his peak. He was 4 times a top (among best 2%) player in MLB, and 3 times best at his position. Additionally, he was the best hitter in MLB in '83.
8) Ben Taylor (283) I'm having a hard time coming to grips with his career, since the last MLEs in his thread were done in 2004, seamheads only has about half his career, and the HOF file, while it shows he was an above average hitter well into his 30s, is hard to interpret with no OBP data. He seems to have been a top player in the NgLs in '15 and '21, and an above average player a bunch of other years. I figure a 13 year prime (65 points), 49 points each for '15 and '21, and 15 points each for '17, '18, '20, '22, '24, '25, '27, and '28. If this seems like guesswork, it's because it is.
9) Burleigh Grimes (282) 12 year prime. Best MLB pitcher in 1921.
10) Jim Rice (281) 12 year prime. Best MLB player in 1978. Best at position in '78, '77, and '79.
11) Dave Bancroft (280) 10 year prime. Best MLB shortstop in '20, '21, '22, and '25. Does very well defensively in DRA. Best fielder in MLB in '17 and '20.
12) Hilton Smith (280) Using Alex King's WAR numbers on Smith's thread. Estimated 11 year prime, including 2 years in Bismark (55 points). Those numbers have him as the best player in baseball in '37 and '38 (150 points). A top pitcher in '39, '40, '41, '46, and '47(15 points each.).
13) Dave Concepcion (272) Fairly short prime, only 9 years. Best at shortstop in '74 and '76. But was among the top players at his position for all other years in his prime, for a very good run from '73 to '82.
14) Carlos Moran (268) His stats on seamheads shows a player who was among the best in the Cuban League during his prime, but he also has some years with very low PAs. I'm not sure if this was due to injuries, splitting time between the winter and summer leagues, or what. 12 year prime (60 points). 15 points each for '07, '10, '11, and '13. 37 points each for '03, '05, '06, and '12.
15) Carl Mays (267) Wins the 1 point tie-breaker with Belle for never throwing a baseball at a fan. More seriously, I give him the edge since he had a longer prime (11 years) and more career value. Best at position in '21. Was a pretty good hitter for a pitcher.
16) Albert Belle (267) Another short prime guy (8 years), but he could hit. Best player in baseball in 1995. Three times a top player, twice best at his position.
17) Dwight Gooden (266) 10 year prime, great peak, but not a whole lot else.
18) Bus Clarkson (265) In looking at the WAR numbers Alex King calculated (based on Dr. Chaleeko's MLEs) in his thread, I'm struck by how his best years came in '53 and '54, when he was 38 and 39, respectively. That's not impossible, but very few players do something like that. Additionally, his raw hitting numbers don't seem that much more impressive than what he was doing in the American Association previously. My gut feeling is that something is off here. Having said that, in looking over his thread, it seems like a lot of this has been discussed. Additionally, even if his numbers are too high, the regression aided lack of peak will hurt him in my system. So I'm taking the numbers as is, as a compromise with myself. So a 16 year prime (80 points). 11 points for '41, '43, '44, '47, and '48. 22 points for '40, '42, '45, '53, '54. Additional 10 points each for '53 and '54.
19) Ed Konetchy (264) Semi-forgotten 1st baseman with an 11 year prime. Best at his position 3 times '09 to '11. Better fielder than Chance, but not as dominant offensively.
20) Diomedes Olivio (263) This is just a pure guess, as I'm not even going to try to figure out yearly totals for him. I'd love to vote for him, based on his overall reputation, his work in the Dominican and the minors, his being very effective in relief in '62 as the oldest player in MLB, and his reputation as being a good hitter for a pitcher. But I lack too much context for his Dominican work, and even those stats don't start till he was 32, so I can't pull the trigger on him. Clearly had a very long prime though.
   270. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 19, 2011 at 11:56 AM (#4019221)
Nate the Neptunian--thanks for posting. Again, how do you have Concepción but not Campaneris? And what do you think of Rizzuto and Pesky?
   271. Michael J. Binkley's anxiety closet Posted: December 19, 2011 at 01:41 PM (#4019227)
New voter here. I haven't finished all of my explanations yet (including required disclosures for those off-ballot), but I just wanted to get my ballot out for discussion for a couple of days so that then I could post it in the ballot thread by Wednesday. I should have all explanations done either tonight or tomorrow.

For me, the HoM is about greatness, not pure value, so obviously I am a peak/prime voter. I've been lurking here for many "years" and earlier this year finally came up with a peak-centric system with which I was happy. But a little over a month ago I decided to modify that system to value primes a little more.

I use a combination of all the major WAR systems (Chone, DanR, FG, BBGauge, BP). I take a player top 3 year(not necessarily consecutive) as peak and add in a prime factor that includes both magnitude and length of prime (for me prime = 4+ WAR years).

On with the ballot:

1. Rick Reuschel
2. Jim Whitney Okay, I figured I have to get an explanation out for this one. To me, he's Bob Caruthers light, and I would've been one of Parisian Bob's best friends back in the day. Yes, his ERA+ is only 105, the same as Jack Morris, but Grasshopper Jim was a much better pitcher that was killed by his defenses, in an era where defense was so much more important. Four times Whitney really did the best he could at his part, leading the league in K/BB ratio, thus preventing baserunners and balls in play form going to his atrocious defenses. He had two years in his prime where his ERA+ was under 100, 1885 and 1886. In 1885, his team's DE was .622, 7th in the league, compared to an average of .651. In 1886, his team was dead last in DE at .602, .044 below league average. In comparison there are years nowadays where .044 is more than the difference between first and last in a 14 or 16 team league, let alone last and average in an 8 team league. Add in the 112 OPS+, together that makes him meritorious in my book.
3. David Cone
4. Gavvy Cravath
5. Albert Belle
6. Don Newcombe
7. Bucky Walters
8. Sal Bando
9. Dwight Gooden
10. Babe Adams
11. Bill Monroe
12. Phil Rizzuto
13. Dizzy Dean
14. Eddie Cicotte
15. Ron Cey

16. Dave Concepcion
17. Luke Easter
18. Al Rosen
19. Ned Williamson
20. Tommy Bond
21. Elston Howard
22. Luis Tiant
23. Frank Chance
24. Kevin Appier
25. Wally Schang
26. Bobby Bonds
27. Hugh Duffy
28. Thurman Munson
29. Burleigh Grimes
30. Urban Shocker
31. Johnny Pesky
32. Bobby Veach
33. Dick Redding
34. Robin Ventura
35. Rafael Palmeiro
36. Bob Johnson
37. Buddy Bell
38. Dave Bancroft
39. Hilton Smith
40. Jack Stivetts
41. Dale Murphy
42. Tony Mullane
43. Orel Hershiser
44. Bert Campaneris
45. Rocky Colavito
46. Bernie Williams
47. Fred McGriff
48. Cesar Cedeno
49. Vern Stephens
50. Bob Elliott
   272. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 19, 2011 at 02:50 PM (#4019251)
Archimedez Pozo Principle--thanks for voting. On Whitney (and all other pitchers), you're definitely right to adjust for defensive support. But I would not apply DIPS-style analysis to pre-expansion era pitchers, not to mention 19C guys. I think this may be a quality-of-play thing--it could be that there is some human/physical/theoretical maximum BABIP-suppression ability, and as baseball has gotten better over the years, pretty much every starter has to be close to it just to survive in the majors. But in the 50's and before, there just weren't enough strikeouts to make DIPS meaningful, the occasional Rube Waddell or Dazzy Vance aside. Don Newcombe led the 1949 NL with 5.5 K/9! Even Rapid Robert only managed to break the 8 K/9 threshold before the war in a 150-IP season. And if you're going back to the 19C, well, the league leaders were sometimes under 4 K/9. Yes, Whitney had some nice K/BB's. But you're judging him by just 20% of his batters faced. That could count for a little extra credit, I suppose, but BABIP skill was definitely real and far more important than K/BB at least until WWII.
   273. DL from MN Posted: December 19, 2011 at 03:02 PM (#4019258)
I strike someone out occasionally playing slowpitch softball. I agree that it is a huge leap to apply DIPS to 1800s era stats. This is an era where the defense didn't wear gloves, the pitcher couldn't throw too hard or the catcher wouldn't be able to catch it.
   274. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 19, 2011 at 04:37 PM (#4019307)
Heck I think it's a leap to apply DIPS to current major leaguers :-)
   275. Michael J. Binkley's anxiety closet Posted: December 19, 2011 at 07:03 PM (#4019424)
Oh, I completely understand that given the low K rates, you can't really apply true DIPS theory to 19th C pitchers. Whitney's ranking for me results completely from his WAR peaks (for which I do make an adjustment for 19th C pitchers as not to have a PHoM of all 1880's pitchers). I was just trying to explain in a general sense why Whitney is a better pitcher than his general numbers indicate.

And I just kind of glossed it over, but as you can tell from my ballot (Newcombe, Walters, Gooden, etc.), good hitting pitchers do really well in my system. And in reality, that is really what makes the difference for Whitney. If he only hit like an average pitcher, he would be way off ballot.
   276. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 19, 2011 at 08:45 PM (#4019531)
Archimedez Pozo Principle--Are you factoring in that pitcher hitting has declined steadily over time? (It's sometimes used as an indicator of the overall quality of MLB play). To be a really valuable hitting P in the 1880s you had to hit like Caruthers.
   277. Al Peterson Posted: December 19, 2011 at 08:57 PM (#4019540)
2012 prelim ballot. We cleared out the excellent first-year eligible players last year, now we dive into backlog territory. I’ve voted every year, just not a lot of time for the posting these days besides a MMP pop-in. Fire your questions, I’ll try to reply.

Methodology in brief: The system used for my ranking entails a little bit of everything including WS, WARP, OPS+/ERA+ with Dan R’s WARP based material. Over the years numerous new metrics are now at various websites, try to take them into account as well. Ratings include positional adjustments, additions to one’s playing record for minor league service, war, and NeL credit and for our real oldtimers some contemporary opinion thrown in. Weighting the various measures smoothes any outliers and helps get my ordering. The results of this work tend to favor prime/peak players over career types but that is not 100% tried and true. Last year’s placement is in parenthesis.

1. Dick Redding (3). Career was long – decent peak along the way. Outstanding fastball in his day according to James/Neyer book. So he didn’t get into the Hall of Fame; maybe the information collected by HOF committee wasn’t pertinent to Redding’s prime years. He deserves some WWI credit, thus patching up a bald spot in his prime years as 1918 and 1919 were affected. The last NeL pitcher I’d deem as worthy of induction.

2. Tommy Leach (4).
Combination hot corner/centerfielder could field a little, hit a little. Second all-time in inside-the-park home runs to Wahoo Sam Crawford. Someone else stated he was uniquely valuable in his particular era and I agree he meant more in the particular era he performed in. Useless trivia: Still holds World Series record with 4 triples in a single series.

3. Rafael Palmeiro (7). Know he’s not Bagwell but better than Cash or McGriff so that puts you here. Sweet looking swing. Productive for a long time but that was standard for the top end 1B/DH during his era.

4. Bobby Bonds (6). Even with the constant trades, drinking problem and whatnot his combination of speed/power made him a very valuable player. He wasn’t the next Mays, or as good as his son, but we’re talking about a RF who could steal bases and field his position. All five tools on display.

5. Norm Cash (8). Nice run from 1961-66 in terms of placing among the OPS+ leaders in the AL. Seems to be a decent glove to go with good on-base skills. Took an interesting route to the league – didn’t play high school ball so late start to the game, spent a year (1957) in the military.

6. Phil Rizzuto (9). I’ve done my minor league & WWII absence calibration so Scooter scoots to ballot position. Glove first but the offense during prime years was nothing to sneeze at either. Holy Cow!

7. Tony Mullane (10). Old time pitcher who threw plenty well, a good hitter to boot. Had some playing time issues since he missed seasons due to being blacklisted. He’s amongst the best of his era when accounting for the time outside of baseball due to conflicts with different leagues. Goes on the all-Nickname team as well.

8. Mickey Welch (11). 300 game winner in the house. Was it due to luck, run support, bad opponents? Still a feat to accomplish, sometimes I need to remind myself that and not totally overlook Smilin’ Mickey. Seemed to pitch well against the other front line starters of his day.

9. Fred McGriff (12). I see a nice prime 1988-94 before the silly ball era takes place. Adds on plenty of career length (60th all-time in games) who didn’t DH much. A very good hitter in the playoffs over many series, slight bump for that.

10. Bob Johnson (13). Argument in brief:

Batting Win Shares misses the mark on his value due to quality of teams he played on. They were horrible and likely cost 20-25 win shares over his 10 year prime with the A’s.

The teams he played on underperforming pythag wins vs. actual, thus a hit to Win Shares. Additionally his teams would end up leaving 2-4 decisions short per year. These incomplete games outcomes shorten Win Shares to divide up.

His career has war years that need discount. But also a couple years at the beginning of his career were in the PCL where he was more than major league quality. MLEs for 1931-32 show a player worthy of starting in the bigs. The tail of his career is nonexistent since the 1946 avalanche of returning War players pushed him back to the minors.

When he retired, Bob Johnson ranked eighth all-time in home runs. lists him as having the strongest arm among left fielders, a sentiment echoed by Bill James in his historical Abstract.

For me he goes ahead of electees like Medwick, Averill, and Willard Brown from his era. Sorry Indian Bob, so close the one year but you’re not getting elected by this group in the near future.

11. Luis Tiant (14). Was less than the Carlton/Seaver/Niekro grouping of his time but got by on his funky delivery to merit seeding. Check out his 1964 PCL record in Portland: 15-1 with a 2.04 ERA. That deserves a callup I guess.

12. Bus Clarkson (15). Coinflip for him and Bucky Walters. Take the infielder this time. Some value spread throughout all levels of leagues as baseball moved toward integration.

13. Bucky Walters (16).
Good three year run, part I. His hitting complimented stellar pitching in the 30s and 40s.

14. Orel Hershiser (18). Good three year run, part II. Peakish argument with an outstanding 1988 involved.

15. Luke Easter (25). Can I have my career over? His 10 year run from 1949-58 in the majors and high minors, at an advanced age, shows a level of excellence that leads one to believe he could have succeeded for a full career be it not for WWII and that pesky color line.

The next 10:
16. Lance Parrish
17. Jack Clark
18. Vic Willis
19. Hugh Duffy – Great fielder or just above average? Split the baby leaves him just off ballot. Two time league HR leader.
20. Spotswood Poles
21. David Cone – Tug of war with Hershiser, Bulldog for now..
22. Tommy John
23. Carl Mays
24. Lou Brock – Could run a little.
25. Don Newcombe

Rick Reuschel is around 30th. That is not far behind the cast of characters above - I'd say that some numbers (can you say WAR?) show him to be the Messiah, others group him with the normal humans. [I'm now envisioning Big Daddy yelling "I AM NOT THE MESSIAH!"]

Cravath - oh, I'd say around 70th. His power impressive, other elements of the game not so much. Great first name though, that Gavvy.

Bernie Williams doesn't float my boat. That was some rancid flycatching and throwing by the end. Got him close to Dale Murphy, somewhere below Cravath.
   278. Nate the Neptunian Posted: December 20, 2011 at 12:30 AM (#4019673)
Again, how do you have Concepción but not Campaneris? And what do you think of Rizzuto and Pesky?

Campaneris is at 244 points, Rizzuto 239, Pesky 167. Concepcion's advantage over the later two is positional dominance, but between him and Campaneris... well, they're very similar, but Concepcion had a better peak for his position and era (which somewhat overlaps with Campaneris').

Breaking it down further, Concepcion had a 9 year prime for 45 points, was once a top 2% player (1981) for 10 points, was twice the best player at his position (1974, 1976) for 28 points, was 9 times a top 20% player at his position ('73, '74, '75, '76, '77, '78, '79, '81, and '82) for 63 points, was the best fielder in baseball once (1982) for 12 points, was a top 4% fielder three times ('74, '75, and '82) for 18 points, was the best offensive player at his position twice ('74 and '81) for 16 points, was a top 20% offensive player at his position eight times ('73, '74, '75, '76, '77, '78, '79, and '81) for 32 points, was the best fielder at his position twice ('74 and '75) for 16 points, and was a top 20% fielder at his position 8 times ('73, '74, '75, '76, '77, '79, '81, and '82) for 32 points. I've made no subjective points adjustments for him, so that totals the 272 I have listed.

Campaneris's 244 points puts him around 30ish. His points break down like so: 13 year prime for 65 points, was twice the best at his position ('68 and '73) for 28 points, was 9 times a top 20% player at his position ('67, '68, '70, '71, '72, '73, '74, '75, and '76) for 63 points, was a top 4% fielder two times ('68 and '79) for 12 points, was the best offensive player at his position once ('68) for 8 points, was a top 20% offensive player at his position five times ('67, '68, '70, '73, '74) for 20 points, was the best fielder at his position twice ('68 and '77) for 16 points, and was a top 20% fielder at his position 8 times ('68, '70, '71, '72, '73, '76, '77, '79) for 32 points. He also has no adjustment points, so there's his 244.

One of Concepcion's advantages is 1981 where his wOBA was .337, while the NL average was only .303 (removing pitchers), and the wOBA of NL shortstops was only .270. (All numbers calculated by myself, and leaving out ROE, so this is lower than what you'll see on Fangraphs.) His very good hitting that year, combined with an above average fielding year (DRA has him at +8 defensive runs), resulted in him ranking as the 13th best player in MLB (when I rank him based on the average of the three uber systems I use), which was the exact cut-off to get the 10 top player points. Campaneris never had a year where he hit quite that well, within the context of his league and position. The rest are a bunch of things that they both did, but Concepcion did more often, like being a top offensive player at his position more often, and so on.

Pesky is hurt by the fact that I don't give war credit, per se. I am willing to give credit for play outside of MLB, including in the Navy, as I've done with Rizzuto. But I can't find any mention of Pesky playing baseball in the military, so he didn't get any points for those years. If he did and I just missed it, then I'd give him more points, though I don't know if it'd be enough to move as far up as he needs.

Rizzuto has an 8 year prime for 40 points. He was the best player in baseball once (1950) for 20 points, he was a top 2% player once (1950) for 10 points, he was the best player at his position once (1950) for 14 points, he was top 20% at his position three times ('42, '47, and '50) for 21 points, he was a top 4% fielder 4 times ('41, '42, '47, '50) for 24 points, he was a top 20% offensive player at his position once (1950) for 4 points, he was the best fielder at his position 4 times ('41, '42, '47, '52) for 32 points, and a top 20% fielder at his position 4 times (same years) for 20 points. That's 185 system generated points, without any adjustments. Now what to do with his 3 year wartime leave? Like I said, I'm willing to give credit for his play in the Navy, but without any record of how he did, it's hard to know what to give. I've settled on giving him credit based on his surrounding years, essentially guessing that he would have performed around that level. He earned 26 points in '42, and 0 in '46, since it wasn't a prime year. So that's 13 points a year for an additional 39 points, plus 15 points for 3 more prime years, giving him 239 total, just a bit below Campaneris. He had one great year in 1950, but otherwise didn't dominate his position as much as Concepcion did.

Now, I know people are going to object that Rizzuto had maleria in '46, so that I shouldn't use that year to figure out what he might have done in the Navy. That's a decent point. So let's use '47 instead, which is about as generous as I can be with him (if I expand it to two years on both sides, but skip '46, he'll suffer from the fact that he didn't play well in '48 either, earning 0 points for that year). So in '47 he earned the same amount of points as '42: 26. That would give him another 39 points, bringing him to 278. That would put him in 12th place on my ballot, between Hilton Smith and Concepcion.

Hmm... Now I'm reconsidering where I have him, but I feel like this is a bit too generious. This is pretty much the best case scenerio for his missing time. Let's try using '41, '42, '47 and '48 for his point totals. In '41 he earned 18 points, but in '48 earned 0, as it wasn't a prime year. So that would make his average over the four years 23 points. 23 points for 3 years, plus 15 points for 3 prime years, plus the 185 he already has, is 269. That would place him 14th on my ballot, between Concepcion and Moran.

I'll have to think about that, but I may reslot him there when I post my final ballot.
   279. Nate the Neptunian Posted: December 20, 2011 at 12:59 AM (#4019687)
Hmm... Now I'm reconsidering where I have him, but I feel like this is a bit too generious. This is pretty much the best case scenerio for his missing time. Let's try using '41, '42, '47 and '48 for his point totals. In '41 he earned 18 points, but in '48 earned 0, as it wasn't a prime year. So that would make his average over the four years 23 points. 23 points for 3 years, plus 15 points for 3 prime years, plus the 185 he already has, is 269. That would place him 14th on my ballot, between Concepcion and Moran.

Of course, I screwed up the math on this, by confusing the 4 years I was supposed to be dividing by with his 3 missing years. Using those four years his average points would be 17.5. Applying that to three years is 67.5, then the 15 points for 3 prime years, plus his initial 185, rounding up, is 253. Better than he was, but still off-ballot.
   280. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 20, 2011 at 01:09 AM (#4019694)
Campaneris's 1968 and 70 were just as good as Concepción's 1981...right? Leaving aside the fact that it was a strike year.
   281. Michael J. Binkley's anxiety closet Posted: December 20, 2011 at 01:45 AM (#4019732)
Dan R-

I am well aware of the fact that pitcher hitting has declined over time. Most pitchers whose careers centered around the 1880's had career OPS+s ranging from the high 50's to the low 70's, numbers which, as you alluded to, if a pitcher had them today, he would be the best hitting pitcher around. And yes, Caruthers was a major outlier at 133+ and who knows what Charlie Ferguson would've done had he not died so early (123 OPS+ at the time of his death), but right behind them is Whitney at 112, a good 40 points ahead of the best of most of the rest of his contemporaries. And that 112 includes one year at 32 which was also one of his poorer pitching years, and as a peak/prime (potential) voter, really outside my consideration set. For my ballot, it really benefited Whitney that his prime hitting years coincided with his prime pitching years.

I completely understand why he's off most people's radars. And I knew that his placement on my prospective ballot would draw the most discussion, which is why I figured I had to include my initial reasoning, whereas all my other ballot spots don't seem too out of place with at least some other ballots (And God knows I didn't get into this to have the best consensus score - then of course, I wasn't trying to be yest or karlmagnus, either - :)), so I figured I could wait on most of my explanations for those placements.

As for 19th C pitchers, I primarily rely on Chone and BBGauge WAR, mainly because Dan, you don't (at least as far as I know) have your own pitcher WAR database, and especially would not for pre-1893 (given your reasoning for not having one for pre-1893 hitters), and of course FG doesn't have pitcher WAR before 1974 (and of course, it would be FIP-based, which we already went over). And also, for some reason, I don't completely trust BP WAR before the turn of the century, but even if I did, Whitney only has 3 less W3 than Clarkson, and has more than HoMers Keefe, Radbourne, Galvin, and Parisian Bob. As it turns out, Chone is lukewarm, but not entirely down, on Whitney, but BBGauge really loves him. BBGauge's numbers for him really propel him in my system to the ranking he has for me.
   282. Nate the Neptunian Posted: December 20, 2011 at 01:45 AM (#4019733)
Campaneris's 1968 and 70 were just as good as Concepción's 1981...right?

Sort of. As I mentioned, I have Concepcion as the 13th best player in baseball in '81. In '68 Campaneris was the 11th best player, in 1970 he was 18th (he drops that far due to the fact that Baseball Gauge's WSAB doesn't like him that year, having him as only the 43th best player).

However, the population of players increased between '68 and '81, so while 13 players got top player points in '81, only 10 did in '68. (And 12 in 1970.) So while Concepcion got those 10 points for '81 by being the last player awarded them, Campaneris missed those points in '68 by 1 player. Obviously this is somewhat arbitrary, but in a system like this you have to draw the line somewhere. Even with those 10 points, Campaneris wouldn't make the ballot, as it gets back to things like Concepcion being the better offensive player at the position (8 times top 20% vs 5 for Campaneris), and so on.
   283. Mike Webber Posted: December 20, 2011 at 02:32 AM (#4019778)
#278 Nate wrote:
Pesky is hurt by the fact that I don't give war credit, per se. I am willing to give credit for play outside of MLB, including in the Navy, as I've done with Rizzuto. But I can't find any mention of Pesky playing baseball in the military, so he didn't get any points for those years. If he did and I just missed it, then I'd give him more points, though I don't know if it'd be enough to move as far up as he needs.

I didn't know what Pesky did during the war, and I was curious. The SABR BIO project says this:

Johnny Pesky Bio Project by Bill Nowlin

WWII took three years out of Johnny’s baseball career, but while in the Navy he met his future wife, Ruth Hickey. She was a WAVE who Johnny met while serving as an Operations officer in Atlanta. Ruthie and Johnny remained very happily married for more than 60 years. In 1953, they adopted a five-month old son through Catholic Charities -- David Pesky, who was born in December 1952. Like a lot of ballplayers, Johnny had many opportunities to play baseball during the war and even played in the AL vs. NL All-Star Game at Furlong Field, Honolulu in 1945.
   284. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 20, 2011 at 02:55 AM (#4019804)
Nate - considering the ages Rizzuto missed, I'd say giving him credit for 1942/47 over 1943-46 is pretty reasonable and not a 'best case'. A best case would be to project a peak during those ages.

I haven't gone that far. But I don't this it's a stretch to use 1942 and 1947 to project those years while leaving out 1946. Especially when we see his 1950 as what he was capable of when all cylinders were firing.
   285. Nate the Neptunian Posted: December 20, 2011 at 03:49 AM (#4019858)
Well, fair enough. But I feel more comfortable using '41, '42, '47 and '48 to create an average, if I'm skipping over '46. Yes, '50 shows what he was capable of, but so does '48. I believe he was hurt that year, but he still got over 500 PA while contributing very little.

As for Pesky, I'll have to consider how much credit I want to give him. But I don't believe he'd be able to earn enough in those three years to make my ballot.
   286. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 20, 2011 at 04:02 AM (#4019871)
How on earth do you get a ranking of #43 for Campaneris in his power season? I'm morbidly curious to see the methodology...

Nate, have you considered moving a smooth scale so you don't get these abrupt discontinuities?
   287. Nate the Neptunian Posted: December 20, 2011 at 04:52 AM (#4019909)
Their method of calculating WSAB is here

Basically it's Win Shares with a higher replacement level.

Nate, have you considered moving a smooth scale so you don't get these abrupt discontinuities?

I've given it some thought. There's some system tweaks I'd like to make for next year, including importing more uber systems, so one outlying system doesn't have as much effect on a player's years. Going to a scaling number of points per category, based on the player's rank in that category, is something I'll probably kick around as well.
   288. Howie Menckel Posted: December 20, 2011 at 05:14 AM (#4019934)
I've never backed extensions, and won't be a hypocrite now.
What time on Wednesday?
Got back from a biz trip last night, a lot of loose ends to tie up still, then free time in a few days.
Will try, but understood if I miss the deadline, of course.
   289. Carl Goetz Posted: December 20, 2011 at 01:31 PM (#4019995)
Interesting site, thanks Nate.

What's the logic for using 'Bench' instead of 'Replacement' level as the baseline? I suppose in the short run, a replacement is coming from the bench in terms of playing time replacement. Long-term, though, a true replacement is coming from the minors.
   290. cricketing baseballer Posted: December 20, 2011 at 04:29 PM (#4020104)
This is a rushed preliminary ballot. I will limit any detailed comments at this stage to the required disclosures.

Last year I noted that I had an epiphany during the interval between the 2010 and 2011 voting. I decided to reverse completely the way I constructed my ballot. For the first time in my erratic HoM voting, I started my winnowing process by first ranking players by a career value measure. This year I've continued developing both my career measure, as well as gradually reworking my method of rating pitchers once on the ballot.

Last year I also shifted my focus away from WARP (DanR style) and towards Win Shares Above Bench(the number after some players) for the purpose of calculating seasonal values. For pitchers, I have my own system that attempts to match a pitcher with an average defence for season and league, and then add up the resultant 'wins'. I use a mix of All-Star and MVP seasons, plus being best at one's position, to calculate the rankings. That's the number in parentheses. However, I make further adjustments to this based on my perception of contextual value: how easy is the position, how many times a player was best in the league, who else was active then.

At the level of choosing the top fifteen, therefore, I use career values. I also strive to achieve a degree of positional balance by grouping players together in sets so that at least 3 pitchers, 1 catcher, 3 2b/3b/ss, 1 cf and 3 1b/rf/lf appear on my ballot. However, in ranking players actually among that top fifteen, I look much more closely at individual seasons.

1 - Hugh Duffy 138.6 (5)
2 - Thurman Munson 88.1 (2) One of the Hall of Merit's great omissions.

After those two, I find flaws in everyone else's case.
3 - Bucky Walters (4) Too high? I had Grimes as my 'elect me' pitcher last year.
4 - Vic Willis (6) New to ballot, was higher on him earlier in the discussion period. Stock falling.
5 - Jim Rice 112.7 (4) Too high? Likely has to be behind Walters.
6 - Burleigh Grimes (5) Probably about right, after last year's inflated position.
7 - Dizzy Dean (3) Goes with Grimes, one above or one below. Steve Treder's supposition that the NL ball was deadened makes me suspicious.
8 - Ben Taylor (n/a) 5 times best 1b in NegLgs. Has to be ahead of Palmeiro. Possibly best bet to move significantly.
9 - Rafael Palmeiro 140.5 (5) I apply a 'steroids discount'.
10 - Kirby Puckett 118.8 (4) Too high? Too low? Should be closer to Rice?
11 - Lou Brock 120 (3) He's not quite as good as Puckett, and has to appear below him on this ballot.
12 - Pie Traynor 92.5 (1) This may be a couple of spots too low.
13 - Rick Reuschel (1) Too low?
14 - Phil Rizzuto 78.1 (1) Needs war credit to get this high.
15 - Dave Concepcion 73.3 (0) To answer DanR's inevitable question, I just find his career has significantly more raw value than that of Campaneris.

This ballot is still a bit fluid after the top two, but I'm sure that these are the fifteen names.

Top Tens:
David Cone, Luis Tiant: I have these as part of a set of very closely matched pitchers that also includes Don Newcombe. None of these pitchers comes up nearly as well in my system as Reuschel, the lowest ranked pitcher on my ballot, in terms of overall career value. They do, however, look in the same class as Bucky Walters, who is ranked ahead of Reuschel. However, Walters has a few more high-impact seasons.
Cannonball Dick Redding: The level of uncertainty around his candidacy makes me nervous. I have read a few Negro Leaguer threads during this voting season, and it is not clear to me that the equivalent statistics of any Negro Leaguers have been regressed properly. Since we can't undo an election, I'd prefer to wait a little longer to get more information from Seamheads. The data published there is giving me, at least, a much clearer picture of context, as we now have with Ben Taylor, who has made my ballot.

New Guys:
I looked in some detail at three.
Bernie Williams ranks ahead of Dale Murphy and about equivalent with Albert Belle, whom I voted for last year, but who did not make my ballot this year.
Javy Lopez is behind Elston Howard and ahead of Wally Schang, as things stand. All three are behind Lance Parrish.
Tim Salmon is much further down the rankings, behind candidates like Bob Johnson and Bobby Bonds.
   291. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 20, 2011 at 09:18 PM (#4020493)
9 - Rafael Palmeiro 140.5 (5) I apply a 'steroids discount'.

Is this constitutional? I imagine so, on the grounds that his record would not have been as impressive if it weren't for the chemical assistance, but I just wanted to bring it to the electorate's attention.

Fra paolo, any particular reason you've chosen to abandon my oh-so-brilliant WARP system? :)
   292. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 20, 2011 at 11:46 PM (#4020665)
No, this is not constitutional. After the first year on the ballot, players must be judged based on what they did on the field.

If you feel what the player did off the field hurt his teammates in some way, and you can quantify this, you can hold that against a player.

An example of this would be entirely discounting the Black Sox players' 1919 and 1920 seasons. That's about the only example I can think of off the top of my head. Even Dick Allen didn't get any 'off-field' penalties that I remember. I could be wrong there though.

If a player was dealing steroids, and got his teammates suspended - that could be grounds for a discount, as it negatively impacted the team on the field.

However, if you mean you discount the steroids era - in the same way you bump up the deadball era, knock down the 1960s pitchers - that's different. But singling out individual players for steroid use after their first year on the ballot is unconstitutional.
   293. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 20, 2011 at 11:49 PM (#4020668)
I'm early (a whole day)! Didn't even need an extension this time :-) This is preliminary, but very likely to be my final ballot. Open to ideas though.

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

I give full war credit, and I think it's a major mistake not to when comparing players across eras. My biggest regret on this project is that we didn't require all voters to give war credit like we did with Negro League credit. I see no difference, both were a circumstance of the player's birthday that was beyond his control.

I've systematically worked this in for anyone that is a reasonable candidate, all the way down to guys like Tommy Henrich, Mickey Vernon and Dom DiMaggio. If you want a copy of my Rosenheck access database with these guys added, please let me know.

I think it's a cop out to say we don't know so it's a zero. If a guy was a 25 WS a year player before and after the war, a zero is a much bigger mistake than giving him three 25s. As far as injury risk, you just credit a guy based on his playing time before and after the war. There's no reason to assume he would have been any more (or less) injury prone during those years.

I also follow similar philosophy on strikes. I just prorate the season, since a pennant is a pennant.

I give catchers at 50% career bonus, above and beyond what Pennants Added they accumulate.

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

I've been much more hands on in rating the pitchers than the position players, for which I rely on DanR's WARP, though I weigh them based on Pennants Added, not his salary estimator. I'm very confident in my pitcher rankings, and I make a manual adjustment for the extended career length that started in the 1960s (not shown below). My position player rankings are based largely on DanR's numbers.

After the player I'll list his Pennants Added and the player above and below him at his position on the lists.

1. Phil Rizzuto SS (3) - 1.02 PA, (Ernie Banks, Bert Campaneris). Now that I've given him systematic war credit and adjusted his 1946, during which he was recovering from malaria (which also impact his projections for 1943-45, if you use 1946 in those), he shows up with Rafael Palmeiro as the best holdover position player by a substantial margin. The top 4 on this ballot are very close.

2. Jack Quinn SP (4) - 1.10 PA, (Eppa Rixey, Whitey Ford). I'm giving him credit for 1916-18 where he was pitching (quite well) in the PCL after the Federal League went belly-up. He gets a big leverage bonus for his nearly 800 IP of relief work at a LI of 1.26. Without any PCL credit I still have him between Bridges and Grimes.

3. Rick Reuschel SP (5) - 1.05 PA, (Amos Rusie, Jim Bunning). This ranking surprised me a great deal when I first realized how good he was. It's one thing to 'discover' an Ezra Sutton (I mean as a group, not that I discovered him first or anything) who played 130 years ago. But Rick Reuschel was there, right before my very eyes. He pitched in the World Series for my favorite team when I was turning 9 years old. And I never had a clue he was this good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I nudged him down very slightly because he played in an era where pitcher career length was much higher than typical historically. See a little more in the Cone comment.

4. Rafael Palmeiro 1B (6) – 1.02 PA, (Eddie Murray, Mark McGwire). Very good and very consistent for a very long time. Only one season over 6 rWAR (1993, 6.7), but eight between 4-6 and four more between 3-4.

5. Bert Campaneris SS (7) - .93 PA, (Phil Rizzuto, Joe Sewell). .470 OWP, in an era where the average SS was at .372. Long (9625 PA) career as well, and a good fielder (62 FRAA). System says to rank him ahead of Concepcion pretty clearly.

6. Urban Shocker SP (8) - .94 PA, (Tommy Bridges, Billy Pierce). Vaulted in 1981, with 1918 war credit (he was having a great year), and an adjustment for the AL being much better than the NL during his time. He was a great pitcher, peak guys should really look closer at him. He'd be a no brainer without his illness, which should not impact a peak vote.

7. Gavy Cravath RF (10) - .90 PA, (Larry Walker, Bobby Bonds). Either he was a freak of nature, or there's a lot missing. I vote for the latter. Check out his thread for deeper discussion of the specifics, including a great analysis from Gadfly. He's the kind of guy we were hoping to catch when we started this project. I'm much more comfortable moving him this high after seeing his latest translations.

8. Ben Taylor 1B (11) - Negro Leaguer, Chris Cobb's MLE from 8/25/2004 suggests 325 WS. Consider me convinced that he was really was a great hitter. The Hall of Fame's Negro League Committee had access to a lot of data, and they chose to include him, in a group that we generally agreed with. That counts for something with me. I would have much preferred his election to that of Oms.

9. Tommy John SP (12) - 1.00 PA, (Bret Saberhagen, Wes Ferrell). Tons of career value. I would probably be sick to my stomach if Jim Kaat (who did very well in the Veteran's Committee balloting this year) got in and John did not. On the surface (career W-L) they appear similar, but when you adjust for everything, they aren't close. I have John as similar to, but better than Burleigh Grimes - about 800 more translated IP, at a 106 rate instead of a 104 rate. That's more than enough to offset Grimes peak edge. I get John somewhere between Eppa Rixey/Red Faber and Grimes on the continuum. He's over the in/out line for me. I also give no extra credit for his poineering the surgery - someone had to be first.

10. David Cone SP (13) - 1.09 PA, (Dazzy Vance, Ed Walsh). For the 2009 election I re-considered DanR's arguments in terms of standard deviation of era, and I'm still going to be a little more conservative with modern pitcher's due to the failure of my system to adjust downward modern career length for pitchers. This applies to John as well.

11. Tommy Bridges SP (14) - .94 PA, (Stan Coveleski, Urban Shocker). Unspectacular peak (although he would have won the 1936 AL Cy Young Award if it had been invented), but a lot of career value. War credit helps nudge him above Trout and Leonard. He could obviously still pitch when he left for the war, and was still good when he returned for a short time. I give him 2 years of credit at his 1941-43 level.

12. Dave Concepcion SS (15) - .88 PA, (Joe Sewell, Dave Bancroft). Better than I realized, and was really hurt by the 1981 strike, which occurred during his best season (and a season where the Reds had the best record in baseball, but missed the playoffs). Still no Trammell or Ozzie, but a very good player indeed. We could do worse than induct him.

13. Tommy Leach 3B/CF (--) - .88 PA (Stan Hack, Buddy Bell; Andre Dawson, Jim Wynn). I was a big fan of his awhile back, then he faded. He's back now, in no small part because of Dan R's work.

14. Bucky Walters SP (--) - .90 PA (Burleigh Grimes, Dwight Gooden). Walters once again gets my hotly contested 15th place vote. Johnny Pesky, Rabbit Maranville (with credit for a full 1918), Dave Bancroft, Don Newcombe, Burleigh Grimes, Edgar Martinez, Orel Hershister and Kevin Appier were top contenders. Walters combination of big years, hitting, and playing in what I consider a very tough era (the late 30s, right before war depleted the ranks and after nearly 40 years without expansion) won him my final 6 points.

15. Bernie Williams CF (n/e) - .83 PA (Jim Wynn, Brett Butler). This number puts him a little below Dave Bancroft and Buddy Bell in the .85 range. He is right there with HoMers like John McGraw, Billy Herman and Hughie Jennings. Some of the guys in this range are in, some aren't. He's clearly in the gray area. I am a Yankee fan. Questions about his defense - I don't think it was quite as bad as the advanced metrics say - keep his value low. I'd love to do more digging on this - but I do feel like there are all sorts of goofy things with the fielding numbers for those Yankee teams. That being said, I'll err on the side of caution this year. Perpetual eligibility helps here - I don't have to worry about him falling off the ballot. Edmonds will end up placing higher. But any bump in Williams' defensive ratings would move him into the low, but clear HoMer range.
   294. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 20, 2011 at 11:50 PM (#4020670)
Prominent newcomers:

Tim Salmon - .77 PA (Harry Hooper, Paul O'Neill). A star from 1993-98, with a huge season in 1995. According to Dan R's numbers he was the AL MVP that year, but he finished 7th in the actual vote. He missed 26 games in 1998 (I have no idea why), but he was never really the same player again after that. Through that season he was on a Hall of Fame track, but so are lots of guys through age 29. His list of comparables to that point within 3 points of OPS+ (135-141) includes George Foster, Mo Vaughn and Jason Giambi. That's pretty solid company for a player before age 30.

Brad Radke - .70 PA (Howie Pollet, Chief Bender). I think my cross-era innings adjustment is a little too generous for modern pitchers. I currently have Radke at 46.2 WAR, compared with 41.4 B-R WAR (a 12% boost, but a 15% innings boost - per inning I don't like him as much), 2826.7 tIP, 110 DRA+. He's already forgotten, but he hurt his labrum and retired while still a decent pitcher at age 33, having already won 148 games.

Do I think he was as valuable as Puckett, no. But PA has them close with an era innings adjustment. And B-R WAR has them 44.8-41.4, so it's close. I think this shows Puckett was overrated more than Radke was underrated. Neither are HoMers.

Javy Lopez - .41 PA (Ernie Lombardi, Darren Daulton). Not a HoMer or a HoFer, but a really good player for awhile. With the 50% catcher career PA bump (not included in the number next to his name). He's comparable to guys like Boog Powell, Larry Doyle, Jack Fournier, Orlando Cepeda, Davey Lopes, Roger Peckinpaugh.

Mandatory comments:

Hugh Duffy - .72 WAR. Pretty cool that perpetual eligibility keeps guys like Duffy around. rWAR has him with .4625 from 1893 on, so I need to come up with some estimates for 1888-1892.

What I did was run a regression on Pennants Added using Dan’s WAR against Chone’s WAR. Then I used the resulting function to convert Chone’s WAR to PA for the missing years. The reason I did it this way was because I like Dan’s WAR better and if there were any differences between the two in terms of how they treat Duffy, I wanted to lean towards Dan’s method.

Amongst players that finished their career before 1920, the .72 PA number puts Duffy in the company of guys like Roy Thomas and Fielder Jones. He’s just not good enough for me.

Luis Tiant - .88 PA. Comparing him with Reuschel . . . I've got Tiant 54th amongst post-1893 SPs eligible. I give him credit for 3362.3 tIP, at the equivalent of a 112 ERA+, and he was +5 runs as a hitter. Reuschel I get at 3745.3 tIP, a 115 rate, and the same +5 BRAR.

Looking at their seven best seasons in terms of WARP, I see Reuschel at 8.7, 6.5, 5.3, 5.2, 5.1, 4.9, 4.8; Tiant at 7.7, 6.4, 5.2, 5.1, 4.9, 4.6, 4.5. Reuschel's top 3 consecutive were 18.8; Tiant's 16.4.

Using a Bill James NHBA peaky type system, with my wins, I get Reuschel at #55, Tiant at #100. Using a JAWS type system, I get Reuschel #39, Tiant #60.

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

Non-Mandatory comments:

Robin Ventura is a tier below with .83 PA (yes, there are that many players at this level - which is one thing that suggests HoVG for both Edgar and Ventura). Norm Cash and Bobby Bonds are also here. Buddy Bell is right there, a little actually, at .85 PA.

Since he was during the 2010 election a bit, Thurman Munson is close, but about a full season behind Bill Freehan. I give a 50% career bonus for catchers and with that, I get Munson at .79 PA. I have Freehan at .87. I draw the line at Freehan in, Munson out, but I can definitely see support for Munson as a candidate.

Bob Johnson - .80 PA. He's in the mix - but slides down when you deflate his numbers from WWII. I see him in a group with Fregosi, Cey, Cruz and Schang. I don’t think Edgar Martinez was all that better than Bob Johnson.

John Olerud - .75 PA (George Sisler, Fred McGriff). Olerud was a really good player with a very nice split peak (1993/1998). rWAR shows him as deserving the 1993 MVP that most statheads think should have gone to Frank Thomas. But he only had 7 years with 3 or more rWAR. It wouldn’t kill me to see him elected. He was a more valuable player than Fred McGriff, Kirby Puckett, Jake Beckley or Charlie Keller, for example. But he’s doesn’t have quite enough to make my ballot at this point.

Fred McGriff is down there with guys like Roy White, Jack Clark, Dale Murphy and George Burns at .73 PA. Defense and base running count.

Kirby Puckett - .69 PA. Loved to watch him play, but there's just not enough there. DanR's numbers show him similar to Rizzuto - before giving any war credit. I've got him in a group with Ken Singleton, Bob Elliott, Fielder Jones, Joe Tinker, Harlond Clift, etc.. Very good player. A solid all-star in his day. But not a HoMer.
   295. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 21, 2011 at 01:07 AM (#4020732)
Can't a discount for a known steroid user be justified on a "value versus ability" basis? We have lots of voters who don't like Concepción and Campaneris because they think that they were "the best of a bad lot" rather than actual HoM talents--in other words, that their value exceeded their ability. That is certainly constitutional. So why can't fra paolo say that Palmeiro's value exceeded his ability because of chemical enhancement?

Don't you mean your hotly contested 14th place vote?

On the modern pitcher question, Joe, I'd just like to clarify something. There are three different variables that have to be juggled for starting pitchers: seasonal IP, career length, and the standard deviation of defense-adjusted RA+. (A fourth might be pitching replacement level over time, but that is something I have never come close to being able to tackle). Your system, to my knowledge, addresses the first exclusively, which is why I have found it over-friendly to modern SP in the past (and conversely far too harsh to 1880's workhorses). But career length and stdevs are separate issues that need to be addressed separately. The latter I've done some work on; the former I can only discuss anecdotally. It certainly seems like the top career IP are disproportionately guys with careers centering on the 70s--of the 17 pitchers debuting after 1900 with 4500 IP, 10 are from that era (Niekro, Ryan, Perry, Sutton, Carlton, Blyleven, Seaver, John, Kaat, and Jenkins). But that's also affected by in-season IP norms, and is hardly a scientific method. This is something to explore in depth if anyone has the time and desire to take the plunge.
   296. Carl Goetz Posted: December 21, 2011 at 01:08 AM (#4020733)
Joe, on Bridges, I'd say Lefty Grove had a significantly better season in 1936 than Bridges (8.9 vs 6.3 WAR; 190 vs 137 ERA+). Unless your saying the 23 wins would have mesmerized 1936 voters the same way they do today :)
   297. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 21, 2011 at 02:14 AM (#4020769)
Yes Carl, the wins, the fact the Tigers were good and the Red Sox weren't and Bridges outpointed him 25-5 (9th vs. 15th) in the MVP vote - in a year where only 80 points was the max.
   298. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 21, 2011 at 02:15 AM (#4020770)
He also threw 43 more innings.
   299. cricketing baseballer Posted: December 21, 2011 at 02:15 AM (#4020771)
However, if you mean you discount the steroids era - in the same way you bump up the deadball era, knock down the 1960s pitchers - that's different.

Yes, the steroids era requires a discount. Palmeiro is the only player from that era on my ballot this time around, so he is the only one affected.
   300. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 21, 2011 at 02:23 AM (#4020777)
21 ballots so far. Mine will be 22. We had 38 last year.

Would an extension help?
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