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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

2012 Hall of Merit Ballot

Sorry about not getting this posted Monday. I was having issues with the thread-creation website.

The election will end December


28. We’ve extend the deadline in hopes of landing a few extra ballots. Don’t count on this next year :-) Apologies to those who rushed to meet the deadline.

Joe posted this last year, but it won’t hurt to include it here again:

This was an issue last year, so I’ll repeat it now for clarification . . . the posting of the ballot to the discussion thread for new voters is not just a formality. With the posting of the ballot you are expected to post a summary of what you take into account - basically, how did you come up with this list? This does not mean that you need to have invented the Holy Grail of uber-stats. You don’t need a numerical rating down to the hundredth decimal point. You do need to treat all eras of baseball history fairly. You do need to stick to what happened on the field (or what would have happened if wars and strikes and such hadn’t gotten in the way). You may be challenged and ask to defend your position, if someone notices internal inconsistencies, flaws in your logic, etc.. This is all a part of the learning process.

It isn’t an easy thing to submit a ballot, but that’s by design. Not because we don’t want to grow our numbers (though we’ve done just fine there, started with 29 voters in 1898, and passed 50 eventually), not because we want to shut out other voices. It’s because we want informed voters making informed decisions on the entire electorate, not just the players they remember.

So if you are up for this, we’d love to have you! Even if you aren’t up to voting, we’d still appreciate your thoughts in the discussion. Some of our greatest contributors haven’t or have only rarely voted.

Back to your regularly scheduled programming . . .


Voters should name 15 players, in order. Thanks!

Newcomers on the 2012 ballot.

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

Thanks, Dan!

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 07, 2011 at 10:17 PM | 192 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 07, 2011 at 10:26 PM (#4009598)
hot topics
   2. DL from MN Posted: December 08, 2011 at 12:04 AM (#4009716)
2012 Hall of Merit Ballot

I've been through the rationale in great detail on the discussion thread. None of the new eligible candidates excite me at all.

1) Tommy Bridges - deserves WWII credit of 2 seasons, 45 good postseason innings, most PWAA of any available pitcher
2) Rick Reuschel - bat and glove help separate him from the pack
3) David Cone - pitchers, pitchers and more pitchers
4) Bus Clarkson - Best 3B available by my reckoning, all-credit integration era case but he tore up the Texas League
5) Urban Shocker - Good bat and WWI credit
6) Phil Rizzuto - best available SS, deserves WWII credit
7) Gavy Cravath - Another credit case, this time minor league credit
8) Rafael Palmeiro - A career value vote
9) Luis Tiant
10) Bob Johnson - Minor league credit offsets war discount
11) Ben Taylor - Looks like the Palmeiro of his era. Good glove reputation
12) Bert Campaneris - 1st time on my ballot
13) Bucky Walters - Another good bat war era pitcher
14) Dave Bancroft - New evaluation bumps him on ballot
15) Hilton Smith - I found the analysis compelling

16-20) Norm Cash, Johnny Pesky, Wally Schang, Dick Redding, Don Newcombe
21-25) Dave Concepcion, Babe Adams, Tommy Leach, Dizzy Dean, Wilbur Cooper

59) Hugh Duffy
   3. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 08, 2011 at 06:06 AM (#4009899)
2012 ballot

Post-1893 MLB position player evaluation is the same as in the past, based on my WARP system, whose methodology is elaborated with great detail in the thread devoted to it. The biggest discrepancies this causes with the group involve position scarcity (I think we grossly underrate shortstops) and era preference (I like hitters from difficult-to-dominate years like the 1970s and 80s, and pitchers from the 20s, 50s, and 80s). I have been convinced that there is some value to in-season durability above and beyond total playing time, and my voting has adjusted slightly accordingly. I dock pre-integration players of both races for not competing against their counterparts of the other race (Babe Ruth would have had a lower OPS+ if he had played in the same league as Oscar Charleston, but Charleston would have had a lower MLE as well if he were being translated to an integrated major league, which would have been tougher than the real one). I deduct for suspected or confirmed PED use only as a tiebreaker, since a) we don't know how much they help and b) we don't know which supposedly clean players were using.

I'm happy to go off CHONE's pitcher WAR for now, whose methodology I basically share (defense-adjusted RA+ over a realistic replacement level and regressing reliever LI halfway to 1 to account for "chaining.") However, I make two big adjustments, for era IP norms and for standard deviations.

I find there were two decades nearly devoid of Meritorious pitchers, even after filling in war credit: the 1940s and the 1980s. Were these simple star droughts, or were there actual contextual factors making it harder for pitchers to string together big seasons? I don't yet have a conclusive answer to that question, but my gut sense, which I am going on for now, is that the 1940s was a star drought and the 1980s were actually difficult for pitchers to dominate. Many of the same factors that gave the 1980s a low standard deviation for hitters also apply to pitchers; that shows up in the defense-adjusted RA+ stdevs, might it also show up in their innings totals? I'm not sure, but it seems plausible. The presence of two 1980s pitchers on my ballot and the absence of Walters reflects this tentative assumption. For post-expansion pitchers, I am now taking a look at league-relative FIP as well, as another means of isolating a pitcher's contributions from his environment.

I've moved up pitchers due to concerns about HoM underrepresentation, and an adjustment of my starter replacement level from 2.1 to 2.4 wins per 200 innings. I've also incorporated SFR and TotalZone data (for now in an ad hoc way, later on I will combine them scientifically in an update of my WARP) into my evaluation of the shortstops, convincing me that Campaneris and Rizzuto are the cream of the quintet (with my handle’s namesake Concepción, Pesky, and Bancroft lagging behind).

Without further ado:

1. Rick Reuschel
Yep, Joe is right about him (and CHONE numbers back him up). Superficially similar to Tiant--both threw 3,500 innings with a 114 ERA+--but Reuschel was hurt by his fielders while Tiant was helped by his, and while Tiant rode the wave of massive pitcher seasons around 1970, Reuschel pitched half of his career when the 300-IP season was a thing of the past, and in the low-stdev 1980’s. Plus he has that One Big Year (1977) I like to see. Not many strikeouts, but pretty stingy with the longballs. I know he doesn’t “feel” Hall-worthy, but cursory dismissals aren’t gonna cut it when the case is so overwhelming.

2. Rafael Palmeiro
Not my kind of player. A very low peak--just one year over 6 WARP2 and none over 7; not a single year as the best 1B/DH in the league and only five in the top 5 (behind Thomas in ‘91; Olerud and maybe Thomas in ‘93; Thomas, McGwire, and Edgar in ‘95; McGwire, Olerud, Bagwell, and maybe Vaughn in ‘98; and Bagwell, Giambi, and McGwire in ‘99). But his extremely impressive (and possibly steroid-fueled) longevity gives him so much career value that it’s just not mathematically possible to drop him below this spot.

3. Dagoberto Campaneris
With the advent of play-by-play baserunning numbers going back to the 50’s, his work with his legs doesn't appear to be quite as phenomenal as I had thought--but his defense was significantly better, more than making up for it. SFR has him at plus-144. With that much baserunning and fielding value, he doesn't even need my usual spiel about low SS replacement level and low standard deviations in his era to get an elect-me slot.

4. Phil Rizzuto
Including extra war credit for the fact that his poor 1946 was due to a malaria infection, he seems like an easy selection. Brilliant fielder (particularly at turning the double play), good baserunner, one huge MVP year, and a fistful of rings I don’t give any credit for. League strength is a concern but I can’t place him any lower than this.

5. Adolfo Luque
I seem to have overlooked him before. His MLB-only record (3,220 IP at a 118 ERA+ in the early liveball era) fits neatly in the pitcher backlog with Bridges, Tiant etc. However, he has two big advantages over the crowd. First, his 1923 was ZOMFG good, after taking into account how hard it was for pitchers to dominate in his era. He topped the majors in ERA+ by fifty-seven points (201 to 144 for Stan Coveleski), while finishing 5 off the innings lead—that’s almost Pedro-in-2000-like. No one else even reached a 175 ERA+ from 1921-27. If you care about peak, compiling what in context is probably one of the 10 best pitcher seasons ever has to count for something. Second, he didn’t get a regular rotation gig in the majors until age 28. I know the numbers suggest he was a late bloomer, and that you can’t just extrapolate his MLB career backwards. But even, say, 5 years of slightly below league-average pitching is what, another 8 WAR on his résumé? That has to move him up from the bottom of the ballot to the top.

6. Don Newcombe
Needs every adjustment in the book--low stdev of RA+ in the 1950s, war credit, minor league credit, league strength credit, and hitting credit. But like Bill James said of Will Clark’s 1989, all those little things can add up.

7. Dwight Gooden
Yes, I’m serious. This is basically a test of my faith in my salary estimator--is each marginal in-season win worth more than the last? I thought about it long and hard and believe that it is. Now, adjusted for era norms, I think Gooden’s 1985 has a serious case as the greatest pitching season of all time. His ERA+ of 228 stands out like a sore thumb on the decade’s leaderboards, where something in the 140s was good enough to finish first in many seasons. He led the league in innings. And he was a damn good hitter to boot. Basically, I think that if you have three seasons like that and nothing else, you're a HoM’er. Furthermore, I give him extra credit for his rookie year as one of the greatest FIP seasons ever. He did more by himself to prevent runs than almost any other pitcher in history that year--leading the league in K/9 by an enormous 1.75 and allowing the NL’s fewest HR/9--and just got victimized by the BABIP and runner-stranding gods. (He still led the league in CHONE pitcher WAR in spite of his bad luck). His 1986-89 were hardly sublime like the first two, but they had real value in the low-stdev 1980’s--he was seventh in the league in ERA+ in 1986 and 1987. That, 1.5 more decent seasons in 1993 and 1998, and plenty of filler is enough for him to make my PHoM.

8. David Cone
Concerns about 1990s longevity and rank in cohort drop him here. The 10th best starting pitcher of his decade, behind nine no-brainers. Often compared to Saberhagen, but his biggest campaign was a) in a strike year and b) nowhere near the class of Sabes’s '89. Cone was just thirteenth in the majors in innings and fourth in ERA+ (and just ahead of the forgotten Steve Ontiveros, who finished fifth). Saberhagen led the majors in innings *and* topped them in ERA+ by 31 points—that’s almost Luque-like.

9. Luis Tiant
See my Reuschel comment.

10. Gavvy Cravath
Chris Cobb’s suggestion that his fielding, particularly in his minor league days, was adequate, gives him a comfortable ballot spot. Taking advantage of your home park wins baseball games.

11. David Concepción
Dropped due to the less-favorable accounts of his fielding by TotalZone and SFR. Remember, you couldn’t win a World Series between 1972 and 1976 without a Latin shortstop by the initials of D.C.

12. Johnny Pesky
CHONE doesn’t like his defense as much as Fielding WS and BP FRAA do, so he falls too. I still think he's the new Charlie Keller...or, if you prefer, Hughie Jennings. Outstanding years immediately before and after the war, and also played 1941 in the minors at a high major league All-Star level (I don't give him minor league credit for that year, but it does strengthen the case for the quality of his war credit). Then added just enough post-integration to get over the hump.

13. Burleigh Grimes
It was really tough to put up a nice ERA+ in the 1920’s, and he was an excellent hitter.

14. Bernie Williams
Quite possibly the best player for one of the game’s great dynasties. Was on a Hall-worthy track before a nearly Dale Murphy-level collapse at age 34. If his glove were as good as his rep, he’d have enough peak to get an elect-me spot. If it was as bad as the stats suggest, he’d be off-ballot entirely. Here’s the compromise.

15. Tommy Leach
We could do far worse--he is definitely above the established in/out line for MLB position players. Very similar plus-bat, God-glove profile to Nettles; legitimate peak seasons in 1902, 1907, and 1908. But a) CF was not as valuable in the teens as it is now; it was similar in scarcity to 1B b) his 1902 needs to be hit for league strength and c) segregation penalty.

Top returnees and notable newcomers:

John Olerud
Had two MVP-type seasons, and deserved his slick-fielding rep. But only had four other years at even a modest All-Star level, and was pretty close to average the rest of the time. The poor man's Keith Hernandez, I suppose. Bad baserunner.

Bob Johnson
Played in very easy-to-dominate leagues. Wouldn't be a terrible selection, but not an elite player of his era (since so many of them were in the Negro Leagues, his MLB stats look deceivingly shiny).

Dick Redding
The guy seems like a total question mark to me. Voting for him is just a shot in the dark. When we're missing information, we regress to the mean, which pulls him way out of consideration for me.

Bucky Walters
An illusion produced by his fielders and the war. I find his support baffling, given the availability of guys with the same ERA+ and more IP (Reuschel, Tiant, Willis) who don't have the defense and quality of competition issues.

Kirby Puckett
Would be an atrocious selection--see my comments on his thread. The poor man's César Cedeño or Fred Lynn. A joke candidate. His disappearance from the top ten speaks well of the evolution of our electorate. :)

Hugh Duffy
Era was too easy to dominate, and I don't give credit for team overperformance of component stats.

Atanasio Pérez
Ewww. Little more than a league-average player at his position for much of his career, and no value for the “hanging-on.”

Bus Clarkson:
Man cannot live by MLE’s alone. His complete exclusion from the anecdotal/reputational Negro League pantheon, combined with the unreliability of MLE’s, leave him well short for me.

Fred McGriff: For a “pure” bat candidate (no meaningful defensive or baserunning contributions), he'd either need to have been a better hitter at his peak, a la Giambi (some seasons of 175 OPS+ or better) or to have lasted longer than he did as an above-average hitter, a la Palmeiro--his 1995-98 and 2000 seasons were just about worthless.

Tim Salmon: My 1995 AL MVP. Very nice, underappreciated, HoVG career.
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: December 08, 2011 at 06:37 AM (#4009909)
I believe the original rules also ask you to note your objections to any top 10 holdovers (I've extended it to top 10 rejectees, personally). Idea was to make sure a contender didn't accidentally get overlooked, I think.

4 n/e Rafael Palmeiro 472 29 1 6 1 1 3 6 4 3 2 1 1
5 4 David Cone 332 26 1 7 2 2 2 1 2 3 3 1 2
6 10 Rick Reuschel 235 16 1 3 6 1 2 1 1 1
7 5 Phil Rizzuto 225 18 1 2 2 2 1 3 1 1 2 3
8 9 Luis Tiant 183 16 1 1 1 1 2 3 1 1 2 2 1
9 12 Cannonball Dick Redding 180 13 1 1 2 1 1 2 2 1 2
10 7 Hugh Duffy 172 14 1 1 1 2 1 1 2 3 1 1
11 6 Gavvy Cravath 161 16 1 1 1 3 1 2 3 1 3
12 14 Don Newcombe 157 12 2 2 1 2 1 3 1
13 8 Bucky Walters 137 10 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 1
   5. DL from MN Posted: December 08, 2011 at 04:19 PM (#4010093)
Bus Clarkson:
Man cannot live by MLE’s alone. His complete exclusion from the anecdotal/reputational Negro League pantheon, combined with the unreliability of MLE’s, leave him well short for me.

Maybe you missed the anecdote that he was traded for 1000 Mexicans. He's left out of the NGL pantheon because he played his best seasons in the integrated minors and in Mexico, plus he missed 3 years to the war. He's a contemporary of HoM outfielder Willard Brown but he was a better hitter and fielder.

BTW - My PHOM for this year is Palmeiro, Rizzuto and Early Wynn
   6. Yardape Posted: December 08, 2011 at 07:54 PM (#4010519)
My ballot is pretty close to my prelim, with just some minor tweaks. I'm mostly a prime voter, though career is a consideration as well.

1. Carlos Moran Establishing myself as an iconoclast! No, seriously, the MLE numbers on his thread here are really strong. The Cuban numbers now on The Baseball Gauge also make him look very good, certainly competitive with some of the Negro League greats who played in the league. I see him as the No. 2 second baseman of the deadball era, behind Home Run Baker. He's a PHoMer, and I think he belongs.

2. David Cone One of my favourite pitchers to watch. Was never dominant over a whole season, unfortunately, but piled up a lot of very good seasons. On what is a little bit of a down ballot, that's enough to get him in an elect-me spot.

3. Bobby Bonds I don't have much to say here, he was just a good player.

4. Frank Chance In-season durability is the obvious question for Chance. I think he was good enough to overcome that and was probably the best first baseman of his time.

5. Rick Reuschel I find Dan R.'s arguments for him quite persuasive.

6. Ben Taylor The one big move from my prelim. I looked at Taylor some more and decided he looked a lot like Rafael Palmeiro. Whereas Palmeiro was a good hitter in a sea of great ones, however, Taylor might well have been the best first baseman of the 1910s, or at least close to it. So he moves above Palmeiro.

7. Bernie Williams Almost a great career, but the steep decline makes it just a good one. Even as a prime voter, he falls a little bit short.

8. Rafael Palmeiro Again, as a prime voter Palmeiro is not my cup of tea. Lots of other first basemen topped him during his time. But he was so consistently good for so long he has to end up on my ballot somewhere.

9. Addie Joss Joss and Willis end up almost identical on my ballot, even though they get there in different ways. I'll take Joss' superior quality in fewer innings over Willis' greater durability. No sure if I'm right about that.

10. Vic Willis

11. Bus Clarkson A lot of questions about Clarkson. I think it's plausible that I have him way too low or way too high. I'd like to do some more research into him. But from what I know right now, he goes here.

12. Tom York An old-time candidate who probably has no chance of ever being elected. But I think he was overlooked and was good enough to get another look.

13. Sal Bando I've come down off my Bando high from a couple of years ago, thanks largely to the discussion that ensued here. Nevertheless, Bando is not without his merits and is worthy of some consideration.

14. Phil Rizzuto I think I'm being more stingy with war credit than most. If Rizzuto is still around next year, I'll reevaluate. His career clearly had some HoM-caliber seasons, though, so he gets on my ballot.

15. Hilton Smith Alex King's WAR work gets him a ballot spot. Like Clarkson, I'd like a closer look next year.

I'll put required comments in the next post.
   7. Yardape Posted: December 08, 2011 at 08:19 PM (#4010561)
Luis Tiant is not too far off my ballot, but in a pitching-heavy era, his prime just didn't stand out enough for me.

Cannonball Dick Redding just doesn't look like that strong of a candidate. He looks like a pitcher with a couple of good seasons and some more average ones. He could sneak on to a ballot sometime, I suppose, but he's not that close to this one.

Hugh Duffy is a little closer, but he looks like he has a very short prime in a time when lots of players were putting up big numbers. If he had dominated a little more or gone on a little longer he would have been a much stronger candidate in my view.

Gavvy Cravath gets some minor league credit but falls *just* short of my ballot. I like him, but he just didn't do quite as much as the players ahead of him.

Not required, but Dolf Luque came to my attention. He is just off my ballot (with Cravath), and I may not be giving him enough non-ML credit. He will go with Clarkson and Hilton Smith as needing a closer look.

Finally, I just wanted to mention that Pete Browning is right off the end of the ballot as well. The early AA discount knocks him below York.
   8. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 09, 2011 at 04:33 AM (#4011107)
Home Run Baker was a 3rd baseman, not a 2nd baseman. And Pete Browning was elected "years" ago.
   9. Yardape Posted: December 09, 2011 at 05:53 AM (#4011172)
Whoops, I meant third baseman in my post. That applies to both Moran and Baker. Sorry about that. And I guess I missed Browning when I was checking the HoM he's not actually sitting right off the ballot.
   10. sunnyday2 Posted: December 09, 2011 at 11:29 AM (#4011268)

1. Hugh Duffy (was #22 last year). Was regarded as the greatest player in the game at his peak, which not too many of our candidates can say. Well, most can't say it because they're dead, but you know what I mean. I think I overreacted previously to the fact of his one supercalifragilistic year or rather the fact that his peak consists of 1 year. But his surrounding prime is still very very good.

2. Jim McCormick. I supported him for many years but finally saw the handwriting on the wall. But I still believe that we have underrepresented pitchers from the golden age of pitchers. Pitching may have had less value than today, but individual pitchers threw so many IP as to have tremendous value. I think we over-normalized for that, flying in the face of the facts of the matter. And McCormick, IMO, was the best of that era that we have not elected yet.

3. Albert Belle (was #7). Comps would include Elmer Flick, Charlie Keller, Ralph Kiner.

4. Tommy Bond. I also supported Bond for many years. See McCormick, Jim.

5. Mickey Welch. I was never a supporter of Mickey Welch. Any resemblence to Tim Keefe is coincidental. Still, see McCormick, Jim.

6. Phil Rizzuto (was #4). Full war credit.

7. Vern Stephens (was Honorable Mention). Played against one of the greatest cohorts in the history of the game--ie. 1940s AL SS (Boudreau, Pesky, Rizzuto, Joost)--and looks good doing it. Yes he played against a weakened AL during WWII but so did Lou Boudreau and Charlie Keller and Hal Newhouser. But he proved after the war what caliber of player he was. Take away 1948 and you'd be hard-pressed to show that Boudreau was any better, in fact.

8. Don Newcombe (was #5). Newk gets extra credit for all the time he missed to the quota system and Korea.

9. Johnny Pesky (was #10). Full war credit.

10. Dizzy Dean (was #3). Extreme peak candidate but, hey, he had an extreme peak.

11. Ed Williamson (was #9). A glove guy who also had some pop in his bat. When not camped out on 3B, he played a couple years at SS. I'm not sayin' he's ARod or Ripken, but he was of their type. You have to discount his 27 HR, sure, but to what? Outs? His teammates were all trying to hit the ball into the short LF bleachers in 1884 but it was Ed--not Anson, not King Kelly, not Gore, not Dalrymple--who was able to do so. And I don't remember anyone ever discounting any of these other guys either for their 1884 HR or for all those ground rule doubles throughout the rest of the era. Still, his case is as one of the great glove men of the 19C who also led the league in games played 4 times. Maybe he was basically Cal Ripken after all.

12. Bucky Walters (was #21).

13. Sal Bando (was #14). We are short of 3B after all. I thought we were supposed to be the anti-HoF.

14. Kirby Puckett (was #1). The idea that Kirby was atrocious is the one single best argument that Moneyball is all just a bunch of ######## after all. He was the best baseball player on the field almost every single day of his career.

15. Elston Howard (was #6). Another guy who was substantially held back by the quota system.

Bubbling Under

16. Dale Murphy (was #16).
17. Al Rosen (#11)
18. Dick Redding (was #15)
19. Gavvy Cravath (was #13).
20. Dave Parker

21 (tie). George Foster and Jim Rice. Yeah, yeah, I know.
23. Tommy Leach.
24. Bobby Veach.
25. Dixie Walker
26. Thurman Munson (was #8).
27. Rafael Palmeiro. Was never a straw. Never stirred a drink.
28. Larry Doyle (was #12).
29. Tom York
30. Jose Canseco

David Cone is top 100 maybe. I like Orel Hershiser better.
Luis Tiant is top 100.
Rick Rueschel--I used to think his candidacy was a joke, but now I see that ya'll are serious.
   11. Mike Webber Posted: December 10, 2011 at 01:22 AM (#4012040)
A BBRef WAR heavy ballot, with emphasis on career, where a player ranks among his era peers, with big seasons as a boosting factor.

1) RAFFY PALMIERO – 66 BBref-WAR, 395 Win Shares, three borderline MVP type seasons, 10 seasons 20+ Win Shares. Jake Beckley 21st century version? His peers are his biggest drawback.
2) SAL BANDO – 60.6 BBref-WAR, 283 Win Shares, two MVP type seasons, 9 seasons 20+ Win Shares. I believe he was better than Ken Boyer, but his home parks helped disguise it.
3) PHIL RIZZUTO – 41.8 BBref-WAR, 231 Win Shares, one MVP type seasons, 7 seasons 20+ Win Shares. With a conservative 60 or so win shares or 9 WAR during World War II, I move him to the top of the middle infielder group. Same arguments as Nellie Fox, only with a 3-year hole in his career at ages 25 to 27, plus a bad return to MLB in 1946. (No extra credit for 1946 – just noting it).
4) LUIS TIANT – 60.1 BBref-WAR, 256 Win Shares – poor timing of his big years, but big years push him to top of pitchers currently on ballot.
5) TOMMY LEACH – 50.9 BBref-WAR, 328 Win Shares, only one MVP type season, 8 seasons 20+ Win Shares. Good peak, excellent defensive player at third and in centerfield.
6) RICK REUSCHEL 66.3 BBref-WAR, 240 Win Shares – I think this guy is the ultimate Don Sutton story – he doesn’t feel like a Hall of Meriter, but the argument/numbers are just too hard to ignore.
7) DAVID CONE – 57.5 BBref-WAR, 205 Win Shares - The Royals were fools to let him go, twice. Had him higher last year, but decided big seasons of Tiant and Reuschel put them ahead on the pecking order.
8) BOBBY BONDS – 57.0 BBref-WAR, 302 Win Shares – Four 30+ Win Share seasons, at ages 23, 24, 25, and 27. After age 33 Bobby had 7 win shares, Barry had 286. Pete Browning without the fielding problems?
9) FRANK CHANCE – 49.5 BBref-WAR, 237 Win Shares - I’m a career guy, but this is the peakiest of peak guys.
10) JOHN OLERUDE – 56.8 BBref-WAR, 302 Win Shares - 2 MVP type seasons, but only 5 other 20+ win share seasons. Also hurt by the large number of first basemen in his era that were clearly better.
11) DICK REDDING – slotting him here ahead of a group that includes Vic Willis, Tommy John and Appier. Seamheads data is interesting, in 1917 he was clearly the best of the Negro League pitchers, winning the triple crown of wins, ERA and K’s. That makes me much more comfortable with this ranking.
12) TONY PEREZ - 50.5 BBref-WAR, 349 Win Shares – 3 MVP type seasons but only 5 other 20+ win share seasons. Weight of career lands him here.
13) LARRY DOYLE – 47.2 BBref-WAR, 289 Win Shares –2 MVP type seasons, 6 additional 20 win share seasons. No real additional minor league career (57 games), after leaving the majors, which I believe is little unusual for the era.
14) JOE TINKER - 49.2 BBref-WAR, 258 Win Shares – 1 MVP type season, 10 additional 17 win share type seasons.
15) BERNIE WILLIAMS – 47.3 BBref-WAR, 312 Win Shares – Using the WASEAN method even though he was 10-2 as a player, playing in the toughest conference top to bottom in America, a lot of the wins were close so he only ranks 25th behind three teams he beat, and North Dakota State.
Seriously though. Just enough peak seasons, just enough career, that he wouldn’t be a bad selection in a very fractured field.

Next group of guys off the ballot grouped by position:
Kevin Appier, Tommy John, Vic Willis, Gene Tenace, Fred McGriff, Norm Cash, Orlando Cepeda, Johnny Evers, Bubby Bell, Bobby Elliot, Ron Cey, Luis Aparicio, Bancroft, Fregosi, Stephens, Bob Johnson, Harry Hooper, Sam Rice.

Other required notes:
Hugh Duffy is in the outfield group just off the ballot with Bob Johnson, Harry Hooper, Spotwood Poles, Fielder Jones, and Sam Rice.

Gavy Cravath – not enough MLB career stats – he has a great argument that his age 32-36 stats are special – but there are a couple of other guys with “real” careers are not in the HOM with similar stretches at the same age – such as Fielder Jones, Dolph Camilli, and Dixie Walker, Tony Phillips, Sid Gordon, Lefty O’Doul, and Elston Howard. Some of these guys have supporters and some don’t. Bill Terry is also similar, and he is widely pointed to as a borderline HOMer and maybe even a mistake. Basically everyone else with this type of productivity at that age is in the HOM. That is a compelling argument, but there is a question about his productivity away from Philly.

1919 and 1920
HOME 385/464/754
AWAY 283/404/478

Even the away numbers would be top 10 in MLB OPS in the time period. That is a definite point in his favor, and info I didn’t know last year. Retrosheet will keep building his case.

Bucky Walters – In a knot of pitchers such as Waite Hoyt, Wilbur Cooper, Jim Kaat, Burleigh Grimes and ten others. Doesn’t distinguish himself from that group in any clear way to me.

Don Newcomb – 30.0 BBref-WAR, 176 Win Shares. Would need a lot of phantom credit to push his way to the top of the pitcher group.
   12. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 10, 2011 at 02:03 AM (#4012079)
Um, Newcombe has 38.7 BBref-War--9.0 hitting, 29.7 pitching.
   13. Mike Webber Posted: December 10, 2011 at 02:36 AM (#4012097)
Um, Newcombe has 38.7 BBref-War--9.0 hitting, 29.7 pitching.

Thanks Dan, I didn't add the hitting into any of my pitchers.. And I guess that might be important in some cases.
   14. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 10, 2011 at 02:44 AM (#4012100)
HoMers Bob Lemon and Wes Ferrell say hi. Although I think I think Lemon was a mistake.
   15. Rob_Wood Posted: December 10, 2011 at 04:02 AM (#4012166)
My 2012 HOM ballot (I am a distinctive career value voter):

1. Rafael Palmeiro - too much career to ignore
2. Tommy Bridges - with two years of WWII credit
3. Bob Johnson - consistently very good OF, with one year minor league credit
4. Bobby Bonds - destined to be even greater, had a very good career
5. Bob Elliott - star 3B of the 1940s

6. Bernie Williams - I believe he was a decent-to-good defensive CF for much of his career
7. Fred McGriff - tough hitter, decent glove
8. Bus Clarkson - Negro League SS/3B, missed three years due to WWII
9. Tony Perez - an accumulator (not that there's anything wrong with that)
10. Rabbit Maranville - played forever, but deserves war credit for 1918 too

11. Tommy Leach - early "utility" player who was great with the glove
12. Chuck Klein - another with too much to ignore
13. Pie Traynor - once so overrated he is now underrated
14. Rusty Staub - another long career accumulator
15. Buddy Bell - very good defensive third baseman

16-20. George Van Haltren, Jack Clark, Dave Parker, Tommy John, Luis Aparicio

Comments on returning top ten's (my ranks):

David Cone - around 25th
Rick Reuschel - around 35th
Phil Rizzuto - around 50th
Luis Tiant - around 50th
Dick Redding - around 70th
Hugh Duffy - around 50th
   16. bjhanke Posted: December 10, 2011 at 04:54 AM (#4012221)
For Sunnyday, comment #10 -

You discount Williamson's 1884 homers to doubles. The issue was a ground rules change, not a ballpark change. If I've read the sources right, before and after 1884, balls hit over that fence were doubles. Of course, that does bring up the possibility that all the members of that team should have 3 or 4 doubles a year upgraded to homers, since it was impossible to hit a homer over that fence. I don't know the home/road splits for homers for the 1800s in Chicago. - Brock
   17. sunnyday2 Posted: December 12, 2011 at 04:28 PM (#4013896)

I was responding to comments made over the years to the effect that Williamson couldn't possibly be any good because his 27 HR are bogus. I am simply saying that, if that is the sum total of one's analysis of Ed Williamson, then that is one powerfully superficial analysis. If you can see past the glare of that "27" in his record, again, you'll see a guy whose comps historically include Cal Ripken (great glove, good power, extremely durable). From a peak perspective, probably the best 3B before Frank Baker.

But, yes, you are correct. The Chicago field had a short LF porch and other than 1884, balls hit out there were ground rule doubles. In 1884 they were scored as HR.
   18. Adam Schafer Posted: December 13, 2011 at 01:44 AM (#4014579)
1. Rafael Palmeiro - extra points for being a gold glove winner in 1999...just kidding :) Consistent with wondeful career value. I am not giving any steroid discount.

2. Gavy Cravath - Clearly used his park to his advantage. No doubt about it. However, I do not hold that against him.

3. Bucky Walters - This is an odd player for me to like, as I normally don't go for the short career guys. Bucky just happens to have a really odd blend of career and peak to not only get on my ballot, but to make a strong showing on it. He's not Koufax by any means, but the thought process behind him is along the same lines.

4. Don Newcombe - I am obviously giving NeL and military credit. With that credit his 1948-1956 years are outstanding, and make a very serious candidate out of him.

5. Larry Walker - If he had a bit more career value, he could have easily been #2. I do not hold the parks against Cravvath or Chuck Klein (sad to see him bumped off of my ballot this year), so I do not hold it against Walker either.

6. Bus Clarkson - I am willing to speculate he was better than Vern Stephens, and I really like Vern

7. Lee Smith - Clearly this is going to be unpopular, however, I give a lot of weight to career value and I do feel that relievers should be represented in the Hall of Merit as the other positions are.

8. Bruce Sutter - see Smith. Also similar to Bucky in the short career/high peak.

9. Vern Stephens - A shortstop that is consistently an All-Star and in the MVP consideration set is someone I can sure consider voting for.

10. Elston Howard - I really missed the boat on him earlier. Much like Newcombe, if you give him proper credit for
time he should've been a regular MLB catcher, you can't ignore him.

11. Tommy Leach - A career candidate only.

12. Jack Quinn - a very early reliever, a very long career, a year missed for PCL play that I'll count.

13. Ernie Lombardi - a fair amount of career value for a catcher. Not to shabby with the bat either. I clearly understand why he's not on the top of everyone's list, but his general overall lack of support is suprising.

14. Johnny Pesky - Obviously only a serious candidate with war credit. Still had similar career offensive numbers to Rizzuto with less games played and with War credit would have had very repsectable career numbers

15. Kirby Puckett - I never felt he was a 1st ballot type, but I have no doubt that he belongs in my PHOM

Phil Rizzuto - give him the exact same career numbers, but make him a life long KC Atheltic instead of a Yankee and he would never be considered for HOF or HOM

David Cone - I am a lifelong Royals fan, so this one pains me, but he doesn't have enough peak, enough career, or enough mix of both to make my ballot.

Hugh Duffy - well within my consideration set, but suffers the same problem as Brown and I just simply can't vote for enough players!
   19. Yardape Posted: December 13, 2011 at 01:49 AM (#4014584)
5. Larry Walker

Wasn't Walker elected last year?
   20. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 13, 2011 at 02:02 AM (#4014606)
Yes, he was.

Adam Schafer--as one of Rizzuto's best friends, how exactly are you suggesting my methodology is biased towards him because he happens to be a Yankee? My WARP are open-source and I basically vote straight down that line.

Also, where's Rick Reuschel and why isn't he on your ballot, preferably near the top? :)

What problem did Brown have?
   21. sunnyday2 Posted: December 13, 2011 at 02:15 AM (#4014626)
I'm not clear what Brown we're talking about.
   22. Adam Schafer Posted: December 13, 2011 at 02:52 AM (#4014652)
forgive me and scratch that previous (flawed) ballot...I was hurrying and had a hard time finding last year's results and was trying to do it from memory.

1. Rafael Palmeiro - extra points for being a gold glove winner in 1999...just kidding :) Consistent with wondeful career value. I am not giving any steroid discount.

2. Gavy Cravath - Clearly used his park to his advantage. No doubt about it. However, I do not hold that against him.

3. Bucky Walters - This is an odd player for me to like, as I normally don't go for the short career guys. Bucky just happens to have a really odd blend of career and peak to not only get on my ballot, but to make a strong showing on it. He's not Koufax by any means, but the thought process behind him is along the same lines.

4. Don Newcombe - I am obviously giving NeL and military credit. With that credit his 1948-1956 years are outstanding, and make a very serious candidate out of him.

5. Bus Clarkson - I am willing to speculate he was better than Vern Stephens, and I really like Vern

6. Lee Smith - Clearly this is going to be unpopular, however, I give a lot of weight to career value and I do feel that relievers should be represented in the Hall of Merit as the other positions are.

7. Bruce Sutter - see Smith. Also similar to Bucky in the short career/high peak.

8. Vern Stephens - A shortstop that is consistently an All-Star and in the MVP consideration set is someone I can sure consider voting for.

9. Elston Howard - I really missed the boat on him earlier. Much like Newcombe, if you give him proper credit for
time he should've been a regular MLB catcher, you can't ignore him.

10. Tommy Leach - A career candidate only.

11. Jack Quinn - a very early reliever, a very long career, a year missed for PCL play that I'll count.

12. Ernie Lombardi - a fair amount of career value for a catcher. Not to shabby with the bat either. I clearly understand why he's not on the top of everyone's list, but his general overall lack of support is suprising.

13. Johnny Pesky - Obviously only a serious candidate with war credit. Still had similar career offensive numbers to Rizzuto with less games played and with War credit would have had very repsectable career numbers

14. Kirby Puckett - I never felt he was a 1st ballot type, but I have no doubt that he belongs in my PHOM

15. Chuck Klein - I've voted for him in the past and he's been pushed off my ballot recently due to strong newcomers. I welcome him back. I'm not sure anyone below Puckett would crack my PHOM, but just as with Cravath, I applaud Klein for using his park to his advantage.

Phil Rizzuto - give him the exact same career numbers, but make him a life long KC Atheltic instead of a Yankee and he would never be considered for HOF or HOM. Although we know them to be extremely far from perfect, he received little HOF support by the writers through his years on the HOF ballot, and if he'd been an KC product, the Veteran's Committe wouldn't have touched him far as the HOM goes, I realize that some can see some value there and can justify putting him near the top of the ballot, but even our voting group as a whole has been lukewarm at best to his merit to be enshrined here thus far, although he is admittedly getting close.

David Cone - I am a lifelong Royals fan, so this one pains me, but he doesn't have enough peak, enough career, or enough mix of both to make my ballot.

Hugh Duffy - well within my consideration set, but suffers the same problem as Kevin Brown did for me and I just simply can't vote for enough players!
   23. OCF Posted: December 13, 2011 at 07:26 AM (#4014814)
2011 ballot. My explanation is mostly here, in post #22. I'm using a mishmash of methods, and am still mostly a career voter (but Frank Chance makes an appearance anyway).

Changes from last year:

My top three got elected, so I need to move everyone else up and find three more for the ballot. I don't see any of this year's newly eligibles as making their way onto it. Also, I think I overdid Bando last year and am moving him back down. This is a holding pattern of a ballot; on a straight yes-no ballot, I'd struggle to find anyone I'd say "yes" to. Next year will take care of that.

Numbers with the pitchers are RA+ equivalent record with a big years bonus in brackets.

1. Luis Tiant 224-164 [35]. The top returning candidate from my 2010 vote.

2. Rafael Palmiero Yeah, there's not a lot of peak there. But he did give a lot of career value.

3. David Cone 190-132 [19]. Didn't have Brown's peak.

4. Vic Willis 248-196 [44], already adjusted for defensive support.

5. Frank Chance Betraying my career voter leanings. Didn't play much, but awfully good when he did play, and the best 1B of his own time. The new system gives him as much value above average as Palmiero.

6. Sal Bando I had him 10th on my 2010 ballot; he looks even better in my new WAR version.

7. Larry Doyle I haven't given up on him, but I'm easing off. Was #5 on my 2010 ballot.

8. John Olerud

9. Johnny Pesky Includes WWII credit.

10. Fred McGriff

11. Norm Cash One amazing year in a long but otherwise low-peak career.

12. Rick Reuscshel 221-174 [14]. RA+ equivalent record sells him a little short, since he didn't have strong defensive support.

13. Lefty Gomez 169-109 [46]

14. Gene Tenace Only partly a catcher, but he could hit.

15. Bobby Bonds

Others close to the ballot.

C: -
1B: Orlando Cepeda.
2B: -
3B: Bob Elliott (a favorite of my old system), Robin Ventura, Buddy Bell
SS: Phil Rizzuto
Corner OF: Rusty Staub, Jack Clark, Frank Howard, Ken Singleton.
CF: Cesar Cedeno, Hugh Duffy, George Van Haltren, Jimmy Ryan, Dale Murphy I've supported the 1890's guys (particularly Van Haltren) for a long time, but I'm not all that sure any more that I'd take any of them over Cedeno and Murphy.
P: Bucky Walters, Kevin Appier, Lon Warnecki, Jerry Koosman, Tommy Bridges, Ed Cicotte, Wilbur Cooper, Tommy John, Urban Shocker.
   24. OCF Posted: December 13, 2011 at 09:01 AM (#4014833)
I meant 2012 ballot, of course. And yes, I'm aware of Redding, Cravath, and Newcombe and have discussed them in other years.
   25. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 13, 2011 at 02:11 PM (#4014863)
Adam Schafer--I still can detect no trace of the word R-e-u-s-c-h-e-l on your ballot. He's a required disclosure at least as a top-ten returnee. Did you forget to slot him in at, say, #2?
   26. Yardape Posted: December 13, 2011 at 08:40 PM (#4015437)
Phil Rizzuto - give him the exact same career numbers, but make him a life long KC Atheltic instead of a Yankee and he would never be considered for HOF or HOM.

I agree Rizzuto is kind of borderline, but as with Dan, I see no reason that his Yankeeness has affected his HoM votes. His case, perhaps more than any other player, rests on war credit, which is what makes him borderline. But nothing in HoM history suggests there is a Yankee bias.
   27. Adam Schafer Posted: December 14, 2011 at 03:16 AM (#4015881)
Reuschel is way down on my ballot but not out of consideration...would have Tiant, Cone, and several others in front of him if I was working my ballot down that far anymore.
   28. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 14, 2011 at 03:50 PM (#4016117)
...and why are you so unfriendly to the top returning pitcher candidate? Have you read, say, Joe Dimino's or my recent arguments in his favor (the latter on this year's ballot discussion thread)? If you like Walters's peak, why not Reuschel's huge 1977? After correcting for the massive gap in fielding support, Reuschel's top season is better, is it not? Please give us some explanation for why you are utterly unmoved by a case that so many of your esteemed colleagues in the electorate find overwhelming.
   29. Carl Goetz Posted: December 14, 2011 at 04:22 PM (#4016151)
Ok, here's my ballot. I went 26 deep to include Tiant. I believe I have covered all those who require an explanation. Note that Ned Williamson and Don Newcombe are just off this list, but close. I've noticed alot of backers and I did do my analysis, but couldn't quite get them onto my ballot.

1) David Cone- Best peak other than Willis, Dean and Gooden and has more career value than the latter 2. Best Prime other than Appier, Shocker, and Willis. WAR sees 1 MVP caliber season and 5 All-star caliber.
2) Rick Reuschel- Behind Cone in peak and prime, but has more career value than any other pitcher on the ballot. If I were anymore of a career guy, I would put him first. As it is, its close.
3) Sal Bando- Best prime of all position players and close in peak. 1 MVP and 8 Allstar caliber seasons by WAR. Throw in the fact that he's one of the top guys in career value and you've got a HoMer.
4) Cannonball Dick Redding- After reading the Redding thread (say that 3 times fast), I'm comfortable with ranking him similarly to Reuschel. I could put him in any of the top 5 slots, but this is my conservative choice.
5) Hugh Duffy- Based on prime, peak and career, I am very comfortable that he is the best OF currently electable. I believe he is a definite HoMer.
6) Buddy Bell- My first surprise of this analysis. He's right with Bando in peak and slightly more career value. Bando's prime was enough better to separate the 2, but its still close.
7) Thurman Munson- Best pure catcher remaining. He gets a bump over Tenace due to his playing catcher exclusively and also a slight bump for his reputation as the Yankee's leader during there World Series seasons. I do believe he is worthy of our election at some point.
Borderline Guys (possibly my personal In/Out line)
8) Frank Chance- Was enough better in peak/prime than Palmeiro that Rafy's career value didn't top it. I'm a peak prime guy though, and if I were any more inclined towards career value than I currently am, Palmeiro would sneak up ahead of him.
9) Kevin Appier- My second surprise, though in my defense, he excelled during my college years when I wasn't following baseball as closely and played for the Royals during his prime. He's got the best prime among the pitchers on the ballot and solid peak and career value as well.
10) Phil Rizzuto- I did give him a war credit bump from what I had previously given him plus gave his 1946 malaria season a slight bump (1.5 to 3.0 WAR). This was enough to move him ahead of Pesky.
11) Johnny Pesky- More prime than Rizzuto, but less peak and career. Very close, but giving Rizzuto a slight edge right now. I feel if one is HoM-worthy, they both are.
12) Rafael Palmeiro- His argument is mostly career value, but did have 5 seasons of all-star caliber according to WAR. If I were a strong career guy, he'd be much higher.
Close (Definitely on the Out-side of my line)
13) Vic Willis- Strong peak, prime and career, but all include 01-02 when most of the NL was raided for talent by the AL. Those were his 2nd and 3rd best seasons so I felt a discount was in order. He'd be ahead of Appier and in my borderline section otherwise.
14) Bobby Bonds- Slightly lower prime and peak to Dale Murphy, but alot more career value pushes him slightly ahead.
15) Cesar Cedeno- Slightly less prime than Murphy, but slightly higher peak and career value. His 1 MVP-caliber season pushes him ahead.
16) Dale Murphy- Not significantly worse than the 2 ahead of him.
17) Mike Tiernan- Also not significantly lower than the 3 ahead, but has the lowest prime and second lowest peak of the 4.
18) Dizzy Dean- His entire argument boils down to 6 seasons, but they were amazing. While I'm a prime/peak guy, I do need some outlying career value to rank him in an electable spot.
19) Urban Shocker- 2nd best prime among pitchers after Appier, but only slightly ahead of Dean and Dean's peak was much better.
20) Addie Joss- Higher prime than Gooden or Mays which is enough to push him slightly ahead.
21) Dwight Gooden- Higher peak and career value than Mays is enough to offset Mays' higher prime. The 2 are very close, however.
22) Carl Mays- Highest prime value of the remaining pitchers.
23) Bernie Williams- A favorite of mine despite his playing for the team I hate most. I made him laugh in CF at County Stadium on a cold April night in 1997. The cold weather and Brewers general suckitude left myself and 2 friends as the only fans inhabiting the bleachers after the 5th inning that night. This is a heckling dream come true. Jesse Levis had hit a 2B over his head in his previous AB and when he came up again I said "Better play deeper Bernie or you'll get burned again, or is that why they call you Bernie..." He found this hysterical apparently because he was visibly laughing after I said it and at a pitching change soon after, he was with Paul O'Neill and whoever was in LF and pointed to us, said something and all three laughed. As far as this election is concerned, his better prime and the fact that he played during an integrated era, pushes him ahead of Kiki Cuyler, though they are close.
24) Kiki Cuyler- Thanks to DL from Mn for the reminder. He's better than I realized and has a better peak and prime than Tommy Leach.
25) Orel Hershiser- Peak places him slightly ahead of Tiant, but very close.
26) Luis Tiant- Very close to Chuck Finley in prime/peak, but his extra career value pushes him ahead.
   30. Carl Goetz Posted: December 15, 2011 at 12:42 AM (#4016670)
Mike Webber,
I notice you have Phil Rizzuto 3rd, but don't mention Pesky at all. I don't see the 2 as that far apart. What are your thoughts on Pesky?
   31. bjhanke Posted: December 15, 2011 at 12:37 PM (#4016909)
Dan -

Just so you know that there are some people who read your pushes for Reuschel, and actually take some action on them. I'm in the middle of reworking my ballot, and Rick is looking better with a few new wrinkles I'm trying out. Right now, I have him just off the ballot, about even with Vic Willis, who would be my #16. I have Willis as the better pitcher, but Rick, of course, has a much better bat. The main thing that is helping Rick is that my usual method starts with looking at BB-Ref sorts of pitchers starting ten years before the pitcher in question debuts, and ending ten years after his career, so I include anyone who can be considered at all to be the man at hand's contemporary. Rick doesn't look like a ballot vote to me doing this, but his career was long, and if I drop the ten years to seven, he starts looking good. I would say that he has a chance of making my ballot, and I would not have thought of this tack to take except that I decided that I really ought to respect your very serious case, made over years. - Brock
   32. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 15, 2011 at 02:57 PM (#4016942)
Brock, thanks for the comment. The case for Reuschel as the clear #1 backlogger, rather than one of many with strong records, depends on context, both in terms of defensive support and what other SP were doing. Just using baseball-reference WAR as shorthand for now, from 1963-1973 (the big SP era) the average WAR for the top 3 finishers in each season was 9.0. From 1974-89 (Reuschel's last full season) it was 7.6. Reuschel only had two years in the period when 10-WAR seasons for pitchers were commonplace. His career centers on the early 80s, when ERA+ standard deviations were very low and 300-IP seasons were going the way of the dodo. On that basis he leaps to the top of the ballot. Why don't you just compare a pitcher to the usage norms in the actual seasons he pitched in?
   33. TR_Sullivan Posted: December 15, 2011 at 03:22 PM (#4016951)
Don't know about the Hall of Merit but here is my Hall of Fame ballot for this year...Once again I am revealing here first on this forum

Jeff Bagwell
Juan Gonzalez
Barry Larkin
Edgar Martinez
Mark McGwire
Fred McGriff
Jack Morris
Rafael Palmeiro
Tim Raines
Alan Trammell

I voted for 10. I'm getting soft in my old age. Once again: I decline the honor of sitting in judgement on the steroids era.
   34. Repoz Posted: December 15, 2011 at 03:47 PM (#4016958)
Thanks again, TR. Will now add. And STILL no Bernie Williams HOF vote...
   35. Mike Webber Posted: December 15, 2011 at 06:12 PM (#4017070)
Hi Carl, Rizzuto vs Pesky. Basically I am career voter, so I begin with Win Shares, Pesky 187, Rizzuto 231 and BBRef War Pesky 31.1 WAR, Rizzuto 41.8 WAR. Both need War Credit to be real candidates, while some Charlie Keller supporter types think you should just take the season before the war and after the war and then fill in an average I am more conservative with the credit. For Rizzuto I always assumed 20 win shares for the three seasons he missed, which moves him to 291 Winn Shares and even with no additional credit for the malaria in 1946 that gives him move an area comparable to any of the other position players on the ballot (other than Palmiero).

Pesky War bookend years are 28 and 34 Win Shares, a much higher playing level than what Rizzuto showed. I would probably give him 25 Win Shares for each of the three seasons, which would give him 262 Win Shares, a similar number to Tinker (258), Bancroft (269), Fregosi (261), Stephens (265). A WAR of about 43.2. Those numbers are an awful lot lot Jim Fregosi. And your prompting has me thinking he belongs in this group. I have Tinker 14th on this ballot, and he is likely right about there.

But for arguments sake let's use the crazy Charlie Keller Method and give him his average of 31 Win Shares each of the three seasons (his bookend years were 28 and 34). That moves him up to 280 Win Shares, which puts him comfortably ahead of the Tinker/Bancroft group. But more importantly it gives him the Frank Chance exemption of four MVP type seasons. If Pesky had ripped off four straight MVP seasons he would clearly be in the Hall of Fame. I'd vote for that guy, near the top of the ballot.

To me though, that is an awfully big assumption. Think of how often a player actually has four straight 30 Win share seasons. Especially a middle infielder. I mean Arky Vaughan did, but Cal Ripken didn't. Banks was close but didn't. Garciaparra no, Tejada no, A-Rod yes. Jeter no. None of those 260 type win share infielders did. Even 25 Win share seasons are rare, especially for a guy with only one season with more than 40 XBH.
   36. Mark Donelson Posted: December 15, 2011 at 06:18 PM (#4017075)
I’m still a fairly extreme peak voter, though I do pay attention to strong primes and superstrong careers without great peaks as well. I used to rely mostly on WS for hitters and PRAA for pitchers, but I’ve been leaning far more toward BBWAR of late. (I don’t dismiss durability issues, but I no longer harp on them as I once did.)

pHOM: Appier, Bando, Keeler

2012 ballot:

1. Ed Williamson (pHOM 1931). Nice to see his name popping up with a few new voters these days. He’s still a personal favorite, obviously, for great peaks both offensive and defensive; he seems a no-brainer for peak voters who don’t timeline.

2. Don Newcombe (pHOM 2008). While he doesn’t seem to have the peak I usually look for, the era and the various factors blocking his career are likely responsible for most of that lack. Unlike many of the others in that amorphous area (Luke Easter, say), he had at least some chance to prove his high value in the majors, and he did so, IMO.

3. Elston Howard (pHOM 1976). The various extenuating circumstances of his career can’t hide the great (if short) peak. I still prefer him to Bresnahan (who’s also in my pHOM).

4. Johnny Pesky (pHOM 1997). With war credit for both, his peak/prime is a notch ahead of Rizzuto’s. Both are ahead by a great margin of the other backlog SS candidates.

5. Kevin Appier (pHOM 2012). I doubted the old system’s having him this high, but the BBWAR-peak one does too. So be it; here he is—to this peak voter, very slightly better than Cone across the board.

6. Phil Rizzuto (pHOM 2004). Thanks in large part to DanR, I’ve come around on his defense as world-class as opposed to merely good. With this view of his fielding, he’s very similar to Pesky in overall value, though still slightly behind him.

7. Al Rosen (pHOM 1968). The vote that epitomizes my peakster-ism. Very short peak, obviously, but five great years, especially at 3B, are enough for me.

8. David Cone (pHOM 2008). With strike-year credit and a little postseason credit, he’s awfully similar to Stieb, and falls just short of Saberhagen.

9. Gavvy Cravath (pHOM 1985). With minor-league credit—which I give him—he’s a pretty easy choice for a peakster, with the requisite number of years to prove his monstrous ability.

[9a. Willie Keeler (pHOM 2012). The BBWAR system puts him over the top, at long last.]

10. Dizzy Dean (pHOM 1967). Another really short peak, but he was inarguably dominant during it. It’s just long enough (and high enough during that brief period) for me, though he does take a slight drop with my WAR incorporation.

11. Sal Bando (pHOM 2012). As with Appier, when the new system agrees with the old, I can’t hold off any longer. Strong peak at a still-weak position for us—comes out as rather similar to Rosen overall, actually.

12. Luis Tiant (pHOM 1991). More prime than peak, but in both systems it’s impressive. Clearly not the equal of his shoo-in contemporaries like Jenkins and Perry, but I think he’s deserving.

13. Rick Reuschel. Okay, okay. Few players come up so far apart in my old and new systems, and precisely how much I weight each makes a lot of difference with him. But while I don’t buy into all DanR’s arguments about the big fella—and while I’m still not bowled over by Reuschel’s peak—I can’t deny that he had a hell of a prime. He’s on my ballot for the first time.

14. Hugh Duffy (pHOM 1930). Always liked his peak, but was convinced to adjust it down a lot for a while; various arguments and counterarguments through the years have bounced him on and off my ballot. The WAR system quite likes him, though, which has tempered my downward adjustments, and he ends up here.

15. Vic Willis (pHOM 1961). As with Duffy, I favored him, then didn’t, and now with the WAR system I do again. Kinda. He’s similar to Reuschel in that my (revised) old system isn’t that fond of him, but the new WAR one is very fond.
   37. Mark Donelson Posted: December 15, 2011 at 06:19 PM (#4017077)
16-20: Gomez (1987), Palmeiro, Cicotte (1972), D. Murphy, [Dw. Evans], H. Smith, [E. Martinez]
21-25: G. Burns, Bo. Bonds, Redding (1975), [Dawson], Hahn, [Boyer], Leach (2006)
26-30: Singleton (1997), Clarkson, Doyle (1995), McCormick, Dunlap, [R. Smith]
31-35: Belle (2006), [Sewell], D. Parker, Avila, Hiller, Rucker
36-40: Olerud, Bancroft, Hershiser, Munson, Chance
41-45: Be. Williams, [Whitaker], Puckett, Viola, Cepeda, Sutter
46-50: Berger, H. Wilson, Walters (1968), Quisenberry, Tenace

Required Explanations and Newbies:

•Palmeiro. Not really my type—far more of a career player than a peak one—but also much better than the Beckley clone I thought he might prove to be when I first looked at his numbers. His career value is too overwhelming for even me to ignore entirely, though. He’s just off-ballot at #17.

•Redding. He’s been bouncing on and off my ballot for so long that it’s kind of embarrassing. But DanR’s comment has re-convinced me that in a case with so much lack of clarity, it’s a pretty big leap to concentrate only on how good this pitcher might have been. If I’m going to take defensive stats with several grains of salt because of the sometimes huge differences between the various types, I should probably do the same with Redding’s MLEs. He drops off again, down to #23.

•Bernie Williams. One of my favorite players, so it pains me not to have him higher. But he just doesn’t have the peak I like to see. Overall, quite similar to Puckett in value, which leaves him well off ballot at #41.

And I gather we're not repeating the instant-runoff experiment this time around?
   38. Carl Goetz Posted: December 16, 2011 at 05:31 AM (#4017545)
Thanks for the explanation, Mike. Rereading your initial post, I see your emphasis is on career, which would explain your difference in opinion from me as I am more peak/prime and use career to differentiate between to close peak/prime players.

I agree with you on being more conservative with war credit than a straight average. I gave Rizzuto 4.4 WAR for each year 43-45 plus a small bonus for malaria credit in 1946. I gave Pesky 4.8 WAR for each 43-45 season since he had a better 42 & 46 than Rizzuto had 42 & 47. Ultimately, there careers were roughly equally impacted by the war credit I gave.

The Pesky-Rizzuto case is a good example of my line of analysis. Since they come out close in peak/prime, Rizzuto's career advantage moved him slightly ahead. If I didn't consider career at all, Pesky would be slightly ahead.
   39. Howie Menckel Posted: December 16, 2011 at 08:06 AM (#4017583)
out of town til Monday. prod me early and often after that to get on the stick.
most of last year's ballot will stick, with a few flips.
tough time frame to make it happen, but I will try to keep my Ripken-esque streak alive...
   40. theorioleway Posted: December 17, 2011 at 02:59 AM (#4018213)
I am a new voter (assuming you allow my vote) and posted a preliminary ballot around a month ago. It has gone under some revisions thanks especially to Sunnday2 and DL from MN. Since no one has spoken against the eligibility of my ballot, I am assuming it is ok to post. In terms of my methods, I start with the Wins Above Replacement metrics from Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs. I look at these metrics in a variety of ways, but my favorite viewpoint is using the JAWS calculations Chris Jaffe uses with WARP for Baseball Prospectus (career WAR + seven best seasonal WAR divided by 2). I then also factor in the timeframe, position, and any other important circumstances involving the player. The work you have done on players banned from MLB due to their race has been enlightening, although I tend to slightly increase the projections/MLEs you have created. I give war credit and minor league credit when I think it is appropriate. There is more details in the prelim if you have any questions, plus you can always ask anyway. Here is my ballot:

1. Hilton Smith: Alex King has done an excellent job translating the stats available and showing that Smith’s stats merit consideration from the electorate. I would like to add that a good chunk of his career was in the 1940s, one of the decades with the weakest pitching, and that Smith comes with a great reputation. While reputational evidence needs to be taken with a grain of salt, when it permeates even to the unscholarly fan, then the odds that it is accurate are increased. For example, while the Hall of Fame has made many a bad selection, these players are not raved about and not usually known by the casual fan.

2. Ben Taylor: I think he was the best first basemen of the 1910s and comps well to Keith Hernandez—great defensively and good offensively thanks to a great on-base percentage. Considering Taylor played at a time where 1B defense was more important than in Hernandez’s time, and he played during the deadball era where power hitting was not really an option, he seems like a good selection for the Hall of Merit. I rank Smith ahead of Taylor because I generally find pitchers to be more valuable than first basemen, and DL from MN has made a good point that the HOM is a little light on pitching.

3. Ned Williamson: A great defensive 3B/SS who hit at a solid clip, he seems to be the IF left out of the 1880s. I think he is at least as worthy as Hardy Richardson, if not more so, and one could make the argument that he was the best 3B of the 1880s.

4. Rick Reuschel: His stats indicate he belongs, but since he is at the bottom of the Hall of Merit worthy pitchers from the 1970s/80s, he slips to 4 on the ballot.

5. Rafael Palmeiro: Same as Reuschel, except for 1B in the 90s.

6. Luis Tiant: Reuschel, but just a bit lower.

7. David Cone: Very similar to Tiant, I give the nod to Tiant because of the extra innings and because being at the bottom of the worthy 1970s pitchers is better than being at the bottom of the worthy 1990s pitchers.

8. Vic Willis: I think he compares quite favorably to Rube Waddell, Joe McGinnity, and Mordecai Brown, all Hall of Meriters, and I believe Willis deserves enshrinement as well. Decided to change his ranking below Tiant and Cone after adjusting for Willis competing pre-integration.

9. Carlos Moran: I am still a big fan of Moran, but I think I had him ranked too high initially. While his offense was very valuable at his position in his era, it wasn't good enough/he probably didn't have the defensive value to rank ahead of the 8 players ahead of him on my ballot.

10. Cannonball Dick Redding: I think he settles in solidly at the bottom tier of pitchers worthy of the Hall of Merit.

11. Phil Rizzuto: With the war credit, I think he is very similar to Willie Randolph—the numbers aren’t great but they are close enough considering his valuable position. A note regarding Rizzuto vs. Pesky: Rizzuto played SS his entire career in a home park that hurt him offensively. Pesky moved off SS shortly after the war and played in a home park that significantly helped him (so much so that they named the RF pole in his honor). Not that Pesky is a bad pick (although he doesn't make my ballot) but I think there is a clear difference between Rizzuto and Pesky. (As an Orioles fan, it is really weird finding myself making favorable arguments for Yankees.)

12. Ray Dandridge: DL from MN and I had a bit of a back and forth regarding this, which was great, and has led me to downgrade him from where he originally was. I still see him as being very similar to Brooks Robinson (league average hitter, elite defender, tough position, played forever) in an era where his position is lacking in all-time greats.

13. Don Newcombe: As sunnyday2 has indicated in the past, Newcombe needs everything added on—war credit, racial segregation/minor league credit, hitting credit, etc. to qualify, and I think Newcombe has just enough to be worthy, especially considering the 50s are also not stacked with elite pitching.

14. Frank Chance: His career numbers come up a bit short, but he had a heck of a peak/prime, and was the best 1B of the 1900s. I believe he deserves Beckley’s spot in the Hall of Merit (sorry karlmangus).

15. Jim Fregosi: Fregosi was the best SS in the 1960s, a decade for which we have no representation for that position. If his decline hadn't been so precipitous, he would look better and might already be in the Hall of Merit. Obviously that lack of production matters, but I still believe him to be worthy. He just edges out Campaneris as I believe Fregosi's superior hitting slightly outweighs Campaneris' superior defense.

Hugh Duffy: Duffy is one of my favorite players, but unfortunately I don’t think he deserves induction in the Hall of Merit. I think he is more deserving than Sam Thompson, however.

I just want to thank everyone who is involved with the project: reading and discussing these great players is so fun and so interesting.
   41. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 17, 2011 at 03:28 AM (#4018220)
theorioleway--Thanks for voting. Out of curiosity, what % of your PHoM would be NgL'ers?
   42. theorioleway Posted: December 17, 2011 at 05:26 AM (#4018264)
Dan R: It is higher than what I would assume most balloters have--about 17%. The Hall of Merit is at 12%. I find Gadfly's arguments pretty convincing regarding the percentages of HOMers pre/post integration that are minorities. Looking at my pHOM, I might be a little heavy in 20s/30s, so I could see that number going a little bit down, but generally I'm comfortable with the percentage.
   43. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 17, 2011 at 05:49 AM (#4018281)
As long as you've thought it through that's A-OK with me. My own view is that the 20s and 30s are way overrepresented relative to the 40s and 50s because we've basically taken the top 1 or 2 or 3% of big leaguers, whatever it is, regardless of how many teams there are--so when you expand the number of major league or equivalent teams, you expand the number of HoM'ers, even if the overall talent pool doesn't change.
   44. gnomestani Posted: December 17, 2011 at 10:33 AM (#4018318)
To try to determine who's eligible for the ballot still, what does "dropped out" on previous results mean?
   45. bjhanke Posted: December 17, 2011 at 12:08 PM (#4018328)
This is weird. It's been a while since I just didn't recognize a name from a ballot. But two people have voted for Carlos Moran, and I don't know who he is; never heard the name before, that I remember. I did not find a discussion thread for him. Based on the two comments, I gather he's a Cuban player. Can anyone tell me where to find a decent discussion in some detail? I'll happily look him over, if I can find out where to look. And yeah, if he's been mentioned year after year, I've just spaced him, but I still don't know anything about him. - Brock Hanke
   46. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 17, 2011 at 12:21 PM (#4018331)
   47. bjhanke Posted: December 17, 2011 at 04:17 PM (#4018375)
Bleed - Thanks for the help. I wasn't aware that there was a discussion thread just for Latin players, and that it was just blow the bottom of my screen. I got to see 19th c., 20th c. and Negro League discussions, but didn't find the Latin one where Moran is. Now, I've read it.Thanks.

I have a soft spot for this type of player, who overcomes physical strength problems with extreme focus on the strike zone, which doesn't care how strong you are.

I do have one question. The advent of the foul strike rule did a lot to drop SB rates. Do you know whether Moran's leagues did mimic that rule or stayed with the old system that helped McGraw and Sliding Billy. There's no good way to evaluate Moran without that, at least. - Brock Hanke
   48. Mike Webber Posted: December 17, 2011 at 04:23 PM (#4018383)
Gnome asked:
To try to determine who's eligible for the ballot still, what does "dropped out" on previous results mean?

The only way to "drop out" is to be elected, perpetual eligibility.
   49. theorioleway Posted: December 17, 2011 at 05:04 PM (#4018413)
On the ballot results page, it says "dropped out" if no one voted for them in the last election. As Mike Webber states, they are still eligible for election if you would like to vote for one of them.
   50. Brent Posted: December 17, 2011 at 10:18 PM (#4018624)
2012 ballot

My system starts with Sean Smith's rWAR and adjusts for season length, military service and minor league credit if a player had clearly demonstrated that he was major-league ready. New to this ballot, I also adjust his positional factors to move closer to “conventional wisdom” (since all of the purely statistical approaches for calculating positional adjustments appear to me to be seriously flawed). For example, relative to rWAR I give less credit to third basemen and more credit to second basemen (and to center fielders during 1960-89). In parentheses I show the unadjusted rWAR followed by my adjusted measure (for position players). After that, I judgmentally adjust my initial rankings to take account of factors like league quality, peak, prime, and above-average post-season performances to derive my final rankings.

1. David Cone (56.9). A peakish candidate; comparable to Saberhagen.

2. Hilton Smith. Smith’s statistics from Hogan (shown on his Wikipedia page) compare very well to other NeLg HoM pitchers—4.9 K/BB ratio, 3.37 career R/9. As various new statistics have come out, I think it’s remarkable how well the HoM NeLg selections have stood up. The omission (so far) of Smith seems to me to be our one big NeLg mistake.

3. Rafael Palmeiro (66.0/65.7). His peak is weaker than I’d like, but taking account of his prime and career, he still exceeds the established HoM boundary.

4. Sal Bando (60.6/53.7). Even with my new downward adjustment of third basemen (and taking account of post-expansion league quality concerns for 1969-71), he still possesses the kind of exceptional prime that does well in my system.

5. Bobby Bonds (56.9/57.7). Secondary average.

6. Phil Rizzuto (41.6/60.3). Military credit is essential to his case. Mostly qualifies on defense and baserunning.

7. Bill Monroe. The most poorly documented of all our major candidates—even Gary’s excellent new database at only shows 181 of his plate appearances. I see that Carlos Morán has garnered some votes this election, and I’ll note that in three seasons of head-to-head competition in Cuba, Monroe's performance surpassed Morán’s. I’m mostly relying on expert opinion, though. For example, when Gary Ashwill was asked in an interview to name five Negro leaguers to go into the HoF, his response was “Grant ‘Home Run’ Johnson, John Beckwith, Bill Monroe, Dick Lundy, and Ed Bolden.” (Bolden was an executive; we’ve elected the other three players.)

8. César Cedeño (52.2/56.4). Sean Smith’s positional adjustments don’t like 1970s center fielders. Again, don't forget the base running.

9. Rick Reuschel (65.3). I was late coming around to his case, but the numbers are ultimately convincing.

10. Hugh Duffy (49.6/58.0). Remember to adjust for the short seasons. The 1891 AA was weak, but the 1892-1900 NL was the strongest league of the era.

11. Willie Davis (57.2/62.1). This is the first time I’ve voted for him. He doesn’t have a great peak, but he was an excellent fielder who also contributed with the bat and on the base paths.

12. Gavy Cravath (32.9/59.7). I give him minor league credit for 1906–07 and 1909–11, with his 1911 season ranking close to 1915.

13. Buddy Bell (60.8/57.7). An above-average hitter with an outstanding glove.

14. Bernie Williams (47.3/48.8). I was actually a little surprised to see him ranking this well—a very solid nine-year prime from 1994–2002.

15. Fred McGriff (50.5/50.4).

Not on my ballot:

Luis Tiant (59.4). For pitcher peaks I look for strength in both rate statistics and innings pitched. He had seasons among the league leaders in both categories, but usually not in the same season.

Dick Redding. Not in my top 50. Between the data at covering his pre-league statistics and the data from the HoF study for the league years, his career is actually pretty well documented. What I see is a pitcher who was a bit wild and not terribly effective during his first few seasons, followed by four seasons of dominance (1916–19) as one of the two or three best pitchers in the Negro leagues, after which something happens (injury?:loss of velocity? inability to adjust to live ball?) causing him to return to being just an ordinary pitcher. There have been lots of pitchers in history who’ve similarly put up a few dominant seasons (Gooden, Valenzuela, …) and none of them have really gained traction in the voting.
   51. Ardo Posted: December 18, 2011 at 07:12 AM (#4018804)
2011 Ballot
   52. Ardo Posted: December 18, 2011 at 07:44 AM (#4018810)
[server error on my part]
   53. Ardo Posted: December 18, 2011 at 07:47 AM (#4018811)
(2011 ballot) Thanks to Dan G for his comments on '70s shortstops. I didn't raise either one onto my ballot, but I realized I had Bell and Bando too high. Posts #135 and #228 in our Discussion explain my omissions of Duffy and Redding.

1. Dolf Luque
2. Wally Schang
3. Tommy John
4. Hilton Smith
5. Rafael Palmeiro
6. Luis Tiant
7. Buddy Bell
8. David Cone
9. Rick Reuschel
10. Lee Smith
11. Sal Bando
12. Norm Cash
13. Tommy Leach
14. Phil Rizzuto
15. Thurman Munson
   54. Juan V Posted: December 19, 2011 at 01:31 AM (#4019065)
Before I forget to do this...

Re-clarification of my system: I am an OPS+ times PA voter at heart, and that is the base of my position player system. I also borrow plenty from Dan R's work (and a bit from BB-ref WAR) for fielding and baserunning, and somewhat less for positional replacement levels.

After building up and tearing down my pitcher system many times, I have decided to borrow Joe's calculation of NRA, to which I also add defense adjustments based on DERA, which I regress to the mean.

For both systems, peak and career are weighted by a JAWS-like formula. I also calibrate my sistem to produce a PHoM with 30-33% pitchers, which results in a pitching-heavy ballot (the actual HOM is at about 27-28% pitchers, I guesstimate).

1) Fred Dunlap: Moved a chunk below where I used to rank him after incorporating bbref WAR, but in fact that helped convince me that he was playing at a consistent star level in the NL, which combined with his big season in the UA, sells his case for me.

2) Rick Reuschel: A winner of my pitching revision, keeps moving up on my ballot.

3) Rafael Palmeiro: I guess he really was Beckley reincarnated a century later.

4) Babe Adams

5) Vic Willis: Two similar cases that end up right next to each other. They both got help from the gloves behind them, but I still think they both did enough.

6) David Cone: The difference between him and Saberhagen is a bit of peak.

7) Dwight Gooden: Jumps up thanks to my pitching revision. I guess it is consistent to place him in the ballot after singing the praises of Dunlap above.

8) David Concepcion: I believe that something systematic was going on with shortstops in the 70's and 80's, so his offensive numbers gain extra value because of that. And plenty of glove goodness too.

9) Luis Tiant: Luis Tiant: Moves below relative to the occasional elect-me spot I used to give him, since BBref-WAR gives extra credits to his defenses.

10) Albert Belle: Pretty nice hitter for a while. Enough bat-driven peak to ignore the lack of career IMO.

11) Phil Rizzuto: An earlier generation's Concepción?

12) Kevin Appier: Cone was hurt by his defenses, Appier was aided by them. Beyond this, they seem quite similar.

13) Gavy Cravath: If he was merely below average defensively (as the latest consensus seems to indicate), then he's worthy of a ballot spot here.

14) Orel Hershiser: Quite a pitching peak, specially after considering the intrinsic difficulties of the 80's.

15) Eddie Cicotte: Another pitching peak that I like.

Other players

Dick Redding: Too much uncertainty, I need a bit more info on him before taking the plunge

Hugh Duffy: In my HOVG region. IMO his candidacy depends a lot on the peculiarities of Win Shares.

Bernie Williams: A personal favorite, still I conservatively place him off the ballot. If his glove was as bad as stats suggest, he is HOVG with no chance of ever making a ballot. If he was average for his career he's worthy of a down-ballot vote.

Tim Salmon: HOVG, but still better than I remember him being (ranks about the same as bad-glove Bernie).
   55. ronw Posted: December 19, 2011 at 01:31 AM (#4019066)
2012 Ballot – My latest project has been to calculate the CHONE WAR totals for five year periods, from 1871-1875 through 2007-2011. That interesting exercise showed that we are generally on target for HOM elections, but we may have missed a few players.

1. Rick Reuschel, SP – Big Daddy has the career longetivity, and was one of the top 4-5 pitchers in the five year periods ending in 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1982. From 1976-1980 and from 1977-1981, only Phil Niekro had a higher WAR total.

2. Sal Bando, 3B – Who was the top player in the league from 1969-1973? If you answered Sal Bando, you would be correct. In fact, Bando and Bill Nicholson are the only unelected top players from 1871 to 1991, and after that, Barry Bonds and Albert Pujols will definitely be elected. Unlike Swish Nicholson, Bando had a substantial career, as the top 3B in periods ending 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1976, and with significantly high totals in periods ending 1971, 1977 and 1978.

3. Rafael Palmeiro, 1B - The lenghy career, and All-Star-type seasons every five-year period ending 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997 give Palmeiro an elect-me spot.

4. Urban Shocker, SP – Best pitcher in the league in 1925, only Shocker, Tommy Bond, Jim McCormick, Mort Cooper, Johnny Antonelli, and Dwight Gooden can claim that honor among unelected eligible pitchers. Shocker had the longest, best peak out of all of them. He was a Cy Young contender in the five-year periods ending 1923, 1924, 1925 and 1926, and was an All-Star in the periods ending in 1922 and 1927.

5. Dick Redding, SP – I’m still high on him. The seamheads career metrics until 1923 show only Mendez and Bullet Rogan clearly ahead of Redding, and Joe Williams is probably there as well but may not have the data. Redding is clearly ahead of all other pitchers of this period.

6. Gene Tenace, C – The top catcher in the five-year periods ending 1979 and 1980, and the top 1B in the five-year period ending 1977. Made lists as a catcher in 1975, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81 and 82, and as a 1B in 1976 and 1977. Only Johnny Bench was a better catcher from 1974-1978, and only Willie Stargell was a better 1B from 1972-1976.

7. Ben Taylor, 1B – Seamheads shows Taylor as a top, but not spectacular player. Kind of like Buddy Bell, just below him here, or like a Beckley or Palmeiro.

8. Buddy Bell, 3B – Never the top 3B in the league, overshadowed by HOMers Mike Schmidt and George Brett, Bell was still an All-Star in periods ending in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984.

9. Jim McCormick, SP – Another unelected top pitcher, this one in the periods ending in 1882, 1883 and 1884. All-Star pitcher in 1885 and 1886.

10. David Cone, SP – Never the top pitcher in the league, but solidly an All-Star in periods ending 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999. Only Greg Maddux and Kevin Appier were better in the 1995, 1996 and 1997 periods.

11. Orel Hershiser, SP – Yes, I was surprised the Bulldog ranked this high, but he was a solid All-Star in 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991 and had a longer productive career than we realize, earning points in almost all of the 1986-1999 periods. Only Dwight Gooden and Roger Clemens beat Hershiser in the period ending in 1988 and only Clemens in the 1985-1989 period.

12. Ned Williamson, 3B – I thikn we missed this guy, who was the top 3B in 1881, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1885, and 1885, and was the second best 3B in the 1886, and 1887 periods, and the second-best SS (to HOMer Jack Glasscock) in the 1888 period. Was an MVP candidate in the 1879-1883 period.

13. Bob Elliott, 3B – Top 3B in 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952 periods, a close second to Whitey Kurowski in 1947, and second to Stan Hack in 1943, 1944, and 1945 period.

14. Kevin Appier, SP – One of the top pitchers in 1995, 1996 and 1997, second only to Greg Maddux. Behind only Clemens and Maddux in 1994. He is just over Dwight Gooden because Gooden only had two spectacular periods compared to his peers.

15. Dwight Gooden, SP – The top pitcher in the league in the 5-year periods ending in 1987 and 1988. 4th in 1986, 5th in 1989, and then not really a top pitcher. I could switch Gooden easily with Willis, but Dwight was more spectacular.


16. Vic Willis, SP
17. Bobby Bonds, RF
18. Fred Dunlap, 2B
19. Larry Jackson, SP
20. Bill Monroe, 2B


Phil Rizzuto – All-Star only in the 1949-1953 period, just behind Reese among shortstops. From 1948-1952 significantly behind Reese, and 1950-1954 behind Reese and Alvin Dark. War credit doesn’t give him enough of a bump.

Luis Tiant – Has been high before, but only an All-Star pitcher in the 1972-1976 period. Still, a long enough career for consideration.

Hugh Duffy, CF – Probably #16 on my ballot. MVP candidate in the period 1891-1895, and an All-Star in the periods ending in 1893, 1894 and 1897.


Bernie Williams, CF – Solid career, an All-Star in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001. Not enough of a career to make the list, but the best of the newbies.

Tim Salmon, RF – Only an All-Star in the period 1993-1997.

Brad Radke, SP – An All-Star in the periods 1996-2000, 1997-2001.
   56. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 19, 2011 at 01:57 AM (#4019079)
Juan V--Concepción at 8 and no Campaneris? How do you have them that far apart?
   57. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 19, 2011 at 05:21 AM (#4019156)
I will attempt to elaborate later...have been swamped with personal matters.

Updates to my system include: -FIP from fangraphs for pitchers and DRA from Humphreys for position players. For hitters, I use Sean Smith WAR, Dan Rosenheck WARP, and DRA. For pitchers, I use Joe Dimino's PA/Baseball Prospectus WARP, Sean Smith WAR, and Fangraphs -FIP.
I award credit for: wars, mles, and integration/segregation. The no longer active Chris Cobb, Eric Chalek, and Gadfly have been excellent sources of negro league data, while Alex King has been helpful in the recent past.

I urge everyone to check into the Hall of Merit group page on Yahoo. Joe Dimino's PA for pitchers and Dan Rosenheck's WARP for hitters are invaluable resources that are arguably better than any other comprehensively published study.

Thanks for voting guys!

1 R Reuschel
2 R Palmeiro
3 P Rizzuto
4 B Campaneris
5 D Cone
6 D Newcombe
7 H Smith
8 G Cravath
9 J Pesky
10 E Williamson
11 B Monroe
12 T Leach
13 B Bell
14 U Shocker
15 D Bancroft

Top 10 not on ballot:
Luis Tiant - not far from ballot - excellent Sean Smith WAR - I would have no objection with his election.
Dick Redding - with consideration set - some high peak years, but I'm not convinced by the data that his surrounding career was enough.
Hugh Duffy - similar to George Van Haltren - just not a fan - Dan R is well short, DRA doesn't aid his case, while Sean Smith WAR makes him a viable candidate.
Bucky Walters - fine pitcher, but propelled by excellent defenses - on the edge of consideration set.
   58. Howie Menckel Posted: December 19, 2011 at 05:30 AM (#4019160)
just back from a business trip.
will mostly stick with my 2011 order, posted on Discussion page, but just need a reminder to finish the deal.
   59. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 19, 2011 at 02:17 PM (#4019226)
With apologies to ballot counters, please remove dave bancroft in favor of kevin appier for #15 on my ballot...thanks!
   60. DL from MN Posted: December 19, 2011 at 04:10 PM (#4019264)
In regards to extensions - haven't we had a year to come up with a ballot? HoF ballots have to be returned by 12/31 and we want to preempt those ballots.

Who voted last year that hasn't voted this year?
   61. Juan V Posted: December 19, 2011 at 04:40 PM (#4019285)
Dan: Campaneris is in the "just missed" group. Not really that far apart.
   62. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 19, 2011 at 04:41 PM (#4019286)
...and yet at least 7 ballot slots. Why do you see Concepción as stronger? Despite my handle, I've shifted my preference to Dagoberto, although I vote for both.
   63. DL from MN Posted: December 19, 2011 at 04:59 PM (#4019289)
7 ballot slots is not much for me. I have positions 18-30 essentially tied. We're not voting for outliers in this election, we're back in the 98th percentile of major league players.
   64. Chris Fluit Posted: December 19, 2011 at 11:07 PM (#4019596)
2012 Ballot

1. Rafael Palmeiro, 1B (previously 2nd): 132 OPS+ in 12,046 plate attempts. Provided more defense than usually credited- +40 runs at first base, only 15% of games at DH. 66.0 WAR is well above established level for Hall of Merit first basemen.

2. “Cannonball” Dick Redding, P (3rd): I’ll keep making the case even though others keep jumping off the bandwagon. Huge peak (’12-’17) and long prime (’11-’21) shouldn’t be obscured by poor tail. Career numbers are comparable to contemporary HoMers Coveleski, Faber and Rixey.

3. Sal Bando, 3B (6th): The best third baseman available. 60.6 career WAR, in 400 fewer games than Buddy Bell (60.8). +119 OPS+ at the plate and +36 fielding runs at the hot corner.

4. Vic Willis, P (7th): Best pitcher in the National League in 1899 (1st in ERA+, pitching wins and WAR for pitchers). Second-best in ‘01, ’02, and ’06. Packed a huge career (3996 innings) into only 13 seasons.

5. Ben Taylor, 1B: (9th): Imagine a player with Carlos Delgado’s bat and Mark Grace’s glove. That’s what Taylor’s estimates look like (138 OPS+ in 9091 compared to 138 in 8647 for Delgado and 76.5 fielding runs compared to 77 for Grace).

6. Don Newcombe, P (8th): Minor league credit during integration, military credit during the Korean War and 9.0 WAR at the plate on top of an already very good pitching career.

7. Luis Aparicio, SS (10th): Back on my ballot after an extended absence, +123 base-running (including reaching base w/o a hit) and +149 fielding. Does everything that doesn’t show up in OPS and WAR notices- his 49.9 beats Bert (45.3) and crushes Concepcion (33.6).

8. Tommy Bridges, P (11th): Top ten in ERA+ 10 times in 12 seasons. Top ten in innings pitched 5 straight seasons from 1933 to 1937.

9. Fred McGriff, 1B (previously unranked): 134 OPS+ in 10,174. That’s a lot of value over a very long time. But he’s not just a career candidate. Top five in OPS+ and Runs Created six times (plus a sixth and seventh place finish in each category).

10. David Cone, P (13th): 135 ERA+ in 2017 innings in the 1990s, 121 in 2898 overall.

11. Bob Johnson, LF (12th): 13 seasons with OPS+ over 125, top ten 10 times in 12 seasons. Top ten in Runs Created 9 times.

12. Hugh Duffy, CF (14th): 49.6 career WAR is best among pre-expansion center fielders not in the HoM.

13. Dave Bancroft, SS (15th): Best prime among eligible shortstops, ten year stretch from ’17 to ’26 saw 108 OPS+/5500 plate attempts and +81 fielding.

14. Bill Monroe, 2B (16th): The greatest second baseman of the Negro Leagues, underrated because his play came before the organization of official leagues.

15. Dan Quisenberry, RP (17th): ERA+ of 147 tied for 5th all-time, 11 points higher than Bruce Sutter in similar number of innings (1043 to 1042).

The next five:
16. Burleigh Grimes, P: Big career numbers (4180 innings pitched) and a solid non-consecutive peak (24.8 WAR in ’20-’21 and ’27-’29).
17. Pie Traynor, 3B: Solid prime from ’23 to ’33 (112 OPS+/6902 plate attempts, 9 firsts or seconds in range factor) made him the best third baseman in the major leagues for his era.
18. Elston Howard, C: Solid career as a catcher (+40 fielding runs, 108 OPS+) becomes elite when properly given credit for time spent in army and minors.
19. Luis Tiant, P: Erratic career resulted in very good final numbers, 115 ERA+ in nearly 3500 innings (3486).
20. Thurman Munson, C: Outstanding prime. 43.3 career WAR 3rd among eligible catchers.

Comments on top ten returnees:
Phil Rizzuto: Even with war credit, not as many good years as Bancroft (or Tinker or Pesky).
Rick Reuschel: Getting closer to my ballot. Numbers don’t quite measure up to Tiant at 19, but he’s in my top twelve for eligible pitchers and top 30 overall.
   65. Rick A. Posted: December 20, 2011 at 03:09 AM (#4019752)
2012 HOM Ballot

Eppa Rixey
John McGraw
Joe Gordon

I tend to lean towards peak/prime, although a pure career candidate can sneak through at an important defensive position. I'm an anti-timeline, pennant-is-a-pennant voter. I give credit for wars, holdouts, strikes, blacklisting and players being in the minors when they're clearly MLB caliber, as well as NEL credit. I'm solidly in the WS camp, although I'll also look at OPS+, ERA+, IP, PA and ranking among contemporaries at their position. I do think that WS does miss on occasion, and I give a subjective bump to candidates who I think WS is off on.

1. David Cone - Not a long career, but enough peak value. PHOM in 2009.
2. Ed Williamson - a lost cause, but I've always liked him. Good combo of offense and defense. PHOM in 1958.
3. Gavvy Cravath - With some minor league credit. PHOM in 1988.
4. Vic Willis - Good prime value. PHOM in 1945.
5. Burleigh Grimes - I like his career length. PHOM in 1961.
6. Tommy Leach - Split career. PHOM in 2006.
7. Dick Redding - PHOM in 1968.
8. Dizzy Dean - Peak value off the charts. PHOM in 1973.
9. Luke Easter - What could have been. Minor League and Negro League credit. PHOM in 2005.
10. Al Rosen - Another peak candidate. PHOM in 2008.
11. Bruce Sutter - Always liked Sutter more than most. PHOM in 1997.
12. Albert Belle - Peak candidate.
13. Don Newcombe - PHOM in 1997.
14. Phil Rizzuto - Solid defense and war credit gets him here.
15. Tommy Bond - Shortish career, but solid peak value.

16-20 Palmeiro,McGriff,E.Howard,Reuschel, Williams
21-25 Walters,C.Finley,Cooper, Mays,Duffy

Required Disclosures
Palmeiro - Long Career, not much peak means less to me by a first baseman.
Reuschel - Moves up some, but I am not completely on the bandwagon yet.
Tiant - Not as good as Reuschel.
Duffy - In my PHOM, but has been passed by many players since.
   66. rawagman Posted: December 20, 2011 at 05:42 AM (#4019897)
2012 Ballot
I use a sort of peak-over career number that measures ink by playing time with a strong preference for players who had good in-season durability (non-exclusive, as we can see this year). Combined with rate stats and a glove measurement, I feel this gives me both context for what the player actually achieved versus what the league around him was able to do. My general baseball philosophy may help in clarifying my rankings. I don't believe in the single stat theory of baseball, meaning I don't use WS or any flavour of WAR in my rankings. Essentially, I follow this concept as I think a significant percentage of what contributes to winning baseball is not necessarily counted in box scores. This includes things like manager's prerogative, and actions that would require a historical pbp analysis that is currently unavailable. I search for what I consider "total ballplayers", guys who can do it all. I believe in positional representation and abhor the thought process that says that relievers were all failed starters and 2B are all failed SS, etc... A team cannot win without a 2B, nor without someone in LF. When I look at a player's career, I try to ask myself how I would feel about him as his manager/general manager - would his presence require special tactics to protect him, or is he completely reliable? I hope it can be seen by my rankings that the "reliable" players generally rise above the ones with clear holes in their games. There are always exceptions, but this is what I have. The stats I look at to get here tend to be traditional and rate, both offensive and defensive. Contemporary opinion also helps. I find comprehensive ranking systems to be exclusive of much of what I see on the field of play - that is, the narrative of the game. The stats for me represent measurements of aspects of the game, but beyond that, the narrative has to fill out the gaps. i.e. - Why was this number lower than expected and that number higher? Combining the stats with the narrative gives me a baseball world-view that I am happy with and feel qualified to discuss. I fully credit military time, but am very reluctant to provide minor league credit for anyone past the advent of the Live Ball era.

Some thoughts on this year's newly eligible - Rick Helling had some better years than I had thought. Scott Erickson did not. Bernie Williams was very good, but more like Fred Lynn than Jim Wynn, or Dale Murphy, even. Phil Nevin had a very good bat, but coudln't stay on the field. Also, he was the last out in two no-hitters. Javy Lopez had a better bat than many catchers, but was brought way down by his defense. This year's ballot is so bad, I am surprised more players didn't retire just to look better to the voters.

One common theme for me when poring over the new eligibles, is that it is so much harder to sustain a spirited debate about their respective candidacies in our annual elections. A by-product of that is that I may be slightly downplaying their accomplishments. Or overhyping. I tried to be reasonable. Holdovers Kevin Brown and Joe Gordon make my PHOM, along with Fred McGriff.

1)Hugh Duffy - Super peak, wonderful prime. Amazing bat, marvelous glove. The epitomy of reliability. (PHOM)
2)David Cone - I prefer his longer prime to Redding and Saberhagen, and he beats at least Sabes by durability as well. (PHOM)
3)Tommy Bridges - He was really very good. A summary of a reevaluation of some of our unelected pitchers in my high backlog (Bridges, Gomez, Redding, Walters) Of those four, the white guys were all regulars for 10-11 seasons. Bucky and Lefty both had immense peaks, but I think that Lefty's non-peak years hold up better than Bucky's. Also, Lefty does not get any war discount. Dick Redding seems more similar to Walters in that his non-peak was not so impressive. His peak was still enough to leave in him solid backlog country. (I even put him in my PHOM back when I joined the project.) But Tommy Bridges wins out. He had much greater consistency. He is to pitchers what Bob Johnson was to hitters, but more of a winner (No - I'm not giving him extra credit for that). A deserving recepient of WWII credit. We have been especially splintered as to the backlog pitchers, and I urge everyone to give Tommy Bridges a closer look. (PHOM)
4)Ben Taylor - Can't find the peak, but a better prime (through the roof), career and glove than Beckley. I think he may be the player most underrated by the electorate. (PHOM)
5)Rafael Palmeiro - I can see an argument for having Palmeiro above Taylor as well, and, if he is not elected this year, will revisit the issue next year. (PHOM)
((5a)Kevin Brown - Do I think he belongs? Yes. Do I think he is a no-doubt, slam-dunk HOM'er? Not really. Back in the day, we would have run him over the coals to a much greater degree. In any case, he should be in comfortably. If not now, then soon enough.)) (PHOM)
6)Kirby Puckett - I have read that some HOM voters consider Puckett to be a mistake of the BBWAA. I see where that sentiment may be emanating from, but I do believe that his election was earned. A wonderful ballplayer. (PHOM)
7)Lefty Gomez - looking at him in any single way hurts him. Looking at him kaleidoscopically has him as the one of the best available pitchers in my eyes (PHOM)
8)Bus Clarkson - A new defensive readjustment moves to the cusp. (PHOM)
9)Dale Murphy - A player that my system loves. At his best he dominated. That refers to the years between 1979-1988. That's a 10 year prime with a very high peak. Also demonstrated very good fielding ability. Could easily move up my ballot. (PHOM)
10)Dick Redding - One of the toughest for me to accurately place. I now think his teens peak was all he needed. I want to be sure I am adequately valuating pitching, so Redding has moved up a few spots in my ballot. (PHOM)
11)Vern Stephens - Will we look at Nomar down the road like we look at Vern now? Great bat, good glove. (PHOM)
12)Fred McGriff - He did not dominate as a bat to the extent of an Edgar Martinez, but consistent above-average performance and fielding that was moderate (I know that not everyone agrees), place the Crime Dog in the heart of my ballot. A better version of Jake Beckley. Here's hoping that it doesn't take McGriff quite as long to receive his dues. Recently dinged through new look at fielding. (PHOM)
13)Gavvy Cravath - No longer the worst fielder in my top 120 candidates (Frank Howard). Probably still the most dominant hitter (as compared to his peers), though. (PHOM)
14)Bob Johnson - I don't know why it took me this long. Great all-round LF. Very durable. (PHOM)
15)Tony Oliva - Career not as short as I thought. Had solid durability for the seasons he was around for. A world class hitter. (PHOM)
((15a)Joe Gordon)) - big late consideration jump. He may yet get into my PHOM. (PHOM)
   67. rawagman Posted: December 20, 2011 at 05:44 AM (#4019899)
2012 Ballot - The Rest
16)Dizzy Dean - Diet Sandy Koufax. 0 calories (career), no sugar (prime).
((16a)Andre Dawson))
17)Orlando Cepeda - Going with my numbers. I support him, but the strength of many of the new guys as well as the recently dregded up arguments for others drops him off ballot.(PHOM)
18)Bobby Veach - He did it all well. As complete a LF as is available today. (PHOM)
19)Al Oliver - I was surprised by the similarities between Oliver and Reggie Smith. Very convincing peak and a glove that scores quite well. Career length is nice as well.
20)Don Mattingly - In the interest of my belief in a big hall for Cooperstown, I support Mattingly's induction. That said, for this project, he looks to be just the wrong side of the door. New look at fielding raises him up a few spots.
21)Albert Belle - Fits in rather nicely with the next two on this list.
22)Rocky Colavito - Good defensive showing showing moves him way up. I didn't expect that either.
23)Jack Clark - Marvelous hitter who had his uses in the field as well.
24)Jim Rice - This is, more or less, where the in-out line can be found for the slightly bigger hall that I dream of.
25)Wally Berger - super-underrated
26)Ernie Lombardi - defense was below average, but not quite horrible
((26a)Jimmy Wynn))
27)Ron Guidry - I love a dominant pitcher. I don't think it's necessarily correct to view pitchers and hitters in the same light and I value a strong peak (I mean really strong) for pitchers more than for hitters (prefer a steady, all round type there). Similar to, but not quite the equal of, Lefty Gomez, one of my inner circle of best friends.
28)Luis Tiant - Undoubtedly a wonderful pitcher, but of the type who don't do that well in my system. I wasn't Billy Pierce's biggest fan, but I still liked Billy (and Marichal and Bunning) more than Tiant, so he slots in over here. (Had been undervaluing Tiant a bit. He moves up a stretch.
29)Al Rosen - One more season of prime, and he is top 10
((29a)Jim Bunning))
((29b)Billy Pierce))
((29c)Graig Nettles))

30)Lee Smith - He didn't have the stellar peak of the closers around him, but his prime outlasted them both. And his peak is really not that far below Sutter's, at least.
31)Lance Parrish - Solid all round catcher. Proud member of the HoVG. Not quite the HOM though.
32)Buddy Bell - Fits in rather nicely in this run of HOVG 3B. New look at his defense gives him big boost.
33)Norm Cash - Too much in one year - and that was not the best year for an everlasting peak, for a number of reasons. Excellent fielder, though.
34)Dan Quisenberry - I suppose I've decided that I value peak in a reliever over career totals. Mind you, if the guy has both...
35)John Franco - What can I say? All those LOOGY-moments...they added up. Not enough to get him in, but to at least be in the discussion.
36)Tony Fernandez - Mr. Blue Jay. Compares favorably to Rizzuto.
37)Bert Campaneris - Stupid me - I had somehow left him off my consideration set for years.
((37a)Dobie Moore))
38)Addie Joss - ERA/+ and WHIP are great, but why so little black ink?
((38a)Cupid Childs))
((38b)Roger Bresnahan))
((38c)Rollie Fingers))

39)Fred Dunlap - Very short career. Very good, too.
40)Tom Henke - Not a long career, but the Terminator was one of the best closers in the game at his peak. New DERA calculations boost him.
41)Tommy John - I think I like his overall picture just a smidgen more than Sutton's.
((41a)Don Sutton))
42)John Olerud - Olerud playing first base with his batting helmet on was an iconic Blue Jays image in my youth.
43)Rick Reuschel - I tried really hard to see what the others are seeing. I'm sorry. This is as high as I can go.
44)Bucky Walters - Very similar to Pierce in overall picture - but built differently.
45)Don Newcombe - big beneficiary of pitcher's fielding analysis.
46)Kevin Appier - Just ahead of Finley. I prefer the better rate to the longer career, but very, very close.
47)Chuck Finley - I remember being surprised when he didn`t come back for another season. I wonder what one more season of slightly above average performance would have done to his final ranking.
48)Mickey Welch
49)Bruce Sutter - Shorter career than the other modern closer candidates, but when he was at his best, he was the best. That works for me - to a point.
50)Fred Carroll - I give him around 1.5 seasons prime MiL credit. Better than Tenace. And maybe better than Bresnahan given the proper credit.
51)Larry Doyle - If only the glove were just a little better.
52)Phil Rizzuto
53)Cecil Travis - A very worthy extra credit case.
((53a)Jake Beckley))
54)Jimmy Ryan
55)Fred Lynn - Very similar to Duffy and Roush. Loses a lot of ground due to in-season durability concerns for an otherwise very strong candidate. Should be appealing to Browning/Chance/McGraw supporters who overlook that sort of thing.
((55a)Charlie Keller))
56)Bernie Williams - will ballot higher just for being a critical part of a dynasty. Had Williams spent his entire career with nearly any other team in the majors, he would not have made nearly the impact on teh national stage.
57)Cy Williams
58)Brett Butler - Some are calling him an equivalent to Kirby. I'm not seeing it. At Kirby's best, he was the best. At Butler's best, he was very good. My system will always take the guy who was the best for a stretch.
59)Amos Otis - The end of the centrefield run.
60)Dolph Camilli - I give him a year of war credit, but he's still two more prime years away from making some noise. An underappreciated stud.
61)Fielder Jones - I was missing on him a bit. A very apt first name. Solid bat as well.
((61a)Pete Browning))
62)Mark Grace - It's always fun when a player's name can fit with his on-field ability/persona. A Graceful first-baseman, with the stick and with the glove. Splitting hairs betwen him and Garvey. I think Garvey stuck out just that much more among his 1B peers.
63)Tony Perez - No appreciable peak. As far as 1B go, I have Cepeda up higher because of his very nice peak and his not too short career as a regular. Ben Taylor suffers from a lack of documented stats, but the stats we do have show that he could flat out mash the ball by dead-ball standards. Contemporaries say his glove was the best they had ever seen at 1B. How much was a scoop worth? I think it's worth alot. I maintain that while a below average defensive 1B can cause little measurable harm, an above average glove at 1B will provide a hefty bonus to the team lucky enough to employ one.
64)Steve Garvey - Something between Perez and McCormick. Nice size career, defensive value, could hit a bit - nothing overwhelming though.
65)Luke Easter - James Newburg made a very interesting case for Easter in his 2010 ballot. Earned a look in my consideration set and will make a point of studying him further and maybe look for similarities between his story and that of Bus Clarkson, many of our favourite what-if story.
66)Jim Bottomley - More than just a Frankie Frisch mistake. Not that he wasn't a mistake, but he was not the worst one made.
67)George Kell
68)Frank McCormick - One of the finest 1B gloves in MLB history, and a decent hitter as well.
69)Bob Elliott - A little 3B run here
70)Robin Ventura - Solid career quantity and quality, both at the plate and with the leather. Does not stick out enough with either to threaten for the HOM.
71)Sal Bando
72)Ron Cey - I remember his late Topps cards. Lots of very small print on the back. He compares favourably to the other eligible 3Bs. I'd still take Rosen's monster peak over his steady production, but it's close. New look at defensive numbers drops Cey a fair bit.
73)Pie Traynor
74)Ed Williamson - I was missing a little something here.
75)Johnny Evers
76)Elston Howard
77)Joe Wood - If he had one more really good year as a pitcher, he'd be balloted
78)Bill Mazeroski
79)Tony Lazerri - Similar value to Maz. Accrued very differently.
80)Tommy Leach - With his recent rise in the standings, I took another look at him. I can see arguments that would have him around or even above someone like Brett Butler, or maybe even a bit more, but that would only mean 20-30 ballot spots for me, and not significant at this stage. Not being convinced either way, he stays down here. Fine player, but not HOM quality.
81)Vic Willis - A reexamination of all pitchers to include fielding ability causes an adjustment for Willis and a jump up the consideration set.
82)Thurmon Munson - see below.
83)Walker Cooper - some days, he reminds me of Quincey Trouppe
84)Johnny Pesky
85)Hippo Vaughn
86)Dave Concepcion - New look at defensive numbers gives Concepcion a bit of a boost.
87)Sparky Lyle - The biggest surprise of my remodeled reliever system. I don't look at postseason heroics so much, but for those who give plaudits for Fingers' work, check out Sparky. Great peak, very consistent. Hurt by new DERA's.
88)George Kell - Had him a bit too high earlier.
89)Cesar Cedeno - Found him to be comparable to Amos Otis and Jimmy Wynn in total value. Slots lower than those two in light of the shape of that value.
90)Chet Lemon - My recent new defensive look demonstrated that Lemon may have been a bit overlooked. Very good player.
91)Vada Pinson - The ink really threw me for a twist. He looks like a good all-round CF, not great. But he amassed hefty ink totals for his generation. This may be a safe ranking.
92)Luis Aparicio - The low OPS+ masks his real effectiveness.
93)Tip O'Neill - The next Canadian.
94)Chuck Klein - Drops like a rock. Great hitter, not much else. What separates him from Cravath? Not sure at the moment, really. I guess Cravath has those extra credit intangibles.
95)Denny Lyons
((95a)John McGraw))
96)George Van Haltren - Van Haltren is the big loser in the 1890's CF sweepstakes due to his poor fielding by my own accounts.
97)Rabbit Maranville
98)Matt Williams - Definitely hurt by the strike of '94, but hurt more by missing half of the following season. His peak was high, but he was fairly one-dimensional in his offensive game outside of that 1993-96 period.
99)Ellis Burks - Better durability (say 100 extra PA in a given season twice) would have potentially given him a boost of 40 places on this list.
   68. bjhanke Posted: December 20, 2011 at 11:58 AM (#4019976)
On David Cone -

This is Brock Hanke. I want to post this up before I post up my ballot, because it's one long comment on what is, essentially, a digression this year. I want to make a ballot comment on David Cone that does not include all this stuff. So, here goes:

Many of you will remember that I got hammered last year for just copying my 2010 comment on Cone that went, "I make a deduction for watching him blow up in pressure ballgames early in his career, with the Mets. He may have gotten over that by the time he reached the Yanks. Bill James calls him "staff ace on loan" because he moved around so much. That's not a good sign, since pitchers of his quality are hard to find. If one keeps moving on, he must be some sort of clubhouse problem."

I deserved the hammering, because I had promised in 2010 to leave that out of the Cone discussion, and then I ran out of time in 2011 and just copied the comment over. That was dumb, and the only excuse I can make is that I was desperate for time and forgot my promise. However, there were some people who thought the comment was illegal in the first place, not to mention the second. So this year, I took a look at the part of the constitution that I was channeling when I made the comment at first. Here's the constitution paragraph:

A player's "personality" is to be considered only to the extent that it affected the outcomes of the player's games (e.g., via his positive or negative effect on his teammates). In rare and extreme cases, a voter may opt to exclude a player on "personality" grounds on the first ballot on which the player appears. If that player does not get elected on his first ballot, the voter shall give the player full consideration in all subsequent ballots, regardless of the "personality" factors.

My interpretation of this was that I had to make the deduction, because there was no doubt that Cone's tantrums had affected the outcomes of the games. I, personally, don't like this clause, because I think it's redundant. Cone's blowups show up in his ERAs and W/L records. Taking another deduction for them seems wrong. But there it was, in the constitution, and I thought I should obey it. But, looking over the paragraph again, I realize that the last part may be meant to apply to that first sentence. In other words, it's good to take that deduction, but only for one year. I didn't read it that way. I read the first sentence as applying every year. I thought the second sentence only applies to "rare and extreme cases" as OPPOSED to those in which the personality "affected the outcomes of the player's games."

So, I'm asking for an interpretation of the paragraph. When, exactly, and for how long, are we supposed to take into account a player's personality? Except for known instances of throwing games, I would not want it in there at all. As it is, since I'm not sure I understand it right, I'm just not going to apply it to anyone until I find out what it means better than I do now. I'm sure as hell not going to apply it to David Cone ever again.

- Brock Hanke
   69. bjhanke Posted: December 20, 2011 at 12:00 PM (#4019977)
One more thing: Is there a TIME on Dec. 21 by which ballots need to be in, or can I submit one at 11:30 pm? I actually sleep during the day and work at night, so this can actually happen. Sorry to be a pain, but as usual, I'm racing against the deadline. - Brock
   70. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 20, 2011 at 02:28 PM (#4019993)
The deadline is 8 PM EST, Brock. Sorry about that.
   71. bjhanke Posted: December 20, 2011 at 02:42 PM (#4020000)
Grandma -

Thank you SO much for giving me the time. It's only about 3 hours that I'll lose, and I'll be able to manage a ballot before then. I'm off to bed now, with a much-lessened sense of anxiety. - Brock
   72. DL from MN Posted: December 20, 2011 at 04:23 PM (#4020046)
I only consider a player's personality if it degraded the performance of his team beyond what would be shown by the numbers. The only player I have applied that to is Joe Jackson.
   73. Mark Donelson Posted: December 20, 2011 at 08:06 PM (#4020322)
Actually, Brock, my problem way back when with your original Cone comment was less about constitutional legalities and more that I felt the last part--the bit about "if he moved around so much, he must have been considered a problem"--was simply not true.

In pretty much every case, Cone moved around because teams wanted him—mostly contenders trading for him at the deadline—rather than because they didn't. And once he settled with the Yankees, he was certainly a very positive presence in the clubhouse, among the leaders of the dynasty teams, and clearly not a detriment.

The oddest situation on paper, which may have been a major factor in your original conclusion, was when Toronto dealt him at the 1995 deadline, mere months after trading for him in the first place. But that reflected the Blue Jays' original plans to compete that season, and the subsequent ruin of those plans as 1995 played out, more than anything else—I never heard any reports that the Jays were unhappy with Cone's clubhouse presence or anything. (I know the Yankees were rightly thrilled to get him!)

Similarly, the Royals themselves shifted gears after the strike, partly because of Ewing Kaufmann's death--he'd signed Cone after the 1992 season, but he died in 1993, and by the 1995 preseason, the new ownership was cutting payroll heavily. Again, never heard any reflection on Cone here, except perhaps that Royals management was mad at him for his leadership role in the players' association during the strike. (Which doesn't seem like a character issue, exactly!)

However, I'd also agree that our "character clause" shouldn't double-penalize for what's already in the existing numbers.
   74. Willie Mays Hayes Posted: December 21, 2011 at 12:08 AM (#4020613)
2011 Ballot

I'm a peak-centric voter who also gives proper credit to a long career, so long as the career candidate doesn't have a bunch of replacement-level seasons. I am now using Sean Smith's WAR, as I find it to be the most fair.

1. Rick Reuschel - Sean's WAR loves him, and I do too. Truly underrated in his time.
2. Johnny Pesky - With war credit, he is a no-brainer. Even looking at it conservatively, he passes muster.
3. Vic Willis - A true find in looking at Sean's WAR. Better peak than Reuschel, but I like Resuchel's body of work a bit more.
4. Bobby Bonds - A tremendous outfielder, and has a bonafide case.
5. Kevin Appier - Third best peak on the ballot. Like Reuschel, the end of his career dings him, even more so than Rick.
6. Luis Tiant - Extraordinarily close to Appier.
7. Rafael Palmeiro - Modern day Jake Beckley. Long career, a bit of an accumulator, but enough of a peak to get in the middle of my ballot.
8. John Olerud - Just a consistent hitter who provided excellent defense at first base. Something of a late peak guy, which didn't jive with my memory.
9. Norm Cash - This is where the ballot thins out, to me. Cash was quite good, but I don't think he's HOM-worthy.
10. Bob Elliott - Basically interchangeable with Cash.
11. Hugh Duffy - Really suffers from Sean's WAR vs. where I had him ranked previously.
12. Don Mattingly - Awesome peak, not much else. Back injury cost him a spot in the HOM.
13. Phil Rizzuto - I'm pretty generous with the war credit for him, and he still falls a decent bit short.
14. David Cone - Perhaps the best hired gun I've ever seen. Peak doesn't measure up, though due to the odd career shape.
15. Bob Johnson - Not far from Bonds career-wise, but Bonds had the superior peak.


Bernie Williams is the only newbie even close to the ballot, and he is around #20.
Concepcion and Campaneris are the next two on the list. I've chosen to split the difference between Sean and Dan's narrative on each of them.
Redding is also near 20, the tail end of his career is penalized in my system,.
   75. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 21, 2011 at 01:50 AM (#4020715)
I almost had a heart attack reading your Bob Johnson comment until I realized you were talking about Papa Bonds.
   76. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 21, 2011 at 03:22 AM (#4020776)
21 ballots so far. Mine will be 22. We had 38 last year.

Would an extension help?
   77. OCF Posted: December 21, 2011 at 03:41 AM (#4020786)
Joe, I only have 20 so far.
   78. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 21, 2011 at 05:05 AM (#4020826)
Thanks OCF - I could have double counted one ...
   79. Nate the Neptunian Posted: December 21, 2011 at 05:55 AM (#4020847)
2012 Ballot.

See my prelim ballot in the 2012 discussion thread for an explanation of my methods.

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 earlier in the 2012 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 (55 points), including 2 years in Bismark. 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.

Hugh Duffy (254) 254 total points, which was 24th in my system generated list, but 29th with Negro Leaguers. Either way, not that far from my ballot. 10 prime years, and one year as the best player in MBL (1894), but not all that much to go with it.
Phil Rizzuto (253) With 68 adjustment points, for his three years playing ball in the Navy, he makes it to 253 points. For a fuller explantion, see posts 278 and 279 in the 2012 discussion thread.
David Cone (207) 207 total points, which is about 60th in my consideration set. 12 prime years, but not much peak. Was never the best in MLB, a top player, best at position, or best pitcher (the former accounts for hitting and fielding, the latter is strictly based on pitching), which definitely hurts him.
Dick Redding (170) Stats at are up and down. Tail end of career covered in HOF file has little value. Seemed to have a monster 1917, and good years in 1912, 1916, 1919 and 1921, but not much else. Estimated 7 year prime (35 points). 75 points for 1917 (may be a bit too generious, as I have him as the best player in baseball). 15 points each for '12, '16, '19, and '21.
Luis Tiant (157) 157 points. Not in my consideration set of top 100ish players by points, so didn't look closely at him. Looking at him now, he had a 13 year prime, but his lack of peak kills him. Like Cone he was never best in MLB, a top player, best at position, or best pitcher. And he was top 20% at his position and as a pitcher significantly less than Cone.
   80. SWW Posted: December 21, 2011 at 06:03 AM (#4020848)
Dear lord, it's taken me all night to log in. And I'm on a plane in 12 hours. Good use of time.

Made some adjustments, giving WAR a little more prominence in my aggregation. Some surprises result. Well, to me, anyway. Updated comments where I could.

<u>2012 Ballot</u>
1) Rafael Palmeiro Corrales
I always liked him, so the finger-wagging and its outcome just make me sad. I don’t debit his numbers to try and resolve the steroid question. He was just very, very consistent, racking up solid numbers year after year, and compiling the kind of career stats that do well with me. Most Win Shares of any available candidate save Tony Mullane. Great career, and...sad, sad, sad.
2) Atanasio Perez Rigal – “Tony”
Has similarities to Mark McGwire in his final numbers, although Tony obviously accumulated his in a very different manner. I think I’ve got him in the right place. 74th on Ken Shouler Top 100.
3) Burleigh Arland Grimes – “Ol’ Stubblebeard”
Not just a Favorite Teddy Bear, but a Cherished Heirloom, and my white whale. A successful pitcher with both a dead ball and a live one. Frequently one of the best pitchers in the league, and often the best pitcher on his team. Many comparisons to Early Wynn, whom we did elect, and most similar to Red Faber, whom we also elected. Obviously, if I were keeping a PHOM, he’d have been in it decades ago. Ritter & Honig Top 100.
4) Richard Redding – “Cannonball Dick”
Definitely the best remaining Negro League pitcher. Whether he’s the best remaining Negro League player is something I’m starting to re-evaluate.
5) Edgar Charles Rice – “Sam”
Probably the most careerist vote on my ballot, I reckon. An impressive career considering his late start. It is a very flat career arc, though. Timelining might put him closer to Bonds, Singleton, or Reggie Smith.
6) Philip Francis Rizzuto - “Scooter”
Moving up the ballot after several years where I didn’t include him at all. Strong numbers considering the war-sized hole in his career.
7) David Gus Bell – “Buddy”
Even as a regular Ranger fan for years, this ranking utterly surprises me. Over 300 WS, one of the highest WAR on the board, and Ink scores on par with other third basemen up for consideration. A real find.
8) Thomas William Leach – “The Wee”
A lot of Win Shares/WAR for his era, of the candidates we haven’t inducted. He has been on the cusp for a very long time.
9) Louis Clark Brock
Reaffirming my status as a career voter. He does well in Black and Gray Ink (owing, no doubt, to his prowess on the basepaths), and his prime WS and Top 10 WS seasons are notable. He’s hanging in there. 42nd on Ken Shouler Top 100. 58th on Sporting News Top 100. 73rd on SABR Top 100. 77th on McGuire & Gormley Top 100. New York Times Top 100. Ritter & Honig Top 100.
10) Rickey Eugene Reuschel – “Big Daddy”
Quote from last year: “Guess I know what to spend the next 12 months looking over.” The stats clearly mark him as a solid candidate, which is totally at odds with my memory of the man. This project is all about learning to put those memories in perspective. Welcome to the ballot, Rick.
11) William Henry Davis – “Willie”
Wow, didn’t see that coming.
12) Frederick Stanley McGriff - “The Crime Dog”
A big beneficiary of my increased consideration of WAR. The Black/Gray Ink scores aren’t as impressive. Also, I have too many first basemen.
13) Benjamin Harrison Taylor
First ever vote from me. It’s been years since I had more than one Negro Leaguer on my ballot; I must have thought I was done. Wrong. A strong and consistent hitter, and I found it interesting that Oscar Charleston named Taylor to his all-time team.
14) Kirby Puckett
I don’t find him as overrated as do some. Writers used to go too far, overusing words like “stocky” and “fireplug”. But the man put up the numbers, with 6 Top 10 AL Win Shares seasons. 86th on Sporting News Top 100. 95th on SABR Top 100. 98th on Bill James Top 100. The career-ending injury certainly robbed him of more impressive career statistics, but did it really need to be mentioned on the HOF plaque? No, it did not.
15) Salvatore Leonard Bando
First vote from me. Among the leaders for third basemen offensively and defensively.

<u>Other Top 10 Finishers</u>
David Brian Cone
His numbers are pretty plain compared to some of his fellow candidates. Feels like the clutch pitcher that all the writers think Jack Morris is.
Hugh Duffy
Last year, I had Dale Murphy on my ballot, but also made the observation that Duffy was similar in many ways. Now they’re similar in that they’re both off my ballot. Still kinda remarkable to me that we elected Hughie Jennings but not Duffy.
Luis Clemente Tiant Vega
I compared him to Cone last year; now I’m thinking that he’s much better than Cone. Not quite ballot-worthy, but higher than he was.
John Garrett Olerud
Not a required mention, but I wanted to observe that I currently have him in the #16 slot. Just too many first basemen.
   81. gnomestani Posted: December 21, 2011 at 06:40 AM (#4020861)
2012 Ballot
1 Brock, Lou 53.4 fWAR - Nowhere near as bad as fielding stats put him; fld% reduced by his range; and was indeed quite excellent at the things he was good at. A mistake as a 1st-rounder, but it would be a mistake to say he doesn't belong at all.
2 McGriff, Fred 61.0 fWAR - Solid bat, underrated glove.
3 Kaat, Jim 41.2 bWAR - A solid, if early peak, standout defense, and a very, very long career are enough for me.
4 Cash, Norm 64.8 fWAR - Sure he's an accumulator, but his 1961 season and 1968 WS were excellent.
5 Dean, Dizzy 39.6 bWAR - As someone uphtread said, "extreme peak candidate but, hey, he had an extreme peak."
6 Tiant, Luis 60.1 bWAR - I'll confess I didn't realize how good he was until looking more into his candidacy, but Tiant had some truly incredible seasons.
7 Rizzuto, Phil 47.2 fWAR - Missed three years in his prime for military duty, best shortstop not in.
8 Aparicio, Luis 63.6 fWAR - Similar to Rizzuto, just below if you give Rizzuto credit for war years.
9 Gooden, Dwight 47.6 bWAR - What might have been... Gooden's 1985 was quite possibly the best season a pitcher ever had, and he did it at age 20. What a ridiculous 10-year stretch, one the like of which I don't think we'll ever see again.
10 John, Tommy 59.0 bWAR - John was another accumulator, with a 26! year career, and iconic as the namer for TJ surgery. There hasn't been a pitch-to-contact pitcher of his success during his career or following.
11 Sutter, Bruce 25.0 bWAR - Excellent peak, if short career, and helped define both modern closer usage and introduce the splitter.
12 Smith, Lee 30.3 bWAR - Smith was a better pitcher than Sutter for longer, but his career didn't have the same historic value.
13 Belle, Albert 44.2 fWAR - Mashed at his peak, and retired very young from hip problems - would have been amazing to see what he could have done as a healthy DH.
14 Lima, Jose 3.2 bWAR - IT'S LIMA TIME! RIP
15 Fassero, Jeff 22.3 bWAR - Started his career late, and I put him on over some likely more deserving players as simply a longtime personal favorite. He won't get in; I just wanted him to show up on the vote page, like whoever gave Walt Weiss a HOF vote.

Others close to ballot:

Cepeda, Appier, Cicotte, Staub, Murphy, Tenace, Reuschel, Bell, Briles
   82. Howie Menckel Posted: December 21, 2011 at 07:07 AM (#4020867)
2012 ballot - our (and my) 116th since we began this version of the journey in 2003 (real time) with an "1898" ballot.

props to any other remaining "voting Ripkens" as well.

I had last year's electees Larkin-Alomar-EMartinez 1-3-4 on my ballot.

The annual fine print: Overall, I think there is too much emphasis on WARP3 and WS and even more newfangled stats, which are intriguing tools but which still are not yet sufficiently mature.
So my fondness (but not blind allegiance by any means, especially where durability is an issue) for ERA+ and OPS+ helps, I think, as a reality check. Increasingly, I've had to adjust for PAs/IP per season, not really an issue in earlier years when nearly all the big stars played almost every day or pitched a ton of innings.
I tend to be mostly prime-oriented with hitters, and prime and career with pitchers. But a huge peak sometimes catches my eye, and a remarkably long hitting career also works for me.
Unlike a lot of voters, I've run out of longtime "pet projects" to tout aggressively for the Hall of Merit.

Finally, I must tip my hat to the supporters of the unusual cases of Dave Concepcion (and Campaneris) and Reuschel. Neither instinctively appeals to me, but the arguments are intriguing, so I listen.

1. DAVID CONE - Very similar to HOMer Dave Stieb. I like him better than HOMer Saberhagen, 8 major prime seasons to Saberhagen's 5. I suspect people are underrating Cone's remarkable 1994, giving not enough credit on a strike-ruined season. 175-96 from 1988-99. Even won all 5 of his World Series starts, with a 2.12 ERA. It seems fair to say that we are a bit low on HOM SPs, as well. But is he a no-brainer for me? No one is here.

2. FRED MCGRIFF – Such a tight battle for me with Palmeiro last year, who has a weaker peak but a longer prime. I took Crime Dog by a nose, but it’s ohsoclose. McGriff 134 OPS+ in 10174 PA to Palmeiro’s 132 in 12046 PA. I love the 157-166-153-147-166-143-157 peak from 1998-94, all in 600+ PA or equivalent.

3. RAFAEL PALMEIRO – Wow, didn’t realize that not only does Bagwell crush Palmeiro on peak, he pummels him on prime as well. All Palmeiro has extra are four mediocre OPS+s of 104 to 113, while getting bettered top-to-bottom on each of the top 14 seasons. Neither were annual Gold Glovers at 1B. Am a little surprised that his non-steroids-tainted case is not better than it is. It’s ok, but he won’t get in anyway now. But he’ll get in the HOM at least.

4. CANNONBALL DICK REDDING - A longtime favorite who climbed his way back onto my ballot in recent years and even climbed back to "elect-me" status at times. I liked him as an all-around candidate, but the HOF research suggests he's more of a peak guy. Those types don't always fare well with me, but I see no better player on the board. He was on an election path for a long while, but I think the voters who left were bigger Redding fans than the ones who remain.

5. BOB JOHNSON - I like this sort of consistency over a long span, though I'd hardly say he's a 'must-elect.' Sort of the Joe Gordon of OFs in career shape, or a slightly longer and flatter version of Kiner. Or McGriff without the tail, offensively. I am concerned by 1944 being his highest OPS+; seems like he took advantage of the weak competition, so I discount that a bit. But has more than a decade's worth of excellent hitting, for a prime that I like better than, say, George Van Haltren's or almost any other holdovers’.

6. BOB ELLIOTT - Good to see him mentioned in a discussion thread starting 6-7 'years' back, at least. Six seasons of at least 134 OPS+, ALL of them as a 3B (Ventura never had any that high). Wish he'd played all 3B and not much OF, but c'est le vie - Sewell seemed to get treated as a full SS by some. Beats out HOMer Boyer (see Boyer thread for details) and compares remarkably well with HOMer Santo as a hitter (see Santo thread for more details). Better than HOMer Hack as well, and better than HOMer DaEvans (see DaEvans thread).

7. DAVE CONCEPCION -11th time on my ballot, and moved up a couple of slots this year. Peak is as good or better than Nellie Fox's; not quite as consistent, but a slick fielder and a very useful offensive weapon many times. Not fully buying the "other teams were stupid enough to play ciphers at the position, so give Davey bonus pts" argument; that helped the Reds win pennants, but Concepcion can't get full credit for that stupidity. But he needs the modest credit in that regard to outlast Rizzuto. Similar case to Bancroft, whose prime I preferred in other years to Concepcion's length. It's close.

8. BEN TAYLOR - Had meant to reconsider him for years; finally did so 6-7 “years” ago. Long career, excellent fielder, consistent player. I'm not 100 pct sold on the hitting MLEs, but very good reputation and for sure a quality player. Moves up slightly.

9. VIC WILLIS - Won a Howie Menckel SP bakeoff with Grimes and Walters several 'years' ago, with slightly more career than Walters and better peak than Grimes. It's close, but I'll stick with Vic for yet another year.

10. DAVE BANCROFT - Not sure if I ever voted for him before 12 years ago. But look at the prime: fantastic fielder at SS, with OPS+s of 120-19-19-09-09-09-04. Won a fresh 3-way evaluation vs Fox and Concepcion at one point, then fell to Davey. Similar to Randolph, but an SS.

11. BUCKY WALTERS - 4th pitcher on my ballot; we’re a little shy there. Seemed to get Jim Palmer-like defensive support, without enough super-stats to make that irrelevant. Proved his mettle outside of 'war years.' Lemon-esque, though I wasn't a big fan there.

12. KIRBY PUCKETT - Good prime for a CF, but not amazing. I had said if I wasn't sold on him being an excellent defensive CF in his first 6-8 years, he'd drop a bit. And now I believe his defensive prime didn't last that long, so he has dropped slowly but surely. I'll pass on the intangibles, but he holds his own against BobBonds offensively, for instance, and has just enough at the finish line to pass DaMurphy on long prime.

13. RICK REUSCHEL - Unquestionably a lot better than we realized when he watched his career. 1997 is the lone "can't help but notice" year, with 20 W, 2nd in ERA+, 7th in IP, etc. Aside from that, a combo of workhorse seasons with some great-rate but non-workhorse seasons. A dozen 200+ IP seasons. But ruined by only being able to pitch 113 total IP at age 33-34-35; coulda made higher on my ballot with a little more oomph.

14. PHIL RIZZUTO - I'll grant a lot of war credit and stipulate to the great, great fielding. But even 3 war credit years gets him only to 13 main years, and the fielding made him above-average overall but not excellent in most seasons. Yet at closer look, similar case to Concepcion when you cancel out the irrelevant parts. Throw in his lengthy career as a beloved broadcaster, and it's bizarre that he ever gets mentioned as one of the Hall of Fame's awful picks. There are literally dozens of worse ones.

15. LUIS TIANT - Looks like he has the peak at first glance, but notice that the IP just aren't quite there. Plenty good when he did pitch, but with that lack of innings you have to be even more dominant. Maybe he winds up as the era's last P electee, but probably not. A favorite of rate-voters.


HUGH DUFFY – Most voting points in HOM history, of course he keeps adding to his lead since he doesn’t get elected. Only one season (1894) of 130 OPS+ or better dooms him (ok, 2 with 1891 AA), even as a strong fielder. Needed a little more pop.

GAVVY CRAVATH - Have voted for him before; do give him some minor league credit, absolutely. A reasonable end-ballot pick; I just think that not only did he get a huge boost from the Baker Bowl, others could have done the same. Anyone else who has THIS much more MLB production in his 30s than his 20s? Not many, especially before steroids era.

DON NEWCOMBE – A passionate, detailed Newcombe backer might also get me there. I think he had the skills, but he didn’t quite actually produce quite enough. Prove me wrong next year.


BERNIE WILLIAMS - Didn't quite like him enough over this top 15, but a serious low-ballot candidate and might tab him in the future. Feel like he had corner-OF D and CF-star stats. Only new guy I may look at again next year.

BERT CAMPANERIS – Will consider further next year; just Concepcion-lite, who seemed kind of lite, overall.

KEN SINGLETON - Bob Johnson-like, but not quite as good for quite as long. Equally underappreciated in his time.

DALE MURPHY - His modest fan club will be saddened that he fell off my ballot. A different peak-primieness than Belle, and a different fade as well.

ORLANDO CEPEDA - Suddenly popped up on my ballot 12 years ago with the reevaluation. Had been losing out to Perez with positional consideration, but closer look shows a sterling top-4 and top-10 offensive line. DH opportunity added nothing to his case. He may reclaim a ballot slot someday.

TOMMY LEACH - I (barely) voted for him dozens of times, never quite warmed up to him. I wish some of the 3B-OF Leach-lovers compared him to my pet Elliott. Career 109 OPS+ here, and absolutely no decline-oriented mirage. Basically a fungible player past age 30. A guy who makes some stat systems look bad if you do a reality check.

BURLEIGH GRIMES - Compare to Ruffing, Rixey, Wynn and other such HOM pitchers - ok, Sutton, too. I dismissed him as short of Rixey and Ruffing, and he was. But he's just one 130 ERA+ year short of climbing onto this ballot. Better peak than Tommy John, and a lot more durable relative to his era.

ROBIN VENTURA - Great fielder, so ahead of better-hitting Cey. A plausible pick; I just ask for a little more offense or a little more career. Underrated.

RON CEY - In the past I have had him over Nettles and Bell and nearly on the ballot, but that's because I may like his fielding better than most. Closest of the trio to Bando in hitting.

LEE SMITH - Very tough one. 10 seasons I really like a lot, only 1 or 2 I love. Sutter has more to love, less to like. A lot of RPs do. Off my ballot, but may get back into consideration.

ALBERT BELLE - Eerily Kiner-esque and Keller-esque, and I like if not love these mashers. Wouldacoudashoulda been such an easy pick if not for the sudden career crash. It is true that in subsequent years even more of these types have proliferated.

JOHN OLERUD – The fielding is strong and he was a superstar twice. But only 5 stellar seasons isn’t quite enough. Could play in an underrated infield with Ventura, Grich and Concepcion – that would be a good team!
   83. OCF Posted: December 21, 2011 at 08:41 AM (#4020871)

While I will have to consult with the other ballot counters about this, my first impulse is not to count your ballot. You appear to be a new voter, and the information at the top of this thread applies, notably, "...the posting of the ballot to the discussion thread for new voters is not just a formality. " That, and your votes for Jose Lima and Jeff Fassero seem to indicate that you're not taking this entirely seriously.

Howie's ballot brings the total to 22.
   84. gnomestani Posted: December 21, 2011 at 09:33 AM (#4020875)
I take umbrage at your insinuation I'm not taking this seriously. Not taking this seriously would be to give a vote to Lima or Fassero that would actually have any meaning. If there's anything any posters would like me to clarify about my picks, I will willingly do so.
   85. Carl Goetz Posted: December 21, 2011 at 02:58 PM (#4020917)
14-15 votes do mean something. Everyone has pet candidates so the votes are more dispersed even for 'serious' candidates. Especially in a backlog year like this, every point counts. Your comments should explain why you think Lima and Fassero were better players than the list of also-rans below them. In Fassero's case, you admit that you don't think that. As for Weiss' HoF vote, that's an excellent example of the reason we're doing this; alot of HoF voters didn't/aren't taking this seriously.
   86. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 21, 2011 at 03:24 PM (#4020930)
gnomestani - OCF is correct, you do need to post to the discussion thread first.

I appreciate your honesty regarding Jose Lima and Jeff Fassero (a personal favorite). But as Carl said, 14th and 15th place votes have a lot of meaning in this project - every vote counts. Those votes are worth 7 and 6 points, respectively. This would have been explained had you posted to the discussion thread first.

Last year, 10 points separated 6th and 7th place, and those two would be 3rd and 4th this year. 8th, 9th and 10th were then separated by just 11 points.

Please post your ballot to the discussion thread and please revise to give your honest top 15. We don't allow any throw-away spots, as our backlog of candidates is deep and getting a true ranking is important.

   87. Al Peterson Posted: December 21, 2011 at 05:07 PM (#4021032)
2012 final 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.

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.

Disclaimer #1: There are not a lot of players on this ballot who have a HOM feel to me. I'd say below Palmiero you have some dubious options. Get me to years with more no-brainers!

Disclaimer #2: As with all backlog years the rankings are tight. I'd say #5 is closer in value to #25 than to the top 4. It really is splitting hairs at this point.

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.
   88. ronw Posted: December 21, 2011 at 06:11 PM (#4021115)

Jose Lima just supplanted Wid Conroy as the strangest HOM vote.

Now even if I actually received a vote, I would not be the worst pitcher ever named on a ballot.


Hall of Famer Happy Jack Chesbro
   89. Patrick W Posted: December 21, 2011 at 06:58 PM (#4021173)
Even as a proponent of a larger (more inclusive) Hall, I gotta say I’m looking forward to the Class of 2013. Bernie Williams seems to me a very questionable selection, worthy of a decade or more of consideration (like Charlie Keller or Minoso). Amongst this list of players, he is only just missing the P-Hall and will be enshrined at the next backlog opportunity. Going forward, I‘m inclined to support a cap on the induction cycle at 3 per year max.

There was a strong rookie class last year, so the P-Hall is playing catch-up with that group.

1. Rick Reuschel (2), Chic. – S.F. (N) SP (’72-’90) (1996) – This list has a bunch of pitchers who pitched a long time at average or better. This may not be your cup of tea, but value is value in my system. My peak adjustments don’t vault anyone above these career guys – or rather, the guys who do vault above have already been elected.
2. Rafael Palmeiro (4), Tex. – Balt. (A), 1B (’87-’05) (2012) – Kinda happy to see a stats-accumulator-type not just waltz in first ballot. No real outstanding seasons on the resume.
3. Ron Cey (5), L.A. (N), 3B (’73-’87) (2010) – His 3-Yr and 5-Yr peak rates are HOM-worthy (in the top 250 all time), and 10-Yr rate is upper-half HOM level. He’s not Darrell Evans, who sailed in as a rookie in 1995, but he could’ve been with a few more productive years.
4. Frank Tanana (6), Cal. – Detr. (A) SP (’73-’93) (2000) – Koufax peak, plus 10 additional years of average / below avg.
5. Bucky Walters (7),Cinc. – Phila. (N) SP (’33-’47) (1961) – He’s just as good as Leonard, Trout, Koosman and Lolich.
6. Luis Tiant (8), Bost. – Clev. (A) SP (’64-’80) (1988) – Right there with Drysdale, Ford and Marichal. Not a slam dunk, but the ballot’s not strong enough to hold him down.
7. John Olerud (9), Tor. (A), 1B (’90-’05) (2012) – I can’t really separate Olerud and Larry Walker here. Olerud has a 0.300 EQA in 9,000 PA’s, versus Walker at 0.303 in 8,000 PA. This is the quality of player in the top 300 ever; now that we’re in the era where I’ve seen these players’ careers, I need to adjust my expectations of future Hall members to know this is where the baseline occurs.
8. Tony Perez (10), Cinc. (N), 1B / 3B (’65-’86) (1994) – There’s just no peak-worthiness left in the backlog. The career candidates are all hanging out here waiting to get in. I’m guessing the players from the ‘I remember watching him play’ era are being hurt by this distinction, relative to the guys from 100 years ago who are pretty much a name and stat line to us collectively.
9. Tommy John (11), Chic.– N.Y. (A) SP (’63-’89) (1997) – Average for a quarter century is just a different definition of greatness.
--. Larry Walker, Col. – Mont. (N), RF (’90-’05) (2012)
10. Phil Rizzuto (13), N.Y. (A), SS (’41-’56) (1972) – Joe Gordon and Bobby Doerr were prominent members of my ballot in the past. Rizzuto is of this ilk, but slightly less.
11. Bernie Williams (n/a), N.Y. (A), CF (’91-’06) –Doesn’t have the long career for the career voters, nor the great MVP seasons for the peak voters. I could see him getting elected without anyone pushing for it. He was just a very good player at an important defensive position for just long enough to be considered. As said above, a borderline case.
12. David Cone (14), N.Y. (N) – N.Y. (A) SP (’87-’01) (2008) – His 10-year prime ranks in the top half of HOMers.
13. George Van Haltren (15), N.Y. (N), CF / LF (’87-’03) (1926) – Long a personal favorite, he would be a HOMer if past election results were static. To just pick a year at random, in 1934 VH finished higher in the results than 8 players currently enshrined.
14. Frank Tanana (--), Cal. – Detr. (A) SP (’73-’93) (2000) – Almost a Koufax peak, then played for 10 additional years of average / below avg. Here is either the player that breaks my system or a vastly underrated pitcher by the rest of you.
15. Lee Smith (--), Chic. – St.L. (N) RP (’81-’97) (2003) – I’m going back and forth on the coming era of closers. Right now, I think I’m okay with voting in the closers with a substantial career length; I do want to be fair to the era they played in. But Smith’s not even close to 2,000 IP and I’m guessing the next gen of RP’s is coming in under Smith’s total. I guess I’ll need to review my leverage multiplier soon to ensure I vote for the worthy, but only the worthy.

Dick Redding – The bar for NeL pitchers has been set higher than this, IMO. The jump from Ray Brown to Bill Foster, Mendez and Redding will keep them all out of my Hall.
Hugh Duffy – I have Van Haltren, Ryan and Griffin ranked ahead of Duffy from the OF of that era. VH, at the top of that pecking order, is only making the bottom range of the ballot.

Redding and Duffy were in last year’s top ten, but not in my top 15 this year.
   90. Al Peterson Posted: December 21, 2011 at 07:07 PM (#4021184)
Patrick W,

I don't think Tanana was a good enough player to be listed at #4 and #14. Quick correction needed on that.
   91. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 21, 2011 at 07:40 PM (#4021223)
21 ballots so far. Mine will be 22. We had 38 last year.

Would an extension help?

I still have my ballot to post (within the hour, BTW), Joe, but an extension might be a good idea.
   92. DL from MN Posted: December 21, 2011 at 07:46 PM (#4021231)
I wouldn't extend past Friday. I doubt we're getting a lot of ballots in once the holiday weekend arrives.
   93. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 21, 2011 at 08:01 PM (#4021252)
Yes, it's that time of year, my friends. :-)

114th consecutive ballot since our inaugural election of 1898 for me.

No remotely inner-circle candidates this election, so it's the "lesser" talents to be evaluated.

I use Win Shares as the base for my ranking system, though I am now using a modified version (any negative values are converted into zeroes) of BRAR, FRAR and PRAR for the NA.

I am integrating the conclusions made by DERA with Win Shares for all pitchers.

I do place (to a certain degree) domination at one's position during the player's era. That doesn't mean that domination-by-default will necessarily help you though (Gil Hodges may have been the best first baseman of his era, but he wont make my ballot).

1) Bus Clarkson-SS/3B (2): Looks like the best shortstop of the Forties, which is surprising to me. IMO, Eric would have to be totally off with his projections for Clarkson not to be near the top of everybody's ballot. Shave off 50 WS from his MLE and he still comfortably belongs.

2) Lee Smith-RP (3): Having his career occur during a major rethinking of his position really distorts his true value, IMO. All things equal, Gossage was better, but not that much better. Never the best for any one season, but consistently among the best for many a year.

3) Rafael Palmeiro-1B (n/e): The new, improved Jake Beckley. No peak, but oodles of career. Will he make it this year?

4) Bucky Walters-P (4): The guy had a nice peak, fairly long career, and could hit. Even with a defense adjustment, he stands out. Best ML pitcher of 1939 (extremely close in 1940). Best NL pitcher of 1940 and 1944.

5) Mickey Welch-P (5): Like the hurlers of the 1970s, the generation from the 1880s was rich in talent. On that note, Welch deserves a HoM nod. Best major league pitcher for 1885.

6) Vic Willis-P (6): Willis pitched a ton of innings at an above-average rate for a long enough time for his era. Best major league pitcher for 1899. Best NL pitcher for 1901.

7) Gavvy Cravath-RF (7): I'm giving him MLE credit for 1908-11 (not full credit for '08, since he did play some in the majors that year). Possibly would have been the best ML right fielder for 1910. Best NL right fielder for 1913 and 1914. Best ML right fielder for 1915, 1916, and 1917.

8) Bob Elliott-3B/RF (8): Best third baseman of the Forties. The bridge between the Jimmy Collins-Pie Traynor types and the later ones that didn't have the same defensive responsibilities. He could hit, field, and didn't have a short career when compared to other third basemen throughout history. Best ML third baseman for 1943, 1944, 1947, 1948, and close in 1950. Best NL third baseman for 1949 and 1950.

9) Hugh Duffy-CF/LF/RF (9): Been on my ballot forever and haven't regretted it. "Only" the third best center fielder of the '90s, but that position was very strong for that decade. Best major league right fielder for 1890 and 1891. Best major league center fielder for 1892, 1893 and 1894.

10) Pie Traynor-3B (10): Best white third baseman of his time (though J. Wilson and Beckwith were better). Best major league third baseman for 1923 (Beckwith was better), 1925, 1927, 1929 (Beckwith was better) and 1932.
   94. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 21, 2011 at 08:01 PM (#4021255)
11) Burleigh Grimes-P (11): Pitched for a long time behind crappy teams and defenses. Not a bad peak, too Best NL pitcher for 1921 and 1929.

12) Bobby Bonds-RF/CF (12): One of my favorites growing up as a kid. He could do it all. Made his debut on my 3rd birthday, which I believe means something. Best ML right fielder for 1970 (close in 1971). Best NL right fielder for 1971 and 1973.

13) Tommy Bridges-P (n/e): Back on my ballot after a while. I'm giving him WWII credit. Still not sure about post-major league credit for him, though. Never the best in his league, but consistently of high quality throughout his career.

14) Billy Nash-3B (n/e): Off and on my ballot for decades. Possibly the best defensive third baseman of the 19th century (and not too bad offensively). Great arm and a master of handling bunts. Captain for the Beaneaters for five seasons (1891-1895; thanks to Cliff Blau for uncovering the other three years of his captaincy) and the highest paid player on the team after the Players' League folded. He was never the same after a beaning in 1896 (he developed vertigo). Best ML third baseman for 1888, 1892, and 1893. Best NL third baseman for 1887 and 1889. Best PL third baseman for 1890.

15) Bernie Williams-CF (n/e): Not a dominating player, but damn good numbers for his position. I'm placing him this year until I get a better handle on his greatness.
   95. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 21, 2011 at 08:06 PM (#4021261)
I wouldn't extend past Friday. I doubt we're getting a lot of ballots in once the holiday weekend arrives.

Depends. If we get a few voters who publicly ask for the extra time, it would be worth it to wait a little bit. The more voters the better, IMO. Less likely to get bizarre results that way, too.
   96. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 21, 2011 at 08:28 PM (#4021284)
I take umbrage at your insinuation I'm not taking this seriously. Not taking this seriously would be to give a vote to Lima or Fassero that would actually have any meaning. If there's anything any posters would like me to clarify about my picks, I will willingly do so.

Your ballot should include the best 15 players that are eligible. If you honestly believe Fassero and Lima qualify under that criterion, great, but you will have to defend that analytically. I have a feeling that will be a tough field to plow.
   97. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 21, 2011 at 08:46 PM (#4021303)
Thank you SO much for giving me the time. It's only about 3 hours that I'll lose, and I'll be able to manage a ballot before then. I'm off to bed now, with a much-lessened sense of anxiety. - Brock

No problem, Brock.
   98. DL from MN Posted: December 21, 2011 at 09:02 PM (#4021323)
it would be worth it to wait a little bit

I agree somewhat. I don't think people are going to put in a ballot this weekend. If they do I won't be around to look it over and discuss it. That would make it MORE likely we get bizarre results. I also want to see our results come out before the HoF results.

Voters have had a YEAR to make up their ballots. There is only one new candidate worth reviewing. There is really no excuse for waiting until the last minute.

Can I assume you're posting the required disclosures in another entry?
   99. bjhanke Posted: December 21, 2011 at 09:11 PM (#4021329)
Here is Brock Hanke's final ballot for HoM 2012. First, I want to thank DL and Mark, comments #72 and 73, for not defenestrating me about David Cone. I took a completely different tack this year than I ever have with Cone, and will happily read comments. I still didn't vote for him, but I just think there are earlier pitchers who were better.

I also THINK I included a comment on everyone required from last year. If I'm missing one, please let me know. I did not think Bernie Williams should be on the ballot, and everyone else was weaker, so this is a backlog-only ballot.

As for methodology, I think that the ability to work out a good mathematical method is important, but no more important than the ability to ask the right question. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what the right question is. Then I try to balance all the arenas of strength (career length, high rate, good glove, hot bat, peak, prime, postseason, everything I can think of). As I go back in time, I rely more and more on contemporary reputation, and less on statistical methods. This is not because I think sabermetricians are the bunk, but because the available stats from the early times don't provide enough fuel for the mathematical engines. I have faith in Chris Cobb's analysis of the Negro Leagues, but I still rely a lot on reputation. I rely a lot on Paul Wendt's work on the VERY early game.

What follows is a simple list of my votes, for tabulation purposes, followed by the same list, but with comments. Then there are the carryover guys that the rules require me to comment upon. I agree with the rules about that, BTW.

- Brock Hanke

1. Babe Adams
2. Bobby Bonds
3. Hugh Duffy
4. Tommy Bridges
5. Don Newcombe
6. Jim McCormick
7. Dizzy Dean
8. Luis Tiant
9. Hilton Smith
10. Deacon Philippe
11. Rabbit Maranville
12. Tommy Leach
13. Rick Reuschel
14. Vic Willis
15. Tony Mullane

1. Babe Adams

Last year, I compared Babe Adams to the other members of what I call the "Pittsburgh Six (Pit6)." I concluded that Adams was the best of the group, and it's a group that I like. This year, I tried to find a pitcher who gets HoM votes and is at least close to comparable to Adams, but who is more contemporary. I found Rick Reuschel, whom I was looking at anyway. Here are the basic numbers:

Name Years IP ERA+
Babe 19 2995 118
Rick 19 3548 114

One guy has about 550 more IP; the other has a lead of 4 in ERA+. That's close to take your pick, although I'd certainly give the edge to Reuschel. In both cases, it's a lot of seasons for the IP. Both pitchers have a lot of short-workload years, usually because their arms went dead for a season or so, and that happened repeatedly to both of them, followed by quick comebacks.

But then, you get to what I call extras. Rick, on balance, is a slightly better hitter. He was a good hitter early, and then gave it up as he wore his body down and put on weight. Adams wasn't a hitter. But Babe is famous for exploding the 1909 World Series like he was Bob Gibson, while Reuschel, in multiple WS, was lousy. That, for me, erases all the IP edge, given the ERA+ difference.

In addition, while both pitchers have up and down careers, complete with mid-career seasons where they were not in the majors at all, I can't identify a decent peak or prime for Rick, while I can for Babe. Rick has good years, but I can't find a good peak cluster, even using my loose definition of "best 3 years in a span of 5." The same applies to prime, where I use "best 5 years in a span of 7." You just end up with too many of the weak seasons breaking up the good ones.

Babe is different, and odd. The peak runs from, essentially, 1909 to 1911, and has an ERA+ for the span of 153. The prime runs from 1909 to 1913, with an ERA+ of 142. Babe even has a secondary peak, from 1919-1921, with an ERA+ of 150. There are some seasons with fewer than 200 IP in there, but no real partial seasons. Rick can't match that. This is the main problem I have with Reuschel: the inability to identify a peak or prime. Adams did cluster his best years, while Reuschel did not. That, in essence, is why I have Babe ahead of Rick.

2. Bobby Bonds

This comment is copied from last year, because I took another look at Bobby and came to the same conclusion as last year: I like players who have a lot of power, get on base a lot, and can play center field. Who doesn't? I also like consistency, identifiable peaks and identifiable primes. Who doesn't? I don't much care for 14-season careers, but that's one minus against six plusses. As the big power bat crowd starts to weigh in, so to speak, over the next few ballots, those paltry 14 seasons may well pull Bobby's ranking down. But right now, it's here.

3. Hugh Duffy

I took a fresh look at Hugh Duffy and decided that my comment from last year just about covers it, with one addition. Here's the leftover comment: Over at BB-Ref, his Hall of Fame Statistics are those of an average Hall of Famer, which, to me, means the bottom of the middle circle or the very top of the outer circle. His seasonal and career comparables are a bunch of Hall of Famers. Neither of those systems factors in defense properly, and Hugh played a lot of center. No, he was not the dominant player of his era. He was an average Hall of Famer. I'm not sure that Bobby Bonds was that good. I may have Hugh underrated. I am pretty sure I don't have him overrated. He does have one fine postseason extra.

The addition is that I found out that Hugh may deserve a year of minor league credit. He jumped, in 1901, from the NL to the AL, with the Milwaukee Creams (really). I'm not exactly sure how this happened, but the Creams ended up in a minor league in 1902-03, replaced by a different AL team in Milwaukee. Hugh stayed with them, as player/manager. His 1902 season is ML caliber. His 1903 is not. Then, in 1904, he was back in the majors. I don't know how or why. Perhaps his Milwaukee contract was for three years or something. In any case, you can add a year of ML credit. I add about half a year, because the decision to remain with the Creams may have been Hugh's own decision, and not the ML teams completely refusing to hire him.

I also decided to move him up over the two pitchers with short careers whose candidacies depend entirely on peaks and extras.

4. Tommy Bridges

This was a surprise. I had not looked at Tommy since the first year I voted here. Since then, although I try to balance everyone's methods, I've started looking at pitchers by 1) taking their career endpoints, 2) adding ten years to the front end and the back end, which will include everyone who can at all be considered the player's contemporary, and 3) running sorts at BB-Ref, starting with just plain old WAR. What I'm looking for is a BB-Ref sort that mirrors HoM/HoF voting for the time period. Not one that favors or doesn't favor my own preconceptions, but something that mirrors previous votes. This is just to give me a starting point. I don't quit analyzing there, but it does give me context, and also points out if I've just missed on someone else who ranks higher.

With Tommy Bridges, I struck gold. Here are the first 13 entries on his WAR list, covering from 1920-1956:

Rk Player WAR From To IP ERA+
1 Lefty Grove 98.3 1925 1941 3940.2 148
2 Bob Feller 66.0 1936 1956 3827.0 122
3 Carl Hubbell 64.4 1928 1943 3590.1 130
4 Warren Spahn 61.2 1942 1956 2960.0 127
5 Ted Lyons 58.8 1923 1946 4161.0 118
6 Dazzy Vance 57.1 1922 1935 2933.2 126
7 Hal Newhouser 56.3 1939 1955 2993.0 130
8 Red Ruffing 53.6 1924 1947 4344.0 110
9 Robin Roberts 52.5 1948 1956 2608.1 123
10 Tommy Bridges 50.7 1930 1946 2826.1 126
11 Bobo Newsom 45.9 1929 1953 3759.1 107
12 Waite Hoyt 45.9 1920 1938 3656.0 113
13 Dutch Leonard 45.6 1933 1953 3218.1 119

Out of this list, Roberts has so little overlap with Bridges' actual career that I discard him as not really a "contemporary." That leaves Bridges at #9, behind a bunch of Hall guys and ahead, basically, of guys who are not in halls. That is, the sort basically mirrors hall voting.

The big deal here, to me, is the large gap between Bridges' WAR of 50.7 and the next guy down, Bobo Newsom, at 45.9. That's rare. It's not rare to find a guy on a WAR list between Hall guys and non-Hall. I mean, those are the guys we're supposed to look at, right? Those who are on the border. The trick is to decide who is the worst of the "ins" and who is the best of the "outs." In Tommy's case, the WAR gap between Tommy and Bobo strongly indicates that Tommy's the "worst of the ins." And Tommy is not just an accumulator, with many more IP than the closest guys on the list. His IP are, if anything, a bit low. In short, he is certainly the "worst of the ins." And there's a serious WAR drop before the best of the outs.

Extras don't hurt. He pitched very well in the World Series, and is due somewhere between 1 and 2 years of WWII credit, although they are near the end of his career, so there is doubt as to how much they would help. But overall, I'm left with what strikes me as a discovery and a large one. So I put him here. Thanks to those who have been voting for Tommy for years now. I would not have looked at him except that he kept getting votes.

5. Don Newcombe

Again, I have nothing to add to last year's comment. In fact, I don't think I will ever improve on it: I don't have a standard formula to rank players with. Instead, I try to balance among the various ranking methods. What do the various WAR systems say? How about IP and ERA+? Where does he rank among his contemporaries? Does he have an identifiable peak and prime? Black and grey ink? And then there are the "extras" that I constantly mention. What are "extras?" Don Newcombe's career. That's what extras are.
   100. bjhanke Posted: December 21, 2011 at 09:13 PM (#4021332)
6. Jim McCormick

As many of you know, I've been obsessing over 1880s pitchers. To analyze them at all, you have to make monstrous adjustments. Jim here only pitched in ten championship seasons. But he had over 500 IP in five of them, with one over 650 IP. The ERA+ scores for those years don't look tremendous, but is that lack of quality - just tossing the ball up there and letting fielders do your job for you? Or is the low ERA+ a result of arm fatigue?

Now, take a look at Jim's 1882, 83, and 84 seasons. In 82 and 84, he had over 500 IP, and his ERA+ aren't so hot, even with 200 IP in the Union Association, roughly a class A league. But in 1883, he pitched fewer than 400 innings, and had the 170 ERA+ of his life.

So, now which is it? Journeyman innings-eaters or great pitchers who happened to be born at just the time to come to the majors when the majors were testing arms to destruction in order to find out just how big a workload a starting pitcher can take? I, obviously, vote for #2. I also decided that he ought to move ahead of Dean, but not Newcombe. I have no grandiose idea why; I just thought it was more correct.

7. Dizzy Dean

Dizzy has peak, prime, black ink, and one rip-roaring world series to sell, and absolutely nothing else. However, those are a pretty impressive four items. And yeah, this is the same comment I wrote last year. Does anyone really want to see me write some monstrously detailed essay about a pitcher whom I have thought was god since 1953? Even I don't want to see it.

8. Luis Tiant

The following comment is copied directly from last year's ballot, which was copied from the year before: "Very similar rate and career length to Wilbur Cooper. High length, good rate, but not great. But unlike Cooper, he wasn't in the middle of a bunch of guys who did the same sort of thing. So he stands out more."

9. Hilton Smith

Again repeating from last year because I didn't find anything new out this year: Remains where he is because I still think that he has the best contemporary reputation of any remaining Negro League player, pitcher or position.

10. Deacon Philippe

Since I've checked Deacon heavily pretty much every year, I've said about all I'm ever likely to say. Here's last year's summary of it: Among the other delights of Chris Jaffe's book on managers, he actually worked out the leverage for the pitchers of the early Pirate pennant winners. He concluded that Deacon here got the hardest opposition - the most leverage - on those staffs. He also said that Deacon's leverage went down as he aged, which makes sense. But in the pennant years, he was, indeed, the ace of the staff. Sam Leever was #2. Deacon now outranks Sam for two reasons. First, there's the leverage. Then, there's my personal favorite, being a true outlier. Deacon is still the greatest control pitcher of all time. And I count that kind of thing.

11. Rabbit Maranville

Again, the player is so well known that the parameters of the candidacy are pretty clear to all. He played a VERY long time. He was considered for decades to be the best defensive player ever to play the game, and modern sabermetric methods also have him ranked at or almost at the top. He very likely had the best single defensive season ever, with perfect timing (the Miracle Braves). He played very well in the postseason. He has a clear prime and peak and, because of the glove, they are good seasons. (Side note: His best defensive seasons are driven by league-leading putout totals coupled with near-league-leading assists totals.) However, he was a weak hitter; I believe he would be the worst hitter in the HoM except for pitchers. He is also the only Hall of Famer that I know of who, in mid-career, was just plain sent down to the minors by a team that wanted to try out a couple of kids (1927 Cardinals). No, I do not give him any "minor league credit" for that. I do, however, give him a year of WWI credit for 1918, plus "outlier" credit for the defense, which moves him up a notch or two.

Not a consideration for the HoM, but certainly worth mentioning, Rabbit was a world class flake who, IMO, almost certainly had a severe case of ADHD, like Eddie Collins, Johnny Evers and many other players who reputations include "can't sit still."

12. Tommy Leach

The oddest aspect of Leach's career is that, over the years, with no complete break, he converted from third base to center field. He was dominant at both with the glove. He led his league in range factor three times at third and four more in center. I wonder if the move wasn't dictated by the demands of playing third at that time. The best third baseman before him (skipping Deacon White, because I know where that leads) was probably Ed Williamson, who was only able to hold up for 13 campaigns at third.

As a HoM candidate, Tommy has loads of career length to sell, as well as the glove. He was an above-average hitter, but not by a lot. Prime and peak are there. Williamson was the better player in any given season, because he hit much better than Tommy, but the career length and the ability to play anywhere except maybe catcher lead me to prefer Tommy to Ed.

13. Rick Reuschel

I looked up all sorts of things about Rick Reuschel, and they led me to put him here on the ballot. But I put all the analysis in the Babe Adams comment above.

The one thing I can add is that, as Dan has mentioned several times, standard deviations of pitching are small in the 1980s, which is half of Rick's career. One of the reasons that I wanted to compare Rick to Babe Adams is that this is also true of Babe. In general, leagues with small standard deviations of pitching (I call them "compressed leagues") have low league ERAs. That makes sense. But the 1980s don't really have that. They're not like the dead ball era or the late 1960s. They just don't seem to have kicked out their fair share of Hall pitchers. Happens sometime.

14. Vic Willis

Last year, I mentioned that, of the Pittsburgh Six pitchers that I like so much, Vic here has the big workload. This year, I decided that his rates aren't enough worse than Sam Leever's to make up the workload difference. His Hall of Fame Statistics over at BB-Ref are surprisingly good. He actually was voted into the Hall of Fame. I imagine you are all sick and tired of my reciting the characteristics of the Pit6, so I won't repeat them here.

15. Tony Mullane

Another surprise. I had written Tony off as an AA fluke, but people keep voting for him, so I checked him out once again. He was better than I remembered. Sure, you have to discount his AA seasons, but he starts with high marks, so you have to discount a lot to get him down off the HoM ballot. He hit very well, and actually has a tiny amount of black ink as a hitter. By reputation, he fielded very well at first base, which was not today's dumping ground for immobile sluggers. He also pitched well in the NL, after the AA collapsed, although he was not able, in his mid-30s, to adjust to the conditions of 1893. His career high in ERA+ is actually in the NL, in 1890.

I also think he deserves a season of "weirdness" credit for 1885, which is one of the AA years when the league is very close to the NL in terms of quality. Tony got involved with the Union Association in 1884, although he ended up playing in the AA. But in 1985, there was some question as to just whom Tony was allowed to sign a contract with, and it ended up getting bitter, and Tony actually got banned by the AA for 1885. The NL had an agreement at the time not to sign players banned by the NL, so Tony sat a season out. At the time, Tony was pitching, conservatively, 450+ IP a year. If he had pitched in 1885, he would surely have won the 16 games he needed to end up with 300 wins.
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