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Hall of Merit
— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

2019 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion

2019 - (December 2018) - elect 3

Top 10 Returning Players

Luis Tiant (240), Sammy Sosa (238), Kenny Lofton (236), Andruw Jones (220), Jeff Kent (207), Ben Taylor (197), Johan Santana (186), Buddy Bell (139), Bobby Bonds (124), Jorge Posada (105)

Newly eligible players

Player Name	bWAR 	WS	WAR7	JAWS	HOFm	HOFs
Roy Halladay	64.7	225.5	50.6	57.6	127	45
Todd Helton	61.2	316.5	46.4	53.8	175	59
Andy Pettitte	60.8	228.7	34.1	47.5	128	44
Mariano Rivera	57.1	272.5	28.9	43	214	30
Lance Berkman	51.7	310.7	38.9	45.3	98	44
Roy Oswalt	50.2	175.3	40.1	45.1	59	34
Miguel Tejada	46.9	278.6	36.5	41.7	149	44
Placido Polanco	41.3	215.4	32.2	36.8	42	26
Freddy Garcia	35.7	136.4	28.3	32	38	23
Derek Lowe	34.5	175.6	28.4	31.4	51	19
Kevin Youkilis	32.7	144.3	31.2	31.9	29	23
Vernon Wells	28.7	186.6	26.2	27.4	52	19
Ted Lilly	27	114.3	24.8	25.9	12	16
Travis Hafner	24.8	142.5	24.6	24.7	31	19
Jason Bay	24.3	162.5	24.5	24.4	47	21
Michael Young	24.2	231.2	21.1	22.7	112	36
Darren Oliver	22.6	119.3	17	19.8	20	9
Jon Garland	22.4	117.5	19.5	21	17	9
Ramon Hernandez	21.6	156.7	18.7	20.2	43	26
Ryan Dempster	19.3	133.7	23.8	21.5	26	12
Juan Pierre	16.9	178.2	16.4	16.7	63	23
Octavio Dotel	15.4	95.5	14	14.7	25	13
Jake Westbrook	13.3	78.4	14.6	13.9	14	3
Jose Contreras	13.2	67.8	13.3	13.3	17	7
DL from MN Posted: January 23, 2018 at 12:35 PM | 352 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   201. Carl Goetz Posted: November 21, 2018 at 04:12 PM (#5790201)
Reposted to be top of page.
I was looking through last years results and noticed only 3 guys were named on every ballot; 5 named on at least 20, and 10 named on over half the ballots. I'm wondering if there would be potential for skewed results now that the backlog is so deep. As of right now, 5 guys from the top returning 15 (#5-19 after removing the 4 elected) from 2018 will not make my ballot. One of those is top returner Luis Tiant, whom I believe should ultimately make the HoM, but currently have ranked in the 16-18 range (not finalized yet) as the top pitcher not on my ballot. 4 of those top 15 returnees were named on less than 10 ballots last year. Clearly, there is a lot of disagreement among us as to who is ballot-worthy. When we first started this project in 1898, my personal in/out line was around the 6-7 slot on my ballot and slowly increased as time went on. Now, it might go close to 25 deep (20 for certain).

Would there be any interest in going to 25 man ballots to try and get more guys named on a majority of ballots?

Right now Tiant (who should get elected in my mind) and Lefty Gomez (Shouldn't) will both get the same 0 points from my ballot. This seems wrong to me.

I just wanted to throw this out to the group and see what others thought.
   202. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 22, 2018 at 12:24 PM (#5790337)
Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

I don’t think that a longer ballot is the answer here. This year we are almost certain to elect nothing but newbies. And the next several elections will he backlog elections.

Part of what we see here is that we elected a disproportionate number of 19th Crntury players. No offense to Pearce or Sutton or Caruthers or Pike, but none of them is close to the inner circle. So that leaves the likes of Vic Willis or Luis Tiant getting squeezed a bit. OK, that’s life, so we are trying to squeeze more non-no-brainers through a little smaller funnel. But even four or five spots is a lot given that we have three or four slots to work with each year and a full backlog plus (through this year) a decade of stuffed newbie classes.

So what could we do after 2019? One thing we could do is come to a consensus about pitchers v. Hitters. Do we need more? Do we need less? Do have exactly enough? OTTOMH, IIRC, we are at like 26% pitchers. Is that what we think we should be at? If we need more, THEN we can get into individual cases. If we have too many or are on target, then we move to the hitters and ask ourselves about each position’s percentage of the honorees. Which do we need the most?

Because the thing is, we each have our individual biases and systems of thought and ranking protocols. So instead of adjusting the ballot, let us talk about the bigger trends then let everyone digest that info in light of their own way of thinking.
   203. Carl Goetz Posted: November 23, 2018 at 09:51 AM (#5790401)
Fair enough. I still feel we have a lot of overall highly ranked players where the scoring system doesn't "know" from a 15 man ballot how significant portions of the electorate feels about a given player. I agree that this is unlikely to be a problem in 2019, but it will only get worse as more and more backlog guys pile up. Its only a matter of time before a guy gets elected with support from less than half the electorate where the bubble guy is close behind him. I do think more information will be better when that happens. I do agree conversations about the consensus are important, but as you said, we all have our own systems and biases. That's not going to change.
My other suggestion would be that if a player finishes in an elected position without at least being on X ballots (or below a certain point threshold or some other determinant of lack of consensus on the player), we'd have a quick runoff election of the top 10 finishers who didn't make it.
Example: Lets say Vlad's 21 ballots and 290 point didn't meet the threshold last year (not criticizing the selection, just putting an example together). In that scenario, Chipper, Thome and Rolen all move in as normal. Then we have a 10 man runoff where everybody ranks Vlad, Tiant, Sosa, Lofton, Jones, Kent, Taylor, Santana, Bell, Bonds, and Posada 1-10. In the runoff, everyone else is ignored and we see what the true consensus is on that group. Just a thought. Plus, we seem to like voting as a group and we would already have done the research on our initial ballots so it shouldn't a ton of extra work. In retrospect, I actually like this better than my original suggestion of expanding the ballot.
As to Hitters v Pitchers, I definitely think 26% pitchers is low, but not completely unreasonable. I'd rather be around 30-35% range for pitchers and I may adjust to include Tiant as my 6th pitcher on the ballot now that you've reminded me that we are light there.
   204. DL from MN Posted: November 26, 2018 at 02:39 PM (#5791185)
Rising and falling from last season

Rising
Dick Redding - Just splitting the difference between his last MLE and the new one from Dr. C will put him #1 on my ballot
Luis Tiant - I was leaving out his relief pitching
Wally Schang - I was too stingy with his C bonus
Ray Dandridge - but it only gets him even with Pie Traynor and a little ahead of Vern Stephens

Falling
Hilton Smith - due to Dr C MLEs
Bus Clarkson - due to Dr C MLEs

   205. Bleed the Freak Posted: November 26, 2018 at 05:07 PM (#5791252)
DL, Clarkson is showing as a 94 CHEWS+, but that's before WWII prime/peak credit, or 13.5-15 missing WAR, ~70 career.

Where does he drop for you?
   206. DL from MN Posted: November 26, 2018 at 05:22 PM (#5791258)
Clarkson doesn't drop much but it is just enough to move him off ballot between Jeff Kent and Sammy Sosa. Still a very good player but now on the borderline.

I should also mention I moved Gene Tenace up my list. Best available catchers are Schang, Posada then Tenace.
   207. Carl Goetz Posted: November 27, 2018 at 09:24 AM (#5791342)
"I should also mention I moved Gene Tenace up my list. Best available catchers are Schang, Posada then Tenace."

Where's Munson slot in there?

I have Munson and Schang as pretty close with Tenace and Posada a little behind.
   208. DL from MN Posted: November 28, 2018 at 10:36 AM (#5791766)
Munson is in the next group with Lave Cross and Darrell Porter
   209. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 28, 2018 at 11:37 AM (#5791797)
I’ve added a spot on my site that’s a clearinghouse for Negro Leagues info. There’s a downloadable file there with all the career MLE lines I’ve created. In fact, these are fully up to date, and the posts will not be updated any longer. I’ll be adding information about revamped confidence scoring system as well in the coming weeks.

Munson and Schang are neck and neck for me.

Lave Cross is a 3B who caught a few years, not a C who also played 1B. More like Chance in this regard than like Torre.
   210. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: November 28, 2018 at 04:44 PM (#5791959)
Hey, not that this really matters, but I've got a blank spot on my spreadsheet. Does anybody have a WS total for Jamie Moyer? Thanks.
   211. Michael J. Binkley's anxiety closet Posted: November 28, 2018 at 05:07 PM (#5791974)
According to The Basball Gauge, Moyer has 227.0 WS for his career (226.5 pitching and .5 batting).
   212. Jaack Posted: November 28, 2018 at 08:28 PM (#5792045)
I'm pretty idiosyncratic as far as catchers go it seems. I have Munson and Jim Sundberg as the to two available, with Schang and Darrell Porter a decent bit back from them.

I'm pretty low on Posada and Tenace as options. Posada looks like a modern Ernie Lombardi to me. Maybe a little less negative value on the basepaths, but similar careers overall. As far as Tenace goes, the career is just too short - Ralph Kiner had 700 more PAs, and Munson has him beat by 400 - especially for a guy who only played catcher 60% of the time anyway.

I am interested in inducting a more glove oriented catcher - for being the most prominent defensive position, its strange that the only two catchers in the HoM primarily for their glove are Ivan Rodrgiuez and Charlie Bennett. Of the best fielders at the position, Sundberg was the one with the most hitting value - his career wRC+ is 91, which is the same territory as Ozzie Smith and his best hitting season was shortenen by the '81 strike. Obviously Ozzie's career was longer, and he added baserunning value. But I think I'd rather induct one of the best fielding catcher of all time who was occasionally a solid hitter than Posada or Tenace.
   213. Jaack Posted: November 28, 2018 at 08:29 PM (#5792047)
That being said, no catcher is very close to my ballot at this time. Sundberg and Munson are in my top 30, and Schang might just make my top 50.
   214. Bleed the Freak Posted: November 29, 2018 at 09:48 PM (#5792350)
Prelim ballot, feel free to use if I can't login at a later date.

Have been a lurker since the early days and a voter since the elections went annual, hope the turnout improves in 2019! versus the previous few years. My system incorporates for hitters: Kiko's Win-Loss Records, DRA/Baseball Gauge WAR, Baseball-Reference WAR, Dan R WAR, War Credit, MLE credit (mostly for pre-integration players), Negro League/integration credit, CSAA/catcher values from BP where available, RE24/clutch contextual value, and rrOPS+ park info. For pitchers, I use the same systems, as well as FG FIP WAR, and a dose of WPA.

1. Mariano Rivera
2. Roy Halladay
3. Dick Redding
4. Luis Tiant
5. Johan Santana
6. Urban Shocker
7. Bert Campaneris
8. Ben Taylor
9. Bobby Veach
10. Art Fletcher
11. Andruw Jones
12. Andy Pettitte
13. Wally Schang
14. Dizzy Dean
15. Dwight Gooden

Subset of others under consideration, in or close to personal hall of fame: Babe Adams, Kevin Appier, Dave Bancroft, Lance Berkman, Tommy Bond, Bobby Bonds, Charlie Buffinton, Cesar Cedeno, Eddie Cicotte, Will Clark, Bus Clarkson, Davey Concepcion, Kiki Cuyler, Brian Giles, Burleigh Grimes, Heinie Groh, Ron Guidry, Toby Harrah, Todd Helton, Orlando Hernandez, Orel Hershiser, Harry Hooper, Tommy John, Bob Johnson, Jim Kaat, Jeff Kent, Tommy Leach, Kenny Lofton, Dolf Luque, Hurley McNair, Thurman Munson, Dale Murphy, Don Newcombe, Roy Oswalt, Johnny Pesky, Sam Rice, Phil Rizzuto, Sammy Sosa, Vern Stephens, Joe Tinker, George Uhle, Roy Welmaker, Ed Williamson, Vic Willis.
   215. Rob_Wood Posted: November 30, 2018 at 01:36 AM (#5792431)
Thanks Bleed for posting a prelim ballot with such a comprehensive list of other players you considered.

In case it matters, Will Clark and Heinie Groh are already in the Hall of Merit.
   216. Bleed the Freak Posted: November 30, 2018 at 08:06 AM (#5792445)
Good Lord, thank you Rob, I knew that :-), but my brain was transitioning into pHOM mode, whoops...good catch :-)
   217. Carl Goetz Posted: November 30, 2018 at 09:45 AM (#5792480)
I guess we know where you stand on whether we've elected enough pitchers :)

Not criticizing. I'm currently debating 7-8 pitchers on mine as well. Its the primary reason I haven't posted mine yet.
   218. Bleed the Freak Posted: November 30, 2018 at 11:22 AM (#5792516)
Thanks for weighing in Carl.

I see Rivera, Halladay, and revised MLEs for Redding as 3 "new" electees, so my backlog is showing 6 position players and 6 pitchers.

The Hall of Merit was able to coalesce around early time era and or borderline/worse hitters more frequently in the past than pitchers: when I last did a personal HOM, these guys were outside:

Hitters: (22) Lip Pike pre-NA, Ezra Sutton, Jake Beckley, Nellie Fox, Edd Roush, Stan Hack, Richie Ashburn (terrible with Kiko's numbers), Sam Thompson, Earl Averill, Ralph Kiner, Cool Papa Bell, Willard Brown, Pete Browning, Hardy Richardson, Heinie Groh, Bill Terry, Joe Medwick, Joe Kelley, Harry Stovey, Willie Keeler, Graig Nettles (after RE24/park factored in) and Will Clark.

Pitchers: (5) Bob Caruthers, Eppa Rixey, Rollie Fingers, Three Finger Brown, and Clark Griffith.

For 27 slots, if you populate a hall at 30% pitchers, we should see ~8 pitchers in the bottom portion, not the 5 I have showing.
From the next level of pitching HOMers, I would chose Bob Lemon (A Kiko darling), Dave Stieb, Hoyt Wilhelm, Red Faber, Rick Reuschel, and Don Sutton ahead of the list of 22 hitters I have shown.


Hopefully this helps lends credence to why myself and others are throwing a considerable amount of pitchers to the ballot, thanks :)
   219. Rob_Wood Posted: December 01, 2018 at 05:44 PM (#5792939)
My view on positional balance in the Hall of Merit is that it a nice thing to monitor but it should not be considered a goal in and of itself. The HOM has essentially mandated that voters treat all eras on an equal footing ("a pennant is a pennant") but there is no direct mandate regarding treating all positions equally.

Even if one subscribes to the notion that baseball (especially modern baseball) is 50% offense and 50% defense (pitching and fielding), it does not logically follow that HOM members should "represent" 50% offense and 50% defense. I think most people agree that it is more difficult for a player to maintain "defense" (catching, pitching, fielding) relative to "offense" (hitting). 20-year careers are somewhat common among baseball's greatest hitters whereas they are fairly rare among baseball's greatest pitchers, very rare among baseball's greatest fielders, and virtually non-existent among baseball's greatest catchers. From a career value perspective, then, it is understandable that the players who generated the highest career value (however one measures that) are likely to be hitters, not pitchers, catchers, or defensive stars.

To take a highly stylized example, suppose catching is so onerous that nobody can catch in the major leagues for more than one year. On the final day of the season, each catcher collapses and dies (or something like that). There will still be great catchers like Johnny Bench, Mickey Cochrane, and Yogi Berra, but they will necessarily have one-year careers. Johnny Bench, say, will be an All-Star and provide great value to the Cincinnati Reds. In 1970 Bench was, after all, much better than Randy Hundley (the 1970 Chicago Cubs catcher). This version of Johnny Bench may well win the 1970 NL MVP and lead the Reds to the pennant. But looking back on it 30 years later, it is unlikely that the single-season-career of this version of Johnny Bench would deserve to be voted into baseball's exalted Hall of Merit. Personally, I would find it extremely difficult to put this version of Johnny Bench on any of my HOM ballots.

Sure this is an extreme and possibly silly hypothetical. But it truly underlies my view of positional balance. This viewpoint is manifest in many other ways. Hank Aaron was a second baseman in his very early career in the Negro Leagues. Partly because he wasn't that great as a second baseman but partly because he was destined to be a great hitter, he was moved to the outfield early in his career. There is no way that any sane manager or GM would ever consider playing Willie Mays or Ted Williams at catcher. The very idea is preposterous. If you have a (potentially) very good hitter, especially if they are fast and/or athletic, you would never ever make them a catcher. Catching will rob the player of speed and athleticism and shorten his career. So, it seems to me, we should not expect, especially from a career value perspective, to find the top ranks of all-time great players to be populated with many catchers.

The same argument, with lessor force, applies to pitchers and middle infielders. The very act of pitching can damage a pitcher's arm, shoulder, etc. Middle infielders are prone to injury via collisions around second base (presumably this effect may be greatly diminished with baseball's new sliding rules). The baseball encyclopedia is replete with pitchers, even all-time greats, who suffered with arm troubles during their careers. I think it is clear that pitching at a high level is "more difficult" (in the physical sense) than hitting at a high level. To the extent this is true, I think that one logical implication is that there will be fewer pitchers with long and great careers compared to the number of hitters with long and great careers, both on an absolute and percentage basis.

In summary, even if one believes that positions are "equally valuable" on a season-by-season perspective, the fact that some positions are physically more demanding (catcher, pitcher, middle infielder) than others logically implies that players at those demanding positions will not be able to generate as much "career value" as players at easier positions. And to the extent that "career value" is a factor in identifying baseball's all-time greatest players, this suggests that those demanding positions will be (and should be) "under-represented" in the Hall of Merit.
   220. DL from MN Posted: December 01, 2018 at 07:26 PM (#5793002)
Established in 2003, the HoM welcomes any new voters who are serious about inducting the most worthy candidates from all eras and positions.


It's not in the HoM constitution but saying that positional balance was not a goal is revisionist history.
   221. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 01, 2018 at 07:59 PM (#5793027)
FYI, I have updated my Player won-lost records to incorporate Retrosheet's latest release. The only entirely new season that Retrosheet ended up releasing was 2018, which, obviously, has no bearing on this election. They did complete the 1937 and 1938 seasons and added around 50 new games for 1921 - 1936, all of which are still incomplete. Here's a summary of what Retrosheet has (and has not) released.

I'm thinking about doing a somewhat major revision to my positional averages, especially for pitchers - I'm leaning toward using a single positional average for all pitchers (which would be .500 by definition). Currently, I measure relief pitchers against a higher positional average. I'm starting to wonder if that isn't somewhat contradictory of what I'm trying to do in tying player wins to team wins - from the team's perspective, it doesn't really matter if the starter or his reliever give up a 3-run home run, they both cost the team the same thing (note: this wouldn't affect the pWins and pLosses themselves, only the baseline(s) against which they get measured). I'm also toying with (a) using different positional averages for pWins and eWins, and/or (b) allowing people to pick their own positional averages (probably from among a finite set of choices). I'm also thinking about incorporating actual contexts into player eWins instead of expected contexts. None of that will be implemented until January at the absolute earliest, so this doesn't affect this year's HOM voting. But I was curious if folks had thoughts on any of this.
   222. Rob_Wood Posted: December 02, 2018 at 02:24 AM (#5793106)
It's not in the HoM constitution but saying that positional balance was not a goal is revisionist history.


It is a bit strange to call my viewpoint "revisionist history" since (1) I have held this viewpoint long before the Hall of Merit was a gleam in Joe's eyes and (2) I drafted the HOM Constitution. There is no way that I would ever agree to or codify equal representation across positions into the HOM Constitution or into the HOM fabric, even as a goal (perhaps we are having a semantic argument about what "goal" means in this context).

To be clear, being fair to all eras is a requirement as HOM ballots/voters can be summarily rejected if they do not pledge and display a fairness to all baseball eras. It is one reason why we decided to step through baseball's vast history one year at a time starting in 1898. In addition, one or more prospective voters who stated that they planned to utilize a significant timeline (strongly in favor of modern players at the expense of old-time players) have been told that that is not allowed and their ballot would not be counted. I cannot remember the same thing occurring with respect to positions.

If people think that it is required for each HOM voter to have the same number of catchers as center fielders in their personal Hall of Merit (guiding their HOM balloting), then I respectfully disagree. I have not maintained a pHOM for several years, but I am pretty sure my pHOM would have more than twice the number of center fielders as catchers. Many of the early HOM threads were separated by position, of course, but this was done to facilitate making comparisons and assembling ballots, not to mandate equal numbers of each position.

I am probably over-reacting to some posts in this thread which seem to emphasize the desire to elect players going forward to shore up positions which are currently under-represented. Honestly I have no problem with those posts or those sentiments suitably interpreted. My point of contention is that they should be considered as guidance/direction to consider certain players (positions) which voters may have over-looked or under-valued.

The Hall of Merit has benefited many times over the years from such guidance/direction. For example, based partly upon new research, many now believe that Negro Leaguers Dick Redding and Ben Taylor deserve to be elected to the Hall of Merit. Stating or re-stating the cases for these great players is a call for all voters to re-evaluate them and make sure that they receive their due consideration, especially in light of the new research. That is fine and dandy and I am 100% in support of such guidance/direction. Indeed, largely due to the guidance/direction in their cases I will very likely have both on my upcoming ballot.

Turn now to catchers. Noting that catchers are currently "under-represented" in the HOM and pointing out catchers like Wally Schang and Thurman Munson, among others, deserve a second look is fine with me. But saying (or intimating) that a voter should vote for Wally Schang over Bob Johnson, say, because the HOM has "too few" catchers and "too many" outfielders is going too far. Each voter is tasked with making their own evaluations and if I think that Bob Johnson is more "meritorious" than Wally Schang, then I should (must) vote Johnson over Schang when constructing my ballot.

Final comment: An equal-representation framework essentially implies that each voter's ballot should reflect who has previously been elected to the HOM (or not elected). This sentiment suggests that if catchers are under-represented, then each voter should elevate catchers to rectify this mistake. Of course, this borders on strategic voting (filling out one's ballot not according to one's own rankings but in a manner to achieve desirable group rankings) which was expressly forbidden in the HOM Constitution.


   223. Carl Goetz Posted: December 02, 2018 at 01:56 PM (#5793194)
Being fair to all eras doesn't necessarily require every era to have exactly equal representation. It just requires that voters in 2019 go back and give guys like Vic Willis, Wally Schang, Bob Johnson, etc a real and fair look and, if its a guy with high support, the voter explains why the player is rejected.
To me, being fair across positions should work in a similar fashion. I don't expect all positions to be equally represented (or even that we'd all agree to a specific position split). I personally think pitchers, catchers, and thirdbasemen are currently underrepresented in the HoM. I don't expect everyone to agree. I do expect everyone to give fair consideration and research to the guys that deserve it. Just as I hold myself to look at a lot of guys who are significantly below what I consider to be the cutoff, just in case I discover that I missed something.
   224. Carl Goetz Posted: December 02, 2018 at 04:18 PM (#5793233)
I'm using Baseball Gauge Custom WAR/WAA/WAG with BBRef Offense; 75% BBref Pitching & 25% FIP; 70% DRA/30% DRS/TZ. Score uses WAR and WAA (No negatives) for Career Value Score and WAA and WAG (Both no negatives) for Peak. I give postseason credit to Pitchers and Catchers for all who played due to wear and tear. All other players get credit if they excelled only. I give conservative WWI & WWII credit. I also give a bump for catching based on % playing time in each given year plus I adjust for Marchi pitcher handling. Ties in overall score go to the player with better peak score.
Positional Lists (I'm still deciding on the final cut down to 15 and how the positions fit together.
Pitchers (Career/Peak/Overall Scores)
1)Mariano Rivera (58.0/82.5/69.2)
2)Dick Redding (63.5/59.8/61.7) (Note: I made guesses for Negro League WAG based off WAR and WAA levels estimated by Dr. Chaleeko)
3)Roy Halladay (54.8/64.3/59.4)
4)Andy Pettitte (49.1/42.8/45.8)
5)Orel Hershiser (46.8/41.7/44.2)
6)Johan Santana (40.4/46.9/43.5)
7)Kevin Appier (41.7/46.6/44.1)
8)Luis Tiant (44.2/40.0/42.1)
9)Babe Adams (45.0/42.2/43.6)
In on this whole group though they probably won't all make my ballot. I also like Tim Hudson, Dwight Gooden, Don Newcombe, Urban Shocker , Chuck Finley and Dizzy Dean. My system isn't quite as friendly to guys like Eddie Cicotte, Vic Willis, Tommy Bridges or Tommy John though those are the next 4 on my list. Personal In/Out is somewhere in the Finley/MBrown/Dean neighborhood.

Catchers
1)Thurman Munson (63.3/66.2/59.4) Munson beat Schang mostly on great postseason hitting.
2)Wally Schang (50.7/63.1/56.6) Schang had nice postseasons too but Munson's were crazy good.
3)Gene Tenace (44.5/54.9/49.4) Got credit for 72 series and very minor for other postseasons he caught in.
I rate those 3 as in and Jim Sundberg and Jorge Posada are next on my list and I consider them the borderline at the position.

Firstbase
1)Todd Helton (49.7/53.2/51.4)
2)Ben Taylor (50.6/46.3/48.4)

I have those 2 in and I also like Frank Chance and John Olerud, but currently have them out.

Secondbase
1)Jeff Kent (44.1/40.9/42.5)
2)Johnny Evers (40.3/42.9/42.5) He's my last 2B in personal. As an aside, Ian Kinsler is very close to passing him and is now my theoretical borderline 2B.
Tony Lazzeri is next (outside Hom anyway) and he's a definite out for me.

Thirdbase
1)Buddy Bell (54.4/59.4/56.8)
2)Tommy Leach (48.1/51.1/49.6)
Next up are Ned Williamson, Ray Dandridge and Bus Clarkson. I have them as my borderline and my gut says to put all 3 in but I'm still thinking about it. Bell and Leach will definitely make my top 15 overall.

Shortstop
1)Art Fletcher (50.2/63.7/56.5) Still deciding if I buy his DRA defense or if I want to scale back more)
2)Joe Tinker (50.4/57.6/53.9) Ditto.
3)Dave Bancroft (45.1/48.9/46.9) I have him ahead of Jennings, Sewell, and Jeter so he's definitely in for me.
Rizzuto, Campaneris, Pesky, and Fregosi are next and all out as far as I'm concerned.

Leftfield
1)Bob Johnson (47.9/45.3/46.6) PCL Credit in 31&32; but slight penalty for 44-45 war years being weak leagues.
2)Roy White (43.0/47.2/45.0)
3)Jose Cruz Sr (45.2/45.2/45.2)
I could easily flip White and Cruz, but as it stands, I think both are deserving. Johnson is probably the only one making this ballot and still not sure of him.

Centerfield
1)Andruw Jones (47.4/51.6/49.5)
2)Kenny Lofton (49.3/49.8/49.6)
3)Bernie Williams (43.7/46.6/45.1) Along with Pete Browning and Max Carey, my Borderline CF. I could go either way on him.
4)Cesar Cedeno (39.1/42.0/40.6)
5)Willie Davis (42.5/37.5/39.9)
Jones and Lofton are only 2 likely on my final ballot.

Rightfield
1) Sammy Sosa (46.5/49.9/48.2)
2) Bobby Bonds (45.9/48.2/47.0)
3) Gavvy Cravath (39.1/44.0/41.5) Probably out for me, but close.
   225. Carl Goetz Posted: December 02, 2018 at 07:18 PM (#5793253)
Just started looking at a few down ballot OFs and Bobby Veach does well in my system. I may not be quite as ready as I thought :)
   226. DL from MN Posted: December 02, 2018 at 08:45 PM (#5793267)
There is no quota system but it has been mentioned numerous times that the Hall of Fame is ignoring some positions and the Hall of Merit looked to rectify that mistake.
   227. Carl Goetz Posted: December 03, 2018 at 09:24 AM (#5793306)
"Of course, this borders on strategic voting (filling out one's ballot not according to one's own rankings but in a manner to achieve desirable group rankings) which was expressly forbidden in the HOM Constitution."
I don't have my spreadsheets with me, but I believe I have Munson as #11 and Schang #13 on my catcher lists. Its not strategic voting to put them higher than say my #21 LF. Its putting the better player first. Strategic voting is ranking my ballot 1-15 and then moving #15 higher because he has a good shot of being elected this year and I think he's deserving. For me, Luis Tiant is somewhere near the end of my ballot or just off. I think he is a deserving Hall or Meriter. Strategic voting would be me moving Tiant to, say #3 on my ballot in the hopes of getting him elected even though I may think 10-20 guys on my list rank higher for me. Putting more catchers on your ballot because the other positions have their players of similar quality already elected is absolutely nothing remotely like strategic voting.
There should also be some recognition that catcher is harder to do on an every day basis and contains more difficult things for statistics to measure, particularly for time periods in the 19th and 20th century. We just don't know how guys like Wally Schang handled a pitching staff for example; he came before the Marchi data is available. I give a bonus in my data for this and as such, Munson, Schang, and Tenace all rate higher than Bob Johnson (and don't get me wrong, I like Bob Johnson; he'd be in if it were up to me) Some voters don't give an explicit catcher bonus; they just bump catchers up the overall rankings to make up for these basic facts of player ranking. That's not strategic voting either. That's acknowledging that WAR/WS/etc don't necessarily measure catcher value with the same precision as other position players or pitchers.

"To take a highly stylized example, suppose catching is so onerous that nobody can catch in the major leagues for more than one year. On the final day of the season, each catcher collapses and dies (or something like that). "
Of course, in this scenario, anyone still willing to catch should go immediately to the Hall of Fame/Merit. Or at least get a star on a wall like the CIA :)
   228. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 03, 2018 at 05:21 PM (#5793585)
BP with a new refresh to it's hitting component, something for us to keep an eye on:

https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/45383/the-performance-case-for-drc/

   229. progrockfan Posted: December 04, 2018 at 06:45 AM (#5793645)
Please let me be clear:

* I love the HoM. The baseball study and debates here are the best anywhere on the Net.
* I'm not a voter because I can't spare the time to study the game as closely as I'd need to. Therefore:
* Most of you (including the individual with whose analysis I am about to take issue) have studied the game more closely than I.

Having acknowledged this:

Mariano Rivera has the lowest ERA of the live-ball era. He has the lowest WHIP of the live-ball era. He holds the career saves record. He holds the record for games finished. He holds the postseason saves record. He has the lowest ERA in postseason history.

Sure, Mariano is 'only' a reliever. Like it or not, reliever is an integral position on a modern baseball team. If you effectively write off the position as inconsequential - as the otherwise astute voter who places Mariano 21st on his ballot has explicitly done - then I contend that you are violating the HoM Constitution's mandate to "identify the best players of each era and elect them to the Hall of Merit".

Quoting from the post in question: "I do not value relief pitching very highly." This position puts you at odds with the evolution of modern baseball strategy. In 1980 there were 1.1 saves for every complete game; by 1995 (the year of Mariano's debut), 3.7; in 2013 (the year Mariano retired), 10.2; this year, 29.6. WAR may well be the most useful shorthand metric for evaluating a player's value, but it fails to take into account this fundamental paradigm shift in baseball strategy, which intensifies geometically with each passing season. I therefore contend that the analysis "Mariano Rivera does have a terrific OPS+ but his WAR number places him 21st on my ballot" does not acknowledge the realities of the modern game.

Comparing Mariano's career stats with those of starters is nonsensical, because starters are not his peers. It's like penalizing catchers because they play less games than outfielders, when in fact many HoM voters - corrrectly in my view - award a 'catcher bonus' to compensate for the fundamentally different nature and demands of the position. Mariano was given a very specific job by Major League Baseball, a job considered vital and irreplaceable by 100% of managers for decades now, and he performed this job far, far better than anyone in the history of the game, setting multiple all-time records in the process. I'm not saying there should be as many relievers as starters in the HoM, or that relievers in general are as valuable as starters in general. But if "reliever" is a position in modern baseball like, say, third base - which it clearly is - and if Mariano is the greatest reliever ever - which he clearly is, with no one particularly close - then ranking him #21 on your ballot is like ranking Mike Schmidt #21 on your ballot.

No offense intended, of course. I re-emphasize the caveats that preceded this missive. But I beg of you: Please re-think your astonishing ballot placement of the greatest reliever of all time.
   230. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 04, 2018 at 08:19 AM (#5793652)
Hey guys, I'm finally catching up, it's been a busy year.

What do you guys think of starting voting next week - have the election run December 10-19? Would that work for the ballot counters? Are the ballot counters still interested in counting?

The Hall of Fame won't announce until January 22 this year so we'd still be in well ahead of their announcement, even if we pushed the final balloting into January. Any thoughts?
   231. Howie Menckel Posted: December 04, 2018 at 09:00 AM (#5793659)
if "reliever" is a position in modern baseball like, say, third base

well, it's not.

MLB managers have blindly followed the creation of the Saves category by a sportswriter a half-century ago and stupidly adjusted their usage of relievers accordingly. It is only in the past year or two that such stupidity is abating (see the Brewers for example).

Rivera is a special case because he would not have been effective with greater usage. He had one special pitch which, if you only see it once or twice in AB per year, is pretty unhittable. In a second or third AB per game, he'd be toast - which is why he landed his role. Conversely, SPs like Smoltz or Lowe thrived as closers because frankly the job isn't very difficult, relatively speaking.

Also, much of Rivera's regular-season dominance was mostly useless.
going 35 for 37 in one-inning SV tries is solid, but not that much different than less dominant closers. the only job is to maintain a 1, 2, or - bizarrely - a 3 run lead. doing it with a 0.850 Ratio or a 1.110 Ratio is irrelevant, except for the increased blood pressure of the manager and fans.

Also, catcher is not a good comparison because that job is far more difficult, whereas being a closer is much easier. Catchers get banged up with foul tips, clumsy swings, and the demands of squatting extensively. Closers get to walk to a mound with no one on base, and sometimes need but 10 pitches with a multiple run lead to complete their work. comparing his role to C - or 3B - is preposterous on its face.

all that said, Rivera hit another level in the postseason, I am no slave to WAR, and he will be on my ballot.
   232. bachslunch Posted: December 04, 2018 at 09:47 AM (#5793682)
Sure, Mariano is 'only' a reliever. Like it or not, reliever is an integral position on a modern baseball team. If you effectively write off the position as inconsequential - as the otherwise astute voter who places Mariano 21st on his ballot has explicitly done - then I contend that you are violating the HoM Constitution's mandate to "identify the best players of each era and elect them to the Hall of Merit".

Quoting from the post in question: "I do not value relief pitching very highly." (snip)

No offense intended, of course. I re-emphasize the caveats that preceded this missive. But I beg of you: Please re-think your astonishing ballot placement of the greatest reliever of all time.


Appreciate the description of my ballot as (mostly) astute. However, I'm going to stick to my placement of Rivera at 21st, for the reason Howie gave. I just don't consider "relief pitcher" a position, and Howie's observations are for me spot-on. I realize most people won't agree with my thinking on him and Jim McCormick, but my ballot is at least consistent with the approach I use, for better or worse. As of now, I'm sticking with his placement there. I think he's a lock to get elected anyway, so it's not like he needs my help.

Whether I decide to move up Taylor or Redding is a good question, as the discussion I've seen here might influence that. But we'll see.
   233. progrockfan Posted: December 04, 2018 at 09:55 AM (#5793688)
Good post, Howie.

In reply:

* All teams have a closer. It clearly is in fact a recognized position on modern baseball teams.

* I did not, and do not, compare the difficulty level of relief pitching to that of catching. Rather, I compared docking a relief pitcher for pitching fewer innings than a starter to docking a catcher for playing less games than an outfielder. Still, the comparison was clumsy...

How about docking a center fielder because he has less chances than a shortstop? Different positions, different roles, different result sets.

* "SPs like Smoltz or Lowe thrived as closers" - but they were not as effective as Rivera. In the years he was used primarily as a reliever, Smoltz came close in WHIP but not in ERA, and was nowhere as effective in the postseason, while Lowe simply wasn't in the same league.

It bears repeating that no one ever has been as dominant or consistent as Rivera at this job that "isn't very difficult, relatively speaking".

* I aver that when a pitcher holds live-ball records for lowest ERA and WHIP, it's illogical on its face to describe that pitcher's work as "mostly useless" - particualrly when a) the pitcher also holds the record for games finished; surely, there must be a few clutch, game-saving situations scattered in there somewehere? - and b) the pitcher is used repeatedly (and successfully) in pennant races.

I do respect your views. It's good to know the Sandman will be on your ballot. We just differ on the particulars.
   234. progrockfan Posted: December 04, 2018 at 09:59 AM (#5793691)
@bachslunch: "I'm going to stick to my placement of Rivera at 21st"

Fair enough. You took the time to consider my view, and who can ask for more? :)
   235. DL from MN Posted: December 04, 2018 at 10:39 AM (#5793708)
What do you guys think of starting voting next week - have the election run December 10-19? Would that work for the ballot counters? Are the ballot counters still interested in counting?


Works for me. I can run the BBTF Hall of Fame mock from the 6-10 because running it starting the 20th means I will only hear from crickets.

I am not a ballot counter for HoM, just mock ballots and MMP.
   236. Howie Menckel Posted: December 04, 2018 at 11:22 AM (#5793744)
thanks for the response.

"SPs like Smoltz or Lowe thrived as closers" - but they were not as effective as Rivera. In the years he was used primarily as a reliever, Smoltz came close in WHIP but not in ERA, and was nowhere as effective in the postseason, while Lowe simply wasn't in the same league."

well, this is the crux of the discussion. For one, you are concluding that limiting the number of baserunners is a core part of the job. but in reality, the core of the job is binary - "did you get the SV?"

on that front, Rivera in any given regular season wasn't much more effective - if at all - than other good closers. his 35-for-38 - is it really any better than the other guy's 35-for-38, just because Rivera left fewer of his own runners on base? they have one job.

it's kind of like wanting to award points to a three-point shooter who always makes a nice swish, compared to a rival whose shots sometimes nick the rim. the relevant result is the same in both cases - a basket.
   237. Carl Goetz Posted: December 04, 2018 at 11:48 AM (#5793761)
My 2 Cents on Relief Pitching.

Points central to my beliefs on the matter:
1) Relief pitching is important, but individual relievers have a hard time accruing value simply due to the limited amount of time they are in the game.
2) Closer as a role isn't actually more valuable then setup man or even Loogy (there's a good chance that a LOOGY's one batter will be a really tough lefty with runners on base)
3) Generally speaking, for most of the history of the closer role, teams have placed their best reliever in that role.
4) I believe WAR in its various formats already takes leverage into account when valuing relievers.
5) I use WAR/WAA/WAG which have a lower replacement level, average level, and greatness level to begin with than other positions.

Even accounting for the adjustments to help relievers in points 4&5, most relievers have a hard time accruing enough value to be a legit HoM candidate. That said, Rivera is an absurdly good case. I'm not someone who gives a lot of credence to the idea of "clutch" postseason players; most of that is simply small sample size smoke and mirrors. Rivera, however forces me to gives him credit not just for playing extra postseason innings (All pitchers with postseason innings get a small amount of credit for that on the premise that they were wearing out their arms), but he also gets credit for being much much better during those crucial innings. He was simply too much better (than the reg season) in too many opportunities for me to write it off to sample size.
   238. Rob_Wood Posted: December 04, 2018 at 07:38 PM (#5794002)
Miscellaneous comments.

1. I put very little stock in the argument that modern closers deserve special consideration since "modern closer" is now a position just like center fielder, catcher, or shortstop. My viewpoint, as expressed above and elsewhere, is that every player, regardless of position, should be principally evaluated based upon what he contributed during his career to his teams winning games and pennants. Howie has written an excellent post just above so I won't repeat the arguments "against" modern closers and Mariano Rivera.

Looking back at Hall of Merit history, I see that I voted for Hoyt Wilhelm and Dennis Eckersley (had them high on my ballots) but neither Rollie Fingers nor Rich Gossage ever appeared on any of my ballots. I am still in the process of assembling relevant information, but my best guess is that Mariano Rivera will appear fairly high on my upcoming ballot. I look at BB-Ref WAR (and WAA) and Rivera does well there, as BB-WAR uses a Leverage Index to reflect the importance of Rivera's (and all other modern closers) innings. Of course, over his very long and excellent career, Rivera was able to achieve and accumulate remarkable WAR and WAA totals. In addition, of course, Rivera performed exceptionally well in post-seasons, greatly contributing to many pennants and World Series.

2. Here is my high-level take on notable Newbies appearing on the HOM ballot for the first time. WAA and WAR are from BB-Reference and CPASR (Career Pennants Added using a Sliding Replacement) is my summary stat incorporating the size, shape, and length of a player's WAA and WAR career profile.

                  WAA   WAR   CPASR
Roy Halladay      40    65    1.010
Mariano Rivera    33    56    0.863
Todd Helton       33    61    0.854
Andy Pettitte     30    61    0.776
Roy Oswalt        32    50    0.765
Lance Berkman     28    52    0.721
Miguel Tejada     16    47    0.590

Halladay will likely top my ballot.

3. One player who I have supported over the years is Detroit Tigers pitcher Tommy Bridges. As you probably know, Retrosheet is slowly-but-surely traversing baseball history in a backwards fashion. In the last year they have released full play-by-play files back to 1937 (1937-1940 being released since our previous HOM vote last December). As Bridges was active from 1930-1946, we now have around half of Bridges' full seasons available to us.

My Win Values framework relies upon releases of complete seasons of these files, so I am able to evaluate the back-half of Bridges' career via the Win Values prism. All in all, the recently released seasons do little to change my view of Bridges' merits and I plan to include him on my upcoming HOM ballot.

Note that Kiko Sakata's analysis is truly play-by-play centric and, I think, utilizes not only recently released Retrosheet full seasons (including deduced games) but also previously released partial seasons, so Kiko may have a slightly different view on the change in Bridges' merit based upon the most recent Retrosheet releases.

4. Just a reminder that I hope voters join me in re-evaluating the careers of Negro League stars Dick Redding and Ben Taylor, especially in light of new research presented/linked in this thread above. I plan to have both Redding and Taylor on my upcoming HOM ballot.




   239. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 05, 2018 at 01:44 PM (#5794197)
"Works for me. I can run the BBTF Hall of Fame mock from the 6-10 because running it starting the 20th means I will only hear from crickets."


Great, thanks!

Are OCF, rwagman and Ron Wargo still around? Or should I ping them offline? They've counted the last few years.
   240. ronw Posted: December 06, 2018 at 01:46 PM (#5794677)
Yes, I'm around and can count this year.
   241. Carl Goetz Posted: December 06, 2018 at 02:16 PM (#5794693)
Not sure what's all involved, but I can probably help with the counting process as well.
   242. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 06, 2018 at 05:21 PM (#5794803)
1) Pitcher is a position. Starting pitcher and relief pitcher are not. They are roles.

2) Relief pitchers are and aren't fungible. In many seasons, as many as half the teams in MLB change their closers. There's lots of instances of RPs that shine bright for three years or less and are otherwise mediocrities. Those guys are then replaced by other guys much like them. Variance in so few innings is bound to be incredibly high. On the other hand, if you don't have a single dominant pitch, you'll have trouble being a RP (thus Doug Jones can be effective and so can Kimbrel).

3) Relief innings are, broadly speaking, valuable. Relief pitching, therefore, can be valuable. Relief pitchers are not

4) Starting pitchers have an ability that few if any relievers do: They can get through a lineup two or more times because a) they have stamina b) they have a wide enough repertoire. I am not currently aware of any stats that incorporate the ease of facing hitters just once a game. But what I do remember from a million years ago was someone saying that ERA+ among starters across MLB was about 96 and relievers about 106.

5) I think WPA is a little too overheated for my needs, but I also don't think that WAR gives quite enough credit to relievers by using a leverage adjustment. I combine the two of them into a single win-value stat. Yeah, I know, das ist verboten. But it's good enough for even this important electoral task. Thing is, even making this kind of adjustment, only Gossage and Rivera get over the in/out line for me. No one else is close. Now, having said that, it's not right to call Eckersley a RP. Yes, most of his appearances came in relief, but in terms of value, he racked up twice as much value as a SP than as a RP. But this again brings us back to point #1: Pitcher is a position, SP and RP are roles. No other pitcher whom we might reasonably call a career reliever gets close to induction for me. In fact, Fingers is by far the worst HOMer as far as I'm concerned. But that's just me.

6) I concur that postseason credit is appropriate to give for the reason that pitchers only have so many innings in their arms. I allot them credit by giving them bulk credit (that is as if they were a 2.0 WAR player over a full season). Figuring postseason value any closer than that is something of a fool's game given the different weather conditions, the difference in bullpen usage between regular and postseasons, often peculiar RS/RA totals (consider a three-game sweep where a team won 12-1, 7-2, and 5-2: What's the run environment for that???).

7) Just because MLB teams think something is a good idea, doesn't mean it is. Look at the SH totals in the pinball 1920s. They thought it was a good idea to bunt guys around even though scoring was over 5 runs a game. We chuckle about that now, but if it were 1940, would we be able to make the argument that good bunters should get a little more credit from us because the league considered sacrificing a good use of outs.

OK, rant over on RPs! :)
   243. progrockfan Posted: December 07, 2018 at 11:23 AM (#5794982)
deleted by request - DL
   244. progrockfan Posted: December 07, 2018 at 11:30 AM (#5794990)
...And to return to an earlier quote that’s been bugging me:
you are concluding that limiting the number of baserunners is a core part of the job. but in reality, the core of the job is binary - "did you get the SV?" on that front, Rivera in any given regular season wasn't much more effective – if at all - than other good closers. his 35-for-38 – is it really any better than the other guy's 35-for-38, just because Rivera left fewer of his own runners on base?

Um, yes. It’s a lot better.

First, because Rivera on the mound was an near-automatic sequence of outs, not for a fungible two or three years but for eighteen. No other closer in history has been able to provide that level of confidence for nearly as long. And of course, he stepped it up several notches in the postseason.

Second:

Plenty of Barry Bonds’s home runs came when his team was comfortably ahead or comfortably behind.

Do we discount those home runs too, because they had no bearing on winning or losing the game?

Can’t we all agree that such a step would be nonsensical, and would make a mockery of the record books?

No, we count Barry as the all-time single-season and career HR leader. As we should. Just as we should count Mariano as one of the elite pitchers of all-time, 'closer' or no.

   245. progrockfan Posted: December 07, 2018 at 11:54 AM (#5795012)
Great post, Doctor. You make some points about relief pitching I agree with 100%.

Relief pitchers are and aren't fungible. In many seasons, as many as half the teams in MLB change their closers. There's lots of instances of RPs that shine bright for three years or less and are otherwise mediocrities. Those guys are then replaced by other guys much like them. Variance in so few innings is bound to be incredibly high […] Relief innings are, broadly speaking, valuable. Relief pitching, therefore, can be valuable. Relief pitchers are not.

Mariano is one of the most consistent pitchers of all time. He and Walter Johnson are the only pitchers with 11 sub-2.00 ERA seasons, and of course he holds the records for lowest regular and post-season ERA. That’s the opposite of fungible.

Therefore, while I believe your basic point is true, it emphatically does not apply to Rivera. He may in fact be the exception that proves the rule – and as such, he may have unique value that other closers do not. More evidence for this follows.

What I do remember from a million years ago was someone saying that ERA+ among starters across MLB was about 96 and relievers about 106.

That’s a 10% differential.

Mariano’s ERA+ is 205. That’s the all-time record. It’s also a 193% differential.

I think WPA is a little too overheated for my needs, but I also don't think that WAR gives quite enough credit to relievers by using a leverage adjustment. I combine the two of them into a single win-value stat.

Interesting that you bring up WPA...

Career WPA, games in relief, regular season
1. Mariano Rivera : 1105 G, 1233.2 IP, 57.3 WPA
2. Trevor Hoffman: 1035 G, 1089.1 IP, 34.2 ERA
3. Goose Gossage : 965 G, 1556.2 IP, 33.9 WPA
4. Joe Nathan: 758 G, 761 IP, 30.8 WPA
5. Billy Wagner: 854 G, 903 IP, 29.1 WPA

The WPA gap between Mariano and Hoffman is 68%; against Gossage, 69%. By this stat, Rivera’s career is more than two-thirds again as valuable as the next most valuable reliever.

And that’s just the regular season. WPA is biased towards volume and success in post-season play, which in turn creates a bias towards the division-series era - a weakness in general analysis, but invaluable for measuring the unique greatness of Rivera, who is clearly the greatest post-season pitcher of all time.

Career WPA, any pitcher, post season
1. Mariano Rivera: 8-1, 42 Sv, 0.70 ERA, 11.7 WPA
2. Curt Schilling, 11-2, 2.23 ERA, 4.1 WPA
3. John Smoltz, 15-4, 4 Sv, 2.67 ERA, 3.6 WPA
4. Andy Pettite, 19-11, 3.81 ERA, 3.5 WPA
5. Jon Lester, 9-7, 2.51 ERA, 3.4 WPA

This time, the gap between Rivera and acknowledged post-season monster Schilling is 385%. By this stat, Rivera’s post-season career is nearly four times as valuable as the next most valuable pitcher – starter or reliever.

Now, the main knock against Rivera’s potential all-time ranking seems to be that he pitched so few innings than a starter has incomparably greater value.

Career WPA, any pitcher since 1925, regular season
1. Roger Clemens: 77.7 WPA
2. Lefty Grove: 75.1 WPA
3. Greg Maddux: 59.5 WAR
4. Warren Spahn: 56.9 WAR
5. Mariano Rivera: 56.6 WPA

That’s right – just 4% behind Maddux, and 0.7% behind Spahn.

And when we include the postseason:

Career WPA, any pitcher since 1925, regular plus post-season
1. Roger Clemens: 77.7 regular, 2.5 post, 81.4 total WPA
2. Lefty Grove, 75.1 regular, 1.5 post, 76.6 total WPA
3. Mariano Rivera, 56.6 regular, 11.7 post, 68.3 total WPA
4. Greg Maddux - 59.5 reguar, 1.3 post, 60.8 total
5. Warren Spahn: 56.9 reguar, 0.3 post, 57.2 total

By this measure, Rivera stands third only to my picks for greatest MLB righty (sorry, Satch- MLB only) and greatest MLB lefty (sorry, Walter – Lefty’s got 9 live-ball ERA titles) as the third-greatest pitcher of all time.

I stand by my comparison to placing Mike Schmidt 21st on your ballot. (Schmidt, by the way, had 55.4 + 0.1 = 55.5 career WPA, 23% less than Rivera.) If it’s true that “pitcher is a position, starting pitcher and relief pitcher are not – they are roles”, then Rivera ranks very high indeed.
   246. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 07, 2018 at 11:55 AM (#5795013)
Good comments progrockfan, Rivera is so head and shoulders above other relievers that he's an easy HOMer for most of us, I've got him edging Halladay and Redding for 1st on my ballot, I can't imagine having him lower than 3rd.

The better question is to Doc's comment, Rivera and Gossage are above the line for him, me and maybe everyone, but are electees Wilhelm and Fingers worthy or mistakes, and if they are worthy, we need to carefully review the best eligible guys like Smith, Wagner, and Hoffman?

How do you feel about the group of Wilhelm, Fingers, Smith, Wagner, and Hoffman?

Like catchers, relief pitchers are a toughie to evaluate, so your insights here are greatly appreciated.

My personal hall has always leaned toward inclusion of Wilhelm in and Fingers out, but I have begun to question Hoyt's presence in.
   247. progrockfan Posted: December 07, 2018 at 11:56 AM (#5795014)
(Sorry - can someone please delete post 243? - it's an incomplete verion of 245, which I cannot edit - sorry for the trouble!)
   248. Howie Menckel Posted: December 07, 2018 at 11:59 AM (#5795017)
it's as if Trevor Hoffman never existed.

also, Hoyt Wilhelm debuted in the majors in 1952 at age 29 and led the NL in ERA at 2.43 in 159 IP for the NY Giants.

he only was a SP for one season - 1959 for Baltimore - and, huh, he led the AL in ERA at 2.19 in 226 IP.

if you're going to counter that "Rivera could have done that, too!" - then we have nothing to talk about.

as for Bonds, he played entire games - whether the team was winning or losing. comparing him to a guy whose appearance is completely dependent on whether his teammates have provided a lead - but too big a lead - is what's nonsensical and a mockery.

Rivera was great, but it seems like you're overreacting still to an underreacting of his career.

it was what it was - and it wasn't what it wasn't.

"He and Walter Johnson are the only pitchers with 11 sub-2.00 ERA seasons" - I mean, how about if we let you take that one back.
:)
   249. progrockfan Posted: December 07, 2018 at 12:07 PM (#5795025)
@Bleed the Freak:
How do you feel about the group of Wilhelm, Fingers, Smith, Wagner, and Hoffman?

I'm a small(er) Hall kind of guy. For me, the great relievers are ranked:

1) Rivera

(big gap)

2) Gossage
3) Wilhelm

That's where my in/out line falls

Without necessarily advocating his inclusion in the HoM, I do think Firpo Marberry was an important historical figure, invlauable to the development of the relief role, and too readily forgotten today.

I also think Satchel Paige's relief numbers as a very old man indicate he could have rivalled Rivera as the greatest closer, or, at minimum, Wilhelm as the greatest long reliever. But then, I also consider Satch the greatest pitcher of all time.
   250. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 07, 2018 at 12:10 PM (#5795029)
Question for the electorate, do you incorporate the new findings from baseball-reference on "clutch" for hitters or pitchers?

On the question of relievers, they have the following:

(3.3) - Mariano Rivera
5.7__ - Goose Gossage
(4.1) - Hoyt Wilhelm
(5.1) - Rollie Fingers
(1.5) - Trevor Hoffman
(1.8) - Billy Wagner
(1.4) - Lee Smith
2.2__ - Stu Miller
(1.2) - Francisco Rodriguez
3.6__ - Joe Nathan
(0.3) - Lindy McDaniel
1.2__ - Dan Quisenberry
3.1__ - Firpo Marberry
(2.6) - Bruce Sutter
   251. progrockfan Posted: December 07, 2018 at 12:11 PM (#5795031)
it's as if Trevor Hoffman never existed.

Well, he's nowhere near Rivera's class statistically, if that's what you mean.

Hoyt Wilhelm [...] was a SP for one season - 1959 for Baltimore - and, huh, he led the AL in ERA at 2.19 in 226 IP. if you're going to counter that "Rivera could have done that, too!" - then we have nothing to talk about.

Straw man alert.

as for Bonds, he played entire games - whether the team was winning or losing. comparing him to a guy whose appearance is completely dependent on whether his teammates have provided a lead - but too big a lead - is what's nonsensical and a mockery.

Your basic point has validity. But I'll give you the benefit of the doubt here, and assume you're not truly contending that Rivera's career, six World Series and all, was "completely dependent on whether his teammates have provided a lead - but too big a lead".

"He and Walter Johnson are the only pitchers with 11 sub-2.00 ERA seasons" - I mean, how about if we let you take that one back. :)

...No, I don't think so.

The Doctor's point was that "relief pitchers are and aren't fungible." I quoted that (true) stat specifically and only to demonstrate Rivera's historic consistency. By quoting it out of context, again you are attacking a straw man.
   252. Carl Goetz Posted: December 07, 2018 at 12:35 PM (#5795050)
"WPA is tricky because there’s an innate desire to use it as a measure of “which player has delivered when it matters most!” In reality, it’s far more complicated than that because it’s an additive measure. To accrue big WPA totals, you need to be presented with many opportunities to come through with the game on the line. A player with a 5.0 WPA for the year hasn’t necessarily been more “clutch” than one with a 2.0 WPA, they may simply have had many chances with the bases loaded late in close games."
From Fangraphs explanation of WPA. This implies a HUGE WPA advantage for closers simply for being in the role due to the fact that they are always (Mostly anyway) in with a game on the line. Also, the fact that Pitchers get all credit or blame for anything that happens on the defensive side of the ball (Fielding is not considered even slightly in WPA) make it a poor measure of pitcher analysis. Fangraphs itself stresses it as a storytelling statistic and not a measure of player value. Its a much better tool for looking at an individual game and determining who was involved in the most important PAs that decided the game.
I have Rivera as easily the greatest reliever ever (and high on my ballot), but there's no way he was worth 68.3 regular and postseason wins above average to his teams. I use 25%FIP/75%RA-9 based WAR which incorporates leverage and he gets 40.8 WAA by that measure (a pretty easy HoMer in my book) and that seems more reasonable. Mike Schmidt's 79.2 WAA is almost twice that. While its hard to justify Rivera ranking too low, its way over the top to compare it to a similar ranking for Mike Schmidt.

   253. progrockfan Posted: December 07, 2018 at 01:02 PM (#5795070)
@Carl Goetz:

This implies a HUGE WPA advantage for closers simply for being in the role due to the fact that they are always (Mostly anyway) in with a game on the line

This quote (with which I agree) certainly runs contrary to the notion, expresed above, of closers' value being diluted because they frequently pitch in unimportant situations.

I also agree generally with your last paragraph.

Put it this way (phrased in broad terms): Mike Schmidt played every inning. Rivera pitched only in certain innings. That makes Schmidt more valuable overall than Rivera. But a far higher percentage of Rivera's batters faced came with the game on the line than did Schmidt's at bats. That makes Rivera more valuable per appearance than Schmidt.

In sum, I don't rank Rivera over Schmidt, and if they were on the same ballot I'd place Schmidt first. But they're not, and I do rank Rivera over every other name on this ballot. McCormick, Tiant, Halladay and Redding are all defensible choices for the HoM - but Rivera is inner-circle.

If you don't think it's possible for a reliever to be inner-circle, well then, I can't convince you. I do agree that relievers as a class are less valuable than starters, and Rivera is the only reliever in my personal Inner Circle, with no one else close to inclusion. But he is in; the evidence in favor is overwhelming.
   254. progrockfan Posted: December 07, 2018 at 02:33 PM (#5795122)
Y'know, I dig this place so much... all right, what the (say) hey... might I be allowed a vote?

Allow or disallow this idiosyncratic preliminary ballot as you chose - but here's my take. I'll explicitly acknowledge that I didn't have time to research all of baseball history - so I stuck with every player who's appeared in a ballot in this thread, plus one or two extras. I hope it's clear from my choices that I'm considering all eras equally. I pay attention to WAR, Win Shares, OPS (OPB more so than SLG), ERA, WHIP, defense, durability, wartime & NgL credit, contemporary reputation, and (where applicable) quality of post-season play, which can grant a plus or minus.

1. Mariano Rivera (inner circle - I trust I've discussed my reasons here sufficietly)
2. Dolf Luque (Cuba & MLB careers both considered)
3. Roy Halladay (my, it's a pitcher's year!- but in part, I'm acknowledging the consensus of the educated populace here)
4. Dick Redding (I think he would've had a long & productive career in MLB)
5. Jim McCormick (monstrous WAR that the timeline can't overcome)
6. Luke Easter (I'm a believer, and could be persuaded to rank him higher)
7. Phil Rizzuto (defense and WWII credit get him here)
8. Ben Taylor (I think Seamheads has him about right)
9. Luis Tiant (on peak- historically underrated vs. contemporaries; a bit of media prejudice perhaps?)
10. Todd Helton (a bit too much grief for the thin air, I think, and not enough credit for .300/.400/.500)
11. Bob Johnson (sooo consistent... I rate him very highly; only a dock for wartime play brings him this low)
12. Kenny Lofton (great all-around play)
13. Andruw Jones (premium-position Defense with a capital D)
13. Buddy Bell (solid offense at 3rd)
15. Jeff Kent (lots of infield stick)

Next 5:

16. Hilton Smith (I just don't see the longevity to rank him higher)
17. Bobby Bonds (his power & speed are criminally under-remembered)
18. Andy Pettite (a highly consistent innings machine without a losing season)
19. Sammy Sosa (can't stand the guy, but that's quite a peak)
20. George Van Haltren (if he'd even once led his league in OBP or runs scored, he might be in my top 10)

Were I allowed to vote for them, Sadaharu Oh and Shigeo Nagashima, the Aaron and Mays of Japan, would be nos. 1 and 2, with Rivera #3.
   255. cookiedabookie Posted: December 07, 2018 at 02:53 PM (#5795132)
Alright, here's my current thinking, before the official voting thread starts. I tried to balance fWAR and rWAR, with a bonus for strong peaks and for catchers. Any glaring omissions, or players I should take a second look at?

1. Roy Halladay
2. Andruw Jones
3. Mariano Rivera
4. Kenny Lofton
5. Andy Pettitte
6. Bobby Bonds
7. Luis Tiant
8. Ernie Lombardi
9. Kevin Appier
10. Todd Helton
11. Johan Santana
12. Dick Redding
13. Bob Johnson
14. Sal Bando
15. Lance Berkman
16. Thurman Munson
17. Buddy Bell
18. Sammy Sosa
19. Roy Oswalt
20. Joe Tinker
21. Jeff Kent
22. Urban Shocker
23. Tony Lazzeri
24. Ben Taylor
25. Robin Ventura
   256. DL from MN Posted: December 07, 2018 at 03:03 PM (#5795145)
Great to see new voters. There are rules about voting, one is you have to consider everyone from last year's top 10 returning finishers

Luis Tiant (240), Sammy Sosa (238), Kenny Lofton (236), Andruw Jones (220), Jeff Kent (207), Ben Taylor (197), Johan Santana (186), Buddy Bell (139), Bobby Bonds (124), Jorge Posada (105)

If they aren't on your ballot you have to explain why.

“This has been an issue in the past, 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 your best estimate of 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.
Chris Fluit posted this last year, also relevant and well said.
First of all, yes, we welcome new voters. If you have never voted in a HoM election before, you are invited to participate in this year’s vote. You’re asked to post a preliminary ballot in this thread and then defend your ballot. That last part sounds rough, but it doesn’t have to be. We don’t expect (or even desire) unanimity. But we do want your ballot to be internally consistent. We also figure that most members om this site will have at least a passing familiarity with sabrmetrics but that’s not written into any by-laws.
   257. progrockfan Posted: December 07, 2018 at 03:15 PM (#5795151)
There are rules about voting, one is you have to consider everyone from last year's top 10 returning finishers

Luis Tiant (240), Sammy Sosa (238), Kenny Lofton (236), Andruw Jones (220), Jeff Kent (207), Ben Taylor (197), Johan Santana (186), Buddy Bell (139), Bobby Bonds (124), Jorge Posada (105)

If they aren't on your ballot you have to explain why.

Fair enough!

Johan Santana: His career was too short. I downgrade him for the same reason I downgrade Tony Oliva: blinding peak, but not enough career. Put it this way: Given a choice beween Warren Spahn and Sandy Koufax, I choose Spahn every time, with no second throughts and no regrets. Spahn is inner-circle, Koufax is HoM-worthy but doesn't have the longevity. (I saw Santana pitch many times during his peak, by the way, and he was every bit as good as advertised.)

Jorge Posada: I don't see the defense at this premium position. I'm open to persuasion though. Like Pettite, he does get a breath of 'Core Four' credit.
   258. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 07, 2018 at 05:10 PM (#5795211)
Rivera is somewhere around 30th to 40th in my personal pitcher rankings. (Numbers at home; me at work....) Which is like being a top-dozen person at a hitting position. So even though he's the best careerlong RP there ever was (and I doubt anyone disagrees with that), with crazy video game numbers and all the postseason glory, his role limits his upward growth. He's about as well qualified, in my eyes, therefore, as Larry Walker. I rate Roy Halladay ahead of him IIRC. Either way it's a close thing. Todd Helton is not that far away from both of them. He's something like 15th at 1B. But as good as Mariano was at what he did, he can't justifiably rank alongside Maddux, Clemens, Pedro, Walter Johnson, Cy Young, Randy Johnson, Tom Seaver, fellows like that. One would probably have to be forcing RP upward to reckon Mariano as anywhere near a top-tier candidate. He's certainly a better candidate than Ray Guy and Jan Stenerud are in the FHOF (or FHOM if one came along), but one can go too far with Mo.

That said, I LOVED watching Mariano pitch. He has, for my money, the most graceful and efficient pitching motion (from the stretch) of anyone I've ever seen. No wasted motion, total body control, and fantastic repeatability. I've long wondered whether he'd have been just fine as a starter. The Yanks had a decent rotation when he came along and Mariano plugged a hole in the bullpen in 1995 and another after Wetteland left. It was easy to leave him there. But given how crazily successful he was, I've always had in my mind that he would have been an outstanding starter as well had his career worked out that way.

   259. progrockfan Posted: December 07, 2018 at 05:46 PM (#5795221)
To comment further on Dolf Luque:

He won 194 (9 short of Halladay) with two MLB ERA titles (none for Halladay), and added another 64 wins in Cuba. He pitched in two World Series with a perfect 0.00 ERA in 9-1/3 innings.

Halladay beats him on rate stats though - and has much better control...

I see Luque as having the (quite a bit) better peak, and Halladay as having (modestly) superior career value. Both were excellent in the postseason. I could be convinced to flip my ballot positions on these two; I'd be interested to hear arguments pro and con.
   260. progrockfan Posted: December 07, 2018 at 06:16 PM (#5795225)
Still getting random saves without the ability to edit! DL, if you could please erase 259... ;)

Dolf Luque vs. Roy Halladay:

I won't re-hash Halladay, since he's obviously on voters' radar already. But as for Luque:

* He won 194 in the Majors (to Halladay's 203) with two ERA titles (none for Halladay).

* He added 106 wins in Cuba (2nd all-time), plus another 6 wins in the NgL.

* He led or tied various incarnations of the Cuban Leagues in wins 6 times, and took the ERA title in the 1934-35 season, one of the few seasons for which earned run data survives.

* To my eye he was possibly MLB-ready in 1915-17 (not all voters will agree with this), but was likely held back by racism, and possibly also by a reputation as a league-jumper. And even if you disagree with 1915-17, surely he had no business starting 1918 in the minors.

Taking these factors as a whole, Luque tops Halladay on my ballot.

Halladay beats him on rate stats though - and has much better control...

I see Luque as having the (quite a bit) better peak, and Halladay as having (modestly) superior career value. Both were excellent in the postseason - Luque with better rates, Halladay with more volume. I could be convinced to flip my ballot positions on these two; I'd be interested to hear arguments pro and con.
   261. Rob_Wood Posted: December 07, 2018 at 06:28 PM (#5795229)
Yes, welcome to all new voters!

I honestly don't think I have ever had Dolf Luque on any of my previous HOM ballots, but I will definitely give him another serious look. Just as a quick comment: I don't think Luque's post-season performances moves the needle in the slightest for me. Three relief appearances in World Series (his 1933 appearance was very good) for which his regular-season performance had little to do with winning the pennant. I am not dinging him for that, of course, but it is not much of a positive for me.

Also, as mentioned up-thread, over the years we HOM voters have been able to "coalesce" to elect various hitters but not so much for pitchers. I think many of us will rank several pitchers high on our upcoming ballot since most of the comparable position players in our personal HOM's have already been elected. Pitchers present such diverse bodies of work that different voters will inevitably value different pitchers. Accordingly, it is often difficult to elect borderline pitchers, the result being that pitchers are "under-represented" in the HOM.

Maybe we'll wind up electing two or three of Halladay, Rivera, Redding, and Tiant this year which should help rectify our pitching shortage.
   262. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 08, 2018 at 02:36 PM (#5795379)
2. Dolf Luque (Cuba & MLB careers both considered)
3. Roy Halladay (my, it's a pitcher's year!- but in part, I'm acknowledging the consensus of the educated populace here)
4. Dick Redding (I think he would've had a long & productive career in MLB)
5. Jim McCormick (monstrous WAR that the timeline can't overcome)
6. Luke Easter (I'm a believer, and could be persuaded to rank him higher)
7. Phil Rizzuto (defense and WWII credit get him here)


Well thought out ballot progrockfan, welcome to the show.

As we can only speculate on Luque, it's hard to push him ahead of Halladay and the MLEs that Doc has produced on Redding, but Dolf has been of interest for me also for a long time, good to see someone else interested in his candidacy.

As to McCormick, he's a monster in Baseball Reference WAR, he's merely ok in Baseball Gauge, and he's woeful with Fangraphs (although FIP from that time era might be close to useless).

Using Doc's CHEWS+, McCormick scores a 92, others from the time era:
John Clarkson 138, Tim Keefe 126, Amos Rusie 117, Old Hoss Radbourn 98, Charlie Buffinton 98, Clark Griffith 95, Pud Galvin 95.
I may quibble with the ordinal ranking of these 7, but I would place all of them ahead of Jim.

A tough item to tackle is valuing McCormick's excellence in the UA, a decidedly minor league in quality.
Also, Tommy Bond was impressive in the 1870s, I balloted him last year, but I struggle with how to slot these EARLY pitchers.

Easter is intriguing, he was so good late in his career that it would be easy to see him as a HOMer, but the data we have doesn't necessarily support this.

If you like Phil Rizzuto, checkout his clone Johnny Pesky, I grapple with having these guys as low level HOMers or at the top of the hall of very good pile.

As to the discussion of Santana, myself and some others see him as pretty similar to Sandy Koufax, without the post-season value, but also without a TERRIBLE bat.
No question, Spahn was light years more valuable than Koufax, it's just a matter of Johan being above the line and worthy of a ballot spot, hopefully we can't persuade you : )

Where do you stand on Urban Shocker, and the defensive DRA darlings Bobby Veach, Art Fletcher, Joe Tinker, Harry Hooper, and Sam Rice?

Any catchers within sniffing distance?
   263. Rob_Wood Posted: December 08, 2018 at 03:30 PM (#5795399)
I have done another dive into player evaluations.

In the unlikely event that anyone besides me utilizes CPASR in player evaluations, I have re-discovered that relief pitchers are a bit tricky to handle properly in that framework. I now believe that a more indicative figure for Mariano Rivera's CPASR is 0.652 (rather than the 0.863 posted above in post #238).

Here is my preliminary ballot:

1. Roy Halladay
2. Luis Tiant
3. Dick Redding
4. Mariano Rivera
5. Tommy Bridges

6. Jeff Kent
7. Kenny Lofton
8. Johan Santana
9. Sammy Sosa
10. Ben Taylor

11. Todd Helton
12. Urban Shocker
13. Andruw Jones
14. Buddy Bell
15. Phil Rizzuto

-----

16. Sal Bando
17. Bob Johnson
18. Andy Pettitte
19. Bus Clarkson
20. Bucky Walters

21. Bobby Bonds
22. Buddy Bell
23. Kevin Appier
24. John Olerud
25. Art Fletcher
   264. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 08, 2018 at 03:42 PM (#5795402)
4. Kenny Lofton
5. Andy Pettitte
6. Bobby Bonds
7. Luis Tiant
8. Ernie Lombardi
9. Kevin Appier
10. Todd Helton
11. Johan Santana
12. Dick Redding
13. Bob Johnson
14. Sal Bando
15. Lance Berkman
16. Thurman Munson
17. Buddy Bell
18. Sammy Sosa
19. Roy Oswalt
20. Joe Tinker
21. Jeff Kent
22. Urban Shocker
23. Tony Lazzeri
24. Ben Taylor
25. Robin Ventura


Welcome aboard cookie!

If you are splitting your vote by fWAR and rWAR, it's mostly the same for position players prior to 2003 (DRS to present at rWAR and UZR at Fangraphs), so Kenny Lofton's data is basically one measure.
He's bubble/out by Baseball Gauge, and he's in a glut of not real close hall of very good with Kiko Sakata's Win-loss records.
He was pretty good though by RE24 and clutch measures taken at baseball-reference.

Bobby Bonds is in a glut of 70s intriguing guys, does well outside of Kiko's stat.

From a straight WAR perspective catchers are tricky, Doc's studies may persuades you to drop Lombardi and support Munson or Wally Schang:
https://homemlb.wordpress.com/2016/09/26/the-value-or-lack-thereof-of-ernie-lombardis-legs/
https://homemlb.wordpress.com/2017/03/22/giving-1930s-and-1940s-players-back-their-missing-value-mojo/

The quick recap is that Lombardi isn't being penalized for how woeful his baserunning was, pushing him out of HOM level.

Negro league guys are REALLY challenging to rank, but the latest data from Doc's MLEs show Dick Redding as an overwhelming candidate, so seeing him at #12 on your ballot gives me pause.


With Joe Tinker at #20, I would direct you to a possibly better version of him in Art Fletcher.
You have to put some trust in DRA, but the fact that he was quite a good hitter makes Bobby Veach a very intriguing guy, I would recommend you look at him closely too.
   265. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 08, 2018 at 04:00 PM (#5795407)
Prog, welcome to the ballot! And for your initiate hazing, I'm going to take issue with where you've got Luque compared to Halladay.

Many people still look at wins. Personally, I'm not really among them unless Above Average or Above Replacement are attached to the word. (And still others have Shares or other things attached.) The reasons are legion, but Luque/Halladay makes the point nicely: Wins are teammate dependent, and the rate at which starters collect them on a seasonal level has been a nearly straight line downward trend with the exception of a bump during the Steve Carlton era. Luque's win total is unimpressive for his own time. Seriously unimpressive. At no point was Luque anywhere near the active career leader in wins. Halladay either was or was very, very close. From 1910-1940 (which brackets Luque's career), his 194 wins are 26th. Above him are 10 HOMers 16 guys no one's vigorously supporting such as Bullet Joe Bush, Rube Marquard, Herb Pennock, Wilbur Cooper, et al. It is true that HOMer Wes Ferrell and the supported Urban Shocker are just behind him, but neither of them had a twenty-year career. They're excellent peak/prime candidates. Luque has the one big year and some good years with it. Not as good, in context, as Halladay who was 13th among his colleagues from 1993-2018. Both led the league in wins once. Halladay, however, placed in the top ten in wins 8 times. Luque just three times. Thing is that Luque pitched in an eight-team league, Halladay in a 14 team league. Let's just look at top-five finishes to sort of even it out. Halladay had 6 top fives, Luque just the one time he led the circuit. Halladay's wins record is simply more impressive. He won 20 three times. Luque just once. Halladay's winning percentage of .659 is 20th all-time. He finished in the top five six times in W%. Luque's W% of .520 is poor for a HOM-level pitcher. He finished among the top five just the one time. One more way to look at this. Since Halladay's debut in 1998, he's one of only five pitchers to reach 200 wins. Several fellows are approaching that total, but the closest, Zack Grienke (187) is a full season away, and given how quickly pitchers can break down (like Halladay!), we can't just chalk them up for 200 wins. As for Luque, among pitchers whose careers started in 1914 or later and stopped around the war, he's one of twenty or thirty to hit 190.

Let's shift to ERA and ERA+. Luque led in ERA and ERA+ twice and those also represent his only seasons with a truly excellent ERA+ (north of 150). He did have four very good seasons (119-121 ERAs) while qualifying for the ERA title and one other in about 90 innings. Halladay, by contrast never led in ERA and in ERA+ just once. Really, those aren't big gaps when you compare to the likes of the Clemenses and Pedros who led in those stats consistently across their peak or career. But certainly an edge to Luque. But...five times Halladay qualified for the ERA title with an ERA+ north of 150. Tack on two qualifying years in the 140s and a 105 inning season at 145, and his record there is clearly more impressive than Luque's on the face of it. Halladay ranked seven times among the top five in ERA+, and his career ERA+ ranks 40th. Among starting pitchers with 1000 IP during his own time, Halladay's 131 ERA+ ranks eleventh overall, though three above him are active and may drop. Another above him is Brandon Webb whose career was cut short by injury so he had no decline. There are five HOMers above him plus Santana who is a well supported candidate and active pitchers Kershaw and Kluber and Sale as noted. Below him are HOMers Schilling, Cone, Glavine, and Mussina as well as Tim Hudson, Andy Pettitte, and Mark Buehrle (retired, likely to receive good support) and a litany of active pitchers likely to receive support: Sabathia, Grienke, Verlander, F. Hernandez, Scherzer, Price, Hamels, Bumgarner, Cueto, not to mention Finley and Appier whom I favor for eventual membership. Now Luque. He never otherwise finished among the top five besides his two seasons leading the league. His career ERA+ ranks 161st. His 118 career ERA+ ranks 34th in his own era among SPs with 1000 innings. Eleven HOMers above him plus Shocker, Dean, and Bridges who receive support. Below are Ferrell, Ruffing, Lyons, and Rixey (this last of whom I now view as an erroneous selection). No one below him receives serious support from the electorate

OK, so there's your hazing. ;)

Not too bad, I hope. But, truly, Halladay is very special pitcher, and Luque hasn't garnered enough support to be seen even as a borderline candidate after 80 years of assessing his case.

   266. Rob_Wood Posted: December 08, 2018 at 05:55 PM (#5795428)
Oops, I meant to add one other comment.

In my most recent deep dive of player evaluations, I reviewed (however briefly) thousands of players who could, conceivably, appear on my HOM ballot. In that list was Barry Zito. I believe Zito's last full season was on the 2013 San Francisco Giants. He then later appeared in 3 games (a total of 7 innings) for the 2015 Oakland Athletics without success. I cannot remember the exact HOM "token appearances" rule, but I imagine Zito may technically be a Newbie for this HOM election even though he did not appear in the list of Newbies at the top of this thread.

I do not expect anyone to have Barry Zito on their HOM ballot, either now or in two years. But I thought I would bring this up in case it matters to anyone.
   267. Carl Goetz Posted: December 09, 2018 at 04:31 PM (#5795561)
"He added 106 wins in Cuba (2nd all-time), plus another 6 wins in the NgL."

I agree with Dr Chaleeko's analyis in post #265. But just because I don't see any scenario where Luque is as good as Halladay doesn't mean I can't reevaluate Luque's candicacy. There's a lot of room South of Halladay but North of the HoM borderline in my book.
That said, are there MLEs for Luque's time in Cuba and American Negro Leagues? How is the quality of the data for him? Currently, I'm only using Major league stats to evaluate him as I'm not aware of quality MLEs. On that measure, he's well off my ballot. It seems clear he deserves some credit for non-MLB time, though I would need more than his Cuban Win totals to award it to him.
   268. progrockfan Posted: December 09, 2018 at 07:37 PM (#5795598)
Some notes on a variety of topics obtaining to this thread, & answers to questions both proffered and implied. My opinions only, not intended to represent Biblical truth.

* My take on traditional stats:

Batting average, pitcher wins, and pitcher saves are the three most overrated and oft-abused traditional stats. Without even delving into advanced metrics, ERA and WHIP are infinitely more important than wins and saves, and OBP blows BA clean out of the water.

Wins and saves can be useful as a rough sort of career indicator. When I say that Dolf Luque has 9 less wins than Roy Halladay plus 112 more in other professional leagues, I'm not making a value judgment about either player; rather, I'm pointing out that Luque's overall professional experience is substantially greater than Halladay's.

Über-stats can mislead. The 2001 AL MVP was fourth-place WAR finisher Ichiro - and he deserved it running away. I saw him play that year; of all the players I've seen over the decades, only Reggie!, Rickey!, and Barry* generated the same level of awe as Ichiro in 2001. He raked the most hits in 71 years, was blindingly brilliant on the basepaths, and played the best outfield I've ever seen, bar none. I never saw Clemente or Mays live – but I have seen Andruw and others, and I simply can't picture anyone with better judgment, timing, release motion or arm accuracy than Ichiro displayed that year. Seattle's 116 wins came in large measure because the team was juiced by Ichiro's arrival. But fourth in WAR.

(On the other hand, when Ichiro clearly earned - but was shafted for - his second MLB MVP in 2004, he did lead the league in WAR. Go figure.)

Anyway: The above is why I don't subscribe to any one stat or set of stats. I like to look at a broad range of evidence, including contemporary and anecdotal. But stats come first, and advanced stats are generally more valuable than traditional.

* Luke Easter:

Off the top of my head, these are the players owed the most HoM 'extra credit' for one reason or another (I'm sure y'all won't hesitate to plug what I'm equally sure are the glaringly obvious holes in this list):

Roy Campanella
Larry Doby
Luke Easter
Monte Irvin
Dolf Luque
Hideki Matsui
Minnie Minoso (by far the HoF's most glaring omission)
Satchel Paige
Ichiro Suzuki
Ted Williams

Of these time- and circumstance-wounded warriors, Luke looms largest for me, if only because the supporting evidence has the largest holes.

At an earlier phase of my life I basically memorized both of Bill James's Historical Abstracts. I disagree with him plenty, sure, but when I look at the evidence that does exist, I think he hits Mr. Easter square between the eyes. In view of my ballot placement, which, if anything, I'm going to move up, I think Mr. James bears quoting at length:

"If you could clone him and bring him back, you'd have the greatest power hitter in baseball today, if not ever... He didn't get into baseball until he was 30, yet he performed sensationally everywhere he went... He was a genuine phenomenon on the West Coast in 1949, drawing immense crowds everywhere along the coast... When an ankle injury left him unable to move faster than a good walk, he returned to the minors, and continued to hit home runs at a Ruthian pace... More injuries reduced his playing time, but he continued to hit home runs and drive in runs for years thereafter."

I think Luke deserves a spot in the HoM. I hope I can encourage a consensus on this view.

* Dolf Luque:

All of your comments about Luque are true. They also all apply exclusively to MLB. Luque had a long and productive parallel career in Cuba, and notched 305 wins at various professional levels. Apparently I give that more weight than some voters do. He also won, at minimum, three professional ERA titles. I need to ponder this further...

Johnny Pesky:

An interesting comparision to Rizzuto. As I see it, Pesky was possibly the better player season on season, and he's owed the same three war years that Rizzuto gets - but Rizzuto has three more full seasons; he has an MVP and 5 All-Star appearances to to Pesky's 0 and 1 (though the pinstripes have a strong influence on that); and also, I'll take Rizzuto's excellent glove at short over Pesky's excellent glove at third. WIth their careers being of markedly unequal length, Pesky simply falls short for me.

* Catchers for the HoM:

Lombardi doesn't come close for me, and voting for Posada strikes me very much like voting for Del Crandall - a fine, consistent player who I'd gladly have on my team, but not in the HoM.

Me, I'm waiting for Mauer: now there's a catcher. Dunno about the HoF, but this crowd will, I think, recognise quite how damn good he was.

* Johan Santana:

He was very effective in a short career. His 2004-08 peak stands with anyone's. But he only has eight full seasons as a starter, and he pitched quite poorly in his one playoff appearance above division level. I just don't see it.

* Dick Redding:

I'll just say that I think Mr. Redding deserves a long hard look from the electorate. The outcome of that look is up to y'all.

* Mariano Rivera vs. Roy Halladay:

(Unless I'm asked a specific question, this is the final time I'll discuss Rivera in this thread.)

The closer I look at Roy Hallday, the more I like him - possibly enough to move him to the #2 spot on my ballot. I like his durability and control very much. He makes the 2000s all-decade team for certain. He'll be elected this year by a comfortable margin, I think, and should be in my opinion.

But for those of you who are planning to place Halladay first on your ballots, consider the following:

Lowest live-ball ERA.
Lowest live-ball WHIP.
Highest career ERA+.
By far the greatest postseason pitcher ever: 141 IP with a 0.70 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, and 2 HRs allowed.

You can, if you are so inclined, discount one of all of these based on role and innings pitched; it makes no difference to the point I am making. Which is this:

Roy Halladay has nothing remotely similar on his resume.

Even those of you skeptical of a closer's value must recognise that Rivera is much the greatest ever in the role. That simply cannot be said of Hallday - or of anyone else this year.

Rivera should be a runaway #1 on this ballot. The HoM's self-proclaimed mission is to "identify the best players of each era and elect them". Rivera holds so many important all-time records that by any possible measure - discounted or no - he qualifies as historically great. Halladay, as excellent as he was, does not.

* And as for 'hazing': Haze away. The analytical debates here are the best thing about the site. I'll do my share of 'hazing' too. If my comments ever cross what you perceive as a red line, do call me on it, and remember: Merely by your presence here, you have already earned my respect.
   269. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 09, 2018 at 08:21 PM (#5795607)
Re Luque in Cuba...

This is just my take, of course, but when an MLB regular appears in a winter league during his MLB tenure, I don’t create MLEs for him. There’s little point because he is already an MLB player, so there is little to learn about his MLB performance from it, and, more important, I don’t do so for anyone else. So Luque’s Cuban stats aren’t all that persuasive to me. If Luque’s Cuban stats count, then we have to start looking closely at the Dominican and Puerto Rican winter league stats for all other players.

Note: I’m talking about established MLBs here, not Negro Leagues players. That’s a different ball of wax altogether, and the use of winter stats is not for the counting of them but to increase our sample.
   270. bachslunch Posted: December 09, 2018 at 09:33 PM (#5795670)
Question for progrockfan: any thoughts on Thurman Munson or Wally Schang? As catchers go, I prefer the latter to Lombardi or Posada, and for me it’s close between Munson and Lombardi. FWIW, I’m definitely on board with Joe Mauer when he’s eligible.
   271. Carl Goetz Posted: December 10, 2018 at 10:06 AM (#5795863)
I agree with you generally Doc; it would be a large can of worms. The flip side is that he may have had more good big league seasons if he was giving his arm a rest during the offseason. The wear and tear premise is why I give pitchers and catchers a small amount of postseason credit even if they were bad (and obviously more if they were great) while other position players only get credit if they elevated their game in the postseason.
   272. progrockfan Posted: December 10, 2018 at 10:25 AM (#5795891)
More on Dolf Luque.

* Doctor, if I'm reading you correctly, you offer MLEs when non-MLB pro experience runs separately from MLB play - but not when it runs parallel to MLB play - have I got that right?

When an MLB regular appears in a winter league during his MLB tenure, I don’t create MLEs for him. There’s little point because he is already an MLB player, so there is little to learn about his MLB performance from it [...] If Luque’s Cuban stats count, then we have to start looking closely at the Dominican and Puerto Rican winter league stats for all other players.

I agree with you generally Doc; it would be a large can of worms.

I do understand the logic of this position.

However:

Wasn't Cuba a substantially better league than the Dominican League or the PRWL? In fact, wasn't Cuba 100% pro quality for a number of years? That's certainly my impression. (Hard data on this would be invaluable).

Some points about the Cuban League that reinforce my impression of excellence:

-> It existed from 1878 to 1961 - no fly-by-night operation this.

-> The League was always small; you had to be a decent player to get a roster spot there - and very decent to come back year after year.

-> The League was racially integrated by 1900, making it a haven for players excluded from MLB. (Oddly, this coincides with the occupation of Cuba by the still-segregated US armed forces; one might imagine this would've produced the opposite result.)

-> By 1907 the League was loading up with NgL stars, greatly boosting the overall level of play.

-> In 1910, Cuban League teams beat the world-champion Athletics 6 games to 4. This led directly to an MLB ban on any World Series champion team playing overseas exhibitons. (One might've thought that MLB would take a different lesson from this fiasco - but no; ignorance ran deep, and we had to wait another 37 years for Jackie Robinson to teach us.)

-> Pop Lloyd, Cyclone Joe Williams, Pete Hill and Home Run Johnson all played for Havana in 1912. In this era the Cuban Leagues were certainly playing at Major League level. At various points, Ray Dandridge, Martin Dihigo, Josh Gibson, José Méndez, Minnie Minoso, Cristobal Torriente and Willie Wells all starred in the League.

All of this tells me that Cuba was quite a bit better than the Dominican League or the PWRL.

It also tells me that Dolf Luque's Cuba experience - in which he led or tied for the lead in wins 6 times, winning percentage once, ERA at least once, games pitched 3 times, complete games 3 times and shutouts 3 times - is an integral part of his professional record.

I see Luque as the 2nd- or 3rd- best pitcher in Cuban League history, probably 3rd, behind Martin Dihigo and probably More on Dolf Luque.

ue that reinforce my impression of excellence:

-> It existed from 1878 to 1961 - no fly-by-night operation this.

-> The League was always small; you had to be a decent player to get a roster spot there - and very decent to come back year after year.

-> The League was racially integrated in 1900, making it a haven for players excluded from MLB. (Oddly, this coincides with the occupation of Cuba by the still-segregated US armed forces; one might imagine this would've produced the opposite result.)

-> By 1907 the League was loading up with NgL stars, greatly boosting the overall level of play.

-> In 1910, Cuban League teams beat the world-champion Athletics 6 games to 4. This led directly to an MLB ban on any World Series champion team playing overseas exhibitons. (One might have thought that MLB would take a different lesson from this fiasco - but ignorance ran deep, and we had to wait another 37 years for Jackie Robinson to teach us.)

-> John Henry Lloyd, Cyclone Joe Williams, Pete Hill and Home Run Johnson all played for Havana in 1912. In this era the Cuban Leagues were certainly playing at Major League level. At various points, Ray Dandridge, Martin Dihigo, Josh Gibson, José Méndez, Minnie Minoso, Cristobal Torriente and Willie Wells also starred in the League.

All of this tells me that Cuba was quite a bit better than the Dominican League or the PRWL.

It also tells me that Dolf Luque's Cuba experience - in which he led or tied for the lead in wins 6 times, winning percentage once, ERA at least once, games pitched 3 times, complete games 3 times and shutouts 3 times - is an integral part of his professional record.

I see Luque as the 2nd- or 3rd- best pitcher in Cuban League history, probably 3rd, behind Martin Dihigo and probably José Méndez but clearly ahead of everyone else. In my view, that has to count towards his cumulatve record, parallel MLB experience or no.

* There's some strong disagreement here about the value of Luque's AA experience. His raw record reads:

1914 - 2-10, 4.01 ERA, 1.80 WHIP (he must've had some good raw stuff to sniff an MLB trial off this record)
1915 - 15-9, 2.96 ERA, 1.29 WHIP
1916 - 13-8, 2.64 ERA, 1.29 WHIP
1917 - 2-4, 2.39 ERA, 1.38 WHIP
1918 - 11-2, 2.00 ERA, 1.16 WHIP

Luque tasted cups of MLB coffee in 1914 and 1915, but given the strength of the Braves' rotation in those years, it's easy to see why he was left in AA. He got his first real MLB trial in 1918, going 6-3, 3.80 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, and to my eye was clearly a better pitcher than Reds rotation anchor Pete Schneider from the beginning.

The thing is, if Holway can be believed:

* In 1914 Luque went 3-0 vs the New York Lincoln Stars (7-0 recorded, 1st place in the NgL Eastern independent Clubs league, 1-1-1 vs MLB teams).
* In 1915 he went 5-2 vs. the Indianapolis ABCs (37-25, 1st place in the NgL Western Independent Clubs league).

That sounds Major League ready by 1915 to me.

In sum, I could see Luque and Halladay 2-3 or 3-2 on my ballot - but no lower for either of them.
   273. Carl Goetz Posted: December 10, 2018 at 10:40 AM (#5795914)
"Über-stats can mislead."
"He raked the most hits in 71 years, was blindingly brilliant on the basepaths, and played the best outfield I've ever seen, bar none."
Technically, WAR includes his hits, defense, and baserunning. Now, maybe it doesn't factor in these things perfectly, but is it really reasonable that it would be 1.5 wins off (BBRefWAR)? Now the 2001 Mariners are one of my favorite teams all-time (at least of great teams where I'm not actually a fan of the team). It was one of the best constructed set of position players ever with offense, defense, baserunning and power. It also has to be one of the best examples of a team of players all coming together and having great years at the same time. I'd say Bret Boone coming out of nowhere to have by far his best year (38.6% of his career War in 1 season!) had at least as big an impact as Ichiro's arrival. How about Mike Cameron's career best 4.8 War? John Olerud had his 4th best year (of an at least an HoM consideration type career). Mark McLemore came from nowhere to having the 2nd best year of his career at age 36. Edgar had 9 better years, but 4.8 War from a DH ain't bad. Carlos Guillen came from being a nobody to a solid above average 3.3 War season. Dan Wilson and David Bell were the worst regulars and they were roughly average. I'm not discounting Ichiro having an effect on this team; just pointing out that a lot of guys contributed to make this one of the greatest teams ever the year after losing the last of the Mariner's 3 greatest all-time players other a 3 year period. Ichiro replaced A-rod on the roster and the Mariners won 25 more games is a true sentence. It just doesn't tell nearly the whole story.

As for catchers, I agree that Lombardi and Posada fall just short (though I have both as better than Crandall). Do you like any? For me, Munson and Schang are both top 15 at catcher (I believe 13 & 15 but going from memory right now); Tenace is top 20; Sundberg is around 25 (Posada and Lombardi right behind). Munson and Schang will both be on my ballot this year and am adamant that both should eventually be elected. I believe Tenace should get in, but our ballots are pretty crowded now so he won't be on this one for me. I lean out on Sundberg, Posada, and Lombardi but they are all close enough that a good argument could convince me.
   274. progrockfan Posted: December 10, 2018 at 10:42 AM (#5795922)
(deleted by poster)
   275. progrockfan Posted: December 10, 2018 at 10:45 AM (#5795925)
(deleted by poster)
   276. Carl Goetz Posted: December 10, 2018 at 10:50 AM (#5795930)
"The League was racially integrated by 1900, making it a haven for players excluded from MLB. (Oddly, this coincides with the occupation of Cuba by the still-segregated US armed forces; one might imagine this would've produced the opposite result.)"
I had never made the connection that the Cuban league was integrated during US occupation. Now I'm curious as to how this came about.

As for Luque, I agree that he deserves some credit, but I'd still need to see MLEs over raw numbers. Does anyone know of a good resource to learn how to calculate MLEs (a book, online articles,etc)? I've been curious about the process, but haven't found a resource to get started. All that said though, I have Halladay ranked 23rd all time (not including pre-1893 pitchers, but including Negro League pitchers) and Luque around 106. He'll need quite a bit of credit from Cuba to close that gap. Though he only needs to move up around 30 slots to get on my ballot and get into my personal Hall.
   277. TomH Posted: December 10, 2018 at 11:36 AM (#5795982)
{off topic personal request}
Rob Wood, please contact Tom Hanrahan at han60man at aol dot com when you get a chance; thanks
   278. progrockfan Posted: December 10, 2018 at 02:05 PM (#5796132)
As for Luque, I agree that he deserves some credit, but I'd still need to see MLEs over raw numbers... I have Halladay ranked 23rd all time (not including pre-1893 pitchers, but including Negro League pitchers) and Luque around 106. He'll need quite a bit of credit from Cuba to close that gap. Though he only needs to move up around 30 slots to get on my ballot and get into my personal Hall.

That's exactly the process I need also, in order to determine a 2 & 3 ballot ranking between Luque and Halladay.

I was asked about Thurmon Munson and Wally Schang. I'll answer of course - but as this is my second question on the subject, it appears there's an electorate concern on the absence of catchers from my ballot.

Schang looks like a simple miss by me, nothing more complex than that. I did disclaim that I hadn't researched all of baseball history prior to filing my prelim... Superb OBP, not just for a catcher but at any position, and that counts for big points in my book... great longevity, and Series-clinching defense in 1918... he doesn't have great per-season endurance, but that's OK in a career of that length, he still managed to catch over 1400 games... great postseason play... yeah, I think he makes my ballot, and fairly high too. (I've been looking for an excuse to bump Sosa anyway...)

Munson... Correct me if I'm wrong, but I see his perceived greatness as partly an illusion of context. Decent counting stats in home runs, but not so much in slugging, as he used a lot of plate appearances to hit those taters... good RBI numbers, sure, but in a target-rich lineup - and RBI is another traditional stat I strongly discount (though it's still far from perfect, I like runs scored better, as the runner has much more control over opportunities; RBIs are more closely linked to batting and slugging, runs are more closely linked to OBP and basepath aggressiveness)... great postseason numbers, no illusion there...

I see Schang as much the superior hitter, plus he's got the longevity, so he ranks well above Munson for me. In fact, I can't see him ranking below Rizzuto. So, probably a #6 placement. Good catch, bachslunch.

Munson is solid enough that I could see him somwewhere around Buddy Bell or Jeff Kent, either just on or just off my ballot.

A question for the field: How does the electorate feel about the representation of catchers in the HoM? To me, Schang looks like he belongs, Monson probably not.

I'd also very much like to see some opinions on Dick Redding.
   279. Carl Goetz Posted: December 10, 2018 at 02:40 PM (#5796175)
On Catchers in general, I feel we are about 2-3 short. In order for me is Munson, Schang and then Tenace.

Redding is my top returning pitcher, but falls behind both Rivera and Halladay for me. Dr C's MLE's have him at 93.0 WAR and 42.1 WAA, both well above the bar for election. The top half of my ballot will likely include Redding, Schang, Munson and Buddy Bell in addition to Rivera and Halladay. Order to be determined.
   280. bachslunch Posted: December 10, 2018 at 02:46 PM (#5796182)
So, probably a #6 placement. Good catch, bachslunch.


No problem. That's what these threads are for, and glad to help. Unlike the Reinsdorf Veterans Committee, we actually, you know, think about stuff around here. Maybe not always the same way, but that's another kettle of crawdads.
   281. progrockfan Posted: December 10, 2018 at 05:15 PM (#5796310)
...My goodness, 272 is messed up, isn't it?- and it looked fine on first posting... sigh

Is there any way for a poster to edit a post after another poster has contributed to the thread? I'd love to go back & fix that one...
   282. progrockfan Posted: December 10, 2018 at 05:29 PM (#5796316)
Technically, WAR includes his hits, defense, and baserunning. Now, maybe it doesn't factor in these things perfectly, but is it really reasonable that it would be 1.5 wins off (BBRefWAR)?

No, it doesn't - and that's exactly my point; it's why I don't enslave myself to any single stat in making my evaluations. Ichiro's 4th-place WAR finish tells me quite convincingly that WAR doesn't always accurately predict an MVP.

You're correct, of course, that Ichiro wasn't single-handedly responsible for the Mariners' incredible season. Many players logged personal bests or near-bests that year. But a remarkable team synergy also took place that year - and I think Ichiro was resposible for that.

Also, the fact that Ichiro led the AL in multiple offensive categories, while playing the best defense I've ever seen north of Ozzie Smith, tells me his MVP pick was defensible on grounds independent of WAR.

I think WAR identifies the greatest players more unerringly than any other single stat. But I don't rely on any single stat; I try to look at the total package. It's why, for instance, I would take a rookie Musial over a rookie Williams in left field. Williams had Musial on hitting, but Musial could hit too - and Musial had Williams on every other thing you can name. Williams beats Musial on per-season WAR, Musial beats Williams on the total package. And when other determining factors are even approximately equivalent, I always opt for the total package.
   283. Carl Goetz Posted: December 10, 2018 at 06:34 PM (#5796343)
"But a remarkable team synergy also took place that year - and I think Ichiro was resposible for that."
I have a hard time crediting 1 player with team synergy, especially 1 player who doesn't speak the same language as his teammates. I'd need some evidence that Ichiro was responsible for this.
   284. Carl Goetz Posted: December 10, 2018 at 06:37 PM (#5796346)
"Redding is my top returning pitcher, but falls behind both Rivera and Halladay for me."

Just double checked my sheets and it turns out I'm wrong. Redding is ranked 1 slot ahead of Halladay on my overall pitching list.
#17 Rivera
#22 Redding
#23 Halladay
   285. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 10, 2018 at 07:30 PM (#5796367)
IMO the quality of a winter league is not meaningful information in Luque's case because he played in MLB during the summers. The only thing that matters is his MLB play during his MLB career. It's unfair to every other player to give Luque credit for winter ball during his MLB career. You know who played a lot of winter ball? Ivan Rodriguez. I remember that one season the Rangers had to tell him not to play because they didn't want him to get hurt.

Let's take a quick look at Luque's career in Cuba and the USA prior to his emergence as a good pitcher in 1919. That's where MLE credit could be given. Is there a case for it? I tend to give MLE credit when I see that a player has consistently played at a big league level in the minors without being called up (like Gavy Cravath or Edgar Martinez), so if a guy is Jeckyll-and-Hyde, I'm not going to give him MLE credit until he actually shows he's ready.
1911 (20 y/o): 44 IP; 118 ERA+ (which translates to somewhere around league average, depending on how good you think the Cuban League was)---Not compelling case for MLE but not awful
1912 (21 y/o): 1.67 IP 16 ERA+ (mostly played 3B) in Cuba---No way, which puts 1911 out as well
1913 (22 y/o): 22-5 in 189 IP in a US D league (equivalent to lo-A today); 44 IP in Cuba with 132 ERA+ (above average)---possibly
1914 (23 y/o): 8 IP in NL; 2-10 with a 5.77 RA9 in AA (equivalent to AAA today); 103 IP in Cuba with 93 ERA+---No way, this is a terrible year, which knocks out 1913
1915 (24 y/o): 5 IP in NL; 15-9 with 3.55 RA9 in AA (his own team was 3.52); 122 IP in Cuba with 126 ERA+---Maybe, he's around average
1916 (25 y/o): 13-8 in AA with a 2.64 ERA in 167 IP; 100 IP in Cuba with 100 ERA+---Mixed bag...his ERA in the IL was good on his team but no league ERA exists, while a 100 ERA+ in Cuba is not MLB caliber
1917 (26 y/o): 2-4 in AA with 4.22 RA9 in 79 IP---that's terrible, and it might well wipe out the previous two seasons
1918 (27 y/o): 6-3 in NL in 83 IP with 71 ERA+; 11-2 with 2.69 RA9 in 117 IP in AA---terrible in MLB; best on team in IL
1919: emerges as a very good NL pitcher

So when you take a good look at Luque's career he failed to establish himself prior to age 28 because he didn't pitch all that well. He was unable to be consistently good from year to year. I don't see a good case for his getting MLE credit before his MLB career really got underway, and once he finally establishes himself, his MLB record IS his MLB record. Which means to me that those 194 wins and 118 ERA+ are his story.
   286. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 10, 2018 at 07:47 PM (#5796372)
For me regarding Rivera ... the guy had 57 WAR. I mean typically the in/out line is around 60. It's not like he needs extra credit. He has the same WAR as Will Clark (56.5).

That's before you account for the postseason record, which is off the charts good. That's not just a teammate thing anymore. 27% of the league made the post season in his era. And most of the good players are concentrated on those teams. It's not at all just a function of having great teammates, though they did help. He's a big part of why they won those rings.

The idea that you need teammates to have played the whole game ahead before a closer does anything worthwhile is also a red herring.

Most teams play a similar number of one-run games. The separation is in the blowouts. You see plenty of the top saves guys on mediocre/bad teams every year. Remember Brian Harvey on the 1993 Marlins? Or Trevor Hoffman for most of his career. Most closers have similar opportunities. Anyone in a fantasy league knows this.

Closer and starters are certainly different in what is asked of them. Not every failed starter can just roll in and be a lights out closer. That's why there is so much turnover at the position.

Rivera for me will be a very easy selection, at or near the top of my ballot. I don't think he's borderline at all.

Now I have to set up the ballot thread, sorry that slipped through the cracks today!
   287. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 10, 2018 at 07:52 PM (#5796375)
I'm a small(er) Hall kind of guy. For me, the great relievers are ranked:

1) Rivera

(big gap)

2) Gossage
3) Wilhelm

That's where my in/out line falls


I kind of agree with this. Those three should definitely, unequivocally be in, in my opinion.

After that it gets sketchy. I can kind of make out an argument for Fingers, and maybe Hoffman/Wagner. I cannot see Hoffman in without Wagner. I might be forgetting someone here.
   288. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 10, 2018 at 08:10 PM (#5796381)
If we think finishing by 12/19 is too soon, I would be fine with stretching this out as far as January 7, which would still have us in 2 weeks before the Hall of Fame voting is done. Maybe having time over the holidays would help some voters, while it's a busy time for others. Some just wait until the last day no matter when we set it. Like me usually :-)

Of course any date would need approval of the ballot counters as well, as they do the heavy lifting here.
   289. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 10, 2018 at 08:38 PM (#5796388)
Re: Catchers - I kind of think we are Ok there. My top ranked guys are Jason Kendall and then Munson. And that's with giving them a 50% career bump. Don't sleep on Kendall,

I am for a reasonably balanced by position Hall. But I think with Freehan elected we are kind of there.
   290. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 10, 2018 at 08:43 PM (#5796390)
I mean, Rivera has more WAR than Koufax. He has more WPA in the World Series (apples to apples with Koufax) in 36 IP (2.40) compared with 57 for Koufax (1.51).

I get the idea that most relievers aren't there and can't really get there. That's what makes Rivera so amazing. He doesn't need any bonuses or extra credit (leverage is not a bonus or extra credit), like most of us give with catchers, for example. He's off the charts as a reliever on any scale. He's basically what Babe Ruth was to power hitters in the early 20s. He's so off the charts, he redefined the scale. And he pushed it high enough that he holds his own with lower end but legit Hall of Merit starting pitchers.
   291. Carl Goetz Posted: December 10, 2018 at 08:45 PM (#5796391)
I'm using Baseball Gauge Custom WAR/WAA/WAG with BBRef Offense; 75% BBref Pitching & 25% FIP; 70% DRA/30% DRS/TZ. Score uses WAR and WAA (No negatives) for Career Value Score and WAA and WAG (Both no negatives) for Peak. I give postseason credit to Pitchers and Catchers for all who played due to wear and tear. All other players get credit if they excelled only. I give conservative WWI & WWII credit. I also give a bump for catching based on % playing time in each given year plus I adjust for Marchi pitcher handling. Ties in overall score go to the player with better peak score.

Ok, here's my preliminary ballot with all players together. This is a list of everyone I consider a reasonable HoMer. I'll note where my personal in/out currently sits. Let me know if you think I forgot about somebody.
1 Mariano Rivera - Pretty comfortable with him here. Wonderful postseason record definitely moved him to the front of the line for me.
2 Dick Redding - Great career totals and not a bad peak either.
3 Thurman Munson - Great postseason numbers breaks the tie with Schang.
4 Roy Halladay - Incredible pitcher. Probably would have needed to have 5 extra 2-4 WAR seasons at the end to catch Redding on my list.
5 Wally Schang - I rank him ahead of Santop and Bresnahan who were both his contemporaries. I also have him ahead of Joe Mauer who I consider a pretty easy selection as well.
6 Buddy Bell - I feel pretty well established as a Bell supporter. Great defense, nice bat.
7 Art Fletcher - I'm pretty sold on DRA for defense. That said, I used 50% DRA (instead of my usual 70%) and still got Fletcher here.
8 Joe Tinker - As with Fletcher, I dialed back DRA and again, still here. He's my top pick among Tinker to Evers to Chance. All 3 are on this list, but Tinker is the best.
9 Bobby Veach - Another DRA darling. I know of no reason to scale back Detroit OFs from this era so he gets my standard treatment.
10 Todd Helton - Fantastic player. Solid HoMer in both peak and career scores. Its a shame the writers have no idea how to adjust for Coors.
11 Ben Taylor - Nice career score. I rate him a couple slots higher than overall score suggests because I believe his peak may be a little better than smoother MLEs would suggest.
12 Andruw Jones - Probably the best defensive CF I've seen play.
13 Tommy Leach - Great defensive CF and 3B. Can't say that about anyone else. He comes out strong in both career score and peak score.
14 Kenny Lofton - Career score of 49.3 and peak score of 49.8; perfectly balanced.
15 Santana, Johan - Excellent Peak.
16 Gene Tenace - Great peak as well. Really 8 seasons of solid HoM contributions, but they were a great 8 years.
17 Sammy Sosa - Top RF on my list.
18 Ned Williamson - I was an Ezra Sutton supporter way back in the day in the Williamson v Sutton debates. My current system says I was wrong and Williamson was the better player.
19 Dave Bancroft
20 Bobby Bonds - Still a solid HoMer, but I feel he has some waiting to do.
21 Andy Pettitte - There's a tight clump of pitchers coming soon. Pettitte added a lot to his case with sheer volume of postseason at around his career norm level.
22 Ray Dandridge
23 Bus Clarkson
24 Frank Chance - Great peak
25 Bob Johnson - Gave some PCL credit at beginning of his career.
26 Chet Lemon - Fell through my cracks up until now. Decent career score and strong peak score. I'd have him in.
27 Orel Hershiser
28 Kevin Appier - Another guy I watched play and never realized how good he was.
29 Bernie Williams
30 Luis Tiant - I expected Tiant to finish higher when all was put together. I expected to put more pitcher in my top 15 because I feel we are short. The problem is the distribution of pitching is less sharp than some other positions. I end up with a lot more guys right at my borderline for pitchers. Even with a pitching shortage, I can't put a guy right at my borderline ahead of guys at other positions who are clear "ins" for me.
31 Babe Adams
This is the start of my gray area. I'd have the top 31 in my personal HoM.
32 Jose Cruz Sr
33 Roy White
34 Tony Phillips
35 Jim Sundberg
36 Brian Giles
37 Harry Hooper
38 Jeff Kent - I'm probably in on Kent but he's very borderline.
39 Jorge Posada - Same as Kent, but there's 4 guys I have ahead of him at his position.
40 Tim Hudson
41 Dwight Gooden
42 Don Newcombe
43 Urban Shocker
This is the end of my gray area. I'm definitely out on the rest, but wouldn't complain if any got elected.
44 Ernie Lombardi
45 Gavvy Cravath
46 Johnny Evers
47 John Olerud
48 Lance Berkman
49&50; Ron Cey & Sal Bando - I have these 2 in a virtual dead heat with the not yet eligible David Wright and the still active Evan Longoria. Pending the rest of Longo's career, I'm currently inclined to leave all 4 out, but all are/were terrific players.
51 Cesar Cedeno
52 Sam Rice
   292. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 10, 2018 at 08:50 PM (#5796393)
Even if you don't love WPA - Rivera 56.6, Koufax 34.0; WPA+/-, Rivera 185.9-129.3; Koufax 183.4-149.4.
   293. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 10, 2018 at 11:28 PM (#5796445)
Don't sleep on Kendall,


Whoops, forgot to finish that one. A .366 career OBP from a guy who caught 2000 games is nothing to sneeze at. There is a decent peak for a catcher there from 1997-2000; he was an excellent player from 1996-2004. I'm not saying he should be in, but compare him with Wally Schang - there's a lot of similarity there. Schang was a better hitter, Kendall better behind the plate. But the overall package is pretty similar when you throw in Kendall's longevity.

I do need to give Schang another look. I've supported him in the past, but kind of moved on. BB-ref WAR likes him a lot more than I realized.
   294. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 10, 2018 at 11:50 PM (#5796450)
If you like Phil Rizzuto, checkout his clone Johnny Pesky, I grapple with having these guys as low level HOMers or at the top of the hall of very good pile.


Dont mind if I do!

Starting with WAR by age:

Rizzuto   Age    Pesky
   4.5     23     5.5
   5.7     24
           25
           26
           27     6.5
   1.8
*    28     4.1
   4.1     29     3.5
   1.7     30     4.0
   2.9     31     3.2
   6.7     32     4.3
   3.6     33     0.0
   5.3     34     1.1
   3.9     35     0.0
**
   
0.0     36
   0.7     37
   0.0
**   38
  40.7    Total  31.5 


*It's known that Rizzuto came back from WWII and suffered from malaria which really hurts his 1946 season. This also impacts any war credit people give that includes his 1946 season in the calculation. Adjusting for this made a major difference in my Rizzuto evaluation. It impacts not only his 1946, but 3 years of his war credit.
**Also, negative years zero'd out.

I don't really see them as all that close. Rizzuto has a bigger peak, more career, and he lost what are more typically better years (age 25-27 vs. age 24-26) to the war.

Rizzuto made 5 all-star games, got MVP votes in 8 different seasons, including 1-2-6-11-14-19-20-33 finishes. While missing this age 25-27 seasons. He was a star in every sense of the word. Everyone knows about his 1950. How many realize he was runner up for the MVP in 1949? 6th as a 35 year old in 1953. The people who saw him play thought he was an outstanding player.

Pesky made 1 all-star game. His MVP votes, 3-4-18-26.

Even if WAR isn't your thing - it would have to be incredibly wrong to see Pesky as better than Rizzuto. Rizzuto has nearly as much oWAR (28.5) as Pesky has total WAR (31.9). Rizzuto was an all-time great defensive SS, Pesky was not. Rizzuto had a shortish career if you don't account for the war (age 23-36 as a regular) - but he has 21% more PA than Pesky. And 29% more WAR. They just aren't really close unless you don't count defense.

Give Rizzuto 5 WAR a year 1943-45 (conservative IMO, considering those should be his prime years and he performed better than that both before and after the war) and 4 (total, 2.2 more) for 1946 and you are at 58 WAR. And his JAWS at the point is between Glasscock and Sewell, who is himself a little ahead of Bert Campaneris. It's a low level HoMer, but that seems like a HoMer to me.

Another way to look at that is 5 WAR per year, 1943-45 is basically giving Rizzuto credit for his 4th, 5th and 6th best seasons happening during his age 25-27 years. It sounds like a lot but it isn't. It's conservative credit.

Sewell is actually a pretty good comp, IMO. A better hitter, a worse fielder (had to move off of SS at age 30 - Rizzuto was still a +SS at age 36 - more evidence he was an all-time great fielder), and just didn't play instead of losing it on the field from age 36-38. Sewell's age 22-34 lines up pretty well with Rizzuto's 23-35.

Rizzuto   Age    Sewell
           21     0.6
           22     4.9
   4.5     23     2.7
   5.7     24     7.5
           25     4.1
           26     5.2
           27     5.9
   1.8
*    28     3.5
   4.1     29     5.4
   1.7     30     4.4
   2.9     31     1.5
   6.7     32     3.7
   3.6     33     2.6
   5.3     34     1.9
   3.9     35
   0.0     36
   0.7     37
   0.0
**   38
  40.7    Total  53.7 


Whaddya know, Sewell averaged 5.1 WAR/yr from age 25-27, Rizzuto's missing years. And he had 1.7 more than Rizzuto did during his malaria recovering age 28 season. Give Rizzuto those years back and his career looks completely different. I would not hesitate to vote for Rizzuto over Sewell, who is already in the Hall of Merit.

And you believe if giving blocked players credit - Rizzuto hit .316 in and slugged .412 while playing shortstop in Kansas City at the highest level of the minors at age 21 - two years before the Yankees gave him a shot in 1941. In 1940 he followed that up, hitting .347 while slugging .482. He then dropped 10.2 WAR over the next two years once he got his shot. Just in case anyone needs a final nudge to push him over the top.

I guess what I am saying after all of this, is that Rizzuto's career pretty much looks as bad as it possibly could given the player he was.

It's not like I'm on a long, flimsy limb here. As recently as 2012, he was 110 points ahead of Luis Tiant and once again the top runner up. For perspective, he was closer to Cone, who was elected, than Tiant. Rizzuto was only 60 points behind Cone. During 2009-10 he was the first runner up and then second runner up (to Cone). In 2013 he was only behind Vic Willis in the long term backlog (not counting Schilling and Sosa - although Sosa has since slipping into the long-term backlog himself). In 2014 Rizzuto started fading and he's been dropping ever since. I'm not really sure of why.
   295. Rob_Wood Posted: December 11, 2018 at 01:56 AM (#5796460)
Three comments:

1. I'd be happy to be a ballot-tallier if we need another, and I am available for those duties (should the need arise) any time throughout the next month. So I hope we go with a schedule that meets the basic needs of the voting members, whatever that may be.

2. Regarding Mariano Rivera (who I think will sail into the HOM), is WPA for closers a bit problematic due to the selection-bias of when they are utilized? I am not sure.

3. Regarding Phil Rizzuto, I am late to this parade but I am coming around to his case. His case seems to rest on receiving proper "credit" for his war-years. I am one who gives fairly generous credit for a player's military service. So, to me, Rizzuto may come down to how we treat his malaria-affected 1946 season in the calculation of his war-time credit. Leaving 1946 to the side for the moment I wonder how robust the typical way of deriving war-time credit really is.

Could someone undertake the following mini-study (I have no idea how difficult this would be)?
- Select all major leaguers who had 4+ WAR in each of their age-23, age-24, and age-29 seasons and played more than 75 games, say, in each season from age-23 through age-29 (maybe relax this to 3.5 instead of 4.0?)
- Take the average of these three seasons WAR and call it X
- Look at their WAR for their age-25, age-26, age-27, and age-28 seasons
- Take the average of these four seasons WAR and call it Y
- Calculate ratio of Y/X and call it Z
- Find distribution (mean, median, percentiles, etc.) of Z.

Thanks mucho!


   296. progrockfan Posted: December 11, 2018 at 08:55 AM (#5796484)
@Dr. Chaleeko:

Thanks very much for your in-depth analysis of Dolf Luque's Cuba experience. I am forced to conclude that you are correct - and on this basis, Luque takes a big tumble on my ballot. It's hard for me to see a lot of light between him and Tiant, though Cuba continues to give Luque a slight edge for me. Both still make my top 10.

Redding's new placement is no knock on Halladay, who continues to hang tough in my #3 slot; it's just that the closer I look at Redding, the more I like what I see. (Ben Taylor, too.)

The very high level of discussion here has helped me sharpen my ballot considerably. As of now I'm leaning:

1. Mariano Rivera
2. Dick Redding (+2)
3. Roy Halladay
4. Ben Taylor (+3; Rizzuto, Schang & Taylor, for me, are the 3 toughest to differentiate in terms of game-winning value)
5. Luke Easter (+1; I'm still a believer, and Luque & McCormick's displacement makes this an easy move for me)
6. Wally Schang (new to ballot; very impressed with him)
7. Phil Rizzuto
8. Dolf Luque (-6)
9. Luis Tiant
10. Todd Helton
11. Bob Johnson
12. Kenny Lofton
13. Andruw Jones
14. Thurman Munson (new to ballot)
15. Bobby Bonds (+2)

16. Andy Pettite (+2)
17. Jim McCormick (-12; I find @Bleed the Freak's arguments about him very persuasive, and the timeline is not friendly to his gaudy win totals)
18. Jason Kendall (new to ballot)
19. Jeff Kent (-4; honoring contemporary opinion in keeping him on-ballot vs. Bell)
20. George Van Haltren (a stubborn, idiosyncratic holdover for a long-time personal favorite; a monster run-scorer, and 40-31 as a pitcher!- god bless you, George)
   297. Michael J. Binkley's anxiety closet Posted: December 11, 2018 at 09:12 AM (#5796496)
Joe -

If you need another one, I am willing to be a ballot-counter as well.
   298. progrockfan Posted: December 11, 2018 at 09:18 AM (#5796503)
...Yeah, me too. :)
   299. DL from MN Posted: December 11, 2018 at 09:25 AM (#5796514)
If we think finishing by 12/19 is too soon, I would be fine with stretching this out as far as January 7


I'm okay with that but know that the 1949 MMP will run at the same time.
   300. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 11, 2018 at 11:04 AM (#5796578)
I don't see that as a problem DL - other than maybe having both elections end on the same day. When would the 1949 MMP election end?
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