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Friday, April 29, 2011

Most Meritorious Player: 1961 Discussion

1961 was the first year of the Expansion Era, as the American League added two teams. The old Nationals/Senators moved to Minnesota. One of the new teams was an AL competitor to the NL’s monopoly of the Los Angeles’ market, while the other took over the vacated Washington market.

When the season opened on 10 April 1961, John F. Kennedy had just been inaugurated president in January, in March South Africa declared it would withdraw from the Commonwealth of Nations, and the Marcels had the Number One single with “Blue Moon”. During the season Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel in outer space, the construction of the Berlin Wall began and Six Flags over Texas theme park opened. Fans of lesser sports would like to note that Tottenham Hotspur became the first English soccer team in the twentieth century to do the double (win the first-division championship and the FA cup in the same season). 

In the AL, the Yankees got in front of Detroit in late July, and by early September the race was effectively over. (Both the Yankees and Detroit won over 100 games.) In the NL, Cincinnati had to wait until mid-August finally to take the lead over the Dodgers, and only finished four games ahead of their West Coast rivals. Philadelphia finished as the worst team in the majors, winning only 47 games. You’ll find the Al standings here and the NL standings here. Those links will take you theBB-ref pages, from where you’ll be able to access leader boards. The Yankees beat Cincinnati in a five-game World Series. The season was over on 9 October.

Courtesy of Alex King, here are the top 25 in Win Shares, BB-ref WAR and DanR’s WARP2.


Name         lgID Pos   WS   WAR   WARP2
Mickey Mantle   AL   CF   48   11.9   10.8
Norm Cash       AL   1B   42   10.0   9.3
Willie Mays     NL   CF   36   9.9   7.6
Hank Aaron     NL   RF   37   9.7   9.5
Al Kaline       AL   RF   29   8.3   5.8
Ken Boyer       NL   3B   28   8.2   6.9
Frank Robinson NL   RF   36   8.0   8.6
Rocky Colavito   AL   LF   33   7.9   6.4
Vada Pinson     NL   CF   34   7.8   7.6
Eddie Mathews   NL   3B   35   7.4   7.7
Roger Maris     AL   RF   36   7.2   6.3
Jim Gentile     AL   1B   32   7.2   6.9
Orlando Cepeda   NL   1B   31   6.4   5.9
Warren Spahn   NL   SP   26   6.2  
Elston Howard   AL   C   29   5.9   5.5
Don Drysdale     NL   SP   20   5.9  
Roberto Clemente NL   RF   27   5.8   5.9
Don Cardwell     NL   SP   17   5.8  
Harmon Killebrew AL   1B   27   5.5   4.8
Sandy Koufax     NL   SP   21   5.3  
Jack Kralick     AL   SP   17   5.2  
Bob Gibson     NL   SP   19   4.9  
John Romano     AL   C   25   4.7   4.2
Juan Pizarro     AL   SP   18   4.7  
Camilo Pascual   AL   SP   17   4.7  
Frank Lary     AL   SP   22   4.6  
Ernie Banks     NL   SS   20   4.5   5.5
Jim Landis     AL   CF   23   4.4   4.6
Roy Sievers     AL   1B   23   4.1   3.8
Woodie Held     AL   SS   21   4.0   4.7
Whitey Ford     AL   SP   22   3.9  
Wally Moon     NL   LF   26   3.6   3.5
George Altman   NL   RF   21   3.5   4.8
Luis Arroyo     AL   RP   23   3.0  
Norm Siebern     AL   1B   23   3.0   3.1
Maury Wills     NL   SS   22   1.9   3.4
Stan Williams   NL   SP   17   4.8  
Mike McCormick   NL   SP   18   4.8  
Ray Sadecki     NL   SP   19   4.6

We’ll have at least three weeks of discussion before a ballot thread is posted. See the ongoing discussion in the ballot rules thread for more information about the prospect of multiple discussion threads and balloting generally.

fra paolo Posted: April 29, 2011 at 01:33 PM | 170 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Alex King Posted: May 19, 2011 at 06:29 AM (#3832276)
I’ve created an aggregated fielding rating by combining together the three best available fielding systems for 1961: Total Zone, Simple Fielding Runs, and Defensive Regression Analysis. For infielders, I had all three systems available, so I calculated the AFR (Aggregate Fielding Rating) by converting each rating into a z-score, averaging those z-scores with equal weighting, and converting back into runs by multiplying by the average of the standard deviations of all three systems. For outfielders and catchers, I only had TZ and DRA data, so I repeated the same process with only those two systems. Complete AFR for 1961 is available here: https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0Ak9Qovjhd2pAdF9XSWhvUjR2bzBlRVpWLS1jaGNtb0E&hl=en&authkey=CLrEs6MI. I’ve also posted a table below with AFR values for all candidates included in the table at the top of the thread.

Name TZ SFR DRA AFR
Mickey Mantle 1 0 3 2
Norm Cash 9 -0.2 13 6
Willie Mays 14 0 -1 7
Hank Aaron 24 -0.1 26 25
Al Kaline 29 0 24 27
Ken Boyer 13 7.9 18 13
Frank Robinson 8 0 8 8
Rocky Colavito 19 0 1 11
Vada Pinson 18 0 10 14
Eddie Mathews -1 5.3 2 2
Roger Maris 1 0 -14 -6
Jim Gentile 8 -0.8 6 4
Orlando Cepeda 0 2.5 0 1
Elston Howard 3 -1.1 3 2
Roberto Clemente 1 0 0 1
Harmon Killebrew -1 -8.2 0 -4
John Romano -1 0 0 -1
Ernie Banks 10 9.4 12 10
Jim Landis 2 0 22 12
Roy Sievers 3 2.7 4 3
Woodie Held 1 -11.9 2 -3
Wally Moon -11 0 -14 -12
George Altman -3 -0.1 2 -1
Norm Siebern -6 4.4 -14 -4
Maury Wills -3 12.1 0 3
   102. bjhanke Posted: May 19, 2011 at 01:43 PM (#3832343)
Alex -

Thanks for the hard work, and I will try to use it, but WOW! are there disagreements among the three systems. - Brock
   103. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 19, 2011 at 02:23 PM (#3832377)
You know all the SFR zero scores are because there's no outfield data, right?
   104. bjhanke Posted: May 19, 2011 at 07:22 PM (#3832705)
Dan - No, I did not. Man. This has been "educate the elderly" month for you, hasn't it? I freely admit that I need to know the guts of these systems, but I don't know where to go to systematically get them. I was pretty much out of sabermetrics for about a decade, and it shows. Thanks for the help. There's still a lot of disagreement here, but nothing like as bad as I thought it was. - Brock
   105. bjhanke Posted: May 20, 2011 at 05:05 PM (#3833486)
OCF, comment #67, asked, "Who are the reasonable candidates for best 2B and best SS in each league?"

There have been a couple of answers, but none of them wants to just stick itself out there and say, "These are the guys." I'm more sure of what I've seen as of now, and am willing to say that the answers are:

NL 2B Frank Bolling (trading Bill Bruton for Bolling is what led the Braves to have an open hole in CF for Hank Aaron)
NL SS Ernie Banks - no one else comes close, because he still doesn't hit like a shortstop

AL 2B Jerry Lumpe over Chuck Schilling in Boston. It's the closest #2 on these lists, IMO, but Lumpe does maintain a substantial lead.
AL SS Woodie Held - Woodie was sort of Ernie Banks lite. He hit homers and had OK averages, but refused to walk and had questionable defense. The Tony Kubek style of shortstop cannot beat that, any more than the Jerry Lumpe style of 2B can beat Bolling, who was more Ken Boyer lite than Ernie Banks.

- Brock Hanke
   106. bjhanke Posted: May 23, 2011 at 08:49 AM (#3835474)
Here's my prelim, with minimal commentary, just to prove that I can too write minimal commentary:

1. Mickey Mantle - Consensus, I would imagine.
2. Norm Cash - Expansion seemed to have helped lefty fly ball hitters more than anyone else. It's even true of Mantle the Switchhitter; his lefty homer rate went up more than his righty.
3. Willie Mays - DL's notice that Mays had moved to a new and difficult ballpark that might have affected his defense caused me to take the numbers over the rep this year. Otherwise, I'd have had him above Cash.
4. Hank Aaron - The odd thing is that the Braves had a good CF in 1960 - Bill Bruton - but decided to trade him for Frank Bolling, to fill their hole at second base. But that left them with a hole in CF, so Hank played half a year there.
5. Ken Boyer - Dicey rules question - I have Boyer ahead of Mathews because Boyer's ballpark favored lefty hitters, while everyone's park adjustments ignore this. Big weaknesses: I can't quantify this even in the STL ballpark, and have no idea what the Milwaukee ballpark was like. So, rules question - Should I be using stuff this dicey or not. It's info, but incomplete and biased info.
6. Eddie Mathews - Boyer and Mathews are above Robby because the two of them completely dominate what I call the "glove pool": second, short, and third. And that's another dicey rules question, whether that sort of thing should be used.
7. Frank Robinson - As usual, did nothing to get him much press. Just was the best player on the pennant winner. Ho hum.
8. Vada Pinson - Big surprise. I spent a lot of time comparing Vada to Kaline to Maris to Gentile to Colavito.
9. Roger Maris - The differences between Roger, Kaline, Gentile, and Colavito are tiny. My system has Roger first in that group.
10. Whitey Ford - I did not expect the best pitcher to rank so low as early as 1961, but you can easily argue Kaline, Gentile, Colavito and a couple of pitchers over Whitey. He's here because we're supposed to count the World Series, and he had 2 starts, 2 wins, 14 IP, no runs at all. I checked Jim O'Toole of Cincy, but he was not close.
   107. DL from MN Posted: May 23, 2011 at 02:39 PM (#3835533)
TomH noticed the Mays ballpark move. I noticed that Aaron was playing CF well in 1961.

The rules (purposely) don't get into distinctions as fine as your Ken Boyer question. "Voters should consider the player's on-field contribution to MLB team(s) in that season only."

"A season may include playoff or World Series games" - doesn't say _must_
   108. bjhanke Posted: May 24, 2011 at 06:58 AM (#3836157)
DL - Thanks for the notes. Apologies to Tom; when I'm writing comments, I'll forget to check something like that, because I'm trying to keep track of the details that lead to rankings. The info was very important in ranking Mays vs. Cash. Who made it wasn't enough for me to actually check the thread. Sorry, Tom.

And thanks to DL for the rules qualification. Since my so-far-failed crusade to get separate ballpark adjustments for lefties and righties is what applies here, I'm going to keep the ranking and reason, just to get the word out that platoon ballpark effects are important and someone who has access to a database should have done them by now. I assure you that if you have a database and let me run queries against it, that will be the first one. And I will put up the results here on BTF as soon as I get them.

And thanks again for the WS distinction. I have to think about this one. I am, in general, trying to be conservative about this business of individual pitchers losing ground to individual players, because it creates controversy (try going to the Hall of Merit and NOT voting for Kevin Brown and David Cone). Without the WS, Whitey is not even the top pitcher in 1961, and nowhere near the top position players. The problem is that, without WS credit, NO pitcher would make the top ten, and probably not the top 15. I'm expecting this to happen, or to have happened recently, but not as early as 1961. But maybe 61 is just an odd year. - Brock
   109. Alex King Posted: May 26, 2011 at 07:31 AM (#3838009)
I'm considering primarily rWAR, but I've modified it by replacing TZ with AFR, an average of DRA, SFR, and TZ. I've also applied a schedule adjustment and a standard deviation adjustment to account for the uneven effects of expansion. Lastly I've added a small postseason bonus. Here is my preliminary ranking:

1. Mickey Mantle
2. Hank Aaron--certainly a surprise that Cash isn't #2, and according to my system Aaron has him beat by a fairly large margin. Cash's schedule adjusted WAR advantage is only 0.3, and this gap is flipped to a 0.2-WAR advantage for Aaron when you replace TZ with AFR. The standard deviation adjustment widens the gap to a pretty convincing 0.6 WAR.
3. Norm Cash
4. Willie Mays
5. Frank Robinson--small postseason bonus helps him out.
6. Ken Boyer
7. Eddie Mathews
8. Al Kaline
9. Rocky Colavito
10. Vada Pinson--hurt by a poor postseason.

I haven't looked through all the pitchers yet, but it looks like Spahn will only come in around #15, and Ford's season WAR is so low that I doubt even the postseason bonus will get him into the top 10.
   110. DL from MN Posted: May 26, 2011 at 02:09 PM (#3838115)
Alex - where do you have Elston Howard?
   111. Alex King Posted: May 26, 2011 at 04:16 PM (#3838259)
As of right now, I have Howard #14 without any postseason credit, but the gap between him and Pinson is large enough that I doubt the postseason credit will close it. I'm not giving any catcher bonus--I feel that catchers' lower ratings in uberstats such as WAR is due to their lower playing time rather than to any actual undervaluing of the position. As a result, I don't feel that it is appropriate to give a playing-time bonus to catchers on a seasonal level, since we're mainly interested in the value a player provides to his team, and catchers simply provide less value than other position players because of their lower playing time.
   112. DL from MN Posted: May 26, 2011 at 05:19 PM (#3838334)
I agree with you to a point about playing time but I'll also note that catcher defense is one of the big holes in the uberstats. We may quantify in the future that catcher defense is a lot more difficult and that difficulty is worth something.
   113. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 29, 2011 at 09:24 AM (#3840336)
DRA isn't measuring arm, right, while TZ is? That would account for the gap on guys like Colavito.
   114. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 29, 2011 at 09:47 AM (#3840338)
Just noticed TZ is definitely buggy. It has the major leagues in 1961 with +213 defense, which is roughly 213 runs too high if you ask me. I'll be subtracting .00092 R/IP from all position players' TZ scores. (This may also explain part of why the starting pitcher scores seem so low).
   115. Nate the Neptunian Posted: May 29, 2011 at 12:43 PM (#3840348)
DRA isn't measuring arm, right, while TZ is?


This is correct, it doesn't measure outfielders' arms.
   116. Nate the Neptunian Posted: May 29, 2011 at 03:41 PM (#3840397)
OK, so, another one of my uber system ranking charts. Sorry for spamming the discussion with multiple copies of these, but since a couple other posters said they were helpful I want to make sure they're as correct as they can be. So this is to fix an issue I was reminded of since posting the last one, which is that I had made a league strength adjustment to all the metrics, but rWAR already has one built in, so obviously manually adding one for that metric is wrong. As an example, Eddie Mathews and Norm Cash both had 672 PA this year. Mathews, in the NL, gets 21 Rrep (runs representing the difference between a replacement player and an average one), while Cash in the AL only 18 Rrep, all according to rWAR. The difference between the two is the built-in league strength adjustment. So, 3 runs, roughly 3/10ths of a win for a full time player. That's different than how I'm doing the adjustments for the other stats, which is just adding a straight percentage, but I'm not going to attempt to integrate the two, so rWAR will just have to be out of sync when it comes to the league strength question.

Also, I doubt anyone other than me is using my WAA system, which is fine, but since I'm posting a new chart anyway due to wanting to correct my mistake with rWAR, I should point out that I've changed WAA to use DRA for its defensive component, rather than FR. (Except for pitchers, or, because of the way I integrated the data, anyone who appeared in the field as a pitcher, even if they were primarily a position player. I don't think that affects any serious candidates this year, but something to keep in mind.) I think it gives a lot better results. Maris, who suffered a lot under the old system, moves up quite a bit, but still not into the top 10, as DRA doesn't like his fielding this year either (-14 runs), just not to the extent that FR didn't. Also, surprisingly, Cash ekes out 1st place over Mantle by less than half a run, because DRA likes his fielding a lot better (+13 for Cash, only +3 for Mantle). But that's not going to effect my placement of Mantle on the actual ballot.

NAME_FIRST  NAME_LAST  POSITION  LEAGUE  FINAL_RANK  BR_WAR  BR_WAR_RANK  WSAB      WSAB_RANK  BG_WAR    BG_WAR_RANK  WARP1  WARP1_RANK  WAA   WAA_RANK  TOTAL_RANK 
Mickey      Mantle     CF        AL      1           11.9    1            34.39468  1          10.47783  1            11.8   1           8.24  2         6          
Norm        Cash       1B        AL      2           10      2            32.53346  2          9.52018   2            10.7   2           8.28  1         9          
Hank        Aaron      CF        NL      3           9.7     4            22.8388   4          8.17956   3            9.6    3           5.87  3         17         
Frank       Robinson   RF        NL      4           8       7            24.77646  3          7.43008   5            8.8    4           5.04  8         27         
Willie      Mays       CF        NL      5           9.9     3            22.59113  5          7.67317   4            8.2    7           4.32  12        31         
Jim         Gentile    1B        AL      6           7.2     11           21.85184  7          7.24417   6            8.4    6           5.24  7         37         
Rocky       Colavito   LF        AL      7           7.9     8            21.37706  8          6.78788   9            7.5    9           5.37  6         40         
Eddie       Mathews    3B        NL      8           7.3     10           19.34222  11         7.08043   7            8.8    4           5.03  9         41         
Ken         Boyer      3B        NL      9           8.2     6            15.59334  19         5.87902   14           7.9    8           5.84  4         51         
Al          Kaline     RF        AL      10          8.3     5            17.58631  13         5.6957    17           6.5    17          4.42  11        63         
Vada        Pinson     CF        NL      11          7.8     9            20.66487  9          6.7308    10           5.4    30          3.9   13        71         
Orlando     Cepeda     1B        NL      12          6.4     13           19.48249  10         5.54513   19           6.9    13          3.5   18        73         
Warren      Spahn      P         NL      12          5.4     19           15.97849  16         5.04534   23           7.2    10          5.83  5         73         
Elston      Howard     C         AL      14          5.9     14           18.50336  12         6.12657   12           7      12          2.86  28        78         
Roger       Maris      RF        AL      15          7.2     11           22.3408   6          6.6148    11           6.9    14          2.32  37        79         
Harmon      Killebrew  1B        AL      16          5.5     18           15.63067  17         5.64218   18           5.2    35          4.51  10        98         
Roberto     Clemente   RF        NL      17          5.8     16           16.24517  15         5.18975   22           4.7    43          3     25        121        
Frank       Lary       P         AL      17          4.6     29           10.14017  35         5.74348   16           5.6    26          3.64  15        121        
Jim         O
'Toole    P         NL      19          4.8     23           14.66673  20         4.59702   27           5.5    29          2.52  34        133        
Juan        Pizarro    P         AL      20          4.7     26           10.50582  31         4.66293   26           5.8    22          2.78  29        134        
Whitey      Ford       P         AL      21          3.9     42           12.17634  23         5.44992   20           4.7    45          3.72  14        144        
Don         Drysdale   P         NL      22          5.9     15           9.32143   47         4.44713   28           6.6    16          1.89  52        158        
Jim         Landis     CF        AL      23          4.4     32           10.08094  36         4.02969   37           5      38          3.03  24        167        
Bob         Gibson     P         NL      24          4.9     22           10.91466  27         3.85073   44           5.6    28          1.99  47        168        
Stu         Miller     P         NL      25          2.9     72           12.0084   24         4.82427   25           5.4    30          2.87  27        178 
   117. Alex King Posted: May 31, 2011 at 12:17 AM (#3841168)
Nate/115:

I haven't read Humphreys' book, but I noticed that for the outfielders he gives both PO runs and A runs; I assumed that PO stands for putout and A stands for assist, and that the "assist runs" represent an arm rating. Is this correct, or do the A runs signify something else?
   118. Nate the Neptunian Posted: May 31, 2011 at 07:49 AM (#3841361)
Sorry, I should have been clearer. DRA does credit outfielders for the assists they made above (or below) what an average outfielder would have done in the same situations. Those are the A runs in the spreadsheets. However, DRA doesn't attempt to estimate the impact of how well an outfielder holds runners, like TZ does. So an outfielder who doesn't make many assists because he has a reputation for having a strong arm and thus no one wants to run on him will suffer slightly (since runs from getting out base runners or preventing them from advancing is usually quite a bit less per season than runs from putouts) in DRA.

When discussing the players if Humphreys thinks this is underrating a player, he usually refers to TZ to see how that system rates his arm. For instance, when discussing Willie Wilson:


Smith would credit Wilson with another dozen or so runs for holding base runners, which makes sense, because Wilson could cut off batted balls that dropped in for hits and get them back into the infield so quickly.


DRA has Wilson at -21 A runs for his career between the three outfield positions. TZ has him at -7 Rof (Outfield Arm runs). So Humphreys thinks that most of that difference (the "dozen or so runs" over his career) is due to Wilson holding runners at an above average rate.

I suspect this would only make a significant difference on a yearly basis in extreme cases, though Colavito in '61 might be one of them. TZ sees him as being +10 runs above average with his arm alone that year, which is a lot. But that was his best arm year according to TZ, and I believe he had a reputation for having a good arm, so it's not out of the question. DRA, on the other hand, sees him as only being +2 in A runs. Unfortunately, TZ doesn't break down how many of those +10 runs were assists and how many were from holding runners, so if one wanted to add TZ's take on holding runners to DRA's numbers, it's hard to know how many one should add. But it'd probably be appropriate to mentally boost his defense up a little from what your AFR number is.
   119. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 31, 2011 at 03:41 PM (#3841521)
1    Mickey Mantle    89.5    NYY    AL
2    Norm Cash    81.4    DET    AL
3    Al Kaline    62.5    DET    AL
4    Hank Aaron    62.4    MLN    NL
5    Willie Mays    61.4    SFG    NL
6    Rocky Colavito    58.1    DET    AL
7    Jim Gentile    55.2    BAL    AL
8    Frank Robinson    53.1    CIN    NL
9    Roger Maris    50    NYY    AL
10    Ken Boyer    49.6    STL    NL
11    Elston Howard    44.9    NYY    AL
12    Vada Pinson    42.4    CIN    NL
13    Eddie Mathews    41.6    MLN    NL
14    Orlando Cepeda    39.8    SFG    NL
15    Harmon Killebrew    36.6    MIN    AL
16    Warren Spahn    34.9    MLN    NL
17    Roberto Clemente    32.4    PIT    NL
18    Bob Gibson    31.1    STL    NL
19    Billy Hoeft    29.9    BAL    AL
20    Don Drysdale    29.6    LAD    NL 

And so my first thought was: Who the Eff is Billy Hoeft? 138 IP 2.02 ERA

Basically WAR after resetting the baseline to positional average rather than replacement level.
Looks like everyone else's list more or less :-)
I should probably boost the NLers a bit though
   120. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: May 31, 2011 at 04:08 PM (#3841546)
Okay, I'm going to post a prelim ballot here. I'm going to put a caveat up top: I find uber-stats that include defense, especially but not exclusively in the pre-PBP era, wholly unconvincing. Defense simply can't be effectively quantified in this era; one has to guess. I also find definitive judgements about league difference to be the opposite of illuminating: they're assumptions of surety built on essentially no real knowledge. I do find convincing the contention that the NL was significantly better than the AL in this era. I just don't think it's possible to know by how much in the pre-interleague period.

So: I begin with oWAR, and make informed guesses based on defense and league difference. I also use pitcher WAR from b-ref. I give no postseason bonus.

1. Mickey Mantle -- easy choice. Just too good at the plate for other factors to water down his advantage.
2. Willie Mays -- League and position differences are enough to move him ahead of Cash for me.
3. Norm Cash
4. Hank Aaron -- Spent more than half the season in center, and played it well by most accounts.
5. Frank Robinson -- League & versatility bonuses move him ahead of . . .
6. Roger Maris
7. Eddie Mathews -- I felt that his offensive advantage was too big to place him behind Boyer.
8. Ken Boyer -- Great player, great season.
9. Vada Pinson -- Defensive & league bonuses move him above other men who had better hitting seasons.
10. Elston Howard -- A catcher bonus puts him here.

I'm pretty set on my top 9. I'm open to arguments for a variety of men, including, but not limited to, Cepeda, Kaline, Gentile, and Colavito for the tenth sloth. To be clear, I do of course consider pitchers, but don't see any seasons in 1961 that warrant consideration with so many great position players on the scene.
   121. Rob_Wood Posted: May 31, 2011 at 05:31 PM (#3841605)
Prelim ballot

1. Mickey Mantle -- his last truly great season
2. Norm Cash -- led AL hitting .361 in his spectacular fluke season
3. Hank Aaron -- played a very good CF for half a year after Braves traded away Bruton; led NL in WPA
4. Willie Mays -- this high despite only being a good season for Mays; defensive stats are not great for some reason
5. Frank Robinson -- NL MVP, led Reds to first pennant in 20 years; 22 SB with only 3 CS

6. Al Kaline -- hit .324 in an all around solid season (41 doubles and great defense)
7. Ken Boyer -- hit .329 with 11 triples in what may have been his best season
8. Vada Pinson -- hit .343 and played a Gold Glove center field for pennant winning Reds (his best season)
9. Jim Gentile -- hit .302/46/141 with very high WPA (by far his best season)
10. Eddie Mathews -- career high .306 and led NL in walks

11. Orlando Cepeda -- led NL with 46 HR and 142 RBI
12. Roger Maris -- led AL with 61 HR and 142 RBI (not sure why his defensive stats are so poor)
13. Elston Howard -- hit .348 in his best offensive season (caught only 111 games)
14. Rocky Colavito -- hit 45 HR with 140 RBI with good defensive stats
15. Roberto Clemente -- won his first batting title at .351
   122. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 31, 2011 at 05:56 PM (#3841623)
2. Norm Cash -- led AL hitting .361 in his spectacular fluke season


Poor Norm Cash, career 137 OPS+ and yet the first thing anyone thinks when they hear his name is "fluke"


BABIP was .370 that year, next best was .295
ISO was .301, next best was .270... League ISO was .149 that year- the highest of Cash's career- his ISO was twice that- but in 1968 the League ISO was .116, Cash's ISO of .224 was nearly twice league
in 1971 the Leagues ISO was .127, Cash's was .248, in 1965 league was .135, Cash had a .246...

1961 was the highest offensive context Cash ever played in, he also had his most PT of any year of his career, normalize his PT and context and it still stand out- but not so much
   123. DL from MN Posted: May 31, 2011 at 06:04 PM (#3841626)
Rob Wood - who is your top pitcher in 1961?
   124. Rob_Wood Posted: May 31, 2011 at 07:28 PM (#3841686)
Johnny, I am not sure if you are serious or not. I have Cash ranked 2nd for 1961. I consider it the 2nd best season anybody had in 1961. I called it a spectacular season. I also think it is a "fluke" season. Indeed many baseball writers agree. Here is a quote from a George Vass article:

Cash's performance in 1961 has often been cited as the most famous fluke outburst. It certainly stands out in sharp contrast to the rest of a respectable, but unspectacular career.

Steve Treder says if you look up "fluke" in the dictionary you'll see a picture of Norm Cash.

One way to read your comment is insulting to me personally. That I don't know anything about Norm Cash. I have chosen to use my real name in all my BTF posts since day one since I have significant credentials in baseball knowledge/analysis (e.g., I was chairman of SABR's statistical analysis committee for several years in the 1990s, I am one of the handful of HOM voters to vote in each election). So snarky comments from psuedo-anonymous internet posters seem absurd to me.

DL - I have Warren Spahn between 16-20.
   125. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 31, 2011 at 07:43 PM (#3841703)
Johnny, I am not sure if you are serious or not.


yes and no, I said "poor Norm Cash" because despite being a very solid HOVGer all anyone seems to think when they hear his name is fluke 1961 (or sometimes they add, corked bat)
Johnny, I am not sure if you are serious or not.
yes, which was my point

One way to read your comment is insulting to me personally.
I don't think there is anyway to fairly read my post that way. I just used your post as a jumping off point, I said "the first thing anyone thinks when they hear his name is 'fluke"

I didn't say "the first thing Rob Wood thinks".

Plus I never said it wasn't a "fluke" season

So snarky comments from psuedo-anonymous internet posters seem absurd to me.

Jeeze Louise it was an innocent observation on the prevailing opinion regarding Norm Cash's career
   126. DL from MN Posted: May 31, 2011 at 08:02 PM (#3841733)
Not sure Cash had a "fluke" season as much as a "career year" combined with high variance due to expansion. He got lucky in the right year but he was plenty good in other years. Part of his value that year was due to his glove and he was usually good with the glove.
   127. Nate the Neptunian Posted: June 01, 2011 at 06:31 AM (#3842248)

The problem is that, without WS credit, NO pitcher would make the top ten, and probably not the top 15. I'm expecting this to happen, or to have happened recently, but not as early as 1961. But maybe 61 is just an odd year. - Brock


Wanted to respond to this, because I got around to running my numbers for '62. I'll save the full chart till that thread goes up, but without any subjective adjustment (but with a league strength bonus for the AL... since even though the NL was still more integrated in '62, it was an expansion year), 4 pitchers would be in my top 10 (Pascual, Gibson, Drysdale and Kaat), with 2 more lurking in the top 15 (Ray Herbert and Turk Farrell). I can't easily run the numbers for later years, because I have to import rWAR and BP's WARP1 manually for each year as I go, and I haven't done past '62, but I can't imagine Koufax not making the top 10 in his monster years. So, yeah, I think '61 was just an off year for pitchers, and isn't indicative of pitchers not being able to crack the top 10 in this era.
   128. Nate the Neptunian Posted: June 01, 2011 at 06:56 AM (#3842256)

And so my first thought was: Who the Eff is Billy Hoeft? 138 IP 2.02 ERA


Hoeft had a good year, and rWAR likes him a lot, but if I was going to pick the best reliever for this year it'd probably be Stu Miller. Miller only had 122 IP to Hoeft's 138 (though Miller worked exclusively as a reliever while Hoeft was a swingman), and an ERA+ of 144 to Hoeft's 191 (144 RA+ to Hoeft's 182), but his peripherals were mostly better than Hoeft's. Less HR/9, lower BB/9, almost equal SO/9, significantly better SO/BB rate, better WHIP, slightly higher BABIP, and significantly better FIP (Hoeft's was 3.51, Miller's 2.98) which suggests to me Hoeft benefited from his defense more.

Not that either is making anyone's ballot this year.
   129. bjhanke Posted: June 01, 2011 at 10:13 AM (#3842274)
Nate -

First off, I want to weigh in as one of the guys who are really grateful for those charts you've posted. My basic approach to raking players is to compile a list of the uberstats and then try to balance them with whatever I happen to know from other sources. Your charts of the ubersystems made this a LOT easier than it would have been otherwise, especially since I'm never completely sure that I've gotten the acronyms right and have not inadvertently left some system out or used one twice under different names. THANKS! If you have the info easily available, please do this again! I will praise you every time. Now if it would only turn out that your relational database is adequate to compile left/right ballpark adjustments....

Second, about Billy Hoeft. As you mentioned, Billy was a swingman in 1961, but he had a good deal more IP as a starter than a reliever, although he relieved in more games than he started. I, personally, would not compare him to Stu Miller or any other reliever. Instead, I'd compare him to starters who were injured and only pitched partial seasons. A lot of his ERA+ was compiled in a few very good starts. Viewed in this way, he won't make any lists, but it won't be a rate problem, but a problem with playing time. In any case, it is by far Billy's best season, although he made the All-Star team once with a weaker one. - Brock
   130. bjhanke Posted: June 01, 2011 at 10:24 AM (#3842275)
I also want to weigh in with a thank you Alex King, for his charts of the ubersystems. The only difference between Alex's and Nate's is that Nate has even more systems than Alex lists. Between the two of you, this year took about HALF the time it would have without the lists. THANKS to BOTH of you! - Brock
   131. Nate the Neptunian Posted: June 01, 2011 at 02:12 PM (#3842367)
No problem, Brock. I plan to post the charts each year, as long as people find them helpful, since I'll being doing it for myself to form the basis of my own voting regardless, and it's not too much trouble to post them here as well.

Alex's list does include one uber system I don't, DanR's WARP2. It's interesting work, and people may find it useful when comparing hitters, but I leave it out because it doesn't cover pitchers, so it makes it harder to use systematically. (I leave out Fangraph's WAR for the same reason, as they don't calculate WAR for pitchers for any year before... well, I forget, but it's sometime in the 70s).


Now if it would only turn out that your relational database is adequate to compile left/right ballpark adjustments....


I'm afraid not. That would require importing the PBP data from Retrosheet, which I haven't touched yet. I may at some point in the future, but I still have a lot of stuff left to do for the HOM ballot this year (some more tweaks to my system, a bunch of NeLs to go through manually, etc) which takes precedence, so it won't be anytime soon.

Good point about Hoeft compiling the majority of his innings in starts.
   132. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 01, 2011 at 05:01 PM (#3842519)
I put together some pitcher numbers for 1961. I had to input the batting runs and leverage by hand so it's not a full list, and this is with no standard deviation adjustment, but here is everyone over 4.9:

1. Don Drysdale 6.8
2. Don Cardwell 6.4
3. Jack Kralick 6.3
4. Warren Spahn 6.3
5. Sandy Koufax 6.0 (he was good before 1962!)
5. Frank Lary 6.0
7. Mike McCormick 5.8
7. Whitey Ford 5.8
7. Jim O'Toole 5.8
7. Juan Pizarro 5.8
11. Camilo Pascual 5.7
12. Bob Gibson 5.6
12. Don Mossi 5.6
14. Luis Arroyo 5.5
14. Ray Sadecki 5.5
16. Stan Williams 5.4
17. Billy Hoeft 5.2
17. Bill Stafford 5.2
17. Johnny Podres 5.2
20. Joey Jay 5.0
21. Stu Miller 4.9

Methodology is quick and dirty. See how many runs a pitcher with an RA 25% above league average would have surrendered in the same number of innings after adjusting for baseball-reference park factor and TZ team defensive support. Fill out the remaining innings in the games the pitcher appeared in with a league average pitcher with the same adjustments. Then multiply the number of games the pitcher appeared in by the league run scoring per game and the park factor, and in the case of the pitcher in question add on his baseball-reference batting runs above average. Run both through PythagenPat and subtract, and adjust the NL for season length. Multiply by (LI+1)/2 in the case of relievers.
   133. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 01, 2011 at 05:46 PM (#3842566)
5. Sandy Koufax 6.0 (he was good before 1962!)

well he did make the all star game that year :-)

seriously, last year before Chavez Ravine, home ERA 4.22, road 2.77

career ERA the Coliseum: 4.22
Chavez Ravine: 1.37

career ERA outside of Chavez Ravine 3.37

By way of comparison, Drysdale was 2.19 in Chavez, 3.13 in the Coliseum
career ERA outside of Chavez Ravine: 3.31

One other thing, Drysdale received just 0-2 runs of support in 35.1% of his starts, Koufax 29.9%
Drysdale received 3-5 runs of support in 37.4% of his starts, Koufax 41.4%
Drysdale received 6+ runs of support in 27.5% of his starts, Koufax 28.7%
(and yet Drysdale was a MUCH better hitter, .186/.228/.295 versus .097/.145/.116

Basically, outside Chavez Ravine, Drysdale was every bit the pitcher that Koufax was, but Koufax was able to take unusual advantage of Dodger Stadium, and Koufax despite being a historically horrific hitter (-5.8 war, 7th worse all time), got better run support too... Bill James comments on Drysdale in his first Historical Abstract were very unfair.
   134. Nate the Neptunian Posted: June 02, 2011 at 04:29 PM (#3843342)
Interesting work, DanR. I'm tempted to incorporate your WARP into my consideration set and see if it makes any significant differences in my rankings, but I don't know that I'll get to it for '61 before the vote closes. No pitchers were making my ballot anyway, and I'm reasonably set on the hitters, so it'd have been more for informational purposes than anything else. Thinking about it some more, I've been reluctant to include your WARP (and fWAR) without pitchers, as my method of ranking for each metric, summing the rankings and then reranking the sum obviously won't work if some players have more ranks than others. But I suppose I could sum the rankings, get the average ranking, and then rerank that average. A bit more work, but not too difficult. Maybe I'll do that for '62.
   135. Alex King Posted: June 03, 2011 at 12:55 AM (#3843874)
I've updated AFR to account for the differences in arm rating between Total Zone and DRA. Since the original version of AFR weighted the arm components of TZ and DRA equally, I added half of the difference between the TZ arm rating and the DRA arm rating to every outfielder's AFR. In this way, the outfield arm component of AFR now consists solely of the TZ ratings. Here are the revised AFR scores for the top candidates:


Name AFR
Mickey Mantle 2
Norm Cash 6
Willie Mays 12
Hank Aaron 28
Al Kaline 31
Ken Boyer 13
Frank Robinson 9
Rocky Colavito 15
Vada Pinson 15
Eddie Mathews 2
Roger Maris -4
Jim Gentile 4
Orlando Cepeda 2
Elston Howard 2
Roberto Clemente -1
   136. Rick A. Posted: June 03, 2011 at 03:36 AM (#3843973)
1961 Preliminary Ballot

Nice to be voting again

I use a combination of Baseball-Reference WAR, Win Shares above Bench, Fangraph WAR, FRAA, OPS+, ERA+, and FIP with an adjustment for schedule length and league strength.

1. Mickey Mantle - Clear #1
2. Norm Cash - League adjustment doesn't move Aaron or Mays above Cash
3. Hank Aaron - Mays and Aaron are very close, but Mays had a somewhat down defensive year, so Aaron ends up ahead of him.
4. Willie Mays - see Aaron comment.
5. Frank Robinson - Slightly behind Aaron/Mays
6. Ken Boyer - Defense moves him up.
7. Jim Gentile
8. Elston Howard - Slight catcher bonus puts him here.
9. Eddie Mathews - Would be above Boyer, but I like Boyers defense.
10 Al Kaline - Solid player.

11-15 Frank Lary, Rocky Colavito, Roger Maris, Warren Spahn, Vada Pinson
16-20 Sandy Koufax, Whitey Ford, Camilo Pasqual, Jack Kralick, Orlando Cepeda
21-25 - Bob Gibson, Don Drysdale, Roberto Clemente, Harmon Killebrew, Don Cardwell
   137. Chris Fluit Posted: June 04, 2011 at 01:37 PM (#3845036)
1961 Preliminary Ballot

Hall of Merit voter for ~40 years, back for more. I worked with an 80% adjustment because of the expansion in the American League.

1. Mickey Mantle, New York Yankees:
206 OPS+, 174 Runs Created, +1 fielding runs in CF, 11.9 WAR (adjusted to 164.8, 139.2, +1 and 9.5)- the expansion adjustment narrows the gap between Mantle and Mays but the Mick still comes out ahead
2. Willie Mays, San Francisco Giants: 159 OPS+, 130 RC, +14 in CF, 9.4 WAR
3. Hank Aaron, Milwaukee Braves: 161 OPS+, 132 RC, +23 in CF/RF (53.8% CF), 9.2 WAR
4. Frank Robinson, Cincinnati Reds: 163 OPS+, 137 RC, +8 in RF, 7.6 WAR- Robinson had the best offensive year in the NL and he was a plus defender as well, but Mays and Aaron were even better defensively while spending time at more demanding positions
5. Norm Cash, Detroit Tigers: 201 OPS+, 178 RC, +9 at 1B, 10.0 WAR (adj.: 160, 142, +7, 8.0)
6. Ken Boyer, St. Louis Cardinals: 135 OPS+, 126 RC, +13 at 3B, 78 WAR- Offensively, Boyer is outside of the top ten, but a big defensive number from a primarily defensive position pushes him to just behind the big bats
7. Eddie Mathews, Milwaukee Braves: 153 OPS+, 128 RC, -1 at 3B, 7.0 WAR- The lack of defensive value cost him, but the expansion adjustment to AL players keeps him in the top ten
8. Jim Gentile, Baltimore Orioles: 187 OPS+, 138 RC, +8 at 1B, 7.2 WAR (adj.: 149.6, 110.4, +6.4, 5.8)
9. Roger Maris, New York Yankees: 167 OPS+, 138 RC, +1 at RF, 7.2 WAR (adj.: 133.6, 110. 4, +!, 5.8): The down year defensively holds Maris back quite a bit, but I don't think the plus outfielders have quite enough to catch him
10. Vada Pinson, Cincinnati Reds: 130 OPS+, 116 RC, +18 CF, 7.4 WAR

11. Rocky Colavito, 157 OPS+, +19 LF
12. Al Kaline, 138 OPS+, +29 RF
13. Orlando Cepeda, 155 OPS+, 0 1B
14. Jim O'Toole, 132 ERA+, 252 IP
15. Warren Spahn, 123 ERA+, 262 IP
   138. Nate the Neptunian Posted: June 04, 2011 at 03:55 PM (#3845105)
Mostly Harmonless/120:

What are your thoughts as to Colavito's and Maris's defense this year? You have Maris at #6 and Colavito off-ballot. BR has Maris at 69 oRAR and Colavito at 58. They both played offense first positions in the same league (Maris didn't see much time at CF this year), so I'd think the only consideration in whether Colavito could catch him is whether he was 11 runs better on defense than Maris. The stuff I've looked at puts Maris between average and quite a bit below average this year defensively, and Colavito between average and quite a bit above average. The consensus seems to be that Maris had a down year defensively, while Colavito had a good one. Since you're not using defensive stats, how did you determine the difference in their defensive value for this year?
   139. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: June 04, 2011 at 04:17 PM (#3845112)
What are your thoughts as to Colavito's and Maris's defense this year? You have Maris at #6 and Colavito off-ballot. BR has Maris at 69 oRAR and Colavito at 58. They both played offense first positions in the same league (Maris didn't see much time at CF this year), so I'd think the only consideration in whether Colavito could catch him is whether he was 11 runs better on defense than Maris. The stuff I've looked at puts Maris between average and quite a bit below average this year defensively, and Colavito between average and quite a bit above average. The consensus seems to be that Maris had a down year defensively, while Colavito had a good one. Since you're not using defensive stats, how did you determine the difference in their defensive value for this year?


An interesting question, and I'll try to answer as best I can (and see if I find myself changing my mind in the answering, as sometimes happens):

1. I don't use defensive stats per se, but I will admit that my opinion is almost certainly swayed from time to time by those of people who do, so no doubt they end up having a somewhat peripheral effect on my understanding of what's going on. Just as a proviso.

2. On the whole, I don't know that I really buy the idea that we can know whether or not a player has a "down year" in the field -- strikes me as reading the data hopefully, as though it contained more than it does. While I'm certain that it is possible to have off years in the field, just as it is at the plate, it seems to me that the most honest way to approach these things, at least at this distance, is to assume that all other things are equal and a player fielded his position roughly in line with his usual abilities.

3. As this applies to Maris and Colavito particular, in this instance I find it hard to believe that Colavito, also playing corner outfield, could really have been an entire win better than Maris this season on defense. Maris, who was just 26 in 1961, is generally understood to have been a strong fielder, having been a CF in his youth and continuing to play the position as much as a third of the time through '63 -- which is to say, the Yankees don't appear to have noticed a particular downward drift in his defense in '61, seeing as how they used him in CF for more than 60 games in '62 and more than 20 in '63, and while the fact that he played little center in '61 has an effect on his value, I don't see it as indicative of his ability. I don't deny that it's possible, even probable, that Colavito was better than Maris in the field in '61, but I just don't see any reason to believe that he was actually 10+ runs better. That seems likely to be noise in the signal, rather than actual information.

All of this said, I'm reëxamining my ballot, and I do think that I'm probably going to put Colavito at 10th ahead of Howard, given how much more he played.
   140. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 04, 2011 at 05:52 PM (#3845179)
Colavito did lead the AL in outfield assists that year, with 16, leading to 7 TZ Arm runs. Maris had 9 assists and 3 TZ Arm runs. That has to count for something.

Man, Rocky Colavito was a really great player for awhile there. He was on a clear HoF track through 30-31.
   141. Nate the Neptunian Posted: June 04, 2011 at 06:45 PM (#3845221)

3. As this applies to Maris and Colavito particular, in this instance I find it hard to believe that Colavito, also playing corner outfield, could really have been an entire win better than Maris this season on defense. Maris, who was just 26 in 1961, is generally understood to have been a strong fielder, having been a CF in his youth and continuing to play the position as much as a third of the time through '63 -- which is to say, the Yankees don't appear to have noticed a particular downward drift in his defense in '61, seeing as how they used him in CF for more than 60 games in '62 and more than 20 in '63, and while the fact that he played little center in '61 has an effect on his value, I don't see it as indicative of his ability. I don't deny that it's possible, even probable, that Colavito was better than Maris in the field in '61, but I just don't see any reason to believe that he was actually 10+ runs better. That seems likely to be noise in the signal, rather than actual information.


Do you put any stock in modern batted ball metrics? I think UZR et al have shown that there can be big differences in value even between corner outfielders, or other offense first positions, based on their defense. For one extreme example UZR has Brett Gardner as 43.4 runs better than Jonny Gomes in 2010. So between an above average LF and a below average RF, which is how I see Colavito and Maris this year, I can easily see a 10 run difference. Of course, the question comes down to whether that's an accurate portrayal of the two players in '61. I think, while defensive stats are certainly rougher than offensive ones (and I just noticed that you said you especially don't trust them in the pre-PBP era... not sure if that was just a general statement or you're implying that '61 is part of that timeframe, as it's not; Retrosheet has pretty good PBP data going back to the 50s), a pretty good approximation of value can be derived from them. If you disagree and go on general career reputation than I can see why that'd be a pretty big leap to make, so fair enough. I don't necessarily object to Maris over Colavito (though I do think Colavito was the better player this year, based on total value), I just didn't see 5+ spots between them, based on my thinking that Colavito had a better year in the field (of course, that'd depend on the players in between too).


Colavito did lead the AL in outfield assists that year, with 16, leading to 7 TZ Arm runs. Maris had 9 assists and 3 TZ Arm runs. That has to count for something.


It's actually 10 TZ arm runs. 7 in LF, 3 in RF.


Man, Rocky Colavito was a really great player for awhile there. He was on a clear HoF track through 30-31.


Yeah. Even with a down year in '60, he was having a great career until '66, when he fell off a cliff and never recovered.
   142. Esteban Rivera Posted: June 04, 2011 at 11:16 PM (#3845629)
1961 MMP Prelim Ballot:

I’m applying a schedule (for the NL) and expansion (for the AL) adjustment. I basically looked at the information available (season’s stats and some of the more widely available metrics) and made my placements from there.

1) Mickey Mantle
2) Norm Cash
3) Frank Robinson
4) Hank Aaron
5) Willie Mays
6) Roger Maris
7) Jim Gentile
8) Rocky Colavito
9) Vada Pinson
10) Elston Howard
11) Eddie Mathews
12) Orlando Cepeda
13) Al Kaline
14) Roberto Clemente
15) Warren Spahn
16) Ken Boyer
17) Harmon Killebrew
18) Jim O’Toole
19) Wally Moon
20) Whitey Ford
   143. fra paolo Posted: June 05, 2011 at 02:53 AM (#3845757)
1961 Preliminary Ballot

In addition to looking at One Big Number Metrics (eg, Win Shares), I also incorporate the influence of WPA/LI. My system is still a bit rudimentary, especially as far as league strength goes.

1) Mickey Mantle—clearly the best in the AL, even after adjusting for league strength he's still significantly ahead of NLers.
2) Norm Cash—I can see an argument for putting either Aaron or Frank Robinson ahead of him, but he's got a big WPA/LI advantage over either.
3) Frank Robinson—there's not a sixpenny piece's thickness between him and Hank Aaron.
4) Hank Aaron—I put Frank Robinson ahead because the Reds made the World Series, and the Braves didn't.
5) Willie Mays—He could deserve to be included with Robinson and Aaron. Numbers 3, 4, 5 could swap places before the final ballot is posted.
6) Eddie Mathews—I was surprised to see him ahead of Maris, and maybe my league adjustment is too severe.
7) Roger Maris—In this case, I overrode my league adjustments. Strictly, Pinson comes out ahead.
8) Vada Pinson
9) Orlando Cepeda
10) Rocky Colavito

Jim Gentile may deserve to be on the ballot, but so might Ken Boyer. Warren Spahn is the only pitcher who comes close.
   144. Al Peterson Posted: June 05, 2011 at 04:06 AM (#3845782)
1961 MMP Preliminary Ballot - like most of the others I'm looking at WAR, WARP, WS, OPS+/ERA+, some traditional stats. It's not a perfect system by this is a good year to start with due to Mantle running away with the award.

1) Mickey Mantle - he did alright :)
2) Norm Cash - the AL discount brings him back to Aaron/Mays but not below
3) Hank Aaron
4) Willie Mays - Aaron and Mays may be 3 and 3A, tiebreaker to Hammerin Hank
5) Frank Robinson - hey, an MVP
6) Rocky Colavito - what an OF arm
7) Jim Gentile - not a lot of hitting help on the O's team
8) Vada Pinson - Gold Glover hit .395 in Aug, .395 in Sep. That helps win a pennant.
9) Eddie Mathews - debated him vs Boyer, going to lean to Eddie
10) Roger Maris - something about 61 HR...
11) Elston Howard - minor C bonus, had a very good year
12) Ken Boyer
13) Don Drysdale - pitchers struggle to make the ballot, none on mine.
14) Orlando Cepeda
15) Warren Spahn

Others: Al Kaline, Whitey Ford, Frank Lary, Roberto Clemente, Jim O'Toole
   145. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: June 06, 2011 at 12:34 AM (#3846160)
Do you put any stock in modern batted ball metrics? I think UZR et al have shown that there can be big differences in value even between corner outfielders, or other offense first positions, based on their defense. For one extreme example UZR has Brett Gardner as 43.4 runs better than Jonny Gomes in 2010. So between an above average LF and a below average RF, which is how I see Colavito and Maris this year, I can easily see a 10 run difference.


The noise/signal ratio is still too high for me to like them very much, honestly. They get closer, but honestly I think we're still at a point with defensive statistics at which they are almost deleterious to our understanding of the game, because they return almost as many anomalies as results I find trustworthy.

What I'm saying in this particular instance is that I see no convincing evidence that Maris was actually a below average fielder in 1961.
   146. Howie Menckel Posted: June 06, 2011 at 01:35 AM (#3846214)
1961 prelim

Expansion year in AL, and NOT NL. NLers played a 154-game sked, AL played 162. Plus AL segregation style had nearly all of the best black/Hispanic players in the NL, making it easier for white AL players to dominate categories. I agree that pretending that defensive metrics are completely on par with offensive ones is silly, but certainly I take the numbers under advisement at least as well as factoring in position.

1. MICKEY MANTLE – All caveats factored in, and he just had a monster year. 206 OPS+, CF, 153 games (last time he played more than 144, alas). I don’t think any system could not have him first.
2. WILLIE MAYS – VERY close here, but played a great CF and all 154 games, has just enough of the all-around package.
3. HANK AARON – Played a lot of CF, but I don’t buy him killing Mays in defense in 1961. Played 155 games, would be a very reasonable No. 2 pick.
4. NORM CASH – Funhouse expansion AL stats led by this one, but the value was high of course anyway. Still, he took advantage of a rare situation – he gets the non-expansion league and stands out extra with no Mays-Aaron types to compete against. 1B play beats out lesser-fielding sluggers.
5. EDDIE MATHEWS – Don’t believe he played a great 3B in the field, but at least adequate and that’s a big help to his team. Close, but his usual durability and all-around offense slides him in here.
6. FRANK ROBINSON – What’s not to like about this skillset, which would be closer to the top in other years. 3rd African-American NLer.
7. ROCKY COLAVITO – Needs lots of fielding credit and better be durable (155 G) and gets both to sneak in here.
8. JIM GENTILE – Missed some games and not much help defensively, but a 187 OPS+ can’t be ignored any longer on this ballot.
9. KEN BOYER – Wonderful across-the-board season, his 3rd in a row, really. I agree that he’s right up there with Mathews; it’s amazing how close this ballot is, 2-4 and 5-10.
10. ROGER MARIS – Not quite sold on the defensive dings he’s being hit with, and a 167 OPS+ and plenty durable.

They also served: Pinson, Cepeda, Clemente, Killebrew. Not one pitcher dazzled me this year.
   147. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 06, 2011 at 05:45 PM (#3846626)
I'll post my prelim here, though I think us old-time HoM voters shouldn't need to suffer such indignities, sir! :-)

A Hall of Merit voter since the inaugural election of 1898 and have never missed one in all those years, I hope to continue that tradition as a MMP voter. :-)

My analysis uses Win Shares at its core, though (as with my HoM ballots) I have tweaked it here and there to correct for problems with Bill James' system.

For this year, I am deducting roughly 4% off the numbers of all AL players.

1) Mickey Mantle - So far ahead of the pack that it's silly to consider anybody else at the top of the heap.

2) Norm Cash - Comfortably seated in the #2 spot, expansion year or not (or even cheater or non-cheater).

3) Willie Mays - Looks like the cream of the crop among NL players, though he has serious competition for that honor with Aaron, Mathews and Robinson in the mix.

4) Eddie Mathews - The best NL third baseman of '61 and it's not really close (sorry, Ken).

5) Hank Aaron - Close enough to be the best NL player. Not 100% sure he wasn't.

6) Frank Robinson - Maris' deduction allows Robby to place as the second-best right fielder of that season.

7) Roger Maris - Didn't deserve the AL MVP, but he certainly had a season most players would sell one of their kidneys for.

8) Elston Howard - Third-best Yankee to make it on my ballot. An argument can be made he was even better than Maris.

9) Vada Pinson - For a short time, he truly was a great player.

10) Warren Spahn - Pitchers are so hard to place, but I think I got it right here with Spahnie (barely knocking off Rocky Colavito, FWIW).
   148. fra paolo Posted: June 06, 2011 at 07:12 PM (#3846705)
Owing to some issues related to non-HoM life, the ballot will be extended until

Wednesday, 8 June, at 4pm (EDT)

Preliminary ballots can therefore be cast today, if someone missed the last deadline.
   149. fra paolo Posted: June 06, 2011 at 07:37 PM (#3846735)
CORRECTION

That's

Wednesday, 8 June, at 12 noon (EDT)
   150. Mark Donelson Posted: June 06, 2011 at 10:57 PM (#3846933)
1961 prelim (thanks to the serendipitous deadline extension):

My "system," such as it is, uses a lot of BBRef WAR, some WS, pinches of traditional stats and other uber-ones (DanR's, etc.), plus various adjustments (league, obviously, being the major one at present) and skepticisms (while not as strident as Voxter, I have my doubts about some of the defensive numbers, especially when talking of a single year as we are now).

1. Mickey Mantle. As everyone else has said, the league demerits aren't nearly enough to topple him from the top spot.
2. Norm Cash. Mostly defensive skepticism keeps Aaron from passing him for me. I kind of hate having two guys from the weaker league ahead of everyone else, though, so I'm going to ponder this carefully now that I have another day or so to do so.
3. Willie Mays. Separating him from Aaron in this season feels impossible to me; whatever one uses to do so seems woefully imprecise. I'll lean on my skepticism that Aaron's CF defense really was that much better, which leaves me favoring Mays by a nose.
4. Hank Aaron. Having typed this order, I'm already doubting it again...
5. Frank Robinson. Separatable from the pair above him, but part of another sticky pack. Again, I'd have to place a lot more faith in the defensive stats to get anyone else past him. His postseason helps, too.
6. Eddie Mathews. Once more, I'd have to put more weight on Boyer's defense to get him higher than Mathews. As things stand, this guy's offense is plenty to keep him here.
7. Vada Pinson. League differences pull him above the very similar value of...well, the next several guys.
8. Roger Maris. Having a hard time pulling apart these last three. Right now, I'll let defensive skepticism rule, which would put the record-setter first (though I give him no extra points for that).
9. Rocky Colavito. Durability edges out rate, but could go either way between him and...
10. Jim Gentile. Sort of the forgotten name in this bunch. Not much HOM discussion on this guy, whereas all the others got at least a page or so of back and forth...

Next on the list are guys who'd require adjustments to get in the top 10 for me: Elston Howard and Ken Boyer. Both are very close, and between now and Wednesday might sneak past one of those last three fellas. Try as I might, I can't get any pitchers into the general vicinity, though Spahn and Drysdale are, not surprisingly, closest.
   151. fra paolo Posted: June 07, 2011 at 12:07 PM (#3847253)
I brought this up in the Lounge last night, but nobody answered my question. I thought here might be appropriate, although it is a bit of a digression from the thread and perhaps properly belongs in his own HoM thread:

Norm Cash's career fielding WAR at Fangraphs is about 3.9 using the 10 runs = 1 win formula, but at bbref his career dWAR is 5.0. Yet TotalZone is the basis for both, giving 38 fielding runs at bbref, and 39 at Fangraphs.

Is this discrepancy something to do with the fact that the 10=1 doesn't really apply in the Little Deadball Era?

On another point, I've decided I've been too generous to the National League in factoring in a difference between it and the American League. So my preliminary ballot will change a little, but not so much.

And finally... I think I'll be moving Frank Robinson down a slot or two. Both Mays and Aaron may move ahead of him, and if not both, it's looking likely one will for sure.
   152. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 07, 2011 at 12:44 PM (#3847269)
Is this discrepancy something to do with the fact that the 10=1 doesn't really apply in the Little Deadball Era?


It shouldn't, since 1961 is closer to the Fifties style of baseball than the low-scoring version we usually associate with the Sixties.
   153. GuyM Posted: June 07, 2011 at 01:55 PM (#3847303)
Cash has 452 "offensive" runs (non fielding runs) and 47.9 OWins, but 38 fielding runs and 5.0 DWins. So the WAR calculation is using a 9.4 run:win ratio on offense, but a 7.6 run:win ratio on defense. Hard to see how that could be right.
   154. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 07, 2011 at 04:25 PM (#3847470)
That's probably because Sean's WAR use a flat 10:1 runs/wins ratio for non-batting runs, but a floating ratio for batting runs that varies with the number of runs a team actually scored that year (so guys on teams with high BA with RISP will get more batting runs for the same OPS than guys on teams with low BA with RISP). The example we discussed was the 1908 Pirates. Honus Wagner has 62 batting runs, which are converted at the floating rate of 7.6 runs/win to 8.2 batting wins. Then his 34 baserunning plus fielding plus positional plus replacement runs are converted at a flat 10 runs a win to 3.4 wins. Thus he gets 11.6 WAR. Meanwhile George Gibson's -13 batting wins are converted at 7.6 runs a win to -1.7 batting wins, and his 25 baserunning + fielding + positional + replacement runs are converted at a 10.0 rate to 2.5 wins, so he winds up with 0.8 WAR.

Sean insists that since the baserunning and fielding runs are themselves derived from flat multipliers on net plays made or (specific) bases gained, run environments should mainly cancel out--i.e., that the net plays or bases to wins relationships are the same regardless of the run environment. I'm not at all sure that's right. But I didn't get my WAR on baseball-reference and he did, so nobody listens to me anymore. :)
   155. GuyM Posted: June 07, 2011 at 05:27 PM (#3847526)
Hmmm. What's confusing about the presentation is that the win value of runs has to be the same on both sides of the ball in any given season. So what Sean is really doing (I think) is saying that Wagner really produced more runs than his stats imply, because the Pirates scored more runs than they "should" have. But instead of giving Wagner credit for more runs, he's making the adjustment at the runs-to-win conversion stage. Is that right? It may all net out fine, but I can't really tell.
   156. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 07, 2011 at 08:52 PM (#3847670)
No, not quite right. Sean is basically taking two shortcuts for the non-batting runs. First, he's not adjusting them for the league run environment--he's roughly saying that a net positive defensive play is worth 0.08 wins, whether that play happens in 1908 or 2000. Second, he's not squaring them to the team-specific run totals as he does with batting runs.

Some of the problems this leads to are simple accounting questions. The total runs above replacement column will be wrong in any league-season where the runs-wins relationship isn't exactly 10.0, because it is the sum of components converted at differing runs-wins ratios. But the WAR column will be right.

The second problem is more substantive, however: The win value of one net play is not in fact the same across all run environments. In the 7.38 R/G 1894 NL, by my calculation, a net play is worth .00040 of winning percentage. In the 3.33 R/G 1908 NL, by contrast, it's worth .00047 of winning percentage--a difference of 17.5%. That's a significant fudge that Sean's making--it means that a peak Willie Wilson-type player (with 25 runs of baserunning + defense a year) will be off by 4-5 career wins from one extreme run environment to another.
   157. GuyM Posted: June 07, 2011 at 09:34 PM (#3847699)
Thanks for clarification.

Let me toss out a larger issue this group may want to wrestle with, having to do with fielding metrics. Both TZ and SFR (I don't know much about DRA) are designed in a way that significantly undervalues great fielding (and overvalues weak defenders). This is especially true for the pre-1989 version of TZ that you guys rely on. Basically, TZ assumes that most of the plays-above-average a fielder makes are the result of extra opportunities, not his skill. For each actual additional skill-based play he makes, he only gets credit for about .35 plays (the rest is distributed to his teammates). This is because in TZ, each additional play made is also assumed to be an extra opportunity the fielder had. Arguably, this is a reasonable approach if you are looking at 2011, since a player's opportunities can vary quite a bit. But when you're talking about 1961, there is no reason to limit yourself to that season's data alone. When Willie Mays makes a lot of plays in a season, the probability that this reflects good fielding rather than lots of extra flyballs is WAY higher than it is for the average CF. But TZ doesn't know it is looking at Willie Mays.

Think about it this way: over a very long career, the vast majority of players will see a fairly average distribution of BIP. And for these players, TZ will systematically penalize good fielders and reward poor fielders. A player's rating will also be heavily influenced by the quality of his teammates. All of that could theoretically be adjusted for with benefit of historical hindsight, but it isn't.

For great fielders (and very bad fielders), TZ can easily be off by scores or even hundreds of plays over a career. You can see the difference this makes by comparing "old" and "new" TZ for contemporary players. TZ(new) has additional information about who fielded hits, and so is more precise. While it still "over-regresses" fielding in my view, it does so less than TZ(old). Here are the top 10 CFs in TZ(new) who started playing after 1988, along with the rating they would get in pre-1989 TZ (through 2007):
Player / NewTZ /OldTZ
Andruw Jones 249 102
Kenny Lofton 108 -32
Jim Edmonds 98 64
Mike Cameron 84 52
Carlos Beltran 45 45
Grady Sizemore 37 -2
Chris Singleton 34 9
Aaron Rowand 33 18

Overall, these guys are +720 according to TZ(new), but would only be rated +253 by the 1961 version of TZ. And the reverse happens at the bottom of the spectrum: weak fielders are rated much better (less bad) by TZ(old).

Unfortunately, I don't think the solution is as easy as multiplying TZ(old) by a constant of 2.7 (although that might well be more accurate than using TZ as is). Some players really do get a lot more opportunities than others. But it's possible that a career "adjusted TZ" could be developed that gives players proportionately more credit for plays based on length of career, and incorporates the quality of his teammates. And alternative approach would be to estimate how many outs the average player should record at a position, given a certain number of BIP allowed, and then compare actual outs to that. This could be further refined by looking separately at GBs and airballs (non-GBs), perhaps adjusted for the proportion of LHH/RHH faced (all of this info is available on B-Ref). Eventually, maybe someone will try to apply Tango's WOWY system historically, which would give you much more precise estimates. (Or maybe MAH's DRA has figured all of this out -- I don't know.)
   158. Nate the Neptunian Posted: June 07, 2011 at 10:20 PM (#3847726)
There's different ways to calculate the runs to win ratio. Tangotiger lists a couple on his wiki: http://tangotiger.net/wiki/index.php?title=Runs_Per_Win

Using the first (Palmer) method, I get 10.09 runs per win for the AL and 10.08 runs for the NL. '61 was a pretty typical run scoring environment.

Of course, none of that has anything to do with rWAR using different runs per wins ratios for batting and non-batting runs, as Dan explains, which just seems weird to me.
   159. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 08, 2011 at 12:09 PM (#3848255)
I've always used 3.33*(LgR/G^.71).
   160. fra paolo Posted: June 08, 2011 at 12:10 PM (#3848256)
As we are almost done with 1961, it seems a shame to bring up so late in the day the amazing run of the Yankees. Starting with a six-game winning streak beginning on 4 June, they just got better and better. They began that day 24-19, a .558 winning percentage, which is good in itself. But then they went 85-34, for a .659 winning percentage. During that time, against the Angels they went 9-4 and against the New Senators 10-4, for 19-8, which gives them a 66-26 record against non-expansion teams, for a .717 winning percentage!

Oh my goodness!
   161. fra paolo Posted: June 08, 2011 at 12:13 PM (#3848257)
As far as Humphrey's DRA shows, Mays had an off-year in centre in 1961, with a -1. Aaron got a +4 for his time there, and Pinson managed a +10. Awarding any kind of positional bonus to Mays this year seems a bit generous, if DRA is to be believed.
   162. Alex King Posted: June 09, 2011 at 06:37 AM (#3849065)
The win value of one net play is not in fact the same across all run environments. In the 7.38 R/G 1894 NL, by my calculation, a net play is worth .00040 of winning percentage. In the 3.33 R/G 1908 NL, by contrast, it's worth .00047 of winning percentage--a difference of 17.5%


Thanks Dan for illuminating this problem in TZ and bbrefWAR. I'm interested in adjusting TZ to correct for this error. Dan, how did you calculate the value of a net play across different run environments?
   163. GuyM Posted: June 09, 2011 at 11:01 AM (#3849081)
The problem of varying win values is tiny compared to the fundamental over-regressing problem in TZ. Hank Aaron has +74 range runs according to TZ. But if you simply compare how many plays he made relative to the average OF, Aaron is +148. TZ has little additional information that suggests Aaron really had many more fielding opportunities than average over his career -- that's simply an assumption of the model. And while it's vaguely plausible for a single season, there is virtually no chance it was true over a long career like Aaron's. Curt Flood is +113 in TZ range, but +239 if you look at his putouts. Colavito is +27 vs. +75. This is a large and systematic problem. The run:win issue is trivial in comparison. I'm not suggesting you rely only on career putouts above/below average (although that would likely be much better than TZ for a long career). You can improve the estimates by looking at GB%, parks, etc. But you should be able to do much better than TZ.
   164. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 10, 2011 at 08:23 AM (#3850037)
Alex King: I just added a hit and a league-average number of total bases per non-HR hit, and subtracted an out, from the batting line of a league-average player in my WARP spreadsheet, and checked the resulting team winning percentage. I couldn't possibly write out the formula since I use BaseRuns for these seasons--it's broken into about 40 different cells constructing a theoretical team that are all VLOOKUPing various league averages, etc.

GuyM: if TZ is junk then just use DRA...
   165. Alex King Posted: June 11, 2011 at 06:29 AM (#3850730)
For what it's worth, DRA has Colavito at -1, Flood at +98 and Aaron at +138. I haven't read Humphreys' book, so I don't know how DRA treats additional plays made. However, it would be interesting to see how DRA matches up against putouts above average for a larger sample of players.
   166. GuyM Posted: June 11, 2011 at 11:05 AM (#3850756)
Darn, now I'm going to have to read Humphrey's methodology and see how it looks.
   167. Alex King Posted: June 11, 2011 at 06:53 PM (#3850910)
What about BP's new FRAA? As far as I understand from the article it seems that FRAA does not over-regress (the range of career leaders and seasonal leaders is greater than the range for TZ). But I can't find a listing of updated FRAA––does anyone know where to find updated FRAA on BP's website?
   168. GuyM Posted: June 11, 2011 at 07:28 PM (#3850945)
I'm a big fan of FRAA. But I don't know if Colin has run it for historical players.
   169. Alex King Posted: June 11, 2011 at 07:42 PM (#3850957)
This article seems to imply that he has--although I'm having trouble finding the actual FRAA ratings anywhere. The single-season FRAA from the sortable leaders list doesn't match the FRAA ratings that Colin gave in his articles last year, so I'm wondering if the system changed at some point or if the leaderboards are simply in error. I'm not a BP subscriber, though, so I don't read BP regularly and I don't really know my way around the website.
   170. ronw Posted: July 15, 2011 at 05:36 PM (#3878424)
1961 ballot - for fun only

1. Mickey Mantle
2. Norm Cash
3. Willie Mays
4. Hank Aaron
5. Frank Robinson
6. Ken Boyer
7. Al Kaline
8. Vada Pinson
9. Eddie Mathews
10. Roger Maris

Close: Rocky Colavito, Jim Gentile, Orlando Cepeda, Elston Howard, no pitchers.
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