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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Bob Feller

Bob Feller

Eligible in 1962.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 04, 2005 at 02:21 PM | 59 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 04, 2005 at 02:26 PM (#1661271)
The only thing faster than the speedball of "Rapid Robert" will be his induction in '62.
   2. Daryn Posted: October 04, 2005 at 02:30 PM (#1661291)
This guy is pure inner-circle. With war credit, he has got 320+ wins. I know there is a lot of emotionality and Xcredit for Jackie (deservedly so, he is a true American hero), but I don't see how you put Jackie above Feller.

(I am assuming, without researching, that Feller's absence from 1942-45 was war-related).
   3. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 04, 2005 at 02:38 PM (#1661316)
With war credit, he has got 320+ wins.

but I don't see how you put Jackie above Feller.

Here's my problem: his absence from the mound during WWII may have extended his career. If he had actually played those years he had missed, his career might have ended earlier due to the wear-and-tear on his young arm.

I'm not saying you're wrong in your placement of him (I'm still not 100% sure if he doesn't belong at #1) or that my hypothetical would have happened, only that giving WWII credit to young pitchers is not as easy as it sounds.
   4. DavidFoss Posted: October 04, 2005 at 02:44 PM (#1661330)
Anyone read John Sickels' book on Feller? I haven't read it yet, but I'm probably going to give it to my dad for xmas.
   5. Daryn Posted: October 04, 2005 at 03:01 PM (#1661408)
Here's my problem: his absence from the mound during WWII may have extended his career. If he had actually played those years he had missed, his career might have ended earlier due to the wear-and-tear on his young arm.

And therein lies the problem with giving war-credit in general. There are just too many variables to account for.

Feller seemed to have a special arm -- he has the most career innings up to age 22 of any pitcher who pitched in the 20th century (well, Amos Rusie pitched 22 innings in the 20th century) and it is not even close. And he didn't wear out until a typical age. I know the argument is circular, but to me it is a stretch to say the time off extended his career -- there is no reason to believe one way or the other.
   6. BDC Posted: October 04, 2005 at 03:01 PM (#1661413)
Feller pitched a fair amount for Navy teams during the war, so much so that he had to insist on combat duty, because the Navy would have been happy to occupy his time as a touring ballplayer.
   7. Daryn Posted: October 04, 2005 at 03:12 PM (#1661463)
I looked up the most innings pitched up to the age 22 season of all players whose career was mostly in the 20th Century. Feller had 1448.3. A guy I have never heard of, Pete Schneider was second, at 1245. Anyone want to guess which post-1960 pitcher was third with 1054.7? No looking. He would not have been one of my top 10 guesses. My number 1 guess was Walter Johnson, who was 4th in most innings pitched up to the age 22 season of all players whose career was mostly in the 20th Century. Matthewson was 5th, Joe Wood was 6th.
   8. DavidFoss Posted: October 04, 2005 at 03:15 PM (#1661476)
Anyone want to guess which post-1960 pitcher was third with 1054.7? No looking. He would not have been one of my top 10 guesses.

Circle me Bert? Sickels just had him on 'Guess That Prospect' last week.
   9. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 04, 2005 at 03:19 PM (#1661485)
And therein lies the problem with giving war-credit in general. There are just too many variables to account for.

Except there are far more variables for a Feller than Greenberg or Mize.

Feller seemed to have a special arm -- he has the most career innings up to age 22 of any pitcher who pitched in the 20th century (well, Amos Rusie pitched 22 innings in the 20th century) and it is not even close.

Maybe Rusie should have had some military service. ;-)

I know the argument is circular, but to me it is a stretch to say the time off extended his career -- there is no reason to believe one way or the other.

History suggest otherwise. Pitchers who have extensive workloads before the age of 25 usually don't have long careers. Feller had one of the heaviest workloads that any pitcher ever had, so the odds are that he would have lost some zip on his fastball earlier if he had stayed stateside.

Is this all theoretical? Certainly, but it's still something we need to look at.
   10. Daryn Posted: October 04, 2005 at 03:28 PM (#1661510)
Circle DavidFoss, Bert. He's a winner.
   11. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 04, 2005 at 03:30 PM (#1661521)
regarding war credit for Feller...

It seems as if he gave up three peak/prime seasons to the war. Say he has those seasons at his pre-war and immediate post war levels but his career ends about five years earlier. Would this not make him a better candidate, especially for peak guys liek myself? Say he only pitches two of thsoe years, does this help him? I think that it would.

So in short, since the end of his career doesnt' help him that much in my system, I could even be convinced to lop off those years and give him peak/prime seasons during the war.

That and Dernier is right, Feller pitched a lot while in the service, many times playing MLB teams for the Norfolk naval base. It is my opinion that the military brass thought he had more value by playing baseball (troop morale) than by fighting. Feller wanted to fight however.
   12. Paul Wendt Posted: October 04, 2005 at 03:30 PM (#1661523)
Is this all theoretical? Certainly, but it's still something we need to look at.

No, not all theoretical. The evidence presented against him when SABR-L played "What If?" with Feller: diminishing success before the war measured by ERA+ and strikeout rate.
   13. Mike Webber Posted: October 04, 2005 at 03:32 PM (#1661529)
Anyone read John Sickels' book on Feller? I haven't read it yet, but I'm probably going to give it to my dad for xmas.

I have read it and it is very good. Sickels is from Iowa and has a lot of respect for Feller, but it is far from a fawning piece.

I learned a lot, and it shows both the good and bad of Feller. It also explains a lot about Feller's constant marketing of himself, notably a wife with an addiction problem and a 90% tax rate following WW2 for incomes above a certain level.
   14. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 04, 2005 at 03:41 PM (#1661557)
That and Dernier is right, Feller pitched a lot while in the service, many times playing MLB teams for the Norfolk naval base.

This is true, but we don't know if he was pitching as hard as he had before the war.
   15. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 04, 2005 at 03:42 PM (#1661564)
No, not all theoretical. The evidence presented against him when SABR-L played "What If?" with Feller: diminishing success before the war measured by ERA+ and strikeout rate.

Good point, Paul.
   16. sunnyday2 Posted: October 04, 2005 at 05:23 PM (#1661846)
I agree that you either give war credit or not. I don't see how you can single out a Bob Feller or pitchers generally and question whether they would have been injured. The same is true of every player. Since it's all hypothetical anyway, I think you have to hypothetical everybody more of less the same.
   17. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 04, 2005 at 05:32 PM (#1661876)
Marc, I never said that he shouldn't receive credit, only that we needed to be a little more careful with pitchers than with the position players.

Of course, this is all moot since Feller is going to sail into the HoM with over 90% of the vote, anyway. I'm not going to get myself crazy about this one way or the other.
   18. Brent Posted: October 05, 2005 at 02:10 AM (#1663402)
In The Diamond Appraised, Craig Wright also made the argument that Feller's military service may have extended his career.

On the one hand, I agree that if Feller had continued to pitch 340 innings a year at such a young age, it seems quite likely that his arm would have been injured, causing an earlier decline in performance. On the other hand, since I give military service credit to position players, I can't justify entirely denying it to pitchers. My compromise is to give Feller credit, but only at a work load that I think would not have been damaging to his arm--that is, instead of crediting him with 300+ innings per season, I give him WWII credit for about 200 innings per season.
   19. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 05, 2005 at 05:32 AM (#1663677)
Didn't look - guessing Babe Ruth on the trivia question . . .
   20. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 05, 2005 at 05:43 AM (#1663683)
Hmmn . . . wasn't John's initial point, but his quote is the one to respond to . . .

"Pitchers who have extensive workloads before the age of 25 usually don't have long careers."

Top 6 workloads ever (before age 22) were:

Feller 1448.3.
Pete Schneider 1245.
Bert Blyleven 1054.7
Walter Johnson
Matthewson
Joe Wood

Doesn't seem like that's something that shortens your career any. You've got 3 of the most durable pitchers of all time among the other 5. The other two converted to the OF. Wood didn't have arm problem, he slipped on the grass and broke his thumb. Schneider became an OF in the PCL after he left the majors (he wasn't a great pitcher anyway).

It looks to me like if you get to that kind of workload, you've proved you are durable and can handle it. The ones that breakdown do so long before they get to these workloads.

Who is #3, #4 and #5 among post-deadball pitchers? Maybe using TBF instead of IP would be more relevant here? Feller was good, so his IP overstate his workload (fewer batters per inning).

I'm being somewhat contrarian here, but I think it's a pretty reasonable point.
   21. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: October 05, 2005 at 06:01 AM (#1663695)
FWIW, I looked up all the liveballers who won at least 150 games before turning 30. With only one or two exceptions, they all fell into two categories after turning 30. Cat-I: arm falls off in early 30s (Newhouser, Ferrell, Gomez, Drysdale, etc). Cat-II: still pitch, but not nearly as well as they had been when younger (Roberts, Harder, Blue, Gooden, etc). Feller falls into the second category. On the whole the pitchers (about 16-17) had 52 20-win seasons before turning 30, and four afterwards. Three of those four were Jim Palmer. The fourth was Feller.

I have no idea what would've happened had it not been for WWII, but I'm very skittish of assuming his arm would've fallen off. He might have just hit dead arm a little earlier. If that's the case - a few more years of dead arm on top of his 260+ wins = 300. Sure, he's as good a candidate for arm implosion as anyone, but even without WWII that's still the case. The number of pitches he threw when young was insane, yet he managed to do OK for quite some time.

In 1946 he won his 20th before the team's 100th game. No one's done that since, but he was only the 2nd pitcher to do it that year (Newhouser beat him there).

According to RSI, his 1946 season was the only one of the liveball era where run support jobbed a pitcher out of 30 wins.
   22. OCF Posted: October 05, 2005 at 03:04 PM (#1663963)
Who was the hardest throwing pitcher ever? Who, at his peak, had his fastball zip in there with the most giddyup?

This can only lie in the realm of speculation and guesswork, as they hadn't invented the radar gun in 1871. In truth, even having a radar gun publicly pointed at every major league pitch has only brought us widespread skepticism about the accuracy and calibration of the devices.

Let's set some ground rules here: to be eligible for consideration, a pitcher must have enjoyed substantial success at the highest competitive level available to him. I worded that so that Dick Redding and Satchel Paige are eligible, while Steve Dalkowski is not. And find some way to make allowances for the structural advantage enjoyed by one-inning closers.

There are plenty of candidates - but there's no doubt that Feller is one of those candidates.
   23. OCF Posted: October 05, 2005 at 05:00 PM (#1664266)
According to RSI, his 1946 season was the only one of the liveball era where run support jobbed a pitcher out of 30 wins.

By RA+ PythPat, I have it at 27-14, for 31 Eq.FWP. Also at 31 FWP: 1940 (25-11). And 1939 23-10 (30 FWP) and 1941 25-13 (27 FWP).
   24. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 05, 2005 at 06:53 PM (#1664562)
Top 6 workloads ever (before age 22) were:

Feller 1448.3.
Pete Schneider 1245.
Bert Blyleven 1054.7
Walter Johnson
Matthewson
Joe Wood


I never said that it was impossible to have a long career if you were worked hard before age 25, only that the odds were more against you than if you hadn't.

There's also a problem with this analysis since 1,000 IP during the Deadball Era or the sixties is not the same as 1,000 IP during the twenties and thirties. The other problem is that it doesn't address the number of pitches per game (which Craig Wright did in The Diamond Appraised.

Feller's rate stats were slipping (as has been pointed out above) before he entered the military.

Schneider was out of the ML at age 23.

Blyleven lost some zip from his fastball earlier than it should have, but he was able to overcome it and have a HoM career.

Mathewson was finished by age 35 and had his last great season at age 32.

Who knows about Joe Wood (or Dizzy Dean for that matter)? Maybe their arms were ready to explode and that their injuries accelerated the process.

Johnson was Johnson, though he did throw sidearm so that put less strain on his arm.
   25. Trevor P. Posted: October 06, 2005 at 09:47 PM (#1667639)
Not that anyone asked, but I've generally given half credit for any seasons missed during the war to take into account the potential for injury, misuse, overuse - essentially, exactly the situations that come up with Feller.

For all intents and purposes, Feller missed 1941-45, so I'm giving him credit for an extra 650 IP at an ERA+ of about 150. So he winds up with about 4500 IP with an ERA+ somewhere around 125, I'd guess, and a pretty stellar peak.

In other words, he'll be #1 on my ballot by a fairly clear margin.
   26. sunnyday2 Posted: October 06, 2005 at 09:55 PM (#1667656)
Trevor, that's exactly what I do. Half credit for WWII seasons missed. It avoids the construction of an altogether bizarro world. It pushes guys from the borderline across the in-out line, but not guys who aren't at least borderline.
   27. OCF Posted: October 06, 2005 at 10:28 PM (#1667724)
It pushes guys from the borderline across the in-out line, but not guys who aren't at least borderline.

Feller is already in; you're trying to decide whether to have him 1st on your ballot or maybe a hair lower, but still in the "going to go in" part. This statement is much sharper if you direct it in Rizzuto's direction. Is he already borderline, waiting for that nudge? Or does it take full credit even to get him into the neighborhood?
   28. Paul Wendt Posted: October 06, 2005 at 10:49 PM (#1667762)
I agree that you either give war credit or not. I don't see how you can single out a Bob Feller or pitchers generally and question whether they would have been injured.
No, not injured.
The same is true of every player. Since it's all hypothetical anyway, I think you have to hypothetical everybody more of less the same.

Is that the essence of disinterest, unbias, objectivity?
In a sense, yes, but what is "the same" treatment?
See Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations on following a rule.

Earl Averill's 1929, at age 27 and smack on his 10-year average, provides evidence that he was already a player of that 1929-1938 quality in 1928.

Bob Feller's 1942, a decline from 1941, provides evidence that he was a pitcher of less quality in 1943, and the innings suggest tiring or wear and tear as cause.

But the basic evidence is much weaker than that for Averill. I am surprised to see his record by ERA+. In retrospect, I guess that that old SABR-L article focused on strikeout rate, where alone Feller's prewar decline is clear for more than one year. Indeed, it is monotonic for six years (five declines).

YYYY _IP_ _K_ _K/9ip
1937: _62 _76 11.03 (age 17.8 to 17.11)
1938: 149 150 _9.06
1939: 278 240 _7.77
1940: 297 246 _7.45
1941: 320 261 _7.34
1942: 343 260 _6.82 (age 22.5 to 22.11)

It's clear that this feller improved in other respects at the same time.
   29. Paul Wendt Posted: October 06, 2005 at 10:57 PM (#1667782)
Oops, 1936 to 1941. (I confused yyyy and age.)

Trevor P.
For all intents and purposes, Feller missed 1941-45

Let's make a deal.
You give me a year, I give you a year.
   30. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 07, 2005 at 07:04 AM (#1668215)
How is it reasonable to expect that Rizzuto would have only played 70-75 games a year during the war? Exactly how does that remotely resemble the rest of his career, which also had risk of injury?

Giving half credit for missed war seasons is like treating the 80 game schedules of the early 1880s as full seasons and not adjusting counting stats, WS, WARP1, etc..
   31. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 07, 2005 at 04:06 PM (#1668696)
I agree with Joe on this. I give full season war credit, however I also give it a tick or two below where the career pattern puts it. I believe I gave Rizzuto 66 WS (24,22,20) for the war. However, I think it completely possilbe that he could have had 70-75 WS during that time.
   32. DavidFoss Posted: October 07, 2005 at 04:43 PM (#1668774)
YYYY _IP_ _K_ _K/9ip
1936: _62 _76 11.03 (age 17.8 to 17.11)
1937: 149 150 _9.06
1938: 278 240 _7.77
1939: 297 246 _7.45
1940: 320 261 _7.34
1941: 343 260 _6.82 (age 22.5 to 22.11)


YYYY _K/9ip
1946: 8.43
1947: 5.90
1948: 5.27
1949: 4.61
1950: 4.34

The rest seemed to help him out quite a bit, but the pattern continued.
   33. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 07, 2005 at 07:00 PM (#1669180)
OK, this is wayyyyyyy off topic, but it's been of interest to me for the last couple of days.

Where do Ichiro and Godzilla fall in the pecking order of corner outfielders? Before the last couple days they had no ranking---too few seasons. But to be fair I decided to try translating their Japanese careers.

Using no park factors, nor any regression, nor again using the JCL or JPL league totals, I simply applied a conversion factor. Clay Davenport's research suggested something around .94, so that's what I used. For slugging rather than use the square of the average conversion, which would have been .88, I knocked it down to .85 to account for the seeming lack of power shown by Japanese imports and for the uptick in power shown by the likes of Tuffy Rhodes and Alex Cabrera in Japan. I did not make any attempt to translate walk rates. (Which becomes important later....)

Playing time was a simple proration from Japan's 135-145 game schedules to a 162 game schedule. I then used each guy's stateside AB/G to guide my AB projections.

I then did my usual thing with OPS+ (aka the David Foss method) and the usual SFWS routine, using each guy's US FWS rates as a blanket guide. The results may surprise you...or not???

Ichiro
Ichiro's translated line is 0.326/0.385/0.434. He is fairly durable, and after two cuppa-joe years in 1992 and 1993, he plays 1042 games from 1994-2000 or 149 games a year. He gets 1525 hits and walks 452 times. His OPS+ for the period is just 113, lower than his stateside 124, but I think the translations have some difficulty capturing the essence of his game. Short-form win shares sees him as an above-average hitter and a VERY good fielder, netting 3WS/1000 defensive innings. This helps Ichiro rack up All-Star level seasons. His WS from 1994-2000:
33.9
31.0
28.2
29.5
29.6
25.4
28.6

Of course, this makes no accounting for his stolen bases. He's stolen at 76.5% clip in the US so there's some value there too.

Ichiro totals 207 MLEWS for his Japanese play, which would put him around 315 for his career. The sum of his US and Japanese careers make him not quite as good a candidate for the HOM as Bobby Veach, but he's probably near to or better than Minoso (sans MLEs). In numerical terms, he's somewhere around the 30th best RF I've looked at.

GODZILLA
WS sees Matsui as a poor fielder, as in below 2.0 WS/1000 innings. On the other hand, it loves his bat! Matsui's career Japanese line translates to .285/.391/.495, and he's the Cal Ripken of Japan, averaging 159 games a season from 1994-2002. His career Japanese translated totals include 6719 PA, 5724 AB, 1633 H, 995 BB. He averages about 100 walks a year for his Japanese career, a trait he hasn't shown in the US. I found IBB only for his last year in Japan; he had 17 on 114 total walks. His Japanese translated career OPS+ is 129, and here's his year-by-year OPS+ for 1994-2002:
93
95
127
128
127
136
145
155
172

Win Shares loves him, here's his nine full seasons 1994-2002 by WS:
18.4
18.4
30.9
29.6
29.2
34.3
38.7
37.5
42.2

His ten-year total is a whopping 283.8. Add that to his 74 U.S. WS, and you're at 358 with a huge peak and prime that looks just like Yaz's and which would slot Matsui, in my system, just ahead of Reggie in the list I made earlier in this thread.

Do I trust these two results? In one way, absolutely. They are in agreement with the real-life world in that they show Matsui's power/walks combination as having much more value than Ichiro's average-driven slash-and-run game. On the other hand, WS is going bonkers for Matsui's walks. What I don't trust is not WS, RC, OPS+, or anything like that, what I don't trust is my own ability to evaluate the Japanese game. It may well be that Matsui was pitched around A LOT but that he hasn't been in America. Is 65-85 walks his "true" walks level? Should I be translating his walks as only 2/3s of their Nippon totals? Ichiro comes out about equally as high on the walk side.

To find out the effect, I reduced both of their walks by one-third. This lowered Ichiro's OPS+ to 107 and his WS for the period to 195. Knocking back Matsui's walks dropped his OPS+ to 120 and his WS to 254 for the period. Still mighty monstrous, though probably enough to drop him into Cravath's territory instead of Reggie's.

Should I go with 2/3s the walks or full walks?

Anyway, I thought I'd share this with everyone since it was at least somewhat tangentially related.
   34. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 07, 2005 at 07:01 PM (#1669182)
OK, this is wayyyyyyy off topic, but it's been of interest to me for the last couple of days.

Where do Ichiro and Godzilla fall in the pecking order of corner outfielders? Before the last couple days they had no ranking---too few seasons. But to be fair I decided to try translating their Japanese careers.

Using no park factors, nor any regression, nor again using the JCL or JPL league totals, I simply applied a conversion factor. Clay Davenport's research suggested something around .94, so that's what I used. For slugging rather than use the square of the average conversion, which would have been .88, I knocked it down to .85 to account for the seeming lack of power shown by Japanese imports and for the uptick in power shown by the likes of Tuffy Rhodes and Alex Cabrera in Japan. I did not make any attempt to translate walk rates. (Which becomes important later....)

Playing time was a simple proration from Japan's 135-145 game schedules to a 162 game schedule. I then used each guy's stateside AB/G to guide my AB projections.

I then did my usual thing with OPS+ (aka the David Foss method) and the usual SFWS routine, using each guy's US FWS rates as a blanket guide. The results may surprise you...or not???

Ichiro
Ichiro's translated line is 0.326/0.385/0.434. He is fairly durable, and after two cuppa-joe years in 1992 and 1993, he plays 1042 games from 1994-2000 or 149 games a year. He gets 1525 hits and walks 452 times. His OPS+ for the period is just 113, lower than his stateside 124, but I think the translations have some difficulty capturing the essence of his game. Short-form win shares sees him as an above-average hitter and a VERY good fielder, netting 3WS/1000 defensive innings. This helps Ichiro rack up All-Star level seasons. His WS from 1994-2000:
33.9
31.0
28.2
29.5
29.6
25.4
28.6

Of course, this makes no accounting for his stolen bases. He's stolen at 76.5% clip in the US so there's some value there too.

Ichiro totals 207 MLEWS for his Japanese play, which would put him around 315 for his career. The sum of his US and Japanese careers make him not quite as good a candidate for the HOM as Bobby Veach, but he's probably near to or better than Minoso (sans MLEs). In numerical terms, he's somewhere around the 30th best RF I've looked at.

GODZILLA
WS sees Matsui as a poor fielder, as in below 2.0 WS/1000 innings. On the other hand, it loves his bat! Matsui's career Japanese line translates to .285/.391/.495, and he's the Cal Ripken of Japan, averaging 159 games a season from 1994-2002. His career Japanese translated totals include 6719 PA, 5724 AB, 1633 H, 995 BB. He averages about 100 walks a year for his Japanese career, a trait he hasn't shown in the US. I found IBB only for his last year in Japan; he had 17 on 114 total walks. His Japanese translated career OPS+ is 129, and here's his year-by-year OPS+ for 1994-2002:
93
95
127
128
127
136
145
155
172

Win Shares loves him, here's his nine full seasons 1994-2002 by WS:
18.4
18.4
30.9
29.6
29.2
34.3
38.7
37.5
42.2

His ten-year total is a whopping 283.8. Add that to his 74 U.S. WS, and you're at 358 with a huge peak and prime that looks just like Yaz's and which would slot Matsui, in my system, just ahead of Reggie in the list I made earlier in this thread.

Do I trust these two results? In one way, absolutely. They are in agreement with the real-life world in that they show Matsui's power/walks combination as having much more value than Ichiro's average-driven slash-and-run game. On the other hand, WS is going bonkers for Matsui's walks. What I don't trust is not WS, RC, OPS+, or anything like that, what I don't trust is my own ability to evaluate the Japanese game. It may well be that Matsui was pitched around A LOT but that he hasn't been in America. Is 65-85 walks his "true" walks level? Should I be translating his walks as only 2/3s of their Nippon totals? Ichiro comes out about equally as high on the walk side.

To find out the effect, I reduced both of their walks by one-third. This lowered Ichiro's OPS+ to 107 and his WS for the period to 195. Knocking back Matsui's walks dropped his OPS+ to 120 and his WS to 254 for the period. Still mighty monstrous, though probably enough to drop him into Cravath's territory instead of Reggie's.

Should I go with 2/3s the walks or full walks?

Anyway, I thought I'd share this with everyone since it was at least somewhat tangentially related.
   35. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 07, 2005 at 07:06 PM (#1669193)
OK, this is wayyyyyyy off topic, but it's been of interest to me for the last couple of days.

Where do Ichiro and Godzilla fall in the pecking order of corner outfielders? Before the last couple days they had no ranking---too few seasons. But to be fair I decided to try translating their Japanese careers.

Using no park factors, nor any regression, nor again using the JCL or JPL league totals, I simply applied a conversion factor. Clay Davenport's research suggested something around .94, so that's what I used. For slugging rather than use the square of the average conversion, which would have been .88, I knocked it down to .85 to account for the seeming lack of power shown by Japanese imports and for the uptick in power shown by the likes of Tuffy Rhodes and Alex Cabrera in Japan. I did not make any attempt to translate walk rates. (Which becomes important later....)

Playing time was a simple proration from Japan's 135-145 game schedules to a 162 game schedule. I then used each guy's stateside AB/G to guide my AB projections.

I then did my usual thing with OPS+ (aka the David Foss method) and the usual SFWS routine, using each guy's US FWS rates as a blanket guide. The results may surprise you...or not???

Ichiro
Ichiro's translated line is 0.326/0.385/0.434. He is fairly durable, and after two cuppa-joe years in 1992 and 1993, he plays 1042 games from 1994-2000 or 149 games a year. He gets 1525 hits and walks 452 times. His OPS+ for the period is just 113, lower than his stateside 124, but I think the translations have some difficulty capturing the essence of his game. Short-form win shares sees him as an above-average hitter and a VERY good fielder, netting 3WS/1000 defensive innings. This helps Ichiro rack up All-Star level seasons. His WS from 1994-2000:
33.9
31.0
28.2
29.5
29.6
25.4
28.6

Of course, this makes no accounting for his stolen bases. He's stolen at 76.5% clip in the US so there's some value there too.

Ichiro totals 207 MLEWS for his Japanese play, which would put him around 315 for his career. The sum of his US and Japanese careers make him not quite as good a candidate for the HOM as Bobby Veach, but he's probably near to or better than Minoso (sans MLEs). In numerical terms, he's somewhere around the 30th best RF I've looked at.

GODZILLA
WS sees Matsui as a poor fielder, as in below 2.0 WS/1000 innings. On the other hand, it loves his bat! Matsui's career Japanese line translates to .285/.391/.495, and he's the Cal Ripken of Japan, averaging 159 games a season from 1994-2002. His career Japanese translated totals include 6719 PA, 5724 AB, 1633 H, 995 BB. He averages about 100 walks a year for his Japanese career, a trait he hasn't shown in the US. I found IBB only for his last year in Japan; he had 17 on 114 total walks. His Japanese translated career OPS+ is 129, and here's his year-by-year OPS+ for 1994-2002:
93
95
127
128
127
136
145
155
172

Win Shares loves him, here's his nine full seasons 1994-2002 by WS:
18.4
18.4
30.9
29.6
29.2
34.3
38.7
37.5
42.2

His ten-year total is a whopping 283.8. Add that to his 74 U.S. WS, and you're at 358 with a huge peak and prime that looks just like Yaz's and which would slot Matsui, in my system, just ahead of Reggie in the list I made earlier in this thread.

Do I trust these two results? In one way, absolutely. They are in agreement with the real-life world in that they show Matsui's power/walks combination as having much more value than Ichiro's average-driven slash-and-run game. On the other hand, WS is going bonkers for Matsui's walks. What I don't trust is not WS, RC, OPS+, or anything like that, what I don't trust is my own ability to evaluate the Japanese game. It may well be that Matsui was pitched around A LOT but that he hasn't been in America. Is 65-85 walks his "true" walks level? Should I be translating his walks as only 2/3s of their Nippon totals? Ichiro comes out about equally as high on the walk side.

To find out the effect, I reduced both of their walks by one-third. This lowered Ichiro's OPS+ to 107 and his WS for the period to 195. Knocking back Matsui's walks dropped his OPS+ to 120 and his WS to 254 for the period. Still mighty monstrous, though probably enough to drop him into Cravath's territory instead of Reggie's.

Should I go with 2/3s the walks or full walks?

Anyway, I thought I'd share this with everyone since it was at least somewhat tangentially related.
   36. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 07, 2005 at 07:11 PM (#1669207)
Sorry for the triple post, I'm not sure what happened there. And I thought I was on the ballot discussion thread, so sorry for being in the wrong place. Tough day today....
   37. jimd Posted: October 07, 2005 at 07:33 PM (#1669240)
so sorry for being in the wrong place

Not a problem. You did say "this is wayyyyyyy off topic" ;-)
   38. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 07, 2005 at 07:38 PM (#1669254)
In fact, I'm going to paste it over into the ballot discussion, so if you want to respond, please do so over there. Thanks and sorry again.
   39. EricC Posted: October 07, 2005 at 09:59 PM (#1669702)
I've generally given half credit for any seasons missed during the war to take into account the potential for injury, misuse, overuse - essentially, exactly the situations that come up with Feller.

I disagree with this in the case of any position player who did not show himself to be injury-prone. While I have no idea how to calculate the odds that a typical such player would have had a career-reducing injury or tragedy during the 3 or so years he missed due to the war, I doubt that it would even be a 5 percent chance. Why not just fill out the war years in the context of the rest of the player's career?
   40. EricC Posted: October 07, 2005 at 10:10 PM (#1669721)
Just for fun, I calculated player usage by dividing each seasonal playing time (IP for pitchers or PA for others) by "typical" usage for that position in that year. Through 1957, the top ten seasons were:

1. Feller (P) 1946
2. Roberts (P) 1953
3. Feller (P) 1941
4. Roberts (P) 1954
5. Walsh (P) 1908
6. Roberts (P) 1955
7. Roberts (P) 1952
8. Cochrane (C) 1929
9. G. Gibson (C) 1909
10. Stanage (C) 1911

In addition to everything else, Feller tops the list of "heaviest workload in a season".

George Gibson's 1910 is 15th. The high placement of catchers from this era follows the introduction of shin guards and the experimentation of some teams to play their catcher every day before they knew better. In any case, Gibson caught a remarkable 433 games in 3 years between 1908 and 1910. I'm curious how long this record stood.
   41. DavidFoss Posted: October 08, 2005 at 04:36 PM (#1671019)
In any case, Gibson caught a remarkable 433 games in 3 years between 1908 and 1910. I'm curious how long this record stood.

I see that Cy Perkins (1920-22) and Jim Hegan (47-49) and even Yogi Berra (50-52 and 54-56) got into the upper 420s.

Looks like the record beater is Randy Hundley who shattered it with 461 from 1966-68 and 463 from 1967-69. I believe Hundley still has the record.
   42. sunnyday2 Posted: October 11, 2005 at 01:30 PM (#1676490)
There was a lot of discussion earlier about who would be the first living HoMer, and it obviously will be Rapid Robert. Is there anybody out there who has ever met the man? Would somebody be interested in phoning him up and informing him of the honor and asking him if he had a comment? Then package his comment and some info about the 1962 election and about the HoM generally in a press release and send it off to some major sporting papers...

I could easily see this sort of thing in USA Today, Baseball Weekly, and others, but time is of the essence. (Does anybody know any reporters for these and other major sports pages?)
   43. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 11, 2005 at 09:49 PM (#1677697)
Marc, I have a feeling that if Feller found out about his upcoming election to the HoM, he would be pissed that he wasn't at the top of every single ballot and berate us for it. :-)
   44. OCF Posted: October 12, 2005 at 12:42 AM (#1678045)
I have a feeling that ... he would be pissed that he wasn't at the top of every single ballot and berate us for it.

Well, maybe, but ... . We're only a quarter of the way through the election, and there are a lot of voters yet to be heard from. But so far, the only person to appear ahead of Feller on anyone's ballot is Robinson. That doesn't feel like too deep an insult to me.
   45. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 12, 2005 at 12:49 AM (#1678063)
Well, maybe, but ... . We're only a quarter of the way through the election, and there are a lot of voters yet to be heard from. But so far, the only person to appear ahead of Feller on anyone's ballot is Robinson. That doesn't feel like too deep an insult to me.

Without a doubt, OCF, but Feller's ego was legendary. I wouldn't be surprised if he grumbled over Ruth besting him had the latter been eligible this "year." :-)

Seriously, if someone has a pipeline to Rapid Robert, that would be super. For a living player to acknowledge our honoring him might be the greatest thing that any of us could experience from this project.
   46. karlmagnus Posted: October 12, 2005 at 01:47 AM (#1678207)
Why don't we honor one of the well known nice guys, like Doerr, Dom DiMaggio or Pesky then?
   47. Howie Menckel Posted: October 12, 2005 at 01:59 AM (#1678237)
Yeah, I know some 'major' reporters, sunnyday.
But frankly, if I'm Feller, I would basically just say, 'Duh, of course they voted for me.'
And he'd be right.

Probably makes more sense to wait for the first living guy who ISN'T in the Hall of Fame. That guy likely would be quite interested in the process.

Your Feller idea makes some sense, but ultimately I can't quite picture it playing out as we'd like. Only hope would be to note some contemporaries and where THEY stand, but even then he'd be as likely to say we're idiots as to say we're geniuses.
   48. sunnyday2 Posted: October 12, 2005 at 02:41 AM (#1678367)
Well, then, let's think ahead as to who it's going to be and have a plan of action. I mean, easy for me to say, I'm not actually volunteering to do the work, though I could write a news release, I certainly have done that enough times professionally...

But it would be good for somebody to interview the honoree and send me a transcript and then I could work some quotes into it.

Then who knows some reporters? Howie does, of course. Would you be willing to send out the email and follow up with a phone call or something?

Then again, on the other hand, if Bob Feller was quoted as saying that the HoM was a bunch of idiots, well, I can think of lots of other things that would be less newsworthy, like him not saying anything.
   49. Howie Menckel Posted: October 12, 2005 at 04:56 AM (#1678520)
I'm guessing we're 20 'years' away from selecting a living non-HOF-er, no?
But yes, I think it would be worth a shot at that point..
   50. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 12, 2005 at 01:21 PM (#1678689)
Here's a look by position at guys who might have a shot at being living HOM-not-HOFs:

STRONG POSSIBILITIES
P: Bert Blyleven
C: Joe Torre, Ted Simmons, Bill Freehan
1B: Dick Allen
2b: Pete Rose (gulp!), Bobby Grich
3b: Ron Santo , Darrell Evans
SS: Alan Trammell
RF: Dwight Evans
LF: Tim Raines
DH: Edgar Martinez (?)

OTHER NOTABLES
P: Dave Stieb, Orel Hershiser, Bret Saberhagen, Rick Reuschel, Jim Kaat, Jack Morris, Kevin Appier, Vida Blue, Luis Tiant, Chuck Finley, David Cone, Tommy John, Billy Pierce
C: Lance Parrish
1B: Will Clark, Keith Hernandez, Jack Clark, Mickey Vernon
2B: Lou Whitaker, Chuck Knoblauch
SS: Jim Fregosi, Maury Wills
3B: Sal Bando, Toby Harrah, Graig Nettles,
Eddie Yost, Robin Ventura, Ron Cey
CF: Jimmy Wynn, Caesar Cedeno, Dale Murphy
OF: Ken Singleton, Minnie Minoso, Frank Howard, Rusty Staub
DH: Brian Downing, Hal Baines, Chili Davis
   51. sunnyday2 Posted: October 12, 2005 at 01:27 PM (#1678693)
>2b: Pete Rose (gulp!)

Well, if he's the first, we could at least make a splash with it. Probably not the kind of splash that wins gold medals, however.

Among your strong possibilities Santo is probably the first to have retired, right? That could get some play in Chicago anyway.
   52. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 12, 2005 at 01:36 PM (#1678705)
Yes, Santo went first. Here's the strong possibilities listed by year of retirement.

1974: Ron Santo
1976: Bill Freehan
1977: Joe Torre, Dick Allen
1986: Pete Rose, Bobby Grich
1988: Ted Simmons
1989: Darrell Evans
1991: Dwight Evans
1992: Rik Aalbert Blyleven
1996: Alan Trammell
2002: Tim Raines
2004: Edgar Martinez
   53. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 12, 2005 at 02:36 PM (#1678798)
Why don't we honor one of the well known nice guys, like Doerr, Dom DiMaggio or Pesky then?

Why limit it to them, karlmagnus? We can add Ellis Kinder, Walt Dropo, Mel Parnell, Clyde Vollmer, and Matt Batts to the Bosox Bandwagon, too. :-D

>2b: Pete Rose (gulp!)

(double gulp!!)

He wont be getting a vote from me his first year of eligibility. That's just a fact.

Then again, on the other hand, if Bob Feller was quoted as saying that the HoM was a bunch of idiots, well, I can think of lots of other things that would be less newsworthy, like him not saying anything.

Well, they say there is no such thing as bad press, you know. :-)

I think if we can, we should let Feller know. Whatever he or any living "Duh!" HoMer says or thinks really can't hurt us in the long run.
   54. sunnyday2 Posted: October 12, 2005 at 04:48 PM (#1679202)
From 1963 to 1980 we will elect 38 HoMers (2 except 3 in 1972 and 1980).

Slam Dunks (11)

Campy
Teddy
Stan the Man
Roberts
Berra
Mantle
Mathews
Banks
Clemente
Wilhelm
Mays
Kaline

Very Strong (8)

Irvin
Reese
Lemon
Doby
Snider
Koufax
Ford
Marichal

Strong (5)

Ashburn
Wynn
Fox
Slaughter
Cepeda

Conservatively 24 players with an excellent opportunity to get elected (excellent because there are 38 slots).

Backlog (we'll posit ten just as a guess)

Medwick
Ruffing
Ferrell
Mackey
Griffith
Rixey
Sisler
Bell
Van Haltren
Beckley

Still four more slots to go and I (deliberately) haven't mentioned Ron Santo yet. Santo is probably better than 1/3 to 1/2 of the players mentioned above. Kaline, Cash, Cepeda, Marichal and Santo are all eligible in 1980, but Santo is easily #3 on that list of not higher.

I only listed 8 slam-dunks above. Now having seen the list, there are 20 slam dunks up there. Ron Santo is a slam dunk.

And along with all of the above, I'll guess that we will also elect Bunning, Browning and Minoso by 1980. Open the floodgates.
   55. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 12, 2005 at 05:14 PM (#1679265)
I agree Bunning looks likely, but I think those final two slots are going to be a real free-for-all, depending on what years they fall in. Browning and Minoso will face competition from a growing number of new backlog candidates. Joining the backlog through 1980 will be the following additional candidates to those previously mentioned:
P: Pierce, Koufax, Face, Newcombe (pending consideration of his NgL and Korean years)
C: Freehan, E Howard (with NgL credit), Lollar
1B: Hodges, Vernon
2B: Mazeroski, Schoendienst, Gilliam (with consideration of NgL and minor league time)
SS: Wills, Aparicio, McAuliffe (or was he a 2B?)
3B: Ken Boyer
RF: Colavito, Maris
CF: Curt Flood (with conderation for xc???)
LF: F Howard

I don't know what level of support any of these guys will get, but a number of them are equal to or better than Minoso as a candidate (even if Minoso is getting MLE credit) in my opinion. And given that the electorate remains divided on questions of positional balance, peak value, and career value, some that I don't consider good candidates might emerge.

And I'd be remiss not to mention some of the final few Negro League candidates:
Marvin Williams (2b)
Luis Marquez (of)
Alonzo Perry (1b)
Sam Jones (P).
   56. sunnyday2 Posted: October 12, 2005 at 07:26 PM (#1679646)
Doc, I looked at all those names and I didn't think any of them really deserved mention. I guess one could argue re. Newk, Freehan, Hodges, Vernon, Gilliam, Aparicio, Ken Boyer, Colavito... but it would be an uphill argument in each case.

So, yes, there are plenty of backloggers, but frontloggers? I was wrong a few months ago when I said we wouldn't get into the old backlog much. We have 38 slots and about 24 solid candidates coming up through 1980.
   57. sunnyday2 Posted: October 12, 2005 at 07:28 PM (#1679651)
But I almost forgot. The point was when or if we might want to go public and shine a spotlight on our little science project.
   58. Jim Sp Posted: October 12, 2005 at 09:17 PM (#1679911)
Have to add Spahn as a slam dunk. I agree Santo will be a slam dunk too.
   59. sunnyday2 Posted: October 17, 2005 at 04:21 PM (#1688908)
1. Johnson 349
2. Young 319
3. Alex 290
4. Matty 280
5. Grove 278
6. Seaver 253
7. Spahn 252
8. Nichols 251
9. Carlton 242
10. Spalding 238

11. Walsh 220
12. Palmer 219
13. Feller 215

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