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Monday, October 24, 2005

Bob Lemon

Eligible in 1964.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 24, 2005 at 02:39 AM | 159 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 29, 2005 at 03:39 PM (#1710414)
A Lemon? Could have fooled me.
   2. OCF Posted: October 29, 2005 at 07:35 PM (#1710710)
RA+ PythPat:

Just using his pitching stats, I get 176-141, but if I adjust for his own hitting, that bumps up to 184-133, with a very good peak. As a pinch hitter and OF, he added maybe another 1 or 1 and a half wins. Virgil Trucks came in at 173-125. Without the offensive adjustment, I would have preferred Trucks, but with the adjustment, Lemon is ahead of Trucks.

I see him as closely comparable to Bucky Walters.

That's not enough to put him in my top 15, barring substantial war credit that seems unlikely to me.
   3. Chris Cobb Posted: October 29, 2005 at 08:51 PM (#1710818)
I see him as closely comparable to Bucky Walters.

So does BIll James, who said of Walters and Lemon, in his write-up on Walters: "Bucky Walters and Bob Lemon have everything in common, as pitchers, and no significant differences that I am aware of. Both were right-handers, about the same size. Both were originally third basemen, and both were good enough to reach the majors as third basemen. Both were outstanding hitters. Both were power pitchers in the sense that they threw hard, rather than throwing to spots, but neither had a real strikeout pitch. Most batters who strike out do so on a curve or a change; both Lemon and Walters became major league pitchers after learning to throw the pitch which is now called the slider." And that's just the first half of the comparison.

Of course, James ranks Lemon at 48 and Walters at 69, so he doesn't see them as quite equal in quality. Interestingly, Walters is ahead in all of the Jamesian ranking stats (top 3, top 5 con, career, career rate), but Lemon ranks ahead anyway. I suppose Walters is taking a bit of a WWII discount here.

WARP, by the way, appears to support James' preference for Lemon more than win shares does. It shows Walters as slightly better by DERA, Lemon as somewhat better by EQA, but Lemon leads by WARP1 and appears to have the better multi-year peak. He has six seasons at 9.0 WARP1 or better to Walters' 3.

For myself, I also see Lemon as being ahead of Walters. I think he's about halfway between Walters and Wes Ferrell, who was a much better hitter and had a much better peak, though slightly less career value than the other two.

Lemon will probably debut between 10 and 20 in my rankings.
   4. favre Posted: October 29, 2005 at 10:03 PM (#1710918)
I vaguely remember someone pointing out once that Wes Ferrell and Bob Lemon were very similar. Here are some numbers:


W-L IP ERA+ OPS+/PA Career WS Top 5 WS

Lemon 207-1282850 119 82/1330232 31, 26, 25, 25, 24

Ferrell 193-128 2623 117 100/1345233 35, 32, 28, 27, 26


Top 10 ERA+ Top 10 IP

Lemon5 (3-4-4-5-6)9 (1-1-1-1-2-3-4-5-10)

Ferrell7 (2-5-5-6-6-7-7)6 (1-1-1-2-3-4)


ERA+ seasons (top 7, minimum 180 innings)

Lemon 144 39 36 34 33 13 12

Ferrell 146 35 33 30 26 24 24


I don’t trust WARP, so it’s not included.

Based on these rough figures, Ferrell has a peak and prime edge. Their careers are about the same, with three caveats: 1. ERA+ obviously does not include defense. My uneducated guess is that Lemon played for very good defenses, while Ferrell played for no better than average 2. There were more batters per inning in the 1930s (Ferrell: 11,568 BFP; Lemon: 12,099 BFP) 3. Lemon may be eligible for war credit. Does anyone know what he was doing during the war?
   5. favre Posted: October 29, 2005 at 10:06 PM (#1710920)
Sorry, the columns didn't turn out too well.

Lemon 82 OPS+/1330 PA, 232 career WS

Ferrell 100 OPS+/1345 PA, 233 career WS
   6. favre Posted: October 29, 2005 at 10:09 PM (#1710927)
Lemon 207-128 W-L, 2850 IP 119 ERA+

Ferrell 193-128 W-L, 2623 IP 117 ERA+
   7. Chris Cobb Posted: October 29, 2005 at 10:12 PM (#1710937)
Well, he definitely served, as he had cups of coffee in the majors as a third baseman in 1941 and 1942.

Baseballlibrary implies that he was converted to pitcher while playing at the major league level in 1946.

I have a hard time giving him war credit in this case, since he didn't actually learn the skill that made him a great player until after the war. He might have converted to pitcher earlier if not for the war, but that's going a little far down the speculation trail for my taste.

Others who know more about his bio might persuade me otherwise, but that's my initial sense of the matter.
   8. Cblau Posted: October 30, 2005 at 03:05 AM (#1711192)
Deserves a little extra credit for revealing the secret to a lasting marriage: "I never take my troubles home with me from the ballpark. I leave them in a bar along the way."
   9. TomH Posted: October 31, 2005 at 08:21 PM (#1713025)
Bob Lemon looks to me comparable to Wes Ferrell, and a little higher on my ballot by career length.

Does anyone have Ferrell significantly above Lemon, and if so, can you explain why?
   10. Chris Cobb Posted: October 31, 2005 at 09:12 PM (#1713107)
Does anyone have Ferrell significantly above Lemon, and if so, can you explain why?

Well, depends on what you mean by significantly, but Ferrell is currently 8 places ahead of Lemon on my preliminary ballot for 1964. The reason?

Peak! By both WARP1 and WS, Ferrell's peak outweighs any advantage that Lemon has in career value.

That's pretty clear in WS in the data favre posted above. Each of Ferrell's top 5 seasons are better than each of Lemon' s top 5 seasons. They have the same number of career win shares, which Ferrell earned in fewer innings than Lemon, so Ferrell wins on career rate as well as on peak rate. Lemon threw more innings, but he didn't create any more value for his teams.

WARP1 is about the same, except that Lemon is ahead of Ferrell on career, so they are a bit closer by WARP1 than by WS.

As I see it, to place Lemon ahead of Ferrell, you have to go to WARP3, and I don't.
   11. TomH Posted: October 31, 2005 at 09:47 PM (#1713182)
If peak is narrowly defined, I guess Ferrell would be ahead.

Lining up their WARP1 seasons, 10 best-to-worst:
Fer Lem diff
136 116 +2.0
114 113 +.1
111 109 +.2
103 9.9 +.4
9.5 9.3 +.2
8.6 9.2 -.6
6.4 7.6 -1.2
6.2 7.3 -1.1
5.1 6.3 -1.2
1.8 5.1 -3.3
rest of career, Lemon is 3 wins ahead

So Ferrell has a big edge (2 wins) for their best years.
Years 2 thru 6 are about even.
Lemon wins years 7 and 8, by which time the totals are even.
Lemon has a big edge in years 9 and onward. Without even getting into war credit (which probably is a small thing, even tho he didn't get to the bigs until age 25).

Since this uses WARP1, there is no timeline difference. I would assume we ought to give Lemon a small edge for pitching in the 'partially-integrated' era. When I add in a smidge for that, I have to put Lemon ahead, unless I give a really big bonus for Ferrell's best year.

Now, this is all on a large-level analysis. Given the long debate we've had on Ferrell, things like his managers' usage, maybe he gets a few extra markers, and Lemon could start below him. All the more reason to disect Bob this week, since it's possible he could be in the hunt for elect-me spots next ballot.
   12. Chris Cobb Posted: October 31, 2005 at 10:18 PM (#1713258)
It's a small thing, but Ferrell's 1937 season is 5.6 WARP1, not 5.1. He's got a 2-team thing going that year.
   13. OCF Posted: October 31, 2005 at 10:23 PM (#1713270)
Here are my RA+ PythPat records on a year-by-year basis for both Lemon and Ferrell, sorted by yearly equivalent FWP, from best to worst. In both cases, an adjustment has been made for the pitcher's own offense - an adjustment to the run environment.
Lemon  (FWP)   Ferrell (FWP)
23-10   28     24-11   30
21-10   25     23-10   28
21-13   21     21-10   25
18-11   18     22-12   23
18-11   18     21-11   22
18-13   16     17-10   17
18-14   14     13- 7   15
16-13   11     13- 9   11
12-11    8     15-16    7
 5- 5    2      1- 0    2
 8-11    0      1- 1    1
 1- 2    0      1- 1    1
 5- 8   -1      7-12   -2

I ignored a couple of Ferrell years that came out as 0-0, and Lemon's pre-war years as a non-pitcher.

That does show a consistent advantage for Ferrell. In addition, we note that Ferrell probably pitched in the richest offensive environment of any 20th century pitcher, which make his IP a little harder to acheive than Lemon's. I have Ferrell's value as a PH/OF very slightly greater than Lemon's (estimated as 2.2 wins versus 1.4 wins).

This came out friendlier to Ferrell than TomH's table. As I said, I see Lemon as closer to Walters than to Ferrell.
   14. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 31, 2005 at 10:41 PM (#1713310)
OK, since we're all making chrono lists here...

I try to account for usage by adjusting each season toward an historical average, and applying that adjustment factor to the individual pitcher's win shares. Here's how the boys come out

WF  BL
------
35  34
29  27
27  27
26  26
24  26
23  25
18  24
17  20
14  17
 6  13
 2   6
 1   3
 1
 


Ferrell's got the best 3 seasons 91 to 87.
Ferrell's got the best 5 seasons 141 to 139.
Lemon's got the best 10 seasons 238 to 218.
Lemon's got the best career 247 to 222.

So it's pretty close. I think that Lemon demonstrates more seperation in the longer term than Ferrell does in the shorter. I'll have Lemon in the upper half of my ballot.
   15. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: November 01, 2005 at 01:09 AM (#1713713)
As of right now I will have Ferrell at #1 or 2 in 1964 with Lemon anywhere from #5 to #10. Ferrell's peak seems to be a decent bit higher, Lemon as more career. As a peak guy that is an edge for Wes.

Lemon has as good a chance as anyone to get the PHOM slot not going to Pee Wee Reese in 1964. He is battling Hugh Duffy, Dick Redding, Charlie Keller, and Bucky Walters for that place (I believe, I could be forgetting someone).
   16. Michael Bass Posted: November 01, 2005 at 11:42 PM (#1715102)
I like Lemon a lot, better in fact than Reese (though Reese slides in right behind the Ferrell/Moore/Mendez peak group). The only question is how high he goes on my ballot; could be #1.

He doesn't quite have Ferrell's peak, but as pointed out above, he was playing in a partially integrated league and he had longer career. I jsut love workhorse pitchers who can hit. My leaning right now is

1. Ferrell
2. Moore
3. Mendez
4. Lemon
5. Reese

But Lemon may slide higher on that list. Easy HOMer in my view.
   17. Arrieta, Gentile Arrieta Posted: November 02, 2005 at 01:27 AM (#1715254)
Just for fun, let’s throw Carl Mays into favre’s comparisons. Mays’s career totals vs. Lemon’s ... well, this is kind of eerie.

Career pitching

CMays 207-126 W-L, 3012 IP 119 ERA+

Lemon 207-128 W-L, 2850 IP 119 ERA+

Ferrell 193-128 W-L, 2623 IP 117 ERA+


Career batting & total Win Shares

CMays 82 OPS+/1199 PA, 256 career WS

Lemon 82 OPS+/1330 PA, 232 career WS

Ferrell 100 OPS+/1345 PA, 233 career WS

(Lemon & Ferrell pinch-hit a lot, Mays hardly ever did: only 12 non-pitching games in the career)


Top 10 ERA+, Top 10 IP

CMays 5(2-3-5-7-9), 6(1-2-4-4-7-7)

Lemon 5(3-4-4-5-6), 9(1-1-1-1-2-3-4-5-10)

Ferrell 7(2-5-5-6-6-7-7), 6(1-1-1-2-3-4)


ERA+ seasons (top 7, minimum 180 innings)

CMays 148 48 39 25 22 19 18

Lemon 144 39 36 34 33 13 12

Ferrell 146 35 33 30 26 24 24


Ferrell made 30 ballots last election, Lemon is pretty certain to do at least as well this time. Mays made only 3 (full disclosure, mine was one of them). Mays <u>might</u> be the least of these guys, but even if he is, I don’t think it’s by that kind of margin.

Mays is also missing about ¼ of a year because of the shortened ’18 & ’19 seasons.
   18. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 02, 2005 at 01:33 PM (#1715617)
Great comparison Don.

To play Devil's Advocate a bit . . . when you adjust for era, Lemon actually pitched the most innings:

Lemon 2922.7
Mays 2723
Ferrell 2569.3

Also, in looking at what Prospectus thinks of the defense behind them (measured by the difference between DERA and NRA, higher means better defensive support):

Mays +.24
Lemon +.17
Ferrell +.02

Just some food for thought. I think Mays is an interesting candidate also, but it's wild how he comes up different when looked at through WARP (not as good) and WS (which loves him).
   19. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 02, 2005 at 01:34 PM (#1715618)
Sorry, those era adjusted innings are Prospectus' translated innings.
   20. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 02, 2005 at 03:21 PM (#1715698)
IIRC, Mays also had fantastic run support, per Chris J's work. That support tended to puff up his record a bit.

Of Mays, Ferrell, and Lemon, I think Lemon is the most impressive for precisely the reason that Joe said: in context, his performance was the most impressive.

On the other hand... I've been doing a little research in preparation for Sandy Koufax, comparing the ERA+ of his six best consecutive years against the six best consecutive years of other well-known pitchers. I'll save the details on Koufax until 1972, but here's some current ballot guys, HOFs, and HOMers. Homers in CAPS:
          6-PEAK
NAME      ERA+
---------------
W JOHNSON 202
M BROWN   180
ALEXANDER 177
MATHEWSON 170
GROVE     169
NEWHOUSER 162
WALSH     159
YOUNG     158
HUBBELL   157
NICHOLS   156
Joss      156
Waddell   153
VANCE     147
Gomez     147
CLARKSON  145
SPALDING  144
FELLER    144 (counting 42 and 46 as consecutive)
FABER     143
COVELESKI 142
RUSIE     141
KEEFE     140
LYONS     139
Griffith  138
Bender    138
Warneke   137
Walters   137 (no war discount)
MCGINNITY 136
CARUTHERS 134 (no AA discount)
Ruffing   134
Willis    133
Dean      133
Mays      133
Pennock   133
Ferrell   130
RUTH      129
PLANK     129
Welch     129
Rixey     128
Mullane   128 (no AA discount)
W Cooper  127
Chesbro   127
Lemon     124
Grimes    123
WARD      122
Haines    122
Hoyt      122
GALVIN    120
Marquard  118



Obviously, ERA+ is not the only story when it comes to pitching, especially for Rube Waddell, but it's an interesting barometer.
   21. Kelly in SD Posted: November 02, 2005 at 06:04 PM (#1716020)
Here are the Run Support Indexes and Defensive Support Numbers for Mays / Lemon / Ferrell:

     RSI      Defensive Support  
Ferrell   102.76    +6.9 
Lemon     111.53    +9.3
Mays      114.36   +14.1 


Mays probably received the best support from his teammates of any pitcher who did not pitch in the 1880s.
The only pitcher I have in my spreadsheet with better RSI is Juan Marichal at 115.34. That includes all the 1880s pitchers. Chris J had over 200 pitchers on his site. I only have the numbers for 87 of them, but Mays received the 2nd best run support of those 87 pitchers.
Defensively, a few pitchers have better support than Mays since the turn of the century:
Palmer +17.8
Brown  +15.4
Grove  +15
Gibosn +14.8
Plank  +14.3      


Going way back in time also gives you Nichols, Young, Bond, Caruthers, Clarkson, Keefe, McCormick, Mullane, and Radbourn with better defensive support.

Mays, by win shares, is on the cusp of my ballot. But after I take into account that he received the some of the best (if not the second best) run support in history, and that he had some of the best (surely top 10 20th c.) defensive support in history, enough air gets let out of his candidacy that I don't think he will ever make my ballot.
He was an excellent pitcher, I just think he had the most help of any pitcher in history.
YMMV.
   22. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: November 02, 2005 at 06:55 PM (#1716132)
From memory, . . . Don Newcombe, Al Spalding, Allie Reynolds, Vic Raschi, Juan Marichal, and maybe Chief Bender had better run support than Mays.

Per innings, Mays had the best defensive support of any pitcher in the last 90 according to my numbers.
   23. Daryn Posted: November 02, 2005 at 07:05 PM (#1716167)
On the other hand... I've been doing a little research in preparation for Sandy Koufax, comparing the ERA+ of his six best consecutive years against the six best consecutive years of other well-known pitchers.

Will I be the only one leaving Koufax off my ballot in 1972? Can someone tell me again why he is that much better than Dean and Joss?
   24. sunnyday2 Posted: November 02, 2005 at 07:07 PM (#1716174)
I'm not the guy to tell you how much better he is than Addie Joss, who has been on my ballot for years.

But even then, I do know this.

If Joss and Dean and Koufax have similar ERA, Koufax pitched a hell of a lot more innings *relative to his peers.* That is worth something.
   25. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 02, 2005 at 07:28 PM (#1716244)
I don't know that Koufax is going to be on my ballot or not.

I do prefer Koufax above the three mentioned by Marc and above Gomez (who is in the same neighborhood).
   26. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: November 02, 2005 at 08:01 PM (#1716316)
i will mos tlikely have Koufax in an elect me spot when he becomes eligible. Huge peak, low ERA's with tons of innings pitched for about six years.
   27. Mark Donelson Posted: November 02, 2005 at 08:04 PM (#1716321)
I'm with jschmeagol.
   28. Kelly in SD Posted: November 02, 2005 at 08:11 PM (#1716331)
Thanks for posting Chris.
I figured Reynolds, Raschi, and Bender were not going to be viable candidates so I never entered their info and I didn't get a chance to finish Newcombe.

Koufax will be on my ballot, but not at the top. Not a long enough career, but his great peak, 3 times best in league, 5 win shares all-star teams, 6 STATS all-stars are enough. Also, Koufax' peak was huge. He had 3 seasons with 30+ win shares. The only pitcher with more among post Lively-Ball pitchers was Feller with 4. The other pitchers with 3 are: Grove, Walters, Dean, and Roberts. His best 3-years total of 100 is topped only by Hubbell and Grove since the Lively-Ball era started.
He is Jennings as a pitcher, only with a more historic peak.
   29. Mark Donelson Posted: November 02, 2005 at 08:12 PM (#1716337)
Actually, come to think of it, with me he might not be in an elect-me spot, but I'd expect him high on the ballot, at least.

But you make a good point about Joss and Dean, Daryn. I may need to re-evaluate (again) my low standing for them.
   30. Dizzypaco Posted: November 02, 2005 at 08:24 PM (#1716350)
Koufax is probably underrated by win shares. First, Bill James did a study about 20 years back which showed that Koufax won more games than what would have been expected given his ERA, support, etc. He won virtually all the close games over a five year period.

Second, his record in the world series is pretty spectacular. Its hard to know what to do with world series performance, but shouldn't it count for something?

There are only a couple of pitchers in history with a peak like Koufax. Joss and Dean are not among them.
   31. Paul Wendt Posted: November 02, 2005 at 08:50 PM (#1716404)
Dr. Chaleeko #14
A while ago somewhere, Dr C. provided adjusted win shares for a dozen candidate pitchers in a similar table. If this is the same measure, Lemon (and Ferrell, less so) is stands out against these HOM also-rans (including Mays) for his prime quality. (I copied part of Dr C's previous table with preface or URL.)
   32. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 02, 2005 at 09:09 PM (#1716463)
That's correct, Paul, Lemon comes out as solidly in home territory as does Ferrell. In fact, what makes Lemon look so good is that he was pitching at a high level longer than a lot of pitchers with either big peaks (Ferrell) or long careers (pick one from the usual long career suspects).

Mays comes out as just outside the doors. Here's what I get for old Sub:

CM
--
31
25
23
21
20
20
19
18
15
9
9
6
5
5
1
==
228 total
79 best 3
121 best 5
203 best 10

I also push him back a bit for the puffing-up reasons mentioned above. That's good, but that does scream HOM to me. So he's HOVG.
   33. Chris Cobb Posted: November 02, 2005 at 10:32 PM (#1716635)
I know I risk opening the Koufax debate before its time, but I _will_ tie this back to Lemon.

Sunnyday2 wrote:

If Joss and Dean and Koufax have similar ERA, Koufax pitched a hell of a lot more innings *relative to his peers.* That is worth something.

This is surely true of Joss, but not of Dean, I believe. I haven't done the calculations for mean innings by a starting pitcher during Koufax's peak, but it is worth noting that during his last four years, Koufax did not actually throw the most innings of any active pitcher during that stretch. Here's the top five for 1963-6, the only pitchers to top 1100 IP for that stretch of time:

1218.7 Don Drysdale
1193 Juan Marichal
1192.7 Sandy Koufax
1137.7 Jim Bunning
1121.3 Bob Gibson

During the last four years of Dean's five-year peak (1933-6), here's a list of all the pitchers over 1100 IP in the majors:

1245 Dizzy Dean
1228.3 Carl Hubbell

Nobody else broke 1100. Dean's durability is, I think, more notable than Koufax's.

Now, Bob Lemon, 1950-53, led his league in IP 3 of 4 seasons, and was second in the other. Here's how he compares to the over-1100 IP crowd for this stretch:

1296 Robin Roberts
1159.3 Warren Spahn
1147.7 Bob Lemon

So Bob Lemon's durability is surely excellent, but he wasn't the most durable pitcher of his time. Sandy Koufax's durability is excellent, somewhat better perhaps than Bob Lemon's, but he wasn't the most durable pitcher of his time. His peak in terms of IP is great but not a historical outlier. If his peak is historic, and I'm not arguing one way or the other about that, it must be historic in terms of his combination of quality and quantity.

Bob Lemon's case rests less on the greatness of his peak than on the overall strength of his prime, as others have said.
   34. Daryn Posted: November 02, 2005 at 11:09 PM (#1716711)
1218.7 Don Drysdale
1193 Juan Marichal
1192.7 Sandy Koufax


How can you vote for a guy who wasn't even the number 1 starter on his team in his peak? ;)
   35. Daryn Posted: November 02, 2005 at 11:16 PM (#1716725)
First, Bill James did a study about 20 years back which showed that Koufax won more games than what would have been expected given his ERA, support, etc. He won virtually all the close games over a five year period.

Sorry to continue to highjack Lemon -- and on a topic that we won't have to deal with for four months, but I remember that article, or a similar one (I thought it was in the original Historical Abstract -- I can visualize the type with the multiple narrow columns per page). It was about Koufax and Drysdale and their records in 1-0, 2-1 type games. What I don't remember was the conclusion -- I think it concluded that they were both spectacular in the low scoring games, or maybe even that Drysdale was better, but I just can't remember. Anyone remember or have it handy?

The stat that stuck out for me was that one of them was something like 15 and 2 over a certain period when his team scored 2 runs or less. Or something like that.
   36. DavidFoss Posted: November 02, 2005 at 11:25 PM (#1716751)
Retrosheet has all of Koufax's peak in full PBP now. We can easily check this all.

There was a *lot* of Drysdale analysis in the "Politics of Glory"/"Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame" book (I hate it when the book changes its title when it goes to paperback -- this is the only incident of this that I can recall.

It was a lot of Drysdale/Koufax, Drysdale/Pappas, etc. Basically, based on W/L record, Drysdale is in a group of borderline candidates (Blue, Hunter, Pappas, Tiant, Welch, etc) and he did a lot of analysis of his performance in pennant races and close games, etc. Drysdale has a couple of near-.500 seasons near his peak that begged for game-by-game analysis. Actually, I think he credited a young Rob Neyer as having done the grunt work on most of that.
   37. Daryn Posted: November 02, 2005 at 11:27 PM (#1716758)
I have Politics of Glory too, so that might be it.
   38. Dizzypaco Posted: November 02, 2005 at 11:35 PM (#1716774)
It was Koufax who was so spectacular. The James quote was something like, "So Drysdale couldn't keep up [with Koufax]. Well who could? How many pitchers can win 80% of the time given five runs to work with, let along two?"

You may be right - it was either in the original Historical Abstract or the Politics of Glory.
   39. Kelly in SD Posted: November 02, 2005 at 11:40 PM (#1716790)
Drysdale and Koufax from the Original Historical Abstract. The numbers are for 1963 and 1964.
Offensive  Drysdale        Koufax
Support     W   L   Pct.    W   L  Pct. 
O runs      0   7   .000    0   3   .000 (not listed, but I think is right)  
1 run       1   8   .111    3   1   .750
2 runs      3   6   .333    6   3   .666
3 runs      4   6   .400    9   0  1.000
4 runs      7   5   .583    8   2   .800
5 runs      8   0  1.000   18   1   .947 (all games w/ 5 or more)
6 runs      4   1   .800
7 runs      3   0  1.000
8 runs      1   0  1.000
9 runs      3   0  1.000
10+         4   0  1.000
totals:    37  33   .529   44  10   .815

There is an extra win in there for Drysdale. I assume in the 5+ area.
James concluded Drysdale was average and Koufax was on another planet.

I have both Historical Abstracts and the Politics of Glory so I'll have plenty to post about Drysdale when the time comes.
   40. Kelly in SD Posted: November 02, 2005 at 11:42 PM (#1716795)
Stupid formatting.
Totals for each player:

Drysdale was 37 - 33 .529 and
Koufax was 44 - 10 .815.
   41. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 02, 2005 at 11:42 PM (#1716796)
I think it's worth opening up this question of innings and ERAs and whatnot a little further.

How many peak seasons are enough to get a peak-only hitter into the HOM? We've drawn that line at five with Hughie Jennings. But the peak's gotta be huge.

How many peak seasons are enough to get a peak-only pitcher into the HOM? We've drawn that line at seven with Ed Walsh. Caruthers could be seen as six, but he's got extenuating circumstances (batting). But it does seem that you've got to have a really big peak.

Which peak-only pitchers have we denied, and how many peak years do they have? I'm going to call a peak season anything above 120 ERA+ in more than 100 innings.
Joss 8
Waddell 8
Ferrell 7
Gomez 7
M Cooper 5
Wood 5
Parnell 5
Dean 4
King 4
Bond 4
Chesbro 4
Ferguson 3

Koufax has 6 peak years.

Lemon has five such seasons and a lot of surrounding years in the 110s.

It's kind of an interesting group and a very easy-going definition of peak drives up the number of seasons included for each. What amazes me the most is that Mr. Peak, Dizzy Dean only has those four seasons, no better than Chesbro.

As for Waddell topping the list, well, his supporters will take heart from it, but I personally have too many questions about him. Joss is tougher for me to handle. WS hates him, so maybe I should look more closely at WARP. Is he really that bad? He's the anti-Grimes, whom WS lovvvvves, but WARP loathes.
   42. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 02, 2005 at 11:46 PM (#1716808)
By the way, I'm sorry to have used the S-word (Sandy) in the first place in post #20. I wasn't trying to turn this into a Koufax thread, but I forgot how easily we all end up falling into it.
   43. Kelly in SD Posted: November 02, 2005 at 11:50 PM (#1716818)
I have some research on Joss that I can post tonight. I got involved in the HoM because I was wondering why he didn't get much support from the elctorate. This was back in the 1920s.
Roughly, he seemed to have difficulty staying healthy in season. I catalogued all his games from Retrosheet. There was usually one period a year when he would start 1 time in 3 weeks (for example) and other stretches where he wasn't used regularly. Also, I seem to remember him pithcing against good/first division teams a lot, but I am not sure. Plus, the Indians/Naps got shut out a lot. I'll post more later: run support, record against teams and finishing position, record against various starters.
   44. DavidFoss Posted: November 02, 2005 at 11:59 PM (#1716847)
Stupid formatting.
Totals for each player


If you make the IE window wide enough, a lot of the weird pre-tag issues go away.
   45. ronw Posted: November 03, 2005 at 12:00 AM (#1716852)
Chesbro 4
Ferguson 3

Koufax has 6 peak years.

Lemon has five such seasons and a lot of surrounding years in the 110s.

It's kind of an interesting group and a very easy-going definition of peak drives up the number of seasons included for each. What amazes me the most is that Mr. Peak, Dizzy Dean only has those four seasons, no better than Chesbro.


Hall of Famer Happy Jack Chesbro writes:

I heard my name, did I win?
   46. Paul Wendt Posted: November 03, 2005 at 01:50 AM (#1717019)
Dr. Chaleeko : November 02, 2005 at 06:42 PM (#1716796)
How many peak seasons are enough to get a peak-only hitter into the HOM?
We've drawn that line at five with Hughie Jennings. But the peak's gotta be huge.

How many peak seasons are enough to get a peak-only pitcher into the HOM?
We've drawn that line at seven with Ed Walsh.


Dazzy Vance, 4
   47. Kelly in SD Posted: November 03, 2005 at 08:20 AM (#1717326)
Some random Joss info:

Joss went 160-97 for a winning percentage of .623. When he didn't get a decision, the Indians had a winning percentage of .509. If Joss won at the same clip he would have been 131-126.

Info from various years:
1902:
Joss went 17-12. Team went 69-67 overall. W/o Joss, team was 52-55.
Joss was 7-12 against teams .500 or better and 10-0 against sub-.500.
During the year, he had a 9 game break when he didn't start: 5/12 to 5/24 and a 16 game break: 8/1 to 8/21.
The combined record of the pitchers that he beat, counting a pitcher's record as many times as he faced Joss, was 201-191 or .513.
The record of pitchers to whom he lost was 211-116 or .645. He lost to Cy Young 2 times (32-11), Waddell (25-7), Griffith (15-8), Donahue 2 times (22-11). Average record of the pitchers who beat him was 17.6-9.7.

1903:
Joss went 18-13. Team went 77-63 overall. W/o Joss, team was 59-50.
Joss was 7-6 against teams .500 or better and 11-7 against sub-.500.
During the year, he started on 3 days rest or less in every start, but 2. Then he was shut down at the end of August. He started no games after Aug 30. Joss was on a roll, going 7-1 in Aug.
The combined record of the pitchers that he beat, counting a pitcher's record as many times as he faced Joss, was 219-262 or .455.
The record of pitchers to whom he lost was 206-165 or.555.
Run Support: in wins - 93 / in losses 37.
ShutOuts: He threw 3 and Indians were never shut out in his starts.

1904:
Joss went 14-9 (team 15-9 in his starts). Team went 86-65 overall. W/o Joss, team was 71-56.
Joss was 6-7 against teams .500 or better and 9-2 against sub.500.
During the year, he had 2 significant gaps in play. First, 30 games / 41 days from May 7 to June 18. Second, 12 games / 13 days from Aug 12 to Aug 26. He was worked on 3 games rest from the first to second gap and with at least 4 games rest after the second gap. He went 7-3 after the second gap.
The combined record of the pitchers that he beat, counting a pitcher's record as many times as he faced Joss, was 219-253 or .464. The record is over .500 if you throw out his two starts against Townsend of WAS who was 5-26.
The record of pitchers to whom he lost was 169-120 or .585.
Run Support: in 15 wins - 97 / in 9 losses - 21.
ShutOuts: He threw 5 and Indians were shut out 4 times. He lost 3 games 1-0.

1905:
Joss went 20-12 (team 21-11 in his starts). Team went 76-78 overall. W/o Joss, team was 55-67.
Joss was 8-9 against teams .500 or better and 13-2 against sub.500.
During the year, he had 1 significant gap in play. First, 20 games / 22 days from July 19 to August 11. Also, he skipped a start in early July.
The combined record of the pitchers that he beat, counting a pitcher's record as many times as he faced Joss, was 303-318 or .488.
The record of pitchers to whom he lost was 223-137 or .619.
Run Support: in 21 wins - 97 / in 11 losses - 23.
ShutOuts: He threw 3 and Indians were shut out 2 times. He went 2-0 in 1-0 games.

1906:
Joss went 21-9 (team 22-8 in his starts). Team went 89-64 overall. W/o Joss, team was 67-56.
Joss was 12-5 against teams .500 or better and 10-3 against sub.500.
During the year, he had 1 significant gap in play. First, 20 games / 21 days from August 14 to September 5. Also, he skipped a start in early July and 1 or 2 between July 24 and Aug 6.
The combined record of the pitchers that he beat, counting a pitcher's record as many times as he faced Joss, was 304-300 or .503.
The record of pitchers to whom he lost was 111-110 or .502.
Run Support: in 22 wins - 110 / in 8 losses - 12.
ShutOuts: He threw 9 and Indians were shut out 2 times. He went 1-0 in 1-0 games.

1907:
Joss went 27-11 (team 26-11 (1 tie) in his starts). Team went 85-67 overall. W/o Joss starting, team was 59-56.
Joss was 10-8 against teams .500 or better and 16-3 against sub.500.
During the year, he was very durable, making 38 starts.
The combined record of the pitchers that he beat, counting a pitcher's record as many times as he faced Joss, was 333-323 or .508.
The record of pitchers to whom he lost was 183-136 or .573.
Run Support: in 26 wins - 107 / in 11 losses - 22.
ShutOuts: He threw 6 and Indians were shut out 4 times.
He started out 9-0 and went 6-2 in September.

1908:
Joss went 24-11 (team 23-12 in his starts). Team went 90-64 overall. W/o Joss starting, team was 67-52.
Joss was 11-6 against teams .500 or better and 12-6 against sub.500.
During the year, he was very durable, making 35 starts and only skipping 1 or 2 starts in July.
The combined record of the pitchers that he beat, counting a pitcher's record as many times as he faced Joss, was 324-328 or .496.
The record of pitchers to whom he lost was 182-118 or .607.
Run Support: in 23 wins - 91 / in 12 losses - 15.
ShutOuts: He threw 9 and Indians were shut out 4 times. He went 3-1 in 1-0 games.
He started out 8-2 and went 8-1 in September/October.
   48. Kelly in SD Posted: November 03, 2005 at 08:21 AM (#1717327)
1909:
Joss went 14-13 (team 14-13 in his starts). Team went 71-82 overall. W/o Joss starting, team was 57-69.
Joss was 8-8 against teams .500 or better and 6-5 against sub.500.
During the year, it seemed like the Indians used a 5 man rotation and Joss skipped a start or two early in the year and 1 or 2 in September. He was off at the end of the year, finishing 2-9 after a 12-4 start.
The combined record of the pitchers that he beat, counting a pitcher's record as many times as he faced Joss, was 159-115 or .580.
The record of pitchers to whom he lost was 174-157 or .607.
Run Support: in 14 wins - 53 / in 13 losses - 23. In the season ending 2-9 streak, the Indians scored 19 runs in 11 games, while the opponents scored 35.
ShutOuts: He threw 4 and Indians were shut out 5 times. He went 2-2 in 1-0 games.

1910:
Joss went 5-5 (team 5-5 in his starts). Team went 71-81 overall. W/o Joss starting, team was 66-76.
Joss was 2-3 against teams .500 or better and 3-2 against sub.500.
During the year, he skipped a few starts at the start of the year, made no starts from June 10 to July 11. Made one more start July 25 and the career was over.
The combined record of the pitchers that he beat, counting a pitcher's record as many times as he faced Joss, was 65-54 or .546.
The record of pitchers to whom he lost was 84-71 or .542.
Run Support: in 5 wins - 19 / in 5 losses - 7.
ShutOuts: He threw 1 and Indians were shut out 2 times. He went 1-1 in 1-0 games.

Some totals:
Liked cold weather:
April: 14-7
May: 34-13
June: 29-16
July: 29-22
August: 21-20
September/October: 33-17

Only had a losing record against first place teams:
1st: 19-23
2nd: 17-16
3rd: 18-12
4th: 14-10
5th: 14-10
6th: 22-3
7th: 27-12
8th: 30-8

Against .500 teams: 71-64
Against sub.500 teams: 90-30

Against various teams:
New York: 28-9
St. Louis: 28-11
Washington: 24-10
Detroit: 23-12
Boston: 24-16
Chicago: 22-15
Philadelphia: 12-21

Cumulative Record of Pitchers he defeated: .498
Cumulative Record of Pitchers he lost to: .577

In Shutouts, he won 40 lost 23 (not including 1902, I can't find the numbers).

Against various pitchers:
Walter Johnson: 1 - 3. The 3 losses were all 1-0 games
Cy Young: 8-4.
Eddie Plank: 2-3
Ed Walsh: 7-6
Rube Waddell: 2-7
Chief Bender: 3-2
Jack Che**bro: 4-4

Ok that is a lot info. I don't know if the info will change anyone's mind. It seems to me that Joss would have been more successful in the 1970s or later. He could have been in a 5 man rotation. It seems like he could not take the stresses of a 3 or 4 man rotation. Also, there are more games in April now and he liked the colder weather.

Summary of the gaps:
1902: 16 games, 9 games
1903: No games after Aug 30.
1904: 30 games, 12 games
1905: 20 games
1906: 20 games
1907:
1908:
1909: 4.5 or 5 man rotation
1910: one month gap, 2 week gap
   49. sunnyday2 Posted: November 03, 2005 at 01:24 PM (#1717370)
Kelly, in summary, the gaps in his first couple of years seem to be related to being given too little rest. You don't say how much rest he got after that, other than the year they went to a 5-man rotation. Is it your conclusion that his lack of in-season durability was NOT generally (after the first two years) related to his usage pattern?

And it seems like his run support in his losses was pretty bad, and that continued throughout his career. ('Course, this is probably true of every pitcher in those days when there were a few very dominant teams and pitchers.)
   50. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 03, 2005 at 02:03 PM (#1717380)
A few things on Koufax, Dean and Joss . . .

Translated IP:

Koufax 2231
Dean 1874
Joss 1873

In the context of his time, Koufax pitched many more innings, about 1.75 seasons worth, which is very important when discussing short career, high peak pitchers.

Regarding Koufax's IP rank from 1963-66, he comes up short due to his injury shortened 1964. The baseline for translated IP is the top 5 in the league average 275 IP, so you could say a pitcher throwing 275 translated innings is about 3rd in the league. Koufax has 281, 301 and 296 in 1963, 1965 and 1966. At his peak, he was pitching as much as anyone in the game.

Defensive support (remember higher number = better D behind the pitcher):

Koufax +.06
Joss +.18
Dean .00

Dean had 5 years of 275+ translated IP (actually 274.3 in 1933, close enough). Joss had 258 twice and was in the 230's 3 times. He pitched much less than the others, and he wasn't as good.

Koufax was better than others, quality wise. He threw more innings, relative to his peers than they did.

IMO opinion, he's way, way ahead of Dean, and light-years ahead of Joss. I'm a career guy, but unless he comes on with a couple of kick the doors in guys, he's going to be very high on my ballot.

I think the better comparison is Koufax to Newhouser.

Translated IP

Newhouser: 2995
Koufax: 2231

That's 3 full seasons.

Defense:

Newhouser +.01
Koufax +.06

ERA measures:

Newhouser: 3.62 DERA, ERA+ 130, 3.04 translated ERA
Koufax: 3.55 DERA, ERA+ 131, 2.79 translated ERA

Peak

Newhouser's 1944-46 is every bit as impressive as Koufax's 1963, 65-66.

So to me, Newhouser was a surprisingly easy #1 in a not great year. Koufax is behind him, clearly, because of the shorter career, the only question is how much does he drop for 3 fewer years, as basically the same quality pitcher?
   51. BDC Posted: November 03, 2005 at 02:34 PM (#1717393)
Just as another piece of info, Koufax won three major-league Cy Young Awards, and would have been a contender for a single-league Cy Young Award in 1964, though he probably would have lost that to Larry Jackson.

Dean probably would have won two single-league Cy Youngs, in 1934 and '35.

Lemon might have won three single-league Cy Youngs, in '48, '50, and '54; at least; he was the top-ranked pitcher in the MVP voting each of those years.

Joss might have won a single Cy Young Award in 1907, if there had been such a thing, though I think that Ed Walsh would have beaten him.

This is pretty trivial stuff, perhaps, but it puts Lemon's best years in a good light.
   52. Chris Cobb Posted: November 03, 2005 at 03:00 PM (#1717412)
This is pretty trivial stuff, perhaps, but it puts Lemon's best years in a good light.

Well, it's not all that trivial to recognize that Lemon was probably the best pitcher in the American League during his peak. That's not something I would have thought prior to our beginning to study him. When I saw him coming up on the eligibles lists, I thought he would be very much a borderline case in my rankings, but he isn't.

That assessment must be qualified by the fact that the two best pitchers in the majors were in the NL at that time -- Roberts and Spahn -- and by the fact that it's not as high as the peaks of Newhouser and Feller immediately preceding, but it still shows that Lemon has a peak that is suitable for a HoMer, even if it wouldn't be enough all by itself for him to be elected.
   53. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: November 03, 2005 at 05:06 PM (#1717572)
John,

You need to remember that Newhouser's '44 and '45 were against war depleted competition. Sure he was very good after that (though only great in 1946) but some deduction needs to be done there.
   54. Paul Wendt Posted: November 03, 2005 at 05:13 PM (#1717584)
KellySD #48:
In Shutouts, he won 40 lost 23 (not including 1902, I can't find the numbers).

1902 Cleveland game log

Bob Dernier Cri #51
Joss might have won a single Cy Young Award in 1907, if there had been such a thing, though I think that Ed Walsh would have beaten him.

Cy Young Award, hypothetical winners 1900-1919

Among the selectors, only Bill Deane (for Total Baseball 1) "felt a certain responsibility to make my selections consistent with the perceptions and voting trends of a particular era. . . . they are the ones which can be best justified with the available evidence." He gives the nod to Walsh in 1907.
   55. Kelly in SD Posted: November 03, 2005 at 05:50 PM (#1717629)
Re Joss:

In 1905, from the start of the season until July, he pitched on 3 games rest. After the 20 game blank period, he pitched consistently on 4 games rest.
Some of this change is due to rainouts and thin scheduling at the start of the year and doubleheaders/make up games at the end of the year. At the start of the year, he was getting 4 to 8 days off with rainouts and scheduling. After coming back from the 20 games off, he consistently got 3 to 5 days off.

In 1906, he worked on 2 or 3 games rest from the start of the year until the end of July when he missed 1 or 2 starts and then being shut down for 20 games in August. With rainouts and scheduling, he was getting 2 to 6 days off between starts the whole year, with it usually being 3 to 5 days.

In 1907, he worked every 2 to 4 games/3 to 5 days and didn't miss a start.

In 1908, same as 1907 except for skipping a couple of starts in July.

In 1909, I need to make a correction. He skips a start a couple of times from April through mid-June, but starts every 4 to 7 days. From mid-June through the start of August, he starts every 4 days. It looks like this is too much for him, because starting with his July 17 start, he will lose 9 of last 11 starts. Also, his starts begin to have more space between them:
July 17 - L
July 22 - L
July 27 - L
July 31 - W
Aug 4 - L
Aug 11 - L
Aug 17 - W
Aug 28 - L
Sep 07 - L
Sep 13 - L
Sep 25 - L

On the injury front, I found the following in the Biographical Encyclopedia Baseball:
1903: Joss misses the last month of the season with a fever. Doesn't say what the fever was from.
1904: Joss has malaria at some point.
1905: Joss hurts his back.
1910: Joss has sore arm throughout year and is shut down.
I don't have any other info about any of the gaps in 1902, 1906, or 1909.

I found his minor league record in Daguerrotypes:
This is with Toledo.
Year G   IP   W   L   PCT   H    RA   K    BB  CG  Sho
1900 49  xxx  19  16  .543  234  124  168  53  xx  3
1901 41  353  25  15  .625  273  162  217  69  37  4 


Enjoy, and now back to your regularly scheduled thread.
   56. Kelly in SD Posted: November 03, 2005 at 05:53 PM (#1717633)
Regarding 1902, I meant I could not find my numbers in my files and it was too late to go looking at Retrosheet. Thank you for the link.
   57. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 03, 2005 at 07:59 PM (#1717887)
John,

You need to remember that Newhouser's '44 and '45 were against war depleted competition.


I think you mean Joe, Mark.

BTW, I'm back. :-)
   58. EricC Posted: November 04, 2005 at 02:29 AM (#1718434)
I expect a split vote on Lemon. 207-128 with 7 20-win seasons is impressive, and he does well in several comprehensive systems, but a career 119 ERA+ with 2850 IP does not automatically qualify a pitcher for the HoM for those of us who base our ratings on ERA+. Furthermore, the AL was relatively weak during this time. The top 10 most-similar pitchers by similarity scores (though such lists have to be used with extreme caution) includes only one HoF pitcher. My personal similarity scores show that those with similar career ERA+ patterns are generally not HoMers. For example, the most similar pitcher in my list is Urban Shocker, 187-117 with a 124 ERA+ in 2682 IP in a relatively strong league. Now it may be that Lemon's bat makes a difference. Although it is unlikely to make enough of a difference to push him onto my ballot, I am willing to carefully study the value of his hitting if he ends up as a recurring top-10 candidate. In the meantime, Spahn, Roberts, Wynn, and Pierce among his contemporaries end up above the in/out line in my system and Lemon falls below.
   59. sunnyday2 Posted: November 04, 2005 at 03:29 AM (#1718468)
I like Sal Maglie better than Bob Lemon. His ERA+ is substantially better and if you make reasonable allowances for #### happening, he has more career innings (at least MLE innings). Neither will be on my ballot.
   60. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: November 04, 2005 at 03:57 AM (#1718484)
Sorry John.

For some reason when I read your names I tend to read the other one at times. my bad.
   61. karlmagnus Posted: November 04, 2005 at 04:08 AM (#1718490)
Cicotte had 6 peak years, which puts him equal to Koufax.

I don't approve of this normalization of IP according to era, knocking Joss down below Dean and well below Koufax. For one thing, Joss spent the second half of his career dead, which should get him equivalent credit to playing in the Mexican League. Even without that, pitchers in Joss's era burnt out much more quickly than 50 years later, although their total of IP was similar. By debiting Joss for pitching in a high IP/annum era, without crediting him for pitching 3/4 of a normal career instead of say 1/2, as he'd have had 50 years later, you're double counting.

Joss's 6 year peak is the highest we haven't elected, and higher than many we have. To me, he's a very serious candidate indeed, in my PHOM the year I rediscovered him, about 1950. Others who vote for Koufax or Robinson at the top of their ballot should think hard about whether they're applying double standards here.
   62. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 04, 2005 at 04:23 AM (#1718495)
jschmeagol - I know Newhouser needs to be deducted for the war in 1944-45. I still say his peak was equivalent to Koufax's, though I should have made that clear in my post.

Karl - Joss wasn't pitching as much as the top pitchers of his era, and he had a short career, even compared to his peers whose careers were short. Also, realizing this wasn't the main jist of your post, but still commenting . . . you don't get an allowance for being dead in my book - unless you are killed in a war and there was a substantial career before that.

EricC - Tack on a 20-11 season for Shocker and give him a higher peak and a better bat (which is what Lemon is) and I think he'd be a very serious candidate.
   63. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 04, 2005 at 04:28 AM (#1718498)
you don't get an allowance for being dead in my book.

As Bill James framed it, dying should be viewed the same way we view injuries. Yes, it's the ultimate injury, but them's the breaks.
   64. sunnyday2 Posted: November 04, 2005 at 04:44 AM (#1718504)
I agree with John...yet, as a peak voter, Joss is on my ballot, has been for years. Lemon won't be. I don't think there is any comparison of their pitching. Joss was just flat out better.
   65. Brent Posted: November 04, 2005 at 05:39 AM (#1718537)
Because pitching conditions and standards have shifted throughout history, I think it is especially useful to compare pitching candidates to their contemporaries. Comparing Lemon to other pitchers whose careers were centered in the 1940s or 50s, he comes out pretty well--I see him as number 6 or 7. The top 5 are Spahn, Feller, Roberts, Newhouser, and Ford, probably in that order. Numbers 6 and 7 are Lemon and Wynn, with their order depending on how you value peak and career. I'd probably round out the top 10 with Walters, Newcombe, and Pierce.

Is being the number 6 or 7 pitcher over a two-decade period good enough for the HoM? Yes, it should be. We've elected 8 pitchers with careers centered in the 1880s and 90s, 9 pitchers from the 00s and 10s, and 11 pitchers from the 20s and 30s. As we dip into the backlog over the next few years, it's also likely that we will elect 3 more pitchers from the 20s and 30s (Ferrell, Ruffing, and Rixey) and 1 or 2 more from 80s and 90s (Griffith and/or Welch). The HoM would be out of balance if we didn't make it as far as the number 6 and 7 pitchers from the 40s and 50s.

So I see Lemon as a HoMer. However, I think Ferrell deserves to go in first.
   66. Chris Cobb Posted: November 04, 2005 at 05:59 AM (#1718544)
Lemon won't be. I don't think there is any comparison of their pitching. Joss was just flat out better.

For a given inning, yes, Joss was better. But that's only one point in considering their merits as players.

Joss does great on ERA+, but, as others have said, his IP were not outstanding for his era.
Lemon is less good on ERA+, but his IP were outstanding for his era.

Joss was a poor hitting pitcher.
Lemon was a great hitting pitcher.

Joss was good with the glove.
Lemon was great with the glove.

When you take these other points into account, and consider context, and consider career, well, I like Lemon.

He does beat Joss in both black and gray ink, so if you think his numbers aren't that impressive, they stood out in his time.
   67. Brent Posted: November 04, 2005 at 06:16 AM (#1718555)
In # 11 TomH wrote:

Since this uses WARP1, there is no timeline difference.

Not quite accurate -- there actually is a timeline factor involved in the calculation of WARP1. Quoting the definition of PRAR from the BP Web site:

Pitcher-only runs above replacement. Similar to PRAA, except that the comparison is made to a replacement level player instead of average. The nominal RA for a replacement pitcher is 6.11 (the same ratio, compared to a 4.50 average, as a .230 EQA is to .260). This assumes that there is a 50/50 split between pitching and fielding. If the pitch/field split is less than that, as it was in the 1800s, the replacement ERA is reduced.

If I'm interpreting this correctly, that means that the folks at BP are assuming that the replacement level for pitchers has been dropping over time as pitching became more important and fielding less important. (The assumption doesn't seem particularly plausible to me, but I believe that's what they're saying.) If you compare two pitchers with simiilar DERA and innings pitched, you'll find that the pitchers from more recent decades are credited with higher PRAR and WARP1, even without the era adjustments going from WARP1 to WARP3. I believe this is part of the reason that the standards for WARP1 tend to be fairly stable over time, unlike pitching Win Shares, where the standards for top pitcher seasons fall from decade to decade.
   68. jingoist Posted: November 04, 2005 at 06:43 AM (#1718571)
Joss versus Lemon: consdiering the foregoing discussion shouldn't the electorate reconsider the candidacy of Joss, especially in light of the fact that only 2 voters placed him in their top 15 slots with a 7th and 11th place position?
I agree Lemon was more dominant than Joss during their respectives eras but both deserve strong consideration.
   69. Chris Cobb Posted: November 04, 2005 at 08:26 PM (#1719260)
shouldn't the electorate reconsider the candidacy of Joss?

Looks like we are.

If we're going to put more 1900's pitchers into the HoM, however, the first in line is Rube Waddell, and then we have to debate the merits of Joss vs. Willis.
   70. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 04, 2005 at 09:06 PM (#1719331)
And while we're comparing people to Urban Shocker, we'd haul Wilbur Cooper back out of mothballs too.
   71. sunnyday2 Posted: November 04, 2005 at 09:10 PM (#1719344)
Chris, right you are. Of course for me it's more like:

1. Bond
2. Waddell
(3. Mendez)
4. Joss
(5. Redding)

I got nuthin' against Willis or Wilbur or about 15 other guys. Rixey and Griffith and Dean would for sure come between the Cannonbill and the Wi's.
   72. karlmagnus Posted: November 04, 2005 at 09:17 PM (#1719357)
Waddell's W/L record was mediocre, in spite of playing for championship teams, and his ERA was artificially suppressed by a very high unearned run level, due to him being a flake. The ONLY thing anyone's come up with against Joss is relatively low IP/year (but more than later pitchers); his W/L, ERA+ etc. are all great, and his prime was superb. As for Lemon, he's on my ballot but at the bottom of it -- not as good as Welch, Cicotte, Joss or Leever, and much shortercareer than Rixey (for whom Willis is a close comp, but not as good).
   73. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 04, 2005 at 09:19 PM (#1719360)
I've got it

Mendez
Cooper
Redding
Waddell
Bond
Joss
Griffith

And maybe Grimes is in there. I just don't know what to do with him.
   74. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 04, 2005 at 09:44 PM (#1719382)
The ONLY thing anyone's come up with against Joss is relatively low IP/year (but more than later pitchers);

Only because it was easier to do, karlmagnus.
   75. karlmagnus Posted: November 04, 2005 at 11:36 PM (#1719509)
On the other hand, it was easier for later pitchers to stay alive. Seems like swings and roundabouts to me!
   76. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 05, 2005 at 03:57 AM (#1719677)
On the other hand, it was easier for later pitchers to stay alive. Seems like swings and roundabouts to me!

:-)
   77. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 05, 2005 at 04:48 AM (#1719731)
Leever? Karl, you really think that Leever was better than Lemon? C'mon Karl! :-)

Slow type thing, I think it's the formatting in Kelly's post back in the 50s, but that's just a guess.
   78. KJOK Posted: November 05, 2005 at 06:55 AM (#1719776)
It's probably too early to be debating Koufax, but I don't think his "peak" is the issue. His issue is:

1. Nothing after 1966.
2. 1955-1960 he was particularly good.

He's ahead on peak, but loses ground to pitchers like Lemon once you start comparing their 7th best seasons, 8th best, etc.
   79. KJOK Posted: November 05, 2005 at 06:55 AM (#1719777)
1955-1960 he was't particularly good.
   80. KJOK Posted: November 05, 2005 at 06:56 AM (#1719778)
1955-1960 he WAS NOT particularly good.
   81. sunnyday2 Posted: November 08, 2005 at 03:44 PM (#1723336)
Hopefully somebody will remember this as the start of the Sandy Koufax thread someday.

This just in. Dean Chance says:

"You can talk all you want about all these other pitchers, Roger Clemens, guys like that. The only one was Koufax. He was so much better than anybody else, it’s unbelievable."
   82. TomH Posted: November 08, 2005 at 05:13 PM (#1723480)
I appreciate getting the scoop from 'guys who were there'. However.....

1. How often did Chance (AL only career, no World Series play) see Sandy pitch?
2. There is a strong tendency for many to be biased toward the guys they saw in their day.
3. MLB players have often been myopic when choosing their own 'best players'. Bill James pointed this out in one of his Abstracts, how the players' choices for best player, when different than media picks, would often focus even more on scoreboard stats, and ignore park effects and total value. Last week's choice of Andruw Jones as the Player Choice winner is a good example - whoever leads in RBI is the best player, why debate the fact that being below the MLB norms in such basic things as batting avg and on-base percentage might be a legitimate argument that he might not be the Best Player in the Major Leagues!?!?

Sandy was an outstanding pitcher, who sadly I never saw pitch because he had to quit when I was 5 years old. I look forward to discussing his merits in a few months.
   83. DavidFoss Posted: November 08, 2005 at 05:32 PM (#1723518)
Well, Dean Chance is the answer to the trivia question "When Koufax won three Cy Young awards in four years -- who won the fourth?"

The Angels and Dodgers did share a home park from 1962-65. Maybe the locker rooms were close or he saw the occasional game on an off-day. Probably the occasional early april exhibition in there, too.

But, yeah. An AL pitcher is hardly a good judge for Koufax. :-)
   84. Daryn Posted: November 08, 2005 at 07:00 PM (#1723754)
Between 1997 and 2003, many players would have said that about Pedro. I know, to my untrained eye, he seemed to be a level apart from Randy, Clemens, Maddux etc. But if he retired after those 7 phenomenal years, I don't think there would have been a lot of people clamoring to put him in the Hall (of Fame). I might be wrong about that, certainly a lot of our peak friendly voters would place that career at the top of their ballots.

Incidentally, his record at that time was 166-67, a significant bit better than Sandy's career W-L record, with an ERA+ 35 points higher.
   85. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: November 08, 2005 at 11:48 PM (#1724401)
I have always thought that it was easier to put up a high ERA+ in a high run environment, esepcially when you are striking a ton of guys out. It seems much more possible to have a 4.75 league ERA than a 3.50 ERA, no matter what the run environment. However, that probably doesn't hold up to scrutiny.
   86. yest Posted: November 09, 2005 at 12:07 AM (#1724430)
I always thought that also
   87. OCF Posted: November 09, 2005 at 02:47 AM (#1724572)
I have always thought that it was easier to put up a high ERA+ in a high run environment...

I beg to differ. Here's a cheap study using bbref seasonal leader lists. For each league in two sets of years, I looked for the third highest ERA+. (Looking at the 3rd highest leaves out the best outlier years of Grove, Mathewson, et al.)

I checked two sets of years (both leagues): 1904-1909, which was a low-scoring time, and 1930-1936, which was a high-scoring time.

The 1904-1909 third best ERA+, sorted:

179, 178, 163, 159, 158, 151, 149, 148, 146, 144, 142, 137; mean = 154.

The 1930-1935 third best ERA+, sorted:

159, 148, 141, 138, 137, 137, 135, 135, 134, 134, 133, 130, 130, 124; mean = 137.

It sure looks to me like it's easier to have a high ERA+ in low scoring times.

In the 1990's there's an extra confounding factor, which is that it's easier to have a high ERA+ in 200 or 220 IP than in 275 or 325 IP. Note that that factor cannot explain the 1900's - 1930's data, because it was the 1900's pitchers who had more IP.
   88. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: November 09, 2005 at 06:08 AM (#1724667)
Interesting about IP totals, I always wondered how some modern pitchers threw up some huge ERA+ totals.

OCF,
What does first place look like?
   89. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 09, 2005 at 07:24 AM (#1724700)
"Between 1997 and 2003, many players would have said that about Pedro. I know, to my untrained eye, he seemed to be a level apart from Randy, Clemens, Maddux etc. But if he retired after those 7 phenomenal years, I don't think there would have been a lot of people clamoring to put him in the Hall (of Fame). I might be wrong about that, certainly a lot of our peak friendly voters would place that career at the top of their ballots.

Incidentally, his record at that time was 166-67, a significant bit better than Sandy's career W-L record, with an ERA+ 35 points higher."

Daryn, I agree on everything but the part about people not clamoring to put Pedro in the Hall. I'm guessing if retired after 2003, he's a first ballot Hall of Famer, quite easily.

Also, it's easier to put up a higher ERA+ in a high offense era, than in the 1960s. Koufax's ERA could only go so low. I'm not saying that explains 35 points, but it's part of it.
   90. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 09, 2005 at 07:29 AM (#1724704)
OCF, I posted before I read your study, but I don't buy it. There could be a lot more going on there - such as distribution of great pitchers at the time, etc..

That is an interesting list though - I just wonder if the difference between the best and worst pitchers was higher in 1905 than in 1935.
   91. OCF Posted: November 09, 2005 at 07:36 AM (#1724710)
Also, it's easier to put up a higher ERA+ in a high offense era, than in the 1960s.

Uh, Joe, welcome to this conversation. To answer jschmeagol's question, but with the first place totals, let's redo post #87. (Typo fix from #87: that was 1930-1936; I didn't stop at 1935.)

The 1904-1909 top ERA+ (each league), sorted:

253, 230, 222, 216, 205, 179, 169, 168, 167, 165, 149, 149; mean = 189.

The 1930-1936 top ERA+ (each league), sorted:

219, 193, 190, 189, 185, 176, 174, 169, 168, 164, 159, 159, 159, 151; mean = 175.

That came out a little closer, but the edge is still with the dead ball guys. And there's another thing (the reason why I was using 3rd place instead of 1st place to begin with): for the 1930's numbers, 5 out of those 18 numbers, including the only 200+ and 4 of the top 6 numbers, belong to one person: Lefty Grove. There's nothing close to that level of domination by a single pitcher in the deadball numbers - several of them are Mathewson, but the top number (the 253) belongs to Mordecai Brown, and some of the other 200's belong to non-HOM pitchers, for instance Reulbach.

It's easier to have a high ERA+ in low scoring times.
   92. OCF Posted: November 09, 2005 at 07:49 AM (#1724715)
Joe doesn't believe me, and neither to a lot of other people. And as for the "distribution of great pitchers at the time," the 30's had Grove, who probably should count double, and Hubbell, and Vance (at his spectacular peak). The oughts had Mathewson and some peakish guys like Brown, Walsh, Waddell, Joss. Note that we've shown some caution by not electing all of them.

I'll bow out at this point, and invite you all to cook up your own studies - this could be looked at in a lot of different ways, many of which wouldn't take too much trouble. I would, however, suggest caution with using the rate numbers from the LOOGY/setup/closer era. In our time a pitcher only goes long in a game if he's pitching extremely well for that game. I think it has become easier to post a knockout ERA+.
   93. OCF Posted: November 09, 2005 at 07:51 AM (#1724719)
#91 5 out of those 18 numbers,.

5 out of those 14 numbers. Can't type this straight.
   94. sunnyday2 Posted: November 09, 2005 at 02:05 PM (#1724803)
I basically look at ERA+ and IP. Among the eligible pitchers, if a guy is among the leaders in both they're a shoo-in regardless of era. After that it's hair-splitting. Do you like a 130 ERA+ in 2000-2500 IP or a 120 in 3000? At that point, yes, it matters if a guy was "the best" in the MLs at any given time, it matters a lot to me.

But to O's point, comparing Joss to Dean to Lemon to Koufax is not that hard. It's gonna get really hard when we have to compare pitchers who threw more than a few CG (all of the above) with the modern guys who hardly ever did.

Still if a modern pitcher has zero CG but a 130 in 3000 IP he is still a HoMer.
   95. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 09, 2005 at 02:20 PM (#1724811)
As an aside:

I've been looking at this "is it easier to put up extraordinary ERA in low or high offense eras?" question on my own, and while I'm not a virtuoso saberist, I have enough of a statistical background to make some headway.

Its very, VERY complicated, and the kind of data OCF is throwing up doesn't explicate the answer for the following reasons:

1) You have to correct for the fewer-and-less-dramatic-outliers-as-the-level-of-play-improves effect. I suspect y'all in the HOM threads deal with that alot.

You can't just look at the "extraordinary" ERA+'s, because so many of them are put up by so few-essentially, you get 2 inner-circle pitchers peaking at once, you get the illusion of a 100% increase in extraordinary ERA+'s.

The way to do this is with the ERA+ distribution by year..I speculate that if there's a "limit" on how low an ERA can go (set by errors, dumb luck, etc), then in years with a low mean ERA, the "good" tail of the distribution should squish up against that limit and be distorted. I haven't been able to quantify this yet, but that's my hypothesis.

Whether that's right or wrong, throwing up 5 year samples from the deadball era doesn't prove anything. Much more interesting to compare, for instance, the 50's and 60's, where the level of play is (more or less) similar, but the run environment changes dramatically.
   96. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 09, 2005 at 02:54 PM (#1724826)
Here's my theory on ERA+

A reason it's "easier" to put up a low ERA+ in a low-run environment is that there are numerically fewer possible ER totals, relative to the league on which a pitcher can land.

For instance, in 30 innings in a 4.50 ERA league a pitcher can exceed a 100 ERA+ by giving up any of the fifteen numerals from 0 to 14.

In a 3.00 league, however, there are only 10 numerals, 0 to 10.

The higher the league ERA, the more "stopping points" exist for a pitcher to land on en route from a perfect ERA+ to a 100 ERA+. A very good to great pitcher is more likely to toss a low-run game. In a low-run environment, those games are defined more narrowly than in a high-run environment, so they are able to maximize their ERA+ in low-run environments. In a high-run environment, the definition of low-run game is a little looser, and great pitchers may be allowing more runs thantheir low-run counterparts. Unless they frequently give up zero or one runs, they are less likely to maximize their ERA+.
   97. Chris Cobb Posted: November 09, 2005 at 03:07 PM (#1724841)
It would be good if the electorate would place less emphasis on ERA+ and more on DERA, which is a more meaningful measure of pitching value.

That said, I believe OCF is right on the "easier to put up a high ERA+ in low-scoring times."

As I have argued before, the reason he is right has little to do with the nature of pitching but everything to do with nature of ERA+ as a statistic. The lower run-scoring a league is, the higher your ERA+ goes for saving one run.

Consider that, for every game in which a pitcher throws a shutout, his ERA+ for that game is infinity: x/0.

A pitcher who wins 2-1 has a better ERA+ for that game than a pitcher who wins 5-3 has for his game, even though the run differential is lower.

If the conditions of the game produce a lot of shutouts and 2-1 games, then the ERA+ scores of top pitchers will tend to be higher. In lower run environments, a smaller advantage in runs saved above average will produce a larger advantage in ERA+. It's in the nature of the statistic.

This does not mean, by the way, that it's more valuable for the pitcher to save these runs in the lower run environment, because, as we know, the exponent for pythaganpat/port prediction of winning percentage from RS & RA gets smaller as the run environment gets lower.

Thus, a better way to compare ERA+ values of pitchers from eras with very different scoring environments would be to use pythaganpat/port to turn their ERA+ values into support-neutral winning percentages.

Isn't this more or less what you do with RA+, OCF?
   98. Daryn Posted: November 09, 2005 at 03:13 PM (#1724847)
Whether or not it is easier to post a high ERA+ in a high or low/ moderon or not era, the stats below are compelling.

Koufax's 5 year peak (numbers eyeballed but basically correct):

His ERA: 1.99
League ERA: 3.28

Pedro's 5 year peak:

His ERA: 2.14
League ERA: 4.70

Even if it is easier to stand above the pathetic crowd that was late 90s AL pitching, it is Pedro who "was so much better than anybody else, it’s unbelievable".

The reason I think this is important is because some career voters may lean towards Koufax based on the commonly held belief that his was the best pitching peak ever. It wasn't.

Now Pedro -- that's a candidacy I can get behind.
   99. Daryn Posted: November 09, 2005 at 03:16 PM (#1724850)
And Maddux, just for fun:

Maddux: 2.09
League: 4.10
   100. Daryn Posted: November 09, 2005 at 03:23 PM (#1724856)
In the process of looking at other outliers, I came across this stat: in 1968, Bob Gibson was never pulled from the game (he was pinch hit for 6 times). Has anyone accomplished that since?
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