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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Saturday, July 13, 2002

Catchers

Here are the catchers, I’ve updated this thread 9/19/2003. I’m going to remove anyone who isn’t a new eligible, or hasn’t received a vote from these threads; unless he has 175 WS (145 for the catchers), so these threads don’t get too cluttered.



234 - 35, 29, 29 - 131 - Charlie Bennett - 9.8 sea. - 149 batting - 85 fielding.
C 84%, 3B 5%, RF 3%, CF 3%, LF 2%, 2B 2%, SS 1%.
notes: 1878, 1880-93. 5-year peak from age 26-30. Played entire career in NL.

156 - 28, 26, 24 - 114 - Fred Carroll - 5.9 sea. - 128 batting- 28 fielding.
C 51%, LF 22%, RF 11%, CF 8%, 1B 8%
notes: 1884-91. 5-year peak from age 21-25. Played first 3 years in AA (21, 13, 26 WS), rest of career in NL, except 1890 (PL) 21 WS. 4 years of 5-year peak in NL/PL.

145 - 35, 28, 25 - 129 - John Clapp - 9.0 sea. - 108 batting - 37 fielding.
C 76%, LF 10%, RF 6%, CF 3%, 1B 3%, SS 3%.
notes: 1872-81, 1883. 5-year peak from age 24-28. Played 3.1 seasons in NA, not counted above. Rest of career in NL.

183 - 22, 22, 22 - 86 - Jack Clements - 8.9 sea. - 126 batting - 57 fielding.
C 93%, RF 3%, LF 1%, CF 1%, 1B 1%.
notes: 1884-1900. Peak from age 24-28. Played entire career in NL, except about 80% of 1884 (UA) 14 WS.

327 - 32, 30, 28 - 132 - Buck Ewing - 11.0 sea. - 247 batting - 77 fielding - 3 pitching.
C 49%, 1B 17%, RF 14%, 3B 10%, 2B 4%, SS 3%, CF 3%, LF 1%.
notes: 1880-97. 5-year peak from age 22-26. Played entire career in NL, except 1890 (PL) 24 WS.

210 - 28, 20, 17 - 96 - Duke Farrell - 11.1 sea. - 132 batting - 78 fielding.
C 66%, 3B 19%, 1B 7%, LF 3%, RF 3%, CF 1%, SS 1%.
notes: 1888-1905. 5-year peak from age 22-26. Played entire career in NL, except 1890 (PL) 24 WS.

158 - 26, 17, 16 - 92 - Doggie Miller - 9.8 sea. - 118 batting - 39 fielding.
C 48%, 3B 18%, LF 11%, RF 7%, SS 6%, CF 5%, 2B 4%, 1B 2%.
notes: 1884-96. 5-year peak from age 23-27. Played entire career in NL, except 1884-86 (AA), 6, 3, 13 WS respectively.

332 - 42, 34, 32 - 145 - Deacon White - 18.1 sea. - 261 batting - 69 fielding - 1 pitching.
C 39%, 3B 32%, 1B 13%, RF 12%, 3% 2B, 1% LF.
notes: 1871-90. 5-year peak from age 28-32. Played 5.0 seasons in the NA, which are not counted above. Played rest of career in NL, except 1890 (PL), 12 WS. 5-year peak includes 1880 when he missed more than 1/2 of the season. When 1875 become part of that peak, he’ll probably be around 170 or 180 for his 5-year peak.

178 - 21, 19, 16 - 78 - Chief Zimmer - 9.3 sea. - 99 batting - 79 fielding.
C 97%, 1B 2%
notes: 1884, 1886-1903. 5-year peak from age 30-34. Played entire career in NL, except 1886-88 (AA) 12 WS.

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 13, 2002 at 04:03 AM | 148 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 13, 2002 at 06:45 AM (#510318)
What is Kid Baldwin doing on this list?

Here are the Win Shares per 162 games for the catchers (NA not included as of yet):

Kid Baldwin: 3:09
Charlie Bennett: 23.95
Lew Brown: 21.43
Fred Carroll: 26.43
John Clapp: 24.40
Jack Clements: 20.44
Buck Ewing: 29.69
Jim Keenan: 18.59
Doggie Miller: 16.61
Jocko Milligan: 22.65
Jack O'Brien: 24.81
Deacon White: 23.78
Ed Whiting: 23.40

   2. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 13, 2002 at 07:04 AM (#510319)
Deacon White and Buck Ewing are definite HoMers. Charlie Bennett and Jack Clements are the only others picks that I would take a look at (possibly Clapp).
   3. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 13, 2002 at 04:03 PM (#510320)
Oops!

Kid Baldwin's Win Shares per 162 games: 14.33

That's what I get when I do calculations at two in the morning!
   4. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 15, 2002 at 12:27 AM (#510321)
128 - 26, 22, 19 - 90 - Silver Flint - 8.8 sea. - 66 batting - 61 fielding.
C 90%, RF 7%, 1B 1%, 3B 1%, LF 1%.
notes: 1875;1878-88. 5-year peak from age 23-27. Played entire career in NL (except for 1875).

Win Shares per 162 games: 15.92

83 - 22, 15, 12 - 52 - Doc Bushong - 6.2 sea. - 83 batting - 30 fielding.
C 99%, 3B 1%.
notes: 1875-76;1880-90. 5-year peak from age 26-30. Played in NL 1876, 1880-1884, 1890; 1885-90 in AA; 1875 in NA (except for 1875).

Win Shares per 162 games: 13.50

   5. scruff Posted: July 15, 2002 at 03:39 AM (#510322)
Bill -- that doesn't mean Deacon only picked up 39% of his WS as catcher. It means he played 39% of his career as a catcher.

WS are position ignorant. What I mean is that 332 WS means the same thing whether you are a LF or a C. Catchers get a higher percentage of their WS from fielding than LF's generally, but once the final number is in, position has already been accounted for.

Deacon also did most of his catching in the NA, 4.3 of his 5.0 seasons in the NA were as a catcher. He caught the equivalent of about 7.0 seasons in his career.
   6. MattB Posted: July 15, 2002 at 12:47 PM (#510323)
Deacon White also has the first hit in major league history: a double on opening day, May 4, 1871 off of Ft. Wayne's Bobby Mathews in the top of the first inning. He was subsequently doubled up on a line drive to second, so did not score.
   7. DanG Posted: July 16, 2002 at 03:09 AM (#510324)
Catchers have short careers (duh!) I only turned up one other long-career catcher whom we might consider for our first ballot:

Jack Boyle 1886-98

DG
   8. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 16, 2002 at 03:28 PM (#510325)
92 - 17, 13, 11 - 56 - Jack Boyle - 7.9 sea. - 53 batting - 39 fielding.
C 48%, 1B 42%, 3B 5%, SS 4%, RF 1%, 2B 1%, LF 1%.
notes: 1886-98. 5-year peak from age 24-28. Played in AA 1886-1889,1891; NL 1892-1898; PL 1890.

Win Shares per 162 games played: 11.78


   9. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 21, 2002 at 10:31 PM (#510326)
<b132</b> - 39, 38, 29 - 132 - Cal McVey - 8.5 sea. - 97 batting - 12 fielding.
C 38%, 1B 27%, 3B 15%, RF 13%, CF 5%, 2B 1%, LF 1%, SS 1%.
notes: 1871-1879. He can't be properly evaluated because of lack of NA prorations (not to mention his pre-NA career) Played in NA for it's entire existence; NL 1876-1879.

Win Shares per 162 games played: 33.01

Scruff missed this one on the spreadsheet. Since he's doing a hundred different things for the HoM, I think Cal won't be too tough on him. :-)

One of the "Big Four", I think he definitely goes in. He accumulated 132 prorated WS after the age of 35. At this time, I don't know who was better: White, McVey or Ewing.

   10. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 21, 2002 at 10:37 PM (#510327)
Er, I screwed up on McVey. He was only 28 when he retired from the majors. I still think he has a good case on peak, but he still sits behind White and Ewing.
   11. Marc Posted: July 22, 2002 at 12:50 AM (#510328)
White and McVey are an interesting pair. McVey was clearly better (a little better, but clearly) than White in the NA years even though McVey was just 20 in 1871 while White was 24. By 1879 White (already 31) had a better year and McVey (just 28) called it quits. Whether he was slipping (the numbers don't show much of a decline) or just decided to live a normal life, I don't know. But then White went on to another productive decade of play, thereby (I think) overtaking Cal. Not unlike Fisk and Munson IMO.

As a clarifiction it was White not McVey who got the 132 WS after 35.
   12. scruff Posted: July 22, 2002 at 08:47 PM (#510329)
Sorry Cal :-)
   13. DanG Posted: July 24, 2002 at 08:12 PM (#510330)
I turned up one more very-long-career catcher who also does well in TPR:

Pop Snyder 1873-91

He's probably worth a closer look.

DG
   14. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 25, 2002 at 06:23 AM (#510331)
I'll have it done in a few days, Dan (same with those extra rightfielders). Snyder was a damn good player and deserves to be on the list.
   15. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 26, 2002 at 06:00 PM (#510332)
155 - 27, 23, 18 - 90 - Pop Snyder - 11.2 sea. - 62 batting - 93 fielding.
C 94%, 1B 3%, CF 1%, RF 1%.
notes: 1873-1891 (except 1880). 5-year peak from age 24-29. Played in NA 1873-1875: NL 1876-1881,1889; AA 1882-1888, 1891; PL 1890.

Win Shares per 162 games played: 15.32

   16. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 27, 2002 at 07:12 AM (#510333)
CORRECTION

Pop Snyder
Win Shares per 162 games played: 17.89
   17. good_ol_gil Posted: August 07, 2002 at 06:42 AM (#510334)
Ed Whiting is still alive!?
   18. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 25, 2002 at 08:13 PM (#510337)
I think Buck Ewing was a better player than White (if we don't include the NA numbers). With the NA numbers, it's damn close. At this time, I can't say who the winner is (looking forward to your numbers, Joe). It's probably a photo finish.

That they are both definite HoMers is one big duh!
   19. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 29, 2002 at 04:11 PM (#510338)
Update on the top five catchers (in order):
Buck Ewing
Deacon White (could be number one when we factor in the NA)
Charlie Bennett
Jack Clements
John Clapp
Honorable Mention: Fred Carroll (numbers are better than Clapp's post NA work)
   20. DanG Posted: October 18, 2002 at 02:33 PM (#510339)
I was taking a look at the leaders in games caught for the 19th century, and thought others might be interested.

I'm fairly sure that Deacon White was the first man to catch 400 games, reaching that mark in 1879. He caught very little after that year.

Pop Snyder was right behind White and soon passed him. Snyder reached 800 games caught in 1888 and ended his career in 1891 as the all-time leader with 877.

The year after Snyder retired, Charlie Bennett passed him up. Bennett retired after 1893 with 954 games caught.

The top 16 in games at catcher, through 1892, with year retired:
894 C. Bennett '93
877 P. Snyder '91
743 S. Flint '89
668 D. Bushong '90
646 J. Clements '00
635 B. Ewing '97
566 K. Kelly '93
542 J. Milligan '93
538 B. Holbert '88
534 W. Robinson '02
516 C. Zimmer '03
486 C. Mack '96
472 J. Clapp '83
461 D. Miller '96
459 B. Gilligan '88
458 D. White '90

By 1900, four catchers had reached the 1000 mark.
The top 18 in games at catcher, through 1900, with year retired:
1171 D. McGuire '08
1162 W. Robinson '02
1095 C. Zimmer '03
1073 J. Clements '00
954 C. Bennett '93
877 P. Snyder '91
815 D. Farrell '05
743 S. Flint '89
739 M. Kittridge '06
668 D. Bushong '90
636 B. Ewing '97
636 D. Miller '96
630 P. Schriver '01
609 C. Mack '96
605 J. O'Connor '07
595 H. Peitz '06
585 J. Milligan '93
583 K. Kelly '93

DG

   21. Carl Goetz Posted: November 19, 2002 at 06:01 PM (#510340)
Here's my list:

Buck Ewing
Deacon White
Charlie Bennett
John Clapp
Fred Carroll
Jack Clements
Pop Snyder
Jack O'Brien
Silver Flint
Doggie Miller

Ewing will likely be the only 1 in this group that makes my 1906 ballot. I think White and maybe Bennett will eventually get in(or at least crack into my ballot), but I don't think the rest are HoM material.



   22. Marc Posted: December 22, 2003 at 05:05 PM (#510346)
Bennett vs. Freehan, Freehan vs. Bennett, anyone? Or any arguments in support of Charlie? He's been as high as #1 on my ballot, so I'll try to put something together in time for 1918, but I know others can probably make a really good case too. This year he will finish about 5th but tied for 1st in 1sts. It's those missing ballots that are killin' him. Does he need a "catcher bonus" to make your ballot or can he stand on his own two feet (pardoning the really, really bad pun)?
   23. ronw Posted: December 22, 2003 at 05:27 PM (#510347)
Rather than Freehan vs. Bennett, I want see Kling vs. Bennett and Bresnahan vs. Bennett and Bresnahan vs. Kling.
   24. RobC Posted: December 22, 2003 at 06:56 PM (#510348)
Bennett makes my ballot without a catcher bonus. I do give a bonus for best eligible player at a position, but 8 others get it also. And, he would be on my ballot regardless. I also give bonuses to underrepresented positions, but C isnt one of them (right now).
   25. Marc Posted: December 22, 2003 at 07:06 PM (#510349)
Bennett vs. Bresnahan would be good. Very relevant.
   26. Chris Cobb Posted: December 22, 2003 at 09:18 PM (#510351)
One matter to note re Bresnahan: he played mostly in the outfield for three seasons: 02-04, which included some of his best offensive work.

I agree with TomH that he was a better hitter than Bennett, but he hit better as an outfielder, I think, than as a catcher.
   27. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 22, 2003 at 09:38 PM (#510352)
I think the Duke was a more dominating player than Bennett. I don't know where he'll end up on my ballot, but he'll be higher than Charlie.
   28. Marc Posted: December 22, 2003 at 10:51 PM (#510353)
I don't know that Bresnahan's reputation is any greater than Charlie's, just more recent. Granted, neither is that recent, but Charlie played during my great-grandfather's prime of life, Roger my grandfather's. More to the point, we had John McGraw talking upon Roger and frankly I take a grain of salt with any opinion about the old-timers from McGraw, Mack and any and all of their cronies. But in any event, Bennett was beloved in his own time.
   29. Marc Posted: December 23, 2003 at 01:22 AM (#510355)
Well, Charlie caught 92 (of 101) in 1883 at OPS+ 155 and was generously spotted 18 WS. Nothin' 'gainst the Duke, but that's quite a season as well.

Charlie played 15 years, 6 at 80+ games which was pretty much "regular" at the time and hardly played a game other than at catcher (OK, 108 games in 15 years).

Roger played 17 years but 1 year as a pitcher with 6 appearances and another year of 1 game at catcher. So, really, 15 years, and 450 games not at catcher.

Both caught about 950 games in essentially 15 years or 64-65 games a year. Big difference between the two--Roger played an additional 450 games for an average of about 95 a year. Charlie didn't, but then neither did his teams.

OPS+ Bresnahan 126 Bennett 118. In his 7 100-game seasons, Roger was at 137. In his 6 years of 80+ games Charlie 128. But during his (Charlie's) peak of 5 consecutive years of 76 games or more his OPS+ was 150. Roger had no comparable peak of games played and high OPS+.

Best OPS+ (over 120; * are non-catcher years and ^ are non-batting championship eligible years)

Bennett 161 155 151 149 138 132 128
Bresnahan 160* 146^ 145^ 139 138* 136 135^ 132* 128^ 125^

or, if you prefer Bresnahan's best OPS+ years when BOTH eligible for the batting title AND catching regularly

Bresnahan 139 136

In fairness, I should mention that WS are not close. James rates them and reports their WS scores as follows.

16. Bresnahan 231 career 29-27-27 116 for 5 25.9/162
49. Bennett 157 19-18-15 78 23.95

Given their pretty close OPS+, and also given that WS sees Bennett as an A catcher and Bresnahan as a C+, it is beyond me how James came to his final rankings. (Of course one can also wonder about that C+.)

Reasonable people can differ about these two players. On the other hand, as I see it in order to rate Bresnahan ahead of Bennett you would have to 1) timeline AND 2) not adjust Bennett's seasons for season-length. Bennett played 75 games a year and Bresnahan 95. If Bennett was any more valuable at all (per game) (and with an 8 point OPS+ differential and an A-C+ defensive advantage, I don't see how he wasn't, James' WS/162 notwithstanding) then those extra 20 games a year are not a tremendous amount. And the percent of his teams games caught be Bennett (the same total number over 15 years in I'm guessing about 30-40 games shorter seasons) certainly is striking.

OTOH, Bresnahan had some nice offensive years playing mostly OF. So, like I said, I can see how people might prefer the Duke.... Naaahhh, I really can't.

   30. ronw Posted: December 23, 2003 at 02:05 AM (#510356)
in order to rate Bresnahan ahead of Bennett you would have to 1) timeline AND 2) not adjust Bennett's seasons for season-length

These last factor alone seems to keep Bennett down in the WS system. It seems that a partial timeline is already built into the WS system, in that they system does not adjust for season length. This is demonstrated by the above post, which shows that Bennett falls behind Bresnahan in each of the WS categories listed by Marc and in the NHBA.

Of course, the NHBA also says that a timeline adjustment is taken based on the year of birth minus 1800 divided by 10. This number (2-3) is not significant for Bresnahan vs. Bennett. Therefore, if you look at the rankings, a double timeline is taken.

BTW, Johnny Kling in the NHBA rankings is about the same player as Bennett, if you make no adjustments for season length.
   31. Chris Cobb Posted: December 23, 2003 at 02:53 AM (#510357)
Two notes on Bresnahan's large number of games played at catcher in 1908.

1) According to Bill James, he was able to raise his number of games caught because he introduced both shin guards and a padded face mask. "He caught 139 games in 1908, while George Gibson, adopting the equipment, caught 140,and several other catchers also worked large number of games."

2) (this from the George Gibson comment): "Gibson was a workhorse; he caught 109 games in 1907, which led the National League, then caught 140 games in 1908, 150 in 1909, and 143 in 1910. The record for games caught before 1907 was 132 [set by McGuire in 1895]. Then shin guards were invented, and four major league catchers caught 132-140 games. But actually, some people have overstated the extent to which Gibson set new standards of durability for a catcher. There were catchers before Gibson who had caught almost all of their team's games, only with a shorter schedule. . . . After shin guards were invented, some catchers began playing every day, but after a year or two managers realized that there were other reasons why this wasn't a good idea, other than just the foul tips which beat up the lower body."
   32. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: December 23, 2003 at 03:46 AM (#510358)
in order to rate Bresnahan ahead of Bennett you would have to 1) timeline

Well, let's look at the timeline for a second. Let's compare the NL in 1885 (Bennett's best year according to OPS+) to the NL in 1903 (Bresnahan's best year). I went to b-ref & found the given birth place for the starting hitters on all the teams plus all pitchers who threw at least 100 innings for both years. Came out to 84 players in 1885 & 104 in 1902. Here's a quick breakdown for 1885:

PA - 17
NY - 17
MA - 14
rest of NE - 11
rest of US - 21
immigrant - 4

57.1% of the players checked on came from 3 states. Over 70% of the league came from NE, PA, & NY - throw in NJ & it's 73%. And that's making the dubious assumption that the immmigrats aren't living in that NE corner of the nation. The only son of the Confederacy was a single Virginian. West of the MS River was represented by 2 Californians, 2 Iowans & two from Missouri That's the competition that Bennet was up against.

Now here's how it looked when Bresnahan roamed the earth (out of 104 players):
PA - 18
NY - 11
MA - 7
rest of NE - 2
OH - 13
IL - 7
MO - 8
rest of US - 32
immigrants - 6

It's more spread out. Now the Big 3 states are only accounting for 34.6% of all players. Instead of only doing a good job pulling talent out of the NE corner of the US, the league's now doing a better job siphoning out of the Midwest; at least the eastern Midwest. Got a few from Kansas, one from Oregon out west, but still pretty weak in getting players from that far out. Getting more from the South - but mostly border states like TN, VA, & TX. Only one Deep South resident - a Georgian.

Still, I'd say that still represents a signifcant improvement in the talent pool because even if it's only moving from a 3 state league to a 6 state league (in terms of where the talent is coming from) that's still a doubling in the number of states. Don't have a specific way of quanitifying the improvement in the level of competition except to say that it looks to me to be a notable rise in the level of competition in baseball in those years.

   33. Marc Posted: December 23, 2003 at 04:07 AM (#510359)
>it looks to me to be a notable rise in the level of competition
in baseball in those years.

There are two possible responses to this. Well, three, but one would be "yes, that's right." And you know that's not what I plugged in to say.

So, two things.

1. So what? Value is value and a pennant is a pennant.

2. But if you do want to timeline, the problem is this. The talent pool argument certainly applies to replacement level and average level. But the great players are outliers, so how does this demonstate that Bresnahan was "better" (much less more valuable) than Charlie Bennett. I'm not sure that it does. Yes, he played against better competition, I agree. But the simple fact that he (Bresnahan) came out of a larger poll certainly cannot be advanced as a "proof" that he himself was better.

   34. RobC Posted: December 23, 2003 at 06:55 PM (#510361)
Marc:

a pennant is a pennant.

Just because you keep writing it, doesnt make it true. If it were, then a AA pennant or a UL pennant would be equal to a NL pennant. Or, there would never be a difference between an NL and an AL pennant in the 20th century. Or, for that matter, an IL pennant or a western league pennant or a little league pennant.

Now I MOSTLY agree with you, in that a Major league pennant is near equal in value to another major league pennant. Because that is the goal. But I dont and wont accept that the 1872 NA pennant is equal in value to the 1990 NL pennant.

   35. sean gilman Posted: December 23, 2003 at 07:13 PM (#510362)
The difference, of course, between the AA and the NA is that the NA was the highest level of professional baseball at its time, whereas the AA was only the second best league.
The players who played in the NA played against the best competition available to them (much as the Negro Leaguers did BTW). You can't say that for the UA or the AA players.
   36. Marc Posted: December 23, 2003 at 07:25 PM (#510363)
Thank you, Sean. What he said.
   37. Marc Posted: December 23, 2003 at 07:52 PM (#510364)
Does this formula work?

Let's say that catcher A, in his career, on offense:

Earned 3000 bases (on hits, walks, HBP, SB, etc.) and made 3000 outs.

And on defense:

Gave up 500 SB and threw out 300 runners.

Combine the two:

3000 bases - 500 given up + 300 gained on CS = 2800 bases
3000 outs - 300 earned on defense = 2700 outs

Am I missing something? Is this logical/reasonable?


   38. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 23, 2003 at 07:55 PM (#510365)
The difference, of course, between the AA and the NA is that the NA was the highest level of professional baseball at its time, whereas the AA was only the second best league.

In addition, the timeline theory is built on the faulty premise that the elite players from the NA weren't as good as the best from the next generation. The rank-and-file players from the NA? Without question, they were inferior to the rank-and-file from the nineties. Hell, they were inferior to the early NL. Still, McVey, White, Barnes, Spalding, etc., weren't the average players of their times. They were the cream of the crop.

   39. MattB Posted: December 23, 2003 at 08:05 PM (#510366)
"The difference, of course, between the AA and the NA is that the NA was the highest level of professional baseball at its time, whereas the AA was only the second best league."

It is "obvious" to us now that the AA was inferior to the NL by some varying amounts. The difference between the AA (even at its weakest) and the IL is that everyone KNEW that the IL was an inferior league. The AA was of varying quality. No one knew before the season started whether the AA would be weaker than the NL or not, and in some years in the late 1880s, it was, in fact, not weaker.

Bob Caruthers was the best or second best player on his team every year from 1885-1890. In five of those six years, his team won the pennant (in 1888, he finished second). His team's postseason record in those six years were 1-2-2, with one of the two losses coming in 1890 for an NL team.

If you asked Caruthers, and if you asked the fans, and if you asked the NL players during the postseason, no one would have thought this was a major-league/minor league exhibition. Everyone would have thought this was a battle between two major league teams. For Caruthers, a pennant was a pennant, and no one would have thought it was "only" an AA pennant.

In my mind, we are not electing too many 1880s players. With 2 leagues instead of 1 in that decade, there was simply twice as much potential to become meritorious.
   40. MattB Posted: December 23, 2003 at 08:07 PM (#510367)
Sorry to put a Caruthers rant in the Catchers thread. I take my opportunities where I can get them, though. :-)
   41. RobC Posted: December 23, 2003 at 08:34 PM (#510368)
Sean,

The NA may have been the best league, but it was not a league of the best available players. If it had been, they wouldnt have all been from a small segment of the country. The NA would have only played against the best competition available to them if they had done a better job of talent searching.
   42. karlmagnus Posted: December 23, 2003 at 08:38 PM (#510369)
Interesting philosophical question. Given the state of the South after the Civil War, and the fact that the #1 Western sport was still shooting bears, Native Americans and each other, I would guess that the NA in 1871-76 DID contain pretty well all the best baseball players; there just weren't that many people playing baseball.
   43. jimd Posted: December 23, 2003 at 09:17 PM (#510370)
I think karlmagnus has it right. The New York game had become the Northeast's game, and was rapidly overrunning the Midwest. But the rank-and-file of the NA were overwhelmingly from the New York/Philadelphia area. I don't think this is surprising because that's where the game became formalized, and where there was the necessary combination of fan interest and quality players to create professional baseball.

But the very best players could come from almost anywhere:
NYC: Wright, Start (Pike, Pearce)
Upstate NY: White, Sutton
Ct: O'Rourke
Phi: (Meyerle)
DC/Md: Hines (Mathews)
Ill: Spalding, Barnes
Iowa: Anson, McVey

I think it's more surprising that athletes like Anson and McVey were able to able to find the upper level of the game and be successful before they got settled into life in a small town.

   44. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 23, 2003 at 09:24 PM (#510371)
I would guess that the NA in 1871-76 DID contain pretty well all the best baseball players

Unless we're talking about the lack of Southern and Western players, but that would be equally a minus against the NL, AA and PL for the next few decades (at the very least) after the NA, too.

But if we're talking about the East and Midwest, I doubt too many stars evaded the NA's radar. Certainly, not for long.
   45. jimd Posted: December 23, 2003 at 09:54 PM (#510372)
Birthplaces can sometimes obscure where a player is really from. Barnes was born in upstate NY, but was playing as a teenager with Spalding outside of Chicago. IIRC, there is mention in the "Great 19th Century Encylopedia" of Jim Whitney as being one of the early stars coming from California, but he was also born in upstate NY. (Did Cal McVey write to Harry Wright "You gotta see this guy; he's the next Spalding!"?)
   46. Marc Posted: December 23, 2003 at 10:28 PM (#510373)
Being a Minnesotan, I can tell you that Minnesota only became a state in about 1858 if I recall correctly. But the entire western half of the state was Indian territory until after the Civil War. My great-great-grandfather came to Minnesota as a Civil War vet to occupy bounty land in the south central part of the state in 1866, and settlement further west and north was not really complete (i.e. the towns you see on a Minnesota map today did not all exist) until as late as 1915. And this is Minnesota. What of the Dakotas, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Nebraska.... To say that players in the NA were missing out on some really good competition from all of those places is not convincing at all to me.
   47. Chris Cobb Posted: December 23, 2003 at 10:37 PM (#510374)
Don't get me wrong, Bennett is already in my hall. I'll advocate for both of them. Early catchers deserve a heavy postional adjustment, that's the key point from my point of view.

Thanks, Jim Spenser for reminding us of the key point! What sort of adjustment to you give to catchers, Jim?

For catchers between the early 1880s and 1900, I give a 30% bonus to career value, and I measure peak against an average value that is .6 of average for position players. I base these numbers off of a survey of average playing time for first-string catchers, season-by-season. The positional adjustment is smaller pre-1883, since catchers played a larger percentage of team games in the short-schedule, underhand era. I let the study drop at 1901 some time ago because there weren't any serious candidates to consider from later years, but I'm going to pick up the study again and move them forward to 1920 for now, I think.

John Murphy did a similar study (in fact, you can find some of his data and mine in posts 9-21 on the New Eligibles by year thread, where a discussion of Duke Farrell turned into a discussion of catchers), but I don't know if he's run his data past 1900, either.
   48. Sean Gilman Posted: December 24, 2003 at 02:48 AM (#510375)
"The NA may have been the best league, but it was not a league of the best available players. If it had been, they wouldnt have all been from a small segment of the country. The NA would have only played against the best competition available to them if they had done a better job of talent searching."

In addition to what others have already said, I have to say that I don't understand this argument at all. It's irrelevant that the NA did not employ all of the greatest baseball players of the 1870s. The important fact is that the NA employed more of the best players than any other league of its time. Therefore, it was the best available league and the NA players were playing against the best available competition.
   49. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 24, 2003 at 09:24 PM (#510376)
John Murphy did a similar study (in fact, you can find some of his data and mine in posts 9-21 on the New Eligibles by year thread, where a discussion of Duke Farrell turned into a discussion of catchers), but I don't know if he's run his data past 1900, either.

I haven't done a study extending into the 20th century, but that might be needed now to differentiate the Bennetts and Bresnahans.
   50. Paul Wendt Posted: January 11, 2004 at 08:57 PM (#510378)
Clint replied to Marc, late in "1917 Ballot":

you're right that once you've figured out in the macro sense how much weight in your system should go to pitching or catching or whatever, then it shouldn't play a part in rationing out spots in individual elections.

If you do it, and you vote accoring to your system, you may well vote for numerous 19c pitchers, few catchers (at any time, but especially early), and no relief pitchers. Others have made the point about each position separately.

Suppose every team uses two catchers and a reserve, rather than one and a reserve as today. On average, the two catchers appear in 100 and 70 games, with 80 and 50 complete games; the reserve catcher appears in 30 with 10 complete. About half the time, the mlb leader has 100 complete games or more. Suppose that a measure of career value includes six catchers among the top 200 players. (Is that unreasonable under the conditions?) How would you vote?

   51. MattB Posted: January 12, 2004 at 04:07 PM (#510379)
I find it amusing that voters find catchers less worthy because they play less, but on the other hand, find pitchers less worthy because they play more.

I am a strong believer in the "bell curve" view of player talent. Assuming that the six best catchers are definitely "in", I'd line up catchers 7 through 20. Are they all essentially the same? If so, then the bell curve has flattened out and none should be inducted. But if Players 7, 8, and 9 stand out, then I would induct them over another set of outfielders who are essentially indistinguishable.

Any uber-stat career measure will be flawed. The way to tell whether your stat is over- or under-rating a player is to compare him to his contemporaries at his position. If a catcher only has 200 Win Shares, but no other catchers have more than 160, then the guy is at least 20% better than his contemporaries and should go in -- Win Shares is necessarily under-rating him. If a dozen leftfielders all have 300 Win Shares, then it is not nearly as impressive to reach that peak.
   52. jimd Posted: February 04, 2004 at 01:55 AM (#510380)
This is a study of catcher usage patterns before 1920.

League Leaders in Games Caught, 1871-1920

GC -- Games Caught
TG -- Games Scheduled (except 1871-75 and 1918,
where it's max team games played due to the irregular schedules)
%% -- GC/TG
IM -- # of "iron-men", GC more than 2/3 of TG
Name -- Leader (other "iron-men"); italics indicates leader less than 66.7%

Year GC TG %% IM Name (NA-NL)
1871 29 33 88 7 Deacon White, Cal McVey, Charley Mills (Allison, Malone, McGeary, Hastings)
1872 54 58 93 2 Nat Hicks (McVey)
1873 56 60 93 4 Deacon White (Barlow, Malone, Clapp)
1874 58 71 82 3 Deacon White (Hicks, Higham)
1875 75 86 87 5 Deacon White (Snyder, Clapp, Hicks, Allison)
1876 63 70 90 3 Deacon White (Clapp, Snyder)
1877 61 60 102 3 Pop Snyder (Brown, Clapp)
1878 59 60 98 5 Silver Flint (Snyder, Harbidge, White, Brown)
1879 80 84 95 4 Pop Snyder (Flint, Clapp, White)
1880 87 84 104 6 Emil Gross (Clapp, Flint, Kennedy, Rowe, Holbert)
1881 80 84 95 4 Silver Flint (Bushong, Bennett, Snyder)
1882 81 84 96 4 Silver Flint (Bushong, Bennett, Holbert)
1883 83 98 85 3 Silver Flint (Gilligan, Bennett)
1884 81 112 72 3 Barney Gilligan (Bennett, Ewing)
1885 69 112 62 0 George Myers
1886 72 126 57 0 George Myers
1887 76 126 60 0 Connie Mack
1888 85 140 61 0 Jack Clements
1889 97 140 69 1 Buck Ewing
1890 125 140 89 1 Chief Zimmer (Kittredge)
1891 116 140 83 2 Chief Zimmer (Clements)
1892 119 154 77 3 Dick Buckley (Zimmer, Clements)
1893 93 132 70 3 Wilbert Robinson (Grim, Clements)
1894 109 132 83 4 Wilbert Robinson (Farrell, McGuire, Zimmer)
1895 132 132 100 2 Deacon McGuire (Grim)
1896 98 132 74 2 Deacon McGuire (Zimmer)
1897 110 132 83 2 John Warner (Wilson)
1898 122 154 79 4 Tim Donahue (McFarland, MBergen, Warner)
1899 105 154 68 1 Wilbert Robinson
1900 93 140 66 1 Ed McFarland
1901 113 140 81 1 Malachi Kittredge
1902 112 140 80 2 Johnny Kling (Bowerman)
1903 132 140 94 2 Johnny Kling (Moran)
1904 104 154 68 2 Johnny Kling (Dooin)
1905 107 154 69 2 Red Dooin (Kling)
1906 107 154 69 3 Red Dooin (BBergen, Kling)
1907 109 154 71 4 George Gibson (Kling, Bresnahan, Dooin)
1908 140 154 91 5 George Gibson (Bresnahan, Dooin, Kling, BBergen)
1909 150 154 97 4 George Gibson (Dooin, BBergen, McLean)
1910 143 154 93 3 George Gibson (McLean, Meyers)
1911 128 154 83 4 Chief Meyers (Archer, Gibson, McLean)
1912 122 154 79 5 Chief Meyers (Archer, McLean, Gibson, Miller)
1913 118 154 77 6 Bill Killefer (Meyers, Archer, Miller, TClarke, Wingo)
1914 126 154 82 5 Chief Meyers (Gowdy, TClarke, Gibson, FSnyder)
1915 142 154 92 6 Fred Snyder (Gibson, Gowdy, Killefer, Wingo, Meyers)
1916 119 154 77 3 Bill Rariden (Gowdy, Wingo)
1917 120 154 78 5 Bill Killefer, Ivy Wingo (Rariden, FSnyder, Tragesser)
1918 104 131 79 4 Bill Killefer, Walter Schmidt (Gonzalez, Wingo)
1919 100 140 71 1 Bill Killefer
1920 107 154 69 3 Ivy Wingo (MO'Neil, Clemons)

Year GC TG %% IM Name (AA)
1882 72 80 90 3 Ed Whiting (Snyder, DSullivan)
1883 82 98 84 1 Rudy Kemmler (Holbert)
1884 75 110 68 1 Pat Deasley
1885 85 112 76 1 Doc Bushong
1886 106 140 76 1 Doc Bushong
1887 96 140 69 1 Kid Baldwin
1888 70 140 50 0 Jack Boyle
1889 84 140 60 0 Jack O'Connor
1890 106 140 76 1 Jack O'Connor
1891 104 140 74 2 Morg Murphy (McGuire)

Year GC TG %% IM Name (AL)
1901 111 140 79 3 Doc Powers (Clarke, Sullivan)
1902 87 140 62 0 Wilbert Robinson, Harry Bemis, Boileryard Clarke
1903 96 140 69 1 Lou Criger
1904 107 154 69 3 Billy Sullivan (McGuire, Criger)
1905 114 154 74 2 Ossie Schreckengost (Criger)
1906 118 154 77 3 Billy Sullivan (Kleinow)
1907 115 154 75 4 Nig Clarke (Sullivan, Schmidt, Schreckengost)
1908 137 154 89 3 Billy Sullivan (Street, Schmidt)
1909 137 154 89 2 Gabby Street (Sullivan)
1910 110 154 71 2 Bill Carrigan (Stephens)
1911 141 154 92 2 Oscar Stanage (Thomas)
1912 120 154 78 2 Oscar Stanage (Sweeney)
1913 125 154 81 4 Ray Schalk (Sweeney, Agnew, Henry)
1914 125 154 81 4 Ray Schalk (Stanage, Agnew, Schang)
1915 134 154 87 5 Ray Schalk (O'Neill, Agnew, Stanage, Henry)
1916 128 154 83 4 Steve O'Neill (Schalk,, Henry, Stanage)
1917 139 154 90 5 Ray Schalk, Hank Severeid (O'Neill, Ainsmith, Stanage)
1918 113 130 87 4 Steve O'Neill (Schalk, Ainsmith, Hannah)
1919 129 140 92 5 Ray Schalk (O'Neill, Ainsmith, Schang, Severeid)
1920 151 154 98 5 Ray Schalk (O'Neill, Perkins, Gharrity, Severeid)

Year GC TG %% IM Name (Misc)
1884 68 112 61 0 George Baker

1890 112 140 80 1 Connie Mack

1914 132 154 86 7 Art Wilson (Rariden, Blair, Easterly, Berry, Jacklitsch, Land)
1915 142 154 92 5 Bill Rariden (Hartley, Berry, Owens, Blair)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Avg Pct./#IM (number over 2/3rd's TG)
by 5-yr NA/NL AA/AL
1871-75 89/21
1876-80 97/21
1881-85 82/14 79/06
1886-90 67/02 66/03
1891-95 83/14
1896-00 74/10
1901-05 78/09 71/09
1906-10 84/19 80/14
1911-15 83/26 84/17
1916-20 75/16 90/23

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In the 1870's league-leading catchers played 90+% of team games; about half the catchers made it to 2/3'rds. As with pitchers, when the schedules lengthened, the human body could not keep up with the demands imposed by bare-handed catching. By the late 1880's league-leading catchers often didn't make it to 2/3'rd of team games. This would rise and settle in at around 80% of team games as armor was developed and gloves were adopted; and 2/3rds would again become the median GC by the Teens.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Evaluating those who played the position during these decades poses a dilemma. Using a strict value metric, the truth is that they didn't play enough, because nobody could take the physical pounding, every day for years. All managers paced and rotated their catchers. Maybe good hitters were switched to other positions, to not "waste" them. Does this disqualify catchers from our systems, or do we compensate and vote for a token catcher?

   53. jimd Posted: February 04, 2004 at 02:06 AM (#510381)
Errata: 1883 AA IM should be increased to 2; 1906 AL IM should be decreased to 2. IM counts in the 5-year summary table should be adjusted similarly.
   54. jimd Posted: February 06, 2004 at 10:50 PM (#510382)
Continuing:

"Median" Games Caught (GC) by catchers by year:

1871-80 27 40 54 57 60 45 46 50 59 62 NA/NL

1881-90 55 57 63 72 62 54 56 74 77 78 NL (74 PL)
1881-91 xx 52 57 59 59 69 65 66 67 81 89 AA

1891-00 77 84 75 75 76 68 78 92 84 75 NL

1901-10 77 78 77 89 87 86 91 108 92 90 NL
1901-10 78 75 72 84 80 81 92 _89 79 81 AL

1911-20 97 94 101 99 101 92 _94 89 _75 _90 NL
1911-20 83 79 _89 96 _97 92 107 84 103 119 AL
1911-20 xx xx xx 125 _98 FL

By "Median," I mean that if there are 8 teams, the "median" is the average of the #4 and #5 league leader in GC (dropping fractions).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Using these "median" numbers to define a "catching season" for each league and year, it's possible to compare career lengths in a way that's better than simply comparing raw GC or season-adjusted GC.

At the time of Bennett's tragic accident the catching career leaders by "catching seasons" were as follows:

1) 15.5 Pop Snyder
2) 14.5 Charlie Bennett
3) 12.5 Silver Flint
4) 10.6 Doc Bushong
5) 10.4 Jack Clements (still active in 1894)
6) 09.4 Buck Ewing
7) 09.1 Bill Holbert
8) 09.1 Deacon White
9) 08.8 Johnny Clapp
10)08.5 King Kelly

Cal McVey was 34th at 4.3 seasons. Giving him credit for two complete seasons with the Cincinnati Red Stockings (I doubt he caught every game) would move him up to 20th.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By now (1918), catching equipment has revolutionized catcher's longevity and the top-20 now looks like:

1) 21.2 Deacon McGuire
2) 17.2 Wilbert Robinson
3) 16.2 Chief Zimmer
4) 15.5 Pop Snyder
5) 15.2 Malachi Kittredge
6) 14.6 Jack Clements
7) 14.5 Charlie Bennett
8) 13.7 Billy Sullivan
9) 13.3 Johnny Kling
10)13.1 Red Dooin
11)12.9 Duke Farrell
12)12.7 John Warner
13)12.6 George Gibson (still active in 1918)
14)12.5 Silver Flint
15)12.1 Lou Criger
16)12.0 Heinie Peitz
17)11.1 Jack O'Connor
18)10.9 Oscar Stanage (still active in 1918)
19)10.7 Bill Bergen
20)10.6 Doc Bushong
21)10.5 Roger Bresnahan

Ewing(26), Holbert(29), White(30), Clapp(32), Kelly(35) are now pushed way down the lists.

But in his own time, Bennett had a very long catching career, and might have passed Snyder if not for his accident.

   55. Marc Posted: February 06, 2004 at 11:14 PM (#510383)
It seems to me that Bresnahan's partisans are going to have to show that he was a great player, not that he was a great catcher. IOW even if he was a great catcher, he was not a catcher long enough to get by on that resume alone. Less so than Bennett--again, unless you apply the double timeline (no adj for short season *plus* a timeline penalty).
   56. Marc Posted: February 07, 2004 at 01:01 AM (#510384)
Thanks, jimd, great stuff. I've added OPS+ and WS fielding ratings for these 26 catchers. And not to insult anybody's intelligence, but what jimd has done is equalize for season length. There are three ways to go with this data.

1. So now take Quality (OPS+ and defense) and multiply it by length of career (in equalized seasons).

2. Or you can penalize the old-timers by rejecting jimd's season equivalents and use games played or something like that.

3. And then you can penalize them *again* by putting a timeline on top of that.

Among these three options, if you choose option 1, Bennett is #1. Nobody who played "longer" has both a better OPS+ and better defensive rating. In fact, only 1 player has either. And then below him in career length, you have to drop down a long way to find anybody better in either one.

If you choose option 2 (don't adjust for season length), well, the numbers below don't really show where you would end up. But I would guess that Bresnahan and Kling, being the latest, played the most games among those who played at a fairly high level (Bresnahan with the bat, Kling more with the glove though he was well above the average catcher with the bat, too). Beyond that, maybe Chief Z., though WS for some reason omits his defensive rating and he was only 6 years younger than Bennett and only played an extra 200 games. Maybe Farrell, too, he was 10 years younger and played 50 percent more games (but, again, not as many seasons). But IOW, after Bresnahan and Kling, even among those who played more games, you probably have to have a very high level of play, too, to beat Bennett.

If you choose option 3, that is you want to "timeline" Bennett twice, well, then, no analysis is needed. Forget him. But short of failing to adjust for season length and timelining (penalizing him twice) I don't see how Bennett is not at least the equal of Bresnahan (at least, as a catcher) and clearly better (at least, as a catcher) than all the rest.

Thanks again, jimd, for a great analysis.

1) 21.2 Deacon McGuire 101 C+
2) 17.2 Wilbert Robinson 83 C
3) 16.2 Chief Zimmer 95 ?
4) 15.5 Pop Snyder 73 A+
5) 15.2 Malachi Kittredge 56 B-
6) 14.6 Jack Clements 116 C+
7) 14.5 Charlie Bennett 118 A
8) 13.7 Billy Sullivan 63 B
9) 13.3 Johnny Kling 100 B
10)13.1 Red Dooin 72 C+
11)12.9 Duke Farrell 99 A-
12)12.7 John Warner 73 B+
13)12.6 George Gibson (still active in 1918) 81 B-
14)12.5 Silver Flint 78 B
15)12.1 Lou Criger 72 A
16)12.0 Heinie Peitz 92 B
17)11.1 Jack O'Connor 79 B-
18)10.9 Oscar Stanage (still active in 1918) 69 D-
19)10.7 Bill Bergen 20 (!) A-
20)10.6 Doc Bushong 55 B+
21)10.5 Roger Bresnahan 126 C+

6) 09.4 Buck Ewing 130 A+
7) 09.1 Bill Holbert 47 ?
8) 09.1 Deacon White 123 ?
9) 08.8 Johnny Clapp 122 ?
10)08.5 King Kelly 136 ?

PS. Look also at Bresnahan and Ewing. The OPS+ are pretty similar but the defensive ratings obviously are not. It suggests that Ewing was used elsewhere besides catcher in order to keep his bat in the lineup. With Bresnahan, maybe there was a little of that. Or maybe it was just that he wasn't that good of a catcher anyway.

Meanwhile, my interpretation of Bennett is he was NOT used other than catcher because he was too good of a catcher.

   57. jimd Posted: February 07, 2004 at 02:00 AM (#510385)
Thank you, Marc, for adding all of the great WS analysis on top of the career length data.
   58. Paul Wendt Posted: February 09, 2004 at 07:23 AM (#510386)
jimd #66

Cal McVey was 34th at 4.3 seasons. Giving him credit for two complete seasons with the Cincinnati Red Stockings (I doubt he caught every game) would move him up to 20th.

Doug Allison was the regular catcher; McVey the regular RF.

Marc #68
I've added OPS+ and WS fielding ratings for these 26 catchers. And not to insult anybody's intelligence, but what jimd has done is equalize for season length. There are three ways to go with this data.

1. So now take Quality (OPS+ and defense) and multiply it by length of career (in equalized seasons).


#1 is supposed to be the most favorable to Bennett and his ilk. But career OPS+ is biased against anyone who played through a great increase in number of games per season and suffered a decline in OPS+.

   59. jimd Posted: February 11, 2004 at 06:47 PM (#510387)
Thank you Paul, I was just giving Cal every benefit of the doubt. He really doesn't have a predominant position.

Paul, that's also a very good point about OPS+. It's biased against players that had their peaks before 1885 but played a significant amount afterwards.
   60. Marc Posted: March 29, 2004 at 03:55 PM (#510389)
Joe mentioned that, as we head into the dreaded drought period of 1924-1932, he is going to be looking at "everybody" again. Me, too. This is an important opportunity to get the right players out of today's backlog, most of whom will probably never get serious consideration again.

Starting at catcher.

No matter how much I might want more catchers, right now there's Bresnahan and Bresnahan and that's really about it. Some kind of like Deacon McGuire, and I also think that rediscovering Jack Clements and John Clapp was worthwhile, but I don't seriously see any of them as HoMers or even as serious candidates. Coming up you've got Schalk, but shortly after that a whole new standard (Cochrane, Hartnett, etc.) will be set.

As to Bresnahan, I initially had him ranked fairly low, but I recognize that was in part because he was "no Charlie Bennett." Well, Charlie's no longer relevant, so let's look at Bresnahan against his real competition, now and in the future.

I always thought of Bresnahan as a borderline HoMer, in the Lombardi/Schalk class, certainly not a terrible pick of the Rick Ferrell type. I still think that's right, he's on the bubble.

On the pro side, he must have been a "toolsy" players and a good athlete. When he wasn't catching he was in CF, so while his fielding was not highly regarded, McGraw never buried him at an unimportant position. He was a productive hitter especially with a nice OBA. All those bases on balls are a bit of a mystery in a sense. BBs were perhaps his strongest suit, BBs were undervalued in those days and yet Bresnahan was highly regarded. He turned out to be the most highly regarded position player on a very, very good team.

On the con side, he was a lousy catcher. And his career was short both in terms of seasons and in terms of games/season. He not only had a short career, he cannot fully exploit the excuse of being a full-time catcher, because he played quite a bit elsewhere. He hurt his own case by virtually giving up playing in order to manage. He almost surely could have kept playing for another few years but chose, as manager, not to. Can you imagine Pete Rose chosing to do that?

It is often said that he was "the best catcher" between Bennett and Cochrane, but I think this is an overstatement. Maybe he was the best player who played 50+% of his games at catcher, but not the best catcher. During his catching prime, was he better than Johnny Kling? Would you rather have Kling or Bresnahan on your team 1905-10? Was Kling part of the success of all the second tier pitchers other than Brown who had career years while in Chicago? Was Bresnahan, OTOH, a big part of Christy Mathewson's success? You can make a better case for Kling. Was he better and more valuable overall than Ray Schalk? It is not clear, in my mind, that he was, because like Kling, Schalk had an obvious defensive superiority over Bresnahan. And unlike Kling, Schalk had a longer career than Bresnahan, all of it at catcher.

All of that conspires, in my mind, to keep Bresnahan down among the bubble candidates. Right now that means 15-25 somewhere, with the potential to get on my ballot in a few years but probably never better than 12-15.

Maybe that is unfair in the way that history is always unfair to guys whose value is spread across a variety of different skills rather than just doing one thing well. But I can't find a way to make Roger a top 10 type of candidate.

Schalk could make the bottom of my ballot by 1932, I don't know, but there is no one else. Schang has the same disadvantages as Bresnahan and not quite the advantages. Otherwise I will be waiting for the next generation and the obvious superstar catchers who emerged then.
   61. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 29, 2004 at 05:28 PM (#510390)
Schalk could make the bottom of my ballot by 1932, I don't know, but there is no one else. Schang has the same disadvantages as Bresnahan and not quite the advantages.

Funny, I think there is a huge chasm between Schang and Schalk. The benefit of having Schalk behind the plate doesn't make up for Schang's superiority as a hitter.

Schang will be in my top ten, while I can't see Schalk ever making a ballot of mine. I agree with Bill James here in regard to these two men.
   62. Paul Wendt Posted: March 29, 2004 at 05:54 PM (#510391)
For those who care about ranking the very good:
A player's distance from the HOM, or merit shortage, can be described in terms of the number of his own peak seasons that would, if duplicated, make him a strong candidate, a personal HOM member, etc.

Let me illustrate using John Tortes "Chief" Meyers and the Win Shares single-season rating. Meyers arrived in the majors in 1909, age 28, in a tandem replacement for Roger Bresnahan. He was a full-time catcher and very good batter for five seasons through 1914. By Win Shares,

Meyers, 1909-17, age 28-36
10 16 19 23 20 16; 10 10 5 = 129 (71% 29%)

Suppose he arrived three years earlier and duplicated his 1910-1912 seasons during 1907-1909. Then by Win Shares,

Meyers+3, 1906-17, age 25-36
10 16 19 23 16 19 23 20 16; 10 10 5 = 197

   63. Marc Posted: March 29, 2004 at 06:00 PM (#510392)
PS. My post should have been prominently labelled and qualified as being major league catchers only. And I should have mentioned Chief Meyers, Fred Carroll, Duke Farrell and Chief Zimmer as being generally in the Deacon McGuire group/class.

Part 2 of the post is that I agree wholeheartedly with whomever said that Bresnahan's position as "the best catcher between Bennett and Cochrane" is further undermined by Louis Santop and Bruce Petway, especially Santop who James lists as the top Negro Leaguer 1910-13 and as the #2 Negro League catcher behind you know who.

Santop sounds like an Ernie Lombardi type, a huge, slow-moving player, good overall defense but a great arm, and a power hitter. Petway, OTOH, sounds like a Schalkie, more of a defensive specialist.

John, not having looked at Schalk and Schang recently and having mroe appreciation for catcher defense than in the past, I won't try to justify Schalk over Schang, but I do think Bresnahan and Schang are more easily compared, despite the lack of alliteration, and Bresnahan would rank ahead of Schang. Schalk may or may not be in between but he would be closer to Schang than Bresnahan.

Top catchers eligible currently/through 1930s callin' 'em as I see 'em
1. Santop
2. Bresnahan
3. Clements
4. Petway
5. Schalk
6. Schang
7. Meyers
8. Clapp
9. Fred Carroll
10. Kling
11. Farrell
12. Zimmer
13. McGuire

Not at all solid on Petway yet, could be anywhere from 3 to 8. McGuire doesn't do well on my standing method and Carroll does, and I think that is wrong. In fact, I don't remember Fred Carroll at all. All of the last four may be better than the four above them for all I know, but somewhere among this list of 13 there is a line below which some of these guys are probably not even among the top 100 eligible today. IOW, after about 5-6, it really doesn't matter and other than Petway and Schalk-and-Schang I am pretty solid on the top 5-6.

   64. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 29, 2004 at 07:37 PM (#510393)
Suppose he arrived three years earlier and duplicated his 1910-1912 seasons during 1907-1909. Then by Win Shares,

Meyers+3, 1906-17, age 25-36
10 16 19 23 16 19 23 20 16; 10 10 5 = 197


I wish he had them, Paul.

BTW, what is your opinion of Meyers as a player during his pre-NL years? Do you think he was an above-average player stuck in the minors or did he still need seasoning? If he was the former, Meyers could possibly make my ballot.

I won't try to justify Schalk over Schang, but I do think Bresnahan and Schang are more easily compared, despite the lack of alliteration, and Bresnahan would rank ahead of Schang.

That's arguable (Bres over Schang), but I think it's close enough to argue either way.

I do agree that Santop appears to be the cream of the crop at this point. Like you, I'm not that sold on Petway at this point (though I haven't done my real work on them yet).

   65. Marc Posted: April 03, 2004 at 03:38 AM (#510394)
Having 1) taken Joe's call to reconsider everybody in this drought period so that we get the right backlog, and 2) having second thoughts about whether I was underrating the leading catcher candidate Roger Bresnahan, I posted some thoughts on catchers a few days ago. Being 3) unhappy with that post which was pretty much off-the-top, here is another effort on catchers.

I put together a consideration set--and BTW, I included any catcher who would become eligible here through 1939 because I don't want to do this again any time soon--by looking at a variety of things. WS (and defensive WS separately), HoF Monitor and Standards, Black and Gray Ink, OPS, etc.

I then analyzed ten catchers using my usual HoM methods including:
   66. Chris Cobb Posted: April 05, 2004 at 03:54 PM (#510396)
I was curious about John Clapp's defense as WS would see it, so I did a little looking. His fielding value as a catcher is hard to find, but his fielding win shares as a catcher are isolated for 4 of his 6 NL seasons as catcher because he ranked among the top five in those years: 76, 77, 79, 80 (did not rank in 81 or 83).

In those seasons he earned 11.9 fws as catcher. In those seasons he played 250 games at catcher. Assuming 9 defensive innings per game (perhaps a high estimate), he earned 5.29 fws per 1000 defensive innings. The bottom of the B range for catchers in James' letter-grade system is 5.30 WS/1000 defensive innings. Given that these four seasons are from the second half of Clapp's career, and that an eyeball comparison of his WARP fielding statistics from the NA years shows that he was at least well above average (his rates 72-75 are 105, 114, 132, 136 and a look at other catchers active then doesn't show anyone with a substantially better profile) I think it's a fairly safe assumption that for his career he was a B- defensive catcher, possibly as high as a B, depending on how his early years weigh against his weakest late years, for which we don't have specific numbers. He was a good, but not great, defensive catcher.
   67. Marc Posted: April 05, 2004 at 04:52 PM (#510397)
Thanks, Chris, I don't have access to WS breakdowns by season. I am saying that Clapp is a HoMer or even ballot-worthy, but I do think he stands out among 19th century catchers not already elected. It's good to get any additional info to keep his memory alive ;-)

Fred Carroll is the other old timer who stood out with the bat, so I had Fred up my list a ways. As for his defense, just 18 percent of his value was defensive--not as much as most catchers, but most catchers don't have a 137 OPS+. (That's 18 percent of 123 WS or 22 defensive WS; I won't bother with any further calc's since he played almost as many games in the OF (319) as catcher (377)).

James does say in NBJHBA that he appear to be a decent catcher but there is no rating in WS. (In NBJHBA, BTW, Carroll is listed as Cliff Carroll instead of Fred in the player ratings but the description has it right. Cliff was an OF also in the '80s but apparently unrelated.)

Fred was California born yet made the majors very young. James says he was the second best YOUNG catcher ever (after Bench), hitting .288 with 92 runs scored in 1886 at age 21/22. Then he hit .328 and .499 SA in '87. He walked a lot and stole 35 bases in '90!

When Al Spalding took the Chicago White Sox on their around-the-world tour in 1888-89 Carroll was chosen to play on the Washington Generals (the opposition). After playing well '84-'90, he had a hand injury and hit .218 with the Pirates in '91 and was released. He went back home to California where he was paid a major league salary to catch and captain the Oakland team in the California League. He led the league in batting (at just .302) and home runs. Then he hit .338, .389 and .414 as the offensive explosion in the NL apparently also hit out west. He had 22 and 21 HR in the latter two years.

Carroll's play perhaps suggests that western ball at this time was at a level well below the NL. Carroll was certainly a star and a dominant hitter, whereas he had never been either in the NL. But again, he did have a 137 career OPS+. I would guess he had four years out west at age 27-31 with an OPS+ around 175-190. Assuming he was in decline, a 30-40 percent discount for western ball at this time seems about right.

I didn't include Carroll on my recommended reading list. I figured one 19th century catcher was enough, and Clapp really was a catcher. Carroll, though a "decent" catcher, was really a "hitter" with almost as many games in the OF. But any catcher who retired before 1893 and makes James' top 100 must have been a pretty good ball player. Just consider the following string of WS seasons, all in short seasons from '86-'90:

22,18,13,23,16

Not too shabby. At that time, guys like Oyster Burns, Ed Swartwood, Sam Thompson, Jimmy Ryan, Curt Welch, Fred Pfeffer, Sam Wise, Yank Robinson and Billy Nash were putting up similar numbers.
   68. Marc Posted: April 05, 2004 at 05:49 PM (#510398)
Correction: I am NOT saying that Clapp is a HoMer...
   69. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: April 05, 2004 at 11:19 PM (#510399)
Since Max was asking about this the other day, I'll repost it here. When I get the chance (hopefully in a couple of weeks), I'll extend it a bit to get Schang's full numbers, and I'll try and account for Bresnahan's CF seasons in some way. I'm still not saying this is any great piece of analysis, but I think it has some use:

Okay, here's something I did with the intent of garnering some more ammunition for Charlie Bennett, which didn't work out exactly that way. What I did was find the OPS+ for the #1 catcher for every team from 1871-1919 (using the Baseball Encyclopedia for 1876-1900, and the lists at the back of Rob Neyer's lineup book for 1901-1919). Then I took the average for each league, and added up the differences for each player. (I tended to include all teams, with some arbitrary exclusions, mostly for 1875. I left out the UA, but left in the 1890 NL.)

For example: In 1875, Deacon White's OPS+ was 179. The league average was 84, so White's "score" was 95. (That's the highest for this era. The lowest was Bill Bergen's -80 in 1910.)

Okay, that's the methedology, flawed as it is. (The biggest problem that I see is the many teams that essentially had 2 regular catchers, when only one is included in the study.)

Here are the totals for all catchers with at least 6 seasons. The numbers in parentheses are the number of seasons they were above average and the number they were below.)

Deacon White (8,0) 385
   70. Marc Posted: April 08, 2004 at 10:04 PM (#510401)
Don't forget that Clements was a C+ catcher, Bennett was an A.

Others listed above as OPS+ leaders:

McGuire-C+
   71. Paul Wendt Posted: April 18, 2004 at 03:03 PM (#510402)
TomH, in 1924 Ballot Discussion
   72. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 18, 2004 at 04:13 PM (#510403)
For example, Roger Bresnahan enjoys multi-season (3yr, 5yr) and career-sum ratings that include his achievements at other positions*; that include his achievements in single seasons where he was not primarily a catcher, some where he was not secondarily a catcher**. The former* is true of all catchers and may be significant for many; I am sure that Bresnahan benefits from the latter**, in comparison with other catchers.

True, Paul, but if you take a look at other multipositional stars in the NBJHA, he corrects for this advantage (Kid Gleason, for example). Of course, this could be more subjectivity than objectivity on his part so one can argue if he is being fair or unfair with his positioning of the players (or he just possibly forgot to take into account different positions for certain players).
   73. Marc Posted: April 18, 2004 at 05:03 PM (#510404)
I think we have Bresnahan pegged pretty well right now (he is 30th on my ballot, higher than that overall of course). But let's just imagine that by 2004-2007-whatever, we have elected 20-30 more players who are eligible today. Then we probably will have elected Bresnahan. He will perhaps be one of our weaker selections. He is not one of Cooperstown's weaker selections because of the really, really weak selections they have made. But take away the obvious boo-boos and Bresnahan and Lombardi replace G. Kelly and other FOFF at the bottom of the list. That seems about right.
   74. PhillyBooster Posted: April 20, 2004 at 01:35 PM (#510405)
Limping along several weeks behind Marc, who is taking a similar re-examination of all of the positions. Again, I am only considering players who are currently eligible.

1. Roger Bresnahan: 78.4 WARP-1; 231 WS; Ranked #16 by Bill James. Bresnahan is the highest ranked player (by James) at his position currently eligible, so should be re-examined, I think, by anyone who left him off.

2. Jack Clements: 73.6 WARP-1; 146 WS; BJ Rank #58. Really not far off of my ballot at all, and definitely a #16-20 type player who will be competing to get into the 15th slot of my ballot. Not as good as Charlie Bennett, but not 30 positions worse than him either.

3. Deacon McGuire: 78 WARP-1; 189 WS; BJ Rank #40. I could see how a timeliner could have 2 and 3 reversed.

4. Chief Meyers: 48.1 WARP-1; 129 WS; BJ Rank #60. I give more credit to non-major league ball than most, so Meyers get up here based on accomplishments in California. This won't be enough to get Meyers on my ballot, but it will make a huge difference in my evaluation of Gavvy Cravath.

5. Johnny Kling: 58.5 WARP-1; 155 WS; BJ Rank #48. Here mostly for number of games caught.

6. Chief Zimmer: 73.9 WARP-1; 153 WS; BJ Rank #62. After Bennett and Clements (and Deacon White, if you count him as a catcher), Zimmer was the best catcher available in the first election. That doesn't get him far.

7. Wilbert Robinson: 58.2 WARP-1; 116 WS; BJ Rank# 86. Here definitely for number of games caught.

8. Heinie Peitz: 57.2 WARP-1; 124 WS; BJ Rank #82. Just rounding out the top 10.

9. Fred Carroll: 41.2 WARP-1; 109 WS; BJ Rank# 83. Not much to say about these guy at the bottom.

10. Doggie Miller: 54.6 WARP-1; 135 WS; BJ Rank #76. Except that one of them was nicknamed "Doggie" for the prosaic reason that he owned dogs.

8. Fred Carroll:
   75. Paul Wendt Posted: April 21, 2004 at 04:36 PM (#510406)
The SABR BioProject recently published a biography of Roger Bresnahan by Joan Thomas
   76. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 04, 2004 at 10:10 PM (#776404)
Comments have been corrected up to post #77.
   77. jimd Posted: August 04, 2004 at 11:00 PM (#776485)
Wonderful work, John. It can't be easy.

Not to nitpick, but it looks like Marc's #73 is still truncated.
   78. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 04, 2004 at 11:24 PM (#776567)
Not to nitpick, but it looks like Marc's #73 is still truncated.

I should have stated that I corrected all posts up to #72. I deleted a few double and triple posts, so the numbering here doesn't mach up with the cached version.

All other posts are gone with the wind...
   79. Kelly in SD Posted: August 05, 2004 at 03:38 PM (#778566)
Reposting an eariler post about Roger Bresnahan that compares him to his contemporaries:

Compared to National League contemporaries:
player   yrs  G at C Tot DefG OPS+  WS
RDooin  02-16  1195   1219     72   91
GGibson 05-18  1194   1195     81  113
JKling  00-13  1168   1206    100  155
RBresn  97-15   974   1375    126  231  **
BBergen 01-11   941    942     20   51
CMeyers 09-17   911    911    117  129
LMcLean 01-15   761    798     86   73
JArcher 04-18   736    804     80   74
PMoran  01-14   697    767     78   77
ASchlei 04-11   561    593     83   55
EPhelps 02-13   530    540     88   49
LRitter 02-08   410    438     67   27

American League

player   yrs  G at C Tot DefG OPS+  WS
BSulliv 99-16  1122   1133     63   77
OStanag 06-20  1074   1081     69   98
LCriger 96-12   984    996     72   92
OSchrek 97-08   751    855     90   98
BCarrig 06-16   649    666     94   71
GStreet 04-12   493    493     66   30
IThomas 06-15   450    452     82   44
BSchmid 06-11   447    449     79   40

** about 162-170 were at catcher.
I broke it down by games and chances at each position compared to total gams and WS. I got the numbers from BRef. If someone else has done a full season-by-season breakdown, please post.
   80. DavidFoss Posted: August 25, 2004 at 02:14 AM (#817492)
Just figured out that the Sabermetric Encyclopedia has some fielding data in it as well.


CAREER
1876-1930
C

GAMES                            G     
1    Ray Schalk                 1727   
2    Deacon McGuire             1611   
3    Steve O'Neill              1530   
4    Wally Schang               1405   
5    Wilbert Robinson           1316   
6    Muddy Ruel                 1271   
7    Frank Snyder               1247   
8    Chief Zimmer               1239   
9    Hank Severeid              1226   
10   Ivy Wingo                  1202   



Mostly 20th century guys here except for McGuire, Robinson and Zimmer. Nobody from the 00's at all on this list. (Kling, Kittridge and Dooin are in the next 10.) The rest of the top 10 is from Schalk's time with the possible exception of Ruel who still has a couple hundred games to add after my 1930 cutoff.
   81. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 25, 2004 at 02:27 AM (#817558)
1 Ray Schalk 1727
2 Deacon McGuire 1611


With a longer schedule, shinguards and less unsportsman-like conduct, McGuire would be #1 here.
   82. DavidFoss Posted: August 25, 2004 at 02:55 AM (#817622)
Yeah... quite true, John. Sharing the duties for three years with lefty Jack Clements didn't help him either. McGuire is actually a year older than Clements.

Bennett's tally of 954 held for several years until Clements passed him in 1897. McGuire, Zimmer, and Robinson followed suit in the next two seasons.

Anyhow, these totals have held up over the years. Schalk is still 13th all-time between Bench and Dickey. McGuire was still 18th going into this year, though I think I-Rod probably caught him this summer at some point.
   83. Kelly in SD Posted: August 25, 2004 at 07:52 AM (#817766)
National League Catchers 1901-1920
Gs=Scheduled Games, G#1=Most games caught, G#2=2nd Most Games Caught, G#3 3rd Most, List of Catchers w/ more than 100
year  Gs  G#1 G#2 G#3  Catchers with 100 games
1901 140  113  87  84  Kittridge
1902 140  112  98  89  Kling
1903 140  132 107  85  Kling, Moran
1904 154  104  96  93  Kling
1905 154  107 106  89  Dooin, Kling
1906 154  107 103  96  Dooin, Bergen (kling 96)
1907 154  109  98  95  Gibson (kling, bresnahan)
1908 154  140 139 132  Gibson, Bresnahan, Dooin, Kling
1909 154  150 140 112  Gibson, Dooin, Bergen
1910 154  143 119 117  Gibson, McLean, Meyers
1911 154  128 102  98  Meyers, Archer (gibson 98, mclean 98)
1912 154  122 118  98  Meyers, Archer (mclean 98, gibson 94)
1913 154  118 116 103  Killefer, Meyers, Archer, Miller, Clarke
1914 154  126 115 106  Meyers, Gowdy, Clarke, Gibson
1915 154  142 118 114  Snyder, Gibson, Gowdy, Killefer
1916 154  119 116 107  Rariden, Gowdy, Wingo
1917 154  120 120 100  Wingo, Killefer, Rariden
1918 128  104 104 100  Killefer, Schmidt, Gonzalez
1919 140  100  85  75  Killefer
1920 154  107 105 103  Wingo, O'Neil, Clemons 
   84. Kelly in SD Posted: August 25, 2004 at 07:54 AM (#817767)
National League Catchers 1921-1941
Gs=Scheduled Games, G#1=Most games caught, G#2=2nd Most Games Caught, G#3 3rd Most, List of Catchers w/ more than 100
year  Gs  G#1 G#2 G#3  Players with 100 games
1921 154  111 107 101  Schmidt, Clemons, Snyder
1922 154  125 119 116  O'Farrell, Henline, Ainsmith, Gooch
1923 154  124 112 109  O'Farrell, Snyder, Hargrave
1924 154  119 110 106  Gonzalez, Snyder, O'Neil, Hartnett
1925 154  110  96  96  Hartnett, Smith, Snyder, Taylor 96
1926 154  146 128  98  O'Farrell, Taylor, Smith
1927 154  126 124  92  Hartnett, Wilson, Hargrave
1928 154  124 124 120  Hogan, Taylor, Wilson, Hartnett
1929 154  119 109 103  Wilson, Spohrer, Lerian, Hargreaves
1930 154  136 126 108  Hartnett, Lopez, Spohrer
1931 154  114 113 111  Davis, Hogan, Spohrer, Wilson, Sukeforth, Hartnett, 
Lopez, Phillips EVERY STARTER CAUGHT 100 
1932 154  136 125 120  Hogan, Lopez, Davis, Hartnett, Grace, Lombardi, Spohrer
1933 154  142 140 132  Mancuso, Hartnett, Davis, Lopez, Wilson
1934 154  137 129 122  Lopez, Hartnett, Mancuso, Lombardi
1935 154  126 126 110  Lopez, Mancuso, Hartnett
1936 154  138 127 114  Mancuso, Lopez, Hartnett, Lombardi, Berres, Davis
1937 154  128 111 103  Todd, Phelps, Hartnett, Lopez
1938 154  132 123 116  Todd, Lombardi, Owen, Danning
1939 154  132 129 126  Danning, Lopez, Owen, Lombardi
1940 154  131 113 104  Danning, Owen, Todd, Lombardi
1941 154  128 120 119  Owen, Berres, McCullough, Lombardi, Danning, Lopez,
Warren, Mancuso EVERY STARTER CAUGHT 100 
   85. Kelly in SD Posted: August 25, 2004 at 07:56 AM (#817768)
American League Catchers 1901-1920
Gs=Scheduled Games, G#1=Most games caught, G#2=2nd Most Games Caught, G#3 3rd Most, List of Catchers w/ more than 100
 
year  Gs  G#1 G#2 G#3  Catchers over 100 games
1901 140  111 107  97  Powers, Clarke 
1902 140   87  87  87
1903 140   96  75  74
1904 154  107  97  95  Sullivan
1905 154  114 109  92  Schreckengost, Criger
1906 154  118  95  89  Sullivan
1907 154  115 108 103  Clarke, Sullivan, Schmidt
1908 154  137 128 121  Sullivan, Street, Schmidt
1909 154  137  97  84  Street
1910 154  110  96  86  Carrigan
1911 154  141 103  89  Stanage, Thomas
1912 154  120 108  87  Stanage, Sweeney
1913 154  125 112 103  Schalk, Sweeney, Agnew
1914 154  125 122 115  Schalk, Stanage, Agnew, Schang
1915 154  134 115 102  Schalk, O'Neill, Agnew, Stanage 
1916 154  128 124 116  O'Neill, Schalk, Henry
1917 154  139 139 127  Schalk, Severeid, O'Neill, Ainsmith
1918 128  113 106  89  O'Neill, Schalk
1919 140  129 123 106  Schalk, O'Neill, Ainsmith, Schang, Severeid
1920 154  151 148 146  Schalk, O'Neill, Perkins, Gharrity, Severeid 
   86. Kelly in SD Posted: August 25, 2004 at 07:58 AM (#817770)
American League Catchers 1921-1941
Gs=Scheduled Games, G#1=Most games caught, G#2=2nd Most Games Caught, G#3 3rd Most, List of Catchers w/ more than 100
year  Gs  G#1 G#2 G#3  Catchers over 100 games
1921 154  141 132 126  Perkins, Schang, Schalk, Severeid, Gharrity,
Bassler, Ruel, O'Neill  EVERY STARTER CAUGHT 100
1922 154  142 141 133  Schalk, Perkins, Severeid, O'Neill, Schang, Bassler, Ruel
1923 154  137 133 128  Perkins, Ruel, Bassler, Schalk, Severeid, O'Neill
1924 154  147 130 128  Ruel, Severeid, Perkins, Bassler, Schang
1925 154  133 126 125  Cochrane, Ruel, Schalk, Bassler
1926 154  125 117 115  Sewell, Ruel, Cochrane, Collins
1927 154  128 126 123  Ruel, Sewell, Cochrane
1928 154  130 118 101  Cochrane, Sewell, Ruel
1929 154  135 127 124  Cochrane, Dickey, Sewell, Berg
1930 154  130 101 101  Cochrane, Dickey, Ferrell
1931 154  145 125 117  Spencer, Dickey, Cochrane, Ferrell, Sewell, Berry
1932 154  137 120 108  Cochrane, Ferrell, Dickey, Hayworth
1933 154  141 133 128  Sewell, Hayworth, Cochrane, Dickey, Ferrell
1934 154  128 124 114  Ferrell, Cochrane, Hemsley, Dickey
1935 154  141 131 118  Hemsley, Ferrell, Dickey, Sewell, Cochrane, Bolton
1936 154  143 126 121  Hayes, Sewell, Ferrell, Hemsley, Dickey
1937 154  137 118 115  Dickey, Sewell, Pytlak
1938 154  131 126 116  Ferrell, Dickey, York, Desautels
1939 154  126 119 114  Dickey, Tresh, Hayes, Hemsley, Tibbetts
1940 154  135 134 128  Tresh, Hayes, Swift, Hemsley, Tibbetts, Dickey
1941 154  123 115 104  Hayes, Tresh, Dickey, Early 
   87. Paul Wendt Posted: November 05, 2004 at 06:32 PM (#955301)
"Catching the Hall of Fame Pitchers"
- a series of tabulations by Walt A. Wilson, Chicago, published in the Baseball Records Cmte (SABR) newsletter, at least 2001-2004.

For more information, see Mickey Welch #42. For example, #23 and #41.
   88. Paul Wendt Posted: January 17, 2005 at 10:44 PM (#1085241)
Kelly from SD in 1943 Ballot Discussion, P100

Catcher win shares 1900-1942.
Now that we are starting to deal with more catcher candidates I thought it would be helpful if there was a list of the year-to-year team leaders(#) so that we can see how potential HoMers perform against others. By how much were they better than the rest of the league and what was the average?


(#) team-season leader in Win Shares among players identified by Bill James as catchers.

Here is Kelly's table for one league-season prefixed with the number of catcher starts and other starts for each of the eight team-leading catchers.

NL1901
sC,sOther Name Team WS

50,25 Peitz__ Cin 11
111,0 Kittridge Bos 10
79,_3 McGuire Bro 10
72,_0 McFarland Phi 10
45,36 Nichols Stl 6
65,_1 Kling__ Chi 5
65,_0 Zimmer_ Pit 5
76,_0 Warner_ NY 4

For example, Heinie Peitz started 50 games at catcher and 25 other games (19 2b, 6 3b).

Here I have also added the record of one or two teammate catchers to each line.

1901 NL
sC,sOther Name Team WS - WS (Name sC,sOther)

50,25 Peitz___ Cin 11 - 4 ( Bergen 82,0)
111,0 Kittridge Bos 10 - 2 ( Moran 27,19)
79,_3 McGuire Bro 10 - 9 ( Farrell 56,17)
72,_0 McFarland Phi 10 - 7 - 4 ( Douglass 41,5; Jacklitsch 27,1)
45,36 Nichols_ Stl 6 - 5 - 3 ( Schriver 23,19; Ryan 65,17)
65,_1 Kling___ Chi 5 - 3 ( Kahoe 61,4)
65,_0 Zimmer_ Pit 5 - 2 - 2 ( OConnor 57,0; Yeager 18,4)
76,_0 Warner_ NY 4 - 2 - 1 ( Bowerman 40,8; Smith 24,0)

For example, Peitz teammate Bill Bergen started 82 ,0 games (82 games, all at catcher) and earned 4 WS. The most frequent St Louis catcher Jack Ryan started 65,17 games and earned 3 WS! This modified table covers almost the full season for each team but Chicago where Frank Chance started 12,53 games and earned 9 WS.

By the way, Ed McFarland and his Phillie mates usually batted fifth; all the other NL catchers usually batted eight.
   89. Kelly in SD Posted: January 18, 2005 at 07:45 AM (#1085998)
Part 1 of 2 parts: Reposting from 1943 discussion thread.

Catcher win shares 1900-1942.
Now that we are starting to deal with more catcher candidates I thought it would be helpful if there was a list of the year-to-year team leaders so that we can see how potential HoMers perform against others. By how much were they better than the rest of the league and what was the average. I decided to start with 1900

1900 NL
McFarland Phi 14
Zimmer Pit 10
Peitz Cin 9
Chance Chi 7
McGuire Bro 7
Clarke / Sullivan Bos 6
Criger StL 6
Grady NY 5

1901 AL
Clarke Was 12
Schreckengost Bos 11
Wood Cle 11
Powers Phi 10
Sullivan Chi 9
McAllister Det 8
Maloney Mil 7
Bresnahan Bal 6

1901 NL
Peitz Cin 11
Kittridge Bos 10
McGuire Bro 10
McFarland Phi 10
Nichols Stl 6
Kling Chi 5
Zimmer Pit 5
Warner NY 4

1902 AL
Schreckengost Phi 13
Bemis Cle 11
Criger Bos 10
Clarke Was 8
Robinson Bal 7
McFarland / Sullivan Chi 6
Sugden Stl 5
McGuire Det 4

1902 NL
Kling Chi 17
Kittridge / Moran Bos 9
Hearne Bro 8
Bowerman NY 7
Bergen Cin 5
O’Connor / Zimmer Pit 5
Dooin Phi 4
Ryan Stl 3

1903 AL
Schreckengost Phi 10
Bemis Cle 9
Criger Bos 9
McGuire Det 6
Sugden StL 5
Drill Was 4
McFarland Chi 4
Beville NY 3

1903 NL
Kling Chi 22
Moran Bos 17
Warner NY 11
Peitz Cin 9
Phelps Pit 8
Jacklitsch Bro 7
O’Neill StL 5
Roth Phi 5

1904 AL:
Drill Det/Was 14
Sugden StL 13
Criger Bos 11
Sullivan Chi 9
McGuire NY 8
Bemis Cle 5
Schreckgost Phi 4

1904 NL:
Grady StL 17
Kling Chi 10
Bowerman NY 9
Moran / Needham Bos 9
Schlei Cin 9
Dooin Phi 8
Ritter Bro 7
Phelps Pit 6

1905 AL
Schreckengost Phi 14
McFarland Chi 13
Drill Det 12
Criger Bos 11
Bemis Cle 9
Heyden Was 7
Kleinow NY 6
Sugden StL 4

1905 NL
Bresnahan NY 19
Grady StL 16
Dooin Phi 10
Kling Chi 8
Moran Bos 7
Schlei Cin 7
Peitz Pit 5
Ritter Bro 5

1906 AL
Schreckengost Phi 15
Clarke Cle 11
Sullivan Chi 11
Payne Det 8
Rickey StL 8
Wakefield Was 7
Kleinow / McGuire 6
Graham Bos 3

1906 NL
Bresnahan NY 29
Kling Chi 21
Grady StL 11
Schlei Cin 11
Dooin Phi 6
Bergen Bro 5
Needham Bos 4
Peitz Pit 4

1907 AL
Clarke Cle 17
Schreckengost Phi 16
Kleinow NY 9
Schmidt Det 9
McFarland Chi 8
Spencer StL 6
Criger / Shaw Bos 4
Warner Was 4

1907 NL
Kling Chi 19
Bresnahan NY 18
McLean Cin 13
Dooin / Jacklitsch Phi 8
Gibson Pit 8
Needham Bos 4
Ritter Bro 4
Marshall / Noonan StL 3

1908 AL
Schmidt Det 15
Street Was 11
Clarke Cle 10
Sullivan Chi 7
Criger Bos 5
Schreckengost Phi 5
Spencer StL 5
Kleinow NY 2

1908 NL
Bresnahan NY 27
Kling Chi 22
Dooin Phi 16
Gibson Pit 12
Graham Bos 8
Schlei Cin 7
Bergen Bro 6
Bliss StL 2

1909 AL
Carrigan Bos 12
Easterly Cle 10
Thomas Phi 9
Kleinow NY 8
Stanage Det 8
Stephens StL 7
Street Was 6
Sullivan Chi 4

1909 NL
Gibson Pit 24
Meyers / Schlei NY 10
Dooin Phi 9
McLean Cin 9
Bergen Bro 8
Bresnahan StL 8
Archer / Moran Chi 7
Graham Bos 5

1910 AL
Easterly Cle 15
Carrigan Bos 8
Thomas Phi 8
Payne Chi 6
Schmidt Det 6
Stephens StL 5
Sweeney NY 5
Street Was 4

1910 NL
Gibson Pit 18
McLean Cin 17
Meyers NY 16
Kling Chi 14
Bresnahan StL 13
Dooin Phi 7
Bergen Bro 6
Graham Bos 6

1911 AL
Thomas Phi 13
Stanage Det 9
Carrigan Bos 8
Smith Cle 6
Blair / Sweeney NY 4
Block / Sullivan Chi 4
Street Was 4
Stephens StL 3

1911 NL
Meyers NY 19
Bresnahan StL 14
Archer Chi 11
Dooin Phi 11
Erwin Bro 11
McLean Cin 10
Gibson Pit 6
Kling Bos 3

1912 AL
Carrigan Bos 10
Lapp Phi 10
Williams Was 9
Sweeney NY 7
Stanage Det 6
Block / Kuhn Chi 5
Easterly Cle 5
Stephens StL 3

1912 NL
Meyers NY 23
Archer Chi 13
Wingo StL 10
Clarke / McLean Cin 8
Gibson Pit 8
Miller Bro 8
Kling Bos 7
Killefer Phi 5

1913 AL
Schang Phi 13
Schalk Chi 13
Sweeney NY 12
O’Neill Cle 10
Carrigan Bos 9
Henry Was 9
McKee Det 6
Agnew StL 5

1913 NL
Meyers NY 20
Archer Chi 12
Clarke Cin 10
Killefer Phi 10
Rariden Bos 8
Miller Bro 7
Simon Pit 7
Wingo StL 6

1914 AL
Schang Phi 19
Schalk Chi 17
Carrigan Bos 11
Nunamaker NY 11
Williams Was 7
Agnew StL 6
O’Neill Cle 6
Stanage Det 3

1914 NL
Gowdy Bos 16
Meyers NY 16
Bresnahan Chi 14
Gibson Pit 12
Clarke Cin 11
Wingo StL 11
Killefer Phi 7
McCarty Bro 7

1915 AL
Schalk Chi 18
Lapp Phi 12
Cady Bos 11
Henry Was 10
O’Neill Cle 9
Nunamaker NY 6
Stanage Det 5
Agnew StL 2
(Schang Phi 17 but listed at 3rd)

1915 NL
Snyder StL 24
Gowdy Bos 15
Gibson Pit 11
Clarke Cin 10
Meyers NY 10
Killefer Phi 9
Archer Chi 8
McCarty / Miller Bro 7

1916 AL
Schalk Chi 16
Nunamaker NY 15
Henry Was 13
Thomas Bos 11
O’Neill Cle 10
Severeid StL 8
Stanage Det 6
Meyer Phi 2
(Schang Phi 12 but listed in OF)

1916 NL
Gowdy Bos 17
Rariden NY 12
Gonzalez / Snyder StL 11
Meyers Bro 10
Wingo Cin 8
Burns / Killefer Phi 6
Fischer / Wilson Pit 5
Archer Chi 2

1917 AL
Schalk Chi 20
Schang Phi 15
Severeid StL 12
Ainsmith Was 9
Nunamker NY 9
O’Neill Cle 7
Thomas Bos 7
Spencer Det 6

1917 NL
Wingo Cin 15
Killefer Phi 15
Rariden NY 12
Gonzalez / Snyder StL 10
Fischer Pit 8
Wilson Chi 8
Miller Bro 6
Tragesser Bos 6

1918 AL (teams played 122-128 games, win shares are unadjusted)
O’Neill Cle 13
Schang Bos 10
Hannah NY 10
Nunamaker StL 9
Ainsmith Was 8
Schalk Chi 7
McAvoy Phi 6
Spencer / Stanage Det 4

1918 NL (teams played 123-129 games, win shares are unadjusted)
Gonzalez StL 12
Killefer Chi 10
Schmidt Pit 10
Wingo Cin 10
McCarty NY 9
Wilson Bos 7
Miller Bro 4
Adams / Burns Phi 3

1919 AL (140 game schedule, numbers unadjusted)
Schang Bos 19
O’Neill Cle 18
Schalk Chi 17
Ainsmith Det 15
Gharrity Was 9
Perkins Phi 9
Severeid StL 8
Hannah NY 6

1919 NL (140 game schedule, numbers unadjusted)
Killefer Chi 13
Wingo Cin 13
Clemons StL 10
McCarty NY 9
Gowdy Bos 8
Krueger Bro 8
Schmidt Pit 8
Adams Phi 3
   90. Kelly in SD Posted: January 18, 2005 at 07:47 AM (#1086002)
part 2 of 2

1920 AL
O’Neill Cle 25
Schalk Chi 21
Schang Bos 20
Perkins Phi 13
Severeid StL 11
Gharrity Was 10
Ruel NY 6
Stanage Det 2

1920 NL
O’Neil Bos 12
Clemons StL 11
O’Farrell Chi 11
Schmidt Pit 11
Wingo Cin 11
Smith NY 10
Miller Bro 9
Wheat Phi 4

1921 AL (first league with all lead catchers have double figures)
Schang NY 20
Gharrity Was 19
Severeid StL 18
O’Neill Cle 16
Bassler Det 13
Perkins Phi 12
Ruel Bos 11
Schalk Chi 11

1921 NL
Snyder NY 16
Clemons StL 14
Schmidt Pit 10
O’Neil Bos 9
Bruggy Phi 8
Hargrave Cin 8
O’Farrell Chi 7
Krueger Bro 6

1922 AL
Schalk Chi 22
Schang NY 18
Severeid StL 18
O’Neill Cle 16
Bassler Det 15
Perkins Phi 12
Gharrity Was 11
Ruel Bos 9

1922 NL
O’Farrell Chi 26
Ainsmith StL 16
Gooch Pit 14
Hargrave Cin 14
Snyder NY 13
Henline Phi 12
DeBerry Bro 9
Gowdy Bos 9

1923 AL
Ruel Was 23
Bassler Det 19
Severeid StL 16
Perkins Phi 15
Picinich Bos 10
Hofmann / Schang NY 8
Schalk Chi 7
O’Neill Cle 5

1923 NL
Hargrave Cin 25
O’Farrell Chi 25
Snyder NY 12
Henline Phi 10
DeBerry Bro 8
Gooch Pit 7
Smith Bos 6
Ainsmith / Clemons / McCurdy StL 4

1924 AL
Bassler Det 21
Ruel Was 17
Schang NY 16
Severeid StL 16
Myatt Cle 15
Perkins Phi 7
Crouse Chi 6
O’Neill Bos 6

1924 NL
Hartnett Chi 19
Hargrave Cin 14
Snyder NY 14
Taylor Bro 13
Gonzalez StL 11
Gibson Bos 9
Henline Phi 9
Smith Pit 8

1925 AL
Ruel Was 18
Cochrane Phi 16
Bassler Det 13
Schalk Chi 12
Myatt Cle 9
Hargrave StL 8
Bengough NY 7
Picinich Bos 4

1925 NL
Hartnett Chi 19
Smith Pit 15
Taylor Bro 12
Snyder NY 11
O’Farrell StL 10
Wilson Phi 10
Hargrave Cin 8
Gibson Bos 7

1926 AL
Ruel Was 18
Collins NY 17
Cochrane Phi 14
Schang StL 14
Bassler Det 10
Sewell Cle 8
Schalk Chi 5
Bischoff / Gaston Bos 2

1926 NL
O’Farrell StL 23
Hargrave Cin 18
Smith Pit 14
Hartnett Chi 12
Taylor Bos 12
Wilson Phi 9
Hargreaves Bro 7
Florence NY 3

1927 AL
Cochrane Phi 23
Ruel Was 20
Collins NY 12
Schang StL 12
Sewell Cle 11
Woodall Det 10
McCurdy Chi 9
Hofmann Bos 4

1927 NL
Hartnett Chi 21
Hargrave Cin 13
Hogan Bos 8
Wilson Phi 8
Gooch Pit 7
Schulte StL 12
DeBerry Bro 6
Cummings NY 4

1928 AL
Cochrane Phi 22
Schang StL 14
Hargrave Det 10
Sewell Cle 10
Collins NY 9
Ruel Was 8
Berg / Crouse Chi 5
Berry Bos 4

1928 NL
Hartnett Chi 26
Hogan NY 19
Picinich Cin 13
Wilson StL 13
Lerian Phi 7
Taylor Bos 6
DeBerry Bro 5
Hargreaves Pit 5

1929 AL
Cochrane Phi 27
Dickey NY 18
Schang StL 11
Hargrave Det 7
Berg Chi 7
Tate Was 7
Heving Bos 6
Sewell Cle 5

1929 NL
Wilson StL 16
Davis Phi 9
Gooch Cin 9
Hogan NY 8
Picinich Bro 8
Hargreaves / Hemsley 7
Spohrer Bos 7
Taylor Chi 7

1930 AL
Cochrane Phi 31 (first 30 win share season for a catcher)
Dickey NY 15
Ferrell StL 9
Berry Bos 8
Myatt Cle 7
Spencer Was 7
Tate Chi 7
Hargrave Det 5

1930 NL
Hartnett Chi 29
Hogan NY 15
Lopez Bro 13
Wilson StL 13
Spohrer Bos 11
Davis Phi 8
Hemsley Pit 8
Sukeforth Cin 4

1931 AL
Cochrane Phi 28
Dickey NY 20
Ferrell StL 15
Spencer Was 12
Berry Bos 11
Sewell Cle 10
Tate Chi 8
Hayworth Det 4

1931 NL
Hogan NY 18
Davis Phi 16
Hartnett Chi 16
Wilson StL 14
Phillips Pit 10
Lopez Bro 9
Spohrer Bos 6
Sukeforth Cin 6

1932 AL
Cochrane Phi 30
Dickey NY 18
Ferrell StL 17
Hayworth Det 12
Berry Chi 8
Sewell Cle 8
Spencer Was 6
Tate Bos 3

1932 NL
Hartnett Chi 19
Davis Phi 17
Hogan NY 15
Grace Pit 14
Lombardi Cin 14
Lopez Bro 12
Mancuso StL 11
Hargrave / Spohrer Bos 9

1933 AL
Cochrane Phi 26
Dickey NY 25
Sewell Was 16
Ferrell Bos 15
Pytlak Cle 11
Hayworth Det 8
Shea StL 8
Berry / Grube 3

1933 NL
Hartnett Chi 21
Davis Phi 18
Lopez Bro 16
Mancuso NY 16
Grace Pit 12
Hogan Bos 9
Lombardi Cin 8
Wilson StL 8

1934 AL
Cochrane Det 23
Dickey NY 20
Ferrell Bos 18
Hemsley StL 15
Pytlak Cle 9
Berry Phi 5
Bolton / Sewell 3
Madjeski Chi 3

1934 NL
Hartnett Chi 24
DeLancey StL 16
Lopez Bro 12
Lombardi Cin 11
Mancuso NY 10
Hogan Bos 7
Padden Pit 7
Todd Phi 7

1935 AL
Cochrane Det 24
Dickey NY 20
Ferrell Bos 17
Hemsley StL 15
Bolton Was 13
Sewell Chi 12
Phillips / Pytlak Cle 4
Richards Phi 4

1935 NL
Hartnett Chi 26
Lombardi Cin 17
Davis StL 14
Mancuso NY 14
Padden Pit 10
Lopez Bro 9
Todd / Wilson Phi 7
Hogan Bos 6

1936 AL
Dickey NY 25
Ferrell Bos 16
Sewell Chi 14
Sullivan Cle 11
Bolton Was 9
Hayes Phi 8
Hemsley StL 7
Cochrane Det 6

1936 NL
Mancuso NY 20
Hartnett Chi 18
Lombardi Cin 17
Phelps Bro 16
Davis StL 13
Lopez Bos 12
Todd Pit 7
Grace Phi 4

1937 AL
Dickey NY 33
York Det 18
Pytlak Cle 17
Sewell Chi 13
Desautels Bos 8
Brucker Phi 7
Ferrell Was 6
Hemsley StL 3

1937 NL
Hartnett Chi 25
Todd Pit 17
Phelps Bro 15
Danning NY 12
Lombardi Cin 12
Lopez / Mueller Bos 7
Atwood Phi 5
Ogrodowski StL 4

1938 AL
Dickey NY 27
York Det 27
Ferrell Was 16
Pytlak Cle 13
Desautels Bos 12
Hayes Phi 9
Sullivan StL 8
Rensa Chi 4

1938 NL
Lombardi Cin 24
Danning NY 17
Hartnett Chi 16
Todd Pit 13
Mueller Bos 9
Owen StL 9
Phelps Bro 8
Atwood / Davis Phi 2

1939 AL
Dickey NY 27
Hayes Phi 17
York Det 13
Hemsley Cle 10
Tresh Chi 10
Desautels / Peacock Bos 8
Ferrell Was 7
Glenn StL 5

1939 NL
Danning NY 27
Lombardi Cin 17
Hartnett Chi 15
Lopez Bos 12
Padgett StL 12
Phelps Bro 11
Davis Phi 6
Mueller Pit 4

1940 AL
Hayes Phi 17
Hemsley Cle 14
Dickey NY 13
Tebbetts Det 13
Tresh Chi 12
Ferrell Was 9
Swift StL 5
Desautels Bos 4

1940 NL
Danning NY 21
Lombardi Cin 19
Davis Pit 14
Phelps Bro 14
Owen StL 8
Warren Phi 8
Todd Chi 6
Lopez Bos 4

1941 AL
Dickey NY 17
Hayes Phi 15
Early Was 11
Tebbetts Det 11
Ferrell StL 9
Pytlak Bos 9
Tresh Chi 9
Hemsley Cle 6

1941 NL
Lombardi 13
Danning NY 12
Lopez Pit 10
Owen Bro 10
Mancuso StL 7
McCullough Chi 7
Warren Phi 6
Berres Bos 5

1942 AL
Dickey NY 11
Tebbetts Det 9
Early Was 7
Peacock Bos 7
Ferrell / Hayes StL 6
Wagner Phi 6
Turner Chi 5
Denning Cle 4

1942 NL
Cooper StL 16
Lombardi Bos 16
Owen Bro 15
Danning NY 14
Lamanno Cin 13
McCullough Chi 13
Phelps Pit 11
Warren Phi 4
   91. sunnyday2 Posted: July 14, 2005 at 07:43 PM (#1472030)
Another always intriguing discussion--catchers, because so few seem to come up to snuff and yet a few bring snuff aplenty. Current voting 1955:

12. Biz Mackey 24 ballots-254 points, highest is a 2nd
29. Wally Schang 8-104-1 1st (!)
34. Roger Bresnahan 7-76-4th
42. Ernie Lombardi 3-44-2nd (!)

After quite a few newbies in recent years, we're now looking over the next decade at only one real candidate--Roy Campanella 1963?--unless someone wants forecast that Walker Cooper (also 1963ish) will emeerge as a real candidate.

Others who have had some support over the years:

-

That's right. Nobody. Unless somebody wants to argue that Schalk or Ferrell or Jack Clements or Deacon McGuire or Kling or Duke Farrell or Bruce Petway had "some" support as opposed to "very little."

So until Yogi (and Sherm Lollar) in 1969 it's basically Campy and...and...

So the only real question seems to be whether we think Biz Mackey is a HoMer or not. Well, and, did we miss the boat with Schang, Bresnahan or Lombardi?

And BTW, there must be some really hellacious catcher bonuses out there! Schang 1st and Lombardi 2nd! Holy Cow!
   92. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: July 14, 2005 at 09:46 PM (#1472336)
I have a peak ssytem wherein I simply add up all WS accumulated over 25 in any season. This obviously doesn't work too well for catchers, so I use 20 WS. This is 80% of what I would do for any other position player and 80% of 154 games comes out to 132.2 games. Since all players miss a few games, I think my benchmark is then 120 games. Is this too high?

The reason I ask is that of the four mentioned above only Bresnahan has any real peak, and half of that is from his CF days. Mackey, Schang, and Lombardi, despite their reputations, have no real peak by this measure. Does WS hurt catchers more than other position? Am I setting the bar too high for these guys?
   93. sunnyday2 Posted: July 14, 2005 at 10:33 PM (#1472418)
The difficulty in thinking about this is that if you give catchers a bonus, then guys like Cochrane and Hartnett, not to evenmention Josh Gibson, become Babe Ruth. At 3B, ironically, you don't have that problem. There is no Hartnett or Gibson, not HR Baker, maybe Jud Wilson.

This is where I don't really try to quantify it, but I admit that I basically use Bill James "bullshit dump" in the end. IOW I treat catchers almost like I do NeLers. Try to get them in the right order within category, and them make a wild-ass guess as to where they go on the meta-list.

Unfortunately, aside from Gibson, for maybe 30 of the past 35 years Bresnahan has been my top catcher and I just cannot come even close to persuading myself that he could hold Larry Doyle's or Hughie Jennings' or George Sisler's or even Ed Williamson's jockstrap.
   94. yest Posted: July 15, 2005 at 12:27 AM (#1472863)
For anyone who gives catchers bonus's shouldn't you give a higher bonus to better fielding catchers
   95. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: July 15, 2005 at 12:35 AM (#1472897)
I don't think that really matters. I give a catcher's bonus not because of the defense difficulties per se, but because catchers only play about 120 games a year and there is little they can do about it.
   96. yest Posted: July 15, 2005 at 12:48 AM (#1472948)
then shouldn't you give catchers who play more then 120 games a higher bonus
   97. sunnyday2 Posted: July 15, 2005 at 11:31 AM (#1473944)
I'd say no, no extra bonus for how well they play.

How well they play (how good or great they are) is reflected in the underlying numbers--WS, WARP, WOOF, home runs, RBIs, etc.

The question is whether they have a fair chance to accumulate those things because the wear and tear of catching limits them to 120-130 games vs. 145-155 games or more for other players.

So you simply pro-rate their numbers--again, usually you would pro-rate the "uber-stat" of your choice--WS, WARP, hits (karl), whatever. If they play 120 games you might pro-rate by 1.25 in order to put them on an equal footing with a 1B who played 150.

If player A is better on any particular skill than player B and therefore player A has earned 20 WS and player B has only earned 18, he's already better. The bonus isn't to differentiate A from B, but to compare to the 1B or the OF who played 150 games and earned 24 WS.. 20 x 1.25 = 25, and 18 x 1.25 = 22.5, and now you can fairly compare the C to the 1B or OF.

I'm not saying anybody should do this, just that if you do this is how and why I would imagine that you would.
   98. DanG Posted: July 15, 2005 at 02:17 PM (#1474077)
This somewhat reminds me of a concept for player valuing that I have worked on sporadically. The crux is to identify the win shares baseline for each position in each era. This is related to replacement level as well as league quality.

For instance, suppose we're dealing with the 1920's. Start by prorating everyone's WS to 162 games. Then figure out which positions deserve a big bonus - which ones have a lower replacement level. It was once discussed that modern pitchers have a lower replacement level than position players. So, from a pitcher's AWS, subtract say, 10. IOW, give every pitcher credit for AWS earned above 10. For catchers you might use a similar level. For shortstops you go a bit higher; for 1B and corner OF you might use 15. If the NL was seen as weaker at that time, subtract a higher number from the AWS for each position. Certainly, fractional WS should be employed, there's no sense restricting these adjustments to whole numbers.

In the end, you will have "Added Value" WS for each player. In a sense, it is converting Win Shares to "WARP Shares."

I really haven't gotten very far in producing defensible valuations for this scheme. It's the sort of thing where you set up a spreadsheet with everyone's WS, then start tinkering. The advantage over "raw" WS or "raw" WARP is that you're in control, adjusting the formulas to your specificatons.
   99. Trevor P. Posted: July 15, 2005 at 05:03 PM (#1474479)
This might be a good time to point out that using win shares, somewhat-forgotten Wally Schang finished among the top two catchers in his league nine times. And he posted an additional season of 20 win shares in 1920, when he finished third.
   100. jimd Posted: July 16, 2005 at 02:02 AM (#1476130)
Best CA 1871-1940 by WARP

Lexicographic key:
Upper Case -- A TOP star; one of top N players in MLB
Lower Case -- a 2nd tier star; one top 2N players in MLB
(in parentheses) -- nearly a 2nd tier star (withing 10%)
<in angle brackets> -- best at position; not an all-star season
Note: N is approximate number of teams:
9 from 1871-1881; 12 from 1882-1900; 16 from 1901-1960
Note: All TOP stars are listed, even if not best at position
This represents a level of play where one might expect the player
to be the best on his team, except for uneven talent distribution.

1871 FERGYMALONE
1872 nathicks
1873 DEACONWHITE
1874 mikemcgeary
1875 DEACONWHITE
1876 deaconwhite
1877 lewbrown
1878 lewbrown
1879 deaconwhite
1880 JOHNCLAPP
1881 CHARLIEBENNETT
1882 CHARLIEBENNETT
1883 BUCKEWING
1884 (buckewing)
1885 charliebennett
1886 KINGKELLY
1887 <fredcarroll>
1888 BUCKEWING
1889 buckewing
1890 <jacko'connor>
1891 (jackclements)
1892 (jackclements)
1893 (dukefarrell)
1894 <dukefarrell>
1895 deaconmcguire
1896 <deaconmcguire>
1897 <johnwarner>
1898 <edmcfarland>
1899 (edmcfarland)
1900 <edmcfarland>
1901 <malachikittridge>
1902 <ossieschreckengost>
1903 johnnykling
1904 <joesugden>
1905 <loucriger>
1906 rogerbresnahan
1907 <johnnykling>
1908 (rogerbresnahan)
1909 GEORGEGIBSON
1910 georgegibson
1911 <chiefmeyers>
1912 (chiefmeyers)
1913 chiefmeyers
1914 ARTWILSON
1915 FRANKSNYDER
1916 (rayschalk)
1917 (rayschalk)
1918 <steveo'neill>
1919 wallyschang
1920 steveo'neill
1921
1922 bobo'farrell
1923 muddyruel
1924 (muddyruel)
1925 (gabbyhartnett)
1926 bobo'farrell
1927 (mickeycochrane)
1928 gabbyhartnett
1929 mickeycochrane
1930 gabbyhartnett
1931 mickeycochrane
1932 MICKEYCOCHRANE
1933 mickeycochrane
1934 gabbyhartnett
1935 gabbyhartnett
1936 billdickey
1937 BILLDICKEY
1938 billdickey
1939 BILLDICKEY
1940 (harrydanning)
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