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Thursday, April 17, 2003

Centennial Commission?

The short Dickey Pearce bio on the other thread inspired this.

Would you guys think it’d be reasonable to maybe open up 3 or 4 extra spots for guys that played primarily before the NA? I’m thinking guys like Creighton, Harry Wright, Dickey Pearce (are there any others?). These spots would not impact the other elections.

Obviously we can’t quantify them, and most of us are already pulling our hair out. But maybe if there’s a subset of this group that’s interested in doing the research, we could let them go out and pick 3 or 4 guys to add on to the list.

It’d be kind of our own Centennial Commission . . . but we make it short and quick and something on the side, and then we get rid of it, it won’t become a Veteran’s Committee.

Again, I’m think about guys that starred pre-NA and don’t have much else to offer. For the guys like Joe Start and George Wright, I think we still include them in the normal elections, but the Committee could give us some extra ‘guidance’ with regard to their pre-NA days. But for a Creighton, a Pearce or a Harry Wright (he was a great player too, right?) this would make a lot of sense. And the rest of us don’t have to deal with it.

If we do this, I’d initially say just 3 or 4 spots max, unless the Commission would come back and give convincing evidence that a few others are worthy.

Again, if we’re doing this, we may as well be complete, but if there isn’t any interest, that’s fine too.

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: April 17, 2003 at 04:25 PM | 120 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 17, 2003 at 04:37 PM (#512328)
That's kind of where I was going, Joe. Dickey Pearce and Lip Pike would definitely be worthy. Harry Wright had a good reputation, while Creighton was certainly a power for a short time. Asa Brainard would need to be looked at, but I'm not so sure about him. Candy Cummings?

I think the idea is great, as long as it's a one time deal.
   2. Rick A. Posted: April 17, 2003 at 04:42 PM (#512329)
Sounds fine to me, as long as it doesn't hang around too long.

Will players be the only ones nominated, or will there be others too, like Henry Chadwick, Alexander Cartwright and William Hulbert? Either way is fine with me.
   3. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 17, 2003 at 05:51 PM (#512333)
Bob "The Magnet" Addy (1838-1910):

Played for Forest City (1866-1870); primarily at second base.

There isn't much known about his baseball career (if any) before 1866. Cap Anson said this about the Magnet: "He was one of the best of the lot, was a good, hard, hustling ballplayer, a good base runner and a hard hitter. He was honest as the day is long. He was an odd sort of genius and quit the game because he thought he could do better at something else." Anson was referring to Addy's first retirement in the early seventies.

From the book "Nineteenth Century Stars," I get the impression that he was very good, but not necessarily great.

One thing of note: Al Spalding was the star pitcher, and a teammate of Addy, for Forest City in 1966. How old was Spalding then? 14?

More on Bob Addy:
   4. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 17, 2003 at 06:09 PM (#512334)
Esteban Enrique (Steve) Bellan:

Played for Union Morrisania (1868) and Troy (1869-1970); primarily at third base.

Nothing spectacular as a player in the US, but he was the first to play Latin American to play here. Very important in the organizing of baseball in Cuba after his NA days.

Good at stopping line drives, but he had an erratic arm.

As a player/manager for the Havana team, he won championships three times: 1878-1879, 1879-1880, and 1882-1883.

More on Steve Bellan:
   5. Marc Posted: April 17, 2003 at 06:20 PM (#512335)
I would echo the question: Players only or other pioneers, too? Doc Adams? Cartwright, Chadwick, Hulbert are also obvious. As to the players: Creighton alledged to be the first pro, had an influence way beyond his very short career, but if Creighton, then surely Cummings. And Harry Wright, for sure.

Finally, if we elect anybody who popularized the game as opposed to (or in addition to) playing the game and Spalding is not one of them, this would be a major injustice.

I'd suggest the committee designated for this purpose take a month or more to do the research, and by then we will have some idea which of the pioneers have been elected strictly for their achievements on the field. I'm not going to worry if it smacks of a "back door," but again if the Centennial Committee leaves it to the player voting and the mass of voters leave it to the CC and neither one elects Al Spalding then our Hall will not be complete.
   6. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 17, 2003 at 06:27 PM (#512336)
Asa (The Count) Brainard:

Played for the Excelsiors (1860-1866), the Nationals (1867) and Cincinnati (1868-1970) as a pitcher.

A comment from Baseball in Cincinnati by Harry Ellard: "Brainard was considered the most graceful and terrific pitcher that had ever gone to the box up to that time (1869)."

Considered the second fastest pitcher of his time. Again from Ellard: "In delivering the ball, he would cross his legs, placing the left toe behind his right foot and then take a step forwards."

After the Wrights, Brainard had the highest salary of any of the Red Stockings.

More on Asa Brainard:
   7. Marc Posted: April 17, 2003 at 06:36 PM (#512337)
Re. Pearce and Pike, BTW, I think Joe is right in limiting the CC to players whose career was largely (whatever that means, 51% 2/3? I dunno) pre-'71. Harry Wright, yes, George, no. Pearce, I think yes, but Pike no. Now, don't get me wrong, I love Lip Pike, but I think there is plenty of historical record to suggest what his level of play was. We just need a little imagination (or a little Brock2) to rank him appropriately in our main voting (which, IMNSHO, would be somewhat higher than what he's got so far).
   8. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 17, 2003 at 06:38 PM (#512338)
Personally, I would leave the Centennial Commission strictly for players. When we create the Executive/Founder and Manager wings, Hulbert, Adams, Cartwright, etc. will certainly go in. Spalding will make it here, too (BTW, I have no problem with any person being inducted into two different wings of the HoM).
   9. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 17, 2003 at 06:41 PM (#512339)
.We just need a little imagination (or a little Brock2) to rank him appropriately in our main voting (which, IMNSHO, would be somewhat higher than what he's got so far).

You have a point. What numbers are you coming up with your "Marc2" program? :-)
   10. Marc Posted: April 17, 2003 at 09:28 PM (#512340)
John, thanks for asking, but first re. Spalding in 1966 he would have been 115-and-a-half. I think the ability to still pitch at such an advanced age is just more evidence of his outstanding abilities ;-)

Re. Pike, all's I know is that in the NA (age 26-30) his OPS+ compares to other big vote-getters (NA only) as follows:

Barnes 180
   11. Jeff M Posted: April 17, 2003 at 10:13 PM (#512341)
Are we considering this just because the early players didn't get elected and therefore, we think the voting process is flawed? True, they may not have been elected because we are uninformed about this period. Alternatively, they may not have been elected because the electors don't think those players are as deserving as the ones who got lots of votes or who played in more organized leagues.

I'm not crazy about this approach. If the idea is to sell these early players' capabilities (based on research, etc.) so that voters can determine whether they should be HOMers, why would we do it pursuant to a separate voting process? Seems to me that effort was best undertaken before our initial vote, which may have moved a guy like Pike higher in the voting when the research was considered in the context of all our other analyses of players.

The proposed commission seems to assume that some of those players are HOMers, and we are just picking which ones. Maybe none of them ought to get in. Isn't that essentially what the voters said with their initial ballots? This is exactly how the Veteran's Committee came into being. The fact that we will abolish it as soon as the players get elected isn't much comfort.

Finally, presumably the basis for the commission is lack of general understanding of players because of lack of objective evidence (stats, etc.). If so, wouldn't the same theory apply to the Negro Leagues?
   12. Sean Gilman Posted: April 17, 2003 at 10:33 PM (#512344)
I think the best use of a CC would be to research more obscure early players that might be HOMers and then present the results to the electorate at large. Much in the same way I guessed the Negro Leagues would be treated. I don't see the reason for a seperate commitee, especially since a player's election-eligibility never expires: there's plenty of time to convince people that Lip Pike (for example) is a HOMer.
   13. Ken Fischer Posted: April 18, 2003 at 12:11 AM (#512345)
I like Joe's idea and the procedure David suggests. There is always more research that can be done. But most of what we know of the pre-1871 period has no firm structure. We have to rely on what narratives from the early days tell us. Dickey Pearce and Jim Creighton seem to be the folks mentioned most often. Whether they were the best players or not is something we'll never truly know. But the era needs to be represented. I suggest a CC vote early in the process...say after 1899...and maybe one more after 1900. We should vote on the pre-NA players now. Isn't part of what the entire HOM process is trying to do...is to do it right this time! If the writers & former CC had done their homework Pearce and Doc Adams could've been in the HOF more than 60 years ago. I think we should do a couple CC ballots for both players and non-players.
   14. Rob Wood Posted: April 18, 2003 at 12:37 AM (#512346)
My two cents. I don't have really strong feelings, but I am not in favor of a CC to honor pre-MLB players. My view is that the HOM is honoring the greatest major league players in history. Pre-MLB is pre-history, so is outside of our purview.

Having said that, I have tried to bend over backwards to give MLB players extra credit for being great players before the major leagues were formed. I hope all voters are open to that approach. But I would not feel comfortable extending that line of reasoning to players who did not have a significant MLB presence.

What good would it serve to haphazardly pick a few 1860's players to add to the HOM? I can envision the down-side but not much of an upside. We already have selected guys like Hines, White, Gore, Barnes, and will likely select George Wright among other very early MLB stars. I think most observers of the HOM will adjudge that we have already "pushed the envelope" about as far as it can be pushed while still accurately identifying the best players of the era. I don't think we can maintain those standards if we go even further back into pre-history.
   15. Howie Menckel Posted: April 18, 2003 at 01:29 AM (#512347)
I agree with Rob's thoughts, but I think Joe Start is getting bounced around based on whether we are considering his entire "career." A lot of his early stuff is almost behind a curtain, but I give him a lot of credit for it. Some don't.
   16. MattB Posted: April 18, 2003 at 01:27 PM (#512349)
What would the standard be?

I agree that if the standard is lower than that for regular HOMers, then they should not be admitted, but if the standard is the same, then the CC is unnecessary.

I know I considered pre-NA service when deciding on my vote. I am going to bump up Joe Start next time based on the quality of his pre-NA play.

Joe Start played from 1860-1886. It would be bizarre if Start did not get in, but a lesser player was elected by the CC because he only played from 1860-1870, so was put on a pre-NA ballot!

If pre-NA players are equally worthy, then they should be on the same ballot as anyone else. If pre-NA time deserves special consideration, let me know and I will promptly drop Joe Start and other pre-NA players off of my ballot so they can be considered separately.

It would just be a shame if a player that Start beat for the amateur NA championship in the mid-1860s was elected first.

(In case you hadn't figured it out, I'm against the idea.)
   17. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 18, 2003 at 02:32 PM (#512350)
John, do you have a bio of Pike?

Yup.

Played for the Athletics (1866), the Mutuals (1867-1868), the Atlantics (1869-1870). He played third base, second base and left field.

He is considered the first Jewish ballplayer and manager.

BTW, did you know that the New York Mutuals were owned by Boss Tweed during the 1860s?

From the New York Clipper (1881): "Pike ranked high as a batsman, being, like all lefthanded men, a very hard hitter. And he has accomplished many brilliant feats as fielder, being a sure catch, a remarkably fast runner, and singularly graceful in all his movements."

I don't know why he left the NL in 1878 when he was still a damn, good player.

I have no doubt he was a great player, but I'm still struggling with where to put him on my ballot. He should find a spot in my top ten at any rate.

More on Lip Pike:
   18. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 18, 2003 at 04:13 PM (#512352)
I don't know why he left the NL in 1878 when he was still a damn, good player.

Pike played in the minor league NA for a couple of years after he left the NL. I don't know if it had anything to do with money or travel.
   19. Marc Posted: April 18, 2003 at 05:58 PM (#512353)
I can only speculate, but Cincinnati in '78 had an all-star OF of Kelly, Jones and Pike, then shipped Pike out of town and inserted Buttercup Dickerson in the lineup. Whether that was financial or Dickerson was a phenom I'm not sure--Dickerson did look like a great prospect. Pike went to Providence who also had an all-star OF of Hines, York and Higham and didn't play much.

In '79, Providence had an even better OF and of course won the pennant with Hines, O'Rourke and York, while Cincy had Dickerson, Hotaling and Purcell. This suggests that Cincy did indeed have money problems (nothing new or old in Cincy, they fielded a team again in '80 but not in '81) and Providence wanted and was willing to pay for the best prime talent available. Pike was in between the two models. Why he didn't catch on with another club, I don't know. He was of course an Easterner, born and died in NY, started and ended his career there (1887 comeback with NYA). There was no NY team in the NL in '79 (actually '77-'82). The nearest club was Troy, with whom he had started in '71 but they went 19-56 and probably could not afford to pay a proven star like Pike.

So where did Pike play in the NA? I would assume NY area? Maybe he had a wife, kids, a "real" job??? He quit at about the same time as McVey, it has been said that some of the old-timers didn't like the control (and pay) that was increasingly with the money-men about this time.
   20. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 18, 2003 at 06:21 PM (#512354)
So where did Pike play in the NA? I would assume NY area?

He played with Springfield, Holyoke, Albany, the Union of Brooklyn club, and the Metropolitans.
   21. jimd Posted: April 18, 2003 at 06:47 PM (#512356)
According to Baseball Library, Pike was "blacklisted" by the NL after his club at the time, Worcester, accused him of throwing a game against Boston. I have no particulars about any evidence against or any defense by Pike. I do know that the NL owners blacklisted a number of players at this time for various offenses, including some for playing drunk, and Charley Jones for "insubordination". (He demanded his pay on time, and refused to play until he got it after Boston missed payroll on a road trip. Boston suspended him. He took the team to court in Ohio, won a judgement, and garnished Boston's share of the gate receipts in Cleveland to get his back pay. Big surprise that Jones went to the AA when it started?)
   22. dan b Posted: April 18, 2003 at 07:17 PM (#512357)
As I understand it, the purpose for the HoM was to use the tools of analysis we now have to do a better job than the Veterans Committee did for the HOF. Now we want to create our own Veterans Committee that won't have the benefit of our tools of analysis since there are no stats to analyze. I vote no.
   23. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 18, 2003 at 07:50 PM (#512358)
After some more thought, I'm going to vote on the "no" side, too. If there is anything that we don't want to do, emulating the Veterans Committee would be it (even if we would do a much better job than the old ballplayers did).

Guess I'll either do more research or say the heck with some of the 1860s players.
   24. Brian H Posted: April 19, 2003 at 12:26 AM (#512359)
If the "centenial commission" is to determine whether certain Ur Old-Timers (pre-1870) deserve to be inducted for PLAYING I'm against it. If we are looking at achievment as pioneers/innovators/organizers that's another story.

It is my understnading that the HOM was created to evaluate players using our present expertise/vantage point/analytical tools and evidence (statistics etc.). That means these guys who didn't play organized baseball as we conceive it today, and have virtually no records left behind must stand or fall against other players for whom we have more credible evidence. We are always free to elect them based on their reputations and testimonial and annecdotal evidence. If we are going to give these guys a separate bite at the apple, the Negro Leaguers will require similar treatment as our evidence of their greatness is also largely based on reputation and testimonial and annecdotal evidence.
   25. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 19, 2003 at 06:06 AM (#512361)
I do think it would be good if a few people like John Murphy that are interested in that stuff help us out.

I'll do what I can. I'll be posting more mini-biographies during the week.

My feeling, and I think Joe and everyone else here feels the same way, is that we have an obligation to pick the best players that are available per election. Even though all of these players couldn't care less about the HoM (since they're all dead), I still don't want to slight anybody if I can help it.
   26. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 20, 2003 at 12:52 AM (#512362)
Al Reach:

Played mostly second base for the Brooklyn Eckfords (1860-1864) and Philadelphia Athletics (1865-1870).

Second baseman for the first all-star team of 1871.

Some claim that Reach was the first professional player instead of Jim Creighton.

He had something to do with the sporting goods business and the Phillies. :-)

Though considered one of the finest players of his time, I see him entering the HoM via the Pioneers/Executive wing (unless someone else has some additional info on him).

More on Al Reach:
   27. Marc Posted: April 20, 2003 at 03:05 AM (#512363)
Jim, thanks for the info on Lip Pike. I am certainly not qualified to defend him, but I am going to do so anyway. Point 1 in his defense--if we are going to consider Joe Jackson to be eligible, then Pike's blacklisting in '81 is irrelevant to his on-the-field legacy. It occurred, apparently, during a (ML) comeback after two years out of the majors at ages 34 and 35 after the close of 13 years of play at the highest levels. Point 2 is that he came back yet again in 1887 with the NY team in the AA at the age of 42. I assume that the AA did not honor the NL blacklist and so this does not prove that he was exonerated or anything, but it suggests that some people at that time might not have been convinced of his dishonesty. (His '87 comeback was unsuccessful, of course; he went 0 for 4 in 1 game and that was it.)
   28. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 22, 2003 at 03:06 PM (#512364)
I brought DanG's biography of Dickey Pearce over to here:

Here's a bio I found of one of my favorites, Dickey Pearce:

"Performing at a top level from 1855 to 1877, Pearce spanned the era from the game's beginnings to the formation of the National league. He and pitcher James Creighton were probably the two first professional baseball players. Pearce sometimes caught Creighton during the famous Brooklyn versus New York All-Star games in the 1850s. Pearce was on the field in 1870 when the Atlantics defeated the Cincinnati Red Stockings, breaking their 88 game winning streak.

At the time, the Atlantics placed him at shortstop, it was the least important position; there was no base to guard and no field to protect. Pearce, the future umpire, developed his role, roaming into the outfield, taking relay throws, backing up bases and shifting positions according to each batter's strengths. Pearce invented the bunt or "baby hit," and was also a master of the fair-foul hit. He was considered the best shortsop in baseball during his entire career except for George Wright duting his very best years."


I'll add this:

Played for the Atlantics of Brooklyn (1856-1870).

As Dan noted, Pearce was a master of the fair/foul hit. According to the book Nineteenth Century Stars, most observers at the time gave him credit for creating it. He was the best at using that technique until Ross Barnes. It's hard to say how much of an effect the elimination of the fair/foul hit had on his career since it was winding down by 1877 anyway (he was in his early forties by then.)

More on Dickey Pearce:
   29. Marc Posted: April 22, 2003 at 04:23 PM (#512365)
Re. Pearce catching Creighton in the 1850s, it is my understanding that Creighton debuted at age 18 in 1859.
   30. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 22, 2003 at 04:34 PM (#512366)
Re. Pearce catching Creighton in the 1850s, it is my understanding that Creighton debuted at age 18 in 1859.

You missed it by one year. He made his debut with Niagara of Brooklyn in 1858.
   31. DanG Posted: May 06, 2003 at 04:58 PM (#512369)
Somewhere I pointed out that we really had nothing negative to say about Pearce. The problem is he can't be satisfactorily analyzed statistically.

We have to draw a line somewhere. If we elect Pearce, there's always another shadow who preceded him as The Game's best player of the early 1850's. And another before him who was The Game's best player of the 1840's, etc.

Essentially, the electorate has made this choice already. They're not voting for him because he's seen as being lost in the Veil of Antiquity. That's fine, I don't think it's a big deal.

But I agree that we should say formally that this is where the line is drawn. That those who performed largely in professional baseball's undocumented pre-history are not under consideration for the Hall of Merit.
   32. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 06, 2003 at 05:41 PM (#512370)
I'm not sure which way we should go, but we should make a decision one or the other, after which everyone agrees to go with it. Either we agree that we don't have enough to go on with Pearce, or everyone considers him and gives him credit for being the best SS of the pre-NA period. I'd hate to see you keep 'wasting' (for lack of a better term) that 6th place vote every week.

I say we keep it the way it is. I think the process of debating the merits for each player here is the best way to get more votes for Pearce. Look at what you did for Galvin (as Mark pointed out). If I or the others who have voted for Pearce can persuade more people that he belongs on their ballots, he'll move up, too.

But thanks for the concern anyway, Joe.

We have to draw a line somewhere. If we elect Pearce, there's always another shadow who preceded him as The Game's best player of the early 1850's. And another before him who was The Game's best player of the 1840's, etc.

But nobody knows about those shadows. There is enough documentation that, to my mind, suggests he was a great player. Plus, he played for over twenty years at the highest levels of competition for his time.

However, I'll accept any judgment concerning pre-NA players.
   33. Marc Posted: May 07, 2003 at 03:38 AM (#512371)
It seems that what the voters are saying, not only re. Pearce but to some degree Start and maybe even G. Wright, is that we are generally inclined to consider statistical documentation. Achievements which are not backed up by some sort of statistical documentation are not being considered as, well, documented, as "proven." That seems to be what the voting says.

And I think that's OK, though like many of you I have "my candidate" (Lip Pike) who I am satisfied was a genuinely great player despite the lack of documentation of the first half of his career.

The only question is whether we adopt such as a "rule," thereby saving players of the '60s and earlier the ignominy of being "rejected"? Is that sort of it? If so, I'd adopt the rule and remove the stain from their records.

On the other hand, how much documentation are we going to require of the Negro Leaguers? I would guess that we have no idea, we will have to wait and see what the voting shows. I hope we can consider and elect Negro Leaguers fairly. The bigger risk here is not the pre-history, it is that we cannot agree to elect any "borderline" Negro Leaguers and then, frankly, we look a little stupid.

So before we decide anything, I'd be curious to hear some response to my interpretation of where we're at, which is to say that we are not comfortable giving full credit for achievements that are lacking in statistical documentation.
   34. Howie Menckel Posted: May 07, 2003 at 04:25 AM (#512372)
As a Wright/Start backer, I agree with Marc.
   35. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 07, 2003 at 04:47 AM (#512373)
One other thing about Pearce:

Before Pearce, shortstops anchored right between third and second. It was considered the least important defensive position at the time. Mo Vaughn would have been a shortstop back then.

When Pearce took over the position, he started to roam into the outfield to get fly balls. He was also the first to position himself where he thought the ball would be hit, plus created different defensive positions for certain plays (bunts, steals, etc.). He even developed the proper way of throwing out runners at first. Overnight, he changed the position into a demanding one.
   36. MattB Posted: May 07, 2003 at 01:16 PM (#512374)
re: Pearce.

From the information I have, he was the best pre-NA shortstop until George Wright came along, and when they both played Wright was better. Pearce also "revolutionized" the position (but everyone else soon followed, so it's unclear how much of an advantage that gave him, or for how long) and he played for a long time.

I'm sure we could put together an "all-pre-NA team" with 9 players who were the best at every position.

Pearce gains points for longevity, loses points for me for not being as good as Wright when they both played (recognizing that Wright was younger), and loses points for the stats he had.

The question is really about assumptions. Start had a few bad NA years, but was good enough other times that I am willing to discount 1872 and 1873 and give him some benefit of the doubt for the 1860s. Pearce and Start were on the same team for much of the time (Brooklyn Atlantics) and Pearce was certainly considered on of their "stars", but looking at his later numbers (and the fact that dozens of players were "stars" for their teams), I'm not willing to give him the benefit of the doubt to the same extent.

If I had to rank all available players from 1 to 100, Pearce would probably be around 25 or 30. That's no slight to him. I have Start around 7th, and based on my research he was the better player on the Atlantics.

There is extrinsic evidence (non-statistical statements that "he was the best") and then there's a necessary discount on how much weight to give that statement. (How many other people had the same stuff said about him? Was he even the best player on his team? How does the statement compare to later established facts about his level of play?)

My analysis is that Joe Start was always a better player than Dickey Pearce, and evidence of how they both performed after age 35 confirms that.

I am open to convincing, but I just don't see it. Joe, who has Start on the top of his ballot, may be more open to convincing, because he could conceivably think the best two players were on the same team at the same time (a possibility, of course).

Among pre-NA players, I think Wright, Barnes, and Start are the Top 3 (in that order). Pearce is in the next level down. There are assumptions I am willing to make (e.g., the best pre-NA players were as good as the best NA players, or the best black players were as good as the best white players) and others that I'm not (e.g., the fourth or eighth best pre-NA player was as good as Harry Stovey or the other players at the bottom of my ballot.)

For me, at least, Pearce is receiving absolutely the appropriate credit for his pre-NA accomplishments, and he just doesn't measure up.
   37. MattB Posted: May 07, 2003 at 01:44 PM (#512375)
The executive summary of my long and rambling post is that I gave Pearce full consideration for pre-NA achievements, and he didn't measure up. His failure to appear on more ballots should therefore not be construed as a failure to give him his due consideration.
   38. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 07, 2003 at 02:39 PM (#512376)
My analysis is that Joe Start was always a better player than Dickey Pearce, and evidence of how they both performed after age 35 confirms that.

Except Pearce was playing shortstop and catching, while Start was playing the less physically demanding position. Compare the amount of games a shortstop played career-wise to a first baseman. Not very comparable.

How many shortstops were playing in their forties for the 19th century?

From what I have read about both men, I think most people back then were more blown away by Pearce than Start.
   39. Marc Posted: May 07, 2003 at 03:00 PM (#512377)
Not to be a scold, but Matt's comments reinforce (for me, at least) the importance of some discussion and (if possible) a consensus regarding the larger question of what to do about achievements that are not documented in a statistical form.

e.g. Matt said Wright, Start and Barnes are the best three pre-NA players. This is based in part on statistical evidence that became available later on. My point was (and the point of the Centennial discussion is) what about earlier fellows like Harry Wright, Jim Creighton, Al Reach, etc. etc., who were born too early for any statistical documentation to be available to "confirm" the level of play we think they were at pre-'71.

But again my point is not really to worry about pre-'71 careers. It is really about the Negro Leagues. Most Negro Leaguers will be analogous to G. Wright, Barnes, Start, Spalding et al. Some of their career is hidden, some of it produces statistical documentation. But early Negro Leaguers will be analogous to Creighton and Harry Wright. There will be virtually no documentation at all.

What we decide about pre-'71 will be a foreshadowing of what we do with Negro Leaguers. I don't mind terribly if Pike and H. Wright and even Joe Start don't make it. I will be embarrassed if the early, middle and late Negro Leaguers don't get a fair shake.
   40. MattB Posted: May 07, 2003 at 05:03 PM (#512379)
Marc wrote:

"Not to be a scold, but Matt's comments reinforce (for me, at least) the importance of some discussion and (if possible) a consensus regarding the larger question of what to do about achievements that are not documented in a statistical form."

For me, it comes down to three questions for any candidate:

(1) What is the evidence?
   41. Marc Posted: May 07, 2003 at 09:47 PM (#512381)
Mark, I don't think Josh Gibson is a good example. Anybody but Gibson would better illustrate the point--i.e. what about the cases that are not obvious? Louis Santop, say?
   42. DanG Posted: May 08, 2003 at 01:38 PM (#512383)
Good analysis (especially by MattB and Marc) of the relevant issues in assessing the pre-1871 players.

The original question was, should we persist in considering them as candidates, or should we draw a line and set them aside? Initially, I thought we should draw a line. After further consideration, I've decided it's better to be inclusive than exclusive, that we should continue considering all players.

I always try to focus on the big picture, on how our proceedings might appear to intelligent, casual observers. Also, on our legacy, how our project might have a far-reaching impact, beyond this website and in the future. In this, it's likewise important we elect the "right" people.

Inevitably, progress in the areas of historical and statistical research will tend to invalidate some of our selections. We can only do the best we can with the information available to us now. As much as possible we must seek out and solicit input from people on the cutting-edge of research in these areas. We must attempt to disseminate and publicize these efforts. Thus, the "right players" is defined by the extent that we can justify our selections in light of the most advanced research findings.

Even with additional data, evaluation of Pearce will greatly depend on the judgment of our electorate. The questions of timeline adjustment, quality of competition, fundamental changes in how the game was played, even of the propriety of considering players from baseball's amateur era...these issues will never have concrete answers.

For Pearce et al, it's most reasonable to allow them perpetual eligibility. By the end of this project, in three or four years, we'll have a better idea where he belongs.
   43. Marc Posted: May 08, 2003 at 06:48 PM (#512384)
Dan, (slight change of subject in response to your comment about perpetual eligibility): As you know, by the 1970s or so, we will probably have a "backlog" (?) of players who have received votes and have not been elected that may well be 100-150 players deep. By that time it is likely (I'm guessing) that our 30 or so ballots (or even if we gather more voters over time, which I think will happen) will be seeing 75 different players mentioned, maybe more. Some players will be elected who appear on half the ballots (maybe less).

I think our "legacy" will largely be determined by two things--actually one thing: electing the right people, as you said. But the major challenges to electing the right people will be 1) Negro Leaguers and 2) which players slip in "under the radar," as less than consensus choices 100 years from now when the "backlog" is truly huge. Pre-'71ers are small potatos/potatoes (Dan Quayle where are you now?) by comparison.
   44. DanG Posted: May 08, 2003 at 07:49 PM (#512385)
How about we say "remnant", rather than backlog. ;-)

Our experience at WhatIf? on the SABR board makes this a valid issue, indeed. It is true that, in general, the phenomenon you describe will occur. Such are the hazards of perpetual eligibility. However, there are elements here that should minimize the negative effects:

1) We're putting 15 names on the ballot rather than 10.
   45. MattB Posted: May 08, 2003 at 08:34 PM (#512386)
I'm not sure exactly what a "cut-off" would accomplish. Limit the number of players on a ballot from 100 to only 75? But who's to say they are the right 75? If Charlie Bennett is polling better than Rick Dempsey, why should Bennett be dropped and Dempsey get an advantage just for Dempsey having played later? Part of the goal of the project appears to have been comparing players across eras. Just because that is difficult doesn't mean that the solution is to not even try.

Even worse, objective determinations will be swayed by the fact that a player "is down to his last chance". The 15 year limit in the HOF was one of the things that this project was trying to get away from. Changing the 15 year limit to 75 merely waters down the problem (and without a veterans committee to "fix the oversights").
   46. MattB Posted: May 08, 2003 at 08:47 PM (#512387)
Marc,

I think you overstate the issue.

Of course, there will always be a fine, almost meaningless distinction between the worst HoMer and the best non-HoMer, but I'm dubious players will be elected who have been named on fewer than half of the ballots.

What I expect to see is a broad divergence of bottom-of-ballot names. Eventually, everyone will have a different #15, spanning all of the 130 years. The general consensus on top, however, has surprised me so far in agreement, especially considering that the "old" players are probably the hardest to rank. So far, the top 15 players in each election have been named in at least half of the ballots. That looks to remain constant for 1900 as well.

Generally, fears that the "wrong people" will be elected will not be resolved by limiting the available candidates. Obviously, someone will think a HoM-worthy candidate was eliminated (otherwise there'd be no need to limit.)
   47. Marc Posted: May 08, 2003 at 09:07 PM (#512388)
Matt, all I can tell you is I speak from experience (and Dan G. speaks from the same and perhaps other experiences). The "consensus" we have today on 30 (documented) to 40 years of high level baseball is a different breed of cat from what we'll be seeing in another 50-75 years. I am confident the differences will not be at the #15 level but at the #2 and #3 level if not at #1. (We already have Spalding and Stovey ranging from #1 to somewhere below #15.) I can assure you that Joe Medwick will range from #1 to below #15, and Bill Dahlen from #2 to below #15, and Enos Slaughter and Richie Ashburn from #3 to below #15. And if the ballots break the "right" or "wrong" way one of them will get elected with 15 or 16 ballots out of 30. I don't know for sure it's a problem, but I think Dan will agree that it has been a problem in other "shadow" HoF voting and at least "could" be a problem (requiring the rapid adoption of some fine-tuning of the rules) here.
   48. Marc Posted: May 08, 2003 at 09:16 PM (#512391)
I personally will be disappointed if we don't have MORE Negro Leaguers than Cooperstown. My logic is that I don't have a clue who I would eliminate, but I know a half dozen or so I would add.
   49. DanG Posted: May 09, 2003 at 03:58 AM (#512392)
Well, Marc, I guess we'll just wait and see, eh? I had thought it might be premature to raise this issue now.

Anyway, MattB seems to have not understood my suggestion. It was to limit candidates to 75 tries. It's hard to imagine anyone being rejected this many times and still having a chance of being elected. If Charlie Bennett or someone is still around after 75 elections, it's safe to say we have rejected him.

There are possible amendments to the proposal that may alleviate fears. What do we do if Bennett is still a top candidate in the 1970's? You can say that a player will be allowed to continue beyond his 75 years if he finished among the top ten also-rans in one of his last ten elections. And/or you could also allow some rejected candidates to return to the ballot: say that 100 years after retirement three dropped candidates from 100 years ago will be given one year back on the ballot. If they finish out of the top ten also-rans, these "legacy candidates" are gone forever.

What does this limitation accomplish? Obviously, it enhances our goal of forming consensuses for electees by eliminating some of the deadwood. I doubt that "objective determinations will be swayed" to any meaningful degree. Only if you believe our electorate is as lame as the BBWAA voters. Sure, votes for expiring candidates may take a slight uptick due to an attention effect. If this is enough to boost a 19th century candidate into the top ten, great. I see it more as a way of re-energizing the electorate to investigate stale candidates. I think that for our later elections some method that draws fresh inquiry into the early players is a good thing.

As for my opinion that we'll elect fewer Negro leaguers than the HoF, I base this on how we've thus far treated candidates with sketchy statistical records. The electorate seems to err on the side of caution - show me the numbers, or no vote.
   50. Marc Posted: May 09, 2003 at 05:19 AM (#512393)
Dan, actually I share your view re. Negro Leaguers. I hope we elect more but I doubt it.

Joe, one thing that was done in another shadow HoF that Dan and I participate in was to institute a rule that no player could be elected without appearing on half the ballots. (The player we declined to elect even though he finished on points in one of the designated slots was Richie Ashburn.)
   51. DanG Posted: May 09, 2003 at 01:26 PM (#512396)
"Marc and Dan-- out of curiosity, is there a list of who your other shadow Hall elected?"

If I may briefly offer a partial answer for this.

Over at the SABR.org discussion boards, Marc has established a little HoM preemptory project, dubbed the WhatIf? hall of fame. These are some of Marc's original ideas:

"Okay, here's the idea. It's 1936. It has just been announced that a national MLB HoF will be built. The board of trustees wants to open the hall with 10 honorees so that it will be worth it for people to come and visit their museum. They also want a mix of players that will appeal to old timers, the heroes of their youth, and players who younger fans will remember. So they arbitrarily decide to elect 5 19th century players (about 30 years of documented play) and 5 from the 20th century (30 years of documented play).

Best of all, they've asked YOU to pick the players.

Here are some rules. 1) Pick 10 players from each century--two lists of 10, ranked from 1 to 10.

2) - 4) omitted

5) In the future, we will elect the same number of players as the BBWAA, except when they elect 0 we will elect one (one to four players per year). No back door. 19th and 20th century in one big bucket. ..This will produce approx. 114 HoFers out of about 180 MLB HoFers now. So this will be a fairly exclusive group."

Through 1973 we've elected:

C- Ewing, Cochrane, Hartnett, Dickey, Campanella, Berra
   52. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 09, 2003 at 01:59 PM (#512397)
Dan:

What's the deal with third base? Well, at least the HoM will have least two before 1973. :-)
   53. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 09, 2003 at 02:00 PM (#512398)
Dan:

What's the deal with third base? Well, at least the HoM will have two before 1973. :-)
   54. Marc Posted: May 09, 2003 at 02:20 PM (#512399)
John, you tell me what's the deal with 3B. Who else would you elect prior to 1974.

(For the record we are on the verge of electing Eddie Mathews in '74.)

PS. I think we have done a pretty good job with the 19th century and I don't think we're done yet. Jim O'Rourke and Deacon White are not gonna get elected in '74 (Mantle and Mathews), but they're running 3-4 right nowm 80 years after retirement.

But the issue is that in any given week (year), we are electing (on average) two players and probably only four or five players are named on half the ballots. Well over half the players who get a vote get exactly that, one vote. The average ten-man ballot, in other words, has about four or five players that are on half the ballots, two or three that are on less than half (but more than one), and two or three that are unique to that ballot. I really believe that by 1974, if the HoM still has 30 voters, our votes will be spread out among 100 players a week and only 10 will be on half the ballots.
   55. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 09, 2003 at 02:37 PM (#512400)
John, you tell me what's the deal with 3B. Who else would you elect prior to 1974.

Sutton, Hack, Collins and even "Mr. Overrated Hitter" Pie Traynor. But I wasn't really criticizing the lack of third basemen, anyway. It's a different situation when you're choosing from a greater pool of players (as opposed to the HoM).

Good to see Mathews going in, though.

BTW, the selections look good. I never saw the original rules or I would have joined a while ago.
   56. Carl Goetz Posted: May 09, 2003 at 02:43 PM (#512401)
I vote that we stick to the constitution. Trying to get a consensus is one of the pitfalls of the 'real' Hall of Fame. Why pick an arbitrary percentage of ballots a player must appear on? Why is 50% or 75% some kind of 'magic' number? We have many voters ranking 15 players on every ballot. Why is a player who got the most points unacceptable just because he only appeared on 15 of 31 ballots? He was obviously ranked pretty highly on those 15 ballots to lead in points. We have huge bonus' for players in the top spots and a pretty large penalty for not making a ballot. We ahve to face the fact that not every player who gets in is going to get in by overwhelming majority. There's going to be some exciting elections. No matter what level you set the bar at, there are going to be alot of 'borderline' candidates. Those borderline cases that get in, are going to get in by slim margins and those who fail will likely fail by slim margins. This isn't a case for tightening the voting restrictions(al la HoF), it is a case for not limiting eligiblity. If a guy keeps missing that you believe should be in, you can plead his case forever and maybe he'll eventually make it. I don't remember who did it, but I remember someone a while ago saying that they ran a mock election through present day and Pud Galvin got in in 2000 or 2001. I am absolutely against any eligibility restrictions, even as long as 75 years. The only adjustment I would vote in favor of is extending the number of players ranked each election. I would not vote for this now because I don't see any real evidence of a problem in our system yet. If, in 50 'years', all our ballots are completely different and absurd players are getting elected, I would suggest that we extend our ballots to 20 or 25 players at that time. I am against a runoff for the simple reason that it forces voters to vote for guys they don't think belong in the HoM. If we have a runoff of the top 10 vote getters because no one appeared on 50% of the ballots, then pretty much everyone will have to vote for at least one player(some will have to vote for many)that they don't believe is Hall-worthy. How does this create 'consensus'? This is really the problem with any of these adjustments(even mine) is that it creates the false feeling of consensus when there really isn't one. Your just forcing them to rank someone in their top 15 that they don't believe belongs there. Forcing someone to stop voting for Charlie Bennett in 1975 doesn't change the fact that he believes Bennett should be in. Adding extra players to the ballot may make the winners appear on 50% of the ballots when they otherwise would not have, but the extra rankings are all low ones, so who cares if their on or not. I vote we 'stay the course' and re-define 'consensus' to mean the guys who got the most points in our voting. That's why we designed our elections the way we did, isn't it? We spent alot of time setting up our election rules and the number of points each ranking was worth. Let's not throw it away without having any evidence of a problem. Sorry I'm so long-winded.
   57. Carl Goetz Posted: May 09, 2003 at 02:50 PM (#512402)
Just to add based on Marc's post:
   58. DanG Posted: May 09, 2003 at 02:59 PM (#512403)
Man, that "floating idea" just got both barrels--KABLAM!!

Anyway, a non-problem? I'd say a possible problem, but not a likely one. Carl's idea of going to a 20-man ballot at some point later on has some merit, I think.
   59. Carl Goetz Posted: May 09, 2003 at 04:55 PM (#512406)
Thanks for the kudos guys. I agree with Mark's Points(#2 more strongly than #1)except for the part about Driessen and Browning making the HoM with over 80% support(Reds Fan?). As I said, I strongly prefer the status quo to any of the solutions so far proposed(including mine) for this possible problem(Sorry for my previous strong wording, Dan). STATUS QUO! STATUS QUO! STATUS QUO!
   60. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 09, 2003 at 05:20 PM (#512407)
STATUS QUO! STATUS QUO! STATUS QUO!

QUO VADIS! QUO VADIS! QUO VADIS! QUO VADIS!

OK, status quo. :-)

BTW, Deacon White still has the all-time record of 94.4% of the vote.
   61. Marc Posted: May 09, 2003 at 05:41 PM (#512408)
Carl said:

>We ahve to face the fact that not every player who gets in is going to get in by overwhelming majority.

That was my only real point though I also agree with Dan:

>Anyway, a non-problem? I'd say a possible problem, but not a likely one.

If a player gets elected with 15 1sts and 2nds and no other votes, that is not only not a consensus. In other context it is a hung jury and a mistrial. So:

> a possible problem, but not (necessarily)...likely....
   62. Jeff M Posted: May 09, 2003 at 06:01 PM (#512409)
Would it be too soon to start a Negro Leagues thread?

I am, admittedly, not sufficiently educated on the Negro Leagues right now. I know the big names (the HOFers), but not so much about the others.

I picked up the Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Leagues. Also checked out 6 other books from the library on this topic. I'm keeping some notes (on index cards) about players who seem to be recognized as good players. Most of these won't make the HOM, but it's a good way to start.

Who to put on the index cards? I'm using a simple screening criteria that any player who gets at least 1.5 columns of treatment in the Biographical Encyclopedia gets a look. I can scale it down from there. I'm only through "B" and I have about 15 names -- which is far to many, but I'd rather be overinclusive than underinclusive for purposes of analysis. Only 3-4 are likely to appear on any ballots and only a couple have any real shot at election.

My initial goal is to simply come up with retirement years for these players so we can consider them at the appropriate time.
   63. MattB Posted: May 09, 2003 at 06:13 PM (#512410)
Mark wrote:

"If Carl's post were a player, he'd be in my top 2."

I'd agree, but I have to dock him some for not serving in World War II.

John wrote:

"BTW, Deacon White still has the all-time record of 94.4% of the vote."

I'm not sure what that means, necessarily. He was a top 4 vote getter on 27 of 29 ballots. (93.1%), but that's just a remnant from the "Top 4" electees in 1898. He only received 23 out of 29 "Top 2" votes (79.3%) which puts him below O'Rourke's 25 out of 31 (80.6%).

I prefer the ratio of points to points awarded. Here's the standings on that metric:

O'Rourke: 11.13%
   64. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 09, 2003 at 06:24 PM (#512411)
<i>I prefer the ratio of points to points awarded. Here's the standings on that metric:

O'Rourke: 11.13%
   65. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 09, 2003 at 06:33 PM (#512412)
I don't know... maybe your way is better, Matt. I'm confused. :-)
   66. MattB Posted: May 09, 2003 at 06:36 PM (#512413)
Hmm. Your way may work better. Under that technique, the Top 6 percentage vote getters have all gotten in (and the top 8 overall through 1900, assuming no last minute runs on first-place Dickey Pearce votes).
   67. MattB Posted: May 09, 2003 at 06:37 PM (#512414)
Drat. Conceded the issue before checking to make sure you hadn't conceded first. I feel like the British at the Battle of New Orleans.
   68. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 09, 2003 at 06:47 PM (#512415)
Drat. Conceded the issue before checking to make sure you hadn't conceded first. I feel like the British at the Battle of New Orleans.

I forgot to see if the Treaty of Ghent was signed, too.
   69. RobC Posted: May 09, 2003 at 10:31 PM (#512417)
Im not sure where to ask this, but this seems as good a place as any.
   70. Marc Posted: May 21, 2003 at 04:18 AM (#512420)
Re. What If? We indeed elected Mantle and Mathews in '74 (duh), but get this. Jim O'Rourke and Deacon White in '75, about 80 years after retirement and after 40 years of voting. I can tell you the voting gets very tough when you've got O'Rourke, White, Medwick, Minoso et al all in one bucket. We actually took special executive action one year to un-elect a player who finished in an eligible slot (like here, we pick a pre-determined number each year) who however appeared on less than half the ballots. That had never happened, but the votes get spread out over so many candidates as the years go by...that player was Richie Ashburn, BTW. He could get elected yet, though I don't think so. The arguments have been, well, like here...but frankly everybody has gotten worn out over time. It is not as interactive as it used to be.

So anyway, the two things this group will have to guard against, if What If? is any indicator, are 1) electing players by a very small number of voters who put them 1-2 while everybody else splits their votes, and 2) everybody getting worn out.

As to 3B, other than Baker and Mathews (and Deacon White?), Collins, Traynor, Groh, Bob Elliott and Ken Boyer have had some support but not Hack.
   71. MattB Posted: May 21, 2003 at 03:50 PM (#512421)
"We actually took special executive action one year to un-elect a player who finished in an eligible slot (like here, we pick a pre-determined number each year) who however appeared on less than half the ballots. That had never happened, but the votes get spread out over so many candidates as the years go by...that player was Richie Ashburn, BTW."

I find that surprising, especially since Ashburn is not an obviously horrible selection. He is a Hall of Famer and scores over 100 on the HOF monitor and gray ink standard. I appears that you have fewer than 10 regular voters, however, so hopefully that will not become a problem here -- a player can be omitted from a handful of ballots and still make the cut.

Actually, what I'm finding interesting so far is how closely our standards have matched the 75% HOF standard. The cutoff appears to so far be around 70% of the possible vote total.

Vote percentages of first 8 electees:

Deacon White -- 94.4%
   72. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: December 31, 2003 at 03:59 PM (#512423)
Any more thoughts about setting up a parallel vote for non-players (managers, execs, pioneers)? Should we run some votes concurrent with the player voting, do it separately, do it after we "catch up" to the present?
   73. Marc Posted: December 31, 2003 at 04:06 PM (#512424)
If we're going to do it at all, it would be good to do it "in its time," that is, while we are immersed in the era. Maybe a 1920 vote for the 19th century, then a 1930 vote through the deadball era, etc.
   74. Chris Cobb Posted: December 31, 2003 at 04:44 PM (#512425)
I agree with Marc that it would be good to be doing these elections as we go along.

Two questions we would need to answer are: how many inductees, and who should be eligible in this category? The number would have large bearing on the rate.

For myself, I'm clear that we should be electing pioneers and managers. I'm uncertain about team executives. Since it's clear they have a large role in building great teams, we probably should include them, though I feel very ignorant about them myself. I'd rather leave out league executives: do we want to have discussions about the merits of William Hulbert and Kennesaw Mountain Landis? I suppose, though some league executives ought to count as pioneers: Hulbert, Ban Johnson? I'm pretty certain we should not try to elect umpires. I certainly feel completely unqualified to evaluate umpires!

On a quick survey of the HOF, I see about 25 members elected on the strength of their work as pioneers, managers, or team executives. We might go a little higher than that, maybe 30?

Starting now, we could hold one election every six years, electing two from all eligibles in these categories, which would bring us to about 30 by the time we reach the present.

Thoughts?

If we base
   75. MattB Posted: December 31, 2003 at 05:11 PM (#512426)
I disagree that we should be electing "pioneers."

What sort of standards would we have? What would the debate look like? "I think inventing the curve ball is more important that managing a team to 10 pennants, but not as important as integrating the American League"? Without any relevant criteria, our elections wouldn't be any more than making random lists.

Also, I've already seen a lot of comments about a number of players (from Harry Wright on) along the lines of "He'd definitely go into a 'pioneer' wing, but I'm unsure about him as a player." Actually having a pioneer wing would let these voters cop out of deciding whether he is a worthy player.
   76. dan b Posted: December 31, 2003 at 05:40 PM (#512429)
Patrick W is right.
   77. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 20, 2004 at 05:35 AM (#512431)
I have a proposal that may satisfy the pro-1860s players group and their opponents: have one-time election to pick the best players for each position prior to 1871 to be included on an All-Time list. Anybody who played before the formation of the NA would be eligible, except only his amateur era career would be voted on (ex: G. Wright's 1867-1870 career compared to Dickey Pearce's 1856-1870 career for the shortstop position during that era). Whoever had the most votes for each position would have the honor of being placed on the list.

This list would then be included in the Hall of Merit Plaque Room, though the honorees would not be included with the members of the HoM.

I think it would be a good way to honor the Pearces, H. Wrights, Reaches, Creightons, etc., without actually inducting them into the HoM. I'd rather include two more players on my ballot that might possibly have a chance to make our Hall.

All players who had the majority of their careers before 1871 would not be eligible for our "annual" elections anymore.
   78. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 20, 2004 at 08:35 PM (#512432)
Could I get at least some negative feedback about my proposal? :-(
   79. Howie Menckel Posted: January 20, 2004 at 08:52 PM (#512433)
Well, we sit simply stunned by its brilliance.

Actually, I have no objection to this. Even Lip Pike might benefit, in case he's splitting the "old-timer vote" with Pearce :)
   80. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 20, 2004 at 09:17 PM (#512434)
Well, we sit simply stunned by its brilliance.

LOL

Actually, I have no objection to this. Even Lip Pike might benefit, in case he's splitting the "old-timer vote" with Pearce :)

I hadn't thought about that phenomena, but it does make sense.
   81. favre Posted: January 20, 2004 at 11:05 PM (#512435)
By "anyone" do you also mean people who've already been inducted; i.e., would Joe Start qualify for first base?
   82. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 21, 2004 at 12:37 AM (#512436)
By "anyone" do you also mean people who've already been inducted; i.e., would Joe Start qualify for first base?

Yes, he would. I see him as the (only) exception, though.
   83. Chris Cobb Posted: January 21, 2004 at 03:00 AM (#512437)
This plan looks fair to me, and I think it would be considerably more fun to have the discussions that would run up to this election than it would be to debate Dickey Pearce and Harry Wright every couple of elections for the next 75 years or so :-) .

Incidentally, Frank Grant is another candidate who might benefit from the removal of Pearce from the HoM ballot picture, as he'll have less competition for the "undocumented greatness" vote.
   84. OCF Posted: January 21, 2004 at 03:20 AM (#512438)
Surely the "antiquarians" among the electorate recognize how successful they've been though the regular HoM process? Go back and look at the 1898 election results. Four players were elected that year, but what happened to the players ranked 5th or below? Of those ranked 5 through 13, 8 of the 9 have since been elected, and 5 of those 8 (G. Wright, Spalding, Start, McVey, and Sutton) were active before 1871.

Ed Williamson (not a pre-NA choice) finished 10th in that election, ahead of three future electees, and by 1917 was barely clinging to life, appearing on just 2 ballots. Most of the rest of the top 20 - O'Neill, C. Jones, Welch, Dunlap, McCormick, Orr - are drawing 0 to 6 votes, except for one case: Lip Pike, 15th in the 1898 vote (behind O'Neill) is higher than that now, supported by nearly half the electorate. Pearce drew just one vote in 1898; he's drawing a dozen now.
   85. dan b Posted: January 21, 2004 at 03:26 AM (#512439)
Gee - this sounded like a good idea until it was suggested it might help Lip Pike and Frank Grant become HoMers.
   86. MattB Posted: January 23, 2004 at 02:09 PM (#512441)
Could I get at least some negative feedback about my proposal? :-(

Here's some negative feedback.

I think that Lip Pike and Frank Grant and Sol White are A-List HoMers. All three are in my personal HoM. Dickey Pearce is in the periphery, but also a potential personal-HoM inductee.

As of this election, Pike and Grant -- at least -- are poised to go in the front door sometime fairly soon. Why take away the honor of Actual Electee for the more assured (but unequal) benefit of "pioneer"?

What advantages in elections does Frank Grant have that Dickey Pearce and Al Reach doesn't? Both were star players in leagues with questionable competition and mostly-non-existent statistics. I trust the electorate to sort out the issues.

While I oppose the idea overall, I especially oppose the idea now -- in the middle of the project. If we had our pioneer election first, and Start and Wright went in that way, there'd be no support for them in the "regular" HoM elections. Having the election now will draw support from them for the "pioneer election" ("Why vote for them? They're already in.") and also draw support in "real" subsequent elections from those who are now voted in as "pioneers." (Have I put enough words in "quotes" yet?)

Perhaps we should table this idea until the end. If, by then, Grant and Pike and Pearce are in, the demand for a pioneer wing will decrease. I find a lot of the arguments I have been making gain force over time. Saying Charlie Bennett was the best catcher available had some force in 1903, the year after Buck Ewing was elected. It has even more force now that no serious competitor has emerged for 15 years. The same arguments work for early players, as even a time-liner can see the merit in an early player against the third or fourth best later player.
   87. RobC Posted: January 23, 2004 at 07:59 PM (#512442)
Ooh, ooh, what he said.
   88. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 23, 2004 at 08:49 PM (#512443)
Dickey Pearce is in the periphery, but also a potential personal-HoM inductee.

How? He's not even on your ballot?

As of this election, Pike and Grant -- at least -- are poised to go in the front door sometime fairly soon. Why take away the honor of Actual Electee for the more assured (but unequal) benefit of "pioneer"?

Because we have a percentage of voters (including the Commish) who feel the pre-1871 guys do not belong in the HoM - period. No amount of evidence (anecdotal or statistical) will ever sway them (which is their right), so why not have an Amateur Era honor for Pearce, Creighton, etc.?

If we had our pioneer election first, and Start and Wright went in that way, there'd be no support for them in the "regular" HoM elections.

Why? I totally disagree with you here. Those two played the majority of their careers after 1871 and would still have their pre-1871 careers to be factored in for their rankings. They wouldn't have changed at all (theoretically).

The list would not be a Hall of Merit. All it would do is signify who were the best players (in our opinion) for pre-1871. That's it. While it would be a great honor for any player selected to it, it wouldn't be the same as selection to the HoM.

Having the election now will draw support from them for the "pioneer election"

If we could have a Pioneer wing that would have in its construction that the best players for their positions pre-1871 would be inducted, that would be great. Except then we would be going back to Frank Grant and Lip Pike (?), I assume.
   89. Jeff M Posted: January 26, 2004 at 09:28 PM (#512444)
Could I get at least some negative feedback about my proposal?

I kind of don't see the point. There were many debates about these players and the electorate has chosen not to elect them. So to satisfy those who wish the players had been elected, we are going to put them in a wing of the HoM without making them HoMers? Are we opening an "honorable mention" wing?
   90. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 26, 2004 at 09:37 PM (#512445)
I kind of don't see the point. There were many debates about these players and the electorate has chosen not to elect them.

But not totally on their merits. Arlie Latham has been rejected on his merits, but not Dickey Pearce by some.

I honestly don't understand some of the underlying hostility to my proposal. A portion of the electorate doesn't wish to honor players from the Amateur Era for the HoM. Fine. Could we at least honor them in some other fashion? Any ideas? Or did Pearce, Wright and Creighton ruin your great-great-great grandparents lives many years ago and now its payback time? :-)
   91. Jeff M Posted: January 26, 2004 at 09:38 PM (#512446)
By the way, I think we should elect some managers. I'd just stick with a 5 year retirement period without reference to age. Question is whether you can combine playing record with managerial record to induct them.

I.e., are there any managers that were pretty-darn-good-but-not-quite-HoMers-as-players and who were pretty-darn-good-but-not-quite-HoMers-as-managers where we would be forced to decide if the combination was sufficient for election (sort of a Bob Caruthers abyss)? Hughie Jennings?

If there are sufficient numbers of possible hybrids, then we wouldn't want a separate "wing" for the managers.
   92. Jeff M Posted: January 26, 2004 at 10:04 PM (#512447)
I don't think it's fair to say that Dickey Pearce wasn't considered on the merits. What arguments are there that were not propounded by you and others on the subject? Those arguments are the merits, and he wasn't elected.

If he had been elected, that would be fine with me. I'm not campaigning to keep him or anyone else out. It just sounds like the pre-1871 proponents are trying to figure out a way to elect players that the group didn't want to elect, by narrowing the group's choices and forcing them to vote on them.

I'm certainly not hostile about it...and you did ask for negative feedback. :)
   93. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 26, 2004 at 10:40 PM (#512448)
If he had been elected, that would be fine with me. I'm not campaigning to keep him or anyone else out. It just sounds like the pre-1871 proponents are trying to figure out a way to elect players that the group didn't want to elect, by narrowing the group's choices and forcing them to vote on them.

I started working on this proposal last week because Joe D. said that the HoM wasn't really for the Pearces and H. Wrights to begin with (please tell me if I'm wrong, Joe). If the guy who created this great project doesn't feel they should be a part of it, that's the death knell for them.

As for trying to find a way to honor the pre-1871 guys, I plead guilty without any remorse. I didn't even think I was trying to be secretive about it.

I just want a place for anybody who happens to visit our site for the guys who are handicapped due to having played in the wrong era.

Again, there would be a definite distinction between the HoM and the Amateur Era list.
   94. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 27, 2004 at 01:55 AM (#512450)
Bob Caruthers...Bob Caruthers...

Does this mean that you feel Bob Caruthers will not make it or that I have a double-standard towards him (which I don't)? Just curious.
   95. Paul Wendt Posted: January 27, 2004 at 02:25 AM (#512451)
JeffM #119
   96. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 27, 2004 at 02:39 AM (#512452)
<i>He means, I daresay:
   97. Chris Cobb Posted: January 27, 2004 at 03:52 AM (#512454)
It seems to me that consideration of the electability of particular players is taking the discussion of John's proposal off track a bit.
   98. Chris Cobb Posted: January 27, 2004 at 03:57 AM (#512455)
It seems to me that consideration of the electability of particular players is taking the discussion of John's proposal off track a bit.
   99. Chris Cobb Posted: January 27, 2004 at 04:00 AM (#512456)
Sorry about the double post. Waited too long to close the browser window.
   100. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 27, 2004 at 04:05 AM (#512457)
As usual, you are the more eloquent wordsmith, Chris.

I am not worthy! :-)
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