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Hall of Merit
— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Election Results: HoM Voters Think Gibson, Bench, Berra and Carter are the Finest Among Backstops!

By unanimous decision, legendary Negro League slugger Josh Gibson was picked as the best catcher of all-time.

With strong support backing him, Cincinnatti Reds great Johnny Bench earned 94% of all possible points.

Close to Bench was New York Yankees star Yogi Berra with his impressive 90%.

Expos and Mets fan favorite Gary Carter had a fine 77% of all possible points.

RK   LY  Player           PTS  Bal   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 1  n/a  Josh Gibson      540   27  27                                                         
 2  n/a  Johnny Bench     506   27     21  5  1                                                
 3  n/a  Yogi Berra       488   27      5 19  3                                                
 4  n/a  Gary Carter      415   27         2 10  7  1     1  5        1                        
 5  n/a  Carlton Fisk     371   27         1  2  4  5  3  4  1  6        1                     
 6  n/a  Bill Dickey      362   27            3  1  6  6  2  3  2  2  1  1                     
 7  n/a  Gabby Hartnett   349   27               7  2  2  6  2  3  2  1  1  1                  
 8  n/a  Mickey Cochrane  348   27               2  3  6  5  5  3  2  1                        
 9  n/a  Buck Ewing       342   27      1     1  2  4  5  2  3  4     3  1              1      
10  n/a  Roy Campanella   339   27            2  2  5  4     4  1  3  5  1                     
11  n/a  Deacon White     318   27            5  2  1  1  3  2  2  5  2        2  1        1   
12  n/a  Louis Santop     259   27                        2  1  4  7  8  1  3  1               
13  n/a  Ted Simmons      212   27                              1  4  3  8  7  2  1  1         
14  n/a  Joe Torre        168   27                        1     1  1  2  2  4  5  5  2  2  1  1
15  n/a  Charlie Bennett  157   27                           1     1     5  6  3  2  3  2  3  1
16  n/a  Cal McVey        126   27                                       3  3  6  2  5  2  3  3
17  n/a  Bill Freehan     114   27                                       1  1  4  5  7  5  3  1
18  n/a  Roger Bresnahan   94   27                                       1     3  6  5  2  2  8
19  n/a  Quincy Trouppe    90   27                                       1  2  1  3  2  8  5  5
20  n/a  Biz Mackey        72   27                        1                       2  2  5  9  8
Ballots Cast: 27

Thanks to OCF and Ron Wargo for their tallying help!

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 11, 2008 at 09:23 PM | 20 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 12, 2008 at 12:02 AM (#2777062)
Nice to see Josh get the top spot on everybody's ballot!
   2. OCF Posted: May 12, 2008 at 12:12 AM (#2777074)
Consensus, on the -100 to 100 scale, was very high. Mean was 85. Here are the individual results:

90 Tiboreau
89 Devin McCullen
89 Tom H
88 Dan R
88 jimd
88 Mark Donelson
88 Chris Cobb
87 Rick A
87 Rob Wood
87 Esteban Rivera
87 sunnyday2
87 Jim Sp
86 AJM
86 OCF (median)
85 DL from MN
85 John Murphy
85 Joe Dimino
85 danb
85 Rafael Bellylard
85 Kenn
84 ronw
83 Howie Menckel
83 Sean Gilman
83 whoisalhedges
82 Bob Allen
76 Rusty Priske
61 bjhanke

Even though Brock Hanke has more disagreements with the rest of us than anyone else, he's still in broad agreement about quite a bit of this.
   3. Chris Cobb Posted: May 12, 2008 at 02:09 AM (#2777308)
27 voters is an excellent number for the first round, especially on one of the trickier positions to get a handle on!

I'll second OCF's comment on high consensus. In terms of "tiers," there was almost complete consensus:

Tier 1 -- Gibson, Bench, Berra in that order
Tier 2 -- Carter, Fisk, Dickey, Hartnett, Cochrane, Ewing, Campanella, White in some order
Tier 3 -- Santop and Simmons, in that order
Tier 4 -- Torre, Bennett, McVey, Freehan, Bresnahan, Trouppe, Mackey in some order

The high consensus on Santop and Simmons as sitting firmly between Tier 2 and Tier 4 is interesting. I don't recall seeing a "high consensus" middle in our HoM-not-HoF results, but maybe I am just not remembering . . .
   4. DL from MN Posted: May 12, 2008 at 03:16 PM (#2777662)
So at the start of the project the other hall hadn't inducted our #4, #11-17 and #19-20. They've since inducted #4, #12 and #20.

Another thing - I'd love to somehow merge our plaque room information with the BR Bullpen information. At the very least we should put our HoM discussion page in the "related links".
   5. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 12, 2008 at 03:19 PM (#2777668)
Another thing - I'd love to somehow merge our plaque room information with the BR Bullpen information. At the very least we should put our HoM discussion page in the "related links".


Now that's a great idea, Dan. I will work on it starting sometime this week (hopefully :-)

I had tried posting links to Wikipedia a while back, but they refused and called it "spamming." Whatever.
   6. Mongo Posted: May 12, 2008 at 04:36 PM (#2777745)
Tier 1 -- Gibson, Bench, Berra in that order
Tier 2 -- Carter, Fisk, Dickey, Hartnett, Cochrane, Ewing, Campanella, White in some order
Tier 3 -- Santop and Simmons, in that order
Tier 4 -- Torre, Bennett, McVey, Freehan, Bresnahan, Trouppe, Mackey in some order


Looking at the votes, I would say that Carter is a clear number four, in a separate 'Tier 1.5'

Other than that, I agrre with your analysis.
   7. andrew siegel Posted: May 13, 2008 at 03:31 AM (#2778616)
Ooops forgot to vote. (You can thank Joe for hooking me on Hoop Dynasty, but that's another story.) First ballot I ever missed. My votes wouldn't have changed the overall rankings at all. Ill be back for the 1st basemen.
   8. Howie Menckel Posted: May 13, 2008 at 04:41 AM (#2778645)
welcome back, andrew
   9. sunnyday2 Posted: May 13, 2008 at 10:31 AM (#2778696)
Tier 2 -- Carter, Fisk, Dickey, Hartnett, Cochrane, Ewing, Campanella, White in some order


I had no idea that Fisk and Dickey could or would or should finish ahead of the next 5. I mean, I hadn't seen it coming in the discussion and prelims.
   10. Paul Wendt Posted: May 13, 2008 at 01:12 PM (#2778740)
Tier 3 -- Santop and Simmons, in that order
. . .
The high consensus on Santop and Simmons as sitting firmly between Tier 2 and Tier 4 is interesting. I don't recall seeing a "high consensus" middle in our HoM-not-HoF results, but maybe I am just not remembering . . .


Of course there has been some convergence of opinion but this is incredible. It can't happen in real life. If so many put them both in the middle of the group

Half of the voters ranked Santop above 12 and half ranked Simmons below 13. By reference to the total scores they seem sharply distinguished from tiers above and below, because Santop alone in the middle is never ranked among the leaders and Simmons alone in the bottom is never ranked terribly low. But the demarcation between them is sharper. Go to Santop and Simmons in the middle of the table (8, 8) and note that there are almost no tallies to the northeast or southwest. Plenty of voters put one or two catchers between Santop and Simmons but very few departed from consensus by moving someone from above to below both of them, or vice versa.
   11. andrew siegel Posted: May 14, 2008 at 01:26 PM (#2780196)
I would have tied for best friend of Gibson (duh), Bench (double duh), Harnett, and McVey. I would only have been the worst enemy of my last place votee (Mackey).

My ballot (now posted on the thread for posterity's sake) would have kept with the tiers demarcated above except that it would have had Cal McVey between Santop and Simmons.
   12. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: May 14, 2008 at 02:12 PM (#2780252)
"Looking at the votes, I would say that Carter is a clear number four, in a separate 'Tier 1.5'"

I don't know, more than half the voters had him below #4. I'd say he's the head of tier 2. Minor nitpick by me, I realize.

I've got no problem adding Andrew's vote to the totals if you guys don't. I've always been for getting it right :-)
   13. DL from MN Posted: May 14, 2008 at 02:21 PM (#2780262)
Go ahead and add the vote, the deadline was more to get it over with and on to the next one. We aren't un-inducting anyone here.
   14. whoisalhedges Posted: May 21, 2008 at 04:00 PM (#2789435)
The mode/mean/point total disparity between Fisk and Hartnett is interesting.
   15. RobertMachemer Posted: May 21, 2008 at 06:04 PM (#2789570)
Out of curiosity, what were the group's thoughts on ranking Bill Freehan ahead of Gene Tenace? I can see reasons -- Tenace played a large number of games at first base, though more at catcher, so presumably he gets hurt both for defense (not being good enough to stay at catcher for as long as Freehan) and for positional adjustment.

And yet...

Freehan: 1581 games at catcher, 157 games at first, and, according to bb-ref, 99.2 adjusted batting runs.
Tenace: 892 games at catcher, 625 at first, and, according to bb-ref, 266.8 adjusted batting runs.

Even if we arbitrarily dock Tenace roughly 40% of his offensive value for its occurring while he played first base, we still get a player who provided about 50% more offensive value (by at least the one measurement) over the course of his career.

So, a little devil's advocate: why does Tenace finish tied for 92nd on the most recent ballots (if I'm reading them right -- and I may not be!) while Freehan is in the Hall of Merit?
   16. sunnyday2 Posted: May 22, 2008 at 09:45 AM (#2790693)
what were the group's thoughts on ranking Bill Freehan ahead of Gene Tenace?


As I said elsewhere (apropos of Terry and Tenace), we (HoM voters) didn't rank Freehan ahead of Tenace. We ranked Freehan at the head of a particular set of candidtaes. We ranked Tenace vis a vis a different set of candidates.

We elected Freehan and we didn't elect Tenace. But it's possible that some who voted to elect Freehan and did not vote to elect Tenace might actually rate Tenace ahead of Freehan. I mean, it's not likely, but it's possible, due to the nature of our voting.
   17. Paul Wendt Posted: May 22, 2008 at 09:58 PM (#2791123)
From the voting thread for firstbasemen:
> So, why has Tenace not done nearly as well as Terry
> (or, as I suggested in the catchers thread, as Freehan)? I'm curious.
20. sunnyday2 Posted: May 22, 2008 at 05:42 AM (#2790692)
You have to remember that the HoM voting was done chronologically. The collective never said Terry was better than Tenance. Terry faced a certain set of candidates and was deemed to be the best of the available candidates at that time. Tenace faces a vastly different and vastly tougher set of alternative candidates.


Is there reason to think Tenace faces a tougher set of alternative candidates, not to mention "vastly tougher"?
Sure, Jimmy Ryan and George Van Haltren are down from where they ranked when Bill Terry waltzed in but Tommy Leach has filtered up to #3 and Gavy Cravath into the top ten. Charley Jones, Pete Browning, and Jake Beckley all finally won election against the "vastly tougher" field that Tenace has faced.

I believe that Tenace would poll something close to zero votes head-on against Terry or Freehan (less than 10%).

I agree that Tenace faces a tougher field than Terry if the point is to make the top fifty rather than to be elected. A much longer list of players capable of attracting a vote or three has accumulated, so that about 100 candidates now split the points that were once divided only 50 ways.
In other words, part of a better answer is that #92 is not far below #20.

--
Even if we arbitrarily dock Tenace roughly 40% of his offensive value for its occurring while he played first base, we still get a player who provided about 50% more offensive value (by at least the one measurement) over the course of his career.

That is indeed extremely arbitrary: 40% of his score by a measure whose zero point may have no good foundation. None of our intuitions about "40%" have meaning if that zero point has none.
   18. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 22, 2008 at 11:26 PM (#2791222)
On Freehan and Tenace, I'm pretty sure the group has this one right. Here are my standard charts for the two. SFrac measures playing time, BWAA is batting wins above a league average hitter (with no DH adjustment), BRWA is baserunning wins above a league average runner, FWAA is fielding wins above a league average fielder at the same position, Replc is the number of wins above average (BWAA+BRWA+FWAA) a replacement player at the same position would have had in the same playing time (which is lower in DH leagues), WAR1 is raw wins above replacement (the sum of these 4), LgAdj is the ratio of the 2005 standard deviation to the regression-projected standard deviation of the league-season in question, and WAR2 is standard deviation-adjusted wins above replacement. TXBR is career totals excluding below-replacement seasons.

Tenace

Year SFrac BWAA    BRWA FWAA Replc WAR1 LgAdj WAR2
1970  0.19  1.3    
-0.1  0.2  -0.4  1.7 0.949  1.7
1971  0.31  1.3     0.0  0.0  
-0.7  1.9 0.962  1.8
1972  0.40  0.3     0.2 
-0.2  -0.7  1.0 0.970  1.0
1973  0.92  3.7     0.1 
-0.5  -0.9  4.1 0.947  3.9
1974  0.90  2.9    
-0.4  0.5  -1.2  4.3 0.963  4.1
1975  0.92  3.9     0.2  0.4  
-1.9  6.3 0.943  6.0
1976  0.75  3.3    
-0.3 -0.3  -1.3     3.9 0.948  3.7
1977  0.84  4.1    
-0.1 -0.2  -1.2  5.0 0.972  4.9
1978  0.77  3.5    
-0.1  0.2  -0.7  4.4 0.988  4.3
1979  0.86  4.3    
-0.2  0.3  -1.0  5.4 0.981  5.3
1980  0.61  2.7    
-0.3 -0.4  -0.9  2.9 0.985  2.9
1981  0.39  1.9     0.0 
-0.3  -0.6  2.2 0.975  2.2
1982  0.24  1.6    
-0.1  0.0  -0.4  1.9 0.985  1.9
1983  0.12 
-0.1     0.0 -0.1  -0.0 -0.2 1.004 -0.2
TOTL  8.22 34.7 
-1.1 -0.4 -11.9 44.8 0.971 43.5
TXBR  8.10 34.8 
-1.1 -0.3 -11.9 45.0 0.971 43.7
AVRG  1.00  4.2 
-0.1  0.0  -1.4  5.5 0.971  5.3 



Freehan

Year SFrac BWAA    BRWA FWAA Replc WAR1 LgAdj WAR2
1963  0.51  0.3     0.0  0.2  
-1.1     1.6 0.968  1.5
1964  0.84  2.6     0.1  0.5  
-1.7     4.9 0.983  4.8
1965  0.72 
-0.5    -0.1  0.5  -1.5     1.4 0.977  1.3
1966  0.81 
-0.7     0.0  0.4  -1.6     1.3 0.999  1.3
1967  0.92  4.6    
-0.2 -0.1  -1.9     6.2 0.985  6.1
1968  0.96  4.6    
-0.2  0.9  -1.9     7.2 1.003  7.3
1969  0.81  0.9    
-0.1  0.3  -1.8     2.9 0.948  2.7
1970  0.67  0.8    
-0.2  0.2  -1.4     2.2 0.949  2.1
1971  0.87  2.5    
-0.3  0.1  -1.8     4.1 0.962  3.9
1972  0.68  2.1     0.0  0.4  
-1.4     3.9 0.970  3.8
1973  0.63 
-1.4    -0.1  0.5  -1.7     0.7 0.947  0.6
1974  0.73  2.1     0.1  0.8  
-0.5     3.5 0.963  3.3
1975  0.69 
-0.6     0.0 -0.1  -1.8     1.1 0.943  1.1
1976  0.38  0.0     0.0 
-0.3  -1.0     0.7 0.948  0.6
TOTL 10.22 17.3    
-1.0  4.3 -21.1    41.7 0.969 40.4
AVRG  1.00  1.7    
-0.1  0.4  -2.1     4.1 0.969  4.0 


So on the surface of it, these two are pretty close. Tenace was light years better as a hitter, but Freehan was a better fielder and played two full additional seasons, with a ton more time behind the plate in them. It would seem to be a tossup, with Tenace having a bit more career value and Freehan having a notably higher peak. The gap, however, opens up once you apply a catcher bonus. If we just went by straight WAR2 or my raw salary estimator, Berra and Bench would be the only catchers in the HoM. To get a reasonable representation of catchers in the HoM, we have to give them an extra kick for playing the position, which I have calculated to be a 58% bonus applied to catcher playing time. This factor obviously favors Freehan, who played 90% of his career games at C, in relation to Tenace, who played just 58%. The result of this is a substantial gap between the two, with Freehan clearly on the right side of the in/out line and Tenace on the wrong one.
   19. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 22, 2008 at 11:27 PM (#2791227)
Agghhh that did NOT format right...no idea why.
   20. ronw Posted: June 09, 2008 at 03:50 PM (#2812785)
Fielding for catchers. Letter grade - Bill James Win Shares; Parenthetical number - Davenport's career FRAA1.

Unknown

N/A Josh Gibson (N/A)
N/A Louis Santop (N/A)
N/A Quincy Trouppe (N/A)
N/A Biz Mackey (N/A)

Listed in approximate ascending order by reputation. Gibson had some people saying he was great and some atrocious. He was probably somewhere in the middle. Santop and Trouppe had fielding accolades, but not as many as Mackey.

The worst

C+ Roger Bresnahan (-51); CF (1)
N/A Cal McVey (-2); 1B (0)
C Ted Simmons (-1); 1B (-6);
C Joe Torre (15); 1B (12); 3B (-37)

Torre actually shows up as decent in Davenport's analysis. The rest have consistent ratings across both metrics.

Solid

None. I could put Torre here, but he got a low James grade.

Good

None.

Great

A- Bill Freehan (34); 1B (-1)
N/A Deacon White (47); 1B (0); 3B (-20); RF (-13) (also C- at 3B)
B+ Carlton Fisk (54)
A Roy Campanella (64)
A Mickey Cochrane (68)

White is missing his prime catching NA years from James and could be excellent. Campanella and Cochrane have excellent rates, their short careers keep their FRAA1 low.

Excellent

A+ Gabby Hartnett (118)
A Bill Dickey (119)
A Yogi Berra (120); LF (12); RF (4)
A Charlie Bennett (121)
A+ Buck Ewing (131); 1B (0); 3B (-1); RF (7)
A Gary Carter (156); RF (-7)
A- Johnny Bench (184); 3B (-21)

I'm a little surprised Bench only got an A- from James. Bennett's career total is by far over the fewest # of games, and he has a good argument as the best fielding catcher of all-time. Could be that the SB data isn't captured as well in that system. Catcher may be one of the few positions where most of the all-time greats were both excellent fielders and hitters.

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