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

Monday, October 20, 2008

Election Results: Starting in Right Field…Ruth, Aaron, Ott and Robinson!

Unanimously (and unsurprisingly), Babe Ruth was crowned king of all right fielders.

Almost as impressive as the Bambino’s results, Hank Aaron nabbed all of the second-place votes available and achieved 95% of all possible points..

Of the others with significant support, Mel Ot earned 89%, while Frank Robinson was close by with 86%.

Thanks to OCF and Ron with the tally!

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/e  Babe Ruth         500   25  25                                                         
 2  n/e  Hank Aaron        475   25     25                                                      
 3  n/e  Mel Ott           445   25        20  5                                                
 4  n/e  Frank Robinson    430   25         5 20                                                
 5  n/e  Paul Waner        351   25              11  4  3  1  1  2  1  1     1                  
 6  n/e  Pete Rose         345   25               9  5  5     1  1  1     2  1                  
 7  n/e  Sam Crawford      340   25               1  9  3  7  3     2                           
 8  n/e  Reggie Jackson    316   25               2  2  3  6  7  2  2     1                     
 9  n/e  Al Kaline         291   25                  2  5  2  4  6  3     2        1            
10  n/e  Roberto Clemente  261   25                  2  3  4     2  4  2  5     2  1            
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
11  n/e  Tony Gwynn        243   25                     1     1  7  5  7  1  1  2               
12  n/e  King Kelly        237   25                  1     4  3     3  5  3  1  3  2            
13  n/e  Joe Jackson       232   25               2     2  1  4  1  2  4  1  1  2  2  1     1  1
14  n/e  Harry Heilmann    178   25                           1  2     3  5  5  3  2  2  2      
15  n/e  Elmer Flick       146   25                              2     1  2  5  5  2  2  5     1
16  n/e  Enos Slaughter    140   25                                 2  1  1  4  4  6  4  1     2
17  n/e  Dave Winfield     101   25                                    1  1  1  2  2  8  3  7   
18  n/e  Willie Keeler      93   25                                       1  2  1  4  2  8  6  1
19  n/e  Dwight Evans       83   25                                          3  1  2  3  5  8  3
20  n/e  Sam Thompson       43   25                                                1  3  1  3 17
Ballots Cast: 25

 

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 20, 2008 at 11:14 PM | 112 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 21, 2008 at 02:02 AM (#2990575)
Nice being able to use my ballot counter again. :-)

No new discussion thread until further notice until we can figure out how to handle the pitchers as a group.
   2. Howie Menckel Posted: October 21, 2008 at 02:11 AM (#2990583)
I'll quick-pitch for "divide by 3" and then afterwards we pick a top 20 from there..
   3. OCF Posted: October 21, 2008 at 02:26 AM (#2990593)
Here's a version of the results. The first number after a name is the average placement of that candidate, while the second number is the standard deviation of that placement among the 25 voters.

1.  Ruth . . .  1.00 0.00
2.  Aaron 
. . . 2.00 0.00
3.  Ott 
. . . . 3.20 0.40
4.  Robinson 
.  3.80 0.40
5.  Waner 
. . . 6.96 2.54
6.  Rose 
. . .  7.20 2.76
7.  Crawford 
.  7.40 1.55
8.  R
Jackson  8.36 1.83
9.  Kaline 
. .  9.36 2.33
10. Clemente 
10.56 2.90
11. Gwynn 
. .  11.25 1.76
12. Kelly 
. .  11.52 2.76
13. J
Jackson 11.72 3.98
14. Heilmann 
13.88 2.32
15. Flick 
. .  15.16 2.46
16. Slaughter  15.40 2.24
17. Winfield 
16.96 1.91
18. Keeler 
. . 17.28 1.80
19. Evans 
. .  17.68 1.85
20. Thompson 
19.28 1.22 


Two things stand out. From the standard deviation column, we see that Joe Jackson is a uniquely polarizing figure, although disagreements about Rose also ran stronger than most. The other is that since I began reporting the results this way, Sam Thompson is the only candidate to have an average placement greater than n-1 in an n-player field.

We also see a sharp break in the points total between Robinson and Waner; this break should also be visible in the vote details.

As for consensus: the mean consensus score was 87.

stax: 91
Dan R: 91
andrew siegel: 91
Chris Cobb: 91
Devin McCullen: 91
...
John Murphy: 87
OCF: 86 (median)
Tiboreau: 86
...
Rusty Priske: 84
DL from MN: 83
EricC: 81
Mark Donelson: 81
bjhanke: 79
   4. OCF Posted: October 21, 2008 at 02:29 AM (#2990594)
No new discussion thread until further notice until we can figure out how to handle the pitchers as a group.

Let's move on to the 2009 "regular" HoM election. Can we have player discussion threads for Rickey (not that we really need that one), for Appier, and for maybe a couple of others?

And as for the ~50 people who were voting in our regular elections: can we go around like Jake and Elwood and say that we're getting the band back together?
   5. stax Posted: October 21, 2008 at 06:27 AM (#2990672)
Hot Topic! Also totally awesome, I had a nice high correlation!
   6. Paul Wendt Posted: October 21, 2008 at 01:46 PM (#2990784)
OCF #3
Two things stand out.
From the standard deviation column, we see that Joe Jackson is a uniquely polarizing figure, although disagreements about Rose also ran stronger than most.
The other is that since I began reporting the results this way, Sam Thompson is the only candidate to have an average placement greater than n-1 in an n-player field.


Given the agreement on #1-4, the variation for Waner is very high. Conditionally he is first in a conditional field of 16. For Sam Crawford on the other hand we see a rating higher than anyone else gives him nowadays (as for Waner) and with very little variation.

We also see a sharp break in the points total between Robinson and Waner; this break should also be visible in the vote details.

Found it!
:-)
   7. RedSoxBaller Posted: October 21, 2008 at 01:53 PM (#2990790)
Sorry, I did not get a chance to vote on this, but why do all of you see Mel Ott as a better player than Frank R? Ott played in a little league park, hit 388(I think) of his homers there. He also never played against any minority players. He never faced specialized relie pitchers, or had to travel cross country for games. All of his OF assist totals are padded by his high school sized park. Frank R was a better fielder and baserunner, and maybe even hitter when all things are in context. Mel was only better at walking more. Is that seriously why you guys put him ahead? Becuz he walked more?
   8. Paul Wendt Posted: October 21, 2008 at 02:06 PM (#2990798)
Here is the latest display of rank order plus intensity. Multiple listings on one line represent close calls. One blank line represents a difference greater than one point per voter. For example: here we have 25 voters; the three-line gap between Robinson and Waner means a difference in standings greater than 75 points.

Feel free to use this free of royalty payments. Probably it is too liberal, too "gappy". We just missed three more gaps, one above Aaron and two above and below Reggie.



Babe Ruth
Hank Aaron

Mel Ott
Frank Robinson



Paul Waner, Pete Rose, Sam Crawford
Reggie Jackson
Al Kaline

Roberto Clemente
Tony Gwynn, King Kelly, Joe Jackson


Harry Heilmann

Elmer Flick, Enos Slaughter

Dave Winfield, Willie Keeler, Dwight Evans

Sam Thompson
   9. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 21, 2008 at 02:19 PM (#2990810)
RedSoxBaller, look at the ballot thread, there's plenty of discussion about Ott vs. Robinson. In response to your points, a strong majority of the electorate (but by no means a unanimous one) believes that players who take advantage of their home park above and beyond its average effect on run scoring should be given full credit for their achievements, since they produce real wins for their teams. The Polo Grounds wasn't the Coors Field of the 1930's (the Baker Bowl was more so); in fact, it was a slight pitcher's park for most of the 1930's. The *only* guy who was able to customize his swing to take *unique* advantage of its proportions was Ott, and that made enormous contributions towards the Giants' victory totals. This issue has come up regularly with players like Gavvy Cravath, Chuck Klein, Wade Boggs, Joe DiMaggio, and Thurman Munson, and most (but again, not all) voters land on the side of using the overall run park factor rather than any component approach.

League strength is obviously an argument in favor of Robinson.

Ott's defensive numbers are not at all a mere product of high assist totals, but of high putout totals (relative to his estimated chances) as well.

Walks are kind of important, wouldn'tcha say? They, like, get you to first base, which means that sometimes you get to score. And also, they stop you from making outs, which keeps innings alive.
   10. RedSoxBaller Posted: October 21, 2008 at 02:24 PM (#2990814)
I guess my main point is that we wouldn't be having this discussion if Frank Robinson played in the Polo Grounds in the 1930s. If he did, he would most likely have over 800 career homers, over 300 OF assists, and probably a career .330 BA. He would most likely be viewed as the best player ever. Mel Ott had all the advantages in the world gven to him, and he still could not outperform the triple crown winning Robinson. I don't see how one can think it is fair that Ott got to play in a kiddie park and hit 388(something like that) of his home runs there.
   11. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 21, 2008 at 02:32 PM (#2990822)
You don't know that, RedSoxBaller. It's completely counterfactual. If the Polo Grounds were really a "kiddie park" as you say, its park factor would be over 120, and we would be discounting Ott's offense a lot more than we do. Again--Ott was the ONLY player to take such advantage of the Polo Grounds; it was in fact a PITCHER'S park for much of his career. How can you assume that Robinson, if plunked down on the 1930's Giants, would have been able to customize his swing to fit the park as only Ott was able to do in his own time? I think it's much more likely to assume that the park would have affected Robinson as it affected every other non-Ott player in the 1930's NL, which is to say, *depressing* offense by 1-2%.
   12. RedSoxBaller Posted: October 21, 2008 at 02:42 PM (#2990834)
Im not saying that the Polo Grounds was a good hitter's park, I was saying that huge chunk of Ott's homers came at the Polo Grounds since it had that small right field. I'm going to leave you with my last point

Mel Ott- 155 OPS+

Frank Robinson- 154 OPS+

Robinson was a far better baserunner and fielder. He also played against much, much better competition, and played in real Major League sized parks even. So is 1 OPS+ really a difference enough to declare Ott a better player?
   13. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 21, 2008 at 03:09 PM (#2990860)
As I've posted, OPS+ seems to get these two guys wrong. Ott's OPS+ is more OBP-heavy, and he hit into far fewer double plays, among other factors. My batting wins suggest that Ott's OPS+ "should" have been more like 158, and Robinson's "should" have been more like 150-151. I think my analysis of this is on the right fielder discussion thread.

And I don't know where you get Robinson's baserunning and fielding superiority. Certainly Ott's defensive statistics suggest he was an *elite* right fielder (based on his putouts, not his arm)--DRA has him consistently among league leaders in the early-mid 1930's, and a big +140 for his career. He had the reputation to match, and even handled third base well for 250 games, which says something about his general fielding prowess. By contrast, TotalZone puts Robinson at a merely average-ish +28 for his career, DRA has him at an even more average +8, and I'm not aware of any anecdotal odes to Frank's defensive wizardry. And Robinson spent his final years as a DH. Defense is a strong argument in favor of Ott OVER Robinson, not the other way around. As for baserunning, Robinson was +12 runs for his career per Dan Fox's EqBRR--big whoop. He was an average runner.

The park thing is a red herring, for the zillionth time. If you dock Ott for that, then Wade Boggs should not be in your Hall of Merit at all (look at his road numbers!).

League strength is Robinson's only real calling card over Ott. I could certainly see that being enough to tip the scales for some voters, but the electorate as a whole clearly didn't think so.
   14. TomH Posted: October 21, 2008 at 03:20 PM (#2990874)
I'm a voter who had Frank above Ott until a few weeks back.

Here are bb-ref's 'neutralized stats' for Ott and Robinson: extremely close!

. G ...... AB .. R .... H ... 2B 3B . HR RBI . BB .. SO .. SB Avg OBP .SLG
2878 . 9915 1916 2987 504 73 531 1908 1781 .945 . 91 .301 .411 .527
2865 10387 1982 3182 569 74 631 1971 1551 1562 219 .306 .404 .558

F Robbie was a better runner, but they were both fine defensiveRFers, and Ott needs credit for playing over 1 1/2 seasons at 3B; overall, Ott gets an edge for his glove, not Robinson. And again, OPS+ and the ##s above already include park adjustments.

Yes, level of competition should be accounted for. Integration a large bonus for Frank, but Ott played in the more competitive league in his day, while Frank split time AL/NL. Ott lsoes a little for his late-career waterd down WWII seasons.

I see it as a close call. Yes, most of today's fans would disagree with our plurality.
   15. TomH Posted: October 21, 2008 at 03:21 PM (#2990876)
Guys, at this point I'm bowing out of the project. Too many other hobbies and volunteer efforts clamoring for my time. I hope to write a few articles for SABR in the next 6 months. Oh, and that "job" thing gets in the way too.
   16. DL from MN Posted: October 21, 2008 at 03:26 PM (#2990881)
TomH, could you at least vote in the 2008 election before you quit?
   17. RedSoxBaller Posted: October 21, 2008 at 03:59 PM (#2990914)
First off, of course Ott had more putouts, he played in a midget park, where a RFer could run up to first and catch a infield popup, no joke, my dad saw it happen once with Ott. I take it from someone who saw a lot of Ott and Robinson that Robinson was superior, and the real stats back that up. Frankie had more hits, homers, doubles, steals, and almost the same runs and RBIs, even though he played in an offensively deprived era. So Robinson had almost the same batting stats, but was a better fielder and baseruner, who played in a much, much tougher league.
   18. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 21, 2008 at 04:09 PM (#2990928)
my dad saw it happen once with Ott. I take it from someone who saw a lot of Ott and Robinson that Robinson was superior


Oh dear. If this is the level of debate we're going to sink to, I think I'll just have to bow out here. The electorate has already spoken in any case, with quite a resounding verdict. RedSoxBaller, if you actually want to know why 4/5 of the HoM's extremely sophisticated, informed, and committed voters preferred Ott to Robinson, I've tried to help articulate that consensus. But if you just want to spam the forum with unsubstantiated "because I say so" assertions (He was a better baserunner! Trust me!) and junk stats ("Frankie had more doubles!" Woo!), I'm afraid you've chosen the wrong discussion board.
   19. RedSoxBaller Posted: October 21, 2008 at 04:13 PM (#2990933)
So are you going to admit that the reason Ott had a ton of putouts was becuz he played in a midget park, and could make routine catchs of infield flies?
   20. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 21, 2008 at 04:14 PM (#2990935)
I expect a "midget park" would hurt the corner outfielders' putout totals more than it would help. Fenway has a "midget" left field, which causes any number of park adjustment problems for defensive metrics. Sure, you can come in further on some occasions - but you lose ALL deep fly balls, because they go over the wall.
   21. RedSoxBaller Posted: October 21, 2008 at 04:15 PM (#2990938)
He was a bette baserunner, more doubles and steals= better baserunning, unless some stat you made up shows otherwise. It seems once I prove with real stats that Robinson is better, you resort to your fake stats, without giving me the formulas, or showing me how that stat works.
   22. RedSoxBaller Posted: October 21, 2008 at 04:18 PM (#2990945)
Sophisticared and informed? Why, just because you are all brainwashed into believing what Chris Dial and Dan Szymboski tell you? No, I prefer to look at the real evidence, and the eyewitness accounts. I dont buy any of the fake stats you post on here (lol OPD is a joke). If you truly believe that the stats you use are good, well good for you, but any stat that shows Coco Crisp as a bad fielder is truly and fatally flawed.
   23. JPWF13 Posted: October 21, 2008 at 04:20 PM (#2990947)
So Robinson had almost the same batting stats, but was a better fielder and baseruner, who played in a much, much tougher league.


I believe that HOM does not "timeline"

BUT- the HOM does acknowledge when leagues diverged in strength - for instance the 1960s NL was much stronger than the 1960s AL

Robbie had a 150 career OPS+ in the NL-
when he was traded to the AL (which was a much weaker league then)- he had an OPS+ of 159- that was post 30 when he "should" have been in decline.

In any event, much of Otts' career was not played in an extreme high run environment- after 1930 offensive levels in the NL declined dramatically- unlike the Al which essentially stayed up at 1920s big bang era levels until WW-II

The result was that NL hitting stars of the 30s (like Ott, Mize, Vaughn, Medwick...) had less impressive raw numbers than their Al contemporaries- which may have unfairly extended their HOF waiting times or cost them induction altogether
   24. JPWF13 Posted: October 21, 2008 at 04:33 PM (#2990963)
He was a bette baserunner, more doubles and steals= better baserunning,


40 more doubles
same # of 3Bs
more steals- but their were more steals period in Robbie's era- the nature of the game was changing

what we (or at least I) don't know
1: how often were they thrown out on the bases?
2: How often did they take an extra base?

FWIW as well, the GIDP data for Ott is incomplete (early years are missing) but it appears he hit into DPs nearly half as much as Robbie- add that to his OBP advantage and Ott has a substantial edge in out avoidance.
   25. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 21, 2008 at 04:38 PM (#2990970)
Sophisticared and informed? Why, just because you are all brainwashed into believing what Chris Dial and Dan Szymboski tell you? No, I prefer to look at the real evidence, and the eyewitness accounts. I dont buy any of the fake stats you post on here (lol OPD is a joke). If you truly believe that the stats you use are good, well good for you, but any stat that shows Coco Crisp as a bad fielder is truly and fatally flawed.

Eye witness accounts are a terrible way to judge this kind of thing.

Based on observation alone you'd think the average pitcher in 1968 was an ace (2.99 ERA) and all the hitters sucked. You don't believe that, do you?

What is your indisputable proof that Coco is not a bad fielder?
   26. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 21, 2008 at 04:50 PM (#2990980)
Jesus, this has got to be one of the most pathetic HoM exchanges ever. I will not respond ANY further after this post--let's please move on to something remotely productive (2009 ballot discussion? Pitcher rankings? Some other analysis of the right field results that doesn't involve RedSoxBaller's father?).

Defensive park factors: Well, you'd certainly *expect* the Polo Grounds to reduce LF/RF putouts and increase CF putouts given its shape, for the reason Eric J states above. But it's quite possible that the Giants would have adjusted their outfield positioning in response, playing the CF extremely deep and the corner outfielders shallow to cut off singles. My guess is that the configuration would play about neutral at all three positions overall, assuming optimal positioning. I could ask Michael Humphreys what PF he would use for the various OF positions at the Polo Grounds, but I don't want to waste his time with something this trivial.

Baserunning: um, more doubles and steals do not necessarily= better baserunning, as you put it. No one stole bases in the 1930's, dude. And plenty of fat, slow sluggers get tons of doubles.

For Robinson's career, we have complete baserunning data and can say with great certainty that he was precisely 12 runs above average. Again, if you are actually interested in learning how these calculations are done ("giving you the formulas, or showing you how that stat works") instead of just trolling, you can get quite a comprehensive account at http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=5774 and the articles linked from it (plus http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=6731 for discussion of advancement on PB, WP, and balks). But judging by your comment that the electorate is "all brainwashed," unlike you, who by contrast have unique access to "real evidence" and can see through "fake stats" because you don't happen to agree with one result of one metric...I won't get my hopes up.

Ugh, I feel stupider having wasted the time to type that. ENOUGH. My final request is that the group make sure to give appropriate scrutiny to RedSoxBaller's preliminary 2009 ballot before accepting it. Is yest coming back, by the way?
   27. stax Posted: October 21, 2008 at 04:53 PM (#2990983)
what we (or at least I) don't know
1: how often were they thrown out on the bases?
2: How often did they take an extra base?

FWIW as well, the GIDP data for Ott is incomplete (early years are missing) but it appears he hit into DPs nearly half as much as Robbie- add that to his OBP advantage and Ott has a substantial edge in out avoidance.


I don't know this for a fact, but I'd assume at least the method DanR uses (what was the guy's name, something Fox, who made it?) for baserunning includes this data. I know in "The Book: Playing Percentages in Baseball" they include the rate you take the extra base and such above league average in it's calculations.
   28. RedSoxBaller Posted: October 21, 2008 at 04:59 PM (#2990995)
hopefully no one lets Dan R vote in the 2009 electin. He has yet to prove any of his stats are real. instead, he just claims "I made a cool baserunning stats and it is perfect because Dan Syzmoborski told me so." good for you Dan, you made a complete worthless stat that no one but you will ever believe or use. If you are so smart Dan, then why did Bill James, Elliot Risk, The Sporting News Staff, ESPN, totalbaseball, and many other renowned SABR researchers find Robinson to be the bettr player? Are you smarter than Bill Jams Dan, or are your stats so perfect that they are better than win shares? Please baseballthinkfactory, dont let Dan R vote in the HoM election, he will just use his fake stats to try and look smart
   29. Paul Wendt Posted: October 21, 2008 at 05:06 PM (#2991004)
little league park
high school park
kiddie park
midget park

You are slow RedSoxBaller, needing 56 minutes to post those four epithets.

--
My final request is that the group make sure to give appropriate scrutiny to RedSoxBaller's preliminary 2009 ballot before accepting it. Is yest coming back, by the way?

yest doesn't spell nearly so well as 'Baller but s/he is relatively polite and a yeoman proofreader in the Plaque Room -proofing for facts, not spelling :-)
   30. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 21, 2008 at 05:06 PM (#2991007)
I think it was Dan Fox who developed the baserunning metric. (If memory serves, he runs the statistical analysis department of the Pirates now.)
   31. JPWF13 Posted: October 21, 2008 at 05:06 PM (#2991008)
instead, he just claims "I made a cool baserunning stats and it is perfect because Dan Syzmoborski told me so."


Actually it appears from the post above that Dan is relying upon BPro's baserunning numbers...

Actually someone needs to take DanR to task for the manner in which he communicates (and sometimes acts the bully), but trust me Baller- you are not the one to do it.
   32. RedSoxBaller Posted: October 21, 2008 at 05:08 PM (#2991011)
Ok, sorry I got a little out of hand, but I did not appreciate Dan insulting my father, for no reason. I will be careful to mind my toungue, sorry if I offended you Dan
   33. DL from MN Posted: October 21, 2008 at 05:08 PM (#2991012)
Unlike most of the uberstats I've found DanR very open in explaining his methodology. He has also been very methodical ensuring it correlates to actual results. RedSoxBaller, I'm sorry your feelings are hurt but the way you're acting doesn't contribute to the discussion.

The part of the discussion that you won't address is it may not matter to us if Frank Robinson was a better RF than Mel Ott. We aren't really trying to answer that question (though ESPN and Sporting News certainly are). We're trying to determine which players contributed the most to helping their teams win games. This is the Hall of Merit, not the Hall of Talent. I think you're way too hung up on Ott/Robinson v. Robinson/Ott when in the big picture we've all basically admitted in the ballot thread that they're pretty close.
   34. RedSoxBaller Posted: October 21, 2008 at 05:13 PM (#2991021)
Thats a good point disabled list from Minnesota. It really does not matter to me if Ott is better than Robinson, I just needed something to do while I sat at work for 3 hous. Kept me entertained though
   35. Paul Wendt Posted: October 21, 2008 at 05:14 PM (#2991022)
15. TomH Posted: October 21, 2008 at 11:21 AM (#2990876)
Guys, at this point I'm bowing out of the project. Too many other hobbies and volunteer efforts clamoring for my time. I hope to write a few articles for SABR in the next 6 months. Oh, and that "job" thing gets in the way too.
16. DL from MN Posted: October 21, 2008 at 11:26 AM (#2990881)
TomH, could you at least vote in the 2008 election before you quit?

--
I doubt that TomH will read that.
Washington DC hosts the Annual Convention for SABR next summer. I don't know Tom Hanrahan's role if any but I presume he will be there and hopes to be on the research program. That chapter may have more good candidate program directors, abstract reviewers, and schedulers than any other, so he may escape but that message reminds me of 2001/2002 in Boston.
   36. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 21, 2008 at 05:15 PM (#2991024)
Eric J--Yes, it's Fox's, and yes, he works for the Pirates now, unfortunately for the rest of us who are no longer privy to his work.

JPWF13--Well, why don't we make that "someone" you, then. Clearly my patience ran out on this particular thread after post #17. But that's only because RedSoxBaller's recent comments are so different from 99% of HoM discussions, which have always been impressively thoughtful and respectful. If you have a substantive criticism of my participation in the group in general, please share it. What have I said to you or any other regular HoM voter that you find "bullying?"
   37. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: October 21, 2008 at 05:17 PM (#2991028)
RedSoxBaller, let me apologize on behalf of Dan. He's from Harvard, and at Harvard, you never learn to deal with ignorant, ill-informed fools.

Since you are, in fact, an ignorant, ill-informed fool, Dan is unfortunately ill-equipped to deal with you, and may come off harshly. I apologize again on his behalf, and hope you can find a debate partner who is more on your "level" and will be more understanding.
   38. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 21, 2008 at 05:33 PM (#2991053)
OK, this has now gotten funny. I didn't insult your father, RedSoxBaller--I merely suggested that his take on the comparative merits of Frank Robinson and Mel Ott was not particularly germane to our discussion forum. I am sure he is a lovely guy.

zoperino--Nothin' like a good ol' H-Bomb to bring a discussion back up to snuff. I would note, however, that your alma mater has made a far more distinguished contribution to MLB (in the form of Lou Gehrig's infield-mate Red Rolfe) than mine has.
   39. JPWF13 Posted: October 21, 2008 at 05:44 PM (#2991074)
What have I said to you or any other regular HoM voter that you find "bullying?"


The way you voice your "requests" that some HOM voters justify a vote or ranking that you disagree with.
   40. DL from MN Posted: October 21, 2008 at 05:57 PM (#2991103)
My alma mater has never had a guy get out of A-ball. Our contributions to sport require skates.
   41. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 21, 2008 at 06:02 PM (#2991108)
Well, in RedSoxBaller's case, it's because he's a new voter railing against "fake stats" etc. With regular voters, I might ask for clarification, but nothing more than that...or is there something I'm forgetting?
   42. stax Posted: October 21, 2008 at 06:25 PM (#2991138)
Dan's been perfectly friendly to me, and I'm just as new.
   43. Blackadder Posted: October 21, 2008 at 06:27 PM (#2991146)
Unfortunately Zoperino, I have to disagree with you; in my experience Harvard has more than its share of ignorant, ill-informed fools, if not quite at RedSoxBaller's level. In some ways they are even more pernicious, because they are fools who, being at Harvard, think themselves geniuses.
   44. Blackadder Posted: October 21, 2008 at 06:31 PM (#2991151)
As for Dan, he seems to just not pull any punches. He is more than happy to give credit where credit is due to others, and is pretty generous with praise when he thinks someone else makes a good point. I suppose his tone is more confrontational than average, but until this thread I don't recall him acting outright dismissive before.
   45. Srul Itza Posted: October 21, 2008 at 06:58 PM (#2991189)
He's from Harvard, and at Harvard, you never learn to deal with ignorant, ill-informed fools.

College Student in Cambridge walks up to the express check out lane with his cart loaded with around 25 items.

The townie check-out clerk looks over at him and asks, "So tell me, are you from Harvard and never learned to count, or MIT and never learned to read?"

Two guys are at a urinal at the Ivy League club in New York. One starts to walk out without washing his hands. The other says "At Harvard, we were taught to wash our hands after leaving the bathroom." The first responds "At Yale, we were taught not to p!ss all over our hands."
   46. Mark Donelson Posted: October 21, 2008 at 07:06 PM (#2991196)
That second joke I've heard before (told by a Yalie), but the first sounds like something that might actually have happened.
   47. ECBucs Posted: October 21, 2008 at 07:47 PM (#2991244)
The players that surprise me the most are Rose and Winfield.

I would rate Rose lower than Kaline and Clemente and Winfield ahead of Slaughter and Flick.
   48. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: October 21, 2008 at 08:21 PM (#2991275)
I trust everyone will agree that Sportsman's Park really WAS a "midget park," at least on August 19, 1951.
   49. JPWF13 Posted: October 21, 2008 at 08:23 PM (#2991276)
I might ask for clarification, but nothing more than that...or is there something I'm forgetting?


well there was:

Sean Gilman has some explaining to do for his Matthews placement, and I would like to challenge the constitutionality of bjhanke's #18 Beckwith vote.


and... another one a bit harsher that I can't find
   50. DanG Posted: October 21, 2008 at 08:40 PM (#2991295)
zoperino:
Since you are, in fact, an ignorant, ill-informed fool, Dan is unfortunately ill-equipped to deal with you, and may come off harshly. I apologize again on his behalf, and hope you can find a debate partner who is more on your "level" and will be more understanding.

Blackadder:
Unfortunately Zoperino, I have to disagree with you; in my experience Harvard has more than its share of ignorant, ill-informed fools, if not quite at RedSoxBaller's level.

[/gratuitous insult]?
   51. shoewizard Posted: October 21, 2008 at 08:50 PM (#2991308)
I'm not a HOM voter...but my two cents on this issue:

1.) It's rather unfortunate that this degenerated into name calling. That never works.

2.) see point 1.

That is all.
   52. cardsfanboy Posted: October 21, 2008 at 09:25 PM (#2991354)
First off, of course Ott had more putouts, he played in a midget park, where a RFer could run up to first and catch a infield popup, no joke, my dad saw it happen once with Ott. I take it from someone who saw a lot of Ott and Robinson that Robinson was superior, and the real stats back that up. Frankie had more hits, homers, doubles, steals, and almost the same runs and RBIs, even though he played in an offensively deprived era. So Robinson had almost the same batting stats, but was a better fielder and baseruner, who played in a much, much tougher league.

ott had a better Runs, RBI, Avg, OBp and nearly same slg percentage as Robinson (see real stats) struck out 550 fewer times, hit into fewer double plays(based upon his avg per season when they started to keep track) No made up stats there. Ott has a few fewer plate appearances, so any counting stat that is close you have to give the edge to Ott, not Frank.

and of course when dealing with other stuff, the importance of obp in ops+, as mentioned earlier helps Otts case. As to the eye witness accounts, I still have to listen to Mets fans tell me how nearly as good defensively Rey Ordonez was to Ozzie... going by my eyes, after st Reys third season, he was nothing special and was living off of rep. Everyones perception of a player is clouded by pre-judgement or time, and one persons opinion doesn't hold much weight, regardless of who they were. I know these guys that vote on the hall of merit do not judge solely based upon numbers, they each have their own well informed opinions on value (heck many I don't agree with, I think there are too many that give way too much weight to peak career personally) but I trust the research they do more than I would some random dude on the internets father judging two players with a 20+ year time gap. I'm one of Frank Robinson biggest fans, and I doubt I could have voted Ott over him, and seeing him there does surprise me some, but go read the http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/hall_of_merit/discussion/ranking_the_hall_of_merit_by_position_right_fielders_ballot/
discussion thread and you may learn something, if you are open minded enough to read it.

The Hall of Merit threads are probably the most informing on this site, and they don't rely on any one persons opinion, some people have greater say, but there is usuaally a reason for that.
   53. OCF Posted: October 21, 2008 at 09:28 PM (#2991361)
Now that we have all 8 regular positions done - well, we've got about 7.98 regular positions done - let me take a first stab an an inner circle.

My definitions: The inner circle has about 40 to 50 players, which works out to about 3 or 4 each for each non-pitcher position. We must have representation of every position, but I won't make it a strict quota. I will strictly obey the order imposed by our voters (which means I won't select any pitchers yet). I'll stop when and where I damn well please within each position. One guide: I really don't want to be getting into peak versus career arguments - with the rarest of exceptions, an inner circle guy should have both. (Koufax doesn't have an inner circle career; Rose doesn't have an inner circle peak.)

Catcher: Josh Gibson, Yogi Berra, Johnny Bench
First base: Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx
Second base: Eddie Collins, Rogers Hornsby, Joe Morgan, Nap Lajoie
Third base: Mike Schmidt, Eddie Mathews
Shortstop: Honus Wagner, Pop Lloyd, Cal Ripken
Left Field: Ted Williams, Stan Musial
Center Field: Ty Cobb, Willie Mays, Tris Speaker, Mickey Mantle, Oscar Charleston
Right Field: Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Mel Ott, Frank Robinson

That's 25 names so far. There are some fairly obvious pitchers, some others I'm not sure what to do with, and we haven't ranked them yet anyway.

Some notes about the first person left out:
Anson (1B): not that far ahead of B and C?
Brett (3B): clearly 3rd at his position but is the position that strong? And if him then Boggs?
Vaughan (SS): short on career.
Delahanty (LF): behind Henderson on my list and I'm not sure Henderson has enough peak.
DiMaggio (CF): a little short on career and we already had five there.

Among recently retired and/or late-career active:

Piazza (C)? Yes.
Thomas (1B)? Not sure: defense drags him down a little.
Bagwell (1B)? His fate might be tied up with Thomas. Probably not.
Biggio (2B)? I don't see it, not quite.
Larkin (SS)? Playing time issues put a cap on his career value, so no.
Henderson (LF)? Inner circle career value but was it an inner circle peak?
Bonds (LF)? Yes.
Griffey (CF)? Compare to DiMaggio, whom I left out.

Alex Rodriguez doesn't really count as "late-career" quite yet, but it's clear that he has already placed himself in the inner circle. I'm a little more wary of Albert Pujols, but his career at least has the right trajectory.

The "starting lineup" would be the first name in each row, but what would you do in a DH league? Put Gibson at DH and Berra or Bench at C? Hornsby at DH? Williams at DH with Musial in LF? Cobb at DH with Mays in CF?
   54. RedSoxBaller Posted: October 21, 2008 at 09:46 PM (#2991371)
It is a real shame that I tried to come and have a reasonable debate with Dan, and he resorts to name calling, and insulting my father. What a sad world we live in where a person can attack my family from behind a computer. As long as I still get a HoM vote, I will deal with Dan and his abusve personality.
   55. Srul Itza Posted: October 21, 2008 at 09:52 PM (#2991380)
I believe that HOM does not "timeline"

Does this mean that the issue is not, "Who was the better player, per se", but "Who provided the most wins to their teams, in the environment they played in"? Or are some people answering question one, while others are answering question 2.

HoM's extremely sophisticated, informed, and committed voters

You left out modest.
   56. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 21, 2008 at 09:53 PM (#2991383)
So... I was curious to see whether the Polo Grounds did in fact inflate putout totals of corner outfielders beyond what you'd expect. I glanced through 31 years (1920-1950) of Giants defensive numbers, trying to find seasons where I could effectively isolate one of the corner positions and compare its putout totals to those of the entire outfield, or at least come close. For comparison's sake, a standard distribution of outfield putouts seems to run approximately 30/40/30 between the three positions (quick glance based on retrosheet team data from 1975 to 2007). Here are the years I was able to find that seem to work all right (apologies in advance for formatting):

1920: LF Burns, RF Youngs; LF%=40.9, RF%=28.7. George Burns played 154 games in left, and some guy named Spencer played 38; I'm not quite sure how that worked. It was Spencer's only big league season... This appears to be an unreal bit of outfielding in left regardless of park. Does Burns have a defensive reputation to match that?
1922: LF Meusel, RF Youngs; LF%=28.0, RF%=29.3.
1923: RF Youngs; RF%=30.6.
1928: LF O'Doul/Reese; LF%=26.7
1929: RF Ott; RF%=35.2
1930: RF Ott; RF%=34.6
1932: RF Ott; RF%=33.9
1935: LF Moore, RF Ott; LF%=33.2, RF%=32.1
1936: LF Moore, RF Ott; LF%=32.9, RF%=27.8
1941: LF Moore/Arnovich, RF Ott; LF%=34.3, RF%=27.4
1942: RF Ott; RF%=28.5
1947: RF Marshall; RF%=32.3
1948: RF Marshall; RF%=26.4
1949: LF Lockman, RF Marshall; LF%=30.6, RF%=28.3

The average of all of those is 31.1%; given the sample size of 20, there's not really any way to tell whether there's much difference there or not. One thing that may be inflating Ott's putout totals a little is that he seems to have played a few games in center a couple of times, although not often... probably not a big difference maker for the most part.

Anyway, all that is a very long way of saying that it's not apparent that Ott's putout totals were affected in either direction by his home park.
   57. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 21, 2008 at 09:59 PM (#2991390)
Is there anything wrong with asking a voter to explain a waaaay-off-consensus placement, JPWF13? Obviously, our policy is that people can do whatever they want--we've counted yest's votes all these years, after all--but generally we require voters to articulate their rationales. In the annual ballots, this became less necessary in many cases since people cast votes for the same backloggers year after year, but since each of these rankings has a completely new set of candidates, the explanation bar needs to be reestablished.

As for bjhanke's placement of Beckwith, his comment was, "I will admit that I was unable to get any real handle on this guy. He ended up here as much out of uncertainty as anything else." If I didn't challenge that vote, I sure hope somebody else would have! Anyways, why don't you ask bjhanke what he thinks of my participation in the project. If he has a problem, he's a big boy and can stand up for himself.

In response to OCF's inner circle, if I cut off at 25 names, I'd take out both Berra and Bench (I use a 58% catcher bonus, perhaps OCF uses more) as well as Mathews and put in Rickey (who I see as a no-brainer, he had an insanely great peak, just look at '85 and '90), DiMaggio (including 1935 PCL credit and obvious war credit), and Vaughan (I like my shortstops). But really, my inner circle is a nuudge bigger, and does include Mathews and Bench, as well as Mize. (I haven't assessed pre-1893 guys). At that level, the current MLE's for Stearnes and Torriente also put them right on the borderline, which would make an inner circle of 30, another nice round number.

Among non-eligibles, you've got Bonds, A-Rod, and Piazza clearly over the line; the next closest is Larkin but he's clearly not there (and the next version of my WARP may be slightly less favorable to his fielding than the current one). Pujols is obviously on track. Overall, we're in very close agreement.
   58. OCF Posted: October 21, 2008 at 10:05 PM (#2991398)
Rickey (who I see as a no-brainer, he had an insanely great peak, just look at '85 and '90)

What would the top of your 1985 AL MVP ballot have looked like? In particular, Rickey vs. George Brett?
   59. OCF Posted: October 21, 2008 at 10:10 PM (#2991402)
... and does include Mathews and Bench, as well as Mize.

Bench but not Berra and Mize but not Anson would in both cases have violated my rule about strictly deferring to our collective vote totals. I'll admit that at C, it wasn't so much a matter of formal catcher bonus as it was feeling queasy about having only one catcher there - and if I took either of Berra or Bench, I would need to take both.

Overall, we're in very close agreement.

Yep.
   60. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 21, 2008 at 10:14 PM (#2991406)
he resorts to name calling, and insulting my father.


Um...RedSoxBaller, what are you talking about? Could you please post any comment I made that you consider to be either calling you a name or insulting your father? I honestly have no idea what you are referring to.

Srul Itza--I don't see any reason for modesty here if it's false modesty. I truly believe that what the HoM voters as a group have achieved over the last six years is remarkable. I have learned more about baseball from this project than I could have possibly imagined (does anyone remember that there was a huge controversy over my first ballot, because I left off Frank Grant and Home Run Johnson since I'd never heard of them?), and I think our efforts have made a substantial contribution to the body of available objective knowledge about baseball. This is something we should all be proud of, and it is something to be celebrated--openly.
   61. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 21, 2008 at 10:16 PM (#2991407)
Oh, I have Bench rather meaningfully ahead of Berra. And again, Anson just wasn't in my post-1893 consideration set.
   62. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: October 21, 2008 at 10:24 PM (#2991411)
As a lurker, my perspective is that Dan R. is a bit brusque and perhaps a bit dismissive of those who have different approaches than his. Regardless, that is far outweighed by the substance he brings to these discussions. He obviously does a lot of work and puts in a lot of thought. There are a number of voters who add absolutely nothing to the discussion, even if their conclusions seem logical, and a couple whose conclusions and thought process are simply incomprehensible.

RedSoxBaller, your arguments are not well-reasoned, and it's obvious now that you're just trying to be difficult. No one insulted your father, and even if they had, who gives a ####? No one knows him, so any supposed insults are completely meaningless.
   63. sunnyday2 Posted: October 21, 2008 at 10:37 PM (#2991422)
I was one of the 5 who thought F. Robby was better than Ott. Actually I think the matter is crystal clear if you consider league strength. I mean, the 2 are pretty interchangeable. Defense and baserunning can't possibly outweight the difference in league strength.

I also believe Reggie Jackson to be under-rated by the group.

And finally, I hope my consensus score is somewhere near the bottom!

Oh, no...now, finally: DanR and I agree once a blue moon. Yeah, he's pretty sure he has perfected the quantitative measurement of value. But I didn't see him insult anybody's father nor escalate this discussion.
   64. RedSoxBaller Posted: October 21, 2008 at 10:55 PM (#2991439)
quick question, do you base this on career only, or do you do peak as well? Because if it is only career, then yes, Ott was better. But Robinson in his prime was loads better, his two best years are better than any of Otts. So I may have been wrong, depending on where you fellows place value. I for one am a peak voter, who likes longer careers. If I had to pick either one in their prime, of coure it would be Frank, which is why I say he is better. But if this HoM rankings is only for career value, than this whole discussion and angry tirade by Dan R has been uncalled for
   65. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 21, 2008 at 11:05 PM (#2991445)
If you go beyond 2 years, it's not immediately apparent that Robinson's peak beats Ott's - Ott has 8 years with a 160 OPS+ or higher in 120 games or more, Robinson 7. Both have 6 years between 150 and 160 with the same playing time threshhold. Robinson's best year is better than any of Ott's, but beyond that it's not clear; Ott may well have the advantage in years 2-4.

They're really, really close. Which kind of shows up in the results.
   66. Howie Menckel Posted: October 21, 2008 at 11:36 PM (#2991469)
We have peak voters, prime voters, and career voters in our electorate.

I don't think anyone here would take issue with the 5 who preferred FRobby. I came close to being a 6th.
It's obvious to all of us that they both had extraordinary careers.

I think the "superior league" stuff is overrated with the 2nd half of Robinson's career in the sorry AL.
Ott played in a segregated league.
Robinson played in an integrated AL - which means what?

HOMers listed:
1966 NL - Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Willie McCovey, Billy Williams, Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal, Willie Stargell, Jimmy Wynn, Richie Allen, Joe Morgan, Ferguson Jenkins
1966 AL - Frank Robinson

1968 NL - Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Willie McCovey, Billy Williams, Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal, Willie Stargell, Jimmy Wynn, Richie Allen, Joe Morgan (6 G), Ferguson Jenkins
1968 AL - Frank Robinson, Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson

Um, how much extra credit do we give Frank for Reggie finally arriving to give him competition in AL power categories?

FRobby was outstanding in the NL as well, but if you give him 100 pct 'league strength bonus' for playing in the AL in his later years, you're crazy.

Which was really tougher, 8-team NL 1930s or 12-team AL early 1970s?

Ott didn't face any black pitchers.
FRobby faced - a young and tough Vida Blue and not much else.
   67. Howie Menckel Posted: October 21, 2008 at 11:37 PM (#2991471)
clarification: That's "would have been excluded before 1947" HOMers listed
   68. jimd Posted: October 21, 2008 at 11:45 PM (#2991476)
little league park

Power alley to power alley, the Polo Grounds (30's) was about 70 feet deeper than Crosley Field (50's/60's), CF being 40 to 115 feet deeper depending on the choice of year during the 1930's. Yes, the foul lines were about 70 feet shorter at Coogan's Bluff but the comparison quickly switches over to deeper. If you had the combination of power and bat control to hit balls down the line and still keep them fair, welcome to home run heaven. As pointed out above, Ott was the only Giant player to do that consistently.
   69. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 21, 2008 at 11:46 PM (#2991478)
I'd point out that the quality of opposing pitchers in a league has absolutely no effect on a hitter's value. If a league happens to have Walter Johnson, Roger Clemens, Cy Young, Pete Alexander, and Lefty Grove all going at once, it will simply be an extremely low-scoring league, and Our Hero will look like Carl Yastrzemski in 1968, leading the league with a .301 batting average. The only thing that matters for valuation purposes is the strength of the other position players.
   70. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 22, 2008 at 12:16 AM (#2991495)
I'd point out that the quality of opposing pitchers in a league has absolutely no effect on a hitter's value.


I'm not so sure of this. There's reason to believe that good hitters as a group are hurt *less* when they face good pitchers than are lesser hitters - they tend to lose less of their ISO, for example - and therefore they'd be MORE valuable when the pitching is top-quality.

-- MWE
   71. OCF Posted: October 22, 2008 at 12:39 AM (#2991504)
I also believe Reggie Jackson to be under-rated by the group.

And finally, I hope my consensus score is somewhere near the bottom!


87, slightly above the median, with me being the median.

You and I were tied for being Reggie's best friends (and I did try to talk him up on the discussion thread.) You and I also agree somewhat on Heilmann (up) and Joe Jackson (up), and disagree on Thompson (I was one of many to put him 20th, you had him 17th.) Ott/Robinson at 3/4 or 4/3 makes very little difference to consensus score.
   72. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 22, 2008 at 12:54 AM (#2991511)
I'd love to see a study on that, Mike Emeigh. I was assuming that all hitters were affected equally.
   73. frannyzoo Posted: October 22, 2008 at 12:59 AM (#2991514)
I'm a lurker here on the HOM threads (and thank everyone for their insight very much) but have you guys considered that "RedSoxBaller" might be Kevin? You know...Kevin? That Kevin?

Now back to your regularly scheduled saber-historical analysis.

P.S.: Willie Mays played in Polo, as I recall. He played half of his games there for years. Willie Mays. For us non-sabermetricians that's called "evidence".
   74. andrew siegel Posted: October 22, 2008 at 01:52 AM (#2991534)
My two cents:

(1) Dan's tone was perfectly in bounds. If you're not going to debate these issues with some passion, why bother playing?
(2) There is no rational way to read Dan's comments as insulting RedSoxRooter's dad.
(3) Dan has built a very exciting, state-of-the-art player rating system right in front of our eyes. That has been one of the highlights of this project.
(4) Dan has been asking, no begging, for advice and help on methodological issues for years now, but few of us are sophisticated enough to help him. The idea that he somehow lords himself over us is ridiculous.

And I say all of this as someone who graduated from the school where we don't pee on our hands.
   75. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 22, 2008 at 02:19 AM (#2991551)
You mean the school that's been turning rejects into athletes since 1701? Yuck Fale!

Thanks very much for the kind words. Any chance you'll be making an appearance at the Harvard-Yale game this year?
   76. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 22, 2008 at 01:17 PM (#2991562)
I'd love to see a study on that, Mike Emeigh.


It's part of my long one on the evolution of pitcher usage over the years. I'll start putting some of the data up over the next couple of months. What I'm finding is that good hitters, in general, tend to retain more of their value in *any* situation in which a typical hitter loses value - probably because they're good hitters - which means they're gaining value relative to other hitters.

-- MWE
   77. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 22, 2008 at 02:00 PM (#2991588)
I can certainly tell you that the standard deviation of offensive performance is positively, not negatively, correlated to run scoring. Not sure if a lower-scoring league is what you mean by a "situation in which a typical hitter loses value."
   78. JPWF13 Posted: October 22, 2008 at 02:23 PM (#2991616)
"RedSoxBaller" might be Kevin? You know...Kevin? That Kevin?


No, RedSoxBaller is far too polite and rational to be Kev.
   79. JPWF13 Posted: October 22, 2008 at 02:23 PM (#2991617)
Plus Kev would be arguing that Jim Rice should be higher than both Ott and Robbie
   80. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 22, 2008 at 02:58 PM (#2991647)
OCF, on the 1985 AL MVP ballot, Henderson comfortably--because his 1985 season was both outstanding defensively (+15 in CF per TotalZone) and I believe the #2 baserunning season since 1956 per EqBRR (+19).
   81. bjhanke Posted: October 22, 2008 at 04:23 PM (#2991740)
Dan says, "As for bjhanke's placement of Beckwith, his comment was, "I will admit that I was unable to get any real handle on this guy. He ended up here as much out of uncertainty as anything else." If I didn't challenge that vote, I sure hope somebody else would have! Anyways, why don't you ask bjhanke what he thinks of my participation in the project. If he has a problem, he's a big boy and can stand up for himself."

Well, being the Brock Hanke in question, I have to say that I regard Dan as one our best assets. His methods have proven to be good whenever I get a chance to check them out. And he is always more than willing to help me find his work, where his methods are completely exposed and I can figure out what he's done. I like that attitude a lot. He's mentally open to such things as my adjustments of early baseball playing times, and I have a lot of odd methods like that, because I go back to before there were good references for hard stats and you had to eyeball things and work with plausibility and stuff like that. Time after time, he's challenged me to defend my own work, and he's never gone ad hominum once. And he responds promptly and patiently to people who disagree with him, and puts thought into his responses. Even if he were contentious to deal with, I'd think him to be a big help. Since I have no problem with his tone, I think he's an enormous asset. If I were still doing BBBAs, Dan is one of the people whom I would invite to contribute. So are Paul Wendt, Chris Cobb, and OCF, and various others here that I'm not going to name because I'll forget someone.

Also, my Beckwith vote was all but begging for help of some sort. I was under time pressure, and Beckwith is a very unusual type of player for his time. I really did have trouble getting a handle on what exactly he did and how much of it. That makes for a lousy, uninformed vote. I told the group about it because you ought to be honest and ask for help when you need it. When there was sentiment to throw it out as unconstitutional, I supported the decision. I don't think anyone actually did that to the vote, but I would have thought it absolutely defensible.

- Brock (bjhanke)
   82. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 22, 2008 at 04:44 PM (#2991764)
JPWF13, anything else? :)

Thanks very much, Brock. It's extremely encouraging to know that group members find my research helpful.
   83. mulder & scully Posted: October 22, 2008 at 05:55 PM (#2991851)
While I initially doubted Dan's work, once I played with the numbers and understood what he did differently than BP and WS, I found his work to be highly valuable. I just wish all my commitments didn't prevent me from participating like I used to. I'll try to get a vote in for 2009...
   84. JPWF13 Posted: October 22, 2008 at 08:22 PM (#2992037)
JPWF13, anything else? :)


Finding stuff wasn't as easy as I thought, my subjective impression of you as bullying other voters may have been unfair.
   85. alilisd Posted: October 22, 2008 at 11:49 PM (#2992189)
I've always wondered why Rose is thrown in here with RF. What was the reasoning for his position being RF? I always look at him at BR and see he's listed as playing more games at four other positions than he played in RF and it seems so odd.

Thanks.
   86. Howie Menckel Posted: October 23, 2008 at 12:12 AM (#2992202)
I think it has to do with him having his most value there.
   87. sunnyday2 Posted: October 23, 2008 at 12:36 AM (#2992249)
Gee, all this talk of Rickey and 1985 makes me wish we had taken up the MVP project.
   88. Don Malcolm Posted: October 23, 2008 at 04:34 AM (#2992804)
You can all blame bjhanke (I call him "Dev," but that's a long story...) for this intrusion. I've tried to catch up with the work done in HoM as was possible given the events of the past couple years (many difficult family illnesses, etc.), and have only recently been won over by the eclectic approach that has evolved here. Nice balance of history and analysis, and I think there ought to be some way to turn all this into something more that a web presence.

I want to focus a bit on the Ott/Robinson matter--not to draw any conclusions, mind you, just to add some more texture. The question of home/road performance doesn't seem to have been explored to the greatest possible extent, although a good bit of that data is available in more detailed form (emphasis is always on Ott's odd HR splits). Total Baseball I (in 1989) published detailed, season-by-season home/road splits for 27 players. Interestingly enough, there was a rather high preponderance of right fielders in that sample. Summarizing that data for the right fielders, and using the difference in OPS (then called PRO), the home/road splits are as follows:

Robinson +11.2%, Rose +6.9%, Kaline +6.9%, Ott +6.7%, Clemente +6.3%, Crawford +3.7%, Ruth +2.9%, Aaron +1.5%, R. Jackson -3.4%

I can't tell if DanR is using any of this type of adjustment in his numbers, but I would guess not, since that data is simply not complete for all players in baseball history.

It appears that Robinson was able to take advantage of Crosley Field (~ +13%, a bit higher than his overall home/away splits). The full splits for 57-65 are: .316/.397/.595 at home, .287/.363/.514 on the road.

Ott's numbers (.297/.421/.558/.979 at home, .311/.407/.510/.917 on the road) are not so severe overall, but their shape is astonishingly different. While Robinson retains his "stat shape" as adjusted to 650 PA (36D-5T-38HR-77BB-.279ISO at home, 31D-5T-30HR-70BB-.228ISO on the road), Ott turns into a completely different type of hitter away from the Polo Grounds, as his "shape" splits indicate (21D-2T-38HR-112BB-.261ISO at home, 35D-6T-22HR-88BB-.199ISO).

It gets even wilder later in Ott's career. Looking just at the HR split, Ott hits 57% of his HRs at home from 26-37. From 38-47, however, Ott hits 72% of his homers at home. His H/A HR splits from '42 on are mind-boggling: 23-7, 18-0 (!!), 21-5, 18-3.

Now I know all this is not directly relevant to "value" as it is being variously measured here, but the context for these two guys needs as much detail as possible, I think, given that they are so close. This is one of those particular comparisons that Bill James used to excel at, before he got a little too wrapped up in WS.

At any rate, keep up the good work, guys.
   89. Howie Menckel Posted: October 23, 2008 at 05:38 AM (#2992821)
Wow, Don Malcolm.
Thanks for awakening our echoes, no kidding.

We always welcome more insight, might be the most consistent multi-year trait.
Keep on postin', and I hope all works out on the home front....
   90. bjhanke Posted: October 23, 2008 at 09:07 AM (#2992854)
Knowing that you guys live your lives solely to read my ballot comments, I wrote this post when I had time, after Don left, my swordfighting workshops were over, and the ballots were already counted. In the interest of approximating sanity, I didn't repeat what I wrote about the ten of these guys that I covered in the ballot thread. But I did write comments on the remaining ten, and wrote a long addition to my Pete Rose comment, since he moved down three slots from the prelim. I do hope you all enjoy. - Brock

1. BABE RUTH
No extra comment beyond the preliminary ballot.

2. HANK AARON
No extra.

3. MEL OTT
No extra.

4. FRANK ROBINSON
No extra.

5. JOE JACKSON
One byproduct of Don Malcom and me obsessing over comparing Harry Heilmann to Reggie Jackson is that I made a list of all the career OPS+ numbers for this group of right fielders. Here are the top six:

Ruth 207
Joe 170
Aaron 155
Ott 155
Robinson 154
Flick 149

Ruth, of course, is in a different solar system than the rest of the list, who are mortals. But what would we have if we had listed the Babe in left field, other than a mess with Williams and Musial? Well, Joe Jackson would be the outlier here, right? His advantage over the AOR guys (Aaron, Ott, Robinson) would look disorienting.

Of course, the counter to that is the very short career. Jackson has 13 seasons played. 1918 has only 17 games, but that's a war credit issue. Jackson had a crippled sister and a mother to support, as his four brothers all went into the army. In order to keep sending decent money back to his family, Joe took a war job shipbuilding, and ended up playing baseball for the shipbuilding company's team. I count that as full war credit. 1908 - 1910, though, are different. Joe came up with Connie Mack's A's in 1908 and didn't hit in five games. The same thing happened in 09 - five games, no hit. Mack then packaged Joe up with Morrie Rath (seriously) and traded him to the Indians for Bris Lord, who is just as unknown as he deserves to be. This is probably the worst trade Mack ever made that wasn't essentially a player sale. Jackson hit immediately upon arrival in Cleveland. Why it took that long, I don't know, but because of the trade, which was in midseason, he only played 20 games for the Tribe in 1910.

That leaves Joe, essentially, with nine years of actual career that we can count, plus credit for 1918. Here are the OPS+ for the nine, in chronological order, plus the partial for 1918:

192, 190, 190, 153, 145, 165, 142, (175 in 1918), 159, 172.

No one else here, other than Ruth, has anything like this ten-year run. In fact, who is actually comparable to Jackson, with a run of this kind followed by no decline phase of any kind? Skipping what mechanical math systems will give you (Elmer Flick, who isn't really comparable), how about Ed Delahanty's 11-year run from 1892 through 1902, followed by no decline phase. That's similar, although Jackson was even better - noticeably better - than Ed. It took Ed four years to get ramped up, instead of Jackson's three, and Ed has one partial year at the end in 1903, so Ed has 16 seasons played instead of 13, but "only" a career OPS+ of 152. All in all, it's pretty much the same syndrome. The real career is about a decade, but what a decade! And, after the decade, there's no decline phase because of something weird.

Well, Ed Delahanty finished third in the left field ballot because his 11 year run was so good. I have Joe Jackson fifth here in right field, and his run was better than Ed's. The guys ahead of Joe are the guys who posted up 154 OPS+ for their careers; all of them had much longer careers than Joe. The next highest OPS+ is Elmer Flick's 149. Flick had a short career. Joe Jackson has 170 OPS+. He was better than Ed Delahanty. I think I have him in the right place.

Mike Webber, back in the discussion thread, cited Eight Men Out as having doubts about the honesty of Joe Jackson's fielding in 1920. Mike, who is no fool, noted that Jackson did, indeed, lead the league in errors in 1920. He also noted that the book says that Jackson was failing to make plays in the outfield that he should have made. Was Joe still selling ballgames? The short answer is no. There is a paper trail that should exist, and it doesn't.

First, the errors. What Mike says is true, but I looked at the fielding percentages instead of just the raw errors. Joe's for 1920 is .965. His career is .962. The twelve errors are entirely due to a lot of chances in 1920. If Joe had been selling games by making errors, the fielding percentage would have gone down. The paper trail doesn't pan out. As for just letting fly balls go, that would leave a paper trail, too. It would reduce Jackson's range factor. Well, Joe's range factor went up in 1920, not down. He simply could not have been selling ballgames on defense, even if you can figure out just how a right fielder would go about having enough impact on defense to do that.

This paper trail, by the way, is what exposes Hal Chase. Chase's range numbers at first base, when adjusted, do not support his astonishing defensive rep. It is clear that Chase was selling ballgames on defense. The paper trail is there. And, if you think about it, it should be there. We're talking about the 1910s and 1920. No one had ever heard the term "range factor." No one was tracking that. If you wanted to sell ballgames, that's exactly how you'd do it. Of course, it's a LOT easier to do that at first base than it is in right field. All in all, I see no reason at all to believe that Joe Jackson sold any games except for the 1919 World Series.

Here's what I think happened to the observers quoted in Eight Men Out. Knowing about the 1919 series, they started focusing on Joe's defense in 1920. They noticed defensive misadventures that they had always let go before. It's sort of like what would happen if Manny Ramirez got accused of throwing a series. The next year, his adventures in the outfield would no longer look like Manny being Manny. They'd look like Manny selling ballgames. But it would not necessarily be true. It would be a matter of who was focusing on what when they watched him play. That's what happened to Jackson, IMO.

6. WAHOO SAM CRAWFORD
No extra.

7. PAUL WANER
No extra.

8. KING KELLY
No extra.

9. AL KALINE
No extra.

10. HARRY HEILMANN
See Reggie Jackson.

11. REGGIE JACKSON
I took Dan R's work with Standard Deviations to heart. The work suggests that the OPS+ difference between Reggie and Harry Heilmann should be more like 3 points than the 9 that exist before adjustment. That makes Reggie very close to Harry on offense, with a small advantage on defense. They come out looking even. Well, Don Malcolm came visiting, and I mentioned this, and we spent a few hours obsessing.

Nothing we tried helped. Some ways of looking at the two players had Harry a bit better, some had Reggie, and some had them even. There was no majority in any direction. The margins of victory were tiny. The two looked inseparable.

I finally made my voting decision on two bases. First, most of what Don and I did failed to make any playing time adjustment for Heilmann. As I've posted throughout the thread on this, I am convinced that you have to do that adjustment.

Second, nothing that we did made any adjustment to Reggie's defense for playing over 600 games at DH. That does make a difference. Bill James has Heilmann down for a lousy D on D. Reggie is down for a crisp C- as an outfielder. But Reggie's DH play is about 4 seasons worth. Factor that into his defense, and he gets right down to Harry's level. Is this fair? Of course it is. The 4 years of DH are the entire playing time difference between Harry and Reggie, without any adjustments. If Harry had had a DH position available, do you have any doubts he would have played there? Of course not. Harry was a born DH. And if he had played 4 more years, would we be comparing him to Reggie at all? No. Harry would clearly win. The entire advantage Reggie has over Harry is those 4 years, which are an accident of history. This is one reason why I make the playing time adjustments. There is no reason to believe that Harry could not have played 4 more seasons if there had been a DH spot available. That it was not available was hardly Harry's fault. I am absolutely convinced that Harry was a better player than Reggie. Not a lot better, but better.

The main effect of Dan's adjustments on my Reggie ballot was to push him up over Pete Rose and Roberto Clemente. Harry is asking just a bit too much.

12. ROBERTO CLEMENTE
Pete Rose ended up three spots lower on my final ballot than he did on my preliminary. Two of those drops were not lowerings of Rose. They were raisings of Joe Jackson, who I realized was Ed Delahanty, only better; and Reggie Jackson, who Dan R convinced me was better than I had him down for. Roberto, though, was in fact a matter of dropping Rose down the list a bit, due to his very low career OPS+ and a couple of other factors.

Rose played 24 seasons, but about 4 of them are really just a guy being allowed to chase a record by teams that wanted fannies in seats more than they wanted a good starting first baseman. And there are a few more that represent Rose's actual decline phase before the freak show. Clemente played 18 years, which isn't a short career, and has no more decline phase than Joe Jackson or Ed Delahanty. His peak is right at the same time (about 1968) as Pete's, and it's higher, and it lasts longer. Defensively, he was a much better right fielder. Rose's advantage in "defensive versatility" is an illusion when compared to Clemente. Clemente didn't move off of right field because he was to good there to move, not because he lacked "versatility."

Well, there was one more reason not to move Clemente, and it has to do with why I don't rank him even higher. Roberto was not, absolutely not, a tremendous defensive outfielder. He was a very fine right fielder, and he had the absolute best throwing arm I ever saw on an outfielder. But he simply did not have the range to play center. If he had possessed that range, he would have played there. That's a limit on how good his defense could have been. However, since Rose could not play center either, it doesn't affect the comparison between the two.
   91. bjhanke Posted: October 23, 2008 at 09:14 AM (#2992859)
13. PETE ROSE
As I wrote above, my preliminary ballot did not know that Pete Rose has the lowest OPS+ of any right fielder here. This is the list of the lowest 7:

Gwynn 132
Clemente 130
Winfield 130
Evans 127
Keeler 126
Slaughter 123
Rose 118

Not only is Rose the lowest, but there's some separation between him and the next lowest, Slaughter. On top of that, Slaughter's OPS+ is lowered by the loss of prime seasons to WWII. But let's not compare Rose to Slaughter; let's compare him to Ken Boyer, who is the consensus, right now, as the worst player in the HoM. Why Boyer? Well, his OPS+ is 116, which is closer to Rose than any right fielder is, and he played similar defensive positions, and he provides a rock bottom standard of comparison.

First, let me be clear here, before someone blasts a blood vessel and posts up something nasty without reading the rest of this comment. PETE ROSE WAS A MUCH BETTER BALLPLAYER THAN KEN BOYER WAS. OK? That's not where this is going. With luck, everyone will figure out where I'm going real fast, but I thought I ought to put in the caveat, just in case.

So the two are close in career OPS+. Rose has two years - 68 and 69 - that Boyer can't touch; other than that, their best seasons are close, too. But yes, no question, advantage: Rose on the peak. On the other hand, Boyer was clearly the better defender and had at least as much "defensive versatility." He was certainly a better third baseman than Rose, and could play center field pretty well (he got run off the job by Curt Flood, which is no disgrace). Rose got a minor tryout in center but had, really, too little range to play there. He was a good left fielder and an OK right fielder, but is there any doubt that Boyer, who could play center and who had a third baseman's arm, would have been better in the corners? No. That leaves first base, where Rose was not real good because he was old. If anything, being a better third baseman, Boyer would have been better at first, where the skills needed are similar except for catching throws. That leaves second base. Possibly Boyer would have been bad at second. He might not have been able to turn a double play. But he was CERTAINLY, not just possibly, better at third, and also certainly better in the outfield. Advantage: Boyer.

At this point, they're basically even, but we haven't dealt with career length yet. Rose has an enormous advantage there, absolutely no doubt. Pete Rose was, without any doubt, a better player than Ken Boyer, on the basis of playing time and peak, against defense. But is it as large an advantage as the difference between the #6 right fielder of all time, which is the consensus vote here, and the worst player in the entire HoM? No. Absolutely no doubt again. So, either Boyer is underrated or Rose is overrated.

Is Ken Boyer underrated? Maybe a little, but not any more than that. He might not be the very worst player in the HoM, but he is one of the worst, and that's from a Ken Boyer fan who got to see him play his entire career. It's a tough peer group, and he's near the bottom if not at it. He's not underrated by any serious amount.

Sorry, guys. Pete Rose is overrated.

14. DWIGHT EVANS
Evans against Tony Gwynn. Gwynn has five more points of career OPS+, which is the same as separates Pete Rose from Enos Slaughter. I have Pete ranked higher than Enos, as do you, so it's clear that we all think that this kind of advantage can be overcome. Tony has a very small advantage in peak, depending on just how many seasons you're counting, and how concentrated you want them to be. Both men played 20 seasons, but Dwight has 166 more games played in those seasons. A small advantage, worth about one season.

Then there's defense. There's no comparison, really. Dwight gets a Bill James B-, which is pretty decent for a right fielder. Tony gets a C-, and both, in my opinion, are accurate, at least when compared to each other as opposed to center fielders or something. And it is, by far, the largest difference between the two. I have Dwight ranked one whole slot over Tony. I'm comfortable with that.

15. TONY GWYNN
Tony had more power than Willie Keeler, but he also had Keeler's Disease: walkophobia. He was a weak defensive right fielder over the whole of his career: Better young than old, but what else is new? He's about as good as you can be with little power, few walks, and weak defense at a corner outfield spot.

16. SAM THOMPSON
Another career with similarities to Joe Jackson and Ed Delahanty. In Sam's case, though, the issue isn't a lack of decline phase. It's a lack of incline at the beginning. Due to having a good job outside of baseball, Sam didn't get into the bigs until he was already 25. He hit the ground running, of course, and so the beginning of his career looks like the ends of Joe's and Ed's. Like them, he has about a decade of real seasons, but it's a hot decade. The main reason he isn't ranked anywhere near Joe is that something, likely an 1888 injury although I found no mention, robbed him of some of his ability during the middle four seasons of his career. Then he was back to the 150+ OPS+ seasons, with two incursions up to 177. His last three "seasons" look like Joe Jackson's first three: together, they only add up to 25 games played.

17. ENOS SLAUGHTER
Enos has 22 seasons of play if you count three war years, which I do. However, his peak is not good. His career OPS+ of 123 is the second-lowest here, although it improves by a few points when you give him the war credit, because those are three prime years. Bill James gives him a defensive grade of B-, but that's not consistent with his poor glove reputation here in St. Louis, where I live. I did give him a defense bonus over Keeler and Winfield, which is a lot of why he is ranked ahead of them. My actual opinion is that the three players are a very very close cluster, a three-way coin flip.

Enos had one season with an OPS+ over 150, and two more over 140. Sam Thompson, in a career about 3/5 as long, had 3 seasons over 170, one more over 160, and 2 more over 150. Hence, I have him ranked over Enos. I assume that the rest of you voted much more on career length and much less on peak or prime.

The most stolen bases that Enos ever had in a season was 9. That is, he was not a baserunning force, nor was he a lunatic on the bases. I would guess that at least half of his career "stolen bases" were really hit and run attempts where the batter missed the ball. You all know why I wrote this paragraph, right?

18. WILLIE KEELER
I repeat from my official ballot: How can you be this short, on a team with Mc Graw, and in a league with Hamilton, and STILL not figure out about walks? Taking walks has to be a tool, or Keeler would have taken many and would rank much higher. He is probably the very greatest pure singles hitter in history, and he played a truly enormous number of seasons for his time. Unfortunately, that's about the end of his strengths.

19. DAVE WINFIELD
The Bill James defensive grades for the guys between Dwight Evans and Dave Winfield: Evans, B-. Gwynn, C-. Thompson, C-. Slaughter, B-. Keeler, C+. Winfield, D+. And, like Reggie Jackson, Dave played significant amounts of DH: over 400 games. Factor that in, and I'm not at all sure that Dave was a better defensive outfielder than Harry Heilmann. Except for the lousy defense, I would probably have Dave ranked ahead of Slaughter, and maybe even Thompson.

20. ELMER FLICK
Elmer Flick played 76 more games than Sam Thompson, but no more. His defense grade is a C, which is about the same as Sam. Still, at this point, a small advantage goes to Elmer. But here are the peak seasons:

Sam has, skipping three tiny "seasons", 177, 177, 170, 167, 159, 151.
Elmer has 172, 166, 159, 158, 156, 155, 153.

Both players tail off quickly after these seasons. Elmer has one more peak season, but Sam's are considerably better, especially at the top. Most voters have Elmer over Sam, with Sam being ranked as if he were Ken Boyer. That's not right. Sam and Elmer are close, although I give the clear advantage to Sam, based on peak. If Enos, Willie, and Dave weren't such a close cluster, Sam and Elmer would be closer together. And they very well might deserve to be ranked one right after the other. But I'd have Sam over Elmer in any case. I'd just move Elmer over the trio between him and Sam, and rank Winfield last.
   92. bjhanke Posted: October 23, 2008 at 09:26 AM (#2992861)
OCF, just to start a discussion, lists an inner circle of -
Catcher: Josh Gibson, Yogi Berra, Johnny Bench
First base: Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx
Second base: Eddie Collins, Rogers Hornsby, Joe Morgan, Nap Lajoie
Third base: Mike Schmidt, Eddie Mathews
Shortstop: Honus Wagner, Pop Lloyd, Cal Ripken
Left Field: Ted Williams, Stan Musial
Center Field: Ty Cobb, Willie Mays, Tris Speaker, Mickey Mantle, Oscar Charleston
Right Field: Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Mel Ott, Frank Robinson

That's a pretty good list for the 20th century. However, there is no one from the 19th century at all. Surely there should be someone. As those of you who have read my ballots know, I'm going to suggest Buck Ewing and George Wright, but that makes less difference than that there should be someone. Anyone else with a 19th century inner circle suggestion?

- Brock
   93. bjhanke Posted: October 23, 2008 at 09:38 AM (#2992862)
Dan R says, "Thanks very much, Brock. It's extremely encouraging to know that group members find my research helpful."

Dan, you're selling yourself short. I don't just find your research helpful. I find your ATTITUDE helpful. Your mind is open and your responses are timely and well thought out. I appreciate your attitude at least as much as your research. - Brock
   94. Paul Wendt Posted: October 23, 2008 at 02:51 PM (#2992972)
Well, there was one more reason not to move Clemente, and it has to do with why I don't rank him even higher. Roberto was not, absolutely not, a tremendous defensive outfielder. He was a very fine right fielder, and he had the absolute best throwing arm I ever saw on an outfielder. But he simply did not have the range to play center.

Brock,
-- in contrast to Stan Musial, whom you have covered, and Hank Aaron?
   95. Paul Wendt Posted: October 23, 2008 at 04:28 PM (#2993075)
Brock on Country
Bill James gives him a defensive grade of B-, but that's not consistent with his poor glove reputation here in St. Louis, where I live. I did give him a defense bonus over Keeler

Do you have resources on Keeler's fielding other than the C+ from Bill James? For example, Davenport rates Keeler 108, which is excellent, on career average that incorporates serious decline; Slaughter 105, Gwynn 99 (with 109-101 in limited LF-CF play); Winfield 98 (with 87-91 in not so limited LF-CF play).

James grades the same quartet C+, B-, C-, D+


The most stolen bases that Enos ever had in a season was 9. That is, he was not a baserunning force, nor was he a lunatic on the bases. I would guess that at least half of his career "stolen bases" were really hit and run attempts where the batter missed the ball. You all know why I wrote this paragraph, right?

One night after the game, Bob Broeg let slip the truth of "Country Slaughter Runs All the Way Home", how the St. Louis Wordsmiths crafted the legend. And you are preparing to tell us, maybe tonight after the Series game.


OCF
53. OCF Posted: October 21, 2008 at 05:28 PM (#2991361)
My definitions: The inner circle has about 40 to 50 players, which works out to about 3 or 4 each for each non-pitcher position. We must have representation of every position, but I won't make it a strict quota. I will strictly obey the order imposed by our voters (which means I won't select any pitchers yet). I'll stop when and where I damn well please within each position.


OCF, I don't think you stopped where you dwp. In that you have followed some of the big gaps and small gaps in the election results. But the number of fielders, 25, and the supporting estimate 3 or 4 per position except pitcher, are out of line with the projected 40-50 players.

If merely 40 overall then 25 implies 15 pitchers (37.5%).
If 4 per fieldpos then 50 overall implies 18 pitchers (36%).

Does anyone approach that representation of pitchers among best players? I doubt it. Even Bill James put only about 35 pitchers in the Top 100 players by peak (BHJBA, 1985/1988?). Fifteen years later he put 19 or 20 pitchers in the 100 Best players (NBJHBA, 2001/2003?).
There are about 72 pitchers in Cooperstown and 62 in the HoM or 30%+ and 25%+.

Using multiples of five 25:10 approximates the proportions of the entire HoM but I guess that voters typically mix 6-10 pitchers with their first 25 players at other positions. In other words the ratio is greater, share of pitchers is less, in the top third of the 100 best.

If so many as twelve pitchers, then I daresay you may dare add

DiMaggio, Stearnes
Henderson, Delahanty
Brett, Boggs
Vaughan *
Gehringer, Robinson -- before Brett and Boggs imo fwiw
Anson, Brouthers, Connor, Mize

* Maybe you feel blocked by Davis and Dahlen at shortstop, can't take more than four.
OK but familiar argument may excuse the short careers of DiMaggio, Mize, and Vaughan.
That is thirteen which makes 50 = 12 + 25 + 13
   96. bjhanke Posted: October 23, 2008 at 04:53 PM (#2993104)
Paul asks, "Do you have resources on Keeler's fielding other than the C+ from Bill James? For example, Davenport rates Keeler 108, which is excellent, on career average that incorporates serious decline; Slaughter 105, Gwynn 99 (with 109-101 in limited LF-CF play); Winfield 98 (with 87-91 in not so limited LF-CF play)."

My other resource is Total Baseball, which gives Keeler steady negative rankings. In general, I don't use BPro results because they don't expose their methods. If
Dan or somebody weighed in with a defensive ranking, I would certainly listen. But when Pete Palmer and Bill James agree on a defensive ranking, I tend to trust that, because their methods are so different.

And Paul also says, "One night after the game, Bob Broeg let slip the truth of "Country Slaughter Runs All the Way Home", how the St. Louis Wordsmiths crafted the legend. And you are preparing to tell us, maybe tonight after the Series game."

No. I didn't know this one at all. All I ever talked to Bob about with regards to Slaughter was his fielding and a very little about how he was handled by the Yanks and As. All I know about the Series incident is that the hit involved was, apparently, scored a double, not a single, and that Slaughter's rep has rested on that incident since it happened. Do YOU, who are ten times the historian I am, going to tell us? I'd love to know. Thanks.
   97. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 23, 2008 at 05:22 PM (#2993129)
My old version of DRA has Keeler at +31 for his career (divided into +64 from 1894-98 and -33 from 1899-1906).
   98. bjhanke Posted: October 23, 2008 at 05:39 PM (#2993151)
Paul also asks, "Well, there was one more reason not to move Clemente, and it has to do with why I don't rank him even higher. Roberto was not, absolutely not, a tremendous defensive outfielder. He was a very fine right fielder, and he had the absolute best throwing arm I ever saw on an outfielder. But he simply did not have the range to play center.

Brock,
-- in contrast to Stan Musial, whom you have covered, and Hank Aaron?"

Yes. We have outfield position breakdowns for Aaron and Clemente. Clemente's range factors in CF are poor, although the sample size is small. His overall range factors are very good, but they're driven by really good numbers in right field. If we didn't have any CF breakdowns, the RF numbers would suggest that he could play center, and I would have written a different comment. But we do have CF breakdowns, and I am also factoring in my memories of Clemente. He wasn't tremendously fast out there, but he did have the cannon.

Aaron has good numbers for his tours in center. Surprizingly good. The odd thing is that they don't start out good. They start out weak. It isn't until 1960 that Aaron starts to show well in CF, but then he keeps it up. In fact, in 1961-62, Hank played more games in center than anywhere else. He was the Braves' starting CF, although he only played a bit more than half the time there. Actually, it looks like a platoon arrangement involving a position switch, but I don't know that. In any case, he played fine in center, and I have no idea why they gave up the experiment in 1963. I could make a case that Aaron is one of the few guys who should have been moved to center, from right, in mid-career.

Musial is a pain in the rear to deal with mathematically. There are no breakdowns until late in his career, and none at all for CF. His RF range factors, when old enough for there to be breakdowns, are not good. This may be the result of a small right field territory plus age (re: Ott, my research indicates that range factors suffer in "midget" outfield territories, not improve). Overall, though, his career outfield range factor is close to the league average, which is very good for a corner outfielder, because the league average includes the center fielders. They are especially good considering the ballpark's small right field territory . His range factors are better when he was young and playing some center, no surprize. Overall, he just played too many games in center to say that he couldn't do that, especially given that, when he came up, the competition - Terry Moore - was an impossible target.

- Brock
   99. DL from MN Posted: October 23, 2008 at 06:15 PM (#2993175)
I have 16 pitchers in my top 50. The "inner circle" players mentioned stop at 33 on my list (Foxx). That would put the following pitchers in the "inner circle":

Walter Johnson
Cy Young
Pete Alexander
Joe Williams
Lefty Grove
Tom Seaver
Warren Spahn
Christy Mathewson
Bob Feller

I'm sure Maddux and Clemens would make it in there also. Ripken doesn't make my inner circle but A-Rod, Barry and Rickey would.
   100. OCF Posted: October 23, 2008 at 07:02 PM (#2993219)
Vaughan * * Maybe you feel blocked by Davis and Dahlen at shortstop, can't take more than four.

Vaughan was ahead of Davis and Dahlen in our ranking vote, so he's not blocked. I guess what gave me some pause was the BBWAA and the Hall of Fame. Every other MLB inner circle player was elected to the HoF at the first possible moment, and by an overwhelming margin; Vaughan's case languished in obscurity for years.

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Is what DL from MN said a full quota of inner circle pitchers, or is it only about half the list? Who is there just beyond where he stopped? Nichols? Hubbell? Paige? Gibson? R. Johnson? P. Martinez? Maybe go even further back in time - Clarkson? Of course, I didn't go there with my original post because we haven't ranked the pitchers yet. And in the case of Feller, I would get into a considerable number of "if Feller than why not also ____ " arguments.
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