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

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Election Results: Top 5 HoM Moundsmen For Group 3 - Grove, Spahn, Paige, Feller and Hubbell!

By unanimous vote, star flamethrower Lefty Grove was selected as the Hall of Merit’s top pitcher from Group 3.

Winningest lefthander Warren Spahn received an impressive 91% of all possible points, while NeL legend Satchel Paige was close behind with his 89%.

Cleveland great Bob Feller earned a fine 81%, while the Giants’ meal ticket Carl Hubbell was the last to make it at least 75%.

Thanks to OCF for all of the tallying help that he gives me!

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  Lefty Grove    361   19  19                                                         
 2  n/e  Warren Spahn   332   19     10  8  1                                                
 3  n/e  Satchel Paige  322   19      8  7  1  2     1                                       
 4  n/e  Bob Feller     294   19      1  3  6  5  2  2                                       
 5  n/e  Carl Hubbell   269   19            6  4  4  2     2     1                           
 6  n/e  Robin Roberts  257   19         1  3  1  6  3  2  1  1  1                           
 7  n/e  Martin Dihigo  232   19            1  4  2  2  2  2  3  2  1                        
 8  n/e  Hal Newhouser  200   19               1     3  3  5  1  1  1  4                     
 9  n/e  Raymond Brown  199   19            1        2  5  1  2  4  3     1                  
10  n/e  Whitey Ford    186   19               1  3     1  2  5  2     1  2  1     1         
11  n/e  Bullet Rogan   166   19                  1  2  2  2  2  1  2  2  2     2        1   
12  n/e  Dazzy Vance    159   19               1  1  1     1     3  4  2  3  3               
13  n/e  Ted Lyons      152   19                        3  2  1  2  3  2  2  3           1   
14  n/e  Willie Foster  112   19                        1     1     2  4  3  4  1     1  2   
15  n/e  Red Ruffing    109   19                     1        1  2  1  2  1  4  2  3  1  1   
16  n/e  Wes Ferrell     86   19                           1  1     2  1  1     4  4  3  2   
17  n/e  Early Wynn      70   19                              1           1  3  5  3  4  2   
18  n/e  Bob Lemon       53   19                                       1  2     3  2  5  6   
19  n/e  Billy Pierce    51   19                                          1  1  2  6  5  4   
Ballots Cast: 19

 

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 10, 2009 at 09:50 PM | 126 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 
   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 11, 2009 at 02:00 AM (#3173639)
hot topics
   2. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: May 11, 2009 at 02:03 AM (#3173647)
Someone please explain Lemon over Pierce. I know 53-51 doesn't mean anything, but I really don't see them as close. I don't really get Ferrell over Pierce by so much either, I see them as pretty even, just depends on whether you like peak or career.
   3. DL from MN Posted: May 11, 2009 at 02:23 AM (#3173681)
Lemon and Ferrell both have a peak, Pierce doesn't. The higher ratings of Lemon and Ferrell were by peak voters.
   4. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 11, 2009 at 02:42 AM (#3173739)
Someone please explain Lemon over Pierce. I know 53-51 doesn't mean anything, but I really don't see them as close.

Why not, though? They have identical ERA+ numbers and Lemon's raw ERA is slightly lower. Lemon pitched for better teams, but his winning percentage is correspondingly higher. And while the Indians in the 50's were a fine overall team, in the 50's they also threw out some historically dreadful infield defenses that likely cost them the 1952 pennant and possibly the 1955 pennant as well. Hegan and Doby were their only first rate fielders during that period.

What I don't see at all is this love for Hal Newhouser. He had three outstanding seasons, but two of them were against the worst competition in modern Major League history---if you can even use that term to describe the American League of 1943-44-45. Take those three wartime years out and he was a 145-115 pitcher. Put them back and he still won only 207 games. This is worthy of the Hall of Merit?

He was also very good for a few more years after that, but you can say the same thing about a zillion other pitchers who aren't even close to being Hall of Famers. I guess you shouldn't blame him for the fact that he lucked into pitching against 4-F's and teenagers for three years, but I don't see why you shouldn't take those years with a huge grain of salt---especially considering that he was also pretty much washed up by the time he was 30. This seems to me to be one of those inexplicable Hall of Merit choices that make little or no sense.
   5. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 11, 2009 at 02:47 AM (#3173751)
What I don't see at all is this love for Hal Newhouser. He had three outstanding seasons, but two of them were against the worst competition in modern Major League history---if you can even use that term to describe the American League of 1943-44-45. Take those three wartime years out and he was a 145-115 pitcher.


Why would you take them out? Hr was pitching great those seasons, competition or no competition (and he was mighty fine in '46 when the boys were all back in action, too).
   6. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 11, 2009 at 02:51 AM (#3173759)
This seems to me to be one of those inexplicable Hall of Merit choices that make little or no sense.


What's inexplicable is that you don't even think he's a borderline choice. That just makes my head swim.
   7. OCF Posted: May 11, 2009 at 02:55 AM (#3173766)
Here are the results presented by average placement. The first column after each name is average placement; the second column is the standard deviation of that placement.

Pitcher . .  Place  St.Dev.
1.  Grove . . 1.00  0.00
2.  Spahn 
. . 2.53  0.60
3.  Paige 
. . 3.05  1.32
4.  Feller 
.  4.53  1.31
5.  Hubbell 
5.84  1.95
6.  Roberts 
6.47  2.04
7.  Dihigo 
.  7.79  2.40
8.  Newhouser 9.47  2.35
9.  Brown 
. . 9.53  2.32
10. Ford 
. . 10.21  3.20
11. Rogan 
.  11.26  3.45
12. Vance 
.  11.63  2.91
13. Lyons 
.  12.00  2.88
14. Foster 
14.11  2.69
15. Ruffing  14.26  2.97
16. Ferrell  15.47  2.89
17. Wynn 
. . 16.32  2.03
18. Lemon 
.  17.21  1.85
19. Pierce 
17.32  1.34 


Here are the consensus scores:

Esteban Rivera 88
John Murphy 88
sunnyday2 87
Chris Cobb 87
DL from MN 86
Howie Menckel 85
mulder & scully 85
Tiboreau 84
karlmagnus 83 (median)
Juan V 83
Mark Donelson 82
OCF 81
bjhanke 80
Rob Wood 80
Kenn 79
Joe Dimino 79
Sean Gilman 79
Brent 79
AJMacaroni 68

AJMacaroni's consensus-outlier ballot had Lemon 13th (he was Lemon's best friend) and Pierce 17th; that's more than enough to make the Lemon/Pierce difference right there.

A look at which voters had which candidate in 19th place. (I'll add that I pretty much agree with what Joe D. said above.)

Pierce: Chris Cobb, Howie Menckel, mulder & scully, Tiboreau

Lemon: Esteban Rivera, DL from MN, Juan V, Mark Donelson, OCF, Joe Dimino

Wynn: John Murphy, sunnyday2

Ferrell: Rob Wood, Kenn

Ruffing: Brent

Foster: bjhanke

Lyons: Sean Gilman

Rogan: AJMacaroni
   8. Tiboreau Posted: May 11, 2009 at 02:58 AM (#3173774)
What I don't see at all is this love for Hal Newhouser. He had three outstanding seasons, but two of them were against the worst competition in modern Major League history---if you can even use that term to describe the American League of 1943-44-45. Take those three wartime years out and he was a 145-115 pitcher. Put them back and he still won only 207 games. This is worthy of the Hall of Merit?

From my ballot thread:

Hal Newhouser—I think he is one of the more underrated HoFers in baseball history; he suffers the misfortune of his peak coinciding with WWII, and his success will forever be marred by the notion that it was primarily due to the balata ball & absence of the game superstars. I don’t agree with that—while his WWII seasons should be discounted for being weaker than the years before or after, he still provided vital value to Detroit’s pennant drive and continued to perform at a similarly stellar level for 3 years after the war, as well as adding 2 all-star caliber seasons in ’42 & ’49.

From two pitching statistics that adjust for WWI, BP's WARP3 & Joe Dimino's dWAR, Newhouser's top 5 seasons:
stat 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1942
WARP 10.6 12.4 10.5  8.7  9.3  6.8  6.2
dWAR  9.2 10.2  9.5  7.2  8.1  6.2  4.5 

Joe's replacement level is a little lower than BP's (I believe), but those numbers point toward 5 excellent seasons & 2 very good ones by both metrics, and Newhouser threw in a few more seasons at a league average level as well.
   9. Juan V Posted: May 11, 2009 at 02:58 AM (#3173775)
karlmagnus with a median consensus score. Heh.
   10. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 11, 2009 at 03:00 AM (#3173780)
I'm tied for the top consensus score? karlmagnus is the median?

Signs of the apocalypse, my friends.
   11. Howie Menckel Posted: May 11, 2009 at 03:36 AM (#3173928)
Nothing more bizarre than to say that because an outstanding pitcher peaked in the general time of a war era, throw out the entire seasons.

I have always given Bob Johnson a real ding because his best season was the worst quality year - 1944. He wasn't really that good.

But Newhouser WAS that good.

Jolly St Nick, a little rough that Joe D got zero war credit.

Wait, he got war credit for not playing, but Newhouser's actual play got dismissed entirely?

Help us out here.
   12. OCF Posted: May 11, 2009 at 04:02 AM (#3173985)
I miscounted: Juan V. is the median. karlmagnus is one step above that.
   13. bjhanke Posted: May 11, 2009 at 06:39 AM (#3174044)
First, did we really just turn in a group of ballots where the consensus scores are all within 10 points of each other except for one outlier? I haven't been with the project since it started, but if my memory is right, that's the closest grouping we've ever had.

Joe asks, "Someone please explain Lemon over Pierce. I know 53-51 doesn't mean anything, but I really don't see them as close. I don't really get Ferrell over Pierce by so much either, I see them as pretty even, just depends on whether you like peak or career."

I can see why you're asking. Essentially, the pitching numbers work in Pierce's favor, just as they do for Billy over Willie Foster (the reversal of which is the one I don't understand). He has more innings and a higher ERA+ than Ferrell, just as he has with Foster, and more innings with the same ERA+ as Lemon. Now, comparing Billy to Foster, I didn't make serious adjustments for Pierce's league or hitting because I have no such data for Foster, and so can't make the same adjustments for him. It seemed wrong to make full adjustments for one guy but none for the other.

But in Wes and Bob's cases, you can make all the adjustments for each guy. So Bob and Billy get docked for the league, while Wes got a small boost because I think the AL was stronger in the 1930s. Billy gets docked for comparatively lousy hitting. Billy gets docked for a weak peak, while Bob and Wes get boosts. That's how I got to where I got to. I will point out that when I got to Bob Lemon, much less Billy Pierce, I mentioned that making distinctions was getting hard to impossible because of the differences in candidacies. You've got guys who can hit and guys who can't, guys in weak leagues and in strong, guys with more years in their careers vs. guys who have strong peaks, and close comparisons between major leaguers and negro leaguers. And these are some of the things that are hard to adjust for, because there is no real consensus as to the size of the adjustment.

Does that help? Actually, the question I should ask is what adjustments you made or didn't make. You use completely different approaches than I do, and may make adjustments very different from mine. - Brock
   14. OCF Posted: May 11, 2009 at 07:04 AM (#3174048)
I've been doing the consensus scores for the positional votes on a different system than for the yearly elections. Actually, the scores from the second pitcher group - Johnson to Rixie - were closer than this, with a range from 79 to 87 and no outliers. For a large-ballot ranking vote, they're bound to be pretty close, since there are some things that pretty much everyone agrees on as to whether candidates belong to the upper part of the ballot or the lower part.
   15. AJMcCringleberry Posted: May 11, 2009 at 07:10 AM (#3174051)
I was the best friend of 5 different guys, guess that's why I'm at the bottom of the consensus score.
   16. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 11, 2009 at 11:31 AM (#3174072)
Nothing more bizarre than to say that because an outstanding pitcher peaked in the general time of a war era, throw out the entire seasons.


I have to assume Andy thinks that the competition during '43-'45 ('43 really wasn't as bad as the other two seasons, but...) was similar to Little League play. :-)
   17. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 11, 2009 at 09:25 PM (#3174832)
Nothing more bizarre than to say that because an outstanding pitcher peaked in the general time of a war era, throw out the entire seasons.

I have to assume Andy thinks that the competition during '43-'45 ('43 really wasn't as bad as the other two seasons, but...) was similar to Little League play. :-)


Well, what exactly do you think it was, John? What would you say about the Major Leagues today if we yanked out nearly all of the best players between the ages of 19 and 35, and filled the rosters with 4-F's and teenagers? What sort of a record would you think that someone like C.C. Sabathia might compile under those circumstances?

It wasn't Little League, but it was historically dreadful, and other than that, what did Newhouser do? His first and only great season against real competition was when he was 25, and by 29 he was essentially washed up. How does that translate into Hall of Merit?

Look, Newhouser very well may have been able to shine against regular competition in 1944-45, had he had to face it. But we'll never know that, because the Dimaggios and the Greenbergs and the Travises were employed elsewhere. And where do we get the idea that just because the "Majors" still represented the best of the available talent during wartime, it was still "Major League" in any real sense of the word?

If Newhouser had gone on to pitch at a high level through his early or mid-30's, then I'd say he was a valid HoM choice, because then his career arc would've been far more suggestive of something other than a brief candle that burned brightly under mostly questionable conditions. And if you're going to go solely on peak value and pretend that wartime competition was "Major League," then, sure, I suppose he creeps in on the margins despite his early flameout. But given the competition and given how quickly his peak passed, IMO he's much closer to being near the bottom of that list.
   18. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 11, 2009 at 09:58 PM (#3174873)
Well, what exactly do you think it was, John?


I know it wasn't anywhere close to Little League play, that's for sure.

The competition was bad, but it's nowhere near as bad as you think it was, Andy. If it were nearly as bad as you make it out to be, guys like Bob Johnson and Bobby Doerr would have had Ruthian seasons. However, they didn't

It wasn't Little League, but it was historically dreadful, and other than that, what did Newhouser do? His first and only great season against real competition was when he was 25, and by 29 he was essentially washed up. How does that translate into Hall of Merit?


You do know that '46 wasn't a war year and he still had a monster season, right? How do you explain that?
   19. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 11, 2009 at 10:02 PM (#3174878)
But given the competition and given how quickly his peak passed, IMO he's much closer to being near the bottom of that list.


Again, his peak did not pass when the big guys came back. He was still kicking butts in '46 and was an All-Star caliber pitcher for a few years after that. That's just fact and can't be disputed.

Maybe you should read the old threads again before you judge us as a bunch of idiots for picking him (which is what you're inferring).
   20. OCF Posted: May 11, 2009 at 10:26 PM (#3174895)
My RA+ equivalent records for him for 1946-49 total 83-44, or an average of 21-11 per year. I can find a few four-year periods better than that - for instance, Feller 1938-41 (91-46), or Roberts 1951-54 (97-51), or of course Koufax 1963-66 (94-38), but the best four years I can find of Spahn are 80-48, or of Drysdale 81-59 or of Bunning 84-47. And those are all great pitchers with real peaks. Get down to someone like Dave Stewart and the best you can do is something like 68-50.

And that's Newhouser pitching to all the big boys - Williams, Greenberg, and so on. That leaves the question of the value of his 1944 and 1945 when the league still had Boudreau, Doerr, Keltner, Stephens, Cullenbine, and so on. Yes, it's difficult to measure accurately. Nonetheless, I think those two years were the actual two best years of his career
   21. JPWF13 Posted: May 11, 2009 at 10:34 PM (#3174900)
If it were nearly as bad as you make it out to be, guys like Bob Johnson and Bobby Doerr would have had Ruthian seasons. However, they didn't


Doerr had an OPS+ of 165 in 1944, his next best was 131 and his career was 115.

At 38, Bob Johnson posted an OPS+ of 174 in 1944, his next best was 155.
Babe Ruth's age 38 OPS was 176, so yes you could argue that Indian Bob was Ruthian in 1944.

Ages 37-39, 1921-1969, best OPS+:
Cnt Player            OPS+   PA  From  To
+----+-----------------+----+-----+----+----+
    
1 Ted Williams       195  1566 1956 1958 
    2 Babe Ruth          181  1635 1932 1934 
    3 Bob Johnson        143  1724 1943 1945 
    4 Ty Cobb            142  1489 1924 1926 
    5 Willie Mays        141  1032 1968 1969 


I've always had trouble with Prince Hal, on the one hand it IS unfair to throw his war years out (especically as other players are being given credit for years they didn't even play), but despite what people keep saying, he was not THAT good.

He WAS that good in 1946, but if he was as good in 1944/45 as he was in 1946, he would not have gone 54-18 with ERA+s of 161 and 195, he would have cleared 200 with daylight behind him.

IF you look at Hal as someone who should get credit for 140-150 ERA+ season in 1944/45, then you are looking at something like 200-157 (instead of 207-150) with an ERA+ of 125 in 2993 IP rather than 130...

Here are the HOF pitcehrs with 2750-3250 ip:
Cnt Player            ERA+   IP   From  To   Ages   G
+----+-----------------+----+------+----+----+-----+----+
    
1 Ed Walsh           146 2964.1 1904 1917 23-36  430 
    2 Al Spalding        142 2890.2 1871 1877 20
-26  347 
    3 Mordecai Brown     138 3172.1 1903 1916 26
-39  481 
    4 Rube Waddell       135 2961.1 1897 1910 20
-33  407 
    5 Whitey Ford        133 3170.1 1950 1967 21
-38  498 
    6 Hal Newhouser      130 2993   1939 1955 18
-34  488 
    7 Stan Coveleski     127 3082   1912 1928 22
-38  450 
    8 Dazzy Vance        125 2966.2 1915 1935 24
-44  442 
    9 Bob Lemon          119 2850   1946 1958 25
-37  460 
   10 Chief Bender       112 3017   1903 1925 19
-41  459 
   11 Jack Chesbro       110 2896.2 1899 1909 25
-35  392 
   12 Jesse Haines       108 3208.2 1918 1937 24
-43  555 


So a 125 ERA+ Prince still looks like a HOFer? Right?

Here are the guys, 2750-3250 IP, ERA+ over 120 who are not in:
Cnt Player            ERA+   IP   From  To   Ages   G
+----+-----------------+----+------+----+----+-----+----+
    
1 Pedro Martinez     154 2782.2 1992 2008 20-36  467 
    2 Tommy Bridges      126 2826.1 1930 1946 23
-39  424 
    3 Bob Caruthers      123 2828.2 1884 1892 20
-28  340 
    4 Eddie Cicotte      123 3223.1 1905 1920 21
-36  502 
    5 Silver King        123 3190.2 1886 1897 18
-29  397 
    6 Dave Stieb         122 2895.1 1979 1998 21
-40  443 
    7 David Cone         120 2898.2 1986 2003 23
-40  450 

I don't think he was Koufax, I think he had 1 year, not three at THAT level, it LOOKED like he had three due to the wartime competition, I think he was closer to Guidry or Gooden- but I think he was somewhat better than Gooden or Guidry, better enough that, yes, I'd say HOF/HOM, but I don't think it's as clear cut as others make it out to be.
   22. mulder & scully Posted: May 11, 2009 at 10:38 PM (#3174904)
Don't forget the 161 ERA+ he threw in 1942 when most players had yet to be called up - including DiMaggio, Williams, Stephens, Pesky, Gordon, Keller, Appling, Harlond Clift, Bob Johnson, Bobby Doerr, Wally Judnich, Stan Spence, Mickey Vernon, Dom DiMaggio, Ken Keltner, Barney McCoskey, Roy Cullenbine, Jeff Heath, and Rudy York. I think the only prominent AL hitters already gone were Greenberg (who played on the same team as Newhouser) and Travis.
   23. JPWF13 Posted: May 11, 2009 at 10:40 PM (#3174908)
Nonetheless, I think those two years were the actual two best years of his career


I don't, I don't think either was close to 1946, they may have been equivalent to 1948, but not 1946, no way no how, yes some real MLBers were playing in 1944/45, but the overall caliber of play was very low compared to pre and post WWII.

I don't see a 3 year peak, I see a 5-6 year peak with a 1 year spike (1946).
   24. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 11, 2009 at 10:48 PM (#3174911)
Doerr had an OPS+ of 165 in 1944, his next best was 131 and his career was 115.

At 38, Bob Johnson posted an OPS+ of 174 in 1944, his next best was 155.
Babe Ruth's age 38 OPS was 176, so yes you could argue that Indian Bob was Ruthian in 1944.


Nah. A 174 OPS+ wasn't anything special for Ruth.

Again, the competition was bad, but nobody hit over .400 or had a SLG of .800.

I don't think he was Koufax, I think he had 1 year, not three at THAT level, it LOOKED like he had three due to the wartime competition, I think he was closer to Guidry or Gooden- but I think he was somewhat better than Gooden or Guidry, better enough that, yes, I'd say HOF/HOM, but I don't think it's as clear cut as others make it out to be.


That's reasonable, JPWF13. That's still a lot different than saying Prince Hal has absolutely no business being enshrined, as Andy is stating.
   25. OCF Posted: May 11, 2009 at 10:50 PM (#3174912)
One problem with his 1942 is that he allowed an unusually large number of unearned runs. That, and it wasn't all that many innings. I've always gone by RA+, not ERA+, and I have that year as an RA+ of 131 and an equivalent record of 13-8. In fact, his RA+ is worse than his ERA+ in pretty much all of his good years. That may be the main reason why my vote for him (13th) was lower than the group average of about 9.5. In fact, I was one of Newhouser's "worst enemies" among the voters, along with Rob Wood, bjhanke, and Joe Dimino.

I still think Andy is overplaying this hand.
   26. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 11, 2009 at 10:50 PM (#3174913)
Don't forget the 161 ERA+ he threw in 1942 when most players had yet to be called up - including DiMaggio, Williams, Stephens, Pesky, Gordon, Keller, Appling, Harlond Clift, Bob Johnson, Bobby Doerr, Wally Judnich, Stan Spence, Mickey Vernon, Dom DiMaggio, Ken Keltner, Barney McCoskey, Roy Cullenbine, Jeff Heath, and Rudy York. I think the only prominent AL hitters already gone were Greenberg (who played on the same team as Newhouser) and Travis.


Another excellent point.

That leaves the question of the value of his 1944 and 1945 when the league still had Boudreau, Doerr, Keltner, Stephens, Cullenbine, and so on.


Exactly, OCF. There were still quite a few ML-caliber players around.
   27. Chris Cobb Posted: May 12, 2009 at 01:32 AM (#3175234)
I think the case against Newhouser is bunk, but if you are making arguments about quality of competition and Newhouser's ERA+, you need to be talking about which pitchers had not gone into military service yet. It's nice to know that Newhouser was pitching to some top hitters, but ERA+ is making a comparison to other pitchers. If I had time, I could make the lists myself, but I only have time for brief, marginally snide comments tonight.
   28. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 12, 2009 at 01:35 AM (#3175238)
But given the competition and given how quickly his peak passed, IMO he's much closer to being near the bottom of that list.

Again, his peak did not pass when the big guys came back. He was still kicking butts in '46 and was an All-Star caliber pitcher for a few years after that. That's just fact and can't be disputed.

Maybe you should read the old threads again before you judge us as a bunch of idiots for picking him (which is what you're inferring).


First, John, unlike some people (not you), I don't view disagreement as a sign of idiocy. In this case it's just a matter of how we're framing Newhouser's career.

I see a pitcher who barely cleared 200 wins, and whose best years were against competition that was only marginally Major League. Beyond that, it's not hard to infer from the home run totals that the game was lopsidedly slanted towards the pitchers.

AL home run totals / Runs per game:

1942 - 533 / 4.26

1943 - 473 / 3.88

1944 - 459 / 4.09

1945 - 430 / 3.90

I mention this because it might explain why the few leftover big time hitters weren't able to capitalize on the competition level to the same extent that pitchers like Newhouser were.

You see a pitcher who had a fabulous peak, and seem to make little or no allowance for the competition level.

Just how badly were the Major Leagues depleted? In 1943 the Carmichael Who's Who lists 120 National Leaguers and 142 American Leaguers listed in uniform from the Major League rosters, a total of 262. The 1944 and 1945 editions didn't have this information, but obviously the numbers were as big, or more likely even bigger.

Tell me, John, how would you evaluate today's American League if an average of 18 players per team were stripped from its rosters, including the vast majority of its stars? I can't imagine that you wouldn't apply a mountain of salt to any Herculean pitching feats that were accomplished by one of a tiny handful of lucky stars who somehow managed to be able to play on.

That's all I'm doing to Newhouser. That, and looking a a win total that's right near the bottom of Hall of Famers. And the sort of company Newhouser's keeping on this list (Koufax, Dean, etc.) didn't put up their peak seasons against a league that was two thirds depleted. I don't see how you can ignore that sort of distinction.

I've not dismissed his ONE great non-wartime season, though you might want to acknowledge that the Majors were scarcely back to full normality in 1946, as numerous former stars were rusty or washed up after three years of inaction, and of course no prime young talent had been developed in the minors since 1942. Plenty of pitchers have had one or more seasons like that without being elected to the Hall of Merit. And while Newhouser had a few other good to very good non-wartime seasons, they're more like mid-level Bert Blyleven (without the longevity) than they are of the usual sort of Hall of Famer. You could make a list a mile long of pitchers who have performed as well or better than Newhouser in the three years from '47 to '49.

I'm not saying that you have to be crazy to see Newhouser as a HoMer, but I am saying that he's marginal at best, and in order to put him over the line you have to ignore both the shortness of his peak AND the competition he faced during much of it. I guess I just don't choose to do that.
   29. Paul Wendt Posted: May 12, 2009 at 01:47 AM (#3175260)
Hal Newhouser is hot

Why does everyone list the batter-fielders who were off to war? We need a separate discount for pitchers and that is the one that matters in assessing Newhouser 1944-45, right?

25. OCF Posted: May 11, 2009 at 06:50 PM (#3174912)
One problem with his 1942 is that he allowed an unusually large number of unearned runs. That, and it wasn't all that many innings. I've always gone by RA+, not ERA+, and I have that year as an RA+ of 131 and an equivalent record of 13-8. In fact, his RA+ is worse than his ERA+ in pretty much all of his good years.

Do you see the same thing for Dizzy Trout?

That may be the main reason why my vote for him (13th) was lower than the group average of about 9.5. In fact, I was one of Newhouser's "worst enemies" among the voters, along with Rob Wood, bjhanke, and Joe Dimino.

It is a surprise to me that Newhouser beat Brown, Ford, and Rogan. The group sees a clear break between top 13 and bottom 6 and I would have guessed that Newhouser tussles with Lyons or Foster. But note that a moderate shift in numbers from career to peak voters might move him up a few ranks.


the new gadfly:
What I don't see at all is this love for Hal Newhouser. He had three outstanding seasons, but two of them were against the worst competition in modern Major League history---if you can even use that term to describe the American League of 1943-44-45. Take those three wartime years out and he was a 145-115 pitcher. Put them back and he still won only 207 games. This is worthy of the Hall of Merit?

He was also very good for a few more years after that, but you can say the same thing about a zillion other pitchers who aren't even close to being Hall of Famers. I guess you shouldn't blame him for the fact that he lucked into pitching against 4-F's and teenagers for three years


#17, more of the same
Well, what exactly do you think it was, John? What would you say about the Major Leagues today if we yanked out nearly all of the best players between the ages of 19 and 35, and filled the rosters with 4-F's and teenagers? What sort of a record would you think that someone like C.C. Sabathia might compile under those circumstances?

That is a caricature.

Further, I believe there is a majority, still far short of consensus, on the revisionist side regarding WWII. I guess that 15% is a typical discounts here, implicit for many participants.


JWPF13
He WAS that good in 1946, but if he was as good in 1944/45 as he was in 1946, he would not have gone 54-18 with ERA+s of 161 and 195, he would have cleared 200 with daylight behind him.

IF you look at Hal as someone who should get credit for 140-150 ERA+ season in 1944/45,


At 15% ... ERA+ 137 and 165, two year average 151.
That is very close to what JWPF13 suggests, in criticizing the group moderately.
The reason is that the distribution of discounts is skew. If a 15% is typical, with some 10% and 20% discounts, a few no-discounts make a big difference in the effect.
   30. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 12, 2009 at 01:56 AM (#3175285)
#17, more of the same

Just how badly were the Major Leagues depleted? In 1943 the Carmichael Who's Who lists 120 National Leaguers and 142 American Leaguers listed in uniform from the Major League rosters, a total of 262. The 1944 and 1945 editions didn't have this information, but obviously the numbers were as big, or more likely even bigger.

Well, what exactly do you think it was, John? What would you say about the Major Leagues today if we yanked out nearly all of the best players between the ages of 19 and 35, and filled the rosters with 4-F's and teenagers? What sort of a record would you think that someone like C.C. Sabathia might compile under those circumstances?


That is a caricature.


How so? Are my numbers wrong? I wouldn't advise putting any money against it, since I've got the Carmichael right here in front of me. And tell me, what would you think of the American League of today if it were to suffer such a depletion of talent?

And doesn't 207 wins and a career that devolved into mediocrity at the age of 29 suggest something a bit less than your usual Hall of Merit selection?
   31. DL from MN Posted: May 12, 2009 at 02:17 AM (#3175307)
> before you judge us as a bunch of idiots for picking him

Wasn't the time to argue about this _before_ the election was over?

Part of the problem with your argument is that the players not in the majors are only marginally worse than replacement. Some of the guys who left for war were replacement players that gave up roster spots to players that were pretty darned close in talent. That's the nature of the bell curve. The minors were also depleted but the number of guys who can play A-ball is at least 10X the number who can play in the majors. The worst the majors could have slid to is AAA equivalent. We know the discount to give for AAA MLEs. Even with that discount, Newhouser was putting up All-Star caliber numbers.

The pitcher was favored and the number of home runs dropped because of the balata ball, not due to talent. If talent would have dropped evenly you would see essentially the same offensive numbers.
   32. Wes Parkers Mood (Mike Green) Posted: May 12, 2009 at 02:25 AM (#3175316)
Personally, I wouldn't have Newhouser ahead of Dazzy Vance, on either peak or career.
   33. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: May 12, 2009 at 02:39 AM (#3175326)
And doesn't 207 wins and a career that devolved into mediocrity at the age of 29 suggest something a bit less than your usual Hall of Merit selection?

Time to break out one of my all-time favorite stats:

Most wins before a player's 30th birthday, since 1920:

1. Hal Newhouser 188
2. Catfish Hunter 184
3. Robin Roberts 179
4. Bob Feller 177
5. Wes Ferrell 175

Three completely fell apart around age 30 - Newhouser, Hunter, and Ferrell. You think Newhouser collapased bad? Ferrell won 18 games with an ERA+ of 73 after turning 30. Hunter was 40-39 with an ERA+ of 90. Roberts and Feller both logged a good chunk of innings, but were shells of themselves afterwards. Combined that five-some had 26 twenty-win seasons before turning 30, but had exactly one afterwards. Bob Feller's 1951 was the only time any of them topped 17 wins once they got old.

There's a theme here: great young pitchers worked really really hard at tender ages break down and break down badly at a certain point.

In fact, I can continue this list. Aside from the fab five, only one other pitcher won more than 161 games before turning 30: Don Drysdale. As I'm sure you recall, he broke down and was done by his 33rd birthday. From age 29-onward, he was 44-48 with an ERA+ of 105.

Only 16 liveballers have won 150 before turning 30. Exactly ONE - Greg Maddux - won 30. Maddux was famous for his efficiency on the mound.

Newhouser blew his arm out, plain and simple.
   34. Chris Cobb Posted: May 12, 2009 at 02:58 AM (#3175348)
And doesn't 207 wins and a career that devolved into mediocrity at the age of 29 suggest something a bit less than your usual Hall of Merit selection?

You appear to assume that we elect players based on career counting stats. Newhouser's age of decline and career win totals are by no means out of line with

Al Spalding, Hall of Merit Pitcher. Done as a pitcher after age 25.
Bob Caruthers. Hall of Merit Pitcher/Hitter. Done as a pitcher after age 27. Done as a player after age 28.
Amos Rusie. Hall of Merit Pitcher. Done as a pitcher after age 27.
Sandy Koufax. Hall of Merit Pitcher. Done as a pitcher after age 30. 165 career wins.
Wes Ferrell. Hall of Merit Pitcher. Washed up as a pitcher after age 29. 193 career wins.
Bret Saberhagen. Hall of Merit Pitcher. Last peak season at age 25. 167 career wins.

Bob Lemon. 207 career wins.
Rube Waddell. 193 career wins.
Billy Pierce. 211 career wins.
Dave Stieb. 176 career wins.
Dazzy Vance. 197 career wins.

Given a pitcher with an excellent peak, the age at which he was good is irrelevant, and the raw number of wins is a very weak indicator of quality. Newhouser's career ended at a young age for a Hall of Merit pitcher, but it started early, and he has a peak case. There are a dozen pitchers in the Hall of Merit who match his career size well or who match his career shape well, or both. All of them were elected for peak value, not career value.
   35. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 12, 2009 at 03:37 AM (#3175373)
before you judge us as a bunch of idiots for picking him


Wasn't the time to argue about this _before_ the election was over?

Sure, but I'm not trying to reverse the election....and I think you're severely underestimating the effect of World War II on the talent level throughout baseball, and its domino effect all the way from Class D to the Majors. Jesus, we're talking about a game made up almost entirely of underage, overage, and 4-F's. This isn't something you can just assume is equivalent to any league under normal circumstances.

I mean, how many f*cking ONE ARMED OUTFIELDERS do you need to get the point? How many of those did you even see in Class D before and after the war? I realize that this was just one player, but Pete Gray's example still speaks rather eloquently about both the talent level in the Majors and the talent level below it.

In a phrase: bush league.

The pitcher was favored and the number of home runs dropped because of the balata ball, not due to talent. If talent would have dropped evenly you would see essentially the same offensive numbers.

Well, the balata ball only lasted for a very brief period at the beginning of the 1943 season, but nevertheless you still saw a big drop in offense. But even with the ball's being somewhat deader than normal after that, the point is that the handful of great pitchers were able to take advantage both of the ball and of the depletion of batting talent.

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

Dag Nabbit,

Interesting point about the age 30 comparison, but that still doesn't address the competition factor. And of course Feller's total would have been MUCH higher if he'd been pitching during the war.

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

Chris,

I'm assuming that we all base our choices on a combination of factors, some purely objective and some subject to varying interpretations.

Obviously I realize that Newhouser is purely a peak value selection. But if you discount the war years then that peak becomes a lot lower, and without that peak being credited to the max, the HoM case for Newhouser pretty much collapses. Those remaining few good to very good years of his, in the context of that short a peak, are purely complementary at best.

Of the eleven pitchers you list, aside from the three ancients, you've got one transcendent pitcher in Koufax, two pitchers who were roughly comparable in Vance and Waddell (but whose numbers were against tougher competition), and five who are IMO like Newhouser, and belong more in the HoVG than in the HoM or the HoF.

Perhaps the underlying argument concerns one's idea of the size of the Hall. Given the guidelines of the HoM, I realize that we're obligated to mirror the HoF in terms of numbers, and I guess that you could include Newhouser by that standard. But I wouldn't put him anywhere near the top of that list, again in great part because of the competition factor.
   36. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: May 12, 2009 at 04:47 AM (#3175413)
Interesting point about the age 30 comparison, but that still doesn't address the competition factor.

For me the clincher was 1946. He won his 20th game in Detroit's 96th game (that's from memory). I do remember looking it up and finding out that NO ONE has won 20 games that fast ever since. Denny McLain was game #100. Not Robin Roberts. Not Steve Carlton. Ceratainly not Bob Welch. Newhouser won 20 of his first 22 starts and was on pace to have 32-33 wins - more than anyone has had in the last 90 years.

Then he faltered. I looked over his career game-by-game at retrosheet's gamelogs (obviously this is imprecise as there are no boxscores for those years, but final scores can serve as an apporximate if blunt instrument). Short version: his arm fatigue began then. He would have really nice spurts over the next two years, but couldn't sustain himself. When he was "on" he looked tremendous - and this was against normal competition, despite his being only 25-27 (just entering his prime).

Look at his pre-war career. He was good enough to throw over 100 IP at age 19. And going by ERA+, he was already league average. At age 20, he was third in the league in K/9IP. That's still before Pearl Harbor. In 1942, he was an All-Star, at age 21, with the fourth best ERA, second best ERA+, and best K/9IP. Which big star hitters were gone? B-ref's list of league leading hitters includes: Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Charlie Keller, Joe Gordon, Johnny Pesky, Vern Stephens, Mickey Vernon, Ken Keltner, Bobby Doerr, Lou Boudreau, Bob Johnson, Tommy Heinrich, Harlond Clift, Dom DiMaggio, Doc Cramer, Wally Judnich, Luke Appling, Wally Moses, Elmer Valo . . . . The only big star missing was Hank Greenberg. Guess what? As Newhouser's teammate, he wouldn't fact him anyway.

So, at age 21, facing talent that was similar to normal, Newhouser was an all-star.

He was good enough to make the majors at an exceptionally young age, good enough to be helpful at that age, good enough to be an all-star at age 21, frickin' brilliant after the war until his arm gave out. And it looks pretty clear to me his collapse was a direct response to how he was used.

Yea, he looks like a legimately great talent, one who would've been great from 1942-45 even if Hitler knew how to paint.

And of course Feller's total would have been MUCH higher if he'd been pitching during the war.

Or his arm would've fallen off completely leaving him with a much lower win total.
   37. OCF Posted: May 12, 2009 at 07:11 AM (#3175508)
(On RA+ versus ERA+)

Do you see the same thing for Dizzy Trout?

Not really. To a slight extent, Trout's RA+ tend to be a little less than his ERA+, but it's not always in the same direction. And in the particular case of 1942, I have Trout at RA+ 124, ERA+ 115.
   38. DL from MN Posted: May 12, 2009 at 01:55 PM (#3175636)
> and five who are IMO like Newhouser, and belong more in the HoVG than in the HoM or the HoF

So you're a small-hall guy. If you found 5 other pitchers who belong as much as Newhouser then you've basically proven he belongs. The HoM has actually _underrepresented_ pitching. I could see you arguing for Dizzy Dean over Newhouser but I can't see how we would bump 6 different pitchers considering we're at least 6 short (Bridges, Cone, Tiant, Shocker, Redding, Reuschel) already.
   39. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 12, 2009 at 03:54 PM (#3175827)
Andy, by your estimation, how much should Newhouser be penalized for the war years? 20%? 50%? 100%?!!!
   40. Mark Donelson Posted: May 12, 2009 at 04:13 PM (#3175862)
Andy, what would Newhouser have had to do in those war years to convince you he was having a "real" peak? And if the league really was SO much worse than the consensus discount over here at the HOM has it, shouldn't the other star players who did remain behind have dominated far more than they really did?

In other words, if Newhouser's war years would have been merely mediocre against normal competition, why, again, didn't Bobby Doerr and Lou Boudreau (or Dutch Leonard or Bobo Newsom or Allie Reynolds, for that matter) just destroy? The remaining stars for the most part did a good deal better than their usual, to be sure, but not the difference you're implying would happen with HOF-caliber players against "bush-league" competition.
   41. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 12, 2009 at 04:40 PM (#3175896)
So you're a small-hall guy. If you found 5 other pitchers who belong as much as Newhouser then you've basically proven he belongs. The HoM has actually _underrepresented_ pitching. I could see you arguing for Dizzy Dean over Newhouser but I can't see how we would bump 6 different pitchers considering we're at least 6 short (Bridges, Cone, Tiant, Shocker, Redding, Reuschel) already.

That's a fair point, and I did acknowledge the HoM guidelines.

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

Two variants of the same question:

Andy, by your estimation, how much should Newhouser be penalized for the war years? 20%? 50%? 100%?!!!

Andy, what would Newhouser have had to do in those war years to convince you he was having a "real" peak?


I don't pretend to the sort of mathematical precision about equivalencies that's often displayed here, but again, I ask you how you would compute the strength of the American League today if an average of 18 players each (none of whom were 4-F's, teenagers or geezers) were removed from the rosters? And of course the relative supply of productive geezers back then wasn't anything like it is now.

What I do is more or less throw those years out, and save them as supplementary evidence to support any case he could make with the rest of his career. And if the rest of his career had put him on the cusp, I'd use them as a tiebreaker. But when I look at the rest of his career, I don't see anything but one Ron Guidry year and three or four good to very good ones. That doesn't put him on the cusp in my book.

Don't get me wrong. I don't question for a second that at his peak, Newhouser demonstrated a HoM-level talent. And again, given the quota factor, you all have pretty much convinced me that he's a legit HoF / HoM choice. But saying that, it only reinforces my preference for a HoF with higher standards than the one we've got now. I'm not a big fan of quota systems when it comes to evaluating baseball careers.
   42. Chris Cobb Posted: May 12, 2009 at 05:11 PM (#3175942)
But saying that, it only reinforces my preference for a HoF with higher standards than the one we've got now. I'm not a big fan of quota systems when it comes to evaluating baseball careers.

You might consider that your two preferences are not related and may even be incompatible. The HoM has higher standards than the Hall of Fame, but the Hall of Fame does not have a quota system. Its inability to maintain a consistent standard, I would suggest, is not unrelated to its inability to maintain a consistent standard, and its inability to maintain a consistent standard is a contributing factor to its have a lower standard than the HoM, while honoring approximately the same number of players.

Using a quota system to select players for the Hall of Merit is a bit like having one for an elected body like the House of Representatives. It's a flawed system, but the alternatives are worse. In practice, having a quota is the best way to ensure that the Hall of Merit has a standard for election that is as close to stable as possible, once errors of judgment on the part of the electorate and disagreements about what constitutes merit in the first place are accounted for. The quota system avoids the irresolvable debate over what the standard is, which would lead some people who believe in a "small Hall" to not vote to elect players that other people who believe in a "large Hall" are voting for, even if the two groups of voters have made identical assessments of the relative merits of the players. By using a rank-ordered ballot and electing the players who get the most support each year, at a fixed rate based on the number of baseball teams, the Hall of Merit at least establishes that the players elected each year are the ones whom the electorate agrees are the best available. Because of perpetual eligibility, the best players available each year should be the best players of all time who have not yet been elected. If newly retired players are easily the best, then they are easily elected. If they are not, then we take the best of the backlog. In any system of awarding honors, the division between the worst person honored and the best person not honored is usually going to be small and to a significant degree arbitrary. A quota system at least gets us closer to being able to say truthfully that everyone who is in is better than everyone eligible is out, and that there is no categorical difference between a HoMer and a non-HoMer, only a qualitative one.
   43. Chris Cobb Posted: May 12, 2009 at 05:13 PM (#3175947)
I should add that The Hall of Merit could have set a higher standard than it did by creating a smaller quota, but as the original intent of the project was comparative, it made sense to begin by matching the size of the Hall of Fame. I wasn't a part of the initial discussions, but I imagine that it would have been even harder to reach the level of agreement necessary to launch the project successfully if there had been a need to debate and decide upon the size of the quota in addition to everything else that had to be decided.
   44. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 12, 2009 at 05:26 PM (#3175960)
Chris, I perfectly understand the reasons for a HoM quota system, and I'm not arguing against them. And given the HoM pitcher quota, you all have convinced me about Newhouser.

And BTW I don't claim any particular consistency when it comes to my own HoF standards, other than to say that they're much more intuitive / impressionistic than my standards for the HoM. IOW there are players I can see in the HoM who IMO are dubious HoF choices, like Newhouser. There are players I'd vote into the HoF whom I'd concede are marginal HoM candidates, like Dean. And that doesn't even get us into the question of the juicers, where my distinction between the two institutions is even clearer.

I guess one of my many bottom lines is that while I admire the rigor with which the HoM discussions delve into the statistical minutiae of each player's career in order to be perfectly "fair," and while in many cases (Blyleven, Raines, Trammell, etc.) I wish that the HoF weren't so blind about non-traditional measurements, on balance I'm glad that these purely statistical criteria aren't the only factors that the HoF voters employ.
   45. JPWF13 Posted: May 12, 2009 at 05:54 PM (#3176021)
In other words, if Newhouser's war years would have been merely mediocre against normal competition, why, again, didn't Bobby Doerr and Lou Boudreau (or Dutch Leonard or Bobo Newsom or Allie Reynolds, for that matter) just destroy? The remaining stars for the most part did a good deal better than their usual, to be sure


The remaining stars for the most part did a good deal better than their usual, to be sure

I think part of what Andy is railing against, and a problem I have, is that many of the Prince Hal contingent seem to be making NO adjustment for Prince Hal- they assert that 1942 and 1946 prove that he was as good as his number in 1944/45.

Well no.

Someone, somewhere has probably figured out reasonably accurately what the "mle" discount for 1944/45 MLB is- I don't know where it is, but my guess (and it's a guess) is that 1944/45's overall mean talent level was akin to AA.

I also suspect it is quite possible that 1946 was not fully back up either, possibly at AAA+1/2 ... but I'm never gonna win that argument.

Sure there were still MLB stars playing in the MLB in 1944/45, and some like Lou Boudreau did not do notably better, but then there were guys like Snuffy

guys have good years and bad years, you have to look at EVERYONE, not just cherrypick the Boudreau's or Stirnweiss's to prove your point, or the BoBo Newsoms and the Borowys

In 1945 Prince Hal had an ERA of 191 in 313 innings
In 1946 Prince Hal had an ERA+ of 188 in 293 innings.

IMHO Hal had a MUCH better year in 1946, in fact I suspect that Hal's 1945 was no better than his 1948 season (272 ip 145 ERA+)
   46. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 12, 2009 at 06:31 PM (#3176094)
I think part of what Andy is railing against, and a problem I have, is that many of the Prince Hal contingent seem to be making NO adjustment for Prince Hal- they assert that 1942 and 1946 prove that he was as good as his number in 1944/45.


Except that this is not correct. I may be wrong, but I don't know of any HoM voter that didn't make some type of discount for Newhouser's war years.
   47. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 12, 2009 at 06:33 PM (#3176097)
I also suspect it is quite possible that 1946 was not fully back up either, possibly at AAA+1/2 ... but I'm never gonna win that argument.


You can win it if you could state some evidence to back up your theory, JPWF13.
   48. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 12, 2009 at 06:36 PM (#3176104)
And given the HoM pitcher quota, you all have convinced me about Newhouser.


We don't have a pitcher quota, Andy. If we had wanted to, we could have elected only a single hurler or voted solely pitchers.
   49. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 12, 2009 at 06:37 PM (#3176105)
IOW there are players I can see in the HoM who IMO are dubious HoF choices, like Newhouser.


Are you aware that Newhouser in the HOF, Andy? Not being snarky - if you have already mentioned that you knew this, I apologize.
   50. JPWF13 Posted: May 12, 2009 at 06:42 PM (#3176115)
I may be wrong, but I don't know of any HoM voter that didn't make some type of discount for Newhouser's war years.


I said, they SEEM to be making no discount:

I have always given Bob Johnson a real ding because his best season was the worst quality year - 1944. He wasn't really that good.

But Newhouser WAS that good.


And that's Newhouser pitching to all the big boys...I think those two years were the actual two best years of his career



Paul, the 'dropoff' after 1946 is inevitable, no? Who pitches like that more than 3 yrs in a row, except unanimous HOM selections or guys with much steeper dropoffs than Hal?
I think Newhouser was as good as it gets, basically, from 1944-46. The 1946 does help validate 1944-45, and an inevitable dropoff - to what, outstanding? - in my mind further validates it
   51. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 12, 2009 at 06:42 PM (#3176117)
I don't pretend to the sort of mathematical precision about equivalencies that's often displayed here, but again, I ask you how you would compute the strength of the American League today if an average of 18 players each (none of whom were 4-F's, teenagers or geezers) were removed from the rosters? And of course the relative supply of productive geezers back then wasn't anything like it is now.


All you need to do is compare the stats of the MLers who played during both the war years and the years right before and after WWII. That's how we have some idea about the relative strength of the competition during 1943-1945 compared to 1941 or 1947.
   52. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 12, 2009 at 06:47 PM (#3176127)
I said, they SEEM to be making no discount:


I don't know why anybody would, since nobody is denying on our side how bad the competition was for 1944-45 and to a lesser extent 1943.

I have always given Bob Johnson a real ding because his best season was the worst quality year - 1944. He wasn't really that good.

But Newhouser WAS that good.



And that's Newhouser pitching to all the big boys...I think those two years were the actual two best years of his career




Paul, the 'dropoff' after 1946 is inevitable, no? Who pitches like that more than 3 yrs in a row, except unanimous HOM selections or guys with much steeper dropoffs than Hal?
I think Newhouser was as good as it gets, basically, from 1944-46. The 1946 does help validate 1944-45, and an inevitable dropoff - to what, outstanding? - in my mind further validates it


I don't think they meant what you're inferring, but they can defend themselves better than I could.
   53. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 12, 2009 at 07:07 PM (#3176154)
IOW there are players I can see in the HoM who IMO are dubious HoF choices, like Newhouser.

Are you aware that Newhouser in the HOF, Andy? Not being snarky - if you have already mentioned that you knew this, I apologize.


Of course I'm aware of that, just as I assume that you're aware that it took the Veterans' Committee to get him in.

Among the writers, Newhouser began with 2.5% of the votes, and after 15 years he ended with 42.8%. That seems about right to me.

I don't pretend to the sort of mathematical precision about equivalencies that's often displayed here, but again, I ask you how you would compute the strength of the American League today if an average of 18 players each (none of whom were 4-F's, teenagers or geezers) were removed from the rosters? And of course the relative supply of productive geezers back then wasn't anything like it is now.

All you need to do is compare the stats of the MLers who played during both the war years and the years right before and after WWII. That's how we have some idea about the relative strength of the competition during 1943-1945 compared to 1941 or 1947.


I'm not sure how much precision you can get out of that, considering that the returning players for the most part hadn't played against Major League competition on more than a part time exhibition basis for 2 to 4 years. And I'd still like to know what you'd say about the caliber of competition if they tried to yank 18 players each off of the AL rosters of today, with special emphasis on the draft aged and healthy, and did the same thing all down through the minor leagues.
   54. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 12, 2009 at 07:28 PM (#3176194)
And I'd still like to know what you'd say about the caliber of competition if they tried to yank 18 players each off of the AL rosters of today, with special emphasis on the draft aged and healthy, and did the same thing all down through the minor leagues.


It would be bad, but I have said numerous times on this thread that the war years (in particular '44-'45) were bad, so I'm not arguing against the notion that there were a lot of crappy players back then. The only difference is that you think almost all of 4F players had one arm and were blind, while I don't ;-)

I'm not sure how much precision you can get out of that, considering that the returning players for the most part hadn't played against Major League competition on more than a part time exhibition basis for 2 to 4 years.


Fine, but we still have their stats before players started leaving for the service in droves to compare to the war years. What you're suggesting has no bearing on those years.
   55. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 12, 2009 at 07:31 PM (#3176199)
Of course I'm aware of that, just as I assume that you're aware that it took the Veterans' Committee to get him in.


I also don't recall that much of a fuss about it either when he finally made it. Hopefully more people understand now that the competition wasn't as woeful as was described for years.
   56. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 12, 2009 at 07:35 PM (#3176203)
Well, since you've more or less convinced me about the HoM, and since the dumbassed Veterans Committee (smile) got teary-eyed and slipped their collective good sense a Mickey and snuck him into the HoF, I guess that I'll retreat to my dungeon and curse the darkness. I've enjoyed the discussion nevertheless, at least as long as you don't try to convince me of Newhouser's superiority over Whitey Ford. (Sweet Fancy Moses to that one.)
   57. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 12, 2009 at 07:39 PM (#3176215)
I also don't recall that much of a fuss about it either when he finally made it. Hopefully more people understand now that the competition wasn't as woeful as was described for years.

People seldom make a fuss about kindly old gentlemen who get honored in their last years on the planet. It's always a nice feelgood story, and who would ever want to be the skunk in the garden party? I don't think that his actual credentials were ever the subject of all that much discussion outside the realm of BTF. But as long as you're willing to accept all those other VC choices who also never got within a mile of being elected during the normal voting process, I'll let you have your point.
   58. OCF Posted: May 12, 2009 at 07:49 PM (#3176241)
Somewhere in the mass of nested quotes is something from me, with the suggestion that maybe I didn't apply any discount. I did discount Newhouser for 44-45 by turning his park factors of about 105 into PF 95 or thereabouts. And that gave me RA+ equivalent records of 23-12 and 25-10, with the latter nearly matching 1946's 24-9. Maybe that's not enough discount. If I set the PF at 85 in 1944 and 80 in 1945, his equivalent record for those two years becomes 21-14 and 23-12, with 1949 (21-12) becoming his third best year after 1946 and 1945. That would push his career equivalent record down to 198-135, which would be marginal (but probably in) for the HoM rather than clearly in. Which is the right amount of discount? I don't know, but that does seem like a lot. As I implied above, I'm not as high on him as some HoM voters, due in part to the mismatch between RA+ and ERA+. But I still had him 13th out of 19.

That he finished as high as he did in our voting reflects the relatively high influence of peak voters in this election. With a slightly different, more career-oriented group of voters, Newhouser, Vance and Ferrell might all have been a little lower and Ruffing and Wynn a little higher. (Of course, if you could build a career out of the younger-than-30 parts of Newhouser or Ferrell, followed by the older-than-30 parts of Vance ...)
   59. Mark Donelson Posted: May 12, 2009 at 08:00 PM (#3176251)
I'm pretty sure that, as John said, everyone discounts the war years, for Newhouser and for everyone else.
   60. Paul Wendt Posted: May 12, 2009 at 08:01 PM (#3176255)
how you would compute the strength of the American League today if an average of 18 players each (none of whom were 4-F's, teenagers or geezers) were removed from the rosters?

After the season was in the books, meaning posted at baseball-reference player pages, we would probably compare good old OPS+ and ERA+, 2008 and 2009 (say), for the players who would remain. In practice most of us would cherry-pick a handful of players :-) but some would take everyone with 502 PA or 162 IP in both seasons (I might), or everyone with 300 PA or 100 IP in both seasons (Brent?). Dick Cramer might take every player weighted by his minimum playing time across the two seasons.
   61. Mike Green Posted: May 12, 2009 at 08:13 PM (#3176275)
OCF, I am pretty sure that you didn't discount 1945 enough. Looking at the ERA+ leaders, and their respective career paths, it looks to be much more than a 10% thing. On the offensive side, there were a couple of players who made the OPS+ top 10 who had the best year of their careers and did not play again in 1946, including the unfortunately named Johnny Dickshot.
   62. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 12, 2009 at 08:40 PM (#3176312)
OCF, I am pretty sure that you didn't discount 1945 enough. Looking at the ERA+ leaders, and their respective career paths, it looks to be much more than a 10% thing. On the offensive side, there were a couple of players who made the OPS+ top 10 who had the best year of their careers and did not play again in 1946, including the unfortunately named Johnny Dickshot.


Some guys will take advantage of the competition more than others. Take expansion years for example - the standard deviation increase is nothing compared to what happened during the war years, but we still got freak seasons such as Norm Cash's 1961.

I don't think that his actual credentials were ever the subject of all that much discussion outside the realm of BTF.


Not true. I can recall stories about his HOF credentials years before the World Wide Web.

But as long as you're willing to accept all those other VC choices who also never got within a mile of being elected during the normal voting process, I'll let you have your point.


Except that wasn't my point. When Rick Ferrell was elected, there was a lot of people saying "huh?" in the non-sabermetric media. That wasn't the case for Newhouser.
   63. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 12, 2009 at 08:50 PM (#3176322)
Oh, Johnny Mize also went into the HOF via the Vets, despite his similar vote pattern compared to Newhouser. Is he also a joke HOFer, Andy?
   64. Paul Wendt Posted: May 12, 2009 at 08:57 PM (#3176329)
61. Mike Green Posted: May 12, 2009 at 04:13 PM (#3176275)
OCF, I am pretty sure that you didn't discount 1945 enough. Looking at the ERA+ leaders, and their respective career paths, it looks to be much more than a 10% thing. On the offensive side, there were a couple of players who made the OPS+ top 10 who had the best year of their careers and did not play again in 1946, including the unfortunately named Johnny Dickshot.

The top tens make biased sample, biased in favor of your stated conclusion. If you will estimate the discount from a sample of ten, use a random sample of qualifiers, not a set defined by absolute or rank score.
   65. Paul Wendt Posted: May 12, 2009 at 09:04 PM (#3176342)
Example: Compare average ERA+ for 1945 and average ERA+ for 1946,
for a random sample of ten who qualify, rather than
for the top ten or for every qualifier who surpasses some threshold ERA+.

This will avoid a primary bias.
There may remain a secondary bias in who qualifies for both seasons(?).
   66. JPWF13 Posted: May 12, 2009 at 09:50 PM (#3176403)
If I set the PF at 85 in 1944 and 80 in 1945, his equivalent record for those two years becomes 21-14 and 23-12, with 1949 (21-12) becoming his third best year after 1946 and 1945. That would push his career equivalent record down to 198-135, which would be marginal (but probably in) for the HoM rather than clearly in. Which is the right amount of discount? I don't know, but that does seem like a lot.


That seems about right to me.

Anyway
Q & D research
49 pitchers had 90+ ip in both 1945 and 1946
those 49 had an average* ERA+ of 115 in 1945 and 108 in 1946 (quite frankly I expected a grater divergence)
I need to look at 1941/42 versus 1943/44/45, etc.
There is also a selection bias- the guys with 90+ ip in 1945 who were bad, or teams knew were bad irrespective of 1945 performance likely did not get 90 ip in 1946...


* "average" being all 49 ERA+s added up and divided by 49.
   67. JPWF13 Posted: May 12, 2009 at 10:07 PM (#3176420)
63 pitchers pitched 120+ ip in 1944/45 and also in 1946/47

Those pitchers lost an average of 14 points

1944/45: Average ERA+ =115
1946/47: Average ERA+ =101

Next I'll look at 1941/42 compared to 1944/45....
I should probably drop my ip requirement, but it's looking good for Prince Hal

he put up a 176+ ERA+ from 1944-45, even if he loses 13-14% (115 to 101), he's still at 155 for those two years...
   68. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: May 12, 2009 at 10:12 PM (#3176423)
There is also a selection bias- the guys with 90+ ip in 1945 who were bad, or teams knew were bad irrespective of 1945 performance likely did not get 90 ip in 1946...

Could you pick a different pair of years with no war considerations (say 1935-36) for comparison and see what happens? Or a few pairs, if it's not an enormous amount of trouble. That would give a sense for how much effect the selection bias has.
   69. JPWF13 Posted: May 12, 2009 at 10:31 PM (#3176436)
Could you pick a different pair of years with no war considerations (say 1935-36) for comparison and see what happens? Or a few pairs, if it's not an enormous amount of trouble.


not right now, maybe tomorrow

I just did 1941/42 vs 1944/45 and...

among the 61 pitchers who threw 75ip in both time periods, the group did better by just 23 ERA+ points in 1944/45 as compared to 1941/42

a couple of guys (just 2-3) who were old of tooth and would probably have retired rather than pitch in 1944/45* might be skewing those results- but not by much, if I remove them the 1944/45 ERA+ only average 4.5 points higher than the 1941/42 scores...

I still have to look into the selection issue a bit more (as well as relative ages- see below), but I'm starting to think that Prince Hals' WWII penalty should be less than I thought (and a hell of a lot less than what Andy evidently thinks).

*whereas guys who should have returned by 1946/47 generally were retired or retiring
   70. Wes Parkers Mood (Mike Green) Posted: May 12, 2009 at 10:31 PM (#3176437)
JPWF,

You'll get Tango started about the ERA+ calculation; it isn't quite as simple as you have it 13-14% reduction=155 ERA+. The other problem is that because the competition was weaker, good starters were able to throw more innings.

Incidentally, the Tigers' shortstop in 43-44 was Joe Hoover. How can you not put a sub-3.00 ERA with that working for you?
   71. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 12, 2009 at 10:32 PM (#3176438)
But as long as you're willing to accept all those other VC choices who also never got within a mile of being elected during the normal voting process, I'll let you have your point.

Oh, Johnny Mize also went into the HOF via the Vets, despite his similar vote pattern compared to Newhouser. Is he also a joke HOFer, Andy?


Note the underlined word. Just because I don't see Newhouser as a legitimate HoFer, it doesn't mean that I either see all VC choices as wrong (certainly I think that Mize is Hallworthy), or that I see Newhouser as the worst choice (he's certainly a better one than Rick Ferrell).

Some guys will take advantage of the competition more than others.

Your own words, and yet the strong possibility that they might apply to Newhouser in 1944-45 even more than to Norm Cash in 1961 doesn't seem to enter into your calculations, even as you note the vast substantive discrepancy between the wartime Depletions vs the expansion Dilution.
   72. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 12, 2009 at 11:01 PM (#3176455)
Your own words, and yet the strong possibility that they might apply to Newhouser in 1944-45 even more than to Norm Cash in 1961 doesn't seem to enter into your calculations,


Uh, because of the season you keep ignoring - '46, which I believe to be his greatest season? Or the 21 year old Prince Hal in '42? How is he comparable to Cash in that regard?

Note the underlined word. Just because I don't see Newhouser as a legitimate HoFer, it doesn't mean that I either see all VC choices as wrong (certainly I think that Mize is Hallworthy), or that I see Newhouser as the worst choice (he's certainly a better one than Rick Ferrell).


No, but you were strongly implying that Newhouser's lack of support by the BBWAA says a lot about his candidacy to you, Andy. Mize, OTOH, was not only a BBWAA mistake, but their most egregious and indefensible one. IOW, the BBWAA is not infallible and you shouldn't necessarily give the results of their voting more weight than they really deserve.
   73. Howie Menckel Posted: May 13, 2009 at 12:40 AM (#3176720)
Flop one 'Ford-basher' vote out with a 'Ford-backer' and Newhouser may finish 10th and defuse a lot of St. Nick's agita, heh.

I think it would be odd to think that since Newhouser pitched and did similarly well in 1944-45 against weaker competition as he did in strong 1946, we have to say that he was such a lesser pitcher for those two years.

He dominated each of those years.
He went 29-9 and 25-9 in 1944-45, finishing 2nd and 1st in ERA+ (by 20).
Then in 1946 he goes 26-9 and leads in ERA+ again (this time by 23).

Yes, the 1946 results are more impressive because he had tougher competition.

But do you think that if there was no war, Newhouser would have been mediocre in 1944-45?

He was 2nd in the AL in ERA+ in 1942, before the war depleted the league (yes, only 183 IP but also only age 21).

Not as good in 1943, but 116 ERA+ doesn't say he's terrible, either.

He either figured something out in 1944-45, or he miraculously was not so good then and somehow got 1000 times better in 1946. I just don't buy the latter.

Good discussion. You took some hits and I think you've handled them well.
   74. Howie Menckel Posted: May 13, 2009 at 12:41 AM (#3176724)
I guess I should add that 1943 is weak given the competition.
But was he hurting? I don't know.
   75. bjhanke Posted: May 13, 2009 at 01:16 AM (#3176818)
St. Nick says (post 41), "What I do is more or less throw those years out, and save them as supplementary evidence to support any case he could make with the rest of his career. And if the rest of his career had put him on the cusp, I'd use them as a tiebreaker."

The amount of frustration in this discussion has surprised me, and so I went over all the posts trying to figure out if there was a hidden issue that hasn't been brought up explicitly yet. I think this quote may unlock one. Nick says he treats 1943-45 as supplemental. The other side says, when they are not discussing how big a discount to apply to 1943-45 as seasons, that, essentially, you can't do that to this particular player because 1943-45 are not supplemental to Newhouser's career. They are instead the middle of his peak. If you take the middle out of any pitcher's peak, he's going to look lousy; you're taking away two of his his best years. This changes the discussion. Instead of looking at how big a discount the entire seasons of 1943-45 should suffer, we're looking instead at the chance that the individual player Hal Newhouser did in fact have his peak right in the middle of the 1940s. My personal opinion is that SOMEBODY should have had his peak then. I mean, it stands to reason that someone should have. And, from the evidence I've seen, the most likely conclusion is that this someone was Hal.

So I end up disagreeing with Nick on this one. On the other hand, he has one very important point that is accurate. No matter whether I think Hal's peak included 43-45 or not, I can't just let the stats ride at face value. What I've always done was to just average 1942 and 1946, and figure that 43-45 ought to look about like that average. This may be generous. 1946 is a tremendous season, and can disorient a 2-year average really fast. Even if 43-45 were all in Hal's peak, that doesn't mean that they were as good as 1946. So next time I think about Hal Newhouser, I think I'll average 1941, 42, 46, and 47. That runs the risk of using non-peak years to compute an average value of peak years, but it also dilutes the effect of the 1946 season, which may have been an outlier in Hal's career.

But in any case, I am of the opinion that Hal Newhouser had his peak between 1942 and 1946, and that therefore none of those seasons can be treated as supplemental. They have to be primary because they are his peak. Sometimes you have to look at the individual player's career path as well as the adjustments for whole league seasons of play. I think that may be the source of the frustration. One side is talking about how lousy the level of competition in 1943-45 was, and that side is correct, as the other side will agree at any time. The other is talking about where those two seasons fit into one player's career path, and they, too are correct, as the first side will agree at any time. The problem comes when the two sides think they are talking about the same thing when they are not. They end up talking past each other, which is a very normal cause of frustration. - Brock
   76. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 13, 2009 at 01:49 AM (#3176944)
Flop one 'Ford-basher' vote out with a 'Ford-backer' and Newhouser may finish 10th and defuse a lot of St. Nick's agita, heh.


The Yankee fan in him could only take so much, I guess, Howie. Of course, it is a fact that Whitey never had a season like Hal's post-war 1946 either. ;-)
   77. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 13, 2009 at 02:10 AM (#3177026)
Of course, it is a fact that Whitey never had a season like Hal's post-war 1946 either. ;-)

Well, if we're going to elect players to the HoM on the basis of one great season against real competition, make way for Looziana Lightning and Jim Rice. I'm sure we'll all agree on those two. (/ducks)
   78. JPWF13 Posted: May 13, 2009 at 02:13 PM (#3177447)
You'll get Tango started about the ERA+ calculation; it isn't quite as simple as you have it 13-14% reduction=155 ERA+.


of course it isn't that simple, but really close enough is good enough insofar as horseshoes, hand grenades, and figuring out a WW II discount are concerned.

I have no interest in refining something down to the 5th decimal point.

Specifically with Prince Hal I was interested in roughly figuring out how we should regard his 620 ip of 176 ERA+ work in 1944/45, not a comprehensive study of the entire era.


What we have in 1944/45 is a weaker league and a lower offensive context- both factors enable a pitcher to throw more innings. How much weaker is the question I was trying to grasp.

Looking at a single pitcher like Borowy might make you think that Hal's ERA+ should be discounted some 50 points, dropping his 1944/45 into a 125 range- and obviously you'd have to chop 30+ IP each year and.. suddenly his wondrous 3 year peak looks radically different (and Andy would look right and the HOM wrong).
However, looking at large numbers of pitchers indicates that the discount should be no where near that-
and that's what I wanted to know about Prince Hal.
   79. DL from MN Posted: May 13, 2009 at 03:35 PM (#3177615)
Throwing those large amounts of innings to pursue war-time pennants may have cost him a chance in 1947-1950. I hesitate adjusting innings downward unless you want to adjust later innings upward.
   80. Mike Green Posted: May 13, 2009 at 03:43 PM (#3177633)
One more thing. OCF's PF adjustment of roughly 10% is approximately equivalent to an overall adjustment of 5%. I am almost positive that this is not enough.

Bjhanke's solution appeals to me. I would probably modify it by using an average of Newhouser's 41-42 seasons as his pre- level of performance and 46 as his post-, and then interpolate between the two. Newhouser has a fairly common pitcher development history- leading the league in K rate at age 21 in 1942, but with poor control, and then finding control and becoming a dominant pitcher. It is pretty clear that he found control in 1944. It didn't hurt that the competition was weak then, but on the other hand, he didn't find control in 1943.

There is also a bit of a philosophical conundrum. Newhouser essentially pitched in triple A ball at his peak because there was no other game in town. He put in a lot of innings against inferior competition, and this might very well have contributed to his arm problems later on. I can see why the Hall of Merit summoned him, but the ranking against the other members in Group 3 does seem high.
   81. OCF Posted: May 13, 2009 at 04:11 PM (#3177676)
One more thing. OCF's PF adjustment of roughly 10% is approximately equivalent to an overall adjustment of 5%.

No, they way I do it, it's 10%.
   82. JPWF13 Posted: May 13, 2009 at 04:41 PM (#3177745)
Bjhanke's solution appeals to me.


I don't like his "solution" because Hal actually pitched those years, his solution is what I'd use to given someone WWII credit when they didn't actually play those years due to the war.
   83. JPWF13 Posted: May 13, 2009 at 04:46 PM (#3177758)
Throwing those large amounts of innings to pursue war-time pennants may have cost him a chance in 1947-1950. I hesitate adjusting innings downward unless you want to adjust later innings upward.


possible...

a lot of this stuff is not just unknown, but unknowable.

Example: Feller?
Does he get Wartime credit or not? (not that he needs it to get in, but where do you rank him?)

There was a thread a year ago arguing this very point, I believe he shouldn't get wartime credit because frankly I believe without the enforced sabbatical from 300+ ip seasons, he was toast... that he likely pitched more effective innings after 1941 than he would had he pitched in 1942-1945. Others strenuously argued against that idea.

Who was right? We will never know for sure.
   84. bjhanke Posted: May 13, 2009 at 05:00 PM (#3177777)
JPWF13 says, "I don't like his "solution" because Hal actually pitched those years, his solution is what I'd use to given someone WWII credit when they didn't actually play those years due to the war."

You have in fact identified exactly why I use the method, which in fact, as you realized, is how I approach war credit in years where the player did not play. My reasoning is that, since we have a large but unknown discount, the easiest way to avoid misranking Hal's actual seasons in 43-45 is to estimate what I would have estimated had Hal not played at all. the only difference between dealing with Hal and dealing with a player who did not actually play is that I keep Hal's actual IP. The revised ERA+ comes from the averaging of 42 and 46.

I call this sort of approach "organic stats." Instead of trying to figure out a league discount for those years and then using that evenly for each player, I use an organic discount for each player by doing the averaging. The attempt is to not only get the league discount en passant, but to adjust, also en passant, for any differences the player in question has from a normal player discount. I do that by using the player's own stats to estimate the lost stats in the middle. This bypasses all the arguments about whether I have the league discount right and also any arguments about whether I've taken the player's own idiosyncracies into account. My method at least attempts to do both en passant, with one calculation. And it fits with what I was taught in engineering school, which was to use the simplest method that actually applied to a problem. Why work extra hard for little or no extra precision?

- Brock
   85. DL from MN Posted: May 13, 2009 at 05:13 PM (#3177790)
The problem is if those were Newhouser's _best_ seasons then you've discounted the prime of his career. I use Dan R's standard deviation adjusted numbers and basically call it quits. They put Newhouser 12th on my ballot. Maybe Bullet Rogan was better but he's got issues of his own.

I'd like to see Newhouser and Vance swapped. Vance had the big peak against strong competition. If you made that switch and swapped Pierce for Lemon you'd essentially have my ballot.
   86. JPWF13 Posted: May 13, 2009 at 06:28 PM (#3177941)
The revised ERA+ comes from the averaging of 42 and 46.


But, it looks to me that 1942 and 1946 were likely outliers in his career-
161 and 188?
If you average those together- you get a better ERA+ for 1943-45 than what Hal actually did against a weak league.*

My personal opinion is that SOMEBODY should have had his peak then. I mean, it stands to reason that someone should have. And, from the evidence I've seen, the most likely conclusion is that this someone was Hal.


I have somewhat the opposite conclusion, we know it's not Hal because he actually pitched those years, and the league in 1944/45 was weaker than 1946- even if not as weak as I originally thought.

I think his peak was 1944-48 (or even 1944-49), with 1946 being an outlier

I'd rank his seasons:
1946
big gap
1945
1948

1944)
....) almost a tie
1947)

1942 (too few innings)


* and the result would be to effectively give no discount and take his war numbers at face value, which another poster said no HOM voter did.
   87. JPWF13 Posted: May 13, 2009 at 06:34 PM (#3177952)
EDIT :-)

I noticed that Brock actually voted Newhouser 13th and mentioned discounting his war years on the actual election thread... so I'm quite puzzled about post 75 and 84, did you change your mind about how to evaluate Hal after voting or am I missing something?
   88. Paul Wendt Posted: May 14, 2009 at 12:18 AM (#3178521)
Brock,
I agree with the criticisms by both DL and JPWF in #85 and #86. ...

What I've always done was to just average 1942 and 1946, and figure that 43-45 ought to look about like that average. This may be generous. 1946 is a tremendous season, and can disorient a 2-year average really fast. Even if 43-45 were all in Hal's peak, that doesn't mean that they were as good as 1946. So next time I think about Hal Newhouser, I think I'll average 1941, 42, 46, and 47.

... Newhouser, Rizzuto, Slaughter.
Are you sure you haven't already used the broader basis for interpolation? As for JPWF #87 it is surprising to me that you may have assigned to Newhouser the average of 1942 and 1946 for three seasons 1943-45 and ranked him only 13. Maybe you included a subjective adjustment for not quite believing your own adjustment.
   89. sunnyday2 Posted: May 14, 2009 at 01:58 AM (#3178611)
Lemon and Ferrell both have a peak, Pierce doesn't. The higher ratings of Lemon and Ferrell were by peak voters.


Well, you got me there.

16. Ferrell.
17. Lemon.
18. Pierce. Some good years but, hey, Doc Gooden had better. Ferrell 193-128, 117 in 2623 IP. Lemon 207-128, 119 in 2850. Pierce 211-169, 119 in 3306. Gooden 194-112, 110 in 2800. OK, 110 is not 117 or 119 but, seriously, I don't see a huge gap there.

19. Wynn. One trade away from being Hugh Mulcah
   90. sunnyday2 Posted: May 14, 2009 at 02:02 AM (#3178614)
And if Newhouser is underrated, what does that make Robin Roberts?
   91. bjhanke Posted: May 15, 2009 at 08:54 AM (#3180094)
Paul asks, referencing others, "Are you sure you haven't already used the broader basis for interpolation? As for JPWF #87 it is surprising to me that you may have assigned to Newhouser the average of 1942 and 1946 for three seasons 1943-45 and ranked him only 13. Maybe you included a subjective adjustment for not quite believing your own adjustment."

I went back and looked at my charts and notes. What I did was average 1942 and 1946. Then I noticed that this made only a very small adjustment to 44-45 (as a duo), and actually raised 43 quite a bit, which was obviously wrong. So I used the 1943 actual and adjusted 44-45, which produced a career ERA+ of 128-129. I went with the 128, probably (according to one small note) because I thought that 1943 should take some hit down from the actual. If I had actually used the 42/46 average to adjust 1943 upwards, Hal would indeed have ranked higher. So, yes, you did see something there, which is normal for you. Thanks for pointing it out; I had forgotten that I dropped 43 out of the adjustment. I admit that I could see an argument for adjusting 45 only because adjusting the duo results in raising 44, but I thought that only 43 was egregious.

As for ballot placement, if you look at the guys surrounding Hal, I think it may make sense. Above him, I have 2 guys (Ruffing and Brown) with huge IP totals compared to Hal's, but with lower ERA+. I went with the IP. Right below Hal, I have a couple of guys (Lemon and Vance) with similar IP but lower ERA+. I have Lemon ahead of Vance on the basis of hitting, but both of them below Hal on the basis of ERA+. The odd thing to me is that I did three versions of the ballot, and Hal did not move. He was 12th in the prelim, 13 in the middle and 13 at the end. Other guys moved around a lot, but Hal seems to have been an anchor. I apparently moved people around relative to him, but I didn't move him around much. I didn't notice that while I was actually doing it but the three lists make it obvious.

Thanks for asking. It's always good to look at a ballot a bit after you submit it. Gives you distance and perspective.

- Brock
   92. DL from MN Posted: May 15, 2009 at 01:52 PM (#3180216)
> Vance with similar IP but lower ERA+.

It's really close between Vance and Newhouser if you just look at IP and ERA+, especially if you adjust for competition. Using Dan R's standard deviation adjusted numbers though the gap widens considerably:

Pitcher PWAA BWAA WAR
Newhouser 33.5 -8.9 63
Vance 43 -7 65.4

This shows Vance with more value above replacement and much more above average (stronger peak). Those numbers lop off the negative tails but _don't_ discount Newhouser's 43-45.
   93. sunnyday2 Posted: May 15, 2009 at 02:28 PM (#3180258)
Discussion of WWII credit is a good thing. The main achievements of the HoM are 1) the development of systems for considering the NeL players and ML players in the same set, and 2) equalizing the scale for players who were called on to do totally unusual things like fight a war.

Still I agree with whoever said that the whole Newhouser thing is a tempest in a teapot if we just agree that Newhouser over Ford is completely silly. What's with the backlash against Whitey? But otherwise, how much lower should Prince Hal really be? Swap the two and there's probably not much controversy.
   94. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 15, 2009 at 03:04 PM (#3180302)
Still I agree with whoever said that the whole Newhouser thing is a tempest in a teapot if we just agree that Newhouser over Ford is completely silly. What's with the backlash against Whitey?

Two semi-snarky reasons I can think of. First, an anti-MSM judgment bias, since you wouldn't find one writer from the 40's through the 60's who would consider Newhouser anywhere near Ford in terms of overall value. And then this sometimes dovetails with an anti-Yankee bias, which is in reaction to the tendency of the MSM to overhype Yankee players beyond their true worth.

More objectively, Ford had plenty of terrific defensive support, pitched in a ballpark that was favorable to lefthanders, and of course as a Yankee had plenty of run support. IOW his conditions were uniformly favorable, and so all the statistical adjustments go in a negative direction. He also got to pitch (and he pitched very well) in 10 World Series, which doesn't seem to enter into too many equations here, because it seems almost unfair to given him much credit for that when only Yankee pitchers got that sort of opportunity.

And then there may even be a piece of the anti-Sutton and anti-Blyleven argument: He only won 20 games twice.

Those seem to be the reasons, but how they can all add up to put him below Hal Newhouser just seems to be a combination of overanalysis and contrarism run amok. It kind of fits in with the "everything you think you know about baseball is wrong" kind of posture, taken to a ridiculous extreme.
   95. OCF Posted: May 15, 2009 at 03:24 PM (#3180328)
It's also true that this particular election, with just 19 voters, was perhaps a bit of a small sample. 8 out of 19 voters put Ford ahead of Newhouser and 11 put Newhouser ahead of Ford. One oddity is the timing of the votes. Six of the first seven voters had Ford ahead of Newhouser; the last seven all had Newhouser ahead. (I was the seventh to vote and had Ford 9th, Newhouser 13th.)

If we had stopped the election after the first 7 voters, the order would have been:

Grove, Spahn, Paige, Feller, Hubbell, Roberts, Ford, Brown, Dihigo, Newhouser, Lyons, Vance, Rogan, Ruffing, Foster, Wynn, Ferrell, Pierce, Lemon.

If we had lost the first 7 ballots and counted only the last 12, the order would have been:

Grove, Spahn, Paige, Feller, Hubbell, Roberts, Dihigo, Newhouser, Brown, Rogan, Ford, Vance, Lyons, Foster, Ferrell, Ruffing, Wynn, Lemon, Pierce.

So the earlier voters were more career friendly and less disposed to vote for Negro Leaguers, while later voters were more peak friendly and more disposed to vote for Negro Leaguers. For evidence regarding peak versus career, see, Ruffing and Wynn moving oppositely to Newhouser and Ferrell. Not shown in what I just said but part of the same picture is that Spahn was a lot closer to unanimous second with the earlier voters.
   96. bjhanke Posted: May 15, 2009 at 03:36 PM (#3180351)
DL says, "It's really close between Vance and Newhouser if you just look at IP and ERA+, especially if you adjust for competition. Using Dan R's standard deviation adjusted numbers though the gap widens considerably:"

This may be true. I don't have any numbers I really trust on league and era adjustments. My notes indicate that in both Lemon and Vance's case, they started out below Hal on the basis of raw IP and ERA+, where Hal has more of both than either of the other two. When I did adjustments, I had Lemon down for pitching in the 1950s AL and Vance for pitching in the 1920s and 30s NL, which is, I believe, the weaker league at the time. Newhouser only pitched the tail of his career in the 1950s AL. This kept the war adjustment for Hal from dropping him below either of the other two. I could be wrong about the magnitude of the league adjustments, but as I said, I've never seen any numbers that I am sure I trust. Dan's are the best I've ever seen, but I haven't had time to fully decide whether I trust them enough to use them mechanically. I mean it's a complicated set of formulas, and a long discussion thread to sort out. Right now, they're interesting but not overpowering to me. I don't use anyone else's estimates at all, making my best guess, really, so my adjustments probably tend to be conservative.

Just checking about Ford, whom I did rank ahead of Newhouser, I see that he started at #5 on my list, and dropped down to #10. But still, I agree with the Ford supporters on this one. I took every deduction I could imagine - the most I've ever applied to anyone - and Whitey still didn't get below Hal. Since I emotionally dislike Whitey because he was a 1950s Yankee, I'm sure I have no Yankee or Ford bias. I did not obsess over the lack of 20-win seasons because I think that his managers, at least Stengel, realized that pitching in the WS every year counts against workload, so you'd better keep your starters low during the regular season or blow their arms out.

- Brock
   97. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 15, 2009 at 06:16 PM (#3180580)
Those seem to be the reasons, but how they can all add up to put him below Hal Newhouser just seems to be a combination of overanalysis and contrarism run amok. It kind of fits in with the "everything you think you know about baseball is wrong" kind of posture, taken to a ridiculous extreme.


Sigh.

This is the kind of condescending crap that makes me want to smash my fist through my monitor.
   98. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 15, 2009 at 08:09 PM (#3180773)
Still I agree with whoever said that the whole Newhouser thing is a tempest in a teapot if we just agree that Newhouser over Ford is completely silly. What's with the backlash against Whitey?


Two semi-snarky reasons I can think of. First, an anti-MSM judgment bias, since you wouldn't find one writer from the 40's through the 60's who would consider Newhouser anywhere near Ford in terms of overall value. And then this sometimes dovetails with an anti-Yankee bias, which is in reaction to the tendency of the MSM to overhype Yankee players beyond their true worth.

More objectively, Ford had plenty of terrific defensive support, pitched in a ballpark that was favorable to lefthanders, and of course as a Yankee had plenty of run support. IOW his conditions were uniformly favorable, and so all the statistical adjustments go in a negative direction. He also got to pitch (and he pitched very well) in 10 World Series, which doesn't seem to enter into too many equations here, because it seems almost unfair to given him much credit for that when only Yankee pitchers got that sort of opportunity.

Those seem to be the reasons, but how they can all add up to put him below Hal Newhouser just seems to be a combination of overanalysis and contrarism run amok. It kind of fits in with the "everything you think you know about baseball is wrong" kind of posture, taken to a ridiculous extreme.


Sigh.

This is the kind of condescending crap that makes me want to smash my fist through my monitor.


Just don't do it until that health insurance bill gets passed....

Seriously, though, you surely know what I meant by that. On the one hand you've got a pitcher with a 16 year career that added up to a 236-106 W-L record, a 2.75 ERA, a stellar postseason record, and was the Ace of the staff for the most part of it. You've got to do a hell of a lot of discounting to get around that, and slip him below a pitcher like Newhouser, whose main claim to fame was in great part accomplished against 4-F's, whose peak wasn't as long, whose career ERA+ wasn't as high, whose WHIP was higher, and whose record including those wartime years still featured 29 fewer wins and 44 more losses than Ford.

And BTW while Newhouser wasn't playing for the Yankees, during his brief prime (1942-1950) the Tigers finished 5-5-2-1-2-2-5-4-2, and 2-1-2 in 1944-45-46. During that stretch he pitched on one losing team. We're not talking about Ned Garver in 1951 or Steve Carlton in 1972, or even Gaylord Perry. It's more like Don Sutton in terms of the teams he played for.

Yet against the opinion of just about every contemporary observer and every mainstream writer, you're blithely telling us to ignore all that, and that Newhouser was the better of the two.

Well, if that doesn't essentially amount to a stance of "everything you think you know about baseball is wrong," I'd like to know what it is. You can call it "condescending" to label it that, but I'd like to know why I'm wrong to say it. And I might add that you should have noted that I gave an honest summary of the objective reasons for the Ford discount before I wrote the "everything you know" remark.
   99. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 15, 2009 at 08:13 PM (#3180781)

Seriously, though, you surely know what I meant by that.


Yes, that debating you is not worth my time anymore. You can have the last snarky word now.
   100. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: May 15, 2009 at 08:26 PM (#3180799)
Too bad you're so sensitive. It's the interesting discussions like this that will keep the HOM relevant.
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