Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Hall of Merit > Discussion
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
  Related News:

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

Page 2 of 2 pages  < 1 2
   101. JPWF13 Posted: May 15, 2009 at 08:26 PM (#3180800)
Yes, that debating you is not worth my time anymore. You can have the last snarky word now.


and the great (and unexpecetd) Prince Hal Newhouser debate of 2009 comes to a close.
   102. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 15, 2009 at 08:31 PM (#3180803)
John, you convinced me about Newhouser and the HoM, and I laid out the case against Ford as best I could while strongly disagreeing with your conclusion that he was below Newhouser. How many Primates here do you see doing that?

You're free to walk away, but you're just going out of your way to take offense where no offense was intended. I'm not trying to play Nieporent v Gilligan here, and you certainly know after all these years that I've always respected your opinions.
   103. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 15, 2009 at 08:33 PM (#3180806)
Too bad you're so sensitive. It's the interesting discussions like this that will keep the HOM relevant.


If anybody else wants to debate the issue in an honest manner, I'm willing to do so here. I'm just calling it quits with Andy, since he's going to ignore whatever counters his worldview on this subject regardless.

BTW, do you have something relevant to add to this discussion?
   104. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 15, 2009 at 08:44 PM (#3180820)
If anybody else wants to debate the issue in an honest manner, I'm willing to do so here. I'm just calling it quits with Andy, since he's going to ignore whatever counters his worldview on this subject regardless.

Yes, I ignored it so much that I changed my mind about Newhouser's HoM credentials, largely due to your art of persuasion.
   105. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: May 15, 2009 at 11:30 PM (#3180942)
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.

One of the great surprises of studying pitcher run support: Hal Newhouser had terrible run support in his career.

His RSI was 95.78. That ain't Don Sutton, who was at 103.94. That's Tom Seaver, who was at 95.71. The only HoF starting pitchers w/ RSIs lower than Hewhouser were Seaver, Eckersley (95.64 - and he's mostly in as a reliever anyhow), Gaylord Perry (95.32), Eppa Rixey (95.31), Nolan Ryan (95.11), Rube Waddell (94.83), Ted Lyons (94.51), and Dazzy Vance (90.47).

Newhouser's RSIs year-by-year with 10+ starts:

1940 87
1941 109
1942 64
1943 79
1944 115
1945 106
1946 103
1947 86
1948 85
1949 106
1950 85
1951 113
1952 102

I assumed he'd have good run support: Detroit had some good teams and almost always had good hitting. But there you go.

FWIW, Whitey Ford had a career RSI of 112.77.

I've never studied the 2 that closely, but I'd give an edge to Ford. Thought I'd mention that though since the comparison seems to be made based on my glossings-over of this thread.

Oh, going by AOWP+ (which rates how pitchers were leveraged) here are the career marks for Ford and Newhouser

Newhouser 101.96
Ford 101.28

Again, I find that surprising, as Ford was known for being spot-started by Stengel. But that was only half his career, and Ralph Houk never spot started him, driving down his score. Newhouser was rarely (if ever) outstandingly leveraged in any given season, but he was consistently leveraged across the prime of his career. That 101.96 puts him among the top 45 all-time amont SP with at least 150 GS.
   106. Chris Cobb Posted: May 16, 2009 at 12:19 AM (#3180981)
Re Newhouser vs. Ford

Three points

1) JOSN's rhetoric is hyperbolic and irritating, especially in its steady attribution of motives and attitudes to his opponents, so he has little basis for taking the high ground when somebody gets irritated with his ad hominem remarks.

With that out of the way

2) Newhouser and Ford are not so far apart as all that, even by traditional stats, especially if one looks at peak:

First, career
Newhouser, 207-150, 130 ERA+, in 2993 IP
Ford, 236-106, 133 ERA+, in 3170.3 IP

How one distinguishes between them here depends on what adjustments one makes. Newhouser takes a hit for playing during the war. Ford might get war credit, but may take hits for a) excellent fielding support (which boosts ERA+), excellent offensive support (a big help for W-L), and for playing his career in a weaker league.

Now, let's look at consecutive peak. I usually focus on five year intervals, but Ford never put together his best work over five consecutive seasons, so let's look at 7 consecutive.

First, a description of Ford's. From 1958 to 1964, Ford led the league once in ERA+ with 176 (1958), with a second best ERA+ of 170 (1964). He led the league in IP twice and wins twice (1961 & 1963).

Now a description of Newhouser's. From 1944-50, Newhouser led the league twice in ERA+ with 195 (1945) and 188 (1946). He led the league in IP once (1945) and in wins four times (1944-46 and 1948).

Ford's overall record was 125-51 with a 133 ERA+ in 1670.7 IP.
Newhouser's overall record was 151-80 with a 145 ERA+ in 1981.3 IP

But that includes 1944-45. So let's discount those two seasons by 10% each, dropping Newhouser's innings by 10% while keeping his runs allowed constant.
Newhouser with discount, 141 ERA+ in 1920 IP.

That's _still_ a lot better than Ford, isn't it? How far would one have to discount the war years to drop Newhouser into line with Ford's seven best seasons?

To match Ford in IP, you'd have to cut those seasons in half, from 625.7 IP to 315.3. To match Ford in ERA+, with the reduced innings in place, you would have to drop his ERA+ in 1944 from 161 to 122, raising his ERA by 30% and drop his ERA+ in 1945 from 195 to 165, raising his ERA by 20%.

Let me sum up the results of this analysis. To get Newhouser's best 7 consecutive years to be no better than Ford's, one would need to apply a discount of about 50% to his IP and raise his ERA by about 25%. Those ERA+ discounts are within the realm of the possible, though I think they would be too steep. But the IP discounts are not within the realm of the imaginable: they are at least twice as large as they could possibly be.

I conclude from this line of analysis that Newhouser, even with very significant discounts of 25% to ERA+ and IP for his 1944-45, still would have a better peak than Whitey Ford. He was at least as effective and more durable. Ford's limitation as a pitcher was that he never combined his top effectiveness with his top IP: to add the innings, he gave up some effectiveness. Newhouser put them together. He blew out his arm doing so, but during his peak he was a pitcher who could carry a team, and even after his effectiveness began to decline, he still threw 280-290 IP seasons with higher effectiveness than Ford did when he threw similar numbers of innings (in longer seasons). Therefore, anyone who is a peak voter or who weights peak heavily would be amply justified on the basis of IP and ERA+ during prime seasons to prefer Newhouser to Ford.

Is that the best way to assess their merits? That's a question that can be debated. The career voter will obviously note that Ford was just as effective over his whole career as he was over his peak, while Newhouser was significantly less effective outside his peak. But the peak position on Newhouser is _not_ a position that's based on ignoring pretty basic pitching statistics, or that is incompatible with a significant discount to Newhouser's big seasons in 1944-45. Myself, I discount both seasons about 10% on durability and effectiveness, and I see Newhouser's peak as far superior to Ford's, enough to outweigh Ford's career advantages.

But I did have a third point:

3) There are publicly available statistical measures that are widely relied upon by members of the HoM electorate that attempt to adjust for fielding support and league strength in assessing pitchers, and those compare Newhouser very favorably to Ford. I refer to WARP3. Here's how Ford's and Newhouser's career lines look in the current instantiation of WARP3.

Newhouser -- 2979.3 XIP, 3.79 DERA, 119 DERA+, 79.3 WARP3
Ford -- 3092.3 XIP, 4.21 DERA, 107 DERA+, 60.8 WARP3

I'm not saying I agree with these numbers, but they are there, and voters have some good reasons for using them, and they give Newhouser a big advantage.

Does my analysis show that the electorate was definitely correct to rate Newhouser ahead of Ford? I wouldn't say that it does. I have Newhouser _slightly_ ahead of Ford in my rankings. I would say that it does show that they are close enough that it's not an easy call, if one acknowledges the possibility that others who hold a different view of the basis of merit or who put their trust in one or another statistical system could readily reach differing conclusions about the relative merits of these two pitchers, and no simple argument is going to definitively place one above the other in merit.
   107. Mike Emeigh Posted: May 16, 2009 at 12:57 AM (#3181005)
And of course Feller's total would have been MUCH higher if he'd been pitching during the war.


IMO, Feller would have broken down as Newhouser did if he'd been pitching during the war, and his totals would NOT have been much (if any) higher.

Feller had an across the board decline in 1941, losing ground in every major statistical category after throwing over 300 innings at age 21. After the war, he threw 371 1/3 innings in 1946 at age 27, his first full year back, at an ERA+ of 153. He started showing signs of losing it the very next year - his strikeout rate dropped from 8.4/9 to 5.9/9 - and the ERA+ skidded as well. By 1949 he was starting to miss time, and wasn't nearly as effective when he could pitch. I really think Feller would have broken down fairly rapidly had he carried a 300+ inning load for three or four straight seasons during the war.

-- MWE
   108. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 16, 2009 at 01:21 AM (#3181014)
Chris, if I matched my condescension against the condescension that's often directed at non-sabermetric analysis on this site, I'd be KO'd in the first round. And please show me one post where I've directed ad hominem attacks against anyone here. I've always addressed both John and the HoM with respect, and I have no idea what caused his reaction in this case.

With that out of the way, you've made as good as case as can be made for Newhouser. (And to that I'd add Dag Nabbit's point about run support.) But though I've said it more than enough times, I'll repeat it again: The difference between the wartime AL and normal peacetime seasons was a hell of a lot more than 10%. I won't even begin to quantify it, because I'll be the first to admit that this is neither my interest nor my expertise. But when you strip a league of the great majority of its stars, and can't replace them with the top minor league talent, no mathematical formula on Earth is ever going to convince me that there's only a 10% discount to be taken into consideration.

You also have to realize that while Newhouser spent three years pitching against 4-F's, Ford had a brief but sterling minor league career, came up as a 21 year old and set the AL on fire in the middle of one its historically great offensive seasons, and put up an ERA that was nearly half a run below the league leader. He then got stuck in the Army for the next two years and came back as strong as ever. Give him a mere 25 wins for those two missing years and that changes his total considerably. Give him two years of pitching against 4-F's and he might well have won a few more than that. (A fun bit of trivia is that Ford didn't lose his first game as a starter until nearly a year after he first came up.)

Beyond that, I can see why you concentrate on peak, and there's no question that Newhouser was a workhorse in a way that Ford wasn't over seven consecutive seasons. But as you tacitly admit, there was more to Ford's career than any seven consecutive seasons! Way more than enough to make up for any difference in those seven seasons.

Chris, the truth is that this is really more of a theological dispute than anything else. You and John have a belief that wartime baseball wasn't nearly as bad as traditional accounts have made it out to be, and if you hold to that belief, then I can easily see how Newhouser looks like a veritable God. I hold to the more traditional view that wartime baseball was little more than a patchwork pastiche of broken down and underaged parts that collectively bore little or no resemblance to the real thing, any more than an old-time barnstorming team with a couple of stars and a lineup of scrubs could really be called "Major League" in the usual sense of the word.

And when we start from such radically different assumptions, is it any wonder that we're never going to agree on the conclusion?

Look, I've said that Newhouser was a great talent, and for all I know, if World War II had never happened, he might well have still towered over the real thing as he did in 1946. I've granted his HoM case. And if we were merely talking about seven year comparisons you'd have a very good case that he was better than Ford. But I wasn't aware that a comparative argument should be resricted to a pitcher's best seven consecutive years. Why should this be the case?

The cold fact is that Newhouser wasn't facing real Major League competition for three entire years out of those seven, and I don't think that it's unreasonable to discount those three years more than 10%, or even 30% or 40%. Again, strip today's Majors and minors of nearly all of its best prime age talent, and what would you have? Would you really only apply a 10% discount to what was left? I honestly can't believe that anyone would hold to that position on the basis of some sort of mathematical calculation. It's just absurd on the face of it.

If this comes across as snarky or condescending, I apologize. But nobody here should be taking any of this stuff personally. It's just baseball.
   109. Chris Cobb Posted: May 16, 2009 at 03:51 AM (#3181208)
First, the meta-analysis, then back to baseball:

But nobody here should be taking any of this stuff personally. It's just baseball.

Different folks here take things personally for a variety of reasons that aren't related to the subject matter. If a person is serious about getting it right or about certain standards of personal integrity in discussion, that person may take offense at the way a conversation is conducted regardless of the subject matter under discussion. Other folks view debate over a light subject as all in good fun and cut loose in ways that they might not in a context that was more serious. I think you and John in particular have quite different standards here, which is a source of friction.

And please show me one post where I've directed ad hominem attacks against anyone here. I've always addressed both John and the HoM with respect, and I have no idea what caused his reaction in this case.

I was probably wrong to describe your comments as ad hominem as such, so I retract that criticism. What I would try to point out more precisely is that when you make a comment like “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,” you are ascribing attitudes and motives to the group who holds an opinion different from yours, so any individual who is a part of that group might well take that ascription personally and take offense at it. That is, you have not attacked anyone personally, but you have made a statement that can be easily be felt by someone else as a personal attack. At least, that’s how I interpret the way the exchange between you and John has proceeded.

Now for baseball:

The cold fact is that Newhouser wasn't facing real Major League competition for three entire years out of those seven, and I don't think that it's unreasonable to discount those three years more than 10%, or even 30% or 40%.

First, unless you are indicating that 1946 was not real major-league competition, then only two of Newhouser’s prime seasons were included in my peak calculation, which covered 1944-50.

Second, the reason why a 30-40% discount would be unreasonable is that it wouldn’t fit the career shapes of the players who did play through the war. As I said a while back, the question is not just what the players facing Newhouser were like. That would be a factor in the IP that he and other top starters would be able to put up. It’s also a matter of who those top starters were. And there were a number of very good pitchers left in the American league all through the war: Dutch Leonard, Bobo Newsom, Dizzy Trout, Allie Reynolds. They’re not Bob Feller, but they’re not scrubs. Look at their records, and see whether 30% to 40% discounts applied to their 1944-45 seasons fit into their career shapes. It’s possible to suggest a discount of that magnitude when looking at Newhouser because he blew away the rest of the field, especially in 1945. These other guys all had good years, some of which were clearly as good a season as they ever had, but no one else in 1945 was doing anything close to what Newhouser did, and these were good pitchers having good seasons. Trout did it in 1944, yes, but he fell back to earth in 1945. Your argument that a 40% discount would be reasonable would lead to the conclusion that Hal Newhouser was a pretty good pitcher in 1945, and everybody else, including some long career pitchers who were very good before the war and after the war, were not any good at all. I don’t believe that is a reasonable conclusion. I am willing to say that a discount as high as 20% could probably be justified by the evidence, but 30% to 40% cannot be justified.

Chris, the truth is that this is really more of a theological dispute than anything else. You and John have a belief that wartime baseball wasn't nearly as bad as traditional accounts have made it out to be, and if you hold to that belief, then I can easily see how Newhouser looks like a veritable God

This is the sort of statement that gives offense to John, and I certainly reject it as applicable to myself. I have no “theological” beliefs about the quality of baseball in the war years. I have looked at a lot of data a lot of times, including, just this evening, the careers of all of the pitchers who were top 10 in IP, wins, and ERA+ in the AL in 1945. I’ve studied issues of competition levels and their effects on star players in dealing with the AA of the 1880s, the Negro Leagues, and the AL/NL competitive disparity of the 1950s and 1960s, as well as the effects of World War II. I have studied the competition assessments of Clay Davenport’s WARP system. I base my conclusions on my assessment of the data. I have assessed this data for the purposes of ranking a bunch of players, in whom I have no particular investment except that they be fairly evaluated on their merits. I try not to make assertions about competition quality without backing them up with evidence. You, on the other hand, refer repeatedly to “baseball tradition” and to the number of players who were “4-F” without producing any data analysis, which you say you are not interested in producing, and that you would not believe no matter what. Unless it is “theological” to base one’s arguments on quantitative evidence, I think your characterization of the dispute is mistaken. Your unwillingness even to consider statistical evidence may make your side of the dispute “theological,” but it is not on my side. (And I know theologians who would not want theology to be characterized in any way as not conducting its arguments on the basis of evidence, so I would be careful about appealing to theology in order to escape from the onus of debating a case based on evidence!)

And if we were merely talking about seven year comparisons you'd have a very good case that he was better than Ford. But I wasn't aware that a comparative argument should be restricted to a pitcher's best seven consecutive years. Why should this be the case?

There’s no reason to restrict the argument to a pitcher’s best seven consecutive years or to any single segment or aspect of a player’s career. Some voters, however, have considered reasons for restricting their own assessment of a player’s merit to his peak or his prime performance, just as some other voters have considered reasons for excluding an assessment of peak value from their system. For peak voters, merit is defined by the question, “who were the best players in baseball at any given time?” A player that was very good for a long time but never great will not, for a voter with that standard, be as meritorious as a player who was truly outstanding for a relatively brief period but had a short career. To illustrate by example, an extreme peak voter will prefer Al Rosen to Graig Nettles. The electorate as a whole has not agreed with that assessment: we elected Nettles and have never been close to electing Rosen, but there are voters of the peak persuasion among the electorate, and it appears that the electorate has of late been trending toward peak and away from career. Many voters value peak more heavily for pitchers than for position players, I think, because pitchers more commonly have careers derailed by injury than position players and because the variable workloads on pitching staffs enable a dominant pitcher to be disproportionately valuable to his team in ways that a position player simply cannot be. Sandy Koufax is, of course, the classic example of the peak pitcher case. Would you rank Whitey Ford ahead of Sandy Koufax? I am genuinely curious. The HoM electorate is not going to be making that comparison in the near future, because we’ve put Koufax into a later group than Ford, but the issue of peak vs. career is always alive in our debates. Thus, I brought up the seven-year prime argument not to say, “This is how one SHOULD evaluate these two players,” but to indicate that IF one evaluates players along these lines, as some voters do, one finds that Newhouser compares very favorably to Ford, unless one completely erases 1944-45 as peak seasons. I did so in order to help explain the outcome of the election, by showing a line of argument that would be meaningful or even decisive for a certain segment of the electorate and that is clearly to Newhouser’s advantage.

By presenting the evidence that could have been decisive in various voters' assessments, I was attempting to show that you assertion that ranking Newhouser over Ford was 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 was not an adequate account of the voters' reasons for making the decisions that they made. Of course, if in your view paying attention to the evidence and analyzing it carefully is a ridiculous approach to take, then my explanation may not change your view of our proceedings at all! But I suspect instead that you have not yet considered thoroughly what we are trying to do with our analyses or how we are conducting our analyses, which would be understandable, since most of us in these elections have been relying on assessments that we made when we voted on these players in our regular seasonsl elections several years back, when we exhaustively debated all of these issues, including wartime discounts. Now we are just recompiling and re-ordering our prior judgments to rank players by position, so our ballot discussion threads have not gone as deeply into our rationales as they used to.
   110. Paul Wendt Posted: May 16, 2009 at 04:37 AM (#3181308)
Good job, Chris Cobb
   111. Howie Menckel Posted: May 16, 2009 at 04:43 AM (#3181313)
Fwiw,

I think the give and take on this has been quite interesting and helpful....
   112. Blackadder Posted: May 16, 2009 at 04:47 AM (#3181326)
Agreed, this is one of the best posts I have read here in a long time.
   113. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 16, 2009 at 10:07 AM (#3181400)
Chris, I appreciate your taking the time and trouble to make that post. As usual, you make your case well, and I'll respond to it in varying amounts of detail at some point later today.
   114. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 16, 2009 at 02:30 PM (#3181449)
First, the meta-analysis, then back to baseball:

But nobody here should be taking any of this stuff personally. It's just baseball.


Different folks here take things personally for a variety of reasons that aren't related to the subject matter. If a person is serious about getting it right or about certain standards of personal integrity in discussion, that person may take offense at the way a conversation is conducted regardless of the subject matter under discussion. Other folks view debate over a light subject as all in good fun and cut loose in ways that they might not in a context that was more serious. I think you and John in particular have quite different standards here, which is a source of friction.


Chris, I'll agree that in this particular case we have different standards, and I'll also agree that to an extent I'm often going to be the skunk in the garden party in these HoM discussions, since for whatever stupid reason I'm more influenced by traditional statistics and intangible factors than most of the people who participate in these HoM debates. In fact, that's the main reason I usually lay low in them, and seldom even vote. Perhaps it's because that when I think of "getting it right," I'm usually thinking of the bigger picture. And that includes factors that are outside the realm of the usual HoM considerations. It's also why I've often harped on the distinction between the HoM and the HoF, and embraced the idea of having two completely different institutions, with the HoM standards influencing the HoF standards, but not replacing them.

This distinction shows up most notably in steroids cases, where there are going to be some candidates whose cumulative statistical accomplishments I'd want to acknowledge in the HoM, but whom I wouldn't want to honor with a plaque in Cooperstown. It also extends to other character clause players such as Rose and Jackson (HoM yes; HoF never), and to players with no character issues but whose careers are, well, unusual. Dizzy Dean would be an example of a player whose HoF qualifications are more obvious than his CV for the HoM. And IMO you've got a pretty good reverse case in Hal Newhouser, in spite of your best efforts to show otherwise.

And then you've got the cases where I'd be totally "mainstream" in the HoM sense, and agree with pretty much everyone here that the HoF has fallen down in overlooking certain players whose real accomplishments are far more worthy of consideration than they've been given to date by the writers. Here I'm talking about the likes of Raines, Blyleven, and Trammell/Whitaker. And this is where I see the sort of analysis and arguments presented in the HoM discussions to be the most useful and relevant.

It's in this context that I look at Newhouser. Both you and others here, including John, have convinced me of the merits of his HoM qualifications. And I guess I should have just left it at that, and furthermore I should have just ignored the Ford bit, since as you implicitly point out, I could / should have made my case for Whitey while the formal discussion was still open. I suppose in this case you might fairly call me the Nancy Pelosi of BTF.

And at this point I should let you have the last word on Newhouser v. Ford, not because you've convinced me in the slightest that Newhouser's career was more valuable than Whitey's, but because we're operating under different ideas as to what constitutes value in a pitcher's career, and hence are bound to be talking past one another.

But just to make one thing clear: I'm not at all opposed to framing the issue in terms of peak value. It's only that when I see a pitcher whose claim to the Hall of Fame is based almost solely on peak value, I want to be seeing more of Koufax dazzling a powerful NL for five straight years, or Dizzy Dean winning 120 games in five years against full strength competition and pitching a seventh game shutout in the World Series on one day's rest; and less of someone whose peak was muddled by wartime competition and only one Koufax-like season outside of that.

And with all due respect to your method of discounting the wartime AL, I can't help but think back to the 1982 NFL strike season's replacement games for comparison (there were a sprinkling of non-striking players there, too), rather than a normal league with a mere 10% or 20% discount. I'm willing to accept the possibility that this reflects a shortcoming of vision on my part, but I think you might acknowledge that Bobby Doerr's and Lou Boudreau's statistics don't necessarily reflect the final word on the subject. I simply don't see how you can carpet bomb the talent pool by that much and still have so little of an adjustment to make.

But all that said, you've made your case very well, and I hope that both you and John can consider whatever snark you might have seen in my posts as being more of a heat of battle kind of thing than any underlying disrespect.
   115. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 18, 2009 at 08:21 PM (#3183250)
30-40% of raw aggregate value (e.g. runs created for hitters) is nuts. Isn't AAA thought to be like 85% of MLB strength?
   116. Paul Wendt Posted: May 18, 2009 at 10:15 PM (#3183380)
I don't know. In the majors and Negro Leagues so large a discount is popular only for the 1884 Union Association, if anywhere.

Using before-and-after comparison for all players, the method I have discussed and JPWF has pursued here, Pete Palmer estimated 76% for Union Association batter-fielders, 90% for UA pitchers (relative to their NL and AA sources and destinations). He found two rates in the low 90s for the Federal League.

Some people discount the UA more than 30-40% and I guess that a discount roughly that large is common. I don't recall that anyone discounts the weakest AA seasons so much as that, although Brent did estimate some NL to AA conversion rates that were surprisingly low to me.
   117. DL from MN Posted: May 19, 2009 at 04:40 PM (#3184671)
It is interesting that we've had this whole discussion on Newhouser and AJM (who ranked Newhouser 5th ahead of Satchel Paige and Bob Feller) hasn't said a word.

This is a goofy ballot, even from a "peak" perspective, Feller and Paige had terrific peaks. Did Ray Brown really have a better peak than Paige? Was Bob Lemon better than Bullet Rogan at the plate or on the mound?

1. Lefty Grove
2. Warren Spahn
3. Robin Roberts
4. Ray Brown
5. Hal Newhouser
6. Bob Feller
7. Satchel Paige
8. Martin Dihigo
9. Carl Hubbell
10. Early Wynn
11. Red Ruffing
12. Ted Lyons
13. Bob Lemon
14. Dazzy Vance
15. Whitey Ford
16. Wes Ferrell
17. Billy Pierce
18. Willie Foster
19. Bullet Rogan

Not that there is any reason to throw out this ballot, but if we did what would the rankings look like?
   118. Paul Wendt Posted: May 19, 2009 at 06:19 PM (#3184798)
That is easy to calculate here in the special elections where the score on each ballot is simple rank order (but the regular elections award bonus points for top ranks).

Nineteen ballots may be a disappointing, small number but it is big enough that there isn't much scope for one ballot to make a difference. Where one ballot does make a difference it necessarily turns a close call one way to a close call the other way, and the close calls should almost be interpreted as ties.

Yet the official rank order does in fact take on a life of its own regardless of the sizes of any of the margins. I am part of that process. Many times at baseball-fever I have mentioned or linked to one of the special elections with no more report than something like this: "The Hall of Merit ranks Ray Brown ninth among major league and Negro Leagues pitchers with careers mainly 1924-1958, just ahead of Whitey Ford." I would write the same thing absent the ballot under discussion, where the margin would be two rather than thirteen.
   119. DL from MN Posted: May 19, 2009 at 07:22 PM (#3184912)
I did the calculation, it pulls Newhouser closer to Ford and Ray Brown but doesn't change the order anywhere except Lemon swaps with Pierce for last place.
   120. DL from MN Posted: May 19, 2009 at 07:28 PM (#3184920)
I could put it another way, we didn't have sufficient sample size to state who ranked highest among Spahn/Paige, Roberts/Dihigo, Newhouser/Brown/Ford, or Wynn/Pierce/Lemon.
   121. sunnyday2 Posted: May 21, 2009 at 01:05 AM (#3186862)
Some people discount the UA more than 30-40% and I guess that a discount roughly that large is common. I don't recall that anyone discounts the weakest AA seasons so much as that, although Brent did estimate some NL to AA conversion rates that were surprisingly low to me.

Actually I discounted the UA by 67 percent and the resulting data fit into players career shapes nicely. And I discounted the first AA year 35 percent, the second 20 percent, and the last one, well, to be honest, I don't remember, but I'm thinking 15-20 percent.

For WWII I used 10 percent. I agree that it could be more than that, probably couldn't be less, but it wasn't the UA or even the early AA. Fully 1/3 of MLers in '44 and '45 were bona fide MLers, though it's true that some of them were getting a little old. The UA was about 5 to 10% real MLers and the early AA was no more than 15 to 20% MLers, if I remember half-correctly, and other than Fred Dunlap, those were generally below average MLers. The bona fide MLers of '44 and '45 contained a much broader distribution of MLers by ability.
   122. sunnyday2 Posted: June 05, 2009 at 01:35 AM (#3207131)
Now that we've got pitchers, we've got a complete all-star team for 1924-1958.

C- Josh Gibson. Berra is also among the top 5 catchers all-time.
1B- Lou Gehrig. Foxx and Mize are also among the top 5.
2B- Charlie Gehringer. I have Hornsby in 1893-1923.
SS- Pops Lloyd. Vaughan is also top 5.
3B- Jud Wilson.
LF- Ted Williams. Musial is also top 5.
CF- Oscar Charleston. DiMaggio is NOT top 5.
RF- Babe Ruth. Ott and Waner are also top 5.

DH- Stan Musial would be my choice.

SP- Grove, Spahn, Paige, Feller would be a rotation.

With Berra, Foxx, Mize, Vaughn, Ott and Waner on the team you've got back-ups everywhere except 2B. The back-up there would be Jackie Robinson. That's 16 position players.

So I'd have 5 "relief pitchers:" Hubbell, Roberts, Dihigo, Newhouser, Brown.

I doubt if there's an all-star team from any era could beat these guys.
   123. Chris Cobb Posted: June 05, 2009 at 01:58 AM (#3207148)
It's a stretch to put Lloyd at shortstop for this era--he had moved off the position by 1924. Vaughan is no slouch, though, and maybe better than Lloyd at his peak, which is what you're really looking at for a all-star team, anyway.
   124. Paul Wendt Posted: June 05, 2009 at 02:53 AM (#3207173)
Mel Ott is the backup 3B?

Agreeing with Chris Cobb at short, and correcting at third,
you have Gehringer, Vaughan, and Wilson (not top five) at second, short, and third, with Robinson evidently the lone backup.

Robinson is a capable utility player but you might draft Luke Appling, #8 at short.

A real team would have a third catcher, where this period is loaded. Dickey, Hartnett, and Cochrane are #6-7-8.

Stearnes, #7 at center, might bump Waner, or you might simply drop Waner in order to help balance the team.

Fortunately you don't need nine pitchers in this period.

--
Count one more who approves the new Edit feature!
It seems to be available only for the latest comment. Right?
   125. OCF Posted: June 05, 2009 at 06:56 AM (#3207304)
Instead of playing Williams in the field and putting Musial at DH, why not do it the other way around?
   126. sunnyday2 Posted: June 06, 2009 at 02:21 PM (#3208626)
I just took 'em in the order they finished in the voting. Ted was #1 so he went into LF. The fact that he is in LF and Musial DH is just because he was first string and Musial second. If there's no DH, I didn't want to leave the impression that Musial would start ahead of Ted.

As for the bench, I only wanted at least one back-up at each position.

As for Lloyd, I didn't check whether he belonged in 1893-1923 or 1924-1958. I checked WS for all of the MLers and there were a bunch of close calls--Hornsby, Ruth, Eddie Mathews, etc.

And as for Mel Ott, I'm not the one who played him at 3B for a whole year. Obviously with Jackie on the team, Ott wouldn't get a lot of innings at 3B, though it's true that Jackie is also the only 2B back-up. Well, no, there's Lloyd, I had overlooked his play other than SS. If I do that, I delete Jackie and add a 10th pitcher.

That at least was the method.

It didn't come down to, hey, Turkey Stearnes is better than Paul Waner. I don't disagree that he probably was. Like I say, I only went by the voting and stuck to the method regardless of what the head to heads were. I sure as hell didn't have Waner in my top 5, so don't blame me.
Page 2 of 2 pages  < 1 2

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Syndicate

Page rendered in 0.7058 seconds
49 querie(s) executed