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Monday, July 08, 2002

First Basemen on the opening ballot

This will be the first of many threads to discuss players at each position on the first Hall of Merit ballot.

A gigantic thank you to David Jones, John Murphy and KJOK. They ran the numbers through the spreadsheets for me and it was a major help. Without their help it would be two months from now before this thread would have been posted. Thanks guys!!

I’m going to list the player’s career WS, top 3 seasons, top 5 consecutive and a few other things, like % played at each position (based on seasons, not games, very important w/shifting schedule length), etc. All WS numbers are adjusted to a 162-game season, based on team games. Hopefully the formatting works . . .

The players are listed here alphabetically. Let me know if anyone was overlooked.

Later in the week, I’ll be adding offensive W-L records that I’ve computed, as well as a total of Stats retroactive MVP, all-stars, etc., so check back here as well. This is just a beginning, these numbers aren’t meant to be a criteria, just a starting point for discussion. I’ll be adding NA WS by the end of the month I hope.

Coming up with reasonable adjusted pitching numbers are still in the works, hopefully in the next two weeks or so.

Let me know what you think of this format. More will be coming . . . The resumes will appear when you link into the discussion, you’ll have to scroll back up.

567 WS - 42, 39, 38 - 165 - Cap Anson - 25.2 sea. (including NA) - 503 batting - 63 fielding - 1 pitching.
71% 1B, 16% 3B, 5% C, 3% LF, 2% RF, 1% 2B, 1% SS, 1% CF.
notes: 1871-97. Played 4.9 seasons in National Association (not accounted for here). 5-year peak from age 28-32. Rest of career in National League.

475 WS - 40, 40, 39 - 188 Dan Brouthers - 13.8 sea. - 441 batting - 34 fielding.
97% 1B, 3% LF.
notes: 1879-96, 1904. 5-year peak from age 24-28. Entire career in NL, except 1890 (PL) 24 WS, and 1891 (AA) 34 WS.

54 WS - 17, 14, 12 - 43 Ed Cartwright - 3.7 sea. - 46 batting - 8 fielding.
100% 1B.
notes: 1890, 1894-97. 5-year peak from age 34-37 (no 5-year stretch). Entire career in NL, except 1890 (AA), 11 WS.

163 WS - 23, 20, 18 - 85 Charlie Comiskey - 11 sea. - 128 batting - 33 fielding - 1 pitching.
97% 1B, 2% 2B, 1% RF.
notes: 1882-1894. 5-year peak from age 23-27. Entire career in AA, except 1890 (PL) 3 WS, 1892-94 (NL) 7, 1, 1 WS respectively.

488 WS - 47, 44, 37 - 191 Roger Connor - 16.4 sea. - 435 batting - 53 fielding.
85% 1B, 8% 3B, 4% 2B, 3% CF
notes: 1880-97. 5-year peak from age 24-28. Entire career in NL, except 1890 (PL) 31 WS.

218 WS - 34, 33, 23 - 132 Henry Larkin - 8.9 sea. - 196 batting - 22 fielding.
57% 1B, 26% LF, 12% CF, 2% 2B, 2% RF
notes: 1884-93. 5-year peak from age 25-29. Entire career in AA, except 1890 (PL) 23 WS, 1892-93 (NL), 13 WS each year.

257 WS - 32, 24, 23 - 119 John Morrill - 13.1 sea. - 206 batting - 47 fielding - 4 pitching.
69% 1B, 13% 3B, 9% 2B, 4% SS, 2% C, 1% RF, 1% CF
notes: 1876-90. 5-year peak from age 27-31. Entire career in NL, except 1890 (PL) 0 WS.

195 WS - 41, 38, 30 - 141 Dave Orr - 6.4 sea. - 179 batting - 17 fielding.
99% 1B.
notes: 1883-90. 5-year peak from age 24-28. Entire career in NL except 1 G in 1883 (NL) and 1890 (PL) 30 WS. Career ends after that 30 WS season at age 30 in 1890. I don’t know why his career ended early, he didn’t die until 1915. He was a helluva player when healthy. If anyone has the story, please share it . . .

200 WS - 37, 30, 29 - 126 John Reilly - 9.3 sea. - 177 batting - 23 fielding.
94% 1B, 2% LF, 2% CF, 2% RF.
notes: 1880, 1883-91. 5-year peak from age 25-29. Entire career in AA, except 1880, 1890, 1891 (NL). 2, 20, 9 WS respectively in those years.

244 WS - 30, 30, 26 - 130 Joe Start - 14.4 sea. (including NA) - 219 batting - 25 fielding.
99% 1B
notes: 1871-1886. Played 4.9 seasons in NA (not accounted for here). 5-year peak from age 34-38. NA was not formed until he was 28 years old, so the 244 WS above are from age 33 on. By comparison, Anson had 297 WS after age 32, Brouthers had 130, Connor 120. Entire non-NA career was in the NL. He cranked out a 23 WS season at age 42 for Providence in 1885. Too bad he wasn’t born 10-15 years later.

124 - 18, 18, 17 - 70 - Patsy Tebeau - 8.5 sea. - 81 batting - 43 fielding.
1B - 50%, 3B 41%, 2B 7%, SS 2%.
notes: 1887, 1889-1900. 5-year peak age 24-28. Played entire career in NL, except 1890 (PL) 17 WS.

206 WS - 35, 24, 20 - 112 Tommy Tucker - 12.1 sea. - 177 batting - 29 fielding.
99% 1B, 1% CF.
notes: 1887-99. 5-year peak from age 24-28. Entire career in NL, except 1887-89 (AA). 18, 24, 35 WS respectively in those years.

116 WS - 24, 22, 19 - 76 Perry Werden - 5.0 sea. - 81 batting - 15 fielding - 20 pitching (1884 - not used in peak calcs).
98% 1B, 1% LF, 1% CF.
notes: 1884, 1888-93, 1897. 5-year peak from age 24-27 (never played 5 consec. seasons). 1884, as a pitcher in Union Association 21 WS. 1890-91 in AA, 24, 22 WS. 1888 (0 WS) and 1892-93, 97 in NL (18, 13, 19 WS respectively). Strange career, was bouncing all over the place.

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 08, 2002 at 07:36 PM | 149 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 31, 2004 at 10:22 PM (#509967)
Born 1903-1911 we have Gehrig, Foxx, Mize, and Greenberg who I think all are clearly above the line.

Without a doubt, Jim. Greenberg and Mize (the latter will represent the forties rather well) may have to wait a year ot two, but all four will be HoMers.

The fifties will have another (relative) drought, however.
   102. Marc Posted: March 31, 2004 at 11:23 PM (#509968)
Is there any other position where the top players have come in such spurts? The ABC boys, then nothing for 30 years. Then Gehrig, Foxx, Greenberg and Mize, then nothing much in the 15-20 years after WWII (though tradition would have Sisler, and some might add Terry to that '30s list). And really, only McCovey in the '60s and '70s as a slam dunk (assuming you list Killebrew as more of a utility/hitter/DH type rather than specifically a 1B and depending on your take on Cepeda; pretty sure Cash and Garvey aren't going to rack up a lot of votes). Then a bunch of guys in the '80s through the present time. IOW with the exception of McCovey, the top 10 (the other 9 of 10) all come in three spurts in roughly the 1880s, 1930s and 1990s. How odd.

But I'm still going to take a fresh look at the Beckley-Chance-Konetchy-Fournier-Sisler bunch. And when the time comes, I may have Terry a little higher than some (certainly than John).
   103. Marc Posted: March 31, 2004 at 11:25 PM (#509969)
Is there any other position where the top players have come in such spurts? The ABC boys, then nothing for 30 years. Then Gehrig, Foxx, Greenberg and Mize, then nothing much in the 15-20 years after WWII (though tradition would have Sisler, and some might add Terry to that '30s list). And really, only McCovey in the '60s and '70s as a slam dunk (assuming you list Killebrew as more of a utility/hitter/DH type rather than specifically a 1B and depending on your take on Cepeda; pretty sure Cash and Garvey aren't going to rack up a lot of votes). Then a bunch of guys in the '80s through the present time. IOW with the exception of McCovey, the top 10 (the other 9 of 10) all come in three spurts in roughly the 1880s, 1930s and 1990s. How odd.

But I'm still going to take a fresh look at the Beckley-Chance-Konetchy-Fournier-Sisler bunch. And when the time comes, I may have Terry a little higher than some (certainly than John).
   104. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 31, 2004 at 11:32 PM (#509970)
I may have Terry a little higher than some (certainly than John).

Fine! Be that way! :-)
   105. karlmagnus Posted: April 01, 2004 at 12:00 AM (#509971)
I can's resist the primitive statistic, but in terms of actual HITS, Beckley is 3rd on Jim Sp's list after Anson and Eddie Murray. Worth bearing in mind.
   106. Jim Sp Posted: April 02, 2004 at 04:55 AM (#509972)
There's something of an odd pitcher drought born between Hubbell in 1903 and Feller in 1918. Red Ruffing or Tommy Bridges I guess would be the best career candidate in that period, I would guess neither would get in. Dizzy Dean will be an interesting debate, his career looks awfully short to me.
   107. Marc Posted: April 04, 2004 at 05:45 AM (#509973)
Deja vu all over again. 1) Consistent with Joe's suggestion that we reconsider, reconsider, reconsider. 2) Worrying that I am underrating Beckley and/or 1Bs in general. And 3) Wondering when and how to get the Negro Leaguers and major leaguers integrated...

Today, 1B. If you read my catcher post, you know the method to this madness. Today I will dispense with two-step and go directly to the waltz, or rather the final ranking of 1Bs eligible from now through 1939.

I will tell you who my consideration set is, however. From the major leagues in chronological order (more or less): Orr, Larkin, Beckley, Chance, Davis, Konetchy, Sisler, Fournier. From the Negro Leagues: Ben Taylor, Huck Rile, Tank Carr, George Giles and Edgar Wesley.

And the winner is:

1. George Sisler--the #1 peak, the #1 prime and the #2 career among the major leaguers. Bill James has debunked Sisler pretty good, rating him at #24 after Mickey Vernon, Fred McGriff and Norm Cash. Well, his 3 year peak is in Sam Crawford/Sam Thompson range. His 5 year peak is short of that or of Jimmy Sheckard, but way way ahead of, say, Roger Bresnahan. Actually his 5 year peak is very comparable to Tommy Leach and Bobby Veach, though better. It is a lot better than any other eligible 1B.

His prime is 7-9-12 years based on three different methods. Only Beckley among 1Bs and Sheckard and Van Haltren among currently eligible OFers are significantly longer than that, and no 20th century player was at his level throughout that peak. Sisler's was of course uneven with the pre-infection period off the map and the post-infection period...well, still essentially as good as the other 1Bs. His prime is also comparable to Veach and about the same length as Leach but at a higher level.

For his career he is comparable to Konetchy. But as a peak/prime voter who has Thompson and Sheckard high on my ballot, his comps to those two are very positive signs. Yet if he were eligible today, I have to say that he would probably be no better than about #8-10 somewhere.

#2 through 9 here are closer than Beckley to Sisler IMO. (And #3 through #9 are almost interchangeable, very very comparable players.)

2. Jake Beckley--obviously the #1 career and #2 prime, but the #8 peak among 8 1Bs. That he ends up at #2 really says something about the weakness of the whole set.

3. Jack Fournier--#3 peak, #3 prime, #6 career. WARP does not like Jack and WS has him a C- fielder. But, hey, the guy played 15 years with an OPS+ of 143, almost 10 percent better than Sisler or Beckley. Very oddly shaped career but that neither helps nor hurts other than that he didn't rack the career numbers that he might have.

I really struggled with whether to put Fournier #3 or #4. I think he is fairly comp to:

4. Ben Taylor--Negro Leaguer who played 1910-29 according to one source, as early as 1909 according to others, and perhaps as late as 1940...but for 17 years according to another source. I used KJOK's numbers. Let's just say that Taylor had averaged the following numbers per 162 games over 17 major league seasons (followed, then, by some comparisons):

Taylor 193 H 34 2B 9 3B 7 HR 19 SB .324 .446 SA
   108. Marc Posted: April 07, 2004 at 12:00 AM (#509975)
Just for the record, some comments from NBJHBA.

3. Ben Taylor--rated behind Leonard and Easter and described as a lefty line drive hitter with a .334 career BA. Also "exceptional fielder" and apparently a good pitcher who went 30-1 in 1911.

5. Tank Carr--a heavy-set switch hitter who could run, he led the Eastern Negro League in triples and SB in 1925. Drank himself out of the league.

6. George Giles--"the black Bill Terry." Lefty, "a hustling, aggressive first baseman" but it doesn't say anything about his hitting.

7. Highpockets Hudspeth--was not in my set but becomes eligible about 1938 (he died in 1933 of TB). 6-foot-6, 235 pound lefty, a Willie McCovey-type. Had bad feet, so not much of a fielder. Hit for power but wasn't highly respected because defense was more of an emphasis.

8. Ed (I had seen him as "Huck") Rile--big siwtch-hitter, hit around .350 with power in a short career. All of which matches exactly what KJOK's numbers told me.

xx. Edgar Wesley--James doesn't rank him or else is he 11th? Lefty, power hitter.
   109. MattB Posted: April 07, 2004 at 04:08 PM (#509976)
Following up and partially re-creating Marc's excellent work, but without a specific formula:

I am also working on re-examining all available players, and am in the process of working out a "Top 10" for each position (and a "Top 20" for pitchers) to give me a working group of 100 to consider, as the pool of players increases and I want to be sure not to miss anyone. I am not considering players like George Sisler until they become eligible. I value Win Shares and WARP-1,and adjust upwards for good peaks.

Feel free to let me know if you think I missed someone obvious in my Top 10.

Here are my Top 10 Eligible first basemen, as of this particular moment:

1. Jake Beckley -- 318 Win Shares, 116 WARP-1, Best first baseman, looking at the period of the 1890-1910. Definitely ballot worthy.

2. Frank Chance -- 237 Wins Shares, 77.4 WARP-1. High peak, short career guy. Great for the Cubs in the mid 1900s, but not too much on either side. Definitely one to keep in the consideration set, if not in the Top 15. Are we undervaluing first base defense? Should he get a boost for pennants won? Might become ballot worthy if we dip low enough to elect Beckley.

3. Sol White -- started his career as a middle infielder, but mainly played first base when he player-managed. A contemporary of Frank Grant's and is probably the best contemporary other than Grant himself. The majority feels that the #2 black player from this era is not worthy, but I disagree.

4. Dave Orr -- 195 Win Shares, 62.2 WARP-1. The best of the eligible AA first basemen, now that Stovey is enshrined. Don't know his story, but I don't discount the late AA at all, and Orr is a good example why, as he bumped up his performance in 1890 when he moved to the Players' League. I don't know why he didn't play after 1890. Only 7 seasons as a regular, but they were all great.

5. Fred Tenney -- 249 Win Shares, 99.6 WARP-1. his career was just about concurrent with Jake Beckley's, but not as good. WARP has almost half of his value coming for defense. If we are undervaluing first base defense, Fred might need to be seriously reconsidered, but I can see no way that even his strong defense could move him above Beckley.

6. Harry Davis -- 238 Win Shares, 79.5 WARP-1. Long careered player who was always good, but rarely the best.

7. Henry Larkin -- 218 Win Shares, 66.1 WARP-1. Another of the high-peak AA players, he was generally #3 after Stovey and Orr. He had ten seasons as a regular, and also did not drop off in the jump from the AA to the Player's League, and also left playing strong in his final season in 1893.

8. Dan McGann -- 183 Win Shares, 72.1 WARP 1. Another solid first baseman who straddled the century line, playing almost entirely in the NL.

9. John Morrill -- 257 Win Shares, 61.2 WARP 1. Best of the early NL first basemen not named Anson, Brouthers, or Connor. In a six team league, though, that puts you in the bottom half.

10. Tommy Tucker -- 176 Win Shares, 60.7 WARP 1. It was either him or Dick Hoblitzel.
   110. MattB Posted: April 07, 2004 at 04:17 PM (#509977)
Among the above, Bill James ranks the following in his Top 100: Jake Beckley (#52) and Frank Chance (#25), Fred Tenney (#70), Harry Davis (#60), Henry Larkin (#69), Dan McGann (#92), Tommy Tucker (#93).

He does not rank White, Orr, or Morrill in his Top 100. He also ranks the eligible Jack Doyle (58.2 WARP 1) as #70 and Charlie Hickman (45.1 WARP 1) as #80.
   111. KJOK Posted: April 07, 2004 at 06:11 PM (#509978)
The ones I would add to your top 10 (but not necessarily IN the top 10)

Jack Doyle
   112. Marc Posted: April 07, 2004 at 07:20 PM (#509980)
First, I see that Matt and I agree on Beckley, Chance and Orr, in that order (with a very minor disagreement on where to put Sol White). That should be enough for anybody ;-)

I have to say I love Harry Davis, yet, no, other than Beckley and Chance (and/or White), this is just not a very compelling group. Having, reconfirmed Beckley as the top eligible 1B, I am in process of figuring out how he compares with the bigger pool.

Being more of a peak/prime voter, I can't get excited about Tenney, Daubert or McInnis at all. Anybody who thinks Beckley's lack of a peak is a problem, well these guys' peaks are no better and their careers less.

But let's face it, 1B is just no fun until Sisler, Fournier and Taylor become eligible, if even then. But Matt's list is a good list, even if most of them will end up in the second 50 overall.
   113. MattB Posted: April 07, 2004 at 07:50 PM (#509981)
I don't know.

I remember a few months (years?) ago, Joe had a chart that listed how many players to date had earned 300, 400, and 500 win shares. I can't find that chart now (anyone?).

I seem to recall that there were significantly fewer 300-win-share players than there were total HoMers.

The balloting has been structured to elect fewer people now and more later. The rationale is that there were more good players later. That is almost certainly true, but I don't think we'll be finding 3 great players every year in the 1980s and 1990s, and will be constantly digging into the backlog to avoid inducting the 6th or 7th best first baseman of the modern eras.

When all the greats are gone, and we're stuck comparing Fred Tenney to Wally Joyner for the third slot in 2007 or 2008, I'm not convinced I'm going with Joyner.
   114. Marc Posted: April 07, 2004 at 08:13 PM (#509982)
Matt, I certainly agree with you there. The second 50 today could be top 10 in 2007. (I would just substitute Fournier for Tenney!)
   115. MattB Posted: April 08, 2004 at 09:24 AM (#509983)
I should point out that Bill James ranked John Morrill #110 and Dave Orr #117. Also, newly eligible Dick Hoblitzel is #104. So my caucasion Top 9 all made James' Top 125.
   116. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 05, 2004 at 03:31 PM (#778536)
All posts have been corrected up to #105.
   117. Paul Wendt Posted: January 04, 2005 at 09:05 PM (#1056549)
Washington Post 1905 Jan 9 "Baseball Gossip" says that the 1Bman is now expected to range far and wide like the other infielders. According to P Bill Donovan, only a few pitchers covered first base a few years ago, but it is now practically a requirement of the pitching job.
   118. jimd Posted: July 16, 2005 at 02:09 AM (#1476143)
Best FB 1871-1940 by WARP

Lexicographic key:
Upper Case -- A TOP star; one of top N players in MLB
Lower Case -- a 2nd tier star; one top 2N players in MLB
(in parentheses) -- nearly a 2nd tier star (withing 10%)
<in angle brackets> -- best at position; not an all-star season
Note: N is approximate number of teams:
9 from 1871-1881; 12 from 1882-1900; 16 from 1901-1960
Note: All TOP stars are listed, even if not best at position
This represents a level of play where one might expect the player
to be the best on his team, except for uneven talent distribution.
1871 (joestart)
1872 (dennymack)
1874 jimo'rourke
1876 calmcvey
1879 joestart
1884 danbrouthers
1889 rogerconnor
1891 rogerconnor
1893 rogerconnor
1894 <jakebeckley>
1895 (edcartwright)
1896 <rogerconnor>
1897 naplajoie
1898 danmcgann
1899 fredtenney
1900 (jakebeckley)
1901 (jakebeckley)
1902 charliehickman
1903 frankchance
1904 (frankchance)
1907 (fredtenney)
1908 (edkonetchy)
1909 edkonetchy
1911 edkonetchy
1912 stuffymcinnis
1914 (dotsmiller)
1915 fredluderus
1916 georgesisler
1917 georgesisler
1921 georgesisler
1922 georgesisler
1923 (jackfournier)
   119. Daryn Posted: July 16, 2005 at 04:18 AM (#1476367)
Sisler's 7 straight years are the best at 1b.
   120. Howie Menckel Posted: July 16, 2005 at 05:16 AM (#1476432)
I love the old thread revivals; I didn't post that often in 2002, but I was an avid reader anyway.
I felt like my chief success was in prodding Joe, who was understandably focused on making sure the voting process was a good one, into winging it and getting off that 1898 kickoff vote (I think it was originally a 1904 vote).
   121. sunnyday2 Posted: July 21, 2005 at 03:32 PM (#1488206)
There's no thread for "hitters' but I'm going to combine 1B-LF and RF here, as well as a couple other candidates who are essentially here for their hitting. Current voting 1955:

3. Mule Suttles 43 ballots-689 points, highest 3 1sts
4. John Beckwith 42-596-4 2nds-I consider him a "hitter"
6. Joe Medwick 32-374-2 3rds

(big gap)

15. Jake Beckley 17-216-1 1st--who could that be?
17T. George Sisler 15-186-1 1st
22. Pete Browning 10-132-3rd--almost as many G in LF as CF

Fewer than 10 ballots

26. Gavy Cravath 8-115-2 2nds
32. Charley Jones 7-89-3rd
37. Bob Johnson 6-60-5th

Fewer than 5 ballots

43. Chuck Klein 3-39-6th
44, Sam Rice 3-33-8th
45. Ben Taylor 3-32-6th
50. Hack Wilson 2-13-14th
56. George Burns 1-9-12th
61T. Buzz Arlett 1-6-15th

Coming up in the near future (by 1969)

1B--Musial, Mize, Hodges, Vernon, Kluszewski, Cavaretta, Easter
LF--Williams, Kiner, Minoso, C. Keller, Ennis, Irvin
RF--Slaughter, Bill Nicholson, Jensen, Holmes, Willard Brown, WB Wright

And some (not all) who have had support over the years

1B--Chance, Konetchy
LF--Veach, York
RF--Cuyler, Tiernan

A lot to digest here. To me the obvious questions at the top of the ballot are whether there is enough support to elect Medwick, Beckley and Sisler (would have to believe Suttles and Beckwith are in, and Browning and on down [Cravath, C. Jones, Klein et al] are out.)

OTOH have we missed with somebody, and if so is it Browning or Cravath or Chance or Tiernan (taking names almost at random)--or if we missed, maybe it is more likely to be somebody we don't know a lot about like Ben Taylor.

Upcoming Musial and Mize and Williams are obvious. Kiner seems almost obvious to me, but we'll see. The dreaded short career. If somebody knows that he was held back by WWII, let us know!

Irvin, W. Brown, Slaughter and Minoso seem like the most interesting cases touching, as they do, on big issues like war and racial segregation/integration, and by nature of being borderline cases.

My list of the "ins"

1. Williams with WWII and Korean credit
2. Musial
3. Mize
4. Suttles
5. Medwick
6. Sisler
7. Kiner--could be higher
8. Irvin
9. Beckwith
10. Minoso

(Oms is above the line but right now I have him on the CF list)


11. W. Brown--but who knows?
12. Slaughter
13. Browning
14. Cravath
15. C. Jones
16. Klein

Hall of Very Good

17. H. Wilson
18. Bobby Estalella
19. Beckley
20. Hodges

21. Taylor
22. Chance
23. Luke Easter--again, who knows?
24. Tiernan
25. Veach
26. Vernon
27. C. Keller
28. B. Johnson--probably underrated
29. Wild bill Wright--again, a wild bill guess

Hall of Pretty Good

30. Chino Smith
31. Cuyler
32. Rice
33. Heavy Johnson
34. Klulszewski
35. Ennis

And I have a sinking feeling that I have missed somebody.
   122. Chris Cobb Posted: July 21, 2005 at 04:30 PM (#1488419)

Why do you see Kiner so far ahead of Keller? With war-credit for Keller, they look very similar to me in both peak and career. Or are you assuming war credit for Kiner as well?

By some of your measures (iirc):

Top 3 con
Keller 102
Kiner 97

Top 5, any
Keller 157
Kiner 155

Kiner 242
Keller 218 (but at war credit = to 50% of performance in surrounding seasons, he picks up 22 more for 240)

Anyway, I have them both as borderline rather than one as "in" and one as HOVG, so I'm curious as to why you separate them.
   123. OCF Posted: July 21, 2005 at 06:00 PM (#1488774)
1. Williams with WWII and Korean credit
2. Musial

Certainly the conventional wisdom. But for an interesting artifact of rating, check out Bill James's orginal 1980's Historical Baseball Abstract. Placing both of them as left fielders, he ranked Musial ahead of Williams.

You need to come up with a lot of things to do that:

1. He must not have granted Williams significant war credit.
2. He probably didn't really deflate Musial's war years stats.
3. He was assuming a large difference, in Musial's favor, in defensive value.
4. He was making a very big deal out of character issues.
5. Sensing that Musial's fame was fading faster than was justified for a truly great player (and Musial was overlooked in the 1999 fan voting for the "all-century" team), he wanted to put the spotlight on Musial.
6. He was itching to find places where he could go against conventional wisdom.

In the remake of the book, he restored them to the conventional order with Williams on top. He couldn't sustain all of those points at once.


In #141, Sunnyday2 calls Musial a first baseman, which would be an interesting way of not comparing him to Williams, if you didn't want to. Musial played 1016 games at 1B and 1890 in the outfield - 943 in left, 325 in center, and 750 in right. If you don't lump left and right together, that makes 1B his plurality position. But you could just a plausibly call him an "outfielder."

Babe Ruth had 1057 games in left, 64 in center and 1131 in right. Tradition and plurality has decreed him a right fielder, which seems a pretty strained way to keep from making direct comparisons of Ruth and Williams.
   124. TomH Posted: July 21, 2005 at 06:49 PM (#1489009)
Babe- our image of the Babe is hevaily based on his later career, when he played more RF; I don't think it's a "pretty strained way to keep from making direct comparisons of Ruth and Williams."
Stan - I call him a 1Bman too, only because he fits better on my all-time team that way.
Stan vs Ted - If you give Stan about 12 bonus fielding wins in his career (he did play over 300 g in CF), some league strength (NL 1950s much better IMHO than AL) diff, some pennant performance diff (StL won a few close races, Bos lost many, and Stan's WS stats are better), some MVP vote creidt (7 times in top 2), I can see putting Stan ahead. I personally take Ted by a nose.
   125. Michael Bass Posted: July 21, 2005 at 08:09 PM (#1489376)
No war credit given here, feel free to do so as appropriate, just giving the quick/dirty of what Chris did, but in WARP1/3

Top 3 con
Keller 31.7/29.2
Kiner 30.8/30.1

Top 5, any
Keller 49.3/46.6
Kiner 48.6/47.5

Kiner 74.9/72.5
Keller 67.0/63.1

Esp assuming Keller deserves more war credit than Kiner, certainly can't see a big game between them.

Of course, my big complaint about them is that both approximate the *career* WARP*3* of Jennings. Take peak or WARP1 (even unadjusted for schedule) and it's a blowout for Hughie. Take peak adjsuted WARP1 and it's even more laughable. Neither of these guys look like serious top ballot candidates to me, and I'm a peak guy. Maybe in the bottom 3rd.

For the career types from the group, I imagine they both look like complete jokes.
   126. Sean Gilman Posted: July 21, 2005 at 08:45 PM (#1489476)
Adding Browning to the above comparison, without adjusting WARP1 for schedule length:

Top 3 con
Keller 31.7/29.2
Kiner 30.8/30.1
Browning 30.4/18.6

Top 5, any
Keller 49.3/46.6
Kiner 48.6/47.5
Browning 53.2/33.4

Kiner 74.9/72.5
Keller 67.0/63.1
Browning 94.8/57.3
   127. sunnyday2 Posted: July 21, 2005 at 08:46 PM (#1489479)
First, re Musial, I generally have distinguished LF from RF and if you do that then Musial is indeed a plurality 1B. Of course you could call him an OF, but I don't see how you can call him a LF, CF or RF. For now "hitter" works, anyway.

And I also don't think you can sustain all the various different points that are needed to make Musial better than Williams, but I understand them. We won't get to worry them much here, of course.

Second, re. Keller and Kiner, my first answer is that I haven't taken a close look yet as Kiner is not eligible. Question--did Keller miss half of 1945 due to military service or injury? Does he get some war credit for '45 or not? I admit to being unclear on that point. But otherwise he only missed one full season, not 2 or 3.

And I also asked up above if anybody knows whether Kiner was held back due to WWII or not, so I am still exploring that. He was 23 when he made the bigs in 1946, and led the league in HR, so there might be an issue there.

If I give Keller a full 1.5 years of war credit I get to about 5500 PAs age 22-35 but he was done playing regularly at age 29 (OPS+ 150). Obviously he became a part-timer, PH and DLer due to a bad back. Woulda coulda.

Kiner, with no war credit, is at 6200 PAs from age 23-32, playing regularly through age 31 (OPS+ 121). Unlike Keller, Kiner retired because he was no longer Ralph Kiner, though he had OPS+ 121 and 116 in his final 2 seasons. Perhaps woulda coulda, too.


Career Keller 152 Kiner 148

Peak (BA title eligible)
Keller 167-64-63-58-42
Kiner 183-82-72-54-45-40-31-21-16

I don't say I have them right. I mean I don't really know if Keller will end up behind guys like Vernon and Ester and Hodges yet.

But I think they're in the right order. Just enough of Keller's career value came in 40 game seasons that his ~240 WS just don't have the pennants-added value that Kiner's 242 have. At least that would be my expectation. And do we know whether Keller's Yankees got any plus-pythag bonuses? It is not unlikely that Kiner lost a few WS for minus-pythag performance, but that is not factored in, just a feelilng/question.

I don't think he is HoM--maybe HoVG--but along with Bob Elliott, Del Ennis is a guy I never woulda thought had the career he did. Still he's #35 on my list. Ouch. But a name that should be spoken now and again.

Another pairing--Easter and Kluszewski. I picture them as comparable.

And two other names I hope get a lot of discussion yet. Monte Irvin (oh, not to worry, all we have to do is copy and paste about 30 posts from the Beckwith thread) and Bobby Estalella. I'm still wishing somebody with the right resources might take up his case.
   128. ronw Posted: October 13, 2005 at 04:44 PM (#1681511)
First Basemen

Eligible First Basemen through 1980.

1B              Career  Games   BWS/162 Total   Fielding
Musial, S       538.7   3026    28.8    82.7    A-
*Gehrig, L      456.5   2164    34.2    79.8    B-
*Foxx, J        386.5   2317    27.0    65.7    A
*Brouthers, D   329.3   1673    31.9    64.8    B-
*Connor, R      322.3   1997    26.1    58.4    A
*Leonard, B     325.7   2081    25.4    57.9    n/r
*Anson, C       338.1   2276    24.1    57.9    B-
*Mize, J        310.0   1884    26.7    57.7    B
*Suttles, M     314.2   2420    21.0    52.5    n/r
*Greenberg, H   240.6   1394    28.0    52.0    A-
Cepeda, O       283.2   2124    21.6    49.9    C+
Cash, N         279.3   2089    21.7    49.6    A-
Chance, F       213.8   1287    26.9    48.3    B
*Terry, B       245.6   1721    23.1    47.7    A+
Beckley, J      278.9   2386    18.9    46.8    B
Sisler, G       260.2   2055    20.5    46.5    C-
Konetchy, E     247.1   2085    19.2    43.9    A-
Vernon, M       262.5   2409    17.7    43.9    B-
Fournier, J     213.2   1530    22.6    43.9    C-
Bottomley, J    232.8   1991    18.9    42.2    C+
Camilli, D      201.6   1490    21.9    42.1    B-
Daubert, J      228.4   2014    18.4    41.2    B+
Judge, J        234.8   2171    17.5    41.0    B-
Hodges, G       229.2   2071    17.9    40.8    B
Orr, D          132.2    791    27.1    40.3    B
Davis, H        209.3   1755    19.3    40.3    B+
Trosky, H       174.3   1347    21.0    38.4    B-
Tenney, F       210.5   1994    17.1    38.2    B+
Cavarretta, P   211.4   2030    16.9    38.0    C-
Chase, H        205.3   1919    17.3    37.9    C
Larkin, H       159.7   1184    21.9    37.8    D-
Adcock, J       204.8   1959    16.9    37.4    B+
Kuhel, J        209.4   2104    16.1    37.1    B+
McCormick, F    173.2   1534    18.3    35.6    A
Anderson, J     178.6   1635    17.7    35.6    B+
York, R         176.6   1603    17.8    35.5    A-
Kluszewski, T   181.7   1718    17.1    35.3    C+
White, B        179.0   1673    17.3    35.2    A-
Fain, F         145.2   1151    20.4    35.0    B-
Fletcher, E     162.0   1415    18.5    34.7    B
Blue, L         173.1   1615    17.4    34.7    B-
McInnis, S      193.0   2128    14.7    34.0    B+
*Start, J       111.4    798    22.6    33.8    B
McGann, D       158.3   1436    17.9    33.7    B+
Collins, R      131.2   1084    19.6    32.7    B
Burns, GH       174.8   1866    15.2    32.7    B-
Hickman, C      130.6   1081    19.6    32.6    n/r
Merkle, F       164.0   1638    16.2    32.6    B
Torgeson, E     165.0   1668    16.0    32.5    C+
Skowron, B      164.3   1658    16.1    32.5    C+
Reilly, J       134.2   1142    19.0    32.5    B-
Kelly, G        160.2   1622    16.0    32.0    A-
Siebern, N      147.9   1406    17.0    31.8    B
Suhr, G         148.5   1435    16.8    31.6    B-
Gentile, J      114.6    936    19.8    31.3    C+
Mincher, D      144.9   1400    16.8    31.3    B-
Pipp, W         167.2   1872    14.5    31.2    A
Epstein, M      111.2    907    19.9    31.0    C-
Luderus, F      140.0   1346    16.8    30.8    B-
Bonura, Z       110.9    917    19.6    30.7    B+
Harris, J       114.9    970    19.2    30.7    n/r
Doyle, J        147.6   1564    15.3    30.0    C+
Stahl, J        113.1    981    18.7    30.0    C-
Tucker, T       151.4   1687    14.5    29.7    C+
McQuinn, G      144.8   1550    15.1    29.6    A-
Hoblitzell, D   131.2   1318    16.1    29.2    C+
Etten, N        104.3    937    18.0    28.5    F
Parker, W       123.3   1288    15.5    27.8    A+
Grimm, C        158.0   2166    11.8    27.6    A-
Morrill, J      121.0   1265    15.5    27.6    B
Clendenon, D    121.5   1362    14.5    26.6    C-
Gandil, C       109.9   1147    15.5    26.5    B+
Foutz, D        108.0   1135    15.4    26.2    A+
Sheely, E       110.2   1234    14.5    25.5    B-
Lockman, W      128.3   1666    12.5    25.3    B-
Pepitone, J     115.4   1397    13.4    24.9    B-
Robinson, E     111.1   1315    13.7    24.8    C+
Power, V        120.2   1627    12.0    24.0    A+
Miller, Dot     113.8   1589    11.6    23.0    A-
Bransfield, K   101.0   1330    12.3    22.4    C+

Bill Terry is the only outlier electee, but he is an A+ fielder. Its nice to see that Leonard and Suttles MLE numbers justify their election along this line.

Beckley has the most career BWS of any unelected player, plus he has schedule length issues which would bump his numbers up a bit. Chance obviously has career-length concerns, but when he played he was elite.

I didn't think Cepeda or Cash would do so well. In fact, as an A- fielder, the only real knock on Cash will be his corked-bat admission.

Vernon and Fournier may have some upward adjustments, but I still don't think that puts them above Sisler, which appears to be the bottom line of electability.
   129. Jim Sp Posted: October 13, 2005 at 05:34 PM (#1681651)
Interesting...I was also coming to the conclusion that Cash is a pretty good candidate. Corking the bat doesn't really bother me.
   130. sunnyday2 Posted: October 13, 2005 at 05:57 PM (#1681727)
Ron, your "total" is Career/10 + BWS/162, right? If so the career differential is from 54 to 10 while the rates vary from 34 to 12. So this method is exactly 2/3 career and 1/3 rate. And rate is sometimes more of a measure of "lack of normal decline" than it is of peak or anything else, and/or it is powerless to identify players who couldn't stay inthe lineup. So, this list or method lacks any peak or even prime measure.

Still it's a reasonable list. I'll have to look up that Musial fella. And Beckley and Sisler are obviously the best ML backloggers. I think this method overrates Chance on the basis of his low in-season peak games played and Dave Orr on lack of decline.
   131. ronw Posted: October 13, 2005 at 08:33 PM (#1682120)

Right on the "total" measure and right on no peak. I tend to think that WS/162 does to some extent represent prime, but I understand that it necessarily includes non-prime measures. As for players who couldn't stay in the lineup, that is not reflected in the "total" figure, but rather in the games played total.

I'm not saying that this is even a system of selecting players. It's just one way of identifying voting trends and candidates.
   132. OCF Posted: October 13, 2005 at 08:43 PM (#1682159)
Through 1980, huh? I'll tell you what that chart looks like to me. There was a first golden age of first basemen headlined by ABC. Then there was a long, and much discussed drought, until Gehrig heralded the beginning of a second golden age, from which we have also elected Foxx, Mize, Greenberg, Terry, Suttles and Leonard.

And then there's a second long drought. Perhaps either Cepeda or Cash could break through but that would be far from a sure thing. (For the purposes of this comment, I still prefer to think of Musial as an outfielder.)

The drought-breaker is likely to be McCovey, who becomes eligible in 1986. And after that, a third golden age of first basemen begins to unfold.

For a cheap look, I ran through the yearly lists of the top 5 players in each league in OPS+ from 1975 through 2005, looking for players I would primarily identify as first basemen. This look misses Tony Perez, whose top-5 OPS+ seasons were 1970 and 1973. The full list contains many who won't be serious candidates for a variety of reasons, but there are also some sure winners in there. (And yes, I know that Pedro Guerrero doesn't count as a first baseman, but I don't know what else to do with him.)

Bagwell, J.; Carew, R.; Clark, J.; Clark, W.; Cooper, C.; Davis, A,: Delgado, C.; Fielder, C.; Galarraga, A.; Giambi, Ja.; Guerrero, P.; Helton, T.; Hernandez, K.; Karros, E.; Kruk, J.; Lee, D.; Mattingly, D.; McGriff, F.; McGwire, M.; Murray, E.; Olerud, J.; Palmiero, R.; Powell, B.; Pujols, A.; Sweeney, M.; Thomas, F.; Thome, J.; Thornton, A.; Vaughn, M.
   133. OCF Posted: October 13, 2005 at 09:26 PM (#1682283)
I should review the thread more before posting: Marc made almost exactly the same point in #120 (and double-posted in in #121.)
   134. sunnyday2 Posted: October 13, 2005 at 09:56 PM (#1682347)
Well, O, that was 19 months ago. I certainly didn't remember it.
   135. KJOK Posted: October 15, 2005 at 12:41 AM (#1684440)
New Baseball Encyclopedia Player Overall Wins for 1B:

George Sisler - 27
Jack Fournier - 24
Frank Chance - 23
Jake Beckley -23
Fred Tenney - 23
Ed Konetchy - 21
   136. sunnyday2 Posted: October 15, 2005 at 02:14 AM (#1684659)
They got that one right ;-)
   137. Kelly in SD Posted: October 15, 2005 at 08:22 AM (#1684978)
Here are my First Basemen. See Catchers Thread post 128 for the method to my madness. The percent figure is how close a player comes to reaching the maximum. 60% gets you in (most of the time...)

A caveat here. The ABC boys come out 2nd through 4th because they played forever in shortened seasons that get adjusted using a straight-line scale. They were all no-brainers anyway.

*Lou Gehrig         84.8%
*Cap Anson          77.3%
*Dan Brouthers      76.6%
*Roger Connor       76.4%
*Jimmie Foxx        75.2%
*Johnny Mize        70.7%
Dick Allen          68.0%
Willie McCovey      67.7%
*Buck Leonard       66.4%
*Hank Greenberg     66.1%
Eddie Murray        64.3%
Will Clark          63.5%
Mark McGwire        62.8%
Harmon Killebrew    61.9%
*Mule Suttles       59.8%
*Bill Terry         59.3%
George Sisler       58.6%
Keith Hernandez     58.4%
Ben Taylor          57.9%
Frank Chance        57.7%
Norm Cash           57.1%
Jack Fournier       57.0%
Tony Perez          55.7%
Orlando Cepeda      55.6%
Don Mattingly       54.1%
Ed Konetchy         53.2%
Gil Hodges          51.6%
Dolph Camili        51.2%
Boog Powell         51.1%
Mickey Vernon       50.7%
Jim Bottomley       50.1%
Jake Beckley        49.0%
Steve Garvey        48.7%
Jake Daubert        46.6%
Rudy York           46.4%
Phil Cavaretta      46.3%
Ted Kluzsewski      46.2%
Frank McCormick     44.7%
Stuffy McInnis      42.8%
Joe Judge           42.3%
Joe Kuhel           41.4%  

I have Musial as a LeftFielder. I never figured Joe Start because he was elected before I got involved in the HoM and I didn't know how to figure his NA and pre-NA play. I haven't figured McGriff, Galarraga, or Vaughn or any active players. My list does not extend as far as Ron's. Dave Orr/Harry Davis are his highest ranking players that I have not ranked.
   138. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: October 18, 2008 at 06:43 AM (#2986206)
OK, here's the next segment in my lists of current candidates. (And I appreciate the thanks.) Once again, the criteria are 1)Received votes in 2008, 2)2009 eligible worthy of discussion, 3)received votes in last 10 years, 4)In my consideration set, and 5)Highest ranked player in NHBA who hasn't yet shown up. The quotes are from the "best friends" of the players on the 2008 ballot.

Tony Perez (17th, 182 points, 11 votes)

1964-1986, 2777 games played, .279/.341/.463, OPS+ 122, 349 WS, 114.5 WARP1

(Also saw significant time at 3B)

Rusty Priske - 2: If it isn't clear by now, I heavily support career as deciding criteria.

AJM - 2: Long career (23rd in games, 34th in total bases, 62nd in runs created) and a nice peak split between third and first.

DanG - 2: Even-steven with Staub in win shares, but drubs Rusty in WARP3; in 12-year weighted prime Perez beats him 8.41 to 7.43. Career lovers delight with enough peak to make him great. Firstbasmen with most Total Bases over a 15-year period, 1949-98:

1977-91 4181 E. Murray
1967-81 3915 T.Perez
1959-73 3810 H. Killebrew
1972-86 3800 S. Garvey
1958-72 3684 O. Cepeda
1966-80 3430 L. May
1973-87 3400 C. Cooper
1963-77 3379 D. Allen
1973-87 3375 B. Buckner
1963-77 3360 W. McCovey

Norm Cash (32nd, 118 points, 10 votes)

1958-1974, 2089 games played, .271/.374/.488, OPS+ 139, 273 WS, 99.5 WARP1

Al Peterson - 4: Interesting debate with the Perez/Cepeda/Cash comparison. There appears to be fielding value on his end than the others at 1B.

Ben Taylor (43rd, 79 points, 7 votes)

1910-1929, Negro Leagues, played too early for MLEs to be prepared, also had some success as a pitcher.

rawagman - 4: Can't find the peak, but a better prime (through the roof), career and glove than Beckley. I think he may be the player most underrated by the electorate. (PHOM)

Orlando Cepeda (49th, 57 points, 5 votes)

1958-1974, 2124 games played, .297/.350/.499, OPS+ 133, 310 WS, 96.1 WARP1

Tom D - 5: Had one foot in the door before he was 26. He won an MVP after that.

Frank Chance (66th, 37 points, 3 votes)

1898-1914, 1287 games played, .296/.394/.394, OPS+ 135, 237 WS, 76 WARP1

TomH - 7: A great player on great teams. As good a hitter as Gavy Cravath.

Luke Easter (76th (Tie), 23 points, 1 vote)

MLB Career: 1949-1954, 491 games played, .274/.350/.481, OPS+ 124, 63 WS, 19 WARP1
MLE (one version): 1941-1955, 1919 games played, .295/.373/.545, 342 WS

(There are many complexities to Easter's case, including several MLEs depending on when you start and stop giving him credit, both for Negro and Minor Leagues.)

Tiboreau - 2: We know that he had a long career (records of play with top Negro League teams in late ‘30s, early ‘40s and continued to play in the minors until the early ‘60s). We know he had the potential for big play (1948 and, when healthy, ’52, ’56 and ’58). What we don’t know is how well he would have played in the first half of his career, during his twenties. Yet, as we dig deeper into the backlog I find myself more willing to elect a player with a good career who showed the potential for greatness than one with a long career of merely above average play or one with short period of definite greatness during an abbreviated career.

Don Mattingly (86th (Tie), 14 points, 2 votes)

1982-1995, 1785 games played, .307/.358/.471, OPS+ 127, 263 WS, 71.4 WARP1

SWW - 13: Considering the toll taken by injuries, he has surprising seasonal numbers, including ink. Compares quite favorably with Perez and Cepeda, but too short a career to hang out up near them. We’re certainly not hurting for first basemen. I will be very amused to see him in a Dodger uniform next year.

Jack Fournier (96th (Tie), 8 points, 1 vote)

1912-1927, 1530 games played, .313/.392/.483, OPS+ 142, 231 WS, 75.7 WARP1

(Has claims for minor league credit as well.)

mulder & scully - 13: (PHOM 1997): Noticed that I forgotten about him when he is given appropriate credit for 1917, 1918, and 1919. Remember he did have a 142 OPS+ for his career.
Top 10 in league in 1915, 1918 (minor league credit) 1921, 1923, 1924, 1925. Rank in league/majors: 5th t/7th t, (9th/17th), 5th t/14th t, 5th t/10th t, 3rd/4th, 3rd/6th.
Best first baseman in league: 1915, 1921, 1923, 1924, 1925. Best in majors: 1915, 1923, 1924, 1925.
I believe the MLEs for Fournier are too low because they give him OPS+ of 117, 137, and 122 at ages 27, 28, 29. Those would be his 8th/10th/and 11th highest OPS+ for his career. He may not have set career highs but I think they would have been more line with his career.
Boosted onto the ballot by after finishing the DanR adjustments for 1917-1919.

Mickey Vernon (99th (Tie), 7 points, 1 vote)

1939-1960, 2409 games played, .286/.359/.428, OPS+ 116, 296 WS, 84.5 WARP1

EricC - 14: Did have some all-star type seasons at 1B, but basically a "career" candidate all the way. Credit for two probable peak years missed to WWII, and belief that pre- expansion 1950s baseball had some of the toughest competiton of all time, based on teams/population makes his career look like a slightly better version of Tony Perez's career.

Mark Grace (2009 Eligible)

If John or Joe ever sets up discussion threads for the new players, I think these links will work.

1988-2003, 2245 games played, .303/.383/.442, OPS+ 119, 294 WS, 88.9 WARP1

(Random note - I guessed that Grace and Vernon were each other's most similar players. Correct for Vernon, but Grace's most similar is Keith Hernandez, 912 to 904 for Mickey.)

Andres Galaraga (2009 Eligible)

1985-2004, 2257 games played, .288/.347/.499, OPS+ 118, 251 WS, 65.5 WARP1

Ed Konetchy (Devin's consideration set)

1907-1921, 2085 games played, .281/.346/.403, OPS+ 122, 287 WS, 96.7 WARP1

(Discussion also includes George Sisler.)

Pedro Guerrero (Devin's consideration set)

1978-1992, 1536 games played, .300/.370/.480, OPS+ 137, 246 WS, 74.3 WARP1

(Also played some 3B, although not particularly well)

Boog Powell (NHBA selection)

1961-1977, 2042 games played, .266/.361/.462, OPS+ 134, 282 WS, 89.1 WARP1
   139. djrelays Posted: October 27, 2010 at 03:05 PM (#3676779)
I happened across this article about the evolving nature of first base. It was written by A's first baseman and captain Harry Davis for the Philadelphia North American in 1909. The version here was published in the Washington (D.C.) Herald, July 11, 1909 (Sporting Section, page 3, columns 6-7.)

Davis cites Fred Tenney as the first of the "modern" first basemen. Tenney became the Boston Beaneaters 1B in 1897.;words=Harry Davis

The only HoM first basemen elected from the 25-year window of 1896 to 1920 (with the important part of their careers in this window) are George Sisler (who started as a regular in 1916) and Jake Beckley (who was last a regular in 1906.)

I understand that the hitting by first basemen during this period was well below that in other eras, and that the best 1Bs in this time often had short or interrupted careers (Sisler, Frank Chance). But under the "fairness to all eras" doctrine, one could justify another HoMer who represents the best of this era, perhaps one who helps plug the 10-year gap between Beckley and Sisler.
   140. DL from MN Posted: October 27, 2010 at 03:28 PM (#3676810)
Ben Taylor - 1913-1929 playing career
   141. DanG Posted: October 27, 2010 at 05:17 PM (#3676910)
Most WAR, debut 1889-1914, at least 50% career G at 1B
Rk             Player WAR/pos OPS+   PA From   To   Age    G    R    H  RBI  SB   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1        Frank Chance    49.5  135 5103 1898 1914 21
-37 1288  798 1274  596 403 .296 .394 .394 .788
2         Ed Konetchy    44.9  122 8664 1907 1921 21
-35 2085  972 2150  992 255 .281 .346 .403 .749
3         Fred Tenney    42.8  109 8809 1894 1911 22
-39 1994 1278 2231  688 285 .294 .371 .358 .730
4       Jack Fournier    40.5  142 6033 1912 1927 22
-37 1530  822 1631  859 146 .313 .392 .483 .875
5         Harry Davis    38.5  119 7379 1895 1917 21
-43 1755 1001 1841  951 285 .277 .335 .408 .743
6        Jake Daubert    38.2  117 8742 1910 1924 26
-40 2014 1117 2326  722 251 .303 .360 .401 .760
7          Dan McGann    36.2  117 6047 1896 1908 24
-36 1436  842 1482  727 282 .284 .364 .381 .745
8          Wally Pipp    30.1  103 7820 1913 1928 20
-35 1872  974 1941  997 125 .281 .341 .408 .749
9      Stuffy McInnis    29.8  105 8623 1909 1927 18
-36 2128  872 2405 1062 172 .307 .343 .381 .723
10       George Burns    28.8  112 7233 1914 1929 21
-36 1866  901 2018  951 154 .307 .354 .429 .783
11         Joe Harris    24.7  132 3574 1914 1928 23
-37  970  461  963  517  36 .317 .404 .472 .877
12         Jack Doyle    24.5  105 6589 1889 1905 19
-35 1569  977 1811  971 518 .299 .351 .385 .736
13          Hal Chase    22.6  112 7939 1905 1919 22
-36 1919  980 2158  941 363 .291 .319 .391 .710
14        Fred Merkle    20.5  109 6426 1907 1926 18
-37 1638  720 1580  733 272 .273 .331 .383 .714 
   142. Paul Wendt Posted: November 05, 2010 at 04:21 PM (#3684527)
DL (#140) has also revived the argument for Ben Taylor at "Rafael Palmeiro" #15. There he credits Taylor with 20 seasons. Probably Taylor's career dates should be 1911-1929 or one season longer.

What should we make of the chronological gap between Brouthers-Connors and Gehrig-Foxx who debuted about 45 seasons apart? That casts Jake Beckley and George Sisler as gap-fillers (as DL says). Here are some observations without a bottom line.

1. Sisler's election was slow, about 50 campaigns. Beckley's was tortured.

2. Sisler, Bill Terry, and finally Beckley were ranked at the bottom of all firstbasemen by a special election during the year following the completion of tri-weekly cycles. That suggests persistent doubts whether they belong in the group.

3. Beckley debuted 1888, only eight years after Connor. Sisler debuted 1915, only eight years before Gehrig. Beckley & Sisler played about half of their careers as colleagues of Connor & Gehrig and Beckley retired eight years before Sisler debuted. They don't so much "fill" the gap as nibble at the edges.

4. We credit Ben Taylor with a major debut sometime 1910 to 1913 and a finale in 1929, one year before Sisler. Another nibble. If Taylor is elected there will still be no Hall of Merit firstbaseman who debuted during the 1890s or 1900s.

The general point pertains to all arguments that refer to the time distribution of Hall of Merit careers, and "fairness to all eras", disaggregated by primary fielding position. How long a gap should concern us, and support an argument for a player who fills it (or nibbles)? Alternatively, how much weight should a gap of what size lend to the argument in favor of a best gap-filler?

Back to first base: Should 25+ years between Beckley and Sisler be a troubling gap? Should 20+ years between Beckley and Taylor be a troubling gap?
   143. DL from MN Posted: November 05, 2010 at 05:26 PM (#3684566)
I agree with the earlier debut for Ben Taylor. Wiki is not right. Ben Taylor would fill half of the gap.
   144. Howie Menckel Posted: November 07, 2010 at 04:02 AM (#3685221)
This is the list I have, might not be perfect but should mostly tell the tale at least

HOM 1Bs, by year, through 2010 election. Must have played half a team's games and mainly this position to be listed:
1860-71 - Start
1872 - Start, Hines
1873 - Start, Anson, O'Rourke 1B-OF
1874 - Start, Anson 1B-3B, O'Rourke
1875 - Start, Anson 1B-OF, McVey 1B-OC
1876 - Spalding, Start, McVey
1877 - Start, Spalding, White 1B-OF, Sutton 1B-2B
1878 - Start
1879 - Start, Anson, McVey, Brouthers
1880 - Start, Anson
1881 - Start, Anson, White 1B-2O, Connor
1882 - Start, Anson, Brouthers, Connor 1B-O3, Stovey 1B-OF
1883 - Start, Anson, Brouthers, Connor, Stovey
1884 - Start, Anson, Brouthers, Stovey
1885 - Start, Anson, Brouthers, Connor, Stovey
1886-87 - Anson, Brouthers, Connor
1888 - Anson, Brouthers, Connor, Beckley
1889-90 - Hines, Anson, Brouthers, Connor, Beckley
1891 - Anson, Brouthers, Connor, Beckley
1892 - Anson, Brouthers, Connor, Ewing, Beckley
1893-94 - Anson, Brouthers, Connor, Beckley
1895-96 - Anson, Connor, Ewing, Beckley
1897 - Anson, Beckley, Lajoie
1898 - Beckley, Wagner 1B-3B
1899 - Beckley
1900 - Beckley, Delahanty, Jennings
1901 - Beckley, Jennings, Kelley
1902 - Beckley, Jennings
1903 - Beckley
1904 - Beckley, Kelley
1905-09 - Beckley
1911 - Lajoie 1B-2B
1915 - Sisler 1B-OF-P
1916-17 - Sisler
1918 - Sisler, Magee 1B-OF
1919-20 - Sisler, Heilmann
1921-22 - Sisler
1923 - JWilson
1924 - Sisler, JWilson, Terry
1925 - Sisler, JWilson, Terry, Gehrig, Suttles
1926 - Sisler, Terry, Gehrig, Suttles, Dihigo UT
1927 - Sisler, Terry, Gehrig
1928 - Sisler, Terry, Gehrig, Suttles
1929 - Sisler, JWilson, Terry, Gehrig, Suttles, Lloyd, Foxx
1930 - Sisler, Terry, Gehrig, Suttles, Lloyd, Foxx, Charleston
1931 - Terry, Gehrig, Foxx, Charleston
1932 - Terry, Gehrig, Suttles, Foxx, Charleston
1933 - Terry, Gehrig, Suttles, Foxx, Charleston, Greenberg
1934-35 - JWilson, Terry, Gehrig, Suttles, Foxx, Charleston, Greenberg, Leonard
1936 - JWilson, Terry, Gehrig, Suttles, Foxx, Charleston, Leonard, Mize
1937 - JWilson, Gehrig, Foxx, Charleston, Greenberg, Leonard, Mize
1938 - Gehrig, Suttles, Foxx, Greenberg, Leonard, Mize
1939 - Suttles, Foxx, Greenberg, Leonard, Mize
1940 - Foxx 1B-C, Greenberg, Leonard, Mize
1941-42 - Foxx, Leonard, Mize
1943-44 - Leonard
1945 - Foxx 1B-3B, Leonard
1946 - Greenberg, Leonard, Mize, JRobinson, Musial 1B(OF)
1947 - Greenberg, Leonard, Mize, JRobinson, Musial
1948 - Leonard, Mize
1949 - Mize
1950 - Mize, Irvin 1B-OF
1951 - Mize
1955-56 - Musial 1B-OF
1957-58 - Musial
1959 - Musial, FRobinson 1B-OF, McCovey*
1960 - FRobinson 1B-OF, McCovey*, Killebrew 1B-3B
1961 - McCovey*, Killebrew 1B-3B
1962-64 - Banks
1965 - Banks, McCovey, Killebrew 1B-3B
1966 - Banks, McCovey
1967 - Mantle, Mathews 1B-3B, Banks, McCovey, Killebrew
1968 - Mantle, Banks, McCovey, Killebrew, Rose
1969 - Banks, McCovey, Rose, Allen, Torre
1970 - McCovey, Rose, Allen 1B-3B, Yastrzemski 1B-OF
1971 - Aaron 1B-OF, McCovey, Killebrew 1B-3B, Rose
1972 - Aaron, McCovey, Killebrew, Rose, Allen, Stargell 1B(OF)
1973 - McCovey, Yastrzemski 1B(3B), Rose, Torre 1B-3B
1974 - McCovey, Yastrzemski 1B-OF, BiWilliams 1B-OF, Rose, Freehan 1B-C, Allen, Torre
1975 - McCovey, Yastrzemski, Allen, Stargell
1976 - Yastrzemski 1B-OF, Allen, Stargell, Torre, Carew, DaEvans, KHernandez
1977 - McCovey, Carew, KHernandez
1978-79 - McCovey, Stargell, Carew, KHernandez, EMurray
1980 - Carew 1B-DH, KHernandez, EMurray
1981 - Carew, KHernandez, EMurray
1982 - Rose, Carew, RSmith, KHernandez, EMurray, Boggs 1B-3B
1983 - Rose, Carew 1B-DH, DaEvans 1B(3B), KHernandez, EMurray
1984 - Rose 1B(OF), Carew, KHernandez, EMurray
1985 - Rose, Carew, DaEvans 1B(DH), Schmidt 1B-3B, KHernandez, EMurray
1986 - DaEvans 1B(DH), KHernandez, EMurray, WClark
1987 - DaEvans 1B(DH), KHernandez, DwEvans 1B-OF, EMurray, WClark
1988 - KHernandez, EMurray 1B-DH, WClark
1989 - DaEvans 1B-3B, Brett, EMurray, WClark
1990 - Brett 1B(DH), EMurray, WClark
1991-93 - EMurray, WClark
1994-98 - WClark
2000 - WClark

Fred McGriff (174 pts in 2010) would be 1988-03
TPerez (120) would be 1965-66; 1972-80; 1981 (1B-DH); 1983
   145. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 17, 2010 at 04:49 AM (#3691713)
I happened across this article about the evolving nature of first base. It was written by A's first baseman and captain Harry Davis for the Philadelphia North American in 1909. The version here was published in the Washington (D.C.) Herald, July 11, 1909 (Sporting Section, page 3, columns 6-7.)

Davis cites Fred Tenney as the first of the "modern" first basemen. Tenney became the Boston Beaneaters 1B in 1897.;words=Harry Davis

The only HoM first basemen elected from the 25-year window of 1896 to 1920 (with the important part of their careers in this window) are George Sisler (who started as a regular in 1916) and Jake Beckley (who was last a regular in 1906.)

I understand that the hitting by first basemen during this period was well below that in other eras, and that the best 1Bs in this time often had short or interrupted careers (Sisler, Frank Chance). But under the "fairness to all eras" doctrine, one could justify another HoMer who represents the best of this era, perhaps one who helps plug the 10-year gap between Beckley and Sisler.

Very interesting dj, Dan R, if you are out there, what does your system show regarding 1B of this era? Could we be considerably underrating someone like Frank Chance?
   146. Paul Wendt Posted: November 23, 2010 at 04:58 AM (#3695768)
Regarding Tenney this fits the conventional judgment of his fielding and specific credit for inventing the 3-6-3 doubleplay.

During the 1900 season, maybe also 1901, Boston Globe sportwriter Tim Murnane (an 1870s/80s player) sharply and persistently criticized 2B Bobby Lowe for costing Boston a lot because he did not cover first; he would routinely run to second on a groundball to Tenney. The lost double-plays in Murnane's mind's eye would be 3-6-4.

In the 19-aughts Addie Joss recalled, or someone else recalled, about his time in the minors (1900-1901) that they were the first pitchers taught to cover firstbase. I don't recall whether that recollection was specific to the 3-1 where 1B comes in to field a bunt or the 3-1 and 3-6-1 (even 4-1) where the 1B ranges behind the basepath.
   147. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 23, 2010 at 11:04 PM (#3696319)
Nope, definitely not. This is precisely what my WARP are designed to evaluate. The StDevs and Rep Levels sheet in my WARP archive shows where I've pegged replacement level for each position from 1893 to the present (essentially the average performance of the worst 3/8 of major league starters at the position over the surrounding nine years, plus an adjustment to bring that average in line with actual Freely Available players from the 1987-2005 period). The graph shows an increase in 1B replacement level over time segmented into two big jumps: a move from 1.5 wins below average in 1893 to 1.0 in 1905, and another from 0.8 in 1950 up to 0.3 in 1959 and all the way up to 0.0 in 1973 (the introduction of the DH pulled it back down after that to around the '59 level). If 1B were really harder to play in the deadball era, you would expect the performance of the worst starters to reflect that. In fact, the worst 1B starters still easily outhit the worst starters at all other non-outfield positions over that timespan. This leads me to conclude that there just didn't happen to be any great players at 1B in those days--or at the very least, that no players at 1B distinguished themselves from their positional baseline by a HoM-worthy amount.

By contrast, as has been discussed in countless threads at this point, the bottom began to fall out of SS replacement level starting in 1960, and it didn't start creeping back up until around 1985. The teams that had the Concepcións and Campanerises in those days were locking in a huge advantage over the ones that had Rob Picciolo or Alfredo Griffin. The reason I vote for those guys is the same reason I don't vote for Chance or Ed Konetchy or Pie Traynor or Mickey Vernon--guys who may have been the best player at their positions in their eras, but were not separating themselves from the worst players at their positions in their eras by a sufficiently large margin.
   148. DL from MN Posted: November 23, 2010 at 11:28 PM (#3696333)
> Pie Traynor

Traynor is an enigma. His defensive stats do not match up with his reputation. His fielding reputation is similar to Collins, Nettles, Robinson and Schmidt but his stats are more in line with Boggs, Santo and Heinie Groh. If his actual production was closer to his reputation then he should be on my ballot.
   149. jingoist Posted: November 24, 2010 at 12:38 AM (#3696359)
"Who can?"
"Ameri-can; American home heating"!

That's how Pie Traynor was introduced to a 12 year old watching TV in Pittsburgh in the late 1950's.

Pie had stuck around Pittsburgh after his playing days and evidently "graduated" to doing commercials for a local heating/air conditioning company that advertised during the local wrestling show hosted by "Chillie Billie" Cardell.

Honus had died some years earlier and Pie was our lone visual legacy to past Pirate glories, the 1925 and 27 teams.

I think Pirate fans may have had an inflated sense of Pie's value; but he was a Hall of Famer and living in Pittsburgh.

We didn't have many home town heros, especially after Rickey traded Kiner a few years earlier.

Pie could be your "missing link".
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