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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

George Sisler and Ed Konetchy

Two outstanding first basemen who were contemporaries for a few years.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 28, 2004 at 05:39 PM | 137 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Paul Wendt Posted: October 19, 2004 at 04:07 PM (#925834)
Before his famous seasons that help terminate the Deadball Era in historical hindsight and SABR organization: George Sisler was the Baseball Magazine "All America" 1Bman, 1917-1919, and its "All American League" selection in 1916, his first full season.

http://world.std.com/~pgw/Deadball/all.america.html
Deadball Era Resources

His prompt identification as a professional star doesn't mean that Sisler's impact was sensational. Like some high school basketball players today, and collegians 25 years ago, he was known as a great player before his arrival in the majors, as a University of Michigan collegian.

Konetchy was never selected by Baseball Magazine (thru 1919) but he is the STATS retroactive League All-Star 1909-1912 and FL1914. STATS selected Wally Pipp, Sisler, George H. Burns, and Sisler for AL 1916-1919.
Deadball Era Resources
   2. yest Posted: October 24, 2004 at 04:59 AM (#934900)
can some please explain to me how someone who finishes 3rd (Sisler 1927)or 4th (Sisler 1925) in his league in hits can be considered below replacment level?
   3. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 24, 2004 at 06:39 AM (#934949)
Yest, Sisler was above replacement level in 1925 with is 110 OPS+, but he wasn't really a good player. He was an okay hitter for a 1B that year.

In 1927, his OPS+ was 101, which is pretty close to replacement level for a 1B. Tony Clark, for example, had a 97 OPS+ this year. John Olerud put up a 98. They are the definition of replacement level.

Sisler may have had a lot of hits, but he was also 2nd in the league in AB each of those seasons. He batted leadoff, and he never walked. That's only a slight exaggeration, he walked 51 times combined in the two seasons.

His OBP, .371 and .357 those two seasons, was below the park adjusted league average in each season. Sportsman's Park was a great hitters park back then too.

He was just nothing special after his return. He only had two seasons significantly above replacement level after 1922, those being 1925 and 1928, and neither were anything special (110 OPS+).
   4. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 24, 2004 at 02:22 PM (#935013)
This is from the '36 discussion thread:

Sisler's OPS+ ranking as a first baseman (1924-1930)

1924: 8th in the AL; tied for 12th in the majors
1925: 5th in the AL; tenth in the majors
1926: 7th in the AL; tied for 13th in the majors
1927: 3th in the AL; tenth in the majors
1928: 6th in the NL; eleventh in the majors
1929: 5th in the NL; twelfth in the majors
1930: 8th in the NL; fifteenth in the majors

George who?

He was consistently below average after 1922.

Two reasons he still had many hits after 1922:

1) His teams had nobody else to take over his position so he was able to obtain many PA by default

or

2) They were still dreaming about the pre-1922 Sisler and closed their eyes to the guy that was actually playing after 1922.

He really couldn't hit or field anymore and there is no way at getting around that fact. He was never close to making the top half of major league first basemen after 1922. While I still think those years add something to Sisler's HoM case, they're minimal at best.
   5. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 24, 2004 at 06:58 PM (#935159)
John,

I think that Sisler may have gotten the playing time after 1924 because batting average was still the central hitting statistic of the time. That and his hit totals just made him overrated. I doubt the Browns really looked at OBP and gave little heed to positional and park adjustments. Though, your reasons are entirely valid as well.
   6. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 24, 2004 at 08:53 PM (#935244)
I think that Sisler may have gotten the playing time after 1924 because batting average was still the central hitting statistic of the time.

That's 100% true. We'll make it that reason #3. :-)
   7. Howie Menckel Posted: October 25, 2004 at 03:39 PM (#936545)
Meanwhile, in 1917-22, Sisler's OPS rankings for the entire American League were:
4-4-4-2-6-3
Without even looking, I suspect a large portion of those who finished ahead of him are HOMers.

He's damn overrated post-1923, but this guy was a stud in the first half of his career. Sometimes I almost think voters penalize Sisler for having the mediocre second part, like it's so 'romantic' to only have 7-8 years of significant play.
Sisler's in the middle of my ballot.
   8. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 25, 2004 at 04:42 PM (#936645)
No argument from me, Howie, pre-1923. He was damn good and would be an easy selection if not for the sinus condition. Unfortunately, his play suffered greatly after 1922.

Sometimes I almost think voters penalize Sisler for having the mediocre second part

I'm not penalizing him at all. There's just not that much value there and, for the most part, becomes padding for his stats.

If anything, I give him a little more credit for his Deadball play than the uber stats do. It's just a balancing act and he just falls short for me.
   9. yest Posted: February 28, 2005 at 12:10 AM (#1168862)
From baseballreference.com

in 1924 Sisler finished 7th in Hits, 7th in triples, 10th in HRs, and 8th in steals
in 1925 Sisler finished 6th in RBIs, 4th in Hits, 5th in total bases, 3rd in triples, and 9th in times on base
in 1926 Sisler finished 9th in triples
in 1927 Sisler finished 9th in RBIs, 3rd in Hits, 8th in total bases, and 1st in steals
in 1928 Sisler finished 4th in batting average
in 1929 Sisler finished 9th in Hits

For those who think Sisler’s RBIs post injury were solely do to his teammates
in 1925 Sisler finished 6th in RBIs while his team finished 6th in on base%
in 1927 Sisler finished 9th in RBIs while his team finished 6th in on base%
   10. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 28, 2005 at 12:53 AM (#1168926)
After 1922, Sisler never made the top-ten in OPS, OPS+, Slugging % or OBP again. Whatever rankings he made on the counting stat lists post-'22 can be accrued to his durability, not because of the quality of his offense (which was mediocre at best).
   11. yest Posted: February 28, 2005 at 01:10 AM (#1168952)
After 1922, Sisler never made the top-ten in OPS, OPS+, Slugging % or OBP again. Whatever rankings he made on the counting stat lists post-'22 can be accrued to his durability, not because of the quality of his offense (which was mediocre at best).

even acording to you shouldn't durability be rewarded
   12. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 28, 2005 at 01:54 AM (#1169062)
even acording to you shouldn't durability be rewarded

That's about the only thing that I reward him for those post-1922 years, yest. It's still not enough (I have him at #33 right now) because of the below average quality of his offense at first for those years.

If first base had still been like it was during the Deadball Era, that would have helped Sisler's case considerably.
   13. yest Posted: February 28, 2005 at 02:29 AM (#1169166)
It's still not enough (I have him at #33 right now) because of the below average quality of his offense at first for those years.

wouldn't Foxx and Gehrig have a very signifagant effect on the avrage first baseman?
   14. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 28, 2005 at 02:39 AM (#1169185)
wouldn't Foxx and Gehrig have a very signifagant effect on the avrage first baseman?

The problem is that first base changed during the Lively Ball Era. You didn't find Gehrig or Foxx-type players at first betweeb 1890-1920. Since the ball stayed in the infield more, a premium was placed on more defense at the expense of offense. That all changed during the twenties.
   15. yest Posted: February 28, 2005 at 02:51 AM (#1169215)
The problem is that first base changed during the Lively Ball Era. You didn't find Gehrig or Foxx-type players at first betweeb 1890-1920. Since the ball stayed in the infield more, a premium was placed on more defense at the expense of offense. That all changed during the twenties.
granted but comparing Sisler to the almost unanimous 2 best first basmen ever seems a little harsh
   16. Michael Bass Posted: February 28, 2005 at 02:55 AM (#1169227)
His OPS+'s for these eras were:

91
110
85
101
110
98
81

I would submit there is no era, even including the huge pre-Gehrig 1B HOMer drought, during which those were acceptable OPS+'s for 1Bs.
   17. yest Posted: February 28, 2005 at 03:08 AM (#1169259)
of course his ops+ is going to be low because ops under rates singles hitters which is what Sisler was a this time. Also by playing more often then most players his avrage stats were lowered.
   18. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 28, 2005 at 03:34 AM (#1169317)
of course his ops+ is going to be low because ops under rates singles hitters which is what Sisler was a this time.

He wasn't Tommy Thevenow: we're not really talking about a Punch and Judy hitter here. He had a few seasons where is Isolated Power (which measures his extra-base power) was over the league average.
   19. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 28, 2005 at 03:36 AM (#1169326)
Also by playing more often then most players his avrage stats were lowered.

True, but I weight his rate stats equally with his counting stats, so that won't hurt him in that regard.
   20. Michael Bass Posted: February 28, 2005 at 04:03 AM (#1169384)
Uh...I strongly dispute that description of singles hitters being underestimated by OPS. By my count, the first base one gets for a hit is double counted in OPS as compared to walks. Obviously a single is more valuable than a walk, but not twice as valuable.

His OPS+ in the second half of his career is crappy because he was a crappy player during the second half of his career, with an exception of the one year where he reached the lofty heights of average.
   21. yest Posted: February 28, 2005 at 04:12 AM (#1169404)
He wasn't Tommy Thevenow: we're not really talking about a Punch and Judy hitter here. He had a few seasons where is Isolated Power (which measures his extra-base power) was over the league average.

Players who had the most singles in the 20‘s in the AL
1. Sam Rice------------1506
2. Harry Heilmann------1284
3. Charlie Jamieson----1266
4. Joe Sewell----------1253
5. George Sisler-------1126
6. Joe Judge-----------1123
7. Eddie Collins-------1056
8. Ty Cobb-------------1048
9. Bucky Harris--------996
10. Bob Meusel---------994
11. Baby Doll Jacobson-986
12. Goose Goslin-------978
13. Bing Miller--------964
14. Bibb Falk----------957
15. Tris Speaker-------953
15. Joe Dugan----------953
17. Lu Blue------------950
18. Jack Tobin---------948
19. Marty McManus------923
20. Wally Gerber-------916
   22. yest Posted: February 28, 2005 at 04:17 AM (#1169413)
Uh...I strongly dispute that description of singles hitters being underestimated by OPS. By my count, the first base one gets for a hit is double counted in OPS as compared to walks. Obviously a single is more valuable than a walk, but not twice as valuable.

that's as HR hitters where the HR to single ratio is 5-2.
   23. yest Posted: February 28, 2005 at 04:33 AM (#1169462)
Sisler's 1925 season of 176 singles is in the top 30 single seasons ever.
Sisler's also in the top 30 most singles ever
   24. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 28, 2005 at 04:36 AM (#1169473)
yest, I'm not disputing that he was a good singles hitter: I was disputing that he was strictly a singles hitter.
   25. yest Posted: February 28, 2005 at 04:39 AM (#1169488)
yest, I'm not disputing that he was a good singles hitter: I was disputing that he was strictly a singles hitter.

but that was a big part of his game and OPS underrates it tremendosly
   26. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 28, 2005 at 04:48 AM (#1169524)
but that was a big part of his game and OPS underrates it tremendosly

I think it's more the case that you're overrating singles, yest.
   27. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: February 28, 2005 at 03:28 PM (#1170242)
Nice list yest, there is ONE HOMer in your top five!

And don't you think that a HR might be worth 2.5 times as much as a single? As I remember a single is worth .4 (roughly) in RC, Linear Weights, and many other similar offensive measures, while a HR is worth more than 1 (1.25 or something). This is born out by painstakingly figuring out the amount of runs all singles have produced throughout baseball history, or at least through a particular era.

It is entirely possible that OPS+ OVERRATES singles compared to these measures, which are the backbone of SLWTS, WS, and VORP. What OPS+ underrates is walks, or OBP in general. I realize that it normalizes both OBP and SLG so it isnt' as far off as raw OPS, but it still treats the two as equals, which they are not. On the other hand, singles are part of both OBP and SLG. They get their fair shake.

And a 1B that is a singles hitter isnt' terribly valuable. We call these guys Doug Mientkiewicz. Want to argue with me that Minky has bene playing anywhere near a HOM level the past 5 years or so?
   28. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: February 28, 2005 at 03:33 PM (#1170247)
I would like to clear up that I am not an enemy of Sisler's by ansy means. He will be #17 this yer for me, and was one my ballot last year and will be again in the future. It is just that his his candidacy rests almost entirely (90-95%) on what he did prior to his sinus infection.

After 1922, he gets a few points for his one slightly above average season and a few points for the extra WS,WARP, hits, HR's, etc. that he piles onto his career total. Those are just small parts of my admittedly peak heavy system.
   29. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: February 28, 2005 at 03:35 PM (#1170250)
I am, however, the enemy of proof reading.
   30. yest Posted: February 28, 2005 at 04:54 PM (#1170356)
Nice list yest, there is ONE HOMer in your top five!
and 3 who placed 8th, 9th, and 31st (with 106 points)in the last election
   31. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: February 28, 2005 at 07:23 PM (#1170695)
Well, if I can help it Joe Sewell will never be in the HOM. Sisler is a real borderline case, a guy who may get lost in the shuffle when we move into the 60's and 70's. Sam Rice, I can safely say, will never be a HOMer. That list is not conclusive to a guy like me who may never put Sewell and Sisler in their PHOM. Also #6 is Joe Judge with only three fewer singles.
   32. yest Posted: March 01, 2005 at 01:55 AM (#1171601)
Also #6 is Joe Judge with only three fewer singles.
and if Joe Judge hit 340 for his career he would also be on my ballot!
   33. Cblau Posted: March 01, 2005 at 02:04 AM (#1171620)
Yest, if it is a fact as you assert that OPS underrates singles hitters, perhaps you can tell us which runs formula which more closely correlates with actual runs evaluates them correctly.

And I don't understand your comment that Sisler's average stats were relatively low due to his high playing time. Gehrig played every game for 14 years; I didn't notice that lowering his averages.
   34. yest Posted: March 01, 2005 at 05:06 AM (#1172042)
I would put a 2-1 ratio for singles to HRs in a high offensive era.
   35. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 01, 2005 at 03:19 PM (#1172520)
I would put a 2-1 ratio for singles to HRs in a high offensive era.

That's fine, yest, but what do you base that on?

Slugging percentage has an extremely high correlation with driving in runs (depending on the opportunities, of course). IOW, the top-ten in park adjusted SLG will usually be the top-ten in highest percenatge of driving in runs per opportunities.

Since Sisler's post-1922 SLG was, at best, mediocre, he wasn't really a good RBI man.
   36. TomH Posted: March 01, 2005 at 04:30 PM (#1172629)
I ran a simple runs created model of 2 different hitters (hi singles & hi HR) in 2 eras (hi & lo offense). All were good hitters for their eras.

In the lo scoring era, it took 2.29 singles to = 1 HR (+1.29 outs)

In the hi scoring era, it took 2.07 singles to = 1 HR (+1.07 outs).

So there probably is some difference, but not huge. At extreme cases, as in slo-pitch softball, it might be down to 1.8-1.0 singles per HR.
   37. yest Posted: March 06, 2005 at 04:44 AM (#1183314)
From Baseball Reference.com
Where Sisler placed in Singles
1916-141-4
1917-149-3
1918-122-5
1919-124-7
1920-171-1
1921-148-5
1922-178-1
1924-148-5
1925-176-2
1926-138-6
1927-156-2
1928-133-9
1929-155-4
Car-2121-29
   38. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 06, 2005 at 08:59 AM (#1183703)
yest, the uber stats like Sisler before his sinus infection with all of his singles, so you can't creditably say that they are underrating him. The real problem is that he was, at best, a mediocre offensive player after 1922. There is no way getting around that fact.
   39. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: March 06, 2005 at 05:19 PM (#1183945)
After 1922 he lost his power and his defense dropped off the table. A singles hitting 1B is, essentially, Doug Mientkiewicz. Maybe Mark Grace without the doubles. In other words, not a HOMer.

Do you have anything else that favors Sisler besides singles? Do doubles, triples, walks, and home runs matter?
   40. yest Posted: March 06, 2005 at 05:42 PM (#1183981)
After 1922 he lost his power and his defense dropped off the table. A singles hitting 1B is, essentially, Doug Mientkiewicz. Maybe Mark Grace without the doubles. In other words, not a HOMer.
see post 22, 25, and 36

Do you have anything else that favors Sisler besides singles? Do doubles, triples, walks, and home runs matter?

see post 9
   41. yest Posted: March 06, 2005 at 05:51 PM (#1183991)
yest, the uber stats like Sisler before his sinus infection with all of his singles, so you can't creditably say that they are underrating him. The real problem is that he was, at best, a mediocre offensive player after 1922. There is no way getting around that fact.

The problem was after 22 he lost most of his power. I'm not saying that Sisler was the same player he was before his injury but that he was still a way above avrege player.
   42. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 06, 2005 at 06:07 PM (#1184002)
The problem was after 22 he lost most of his power.

The other problem is he lost a huge chunk of his BA.

Before 1923: .361
After 1923: .320

It should also be pointed out that a big chunk of his pre-sinus infection BA was created during the Deadball Era, so the difference between those two numbers is actually greater than it appears.

A .320 average during the twenties wasn't anything special.
   43. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: March 06, 2005 at 08:45 PM (#1184247)
I read those posts Yest and they aren't very convincing. A 1B finshing tenth in HR's is supposed to be an argument FOR the HOM? And since he played so much his counting stats don't tell the whole story. I dont' think that playing a lot brings down rate stats so much as playing a lot boosts counting stats. Yes, he should get a boost for plaing time, but givinghim that boost AND a boost for high counting stats is double counting.

1B is an offense first position, the average 1B hits a good deal better than the average hitter. because of this George Sisler was average at best after 1922. And it isnt' like he was Keith Hernandez with the glove after 1922, etiher.
   44. DavidFoss Posted: March 06, 2005 at 09:06 PM (#1184277)
Sisler 1915-22:

AVG/OBP/SLG
.361/.404/.510

AVG+/OBP+/SLG+
135/ 121/ 142

Rank in the plus categories (out of the 34 MLB players with 4000 PA):

2nd/5th/3rd

===========

Sisler 1924-30:

AVG/OBP/SLG
.320/.354/.426

AVG+/OBP+/SLG+
110/ 100/ 104

Rank in the plus categories (out of the 19 MLB players with 4000 PA):

12th/18th/14th

=============

The great numbers in the first list are why he's made my ballot before. The mediocre numbers in the second list is part of why he fell off my ballot this year.
   45. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: March 06, 2005 at 11:35 PM (#1184604)
I stand with you David. Sisler looks to be a gusy that will float on and off my ballot for the foreseeable future.
   46. yest Posted: March 07, 2005 at 03:12 AM (#1184930)
Sisler's OPS+ ranking as a first baseman in 1924: 8th in the AL; tied for 12th in the majors
1924 1B stats-------H…/1B./2B/3B/HR/BB/BA/OBP/SA
George Sisler hit----194/148/27/10-/9--/31-/305/340/421 with 636 at bats
Earl Sheely hit ------171/131/34/3--/3--/95-/320/426/411 with 535 at bats
Joe Judge hit -------167/117/38/9--/3--/53-/324/393/450 with 516 at bats
Wally Pipp hit ------174/116/30/19-/9--/51-/295/352/457 with 589 at bats
Joe Harris hit -------148/100/36/9--/3--/81-/301/406/430 with 491 at bats
George H. Burns hit 143/97-/37/5--/4--/29-/310/370/437 with 462 at bats
Joe Hauser hit ------162/96-/31/8--/27-/56-/288/358/516 with 562 at bats
Lu Blue hit ----------123/88-/26/7--/2--/64-/311/413/428 with 395 at bats
There is no way that Sisler is the worst First Baseman in the AL
   47. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 07, 2005 at 03:20 AM (#1184943)
There is no way that Sisler is the worst First Baseman in the AL

Who said he was the worst, yest? He was the worst regular offensive first baseman rate-wise, but he did play a lot that year so that had value. Unfortunately for Gorgeous George, he still winds up in the second divison of first basemen for 1924.
   48. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 07, 2005 at 03:29 AM (#1184958)
Sisler's numbers in a NL 2005 context would be .263/.298/.425. That's simply dreadful for a first baseman. Any GM that would be happy with those numbers needs his head examined.
   49. yest Posted: March 07, 2005 at 03:33 AM (#1184960)
Who said he was the worst, yest? He was the worst regular offensive first baseman rate-wise, but he did play a lot that year so that had value. Unfortunately for Gorgeous George, he still winds up in the second divison of first basemen for 1924.

who would you rank above Sisler because Judge and Sheely are the only ones I can see ranked above Sisler
   50. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 07, 2005 at 03:46 AM (#1184992)
Actually yest, I'll go on the record that Sisler was the worst all-around AL regular first baseman of 1924 (Burns was close though). Most of the other guys may not have played as much as Sisler (all except Blue played a considerable amount, though), but they were destroying Sisler so much on a per game basis that almost all of them left him eating their dust.
   51. OCF Posted: March 07, 2005 at 03:54 AM (#1185008)
It's almost comical how yest posts the very evidence that undercuts his own argument - and then can't see it himself.

Don't expect this crown to use hits as the column on which to rank these people.

Just as an example, look at Harris:

Sisler leads Harris in hits 194-148. Harris leads in walks 81-31. Using H+BB as a proxy for times on base, that puts them roughly equal, with Harris slightly ahead.

But the same data shows Sisler making 442 outs. (Just the crude version of outs, AB - H.) Harris made 343 outs.

The same number of times on base in 100 fewer outs? I'll take Harris as the better hitter, since there's no great pile of extra base hits to push it the other direction.
   52. yest Posted: March 07, 2005 at 03:55 AM (#1185010)
Sisler's numbers in a NL 2005 context would be .263/.298/.425. That's simply dreadful for a first baseman. Any GM that would be happy with those numbers needs his head examined.

How did you come to that cunclusion expantion, players not caring abought their batting averge, pitchers batting less ext. would make this imposible to compare?
   53. Kelly in SD Posted: March 07, 2005 at 09:48 AM (#1185360)
In 1924 Sisler had the above batting record while playing in the AL's best hitting park by far. From STATS All-Time Sourcebook, Run factors for AL 1924:
StL 120
Bos 106
Phi 99
Chi 99
Det 97
Cle 95
NY 94
Was 91

Home Run Factor:
StL 216
NY 186
Phi 111
Det 97
Chi 64
Cle 61
Bos 52
Was 17

Also, Sisler was last in on base percentage among regular first basemen and 7th out of 8 in slugging.

Extra-base hits:
Hauser 66 / 562 AB or 1 per 8.5
Burns 46 / 462 AB or 1 per 10
Pipp 58 / 589 AB or 1 per 10.2
Harris 48 / 491 AB or 1 per 10.2
Judge 50 / 516 AB or 1 per 10.3
Blue 35 / 395 AB or 1 per 11.3
Sheely 40 / 535 AB or 1 per 13.4
Sisler 46 / 636 AB or 1 per 13.8
   54. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 07, 2005 at 05:14 PM (#1185677)
How did you come to that cunclusion expantion, players not caring abought their batting averge, pitchers batting less ext. would make this imposible to compare?

I wasn't trying to teleport Sisler to our time. I was trying to show approximately how valuable his numbers were using our "currency." As you can see, they weren't very valuable.

BTW, I hope you don't accept the twenties numbers at face value and assume that there were giants back then when it came to hitting for average. I alternately could say that the reason the BA's were so high back then was because the pitchers were terrible - no pitchers today give up as many hits today, so that means those pitchers were horrible in that department, right? Wrong.

Context, context, context.
   55. DavidFoss Posted: March 07, 2005 at 05:16 PM (#1185686)
In 1924 Sisler had the above batting record while playing in the AL's best hitting park by far. From STATS All-Time Sourcebook, Run factors for AL

These appear unadjusted for road games. bb-ref lists STL at a batting park factor of 106 with the other 7 parks bunched between 97-101.

As OCF pointed out, its quite ironic that yest himself posts the best evidence against Sisler. The fact that Sportsman's was a hitters park removes any doubts in my mind.

Lets not forget how good he was from 1915-22, though. He'd been on my ballot for ten years before this years stellar class bumped him off.
   56. OCF Posted: March 07, 2005 at 05:21 PM (#1185692)
This is 1924. As a sidelight, don't forget that Wally Pipp rather famously lost his job the next year - not because he couldn't still play (he could) but because the Yankees came up with someone better.

Sisler in late career has a lot in common with Ernie Banks in late career. These 1924 numbers illustrate the problem. There he was, playing nearly every day and batting high in the order, so he could consume an enormous number of outs without any great power production to counterbalance it. (If you throw in DP and CS, the number of outs is up around 470) He still got R and RBI just because that lineup spot comes with its own opportunities. Why was he in that prime lineup spot? Why did he play against all opponents and pitchers when maybe a platoon arrangement or other substitution pattern might have been justified? Why? Because he was George Sisler, Superstar, that's why!
   57. Daryn Posted: March 07, 2005 at 06:35 PM (#1185843)
FWIW, this discussion will cause me to drop Sisler in my rankings (I have him about 5th right now). Sorry yest.
   58. OCF Posted: March 07, 2005 at 07:03 PM (#1185921)
Lets not forget how good he was from 1915-22, though.

His 1920 and 1922 seasons tower above the rest of that, but yes, let's not forget. (And let's not forget how good Ernie Banks was when he played SS.)
   59. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: March 07, 2005 at 10:49 PM (#1186496)
"1924 1B stats-------H…/1B./2B/3B/HR/BB/BA/OBP/SA
George Sisler hit----194/148/27/10-/9--/31-/305/340/421 with 636 at bats
Earl Sheely hit ------171/131/34/3--/3--/95-/320/426/411 with 535 at bats
Joe Judge hit -------167/117/38/9--/3--/53-/324/393/450 with 516 at bats
Wally Pipp hit ------174/116/30/19-/9--/51-/295/352/457 with 589 at bats
Joe Harris hit -------148/100/36/9--/3--/81-/301/406/430 with 491 at bats
George H. Burns hit 143/97-/37/5--/4--/29-/310/370/437 with 462 at bats
Joe Hauser hit ------162/96-/31/8--/27-/56-/288/358/516 with 562 at bats
Lu Blue hit ----------123/88-/26/7--/2--/64-/311/413/428 with 395 at bats
There is no way that Sisler is the worst First Baseman in the AL"

Sisler has the lowest OPS of the group. he has the 7th best slugging and the 8th OBP. He even has the 5th best average, which is nearly meaningless because of the lack of walks. And only three of these players had fewer than 500 AB's, so it isn't like this is a list of part timers. And when David said that Susler was 8thi n the Al, he meant in OPS. In that list he is 8th in the AL in OPS.
   60. yest Posted: March 08, 2005 at 03:30 AM (#1186998)
What I’m trying to do now is see how Sisler compared to the first baseman in his league every year after the injury. I trying to show how good he was in some of those years especially 1925 and 1927

BTW, I hope you don't accept the twenties numbers at face value and assume that there were giants back then when it came to hitting for average. I alternately could say that the reason the BA's were so high back then was because the pitchers were terrible - no pitchers today give up as many hits today, so that means those pitchers were horrible in that department, right? Wrong.

I give around a 50% difference how well they did against the average between high and low offensive eras.

And on to1925

Sisler's OPS+ ranking as a first baseman in 1925
5th in the AL; tenth in the majors

1924 1B stats-------H…/1B./2B/3B/HR/BB/BA-/OBP/SA
George Sisler hit ---224/176/21/15/12/27/345/371/479 in 649 at bats
Earl Sheely hit ------189/134/43/3-/9-/68/315/389/442 in 600 at bats
Lu Blue hit ---------163/133/18/9-/3-/83/306/403/391 in 532 at bats
George H. Burns hit 164/113/41/4-/6-/24/336/371/473 in 488 at bats
Jim Poole hit -------143/101/29/8-/5-/27/298/338/423 480 at bats
Phil Todt hit --------151/98-/29/13/11/44/278/343/439 in 544 at bats
Lou Gehrig hit ------129/76-/23/10/20/46/295/365/531 in 437 at bats
Joe Judge hit -------118/74-/31/5-/8-/55/314/406/487 in 376 at bats
I personally think Sisler was the best First baseman that year
   61. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 08, 2005 at 03:37 AM (#1187011)
I personally think Sisler was the best First baseman that year

I have him less than half of Gehrig's value for that season, but at least Sisler was decent that year.
   62. yest Posted: March 08, 2005 at 04:00 AM (#1187048)
I have him less than half of Gehrig's value for that season, but at least Sisler was decent that year.

1925 1B stats----BA-/OBP/SA-/1B%/2B%/3B%/HR%/BB%
George Sisler hit 345/371/479/256/031/022/017/039 in 649 at bats and 688 PA
Lou Gehrig hit ---295/365/531/153/046/020/040/093 in 437 at bats and 497 PA
(I divided by Plate Appearances to make these stats 1B%/2B%/3B%/HR%/BB%)
I don't see how anyone can rank Gehrig above Sisler
   63. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 08, 2005 at 04:12 AM (#1187077)
yest, are you adjusting for park? Sisler played in a hitter's paradise, while Yankee Stadium was far from being hospitable offensively.
   64. yest Posted: March 08, 2005 at 04:28 AM (#1187106)
what about ajusting for the fact that Gehrig never had to hit the Yankees pitching

Yankees pitching gave up 4.96 runs per game with a 4.33 era
Browns pitching gave up 5.88 runs per game with a 4.92 era
   65. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 08, 2005 at 04:39 AM (#1187125)
what about ajusting for the fact that Gehrig never had to hit the Yankees pitching

The Yankees' pitching wasn't that great that year. If you take into account the parks, we're not talking about a great difference between the two teams.
   66. KJOK Posted: March 08, 2005 at 05:03 AM (#1187192)
1925 1 Year BPF's (which take into consideration not facing your own pitching staff) :

Sportsman's Park - 108
Yankee Stadium - 96
   67. DavidFoss Posted: March 08, 2005 at 05:08 AM (#1187207)
what about ajusting for the fact that Gehrig never had to hit the Yankees pitching

That's included in the batting park factor (BPF) at baseball-reference.
   68. jimd Posted: March 08, 2005 at 05:21 AM (#1187242)
Team production at 1B 
(Runs Above Replacement/Game, (BRAR1+FRAR1)/G; source: BP)

1920
 StA .91   StN .41
 Was .54   NYN .36
 NYA .40   Cin .32
 Bos .26   Bro .28
 Cle .19   PhN .27
 Det .18   Pit .21
 ChA .16   BoN .16
 PhA .08   ChN .16
     .34  .31  .27

1924
 PhA .45   Bro .58
 Was .44   NYN .44
 Cle .43   Cin .35
 Det .42   StN .29
 NYA .40   Pit .24
 Bos .31   BoN .18
 ChA .29   ChN .18
 StA .12   PhN .15
     .36  .33  .30
   69. Paul Wendt Posted: March 08, 2005 at 03:57 PM (#1187839)
Sisler was the field manager, 1924-26.
The team was mediocre 1916-1929, pitiable in the early 10s and entire 30s.

interaction with success of the tenant Cardinals? unknown
   70. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: March 08, 2005 at 07:51 PM (#1188353)
Yest, why do you see Sisler as better than all of those guys in 1924. I only see him being demonstrably better than Burns and Poole. Certainly not the best player.
   71. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 08, 2005 at 08:19 PM (#1188405)
BTW, the Browns had a decent team in '25, while the Yankees were sub par.
   72. OCF Posted: March 08, 2005 at 08:29 PM (#1188420)
jimd didn't provide any commentary with post #68, probably because it speaks for itself pretty clearly. But at risk of flogging a dead horse, I'll go ahead and comment on it.

In 1920, Sisler was a monster. He was the best first baseman in baseball, with no one particularly close to him. If he had had two more years like he had in 1920 and 1922, or if he had had four more years like he had in 1917-1919 and 1921, then we wouldn't be having this particular debate.

But in 1924 it's very hard to count the fact that Sisler had more AB than any other first baseman as an asset for his team. Those other guys, the first baseman for other teams - maybe they came out of the lineup against certain pitchers, maybe they were hurt a little or rested a little. But their replacements were OK as well. And some of those guys who should have batted 6th or 7th in the order did bat 6th or 7th. Sisler put himself in position to consume more than his share of the team's outs, and the payoff for his team was poor production from his position. The chart in #68 is unmistakeable - the worst RARP/game from first base of any of the 16 teams.

1924 was a low-water year for Sisler. He was quite a bit better in 1925, and a little better in 1927 and 1928 - but he still wasn't exactly good in any of those years.
   73. Daryn Posted: March 08, 2005 at 09:01 PM (#1188507)
John,

What kind of system could have Gehrig's 1925 more than twice as meritorious/valuable as Sisler's 1925 -- OPS+ minus 100 times plate appearances? I have that year as basically a draw between the two -- park factors included.
   74. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 08, 2005 at 09:16 PM (#1188544)
What kind of system could have Gehrig's 1925 more than twice as meritorious/valuable as Sisler's 1925 -- OPS+ minus 100 times plate appearances? I have that year as basically a draw between the two -- park factors included.

I'm using a combination of WS and WS per 162 Games for the comparison. It's arbitrary, but I like it.
   75. Michael Bass Posted: March 08, 2005 at 09:41 PM (#1188585)
Thinking out loud....

I certainly get the idea behind WS/162, trying to get a feel for how productive they were per game. But factoring out reliability alltogether, even as just one factor, seems a bit extreme over a one-season basis.

I also wonder about flat decuctions, like used in PA, for setting a higher replacement level.

Has anyone thought about (or, for all I know, is anyone already using) some sort of measure like WS (or WARP) - X * PA? Something that neutralizes the "piling up the numbers" effect of playing every day, while not factoring out additional playing time altogether?

X could be determined by figuring out the average WS/WARP per PA leaguewide, then dropping it some percentage to set an appropriate replacement level.

Digression, I know. :)
   76. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 08, 2005 at 09:44 PM (#1188592)
But factoring out reliability alltogether, even as just one factor, seems a bit extreme over a one-season basis.

I don't know if you were referring to me, Michael, but I definitely don't factor out reliability.
   77. Michael Bass Posted: March 08, 2005 at 09:53 PM (#1188605)
Oh I know. More thinking out loud for a measurement I'd like to work into my system than anything else.
   78. jimd Posted: March 08, 2005 at 10:00 PM (#1188613)
The WSaR that is found in the Pennants Added chart does something like that. It's supposed to be "Win Shares above Replacement" and it removes an amount of Win Shares proportional to playing time (these correspond to the Win Shares that a replacement level player would earn given that playing time). The residue is the value added above replacement. More details and discussion on the Pennants Added threads.
   79. Michael Bass Posted: March 08, 2005 at 10:21 PM (#1188649)
Ah, gotcha. Thanks!
   80. yest Posted: March 09, 2005 at 01:56 AM (#1188982)
Yest, why do you see Sisler as better than all of those guys in 1924. I only see him being demonstrably better than Burns and Poole. Certainly not the best player.

I have him as the third best First baseman in 1924 (though I can easily here a case for him being as low as 7th)
and as the best First baseman in 1925
   81. sunnyday2 Posted: March 09, 2005 at 02:48 AM (#1189079)
Management by Baseball (with apologies)

I've worked in various companies and I think there are two management styles. There are managers who manage from the basis of what their employees CAN do, and there are managers who manage from the basis of what their employees CANNOT do. IOW, you put them in the right sandbox and turn 'em loose or you put all kinds of structures around them to make sure they never get a chance to do anything that isn't right in their wheelhouse.

And of course there are baseball managers in both camps.

Apropos of George Sisler.

I doubt that we have ever had a serious contender in the HoM elections who was rated by so many voters on the basis of his worst years. Some of course do rank him on peak/prime, which is why he is 10th (?) in the current voting.

Then we've got the career voters. Well, here's a guy with a career 124 OPS+ in 2000 games and 8000+ AB. And a streak of 7 years above 133 and 5 of 6 over 150. And 2,800+ base hits.

For comparative purposes, that's:

Career OPS+ Joe Jackson 169 Goslin 128 Sisler 124
Above 150 Jackson 7 Sisler 5 Goslin 2
Above 130 Jackson 9 Sisler 7 Goslin 7
Games Goslin 2200+ Sisler 2000+ Jackson 1300+
AB + BB Goslin 9600 Sisler 8700+ Jackson 5500 exactly
Hits Sisler 2812 Goslin 2735 Jackson 1772

Best 9 years

OPS+ Jackson ~169 Sisler ~146 Goslin 143
Above 150 Jackson 7 Sisler 5 Goslin 2
Above 130 Jackson 9 Sisler 7 Goslin 7
Games Goslin ~1340 Jackson <1300 Sisler ~1150
AB + BB Sisler ~5100 Goslin ~5100 Jackson <4800
Hits Sisler 1800+ Jackson 1700+ Goslin 1680

And Sisler was very clearly the most valuable fielder of the 3. So what gives? Are some of us ranking Sisler based on what he wasn't (a guy with an ordinary career curve a la Goose Goslin) or what he was?

Or just for another cut (and I understand about OPS+ vs. ERA+, this is just food for thought). Best OPS+ vs. ERA+ in BA or ERA eligible years, best to worst (dropping the 100).

Sisler 79 69 63 59 53 37 33 19 9 0 -1 -10 -16 -18
Rixey 45 43 43 38 37 29 24 15 15 13 10 9 9 7 -2 -5 -19

HoM ballots
Rixey 34 @ 13.5 pts each
Sisler 25 @ 12

IOW, if Sisler had spaced out his best and worst years instead of clustering them, would that make him a better player?
   82. sunnyday2 Posted: March 09, 2005 at 02:50 AM (#1189083)
Of course, the disconnect between Sisler and Rixey is nothing really. Just another look.

But the different results for Goslin (especially) and Sisler don't seem quite right to me. I keep hearing how an average player has value, yet people are deducting value, I think, for Sisler's second career. He was sure as hell more valuable than Joe Jackson after 1920.
   83. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 09, 2005 at 03:10 AM (#1189130)
I doubt that we have ever had a serious contender in the HoM elections who was rated by so many voters on the basis of his worst years.

This is a misconception on your part, Marc. The career and career/peak voters are voting on the totality of his career, not just the worst years. But the second half of Sisler's career just doesn't add much. We can't help it, but that's just the way it is.
   84. jimd Posted: March 09, 2005 at 03:55 AM (#1189183)
But there are some voters here who (unless I have their voting systems all wrong) would value Sisler more highly if he had played the latter half of his career in the PCL (or not played it all) instead of playing in the majors and lowering his career rates or his career totals of value above average. To me this is just flat out wrong, when playing is worse than not playing.
   85. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 09, 2005 at 04:06 AM (#1189194)
But there are some voters here who (unless I have their voting systems all wrong) would value Sisler more highly if he had played the latter half of his career in the PCL (or not played it all) instead of playing in the majors and lowering his career rates or his career totals of value above average. To me this is just flat out wrong, when playing is worse than not playing.

I agree completely with you and I know who you're referring to, Jim, but I think they're a very small subset of the career and career/peak group(though I may be wrong about that).
   86. Howie Menckel Posted: March 09, 2005 at 06:13 AM (#1189351)
Marc Sunnyday,
I'd do the Sisler-Goslin OPS+ comp, not Rixey.
There's still position and timeline and other things beyond it, but that would be a good starting point.
I'm pretty friendly to Sisler myself.
   87. andrew siegel Posted: March 09, 2005 at 03:55 PM (#1189737)
The more I look at Jud Wilson the more I think he was roughly equal to pre-injury George Sisler in peak value (similar batting averages, both would have played 1B in the majors, similar power, Wilson many more walks, Sisler moderate edges on speed and defense) and he long career with a normal decline phase rather than a flameout. I think it is difficult to justify Sisler over Wilson on a ballot.
   88. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: March 09, 2005 at 08:24 PM (#1190272)
The problem with me, as a peak voter, is that Sisler's peak isn't exactly Gehrigesque in Win Shares and WARP, just in BA and H. Had he been Jennings or Dean (in peak) we may be talking. I give very very little credit to years below average. They only help to compile career stats, which is a tiny part of my system. But since post 1922, Sisler was at or below average most every years, he gest next to no credit from me.

His peak puts him in the top 20, however.
   89. sunnyday2 Posted: March 10, 2005 at 02:46 AM (#1190998)
Whose is Gehrigesque? My post compared him to Joe Jackson and Goose Goslin, who like Gehrig (however) were 1st ballot electees (or in Jackson's case, 1st "real" ballot after his boycott ballot).

I think John, you made my point for me, which was (in a much more long-winded fashion, of course, but which was):

With Sisler, are we missing the forest for the trees? The trees are an oddly shaped career. The forest is an extremely high peak (Jacksonesque, not Gehrigesque, but not Goslinesque [i.e. better than Goslinesque]) peak and a high total career value.

John, your response was, if I may paraphrase, "Marc, you are mistaken. It's not about the shape of his career. It's about the shape of his career."
   90. DavidFoss Posted: March 10, 2005 at 03:12 AM (#1191039)
The forest is an extremely high peak (Jacksonesque, not Gehrigesque, but not Goslinesque [i.e. better than Goslinesque]) peak and a high total career value.

Except its not Jacksonesque:

Sisler -- age 30: 154 OPS+/4500 PA
Jackson -- career: 170 OPS+/5700 PA

Add two years of OPS+ > 170 to Sisler's career and he'd probably have been inducted.

Also note that Sisler's later eligibility has made him face stiffer competition.
   91. KJOK Posted: March 10, 2005 at 03:14 AM (#1191042)
Just to throw some gas on the fire:

From "Baseball's All-Time Best Sluggers"
Players with the largest drops in % HR's after adjusting for Park Effects:

1. Hugh Duffy - 39%
2. Gavy Cravath - 39%
3. Ken Williams - 33%
4. Tilly Walker - 30%
5. GEORGE SISLER - 24%
   92. Michael Bass Posted: March 10, 2005 at 03:29 AM (#1191069)
Top 7 best WARP seasons (most generous measure to Sisler, whose entire case is 7 years):

Sisler: 14.2, 9.0, 8.9, 8.9, 8.5, 7.5, 7.4

Jackson: 12.9, 12.8, 11.2, 10.2, 9.7, 9.0, 8.1

So unless one has an exceedingly narrow view of peak, Sisler's peak is most certainly not Jackson-esque.
   93. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 10, 2005 at 04:04 AM (#1191128)
With Sisler, are we missing the forest for the trees? The trees are an oddly shaped career. The forest is an extremely high peak (Jacksonesque, not Gehrigesque, but not Goslinesque [i.e. better than Goslinesque]) peak and a high total career value.

John, your response was, if I may paraphrase, "Marc, you are mistaken. It's not about the shape of his career. It's about the shape of his career."


Not really, Marc.

I'm not a total peak voter, but I understand those would place Sisler high on their ballots because of his very best seasons. I have no problem with their reasoning in the slightest.

But this is the way I look at Sisler's career: 88% of the value that I give to Sisler was pre-1924. I give him about 12% for the mediocre. A couple more seasons of the old Sisler would have landed him on my ballot, but...

BTW, the latter half doesn't affect the first half of Sisler's career in my system not one iota because I give credit for each individual season, so a player will not find his value slipping because of sub par performances at the tail end or beginning of a career (i.e. Brooks Robinson). That was might point when I responded to your post.

I also agree his peak was not Jacksonesque, either.
   94. Michael Bass Posted: March 10, 2005 at 04:18 AM (#1191151)
As for Goslin, he certainly is not in the MON on peak. He's in on career. Not a good comp for Sisler's peak case.
   95. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: March 10, 2005 at 04:22 AM (#1191156)
Sunny,

I wasn't really responding to you, but point taken on the Gehrigespue point. However, his peak wasn't even Jenningsesque. I just don't think that Sisler's peak was historically high. More than enough for the HOM if he wasn't so mediocre from 1924 on. And he still might make my PHOM one day if we make good progress through the backlog.
   96. yest Posted: March 11, 2005 at 08:28 PM (#1194263)
I have him less than half of Gehrig's value for that season, but at least Sisler was decent that year.

1925 1B stats----H…/1B./2B/3B/HR/BB/BA-/OBP/SA
George Sisler hit 224/176/21/15/12/27/345/371/479 in 649 at bats
Lou Gehrig hit ---129/76-/23/10/20/46/295/365/531 in 437 at bats

How much can a Park effect the stats to make Gehrig better then Sisler?
   97. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 11, 2005 at 10:38 PM (#1194525)
yest, lets' be honest: you're anti-sabermetric. The rest of us (including even karlmagnus to a degree) are sabermetrically-inclined. IOW, we're just not going to see eye-to-eye about certain players. With all due respect, we're just wasting our time here with this discussion. We'll respect your placement of Sisler at the top of your ballot, while you will have to respect our probable dismissal of him.
   98. jimd Posted: March 11, 2005 at 11:56 PM (#1194688)
1925 1B stats----H…/1B./2B/3B/HR/BB/BA-/OBP/SA
George Sisler hit 224/176/21/15/12/27/345/371/479 in 649 at bats
Lou Gehrig hit ---129/76-/23/10/20/46/295/365/531 in 437 at bats


Frankly, according to BP, there isn't a lot of difference between the value of those two batting lines compiled in those two parks. After adjusting for park, and for Gehrig's extra power, what Sisler then adds is slightly sub-replacement level hitting for the extra 200+ AB's. (BRAR: Gehrig 34 Sisler 31).

What then makes the difference is that young Lou is an above-average fielder, while George's vision problems are affecting his fielding too (FRAR: Lou 15 George -1).
   99. Howie Menckel Posted: March 11, 2005 at 11:58 PM (#1194693)
A review of yest's favorite movie:

"The Seattle music scene is the backdrop for this tale of twentysomethings trying to find themselves and each other in the 1990s. Linda (Kyra Sedgwick) and Steve (Campbell Scott) meet in a club and begin to play the dating game. Janet (Bridget Fonda) has a thing for Cliff (Matt Dillon), who barely acknowledges her existence. Cameron Crowe's script tackles the ups and downs of romance with humor and honesty. Highlights include live performances by Alice in Chains and Soundgarden, as well as cameos by the members of Pearl Jam."
   100. karlmagnus Posted: March 12, 2005 at 12:29 AM (#1194744)
yest, I agree with you on Sisler's 1925, I think it's better than Gehrig's. Sisler had to lead his weakish team every day, whereas gehrig was able to develop quitely behind Ruth. What's more I'll bet you can find NO contemporary opinion that says gahrig '25 was better than Sisler '25. Gehrig got better, and Sisler declined further, and overall gehrig is top 50 and Sisler isn't, but Sisler should be an easy HOMer too.

I'm SOMETIMES sabermetric :-))
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