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Sunday, September 04, 2005

Hal Newhouser

Hal Newhouser

Eligible in 1960.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 04, 2005 at 09:31 PM | 38 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 04, 2005 at 09:45 PM (#1597276)
The greatest of all of the "Prince Hals."
   2. OCF Posted: September 05, 2005 at 12:31 AM (#1597400)
Even with a sizeable level-of-competition discount for 1944 and 1945 (taken out of the park factor), I still have Newhouser's RA+ PythPat record as 202-131 with one of the largest "big years" bonuses of anyone we've considered recently. That package of value closely resembles Dazzy Vance, and I had no trouble supporting Vance.

I think he's a HoMer.
   3. karlmagnus Posted: September 05, 2005 at 12:36 AM (#1597410)
Looks like Cicotte with a slightly shorter carrer to me (his ERA+ needs discounting a little for WWII) That puts him on my mid-ballot, but ought to induce other Newhouser fans to take another look at Cicotte.
   4. andrew siegel Posted: September 05, 2005 at 02:06 AM (#1597545)
Four guys who between 1930 and 1950 were among the very best in the game for about six years and didn't have particularly long careers: Newhouser, Ferrell, Walters, and Dean. Before I get to questions about how they rank versus other players, I want to make sure I have them in the right order. Anyone want to take issue with the above order?
   5. Chris Cobb Posted: September 05, 2005 at 02:34 AM (#1597586)
Newhouser, Ferrell, Walters, and Dean.

That's certainly the order in which I have them.
   6. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 05, 2005 at 02:44 AM (#1597598)
Newhouser, Ferrell, Walters, and Dean.

That's certainly the order in which I have them.


Same here.
   7. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: September 05, 2005 at 03:44 AM (#1597732)
Hal Newhouser. I'm pretty farking proud of that page -- especially the blow-by-blow account of his career that takes up most of the notes section. In particular, I'd ask everyone to notice just how unfuckingreal he was from 1944-6.

Has any other pitcher won 20 games in their teams first 91 played since then? I find it wildly unlikely. Newhouser did -- and, no, shockingly it was not in 1944.
   8. schuey Posted: September 05, 2005 at 06:30 AM (#1597957)
Denny McLain won his 20th game in the 100th game of the Tigers 1968 season. Marichal won his 20th in Giant game 105 the same year. In 1971 Vida Blue won his 20th in A's game 111, I had thought it would have been sooner.
Newhouser was the Houston scout who recommended they draft Derek Jeter with the first pick in 1992. They didn't and Newhouser retired shortly.
   9. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 05, 2005 at 09:44 PM (#1598901)
I see it as
Mendez
Matlock
Walters
Newhouser
Ferrell
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Dean
   10. Brent Posted: September 06, 2005 at 03:10 AM (#1599285)
I guess I'm more peak-oriented; I rank them Newhouser, Ferrell, Dean, Walters.

Bill James has them Dean (# 25), Newhouser (36), Ferrell (40), Walters (69).
   11. andrew siegel Posted: September 06, 2005 at 02:42 PM (#1599802)
My summary take on Newhouser:

(1) If you don't make ANY deduction for the war years, he is about even with Edd Walsh, on the edge of the top 20 pitchers of All-Time.

(2) If you make a gigantic deduction for the war years, he drops down to the Vance-Coveleski-Ferrell-McGinnity-Caruthers safely-in but nothing much more than that category.

(3) Taking a medium-size war discount like I do, he is comfortably in and fighting Hughie Jennings for first on my ballot.
   12. Kelly in SD Posted: September 06, 2005 at 09:14 PM (#1600578)
Newhouser, Ferrell, Walters, Dean. Of course Welch is above them all and Willis slots in after Walters. Mendez slots in after Walters for me also.
   13. andrew siegel Posted: September 07, 2005 at 04:31 PM (#1602384)
Enough people brought up Mendez (who I have had between Ferrell and Walters but much closer to Walters) to make me take another look. I come away from my re-reading of his thread very impressed, but also a little confused. Why does he consistently rack up over 30 WS while pitching at a level that is only earning guys like Stan Coveleski 23-28 WS. Has the game evolved that much in 3 or 4 years or are we over-projecting Mendez's innings or using a formula that accords too many WS per inning?
   14. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: September 07, 2005 at 06:09 PM (#1602552)
My problem with Mendez is that he seems to be a slightly owrse versio of Rube Waddell. They were both high peak, shortish career pitchers, but Waddell has a much better ERA+. There are a few reasons that they are closer than their ERA+, but everytime I take another look at Mendez I am reminded that he doesn't impress me as much as Waddell. Both are in the 20's for me and I have voted for both.
   15. Chris Cobb Posted: September 07, 2005 at 07:10 PM (#1602685)
Enough people brought up Mendez (who I have had between Ferrell and Walters but much closer to Walters) to make me take another look. I come away from my re-reading of his thread very impressed, but also a little confused. Why does he consistently rack up over 30 WS while pitching at a level that is only earning guys like Stan Coveleski 23-28 WS. Has the game evolved that much in 3 or 4 years or are we over-projecting Mendez's innings or using a formula that accords too many WS per inning?

I haven't reviewed the Mendez thread myself, but I think I can address a few matters here and now.

First, the method that I use to project win shares consistently overestimates win shares as they would be generated by the Bill James system by about 10%. I had not recognized that issue with the projection system when I first used it to project for Mendez, so his win shares should probably be cut by about 10%, with the high win share seasons being dropped by a somewhat larger percentage and the low win-share seasons by a lesser percentage.

Second, Coveleski in particular is a tricky comp because he was such a bad hitter that his pitching win shares are consistently lowered as a result (wouldn't it be nice if pitchers' negative bws were explicitly split off from their pws?). He will generally have somewhat fewer win shares in relation to a given pitching performance than a good-hitting pitcher will. Check Mendez's numbers against Carl Mays, for a comparison unaffected by weak hitting.

Third, for pitchers before 1930 I use several lower multiples for the per-inning value of an average pitcher to reflect the greater role of fielders pre-lively ball. I _think_ that I had this set of lower per-inning values in place when I projected Mendez, but I can't be certain without examining my records closely. That, then, should not be a factor in any overestimation of Mendez's value in the projections.
   16. Mark Donelson Posted: September 07, 2005 at 08:14 PM (#1602810)
Chris--when exactly did you make the modifications you're talking about here? Do these adjustments need to be made for the WS estimates on the pages for Redding or Matlock as well?
   17. Chris Cobb Posted: September 07, 2005 at 09:04 PM (#1602942)
I believe that the adjustment needs to be made for Redding, though I ought to dig through the post to be certain.

For Matlock, it depends on which of the posted estimates you are using. The _career_ estimated win shares of 224 I think are 0 to 5% high. Compare Lon Warneke, who has slightly fewer IP and a slightly worse DERA. So they are about right or a little high. The _seasonal_ estimated win shares are 5 to 10% high, when added up, for Matlock's career as a whole.

One reason I've stopped doing seasonal win-share estimates (as in the case of Leon Day and Satchel Paige) is my recognition that the seasonal estimates increase the difference between my estimates and what the fuller win share system would produce.
   18. Rob_Wood Posted: September 08, 2005 at 05:31 AM (#1604309)
I have the four in question ranked as follows:

Newhouser

Dean



Ferrell
Walters

I will likely have Newhouser in the middle of my ballot while the others will not appear.

By the way, I once wrote an article extolling the virtues (i.e., Hall of Fame credentials) of Newhouser and Hal was elected by the Veterans Committee soon thereafter. I claim no connection but I felt good nonetheless when he finally made it.
   19. sunnyday2 Posted: September 08, 2005 at 11:47 AM (#1604435)
I use a couple of tools for a first-pass look at pitchers, then I go to a series of head-to-head comparisons to fine-tune my rankings. But focusing on the high peak/short career guys, here are a couple of looks.

1) (ERA+ - 100) + (IP/100) first for career then for prime

Waddell is still at the top of my 20C pitcher list. Career ERA+ 135 in 2961 IP, he is almost Ed Walsh (just short on ERA+) or 3F Brown (just short on IP). 35 +30 = 65. Prime ERA+ 152 for 1772 IP (6 years) 52 + 18 = 70. 65 + 70 = 135

Joss Career 142 in 2327 = 65, Prime 148 in 2220 = 70, total 135

Newhouser Career 130 in 2993 IP = 60, Prime 164 in 1298 = 77, add in WWII discount = 130

The only other eligible pitchers > 120 are Silver King and Tony Mullane at 127 and Smokey Joe Wood at 121. All are special cases, though I have a harder time dismissing King than Mullane (AA discount) or Joe Wood (career too short). (Oh, Jim Devlin is at 144, also a special case.)

Some of the pitchers often compared to Prince Hal include:

Dean 100, surprisingly low prime ERA+ of 133
Ferrell 94, prime ERA+ 128
Walters 90, prime ERA+ 124

These are not historically high peaks.

2) Reputation Monitor, where I tote up 9 different measures. It's similar to HoF Monitor. A score of 200 indicates a HoFer in 99 percent of cases. 175-200 is a strong case, 150-175 can make a special case, <150 is not a HoFer except that for pitchers and catchers I would make that more like 140 or so. WS is in there, OPS/ERA+, HoF Monitor, Black/Gray Ink, defensive WS, competition and season-length adjustments, etc. Here are the eligible pitchers right now.

Hal Newhouser 197--remember 200 is pretty much a lock for the HoF, Prince Hal is between Hubbell and Lemon
Rube Waddell 182
Red Ruffing 173
Dizzy Dean 170
Addie Joss 170
Tommy Bond 155
Eppa Rixey 146
Clark Griffith 140

Then just to highlight the difficulty of evaluation 19C pitchers, this method also has Tony Mullane, Jim Davlin and Dave Foutz in the 140s, along with Bucvky Walters and Eddie Cicotte. Lefty Gomez is just short at 139.

Anyway, my point is that by two different methods that I rely on for a first pass, Newhouser is an almost overwhelming candidate and Waddell is a clear #2. On the list of high peak, short career pitchers in particular it looks like Newhouser, Waddell and Joss with the Deans and Ferrells and Walters in Definition B-C.
   20. karlmagnus Posted: September 08, 2005 at 12:00 PM (#1604445)
What about Cicotte on your first measure? After WWII discount, he looks pretty close to Newhouser to me, with a 10% longer career.
   21. sunnyday2 Posted: September 08, 2005 at 12:19 PM (#1604457)
Cicotte's score on the first measure is 113. Once you eliminate the obvious HoFers (and the 19C, for which this measure is not reliable), a 113 is definitely a solid score. Here are my ML (only) pitcher ratings as of today:

1. Bond--more of a WS peak candidacy than based onthe above
2. Waddell--an ERA+ prime candidate
3. Newhouser
4. Joss
5. Rixey--a bow to career
6. Cicotte
7. Dean--nice peak, just not overwhelming as one might expect
8. Griffith
9. McCormick
10. Mullane or Gomez--I go hot and cold on Mullane

Mendez and Redding are also in this cluster on my actual ballot. Ferrell is #21, Walters #16. I am probably not giving enough credit for pitcher hitting.
   22. TomH Posted: September 08, 2005 at 12:39 PM (#1604469)
among the 4 pitchers mentioned first in post 4:

by career win shares: Newhouser 264, Walters 258, Ferrell 233, Dean 181

by best seasons, measured by WARP3 on a 5-4-3-2-1 scale (best season worth 5x):
Newhouser 188.3, Ferrell 168.0, Dean 159.7, Walters 158.5

Ferrell has a higher ERA than the others (and lower ERA+), but his hitting evens this out.

Prince Hal is a clear top choice, with Ferrell 2nd.
   23. DavidFoss Posted: September 08, 2005 at 02:53 PM (#1604615)
I'm polishing up on my British history and Shakespeare due to Newhouser. Apparently "Prince Hal" was the eldest son of Henry IV and in Shakespeare's "Henry IV, pt 2" the wild young "Prince Hal" transforms into the heroic leader who would succeed his father as Henry V. I guess only Falstaff and his friends got to call him "Hal"
   24. Chris Cobb Posted: September 08, 2005 at 03:18 PM (#1604668)
I guess only Falstaff and his friends got to call him "Hal"

Yes. When others (his father, his more reputable friends in later plays) call him by a nickname, they call him Harry, not Hal.
   25. Mike Webber Posted: September 08, 2005 at 04:04 PM (#1604766)
Posted by karlmagnus on September 08, 2005 at 08:00 AM (#1604445)
What about Cicotte on your first measure? After WWII discount, he looks pretty close to Newhouser to me, with a 10% longer career.


After a WWII discount its close, but after the sells out his team when it counts, its not close.

I hate to ruin how this story ends for you, but the big game comes and Cicotte sells out to gamblers and he never makes the HOM.
   26. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: September 08, 2005 at 04:05 PM (#1604770)
Apparently "Prince Hal" was the eldest son of Henry IV and in Shakespeare's "Henry IV, pt 2" the wild young "Prince Hal" transforms into the heroic leader who would succeed his father as Henry V. I guess only Falstaff and his friends got to call him "Hal"

Am I remembering the plays in the right order? Wasn't Henry IV, Part I the great play that gets read in high schools across the world to this day, and Part II a (IMHO) a sucky follow up that's mostly notable for being the play that comes between two great plays (Part I, and Henry V). There was one play in that sequence that was no good at all.
   27. Chris Cobb Posted: September 08, 2005 at 04:19 PM (#1604791)
Well, _Henry IV, part 2_ is less highly regarded than _Henry IV, part 1_ and _Henry V_ (though it's still a great play), but it is the play in which, upon the death of his father, Prince Hal transforms into the heroic King Henry V.
   28. DavidFoss Posted: September 08, 2005 at 04:29 PM (#1604806)
Am I remembering the plays in the right order?

I think you are right. I know my history better than I know my Shakespeare -- I don't really know my Shakespeare very well. I just figured the evolution of Prince Hal was in Part 2 because it chronologically precedes "Henry V", but according to Wikipedia the evolution of Prince Hal is also a key point in Part 1 (another reason to think of part 2 as being superfluous). Wikipedia even mentions the fact that Part 2 is "less successful".

wikipedia
   29. sunnyday2 Posted: September 08, 2005 at 04:37 PM (#1604817)
Who did this Shakespeare fella play for? What position? When was he eligible?
   30. DavidFoss Posted: September 08, 2005 at 05:49 PM (#1604984)
Who did this Shakespeare fella play for? What position? When was he eligible?

Yeah, this is my tangent. I found it interesting that three MLB players had the "Prince Hal" nickname and went on a quest to find the original "Prince Hal". Not being a Shakespeare buff, I wasn't sure because there were several Prince Henry's. Anyhow, I learned quite a bit about it even if it was only remotely relatec to Newhouser.

But, alas, Newhouser's given name is actually "Harold", not "Henry".

Sorry for the tangent... we may now return to our regularly scheduled discussion of peak value and war discounts. :-)
   31. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: September 08, 2005 at 07:54 PM (#1605406)
Well, _Henry IV, part 2_ is less highly regarded than _Henry IV, part 1_ and _Henry V_ (though it's still a great play)

I dunno, I didn't care for it much. I remember it beginning with one man (Hotspur's dad, IIRC) going off to lead/continue the rebellion, but the climatic battle there takes place off-stage. The relations between Prince Hal & Henry IV were, I though, a rehash of Act III from the previous play. The Falstaff/comedy stuff wasn't as good. It was like reading 6 subplots in search of a main plot.
   32. Howie Menckel Posted: September 09, 2005 at 01:24 AM (#1606450)
Wow.
I've noted before that an unprecedented great year in 1944 or 1945 is a red flag for me, AND Newhouser was only 34-52 from 1939-43 before going 29-9 in 1944 and 25-9 in 1945.

BUT: Hal also was age 18 to 22 in that span before 1944, and his ERA+s in 1942-43 were 161 and 116 (in rotation with Trout, Bridges, and Trucks in 1943, by the way. Sounds like an ol' country song).
So he turns 23 in 1994 and is superhuman - for THREE years. Then he's a major star for three more after that, and adds a couple more years worth of decent numbers.
We have a six-year monster peak, another four years or so worth of decent pitching.
The comparison to Walsh is apt; I remain shocked that Walsh got so many 1st place votes and sailed in on the first try. I agree that Newhouser may have been better, but that doesn't guarantee the top slot on my ballot because I had Walsh around 12th.

War credit/demerit is a funny thing. In this case, he reached a huge skill level in a war year, yes, but he kept on going well after the war. I don't think I'll downgrade him much if any for that.
Not sure where I'll put him, but he's way better than I thought before taking another look at him.
   33. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: September 09, 2005 at 02:14 AM (#1606594)
(in rotation with Trout, Bridges, and Trucks in 1943, by the way. Sounds like an ol' country song).

RDF.
   34. Sean Gilman Posted: September 14, 2005 at 10:50 PM (#1618119)
Those interested in Prince Hal and Falstaff should see Orson Welles's film "The Chimes At Midnight". Welles edited together all the Falstaff parts from the Henry plays and made one movie all about him. Its hard to find, but one of Welles's best if you can get it.

Also, Gus Van Sant's "My Own Private Idaho" is an adaptation of Henry IV set among male street hustlers and prostitutes in Portland. Keanu Reeves plays the Prince Hal role.
   35. Paul Wendt Posted: September 15, 2005 at 04:09 AM (#1619082)
Marc sunnyday2:
Waddell is still at the top of my 20C pitcher list. Career ERA+ 135 in 2961 IP [. . .] 35 +30 = 65. Prime ERA+ 152 for 1772 IP (6 years) 52 + 18 = 70. 65 + 70 = 135

Joss Career 142 in 2327 = 65, Prime 148 in 2220 = 70, total 135

Newhouser Career 130 in 2993 IP = 60, Prime 164
(no, about 154) in 1298 = 77, add in WWII discount = 130

There are some arithmetic errors here, probably including the fallacy of "average ERA+" again.

During 1946-1948, his three untainted peak seasons, Newhouser achieved ERA+ about 152 in 850 innings. During 1944-1949, his six full-time seasons, probably the six Marc selected, he achieved ERA+ about 154 in 1768 innings.


Howie Menckel:
War credit/demerit is a funny thing. In this case, he reached a huge skill level in a war year, yes, but he kept on going well after the war. I don't think I'll downgrade him much if any for that.

I don't think this is sensible. First, contrary to what everyone here says, he didn't keep on going at his '44-45 rate (ERA+=176) during '46-48 (152), only in '46 (188). Second, it wouldn't validate his wartime rates if he did replicate them in magnitude after the war; it would show that he was a better pitcher after the war than during it.
   36. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: September 15, 2005 at 04:27 AM (#1619101)
Paul,

I am reminded of a discussoin we had over NeL players where someone said that no matter how bad the league was a Barry Bonds or a Babe Ruth could really onle be so good.

Is it possible that this principle was working in some mild way with Newhouser? I will admit that I do discount his seaons as much s I do those of Snuffy Sturnweiss and others, but what Howie says makes some intuitive sense.
   37. Paul Wendt Posted: September 17, 2005 at 01:46 AM (#1623356)
Please accept ERA+ as the performance measure throughout.

--
Newhouser in 1944 and 1945 yielded runs at just over 61% and just over 51% of league-average rate (the inverse of ERA+), then 53% in 1946.

We know that the competition was stronger in 1946 but we don't know how much stronger. No discount for 1945 means that that was the better (and his career best) performance by about 4%.

61%, 51%, 53% -- Those are great numbers but not historically unprecedented or unreplicated. It isn't credible that Newhouser hit a ceiling or floor in run-prevention and it doesn't seem likely to me that he approached a ceiling or floor. (If he did, what of Walter Johnson 1912-1913, Greg Maddux 1994-1995, Pedro Martinez 1999-2000?)

It is plausible to me that relatively weak leagues such as 1945 and FL 1914-1915 inflate the very best performances such as Newhouser's less than proportionally, but Newhouser's 1946-1948 performance amounts to precisely zero percent of the evidence for that belief!

--
Regarding my correction of sunnyday2's estimate of Newhouser's peak (six-year ERA+ 154, not 164), here is another way to make the point.

Consider two successive seasons with performance measured by ERA+, on the one hand {180, 120} and on the other hand {150, 150}. Two-year average ERA+ is 4% greater in the latter case
{180,120}-->144
{150,150}-->150
To value these two pairs of seasons equally is to place a significant premium on the single greatest season. In other words, reliance on simple "eyeball" averages, 150 in both cases, is itself a "peak" method --in a sense that admits isolated single-seasons as peaks.
   38. Howie Menckel Posted: September 17, 2005 at 04:17 PM (#1624256)
Paul, the 'dropoff' after 1946 is inevitable, no? Who pitches like that more than 3 yrs in a row, except unanimous HOM selections or guys with much steeper dropoffs than Hal?
I think Newhouser was as good as it gets, basically, from 1944-46. The 1946 does help validate 1944-45, and an inevitable dropoff - to what, outstanding? - in my mind further validates it.
Newhouser battled to a virtual draw in '48 with Feller and Lemon for AL Best Pitcher status.

I think from your approach, you are letting WW II prevent Newhouser from being fully appreciated statistically. He played against the highest competition available, crushed them, did it again in '46, had very good years in 47 and 49, and was arguably the league's best pitcher in '48.

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