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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Hall of Fame’s 2006 Negro League Election

This is phenomenal news, especially this:

Written recommendations for inclusion on the ballots from fans, and historians not a part of the committees, will be accepted through the month of October. Recommendations can be sent by e-mail to info@baseballhalloffame.org, or can be submitted by mail to: Committee on African-American Baseball, 25 Main Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326. A letter or e-mail of receipt will acknowledge all proposals. All proposals will be made available to the Screening Committee and a final set will be kept for archival purposes.

A few of the committee members will be at the SABR Convention. I think it’s very obvious that we should submit something from our group of Negro League experts, recommending our electees to them. At the convention I will make a point of explaining the Hall of Merit to any of them that will listen, so they understand the context in which these players were elected - not just against each other, but also considered against white players of their eras as well.

Thanks to Chris J. for pointing this out!

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 27, 2005 at 10:51 AM | 488 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 27, 2005 at 10:52 AM (#1501672)
Hot topics
   2. karlmagnus Posted: July 27, 2005 at 01:07 PM (#1501722)
I agree strongly with Joe that "those elected plus Beckwith" should be our list for SABR -- if there's another one later whom HOF don't honor but we do, we can add him to the fat package. That list is thoroughly representative of our consensus, which no other list would be (if you want to be pedantic and leave Beckwith off the first list you could, but I wouldn't favor it as I quite like Beckwith, think we're certain to elect him eventually and see why he wasn't honored by the "old boys" voters in the 70s and 80s.)

I also think that gives you a list of a reasonable finite length, and doesn't discriminate invidiously between them (I would not have voted for Johnson, for example -- my top 3 would be Torriente, Santop and Wilson, plus a sentimental vote for Grant because he was the ONLY NEL player in our consideration set (and on my ballot) for about 15 years.)

On my usuual demographic grounds, I would strongly oppose a longer list, which in any case can't be said to reflect a HOM consensus (and indeed, as I said elsewhere, I would oppose the HOF electing more than 5-7 more NEL players, and wish they'd throw out a couple of the ones they've elected already.)
   3. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 27, 2005 at 01:09 PM (#1501725)
OK, to get the ball rolling, I've composed the headnotes to the document I suggested in the discussion thread. Actually, I reconceived it a bit and turned it into a cover letter that combined the headnotes and conclusion I'd suggested previously. Suggestions for revision are welcomed!
======================================

Dear Hall of Fame Negro League Screening and Voting Committee Members,

We are writing to you in response to the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s announcement of your charge to examine players of color from the 1860–1960 period for possible induction. Our organization, the Hall of Merit, is a dedicated group of more than fifty baseball enthusiasts, researchers, and thinkers who have undertaken a lengthy deliberative process to honor the greatest players in the history of American baseball.

One of the key aspects of our election process is the consideration of pre-integration black and Latino players alongside their white contemporaries. Therefore, we are able to compare the relative merit of, say, Al Simmons and Turkey Stearnes. We have, to this point, elected numerous pre-integration black and Latino players, and what follows is a short list of those players whose careers we believe, based on our discussions, should be strongly considered by the committee for induction to Cooperstown.

Our discussions of all of these candidates and many others are publicly accessible at www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primer/hom. We hope that you will find this list helpful, and that you will visit the Hall of Merit online and see how we’ve gone about our work. If you have questions, you may contact members of the Hall of Merit any time via baseballthinkfactory.org’s email feature.

Finally, we intend to follow up this brief list by the announced October deadline with a longer elaboration on this clutch of candidates as well as many others, relating more about our methods, our findings, and the results of our voting.

Thank you for considering our group’s opinions and, most of all, for undertaking the important work of recognizing baseball’s forgotten superstars.

Yours sincerely,

The Members of the Hall of Merit
   4. Maury Brown Posted: July 27, 2005 at 01:22 PM (#1501740)
This topic was posted yesterday:

HOF: Hall of Fame Approves Election Process for Negro Leagues and Pre-Negro Leagues Candidates
   5. sunnyday2 Posted: July 27, 2005 at 01:39 PM (#1501766)
Just so everybody knows, there is more discussion of this topic on the 1957 discussion thread. And for the record, here is our list of HoM/not HoF (I hope it's complete).

C- Santop
1B- Suttles
2B- Grant
SS- Johnson
3B- Wilson, probably Beckwith
OF- Hill, Torriente
P- Brown

Could Wilson or Beckwith take a turn in the OF? Then, we've got a team! No DH for us, BTW. P Ray Brown once led the Cuban League in HR.

Yes, I agree that our list should be limited to HoM/not HoF, which list Beckwith will likely join soon.
   6. PhillyBooster Posted: July 27, 2005 at 02:50 PM (#1501910)
Yes, I agree that our list should be limited to HoM/not HoF, which list Beckwith will likely join soon.

In my view, the above list is a good start, but we should not limit ourselves to HoM criteria, since the HoF has a different (not necessarily worse) standard, which can include both on field and off field accomplishments.

We have researched these players enough, I think, to support players for other categories -- Sol White as player/owner/manager/historian, and Frank Grant and George Stovey as early star/pioneer.

They may not meet HoM standards, but those are not the only relevant standards to consider.
   7. karlmagnus Posted: July 27, 2005 at 03:19 PM (#1501980)
Phillybooster, it's impossible to be objective and represent the group by any standard other than HOM election. We should however make clear that our criteria don't include off-field accomplishments. Of your three, White is not HOM but I agree may be HOF (but we haven't really considered his off-field activities) Grant we elected, Stovey we didn't rate very highly. Once you leave the "players the HOM has elected" criterion, you get very subjective indeed.

The "committee," a small subset of our group, may well want to support Dobie Moore, for example, but in our last election he ranked 28th, and I refuse to be represented even collectively as having supported him for HOF membership (whereas I'm happy to be represented as having supported Home Run Johnson, even though I personally didn't vote for him.)
   8. PhillyBooster Posted: July 27, 2005 at 03:31 PM (#1502009)
Fair enough. Mabye I'll be sending my own letter!
   9. DavidFoss Posted: July 27, 2005 at 03:33 PM (#1502019)
www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primer/hom

You might want to point them down into the Negro League home page (the one with all the individual threads). A newbie might have trouble finding that link right away and get frustrated.

Also, the Frank Grant and Home Run Johnson threads don't have any comments. They were inducted before we got into having separate threads for each candidate. Information about them is buried in the discussion threads (and might be corrupted due to the transition). Anyone with any collected FGrant/HRJohnson stuff might want to post stuff there.
   10. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 27, 2005 at 03:42 PM (#1502044)
Here's my crack at a quick description of Torriente's candidacy. Would everyone feel comfortable with this sort of brief synopsis?

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

CRISTOBAL TORRIENTE
This fast, powerful, graceful centerfielder is among the best players not currently enshrined in Cooperstown, irrespective of race or era. According to currently available research, Torriente batted .336 in his 15 Negro League seasons, smashing 53 homers. This, however, understates his contribution because he spent several seasons in the offense-suppressive environment of the Chicago American Giants’ Schorling Park. Hall of Merit estimates peg his park-adjusted lifetime average in the vicinity of .350. Using rigorous translation methods, the Hall of Merit estimates that Torriente would have hit in the .320s as a major-league player. Independent research by Hall of Merit participants shows that Torriente had an above-average walk rate, further boosting his offensive value. By reputation and the limited defensive statistics available, he appears to have been an outstanding defender.

Based on the available evidence, members of the Hall of Merit have suggested that Torriente would have earned roughly 375 Win Shares in major league baseball and possibly more. The Hall of Merit’s voters selected Cristobal Torriente for enshrinement in the 1937 election, when he received 1101 out of a possible 1224 points (a strong 90%).
============================

Suggestions welcomed!
   11. sunnyday2 Posted: July 27, 2005 at 03:47 PM (#1502057)
I think the one thing we should really really do here for each player is:

1. Provide our voting history. e.g. the became eligible in such and such a year, and were elected in such and such a year with this many ballots and so many 1st and 2nd place votes etc. A quick table would do the job.

2. But more importantly, we ought to explain to them the MLEs that "we" have developed and what their MLEs are-- what "we" thought their ML performance woulda been if they coulda. Here again, a quick standard statistical table is worth a thousand words.

The MLEs are what really make our efforts more specially informed that other similar efforts, if there are or have been any similar efforts.

Of course, conceptually, we want them to understand what the HoM is and how the NeLers fit in--e.g. we elect them right along with and head to head against the MLers. That is vastly different than the HoF.

Joe and John are the guys to do that part of it. I'd suggest you guys get a quick one page cheat sheet together on "What is the HoM" to hand out to these guys, or to mail to them later.
   12. karlmagnus Posted: July 27, 2005 at 04:03 PM (#1502102)
I agree a table of MLEs, with OPS+/ERA+ would be useful. "Torriente would have hit in the 320s in the majors" for example is less useful than whetever OPS+ figure we calculated for him. If we didn't calculate OPS+, we can at least calculate the number of hits and HR he'd have had (well over 3000 hits, if I recollect.)
   13. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 27, 2005 at 04:21 PM (#1502149)
Sunnyday2 and Karl,

I just saw your comments about the MLEs as I finished up my first draft of Ray Brown. I'll revise both Torriente and Brown later today with the kind of information you've suggested and repost them both. In the meantime, here's what I got on "paper" for Brown. As always, further suggestions for revision or for other information to include are welcomed!
====================================

RAY BROWN
Ray Brown is the finest Negro League pitcher not currently enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Brown was the backbone of the Homestead Grays’ pitching staff throughout their dynastic period. According to statistics published by John Holway, Brown won more league games than any other Negro League pitcher, had the fourth-most decisions, and the fourth-best winning percentage among pitchers with fifty or more decisions. Despite playing for great teams, Brown outwon his teams regularly, finishing with by far the most Wins Above Team of any Negro League pitcher. In addition to fifteen years of excellent pitching stateside Brown wound down his career with four yeoman years in the Mexican League and was a fixture in Cuban League play.

While pitching translations are more subject to variation and error than hitting measurements, Hall of Merit translations estimate that Brown’s adjusted career ERA in major league baseball would have been 119 (19% above the league average), and that he would have won between 270 and 300 games with a winning percentage of .580-.585. Factoring in his outstanding batting skills (he led the Cuban Winter League in homeruns one year), Hall of Merit participants have estimated that Brown would have accumulated 300-325 win shares.

Brown was elected to the Hall of Merit in 1955 in his first year of eligibility, garnering 962 of a possible 1128 points (a robust 85%) after being named on all 47 ballots.
   14. karlmagnus Posted: July 27, 2005 at 04:54 PM (#1502237)
That looks great, DR. C -- everything there in an easy-to-use package.
   15. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: July 27, 2005 at 05:02 PM (#1502256)
If you have questions, you may contact members of the Hall of Merit any time via baseballthinkfactory.org’s email feature.

Might want to throw in something like "in particular contact Joe Dimino and John Murphy, who are running it." or words to that effect.

According to currently available research, Torriente batted .336 in his 15 Negro League seasons, smashing 53 homers.

Do you need to include their numbers? My understanding is that these voters are the top experts and apparently have access to better info than the HoM has.

The two things I think should be included in the intro when you talk of the HoM are (and obviously keep both as brief as possible while still getting the point across): 1) the level of consideration that goes into this project. It's been going on what? 2-3 years? 2 weeks are spent looking at each new batch of candidates and voting on them. 2) Most - though not all - voters in the HoM tend to approach things from a sabermetric POV. This, I feel, is especially true if you're going to talk about their translated stats in each page.

From reading these threads, it seems there's something of a consensus about which of these guys are the best - Wilson, Torriente, etc. May want to make that clear. The write-ups of each will clearly say nice things about all the candidates, and ideally the reader of this summation will come away with a sense not only that the HoM as a whole thinks these players are worthy of induction, but also that some are particularly deserving.

Heck, if possible, you may want to have Joe or John set up a blitzkrieg special election where HoM voters rank the 9 guys in post #5. But there may not be time for that. Maybe have that done by the October report - not only a list of who the HoM thinks should be inducted, but a ranking of the deserving from most to least important to go with it.

Mention how far along the HoM is - so they know why there's no interest in Buck O'Neill or Sam Jethroe or Willard Brown, etc. This could be done by Joe/John when they hunt down people at Toronto.

You may also want to do a write-up on Biz Mackey, too. From what I know, he's generally one of the most highly regarded guys outside of Cooperstown and his absence from the HoM would definately be noted. May need to explain why the HoM voters tend to think he's overrated. Then again, maybe that's something Joe/John can talk about.

Brown was elected to the Hall of Merit in 1955 in his first year of eligibility, garnering 962 of a possible 1128 points (a robust 85%) after being named on all 47 ballots.

May not want to mention the 962 of a possible 1128 points (a robust 85%). Unless you're going to explain the details of the voting system in the summary (which I wouldn't advise) the 962/1128 numbers just might confuse more than enlighten. Just say he got elected in his first year on the ballot after being named on every ballot. Maybe say how many had him 1st or 2nd or something like that.

I agree a table of MLEs, with OPS+/ERA+ would be useful. "Torriente would have hit in the 320s in the majors" for example is less useful than whetever OPS+ figure we calculated for him.

That depends on whether or not the committee members or more familar/comfortable with average or OPS+/ERA+.
   16. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 27, 2005 at 05:27 PM (#1502310)
Might want to throw in something like "in particular contact Joe Dimino and John Murphy, who are running it." or words to that effect.

That's basically how I would handle it, but while I'm the CEO, Joe is the Chairman of the Board, so he may have a different opinion. :-)

BTW, I like the little summaries that the good Doctor has been cooking up. I think all of the MLE guys (especially Chris) should create a article regarding their work with the equivalents so that we can better convince the HOF sub-committee of our picks. Gadfly and Gary come to mind as part of our group that could highlight discrepancies in regard to the historical record of certain players.

As for a list, I think we should have it in three tiers: 1) the inductees (and Beckwith, since he is a given) 2) the NeL candidates who have some support and 3) some prominent NeL candidates who are not registering at all any more (was it Marc that suggested something similar?)
   17. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: July 27, 2005 at 05:28 PM (#1502312)
I would like to add that many of the 'voters' dont' really know what Win Shares are and OPS+ nd ERA+ may even seem a little outlandish. Unless we include tables like what David Foss does with the league average in BA/OBP/SLG and that player's BA/OBP/SLG, we should probalby stick to more traditional stats. I think that SLG and OBP are fine but remember who the average VC or BBWAA (who is doing this?) voter understands.
   18. sunnyday2 Posted: July 27, 2005 at 05:30 PM (#1502316)
>t seems there's something of a consensus about which of these guys are the best - Wilson, Torriente, etc. May want to make that clear.

That's why I suggested a little table of voting histor--either year by year for each player, or maybe just one table showing the final election-year totals for each. What the consensus was would be evident from the number of ballots the player was on, or the percentage of possible votes they received, etc.

I also agree that we probably don't need to give them their NeL numbers, but it would be more important to give them our MLEs, that would be something they couldn't know unless we tell 'em.
   19. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: July 27, 2005 at 05:35 PM (#1502327)
That's why I suggested a little table of voting history

That might make Torriente seem to be less of a candidate than many HoM voters feel he was. He came in with the Super Crop and had to wait a few years when normally he'd be a first-balloter. That's one case where the pecularlities of HoM voting could muddy the situation up.
   20. sunnyday2 Posted: July 27, 2005 at 05:38 PM (#1502339)
The table could always have a Comments column on it for those kinds of quirky things that need to be communicated in order for people to understand the situation fully. I'm a big believer in tables, you just have to beat up on them until they say what you want them to say.
   21. sunnyday2 Posted: July 27, 2005 at 06:06 PM (#1502420)
For Torriente, BTW, you could also say in your narrative that he was part of that incredible class of 1934 of Cobb, Speaker, Collins, Joe Williams, Stan Coveleski and Ben Taylor, and then his "inevitable election" was also delayed when Pete Alexander became eligible in 1936.

Here is his voting history, BTW.

1934 6th 55 of 56 ballots High 2 5ths 787 pts 58.6% of total
1935 4th 51 of 52 1 3rd 830 66.5%
1936 4th 49 of 50 25 3rds 826 68.8%
1937 2nd (elected) 51 of 52 22 1sts (to only 19 for Heilmann) 1101 88.2%

It doesn't take much info to show that he was a very strong candidate, very highly regarded by us HoMies, and that his 4 year voting history is not a sign of weakness.

Or, a really good table would have all of our HoM/not HoFs on it with their voting totals for the year they got elected. Maybe you delete the above and just show that--i.e. show 1937 for Torriente. This BTW would show that we regarded Torriente as comparable to Lloyd and Williams.

Johnson 1925 44 of 48 8 1st 67.7%
Grant 1926 43 of 50 5 1st 736 61.3%
Hill 1927 45 of 48 1 1st 706 61.3%
Santop 1932 49 of 49 36 1sts 1126 95.7%
R. Foster 1932 40 of 49 2 1sts 595 50.6%
Lloyd 1935 52 of 52 11 1sts 1147 92.9%
Williams 1936 50 of 50 7 1sts 1138 94.8%
Torriente 1937 51 of 52 22 1sts 1101 88.2%
Rogan 1940 47 of 51 22 1sts 978 79.9%
Charleston 1943 52 of 52 49 1st 1238 99.2%
W. Foster 1945 48 of 50 19 1st 975 81.2%
Stearnes 1946 53 of 53 35 1st 1232 96.9%
Wilson 1948 50 of 51 3 1st 938 76.6%
Dihigo 1950 52 of 53 17 1st 1055 82.9%
Gibson 1952 50 of 50 49 1st 1193 99.4%
Wells 1954 48 of 49 3 1st 922 78.4%
Leonard 1955 47 of 48 24 1st 1040 90.3%
R. Brown 1955 47 of 48 17 1st 962 83.5%

Finally I don't have Suttles numbers handy. But this helps reinforce the degree to which we may support some players over others. And including the ones who are already in Cooperstown gives both a frame of reference and also lends credibility. I mean, we were smart enough to give Josh Gibson 99+% of the possible vote tally.

The 90+% for Santop really stands out, BTW, as the only 90% for a HoM/not HoF.
   22. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 27, 2005 at 07:31 PM (#1502729)
OK, here's where I'm at with this document as of 3:25 PM. I tried to address as many of the group's suggestions as I could reasonably. There's no OPS+ stuff on Torriente because we were working from the I9s projections. I suspect that Chris Cobb would probably like to revisit the Torriente MLES now that he's worked so extensively on the CWL leagues. Though I could be wrong, and he's on vacation!

Also, I don't feel all that comfy writing up Grant and Johnson since that discussion was a few years before my time and I don't have any feeling whatsoever about the consensus that formed around them. Could someone else (Sunny?)take them on?
==============================================
[COVER LETTER]

Dear Hall of Fame Negro League Screening and Voting Committee Members,

We are writing to you in response to the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s announcement of your charge to examine players of color from the 1860–1960 period for possible induction. Our organization, the Hall of Merit, is a dedicated group of more than fifty baseball enthusiasts, researchers, and thinkers who have undertaken a lengthy deliberative process to honor the greatest players in the history of American baseball. For more than two years, we have held biweekly elections to enshrine a fixed number of candidates, each of which is preceded by lengthy examination of the major candidates. We are currently in the midst of our 1957 election cycle.

One of the key aspects of our election process is the consideration of pre-integration black and Latino players alongside their white contemporaries. We have relied on Negro Leaguer’s reputations and the available statistical evidence of their accomplishments. Using these pieces of information, we have assembled a more complete picture of each player by using traditional measures like hits, ERA, and batting average, rate indexes like ERA+ and OPS+—which show how far above or below league average a player’s rates are—advanced tools like runs created and DERA (a way of looking at ERA that isolates the pitcher from his defense), and omnibus calculations like Bill James’s Win Shares, and Baseball Prospectus’s Wins Above Replacement. Additionally we have in many cases devised unique and rigorous, homegrown methods that allow us to translate a Negro Leaguer’s performance into a major-league setting to facilitate comparisons among black and white candidates

We have, to this point, elected numerous pre-integration black and Latino players, and what follows is a brief history of our voting on Negro League players, then a short list—with commentary—of those players whose careers we believe, based on our discussions, should be strongly considered by the committee for induction. Our discussions of all of these candidates and many others are publicly accessible at www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primer/hom and are noted below each candidate’s synopsis. We hope that you will find this list helpful, and that you will visit the Hall of Merit online and see how we’ve gone about our work. If you have questions, please contact our executive officers Joe Dimino (email address here) and John Murphy (email address here).

Finally, we intend to follow up this brief list by the October deadline with a longer elaboration on this clutch of candidates as well as many others, relating more about our methods, our findings, and the results of our voting.

Thank you for considering our group’s opinions and, most of all, for undertaking the important work of recognizing baseball’s forgotten superstars.

Yours sincerely,

The Members of the Hall of Merit

[NGL INDUCTION RESULTS TABLE]
 
HALL OF MERIT VOTING SUMMARY FOR NEGRO LEAGUE ENSHRINESS

                                              1st-PLACE
PLAYER            ELECTED  ELIGIBLE   BALLOTS      VOTES POINTS  PERCENT  
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Grant Johnson        1925      1921  44 of 48         8     780   67.7%
Frank Grant          1926      1909  43 of 50         5     736   61.3%
Pete Hill            1927      1927  45 of 48         1     706   61.3%
Louis Santop         1932      1932  49 of 49        36    1126   95.7%
Rube Foster          1932      1923  40 of 49         2     595   50.6%
John Henry Lloyd     1935      1934  52 of 52        11    1147   92.9%
Joe Williams         1936      1934  50 of 50         7    1138   94.8%
Cristobal Torriente  1937      1934  51 of 52        22    1101   88.2%
Wilbur Rogan         1940      1940  47 of 51        22     978   79.9%
Oscar Charleston     1943      1943  52 of 52        49    1238   99.2%
Willie Foster        1945      1943  48 of 50        19     975   81.2%
Turkey Stearnes      1946      1946  53 of 53        35    1232   96.9%
Jud Wilson           1948      1947  50 of 51         3     938   76.6%
Martin Dihigo        1950      1950  52 of 53        17    1055   82.9%
Josh Gibson          1952      1952  50 of 50        49    1193   99.4%
Willie Wells         1954      1953  48 of 49         3     922   78.4%
Buck Leonard         1955      1955  47 of 48        24    1040   90.3%
Ray Brown            1955      1955  47 of 48        17     962   83.5%
Mule Suttles         1956      1946  41 of 46         6     743   67.3%


[RECOMMENDATIONS LIST, THUS FAR INCLUDING TORRIENTE, BROWN, AND WILSON]

HALL OF MERIT RECOMMENDATIONS

CRISTOBAL TORRIENTE
This fast, powerful, graceful centerfielder is among the best players not currently enshrined in Cooperstown, irrespective of race or era. The Hall of Merit relies heavily on previously published statistics as well as the findings of independent researchers within its ranks, and according to the data available to us, Torriente batted .336 in his 15 Negro League seasons, but we believe, however, that because he spent several seasons in the offensive-suppressive environment of the Chicago American Giants’ Schorling Park his park-adjusted Negro League average, was really about .352. Independent research by Hall of Merit participants shows that Torriente had a decent walk rate which further boosted his offensive value. By reputation and the limited defensive statistics available from our independent researchers, he appears to have been an outstanding defender.

Using translation methods initially developed by www.I9s.org and refined by Hall of Merit members (especially Christopher Cobb), the Hall of Merit estimates that Torriente would have earned roughly 374 Win Shares in major league baseball, a considerable total, particularly for a career of 16 seasons. The Hall of Merit’s voters overwhelmingly selected Cristobal Torriente for enshrinement in the 1937 election, placing him on 51 of the 52 ballots cast. His inevitable election was waylaid until his fourth year of eligibility because a cluster of inner-circle Hall of Famers were eligible at the very same moment (including Cobb, Speaker, Collins, Alexander, Joe Williams, Walther Johnson, and others), and these elections only allowed for two enshrines at a time.

Discussion of Cristobal Torriente publicly available at:
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primer/hom_discussion/cristobal_torriente

RAY BROWN
In our opinion, Ray Brown is the finest Negro League pitcher not currently enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Brown was the backbone of the Homestead Grays’ pitching staff throughout their dynastic period. According to statistics published by John Holway, and compiled by Hall of Merit participants, Brown won more league games in his career than any other Negro League pitcher, had the fourth most decisions, and the fourth best winning percentage among pitchers with fifty or more decisions. Despite playing for great teams, Brown outwon his teams regularly, finishing with by far the most Wins Above Team of any Negro League pitcher. In addition to fifteen years of excellent pitching stateside Brown spent wound down his career with four yeoman years in the Mexican League and was a fixture in Cuban League play.

While our pitching translations are more subject to variation and error than hitting measurements, translation systems developed by Hall of Merit participants estimate that Brown’s adjusted career ERA in major league baseball would have been around 119 (19% above the league average), and that he would have won between 270 and 300 games with a winning percentage of about .580. Factoring in his outstanding batting skills (he led the Cuban Winter League in homeruns one year), Hall of Merit participants believe that Brown would have accumulated 300–325 win shares. Brown was elected to the Hall of Merit in 1955 in his first year of eligibility after being named on all 47 ballots.

Discussion of Ray Brown publicly available at
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primer/hom_discussion/ray_brown

Discussion of Negro League pitchers available at
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primer/hom_discussion/negro_league_pitchers

JUD WILSON
With the possible exceptions of Ron Santo and Ezra Sutton, Jud Wilson is the most qualified third baseman not already enshrined at Cooperstown. A line-drive machine with an outstanding eye and plate discipline, rigorous Hall of Merit translations suggest that Wilson would have been a high-octane performer in the white big leagues.

Translated stats  BA   OBP   SA     G    AB     H    BB    TB  OPS+
1922–1938      .336 .431  .448  2532  8466  2845  1413  3789  132


Wilson played in the Negro Leagues until he was 48, but our translations suggest that his production would have dropped too far below the level of usefulness (replacement, if you prefer) after 1938 for him to have sustained an MLB career thereafter.

Defensively, the Hall of Merit concluded that Wilson would have played third base adequately for much of his career then would likely have shifted to first base later on. With all of this information, a Hall of Merit member concluded that Wilson would have generated 378 win shares, a number greater than the career totals of Ron Santo and Home Run Baker and just a bit below Wade Boggs, the latter of whom we believe Wilson may have been highly comparable to. In 1948, his second year of eligibility, Wilson appeared on 50 of 51 ballots cast to win election to the Hall of Merit.

Discussion of Jud Wilson publicly available at
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primer/hom_discussion/jud_wilson
   23. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 27, 2005 at 07:54 PM (#1502803)
For Torriente, BTW, you could also say in your narrative that he was part of that incredible class of 1934 of Cobb, Speaker, Collins, Joe Williams, Stan Coveleski and Ben Taylor, and then his "inevitable election" was also delayed when Pete Alexander became eligible in 1936.

I like that, Marc, and it's factual, too. If it had been almost any other election, he would have gone in his first year of eligibility.

BTW, I hope my earlier posts didn't come off as passing the buck to the rest of you. I just feel there are more qualified people than myself to construct a proper argument for or against any NeL candidate. It would be improper of me to take what many of you constructed and put my name on it.
   24. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 27, 2005 at 07:58 PM (#1502817)
Nice work on the cover letter, Eric!

Also, I don't feel all that comfy writing up Grant and Johnson since that discussion was a few years before my time and I don't have any feeling whatsoever about the consensus that formed around them. Could someone else (Sunny?)take them on?

If Marc doesn't want to handle it, how about the biggest proponent of the two?
   25. TomH Posted: July 27, 2005 at 08:02 PM (#1502843)
I'd recommend deleting the Ezra Sutton comparison in the Jud Wilson discussion - not because he wasn't real good, but I don't think it will add luster to his cause unless the HoM group is full of die-hard pre-1890 advocates.

But the draft so far looks great. I'm pleased to be part of this august body.
   26. sunnyday2 Posted: July 27, 2005 at 08:14 PM (#1502908)
I will be hiking around Cape Breton for the next ten days. Sorry! If we go out to the October deadline as opposed to the convention deadline, I'd be happy to help.
   27. Gary A Posted: July 27, 2005 at 08:26 PM (#1502976)
This is stunning news. The HOF is actually handing over authority to elect new members to...a bunch of researchers? Academics, even?!

I think Suttles, Mackey, Santop, and Redding are among the top candidates to be elected (not our top candidates, obviously). They will have a separate pre-1920 ballot--maybe Santop and Redding will end up there. I'd say this is good news for Frank Grant fans, too. Sol White stands a good chance, since they're electing executives, managers, and so on.

I wonder if any limit to the number of electees will be set. Would it really be a good thing if 10, 15, or 20 NeLers were suddenly inducted, all at once? On the other hand, this could be the last chance to get NeLers into the HOF, which could put pressure on committee members to increase the number they vote for.
   28. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 27, 2005 at 08:41 PM (#1503050)
Here's Luis Santop's entry. Again, no posted OPS+ or translated career numbers to offer at this time, so I wrote around their absence. Suggestions welcomed!
=============================================

LOUIS SANTOP
This Latino superstar of the deadball era is relatively unknown today, but was very clearly one of the game’s most lethal hitters in his day. The Hall of Merit echoed the nearly universal expert opinion that Santop was the best catcher in the Negro Leagues during the 1910s, and may have been the best catcher anywhere during his career. Beginning with a translation of his batting from I9s.org, one of our members carefully fine tuned the existing translation to better match the arc and trajectory of Santop’s published statistics. Santop was also credited in our translation for time missed due to war, a tenet which has been true for each translated player who has missed time due to military service—but which is, per our rules and regulations, an option each individual voter considers for him or herself. In the end, the translation of Santop estimates that he earned 300 win shares, a remarkable total for anyone of the time who played catcher for a lengthy period.

This estimate may, however, underrepresent Santop’s offensive contributions. The distribution of Santop’s actual games between catcher and outfield is unknown, and our estimates conservatively assign his position this way: catcher 1909–1910; c/of 1911; of 1912–1915; c 1916–1924; ph 1925–1926. Santop made his main contributions as an offensive player; despite a strong arm, he is not reputed to be a great defender, and so our translations say that he was about average with the leather. If Santop played more outfield than our translations assume, then he may well exceed 300 win shares by a considerable margin owing to the increased opportunities to hit afforded by playing the outfield.

In 1932, his first year of eligibility, Santop was enshrined in the Hall of Merit, appearing on all forty-eight ballots, and overwhelming the field by capturing thirty-six of the forty-eight available first-place votes in the process.

Discussion of Louis Santop publicly available at
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primer/hom_discussion/luis_santop
   29. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 27, 2005 at 08:46 PM (#1503074)
This is stunning news. The HOF is actually handing over authority to elect new members to...a bunch of researchers? Academics, even?!

It's about freakin' time, don't you think, Gary? :-)

I've been a long-time fan of Bill James' suggestion of expanding the voting privileges to other groups. It shouldn't just be handed to a bunch of elites. Fans, players, researchers, management, the media, etc. should all play a part in the process.
   30. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 27, 2005 at 09:09 PM (#1503184)
Here's the Mule Suttles entry

MULE SUTTLES
Mule Suttles ranks among the greatest homer hitters in the history of the Negro Leagues. This slugging first baseman/outfielder was a multidimensional batter; in addition to his prodigious power, he hit for high average and get on base frequently. Speed and defense weren’t key elements of his game, but he didn’t need them because when he kicked, the whole place knew it.

Hall of Merit translations of existing, available data reaffirm his rank among the great hitters:
Translated stats  BA   OBP   SA     G    PA     H    BB    TB  OPS+
1923–1941       .302  .366  .538  2420  10163 2791  924  4967  137

One challenge in figuring out Suttles is determining how much his home park would have helped him. The St. Louis Stars' home field was an exceptional offensive environment and the translations above attempt to make some account of that contextual influence on Suttles's power numbers.

Although he may have been overshadowed by the likes of Gehrig, Foxx, and Greenberg, Suttles would have, in the opinion of the Hall of Merit’s voters, been a major offensive force in the white big leagues, enough to earn him 353 career win shares. Recognizing his greatness, the Hall of Merit enshrined Mule Suttles in its 1956 election, naming him on forty-one of the forty-six ballots cast.

Discussion of Mule Suttles publicly available at
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primer/hom_discussion/mule_suttles
   31. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 27, 2005 at 10:00 PM (#1503379)
I think I need some help on this one guys...
--------------------

PETE HILL
The first great outfielder in Negro League history, Pete Hill posted a string of sterling seasons in the early 1900s while playing a very good centerfield. His prime extended into the 1910s, where after his batting skills seem to disappear altogether. However, research conducted by Hall of Merit members indicates that, in fact, some of the drop in batting ability may be an illusion of context wrought by Hill’s move into the cavernous Schorling Park in 1914. Thirty-four at the time of the move, he would play on for another ten years, and when he moved to Detroit’s Mack Park, a much less extreme park, his high batting averages returned.

On the whole, a consensus developed in the Hall of Merit that Hill’s case is built around a wonderful peak and prime and that the information about his ballparks contributes to a new understanding of his career, one in which he doesn’t simply drop off, but rather loses ground as an aging outfielder typically would. In his first year on the ballot, Hill won the 1927 election, and though he garnered only a single first-place vote, he appeared on forty-five of the fort-eight ballots cast.

Discussion of Pete Hill publicly available at
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primer/hom_discussion/pete_hill

and at
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primer/hom_discussion/1927_ballot_discussion (See pages 1 and 2.)
   32. Mike Webber Posted: July 27, 2005 at 10:11 PM (#1503406)
IMO Estimated Win Shares and other estimated stats will not impress the people I know on this committee. First several of them just spent a big chunk of time putting together what they believe are the most accurate stats ever accumulated for Negro Leaguers, so saying you used Holway's data to make estimates is not going to win you an kudos.

Second, I know a couple of them would have no idea what a Win Share is. Maybe Gadfly could give his opinion, but my general impression is they aren't that kind of fan.

Although he may have been overshadowed by the likes of Gehrig, Foxx, and Greenberg, Suttles would have, in the opinion of the Hall of Merit’s voters, been a major offensive force in the white big leagues, enough to earn him 353 career win shares. Recognizing his greatness, the Hall of Merit enshrined Mule Suttles in its 1956 election, naming him on forty-one of the forty-six ballots cast.


I think this is an excellent summary, and would be just as good without the phrase enough to earn him 353 career win shares.
   33. DavidFoss Posted: July 27, 2005 at 10:19 PM (#1503424)
IMO Estimated Win Shares and other estimated stats will not impress the people I know on this committee.

If its a ballot for only NeL-ers than MLE's are not as essential as they've been to us. After all, they are not trying to rank MLB-ers and NeL-ers on the same ballot like we do. Because of this, all of the conversions might seem unnecessary to the members of the committee.

On the other hand, MLE's are nice in comparing NeL-ers who played in stronger and weaker leagues.

Just thinking out loud here.
   34. sunnyday2 Posted: July 27, 2005 at 10:47 PM (#1503512)
I would just argue that the MLEs are what make the HoM the HoM. Without them, we are just another petitioner outside the door at Cooperstown with just another opinion.
   35. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 27, 2005 at 10:51 PM (#1503527)
Mike, David, and Marc, that's great feedback about who the readers will be, thanks.

And I think that both Mike and Marc are right. On one hand we must know our audience, on the other hand we can only present our point of view as we've arrived at it, especially since, as Marc points out, that's what makes us, well, us.

As they say in the cheffing business, it's all in the presentation, and I'll do my best to revise the synopses so that anyone can find information they can work with from it.
   36. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: July 27, 2005 at 10:55 PM (#1503534)
IMO Estimated Win Shares and other estimated stats will not impress the people I know on this committee. First several of them just spent a big chunk of time putting together what they believe are the most accurate stats ever accumulated for Negro Leaguers, so saying you used Holway's data to make estimates is not going to win you an kudos.

That's the concern I had when reading the summaries. We've got to walk a fine line here -- I think it's appropriate (and ethical) to let them know that HoM voters tend to be followers of Bill James and statistics of that ilk, but not bombard them with stats that make their eyes glaze over because the voters themselves aren't that interested.

My suggestion: mention HoM voter tendencies in the introduction section (and even there I don't know if you want to get lost too much into the detail - maybe just mention HoM voters tend to prefer the sort of statistical analysis commonly associated with Bill James and generally known as sabermetrics). Also, I don't really know if mentioning Chris Cobb by name does anything. Yea, he's done the best dang work of anyone here (IMHO anyway) and he deserves credit, but if I'm Dick Clark reading this I'm going to wonder "Who the f*** if Chris Cobb?"

Also - still my suggestion, just needed a paragraph break - keep "new wave" stats out of the players section whenever possible. There are ways around it. For example, instead of saying Mule Suttles would've won 353 win shares, find a similar player with that total of win shares and say he would've had as good a career as ____. Or if he's got more estimated win shares than X but more than Y, say that he would've been a bit below X but better than Y. Going back to Mule Suttles, his estimated career win shares total is almost exactly halfway the career win shares of Greenberg and Foxx. Say that instead of 353 win shares.

Also, rather than give the numbers for Torriente's BA with and without park effects, maybe mention that the HoM believes he was considerably better than his numbers because he played much of his careers in pitcher's parks.

For Judd Wilson, just say the HoM consensus is that his career value would've been far better than Baker or Santo (or Pie Traynor) but just a hair below Wade Boggs's. No need for win shares to be mentioned.

For Santop - The Hall of Merit echoed the nearly universal expert opinion that Santop was the best catcher in the Negro Leagues during the 1910s, and may have been the best catcher anywhere during his career.

Ain't that an understatement? My memory might be playing tricks on me, but wasn't he arguably the best catcher prior to Mickey Cochrane? Or at the very least the best catcher of the 20th century prior to Cochrane?

For Torriente - he had 374 win shares -- rather than say that why not say he appears to us to have been as good as Al Simmons (375 win shares)? I think that would work better.

For Brown - take the reference to Wins Above Team out and have it shot. Instead, find a MLBr with 270-300 wins and a .580 winning percentage and say he's similar to that guy. Your description makes him sound like a slighly better version of Robin Roberts or Fergie Jenkins. Go with that instead.

I'd challange all HoMers - especially those who have been following the Negro Leaguer threads closely and most especially those regarded as HoM experts on the Negro Leagues, to try to find - and list in this thread - the best comps for the various Negro Leguers that are being given a brief write up.

When doing this, please try to avoid players that the HoM feels are considerably under/overrated. For example, saying that Louis Santop was even better than Charlie Bennett wouldn't have much impact. See the HoM doesn't think Pitcher Y was much better than Dizzy Dean wouldn't have the impact people would be hoping for.

Essentially, what I'm saying you do is tell them (in general terms rather quickly) what sort of standards HoM voters tend to support and then give them a list of players the site things are worthy and discuss their attributes. Only when discussing their attributes, put it in terms the readers (i.e - the voters) can relate to easier. That way the HoF voters have an idea where the HoM is coming from and what it things of certain players without having their eyes glaze over from indifference due to lack of interest in sabermetrics. That way the memo is both upfront with the HoM's standards and is as effective as it can possibly be.
   37. jimd Posted: July 27, 2005 at 11:16 PM (#1503604)
Excellent suggestions by Chris J.
   38. jimd Posted: July 27, 2005 at 11:24 PM (#1503615)
Summary of HOM Elections

Year Ballots Points  Pct  Elected          Points  Pct  Elected
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
1898    29     657  94.4 *Deacon White       553  79.5 *George Gore
1898    29     654  94.0 *Paul Hines         476  68.4 *Ross Barnes
1899    31     699  94.0 *Jim O'Rourke       625  84.0 *King Kelly
1900    35     756  90.0 *John Clarkson      617  73.5 *John M. Ward
1901    35     657  78.2  Tim Keefe          640  76.2  George Wright
1902    42    1005  99.7 *Dan Brouthers      752  74.7 *Buck Ewing
1903    44     984  93.2 *Roger Connor       900  85.2 *Cap Anson
1904    43     850  82.4  Jack Glasscock     720  69.8 *Amos Rusie
1905    41     706  71.7  Charles Radbourn   660  67.1  Hardy Richardson
1906    43     758  73.4  Al Spalding
1907    41     877  89.1 *Billy Hamilton
1908    42     762  75.6  Ezra Sutton
1909    43    1015  98.4 *Ed Delahanty
1910    44     780  73.9  Pud Galvin
1911    42     997  98.9 *Kid Nichols
1912    42     957  94.9  Jesse Burkett      731  72.5  Joe Start
1913    42     751  74.5  Bid McPhee
1914    41     723  73.5  Cal McVey
1915    44    1011  95.7 *George Davis       939  88.9 *Bill Dahlen
1916    44     667  63.2  Harry Stovey
1917    45    1080 100.0 *Cy Young           920  85.2 *Fred Clarke
1918    45     747  69.2  Elmer Flick
1919    47     827  73.3  Willie Keeler      768  68.1  Joe Kelley
1920    46     822  74.5 *Ed Walsh
1921    48     814  70.7  Jimmy Collins      701  60.9  Charlie Bennett
1922    46    1091  98.8 *Nap Lajoie        1065  96.5 *Christy Mathewson
1923    48    1152 100.0 *Honus Wagner
1924    46    1102  99.8  Sam Crawford       907  82.2  Eddie Plank
1925    48     780  67.7  Home Run Johnson   766  66.5  Three Finger Brown
1926    50     736  61.3  Frank Grant        722  60.2  Sherry Magee
1927    49     875  74.7  Joe Jackson        706  60.0  Pete Hill
1928    47     932  82.6 *Frank Baker        685  60.7  Joe McGinnity
1929    48     703  61.0  Bobby Wallace      629  54.6  Sam Thompson
1930    51     754  61.6  Jimmy Sheckard     693  56.6  Bob Caruthers
1931    52     661  53.0  Dickey Pearce
1932    51    1126  92.0 *Louis Santop       595  48.6  Rube Foster
1933    54    1296 100.0 *Walter Johnson     997  76.9 *Zach Wheat
1934    56    1334  99.3 *Ty Cobb           1102  82.0 *Tris Speaker
1935    52    1220  97.8  Eddie Collins     1147  91.9  John H. Lloyd
1936    50    1193  99.4 *Pete Alexander    1138  94.8  Smoky Joe Williams
1937    52    1131  90.6 *Harry Heilmann    1101  88.2  Cristobal Torriente
1938    53     826  64.9  Heinie Groh        794  62.4  Stan Coveleski
1939    53     589  46.3 *Red Faber          580  45.6  Max Carey
1940    51     978  79.9 *Joe Rogan          496  40.5  Lip Pike
1941    53    1272 100.0 *Babe Ruth         1219  95.8 *Rogers Hornsby
1942    53     719  56.5  Dazzy Vance        571  44.9 *Bill Terry
1943    52    1238  99.2 *Oscar Charleston  1102  88.3 *Mickey Cochrane
1944    52    1248 100.0 *Lou Gehrig        1082  86.7  Frankie Frisch
1945    52     998  80.0  Goose Goslin       796  63.8  Willie Foster
1946    53    1232  96.9 *Turkey Stearnes   1192  93.7 *Al Simmons
1947    54    1296 100.0 *Lefty Grove       1193  92.1 *Gabby Hartnett
1948    51    1198  97.9 *Charlie Gehringer  938  76.6  Jud Wilson
1949    51    1171  95.7 *Carl Hubbell       818  66.8  Ted Lyons
1950    53    1212  95.3 *Paul Waner        1055  82.9 *Martin Dihigo
1951    49    1170  99.5 *Jimmy Foxx        1025  87.2  Joe Cronin
1952    50    1193  99.4 *Josh Gibson       1144  95.3 *Mel Ott
1953    49    1076  91.5  Bill Dickey       1048  89.1 *Hank Greenberg
1954    49    1157  98.4 *Arky Vaughan       922  78.4  Willie Wells
1955    48    1040  90.3 *Buck Leonard       962  83.5 *Raymond Brown
1956    46    1012  91.7 *Luke Appling       743  67.3  Mule Suttles
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

* Elected in First year of Eligibility

Pct -- Per cent of Possible Points from Weighted Ballot
   39. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 27, 2005 at 11:30 PM (#1503623)
Also, I don't really know if mentioning Chris Cobb by name does anything. Yea, he's done the best dang work of anyone here (IMHO anyway) and he deserves credit, but if I'm Dick Clark reading this I'm going to wonder "Who the f*** if Chris Cobb?"

It's one thing if Chris (or me, FTM :-) were referenced as if he were in the same league prestige-wise as a Bill James, but he still does deserve the credit for what he has done. I would have a hard time presenting our presentation solely under the umbrella of The Hall of Merit Group without giving credit where credit is due.

With that said, I agree with Jim that Chris made some excellent suggestions.
   40. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 27, 2005 at 11:31 PM (#1503626)
I agree with everything that's been said, and I'll try to come back with revisions as soon as I'm able. Perhaps tonight.
   41. karlmagnus Posted: July 28, 2005 at 12:29 AM (#1503754)
I think we need to give Win Shares and the comparison, although the latter is important where we don't have good WS numbers. We may mis-communicate with the comparisons though; for example the best benchmark we had for Frank Grant was Hardy Richardson, who was a near contemporary and apparently a good comp -- that put him firmly in for us, but the HOF hasn't honored Richardson. McPhee was another less convincing comp -- maybe that works better, as they honored McPhee in 2000.
   42. yest Posted: July 28, 2005 at 12:33 AM (#1503768)
I think maybe we should show how Negro League HoMers not HoFers relate to comparable Negro League HoFers not HoMers using each of these 4 different methods when able to the 4 ways are stats (Holways, McMillan, games vs. ML players ext.) antidotes (meaning stories) public opinion (polls, east west all star games, contemporary players opinions) and MLE's
   43. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: July 28, 2005 at 01:11 AM (#1503859)
I think we need to give Win Shares and the comparison, although the latter is important where we don't have good WS numbers

Disagree completely. At most I'd be willing to allow it in an appendix. I'd advice against it -- maybe in the final October right-up, but not now.

You've got to approach it from the POV of the reader. From what it sounds like and what we've been told many/most of these individuals aren't interested in or knowledgable about sabermetrics. To best inform them what we think of a certain player, we'd be better off putting the HoM's perceived value of a player in terms they can most readily understand. Even if the estimated win shares are more precise, they would still be a worse way to get the reader to understand what the HoM thinks of a player because the win shares would be meaningless to the reader.

The goal's to try to get the reader to understand what the HoM thinks of a player. If the reader doesn't think anything of win shares, then that won't mean anything, regardless of how accurate it is.

It's one thing if Chris (or me, FTM :-) were referenced as if he were in the same league prestige-wise as a Bill James, but he still does deserve the credit for what he has done. I would have a hard time presenting our presentation solely under the umbrella of The Hall of Merit Group without giving credit where credit is due.

In that case I'd suggest handling it differently. At the very end of the intro section say something like: the HoM owes a special debt of gratitude to X, Y, and Chris Cobb for the impressive and thankless yeomen work they've done for us in this project." The way it's handled now, it's like name-dropping. And it just doesn't work.

yest has a very interesting suggestion of comparing HoM NLrs versus HoFr NLrs. I don't know how well using Holway, anecdotes, etc would work because my guess is that the committee already knows more of that stuff than all of us put together will ever know. It may help in the comparisons, though, like how I discussed in post #36. How does X compare to Turkey Stearnes, for example. If this were to be done, I'd strongly recommend against comparing anyone to Cool Papa Bell because the HoM thought on him is very different from mainstream opinion.

Random thoughts. . . . in the intro section, when discussing the HoM and its beliefs you may just want to write something as basic as (though not necessarily phrased exactly as I have done it here): "Voters of the Hall of Merit tend analyze players from a statistical perspective most closely associated with Bill James and popularly known as sabermetrics. Its members try to adjust a player's known numbers for park, era, and competition, and gauge how he would most likely have played in MLB had it not been for the infernal color barrier. They tend to focus on the player's on-field performance and are generally quite cautious about assigned too much values to intangibles such as clubhouse chemistry, leadership, etc. Though this attitude pervades a clear majority of HoMers, that does not that these feelings are universal."

The advantage there, IMHO, is that if I'm a reader who isn't that interesting in Bill James or doesn't know anything about Win Shares and thinks that VORP is that badass space robot from "The Day the Earth Stood Still," reading this (or something likeit) will give me a very good idea where this group is coming from, without causing my eyes to glaze over.

Is anything else necessary in discussing the HoM's biases (for lack of a better word) and pervailing framework for determining a player's value? Personally, I don't think it's necessary to get into the minitua and mention the most popular stats and so forth. From the POV of the non-sabermetric reader, that doesn't tell me anything that I understand and doesn't add much to my understanding of the group. It would likely just be empty buzzwords or just meaningless detail. If the group wants to add more, though, that's acceptable.

Final note - Ray Brown's got an estimated ERA+ of 118, 270-300 wins, 300-30 win shares, and a winning percentage of .580? Those numbers just don't add up. I checked all the pitchers from 270-300 wins - no one like that. Blyleven's close - same wins, same ERA+, but a much much lower winning percentage. If he had that winning percentage and wins, he's have had a lower ERA+. It's like that with all of the MLB pitchers with 270-300 wins - if you adjust so he matches hear, he no longer matches there. I don't know what's wrong with Ray Brown - the wins, the ERA+, but something's screwy there. Not terribly screwy, but it's a little off. Best just to say he's roughly comparably to Jenkins and Roberts. Not sure if he's better or worse, but he sounds simliar.
   44. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 28, 2005 at 01:17 AM (#1503874)
In that case I'd suggest handling it differently. At the very end of the intro section say something like: the HoM owes a special debt of gratitude to X, Y, and Chris Cobb for the impressive and thankless yeomen work they've done for us in this project." The way it's handled now, it's like name-dropping. And it just doesn't work.

That I agree with, Chris. Everybody gets the credit they deserve without the name dropping. I like it.
   45. Tiboreau Posted: July 28, 2005 at 02:45 AM (#1504178)
thinks that VORP is that badass space robot from "The Day the Earth Stood Still,"

Klaatu barada nikto!
   46. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 28, 2005 at 03:26 AM (#1504242)
Klaatu barada nikto!

Is this a trap?....

But seriously, I'll be reposting the entire revised document within the next 15-30 minutes to see if we can start nailing some of the passages down. I'll do it in three parts to avoid the character limit and make it a little less daunting to review.
1) the letter.
2) the voting history of NgL players.
3) the players we endorse for induction at c-town.
   47. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 28, 2005 at 03:34 AM (#1504251)
uh, no, but I put myself in a trap with that pair of s....
   48. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 28, 2005 at 03:38 AM (#1504262)
OK, here's the opening letter. It runs slightly over a page in 12 point Times New Roman with 1.25" margins.
===========================================

Dear Hall of Fame Negro League Screening and Voting Committee Members,

We are writing to you in response to the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s announcement of your charge to examine players of color from the 1860–1960 period for possible induction. Our organization, the Hall of Merit, is a dedicated group of more than fifty baseball enthusiasts, researchers, and thinkers who have undertaken a lengthy deliberative process to honor the greatest players in the history of American baseball. For more than two years, we have biweekly elections to enshrine a fixed number of candidates. These votes are each preceded by lengthy examination of the major candidates on the ballot. We are currently in the midst of our 1957 election cycle.

One of the key aspects of our election process is the consideration of pre-integration black and Latino players alongside their white contemporaries. We have relied on Negro Leaguer’s reputations and what statistical evidence of their accomplishments has been previously published (mostly in the form of books by James Riley, John Holway, and others). While we’ve found these sources to be occasionally frustrating or inconsistent, they are the best currently available to us. Using these pieces of information, we have assembled a more complete picture of each player by using traditional measures like hits, ERA, as well as by embracing advanced statistical tools put forth by the sabermetric community and popularized by Bill James, Baseball Prospectus, and others. Additionally we have in many cases devised unique and rigorous homegrown methods that take what information we have access to and facilitate comparisons among black and white candidates by translating a Negro Leaguer’s performance into a major-league setting. As a group we tend to deal exclusively with on-the-field performance and are quite cautious in assigning value to a player’s character and leadership

We have, to this point, examined dozens of Negro Leaguers and elected numerous pre-integration black and Latino players. What follows is our view of the players we have encountered through 1957, who we believe should be strongly considered by the Screening and Voting Committees for Hall of Fame induction. All of our discussions are publicly accessible at www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primer/hom and specific discussion threads are noted below each candidate’s synopsis. We hope that you will find our deliberations helpful in conducting the important work you will soon have at hand, and that you will visit the Hall of Merit online to see the collaborative community we’ve assembled to go about our work.

Finally, we hope to follow up this brief with a longer elaboration on which Negro Leaguers our electorate has voted for (or not voted for), relating more about our methods, our findings, and the results of our voting in the hopes that our process may in some way help you decide among the many well-qualified individuals available for election.

If you have questions about the Hall of Merit or the information we’ve presented, please contact our executive officers Joe Dimino (email address here) and John Murphy (email address here).

Thank you for considering our group’s opinions and, most of all, for undertaking the important work of recognizing baseball’s forgotten superstars. We look forward to seeing the results of your work and seeing these players immortalized in 2006.

Yours sincerely,

The Members of the Hall of Merit
   49. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 28, 2005 at 03:42 AM (#1504268)
Here's the context of our elections of Negro leaguers. One page of text.
=========================================

SYNOPSIS OF THE HALL OF MERIT’S NEGRO LEAGUE INDUCTEES
To demonstrate how our process has evolved thus far, please see the table below. In it you will find a list of all the Negro League players that have been inducted into the Hall of Merit in chronological order of enshrinement. Among them are eight players who are not currently in the National Baseball Hall of Fame; these players are marked with an asterisk.
 
HALL OF MERIT VOTING SUMMARY FOR NEGRO LEAGUE ENSHRINESS

                                              1st-PLACE
PLAYER            ELECTED  ELIGIBLE   BALLOTS      VOTES POINTS  PERCENT  
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Grant Johnson*       1925      1921  44 of 48         8     780   67.7%
Frank Grant*         1926      1909  43 of 50         5     736   61.3%
Pete Hill*           1927      1927  45 of 48         1     706   61.3%
Louis Santop*        1932      1932  49 of 49        36    1126   95.7%
Rube Foster          1932      1923  40 of 49         2     595   50.6%
John Henry Lloyd     1935      1934  52 of 52        11    1147   92.9%
Joe Williams         1936      1934  50 of 50         7    1138   94.8%
Cristobal Torriente  1937      1934  51 of 52        22    1101   88.2%
Wilbur Rogan         1940      1940  47 of 51        22     978   79.9%
Oscar Charleston     1943      1943  52 of 52        49    1238   99.2%
Willie Foster        1945      1943  48 of 50        19     975   81.2%
Turkey Stearnes      1946      1946  53 of 53        35    1232   96.9%
Jud Wilson*          1948      1947  50 of 51         3     938   76.6%
Martin Dihigo        1950      1950  52 of 53        17    1055   82.9%
Josh Gibson          1952      1952  50 of 50        49    1193   99.4%
Willie Wells         1954      1953  48 of 49         3     922   78.4%
Buck Leonard         1955      1955  47 of 48        24    1040   90.3%
Ray Brown*           1955      1955  47 of 48        17     962   83.5%
Mule Suttles*        1956      1946  41 of 46         6     743   67.3%

It is our consensus that those players not currently in the Hall of Fame represent the strongest cases for induction among pre-integration players of color whom we have so far encountered.

In addition, John Beckwith* is a heavy favorite to win election in either 1957 or 1958.

Please note that we have not yet examined many players who have very strong resumes. The table below lists those players and the year they will become eligible for enshrinement:
 
PLAYER             ELIGIBLE
Buck O’Neill*          1957
Max Manning*           1957
Willard Brown*         1958
Quincy Trouppe*        1958
Sam Jethroe*           1958
Luke Easter*           1959
Ray Dandridge          1959
Bill Wright*           1959
Satchel Paige          1959
Dave Barnhill*         1959
Leon Day               1960
Silvio Garcia*         1960
Pee Wee Butts*         1961
Jackie Robinson        1962
Hank Thompson*         1962
Monte Irvin            1962
Bus Clarkson*          1962
Roy Campanella         1963
Artie Wilson*          1963
Piper Davis*           1963
Bonnie Serrell*        1964
Bob Thurman*           1964
Larry Doby             1965
Don Newcombe*          1966
Bob Boyd*              1967
Marvin Williams*       1967
Minnie Minoso*         1970
Sam Jones*             1970
Jim Gilliam*           1972
   50. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 28, 2005 at 03:49 AM (#1504276)
Lastly, the player synopses, heavily revised. Johnson and Grant need some help, they look skimpy. Also, very important, there's an underscore in the Santop area, I need an offensive comp. You'll see what I mean.
=========================================

HALL OF MERIT RECOMMENDATIONS FOR HALL OF FAME ELECTION

CRISTOBAL TORRIENTE
This fast, powerful, graceful centerfielder is among the best players not currently enshrined in Cooperstown, irrespective of race or era. Based on the information available to us as well as independent research, we think that Torriente’s abilities are understated by the statistical record. He spent several seasons in the offensive-suppressive environment of the Chicago American Giants’ Schorling Park which dampened his batting average and his power production. By his reputation and the limited defensive statistics available from our independent researchers, he appears to have been an outstanding defender.

Our translation methods estimate that Torriente’s sixteen-year career may have paralleled Al Simmons’s in terms of his overall value. Hall of Merit voters overwhelmingly endorsed Cristobal Torriente for enshrinement in the 1937 election, placing him on fifty-one of the fifty-two ballots cast. His inevitable election was waylaid until his fourth year of eligibility because a cluster of inner-circle Hall of Famers were eligible at the very same moment (including Cobb, Speaker, Collins, Alexander, Joe Williams, and John Henry Lloyd), and these elections only allowed for two enshrines at a time.

Discussion of Cristobal Torriente is available at:
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primer/hom_discussion/cristobal_torriente


RAY BROWN
In our opinion, Ray Brown is the finest Negro League pitcher not currently enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Brown was the backbone of the Homestead Grays’ pitching staff throughout their dynastic period, and according to statistics available to us, Brown won more league games in his career than any other Negro League pitcher, had the fourth most decisions, and the fourth best winning percentage among pitchers with fifty or more decisions. Despite playing for great teams, Brown’s own winning percentages regularly exceeded those of the teams he was on.

While our pitching translations are more subject to variation and error than hitting measurements, systems developed by Hall of Merit participants estimate that Brown would have won between 270 and 300 games with a winning percentage around.580, making his career comparable to that of Robin Roberts or Ferguson Jenkins. Brown was elected to the Hall of Merit in 1955 in his first year of eligibility after being named on all forty-seven ballots cast.

Discussion of Ray Brown is available at
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primer/hom_discussion/ray_brown

Discussion of Negro League pitchers is available at
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primer/hom_discussion/negro_league_pitchers


JUD WILSON
With the possible exception of Ron Santo, Jud Wilson is the most qualified third baseman not already enshrined at Cooperstown. Wilson was a line-drive machine with an outstanding eye and excellent plate discipline. The Hall of Merit’s translations suggest that he would have been a high-octane performer in the white big leagues.

Translated stats  BA   OBP   SA     G    AB     H    BB    TB  OPS+
1922–1938      .336 .431  .448  2532  8466  2845  1413  3789  132


Wilson played in the Negro Leagues until he was 48, but our methods indicate that his production would have dropped too far below the level of usefulness after 1938 for him to have sustained a major-league career into the 1940s

Defensively, the Hall of Merit concluded that Wilson would have played third base adequately for much of his career then would likely have shifted to first base later on. With all of this information, we concluded that Wilson would have carved out a career far more impressive than that of his contemporary Pie Traynor, more impressive still than Ron Santo or Home Run Baker and just a bit less impressive than Wade Boggs’s. In 1948, his second year of eligibility, Wilson appeared on fifty of fifty-one ballots cast to win election to the Hall of Merit.

Discussion of Jud Wilson is available at
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primer/hom_discussion/jud_wilson


LOUIS SANTOP
This Latino superstar of the deadball era is relatively unknown today, but we believe he was one of the deadball era’s most lethal hitters. The Hall of Merit echoed the nearly universal expert opinion that Santop was the best catcher in the Negro Leagues during the 1910s, and may have been the best catcher anywhere prior to Mickey Cochrane.

Santop is difficult to compare to any player in the white big leagues because as a catcher/outfielder with tremendous power, his profile is rare. Our translations indicate that he may have fused the hitting talent of ____ with the versatile and usually reliable defense of Wally Schang. This analogy yields a player who created tremendous value for his teams, more, we believe, than any other player who caught for any lengthy period of time before the mid 1920s.

In 1932, his first year of eligibility, Santop was enshrined in the Hall of Merit, appearing on all forty-eight ballots, and overwhelming the field by capturing thirty-six of the forty-eight available first-place votes in the process.

Discussion of Louis Santop is available at
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primer/hom_discussion/luis_santop


MULE SUTTLES
Mule Suttles ranks among the greatest homer hitters in the history of the Negro Leagues. This slugging first baseman/outfielder was a multidimensional batter; in addition to his prodigious power, he hit for high average and get on base frequently. Speed and defense weren’t key elements of his game, but Hall of Merit translations of existing, available data reaffirm his rank among the great hitters of his era:
Translated stats  BA   OBP   SA     G    PA     H    BB    TB  OPS+
1923–1941       .302  .366  .538  2420  10163 2791  924  4967  137

One challenge in figuring out Suttles is determining how much his home park would have helped him. The St. Louis Stars' home field was an exceptional offensive environment and the translations above attempt to make some account of that contextual influence on Suttles's power numbers.

Although he may have been overshadowed by the likes of Gehrig, Foxx, and Greenberg, Suttles would have, in the opinion of the Hall of Merit’s voters, been a major offensive force in the white big leagues: the Ernie Banks or Willie Stargell of his generation. Recognizing his greatness, the Hall of Merit enshrined Mule Suttles in its 1956 election, naming him on forty-one of the forty-six ballots cast.

Discussion of Mule Suttles is available at
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primer/hom_discussion/mule_suttles


PETE HILL
The first great outfielder in Negro League history, Pete Hill posted a string of sterling seasons in the early 1900s while playing an excellent centerfield. His prime extended into the 1910s, where his batting skills appear to decline rapidly. However, research conducted by Hall of Merit members indicates that, in fact, some of the drop in batting ability may be an illusion of context wrought by Hill’s move into the cavernous Schorling Park. Thirty-four at the time of the move, he would play on for another ten years, and when he moved to Detroit’s Mack Park, a much less extreme park, his high batting averages returned.

On the whole, a consensus developed in the Hall of Merit that Hill’s case is built around a wonderful peak and prime and that the information about his ballparks contributes to a new understanding of his career, one in which he doesn’t simply drop off, but rather loses ground to aging outfielder in a more typical pattern. Compared to Ty Cobb by his peers, the Hall of Merit likened him instead to a slightly less powerful Sam Crawford, and in his first year on the ballot, Hill won the 1927 election, appearing on forty-five of the fort-eight ballots cast.

Discussion of Pete Hill is available at
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primer/hom_discussion/pete_hill

and at
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primer/hom_discussion/1927_ballot_discussion (See pages 1 and 2.)


GRANT JOHNSON
We believe that Grant Johnson was the first great shortstop in black baseball. Parlaying his ample athleticism into good defense and combining it with one of the most potent bats of his generation, Johnson blazed the trail that John Henry Lloyd and John Beckwith would soon follow. Because of the lack of published documentation of his early career, our deliberations relied heavily on anecdote and reputation. But the oral record, and what little data exist, are very clear: Johnson was cast in the same mold as his near white major league contemporary George Davis, a strong, clutch player who shone in all aspects of the game and provided leadership to match his accomplishments. Grant Johnson won election to the Hall of merit in 1925, placing votes on 44 of the 48 ballots cast.

Discussion of Grant Johnson is available at
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primer/hom_discussion/1921_ballot_discussion (See pages 1 and 2.)


FRANK GRANT
Frank Grant was the finest player in black baseball before 1900. In addition to integrating the International League (temporarily), he helped build the Page Fence Giants, and contributed to numerous championship-caliber clubs. A smart fielder, fast runner, and powerful batsman, he was virtually always among the best players in his leagues. In considering his case, the members of the Hall of Merit thought of him as comparable to Bid McPhee or Jimmy Collins. Grant’s case, owing to its complexity, was difficult to understand, but finally, in 1926, he was elected after 17 years on the ballot.

Discussion of Frank Grant is scattered throughout the Hall of Merit’s early ballot discussion threads.


JOHN BECKWITH
Boom-Boom’s cause has grown with each passing year and his momentum is due in large part to the hard work of several Hall of Merit microfilm researchers. Beckwith had to overcome an initial electoral hesitance wrought by an influential and perhaps overly negative review of his character and fielding published in recent years. The diligence of our independent researchers has uncovered numerous newspaper accounts and anecdotes that contraindicate this harsh portrait and which paint a more balanced picture of this admittedly complex man.

However, one thing that no one doubts is that Beckwith could hit. His bat and his athleticism have been the driving force behind his candidacy. Our translations for him came out this way
Translated stats  BA   OBP   SA     G    PA    H    BB    TB OPS+
1919–1935       .333  .387  .522  1905  8010 2451  648  3847  137


Comparing him to an earlier model of Chipper Jones, voters have slowly but surely moved their allegiance to Beckwith, and his vote totals have closely trailed Mule Suttles’s for several years. With Suttles now elected, it appears likely that Beckwith will join Joe DiMaggio as the Hall of Merit’s 1957 inductees.

Discussion of John Beckwith is available at
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primer/hom_discussion/john_beckwith
   51. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: July 28, 2005 at 03:49 AM (#1504277)
Nice intro. See my comments in post #43 about it. The only major thing is I'd suggest a bit at the end that says "And we are especially thankful for the tireless work put in by HoM voters X, Y, and especially Chris Cobb for helping us sort through the historical record."

Really really minor point -
What follows is our view of the players we have encountered through 1957

Already mentioned the "through '57" bit. Just say "up to now." Minor point, maybe it's just me, but it does sound a bit better.
   52. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 28, 2005 at 03:50 AM (#1504278)
Actually one more.

the thank yous are at the end after the player comments. I'm still not sure if that's where anyone wants them nor whether they are innappropriately long or organizationally self-congratulatory. Let me know if I've missed anyone or overstated anyone's contribution, or what.
=======================================

Where credit is due….

This document and the all the work at the Hall of Merit owes a great deal to our executive officers Joe Dimino and John (Don’t Call Me Grandma!) Murphy.

Our indispensable researchers Gadfly, Gary A., KJOK, and David C. Jones have made tons of information available that would otherwise be lost to us entirely.

Chris Cobb has done the heaviest lifting of us all in assembling a working and incredibly useful translation system for Negro League statistics.

DavidFoss, Brent, and Dr. Chaleeko have also contributed mightily to making the images of these players emerge from the shadows of time and discrimination.

Sunnyday2 and Chris J. have provided great feedback on all matters at the Hall of Merit and their questions and comments have been especially useful in fleshing out the stories of these men as well as the story being told in this document.

Every member of the Hall of Merit has contributed to the greater understanding of Negro League players in some way. Thank you to EVERYONE who participates.
   53. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 28, 2005 at 03:52 AM (#1504282)
One last point: when we finish with this document, we might want to consider whether this thread should be stricken from the record. I know that sounds underhanded, but do we want the committee members to see our deliberations about them?
   54. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: July 28, 2005 at 04:00 AM (#1504290)
Really minor point:

developed by Hall of Merit participants estimate that Brown would have won between 270 and 300 games with a winning percentage around.580

Need a space just before .580.

With the possible exception of Ron Santo

I'd suggest losing this since the HoM evidence is that he was better than Santo. Maybe something like "Quite possibly or even quite likely the best third baseman of any race no currently in Cooperstown . . "

Actually, now that I think about it -- has the HoM come across any third baseman better than him? If not, then flat out say, that the main sentiment of the HoM is that Jud Wilson was the best third baseman in baseball history prior to WWII.

Our translations indicate that he may have fused the hitting talent of ____ with the versatile and usually reliable defense of Wally Schang.

Don't know enough to say. Who's a well-known hitter than could serve as a name? Doesn't necessraily have to be a catcher, though it would help.

No homers for Mule?

the Hall of Merit likened him instead to a slightly less powerful Sam Crawford

This in terms of prime or career value? Or both?

With Grant Johnson, I'd also suggest including that when Sol White wanted someone to write a chapter on hitting in his book, he turned to Grant Johnson; which is as strong an endorsement of his reputation in those days as you could get.

A smart fielder, fast runner, and powerful batsman, he was virtually always among the best players in his leagues.

Then maybe finish off the sentence by adding "despite being a very young player facing exceedingly hostile competition."
   55. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 28, 2005 at 04:01 AM (#1504291)
Chris J.,

Good catch on the 1957 stuff. I should say right now that this kind of suggestion is really helpful since we've got a complete draft of this document. My eyes aren't seeing that kind of thing at this point in the writing process. I also have a tendency to be verbose and hifalutten, so please feel free to point out places where I can condense my thoughts.

Also, Chris J., I read your comments in 43, and I was hoping that this paragraph would be the catchall for both our biases and our methodologies.

One of the key aspects of our election process is the consideration of pre-integration black and Latino players alongside their white contemporaries. We have relied on Negro Leaguer’s reputations and what statistical evidence of their accomplishments has been previously published (mostly in the form of books by James Riley, John Holway, and others). While we’ve found these sources to be occasionally frustrating or inconsistent, they are the best currently available to us. Using these pieces of information, we have assembled a more complete picture of each player by using traditional measures like hits, ERA, as well as by embracing advanced statistical tools put forth by the sabermetric community and popularized by Bill James, Baseball Prospectus, and others. Additionally we have in many cases devised unique and rigorous homegrown methods that take what information we have access to and facilitate comparisons among black and white candidates by translating a Negro Leaguer’s performance into a major-league setting. As a group we tend to deal exclusively with on-the-field performance and are quite cautious in assigning value to a player’s character and leadership.

Which sentences or phrases in this paragraph are tripping you up? (It's easier for the sake of unity and cohesion for me to rewrite rather than to try to work someone else's paragraph in there.)
   56. Rick A. Posted: July 28, 2005 at 04:03 AM (#1504293)
Doc,

Great job on the synopsis.

Minor nitpick - Torriente needs an asterisk in post #49. Wouldn't want the committee to overlook him.
   57. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: July 28, 2005 at 04:04 AM (#1504295)
Sunnyday2 and Chris J. have provided great feedback on all matters at the Hall of Merit and their questions and comments have been especially useful in fleshing out the stories of these men as well as the story being told in this document.

Note: I haven't done damn thing with regard to feedback on negro leaguers. I give info on the 192 pitchers on my site, but giving me a thanks on this document is out of place.

I'm against striking this thread from the record. If they want to check on it, let them. Fair's fair, and I don't think what's said about them is insulting -- unless not being interested in sabermetrics is taken as an insult. I think they'd recognize on their own that this doc was likely tailored with the reader in mind.
   58. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 28, 2005 at 04:04 AM (#1504296)
Chris, more good catches, thanks!
   59. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: July 28, 2005 at 04:06 AM (#1504302)
Which sentences or phrases in this paragraph are tripping you up? (It's easier for the sake of unity and cohesion for me to rewrite rather than to try to work someone else's paragraph in there.)

Oh, I was refering mainly to the part of my post where the intro needs a "thanks to" section, but you covered that at the end instead, so it works just as well.
   60. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: July 28, 2005 at 04:08 AM (#1504304)
Actually, I'd advise for dumping both references to Ron Santo in the Jud Wilson bit. It's out of place since all the other references are to pre-WWII third baseman except Wade Boggs, and Boggs is in there as a direct comparison. If we say he similar to Boggs, the committee members can likely infer that means he was better than Santo anyway.
   61. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: July 28, 2005 at 04:09 AM (#1504305)
Didn't Frank Grant have to wear shinguards at second base? May want to mention that to dramatize the conditions he faced.
   62. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 28, 2005 at 04:12 AM (#1504310)
Chris J.,

No homers for Mule?
I'll check the thread for his projected homers. I'm not sure if we even addressed that or not!

This in terms of prime or career value? Or both?
Good question, it was before my time and the Hill commentary is kind of scattered. His main comparisons were Sheckard and Magee (whom he was deemed superior to), while Crawford was the next man up the totem pole. So I think the answer is for both peak and career.

Rick A., nice catch, thanks.
   63. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: July 28, 2005 at 04:20 AM (#1504314)
Minor note - in the thanks section, say something like "whose usernames on baseballthinkfactory.org are" because otherwise it looks a little odd calling some guy Dr Chaleeko & other stuff. If people want to give you their real names for inclusion that works, though you might want to do something like Dr C. (real name Brad Pitt), Brent (Bill Gates} . . . you get the idea.
   64. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 28, 2005 at 04:31 AM (#1504322)
No specific homer totals for Mule in his thread. Chris C at one point intimates that park factors could raise or lower Mule between 450 and 550, but I'm not sure if those totals are grounded in anything or if they are thrown out there as an example. At this point, with nothing specific to go on, I'm going to leave the question open.
   65. yest Posted: July 28, 2005 at 06:29 AM (#1504436)
major nitpick
Brown was elected to the Hall of Merit in 1955 in his first year of eligibility after being named on all forty-seven ballots cast.

Ray Brown wasn't on my ballot though I do think he's the best non HoF Negroe Leauge pitcher and a worthy HoMer
   66. karlmagnus Posted: July 28, 2005 at 12:43 PM (#1504535)
With 300WS, Santop's between Cochrane and Hartnett, who I think both the HOF and we regard as fairly easy inductees and close to each other. He's not as good as Berra, who had 375.

Hope this is sensible and helpful.
   67. Arrieta, Gentile Arrieta Posted: July 28, 2005 at 02:26 PM (#1504630)
In the nitpicking category:
I spotted a few minor errors, mostly punctuation & typos. I'll post them this evening if nobody beats me to it. I can't do it right now.
   68. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 28, 2005 at 02:48 PM (#1504660)
Thanks everyone for spotting the errors. My wife is also a professional proofreader, so I'm going to have her give it a good once over before the document goes final.

Because I'll be away from my computer for most if not all of the weekend, I'd like to finalize this document by noon tomorrow. So please post or email me any final changes by then.

I'm trying to finalize it early because I think it's in our best interests to give John, Joe, Chris J., and anyone else who is going to SABR as long as possible with it so that they can assemble some quick-hit talking points for the meeting with the committee members (as well as to make copies, burn CDs for them, or do anything else with it that they see fit).

If we can nail it down tomorrow, then they'll have almost a week to work with it, since, after all, they're doing so in addition to any other preparation they are making for the Convention.

Everyone, thanks again for all the comments and enthusiasm, it's a huge help.
   69. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: July 28, 2005 at 04:21 PM (#1504888)
For Grant Johnson, you may want to dig through the threads just prior to his election -- didn't Chris Cobb or someone else uncover that at the end of his playing days, playing alongside a young Pop Lloyd he put up comparable (though not necessarily similar) numbers? That's a nice feather in his cap. Also may want to list him as Grant "Home Run" Johnson. Or not. I dunno.

No estimated homers for Suttles, huh? Well let me do a little digging and see what I can figure . .. .

With 2791 hits and 4967 total bases, he's got 1.78 bases per hit. Now let's figure a similar percentage for for every player on the b-ref list with over 400 homers and see which players have the closest percentage . . . here's the results:

1.840 - Frank Thomas
1.827 - Duke Snider
1.824 - Jeff Bagwell
1.822 - Ernie Banks
1.818 - Hank Aaron
1.790 - Fred McGriff
1.787 - Rafeal Palmerio
1.780 - Mule Suttles
1.772 - Gary Sheffield
1.753 - Mel Ott

So these guys had similar power per hit to Suttles. Let's look at them another way - homers/divided by hits:

20.6% - Frank Thomas
20.0% - Hank Aaron
19.8% - Ernie Banks
19.8% - Fred McGriff
19.5% - Jeff Bagwell
19.2% - Duke Snider
19.1% - Gary Sheffield
18.9% - Rafeal Palmerio
17.8% - Mel Ott

That's an exceptionally tight pack. Seven of the nine are within 1.1 of each other. They average 19.4%. Take out the two guys at the extremes - Ott & Thomas - and it's 19.5%.

We've got Mule Suttles at 2791 hits. 19.4% of that (well, actually 19.39574 is what my calculater has) is 541.

That might be a little high, though. Triples have been going down every decade. That's a reason why Ott's so low I'm sure. Going by Ott's percentage, he'd be at 496 homers. Dang it -- I was hoping for a clearer answer than a 45 homer split. I think he'd be over 500 -- his TB/H is better than Ott's for example. I'd say his power was a tad worse than Jimmie Foxx's, and a tad better than Mel Ott's. My opinion anyway.
   70. DanG Posted: July 28, 2005 at 07:19 PM (#1505529)
Lead-in to an article I may or may not ever finish:

The hall of fame is finally undertaking a comprehensive evaluation of Black baseball from 1860-1960, to fairly determine who are the deserving hall of famers, that we may finish the task of honoring the greats among these players banned from MLB. This is certainly a laudable effort by the Hall and MLB, bringing together an expert group whom can be relied upon to do an excellent job.

It is gratifying to see the Hall adopting a serious approach, much better than the system in place before the VC was reformed in 2001. Before then, a subcommittee of the VC, who were not necessarily experts in Black baseball, would put forth a slate of candidates before the whole VC, few of whom had demonstrated interest in a serious study of the topic.

There is a constituency of white ball players who have likewise been unfairly excluded from consideration for enshrinement to the Hall. Players for whom the stats are often sketchy or nonexistent; players whose stories often contain as much truth as fiction; players who never had the chance to play in grand stadiums or on a nationwide broadcast. They were born with an often-insurmountable hindrance to achieving baseball immortality: their birth date was too early.

I’m referring to pro baseball’s earliest stars, from the Civil War years to the Gay 90’s. I can already hear the epithets being spewed my way, like: “How dare you equate the early white players with the experiences of Black players! Why, the hardships that Blacks endured – an outrageous comparison!” Of course, I agree. That’s not what I’m talking about.

The lack of consideration given to the early white players is not intentional or malicious. It is somewhat due to prejudice. It is mainly due to ignorance and a structure that has never been conducive to honoring the early greats.

I'll then proceed to show that this group is grossly underrepresented in the Hall; I'll present soem of the leading candidates; and I'll argue that the Hall needs a special study of these players, and elections to finally "finish the task of honoring the greats among these players."
   71. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 28, 2005 at 09:30 PM (#1505965)
Dan,

That's going to be a cool article. Sounds like the drum beat for Start, Pearce, Pike, Sutton, Richardson, and McVey is rolling!
   72. Arrieta, Gentile Arrieta Posted: July 29, 2005 at 12:59 AM (#1506385)
Dr. Chaleeko:

Here are my suggestions on punctuation and phrasing. Feel free to change or ignore any you don’t like. I can tell you’re very particular about the things you write.

Post 48, cover letter, 2nd paragraph:

Change --Negro Leaguer’s-- to --Negro Leaguers’--
The phrase --hits, ERA,-- looks sparse as is. --hits, ERA, etc.,-- ?
Add a period at the end of the paragraph.

Post 50:

TORRIENTE

1st paragraph:
Instead of --offensive-suppressive--, maybe --offense-suppressive-- or --offense-suppressing--
Add a comma after --Schorling Park--

End of 2nd paragraph:
I would change --only allowed for-- to --allowed for only--
and change --enshrines-- to --enshrinees-- or --inductees--

WILSON

Add a period at the end of the 2nd paragraph.
Third paragraph, first sentence, add a comma after --career-- and delete --later on-- from the end of the sentence.
(Aside: wasn’t 3b-to-1b his career pattern in the Negro Leagues anyway? Or did he shift back and forth? Can’t remember.)

SUTTLES

1st paragraph typo: --got on base-- not --get on base--

HILL

1st paragraph:
--appear to have decined-- instead of --appear to decline-- ?

2nd paragraph:
Instead of --he doesn’t simply drop off, but rather loses ground to aging outfielder in a more typical pattern-- , maybe something like --he doesn’t simply drop off, but declines due to age in a more typical pattern--

JOHNSON

I’d change --as his near white major league contemporary George Davis-- to, for example, --as the nearly contemporary major league shortstop George Davis--, unless, of course, George was a “near white”. :-)

BECKWITH

Add a colon at the end of the paragraph before the statistics.


General: most of the commentaries state “we believe...” or “in our opinion...” very near the beginning. I think it would be better if all of them had qualifiers along that line.
   73. Howie Menckel Posted: July 29, 2005 at 02:15 AM (#1506592)
Just back from Atlantic City, will try to weigh in tomorrow...
   74. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 29, 2005 at 02:59 AM (#1506740)
Don F, good comments, all. Thank you very much.

Everyone, my proofreader wife has had a crack at it as well and has found plenty of errors and typos as well. Keep the fixes and queries coming!
   75. Howie Menckel Posted: July 29, 2005 at 04:19 PM (#1507598)
Dr. C, I'm sure your wife switched "fifty" to "50" high up in the report.
That's one of those things that journalists notice, for several reasons. Aside from being AP style, "more than 50" jumps out at the eye more than "more than fifty" - and the higher-up a phrase in an article, the more important that is. If there are many submissions to the committee from various amateurs, being able to note a group of 50+ will make this one stand out from perhaps all others.

This train has been running plenty smooth without me, I see.
My one suggestion might be that both now and for October, we need to focus even MORE on who the voters are, what their level of expertise is, what type of information is most relevant to them, etc.
Looks like this submission might go to as few as five people. Setting the right tone near the top can really boost the chances of having them delve further into the work.
That said, I like what Dr. C already has done. Quick note on what we're replying to, then right into an explanation of what this is.
There is a danger in relying too much too soon on MLEs and such. Not that the work isn't well done. It's just that in truth we all have used a variety of ways to get to our votes - anecdotes, actual stats, length of career, etc.

It's quite possible that some of our 'nominees' will need no help from us with the committee, while others may be dismissed due to preconceptions of the committee.
But there's a real chance that several of our choices will get more thorough reviews based on our efforts, which no doubt would be satisfying to all.
   76. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 29, 2005 at 06:56 PM (#1508044)
I just realized this, but the choices of this special NgL committee could have a substatial impact on the current election structure of the HOM.

Our current goal is to "catch up" with the number of players in the Hall by the 2007 HoF (and HoM!) elections. In so doing, the HOM forefathers carefully created a certain number of slots for each season that reflected baseball's Hall of Fame demographics.

However, if this new Committee selects anyone, espeically if they select a bunch of people (say, more than 5*) the pre-1960s period will become instantly underrepresented by the number of election opportunities originally available to it.

If we believe this would be something we wanted to rectify, and I think there's good reason to believe it might be, the path of least resistance would be to simply tack extra slots onto upcoming elections. Say a fourth man in a three-man election, or a third man in a two-man election. But there's a danger in that quick fix.

If we just tack on extra elect-me slots in future elections, we are forcing pre-1960 candidates, who have already had less opportunity as a group for election, to compete against post-1960 candidates. This strikes me as unfair. If we had set the HOM up in 2007 instead of 2004, then we would probably have had elected more players leading up to now becase there would have been more NgL enshrinees from the period to boost the pre-war demographic.

I would argue, therefore, that we should do one of two things if an expansion is needed:
1) Hold a special pre-1960-only backlog election every n years until so we can gradually catch up to the HOF.
2) Hold a special mass pre-1960-only backlog election right after the new inductees are announced in February.

The key to my mind would be that pre-1960 backloggers should only compete among themselves for these expansion slots.

I think I favor the first solution because it allows us more time to gather facts about Negro League players, especially tough cases like Mendez, Redding, Coimbre, or Silvio Garcia, and to make sure we have gotten them right.

What's anyone else think?
(*As evidence of how pronounced this effect could be, remember that we're going to suggest eight guys to them just by ourselves. Given the number of popular NgLs on our ballots, like Mackey, REdding, Oms, Lundy Mendez, even Poles and Matlock [cough!], there's the possibility of any total from zero to twenty-something entering the Hall next year. I think the over/under line is around 8-12 myself, just based on the general drift of our own discussions.]
   77. Jeff M Posted: July 29, 2005 at 10:24 PM (#1508778)
Why Beckwith and not Monroe?
   78. Jeff M Posted: July 29, 2005 at 10:35 PM (#1508793)
Nevermind post #77. I was reading from the beginning.

To be honest, I don't like the inclusion of a "Thanks" section, regardless of whose names are mentioned. All of the people mentioned are tremendous contributors to the HoM, but why would our audience care about John "Don't Call Me Grandma" Murphy.

I think it is inappropriate and misplaced. It converts the document from a serious proposal to a pat on the back -- and I think it detracts from the weight of what I otherwise believe is a very well-crafted document.
   79. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: July 29, 2005 at 10:45 PM (#1508807)
How long can we hold this off for? I only ask because it would be nice to have elected John Beckwith before sending this. If we elect him in 1957 or 1958 (which seems likely) we should send it right after that. It not, well then we can send it as is.
   80. jimd Posted: July 30, 2005 at 12:41 AM (#1509046)
Sounds like the drum beat for Start, Pearce, Pike, Sutton, Richardson, and McVey is rolling!

Not to mention: White, Hines, Gore, Barnes, Glasscock, Stovey, Bennett, and Caruthers!
   81. Jeff M Posted: July 30, 2005 at 12:49 AM (#1509065)
How long can we hold this off for? I only ask because it would be nice to have elected John Beckwith before sending this.

If we are aiming for contact at SABR, we can't wait out the election.

Plus, I'm a little concerned about how this affects our voting patterns for Beckwith. This particular thread more or less assumes he's going to be elected -- and may be right -- but this HoF influencing process should not influence the Beckwith HoM vote next week or thereafter. This shouldn't be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Five voters still don't have him on the ballot -- so he's averaging about 16-17 points per eligible voter, which is in the bottom quartile of the players we've elected. I realize that may shift upwards a bit next election (depending on Boudreau's placement), but he doesn't seem like our poster child for the NeL part of this project -- so why stick our necks out on him?

I say leave him out of the document if the goal is to present it next week.
   82. Jeff M Posted: July 30, 2005 at 12:59 AM (#1509090)
These are my career WS calcs for the Negro Leaguers at issue (plus Monroe and Mackey), and major league comparables based on those Win Shares. Obviously these are comps based on WS values, and the comp players are not necessarily the same style or position players. The clearest example of this is Biz Mackey. I tried to list players at the same position if they were reasonably comparable, but in some cases there were no similarly positioned players to choose from.

Generally my Negro League WS are not wildly different than what is posted on the player threads, although when I differ, I tend to be more conservative. I've posted my methods for these calculations at various times, so I won't repeat the detail here. Batting WS are based on an average of (1) a TangoTiger formula that converts linear weights to WS, tweaked for a better fit to actual MLB data, (2) Short Form WS, tweaked for a better fit to actual MLB data and (3) WS/Outs for actual MLB players who have OBA's and SLG within .015 on either side of the player being evaluated. Fielding WS are based on comparable players at the position.

Pitching WS are based on a best fit formula converting pitching linear weights to Win Shares, which I explained at some length somewhere on the HoM threads (within the last 2-3 elections, so probably Hilton Smith). I basically ignore fielding WS for pitchers and don't have any hitting stats on most pitchers.

Also, the MLB Comps are not adjusted for season-length and they only go up to 2003...they are just the straightforward WS, so there may be some players from early baseball who would be better comps if their WS were season-adjusted and there may be some players who came into the zones in 2004 or 2005. I wasn't aiming for perfection.

Player   CareerWS  BattingWS  PitchWS  FieldWS  ML Comps

Monroe     299.5     214.9      0.0     84.5    B.Bell,Bi.Herman,Doerr
Johnson    313.2     222.5      0.0     90.7    Dickey,W.Randolph,B.Bell,Trammell,Nettles
Hill       349.5     264.4      0.0     85.0    Whitaker,Vaughan,Sandberg,Wi.Davis,R.Alomar
Santop     268.4     179.5      0.0     88.8    Freehan,J.Collins,T.Fernandez,Boudreau,Cochrane
R.Foster   270.7       0.0    270.7      0.0    McGinnity,Kaat,Griffith.W.Cooper
Torriente  313.4     239.4      0.0     74.0    T.Simmons,Hack,Pinson,Wi.Davis
Lloyd      479.3     334.8      0.0    144.5    No one -- Lajoie,J.Morgan closest
Williams   427.5       0.0    427.5      0.0    Mathewson,Spahn
Rogan      369.9       0.0    369.9      0.0    G.Perry,Carlton,Plank
Beckwith   274.4     221.2      0.0     53.2*   Be.Williams,T.Phillips,Bando,Averill
Charleston 587.7     462.6      0.0    125.1    No one -- T.Williams,Ba.Bonds closest
Suttles    365.0     343.5      0.0     21.5    Bagwell,Killebrew,Palmeiro,Stargell
Stearnes   402.8     356.7      0.0     46.1    Gwynn,Molitor
Wilson     328.2     276.2      0.0     52.0    Re.Smith,S.Rice,K.GriffeyJr,Slaughter,Hooper
Mackey     258.3     206.6      0.0     51.7    Ju.Franco,J.Robinson.Hoy,A-Rod,Milan
Gibson     375.0     328.5      0.0     46.5    Bi.Williams,R.Carew,R.Connor
Wells      417.3     334.1      0.0     83.2    No one -- Yount,Schmidt closest
Leonard    352.0     326.4      0.0     25.6    Heilmann, Brouthers,Staub
Brown      287.4       0.0    287.4      0.0    J.Powell, J.Quinn,T.John,Grimes,Faber,Feller

-----
*I saw a recent comment that would potentially change what we originally said about Beckwith's fielding, but I haven't yet made any analysis of that nor incorporated it here. I've given him 3.55 WS per 1,000 innings (estimated, obviously).

I don't have any WS calculations for Grant, Willie Foster or Dihigo.
   83. Jeff M Posted: July 30, 2005 at 01:02 AM (#1509094)
I was afraid some of the names would be cut off. The cut off names are:

Hill (Roberto Alomar)
Santop (Mickey Cochrane)
Wilson (Harry Hooper)
Brown (Bob Feller)
   84. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: July 30, 2005 at 02:10 AM (#1509285)
WRT Jeff M's comments. . . . I have no problem with dumping the thanks section altogether.

As for how to handle Beckwith. I still think he should be included, but you may want to soften the language on when he'll get elected. Something like, "Given HoM voter trends, it's unprecedented for a person in his position not to get elected, and we expect his election soon, perhaps as soon as the HoM's next election."
   85. Howie Menckel Posted: July 30, 2005 at 02:16 AM (#1509295)
Chris,
I'd make it more reader-friendly than that. :)

Why can't we just submit who has been elected so far for now, then provide an update by October?
Seems like it would satisfy all camps here, no?

A ton of great give-and-take here, by the way.
Every time I think things look just right, another message lifts it a little higher.

And generally speaking, we need in some way up high to note - or with a good side list - which non-HOF Negro Leaguers we have elected, along with the note that we are not yet finished with our evaluations.
That's the key, I think.
More than 50 people have reviewed dozens of potential candidates, and THESE are the guys we found more worthy of an HOF-sized crop than so many white contemporaries already in the Hall.
   86. jimd Posted: July 30, 2005 at 02:43 AM (#1509343)
And generally speaking, we need in some way up high to note - or with a good side list - which non-HOF Negro Leaguers we have elected, along with the note that we are not yet finished with our evaluations.

Post 38 provides an example of a table of all HOMers elected to date.
   87. jimd Posted: July 30, 2005 at 02:44 AM (#1509346)
Sorry, misread Howie's post...
   88. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 30, 2005 at 09:32 PM (#1511105)
To be honest, I don't like the inclusion of a "Thanks" section, regardless of whose names are mentioned. All of the people mentioned are tremendous contributors to the HoM, but why would our audience care about John "Don't Call Me Grandma" Murphy.

As I alluded to a few times here, just something like "John Murphy, HoM Project Coordinator" (or whatever the hell I am) at the end of the letter would be more than sufficient.

But there is no way that Chris, Doc and some of the others shouldn't be given some thanks for their work with the Negro Leagues. If nobody knows who they are, maybe they will after next week.

Now, the "thanks" section could and probably should be less effusive. I'll take a look at that tonight.

As for how to handle Beckwith. I still think he should be included, but you may want to soften the language on when he'll get elected. Something like, "Given HoM voter trends, it's unprecedented for a person in his position not to get elected, and we expect his election soon, perhaps as soon as the HoM's next election."

That would work.
   89. Jeff M Posted: July 31, 2005 at 01:45 AM (#1511771)
But there is no way that Chris, Doc and some of the others shouldn't be given some thanks for their work with the Negro Leagues. If nobody knows who they are, maybe they will after next week.

I'm not trying to strip anyone of credit, and I join in the praise of those who have done the work. That's simply not the point.

Here's the point: Why are we choosing to thank them in a letter being written for the purpose of persuading the electors of our point of view (and why are we using their HoM nicknames)?

Step away for a second and think about this in another context. I'm a law professor. Suppose I wrote a couple of you a letter on the school's letterhead trying to persuade you to enroll at our law school, as opposed to another law school. In the letter I make various arguments based on the merits of the school and urge you to consider those arguments. Then, in a P.S., I say "Special thanks go to Professors Jeff McFarland and Andrew Siegel for getting this school off the ground, because they put in a ton of work." It's just weird.

(BTW, Andrew, while a law professor, has in no way endorsed this post.)

The document we are describing is essentially a letter on HoM letterhead. It should be signed by a couple of representatives (Joe, John and Chris, for example), and that's it.

Basically, there should be nothing in the document that isn't directly related to persuading the reader to consider our judgments about the Negro Leaguers. Self-congratulation does absolutely nothing to persuade -- and frankly, it doesn't really do anything to make Chris' and Eric's work widely-known.

I'd rather elect you guys to a separate wing of the Hall of Merit than see it in this document. Or, if Joe or John (or someone) did a HoM general presentation at SABR for example, that would be a good place to acknowledge contributions. This letter is not the place, IMO.

(Incidentally, let's not forget that many of our Negro League numbers heavily relied on numbers from the Integrated 9's site. Not everything we've done is entirely organic, so we've got to be careful where we give credit.)
   90. andrew siegel Posted: July 31, 2005 at 12:25 PM (#1512393)
Jeff--

I was looking through some old posts and saw that (about 2 years ago) you had asked for some advice on the teaching "meat market." I apologize for not responding and am glad to see that you landed a job. Now, don't let the HoM distract you from your scholarship like it has distracted me. :)
   91. Howie Menckel Posted: July 31, 2005 at 04:00 PM (#1512556)
I agree with Jeff M, as indelicate as it can seem.
   92. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 31, 2005 at 05:50 PM (#1512766)
I'd rather elect you guys to a separate wing of the Hall of Merit than see it in this document. Or, if Joe or John (or someone) did a HoM general presentation at SABR for example, that would be a good place to acknowledge contributions. This letter is not the place, IMO.

All I'm looking for is something like this: When the mention of MLEs come up, all I would add in parentheses is "tabulated by Chris Cobb." When it comes to NeL research, all I would add in parentheses is something like "researched by our own Gadfly and Gary A." - other names could and should pop up there.

At the end of the letter, if we want (speaking for myself, it's not necessary since Joe and I will be speaking directly to them in Toronto and my contributions to NeL research are about nil to none), we could add Joe's, my name, and Eric's with our HoM role.

That's it. I agree thanks is in not in order, but I think credit is. That's all I'm asking for some of our members here.

(and why are we using their HoM nicknames)?

That I have to agree with you there, Jeff. Gadfly sounds like a societal columnists' byline, while Gary A reminds me of a character from an old Star Trek episode. :-)
   93. Jeff M Posted: August 01, 2005 at 01:06 AM (#1514103)
I agree with Jeff M, as indelicate as it can seem.

I'm sorry if I was indelicate. It's sort of a thorny issue, so it is hard to make a forceful point without it creating a wee bit of friction.

I'll just reiterate that I am as thankful as everyone else for the work of the people mentioned in this regard.
   94. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 01, 2005 at 02:05 AM (#1514166)
I'm sorry if I was indelicate. It's sort of a thorny issue, so it is hard to make a forceful point without it creating a wee bit of friction.

As far as I'm concerned, there hasn't been any friction that I know of. Spirited debate? Sure, but I definitely haven't taken offense at anything stated here (and hope nobody has taken offense at anything I posted). Just a mild disagreement, that's all. In fact, I've had my mind changed by Chris J. and Jeff on a few issues.
   95. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 01, 2005 at 03:07 AM (#1514307)
Finally checking back in after a busy weekend.

Great stuff guys.

As far as any thanks, etc., I think if we want to be taken seriously we need to give real names. Gary A. for example needs to give us a real "A", even if it's a fake one. Doesn't have to post it here, but if it's going to be in the doc, it needs to be there. Same for Gadfly, etc.. Doesn't have to be a real name, but needs to be a real sounding name. Even Studes started using his real name on The Hardball Times . . .

I also think we need to strongly heed the advice of people who know people on this committee (Mike Webber) as to how we approach them, etc.. Mike, if you'd be willing to also proof what we send to make sure it's something that would actually strike a chord with them, we'd greatly appreciate it.

I've just 'strongly-skimmed' everything so far, and it looks like you guys are doing great. I'll read it in more detail a little later. Is there anything I need to do as far as this goes right now?
   96. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 01, 2005 at 03:12 AM (#1514319)
"The document we are describing is essentially a letter on HoM letterhead. It should be signed by a couple of representatives (Joe, John and Chris, for example), and that's it.

Basically, there should be nothing in the document that isn't directly related to persuading the reader to consider our judgments about the Negro Leaguers. Self-congratulation does absolutely nothing to persuade -- and frankly, it doesn't really do anything to make Chris' and Eric's work widely-known."


I agree with this . . . great way to put it in perspective Jeff.

"All I'm looking for is something like this: When the mention of MLEs come up, all I would add in parentheses is "tabulated by Chris Cobb." When it comes to NeL research, all I would add in parentheses is something like "researched by our own Gadfly and Gary A." - other names could and should pop up there. "

I agree with this in principle, as long as it doesn't distract from anything being written, and we use full names.

Do those two points conflict?
   97. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: August 01, 2005 at 03:36 AM (#1514371)
The more I think about it the more I think Jeff M is dead on right.

John, with what you want, I'd say do one of two things, in the intro change it just a smidge so it says words to the effect of:

"As a group the HoM tends to favor new-wave statistical analysis most closely associated with Bill James known as sabermetrics. In particular, one of the voters in the project, Chris Cobb, has done a tremendous amount of yeomen work and research taking the existing statistical record we have for several players and trying to translate those into white major league baseball equivelancies."

Don't say "MLE" - better to spell it out if need be.

If that doesn't work, I'd say just chuck the notion of citing any specific member altogether. Hate to sound harsh, but if you can't get it in smoothly, then don't. Also, rather than mention all those who you think deserve it (and have the real name for), limit it to the upper echeolon of the upper echelon (pretend I can spell that ####### word). If you shoehorn in too many names, it might come off a little cheezy unless Dr C or whoever does a fantabulous job writing it up.

Actually, one thought - footnote it. Have the MLEs where they are, and then footnote it and say "compiled by Chris Cobb, a voter and contributer to the HoM project. Or something like that. Doing that, you might pull off the neat trick of citing everyone who deserves it, while still coming off looking professional. 'Cuz what's more professional and formal than a footnote. THat literally is the way that professionals cite people after all. Maybe endnote it if you think there's any difference at all.

Negro Leagues Committee meets at 6 PM on Thursday. That would be the best time to track down any of the voters.

I like the idea of having John and Joe sign it. Personally, I'm opposed to having my signature on it because I think that would actually hurt the credibility of the proposal. What I mean is that I really haven't paid much attention to the negro league player threads (the existance of individual player threads really got going when I stopped voting). Hell, I'm not sure I'd heard of Ray Brown before this thread, and I'm skittish on my knowledge of Beckwith. Therefore, I'm not the sort of person you want signing it if you want credibility. My advice on NeLer's is primarily in helping this doc get drafted.

David Jones is listed as an attendee. He's easy to recognize - I'd suggest JD &/or JM hunt him down ASAP in Toronto and see if he'd like to sign it. One of the two of youz might want to e-mail him in advance to give him a heads-up on this.

Tommorrow I'll be in a library which has the Cool Papas book - if I remember I'll look and see how the board members in the book and the New Real Committee voted. That would have no impact on our letter, but boy it sure would be interesting to see, huh?
   98. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 01, 2005 at 01:47 PM (#1514816)
I agree with the notion of excising the thank-yous altogether. let's save those for a better moment in time.

I added them because I didn't really know what our stance would be on it, and expressed some unease about them ina previous post, and though I didn't say so then, my unease came from the very sorts of reasons that have been stated in the last twenty or so threads.

I think the October document might be the place for these credits. If not, I agree with the footnote/endnote idea.
   99. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 01, 2005 at 02:45 PM (#1514893)
I agree with this in principle, as long as it doesn't distract from anything being written, and we use full names.

Do those two points conflict?


It shouldn't, as long as credit doesn't evolve into unwelcome praise. Our focus needs to be directed solely at trying to convince the HOF to pick the best NeL candidates, nothing more.

Don't say "MLE" - better to spell it out if need be.

Definitely agree there.
   100. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 01, 2005 at 03:11 PM (#1514947)
In particular, one of the voters in the project, Chris Cobb, has done a tremendous amount of yeomen work and research taking the existing statistical record we have for several players and trying to translate those into white major league baseball equivelancies.

This is the way I will most likely have it on the cover letter (a hybrid of Eric's and my words):

"Additionally we have in many cases devised unique and rigorous homegrown methods (such as major league equivalents by our own Chris Cobb) that take what information we have access to and facilitate comparisons among black and white candidates by translating a Negro Leaguers’ performance into a major-league setting."

Credit is given, but nothing more (which is what I was driving at from the beginning).

I'll do a similar thing with the researchers and some of the others once I get their real names.

For our effort here, credit should be as bare-boned as possible.
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