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Monday, August 21, 2006

Jim Fregosi

Eligible in 1984.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 21, 2006 at 12:26 AM | 74 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 21, 2006 at 12:31 AM (#2148978)
Hey, if Bella Abzug married Jim Fregosi...

No, he wasn't the Ryan Express value-wise, but he was a very good and underrated player, nevertheless.
   2. DL from MN Posted: August 21, 2006 at 02:25 PM (#2150000)
Not in my top 100. Looks like the same ballot next election.
   3. DavidFoss Posted: August 21, 2006 at 05:09 PM (#2150219)
Best SS of the 1960s?

1963-70 was an fine hitting peak -- especially considering the SS competition of his day. How was his glove? Before we don't vote for him, we should do a head-to-head between him and Sewell. I'm not organized enough right now to do that.

Interesting that the first signs of decline were evident the year *before* the trade.
   4. Steve Treder Posted: August 21, 2006 at 05:52 PM (#2150347)
Interesting that the first signs of decline were evident the year *before* the trade.

Signs? Signs?!? If you want to call 75-foot towers of day-glo orange blinking neon "signs," then yes, they were evident.

Fregosi was already broken when the Mets traded Ryan for him.

And yes, other shortstops within the 1963-70 period certainly had their moments -- Groat, McAuliffe, Versalles, Cardenas, Alley, Petrocelli -- but over the whole period I'd say it's pretty clear Fregosi was the best.

His cousin was married to my cousin for a few years when Fregosi was with the Angels ... the cousin kept saying he was going to get us passes when the Angels were playing in Oakland, but he never followed through.
   5. DavidFoss Posted: August 21, 2006 at 05:59 PM (#2150358)
Fregosi was already broken when the Mets traded Ryan for him.

OK. I should have been a little bolder in my statement. :-) There was no details at baseballlibrary.com regarding his off year in 1971 (where he missed almost all of July). That was his age 29 season and didn't know if the injury was one that people come back from or not. Anyone know the details?
   6. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 21, 2006 at 06:02 PM (#2150366)
Career-value, Fregosi resembles Wills, but I would take the former on peak and as a teammate.
   7. Steve Treder Posted: August 21, 2006 at 06:21 PM (#2150405)
Fregosi had a chronic foot injury in '71 that just wouldn't heal. It hobbled him all season long, robbing him not only of his range in the field but also ability to plant and pivot in the batter's box. He was a mess, and hadn't demonstrated that he was the Fregosi of old before the Mets acquired him.
   8. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 21, 2006 at 07:36 PM (#2150645)
David Foss, you nailed it on the Fregosi v. Sewell question. Two very good hitters with shortish careers who dominated their position pretty much every year during a time when the field was pretty weak.

Here's how I figure it. I have a little junk stat I use where I take the player's WS and divide into the WSMVP's to get an MVP% I do this for three years running and then get the average of the three MVP%s. Then I rank by position to see who was the leading player at a position for the three-year period defined by x seasons.

Fregosi is the AL's best SS for every three-year period from 1963-1965 through 1969-1971, this despite the injuries and decline mentioned by Steve and others. Seven years in a row, that's really good. As best I can tell, only about 70 guys in big league history have exhibited that level of dominance over their position. Sewell gets the same from 1920-1922 through 1926-1928. Seven years too. The comparison breaks down thereafter as Sewell adds three good years at 3B, including an almost best-at-position year in 1931 where he's within 10% of the best 3B (marty mcmanus believe it or not). Fregosi pretty much just breaks down after that. Well, OK, he's got about 1000 PAs around 93 OPS+ from 1971-1973 and then another 600 around 110 OPS+ after that.

By the by, since he was mentioned, I've got Wills as the best-at-position-over-three-years thrce in his career, 1960-1962, 1961-1963, and 1964-1966 with close shaves in 1969-1971 where he's within 5% of the leader (Don Kessinger) and in 1962-1964 and 1963-1965 where he's within 10% of the top guy at SS (Groat in both instances).

If you're a peak guy who likes Sewell for his positional dominance, you've got a decent shadow of Sewell in Fregosi, and Jim might warrant a very serious look.

Also, shorstops with 7 or more three-year sequences where they are best in league (per me, where AL, NL, and PL are reciprocal leagues, AA is not, no NA, no FL, must be in the majors all three years, must play SS all three years):

Wagner 12
Larkin 9
Glasscock 8
Concepcion 8
Vaughan 8
Ripken 8
Sewell 7
Fregosi 7
Cronin 7

That's good company, even if it does come in a weak league.
   9. sunnyday2 Posted: August 21, 2006 at 07:45 PM (#2150682)
That Larkin fella musta been pretty good. Hope he can muster 5% on the HoF ballot. The fact that Concepcion did is a good omen, Fregosi's performance is not such a good omen.

I agree that Fregosi is probably very much underrated, even by peak voters. but still a very unlikely HoMer. I can't see him pushing Phil Rizutto, who is himself only around #20 on my ballot.
   10. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 21, 2006 at 07:57 PM (#2150727)
That nutty BBWAA has a few real gems coming up that are going to test their mettle. Raines, Larkin, Edgar. I have the sinking feeling that none of them will make it, yet at least two of them should be lock-down, no-doubt cases (Raines and Larkin) and the other is at worst a borderliner, and at least the best ever at his position at his retirement (Frank Thomas the Twoth has claimed status as best DH ever somewhere during this April or May), even if that position is, uh, positionless.

I'm very anxious for Raines and Larkin, two guys who I just can't see the voters embracing (Raines because the backlash to Moneyball is so severe and Raines was a stathead favorite with the requiste walks who played mostly in an obscure town and did coke, plus the usual Rickey vs Raines stuff), while Larkin did it all, nothing super-duperly, and was overshadowed by all those AL shortstops. Actually Raines and Larkin have substantially similar playing profiles despite playing different positions, and the voters have never done well with guys who do a lot of things well but nothing super. Anyway let's face it, Larkin, not Ozzie, is very likely the best NL SS since Arky Vaughan was turning deuces and at worst the best since Ernie Banks. I'd lean toward the former but could understand the latter too. If Larkin turned cartwheels instead of exhibiting quiet leadership on a cheap, family-oriented team, would he be a first-ballot guy?
   11. DL from MN Posted: August 21, 2006 at 08:39 PM (#2150863)
Barry Larkin has all the awards the writers love, 12 All Stars, 3 Gold Gloves, 9 Silver Sluggers and an MVP. Throw in a Clemente award for sportsmanship and a .295 batting average - I think he'll make it in easily.

I think Raines will get elected by the BBWAA eventually but it will take them a while.
   12. sunnyday2 Posted: August 21, 2006 at 09:04 PM (#2150896)
Either way, the HoM will have the pleasure of inducting both on the first ballot (pending specific competition).
   13. Juan V Posted: August 21, 2006 at 09:19 PM (#2150910)
Derek Jeter minus a decade = Barry Larkin. I even remember all the intangibles/leadership/heart and soul stuff written about him. I can´t see him waiting too long to make it to Cooperstown.
   14. OCF Posted: August 21, 2006 at 09:51 PM (#2150945)
Injuries are part of the story for both Fregosi and Larkin, but in a different way. Injuries ended Fregosi's run at the top, while Larkin had repeated problems staying in the lineup but also repeated comebacks.

Fregosi: 7402 PA at an OPS+ of 113. Balanced OPS, not much baserunning value. Four times played 158 or more games in a season. 1396 games at SS with about 400 other games at other positions.

Larkin: 9057 PA at OPS+ of 116, OBP-rich OPS and substantial baserunning value. Twice (that many?) played 158 or more games in a season. 2085 games at SS.

And while we're at it:

Sewell: 8329 PA at OPS+ of 109, somewhat OBP-heavy, didn't steal bases but then no one did. Absolute ironman - 9 year streak of 152 or more games in a season (during 154-game times). 1216 games at SS and 643 at 3B.

Superficially that looks like Larkin >> Sewell > Fregosi to me. I'll have to see it from some other angles before settling it.
   15. sunnyday2 Posted: August 21, 2006 at 09:59 PM (#2150962)
Sewell is closer to Fregosi than to Larkin, it seems to me. Fewer games at SS than Fregosi and a lower OPS+. What exactly is the argument for Sewell again?
   16. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 21, 2006 at 10:46 PM (#2151016)
I have Sewell slightly ahead of Fregosi hitting wise, and way ahead fielding wise. I have him in the ballpark with Bancroft, Rizzuto and Travis (giving the later two full war credit).
   17. OCF Posted: August 22, 2006 at 12:36 AM (#2151135)
Raines ... who played mostly in an obscure town and did coke, ...

This differs from Paul Molitor exactly how? Also, on the "obscure town" side: Raines did play for 5 years in Chicago and 3 years for the Yankees. Yes, that was on the downslope of his career, and his HoM case will be made on his Montreal years.
   18. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 22, 2006 at 01:19 PM (#2151688)
i always forget that molitor was wrapped up in the coke stuff....
   19. OCF Posted: August 22, 2006 at 05:48 PM (#2152039)
i always forget that molitor was wrapped up in the coke stuff....

The rehab apparently "took." Molitor suffered no relapses that we know about and continued through a long, productive career, being generally admired by his local press. But my point is that you can say exactly the same thing about Raines as well - no known relapses, a long productive career. Why should the label stick to one and slip off the other?
   20. Juan V Posted: August 22, 2006 at 06:02 PM (#2152063)
Either way, the HoM will have the pleasure of inducting both on the first ballot (pending specific competition).


Which leads me to ask (and this is probably stated somewhere, I´m just too lazy to look): Once the Hall of Merit calendar catches up with the real one, do we continue voting until 2011 or so before waiting for the new retirees, or do we vote at the same time as the other Hall, or...
   21. OCF Posted: August 22, 2006 at 06:17 PM (#2152086)
The only way to maintain consistency would be to continue to enforce the 5-year rule (with the same exceptions for token appearances), and that means elections once a year. The discussion periods would get a lot longer, of course.
   22. Daryn Posted: August 22, 2006 at 06:24 PM (#2152099)
Less than a year left of bi-weekly voting. Hard to believe.
   23. DanG Posted: August 22, 2006 at 06:38 PM (#2152126)
Maybe it's time to talk about this. A couple weeks ago I sent out this proposal to a few of our guys, which was pretty well received:

Here is my proposal for annual elections.

At our current pace we will catch up to the present in late July or early August 2007. The next election will then be the 2008 election, with Tim Raines the big name among the newbies. IMO, we want to set up our annual cycle to preempt the BBWAA. The public announcement of their ballot normally happens in November, so I think we want to have our results out before that. I propose we follow this schedule:

Final Discussion thread posted: 4th Monday in September (22nd-28th)
Voting thread posted: two weeks later (October 6th-12th)
Results posted: two weeks later (October 20th-26th)

The discussion thread with the final list of new candidates comes late enough in the season that if one of the 2002 retirees comes back and plays it would only be token appearances. This way, our results are out on the street and up for discussion more than ten weeks before the BBWAA voting results, before their ballot is even announced. It might give a guy like Mr. Raines the push he needs to get elected to the Coop.
   24. sunnyday2 Posted: August 22, 2006 at 06:56 PM (#2152160)
>Less than a year left of bi-weekly voting. Hard to believe.

I say we start over, just to see if it comes out any different the second time.
   25. sunnyday2 Posted: August 22, 2006 at 06:57 PM (#2152162)
Jim Fregosi says hi.
   26. Daryn Posted: August 22, 2006 at 07:25 PM (#2152206)
Dan I like that schedule, but at least for 2008 and onwards, I think the discussion thread should be posted November 1, 2007 (ie it should be up for 10 or 11 months each year).
   27. DanG Posted: August 22, 2006 at 07:38 PM (#2152225)
Daryn, I'm definitely in agreement. The proposed "Final Discussion thread" is somewhat superfluous, but the idea is to use it as an alert, a final run-up to the vote; to include previous election recap, preliminary ballots, necrology, official/final list of new candidates, and stuff like that.
   28. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 22, 2006 at 07:43 PM (#2152235)
What DanG said in 27. General discussion thread in November 2007, final thread in Sept or Oct 2008, voting to preempt the coop.

You go, uh, boy!
   29. DavidFoss Posted: August 22, 2006 at 07:55 PM (#2152259)
General discussion thread in November 2007, final thread in Sept or Oct 2008, voting to preempt the coop.

Just to clarify, that would be the schedule for "HOM 2009" as the inductions follow 7 months after the voting. The 2008 voting would have to close before the end of 2007.
   30. yest Posted: August 23, 2006 at 12:42 AM (#2152809)
can are votes realy influance any writers how many of the writers even heard of us much less would be effected by what we have to say (unlike the smaller expert pannel)
   31. Chris Fluit Posted: August 23, 2006 at 01:09 AM (#2152898)
I think Larkin may have a pretty good shot at the Hall of Fame. Besides the stuff DL from MN mentioned, Larkin also played his entire career (19 seasons) for one franchise. That's something that the BBWAA sometimes rewards (ie. Puckett). I doubt he'll go in on the first-ballot but I can see him going in after a couple of years.
   32. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 23, 2006 at 01:14 AM (#2152925)
can are votes realy influance any writers how many of the writers even heard of us much less would be effected by what we have to say (unlike the smaller expert pannel)


Along those lines, did you guys ever hear anything back from Santo after his election?
   33. vortex of dissipation Posted: August 23, 2006 at 01:16 AM (#2152931)
DL from MN Posted: August 21, 2006 at 04:39 PM (#2150863)

Barry Larkin has all the awards the writers love, 12 All Stars, 3 Gold Gloves, 9 Silver Sluggers and an MVP. Throw in a Clemente award for sportsmanship and a .295 batting average - I think he'll make it in easily.


Not to mention the ring...
   34. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 23, 2006 at 01:37 AM (#2153007)
#32 - no we never heard back from Santo . . . the PR person said she would pass it along, so I'm pretty sure he got the info.
   35. sunnyday2 Posted: August 23, 2006 at 05:12 AM (#2153527)
Whether we influence any writers or not, I still like the timing that DanG proposed.

Our influence would of course be lessened if our ballot is substantially different than theirs--if we elect people who are no longer on their ballot (e.g. a Lou Whitaker), or if they are close to electing somebody that is no longer on our ballot (i.e. already elected). And even "first years" might not be on both in the same year.

Still, I like the proposal.
   36. yest Posted: August 23, 2006 at 05:37 AM (#2153589)
there are 3 things that bother me a bought the propsal
1. I would perfer to star voting after the WS
2. since this would be a new election system we may get a bunch of new voters who are only going to vote for recent players (not that this problem wouldn't exist with out continuing but due to the break we might get a new influx of voters who will see it as a new project)
3. if were having a very long break with nothing but the same discusions for months we might lose a lot of voters due to lack of intrest or forgetting the date
   37. baudib Posted: August 23, 2006 at 06:57 AM (#2153605)
The problem with Raines, Martinez and Larkin is that none of them are in the mold of traditional Hall of Famers -- they don't have any of the magical numbers and they have but one MVP award amongst them....They weren't on teams that won gads of pennants either.

I actually think it would help Raines if Rickey were on the ballot before him, because it would be easy to make the case that Rickey is a no-brainer, and Raines was essentially equal to him for 7-8 years.

The lack of durability and the straddle of the two eras hurt Larkin quite a bit. If he had been born a decade later, he likely would have been a consistent 20-30 HR guy.

I still think Larkin makes it, because he was one of the most widely respected players in the game by peers, fans and media. He was very often called the most talented/most complete player in the game, starting as early as 1989.
   38. Howie Menckel Posted: August 23, 2006 at 12:03 PM (#2153651)
I can probably get the results in some of the right hands, but I wouldn't guarantee that there's any "influence."
I can vouch for you guys as being 'cool,' though, lol.

Should someone move this entire segment over the ballot discussuion?
   39. DanG Posted: August 23, 2006 at 01:57 PM (#2153718)
there are 3 things that bother me a bought the propsal
1. I would perfer to star voting after the WS


I don't see any reason for this. Is there ever a "perfect" time for starting?

2. since this would be a new election system we may get a bunch of new voters who are only going to vote for recent players (not that this problem wouldn't exist with out continuing but due to the break we might get a new influx of voters who will see it as a new project)

I can see this as a legitimate concern. Perhaps we need to rename the Final Discussion thread as New Voter Registration/Final Discussion. Any voter who is unknown to us would be <u>required</u> to post a preliminary ballot with full explanations of the methodology and justifications for his choices. As we do now, if the consensus agrees with the approach, the new voter would be accepted into our community. This would serve to perpetuate the Delphi Method at work in the HoM.

3. if were having a very long break with nothing but the same discusions for months we might lose a lot of voters due to lack of intrest or forgetting the date

There are follow-up projects being hatched that should serve to keep us going.

Should someone move this entire segment over the ballot discussuion?

Actually, this discussion probably deserves its own thread. But, when the topic was raised here, I saw little harm in hijacking the thread of a weak candidate. I think Marc sumed it up well in post #9: "Fregosi is probably very much underrated, even by peak voters. but still a very unlikely HoMer."
   40. DanG Posted: August 23, 2006 at 02:12 PM (#2153729)
can are votes realy influance any writers how many of the writers even heard of us much less would be effected by what we have to say

It's an article of faith - I believe in the unseen hand and that everything is connected. You can never tell how many degrees of separation our influence extends. We're talking about +500 guys, so I believe some BBWAA voters read us; even more know of us; a few more have been influenced by our results in some way. These effects will only increase as time passes.

Some revolutions occur overnight; others take generations. Be assured we're contributing to the evolution of The Discussion.
   41. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 23, 2006 at 02:58 PM (#2153794)
Some revolutions occur overnight; others take generations. Be assured we're contributing to the evolution of The Discussion.

I'll buy that principle. We know it's happened before because a) of the mushrooming popularity of the baseball abstract and other publications early in the 1980s b) even the most mainstream of the achy, grump, old columnists acknowledges the existence of analysts, even if they dismiss them c) some columnists and beat writers do embrace the analytical pose within the BBWAA-like confines (though they may not have voting privelages). It is a small world despite it's largeness. The baseball media world is even smaller.
   42. Shredder Posted: August 23, 2006 at 03:06 PM (#2153799)
I would vote for him based solely on my being in his seats for game four in 1986. He owned a food brokerage in the '80s and used to do a lot of business with my dad. Nice guy.
   43. KJOK Posted: August 23, 2006 at 05:47 PM (#2153985)
Sewell is closer to Fregosi than to Larkin, it seems to me. Fewer games at SS than Fregosi and a lower OPS+. What exactly is the argument for Sewell again?

Sewell's peers at SS/3B had an OPS of .700. His 'position adjusted' OPS+ is 130.
   44. yest Posted: August 24, 2006 at 03:18 AM (#2154762)
there are 3 things that bother me a bought the propsal
1. I would perfer to star voting after the WS

I don't see any reason for this. Is there ever a "perfect" time for starting?

1. it's easy time tor remeber to vote.
2. if wer'e to far from the Hof vote were less likaly to have an effect
3. I don't want to vote in the middle of playoff season if there's no reason we can't vote after it
Perhaps we need to rename the Final Discussion thread as New Voter Registration/Final Discussion.
There are follow-up projects being hatched that should serve to keep us going.


that's what I was shooting for
   45. Brent Posted: August 24, 2006 at 03:31 AM (#2154770)
Sewell's peers at SS/3B had an OPS of .700. His 'position adjusted' OPS+ is 130.

Interesting calculation. What would you guess his position-adjusted OPS+ would be if you dropped the three worst shortstops for each season from your sample and replaced them with (1) John Henry Lloyd (through 1923) and John Beckwith (1924 and later), (2) Dick Lundy, and (3) Dobie Moore (through 1925) and Willie Wells (1926 and later)?

(Although Beckwith's main position was 3B, during 1924-28 my understanding is that he was mostly playing shortstop.)
   46. DanG Posted: August 24, 2006 at 03:51 AM (#2154792)
I don't see any reason for this. Is there ever a "perfect" time for starting?

1. it's easy time tor remeber to vote.

For me it's, "OK, regular season over, HoM season starts!"

2. if wer'e to far from the Hof vote were less likaly to have an effect

What's "too far"? The BBWAA casts votes in December. Creating a firestorm for a candidate (based on our results) in the month before that should have a good effect.

3. I don't want to vote in the middle of playoff season if there's no reason we can't vote after it

Well, you have the whole year to think about your ballot, if you're too busy during playoff season.
   47. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 24, 2006 at 11:49 AM (#2154982)
Interesting calculation. What would you guess his position-adjusted OPS+ would be if you dropped the three worst shortstops for each season from your sample and replaced them with (1) John Henry Lloyd (through 1923) and John Beckwith (1924 and later), (2) Dick Lundy, and (3) Dobie Moore (through 1925) and Willie Wells (1926 and later)?

Answer: You come to the same conclusion that I did about Sewell years ago, Brent. :-) Seriously, if you are using RCAP or some equivalent (which makes sense, IMO), you have to add in the NeL players for a more accurate picture.

With that said, he's still extremely close to making my ballot at some point. Sewell was a good one.
   48. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: August 24, 2006 at 02:05 PM (#2155094)
I do want to point out that I think it is highly unlikely John Beckwith would have played SS in MLB for more than a season or so. However, With Wells, Lundy, Moore, and Lloyd you have a point.
   49. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 24, 2006 at 02:08 PM (#2155096)
That's one thing that makes Fregosi a strong candidate for Sewell supporters. There's probably no one in the hemisphere who by the mid 1960s wouldn't have been able to start at shorstop for a big league team. It's not perfect, of course, the Yanks and Sox weren't models of integration, but the other teams were well integrated by then and Lloyd, Wells, Moore, et al would not have passed them by without a contract offer. Despite a generally so-so class of SS, Fregosi's group is probably creamier than Sewell's.

In fact, there's a strong argument to be made that the reason Fregosi's group is weak comes down to managerial preference for weak-hitting glove men, rather than institutional racial bias. Remember Ernie Banks is the last big thumper at SS for years in either league, essentially until Ripken comes along (noting that Toby Harrah played the position but was ultimately a position switch waiting to happen and who didn't have thumpy power anyway, that Rico only had the one big year and a couple pretty good ones but wasn't a long-term power threat, and that Roy Smalley Jr. wasn't all that powerful either).

From 1963 to 1971, AL shortstops hit 243/308/343/651 in a league batting 251/322/382/703 (ss included in league totals). So a 93 OPS+ for the SS when you include their own batting in the league's line. Call it more like 90. From 1920-1928, AL shorstops hit 272/336/355/691 in a league batting 294/362/410/772. So a 90 OPS+ for them when you include their own batting, but more like, say, 87ish. Fregosi hits for a 114 OPS+ at position and a 106 OPS+ vs. the league in the period in question. Joe Sewell hits for a 120 OPS+ at position and a 108 OPS+ vs the league. Actually, that's not true, I didn't adjust for park at all. Interestingly, this would help Fregosi a lot. He played several years in Dodger stadium, and the big A was never a hitter's park in his Angel tenure. He probably had a PF in the period of around 95-97. Sewell's parks were essentially netural, maybe a composite 101 PF. And that virtually splits the offensive difference between them as compared to their positions and particularly to their leagues.

There's a suggestion buried in here that the power of integration is something on the order of 3-5% in OPS+, with a higher grade of NgL player at the skill positions potentially narrowing the gap for SS to the league. That's a sweeping, sweeping generalization of course, particularly since most of the great black players of the 1950s and 1960s played corner positions or CF, and since managers in both eras appeared to have a somewhat defense-first approach that limited the position to smaller, more seemingly agile body types. You can indeed see it if you squint, and I think it's a not-unreasonable assuption. But I think you don't even need that assumption to draw the conclusion that Fregosi and Sewell were essentially interchangable overall offensive players relative to their leagues. The separation comes from Sewell's playing three fine years at 3B and Fregosi having a hot/cold wandering aspect to the rest of his career. And to Sewell probably being a better fielder than Fregosi. But for real peaksters it may be closer than that.
   50. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 24, 2006 at 02:12 PM (#2155105)
I do want to point out that I think it is highly unlikely John Beckwith would have played SS in MLB for more than a season or so. However, With Wells, Lundy, Moore, and Lloyd you have a point.
I think Lloyds' SS days were just about over by 1920, weren't they? I thought he went to 2B in like 1924 or so? Maybe earlier? I'm probably wrong about that, though.
   51. KJOK Posted: August 25, 2006 at 05:55 AM (#2156233)
Interesting calculation. What would you guess his position-adjusted OPS+ would be if you dropped the three worst shortstops for each season from your sample and replaced them with (1) John Henry Lloyd (through 1923) and John Beckwith (1924 and later), (2) Dick Lundy, and (3) Dobie Moore (through 1925) and Willie Wells (1926 and later)?

I think it's a bit of a straw man argument.

Lloyd, Beckwith, Lundy, Moore & Wells should be compared to their league conterparts, just like Sewell. Only THEIR league counterparts are EVEN WEAKER than Sewell's, so there's an additional 'discount' to apply.
   52. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 25, 2006 at 11:26 AM (#2156287)
I think it's a bit of a straw man argument.

Lloyd, Beckwith, Lundy, Moore & Wells should be compared to their league conterparts, just like Sewell. Only THEIR league counterparts are EVEN WEAKER than Sewell's, so there's an additional 'discount' to apply.


I don't understand this, Kevin. The best players, wherever they played, should be compared to the best elsewhere. Comparing them to just the best in their respective leagues paints a wrong picture of their dominance.

RCAP without the NeLers are just wrong and misleading, IMO.
   53. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 25, 2006 at 11:31 AM (#2156289)
I think Lloyds' SS days were just about over by 1920, weren't they? I thought he went to 2B in like 1924 or so? Maybe earlier? I'm probably wrong about that, though.

Lloyd became a full time 2B in '24, Eric.
   54. sunnyday2 Posted: August 25, 2006 at 12:26 PM (#2156309)
I agree with John. The argument has been that Sewell was the best SS of his generation. Brent and John's point, that Sewell was only the best among white players not among all active players, is correct and valid and should be part of the "calculation" of Sewell's placement among the "greats."
   55. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 25, 2006 at 02:57 PM (#2156437)
That's fine, as long as you also add Negro League OFs when comparing OFs, and add 1B when looking at Sisler, etc. . . . so then the whole league goes up everywhere and the SS's, relative to the league still come out basically the same.

IMO, it's closer to a straw man argument than it isn't.

Lloyd's career at SS barely intersects with Sewell's. Beckwith was a 3B, not a SS by MLB standards. Lundy parallels well, Moore does for about 40% of Sewell's career and Wells parallels the 2nd half of Sewell's career. So yeah, you could add two star SS's to the league for Sewell's career.

But Sewell is so far ahead of his contemporaries that he's got plenty of room to spare hitting wise. Bump his cohorts OWP by .015 if you want to and he still clears all the hurdles. And his fielding was very good to boot.

In the end, I don't think it makes all that much difference, especially once you do it for everyone at all positions.
   56. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 25, 2006 at 03:53 PM (#2156522)
That's fine, as long as you also add Negro League OFs when comparing OFs, and add 1B when looking at Sisler, etc. . . . so then the whole league goes up everywhere and the SS's, relative to the league still come out basically the same.

Joe, we're talking about dominance. When someone states that Sewell is the best shortstop of the Twenties, he means the majors. He's not including the NeLers, where Sewell would have had a much more difficult time claiming the top spot at short or third for any particular season.

Lloyd's career at SS barely intersects with Sewell's.

For four years, Lloyd was primarily a shortstop when Sewell was also one. I have him a good deal better than Sewell in 1920.

Beckwith was a 3B, not a SS by MLB standards.

I have Beckwith as much better than Sewell for 1924 and 1925, as well as the tops at third in 1929.

As for Beckwith not playing short or third in the majors, that's theoretical, not factual. But I'll concede the possibility.

Moore does for about 40% of Sewell's career and Wells parallels the 2nd half of Sewell's career.

I have Moore significantly better than Sewell in 1922, 1923, and 1924.

I have Wells as the best in 1927 and 1928.

BTW, I have Sewell as the best shortstop in 1926. He was damn good, but dominating? I don't see it.

IMO, it's closer to a straw man argument than it isn't.

I don't deal in straw man arguments, Joe. Inane ones are a different matter, however. :-)
   57. KJOK Posted: August 25, 2006 at 05:20 PM (#2156600)
I don't understand this, Kevin. The best players, wherever they played, should be compared to the best elsewhere. Comparing them to just the best in their respective leagues paints a wrong picture of their dominance.

RCAP without the NeLers are just wrong and misleading, IMO.


I'm all for comparing, but these guys simply did not play in the same league, so the comparison should be how they played WITHIN THEIR LEAUGE vs. how others played WITHIN THEIR LEAGUE, adjusted for level of competition.

But if you want to pursue this line of thinking, then:

Take 1928 for example. In the majors, you had:

Sewell
Koenig
Travis Jackson
G. Wright
English
Maranville
Bancroft
Tavener
Bobby Reeves
etc. (you can look up the rest)

In the 1928 Negro Leagues, you had (trying to be complete here)
Willie Wells
John Beckwith
Dick Lundy
George Scales
Pythias Russ
Newt Allen
Jake Stephens

THE REST:
William Evans
Scrappy Brown
Emilio Navarro
Googles Poles
Marcelino Bauza
Bill Yancey
Cowan Hyde
William Owens
Fransisco Correa
Saul Davis
Hallie Harding
Henry Harris
Leroy Stratton

While I'm a big "supporter" of the Negro Leagues players, IF you're going to make any argument about "what would their OPS+", the questions should be how much 'less dominating' would Wells, Beckwith, etc. look if Sewell, Koenig, Jackson, etc. were in THEIR league. As a matter of fact, it might be interesting to do "Negro League Equivalents" for MLB players in the 20's and 30's like Sewell, to see what their stats may have looked in the "other" league...
   58. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 25, 2006 at 05:41 PM (#2156617)
the questions should be how much 'less dominating' would Wells, Beckwith, etc. look if Sewell, Koenig, Jackson, etc. were in THEIR league.

Why do that, Kevin? I'm saying take all of the best players for a specified season at any position, major league and NeL, and slot them in a hypothetical league. I could care less about Bobby Reeves and Hallie Harding (Halle Berry, OTOH... :-), I'm looking at the cream of the crop, black and white, that played at a particular position for any given season. Since the NeL MLEs have been adjusted for quality, we don't need to do anything else beyond that.

Now, if you don't buy the MLEs, then that's a totally different matter. Then we'll have to agree to disagree.
   59. sunnyday2 Posted: August 25, 2006 at 05:43 PM (#2156619)
>I'm all for comparing, but these guys simply did not play in the same league, so the comparison should be how they played WITHIN THEIR LEAUGE vs. how others played WITHIN THEIR LEAGUE, adjusted for level of competition.

I think this is right, I mean, this is all we really know how to do.

>While I'm a big "supporter" of the Negro Leagues players, IF you're going to make any argument about "what would their OPS+", the questions should be how much 'less dominating' would Wells, Beckwith, etc. look if Sewell, Koenig, Jackson, etc. were in THEIR league.

But, no, this is something different and not right. It flows both ways, though I agree that we appear to be only flowing the other way with our MLEs. But I think it is quite right to normalize everything to the highest level of competition. If we did NeLEs for ML players, they would be useless for comparing them against other MLers, whereas the MLEs have the benefit of being comparable against pretty much anybody, anywhere, anytime.
   60. KJOK Posted: August 25, 2006 at 06:36 PM (#2156667)
Why do that, Kevin? I'm saying take all of the best players for a specified season at any position, major league and NeL, and slot them in a hypothetical league.

The problem with "hypothetical" league is that, one, it's hypothetical, not real value, and two, you need to adjust offense AND defense, and we can really only adjust offense. When you move from "LOWER LEVEL LEAGUE" to "HIGHER LEVEL LEAGUE", you get a lot of moving along the defensive spectrum (Beckwith to 3B or 1B, for example).

I'd much rather compare value to value within their leagues, with an appropriate discount for overall level of competition.
   61. sunnyday2 Posted: August 25, 2006 at 06:41 PM (#2156675)
I don't disagree, but when you discount for overall level of competition, you're adjusting to the highest level of play.

Wht I thought was being suggested was to say that Johnny Mize would hit 68 home runs in the NNL of 1938, etc. etc.
   62. Mike Webber Posted: August 25, 2006 at 06:54 PM (#2156694)
Ran across something interesting a couple of nights ago when the insomnia kicked in. Page 621 of Bill James NBJHBA under the Roger Peckinpaugh comment: (italics mine so you can see how old they were)

“In the years 1919-1925 the ranks of the major league shortstops were thinned by an unusual series of events. Between 1919 and 1925:
1. Chapman was killed by a pitch 1919 - age 29
2. Charlie Hollocher quit baseball unexpectedly 1924 – age 28
3. Two shortstops, Buck Weaver and Swede Risberg, were kicked out of the game for involvement in the 1919 World Series fix. Weaver age 29 , Risberg age 25, both in 1925
4. Rogers Hornsby, the best young shortstop in the NL, was switched to second base for defensive reasons. 1918 – age 22
5. Larry Kopf, shortstop for the Reds in 1919, had a back injury that left him unable to play the position. age 30 – 1921 played 93 games at SS
6. Chick Galloway, who looked like a brilliant young shortstop in 1922, inexplicably stopped hitting. in 1922 he was 25, played full time 4 more seasons, plus a couple

These were the best shortstops in baseball falling like leaves. Combined with the natural aging of guys like Art Fletcher, Donie Bush, Jack Berry, Doc Lavan and Everett Scott, this created a shortage of short fielders, which made long-term regulars out of guys like Wally Gerber and Henie Sand, who probably wouldn’t have lasted more than a year or two under more normal circumstances.”
   63. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 25, 2006 at 06:58 PM (#2156699)
My real point was that one can't say Joe Sewell dominated shortstop or third base per season during the Twenties as an absolute fact. Majors? I wouldn't argue that, but lets not forget the African-American players. It's not to the same level (obviously :-) as touting Ossee Schreckengost as a dominating catcher because he was the best in the AL of the Aughts (while ignoring the NL), but it is in the same vein.
   64. KJOK Posted: August 25, 2006 at 09:42 PM (#2156815)
Wht I thought was being suggested was to say that Johnny Mize would hit 68 home runs in the NNL of 1938, etc. etc.

Maybe you missed my earlier comments, taken together:

<i>..the comparison should be how they played WITHIN THEIR LEAUGE vs. how others played WITHIN THEIR LEAGUE, adjusted for level of competition.


...IF you're going to make any argument about "what would their OPS+"...
   65. fra paolo Posted: August 26, 2006 at 12:47 PM (#2157497)
In part owing to Jim Fregosi, there's been a major shake up on my ballot, so I thought I'd describe the background here, and then deal with the wider implications when I post my preliminary ballot.

When I came to define Fregosi's prime, his batting line looked very attractive, but his fielding runs stood no comparison with my current top shortstop, Joe Sewell. However, while flicking through the shortstop section of the Bill James NHBA, I spotted the Ozzie Smith comment. At the same time, I'd noted that the HoF in 1984 elected Luis Aparicio, in spite of his anemic bat. The Ozzie Smith comment notes the percentage of assists a shortstop takes relative to his team. I note the relataive percentages for the players I am going to talk about:

1920s 26
1950s 28
1960s 28

Armed with this information, I decided to use Retrosheet and compare how Aparicio, Sewell, and Fregosi measured against this standard during the years I had identified as their primes. However, in looking at this, and thinking about why the HoF voters would elect Aparicio, I concluded that the way I calculate a prime for shortstops was misleading. That, in fact, I should look more closely at fielding statistics, and less at the batting ones. Here's the data I extracted:

Fregosi
1963 446 out of 1829 (24 percent)
1964 421 out of 1847 (23 percent)
1965 481 out of 1868 (26 percent)
1966 531 out of 1859 (29 percent) BEST YEAR

Sewell
1922 462 out of 1934 (24 percent)
1923 497 out of 2044 (24 percent)
1924 514 out of 1943 (26 percent)
1925 529 out of 1948 (27 percent) BEST YEAR

Aparicio
1956 474 assists out of 1630 (29 percent)
1957 449 assists out of 1787 (25 percent)
1958 463 assists out of 1667 (28 percent)
1959 460 assists out of 1752 (26 percent)
1960 551 assists out of 1788 (31 percent) BEST YEAR
1961 487 assists out of 1790 (27 percent)
1962 452 assists out of 1760 (26 percent)
1963 403 assists out of 1703 (24 percent)
1964 437 assists out of 1726 (25 percent)
1965 439 assists out of 1770 (25 percent)

Aparicio had much the longest fielding prime, and looks the best candidate in terms of assists, but his bat is very poor, and somehow his higher ratio of assists doesn't translate into a far superior fielding runs performance.

I then went to my spreadsheet and, using fielding stats, redefined primes for Fregosi, Sewell, Maranville, Aparicio, and a war-credit boosted Rizzuto (adding Dal Maxvill for good measure). Here's how I'd rank those fellows allocating equal value to batting and fielding:

Sewell
Maranville
Rizzuto
Fregosi
Maxvill
Aparico

However, if I bias toward fielding, I get this.

Maranville
Sewell
Rizzuto
Fregosi
Maxvill
Aparicio

The top 3 are bunched quite closely, Fregosi is a ways behind, and Maxvill and Aparicio are as far below Fregosi as Fregosi is below the top 3. If I adjust the weighting a little bit downwards, Sewell creeps up ahead of Maranville.

So, in summary, while Fregosi doesn't look like a HoMer to me, there's reason to support the view that if Sewell is HoM-worthy, so are Rizzuto and Maranville, and possibly moreso. At the moment, I'm leaning toward letting Rizzuto supplant Sewell on my ballot, because in his prime he looks a more balanced player than Maranville (and I'm not sure I have given enough war credit), while Sewell's value gets a big boost from one season with the bat, which is too 'peaky' even for me.
   66. DL from MN Posted: August 28, 2006 at 01:31 PM (#2159191)
And you haven't even thrown in the best (relative to league) fielder available - Bancroft.
   67. OCF Posted: August 28, 2006 at 09:56 PM (#2159668)
As for including Maxvill - hey, I am a fan of those teams. And he was the real deal with the glove on his hand. But I still remember a Bill James one-liner. He was doing a position by position comparison of a number of pennant-winning teams from different years, and included the '67-'68 Cardinals. His line about Maxvill's offensive skills: "Couldn't hit a blast furnace with a heat-seeking missle."

Maxvill did draw a few walks (some of them of the pitch around the #8 hitter to get to the pitcher variety), but was utterly powerless. You can hit like Maxvill and keep a major league job for a few years; worse than that, and you probably can't remain a regular (see Mendoza, Mario.)
   68. DCW3 Posted: August 28, 2006 at 10:36 PM (#2159682)
Maxvill's 1968 is, to me, a near-perfect example of how much context matters in baseball. Maxvill hit .253/.329/.293 that year. If a player put up those numbers today, he'd be a laughingstock, suited to be no more than a defensive replacement at best. Now, adjusting for the league's offensive context, he had a 91 OPS+. That would be an acceptable number for a shortstop today, but certainly not star-caliber. But Maxvill was the best-hitting shortstop in the NL that year, among the top 25 players in the league in RCAP. When you factor in his defense, you could definitely make a case for him as one of the best 15-20 players overall. (Of course, he never hit nearly that well again.)
   69. OCF Posted: August 29, 2006 at 12:44 AM (#2159777)
Maxvill got a few MVP votes that year, which wasn't crazy. (Gibson won the MVP voting - it's plausible that Maxvill deserves a little of Gibson's credit.) The problem is that in a whole-career context, Maxvill's 1968 offense looks like a high-side fluke. That is, he never really was that good in true ability level. He crashed hard the very next year.

Harry Carey's home run chant went ".. way back .. it might be .. it could be .. it is!" When Maxvill hit one out of Busch Stadium for probably the only time in his career, I saw a story that one of his teammates (Maris?) greeted him in the dugout with ".. it might be .. it could be .. it coudn't be, it coudn't be!" I think at that point he had 4 career HR, one of them a Polo Grounds duck hook and two of them inside-the-park.
   70. Howie Menckel Posted: September 01, 2006 at 04:14 PM (#2164700)
best OPS+s as SSs, fulltime seasons
Fregosi 141 26 24 14 13 13 10 08
JSewell 146 16 16 12 10 09 08 01

Fregosi leads at this point.
But then he adds an 89 as a half-time SS, another 89 as a 3B, then
099 120 106 097 125 in increasingly little playing time - his PAs dropped in each of his last nine seasons!

Sewell moved to 3B, and produced a 102 087 110 096 087 in full-time work.

JSewell put up a 109 OPS+ in 8329 PA.
Fregosi put up a 113 OPS+ in 7402 PA.

Add in a couple hundred 'PA credit' for Sewell for a shorter schedule, and he's got some real career-length advantage while being a better fielder.

Still, he doesn't exactly bury Fregosi, if you ask me.

I won't be voting for either.
   71. KJOK Posted: May 11, 2007 at 12:56 AM (#2360459)
Maybe Fregosi deserves a 2nd look...

To not bias by using selective endpoints, I did a query of SS RCAP of the 20 year period from 1956 thru 1985:

CAREER
1956-1985
SS

RCAP                           RCAP    
1    Robin Yount                 288   
2    Jim Fregosi                 203   
3    Cal Ripken                  156   
4    Alan Trammell               155   
T5   Roy Smalley                 149   
T5   Bert Campaneris             149   
7    Dave Concepcion             136   
8    Denis Menke                 132   
9    Maury Wills                 130   
10   Garry Templeton             115 


then Offensive Winning %, same period:

CAREER
1956-1985
SS

OWP                             OWP    
1    Cal Ripken                 .617   
2    Robin Yount                .567   
3    Jim Fregosi                .565   
4    Harvey Kuenn               .557   
5    Alan Trammell              .531   
6    Woodie Held                .520   
7    Rico Petrocelli            .519   
8    Denis Menke                .512   
9    Roy Smalley                .506   
10   Maury Wills                .473 


Fregosi still looks strong offensively. Defensively, a "C" from Winshares, but 277 FRAR and -36 from WARP, so "FAIR" would probably cover it.
   72. Juan V Posted: May 11, 2007 at 02:30 AM (#2360521)
Probably. I used to vote for him under my old system, but after my newer one noted his time at other positions, he fell quickly.

Right now, I'm getting my "Guy who played a bunch of SS and hit well but isn't liked by the uberstats" fix from Toby Harrah.
   73. DavidFoss Posted: May 11, 2007 at 02:34 PM (#2360734)
I did a query of SS RCAP of the 20 year period from 1956 thru 1985

Just as a footnote, it looks like you checked "Consider Position By" to be "Career" instead of "Season". That puts all of Ernie Banks' seasons in the "1B" column. I know Banks has long been inducted and we're focusing on the top of the backlog -- so its not really necessary to include him on the lists -- but some might be curious as why he's absent. Its one of the quirks of the SBE.
   74. KJOK Posted: May 11, 2007 at 05:38 PM (#2360945)
Just as a footnote, it looks like you checked "Consider Position By" to be "Career" instead of "Season". That puts all of Ernie Banks' seasons in the "1B" column. I know Banks has long been inducted and we're focusing on the top of the backlog -- so its not really necessary to include him on the lists -- but some might be curious as why he's absent. Its one of the quirks of the SBE.

True, but changing the criteria to 'seasons at SS' still ranks Fregosi highly:

CAREER
1956-1985
SS

RCAP                           RCAP    
1    Robin Yount                 284   
2    Ernie Banks                 276   
3    Jim Fregosi                 211   
T4   Denis Menke                 156   
T4   Cal Ripken                  156   
6    Alan Trammell               155   
T7   Roy Smalley                 152   
T7   Bert Campaneris             152   
9    Maury Wills                 138   
10   Dave Concepcion             136 


CAREER
1956
-1985
SS

OWP                             OWP    
1    Ernie Banks                .662   
2    Cal Ripken                 .617   
3    Jim Fregosi                .576   
4    Robin Yount                .569   
5    Dick McAuliffe             .554   
6    Woodie Held                .549   
7    Toby Harrah                .548   
8    Rico Petrocelli            .546   
9    Denis Menke                .544   
10   Alan Trammell              .531 

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