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Hall of Merit
— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Monday, July 15, 2002

Left Fielders

Here are the left fielders.

139 - 23, 23, 19 - 70 - Cliff Carroll - 7.9 sea. - 106 batting - 33 fielding.
LF 75%, RF 25%.
notes: 1882-93. 5-year peak from age 28-33. Played his whole career in the NL.
Win Shares per 162 games played: 17.82

270 - 44, 36, 31 - 150 - Abner Dalrymple - 10.3 sea. - 215 batting - 55 fielding.
LF 99%, RF 1%.
notes: 1878-88, 1891. 5-year peak from age 22-26. Played entire career in NL, except 1891 (AA) 20 WS.

48 - 27, 21 - 48 - George Hall - 6.2 sea. - no breakdown.
LF 53%, CF 44%, RF 2%
notes: 1871-77. Career from age 22-28. Played 4.2 seasons in NA. Thrown out of baseball for throwing a game in 1877 (I think).

180 - 26, 26, 25 - 111 - Joe Hornung - 10.4 sea. - 130 batting -
50 fielding
LF 93%, 1B 5%, 3B 1%, 2B 1%.
notes: 1879-90. 5-year peak from age 23-27. Played his whole career in the NL (except for 1889).
Win Shares per 162 games played: 16.59

280 - 40, 39, 35 - 167 - Charley Jones - 9.5 sea. - 244 batting - 36 fielding.
LF 71%, CF 27%, 1B 2%, RF 1%.
notes: 1875-80, 1883-88. 5-year peak from age 29-35 (DNP in majors 1881-82). Played 13 G in NA in 1875. Played from 1876-80 in NL (141 WS); 1883-88 in AA (139 WS).

67 - 23, 21, 20 - 67 - Andy Leonard - 8.1 sea. - 53 batting - 14 fielding.
LF 68%, 2B 18%, SS 11%, 3B 3%.
notes: 1871-78, 1880. Can’t be evaluated properly because of missing NA stats. In NA (1871-75). Rest of career in NL.

125 - 34, 23, 22 - 112 - Darby O’Brien - 5.0 sea. - 104 batting - 21 fielding.
LF 91%, CF 7%, 1B 1%.
notes: 1887-92. 5-year peak from age 23-27. Played 1887-89 in AA (77 WS), 1890-92 in NL (48 WS).

260 - 42, 33, 31 - 159 - Tip O’Neill - 7.8 sea. - 198 batting - 40 fielding - 22 pitching.
LF 98%, RF 1%, CF 1%.
notes: 1883-92. 5-year peak from age 27-31. Played entire career in AA, except 1883 in NL (8 WS mostly pitching), 1890 (PL) 22 WS, 1892 (NL) 12 WS.

488 - 40, 39, 35 - 176 - Jim O’Rourke - 20.6 sea. - 416 batting - 70 fielding - 2 pitching.
LF 30%, CF 25%, 1B 12%, RF 11%, C 10%, 3B 7%, SS 4%.
notes: 1872-93, 1904. 5-year peak from age 25-29. Played 4.8 seasons in the NA, not included here. Rest of career in NL, except 1890 (PL) 25 WS.

144 - 33, 24, 22 - 93 - Emmett Seery - 7.4 sea. - 119 batting - 25 fielding.
LF 83%, RF 16%.
notes: 1884-92. 5-year peak from age 26-30. Played in NL (1885-1889); PL (1890); UA (1884); AA (1891).
Win Shares per 162 games played: 18.92

140 - 31, 25, 21 - 103 - Joe Sommer - 8.4 sea. - 99 batting - 41 fielding.
LF 65%, 3B 13%, RF 12%, 2B 4%, SS 4%, CF 2%.
notes: 1880, 1882-90. 5-year peak from age 23-27. Played entire career in AA, except 1880 (NL), 1 WS and 1890 (NL), 9 G.

363 WS - 42, 34, 33 - 156 Harry Stovey - 12.6 sea. - 318 batting - 45 fielding.
41% 1B, 31% LF, 15% RF, 12% CF.
notes: 1880-93. 5-year peak from age 26-30. Entire 5-year peak in AA (1883-89, 83-87 was peak), played 1890 in PL, 25 WS. 1880-82, 1891-03 in NL. Not sure if I should list him as a LF or a 1B. I think LF, since he played 57% in OF, only 43% at 1B, and LF had the majority of his OF time.

146 - 31, 24, 21 - 100 - Walt Wilmot - 7.1 sea. - 115 batting - 31 fielding.
LF 78%, CF 19%, RF 3%.
notes: 1888-98. 5-year peak from age 24-28. Played his whole career in the NL.
Win Shares per 162 games played: 20.59

239 - 28, 24, 24 - 107 - George Wood - 11.2 sea. - 195 batting - 43 fielding.
LF 93%, RF 2%, 3B 2%, SS 1%.
notes: 1880-92. 5-year peak from 23-27. Played entire career in NL, except part of 1889 (3 G in AA), 1890 (PL) 20 WS and 1891 (AA) 23 WS.

217 - 34, 32, 27 - 128 - Tom York - 13.1 sea. - 172 batting - 45 fielding.
LF 89%, CF 8%, RF 3%.
notes: 1871-85. 5-year peak from age 25-29. 4.7 seasons in NA. Rest of career in NL, except 1884-85 (AA), 18, 4 WS.

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: July 15, 2002 at 03:22 AM | 39 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: July 15, 2002 at 04:26 AM (#510407)
George Hall was thrown out of the game in 1877 for throwing a game? I'm suprised that organized ball was even coordinated enough in 1877 to accomplish this. As an aside, thrown games in all sports were very common in this era and was not unknown (and frequently dealt with fairly generously) in any professional sport - amateur sport was an entirely different matter.

Dalrymple, Jones, and O'Neill (better believe I'm voting for the Tipper) are very close and all seemingly on the borderline. There are a LOT of borderline candidates in this era!
   2. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 15, 2002 at 07:44 AM (#510408)
Win Shares per 162 games played (NA not included):

Abner Dalrymple:25.15
George Hall:24
Charley Jones:29.42
Andy Leonard:20.35
Darby O'Brien:24.9
Tip O'Neill:32.73
Joe Sommer:16.2
George Wood:21.01
Tom York:25.12

Jones is a definite, IMO. I'd probably take Dalrymple second, then York, O'Neill and Wood can fight it out for third.

   3. jimd Posted: July 16, 2002 at 01:58 AM (#510410)
I posted this on another thread (baseball's worst moments):

The gambling scandal involving Louisville Colonels players in the NL of 1877. Star pitcher Jim Devlin, star outfielder George Hall, shortstop Bill Craver, and utility player Al Nichols were banned for life for throwing games. (This set the precedent for Landis' punishment of the Black Sox 42 years later.)
   4. DanG Posted: July 16, 2002 at 03:25 AM (#510411)
Six more leftfielders worthy of some scrutiny turned up in my little database, including a hall of famer:

Cliff Carroll 1882-93
Joe Hornung 1879-90
Jim O'Rourke 1872-93 (token appearance 1904)
Blondie Purcell 1879-90
Emmett Seery 1884-92
Walt Wilmot 1888-98

There is also still the question of what to do with Ed Delahanty. I don't remember us ever settling the question of whether we would allow early eligibility for deceased candidates. IMHO, we should not.

As far as I know, Thurman Munson is the only player ever allowed onto the regular BBWAA ballot early because he died. (Gehrig and Clemente were elected in special votes.) I think it's more interesting to see how a player fares in voting against his direct peers. Make 'em wait the five years.


   5. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 16, 2002 at 03:02 PM (#510412)
Jim O'Rourke will be included with the rightfielders.
   6. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 16, 2002 at 03:03 PM (#510413)
Jim O'Rourke will be included with the rightfielders.
   7. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: July 16, 2002 at 11:25 PM (#510416)
Jim, see the post above yours. Don't worry, you'll be looked at.
   8. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 17, 2002 at 05:47 AM (#510418)
Scruff would have the percentages concerning Orator Jim.
   9. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 17, 2002 at 07:30 AM (#510419)
editor's note: I've moved the extra players John added to the top of the thread. Thanks John! Back to John's comments:

I left off Blondie Purcell because he started off as a pitcher. I need the formula that Scruff is working on for the pitchers.
   10. scruff Posted: July 19, 2002 at 02:59 AM (#510421)
Ed, on the earlier discussions (back in January I think) we pretty much came to the consensus that we would disregard token appearances.

It came down to a weighing of the pro's and con's. The 'pro' of comparing a player to his true peers outweighed the 'con' of not waiting until the player is truly retired. I have no issue if you want to reopen this discussion though.
   11. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 21, 2002 at 01:21 AM (#510423)
Sure thing Eric:

WS/162 Games: 27.85

I don't know where exactly, but I'd be shocked if he doesn't wind up on my first ballot. A truly great player from that time.
   12. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: July 21, 2002 at 11:29 PM (#510424)
Likewise. I'd be shocked if he weren't in my top 5.
   13. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 29, 2002 at 02:39 AM (#510426)
Updating my top five leftfielders (in order):
Jim O'Rourke (leaps and bounds over everyone else)
Charley Jones (I am not as sure about his HoM qualifications)
Tip O'Neill
Tom York (probably number two when counting his NA numbers)
Abner Dalrymple

I have taken George Wood off my list.

   14. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 10, 2003 at 06:51 AM (#510427)
Just in case somebody missed it, Joe corrected Harry Stovey's adjusted Win Shares.
   15. Marc Posted: April 20, 2004 at 04:10 AM (#510428)
Continuing my process of reconsideration: LFers eligible through 1939 and worth considering.

• Already on my ballot somewhere, not nec. top 15--C. Jones, Sheckard
• Reconsidered--Dalrymple, T. O'Neill, Schulte, G. Stone, York
• Newly eligible--S. Magee
• Coming--G. J. Burns, J. Jackson, Veach, Wheat, K. Williams
• Negro Leaguers coming--P. Hill, H. Johnson, McNair

I'll go straight to the rankings.

1. Joe Jackson--#1 peak, #1 prime, #3 career. Only the #8 career by adjWARP1, and only the #5-6 prime by adjWARP1 (years, total value, rate). And his peak is not as dominant as I expected except according to LWTS. WARP really doesn't like him a whole lot. But then many don't like him: I'll be boycotting in '26 but in '27 he'll be in the top 2-3, I think, if he's still eligible.

2. Charley Jones--#2 peak, #4 prime, #5 career. Trails Jackson for 3 year adjWARP1 peak by just 38.4-38.2 and for 5 year non-consecutive adjWS just 183-182. WARP prefers Jones for 5 non-consecutive years and by a fair margin, 66.5-59.0.

3. Jimmy Sheckard--#3 peak, #5 prime, #4 career. #1 for career adjWARP1 with 136 to Zack Wheat's 128. Second longest prime but fairly low prime rates.

4. Sherry Magee--#5 peak, #2 prime and #1 (tie) career. Tied with Wheat for career. For adjWS it's Wheat 388-368 (followed by Sheckard 354), for adjWARP1, Magee is third. LWTS likes Magee better than either. His prime rates are better than Sheckard or Wheat, too.

5. Zack Wheat--#6 peak, #3 prime, #1 (tie) career. #1 career in adjWS (388), #1 in prime length by every measure (WS, WARP, LWTS), but at low rates (e.g. 22.5 WS/prime year vs. Magee 26, Sheckard 24...Joe Jackson at 31). Not much of a peak, 82 adjWS for 3 years vs. the other top guys at or above 100. An odd career, had three great years and like Sheckard's they were spread out--1914, 1916 and 1924. Frankly, if he had retired after what looked like a fairly standard decline phase at age 35 in 1923, he would be, well, Bobby Veach or George Burns today. IOW his deadball career, taken as a whole, was a shade better than mediocre. That one more great year in '24 cemented his reputation.

6. Pete Hill--okay, what gives. Shouldn't Hill be up higher? He is generally regarded as the #4 Negro League LFer, (the Pittsburgh Courier even had him #2 on its famous 1952 all-time Negro League team) and he probably is.

But consider that from 1910-1913, for which we happen to have some numbers, at age 30-33 he hit .371. Spot Poles, at age 20-23, hit .435, and Grant Johnson, at age 36-39, hit .389 while playing in the middle infield.

I've seen MLE projections for RC at 1800 (comp. Jesse Burkett) and 1441 (comp. George Davis). But seriously. The same projections show him hitting .308. His OPS projection of 868 comps Bill Dickey (#83 all-time) and his OPS+ of 140 ties Burkett, Wally Berger, Tip O'Neill and Reggie Jackson for #56 all-time. His comp of 2,985 hits is pretty damn good, comping Sam Rice. His R and RBI comp Jimmie Foxx and Tony Perez at #17 and #18 all-time.

In other words, these comps cannot be trusted. But OTOH, discount them 20 percent and he still comps Enos Slaughter (#84) for RC, Roger Connor (#70) for RBI and Billy Williams (#68) for R.

James says he was a left-handed line drive hitter, and captain of Rube Foster's Chicago American Giants from 1911 to 1918. When Foster created a second team (the Detroit Stars), Hill became their first manager. Cum Posey said he was "the most consistent hitter of his time," and he was often compared to Ty Cobb.

My impression, and it's not a terribly well-informed one, is that like his mentor, Foster, his reputation rests in part on his leadership qualities, his likeable personality, his integrity, the respect that people had for him, and his managerial contributions. I just don't see a guy who hit .371 in four prime years, while Grant Johnson, 6 years older, was hitting .389 and Spot Poles, starting out as a 20 year old, was hitting .435, as Ty Cobb or Jesse Burkett.

Sheckard or Magee or Wheat is more like it. Which is still not bad. And everybody listed here so far, except Jackson, is close enough to one another that they are either all HoMers or all not HoMers. I'm not entirely sure which.

7. Bobby Veach--a big fall-off from the top 6--the #6 peak, #6 prime, #6 career. His strong suit is his #4 rating on adjWARP1 5 year non-consecutive peak of 55.6 (behind Jones, Sheckard and Jackson) and #4 adjWARP1 prime rate of 10 WARP for 9 years (trailing Tip O'Neill, Charlie Jones and George Stone on rate). An outstanding player but not a HoMer and probably not a ballot-maker.

8.George J. Burns--the one who played LF for the Giants--#7 peak, #8 prime, #8 career. Woulda been a better HoF choice than most of the Giants of this era who did get picked. 6th in career adjWS with 306, one less than Joe Jackson.

9. Tip O'Neill--#4 peak but that's all there is. #9 prime, #10 career. Took him until age 28 to find his way from his native Canada to a regular major league spot. Was he lost in space or just hadn't perfected his skills yet?

10. Tom York--$12 peak, #7 prime, $7 career. Could easily rate ahead of O'Neill--a classic peak vs. career choice. His 12-13 year prime was a rare enough thing in his day though his prime rates are mediocre.

11. Kenny Williams--#10 peak, #12 prime, #9 career. I didn't realize he didn't become a regular until age 30, but he really blossomed with the coming of the lively ball (not unlike Zack Wheat, except that Wheat, though only 2 years older than Williams, had already been a regular for 10 years when Williams joined him in 1920).

12. Heavy Johnson--a 250-lb power hitter, apparently couldn't field a lick. KJOK projects him to a .363 MLE BA with a .602 SA! In 1924 he is supposed to have hit 60 HR but the KC Monarchs played about 250 games against all comers. From 1922-24 he hit .400 with 30 3Bs and 32 HRs in 182 Negro League games. But he only played 8 years, which makes him comparable to...

13. George Stone--a big 3 year peak, but falls off precipitously even for a 5 year peak. Has the #8 (tie) peak, #10 prime, #12 career. Very very very short career.

14. Abner Dalrymple--#11 peak, #11 prime, #11 career. WS kinda likes him if you adjust for season length.

15. Hurley McNair--projects to .317 MLE with .468 SA. Played 12 years. He was reputed to be "the best two-strike hitter in the Negro Leagues."

16. Frank Schulte--#13 among 13 for peak, prime and career. One player in this set is not like the others. Despite his colorful nickname and MVP award, that would be Schulte. Don't remember how he got into this set in the first place--oh, yes, I do. Ranks #3 for 5 year non-consecutive adjWS peak with 177 (Jackson 183, Jones 182, Schulte 177, Dalrymple (!) 165, Magee 162, Sheckard 161). Could his choice of teammates be the reason for that?

My final words of advice? HELP! Can somebody distinguish Sheckard, Magee, Wheat and Hill for us???
   16. PhillyBooster Posted: April 20, 2004 at 03:48 PM (#510429)
My two cents here is that I counted 21 left fielders with 300+ win shares, (23 if you give boosts to Joe Jackson and Minnie Minoso).

Of those 21, we have already elected Ed Delahanty, Jesse Burkett, Fred Clarke, Jim O'Rourke, and Joe Kelley. Of the remaining 16, we will not yet have eligible when we reach the "present" Rickey Henderson, Tim Raines, or Barry Bonds. Of the remaining 13, one is Jose Cruz. Of the remaining 12, 3 are Jimmy Sheckard, Zach Wheat, and Sherry Magee. I think that all three will go in eventually, or else we will have only elected about 12 left fielders over the next 7 decades. That makes ranking them now somewhat less important, although I concur that they appear somewhat identical. I distinguish as follows:

1. Sherry Magee: 112.1 WARP-1; 354 WS; Bill James Rank #21. Best NL Left Fielder between 1905-1915, bar none. Best or second best at his position 9 times.
2. Jimmy Sheckard. 130.7 WARP-1; 339 WS; BJ Rank# 24.
Directly comparable to Magee, playing the same position in the same era. Better than Magee in some years, but Magee wins in the "sustained peak" measure. Best or second best at his position 7 times. I'd put Wheat 2nd between Magee and Sheckard, but he's not really comparable, playing really a half generation later.
3. Charley Jones 73.2 WARP-1; 160 WS; BJ Rank #67. I don't know if it's technically "legal" but I give Jones "blackball credits" for 1881 and 1882 that more than compensated for the AA demerits of 1883 on. That puts him a solid third here.
4. Tom York: 68.9; 217 WS; unranked. Best outfielder of the early NL. Might be ballot worthy if Jones and Pike have already been inducted.
5. Elmer Smith: 81.8 WARP-1; 284 WS; BJ Rank#75. Bob Caruthers within the wins.
6. Tip O'Neill: 65.1 WARP-1; 213 WS; BJ Rank#48. Bob Caruthers without the pitching at all, but with more hitting. He and Smith might be in the wrong order.
7. John Anderson: 67.2 WARP-1; 210 WS; BJ Rank#86. "A third choice." Never really the best, but always very good.
8. Kip Selbach: 86.2 WARP-1; 213 WS; BJ Rank# 74. Trailing off in an attempt to finish a weak top 10.
9. Sam Mertes:63.2 WARP-1; 181 WS; BJ Rank#73. I think he was a Mason.
10. Patsy Dougherty: 54.0 WARP-1; 188 WS; BJ Rank# 72. Even in his prime, he wasn't that good.
   17. Chris Cobb Posted: April 20, 2004 at 04:07 PM (#510430)
Quick comments on Pete Hill

1) I often see him described as a center fielder; I think he probably played more center than left.

2) the home ball park of the Chicago American Giants for most of the 1910s was a strong pitcher's park; even at 39, Hill's batting stats jump when he goes to Detriot, even before the lively ball.

3) My impression is that Hill's best years as a hitter came before 1910. My sense (others with better history can correct me) is that players tended to peak as hitters at a somewhat younger age than they do now: 25-28 tended to be the peak. So looking at Hill at 30-33, we've already missed his top hitting years. (Reason players tended to peak earlier: after the lively ball, hitters' skills as a power hitter tends to continue to improve as the player ages: without the power-hitter skills angle, when players begin to lose a bit of foot-speed, bat-speed, and resilience, performance starts to decline a bit.)

These three factors lead me to see Hill as a notch above Sheckard, Magee, and Wheat, who I agree are very similar. I don't think Hill was quite as good as Johnson, though.

I rate Sheckard, Magee, and Wheat as eventual HoMers.
   18. Marc Posted: April 20, 2004 at 04:47 PM (#510431)
Philly, good work. I probably shoulda had Elmer Smith in my set. I may not do a good job of sorting out the pitcher/position players. Nice to see Sam Mertes remembered, I actually looked at him when he first became eligible. He had a nice peak but not enough to make my reconsideration set.

Chris, re. Hill, I didn't mean to imply his peak was 1910-13, just that we had some numbers. By comparison from that limited sample and assuming that the career curves were more or less conventional, he doesn't look as good as HR Johnson or Spot Poles, however. That's the only comparison I had intended to make. The ranking vs. Sheckard, Magee and Wheat doesn't derive from that number, particularly. But let's just say that at his peak he was a .435 hitter against Negro teams. That would still make him less of a player than Sheckard, Magee and Wheat. Obviously it's all guesswork.

I wonder if KJOK would mind telling us how he derived his MLEs again???
   19. Chris Cobb Posted: April 20, 2004 at 07:17 PM (#510432)
By comparison from that limited sample and assuming that the career curves were more or less conventional, he doesn't look as good as HR Johnson or Spot Poles, however. That's the only comparison I had intended to make. The ranking vs. Sheckard, Magee and Wheat doesn't derive from that number, particularly. But let's just say that at his peak he was a .435 hitter against Negro teams. That would still make him less of a player than Sheckard, Magee and Wheat.

I agree that he's below Johnson; Poles I'm not so high on, but I care more about career value than you do, Marc. But I'd say that if Hill was hitting .435 against "all competition" with good power, that he was a better hitter at his peak than Sheckard, Magee, or Wheat.

What sort of a guesswork discount are you applying?
   20. Dag Nabbit at Posted: April 20, 2004 at 07:38 PM (#510433)
Chris, re. Hill, I didn't mean to imply his peak was 1910-13, just that we had some numbers. By comparison from that limited sample and assuming that the career curves were more or less conventional -

I don't think you can quite assume a normal career arc with Pete Hill though. When I get a chance I'll post (in the Negro Leagues thread, not here) the year-by-year stats I have on him from the Macmillon encyclopdia.

Short answer: He was great, really great, based on the very limited statistical evidence we have of him when he was young. Then in his early 30s, his average falls to sh*t for 3-4 years. Notably, his statistical record for those years are the most complete of his entire career, so the numbers on him available at the database in the yahoo group are skewed downward. Then in his mid-30s, he recoverd & hit well for the next several years. But he did dip down but hard for a couple years.
   21. Paul Wendt Posted: April 20, 2004 at 07:46 PM (#510434)
I don't believe in short generations, so I agree with the impulse to include Jackson, Wheat, and Veach in the present analysis.

What about left field? Should it be the focus of attention as a distinct fielding position with its distinct stars? There is a long history of part-career centerfielders, from O'Rourke and Ryan to Reggie Smith and Jimmy Wynn. What's more, Joe Jackson split his outfield games played 45-11-43%. Babe Ruth, 47-3-50%.
   22. Marc Posted: April 20, 2004 at 07:47 PM (#510435)
I'm guessing about -20% off of KJOK's spreadsheet numbers which are already MLEs rather than real Negro League numbers. That puts Hill at about .290 with OPS maybe around .750 and 1150 RC. In effect I am guessing that with discount he is Enos Slaughter instead of Jesse Burkett.
   23. PhillyBooster Posted: April 20, 2004 at 08:20 PM (#510436)

I could see looking at left field TODAY as a place where old centerfielders go to die, but in 1910, the two positions appear much closer together in terms of put outs per game for the position.

Just randomly pick some teams. You'll see that pretty consistently, the CF will, of course, have the most POs, but LF will have only slightly less, and the RF will have much less. Today, you are more likely to see a LF with the lowest PO/G totals, but that was not the case in the period we are examining.

I would definitely agree that RF should not be considered its own position at this time (just like today I would not give a player credit for being the Best Designated Hitter), but LF was much more of a defensively important position -- combining them would be akin to combining 2B and SS.

On a related point, Joe Jackson did switch from right field to left field when he left Cleveland, but Cleveland at the time had two prominent lefty pitchers (Vean Gregg and Willie Mitchell), so RF play in Jackson's early career should be the equivalent of a LF on other righty-dominated teams.

I just don't think that a CF to LF move had the significance in the 1910s in terms of movement along the defensive spectrum as it would today (or as a move to RF would have.) It certainly had some meaning, but not enough to lump LFers in with the outfield masses.
   24. Marc Posted: April 20, 2004 at 08:34 PM (#510437)
My look at LFers is just a stage. You'll see me integrate the OFers later. Of course, Paul, I know that then you'll say that I shouldn't mix in the CFers.

Actually eventually I'll get to 1B-OF as a class. The hard part isn't being fair to CFers vs. corner OFs, it's being fair to each individual as an individual. Categories and classes (including positions) are just a help.
   25. Paul Wendt Posted: April 21, 2004 at 04:22 PM (#510438)
Matt made a general point about change in LF fielding responsibilities --a decrease, so that LF was once comparable to CF, later comparable to RF. True. But the change was probably continuous; players with 20th century debuts are now on the table; Magee Jackson and Ruth careers were centered c. 1910, 1915, 1925.

Quoting myself:
   26. Paul Wendt Posted: April 21, 2004 at 04:27 PM (#510439)
Matt made a general point about change in LF fielding responsibilities --a decrease, so that LF was once comparable to CF, later comparable to RF. True. But the change was probably continuous; players with 20th century debuts are now on the table; Magee Jackson and Ruth careers were centered c. 1910, 1915, 1925.

Quoting myself:
   27. Marc Posted: April 21, 2004 at 04:45 PM (#510440)
Add Pablo "Champion" Mesa to my list in #22. A player worthy of consideration. But below Heavy Johnson somewhere. Maybe Mesa is the real G. Stone comp.
   28. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 06, 2004 at 04:12 PM (#781079)
Reconstructed all posts up to #25.
   29. Paul Wendt Posted: December 15, 2004 at 02:58 PM (#1021963)
Al Spink on left field in the early days. Salt to taste.

_ Left field has always been considered the hardest place to fill in the outer works.
_ It was especially hard in the early days of the professional game, when the pitching was slower than it is now, when the ball contained more rubber than the ball used at the present time and when hits to the left field, long rangy hits, were the order of the day in nearly each and every game.
_ So it happened that in the earliest days of the professional game the fleetest men on each team were assigned to positions at left field.

"The Left Fielders." The National Game, 2d ed. 1911.
   30. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 15, 2004 at 03:04 PM (#1021979)
Thanks, Paul. I think I'm going to post that at the Tom York thread. Maybe I can get one more voter to submit his name on a ballot now. :-)
   31. sunnyday2 Posted: December 15, 2004 at 08:36 PM (#1022855)
Ya know, I always liked these positional threads. I mean, a thread about LFers is more useful than separate threads on Tom York, Veach and Burns, etc. etc. The positional thread encourages a more comparative approach while the individual threads just scream out for advocacy, and the positional threads got more than 3-8 posts before they faded into oblivion.

With all of that in mind, I thought post #22 above was pretty brilliant.

(Signed) Charley Jones
   32. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 15, 2004 at 09:51 PM (#1023090)
Wow! He was born a staggering 154 years ago, yet he's computer savvy. Now that's what I call being hip!
   33. Michael Bass Posted: December 16, 2004 at 01:48 AM (#1023601)
FWIW, I agree with Marc on this one. This project is all about comparison, and I certainly would find it more useful to compare Charley Jones to Bobby Veach and Ned Williamson to Pie Traynor than the current method. Hell, there hasn't been any deal discussion on Williamson (who I still think is a very viable candidate) for years, I think with an active "Third Base" thread, he might still be in the spotlight a bit when the Traynors and other new candidates of the world hit the ballot.
   34. jimd Posted: July 16, 2005 at 03:15 AM (#1476231)
Best LF 1871-1940 by WARP

Lexicographic key:
Upper Case -- A TOP star; one of top N players in MLB
Lower Case -- a 2nd tier star; one top 2N players in MLB
(in parentheses) -- nearly a 2nd tier star (withing 10%)
<in angle brackets> -- best at position; not an all-star season
Note: N is approximate number of teams:
9 from 1871-1881; 12 from 1882-1900; 16 from 1901-1960
Note: All TOP stars are listed, even if not best at position
This represents a level of play where one might expect the player
to be the best on his team, except for uneven talent distribution.

1871 fredtreacey
1872 andyleonard
1875 tomyork
1881 abnerdalrymple
1882 abnerdalrymple
1883 georgewood
1884 jimo'rourke
1885 charleyjones
1890 petebrowning
1904 jesseburkett
1912 maxcarey
1913 (georgeburns)
1918 georgeburns
1934 bobjohnson
1938 joemedwick
   35. ronw Posted: October 15, 2005 at 03:31 PM (#1685105)
Left Fielders

Again, eligible through 1980. Total is Career/10 + BWS/162.

LF              Career  Games   BWS/162 Total   Fielding
Williams, T     512.4   2292    36.2    87.5    C
Musial, S       538.7   3026    28.8    82.7    A-
*Burkett, J     335.2   2066    26.3    59.8    B
*Delahanty, E   311.1   1835    27.5    58.6    B-
*Jackson, J     262.8   1332    32.0    58.2    C+
*Clarke, F      335.7   2242    24.3    57.8    A-
*Magee, S       305.8   2087    23.7    54.3    B-
*Wheat, Z       322.1   2410    21.7    53.9    B-
*Simmons, A     305.4   2215    22.3    52.9    A
*Goslin, G      305.4   2287    21.6    52.2    C+
Howard, F       272.1   1895    23.3    50.5    D+
*O'Rourke, J    258.7   1774    23.6    49.5    C+
Medwick, J      267.4   1984    21.8    48.6    B-
*Stovey, H      232.1   1486    25.3    48.5    B+
*Sheckard, J    272.4   2122    20.8    48.0    A
*Kelley, J      252.2   1853    22.0    47.3    A-
Johnson, B      250.8   1863    21.8    46.9    C
Keller, C       193.9   1170    26.8    46.2    C+
Kiner, R        216.3   1472    23.8    45.4    C-
Burns, GJ       241.3   1853    21.1    45.2    B-
Minoso, M       239.7   1835    21.2    45.1    B-
Manush, H       245.0   2008    19.8    44.3    C
Walker, D       234.9   1905    20.0    43.5    B
Galan, A        223.5   1742    20.8    43.1    B
Hartsel, T      193.0   1356    23.1    42.4    C+
Heath, J        194.0   1383    22.7    42.1    C-
O'Neill, T      164.6   1054    25.3    41.8    A
Veach, B        219.1   1821    19.5    41.4    B
Donlin, M       157.0   1049    24.2    39.9    C
Jones, C        140.7    881    25.9    39.9    C+
Sievers, R      206.5   1887    17.7    38.4    D
Stone, G        131.1    848    25.0    38.2    C-
Woodling, G     200.2   1796    18.1    38.1    C
Dougherty, P    161.7   1233    21.2    37.4    C
Ennis, D        201.9   1903    17.2    37.4    D+
Selbach, K      183.9   1610    18.5    36.9    C-
Williams, K     170.3   1397    19.7    36.8    B-
Smith, E        159.0   1234    20.9    36.8    B
Stephenson, R   164.4   1310    20.3    36.8    C
Hafey, C        161.2   1283    20.4    36.5    C
Gordon, S       172.5   1475    18.9    36.2    D+
O'Doul, L       133.0    970    22.2    35.5    D
Buford, D       157.1   1286    19.8    35.5    n/r
Smith, A        165.4   1517    17.7    34.2    C
Mertes, S       144.7   1190    19.7    34.2    B+
Meusel, B       156.2   1407    18.0    33.6    C-
Moore, J        144.4   1291    18.1    32.6    D+
Dalrymple, A    119.6    951    20.4    32.3    A
Moon, W         151.2   1457    16.8    31.9    C
Valo, E         165.1   1806    14.8    31.3    D+
Meusel, I       137.6   1289    17.3    31.1    C-
Wood, G         136.1   1280    17.2    30.8    C+
Bescher, B      132.6   1228    17.5    30.8    C-
Tresh, T        130.2   1192    17.7    30.7    C+
Slagle, J       135.4   1298    16.9    30.4    A
Gonzalez, T     148.4   1559    15.4    30.3    B-
McIntyre, M     120.5   1072    18.2    30.3    B
Goodman, I      122.2   1107    17.9    30.1    C
Nieman, B       120.4   1113    17.5    29.6    D+
Stone, J        123.6   1200    16.7    29.0    C+
Lewis, D        137.0   1459    15.2    28.9    B+
Shotton, B      132.8   1387    15.5    28.8    C
Walker, T       133.4   1421    15.2    28.5    C+
Jamieson, C     147.7   1779    13.4    28.2    C+
Hopp, J         129.7   1393    15.1    28.1    A-
Cunningham, J   115.5   1141    16.4    27.9    n/r
Francona, T     143.3   1719    13.5    27.8    C-
Jones, D        110.3   1089    16.4    27.4    B
Case, G         116.9   1226    15.4    27.1    C
Falk, B         122.7   1353    14.7    27.0    C
Wright, T       104.2   1029    16.4    26.8    C
Cooley, D       119.6   1316    14.7    26.7    C
Thomas, F       138.5   1766    12.7    26.6    C+
Vosmik, J       123.5   1414    14.1    26.5    B
Mann, L         125.0   1498    13.5    26.0    B-
Walker, G       136.1   1784    12.4    26.0    B-
Skinner, B      118.2   1381    13.9    25.7    C
Zernial, G      106.9   1234    14.0    24.7    D+
Maye, L         106.5   1288    13.4    24.0    C-
Graney, J       109.2   1402    12.6    23.5    C
Bressler, R     103.9   1305    12.9    23.3    B-
Lopez, H        104.6   1450    11.7    22.1    C

I put Musial here as well as at 1B for those who, like me, think of him as an outfielder. He also gives Teddy a run at the top. We have elected a lot of LF, and Medwick is very close to election. That leaves one name among the leaders, the surprising Frank Howard. Hondo wouldn't be the worst fielder we have elected (that's Harry Heilmann) but he would be the second-worst, and he doesn't quite as well as Heilmann.

One interesting thing from these charts is the easy ability to extrapolate careers. For example, with 121 more games at his career BWS/162 rate, Bob Johnson would have the exact same hitting rating as Joe Medwick. Now, Medwick has a better peak and is a better fielder, but Johnson may deserve some more credit.

Another extrapolation of sorts can be done with Charlie Keller. So he probably wouldn't maintain his 26.8 hitting rating with a few more war years (although this was during his prime). Give Keller about two seasons and drop his rate to 25.3, and you have Harry Stovey.

Of the others, Kiner, Burns and Minoso have or will have some support, as does Charley Jones further down the list. I think that Heinie Manush is probably the cut-off without some serious extra credit.
   36. KJOK Posted: October 16, 2005 at 06:25 AM (#1686180)
Player Overall Wins - LF:

Bob Johnson - 36
Joe Medwick - 26
Ralph Kiner - 24
Charlie Keler - 22
Harry Stovey - 21
Charley Jones - 19
Bobby Veach - 18
Ken Williams - 18
   37. Kelly in SD Posted: October 16, 2005 at 07:28 AM (#1686206)
Again, including eligibles up through very recent retirees. See Catcher Thread post #128 for method. The percentage compares the individual player to my system's theoretical max. A few players have outscored the max: Ruth, Wagner, Williams, and Cobb. All seasons are prorated to 154 games. Credit for War, skin, trapped in the minors, and blackballed.
Ted Williams       102.7%
Stan Musial         92.6%
Rickey Henderson    75.2%
*Jim O'Rourke       74.1%
*Ed Delahanty       72.8%
*Joe Jackson        72.4%
*Jesse Burkett      70.2%
Carl Yastrzemski    68.2%
*Al Simmons         67.5%
*Fred Clarke        67.0%
Charley Jones       66.4%
*Harry Stovey       66.1%
*Sherry Magee       66.1%
Tim Raines          65.0%
Charlie Keller      64.0%
*Joe Kelley         62.9%
*Jimmy Sheckard     61.9%
*Goose Goslin       61.6%
*Zack Wheat         61.6%
Willie Stargell     61.4%
Ducky Wucky Medwick 61.1%
Billy Williams      59.6%
George Burns        59.4%
Frank Howard        59.3%
Ralph Kiner         58.4%
Albert Belle        58.1%
Minnie Minoso       56.7% (Does not include any MLEs)
Bobby Veach         55.9%
Lou Brock           53.6%
Bob Johnson         53.3%
Heinie Manush       53.3%
Jim Rice            53.2%
Roy White           52.7%
Jose Cruz           52.7%
Augie Galan         52.3%
Tom York            51.4%
Jeff Heath          48.7%
Ken Williams        48.6%
Brian Downing       47.4%
Del Ennis           46.8%
Chick Hafey         44.6%
Gene Woodling       42.8%

He Who Shall Not Be Named of the Pirates and Giants will soon take his place near the top. Also, looking at
this list should do a good job in explaining the ballot positions for Keller and Jones.
   38. Kelly in SD Posted: October 16, 2005 at 07:32 AM (#1686210)
I forgot to include Monte Irvin at 63.6% in the above list.
   39. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: October 30, 2008 at 08:32 PM (#2999939)
Moving on to the LFers, among the shorter lists. I probably won’t mention it if they also played RF. (And if someone you think should be here isn’t, then I probably messed up and have them as a RF.)

Bob Johnson (10th, 249 points, 19 voters)

1933-1945, 1863 games, .296/.393/.506, OPS+ 138, 287 WS, 105.4 WARP1

(Wartime numbers should be deflated, may deserve Minor League credit)

Andrew M – 2: Someone has to be here, so it might as well be Indian Bob. It’s hard not to think he would already be in the HoM had he gotten an earlier start on his career. He was a remarkably consistent player for his entire career—didn’t miss many games, never had a bad season, really. Career OPS+ 138, 10 times in AL top 10. EQA .308 compares favorably to other OF candidates. Also had a good glove.

Lou Brock (26th, 142 points, 10 voters)

1961-1979, 2616 games played, .293/.343/.410, OPS+ 109, 348 WS, 100.4 WARP1

Daryn – 2: I think the post season value and the tremendous speed puts him ahead of the similar long-career peakless Beckley. OCF sums up his case in post 126 of the Brock thread. Number of unelected Hall of Fame or Hall of Merit eligible players with more hits than Brock: Zero. Number of people with more MLB hits than Brock: 21.

Albert Belle (30th, 125 points, 11 voters)

1989-2000, 1539 games played, .295/.369/.564, OPS+ 143, 243 WS, 68.9 WARP1

(Did some DH, about 15% of games)

EricC – 4: His peak actually came later by age than Clark's, something that I had forgotten because of how quickly his career ended. Best player in MLB in 1998, a great season overshadowed by the Sammy-Mac battle in the weaker expansion NL. Arguably the 3rd greatest LF peak ever, well behind Bonds and Williams (not enough LF time to count Ruth in this discussion), but ahead of everybody else. (Some other players such as Ruth did have equally great single seasons in LF, but weren't really long-time LFers). These are the kinds of historic credentials required to vote for a player with so little outside of his peak. I see him as more similar to Keller than to Kline, but then again, I supported Keller but not Kline.

George Burns (63rd, 40 points, 4 voters)

1911-1925, 1853 games, .287/.366/.384, OPS+ 114, 290 WS, 108.4 WARP1

(The one who played with the Giants, not the one who played with the Tigers.)

dan b – 8: Came close to making PHoM during the 1929-1932 trough. Probably should have, better late than never. Above the HoM median in 5 and 10 consecutive peaks and 3 best years.

Jim Rice (73rd (Tie), 27 points, 3 voters)

1974-1989, 2089 games, .298/.352/.502, OPS+ 128, 282 WS, 73.0 WARP1

(DH in about ¼ of games played)

Daryn - 9: I like the 77-79 peak. I like the runs created in his ten+ year prime and I like his overall totals. I do adjust raw totals significantly, but I think people are holding Fenway too much against him. From 1975 to 1986, Rice led the American League in total games played, at-bats, runs scored, hits, homers, RBIs, slugging percentage, total bases, extra-base hits, go-ahead RBIs, multi-hit games, and outfield assists.

Bobby Veach (80th, 21 points, 2 voters)

1912-1925, 1821 games played, .310/.370/.442, OPS+ 127, 265 WS, 104.8 WARP1

Adam Schaefer – 9: always suprised to have him on my ballot, but he has enough career value to make it

Frank Howard (81st, 19 points, 2 voters)

1958-73, 1895 games played, .273/.352/.499, 142 OPS+, 297 WS, 82.8 WARP1

DavidFoss – 10: This guy could really mash. 142 OPS+

Jose Cruz (Devin’s consideration set)

1970-1988, 2353 games played, .284/.354/.420, OPS+ 120, 313 WS, 107.8 WARP1

(Played some CF – a little over 10% of games played)

Roy White (NHBA candidate)

1965-1979, 1881 games played, .271/.360/.404, OPS+ 121, 263 WS, 91.2 WARP1

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