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Hall of Merit
— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best
Wednesday, March 19, 2003
Links to positional threads from last year
Here’s a link to the postional threads, I’ll just add a few notes if there’s something that needs to be considered that isn’t obvious, for those new to the discussions.
Catchers - by far the worst hitters as a group, so the ones that could hit (i.e. Deacon White, Buck Ewing, Charlie Bennett) were extremely valuable.
First Basemen - the pre-gloves players should get a major boost. Gloves caused the defensive spectrum to shift.
Second Basemen - equivalent to 3B today, it was more offensive position than 3B until the late 20s - early 30s.
Shortstops - even more valuable defensively than they are today.
Third Basemen - equivalent to 2B today, a much more defensive position than it is today.
Left Fielders - believe it or not, more valuable defensively than RFs, probably because it was much easier to pull the ball, and the preponderance of right-handed batters gave LFs many more chances.
Center Fielders - very valuable defensively, but we don’t have a great idea of who the best CFs were, but with few strikeouts, OF defense was very important.
Right Fielders - offensive replacement level was lower than it is for the DH today. Like 1B or LF today, the spot where you hide the guy with cement hands that can hit.
Pitchers - we really aren’t sure how valuable they were relative to position players, we’re basically comparing them to each other, and picking a couple of the best.
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