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

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Most Meritorious Player: 1905 Ballot

For 1905, each voter should rank the top 10 players from all leagues combined.

Balloting is scheduled to close at 4pm EDT on 3 June 2015.

Anyone can vote, even if you do not normally participate in Hall of Merit discussions. If have never participated in an MMP election, just post a preliminary ballot in the discussion thread by 2 June 2015.

For detailed rules see one of our previous ballots.

DL from MN Posted: May 26, 2015 at 01:43 PM | 21 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. DL from MN Posted: May 26, 2015 at 02:29 PM (#4964511)
1905 ballot

1) Honus Wagner - fifth year in a row in my top 3, good fielding year for Wagner
2) Christy Mathewson - 3 shutouts in World Series
3) Cy Seymour - best bat of 1905
4) Mike Donlin - several good CF in 1905
5) Roy Thomas - defense closes gap between Donlin and Thomas
6) Elmer Flick
7) Rube Waddell - No bonus for injuring himself during a stupid fight while in a pennant race
8) Rube Foster - Not as much bat in 1905 but still a very good pitcher
9) Pete Hill - first great season from Hill
10) Frank Chance - better rate stats than Titus breaks the tie. No managerial credit though it was impressive

11-15) John Titus, Irv Young, George Davis, Bill Bradley, Harry Davis
16-20) Sam Crawford, Topsy Hartsel, Socks Seybold, Cy Young, Fielder Jones
   2. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 26, 2015 at 04:45 PM (#4964625)
Official 1905 MMP Ballot (AL adjustments and no postseason bonuses):

1) Honus Wagner: Best ML player and shortstop.
2) Cy Seymour: Best ML center fielder - surprisingly, not that far off from The Flying Dutchman.
3) Christy Mathewson: Best ML pitcher by a comfortable amount.
4) Ed Reulbach
5) Mike Donlin
6) Rube Waddell: Best AL pitcher.
7) Roy Thomas
8) Rube Foster: Best NeL player and pitcher.
9) Frank Chance: Best ML first baseman - wasn't on my prelim (John Titus was knocked off for him here).
10) Eddie Plank: It appears the AL could challenge the NL with quality pitching, but less so with the position players.
   3. Chris Fluit Posted: May 26, 2015 at 04:46 PM (#4964626)
1905 Ballot

It's a very NL-heavy top of the ballot.

1. Honus Wagner, SS, Pittsburgh Pirates: 2nd in OPS+ but +14 fielding runs and another +4 baserunning runs are pretty nice
2. Christy Mathewson, P, New York Giants: 1st in ERA+ with 230 and 338 IP cracks the top ten
3. Cy Seymour, CF, Cincinnati Reds: 1st in NL in OPS+ and RC
4. Ed Reulbach, P, Chicago Cubs: 209 ERA+ in 291 IP
5. Mike Donlin, CF, New York Giants: 3rd in OPS+ and 2nd in RC
6. Rube Waddell, P, Philadelphia Athletics: AL leading 179 ERA+ to go with a robust 328 innings
7. Cy Young, P, Boston Americans: 2nd in ERA+ with 147 and top ten in IP with 320
8. Elmer Flick, RF, Cleveland Naps: 1st in OPS+ with 166 and third in RC with 86
9. Pete Hill, LF, Philadelphia Giants: 1st in WAR according to Seamheads; outrageous 1.460 OPS for a 388 OPS+
10. John Titus, RF, Philadelphia Phillies: top five in both OPS+ and RC, a decent +4 fielding in right

11. George Davis, SS, Chicago White Sox: his calling card is defense (+14 fielding runs) but he also wields a decent bat (124 OPS+)
12. Rube Foster, P, Philadelphia Giants
13. Harry Howell, P, St. Louis Browns: 129 ERA+ and 323 IP
14. Nick Altrock, P, Chicago White Sox: WAR hates him but I like his 131 ERA+ in 315 IP
15. Carlos Moran, 3B, Alerta: 2nd in WAR to Pete Hill
   4. DL from MN Posted: May 28, 2015 at 03:56 PM (#4966481)
My Honus Wagner comment poses an interesting analysis - who is the best player of each decade based on MMP points?
   5. neilsen Posted: June 01, 2015 at 07:41 PM (#4968581)
1905 Ballot

1. Honus Wagner
2. Cy Seymour
3. Pete Hill
4. Mike Donlin
5. Christy Mathewson
6. Rube Waddell
7. Rube Foster
8. Eddie Plank
9. George Davis
10. Roy Thomas
   6. bjhanke Posted: June 02, 2015 at 04:52 AM (#4968799)
Here’s Brock Hanke’s MMP ballot for 1905. This time, I found no reason to disagree with my starting list of players organized by the ordinals they aquired in Win Shares and WAR. I thought Christy Mathewson might be a problem, because of the World Series, but he wasn’t. Nothing I’m willing to do would put him ahead of Honus, and the ordinals rank him #2. He’s third in WS, second in WAR. Honus is first in both. WS has Cy Seymour second and WAR has him fourth, but he’s real close to Matty in WS and not close in WAR. There was one tie in the ordinals, sixth place, Ed Killian and Ed Reulbach. I gave the nod to Reulbach because WS and WAR are in absolute consensus about him, which inspires a little extra trust.

The best NL pitcher and position player are on the list, as is the best AL pitcher. But the best AL position player, George Davis, ended up 11th. Not only that, but he’s ranked right below the #10 guy, Eddie Plank, in both systems. So I have to mention him here.

Looking at BB-Ref to identify the best position player in the AL, I really came to grips with just how bad a hitting environment 1905 really was. Elmer Flick hit .308; that led the league. Harry Davis scored 93 Runs, drove in 83 RBI, and hit 8 Homers. All three totals led the league. Flick is actually tied with George Davis for best hitter, at 5.5 WAR. Davis hit .278, with one homer and one triple all year. Davis’ raw stats are not nearly as good as Flick’s, so I assume that the ballpark in Chicago was much worse for hitters than the one in Cleveland. Also, Davis played 19 more games than Flick. Davis is the best position player because he’s tied with Lee Tannehill as the best defensive player in the league. Tied for best hitter, tied for best fielder, you’re the best position player in the league.

This explains a little of why I’m not thrilled with Matty’s three shutouts in the World Series. 1905 just didn’t feature many runs. Someone hit .278, with no power, and was tied for the best hitter in the AL. The AL was the weaker league overall. In that environment, you’d expect the best pitcher in the stronger league to throw some shutouts in there.

One other note: In 1905 here, Sam Crawford tied for the third-best AL hitter – with Bobby Wallace. That might explain some of why Wallace gets into Halls. There are years where his raw stats don’t look like much, but he ends up high in the rankings as a HITTER. When that happens and you’re best known for your glove, well, sportswriters remember you.

Here’s an important thing if you’re trying to visualize baseball at this time: In the defensive WAR rankings, only one outfielder is in the top 24 defensive players (Fielder Jones, earning his nickname). There are only two outfielders in the top 33. Three OF in the top 48. In other words, this game was completely dominated by ground balls and bunts. No outfielder could get enough chances to do really well. If you look at pitchers from this era, they divide into two groups: A small group of guys who threw really really hard (Young, Waddell, later Johnson), and a much larger gang of curve ball artists. Curves lead to ground balls.

So, enough with my nattering on, here’s the list, without comments, for ease of tabluation:

1. Honus Wagner
2. Christy Mathewson
3. Cy Seymour
4. Rube Waddell
5. Irv Young
6. Ed Ruelbach
7. Ed Killian
8. Turkey Mike Donlin
9. Cy Young
10. Eddie Plank
   7. DL from MN Posted: June 02, 2015 at 10:57 AM (#4968888)
Brock - any opinion on Pete Hill or Rube Foster?
   8. Michael J. Binkley's anxiety closet Posted: June 02, 2015 at 01:32 PM (#4969064)
1905 final ballot:

I use a combination of WAR systems to get an average WAR for each player. I use that number to get a Dan R-style peak-rate salary estimation. I divide that salary by $1 million and add 3 times the average WAR to that dividend. I use a 20% bonus for catchers and do not credit postseason except as a tiebreaker.

1. Honus Wagner (62.30)
2. Christy Mathewson (51.84)- MMPitcher
3. Cy Seymour (49.37)
4. Rube Waddell (44.49)- AL MMP
5. Irv Young (40.35)
6. George Davis (38.05) - AL MMPosition Player
7. Pete Hill (37.81) - NeL MMP
8. Cy Young (35.07)
9. Ed Reulbach (34.79)
10. Frank Chance (33.84)

11-15. Grant Johnson, Mike Donlin, Eddie Plank, Roy Thomas, Ed Killian.
   9. EricC Posted: June 02, 2015 at 04:44 PM (#4969348)
1905 MMP ballot.

1. Christy Mathewson
2. Johnny Wagner
3. George "Rube" Waddell
4. Cy Seymour
5. Pete Hill. His breakout season.
6. Sam Crawford. Win Shares likes him much more than WAR
7. Ed Reulbach
8. Cy Young
9. Mike Donlin
10. Danny McClellan. For excellence in pitching and
batting on the 1904-05 Cuban X Giants and 1905 Phila. Giants.
   10. bjhanke Posted: June 03, 2015 at 07:46 AM (#4969629)
DL - Yes, I did think about Hill and Foster. However, I am very conservative about comparing black players of this time to white players, largely because the caliber of Negro League competition was very low, especially in non-league games, and there were very few league games. However, I am also cautious about one-year big seasons, like Pete Hill this year, because the sample size of LEAGUE games is so small. It's kind of my Pop Lloyd Rule. I love Pop Lloyd, and think he has a case as the best position player in the Negro Leagues, although Josh Gibson and Oscar Charleston fans will have realistic objections to that. I also think that Lloyd was probably the second-best shortstop of all time, behind only Honus. But Pop hit well over .500 in a Negro League season of about 30 games, decades later, when the leagues were much better organized and Pop was over 40. To me, this is just a hot streak without enough more schedule to smooth it out. I'm hesitant about placing that in a MMP ballot, and all the top Negro League seasons look like that, because the schedule was so small. Also, look at the MLB rankings. There are so many pitchers at the top. I have no doubt that this was true in the Negro Leagues, which makes me extra queasy about seasons like Hill's, because he was an outfielder. Now, if Hill follows up with similar seasons, which he will, I will start to rank him, just as I rank George Wright, Joe Start and Ross Barnes from the National Association. Those guys were top position players year after year, including when the schedules got over 40 games. There's enough cumulative sample size to take seriously. I would then think that a great Pete Hill season was what it looks like, because it's just one more great season in a string that has enough sample size to be more sure. My personal opinion is that, at this time, Rube Foster probably dominated Negro League ball very seriously, so I do rank him. But this was an off year for Foster. It's hard to get me to rank anyone else. That's not because I don't think there were any black players who played at a MLB level at the time. It's mostly because I can't be sure WHICH of the black players were the real goods, and which had a hot streak season. I expect to start ranking Hill in the Top Ten about 1907, when the sample size gets large enough. I'll also note that Hill, if the numbers I saw are accurate, was possibly the largest man in the Negro Leagues at this time, certainly one of the largest. The idea that he was the dominant power hitter of this time is certainly possible. But I do want a little more than the first breakout season before I start getting serious. I am aware that John McGraw tried to pass off Charlie (?, maybe Frank) Grant as a Latin guy, to add him to the Giants, I think in 1906. So I am aware that WHITE MLB guys thought that the best Negro Leaguers could play in MLB. But the MLB teams of the time were playing 140+ league games a year, which gives them a huge head start in confidence regarding their stats. Does that make sense? - Brock
   11. bjhanke Posted: June 03, 2015 at 07:51 AM (#4969632)
BTW, the BTF Newsstand, at the time I'm writing this, has a post containing a small speech by George Wright on the origins of baseball. It's EXCEPTIONAL. It gives you a VERY good idea of how and when what we now call "baseball" came into being. If it's not on the Newsstand when you read this, click on "more" and scroll down until you see it. Really great. - Brock
   12. DL from MN Posted: June 03, 2015 at 04:02 PM (#4970074)
Extend another week? Only 7 ballots
   13. Chris Fluit Posted: June 03, 2015 at 05:27 PM (#4970189)
I second the motion.
   14. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 03, 2015 at 05:45 PM (#4970206)
Probably should send out a Yahoo! e-mail, Dan.
   15. DL from MN Posted: June 04, 2015 at 09:48 AM (#4970545)
Balloting is extended to June 10
   16. caiman Posted: June 04, 2015 at 12:25 PM (#4970748)
As usual, my RPA values for players is considerably different from yours!
Here's my top 11 players from 1905, based upon run value:

1. Cy Seymour 47.40 runs
2. Mike Donlin 45.77 runs
3. Honus Wagner 42.77 runs
4. Christy Mathewson 38.88 runs
5, Frank Chance 38.27 runs
6. Elmer Flick 33.27 runs
7. Dan McGann 32.26 runs
8. Ed Reulbach 32.09 runs
9. George Stone 31.52 runs
10. Rube Waddell 29.48 runs
11. Cy Young 28.85 runs
   17. Chris Fluit Posted: June 04, 2015 at 11:15 PM (#4971389)
Mike (caiman), I'll ask you the same question DL asked Brock:
any opinion on Pete Hill or Rube Foster?

Or any of the Negro League players for that matter?
   18. DL from MN Posted: June 09, 2015 at 09:42 AM (#4974268)
Balloting closes tomorrow
   19. Yardape Posted: June 09, 2015 at 05:56 PM (#4974755)
Thank you for the extension, my computer with my data on it crashed. Thus, this is copied from the discussion thread. I didn't see anything that would have changed my ballot, although thinking about Rube Foster gets him a little closer than I initially gave him credit for. Nonetheless, he misses out, and here is my final ballot:

1. Honus Wagner
2. Christy Mathewson
3. Cy Seymour
4. Mike Donlin
5. George Davis
6. Topsy Hartsel
7. Pete Hill
8. Bill Dahlen
9. Rube Waddell
10. Sherry Magee
   20. toratoratora Posted: June 09, 2015 at 07:00 PM (#4974787)
1-Matty: 338 IP, a league leading 230 ERA+ 3 Saves, and 3 SO in the Series. Yep. That'll do it for me.
2-Wagner: +14 rField, 32 doubles, 175 OPS+, 57 SB. Mongo like
3-Seymour: Best Season of His Career (BSOC). Led league in H,2b,3b,RBI,BA,SLG,OPS,OPS+ and TB. 21 SB.
4-Turkey Mike: 300 TB, 167 OPS+. Meh fielder. Scored 4 runs in the Series, which is one more than the A's did.
5-Rube: No series bonus for you. Come back one year.
6-Reulbach: 209 ERA+
7-Pete Hill: 388 OPS+ makes him the MMNLP (Can I say that or did I just inadvertently violate PC?)
8-Cy Young: League leading FiP, 147 ERA+, 2nd in K with 210. 320 IP...at age 38. Nice.
9-Roy Thomas: Walks, hits for average, steals the occasional base, good fielder (+8 rField)
10-Flick: AL leading 166 OPS+

Had he played more games, Chance would have easily made my ballot

Re Rube-I took a look at the MLE's in his HoM page and I'm not convinced. Dag has him 22-14 on the year and Chris Cobb sees him with a 99 OPS+ (He also thinks it should be subjected to a 5% upward adjustment. I just don't see 22-14 with a (Being generous here) 110 OPS+ as breaking the top ten. Since he could hit, I'd likely slot him in around 12th.

   21. DL from MN Posted: June 10, 2015 at 04:01 PM (#4975712)
balloting is closed

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