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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Most Meritorious Player: 1959 Ballot

Most Meritorious Player: 1959 Ballot

For 1959, each voter should rank their top 10 players from both leagues combined.

Balloting is scheduled to close at 4pm EDT on 5 November 2014.

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 4 November 2014.

For detailed rules see one of our previous ballots.

DL from MN Posted: October 14, 2014 at 01:26 PM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. DL from MN Posted: October 14, 2014 at 09:52 PM (#4817009)
Posted early by Brock's request
   2. bjhanke Posted: October 20, 2014 at 03:12 AM (#4821009)
This is Brock Hanke’s 1959 MMP ballot. First, thanks to DL for putting up the ballot thread early. Unfortunately, the timing was off by a day. The thread came up on the very day that Don Malcolm arrived for a visit. I’ve known Don since 1971, we get along great, but he lives on the West Coast, and I live in STL so we don’t get to see each other very often. And when we do, we have enough backlog of things to talk about that I don’t get anything else done. So the final cut on the ballot waited for three days. Sorry to be late, DL, but I really do appreciate the effort. Next time, though, I think it’s a better idea if I just post my final ballot on the discussion thread if I’m going to be tied up when the balllot thread appears. I feel dumb for not having thought of that this time. You’d have transferrred my ballot from one thread to another; you do that all the time. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that.

Having apologized to DL, I now have to comment on my ballot. Remember a couple of “years” ago, when I was talking about how much the consensus between Win Shares and WAR had improved? Well, that went away and it went FAR FAR away. My personal opinion of the numbers listed in the 1959 Discussion thread (for which DL deserves even more thanks) is that WAR has lost its mind.

WAR has Camilo Pascual ranked 3rd, ahead of Eddie Mathews and Willie Mays, right beind Banks and Aaron. I’m a Pascual fan; have been since about 1959. But let’s face some facts here. Camilo Pascual pitched 32 games, 238.2 innings, went 17/10 with an ERA of 2.64 and an ERA+ of 149. In Griffith Stadium, possibly the best pitchers’ park in baseball at the time. Mathews played 148 games, hit .306 with 46 homers (leading the league), 118 runs scored, 114 RBI, and an OPS+ of 168. He did this in Milwaukee, one of the worst hitters’ parks in the game at that time. Mays hit .313 with 34 homers, 43 doubles, 125 runs, 104 RBI, and an OPS+ of 156. In San Francisco’s ballpark. In 1959, the NL was still the better league, by a reasonable margin. There is no chance that Camilo Pascual was a better player than Mays or Mathews. Or Ken Boyer, who is right behind Mays.

It gets worse. Behind Boyer, WAR lists four pitchers: Hoyt Wilhelm, Larry Jackson, Vern Law, and Don Newcombe. I have respectable memories of all these pitchers at this time, and they were all very good pitchers then. I think that Hoyt Wilhelm is the best relief pitcher of all time (Mariano Rivera is the best closer), and this is the year that Hoyt was a starter and led the AL in ERA. But are they really the 7th through 10th best players of 1959? Well, #11 is, according to WAR, Mickey Mantle, followed by Vada Pinson. Not a prayer. WAR has Nellie Fox at #15, behind Pinson, Warren Spahn and Don Drysdale. Win Shares thinks that Fox is the 5th best player in baseball in 1959, and the very best in the AL, followed by Mickey Mantle. So did the MVP voters, and so do I. WAR thinks that, of the 14 players ahead of Fox, seven, exactly half, were pitchers. I ain’t buyin’ it.

Well, the horse is dead, so I shouldn’t beat it any more. Without further annoyance, here’s the actual ballot. I moved Banks ahead of Aaron for #1, because Banks was a shortstop. I moved Pascual up ahead of Minnie Minoso, Wilhelm and Law, just to give WAR some semblance of respect; Camilo did finish 13th in my system, after all. All I did was move him up to tenth. I moved Nellie Fox up one spot, ahead of Mantle, because I think that’s right. Fox did have a huge advantage over the next best 2B and did win the MVP. Mantle did not dominate CF anything like that.

1. Ernie Banks
2. Hank Aaron
3. Edddie Mathews
4. Willie Mays
5. Nellie Fox
6. Mickey Mantle
7. Vada Pinson
8. Ken Boyer
9. Al Kaline
10. Camilo Pascual

Wilhelm and Law are tied for #12, behind Minoso, so Vern Law is my best NL pitcher.
   3. DL from MN Posted: October 20, 2014 at 10:54 AM (#4821135)
1959 ballot

1) Ernie Banks - Good fielding distances him from the rest of the field
2) Eddie Mathews - His best season?
3) Henry Aaron
4) Camilo Pascual - top pitcher
5) Mickey Mantle - best position player in AL again
6) Willie Mays
7) Hoyt Wilhelm - better rate than Pascual but fewer innings
8) Willie McCovey - strong debut from McCovey
9) Ken Boyer - excellent defender
10) Nellie Fox - excellent postseason

11-15) Vern Law, Al Kaline, Don Newcombe, Warren Spahn, Larry Jackson
16-20) Bob Shaw, Minnie Minoso, Ed Yost, Tito Francona, Don Drysdale
21-24) Rocky Colavito, Yogi Berra, Frank Robinson, Vada Pinson
   4. Chris Fluit Posted: October 20, 2014 at 12:38 PM (#4821238)
1959 Ballot

1. Ernie Banks, SS, Chicago Cubs: 4th in OPS+ and RC while adding an outstanding +23 at the second toughest defensive position
2. Hank Aaron, RF, Milwaukee Braves: 1st in OPS+ and RC but only -4 in fielding runs
3. Eddie Mathews, 3B, Milwaukee Braves: 2nd in OPS+ and RC but only -2 in fielding runs
4. Willie Mays, CF, San Francisco Giants: a down year for the Say Hey Kid, only 3rd in OPS+ and RC and only +4 fielding runs- everybody should have a down year like that
5. Hoyt Wilhelm, P, Baltimore Orioles: the best player in the AL with a 173 ERA+ and 226 innings
6. Mickey Mantle, CF, New York Yankees: 1st in the AL in OPS+ and RC
7. Frank Robinson, RF, Cincinnati Reds: 5th in the NL in OPS+ and RC but doesn't have Mantle's defensive contributions
8. Al Kaline, RF, Detroit Tigers: tied for 1st in OPS+, tied for 2nd in RC, adds +7 runs in right field
9. Ken Boyer, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals
10. Eddie Yost, 3B, Detroit Tigers- a good year for 3B men as Boyer and Yost close out the top ten

11. Toothpick Sam Jones, P, San Francisco Giants: the best starting pitcher in the NL for the second straight season with a 134 ERA+ and 270 innings
12. Camilo Pascual, P, Washington Senators: 149 ERA+ in 238 innings
13. Tito Francona, CF, Cleveland Indians: great numbers in a partial season
14. Warren Spahn, P, Milwaukee Braves
15. Johnny Antonelli, P, San Francisco Giants
16. Vada Pinson, CF, Cincinnati Reds
17. Vern Law, P, Pittsburgh Pirates
18. Nellie Fox, 2B, Chicago White Sox
19. Pete Runnels, 2B/1B, Boston Red Sox
20. Yogi Berra, C, New York Yankees
   5. MrC Posted: October 20, 2014 at 01:58 PM (#4821342)
1959 Ballot

Batters: start with RAA (using value added runs), adjust for park, position and defense (using DRA) Convert adjusted RAA to wins. Add 60% of normal Runs above replacement to get WARR (wins above reduced replacement)

Pitchers: Calculate RAA using a pitchers FIP and calculate RAA using a pitcher's value added runs.

Calculate RAA, using a blend of RA9 and FIP from above, adjust for quality of opposition and park. Convert adjusted RAA to wins. Add 60% of normal runs above replacement to get WARR (wins above reduced replacement). Add Hitter WAR for overall WARR.

1. Ernie Banks 9.54 WARR
2. Eddie Mathews 7.97 WARR position adjustment and better fielding numbers give Mathews a slight edge over Aaron
3. Hank Aaron 7.75 WARR
4. Willie Mays 6.76 WARR
5. Willie McCovey 6.53 WARR minor league adjustment
6. Camilo Pascual 6.25 WARR one of the best pitching performances of the past few years
7. Mickey Mantle 6.23 WARR
8. Ken Boyer 6.01 WARR
9. Jackie Jensen 5.99 WARR
10. Don Drysdale 5.85 WARR Excellent hitting numbers, in addition to solid pitching put Drysdale at the top of NL hurlers

Rest of the top 20
Tito Francona
Rocky Colavito
Don Newcombe Superior hitting gives Newcombe a better rating than several others with better pitching stats
Harmon Killebrew
Joe Adcock
Frank Robinson
Al Kaline
Larry Jackson
Minnie Minoso
Yogi Berra
   6. Moeball Posted: October 22, 2014 at 09:42 AM (#4822736)
Here's my take on 1959:

1. Ernie Banks - looked across multiple systems and he's just too good to stop; phenomenal season at his peak
2. Hank Aaron - first 400 Total Base season since Musial in '48; wouldn't happen again until Jim Rice in 1978
3. Ed Mathews - best LH batter in MLB at this point; for first time in a long time it wasn't Ted Williams or Stan Musial.
4. Willie Mays - down year for him but still best CF in all of baseball
5. Ken Boyer - bat & glove outstanding; gets nod over next couple on list due to NL being stronger league
6. Mickey Mantle - still top player in AL although a down year by his own lofty standards
7. Al Kaline - moved to CF; still fielded excellently and didn't slow his bat down at all
8. Nellie Fox - clearly the leader of "Go-Go" White Sox; won MVP. Mantle was better but this still was great year
9. Hoyt Wilhelm - my pick for top AL pitcher; moved from bullpen to starting and was toughest pitcher in MLB to score on; first of all, it's incredibly rare for someone to get moved from the pen to the starting rotation with these kinds of results; second, why didn't he stay a starter? Why did he get moved back to the pen?
10.Camilo Pascual - excellent season for lowly Senators

Just missed - rookies Vada Pinson and Willie McCovey, Harmon Killebrew in his breakout season, Larry Jackson as top NL pitcher with Warren Spahn, Don Drysdale and Sam Jones close behind, Tito Francona, Pete Runnels, Charlie Neal, Frank Robinson, Yogi Berra.
   7. lieiam Posted: October 25, 2014 at 11:46 AM (#4825743)
1959 final ballot.
my usual assortment of systems.
10% catcher bonus; no postseason consideration.

1 Aaron, Hank 9305
2 Banks, Ernie 9086
3 Mathews, Eddie 8932
4 Mays, Willie 7997
5 Pascual, Camilo 7603
6 Mantle, Mickey 7017
7 Newcombe, Don 6381
8 Kaline, Al 6289
9 Wilhelm, Hoyt 6142
10 Fox, Nellie 6119

11 Law, Vern 6096
12 Boyer, Ken 6063
13 Minoso, Minnie 6059
14 Jackson, Larry 6014
15 Spahn, Warren 5944

Really? Hank Aaron tops Ernie Banks?
That's how it turns out with my usual method.
Aaron was 1st in 3 systems and Banks was 1st in 3 systems; Aaron ends up a tiny bit higher once combined.
   8. Chris Fluit Posted: October 25, 2014 at 06:29 PM (#4825887)
I don't think one should ever have to apologize for putting Hank Aaron first.
   9. toratoratora Posted: October 27, 2014 at 07:34 PM (#4828374)
1: Banks: 23 rField at SS, 45 HR, 156 OPS+. 20 IBB. Oh yes.
2: Matthews: 46 HR, 80 BB, 168 OPS+,-4rField
3: Aaron: Monster season at the plate-400 TB, 39 HR,.355/.401/.636/1.037, 182 OPS +. Hurt by position and fielding
4: Mays: BR has Mays listed as making $160K in 59? Is this true? That's 2.29 Mantles.
Nice year though, typical Mays. 34 HR. 27 SB. 156 OPS+. Yawn.
5: Wilhelm: Best ERA by almost 1/2 a run. Highest ERA+ by 24. Only 8 IP less than Pasqual. Yeah-he's number five
6: Mantle: The Micks version of a down year: 27 HR, 21 SB, .285 BA bolstered by 93 BB for a .410 OPS and 6.3 oWAR. Equal fielder to Mays. Everyone should slump like this.
7: Camilo: 149 OPS+. 2.14 FIP.
8: Fox: 21 rField,prime position, 113 OPS+ makes for a nice year.
9: Yost: 21 HR, 135 BB,.435 OPS leaves the Walking Man good for a 135 OPS+
10: Pinson: Great rookie year. Mr Do-Everything. 47 2b, 20 HR, 21 SB, average fielder.

The best of the rest in order: Sam Jones, Frank Robinson, Law, Newk (hit 3 HR, 17 BB,.305/.402/.410/.811 for a 115 OPS+ in 123 AB.), Minoso
   10. Michael J. Binkley's anxiety closet Posted: October 28, 2014 at 02:16 PM (#4828816)
1959 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 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. Ernie Banks (56.74)
2. Hank Aaron (48.53)
3. Eddie Mathews (45.88)
4. Camilo Pascual (45.81) – AL MMP/MMPitcher
5. Willie Mays (40.83)- tied for my lowest placement of him (1956 also) any year from 1954-1966, inclusive. Wow! (related note since I am incorporating my MMP ballots into my HoM voting - I have Honus as never worse than the third most meritorious player every year for a decade (1900-09))
6. Mickey Mantle (34.73)
7. Larry Jackson (34.42) – top NL pitcher
8. Hoyt Wilhelm (33.70) - what if he had stayed a starter after this year?
9. Don Newcombe (33.42)
10. Al Kaline (31.81)

11-15. Boyer, Spahn, Law, Drysdale, F. Robinson.
   11. neilsen Posted: October 30, 2014 at 01:05 PM (#4832173)
Besides looking at all the different WAR's, I also dove into the Ray Robinson edited " Baseball All-Stars of 1960" which covers the 1959 season. Good read.

1959 Final Ballot

1. Ernie Banks - one of the best years ever by a SS. Killed it at Wrigley and still had good numbers in away games.

2. Hank Aaron - Big bat squeaks him ahead of my next two. Contender part of the year to hit ,400. I read that Aaron watched film of himself hitting during the year.

3. Willie Mays - Led the the National's in SB for the forth straight year. Amaysing base running all year. Third to home on a pop up to 2nd base. Steals home a couple of times. Travels 2nd to home on infield groundouts ! Leagues best hitter during pennant stretch.

4. Eddie Mathews - The player many thought would challenge Ruth's HR record. Decent fielder this year.

5. Ken Boyer - Great glove paired with 28 HR. Played a handful of games at shortstop.

6. Hoyt Wilhelm - best pitcher in either league.

7. Mickey Mantle - Best player in the AL.

8. Vada Pinson - Some power, tons of speed and ok glove.

9. Sam Jones - NL best pitcher. Pitched four shutouts for the year.

10. Larry Jackson - close behind Sam Jones for NL's best pitcher.




11. Don Drysdale

12. Don Newcombe

13. Al Kaline

14. Willie McCovey

15. Nellie Fox
   12. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 01, 2014 at 05:30 PM (#4833707)
Official 1959 MMP Ballot (no post season bonuses and an AL adjustment for that league's players):

1) Eddie Mathews: Best ML player and third baseman.
2) Hank Aaron: Best ML right fielder.
3) Willie Mays: Best ML center fielder.
4) Ernie Banks: Best ML shortstop.
5) Mickey Mantle: Best AL center fidler.
6) Camilo Pascual: Best ML pitcher.
7) Vada Pinson
8) Tito Francona: Best ML first baseman who also played center.
9) Minnie Minoso: Best ML left fielder.
10) Frank Robinson: Best NL first baseman.

NL CYA: Warren Spahn.
   13. EricC Posted: November 03, 2014 at 01:47 PM (#4834503)
1959 MMP ballot. Unchanged from prelim.

1. Ernie Banks
2. Hank Aaron
3. Eddie Mathews
4. Minnie Minoso
5. Nellie Fox
6. Hoyt Wilhelm
7. Willie Mays
8. Yogi Berra
9. Camilo Pascual
10. Frank Robinson

11. Vern Law (top NL pitcher)
   14. Tubbs is Bobby Grich when he flys off the handle Posted: November 04, 2014 at 10:12 AM (#4835029)
Final ballot, no postseason bonus but some small credit for playing on a Pennant contending team:

1. Banks
2. Aaron
3. Mathews
4. Mays
5. F Robinson
6. Kaline
7. Boyer-currently an intriguing candidate on the Golden Era ballot
8. Miñoso-also a candidate on the Golden Era ballot. DL linked an article about Miñoso to the Newsstand. Miñoso's combination of a fine career--which was delayed by integration--along with his pioneer role as the MLB's first black Latino player make him a worthy candidate
9. Wilhelm
10.Pinson

Honorable mention: Fox, Pascual, Mantle and Sam Jones who edges Law for top NL pitcher
   15. DL from MN Posted: November 05, 2014 at 03:29 PM (#4836348)
All previous year voters have voted.
   16. DL from MN Posted: November 05, 2014 at 03:59 PM (#4836383)
ballot is closed

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