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

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Most Meritorious Player: 1989 Ballot

For 1989, each voter should rank the top 13 players from all leagues combined.

Balloting is scheduled to close at 4pm EDT on 3 February 2016.

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 February 2016.

For detailed rules see one of our previous ballots.

DL from MN Posted: January 19, 2016 at 11:56 AM | 23 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. DL from MN Posted: January 19, 2016 at 12:02 PM (#5137506)
Calling all fans of 90's baseball - 2016 is your year to be heard!
   2. DL from MN Posted: January 19, 2016 at 05:42 PM (#5137907)
1) Will Clark - second best hitter, good glove at 1B, small postseason bonus
2) Bret Saberhagen - best pitcher by a sizable margin
3) Kevin Mitchell - best bat, small postseason bonus
4) Rickey Henderson - big postseason bonus, still not enough to overtake Mitchell
5) Lonnie Smith - good fielding season for Lonnie
6) Ozzie Smith - best glove
7) Wade Boggs - very good glove
8) Von Hayes
9) Barry Bonds - 5th leftfielder in the top 9
10) Ruben Sierra - and the 6th in the top 10
11) Orel Hershiser - best NL pitcher
12) Howard Johnson - not a good fielder but good positional value
13) Cal Ripken - steady season from Cal, good glove

14-20) Fred McGriff, Robby Thompson, Bert Blyleven, Jose Oquendo, Mark Langston, Robin Yount, Roger Clemens
   3. Chris Fluit Posted: January 22, 2016 at 10:22 AM (#5139926)
DL's comment in the discussion thread reminded me that I usually average out the numbers for relievers and hadn't done so this time. That drops Eckersley 23 points in my system and Olson 17, putting them just behind Chuck Finley and Chris Bosio. The correction also results in Mike Moore and Bert Blyleven jumping ahead, one onto the ballot and the other just off.

1989 Prelim- Combined

1. Will Clark, 1B, San Francisco Giants
2. Kevin Mitchell, LF, San Francisco Giants: the Bay Area teammates came out tied in my initial calculation but Clark did better in secondary stats like baserunning to pull ahead
3. Bret Saberhagen, P, Kansas City Royals: 180 ERA+ is 31 points better than 2nd place
4. Howard Johnson, 3B/SS, New York Mets: 3rd in NL in both OPS+ and RC while playing on the left side of the infield
5. Wade Boggs, 3B, Boston Red Sox: ho-hum, another great season with the bat (142 OPS+) and the glove (+19 fielding)
6. Lonnie Smith, LF, Atlanta Braves: a career year with both the bat and the glove
7. Fred McGriff, 1B, Toronto Blue Jays: AL leading 165 OPS+
8. Orel Hershiser, P, Los Angeles Dodgers: a nice sequel to his excellent '88
9. Robin Yount, CF, Milwaukee Brewers: 152 OPS+ and AL-leading 125 runs created
10. Ryne Sandberg, 2B, Chicago Cubs
11. Ruben Sierra, RF, Texas Rangers: top four in both OPS+ and RC
12. Julio Franco, 2B, Texas Rangers: 137 OPS+ from the keystone
13. Mike Moore, P, Oakland Athletics: 142 ERA+ in 241 IP

14. Bobby Bonilla, 3B, Pittsburgh Pirates
15. Bert Blyleven, P, California Angels: 140 ERA+ in 240 IP
16. Rickey Henderson, LF, New York/Oakland
17. Mark Langston, P, Seattle/Montreal
18. Paul Molitor, 3B, Milwaukee Brewers
19. Lou Whitaker, 2B, Detroit Tigers
20. Barry Bonds, LF, Pittsburgh Pirates
   4. ThickieDon Posted: January 22, 2016 at 11:28 AM (#5140007)
As a relatively new user, am I eligible to vote?
   5. DL from MN Posted: January 22, 2016 at 01:51 PM (#5140172)
ThickieDon - go right ahead
   6. ThickieDon Posted: January 22, 2016 at 05:46 PM (#5140442)
My ballot:

1. Saberhagen - an all-time great pitching season (top 10 or so since 1970)
2. W. Clark - one of the best offensive seasons of the 80's
3. R. Henderson
4. L. Smith
5. Boggs
6. Bonds - possibly the best LF fielding season of all-time
7. H. Johnson - one of the best offensive seasons of the 80's + a small SS bonus
8. Mitchell - one of the best offensive seasons of the 80's
9. O. Smith - one of the greatest fielding seasons of all-time, any position
10. Hershiser
11. McGriff
12. Ripken
13. Yount
   7. bjhanke Posted: January 24, 2016 at 02:41 PM (#5141061)
Just a note for those of you who use systems, like I do. I wanna go back to 1903. This year, 1989, is the absolute worst ever for consensus between Win Shares and WAR, according to the header, in the entire history of this project. Examples: Glenn Davis ranks fourth according to Win Shares; WAR has him not in the top 40. He's not the worst. Mark Grace is ranked 20th by WS but not in the top 40 in WAR. Jack Clark is ranked 14th in WS, and worse than Grace in WAR. Tim Raines is ranked 17th and worse than Clark. These are not the worst. Tony Gwynn is the worst. WS has him 10th; WAR has him with 2.5, which probably isn't in the top 60. In 1989, Tony Gwynn played 158 games, hit .336 (leading the league) and had an OPS+ of 132. He also won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger, and was 8th in the MVP vote. I ain't buying him not in the top 60.

There has never been anything like this. The cases where WAR has the higher ranking are bad, but not quite as bad. Ed Whitson is 11th by WAR, not in the top 50 by WS. Mark Langston, Bruce Hurst, and Mark Gubicza are 14, 15, and 16 in WAR; they are 34th, 43rd, and 33rd in Win Shares. I am strongly inclined to go with the system that ranks Gwynn, Grace, Clark, Raines, and Davis over the one that favors Whitson, Langston, Hurst, and Gubicza, because the WS group is better players than the WAR group, all of whom are pitchers. (I think that WAR overrates pitchers in general.) Barry Bonds ranks 23rd in WS, 6th in WAR. In 1989, Bonds played 159 games (a career high), but hit only .248 with only 19 homers. His OPS+ is 126. I have grave doubts about ranking him 6th. In 1990, he will turn into BARRY BONDS, but not this year.

There is only one player who enjoys top rankings in both systems: Will Clark, ranked 1st in WS, 3rd in WAR. But the second highest ranking by combined WS and WAR is Kevin Mitchell, who is 2nd in WS, but 9th in WAR. Rickey Henderson is a combined 3rd (8th WS, 4th WAR). Saberhagen and Hojo are tied by consensus for 4th: Bret is 12th WS, 1st WAR, Hojo is 3rd and 10th. These would be bad consensus scores in any other year, but this time, they are the tip of the iceberg, as things go south rapidly.

I've always thought of 1989 as "The Jose Oquendo Year." I did my second book in 1990, covering the 1989 season. It used the Bill James brand of WAR from 1988. It had Ryne Sandberg and Jose Oquendo in a dead heat for the best second baseman in the NL, with 7.1 WAR. Sandberg was ahead on offense, but Oquendo made it all back on defense. WAR does not completely support this; it has Sandberg with 6.1 WAR and Oquendo with 5.4. But that's a lot closer than Win Shares has them: 32.0 (7th among all players for the year) for Sandberg, 23.9 (25th) for Oquendo. And WAR does give Oquendo a much higher glove score than Sandberg. This was Oquendo's only real whole full-time campaign. He had advantages over Sandberg: OBP, driven by walks, batting average, and defense. Sandberg had much more power. Given the dreadful state of consensus, I'm going to be going with my gut on a lot of 1989's players, and there is nothing in the record to stop me from ranking Oquendo, so I will. Not as high as Sandberg, but he will rank 13th or better.

In short, I am expecting a lot of flaky rankings this year, because the systems simply cannot agree. You've got to go with your memories this time. Boy, do I hope that this won't get worse as time continues on. - Brock Hanke
   8. bjhanke Posted: January 25, 2016 at 12:20 PM (#5141977)
A prelim, just in case I don't make the deadline with a thoroughly researched, time-consuming analysis:

1. Will Clark
2. Rickey Henderson
3. Kevin Mitchell
4. Howard Johnson
5. Bret Saberhagen
6. Wade Boggs
7. Ryne Sandberg
8. Tony Gwynn
9. Robin Yount
10. Tim Raines
11. Jose Oquendo
12. Glenn Davis
13. Fred McGriff

WAR followers will probably argue for Orel Hershiser and Ed Whitson. I think that WAR overrates pitchers. - Brock Hanke
   9. Michael J. Binkley's anxiety closet Posted: January 25, 2016 at 02:22 PM (#5142161)
1989 MMP ballot

A few slight revisions from my prelim, base on some minor tweaks to my system.

1. Bret Saberhagen, sp, KC
2. Will Clark, 1b, SF - NL MMP
3. Kevin Mitchell, lf, SF
4. Rickey Henderson, lf, NYY-Oak -AL MMPosition Player
5. Lonnie Smith, lf, Atl
6. Howard Johnson, 3b, NYM
7. Wade Boggs, 3b, Bos
8. Orel Hershiser, sp, LAD - NL MMPitcher
9. Ruben Sierra, rf, Tex
10. Fred McGriff, 1b, Tor
11. Bert Blyleven, sp, Cal
12. Barry Bonds, lf, Pit
13. Ryne Sandberg, 2b, ChC

14-20. Robin Yount, Mark Langston, Cal Ripken, Mark Gubicza, Bobby Bonilla, Von Hayes, Ozzie Smith,

   10. caiman Posted: January 27, 2016 at 11:53 AM (#5143791)
Here's my RPA ranked values in terms of runs above the median:

1. Fred McGriff 53.69 runs
2. Will Clark 53.17 runs
3. Howard Johnson 51.27 runs
4. Kevin Mitchell 50.34 runs
5. Lonnie Smith 39.74 runs
6. Robin Yount 37.13 runs
7. Alvin Davis 35.34 runs
8. Jack Clark 35.05 runs
9. Bret Saberhagen 34.26 runs
10. Von Hayes 29.84 runs
11. Bobby Bonilla 29.16 runs
12. Harold Baines 28.66 runs
13. Nolan Ryan 27.53 runs
14. Rickey Henderson 26.81 runs
   11. lieiam Posted: January 27, 2016 at 10:50 PM (#5144384)
Here's my ballot; same as prelim.

1 Clark, Will 9389
2 Mitchell, Kevin 8833
3 Saberhagen, Bret 8782
4 Henderson, Rickey 8499
5 Johnson, Howard 7848
6 Boggs, Wade 7689
7 Smith, Lonnie 7491
8 Sierra, Ruben 7108
9 McGriff, Fred 6946
10 Yount, Robin 6945
11 Sandberg, Ryne 6690
12 Bonds, Barry 6536
13 Bonilla, Bobby 6238

Just missing: Glenn Davis, Orel Hershiser, Paul Molitor and Bert Blyleven
   12. Tubbs is Bobby Grich when he flys off the handle Posted: January 31, 2016 at 09:18 AM (#5146459)
Same as preliminary
1. W Clark
2. Mitchell
3. Saberhagen
4. R Henderson
5. L Smith
6. McGriff
7. Boggs
8. Sandberg
9. Ripken
10.H Johnson
11.Sierra
12.Yount
13.Hershiser
   13. EricC Posted: January 31, 2016 at 11:38 AM (#5146515)
1989 ballot. Mostly same as the prelim, but subjectively knocked Franco down to 13th.
For some reason, the win shares number for him in the discussion thread
was lower than in the original book. Also raised Lonnie Smith up an additional
notch.

1. Will Clark
2. Bret Saberhagen
3. Kevin Mitchell
4. Ruben Sierra
5. Howard Johnson
6. Robin Yount
7. Rickey Henderson
8. Orel Hershiser
9. Cal Ripken
10. Wade Boggs
11. Lonnie Smith
12. Bert Blyleven
13. Julio Franco
   14. neilsen Posted: January 31, 2016 at 02:37 PM (#5146567)
1989 Ballot
1-Will Clark
2.-Kevin Mitchell
3.Bret Saberhagen
4.Rickey Henderson
5.Wade Boggs
6.Lonnie Smith
7.Barry Bonds
8.Robin Yount
9.Ozzie Smith
10.Ruben Sierra

11.Ryne Sandberg
12.Nolan Ryan
13 Tony Gwynn
14.Cal Ripken
15 Howard Johnson
   15. DL from MN Posted: February 01, 2016 at 01:41 PM (#5147020)
10 ballots in and 2 days left!
   16. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 02, 2016 at 06:22 PM (#5148283)
Official 1989 MMP Ballot (no postseason bonuses):

1) Will Clark: Best ML player and first baseman.
2) Howard Johnson: Best ML third baseman.
3) Kevin Mitchell: Best ML left fielder.
4) Robin Yount: Best AL player and ML center fielder.
5) Lonnie Smith:
6) Ruben Sierra: Best ML right fielder.
7) Bret Saberhagen: Best ML pitcher.
8) Wade Boggs: Best AL third baseman.
9) Jack Clark:
10) Fred McGriff: Best: AL first baseman.
11) Ricky Henderson: Best AL left fielder.
12) Bobby Bonilla:
13) Paul Molitor:

Best NL pitcher: Orel Hershiser

   17. Moeball Posted: February 03, 2016 at 10:06 AM (#5148590)
Sneaking in just under the wire...same as prelim, comments are in discussion thread

1)Bret Saberhagen
2)Will Clark
3)Kevin Mitchell
4)Rickey!
5)Lonnie Smith
6)Orel Hershiser (top NL pitcher)
7)Bobby Bonilla
8)Fred McGriff
9)Robin Yount
10)Mark Langston
11)Bruce Hurst
12)Ed Whitson
13)Ryne Sandberg

Others who just missed - Molitor, HoJo, Blyleven, Bonds, Boggs
   18. DL from MN Posted: February 03, 2016 at 10:58 AM (#5148650)
No ballot yet from Yardape, toratoratora
   19. toratoratora Posted: February 03, 2016 at 02:07 PM (#5148821)
I'm at work so no comments

1-Will Clark
2-Rickey Henderson
3-Wade Boggs
4-Lonnie Smith
5-Bret Saberhagen
6-Kevin Mitchell
7-Howard Johnson
8-Barry Bonds
9-Glenn Davis
10-Robin Yount
11-Ruben Sierra
12-Ozzie Smith
13-Ryne Sandberg
14-Nolan Ryan
15-Orel Hershiser
16-Tony Gwynn
   20. DL from MN Posted: February 03, 2016 at 03:11 PM (#5148885)
Yardape has a prelim ballot so I'll keep it open for him
   21. bjhanke Posted: February 03, 2016 at 04:13 PM (#5148948)
Please use my prelim. I haven't had time to try to figure out 1989. - Brock
   22. Yardape Posted: February 03, 2016 at 04:54 PM (#5149001)
Yardape has a prelim ballot so I'll keep it open for him


Thanks, DL. It's the same as my prelim:

1. Bret Saberhagen
2. Will Clark
3. Rickey! Henderson
4. Kevin Mitchelll
5. Bobby Bonilla
6. Bert Blyleven
7. Roger Clemens
8. Orel Hershiser
9. Howard Johnson
10. Fred McGriff
11. Ryne Sandberg
12. Robin Yount
13. Mark Gubizca
   23. DL from MN Posted: February 03, 2016 at 06:07 PM (#5149068)
Balloting is closed - 14 ballots is the most we have had in a long while

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