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

Monday, April 28, 2008

Ranking the Hall of Merit by Position: Catcher Ballot

Johnny Bench
Charlie Bennett
Yogi Berra
Roger Bresnahan
Roy Campanella
Gary Carter
Mickey Cochrane
Bill Dickey
Buck Ewing
Carlton Fisk
Bill Freehan
Josh Gibson
Gabby Hartnett
Biz Mackey
Cal McVey
Louis Santop
Ted Simmons
Joe Torre
Quincy Trouppe
Deacon White

Election to end May 11th at 8 p.m. EDT, unless another time is more convenient for John Murphy and the ballot counters.

Also remember, all eras (even the 19th Century), and the Negro Leagues are to considered fairly (meaning not conservatively), if you are unable to do this, please refrain from voting. Thanks!

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: April 28, 2008 at 12:21 PM | 163 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Dizzypaco Posted: May 07, 2008 at 12:54 PM (#2771918)
Here's the problem: we know how great Gibson was compared to his NeL peers. Now, if Josh really was only as great as Bench as a hitter, then that would mean there were practically no great NeL hitters, which doesn't pass the smell test for me.

I agree with John. I tend to be a skeptic of the level of confidence in MLE's, but there is such a consensus on the quality of Gibson's play and his level of dominance that I can't see not rating him first among catchers.

Berra seems to be an obvious choice for top three. To claim that someone didn't have that great a peak/prime when he won three MVP's seems a little strange. Second, Berra had an remarkable string of seasons that lasted over 10 years - he was unbelievably durable and consistent, probably more than any catcher who ever lived, at a time when his team needed just that consistency and durability to make the world series every year (which they did). I just don't see an argument for anyone else other Bench and Gibson as being as good or better.
   102. DL from MN Posted: May 07, 2008 at 01:23 PM (#2771938)
There's a reasonable argument that Gibson was the most valuable player in baseball history. You can't say that about Bench.
   103. Mark Armour Posted: May 07, 2008 at 02:15 PM (#2771986)
Again, though, I don't think there is a real argument that Gibson was the best player in history. The difference between the the NeL of the 1930s and the NL of the 1970s is gigantic. Gibson was a great player--I have no doubt--playing in a minor league (that also contained other great players). His statistics mean very little to me, really.

Josh Gibson is a ghost. A mythic figure who has been assigned a value based on what we want his value to have been. Picture the 1950s National Leaugue with all the white players (which is 80% of the talent) removed and replaced with replacement level players. What would Willie Mays's statistics have looked like, in a league where Don Newcombe is Walter Johnson and his fellow pitchers are from Triple-A?
   104. TomH Posted: May 07, 2008 at 02:17 PM (#2771992)
re: Gibson, ballot placement, & certainty.

1 agree we Gibson-backers ought to sound less dogmatic.
2 my estimate of J Bench: somewhere between the 25th and 55th best player ever, best guess is #37.
my estimate of J Gibson: somewhere between the 1st and 60th best player ever, best guess is #8. More spread/variation, but pretty sure he needs to be at the top of my ballot.
   105. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 07, 2008 at 03:21 PM (#2772077)
Again, though, I don't think there is a real argument that Gibson was the best player in history. The difference between the the NeL of the 1930s and the NL of the 1970s is gigantic. Gibson was a great player--I have no doubt--playing in a minor league (that also contained other great players). His statistics mean very little to me, really.


How many truly great hitters (players that could have made the HOF with their bats, unlike Bench) do you estimate to have been in the NeL?

His statistics mean very little to me, really
.

If that's really you're opinion, Mark, then there's not much to say then.
   106. Mark Armour Posted: May 07, 2008 at 04:22 PM (#2772149)
How many truly great hitters (players that could have made the HOF with their bats, unlike Bench) do you estimate to have been in the NeL?

I don't really know, and neither do you. This is the sad fact of the matter. Wild ass guess? In the 1970s, when Bench played, there were three black elite hitters in their prime: Jackson, Carew, and Morgan. In the 1950s there were probably five. In the 1930s? Two? Four? Its all speculation, and there is no way the game was as accessible to black Americans as it became later with a different economy.

I believe that Josh Gibson was a great player, but that belief is built on a lot of sand, and I am not afraid to admit that. I know about Gibson's statistics, and I know a bit about the league he played in.

I also believe (sitting on top of even more sand, alas) that had Gibson played in the National League in the 1970s he would have been a lumbering first baseman. Bench had to control the running game, and no one ever did it better.

Carry on. I just wanted to express my skepticism at the unanimity for Gibson. I think he has a case, but I find it odd that saying he is the third best catcher of all time, or the fifth, is considered a fringe lunatic position.
   107. DL from MN Posted: May 07, 2008 at 04:30 PM (#2772166)
Ummm, don't we know exactly what Willie Mays' Negro League statistics looked like? We also know what he did in AAA.
   108. DL from MN Posted: May 07, 2008 at 04:52 PM (#2772203)
> In the 1970s, when Bench played, there were three black elite hitters in their prime: Jackson,
> Carew, and Morgan.

Well, you get to conveniently ignore the huge number in the 1960s by those selective endpoints. Willie Stargell, Jimmy Wynn and Dick Allen were all elected to the HoM and there are many other black hitters who put up elite seasons, if not careers: Reggie Smith, Jim Rice, Bobby Bonds, Jose Cruz, George Foster, Dave Parker, Ken Griffey...

I do not believe the difference between the 1930's NGL and 1970's NL is gigantic for a couple of reasons but mainly because replacement-level players aren't scarce. The difference is real, but the NGL in the 1930s was probably equivalent to AAA and that isn't a 20% discount.
   109. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 07, 2008 at 04:57 PM (#2772211)
I think he has a case, but I find it odd that saying he is the third best catcher of all time, or the fifth, is considered a fringe lunatic position.


I don't consider you a fringe lunatic (you're baseball writing proves that), Mark, but only wrong in this particular case, IMO.

Ummm, don't we know exactly what Willie Mays' Negro League statistics looked like? We also know what he did in AAA.


Yes and we know what other NeLers did in that league and what they did in the majors/minors, too. That's why the MLEs are not based on nothing. Now, that doesn't mean that they're 100% accurate, but they're also not inaccurate to the point that Gibson is not the greatest hitter to wear the tools of ignorance by a good distance, either.
   110. Mark Armour Posted: May 07, 2008 at 05:04 PM (#2772231)
I should have included Stargell, so that's four.

As I am sure you know, the "Negro Leagues" were themselves an ever-changing set of teams and leagues that came and went. I suspect that the quality of the "Negro Leagues" themselves was ever-changing, as great players moved to Cuba or Mexico for a few years as the mood struck. Mays was playing in the Negro Leagues at 17, and played well. This is one data point, but there surely were no 17 year olds playing in the National League in the 1970s.

There is an awful lot of fog here, and a lot of people are convinced they can see through it clearly. I envy this confidence, for I am humbled by the uncertainty of it all.
   111. Dizzypaco Posted: May 07, 2008 at 05:07 PM (#2772239)
Its funny, I agree with everyone in part and disagree with everyone in part.

I agree with most everyone who says that Gibson was probably the greatest catcher ever. There seems to be near universal consensus, based on both reputation and statistics, that he was the best African-American position player of his era, a tag that would later go to such players as Willie Mays, Joe Morgan, and Barry Bonds (who was the best between Morgan and Bonds? Henderson? Just asking.) The point is that someone who is pretty clearly the best African American of an era is probably a pretty great player.

On the other hand, I think people greatly overestimate the level of accuracy of MLEs for the Negro Leagues, especially before 1940 or so, which gives me difficulty in rating pretty much anyone other than Josh Gibson.
   112. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 07, 2008 at 05:15 PM (#2772252)
Mays was playing in the Negro Leagues at 17, and played well. This is one data point, but there surely were no 17 year olds playing in the National League in the 1970s.


The NeL weren't the same as the were pre-Jackie Robinson, however. Besides, we know what Robinson, Doby, Campanella, Irvin, etc. did when the NeL were still strong.
   113. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 07, 2008 at 05:17 PM (#2772258)
On the other hand, I think people greatly overestimate the level of accuracy of MLEs for the Negro Leagues, especially before 1940 or so, which gives me difficulty in rating pretty much anyone other than Josh Gibson.


That may be the case, Diz. For example, I'm not as confident in my placement of Mule Suttles or Cristobal Torriente as I am with Gibson.
   114. Dizzypaco Posted: May 07, 2008 at 05:20 PM (#2772264)
Mark, I'm more sympathetic than most, but I wouldn't use the fact that Willie Mays was able to play well in a given league as evidence of the quality of that league. He's pretty much the definition of an outlier.
   115. Mark Armour Posted: May 07, 2008 at 05:21 PM (#2772268)
I agree, Diz. FWIW, I think Mays was the greatest player who ever lived. So there you go.
   116. Gary A Posted: May 07, 2008 at 07:24 PM (#2772439)
Mays was playing in the Negro Leagues at 17, and played well. This is one data point, but there surely were no 17 year olds playing in the National League in the 1970s.


In 1948, at the age of 17, Mays hit .262 with 1 home run. I don't have his at bats or games played at hand (that book is buried in a box somewhere) but I don't think he played that much. He did hit well in 1949 and part of 1950, at ages 18 and 19, in a rapidly-declining league. It would be interesting to compare his performances in those years to Joe DiMaggio's at the same ages in the 1933-34 PCL (I don't know whether they're better or worse relative to the league, as I don't have PCL league totals for those years). (DiMaggio had 9 at bats in the PCL at the age of 17.)

I don't think anybody's ever argued that the 1948 NNL was equivalent to the 1970s NL...
   117. Mark Armour Posted: May 07, 2008 at 07:55 PM (#2772506)
Roy Campanella played for the Elite Giants at age 15 in 1936, likely the very peak of the Negro Leagues.
   118. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 07, 2008 at 08:41 PM (#2772585)
Roy Campanella played for the Elite Giants at age 15 in 1936, likely the very peak of the Negro Leagues.


I don't think he played much until he was 19.
   119. Howie Menckel Posted: May 07, 2008 at 11:40 PM (#2772817)
Wow, great stuff here.
This is the discussion I think we needed, at least (albeit on the ballot thread, but not too many ballots lately).

TomH, thanks for the Berra comment. What is WS or WARP picking up about Berra that OPS+ is missing? Also, without checking admittedly, are the MVP votes weighted both for "winning team" and lack of competition at the top?

Just asking, again.
   120. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 08, 2008 at 12:00 AM (#2772838)
Howie Menckel, here's a chart for Yogi, compared to Fisk and Dickey:

Glossary

All statistics are standard deviation-adjusted. LgAdj is the ratio of the regression-projected standard deviation for the league-season in question to the 2005 standard deviation, just to provide a sense of the magnitude of this effect. PctC is the percentage of the player's playing time at catcher for the given season. SFrac is the percentage of the season played (compared to a player with league average PA/G playing every game). BWAA is batting wins above a league average hitter, BRWA is baserunning wins above a league average baserunner, and FWAA is fielding wins above a league average fielder at the same position. Repl is the wins above average a replacement player at the same position would have accumulated in the same playing time (note that this figure is 0.6 wins per full season lower in DH leagues than non-DH leagues). WARP is wins above replacement, the first three minus the fourth. And 2007Salary is how much the 2007 free agent market would have paid for the performance, including a 58% bonus for time spent at catcher. TOTL is career totals, TXBR is career totals excluding sub-replacement seasons, and AVRG is rate production per full season played. War deductions and credit are included.


Berra

Year LgAdj PctC    SFrac BWAA BRWA    FWAA  Repl WARP     2007Salary
1947 0.961  71
%     0.47  0.6 -0.1    -0.1  -0.7  1.1     $2,490,383
1948 0.907  58
%     0.75  1.3  0.0     0.2  -1.0  2.5     $6,928,264
1949 0.913 100
%     0.67  0.9 -0.1     0.7  -1.1  2.7     $8,918,061
1950 0.908 100
%     0.98  3.5  0.0     0.4  -1.6  5.4    $24,675,831
1951 0.920 100
%     0.90  2.4  0.0     0.7  -1.5  4.5    $18,986,370
1952 0.942 100
%     0.92  3.8 -0.1     0.4  -1.6  5.7    $26,177,742
1953 0.934 100
%     0.85  3.4 -0.1     0.5  -1.5  5.3    $23,642,788
1954 0.940 100
%     0.99  4.0 -0.1     0.7  -1.7  6.2    $29,788,132
1955 0.940 100
%     0.93  2.3 -0.1    -0.1  -1.6  3.7    $13,843,465
1956 0.937 100
%     0.90  3.8 -0.1     0.5  -1.5  5.8    $26,896,230
1957 0.963  95
%     0.84  1.3 -0.1     0.9  -1.4  3.6    $13,167,647
1958 0.981  82
%     0.74  2.1  0.0     0.8  -1.1  3.9    $14,374,613
1959 0.967  96
%     0.80  2.2 -0.1     0.7  -1.4  4.2    $16,409,569
1960 0.956  59
%     0.62  1.7 -0.1     0.2  -0.8  2.6     $7,192,372
1961 0.920  15
%     0.64  1.4  0.0     0.5  -0.5  2.5     $5,438,413
1962 0.951  55
%     0.38 -0.2 -0.1     0.3  -0.5  0.5     $1,038,629
1963 0.968 100
%     0.24  1.0  0.0     0.1  -0.5  1.5     $4,190,199
TOTL 0.939  87
%    12.64 35.3 -1.2     7.4 -20.1 61.6    244,158,709
AVRG 0.939  87
%     1.00  2.8 -0.1     0.6  -1.6  4.9    $19,317,314 


3-year peak: 17.6
7-year prime: 37.1
Career: 61.6


Fisk

Year LgAdj PctC    SFrac BWAA BRWA    FWAA  Repl WARP     2007Salary
1972 0.970 100
%     0.81  4.5  0.3     0.4  -1.6  6.8    $34,062,998
1973 0.947 100
%     0.81  0.3  0.2     0.2  -2.0  2.8     $9,296,133
1974 0.963 100
%     0.32  1.5  0.3     0.1  -0.8  2.6     $8,706,280
1975 0.943 100
%     0.44  1.6 -0.1     0.1  -1.1  2.7     $9,112,003
1976 0.948 100
%     0.82  0.3 -0.1     0.6  -2.0  2.7     $9,055,362
1977 0.907 100
%     0.93  3.1  0.1     0.6  -2.2  5.9    $27,947,248
1978 0.919 100
%     0.97  1.9  0.2     0.4  -2.2  4.8    $20,432,264
1979 0.913  39
%     0.50 -0.3  0.1    -0.2  -0.4  0.1     $0,524,295
1980 0.929  96
%     0.77  1.0  0.2     0.0  -1.7  2.8     $9,529,852
1981 0.950 100
%     0.88  1.3 -0.2     0.1  -1.9  3.1    $10,860,914
1982 0.963 100
%     0.78  0.7  0.1     0.2  -1.7  2.8     $9,262,224
1983 0.954 100
%     0.80  2.1  0.3     0.2  -1.8  4.5    $18,575,247
1984 0.980  87
%     0.58  0.1  0.0    -0.1  -1.1  1.2     $2,891,911
1985 0.979  84
%     0.91  1.1  0.1     0.3  -1.7  3.2    $10,707,440
1986 1.001  55
%     0.72 -2.5  0.0     0.2  -1.2 -1.1     $0,000,000
1987 0.999  93
%     0.74  0.0 -0.2     0.4  -1.7  1.9     $5,475,441
1988 0.979 100
%     0.44  2.1  0.0    -0.1  -1.1  3.0    $10,662,548
1989 0.981  87
%     0.62  1.7  0.0    -0.1  -1.4  2.9     $9,658,370
1990 0.998  84
%     0.77  2.2 -0.4     0.7  -1.7  4.1    $15,298,254
1991 0.977  77
%     0.73 -0.9  0.0     0.3  -1.5  0.9     $2,008,270
1992 0.984 100
%     0.31 -0.3 -0.2     0.0  -0.8  0.3     $0,897,883
1993 1.005 100
%     0.08 -0.5  0.0    -0.3  -0.2 -0.6     $0,000,000
TOTL 0.960  91
%    14.71 21.0  0.6     3.9 -31.9 57.4    224,964,938
TXBR 0.957  93
%    13.91 24.0  0.6     4.0 -30.5 59.1    224,964,938
AVRG 0.960  91
%     1.00  1.4  0.0     0.3  -2.2  3.9    $15,293,765 


3-year peak: 17.5
7-year prime: 32.3
Career: 59.1


Dickey

Year LgAdj PctC    SFrac BWAA BRWA    FWAA  Repl WARP     2007Salary
1929 0.930 100
%     0.72  1.3  0.0     0.3  -1.4  3.0    $10,452,305
1930 0.901 100
%     0.59  1.3  0.1    -0.2  -1.2  2.4     $7,649,849
1931 0.911 100
%     0.77  1.9  0.0     0.5  -1.6  3.9    $15,203,170
1932 0.901 100
%     0.69  1.5 -0.1     0.0  -1.4  2.7     $9,012,104
1933 0.922 100
%     0.80  2.8 -0.1     0.3  -1.6  4.6    $19,306,148
1934 0.918 100
%     0.66  2.1 -0.2     0.3  -1.3  3.5    $13,015,219
1935 0.921 100
%     0.74  0.8  0.0     0.4  -1.4  2.5     $8,094,998
1936 0.882 100
%     0.70  3.7 -0.1     0.2  -1.3  5.1    $22,437,431
1937 0.906 100
%     0.91  3.9 -0.1     0.9  -1.7  6.4    $31,298,274
1938 0.913 100
%     0.80  3.3  0.0     0.3  -1.5  5.2    $23,082,835
1939 0.900 100
%     0.85  3.0  0.1     0.6  -1.6  5.2    $23,082,835
1940 0.938 100
%     0.64 -0.4 -0.2     0.4  -1.2  0.9     $2,219,233
1941 0.947 100
%     0.59  0.9  0.0     0.3  -1.1  2.2     $6,787,289
1942 0.944 100
%     0.46  0.5 -0.1     0.4  -0.8  1.6     $4,437,634
1943 0.951 100
%     0.44  2.6  0.0     0.2  -0.8  3.6    $13,551,065
1944 0.951 100
%     0.37  0.6  0.0     0.2  -0.6  1.4     $3,761,340
1945 0.958 100
%     0.30  0.3  0.0     0.2  -0.5  1.0     $2,553,563
1946 0.952 100
%     0.24  0.1 -0.1     0.3  -0.4  0.7     $1,710,815
TOTL 0.920 100
%    11.27 30.2 -0.8     5.6 -21.4 55.9    217,656,110
AVRG 0.920 100
%     1.00  2.7 -0.1     0.5  -1.9  5.0    $19,312,876 


3-year peak: 16.8
7-year prime: 34.0
Career: 55.9


What to make of this? Well, I certainly agree with the consensus that Berra is one cut above Fisk and Dickey. Berra and Dickey were about equally good players when they were on the field on average, with about the same ratio of offensive and defensive prowess (Berra 4.9 WARP/season, Dickey 5.0). Berra was a nudge better by rate, but spent 9% of his career away from the catcher position, negating that small edge. What puts Berra apart is that he has a full year and a half on Dickey at that level, giving him extra career value and a higher prime. He was more durable than Dickey as well.

However, you already have Berra over Dickey. The guy you bump ahead of him is Fisk. Reviewing your arguments, you say Fisk "has the two monster seasons at C that Berra never had." That seems like a bit of a stretch to me--yes, Fisk's 1972 is one tick better than anything on Berra's resume, but Berra's second-best year (1956) was just as good as Fisk's (1977). And if you expand it to include even a third peak season, Berra closes the gap. Yes, Fisk had two additional full seasons on Berra, but they can be completely dismissed as "hanging-on" time--his 1979, 1986, and 1991-93 add nothing to his case, while Berra was always productive on the field. Yogi packed more value into 12.6 seasons' worth of play than Fisk did into 14.7 seasons' worth. That seems far more convincing to me than a small edge for Fisk on the career year. Are you giving Yogi full credit for his defense? It was, according to WS and WARP, a grade or two above Fisk's. The only way I can see pushing Fisk ahead of Yogi is if you use a REALLY low catcher replacement level.
   121. Howie Menckel Posted: May 08, 2008 at 12:18 AM (#2772858)
True that I'm not as high on Berra's defense.
Are you sold on 1950s-60s AL league quality as well?

Also, you seem to see Dickey and Fisk as competitive at least, but falling short.
Lots of comments seem to suggest some huge gap, which is the most baffling part to me.
   122. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 08, 2008 at 12:34 AM (#2772877)
My standard deviation adjustment sees the 1950s AL as fairly easy to dominate, so that's taken care of.

I see Dickey and Fisk as comfortably behind Berra. A $20-$25M difference is a full 10% of their career value; a full peak season; or the difference between, say, Bobby Bonds and Dave Winfield.
   123. Howie Menckel Posted: May 08, 2008 at 12:58 AM (#2772913)
Dan R,
thanks as well.

Is the discrepancy basically a big Berra boost for defense?
And how much was basestealing a factor in each era, and is that quality accounted for?

This is really interesting...
   124. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 08, 2008 at 01:13 AM (#2772939)
Between Berra and Dickey, it's volume--they had similar rates and offense/defense breakdowns, but Berra has an extra year and a half on him at that quality. Between Berra and Fisk, Berra was a significantly better hitter by rate over his career as well as a better fielder; Fisk's extra career length isn't nearly enough to compensate.

As for the importance of catcher D, you'll have to ask FRAA and Win Shares. I do have new seasonal catcher D numbers from Sean Smith, but I haven't yet incorporated them into my system.
   125. Rob_Wood Posted: May 08, 2008 at 01:51 AM (#2773013)
Sorry this is so late, I've been without internet for awhile. Anyway, here is my ballot.
Like always I am skewed toward career value.

1. Josh Gibson - far and away the best ever
2. Johnny Bench - stopped the running game when that was important
3. Yogi Berra - very slight downgrade for the 1950s AL
4. Deacon White - star of the first rank
5. Gary Carter - surprised he winds up so high
6. Buck Ewing - another great player few today have heard about
7. Carlton Fisk - career value in spades
8. Gabby Hartnett - a smidge ahead of the his two AL contemporaries
9. Mickey Cochrane - would be higher sans career-ending beaning
10. Bill Dickey - over-rated but a great catcher nonetheless
11. Louis Santop - great negro leaguer
12. Roy Campanella - wish he would have had more great seasons (injuries)
13. Charlie Bennett - now we reach the land of the very good
14. Ted Simmons - very good hitter for a catcher
15. Cal McVey - hard to place but clearly a little below Bennett
16. Joe Torre - didn't have enough career as a catcher
17. Roger Bresnahan - from here on down I don't see the HOM cases
18. Bill Freehan - very good defensive catcher of my youth
19. Quincy Trouppe - a good catcher
20. Biz Mackey - a good catcher
   126. bjhanke Posted: May 08, 2008 at 02:18 PM (#2773482)
I read the discussion thread and saw a mention that I needed to post up a completed ballot, rather than a post with a ballot and another with corrections because I did ties and multi-position rankings. The list below is that ballot, without any comments, because I already made them.

I should make a confession here. I've done this sort of thing more than once (ask Tom Hull sometime about the Baseball Maniacs, if you know Tom), and when I read the thread here, I did not get that these were the official HoM ballots. I did almost NO extra research when I made my list up; I relied on my memory, which is very good for things that I have worked up four times. Therefore, I am sure I mean these rankings, but I'm also sure that I don't remember all the reasoning I went through. That's why I have these odd looking justifications. When I made the ballot up, I put in the defenses for my own purposes, so I would not make a mistake by misremembering what I thought of someone. If you guys want to disallow the ballot, on the grounds that it should involve more immediate effort than that, then you should. I'm confessing my sins here.

I did remember one of my major problems with White and McVey, and will put up that post probably tonight. The short form is that catchers in the NA played very large percentages of their teams' games - larger than even the most modern catchers, with all the equipment in the world, can match. So if you just multiply their teams' schedules through to 162 games, you have badly overestimated the actual playing time that these guys would have had if their schedules had actually been that long. Since the whole point of the 162-game amortization is to give 162-game weight to NA seasons, you do have to make a discount for anything that is actually related to the schedule length. I believe that the reason that NA catchers played so many games was that the light schedule allowed them to take many many fewer injuries and have much longer to sit out and heal them, because they could sit out exhibition games, rather than the league ones. This hurts Deacon White a lot, because he's the poster boy for this. In the entire duration of the National Association, Deacon White missed exactly 3 games, 1 in 74 and 2 in 75. You know that ain't right, given the playing conditions and equipment of NA catchers. You have to make an adjustment for that, and it turns out to be a large one, at least in my methods, although I do take into account that White seems to have been the most durable of the NA catchers. As I said, I'll try to justify this in much better detail later, but I thought I should put it up ASAP, just on general principles.

1. Josh Gibson
2. Buck Ewing
3. Yogi Berra
4. Johnny Bench
5. Mickey Cochrane
6. Roy Campanella
7. Gabby Hartnett
8. Biz Mackey
9. Charlie Bennett
10. Carlton Fisk
11. Ted Simmons
12. Gary Carter
13. Bill Dickey
14. Louis Santop
15. Roger Bresnahan
16. Joe Torre
17. Quincy Trouppe
18. Bill Freehan
19. Deacon White
20. Cal McVey
   127. TomH Posted: May 08, 2008 at 02:46 PM (#2773521)
Howie, yes, Berra did get more MVP votes because he played for the Yankees, and maybe because Ted Williams was either mortal or in Korea some years, Mantle wasn't Mantle yet, and the AL was indeed weaker at the top. All told, it's still an impressive bit of info methinks. Compare to Dickey's poorer MVP showing, and the Yanks were very successful in Dickey's time as well.
   128. Paul Wendt Posted: May 08, 2008 at 05:41 PM (#2773780)
134. Rob_Wood Posted: May 07, 2008 at 09:51 PM (#2773013)
Sorry this is so late, I've been without internet for awhile. Anyway, here is my ballot.
Like always I am skewed toward career value.


Rob doesn't visit very often. Could someone move his to the ballot thread?

Oh, never mind. I need to learn to look at the title bar of this webbrowser.
   129. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 08, 2008 at 07:15 PM (#2773883)
Brock, your ballot passes the Constitutional test now, though I have left a response regarding Deacon White again on the discussion thread for catchers.
   130. Paul Wendt Posted: May 08, 2008 at 07:20 PM (#2773892)
Brock,
#100 concludes thus:
But worse, I can't give you a full accounting of why I think this is valid until I've gotten the whole goddam essay written. I promise to post it up here when I get that done. Until then, if you disagree with me, please agree to disagree until I get the essay done. Then you can ream me another one.

From what you say I guess it will be long and serious. And I guess by "here" you mean the Hall of Merit subsite. That or you can publish articles elsewhere at BB Think Factory. If you do mean here in the HOM then I suggest that you post a draft, requesting comments, and pursue publishing it somewhere else.
   131. Chris Cobb Posted: May 08, 2008 at 08:44 PM (#2774036)
I here reprise the comment I made on Rusty Priske's ballot last week, when he ranked Buck Ewing 18th:


19. Deacon White

"!!!???!!!???!!!

This is simply indefensible."

"Indefensible" in this case is taken to mean that, although reasons may be offered to support it, those reasons will not persuade anyone else that the ranking is actually reasonable.

Once I finish grading exams I will offer a detailed detailed defense of Deacon White, but for now, here's a little table that I put together that places White's batting value in context. This is, to the best of my knowledge, what the career OPS+ leaderboard would have looked like after the 1880 season, specifying a minimum of 1000 PA to qualify:

Career OPSLeaders1880
   
Rnk
..Name..........OPS+....PA....seasons in OPStop 10
1.
...Ross Barnes...174....2195..... 6
2.
...Charley Jones.164....1529..... 5
3.
...Levi Meyerle..163....1442..... 6
4.
...Lip Pike......158....2006..... 5
5.
...Cal McVey.....152....2543..... 5
6.
...Deacon White..149.3..2645..... 5
7.
...Jim O'Rourke..149.2..2730..... 7
8....Cap Anson.....148.8..2665..... 6
9....Paul Hines....142....2446..... 5
10...George Hall...142....1708..... 2
(honorable mention)
xx...George Wright.132....2725......4 


We’ve heard White described as a slap hitter comparable to Matty Alou, but, in context and during his prime, he was one of the best hitters in the game, carrying an OPS+ equal to noted slap hitter Cap Anson. Of the top 10 hitters of the 1870s, White as an above average (if not great) defensive catcher for 8 of his first 10 seasons is surely the most valuable player in this list.

So, yes, catchers played more games relative to their peers in the 1870s, but White doesn’t need a “catcher bonus” to playing time to rank as one of the best players of his generation.

Given that he and McVey are about equivalent as hitters and in playing time, and Wright was more valuable defensively, catching more and catching better, he is certainly overall ahead of McVey for this decade of play. Pke, Meyerle, and Jones all played less valuable defensive positions at which they were not especially distinguished, and all had several fewer seasons of playing time than White (Pike and White are about even if one counts pre-NA play). Barnes was a great defensive second baseman as well as a great hitter, so even with his trailing in playing time he was more valuable that White, and George Wright, who was the greatest defensive player of the era, and a fine hitter, has a good argument to be better also.

So it looks like White was pretty solidly the #3 player over the decade of his prime. Was Freehan or Torre even in the top 10 or 15 players during the decade of their prime, even with appropriate catcher bonuses? Was Biz Mackey? Was Roger Bresnahan? White even as low as 15th here is conceivable, but behind every elected post-1880 catcher? I don't see it, any way you put the case.
   132. OCF Posted: May 09, 2008 at 05:52 AM (#2774369)
Here's my ballot. Explanations are scattered over a dozen different places. I have a career-leaning perspective, but not so much that mediocre seasons (as, for instance, both Carter and Simmons had at the ends of their careers) do much to help. I wasn't around to vote on either Ewing or White; my placement of them now is a stab in the dark. I was around to vote on McVey, and I wasn't impressed then. Bresnahan was a fine hitter but not much of a catcher; if you're going to go that way, why note Gene Tenace?

I haven't fully worked out where Piazza, Rodriguez, and Posada would fit in all of this, although I suspect I'd have Piazza at #2.

1. Gibson
2. Bench
3. Berra
4. Dickey
5. Cochrane
6. Ewing
7. Hartnett
8. Fisk
9. Carter
10. Simmons
11. White
12. Campanella
13. Santop
14. Torre
15. Freehan
16. Bennett
17. Trouppe
18. Mackey
19. McVey
20. Bresnahan
   133. Bob Allen Posted: May 09, 2008 at 05:27 PM (#2774721)
I've been laid up for a week or so, just getting up to speed with comments here. Some positions on my ballot are going to seem off-consensus, but that's what makes democracy great. Personally, I have just not found a way to move some of the 19th century catchers any higher, although the discussions have been helpful. Here goes:

1. Josh Gibson
2. Johnny Bench
3. Gary Carter - believe his defense was nearly as good as Bench, bat not much below
4. Yogi Berra
5. Gabby Hartnett - great combination of O & D
6. Carlton Fisk - Only three really good full years, lots of mediocre ones, but a long career
7. Mickey Cochrane - Consistently great while he lasted
8. Joe Torre - From '63-'68 & '70, averaged 8.0 WARP3, spending 68% of time at C - enough for me
9. Roy Campanella - done at 35, with or without tragic accident
10. Buck Ewing - My highest early catcher
11. Bill Dickey
12. Louis Santop
13. Charlie Bennett
14. Ted Simmons - I'd want him on my team even with so-so defense
15. Deacon White - like some other voters, don't look at him as catcher
16. Biz Mackey
17. Bill Freehan
18. Quincy Trouppe
19. Cal McVey - wouldn't come near my personal HOM
20. Roger Bresnahan - as above but, hey, didn't he invent the shin guards or something?
   134. Bob Allen Posted: May 09, 2008 at 06:05 PM (#2774762)
Just to amplify a bit, I've never posted on what constitutes my "system", if it can truly be called that. I rely heavily on a measure adopted from Clay Davenport when he was doing a structured HOF. He took a player's WARP3 for each year, ranked best to worst, awarded points similar to MVP voting (14-9-8-7-6-etc.) and multiplied that by WARP3. The result is a number that ranges from a high of 700-800 (Ruth, Aaron, etc.) to perhaps 500 or a little below as a HOF in/out line. I have used that system but with my own replacement for WARP3, a composite that works from Win Shares, WARP, and Pete Palmer's TPR (now called BFW). Running this for catchers yields a ranking that goes Bench-Carter-Berra-Dickey-Fisk-Torre-Hartnett-Cochrane-Campy-Simmons. I realize this shorts 19th century players and totally ignores Negro Leaguers, so those have to be interpolated on judgment.

As a further refinement, I take an annual figure of 10 or better in my CPM (Composite Performance Metric) to be MVP calibre and one of 7.5+ to be All-Star worthy. I then give a player credit for each year as a regular, each year as an "MVP" and each year as an "All-Star". This yields a measure that looks like (using Johnny Bench) 16-4-9 (16 years regular, 4 "MVP", 9 "All-Star"). It's not a hard and fast way to rank, just a way of looking at a career. By this method, Carter is almost like Bench (14-4-9), Torre is at 16-2-6, Fisk at 20-2-5, Campy at 10-2-3. Nobody else has multiple "MVP"-like years. This may help to explain why my ballot has Carter and Torre higher than most.
   135. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 09, 2008 at 06:36 PM (#2774812)
First of all, welcome, Bob!

15. Deacon White - like some other voters, don't look at him as catcher


Then we definitely need to consider Ernie Banks as a first baseman when we vote for that group, which will probably place him near the bottom.

Yes, I'm being facetious :-), but the Banks situation is exactly the same as for White (except White was a better third baseman than Banks was a first baseman).

White was a great catcher, but an okay third baseman. He created the most value behind the plate (as Banks did at short), not at the hot corner. The Deacon should not be considered a third baseman.
   136. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 09, 2008 at 08:14 PM (#2774919)
A tiny thought: is a small bit of Carter's amazing SB/CS numbers the fact that he never had to throw out Raines (and vice versa, for that matter)?
   137. Blackadder Posted: May 09, 2008 at 10:36 PM (#2775057)
In a similar vein, it is amazing that the 1930 Yankees managed to rank last in ERA+ despite never having to face the 1930 Yankees offense!
   138. Howie Menckel Posted: May 10, 2008 at 01:09 AM (#2775249)
Here's what I think is a sensible way to look at White:
- His 1870s career, the catching portion, is a good prime similar to many catchers on the board. About a decade of high-quality play as an 'every-day catcher'. Some guys like Cochrane or Campanella are justifiably competitive with the pack with little or nothing else. Others added various numbers or fairly irrelevant seasons.

If you pretend White quit around 1880, then you agree he's a catcher. But that's already a respectable prime (granting issues of short seasons and such). The 3B play basically provides a bonus that in many cases overcomes some of the hesitation about "just the catching part." But it's not the core element.

Same is true of Banks, maybe moreso. Monster peak for an SS puts him in any Hall - and oh yeah, he was a mediocre 1B for a while, as opposed to 'all-prime' players. Banks' greatness is as a SS.

And I say all this without being one of White's biggest fans. I can see someone possibly having him from 10 to 15 or so. It's a tough field.

But his case is as a catcher.
   139. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 10, 2008 at 01:19 AM (#2775269)
And I say all this without being one of White's biggest fans. I can see someone possibly having him from 10 to 15 or so. It's a tough field.

But his case is as a catcher.


The placement I can handle much more easily than calling him a third baseman, Howie, so I agree with you.
   140. Paul Wendt Posted: May 10, 2008 at 03:58 AM (#2775714)
There is a little more to be said.

Deacon White turned 32 in December after his final season as a regular catcher. He was a regular catcher for only eight seasons of league baseball because he left the box at 32, but also because he was 23.5 years old at the start of league play. He was a regular catcher for only 39% of his FSE mlb games for the same reasons and because he played so long, until just before his 43rd birthday.

Joe Torre played roughly the first and third quarters of the 1970 season at catcher. When they moved him out of the box in August, he was three weeks past his 30th birthday. He played fully 41% of his mlb career at catcher --measured by the sum of raw games or FSE games (season shares), for the difference was trivial in his time. Everyone happily calls him a catcher. Why? Because the St Louis Cardinals tried him at third base before settling him at first? That is why he played longer at catcher that at first, because of that and because he hung up his spikes before his 37th birthday.

Ernie Banks turned 31 in January after his eight and final season at shortstop, one year younger than White and almost a year older than Torre. He tacked on ten seasons at firstbase (which became his majority fielding position) and he turned 41 a few months after he retired.

Rod Carew turned 30 as he finished his ninth and last season at secondbase. He tacked on ten seasons at firstbase (which became his majority fielding positions) and he turned 40 as he retired.

--
share of career full seasons at catcher
41% Torre
39% White (43% inclg 1869-70)
36% McVey (30% inclg 1869-70)
33% Kelly
   141. Bob Allen Posted: May 11, 2008 at 01:53 PM (#2776563)
It's off-topic and will be for a few years, but I'm curious as to how this group would place Mike Piazza among the all-time catchers -- who knows if we will still be doing this in 2013. My thought is he ought to rank below Gibson and Bench but above everyone else. Some years of sober reflection might change this, but I can't see anyone with more prime value.
   142. dan b Posted: May 11, 2008 at 03:36 PM (#2776608)
1. Gibson If our MLE’s and WS are right, then Gibson is to catchers as Wagner is to shortstops. His 13 best seasons averaged 31 WS
2. Berra His 6 best seasons averaged 31 WS
3. Bench 5 best seasons averaged 31 WS
4. Campanella 4 best seasons averaged 31 WS
5. Carter Surprised to see him above Dickey and Cochrane, but putting their WS side by side, the choice is clear.
6. Dickey On my 1952 ballot I was convinced Dickey was better than Cochrane. I’m not sure I still see it that way, but I’ll not make the change.
7. Cochrane
8. Ewing A subjective boost to acknowledge one of the best players of the 19th century.
9. Fisk More peak than Hartnett.
10. Hartnett
11. Santop Best catcher not in the major leagues before Gibson, best catcher anywhere between Ewing and Hartnett.
12. Simmons Hit better than Freehan.
13. Freehan Caught more than Torre.
14. Torre Would be higher if he had a season like 1971 as a catcher.
15. White An early star, unheard of by nearly all baseball fans, over rated by many here. That I share Bill James’ lack of respect for the quality of play during the time White was catching has been both well documented and well abused over the history of this project.
16. Bresnahan Best major league catcher between Ewing and Hartnett.
17. Bennett Nicknames like The House That Ruth Built aside, the best player to have a major league ballpark named after him.
18. Mackey Good catcher.
19. Trouppe Not in PHoM.
20. McVey Not in PHoM.
   143. Esteban Rivera Posted: May 11, 2008 at 06:20 PM (#2776725)
Quick explanation. The top three were pretty easy to figure out. The rest, well, not so much. I may not be back to answer questions until this evening so please be patient if I don't answer quickly if there are any questions. Here goes:

1) Josh Gibson - How off the mark would all the information we have on him have to be for him not to be numeber one?
2) Johnny Bench - Defense edges out Berra's edge on offense.
3) Yogi Berra - Safely above the rest.
4) Buck Ewing - Dominance of his time helps land him at number four.
5) Gabby Hartnett - I consider Hartnett to be the best out of his era.
6) Gary Carter - Best of his era.
7) Bill Dickey - Slighly edges Cochrane with war credit.
8) Mickey Cochrane - Terrific career.
9) Roy Campanella - Negro league credit does not add too much. His big years place him ahead of the steady...
10) Carlton Fisk - ...who, while steady in production, is nicked for in season durability.
11) Louis Santop - Second best pure Negro leagues candidate. Ranking may be somewhat conservative.
12) Deacon White - The lightning rod of controversy places 12th.
13) Charlie Bennett - The first pure catching stud.
14) Ted Simmons - Offense with underrated defense (not as bad as made out to be).
15) Cal McVey - Lack of more years at catcher hurts him here. He really belongs in a utility grouping.
16) Roger Bresnahan - More time at catcher than Torre. Better defense than Torre.
17) Bill Freehan - Underrated while he played.
18) Joe Torre - Not too high on him and a lot of value outside of catcher.
19) Biz Mackey - Longevity and defense.
20) Quincy Trouppe - Never was sold on him. Liken him to Torre.
   144. Howie Menckel Posted: May 11, 2008 at 06:30 PM (#2776733)
"18) Joe Torre - Not too high on him and a lot of value outside of catcher."

Aren't we supposed to actually give him credit for that "value outside of catcher?"
seems like everyone else does, but it's not apparent in this vote at all.

Yet Ewing and White don't do as badly.
   145. Paul Wendt Posted: May 11, 2008 at 07:36 PM (#2776787)
The sentence sounds to me like a second 'not' is missing.
'Not A and B' is ambiguous and unlike some ambiguities it isn't much used.
   146. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 11, 2008 at 07:52 PM (#2776816)
I don't have the time to post comments, so I can say the following: Post-1893 MLB players (and NgL'ers for whom I have MLE's) are ranked strictly according to my salary estimator based on my WARP system. The rest are shots in the dark, based largely on following discussion of the players on these boards.

1. Josh Gibson
(Mike Piazza)
2. Johnny Bench
3. Yogi Berra
4. Gary Carter
5. Carlton Fisk
(Iván Rodríguez)
6. Bill Dickey
7. Mickey Cochrane
8. Gabby Hartnett
9. Buck Ewing
10. Deacon White
11. Roy Campanella
12. Louis Santop
13. Ted Simmons
(Jorge Posada)
14. Charlie Bennett
15. Roger Bresnahan
16. Bill Freehan
17. Cal McVey
18. Quincy Trouppe
19. Biz Mackey
(Gene Tenace)
(Thurman Munson)
20. Joe Torre--Sucked. Hard. One of the worst players in the HoM.
   147. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 11, 2008 at 08:52 PM (#2776961)
My thought is he ought to rank below Gibson and Bench but above everyone else. Some years of sober reflection might change this, but I can't see anyone with more prime value.


He's definitely below Gibson, but where he should rank depends on how you value defense. Piazza's bat is easily #1 among the non-Gibson catchers, so it's conceivable that he might be #2. With that said, I'm not sure yet, Bob.
   148. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: May 11, 2008 at 09:20 PM (#2776991)
My ballot is finally ready. Put a lot of time into it, so I'm pretty confident I've got it as close to right as possible.

I've included my Pennants Added calculation, based off of Dan R's WAR for players where available. I give catchers a 50% bonus, which brings them more in line with other positions, and this is included as well. Dan's numbers consider a player at the position he played most that year, so I've added in a subjective adjustment for cases where it's an issue. A guy playing 130 games at catcher is more valuable than a guy playing 100 at catcher and 30 in LF, all other things equal.

If a player's career was extended by being able to DH, wheras another player didn't have that luxury, I do subjectively take that into account as well.

1. Josh Gibson - Unbelievable hitter, I believe there is plenty of room to spare here even if we are overstating how good he was by quite a bit.

2. Johnny Bench (1.41 PA) - The complete package. Played a little more in the OF early in his career than I realized. Caught 43% of those that tried to steal on him.

3. Yogi Berra (1.35 PA) - Very close to Bench 126 OPS+ vs. 125, adjusting for schedule length, actually caught a little bit more. But Bench's amazing fielding is the tiebreaker. Could probably have hung around as a DH had the option been available, wheras Bench and Carter were pretty much forced to hang it up, even with the option available. But I still like Bench just a bit more.

4. Deacon White - There's been talk of how his 3B years were nothing special . . . in an era where careers were not typically long, he played 20 seasons. He became a 3B in 1882, at the age of 34. 3B was a much more valuable position in this era, the equivalent of 2B today. From age 34-40 he posted OPS+ of 108, 106, 153, 108, 106, 109, 128. Not bad for a guy in his late 30s playing a key defensive position.

Before that, he never had an off year. Not one, even with the short schedules. His worst OPS+ from 1871-1883 was 114 in 1874. Other than that, the worst was 131 in 1881 at the age of 33. The 1875 Beaneaters went 71-8, with White catching 75 games and posting 179 OPS+. He hit .367 in a .262 league (park adjusted), with a .453 SLG compared to .321 league (park adjusted).

It's been said that he didn't walk much, which is true. It's also a red herring, as no one else did either. For his career, the difference between OBP and AVG was .035. His difference was .034. He also hit 46 points above his league (park adjusted) batting average and slugged 41 points above, while playing key defensive positions most of the time in a 20 year career.

White was a first rate superstar, and anyone who thinks otherwise, does not understand how to interpret the stats of 19th Century baseball.

5. Buck Ewing - In his time regarded as one of the greats of the game. There's a logjam near the top after the 1st three. Ewing has a higher career OPS+ than Berra or Bench (129). He caught as much as any of the top catcher of his time did, and when he wasn't catching, he wasn't always in RF, he played some 3B when it was a very valuable position, or 1B in an era where it was much more important than today. I don't see how anyone can look at his record and not think he was one of the greatest players ever. From 1882-1893, his worst OPS+ was 126, as a 22 years in 1882. He had an OPS+ of 136-156 every year from 1883-1892. Just an amazingly consistent superstar, playing in the better league.

6. Gabby Hartnett (1.22 PA) - Gets a subject bump because he played all but 33 games of his career behind the plate, something most of these guys can't say, so he's a little underrated numbers wise in any system that uses one position per season (or the others are a little overrated, depending on your take). Just a power hitting machine, 80 points above his park adjusted league slugging. He may have even been able to hang on as a DH had the option been around, as at age 38-40 he posted 118, 97 and 120 OPS+ in 306, 64 and 150 AB, respectively.

7. Carlton Fisk (1.33 PA) - I considered dropping him a bit below where the numbers say he should be, for one, he benefited from DHing about a full season of his career. But I can't see it. He hit nearly as well as these guys (his career OPS+ through age 37 was 122) and kept playing longer. I'm a career value guy, and he's a career value candidate. 34% caught stealing.

8. Bill Dickey (1.20 PA) - Never played anywhere but catcher. Just as good a hitter as Hartnett, Berra, Ewing and Bench.

9. Gary Carter (1.27 PA) - What's not to like? Not quite the hitter Bench and Berra were, but he lasted longer. 35% of opposing stealers caught.

10. Mickey Cochrane (1.13 PA) - Great player, but his career was cut short, so there's no decline phase to his numbers. Two or three more years and he probably would be #4 on this list.

11. Roy Campanella (.74 PA) - He would need the equivalent of more than his 4 best major league seasons (.11, .10, .09, .06) in terms of Pennants Added to catch Cochrane. I'm not prepared to give him that much credit.

12. Louis Santop - Great hitter, comparisons to Gibson and Campanella have me comfortable slotting him here.

13. Ted Simmons (1.02 PA) - Check out that peak from 1975-1980. For anyone that thinks he wasn't thought highly of in his own time, from 1971-77 he finished 16th, 10th, 14th, 13th, 6th, off and 9th in the MVP voting for a series of teams that hovered near .500. Threw out 34% of opposing base-stealers.

14. Bill Freehan (.87 PA) - Actually a year younger than Torre, I wouldn't have realized that. 112 career OPS+ from a catcher that threw out 37% of opposing base-stealers. He was a key player on a championship team and has a 2nd, 3rd and 7th in MVP votes. How did the Hall of Fame miss this guy?

15. Charlie Bennett - Serious mashing from 1881-1888. His career OPS+ sat at 135 after his age 33 season. He was purchased for an estimated $30K after the 1888 season, so his value in his time was pretty much unquestionably that of a superstar. I do pause for a second that maybe he had some hidden ability to take advantage of something with the Recreation Park, as it's the only place he ever posted an OPS+ over 97. But, also played his age 26-33 seasons there.

16. Roger Bresnahan (.90 PA) - Somewhat better than I realized. Imagine Jason Kendall from 1997-2000, but maintaining that incredible OBP over an entire career.

17. Cal McVey - really a C/1B and he could hit it (152 career OPS+ in 10 years). Went out west and was a poineer out there as well.

18. Quincy Trouppe - Better hitter than Mackey. Would have arguably been the 2nd best catcher of the 1940s, behind Gibson.

19. Joe Torre (.89 PA) - Outstanding hitter for a catcher in the 1960s. The PA calc slightly overrates him, because he played other positions a fair amount during his catcher years, but he gets credit for playing entirely at catcher during those years. His defense is maligned, but he did throw out 41% of opposing base-stealers.

20. Biz Mackey - Great defense, good hitter first part of his career, compared to Brad Ausmus in the 2nd part by Andrew Seigel.

For the record, I have no issue with any of the 20 inductees being in the Hall of Merit. All are above my personal in/out line.
   149. Tiboreau Posted: May 11, 2008 at 09:21 PM (#2776992)
1. Josh Gibson—Sorry UCCF and Chris Dial.
2. Johnny Bench—As others have mentioned, it’s a very close race between Bench and Berra for best MLB catcher. In the end, defense pushes Bench ahead by a nose.
3. Yogi Berra—See Johnny Bench comment.
4. Gary Carter—How did he not make the HoF on the first ballot?
5. Roy Campanella—Based solely on his MLB career, he would be somewhere between Hartnett & Santop. Adding Eric Chalek’s MLEs for Campy’s 1943 – 48, he jumps halfway up the ballot.
6. Carlton Fisk—The best career of the bunch with a solid prime too, Fisk is solidly below Carter and was in very close competition with Dickey for the 6th spot on the ballot.
7. Bill Dickey—The competition between the spots between Carter & Santop was rather tough. Dickey’s good peak and excellent prime pushed him toward the top of that group.
8. Mickey Cochrane—Excellent peak, but no matter the cause his career is just too short to surpass the candidates above him.
9. Gabby Hartnett—Very nice career with a solid prime, lower peak value than the catchers above him keeps him from climbing any higher.
10. Buck Ewing—Once an overrated ballplayer, Buck is underrated nowadays. It’s funny what 100 years can due to your reputation.
11. Deacon White—Like Hartnett, White had a long career with a solid peak/prime. The difference is competition as well as time spent outside catcher: White played in the 1870s & 80s when competition was easier than in the modern era.
12. Louis Santop—Using solely WS estimates Santop would fall somewhere between Simmons and Freehan. Reputation pushes him past Simmons
13. Ted Simmons—An underrated ballplayer, who swung a good bat and was an underrated fielder during his prime.
14. Charlie Bennett—A very underrated ballplayer, in fact, one of the few MLB players I hadn’t heard of prior to the HoM. Credit goes to BP’s WARP for helping me appreciate the value of his defense.
15. Cal McVey—1870s short career, high peak catching representative, McVey receives some credit for playing ball in California after his MLB career.
16. Bill Freehan—An excellent peak from a short career, defensively talented catcher pushes Freehan to the top of backlog HoM catchers.
17. Joe Torre—A very good hitter for a catcher, unfortunately, an awful defender who spent half of his career at other positions.
18. Roger Bresnahan—Despite no catcher’s bonus for two of his best years, the Duke of Tralee still had a very nice peak in an era when good catchers where hard to come by.
19. Quincy Trouppe—His career is lost in the transition away from segregated baseball, but his MLEs point to a ballplayer deserving consideration for the Hall of Fame.
20. Biz Mackey—Excellent defense and reputation is the strong point of his candidacy. Unfortunately, his MLEs point to a Sisler style career without quite the peak of Gorgeous George.
   150. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: May 11, 2008 at 09:24 PM (#2776995)
Note, I flip-flopped Bennett and Freehan (Freehan should be 14, Bennett 15), just in case anyone tallied my ballot in the last 3 minutes . . .
   151. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 11, 2008 at 11:49 PM (#2777054)
4. Deacon White - There's been talk of how his 3B years were nothing special . . . in an era where careers were not typically long, he played 20 seasons. He became a 3B in 1882, at the age of 34. 3B was a much more valuable position in this era, the equivalent of 2B today. From age 34-40 he posted OPS+ of 108, 106, 153, 108, 106, 109, 128. Not bad for a guy in his late 30s playing a key defensive position.


The funny thing is, if White really was more third baseman than catcher (which is not the case), he would have an excellent case to be considered the best player at the hot corner for the 19th Century instead!
   152. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 12, 2008 at 12:00 AM (#2777059)
The election is now over. Results will be posted shortly.
   153. andrew siegel Posted: May 14, 2008 at 01:15 PM (#2780177)
For posterity's sake, here is how I would have voted;

(1) Gibson--Easy.

(2) Bench--Could flip-flop with Yogi.
(3) Berra

(Piazza)
(4) Carter--Top of a tight group.
(5) Harnett--Played in a much tougher hitting environment than Dickey; underrated.
(6) Dickey
(7) Cochrane--At his best, as good as anyone except Gibson but the short career hurts in this tight a group.
(8) Ewing--When you adjust for season length, his career is almost identical to Cochrane's.
(9) Fisk--Actually very close to Carter; lots of very good partial seasons exaggerrate his value but only a little bit.
(10) White--Long career but really a peak/prime candidate as his 3B seasons were so-so; might rank higher.

(I-Rod)
(11) Campanella--Only at top of his game offensively and defensively for a few seasons, but his best seasons are very similar to Bench's.

(12) Santop--Hardest to get a handle on. I see him as a B+ hitter and a B+ defender, not really comparable to anyone else on this list.
(13) McVey--A top of the league hitter and a slight plus as a catcher for a few seasons, mix in another few years as a good hitter at offense first positions and we are looking at the career Joe Torre would have had if he wasn't a defensive liability.

(14) Simmons--This group is close.
(15) Bennett
(16) Torre
(17) Freehan

(18) Trouppe
(E.Howard)
(Schang)
(19) Bresnahan

_______PHOM line
(Posada)
(20) Mackey--Not a crazy pick, but doesn't seem to have hit enough. Bob Boone with 2 or 3 big years with the bat.
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