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

Monday, September 01, 2008

Ranking the Hall of Merit by Position: Center Fielders Ballot

These are the Hall of Merit center fielders to be voted on (in alphabetical order):

Richie Ashburn
Earl Averill
Cool Papa Bell
Willard Brown
Pete Browning
Max Carey
Oscar Charleston
Ty Cobb
Andre Dawson
Joe DiMaggio
Larry Doby
George Gore
Billy Hamilton
Pete Hill
Paul Hines
Mickey Mantle
Willie Mays
Alejandro Oms
Jim O’Rourke
Lip Pike
Edd Roush
Duke Snider
Tris Speaker
Turkey Stearnes
Cristóbal Torriente
Jimmy Wynn

The election ends on September

14

21 at 8 PM EDT.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 01, 2008 at 11:47 PM | 63 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 01, 2008 at 11:54 PM (#2925289)
Unless someone objects, I have removed Irvin's name from the group.
   2. Rusty Priske Posted: September 02, 2008 at 06:43 PM (#2926107)
I am currently packing up my office for a move, and what I am packing will include my computer and files etc. So here is my ballot sans explanations, since I am short on time. I will try to add comments when I get unpacked next week, but I am not sure if I will get back to it or not.

The one comment I will make now is that there was an error in my spreadsheet that had Speaker down at 10. I still have him low compared to some people, but not dramatically.

1. Willie Mays
2. Ty Cobb
3. Mickey Mantle
4. Oscar Charleston
5. Tris Speaker
6. Joe DiMaggio
7. Turkey Stearnes
8. Billy Hamilton
9. Cristobel Torriente
10. Duke Snider
11. Larry Doby
12. Pete Hill
13. Richie Ashburn
14. Jim O'Rourke
15. Jimmy Wynn
16. Paul Hines
17. Edd Roush
18. Max Carey
19. George Gore
20. Cool Papa Bell
~~~Monte Irvin~~~
21. Willard Brown
22. Lip Pike
23. Andre Dawson
24. Earl Averill
25. Alejandro Oms
26. Pete Browning
   3. whoisalhedges Posted: September 04, 2008 at 09:54 PM (#2929400)
1. Mays
2. Cobb
3. Mantle
4. Charleston
Very tightly-bunched group, with a good deal of conjecture playing into Charleston's ranking. Fair enough to say, I think, that along with Gibson and Lloyd, Oscar's in the conversation as to the best Negro League position player ever. I don't think it's unfair to rank him top-3 of all time. Still, I'll put him at #4. I like the reliability of the MLB numbers. Willie gets the edge over Charleston due to the reliability of the data; he nips Cobb due to defense and quality-of-competition; and he bests Mantle on defense (though Mickey was pretty good when he still had knees) and longetivity. Strictly as a peak/prime hitter, I may rank Mantle ahead of Cobb, definitely ahead of Mays and Charleston -- but I'm looking at the whole picture here. In the first peak vs. career showdown, career wins.

5. Speaker
6. DiMaggio
Career wins here, too.

7. Hamilton
8. Snider
9. Stearnes
10. Torriente
11. O'Rourke
Honestly don't know what the hell I'm doing with this group. Stearnes and Torriente are clear and deserving HoMers, Hamilton was possibly the best leadoff man of all time before Rickey came along, the Duke wasn't Willie or Mickey, but he was a damn fine ballplayer. Jim O'Rourke played all over the field and was one of the first true GREAT professional baseball players. Duke is the only one with whose ranking I feel truly comfortable. I'm pretty confident Stearnes was better than Torriente, so I put them together with Turkey on top.

12. Wynn
13. Doby
14. Carey
Very slight "timeline" and the fact that he played in some godawful parks for hitters give Wynn the nod over Doby for me. Max Carey was a brilliant baserunner and fielder.

15. Gore
16. Ashburn
17. Bell
To call Cool Papa Bell the Lou Brock of the Negro Leagues is probably unfair. I'm sure Cool Papa had a better glove than Lou. Ashburn's D is probably overrated because of all those fly balls off Robin Roberts (though he was still brilliant, and a good leadoff man). I think Gore was probably better than 'em both, but might be convinced otherwise.

18. Hines
19. Hill
20. Brown
21. Oms
I don't have the best grasp on any of these guys. I did the best I could. Yes, I do still think Willard Brown was better than Alejandro Oms.

22. Roush
23. Browning
24. Pike
25. Averill
Lip Pike was supposedly faster than a horse. That's pretty much all I know about him. Earl Averill would rank higher if he'd picked up a bat before he was in his mid-20s. Pete Browning dominated weaker competition in the AA, and didn't have much of a glove (great hitter, nonetheless). Edd Roush was a brilliant defender, good batter, and had a devil of a time staying healthy.

26. Dawson
Really? I wouldn't have voted for the Hawk.

It may look like I've given short shrift to the Negro Leaguers here, tending to bunch them together as I've done. The truth is, even after reading the player discussion threads, I don't have the same grasp on the NeL outfielders as I do on the infielders and catchers. I'm confident in my ranking of Oscar Charleston (actually had him #2 in the preliminary rankings, but moved up Cobb and Mantle because I trust their numbers more), and I'm confident that Stearnes and Torriente are top-10 material. But exactly where should they rank overall? There's nothing obvious here, no Josh Gibson, no Pop Lloyd. Yeah, Oscar deserves to be mentioned alongside them, but alongside Mays/Cobb/Mantle? And where? That's the question. I think I've finally gotten them in the right order vis a vis each other, but I'm not 100% convinced I have their rankings correct alongside MLB players.
   4. bjhanke Posted: September 06, 2008 at 04:44 AM (#2930946)
Hi. This is Brock. I realize that this is a strange request, but I do have a reason for wanting the info. Can anyone provide me with height and weight data for the Negro Leaguers here? That is, I need the data for:
Cool Papa Bell
Oscar Charleston
Pete Hill
Alejandro Oms
Turkey Stearnes
Cristóbal Torriente

Thanks!
   5. sunnyday2 Posted: September 09, 2008 at 12:24 AM (#2933490)
Meanwhile, back at the ballot.... There are some changes since my prelim.

Inner Circle

1. Mickey Mantle (#1 on my prelim)--for his best 5 years or so, possibly the greatest *eligible* player not named Ruth or Wagner

2. Ty Cobb (#5 on my prelim)--I had him behind Speaker; no, I wasn't zeroing out his years in RF, just positing that Speaker's extra defensive value for those years might move Tris ahead of Ty; I changed my mind

3. Oscar Charleston (#2)--Bill James has him as the #1 CF
4. Willie Mays (#3)
5. Tris Speaker (#4)--I haven't changed my eval of any of these 3, but rather of Cobb

Among the Greats

6. Joe DiMaggio (#6)--with WWII credit; actually, goes here without it, too
7. Duke Snider (#7)
8. Turkey Stearnes (#8)--a little guesswork to put him here, could be anywhere from #7 to #9, so he goes in the middle
9. Billy Hamilton (#9)

Near-Greats

10. Cristobal Torriente (#10)

Upper Middle Class

11. Larry Doby (#11)
12. Jim O'Rourke (#16)
13. Paul Hines (#15)--Paul, ya talked me into it (moving up the best of the 19C guys, that is)
14. Edd Roush (#12)

Lower Middle Class

15. Lip Pike (#13)--not that short of a career for his time
16. George Gore (#19)
17. Max Carey (#17)
18. Andre Dawson (#14)

Borderline

19. Alejandro Oms (#25)--could be anywhere from #19 to #25, this is pretty optimal, but comp is Dawson
20. Richie Ashburn (#24)--I had under-rated him, the comp is Carey
21. Jim Wynn (#15)--could never really decide what to do with him
22. Willard Brown (#22)--Hack Wilson?
23. Pete Browning (#21)--borderline, but I'm happy to err on the side of grabbing more CF, they're often the best athletes

Not PHoM

24. Cool Papa Bell (#18)--Ashburn?
25. Earl Averill (#23)--Reggie Smith?
26. Pete Hill (#26)--Eric Davis, but longer career?
   6. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: September 09, 2008 at 12:47 AM (#2933532)
Sunnyday, do you timeline? Cobb's peak was just as great as Mantle's (OPS+ only slightly lower, and baserunning makes up the difference; fielding and durability were comparable), and he has all sorts of career on him. Also, are you aware that it doesn't seem like Charleston did much of anything after moving to 1B in 1930? If you're a *pure* peak voter I suppose that doesn't matter, but I don't think there's any reason to think that Charleston's peak was *greater* than Mays's and Speaker's, and obviously the latter two have plenty more career.
   7. Tiboreau Posted: September 09, 2008 at 01:46 AM (#2933608)
26. Pete Hill (#26)--Eric Davis, but longer career?

According to Brent's latest MLEs Pete Hill had a 140 career OPS. Eric Davis? 125.

In the BJHBA James states that Hill was "often compared to Ty Cobb as a player, but probably more comparable to Sam Crawford, leaving aside question of quality." Not leaving aside the question of quality, a comparison of Hill's MLEs & Crawford:
.  .  .  .  .  . . . . .  ab .  tb  tob  sb  ops+
1899-1917 Crawford  . .  9570 2961 4328 3744 366  144
1903
-1921 Hill  . . . .  9585 2873 3972 4192 598  136 

These numbers are based on Brent's original projection and need to be adjusted upwards.

While not Crawford's equal, he isn't too far off the mark, a better on-base average, while Crawford was a better slugger. Personally, considering both reputation & MLEs, I don't see putting Hill (140 OPS+, 9585 AB) behind Edd Roush (126, 7363), and he certainly isn't Eric Davis (125, 5321). I think he's closer to Duke Snider (140, 7161), Larry Doby (136, 5348--MLB career) territory conservatively.

Through my limited exposure, the top 4 Negro League CF (Charleston, Stearnes, Torriente & Hill) appear to be, reputationally among the best position players in Negro League history, let alone their respective eras. Gibson, Leonard, Lloyd, Bell, Dihigo, Wells . . . would these be the top 10 position players in Negro League history reputationally? The MLEs, as far as I know have also considered all of these players to be approximately as good as their reputations--or at least the little I know about their reputations--except Cool Papa Bell, who we've replaced with Jud Wilson. With the questions concerning the favorability of the MLEs, could we be underrating the reputations of the top center fielders?
   8. bjhanke Posted: September 09, 2008 at 07:56 AM (#2933722)
Hi, guys. I put my height and weight post on the discussion thread, using Paul's data to fill in my blanks. Thanks, Paul. I would have asked the question there, but I'm not sure how many are still reading that thread. The post does NOT amount to a big deal, but it might be better than nothing if you're trying to sort out defense for players with little data. - Brock
   9. TomH Posted: September 09, 2008 at 12:53 PM (#2933776)
ballot

1 mays
lg strength, war credit, AND he adjusted to 2 parks that hurt him in mid-career
2 cobb
#1 if he weren’t a clubhouse boiling pot. I also dock him 0.5 wins for the team forfeit due to his suspension
3 mantle
ueber peakster
4 speaker
Docked a bit for lesser abbility to play post-live ball
5 charleston
underrated by 99% of humanity. Overrated by BJames.
6 dimaggio
absultootly the world's best #6 ranking

[huge gap]

7 hamilton
best leadoff man pre-1980
8 stearnes
thanks for the MLEs guys
9 O'Rourke
BP translated stats: 3561 hits 505 HR 372 OBP. Sweet.
10 snider
over 300 WS by age 32 in a tough league
11 hines
BP translated stats: 3416 hits 433 HR
12 torriente
thanks for the MLEs guys
13 gore
superb glove. No bonus for inventing the internet
14 ashburn
glove + leadoff skillz
15 p hill
thanks for the MLEs guys
16 doby
dsid everything well
17 carey
glove + leadoff skillz
18 pike
speed sure worked in his day, didn't it?
19 cp bell
1/2 way between rep and ##s
20 averill
920 OPS. Sweet.
21 w brown
my best guess
22 wynn
did everything but hit singles
23 dawson
did everything but take ball 4
24 oms
thanks for the MLEs guys
25 roush
hall of very good; we had to elect SOMEONE that year
26 browning
poor league, poor glove
   10. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: September 09, 2008 at 01:57 PM (#2933818)
TomH, DRA says Speaker was a +265 fielder, Mays +227. Leaving aside the constitutionality of discounting the skills that won pennants in Speaker's day, a subject which I don't know enough about to to opine on, what do you think Speaker's defense would have been in a "neutral" context? +200? +150? 0? -1000? A backup catcher?

Speaker doesn't *need* to be +250 to be the #3 all-time CF. Even if he were a merely league-average CF, he'd *still* have had more career value than Mantle--he was still putting up multiple MVP-type seasons at an age when Mantle was relegated to part-time 1B play. The *only* cases I can see for putting Mantle ahead of Speaker are a) complete disregard for career or b) a timeline. (In terms of ease of domination, again, just look at something like the average 5th-place OPS+ finisher--they were higher in Mantle's day than in Speaker's). And if you timeline--which I'm under the impression is unconstitutional anyway--why is the fact that you might not enjoy grabbing a beer with Ty Cobb the only factor keeping him from the top of your ballot?

Speaker over Mantle is becoming a crusade for me. Please, guys--let's not turn this into the election of Nellie Fox all over again. :)
   11. TomH Posted: September 09, 2008 at 02:30 PM (#2933852)
I'll answer on the discussion thread, Dan.
   12. DL from MN Posted: September 09, 2008 at 03:22 PM (#2933904)
Since the Negro League MLEs seem to be in flux, I'll post the ballot.

1) Ty Cobb
2) Willie Mays
3) Tris Speaker - three players in the top 10 all-time. The ones that seem unarguable are Cobb > Speaker and Mays > Mantle. Then you get into era comparisons. I think Mays may have been a better ballplayer than Cobb but not much and Cobb was definitely more valuable to his team in his era.
4) Mickey Mantle
5) Oscar Charleston - two more in the top 25. A peak voter has a tougher time ranking but since I vote career these two drop off compared to the top 3.
6) Joe DiMaggio
7) Turkey Stearnes - two more in the top 40
8) Billy Hamilton - and we drop down to around 120th all-time.
9) Cristobal Torriente
10) Max Carey - Almost as much baserunning credit and fielding credit as anyone can get - 10.3 BRWAA, 13.6 FWAA
11) Paul Hines - I like the order Hines, O'Rourke, Gore, Pike.
12) Duke Snider - may be a little better than this due to quality of competition but I'm pretty confident he's much closer to Ashburn than he is to Torriente. One of the poorer fielders in this list.
13) Richie Ashburn - baserunning and defense close the gap between Richie and the Duke.
14) Jim O'Rourke
15) Pete Hill
16) Larry Doby
17) George Gore
18) Cool Papa Bell - bottom of my PHoM although I've also inducted Reggie Smith. I think blanket MLEs may underestimate his batting average like they did with Ichiro. MLEs assume average speed. Great fielding and baserunning reputation also. Long career helps him in my system.
19) Alejandro Oms - not PHoM but not far away either
20) Earl Averill - here comes the group of CF who were inducted despite not being as good as Dom DiMaggio
21) Jim Wynn
22) Edd Roush
23) Andre Dawson
24) Lip Pike
25) Pete Browning - bad defender and offensive stats inflated by weak leagues
26) Willard Brown - I'll continue to hammer on how bad of a pick I think Willard Brown is. His MLEs (war-time NgL MLEs at that) don't paint a picture of a hitter better than Andre Dawson. Anectdotal evidence says he was streaky and undependable. As a fielder he was noted mainly for his laziness. I can't possibly rank him above Dawson and I don't think Dawson was a worthy pick. At least Hawk could field.
   13. ronw Posted: September 09, 2008 at 07:15 PM (#2934189)
Center Fielder ranking. MVP/AS are my own calculations, but for Negro Leaguers I use some combination of Holway/James MVP and AS selections. Revised Monster = 13.5 WARP1 or WARP2 and above. Great=10.0 WARP1 or WARP2 and above. WAV is the average of career WARP1 and WARP2.

1. Willie Mays – 12 MVP, 18 AS, 226.0 WAV, war credit – 8 Monster (1954, 1955, 1957, 1958, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965), 6 Great (1956, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1966, 1968). Most shocking, Willie’s lifetime eqA2 is the same as Ty Cobb’s, at .330. That, the fielding advantage, and the lost Korean War time puts Mays on top.

2. Ty Cobb – 13 MVP, 20 AS, 214.4 WAV, war credit – 7 Monster (1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1915, 1916, 1917), 5 Great (1907, 1908, 1913, 1918, 1922). No shame to finish second to Willie Mays. This is the toughest positional ballot for me.

3. Tris Speaker – 14 MVP, 19 AS, 197.9 WAV, war credit – 8 Monster (1909, 1910, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1923), 6 Great (1911, 1917, 1918, 1919, 1920, 1921). Neck-and-neck with Cobb, especially fielding Tris didn’t have as lofty a peak, although it was fabulous. The Stan Musial to Cobb’s Ted Williams.

4. Mickey Mantle – 11 MVP, 14 AS, 165.0 WAV – 3 Monster (1956, 1957, 1961), 6 Great (1952, 1954, 1955, 1958, 1959, 1960). I nearly had Charleston ahead, but Mantle has the best peak on the board, and a decent-sized career despite the injuries.

5. Oscar Charleston – 10 MVP, 13 AS, war credit. Based on superlatives, he could be #1, but he moved off of center field too early. Could be behind Mantle

6. Joe DiMaggio – 9 MVP, 12 AS, 125 WAV, war credit – 2 Monster (1937, 1941), 4 Great (1939, 1940, 1942, 1948). Even with war credit, he is just outside the Big 5 CF.

7. Turkey Stearnes – 3 MVP, 12 AS. My best guess puts Stearnes here. He wouldn’t be ahead of Charleston, but perhaps DiMaggio?

8. Jim O’Rourke – 3 MVP, 17 AS, 111.9 WAV – No Monster, 1 Great (1885). Primarily career, but such a long one for the time. Especially valuable because of the positional versatility.

9. Billy Hamilton – 6 MVP, 11 AS, 101.1 WAV – No Monster, 4 Great (1891, 1892, 1894, 1900). Did exactly what a leadoff man should do.

10. Paul Hines – 6 MVP, 14 AS, 92.6 WAV – No Monster, 2 Great (1879, 1884). Like O’Rourke, an extraordinarily long career.

11. Cristobal Torriente – 1 MVP, 9 AS. The MLE’s show a relatively short career for a top CF.

12. Max Carey – 2 MVP, 11 AS, 113.6 WAV – No Monster, 6 Great (1916, 1917, 1918, 1922, 1923, 1924). Fielding and baserunning gets him higher than I would have expected.

13. Richie Ashburn – 3 MVP, 12 AS,. 110.5 WAV – No Monster, 4 Great (1951, 1953, 1954, 1958). Essentially Max Carey less a year or two.

14. Duke Snider – 4 MVP, 9 AS, 96.0 WAV – No Monster, 4 Great (1953, 1954, 1955, 1956). Good enough peak, not long enough career for Top 10.

~~Monte Irvin~~ – 2 MVP, 6 AS, 34.9 WAV. I hope we do the LF ballot again.

15. Larry Doby – 5 MVP, 10 AS, 78.3 WAV – No Monster, 3 Great (1950, 1952, 1954). Similar to Snider, with less of a peak.

16. George Gore – 4 MVP, 10 AS, 87.2 WAV – No Monster, 3 Great (1880, 1884, 1885). May be hurt by the short seasons more than anyone.

17. Pete Hill – 2 MVP, 5 AS. I almost think this might be too low.

18. Andre Dawson – 2 MVP, 9 AS, 106.5 WAV, strike credit, No Monster, 3 Great (1980, 1981, 1982). Just didn’t walk enough to be an elite player.

19. Pete Browning – 5 MVP, 8 AS, 70.6 WAV – No Monster, 3 Great (1882, 1885, 1887). I loved Browning and think he should have been elected (just like everyone above him). He definitely benefits from the AA, but probably would have hit anywhere, just like he did in 1890.

20. Edd Roush – 2 MVP, 9 AS, 90.6 WAV, war credit – No Monster, 2 Great (1919, 1920). 1920 is almost (13.3) a Monster season. Good peak, good all around player, nothing spectacular.

21. Willard Brown – 5 MVP, 9 AS. Fielding ability is all over the map, which must mean that he was OK.

22. Jimmy Wynn – 5 MVP, 8 AS, 98.9 WAV – No Monster, 4 Great (1965, 1968, 1969, 1974). I was surprised at his election, but the Astrodome really killed people. (Hello, Jose Cruz!).

23. Cool Papa Bell – 2 MVP, 8 AS – I hope he is more Max Carey than Vada Pinson, but I think perhaps not. In fact, he could be more Steve Finley.

24. Earl Averill – 2 MVP, 10 AS, 76.9 WAV, PCL credit – No Monster, 1 Great (1934). Seems to be a product of the lively ball 30’s, but then again he was a great fielder.

25. Lip Pike – 3 MVP, 6 AS, 30.2 WAV – No Monster, No Great. 1875 (9.9 W1) is almost a Great season, and in only 315 PA, it is a Monster by rate. However, his career is relatively short.

26. Alejandro Oms – 0 MVP, 3 AS – Somewhere between Vada Pinson and Steve Finley. I never really supported his election.
   14. Rick A. Posted: September 10, 2008 at 12:04 AM (#2934545)
CF Ballot
1. Ty Cobb
2. Willie Mays - Very close between these two.
3. Tris Speaker - The player people think of when they talk about DiMaggio.
4. Oscar Charleston
5. Mickey Mantle - Best #5 ranking among all positions.
6. Joe DiMaggio - Will he be a unanimous #6?
7. Jim O'Rourke - Long career at a time of short carrers.
8. Turkey Stearnes
9. Paul Hines
10. Billy Hamilton
11. Cristobal Torriente
12. George Gore - Better defense than Hines, but not as long a career.
13. Larry Doby
14. Duke Snider
15. Pete Hill - Moved up with recent discussion.
16. Lip Pike - short career but high peak.
17. Earl Averill - With minor league credit.
18. Pete Browning - Mediocre defense, weak leagues, but still a deserving selection. 162 OPS+
19. Willard Brown - Wouldn't be CFer in Major leagues
20. Alejandro Oms
21. Cool Papa Bell - A+ Speed and A+ defense
22. Max Carey - Same comment as Cool Papa. Ranks higher than I originnally had him.
23. Edd Roush
Hugh Duffy
24. Jimmy Wynn
-----------------------------------PHOM Line-----------------------------------------
25. Richie Ashburn - May have underestimated him. Very close to Wynn. May make PHOM in next few years.
Dale Murphy
Fielder Jones
Kirby Puckett
Reggie Smith
Hack Wilson
George Van Haltren
Jimmy Ryan
Dom DiMaggio
Spotswood Poles
Wally Berger
Fred Lynn
26. Andre Dawson - Not close to my PHOM
   15. Sean Gilman Posted: September 10, 2008 at 09:31 PM (#2935948)
Centerfield:

1. Willie Mays - With war credit, he’s got the most WARP of any centerfielder.

2. Ty Cobb - Real close to Mays, with a slightly better peak and slightly less career WARP. Less colorful league, though.

3. Tris Speaker - Slightly less than Cobb and Mays.

4. Oscar Charleston - The latest MLE numbers seem to give him about the same peak as Speaker with a fair amount less career value.

5. Mickey Mantle - Slightly less peak than everyone above him, about the same career value as Charleston.

6. Joe DiMaggio - Clearly below those above him.

7. Turkey Stearnes - Much closer to DiMaggio than expected, but that doesn’t seem horribly unreasonable.

8. Billy Hamilton - Least career value of my top 14, but not by a lot, and his WARP thinks his peak is DiMaggio-esque.

9. Jim O’Rourke - Long career, fine 19th Century peak.

10. Paul Hines - A bit less career than O’Rourke, a bit more peak.

11. Cristobal Torriente - The latest numbers have him somewhere in-between Hamilton and Gore.

12. George Gore - Peak about the same as Hines and O’Rourke, much shorter career though.

13. Cool Papa Bell - Bell and Carey seem like a good pair to me: great defense, lots of speed, OPS+ somewhat underwhelming.

14. Max Carey - Good career value, solid peak.

15. Duke Snider - WARP is wholly unimpressed with him. I think WARP’s probably wrong.

16. Lip Pike - Very good peak, reasonable career length with pre-NA credit. Faster than a horse.

17. Edd Roush - A sizable gap between 16 and 17. The rest of these guys have about the same amount of career value gaps in peak depending on how you look at it, what credit you give and how you translate their stats. I like Roush’s peak slightly more than Ashburn’s.

18. Richie Ashburn - A bit less than Roush.

19. Pete Hill - Seems about Ashburn-quality to me.

20. Pete Browning - The best peak of this bottom group, depending on how much you credit the AA.

21. Andre Dawson - Played in the hardest leagues of any of these guys, needs strike credit for 1981.

22. Willard Brown - Seems Dawson-esque.

23. Jimmy Wynn - A bit more peak than Doby, if you look at it non-consecutively.

24. Larry Doby - A solid, unspectacular HOMer.

25. Alejandro Oms - A better version of Averill.

26. Earl Averill - I don’t think he’s a mistake.
   16. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: September 10, 2008 at 09:50 PM (#2935958)
5. Mickey Mantle - Slightly less peak than everyone above him


Is that a typo? I know, I've been tirelessly pushing Speaker over Mantle, but it's on career grounds. If there's one thing the Mick has, it's peak....
   17. Paul Wendt Posted: September 10, 2008 at 09:58 PM (#2935963)
24. Larry Doby - A solid, unspectacular HOMer.

25. Alejandro Oms - A better version of Averill.

26. Earl Averill - I don’t think he’s a mistake.


Sean, Do you credit Doby for any play in the Negro Leagues?
   18. Sean Gilman Posted: September 11, 2008 at 07:04 AM (#2937572)
On Mantle: when I say slightly, I mean it. Looking at WARP1, he's between 1.9 and 8 WARP1 less over his 5 best seasons than the guys in my top 4 (that's Mays and Cobb, respectively), along with between 2 (Mays again) and 7 WARP1 less over his best 7 consecutive seasons (Speaker's tops). This is pretty much within the margin of error. His career value is more determinative, I should have said that.

On Doby: I credit him with 23 WARP1 for 1944-47, two years of military service, two years of Negro League play. Maybe that should be higher, but it wouldn't move him up my ballot unless it was a lot. He looks better peakwise if you only consider his best three seasons.
   19. TomH Posted: September 12, 2008 at 11:29 PM (#2939802)
REVISED BALLOT - please disregard previous submission (post #9)

1 mays
lg strength, war credit, AND he adjusted to 2 parks that hurt him in
mid-career
2 cobb
#1 if he weren't a clubhouse boiling pot. I also dock him 0.5 wins for
the team forfeit due to his suspension
3 speaker
Docked a bit for lesser ability to play post-live ball
4 mantle
ueber peakster. I fully understand why some could have him #1.
5 charleston
underrated by 99% of humanity. Overrated by BJames.
6 dimaggio
absultootly the world's best #6 ranking

[huge gap]

7 hamilton
best leadoff man pre-1980
8 stearnes
thanks for the MLEs guys
9 O'Rourke
BP translated stats: 3561 hits 505 HR 372 OBP. Sweet.
10 snider
over 300 WS by age 32 in a tough league
11 hines
BP translated stats: 3416 hits 433 HR
12 torriente
thanks for the MLEs guys
13 gore
superb glove. No bonus for inventing the internet
14 ashburn
glove + leadoff skillz
15 p hill
thanks for the MLEs guys
16 doby
dsid everything well
17 carey
glove + leadoff skillz
18 pike
speed sure worked in his day, didn't it?
19 cp bell
1/2 way between rep and ##s
20 averill
920 OPS. Sweet.
21 w brown
my best guess
22 wynn
did everything but hit singles
23 dawson
did everything but take ball 4
24 oms
thanks for the MLEs guys
25 roush
hall of very good; we had to elect SOMEONE that year
26 browning
poor league, poor glove
   20. Tiboreau Posted: September 14, 2008 at 09:19 AM (#2940751)
1. Ty Cobb—I can definitely see placing the Say Hey Kid over the Georgia Peach due to the former facing stiffer competition during his era; however, Cobb’s advantage is just enough for me to place him above Mays despite that. Who knows, maybe I’m underrating the competition levels of the 1950s NL in comparison to the 1910s AL. . . .
2. Willie Mays—See Ty Cobb comment.
3. Tris Speaker—Interesting discussion on the merits of Speaker and Mantle in the CF ballot discussion thread. I tend to fall on the side of the Grey Eagle considering the value of his defense to both his peak and career is such that his career value is sufficiently greater than Mantle’s, overcoming the Mick’s peak advantage.
4. Mickey Mantle—See Tris Speaker comment.
5. Oscar Charleston—After the original MLEs Charleston appeared to be the black Mickey Mantle. The latest iteration, and DanR’s WARP, having done nothing to dissuade that notion.
6. Turkey Stearnes—DanR’s surprise at the MLE results for Stearnes & Torriente has led to a bit of a question regarding whether or not they’re casting too favorable a light on Negro Leaguers. I suspect that we just happen to have 3 brilliant ballplayers with stellar reputations who played an important defensive position, but Dan’s looked at such things related to the MLB more closely than I have.
7. Joe DiMaggio—“Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you. What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson? ‘Joltin’ Joe has left and gone away.’”
8. Cristobal Torriente—MLEs, both peak & career, are very similar to Joltin’ Joe. Considering his reputation as the heart of Rube Foster’s Chicago American Giants lineup I have no issue with that.
9. Billy Hamilton—Using only BP’s WARP to evaluate the top CF of the 19th century, the next three ballplayers appear to me to be all very close in value. Sliding Billy has the least career value of the trio, but his peak advantage is enough to overcome it.
10. Jim O’Rourke—See Billy Hamilton & Paul Hines comments.
11. Paul Hines—A contemporary of Orator Jim, whose career advantage is too much for even Paul Hines’ peak, although it is very close.
12. Duke Snider—Just behind the trio of 19th century CF HoMers and the weakest link of the trio of 1950 CF HoMers, Snider still had a very solid HoM career, albeit a fairly short one.
XX. Monte Irvin—Would rank 10th on the LF ballot, 15th on the RF ballot.
13. Pete Hill—His MLEs indicate a 140 OPS+ talent during a fairly long career (9500+ AB), which, AFAIK, jives with Hill’s reputation. I may actually be underrating him considering that the gentleman one slot ahead of him put up the same career OPS+ in nearly 2500 fewer AB.
14. Richie Ashburn—Win Shares is not quite as kind to Ashburn as the other comprehensive metrics, I assume due to its poor weighting of defense and lack of consideration of competition, particularly the NL of the 1950s. Using solely WS, Ashburn would likely fall into backlog territory, somewhere between Cool Papa Bell & Max Carey. Thankfully, I no longer using solely WS and Ashburn looks more like a mid-level HoM candidate rather than a backlogger.
15. Larry Doby—Like Monte Irvin & Roy Campanella, was a very good ballplayer in both the Negro & Major leagues, although like Campy he spent more quality years in the latter than the former. Like Monte Irvin, credit for his Negro League performance is confused by record issues for the Newark Eagles.
16. Jimmy Wynn—Like Joe Medwick among LF, I may be overrating the Toy Cannon due to the way I weigh peak, but I’m reasonably comfortable with his place on my CF ballot; a rather interesting ballot: it contains, I believe, the highest proportion of Negro League & 19th century ballplayers as well as a very strong Top 10 and a fairly weak bottom 10.
17. George Gore—A weaker candidate than his 19th century contemporaries with a weaker peak & shorter career; however, Gore is still a solid choice for the Hall of Merit and the Hall of Fame.
18. Alejandro Oms—A poor man’s Enos Slaughter: a long career with a very good prime, including three years of undocumented play (WWII credit for Slaughter, Cuban Sugar leagues for Oms); the only major difference between the two is Slaughter’s fluke year.
19. Willard Brown—His MLEs a fairly close to Oms: similar career value (advantage to Oms after credit for non-recorded play), a bit higher peak but a less consistent, weaker prime.
20. Earl Averill—the Earl of Snohomish’s candidacy benefits greatly from credit for his PCL seasons, yet they still aren’t enough to lift him out of the ranks of the CF backloggers.
21. Andre Dawson—I never voted for him and placed him last among HoMers eligible for election to the HoF by the BBWAA. I still consider Hawk to be a borderline candidate who is the weakest of HoF eligibles, but I was probably too hard on him. If he was still eligible for the HoM, Dawson would rank somewhere in the middle of my ’09 ballot.
22. Cool Papa Bell—Based purely on his MLEs, Cool Papa would probably rank last among HoM CF; based on his reputation Bell would probably, well, rank much higher. This spot is a compromise between the two positions.
23. Lip Pike—One of the best players of the late 1860s & early 1870s, known for his brilliant speed, the first of the short career, high peak outfielders.
24. Max Carey—I may be underrating him, but as a peak voter Carey isn’t as impressive as to me as would be career voters, his excellent periphery numbers just aren’t enough to push his peak into the stratosphere of ballplayers that I prefer.
25. Edd Roush—Win Shares is much higher on Roush than either BP or Dan R’s WARP numbers, primarily due to the competition levels of the NL of his era. Holdouts and WWI only serve to obfuscate his candidacy.
26. Pete Browning—A good hitting, poor fielding outfielder who played in the weaker of the two leagues of the 1880s, the combination of poor defense & the competition levels of his era are enough to knock down his peak to the extent that it no longer makes up for a short career.
   21. bjhanke Posted: September 14, 2008 at 09:39 AM (#2940753)
This is Brock Hanke's center field ballot. As usual for me, since I write essays, it's long. I put just a list of the players in order at the top here for the tabulators of votes. There's no reason to make someone wade through all the stuff I write just to get count up the list.

I will check in to the site before the deadline quite hits. So, if anyone has caught me with my knowledge down, as with Minnie Minoso's age, please post up and I'll adjust. Otherwise, this is it.

1. Ty Cobb
2. Willie Mays
3. Tris Speaker
4. Oscar Charleston
5. Mickey Mantle
6. Joe DiMaggio
7. Sliding Billy Hamilton
8. Turkey Stearnes
9. Max Carey
10. Cristobal Torriente
11. Larry Doby
12. Duke Snider
13. Richie Ashburn
14. Paul Hines
15. Orator Jim O'Rourke
16. Cool Papa Bell
17. George Gore
18. Jimmy Wynn
19. Pete Browning
20. Pete Hill
21. Earl Averill
22. Edd Roush
23. Alejandro Ohms
24. Andre Dawson
25. Lip Pike
26. Willard Brown

1. Ty Cobb
Why Cobb over Mays is in the Mays comment. I don't have the database to check this out in detail, but I believe, based on poking around a little in the encyclopedias, that I have a theory on the early AL's quick rise to prominence. I believe the AL was the first league to really mine the Deep South for players. It's like the NL with black guys in the 1950s. Cobb, Speaker, Eddie Cicotte, and a few others appear to be unmatched in terms of origin by anyone in the NL at the time. It would explain why the AL was so successful so quickly. As opposed to other leagues competing with the NL, the AL did not just try to raid NL players; they looked in an area of the country that was unused by the NL. So my question is, as always, has anyone actually studied this in any systematic detail? I'd love to know, but know perfectly well that I will never spend the time to find out unless someone comes up with a database with a column for state of birth. Thanks!

Also, one thing that people seldom mention in regards to Cobb's personal difficulties is the factor of being a gentleman. In Cobb's time, and especially in the South, this was a huge thing culturally. Cobb's father was an educated gentleman, which was almost certainly why he was so dead set against Ty's taking up baseball as a profession, rather than as a club sport. When the father got shot by the mother, with Ty away defying the father, this didn't only deprive Ty of his dad and his mother of her husband. It deprived the entire family of its status. The gentleman was dead. The mother had a stigma now. And Ty was a ballplayer. I imagine that a LOT of Cobb's personality issues came from being one of the first Southerners in the majors, in the North where respect for Southerners was not exactly an art form, and having to deal with trying to restore to his family some sort of cultural respect at the same time. It also explains part of his obsession with money. Money buys respectability, if you add in fame form any venue. Cobb had fame.

2. Willie Mays
Here's my analysis. Start with Mays vs. Mantle. It's peak vs. career, but that is true even if you look at just offense. On defense, there's no contest. So Mays has two advantages to Mantle's one, as I see it. Cobb has Mays on offensive peak, at least in my opinion. Mays has defense. Cobb has a small advantage in actual games played. If you work out Mays' war years and then counteradjust for Willie's 162-game seasons, Mays comes out ahead by a small amount, but there's a problem there. The war years are very early in Willie's career, and I have some doubts about the value of 1952, given what 1951 was like and how 1952 got started. I don't know about 1953. I do know that Willie Mays came out of the war in 1954 a much better player than he had been when he went in two years earlier. But then, we're talking about going from age 21 to age 23, so it makes sense. In the end, I give a small credit to Cobb because I actually have data for him, while I'm guessing and extrapolating for Willie. So that's two advantages to one. Sure, I'm aware that the margins of "victory" in the three arenas are not the same, but this makes more sense than anything else I could think of to separate these two guys. Actually, I would not complain if someone ranked the two by flipping a coin. It's that close.

3. Tris Speaker

An astonishingly complete ballplayer and an astonishingly adaptable one. I'd be willing to let him play catcher, lefty that he was, if I needed one and had two center fielders. BTW, the idea that Speaker did not adapt to the Ruth Revolution is wrong. In 1922, he established new personal highs in homers and in slugging percentage, despite being 34 years old and only playing 131 games. His previous homer high had led the league, albeit in the dead ball era. In 1923, playing a full 150 games, he finished tied for fourth in the league in taters. That is, in his mid-30s, he adapted to a new environment at a top level in his league. Yes, the numbers involved don't look like much compared to Ruth himself, but compared to anyone else, it is clear that Speaker had adapted to the new wave. It wasn't his fault that he was already well into the decline phase of his career. Ranks above the next two on the basis of defense, at the very least.

4. Oscar Charleston

When young and thin, a better defender than Mantle, and also probably (MLEs aren't perfect) hit better at his peak. Mantle, at this level, isn't selling career, and his defense eroded from injuries as fast as Oscar's did from overweight. It's important to realize that Oscar's reputation in the minds of the observers of his time, like George Sisler's, is based on people remembering him at his peak, and that there was a large dropoff from his peak, especially on defense. The dropoff is nothing like what Sisler's was, but it's there. His reputation ignores that because no one remembers him as a fat first baseman. They remember the early sleek speedster. And so I discount the rep a bit.

I don't mean to bash Charleston supporters. Almost everyone remembers like this, including me. Me memories of Bob Gibson, for example, are of the Bullet Bob who threw a slider as hard as anyone else's fastball and then had a fastball that was even harder. I don't remember the guy at the end of his career, with his arm shot, trying to develop a knuckleball to stay in the game. No one should be expected to remember First Baseman Oscar. To remember Center Fielder Oscar is completely understandable. And that guy was just hellacious. But in analysis, we have to remember the First Baseman as well.

5. Mickey Mantle

On the other hand, Mantle has that advantage in walks. He could turn out better than Charleston, given better data to work with. This is what I have now, given what little we know about Charleston.

6. Joe DiMaggio
I embarrassed myself a bit there over on the discussion thread, comparing DiMaggio to Billy Hamilton and finding what I thought for a couple of days was something huge. But you try it (of course, you all have). They're almost direct opposites. Joe was a great power hitter who, like, Musial, didn't milk his power for as many walks as he could have, compared to Gehrig, Mize, Williams, or Kiner, for example. Though fast, he was no base stealing threat, even in his era. On the other hand, he was a great glove. He was a large man for a center fielder, ranks second in the HoM list to Dawson.

Hamilton had almost no power, even for his times, but took walks in job lots. He stole bases like no one until maybe Henderson, but, though probably faster than Joe, wasn't nearly the fielder. Normal encyclopedia metrics, unable to find any caught stealing or OBE data for Hamilton, have the difference between Billy and Joe larger than it almost certainly was, although even I give the advantage to Joe. Billy was small, even for a center fielder, ranks last in the HoM list.

Both men take raps for short careers, but if you make appropriate adjustments for schedule lengths and wars and career lengths in their times, they both rank high enough to have credit for long careers, compared to their peers.

7. Sliding Billy Hamilton
Another early baseball question. I've never seen this mentioned, but is it possible that Hamilton and McGraw were able to take their enormous numbers of walks because they were milking the lack of a foul strike rule, fouling pitches off until the pitcher finally threw his fourth wild one? I don't know, but I'm always willing to speculate, and to listen to people who have some actual info.

8. Turkey Stearnes
If you look through Bill James' list of the Top 100 Players of All Time, you find that Turkey Stearnes ranks fourth among left fielders, one spot ahead of Rickey Henderson. If he were a center fielder, he would rank 7th. That, I assume, is why Bill puts him in left. I have him below Hamilton on the basis of not making outs and some subjective adjustment for OBE and the stolen base game, and also because I will trust hard stats over MLEs, as of the current state of MLE data.

9. Max Carey
Enormous career length, especially for a center fielder of his time, close to Cobb and Speaker, way ahead of the rest. Top defense, top baserunning, offense has enough black ink to count. He's not Ty or Tris, but he's by far the best center fielder of his times who is not from the Old Confederacy. His last four years are of dubious value, but expose one of the weaknesses in Pete Palmer's Linear Weights system. Pete has Max's career TPR at 22.6. But if you end his career in 1925 instead of 1929, he rises to 29.3. This is, of course, silly. Carey had SOME value those last four years, not a negative. There may have been an injury there in 1926. Neft and Cohen have no mention, but Max played only 113 games, played poorly, and was traded from Pittsburgh, a good team, to Brooklyn, a poor one. He never recovered.
   22. bjhanke Posted: September 14, 2008 at 09:40 AM (#2940754)
10. Cristobal Torriente
Apparently, the best position player in the history of the Cuban leagues. Moved Oscar Charleston to left field at one time, although I don't know if that's the young, thin Oscar or the soon-to-be fat first baseman. I rank him behind Carey because I actually have some reliable data about Carey.

11. Larry Doby
I may be Larry's best friend here, and probably the only one who will rank him over Duke Snider. Here's my reasoning: Larry deserves a minimum of 3 years extra credit, and I give him 4. The three are 1947, when he only played 29 games, but would surely have been an established full-timer if white, and 45-46, when I think he would also have been a major league starter. The fourth is a cumulative year after 1959. Larry broke his ankle in 59, and his major league career was over. But he played in Japan as late as 1962. I suspect that the main problem was that no one would give him a major league chance after 1959, again because of race. I might be wrong about that, but it's what I think I see. That brings his career length up to about Snider's.

Snider has the higher peak, playing in the tougher league (ironically, because of integration). But they're about equal in overall offensive value, and Doby was the better defender. And finally, Doby was a converted middle infielder, moved because of the needs of his team. That's real versatility. I don't give, say, Orator Jim O'Rourke, much credit for that because he played the toughest position he could. His "ability" to play other spots was mainly because he wasn't the best glove in center. But Doby could have played second and probably short if his team had needed him to. That's real versatility, and it gives him the edge over Snider to me. I am willing to be convinced otherwise, but that's what I see as of right now.

12. Duke Snider
I didn't say that there was a gap of any real size between Snider and Doby. I heard it mentioned, back when I was a kid and Snider was still active, that the Duke benefited from being the only lefty bat in the Dodger lineup. The theory was that opposing managers would stack the rotation against the Bums with righty arms, and so Duke would have an unusual platoon advantage. I don't know if this is true statistically, and so I made no deduction for it. Snider was indeed the only lefty bat in the lineup between 1951 and 1954, and the only lefty of any consequence until Wally Moon in 1959. Junior Gilliam was a switch-hitter.

13. Richie Ashburn
Let's see. Of the 13 guys here and above, three are from the 1910s and five are from the 1950s. Three never played in the Majors because of skin color. Hamilton and DiMaggio are bunched together as the sore thumbs. I guess you can say that this position has its streaks....

14. Paul Hines
OK. Paul Hines vs. Orator Jim O'Rourke. I went into Baseball Reference and sorted out games played between 1871 and 1900 for all players who played at least 50% of their games in center field. Paul Hines is third, behind two guys who started a decade later, when schedules were much longer. O'Rourke is not there. He didn't play 50% of his games in center. Nor 40%. Nor 30. You have to drop the sort criteria down to 23% games played in center to get the Orator included. Well, that's 23%. And if you take all the games Jim played in non-outfield spots, you get about another 23%, depending on split games. That's not 50%. What does that mean? It means that Jim O'Rourke spent more than half his career as a corner outfielder. Is this versatility, or just a guy who, though a fine athlete, wasn't really that great a defender, so he got tried at other spots but ended up in the corner outfield? I vote for the latter. Paul Hines has 77% of his games played in center. He's a center fielder. And a good one.

Jim has the advantage in OPS+, but it's only 134 to 131, which is nothing, given the state of stats in the time period. He has a few years of career on Paul, but those after 1889 are of questionable value. He gets some of that back because Paul was in the NA in 1872 at the age of 17, which makes that season and the next more than a bit dubious to me, while Jim was 21 when he hit the bigs. Overall, I'll give Jim a couple of his weaker years as an advantage, because they are years at the old end of his tenure.

Essentially, my vote here means that I think Paul gets more advantage for defense than Jim does for two late years of career.

15. Orator Jim O'Rourke
I did post up that I would write a walk-through of my Plausibility Test process as it applies to Jim here. I haven't done that because I ran into Paul Hines and realized that I couldn't really do justice to the essay unless I did Paul at the same time as Jim, and I didn't have the time to do all that before the deadline for voting hit. Sorry. I will get these things done - both the Orator Jim thing and the playing time cap for 19th century catchers (Deacon White) thing done, but apparently not before this voting is over. Then I can start looking at Dan R.'s elaborate ranking method. I've got some work to do when this is over.

16. Cool Papa Bell
Yes, I am giving a lot of credit for defense. I really do think that Bell was in a class with at least Ashburn, Moore, and the DiMaggios, even if not in the Mays / Speaker / Flood top three. The biggest reason for this, of course, is his reputation. But there are a couple of others. In the Bell thread here, one person found some data and figured out that, for one season, Bell had a very high percentage of his team's outfield plays made. A percentage consistent with the rep. That's not much hard data, but at least it is hard data, so I give it a lot of weight. Also, unlike Oscar Charleston, Bell just had the type of body that never puts on weight. He died thin as a rail. I've seen pictures. That implies that he lost his speed very slowly (yeah, I know that's odd to read). When young, Charleston may well have been Bell's equal in the field. But for the entire career? Charleston moved to first base. Bell played center.

There is one thing I'm not sure of. Bell is listed in the threads here as having a weak arm as a center fielder, but he was a pitcher early. That doesn't make sense absent an injury, and I don't know of any. If there is a documentable injury that savaged his arm, that might make a difference in his defensive rep, but there are other top CFs who didn't have great arms (Ashburn, Flood).

Also, there is what I call a "concentration" or "synergy" effect for big base stealers. When you steal second base, you are usually turning a single into a double, or even a walk into a double. The key is that, in order to steal the base, you must find it unoccupied. If you walked, there was no one on first or second, or you could not steal. If you singled, anyone on first must have gone to third. So the claim that a stolen base results in a double is usually accurate, because of the situation. You can't be missing any moving over of other runners, or they would be on second and you could not steal. Well, if you singled with a man on second and he only went to third, that would be an exception. Also, if you walked with a man on third. But those are comparatively rare situations. In any other situation where you can steal, you've created a double from a single or a walk.

And you've also put yourself in scoring position, where, with your speed, you are very likely to score on a single, which is, after all, the most common type of hit. So big base stealers tend to score more runs than it seems they should, and they don't take any huge hit in moving other runners over. This is part of my ranking of people like Hamilton and Stovey, and also Cool Papa here.

I also think that it's part of why Bill James has Lou Brock ranked so highly in the Historical. Lou didn't get on base as much as you'd like, but he had some power, and he stole huge numbers of bases, so he scored a lot of runs. And those runs were not statistical theory runs, they were real runs on the real scoreboard. Bell is the same concept. If you get one of these guys and they REALLY get on base, you have Billy Hamilton and his job lots of runs scored.

Bias alert: I live in St. Louis, as did Bell, and the end of his life has its elements of sadness. He didn't live in abject poverty or anything, but he lived in, well, not the nicest area of town. And he had kept his baseball memorabilia. By the time he got into the Hall of Fame, and the mementos started being really worth money, he was too old to deal with that. So some con man "befriended" him and took most of it away, giving him pennies on the dollar or just asking for gifts. This got exposed in the local paper a bit before Bell died. It turned out that Bell, if he had had a decent marketer working honestly for him, might have been a millionaire. He had kept ALL the mementos. But the Hall inducted him too late for him to realize the value. The con man got most of it. So, yeah, I have a soft spot in my heart for Cool Papa Bell. If you all think I overrated him because of the bias, well, I just have to deal with that. I tried not to.
   23. bjhanke Posted: September 14, 2008 at 09:40 AM (#2940755)
17. George Gore
George has a very nice 7-year run and then some other years that weren't valueless. Paul Hines and Jim O'Rourke, above, just have too much career over that, and their peaks aren't much worse. Bell also has career on Gore. It's sort of like Ed Delahanty, but very lite, plus Ed wasn't competing with this center field crowd. George, like Ed, wasn't finished when he retired at age 35, though he retired for very different reasons.

18. Jimmy Wynn
The Toy Cannon had a shortish career, but a very high peak for this slot in the ballot. In fact, at this point, the peak pretty much is an overall winner. His career just collapsed in 1977, for no reason that I could find. As usual in these cases, it looks like an injury.

19. Pete Browning
Basically, I've run out of players that have any reason to be ranked higher than Browning's offense alone. If you take the time period 1871-1901, set a 40% level of games played in center, and a 500-game playing time minimum, and sort by OPS+, you get Pete Browning at 162, followed by Billy Hamilton at 141. That's a lot of OPS+ difference, and it also explains some of Hamilton's ranking. If you move the playing time minimum down to 400 games, you get Lip Pike in there at 155. But Browning played 1183 games, not 400. So even after deducting for the American Association, and giving Pete a well-earned zero for defense, he just has too much offense above anyone else anywhere near his time period and playing time.

The only reason I can think of for playing Browning in center field 40% of the time is that your corner outfielders can't run. In the AA, this may have been true. The right fielder may have been largely the change pitcher, so it would only take an immobile left fielder to make Browning into possibly the worst center field glove ever. Essentially, I think of Pete Browning as what would happen if you took David Ortiz or Prince Fielder and gave him speed and then put him in center field. You'd find out pretty quick that it is indeed possible to pile up an F defensive ranking in center. It's just that no one will play a glove that bad at that spot. Except for Pete Browning's managers.

20. Pete Hill
I read the Pete Hill thread here, but it wasn't mostly about Pete Hill. It was about the difference between "value" and "ability" ranking styles. I call these "MVP credentials" and "HoF Credentials." I noticed the difference when Win Shares came out. What I realized was that Bill James had changed his basic paradigm. Before Win Shares, Bill's methods, of course, tried to get as close to accounting for all value as possible, but when there was the inevitable amount of uncounted value, he wrote it off to luck. That's normal. What Win Shares does is the opposite. WS insists on reconciling everything to actual runs, actual wins, actual everything. That is, it pretends that there is no such thing as luck. All uncounted value is dealt with by apportioning it among the players.

This shows up on page 91 of Win Shares, where Bill adjusts for such things as hitting with men in scoring position and hitting homers with men on base. It shows up again in "The Snider/Mays Dilemma" on page 188, where Bill talks (paragraph 2, second column) about "hidden value." That's what I meant by "uncounted value" above, and most of it is luck. But Bill treats it as though there were no luck involved at all. Earlier systems, including Bill's, would simply write it off as luck.

Now, Bill needs to do this in Win Shares, because his team-down fielding approach requires it. And I have to admit, I think his fielding rankings are miles ahead of anything else at the time. I also think, although I suppose some math genius will eventually find a way around it, that you can't really do better than WS fielding if you don't buy into the paradigm. Defense is just not really suited to player-up analysis. I'm sure that there are better fielding systems than WS by now, but I imagine that they all start top-down, like WS.

But if you think about it - read the Snider/Mays thing again - the difference between the two paradigms represents a difference in the way people rank ballplayers. WS does a good job of doing MVP awards, compared to the other paradigm. In MVP voting, the fact that someone who hit 30 homers all year hit 6 of them with the bases loaded is relevant. You're talking about value that year. But if you're compiling a Hall of Fame, then you assume that this stuff all evens out, and you attribute it to luck. That is, you treat Lou Gehrig's homers as homers, and realize that the reason he holds the record for career grand slams has more to do with Babe Ruth's walks with two men on than it does with any Gehrig ability to hit in the clutch or something.

Now, the weight of continuing advances in sabermetrics argues in favor of the early, HoF paradigm. I mean, the raw amount of luck is going to remain unchanged, no matter what methods you use. But as we get better and better at finding more and more bits of "hidden value," the amount that is still hidden goes down. That means, in turn, that the percentage of hidden value that really is luck goes up. So WS is swimming upstream in time. But still, it is very useful for fielding analysis and for MVP awards.

But the HoM is certainly a HoF-style thing to do. It's not a ranking of MVP seasons. It's a ranking of careers. And so, I would argue, the HoF paradigm should dominate. That is, I argue for ability over value in developing your analyses, for the HoM purposes. Um. Please do feel free to argue back, as I am interested in this point.

OH, yeah. Pete Hill. Because the thread was so dominated by the paradigm discussion, the issue of Pete Hill never really got altogether resolved, that I could see. The issue seems to be walks. One man, named "Brent," if I remember right, had an analysis with some percent adjustment for walks. Chris Cobb, again, if I remember right, suggested raising that adjustment. Brent responded that if he did that, Hill would MLE to breaking Billy Hamilton's career record for walks.

That's where it pretty much ended, that I could figure out. Now, if Pete Hill really did take walks at a Hamiltonian clip, then this ranking is too low. I made this ranking on the assumption that Joe DiMaggio or Stan Musial's walk rates were more plausible. But I don't know that. I took the conservative position. I could easily be talked out of it if the issue of Pete's MLEs ever gets resolved.

21. Earl Averill
Sort of a very lite Yaz. Wildly inconsistent during his good phase, which is short. But the good years are pretty good. Not much showing in other seasons. And, unlike Yaz, quit early.

22. Edd Roush
A pretty good peak, and well concentrated, unlike Averill's. But Edd got into the majors a few years too soon, probably because of the Federal League, and didn't hold the quality when he finally got it. The 18 seasons are, therefore, illusory. Edd only has about a dozen years of actual career. The rest is just managers playing him on momentum and glove, hoping for a stroke of bat lightning.

23. Alejandro Ohms
So little hard data. And, unlike the higher-ranked players, Ohms' reputation varies. That's normal. It's easy to spot the best couple of players in a league. When you get just one level below that, though, there's a lot of players and few good ways to sort them out. This is the best I could do with the information I have.

24. Andre Dawson
He had a very nice four-year run with Montreal and a nice five-year run with the Cubs. If Lip Pike had five more years at half the value of his best four, which is essentially what Dawson has, he'd rank above Andre. I'm not a Dawson fan, but compared to the two guys below him, he just has more good years.

25. Lip Pike
Played 425 games of high-quality league baseball. But there are only 5 seasons of any real worth. If you doubled his games played, to adjust for short schedules, he'd still end up about here. Just a very, very short career.

26. Willard Brown
Personality issue aside, although probably related, his play was inconsistent. And, even at his best, he was no better than, say, Luke Easter. If you took his best peak-period years and doubled them, he would rank pretty well. If you took his worst peak-period years and doubled them, no one would know his name. If you took his best four years and added five more at half the value of those four, he'd be Andre Dawson. But I don't see that many extra years at that close to the value of the best.
   24. TomH Posted: September 14, 2008 at 07:51 PM (#2941063)
we're lacking ballots.. is it OK if I just pretend to be a dead guy in Chicago and vote again? :)
   25. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 14, 2008 at 08:35 PM (#2941206)
We are a little light on the ballots, should we extend it a week? I'll drop John a line and see what he thinks . . .
   26. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 14, 2008 at 08:38 PM (#2941214)
OK, just talked to John, we're going to extend this a week . . . I'll update the threads to match the change.
   27. Mark Donelson Posted: September 14, 2008 at 09:07 PM (#2941248)
Oh, good, I won't rush to finish then. My ballot explanations should(!) be the better for it--thanks!
   28. Paul Wendt Posted: September 14, 2008 at 10:23 PM (#2941287)
Brock,
You have a week to reconsider.
My substantial comments are in the discussion thread.
   29. Howie Menckel Posted: September 15, 2008 at 12:35 AM (#2941395)
I thought it was already skedded for the 21st
I hope to be in tomorrow night...
   30. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: September 15, 2008 at 03:19 AM (#2941734)
Eh, my ballot comments aren't that exciting anyways.

1. Willie Mays. Mays and Cobb are extremely close. When you include war credit for Mays, and Cobb's, ah, checkered relationship with some of his teammates, I'll take Willie.

2. Ty Cobb. No shame in being #2 on this list, although Ty wouldn't like it.

3. Oscar Charleston. As far as we can tell, at his best he was as good as anybody.

4. Tris Speaker. I don't normally go along with DanR's methodology, but in this case he convinced me. Speaker had enough of a fielding advantage to nudge him ahead of Mantle, and his postseason record is high-quality, if not as extensive as Mickey's.

5. Mickey Mantle. Although if I timelined, he'd be higher. And maybe I'm not giving him enough credit for how MANY times the Yankees made the Series. Ah well.

6. Joe DiMaggio. With minor league and war credit, comfortably ahead of the rest of the group. May be the most underrated player by counting stats, but his intangible rep makes up for that.

7. Turkey Stearnes. Yes, MLEs have to be taken with a grain of salt, but even so, there's just a big gap among the CFs here. I don't have a reason not to think he was this good, outside of the uncertainty.

8. Duke Snider. Talk about a rough peer group. Very good in his best years, just doesn't have the career length to keep up with those above him.

9. Cristobal Torriente. Like most people here, I feel Stearnes was a little bit better. But Torriente still has a very strong resume.

10. Billy Hamilton. Best leadoff hitter until Rickey came along. I wonder why he retired at 35, he seemed to have a decent year in 1901.

11. Paul Hines. Very long career for his era, and had some excellent seasons. Chicago should have figured out a way to play him and Gore at the same time.

12. Larry Doby. Had an excellent peak, and a respectable career with Negro League credit. It's really a shame the HOF waited so long to include him.

13. Jim O'Rourke. A long career for his time, although he didn't have a lot of really great years.

14. George Gore. A similar player to Hines, but didn't rack up quite as much value.

15. Pete Hill. Pretty clearly one of the best players of his era.

16. Lip Pike. Hard to get an accurate read on him, but he was one of the stars of his time.

17. Earl Averill. I go along with my old votes unless I have a reason to think I was wrong, and I had Averill ahead of Brown. Best AL centerfielder until Joe showed up.

18. Willard Brown. A very good hitter, and he did have a decent career length. His MLB experience doesn't rise to the level of a bad joke for the purpose of analysis.

19. Jimmy Wynn. Worried that he might be too low, but he didn't play CF forever, and his skill set was somewhat unique.

20. Edd Roush. I know he wasn't that durable, but when he played he was quite good. Might be overrating him, but since I'm not sure, I'll stick with where he was when he was elected.

21. Cool Papa Bell. Not as good a hitter as his reputation, but no reason to think he wasn't as fast as the more realistic stories. Played for a very long time.

22. Alejandro Oms. A very complete player, but still nothing about his record that leaps out at you. HoM worthy, but near the bottom.

23. Max Carey. Last guy in my PHoM. Played for a long time and was a good fielder, but really not that impressive with the bat.

24. Andre Dawson. Not too far off, but between the low OBP and the stat-padding years, I can't quite support him. His peak is impressive as a CF, but it isn't outstanding at this level, and the years around that just aren't good enough. (Reprinted from my Group 1 ballot)

25. Richie Ashburn. Similar to Carey, but not as good. His defense was good, but not amazing, and his offense wasn't much among this group.

26. Pete Browning. I can't see it. Not a long career, in the weaker league, a truly atrocious fielder. A great hitter at his best, but too many negatives.
   31. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: September 15, 2008 at 02:38 PM (#2941918)
His defense was good, but not amazing


You sure about this, Devin? Here's what Michael Humphreys (the creator of DRA, the most sophisticated of the fielding stats available for pre-Retrosheet seasons, and one which explicitly adjusts for the fly ball tendency of pitching staffs) has to say:

Ashburn doesn't seem to have _regularly_ 'stolen' chances from his teammates, as the Phillies outfield excluding Ashburn was about -7 runs per season, or nearly average, during Asburn's peak. (And it's very common for an outfield with a dominant centerfielder to be slightly below average at the corners--Mays' outfielder teammates during his fielding peak at the Polo Grounds were about -10 runs combined per season.) There were one or two seasons in which a clearly sluggish Del Ennis allowed Ashburn to take extra chances, but overall, I can't see Putt-Putt under 200 runs saved--and he's closer to Speaker-Mays-250-run level.


I'm certainly under the impression Ashburn's defensive reputation was every bit as stellar as the quantitative evidence on him, no?

Ashburn and Carey seem to be twins to me--two guys who don't nearly have the OPS+ for the HoM and have fairly low peaks, but just had soooo much fielding and baserunning value over the course of their careers that they're well over the line.
   32. bjhanke Posted: September 15, 2008 at 04:30 PM (#2942058)
Dan asks, "I'm certainly under the impression Ashburn's defensive reputation was every bit as stellar as the quantitative evidence on him, no?" I'm old enough to comment on this from personal experience, although I was a child. Ashburn's reputation with the glove was as the #2 man to Mays (remember that I was in a NL city at the time). The trouble was, everyone saw Mays as being so far above everyone else that even Ashburn got no real press for this. That press stopped altogether when Curt Flood made the catch that landed on the magazine cover (Time, I think). I don't know if you remember the catch or the mag-cover hoopla, but it is what made Curt Flood's defensive rep as being perhaps even equal to Willie's. When Curt continued to flash in the field, everyone forgot about Ashburn's glove. What impressed people (meaning, at the time, sportswriters) about Ashburn was, of course, his huge putout totals, which no one could place in any sort of context. What kept them from thinking that Ashburn was as good as Mays or Flood was that the other two were very flashy, as well as good, while Ashburn was not. Sportswriters are often drawn to flash. - Brock
   33. OCF Posted: September 15, 2008 at 04:45 PM (#2942070)
Brock - as long as you're talking about Flood, I've got a question. The first team I remember following was the '67 Cardinals. Flood was having serious arm problems then and basically couldn't throw at all. Harry Carey talked about that quite openly, even while celebrating the fact that Flood was in the middle of a long errorless-game streak. My question: did Flood have an arm before that injury? Or was that always a relative weakness of his?
   34. Mike Emeigh Posted: September 15, 2008 at 04:54 PM (#2942081)
did Flood have an arm before that injury? Or was that always a relative weakness of his?


It was always a relative weakness, masked to some extent by the fact that he got to balls very quickly.

-- MWE
   35. OCF Posted: September 15, 2008 at 07:00 PM (#2942177)
Thanks, Mike. My favorite Flood moment: check the last line of this box score. Note that no throw was needed.
   36. bjhanke Posted: September 16, 2008 at 01:32 AM (#2943078)
OCF asks, "My question: did Flood have an arm before that injury? Or was that always a relative weakness of his?" Mike Emeigh has it right. Flood's arm was never great, and if had a tweak, it got really bad. Flood, BTW, absolutely hated that Harry Caray obsessed over this. He comments on it in his biography, although cloaking it in a complaint that Caray obsessed over Flood's missing cutoff men. Flood seldom missed cutoff men, and when he did, it was because the man was so far away that Flood had to focus on sheer throw distance, rather than aim. It certainly did help that the Cardinals had people like Dal Maxvill and Julian Javier to use as cutoff men. Dick Groat, while not a great defensive shortstop, was bright enough and hustled enough that he made a good cutoff man, too. Without a good cutoff man, Flood might have had troubles. As it was, he played deep, so that he would not have to run away from the plate and then turn and throw. That is, he was the opposite, in that regard, of Mays and Speaker. The ballpark helped until 1966, when they moved from Sportsman's Park to Busch Cavern. The '67 Cardinals were at just the wrong time to get perspective about that. The Cards had just moved into the new stadium with a much larger outfield, and Flood was having to adjust, and Caray just would not shut up. The combination of an aging Flood and the new ballpark were a part of the decision to trade him to Philly. If you compare Flood to Mays, Flood was a bit the better at getting to and catching fly balls, but Mays had him horribly beat when it came to arm. Speaker, of course, I never saw play.
   37. Howie Menckel Posted: September 16, 2008 at 04:36 PM (#2943521)
Our all-time Center Fielder HOMer ballot, 7th in a series

more "Should they really be in the HOM?" than any other position

1. TY COBB - OPS+s 1909-18 are.... 194, 206, 196, 200, 194, 190, 185, 179, 209, 193. AL's leading slugger from 1907-12, and twice more later. Top 10 in OBP every single year from 1906-25. Placed first in that category seven times, and was in top three 14 times. wow.
2. WILLIE MAYS - Respected among his peers/fans? Well, he did get picked as an All-Star 20 straight years. The 12 Gold Gloves are nice, plus ranking among the top 6 in MVP voting 12 times. The 15 times in the top 10 in OBP help his case, and the 14 times in the top 5 in slugging say that he had some pop, too (lol). So it's no surprise he collected 15 top-6 finishes in adjusted OPS+. The 11 times of at least 160 OPS+ stack up nicely against the competition here, no? Hit just .247 in the postseason, but I think he has enough of a edge to grab this spot! ;) An extra 2500 PA on Mantle, played in a MUCH tougher league, and more fielding bonus.
3. TRIS SPEAKER - OPS+s 1910-17 are.... 171, 157, 188, 181, 178, 151, 185, 172. Top 10 in OBP every single year from 1909-25. Led the category 4 times, top 5 15 times. Amazing that he played on the 1928 Athletics with Ty Cobb, Mickey Cochrane, Al Simmons, Jimmie Foxx, Eddie Collins, and Lefty Grove.
4. OSCAR CHARLESTON - Cobb, Speaker, Mantle, DiMaggio. Whichever one is the best comp, that's about where he goes. I went Speaker. Sweet combo of speed, power, and length of career
5. MICKEY MANTLE - Eight times with an OPS over 1.000 in a span of 10 years. Top 7 in OBP every year from 1952-62. Top 2 OPS every year from 1955-62. Top 2 in runs every yr from 1954-61. Top 2 in walks 10 times, including his final two seasons. Top 10 in OPS even in those final two seasons. Most similar thru the years to either Griffey or F Robinson, per age. Most similar overall to Griffey, runnerup - Eddie Mathews. Some adjustment required to recognize the weakness/whiteness of the 1950s AL.
6. JOE DIMAGGIO - In addition to the whopping war credit required, DiMaggio actually did post six top-3 OPS+ seasons. Probably the 4th-best white guy here even without ANY war credit. I give him 150s for 1943-45, among other things. Amazing that he was in the 1951 Yankees OF alongside Mantle.
7. TURKEY STEARNES - I love the package of a very good CF who is an excellent all-around hitter as well. Musial seems like a stretch, but Mel Ott (in terms of total value, that is) seems like a reasonable comp as has been noted. I like Gadfly's comments in the Stearnes thread; augments my sense that this guy could star in any park at any time.
8. JIM O'ROURKE - First verifiably great player who played forever. No demerit for son Queenie O'Rourke being so crappy for the 1908 NY Highlanders (with a nickname like that...). Had years where he played more C, 1B, or SS than anywhere else, but of course mostly an OF. Top 10 OPS+ in 1873 in the National Association, and still doing it in the Players League in 1890 (one of 8 HOMers in the top 10 there). Rarely led league in anything but often in the hunt - only 25 black ink pts, but 278 grey ink. Got a hit at age 53 in 1904, making him a teammate of Christy Mathewson as well as Harry Wright.
9. BILLY HAMILTON - Five OBP titles in one-league context, very impressive. Unusual consistent player for that or any other era. Usually quite durable, too. A long-prime guy who might suffer a little with peak or career voters.
10. PAUL HINES - The early-era run continues here. An 1898 HOM pick, our very first year. 1880s are a bit A-Rod-esque - why couldn't he play at his high level in more consecutive seasons? Similar to O'Rourke in black vs grey imbalance - 30 vs 186. Played in both National Association AND American Association, 16 years apart, in the final season of each. How many HOMers play for 9 teams?
11. CRISTOBAL TORRIENTE - I like the Clemente reference; but in both cases they were a little more fun to watch than they were accomplished - and that's not even a tiny insult. Did some quality LH pitching, too, for bonus credit. "When he joined the Chicago American Giants in 1919, Hall of Famer Oscar Charleston moved from centerfield to left field." In the 12 documented years that Torriente played in the Cuban League, he hit .352.
12. DUKE SNIDER - About the equal of Ralph Kiner as a hitter in my book, but with a fielding bonus instead of a demerit, and a little plus (though not much) for his extra years. Injuries slowed him regularly once he got to LA, by the way.
13. LARRY DOBY - Not nearly as good a hitter as Kiner without Negro League/WW II credit. Still not quite in Kiner's league even then, but edge in longevity and fielding at with some bonuses would allow Doby to slide ahead. I am not totally convinced of Doby's WW II-years greatness.
14. GEORGE GORE - More consistently a top hitter than others around, I think, but we're splitting hairs now. A good prime, but nothing amazing. Eigh top 10s in OPS+ is nice.
15. PETE HILL - I think the ballpark issue may explain a lot of the "mid-career slump" that might be the major stumbling block for some. The player I'd be most likely to move up or down in 5 years, if more evidence surfaces either way. Long career.
16. EDD ROUSH - Has anyone read the new book on him by his granddaughter called "Red Legs and Black Sox?" The missing ABs per year really bother me about him, and yes I am adjusting re WW I. Reggie Smith is an interesting comp. Lucky to be in the Hall of Fame, but a sensible if modest HOMer.
17. COOL PAPA BELL - This is while conceding that his park and his steals led him to be a bit overrated. But discounting the myth a bit doesn't mean ignoring a very long and productive career. I love our MLEs, but in this case I think they may be too harsh. Some voters, I believe, are penalizing players for lack of peak even though the MLE system tends to produce that.
18. PETE BROWNING - Yes, I am offense-oriented. Look at the 1890 PL season. Browning, at age 29, leads the league in adj OPS+ by 13 pts over 32-yr-old HOMer Connor, followed by a 22-yr-old Beckley and HOMers Ewing, Brouthers, Gore, O'Rourke at 6-7-8-9. Ewing is 30, Brouthers is 32, Gore is 33, O'Rourke is 39. Browning by all accounts is 'an old 29' due to his health and alcohol problems. Yet in his chance to play in a HOMer-laden league, he dominates. Yet I am supposed to assume that as a younger player he wouldn't have been able to post big numbers in the NL rather than the AA? Seven OPS+s above 163. 10 seasons as a regular, a good number for the era. This lousy fielder played some 16 pct of his career in the infield.
19. EARL AVERILL - I think most OF fielding can be overrated, but he's one who really does deserve extra credit. Maybe best case yet for minor-league credit. Not unlike Gore, but my sense is that he's more invisible offensively. Basically a 10-year career when peers lasted a lot longer.
20. JIMMY WYNN - I'm quite down on the rest of this ballot. Wildly underrated by baseball fans, and just as wildly overrated here. I like Reggie Smith better, and Johnson, Roush, and Keller (all not elected when Wynn was in 1996) were just as good or better. Still, the OPS+s is pretty good, and the fielding/position gives some boost.
21. RICHIE ASHBURN - I like more offense from my OFs, frankly, even my CFs. 111 in 9736 PA, a 5th and a 10th in OPS+, high of 142 in 1955 and only two seasons above 122 (which was his figure for both his first and his last seasons, coincidentally). But the defense is extraordinarily and it boosts him several spots.
22. ALEJANDRO OMS - Not the type of white player I love, either - not convinced OF defense alone is a ticket-puncher, nor of the longevity proposed in his thread. Deserving of our consideration and vault from obscurity, for sure. I've warmed up a little on him.
23. ANDRE DAWSON - Loved to watch him as a player, bottom line is that he simply made too many outs per PA. And my system basically throws his last 1100 PA out the window (and counting stats), for which he should be grateful. Quite overrated by some fans.
24. MAX CAREY - The SBs/pct puts him ahead of Harry Hooper, but that's not saying a ton. WS overrates Carey, but I do dismiss those 'negative' end years, while others don't.
25. LIP PIKE - A superstar hitter, I think. The Dick Allen comparisons seem apt, but maybe he's better. Weird, nomadic career; the best player who didn't wind up within those HOM clusters on the best teams, for some reason.
26. WILLARD BROWN - Mediocre OBP - never drew a damn walk and played in a weak league (only other stud hitter was an aging Turkey Stearnes). Deserves some significant war credit, but his own weird, nomadic career for once got the best of our MLE experts. Seems like a Cecil Cooper-level career. The HOF blew it here. Goes 12 for 67 with NO walks at age 32 for the St Louis Browns. That ain't ALL racism, if you ask me.
   38. DL from MN Posted: September 16, 2008 at 05:04 PM (#2943540)
> 26. WILLARD BROWN

I'm right there with you. You left out "indifferent defender". I'm considering a new look at O'Rourke, I can't seem to get him right.
   39. bjhanke Posted: September 17, 2008 at 04:36 PM (#2944918)
Howie says, about Jim O'Rourke, "First verifiably great player who played forever." Technically this isn't true, although it's only a difference of a year. Cap Anson was the first, one year ahead of Jim. I doubt that this will affect anyone's ranking, nor should it. It's a nit. - Brock
   40. Mike Webber Posted: September 19, 2008 at 05:12 PM (#2947552)
I learned a lot the past couple of weeks reading everyone’s comments, thank you for both entertaining and educating me.

1) WILLIE MAYS Leads Cobb based on war credit, strength of league, defense, and ability to get along with teammates.
2) TY COBB Its really hard to put anyone in front of him, was over the in/out line before he turned 27.
3) OSCAR CHARLESTON Placement based on anecdotal evidence and MLEs
4) TRIS SPEAKER Would have placed Mantle here before reading the discussion over the last couple of weeks. Recently read “The Pitch that Killed” for the first time. Outstanding book, add it to your list if you haven’t read it yet.
5) MICKEY MANTLE If Mays had retired after his age 36 season (1967), like Mantle did, I think Mantle is ahead of him.
6) JOLTIN’ JOE DIMAGGIO Even after figuring his MLEs from his war time play with the USAAF team, he still can’t crack the top 5.
7) BILLY HAMILTON
8) DUKE SNIDER Snider and Hamilton are a dead heat to me, I decided to go with the guy who started his career in Kansas City.
9) TURKEY STEARNES I think he and Snider are good comps.
10) JIM O’ROURKE strength of competition slots him behind the two just above. He played forever though.
11) EARL AVERILL PCL credit, a little better peak than most of the guys on the list below him.
12) MAX CAREY Long, steady career, I’ve always been a career voter.
13) CRISTOBAL TORRIENTE Peered into my Cristobal, and when the veil of fog cleared, the spirits told me to place him here.
14) PAUL HINES
15) GEORGE GORE The two 19th century guys here, with the longer career nosing the better peak.
16) EDD ROUSH The short explanation of why I was backing Roush. There were a several players getting strong support on either “peak credit” or “phantom credit” ie “Well he missed time for this, he wasn’t called up for that.” And Roush seemed to be catching the short end of the stick on all counts. Someone ripped his Black and Gray Ink, not recognizing he was playing in the Astrodome of the NL of that time. The 30 win share seasons he actually put up were receiving less respect than the 30 win share seasons Keller MIGHT have put up during WW2. Plus BP’s WARP2 seemed to be just killing him because the NL was weaker. One thing that I have softened on since then, is the fact that the AL might have been much better. Not sure I believed it at that time, but since I have seen the Kansas City Royals go 42-30 against the NL while playing .416 ball against the AL the past 4 seasons, well now I understand a little better.
17) PETE HILL Re-read his thread, and he seems very comparable to Ashburn, but I am giving him the benefit of the doubt on a better peak as the MLE suggest.
18) ALE OMS Again, trying to glean his place through MLEs and reputation.
19) JIMMY WYNN If you don’t understand the context of a players stats, wouldn’t this be the hardest 20th century player to understand why he is a HOMer?
20) RICHIE ASHBURN Another long, steady career, that the peak guys are going to kill.
21) LARRY DOBY How sure are we on Doby’s age? If the published age is correct, how much Negro League Credit could there be? I don’t agree with Mr. Hanke about 3 years pre-credit. IF his age is correct it might not be more than 1. Clyde Milan or George Foster’s career shape isn’t that different, and they weren’t regulars any sooner than Doby. If he was 26 in 1947 rather than 23, that is a little different.
22) ANDRE DAWSON If anything, based on the league he played in, this is underrating him.
23) COOL PAPA BELL based on MLE’s more than reputation.
24) PETE BROWNING Weak league, bad fielding reputation. Would Edgar Martinez have played centerfield in the 1880’s?
25) LIP PIKE such a short career, definitely believe he was one of the best in the primordial days of professional organized ball.
26) WILLARD BROWN Questionable attitude – though Buck O’Neil did yell at me once when I asked if Brown actually did carry a magazine out into the outfield to read – no doubt he had power.
   41. bjhanke Posted: September 19, 2008 at 11:50 PM (#2948018)
Mike Webber says, "I don’t agree with Mr. Hanke about 3 years pre-credit. If his age is correct it might not be more than 1. Clyde Milan or George Foster’s career shape isn’t that different, and they weren’t regulars any sooner than Doby."

I don't mind being disagreed with, or even being wrong, but I don't think that these particular comps will hold. Remember, I am not giving Doby credit for 3 years before his age-23 partial. I'm giving him a full season replacing that one, and then two more. That is, I'm giving him full seasons for ages 21 through 23, instead of a partial at 23 and nothing before then. That's including being 23 in 1947, not 26.

Clyde Milan was, in fact, a starter at the age of 21, which is exactly where I'm starting Doby. He had an OPS+ of 108, which isn't lousy for that age, and which is about where I might guess Doby's age-21 season. The next year, Milan hit .200, with an OPS+ of 70, and played 130 games anyway, and then became an absolute full-time starter at the age of 23. That's all I'm crediting Doby with, except that I think he would have played better than OPS+ 70 at age 22. So Milan's career supports my position, as I see it.

As for Foster, his big problem was that he couldn't hit over .270 in any sample of over 17 games. He kept getting benched because of that. At age 23, which is Doby's first partial, Foster hit .200 in a partial, with an OPS+ of 49; this followed a 140-game campaign of .241, with 13 homers and a .295 OBP. I imagine Doby would have been better than that at age 22. When he was 25, finally getting back over 100 games, Foster hit .264, with 7 homers, and played 106 games. Doby was, shall we say, just a tad better (.280, 24 homers, 41 more games, good defensive center fielder, took 91 walks; and it was his Sophomore Slump year between two better ones). Foster doesn't get good until he's 26. Doby has a good year his first full year at age 24. They're not really comparable as young players. Doby is much better.

- Brock
   42. Mike Emeigh Posted: September 20, 2008 at 01:15 AM (#2948154)
There may have been an injury there in 1926.


Not an injury, but an illness. Carey was diagnosed with "grippe" - a severe respiratory illness, like the flu only worse - and he never really recovered from it during the season. It didn't help his recovery process that the weather was bad for much of the early part of the season - the Pirates had a ton of rainouts. In early August, Carey got into it with Fred Clarke, who was acting as club president while Barney Dreyfuss was in Europe, after Clarke suggested to Bill McKechnie that Carey be benched. The Pirates ended up releasing several players who opposed Clarke, and Carey was suspended and placed on waivers.

-- MWE
   43. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 21, 2008 at 09:51 PM (#2949551)
Guys, Chris has said he get new improved MLEs for Cool Papa Bell done tonight - being that he's got a significant disconnect with rep/stats, I think it's wise to delay a day. I spoke with John M. and he agrees.

So we'll push this back to tomorrow night. And thanks to Chris for updating this.

--Joe
   44. Mark Donelson Posted: September 21, 2008 at 10:03 PM (#2949554)
CF Ballot

1. Ty Cobb. Just ahead in every way. He doesn’t lead by a ton, but it’s a clear lead over the other inner-circle CFs nonetheless. (In other words, I’m a lot surer he’s #1 than about the placement of the next three.)
2. Mickey Mantle. I plead the peak-voter’s reasoning—at his best, I think he was better than the rest at their best, other than Cobb (and it’s not like he had an Al Rosen career or anything). It is, however, very close from here to Speaker.
3. Willie Mays. I do completely see the argument for him (or any of these top four) as #1, but he just gets edged out on peak.
4. Tris Speaker. In particular, he and Mays end up right on top of each other in my system. Could definitely go the other way, but I had to come down one way or the other.
5. Oscar Charleston. About as far behind the three above him as they’re behind Cobb. Which isn’t that much, really…

6. Joe DiMaggio. Well behind that top group, but also a good distance ahead of almost everyone else.
7. Turkey Stearnes. There’s an argument for putting him ahead of Joe D (or even up by Charleston), but it seems like you have to give him the benefit of every doubt to do so. Still, before this project I hadn’t the slightest idea who he was, let alone that he was this good (strange how much less well known he is than Charleston).

8. Cristobal Torriente. Another notch down, another pair of brilliant players who finish very close together. Torriente’s peak looks like a winner to me.
9. Billy Hamilton. One of those players who makes me wish there’d been videotape in the 1890s.

10. Paul Hines. Peak basically matches Gore’s, and the rest of their records favor Hines by a decent amount, so he goes first among the remaining 19th-century guys.
11. Duke Snider. Really a very nice peak, but it doesn’t blow you away. Neither does his career. Just an excellent player for a solid stretch.
12. George Gore. Another great 19th-century peak.
13. Larry Doby. Agree with others that he’s similar to Snider with a slightly lower peak, when you take everything into account.
14. Jim O'Rourke. The most career-oriented of the 19th-century crowd, but still some amazing years. He would have done a little better on my LF list had we kept him there.

15. Pete Hill. Not as much a gap here as a place where the mist gets thicker for me on a lot of these guys. There’s some (or a lot of) room for doubt on each of these guys. Hill, however, seems based on the recent discussions to be the best of them, with a peak I can get behind.
16. Pete Browning. Yeah, it’s pretty much all offense, but what offense. I’m a believer.
17. Lip Pike. Looks like another great peak (as far as I can tell), and the short career doesn’t bother me.
18. Willard Brown. I dunno, seems like a decent peak player to me. Obviously a lot of negatives, but at his best I see a pretty darn good player.
19. Jimmy Wynn. The great hidden peak, thanks to era and home park. Definitely deserving.
20. Edd Roush. Really short but high peak. Yes, it’s easy to overrate due to the era, but the “at his best” logic works to get him just over the line for me.
21. Alejandro Oms. More of a career candidate, though of course he gets a little peak-flattening from the MLEs. So he’s either amazingly consistent at a just-high-enough level to squeak in for me, or he has the peak he needs.
22. Earl Averill. Tiny peak, and it’s from the 1930s, but there’s enough there. Barely.
23. Richie Ashburn. Not yet in my pHOM, but he’s close, probably will get in in the next few elections.
24. Max Carey. Also not pHOM, and wasn’t close in any election thus far, but on reflection he should be. Might even be better than Ashburn, actually.
25. Cool Papa Bell. I’ll emend this ranking if Chris’s MLEs turn up a massive hidden peak that wasn’t showing up before, but barring that, he’s not pHOM. I know the old MLEs flatten peaks, but his numbers are flatter than most; I just don’t see enough.
26. Andre Dawson. He had actually gotten kind of close to my pHOM a few times, but on reflection I’m not sure why. The peak's not much to shout about; seems HoVG to me, really. He'll essentially swap places with Carey going forward.
   45. Brent Posted: September 21, 2008 at 11:23 PM (#2949577)
Center field ballot

1. Willie Mays
2. Ty Cobb
3. Tris Speaker
These three players were able to remain among the top players in baseball for periods approaching two decades, which makes them true "inner circle" HoMers. Mays's defensive excellence, within-season durability, and league quality help him overcome Cobb's 11-point advantage in OPS+. On the 1934 ballot, I ranked Speaker ahead of Cobb. I've since decided I was over-adjusting for Speaker's defense, but I still think they were much closer than most fans realize.

4. Mickey Mantle
5. Oscar Charleston
Two guys whose peaks were as high as the top three, but didn't maintain that level for quite as long.

6. Joe DiMaggio
7. Turkey Stearnes
A slightly lower level than our top five, but still among the top 50 players all time. At the age of 18, DiMaggio was already on his way to becoming a national celebrity with his 61-game PCL hitting streak. On the other hand, of the Negro leaguers in the HoM's top quartile, Stearnes has had the least hype. He just played the game very, very well for a long time.

8. Cristóbal Torriente
Hit for average and power, drew walks, had great speed, and a cannon for an arm. I suspect that if anyone were to write his life story, it would be one of those great tragic biographies. Unfortunately, the people who could have told his story are probably all gone by now.

9. Billy Hamilton
Has a case for being the most valuable position player of the 1890s.

10. Duke Snider
During the 10 years Snider waited for the BBWAA to decide that he was worthy for Cooperstown, the Veteran's Committee elected Earle Combs, Chick Hafey, Joe Kelley, Ross Youngs, Hack Wilson, and Chuck Klein. Talk about two different standards.

11. Pete Hill
One of the great developments while this project has been going on is the availability of data on NeLg walks. The knowledge that Hill drew a ton of walks boosts his rating.

12. Larry Doby
Includes 3 seasons of military/Negro League credit.

13. Jim O'Rourke
Only 7 seasons primarily as a CFer, versus 10 in the corners (and 5 in the infield—SS, 1B, and 3B—and one as a catcher). Only Dihigo matches him for versatility.

14. Cool Papa Bell
His reputation has been deflated by this project, but he was still a tremendous player. Comparable to, but IMO better than, Ashburn.

15. Earl Averill
I think I have him ranked higher than the consensus. I'm pretty generous with PCL credit and I understand his defensive reputation to have been quite good.

16. Alejandro Oms
In his best seasons in Cuba, his hitting was comparable to Charleston's.

17. Richie Ashburn
Based on his contemporary reputation, I'm skeptical that his defense was comparable to the best center fielders on this list.

18. Jimmy Wynn
A high batting average isn't a requirement for a meritorious career.

19. George Gore
I see his career shape and value as fairly similar to Wynn's.

20. Willard Brown
His standing his dropped a bit with the statistics from the HoF study. I still see him as above the in-out line.

21. Max Carey
The year he was elected, I believe I had him ranked sixth. However, he never quite made it into my PHoM.

22. Andre Dawson
I didn't support his election, but he comes close enough that I don't see him as a mistake either.

23. Edd Roush
24. Lip Pike
25. Pete Browning
The guys I regard as mistakes. Roush and Pike didn't play enough and Browning was a poor fielder whose statistics were inflated by playing in an inferior league.
   46. Chris Cobb Posted: September 22, 2008 at 01:53 AM (#2949649)
Brent,

Paul Hines?
   47. Brent Posted: September 22, 2008 at 02:28 AM (#2949667)
Oops. I'll rank Hines at # 12 and move everyone below him down.

Thanks, Chris.
   48. OCF Posted: September 22, 2008 at 07:13 AM (#2949753)
My ballot - sorry about the fairly scant comments.

1. Cobb
2. Mays
3. Speaker
4. Mantle
Suppose Mantle hadn't retired after 1968 but had hung on for three or four more years as a somewhat fragile first baseman with OPS+ gradually declining from 130+ to around 110? That's obviously positive value, and his counting stats would look prettier. My best guess is that I'd still have him 4th on my ballot.
5. Charleston I did have a long rambling post on the discussion thread in which I talked about the top 5 on my ballot.
6. DiMaggio Everyone has him here - why should I be different?
7. Stearnes
8. Hamilton
I always did appreciate a leadoff hitter.
9. Torriente
10. Snider
11. Doby
12. Hines
I'm really guessing about the very early guys.
13. Ashburn As I said, I do like a leadoff hitter - especially if he can catch flies.
14. O'Rourke
15. Wynn
16. Hill
A much murkier case than Stearnes or Torriente.
17. Carey
18. Gore
19. Averill
I didn't think he was that bad a choice.
20. Oms
21. Bell
From here on down, it's people I didn't vote for.
22. Roush
23. Dawson
Made too many outs.
<b>24. Browning
25. Brown
26. Pike
   49. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 22, 2008 at 05:39 PM (#2950045)
I have been putting off working on my ballot because I felt it would be the toughest of all of the ballots I have ever worked on. I was right.

Dan, I may have made a mistake with the "best ofs," so don't smash the hammer down too hard, okay? ;-)

1) Ty Cobb-CF/RF (n/e): Peak, prime and career were better than Mays, though Willie is not that far behind. Best major league rightfielder for 1907, 1908 and 1909. Best major league centerfielder for 1910, 1911, 1915, 1916, 1918, 1919, 1920 and 1924.

2) Willie Mays-CF (n/e): My first favorite player. Though I only saw him at the tail end of his career ('73), I have seen his stats. I'm including military credit. Best ML center fielder for 1954, close in 1955, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, and 1966. Best NL center fielder for 1955, 1957, 1961, and 1971.

3) Tris Speaker-CF (n/e): "The Grey Eagle" is often ignored, but he shouldn't be. As Hong Kong Phooey would say, "Pen-riffic!" Best major league centerfielder for 1909, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923 and 1926.

4) Mickey Mantle-CF (n/e): My pick for the greatest peak-prime candidate among center fielders. Relatively poor durability drags him down to this slot, however. Best ML center fielder for 1955, 1956, 1957, and 1961. Best AL center fielder for 1953, 1954, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1962, and 1964. Best AL first baseman for 1968.

5) Oscar Charleston-CF/1B (n/e): May deserve to be higher, but being ranked #5 among these worthies should not be considered a slight. Outstanding offense, defense and durability - that's a HOMer!

6) Joe DiMaggio-CF (n/e): Not the greatest player of all-time or even his era, IMO, but as inner-circle as you can get. He deserves military credit to bolster his case. Best major league centerfielder for 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1947 ,1948, and 1949.

7) Turkey Stearnes-CF/LF/1B (n/e): Very DiMaggio-like as a player. That's pretty good, you know. :-)

8) Billy Hamilton-CF/LF (n/e): My pick for greatest outfielder of the '90s based on his amazing peak. Best major league leftfielder for 1890 and 1891. Best major league centerfielder for 1895, 1896, 1897 and 1898.

9) Jim O'Rouke-CF (n/e): One of the few players of his generation with a long career, he belongs here.

10) George Gore-CF (n/e):

and

11) Paul Hines-CF (n/e): They're both fairly close, though Hines has more career, while Gore has more quality.

12) Cristóbal Torriente-CF/LF/RF/P (n/e): This guy was no where near being the best centerfielder of his time, but that tells you more about Cobb and Speaker than it does about Torriente. Great bat and glove.

13) Duke Snider-CF (n/e): One of the best from a great crop of center fielders from the fifties. His HoM case gets no argument from me. Best ML center fielder for 1953. Best NL center fielder for 1950 and 1956.
   50. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 22, 2008 at 05:40 PM (#2950047)
14) Pete Hill-CF/LF (n/e): He was highly regarded even among white players while he played. Potent bat + excellent defense + fine base running + long career = HoMer.

15) Larry Doby-CF/2B (n/e): Whether he was born in 1919 or 1923 is inconsequential to me: he was a great player in the NeL. I'm giving him credit from the time that he would have been noticed by the ML. Best ML centerfielder for 1950 and 1951. Best AL centerfielder for 1952.

16) Earl Averill-CF (n/e): Credit for MiL is needed to evaluate him properly. Clearly a great player. Best AL centerfielder for 1929, close in 1930, 1931, 1933, 1934, 1935. Best ML centerfielder for 1932, close in 1934, and 1936.

17) Alejandro Oms-CF (n/e): Thanks to Chris' work, another gem was uncovered and led to Oms' very deserved induction into the HoM.

18) Jimmy Wynn-CF/RF/DH (n/e): Best player at his primary position for his era. Best ML center fielder for 1967, 1968, and 1969. Best right fielder for 1972 and 1974.

19) Pete Browning-CF/LF (n/e): Gotta love the peak-prime! Yes, I take into account the quality of the AA and his defense. He still was great. Best major league second baseman for 1882. Best major league leftfielder for 1883 (close in 1890). Best AA centerfielder for 1885. Best major league centerfielder for 1887.

20) Lip Pike-CF/RF/2B (n/e): Considered the fastest man of his time. Major star prior to the NA. Two things hold him back somewhat: durability and how good of a player he was at his position compared to his competition pre-NA. Best major league rightfielder for 1871 and 1873. Best major league centerfielder for 1874-1876.

21) Richie Ashburn-CF (n/e): Not really a dominating player at his position, but Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker would have had a hard time being top dog in CF during the fifties, too. At any rate, I think he's a non-inner-circle HoMer. Best NL center fielder for 1948 and 1951.

22) Willard Brown-CF/LF/SS (n/e): The last of the candidates that made my ballot when they were eligible.

23) Edd Roush-CF (n/e): Never voted for him, but he was the best of that particular group.

24) Cool Papa Bell-CF (n/e):

and

25) Max Carey-CF (n/e): Bell and Carey are similar type players. Never really great players, but their long careers, defense and baserunning were significant.

26) Andre Dawson-CF (n/e): Bad legs really hurt his case for greatness, IMO. If he had stayed in center, I would have been on the Dawson bandwagon from the start.
   51. andrew siegel Posted: September 22, 2008 at 08:52 PM (#2950288)
A quick ballot.

(1) Willie Mays--Very close with Cobb but, in the end, the quality of competition difference is too large.

(2) Ty Cobb--One of the top 10 players of All-Time but I still would have traded him for Speaker.

(3) Tris Speaker--The stats just don't support the above statement.

(4) Mickey Mantle--I way peak and rpime very heavily and grew up thinking he was one of the top 5 players of All-Time but his league is just too weak and the competition on this ballot is just too strong.

(5) Oscar Charleston--I think we do the Negro Leagues more credit by saying that "Based on the evidence, Oscar Charleston comps to Frank Robinson and Pop Lloyd comps to Alex Rodriguez" than by pretending they comp to Willie Mays and Honus Wagner.

(6) Turkey Stearnes-- Very similar to DiMaggio.

(7) Joe DiMaggio--Very similar to Turkey Stearns.

(8) Billy Hamilton-An elite peak.

(9) Jim O'Rouke-CF--Peak and career.

(10) Cristobal Torriente--Might belong higher; great peak and decent career length.

(11) Paul Hines--Easily in the top half of the HoM; where is the HoF love?

(12) Duke Snider--Easy HoMer, primarily for his prime. Defense was a slight minus in this company.

(13) Pete Hill-CF/LF--I was a big fan when he was elected but recent info shows him to be even better than I thought.

(14) Larry Doby--Since I'm primarily a prime voter, debate about his birthdate doesn't matter much to me.

(15) George Gore--Clear HoMer; never quite as dominant as most of those above him (or his best teammates).

[BIG GAP]

(16) Richie Ashburn--All-time great defense and underrated offense in tough league gets him to the top of the list of borderliners. He (and those who follow) are almost 50 spots below Gore on my All-Time Overall Ranking.

(17) Jimmy Wynn--Like most of those who follow, very borderline, but great (albeit scatterred) prime gets him this spot.

(18) Alejandro Oms--Could rank a little lower, but still over the in/out line. Nice find on our part.

(19) Earl Averill--With minor league credit, a worthy, though not spectacular, HoMer.

(20) Lip Pike--Has the wiff of a loser but we could never reconstruct whether that was prejudice or insight; his numbers say he belongs.

(21) Andre Dawson--Surprised that he grades out as PHoM, but we had about 10 spots left to fill when the bell curve flattened out.

(22) Willard Brown--Andre Dawson without the early career defense.

(23) Edd Roush--I stand corrected. See his thread for my conversation with Dan about why I used to overrate him.

(24) Max Carey--I'm probably underrating defense, but I never saw him as elite. Not quite PHoM.

(25) Pete Browning--My position on him has always been that he hit enough to overcome 2 out of 3 of his defense, his lack of durability, and his league, but not all three. Not PHoM.

(26) Cool Papa Bell--Turns out not to have hit enough to be a superstar. Not PHoM.
   52. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: September 22, 2008 at 09:16 PM (#2950321)
Andrew Siegel, I certainly agree with you about Charleston-F. Robinson (or Ott). But Lloyd-ARod seems like a strange pairing--I'm not aware that Lloyd had anything like ARod's peak, and ARod is only what 32? Guys like him tend to age well--he did just sign a ten-year deal--and when all is said and done ARod could very well be right up there with Wagner.

The Negro Leaguer who absolutely does belong up there with the greatest of the immortals is Josh Gibson--assuming you give him a full catcher bonus, which I think is debatable.

Glad to hear you found my analysis of Roush helpful.
   53. Esteban Rivera Posted: September 22, 2008 at 10:56 PM (#2950437)
Here is my centerfielders list (currently at work and can't elaborate further at the moment):

1) Ty Cobb - Just edges Mays.
2) Willie Mays - Includes war credit.
3) Tris Speaker - His defense places him over Mantle.
4) Mickey Mantle - If I only went on peak, he would probably be higher.
5) Oscar Charleston - Based on my interpretation of the available evidence.
6) Joe DiMaggio - With war credit.
7) Turkey Stearnes - Based on my interpretation of the available evidence.
8) Billy Hamilton - The original stolen base king.
9) Jim O’Rourke - One of the earliest long career stars.
10) Paul Hines - Woefully forgotten nowadays.
11) Duke Snider - For a while, right there with Mays and Mantle.
12) Cristóbal Torriente - Based on my interpretation of the available evidence.
13) George Gore - Slightly less than Hines, but still that's pretty darn good.
14) Richie Ashburn - Give more weight to defense which places him here.
15) Max Carey - Give more weight to defense along with baserunning value which places him here.
16) Larry Doby - Includes negro league credit.
17) Pete Hill - Based on my interpretation of the available evidence.
18) Earl Averill - With PCL credit.
19) Edd Roush - Gets some holdout credit.
20) Andre Dawson - Places here based on my estimation of his defense
21) Pete Browning - Boy could he mash.
22) Lip Pike - Receives pre-NA credit.
23) Alejandro Oms - Based on my interpretation of the available evidence.
24) Cool Papa Bell - Based on my interpretation of the available evidence.
25) Jimmy Wynn - Never voted for him.
26) Willard Brown - Based on my interpretation of the available evidence.
   54. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: September 22, 2008 at 11:03 PM (#2950450)
My CF ballot. I go straight down my salary estimator for players with MLB data or seasonal MLE's, and guess on the rest. :)

1 Cobb
2 Mays
3 Speaker
4 Mantle
5 Charleston
6 DiMaggio
7 Stearnes
8 Torriente
9 Hamilton
10 Hines
11 Doby
12 Ashburn
13 Snider
14 O'Rourke
15 Carey
16 Hill
17 Gore
18 Browning
19 Oms
20 Pike
21 Wynn
22 Dawson
23 Brown
24 Averill
25 Bell
26 Roush
   55. Chris Cobb Posted: September 22, 2008 at 11:30 PM (#2950473)
Centerfield Ballot

Between the glut of all-time greats at the top, the many Negro-League players, and the pre-1890 players, this was an immensely difficult ballot. We’ve worked hard at it, and there are still lots of players in the middle who’ve hardly received any discussion. Still, I think we’ll get the order roughly correct, which is a good start.

I. All-Time Top 10
1. Willie Mays. Total = 673. My ranking of Mays as #1 ahead of Cobb goes against my system’s results. Partly this is a character adjustment, but it’s partly that I doubt Cobb would have reached the majors as soon when competition was tougher and so would have a bit less career value, while Mays might have made the majors sooner if race hadn’t been an issue when his career was getting started. No one who puts Cobb #1 will get an argument from me about it.
2. Ty Cobb. Total = 699. Best hitter of his generation, most dangerous baserunner of his generation, and a good centerfielder, and he played forever. One of the all-time greats.
3. Tris Speaker. Total = 636. In Cobb’s shadow. As good as Cobb during his peak, but didn’t sustain that level of play for as long as Cobb did. Probably the greatest defensive centerfielder of all time, unless it was Willie Mays.

II. Inner-Circle HoMers
4. Mickey Mantle. Total = 540. Ranked on peak alone, he might be #1 on this list, though he dominated the weaker league of his day. A shame he battled knee injuries and didn’t care well for himself, but he was great anyway—all time top 20, though not top 10.
5. Oscar Charleston. At his peak, he may have been as good as anybody ahead of him on the ballot, though his defense would have to have been as good as his reputation, rather than as good as his fragmentary statistics for that to be true. His dramatic decline in the 1930s (probably exaggerated by the increase in competition level created by contraction) sets him clearly below Mays/Cobb/Speaker/Mantle, but he’s still comfortably ahead of the rest.
6. Joe Dimaggio. Total = 448. Overrated, but still an inner-circle HoMer, which is about top 35 all time.
7. Turkey Stearnes. Very similar in value to Dimaggio. Could rank higher, but until we get a better read on the quality of the 1930s Negro Leagues, I’ll give Dimaggio the nod.

IV. Obvious HoMers
8. Billy Hamilton. Total = 349. The second best offensive player of the 1890s, after Big Ed Delahanty. Short career, fabulous peak in the early 1890s.
9. Jim O’Rourke. Odd to be ranking him in centerfield, but he was a great player, regardless of his position. This is really a career placement: Paul Hines had a better peak, but O’Rourke was excellent for almost his entire career.
10. Cristobal Torriente. MLEs would put him with, if not ahead of, Hamilton, but I’m a bit skeptical about them for his early career in the 1910s CWL, so I’m dropping him down a bit. Still a great, great player. The most conservative take on his MLEs puts him about equal to Duke Snider. That’s a pretty high baseline.
11. Pete Hill. Either he or Grant Johnson was the top position player in black baseball in the aughts. Hard to tell how good he was offensively during the teens, because Schorling Park killed everybody’s hitting. His revival with Detroit, when he was in his late 30s and early 40s, however, suggests that he remained an excellent hitter during the teens, though it can’t be seen in the limited surviving data. If he is indeed a 140 OPS+ career hitter, as Brent’s MLEs strongly suggest, he might belong in the top 10.
12. Paul Hines. Long career, great peak in the late 1870s. A little bit shy of O’Rourke, Torriente, and Hill.
13. Duke Snider. Total = 293. Great prime, not a lot of value outside of that.
14. George Gore. Shortish career, great peak in the early 1880s.

V. Solid HoMers when you read the fine print
15. Max Carey. Total = 279. Lots of disagreement about how good he was, but surely a great defensive outfielder and baserunner. Did enough with the bat to make him a solid HoMer in my book.
16. Richie Ashburn. Total = 268. Like Carey, but without the base-stealing. Durability at a tough position to play every day is a plus, though it leads him to be overrated in WARP1 and WS.
17. Larry Doby. Est. total = 260. ML play didn’t live up to his NeL promise, as racist harassment may have stunted his development as a ballplayer, but he was still a sometime MVP and a solid HoMer.
18. Alejandro Oms. Est. total = 260. Great prime in the 1920s. Early career shrouded in mystery.
19. Andre Dawson. Total = 250. Strong but short peak in the early 1980s, and a long career, but not much value in the last 5-6 years at all.
20. Lip Pike. Top slugger of the NA years, and just enough career with pre-NA play included to be a solid HoMer.
21. Jimmy Wynn. Total = 241. Patience and pop, and mastery of hitting in the Astrodome just get Wynn over the line and into the HoM. The biggest argument against him has been his lack of consistency (there’s a terrible trough in the middle of his prime). Since that trough was caused by a non-baseball-related injury (he was stabbed by his wife), the argument that “a truly great player doesn’t have a terrible year in his prime like that” doesn’t hold in this case. I don’t give him compensatory credit, but I would think that anyone who would dock him for lack of a contiguous prime would do well to just skip the year he was recovering from that injury in calculating the value of his prime.
22. Willard Brown. I rank him a little below his MLEs a bit because I think his lack of plate discipline would have cost him more in the majors than it did elsewhere. The best hitter in the Negro American League in the 1940s, but it was the weaker of the Negro majors.

VI. Almost as good an argument to be out, as to be in
23. Edd Roush. Total = 237.
24. Earl Averill. Total = 234.
25. Cool Papa Bell. His reputation seems to be greater than the reality. The best translations we have put him firmly in the “mistake” tier with Browning, but there is enough uncertainty about the numbers that his reputation pulls him up a bit.

VII. Mistakes
26. Pete Browning. Est. total = 219. Not as poor a choice as I once thought, but still clearly among the HoM mistakes. Yes, a great hitter, but a poor fielder with a short career mostly in a weak league. Nearly even with Nellie Fox and Bill Terry in the clear mistake group, ahead of Harry Stovey.
   56. mulder & scully Posted: September 22, 2008 at 11:34 PM (#2950475)
Hey guys, between work, 2 graduate classes, my wife's real estate career, and a sick 2-yr old, I won't be able to get a real ballot in this election. If you want to count the following while awaiting a post tonight with my rationale, please do.

1. Cobb
2. Mays
3. Speaker
4. Mantle
5. Charleston
6. DiMaggio (by a hair)
7. Stearnes
8. Torriente
9. Hamilton
10. Hines
11. Snider
12. O'Rourke
13. Gore
14. Hill
15. Ashburn
16. Browning
17. Carey - would love to see the pick off numbers for the rest of his career - not that it matters much, but it is interesting how often he was picked off in the 51-2 year. (If I remember that post correctly.)
18. Doby
19. Ohms
20. Wynn
21. Averill
22. Brown
23. Dawson (not PHOM)
24. Pike (not PHOM)
25. Roush (mistake PHOM on my part)
26. Bell (not PHOM)

I forgot how unimpressed I was by the bottom 10 players on the list. All were borderline PHOM, if they made it.
   57. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 22, 2008 at 11:35 PM (#2950477)
Here we go, finally!

1. Ty Cobb (2.66) - This is a very close call, and I'm still not 100% convinced deadball era players aren't being slightly overrated. But, 11 batting titles, when batting titles meant more. 7 times leading the league in OBP. 8 times leading the league in SLG. I know it was only an 8 team league, but he dominated it.

2. Willie Mays (2.49 includes 1952-53) - Very close to Cobb, 1954-68 is an incredibly long run as superstar and he was still a pretty good player thru 1972.

3. Tris Speaker (2.39) - Somewhat controversial that he's ahead of Mantle, but his career was 15% longer. I've got them at essentially the same 'rate', but the career length pushes Speaker fairly easily ahead.

4. Mickey Mantle (2.05) - Was worried about living up to DiMaggio's legend, but he clearly surpassed him as a player.

5. Oscar Charleston (1.65 MLE) - Close call between Charleston and Gibson (maybe Lloyd too) as the greatest Negro League player ever.

6. Joe DiMaggio (1.50 includes 1943-45 credit) - I was surprised a bit that he came in this far behind the others, but it was a much shorter career. I nudged him ahead of Stearnes because I think Dan's algorithm might slightly understate DiMaggio's military service credit.

7. Turkey Stearnes (1.50 MLE) - Looking at the numbers he appears to have hit the ground running in 1923 and was a star through 1935. Pretty much even with DiMaggio. The best CF between Cobb/Speaker/Charleston and DiMaggio.

8. Jim O'Rourke - One of the best players of the first two decades of the major leagues.

9. Cristóbal Torriente (1.38 MLE) - Another CF from the pre-WWII era. But he's got plenty of slack even if his MLE is a little 'bullish' as DanR says. At worst, he'd drop below Hines if you took 15% of his value away.

10. Paul Hines - played the equivalent of 3030 major league games when you adjust for schedule length, with a 131 OPS+.

11. Billy Hamilton (1.11 includes 1888-92) - The bridge between O'Rourke/Hines and Cobb.

12. Larry Doby (1.05 includes 1943-47) - Definitely helped by extra credit from 1943-47. This is where it gets tight, but I think he's ahead of the glut.

13. Richie Ashburn (.99) - See statheads can appreciate guys that do things that don't show up in OPS.

14. Duke Snider (.98) - Somewhat overrated by history. Platooned a fair amount of his career. Still a great hitter, but not as great as most think.

15. Max Carey (.97) - Very similar to Ashburn. I wasn't thrilled with his election at the time, but I've come around.

16. Pete Hill - This is guesstimate, as the stats aren't nearly as complete as they are for others. But I think this jive's with his rep and the interpretation of others in the group.

17. Andre Dawson (.91) - A little higher than I expected. He (along with Raines, Randolph and Righetti) was my favorite player growing up, and the inspiration for this project. I'm happy to see that he objectively ranks this high.

18. Alejandro Oms (.95) - I think this his raw number is somewhat on the high side, as I don't think he'dve gotten quite this much 'hang on' credit in the majors as Dan gave him. He probably would have been let go or had his PT severely reduced by 1934.

19. Willard Brown (.89 MLE) - Unlike Dan, I see him a little ahead of Wynn, but I like peak less and have them very close.

20. Cool Papa Bell (.87 MLE) - Long career, not nearly the peak the legend would have you think, but there's still a good amount of value there. I'd say the trajectory looks somewhat like Jose Cruz. He doesn't really come into his own until 1932, his 8th season, but then put a pretty nice run together. His best years look like Vada Pinson's, save Pinson's great 1961.

21. George Gore - Was a very good player, but had a short career, even after adjusting for schedule length.

22. Jimmy Wynn (.84) - One of the more underrated players in major league history.

23. Earl Averill (.85 with minor league credit) - Needs the minor league credit, but with it, I don't have much issue with him being elected.

24. Lip Pike - Had some monster years with the stick, but his career was short (even adding in the 1860s), and his defensive value questionable.

25. Pete Browning (estimated between .60-.78) - I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt. Like Chris says, not as bad as I once thought. But really, I just don't see it. Little defensive value - let's say Bobby Bonilla or Gary Shefflied. Weaker league. Short! career (1546 adjusted for schedule length games).

Yeah he could hit, but Bobby Bonilla put up a 130 OPS+ through 1997. Through that point in his career 14% more PT than Browning had in his entire career. He had .60 PA through that point. After adjusting for league quality, is Browning's 162 any more impressive than Bonilla's 130? Was what Browning did in 14% less playing time enough to bridge the gap between Bonilla and the HoM?! I cannot see how.

Let's compare him to Sheffield. Through 2000-2001 Sheffield had a 144 or 146 career OPS+. Sheffield had league ranks of 1, 2, 2, 4 through that time in OPS+ (plus others in the top 10). His career PA through 2000 was .74 and through 2001 he was at .84. Through 45% of 2001 is where his neutralized PA+BB = Browning. Through that point gives Sheffield .78 PA. That's the absolute highest I can see going on Browning. I do not think he was as good a player as Sheffield.

26. Edd Roush (.71) - A likely mistake. 1919-20 he was great, but just pretty good the rest of the time and his career was not long.
   58. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: September 22, 2008 at 11:41 PM (#2950484)
Yep, Carey was picked off 10 times in '22.
   59. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 23, 2008 at 12:01 AM (#2950506)
The election is now over. Results will be posted at 10 PM EDT.
   60. Paul Wendt Posted: September 23, 2008 at 12:07 AM (#2950515)
Andrew Siegel:
(5) Oscar Charleston--I think we do the Negro Leagues more credit by saying that "Based on the evidence, Oscar Charleston comps to Frank Robinson and Pop Lloyd comps to Alex Rodriguez" than by pretending they comp to Willie Mays and Honus Wagner.

Good point, in my opinion, just needs a rewording. Certainly DanR is partly right about A-Rod, whether it is sheer excellence as a batter as it seems to me offhand, or "peak" as he says. Problem is: the MLB shortstops who "played forever" in the last hundred years were not even good major league batters: Maranville, Aparicio, Ozzie and Omar. Ripken has that ridiculous early peak combined with a lot more time as an ordinary batter than "we" see in Lloyd.


(9) Jim O'Rourke-CF--Peak and career.

how do you date the peak?


(15) George Gore--Clear HoMer; never quite as dominant as most of those above him (or his best teammates).

[BIG GAP]

(16) Richie Ashburn--All-time great defense and underrated offense in tough league gets him to the top of the list of borderliners. He (and those who follow) are almost 50 spots below Gore on my All-Time Overall Ranking.


Good show. Nobody ever sees a big gap in the middle of a big group but sometimes it is there.


(20) Lip Pike--Has the wiff of a loser but we could never reconstruct whether that was prejudice or insight; his numbers say he belongs.

Given the high standard for terse, very well said.
   61. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 23, 2008 at 02:48 AM (#2950779)
No ballot from Dan R?
   62. Brent Posted: September 23, 2008 at 02:49 AM (#2950782)
But Lloyd-ARod seems like a strange pairing...

For fielding reputation and longevity, Ripken seems like a good comp for Lloyd. For Lloyd's hitting style, however, maybe Molitor would be a better comp.
   63. Tiboreau Posted: September 23, 2008 at 03:09 AM (#2950799)
No ballot from Dan R?

Post #54, just above Chris Cobb's ballot.

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