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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ranking the Hall of Merit Pitchers (1959-1986+) - Discussion

The inductees for this group are (in alphabetical order):

Bert Blyleven
Jim Bunning
Steve Carlton
Don Drysdale
Dennis Eckersley
Rollie Fingers
Bob Gibson
Rich Gossage
Fergie Jenkins
Sandy Koufax
Juan Marichal
Phil Niekro
Jim Palmer
Gaylord Perry
Nolan Ryan
Bret Saberhagen
Dave Stieb
Don Sutton
Tom Seaver
Hoyt Wilhelm

The election starts May 17 and ends May 8 PM EDT.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 10, 2009 at 06:32 PM | 75 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 11, 2009 at 02:00 AM (#3173640)
hot topics
   2. DL from MN Posted: May 11, 2009 at 02:20 AM (#3173677)
I don't have my spreadsheet at this computer but I know my ballot starts with Seaver and ends with Fingers.
   3. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: May 11, 2009 at 02:22 AM (#3173680)
Strictly by my numbers, which don't account for the latest adjustments made by BPro.

PA - Pennants Added
DRA+ - Similar to ERA+, but adjusted for defense behind pitcher, expansion, weaker/stronger league in a season, etc.
tIP - My version of translated IP
BRAR - Batting runs above replacement (which is league average for a pitcher).
D - Defensive adjustment. Negative numbers mean pitcher had a bad defense behind him. Essentially the RA advantage/disadvantage in a 4.50 R/G environment.

Pitcher            PA   DRA+  tIP  BRAR   D
Tom Seaver        1.75  127  4806   15   .05
Steve Carlton     1.54  113  5388   29   .04
Phil Niekro       1.49  114  5456   
-9  -.11
Bert Blyleven     1.40  115  4961  
-10   .02
Gaylord Perry     1.37  112  5159  
-12  -.03
Nolan Ryan        1.36  111  5426  
-10  -.05
Bob Gibson        1.34  124  3685   48   .12
Don Sutton        1.21  109  5308  
-12   .07
Fergie Jenkins    1.18  113  4323   11   .03
Dennis Eckersley  1.17  120  3878    0   .00
  Eck 75
-86        .65  111  2588    0
  Eck 87
-98        .52  142  1290    0
Don Drysdale      1.16  124  3276   32  
Jim Bunning       1.04  113  3739  
-10   .01
Sandy Koufax      1.04  153  2213  
-20   .01
Juan Marichal     1.02  118  3289    5  
Jim Palmer        1.02  113  3781    6   .25
Bret Saberhagen   1.01  128  2863   
-3  -.05
Hoyt Wilhelm      1.00  130  2906  
-12   .06
Rich Gossage       .98  131  2566    0   .01
Dave Stieb         .91  117  3070    0   .12
Rollie Fingers     .87  123  2568    2   .02 
   4. DL from MN Posted: May 11, 2009 at 02:25 AM (#3173691)
That's a good list. I have Gibson higher than that and Sutton lower.
   5. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: May 11, 2009 at 02:30 AM (#3173706)
They are close. It doesn't take a lot to nudge Gibson up to #4. .065 PA is the equivalent of Gibson 1973 or Blyleven 1972 and that's the difference in moving him up 3 spots.

Likewise with Sutton, .05 PA is the equivalent of Sutton 1974 or Drysdale 1966, and that would drop Sutton 3 spots. After the big 3 of Seaver/Carlton/Niekro, that's a pretty big logjam from Blyleven through Drysdale.

Palmer is the big one where I see him as overrated. His defense helped him a ton, whether he was pitching to it or not.
   6. OCF Posted: May 11, 2009 at 03:17 AM (#3173844)
Here they are by my RA+ Pythpat record, sorted by overall equivalent FWP. This is the same chart that I put in the previous discussion thread, only with different pitchers.

The lines for the relief pitchers basically make no sense in this chart, so don't take them too literally. Also: pitcher batting is not considered. There are no Ferrells or Ruffings in this group, but there's still a difference between, say, Gibson and Koufax. Also: defensive support is not adjusted for with one exception: I adjusted for Palmer's defensive support.

Pitcher . . W-.  FWP big years
.  330-201  333 94
Blyleven  322
-230  279 53
. . 337-258  269 52
.  265-166  262 84
328-252  261 54
.  334-266  253 31
287-213  240 44
.  260-179  235 57
. .  326-273  231 16
.  320-267  229 21
(K.Brown  216-146  198 46)
Bunning 238-180  194 44
Marichal  226
-164  194 53
Eckersley 215
-150  191 15
(Tiant .  224-164  189 35)
John . . 281-244  187  3)
Stieb . . 190-131  172 34
.  16395  171 63
Drysdale  209
-157  170 31
(Reuschel 221-174  170 14)
Saberhagen174-111  169 49
(Cone . . 190-132  169 19)
Koosman  233-193  168 21)
Wilhelm 15892  167  8
(Kaat . . 262-241  158 13)
Tanana 245-220  155 21)
Key . .  171-117  155 17)
Finley 199-156  154  8)
D.Martnz 231-203  150  3)
Morris 226-199  148  9)
Gossage 12477  123  9
11178  098  0 
   7. Howie Menckel Posted: May 11, 2009 at 04:42 AM (#3174000)
15 of these 20 got in on their first shot
Jenkins and Ryan on their 2nd shot
only 3 waited longer - Fingers, Stieb, Saberhagen

not a lot of head-to-head here, for sure

Where these HOM Ps finished year by year

let's see
Koufax, Drysdale, Bunning, Wilhelm, Marichal, Gibson all get elected on their first try from 1972-81 (vary differing degrees of support)

there is a dry spell of eligibility of this group from 1982-88

Perry, Palmer, Seaver, Carlton, Niekro, Sutton in on their first shots, 1989-94
Jenkins elected 2nd try, 1990

Blyleven elected 1st try, 1998
Gossage elected 1st try, 2000
Eckersley elected 1st try, 2004
Ryan elected 2nd try, 2000

Fingers elected, 10th try, 2000

Stieb elected 5th try, 2002
Saberhagen elected 4th try, 2008

1972 - (Roberts landslide winner) 2 Koufax ELECTED
1973-74 - no potential electees from this class
1975 - 1 Drysdale ELECTED
1976 - no potential electees from this class
1977 - 2 Bunning ELECTED
1978 - 2 Wilhelm ELECTED
1979 - no potential electees from this class
1980 - 3 Marichal ELECTED
1981 - 1 Gibson ELECTED (3 Mendez, 7 Pierce, 8 Redding, 11 Waddell, 19 Walters)
1982-88 - no potential electees from this class
1989 - 3 Perry ELECTED, 4 Jenkins (13 Redding)
1990 - 2 Palmer ELECTED, 3 Jenkins ELECTED
1991 - 9 Fingers (12 Redding)
1992 - 1 Seaver ELECTED, 10 Fingers (12 Redding)
1993 - 2 Carlton ELECTED, 4 Niekro, 10 Fingers (11 Redding)
1994 - 1 Niekro ELECTED, 3 Sutton ELECTED. 10 Fingers (11 Redding)
1995 - 10 Fingers (14 Walters)
1996 - 8 Fingers (Redding 10)
1997 - (5 Walters, 6 Redding) 8 Fingers
1998 - 2 Blyleven ELECTED (4 Redding, 7 Walters) 8 Fingers, 15 Stieb
1999 - 4 Ryan, 6 Fingers (7 Redding), 10 Stieb
2000 - 1 Ryan ELECTED, 2 Gossage ELECTED, 3 Fingers ELECTED (Redding 5), 7 Stieb
2001 - 5 Stieb (7 Redding)
2002 - 3 Stieb ELECTED
2003 - no potential electees from this class
2004 - 2 Eckersley ELECTED
2005 - (7 Walters, 8 Redding) 14 Saberhagen
2006 - (5 Walters, 6 Redding) 8 Saberhagen
2007 - 4 Saberhagen (6 Redding)
2008 - 3 Saberhagen ELECTED
   8. bjhanke Posted: May 11, 2009 at 07:09 AM (#3174050)
Hm. Gibson is going to be harder than I thought. In Joe's list,he has the lowest IP of anyone above Drysdale, and Joe's method rewards longevity. In OCF's list, he has the second-highest big years score, behind only Seaver, and that's going to reward peak. So Gibson becomes more of a peak candidate. I'll still have him high because of World Series, hitting and clubhouse leadership, but it's not as clear-cut as I thought before the charts.

Koufax is going to be hilarious. There's nothing there but a peak. The career is stripped of all bulk. I'm going to have to figure out a couple of guys' best 2200 IP, just to get a handle on where Sandy fits before figuring in longevity.

My guess is that I'm going to start out Seaver, Gibson, Carlton (remind me to tell the trade story involving Richard Nixon), agonize over having 2 Cardinals in the top three, and then try to balance Blyleven, Koufax, Niekro and Jenkins against each other while trying to remember to start the relievers with Wilhelm somewhere in the top half. Then there's Eckersley, who makes my head hurt. - Brock
   9. DL from MN Posted: May 11, 2009 at 02:03 PM (#3174151)
Prelim ballot

The numbers are more certain than any we've had previously. Not a lot of minor league credit, war credit, alternate league credit or other playing time issues (although there were a couple strikes to account for). No rule changes or lack of confidence in the statistics at hand. The big question is where the relievers fall in. Here's my first take:

1) Seaver - After all the gyrations it looks like he's 6th so far (Johnson, Grove, Young, Alexander, Williams, SEAVER, Spahn, Mathewson, Paige, Feller). Clearly the best of this era though not much postseason bonus.
2) Bob Gibson - right after Feller on my spreadsheet. Has the big years that match up with anyone on the list and enough bulk. Decent hitter and 1.75 postseason WPA.
3) Phil Niekro
4) Steve Carlton
5) Bert Blyleven
6) Gaylord Perry - this group is going to end up jostled around. Niekro has the most effective late-career which is probably what gives him the slight edge
7) Ferguson Jenkins
8) Jim Palmer - a little gap to get to these 2 guys
9) Nolan Ryan - definitely a career candidate, those walks led to runs
10) Dennis Eckersley - neither hybrid career is that worthy but put together he's top 10
))) Kevin Brown - will be overlooked by the mainstream
11) Bret Saberhagen
12) Hoyt Wilhelm - 1st reliever on the list, lots of bulk innings
13) Don Drysdale - Saberhagen had better "best years" if you put them in run-scoring context
14) Goose Gossage
15) Dave Stieb
16) Juan Marichal - the fact that Stieb didn't have to hit is helping him here
17) Jim Bunning - won't rank this high in the list of Congressmen from the same era.
))) David Cone
18) Sandy Koufax - to get more PWAA you have to go up to Perry but that's all Koufax has and I'm a career voter. 1.5 WPA for postseason but Gibson has more and Palmer has nearly as much postseason credit.
))) Luis Tiant
))) Rick Reuschel
19) Don Sutton - career value purely
20) Rollie Fingers - not PHoM. Just not enough innings at that rate. Not in my top 150 pitchers. I like Jack Morris better and Morris is not coming near my ballot.
   10. OCF Posted: May 11, 2009 at 03:58 PM (#3174264)
DL, you have Ryan 9th and Sutton 19th. What, exactly, is Ryan's advantage over Sutton that accounts for that many places? In other words, how do the words "career value purely" not also apply to Ryan?

I did put Kevin Brown on the list in post #6, but of course, Brown has not yet faced a yearly HoM election, so that may be premature - unless I were to go ahead and include Clemens, Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, R. Johnson, P. Martinez and maybe a few others.
   11. Juan V Posted: May 11, 2009 at 04:33 PM (#3174311)
One thing: My spreadsheet likes Blyleven even more than Rich Lederer does. I'll have to check him out more closely.
   12. mulder & scully Posted: May 11, 2009 at 04:43 PM (#3174336)
What OCF just said. I know I am the anti-Ryan fan and Sutton did not impress either. I don't think either were on my ballot or were just on the bottom. But, their results are so close other strikeouts.

Nolan Ryan first, Don Sutton second
Wins: 324, 324
Losses: 292, 256
Games Started: 773, 756
CG: 222, 178
SHO: 61, 58
IP: 5386, 5282
ERA+: 111, 108
WHIP: 1.247, 1.142
K/W: 2.04, 2.66
Pennants Added: 1.36, 1.21
FWP: 231, 229
Big Years FWP: 16, 21

Don't forget fielding where Ryan set the modern record for errors by a pitcher with 90, while Sutton only made 31. I may not be much of fan of either, both they are both PHOM. I haven't thought enough about my ballot yet, but I think they will be paired right next to each other or maybe one space apart.
   13. DL from MN Posted: May 11, 2009 at 05:18 PM (#3174400)
Going with the Dan R numbers:

Ryan 24.9 73
Sutton 15 62.3

This basically says that during a similar number of innings, Ryan was 10 wins more effective than Don Sutton. I effectively double those 10 wins in my spreadsheet since they were over an "average" baseline rather than just being 10 wins due to longevity.

I believe an win over "average" is worth more than a win over "replacement" when you're ranking who the best players ever are. If I didn't do that Koufax wouldn't be PHoM. This is the reason why I'm not a big fan of Early Wynn and why Bob Gibson gets the #2 slot on my ballot despite having fewer wins above replacement than Niekro, Blyleven or Carlton.
   14. Howie Menckel Posted: May 11, 2009 at 05:35 PM (#3174423)
often these HOMers were teammates
examples, at least 1 IP per team game or 35 G or equivalent to qualify

1958 Los Angeles NL - Don Drysdale (12-13) and Sandy Koufax (11-11)
1960 Los Angeles NL - Don Drysdale (15-14) and Sandy Koufax (8-13)
1961 Los Angeles NL - Sandy Koufax (18-13) and Don Drysdale (13-10)
1962 Los Angeles NL - Don Drysdale (25-9) and Sandy Koufax (14-7)
1963 Los Angeles NL - Sandy Koufax (25-5) and Don Drysdale (19-17)
1964 Los Angeles NL - Sandy Koufax (19-5) and Don Drysdale (18-16)
1965 Los Angeles NL - Sandy Koufax (26-8) and Don Drysdale (23-12)
1966 Los Angeles NL - Sandy Koufax (27-9) and Don Drysdale (13-16) and Don Sutton (12-12)

1967 Los Angeles NL - Don Drysdale (13-16) and Don Sutton (11-15)
1968 Los Angeles NL - Don Drysdale (14-12) and Don Sutton (11-15)

1964 San Francisco NL - Juan Marichal (21-8) and Gaylord Perry (12-11)
1965 San Francisco NL - Juan Marichal (22-13) and Gaylord Perry (8-12)
1966 San Francisco NL - Juan Marichal (25-6) and Gaylord Perry (21-8)
1967 San Francisco NL - Juan Marichal (14-10) and Gaylord Perry (15-17)
1968 San Francisco NL - Juan Marichal (26-9) and Gaylord Perry (16-15)
1969 San Francisco NL - Juan Marichal (21-11) and Gaylord Perry (19-14)
1970 San Francisco NL - Gaylord Perry (23-13) and Juan Marichal (12-10)
1971 San Francisco NL - Juan Marichal (18-11) and Gaylord Perry (16-12)

1967 St. Louis NL - Bob Gibson (13-7) and Steve Carlton (14-9)
1968 St. Louis NL - Bob Gibson (22-9) and Steve Carlton (13-11)
1969 St. Louis NL - Bob Gibson (20-13) and Steve Carlton (17-11)
1970 St. Louis NL - Bob Gibson (23-7) and Steve Carlton (10-19)
1971 St. Louis NL - Steve Carlton (20-9) and Bob Gibson (16-13)

1970 Atlanta NL - Phil Niekro (12-18) and Hoyt Wilhelm (6-4/13 SV)*

1975 Texas AL - Ferguson Jenkins (12-18) and Gaylord Perry (12-8)*

1976 Texas AL - Gaylord Perry (15-14) and Bert Blyleven (9-11)*

1978 San Diego NL - Gaylord Perry (21-6) and Rollie Fingers (6-13/37 SV)
1979 San Diego NL - Gaylord Perry (12-11) and Rollie Fingers (9-9/13 SV)

1981 Atlanta NL - Gaylord Perry (8-9) and Phil Niekro (7-7)

1981 Houston NL - Nolan Ryan (11-5) and Don Sutton (11-9)
1982 Houston NL - Nolan Ryan (16-12) and Don Sutton (13-8)*

1984 Milwaukee AL - Don Sutton (14-12) and Rollie Fingers (1-2/23 SV)

1991 Texas AL - Nolan Ryan (12-6) and Rich Gossage (4-2/1 SV)

1998 Boston AL - Bret Saberhagen (15-8) and Dennis Eckersley (4-1/1 SV)
   15. OCF Posted: May 11, 2009 at 05:47 PM (#3174439)
With respect to all of those Marichal/Perry Giant years in Howie's post: isn't there a Dag Nabbit post somewhere showing that they had wildly different run supports even as teammates? Maybe it's in either the Marichal thread or the Perry thread.
   16. mulder & scully Posted: May 11, 2009 at 05:54 PM (#3174456)
There is somewhere. I have his files at home so I can't check now, but I remember Marichal having considerably better support than Perry.
   17. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: May 11, 2009 at 06:04 PM (#3174468)
With respect to all of those Marichal/Perry Giant years in Howie's post: isn't there a Dag Nabbit post somewhere showing that they had wildly different run supports even as teammates? Maybe it's in either the Marichal thread or the Perry thread.

Uncanny -- I just came here to post that.

Gaylord Perry had the worst career run support of any 300-game winner except Nolan Ryan. It's essentially a photofinish between them and Walter Johnson. All have an RSI (Remember that? If not, just roll with it) that rounds off to 95 - Ryan's was 95.11, Perry 95.32, and Johnson 95.44. (Next worst among 300-game-winners was Seaver at 95.71, then Nichols at 96.87, Niekro at 97.67).

as for the Giant years, here were the RSIs for Marichal and Perry the years they both started a slew of games together in the Bay Area (1964-71) - first Perry then Marichal:

1964 81 131
1965 95 91
1966 104 106
1967 86 135
1968 91 143
1969 98 92
1970 108 128
1971 111 132

In all, Perry's run support was about 98 (I don't have a calculator with me to figure out the exact average, but it's about 98). From memory, I know his SF-era run support was equiviliant to the run support the Ted Turner era Braves gave Phil Niekro.

Juan Marichal had an RSI of about 120 for those years (his careeer RSI was 115.34, the highest of any HoF, aside from Al Spalding). An RSI of 120 is equivilent to what the Casey Stengel Yanks provided for Allie Reynolds.

Think about it: the same offense consisting of the same hitters batting for two pitchers for 8 years (and over 200 starts apiece) hit wildly differently. The Giants had a set rotation there, so there was no noticable difference in strength of opposing teams faced by Perry and Marichal. If you switched the run support, I guesstimate Perry would've had about 330-340 wins and Marichal would've had Catfish Hunter's career W-L mark.

If the run support was switched, Perry would've won 20+ games each year from 1966-70 and likely would not have been dealt after 1971. His 1972 season, a campaign for the ages, would've been with a team with a much better offense than the one he worked with. (San Fran had a bad offense in 1972, but Cleveland's was putrid).
   18. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: May 11, 2009 at 06:06 PM (#3174473)
I should note I'm aware that one should not evaluate Perry on the basis of "how many would he have won if his park-adjusted run support was 20% better than league average" but it's such amazing info I had to throw it out there. In some ways, the above post is more negative toward Marichal than anything else.

It still was an amazing run support split, though.
   19. Howie Menckel Posted: May 11, 2009 at 06:08 PM (#3174476)
Is Stieb's support the worst of any pitcher on the board?
   20. Chris Cobb Posted: May 11, 2009 at 06:09 PM (#3174483)
Very very preliminary. I’m set for the top 3, but after that everything is in flux.

1. Tom Seaver – Easy #1. Best pitcher between Grove and Clemens.
2. Bob Gibson – Peak value puts him over folks with more bulk.
3. Steve Carlton – Lopping off the tail of his career gives a truer account of his merits
4. Gaylord Perry – Huge career, strong, innings-eating peak
5. Phil Niekro – Replace the spitter with the knuckler. Even more of an innings-eater than Perry, but never a lights-out pitcher. His peak is being very good while carrying a workload that would have been impossible for anybody else in the late 1970s.
6. Fergie Jenkins – He was better than people remember.
7. Bert Blyleven – Ridiculously overqualified for the Hall of Fame, but he did underperform his Pythagorean projections by a lot, so I don’t have him up with the Carlton/Perry/Niekro/ trio as some do.
8. Jim Palmer – Better than Joe D. thinks
9. Nolan Ryan – Does have a fine peak in the early 70s with California, highly effective and highly durable. Then he pitched a bit better than average forever.
10. Don Drysdale – Better that Bill James thought
11. Juan Marichal – Very similar in value to Drysdale, but a lot more value in his peak, a lot less in his career
12. Bret Saberhagen – When he pitched, he was awesome
13. Don Sutton – Pure career candidate. The Red Ruffing of the 1970s, minus the bat
14. Jim Bunning – Same type of career as Drysdale/Marichal, but not quite as good. A lot of crap innings late in the career, even more so than Marichal.
15. Sandy Koufax – Best peak of this era, and that’s enough to elect him for a voter who counts career value, but, you know, at his best he was only a little bit better than Seaver and Gibson
16. Hoyt Wilhelm – All the relievers are toward the bottom. Wilhelm’s the best. They would top some of the weakest HoM starters from other eras, but I don’t think they best anybody from this list except Stieb. Hopefully, I’ll have time to give that hypothesis a good test before we vote!
17. Dennis Eckersley – A little bit of everything in this career.
18. Rich Gossage – The other half of Ron Guidry’s great W-L record
19. Dave Stieb – Possibly a mistake. The best pitcher of the early 80s starting pitcher wasteland.
20. Rollie Fingers – Possibly a mistake, but he was the best reliever of his era. Threw a lot of quality innings, and has significant World Series cred.
   21. Howie Menckel Posted: May 11, 2009 at 06:24 PM (#3174498)
In 1969 the NL featured, of these guys:
Seaver, Jenkins, Bunning, Gibson, Carlton, Niekro, Marichal, Perry, Sutton
(plus Ryan and Drysdale as part-timers)

The AL that year had only ONE SP from this crowd - Jim Palmer.
They did have Fingers and Wilhelm, too, but even Wilhelm finished the year in the NL (ATL).

But by 1976, the tables had turned.

The NL only had:
Carlton, Seaver, Sutton, Niekro

While the AL in 1976 had:
Palmer, Jenkins, Eckersley (SP), Fingers, Blyleven, Ryan, Perry, Gossage
   22. DL from MN Posted: May 11, 2009 at 07:31 PM (#3174611)
> 1970 Atlanta NL - Phil Niekro (12-18) and Hoyt Wilhelm (6-4/13 SV)*

Poor Bob Tillman...
   23. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: May 11, 2009 at 07:55 PM (#3174651)
Is Stieb's support the worst of any pitcher on the board?

I dunno. Let's see.

In order:
Juan Marichal 115.34
Jim Palmer 107.03
Sandy Koufax 104.76
Steve Carlton 104.56
Don Sutton 103.94
Jim Bunning 100.69
Don Drysdale 100.02
Fergie Jenkins 99.10
Bret Saberhagen 97.91
Phil Niekro 97.67
Bob Gibson 96.32
Tom Seaver 95.71
Bert Blyleven 95.64
Dennis Eckersley 95.64 (note: RSI only based on starts. That's true of all pitchers, but especially noteworthy when looking at Eck).
Gaylord Perry 95.32
Nolan Ryan 95.11
Dave Stieb 94.60

Not applicable: Hoyt Wilhelm, Rich Gossage, Rollie Fingers.

So yeah, he did have the worst run support of all those listed. He's light years better than Steve Rogers (88.99), Bobo Newsom (89.84), Dazzy Vance (90.47) or Mark Langston (90.56). And a dang site btter than Larry Jackson (92.79) and Charlie Hough (93.22) and virtually tied with Rick Wise (94.56) - but those guys aren't under consideration at the moment.
   24. stax Posted: May 12, 2009 at 04:18 AM (#3175403)
I tend to look at things like ERA+, though Joe's DRA+ is quite interesting (to account for folks like Palmer). Using WAR numbers, looking at WAR (as a counting stat) and WAR/IP (to get a rate of effectiveness) and effectively making a WAR+ and WAR/IP+ number of sorts using only this group (so % above the group average), then adding them together to see who was the most outstanding looking at both equally. Here are those numbers

Tom Seaver (250.1)
Jim Palmer (248.6)
Steve Carlton (242.3)
Juan Marichal (236.9)
Don Sutton (230.2)
Bob Gibson (217.9)
Fergie Jenkins (215.5)
Gaylord Perry (214.1)
Phil Niekro (213.4)
Nolan Ryan (211.9)
Sandy Koufax (209.9)
Bert Blyleven (198.2)
Jim Bunning (182.2)
Don Drysdale (181.3)
Bret Saberhagen (181.0)
Dave Stieb (169.2)
Dennis Eckersly (166.5)
Hoyt Wilhelm (151.9)
Goose Gossage (151.0)
Rollie Fingers (127.8)

But there are some additional needs, such as adjusting some (Palmer) for defense and others for peak (such as Gibson). Doing this (a somewhat more subjective process) I wind up with the following PRELIMINARY BALLOT:

1. Tom Seaver - Clear #1
2. Steve Carlton - Pretty clear #2.
3. Bob Gibson - Gibson leaps up for peak, defense, etc
4. Phil Niekro
5. Bert Blyleven - Big jump looking at Joe's DRA+.
6. Gaylord Perry
7. Nolan Ryan
8. Fergie Jenkins
9. Don Sutton - Sutton drops to the bottom of the Perry/Ryan/Jenkins/Sutton pool of career-heavy mid-packers for defense (lowest of the DRA+s) and small peak even in that group.
10. Sandy Koufax - This is likely what will kill my consistency score or whatever if people love love love peak. I could see a case where he leaps as high as #5 here, but I prefer this placement.
11. Jim Palmer - Defensive drop from upper-echelon to middle of the pack.
12. Jim Bunning
13. Don Drysdale
14. Juan Marichal - Must've been taking WAR steroids, not sure how he rose so high.
15. Bret Saberhagen - Another 'pack' as far as my quick little attempt at a number goes.
16. Hoyt Wilhelm
17. Goose Gossage
18. Dennis Eckersly - This measure clearly breaks down looking at relievers, Stieb is not greater than Wilhelm/Gossage/Eck IMO.
19. Dave Stieb
20. Rollie Fingers
   25. Mark Donelson Posted: May 12, 2009 at 04:47 PM (#3175902)
Prelim. Again, this is just the basic rundown; a lot could change as I look further into it. With the usual "yes, I'm a big peak voter" caveats re my initial placements of guys like Koufax and Saberhagen and (conversely) Sutton. Reliever placement is, of course, the hazy area in this set.

1. Seaver
2. Gibson
3. Carlton
4. G Perry (pretty close to Carlton)
5. Niekro
6. Koufax
7. Blyleven (close to Koufax)
8. Marichal (close to Blyleven)
9. Saberhagen
10. Bunning (close to Saberhagen)
11. Jenkins
12. Drysdale
13. Ryan (close to Drysdale)
14. Palmer
15. Wilhelm
16. Stieb
17. Gossage
18. Eckersley
19. Fingers (pHOM, but less sure of that than I used to be)
20. Sutton (not pHOM)
   26. OCF Posted: May 12, 2009 at 05:03 PM (#3175926)
This is an era in which we don't differ all that much from the Hall of Fame. We have Blyleven, Stieb, and Saberhagen; they have Hunter and Sutter. (Anyone else?)

How well Stieb and Saberhagen do on our vote depends on the peak/career balance of the electorate - the peaksters have been pretty prominent in these ranking votes, and I see Saberhagen surprisingly high on some of the prelims above. (Which I guess means that those voters aren't holding out for consecutive peak years.)

Of course, every time a BBWAA election rolls around, you hear about Jack Morris. Would any voter actually put Morris ahead of any of these 20 pitchers? Or ahead of any of the 17 or so starters? Or would you rather talk about Reuschel or Tiant or Cone or someone else?
   27. Chris Cobb Posted: May 12, 2009 at 05:20 PM (#3175953)
Morris is nowhere near as good as anyone on this list. The four non-elected post-1958 pitchers who, in my view, have an argument to have been overlooked so far are Tiant, John, Cone, and Reuschel. My system sees them as trailing all the elected starting pitchers on this list except for Sutton and Stieb, but they compare more favorably to the lower-ranked pitchers from earlier twentieth-century groups.
   28. DL from MN Posted: May 12, 2009 at 05:57 PM (#3176027)
I have Morris about as good as Fingers but nowhere near anyone else. I just don't see Fingers as that impressive (if him, why not Lee Smith?). I will acknowledge that Fingers isn't that bad of an in/out line for relievers.
   29. DL from MN Posted: May 12, 2009 at 07:22 PM (#3176179)
> We have Blyleven, Stieb, and Saberhagen; they have Hunter and Sutter.

I expect the Hall of Fame to catch up with us on Blyleven. By then we might be Stieb, Saberhagen, Kevin Brown and Tiant over Hunter, Sutter and Lee Smith.
   30. Paul Wendt Posted: May 12, 2009 at 08:25 PM (#3176290)
As I recall my judgment of the sense of the group Joe Dimino provided crucial evidence and argument in favor of Rollie Fingers. Discussion around his time revealed some anticipation of bypassing him but Joe provided some outstanding data, on inherited runners iirc.

Gibson, Blyleven, and Carlton, are three losers by the winter-spring revisions in DERA and all that. Niekro is the big winner with Palmer, Seaver, and Jenkins also winners. (That is a hasty summary.)

Team Fielding inferred from new new DERA and all that
+0.23 Bob Gibson
+0.21 Jim Palmer
+0.18 Rollie Fingers
+0.15 Don Sutton
+0.14 Dave Stieb

+0.06 Bert Blyleven
+0.04 Don Drysdale
+0.03 Steve Carlton
+0.02 Jim Bunning
-0.01 Sandy Koufax
-0.04 Rich Gossage
-0.05 Nolan Ryan
-0.06 Juan Marichal
-0.09 Gaylord Perry
-0.12 Bret Saberhagen
-0.13 Dennis Eckersley
-0.14 Tom Seaver

-0.24 Fergie Jenkins
-0.39 Phil Niekro
   31. OCF Posted: May 12, 2009 at 10:55 PM (#3176452)
Who were Gibson's defenders? I'm mostly ignoring catchers here.

1961 through 1965 had an infield of White, Javier, Groat, and Boyer. (The first couple of years of that was a rotating cast at SS). The OF had Flood in CF as a constant with Musial giving way to Brock and a rotating cast of RF. Flood was outstanding, but Musial was old and Brock wasn't a good defender. Several of those infielders have big defensive reputations, but they were pretty old by then, and defense is more of a young man's game. During this time, Gibson was a good pitcher, but if he had developed "normally" from 1965 on as you might project from what he had done up until that time, he wouldn't have been a HoFer/HoMer. He's who he was because of the great leap forward he made after that time (and in particular after his 1967 broken leg.)

In 1966, Cepeda replaced White and Maxvill replaced Groat. A year later, Shannon moved in from the outfield to take over 3B. That's a defensive upgrade at SS. Maxvill hit like someone who had better be the real thing with the glove to justify his existence in the majors - but he he was that good. But it's a defensive downgrade at the infield corners. Shannon played 3B like a converted OF, and while Cepeda was athletic, I never got the sense that he particularly exerted himself on defense. The outfield was still Flood (a plus) in CR and Brock (a minus) in LF, with assorted RF - Maris in the pennant-winning years. Maris was sound but old and not fast. That group stayed mostly together through 1969 except for Torre instead of Cepeda at 1B in 1969 - which feels like a further downgrade. By 1971 it was largely a completely new team: Sizemore at 2B instead of Javier; an assortment of 1B with Torre tried back at 3B (yeah, sure), Jose Cruz in CF after a year of Jose Cardenal (definitely not Flood's glove). Maxvill hung on through 1972, but his playing time was gradually shrinking without anyone else around (including Maxvill himself) who could pick it like Maxvill could when he was younger. (Who was Mike Tyson anyway? I really don't remember him.) Reitz took over at 3B in 1973 (better than Torre, anyway). Cruz never really established himself in CF and by 1974 that was Bake McBride.

That's an outstanding defense? There were some outstanding individuals, to be sure, notably Maxvill and Flood (at the two most important positions). And I can see the old-guys infield of the early 60's as possibly being pretty good on a team basis even if they were old. But there's also Brock in LF from 1964 on, and Cepeda/Allen/Torre at 1B, and four years of Shannon at 3B, and a year of Cardenal in CF.

Palmer at his peak had an infield of Robinson, Belanger and Grich, with Paul Blair in CF - I don't see any of Gibson's teams measuring up to that, and I'm having trouble believing that Gibson's defenses were as strong as (much less stronger than) Palmer's. Gibson himself was a plus defender - but that shouldn't count as part of his "support."
   32. Howie Menckel Posted: May 13, 2009 at 01:25 AM (#3176840)
I still have this Mike Tyson baseball card somewhere, in similar condition

Tyson was one of those lousy players who you look back in amazement at how many ABs he got in the bigs.
   33. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 13, 2009 at 01:38 AM (#3176887)
Perhaps a case of mistaken identity?

I'm quite proud of myself for actually guessing correctly the three position players with the lowest WARP2 (by my metric) in MLB history, in order no less: Bill Bergen, Doug Flynn, and Jim Levey. (I knew Levey just because I already knew his 1933 is the single worst season since 1893).
   34. OCF Posted: May 13, 2009 at 03:07 AM (#3177102)
Dan, as long as you have that database open, I'm curious about the case of Maxvill. As far as I know Maxvill was:
(1) a for-real defensive SS
(2) an utterly powerless hitter, a guy who never hit the ball hard
(3) and hence a really bad hitter
(4) tempered by the fact that he at least drew a few walks (but part of that was that he always batted 8th).

What do your WARP metrics say about him? And when he had a kind-of-OK offensive season in Year of the Pitcher 1968, what did that mean?

I'm confident that he was no Flynn. But what was he?
   35. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: May 13, 2009 at 01:02 PM (#3177359)
Before this election starts, I will try to update the pitchers on this ballot for the 'new' BPro numbers in my system. Maybe I can get to this today, I will try (but I've cried wolf before there).
   36. Esteban Rivera Posted: May 13, 2009 at 07:09 PM (#3178019)
-0.24 Fergie Jenkins
-0.39 Phil Niekro

For Niekro, could this include some effect of being a knuckleballer on his defense?
   37. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: May 13, 2009 at 07:18 PM (#3178036)
For Niekro, could this include some effect of being a knuckleballer on his defense?

What impact do passed balls and wild pitches have on DERA? (I don't know, which is why I'm asking). the knuckleball causes a disproporionate number of those things.
   38. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 13, 2009 at 07:20 PM (#3178042)
My current pre-1987 defensive stats are not particularly reliable--they're just a hybrid of old BP FRAA and Fielding Win Shares. I do have as a project getting higher-quality figures (by studying the relationships between TotalZone, new play-by-play BP FRAA, SFR, DRA, and Fielding WS to modern PBP metrics), but that will take quite some time. You can look up all my stats yourself in the archive linked from the top of the "Dan Rosenheck's WARP data" page--I have made all the numbers available and they're completely open-source. But to answer your question, I do show Maxvill as a terrific fielder, and overall posting 2.3, 2.5, 4.5, 1.5, 1.6, and 1.4 WARP2 from 1966-71. 2 wins is league-average, 4 is an All-Star, 7 is a serious MVP candidate, 8+ is an MVP winner.
   39. Blackadder Posted: May 13, 2009 at 07:21 PM (#3178046)
A few people had Saberhagen > Koufax. Can someone explain that? Saberhagen has a slight innings advantage, but Koufax was slightly better on average, so they had comparable overall career value. And Koufax, of course, blows him away on peak. Are people applying innings pitched adjustments? I guess hitting might also be factor.
   40. JPWF13 Posted: May 13, 2009 at 07:31 PM (#3178070)
Of course, every time a BBWAA election rolls around, you hear about Jack Morris. Would any voter actually put Morris ahead of any of these 20 pitchers?

HOM voter or BBWAA voter?

Just out of morbid curiosity what was Morris' run support for his career?
   41. OCF Posted: May 13, 2009 at 07:35 PM (#3178075)
2 wins is league-average, 4 is an All-Star

The concept of an All-Star (that 4.5 in 1968) with triple crown stats of .253/1/24 is kind of mind-blowing. Of course, it was 1968 (hence an OPS+ of 91). And SS of that time didn't hit much in general, and, as you said, his glove was real. Still not someone you'd ever intentionally walk if Gibson were hitting behind him.

That one 1968 HR - it seems to have been an actual over-the-fence job in Busch Stadium. Or as one of his teammates said, in mock-Harry tones, "Way back - it might be - it could be - it couldn't be, it couldn't be!" It was the second of back-to-back HR, and the pitcher was replaced immediately after Maxvill's AB. (The Phillies' one run that game scored on a first inning error by Maxvill.)
   42. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: May 13, 2009 at 07:55 PM (#3178134)
Just out of morbid curiosity what was Morris' run support for his career?

About 7% above average, once adjusted for park. From memory, he's almost exactly the same as Jim Palmer in terms of run support.
   43. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 13, 2009 at 08:27 PM (#3178248)
A few people had Saberhagen > Koufax. Can someone explain that?

Not me, since I have Koufax comfortably over Sabes.
   44. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 13, 2009 at 08:35 PM (#3178271)
I still have this Mike Tyson baseball card somewhere, in similar condition

I still have his card from '77, FWIW.
   45. JPWF13 Posted: May 13, 2009 at 08:42 PM (#3178292)
From memory, he's almost exactly the same as Jim Palmer in terms of run support.

what about defensive support? My recollection is that Morris' teams had very good Dees as well.
   46. OCF Posted: May 13, 2009 at 08:44 PM (#3178297)
Here is RA+ equivalent season-by-season records for Koufax and Saberhagen, sorted from best year to worst, by single-season equivalent FWP.

Koufax Saberhagen
-10  |  218
-10  |  19-10
-13  |  188
7  |  146
7  |  138
9  |  118
5  |  15-14
8  |  096
2  |  096
9  |  108
4  |  098
-----  |  098
-----  |  065
-----  |  011
-----  |  012
-95 174-111 

You can come to your own conclusions as what that should mean. Rather famously, Koufax's top years are consecutive and Saberhagen's are not consecutive.
   47. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: May 13, 2009 at 08:55 PM (#3178328)
what about defensive support? My recollection is that Morris' teams had very good Dees as well.

I believe Detroit routinely had the best (or near best) DER in the league in teh early 1980s. I'm pretty sure Palmer still had better defensive support, though. Palmer arguably had the best defensive support of any pitcher since 1920.
   48. Paul Wendt Posted: May 14, 2009 at 12:00 AM (#3178511)
If you look for teammate pitchers with high estimates of career team fielding support by Davenport, then Cincinnati stands out in the 1970s, Detroit in the 1980s.
Milt Wilcox except that he didn't stick with Cinci.

Davenstats no longer place Jim Palmer among the "modern" leaders. For what it's worth he is now far behind his sometime teammate Dave McNally and he slightly trailed McNally in the 2008 edition.

37. Dag Nabbit Posted: May 13, 2009 at 03:18 PM (#3178036)
<i>> For Niekro, could this include some effect of being a knuckleballer on his defense?

What impact do passed balls and wild pitches have on DERA? (I don't know, which is why I'm asking). the knuckleball causes a disproporionate number of those things.

I don't know either but I suppose the answer to the original question is yes. You may recall from six months ago that knuckleballists Wilbur Wood and Emil Leonard were among the trailers who suffered worst team fielding support according to the 2008 Davenstats.
   49. Paul Wendt Posted: May 14, 2009 at 12:57 AM (#3178566)
See "Pitchers for the Hall of Merit" for more of this.
   50. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 14, 2009 at 01:28 AM (#3178594)
If Maxvill only had 24 RBI that year, and particularly since his BB were in front of the pitcher, it's quite possible his win probability added lags behind his batting wins above average (which assume an average/random distribution of hits).
   51. OCF Posted: May 14, 2009 at 01:35 AM (#3178598)
Gibson hit .170/.233/.223 in 110 PA that year and had 6 RBI himself.
   52. OCF Posted: May 18, 2009 at 01:06 AM (#3182595)
My own voting behavior - I'm recording this in part to help guide my own eventual ballot.

Koufax: 11th on my 1972 ballot. Roberts was first. Some non-pitchers he was near on that ballot: Mackey, Minoso, Elliott. Also Mendez and Redding. I'll use that latter group as a proxy for Koufax on later ballots, since he was elected in 1972.

Drysdale: 7th on my 1975 ballot. (Elected.) Slightly ahead of the Koufax proxies. Use Walters, Trouppe as proxies.

Bunning: 3rd on my 1977 ballot (elected). Behind only Banks and Pierce.

Wilhelm: 3rd on my 1978 ballot (elected). Behind only Clemente and Pierce.

Marichal: 4th on my 1980 ballot (elected). Behind Kaline, Santo, and Pierce.

Gibson: 1st on my 1981 ballot.

Perry: 3rd on my 1989 ballot, behind only Bench and Yaz. Definitely not a backlog year.

Palmer: 2nd on my 1990 ballot, behind only Morgan.

Jenkins: 4th on my 1989 ballot, 3rd on 1990. Hence behind both Perry and Palmer.

Seaver: 1st in 1991. As if I had to ask?

Carlton: 1st in 1993.

Niekro: 2nd in 1993 (ahead of Reggie Jackson and Pete Rose), 1st in 1994.

Sutton: 3rd in 1994, behind Niekro and Simmons.

Blyleven: 1st in 1997.

Ryan: 4th in 1999, behind Brett, Yount, Fisk. 1st in 2000.

Gossage: 2nd in 2000.

Fingers: from his debut in 1991, somewhere between 20 and 27. For some reason I raised him from there to 14 in 2000 when he was elected. Clearly behind everyone named above. Sal Bando, Bob Elliott, Tony Perez as proxies.

Stieb: 4th in 1997, 4th in 2000, 3rd in 2001 (behind O. Smith and Trammell) when he was elected. Hence behind Ryan and Gossage, but not very far behind.

Eckersley: 12th in 2004 when elected. Similar to proxies for Fingers.

Saberhagen: 17th-15th in 2005-2006, slightly behind proxies for Fingers and Eckersley. I completely redid my 2008 ballot and he jumped to 4th.

The following order seems consistent with my record:

(Gibson, Carlton, Perry, Palmer, Blyleven) (*)
(Sutton, Ryan, Jenkins)
(Bunning, Marichal, Wilhelm, Gossage)
(Koufax, Drysdale)
(Eckersley, Fingers)

(*) I'm guessing I won't actually put Palmer there. But we'll see.
   53. sunnyday2 Posted: May 21, 2009 at 01:45 AM (#3186921)
Weren't we going to do relievers separately? Gossage vs. Jenkins, et al, is a toughie.
   54. KJOK Posted: May 21, 2009 at 05:48 AM (#3187422)
Team Fielding inferred from new new DERA and all that
+0.23 Bob Gibson
+0.21 Jim Palmer
+0.18 Rollie Fingers
+0.15 Don Sutton
+0.14 Dave Stieb

-0.24 Fergie Jenkins
-0.39 Phil Niekro

I'm thinking DERA is not park-adjusted? If not, I'm guessing quite a bit of this is actually park effects instead of defense, as all of those first 4 guys played in pitcher's parks, while the bottom two played in extreme hitter's parks.
   55. DL from MN Posted: May 21, 2009 at 02:04 PM (#3187618)
> Weren't we going to do relievers separately?

That was the original idea but we scuttled it when we decided a 3 pitcher ballot would be kind of silly.
   56. Paul Wendt Posted: May 21, 2009 at 05:48 PM (#3187935)
I don't believe so. This team fielding statistic is (RAA - PRAA) / XIP and DERA is calculated from the latter, PRAA/XIP. I believe your suggestion is really that RAA (runs allowed relative to average) is not park-adjusted; so that the difference RAA - PRAA includes estimates of both ballpark/schedule and team fielding effects. RAA and PRAA are one or two troubling black boxes; the key may be a surprise but I don't believe you have it here.

I expect to say more in "Pitchers" or "Uberstats".
   57. jimd Posted: May 22, 2009 at 09:10 PM (#3189394)
Grouping by their original electoral support:

Unanimous or nearly so:
Seaver Carlton BGibson

Solid Front-loggers:
Niekro Perry Blyleven Ryan Palmer

Front-loggers barely (majority support):
Jenkins Gossage Eckersley Wilhelm

Mid-log (1st ballot but not majority):
Marichal Koufax Sutton Drysdale Bunning

Fingers Stieb Saberhagen
   58. Howie Menckel Posted: May 23, 2009 at 01:28 AM (#3190098)
Carlton vs Koufax intrigues me - Koufax the early lead, Carlton has more of course after Yr 6, but how much more depends on one's measurements. Plus one of Koufax's top ERA+ seasons is not that strong IP-wise, so does he really lead by that much early on? Maybe not.

Highest ERA+ in a 6th-best season among these guys, full seasons only, are the 142s by Seaver and.... Bunning.

Of course Seaver demolishes him in both directions at every other turn, lol.

But I'm a little surprised how much some of these guys may slide up and down depending on how much to value those 90-119 ERA+ years compared to monster seasons.

Jenkins a bit disappointing compared to my memories of him.
   59. Howie Menckel Posted: May 23, 2009 at 05:29 AM (#3190252)
So I start with the raw full-season ERA+s, try to mix in peak and prime and career voting lures, and do a very rough ranking just to that point. Then I add in IP durability via top 10s, and this pops out.

Without an edit key, I can't say if it looks all that readable, but there's something superficially remarkable about Seaver and Gibson vs the rest of the top dozen or so in this list of top 10 IP rankings from best on down the top 10s of their career.

It could a coincidence, for sure. Is it?

Seaver top 10 in IP::::::::: 3 3 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 7 8 10
Gibson top 10 in IP:::::::: 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 9
Carlton top 10 in IP:::::::: 1 1 1 1 1 3 3 6 7 7 7 9 9
Koufax top 10 in IP:::::::: 1 1 3 4
Palmer top 10 in IP:::::::: 1 1 1 1 2 8 8 9
Marichal top 10 in IP:::::: 1 1 3 5 5 6 8 8
Niekro top 10 in IP::::::::: 1 1 1 1 3 3 4 5 9 10 10
Perry top 10 in IP:::::::::: 1 1 2 2 2 3 3 4 4 4 10
Blyleven top 10 in IP:::::: 1 1 4 4 4 5 7 7 9 10 10
Ryan top 10 in IP::::::::::: 1 3 3 5 6 7 7 8 8 9
Bunning top 10 in IP::::::: 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 5 6 8
Drysdale top 10 in IP:::::: 1 1 2 2 4 5 5 5 9 9 10
Sutton top 10 in IP:::::::::: 5 5 5 7 8 8 9 9 9 10
Jenkins top 10 in IP:::::::: 1 2 2 2 2 3 5 5 5 10
Saberhagen top 10 in IP:: 1 3 5 9
Stieb top 10 in IP:::::::::::: 1 1 2 3 5
Eckersley top 10 in IP::::: 9 9 9
Wilhelm top 10 in IP:::::::: 10
   60. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: May 24, 2009 at 12:43 PM (#3191109)
What impact do passed balls and wild pitches have on DERA? (I don't know, which is why I'm asking). the knuckleball causes a disproporionate number of those things.

I thought the difference between DERA and NRA was a team stat. Comparing Niekro to teammates that's definitely not the case.

Paul, did this change with the new iteration? I'm almost positive when I was using this (before the updates this past winter) the difference was the same for teammates - which was why I was using it.
   61. bjhanke Posted: May 25, 2009 at 02:42 AM (#3191990)
As long as we're on the subject of DERA, does anyone know of a source that computes that with an adjustment for ground ball and fly ball tendencies of the pitcher and the team? The reason is probably obvious to everyone, but it might apply heavily to Jenkins and some others. Wrigley's hitter friendship, for the example of Jenkins, is mostly caused by fly balls going out of the park and off the wall, not by ground balls, all because the park is small in the outfield and is open to the wind (Old Comiskey was both large and closed off to the wind, so it was the opposite kind of park although in the same city). Therefore, outfield defense is not as important there as it was in, say, one of the cookie cutter turf parks with the huge outfields.So, if Jenkins was a fly ball pitcher, he might have a raw DERA that is way off. The mere fact that I don't know of any DERAs that adjust for GB/FB does not strongly imply that none exists.

Thanks in advance, - Brock
   62. Howie Menckel Posted: May 25, 2009 at 04:12 AM (#3192022)

Am I the only one that for the first time on any ballot doesn't have any option they consider utterly unworthy? this collection seems more balanced, bottom to top, than any I've seen......

Talk me out of any particular one you like!

1. TOM SEAVER - He crushes a very solid contemporary HOMer like Gaylord Perry 9 straight times and then matches him over the next 5 years. We are talking about one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history. Easy No. 1. Odd that he never finished in the top 2 in IP, but his 8 top 5s are on par or better with the entire field.
2. BOB GIBSON - Some may see his mere three 150+ ERA+ seasons and ask why he is No. 2. I see his incredible 258-164 ERA+ combo in 1968-69 and his impressive nine 125+ ERA+ seasons and ask, why not? Top 5 in ERA seven times. Even a pretty good hitting P for his era.Odd that he never finished in the top 2 in IP, but his 7 top 4s are on par or better with the entire field.
3. STEVE CARLTON - Remarkably, even more of a workhorse than Niekro, and packs a best-5 wallop that means he's well ahead of both bulldogs like Perry and Jenkins and artists like Marichal. Maybe he's hurt in some systems by not putting the peak into consecutive years, but not here. I hadn't realized how much better Seaver and Gibson were, but that doesn't keep Carlton off the 3rd spot on this ballot in a tight race. 5-time IP leader, including his for-the-ages 1972.
4. JIM PALMER - Like other voters, I rode a bit of a rollercoaster regarding Palmer's phenomenal defensive support. It lessens his achievements slightly, but a 125 ERA+ in almost 4000 IP and 10 very good to excellent seasons is impressive nonetheless. What clinches this slot is both tangible and anecdotal evidence that Palmer "pitched to the defense" deliberately, which is a good thing, not bad. Palmer seemed to me like Greg Maddux most of his career - steady, not flashy (well, on the field, lol), and ultimately great.
5. SANDY KOUFAX - We're almost unanimous in agreeing that he is one of the most overrated players in history. BUT his 1966 swan song is one for the ages; 1963-65 are monster years; and 1961-62 are major pluses. It all adds up for Koufax to just nose out the rest here; maybe I have a peak-love that I didn't realize, but he dominates a top-6-seasons scale and everyone else either doesn't bring THAT much more to the table, or they had a bigger peak deficit to make up. I will say I do not think a 10-15 ranking on this list is crazy; these are all impressive but arguably a little flawed careers from here on down.
6. PHIL NIEKRO - Almost identical career to Perry's, except Niekro's best 2 were a little bit better. They're about even in durability, too. I do have to account for the unearned-run issue here, as the passed balls really were the result of Phil's knuckler. Overall, a very underrated career. Relentless in those IP, and that adds up on any metric.
7. GAYLORD PERRY - Like many others, I didn't quite realize he was THIS good, partly because of the who-cares last 500-600 IP of his career. Look to the long prime of 1967-75, top 4 in IP every time and never below 116 ERA+ and three times above 140. This is a reliable horse every year, which helps his teams immensely.
8. JUAN MARICHAL - Run support was remarkable, and explains the W-L record. Still, the 3-yr peak just about rivals anyone on the board, and the fade is not brutally fast. Blyleven could have beaten him out if not for his underperformance W-wise given his batting support.
9. BERT BLYLEVEN - Cherry-pickers delight - only won 19+ twice/won 14+ a dozen times/lost 14+ 8 times/only top 3 in IP twice/in top 10 in IP 11 times/never won a Cy Young/top 4 in voting 3 times, etc. Placed in top 4 in Ks 13 times as well. Ultimately, I see a Bunning-esque 7-year prime, which is a very good start as I voted for Bunning. What makes Blyleven an easy HOMer is that he has 7 MORE seasons of 116 to 129 ERA+. Not quite as durable as some imagine, but he smokes the entire Bunning/Rixey/Wynn/Pierce/Drysdale crowd for sure. Ultimately this is a hybrid peak/prime/career candidate.
10. JIM BUNNING - Excellent prime package here, but not a lot else.Without the funky career tail, the parallel to Drysdale's stats is almost eerie.
11. FERGUSON JENKINS - Every bit the workhorse that Gaylord Perry was, just that the highs weren't quite as high and the peak/prime/career comes up a little short. Never an ERA+ better than 142, a little surprising how consistently good he was for so long. Top 3 in NL Cy Young voting five times.
12. NOLAN RYAN - Not the workhorse he's reputed to be; he did pitch forever, but these other guys all had more highly-ranked IP seasons. Aside from Ryan's monster 1981 (in 149 strike-shortened IP), Blyleven out-ERA+s him in in EACH of the next 16 seasons of 100+ ERA+. Wow, and Blyleven has a double-digit edge 5 times. Blyleven was also MORE durable relative to his era than Ryan, such as 6 top 5 IP finishes to 3 for Ryan, for example.
13. DENNIS ECKERSLEY - Not far behind Drysdale's starting career, and oh yeah he basically blew up the ERA+ counter three times as a closer. I've long believed/known that any of this level pitcher could dominate the easy world of closing, but 73 IP with 41 H, 4 BB and 5 ER allowed all season.... not everyone can do THAT.
14. RICH GOSSAGE - Spectacular 1975-85 prime should not be clouded by a wacky SP experiment or an endless, irrelevant tail of the career. His 1975-77-78 seasons (including 28 Ws) are more valuable than anything Rivera has ever done, arguably. 1981 seemed primed to be another such year if not for strike, and later there were conventionally excellent, lower-inning closer seasons.
15. DON SUTTON - A peakier Eppa Rixey, and I liked Rixey. No problem with noting the park help and the timeframe era help and other things. But let's not overreact, either. 20 straight years of pretty good and occasionally great and nicely durable pitching. Belongs in a "big tent" HOM that has room for all kinds. Almost loses to Drysdale on very weak relative IP levels.
16. BRET SABERHAGEN - 1985, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1994 - this is a truly great pitcher in those years. So even though he brings little else to the table - well, the 1998-99 300 total IP or so were good, too - it's something. He's still overrated by HOM voters, but even more underrated by conventional baseball fans. If only he was more in-season durable, he'd move up.
17. ROLLIE FINGERS -. Yes, a devilish career to evaluate. He has many pluses: nine seasons with 100 relief IP (Rivera has one, when he was a setup man). He won about 100 games in relief not as a vulture, but as a guy pitching when it mattered most. For those dazzled by modern save totals, realize that Fingers was in the top 4 in his league in SVs 11 times (to 8 for Sutter and 7 for Rivera). Sutter pitched more than 107 IP once - Fingers did that 10 consecutive years. But most of all, what wins Fingers this slot is his inherited-runner numbers (and bonus World Series heroics). Fingers' teams just kept winning games he pitched for them - often he'd win himself, and often he'd save the day with runners on. In some way, I think Fingers was SO good in the 'clutch' for so long that he could not have been just getting lucky over and over again. Either way, the results were of immense value.
18. DAVE STIEB - Who knew that Ryan was better than Stieb not by peak or by prime - so that he needed 'career' to win the day? Ryan has more of the durable seasons, and a half-dozen 100-110 ERA+s of an edge on Stieb. Not as massive a gap here as others may perceive. I have Stieb's best 6-7 years nearly at the Bunning level. But this crowd is THAT close.
19. DON DRYSDALE - Extremely similar level of effectiveness to Billy Pierce in 162-IP years; I have Pierce with a slight edge due to some extra slightly above average seasons. Has just enough prime to belong.
   63. Paul Wendt Posted: May 25, 2009 at 04:16 PM (#3192232)
2. BOB GIBSON - Some may see his mere three 150+ ERA+ seasons and ask why he is No. 2. I see his incredible 258-164 ERA+ combo in 1968-69 and his impressive nine 125+ ERA+ seasons and ask, why not? Top 5 in ERA seven times. Even a pretty good hitting P for his era. Odd that he never finished in the top 2 in IP, but his 7 top 4s are on par or better with the entire field.

By career OPS+, minimum 500 career PA,
Gibson ranks 6 among 56 pitchers with 1950s debuts.

OPS+ PA name
81 653 Larsen D
76 838 Wilson E
70 875 Peters G
53 1000 Law V
51 630 Hoeft B
49 1489 Gibson B

Only 2 among 55 pitchers with 1960s debuts surpass him,

OPS+ PA name
52 710 Hunter J
51 741 Wise R
48 580 Renko S
44 696 Maloney J
41 667 Rooker J

so he ranks 8 among 111 pitchers in two decades.
   64. Howie Menckel Posted: May 25, 2009 at 10:01 PM (#3192611)
yeah "very" would be better than "pretty"
he's pretty locked into the 2 hole for me, regardless
   65. OCF Posted: May 25, 2009 at 10:08 PM (#3192618)
Gibson was used as a pinch-hitter, but not systematically and not often. (In other words, nothing like the 30's guys: Ferrell, Ruffing, Lucas, ...) And some of the PH appearances were in bunting situations, where he was explicitly sent up to sacrifice.
   66. Cblau Posted: May 26, 2009 at 02:26 AM (#3193131)
Some apparently being one. At least, that's how many sacrifices he had in 14 PH PA. Otherwise, he was 3 for 11 with 2 walks and a double. Pretty good.
   67. Howie Menckel Posted: May 26, 2009 at 01:10 PM (#3193496)
Maybe he kept ignoring the explicit directions to bunt?
   68. DL from MN Posted: May 26, 2009 at 01:39 PM (#3193520)
Howie, I think you forgot Wilhelm.

Everyone so far has had Blyleven ahead of Ryan, thought that was noteworthy.
   69. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: May 26, 2009 at 02:30 PM (#3193597)
My ranking is based upon a combination of gut instinct, BB-ref, and a reading of the arguments for and against all the candidates, both here and elsewhere. I've shifted the order many times before settling on a final ranking.

My bias is for candidates who either stand out by peak domination, or by a fairly long run of top level team value---expressed in IP, ERA, and complete game wins. Longevity that doesn't include a "wow" stretch doesn't rate quite as high. And much as I value the role of relief pitchers, I can't see even the best of them (unless you perhaps get to the Mariano level) having as much value as the sort of starters you see on this list, even Sutton. So the relievers are going to be at the bottom by definition.

BTW the gaps between names mean that IMO there's a relatively big gap in their overall merit.

Tom Seaver - without question the best combination of peak and career values, especially when you factor in the mediocrity of of his supporting cast through age 32

Bob Gibson - better peak over Carlton's longer but more checkered career
Steve Carlton

Jim Palmer - no apologies for this one - check out his consistency against every opponent. The longevity of his peak puts him above Koufax

Sandy Koufax - overrated by the mainstream but often underrated here - remove Koufax and the 60's Dodgers are a mediocre team - and he was one of history's greatest big game pitchers

Juan Marichal - IMO too great a peak value---both in rate stats and innings pitched---to go any lower

Phil Niekro - very closely bunched in overall value with the four below him, even though their careers took different arcs and have different strong points. The break between Blyleven and Drysdale has primarily to do with IP and hence career value
Gaylord Perry
Nolan Ryan
Fergie Jenkins
Bert Blyleven

Don Drysdale - underrated by me up till recently; I didn't realize how many innings he'd logged, even if it wasn't up to the level of the group above
Jim Bunning - what I said about Drysdale applies to Bunning, too - put him on a better team and his value would have been more apparent
Dave Stieb - a near tie with Saberhagen
Bret Saberhagen
Don Sutton

Hoyt Wilhelm

Dennis Eckersley - For the HoM I put him above Gossage and Fingers for his cumulative career value, but OTOH I see him as the weakest Hall of Fame candidate of the lot---not enough years as an ace closer to make up for his so-so starting years
Rich Gossage - both Gossage and Fingers are solid HoM choices, but I can't rate them any higher
Rollie Fingers
   70. DL from MN Posted: May 26, 2009 at 03:16 PM (#3193677)
Player IP ERA+
Wilhelm 2254 146
Stieb 2895 122 (only one season above Wilhelm's career rate)

Do 550 additional IP trump 24 points of ERA+? Stieb's 1st 2 seasons and last 3 seasons (ERA+ 100, 117, 81, 70, 95) are essentially 550 innings. Is that what gives him the edge over Wilhelm?

Koufax 2324 130
Niekro 5404 115

At least Koufax has the 4 year stretch above Wilhelm's rate. The problem with Koufax is he essentially has a 6 year career as a contributor. Niekro has a pretty impressive six year run from 1974-1979 where he leads the league in innings 4 times with best ERA+ of 159 and 142. Niekro also has an additional 3000 innings on Koufax.

Seasons above 3.0 according to WAR
Niekro 08.8 8.0 6.6 6.0 6.1 5.2 6.5 5.6 4.4 4.1 3.8 3.2
Koufax 10.1 9.8 8.1 7.1 4.3 4.3

Value during top 6: Koufax 43.7, Niekro 40.7

This is cherrypicking in favor of Koufax. I lined up just the best 6 consecutive for both, then tacked on any shoulder seasons that were good-to-great. Koufax has none, Niekro has 6. Are those 3 wins above replacement during Sandy's best seasons worth more than 6 additional good-to-great seasons from Niekro? I don't think so but maybe you do. I think lots of GMs would have traded away 3 of Koufax's wins for 6 more good seasons from him.
   71. DL from MN Posted: May 26, 2009 at 06:38 PM (#3194087)
I'll put it another way. If the medical technology had been available to shut down Sandy Koufax in August of 1966, relieve his pain, repair his arm (though at a slightly lower level) and help him pitch at an above-average to all-star "Niekro" level until 1973, should a GM make that call? The way I rank says absolutely yes.
   72. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: May 26, 2009 at 09:52 PM (#3194372)
I'll put it another way. If the medical technology had been available to shut down Sandy Koufax in August of 1966, relieve his pain, repair his arm (though at a slightly lower level) and help him pitch at an above-average to all-star "Niekro" level until 1973, should a GM make that call? The way I rank says absolutely yes.

On one level that's a rational choice, but on another level it would have cost the Dodgers the 1966 pennant. And if the GM had made that grand bargain before the start of the 1965 season, it would have also cost them the 1965 pennant and World Series.

In return, the Dodgers would have won the NL West in 1971 and taken their chances with "Sandy Niekro" against the Pirates and the Orioles, with a decidedly uncertain outcome. So from a team POV, it would have been a questionable deal, allowing for hindsight.

But in terms of whether Koufax would have been wise to accept that little bargain, then of course from a statistical POV you're absolutely right, it should have been made without question.
   73. Brent Posted: May 27, 2009 at 02:47 AM (#3195006)

Seasons above 3.0 according to WAR
Niekro 08.8 8.0 6.6 6.0 6.1 5.2 6.5 5.6 4.4 4.1 3.8 3.2
Koufax 10.1 9.8 8.1 7.1 4.3 4.3

Since strong supporters of Koufax tend to be those who give a great deal of weight to post-season performance, to them these kind of regular-season comparisons may seem beside the point. (Myself, while I do consider post-season performance, I don't give it enough weight to place Koufax ahead of Niekro.)
   74. DL from MN Posted: May 27, 2009 at 03:50 AM (#3195090)
If you're into giving weight to postseason performance then you should be loving Gibson and Palmer because they were every bit as good as Koufax in the postseason if not better. Also, the Dodgers _didn't_ win anyway in 1966. Sandy was bested by Jim Palmer and the Orioles took home the hardware.

The Dodgers finished in 2nd place damn near every year in the early 70s. Maybe Koufax puts them past the Reds 2 of those seasons.

I don't have any real problem with liking Koufax. I have a problem with ranking him 5th if you consider career at all. If you even consider career value above average (too high of a baseline) he's clearly below Seaver, Gibson, Niekro, Carlton, Blyleven and Perry. He's dead even with Palmer for wins above average and Palmer has just as much postseason value. Yes a 10 win season is fantastic but I'd rather have three 7 win seasons and I don't understand who wouldn't. If you concede that 3x7 > 1x10 then you can't justify Koufax higher than 8th.
   75. Cblau Posted: June 01, 2009 at 01:00 AM (#3201427)
In the ballot thread, Brock Hanke refers to Jim Palmer as a groundball pitcher. This is not so. Palmer's career groundout/air out ration was 0.80, compared to the Major League average 1.10. Palmer was a fly ball pitcher.

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