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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Ranking the Hall of Merit Shortstops - Discussion

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

Luke Appling
Ernie Banks
Lou Boudreau
Joe Cronin
Bill Dahlen
George Davis
Jack Glasscock
Hughie Jennings
Home Run Johnson
John Henry Lloyd
Dick Lundy
Dobie Moore
Dickey Pearce
Pee Wee Reese
Cal Ripken, Jr
Joe Sewell
Ozzie Smith
Alan Trammell
Arky Vaughan
Honus Wagner
Bobby Wallace
John Ward
Willie Wells
George Wright
Robin Yount

The election starts June 29 and ends Sunday on Jul 13 at 8 PM EDT.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 22, 2008 at 11:04 PM | 124 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 23, 2008 at 02:06 AM (#2829389)
hot topics
   2. bjhanke Posted: June 23, 2008 at 10:08 AM (#2829587)
Quick question. Do we rank John Montgomery Ward based on his play at shortstop alone, or do we consider his other half career as a pitcher too? Thanks, Brock
   3. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 23, 2008 at 10:25 AM (#2829591)
Quick question. Do we rank John Montgomery Ward based on his play at shortstop alone, or do we consider his other half career as a pitcher too? Thanks, Brock


Everything, Brock.
   4. sunnyday2 Posted: June 23, 2008 at 12:51 PM (#2829636)
Prelim

This is hard after the top 2.

Inner Circle

1. Honus Wagner

(gap)

2. Cal Ripken--a pair of pretty easy choices

(gap)

Obvious Choices

3. Arky Vaughan--if only because he stayed put
4. Robin Yount--Banks was better at SS, but Yount retained a lot more of his value after the move
5. Ernie Banks

(gap)

6. George Davis
7. Bill Dahlen--a matched pair
8. John Henry Lloyd--this is probably too low but it is where the prelim numbers put him
9. George Wright--the best player of his day regardless of position

Middling HoMers

10. Ozzie Smith--this might be a tich high for a guy who wasn't much of a threat with the bat
11. Dickey Pearce--the comp is Ozzie

(small gap)

12. Dobie Moore--the comp is Ernie Banks, but in his SS years only; or Joe Cronin
13. Hughie Jennings--another best player of his time but for a shorter time even than Moore
14. Joe Cronin--this might be a tich low
15. John Ward--this may be too low once you consider everything

(gap)

Below Average HoMers--still pretty solid choices but not in a small hall

16. Jack Glasscock
17. Luke Appling
18. Home Run Johnson
19. Alan Trammell
20. Pee Wee Reese--this is with WWII credit

21. Lou Boudreau--pretty short career
22. Willie Wells
23. Dick Lundy

Questionable Choices for any sized hall

24. Joe Sewell
25. Bobby Wallace
   5. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 23, 2008 at 01:00 PM (#2829646)
10. Ozzie Smith--this might be a tich high for a guy who wasn't much of a threat with the bat
11. Dickey Pearce--the comp is Ozzie


I agree, Marc, but we all know he will be timelined. I doubt he will be 25, but he will be close.
   6. ronw Posted: June 23, 2008 at 03:33 PM (#2829810)
Fielding analysis applied to shortstop. Letter grade - Bill James; parenthetical number - Davenport's career FRAA1. Both ratings solely at Shortstop. Other significant positions also noted.

Unknown

N/A Grant Johnson (N/A)
N/A Pop Lloyd (N/A)
N/A Dick Lundy (N/A)
N/A Dobie Moore (N/A)
N/A Willie Wells (N/A)

All had stellar fielding reps, Lundy and Wells probably most of all.

The Worst

B- Robin Yount (-3); CF (-78), (also A- at OF)

The only negative shortstop, I am most surprised by his WARP FRAA CF number. James rates him an A- in the outfield. I expect we'll see the biggest Davenport/James discrepancies among the outfielders, because of James lumping them all into the same position.

Solid

N/A Dickey Pearce (34)
C Ernie Banks (49); 1B (8), (also B at 1B)
A- Pee Wee Reese (52); 3B (7)
A+ John Ward (62); P (22); 2B (27); CF (7); RF (4)
B Luke Appling (69)
A- Joe Sewell (79); 3B (2), (also B+ at 3B)
A- Joe Cronin (91)
B+ Arky Vaughan (96); 3B (5)
N/A George Wright (97)

Of course Pearce got his totals late in his career, and Wright's totals are in short seasons and for only a part of his career. Both probably have excellent rates. Banks and Reese actually had similar fielding peaks, Banks just moved to first while Reese stayed at short minimally detracting from his career totals. Before this project, I would not have thought of Arky Vaughan as a better fielder than contemporary Luke Appling, but both metrics seem to show this. Sewell and Cronin were probably excellent when compared to their immediate league, but against the All-Time Greats they are merely solid.

Good

B- Alan Trammell (112)
B George Davis (131); 2B (7); 3B (33); CF (-6)
B+ Cal Ripken (137); 3B (23)
B Bobby Wallace (138); 3B (44)

Interesting how similar Davis, Ripken and Wallace appear as fielders. Trammell has a Davenport/James discrepancy (as did Whitaker). Wonder if the Tigers had anything strange that dropped the James numbers? I thought Wallace was an excellent fielder, but both metrics state otherwise.

Great

A+ Hughie Jennings (150); 1B (6)
A- Jack Glasscock (170)
A+ Lou Boudreau (179)

No arguments here. Jennings and Boudreau are really excellent fielders, but their short careers put them here. Actually, all of these guys are excellent fielders, but the exceptional long-career guys come next.

A+ Bill Dahlen (228); 3B (22)
A+ Honus Wagner (233); 1B (2); 3B (19); RF (32)
A+ Ozzie Smith (247)

I didn't realize it was such a toss-up among these three for best all-time HOM fielder. Smith takes it, but not as easily as Bench, Hernandez, and McPhee did at the other positions. Also, it must again be mentioned that Honus Wagner was too good at everything and is the undisputed #1 on this ballot. He is by far and away the best hitting shortstop of all-time, and also finishing a close fielding second to Ozzie Smith (with many less games at SS) is truly amazing.
   7. ronw Posted: June 23, 2008 at 03:34 PM (#2829811)
Forgot a heading.

Dahlen, Wagner and Smith are Excellent fielders.
   8. whoisalhedges Posted: June 23, 2008 at 05:14 PM (#2829925)
My preliminary ballot is way different than sunnyday2's. I look forward to the discussion, maybe one of us can be persuaded to change some of our rankings.

1) Wagner - And it's not even close.
2) Lloyd - I think this is probably fair, too.
3) Ripken - The next three are virtually tied. Vaughan had the best peak, Ripken was the most durable (natch) and played the best defense, Yount balanced peak and longetivity. I think I have them ranked correctly, but I could be wrong.
4) Vaughan
5) Yount
6) Boudreau - Helluva shortstop; lacked speed and home run power, but compensated with OBP and doubles.
7) Davis - Swich-hitter with power, speed, and a glove.
8) Wells - A fast guy who could hit and field.
9) Banks - A guy who hit a lot of homers and had a great deal of value as an average-fielding shortstop. Unfortunately, half of his career (the decline phase of his offense, as well) was spent at first; and that has to count in his overall rank. Great peak, down to #9 when that peak is balanced against his decline. Still one of my favorite players, even if he was a Cub.
10) Johnson - The Negro leaguers are, of course, very hard to rank with short seasons of league play and unreliable statistics. I think Johnson may have been a little bit better than Dick Lundy.
11) Dahlen - Better D than George Davis, lacked Davis' power.
12) Lundy - I'm comfortable with George Davis at #7 and Ozzie Smith at #14. The guys in between can probably be ranked in any order.
13) Trammell - A glaring omission by Cooperstown.
14) Smith - I took the bat over the glove. Still, the Wiz ranks where he does despite being the worst hitter (other than Monte Ward) among HoM shortstops.
15) Wright - Was likely a decent player for a couple of years before the National Association was formed. Spent his 20s as one of the best hitters in organized baseball, and a standout fielder as well.
16) Cronin - I can't help but think I have him ranked too low.
17) Wallace - One of the better glove men of his time, decent hitter.
18) Appling - A little above average as an offensive player, did so as a respectable shortstop. Pretty much a "go out there and get the job done without screwing up too much" kind of player; but he avoided screwing up too much for a really long time.
19) Jennings - Great player, when playing. Didn't play nearly enough for me to put him any higher.
20) Moore - What if he hadn't been shot? Well, he was. Talent could have placed him higher, but this is based on what actually happened.
21) Pearce - The numbers available aren't overly impressive, but we must remember that the National Association wasn't formed until he was 35 years old. Considering that the numbers we do have are from the decline phase of a very long career, he was probably a pretty good player.
22) Ward - Just as a shortstop, he's dead last. Cosidering his contributions as a pitcher (and trying hard not to consider his off-field contributions, but that's nearly impossible), he moves up a few spots. If I gave full weight to his historical impact, he'd be quite a bit higher.
23) Reese - Fast, got on base, decent glove, decent man.
24) Sewell - Solid shortstop who never struck out.
25) Glasscock - Very good player, but just not an all-time great shortstop in my opinion.
   9. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 23, 2008 at 05:50 PM (#2829970)
My system's post-1893 MLB rankings:

1. Wagner, $574M, #4 post-1893 MLB position player.
(A-Rod, $350M as of the end of 2007--if he retired after last year I'd have him at #18, just about tied with Ott.)
2. Ripken, $327M
3. Vaughan, $296M
4. Appling, $262M
(Larkin, $257M)
5. Yount, $255M
6. Trammell, $250M
7. Smith, $245M
8. Dahlen, $241M
9. Davis, $231M
10. Cronin, $230M
11. Reese, $222M
12. Banks, $206M
13. Wallace, $199M
14. Boudreau, $199M
(Jeter, $178M as of 2007)
15. Jennings, $176M
(Rizzuto, $173M)
16. Sewell, $172M
(Campaneris, $168M)
(Pesky, $161M)
(Concepción, $159M)
(Bancroft, $154M)
(Fregosi, $152M)
(Maranville, $151M)
   10. OCF Posted: June 23, 2008 at 05:58 PM (#2829976)
The 1915 election is of considerable interest here. The earliest ballot I have a tally of in my computer files is 1916, so that's probably when I started tallying. Hence, I'll have to get my 1915 information from the site archives.

It appears that 44 people voted in that election.

George Davis's votes: 33 1st, 8 2nd, 1 3rd, 1 4th, 1 omitted.
Bill Dahlen's votes: 5 1st, 27 2nd, 3 3rd, 5 4th, 2 5th, 1 6th, 1 9th.

I tried to look at the ballot thread to see who had Davis ahead of Dahlen and who had Dahlen ahead of Davis, but the thread has been butchered and the ballots are unreadable. I did find my own quote at the top:

1. Bill Dahlen (new). I had known for some time that various übermetrics have an uncanny knack for throwing Davis and Dahlen into a near-tie. I thought that Davis was "really" better and if I were only to look at it properly, I would be obvious why. Well, I've looked, and it isn't obvious. Davis's 23 points of batting average, blunted by the offensive peripherals leaning the other way, a likely defensive advantage for Dahlen, Dahlen a little better before 1900, Davis a little better after, Dahlen with a little more hitters park advantage, Davis moving to the AL - it all seems to come out as a wash. Dahlen was a little more durable - he tended to play a few more games per season. I'll let that be the tie-breaker.


I see by Dan R.'s post just above this that he seems to agree with me on this point.
   11. OCF Posted: June 23, 2008 at 06:03 PM (#2829987)
(bjhanke) Quick question. Do we rank John Montgomery Ward based on his play at shortstop alone, or do we consider his other half career as a pitcher too? Thanks, Brock

(John Murphy) Everything, Brock.

To clarify further: everything on the playing field - Ward as SS, Ward as P, Ward as 2B. But explicitly not Ward as lawyer, Ward as labor organizer, Ward as behind-the-scenes manipulator of the Giants. Or what whoisalhedges put in parentheses.
   12. OCF Posted: June 23, 2008 at 06:23 PM (#2830004)
The 2002 ballot is also pertinent. Here are how the 49 voters in that election line up:

Trammell ahead of Smith: John Murphy, karlmagnus (karlmagnus left Smith off his ballot), Chris Fluit, Adam Schafer, Mark Donelson, favre, Juan V, Joe Dimino, TomH, Rick A, dan b, Jim Sp, Eric Chalek, EricC, Howie Menckel, Andrew M, fra paolo, rico vanian, David Foss, Al Peterson, 'zop, Dan R, Tom D, Got Melky. That's 23 out of the 49.

Smith ahead of Trammell: Rusty Priske, OCF, ronw, rawagman, DL from MN, AJM, Mike Webber, Sean Gilman, mulder & scully, DanG, Mark Shirk, jimd, SWW, Don F, Rob Wood, Patrick W, andrew siegel, Chris Cobb, Devin McCullen, Thane of Bagarth, Daryn, yest (yest left Trammell off his ballot), Esteban Rivera, Ken Fischer, KJOK. That's 26 out of the 49.

Overall, Trammell and Smith each had 18 1st place votes and 14 second place votes. After that, more of Trammell's votes than Smith's clustered in the 3-6 range, resulting in Trammel "winning" the election, 1011 points to Smith's 999. Both were elected as "frontloggers" - easy election in the first available year. The backlogger elected that year - Dave Steib - appeared on 24 of 49 ballots and had 314 points.
   13. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 23, 2008 at 06:32 PM (#2830020)
To clarify further: everything on the playing field - Ward as SS, Ward as P, Ward as 2B. But explicitly not Ward as lawyer, Ward as labor organizer, Ward as behind-the-scenes manipulator of the Giants. Or what whoisalhedges put in parentheses.


Thanks, OCF.
   14. Chris Cobb Posted: June 23, 2008 at 06:33 PM (#2830023)
Wright - Was likely a decent player for a couple of years before the National Association was formed.

This is a significant understatement. He was a star of the first magnitude by 1867 when he was the top player for the Washington squad that toured as far west as Chicago, losing only a single game--to Forest City, which was led by Al Spalding and Ross Barnes. He was also the biggest star on the first entirely professional team, the 1869-70 Cincinnati Red Stockings, who toured as Washington had done and went undefeated in 1869, taking a single loss in 1870.

Wright should be credited, I think, with at least four all-star level seasons prior to the formation of the National Association.
   15. Chris Cobb Posted: June 23, 2008 at 07:26 PM (#2830116)
More on shortstop defense.

ronw's list above gives career fielding runs above average totals from WARP1 and career rates (as letter grades) from win shares. Let me add to this career rates from WARP1 and 2. I'll order the list by WARP2 rate.

In interpreting the numbers, keep in mind that a rate of 110 means 1 run saved above average every 10 games. A rate of 120 means 1 run saved above average every 5 games. A rate of 105 means 1 run saved above average every 20 games.

Player -- W2 / W1 (top 5 W2 seasonal rates)
Jennings – 113 / 117 (126, 121, 118, 117, 115)
Smith – 111 / 110 (120, 119, 118, 114, 114)
Wright – 111 / 118 (130, 118, 114, 110, 109)
Boudreau – 110 / 112 (117, 117, 116, 114, 113)
Wagner – 108 / 112 (120, 113, 111, 111, 110)
Dahlen – 107 / 111 (117, 116, 112, 112, 111)
Davis – 107 / 110 (116, 114, 112, 110, 110)
Ripken – 106 / 106 (117, 116, 114, 114, 113)
Glasscock – 106 / 110 (122, 119, 114, 113, 111)
Vaughan – 106 / 107 (112, 111, 111, 111, 105)
Wallace – 105 / 108 (117, 115, 113, 109, 107)
Trammell – 104 / 105 (117, 116, 114, 113, 112)
Sewell – 104 / 107 (115, 109, 107, 106, 105)
Banks – 104 / 104 (115, 111, 110, 109, 102)
Ward – 104 / 107 (117, 113, 109, 106, 98)
Cronin – 103 / 105 (118, 114, 113, 113, 113)
Reese – 102 / 103 (119, 119, 111, 109, 108)
Appling – 102 / 103 (115, 113, 111, 108, 107)
Yount – 98 / 100 (115, 106, 104, 101, 100)
   16. OCF Posted: June 23, 2008 at 08:34 PM (#2830158)
Player -- W2 / W1 (top 5 W2 seasonal rates)
Jennings – 113 / 117 (126, 121, 118, 117, 115)
...
Dahlen – 107 / 111 (117, 116, 112, 112, 111)


I've always had a problem with this - the notion that for 5 or 6 years, Jennings was the greatest defensive shortstop who ever lived. On what evidence does that rest - in particular the evidence that he was a much greater defensive shortstop than Dahlen for those years? I don't know how WARP defensive statistics are calculated, but I can look at the raw defensive statistics on bb-ref.

Let me just look at the five years 1894-1898 and just at games at SS, for both Jennings and Dahlen. That gives us 620 games for Jennings and 537 for Dahlen.

On a per-game basis over those five years, Jennings averaged 2.83 PO/G, 3.59 A/G, 0.47 E/G, and 0.49 DP/G.

Over the same five years, Dahlen averaged 2.53 PO/G, 3.80 A/G, 0.60 E/G, and 0.57 DP/G.

The most extreme single year was 1895. Jennings played 131 games, Dahlen 129. Jennings had 425 PO, 457 A, 56 E, and 71 DP. Dahlen had 281 PO, 527 A, 86 E, and 70 DP. So for that year, the double plays were the same, Jennings committed .30 fewer errors per game, had 1.07 more PO/G, but also had .60 fewer A/G.

1895 is the only year the putouts are that far out of whack, but they really are out of whack for that year. In two of the five year, the A/G are about the same but in three of those years, Dahlen has substantially more A/G. In two of the five years, the DP are the same, but in the other three, Dahlen clearly has more DP/G. Jennings did commit fewer errors - that advantage stays across the five years.

If I were to pick a SS based on what I see here, I'd probably lean towards Dahlen, taking the advantages in assists and DP as outweighing the disadvantage in errors. I'd try not to give too much weigh to the PO, which can contain discretionary plays. I could see reading those lines as being of near equal defensive value; I can even see making something of the putouts and leaning slightly towards Jennings. But I cannot see how to read those lines as Jennings been the far, far greater defensive player. I just don't see where that comes from.

When the two became teammates, Dahlen remained a shortstop and Jennings moved to another position (1B). However, the precedent of Rodriguez v. Jeter suggests that that has no value as evidence.
   17. OCF Posted: June 23, 2008 at 08:45 PM (#2830164)
For the same five years, Herman Long, over 589 games at SS, averaged 2.30 PO/G, 3.41 A/G, 0.64 E/G, and 0.44 DP/G. He's inferior to both Dahlen and Jennings on all four of these numbers, although he did top Jennings in A/G and DP/G in 1898. Long was older than either Jennings or Dahlen, hence possibly past his defensive peak. That Long comes up short of Dahlen is consistent with Dahlen's numbers in Chris's post. It still doesn't convince me that Jennings was that far ahead.
   18. bjhanke Posted: June 23, 2008 at 09:21 PM (#2830186)
I recognize Home Run Johnson, Pop Lloyd, and Devil Wells. Dick Lundy and Dobie Moore, though, are complete blanks to me. Are they Negro League guys?

Also, I'm at the very end of my writing deadline, and so won't be posting up much here until July, but I thought I might throw in that my analysis, such as it is, says that there are four guys who can legitimately compete for the title of best defensive shortstop of all time (skipping Negro Leaguers, for whom too little data is available). They are Wagner, Ozzie, Rabbit Maranville, and George Wright. I'm not at all sure that Rabbit doesn't belong in the HoM, despite his weak bat, but he's not here to deal with, so it's down to the big three. At least, that's how I see it. If anyone wants to comment, I'd be thrilled to get an outside opinion. Most of this analysis was done in the 1990s, after all.
   19. OCF Posted: June 23, 2008 at 09:56 PM (#2830220)
Brock, what did that analysis of yours say about Jennings, Dahlen, and Long? Or did you just skip over Jennings because of the short career?

Dick Lundy and Dobie Moore are Negro League players. Moore, in particular, is a high-peak, short-career candidate. (Career ended by a non-playing injury.) Of particular contention in his case was how much credit to give him for playing baseball in the U.S. Army before he joined any civilian teams.
   20. DL from MN Posted: June 23, 2008 at 10:39 PM (#2830250)
Prelim ballot

1) Honus Wagner
2) Pop Lloyd - Best of the NgL guys
3) Arky Vaughan - Like the Hornsby argument, there's just too much bat here
4) Cal Ripken - Best since integration
5) Bill Dahlen - close, but just ahead of Davis
(Barry Larkin)
6) George Davis
7) Luke Appling - I have him as similar to Yount but with more time at SS. Gets war credit. Long career helps him out also. I'm really not understanding the 17th and 18th placements on the other prelim ballots.
8) Willie Wells
9) Robin Yount - Small demerit for time spent in CF but comfortably in the top 10.
10) Joe Cronin
11) Ozzie Smith - still have him ahead of Trammell. There's room between them but nobody slid in.
12) Alan Trammell
13) Pee Wee Reese
14) Lou Boudreau
15) Ernie Banks - Time spent at 1B was not that special, not an elite defender
16) Grant Johnson
17) Jack Glasscock
18) Bobby Wallace
19) Monte Ward
20) Dick Lundy
21) Joe Sewell
22) Dobie Moore - Ernie Banks' peak without any career bulk.
23) Hugh Jennings
XX) George Wright
XX) Dickey Pearce - I haven't placed these last two guys yet. Waiting for Chris Cobb, John and Joe to help me out here.
   21. Chris Cobb Posted: June 24, 2008 at 12:03 AM (#2830341)
Preliminary Ballot: Shortstops

As with my other positional ballots, I have divided the players into seven tiers, going from “All-Time Top 10” (which actually includes about 14 players) to “Mistakes.” It’s worth noting that there are some players here who rank very low on the shortstop ballot who are nevertheless far above the HoM in-out line. This is the case because, even though we have elected more shortstops that almost any other position, we have still held shortstops to a higher standard than other positions. There are half a dozen shortstops who are as good or better than the weaker selections at the other infield positions.

I. All-Time Top 10
1. Honus Wagner. Total = 724. All time top five. He is perhaps the only player ever to be both the best offensive player and the best defensive player in the game at the same time (George Wright in the late 1860s is the only other player I can think of who might lay claim to that distinction, though Mays and Mantle might have been close).

II. Inner-Circle HoMers
2. Cal Ripken. Total = 422. Much more than the streak. Like several other inner-circle players, Ripken was able to become exceptionally valuable by doing something that went against the game’s conventional wisdom: being a big, power-hitting shortstop in an era of scrawny, singles-hitting shortstops made Ripken’s offense even more valuable.
3.John Henry Lloyd. Est. total = 466. Excellent on defense and offense, and played forever and a day. Hard to know exactly how good he was, but clearly the best black ballplayer of his generation.

III. Among the best players of their generation
4. Arky Vaughan. Total = 395. The greatest shortstop peak after Wagner. If he hadn’t walked away from the game for three years, he’d probably be in the inner circle.
5. George Davis. Total = 397. Doesn’t have Vaughan’s tremendous peak, but an all-star caliber player for fifteen years.
6. Bill Dahlen. Total = 420. George Davis’s double, except that he had more value with the glove and less with the bat. I rank him below Davis even though his total is higher because Davis’s total doesn’t include his missed season due to interleague warfare and because his fielding value is a little bit more speculative.
7. Luke Appling. Total = 388. Odd career shape: one of the best old shortstops of all time. It’s his durability, in a career-sense, that makes him one of his generation’s signature players.
8.Robin Yount. Total = 384. Great, great peak before his injury and his shift to centerfield, but unlike Ernie Banks, still an outstanding player for several years after the position change.
9. Grant Johnson. Est. total = 380. What we know of Johnson is that he was an outstanding hitter early in his career, an outstanding hitter late in his career, and that in between he played shortstop for all of the top black teams of his era, moving to second base only when he shared the infield with a young John Henry Lloyd in the later years of his own career. Could rank anywhere in this group, or even belong in the inner circle. The lack of any anecdote about his fielding brilliance suggests, though, that he was most probably about like George Davis in the distribution of his talents. Like Lloyd after him, he was the best black ballplayer of his generation, but the smaller pool of players leads me to rank him a bit more conservatively than I have ranked Lloyd.
10. George Wright. Est. Total = 370. Another player whose value was a bit uncertain, but who was clearly among the best ballplayers of his generation. Not as spectacular a peak as his contemporary Ross Barnes, but a longer career. A tremendous defensive shortstop and a good, sometimes outstanding hitter. His career was relatively short, however, which puts him at the bottom of this group.

IV. Obvious HoMers
11. Willie Wells. Total = 335. Wells’ profile is a lot like Luke Appling’s: very good but not great hitter and very good but not great fielder in a long career. Extreme park effects make his hitting peak not as great as it appears in the raw stats, and fielding reputation is a little uneven, so he lands in the “obvious HoMer” group rather than the “among the best of his generation” group.
12. Alan Trammell. Total = 330. Another balanced candidate like Wells, though probably a bit better on the hitting side and a little worse on the fielding side. I knew he was a notable HoF oversight when this project began, but I had no idea how egregious it was.
13Joe Cronin. Total = 330. Great prime, but not much value outside of it.
14. Pee Wee Reese. Total = 323. Reese heads a group of four closely bunched candidates, all of whom were superior defensive shortstops with long careers who hit at league average or a bit better. Reese was the best hitter of the group, but the weakest fielder. He was excellent in his prime, but was a below-average defender later in his career. This combination leaves him a step behind the Wells/Trammell/Cronin cluster.
15. Ozzie Smith. Total = 321. The greatest defensive shortstop of all time, and enough offensive value to be a great player, though he is still the weakest bat among elected shortstops.
16. Bobby Wallace. Total = 320. A little less defense than Ozzie, and little more offense.
17. Jack Glasscock. Total = ????. About like Bobby Wallace.
18. Ernie Banks. Total = 308. Frequently overrated, as seen on a couple of prelims that have him in the top 10 shortstops. As a shortstop, he was a truly brilliant player, though assessments of his defense are mixed. Even for a peak voter, though, the highest I can see Banks going is about 9 or 10. His first-base decline phase adds very little to his value. If he had George Sisler’s prime, he would be a borderline candidate, but his prime was so good that he is an obvious HoMer, even with a decade of indifferent play at first base.
19. Lou Boudreau. Total = 307. Something of a forgotten player. He was a great player, but his career was short. Higher in the overall rankings than in the shortstop rankings, because we have, on the whole, underrated the shortstops.

V. Solid HoMers when you read the fine print
20. Dickey Pearce. Total = ???? The game’s first great player, a defensive innovator (he may have invented the shortstop position as we know it) and an effective hitter. Even harder to put a number value on him than on Joe Start, since we have detailed statistics only for his decline phase, but what statistics we have show him to have been probably the best player during the Civil War years and an above average hitter through the 1860s.
21. Hughie Jennings. Total = 257? The best player in baseball during his five-year peak. He brings almost nothing else to the table (his decline phase makes Ernie Banks’ look meaningful by comparison), but that peak is just enough to put him solidly in.
22. Monte Ward. Total = ????. Hard player to rank, as are all the pitcher-position player combinations (except for Babe Ruth, of course). Probably not a HoMer without his pitching years.
23. Joe Sewell. Total = 254. About 3/5 of Cal Ripken.
24. Dick Lundy. Est. total = 247. By reputation, the best defensive shortstop in the Negro Leagues. Probably a little bit above league average as a hitter in the high average, middling power, low walks hitting type.

VI. Almost as good an argument to be out, as to be in

None. This tier would contain players like Dave Bancroft, Dave Concepcion, Bert Campaneris, Phil Rizzuto, Johhny Pesky, and Rabbit Maranville if we were to elect them.

VII. Mistakes
25. Dobie Moore. Total = 218. Nice peak, but it was a Joe Cronin peak, not a Hughie Jennings/George Wright/Ernie Banks peak, and with Moore’s Hughie Jennings’ size career, that doesn’t do it for me. He would probably have had a legitimate HoM career if he had not been injured, but that’s not what happened. This ranking includes credit for his Army baseball career.
   22. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: June 24, 2008 at 12:24 AM (#2830356)
1. Honus Wagner. Total = 724. All time top five. He is perhaps the only player ever to be both the best offensive player and the best defensive player in the game at the same time (George Wright in the late 1860s is the only other player I can think of who might lay claim to that distinction, though Mays and Mantle might have been close).


Mike Schmidt, maybe? He was the best third baseman as a fielder, and the best hitter in baseball.
   23. OCF Posted: June 24, 2008 at 12:34 AM (#2830367)
Chris Cobb, 2002 ballot thread:

1. Ozzie Smith (n/e). % = 1.1543. Leads a trio of shortstops at the top of my ballot this year. Greatest defensive player of all time plus about average offensive value is good for #1 this year.
2. Alan Trammell (n/e). % = 1.1114. Very slightly behind Ozzie. A more complete player, but that doesn’t make him better, as such. In-season durability is also an edge for Ozzie.


So Chris has changed his mind about the relative order. In both cases, I suspect that 1.1543 - 1.1114 and 330 - 321 are smaller than the possible measurement error of the method involved.
   24. Chris Cobb Posted: June 24, 2008 at 01:29 AM (#2830444)
So Chris has changed his mind about the relative order.

Well, I didn't change my mind about these two players in particular. I changed my system, and the swapped positions of Alan Trammell and Ozzie Smith is a a consequence of that change. In 2002, I was on the verge of integrating Dan R's WAR into my system, but I hadn't done it yet. Once I did it, Trammell moved from slightly behind Ozzie to slightly ahead. The main cause of the change is the higher replacement level, which diminishes the value of Ozzie's playing time advantage.
   25. sunnyday2 Posted: June 24, 2008 at 04:10 AM (#2830578)
whoisalhedges,

Is that you, Al?

Anyway, yours is not the only ballot different from mine. They all are. I created a composite of the 4 "other" ballots cast so far and compared it to mine. 13 of the 25 players vary by 5 or more places in the our respective rankings. Several--Banks, Pearce, Moore and Wells--vary by 10 places or more.

By category:

Negro Leaguers

Mine--Lloyd, Moore, Johnson, Wells, Lundy
Theirs--Lloyd, Wells, Johnson, Lundy, Moore

I have Lloyd 8th and they have him 2nd. And then there's Wells--"they" agree with the general consensus outside of the HoM, I don't. And my preference for Moore is no surprise to long-time HoMies who know I'm a peak voter. The differences on Lloyd and Wells are significant, however. I may have Lloyd too low, but I'm OK with Wells down there at #22.

19th Century

Mine--Davis, Dahlen, G. Wright, Pearce, Jennings, Ward, Glasscock, Wallace
Theirs--Davis, Dahlen, Wallace, G. Wright, Jennings, Glasscock, Ward, Pearce

My preference for Wright, Pearce and Jennings has to do with all of them being among the greatest players on earth at their peak. Again, short careers don't both me that much, though Pearce in particular has the career to go with the peak. OK, it also has to do with my anti-timeline/"a pennant is a pennant" beliefs as well. I'm comfortable with all of that--they're not going to be moving much. The guy I can't figure is Wallace. Do you guys really think he is #3 on this list?

Pre-Integration

Mine--Wagner, Vaughan, Cronin, Appling, Reese, Boudreau, Sewell
Theirs--Wagner, Vaughan, Appling, Cronin, Boudreau, Reese, Sewell

Surprisingly I end up with Reese over Boudreau, which doesn't sound like a peak voter at all. Cronin over Appling does, to me. No big surprises here.

Post-Integration

Mine--Ripken, Yount, Banks, Ozzie, Trammell
Theirs--Ripken, Yount, Trammell, Ozzie, Banks

To me, Banks' peak was just too good.

Summary

You'll notice we're fairly close on the 20th century major leagues, with the exception of Banks, Appling and Trammell. It's the Negro Leagues and the 19th century that are hard.

The only guy I'm going to be moving is Lloyd (up). In return, I hope you'll be moving Wallace (down). OK, maybe I'll push Boudreau over Reese and I'll take another look at Willie Wells. In return, c'mon, guys, seriously, your timeline on Pearce and especially on G. Wright is way steep.
   26. bjhanke Posted: June 24, 2008 at 04:43 AM (#2830602)
OCF is kind enough to ask, "Brock, what did that analysis of yours say about Jennings, Dahlen, and Long? Or did you just skip over Jennings because of the short career?"

Jenning's high-defense career is so short that any number of oddities could have skewed his stats, so I don't know what to make of him. In the analyses I was doing, his career usually kept him from being a prime subject.

Dahlen's defense ranks just below the very highest tier. If the four I've listed are the A++ students, Dahlen is A+, along with people like Marty Marion.

I never did an analysis of Herman Long's defense (I assume that's the Long in question, since there is none on the ballot here). He kept dropping out of the analyses before I got there. (The analyses were not comprehensive, and Long dropped off for any number of reasons. I do not mean that I think his offense is too weak to bother with him; he just never came up as a finalist in a thorough study.)
   27. Blackadder Posted: June 24, 2008 at 03:01 PM (#2830744)
I think that by the time Schmidt was the best hitter in baseball Ozzie was the best defender.
   28. Mark Donelson Posted: June 24, 2008 at 04:38 PM (#2830835)
This gets really muddy after the first four...a lot is open to change. The last three guys--Sewell, Lundy, Wallace--aren't in my pHOM, while Pesky and Rizzuto are.

1. Wagner
2. Vaughan--Peak voter, remember.
3. Lloyd--I'm a believer.
4. Ripken
5. Yount
6. Dahlen--I buy the great defensive rating, which puts him ahead of Davis.
7. Cronin--Great peak/prime leads me to put him higher than most do.
8. G. Davis
9. Appling-Another nice prime.
10. Wright--Top 10, if barely, seems right.
11. G. Johnson-Could belong higher, hard to tell.
12. Banks--Yes, not much value after the move, but the peak at SS is high enough.
13. Pearce-Tough to place. I basically put him near the bottom of my "dominant peak-prime" pile.
14. Moore--Peak seems pretty phenomenal to me.
15. Boudreau
16. Jennings--Pure peaksters don't score quite as high in my system as they once did, but he still clearly belongs.
17. Reese
18. Smith
19. Trammell
20. Glasscock--I'm hazy on him, too.
21. Wells
22. Ward--Soooo hazy. Really unsure what to do with him.
23. Sewell
24. Lundy
25. Wallace
   29. Mark Donelson Posted: June 24, 2008 at 04:39 PM (#2830837)
Oh, I should explain my flip-flop on Smith & Trammell. Basically, since that vote I've given defense slightly more weight than I was at that time, enough to move Smith above Trammell.
   30. whoisalhedges Posted: June 24, 2008 at 05:30 PM (#2830891)
sunnyday2:
In return, c'mon, guys, seriously, your timeline on Pearce and especially on G. Wright is way steep.

That's the thing... yes, I am absolutely a timeliner, but I've moderated my true beliefs somewhat in HoM voting.

Yes, I believe that Adam Everett would have been a star in the 1870s. I believe that modern athletes are just that superior. But I'm not using that sort of a timeline adjustment in my rankings, I am treating eras as more or less equal EXCEPT in one area: context.

That's the thing. I'm not saying George Wright couldn't be top-10 material, I'm saying there's no evidence (to me, anyway) that he is. I'm saying that he dominated a league full of players who wouldn't make AA ball today. That's not to say he WASN'T just that good... to put it to you another way, if Rey Quinonez was allowed to play Little League, he'd probably win the Triple Crown. Does that make Rey Quinonez a great hitter? Absolutely not, but he'd look like one in context.

George Wright may well have been among the top 10 or 5 shortstops ever to play the game. But the evidence that we have available doesn't persuade me. And yes, I do have several Negro League players ranked highly; and yes, their statistics are also dubious. But I absolutely think that NeL replacement level and NeL average talent were higher in 1920 than National Association levels in 1870 -- certainly moreso than pre-NA baseball.

So, I guess the strict timelining that I do in voting is more is play when I compare Negro Leaguers to very early players. I don't trust the statistics of either to the extent that I trust 20th century MLB, but I do think NeL stats have a lot more MEANING than mid-19th century stats.

I hope that makes some sense.
   31. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 24, 2008 at 06:34 PM (#2830982)
Yes, I believe that Adam Everett would have been a star in the 1870s. I believe that modern athletes are just that superior.


That shouldn't be the question for this project, IMO. The question should be: do you think Adam Everett would have been a star in the 1870s if he had been born in 1850? IOW, without the obvious physical advantages he was blessed with being born in 1977.

With that said, Pearce still won't be in my top-ten. :-)
   32. whoisalhedges Posted: June 24, 2008 at 07:17 PM (#2831050)
That shouldn't be the question for this project, IMO. The question should be: do you think Adam Everett would have been a star in the 1870s if he had been born in 1850? IOW, without the obvious physical advantages he was blessed with being born in 1977.

With that said, Pearce still won't be in my top-ten. :-)

Well, that's why I've mainly done away with my personal timeline adjustment. I'm not going to come out here and say Cal Ripken was better than Honus Wagner, I'm just not (I don't think he was, anyway, but I do think it's closer than we like to admit).

I want to treat Pearce and Wright as you mentioned, in reverse: would they be stars today, if born in 1980? And I don't know that I can fairly answer that question with the information at hand. I do my best, and I do not dismiss them, but my rankings of 19th century players will always err on the conservative side. I have no doubt Wagner, Lloyd, or Vaughan would dominate today's game; but I don't have the same confidence in Wright or Pierce.
   33. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 24, 2008 at 07:20 PM (#2831051)
I want to treat Pearce and Wright as you mentioned, in reverse: would they be stars today, if born in 1980?


That's just as reasonable as my question above.

And I don't know that I can fairly answer that question with the information at hand. I do my best, and I do not dismiss them, but my rankings of 19th century players will always err on the conservative side. I have no doubt Wagner, Lloyd, or Vaughan would dominate today's game; but I don't have the same confidence in Wright or Pierce.


I can respect that, Al.
   34. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 24, 2008 at 09:07 PM (#2831170)
As I've written before (at length, don't have time to link but do a search on Trammell, Smith, Concepcion, Dimino) I cannot see justification for ranking Ozzie ahead of Trammell.
   35. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 24, 2008 at 09:10 PM (#2831172)
Modern athletes are only superior because of 130 years of genetic upgrading (5 or so generations), combined with nutritional, training, etc.. It's not an apples to apples comparison, nor should it be. You can only look at how a player dominated his own generation. A pennant in 1871 is just as valuable as 1971.
   36. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 24, 2008 at 09:11 PM (#2831173)
#34 left out a key word - 'significantly'. I cannot see justification for ranking Ozzie 'significantly' ahead of Trammell. I have Trammell clearly ahead, but it is close.
   37. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 24, 2008 at 09:14 PM (#2831175)
So does using DanR's WARP as the basis for my pennants added, Trammell 1.3004, Ozzie, 1.2962. That's good for 5th and 6th place, though pre-1893 is not considered, no war credit, etc.. Arky ends up 3rd a 1.3881. Complete list with no war credit:

Player    Total Of PennAdd
wagneho01    2.6622
ripkeca01    1.6435
vaughar01    1.4476
rodrial01    1.3756
yountro01    1.3489
larkiba01    1.3304
trammal01    1.3004
smithoz01    1.2962
applilu01    1.2385
dahlebi01    1.1591
cronijo01    1.1691
davisge01    1.1407
boudrlo01    1.0865
wallabo01    1.08
bankser01    1.0413
reesepe01    0.9367
seweljo01    0.9256
campabe01    0.9256
conceda01    0.8821
bancrda01    0.8563
jennihu01    0.816
aparilu01    0.8117
fregoji01    0.8061
stephve01    0.8015
maranra01    0.7959
jeterde01    0.7763
fletcar01    0.7164
rizzuph01    0.712
tinkejo01    0.6916 
   38. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 24, 2008 at 09:21 PM (#2831178)
Note the Trammell/Ozzie ranks above were when I sorted only based on PA at SS. The list below includes the SS's but with their entire careers.

Remember 0 war credit (or demerit if you played during the war), 1893-2005 only, adjusted for season length, but not if you played in a weaker league for the season (like NL being better than AL in 1901 is not accounted for), etc..

For example with proper war credit, Rizzuto vaults to about 1.0000.
   39. OCF Posted: June 24, 2008 at 10:36 PM (#2831222)
There are two problems with accurately estimating Ozzie. One is that the means for evaluating defense are less accurate than those for evaluating offense. Of course, that applies to everyone on the ballot, but it's especially acute with a glove-first candidate. But the second issue (note that this also applies Willie Randolph) is that offensive value estimators work best for batters of "normal shape" and are the least reliable for those of truly extreme offensive type. Once a player's relative OBP is better than his relative SLG, how much difference does it make whether the player has middling-low power or is utterly powerless? And for the utterly powerless, how much impact is there to the self-advancement potential of being a big-time basestealer?

I tend to be a believer in Ozzie's offense (and Randolph's, as well). Not that he was an offensive player on a level with Trammell, of course, but enough for his defense and longevity to make the difference. I did put Ozzie ahead of Trammell in 2002, and I'll probably put him ahead this year - but they'll also likely occupy consecutive spots on my ballot.
   40. Chris Cobb Posted: June 25, 2008 at 02:24 AM (#2831694)
The mysteries of Dickey Pearce, examined.

sunnyday2 has put forward a comp for Dickey Pearce:

10. Ozzie Smith--this might be a tich high for a guy who wasn't much of a threat with the bat
11. Dickey Pearce--the comp is Ozzie


Insofar as both were outstanding defensive shortstops after the age of 35 who were light hitters, they are quite comparable types of players, for the section of Pearce's career that has relatively complete statistical documentation. But how close is Dickey Pearce to Ozzie Smith? Here's a look at that question, using BP's WARP, since that is the only comprehensive metric with data for Pearce.

I'll note first off that, quite conveniently, both played their last season as a regular at age 39, and they followed that with two part-time seasons, retiring after their age 41 campaigns. So, if we compare Dickey Pearce 1871-77 to Ozzie Smith 1990-96, we are comparing two equal career slices.

First, batting, which is simpler.

WARP1 gives Dickey Pearce an EQA for the last seven years of his career of .248.
His EQA in fulltime seasons were .276, .267, .261, .245, .196

Ozzie's EQAs in fulltime seasons were .294, .287, .259, .252, .244
That, plus his part-time seasons gives an EQA for the seven years together of about .263.

Ozzie's best-hitting seasons were quite a bit better than Pearce's, and overall he has an edge of 15 points of EQA. For comparison, Pee Wee Reese has 12 points of EQA on Ozzie for their careers. Trammell's EQA advantage over Ozzie is 12 points with no accounting for the DH, 20 once the DH is factored in. So 15 points of EQA is not a small difference! If Ozzie and Trammell are very similar in value, 15 points of EQA is in the range of values needed to offset the difference between Ozzie's fielding and Trammell's. There's a question of whether Pearce's late career hitting value is representative of his career, which I'll address later, but it is clear that for the 35-41 seasons, he is a significantly weaker hitter than Ozzie. That's before taking into account differences in competition quality.

Second, fielding, which is more complicated.

Here are Pearce's and Ozzie's seasonal rates in WARP1 for his FT seasons, and his 1871-77 career rate:

Pearce Seasons: 131, 114, 113, 113, 77. Overall: 112
Ozzie Seasons: 119, 113, 105, 96, 92. Overall, appx. 107.

By these WARP1 rates, Pearce looks quite superior. Adjusted for competition in WARP2, however, Pearce drops significantly, while Ozzie remains virtually the same. Here is Pearce's WARP2 line:

Pearce Seasons: 119, 107, 106, 105, 81: Overall 105.

By this line, Pearce looks like he was a bit below Ozzie. Remember that a rate of 112 means 1 run above average about every 9 games, while a rate of 105 means 1 run above average every 20 games, so a drop from 112 to 105 is pretty significant. (Ozzie's rate of 107 is a run above average about every 15 games.) I think this is justified by the huge SD for shortstop defense in the NA (about which more later). But we can see the contextual superiority of Ozzie's defense by looking at how their rates compared to other starting shortstops. Were they still winning gold gloves at this point in their careers?

To answer this question, I used BB-ref's seasonal fielding stats to find the starting shortstops in each of Pearce's and Ozzie's three top fielding seasons from their age 35-39 seasons. I then looked up all these starters in BP's WARP1 to find their rates, figuring that the full-time shortstop with the highest rate is as good a way as any of designating the proper winner of the gold glove.

I found that by this method Ozzie wins two gold gloves, with his 119 rate in 1992 and his 113 rate in 1993. His 105 in 1991 was good for fifth in the league, trailing Barry Larkin's 115, Alfredo Griffin's 113, Spike Owen's 113, and Tony Fernandez's 108. This finding is largely corroborated by win shares, which gives Ozzie a gold glove for 1992 and places him second in 1993, behind the somewhat less spectacular but more durable Jay Bell.

Dickey Pearce, on the other hand, wins no gold gloves. His 131 in 1872 ties him for second with John Radcliff in an eight-team season. They trail George Wright's obscene 147. His 114 in 1874 is good for second place, trailing Mike McGeary's 139 in a much lower SD season, again with eight teams. His 113 in 1875 is good only for 6th place in an eleven team (more or less) season with higher SD. He trailed Davy Force (123), John Peters (123), Chick Fulmer (120), George Wright (119), and Tom Carey (115).

So Ozzie's top three finishes were 1, 1, 5 in a 12 team league with low standard deviation.
Pearce's top three finishes were 2, 2, 6, in an 8, 8, and 11 team league with high standard deviation.

The fielding looks closer than the hitting, but Ozzie still has the edge.

To give you an idea of how vast the talent gap was in the weaker NA seasons, here is the top to bottom listing of fielding rates for shorstop in 1872:

147
131
131
118
90
64
52
51

About the lowest rate for a starting shortstop in Ozzie's time was the 80 posted by Jose Offerman for LA in 1992. WARP sees that as about replacement level for that year. So you can see that the range from top to bottom is fully twice as large in some of Pearce's seasons as it is in Ozzie's. I think the WARP1-->WARP2 reduction in Pearce's rate is reasonable, given the talent spread of his leagues. It corroborates the gold glove finding in showing Pearce as a small step below Ozzie on defense from age 35 on.

In sum, the evidence confirms that Pearce was similar to Ozzie, more similar in his talent set and career shape to Ozzie than to any other HoM shorstop. But does that mean that, overall, he is very close to Ozzie in value? I think the late-career evidence shows that, to the contrary, Ozzie was significantly more valuable. He was a much better hitter, and he was a little bit better fielder. Given how strong the competition in the HoM rankings is, I have a hard time seeing Pearce ranked right next to Ozzie Smith. Ozzie looks to me like a middle of the pack candidate: 10-15 out of 25. Pearce looks more like bottom third, unless one concludes from the pre-NA evidence that Pearce's peak was stronger than Ozzie's.

My recollection is that Pearce shows up as a middling hitter in the pre-NA numbers. We can infer that at his fielding peak, before the advent of George Wright, he was the best defensive player in baseball. So I view Pearce as a hitter who goes from average or slightly above average at his peak to well below average in his decline, while Ozzie was actually well above average offensively during his prime (see his late 1980s EQAs), then declined to an about average hitter. (He was, of course, a weak hitter in the early part of his career.) I guess, then, that the difference between Ozzie's decline and Pearce's decline is probably representative of the difference between their peaks as well.

Paul Wendt will surely correct me if I have misrepresented what the pre-NA batting data shows about Pearce.
   41. sunnyday2 Posted: June 25, 2008 at 03:04 AM (#2831783)
Al, the problem with your analysis (IMO) is the assumption that context is everything. Context (IMO) is not everything.

In other words....

Part 1 of argument. By context you appear to mean the talent pool, which is of course vastly larger today than it was in the 1860s and '70s. And larger, BTW, = better. I don't think anybody would dispute this.

Part 2 of argument, on which there is some disagreement. But (IMO), HoFers and HoMers are outliers. They are not defined or constrained by the size of the talent pool. Like Honus Wagner. What are the odds that the one position player most widely regarded as best at his position would have come from the relatively small talent pool of 100 years ago? He shouldn't have. But he did. He is an outlier. And so are they all...all of the players we are voting for.

Well, if Honus Wagner could come out of the talent pool ca. 1900, then surely an Ozzie Smith or a Cal Ripken could come out of the talent pool of the 1870s. And they did in the persons of Dickey Pearce and George Wright.

To ask whether Pearce or Wright could play today, having been born in the 1840s or '50s, with the nutrition and training and coaching available in those days, is just completely unfair. They took the opportunities that were available to them, and they dominated the game in the same way that Ozzie and Ripken did. Relative to their context, they were just as good. And if they had been born 100 years later, they would have been just as good as Ozzie and Trammell and Ripken. That of course is IMO.

The meaning of the talent pool has been debated for the 5+ years of this project, and there is disagreement. I am probably in the minority. But I say that HoMers are outliers, and so who can say whether the talent pool defines them? I don't think you can.
   42. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 25, 2008 at 12:01 PM (#2831978)
My recollection is that Pearce shows up as a middling hitter in the pre-NA numbers.


Actually, his number were above-average, IIRC. Not great, but good.
   43. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 25, 2008 at 12:02 PM (#2831979)
In fact, his number from the 1860s gave Pearce that needed boost for his election.
   44. Dizzypaco Posted: June 25, 2008 at 12:38 PM (#2831989)
I've weighed in on this before, but I feel very strongly about this. Most of the arguments about how a player from the 1860's would do today, or vice-versa miss the point. Nutrition, training, etc., are only a very small part of the reason why today's athletes are likely substantially superior to those of the 1860's.

Baseball players today represent the very best of millions and millions of people who would like to play baseball. There's probably hundreds of thousands of people who, if given a chance against weak competition, would actually look like a very good baseball player. People who are dominant hitters in college ball, for example, usually can't hit major league pitching at all.

This was absolutely not true in the 1860's. Baseball was comprised of a few people who had at least a little talent and the time to play. I think it is very likely that anyone good enough to make the major leagues today would have absolutely dominated the game of the 1860's, regardless of whether they had the advantages of today. Similarly, I believe it is unlikely that anyone playing in the 1860's would have been good enough to play today in the major leagues even if given every advantage.

The reason for believing this is statistical. The number of true outliers in a population is directly related to the size of that population - this isn't just my opinion, but a fact. Wright came from a very, very small population, meaning the likelihood of there being a true outlier in that population is very small. Today's players come from very large populations - outliers are much more likely. This is not to say that there is no chance of a player from the 1860's was a true outlier; it is that the chance is very small.

I understand doing away with timelining for HOM voting, for various reasons, and treating players from all eras equally. But I do not think we should pretend that players from the 1860's were actually every bit as good as today's players despite all evidence to the contrary.
   45. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 25, 2008 at 12:58 PM (#2832003)
The number of true outliers in a population is directly related to the size of that population


You're forgetting desire to play. There are areas with small populations that have produced many more quality ballplayers than other areas with high populations, because they want it more than the others.

From my readings on the subject, the average ballplayer from the East Coast and the Midwest breathed, ate and drank baseball back in the 1860s and 1870s, maybe more so than the average player does today.
   46. sunnyday2 Posted: June 25, 2008 at 01:05 PM (#2832008)
Diz and I have been having this debate for decades of HoM time and I don't really want to re-open it. We agree to disagree. But...

The idea that a "true outlier" would be unlikely to emerge from the population of the 1860s is statistical, perhaps, but in a theoretical way. Not empirically. And what is a true outlier versus an outlier? I don't know.

Anyway, my real point is just to note that if there are 100 true outliers today for every 1 before 1876, well, I won't dispute that. But there was still 1, according to this theory. And when we say that G. Wright came from a "very small" pool, that is a relative statement. I mean, they project the presidential election based on 400 interviews. Statistics start working at a surprisingly small scale. So I don't buy that you can't have an outlier from the northern U.S. population of the early post-Civil War era.

among those 100 true outliers today, how many choose baseball versus basketball, football, professional wrestling, American Gladiators and all the other opportunities available today that weren't available to the true outlier (as to their athletic ability, the leisure to pursue a sporting career, etc. etc.) 150 years ago.
   47. whoisalhedges Posted: June 25, 2008 at 01:05 PM (#2832010)
Al, the problem with your analysis (IMO) is the assumption that context is everything. Context (IMO) is not everything.

I see what you're saying, but that's not quite my point. I don't dispute the possibility that Wright and Pearce may well have been analagous to (and as good as) Ripken and Smith. I'm not docking them (not significantly, anyway) for any belief that they as individuals were lesser ballplayers than today. What I am concerned with is the meaning of the statistics that we do have. What does it mean to say (for instance) that Joe Blow was 50% better than replacement level in his league? In order for that to have meaning, we need to know what replacement level is, we need to know standard deviations (well, the statisticians do, anyway, I'd just look at you like a dog listening to someone read Sartre).

Basically, isn't it a lot harder to be 50% above replacement -- or even better, 50% above average -- in a strong league? Doesn't that say a lot more about a player's ability to dominate across eras? That's the crux of my argument. I need to be convinced that a player, if born today, would star in today's game -- and that a player, if born a hundred years ago (racial barriers notwithstanding) would have been a star then. Wagner would have been a superstar in Ripken's era, and Ripken would have been a superstar in Wagner's. I am firmly conviced of this.

What I'm not convinced of is that Pearce would have been a star today -- with all the medical advances, with gloves, with maple bats, I'm not conviced that he would be considered one of the top shortstops in the game. To be fair, I'm absolutely not convinced that he wouldn't be a star, either -- I'm not putting him down, I'm just questioning (okay, seriously doubting) the meaningfulness of the data we have for his performance.
   48. Bob Allen Posted: June 25, 2008 at 02:47 PM (#2832098)
Chiming in with a very preliminary ballot. The system I use doesn't cover NA and NeL players, so what follows is a ranking of only the 17 shortstops that it does cover. At the end I list the seven players in that category, plus John Montgomery Ward -- a player I just don;t know how to evaluate at this point. As we move closer to voting, I will (hopefully) learn a lot more about the latter group and will place them where I think is appropriate on the final ballot. With that disclaimer, here goes:

1. Honus Wagner - an easy choice.
2. Cal Ripken Jr. - Also pretty easy.
3. Arky Vaughan - I know he was a great hitter and I also suspect he was worth more in the field than he's usually credited with.
4. George Davis -
5. Bill Dahlen - It's pretty much a coin flip between Davis and Dahlen, edge to Davis for a better bat.
6. Joe Cronin - From here on it gets harder to weigh the various issues (peak, career length, era, etc.).
7. Robin Yount - I'm placing him higher than is comfortable for me. It's an Ernie Banks type of question -- his value was quite a bit less in CF for the second half of his career.
8. Luke Appling - Lacking in defense but his offensive profile was very valuable in his era.
9. Ernie Banks
10. Lou Boudreau - Virtually his whole career was peak. He lacks the "hanging on" years of some others.
11. Ozzie Smith
12. Alan Trammell - On balance, not much difference between Oz and Trammell, so flip another coin.
13. Bobby Wallace - No doubt a good player but one who is little remembered.
14. Jack Glasscock - First among those who would not be in my PHoM if I had one.
15. Joe Sewell
16. Pee Wee Reese - I like both Sewell and Reese but this is a crowded position.
17. Hughie Jennings - I can't warm up to him based purely on his playing career. Good for a short time but so were many players whose careers are barely worth remembering.

Pioneers: Dickey Pearce, George Wright, John Ward - I'm willing to accept their status among early players and wish the Hall of Merit had such a category.

Negro Leaguers (in some sort of order): Pop Lloyd, Home Run Johnson, Willie Wells, Dick Lundy, Dobie Moore.
   49. Harlond Posted: June 25, 2008 at 05:46 PM (#2832241)
Modern athletes are only superior because of 130 years of genetic upgrading (5 or so generations), combined with nutritional, training, etc..
Can an onlooker ask Mr. Dimino the basis for asserting that modern athletes have benefitted from genetic upgrading? Selective breeding could explain it, but Agassi-Graf and Phinney-Carpenter unions are still pretty infrequent. Hard to see evolutionary pressure as having great impact on athleticism.
   50. Sean Gilman Posted: June 25, 2008 at 08:20 PM (#2832343)
Basically, isn't it a lot harder to be 50% above replacement -- or even better, 50% above average -- in a strong league? Doesn't that say a lot more about a player's ability to dominate across eras? That's the crux of my argument. I need to be convinced that a player, if born today, would star in today's game -- and that a player, if born a hundred years ago (racial barriers notwithstanding) would have been a star then. Wagner would have been a superstar in Ripken's era, and Ripken would have been a superstar in Wagner's. I am firmly conviced of this.


I think you're conflating two separate arguments, one of which is entirely irrelevant.
   51. Rusty Priske Posted: June 26, 2008 at 01:04 PM (#2833156)
Prelim

1. Wagner
2. Ripken
3. Vaughan
4. Yount
5. Davis
6. Dahlen
7. Appling
8. Cronin
9. Banks
10. Smith
11. Trammell
12. Lloyd
13. Wells
14. Reese
15. Ward
16. Johnson
17. Lundy
18. Boudreau
19. Sewell
20. Moore
21. Pearce
22. Wallace
23. Glasscock
24. Wright
25. Jennings
   52. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2008 at 01:44 PM (#2833171)
Prelim:

Honus Wagner
John Henry Lloyd
George Wright
Arky Vaughan
Cal Ripken
George Davis
Bill Dahlen
Robin Yount
Luke Appling
Jack Glasscock
Pee Wee Reese
Joe Cronin
Alan Trammell
Dickey Pearce
Ozzie Smith
Willie Wells
Dobie Moore
Dick Lundy
Lou Boudreau
Ernie Banks
John Montgomery Ward
Hughie Jennings
Joe Sewell
Bobby Wallace

I doubt that I will change the first nine, but anything is possible with the other sixteen.
   53. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2008 at 01:55 PM (#2833173)
12. Lloyd


That low, Rusty? He looks like an easy #2 to me.
   54. DL from MN Posted: June 26, 2008 at 02:07 PM (#2833177)
Lloyd 12th between Alan Trammell and Pee Wee Reese?!
   55. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: June 26, 2008 at 03:48 PM (#2833265)
Prelim ballot.....very prelim from 5th place down:

1. Wagner
2. Lloyd
3. Vaughan
4. Ripken
5. Yount
6. Davis
7. Ward Yes, I lot higher than others, but his pitching counts for a lot in my system. Could move down, but not a lot.
8. Banks
9. Dahlen
10. Reese
11. Appling
12. Smith
13. Wright
14. Johnson
15. Glasscock
16. Boudreau
17. Trammell
18. Cronin
19. Jennings
20. Wells
21. Lundy
22. Wallace
23. Pearce He could well move up once I figure out what to give him for his 20's.
24. Sewell
25. Moore
   56. bjhanke Posted: June 26, 2008 at 04:17 PM (#2833313)
Harlond (Clift is a personal favorite of mine) asks, "Can an onlooker ask Mr. Dimino the basis for asserting that modern athletes have benefitted from genetic upgrading? Selective breeding could explain it, but Agassi-Graf and Phinney-Carpenter unions are still pretty infrequent. Hard to see evolutionary pressure as having great impact on athleticism."

There are at least two very serious indicators. First, the number of brothers who can play Major League baseball at least decently is up and rising. Sure, in the old days you had the Delahantys, but mostly you got a Honus Wagner brothered to a Butts. Now you get third generation players like the Bells who can actually play, and families like the Molinas, who are close to being equal.

Second, we are, as a people, much bigger than we used to be. My father, for instance, played high school basketball in the 1920s. His team had a dominating center who went on to All-American status at his University. Dad specifically listed him as dominant because he was so tall as opposed to agile or deadly shooting from outside. He was 6' 2". That's six feet two inches. Obviously, any good modern center could have had his way with this guy. Also obviously, the rest of the (basketball) team was under 6 feet. They finished second in state, beaten by a team that just plain outran them, without a single player over 6 feet. In the 1930s, a player named Bob Kuzava, also from the St. Louis area, went to Oklahoma A&M;and won two national championships because he was so dominatingly tall. In fact, the goal tending rule was invented to stop him from just camping under the other team's basket and preventing them from scoring at all. Kuzava was 6' 10". Also, my dentist, when I came in to get my wisdom teeth pulled, said that the run on such procedures was due to people's teeth growing faster than their skulls. In earlier times, people didn't have to have their wisdoms pulled, at least not like we do now. And my eye doctor says that this is also true of nearsightedness. It's much more frequent now than it used to be because our eyes are growing faster than our skulls (or the other way around; I forget).

On another topic raised here, it is true that dominant college hitters often fail to hit at the Major League level. I live in St. Louis (as if you couldn't tell), and we have a nice academic university named Washington U. Wash U. plays Division III baseball, and has for decades. Their CAREER batting average leader, as well as in most other hitting categories? Dal Maxvill. I'm serious. One of the worst hitters in MLB history just tore apart decent (not great, it's division III) college play. So the poster had a point.

BW, I am now in Chicago, making the comic book pitch that was the writing deadline I've had. I have no baseball research materials at hand, but I do want to post up about Ozzie Smith's odd career and adjustments you might make to his rankings. That will appear this weekend, from Chicago, as soon as I get time. I'd have waited, but Ozzie has become a hot topic here, so I thought I'd post early.

- Brock
   57. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2008 at 04:38 PM (#2833329)
7. Ward Yes, I lot higher than others, but his pitching counts for a lot in my system. Could move down, but not a lot.


I agree he's a tough one to peg.
   58. DL from MN Posted: June 26, 2008 at 05:50 PM (#2833402)
I've done a little research and I think I'm going to slot George Wright behind Ernie Banks at 16th place. I also think Dickey Pearce fits in nicely between gloves Bobby Wallace and Dick Lundy at 21st. The only big puzzle left now is figuring out why I have Willie Wells so far ahead of Grant Johnson.
   59. sunnyday2 Posted: June 26, 2008 at 06:10 PM (#2833446)
Brock,

You mean Bob Kurland.

I don't even pretend to know if family/generational/sibling success in athletics is genetic or not. Well, on second thought, of course it is. But does it represent genetic "upgrading"? Wow. I don't know. There are variations in the gene pool for athletic abilities, obviously. But is the collection of such abilities in a particular family "upgrading" or random? Well, when 2 great athletes (or people with strong familial athletic connections) have children together, the kids are generally pretty good. But the fact that those 2 particular people got together was not with the objective in mind of "upgrading" the athletic gene pool, I don't think.

Still, the fact that basketball players are lots taller than in previous generations is a bit of a conundrum. What about football players being heavier? Well, a guy can eat his way to that. But height? Well, there's evidence that changes in our national diet around the time of the Great Depression (is that ironic?) had something to do with the height thing. In Minnesota it was similar to what Brock said. The tallest kid who had ever played in the Minnesota state basketball tournament had been 6-5 1/2 in 1932 when Jim McIntyre showed up in 1944 at about 6-8. He grew to 6-9 as a senior in 1945 and 6-10 as a Minnesota Gopher. After McIntyre, the Minnesota state basketball champions (1946-51 ) had kids who were 6-6, 6-7, a mere 6-3, 6-6, 6-5 and 6-10. In 1948 you had 3 kids who were 6-5 or better, in 1951 you had a 6-10 vs. 6-8 match-up. The change was revolutionary.

But was it genetic?

And then there are the massive improvements in times and other measures of performance (how high, how far) in swimming and track and field that raise the question. Genetics? Or just training and focus (specialization) and desire?

I think it's mostly training and specialization, that's what I think.

Things that 19C ballplayers would have at their disposal if they had been born at a different time.
   60. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2008 at 06:48 PM (#2833544)
Things that 19C ballplayers would have at their disposal if they had been born at a different time.


That has been my point for years, Marc. It's no less of a disadvantge for them in our analysis than an unfavorable park effect is for a player.
   61. Dizzypaco Posted: June 26, 2008 at 07:05 PM (#2833597)
Since the discussion has gone on, I'll continue to chime in. I hate to leave a one-sided discussion that I disagree with. Once again, John and Sunnyday are most likely correct about the nutrtion and training argument - except that nutrition and training are not the primary reasons why almost anyone playing in the major leagues today would be likely to absolutely dominate 1860's baseball.

If you took a random person born in 1980, and were careful to give them the right nutrition and training, how likely would it be that the person would be as good a baseball player as Albert Pujols? Very, very, unlikely, because natural talent actually means something.

If you took 100 random people, all born in 1980, and were careful about their nutrition and training, how likely would it be that one of those 100 people would be as good as Albert Pujols? Very, very unlikely, because Pujols' natural talent is very rare.

Same is true about people born in 1840, unless you believe that people born in 1840 are more likely to be naturally talented than those born in 1980. Only when you draw from millions, or hundreds of millions of people are you likely to get someone so talented, that when combined with the right nutrition and training do you get Albert Pujols.

Baseball today does draw from many millions of people. It does today, it did 25 years ago, it did 50 years ago. It even did 100 years ago, although not quite as many. But it did not 150 years ago. If one in ten million people has that much natural talent, and you draw from 1000 people, chances are you get no outliers. Not one - zero. This is a statistical fact.

It is possible that there was a true outlier playing in 1867. But it is very unlikely. Just like it is possible that one of Sunnyday's family members has as much natural talent as Albert Pujols - but very, very unlikely.
   62. OCF Posted: June 26, 2008 at 07:11 PM (#2833609)
It's not genetic. Genetic changes in human populations are things like northern Eurasians developing pale-colored skin (because they wore clothes, lived in cloudy climates, and needed a way to make Vitamin D) - and that took thousands or tens of thousands of years. Genetic changes just don't operate on a scale of two or three generations. Dramatic increases in height over the last hundred years - and those changes are even more dramatic in some European countries than they are in the U.S. - are matters of childhood nutrition and management or eradication of some major childhood diseases.

Which is all pretty much what sunnyday2 said.
   63. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2008 at 07:16 PM (#2833623)
Again, there are geographical areas with small populations that destroy other areas with large populations in terms of quality players. You can't point to population and make such a sweeping dismissal of 19th century players, Diz. Besides, as Marc pointed out recently, baseball was practically the only recreational and later professional avenue for a person from the 19th century, which is certainly not the case today. A Brouthers, Jennings or Pearce didn't bother with other pursuits because there were practically no other choices for them. Therefore, their time was consumed on a baseball diamond. The more time and effort, the better ballplayer you will be. In fact, I would posit that the average ballplayer back then spent more time playing baseball than they do today.
   64. vortex of dissipation Posted: June 26, 2008 at 07:28 PM (#2833663)
I know I'm a lurker here, but I always follow the discussions with great interest.

Could someone explain why Bill Dahlen is so high on so many people's ballots? I understand that he is considered by many the best pre-war player not in the HoF, and I understand that he was considered a fantastic defensive player, and that he had a long career.

But looking at his stats, he had two exceptional hitting seasons, 1894 and 1896, and a whole bunch of years where he hit .260 or so.

I understand that Bill James had him ranked at #21 in the NBJHBA, and that also seemed reasonable to me. Yet the consensus here seems to put him around seventh or so, and above players such as Luke Appling and Robin Yount.

Please, I'm not trying to disparage anyone's rating. There's just something here that I don't understand, and I'm trying to get it. I looked at the Dahlen thread, and 1915 thread, and they didn't seem to help much.

I understand he was an outstanding player. Why was he outstanding enough to rate so high?
   65. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2008 at 07:33 PM (#2833667)
But looking at his stats, he had two exceptional hitting seasons, 1894 and 1896, and a whole bunch of years where he hit .260 or so.


He played for 20 years with a career 109 OPS+ and (as you pointed out) terrific defense, which was not an easy feat for a shortstop back then or even now, vortex.
   66. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2008 at 07:35 PM (#2833673)
Yet the consensus here seems to put him around seventh or so, and above players such as Luke Appling and Robin Yount.


Yount would have been higher if he had played more shortstop, while Appling benefited a little during the WWII years.
   67. Tiboreau Posted: June 26, 2008 at 08:02 PM (#2833722)
vortex of dissipation: Yet the consensus here seems to put him around seventh or so, and above players such as Luke Appling and Robin Yount.


John Murphy: Yount would have been higher if he had played more shortstop, while Appling benefited a little during the WWII years.

FWIW, I agree with vortex--Dahlen, for all his defensive prowess, appears to me to be a poor man's Appling or Yount, with a long career and a good but not fantastic peak playing in an era with weaker competition (except during WWII) than either of the other two ballplayers, and Dan Rosenheck's salary estimator appears to agree:

4. Appling, $262M
(Larkin, $257M)
5. Yount, $255M
6. Trammell, $250M
7. Smith, $245M
8. Dahlen, $241M

Of course, Mr. Rosenheck's rating does have him 8th; I may not put him above Davis or Cronin and certainly not above Appling & Yount, but 7th seems closer to appropriate than 21st considering it's the Dahlen's long career, defense at a premium position, and secondary skills. Dan's salary estimator doesn't include baseball pioneers and Negro Leaguers but neither do James'.

I understand that Bill James had him ranked at #21 in the NBJHBA, and that also seemed reasonable to me.

Considering that James appears to have not adjusted for schedules before applying a rather strict timeline, 21st may be bit unreasonable (that's not quite the right word, but oh well) for this project (his ratings and ours are kind of apples and oranges).
   68. DL from MN Posted: June 26, 2008 at 08:46 PM (#2833832)
I re-read the Willie Wells thread. The consensus in the thread was to rank Wells somewhere above Cronin and around Appling and I have him slotted in between them. I would like to call out everyone but Chris Cobb as being inconsistent with that consensus. Estimated 114 OPS+ and a helluva lot of playing time. I will note that sunnyday dissented with that opinion then due to the flatness of Wells' MLEs and preferred Dobie Moore.

My error must be in evaluating Grant Johnson.
   69. OCF Posted: June 26, 2008 at 08:50 PM (#2833839)
After vortex's post, I went back to say something about what my favorite system says about Dahlen's offense - and realized that I'd never worked up his case, or Davis either. Put that on the "to do" list for the next day or two.
   70. DL from MN Posted: June 26, 2008 at 09:22 PM (#2833891)
No, I think I have Grant Johnson right. He barely edged 3 Finger Brown (and Bobby Wallace) in the 1925 election.

Here's some ballot comments:

ronw
1. Grant Johnson At SS, Johnson seems to be a better alternative than the steady Wallace?s and Tinker?s of the world, but he probably doesn?t measure up to the greatness of Davis and Dahlen, and can?t touch Wagner.

EricC - hadn't made up his mind yet

PhillyBooster
Ranked Frank Grant #1
3. Home Run Johnson (6) -- Top shortstop, ranks higher than "Triples" Beckley. Made my PHoM in 1921.

Al Peterson
12. Home Run Johnson (13). Weighed the evidence, can provide some ballot support. Probably ranking him mostly as SS even though he was moved to 2B when teamed with Lloyd.
(Ranked Frank Grant #7)

Chris Cobb
1. Grant "Home Run" Johnson (2) . Excellent in 1895, excellent 1910-1913, excellent in Cuba, excellent in limited at bats against major-league pitching, played important defensive positions on the best black teams for 19 years. Record is fragmentary, but all fragments are in agreement on his quality.

Michael Bass
1. Frank Grant
2. Grant Johnson - The stats we have are interesting on him, but they are so amazingly incomplete that I hesitate to give them much weight. What we do know is that he was considered an excellent defensive player for a very long time at a key position, and he appears to have had a very strong bat. I have to believe that would have been at worst a better Bobby Wallace (see: next entry).

OCF
1. Grant "Home Run" Johnson (-, 11, 6, 5, 4) Probably not quite J.H. Lloyd, but probably not too far behind, either.

JeffM
4. Johnson, Home Run -- Lacking a perfect system for ranking the Negro League players, I tend to look at which white players they were compared to, and then drop them a couple of notches below that (unless there is evidence that I shouldn't). I've got Johnson linked with Home Run Baker, who will easily make the HOM, so I've got Johnson here and haven't seen a reason to move him.

DonF
1. Grant Johnson: A “5-tool” player, played a long time, all the best teams rushed to get him. The detailed case for him is by Chris Cobb at #251 on the discussion thread. Not quite as good as Lloyd is pretty darn good.

Devin McCullen
2. Dickey Pearce
3. Home Run Johnson (5) I'm convinced that he belongs. I have worried a bit about how closely his case is tied to John Henry Lloyd, but as...er...someone said, we've got evidence pointing to quality play over a 19-year period. He was clearly an excellent hitter.

KJOK
6. HOME RUN JOHNSON, 2B/SS. Great hitter and played important middle infield defensive positions. By my method his neutral MLE’s are .390 OBP, .501 SLG, 1460 Runs Created in around 8,500 PA’s. That may be a little high, but still signals that he was a special player.

John Murphy
2) Home Run Johnson-SS/2B (3): Frank Baker-like power, great batting eye (plus patience), fine defense and lengthy career pushes him up here. Great, great player. Batted cleanup behind Pop Lloyd in 1913.

Adam Shafer
behind Bobby Wallace
7. Home Run Johnson (15) - Ok, I'm convinced now

Joe Dimino
1. Home Run Johnson (3) - All of the evidence I've seen shows that he belongs here. KJOK's MLE's and the post here from Chris Cobb have me 99 & 44/100% convinced of this.

So the consensus from that year was that Grant Johnson barely topped a weak field and was a little better than Bobby Wallace and Frank Grant. There were a couple dissenters to that opinion though, including Chris Cobb who I usually agree with.

There is nothing in the Grant Johnson thread that improves my understanding of anything but Cuban baseball MLEs.

From the prelim ballots here, Grant Johnson is a top 10 SS. Can someone explain why a top 10 SS didn't blow away Mordecai Brown, Joe McGinnity and Frank Grant in 1925?
   71. DL from MN Posted: June 26, 2008 at 09:39 PM (#2833917)
Revised Prelim

1) Honus Wagner
2) Pop Lloyd
3) Cal Ripken - I'm torn between him and Vaughan but I think the long stretch of filler in Ripken's career is causing me to undervalue his peak
4) Arky Vaughan
5) Bill Dahlen
(Barry Larkin)
6) George Davis
7) Luke Appling
8) Robin Yount
9) Willie Wells
10) Joe Cronin
11) Ozzie Smith
12) Grant Johnson
13) Alan Trammell
14) Pee Wee Reese
15) Lou Boudreau
16) Ernie Banks
17) George Wright
18) Jack Glasscock
19) Bobby Wallace
20) Monte Ward
21) Dickey Pearce
22) Dick Lundy
(Bus Clarkson)
23) Joe Sewell
24) Dobie Moore
25) Hugh Jennings

It is frankly amazing how poorly the HoF has done when it comes to SS. Half the guys on our list are either not honored or were honored posthumously by a special committee.
   72. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 26, 2008 at 09:52 PM (#2833937)
Again, there are geographical areas with small populations that destroy other areas with large populations in terms of quality players. You can't point to population and make such a sweeping dismissal of 19th century players, Diz.


Finland has produced 19 Olympic gold medalists in men's javelin. The U.S., with a much larger population, has produced 5.

Finland has produced 5 Olympic gold medalists in men's discus. The U.S., with a much larger population, has produced 33.

Discuss.
   73. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 26, 2008 at 09:53 PM (#2833939)
Sorry, that's all medalists, not just gold.
   74. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2008 at 10:33 PM (#2833961)
I forgot to place Home Run Johnson on my list. He would have been somewhere in the middle of the pack.
   75. Mark Donelson Posted: June 26, 2008 at 10:34 PM (#2833962)
I will note that sunnyday dissented with that opinion then due to the flatness of Wells' MLEs and preferred Dobie Moore.

Count me with Sunnyday on this one. (Though I wasn't around for the initial Wells discussion & vote.)

And re Johnson, I dunno, looks to me like a lot of the people quoted in that election (again, I wasn't there) put him about where he's ending up here, even beyond Chris Cobb:

he probably doesn?t measure up to the greatness of Davis and Dahlen, and can?t touch Wagner.
Probably not quite J.H. Lloyd, but probably not too far behind, either.
I've got Johnson linked with Home Run Baker
Not quite as good as Lloyd is pretty darn good.

So behind Lloyd, but not that far behind him, behind Davis and Dahlen, way behind Wagner, and similar to Baker. That makes a placement just on the edges or just outside the top 10 seems not unreasonable, doesn't it?

Maybe it's just a significant change in who's voting now, as opposed to then? Many of the lukewarm comments on Johnson you quoted are from voters we're not hearing from anymore.
   76. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2008 at 10:52 PM (#2833975)
From the prelim ballots here, Grant Johnson is a top 10 SS. Can someone explain why a top 10 SS didn't blow away Mordecai Brown, Joe McGinnity and Frank Grant in 1925?


That was how I felt back in '25, since I felt that Johnson was better than those three listed. However, in retrospect, I would have had Johnson over Pearce back then. My system has changed a tad from that time. :-)
   77. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2008 at 10:56 PM (#2833978)
Finland has produced 19 Olympic gold medalists in men's javelin. The U.S., with a much larger population, has produced 5.

Finland has produced 5 Olympic gold medalists in men's discus. The U.S., with a much larger population, has produced 33.

Discuss.


Nice examples, SdeB.
   78. vortex of dissipation Posted: June 27, 2008 at 12:28 AM (#2834019)
Finland has produced seven World Rally Championship drivers, with 14 championships between them. No other country has produced more than two drivers who have won the championship, or more than five total championships.

Finland has also produced three Formula One World Champions, more than any other country except Great Britain.
   79. sunnyday2 Posted: June 27, 2008 at 02:02 AM (#2834052)
chances are you get no outliers. Not one - zero. This is a statistical fact.


This is almost a non sequiter.
   80. Chris Cobb Posted: June 27, 2008 at 02:54 AM (#2834071)
DL's archival work on Grant Johnson's election in 1925 is highly interesting, but I think that the treatment that he received in the original voting is not a reliable guide for ranking him now, for several reasons.

First, it should be remembered that Grant Johnson was the first player from black baseball to be elected to the Hall of Merit. We had not yet begun serious, systematic analysis of Negro-League statistics, so many voters were understandably doubtful about how much weight could be placed on those records. Grant Johnson, unlike Frank Grant and Bill Monroe, who were two of the more serious candidates from black baseball already under discussion, had much less "name recognition." More damagingly for his prospects, he was passed over entirely by Bill James in his rankings of Negro-League players in TNBJHBA, which was all that many of the electorate had to work with before we began to dig more deeply into research on the Negro Leagues. As we added John Holway's work, Riley's encyclopedia, the player rankings from _Cool Papas and Double Duties_, data on the 1903-05 Philadelphia Giants reported in a biography of Rube Foster, and, later yet, lots of data and commentary on baseball in Cuba, we developed a much fuller understanding of black baseball prior to the organization of the Negro Leagues in the early 1920s.

As we deepened our understanding of pre-1920 black baseball and developed statistical tools for assessing post-1920 black baseball, we became, as a group, a lot more willing to trust the numbers and to rank players from black baseball highly. At the time, the electorate felt, I think, that we were going a bit out on a limb with Grant Johnson as it was. I think it is true to say, though, that everything that we learned about him subsequently has been consistent with a view of him as a player in the Davis-Dahlen class.

Given that, it is not surprising that voters who have been with the project since the 1925 election view Johnson more favorably that they did then.

I have to be careful in representing Grant Johnson because making the case for him was the first time I really took on a project of that kind. I had been active in discussions prior to that point (I first voted in the 1903 election), but Johnson's case was the first time I decided I needed to make a case that no one else was making and do some original analysis. That led on to a deep engagement with everything we later did with the Negro-League players. So Grant Johnson is a great favorite of mine, and I feel both a debt to him for inspiring me to understand the history and the records of black baseball and an obligation to make sure that he gets his due. But I need to be careful not to overstep what the evidence justifies. It's nice to be less of an outlier now than I was then.

I have hard copies of the two detailed posts I made about Johnson's record. I'll add those to his thread, since they don't exist in full form anymore on the ballot discussion threads.
   81. Cblau Posted: June 27, 2008 at 03:04 AM (#2834075)
Does Dan R.'s calculation include Dahlen's first 2 seasons?
   82. OCF Posted: June 27, 2008 at 04:01 AM (#2834110)
As promised, I did put Davis and Dahlen into my offensive system (but not Glasscock or Ward, and not any of the Negro League players, and certainly not Wright or Pearce - they would break the system). I've decided to present the results a little differently - not as context-scaled RCAA but as context-scaled RC above 75% of average runs. This emphasizes playing time a little more (although peak still shines out from the system) and it makes many more of the numbers positive. Of course, presenting it this way makes it a little less familiar compared to the RCAA I've usually presented. One look at the difference: In my usual presentation, Wagner would have a top four years of 115, 90, 89, 85; in this system those same four years show up as 130, 104, 104, 101. (I considered just leaving Wagner off altogether - his line is too disorienting.) As presented here, you see Vaughan with a 99 and Yount with a 92; in my usual RCAA terms, those would have been 84 and 73.

Wagner 130 104 104 101 97 93 93 89 85 76 72 63 61 54 42 38 30 29 20 19  8
Davis 
.  67  57  55  55 52 52 49 47 46 41 39 37 36 33 28 27 21 14 --4
Yount 
.  92  82  69  62 55 54 50 43 35 34 30 30 28 25 19 16  7  2  2 -1
Vaughan  99  81  75  70 67 65 57 46 43 43 34 30 15  5
Banks 
.  72  71  71  62 60 51 38 35 34 32 24 20 19 18 18 12  7  4 -3
Ripken 
77  68  65  50 45 40 32 30 29 29 28 27 25 23 22 20 17 15  4 --7
Appling  71  65  54  52 45 42 39 38 38 37 35 26 25 22 13 11 10  1  0 
-4
Cronin 
62  58  58  57 53 48 46 45 40 30 25 21 11  9  9  4  2  0  0 -2
Dahlen 
56  54  47  46 39 37 37 33 31 31 29 29 25 21 16 13  9  6  0  0 -
Trammell 78  63  55  54 43 41 37 36 20 14 13 12 11 10  8  8  7 
---6
Sewell 
72  47  46  36 34 34 32 28 25 23 22 21  8  6
Reese 
.  62  43  43  43 37 36 34 31 31 27 26 18 10  1 -9
Boudreau 84  57  51  43 41 30 29 29 22 21 10  5  4  0  0
Wallace  50  43  39  37 36 34 33 27 25 25 23 14 13  5  1  1  1 
--1 etc.
Jennings 74  74  60  59 22 20 17 14 13 11  1  1  1  0  0-10
Smith 
.  55  46  33  33 32 28 25 21 14 13  8  8  7  6  4 --7-18 


The "etc." in the case of Wallace stand for 6 more years of minus signs. Wallace did last forever, but he sure had a bunch of years in which he didn't hit at all. The only league strength adjustments have been some modest ones for WWII leagues. No credit for missing years has been incorporated into the above charts; the right thing to do would probably be to insert a blank spot or two somewhere into the lines of, say, Reese and Davis, and move the rest of the line to the right.

And this is offense-only. Offense is not the only thing that matters, especially when we are talking about shortstops. This is not a total rating; add to it what you know about defense.
   83. Blackadder Posted: June 27, 2008 at 04:35 AM (#2834123)
So Wagner's 9th best year was better than all but two other seasons by elected players? Wow.
   84. OCF Posted: June 27, 2008 at 05:16 AM (#2834131)
As I said, Wagner's line is disorienting. If we had a player who hit exactly like Wagner and played an average first base, I'd vote for Gehrig ahead of him, but it would be close. We just got finished talking about second basemen; I think Wagner was a better offensive player than Hornsby (and certainly a much better offensive player than his contemporary, Lajoie.) If we were to make Wagner an average-fielding LF or RF, with the exact same offense, then I'd probably put him behind Musial, but it would be a close call comparing him to Aaron.

Keltner list question number 1: was he ever (considered to be) the best player in baseball? The real question is this: for how many years in a row was he the best player in baseball?

---

A different question: who on this list played positions other than SS for an appreciable part of their career? Wagner, Davis, Yount, Ripken, Banks, Sewell, Jennings. In most of these cases, the top several offensive years on my chart came as SS; the biggest exception to this is Yount, but even in his case the #1 and #3 years on my chart were as a SS, with the #2 year as a CF. In the case of Banks and Jennings, there's a night-and-day difference between SS value and 1B value.
   85. Paul Wendt Posted: June 27, 2008 at 10:24 PM (#2834985)
I must pick on ronw again.
#7
I expect we'll see the biggest Davenport/James discrepancies among the outfielders, because of James lumping them all into the same position.

The Worst
[. . . Yount . . .]

Solid

N/A Dickey Pearce (34)
C Ernie Banks (49); 1B (8), (also B at 1B)
A- Pee Wee Reese (52); 3B (7)
A+ John Ward (62); P (22); 2B (27); CF (7); RF (4)
B Luke Appling (69)
. . .
Banks and Reese actually had similar fielding peaks, Banks just moved to first while Reese stayed at short minimally detracting from his career totals.


Where are the big bottom-line discrepancies between James and Davenport? Probably it depends on whether for Davenport you rely on FRAA (or FRAR) career total or on a measure of fielding rate. That is crucial because Bill James letter grades are based on rates. Some of the close matches and big discrepancies shown here are merely artefacts of the reliance on FRAA career total.

The discrepancy on Yount and Banks is notable either way. Bill James outspokenly does not agree that Yount is "The Worst" or that Banks is "Solid".


OCF #84
A different question: who on this list played positions other than SS for an appreciable part of their career?

What is appreciable? Evidently you draw the line thus:

Ward
Davis
Wagner
Jennings
----
Wallace
Dahlen

In their day it was common for a man to play more than 90% of his major league career at shortstop, as Dahlen did not.

1890s shortstops
Full seasons equivalent shortstop fielding games; batting games; rank, shortstop games
14.72 16.95 Bill Dahlen (#4)
14.42 15.28 Tommy Corcoran (#7)
13.19 13.58 Germany Smith (#14)
12.82 13.39 Herman Long (#19)
12.13 15.96 Bobby Wallace (#26)
11.74 11.78 Monte Cross (#33)
11.37 12.01 Ed McKean (#36)
_9.23 16.31 George Davis
_8.89 _9.69 Bones Ely
_6.62 _6.90 Shorty Fuller
_6.48 _9.18 Hugh Jennings (#120)

Yes, despite more than two seasons fse when he did not play shortstop, Dahlen is fourth all-time behind Omar, Luis, and Ozzie.

neighboring Hall of Merit shortstops
12.30 18.24 Honus Wagner (#24)
_6.50 15.80 John Ward (#118)
13.72 14.94 Jack Glasscock (#12)

Eight of the 14 men covered here played more than 90% of major league careers fielding shortstop.
   86. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 27, 2008 at 10:28 PM (#2834989)
Yes, it does. If I list someone, it means I've estimated missing years where I've had to. But you'd be right to have a bit less confidence in those ratings than in the ones that are fully post-1893 MLB position players.
   87. AJMcCringleberry Posted: June 27, 2008 at 10:51 PM (#2834999)
I keep posting prelims then not voting, let's see if I can change that.

Prelim:

1. Wagner, #5 all time.
(A-Rod)
2. Ripken
3. Lloyd
4. Vaughan
5. Yount
6. Banks
7. Davis
8. Dahlen
9. Appling
10. Cronin
(Larkin)
11. Smith
12. Trammell
13. Wells
14. Boudreau
15. Wallace
(Jeter)
16. Johnson
17. Reese
18. Sewell
19. Ward
20. Lundy
21. Glasscock
22. Jennings
(big gap)
23. Wright
24. Moore
25. Pearce

I'll have to read up more on Pearce.
   88. sunnyday2 Posted: June 28, 2008 at 12:41 AM (#2835109)
I'll have to read up more on Pearce.


Wow. And G. Wright while you're at it.
   89. zonk Posted: June 28, 2008 at 12:51 AM (#2835129)
I hate to deviate from the topic slightly, but I've been fascinated by the placement of A-Rod/Jeter in the lists of those that include them...

It looks like the consensus is that A-Rod is #2 - which is where I'd put him were I a HoM voter. Any folks that didn't include him care to? And for the group, do you think he would have had a chance, had he stayed at SS, to overtake Wagner? Or was Wagner's peak just too high for A-Rod's peak to overtake?

I'd likely rank Jeter in the 20s, maybe a bit higher. I hate to say it as a Cubs fan, but there's a bizarro Ernie Banks quality to Jeter. Both probably get more credit than deserved for their defense (I believe Banks won a GG or 2 as well, did he not?), but were elite offensive forces, but not head and shoulders above their position-neutral offensive peers, if they even exceeded them. But whereas Jeter has this mystique of clutch leader of a Yankee dynasty, Banks has this mystique as the heart and soul of a crumbling franchise that, I don't know... would sunk into Lake Michigan.

I would rank Banks ahead of Jeter, but I readily admit neither are top 10 SSs.

Sorry for the interruption, and thanks in advance for any thoughts.
   90. sunnyday2 Posted: June 28, 2008 at 02:42 AM (#2835336)
Is there a point where ARod ceases to be a SS? Maybe not. He's still got almost 2X as many games at SS (1200+ to 600+ at 3B). And he's earned about 87 WARP3 at SS and about 51.5 at 3B. OTOH, on average he was 10.9 per year at SS and is 11.4 per yer at 3B.

He'll need about 4 years to even things up in games played (meaning through about this time, let's say the 4th of July 2012) and by then, if he continues to play at his current rate he will have more WARP3 at 3B by a margin of about 97 to 87. But that's assuming no decline or significant injury through age 38.

The tie-breaker might be peak value. At SS, it was 15.4-13.2-11.9-11.9. At 3B, it's 13.4 and 11.9 so far. I doubt that he'll match that 15.4 playing at 3B or anywhere else for that matter. Still his placement could become problematic.

That said, I think if he retires today he is probably #2 to Wagner at SS. If he plays another 4 years and we think he is still a SS, he is still #2 to Wagner.

If he stays at 3B and accumulates enough value to be shifted to 3B for his career, does he overtake Schmidt, or is he #2 there as well.He probably becomes the #1 3B. But he can't be that now, he's not a 3B now. He needs 4 stellar years to become at 3B.
   91. bjhanke Posted: June 28, 2008 at 04:06 AM (#2835452)
I promised a note or two on Ozzie Smith, and finally have enough time to write them. I'm still in Chicago, and have no resources to use (I still don't have time to internet surf), so I won't have the years or maybe a detail or two. Also, Ozzie is recent enough that most of you may very well know this stuff. But it didn't come up in the thread about Ozzie, and may influence voting. So here the notes are for what they are worth.

1. Ozzie Smith's career breaks into 2 different phases on offense and also 2 - a different 2 - on defense. The offensive break may be of some importance in voting. The defensive one almost certainly will be.

2. On offense, Ozzie started out as a non-hitter, really. Then, one year in St. Louis, he came back from an offseason program with a personal trainer (Mackie Shilstone) 20 pounds or more heavier, and started hitting doubles. He went from a 20+ doubles guy to a 35+ doubles guy in one year without losing any defensive agility or speed. He already had good plate discipline, but before the "power" surge (it wasn't homers or anything, just doubles), a pitcher who got to three balls on him would just throw heat down the middle and dare him to do anything about it. After the surge, if you tried that, he'd lace a double into the gap. Because of the new threat, his walks went up and he became a useful batter. If you look at the first sentence, this being 2008, you might suspect steroids. After all, the people who want to convict players of steroids on circumstantial evidence consider that to be enough. But there is NO real evidence of that - he just went on a directed training program and put on 20 pounds of muscle. This won't affect my vote at all, but some of you might wonder why he started hitting better in mid career. Shilstone's training is why.

3. On defense, Ozzie suffered some sort of shoulder injury one year in St. Louis, and lost his shortstop's arm. I don't mean it's my opinion that he lost his shortstop's arm; I mean that this is a well-documented fact. Ozzie talked about it. The St. Louis media talked about it. Most important, Ozzie, being Ozzie, did something about it. After the injury, if Ozzie had to go into the hole for a ball, he would not even try to throw it across the diamond on the fly. He would throw it hard and low, bouncing it once on the infield grass and up into the first baseman's glove. As I said, this is well documented, including by Ozzie. He was amazingly accurate at this; I doubt that his errors went up by 2 a year. But he did lose some assists because this type of throw is slower than the normal shortstop launch. However, this does affect my ranking of Ozzie. You see, his adjustment was a product of its time. The latest he could possibly have attempted the one-hop throw as a regular tool would have been maybe 1960, and probably later. In St. Louis, in the 1980s, he was doing it on Astroturf, which is the best surface possible. In 1950, much less 1880, he simply could not have done it. The error rate would have been enormous.

And that means that, if you're ranking partially based on whether a player could have been a star at his position in any time period, Ozzie could not. After the shoulder injury, he would have been a second baseman. Possibly the best defensive keystone man of all time, but not a shortstop. Like I said, I don't have the exact year, but I think it would be about a third of his career that would have been at second base. This will cause me, hard as it hurts, to downgrade Ozzie a little. I, of course, don't know about you. A super-gold-glove second baseman is hardly the back end of Ernie Banks' career. But it is there, applied to Ozzie.

4. If you look at stat books, you will find that Ozzie ranks as an outstanding base stealer. This is not an illusion. Ozzie didn't steal bases in the volume of Brock, Henderson, or Coleman, but he also never got caught. When I was doing the BBBA, one of the things that I would look for every year was where Ozzie ranked among base stealers compared to Vince Coleman. I had a system called Stolen Base Profit, which is hardly original (it's the same thing as Pete Palmer's stolen base runs, except that I expressed it in bases). Ozzie was usually close to Coleman, despite stealing 30 bases to Coleman's 80 or so. So if anyone looks at the evaluations and wonders, no, it's real. Ozzie was a tremendous percentage base stealer with enough volume to give his teams a profit similar to Vince Coleman's. That's a reasonably large thing, IMO.

Anyway, I thought that any of you guys who don't already know these ought to. They are the sort of thing that comes up here. Thanks for reading! - Brock
   92. AJMcCringleberry Posted: June 28, 2008 at 04:37 AM (#2835471)
If he stays at 3B and accumulates enough value to be shifted to 3B for his career, does he overtake Schmidt, or is he #2 there as well.He probably becomes the #1 3B. But he can't be that now, he's not a 3B now. He needs 4 stellar years to become at 3B.

I have him about equal to Mathews now, who I have #2 at third. I'll have him as the #1 third baseman (pretty clearly too) once he gets enough time there. Another 4 great years and he's top 10-15 all time.
   93. Blackadder Posted: June 28, 2008 at 04:50 AM (#2835478)
Jeter's ranking is pretty dependent on just *how* bad you think his defense is. The version of Dan R's numbers I have have him at about -10 runs per year. If you think he is closer to -20, he obviously plummets.
   94. andrew siegel Posted: June 28, 2008 at 03:06 PM (#2835541)
For now:

(1) Wagner
[ARod]
(2) Lloyd--Very similae in skills and level of achievement to Arod.
(3) Vaughan--I agree with Bill James, not with you guys on Arky v. Cal.
(4) Ripken--You either need to timeline a lot or give lots of credit for mediocre seasons to get him to #2.
(5) Davis
(6) Dahlen
(7) G. Wright--This seems the fair balance. He was the best player in the game, but the game was still a little immature and his career was slightly short.
(8) Appling--Vastly underrated.
(9) Yount--Uneven career but high peak and lots of career value.
(10) Johnson--Very speculative, but all the evidence points to him being at the level of Cronin--clearly, easily an HoMer but not an All-Time great.
(11) Cronin
(12) Wells--Also seems to fit here.
(13) Banks--I think peak/prime is an independent axis of evaluation, not just a multiplier for portions of your career value, so I have him comfortably in the middle third of my PHoM.
(14) Boudreau
(15) Glasscock
(16) Reese--Comfortably over the in/out line.
(17) Ozzie--Him too.
(18) Trammell--Him three.
(19) Wallace--Loks better now than when we elected him, maybe b/c/ I appreciate defense a bit more. Could go higher.
(20) Jennings--I buy WARP's evaluation of his peak as at the Mays/Morgan/Speaker level. Wouldn't make my PHoM based on five seasons otherwise.
(21) Ward--Ranking here is arbitrary. Probably should be a bit higher.
(22) Sewell--Comfortable with his election.
(23) Lundy--A lot turns on whether he was a 96 OPS+ hitter or a 104.
(24) Moore--Was a big fan until I realized his peak wasn't all that.
(25) Pearce--I'm a hater.
   95. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 28, 2008 at 05:11 PM (#2835572)
Andrew Siegel, I have Ripken at #2 among retired post-1893 MLB SS, despite using a higher overall replacement level than most and not timelining. My vote is based on Ripken's contextual value--he played in an era of low standard deviations, and one where replacement level for SS was downright putrid. The gap, in pennants, betwee Ripken and, say, Alfredo Griffin was absolutely gigantic.
   96. ronw Posted: June 28, 2008 at 11:59 PM (#2835983)
Paul:

Thanks for pointing that out. I must clarify that Yount is only "The Worst" fielding HOM shortstop, not that he is bad with the glove.

My rankings were solely based on FRAA1. Chris Cobb then helpfully incorporated WARP fielding rates (1 & 2) and top W2 seasonal fielding rates in #15 above (where Yount still shows up with the lowest W2 and W1 career rates).

Here is the reprint of Chris' table, ordered by W1 instead of W2, with James letter grades added for comparison purposes. I think (Paul can correct me if I'm wrong) that the better comparison is W1 to James' letter grades, since I think neither metric provides any competition adjustment, like W2 does.

Player -- W2 / W1 (top 5 W2 seasonal rates)
Wright (N/A) – 111 / 118 (130, 118, 114, 110, 109)
Jennings (A+) – 113 / 117 (126, 121, 118, 117, 115)
Boudreau (A+) – 110 / 112 (117, 117, 116, 114, 113)
Wagner (A+) – 108 / 112 (120, 113, 111, 111, 110)
Dahlen (A+) – 107 / 111 (117, 116, 112, 112, 111)
Smith (A+) – 111 / 110 (120, 119, 118, 114, 114)
Davis (B) – 107 / 110 (116, 114, 112, 110, 110)
Glasscock (A-) – 106 / 110 (122, 119, 114, 113, 111)
Vaughan (B+) – 106 / 107 (112, 111, 111, 111, 105)
Ripken (B+) – 106 / 106 (117, 116, 114, 114, 113)
Wallace (B) – 105 / 108 (117, 115, 113, 109, 107)
Sewell (A) – 104 / 107 (115, 109, 107, 106, 105)
Ward (A+) – 104 / 107 (117, 113, 109, 106, 98)
Trammell (B-) – 104 / 105 (117, 116, 114, 113, 112)
Banks (C) – 104 / 104 (115, 111, 110, 109, 102)
Cronin (A-) – 103 / 105 (118, 114, 113, 113, 113)
Reese (A-) – 102 / 103 (119, 119, 111, 109, 108)
Appling (B) – 102 / 103 (115, 113, 111, 108, 107)
Yount (B-) – 98 / 100 (115, 106, 104, 101, 100)


So, in response to Paul's question about the James/Davenport discrepancies, it seems that we have:

1. Yount is clearly at the bottom of HOM fielding at shortstop according to Davenport, but James has him as a B-

2. Banks is James' lowest grade among HOM players, but he beats two James A- (Cronin & Resse) as well as Luke Appling (B) and Yount, in Davenport's system.

3. James clearly sees something in Monte Ward (A+) that Davenport does not. They seem to agree on the other A+ fielders.

4. James does not like George Davis' fielding as much as Davenport.

5. Bobby Wallace similarly gets downgraded a bit more by James than Davenport.

Thanks, Paul! I enjoy these fielding nuances.
   97. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 29, 2008 at 06:27 PM (#2836569)
I will be posting the ballot thread sometime today (most likely tonight). I haven't forgot.
   98. Mark Donelson Posted: June 29, 2008 at 09:03 PM (#2836939)
I haven't forgot.

Don't you mean you ain't forgot? ;)
   99. Tiboreau Posted: June 29, 2008 at 11:14 PM (#2837060)
I have to admit that I'm bit surprised by the number of preliminary ballots with Dobie Moore ahead of Hughie Jennings. I count at least 4 when I expected, well, 0.

In Hughie Jennings' case, all 3 comprehensive statistics--Win Shares, BP's WARP & DanR's WARP--point to 5 years of an inner-circle HOF peak with little else to accompany it. In Dobie Moore's case, we have WS estimates for 6 years pointing to a Cronin or Boudreau level peak--very good but not great--plus 3.5 years with no recorded data. Even with presumably more value outside his peak than Jennings, Moore's career value can't make up the peak deficit between the two. And while there are some questions concerning the evaluation of Hughie Jennings there has to be even greater questions concerning any Negro Leaguer.
name .  .  .  . .  pa  cWS WS/162 pk  pr top 3 
Moore  
.  .  1378  5810  228  26.79  151  46  35 34 33 
Jennings  
.  1517  6673  251  26.82  182  82  45 36 36 

Both are adjusted for 162 games; pk = 5 best years; pr = WS over 20 in a season. Dobie Moore's career total includes a very rough guess for his army years (10 + 15 + 20 +10), and are from Chris Cobb's latest MLEs (post #140).
   100. Mark Donelson Posted: June 30, 2008 at 05:15 PM (#2837560)
Sunnyday's post 147 from the same thread Tiboreau cites above for Chris's MLEs addresses some of this.
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