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Monday, July 14, 2008

Ranking the Hall of Merit Third Basemen - Discussion

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

Dick Allen
Frank Baker
John Beckwith
Wade Boggs
George Brett
Ken Boyer
Jimmy Collins
Darrell Evans
Heinie Groh
Stan Hack
Eddie Mathews
Paul Molitor
Graig Nettles
Brooks Robinson
Ron Santo
Mike Schmidt
Ezra Sutton
Jud Wilson.

The election will start on July 20 and end on Aug 3.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 14, 2008 at 12:59 AM | 226 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 16, 2008 at 08:21 PM (#2861665)
TomH, thanks very much for your responses to my comments. I appreciate your taking the time to engage.


Hack's peak compared to Evans's, in Win Shares:

1. Evans' monster year was 1973, when his team underperformed their Pythags by 7 games. It's pretty clear from eyeballing it that that underperformance was attributable to the team's ghastly bullpen--the pitchers who had at least one save for the team compiled an ERA+ of 78, and the team outscored opponents 623-559 in innings 1-7 but was outscored 215-176 in innings 8-9. Thus, Win Shares' method of attributing the credit for Pythagorean under/overperformance equally among all teammates is clearly mistaken--certainly in the case of Evans, who had a .991 OPS in late & close situations that year. Thus, Evans' 31 win shares should be multiplied by 83 Pythagorean wins divided by 76 actual wins, for a beefier 34. Furthermore, Evans was the best-fielding 3B in the NL that year according to SFR and TZ, and second only to Cey according to DRA. We all know that WS understates the importance of fielding quality--FWS gives him 2.8 win shares/8 runs above average that year, when SFR, TZ, and DRA have him at +16, +14, and +12 respectively. Correcting for that should add another two Win Shares, giving him an adjusted 36.

2. Hack's 34 win share season came in 1945. It should certainly be knocked down 20% or so.

3. Fielding Win Shares's take on Hack's fielding (it translates to around +24) is NOT supported by DRA, which has him at -55. You can imagine which of FWS and DRA has a stronger correlation to today's PBP metrics. In particular, it has Hack as merely average in 1938, his 33-WS season, while FWS gives him the equivalent of +12 there, and as +7 in 1945, his 34-WS season before war deductions, when FWS gives him the equivalent of +22.

How does your WS analysis look after these corrections? I didn't get to digging into second-, third-, and fourth-best seasons, but I gladly will if it would make a difference.


OK, I've gone back and looked at your comments on the Allen thread and 1983 ballot discussion thread. The only things you said were:


Would I trade good players for this guy who would likely wear out his welcome on my team in short order, and then I'd have to let him go for very little? No, probably not.

And that will make me rank him below the other slightly-less-talented players who I believe did more in the final analysis to help their teams win.



He had less long-term value to his teams, but some of this was specific time/place/circumstances, so he still belongs. But I hedge.


Why would you have to let him go for very little? Why not just tell his teammates to keep doing their damn jobs, regardless of whether they wanted to play dominoes with the guy? They're sure being paid enough money...I could see both an argument against Allen's teammates for demanding that the team part with one of its most productive players, and against the GM's that swapped him for complying. But I definitely don't see how it's an argument against him.

My comment that that evidence has not yet been provided in this thread or any other is neither premature nor incorrect, and it is not a matter of opinion. I've reviewed the Allen thread. It includes an analysis of his teams' performance before and after acquiring him, and of their Pythagorean under/overperformance along the way. This study provides *no* hard support for the position that Allen negatively affected his teams' won-lost records in ways that are not evident from his statistics. It merely contains a torrent of anecdotes from both sides. Hard evidence would be a consistent pattern of underperformance of career norms by Allen's teammates, and that pattern simply does not exist. Look, I could easily try to credit him for inspiring an aging Maury Wills to snap back to form on the 1971 Dodgers, by adding another perceived African-American "clubhouse cancer" to share the "brooding" and take the spotlight off him. But I'd get laughed out of the HoM. Why should it be acceptable in the group to make arguments going the other way??

On the final issue, it depends on which non-individual statistics you use. I can see why you would use runs scored per time on base, after controlling for SB/CS and the quality of the hitters behind the player in question, *if* you don't have reliable non-SB baserunning data. But, of course, we do in the Retrosheet period (and it happened to back you up in Molitor's case). If we have access to trustworthy individual statistics that successfully isolate the player's contribution, I see absolutely no reason to resort to team-level ones that mix up a player's performance with that of his teammates. Now, on something like defense, I'd be more sympathetic--there could certainly be, say, a great double-play combination whose value can only be inferred from team-level stats. But I certainly don't see what role Runs have in this day and age. And MVP votes even less so.
   102. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 16, 2008 at 08:23 PM (#2861670)
DL from MN, what war deduction do you use? That's definitely a tough one to peg.
   103. DL from MN Posted: July 16, 2008 at 09:44 PM (#2861742)
Pretty much no war deduction - pennant is a pennant after all. I give pretty generous credit for missed seasons for all sorts of reasons. I know Hack beat up on inferior competition, but he did beat up on it. I use the standard deviation adjusted numbers which helps a little. If I started deducting for quality of competition then there wouldn't be any hope for the National Association stars to make my PHoM.
   104. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 16, 2008 at 10:10 PM (#2861762)
DL from MN, you don't see a difference between the NA, which employed all the best baseball players on the planet at that time, and the wartime major leagues, where most of the stars of the day were MIA?
   105. Chris Cobb Posted: July 16, 2008 at 11:10 PM (#2861790)
Re Sutton's OPS+: in light of Joe's finding, I went back and checked my numbers, and found the problem with my calculations: I had given Sutton playing time credit for 1870, but not an estimated OPS+, so my denominator for each season's contribution to his career OPS+ was too large.

When I re-ran the numbers with the proper number of season-adjusted games, I got the same 117 result as Joe.

I disagree that the quality of play in 1884-85 in the NL was better than in the late 1870s, however. If you compare the competition adjustments Davenport's WARP make from WARP1 to WARP2, they are lower for 1877-78 than for 1884-85.
   106. Paul Wendt Posted: July 17, 2008 at 01:43 AM (#2861864)
Chris Cobb observed that Ezra Sutton
fattened his OPS+ in years with weak competition: 1871 and 1875, which were the NA's weakest years, and 1884, which was the NL's weakest year b/c of competition with 2 leagues, are 3 of his 5 big offensive seasons.
1872 and 1875 were the weakest, I believe, but whatever the generalization there may be variation in strength of competition by team. When a team went out of business mid-season (and all but Troy in 1872 were below average teams), it had played different numbers of games against different teams.

1871 and for Sutton's team 1872 were shorter seasons than 1873-78. In judging Sutton's peak skill it is reasonable to regress both '71 down and '72 up. On the other hand, the Athletics won the 1871 pennant and they would not have won it without Sutton or any one of several teammates.


Howie Menckel
Wow, I had never considered that factor seriously for anyone (peak in the longest seasons). Thanks, Chris, as always.
This may be a cornerstone for Deacon White and it's big for Paul Hines.


bjhanke
32. bjhanke Posted: July 15, 2008 at 04:50 AM (#2856757)
1. I apologize for not understanding how forgiving this group is about philosophy. I thought the group was MUCH more strict about evening out the decades than it seems now to be. So I apologize for obsessing when I got to George Wright. I'm still going to vote that way, because I think it's right, but I do understand that my opinion is not a hard consensus here. I badly overestimated the comments about hating timelining.


Contrary to other replies, suppose you recognize no systematic differences in merit over time.
(a) some may understand that at the season level but vote at the career level, which generates more "best players" from decades with longer careers
(b) some may understand that per major league player, eg the top 1% of players, which generates more "best players" from decades with more players --or more regular players, hence more teams
(c) some may understand that in terms of pennants, that is leagues, which supports twice as much merit in every decade after the 1870s and more than three times as much in the 1920s-40s
(d) the numbers of pitchers throw a wrench into the point system anyway
(e) the pointspan 70-110 for each decade may be narrower than uniformly random variation would generate even if there were no issues {a,b,c,d}

(f?) - another variation beyond what I have in mind at (e).
Suppose for the 1890s McGraw was the man, the best of all players who worked the hot corner, who would have reaped 13 points for that decade. But he broke a leg once, twice, three times, etc. Even with a regular (not random) distribution so that the second best 1890s thirdbaseman is somewhere rank 14-26 all-time at that position. Then McGraw's breakdowns cost the decade at least 13 points.
   107. Paul Wendt Posted: July 17, 2008 at 02:27 AM (#2861893)
From the election results for Group 3: ten years in the majors, did not play after 1942.

. . . [ranks 1 to 6]
Ezra Sutton 294 23
Heinie Groh 265 23
Hardy Richardson 244 23
Bob Caruthers 224 23
Charlie Bennett 223 23
Sherry Magee 216 23
Stan Hack 214 23
Joe Gordon 206 23
. . . [ranks 15 to 21]

There were 21 candidates so Groh through Gordon constitute the middle third.
   108. Paul Wendt Posted: July 17, 2008 at 03:06 AM (#2861918)
At least 15 full seasons equivalent games, 1871-2006 (95 players)
by debut decade
70s 6 (one, Deacon White, may be attributed to the 1860s)
80s 4
90s 8
00s 5
10s 5
20s 4
30s 3
40s 2
50s 15
60s 14
70s 15
80s 14

At least 18 full seasons equivalent (21 players)
70s 4 (White may be attributed to the 1860s. Hines drops below 18 without his 1872 season, which is reasonable.)
80s --
90s 1
00s 3
10s --
20s --
30s --
40s 1
50s 3
60s 3
70s 3
80s 3
   109. Paul Wendt Posted: July 17, 2008 at 03:23 AM (#2861921)
15 or more fse (95 players)
count by primary fielding position
OF 40
C_ 3
1B 13
2B 11
SS 16
3B 12
This includes Carew at 2B, Banks at SS, Molitor at 3B


18 or more fse (21 players)
count by primary fielding position
OF 14
C_ 1 White, about 8.5 fse games at catcher from 1869
1B 2 Anson, Murray
2B 1 Collins
SS 2 Wagner, Ripken
3B 1 Robinson
   110. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 17, 2008 at 04:49 AM (#2861955)
I disagree that the quality of play in 1884-85 in the NL was better than in the late 1870s, however. If you compare the competition adjustments Davenport's WARP make from WARP1 to WARP2, they are lower for 1877-78 than for 1884-85.


My interpretation of those same numbers shows (lower is better) the following:

1877 NL: .58
1878 NL: .59
1884 NL: .64
1885 NL: .56
1886 NL: .55

That number is directly applied to the pitchers adjusted RA/9, to give an idea of what it means.

So I would say the leagues are comparable. I was going from memory before.

The 1880-81 NL (.345 average) was the highest level of play in an individual league over a multiple year stretch until 1891-92 NL (.29). The 1887-89 NL (.353) was very close. That's how much the AA watered things down.

Those numbers apply to pitching only though, I haven't done hitting, so maybe the numbers are vastly different for some reason, though I doubt it.
   111. bjhanke Posted: July 17, 2008 at 08:40 AM (#2861997)
Joe Dimino syas, "But him in 1985 Busch Stadium and he's a helluva lot more valuable than in 1950 Yankee Stadium. Not that he wasn't still a star, but he couldn't have played in a worse environment for his skill set."

Possibly true, but in 1985 in Busch, Rizzuto would have had to run Terry Pendelton off the third base job and would not have been a shortstop at all. I doubt he was better defensively than Jose Oquendo (who was probably the second-best defensive shortstop in the game at the time), much less Ozzie Smith. I don't mean to demean Joe's point, but I do want to point out the danger of this sort of thing. In Rizzuto's favor in 1950 Yankee, he was on the best team in the game, with the best facilities and best training personnel, and he was on a team that really needed a leadoff man. On the 85 Cards, Jose Oquendo was sitting on the bench because the team didn't need yet another hot glove leadoff man and Oquendo could play anywhere, so he became a supersub. I am assuming that Phil could have run Terry off of third base, but I'm not completely certain that Whitey would not have just traded Rizzuto away for something he actually needed.
   112. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 17, 2008 at 12:34 PM (#2862027)
Brock, I think you are way off base on this one.

Rizzuto was one of the greatest defensive SS's of all time, I'm pretty sure he could handle the position in the mid-1980s.

He was the MVP in 1950 and he deserved it.

And my point wasn't that he'd run Ozzie off the job, although I'll take Rizzuto 1950 over Ozzie 1985 any day of the week in terms of the overall package. Rizzuto had a monster year that season. Using DanR's WARP, Rizzuto was 8.5 WAR in 1950, including 2.0 FWAA. Ozzie 1985 was 7.3 WAR and 2.5 FWAA.

But anyway, that wasn't my point, my point was much more theoretical. You took it way too literally.

I'm saying that if the 1950 Yankees had played in 1985 Busch Stadium in terms of ballpark environment it would have been much better for Rizzuto, and his stats relative to the league would have looked better. Ozzie benefited greatly from being in the perfect environment for his skill set. Rizzuto did not.
   113. Chris Cobb Posted: July 17, 2008 at 01:17 PM (#2862053)
Those numbers apply to pitching only though, I haven't done hitting, so maybe the numbers are vastly different for some reason, though I doubt it.

I can't tell you off the top of my head _how_ different they are, but I know from having worked on AA adjustments that pitching, hitting, and fielding competition adjustments are independent of one another. They almost always vary in the same direction--weak leagues are weak in all aspects of the game--but the magnitude of variation is not constant. (Fielding adjustments, in fact, vary by position. ) For example, WARP sees the AA reaching approximate parity with the NL in fielding competitiveness, at some positions, as early as 1884. But it lagged in batting competitiveness, never fully catching up and not getting close until 1886. AA pitching catches up sooner than hitting--it gets close by 1884, but it never gets as close to parity as fielding does.

I based my claim that the NL of 1884-85 was weaker than the NL of 1977-78 by looking at the batting and fielding adjustments for Sutton. The difference in competition quality is not huge, but it favors the mid-70s over the mid-80s.
   114. DL from MN Posted: July 17, 2008 at 01:35 PM (#2862067)
I'll flip your question since you're trying to back me into a corner. Dan R - you don't think a pennant earned from 1942-1945 is as valuable as a pennant earned in 1975?
   115. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 17, 2008 at 02:12 PM (#2862099)
No, I don't. For me, a pennant FOR WHICH ALL THE BEST BALLPLAYERS IN THE WORLD ARE ALLOWED TO COMPETE is a pennant. Otherwise, we need to make adjustments. This is, of course, why I penalize all pre-1947 players of both races for playing in segregated leagues (when I remember to! :)).
   116. Esteban Rivera Posted: July 17, 2008 at 02:15 PM (#2862104)
For me, a pennant FOR WHICH ALL THE BEST BALLPLAYERS IN THE WORLD ARE ALLOWED TO COMPETE is a pennant.


Guess we need to discount the current pennants until the Cubans are allowed to play. :)
   117. DL from MN Posted: July 17, 2008 at 02:38 PM (#2862117)
I'll push you further back in the corner (I think I'm getting a fight/flight reaction). You don't think a pennant earned from 1942-1945 is worth as much as a pennant from 1932-1935?
   118. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 17, 2008 at 02:44 PM (#2862123)
Well, 1942 no. I don't think a pennant earned from 1943-45 is worth as much as one from 1933-35. Probably something like 80% of the best baseball players in the world were eligible and available to compete for the 1934 pennant, and only something like 50% were for the 1944 pennant.
   119. Blackadder Posted: July 17, 2008 at 02:53 PM (#2862130)
Dan, how much large a discount do you apply to pre-1947 ballplayers? Enough for Bonds to be the best player ever?
   120. sunnyday2 Posted: July 17, 2008 at 03:01 PM (#2862139)
Skip the "pennant is a pennant" language. Dan's real point is the one in capital letters. Leagues in which all of the greatest players in the world are allowed to play do have a leg up on other situations, I would agree. Prior to 1947 (or, as a practical matter, maybe 1955), BTW, that would probably describe the NL in the late 1870s and in the 1890s, There were few non-white players at that time and, of course, we're talking pre- and post-AA.

But also, taken as a whole, MLB in the 1880s would also qualify, IMO. By 1900 or maybe 1910, you've got enough black ballplayers that the lack thereof in the MLs becomes a problem.

I think "competition adjustments" are entirely valid. I don't happen to use them other than for the 1880s AA and of course the UA and FL, which are clearly inferior leagues, and of course for the NeLs, where they're built into the MLEs. And of course whenever we give MLE credit for MiL or winter league or Mexican League play, or anything like that, obviously we build in a competition discount.

Competition discounts are of course a completely different animal than a timeline discount. With competition discounts the 1883 NL pennant is still 1.0 pennants (the AA is 0.75), and the NL in 1983 is 1.0. With a timeline discount, if 1983 is 1.0 then 1883 is probably about 0.50. The most basic argument against the timeline is if in 2083, a 2083 pennant is 1.0, then 1983 is probably reduced to 0,85 to 0.90, etc. etc. It's one thing to diminish my grandfather's or father's pennant, but don't be diminishing mine.
   121. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 17, 2008 at 03:26 PM (#2862164)
I definitely agree with Dan on war credit. The war artificially reduces the level of competition for a 3-4 year period. If you don't adjust down, you are absolutely overrating those players that stayed, IMO.

Also, blackadder, I don't adjust anything for the color line. For one, the competition adjustments BPro uses show, IMO, that basically expansion post 1961 (baseball expanded 50% in 9 seasons), and the emergence of other professional sports and wars (in terms of depletion of the talent pool from 1946-60) basically offset the influx of African-American players.

I don't think the overall 'per team' level of competion in 1979 was any tougher than that of 1939. By the mid-80s after the Toronto/Seattle expansion finally washed out, you finally start to see the average level of play improve.

I've gotten into this pretty deep in the past but don't have a lot of time now. But if you search the archives, the reasoning/numbers are there.
   122. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 17, 2008 at 03:28 PM (#2862165)
Don't forget, baseball didn't expand at all from 1901 through 1947 - the level of play rose consistently through that time. There is no huge spike in the 1950s, if anything there's a slight trough. I absolutely think the baseball right before the war was as good as any from 1901-83.
   123. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 17, 2008 at 03:31 PM (#2862170)
Blackadder, at this point, I basically use it as a tiebreaker--I use it to help rank players within groups (say within 5-10M on my salary estimator) but not move players between them. I still have Ruth as the greatest player ever; tough to say whether segregation in the first half of Williams's career and the weak AL of the 1950's justifies dropping him down to Bonds's level. That said, one of my pending projects is to do an actual mathematical calculation of the segregation penalty I think is appropriate, which might result in larger adjustments in the future.
   124. Dizzypaco Posted: July 17, 2008 at 03:37 PM (#2862174)
This isn't the first time, but I strongly disagree with Sunnyday in his characterization of the 19th century. True, segregation based on race in the 1870's was not what it was by 1900. But there were other very important barriers preventing the best possible players from playing in the "majors", such as geographic barriers, and a lack of any system to even identify the best players in the country and funnel them into the best league. All of these things greatly improved over the course of the 19th century. So while there were a few non-whites allowed to play at this time, it is greatly outweighed by these other factors.

We've had this argument many times before in different ways, and I don't mean to have it here, but I wanted to stress that race and war aren't the only types of barriers preventing all the best players from taking the field in the Major Leagues at any one time.
   125. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 17, 2008 at 04:09 PM (#2862203)
Dizzypaco, are you suggesting that there were numerous MLB star-caliber players who were involved in organized, professional baseball in the 1870s but were prevented from playing in the NA, or simply that numerous MLB-caliber *athletes* existed but were not playing any recognizable organized, professional baseball during that time period? The former qualifies for a league strength discount from me; the latter does not.
   126. DL from MN Posted: July 17, 2008 at 04:24 PM (#2862218)
Since the best players were mostly gone, it only actually affects a small minority of players to give full credit for the war years and only for a small portion of their career. Stan Hack is one of them and in his case it affects his placement of 14th or 15th on my ballot. Not a big deal and I'd rather just give full credit and not have to add another order of complexity to my rankings. In general we've underrepresented WWII-era players compared to other eras. I don't know if that is due to overagressive discounting of time played or undercrediting missed time but that's where it is. We've overrepresented the 1920s and 1930s because we treated the Negro Leagues as a de facto expansion (didn't raise the virtual replacement level).
   127. sunnyday2 Posted: July 17, 2008 at 05:35 PM (#2862301)
a lack of any system to even identify the best players in the country and funnel them into the best league.


I may or may not be making the same point Dan made...but where's the evidence that there were better players out there?

One of the criticisms of early baseball is that it was regional. That all the players were coming from the NE. Valid point, though the meaning and significance of this for rating players from this period against players of other periods is open to debate. But if it's true that all of the best players came from the NE, it undermines the argument that there were all these other players out there who didn't have access to playing in a league that was also focused in the NE.
   128. Paul Wendt Posted: July 17, 2008 at 06:06 PM (#2862338)
124. Dizzypaco Posted: July 17, 2008 at 11:37 AM (#2862174)
This isn't the first time, but I strongly disagree with Sunnyday in his characterization of the 19th century. True, segregation based on race in the 1870's was not what it was by 1900. But there were other very important barriers preventing the best possible players from playing in the "majors", such as geographic barriers, and a lack of any system to even identify the best players in the country and funnel them into the best league. All of these things greatly improved over the course of the 19th century. So while there were a few non-whites allowed to play at this time, it is greatly outweighed by these other factors.

If I understand correctly:
This rests on a Dizzy misinterpretation. The Sunny point is not that baseball was fully segregated only in the 1900s, but that black and Cuban players were among the best players in the world only in the 1900s. (and perhaps among the best in significant numbers only in the 1910s)

In my interpretation of the last round of this debate, Dizzy tends to think in terms of genetic stock. Of what quality is the genetic stock that baseball, or a social system, cultivates for full-time adult ballplayers?

That is also the crux of our discussion of the 1890s --maybe five years ago? Karlmagnus more than anyone else argued against the truism that the best National League players of the 1890s must be unusually good because there was only one major league (12 teams rather than 16 before and after). At least by the late 1890s the skills of major league players must have been impaired by economic downturn and by management control of salaries.
   129. Paul Wendt Posted: July 17, 2008 at 06:21 PM (#2862362)
126. DL from MN Posted: July 17, 2008 at 12:24 PM (#2862218)
Since the best players were mostly gone, it only actually affects a small minority of players to give full credit for the war years and only for a small portion of their career. Stan Hack is one of them and in his case it affects his placement of 14th or 15th on my ballot. Not a big deal and I'd rather just give full credit and not have to add another order of complexity to my rankings.

A small minority of Hall of Merit members or plausible candidates? probably so
A small portion of Stan Hack's career? He played only 12+ full seasons (fse games) in the majors. I see that he missed much of 1944 but he played almost 2.5 seasons during 1943-45 or 20% of his career.
   130. Dizzypaco Posted: July 17, 2008 at 07:01 PM (#2862417)
Dizzypaco, are you suggesting that there were numerous MLB star-caliber players who were involved in organized, professional baseball in the 1870s but were prevented from playing in the NA, or simply that numerous MLB-caliber *athletes* existed but were not playing any recognizable organized, professional baseball during that time period? The former qualifies for a league strength discount from me; the latter does not.

My point is the latter - that there were numerous MLB caliber players playing disorganized ball around the country, but were prevented from playing in the NA by geographical limitations, among other issues. This isn't that different from WW2, in which there were numerous MLB caliber players not playing any recognizable, organized ball due to the participation in the war. The reasons for not playing were different, but my argument is that they existed in both cases.

But if it's true that all of the best players came from the NE, it undermines the argument that there were all these other players out there who didn't have access to playing in a league that was also focused in the NE.

As I understand my baseball history, by the Civil war and soon after, baseball had spread throughout the country - but professional ball drew mostly from the Northeast. It seems obvious why this occurred - players played in whatever was available to them locally. Someone living in San Francisco was not going to travel across country to try out for a baseball team playing in New York; they would play whatever baseball was available to them where they lived.

It defies logic to say that all the talent happened to reside in the Northeast; that someone living in California, and playing amateur baseball lacked the talent of someone living in the Northeast. In other words, the point is that it is likely not true that all the best players came from the NE; instead, all of the best players playing in the NE came from the NE which is a very different thing.

I may or may not be making the same point Dan made...but where's the evidence that there were better players out there?

I'm resting my argument on logic; there's no definitive proof. However, even if Negro League players never played against white players in winter ball or in barnstorming tours, it would still be reasonable to assume that there were Blacks as good as Whites playing in the major leagues in the early 20th Century. It is the same reasoning I use to believe that there were many 19th century ball players who were just as good as those playing in the majors, but who were not in what we consider the Major League due to geographic and other limitations.
   131. OCF Posted: July 17, 2008 at 07:28 PM (#2862453)
Ah, somehow my memory is deserting me here - can someone fill in the timeline and the details. Wasn't there a year or two in which there was a great Buffalo team, staffed my multiple HoMers, that wasn't in the NA or NL? What years and what players am I talking about?
   132. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 17, 2008 at 07:53 PM (#2862495)
Dizzypaco, the distinction I draw is that those people weren't playing professional, organized baseball. I understand they didn't have the option to do so, but, like, neither do people in, say, central Africa today, and we don't use that as an argument against current MLB league strength.
   133. bjhanke Posted: July 17, 2008 at 07:53 PM (#2862497)
Joe Dimino says (post #112 has the context), "And my point wasn't that he'd run Ozzie off the job, although I'll take Rizzuto 1950 over Ozzie 1985 any day of the week in terms of the overall package. Rizzuto had a monster year that season. Using DanR's WARP, Rizzuto was 8.5 WAR in 1950, including 2.0 FWAA. Ozzie 1985 was 7.3 WAR and 2.5 FWAA.
But anyway, that wasn't my point, my point was much more theoretical. You took it way too literally."

Actually, on the point you were making I agree with you. However, that's not what I was trying to do. What I was trying to do was point out how many pitfalls there are in making this kind of hypothetical ballpark adjustment. That is, I may agree with you theoretically, but I have found that, when you actually start applying this theory, you run into a lot of caveats. As for your post here, this is exactly one of the pitfalls. If Phil Rizzuto were to have played in 1985 in Busch, he would have been playing for the Cardinals of the time, who had Ozzie Smith at shortstop and Jose Oquendo behind him. I agree that Rizzuto is far more shortstop than is necessary, but I'm pretty sure you'll agree that he ain't Ozzie, at least on defense. And so, if you try applying the theory, you find that Phil is competing with Terry Pendelton for the third base job, waste of his defense that it would be to do so. That's not in your theory, but theory has to be applied (and yes, the Rizzuto of 1950 would easily have beaten out the Pendelton of 1985). This theory, in my experience, is dangerous to try to apply. In the actual case of Rizzuto in the 50s in Yankee, I imagine that the Yanks were delighted to have him. Their system was not, at the time and if my memory is right, cranking out leadoff men. It was cranking out power hitters. On that team, Rizzuto might actually be due extra credit for filling a near-vacant slot. On the Cards of 1985, well, they had lots and lots of leadoff men. What they could have used was one of the Yanks' power hitters. Jack Clark would get the extra credit there, as indeed he did, in the minds of fans and sportswriters.

In short, I'm not trying to argue with you, since I think that your theory is correct. I'm trying to point out how hard that theory is to apply cleanly. Are we OK? I have no desire to upset you when I basically agree.
   134. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 17, 2008 at 08:14 PM (#2862524)
Oh yeah, no problem Brock, wasn't upset or anything, sorry if my post came off that way.

How about this, take Ozzie and put him in the Bronx in the 40s and 50s and put Scooter in Busch for the 1980s and early 90s. Does that make it work a little smoother?

And Scooter probably could have beat out Tommy Herr for 2B even with his 100 RBI season, considering the defensive edge. He wouldn't have had to play 3B :-)
   135. gay guy in cut-offs smoking the objective pipe Posted: July 17, 2008 at 08:45 PM (#2862578)
Dizzypaco, the distinction I draw is that those people weren't playing professional, organized baseball. I understand they didn't have the option to do so, but, like, neither do people in, say, central Africa today, and we don't use that as an argument against current MLB league strength.

Sure, but there are people playing professional, organized baseball elsewhere in the world, and that's part of what makes this so tricky. Daisuke Matsuzaka probably could have played in the majors before he actually got the opportunity. Orlando Hernandez, same thing. I'd wager there are probably at least a couple of people in the Korean leagues who could play in the majors. The majors still don't have access to everybody who's capable of playing there, even though the situation's probably better than it's ever been.

Heck, the relationship between majors and minors hasn't always been the same as it is today. One of Bill James' books talks about how Lefty Grove didn't get to the majors until well after he probably could have been successful there, simply because the Orioles didn't want to sell him and nobody could force them to let him go. Should we adjust the '20-'24 majors accordingly? The adjustment would probably be a pretty small one, but ...

It's not that I disagree with you, Dan, as far as the nature of WW2-era statistics -- it's clear they're inflated relative to the years on either side of them. It's just that I think the whole nature of making adjustments for strength of competition is so fraught with judgment calls and differences of opinion that, if I were voting, I'd have a hell of a time trying to sort through all the possible factors and determine a consistent standard that I could feel confident was genuinely objective. Under the circumstances, I find it hard to fault DL for judging strictly on the basis of what actually happened, rather than what might have happened under other circumstances. Assuming that that standard is applied consistently, it seems to me to be defensible. I'd be more than half tempted to go in that direction myself.
   136. Chris Cobb Posted: July 17, 2008 at 09:14 PM (#2862606)
Wasn't there a year or two in which there was a great Buffalo team, staffed my multiple HoMers, that wasn't in the NA or NL? What years and what players am I talking about?

This was in 1877-78, when a lot of quality players were in the International Association, instead of the National League. The Buffalo team was the best in the IA in 1878: it had Hardy Richardson and Pud Galvin, and it moved wholesale into the NL in 1879. I'm not sure there were any other HoMers on the team.

Fred Dunlap played in the IA before the NL, and there were certainly other former and future stars in the IA of the late 1870s.

Paul Wendt will be able to fill in much more detail, if he wishes.
   137. JPWF13 Posted: July 17, 2008 at 09:18 PM (#2862607)
One of the criticisms of early baseball is that it was regional. That all the players were coming from the NE. Valid point, though the meaning and significance of this for rating players from this period against players of other periods is open to debate. But if it's true that all of the best players came from the NE, it undermines the argument that there were all these other players out there who didn't have access to playing in a league that was also focused in the NE.


I think a problem we are having is that people are only looking at the NA, the NL and later the A.A.

THERE were other professional leagues back then (as there are today- but unlike today they were not "slaves" to the MLB). A good player making a good living playing baseball in a league in the midwest would likely stay there, he wasn't looking to play in the "big Leagues", hell the expression the "Big League" wasn't even coined until the NL A.A. merger, there was no concept of major league versus minor league at the beginning.

The idea that once the NL was established, within a decade all or substantially all of the best professional players in the country gravitated to it is stunningly unlikely for a great number of reasons. A player out west my be 10% better than a player in Boston, the team in Boston in the NL MIGHT pay him 10% more than his hometown team... back in the 1880s it would make little sense for that player to pack up and move to Boston for that reason, unlike later decades, the NL/MLB simply did not have the mystique it has today, travel was brutal back then, does he pack up his entire family, or does he simply move out and not see them for 7 months out of the year?

Into the 1880s NL teams sometimes went under, typically they were not replaced with "expansion" teams as we understand the term today- they were replaced with teams from other leagues.

The NL is seen as MLB TODAY because it was the top dog survivor so to speak.
The AL for godsakes existed long before 1901- under another name.

Fun Fact, more current MLB teams trace their lineage to the old American Association than to the original NL of 1876...
   138. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: July 17, 2008 at 09:23 PM (#2862611)
The reason you don't make a Central Africa adjustment is that players from Central Africa have never had the opportunity to play organized, professional baseball, so the adjustment would be the same throughout history, and thus not interesting. On the other hand, Californians didn't play in 1870, and they did play in 1970, and I think it's fair to adjust for that.

Of course, I'm a non-voting lurker, so my opinion doesn't really have an impact on the results. But that's the difference between Central Africa today and California in 1870; if Central Africa is producing players of Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams-like quality in 2040, I think it'd be reasonable to adjust for the lack of those players in 1970.
   139. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 17, 2008 at 09:33 PM (#2862620)
I certainly think Lefty Grove deserves minor league credit for his years with Baltimore, just as most of us give it to Gavvy Cravath. But that's a very good point about it affecting overall MLB league strength; I hadn't thought of it.
   140. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: July 18, 2008 at 01:40 AM (#2863083)
Prelim ballot:

1. Schmidt


2. Brett
3. Mathews
4. Boggs

5. Baker

6. Molitor
7. Wilson


8. Santo

9. Robinson

10. Allen
11. Groh
12. Hack
13. Beckwith

14. Evans
15. Sutton
16. Collins

17. Boyer
18. Nettles
   141. sunnyday2 Posted: July 18, 2008 at 03:03 AM (#2863380)
The only real question is, were there a significant number of ML-caliber baseball players who nevertheless were NOT playing in recognized MLs. It's an important question, the significance of which is that if and when you can answer "yes, there were," then you might want to apply a competition discount to those particular, recognized MLs.

I think the answer "yes" clearly applies during WWII when even ML-caliber white guys weren't playing in the MLs.

Secondly, it clearly applies to the period 1920-1947 when there obviously were significant numbers of ML-caliber players in the NeLs.

Beyond that, I think it's pretty iffy. You can make a case, as Chris does, for 1877-1878, when the IA was a factor. Nobody has even tried to make the case that the FL significantly diluted the MLs. Beyond that, there are cases, onesies and twosies. Not significant numbers such that entire leagues demand to be downgraded, I don't think. Whenever a significant number of ML-caliber players became available in any geographic area, the market found a way to exploit that talent. Now, I suppose this is a tautology. But I guess my argument is that, if what is keeping ML-caliber players out of the MLs is inefficient markets, I say so what? It is important when something other than markets is the culprit. I say this, again, because whenever a significant number of players becomes available, the market then exploited that talent except when racism and international geo-political considerations and the like intervened.
   142. Brent Posted: July 18, 2008 at 03:47 AM (#2863415)
MLEs for Lefty Grove's pitching in Baltimore, 1920-24.
   143. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 18, 2008 at 03:58 AM (#2863421)
Sunnyday, we're in complete agreement (how often do you hear THAT?) on the principles to apply in terms of competition discounts. But you really wouldn't dock the deadball era ML's at all for segregation? I would say that Lloyd and Smokey Joe Williams alone are enough to merit a discount, given the impact those two players could have had on an eight-team league. On average, you'd expect each hitter to face Williams about 20 times a year; turn 20 PA against an 80 ERA+ pitcher to 20 PA against a 170 ERA+ pitcher and you're knocking two points off everyone's OPS+ right off the bat. Then you have HR Johnson, Foster, Monroe, Taylor, I'm sure I'm forgetting some...
   144. Brent Posted: July 18, 2008 at 04:07 AM (#2863430)
Re sunnyday's last comment, I'd argue that in 1920s America where the major leagues played in only 11 cities located between Boston and St. Louis, efficient markets would argue for independent minor league teams in major cities like Baltimore, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis holding onto some of their stars, rather than funneling them all to the major leagues. The development of farm systems beginning in the late 1920s is an example of an inefficient market and an historical aberration that only existed because major league baseball was allowed to operate as a monopoly. What kept some star players in the independent minors was a combination of economics (Lefty Grove was worth a lot to an independent team in a major city like Baltimore) and the reserve clause (Grove wasn't free to leave Baltimore even if he'd wanted to).
   145. bjhanke Posted: July 18, 2008 at 09:42 AM (#2863502)
Joe adds, "And Scooter probably could have beat out Tommy Herr for 2B even with his 100 RBI season, considering the defensive edge. He wouldn't have had to play 3B :-)"

Absolutely, but that's not what would have happened. Tommy was a better hitter, by far, than Terry Pendelton in 1985, and playing second would have been a waste of Rizzuto's arm. So Phil would have ended up at third, because the weakest of the right-side infielders was the third baseman, and because Herr did not have the arm to play third, not because third base is less challenging defensively.

On the larger point, you are right. If you were to somehow arrange a trade of the 1950 Rizzuto for the 1985 Ozzie, they would have both ended up in about the same spot. Rizzuto would have probably ended up hitting sixth on the 85 Cards, due to internal Cardinal politics, while Ozzie would have probably been the leadoff man for the 50 Yanks. He wouldn't have been as good a leadoff man as Rizzuto that year, but he would have, if I remember right, still have been the Yanks' best option there. Rizzuto would have been a better leadoff hitter than Vince Coleman, who ended up with the job, but he would have had to beat out Lonnie Smith in the spring, which is a different question. The #2 spot was tied up by Willie McGee, who was throwing a tantrum that year over where he would be in the lineup. Whitey wanted him to hit 5th or 6th, on the grounds that he never walked but his endless singles had RBI potential. Willie fancied himself a leadoff man, though, and blew up every time Whitey tried hitting him in a RBI spot. He also would just start phoning it in, so he hit lousy in any spot lower than second. That's all politics; Rizzuto in 1950 is clearly a better leadoff hitter than the 85 McGee or the 85 Coleman, but Coleman certainly could not have hit 5th or 6th and Willie was sulking.

Aaargh. See what happens whenever I actually try to apply the theory? I end up swamped in skill set caveats and internal team politics. Drives me nuts. Sorry. Not your fault. But, I think, worth saying.
   146. bjhanke Posted: July 18, 2008 at 09:56 AM (#2863503)
The question of how much of the potential player pool was actually used by what we call Major Leagues in the 1800s is certainly worth studying in detail, and I haven't done that. But one thing that I have noted is that no one has mentioned, much less looked up (it should be possible, with effort) what the distribution of people was in different regions of the US. How many people were there in California in 1885? In Oklahoma? Compared to how many between the East Coast and, say, Kansas (which was about the real extent of ML recruiting at the time)? Also, if I read what I've read right, the biggest recruiting lack in the game, until the AL got going as a ML in 1901, was the Deep South - the Confederacy. If I have the data right, people like Ty Cobb and Eddie Cicotte were among the first Southerners to play in the MLs, and they were mostly recruited by the AL, which was trying to equal the NLs talent base as quickly as possible. At the time, and still likely true today, there were probably more white people in the South than black people in the whole country. I'm not certain of that, but I think it's true. There were a lot of real deep wounds still around out there in the 1890s.
   147. bjhanke Posted: July 19, 2008 at 07:09 PM (#2864886)
Completely off topic - Someone, I can't find the post, said they were going to the San Diego Comic Con next week. So am I, and I certainly would have no objection to meeting up with whoever it was and talking some baseball. I tried to use the features here to send him an email, but the server just tole me it wasn't having any, probably because I use a Mac. Anyway, if you're that guy or you're not but you're going anyway, you can email me at BJHGodling@aol.com. I'll send you my cell phone number and we can meet up if you'd like. Thanks, Brock, and apologies to everyone else.
   148. Cblau Posted: July 20, 2008 at 02:51 AM (#2865275)
Does Boggs deserve minor league credit? In 1978, he was third in the Eastern League in batting average, despite playing in the worst hitter's park in the league. Rickey Henderson was in the same league and had comparable stats to Boggs (except in SB, of course.) Henderson was in the Majors the next year; Boggs was back in the EL, where he out hit Willie McGee by .082. In 1980, he missed the International League batting crown by .001, again with a poor hitters' park. Mookie Wilson, with a much lower OBA, was promoted to the Mets that season. Boggs was invited back to Pawtucket in 1981, when he did win the batting crown, but still wasn't even given a cup of coffee with Boston.
   149. mulder & scully Posted: July 20, 2008 at 08:44 AM (#2865388)
Brock,

That was me. I sent you an email with some contact info. I need to change the email listed on my profile here.

Kelly in SD/Mulder & Scully

Oh, and this thread has been really informative. I am looking to add DanR's Beckwith WARP numbers when he completes them.
   150. OCF Posted: July 20, 2008 at 07:03 PM (#2865598)
Interesting point by Cblau; there will be about as many answers as there are voters. Boggs was playing at the highest level available to him personally, just as Lefty Grove was playing at the highest level available to him personally. The difference is between Grove trapped in the the partially free minors becuase Jack Dunn wanted to make money off of him and Boggs trapped in the wholly subservient minors becuase his organization thought that Carney Lansford was better. The most closely comparable case that has seen much discussion here is that of Rizzuto, who was trapped in the minors in the strong Yankee system. (Edgar Martinez isn't HoM eligible yet, so we haven't yet had that conversation about him.)

Generally speaking, those who have offered minor league credit have discounted a first great year as a "get-noticed" year, and only started granting credit after that. That's a little confusing in the case of Boggs, becuase of the slow progress through both AA and AAA. Would you count everything after 1978? Or only that last AAA year?
   151. Bob Allen Posted: July 20, 2008 at 08:26 PM (#2865720)
I did turn in a preliminary ranking of the third basemen and participated in the C-1B-2B-SS balloting, but that’s going to be it for me. The more I think about the difficulty of ranking pre-1876 and Negro League players in amongst all the rest, the less I am inclined to do it. In the balloting for other positions, I read all the discussions and wound up placing the NA-NeL players in something like consensus positions, but there’s really not much point in that. I just don’t know enough, having never studied those contingents in depth, to do otherwise.

There is also a philosophical point of divergence. Call it timelining or whatever, but I’m just not willing to accept cases that involve extrapolations from fragmentary stats for short seasons played in a dubious competitive framework. To say that the players in question are deserving of inclusion in a Hall of Merit is fine with me, but it takes a much bigger leap of faith to rank, say, Joe Start or Ross Barnes within their position groups. Or at least a bigger leap of faith than I’m willing to take.

I don’t wish to denigrate the amazing work that has been done to shed greater light on these players’ accomplishments – far from it. The data and the thoughts are all most interesting and I plan to follow the rankings at other positions, but as a lurker.
   152. Cblau Posted: July 21, 2008 at 12:29 AM (#2865959)
Re #145- A waste of Rizzuto's arm? Are you kidding? Rizzuto had a very weak arm. He was only able to play SS because he had a very quick release. No way he could have thrown someone out from behind third.
   153. sunnyday2 Posted: July 21, 2008 at 12:35 AM (#2865968)
Did we have this conversation about Boggs? If so, I don't remember it. But clearly it is an interesting case.

1978--obviously no MLE credit. Was this his "get noticed" year? I wonder if a lack of athleticism overshadowed his obvious skills (or skill) in the opinion of an influential BoSox scout or other? I don't know what the thinking was, why it took Boggs so long to get to the bigs. But if his comp is Rickey...?

1979--still, I can't bring myself to give MLE credit, though one certainly wonders why he didn't move up to AAA. Who was the BoSox AAA 3B that year? Anybody? In any event, Butch Hobson was the BoSox 3B, and his age 27 season was pretty good. 28 HR/93 RBI/.261/.495 SA in 146 G. BoSox in 3rd, 11.5 GB the O's. Boggs is back in AA, comp is Rickey, but much better than Willie McGee, acc. to Cliff.

1980--still he only moves up to AAA but outplays Mookie Wilson. Hobson gets hurt, playing 57 G at 3B and 36 at DH. Glenn Hoffmann gets the most PA at 3B and goes 4-42-.285. The Sox drop one spot in the standings and are 19 GB.

1981--Boggs stays at AAA and wins the batting title. Hobson is gone, Carney Lansford is in. Carney is just 1 year older than Boggs and wins the AL batting title at .366 with little power. The BoSox are much improved, 4 GB in the 1st half, 1.5 in the 2nd half, but just 0.5 GB the AL champ Yankees for the "season."

1982--amazingly, knowing what we know today, Lansford is still the BoSox' choice at 3B, but he gets hurt, plays 128 G and drops to .301 but with an increase in power. Boggs plays 104 G, 49 at 1B and 44 at 3B. He of course hits .349.

1983--Boggs is finally a ML regular with 153 G at 3B, and of course he wins the batting title at .361 with more doubles power than Lansford and less HR power.

In a more perfect world he probably woulda/shoulda moved up to AAA in 1979 and the bigs in 1980, especially with Hobson hurt and the BoSox going nowhere. If he's really better than McGee and Mookie, you'd think he woulda racked up maybe 20-25 additional WS in '80 and '81. I can't extrapolate him to 162 G in '82, however. His actuals were 15 WS in '82 and 34 in '83, so 24.5 would be half as much, which seems reasonable.

Boggs and Brett are close. It's hard to say Brett was held back, being a regular at age 21 and having a cuppa coffee the previous year. Anybody know what his MiL record was?
   154. Howie Menckel Posted: July 21, 2008 at 12:56 AM (#2866014)
Bob Allen,
That's a reasonable sentiment. No offense taken, and thanks for your efforts.

For me, it's just nice to finally give these guys a shot to be rated against other greats at their position.
   155. DanG Posted: July 21, 2008 at 01:19 AM (#2866042)
Generally speaking, those who have offered minor league credit have discounted a first great year as a "get-noticed" year

I believe I'm a lone wolf (as usual) in the view that this tack is nonsense. To me, the issue is simpler than that: it all counts. Or it should. Any performance in any league at any level, including college (high school?) that can be translated to have value in MLB should count. For you peaksters this is probably irrelelvant, but if career value has any meaning for you, you should have the same point of view.

So if Boggs' 1978 performance translates to have value in MLB, it should absolutely add to his career value. Young players generally have little choice in where they play - it doesn't mean we should assume they could have no value. Charlie Keller is a classic example.

One fine day, maybe not so far off, we will have MLE's for all "high" minor league seasons. I have little doubt that this will propel several players into our collective consciousness that have been quickly dismissed up to now.
   156. sunnyday2 Posted: July 21, 2008 at 02:34 AM (#2866076)
DanG, where were you when I tried to make the case for George Sisler's time as a Michigan Wolverine?
   157. DanG Posted: July 21, 2008 at 01:14 PM (#2866278)
where were you when I tried to make the case for George Sisler's time as a Michigan Wolverine?

Yeah, but did he have a "show me" season on the JV team?
   158. TomH Posted: July 21, 2008 at 04:05 PM (#2866453)
Dan R, thanks for post 101 on Evans; good info. I cannot fully blame their poor pythag on the bullpen (being outscored in innings 8-9 isn't the same as being outscored in close games), but some additional blame should indeed go there, altho James' WS already does account for some of that if my memory serves rightly.
   159. TomH Posted: July 21, 2008 at 04:07 PM (#2866457)
OK, My take on Dick Allen. I don’t intend to say this ought to be anyone else’s take; I’m merely going to explain why I feel he is a borderline HoMer {but I’d take him over Pie Traynor ? !}

Here are some things I wrote on his thread (typos kept from the original…):

---
Our vote on Mr. Allen may come down to how we as a group answer this question:

Hypothetical Great Player (HGP) generates lots of name-your-favorite-stat (OPS+, OWP, RCAP, Win Shares, WARP).
HGP, gets traded often for not-so-great players. Thus helping different teams win, but not helping any one team for very long, since his teammates/managers/GMs/whoever seem to always want to get rid of him.

HGP created real wins for many teams. Enough, clearly, to be honored in the HoM.

But no team got long-term benefit from HGP, arguably due to his own, um, "style", altho possibly also due to the team's own inability to creatively make a good spot for HGP to stick around.

Do we give him full credit for his on-field performance, or downgrade his value because of his tendency to continually shed teams, often for little value in return?

I think it is a very open quesiton, and I won't attempt to influence those who feel otherwise, but I have consisently been in the "pretend I am a GM" camp while voting in the HoM. Would I trade good players for this guy who would likely wear out his welcome on my team in short order, and then I'd have to let him go for very little? No, probably not.

And that will make me rank him below the other slightly-less-talented players who I believe did more in the final analysis to help their teams win.

……

I still say that Dick Allen = Billy Martin.

Would I hire Billy to manage my team (if he weren't quite so dead...)? Sure, if it was May and my talented group was struggling and needed more than a firm touch on the fanny.

But no, not if I was gonna try to build a 5-yr dynasty. Cause Billy never lasted anywhere more than 3.

Would I trade for Dick Allen in a pennant drive? You betcha. But would I choose him in the first round of the amateur draft? No way. What are the odds he'd be with the club through his best days?

It's like the peak/career debate. Different methods, neither "right" or "wrong". I won't demean anyone's choice of where they slot Mr. Allen.
---(end of old quotes)

I will say I have consistently held this type of view; and applied it to Keith Hernandez and Rogers Hornsby, for examples.

A few other quotes from the Allen thread from others:

Harvey Wallbanger:
I once described him to a younger poster as Gary Sheffield's big brother, and I believe that description is pretty comprehensive. Sheffield is a guy who when healthy is one of the best hitters in baseball, wanders from team to team for various reasons, really doesn't have any defensive value, is known for being something of a nuisance to management, and is always in the headlines whether playing or not.

Now imagine Sheffield with each of these things TRIPLED in magnitude. At LEAST.

If you think all that offense can make everything else moot then Dick Allen merits induction into any Hall that recognizes baseball greatness. But if you think other things MATTER. That playing defense MATTERS. That always giving a legitimate effort MATTERS. That not being a constant distraction to the object of winning MATTERS. If these things COUNT then Dick Allen has to lend one pause.

Dizzy Paco:
There are almost no good comps for Allen, IMO. Based on pure numbers alone, he probably deserves it. But he wasn't your garden variety management headache - I believe his actions hurt his teams in ways few players have, at least toward the end of his career. Not many players have literally quit on a team once their lead in the home run race was pretty much guaranteed.

In almost all cases, I understand the choice to remove personality from the voting, to stick with on the field performance. Allen is one of the very few players where I think off the field actions should play a role.

Brent:
Allen's problem, as I see it, ran deeper than that. He was one who always had to be in charge - to be the "alpha male." In order to play that role, he systematically subverted and undermined the authority of a number of his managers. How many managers were fired because they couldn't control Allen? At least three, maybe more. If I'd been a general manager during that era, he's the one great player I wouldn't have taken, no matter how cheaply he could've been obtained. I simply don't believe you can build a championship team when the authority of its manager is undermined by its star player.

All anecdotal? Yes. Salient? Your call.


Zop posted a team wins analysis:

team wins for the years before/after Allen joined or left. I did not consider Allen's post-prime seasons. You can see where Allen's rep as a team killer cam from; that's a pretty rough stretch in 70-71. Nevertheless, over his whole career Allen helped some teams, hurt others. (For instance, the 8 win improvement by the 72 White Sox is almost entirely attributable to Allen according to WPA.)
Yr Team Wins
63 PHI 87
64 PHI 92
5
69 PHI 63
70 PHI 73
-10
69 STL 87
70 STL 76
-11
70 STL 76
71 STL 90
-14
70 LAD 87
71 LAD 89
2
71 LAD 89
72 LAD 85
4
71 CHA 79
72 CHA 87
8
74 CHA 80
75 CHA 75
5

SUM -11

I might add to this, if a player gets traded for less ‘value’ than his playing stats are worth, should this not result in a natural tendency for his old team to perform poorly next year, and his new team to do better, if thee were no other factors? The fact that his new teams as a whole did slightly worse, despite often being traded for less, is one small piece of condemnatory evidence.


Another attempt to quantify was from Treder:

WRT to the question of attempting to isolate & quantify how Allen's behavior hurt his teams' performance ... obviously vastly easier said than done. But one thing that should be pretty easy is this:

With the White Sox in 1972-73, in Chuck Tanner & Co.'s never-ending effort to mollify Allen, at Dick's request they put his brother Hank on the roster in mid-1972, and kept him there all through the 1973 season. This is what Hank contributed to the White Sox's cause:

G: 30 --- AB: 60
R: 3 --- H: 7
RBI: 0 ---- BB: 1
BA: .103 --- OBP: .125 --- SLG: .154

Estimate what a reasonably-available use of Hank's roster spot would have contributed, versus what he did, and you get an estimate of what this egregious nepotism cost the White Sox.

So, to keep Allen “happy” (i.e., not quitting), they played a guy who likely cost them (my estimate) about 1 game.

Eric Chalek chimed in with a chronology of events culled from various sources, which I have abbreviated here:

1965
-Gets into fistfight with Frank Thomas over Thomas’s racial remarks. (NHBA and BEB)
-Team released Thomas on same day. (NHBA and BEB)
-“Sportswriters from coast to coast” back the veteran Thomas over the uppity and troublesome youngster. (NHBA)

1968
-In the spring of 1968 he began a campaign of minor transgressions of team rules in hopes that it would cause Philadelphia to trade him.(CW)
COMMENT: Presumably, this means showing up late, skipping BP, stuff like that.

1969
-August 7th, Bob Skinner quits as Phils manager, citing the club’s unwillingness to help him deal with Dick Allen’s behavior.(BL)

1970
-Traded to St Louis in the Curt Flood deal.

1971
-Traded to LA in the Ted Sizemore deal.

1974
-Walked off club on September 13th. (BEB) -Gave no reason for walk off.(BL)

1976
-Ripped Phils management for not putting a friend on the October roster and threatens not to play in the playoffs. (POG)
-September 26: Dick Allen jumps the team to protest Tony Taylor’s exclusion from postseason roster. (BL)
-Allen did threaten not to play, saying that they could take his uniform as well. By speaking up, Allen brought about a compromise that seemed fairer to everyone; Taylor would be in uniform in post-season play as a coach.(CW)

-Phils have two separate victory celebrations. The main one in the clubhouse, one behind the close trainer’s room door for Allen and friends. (POG)

And here is Allen’s trade history from bb-ref:
October 7, 1969: Traded by the Philadelphia Phillies with Jerry Johnson and Cookie Rojas to the St. Louis Cardinals for Tim McCarver, Byron Browne, Joe Hoerner, and Curt Flood. Curt Flood refused to report to his new team. The St. Louis Cardinals sent Willie Montanez (April 8, 1970) and Bob Browning (minors) (August 30, 1970) to the Philadelphia Phillies to complete the trade.
October 5, 1970: Traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Ted Sizemore and Bob Stinson.
December 2, 1971: Traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Chicago White Sox for Tommy John and Steve Huntz.
December 3, 1974: Traded by the Chicago White Sox to the Atlanta Braves for a player to be named later and cash. The Atlanta Braves sent Jim Essian (May 15, 1975) to the Chicago White Sox to complete the trade.
May 7, 1975: Traded by the Atlanta Braves with Johnny Oates to the Philadelphia Phillies for Jim Essian, Barry Bonnell, and $150,000.




What did the BBWAA think of him? The HIGHEST vote total he ever got from the writers was 18.9% (in 1996). Are the BBWAAs perfect? Absolutely not. They have been historically focused on batting avg over OPS, counting stats over value, ignoring context, and other flaws. When those flaws result in players like Alan Trammell shafted, I know WHY he is not getting votes. But we can easily adjust for the BBWAA’s numerical trending errors. This isn’t that problem – the issue is 80% of voters said they didn’t want Allen. We can ignore that, or not. I choose not to.

Are Allen’s ##s worthy of a top 10 spot on this list? Maybe they are. But here is one take that while overstating the case somewhat IMHO, shows that he wasn’t all THAT much better than our most-maligned pick, Mr. Boyer:

Player WARP3 sorted by best yrs
Allen 13 11 11 10 .9. 9 8 7 7 4 4 3 2
Boyer11 10 10 10 10 9 8 7 5 5 4 4 3

Dang, how much better a match can you find?


My conclusion: If I were starting a team, and had to pick between Allen who will likely get my manager fired at some point and/or I'll trade him for lesser stuff, and the others on this list, I’d pass on Allen. And I’ll have to think long and hard about Beckwith too.
   160. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 21, 2008 at 04:28 PM (#2866474)
Um, WARP3 must be on crack. Allen and Boyer overlapped for half of their careers. Why on earth does Boyer *gain* three wins in the WARP1-WARP3 adjustment while Allen *loses* six--particularly since it was Allen who spent time in a DH league? WARP3 is an utterly inscrutable, meaningless, and useless concoction, and I propose it be banned from HoM discussions.

Here are my standard deviation-adjusted numbers:

Allen 9.1 8.3 7.3 6.4 5.5 5.3 5.2 3.7 3.6 3.1 2.4 1.0
Boyer 7.4 6.6 6.5 6.3 5.6 5.2 4.1 3.6 2.1 2.1 1.3 1.0

Boyer's top three years don't touch Allen's (combined 24.7 vs. 20.5), and Allen has a substantial edge on the back end too (18 vs. 13.2 for years 7-11).

This isn't rocket science, guys. Dick Allen's lifetime OPS+ was 156; Ken Boyer's was 116. Does it really pass the smell test that they could possibly, remotely be equally valuable, even after factoring in defense, durability, and a minor difference in career length?
   161. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 21, 2008 at 04:36 PM (#2866482)
In response to Harveys Wallbangers's comments:

1. No one is disputing here that playing defense matters. That's completely factored in to everyone's analysis.

2. This "giving a legitimate effort" claim is complete BS. If someone comes along who has the capacity to hit 150 HR's in a season but only hits 100 because the game's too easy for him and he doesn't have to try, I'll still ride him all the way to a pennant, thank you very much. This is the same type of red herring that leads people to write odes to Darin Erstad and David Eckstein. And of course, it's always racial minorities who "don't try" because they're just such gifted natural athletes, that's why they brought their ancestors over to work on the plantations, doncha know. Thank God we'll always have "scrappy" white guys whose intelligence, determination, and teamwork will subdue the Tarzanic hordes.
   162. DL from MN Posted: July 21, 2008 at 06:50 PM (#2866618)
What positions are we giving Dihigo and Rose?
   163. TomH Posted: July 21, 2008 at 07:06 PM (#2866638)
Um, WARP3 must be on crack. Allen and Boyer overlapped for half of their careers. Why on earth does Boyer *gain* three wins in the WARP1-WARP3 adjustment while Allen *loses* six--particularly since it was Allen who spent time in a DH league? WARP3 is an utterly inscrutable, meaningless, and useless concoction, and I propose it be banned from HoM discussions.

Is WARP perfect? 'Course not. And I have found your own WAR system to be VERY helpful. But.

For the years where Dick/Ken had significant value, they overlapped for all of 3 years, 1964-66. Allen played a lot after the 2nd expansion of the decade (24 team lg), while Boyer played in a 16-team league that was definitely the stronger one, while Allen played a mixed AL/NL post-1966. Boyer gains 7-ish WARP-y wins for this, and then he gains another 2 wins when adjusting for the years he played in a shorter schedule. I find this plausible. You may not, but I find the call to ban WARP3 from discussion to be over the top, Dan. Should I propose banning from discussion anyone who proposes banning certain metrics from discussion?

Or did I miss the tongue-in-cheek?
   164. Paul Wendt Posted: July 21, 2008 at 07:34 PM (#2866689)
OCF
The difference is between Grove trapped in the the partially free minors becuase Jack Dunn wanted to make money off of him and Boggs trapped in the wholly subservient minors becuase his organization thought that Carney Lansford was better. The most closely comparable case that has seen much discussion here is that of Rizzuto, who was trapped in the minors in the strong Yankee system. (Edgar Martinez isn't HoM eligible yet, so we haven't yet had that conversation about him.)

The minors were not wholly owned in 1938 but I (mis)understand that the New York Yankees controlled the Newark club. I don't remember reading about here, one way or the other, although it should have come up regarding Joe Gordon and Charlie Keller. They both "needed" credit in that their election was once in doubt.

Dizzy
As I understand my baseball history, by the Civil war and soon after, baseball had spread throughout the country - but professional ball drew mostly from the Northeast. It seems obvious why this occurred - players played in whatever was available to them locally. Someone living in San Francisco was not going to travel across country to try out for a baseball team playing in New York; they would play whatever baseball was available to them where they lived.

Are you putting Missouri to Maine in the "Northeast"? After the civil was San Francisco was unique outside that Northeast. New Orleans was unique too :-)
   165. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 21, 2008 at 09:55 PM (#2866866)
TomH, you sure that's for league strength/expansion factors and not because of WARP's kooky re-scaling of relative positional values to fit their alltime scale? Check the FRAR-FRAA adjustments, esp. for Allen's non-3B years....

It wasn't a serious call to literally ban it, but I do think it's a completely junk stat.
   166. TomH Posted: July 21, 2008 at 10:04 PM (#2866885)
I'll check on the pos value adj thing, Dan.
   167. TomH Posted: July 21, 2008 at 10:10 PM (#2866889)
re: bonuses for "best-pre-WWII third baseman", or something like that. While I think this has some value, it's tough for me to give too much credit when 3B/2B essentially swapped over the years, and there were many superb 2Bmen pre-1940. Also, with a few more years at 3B, maybe Honus Wagenr would be more considered a third sacker, which of course would change the whole picture. Anyway, merely tossing out perspective...
   168. TomH Posted: July 21, 2008 at 10:21 PM (#2866901)
WARP allen v boyer

Going from WARP1 to WARP2, Boyer loses 12 BRAA runs, gains 0 FRAA, and gains 24 (FRAR-FRAA).
Allen loses 34 BRAA runs, loses 13 FRAA, and loses 17 (FRAR-FRAA).

Diffs: Boyer gains 35 runs in what I call "BP league-qual adjustments" (BRAA+FRAA). Negative 12 minus negative 47.

Boyer gains another 41 runs in the pos-val adjustments, going from FRAA to FRAR. Much of this is the diff between 3B and 1B it seems; Allen is about even on (FRAR-FRAA) in his 3B years (1964-67 & 1971).
   169. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 21, 2008 at 10:29 PM (#2866910)
Well then, I hope we can all agree those 41 pos-val runs should promptly be chucked out the window, since we are not interested in a player's positional value on some hypothetical all-time scale, but rather his positional value in the league he actually played in.
   170. sunnyday2 Posted: July 22, 2008 at 01:15 AM (#2867102)
I stopped using W3, oh, I think it was about 1905. We don't need no steenkeeng time machine.
   171. TomH Posted: July 22, 2008 at 11:37 AM (#2867681)
Dan, some of the 41 runs is the diff between playing 1B and playing 3B. A SS will have a much higher FRAR than a LFer if they have the same FRAA.
   172. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 22, 2008 at 03:59 PM (#2867917)
Yes, but that should be accounted for in WARP1! The point is, in the WARP1-WARP3 adjustment, BP stops asking the question "what was this player's positional value in his own context?", and asks, "what would this player's positional value have been in a hypothetical all-time context?" Thus, old-time 3B/C/1B should get the shaft in this system, since their contextual positional value is discounted, while old-time RF should benefit, since their lack of contextual positional value is pardoned. I hope we don't have a single voter who thinks that this is a legitimate argument for Merit.

Those 41 runs effectively represent BP's contention that *after accounting for league strength*, playing 1B/OF would be far less valuable in a hypothetical all-time context than it was in the 1960s/70s, while playing 3B would be more valuable in a hypothetical all-time context than it was in the 1960s/70s. First off, I think this is just dead wrong, since there has never been a deeper position in baseball history than 1B circa 1970 (which is why Allen, McCovey, Killebrew etc. get slammed in my WARP system). But second, even if it were true, why is it relevant for our purposes?
   173. Howie Menckel Posted: July 22, 2008 at 05:13 PM (#2868004)
adj OPS+s of the candidates (league top 10s in parentheses)

John Beckwith and Jud Wilson not listed here

Dick Allen............156 OPS+ in 7314 PA (1 1 1 2 2 3 5 6 7 8)
Mike Schmidt..........147 OPS+ in 10062 PA (1 1 1 1 1 1 3 3 3 4 6 7 9)
Eddie Mathews.........143 OPS+ in 10101 PA (1 2 2 2 2 4 5 5 5 8)
George Brett..........135 OPS+ in 11624 PA (1 1 1 4 5 5 7 8 10 10)
Frank Baker...........135 OPS+ in 6660 PA (4 4 6 7 7 9)
Wade Boggs............130 OPS+ in 10740 PA (1 2 2 4 4 6 10)
Ron Santo.............125 OPS+ in 9396 PA (2 4 6 7)
Paul Molitor..........122 OPS+ in 12160 PA (3 6 7 9)
Darrell Evans.........119 OPS+ in 10737 PA (3 3 8)
Stan Hack.............119 OPS+ in 8506 PA (7 8 9 10)
Ezra Sutton...........119 OPS+ in 5536 PA* (5 6 8 9)
Heinie Groh...........118 OPS+ in 7035 PA (2 2 4 10)
Ken Boyer.............116 OPS+ in 8268 PA (6 8 10)
Jimmy Collins.........113 OPS+ in 7452 PA (4 9)
Graig Nettles.........110 OPS+ in 10226 PA (9)
Brooks Robinson.......104 OPS+ in 11782 PA (6)

HOMer 3B by pct of games at position (DH figures included in calculation):
Baker 100, BRobinson 99, JCollins 98, Hack 98, Nettles 96, Santo 95, Mathews 93, Boggs 93, Schmidt 92, Boyer 90, Groh 79, Sutton 69, Brett 63, DaEvans 54, Beckwith 50, Wilson 40, Allen 38, Molitor 30

Other HOMers with 10 pct of games at 3B (not adjusted for league schedule length):
White 51, Sewell 34, Killebrew 33, Trouppe 25, Torre 23, GDavis 22, Ripken 22, Frisch 20, Rose 18, Wallace 17, Dihigo 15, JRobinson 15, McVey 14, Richardson 13, Vaughan 11, Ott 10
   174. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 22, 2008 at 05:57 PM (#2868056)
Man, ya know, the numbers say Ott played a fine 3B...why didn't they leave him there? A full-career Ott at 1930s 3B is a top 10 alltime player...
   175. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 23, 2008 at 04:00 PM (#2869434)
Regarding Allen and the Ted Sizemore deal, it looks awful now, but Sizemore was pretty highly regarded at the time. He won the RoY in 1969 and played a key defensive position and had posted OPS+ of 94 and 98 in his two big league seasons. He hit .306 as a 2B in 1970 as a 25-year old, he was considered a pretty valuable property.

He missed 6 weeks with an injury (I assume) over June/July and his season ended early (9/17), probably another injury. But it's not like Allen was traded for nothing. Bob Stinson was a high draft pick (3rd rounder), who had hit .298 in AAA as a catcher in 1970, again, not exactly a nothing prospect.

He was also traded for Tommy John. Not exactly scrap.

Jim Essian put up a 121 OPS+ for the White Sox as a catcher in 1977 after they traded Allen for him in 1975. He had a good year in Toledo in 1974 but was bad in 1975. Allen was 33 at this point though.

Barry Bonnell was the 1st pick of the January draft (not sure what that means) and he hit .324 as a 21 year old in A ball the year he was traded for Allen.

I'm just trying to say that I don't buy that Allen was always traded for scrap. Most of the players didn't pan out, but it's a little different looking back 30-40 years after the fact.
   176. Esteban Rivera Posted: July 23, 2008 at 04:39 PM (#2869469)
Man, ya know, the numbers say Ott played a fine 3B...why didn't they leave him there? A full-career Ott at 1930s 3B is a top 10 alltime player...


Probably, but the wear and tear of playing third base would have affected him in some way.
   177. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 23, 2008 at 04:43 PM (#2869472)
Yeah, and also, his defense was excellent in right; an average-fielding 3B isn't worth much more than a great-fielding RF, even in those days.
   178. Dizzypaco Posted: July 23, 2008 at 05:45 PM (#2869522)
Man, ya know, the numbers say Ott played a fine 3B...why didn't they leave him there? A full-career Ott at 1930s 3B is a top 10 alltime player...

I love this kind of question. It gets me going back through the archives. In this case, I went through the New York Times archives from the 30's and 40's.

My first instinct is that he might not have been quite as good at third as the numbers suggest. In fact, he was considered quite good at third. For example, in a preview of the 1937 world series, Ott was considered even defensively with Rolfe:

Red Rolfe, Of course, holds the advantage in experience at third base over Mel Ott, who leaped into the job in midseason, and practically overnight. But even this edge disappears when one considers when one considers the really fine work that has been done at that difficult corner by Master Melvin, who is perhaps one of the greatest natural ball players the game has ever developed.

He was called "Master Melvin" a lot, by the way, in those articles.

According to the articles, Ott was considered an excellent defensive right fielder, and he was in the middle of his career, having never played third regularly before. They really had no way of knowing before 1937 that he could handle the position at all. At the same time, the Giants had really, really awful production from their thirdbasemen in the years leading up to this time.

In mid-season, Terry put Ott at third base. This was considered radical then, and it would be considered just as radical now. Imagine a manager putting a perrenial gold glove winning outfielder, who is also a great hitter, at third base in the middle of the season, without anyway of knowing whether he could handle the position. And it was considered a huge success at the time, a key factor that helped the Giants win the pennant.

Ott then started the 1938 season at third base. Near the end of the season, he was moved back to right field. I've been looking for an explanation, and haven't found much, other than the following quote from December 1938: Last season he put in one of his greatest years, starting at third base and shifting back to the outfield when Terry’s riddled picket line threatened to fall to pieces. I suppose this meant the defense wasn't playing well, but I'm not 100% sure.

It seems from the rest of his career, Ott was then thought to be able to play a reasonably good third base if he had to, but was also considered a great outfielder, so he never played consistently there again.

There's no reason to think Ott would have played third before 1937, but its not unreasonable to think that he might have played the next several years at the hot corner.
   179. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: July 23, 2008 at 06:02 PM (#2869538)
The fair way would be to list the alphabetically. No, wait, then you'd have to decide "alphabetically by first name or last name", and that would cause problems, probably.
   180. Paul Wendt Posted: July 23, 2008 at 06:27 PM (#2869565)
from December 1938: Last season he put in one of his greatest years, starting at third base and shifting back to the outfield when Terry’s riddled picket line threatened to fall to pieces. I suppose this meant the defense wasn't playing well, but I'm not 100% sure.

I would suppose injuries, illnesses, deaths, but I'm not sure either.
No one(?) would give up on a star like Wally Berger based on 5-for-32. I suppose he suffered something. Anyway, June 6 they traded Berger for 2B Kampouris. June 24 they purchased OF Bob Seeds. They retained mainly CF Hank Leiber until December. RF Ripple and LF Moore were on the roster all season and again in 1939.
So in the outfield
Moore, Berger (9 games in the field), Leiber, and Ripple were on the roster to June;
Moore, Seeds, Leiber, and Ripple were on the roster from June.

George Myatt debuted in August, played 24 games SS (Bartell) and 19 games 3B (Ott).

They were in the pennant race with Pit, Chi, and Cin but played .500 in Aug, Sep, and early Oct (as did leading Pit) while Chi achieved takeoff.

The 1939 Giants were a .500 team all season, weak at 3B, LF, and CF.
Myatt played only 22 games and was out of the majors until 1943.
Tom Hafey debuted July 21 and played 70 games at 3B but was then out of the majors until 1944.
   181. Mike Green Posted: July 23, 2008 at 06:47 PM (#2869594)
A number of voters in the ballot thread have Baker over Santo. I don't understand the logic. Santo was at least as good a hitter as Baker at their respective peaks, was probably a better fielder and sustained the performance considerably longer.

Is it all about the combination of offence/defence at peak, with significant adjustment for the 2B-3B position shift? If so, maybe DanR is right and a second look at John McGraw is in order...
   182. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 23, 2008 at 11:33 PM (#2870068)
I don't think anyone questions McGraw was a great player, when he was on the field.

Problem was his career was Al Rosen short. Even converting to 162 games, he has 5119 AB+BB. Rosen had 4501. McGraw 135 OPS+, Rosen 137. I just don't see enough value in that short of a career.

Hughie Jennings, who I didn't support, and wasn't exactly elected easily; he had 5771 AB+BB (all of these are from B-R), adjusted to 162 games.

I just can't see McGraw as having enough career value. I get him in the Buddy Bell, Toby Harrah, Dave Bancroft area, in terms of Pennants Added, which adjusts for his high peak.

The problem is that his peak isn't even as high as you'd think with that OPS+, because he only played more than 126 adjusted games in a season 3x (158, 156 and 150 in 1893, 94 and 98).

It's just not enough for me.
   183. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 24, 2008 at 03:43 PM (#2871195)
Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiii beg to differ. (Who'da thunk it?) Here's McGraw versus the elected 3B I have in or below his neighborhood:


Hack (including war discounts)

YEAR SFrac BWAA BRWA FWAA Replc WARP
1932  0.30 
-0.3  0.0 -0.6  -0.5 -0.4
1933  0.11  0.9  0.0  0.3  
-0.2  1.4
1934  0.70  0.5  0.1  0.8  
-1.2  2.6
1935  0.76  2.6  0.1  0.5  
-1.4  4.6
1936  0.98  2.0  0.1 
-1.2  -1.8  2.7
1937  1.03  1.8  0.1  0.6  
-1.8  4.3
1938  1.09  4.2  0.2  0.7  
-1.9  6.9
1939  1.10  1.4  0.2 
-0.7  -1.9  2.7
1940  1.04  4.1  0.2  0.2  
-1.8  6.2
1941  1.05  5.1  0.0 
-1.2  -1.8  5.8
1942  1.01  4.8  0.0 
-1.0  -1.7  5.5
1943  0.95  1.9 
-0.1 -0.7  -1.6  2.7
1944  0.67 
-0.1 -0.1 -0.2  -1.1  0.7
1945  1.06  2.7  0.0  1.7  
-1.7  6.1
1946  0.63  2.3 
-0.1  0.1  -1.0  3.3
1947  0.43  0.3 
-0.1  0.7  -0.6  1.5
TOTL 12.91 34.2  0.6  0.0 
-22.0 56.7
TXBR 12.61 34.5  0.6  0.6 
-21.5 57.1
AVRG  1.00  2.6  0.0  0.0  
-1.7  4.4 


3-year peak: 19.2
7-year prime: 39.4
Career: 57.1


Boyer

YEAR SFrac BWAA BRWA FWAA Replc WARP
1955  0.89  0.1 
-0.3  0.7  -0.9  1.3
1956  0.99  2.4  0.1  1.4  
-1.3  5.2
1957  0.90  0.1  0.0  0.7  
-1.3  2.1
1958  0.97  2.5  0.0  2.6  
-1.3  6.5
1959  0.97  3.4  0.1  1.4  
-1.4  6.3
1960  0.95  3.6 
-0.1  2.3  -1.6  7.4
1961  1.02  3.4  0.1  1.5  
-1.6  6.6
1962  1.01  1.5  0.0  1.0  
-1.6  4.1
1963  1.04  2.6  0.1 
-0.5  -1.5  3.6
1964  1.05  2.7 
-0.1  1.3  -1.6  5.6
1965  0.89 
-0.2 -0.3 -0.2  -1.2  0.6
1966  0.79  0.4  0.0  0.6  
-1.1  2.1
1967  0.57  0.1 
-0.1  0.0  -0.7  0.7
1968  0.40  1.1  0.0 
-0.6  -0.5  1.0
TOTL 12.44 23.7 
-0.5 12.2 -17.6 53.1
AVRG  1.00  1.9  0.0  1.0  
-1.4  4.3 


3-year peak: 20.5
7-year prime: 41.7
Career: 53.1


Nettles

Year SFrac BWAA BRWA FWAA Replc WARP
1968  0.13  0.3  0.0  0.1  
-0.1  0.5
1969  0.38 
-0.1 -0.1  0.0  -0.3  0.1
1970  0.93  0.6  0.0  2.7  
-1.1  4.4
1971  1.03  1.7  0.0  3.6  
-1.3  6.6
1972  0.98  1.8  0.2  1.6  
-1.3  4.9
1973  0.94  0.6  0.1  2.1  
-1.8  4.6
1974  0.94  1.1  0.2  1.3  
-1.8  4.4
1975  0.95  1.4  0.2  1.6  
-1.9  5.1
1976  0.97  2.7  0.0  2.0  
-2.0  6.6
1977  0.98  2.1 
-0.1  1.2  -2.0  5.2
1978  0.98  2.1 
-0.1  1.4  -2.1  5.6
1979  0.87  0.0 
-0.1 -0.4  -1.8  1.4
1980  0.54  0.6  0.1 
-0.7  -1.2  1.1
1981  0.90  1.3  0.1  1.0  
-1.9  4.2
1982  0.67 
-0.2 -0.1 -0.6  -1.3  0.5
1983  0.76  1.5  0.0 
-1.0  -1.5  1.9
1984  0.69  1.0  0.0  0.2  
-1.0  2.3
1985  0.76  1.9 
-0.5 -0.1  -1.2  2.4
1986  0.59 
-0.3  0.0 -0.2  -0.9  0.4
1987  0.29 
-0.7 -0.2 -0.6  -0.4 -1.0
1988  0.16 
-0.8  0.0 -0.3  -0.2 -0.9
TOTL 15.44 18.6 
-0.3 14.9 -27.1 60.3
TXBR 14.99 20.1 
-0.1 15.8 -26.5 62.2
AVRG  1.00  1.2  0.0  1.0  
-1.8  3.9 


3-year peak: 18.8
7-year prime: 38.6
Career: 62.2


Brooks

Year SFrac BWAA BRWA FWAA Replc WARP
1957  0.19 
-0.3  0.1  0.0  -0.2 -0.1
1958  0.78 
-2.4  0.0  0.7  -1.1 -0.6
1959  0.51 
-0.1  0.0  0.8  -0.8  1.5
1960  0.98  0.5  0.0  2.2  
-1.6  4.3
1961  1.06  0.1 
-0.1  0.6  -1.7  2.3
1962  1.00  2.9  0.1  2.0  
-1.5  6.5
1963  0.95 
-0.1 -0.1  1.8  -1.4  2.9
1964  1.00  4.8  0.0  1.3  
-1.6  7.7
1965  0.91  2.4  0.1 
-0.1  -1.3  3.7
1966  1.03  2.5 
-0.1  1.0  -1.4  4.8
1967  1.02  2.5 
-0.1  2.8  -1.2  6.4
1968  1.01  2.1  0.0  2.1  
-1.2  5.4
1969  0.98 
-0.4  0.0  2.2  -1.0  2.8
1970  0.99  1.2  0.0  0.5  
-1.1  2.8
1971  0.99  2.1  0.0  1.5  
-1.2  4.8
1972  0.96 
-0.1 -0.2  1.2  -1.3  2.2
1973  0.89 
-1.1  0.0  0.7  -1.7  1.3
1974  0.91  1.0  0.0  1.2  
-1.8  4.0
1975  0.79 
-2.7  0.2  0.2  -1.6 -0.7
1976  0.34 
-1.3 -0.1 -0.5  -0.7 -1.3
1977  0.08 
-0.5  0.0  0.0  -0.2 -0.4
TOTL 17.37 13.1 
-0.2 22.2 -25.6 60.3
TXBR 15.19 20.3 
-0.4 21.8 -21.8 63.4
AVRG  1.00  0.8  0.0  1.3  
-1.5  3.5 


3-year peak: 20.6
7-year prime: 39.9
Career: 63.4


Muggsy

(Based on BP stats and league difficulty adjustments for 1891-92, and including holdout credit for 1900)

Year SFrac BWAA BRWA FWAA Replc WARP
1891  0.22  0.2  0.0 
-0.3  -0.6  0.5
1892  0.50  0.5  0.1 
-0.2  -0.9  1.3
1893  1.01  3.6  0.1 
-1.4  -2.4  4.7
1894  1.05  2.2  0.2  0.6  
-2.0  5.0
1895  0.78  2.8  0.2  1.3  
-1.6  5.8
1896  0.16  0.4  0.1 
-0.1  -0.3  0.7
1897  0.87  3.3  0.1  0.0  
-1.8  5.1
1898  1.02  5.5  0.2  0.2  
-2.1  7.9
1899  0.85  6.2  0.4  2.0  
-1.6 10.2
1900  0.87  6.0  0.0 
-0.7  -1.9  7.2
1901  0.53  4.1  0.0 
-0.6  -1.2  4.7
1902  0.38  1.4  0.0 
-0.5  -1.1  2.0
TOTL  8.12 35.4  1.4  0.4 
-17.2 54.1
AVRG  1.00  4.4  0.2  0.0  
-2.1  6.7 


3-year peak: 25.3
7-year prime: 45.9
Career: 54.1


And here's Rosen, just for good measure:

YEAR SFrac BWAA    BRWA FWAA Replc    WARP
1949  0.08 
-0.4    -0.1 -0.1  -0.1    -0.4
1950  1.00  3.6    
-0.2  1.7  -1.2     6.4
1951  1.00  2.5     0.0  0.1  
-1.0     3.6
1952  0.99  5.2     0.0 
-0.7  -1.0     5.6
1953  1.05  7.3     0.0  0.7  
-1.2     9.2
1954  0.86  4.1     0.1 
-0.7  -1.0     4.5
1955  0.91  1.0     0.0 
-0.3  -1.0     1.8
1956  0.73  0.6    
-0.1 -0.1  -0.9     1.3
TOTL  6.62 23.9    
-0.3  0.6  -7.4    32.0
TXBR  6.54 24.3    
-0.2  0.7  -7.3    32.4
AVRG  1.00  3.6     0.0  0.1  
-1.1     4.8 


3-year peak: 21.2
7-year prime: 32.4
Career: 32.4

Yes, I know Rosen deserves two years of minor league credit, but I couldn't find posted MLE's for him, and anyway, adding on even two MLB All-Star seasons, say a 5 and a 4 WARP2, don't get him into serious candidate territory.

So, by 3-year peak in this group, we have:

1. McGraw  25.3
2. Rosen   21.1
3. Brooks  20.6
4. Boyer   20.5
5. Hack    19.2
6. Nettles 18.8 


By 7-year prime, it's:

1. McGraw  45.9
2. Boyer   41.7
3. Brooks  39.9
4. Hack    39.4
5. Nettles 38.6
6. Rosen   32.4 


By career, the order is:

1. Brooks  63.4
2. Nettles 62.2
3. Hack    57.1
4. McGraw  54.1
5. Boyer   53.1
6. Rosen   32.4 


Finally, by my salary estimator, I rank them (in millions):

1. Brooks  169
2. McGraw  167
3. Nettles 164
4. Hack    151
5. Boyer   148
6. Rosen    96 



So: OK, if you're a strict career voter, McGraw's not there--but neither is Boyer, or Hack after (reasonable) war deductions. But if you care at *all* about peak or prime, it's hard to see how McGraw doesn't make your 2009 ballot. He was just monstrously good. Yes, there were a lot of missed games, but without them he'd be a no-brainer. And again, the reasons why WARP and WS underrate him (copied from his thread):

1. Win Shares and BP WARP both use replacement levels that are far below the empirically demonstrated value of freely available talent. This leads them to grossly over-reward "just showing up" at the expense of actual excellence on the field. If you correct this flaw (by subtracting around .015 WS or .004 BP WARP per PA) from everyone, McGraw's peak looks much more impressive.

2. The run estimators in Win Shares and BP WARP are too inflexible to capture McGraw's value in context. In higher run-scoring environments, the relative value of OBP to SLG goes up, while in lower run-scoring environments it goes down. (The easiest way to understand this is to think of a hypothetical league in which no outs are ever made--in which case a single is just as good as a HR, since all runners will score eventually--and then compare it to a hypothetical league in which no runners ever reach base, in which case the only hit with any value is a HR). (Actually, I think someone showed me that this is only true of BP, not WS, but still).

3. Neither system (as far as I can tell) properly credits him for his speed. BP appears to use a flat 75% assumed success rate for seasons where CS was not available, and again I don't have WS's 1890s run estimator handy but I'd be stunned if it did this correctly. The point is that there is an extremely strong (logarithmic) relationship between a player's SB attempt rate and his success rate. If you apply any sort of linear value to SB when you don't have CS data (either a flat assumed success rate or a flat run value), then you are overrating guys with middling SB and underrating guys with very high SB, since in general guys with middling SB tend to have break-even or worse success rates whereas guys with very high SB tend to have terrific success rates. McGraw's extremely high SB totals suggest he should also have had one of the best SB percentages of his era, which means they should be credited more than someone who had only 20-30 SB per year.

4. Neither system recognizes the changing depth of 3B over time. BP uses the same ratio of 3B to SS FRAR in 2007 as in 1897 (about 55%), and Win Shares only increases it by 8% (from 67% to 75%), representing a difference of just 0.6 Win Shares/0.2 wins. In fact, the gap between replacement third basemen and replacement shortstops grew from 0.6 wins in the 1890s to 1.7 wins today. This leads these systems to further understate McGraw's value (and that of all 1890s 3B).
   184. Mike Green Posted: July 24, 2008 at 03:50 PM (#2871203)
I understand both positions, but neither of you like Baker more than Santo. :)
   185. Paul Wendt Posted: July 24, 2008 at 09:28 PM (#2871802)
181. Mike Green Posted: July 23, 2008 at 02:47 PM (#2869594)
A number of voters in the ballot thread have Baker over Santo. I don't understand the logic. Santo was at least as good a hitter as Baker at their respective peaks, was probably a better fielder and sustained the performance considerably longer.

- at least as good a hitter
Typically that is a way of saying "better" while providing a fallback (I didn't say "better").
No doubt some of Baker's supporters hold that he was at least as good a hitter as Santo, at a time when 3Bmen didn't do as much hitting.

- sustained the performance considerably longer
Someone might stretch and say that Santo sustained his peak performance for seven seasons 1963-69, Baker for only six seasons 1909-14. That is quite a stretch in favor of Santo. Given that peak batting for Santo is about equal to that for Baker, it seems clear to me that Santo enjoyed four seasons to six.


Is it all about the combination of offence/defence at peak, with significant adjustment for the 2B-3B position shift?

"Adjustment for the 2B-3B position shift", meaning assessment of their batting relative to 1910 thirdbasemen on the one hand and 1965 thirdbasemen on the other hand, must be quantitatively more important than the points I have disputed here.
   186. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 25, 2008 at 02:36 AM (#2872120)
I'd just like to note that Win Probability Added suggests that Graig Nettles was one of the greatest clutch performers of the last 35 years: the timing of his hits added a full six wins above what we would have expected with an average distribution. That increases his career value by about 10%, enough to put him smack in the middle of the big glut at the middle of the ballot if you give him credit for it. (I have not yet decided whether I will do so, but voters who are convinced by the Win Shares approach most definitely should).
   187. Mike Green Posted: July 25, 2008 at 03:16 PM (#2872783)
Really, Dan? BBRef has Nettles as hitting significantly better in low leverage situations than in medium or high ones. (http://www.baseball-reference.com/pi/bsplit.cgi?n1=nettlgr01&year=00)
   188. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 25, 2008 at 03:46 PM (#2872828)
Hm, OK, well, maybe I'm not doing exactly what I said I was doing. I was using WPA/LI for this, rather than straight WPA, which I thought effectively neutralized clutch *opportunities* by giving every player a LI of 1.00 (e.g. if a player had a pLI of 1.1, WPA/LI would just be his WPA divided by 1.1). But that's clearly wrong--upon further investigation, I think it gives each individual *plate appearance* a LI of 1.00, rather than just the whole season average, and the difference between the two is the "Clutch" score they report, which represents the timing of the hits. In that case, Nettles comes out quite poorly rather than quite well. I guess that explains why WPA/LI hugs BWAA + BRWAA so tightly. I'll do the same study using raw WPA rather than WPA/LI and report back soon. Sorry for the mix-up, I'm new to this stuff.
   189. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 25, 2008 at 05:08 PM (#2872942)
I don't buy into WPA at all for anyone but relief pitchers. Hitters can't be leveraged, except for pinch-hitters, and obviously using them randomly is more valuable if the hitter is good enough to play every day.

Not exactly related, but along the lines of this, I believe there was a study at the SABR convention (done by Palmer and Cramer) that showed the spread of guys with extreme performance in leveraged situations is pretty much exactly what you would expect if the performance was random, in terms of number of players X deviations from average, etc..
   190. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 25, 2008 at 05:17 PM (#2872951)
The key is the salary estimator on the players above.

Using Pennants Added, and zeroing out the negative WARP years, you get:

Brooks .9521
Nettles .9311
Hack .8552
McGraw .8467
Boyer .8090

I think Dan values peak way too highly, and I really don't buy into the salary estimator as a theory at all.

That's where our differences lie, using the exact same win data, just accounting for peak differently.

I want to be clear though, Pennants Added, does boost peak seasons. Just not nearly as highly as Dan's salary estimator.
   191. DL from MN Posted: July 25, 2008 at 05:17 PM (#2872952)
I could be persuaded into using WPA for evaluating steals. Stolen bases definitely should be evaluated in terms of leverage.
   192. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 25, 2008 at 05:18 PM (#2872956)
Rosen ends up at .5035, BTW.
   193. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 25, 2008 at 05:45 PM (#2872988)
DL from MN, Dan Fox's EqBRR are most definitely WPA-based, and they will be included in the next version of my numbers.

Joe Dimino, you don't think there's any value to using WPA to measure a SP's ability to "pitch to the score?"

Could someone do MLE's for Rosen, just to have them?
   194. Paul Wendt Posted: July 25, 2008 at 06:43 PM (#2873076)
189. Joe Dimino Posted: July 25, 2008 at 01:08 PM (#2872942)
I don't buy into WPA at all for anyone but relief pitchers. Hitters can't be leveraged, except for pinch-hitters, and obviously using them randomly is more valuable if the hitter is good enough to play every day.

Isn't the defensive replacement a form of leveraging (negative leverage as a batter)?

If Graig Nettles plays the whole game when they pitch a righty and enters the game when we are two runs ahead against a lefty, isn't that a form of negative leveraging (negative)?

Leveraging as a batter arises more generally than pinch-hitting and Nettles is a rare HOMer who may have used in a platoon or used as a defensive replacement in part of his career that isn't negligible.
   195. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 25, 2008 at 07:12 PM (#2873108)
Joe Dimino, you don't think there's any value to using WPA to measure a SP's ability to "pitch to the score?"


No, I don't Dan. WPA is way too dependent on factors outside the pitcher's (or hitter's) control.
   196. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 25, 2008 at 07:24 PM (#2873110)
Interesting Paul - I hadn't thought of that. But in the case you describe, Nettles would be pretty likely to come into the game in high leverage situations when a righty started, correct? Wouldn't that offset the coming in for defense?

I would think it would be a negligible effect, but I haven't studied it and would love to see info from someone that has.
   197. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 25, 2008 at 07:24 PM (#2873111)
Ugh, I mean when a lefty started and a righty came into the game.
   198. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 25, 2008 at 07:26 PM (#2873112)
DL, I could see that for steals. I would take leverage adjusted SB runs over normal SB runs, for example. Nice catch.
   199. Paul Wendt Posted: July 25, 2008 at 07:49 PM (#2873154)
Nettles would be pretty likely to come into the game in high leverage situations
[ when a lefty started and a righty came into the game ]
correct? Wouldn't that offset the coming in for defense?

I would think it would be a negligible effect, but I haven't studied it and would love to see info from someone that has.


I'm not sure how many of the plausible components would be negligible. I agree that it needs study. Perhaps study should begin with calculating the range of batting leverage for all player-seasons, by playing time. With 70% of full-season PA, what is the maximum and minimum batting leverage in the Retrosheet era? 65%?, and so on.
   200. Paul Wendt Posted: July 25, 2008 at 07:56 PM (#2873164)
Here are the 1871-2006 leaders in 3B fielding games (fse: share of team games, denominated in seasons).
It may be a junk stat, fielding time at thirdbase, so I don't mind hiding it at #200 in the thread. And that is junk precision stretching across the page!

17.9510993473232 Brooks Robinson
15.2689632512629 Graig Nettles
14.4146043397486 Gary Gaetti
14.0060642063618 Wade Boggs
13.9688250347972 Mike Schmidt
13.8582571633160 Eddie Mathews
13.8543018177152 Buddy Bell
13.2174143046141 Ron Santo
13.1059543788433 Tim Wallach
12.9735777005553 Eddie Yost
12.5314789600670 Ron Cey
12.3588410019875 Aurelio Rodriguez
12.0963704138994 Pie Traynor
12.0680775530636 Arlie Latham
12.0175534673035 Robin Ventura

Ranked by fielding games at all positions, among primary 3Bmen, Sutton is second to Robinson at 16.3 seasons, or 17.3 with 1870 credit. See "Ezra Sutton" for a little more about that.
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