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

Monday, July 08, 2002

Second Basemen

Click on the discussion link for the summary of 2B.


101 - 30, 30, 23 - 97 - Sam Barkley - 4.7 sea. 75 batting - 27 fielding.
2B - 86%, 1B 12%, LF 1%.
notes: 1884-89. 5-year peak age 26-30. Played entire career in AA, except 1887 (NL) 5 WS.

94 - 49, 21, 19 - 75 - Ross Barnes - 7.8 sea. 75 batting - 19 fielding.
2B 71%, SS 26%, 3B 3%.
notes: 1871-77, 1879, 1881. Cannot be accurately evaluated using WS until we have NA WS calculated. Barnes was one of the dominant players of the NA, and posted 49 WS in the NL in 1876, before the ‘fair-foul bunt’ was outlawed.

162 - 24, 23, 21 - 92 - Lou Bierbauer - 10.1 sea. 94 batting - 67 fielding.
2B 98%, 3B 1%.
notes: 1886-98. 5-year peak age 20-24. Most of peak in AA (1886-89) 68 WS. 1890 (PL) 25 WS. Rest of career in NL, 69 WS.

191 - 32, 30, 21 - 101 - Jack Burdock - 14.3 sea. 125 batting - 66 fielding.
2B 86%, 3B 7%, SS 5%, C 1%.
notes: 1872-88. 5-year peak age 24-28. Played 3.6 seasons in NA (not included in numbers above).

127 - 36, 28, 27 - 120 - Hub Collins - 5.0 sea. 103 batting - 24 fielding.
2B 56%, LF 34%, CF 4%, SS 3%, 1B 1%.
notes: 1886-1892. 5-year peak age 23-27. Played in AA from 1886-89, NL 1890-92. His best year was in the watered down 1890 NL. His 2nd and 3rd best years were in the AA.

108 - 26, 18, 18 - 83 - Jack Crooks - 5.7 sea. 76 batting - 32 fielding.
2B 79%, 3B 20%, SS 1%.
notes: 1889-93, 1895-96, 1898. 5-year peak age 23-27. Played in NL, except 1889-91 (AA), 4, 17, 26 WS respectively.

249 - 54, 32, 28 - 168 - Fred Dunlap - 8.8 sea. 191 batting - 58 fielding.
100% 2B.
notes: 1880-91. 5-year peak age 21-25. He played in the NL, except for 1884 (UA) 54 WS, part of 1890 (0 WS) and 1891 (AA), 1 WS. His 1884 season, when he dominated the Union Association, has to be severely discounted, as it was against competition that was likely closer to double-A level than major league level. Even if you only give him 25-35 WS for that season, he’s still at 220-230 for his career, he was a pretty good player in the early 1880’s for Cleveland.

172 - 30, 24, 23 - 122 - Jack Farrell - 8.6 sea. 125 batting - 48 fielding.
2B 87%, SS 12%.
notes: 1879-1889. 5-year peak age 21-25. Played entire career in NL, except 1888-89 (AA), 12 and 3 WS respectively those years.

144 - 27, 22, 17 - 64 - Joe Gerhardt - 11.5 sea. 76 batting - 68 fielding.
2B 77%, 3B 9%, 1B 8%, SS 6%.
notes: 1873-81, 1883-87, 1890-91. 5-year peak age 21-25. Played 1.4 seasons in NA (stats not included here). Peak in NL (1876-79). Also played in NL 1881, 1885-87. Played in AA 1883-84, 1887, 1890-91. 53 WS in AA, 91 in NL.

377 - 28, 27, 26 - 124 - Bid McPhee - 16.4 sea. 255 batting - 123 fielding.
2B 100%
notes: 1882-99. 5-year peak age 29-33. Played in AA from 1882-89 (8.6 sea.), 172 WS. Played in NL from 1890-1899 (7.8 sea.), 205 WS. Peak is from 1889-1893.

255 - 27, 26, 24 - 117 - Fred Pfeffer - 13.3 sea. 162 batting - 88 fielding - 5 pitching
2B 89%, SS 10%, 1B 1%.
notes: 1882-97. 5-year peak age 24-28. Played in the NL his entire career, except for 1890 (PL), 15 WS.

332 - 41, 29, 28 - 153 - Hardy Richardson - 11.9 sea. 259 batting - 71 fielding - 2 pitching.
2B 42%, LF 23 %, 3B 17%, 14% CF, 1 % SS, 1% 1B, 1% RF, 1% C
notes: 1879-92. 5-year peak age 28-32. Entire career in NL, except 1890 (PL) 25 WS and 1891 (AA) 12 WS.

168 - 37, 24, 24 - 130 - Yank Robinson - 7.7 sea. 125 batting - 36 fielding - 7 pitching.
2B 69%, 3B 15%, SS 7%, LF 6%, C 2%.
notes: 1882-92. 5-year peak ages 24-28. Peak has to be discounted somewhat in that it was 50% higher than any other year of his career, in the Union Association in 1884. The rest of his career was almost entirely in the AA. He played in the NL in 1882 (1 WS) and 1892 (2 WS). He played in the PL in 1890 (13 WS).

154 - 26, 24, 20 - 100 - Pop Smith - 9.4 sea. 90 batting - 64 fielding.
2B 67%, SS 25%, 3B 6%, CF 1%, RF 1%.
notes: 1880-91. 5-year peak age 26-30. 1882-86, 1891 in AA, which comprises his 4 best years, 1883-86.

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 08, 2002 at 11:54 PM | 91 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. scruff Posted: July 09, 2002 at 12:04 AM (#509984)
Don't forget, these guys should really be thought of the way we think of 3B today. In the 19th Century 3B was a much tougher position defensively than 2B.

The only strong candidates here are McPhee and Richardson. How you rank them will depend on what you think of the peak vs. career issue.

Fred Pfeffer would rank 3rd here (although I'm interested in how Jack Burdock's NA numbers crunch) if I were voting, he was pretty good, but probably a notch below being a HoMer. Probably the weakest position on the ballot, except maybe 3B.
   2. scruff Posted: July 09, 2002 at 12:08 AM (#509985)
I meant to add the obligatory, "leaving Ross Barnes out of the discussion for the moment," to the comments above. He will probably be the most debated candidate on the ballot.
   3. scruff Posted: July 09, 2002 at 03:31 AM (#509987)
When this idea first started bouncing around between RobertDudek and myself, the thought was to include National Association accomplishments.

Now that doesn't mean those achievements are considered on the same level as those of someone in a better league. But the players that dominated in that league shouldn't have their accomplishments completely negated. Sure we should try to accurately take some of the air out of them, but that doesn't mean completely disregarding the accomplishments.

Robert has started on a study (I don't know if he finished it) but his preliminary findings showed the 1875 NA as a stronger league than the 1876 NL, for example. Hopefully as this discussion takes off, we'll come up with some objective ways for giving credit for those accomplishments. You can only dominate the league you play in.

This will also come into play when we have to evaluate Negro Leaguers. Everything isn't in the stats, sometimes we'll just have to go with educated opinions. But that's better than copping out and saying we can't evaluate them so let's just forget them.
   4. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 09, 2002 at 05:22 AM (#509988)
Before we hear that Ross Barnes should be disqualified because of the fair/foul bunt, he left the NL because of injuries (not because of the abolition of said hit). I was surprised when Paul Wendt of the 19th Century Committee of SABR pointed this out to me. Barnes will easily be in the top three (McPhee or Richardson weren't as dominating as Barnes) IMO.

The only other one I could see electing would be Pfeffer. He's a tough one (at least for me). :-)
   5. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 09, 2002 at 07:20 AM (#509989)
Here are the Win Shares per 162 games for the second basemen (NA not included as of yet):

Sam Barkley: 21.43
Ross Barnes: 28.39
Lou Bierbauer: 16.04
Jack Burdock: 16.54
Hub Collins: 25.25
Jack Crooks: 19.38
Fred Dunlap: 27.70
Jack Farrell: 18.88
Joe Gerhardt: 13.31
Bid McPhee: 23.14
Fred Pfeffer: 19.60
Hardy Richardson: 27.99
Yank Robinson: 21.70
Pop Smith: 16.75
   6. scruff Posted: July 09, 2002 at 04:31 PM (#509990)
John, I think you'd be better off re-running the numbers using the number of career WS above and the 'seasons' above. This will at least give a more accurate weight to seasons that were shorter because of the schedule.

For example Cap Anson played 2523 games. His midpoint, for games played came in his age 35 season. He played as many games after the age of 35 as before. Brouthers reached his midpoint in games played at 30. Cal Ripken also crossed the midpoint early in his age 30 season.

Even if you say that Anson played until he was 45, he still should have passed the midpoint at age 32 or 33, not 35. Just taking WS per 162 weighs someone like Anson's older seasons too highly.
   7. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: July 09, 2002 at 04:32 PM (#509991)
Only two players here are candidates to my mind (based on what we have seen so far) although Barnes may move up depending on the NA data. Dunlap looks to me to have no shot; he and Pfeffer are "best-of-the-rest" types but seem to be a level below HoM.

I would take Hardy Richardson over Bid McPhee notwithstanding McPhee's longer and later career, but the fact that McPhee's career is a bit later make it closer.
   8. DanG Posted: July 09, 2002 at 05:10 PM (#509992)
Did a quick look for long-career secondbaseman who were not included in the analysis. Found a couple guys, of course nobody great:

Cub Stricker, 1882-93
Danny Richardson, 1884-94

Perhaps not worthy for crunching of their numbers.

Also, a note about Fred Pfeffer. A long-time Chicago White Stocking player, he benfitted from the "friendly confines". Of his 94 career homers he had 81 home, 13 road.

Dan

   9. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 09, 2002 at 06:21 PM (#509993)
Remember, Cupid Childs just misses being on this year's ballot. The second basemen are really not bad for the 19th century.

Dan:

Richardson and Stricker didn't meet the criteria of being on a STATS all-star team or being on a top 100 list in NBHA (though Richardson did make the 100-125 list). I'll tally up the numbers and send them over to Scruff.
   10. MattB Posted: July 09, 2002 at 06:41 PM (#509994)
Re: McPhee v. Richardson

I also like Richardson as the best of the bunch now, but part of what I'm going on is a basic understanding that the AA -- where McPhee played half of his career -- was a weaker league than the NL.

I'd be interested to know if that is the general consensus.
   11. MattB Posted: July 09, 2002 at 07:30 PM (#509995)
I'd like to throw out another name here that might otherwise get overlooked.

In the same way that Richardson and McPhee set out the peak/career distinction for second basemen toward the end of the century, Ross Barnes was only the "peak" half of a peak/career competition with Jack Burdock.

Burdock began his career in the NA, and had some fair seasons there. He only finishes 5th in total Win Shares excluding NA years (which could reasonably bump him up a notch or two when included), and while his offensive numbers aren't much, but the defensive portion is within a reasonable margin of error of 3rd place (and a clear third including NA numbers).

Burdock became, in 1888 (his last real season), the first player to ever play 1000 games at second base. And if you were to have started the balloting with players appearing through 1890 instead of 1900, Burdock would have stood at the head of the pack among second basemen of the first two decades of baseball (along with - depending on your politics - Ross Barnes).

So, while looking at 30 years of data gives you a general overview, I think Burdock gets lost in the pack the way that a player who played from 1972-1988 would get lost when compared as a bunch to players who played in the 1990s.

Does he qualify as a HoMer? I don't know. Right now he sits 4th on my 2B list (I'm pro-Barnes), and I don't know if that's enough. But if one of the criteria is "best of his era", I think he merits consideration in a sense that some of his WS peers above do not.
   12. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 10, 2002 at 05:20 PM (#509996)
Here are the WS per 162 games for these second basemen:

Danny Richardson: 17.61
Cub Stricker: 13.82

I have sent the career WS prorations to Scruff so he can add them here

   13. scruff Posted: July 11, 2002 at 01:55 AM (#509997)
Bill James letter grades for the 2B. Don't want to beat a dead horse, but remember, we need to think of these guys like we think of 3B today.

A+
Bid McPhee

A
Hardy Richardson

A-
Lou Bierbauer
Fred Dunlap
Joe Gerhardt
Fred Pfeffer

B
Jack Burdock
Pop Smith

B-
Jack Crooks
Jack Farrell

D
Yank Robinson

   14. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 11, 2002 at 02:40 PM (#509999)
(I died in 1913 of "pernicious anemia," which is as bad as it sounds.)

Is that sickle-cell anemia?
   15. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 11, 2002 at 02:48 PM (#510000)
Bud:
Actually, we are nominating African-American players prior to Jackie Robinson (though I think we were looking more at the Negro League players of the 20th century because we have more information on them). I think Fowler, Stovey, etc. should be looked at the very least.
   16. scruff Posted: July 11, 2002 at 04:17 PM (#510002)
Bud -- You've convinced me. You and Stovey will get a vote from me along the way.

The question though, is how good were you relative to the other stars. Should I vote you ahead of guys like Deacon White and Roger Connor? Were you the best player on the planet? Or should I vote for you once we've got the obvious guys out of the way, but ahead of anyone marginal, like a Fred Pfeffer, etc.?

This ballot will be like an MVP ballot where we have to rank all of the players from 1-10. Because of this, I could see it taking you a couple of years to get in, but you'll have my wholehearted support.
   17. scruff Posted: July 11, 2002 at 06:39 PM (#510005)
Bud,

I hear what you are saying, but . . .

1) Connor and his fellow players (save Anson) didn't ban you themselves. I don't think racism meant they were chickenshit. I think it meant they (the powers that be, not Connor personally) were racist. It was a different time back then, and they probably (incorrectly, I want to be sure there's no question about what I'm saying) felt you were beneath them, if not as a player, as a person.

I'm not excusing this behavior, just saying you have a good enough case already, you don't have to resort to calling the other guys chickenshit.

2) I think there is pretty good extrinsic proof that the NL and AA were better than the International League. That's why we call them the major leagues. I'd imagine the NL and AA paid the most money at the time, and I would think the best players would gravitate to those leagues. I'm not saying it's like it is today, and that 95% of the best players were in the 'majors', but I think I'm on pretty strong ground saying the AA and NL were the strongest leagues in the timeframe we are discussing.

I could be wrong here. I haven't done the digging, it's just solid guesswork.

3) I'm really trying to work with you Bud, but if we are going to convince the voters that you guys are worthy, we have to pick and choose our battles strategically, it might be a little to ambitious to convince everyone that you guys were the best two players of the era. However it's very reasonable to expect others to buy into the fact that you guys are among the best players of the era, which would warrant your induction. Again, this isn't a yes/no vote, so we are going to have to convince people to rank you and your buddy George ahead of specific players. That's a little tougher than convincing people to vote yay or nay.

It sucks, but like everything, strong political skills will not hurt in this quest. If you say, "they are the best two players until someone proves me wrong," it'll be very easy for people to say, "no they weren't" and the fact that they probably were very close will be obscured as the detractors try to shoot you down and the bickering starts.

But if you start with a reasonable premise like, "they were every bit as good as most of the best white players of their generation," people can accept this and it will go a long way towards building a consensus.

Best of luck,

Joe
   18. MattB Posted: July 11, 2002 at 07:05 PM (#510006)
I know this doesn't actually help, but I'd probably put Fowler in the same category and Ross Barnes -- great second baseman with a shorter career in a less dominant league. The problem, of course, is that I consider Barnes the third best second baseman of the era, and Bill James doesn't even put him in his Top 100, so it doesn't really help with placement.

On a related note: are pre-NA players eligible? I've read that Jim Creighton was supposed to be the best player in early pro ball and the first openly professional player. I don't know much about him, except that he died young of baseball-related injuries. Don't know if it's worth digging deeper.
   19. scruff Posted: July 11, 2002 at 07:32 PM (#510007)
Matt -- someone like Creighton would definitely be eligible. But it'll be up to someone who believes in him as a candidate to convince the ignorant (of which I'm a member).
   20. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 11, 2002 at 07:49 PM (#510008)
Since Creighton died at the age of 21, I would say no.
   21. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 12, 2002 at 06:56 AM (#510010)
Here is the updated Win Shares per 162 games for the second basemen (NA not included as of yet):

Sam Barkley: 21.43
Ross Barnes: 28.39
Lou Bierbauer: 16.04
Jack Burdock: 16.54
Hub Collins: 25.25
Jack Crooks: 19.38
Fred Dunlap: 27.70
Jack Farrell: 18.88
Joe Gerhardt: 13.31
Bid McPhee: 23.14
Fred Pfeffer: 19.60
Danny Richardson: 17.61
Hardy Richardson: 27.99
Yank Robinson: 21.70
Pop Smith: 16.75
Cub Stricker: 13.82

Scruff:
Did you get the Danny Richardson, Cub Stricker and Bill Phillips spreadsheet?


   22. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 14, 2002 at 05:55 AM (#510011)
152-21, 21, 18-87-Danny Richardson-8.6 sea.-83 batting-60 fielding>-10 pitching

2B 56%, SS 26%, CF 5%, RF 5%, 3B 4%, LF 4%.
notes: 1884-1894. 5-year peak ages 24-28. Played his whole career in the National League (except for 1890 in the PL).

135-18, 18, 16-72-Cub Stricker-9.8 sea.-87 batting-45 fielding-3 pitching
2B 95%, SS 2%, RF 2%.
notes: 1882-1885; 1887-1893. 5-year peak ages 27-31. Played his whole career in the AA (except for 1890 in the PL; 1892-1893 in the NL).


   23. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 15, 2002 at 12:36 AM (#510012)
Bob "The Magnet" Addy was another good player who deserves mention, but I don't think he's a HoMer.
   24. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 20, 2002 at 03:55 PM (#510013)
ChapelHeel said:

I know some of the adjustments are still in the experimental stage, but taking a step back from the numbers for a sec: How does a guy like Bid McPhee become the 5th best non-pitcher on the ballot in total WS? I think the guy is a HoMer, but fifth?

No question he was a great defensive player. However, he was a .270 hitter in a hitter's era and in mostly hitter's parks....his unadjusted OPS crossed .800 only twice in 18 years. What would those hitting stats be in a park-adjusted and era-adjusted environment?
Bill James has him as the 30th best second baseman of all time. He had only 6 out of 18 years in which his park-adjusted RC/27 was more than 25% above the league RC/27. Based on the STATS Retroactive All-Star list, his hitting got him named to the All-Star team only 2 times in 18 years (the list doesn't take into account defense). His hitting is weak, even for his position, and everyone seems to acknowledge that 2b was more of a hitter's position in the 19th century.

I know that some of those stats aren't good measures (e.g, batting average) and that James doesn't do a great job with 19th-century players, so I agree adjustments should be made. I also agree that he is definitely HoMer material. But fifth? I don't think anyone would have taken McPhee in a straight-up trade with Paul Hines.


I agree with you on McPhee. While I definitely think he's worthy of induction, he's behind Richardson and probably Barnes (still trying to sort him out), IMO. McPhee was never the best second basemen at one time. Richardson was the premier player in the 1880s, while Cupid Childs (not eligible yet) was the #1 in the 1890s. The one thing in his favor (and it's a big one) is that he was near the top for a very long time. He was the most durable keystone player until Lajoie. He belongs.

   25. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 31, 2002 at 06:45 PM (#510014)
I think I have been a little too harsh on Fred Dunlap. The more I look at his career, he would be my pick for the second best second baseman of the 1880s (behind Hardy Richardson). McPhee and Pfeffer would follow, respectively, after.
   26. Marc Posted: September 07, 2002 at 06:01 PM (#510015)
>How does a guy like Bid McPhee become the 5th best non-pitcher on the ballot in total WS? I
think the guy is a HoMer, but fifth?

I don't doubt that McPhee is deserving of fifth place on CWS among 19th century players. He had a long career which lots of other 19th century players, and especially middle infielders, didn't have.

The real question always goes back to whether total career stats is the way to rate and rank, or whether peak value (whether WS or whatever) has a role. McPhee is the best 19th century 2B on CWS but probably no more than 3rd or 4th on PWS. So now comes the fun part that the numbers can't decide. How do McPhee's apples compare to Barnes'(or Richardson's or Childs') oranges?

   27. scruff Posted: September 13, 2002 at 04:27 PM (#510017)
McPhee was MUCH better hitter than Mazeroski Tom. It's not even close. Mazeroski's OWP is more like .400 than .552 (unless McPhee's number above is adjusted to defensive position, but I don't think it is).

I really think there are 3 paths to the HoF or HoM.

The first is obvious, long career, high peak. These guys (as Bill James once said) kick the doors open and yell, "I'm here, where's the beer!"

But there are two other paths, and both are equally deserving. One is the Nolan Ryan, Don Sutton, McPhee, Rusty Staub, Vada Pinson path of being a very good player for a very long time, with a few big, but not huge years. These players are usually way underrated while playing. I wouldn't put Baines in this path, because he doesn't meet the "a few big years" standard. Very few of these guys actually end up getting in.

The other path is the Koufax, Kiner, Belle path, where the guy has some monster years, but for whatever reason a very short career. The Hall has typically welcomed these guys although they have to wait sometimes.

I think both paths are equally viable. But to compare Bid McPhee to Bill Mazeroski does the 19th century man a great disservice if you ask me. The only way this is possible is if you use a timeline adjustment and picture Mazeroski going back to 1885 as himself, with all of the nutritional increases (not to mention 3 extra generations of natural selection giving him a better gene pool), etc. I don't really think this is fair.

Sure a minor timeline adjustment is reasonable, because it's tougher to dominate a league these days (which makes Barry all the more incredible). But to just discount all of the old time players doesn't make sense to me.

McPhee was very, very good player for a very, very long time. That's worth a lot. Richardson had the one monster year, but the rest of his peak is pretty similar to McPhee's, and McPhee had a much longer career. I think the two are toss up, and I'd probably take McPhee if we were starting a league and it was 1879. I could see Richardson, but either way I think the two are damn close.

Richardson was a better hitter, but McPhee was a wizard with the glove, at 2B. I mean the position is treated like 3B is today (that is, not as important) and he still racks up almost as many defensive WS as Ozzie Smith did at SS. Unless the WS methodology for 2B is extremely flawed, the guy was an incredible defensive player.

I think the man to compare McPhee to is Brooks Robinson. 2B then was like 3B in modern times. Both were amazing, miles ahead of their peers with the glove. Both played their entire career in one city. Both were pretty good hitters, though nothing special with the stick. Brooksy, not Maz is the man to make the comparison with.

I'd equate Richardson to a guy like Ron Santo. Short career, very good hitter.

Both are HoMers IMO.
   28. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 16, 2002 at 04:29 AM (#510019)
Has anyone seen or posted Pete Palmer/Dallas Green's analysis of league quality differences?

Boy, now that's an odd twosome! :-)
   29. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 29, 2002 at 02:58 AM (#510020)
Updating my top five second basemen (in order):
Bid McPhee (I had been underestimating the competition he faced)
Hardy Richardson (originally had him number one, Hardy didn't play as many games as McPhee at a premium defensive position).
Ross Barnes (including his NA numbers)
Fred Dunlap
Fred Pfeffer

   30. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 29, 2002 at 08:56 PM (#510022)
TomH:
You weren't the first to make a mistake here and you certainly won't be the last. I know from my own personal experience. :-)
   31. Rob Wood Posted: November 02, 2002 at 10:16 PM (#510023)
Spink says that Fred Dunlap was the greatest second baseman of the 19th century. Just throwing this out there for what it is worth.
   32. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 03, 2002 at 01:44 AM (#510024)
Spink says that Fred Dunlap was the greatest second baseman of the 19th century. Just throwing this out there for what it is worth.

All-around or just as a fielder?
   33. Rob Wood Posted: November 03, 2002 at 05:44 PM (#510025)
I don't have the book with me right now, but I am almost sure Spink meant all-around (hitting, defense, baserunning). He spends about a full page singing Dunlap's praises, and quotes a couple other experts as saying that Dunlap was the greatest second baseman ever (written in 1909). The evidence that has come down to us seems to suggest that Hardy Richardson was a greater player, especially if we discount Dunlap's outstanding UA season.

By the way, Cap Anson named Fred Pfeffer as the second baseman on his personal all-time best team. Of course, Pfeffer played along side Anson for many years in Chicago, so we should probably disregard Anson's opinion. The full team (appearing in a TSN 1918 article) is Ewing, King Kelly, Anson, Pfeffer, Williamson, Barnes, Lange, Gore, Ryan, Duffy, Rusie, Clarkson, and McCormick.
   34. Marc Posted: November 04, 2002 at 02:06 AM (#510026)
Rob, are you sure of Anson's selections--two second basemen, no shortstop, five outfielders?
   35. Rob Wood Posted: November 04, 2002 at 07:35 PM (#510027)
Anson didn't go exclusively with one player per position. He had both Ewing and Kelly as catchers (though Kelly was a great all-around player). Barnes was listed as the shortstop. And I think he listed four outfielders because he wanted to add Lange who (in my opinion) doesn't really belong. Anyway, Anson's list is quite different from my list made almost 100 years later.
   36. Marc Posted: September 18, 2003 at 08:35 PM (#510029)
Just what we need, another 2B.

Regarding the '60s (that's the 1860s) I had early on mentioned Al Reach in addition to Start, the Wrights, Pearce, Creighton, Jack Chapman, et al, as among the best of that decade. In the end I was unable to find enough on Reach to want to continue to include among that group.

So then what comes along a few days ago than The National Pastime with an article about Al Reach. Like many of the pioneers, his fame as a manager, owner and sporting goods magnate came to overshadow his play, but it seems that indeed he was one of the better ones of that era.

He was born in London in 1840, he came to Brooklyn with his parents when just 1 year old, and he worked for a living as early in life as he could. His family was not poor, however; his father had enough leisure to play cricket, and Al followed him into that game. Like many young cricketers of the day, however, he quickly shifted over to baseball and first gained notoriety as a catcher for the Jackson Juniors of Williamsburg. He moved to the elite Eckford team in 1861.

There he was prominent enough to be recruited by Col. Tom Fitzgerald to the original Philadelphia Athletics in 1864. Reach was paid $25/week and initially he commuted down for each game. By 1866, Fitzgerald had set him up in a cigar store where Reach quickly started brokering tickets and selling athletic gear. In late '66, he married and moved to Philly.

"For most of the next decade, 'Pops' Reach was one of the sport's most popular and respected ballplayers. Fast and sure-handed, Reach set the standards for playing second base. He was...the first to play his position midway (?) between the bases. He also stationed himself very deep, about twenty feet behind the infield line. Reach was known as the 'Scratcher' for his ability of digging up hard-hit balls. At five-foot-six-inches and 155 pounds, Al Reach hit lefthanded with skill and power. His feats and gentlemanly behavior...were lauded by the sportin press. In 1874, Reach became the playing manager for the Athletics...."

From there on the story is about his post-player days. In '82 he helped found the Philadelphia Phillies, the A's having been one of the teams booted out of the NL for failing to finish its schedule in '76. He was a co-owner through 1903, though in a minority position after the early '90s. He wanted out because majority owner, John Rogers, represented the league "against" the players (i.e. in labor matters) and his disrespect for the players drove many like Nap Lajoie andother players away during the A.L. wars.

Reach also became a business partner in the mid-'90s with Ben Shibe, who later became owner of the new AL A's. Reach's son and Shibe's daughter marriedm but Reach never owned a share of the A's.

So how good was Reach, really? Well, hard to say. He was probably one of the top 2 or 3 players by 1864, one of the first after Creighton to be paid. But his heyday with the Eckfords (unlike Start's with the Atlantics) was during the Civil War, and Philadelphia during his pre-NA years there did not represent the best competition available.

He played with the NA A's for all 5 years (ages 31-35), as their player-manager for the latter two. But he only played a total of 80 games split almost evenly between 2B and OF (almost all RF). His OPS+ was just 73. It is almost impossible to credit the TB fielding stats but for whatever it is worth he looks like a good fielder both at 2B and in RF. In fairness, at age 31 he played 26 games at 2B with an OPS+ of 150.

In sum: 1) He was only 2 years older than Joe Start and offers NOTHING remotely like Start's documented (post-'70) value. He was 5 years younger than Harry Wright and does not look as good as Harry for his NA days. 2) Reports from the '60s sometimes mention Reach, but those reports that include the Wrights and Creighton and Pearce and Start are much more complimentary to them than to Reach. So Reach is perhaps next in line after all of those but with the exception of Jack Chapman doesn't replace any of them in the pecking order of very early players (whose ultimate place in history depends on what happened before 1871). In other words:

1. Start
2. Pearce
3. H. Wright
4. Creighton for his incredible peak if only 3 years
5. Reach
6. Jack Chapman

The other great players of the (later) '60s--G. Wright and Spalding--can stand on their NA play if they have to.

   37. Marc Posted: September 18, 2003 at 08:45 PM (#510030)
Just what we need, another 2B.

Regarding the '60s (that's the 1860s) I had early on mentioned Al Reach in addition to Start, the Wrights, Pearce, Creighton, Jack Chapman, et al, as among the best of that decade. In the end I was unable to find enough on Reach to want to continue to include among that group.

So then what comes along a few days ago than The National Pastime with an article about Al Reach. Like many of the pioneers, his fame as a manager, owner and sporting goods magnate came to overshadow his play, but it seems that indeed he was one of the better ones of that era.

He was born in London in 1840, he came to Brooklyn with his parents when just 1 year old, and he worked for a living as early in life as he could. His family was not poor, however; his father had enough leisure to play cricket, and Al followed him into that game. Like many young cricketers of the day, however, he quickly shifted over to baseball and first gained notoriety as a catcher for the Jackson Juniors of Williamsburg. He moved to the elite Eckford team in 1861.

There he was prominent enough to be recruited by Col. Tom Fitzgerald to the original Philadelphia Athletics in 1864. Reach was paid $25/week and initially he commuted down for each game. By 1866, Fitzgerald had set him up in a cigar store where Reach quickly started brokering tickets and selling athletic gear. In late '66, he married and moved to Philly.

"For most of the next decade, 'Pops' Reach was one of the sport's most popular and respected ballplayers. Fast and sure-handed, Reach set the standards for playing second base. He was...the first to play his position midway (?) between the bases. He also stationed himself very deep, about twenty feet behind the infield line. Reach was known as the 'Scratcher' for his ability of digging up hard-hit balls. At five-foot-six-inches and 155 pounds, Al Reach hit lefthanded with skill and power. His feats and gentlemanly behavior...were lauded by the sportin press. In 1874, Reach became the playing manager for the Athletics...."

From there on the story is about his post-player days. In '82 he helped found the Philadelphia Phillies, the A's having been one of the teams booted out of the NL for failing to finish its schedule in '76. He was a co-owner through 1903, though in a minority position after the early '90s. He wanted out because majority owner, John Rogers, represented the league "against" the players (i.e. in labor matters) and his disrespect for the players drove many like Nap Lajoie andother players away during the A.L. wars.

Reach also became a business partner in the mid-'90s with Ben Shibe, who later became owner of the new AL A's. Reach's son and Shibe's daughter marriedm but Reach never owned a share of the A's.

So how good was Reach, really? Well, hard to say. He was probably one of the top 2 or 3 players by 1864, one of the first after Creighton to be paid. But his heyday with the Eckfords (unlike Start's with the Atlantics) was during the Civil War, and Philadelphia during his pre-NA years there did not represent the best competition available.

He played with the NA A's for all 5 years (ages 31-35), as their player-manager for the latter two. But he only played a total of 80 games split almost evenly between 2B and OF (almost all RF). His OPS+ was just 73. It is almost impossible to credit the TB fielding stats but for whatever it is worth he looks like a good fielder both at 2B and in RF. In fairness, at age 31 he played 26 games at 2B with an OPS+ of 150.

In sum: 1) He was only 2 years older than Joe Start and offers NOTHING remotely like Start's documented (post-'70) value. He was 5 years younger than Harry Wright and does not look as good as Harry for his NA days. 2) Reports from the '60s sometimes mention Reach, but those reports that include the Wrights and Creighton and Pearce and Start are much more complimentary to them than to Reach. So Reach is perhaps next in line after all of those but with the exception of Jack Chapman doesn't replace any of them in the pecking order of very early players (whose ultimate place in history depends on what happened before 1871). In other words:

1. Start
2. Pearce
3. H. Wright
4. Creighton for his incredible peak if only 3 years
5. Reach
6. Jack Chapman

The other great players of the (later) '60s--G. Wright and Spalding--can stand on their NA play if they have to.

   38. Marc Posted: April 06, 2004 at 11:03 PM (#510031)
2B isn't so much a reconsideration as some other positions, because I've had several of them in my backlog for some time. Anyway, here's the consideration set:

? I'm with Andrew, though, on taking a fresh look at Fred Pfeffer.
   39. Marc Posted: April 06, 2004 at 11:13 PM (#510032)
I got my Freddy's mixed up a bit. Dunlap has OPS+ 132, Pfeffer 92.
   40. Marc Posted: April 06, 2004 at 11:53 PM (#510033)
And PS. Just for the record, the Bill James ratings are factored in (above), but some comments re. Negro Leaguers:

1. Bingo DeMoss--James is with the consensus in rating DeMoss #1 but doesn't tell much about him. He was "the best bunter" and a "slap" hitter. Re. his defense, James only quotes Quincy Trouppe in saying that "he hardly ever looked directly toward first base" when throwing over, "he could make the play by a half glance." I don't know that that says he's a great defender, though I would guess he had to be to be rated so highly with such a weak bat...???

5. Bill Monroe
   41. MattB Posted: April 08, 2004 at 10:08 AM (#510034)
1. Frank Grant. Best black player in the 19th century.

2. Home Run Johnson.

3. Cupid Childs. 238 Win Shares. 108.4 WARP 1. #26 to Bill James. Had a longer, higher peak than I remembered. I had Childs pegged as a "peak only", but he was a regular for 11 years, and only in a weak league for the first of those. Cupid will definitely be reconsidered. His only real problem is distinguishing him convincingly from the next three on the list.

4. Johnny Evers. 268 Win Shares. 110.3 WARP 1. #25 to Bill James. WARP sees his career as very similar to Childs', but with a slightly lower peak. Win Shares is more generous.

5. Bill Monroe. The fact that so many white second basemen below here seem interchangeable lends credence to the idea that all of the other great ones were in the Negro Leagues.

6. Fred Dunlap. 165 Win Shares. 101 WARP-1. #89 to Bill James. 0n the one hand, vver 20% of Fred's WARP comes from the 1884 UA. On the other hand, it came between two 10+ WARP seasons in the NL, so chopping his 22.5 by more than half seems unwarranted, which leaves him at 90 WARP with a strong peak. Was he as good a defender as WARP thinks? Does Win Shares underrate his defense?

7. Kid Gleason. 294 Win Shares. 105.7 WARP 1. Ranks as a "slash" player, but earns almost none of his value from his offense. A .500 pitcher in over 2000 innings in 8 years is valuable, and a defensive secondbaseman with a 78 OPS+ for 12 years was also likely very valuable, but I'm not really sure how it all adds up. I value career somewhat, but I'm dubious that 100 years of average can equal 20 years of great.

8. Jimmy Williams. 207 Win Shares. 102.5 WARP-1. #54 to Bill James.

9. Tom Daly. 215 Win Shares. 84.5 WARP-1. #55 to Bill James. Honestly, I can't remember looking at him the first time, and he doesn't seem very special to me.

10. Fred Pfeffer. 202 Win Shares. 108 WARP-1. #66 to Bill James. Another player assisted by WARP's willingness to give huge boosts to defense, where Win Shares constrains a given position more. Did Pfeffer's glove really save 70+ runs four times? In a defensive era that was much more variable, I wouldn't say it was impossible.

Also ranked by Bill James:

11. Bobby Lowe. 188 Win Shares. 98.3 WARP-1. Ranked #56 by Bill James. I must have slept through 1913, because I don't remember considering him either.

12. Joe Quinn. 120 Win Shares. 62.7 WARP 1. #102 to Bill James. The only other player James ranks.
   42. Marc Posted: April 08, 2004 at 02:32 PM (#510035)
I have HR Johnson among the SSs.
   43. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 08, 2004 at 03:53 PM (#510036)
3. Cupid Childs. 238 Win Shares. 108.4 WARP 1. #26 to Bill James. Had a longer, higher peak than I remembered. I had Childs pegged as a "peak only", but he was a regular for 11 years, and only in a weak league for the first of those. Cupid will definitely be reconsidered. His only real problem is distinguishing him convincingly from the next three on the list.

If you also compare him to his contemporaries at the position, he was more durable than it appears at first glance.

It wasn't fun being an infielder during the 1890s! :-)
   44. jimd Posted: April 09, 2004 at 06:01 PM (#510037)
Was he as good a defender as WARP thinks? Does Win Shares underrate his defense?

A generic problem for all "early" fielders.

If you think that Win Shares overrates "early" pitching (pick whatever date you prefer for "early"), then by the logic/math of the system it immediately follows that Win Shares underrates the fielding. When you change the pitching/fielding split to downgrade the pitching shares, the fielders now get whatever the pitchers use to get; the more important the fielding position and the better the fielder, the more extra shares received from the pitcher's original share.
   45. Marc Posted: April 20, 2004 at 02:32 PM (#510038)
In my first (but probably not my last) re-reconsideration, I shoulda had Al Reach in the reconsideration set. He's very analogous to Sol White--i.e. perhaps the 4th best of a group that is all very murky to begin with:

Negro League position players pre-1915: Monroe, Johnson, Grant, White (most of you don't agree with my order except for 4th where I think you do)

Pre-NA peak position players (i.e. not including, say, G. Wright, who arguably had his peak, or at least a peak after 1870): Start, Pearce, H. Wright, Reach

So, my previous rating with one addition:

>1. Collins
   46. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 20, 2004 at 08:34 PM (#510039)
Nothing to do with current, or even near-current ballot-able 2Bers, but John Brattain spent far too much time comparing Doerr & Joe Gordon & so it doesn't get lost in the vast wastespaces of my memory, here's a link to what he says.
   47. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 06, 2004 at 02:29 PM (#780889)
All posts corrected up to #47.

BTW, its funny what you can find out with IP addresses. I can ascertain which celebrity posts (other than the ones that I made :-) belong to which voter here.

With that said, Bud Fowler's secret is safe with me. :-)
   48. sunnyday2 Posted: July 14, 2005 at 02:19 PM (#1470995)
So where are we at with 2Bs? As of 1955, the voting results are:

5. Billy Herman 33 ballots, 442 points, 7 3rd places
25. Cupid Childs 11, 121, high of 4th
36. Larry Doyle 6, 65, 5th
40. Bill Monroe 5, 51, 6th

And then we've got Joe Gordon eligible in '56 and Bobby Doerr in '57. Jackie Robinson in '62 will be a no-brainer. After that there is no significant candidate I can see until Schoendienst and Fox in 18568 and '71 eiher or both of whom could be interesting. I think Nellie Fox is vastly underrated, e.g., because he came out of a mold that has since been broken by the Sandbergs et al. Maybe eventually we'll need to decide whether Fox or Sewell is the better candidate from that mold.

Others who have had support over the years and who remain eligible today:

Fred Dunlap
Johnny Evers
Tony Lazzeri
Sol White

Others who never generated any real support would include Pratt, Pfeffer, Murphy, Huggins, Myer, G. Scales and all of the more conventional NeL choices like DeMoss, Newt Allen, etc. Truth be told, the four players mentioned above (Dunlap, Evers, Lazzeri and White) never generated much support either.

I would agree that we're focusing on the right guys. So the question seems to be, if we elect a 2B in the next 5-6-8 years (aside from Jackie Robinson), should it be

Billy Herman
Joe Gordon
Bobby Doerr

And if we missed anybody and his candidacy should be revived, is it Dunlap, Evers, Lazzeri, White or somebody else?
   49. Chris Cobb Posted: July 14, 2005 at 02:42 PM (#1471050)
May I suggest a context for sunnyday2's excellent starting question, "if we elect a 2b in the next 5-8 years (aside from Jackie Robinson, should it be Billy Herman, Joe Gordon, or Bobby Doerr?"

Unless the electorate collectively changes its view of Billy Herman or strongly embraces several candidates who are currently not on our radar, Herman will be elected in 1958. So, two questions: one, is Billy Herman really the third-best returning candidate (that's where we ranked him in 1955)? and two, was either Gordon or Doerr better?

The first question involves candidates who are not second basemen and thus probably should get addressed on the ballot discussion thread, when we finish hashing out how we are going to reform the HoF by the moral force of our example :-).

The second question is a good one for here.

Even giving generous amounts of war credit to Doerr and Gordon, it seems hard to argue that either player had more career value than Herman did.

I've recently made the case on the Herman thread that Herman also has the better peak, in response to sunnyday2's assertion that both had great arguments to have better peaks than Herman. What is the counter-case for Gordon and Doerr's peaks?
   50. andrew siegel Posted: July 14, 2005 at 02:51 PM (#1471070)
Here's my take. Coincidentally, I have them slotted roughly in five grous of two.

Group one--Childs and Herman--these guys have full resumes--peak, prime, career (when measured against standards of their time), and numerous retroactive all-star designations. They don't stand out in any one area and it is a crowded ballot, so they are between 10 and 12 but they should go in eventually.

Group two--Doerr and Gordon--similar in quality to Childs and Herman but relatively short careers for their time PLUS probably a little less peak. They are legitimate candidates but must get in line somewhere between 16 and 25.

Group three--Doyle and Monroe--also legitimate candidates, but with bigger questions marks--for Doyle, his defense and league quality; for Monroe, wildly divergent assessments of his offensive prowess (see I9's for a low projection). I have them in the 30's based on what I know now, which means they probably won't get into my PHoM, but the lists down there are very tight, so they would jump quickly if I increase my assessment of them even marginally.

Group four--Dunlap and Scales--I think we are underrating them, but not by enough to make them serious candidates. Both have dropped out of my 50 person consideration set in the last 2 weeks.

Group five--Lazzerri and Evers--Hall of Very Good--the kind of guys who might have had an outside shot with extra long careers but had extra short careers. Probably but not definitely in my top 100.

The rest of the guys are non-starters--not sure if I'd vote for them for the Hall of Very Good.
   51. sunnyday2 Posted: July 14, 2005 at 02:54 PM (#1471079)
Chris, this is off the top right now, maybe I will return to it with the data in front of me (or else a frontal lobotomy).

Doerr and Gordon are A fielders, Herman a B (or B+, I forget.

And Gordon in particular had OPS+ years in the 150s-30s-30s. Doerr actually falls way short of Gordon on peak OPS+ with his best (other than a tainted 1943) in the 120s. Herman had a couple 30s and 3 20s, you're right, better than Doerr, but you're not right, not better than Gordon.

So it seems to me that in his very best seasons--say from '39 to '43--Gordon put together a clearly better peak/prime than Herman did. Better fielder, better hitter. And Herman's clear 5 year peak from '35-'39 did include one off year.

That is not to say I will have Gordon higher on my ballot because, as you say, there is no doubt that Herman has more career value. Even then LWTS has it Herman 32 Gordon 29 and I think that is a fair representation of their relative placement. (Of course LWTS has Doerr at 40 and I don't buy him as clearly better than the other two.)
   52. PhillyBooster Posted: July 14, 2005 at 02:59 PM (#1471089)
I agree that Billy Herman is the cream of the crop.

I'd be happy to hear any counterarguments, but Herman just seems to be on the top of every list.

Below him, though, it gets kind of murky, which is what makes me dubious about voting for any of them.

Consider:

Highest rated by Bill James: Joe Gordon (#14) (Doerr at 18, Lazzeri at 19)

Most Win Shares: Larry Doyle (289) (Doerr at 281 without war credit), next is Evers at 268.

Top 5 WS: Joe Gordon (134) (Doyle 130, Childs and Doerr, 127)
WS/162: 1. Dunlap (27.7) 2.Doyle (26.5) 3. Childs (26.5)

WARP-1: Johnny Evers, 108.7 (Doerr 106.4 without war credit)

WARP-1/162G: Dunlap (17.2) followed by Childs (11.5) and Huggins (10.3)

WARP-3: Doerr (98.9) (Lazzeri is second, close second if you include PCL credit)

WS/600 PA: Doyle (23.5), Dunlap (23.2), Evers (22.3)

If I like Win Shares, it's clearly going to be Doyle. WARP gives me Doerr or Evers, plus Gordon with reasonable war credit.

Career gives me Doyle, Doerr, and Evers.

Peak gives me Childs, Gordon, and Dunlap.

With a gun to my head, my Top 10 Second Basemen, including all of the above and the Negro Leaguers:

1. Herman
2. Doerr
3. Childs
4. Gordon
(4A. Monroe)
5. Evers
6. Doyle
7. Lazzeri
(7A. Sol White)
8. Dunlap

Last year I had Herman on ballot, and Childs #18, so at this point I'd have to say Doerr makes my ballot in the bottom half and Gordon starts at about #20.

That's not certain, though.
   53. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: July 14, 2005 at 09:38 PM (#1472321)
Yeah, league strength is a big deal with Doyle. WARP3 really sint' a big fan at all. If a voter used only WARP3, Doyle would be a non starter and lower than even Evers.
   54. Chris Cobb Posted: July 15, 2005 at 01:17 AM (#1473113)
The role of fielding value as part of peak value for Herman, Gordon, and Doerr is interesting. Here’s a list of their seasonal fielding ws totals, listed from highest to lowest by fielding rate.

The horizontal lines are to give some idea of fielding rates. 6.00 ws/1000 or better is A+, 5.25 is the bottom of the A range, 4.5 the bottom of the B, 3.75 the bottom of the C range, 3.00 the bottom of the D range.

An * indicates that this was one of the player’s top 5 seasons, according to WS. A ^ indicates that the player spent significant time at another position, detailed below.


Herman         Gordon       Doerr
Yr fws   bws   yr fws bws   yr  fws  bws
38 9.0  11.2   43 8.4 19.8* 46 10.4  16.9*
36 8.3  20.4*  46 5.7  3.5  49  8.7  16.8*
                            47  7.8  10.8
                            39  6.6  10.9
-------------- 6.00 fws/1000 inn. --------------
35 7.9  23.8*  38 6.4 12.1  43  7.8  16.1
40 6.7  10.2   49 7.1 12.3  50  6.9  15.7
34 5.2  10.6   40 7.4 18.6* 
               39 6.9 18.0* 
-------------- 5.25 fws/1000 inn. --------------
37 6.2  22.9*  42 6.5 24.6* 48  6.3  20.3*
33 6.3  11.7   48 6.3 17.9  42  6.3  17.9*
32 6.1  16.7                38  6.2   8.1
                            51  4.4  12.0
-------------- 4.50 fws/1000 inn. ---------------
42 5.8  14.5   41 5.9 18.3^ 40  5.9  15.5
               47 5.8 19.5* 
-------------- 3.75 fws/1000 inn. ---------------
39 4.9  19.9*  50 3.4  8.2  41  3.7  11.6
41 4.1  13.4                
-------------- 3.00 fws/1000 inn. ---------------
46 3.1  17.0^               44  3.0  24.1*
43 3.0  23.8*^



Out of Position:

In 1941 Gordon played 30 games at 1b (Priddy experiment)
In 1943 Herman played 37 games at 3b
In 1946 Herman played more than half his games at 3b or 1b

Analysis: As win shares sees it, all three of these second basemen were excellent fielders at their peak.

Doerr was the best of the three with the glove, but not by much. He peaked defensively after WWII, and retained his fielding and hitting skills until his early retirement at age 33. (Was there an injury here? Quarrel with the front office? Or was he in decline in ways that his stats don’t show clearly?) His hitting was slightly below the other two, but he never managed to have a great hitting year and fielding year at the same time, the way Gordon and especially Herman did.

Gordon’s performance was more consistent, never poor until his final season, when his batting and fielding skill appear to have eroded rapidly after he turned 35 (though WARP sees his fielding having been in significant decline after he turned 30).

Herman’s defense was stellar in the late 1930s, but it began slipping significantly when he hit age 30 in 1939: it looks like he was becoming an inadequate second baseman by 1943, and he definitely couldn’t handle the position at age 37 when he returned from the war. He retained his hitting skills, however, so he remained an above-average player even though his defense was weak. This brings his career fielding rates down, but helps his overall career value.

Interesting how these three handed off the mantle of “best second baseman in baseball: Herman had it in the late 1930s, Gordon in the early 1940s, Doerr in the late 1940s. Herman followed Gehringer (though Gehringer was great through 1938, so the title may pass directly from Gehringer to Gordon), and Robinson followed Doerr, hitting his peak from 1949-1953.

The point of this analysis was to show that in terms of peak fielding value, Herman is very close to Doerr and Gordon, but his fielding value declines in a way that theirs doesn’t, partly because he sustained his hitting value to a later age. His actual peak is higher because he put together some of his best fielding and best hitting seasons. At least, that how win shares sees it. WARP would probably tell a somewhat different story.
   55. Gadfly Posted: July 15, 2005 at 11:51 AM (#1473946)
Chris Cobb-

Bobby Doerr's career was prematurely ended by a back injury, if I remember correctly.
   56. sunnyday2 Posted: July 15, 2005 at 11:57 AM (#1473947)
Chris, very interesting. If anything, Doerr and Gordon got better with the glove over time, Herman didn't. Gordon's 1946 is a pretty bizarre year.

If we don't elect Herman and/or Gordon and/or Doerr (and/or Doyle and/or Lazzeri) quickly, this is going to get even harder when Nellie Fox becomes eligible in the early '60s.

Bill James in the NBJHBA has them rated as follows:

10. Roberto Alomar
11. Frankie Frisch
12. Bobby Grich
13. Lou Whitaker

14. Billy Herman, whom he says BTW was "widely know as the best hit-and-run man of his time--the best, perhaps, in baseball history."

15. Nellie Fox, whom WS sees as the AL MVP in 1959 (as well as BBWAA MVP) but as having an even better year in 1957. WS sees him as AL Gold Glove 2B in 1952-55-57-58-59.

16. Joe Gordon who he says played 1000 games with the Yankees and had 1000 hits. He cites a 1948 claim that Herman, Gordon and Gehringer were the best DP pivot men in "modern" baseball, whatever that meant.

17. Willie Randolph

18. Bobby Doerr who hit .342 in the PCL at age 18. Eddie Coillins was the Red Sox GM who signed Doerr and he of course joined the bigs at 19, It was on his visit to San Diego to see Doerr that Collins also saw Ted Williams for the first time.

19. Tony Lazzeri who was also a west coast (SF) kid and played with and against Cronin, Berger and Lombardi as a kid. He had epilepsy and suffered from seizures all his life. He never had one on he field, but he fell down the stairs at home in 1946 as a result of a seizure and broke his neck and died.

20. Larry Doyle--8 teams tried to sign him. Finally the Giants paid $4,500, the most ever paid for a player in his MiL class (Springield, IL, of the LLL League).

21. Chuck Knoblauch
22. Dick McAuliffe (Dick McAuliffe?)
23. Davy Lopes

24. Buddy Myer--largely forgotten by the HoM.
25. Johnny Evers-gone but not forgotten--was Buddy Myer really better?
26. Cupid Childs

Lots 'o choices! I guess we have just lived through the Golden Age of 2Bs, however--meaning the last 20 years from Whitaker and Randolph and Grich to Alomar and Knoblauch. But these '30s and '40s guys were pretty good too.

Nellie Fox and Pee Wee Reese are going to be interesting as mediocre hitters with great gloves and reasonable longevity if you give Pee Wee a WWII credit. And who struck out less, relative to their time, Sewell or Fox?
   57. Chris Cobb Posted: July 15, 2005 at 02:25 PM (#1474085)
Chris, very interesting. If anything, Doerr and Gordon got better with the glove over time, Herman didn't. Gordon's 1946 is a pretty bizarre year.

Herman improved more steadily with the glove than Gordon or Doerr, though he began from a lower baseline. He improved every year from 32-38, except for a dip in 1937. This is, I am coming to believe, a pretty normal development curve for high-skill fielding positions. I'd posit that Herman had less athletic ability at second than DG, but as he was a smart player, and he became a top-notch defender for a few years. But, having less ability than DG, he declined more steeply and earlier, starting at age 30.

Gordon's decline as a fielder begins at 32, in 1947; Doerr's decline may have been beginning at 33 in 1951 -- his injury truncates his record, so that it's hard to tell.

If we don't elect Herman and/or Gordon and/or Doerr (and/or Doyle and/or Lazzeri) quickly, this is going to get even harder when Nellie Fox becomes eligible in the early '60s.

Whether we elect these guys or not, it's going to get harder, because we are now in the process of defining the all-time (at least through 2007) in/out line, and since the lower you go in merit, the less distinctive the players become, it is likely that there will be less difference between the bottom player in and the top player out than between any two players on the inside.

Not that we follow James exactly, but his list as Sunnyday2 provides it, does suggest that we're right aroudn that in/out line for second base right now. Gordon and Doerr are 15 and 18. If we were to represent all positions equally, and elect 3 pitchers to 8 position players (about our historical rate), we should elect about 20 players for each position through 2007.

That would put Gordon & Doerr into the Bill James PHOM, Gordon actually rather easily.

However, our biggest difference from James is our treatment of early players and our inclusion (beyond the top 100) of excluded NeL players. So far, we have elected nine second basemen. Five are in James' top 20 -- Lajoie, Collins, Hornsby, Frisch, Gehringer. Four are not -- Ross Barnes, Hardy Richardson, Bid McPhee, Frank Grant, and half of Monte Ward. Therefore, if we were to agree with James from here on out and stick to the second base quota, the in/out line for second basemen through 2007 would run between Fox/Gordon on the inside and Randolph/Doerr on the outside.

However, two of James top 20 -- Craig Biggio and Roberto Alomar -- will not be eligible by 2007 and therefore fall outside the all-time quota group. So that would slide the line down two spots, putting Randolph/Doerr on the inisde and Lazzeri/Doyle on the outside.

The upshot: some of these very similar guys will probably be in, and some will be out. We're going to have a lot to say, then, about Fox/Gordon/Randolph/Doerr/Lazzeri/Doyle/Childs/Evers over the next 50 elections . . .
   58. ronw Posted: July 15, 2005 at 04:31 PM (#1474419)
No disrecpect to Lou Bierbauer, but can we get actual candidates put back on the top of these position threads?
   59. jimd Posted: July 15, 2005 at 09:25 PM (#1475355)
WS/162: 1. Dunlap (27.7) 2.Doyle (26.5) 3. Childs (26.5)

This considerably underrates both Dunlap and Childs, due to Win Shares' demonstrated inability to cope with the pitching/fielding split in the 19th century.
   60. Michael Bass Posted: July 16, 2005 at 01:17 AM (#1476004)
There's a very good chance that Dunlap will return to my ballot one day on a future reconsideration. I think I calculated once that he was one of the 10 best players in baseball like 5 of 6 or 6 of 7 years by WARP, something I believe to be accurate. I doubt there's too many other players who have a similar record and aren't in.
   61. Jeff M Posted: July 16, 2005 at 01:41 AM (#1476088)
This considerably underrates both Dunlap and Childs, due to Win Shares' demonstrated inability to cope with the pitching/fielding split in the 19th century.

This is true.

As you know, the average team in the WS system allocates about 67.5% of a team's defensive WS to pitchers, and about 32.5% to fielding. At some point in the HoM process (very early) we discussed how those splits could be made more accurate for the relative importance of 19th century (and very early 20th century) fielding.

I don't recall whether anyone reached a consensus, but what appears in my spreadsheet is the following (pitching share first/fielding share second):

Prior to 1881: 50/50
1881-1886: 57/43
1887-1893: 60/40
1894-1909: 63/37
1910-present 67.5/32.5

Using these altered percentages, Dunlap picks up an additional 12.3 fielding Win Shares over his career, giving him 29.63 WS/162, prior to any discounts, which most certainly must be applied to the UA season. A 1/3 discount for 1884 takes him back down to about 27.42 WS/162.

With the altered percentages, Doyle picks up an additional 1.1 fielding Win Share(s) over his career, which doesn't change the 26.50 WS/162 figure.

With the altered percentages, Childs picks up an additional 9.4 fielding Win Shares over his career, giving him 27.37 WS/162.

That's only one measure, of course. I don't think any of the three ought to be elected.
   62. Jeff M Posted: July 16, 2005 at 02:08 AM (#1476142)
One top candidate who has not been mentioned with Herman, Doerr and Gordon is Bill Monroe. We didn't have the same sort of in-depth analysis of Negro Leaguers as we do now, but he received quite a bit of support early on. He has now fallen off the radar screen...from neglect I think.

I would have put him in the HoM before Frank Grant. I remember when Grant was elected there was a lot of sentiment that we just as easily could have elected Monroe.

If you are interested, for Negro League players I derive batting WS by averaging (1) TangoTiger's LWTS to WS conversion formula, tweaked a bit for a better (and more conservative) "best line fit" to actual data, (2) short form WS, tweaked a bit for a better (and more conservative) "best line fit" to actual data and (3) WS/Out of MLB players with comparable BA and SLG during the same era as the subject player. Averaging these three WS estimates tends to smooth out the anomalies.

In Monroe's case, I used the I9 numbers as a base, discounted by 5% (before calculating WS). In "modern times" I use Chris' MLEs.

Then I find a comparable fielder and assign an appropriate WS/1000 innings number of fielding WS (in Monroe's case, a "B" fielder with 5.03 WS/1000 Innings).

This is what his numbers look like using that method:

3-year peak: 78.6
5-year consecutive peak: 126.3
7-year peak: 174.7
WS per 162g: 24.3
Total WS: 315.3
   63. jimd Posted: July 16, 2005 at 02:23 AM (#1476163)
Best SB 1871-1940 by WARP

Lexicographic key:
Upper Case -- A TOP star; one of top N players in MLB
Lower Case -- a 2nd tier star; one top 2N players in MLB
(in parentheses) -- nearly a 2nd tier star (withing 10%)
<in angle brackets> -- best at position; not an all-star season
Note: N is approximate number of teams:
9 from 1871-1881; 12 from 1882-1900; 16 from 1901-1960
Note: All TOP stars are listed, even if not best at position
This represents a level of play where one might expect the player
to be the best on his team, except for uneven talent distribution.
1871 ROSSBARNES         JIMMYWOOD
1872 ROSSBARNES         JOHNHATFIELD WESFISLER
1873 ROSSBARNES         TOMCAREY
1874 BILLCRAVER         ROSSBARNES LEVIMEYERLE
1875 ROSSBARNES         BILLCRAVER JACKBURDOCK
1876 ROSSBARNES
1877 GEORGEWRIGHT       JOEGERHARDT
1878 JOEGERHARDT        JACKBURDOCK
1879 chickfulmer
1880 FREDDUNLAP         JACKBURDOCK
1881 FREDDUNLAP
1882 FREDDUNLAP
1883 FREDDUNLAP         JACKFARRELL HARDYRICHARDSON JACKBURDOCK
1884 FREDPFEFFER        FREDDUNLAP ROGERCONNOR
1885 FREDDUNLAP
1886 BIDMCPHEE
1887 BIDMCPHEE
1888 FREDPFEFFER
1889 BIDMCPHEE          LOUBIERBAUER
1890 CUPIDCHILDS        BIDMCPHEE HUBCOLLINS
1891 BIDMCPHEE
1892 CUPIDCHILDS        BIDMCPHEE
1893 BIDMCPHEE          CUPIDCHILDS
1894 bidmcphee
1895 jackcrooks
1896 CUPIDCHILDS
1897 cupidchilds
1898 NAPLAJOIE          GENEDEMONTREVILLE HEINIEREITZ
1899 tomdaly
1900 NAPLAJOIE
1901 NAPLAJOIE          JIMMYWILLIAMS TOMDALY
1902 JIMMYWILLIAMS      NAPLAJOIE
1903 NAPLAJOIE          JIMMYWILLIAMS
1904 NAPLAJOIE          DANNYMURPHY JOHNNYEVERS
1905 MILLERHUGGINS      DANNYMURPHY
1906 NAPLAJOIE          MILLERHUGGINS CLAUDERITCHEY
1907 NAPLAJOIE          MILLERHUGGINS
1908 NAPLAJOIE          EDABBATICCHIO
1909 EDDIECOLLINS       NAPLAJOIE DICKEGAN DOTSMILLER
1910 NAPLAJOIE          EDDIECOLLINS
1911 EDDIECOLLINS
1912 EDDIECOLLINS       BILLSWEENEY JOHNNYEVERS MORRIERATH
1913 EDDIECOLLINS       GEORGECUTSHAW NAPLAJOIE JOHNNYEVERS
1914 EDDIECOLLINS       DELPRATT MILLERHUGGINS
1915 EDDIECOLLINS       DELPRATT
1916 EDDIECOLLINS       DELPRATT
1917 EDDIECOLLINS
1918 LEEMAGEE
1919 EDDIECOLLINS       DELPRATT
1920 ROGERSHORNSBY      EDDIECOLLINS DELPRATT
1921 ROGERSHORNSBY      JIMMYDYKES EDDIECOLLINS
1922 ROGERSHORNSBY      MARTYMCMANUS
1923 EDDIECOLLINS       FRANKIEFRISCH ROGERSHORNSBY AARONWARD
1924 ROGERSHORNSBY      FRANKIEFRISCH EDDIECOLLINS
1925 ROGERSHORNSBY
1926 sparkyadams
1927 FRANKIEFRISCH      ROGERSHORNSBY TONYLAZZERI
1928 ROGERSHORNSBY      FRANKIEFRISCH CHARLIEGEHRINGER MAXBISHOP
1929 ROGERSHORNSBY      TONYLAZZERI CHARLIEGEHRINGER
1930 CHARLIEGEHRINGER   FRANKIEFRISCH
1931 TONYCUCCINELLO     MAXBISHOP
1932 TONYLAZZERI
1933 CHARLIEGEHRINGER   FRANKIEFRISCH
1934 CHARLIEGEHRINGER
1935 BILLYHERMAN        CHARLIEGEHRINGER BUDDYMYER
1936 CHARLIEGEHRINGER   BILLYHERMAN TONYCUCCINELLO
1937 CHARLIEGEHRINGER   BILLYHERMAN
1938 BUDDYMYER          CHARLIEGEHRINGER
1939 JOEGORDON          BILLYHERMAN LONNYFREY
1940 JOEGORDON          BOBBYDOERR LONNYFREY
   64. Jeff M Posted: July 16, 2005 at 06:31 PM (#1476980)
Here are the second basemen by Win Shares, using jimD's notation system, plus some. An asterisk (*) denotes 25 or more Win Shares, an all-star caliber season and a pound (#) indicates 30 or more Win Shares, an MVP caliber season.

There are no adjustments here for league quality, but the UA doesn't count as a major league for purposes of this list.

These win shares are adjusted as follows: (1) Pitching/fielding split as described in my post #71) and (2) season-length adjustments for non-pitching Win Shares. My season length adjustment is (162/LgGamesPerTeam)^.6667. For example, if the average team played 50 games, the adjustment would be 2.19.

I never finished my Win Shares project for the NA, so I only have 1871-1872 (sorry). The missing years all belong to Ross Barnes anyway.

Finally, I only go 6 deep, to keep the table nice. Sometimes there are a few others who would qualify as second tier or within 10% of being second tier overall among position players, but since they are the 7th or worse players at their
position, I don't feel bad about leaving them off.

1871  BARNES*#    WOOD*#        REACH*
1872  BARNES*#    HATFIELD*#    FISLER*#      wood
1873  n/a
1874  n/a
1875  n/a
1876  BARNES*#    (morris)
1877  wright
1878  BURDOCK*    gerhardt
1879  (farrell)
1880  DUNLAP*#    farrell       (burdock)
1881  dunlap*     farrell       ferguson
1882  BROWNING*#  dunlap
1883  BURDOCK*#   farrell*      richardson*   (dunlap)
1884  BARKLEY*#   connor*#      (mcphee*)     (smith*)   (richardson*)   (pfeffer*)
1885  BARKLEY*    richardson*   (pfeffer)
1886  mcphee*     barkley       robinson      (mcclellan)(dunlap)
1887  RICHARDSON* robinson      mcphee        (mack)     (pfeffer)
1888  pfeffer     robinson      (bierbauer)
1889  RICHARDSON*#collins*      (mcphee)
1890  CHILDS*#    COLLINS*#     (mcphee)      (bierbauer)
1891  crooks*     (pfeffer*)    (childs)      (mcphee)
1892  CHILDS*#    MCPHEE*       ward*         (pfeffer)
1893  CHILDS*     LOWE*         MCPHEE*       daly       (ward)
1894  lowe        daly          childs        (mcphee)   (reitz)
1895  childs      (mcphee)
1896  CHILDS*#    mcphee
1897  childs      (gleason)     (reitz)
1898  LAJOIE*     demontreville*
1899  DALY*       (lajoie)
1900  LAJOIE*     ritchey       (daly)
1901  LAJOIE*#    DALY*         williams*     mertes     (ritchey)
1902  lajoie      (williams)
1903  LAJOIE*#    williams*     ritchey
1904  LAJOIE*#    MURPHY*       ritchey       (evers)    (huggins)       (williams)
1905  HUGGINS*    murphy        hickman
1906  LAJOIE*#    ISBELL*       ritchey*      strang     huggins         (murphy)
1907  LAJOIE*#    evers         abbaticchio   (huggins)  (williams)      (delahanty)
1908  LAJOIE*#    EVERS*        abbaticchio   (mcconnell)(williams)
1909  COLLINS*#   LAJOIE*       EVERS*        DOYLE*     miller*         (egan)
1910  LAJOIE*#    COLLINS*#     DOYLE*        huggins    evers
1911  COLLINS*#   DOYLE*        zimmerman     (sweeney)  (huggins)       (hummel)
1912  COLLINS*#   DOYLE*#       EVERS*        RATH*      lajoie          sweeney
1913  COLLINS*#   VIOX          lajoie        morgan     doyle           evers
1914  COLLINS*#   KENWORTHY*#   pratt*        evers*     huggins         (hofman)
1915  COLLINS*#   DOYLE*#       louden        (kenworthy)(pratt)
1916  COLLINS*#   pratt         (doyle)
1917  COLLINS*#
1918  mcgee       cutshaw       pratt         (collins)  (shean)
1919  COLLINS*    rath          pratt         stock      doyle
1920  COLLINS*#   HORNSBY*#     PRATT*
1921  HORNSBY*#   collins       (pratt)       (ward)     (bohne)         (harris)
1922  HORNSBY*#   collins       (johnson)     (mcmanus)  (frisch)        (pratt)
1923  FRISCH*#    HORNSBY*      collins       johnson    ward            (mcmanus)
1924  HORNSBY*#   FRISCH*#      HIGH*         COLLINS*   grantham        (mcmanus)
1925  HORNSBY*#   kelly         collins       mcmanus    frisch          (stock)
1926  hornsby     adams         frisch        (lazzeri)  (critz)
1927  FRISCH*#    lazzeri       grant         gehringer
1928  HORNSBY*#   bishop        gehringer     lazzeri    frisch          (critz)
1929  HORNSBY*#   LAZZERI*#     GEHRINGER*    (frisch)
1930  GEHRINGER*  hodapp*       frisch*       grant      bishop          (lazzeri)
1931  bishop*     cucinello     frisch        hornsby    myer
1932  LAZZERI*    GEHRINGER*    herman        cucinello  myer
1933  GEHRINGER*  lazzeri*      myer          frisch
1934  GEHRINGER*# hale          (myer)        (frisch)
1935  MYER*#      HERMAN*#      GEHRINGER*#
1936  GEHRINGER*# HERMAN*       cucinello     
1937  GEHRINGER*# HERMAN*#      cucinello     (whitehead)
1938  GEHRINGER*  myer          herman        (gordon)   (young)
1939  FREY*       gordon*       herman*       (gehringer)
1940  GORDON*     FREY*         doerr         (gehringer)
1941  gordon      frey
1942  GORDON*#    doerr*        frey          (herman)
1943  GORDON*     HERMAN*       FREY*         KLEIN*     doerr           (priddy)
1944  STIRNWEISS*#DOERR*
1945  STIRNWEISS*#STANKY*       myatt         mayo       (meyer)         (johnson)
1946  STANKY*     DOERR*        (schoendienst) (priddy)
1947  GORDON*     stanky        (stirnweiss)  (doerr)
1948  DOERR*      ROBINSON*     gordon        priddy     (murtaugh)
1949  ROBINSON*#  DOERR*        michaels      stanky     schoendienst    (gordon)
1950  STANKY*#    ROBINSON*#    priddy*       doerr



1884 was the year of the second baseman. Six guys qualified as all-star caliber, and that's not even counting Dunlap's unbelievable season in the UA.

Just eyeballing this, the names that truly stick out the most are Barnes, Childs, LaJoie, Collins, Hornsby, Gehringer and Gordon.
   65. Jeff M Posted: July 16, 2005 at 07:23 PM (#1477102)
I thought it might be interesting to have a point system for the info in the table in post #74, because there's a lot of info in there.

Here's the way I awarded points:
Top tier player:  3 points
2d tier player:   2 points
Near 2d tier:     1 point
MVP caliber:      2 points
All-Star caliber: 1 point
Best 2b:          2 points
2d best 2b:       1 point


If you take Lajoie's 1903 season, for example, he gets 8 points that season (3 top tier, 2 MVP, 1 All-Star and 2 Best 2b). If you take Collins in 1910, you get 7 points (3 top tier, 2 MVP, 1 All-Star and 1 2d Best 2b).

Here are the totals (ignoring pre-1976 -- Barnes -- and ignoring the names in the table whose careers were ongoing in 1950):

E.Collins     100
LaJoie         82
Hornsby        66
Gehringer      63
Childs         41
Frisch         39
Gordon         38
Doerr          33
Doyle          32
Herman         30
McPhee         27
Lazzeri        24
Dunlap         23 (I gave him 5 for UA season)
Richardson     22
Evers          22
Frey           20
Pratt          17
Myer           17
Stirnweiss     17
Barkley        16
Daly           15
Huggins        15
Farrell        13
Stanky         13
Pfeffer        12
H.Collins      11
Ritchey        10
Burdock         9


Remember, this is only for seasons in which the player played more games at 2b than another position, so it isn't an absolute ranking.
   66. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 18, 2005 at 05:54 PM (#1480285)
In Monroe's case, I used the I9 numbers as a base, discounted by 5% (before calculating WS). In "modern times" I use Chris' MLEs.

Then I find a comparable fielder and assign an appropriate WS/1000 innings number of fielding WS (in Monroe's case, a "B" fielder with 5.03 WS/1000 Innings).

This is what his numbers look like using that method:

3-year peak: 78.6
5-year consecutive peak: 126.3
7-year peak: 174.7
WS per 162g: 24.3
Total WS: 315.3


Very interesting, Jeff. Those numbers would place him under my radar again.

Does anyone have any problems with Jeff's projections? I know Chris was highly skeptical about Monroe's iEs last year, but do these new numbers hold water now?
   67. jimd Posted: July 19, 2005 at 03:21 PM (#1482967)
Dunlap was very highly regarded in his own time. From the
Nineteenth Century Transactions Register

September 16, 1885: Detroit bought out the Buffalo club for a reported $7,000. The deal included the purchase of the entire Buffalo franchise and all assets, and the Buffalo club operated through the end of the season with a new board of directors dominated by the Detroit owners. However, Detroit's principal purpose in the deal was not to run the Buffalo club, a sure money-loser, but to acquire for their own team Buffalo's so-called Big Four, third baseman Jim White, shortstop-catcher Jack Rowe, first baseman Dan Brouthers and second baseman-outfielder Hardy Richardson.

August 6, 1886: Detroit purchased second baseman Fred Dunlap for a reported $4,700, generally described as the largest price paid for a player to that date.

November 24 1886: New York purchased ? outfielder George Gore from Chicago. Some reports said Gore signed with the Giants after being released unconditionally at his own request, but others said more plausibly that there was a sales price of $3,500 or higher.

*********

To acquire Dunlap, Detroit was willing to pay 67% of what they paid to acquire Dan Brouthers, Deacon White, Hardy Richardson, and Jack Rowe COMBINED. Even allowing that they may have gotten the Buffalo players at a discount, that's something to consider.
   68. sunnyday2 Posted: July 19, 2005 at 03:57 PM (#1483034)
Great discussion and there are just a bunch of (at least) very good 2Bs available but no obvious shoo-in inner circle (struggling not to say "N-B") types. Obviously there is a Big Four and then The Rest, two of whom (19C) we have already elected.

As for the rest of them, Herman's showing in Jeff's table (#75) is surprising but his peak was coincidental with Gehringer's. I am still incined to regard Billy as the Best of the Rest. Will be interested to see how Nellie Fox does.

My list through 1970:

Definitely In

1. J. Robinson

Probably In

2. Fox
3. Herman

Borderline

4. Gordon
5. Doerr
6. Doyle
7. Childs--except already PHoM based on competition in 1920s
8. Monroe--I'm with Jeff, I had him ahead of Grant

Probably Out

9. Dunlap
10. Lazzeri
11. Evers

Hall of Very Good
12. Sol White
13. Red Schoendienst
   69. yest Posted: July 20, 2005 at 01:36 AM (#1484796)
Hall of Very Good
12. Sol White
13. Red Schoendienst


not that it makes a diffrence here but both these players might still belong in the hall of fame if you include their role as non players.
   70. Jeff M Posted: July 23, 2005 at 08:33 PM (#1493954)
Updating my posts #74 and 75 to include full treatment of NA through Win Shares:

1871  BARNES*#    WOOD*#        REACH*
1872  BARNES*#    HATFIELD*#    FISLER*#      wood
1873  BARNES*#    carey*        wood*
1874  CRAVER*#    BARNES*       MEYERLE*      manning
1875  BARNES*#    meyerle*#     burdock*#     (craver*) (battin*)


New stuff is in bold italics:

E.Collins     100
LaJoie         82
Hornsby        66
Gehringer      63
Barnes         45
Childs         41
Frisch         39
Gordon         38
Doerr          33
Doyle          32
Herman         30
McPhee         27
Lazzeri        24
Dunlap         23 (I gave him 5 for UA season)
Richardson     22
Evers          22
Frey           20
Burdock        18 (plus he gets 2 at 3b)
   71. ronw Posted: October 13, 2005 at 11:43 PM (#1682455)
Second Basemen

Again, eligible through 1980. Total is Career/10 + BWS/162.

2B              Career  Games   BWS/162 Total   Fielding
*Hornsby, R     443.7   2259    31.8    76.2    C
*Collins, E     463.6   2826    26.6    72.9    A-
*Lajoie, N      398.8   2480    26.1    65.9    A-
*Gehringer, C   295.3   2323    20.6    50.1    B
Doyle, L        237.5   1766    21.8    45.5    C+
*Frisch, F      258.0   2311    18.1    43.9    A+
Robinson, J     201.8   1382    23.7    43.8    A+
*Herman, Bi     219.0   1922    18.5    40.4    B+
*Richardson, H  180.5   1331    22.0    40.0    A
Lazzeri, T      200.0   1740    18.6    38.6    C
Childs, C       179.6   1456    20.0    37.9    B+
Evers, J        198.1   1784    18.0    37.8    A-
Doerr, B        196.4   1865    17.1    36.7    A
*McPhee, B      206.8   2135    15.7    36.4    A+
Myer, B         192.0   1923    16.2    35.4    B-
Gordon, J       172.8   1566    17.9    35.2    A
Huggins, M      171.4   1586    17.5    34.6    B-
Grantham, G     163.0   1444    18.3    34.6    C
Pratt, D        178.5   1836    15.8    33.6    B
Dunlap, F       125.4    965    21.1    33.6    A-
Gilliam, J      178.4   1956    14.8    32.6    B+
Fox, N          193.0   2367    13.2    32.5    A
Daly, T         157.6   1564    16.3    32.1    C+
Stanky, E       139.3   1259    17.9    31.9    B+
Williams, J     150.3   1456    16.7    31.8    B
Hunt, R         150.2   1483    16.4    31.4    D+
Frey, L         152.3   1535    16.1    31.3    A+
Runnels, P      161.9   1799    14.6    30.8    C-
Delahanty, J    125.2   1186    17.1    29.6    n/r
Cuccinello, T   150.0   1704    14.3    29.3    C+
Schoendienst, R 165.8   2216    12.1    28.7    A
Bishop, M       129.6   1338    15.7    28.7    A+
Ritchey, C      142.8   1671    13.8    28.1    B+
Avila, B        123.4   1300    15.4    27.7    A-
McManus, M      140.7   1831    12.4    26.5    B-
Goodman, B      131.4   1623    13.1    26.3    C
*Barnes, R       33.1    234    22.9    26.2    n/r
LaPorte, F      107.6   1194    14.6    25.4    C-
Pfeffer, F      127.8   1670    12.4    25.2    A-
Temple, J       113.8   1420    13.0    24.4    C-
Lowe, B         114.6   1818    10.2    21.7    A-
Mazeroski, B    105.2   2163     7.9    18.4    A+


Unless we start valuing fielding more highly, we won't elect Fox. Even if we did, Doerr and Gordon are probably as valuable in the field, and more valuable with the bat. I should just put the "*" next to Robinson, who shows he belongs with the elite even without the Negro League or minor league season or two.

Outlier McPhee has the A+ fielding, combined with a long career and schedule length adjustments.

Doyle seems to have the hitting to compete with the big boys, but he suffers from the 1910's NL backlash. He also is a relatively poor fielder for a 2B (Only Hornsby is worse from the electees, and Doyle is no Hornsby as a hitter.)

No big upcoming candidates here for a while.
   72. OCF Posted: October 14, 2005 at 12:49 AM (#1682511)
As you know, I've been a Friend of Larry Doyle all along. I also tried voting for Johnny Evers a few times (a long time ago), although I couldn't get anyone else to go along with that.
   73. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 14, 2005 at 07:44 PM (#1683883)
It's worth point out that in a couple years Bobby Avila will be eligible. Avila spent six seasons in the Mexican League plus one in the IL plus one on the Cleveland bench as a pinch runner before getting his shot. His case will be complex. I've worked up a rough draft of translations, and they push him into a much higher consideration bracket than his 180 or so MLB win shares would suggest.
   74. ronw Posted: October 14, 2005 at 08:02 PM (#1683913)
Doc:

Avila definitely deserves some credit, but so does, Max Bishop, who was surely held in Baltimore a couple of seasons too many. Both have similar hitting WS and lost some time, although Avila probably lost more time.
   75. KJOK Posted: October 15, 2005 at 12:34 AM (#1684420)
Looking the the New Baseball Encyclopedia's PLAYER OVERALL WINS for 2b:

Bobby Doerr - 40!
Jackie Robinson - 34
Cupid Childs - 30
Joe Gordon - 29
Fed Dunlap - 28
Del Pratt - 23
   76. Kelly in SD Posted: October 15, 2005 at 09:32 AM (#1685006)
Kelly's Second Basemen. See Catchers Thread post #128 for the Method to my Madness. Based on win shares. The percentage is based on how close the particular player comes to my formula's maximum.

*Eddie Collins       91.3%
*Rogers Hornsby      89.6%
*Nap Lajoie          82.5%
Joe Morgan           81.3%
*Charlie Gehringer   66.8%
*Jackie Robinson     64.9%
Ryne Sandberg        64.1%
Rod Carew            62.2%
*Hardy Richardson    61.0%
*Frank Frisch        59.5%
Bobby Grich          59.4%
*Billy Herman        58.9%
Larry Doyle          58.1%
Cupid Childs         57.9%
Bill Monroe          57.8%
Joe Gordon           56.2%
George Scales        55.4%
Nellie Fox           54.6%
Bobby Doerr          54.1%
*Bid McPhee          53.2% (The system does not respect glove men...)
Lou Whitaker         53.1%
Chuck Knoblach       52.1%
Johnny Evers         52.0%
Tony Lazzeri         50.2%
Willie Randolph      50.0%
Red Schoendienst     47.3%
Dick McAuliffe       47.2%
Buddy Myer           47.1%
Davey Lopes          46.6%
Del Pratt            46.6%
Lonnie Frey          46.4%
Pete Runnels         44.0%
Bill Mazeroski       40.1% 
Marty McManus        38.9%

Allowing for a little timelining, I could pick Morgan number 1. I haven't ranked Gilliam yet b/c I am waiting to see if MLEs
will add to his position. Also, I have forgotten to do Bill Mazeroski. Ross Barnes was not done b/c I don't know what to do with the NA numbers.
I just ran the numbers for Maz. He just couldn't hit, and that kills the ranking.
   77. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 15, 2005 at 03:26 PM (#1685102)
Bobby Doerr - 40!

Still overrating his DPs, I take it.
   78. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 23, 2007 at 09:49 PM (#2652775)
Second Basemen

Click on the discussion link for the summary of 2B.

--posted by Joe Dimino at 7:54 PM EDT / Link / Discussion (45 Comments)

Posted 8:04 p.m., July 8, 2002 - scruff (e-mail)
Don't forget, these guys should really be thought of the way we think of 3B today. In the 19th Century 3B was a much tougher position defensively than 2B.

The only strong candidates here are McPhee and Richardson. How you rank them will depend on what you think of the peak vs. career issue.

Fred Pfeffer would rank 3rd here (although I'm interested in how Jack Burdock's NA numbers crunch) if I were voting, he was pretty good, but probably a notch below being a HoMer. Probably the weakest position on the ballot, except maybe 3B.

Posted 8:08 p.m., July 8, 2002 - scruff
I meant to add the obligatory, "leaving Ross Barnes out of the discussion for the moment," to the comments above. He will probably be the most debated candidate on the ballot.

Posted 10:35 p.m., July 8, 2002 - Brian Hodes (e-mail)
(This is my first post on this board and so please don't beat up on me too much)
I think that the the larger general issues we are beginning to face is the valuation of National Association careers. So far the two players I find most difficult to evaluate are 2B Barnes and 1B Start (we will likely be confronted by this problem with Pitchers Bobby Mathews, AG Spalding, and Tommy Bond). While Mathews and Start could reasonably be selected based primarily (but probably not solely) on their post National Association achievments, these others must all rely largely on their pre 1876 playing as shown by their National Association stats.
Do we want to consider the NA careers ?
and, if so, How much consideration do we give them ?

Posted 11:31 p.m., July 8, 2002 - scruff (e-mail)
When this idea first started bouncing around between Robert Dudek and myself, the thought was to include National Association accomplishments.

Now that doesn't mean those achievements are considered on the same level as those of someone in a better league. But the players that dominated in that league shouldn't have their accomplishments completely negated. Sure we should try to accurately take some of the air out of them, but that doesn't mean completely disregarding the accomplishments.

Robert has started on a study (I don't know if he finished it) but his preliminary findings showed the 1875 NA as a stronger league than the 1876 NL, for example. Hopefully as this discussion takes off, we'll come up with some objective ways for giving credit for those accomplishments. You can only dominate the league you play in.

This will also come into play when we have to evaluate Negro Leaguers. Everything isn't in the stats, sometimes we'll just have to go with educated opinions. But that's better than copping out and saying we can't evaluate them so let's just forget them.

Posted 1:22 a.m., July 9, 2002 - John Murphy
Before we hear that Ross Barnes should be disqualified because of the fair/foul bunt, he left the NL because of injuries (not because of the abolition of said hit). I was surprised when Paul Wendt of the 19th Century Committee of SABR pointed this out to me. Barnes will easily be in the top three (McPhee or Richardson weren't as dominating as Barnes) IMO.

The only other one I could see electing would be Pfeffer. He's a tough one (at least for me). :-)

Posted 3:20 a.m., July 9, 2002 - John Murphy
Here are the Win Shares per 162 games for the second basemen (NA not included as of yet):

Sam Barkley: 21.43
Ross Barnes: 28.39
Lou Bierbauer: 16.04
Jack Burdock: 16.54
Hub Collins: 25.25
Jack Crooks: 19.38
Fred Dunlap: 27.70
Jack Farrell: 18.88
Joe Gerhardt: 13.31
Bid McPhee: 23.14
Fred Pfeffer: 19.60
Hardy Richardson: 27.99
Yank Robinson: 21.70
Pop Smith: 16.75

Posted 12:31 p.m., July 9, 2002 - scruff
John, I think you'd be better off re-running the numbers using the number of career WS above and the 'seasons' above. This will at least give a more accurate weight to seasons that were shorter because of the schedule.

For example Cap Anson played 2523 games. His midpoint, for games played came in his age 35 season. He played as many games after the age of 35 as before. Brouthers reached his midpoint in games played at 30. Cal Ripken also crossed the midpoint early in his age 30 season.

Even if you say that Anson played until he was 45, he still should have passed the midpoint at age 32 or 33, not 35. Just taking WS per 162 weighs someone like Anson's older seasons too highly.

Posted 12:32 p.m., July 9, 2002 - Craig B
Only two players here are candidates to my mind (based on what we have seen so far) although Barnes may move up depending on the NA data. Dunlap looks to me to have no shot; he and Pfeffer are "best-of-the-rest" types but seem to be a level below HoM.

I would take Hardy Richardson over Bid McPhee notwithstanding McPhee's longer and later career, but the fact that McPhee's career is a bit later make it closer.

Posted 1:10 p.m., July 9, 2002 - DanG (e-mail)
Did a quick look for long-career secondbaseman who were not included in the analysis. Found a couple guys, of course nobody great:

Cub Stricker, 1882-93
Danny Richardson, 1884-94

Perhaps not worthy for crunching of their numbers.

Also, a note about Fred Pfeffer. A long-time Chicago White Stocking player, he benfitted from the "friendly confines". Of his 94 career homers he had 81 home, 13 road.

Dan

Posted 2:21 p.m., July 9, 2002 - John Murphy
Remember, Cupid Childs just misses being on this year's ballot. The second basemen are really not bad for the 19th century.

Dan:

Richardson and Stricker didn't meet the criteria of being on a STATS all-star team or being on a top 100 list in NBHA (though Richardson did make the 100-125 list). I'll tally up the numbers and send them over to Scruff.

Posted 2:41 p.m., July 9, 2002 - MattB
Re: McPhee v. Richardson

I also like Richardson as the best of the bunch now, but part of what I'm going on is a basic understanding that the AA -- where McPhee played half of his career -- was a weaker league than the NL.

I'd be interested to know if that is the general consensus.

Posted 3:30 p.m., July 9, 2002 - MattB
I'd like to throw out another name here that might otherwise get overlooked.

In the same way that Richardson and McPhee set out the peak/career distinction for second basemen toward the end of the century, Ross Barnes was only the "peak" half of a peak/career competition with Jack Burdock.

Burdock began his career in the NA, and had some fair seasons there. He only finishes 5th in total Win Shares excluding NA years (which could reasonably bump him up a notch or two when included), and while his offensive numbers aren't much, but the defensive portion is within a reasonable margin of error of 3rd place (and a clear third including NA numbers).

Burdock became, in 1888 (his last real season), the first player to ever play 1000 games at second base. And if you were to have started the balloting with players appearing through 1890 instead of 1900, Burdock would have stood at the head of the pack among second basemen of the first two decades of baseball (along with - depending on your politics - Ross Barnes).

So, while looking at 30 years of data gives you a general overview, I think Burdock gets lost in the pack the way that a player who played from 1972-1988 would get lost when compared as a bunch to players who played in the 1990s.

Does he qualify as a HoMer? I don't know. Right now he sits 4th on my 2B list (I'm pro-Barnes), and I don't know if that's enough. But if one of the criteria is "best of his era", I think he merits consideration in a sense that some of his WS peers above do not.
   79. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 23, 2007 at 09:49 PM (#2652776)
Posted 1:20 p.m., July 10, 2002 - John Murphy
Here are the WS per 162 games for these second basemen:

Danny Richardson: 17.61
Cub Stricker: 13.82

I have sent the career WS prorations to Scruff so he can add them here

Posted 9:55 p.m., July 10, 2002 - scruff (e-mail)
Bill James letter grades for the 2B. Don't want to beat a dead horse, but remember, we need to think of these guys like we think of 3B today.

A+
Bid McPhee

A
Hardy Richardson

A-
Lou Bierbauer
Fred Dunlap
Joe Gerhardt
Fred Pfeffer

B
Jack Burdock
Pop Smith

B-
Jack Crooks
Jack Farrell

D
Yank Robinson

Posted 9:42 a.m., July 11, 2002 - Bud Fowler
Hey what about me!!!!!!!!!!!

I started out as a pitcher, but played most of my career at second base, which was my best position.

I invented shin guards to protect my legs from the white players who'd slide in to second spikes up.

I was the first black player to play for an all-white team. I broke the color barrier before Fleet Walker by pitching for the Lynn, Massachusetts "Live Oaks" of the International League in 1878.

Over 13 seasons, I played for 20 different teams because I was too good to pass up, but too black to stay for long.

The link below is to a picture of me in 1885. I'm the black one.

http://web.archive.org/web/20030503081257/http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/education/primary_sources/negro_leagues/photograph_02.htm

I was born and raised in Cooperstown, New York.

I had a combined batting average of over .300 despite never playing anywhere for more than a few months. Plus, I beat the National League Champion Boston National 2-1 as a pitcher in an exhibition game 2-1 (April 24, 1878).

By 1884, I was banned from professional major league white baseball, due primarily to Cap Anson, who wouldn't play on the same field as a black man. He was probably afraid of the challenge. I continued to play on lots of minor league clubs, both black and white.

"The Sporting Life," a magazine written by and for white people, called me "probably one of the best players in the country."

I also managed, beginning in 1894.

I died in 1913 of "pernicious anemia," which is as bad as it sounds.

My real name was John W. Jackson. Here is my tombstone (erected by SABR).

http://web.archive.org/web/20030503081257/http://thedeadballera.crosswinds.net/FowlerBudsGrave.html

I demand equal consideration, along with my pre-1900 colleagues, Moses Fleetwood Walker, his brother Wendy Walker, George W. Stovey and Frank Grant.

I am sure that, after a fair deliberation, at least George Stovey (the best 19th century black pitcher) and myself will be deemed worthy or your illustrious club.

--Bud

Posted 10:40 a.m., July 11, 2002 - John Murphy
(I died in 1913 of "pernicious anemia," which is as bad as it sounds.)

Is that sickle-cell anemia?

Posted 10:48 a.m., July 11, 2002 - John Murphy
Bud:
Actually, we are nominating African-American players prior to Jackie Robinson (though I think we were looking more at the Negro League players of the 20th century because we have more information on them). I think Fowler, Stovey, etc. should be looked at the very least.

Posted 11:10 a.m., July 11, 2002 - Bud Fowler
(Is that sickle-cell anemia?)

No. Pernicious anemia is the name for the inability of the cells to absorb Vitamin B-12. It effects, ironically, primarily those of Scandinavian descent. It is also known as "Addison's anemia" and "Vitamin B-12 malabsorption."

It is apparently, very controllable now with monthly B-12 injections. Lot of good that did me in 1913.

http://web.archive.org/web/20030503081257/http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000569.htm

I know there aren't a lot of stats on me and Stovey out there, but what there are are uniformly excellent.

There is also the circumstantial case. Why would all-white teams in the 19th century even try to sign a merely average black player? Seems hardly worth the trouble against all the grief they'd get. It seems to me that pioneers like myself and Stovey must have been among the best to even get considered. I would get cut from team after team and replaced by inferior players. (Gives a whole new meaning to "replacement value".) But there was always another team ready to give me a shot, and hope that maybe their fans would accept me. (A major league (NL) team actually tried to sign Stovey after the Fleet Walker incidents before Anson blocked it.)

There's just no reason to think that the black players who played in the main organized Negro Leagues were any better than us early integraters and barnstormers.

Far be it from me to suggest a black quota. But we just wanted to be given a fair shake along with the white players. And if you are inducting 10-20% black players after Jackie Robinson, you need to ask yourself whether there is a rational basis for not inducting 10-20% from the Negro League and pre-Negro League as well.

I suggested five players who I think could rival any white players in the 19th century, and who I'd vote for if dead ballplayers were allowed to vote in your elections. Of course, I didn't really get to see the white players on your lists play that often, so it's hard to compare. I'd put me and Stovey on the top of that list, but then, being me, I'm a little biased.

Posted 12:17 p.m., July 11, 2002 - scruff (e-mail)
Bud -- You've convinced me. You and Stovey will get a vote from me along the way.

The question though, is how good were you relative to the other stars. Should I vote you ahead of guys like Deacon White and Roger Connor? Were you the best player on the planet? Or should I vote for you once we've got the obvious guys out of the way, but ahead of anyone marginal, like a Fred Pfeffer, etc.?

This ballot will be like an MVP ballot where we have to rank all of the players from 1-10. Because of this, I could see it taking you a couple of years to get in, but you'll have my wholehearted support.

Posted 12:42 p.m., July 11, 2002 - George Stovey
Well, it was nice of Bud to put in a good word for me, but while he was the first great black player, I was the best black player of the 19th century. I got to play a couple of full seasons on all white teams, so more of my records survive. (I was a light-skinned black Canadian -- skin tone did make a difference to a certain degree.)

In 1886, I held opponents to a .167 average. In 1887, I went 34-14. The 34 wins remains an International League record over 100 years later. And when the New York Giants tried to hire a black player to join the National League, it was me (not Fowler) that they tried to sign before Anson stopped them. I then went on to be a star for the Cuban Giants, an all black team.

I was the best player in the highest level league in which I was allowed to play. If I could have done more to prove myself, I don't know what that would be.

http://web.archive.org/web/20030503081257/http://www.pubdim.net/baseballlibrary/ballplayers/S/Stovey_George.stm
   80. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 23, 2007 at 09:50 PM (#2652778)
Posted 2:05 p.m., July 11, 2002 - Bud Fowler
George,

Man, you put in a good word for a guy and look what it gets you!

Scruff:

You wrote:

"The question though, is how good were you relative to the other stars. Should I vote you ahead of guys like Deacon White and Roger Connor? Were you the best player on the planet? Or should I vote for you once we've got the obvious guys out of the way, but ahead of anyone marginal, like a Fred Pfeffer, etc.?"

I'd like to turn the question around to you. Assume 2 groups of players. Group A faces all competition, and their best players dominate. Group B also has a group of best players who dominate, but they refuse to face anyone in Group A. Who should bear the burden of proving they're the best? The best of Group A or the best of Group B? Group B, of course. There should be a presumption (I think) that they're too ch*ckensh*t to face Group A, unless they've got good extrinsic proof that they're better than Group A.

If White and Connor won't face us, how can they show that they're better than we are? How can we know if they're the "Best of the Planet," or should we only vote for them once we've gotten the obvious choices (me and Stovey) out of the way, but ahead of more marginal guys like Wendy Walker?

Deacon White was on the Boston team I beat in the exhibition game in 1878. That's the only data point I have. Not enough to extrapolate from, but it's not my fault that it's the only data point.

Posted 2:39 p.m., July 11, 2002 - scruff (e-mail)
Bud,

I hear what you are saying, but . . .

1) Connor and his fellow players (save Anson) didn't ban you themselves. I don't think racism meant they were chickenshit. I think it meant they (the powers that be, not Connor personally) were racist. It was a different time back then, and they probably (incorrectly, I want to be sure there's no question about what I'm saying) felt you were beneath them, if not as a player, as a person.

I'm not excusing this behavior, just saying you have a good enough case already, you don't have to resort to calling the other guys chickenshit.

2) I think there is pretty good extrinsic proof that the NL and AA were better than the International League. That's why we call them the major leagues. I'd imagine the NL and AA paid the most money at the time, and I would think the best players would gravitate to those leagues. I'm not saying it's like it is today, and that 95% of the best players were in the 'majors', but I think I'm on pretty strong ground saying the AA and NL were the strongest leagues in the timeframe we are discussing.

I could be wrong here. I haven't done the digging, it's just solid guesswork.

3) I'm really trying to work with you Bud, but if we are going to convince the voters that you guys are worthy, we have to pick and choose our battles strategically, it might be a little to ambitious to convince everyone that you guys were the best two players of the era. However it's very reasonable to expect others to buy into the fact that you guys are among the best players of the era, which would warrant your induction. Again, this isn't a yes/no vote, so we are going to have to convince people to rank you and your buddy George ahead of specific players. That's a little tougher than convincing people to vote yay or nay.

It sucks, but like everything, strong political skills will not hurt in this quest. If you say, "they are the best two players until someone proves me wrong," it'll be very easy for people to say, "no they weren't" and the fact that they probably were very close will be obscured as the detractors try to shoot you down and the bickering starts.

But if you start with a reasonable premise like, "they were every bit as good as most of the best white players of their generation," people can accept this and it will go a long way towards building a consensus.

Best of luck,

Joe

Posted 3:05 p.m., July 11, 2002 - MattB
I know this doesn't actually help, but I'd probably put Fowler in the same category and Ross Barnes -- great second baseman with a shorter career in a less dominant league. The problem, of course, is that I consider Barnes the third best second baseman of the era, and Bill James doesn't even put him in his Top 100, so it doesn't really help with placement.

On a related note: are pre-NA players eligible? I've read that Jim Creighton was supposed to be the best player in early pro ball and the first openly professional player. I don't know much about him, except that he died young of baseball-related injuries. Don't know if it's worth digging deeper.

Posted 3:32 p.m., July 11, 2002 - scruff (e-mail)
Matt -- someone like Creighton would definitely be eligible. But it'll be up to someone who believes in him as a candidate to convince the ignorant (of which I'm a member).

Posted 3:49 p.m., July 11, 2002 - John Murphy
Since Creighton died at the age of 21, I would say no.

Posted 5:04 p.m., July 11, 2002 - Bud Fowler
Scruff,

Not trying to be "unstrategic". Just making my case the best way I know how.

Would've been nice to go in before Anson, but since he's probably got the best stats of any of the white players, that's probably unlikely.

Posted 2:56 a.m., July 12, 2002 - John Murphy
Here is the updated Win Shares per 162 games for the second basemen (NA not included as of yet):

Sam Barkley: 21.43
Ross Barnes: 28.39
Lou Bierbauer: 16.04
Jack Burdock: 16.54
Hub Collins: 25.25
Jack Crooks: 19.38
Fred Dunlap: 27.70
Jack Farrell: 18.88
Joe Gerhardt: 13.31
Bid McPhee: 23.14
Fred Pfeffer: 19.60
Danny Richardson: 17.61
Hardy Richardson: 27.99
Yank Robinson: 21.70
Pop Smith: 16.75
Cub Stricker: 13.82

Scruff:
Did you get the Danny Richardson, Cub Stricker and Bill Phillips spreadsheet?

Posted 1:55 a.m., July 14, 2002 - John Murphy
152-21, 21, 18-87-Danny Richardson-8.6 sea.-83 batting-60 fielding>-10 pitching

2B 56%, SS 26%, CF 5%, RF 5%, 3B 4%, LF 4%.
notes: 1884-1894. 5-year peak ages 24-28. Played his whole career in the National League (except for 1890 in the PL).

135-18, 18, 16-72-Cub Stricker-9.8 sea.-87 batting-45 fielding-3 pitching
2B 95%, SS 2%, RF 2%.
notes: 1882-1885; 1887-1893. 5-year peak ages 27-31. Played his whole career in the AA (except for 1890 in the PL; 1892-1893 in the NL).

Posted 8:36 p.m., July 14, 2002 - John Murphy
Bob "The Magnet" Addy was another good player who deserves mention, but I don't think he's a HoMer.

Posted 11:55 a.m., July 20, 2002 - John Murphy
ChapelHeel said:

I know some of the adjustments are still in the experimental stage, but taking a step back from the numbers for a sec: How does a guy like Bid McPhee become the 5th best non-pitcher on the ballot in total WS? I think the guy is a HoMer, but fifth?

No question he was a great defensive player. However, he was a .270 hitter in a hitter's era and in mostly hitter's parks....his unadjusted OPS crossed .800 only twice in 18 years. What would those hitting stats be in a park-adjusted and era-adjusted environment?
Bill James has him as the 30th best second baseman of all time. He had only 6 out of 18 years in which his park-adjusted RC/27 was more than 25% above the league RC/27. Based on the STATS Retroactive All-Star list, his hitting got him named to the All-Star team only 2 times in 18 years (the list doesn't take into account defense). His hitting is weak, even for his position, and everyone seems to acknowledge that 2b was more of a hitter's position in the 19th century.

I know that some of those stats aren't good measures (e.g, batting average) and that James doesn't do a great job with 19th-century players, so I agree adjustments should be made. I also agree that he is definitely HoMer material. But fifth? I don't think anyone would have taken McPhee in a straight-up trade with Paul Hines.

I agree with you on McPhee. While I definitely think he's worthy of induction, he's behind Richardson and probably Barnes (still trying to sort him out), IMO. McPhee was never the best second basemen at one time. Richardson was the premier player in the 1880s, while Cupid Childs (not eligible yet) was the #1 in the 1890s. The one thing in his favor (and it's a big one) is that he was near the top for a very long time. He was the most durable keystone player until Lajoie. He belongs.
   81. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 23, 2007 at 09:50 PM (#2652779)
Posted 2:45 p.m., August 31, 2002 - John Murphy
I think I have been a little too harsh on Fred Dunlap. The more I look at his career, he would be my pick for the second best second baseman of the 1880s (behind Hardy Richardson). McPhee and Pfeffer would follow, respectively, after.

Posted 2:01 p.m., September 7, 2002 - Marc
>How does a guy like Bid McPhee become the 5th best non-pitcher on the ballot in total WS? I
think the guy is a HoMer, but fifth?

I don't doubt that McPhee is deserving of fifth place on CWS among 19th century players. He had a long career which lots of other 19th century players, and especially middle infielders, didn't have.

The real question always goes back to whether total career stats is the way to rate and rank, or whether peak value (whether WS or whatever) has a role. McPhee is the best 19th century 2B on CWS but probably no more than 3rd or 4th on PWS. So now comes the fun part that the numbers can't decide. How do McPhee's apples compare to Barnes'(or Richardson's or Childs') oranges?

Posted 8:49 p.m., September 12, 2002 - TomH (e-mail)
defense of McPhee -- OWP of .552, OPS+ above average, very long career, few injuries, great defense. Maybe equal to Mazeroski as a hitter, not as good at 2B.

A very weak crop of 2Bmen. Did James miss out on H Richardson somehow in the NHA? Anyway, McPhee's career is likely as valuable as Richardson's, only 4 fewer WS per season and longer career. Dunlap is good in the 80s, but I see him as behind the other 2, and there just aren't many 2B I see as top 40 players overall. Bring on Cupid Childs!
TomH

Posted 12:27 p.m., September 13, 2002 - scruff (e-mail)
McPhee was MUCH better hitter than Mazeroski Tom. It's not even close. Mazeroski's OWP is more like .400 than .552 (unless McPhee's number above is adjusted to defensive position, but I don't think it is).

I really think there are 3 paths to the HoF or HoM.

The first is obvious, long career, high peak. These guys (as Bill James once said) kick the doors open and yell, "I'm here, where's the beer!"

But there are two other paths, and both are equally deserving. One is the Nolan Ryan, Don Sutton, McPhee, Rusty Staub, Vada Pinson path of being a very good player for a very long time, with a few big, but not huge years. These players are usually way underrated while playing. I wouldn't put Baines in this path, because he doesn't meet the "a few big years" standard. Very few of these guys actually end up getting in.

The other path is the Koufax, Kiner, Belle path, where the guy has some monster years, but for whatever reason a very short career. The Hall has typically welcomed these guys although they have to wait sometimes.

I think both paths are equally viable. But to compare Bid McPhee to Bill Mazeroski does the 19th century man a great disservice if you ask me. The only way this is possible is if you use a timeline adjustment and picture Mazeroski going back to 1885 as himself, with all of the nutritional increases (not to mention 3 extra generations of natural selection giving him a better gene pool), etc. I don't really think this is fair.

Sure a minor timeline adjustment is reasonable, because it's tougher to dominate a league these days (which makes Barry all the more incredible). But to just discount all of the old time players doesn't make sense to me.

McPhee was very, very good player for a very, very long time. That's worth a lot. Richardson had the one monster year, but the rest of his peak is pretty similar to McPhee's, and McPhee had a much longer career. I think the two are toss up, and I'd probably take McPhee if we were starting a league and it was 1879. I could see Richardson, but either way I think the two are damn close.

Richardson was a better hitter, but McPhee was a wizard with the glove, at 2B. I mean the position is treated like 3B is today (that is, not as important) and he still racks up almost as many defensive WS as Ozzie Smith did at SS. Unless the WS methodology for 2B is extremely flawed, the guy was an incredible defensive player.

I think the man to compare McPhee to is Brooks Robinson. 2B then was like 3B in modern times. Both were amazing, miles ahead of their peers with the glove. Both played their entire career in one city. Both were pretty good hitters, though nothing special with the stick. Brooksy, not Maz is the man to make the comparison with.

I'd equate Richardson to a guy like Ron Santo. Short career, very good hitter.

Both are HoMers IMO.

Posted 8:40 p.m., September 15, 2002 - Tom (e-mail)
Scruff's point is good - Brooks is a much better comp than Maz for McPhee, although I'm not ready to put McPhee's defense quite in a class with Mr Robinson (as in, most valuable def career at his position).
Has anyone seen or posted Pete Palmer/Dallas Green's analysis of league quality differences? It is in the book The Hidden Game of Baseball, published in 1984 or so. I have it somewhere (not with me right now), and I would like to see how the AA compared to the NL in the years both leagues ran together. Any other insights on league quality would be greatly appreciated!

Posted 12:29 a.m., September 16, 2002 - John Murphy
Has anyone seen or posted Pete Palmer/Dallas Green's analysis of league quality differences?

Boy, now that's an odd twosome! :-)

Posted 10:58 p.m., September 28, 2002 - John Murphy
Updating my top five second basemen (in order):
Bid McPhee (I had been underestimating the competition he faced)
Hardy Richardson (originally had him number one, Hardy didn't play as many games as McPhee at a premium defensive position).
Ross Barnes (including his NA numbers)
Fred Dunlap
Fred Pfeffer

Posted 4:15 p.m., September 29, 2002 - TomH
Has anyone seen or posted Pete Palmer/Dallas Green's analysis of league quality differences?

Boy, now that's an odd twosome! :-)
--
My bad. Really, really, my bad. It was Dallas ADAMS, not Dallas Green. Note to self: Think before hitting "send".

Tom

Posted 4:56 p.m., September 29, 2002 - John Murphy
TomH:
You weren't the first to make a mistake here and you certainly won't be the last. I know from my own personal experience. :-)

Posted 4:16 p.m., November 2, 2002 - Rob Wood
Spink says that Fred Dunlap was the greatest second baseman of the 19th century. Just throwing this out there for what it is worth.

Posted 7:44 p.m., November 2, 2002 - John Murphy
Spink says that Fred Dunlap was the greatest second baseman of the 19th century. Just throwing this out there for what it is worth.

All-around or just as a fielder?

Posted 11:44 a.m., November 3, 2002 - Rob Wood
I don't have the book with me right now, but I am almost sure Spink meant all-around (hitting, defense, baserunning). He spends about a full page singing Dunlap's praises, and quotes a couple other experts as saying that Dunlap was the greatest second baseman ever (written in 1909). The evidence that has come down to us seems to suggest that Hardy Richardson was a greater player, especially if we discount Dunlap's outstanding UA season.

By the way, Cap Anson named Fred Pfeffer as the second baseman on his personal all-time best team. Of course, Pfeffer played along side Anson for many years in Chicago, so we should probably disregard Anson's opinion. The full team (appearing in a TSN 1918 article) is Ewing, King Kelly, Anson, Pfeffer, Williamson, Barnes, Lange, Gore, Ryan, Duffy, Rusie, Clarkson, and McCormick.
   82. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 23, 2007 at 09:50 PM (#2652780)
Posted 8:06 p.m., November 3, 2002 - Marc
Rob, are you sure of Anson's selections--two second basemen, no shortstop, five outfielders?

Posted 1:35 p.m., November 4, 2002 - Rob Wood
Anson didn't go exclusively with one player per position. He had both Ewing and Kelly as catchers (though Kelly was a great all-around player). Barnes was listed as the shortstop. And I think he listed four outfielders because he wanted to add Lange who (in my opinion) doesn't really belong. Anyway, Anson's list is quite different from my list made almost 100 years later.

Posted 9:23 p.m., April 12, 2003 - Welday Walker
Hey Bud, quit calling me "Wendy." How would you like it if I called you "Betty?"

Anyway, if I were voting for any 19th C. blacks, Fowler would be my pick. He probably wasn't as good a player as Frank Grant, but his longevity and role in organizing many teams gives him extra credit. I don't see where George Stovey has any better claim to the HoM than Perry Werden does. My brother Moses was good defensively, a so-so hitter, and not very durable.
   83. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 23, 2007 at 10:16 PM (#2652792)
Posts #78-82 contain earlier posts from July 2002 to April 2003 that had been either chewed up or were lost during the last transition.
   84. jimd Posted: December 28, 2007 at 11:19 PM (#2655730)
Spink says that Fred Dunlap was the greatest second baseman of the 19th century.

"I have seen all the great second basemen from the time Al Reach covered second for the Athletics of Philadelphia in the early sixties down to Nap Lajoie, of the Clevelands and Johnny Evers of the Chicago Cubs who are considered the greatest men in the position in this 1909 season.

"And I would easily pronounce Dunlap the greatest player that ever filled the position."
The National Game by Alfred H. Spink, 1910.

Going on at greater length he concedes that Lajoie was the better hitter, but argues that Dunlaps' fielding, throwing, baserunning, and leadership skills outweigh that. Even I don't fully buy that (speaking as one of Dunlap's best friends here), though I would rate him ahead of Childs on my 2B list. Also McPhee had too much quality career for me to ignore. Spink's ranking of Dunlap over Lajoie would appear to be very peak-oriented, combined with a 19th-century (over?)emphasis on fielding.

Spink also relates a story about how Dunlap was signed by the UA and its creator, Henry Lucas. Lucas nearly tripled his NL salary (1750->5000) and signed him to a two-year contract, cash upfront and on the signing table. Dunlap, an orphan who had skipped much of his school-time to play ball, could not bring himself to walk away from so much cash (10 $1000 bills), and signed the deal.
   85. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: October 20, 2008 at 02:01 AM (#2988599)
Here's the current candidates at second base, where we seem to have pretty much made up our minds on who's in and who's out. It'd be the shortest list by far, except that I have a bunch of them in my consideration set. (For the curious, those are in the same order I have them on my spreadsheet, which is pretty much chronological)

Larry Doyle (36th, 99 points, 7 votes)

1907-1920, 1766 games played, .290/.357/.408, OPS+ 126, 289 WS, 106.3 WARP1

ronw - 4: His hitting peak continues to impress me as unique.

Andrew M - 4: There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground with Doyle. And while I recognize that the group of voters who like him is much smaller than those who don’t, he’s always looked good to me. He was probably the best offensive player on the best offensive team in the NL 1911-1913, he had a career OPS+ of 126 and OWP of .666, and was consistently in the NL top 10 in HRs, slugging pct., and a variety of other offensive statistics. He also won an MVP award and was the best 2B in the NL by Win Shares for 7 seasons and 2nd best for a couple of others. Most importantly for his case, his fielding didn’t seem to bother his manager or contemporary observers as much as it bothers us. By all accounts Doyle played extremely hard and captained the team for several years.

David Foss - 4: MVP deadball second baseman. Position player cornerstone of the 1911-13 Giants pennant dynasty. Hit like an OF-er.

Bill Monroe (44th, 73 points, 5 votes)

Esteban Rivera - 2: Seems to be one of the best second basemen of his time.

Late 1890s-1914, too early for Negro League MLEs

(Wait, I'm not Monroe's best friend anymore? When did that happen? :) )

Fred Dunlap (55th, 48 points, 4 votes)

1880-1891, 965 games played, .292/.340/.406, OPS+ 133, 165 WS, 101 WARP1

Juan V - 2: A shame that I only made all these changes for our final tri-weekly election, but I might have found my "Beckley" in him.

Of course, the bulk of his case is in that 1884 monstrosity, which would be in the "best individual season ever" discussion if made in a "major" (no translations or discounts necessary) league. Sure, the UA discount takes a lot of air out of that, but even a 50% discount makes it an amazing season.

But even immediately before and after brutalizing the UA he was an excellent player, providing 10 WARP seasons four times (the schedule length adjustment and the timeline roughly cancel each other out in the translation to WARP3). Sure, he declined quickly after that, but that still makes the best peak available.

Tony Lazzeri (86th (tie), 14 points, 2 votes)

1926-1939, 1740 games played, .292/.380/.467, OPS+ 121, 252 WS, 104.4 WARP1

Esteban Rivera - 13: Agree with others that he has been somewhat overlooked by the electorate. Given credit for time in the PCL.

Bill Mazeroski (Recieved votes in 2006)

1956-1972, 2163 games played, .260/.299/.367, OPS+ 84, 219 WS, 89.4 WARP1

Johnny Evers (Devin's consideration set)

1902-1917, 1784 games played, .270/.356/.334, OPS+ 106, 268 WS, 120.6 WARP1

(There doesn't seem to be a thread for Evers. Tinker and Chance are arguing about who has to tell him.)

Del Pratt (Devin's consideration set)

1912-1924, 1836 games played, .292/.345/.403, OPS+ 112, 242 WS, 104.9 WARP1

(There also isn't a thread for Pratt.)

George Scales (Devin's consideration set)

1923-1938, 1986 equiv. games
MLE v.1 - .292/.393/.439, OPS+ 118
MLE v.2 - .278/.382/.413, OPS+ 109
310 WS

(There are varying sources for Scales' numbers, thus the different MLEs. And the newer numbers from the Hall of Fame study, which are better than the others, were not included. The WS were estimated by mulder & scully, and I'm not sure which MLE he was working from.)

Bobby Avila (Devin's consideration set)

MLB: 1949-1959, 1300 games played, .281/.359/.388, OPS+ 104, 175 WS, 57.2 WARP1

(Played several years in Mexico, MLE gives a career total of 283 WS)

Red Schoendienst (Devin's consideration set)

1945-1963, 2216 games played, .289/.337/.387, OPS+ 93, 262 WS, 91.5 WARP1

Marvin Williams (Devin's consideration set)

1944-1961, 2197 equiv. games
MLE: .265/.340/.448, OPS+ 110, 347 WS

(The games played is from an earlier MLE, I didn't see a number in the updated one.)
Chuck Knoblauch (NHBA qualifier)

1991-2002, 1632 games, .289/.378/.406, OPS+ 106, 231 WS, 63.7 WARP1
   86. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 20, 2008 at 01:36 PM (#2989850)
I would be interested in seeing PCL MLE's for Lazzeri.
   87. sunnyday2 Posted: October 20, 2008 at 01:47 PM (#2989857)
For us peak voters, a question (maybe not the question, but a question) would be, Which of these guys was good enough to be an MVP candidate? The answer, I think, is:

Leapin' Larry Doyle was the NL MVP in 1912 as the Giants won the NL pennant then lost the World Series to the Red Sox 4-3-1. Doyle just edged Honus Wagner for the award. WS has Doyle at just 29 and Wagner at 35, with Schulte and Mathewson and H. Zimmerman also over 30.

Johnny Evers was the NL MVP in 1914. Objective measures don't tend to see it that way, of course, but the sportswriters who voted on the Chalmers Award did and subjectively it's a pretty good case. Evers joined the Braves, who completed a move from last to 5th to 1st. The Braves were in last place on July 8, but went on a 34-10 tear and moved into 1st place on September 2. Evers was selected MVP with teammates Rabbit Maranville and Bill James (no, not that Bill James) in 2nd and 3rd. WS has Evers at 28 and G. Burns at 31.

Lazzeri was 4th in 1928 but somebody hadda be 4th. WS had it Ruth 45, Gehrig 42, Lazzeri and Cochrane 22. I mention Cochrane because he won the award. But Lazzeri was not really a candidate.

Red Schoendienst was 4th in 1953 but with about half as many votes/points as the winner Roy Campanella. WS has him at 27, and Matthews 39, Snider 37, Musial and Campy 33, etc., so I'd hesitate to call the Red man a candidate. OTOH his 3rd in 1957 is pretty solid. He moved from the Giants to the Braves just before mid-season, and he helped the Braves to their first pennant in Milwaukee, the first for any re-located team. The vote was Aaron 239, Musial 230, Schoendienst 221. WS had him at just 26, however, and Matthews, Mays, Aaron and Musial all ? 30.

Bobby Avila was 3rd in 1954 behind Berra 230, Doby 210, and Avila 203. Bobby joined the Indians in 1951 and they jumped from 4th to 2nd (but only increased from 92 wins to 93, really). They of course won the AL pennant in 1954 in a perfect storm of a regular season. Doby led the league in HR and RBI, Avila in BA at .341. And Bobby slugged an improbable .477 (career .388, previous year .379) to Doby's .484. WS had it Mantle 36, Avila 34, Berra 34, Doby 33. An MVP caliber year, maybe the best season by any of these 2Bs.
   88. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 20, 2008 at 03:42 PM (#2989990)
I have the top seasons by these five players as follows:

Avila '54 7.7
Lazzeri '29 7.2
Schoendienst '53 6.7
Lazzeri '32 5.9
Lazzeri '27 5.6
Evers '12 5.4
Schoendienst '52 5.4
Schoendienst '57 5.4
Evers '08 5.1
Doyle '15 4.9
   89. Chris Fluit Posted: October 20, 2008 at 06:26 PM (#2990179)
For us peak voters, a question (maybe not the question, but a question) would be, Which of these guys was good enough to be an MVP candidate? The answer, I think, is:


Don't forget Dunlap. He's obviously the MVP for the UA in 1884 (however much that's worth). However, he also has a case for NL MVP in 1881. As a middle infielder, he's top five in AVG, OBP and SLG and third in OPS+ behind Anson and Brouthers. He's t-4th in hits, 2nd in total bases, t-3rd in doubles. He's second in Runs Created, third in Batting Runs, third in Batting Wins and t-2nd in times on base. The 2b/1b difference would be enough to push him past Brouthers, though Anson has a big enough lead in most categories that he'd probably be the MVP. Even so, second to Anson in 1881 is not a bad finish, and certainly puts him in the discussion with the other guys you mentioned.
   90. Paul Wendt Posted: January 31, 2009 at 07:47 PM (#3065047)
Concerning Frank Grant and Cupid Childs, at least, I recall speculation in this forum about the physical demands of infield play in the 1890s. Because they come to mind first I am posting these few tables here.

How commonly does one player field one position in 90% of team games? Here is a report on three different periods that all cover 96 team-seasons: 1893-1900 (12 teams for eight years), 1955-1960 (16 teams for six years), and 1973-1976 (24 teams for four years). The latter four years were the first four DH seasons in the American League and I have reported AL-only counts as well as total counts for that period.

Here there are six positions, five around the basepaths and one in the outfield, plus a seventh position in AL 1973-76.

[b]1893-1900[/b]
    95
%    90%    80%    70%    60%    50%    40%
C    1    1    7    16    38    81    127 *
1B    19    35    52    67    74    86    113 *
[b]2B    27    47    65    75    84    95    109 *[/b]
SS    31    50    65    78    87    98    108 
*
3B    27    37    54    71    82    92    111 *
OF    106    154    206    244    274 *    308 *    331 *

nTeam    96    96    96    96    96 *    96 *    96 


[b]1955-60[/b]
    95
%    90%    80%    70%    60%    50%    40%
C    0    5    17    41    67    86    122 *
1B    6    12    30 !    52    67    84    118 *
[b]2B    23    32    50    57    71    87    106 *[/b]
SS    20    32    55    75    82    96    108 
*
3B    14    25    39    55    70    85    100 *
OF    46    92    149    196    243 *    299 *    358 *

nTeam    96    96    96    96    96 *    96 *    96 


Bold marks the secondbase rows simply because that may improve readability.

Any one of these counts may exceed nTeam, the number of team-seasons, and the outfield count may exceed three times nTeam, by mid-game changes in the fielding lineup.
* marks the counts that may exceed nTeam even in a season of complete fielding games. Alternatively, * counts may exceed nTeam for starting players alone.


[b]1973-1976[/b]
    95
%    90%    80%    70%    60%    50%    40%
C    1    7    28    46    59    93    117 *
1B    10    16    33    43    61    82    110 *
[b]2B    16    26    52    64    81    94    109 *[/b]
SS    16    35    59    71    83    99    111 
*
3B    25 !    40    56    75    84    91    100 *
OF    21    56    144    196    253 *    305 *    348 *

nTeam    96    96    96    96    96 *    96 *    96 *

[b]1973-1976 American League (DH)[/b]
    95
%    90%    80%    70%    60%    50%    40%
C    1    1    14    23    28    45    61 *
1B    5    10    16    20    30    39    53 *
[b]2B    5    13    25    32    41    47    55 *[/b]
SS    10    20    30    34    41    50    56 
*
3B    16    20    25    36    43    44    48 *
OF    10    23    65    94    129 *    156 *    175 *

DH    2    3    7    16    22    27    37 *

nTeam    48    48    48    48    48    48    48 
   91. Paul Wendt Posted: February 02, 2009 at 07:04 PM (#3065749)
Does anyone know how to govern format of numerical data exported from MS Access to csv or txt?
Both to csv and to txt, I am seeing 0.9999997 -> 0.99 where I would prefer rounding up to one or exporting 0.9999997.

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