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Friday, July 11, 2003

Start and McVey

A place to focus the discussion for them.

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 11, 2003 at 03:53 PM | 113 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Jeff M Posted: July 11, 2003 at 11:35 PM (#515310)
I'll pitch in b/c it is fun. I'm not a friend or enemy of either and I'm not trying to sell one candidate over the other. Just putting down my thoughts. I currently have McVey a little bit ahead of Start.

1. McVey had a couple of dominant seasons; Start was very steady. Sounds like a peak argument, but I give McVey a nod, because for a couple of years, he was the best hitter in baseball. Some years he was nearly twice as good as an average player. Start was very good, but not quite as dominant in the big years. There's something to be said for being the best player in baseball, because not many can say it.

2. In the years in which they both played, McVey was better in all but one year in my opinion.

3. I have McVey as about 60% better than the league and Start about 40% better than the league over their careers. Start obviously played a lot longer, so this may be a wash.

4. Obviously we don't have Win Shares for the NA, but Start had two sub-par NA years and overall, his NA years were some of his worst. McVey's best years were in the NA. I think Cal's Win Shares for those years would push him ahead of Start in that category, particularly since Start was a mature player during the NA years and Cal was pretty young. Using WARP1 and adjusting for season length (ignoring the WARP2 timeline adjustment, which I don't understand), Cal would have 52.7 in the NA and Start would have 32.3 in the NA. Not sure how it would translate to WS, but it would be significant.

5. My Pennants Added calculations come out slightly different than Joe's, but Cal would be significantly stronger in this category if my assumptions in #4 above are correct about WS.

6. I see no significant defensive distinctions. In addition to 1b, Cal had 50 games at catcher and could really play anywhere. Start was the first to play off the bag at first.

7. Start is better overall in WARP1 adjusted for season length, primarily because he played longer. On a per season basis, McVey is at 8.6 and Start is at 6.8. Same argument as #3 above, I guess.

8. Start obviously had some prime years that are not documented. I can't make up stats for him, so when I get to my final grade of the players, I give Start a 10% bonus. That may be too low, or too high. Who knows? My main problem with pre-1871 is that I don't know who the competition was. I suspect it wasn't all that good. Although Cal also played before 1871, I don't give him any extra credit because he was just a kid in the pre-1871 years and I have no idea what he did. I don't give credit for the later west coast years b/c I don't give credit for playing in other leagues when there is a perfectly good major league to play in.

I think it is a pretty close call, but I take McVey by a nose.
   2. Chris Cobb Posted: July 22, 2003 at 01:15 PM (#515315)
A note on Cal's declining WARPs -- part of the decline is attributable to the fact that he pitched a small number of innings very badly in 77 and 79, for which WARP rates him a 11 and 13 runs below replacement level (he loses a third of his value in 1879 for pitching 14 innings??), and that seasons were _very_ short in some of those years, for which WARP3 may not fully adjust. Adjusted WARP1 1875-1879 without the pitching deduction (I remove the pitching bonus he got in 1876 also) looks like this: 21.3, 10.5, 10.2, 6.48, 10.0 . He has a bad year in 1878, which is partly attributable in WARP1 to his playing his only season at third base, and not playing it well. Otherwise his value is pretty constant across the NL years. It's not in any way a match for his monster years in the NA, but 10 adj. WARP is still a very high level of play.
   3. Chris Cobb Posted: July 22, 2003 at 01:29 PM (#515316)
Oops. McVey's adj. WARP 1 for 1875 should be 19.6, not 21.3.
   4. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 22, 2003 at 02:10 PM (#515317)
A note on Cal's declining WARPs -- part of the decline is attributable to the fact that he pitched a small number of innings very badly in 77 and 79, for which WARP rates him a 11 and 13 runs below replacement level (he loses a third of his value in 1879 for pitching 14 innings??),

Which makes no sense, in my opinion. It's one thing not to give him credit for his pitching, but it's another thing to subtract it from his other accomplishments.
   5. jimd Posted: July 22, 2003 at 04:27 PM (#515318)
Which makes no sense, in my opinion. It's one thing not to give him credit for his pitching, but it's another thing to subtract it from his other accomplishments.

I don't understand this. This is a record of BP's estimates of the value of what McVey did on the field. Yes, the pitching was optional, but he did it. I understand that sometimes position players go into blowouts for the fun of it, and those results have no practical impact, but this isn't that kind of a situation. He pitched 176 innings. Because it was optional, I suppose one can pretend it didn't happen, judging it irrelevant to his HOM case, but that's an editorial choice, one that BP should not be making.
   6. OCF Posted: July 22, 2003 at 05:09 PM (#515319)
I have Start ahead of McVey, but neither one in the top reaches of my ballot. I know we're supposed to be honoring the best from each era without prejudice for or against any one time, but I'm developing many misgivings about the National Association.

Take 1875, the year in which McVey recorded his highest OPS+. Here are the runs scored per game, team-by-team:

10.13, 9.08, 6.71, 6.48, 5.51, 5.49, 5.00, 4.62, 3.82, 3.62, 3.46, 3.16, 3.00. (The 10.13 is the Red Stockings.)

The runs allowed, team-by-team:

3.99, 4.18, 5.22, 5.27, 5.37, 5.99, 6.03, 6.77, 8.45, 8.47, 9.86, 9.95, 12.07. (This time it's the 4.18 that's Boston. Hartford, with Candy Cummings and Tommy Bond, may have had better pitching than Boston with Spalding.)

The history of the NA seems to be the Red Stockings with their perennial All-Star team, a handful of other teams trying to compete with them, and a bunch of teams going 3-26 before dropping out of the league. What's the meaning of "average" player in that environment? How do you define "replacement level player" in a league infested with replacement level teams? Players on the Red Stockings derived a considerable benefit just from not having to play their teammates.

McVey was a good player, but you can explain the success of the Red Stockings without needing him as part of the explanation, and the year he spend on another team didn't change much.

The impression I'm getting is of a league whose talent pool wasn't deep enough to properly stock an 8-team or so "major" league. There probably were players with high level talent who simply never came to the attention of the NA teams; of the ones who did, they mostly got swept up by the best teams.

As for giving either McVey or Spalding much credit for play before 1871, they were teenagers. I do buy the idea of pre-1871 credit for Start, who may (but we don't know) have had his peak back then. I also don't see giving McVey credit after 1879. He left the majors. So he kept playing baseball somewhere - so did many others who left the majors. That leaves in McVey's case a 9-year career. That won't stand up to Start's longevity.
   7. jimd Posted: July 22, 2003 at 05:36 PM (#515320)
Under NA rules, any team willing to pay the entry fee could play. That highly democratic system didn't work too well, particularly in 1872 and 1875, when there were quite a few teams in over their heads. However, there were 7 solid teams (out of 13) in 1875, 6 of them played in the NL of 1876 (the lesser of the two good Philly teams was not invited); the upper half of the league was as good as the NL of the following few years, and the lower half didn't last very long, for the most part, before dropping out.

McVey refused to play in the NL under the reserve rule, which was new in 1880. He wasn't the only one who had problems with it; George Wright and Deacon White held out most of 1880 and I'm sure there were others less notable.
   8. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 22, 2003 at 06:13 PM (#515321)
He pitched 176 innings. Because it was optional, I suppose one can pretend it didn't happen, judging it irrelevant to his HOM case, but that's an editorial choice, one that BP should not be making.

I'm not pretending it didn't happen. I have a problem with linear weight-type formulas (though WARP is not really the same as TPI).

I believe if you play, you have value. That value might be microscopic if your performance is poor, but it's still there.
   9. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 22, 2003 at 06:14 PM (#515322)
McVey refused to play in the NL under the reserve rule

I didn't know that. Good info, Jim.
   10. OCF Posted: July 22, 2003 at 06:24 PM (#515323)
<i>McVey refused to play in the NL under the reserve rule<i>

So he's on the same list that has, among others, Amos Rusie and Curt Flood: Players who challenged the power of the owners and, for the most part, lost their personal battles.
   11. Howie Menckel Posted: July 22, 2003 at 07:51 PM (#515325)
Well put, Andrew.
   12. jimd Posted: July 22, 2003 at 08:04 PM (#515326)
The reserve rule began after the 1879 season as a "gentleman's agreement" amongst the NL owners; they submitted a list of N players (2 or 3; I forget exactly) to the league and the other owners agreed to not sign them. Some of the players were quite proud to have been designated as "reserved", but not after they received their next contract offer. The reserve lists grew during the 1880's until they covered the entire team. I don't know when the various leagues agreed to respect each other's reserve arrangements, or when the infamous "reserve clause" was inserted into the player contracts, but this whole concept is new and controversial throughout the 1880's, culminating in the Brotherhood of Baseball Players (Player's League) in 1890 and the compete defeat of the young players union.

I think Andrew has it right there. McVey just didn't like the way he was treated and went elsewhere. The "minor leagues" weren't like today; they were completely independent. The choice of playing in the NL vs the IA was maybe kinda like the choice to sign with a big market east/west coast club vs a small market team today; the IA markets were smaller, and so were the team salary budgets, but they were playing for a real pennant too, and signing the best players they could afford.
   13. Chris Cobb Posted: July 23, 2003 at 04:32 AM (#515328)
Someone above has McVey at 35 WS/year for 9 years. That's 315 WS. Can anyone come up with any (position) player in the history of the game who earned 315 WS in a 9 year period who we are not going to elect? For that matter, can anyone name a position player who earned 300 WS in a 10 year period who we are going to skip over? If you credit those numbers, McVey put up an HoM career even without any credit for his pre-NA or post-NL performance.

As the "someone above," I should point out that at this moment I think the 315 WS number is most likely an overestimate, though not a gross one. I continue to work on an accurate conversion of WARP1 to win shares (when I'm not doing the work I'm paid to do :-) and I hope to have numbers on McVey that even the skeptical will credit in the next couple of days.
   14. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 23, 2003 at 04:21 PM (#515332)
So, do you mean best by career value, or by talent, or by per season impact?

I think what Tom meant was that McVey was probably the best major league player at his position 7 or 8 eight times.

OTOH, Browning was the best three times (though close for a couple more).
   15. Howie Menckel Posted: July 23, 2003 at 04:25 PM (#515333)
JohnC,
   16. Chris Cobb Posted: July 23, 2003 at 10:21 PM (#515336)
As promised here are career Win Shares for Cal McVey, as derived from WARP1

Year -- Total -- Batting / Fielding -- adj. To 162 games (from)
   17. jimd Posted: July 23, 2003 at 11:25 PM (#515337)
Nice work, Chris. I used a much cruder technique to estimate his Win Shares, and have 310-315 penciled next to his name. Good to have that verified.
   18. Chris Cobb Posted: July 26, 2003 at 01:19 AM (#515338)
Having translated WARP to WS for McVey and Sutton, next up of the NA players on the ballot is Joe Start. Before I list the numbers, I'll say that they are not especially impressive. However, there is reason to believe that the translation does not fully capture his value for two reasons. First, WARP does not like Start's hitting as much as WS does, so it's harder than usual to approximate battting WS accurately. Second, no player I've studied loses as great a percentage of fielding value going from WARP to WS. I think the fielding translation below accurately represents what WS would find, based on its fielding WS for Start's NL career, but WARP sees him as _much, much_ better defensively. I'll say more about these issues after posting the numbers themselves, for those who are interested.

Joe Start NA win shares

bWS/fWS = total (games) --> adj. WS (162)
   19. Paul Wendt Posted: August 02, 2003 at 07:26 PM (#515339)
OCF (#10):
   20. Paul Wendt Posted: August 02, 2003 at 07:31 PM (#515340)
jimd (#17):
   21. jimd Posted: August 04, 2003 at 05:04 PM (#515341)
Total Baseball "park factor" accounts for the teammate effect. I don't know about the measures used here.

BP/WARP claims to adjust for the teammate effect. To the best of my knowledge, Win Shares does not.
   22. Marc Posted: August 04, 2003 at 05:37 PM (#515342)
Then there's the fact that from 1859-70, Joe Start almost surely had the greatest "career value" of any player in the game. By 1870, George Wright was likewise almost surely regarded as having the highest active peak (he was the best player on the best team in America all four years from 1866-67 and 1869-70) and Al Spalding of the Chicago Excelsiors was also very highly regarded. But Start's team, the Brooklyn Atlantics, had won the championship of the New York area 8 times in 11 years from 1859-69 and aside from G. Wright's teams (the Washington Nationals 1866-67 and Cincy Red Stockings 1869-70) it is doubtful that any other teams in America could have competed with the elite New York teams before the NA.

Start's career reminds me of Ernie Banks'--top 3 for 11 years, then rapidly falling to a barely above average rating. The difference is that Banks stayed there, but Start suddenly was reborn and had a second prime, not as a top 3 or 5 player perhaps but as a top 20, a well-above average, player. Thought about this way, Start would rate well above Banks overall--a longer early prime plus a later prime that Banks didn't have. Among the company of slick-fielding, non-HR hitting all-time great 1Bs, I think of Start in the company of Sisler and Terry, and he would outrank both of them as well for a longer prime and a longer career, but at a very generally similar level--i.e. among the top 3 to 5 players.

I was not a FOJS at the beginning of this process, BTW, but exploring the 1860s has made me a big fan. His post-'71 record alone just does not get at the essential Joe Start.
   23. Marc Posted: August 06, 2003 at 02:10 PM (#515343)
Thanks to my friend Paul Wendt for an update re. Joe Start.

I guessed that Start began play with the Atlantics in 1859. Paul tells me of two sources that say Start joined the Atlantics in 1861 and 1862. He had played with the Enterprise previously while one source says he broke in with the Pheonix in 1859.

Comment: My basic point that he began organized play in '59 and was the star of the Atlantics for an extended period of time appears to be accurate. The details are fuzzy as Paul's two sources do not entirely agree.

Also, I had a source that said the Atlantics won 8 pennants. This is not entirely documented. Rather, one source shows the Atlantics winning 4.5 pennants 1859-'65 (i.e winning cleanly in '59-'61-'64-'65). In 1860, the Atlantics and Excelsiors (with Jim Creighton) split two games and then the third ended in a riot, the captains agreeing to a draw. Paul does not provide data concerning pennants after 1865, perhaps because there is no detailed source. We do know of course that after 1865 the Washington Nationals (1866-67) and Cincy Red Stockings (1869-70) had the best claims to being the best teams in the game.

Comment: I probably overstated both the Atlantics dominance AND Start's role in it. Rather than 8 pennants, I see that 4.5 can be documented and rather than 8, I see Start involved in only 2 of the 4.5. Nevertheless, the point remains, Start was the star (1861-62 through 1870) of one of America's elite teams.

The only players with a comparable career (>10 years) as of '70 are Harry Wright and Dickey Pearce (and maybe Al Reach though I cannot corroborate at the moment), and I still find Start a little more prominent than either among elite teams. As for peak value, Creighton remains my #1, G. Wright #2 and after that Start is, again, a step ahead of Harry.
   24. Paul Wendt Posted: August 06, 2003 at 07:35 PM (#515344)
The Atlantics may have been the best team in the New York area (modern New York City) 8 or 9 times in 12 years, 1859-1870.

Bill Ryczek, When Johnny Came Sliding Home: ... 1865-1870, covers his time period in great detail. (In writing to Marc privately, I relied on his sketch of 1958-1864 in chapter 1.)

Beginning 1866 or 1867, best in New York was no longer clearly best. From Ryczek's account, it is clear that the New York area teams conspired to keep the pennant at home, if it was a pennant. There were strong challengers in Philadelphia, Cincinnati (1869-70), and Chicago (1870). Conspiracy was mainly at the expense of the Athletics, Phi. By 1869, New York clubs were no longer clearly in control. The Red Stockings, Cin, did not jump through New York hoops to make their case. Read the book.

George Wright played for the Nationals, based in Washington, only in 1867. That was their tour year; I wonder how much they used their Washington base. In 1868, he was the regular shortstop for the Unions of Morrisania, now in the Bronx, who benefited from conspiracy, at least in scheduling, to win the championship and hold it until the next season. (The championship could be won in mid-season, by winning two of three from the champion.)

Marshall Wright's book on the NABBP covers 1857-1870. It is a few year old but we do not yet have a good critical review. I hope for one before the New Year.

Paul Wendt
   25. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 06, 2003 at 07:55 PM (#515345)
Paul:

Do you happen to know of a shortstop before 1867 who was comparable to Dickey Pearce (offensively, defensively or all-around) at shortstop?
   26. Marc Posted: August 06, 2003 at 08:20 PM (#515346)
BTW, the Chicago Excelsiors were the team of Al Spalding and Ross Barnes. I am not aware that the Excelsiors had a strong claim to national honors--that is, I don't know who they played. But they clearly were an elite club.

I wonder what the story is concerning George Wright's recruitment by the Washington Nationals for their barnstorm tour? Harry had moved from New York to Cincy to play cricket (!) in '65 (and it appears he played cricket and not baseball that year). He went back to baseball in '66. I do not know if George was in New York or Cincy in '66 but he clearly already had a reputation. He would have been comparable to Dickey Pearce as early as '66, if only by inference.
   27. Jeff M Posted: August 06, 2003 at 09:37 PM (#515347)
Anyone know how many wicked googleys Harry Wright had in 1865?

http://www.kottke.org/02/11/021109a_wicked_goo.html
   28. Jeff M Posted: August 06, 2003 at 09:52 PM (#515348)
Anyone know how many wicked googleys Harry Wright had in 1865?

http://www.kottke.org/02/11/021109a_wicked_goo.html
   29. Jeff M Posted: August 06, 2003 at 10:25 PM (#515349)
Anyone know how many wicked googleys Harry Wright had in 1865?

http://www.kottke.org/02/11/021109a_wicked_goo.html
   30. sean gilman Posted: August 06, 2003 at 10:40 PM (#515350)
3? :)
   31. Jeff M Posted: August 06, 2003 at 11:00 PM (#515351)
Correct!

I'm not sure why it was posted three times. I wasn't even at the computer for the second two.
   32. Paul Wendt Posted: August 08, 2003 at 10:53 PM (#515352)
I don't know a top shortstop who was a contemporary of Pearce.

Bill Ryczek, When Johnny Came Sliding Home: ... 1865-1870 lists Forest City Rockford IL as a major club 1868-70, with Spalding and Barnes the regular P and SS. According to 19c Stars, they were teammates on that club 1866-70, age 16-20 for Barnes.

Chicago 1870. That is the White Stockings, not the Excelsiors. Ryczek does not list Excelsior Chicago as a major club but he does have 11 index entries for that club.
   33. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 09, 2003 at 03:16 PM (#515353)
So Barnes and (of course) George Wright are the only shortstops that could be argued were better than Pearce during the sixties. So Dickey had at least ten seasons where he was the Big Kahuna at his position. Mighty impressive.

Thanks for answering my request, Paul!
   34. Jeff M Posted: August 09, 2003 at 05:52 PM (#515354)
John Murphy wrote: "Do you happen to know of a shortstop before 1867 who was comparable to Dickey Pearce (offensively, defensively or all-around) at shortstop?"

Let me re-phrase the question. Do you know of ANY shortstops other than Wright, Barnes and Pearce before 1867?

My point isn't that Pearce is unworthy -- because I don't know the answer to that question. My point is that we don't seem to know much about the universe of shortstops during that time period. That's why I have a hard time with Pearce's claim to the HOM. It may be some indication of his greatness that we know his name, but I don't know that for sure.

Plus, for those who believe in having each position equally-represented in the HOM (I'm not one of them), shortstops are already very well represented.
   35. Marc Posted: August 09, 2003 at 06:30 PM (#515355)
Well, Doc Adams played shortstop at least 1849-1862. That's not too shabby of a "career" and his team was among the elites, such as they were.
   36. Paul Wendt Posted: August 09, 2003 at 07:10 PM (#515356)
Bill Ryczek, When Johnny Came Sliding Home: ... 1865-1870 (McFarland, 1998) lists Forest City Rockford IL as a major team 1868-70 and lists Excelsior Chicago IL in 1868 only. And so it goes. The list of major teams is embodied in Appendix B, "Team Rosters", which literally lists the regular players by position for each major team.

Number of major teams, 1865-1870:
   37. Paul Wendt Posted: August 09, 2003 at 07:25 PM (#515357)
we don't seem to know much about the universe of shortstops during that time period.

That's an understatement, both in its tentative wording (seem) and in its scope (shortstop).
   38. Jeff M Posted: August 09, 2003 at 10:46 PM (#515358)
"That's an understatement, both in its tentative wording (seem) and in its scope (shortstop)."

Yes. Was trying to be diplomatic.
   39. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 09, 2003 at 11:49 PM (#515359)
Well, Doc Adams played shortstop at least 1849-1862. That's not too shabby of a "career" and his team was among the elites, such as they were.

I have Doc Adams as a definite Pioneer selection (he and Cartwright would be my first choices), but I have no knowledge of how he played or who he played against.

I would stick with the professionals over the amateurs, but a persuasive argument could sway me. Your Harry Wright argument has almost done that now.
   40. Marc Posted: August 10, 2003 at 01:55 AM (#515360)
You're right, John, we know Doc Adams played a lot of baseball, we know he was a very smart man, but as best as I can determine "history" only says he played, not that he was a "great" player. History says differently about H. Wright (and Creighton and Pearce and Start). They were great.
   41. Philip Posted: August 12, 2003 at 03:16 PM (#515361)
Jeff M wrote: ?Plus, for those who believe in having each position equally-represented in the HOM (I'm not one of them), shortstops are already very well represented.?

I do believe that each position should be representated fairly equally. However, it could be possible that throughout history this is not the case for shortstops. There may be a larger proportion of shortstops who deserve a place in the HoM. The following example will show this, taking into account the defensive spectrum (I hope you can all follow):

I assume a player will play the toughest defensive position he can play well, so that his offensive contribution will be maximized. This can be seen as the difference between absolute offensive value and replacement level (which becomes lower as we move along the defensive spectrum). Ideally, a leftfielder would move to second base if he could play this position just as well, and a second baseman would become shortstop if he could play shortstop just as well, thereby maximizing his value. However, once a player becomes a shortstop he cannot move to a more valuable defensive position, because such a position does not exist (assuming the skill sets for catcher and pitcher are too different to convert to). A-Rod and Nomar have the offensive value that would merit a place in the lineup at first base, but their value increases tremendously by playing shortstop. By applying the assumption that players move as far to the right of the defensive spectrum as possible, the shortstop position gets crowded with superstars, at least more so than other positions. This effect may not be very large, but it could justify a relatively larger representation of shortstops in the HoM.
   42. OCF Posted: August 12, 2003 at 06:57 PM (#515362)
To add to what Philip is saying, the times around the turn of the century saw at least three players - good, long-career players - start out mostly as outfielders, and with other positions in between, wind up as shortstops. The three I know of are Hans Wagner, George Davis, and Bobby Wallace. The only thing I find curious is that it took so long to figure out that these three could play shortstop. Philip used Rodriguez and Garciaparra as examples, but we know that the best example of the point he was trying to make is Wagner. On the other hand, I don't think we would have elected Glasscock had Pebbly Jack been a 1B/RF with the same offense.
   43. Marc Posted: August 13, 2003 at 02:46 PM (#515363)
It seems to me that this thread makes a somewhat artificial connection (McVey-Start) and misses the really obvious one (Start-Sutton). McVey and Start are not really contemporaries, Start having been in the game for about a decade already when McVey came along. Their strengths and weaknesses, from a statistical rather than a "tools" perspective, are difficult to compare. One short career, one long. One (ironically from a 21st century perspective, the 1B) consisting of much defense, the other of dominant hitting. And so on.

Start and Sutton are more easily compared. Long careers, their cases depending on a lot of defensive value, etc. etc. So:

Peak--Start was clearly one of the top 2 or 3 players in America in the mid-1860s. This is not "undocumented," not a matter of "faith." It is in the record. After the death of Jim Creighton and before the emergence of George Wright and perhaps Al Spalding in the barnstorming era (beginning in '67), Start, Harry Wright and Dickey Pearce were clearly regarded as the top players in that order. Start, whose team, the Atlantics, were the leading dynasty before the Washington Nationals and Cincy Red Stockings, was clearly regarded as the best of the three. H. Wright probably still was regarded as the best "career value" player active in the game, but Start was the top "peak value" player at the time. Now this may have been a fairly short window from, say, 1864 through 1866, but how many players are clearly the best for any longer than that? Not many. How many are even "among" the best players in the game for more than 3 years? Not 10 in the 19th century and of those 10 only Hamilton, Duffy and Caruthers are on this ballot with Start.

We now know that Sutton was among the very best players in the game for a 3 year peak from 1883 to 1885, though this fact utterly escaped those who saw him play. His 3 year WS total, adjusted for a fielding bonus and normalized to 162 games, was 133, the highest for any position player (tied with Charlie Bennett) of the 19th century. His 5 year peak was not very high relative to the 3 year peak, however, and as a result I would say Sutton was for 3 years only "one of" the best and in fact in the second tier of "the best" behind Hines and Gore, and along with Bennett, Glasscock and the emerging/arriving Brouthers and Connor. Despite his very high 3 year peak of 133, Sutton was part of a crowded field of players with similar WS totals, suggesting that the high numbers were in part a result from the overall conditions of the game at that time.

So for peak, I have Start clearly ahead of Sutton. If you want to put a number to Start's peak or you timeline, you may disagree, but I don't see it as a matter of faith, it is very clear from the record just discussed.

As for career, I will be more brief because Start's obvious superiority here is even easier to see. Sutton leads Start in "Bill James WS," 1876ff only and unadjusted for season length, 158-124, neither one being at all impressive. Thanks to Chris for providing NA WS and thanks also for adjustments for season length and the higher value of fielding vs. pitching, we think that Sutton 468 Start 409 better reflects their true career values 1871ff.

But, hey! Wait a minute. Start had already been active for 12 years prior to 1871. And not only that, he was the best player in America for a part of that pre-'71 period. It's not a matter of faith to believe that Start would have accumulated 60 more WS in the '60s. If you count WS from '71 and if you normalize to 162 (or 75 or regress to the mean or whatever), then you can hardly deny Start (or others) any value at all for '70...'69...etc. etc. Let's just say he gets 10 a year for 12 years, which is pretty conservative, now you're talking 527 WS.

Hamilton is #1 on this ballot for documented adjWS at 473. It seems crystal clear to me that Start is #1 in career value, Sutton #3, while for peak value Start is in the top 5 (acknowledging some uncertainty there) and Sutton probably in the second 10. So I end up with Start #1 on the 1907 ballot and Sutton #6.

McVey, meanwhile, is #3 overall because of a massive peak--top 5, like Start, to be sure, but also much higher than Joe's. For career value I have McVey at adjWS 336 not even counting 1869-70 for which he clearly should get 20 per year for a total of 376. Still below the best, so he settles in between Start and Sutton.
   44. sean gilman Posted: August 13, 2003 at 06:33 PM (#515364)
So if I'm reading you right Marc, in terms of career adjusted Win Shares you've got:

Sutton: 468
   45. Marc Posted: August 13, 2003 at 07:24 PM (#515365)
Sean, right now ya got me. Best I can see for Start is 244 (NL adjWS posted here a year ago) + 93 (Chris' NA number), so I will have to figure out where I got 409. Even then, 337 + 120 (very conservative for 1859-70) = 457 which puts Start among the leaders in career value.

As for Hamilton, as you said the 393 may not be fielding adjusted. The 473 is fielding adjusted by my own hand (and my own formula, so indeed it may not match other numbers).
   46. DanG Posted: September 11, 2003 at 05:04 PM (#515370)
Andrew wrote:

"Joe Start's post-1871 career looks an awful lot like John Morrill's career".

In what ways, specifically, is Morrill like Start?
   47. Chris Cobb Posted: September 11, 2003 at 05:21 PM (#515371)
Well, Start looks a bit like Morrill, but WARP3 sees him as seven wins better in his documented career, and adj. WS shows Start as about 50 WS better in his documented career. That's not particularly close. If Start had not played a game before 1871, he would still have a case to be on the 1909 ballot. I don't think those 8(!) prior years of play need to be given an unreasonable weight for him to be considered a top-of-the-ballot star.

The Beckley comparison that Andrew made earlier is more reasonable, but Start has a better peak and a longer career, and Beckley's career is tolerably long. Comparing John Morrill to Joe Start seems to me about like comparing Tom Daly to Bid McPhee.
   48. Paul Wendt Posted: September 11, 2003 at 06:01 PM (#515372)
I have previously recommended this book. Today I learned that the price is $9.95 at scholarsbookshelf.com vs $45 at mcfarlandbooks.com.

Marshall Wright, The National Association of Base Ball Players 1857-1870 (McFarland 2000), lists all member clubs annually through some time in the late 1860s. Thereafter through 1870 (or 1872), most of the ~1000 clubs were represented at the Convention through their state associations, and most are not listed by Wright.

For all prominent clubs, this is a source for rosters and game scores. For many team-seasons, the player statistics of the day (games, outs, runs, fielding position(s)) cover all games played. For most team-seasons, some games are missing.
   49. Howie Menckel Posted: September 11, 2003 at 06:58 PM (#515376)
Pretty well done, Andrew, from a FOJS.
   50. karlmagnus Posted: September 11, 2003 at 07:46 PM (#515377)
The fiction is your equation of Morrill to Start; all Start's rate stats are better, and Morrill only comes close in total stats because he played in longer seasons. Normalizing them both to 130 game seasons, Start has 2,705 "normalized" hits to Morrill's 1,791. NOT close, before you add a single hit to Start for 1859-70
   51. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 11, 2003 at 07:50 PM (#515378)
I feel like I have only one more Joe Start post left in me and am going to save it for next week, but I would like to note that Joe Start's post-1871 career looks an awful lot like John Morrill's career.

How do can compare Morrill at 21 with Start in his 28th year (and 9 seasons under his belt)?
   52. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 11, 2003 at 07:57 PM (#515379)
OK, I read your second post (#66), Andrew. Your point is a little bit clearer. Still, Start is much better than Morrill ever was. I don't think it's a valid comparison.

Beckley (who I think is ballot worthy) is a better match (I agree with Chris), though Start still was better.
   53. Marc Posted: September 11, 2003 at 09:20 PM (#515380)
I would say well done, karlmangus. I would not say well done, Andrew:

> So, to move Start from 5-10% better than Morrill to the top of your ballot, you either need to give Start
   54. Marc Posted: September 11, 2003 at 09:22 PM (#515381)
I would say well done, karlmangus. I would not say well done, Andrew:

> So, to move Start from 5-10% better than Morrill to the top of your ballot, you either need to give Start
   55. Howie Menckel Posted: September 11, 2003 at 11:36 PM (#515383)
Well, part of my "well done" referred to an attempt to define what Start's career actually was. Remains to be seen what answer we get after all shots are fired!!
   56. Marc Posted: September 12, 2003 at 12:45 AM (#515384)
Here's a player who at the age of 31 plays 104 games at SS and some OF with an OPS+ of 122. After that he plays 1B for the rest of his career:

Age Games OPS+
   57. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 12, 2003 at 04:07 AM (#515387)
Let's not call him Joe Start anymore. Let's call him Beaver. A perpetual teenager. Oh, hell, never mind. I'll just spontaneously combust.

LOL
   58. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 12, 2003 at 04:28 AM (#515388)
Mark M, regarding Joe Start -- "the abridged version is that we have 16 "officially documented" years where he was an average 1st baseman."

Maybe in a different dimension this was true, but in our dimension, this is flat out incorrect. All you have to do is compare him to the other regulars that he played against to find out where he stood at the position all-around. He was, without a doubt, above average.
   59. karlmagnus Posted: September 12, 2003 at 01:44 PM (#515391)
Don't forget we're talking about TINY seasons in the early NA - the random fluctuation is much greater than in a modern or even 1880s season. If you add 1871-2-3, to get closer to a full season, Start was pretty decent, although not a superstar. Even with the combination of the 3 years, it's only the equivalent of one mediocre season which every player has from time to time.
   60. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 12, 2003 at 02:46 PM (#515392)
Andrew, there was nothing wrong with him in 1871. His OPS+ was 137.

Best player at his position that year (when first base was more defense-oriented).
   61. Paul Wendt Posted: September 12, 2003 at 09:59 PM (#515393)
Joe Start joins the premier team in New York (and therefore America) in 1862 (during the Civil War! BUM!!!). The Atlantic dominate New York baseball through 1870, when Start drives in the run that breaks the Red Stockings' 109-game winning streak.

Atlantic was certainly best overall, 1858-1861, with few matches played in 1861. In 1862, most of the 1865 championship team was in place; there was more turnover 1861-62 than 1862-65. (Pearce and captain Pete O'Brien were there throughout. Anyone else?) Eckford was the undefeated (both years?) champion in 1862-63. One year, Atlantic played only five known matches against other clubs --"games" in the modern lingo. One year, Eckford was 12-0.

In 1865, there was a big increase in games played everywhere. The Army of Northern Virginia surrendered in early Spring and the other CSA forces and politicans surrendered soon after, before the baseball season, which was then roughly June to November for matches.

I doubt that demobilization was crucial for resumption of interclub play. I suspect that a mental/emotional shift in focus and easier travel were crucial. I suppose there was a partly-lost partly-delayed generation of ballplayers on a national scale, immediately following those who arrived 1856-60 (H.Wright, Pearce, Start).

The Atlantics dominate New York baseball through 1870, when Start drives in the run that breaks the Red Stockings' 109-game winning streak. Start's (and the Atlantics') "peak" was 1865-1870. Five of those six years come ... after the Civili War.

Make it 1864-69 and you are right about both the Civil War and the local supremacy of the Atlantic Club. Believe me, the War was over in 1865. In 1870, the Mutuals of New York were the somewhat plausible NYC candidate for national championship honors. Still, Atlantic was an elite club that year, clearly #5 it seems to me.

--
   62. jimd Posted: September 12, 2003 at 11:01 PM (#515394)
I looked up the 28-and-beyond WARP-3 values for a number of offensive players (1B and OF), and McPhee, and calculated the adjusted-WARP-2 for a few close cases (because WARP-3 maybe discriminates against early players). Some results:

96.4 WARP-3 Anson
   63. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 13, 2003 at 05:45 AM (#515395)
Thompson. What was he doing before age 25 so that he got a slow start on his major-league career?

He was a carpenter in 1884.
   64. DanG Posted: September 23, 2003 at 02:46 PM (#515397)
This comment may get overlooked in the ballot thread, so I'm posting it here as well, where it's more appropriate. I also posted the link to the article, excerpted below, that discusses the origins of west coast baseball. It's a 23-page .pdf file, the excerpt is from pages 10-11.

I came across some interesting info on Cal McVey. I don't think anyone here is giving him a ton of credit for his post-NL career, but it seems that he didn't exactly "play through" the 1880's. I found an article online from The Journal of Sport History, Spring 1990. An excerpt:
   65. Marc Posted: September 23, 2003 at 03:48 PM (#515398)
I have never given Cal any credit at all for post-'79 and he has worked his way up to #2 on my ballot. Clearly in '80 he was still an all-star caliber player. That--even for just one additional year--adds value.
   66. Jeff M Posted: September 26, 2003 at 04:30 PM (#515399)
This won't affect anyone's Start vote (and doesn't contain a lot of new information), but I thought it was interesting. From "Slide, Kelly, Slide" (biography of King Kelly):

"One of Mike's good friends from Paterson was a boy named Jim McCormick, a couple of years older than Mike, and an immigrant from Glasgow, Scotland. Jim and Mike shared a common hero, a ballplayer named Joe Start who played first base for the Mutuals of the National Association.

Start, 5'9" and 165 pounds, had achieved a measure of fame with the Brooklyn Atlantics, a prominent amateur team during the 1860s, which had been undefeated in 1864 and 1865 and won what amounted to a "championship of the American continent" with a victory at the Rochester State Fair over a Canadian team in 1864. ...

Start had a heroic sounding name and was known as 'Old Reliable' by his faithful. He is believed to have been the original first baseman to position himself to the right of the base, although some credit this to Charles Comiskey. ...

Could Kelly and McCormick have imagined that they might one day play professional baseball against Start?"
   67. Paul Wendt Posted: October 04, 2003 at 10:43 PM (#515400)
17 Apr 2003, "Do We Need a Centennial Commission?" #23, Marc wrote:
   68. Chris Cobb Posted: October 05, 2003 at 02:55 AM (#515401)
Cal McVey and Games Played

In the 1910 ballot thread it was argued that McVey's 527-game career was too short for him to be a serious HoM candidate. I argued that he played a lot more than 527 games, suggesting 1300 games as a reasonable estimate. Having done more research into the matter, I now offer 950 games as a revised low-end estimate. It's possible that he played significantly more, but based on the evidence, it's unlikely that he played less. This estimate counts his play with the Cincinnati Red Stockings in 1869 and 1870, but it does not count any play out west.

Here's how the 950 games break down by type:
   69. Chris Cobb Posted: October 05, 2003 at 03:00 AM (#515402)
Cal McVey and Games Played

In the 1910 ballot thread it was argued that McVey's 527-game career was too short for him to be a serious HoM candidate. I argued that he played a lot more than 527 games, suggesting 1300 games as a reasonable estimate. Having done more research into the matter, I now offer 950 games as a revised low-end estimate. It's possible that he played significantly more, but based on the evidence, it's unlikely that he played less. This estimate counts his play with the Cincinnati Red Stockings in 1869 and 1870, but it does not count any play out west.

Here's how the 950 games break down by type:
   70. Chris Cobb Posted: October 05, 2003 at 03:05 AM (#515403)
Cal McVey and Games Played

In the 1910 ballot thread it was argued that McVey's 527-game career was too short for him to be a serious HoM candidate. I argued that he played a lot more than 527 games, suggesting 1300 games as a reasonable estimate. Having done more research into the matter, I now offer 950 games as a revised low-end estimate. It's possible that he played significantly more, but based on the evidence, it's unlikely that he played less. This estimate counts his play with the Cincinnati Red Stockings in 1869 and 1870, but it does not count any play out west.

Here's how the 950 games break down by type:
   71. Chris Cobb Posted: October 05, 2003 at 03:11 AM (#515404)
Cal McVey and Games Played

In the 1910 ballot thread it was argued that McVey's 527-game career was too short for him to be a serious HoM candidate. I argued that he played a lot more than 527 games, suggesting 1300 games as a reasonable estimate. Having done more research into the matter, I now offer 950 games as a revised low-end estimate. It's possible that he played significantly more, but based on the evidence, it's unlikely that he played less. This estimate counts his play with the Cincinnati Red Stockings in 1869 and 1870, but it does not count any play out west.

Here's how the 950 games break down by type:
   72. Chris Cobb Posted: October 05, 2003 at 03:16 AM (#515405)
Cal McVey and Games Played

In the 1910 ballot thread it was argued that McVey's 527-game career was too short for him to be a serious HoM candidate. I argued that he played a lot more than 527 games, suggesting 1300 games as a reasonable estimate. Having done more research into the matter, I now offer 950 games as a revised low-end estimate. It's possible that he played significantly more, but based on the evidence, it's unlikely that he played less. This estimate counts his play with the Cincinnati Red Stockings in 1869 and 1870, but it does not count any play out west.

Here's how the 950 games break down by type:
   73. Chris Cobb Posted: October 05, 2003 at 05:59 PM (#515406)
Apologies for the multiple posts!! My connection was bad last night, and kept telling me the posting had failed, so I tried several times. Now today they are all here . . .
   74. Paul Wendt Posted: October 06, 2003 at 03:02 AM (#515407)
1871 -- Boston Red Stockings recorded as playing 32 exhibition games against amateur teams, winning them all

32 against amateur teams. Does the source imply that Boston played no other exhibition games?

14 exhibition games are now listed in the Vaccaro log [Frank Vaccaro, All Games Baseball, version 5, Aug 2003]. All of those games were covered by New York City newspapers (eg, Clipper) or by other newspapers that Frank consulted in New York City libraries (published in a subset of NA cities, I guess). W-L-T, 10-3-1. Starting pitchers: Spalding 13, unknown 1. All? of those were played against professional teams: NA teams 9 (6-2-1); Brooklyn Eckford 3 (2-1), Brooklyn Atlantic 1 (1-0), Washington National (1-0).
   75. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 06, 2003 at 03:48 AM (#515408)
Just giving thanks to Paul Wendt for his wonderful tidbits of baseball history for our project!
   76. Chris Cobb Posted: October 06, 2003 at 05:09 AM (#515409)
14 exhibition games are now listed in the Vaccaro log

That would be just about the number of games needed to bring their total 1871 season up over 75 games, and so is in keeping, so far, with the other season-length evidence. Thank you, Paul!

32 against amateur teams. Does the source imply that Boston played no other exhibition games?

No, the source, which is http://www.nationalpastime.com/the_national_game.html (which itself reproduces excerpts from _The National Game: Baseball and American Culture_ by John P. Rossi) mentions the Red Stockings' 32 victories against amateur competition in 1871 in passing, as an illustration of the quality of professional play in the early 1870s, not as part of an exhaustive description of their play for the season.

Here's the full passage:

<i>Batters also began to adjust their swing and stance to avoid hitting soft fly balls that were now easy outs, as outfielders rarely muffed them. Instead the batter tried to hit line drives or hard grounders, called "daisy cutters," which had a better chance of being hits. Only the pitcher and catcher wore
   77. Paul Wendt Posted: October 11, 2003 at 01:20 AM (#515410)
Re 1911 Ballot, John Murphy quoted and replied:
   78. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 11, 2003 at 05:50 PM (#515411)
Cal McVey played RF for the Cincinnati Red Stockings 1869-70. He was a good hitter but not a great one in 1869.

Agreed.

In 1857, on the other hand, the Brooklyn Atlantics did not play the established club from New York, who mainly played each other --and not frequently.

I'm confused. Who did the Atlantics (or do you mean the New York club?) mainly play each other with?

BTW, I wasn't questioning that the quality of play and competition level were inferior to later generations, only that it was the best for it's time and that it's real stars should be honored. Pearce, H. Wright and Start had very long careers and had impressive documented numbers when you take into account their age when they arrived into the NA, so I'm confident that they were great players.

However, I wouldn't go so far as to induct Joe Leggett, Al Reach, Dick McBride or even Bob Ferguson because of a lack of faith in their true greatness, though they were all acknowledged as top stars.
   79. Marc Posted: October 11, 2003 at 07:04 PM (#515412)
John, don't forget Jim Creighton when you mention stars (highest peak value) of the pre-NA who we will never elect! And I would dare to say that on a scale from 1 to 10, Reach would be closer to Pearce and Start and Wright than to Leggett, McBride and Ferguson (and Jack Champman), in other words for career value the next in line after the big 3.

I'm not the expert by any means (that would be Paul) but I think his point was that the Brooklyn and New York teams didn't play each other. They're all New York to me, of course, but I guess if you're from Brooklyn or the Bronx or Queens or Manhattan, it makes a difference. And I would guess Paul meant to say "established clubs" plural of New York?
   80. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 11, 2003 at 11:43 PM (#515413)
John, don't forget Jim Creighton when you mention stars (highest peak value) of the pre-NA who we will never elect!

I forgot to post his name here, but I didn't forget him. My problem with him, as you know, is the shortness of his career (not his substantial peak effectiveness).

Asa Brainard is another one that deserves to be mentioned in the conversation.

And I would dare to say that on a scale from 1 to 10, Reach would be closer to Pearce and Start and Wright than to Leggett, McBride and Ferguson (and Jack Champman), in other words for career value the next in line after the big 3.

I have no doubt that you are right, but it's still not enough for me to take up his cause as of right now. I have yet to see any contemporary quotes touting his greatness. Being one of the first professionals (if not the first) and able to play in the NA does help his case, however.

I'm not the expert by any means (that would be Paul) but I think his point was that the Brooklyn and New York teams didn't play each other. They're all New York to me, of course, but I guess if you're from Brooklyn or the Bronx or Queens or Manhattan, it makes a difference. And I would guess Paul meant to say "established clubs" plural of New York?

That makes sense to me.
   81. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 12, 2003 at 01:04 AM (#515416)
Brooklyn wasn't incorporated into New York (city) until 1898. They were separate cities until then.

That was when Brooklyn was still connected to Long Island.
   82. Marc Posted: October 12, 2003 at 01:45 AM (#515417)
Patrick wrote:

>But if you accomplished something after
   83. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 12, 2003 at 02:17 AM (#515418)
<i>But if you accomplished something after
   84. Paul Wendt Posted: October 13, 2003 at 12:41 AM (#515419)
Excuse me. I did mean "established New York clubs", plural.

> Eagle (NY) 5-5-0
   85. Marc Posted: October 13, 2003 at 02:27 AM (#515420)
I've read that social class may have been a factor. Most clubs had been "gentlemen's" clubs early on. The Atlantics were one of the first, if not the first, "workingmen's" clubs, and while there's not a precise correlation I believe the NY clubs were more likely to consist of "gentlemen" and the Brooklyn clubs of "workingmen."
   86. Howie Menckel Posted: October 13, 2003 at 02:34 AM (#515421)
Mr. Murphy:
   87. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 13, 2003 at 03:03 AM (#515422)
Is there an earthquake that I missed? Or is Brooklyn still connected to Long Island (and Queens, too!)

I could have sworn that I always drove over a drawbridge when I went to my grandmother's house in Brooklyn from Long Island. My father always told me that they were connected at one time, but an area between the two areas was removed to make it easier for boats to navigate the waters.

Queens was still part of Long Island when I left New York in '92, if I recall correctly. :-)
   88. Howie Menckel Posted: October 13, 2003 at 01:23 PM (#515423)
It's funny - I almost never go to Brooklyn, yet I have a work assignment there on Tuesday. I'll look for drawbridges!!
   89. Howie Menckel Posted: October 13, 2003 at 02:03 PM (#515424)
(I'll try to remember to re-post this on the new ballot thread...)

I have the 'HOMer season' tally this way, going out on a limb and counting Nichols as a 1911 electee:
   90. Carl Goetz Posted: October 13, 2003 at 03:49 PM (#515425)
I could also be a matter of not all the eligibles from the 1890s are eligible and some that are borderline cases haven't been on the ballot long enough to move to the top yet. I think its a little early to be concerned with this shortfall. I mean, look at the 70s; Start and McVey will likely be elected within the next 10 'years'. Both have been eligible in every election we've had and would have been eligible earlier if we started earlier. Sometimes, it just takes a while for a candidate whose not blatantly obvious. Burkett clearly will get in. Of the currently eligible 90s players, I expect McPhee, Van Haltren, Ryan, and Duffy to all get in eventually, though it may take a long time.
   91. Carl Goetz Posted: October 13, 2003 at 03:54 PM (#515426)
I could also be a matter of not all the eligibles from the 1890s are eligible and some that are borderline cases haven't been on the ballot long enough to move to the top yet. I think its a little early to be concerned with this shortfall. I mean, look at the 70s; Start and McVey will likely be elected within the next 10 'years'. Both have been eligible in every election we've had and would have been eligible earlier if we started earlier. Sometimes, it just takes a while for a candidate whose not blatantly obvious. Burkett clearly will get in. Of the currently eligible 90s players, I expect McPhee, Van Haltren, Ryan, and Duffy to all get in eventually, though it may take a long time.
   92. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 13, 2003 at 04:16 PM (#515427)
It's funny - I almost never go to Brooklyn, yet I have a work assignment there on Tuesday. I'll look for drawbridges!!

I'm very serious about this, Howie. In fact, I've driven over it myself a couple of times leaving Queens into Brooklyn.

BTW, I've never taken hallucinogenic drugs. :-)
   93. Paul Wendt Posted: October 14, 2003 at 01:38 AM (#515428)
In "1911 Ballot", Al Peterson asked:
   94. Howie Menckel Posted: October 14, 2003 at 12:31 PM (#515429)
Murph,
   95. Paul Wendt Posted: December 23, 2007 at 07:09 PM (#2652703)
50-odd months ago,

>>
4. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 22, 2003 at 09:10 AM (#515317)
A note on Cal's declining WARPs -- part of the decline is attributable to the fact that he pitched a small number of innings very badly in 77 and 79, for which WARP rates him a 11 and 13 runs below replacement level (he loses a third of his value in 1879 for pitching 14 innings??),

Which makes no sense, in my opinion. It's one thing not to give him credit for his pitching, but it's another thing to subtract it from his other accomplishments.
5. jimd Posted: July 22, 2003 at 11:27 AM (#515318)
Which makes no sense, in my opinion. It's one thing not to give him credit for his pitching, but it's another thing to subtract it from his other accomplishments.

I don't understand this. This is a record of BP's estimates of the value of what McVey did on the field. Yes, the pitching was optional, but he did it. I understand that sometimes position players go into blowouts for the fun of it, and those results have no practical impact, but this isn't that kind of a situation. He pitched 176 innings. Because it was optional, I suppose one can pretend it didn't happen, judging it irrelevant to his HOM case, but that's an editorial choice, one that BP should not be making.
<<

Cal McVey was the Cincinnati captain/manager in 1878-79. He wasn't pitching on a lark. Of course he wasn't a wealthy man hiring players with his own money, either.

The 1878 team was excellent to great with McVey newly at third base, Charley Jones at his best, and the White battery. Rookie star OF Mike Kelly handled second catcher and Bobby Mitchell(who?) handled second pitcher tolerably well.
The 1879 team lost Charley Jones to Boston (I can't resist mentioning). Cal & his money men didn't come up with a tolerable second pitcher: 43-31 with Will White, 0-6 with four others.
   96. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 24, 2007 at 01:29 PM (#2652993)
Well, you have to credit *someone* for that terrible pitching, or the team's wins above average won't add up. You can't pretend it just didn't happen. The question of whether it is considered to have positive or negative value just depends on where you peg replacement level.
   97. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 24, 2007 at 01:43 PM (#2652998)
Well, you have to credit *someone* for that terrible pitching, or the team's wins above average won't add up. You can't pretend it just didn't happen. The question of whether it is considered to have positive or negative value just depends on where you peg replacement level.


I'm not pretending that it didn't happen, Dan. But what I was questioning (4 years ago?!) was using a linear weight-type system for HoM purposes. For example, I'm never going to buy a candidate losing overall career value because management unfortunately decided that he could play at the tail end of his career. But that's a philosophical argument that we will have to agree to disagree on.
   98. Paul Wendt Posted: February 19, 2008 at 01:08 AM (#2694139)
Joe Start playing statistics (batting and baserunning), 1860-1870
Enterprise of Brooklyn, 1860-61
1860 - 6 games played; rank among 9 who played 4-7 games
Runs - 2.17, 3rd
Outs - 2.50, 3rd

1861 - 7 games played; rank among 8 who played 5-10 games
Runs - 4.14, 1st (outlier)
Outs - 1.71, 1st (outlier)
Seven clubs played 10-21 matches in 1860, only two played 10-12 matches in 1861. With nine matches played both years, the Enterprise club ascended from 8th to 3rd in activity.

Atlantic of Brooklyn, 1862-70
1862 - 4 games played; rank among ten who played 3-5 games
Runs - 1.50, 9th (6/4g)
Outs - 2.75, 4th (11/4g)
Atlantic played only 5 match games, none before August 11. Ordinarily I would ignore 3- to 5-game players.

1863 - 9 games played; rank among 8 who played more than 5 games (all 7-11 games)
Runs - 2.56, 3rd
Outs - 2.89, tie 5th; virtual tie 3rd to 7th (2.86 to 2.91)

1864 - 18 games played; rank among 9 who played more than 6 games (all 14-22 games)
Runs - 4.56, 5th
Outs - 2.61, 2nd

1865 - 18 games played; rank among 9 who played 13-18 games
Runs - 4.56, 1st
Outs - 2.17, 1st

1866 - 16 games played; rank among 11 who played 7-18 games
Runs - 4.31, 1st
Outs - 2.31, 2nd

1867 - 19 games played; rank among 11 who played 8-26 games
Runs - 4.37, 1st
Outs - 2.11, 1st (outlier)

1868 - 52 games played; rank among 11 who played 11-56 games
Runs - 4.52, 1st
Outs - 2.35, 1st
Hits - 4.48, 1st
TBoH - 5.44, 5th (a singles hitter this season)
That's total bases on hits, modern Total Bases, per game.

1869 - 46 games played; rank among 12 who played 9-48 games
Runs - 4.39, 2nd [1st*]
Outs - 2.59, 4th
Hits - 4.41, 2nd [1st*]
TBoH - 7.41, 1st (a big bopper this season)
*The leader in runs and hits played 9 games.

1870 - 56 games played; rank among 9 who played 46-58 games (next high listing is 6 games)
Runs -
Outs -
Hits - 2.88, 1st
TBoH - 4.41, 2nd

--
Numbers of games are numbers in the records compiled by Marshall Wright, NABBP 1857-1870 which do not always match for teams (date, opponent, run score) and players (runs, outs, etc).
   99. Paul Wendt Posted: February 19, 2008 at 01:11 AM (#2694144)
Here is a summary showing Joe Start's rank on his team in those categories, all per game played.
[b]Joe Startrank on team 1860-70[/b] (underline '64-68)
Runs per Game
 3 [b]1[/b] ; 9 3 [u]5 1 1 1 1[/u] 1 -
Outs per Game
 3 [b]1[/b] ; 4 5 [u]2 1 2 [b]1[/b] 1[/u] 4 -
Hits per Game
 - - ; - - [u]- - - - 1[/u] 1 1
Total Bases on Hits per Game
 - - ; - - [u]- - - - 5[/u] [b]1[/b] 2 


'Outs' is Hands Lost, batting and baserunning outs. Average was close to three per game.
There was a shift in the record-keeping categories. Hyphen (-) is not available.

At least four of Joe Start's team leaderships were outliers (bold).

Enterprise of Brooklyn 1860-61 (separated by ';' ) was a second-tier club.
Atlantic of Brooklyn 1862-70 was already a storied club when Start joined; certainly the strongest team in his time overall and a contender in every season; eclipsed by Eckford '62-63, undefeated '64-65, arguably strongest '66-68 ('64-68 underlined), perhaps 2nd and 5th '69-70

(also posted to a Baseball Fever Hall of Fame thread)
   100. Paul Wendt Posted: February 19, 2008 at 01:11 AM (#2694145)
bump
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