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

Wednesday, January 09, 2002

The Hall of Merit needs you!

We would like to invite all those interested to contribute their ideas regarding every aspect of the Hall of Merit.

Though Joe and I have established some general guidelines, there are issues that still need to be considered. One of these is the voting system. Joe has proposed a voting system which is quite similar to the one used in the annual MVP votes. Please refer to an article Joe wrote for Baseball Primer titled “Something Better” for a description of the HoM as it currently stands.

If you have any thoughts about how this new project should work, please post them here.

Robert Dudek Posted: January 09, 2002 at 04:07 AM | 128 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. MattB Posted: January 10, 2002 at 03:56 PM (#509506)
So, once I decide who to vote for, how do I get a ballot?

How often will elections take place?

Okay, those are more questions than suggestions.

As for voting, I'd recommending giving more "points" to the people above the cut-off point. E.g., if you're letting in the top two vote-getters, then the top two vote getters should get disproportionate points since these are the people the voters actually think should "get in." Otherwise, in a year with a wide open ballot (as the first few look like they'll be, a person who gets lots of third place votes, but no first or second place votes could more easily end up in the top two, even though no individual voters thought they were hall-worthy. I'd suggest, for ten person ballot with two potential inductees, 14-11-8-7-6 . . .
   2. MattB Posted: January 10, 2002 at 05:25 PM (#509508)
Craig says: "The reason I like the 14-9-8 system, though, is that it truly focuses the discussion, and the voter's mind, on the question of "who is the _best_ available candidate?" which is the ideal question to be asking."

Despite your initial assertion, it looks like in the end we're actually agreeing. Except that instead of asking who is the _best_ available candidate, I would ask, who are the _two_best_ available candidates (assuming two people will be elected each time.) That's why I'd disproportionately weigh the top two votes.

It's very hard to separate the concept of second best/ third best from the concept of in/out, when you know that the second best is in, and the third best is out.

My question, then, is whether you'd want to accept "incomplete ballots." If a ballot only contains one name (say, Cy Young), the voter is likely saying that only Young is Hall-worthy (under whatever standard). Obviously, there will be a second best player, irrespective of you think that person is Meritorious or not.
   3. J. Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: January 10, 2002 at 08:16 PM (#509510)
Certainly, though, we should have a date in mind for the election. We (or in a pinch, the Hall administrators) can always postpone if it seems appropriate.

One thing I've been thinking of is the idea of having at least two votes for the 1915 election. Because of the multiplicity of candidates from 1871-1910, a "straw poll" would go a long way to focusing people on the best candidates. The more of these "straw poll" votes there are, the better the chances that we won't be accidentally inflating or deflating someone's credentials.

A straw poll can either be done informally on the website, or probably instead by e-mail, and I will certainly volunteer to tabulate ballots (if the number isn't 5000 or something). Plus, it will give us something to argue and electioneer about. If things go well, I can see having a straw poll before spring training opens.

Once we begin, of course, the previous years' votes will accomplish this just as well.
   4. J. Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: January 11, 2002 at 01:08 AM (#509514)
Mark,

I think that asking voters to place some justification on their ballots will go a long way to eliminating the sort of "pure" strategic voting you're talking about. In the end, though, isn't most strategic voting simply voting? If I want Player X to make it into the Hall more than anyone else, then I'm going to vote him first. I think it's legitimate.

Robert,

The idea of breaking up the candidates into groups and straw-polling the voters on each group is fantastic, a massive improvement on my idea.

March 15 seems like a good idea for a straw poll on players who played in the NA. Any other suggestions for groups to poll on separately? These sorts of straw polls could be very informal, even down to asking for reply posts on a blog entry with, say, 5 names in order.
   5. jimd Posted: January 11, 2002 at 03:14 AM (#509517)
If we were to deviate from the MVP weightings, here is a suggestion.

We are electing a certain pre-defined number of players each election. The gap in the weighting could occur after that number of players. For example: when electing 1 player, it would be the traditional 14-9-8-7... When electing 2 players, it would go like 14-13-8-7-...

In other words, each voter is selecting the 10 most qualified candidates, and candidates are getting 4 bonus points for being in the top N spots on the ballot, where N is the number to be elected.

I would also allow voters to stop before 10 if they cannot in good conscience find 10 qualified candidates. You shouldn't have to vote for candidates you do not believe merit inclusion.
   6. jimd Posted: January 11, 2002 at 03:41 AM (#509518)
As far as attempting to manipulate the voting, there is no voting system designed that cannot be manipulated in some way, by an organized group. (A mathematical economist named Arrow proved that, by defining a set of criteria for a voting system to satisfy and then proving they were contradictory.)

Individual biases will be swamped by the size of the electorate, so there should be no problem, unless underground groups start to organize (Committee to Elect Candy Cummings to the Hall of Merit).
   7. jimd Posted: January 11, 2002 at 02:53 PM (#509521)
As far as attempting to manipulate the voting, there is no voting system designed that cannot be manipulated in some way, by an organized group. (A mathematical economist named Arrow proved that, by defining a set of criteria for a voting system to satisfy and then proving they were contradictory.)

Individual biases will be swamped by the size of the electorate, so there should be no problem, unless underground groups start to organize (Committee to Elect Candy Cummings to the Hall of Merit).
   8. jimd Posted: January 11, 2002 at 03:10 PM (#509522)
Sorry, for the duplicate post; I guess my browser was in a wierd state this morning.
   9. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 11, 2002 at 05:35 PM (#509524)
Hi Dan. The only caveat that I would use concerning evaluating a pitcher by ERA+ is that you have to take into account the standard deviation of the league. There will always be more pitchers that will meet your requirement from early baseball than now because of less competition back then. Is Reulbach as good a pitcher as someone from today with identical ERA+? I would say no.
   10. scruff Posted: January 11, 2002 at 07:09 PM (#509525)
As for the ballot issue, I think voters should have to fill out a complete ballot. It really has nothing to do with who a voter thinks is "worthy". What I mean is, that "worthy" will be determined by who gets the most points. Since we are electing a set number of candidates, a 9th place vote serves an important purpose, in terms of a preliminary ranking for the next election.

We are trying to get away from the thinking with the current Hall, where voters have to pick up to 10 that they think are "worthy". We aren't asking the same question. The question we are asking is, "who are the 10 best, non-members that are eligibile?" It's a much different question.

John -- there are other caveats for using ERA+. For one, it doesn't take into account the defense behind the pitcher, which could have a large impact. Also it doesn't take into account the innings pitched relative to the top pitchers in the league, L-R leanings of his park, etc. Who's the better pitcher, the lefty with an ERA+ of 130 in Yankee Stadium, or the righty? Both pitchers were of the same value, but the righty probably had more "ability", which has to balanced.

I also really like the straw poll idea. We could also do straw polls by position.
   11. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 11, 2002 at 07:22 PM (#509526)
Hi Scruff. I wasn't ignoring your caveats in my last posting, but commenting on that one particular problem that I saw in Dan's posting. You're right - there is no perfect statistical tool for evaluating any one player. That's why I abandoned the Palmer-Thorn ratings 16 years ago. I'm happy that I haven't heard anybody mention establishing statistical guidelines for what a Hall of Meriter should be. The mistakes would probably be more serious than what we have now in the Hall of Fame!
   12. scruff Posted: January 11, 2002 at 08:08 PM (#509528)
As for the ballot issue, I think voters should have to fill out a complete ballot. It really has nothing to do with who a voter thinks is "worthy". What I mean is, that "worthy" will be determined by who gets the most points. Since we are electing a set number of candidates, a 9th place vote serves an important purpose, in terms of a preliminary ranking for the next election.

We are trying to get away from the thinking with the current Hall, where voters have to pick up to 10 that they think are "worthy". We aren't asking the same question. The question we are asking is, "who are the 10 best, non-members that are eligibile?" It's a much different question.

John -- there are other caveats for using ERA+. For one, it doesn't take into account the defense behind the pitcher, which could have a large impact. Also it doesn't take into account the innings pitched relative to the top pitchers in the league, L-R leanings of his park, etc. Who's the better pitcher, the lefty with an ERA+ of 130 in Yankee Stadium, or the righty? Both pitchers were of the same value, but the righty probably had more "ability", which has to balanced.

I also really like the straw poll idea. We could also do straw polls by position.
   13. scruff Posted: January 11, 2002 at 08:12 PM (#509529)
Sorry about the double post. Not sure what happened.

As to the issue about Reulbach -- Dan, if Brown and Matty retired around Ruelbach and those are elected on the first ballot they are eligible for (for argument's sake) all that means is Reulbach will be delayed a year. They might finish 1. Matty, 2. Brown, 3. Reulbach. If Matty and Brown are elected, Reulbach will be the top returning candidate the following year. Assuming no one better than him becomes eligible, he'll go in that year.

From your posts it sounds like you think we are only allowing players one ballot, but that's not the case. Everyone who isn't elected will carry over to the following ballot.
   14. scruff Posted: January 11, 2002 at 08:14 PM (#509530)
One other thing Dan, when thinking up the idea, I was thinking that only on-field accomplishments will be considered. If people feel strongly otherwise we'll discuss it, but I feel pretty strongly that off the field accomplishments should not be considered.
   15. jimd Posted: January 11, 2002 at 08:16 PM (#509531)
>> The question we are asking is, "who are the 10 best, non-members that are eligibile?"
   16. MattB Posted: January 11, 2002 at 08:32 PM (#509532)
Scruff wrote: "One other thing Dan, when thinking up the idea, I was thinking that only on-field accomplishments will be considered. If people feel strongly otherwise we'll discuss it, but I feel pretty strongly that off the field accomplishments should not be considered."

Do on-field accomplishments include coaching/ managing?

How about Rick Dempsey flopping around on the field during rain delays?
   17. jimd Posted: January 12, 2002 at 01:18 AM (#509536)
Just to elaborate on my suggestion earlier.
   18. jimd Posted: January 12, 2002 at 01:23 AM (#509537)
Crossing posts... Those sound like reasonable restrictions.
   19. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 12, 2002 at 09:04 AM (#509539)
Hi Dan. I actually think Reulbach would be a creditable Hall of Merit candidate. I do have somewhat of a problem with the shortness of his career, but there is no denying that he was a wonderful pitcher. There is no doubt Big Ed would be a better sight to see than Rube Marquard or Jesse Haines in the Hall of Fame now!
   20. DanG Posted: January 13, 2002 at 05:28 AM (#509545)
Passner is treading on dangerous ground. I think our aim should be to be just as exclusive/inclusive as the Hall of Fame, that we want to end with the same number enshrined as they have.

I think it's proper that we stay in the state of "catching up" to the current percentage enshrined up until the 1980's voting, at least. That is, don't be in a hurry to load up our Hall in the early years. Remember, players are perpetually eligible, and we have an informed electorate. Given the structure thus far devised, there is little chance that someone truly deserving will be overlooked.

I think Bill James is right, to some degree, regarding his time line adjustment. If we enshrine a slightly lower percentage of early stars than later players, that is OK. If we later raise the number of our players enshrined each year to coincide with expansion, that seems proper, too.

Dan
   21. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 14, 2002 at 02:59 AM (#509554)
Tom Veryzer doesn't belong in the Hall of Merit!?! How about Omar Moreno? :)
   22. Toby Posted: January 14, 2002 at 03:56 AM (#509555)
I think it would be useful to come up with some sort of policy statement about the criteria for election. For example:

What weight can/should be given to off-field accomplishments (e.g., time served as manager [Cronin, Lemon, etc.], or as player-manager [Boudreau])?

What weight can/should be given to off-field misdeeds (e.g., Joe Jackson, Pete Rose, Dave Parker, Orlando Cepeda, the 1951 Giants' sign-stealing ...)?

What about ON-FIELD misdeeds, e.g., Juan Marichal's murderous bat-wielding, Gaylord Perry's spitballing, Roberto Alomar's spitting, Ty Cobb's maliciously spiked feet?

What weight can/should be given to postseason play?

What weight can/should be given to accomplishments recorded in non-"major leagues", e.g., Federal League, Negro League?

What weight can/should be given to accomplishments in the "major leagues" in eras when a significant number of people talented enough to play in the major leagues were not present, e.g., WWII, Federal League era, and arguably the entire pre-integration era?
   23. scruff Posted: January 14, 2002 at 06:03 AM (#509556)
I'll try to touch the issues raised . . .

Bonus Points -- I agree that we need to be careful here. Robert's restrictions seem to be reasonable. I think we should use it for the straw polls and see how it works.

DanG and DanP -- I think we should try to be about as inclusive as the current Hall, for a bunch of reasons. First it makes for good comparisons. Once we're done, we have a directly comparable list of players that are in one and not the other, which is nice (and a goal of the project when I first thought of it). Also, I think it is a reasonable number. We'll get plenty of 19th Century stars, don't worry Dan, that's why we are starting in 1915, not 1936. I wanted to start in 1900 originally, but Robert convinced me 1915 would be better.

Bad ballots -- there's a fine line here. Forcing people to justify their ballot and posting them is a great start. I hope that's all that's needed, but you never know what someone might submit. If someone could come up with a creative way to "police" the vote I'd be all ears, but I agree we need to be careful here.
   24. scruff Posted: January 14, 2002 at 06:07 AM (#509557)
Toby and John, I started that last post before your comments were posted . . . I was sidetracked a little, I'll hit what you guys brought up tomorrow . . .
   25. DanG Posted: January 14, 2002 at 04:08 PM (#509558)
I brought this up in my long posting under the topic "Welcome to the Hall of Merit", and it would be a solution to the problem of Bad Ballots: create a ballot to vote from.

I suggest a 100-person ballot, since IMO there is zero chance that a viable candidate will be omitted with this size ballot. (Even that is probably more candidates than we really need, but it seems like a fair number to pacify the anti-ballot crowd.)

Restricting candidates in this way will rub some people the wrong way, but it makes our job easier to narrow the field of candidates, promoting a more thorough study of the true candidates. I mean, try it yourself: compile a ballot of the top 100 players retired by 1910. By the time you get down into the 80's and 90's you'll be saying Who Cares - it doesn't matter who's on the ballot or not, because you're in the realm of players who you can hardly make a reasonable argument for greatness.

But there will be no bad (or even below average) candidates. We would eliminate the possibility of some terrorist element stuffing the ballot box for Tom Veryzer, since he wouldn't be on the ballot.

So who's going to create this ballot? Again, I think any reasonable person could make a 100 person ballot. Hows about a straw vote, kinda like the weakest link: Joe and Robert could come up with a 120-person ballot and we could vote off the weakest 20. Goodbye!

Dan
   26. Toby Posted: January 14, 2002 at 05:35 PM (#509560)
As far as voting goes, I have a couple of separable suggestions. The general tenor of my suggestions is to consider melding several different voting approaches rather than a single approach.

1. Create a list of nominees, as has been suggested already. The number of nominees should be three to five times the anticipated/desired number of inductees. Something like that.

2. I'm comfortable with the idea of having a couple designated people make the list of nominees. Have three or four respected people each independently create a list. All names common to all lists are automatic nominees. Names not common to all lists can be debated and then voted in/out as nominees.

3. Consider using a weighted point system. That is, present the voters with a ballot listing all nominees. Allow the voters to assign points to nominees as they see fit, within certain parameters. For example, you might allow a voter to give anywhere from 0 to 5 points to a nominee, but a given voter must give not more than 100 points total and not less than 50 points total (assuming there are about 100 nominees). The point of this exercise is to allow each voter to register not only the binary in/out choice but a range of enthusiasm.

4. Consider using two entirely different voting systems, a yes/no system (call it the Senate) and a weighted points system such as the one I outline above (call it the House). Those who qualify for induction under both systems are in; those who qualify under one but not the other would be subject to further debate and some sort of additional runoff election.
   27. MattB Posted: January 14, 2002 at 05:57 PM (#509561)
On May 10, 1980, Tom Veryzer went 3 for 4 with a double and 2 RBI, raising his batting average year-to-date to .343. His RBI provided the margin of victory in Cleveland's 5-3 defeat of AL powerhouse Seattle, knocking their starting pitcher Byron McLaughlin out of the game in the second inning.

Okay, so he wasn't much on career value, but his peak value (defined as the period between May 9, 1980 and May 11, 1980), was comparable to some of the game's greats.

So, enough of the picking on Tom Veryzer. Let's start picking on Byron McLaughlin instead.
   28. Toby Posted: January 14, 2002 at 07:57 PM (#509564)
In retrospect, Robert, I agree that the dual system (#4 in my post) is too complicated. But give the rest some consideration.
   29. Toby Posted: January 14, 2002 at 08:45 PM (#509566)
Wallbanger,

Anyone can be voted for in a Presidential election, but even if a consensus of voters choose a candidate, the candidate doesn't become president unless he or she is a natural born citizen at least 35 years old with at least 14 years residence in the U.S.

There's nothing wrong with a little line-drawing. Indeed, as I mentioned before, I think some basic line-drawing is needed. Setting a playing time threshold is essential. Otherwise the 2001 AL batting title would have been won by Manny Aybar, Charles Nagy, Pat Mahomes, and Juan Rincon.
   30. Toby Posted: January 14, 2002 at 09:09 PM (#509572)
Wallbanger,

Anyone can be voted for in a Presidential election, but even if a consensus of voters choose a candidate, the candidate doesn't become president unless he or she is a natural born citizen at least 35 years old with at least 14 years residence in the U.S.

There's nothing wrong with a little line-drawing. Indeed, as I mentioned before, I think some basic line-drawing is needed. Setting a playing time threshold is essential. Otherwise the 2001 AL batting title would have been won by Manny Aybar, Charles Nagy, Pat Mahomes, and Juan Rincon.
   31. Toby Posted: January 14, 2002 at 09:13 PM (#509573)
Whoa! My apologies also for a duplicate post.
   32. Toby Posted: January 14, 2002 at 09:30 PM (#509574)
But let me add this on drawing hard-and-fast rules: There's no reason why there couldn't be a "hardship" procedure under which someone could petition on behalf of a meritorious player to have that player nominated notwithstanding his failure to meet all of the criteria.
   33. DanG Posted: January 14, 2002 at 10:17 PM (#509576)
Wallbanger raises an interesting point: "Convince me why this is about who vs. whom, rather than who should be in the Hall."

Mainly, I think it's because we're *telling you* that the top 216 players retired through 1996 is who should be in the Hall. The question has been objectively framed. Rather than leaving to chance how many candidates will reach some arbitrary threshold of support, we have precisely defined how exclusive our Hall will be.

We could just have one big election and poll everyone one time to make our Hall. Obviously, that wouldn't be much fun. Going through history like this, we must allow a specified number with each election. That's the only way I see to end up with our target number.

On another topic, after looking at the years of retirement of hall of famers, I think we should back up our starting date by ten years. By my count, there are 18 players in the HOF who retired by 1900. So there are a sufficient number of worthy candidates if we started earlier. By 1910 there are 38 in the HOF, a big backlog.

Joe and Rob's plan gives us 40 enshrinees through year #11 (1925). (There are 53 in Cooperstown retired by 1920.) If we started ten years earlier and enshrined two every year, we'd have 42, about the same number. The benefit of the earlier start is we wouldn't have to deal with the player backlog by electing massive numbers in the early years, it would work itself out.

By inducting two players every year 1905 through 1979, then increasing to three per year 1980-2001, we'd have 216 players.

Dan
   34. scruff Posted: January 15, 2002 at 02:19 AM (#509578)
I've been convinced about the bonus points. I'd say right now I'd vote nay -- I just don't think they are worth the trouble, and a block could push someone through with them. I think a 12-11-8-7 etc (for a year w/two enshrinees) is reasonable though.

I think the bigger issue with "bad" ballots is abuse. If I only think 3 people are "worthy" -- I could say damn the rules (name the 10 best eligibles) and vote my 3 plus 7 Jim Deshaies's. My three get a boost and the people close to them get nothing from me. It's things like that (obvious attempts to manipulate the outcome of an election) that would need policing.

I was originally planning on starting in 1900, but was convinced to start in 1915. In my "mock" personal elections I had no shortage of candidates at all. If there is support, I could definitely see starting earlier, I'd kind of lean towards it actually.

For one, it would give a few of the players from the really early years (1871-1885) a chance for "immortality". Also, the smaller the first ballot, the easier the task of sorting through the candidates, then we just add a few every year.

My initial idea for a place on the ballot was:

1 Stats, Inc. seasonal league All-Star Team (my only source for such info, I'd be fine with another).

or

1 year in the top 5 in RC-27 for a league (again easy to pluck from the Stats All Time Sourcebook).

or

Anyone nominated and seconded by a small % of the voters (say 5%).

What would you think of something like that? I like it because it's objective (just run down the lists) yet adaptable. And seriously, if a guy didn't make an All-Star Team even once he'd have a tough sell on the Hall of Merit. The only person through 1905 that would be a viable candidate that didn't make an All-Star team was George van Haltren, but he was top 5 in RC27 once (he's the reason I added that rule).

Thanks for the support/interest. I like where this is headed. This discussion has been great.

As far as off-field considerations, I'm very strongly against. Because it's too much bullshit, in all honesty. This guy was a union leader. That guy raised money for Johnny X when his house burned down in 1912. I think that stuff is irrelevant to the case of merit as a baseball player, which is what we are trying to evaluate. That other stuff adds to fame not merit as a ballplayer.

As for postseason play, I would say this. I think good performances should be a bonus, no problem there. But I think bad performances can more or less be chalked up to chance, and a player shouldn't be penalized for those. I like to think of it as extra credit in school. It can't hurt your grade it can only help it. I'm curious as to what others think.

As for managers, the idea to have a manager election every 5 years was brought up in the discussion under the original "Something Better" article. I really like that one. But I think managing and playing should be kept seperate.

I could see a critera set up for the managing election where playing could have a minimal impact, say 75/25 managing/playing or something, for the guys like Piniella and Dusty and Al Lopez that were pretty good players and managers. Or maybe have an election every 10 years for guys like that or something? I don't know, I'm brainstorming out loud here. But I think the playing and managing "wings" should be seperate.

I don't really like the pyramid idea. The pyramid idea always comes up because of what a mess the real hall is. Because we'll be taking the 2-5 best every year, and we have an informed electorate, I don't think we are going to run into that issue.

Also -- for the non-stat oriented guys. Please do not take this the wrong way.

When it does come time to discuss the merit of players, please try to listen to what some of the stat oriented people are saying. We're going to try to do a really good job of explaining the methods that are presented, and this data is pretty well conceived. There's a lot more to player evaluation than just OPS+ and fielding runs (which in all honesty are crap).

I seem to notice a lot of, "but I saw them and this guy (insert any HR-hitting, park-inflated slugger) was feared and the other guy wasn't," in the threads discussing HoFers. There's more too it than that. At least listen to what's presented and challenge the methods on their merits, not player's reputations. That's really the whole point of this. If someone says something that goes against what you think initially, try to see why the poster is saying it. He probably thought the same way as you before he looked at the stats.

I've told this story a few times in the last two weeks, but what the hell, one more won't kill it:

When I first posted a Clutch Hit about the HoF ballot for 2002, I said Ozzie was on my definite list, and Trammell was on my wait until he's running out of eligibility list. Mark McKinnis challenged me on it, saying Trammell was just as qualified as Ozzie. I thought to myself, "no way . . . Trammell was real good, but not Ozzie." But I gave Mark an hour and went and did some research. I figured out offensive wins and losses adjusted for park, DH, league. I looked at their TPR, even though I know fielding runs are garbage, I looked at the batting runs. I looked at Win Shares.

You know what I found. Trammell was every bit as valuable as Ozzie over the course of their careers, and a bunch better at their peaks. Ozzie's best year was a shade below Trammell's, but Trammell's 2 and 3 bury Ozzie. Same for 5 year peak. Career wise, Ozzie had a big defensive edge no matter what system you use, but Trammell had an even bigger offensive edge.

The moral here isn't that Trammell was better than Ozzie (although he was). The moral is that I would have never known if I didn't actually take a look at the numbers. Or if I had just said, "come on Mark, I know Trammell was good. But Ozzie was special, isn't that obvious? I'm old enough to remember their entire careers, and I remember Ozzie a lot more than I do Trammell."

Or that crap I always hear (especially from Jim Rome), "If you have to ask he wasn't a Hall of Famer." That's the ultimate bullshit statement. Very few heavily repeated cliches irk me like that one.

Jim, the reason we have to ask is because the typical sportswriter who gives us our info isn't always so well informed. So ESPN shows us 15 years of Ozzie doing backflips, but we have to double check on Trammell's credentials. That doesn't make Trammell any less qualified.

We also have to listen to new information. Especially new defensive methods, like Charlie Saeger's method (don't know it's name) and Bill James' defensive WS. These methods adjust for a lot of the false normalization of fielding stats, and have rendered older methods like fielding runs and range factors obsolete in the discussion of who was a great fielder. Because of this we'll have to re-evaluate some players who may now be shown to be among the best ever defensively at their positions, although they weren't thought to be previously.

I really hope the last few paragraphs didn't come off the wrong way. I didn't intend them to be.

Thanks again to everyone who's posted here so far. I can't wait for this project to get off the ground.
   35. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 15, 2002 at 08:04 AM (#509581)
Scruff wrote: Or that crap I always hear (especially from Jim Rome), "If you have to ask he wasn't a Hall of Famer." That's the ultimate bullshit statement. Very few heavily repeated cliches irk me like that one.

Jim Rome is the ultimate bullshit commentator. Punk!

I think on every ballot there should be Bill James' questions for who should be elected to the Hall. If your favorite candidate can meet the criteria, then vote for him. If not, he sits.

MVP style voting sounds good to me (if you care):)

Scruff - I thought you were going to respond to something I wrote from Sunday? Changed your mind? By the way, I had the same response to Ozzie vs. Trammell as you. If one is going to make an informed vote, one has to do a little research.
   36. MattB Posted: January 15, 2002 at 02:51 PM (#509582)
Re: Token Appearances

A player who makes a token appearance won't appear on the HoF ballot. If the goal is to eventually have comparable ballots when we "catch up" they should be excluded here also.
   37. scruff Posted: January 15, 2002 at 03:15 PM (#509583)
Mark - we aren't necessarily trying to compare election for election. We're going under the assumption that the Hall of Fame was a little late getting off the ground. Also we want to ensure recognition for the great stars of 19th Century baseball, and walk through time, that's why we're starting earlier.

Also, it makes the initial ballot a lot smaller, so there's less clutter and confusion.

John - Despite his incredible peak in mid-May, 1980 -- I too cannot endorse Tom Veryzer for Hall of Merit induction :-)

Seriously though, as for the time-line thing, I agree with Robert, that it isn't linear like Bill James suggests; it's more of a curve. There is ample evidence it exists though. Just look at pitchers hitting stats throughout time. No one today hits like Walter Johnson did, or like Wes Ferrell or Don Drysdale even. Each generation, the pitchers' batting gets a little worse (although I think the DH being used on all levels has distorted the extent of this effect).

I think Ruth and Williams do get cut a little slack, but a good portion of Williams career came after the color line was broken. However, those guys were SO dominant that I think they still have been pegged correctly in history.

As to how to quantify it, I think one way would be to simulate a season from 1927 or 1941 and then add in to the mix a proportion of minority stars from today's game (adjusting for the population difference) and then see how far the white superstar's relative production (compared to league) changes. Then we'd have an idea of the kind of impact the color line had on Ruth or Williams' domination. That's a lot of work that I don't have time for right now. It would be nice to have some kind of quantifiable effect though.

I think the AA was inferior to the NL, but not so much so that we should just discard their achievements. Proper adjustment needs to be made, and Robert is working diligently on comparing the relative strength of the leagues. He's got comparisons that I know of for the NA-NL from 1871-1885 at this point, and will soon have much more.
   38. scruff Posted: January 15, 2002 at 03:33 PM (#509584)
MattB -- I don't think the token appearance thing is a problem anymore, so I'd just as soon not worry about them. They happened all the time back in the early part of the century, and for someone like Hughie Jennings you are pushing his candidacy back 16 years, which seems strange to me. Rules should set guidelines, we shouldn't be imprisoned by them.

I'd be willing to say a player is eligible in the 5th year that he plays 10 or less major league games or pitches 10 or less innings.

As for the Gehrig/Clemente/Munson people I think we should follow the Hall's precedent and allow them on the ballot early (in whatever election the Hall allowed them on). We could even do the same for guys like Ed Delahanty and Chick Stahl. In the future it will be good to match up with the real Hall. I don't see any problem with this, what do you guys think?

I realize this might be inconsisent with the token appearances thing, but that's the beauty of it, we can pick and choose the things that we like, since we are starting anew.
   39. Toby Posted: January 15, 2002 at 06:26 PM (#509585)
Another point to throw out for discussion. Something we are likely to need to deal with more and more:

What weight to give to play in independent non-MLB leagues?

This could apply to independent U.S. leagues, but I mean it more in the sense of the highest leagues in various baseball-playing foreign countries -- Japan, Mexico, Cuba come to mind.

For example, let's assume that Ichiro turns in 10 more seasons, 2002 through 2011, similar in value to what he's done so far. When he's up for consideration for the Hall of Merit five years later (or whatever the wait time is), do his stats in Japan count for anything?
   40. Toby Posted: January 15, 2002 at 06:29 PM (#509586)
Yet another question:

What about performance in international competition, e.g., the Olympics?

I guess what I'm trying to get at by this post and the previous one is, is this the Hall of MLB Merit, or the Hall of U.S.-Based Baseball Merit, or the Hall of Professional Baseball Merit, or what?
   41. Toby Posted: January 15, 2002 at 06:49 PM (#509587)
Let me conclude my trilogy of posts with this observation.

I think it should be an argument in a player's favor that he was perceived as particularly meritorious by teammates, observers, and opponents of the day. Keep in mind that even if that perception was erroneous, that perception likely caused a distortion in the way he was treated.

For example, it is sabermetric conventional wisdom that stolen bases have been overvalued since the beginning of time, and that therefore players whose claim to fame is the stolen base should be devalued. Yet that player, in his day, was causing a distortion in the game based on the perception of the stolen base's importance -- he was in fact causing pitchers to bear down extra when facing him (lowering his batting stats), distracting pitchers while on base (improving the batting stats of those around him), influencing opposing managers to emphasize defense rather than offense at the catcher position, and so on.

Likewise, a hitter who is perceived as exceptionally dangerous (even though he's not) is going to impact the game in accordance with that perception. He is going to be pitched around and intentionally walked more, he is going to prompt the summoning of specialized, tougher relief pitchers to face him, and so on.

For these reasons, the impressions and opinions of the actual eyewitnesses really should be given some weight -- not because contemporary reputation should be a factor in the abstract, but because contemporary reputation actually does affect how the game plays out on the field, and thus distorts the statistical data.

I suspect this is a very small factor, but it is a factor nonetheless.
   42. Toby Posted: January 15, 2002 at 07:08 PM (#509588)
As another example, the sacrifice bunt today is considered to be a fairly worthless, even counterproductive, strategy. But back in the day it was considered a fundamental skill, even though that was probably a foolish way to consider it. So a player who may have been held in high regard for his ability to drop a bunt would be treated by today's sabermetric analysis as if he had an extra appendix -- curious, but not meritorious.

Another example would be the dreaded Clutch Hitting. The average fan and the typical player or manager BELIEVES in it as a skill or ability that some people have and some don't, and they manage accordingly.

To put it another way, is this a Hall of Meritorious Play or is it a Hall of Optimized Play?
   43. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 15, 2002 at 07:50 PM (#509589)
Scruff - Is the reduced hitting statistics of pitchers now due to the increased quality of major league pitching or is it that pitchers don't hit in the minors (or in the AL)? If you don't use it, you lose it. Something to ponder...

Nobody can deny that Ruth and Williams were monster players: I had no intention to suggest otherwise. But even Teddy Ballgame's post-1947 stats were created in an era where the statistical deviation between the best and worst players was about the same as it is now - with 14 teams less! If His Budness wanted to contract MLB to the pre-expansion 16 teams, would it be conceivable to have a batting champ who exceeded the average by only 40 points? Something to ponder...

Another point about Ruth - I have a problem with that initial generation of sluggers (including Gehrig, Hornsby, Foxx, etc..) Were they as dominant (making a correction for the quality of competition) as they appear? They stand out even more so because they were a tiny minority who were playing a different game (the uppercut) than the vast majority (the non-uppercut). The runs they created are rightfully theirs: they helped their teams by doing something different. But when we compare their accomplishments to the rest of baseball history, would they be as super-human as they appear? I have no doubt they would still be at the top of their position's list (if not number one), but would their stats be closer to what greatness is defined now today in baseball. Of course, Bonds had a Ruthian season last year, so maybe they were as good as they appear! Something to ponder...

Last point: I think we should induct Negro League players from the generation pool they came from. In other words, we should not be electing a comparable amount of players from MLB from 1910-1950 as compared to other generations, PLUS the Negro League players. This would give that generation of players an unfair advantage over other eras in terms of numbers. This, to my mind, should not diminish the amount of Black players, but cut back on some of the White players.In fact, I would like to see a few more Negro Leaguers. But I wouldn't have a cow over not implementing this policy. Something to ponder...

Enough of these ponderous ponderings! :-)
   44. scruff Posted: January 15, 2002 at 10:36 PM (#509591)
John -- agreed on the Negro Leaguers vs. overpopulation from 20's issue. That's why Negro Leaguers are voted on in the same election as their big league counterparts. No special committees, etc. I do think that we are giving our voters a big responsibility there. We'll need to listen to people that are experts on the subject and ajust our ballots accordingly.

Toby -- Good points all. I think we need to use common sense. I would say injuries don't count, obviously. That's a part of the player's skill set, for better or worse, even tragic things like disease or plane crashes while on personal time (it would be an uncontrollable condition if the team bus or plane were to crash, but personal time is different).

But for things beyond a player's control, like wars, time trapped in the minors due to front office incompetence or minor league owners not willing to sell, time trapped in Japan due to restrictive contracts, etc. I think we need to use common sense and accepted methods to fill in the gaps.

If WS are as good as James says they are (or at least adaptable, if one doesn't like NewRC, use XRuns, etc.) they will go a long way towards this. We can take norms for ages and use those to fill in the gaps objectively, at least giving a reasonable, conservative estimate of what might have been. This is very important. If not, we're going to have very few players that were 24-29 during the 1943-45 period in the Hall.

I think with the exception of Negro Leaguers we need significant star calibre play in the majors (Ichiro, Rizzuto, Slaughter, etc.) to show the player was at that level. Then a fair way to fill in the gaps. That's one of the reasons I wanted to wait for the WS book to be release and examined before holding the initial election. There is so much potential with that method for things exactly like this.

A single number system has so many possibilities. Let's say you have a player with X widgets of value at the following ages:

21 - 12
   45. scruff Posted: January 15, 2002 at 10:39 PM (#509592)
John, I agree with the you don't use it you lose it theory.

But even from Caruthers to Johnson to Ferrell to Spahn to Drysdale there is a steady decline in the quality of the best hitting pitchers. I do agree that we can no longer use this as an objective analysis after 1973. But before then there was a pretty solid trend in place.
   46. jimd Posted: January 16, 2002 at 01:02 AM (#509593)
Gee scruff, where's Ruth in that list of best hitting pitchers?

I want to bring up an issue that may be injury-related, maybe not (I don't know, since I never studied the issue, nor heard it discussed) but is related to 19th century baseball.

Most pitchers in the 19th century had short careers. Their numbers are impressive because they pitched nearly everyday, which may also have something to do with their having short careers. Were these guys routinely coming up with sore arms and being replaced because they were hurt, or were they being replaced because the team found somebody better?

Anybody know?

If the game itself was systematically abusing these pitchers (probably because nobody knew any better), then I would argue that modern standards of career length should not apply to them.

Any thoughts on this?
   47. scruff Posted: January 16, 2002 at 03:58 PM (#509594)
Jim, I posted my thoughts on this on the other thread . . .
   48. DanG Posted: January 16, 2002 at 04:11 PM (#509595)
Mark McInniss asked, "if the idea of the HoM is to serve as a comparison to the HoF, shouldn't voting start in 1936?"

Yes, but clearly the goal here is NOT to rerun the annual HOF votes (although that would also be a fun way to do things).

Where we're comparing the HoM to the HoF is in who we elect and in what order they gain election.

Toby asked, "is this the Hall of MLB Merit, or the Hall of U.S.-Based Baseball Merit, or the Hall of Professional Baseball Merit?"

Personally, I prefer the first definition. Anything more muddies the waters. However, the sentiment in this topic seems to be for the second definition. That's OK, too, but more hazardous to navigate through. The third definition gets us stuck in the swamp, encompassing the minor leaguers, Japanese, Carribean winter leagues, spring training(?), and so on.

Robert raised this point: "instead of having 2 candidates inducted every year we could have an election every second year with 4 candidates making it - at least up until around 1960 or so. It will decrease the number of elections we need to have."

The more elections we have, the more fun it will be to walk through history, IMO. However, if it works better for the moderators, we can pick up the pace and have fewer elections.

However we choose to do it, our player roster at the end won't be much different whether we have 100 elections or one election. I think the greater value is in the longer process: debating over candidates, seeing where players rank among their peers, seeing who falls just short of election, learning more about the game's history, etc.

One other thing: I still don't come up with 215 or so players currently in the HOF. There are now 189 enshrined from the regular majors as players. Then I count 17 Negro leaguers. Add in three elected as pioneers (Spalding, G. Wright, Cummings). Then two managers who might've been elected as players (McGraw, Griffith). That's 211 players in the HoF to date.

Dan
   49. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 16, 2002 at 05:13 PM (#509596)
Scruff - I have to learn to re-read the other postings so I don't repeat what has been commented on (like yours). :-)

Re: Declining pitcher's batting statistics. Aren't you proving my theory? How many more at bats did Caruthers have compared to Johnson? How many more at bats did Johnson have over Ferrell, etc...? The more at bats, the more the pitcher could retain his hitting skill. I don't neccessarily feel that explains the whole phenomena of declining hitting, but probably explains much of it. I do agree with you that hitting has improved, I just don't think we can prove it from examing the batting stats of pitchers.
   50. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 16, 2002 at 06:35 PM (#509598)
Is it supposed to be the Hall of MLB Merit? I don't think any of the creators of the Hall have ever mentioned not excluding the Negro League players. Forgetting the fact that they are in the HOF now, I can't fathom not allowing players who were excluded from the MLB, not because of talent, but for the color of their skin.

As for other leagues, that is a toss-up. I'm inclined to allow qualified minor-leaguers if there is a way of comparing their statistics to the major league. I'm certainly in favor for giving credit to major-leaguers who had many years in the minors (such as Lefty Grove or Gavvy Cravath) where they could have easily been playing in MLB.

As for giving credit for a variety of different baseball occupations, I'm against that. If we want to set up other wings for managers, announcers, writers, etc.., that's a great idea. Does Charlie Grimm deserve to be in the HOM because he had many years as a player and manager, even though he wasn't great at both positions? I think we should be rewarding excellence, not years served.
   51. DanG Posted: January 16, 2002 at 08:34 PM (#509599)
I thought I'd weigh in on the topic of MVP-style voting points.

I've always had a small problem with the 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 and similar formats used, because the point totals achieved by players relate poorly to the players' actual values. The #1 man is not usually twice the value of the #6 man; the #9 man is not twice the value of #10; The #3 man is not four times the value of the #9 man, etc.

The hill is too steep. I'm thinking more along the lines of a distribution starting like this: 5-5-4-4-3-3-2-2-1-1. Along with this, 5 bonus points are to be distributed, no more than 2 to any one player, for a total of 35 points on each ballot.

The top-loaded extreme looks like this: 7-7-5-4-3-3-2-2-1-1.

The bottom-loaded extreme is: 5-5-4-4-3-3-3-3-3-2.

The tilt-the-ballot-to-one-man ballot is: 7-5-4-4-3-3-3-2-2-2. This one especially is reminiscent of a typical TPR leaders list.

The tilt-the-ballot-to-two-men ballot is: 7-7-4-4-3-3-2-2-2-1.

I think this gradual point distribution enables voters to better reflect the relative values of the candidates they're voting for. There just is not that big a difference between the candidates in most years.

It also lessens the impact of a top vote. It's much harder to skew the results to My Favorite candidate. A high point total depends more on the consistency of a player's high ranking on the ballots cast. You would avoid an outcome such as the 1979 NL MVP vote, where the madcap Stargell-for-#1 voters pushed him into a tie with the more-consistently supported Keith Hernandez.

Dan
   52. jimd Posted: January 17, 2002 at 12:11 AM (#509600)
The "these are my 5 guys ballot"
   53. jimd Posted: January 17, 2002 at 12:16 AM (#509601)
It's the 14 points out of 59 (traditional MVP) that has bigger impact
   54. DanG Posted: January 17, 2002 at 05:31 AM (#509603)
jimd wrote:
   55. scruff Posted: January 17, 2002 at 02:42 PM (#509604)
"I also feel that WinShares is not a valid method for evaluation as it undervalues defense (in my opinion,) as uses a baseline that is way to low. TPR is the way to go, as it is a much better indicator of dominance and greatness since the baseline is average."

Dan -- Win Shares, as far as I can tell probably values defense more than any other system out there. And much more importantly, it adjusts for the false normalization of fielding statistics, which TPR fails to do. Fielding runs are utterly useless as a metric, especially for infielders, and that wrecks TPR, beyond repair in my opinion.

Also as far as the "average" baseline goes . . . it just doesn't make sense. Very few players have truly negative value in any given season. The reason for this is obvious, they'll just get someone else if you are truly hurting the team, relative to some scrub they could pull from AAA. So if a player is 10% worse than the average player he still has value to his major league team, but TPR docks him for this, which is silly.

If fielding runs were worth a damn, and if you only counted a players "positive" TPR seasons, I could see that being a measure of star value. But to dock the player that has a few below average years at the beginning or end of his career, as opposed to just retiring make no intuitive sense.

I'm not saying WS are perfect, we don't know enough yet. But I'm pretty confident they will be a vast improvement over TPR.
   56. MattB Posted: January 17, 2002 at 03:38 PM (#509605)
Scruff,

I'd be interested to see how many Win Shares Brady Anderson earned last year. If any player deserved a negative number, it was he. Of course, you don't cut your heartthrob veteran crowd pleasers in the middle of the season. But definitely below replacement level. If he shows up with 5 or 6 Win Shares for the year, I'll have to take that into account when determining how much weight to give the stat.
   57. scruff Posted: January 17, 2002 at 03:58 PM (#509606)
My guess is Brady will probably have 5 or 6 also. I think replacement would be about 7-8 per 162 games. I've gone through the guesstimates on how I came up with that number in previous threads, don't have time to recap it now, but I remember the final number being around 7 or 8 per 162.

I think it's easier to subtract off the extra few WS above repl. level then to add on to TPR for the amount above average but below replacement. Also, WS seems exponentially better for defensive evaluation, which would tip the scales convincingly in its direction, assuming the underlying assumptions are valid.

I'm not say WS will be the be all end all. But if it can be tweaked, for say, someone who prefers XRuns to NewRC, etc. it will become an invaluable tool on the belt. We would also be able to calc both numbers for players, WS(newRC) & WS(XRuns) and get a feel for just how different the results using each formula are. I'll bet they'll end up closer than most people think. I'll also bet they end up significantly better than TPR, due to the defense issue.
   58. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 17, 2002 at 05:37 PM (#509607)
I don't know if any one has examined this, but here goes. While I feel a we definitely need to include a batter's GIDP in Runs Created, shouldn't there be some type of adjustment because of where a batter hits in a lineup? Jim Rice had many more opportunities to hit into a DP than Rey Ordonez will ever do because he batted higher up in the order. Shouldn't Runs Created take this into account so Rice is effected as greatly and Ordonez is downgraded more (if that's possible)

I know this is not a HoM question, but may be useful in terms of evaluating a player for induction. If there has been some type of an adjustment to Runs Created that I'm not aware of, a thousand pardons! :-)
   59. DanG Posted: January 17, 2002 at 07:37 PM (#509608)
RE: Retirement Year

Let's try and nail this one down.

I think we agree that our purpose here is not to rerun the HoF voting. (If it was we wouldn?t even use a five year wait until the mid 1950?s.)

We also agree that the year a player appears in his last major league game isn?t always the appropriate year to use as his retirement year, since in a few cases it is more than ten years after his last season appearing in 10+ games or IP (e.g., O?Rourke, Jennings, Evers, Paige, Minoso).

We also agree that a reasonable definition of token appearance is ?less than ten games played or less than 10 innings pitched in a season.?

At what point should we ignore token appearances?

After looking at all players in the HoF:
   60. scruff Posted: January 31, 2002 at 09:41 PM (#509613)
Battle, I posted this Tuesday night, it applies to your comment.

"Also, apologies for the lack of posting here so far. The support has been great, far exceeding our expectations. I have 81 people on the list for ballots so far.

I've been really busy the last few weeks. More will follow soon. I think the early discussion has been very good, we'll start bringing it together and focusing in soon. If you have any suggestions/questions that you would like addressed feel free to post them here."

Again, sorry for the delays, we're getting there. 30 hour days would help. We should be ready for the first straw poll in the next few weeks.

If anyone has a comment/suggestion, etc. feel free to tack it on to one of the existing threads, or send Robert or myself an email and we'll start another thread. If we have a lull/time crunch/etc. you guys can feel free to throw a log on the fire.
   61. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 17, 2002 at 07:01 PM (#509615)
I really can't say you're wrong Jeff. I think we can point people in the right direction (not to say that I'M going in the right direction), but, in the end, everybody should make their own decision and should be accepted. I certainly agree with the "marketplace of ideas" concept (inside and outside of baseball).
   62. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 17, 2002 at 07:04 PM (#509616)
< One voter putting Blanks high on the list won't make any difference, and the voter may genuinely believe, right or wrong, that the candidate belongs in the HOM. >
   63. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 17, 2002 at 07:05 PM (#509617)
< One voter putting Blanks high on the list won't make any difference, and the voter may genuinely believe, right or wrong, that the candidate belongs in the HOM. >
   64. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 17, 2002 at 07:06 PM (#509618)
Jeff said: One voter putting Blanks high on the list won't make any difference, and the voter may genuinely believe, right or wrong, that the candidate belongs in the HOM.
   65. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 19, 2002 at 08:39 AM (#509620)
I like the your idea of registering with the HOM administrators. I don't know if THEY will, but I think that would be a workable solution. Unless someone has multiple homes, nobody is going to go to the trouble of putting Omar Moreno or Buddy Biancalana on 50 ballots.
   66. scruff Posted: February 19, 2002 at 05:30 PM (#509621)
Hey there guys, sorry for the delayed reply.

Jeff, I see your points. I don't think we were going to throw out any ballots unless they were blantantly dumb (like voting for Clay Bellinger for MVP) or if the corruption you mention was present. The justification was our "fee" as you would have it. People would have to invest a little time in their ballot, actually writing out why they made their choices.

I love your idea, of voter registration. Right now the registration consists of an address book at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Not ideal by any stretch. This would be easy to administer and it should eliminate all but the most elaborate of stuffing schemes.
   67. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 29, 2007 at 10:49 PM (#2628499)
Just a heads up to everyone that I just spoke to my editor at The New York Times, and I'll be writing the Keeping Score column this Sunday on the Hall of Merit. It's just going to be a summary of what the group is, what we've done, and what we have to tell the Hall of Fame. Hopefully this will be the first step towards disseminating our findings to a larger audience.
   68. OCF Posted: November 29, 2007 at 10:55 PM (#2628508)
The one thing you won't be able to say is who the 2nd and 3rd HoM inductees for 2008 are - none of us will know that on Sunday. Heck, I'm running far enough behind this week that I might not even have voted by then.
   69. rawagman Posted: November 29, 2007 at 11:03 PM (#2628517)
Dan - that sounds really cool - will the article be available online? Will you go into any detail about how and where we differ from the HOF? Maybe a little focus on this year's candidates, especially backlog ones and how we dealt with them?
   70. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 29, 2007 at 11:11 PM (#2628534)
Yes, of course it'll be available online. Most of the piece will be dedicated to our disagreements with the Hall. You mean this year's Hall of Fame candidates? I'll certainly mention that Blyleven, Trammell, and Gossage zoomed in and that Raines is set to do so...
   71. DL from MN Posted: November 30, 2007 at 12:10 AM (#2628585)
I like that the results won't be available yet for the article. It's a cliffhanger to see if they'll tune in on Monday.
   72. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 30, 2007 at 12:38 AM (#2628606)
Maybe you can talk about how the HoM identified that the Hall of Fame had lots of unworthy hitters from the 30's, like Ducky Medwick and Earl Averill, and kept them out of the Hall of Me...

wait, never mind.
   73. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 30, 2007 at 12:50 AM (#2628613)
Hahahah. What if I just turned the whole thing into a screed against Nellie Fox?
   74. Dan Szymborski Posted: November 30, 2007 at 01:06 AM (#2628621)
I think the headline "Rabbit Maranville Suxx0rs!!!!111" would be awesome, if your editor's out of ideas.
   75. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 30, 2007 at 01:19 AM (#2628634)
I was thinking of including Maranville as the "glove" representative of the HoF-not-HoM camp, but went with Mazeroski instead due to the latter's greater name recognition.
   76. TomH Posted: November 30, 2007 at 01:22 AM (#2628638)
agree, Maz better for those reasons, altho Maz was elected lonnnng after his playing days by the VC.
   77. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 30, 2007 at 01:31 AM (#2628644)
I did Brock (bat), Dean (pitcher), and Mazeroski (glove) for HoF-not-HoM, and Keller (bat), Stieb (pitcher), and Dahlen (glove) for HoM-not-HoF. I'm not trying to pick the most egregious mistakes (although I *do* think Dahlen is the best player not in the HoM, including Rose and Jackson), just trying to raise awareness of what's interesting about the project. Readers don't need the HoM to know that Bert Blyleven should have Jesse Haines's spot in the HoF and Ron Santo should have Freddie Lindstrom's.
   78. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 30, 2007 at 01:32 AM (#2628647)
argh, best player not in the HoF. Of course Dahlen's in the HoM.
   79. OCF Posted: November 30, 2007 at 01:47 AM (#2628660)
Dahlen is the "which of these is not like the others" of that list. Dahlen was a "front-logger," overhelmingly elected on the first ballot. The only question his year was whether he or George Davis should be 1-2 or 2-1, and opinions were divided on that. (Davis first was the majority; I was in the Dahlen-first minority.) Yes (leaving Rose and Jackson out of it), Dahlen is the best player not in the Hall of Fame.

Keller and Stieb were backlog electees, and you'll find HoM electors who disagree with or regret one or the other or both. (In my case I supported Stieb and resisted Keller.) Brock and Dean are both alive in the middle backlog, and both have their supporters. (I'm one of Brock's supporters, but my comments over the years in his case have been somewhat lukewarm; I don't support Dean because I don't think it's enough career.) Brock and Dean tap into opposite sides of the ever-present peak versus career tensions. Mazeroski is a step down from there and drew no votes in 2007, although has drawn a vote or two in some years. Defense-first voters tend to have other favorites, such as Maranville or Lundy.
   80. rawagman Posted: November 30, 2007 at 01:48 AM (#2628662)
As long as the modern HOF ommissions are in your article, with reference to the overwhelming nature of those decisions, the modern fans will glean more acute understanding of how Cooperstown has wronged the public.
   81. Howie Menckel Posted: November 30, 2007 at 02:41 AM (#2628704)
I like the "176 player matches, but they have 55 more that we don't, and we've substituted 55 others instead."

and from a NY standpoint, it's interesting that the 2007 managers of both the Yankees and the Mets are in the Hall of Merit - and Torre did it without ANY managing credit (same for Randolph, but would a Mets fan give him any? :) )
   82. Paul Wendt Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:17 AM (#2628814)
I think Jim Deacon White has the most merit of those outside the Hall.
Dahlen is second. (But if you think Dahlen is number one, DanR, put that in the article.)
After Bill, the deluge.

75. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 29, 2007 at 07:19 PM (#2628634)
I was thinking of including Maranville as the "glove" representative of the HoF-not-HoM camp, but went with Mazeroski instead due to the latter's greater name recognition.

Finished so quickly?!

Bill Dahlen is buried in unmarked(?) grave in greater NYC. (But is NYT a New York newspaper?)
--same for Sol White when he was elected, but his gravesite is now marked, right?--
Well, I don't know the current state of affairs but when he completed the <i>Bad Bill Dahlen</b> biography Lyle Spatz canvassed some of us for interest in a gravesite marker fundraising-and-more project. CBlau, have you heard anything on that?
Anyway, if you think it may be relevant now, DanR, or if it becomes relevant in aftermath of your article, write to his biographer Lyle Spatz. He chairs the SABR Baseball Records Committee.
directory of research committees, SABR

On the publicity front, featuring Keller can bite both ways. Mentioning Torre and Randolph, too. And Dahlen starred for both Brooklyn and New York champions. This isn't for a local edition of NYT, is it? For balance, mention or hold in reserve that Gil Hodges has garnered no support!

Gossage? I suppose you won't influence any voters, so hold anything you have to say just in case they elect him next month.

--
I agree with Maz over Maranville. Beside points made above, Maranville has some support here and Maz none.
By the same token I think I would feature Aparicio rather than M or M or Tinker, Evers, Chance. Aparicio has garnered next to nothing here but he was a writers' choice for Cooperstown. Offhand, Aparicio and Grich, if I must feature two modern players.

--
Everyone should keep in reserve the observation that there is no such thing as bad publicity.
   83. DavidFoss Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:33 AM (#2628827)
For NY readers, Gordon instead of Lazzeri is interesting.
   84. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 30, 2007 at 07:19 AM (#2628898)
It comes out in all the editions of the paper. I only have 800 words to work with so there are only so many players I can cover. Again, I'm choosing these examples to make points, and Maz is illustrative of the fact that just a glove isn't enough no matter how good said glove is.
   85. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: November 30, 2007 at 07:57 AM (#2628913)
I *do* think Dahlen is the best player not in the [HoF], including Rose and Jackson

Where do you stand on Sadaharu Oh, Masaichi Kaneda and Victor Starffin? I guess you weren't counting Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux.
   86. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 30, 2007 at 02:57 PM (#2628986)
The Hall of Merit in the New York Times? We're getting up there in the world. :-)

Looking forward to reading it, Dan!
   87. DanG Posted: November 30, 2007 at 04:16 PM (#2629052)
This current version of this thread is severely truncated. Post #66 above is actually #116. Here's an archived version of "The Hall of Merit Needs You".
   88. Gary A Posted: November 30, 2007 at 09:57 PM (#2629866)
The HoM treatment of Negro League players might also be worth a mention, since this is the first time anybody’s really tried a systematic statistical evaluation of them. And the differences between HoF and HoM really do in the end come down to the statistical assessments.

HoF not HoM

Judy Johnson
Andy Cooper
Hilton Smith
Ray Dandridge
Leon Day

Three pitchers whose W/L records aren't quite as impressive as they seem on the surface because they played for good teams, and two flashy-fielding third basemen whose batting averages proved to be a little empty (lacking power and walks). For Day, a fairly short career at the highest level hurt, too. It’s possible Smith and Cooper got shortchanged in terms of career heft, since I don’t think their years with the non-league Monarchs in the mid-1930s were properly credited, but I don't know how much that would matter in the end.

HoM not HoF

Grant Johnson
Dobie Moore
Alejandro Oms
John Beckwith
Quincy Trouppe

Four players with good bats at key defensive positions, plus Oms. In the HoM, Moore and Trouppe probably benefited from the willingness to consider contributions in non-NgL contexts (Army, Mexico, etc.). Frankly, it’s hard to say why Oms and G. Johnson aren’t in the HoF; maybe competition during the big election from (respectively) Torriente and Frank Grant? Beckwith’s case is unique, since it turned largely on his personal reputation (maybe to some extent on his defensive ability).

Interestingly, the HoF and HoM seem to have come up with exactly the same number of Negro League players (leaving the executives aside).
   89. Mark Donelson Posted: November 30, 2007 at 10:25 PM (#2629927)
Willard Brown is in both HoM & HoF?
   90. ronw Posted: November 30, 2007 at 11:38 PM (#2630041)
Mark:

Yes, Willard Brown was part of the large 2006 HOF contingent.
   91. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 01, 2007 at 07:36 AM (#2630505)
Dan, this is great news, thanks so much. Glad to see the great work everyone here has done will get some recognition. That's really exciting!

Looking forward, I really think we should focus on ranking Hall of Merit not HoF. That's where we'll really be able to help the most
if anyone actually pays attention to our work. Especially the Vets Committee, maybe we can help them actually elect someone.
   92. sunnyday2 Posted: December 01, 2007 at 12:44 PM (#2630628)
I still like the idea of the MVP project, but if there's not an admin team in place...

If John is willing to continue to admin, then I would be here to rank the HoM.
   93. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 01, 2007 at 02:20 PM (#2630645)
Dan, this is great news, thanks so much.
Agreed! Nice work, Dan.

The piece will I'm sure be available online and on the newsstands. I think we should make/print a lot of copies and start including them in our Ron Santo letters. A citation in the NYT is more compelling than just "Hey, we're 50 guys chatting online...."

Looking forward, I really think we should focus on ranking Hall of Merit not HoF. That's where we'll really be able to help the most.

Indeed, and this can be duly reported in the HOM Centennial Report as well. In fact, we might want to create a special section or breakout of it titled something like Of Special Importance to Cooperstown Voters.

The key is to give those empowered to vote a comprehensive but concise take away about who to vote for and why. And to do so in a printable format to ensure that even Tyrannasaurus Conlin could be passed the info by a sports-beat page boy.
   94. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 01, 2007 at 02:22 PM (#2630646)
Which reminds me!

Joe/Webber, did we ever fire off the Toy Cannon letter?
   95. Howie Menckel Posted: December 01, 2007 at 02:34 PM (#2630651)
Indeed, the key is boiling down the voluminous information to a manageable thread for newcomers. It must be pretty confusing for someone to pop in and see inside jokes or occasionally testy discussions.

I can help edit some concepts if anyone is interested.
   96. Brent Posted: December 01, 2007 at 02:50 PM (#2630654)
Frankly, it’s hard to say why Oms and G. Johnson aren’t in the HoF; maybe competition during the big election from (respectively) Torriente and Frank Grant?

While I supported Oms for the HoM, I recognize that his case was very dependent on his Cuban League statistics; I don't think he would have been elected on his NeLg statistics alone.

For me, the big surprise of the HoF special election was the omission of Home Run Johnson. It's true that we have less statistical information about him than probably any other HoMer, but the information we have is consistently outstanding—he had a long career, mostly at shortstop, and may have been the best hitter of his time in black baseball. I think he deserves to be included in the discussion of the best player in the HoM and not in the HoF.

The HoM treatment of Negro League players might also be worth a mention, since this is the first time anybody’s really tried a systematic statistical evaluation of them.

IMO, this was the greatest single achievement of our group. Some other things our group has done that I'm not aware anyone else has attempted to do in HoF-style evaluations include: consideration of pre-NA performance; consideration of minor league credit where appropriate; and Latin American play—especially during the integration era of the late 1940s. A lot of interesting research surfaced here; I think, for example, of Chris Jaffe's work on leveraging of starting pitchers. It's great to see the work of this group cited.
   97. sunnyday2 Posted: December 01, 2007 at 03:28 PM (#2630670)
Hey, even WWII credit has hardly ever been discussed much less implemented as a consistent methodology for getting cross-generational comparisons right.

I guess I would say overall, yes, NgL MLEs is accomplishment #1 of this project. Or more accurately, accomplishment #1A, because more broadly accomplishment #1 is equalizing across generational and racial divide--and that includes by normalizing to 162 games (for the 19C as well as WWI and strike/lock-out years), NgL and related MLEs, WWII credit and Korean credit, taking a fairer look at "integration era" players like Clarkson and Newcombe even if we failed to elect anybody from that view...and so on.

If "fair to all eras" is our mantra, then these various processes of normalization are "how" we were able to be fair against obstacles that have confounded lesser mortals. Without these methods and processes, you could only pretend to be "fair to all eras" .
   98. Brent Posted: December 01, 2007 at 09:27 PM (#2630869)
Hey, even WWII credit has hardly ever been discussed much less implemented as a consistent methodology for getting cross-generational comparisons right.

In retrospect, war credit is one topic that I think we should have paid more attention to. When the topic first came up, we got bogged down in a debate about whether to give war credit (though my recollection is that there were only a handful of voters who were really opposed) and never spent much time looking at how to estimate the missing years. I think most of us did something simple, like taking the average of the years just before and after the war. But if we'd spent a little more time and done some research, I think we might have been able to develop and agree on a more sophisticated methodology for filling in the gaps. Maybe it would have made a difference or maybe not. But it's one case where I think we could have done a little better than we did.
   99. sunnyday2 Posted: December 01, 2007 at 09:31 PM (#2630875)
Yeah, running Brock2 or something woulda been at least worth experimenting with.
   100. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 01, 2007 at 09:59 PM (#2630893)
Here's the piece. There's an accompanying graphic discussing specific players that doesn't seem to be online yet.
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