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

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Third Basemen

Here you go . . . Patsy Tebeau has been added at 1B, he’s not a serious candidate though.

I considered Tom Burns a SS as opposed to a 3B, despite the 48%/44% numbers (48% 3B). Burns prime was as a SS, and a bad half-season late in his career that pushed him a little bit ahead on PT as a 3B. It’s a judgement call, and it means nothing, since WS take position into account already.

Ezra Sutton is by far the best candidate at 3B IMHO.



163 - 36, 27, 19 - 108 - Hick Carpenter - 10.4 sea. - 108 batting - 55 fielding.
3B 92%, 1B 6%, RF 2%.
notes: 1879-1889, 1892. 5-year peak age 26-30. Played entire career in AA, except 1879-81 and 1892 in NL (4, 9, 8, 0 WS respectively).

195 - 25, 24, 23 - 101 - Jerry Denny - 10.6 sea. - 129 batting - 66 fielding.
3B 90%, SS 6%, 1B 2%, 2B 1%, RF 1%.
notes: 1881-92, 1894. 5 year peak age 24-28. Played in NL entire career.

141 - 29, 23, 21 - 96 - Bob Ferguson - 12.2 sea. - 102 batting - 37 fielding - 2 pitching.
3B 55%, 2B 35%, SS 8%, C 2%.
notes: 1871-84. 5 year peak age 32-36. Played 4.9 seasons in NA. Rest of career in NL, except 1884 (AA) 0 WS.

181 - 34, 25, 22 - 123 - Bill Joyce - 6.5 sea. - 160 batting - 21 fielding.
3B 83%, 1B 13%, 2B 4%.
notes: 1890-92, 1894-98. 5-year peak age 28-32. Played entire career in NL, except 1890 (PL) 22 WS, and 1891 (AA) 20 WS. Don’t know why he missed 1893, but he missed 61 games in 1892 and 33 and 1894, maybe it was a 2-year injury or something.

276 - 34, 29, 28 - 130 - Arlie Latham - 12.6 sea. - 182 batting - 94 fielding.
3B 96%, 2B 1%, SS 1%, RF 1%, C 1%
notes: 1880, 1883-96, 1899, 1909. 5-year peak from age 24-28. Played his best years (1883-1889) in the AA (167 WS). His first full year in the NL (1891) was his 2nd best season (29 WS), at age 31.

224 - 33, 32, 29 - 144 - Denny Lyons - 8.2 sea. - 182 batting - 42 fielding.
3B 97%, 1B 3%
notes: 1885-97. 5-year peak age 21-25. Peak in AA (1886-91), rest of career in NL.

278 - 31, 27, 24 - 124 - Billy Nash - 12.2 sea. - 188 batting - 90 fielding.
3B 94 %, 2B 2%, SS 2%.
notes: 1884-1898. 5-year peak age 24-28. Entire career in NL, except 1884 (AA) 18 WS and 1890 (PL) 24 WS.

190 - 37, 26, 25 - 131 - George Pinckney - 8.7 sea. - 140 batting - 50 fielding.
3B 90%, 2B 8%, SS 2%.
notes: 1884-93. 5-year peak age 24-28. Played in AA from 1885-89 (peak was 1886-90), 114 WS. Best year was 1890, 37 WS in watered down NL.

273 - 39, 35, 32 - 146 - Ezra Sutton - 16.3 sea. - 198 batting - 74 fielding.
3B 71%, SS 18%, 2B 3%, 1B 3%, LF 3%, RF 1%
notes: 1871-88. 5-year peak age 30-34. Played 5.0 season in NA, remainder of career in NL.

278 - 34, 31, 30 - 143 - Ned (or Ed?) Williamson - 11.6 sea. - 192 batting - 80 fielding - 6 pitching.
3B 66%, SS 30%, C 3%, 2B 1%, 1B 1%.
notes: 1878-90. 5-year peak age 23-27. Played entire career in NL, except 1890 (PL) 3 WS.

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 10, 2002 at 05:49 PM | 124 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 10, 2002 at 07:10 PM (#510181)
Scruff:
Levi Meyerle should be on the list. His stats will be on the same spreadsheet with Davy Force that I sent you. Obviously, they won't stand out until the NA numbers are created.

Sutton and Williamson are definites. Ferguson's case is good; looking forward to his NA numbers.

Tom Burns from the shortstop section should be here, but it's close.

   2. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: July 10, 2002 at 07:34 PM (#510182)
Latham's fielding win shares in particular are eye-popping, well above everyone else. I cannot figure out why this is. His raw numbers are good but not spectacular... can anyone let me in on why his WS figures are so far above everyone else?

Williamson in particular has better fielding stats but fewer WS per game, particularly odd since he did also play 450 games at shortstop (though not well).

Jerry Denny has much much better fielding stats than Latham and also pales in comparison in WS. Hell, Denny was so good he didn't need a glove. :)

Is this a "false normalization" problem? Denny played on some horrible teams in Indianapolis but some great teams in Providence too. Latham's Browns are legendary, but he played on some bad teams in Cincinnati.
   3. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: July 10, 2002 at 09:29 PM (#510183)
Frankly, I didn't think Latham had a chance before, which is unfortuante as I have always thought his nickname was the best ever, even better than Bob Ferguson's.

Now I'm not so sure, I think he could at the very least sneak onto some ballots. 276 WS are a lot. But I can't shake the feeling he probably should be around 255 or so.
   4. scruff Posted: July 11, 2002 at 02:01 AM (#510184)
Defensive letter grades from Bill James. Remember we think of these guys the way we think of 2B today.

A
(N)ed Williamson

A-
Arlie Latham

B+
Ezra Sutton

C+
Jerry Denny
George Pinckney

C
Hick Carpenter

C-
Denny Lyons

F
Bill Joyce

   5. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 11, 2002 at 07:30 AM (#510185)
Here are the Win Shares per 162 games for the shortstops (NA not included as of yet):

Hick Carpenter: 15.22
Jerry Denny: 18.33
Bob Ferguson: 18.45
Bill Joyce: 27.78
Arlie Latham: 22.10
Denny Lyons: 27.46
Levi Meyerle: 21.15
George Pinckney: 21.87
Ezra Sutton: 24.98
Ed Williamson: 23.34
   6. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 11, 2002 at 02:42 PM (#510187)
CORRECTION:

Here are the Win Shares per 162 games for the THIRD BASEMEN (NA not included as of yet):

Hick Carpenter: 15.22
Jerry Denny: 18.33
Bob Ferguson: 18.45
Bill Joyce: 27.78
Arlie Latham: 22.10
Denny Lyons: 27.46
Levi Meyerle: 21.15
George Pinckney: 21.87
Ezra Sutton: 24.98
Ed Williamson: 23.34
   7. Rob Wood Posted: July 11, 2002 at 04:16 PM (#510188)
I posted a question on the "distribution list" thread concerning who is eligible for the first HOM ballot. In particular, I don't see Jimmy Collins listed among the third basemen, though his career ended before 1910. (Sorry for the duplicative post, but I wanted to cover all bases, so to speak.)
   8. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 11, 2002 at 05:22 PM (#510189)
The answer to your question is in the "distribution list" thread, Rob.
   9. MattB Posted: July 11, 2002 at 07:14 PM (#510190)
Craig B wrote re: Latham,

"Now I'm not so sure, I think he could at the very least sneak onto some ballots. 276 WS are a lot. But I can't shake the feeling he probably should be around 255 or so."

What gives you that feeling? I guess I'm not sensitized enough to the stat to know who many WS 12+ years of league average play and good defense should equal within 20 either way. Is it the sub-100 OPS+?

Does anyone even know if "fresh" had the same slang meaning 100 years ago that it does today?
   10. Rob Wood Posted: July 11, 2002 at 08:00 PM (#510191)
I just started looking carefully at 19th century players last night. There are a few 3B that I expected to see who do not appear above. Billy Nash and Deacon White in particular. I am not sure that either guy deserves serious consideration for the HOM, but I thought it was odd that they are not on the ballot, so to speak.
   11. scruff Posted: July 11, 2002 at 08:41 PM (#510192)
Rob -- Deacon White absolutely deserves consideration. He might be the best player of his era. I've listed him as a catcher (not up on the board yet). I think he's got as strong of a case, if not a stronger one than Buck Ewing.

James severely underrated him in his book. He's really a catcher, who played 3B late in his career. Kind of like if Biggio had stayed at catcher for 7 or 8 years before moving, since 3B then was like 2B is today.

White was catcher for 7.4 seasons, played third for 6.0.

I'll give his numbers here (which don't include the NA):

332 - 42, 34, 32 - 145 - Deacon White - 18.1 sea. - 261 batting - 69 fielding - 1 pitching.
C 39%, 3B 32%, 1B 13%, RF 12%.
notes: 1871-1890. 5-year peak from age 28-32. Played 5.0 seasons in the NA, which are not counted above. 5-year peak includes 1880 when he missed more than 1/2 of the season. When 1875 become part of that peak, he'll probably be around 170 or 180 for his 5-year peak.

He was a hell of a player. He, Ezra Sutton and Joe Start are my three favorite players from this era.

Billy Nash may not have made an All-Star team. I can run his numbers later for you.
   12. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 11, 2002 at 08:43 PM (#510193)
Deacon White was more dominating as a catcher (and DEFINITELY deseves consideration for the HoM). Billy Nash retired after 1900, so he's not eligible yet.
   13. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 11, 2002 at 08:49 PM (#510194)
Actually, Nash retired before 1900. Scruff should have the info I sent to him on Nash from last month.
   14. scruff Posted: July 11, 2002 at 08:53 PM (#510195)
Deacon White put up 332 adjWS after the age of 28, which has to be one of the highest totals ever. The fact that he played 18 seasons says a lot about his ability as well.

The WS numbers confirm earlier numbers I had produced based on offensive W-L, he jumped out at me about a year ago when I first started this stuff. He was just an awesome player. If his true peak was younger than 27-31 (which is likely, since that's true for most players), he's going to be around 450 WS when we are through with him, considering he was pretty good in the NA as well.
   15. scruff Posted: July 11, 2002 at 09:07 PM (#510196)
Billy Nash has been added above. He gets an "A" rating defensively from James. He's got a reasonable case.

If I had to rank them right now, I'd go:

Ezra Sutton
Billy Nash
Ned Williamson
Arlie Latham

They are the only ones I'd consider at this point. I still need to see what Bob Ferguson's NA numbers deflate to. I pick Nash and Williamson ahead of Latham because they have similar numbers, but Latham put his up in the AA during his best years, which was the weaker league. Nash and Williamson are very close, but Nash played a little bit later when the league was tougher, that outweighed Williamson's higher peak for me. I can see either one getting the nod for the 2 hole, but I think Sutton is clearly 1 and Latham is clearly below the other two.

I'm open to persuasion if someone thinks I'm off base here. Sutton is the only one that has a shot at being on my first 10-man ballot, and he'll probably be near the bottom if he is there, but he should get in eventually.

Probably by 1908 or 1909. He died in 1907, so maybe the 1908 sympathy vote will get him in. Too bad that if he doesn't get in the first two years he'll never know was a HoMer . . .

   16. DanG Posted: July 12, 2002 at 04:58 AM (#510197)
Just to make sure we're not overlooking anybody, I noticed a few other thirdbasemen who had careers of a good length.

Bill Kuehne 1883-92
Joe Mulvey 1883-95
Billy Shindle 1886-98

Shindle, at least, deserves to have his numbers put up.

DG

   17. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 12, 2002 at 05:22 AM (#510198)
I made up the data for Shindle last week for Scruff. He should be able to put it up within the next few days. I'll make up the prorated stats for Kuehne and Mulvey for Scruff also.

Scruff:
Did you find the Meyerle stats I sent you? If you didn't, I'll send them over to you if you want me too.
   18. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 12, 2002 at 03:40 PM (#510199)
Scruff:
I uploaded a new file for you.

Here is the updated Win Shares per 162 games for the third basemen (NA not included as of yet):

Hick Carpenter: 15.22
Jerry Denny: 18.33
Bob Ferguson: 18.45
Bill Joyce: 27.78
Bill Kuehne: 15.05
Arlie Latham: 22.10
Denny Lyons: 27.46
Levi Meyerle: 21.15
Joe Mulvey: 15.92
Billy Nash: 23.21
George Pinckney: 21.87
Ezra Sutton: 24.98
Ed Williamson: 23.34

I didn't realize how good Nash was. Damn close between Williamson and Nash.

   19. Rick A. Posted: July 12, 2002 at 08:57 PM (#510200)
Scruff,

Not to sound ignorant or anything, but what do you mean when you say that 3B then was like 2B is today and vice versa? In what way?
   20. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: July 12, 2002 at 11:12 PM (#510201)
MattB,

My suspicion re Latham is the defense. His defensive stats just aren't that great; but his defensive WS are really high. However, that's the nature of the WS system; it encourages us to re-evaluate some of our preceptions about defense.

I haven't looked at it closely enough yet.

I got the 255 figure from taking off about 2 WS/year defesively, which would put him at about the same defensive value as others with similar defensive statistics.

Re the 19th-century meaning of fresh : it meant "bold" or "impudent", similar to one of the modern meanings.
   21. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: July 12, 2002 at 11:15 PM (#510202)
MattB,

My suspicion re Latham is the defense. His defensive stats just aren't that great; but his defensive WS are really high. However, that's the nature of the WS system; it encourages us to re-evaluate some of our preceptions about defense.

I haven't looked at it closely enough yet.

I got the 255 figure from taking off about 2 WS/year defesively, which would put him at about the same defensive value as others with similar defensive statistics.
   22. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: July 12, 2002 at 11:58 PM (#510203)
Perhaps if I had kept posting, I might have chopped off a little at a time until there was nothing left.
   23. scruff Posted: July 13, 2002 at 04:16 AM (#510204)
Rick -- you don't sound ignorant . . .

Think back to little league. The better infielders were your SS and 3B, not SS and 2B. This is pretty obvious, because the throw from third was much longer than from 2B, and the ball comes at you a lot quicker, you are closer to the hitter. Since 2B don't have to turn the DP, it was actually a very easy position (I know, it's where I was put to minimize my terrible arm). Just field grounders and make the short throw.

Before 1920, the DP was not that big of a factor, teams just didn't turn that many. There were less people on 1B, and when they were there, there was often a bunt, a hit and run or a steal, further reducing the need for a 2B that could turn two.

But 3B had to make that long throw, and most of the batters were fast. They had to field more bunts than today, because everyone bunted all the time. So 3B was were the better glove men went, not 2B.

Look at the batting stats of the typical 2B and typical 3B from 1871-1930 (it took about 10 years after the deadball era ended for managers to pick up on this and for the talent to start cycling through). The 2B were much better hitters, similar to the difference between 3B and 2B today, only reversed. What I've seen of RobertDudek's replacement studies hold this up as well (replacement 2B hit better than replacement 3B before 1920).

That's one reason why Rogers Hornsby's numbers aren't quite as impressive (though they are very impressive, don't get me wrong). He was playing 2B when that was the slugging position. We should really be comparing he and Eddie Collins to guys like Mike Schmidt, Eddie Mathews and George Brett, not to guys like Ryne Sandberg, Bobby Grich and Joe Morgan.

Guys like Jimmy Collins and Home Run Baker should be compared to Morgan and Sandberg, they shouldn't be compared to Schmidt and Brett.
   24. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 14, 2002 at 05:01 AM (#510206)
30-20, 10, 0-30-Levi Meyerle-5.6 sea.-27 batting-1 fielding
3B 55%, 2B 22%, RF 12%, SS 7%, 1B 4%, LF 1%.
notes: 1871-1877;1884. Played 5.0 season in NA, remainder of career in NL; 1884 in U. Best years were in the NA, numbers above do not reflect this, so he cannot be accurately evaluated by WS at this point.

Win Shares per 162 games played (NA not included). 20.97

   25. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 14, 2002 at 03:03 PM (#510207)
Small correction on Levi Meyerle's defense: it should read 3 fielding instead of 1.

I'm starting to like this HTML stuff!
   26. Rick A. Posted: July 15, 2002 at 03:45 PM (#510208)
Scruff,
Thanks for the info. That was very interesting. Having never played Little League, I never realized that one of the better fielders was the third basemen.

ChapelHeel,
You and scruff have given me something to think about when voting for these players. Thanks

   27. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: July 26, 2002 at 03:12 AM (#510210)
How about as a pitcher?

Amazing, that man, simply amazing.
   28. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: July 26, 2002 at 03:18 AM (#510211)
How about as a pitcher?

Amazing, that man, simply amazing.
   29. Marc Posted: September 13, 2002 at 03:09 AM (#510213)
Good question about adjWS...is the adjustment to 162 games or to a 162 game schedule? In other words if a player in the 1880s played in 100 of 114 games is the adjustment 1.62 or 1.42?

As for Deacon White, he might be #3 at catcher and #3 at 3B. But if you add together his entire career he probably rates ahead of all the catchers and 3B besides Ewing as a "player."

Overall I'm not sure there is a HOF 3B from the 19th century. The 2B crop looks weak, maybe, but 3B looks weaker yet. I agree that Williamson was probably the best, just based on the accolades he got from people who saw him play.
   30. scruff Posted: September 13, 2002 at 04:04 PM (#510214)
The adjustment is to a 162-game schedule.

Marc and Tom, I really like Ezra Sutton as the best 3B of the 19th Century, and I think he is a HoMer, not a first ballot one obviously, but he was a helluva a player.

He racked up 273 adjusted WS playing in the NL, and he was good enough to be one of the better players in the NA from the age of 20-24. He racked up 39, 35 and 32 WS in his best 3 years, in the early 1880s, which was a much tougher league than the NA.

It's reasonable, especially in looking at his NA numbers to assume that he would have had some big years earlier as well had the NL existed. Even if you give him just 15 WS a year for his NA years, you are looking at a guy with 348 WS (significantly more than any other 3B), and a 16+ year career, very long for that era. And a high peak.

Sure his big years in the NA have to be discounted somewhat, but that doesn't mean they should be eliminated or not counted at all. I really believe it's an easy question for who the best 3B of the 19th century was. Williamson is a solid second, but Sutton wins this easily, IMO.

John Murphy, great sponsor line on baseball-reference :-) I think I'm going to grab Deacon White . . .
   31. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 13, 2002 at 05:51 PM (#510215)
Thanks, Scruff.

I was actually left White for you, since you are the biggest proponent here at the Primer for his selection to both Halls (and rightly so).
   32. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 13, 2002 at 06:02 PM (#510216)
Let me try this again:

Thanks, Scruff.

I actually left White for you, since you are the biggest proponent here at the Primer for his selection to both Halls (and rightly so).
   33. scruff Posted: September 13, 2002 at 10:18 PM (#510217)
Thanks John, you should see something by the end of the weekend . . .
   34. dan b Posted: September 15, 2002 at 02:48 AM (#510218)
Scruff writes "I really like Ezra Sutton as the best 3B of the 19th Century, and I think he is a HoMer"

I have been reading with interest comments such as the above along with other similar assertions posted on other blogs designating players such as Paul Hines, Charley Jones, Cal McVey, Hardy Richardson and Deacon White as certain HoMers. Unless I have stumbled into the meeting place of the Nineteenth Century Baseball Fan Club, I don?t think so. As our elections unfold, we will have divided points of view not just over peak value versus career value, but also ?Best of Era? versus ?Best Available Player?.

A few weeks ago when we were debating the election format, I compiled a mock HoM to try to get a feel for what our results might look like. Supposing that the collective wisdom of our electorate might some what concur with Bill James, I used his rankings in the Historical Baseball Abstract, and seeking positional balance took the top 18 players at each of (8) positions, 65 pitchers and the (12) Negro League players James lists in the top 100. I only considered players who will be eligible for the HoM by 2004. This gave me 221 players. Needing 224 to fill the HoM per Scruff?s post of July 23, I arbitrarily added the 19th ranking RF and CF and Monte Irvin (whose career split had him falling through the cracks). Although no attempt to micro evaluate the merits of say, the 18th ranking LF versus the 20th ranking CF was undertaken, this gave me a reasonable starting point for a HoM based on ?Best Available Player?. After holding my mock elections, I offer the following observations:

1) Had we decided to start our process in 1921, every player selected would have come from the above described list of 224. Since we are starting in 1906, a total of 18 players not on the initial list needed to be found by digging a little deeper on James? rankings, beginning with Cupid Childs in 1908 and ending with Zack Wheat in 1933.
2) Only 9 players whose career ends before 1901 get in – Anson, Brouthers, Clarkson, Connor, Ewing, Keefe, McPhee, Mullane, and Radbourn. Voters looking for the best players on each ballot are not going to have room for players like Sutton (James ranking at 3B #98), Hines (CF #53),Jones (LF #67), McVey (C-not in the top 125), White (3B #76) or Richardson (2B #39) – well, maybe Richardson instead of Mullane.

The caliber of play in the nineteenth century is suspect. James makes a compelling argument in his comments on Amos Rusie (P #28)regarding the success of teenage pitchers in the nineteenth century. Perhaps the claim to be the best 3B in the 1880’s or the best RF in the 1870’s is no more justification for HoM recognition than best player in Kansas City Athletics history (Siebern 1B #63).


   35. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 15, 2002 at 04:36 AM (#510219)
The caliber of play in the nineteenth century is suspect. James makes a compelling argument in his comments on Amos Rusie (P #28)regarding the success of teenage pitchers in the nineteenth century. Perhaps the claim to be the best 3B in the 1880?s or the best RF in the 1870?s is no more justification for HoM recognition than best player in Kansas City Athletics history (Siebern 1B #63).

The problem I have with this is that, a hundred years from now, all the great players of today might be as good as an average player of that time. Would we start throwing Barry, A-Rod and Clemens (not to mention Ted, Ty and the Babe) out of the Hall because, compared to the future players, the competition they played with would seem suspect?

I agree that there are more great players now than then. I think, however, the best third baseman in over twenty years of professional baseball (until Jimmy Collins) is worthy of the honor. Besides, James even says he might be wrong about Sutton.
   36. Marc Posted: September 15, 2002 at 04:18 PM (#510220)
This is the ultimate question. What exactly constitutes value? greatness? Is it whether or not said candidate could plop down in 2002 with the training and conditioning and knowledge and experience of 1871 or 1893 or 1918 or 1935 and play at an All-Star level? I love Bill James but if that's what he is trying to say, he is wrong. By that logic, if in other words we extend James' timeline adjustment into the future (John hit the nail on the head) then someday the stars of the 20th century will no longer be fit for the HOF either.

I would suggest that greatness is, first of all, a matter of peak value. Either you're great or you're not. You can't accumulate greatness. A reasonable length of career is also nice. But the standard, either way, is the impact you had on pennant races. If Ezra Sutton helped his team win or compete for a pennant in the 1880s, if he gave his team an extra edge by doing things his peers didn't do, then that is exactly as great an achievement as George Brett giving his team a similar edge 100 years later.

I have no clue if Ezra Sutton is a HOFer, by the way. But it is silly to believe that if George Brett had been born in 1850 that he would have been George Brett.

So I'm looking forward to voting some 19th century players into the HOM, and I'm not at all discouraged about voting out some players from the 20th. A pennant is a pennant, and the players' job is to compete and win during the lifetime and with the conditions that god gave him.
   37. Marc Posted: September 15, 2002 at 04:20 PM (#510221)
This is the ultimate question. What exactly constitutes value? greatness? Is it whether or not said candidate could plop down in 2002 with the training and conditioning and knowledge and experience of 1871 or 1893 or 1918 or 1935 and play at an All-Star level? I love Bill James but if that's what he is trying to say, he is wrong. By that logic, if in other words we extend James' timeline adjustment into the future (John hit the nail on the head) then someday the stars of the 20th century will no longer be fit for the HOF either.

I would suggest that greatness is, first of all, a matter of peak value. Either you're great or you're not. You can't accumulate greatness. A reasonable length of career is also nice. But the standard, either way, is the impact you had on pennant races. If Ezra Sutton helped his team win or compete for a pennant in the 1880s, if he gave his team an extra edge by doing things his peers didn't do, then that is exactly as great an achievement as George Brett giving his team a similar edge 100 years later.

I have no clue if Ezra Sutton is a HOFer, by the way. But it is silly to believe that if George Brett had been born in 1850 that he would have been George Brett.

PS. Ezra Sutton fans are advised BTW to start calling him by his middle name and the new nickname I am about to give to him. "Cat" Ballou Sutton. Now there's a name I can vote for!

So I'm looking forward to voting some 19th century players into the HOM, and I'm not at all discouraged about voting out some players from the 20th. A pennant is a pennant, and the players' job is to compete and win during the lifetime and with the conditions that god gave him.
   38. Marc Posted: September 15, 2002 at 11:11 PM (#510225)
Ditto re. the double post. And Eric, I agree with you re. Ezra Sutton. He was just a handy name to stand in for the 19th century generally. I guess part of this whole exercise is to decide whether we are going to pretend it is really 1906 or not. My understanding BTW is strict (Minnie Minoso) HOF rules; any late appearance pushes back ballot eligibility. That raises the interesting case of Sam Thompson who retired in 1898 but played a few games in 1906. If we are pretending it is January 1906, then we wouldn't have any way of knowing he would appear in a few games later that year.
   39. dan b Posted: September 16, 2002 at 12:35 AM (#510226)
So we are pretending it is 1906. Isn't it likely we will be even less impressed with Sutton's claim as the best 3B back in the 80's. Aren't we going to say to ourselves "although Sutton may have been the best back in the 80's, he was no John McGraw or Jimmy Collins". Won't we recognize that with the improved stability of the game came a higher level of play, that the stars of the recent past were better than the stars of the 70's and 80's?
   40. DanG Posted: September 16, 2002 at 04:09 AM (#510227)
What is Retirement?

On the topic of ignoring token appearances to determine HoM eligibility, Marc argues for no leeway: "My understanding BTW is strict (Minnie Minoso) HOF rules; any late appearance pushes back ballot eligibility. That raises the interesting case of Sam Thompson who retired in 1898 but played a few games in 1906. If we are pretending it is January 1906, then we wouldn't have any way of knowing he would appear in a few games later that year."

This topic was covered at some length in a very early thread here. If we were indeed following strict HOF rules, we wouldn't even have a five-year wait until the election of 1956. Anyway, the point is, under a strict rule we couldn't vote for Hughie Jennings until 1924 or Johnny Evers until 1935. I came up with a sensible rule that allows for a few exceptions: For determining retirement year, we should ignore all seasons with token appearances occurring more than two years after the player's last season of 10+ games (or IP for pitchers).

For example, Jennings' last year with 10+ games was 1902. Any token appearances in 03 or 04 would make one of those years his "retirement" year. In fact, Jennings played 6 games in 1903, so we use that year and make him eligible for our 1909 election. We ignore his token appearances in 07, 09, 12, and 18.

John McGraw is a more difficult example. His last year with 10+ games was 1903, his 12 games that year being just over our "token" limit. He appeared in <10 games in 04, 05, 06. Under my definition we'll use 1905 as his retirement year, ignoring the token appearances after that year.

Yes, it's an arbitrary cut-off, but it makes sense to draw the line somewhere about that point and allow players to enter the ballot with their contemporaries. For McGraw, he was actually done as a player in 1902. After that he was a manager. I would argue he was not a player-manager in 03-06; he was a manager who occasionally played himself in a pinch. This was not uncommon before 1920. I see no good argument for restarting the retirement clock based on token appearances long after someone's playing career is effectively ended.

I'm not adamantly opposed to some modification of my proposed rule. But to say that Sam Thompson "retired" in 1906 misstates the era in which he played. Sam retired in 1898. His 8 game comeback in 1906 was a post-career stunt. I think we want to avoid the "strict" interpretation of retirement year.

And regarding Minoso, he was a strange case. His major league career ended in 1964. For some reason, the BBWAA put him on the ballot after only a four-year wait. He received 6 votes in 1969 and then disappeared from the ballot. This was strange, because in the days before the 5% rule players normally would remain on the ballot with this level of support. Larry Doby is a similar story, receiving 7 votes in 1966 and 10 in 1967 before disappearing. By comparison, Bobby Thomson also received six votes in 1969 and continued on the ballot, drawing from 3 to 11 votes annually, until the 5% rule knocked him off in 1979. Vic Wertz stayed on the ballot, receiving from 2 to 5 votes every year from 1970-78.

Minoso remained off the ballot, then made token appearances in 1976 and 1980. The BBWAA reinstated him in 1986 and he received decent support until he had exhausted his 15 tries at election. He now appears on the 200-man ballot for the new VC.

I always though it was kind of ridiculous in the late 90's for the BBWAA to be considering him, when most of the voters by then had never seen him play in his prime. If they followed the Hall rules that allow eligibility up to twenty years after retirement, he would have been off the ballot after 1984. His appearances in 1976 and 1980 were post-career stunts that should not have restarted the eligibility clock.
   41. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 17, 2002 at 08:29 PM (#510228)
Sure I might include him on my ballot, but can he be reasonably ranked ahead of O'Rourke, Kelly, Connor, Brouthers, Radbourne, Keefe, or Clarkson, or for that matter McPhee on the first ballot? Or the leftovers from the first ballot plus Childs and Hamilton (and Rusie?)

I like Rusie better than Radbourne. My three picks for pitcher:
John Clarkson
Tim Keefe
Amos Rusie
(Al Spalding could be #2 or 3, but I'll hold off on him until Scruff/Joe finishes his work on the NA).
   42. DanG Posted: September 18, 2002 at 04:45 AM (#510229)
Unless we decide on a different definition of token appearances than the one I have advocated (<10 games for players, <10 IP for pitchers), Rusie will not be eligible for our first election.

In 1901 Amos pitched 22 innings in only three games. If we modified the definition of token appearances for pitchers to say something like "less than 10 IP or <5 games," we could get him eligible for the first election.
   43. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 18, 2002 at 06:40 AM (#510230)
DanG:
I thought Rusie made it. I should have checked again.

I'd probably put Spalding as the third best pitcher. I think Galvin was slightly better than Old Hoss, while Mickey Welch about even with Radbourne. Mullane and Caruthers bring up the rear.
   44. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 18, 2002 at 07:13 AM (#510231)
BTW, I would place Tommy Bond with Caruthers and Mullane.
   45. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 29, 2002 at 05:12 AM (#510232)
Update on the top five third basemen (in order):
Ezra Sutton
Billy Nash (best post NA numbers)
Ed Williamson
Denny Lyon
Bill Joyce

I have no idea if Levi Meyerle or Bob Ferguson belong here.

   46. scruff Posted: October 14, 2002 at 04:15 PM (#510234)
I agree Tom, 3B is tight, no sure fire HoMers, just a few on the cusp (I consider White and Ewing C's).

I'd say Ezra Sutton is the top dog here, followed closely by Williamson. They are the only two that I think will make it (or should). There's too many good players at other positions, and pretty soon the big guns will start landing on the ballot, guys like Wagner and Young, etc.
   47. Marc Posted: October 14, 2002 at 10:02 PM (#510235)
Oddly enough, in the 1936 veteran's ballot for the HOF, Jerry Denny was the top 19th century 3B with 6 votes (not counting J. Collins) but never got another vote ever again (of course there were no more votes by that particular committee). I forget how many voters there were but 59 votes were needed for election (so I guess 79) and nobody was in fact elected (Anson and Ewing were tops with 40 votes each). Williamson had 2 votes and Latham had one. Sutton, Nash, all the others were at zero.
   48. Marc Posted: October 15, 2002 at 12:07 AM (#510237)
Anson 40, Ewing 40, Keeler 33, Young 32, Delahanty 22, H.Long 16, Radbourn 16, K.Kelly 15, Rusie 12,
Jennings 11, Clarke 9, J. Collins 8, Denny 6, Lange 6, Stovey 6, Clarkson 5, Wagner 5, Duffy 4, Barnes 3,
Bennett 3, Nichols 3, Ward 3

2 votes--Brouthers, Dunlap, Glasscock, Hamilton, Lajoie, Lowe
1--Battin, Bekcley, Bond, Burkett, Criger, Dahlen, Daubert, J. Doyle, Keefe, Kilroy, Latham, McAleer,
McCARTHY, McVey, Pabor, Pike, Remsen, H. Richardson, Tenney, Van Haltren, Wallace, D. White.

If you look carefully at the old-timers voting, all the players started their career before 1900. If you look carefully at the regular ballot, all players were active in the 20th century. So some players (Young, Keeler, Delahanty, Clarke, J. Collins, Wagner, Lajoie, etc.) appeared on both lists.

Again, 59 votes were needed for election and nobody was elected, so apparently there were 79 ballots. I count 332 total votes above for a total of 4.2 votes per ballot. I don't know if there was a limit to the number of players who could be listed on a single ballot, but on the regular BBWAA ballot I think the limit was 10. Whatever it was here, the failure to elect anybody was in part due to a number of uncast ballots. Maybe some of the voters didn't think 19th century players belonged in the Hall, or simply had no knowledge of the 19th century, or were just very sure that only about 4 19th century players really belonged, I don't know why there were so many uncast ballots in the very first vote, when obviously there was a whole universe of players to chose from.

By position the top vote getters were C- Ewing, 1B-Anson (40-2 over Brothers, Connor was shut out), 2B- Barnes, SS- Herman Long over Jennings et al, 3B- Jeremiah Dennis Eldridge (aka Jerry Denny), OF-Delahanty, K. Kelly and Keeler though Lange was the top CF, P-Young, Radbourn, Rusie and Clarkson.

After Herman Long, Denny and Lange would be the forgotten men from the ballot. Denny played in the NL from 1881 to 1894, appears to TB have been a solid glove man but to WS only a C+ (Sutton is B+). Not much of a hitter with a career OPS+ of 98 despite one great year (1998) at 137 (he hit .340 and otherwise never hit over .282 in a full year) while Sutton had 5 years at 136 or better. His (Denny's) career BA/OBA/SA were .262/.287/.384 compared to Sutton's .281/.315/.381.

Sutton of course got zero votes. Undoubtedly he had been forgotten by 1936, 48 years after his retirement, despite playing for Boston's NL champs of 1877-78 and '83, one of his best seasons. Though a full 9 years younger, Denny played only 6 years later, retiring after the 1894 season. He played for Old Hoss Radbourn's great 1884 Providence champions of the NL, but his peak was spent in the utter obscurity of a really terrible Indianapolis team.

Oddly James has Sutton ranked 98th and Denny 99th, and points out that Denny has the most PO per inning of all 3B all-time. It is doubtful the 1936 voters knew about this.

   49. Marc Posted: October 15, 2002 at 12:12 AM (#510238)
Sorry, Jerry Denny's big year was 1887. James gives him 19 WS in 122 individual games. The team played 126 games, so his AdjWS would be 24.4. Not exactly MVP range.
   50. Marc Posted: October 15, 2002 at 12:19 AM (#510239)
Another PS. George Wright also got 6 votes and Spalding 4 in the '36 veteran's ballot. I pasted this in from another source and I'm obviously going to have to go back and see what else dropped out. Sorry.
   51. Marc Posted: October 15, 2002 at 04:00 AM (#510240)
All right, let me try this again. In addition to the list posted above at 8:07 on Oct. 14, the following persons also received votes in the 1936 veteran's HOF vote:

John McGraw 17 votes, Wilbert Robinson, George Wright and Charlie Comiskey 6, Albert Spalding 4 and (N)ed Williamson 2.

So, to the all-star team listed above you'd have to add McGraw as your all-star manager, unless, that is, you think half or thereabouts of Anson's votes were for his leadership qualities. Spalding is just one vote out of the running for a four-man pitching rotation.
   52. Marc Posted: April 10, 2004 at 05:53 PM (#510241)
OK, 3B. Most if not all of the candidates still played a more important role defensively than 3Bs today. We've typically thought of them as 2Bs, but James also says that Negro League 3Bs looked and played a lot more like SSs. For major leaguers, my method is to rank everybody on 20 measures, all of them different cuts (peak, prime, career) of global measures like WS, WARP and LWTS. In theory, the OPS's and etc. etc. etc. should all be reflected in these kinds of measures.

First the Negro Leaguers, because they're easy. There are just two candidates before 1940, and Ollie Marcelle is almost unanimously regarded as the #3 3B (after Dandridge and Johnson), though the Pittsburgh Courier and Pop Lloyd picked him #1, while Dave Malarcher is almost unanimously regarded as the #5 3B.

KJOK projects Marcelle, who played 13 years, at .304/.388 SA with 205 H, 6 HR and 19 SB per 162 games. Malarcher hit more like a SS at .267/.312 with 158 hits, 2 HR and 24 SB per 162. He played 15 years. Marcelle was a "Frankie Frisch type player--fast, smart, aggressive" and a better fielder than Dandridge or Johnson. The best at charging the bunt. He was also a playboy and not well-liked. Frank Warfield (the 2B who trashed Louis Santop) got in a fight with Marcelle and bit off the end of his nose. In the absence of plastic surgery (at the time), Marcelle wore a piece of tape on the end of his nose for the rest of his life. He was taunted for that on the field, which hastened the end of his short 13 year career.

Malarcher, OTOH, was known as "Gentleman Dave" and was very well-liked. A slap-hitting switch-hitter, "most of his value was in his glove, his head and his legs."

OK, the major leaguers. I ended up with a big consideration (and a big reconsideration) set here--8 who are already eligible and 6 more coming up by 1939. I'll just give you my final ranking given the large set.

1. Frank Baker--no surprise here except that he only has the #2 peak, but the #1 prime and #1 career, and that is without any extra credit for his retirement years. LWTS especially likes Frank, which may not exactly impress many of you but he also has the #1 adjWARP1 prime value of 107 WARP over 10 years.

2. Heinie Groh--also no surprise, somebody responded to my assertion that S. Magee and Doyle were the two best 20th century players not in Cooperstown by suggesting Groh and Hack. Good point. #1 peak, #2 prime, #3 career. Baker and Groh are actually a toss-up for peak and I went with Groh. WS prefers Baker, WARP prefers Groh at least for a 3 year peak.

3. Ed Williamson--#3 peak, #3 prime, #5 career. Scores particularly well in WS, though of course with the adj to 162 games, that is to be expected. But even with the ^1/2 adj in WARP, which I also adapt to LWTS, he is no lower than 3rd for any peak or prime measure and he is #3 for adjWARP1 career total.

4. Tommy Leach--I am surprised here, obviously because I'm overly fixated on peak. #7 peak and #8 prime, but #2 career. #1 in career adjWS and #2 in adjWARP1. Does poorly in LWTS, which some may feel is a pretty good endorsement.

5. Bill Bradley--#4 peak, #9 prime, #13 career. Peak and prime are 80 percent of my categories, so his peak overcomes his short career. Would not be on the radar for career voters, obviously. But get this. #1 in 3 year adjWARP1 peak, slightly ahead of Baker and Groh. Really.

6. John McGraw--#5 peak, #11 prime, #7 career. Don't get too hung up on the #11 versus the #7 which kind of go against expectation. The fact is that after the top 3 guys on this list, there are a bunch who are extremely close and the final ranking is not based on 5 + 11 + 7 but on the 20 different rating points. Leach (#4) through Cross (#10) are very close. I could find one of my 20 data points to justify any one of them ahead of the rest. In McGraw's case that would be his WS rate per prime season.

7. Art Devlin--#6 peak, #10 prime, #12 career. In Art's case, his LWTS scores are very competitive but also his WS/prime season. (Both he and McGraw, of course, had a very short prime, so their rate was good but their duration was not.)

8. Billy Nash--#10 peak, #6 prime, #8 (tie) career. Nash had a nice long, productive prime acc. to WS.

9. Heinie Zimmerman--#8 peak, #13 prime, #10 career.

10. Lave Cross--#13 peak, #7 prime, #4 career. If you're a career voter he could obviously be a lot higher, and if you're a WARP career voter, well, he's #1 ahead of Baker and Groh and everybody.

11. Denny Lyons--#11 peak, #12 prime, #6 career. Again, how does a guy have a weak prime and a strong career. Mainly don't rack up too many below average seasons. Keep tacking on little bits of value every year even if below "prime" value. Not that Lyons had a long career by modern standards, but using LWTS with its negative values for example--many players earn more LWTS points in their prime than they do for their whole career. Lyons kept adding on. McGraw and Devlin are the ONLY players on this list to do likewise!, though Devlin's 10 year career was too limited to add much.

12. Larry Gardner--#14 peak, #4 prime!, #8 (tie) career. Nice long prime but at low rates, makes Jake Beckley look like a big peaker.

13. Levi Meyerle--#9 peak, #13 prime, #14 career. #1 and 2 on WS with adj to 162 games. But with ^1/2 adj for WARP and LWTS even his overall peak is not newsworthy.

14. Arlie Latham--#12, #14, #11. WARP kinda likes him, though.

If there's any point to this madness, it is that, again, if you have a favorite focus (career, peak, WARP, WS) you could vote for any of these guys. But a broad sweep across 20 data points from all categories, well, this is what it gets you.

The final ranking incorporating the Negro Leaguers and some subjective adjustments.

1. Baker
2. Groh
3. Williamson--BTW, if you add up the WS, WARP1 and WARP3-derived Pennants Added, he had more than any other player still eligible for whom we have such data. IMHO this more or less justifies my peak and prime-oriented method. Pennants are not Added by below average players or by hanging around. They are Added by being at least above average and preferably an all-star or up.
4. Leach
5. Marcelle--he was a "Frankie Frisch type," not Frisch himself, though I am very willing to entertain the idea of swapping him up with Leach. Won't move down.
6. Bradley--iffy from here on down, but Bradley had the next best peak, yes, even better than McGraw.
7. McGraw
8. Devlin
9. Nash
10. Lyons
11. Cross--the one guy who could and would move up except in my wierd, peak-oriented world.
12. Malarcher--I have serious doubts whether he would have hit much in the bigs.
13. Zimmerman--moved down due to character issues.
14. Meyerle--moves up due to big peak.
15. Gardner
16. Latham

Thank you very much.

   53. ronw Posted: April 10, 2004 at 06:12 PM (#510242)
Marc:

In the words of my nearly-two year old daughter "Gee-goo much" for your thorough positional analysis.

I am on pins and needles about where you will rank my favorite upcoming candidate, Harry Hooper. Seriously, until this project, I used to think Hooper was one of those HOF mistakes. Now I think the mistake may have been not electing him sooner.

I haven't quite gone to 1939, so I won't post my rankings, but many of them are surprisingly close to yours, even though I am a career/prime, rather than a peak/prime voter.
   54. Marc Posted: April 10, 2004 at 06:34 PM (#510243)
Fanks, Won.

Well, it's gonna be another week or so before I finish the OF. Next up is to integrate the C-1B-2B-SS-3B for this election. (Other than that I will be integrating the various positions only on an as needed or as eligible basis.) OF for the next one, and P next or next-next, as events allow.

Hooper so far looks like a bubble candidate but that is not based on any real serious consideration so far. Lots of career value, not much peak which for me appears to place him below a bunch of guys.

I guess my biggest finding--taking advantage of this opportunity to repeat myself (though as I said I will also have another post integrating the positions so far--only through 1924, however) is satisfying myself that Monroe, Johnson and Grant (at least) and very possibly White all belong in the HoM, along with Louis Santop. (Marcelle is next, ahead of Taylor and Petway, but very bubbly.) Other than that I don't see any early (through 1939) Negro Leaguers at C, 1B, 2B, SS or 3B that I would be embarrassed to leave out of the HoM. I think White is the toughest--gosh, he's only the 3rd or 4th best 2B pre-1920! Well, he may be the 4th best black 2B before 1947 and maybe even the 6th or 8th best black player before 1940!

This is not to exclude any OFers or Ps, of course.
   55. PhillyBooster Posted: April 26, 2004 at 06:07 PM (#510244)
1. Ed Williamson: 83.8 WARP-1; 173 WS; BJ Rank #45. Coming up with a #1 here was difficult, which makes me wonder if maybe this whole group is nothing special. I think either none of these guys are worthy, or maybe all of the top 3 or 4 are.

2. John McGraw: 82.2 WARP-1; 207 WS; BJ Rank #26. Gotta love that .466 OBP. That's third on the all-time list. Should McGraw be higher for never making an out? I can certainly see why someone would love a player who is always on base.

3. Tommy Leach: 113.7 WRP-1; 329 WS; BJ Rank #20. Leach could have just as easily been put in center field. In either place, you need to put a lot of stock in defensive value to give him enough credit to warrant a ballot spot. Nonetheless, his #20 ranking from Bill James is the second highest of any eligible player (after Bresnahan).

4. Lave Cross: 125.3 WARP-1; 275 WS; BJ Rank #33. Even more, here, an average hitter with great defensive numbers. Maybe he deserves to be first, but I feel safer now making an error of omission.

5. Arlie Latham: 90.7 WARP-1; 222 WS; BJ rank #54. Did anyone ever see that movie Kalifornia where Brad Pitt's character is named "Early" and Juliette Lewis whines his name in every other line for about 2 hours? "Earrrrlyyyyyy . . ." Anyway, Arlie makes me thing of that, so I probably won't be voting for Mr. Latham.

6. Billy Nash: 99.5 WARP-1; 222 WS; BJ Rank #49. Nash was the best in his time, but his time wasn't long enough.

7. Denny Lyons: 77.5 WARP-1; 189 WS; BJ Rank #42. Lyons was the best in his time, but his time wasn't long enough.

8. Harry Steinfeldt: 81.7 WARP-1; 209 WS; BJ Rank #57. Too bad we vote for individuals and not entire infields . . .

9. Bill Bradley: 75.5 WARP-1; 189 WS; BJ Rank #46. No votes here, but I actually voted for Bill Bradley in the 2000 primaries.

10. Art Devlin: 71.7 WARP-1; 197 WS; BJ Rank # 58. And rounding out the Top 10 . . .
   56. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 05, 2004 at 05:00 PM (#778814)
All comments have been corrected up to #63.
   57. sunnyday2 Posted: July 14, 2005 at 06:08 PM (#1471675)
There's been some discussion of 3B lately. There are not as many candidates as at 2B but they represent the same array of choices--19C, 20C, NeL, offensively oriented, defensively oriented, peak, career, etc.

Current 1955 voting

4. John Beckwith 42 ballots-596-highest 4 2nds
7. Stan Hack 30-367-2nd
(19. Joe Sewell 13-160-2nd)
(28. Tommy Leach 10-112-5th)
39. John McGraw 6-52-8th
48. Pie Traynor 1-18-3rd
60. Ed Williamson 1-7-14th

Coming up soon enuogh are some additional candidates, including HoFers George Kell and Ray Dandridge, plus Al Rosen and Bob Elliott--though, frankly, with the exception of Dandridge, it seems unlikely that any will be strong candidates. And Dandridge's current classification as a potentially "serious" candidate is offered from the standpoint that ignorance is bliss.

Others who have had some support over time are pretty limited though I suppose one could say that about Lave Cross and even older old-timers Lyons, Nash and Meyerle but I feel pretty confident in saying that none of them shows any signs of coming back to life.

So we're left over the next deacde or so (through Eddie Matthews in 1974, actually, and Ken boiyer in 1975--the years are guesses BTW, I'm not cross-checking the actual dates), with:

Beckwith who looks like a sure thing and fairly soon
Hack who looks only slightly less of a sure thing
Sewell and Leach, part-time 3Bs and partially serious candidates

Then frankly given the dearth of candidates, I think it would be a great thing if at least one from among McGraw, Traynor and Williamson were resurrected.

So finally:

1. Are we sure about Hack? Has his case been fully hacked? Is he better than Sewell? Is he better than Leach? I have a sense that some of Hack's support is really support for a 3B more than for Hack. Dowe have the right man?

2. And if we missed somebody, is it Leach, McGraw, Traynor or Williamson?
   58. Jim Sp Posted: July 14, 2005 at 08:42 PM (#1472160)
Bob Elliott looks interesting to me, with a 124 OPS+ compared to Hack's 119.

Both are B- fielders in Win Shares, both played during the war, and Hack had an extra 300 PA.
   59. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: July 14, 2005 at 09:30 PM (#1472303)
I really like Hack's peak and his OBP chops. At a position without as amny great players, he really stands out to me.

I try to get excited for John McGraw sometimes, but he jsut nnever seemed to play a full slate of games. He has some great rate stats, OPS+, Eqa, RC/27, WS/162, etc., but only a few good/great seasons because of how often he did (or did not) play. Career totals are very low.

I am not really sure about Williamson and would be willing to listen on him, but I can't imagine him being better than McGraw. Traynor was a great fielder but I have a lot of doubts about his offense and his peak. He is top 50 for me.

My rankings (roughly)
Beckwith (4)
Hack (8)
(Sewell 30)
McGraw (35)
Leach (40)
Traynor (42)
Williamson???
   60. sunnyday2 Posted: July 15, 2005 at 07:15 PM (#1474973)
Here's some thoughts on the various 3Bs who are eligible. Except John Beckwith, who will go in before Hack does and for whom we do not have the same/comparable data. So I will just say that Beckwith will be PHoM about the time he is HoM and leave it go at that.

The Rest

Starting with James' ratings (not rankings):

Hack 318 career/34-33-31 top 3/140 top 5/26.6 per 162
Traynor 271/28-26-26/119/22.6
Elliott 287/29-27-27/124/23.5
Leach 329/31-29-27/122/24.7
McGraw 207/33-32-24/122/30.5
L. Gardner 259/29-27-24/106/21.;8
Kell 229/26-24-23/106/20.9
L. Cross 275/26-22-21/97/19.6
Williamson 173/21-20-19/87/23.3

Not a deep class, and hard to argue against Hack from this, but of course the old-timers are not adjusted to 154 or 162 here. With that adjustment (154) Williamson jumps up to 278, right up there with everybody else except Hack and Leach. And Williamson's peak numbers adjust to the 30-30-29 range and 130 for 5. His rate already stands up to everybody but McGraw and Hack.

IOW based on James' own numbers, and with an adjust to 154 and eliminate the infernal timeline, it is hard not to get something like this:

Top cluster--Hack, Leach, Williamson, McGraw for rate
Second cluster--Elliott ahead oif Traynor, maybe Cross
They also ran: maybe Cross, Gardner, Kell,, and if you adjuste ther other 19C guys (Lyons, nash, etc.) some of them would at least be at this level.

For the top cluster:

"Regular" seasons (BA title eligible): Hack 10 Leach 11 Williamson 11 McGraw 7

WS Fielding: Hack B- Leach A+ Williamson A McGraw B+

OPS+: Hack 120 Leach 108 Williamson 111 McGraw 135

OPS+ Peaks (?110)

Hack 143-43-33*-32-28-25-19*-10 (*war years)
Leach 135-32-32-25-21-16-10
Williamson 164-49-30-26-16-11
McGraw 165-48-31-29-26-10

These are the big picture numbers that matter to me. Obviously this is not a close study, just a general look.

Still it seems clear to me that James' ranking of Hack #9 vs. Williamson #45 is gross anti-19c bias, and shockingly if you adjust for season length Williamson is right there with as many full seasons as a regular player as Leach and Hack. Leach played a lot of additional games in his 8 seasons in which he did not qualify for the batting title, and Hack played in 6 such seasons. Both must have had injury seasons as these seasons are interspersed throughout their careers--beginning, middle and end. Big Ed had 2 such seasons at the end of his career. One could argue that Ed had more in-season durability, never failing to qualify for the batting title until his final 2 years as a UIF. McGraw had just 6 full seasons and like Leach he had many partials, but not enough to make up in career value for a baseline that is about half of the other three.

There's also the fact that Ed played 716 games at 3B and 450 at SS (and pitched, cuahgt and played 1B). Leach of course also played at another important defensive position--CF--and in fact played more games there than at 3B and, surprisingly, more full seasons as a regular at CF than at 3B. 1000+ in the OF, 955 at 3B. Hack played 46 games at 1B. McGraw played 782 at 3B, 183 at SS, and a little OF, 2B and 1B.

Conclusion--I can't claim that Big Ed belongs ahead of Hack on your ballot or even of McGraw. I am probably underrating McGraw myself. , But I can and will claim that Ed's fall from grace reflects (well, IMO, anyway) two gross misconceptions:

1. He had a short career. Yes, he didn't hang around playing half a schedule (2 years) while Hack and Leach each got 4 to 6 times more added games that way. But he was a regular as long as they were.

2. He didn't accumulate much career value. Well, if you don't adjust for season-length, of course.

And one minor misconception:

3. That his case somehow depends upon those 27 HR and if you discount those his case falls apart. I wrote many "years" ago (in fact, it was probably several years ago, too) that if you turn all his HR that year into 2B (which is what balls into the short LF porch were every other year) that it didn't matter a whit. I mean, his BA and OB are unchanged. Maybe his SA comes down from .554 to .425, which is about what it was for several of the surrounding seasons. Great, call it .400, call it .384, his career SA. (Teammate George Gore hit 5 HR that year and slugged .410 for his career.)

As for Hack, of course, the real question is how he's going to stack up against Red Ruffing, Hughie Jennings, Wes Ferrell, Earl Averill, Biz Mackey, Eppa Rixey and Clark Griffith, all of whom are clustered at 20-25 ballots (Hack is at 30) and 230-330 points (367). Hack just jumped Ruffing in 1955 but Jennings and Mackey moved up, too, so who knows? Hack may benefit from the lack of a comp below him in the standings, someone who could make a real challenge to his electability--the next player who appears comp at all is Sewell down in 18th with 13 ballots, or Childs in 25th with 11 ballots and finally Leach in 28th with 10 ballots.

So I'll repeat my question above:

Are we sure about Hack? Is he better than Sewell? Is he better than Leach? I have a sense that some of Hack's support is really support for a 3B more than for Hack. Do we have the right man in that slot?
   61. jimd Posted: July 16, 2005 at 02:30 AM (#1476175)
Best TB 1871-1940 by WARP

Lexicographic key:
Upper Case -- A TOP star; one of top N players in MLB
Lower Case -- a 2nd tier star; one top 2N players in MLB
(in parentheses) -- nearly a 2nd tier star (withing 10%)
<in angle brackets> -- best at position; not an all-star season
Note: N is approximate number of teams:
9 from 1871-1881; 12 from 1882-1900; 16 from 1901-1960
Note: All TOP stars are listed, even if not best at position
This represents a level of play where one might expect the player
to be the best on his team, except for uneven talent distribution.

1871 FREDWATERMAN       EZRASUTTON LEVIMEYERLE
1872 DAVYFORCE          CAPANSON
1873 DAVYFORCE
1874 jackburdock
1875 ezrasutton
1876 CAPANSON           JOEBATTIN
1877 CAPANSON
1878 <calmcvey>
1879 KINGKELLY          NEDWILLIAMSON
1880 georgebradley
1881 nedwilliamson
1882 NEDWILLIAMSON
1883 ezrasutton
1884 NEDWILLIAMSON
1885 ezrasutton
1886 arlielatham
1887 DENNYLYONS
1888 BILLYNASH
1889 DENNYLYONS
1890 (georgepinkney)
1891 ARLIELATHAM
1892 BILLDAHLEN
1893 GEORGEDAVIS
1894 LAVECROSS
1895 johnmcgraw
1896 BILLJOYCE
1897 JIMMYCOLLINS
1898 JOHNMCGRAW         JIMMYCOLLINS
1899 JOHNMCGRAW         JIMMYWILLIAMS HONUSWAGNER
1900 jimmycollins
1901 JIMMYCOLLINS
1902 BILLBRADLEY
1903 BILLBRADLEY
1904 BILLBRADLEY
1905 billbradley
1906 ARTDEVLIN
1907 artdevlin
1908 tommyleach
1909 frankbaker
1910 frankbaker
1911 FRANKBAKER
1912 FRANKBAKER         HEINIEZIMMERMAN
1913 FRANKBAKER
1914 FRANKBAKER
1915 HEINIEGROH
1916 HEINIEGROH
1917 HEINIEGROH
1918 HEINIEGROH         FRANKBAKER
1919 ROGERSHORNSBY
1920 heiniegroh
1921 FRANKIEFRISCH
1922 <babepinelli>
1923 pietraynor
1924 (heiniegroh)
1925 PIETRAYNOR
1926 williekamm
1927 pietraynor
1928 FREDDYLINDSTROM
1929 pinkywhitney
1930 woodyenglish
1931 <joestripp>
1932 (pietraynor)
1933 (peppermartin)
1934 billywerber
1935 (redrolfe)
1936 harlondclift
1937 HARLONDCLIFT
1938 MELOTT             HARLONDCLIFT STANHACK
1939 KENKELTNER
1940 STANHACK
   62. Rick A. Posted: July 16, 2005 at 02:35 AM (#1476182)
Marc,

Thanks for the interesting look at the various positions.

As the only person currently voting for Ed Williamson, I'd like to thank you for speaking up about him. It's exactly what's been on my mind for quite a few years. Williamson's not in my PHOM right now, but is currently looking good to enter it in the mid-late 60's.

As Joe (I think) said quite a few decades ago, take a look at Williamson and Jimmy Collins. While I do agree that Collins was better than Williamson, they really aren't too far apart. Personally, Beckwith and Hack are the only currently eligible thirdbasemen I'd take over Williamson.

Still it seems clear to me that James' ranking of Hack #9 vs. Williamson #45 is gross anti-19c bias
Just wait until you see where he has HOMer Ezra Sutton ranked. :)
   63. OCF Posted: July 16, 2005 at 07:56 PM (#1477158)
A look at my adjusted RCAA offensive system, for the overall value of various third basement. This is year-by-year, sorted from best to worst. The units are abitrary (something like tenths of wins).

This system is not very sensitive to number of games played within a season, so it is extremely friendly to players like McGraw and Chance with missing games.

There is a war adjustment in here, created by tweaking the park factors (by different amounts each year) for the years 1942-45. There's not a league strength adjustment between the NL and the AL.

Doyle is 2B, not 3B, of course - he's here in part because of the alleged rearrangement of the defensive spectrum.

And I had to find some place to talk about Ken Keltner as a ballplayer rather than a list.

Hack     59 51 43 41 41 32 27 23 22 22 20 10  7  5  0 -4
Elliot   48 46 45 33 31 27 26 25 20 16 10  8  7 -1 -2
Traynor  34 27 20 19 19 19 15 13 12  8  2  0 -1 -4 -4 -6-10
Keltner  38 26 15 13 11  4  1  0  0  0 -1 -5 -7
McGraw   72 66 46 36 34 34 31 27 10  5  3  2  1  0
Groh     56 47 40 35 29 26 16 12  7  5  1 -1 -2 -4 -6
Doyle    59 48 44 37 34 30 25 25 20 18 17 15 12 -4 
   64. Jeff M Posted: July 18, 2005 at 04:30 AM (#1479309)
Hey John, I was looking through the old posts on this thread (and the 1b thread). Who was scruff? Did he become someone else (the way I did) or did he just disappear?
   65. andrew siegel Posted: July 18, 2005 at 11:13 AM (#1479556)
Scruff was/is Joe's baseball-writing aler ego.
   66. sunnyday2 Posted: July 18, 2005 at 12:33 PM (#1479582)
O,

Are any of the seasons shown in the table above in #72 for years in which the player did not qualify for the batting title? I have a feeling one or more of McGraw's seasons may have been such seasons. I find it useful to identify such seasons somehow in tables like this one. Just some added info.

Also: What are Williamson's numbers in your modified RCAA system? And Tommy Leach? And maybe Bill Bradley, whose little run in 1902-03-04 stands out on jimd's table above in #70.
   67. jimd Posted: July 18, 2005 at 03:16 PM (#1479866)
Bradley is sort of "Jennings-lite", from a peak perspective, "J.Collins-lite" from a career perspective. 10 years as a regular 1900-1909, 5 at an All-Star level, 1901-5. But he's not the best player in baseball; you've got Wagner, Lajoie, and Cy Young (part II) to contend with. IIRC, he didn't get any HOM votes the first time around (while Collins was still on the ballot).
   68. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 18, 2005 at 04:28 PM (#1480070)
Scruff was/is Joe's baseball-writing aler ego.

Correct. Joe used that handle for quite a while at the beginning. I think he started using his own name instead to give himself more credibility with the website, but I could be wrong about that.
   69. OCF Posted: July 18, 2005 at 06:19 PM (#1480357)
sunnyday2:

I never did Williamson - partly because the 1880's were SO different that I would't trust the result.. This is a cumulative stat, not a rate state, so McGraw wasn't racking up those big positives on 10 games or anything - but I am well aware that McGraw has very few career games played, and I have not been voting for him. I don't have Bradley done - maybe later, maybe not.

Leach:
39 36 35 30 26 23 21 17 13 12  5  3  1 -1 -3 -5 -5 -7
   70. sunnyday2 Posted: July 19, 2005 at 02:31 AM (#1482122)
Moron Hack and Williamson.based on my standard philosophical bent:

• Greatness is a quality that a player has or has not at a particular time. It is not a quantity that can be accumulated over time.

• Once we’ve identified players who have this quality of greatness, then of course we can quantify their total value. But I’m interest in “great years,” peaks and primes. Yes, players can add something to their legacy in shoulder seasons, but not much.

So I’m looking at Hack and Ed from that perspective, using the following method.

• Normalize Ed’s seasons to 154 games, with all the usual caveats.

• Then look at Hack and Ed for the seasons in which they qualified for the batting title. This is not a hard and fast rule of mine—Greenberg was “great” for half of 1946, certainly. But generally great and even very good players play “regularly” in “seasons,” so that’s how I am looking at Hack and Ed for purposes of this study.

• Reduce Hack’s production by 10 percent for the war years ’43-’44-’45.

• Reduce ALL 27 of Ed’s HR in 1884 to 2B hits. Balls hit into the short porch in Chicago before and after ’84 were 2B. Changing all 27 to 2B is probably a little severe as some of them were probably hit elsewhere and/or on the road, but what the heck.

Prime (“Regular”) Seasons

First, you will be surprised to know that Ed Williamson qualified for the batting title 11 times and Stan Hack did so 10 times. During those 10 and 11 years, respectively, here is what they achieved (Ed on an adjusted basis).

Games—Hack 1,467 Ed 1,596 (average Hack 145 Ed 147, Ed led the league 4X, Hack 2X)
PAs—Hack 6,551 Ed 6,762
Hits—Hack 1,749 Ed 1,658
Runs—Hack 995 Ed 1,127
RBI—Hack 519 Ed 912
2B—Hack 299 Ed 363
HR—Hack 51 Ed 43 (BP projects Ed to 314 HR)
BB—Hack 845 Ed 674
Rates—Hack .307/.398/.xxx/~123 Ed .259/.344/xxx/~118
SB—Hack 165 Ed 101 in 5 years the stat was recorded (<half of his career)

Defense—Hack led the league in FA 2X and Range 1 X. Ed led the league 5X in each and is an A fielder to Hack’s B-.

Summary: Hack’s123-118 prime OPS+ advantage is slight and is basically attributable to BA. Hack could work a walk, but so could Ed, leading the league in BB 1885. Hack never led the league in BB. And Ed was a better fielder.

So it’s not crystal clear to me that for those 10-11 years Hack was a more valuable player. They’re close. The question becomes whether you timeline or (as some have called it) reverse timeline. You know about the timeline. The point of the so-called reverse timeline is to note that the numbers Ed put up in the 1880s gave his team a bigger advantage over other teams and their 3Bmen than what Hack’s numbers did.

Split the difference and they’re pretty much interchangeable.

Shoulder Seasons

Now, Hack clobbers Ed with 6 years and 469 games at a 110 OPS+ (approx.) to 2 years and 131 games (even pro-rated to 154) at a 62 OPS+.

All of you have already figured out how you value 6 years and 469 games as a part-time player at 110 OPS+. Clearly that has value. But how much? I guess I don’t see it as adding anything to a player’s HoM resume.

In this case consider:

1932—Hack played 72 games at age 22 when SS Billy Jurges got hurt and 3B Woody English moved over to replace Jurges. Hack got 1 appearance in the WS as a PR.

1933—With Jurges and English healthy and Mark Koenig on board as the UIF, Hack plays in 20 games at age 23 (but hits .350). WS says 5 which seems like a lot for 20 games even at .350 (with 10 R and 2 RBI).

1934—Hack is almost regular, playing 111 games at age 34. English splits time with Jurges at SS and Hack at 3B and gets more PAs than either one.

1944—Hack plays just 98 games, no injuries that I can find. 33-yar-old Roy Hughes splits time. Hack had slumped in ’43 from two stellar years in ’41 and ’42 (143-143-119 OPS+) –not enough to think they would bench him for it but his OPS+ is down to 104 against a weak league.

1945—the last hurrah at age 35. 150 games 133 OPS+ (vs. a weak league) as the Cubs win the pennant. Hack goes 11-for-30 (.367) with 1 R and 4 RBI.

1946-47—Breaks a pinkie in 1946 and never gets his job back despite OPS+ 125 (then 94). John Ostrowski fills in, then Peanuts Lowery takes the job.

Is there value in these shoulder seasons? Sure. Does it change the answer to the question, “So, what kind of player was Stan Hack?” No it doesn’t. So, to me, the peak/prime is what matters. And in their respective peak/prime periods, I don’t see a substantial difference in value (vast differences in specific strengths and weaknesses of course) between Stan Hack and Ed Williamson.
   71. Chris Cobb Posted: July 19, 2005 at 02:52 AM (#1482195)
The point of the so-called reverse timeline is to note that the numbers Ed put up in the 1880s gave his team a bigger advantage over other teams and their 3Bmen than what Hack’s numbers did.

Is this true? It's not intuitively obvious to me that it is. How do the two of them rank in Pennants Added? Do we have PA for Hack??
   72. sunnyday2 Posted: July 19, 2005 at 03:07 AM (#1482247)
Chris, well, I'll withdraw the comment.

I mean, I think it is a theory that 19C all-star caliber players had a larger advantage (it was easier to dominate) because they were competing against a smaller pool of opponents. It should, however, be demonstrated empirically which Ilack the time to do.

So I withdraw the comment.

I guess the real question is simply timeline or not? I don't timeline and so if they look substantially equal without a timeline adjustment, then for me they are subtantially equal.
   73. sunnyday2 Posted: July 19, 2005 at 12:30 PM (#1482707)
PS. adjWS and OPS+ for Hack and Ed for their seasons as a regular (qualified for batting title). * indicates an adjusted year (all of Ed's are adj to 154).

Hack 33-31*-30-26-25-23-23-22-19*-19
Ed 30-28-27-25-24-24-24-20-18-15-15

OPS+ (* again indicates an adj year, Hack's for WWII, Ed's for the 27 HR)

Hack 143-43-32-28-25-20*-10-07*-04-03
Ed 149-48*-30-26-16-11-07-01-00-92-91

Then remember that WS underestimates the value of IF defense or defense generally in the 19C, and OPS+ of course does not recognize that Ed was a better defender in an environment where solid IF defense was especially vital.
   74. TomH Posted: July 19, 2005 at 01:26 PM (#1482750)
Yes, but if Ed W is superior to Stan Hack (i.e., no timelining), then Fred "zero votes" Dunlap ought to go in before Billy Herman, and Pete Browning will match up well with Frank Thomas and Manny Ramirez. I am not willing to sign up for that.
   75. sunnyday2 Posted: July 19, 2005 at 01:47 PM (#1482774)
Tom, a closer look at Dunlap and Herman, and Browning and other "hitter" candidates may or may not show them to be superior. I mean, for Brlowning, you've got the AA discount, and with Dunlap the problem is, well, was he as good as Childs?

But I can't sign up for an a priori assumption that they can't be.

Is it irrelevant that after Baker and Groh, Williamson (tied with Sutton, Collins, Bil Bradley and Traynor) appears on jimd's list in #70 as often as anybody?

Hack might make my PHoM someday, I don't know, but on post #72 he looks at least superficially similar to Larry Doyle, who isn't blowing voters away. I'm not sure he's better than Joe Sewell yet.
   76. karlmagnus Posted: July 19, 2005 at 02:20 PM (#1482831)
I think Bill James' Historical Baseball Abstract, 1st Ed. says Williamson had 2 HR on the road in 1885, in which case you could normalize him to 4.

Both Hack and Williamson had very short careers, and were not so super-dominant as to make up for it. Sewell, with over 2000 hits, is better than either IMHO.
   77. TomH Posted: July 19, 2005 at 02:24 PM (#1482839)
Agree that Hack looks similar to Doyle via post #72, which ingores defense and league strength. Most of us feel that Doyle's 1915 era NL was weaker than Hack's 1940 era NL; partly from the analysis that the NL was weaker than the AL in 1915, and partly through analysis that as population and income for ballplayers (thanks muchly to the Babe) and minor league systems expanded, that more high-qual ballplayers reached the majors.
   78. Chris Cobb Posted: July 19, 2005 at 03:18 PM (#1482962)
Remember that jimd's list only goes through 1940.

Hack was the best third baseman in the majors in at least two seasons after 1940.

Depending on how jimd's count deals with W1/W3 (I think he's using W1, but I'm not certain), a quick scan of Hack's later career and other third basemen of the era suggests that he was the best in 1941, 1942, and 1945. In 1941, he beat Ken Keltner by a 1/10 of a win in W1, and Keltner is ahead in W3, so I don't know how that count would turn out, and I don't have any idea about whether and when Hack placed in the top 16 in the league, but I'm pretty certain Hack wins at his position for 1942 and 1945. The latter is a weak year, of course, but still, Hack places by the WARP "best at position" measure as equal or slightly better than Williamson in terms of contextual peak value.
   79. sunnyday2 Posted: July 19, 2005 at 04:10 PM (#1483060)
Great discussion. Right now (and through 1970) I would see them:

Definitely In--Nobody

Probably In

1. Dandridge--though this is an expectation and not an informed one

2. Beckwith--though I worry about the, er, not-character issues
3. Williamson--already PHoM
4. Hack--someday, about the time of Gordon, Doerr, Doyle

Borderline

5. Traynor
6. Leach

Probably Out
7 (tie). Rosen for you peakers, Elliott for careerists
9. John McGraw--even so, I have underrated him all these years

Hall of Very Good

10. Lave Cross
11. Larry Gardner
12. Judy Johnson
13. Billy Nash
   80. PhillyBooster Posted: July 19, 2005 at 05:59 PM (#1483306)
"1944—Hack plays just 98 games, no injuries that I can find."

Hack had retired after the 1943 season, because he hated his manager. That manager was fired in April, 1944 and replaced by Charlie Grimm, who talked Hack into coming out of retirement.

While I don't know the complete chronology offhand, I would guess that Hack played something closer to the "last 98 games" than a platoon with Hughes.
   81. sunnyday2 Posted: July 19, 2005 at 06:12 PM (#1483328)
Thanks, Matt. Didn't know that.

Charlie Grimm had been the Cubs manager for awhile when fired in 1938 (at 45-36, .556). Gabby Hartnett took over, went 44-27 (.620) andf hit the Homer in the Gloaming to win the pennant.

Hartnett manged 2 more years, dropping to 4th and 5th.

Another old catcher, Jimmie Wilson, took over in 1941 and finished 6th-6th and 5th. In 1944 he started 1-9, which seems like a terminable act. Roy Johnson managed 1 game , then Grimm came back and managed the Cubs to their (in)famous pennant in 1945, then rode them down to last place in 1948 and '49 (terminated himself in mid-'49).

Hack himself of course took over as manager after several more years of futility under Frankie Frisch and Phil Cavaretta. In 1953 under Cavaretta they won 65 and finished 7th.

Under Hack, they dropped to 64 and 7th, then moved up to 72 and 6th in 1955. Then, however, 60 and 8th and Hack was gone.
   82. KJOK Posted: July 19, 2005 at 08:32 PM (#1483729)
7 (tie). Rosen for you peakers, Elliott for careerists

As Elliott may have been the best 3B in the NL for 1947-1950, I would call that a pretty good peak argument also...
   83. KJOK Posted: July 19, 2005 at 08:36 PM (#1483739)
Correction, Elliot may have been the best 3B in the NL from 1943 - 1950!
   84. sunnyday2 Posted: July 19, 2005 at 09:02 PM (#1483840)
Elliott has a great prime from 1940 to 1951 with OPS+ 123. Not quite long enough to be a great career candidate per se. So properly, I'd call him more of a prime candidate.

Rosen OTOH only qualified for the batting title 6 times, and with a 5 year prime at 153. That is also essentially his prime. That's a different kind of candidacy than Elliott's, but I agree peak vs. career is too simplistic.

My sense is neither one will get much action though Elliott compares favorably to Hack. 300 fewer PAs but 124-120 OPS+ edge. Neither was a gold glover though Hack appears to be a little better. Elliott had the better peak, however--5 consecutive years from 128 to 142, 3 years over 132. Both had excellent years during WWII but neither had his best years then.

Rosen, meanwhile, is the Dizzy Dean of 3Bs, a poor man's Ralph Kiner perhaps andsome have already expressed skepticism about Ralph.
   85. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: July 19, 2005 at 09:48 PM (#1484013)
Sunny,

Don't froget from your OPS+ lists, that Hack was an OBP machine and that OPS+ undervalues OBP.
   86. Jim Sp Posted: July 20, 2005 at 01:02 AM (#1484674)
Don't froget from your OPS+ lists, that Hack was an OBP machine and that OPS+ undervalues OBP.

It seems to me that OPS+ is not really that different from the Bill James runs created formula. Does RC underrate OBP as well? What is the evidence for either statement?

OPS definitely underrates OBP, but OPS+ normalizes both the O and the S before doing the P.
   87. TomH Posted: July 20, 2005 at 11:19 AM (#1485478)
RC in its 'basic' form (OBP * TB) underrates walks a bit. It's 'complex' form gives walks a quarter of a total base in the advancement category.
-
As to whether OPS+ really underrates OBP, it depends. OPS+ gives about a 4:3 weighting of OBP:SLG, depending on the league avg. Most analysts feel the 'best' weighting of OBP to SLG should be close to 3:2, so I would say there is a Small undervaluing of OBP, but not a Large one. OPS+ may be off by larger amounts in other areas (SB/CS, GIDP, etc)
   88. Jeff M Posted: July 23, 2005 at 01:17 AM (#1492826)
Here are the third basemen by Win Shares, using jimD's notation system, plus some. An asterisk (*) denotes 25 or more Win Shares, an all-star caliber season and a pound (#) indicates 30 or more Win Shares, an MVP caliber season. There are no adjustments here for league quality, but the UA doesn't count as a major league for purposes of this list.

These win shares are adjusted as follows: (1) Pitching/fielding split as described in my post #71 on the second base thread) and (2) season-length adjustments for non-pitching Win Shares. My season length adjustment is 162/LgGamesPerTeam)^.6667.

For example, if the average team played 50 games, the adjustment would be 2.19.

I never finished my Win Shares project for the NA, so I only have 1871-1872 (sorry).

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

1871  MEYERLE*#   (sutton)      (pinkney)     (waterman)
1872  FORCE*#     ANSON*#       shafer    
1873  n/a
1874  n/a
1875  n/a
1876  BATTIN*#    ferguson
1877  ANSON*
1878  mcvey       (sutton)
1879  KELLY*#     WILLIAMSON*#  richardson    morris
1880  CONNOR*     williamson
1881  williamson* o'rourke      sutton
1882  CARPENTER*# WILLIAMSON*   ewing         gleason    (muldoon)
1883  SUTTON*#    carpenter*    williamson*   (denny)
1884  ESTERBROOK*# SUTTON*#     LATHAM*#      BROWNING*# white*       (williamson)
1885  sutton*#    williamson*
1886  latham*     whitney*      (pinckney)    (esterbrook) (sutton)
1887  LYONS*#     LATHAM*       davis         denny      nash         (pinckney)
1888  nash*       pinckney*     latham*       (denny)    (lyons)      (kuehn)
1889  SHINDLE*#   LYONS*        marr*         (pinckney*) (nash*) 
1890  PINCKNEY*#  LYONS*#       knowles*      reilly*    (nash*)      (burns*)

1891  FARRELL*#   latham*       lyons*        (dahlen)   (nash)
1892  nash*       (g.davis)
1893  NASH*#      DAVIS*        lyons*        (latham)
1894  DAVIS*      MCGRAW*       CROSS*        (joyce)    (nash) 
1895  davis*      mcgraw        everitt       (nash)
1896  JOYCE*#     davis*        (everitt)     (lyons)
1897  COLLINS*#   wallace*      mcgraw        joyce      (irwin)
1898  COLLINS*#   MCGRAW*#      WALLACE*      
1899  MCGRAW*#    WILLIAMS*#    WAGNER*       collins*
1900  MCGRAW      collins       bradley       hickman    cross         williams
1901  COLLINS*#   (bradley)     (strang)      (hartman)  (cross)
1902  LEACH*#     CROSS*#       STRANG*       BRADLEY*   (collins)     (gremminger)
1903  BRADLEY*#   COLLINS*#     steinfeldt    (conroy)   (leach)       (strang)
1904  COLLINS*    BRADLEY*      LEACH*        devlin*    cross         (delahanty)
1905  devlin*     collins       bradley
1906  DEVLIN*#    STEINFELDT*#  
1907  devlin      brain         steinfeldt    
1908  LOBERT*#    LEACH*#       devlin*       (ferris)
1909  BAKER*      STEINFELDT*   devlin        lord       (byrne)       (grant)
1910  BYRNE*      BAKER*        mowrey        (devlin)
1911  BAKER*#     lord          byrne         (doyle)    (gardner)     (lobert)
1912  BAKER*#     ZIMMERMAN*#   GARDNER*      FOSTER*    herzog        (byrne)
1913  BAKER*#     ZIMMERMAN*    shafer        lobert     (r.smith)
1914  BAKER*#     lennox        mckechnie     foster     zimmerman     (gardner)
1915  groh*       r.smith       vitt          (perring)  (foster)
1916  HORNSBY*    GARDNER*      groh          r.smith    stock         vitt
1917  GROH*#      ZIMMERMAN*    r.smith       weaver     baker         (stock)
1918  GROH*#      BAKER*        R.SMITH       foster     gardner       (zimmerman)
1919  GROH*#      HORNSBY*      gardner       weaver     baker
1920  GROH*       gardner       weaver        (johnston) (stock)
1921  FRISCH*#    JOHNSTON*     gardner       boeckel    shanks
1922  (high)      (pinelli)
1923  TRAYNOR*    friberg       kamm
1924  (groh)      (friberg)
1925  TRAYNOR*    frisch        kamm          (dykes)
1926  BELL*       kamm          traynor       lindstrom  (dressen)
1927  TRAYNOR*    dressen       lindstrom     (hale)     (bluege)
1928  LINDSTROM*# KAMM*         foxx          traynor    (myer)
1929  (whitney)   (traynor)     (sewell)
1930  ENGLISH*    LINDSTROM*    traynor       (mcmanus)
1931  (adams)     (traynor)
1932  traynor     kamm          (stripp)
1933  MARTIN*     higgins       (traynor)
1934  WERBER*     owen          higgins
1935  hack        rolfe         hale          travis     (martin)
1936  rolfe       clift         (hale)        (hack)
1937  hack        clift         (lewis)       (rolfe)
1938  OTT*#       HACK*#        CLIFT*        rolfe      lewis          (garms)
1939  ROLFE*#     KELTNER*      werber*       hack       lavagetto      lewis
1940  WERBER*     HACK*         clift         travis     (garms)
1941  HACK*#      keltner       j.brown       clift
1942  hack*       clift*        (estalella)   (keltner)  (vaughan)
1943  ELLIOTT*    b.johnson     hack
1944  ELLIOTT*    kurowski      keltner       higgins
1945  HACK*#      KUROWSKI*     grimes        elliott    cucinello
1946  KUROWSKI*   (kell)        (hack)
1947  ELLIOTT*#   KUROWSKI*     kell          hatton
1948  ELLIOTT*    S.GORDON*     KELTNER*      majeski*   pafko          pesky
1949  KELL*       pesky         elliott       (s.gordon)
1950  ROSEN*      ELLIOTT*      KELL*         yost       h.thompson     w.jones



Just eyeballing this, the names that truly stick out the most are Collins, Baker, Groh, Traynor, Hack and Elliott.
   89. Jeff M Posted: July 23, 2005 at 02:10 AM (#1493044)
Here are the results from my point system for the info in the table in post #97. Here's the way I award points:

Top tier player:  3 points
2d tier player:   2 points
Near 2d tier:     1 point
MVP caliber:      2 points
All-Star caliber: 1 point
Best 3b:          2 points
2d best 3b:       1 point

Here are the totals (ignoring pre-1876 and ignoring the names in the table whose careers were ongoing in 1950):

Baker       50
Hack        47
J.Collins   45
Groh        40
McGraw      30
Lyons       28
Traynor     29
Williamson  29
Lyons       28
Sutton      28 (would be higher with pre-1876)
Devlin      26
Latham      25
Nash        25
Bradley     22
Leach       20
Zimmerman   20
Clift       18
Gardner     18
Steinfeldt  17
G.Davis     16 (don't forget about his 41 at ss)
Lindstrom   16
Pinckney    16
Cross       14
Kamm        14
Keltner     13
Rolfe       13
Joyce       11
Lobert      11
R.Smith     11
Byrne       10

If you are into third basemen, watch out for Bob Elliott's eligibility in a couple of years. He would be 5th best on this list (behind Groh).

Remember, this is only for seasons in which the player played more games at 3b than another position, so it isn't an absolute ranking.
   90. Jeff M Posted: July 23, 2005 at 02:13 AM (#1493056)
oops...Lyons is on there twice. Obviously the one after McGraw is the typo.
   91. Jeff M Posted: July 23, 2005 at 08:43 PM (#1493962)
Updating my posts in #97 and 98 to reflect full treatment of NA through Win Shares:

1871  MEYERLE*#   (sutton)      (pinkney)     (waterman)
1872  FORCE*#     ANSON*#       shafer    
1873  FORCE*#     meyerle*      (sutton)
1874  force       burdock
1875  SUTTON*#    (ferguson*)


New stuff is in bold italics:

Baker       50
Hack        47
J.Collins   45
Groh        40
Sutton      37 (plus 3 at ss)
McGraw      30
Traynor     29
Williamson  29 (plus 1 at ss)
Lyons       28
Devlin      26
Latham      25
Nash        25
Bradley     22
Force       20 (plus 10 at ss)
Leach       20
Zimmerman   20
Clift       18
Gardner     18
Steinfeldt  17
G.Davis     16 (don't forget about his 41 at ss)
Lindstrom   16
Pinckney    16
Cross       14
Kamm        14
Keltner     13
Rolfe       13
Meyerle     12 (plus 10 at 2b)
   92. ronw Posted: October 14, 2005 at 03:14 PM (#1683181)
Third Basemen

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

3B              Career  Games   BWS/162 Total   Fielding
Mathews, E      387.4   2391    26.2    65.0    C
*Wilson, J      320.1   2352    22.0    54.1    n/r
*Beckwith, J    263.0   1905    22.4    48.7    n/r
*Baker, H       235.0   1575    24.2    47.7    B
*Hack, S        250.5   1938    20.9    46.0    B-
Santo, R        255.5   2243    18.5    44.0    B-
Elliott, B      237.5   1978    19.5    43.2    B-
McGraw, J       168.9   1099    24.9    41.8    B+
Leach, T        232.5   2156    17.5    40.7    A+
*Groh, H        201.5   1676    19.5    39.6    A-
Rosen, A        154.6   1044    24.0    39.4    B
Yost, E         222.5   2109    17.1    39.3    C-
Joyce, B        138.4    904    24.8    38.6    F
Boyer, K        211.1   2034    16.8    37.9    B+
Lyons, D        153.8   1121    22.2    37.6    C-
Zimmerman, H    169.4   1456    18.8    35.8    C+
*Collins, J     183.2   1725    17.2    35.5    A+
Traynor, P      192.5   1941    16.1    35.3    B
Kell, G         175.7   1795    15.9    33.4    B
Gardner, L      179.4   1923    15.1    33.1    B+
Lewis, B        144.5   1349    17.4    31.8    C+
Hart, J         128.1   1125    18.4    31.3    C
Clift, H        153.0   1582    15.7    31.0    B
Devlin, A       137.5   1313    17.0    30.7    A+
Nash, B         148.7   1549    15.6    30.4    A
Lindstrom, F    142.9   1438    16.1    30.4    B
Smith, R        124.0   1117    18.0    30.4    C
Kurowski, W     108.9    916    19.3    30.1    C+
*Sutton, E      117.1   1031    18.4    30.1    B+
Latham, A       147.5   1627    14.7    29.4    A-
Higgins, M      153.2   1802    13.8    29.1    D
Keltner, K      139.7   1526    14.8    28.8    B
Steinfeldt, H   145.1   1646    14.3    28.8    B-
Strang, S       102.9    903    18.5    28.8    n/r
Dykes, J        166.8   2282    11.8    28.5    C+
Cross, L        166.4   2275    11.8    28.5    A+
Williamson, N   121.1   1201    16.3    28.4    A
Rolfe, R        118.7   1175    16.4    28.2    B-
Boone, R        128.3   1373    15.1    28.0    n/r
Pinckney, G     115.5   1163    16.1    27.6    C+
Lobert, H       122.8   1317    15.1    27.4    D+
Stock, M        135.1   1628    13.4    27.0    C
Bradley, B      127.3   1461    14.1    26.8    B+
Jones, W        133.5   1691    12.8    26.1    B
Johnston, J     116.7   1377    13.7    25.4    n/r
Kamm, W         125.3   1693    12.0    24.5    A
Werber, B       108.5   1295    13.6    24.4    A-
Foster, E       114.7   1500    12.4    23.9    B
Conroy, W       101.7   1374    12.0    22.2    C
Bluege, O       114.1   1867     9.9    21.3    B


Mathews is as good as in. Wilson and Beckwith MLE's support their selections. Santo also looks like a lock. Elliott, McGraw, and Leach have modest support, the former two because of career-length issues and the latter because he spent over 1/2 his time as a CF (where he is buried in unelectable territory). Leach is also an A+ CF, though. In fact, electees Groh and Collins are the only other 3B worth electing who are above B fielders. (Williamson and Nash get schedule-length boosts which might bring them to the Collins territory).

Rosen, Joyce and Lyons have career-length, AA, and/or fielding issues. Joyce is the worst fielder for his position among candidates who have received a vote.

Upcoming candidates Yost, Boyer and Kell are probably out of luck.
   93. KJOK Posted: October 15, 2005 at 12:38 AM (#1684431)
New Baseball Encyclopedia Player OVerall Wins for 3B;

Harlond Clift - 26
Bob Elliott - 21
John McGraw - 20
Denny Lyons - 20
Art Devlin - 20
Bill Joyce - 19
Pie Traynor - 18
Al Rosen - 16
   94. Kelly in SD Posted: October 15, 2005 at 08:58 AM (#1685000)
My Third Basemen. See Catchers Thread #128 for the Method to the Madness. The percentage compares the player to the maximum. Generally, 60% of maximum gets you in the Hall. The exceptions are amazing defensive players or Sam Thompson or Bobby Wallace. I did not figure players who had no realistic chance to be elected.

Mike Schmidt        80.8%
Eddie Mathews       76.5%
*Home Run Baker     69.2%
Wade Boggs          66.0%
George Brett        65.7%
*Jud Wilson         64.1%
*Heinie Groh        61.4%
Ron Santo           60.3%
*Deacon White       59.7% (1876 forward only)
*John Beckwith      59.6%
Paul Molitor        59.4%
Tommy Leach         58.7%
*Jimmy Collins      58.5%
*Stan Hack          56.8%
*Ezra Sutton        56.3%
Darrell Evans       55.8%
Al Rosen            55.7%
Brooks Robinson     55.6%
Edgar Martinez      55.1%
John McGraw         54.6%
Bob Elliott         54.5%
Sal Bando           54.1%
Denny Lyons         53.4%
Ed Williamson       53.2%
Pie Traynor         51.8%
Toby Harrah         51.8%
Ken Boyer           51.6%
Graig Nettles       50.2%
Robin Ventura       49.3%
Ron Cey             48.9%
Larry Gardner       48.7%
Ed Yost             48.7%
Matt Williams       48.5%
Harlond Clift       46.9%
Buddy Bell          46.4%
Lave Cross          46.3%
George Kell         46.0%
Fred Lindstrom      45.4%
Ken Keltner         44.0%
Willie Kamm         41.6%
Jimmy Dykes         38.2%

3rd Base is by far the toughest position to rack up great career totals, at least pre-1975. Looking at Ron's
list, I probably should run the numbers for Joyce and maybe Zimmerman or Nash.
   95. yest Posted: October 17, 2005 at 04:35 AM (#1688137)

Yost, E C- fielder


Here's one the reasons I hate win shares going by traditional stats Yost was an amazing fielder.
as 1992 he was tenth in 3rd baseman double plays and 3rd in putouts after Brooks Robinson and Jimmy Collins(I don't have acses to more updated information right now)

He Led the AL in putouts 8 times 1948 1950-54 (tying in 54) 1956 and 1959
led in assits twice in 1954 and 1956
led in double plays twice in 1950 and 1956
and twice led in fielding% in 1958 and 59

to have as a C- fielder to me is ludocrious
   96. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 17, 2005 at 01:22 PM (#1688537)
Yest, James used Yost as an example in WS the book IIRC, pointing out that Eddie played behind a disproportionate number of lefthanded pitchers, which pushed his traditional fielding numbers up quite a bit.
   97. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 17, 2005 at 01:52 PM (#1688575)
to have as a C- fielder to me is ludocrious

As James pointed out, isn't it more ludicrous to conclude (using traditional stats) that Yost was Bobby Bonilla in '52, then transformed into Brooks Robinson in '54?

Was Yost considered a marvelous fielder when he played?
   98. yest Posted: October 17, 2005 at 06:30 PM (#1689164)
Yest, James used Yost as an example in WS the book IIRC, pointing out that Eddie played behind a disproportionate number of lefthanded pitchers, which pushed his traditional fielding numbers up quite a bit.

in 1959 Yost led the AL in putouts and fielding% while playing for the tigers there were 310 lefty innings pitched out of 1360 innings
   99. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 17, 2005 at 06:40 PM (#1689192)
He played beind a rotation with four lefties in it during the early 1950s.
   100. jimd Posted: October 17, 2005 at 06:56 PM (#1689219)
WARP agrees with Win Shares about Yost's fielding; he has a 93 rating there (compare with 91 for Joyce).
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