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Friday, July 11, 2003

Thompson, Tiernan and Griffin

Three of our top OFs, all with very similar accomplishments.

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 11, 2003 at 03:58 PM | 43 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 11, 2003 at 07:41 PM (#515469)
Anyone who can order those three, your next assignment is to work Ryan, Duffy, and Van Haltren into your rankings.

Ryan, Duffy then Van Haltren.
   2. Jeff M Posted: July 12, 2003 at 01:36 AM (#515470)
Duffy, van Haltren, Ryan, though I suspect van Haltren will already be elected before we get to Duffy's eligibility.

We better table those three for another time.
   3. Jeff M Posted: July 12, 2003 at 02:34 AM (#515471)
Thompson, Tiernan (just off my ballot) and Griffin (not really close to being on ballot).

1. Thompson and Tiernan are fairly similar, but Thompson drove in more runs. Griffin was a prolific run scorer (like the other two guys) but didn't have much pop in his bat and didn't drive in many runs.

2. Thompson frequently led the league in a hitting category. Tiernan sometimes did. Griffin was rarely on the leader board. This isn't the end-all/be-all, but it does indicate a certain level of dominance.

3. Thompson could flat out hit. Tiernan was very very good. I don't know if Griffin was actually the leadoff man, but he has that kind of profile, with lots of runs scored and a high OBP. But he didn't score any more than the other two and his OBP isn't any better. Just a lower Slg Pct., even on a park-adjusted basis. Not saying Griffin wasn't a good hitter -- he was -- but not quite at the level of the other two guys.

4. All three have fairly low Pennants Added, but my calcs show Griffin, then Tiernan, then Thompson. All low for HOMers though.

5. Thompson and Tiernan were nothing special defensively, and at nothing special positions. I've got Thompson a little bit ahead of Tiernan on defense. Griffin was a damned good center fielder.

6. Griffin loses all of the hitting battles among the three in WS.

7. WARP sees Griffin and Thompson as comparable players, with Tiernan lagging quite a bit. WARP puts a lot of weight on defense (too much, in my opinion), which accounts for Griffin's higher rating and Tiernan's lower rating. WARP seems to treat Tiernan as the best hitter of the three (slightly), then Thompson, then Griffin.

8. Griffin never helped his team win a pennant.

I put Thompson first because I think he is a more dominant hitter than Tiernan, with the greater ability to drive in runs. Thompson drove in 50% more runs in the same number of games. Maybe some of it is attributable to the players surrounding him (though Tiernan played on some good teams), or the batting order position, but that's a big difference that doesn't seem accidental. Thompson is about mid-way down my ballot.

Tiernan isn't far behind Thompson in the hitting category, but he was rarely the best at anything and he wasn't much of a fielder. He's just off the ballot and could sneak onto the ballot in some of the leaner years.

I think Griffin was a very good hitter and an excellent fielder, but his defense doesn't close the hitting gap between him and the other two. There's lots about Griffin to like, but sometimes I step back from the numbers and ask the "Keltner Questions": Did he win MVP awards or come close? Would he regularly have made the all-star team? Was he the best player in the league? etc. I just can't make Griffin fit the HOM profile.
   4. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 12, 2003 at 06:34 AM (#515473)
When I brought up the other trio, my point was to see how people worked them in with these guys, not to rank them separately. FWIW, I have all three ahead of these guys. For now, I have it Duffy, Van Haltren, Ryan, Thompson, Tiernan, and Griffin.

How about Ryan, Duffy, Tiernan, Thompson, Van Haltren, Griffin and Hoy (don't forget about him). I haven't figured out where Kelley and Keeler go yet.

The only ones that will make my ballot are Ryan and Duffy (most likely). I originally thought Van Haltren would make it, but I changed my mind upon further examination. Hamilton and Delahanty are "duh" choices.
   5. Marc Posted: July 12, 2003 at 04:38 PM (#515476)
Ryan's not eligible for another 90 years. You meant Nolan, right?

Seriously I was shocked to find that Tiernan is SEVEN years younger than Sam Thompson. Rather than bash Sam for exploiting the highly offensive environment (not a reference to the ethics of the Orioles, really) of the mid-90s, we really ought to be bashing Tiernan for failing to do so.

This is an even better case of Drysdale/Pappas. A guy with a high peak has more impact than an equivalent player with no peak. Thompson left a huge mark on the game of baseball--MVP (candidate at least) for pennant winning Detroit in '87, and clean up man for the greatest hitting OF of all time. Tiernan left us no such mark. He's a "very good cipher," like a hundred others.
   6. Marc Posted: July 12, 2003 at 04:56 PM (#515477)
Among those whose position was "hitter:"

1. Sam Thompson 146 OPS+ in 6500 "PA" (not really PA but AB+BB), peaks in 170s and 180s. MVP for Detroit's pennant winning team 1887, and a team by the way that went from laughingstock to champion in about 4 years with Sam as the cornerstone. Clean up for the best hitting OF in ML history. Made a mark.

2. Pete Browning 164 OPS+ in 5300 not-PA. Even with AA discount this is a big big hitter. Peaks >200.

3. Cal McVey, who is the answer to the question "which of these is not like the others?" He was more than a "hitter," as you know, played key defensive positions, yet is still the #3 hitter in this group. Maybe moves ahead of Browning (heck, maybe Thompson too) considering his defensive value.

4. Harry Stovey 141 OPS+ in 6850 not-PA. How can a 141 in the AA be better than Thompson's 146 in the NL in a mere 375 extra not-PA?

5. Dave Orr massive peak, short short career 3400 not-PA. 162 OPS+, 3 years 185+, but just 5 really productive seasons.

6. Charley Jones ditto--OK not as massive a peak (182) but a little longer career. Overall 150 OPS+ with 8 productive years.

7. Mike Tiernan career 138, peak = 2 years in 150s and 160s out of 7 pretty productive seasons. You'd want a longer career from a "hitter" at 138, I think. Seriously Thompson slugged .505, Tiernan .463. Not a good comp.

8. Tip O'Neill OPS+ 140 with just 5 truly productive seasons. One year at 205 but nothing more much over 150.

The idea that Sam Thompson had a short career misses the fact that there is no other "hitter" on the board today who did. We should apply the demand for a long career to all of these guys or forget about it.
   7. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 12, 2003 at 05:25 PM (#515479)
The idea that Sam Thompson had a short career misses the fact that there is no other "hitter" on the board today who did. We should apply the demand for a long career to all of these guys or forget about it.

Except for McVey, the rest should be forgotten, IMO.

7. Mike Tiernan career 138, peak = 2 years in 150s and 160s out of 7 pretty productive seasons.

Remember that one of those 150s was as the best major league centerfielder in 1890. Much more impressive than in right.

Seriously Thompson slugged .505, Tiernan .463. Not a good comp.

But what about the slightly better OBP and much better baserunning? OPS+ doesn't mention the latter.
   8. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 12, 2003 at 05:28 PM (#515480)
This doesn't mean anythig. They accomplished what they accomplished. It doesn't matter who was younger or older or whatever. They did what they did. You've got to adjust what they did for the era they did it in. Maybe there was something about the change that made Thompson a better hitter and Tiernan a worse one. But you can't give Thompson credit for exploiting that, and give Tiernan no credit for exploit the earlier conditions better than Thompson.

It would only matter if Thompson had been stuck in the minors. Since he started to play professional baseball late, he can't use that as a prop.
   9. Chris Cobb Posted: July 12, 2003 at 05:57 PM (#515482)
For the record, I don't think either Tiernan or Thompson is a particularly strong candidate for the HoM, but I don't see the arguments that Thompson is better as a player. As a hitter, yes, he was slightly better, but, as others have said, those big numbers are heavily context-dependent.

Two (I hope) more salient points:

I think it's inappropriate to rate Thompson more highly because he "made a mark." That sort of argument is valid for a Hall of Fame, but not a Hall of Merit. Thompson's accomplishments aren't necessarily better because they are more famous.

I also don't see argument that "Tiernan had no peak." See his 188-1891. Four years running with an OPS+ above 150, two above 160, two of which led his league. 32-36 adj. WS in each of those years. In two of those years his team won the pennant. If that's not a peak, I'm not sure what a peak should look like.
   10. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 12, 2003 at 06:04 PM (#515483)
Marc -- do you adjust for league or park or anything? How can you say that Thompson slugged .505, Tiernan .463, not a good comp? We passed using raw SLG/OBP/AVG or whatever to compare players about 20 years ago.

To be fair to Marc, baseballreference.com lists the league average for both of them as almost equal. Since this is supposed to take into account the league and park, their absolute numbers would be acceptable to compare.

Now, if you are asking me if I agree with that assessment...
   11. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 12, 2003 at 11:27 PM (#515485)
   12. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 13, 2003 at 12:12 AM (#515487)
In other words, the shape of the career is of no significance at all? Pappas = Drysdale?

His argument wasn't peak vs. career. Actually, the Drysdale/Pappas argument doesn't really work anyway since Drysdale was better peak and career anyway.
   13. Marc Posted: July 13, 2003 at 12:16 AM (#515488)
>I think it's inappropriate to rate Thompson more highly because he "made a mark." That sort of
   14. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 13, 2003 at 12:34 AM (#515489)
First you have to BE great. Thompson was great for a few years, Tiernan was very good.

But this is arguable. I think Tiernan was slightly better at his peak. OPS+ is not the sum of their achievements.

As a Minnesota Twins fan, let's talk Kirby Puckett with his mere 281 WS, four fewer than Chili Davis, whom you may not remember had a pretty good years as DH for the World Champs of '91. Well, I don't care what the career WS say, Davis could not carry Kirby's jock. Kirby was well above the "great" line for a few years, Chili never was, so I'll throw Kirby into the mix and see how he fares against other "great" players, while I don't need to spend any more time thinkin' about Chili. Or Mike Tiernan who, BTW, finished his career with 34 fewer WS than Chili.

... and Win Shares does not say Davis was better than Puckett. While Davis has a little more WS than Kirby, Puckett was averaging about seven more WS per season than the Cold One. If you analyze their respective numbers, you can only conclude Puckett is, without a doubt, the better player.

Win Shares does say, however, that Tiernan and Thompson are extremely close peak and career. I agree.
   15. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 13, 2003 at 01:55 AM (#515490)
Hamilton and Delahanty are "duh" choices.

The other "duh" choice is Burkett. For some reason, I always forget about the Crab.
   16. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 13, 2003 at 03:35 AM (#515491)
Anyone who can order those three, your next assignment is to work Ryan, Duffy, and Van Haltren into your rankings.

How about Hamilton, Burkett and Delahanty (my particular order)? Very close.
   17. Jeff M Posted: July 13, 2003 at 03:13 PM (#515492)
Marc:

100% right regarding domination. I'm not sure if the "making the mark" comment from Chris was in response to my post about Thompson dominating for a few years, but if it was, Marc has explained my position perfectly. I don't care a whit about fame. I do care about a guy who was dominant for a couple of years. Again, it isn't the only thing I look at, but certainly it is fair to take that into account.

Joe:

WS and RC/27 are park adjusted. Tiernan is slightly ahead in adjusted WS; Thompson is slightly ahead in RC/27 measured against the leagues they played in. Thompson was slightly better on defense (though neither was anything to brag about). From 1893-1895, Thompson was amazing, even on a park-adjusted basis. He was age 33-35 when that happened. Tiernan was very good those years too, but was in his prime (ages 26-28). Not a lot to go on, admittedly, but if we're going to rank them, we have to find some distinctions. I've got them back-to-back on the ballot, which isn't that common for guys who played the same position and are not slam-dunk HOMers (e.g., Connor and Anson).
   18. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 13, 2003 at 09:42 PM (#515493)
How about Ryan, Duffy, Tiernan, Thompson, Van Haltren, Griffin and Hoy (don't forget about him). I haven't figured out where Kelley and Keeler go yet.

Now I have: Hamilton, Burkett, Delahanty, Keeler, Ryan, Duffy, Tiernan, Thompson, Kelley, Van Haltren, Griffin and Hoy. Have I missed any other prominent 1890s outfielder?
   19. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 14, 2003 at 03:32 AM (#515495)
I'm with Marc and Jeff on the "domination" theme. Thompson deserves to be regarded above Tiernan because his peak being as it was, "made a mark" for him that Tiernan was never able to do.

I agree that domination is important, but the question is if Thompson's peak was greater than Tiernan's? That is extremely debatable. But since they are fighting for the seventh and eighth best outfielder slots for the nineties, who really cares (I know, a lot of people still)? :-)
   20. Jeff M Posted: July 26, 2003 at 05:19 AM (#515498)
Should Charley Jones be in this group? No one has paid much attention to him. He finished 28th in the voting and appeared on only 2 ballots, just ahead of Bill Joyce who received a single 7th place vote. By contrast, Thompson was 10th, Tiernan was 13th and Griffin was 16th, and each was named on more than 20 ballots.

Jones played a large portion of his career in the AA, which warrants some discount. Just doing a quick calculation of his RC/27 compared to the league RC/27 (taken from the All-Time Sourcebook), he was 55% better than the league during his NL years and 57% better than the league in his AA years. Since he played in the AA from ages 33-38, we probably should have seen some falloff in his performance, so this would seem to validate some discount for his AA play. We all feel differently about the degree of discount for AA play, but let me rant for a sec:

WARP3 has an ENORMOUS A.A. discount (ridiculous, really). Jones's BRAR during the middle AA years 1885-1888 (which is the end of his career) are reduced from 127 to 62 (51% discount). His FRAR is reduced 62%! By contrast, Thompson's BRAR in 1885-1888 in the NL (which is the beginning of his career) are reduced from 197 to 151 (23% discount) and his FRAR is reduced 43%. These appear to me to be overly large discounts for the middle years of the AA. It really makes the AA a minor league. I might buy that argument for the bookend years of the AA, but not the middle. And Jones had a very good year in his NL year before switching to AA, so he didn't leave as a result of inability to hit NL pitching. Anyway, WARP3 sees Jones (57) as quite inferior to Thompson (86), Griffin (83) and Tiernan (74).

I ignore WARP3 for reasons I've reiterated over, and over, and over. However, if you look at WARP1 and adjust for season length: Griffin (117), Thompson (117), Tiernan (102) and Jones (102). If you look at adjWS, he is in the same territory career-wise as Thompson, Tiernan and Griffin, but quite a bit ahead of those guys in top three years, best five consecutive years and top 7 years. He's also better in adjWS/162. He's in the ballpark in my calculation of Pennants Added (using Win Shares) -- behind Tiernan and Griffin and ahead of Thompson.

Personally, I've got Thompson, Tiernan, Jones and Griffin, in that order (Griffin resides just off my ballot).

Not trying to advocate Jones' election, but I think he's been under our radar and I'm just trying to see how others are distinguishing him from the other guys in this thread (or if anyone has even thought about it).
   21. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 26, 2003 at 03:36 PM (#515499)
Personally, I've got Thompson, Tiernan, Jones and Griffin, in that order (Griffin resides just off my ballot).

I have it the same way, except Tiernan is slightly ahead of Big Sam.

If Jones wasn't blacklisted, I think he's a HoMer for sure. He really got screwed, IMO.
   22. Chris Cobb Posted: July 31, 2003 at 03:44 AM (#515500)
Copied this comment on Duffy & Griffin over from the ballot thread -- even if it's a half-week early, I figure those interested can post here without getting in the way of other business.

Jason wrote:

This is getting ahead a bit but . . . I dont see the big deal about Duffy. He had the one fluke year; otherwise he seems to be an OF at roughly the Dusty Baker/Chet Lemon talent level. He played his peak years during an offensive boom period in an outstanding hitters park.

Yeah that 1894 year is worth something, but there is some serious flukage there. That same year his teammate Bobby Lowe, a good-hit, no-field infielder with a lifetime OPS+ of 87, had a triple crown line of 17/115/.346, an OPS of .921 and 62 XBHs. Needless to say that line bears no resemblance to his actual hitting ability which was average at best (think Rich Dauer or Ron Oester). Another teammate, the 23 yr old Jimmy Bannon was 13/114/.336, with a .929 OPS; he was out of a job in two years. His pitching teammates, the soon-to-be HoMer Kid Nichols and the excellent Jack Stivetts, both in their primes, could barely keep their ERAs under 5.00.

Its not just '94 either; all his peak years are affected by significant park and contextual effects.

Vs. Griffin, Duffy has greater longevity but Griffin has more walks, even more SBs/162G, 100% of his career at CF and even better defense.


While I think Jason's comparison of Duffy to Dusty Baker & Chet Lemon is a bit harsh -- Duffy was a genuinely great player from 1890 to 1898 -- I'm not at all sure what to do with him. WS places him well ahead of the Thompson, Tiernan, Griffin trio, but WARP has him about equal with TT & G. Below are their career numbers in the two systems. Since they are fairly close contemporaries, I'm not adjusting for season length, which sells Big Sam just slightly short and Duffy slightly long in WARP1 and WS.

Player WARP1 -- WARP3 -- bRAR / fRAR -- WS / fWS per 1000 inn.
   23. Chris Cobb Posted: August 01, 2003 at 12:50 AM (#515502)
Duffy's offense is also a significant part of the argument.

WS sees him as nearly as good as Thompson and Tiernan with the stick for his career:

Tiernan -- 24.5 bWS/162 games
   24. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 01, 2003 at 06:26 AM (#515503)
WARP likes Thompson a bit more, but WS likes Duffy a lot more. This kind of discrepancy in batting value is highly irregular: usually WARP & WS are pretty close on batting.

Could it be Duffy's huge advantage (much more over Thompson than Tiernan) in stolen bases?
   25. Chris Cobb Posted: August 01, 2003 at 01:44 PM (#515505)
Thanks, John. Stolen bases are a possibility -- if the two systems do handle them very differently, the discrepancies should show up in their evaluations of Hamilton's offense, for sure. I'll check up on that.

Joe, Duffy loses a little bit of ground to Thompson when seasonally adjusted, but if my numbers are correct he's still way ahead: 347 to 295. And that's without a fielding adjustment to WS. Partly the difference is simply that he has a longer career even when one adjusts the seasons, (for which he should get some credit), but it's partly that WS sees him as a little better, game for game, than Thompson (27.51 WS/162 vs. 27.17 WS/162).
   26. Paul Wendt Posted: August 02, 2003 at 04:57 PM (#515507)
John Murphy quoted and replied:
   27. Paul Wendt Posted: August 02, 2003 at 05:10 PM (#515508)
"Length of Early MLB Seasons" http://world.std.com/~pgw/19c/schedule.games.html

The mid-1890s schedule was 132 games.

The schedule was shorter for Thompson than for the others named here, because 1884-1887 was significant and 1898-1899 insignificant in his career. Measured by 15-year average, there is a 5% difference between debut 1884 and debut 1888. That is small compared to the quadrennial differences traveling backward in time (1880, 1876, 1872, 1868) but it is not small compared to the differences on the table here.

Paul Wendt
   28. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 02, 2003 at 05:18 PM (#515509)
Is there evidence that Tiernan was an acceptable centerfielder?

I wasn't referring to his fielding at the position, but that his offense was more impressive there because CF is a more demanding position than right. Centerfielders historically hit less than the other two outfield positions.

According to WS, Tiernan wasn't half the fielder that Walt Wilmot was in '90.
   29. Chris Cobb Posted: August 02, 2003 at 06:04 PM (#515510)
John, where are you getting season-by-season breakdowns of batting and fielding WS? That's data that I'd really like to have, but don't.
   30. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 02, 2003 at 06:16 PM (#515511)
John, where are you getting season-by-season breakdowns of batting and fielding WS? That's data that I'd really like to have, but don't.

From the Win Shares Update (which I downloaded from STATS last year).

If you don't want to purchase it, but need some numbers, let me know.
   31. Chris Cobb Posted: August 03, 2003 at 12:08 AM (#515512)
John,

I think I'll get a copy next week when I have access to a high-speed connection, but if you would be so kind as to post the batting/fielding splits for Hugh Duffy, I could do some productive thinking about him right away.
   32. sean gilman Posted: August 03, 2003 at 12:30 AM (#515513)
I'm not John, but I've got the Update. Hope the format doesn't get all screwy. . .

Hugh Duffy
   33. Paul Wendt Posted: October 29, 2005 at 02:34 AM (#1710122)
.
Detroit News 1899-03-23
"Now that Mike Tiernan is sick, the outlook for New York is as bad . . ."
(as bad as can be).

Tiernan played 1887-1899, age 20-32, including 32 games in 1899, LASTGAME July 31. Before 1899, he missed a lot of games in the two 154-game seasons, 1892 and 1898, so his personal playing time was unusually uniform for the time, 103 to 134 games for twelve seasons.

In 11 of those 12 seasons, he achieved OPS+ 121 to 163. The exception, OPS+ 87 in 1894 (I don't know whether there is an explanation), cost him about 4 points on his career average. OPS+ 72 in 1899 cost him less than 2 points. That is, OPS+ 143 to 144 in 6089 PA during his 11 quality seasons.
   34. Paul Wendt Posted: October 29, 2005 at 02:44 AM (#1710132)
.
Detroit News 1901-03-12
paraphrase:
The 16-man roster limit adopted by the National League will at last free such players as Sam Thompson, Tom McCarthy, Huyler Westervelt, who should have been released long ago.

comment:
The limit was not enforced strictly. I don't know whether any of these players was released. A few years later, Sam Thompson was still unable to play for anyone in organized baseball but the Phillies.
   35. Paul Wendt Posted: June 07, 2007 at 07:59 PM (#2396496)
Philadelphia NL offers Sam Thompson for Dick Harley, Detroit AL. --Detroit News 1900-04-06
Earlier notice is that Thompson may be free to play for Detroit because he has not been offered a contract for 1900.

"Sam Thompson was very fond of the smallest bat that I ever saw used by a big leaguer. It looked like a 10-center--boy's size." --Bill Phillips, quoted by Detroit News 1900-04-11
   36. Paul Wendt Posted: June 08, 2007 at 03:07 AM (#2397182)
This tidbit from Detroit News 1900-03-31 is not momentous. It does show that I'm not faking it all and it uses the service I mentioned a few days ago (YouSendIt). It will be available for seven days to all comers; there are other services for paying customers, not for me.
Sam Thompson tidbit, 1900-03-31

From the same season I have read reference to his little "fortune". He doesn't need the money from playing baseball because he has successful business. I suppose that was already one factor in his disagreement with Philadelphia management; his decision not to take whatever reduced salary was offered after whatever back troubles.

Thompson plays for the amateur Detroit AC team in the summer, organizes amateurs to play practice games with the pro team, is one co-owner in rumors of a rival big league club in Detroit. That sentence is recalled from more winters than one. Rumors about leading or helping lead a rival club concerned American Association 1900 and 1901, I think, but NL 1901 or 1902 is possible.
   37. Paul Wendt Posted: June 09, 2007 at 08:25 PM (#2398508)
<i>one co-owner in rumors of a rival big league club in Detroit. That sentence is recalled from more winters than one. Rumors about leading or helping lead a rival club concerned American Association 1900 and 1901,<i>

for 1900 at least
Charlie Bennett and Sam Thompson, rumored in September soon after the first AA meeting.
old time local players and current local residents. "Neither T nor B possess enough capital to run a club. It would perhaps be easy enough to interest capital in the venture."
   38. Juan V Posted: June 30, 2007 at 04:20 PM (#2423800)
I'm beginning to like Tiernan as well. Am I missing something?
   39. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 30, 2007 at 06:27 PM (#2423890)
I'm beginning to like Tiernan as well. Am I missing something?


I used to have Tiernan on my ballot "years" ago. While Thompson was a smidge better, it was only a smidge.
   40. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 30, 2007 at 08:13 PM (#2423990)
Tiernan's very good candidate in my system. Actually, he's this close to being over the in/out line, and, believe it or not, he's very similarly placed to Sammy Sosa (who is more borderline than I'd have thought), as well as to Andre Dawson and Bobby Bonds.

Thompson, who is an interesting point of contrast, is well below that. He comes in closer, in my system, to Tony Oliva, Ross Youngs, Dixie Walker, Daryl Strawberry, and Jose Canseco.

The key difference between Tiernan and Thompson is very simple:

Thompson had no three-year span of seasons where he could claim to be the best player in his league. Tiernan had two such three-year spans.

That accoutns for a lot in my system. Possibly too much, I'm not sure. But it would still be a point of separation for them.

They are otherwise very similar candidates.

But there is a problem, and it's the reason I don't express support for Tiernan. Tiernan's two spans of best-in-league performance cover 1888-1890 and 1889-1891. In other words, his status as best-in-league is probalby directly related to the fact that many top players defected to the PL. Quality of play in the NL vs. PL aside, there was just more opportunity against fewer stars in his league in 1890.

Additionally, once the leagues merge in 1892, Tiernan isn't heard from again on my best-of-league leaderboards, which buttresses the idea that his short time of dominance may have had some illusory aspects to it.

So I do mentally discount this aspect of his argument a little bit. Enough that I don't support him. It doesn't help Thompson any, but it does hurt Tiernan.
   41. Rick A. Posted: July 02, 2007 at 12:50 AM (#2425993)
Actually, Tiernan has always been above Thompson in my rankings. He was close to my ballot about 10 years ago, but has dropped some in recent reevaluations. He's still above Thompson, though.
   42. Paul Wendt Posted: July 15, 2007 at 06:44 PM (#2441969)
Probably Mike Tiernan was a pitcher in the minors.

Appendix 9 in the Nebraska/Bison edition of Sol White is
"Stovey, the pitcher and his experience in Jersey City - Anson's prejudice"
Cleveland Gazette 1892-02-13

"Manager Powers, of the New York League club" recalls the 1886 battle between Jersey City and Newark. "Mike Tiernan's arm gave out, and I didn't have anyone to put in the box.
The next day we were to play Newark and the championship depended on the game."
George Stovey was with Trenton. Powers conspired to get him to Jersey City while Newark people conspired to keep him in Trenton. Powers did get him, Jersey City winning 1-0, and "Stovey owned the town."

The part about the championship is too much. Riley says Stovey pitched one game for the Trenton-based Cuban Giants, June 21, before he was "kidnapped" by Jersey City, and that he won 30 games with Jersey City.
   43. DanG Posted: July 17, 2007 at 06:04 AM (#2443558)
Probably Mike Tiernan was a pitcher in the minors.

Yes. Nineteenth Century Stars by SABR confirms this.

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