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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bob Hertzel: Another Look The All-Non-Hall of Fame Team

First base: Here we go, a position where I’m not sure what the voters have been thinking, for even if you take Palmeiro and McGwire out of the equation you are left with Don Mattingly, Keith Hernandez, and Will Clark. To give you an idea of the quality there, I would put Clark third in that group, and he batted .303 with 284 home runs and 1,205 RBI, drove in 100 or more four times, and made six All-Star teams. He, too, had a Hall of Fame nickname, “The Thrill.”

But it comes down to—and always did when they were playing—Keith and “Donnie Baseball,” and everyone who watched them had their favorite. Hernandez had his own devil to fight in drugs, while Mattingly’s biggest sin was a bad back that cut his career short. In the end, you must choose Mattingly, who hit .307 with 222 home runs and 1,099 RBI, because in his prime he was just so special with a 230-hit season with 53 doubles, nine Gold Gloves, and an MVP. If you took Hernandez, there would be no argument from me, though.

Some spots he seems to get it - others he shows pretty clearly how deserving players end up on the outside looking in.

catomi01 Posted: January 12, 2011 at 01:39 PM | 58 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame

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   1. Joe OBrien Posted: January 12, 2011 at 04:31 PM (#3728769)
because in his prime he was just so special with a 230-hit season with 53 doubles, nine Gold Gloves, and an MVP


I know there are some people who think he didn't deserve that MVP, but for my money anyone who wins all nine Gold Gloves at once deserves it.
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 12, 2011 at 04:41 PM (#3728775)
Concepcion isn't even the best shortstop not in the Hall Sparky Anderson ever managed.

Dick Allen and Bobby Grich warrant mention IMO.

Rotation: Luis Tiant, Jim Kaat, Ron Guidry, Kevin Brown, Tommy John

Closer: Dan Quisenberry
   3. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 12, 2011 at 04:47 PM (#3728782)
Some spots he seems to get it - others he shows pretty clearly how deserving players end up on the outside looking in.


Yeah, it's kind of a weird list. I think he names Hall-of-Meriters to half the positions, but even on those, I think the HoM would disagree with at least one of them (2B - he names Whitaker, I think the HoM consensus would have Grich better). But then he picks Davey Concepcion over Trammell, and Vada Pinson in CF (in addition to Mattingly in the excerpt).

For left field, he picked Minoso, who I don't think is in the Hall of Merit. I was going to say that I wasn't sure there were any really deserving left-fielders who aren't already in the Hall of Fame, but then I remembered Tim Raines.

Anyway, his team would beat a team of the worst Hall-of-Famers by position pretty handily, but you could definitely do better, I think.
   4. thetalkingmoose Posted: January 12, 2011 at 04:53 PM (#3728788)
I concur: Dick Allen continues to be unfairly neglected in articles such as this.
   5. bjhanke Posted: January 12, 2011 at 06:03 PM (#3728844)
Hell, I can beat this lineup, or at least give it a really stiff run, without getting past the dead ball era:

c - Charlie Bennett or Deacon White
1b - Harry Stovey
2b - Cupid Childs
3b - Lave Cross or Ed Williamson or Deacon White (depending on where you assign White)
ss - Bill Dahlen
lf - Tip O'Neill or Sherry Magee
cf - George Gore or Fielder Jones
rf - Mike Tiernan

I bet I can handle his pitcher list, too. He would certainly do much better if he'd get rid of his infantile fascination with Don Mattingly, and allow Will Clark, Dick Allen and/or Mark McGwire onto his list. Bobby Grich and Alan Trammell wouldn't hurt, either. But the list he's actually got? The guys from 1871-1910 can handle them.

- Brock Hanke
   6. Walt Davis Posted: January 12, 2011 at 06:12 PM (#3728858)
For left field, he picked Minoso

Actually he picked Belle in the end, over Minoso and Foster. Raines obviously should get a look.

The most glaring omission, or at least most glaring complete lack of consideration, is Bagwell. He takes Walker in RF so it's not that he's limiting himself to guys who've been stuck on the ballot for a while. It could be roid rumors although he does name Mac & Palmeiro but not Bagwell. Or it could be he thinks Bagwell is a shoo-in ... but then he says that Craig Biggio will take over the best 2B spot not in the Hall when he debuts. Anyway, Bagwell laps Clark, Hernandez and Mattingly. Allen at least gives him a run for his money though.

I think Pinson is defensible in CF. The other choices are Wynn or Murphy ... or am I forgetting someone?
   7. DanG Posted: January 12, 2011 at 06:20 PM (#3728867)
I think Pinson is defensible in CF. The other choices are Wynn or Murphy ... or am I forgetting someone?
Paul Hines, and it's not close.
   8. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: January 12, 2011 at 06:43 PM (#3728886)
C Simmons
1B Bagwell
2B Grich
3B Santo
SS Dahlen
LF Raines
CF Wynn
RF Dwight Evans
DH Allen

P Brown
P Saberhagen
P Ferrell
P Reuschel
P Pierce
P Stieb
   9. Rally Posted: January 12, 2011 at 06:46 PM (#3728887)
Paul Hines, and it's not close.


Wow, what a great player! Not everyday that someone mentions a player like that and I don't recognize the name. His stats are hurt by the fact that in his peak years, teams played a much shorter schedule than today.

To summarize: Played 20 years, career OPS+ of 131, top 2 seasons (back to back) of 177/178.
   10. Delorians Posted: January 12, 2011 at 07:09 PM (#3728908)
From the article:

"A few weeks back, I made the case for Santo in a tribute after he died, and that hasn’t changed."

I did a double take when I read that, then checked Wikipedia. I consider myself a reasonably astute follower of baseball and current events, but until now I had no idea that Santo had died (I knew he had been in poor health for some time). I remember several stories about the deaths of Sparky Anderson and Bob Feller last fall, but nothing about Santo, not even on the couple of 'who died in the past year' retrospectives I saw at the end of December. Ron Santo: underappreciated in life, and in death.
   11. Delorians Posted: January 12, 2011 at 07:11 PM (#3728911)
Re: post 5

Not sure if you're aware, but he's only considering players he has voted for on a HOF ballot, therefore no dead ball era guys.
   12. DL from MN Posted: January 12, 2011 at 07:20 PM (#3728921)
Pre-integration

C - Deacon White
1B - Joe Start
2B - Ross Barnes
3B - Heinie Groh
SS - Bill Dahlen
LF - Charlie Keller or Charley Jones
CF - Paul Hines
RF - Joe Jackson (unless he's DQ - then Gavy Cravath)

P - Bob Caruthers
P - Tommy Bridges
P - Urban Shocker
P - Wes Ferrell
P - Bucky Walters
P - Cannonball Dick Redding

Post-integration

C - Ted Simmons (or Joe Torre)
1B - Jeff Bagwell
2B - Bobby Grich
3B - Ron Santo (Darrell Evans is close)
SS - Barry Larkin
LF - Tim Raines
CF - Reggie Smith
RF - Rose (unless he's DQ, then Larry Walker)

P - Kevin Brown
P - Bret Saberhagen
P - David Cone
P - Dave Stieb
P - Rick Reuschel
P - Billy Pierce
P - Luis Tiant
   13. dejarouehg Posted: January 12, 2011 at 07:26 PM (#3728925)
Dick Allen was a stud!

and Bob Feller last fall,

Last Fall???? Seriously, are you OK?

Hernandez had his own devil to fight in drugs,


What "devil?" Whose to say that he used them more than recreationally, as did virtually my entire high school and college at that time?

He got caught and paid the price.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: January 12, 2011 at 08:19 PM (#3728967)
Paul Hines, and it's not close.

This just in ... other than approximately 120 weirdos, nobody cares about 19th century baseball and nobody considers these players for "best of not in the HoF" lists.

Besides, the guy's got fewer career WAR than George Foster. :-)

By career WAR, I think the best CF not in the HoF debate is between Wynn and Willie Davis. By WAR, Davis is the best CF not in the HoM (and 3rd best overall I think).

Not sure if you're aware, but he's only considering players he has voted for on a HOF ballot, therefore no dead ball era guys.

This must explain the Bagwell omission. If only we knew why he didn't vote for him. And we know he didn't vote for Wynn!
   15. DL from MN Posted: January 12, 2011 at 08:26 PM (#3728974)
> best CF not in the HoF debate

Post-integration:

Reggie Smith
Jim Wynn

Generally they don't keep CF out of the HoF.
   16. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 12, 2011 at 08:27 PM (#3728975)
That was the least Prospectusy article I've ever read on that website.
   17. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 12, 2011 at 08:31 PM (#3728981)
I agree with Walt, although I wouldn't go so far as to say Hines doesn't belong in the HOF - he dominated his era, and that counts for something. He likely wouldn't make an MLB roster if he came up today.
   18. DanG Posted: January 12, 2011 at 08:33 PM (#3728985)
This just in ... other than approximately 120 weirdos, nobody cares about 19th century baseball and nobody considers these players for "best of not in the HoF" lists.
Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them.
   19. DanG Posted: January 12, 2011 at 08:52 PM (#3728994)
Two projections for Paul Hines

BRef... ...BPro
AB 12357 11093
H- 3384 3486
BA .274 .314
R- 1742 1613
BI 1216 1490
2B - 617 708
3B - 153 035
HR - 083 395
   20. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: January 12, 2011 at 08:57 PM (#3729001)
Santo/10: It got a fair amount of coverage, here and offsite.
BP/16: I thought that might be the direction this thread took. We're done looking for the shark's carcass then?
   21. JJ1986 Posted: January 12, 2011 at 09:06 PM (#3729009)
Jimmy Edmonds probably won't sniff the Hall of Fame, so he can be the center fielder soon.
   22. Rally Posted: January 12, 2011 at 10:19 PM (#3729066)
Hines looks like he has the career length of a Jimmy Wynn or Fred Lynn, but that's just because of the shorter seasons in his prime years.

Some others with short careers, and explanations that would never happen in modern times:

Bill Lange retired so he could be respectable enough to marry the daughter of a wealthy man. He was considered a great talent in his time, had he kept playing his career would have gone well into the 20th century (last year, 1899, age 28).

Mike Donlin is another story I can't quite figure out.
   23. Ron Johnson Posted: January 12, 2011 at 10:30 PM (#3729076)
#22 Donlin wouldn't be able to play today. Basically a heavy drinker and an angry drunk.

One of the few players to have missed time due to prison (beat up an actress and her escort). Regularly fought with police (came out very badly in one incident IIRC), firemen, train conductors (and probably other fights which never got reported)

Retired while still a good player to go into show business. Didn't exactly work out.
   24. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 12, 2011 at 10:44 PM (#3729085)
Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them.


You should probably give some background, or at least link to your reasoning, about a player that virtually none of us has ever considered as a Hall of Famer if we've even heard of him. Just saying "Paul Hines, and it's not close." is like saying "Ahem, I'm pretty sure the 2010 Oscar for Best Picture should go to O Estranho Caso de Angélica."
   25. Ron Johnson Posted: January 12, 2011 at 10:51 PM (#3729087)
#24 Agree. Paul Hines if you take obviously weak leagues at par. I don't, so I'm untroubled by a Hall that doesn't include Hines (and don't consider him particularly close to Jimmy Wynn).
   26. Clemenza Posted: January 12, 2011 at 10:54 PM (#3729090)
That was the least Prospectusy article I've ever read on that website.

My thought exactly. I wonder if Hertzel gets stuffed into lockers in the hallway there?
   27. Walt Davis Posted: January 13, 2011 at 03:36 AM (#3729241)
I agree with Walt, although I wouldn't go so far as to say Hines doesn't belong in the HOF

I never said any such thing! I'm fine with him in the HoF. In fact I have absolutely zero opinion on whether he should be in or out as I don't care one whit about 19th C ball. Just keep him off the "best not in the HoF" team. Now, if he had one of those cool 19th C mustaches I'd reconsider. :-)

I was just taking a little dig at our quaint, lovable 19th C faction.

I do think it's fair to say that the game has changed so dramatically since those days that no amount of statistical contextualization can give us any real hope of comparing it with other eras. If Hines was one of the finest 19th C players, by all means you have my vote!
   28. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 13, 2011 at 04:37 AM (#3729255)
Just keep him off the "best not in the HoF" team.


I'd say the same about Bagwell. I'd limit it to guys who were genuinely overlooked, not likely inductees made to wait an extra year or two (since Trammell's not getting in through the BBWAA, he's fair game).
   29. cardsfanboy Posted: January 13, 2011 at 04:44 AM (#3729257)
I do think it's fair to say that the game has changed so dramatically since those days that no amount of statistical contextualization can give us any real hope of comparing it with other eras. If Hines was one of the finest 19th C players, by all means you have my vote!


I agree with this, if the experts say this guy is a hofer or something, then sure, but I don't really see many people from that era being true all time greats, and the few that are, are already accounted for. The game has changed dramatically that comparing the stats just doesn't work for me.
   30. DanG Posted: January 13, 2011 at 04:32 PM (#3729422)
You should probably give some background, or at least link to your reasoning, about a player that virtually none of us has ever considered as a Hall of Famer if we've even heard of him. Just saying "Paul Hines
"You can look it up!" --Casey Stengel

"The Truth is Out There" --Fox Mulder

Hall of Merit ranking of Center Fielders

Paul Hines - BR Bullpen

19c Baseball: Paul Hines

Links to stats were provided in [#19].
   31. Ron Johnson Posted: January 13, 2011 at 05:56 PM (#3729466)
#29 The notion that we should take Hines' stats at par strikes me as intellectually indefensible.

I have absolutely no doubt that the AL 1901 was a substantially weaker league than the NL 1900 and that a substantial discount needs to be applied to (say) Lajoie's 1901.

I also have little doubt that the AL 1901 was stronger than (say) the NL in 1882. Not because the players were so much better but the top leagues were doing a better job of getting hold of the top talent. In the 1870s or 80s there were plenty of teams that felt they could compete with teams in the NL (or AA)

Take 1878 as an example. I have no doubt at all that Buffalo (then in the IL) would have finished no worse than 4th (probably 3rd) if playing in the NL. (After all, they used Pud Galvin almost every day in 1878 and front line pitching went a long way in the 19th century) And Buffalo's not what you'd call an outlier.
   32. Rally Posted: January 13, 2011 at 06:16 PM (#3729489)
The leagues may have been much weaker, I don't dispute that. But in general we try to honor the players that dominated their times. If Hines was one of the very best players of the 1870's (I don't know where he ranks), then either he should go in, or else nobody from the 1870's should go in.

#22 Donlin wouldn't be able to play today. Basically a heavy drinker and an angry drunk.


The Elijah Dukes of his time?
   33. Ron Johnson Posted: January 13, 2011 at 07:28 PM (#3729560)
The Elijah Dukes of his time?


Better player, bigger problem.
   34. Ron Johnson Posted: January 13, 2011 at 07:49 PM (#3729573)
#32 My position is that the leagues are so much weaker that only the very best are worthy of admission. Basically as I see it, the number of players from the 20s (including negro leaguers) should be something close to 95% of 1960. The leagues of 1900 are significantly weaker than 1920, the leagues of 1890 are ... etc.


Hines is clear a part of the second tier. Set the bounds just before he started to play until 5 years after and WAR gets him #14 among the position players and not on radar with the elite. Now I wouldn't go to the wall for WAR at the best of times and when it comes to 19th century players ...

How about OPS+? If you set the bar at 1000 games and search from 1871 to 1896 he ranks 16th -- 4th among players whose primary position was CF.

I just don't see it.
   35. Rally Posted: January 13, 2011 at 08:23 PM (#3729600)
You're probably right. I want to consider the shorter seasons he played in, while his career PA is close to Fred Lynn territory that is a function of season length, and in reality he had more longevity and durability than Lynn.

But looking at WAR rankings by decade of birth, he's 13th among his peers, who also played shorter seasons. looking at other decades of birth year, ranking 13th certainly appears to be more HOVG than HOF/HOM territory for the 1850-1900 period.

Looking at more recent times, players born 1951-1960 you've got deserving HOFers like Ozzie and Sandberg at the #13-#14 position, but they played in much deeper leagues.
   36. DanG Posted: January 13, 2011 at 09:03 PM (#3729630)
in general we try to honor the players that dominated their times
Exactly. Playing the time travel game only leaves you in a quagmire of what ifs. If Hines had the benefits of today's year-round training methods and nutrition, he might have been Griffey, Jr., since he had similar dominance in his era. If Donlin had the opportunity to make the piles of money players are paid today, he may have been motivated to clean up his act. We just can't know.

Most WAR, position players 1875-86

Rk           Player WAR/pos OPS+   PA
1         Cap Anson    50.5  158 4517
2        Paul Hines    35.7  142 4649
3       Jim ORourke    35.4  147 4705
4        King Kelly    33.9  149 3669
5       George Gore    33.9  150 3306
6      Roger Connor    33.6  166 3078
7     Dan Brouthers    32.4  190 2710
8    Ned Williamson    32.4  120 3537
9       Ezra Sutton    30.5  121 4348
10     Deacon White    30.2  135 4231 
   37. Ron Johnson Posted: January 13, 2011 at 09:20 PM (#3729643)
Sure Dan. You just made a Jack Morris HOF case. I ain't buying it. There happens to be a narrow time frame where Hines was (maybe) the second best player by virtue of a huge playing time edge over better players.

Set a window a year before he starts and 5 years after he's gone and he drops way back.
   38. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: January 13, 2011 at 09:33 PM (#3729652)
The Elijah Dukes of his time?


Better player, bigger problem


Fewer children.
   39. DanG Posted: January 13, 2011 at 09:34 PM (#3729654)
Set a window a year before he starts and 5 years after he's gone and he drops way back
Of course, because that's hardly a level playing field. Schedules were steadily expanding during Hines' career, so those who played more during Hines' decline years and just him after will have much greater opportunites for compiling numbers.

And your comparison to Morris is just weak. Jack was never anything like the #2 pitcher in the game over a 12-year stretch. And Morris never approached the sort of dominance that Hines had at his peak.

And Hines is surrounded on that list by great players, unlike any Morris-leader list; all are in the Hall of Merit except for Williamson.
   40. Rally Posted: January 13, 2011 at 09:46 PM (#3729668)
I agree with Ron, this is a Morris for HOF-like cherry pick. You set the begin year at Hines' first big season and end year at his last.

How about I try with Jack Morris: Most pitching WAR, 1979-1987:

39.8 Steib
33.8 Fernando
33.2 Blyleven
32.3 Morris
   41. DanG Posted: January 13, 2011 at 10:03 PM (#3729684)
try with Jack Morris
This tends to support my point. Even trimming Morris down to 9 years only gets him up to #4. Can you point to any player not in the HOF or HoM who was the #2 player in WAR over a 12-year stretch?
   42. Rally Posted: January 13, 2011 at 10:18 PM (#3729700)
Good question. I don't know, and since it involves setting individual endpoints for every player, pretty tough to figure out. My first attempt, Cesar Cedeno, is a no (#8 from 1970-1981).

But that doesn't change the fact that looking at something non-cherry picked, like birth year groups, has him as the 10th-15th best player of his era.
   43. DanG Posted: January 14, 2011 at 04:12 AM (#3729862)
has him as the 10th-15th best player of his era.
Only of you fail to adjust for length of schedule is this true.
   44. Ron J Posted: January 14, 2011 at 05:46 AM (#3729879)
Dan as I said above he's only 16th by OPS+. Schedule length doesn't matter then.

And the point I attempted to make before is that the NL was very weak when Hines was at his best. Do you dispute that Buffalo would have finished either 3rd or 4th in the NL in 1878? If this is true isn't it absolutely clear that you have to seriously discount the raw numbers. (If it matters, Galvin had a 10-5 record against NL competition in 1878. He also started 101 of Buffalo's IL games, had 96 complete games and finished 72-25 in the IL. I'm damned if I can figure out why that doesn't count and Hines' does. Galvin's team was probably as good as Hines')

I hope I've been clear. I'm not arguing that the league is weak because the players got better as we go on. I'm arguing that in the 1870s there was absolutely no expectation that the best players would be in the NA/NL and that as time went they did a progressively better job of accumulating top talent in the NL)
   45. asdf1234 Posted: January 14, 2011 at 06:03 AM (#3729881)
You know, this article helped me realize that I'd been thinking of Vida Blue every time I saw the name Vada Pinson.

I don't agree with a lot of what Bob has to say, but I'm glad that I finally got that all sorted out.
   46. Shock Posted: January 14, 2011 at 07:41 AM (#3729893)
is like saying "Ahem, I'm pretty sure the 2010 Oscar for Best Picture should go to O Estranho Caso de Angélica."


Something many primates would also say, of course.

The game that Hines played can barely even be described as baseball; come on, Old Hoss Radbourn threw 700 innings with an ERA+ of 207. I can't even do that in a video game I don't think.
   47. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 14, 2011 at 10:06 AM (#3729908)
#29 The notion that we should take Hines' stats at par strikes me as intellectually indefensible.

[...]

#32 My position is that the leagues are so much weaker that only the very best are worthy of admission. Basically as I see it, the number of players from the 20s (including negro leaguers) should be something close to 95% of 1960. The leagues of 1900 are significantly weaker than 1920, the leagues of 1890 are ... etc.
In addition to what Ron says in #25, 31 & 34, I want to add that I think it pretty indefensible to simply project out to longer seasons, too. It's one thing to pro-rate a 154-game schedule to 162 games for comparison purposes. It's another to double a season.

Now, I'm not saying we can't say he was one of the best of his era and thus deserving of the HOF, as AROM says in #32 -- but to then conclude that he was better than, e.g., Jimmy Wynn is a bridge too far.
   48. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 14, 2011 at 10:34 AM (#3729909)
try with Jack Morris

This tends to support my point. Even trimming Morris down to 9 years only gets him up to #4. Can you point to any player not in the HOF or HoM who was the #2 player in WAR over a 12-year stretch?
I don't think so. Morris was #4 in a 26 team league. That's more impressive than being #2 out of -- were there ever more than 16 teams in the majors during Hines' career, except the ridiculous 1884 season? (Which, incidentally, is where Hines piles up his biggest WAR.)

I mean, since you mention WAR -- Hines was rarely among the league leaders in WAR. Doesn't that sound more like Morris?
   49. DanG Posted: January 14, 2011 at 02:42 PM (#3729971)
We don't really know how reliable WAR is for the 19th century. YMMV, but I think the fairest comparison is to look at Hines versus other position players and Morris versus other pitchers. Here are their top finishes in their league in WAR:

J.M. P.H.
5th 2nd
6th 3rd
6th 3rd
8th 4th
8th 8th

I think Hines stands a lot taller in his era than Morris does in his.

And Ron tosses in the "fact" of Hines being "only 16th by OPS+" for his era. He must include a lot of short-career players who aren't really comparable to Hines. Here's the list I get:

Highest OPS+, 1200+ G, debut 1871-84

Rk             Player OPSFrom    G From   To    PA
1       Dan Brouthers  170 1879 1673 1879 1904  7676
2        Roger Connor  153 1880 1998 1880 1897  8847
3        Harry Stovey  143 1880 1486 1880 1893  6832
4           Cap Anson  142 1871 2524 1871 1897 11331
5          King Kelly  138 1878 1455 1878 1893  6455
6         George Gore  135 1879 1310 1879 1892  6104
7         Jim ORourke  133 1872 1999 1872 1904  9052
8          Paul Hines  131 1872 1658 1872 1891  7470
9    Hardy Richardson  130 1879 1331 1879 1892  6029
10         Buck Ewing  129 1880 1315 1880 1897  5772
11       Deacon White  127 1871 1560 1871 1890  6973
12        Ezra Sutton  119 1871 1263 1871 1888  5537 


This is a list of great players; every one is in the Hall of Merit.

Let's try something similar for Morris.

Highest ERA+, 2300+ IP, debut 1971-83

Rk                Player ERA+     IP From   To
1             Dave Stieb  123 2895.1 1979 1998
2             Ron Guidry  119 2392.0 1975 1988
3       Dennis Eckersley  116 3285.2 1975 1998
4           Steve Rogers  116 2837.2 1973 1985
5        John Candelaria  114 2525.2 1975 1993
6            Jon Matlack  114 2363.0 1971 1983
7          Rick Reuschel  114 3548.1 1972 1991
8            Frank Viola  112 2836.1 1982 1996
9         Orel Hershiser  112 3130.1 1983 2000
10     Charlie Leibrandt  109 2308.0 1979 1993
11         Tom Candiotti  108 2725.0 1983 1999
12           Burt Hooton  108 2652.0 1971 1985
13             Bob Welch  107 3092.0 1978 1994
14       Dennis Martinez  106 3999.2 1976 1998
15          Danny Darwin  106 3016.2 1978 1998
16          Frank Tanana  106 4188.1 1973 1993
17           Jack Morris  105 3824.0 1977 1994
18           Bruce Hurst  104 2417.1 1980 1994
19           Rick Rhoden  104 2593.2 1974 1989
20   Fernando Valenzuela  104 2930.0 1980 1997 


That's not a list of great players; two are in the Hall of Merit.

In terms of their HOF worthiness, this idea that Hines = Morris doesn't seem to hold much water.
   50. Ron Johnson Posted: January 14, 2011 at 08:37 PM (#3730293)
I ran a slightly different query.

1000+ games from 1871-96. This adds Pete Browning, Billy Hamilton, Sam Thompson, Tip O'Neill, Mike Tiernan, Denny Lyons, Henry Larkin and Oyster Burns.

Yes, Not being as good as Billy Hamilton hardly disqualifies you. Some of the others though.

Incidentally Brock if you happen to be reading the thread, this is the primary reason I'm not active in the Hall of Merit. It's absolutely clear to me that the 19th century is over-represented (for the reasons I've laid out here) and a core assumption adopted by the HOMers that we take the raw numbers (more or less) at par makes no sense given what we know about the distribution of talent.

As I've said before:

a) anybody who doesn't seriously discount Nap Lajoie's 1901 isn't paying attention
b) Lajoie played against stronger competition in 1901 than Paul Hines did in 1879
   51. DanG Posted: January 15, 2011 at 06:05 AM (#3730510)
It's absolutely clear to me that the 19th century is over-represented (for the reasons I've laid out here) and a core assumption adopted by the HOMers that we take the raw numbers (more or less) at par makes no sense given what we know about the distribution of talent.
This is a pretty common take among fans of the game; it is an issue that was thoroughly debated at the inception of the Hall of Merit. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract had just been published in which he presents his Time Line Adjustment for ranking players against each other throughout history. It all makes good sense until you stop and ask some basic questions: Isn't the system arbitrary? Just when did baseball become baseball? Or more basically, Is such an adjustment really fair?

It's called "The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, an independent, non-profit educational institution dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the historical development of baseball and its impact on our culture by collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting its collections for a global audience as well as honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to our national pastime." This implies their mission is to recognize the best players from every era of the game's history. Which is exactly what the consensus at the HoM decided to do. Their mantra is, "A pennant is a pennant"; a champion in the 1870's deserves as much respect as a champion in the 21st century. It's a given that the game evolves and improves; there is no inherent conflict in recognizing this while still maintaining prohibitions against time-lining (docking a player's value just because he was born too early). If a man played against the best competition available at the time, that's all that could be expected and he is judged on that basis.

Note that "fair representation", as it came to be understood at the HoM, does not mean equal numbers from every era. The Hall of Merit project has been described as a type of Delphi Method, where mandatory comments on players leads to discussion where the group converges towards the "correct" answer. Rather than any prescription to elect a certain number of 19th century players, the results are the product of the collective intelligence of the group.

I hope this gives you a better sense of how the Hall of Merit looks at things. Remember, too, that the Hall of Fame has never conducted a serious inquiry into 19th century baseball (as it finally did for Black baseball in 2006). That there are many great players overlooked from that era should only be expected.
   52. Ron J Posted: January 15, 2011 at 06:37 AM (#3730519)
Dan you're not addressing my argument.

It's got nothing to do with the players getting better. It's got to do with the accumulation of talent in the leagues.

Stipulating for the moment that the Boston team of 1878 were uniformly of major league strength, fully 1/3 of the league were quite clearly of AA-AAA strength. Let Jimmy Wynn play in that context and his stats will blow Paul Hines' away.

I know the consensus the HOM participants have come to. People I know and respect have come to a consensus I regard as nutty. I've also never heard any of the participants address the two point I made at the end of #50.
   53. DanG Posted: January 15, 2011 at 07:32 AM (#3730522)
I guess I don't see any argument here. As I said: It's a given that the game evolves and improves. If you want to play time travel and drop Jimmy Wynn in 1879, well how good would he play without a glove and hit with the bats they used back then? Could he adapt to the demands of the game at that time? Would he be any better than the other outliers of that time? We don't know; and to me it's a fruitless exercise to try and imagine what might happen because it doesn't matter.

What's important is how much value a player adds in his team's quest for the championship. In the year 2143 will the baseball analysts of the time think that Ken Griffey, Jr. was nothing because he played in a time when the game was terribly primitive, bearing little resemblance to now? No, Griffey will always be one of the best of his era, adding greatly to his team's championship quest. Just like Hines.

As to your two points in #50:

a) Lajoie 1901 played in the weaker of the two major leagues and this should be accounted for in analyzing his contribution that year.
b) We know that the game evolves and improves. The AL in 1901 likely had an overall better caliber of play than the NL did in 1879.

Not that it really has any bearing on their worth, but I think it's likely that Hines would have adapted and been a star in 1901, just as Lajoie probably would have in 1879.
   54. Ron J Posted: January 16, 2011 at 12:12 PM (#3730926)
Dan you're addressing an argument I'm explicitly not making. The specific point I'm making is that even if we accept that there were sufficient major league caliber players (and we ignore the whole issue of segregation) to fill the major league teams, only about 40% of them -- and not the top 40% -- were actually playing in the NL in Hines' prime. The remained were in the IL. Or playing for their town team or ...
   55. karlmagnus Posted: January 16, 2011 at 02:54 PM (#3730958)
Numerically, that 40% figure may well be correct, but it's misleading. The NL was the best league with the highest wages from its inception. Hence players whose talent really stood out, like Cal McVey or Levi Meyerle, gravitated to it. The area where the NL was not necessarily superior was in the middle level talents and the scrubs; Pud Galvin early in his career could do better as an IL star because with only one pitcher per team it was tough to break into an NL roster. You're quite right that the ML quality talent wasn't all in the NL, but the very best talent almost all was. So your 40% figure should be about 75-80% in terms of "pennants added" or "WAR" or that kind of measure.
   56. Gotham Dave Posted: January 16, 2011 at 04:20 PM (#3730992)
I would be fine with nobody who played a significant portion of their career before OVERHAND PITCHING being in the Hall of Fame. It's the baseball hall of fame, not the softball-with-a-tiny-ball hall of fame.

Why don't we just go and put some rounders stars in the HoF? And I realize that there's also a precedent for this (Anson, et al) but you have to draw a line somewhere.
   57. Ron J Posted: January 16, 2011 at 05:29 PM (#3731017)
#55 Yeah I don't want to oversell the required discounting.

Specifically for the early days though there just weren't mechanisms for the accumulation of the best talent. The networks required hadn't really formed.
   58. DanG Posted: January 19, 2011 at 07:08 PM (#3732772)
Specifically for the early days though there just weren't mechanisms for the accumulation of the best talent. The networks required hadn't really formed.
This is a given for any point in baseball history. In 2143 the fans of the Inter-Galactic League will scoff at Griffey, since he played in the primitive days even before the Centaurians were in the league. The modern game didn't begin until 2038 when Chinese native Huyu Hai-Ding beat out Indian Sukak Manamar for the ROY.

The question is at what point in baseball history should we start honoring players? Doc Adams may have been a superstar player in the 1840's but he didn't even start playing baseball until age 24; the "Knickerbocker Game" was played as a recreational hobby in and around New York and there were few regular stats kept. The NABBP was founded in 1857 and grew rapidly until stalled by the Civil War. Chadwick made his first box score in 1859.

I think we start looking for a logical starting point in the post-Civil War baseball boom. In 1866 we see about 100 teams in the NABBP, spreading out far from the NE part of the US; many players are taking pay to play. This could be our starting point.

In 1869 we see the first official professional teams. Cincinnati gets the jump on everyone, but ultimately 12 of the strongest clubs declare themselves professional that year. This year would be a good starting point.

In 1871 the first professional league forms. This is another good place to start looking to represent the top stars of the era in the HOF. Unfortunately, the Hall has never really tried to do this. In its first ten years there was some focus given by the Hall to identifying these players. But there were few record books and little historical analysis to rely on in this task. Naturally, the players from the 1890's received the most focus, since their counting numbers resembled those of the 20th century stars due to the more modern-length schedules; and of course these players were clearer in the memories of the older fans of the day.

The need, as I see it, is for the HOF to appoint a scholarly pioneers committee, similar to their Black baseball study that led to the elections in 2006. Similarly, their tasks will be to try and expand the statistical profiles, as well as to sort out truth from fiction in the historical record of the era. Their focus should be on those players who were in their prime during the first two decades of professional baseball, 1869-1888.

(From 1878-87 the average number of HOF players as MLB regulars is 11.3 per year; over the next decade it doubles to 23.0 players per team from 1888-97. From 1871-77 it's 5.6 per year.)

A team’s aim now is the same as it was 140 years ago: to win it all, to be the last team standing. The player’s objective is the same now as it was then: to achieve fame, riches, and satisfaction by contributing to your team’s quest for the championship. So why shouldn’t the hall of fame do its best to honor the top stars of every era, not just the eras people remember fondly or those cast as some sort of “golden age”?

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