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Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Win Shares Rates the 200 Man Veterans Committee Ballot

Mr. Greenia breaks out the best and worst candidates on the revised Veteran’s Committee ballot.

This is an analysis of the 200-player ballot that was compiled by
the Hall’s Historical Overview Committee.  Using data from Bill James’
new book


, I constructed a spreadsheet with each candidate’s
career WS and three-year peak.  I also looked for top players who were
not included among the 200 candidates.  Here are some lists.

Top 25 Candidates in Career Win Shares


Tony Mullane         399
Bill Dahlen         394
Geo. Van Haltren       344
Dick Allen           342
Bob Caruthers         337
Ron Santo           324
Willie Davis         322
Vada Pinson         321
Stan Hack           316
Jimmy Ryan           316
Joe Torre           315
Norm Cash           315
Jimmy Wynn           305
Bobby Bonds         302
Frank Howard         297
Mickey Vernon         296
George J. Burns       290
Bob L. Johnson       287
Bob Elliott         287
Jack Quinn           287
Charlie Buffinton     283
Sal Bando           283
Minnie Minoso         283
Boog Powell         282
Ken Boyer           279


Worst Ten Candidates in Career Win Shares


Johnny Vander Meer     134
Spud Chandler       127
Glenn Beckert       125
Ron Perranoski       125
Denny McLain         115
Vic Raschi         113
J.R. Richard         106
Carl Erskine         105
Johnny Murphy       104
Sam Jethroe         61


Top 25 Candidates in Three-Year Peak Win Shares


Bob Caruthers       54.0
Tony Mullane       53.0
Charlie Buffinton   46.3
Will White         46.0
Dick Allen         38.7
Ron Santo         35.3
Frank Howard       34.0
Bucky Walters       34.0
Al Rosen         34.0
Jimmy Wynn         33.3
Wally Berger       33.3
Joe Torre         32.7
Stan Hack         32.3
George J. Burns     32.3
Sal Bando         32.0
Bobby Bonds       31.7
Heinie Groh       31.7
Wes Ferrell       31.7
Rocky Colavito     31.3
Norm Cash         31.0
Vern Stephens       31.0
Bobby Veach       31.0
Carl Mays         30.7
Roger Maris       30.7
Gavvy Cravath       30.7


Worst Ten Candidates in Three-Year Peak Win Shares


Milt Pappas       18.3
Ron Perranoski     18.3
Doc Cramer         18.0
Vic Raschi         18.0
Roy McMillan       17.7
Johnny Podres       17.7
arl Erskine       17.7
Don Kessinger       17.3
Elroy Face         17.3
Julian Javier       16.7
Johnny Murphy       13.3


Bill James admits that the system vastly overrates pre-1893
pitchers.  Given this, we can eliminate from serious consideration the
four pitcher candidates from that era (Mullane, Caruthers, Buffinton,

That leaves us with nine candidates who rank among the top 20
candidates in both career and peak win shares:

Dick Allen-1B (4th in career, 5th in peak)
Ron Santo-3B (6th & 6th)
Stan Hack-3B (9th & 13th)
Frank Howard-LF (15th & 7th)
Joe Torre-C (11th & 12th)
Jimmy Wynn-CF (13th & 10th)
Bobby Bonds-RF (14th & 16th)
George J. Burns-LF (17th & 13th)
Norm Cash-1B (11th & 20th)


Six other players rank in the top 30 on both lists:

Bill Dahlen-SS (2nd & 27th)
Vada Pinson-CF (8th & 27th)
Sal Bando-3B (21st & 15th)
Heinie Groh-3B (29th & 16th)
Rocky Colavito-RF (28th & 19th)
Minnie Minoso-LF (21st & 27th)


In addition to the first nine, we see two other early 20th century
stars who are not even on the 200-man ballot.  Sherry Magee (354 WS,
35.0 Pk) and Jimmy Sheckard (339 WS, 32.0 Pk) would rank among the top
20 candidates in both career and peak win shares.  Larry Doyle (289,
30.0) and Cy Seymour (272, 31.3) are two other overlooked stars from
the early 1900’s who would rank among the top 30 candidates in both

On the flipside, we have seven candidates who rank among the worst
20 candidates in both career and peak win shares: Johnny Murphy,
Julian Javier, Carl Erskine, Elroy Face, Vic Raschi, Ron Perranoski,
and Johnny Podres.  In addition, Johnny Vander Meer and Stu Miller
rank among the bottom 30 candidates in both measures.

The screening committee voting for the Hall of Fame Committee on
Baseball Veterans is taking place this spring (right now?) using the
200-player ballot.  The 60-member Writers’ Screening Committee will
choose 25 of these players to place on the final ballot, and the six
-member Hall of Famers’ Screening Committee will choose five
candidates of their own.

Let’s hope they concentrate their votes on the 15 players
identified above and not so much on Gil Hodges (37th rank career WS,
64th rank in peak), Maury Wills (45th career, 35th peak) and the like.


Daniel Greenia Posted: June 18, 2002 at 06:00 AM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Chris Dial Posted: June 18, 2002 at 12:31 AM (#605316)
There's often a clamor for Ron Santo being put in the Hall of Fame. It seems to me Dick Allen has essentially the same claim. I see Allen is listed as a 1B, but he played more games not at 1B than at 1B. I suppose until there is a solid "U" category, that's what we'll have.

Nowadays I hear that Edgar Martinez should be considered. Dick Allen definitely has it over Edgar, by a good margin (AFAICT).

Dunno, just wanted to say, "What about Dick Allen? Isn't his claim as strong as anybody not in the Hall?"
   2. bob mong Posted: June 18, 2002 at 12:31 AM (#605318)
Why does Dick Allen have it over Edgar Martinez by "a good margin"? The only edge I would give him is the fact that he played in the field a lot more than Edgar - which is a substantial edge, but it isn't like Allen played SS or something. Edgar played 3B regularly (over half the time) until he was 31; thereafter he played DH. Allen played 3B regularly until he was 25 (except for one year with the Dodgers at age 29); thereafter he played 1B or OF.

I mean, playing in the field is worth something, but is it really enough to put him over Martinez by a good margin?
   3. Paul Mazurkiewicz Posted: June 18, 2002 at 12:31 AM (#605319)
A thought on Joe Torre: does anyone have as strong a claim on a HOF election as both a player and a manager as he does? Are there any HOFers who were good managers too? I suppose I can look this up myself, just wanted to get feedback in a public forum.
   4. McCoy Posted: June 18, 2002 at 12:32 AM (#605320)
Cap Anson
   5. Charles Saeger Posted: June 18, 2002 at 12:32 AM (#605322)
John McGraw. He wasn't quite as good a player, but about 5 times the manager.

Daniel, would you consider breaking out pitchers as a separate list? Post-1920 pitchers almost always have fewer Win Shares than position players.
   6. DanG Posted: June 18, 2002 at 12:32 AM (#605324)

Good point: we see no pitchers among the 15 candidates. Setting aside Mullane, Caruthers, Buffinton, and White (and McCormick, who didn?t make the ballot), here are pitcher candidates who rate well in both career and peak WS:

B. Walters?..258 (41st)?..34.0 (7th)
C. Mays..??..256 (43rd)?..30.7 (23rd)
W. Cooper?..266 (32nd)?..28.3 (48th)
W. Ferrell??233 (66th)?..31.7 (16th)
D. Luque.??.241 (57th)?..29.7 (31st)
J. Tannehill?.233 (66th)?..29.0 (35th)
B. Adams..??243 (54th)?..27.0 (64th)
U. Shocker?..225 (77th)?..28.0 (53rd)
L. Warneke?.220 (90th)?..28.7 (42nd)
M. Harder??234 (65th)?..26.0 (81st)

In addition are a few dead-ball era pitchers who did not make the ballot, such as Jack Powell (287, 29.7) and George Mullin (255, 26.7). Also, 1940?s star Dizzy Trout (228, 30.7). There might be others.

   7. Chris Dial Posted: June 18, 2002 at 12:32 AM (#605325)
I've been wrong before, but I'm pretty sure a OPS+ lead of 4 points is a good margin over a career. Edgar also hasn't had his three decline seasons to drag his down to 145 (so Allen will have a 10-pt OPS+ edge). And yes, being a DH-only limits your team's options. In addition to carrying Edgar, the M's have to carry a back up 3B-1B, rather than another DH-type. Instead they play David Bell or Russ Davis or Paul Sorrento. Edgar only has 600 games in the field. 1100 defensive games is a ton at any position.

Somebody has career Win Shares for Edgar. Joe? Rich?
   8. Mike Emeigh Posted: June 18, 2002 at 12:32 AM (#605328)
Edgar needs to be given special consideration because he had a late start? Where do we draw the line when we start doing things like that? Do we put Thurman Munson in the Hall because of what he might have done after he crashed his plane? Or Jim Bouton because of what he might have done if he hadn't hurt his arm? Or Doc Gooden? You can probably name any number of players who *might* have been a HOF candidate if *something* hadn't happened to them - but stuff happens, and HOF careers are derailed as a result. Edgar, like any other HOF candidate, should be judged on the basis of what he actually accomplishes - and not given credit for what someone thinks he might have been *if only*.

-- MWE
   9. Danny Posted: June 18, 2002 at 12:32 AM (#605329)
Bill James has some great remarks on this subject. He says there's no point in "if's"; player X would have been this good if he hadn't hurt himself/gone crazy or whatever. What James does give credit for is players who were good, yet were not able to play due to situations beyond their control such as war service and stupidly being stuck in the minors. Being injury-prone is part of one's skill set. Having a stupid GM or being drafted into the army are not part of a players skill set.
   10. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 18, 2002 at 12:32 AM (#605330)
There are a few players mentioned in the article whose totals were depressed by segregated ball, such as Sam Jethroe and Minnie Minoso. Minoso's total would have been considerably higher, as he was kept from regular playing time until the age of 28. Similarly, Jethroe was past his prime (32) when his chance came.

If you're the sort of person to consider character issues, there's a case for putting Edgar ahead of Dick Allen. James would be rolling in his recliner if he realized that people were using WS to advocate Allen's HOF candidacy.
   11. jimd Posted: June 18, 2002 at 12:32 AM (#605331)
Evaluation by the BJ-NHBA rating system (without subjective component) of the playing careers of top managers who were also very good players.

123 29 31 30 27 07 Fred Clarke (400)
123 23 28 33 25 14 Joe Torre (315)
122 30 24 32 29 08 Frank Chance (237)
115 27 30 28 25 05 Cap Anson (381)
115 31 23 30 24 07 John McGraw (207)

RT = Rate (WS per 162 games)
CC = Career Value Credit (see the book)
P3 = Peak 3 (avg of best 3 seasons)
P5 = Peak 5 (avg of best 5 consecutive)
TL = Timeline
(Career Win Shares in parentheses)
Total may be off due to rounding of individual numbers.
   12. jimd Posted: June 18, 2002 at 12:32 AM (#605333)
Well, that came out quite unreadable. Let's try a different tack.
(If this doesn't work, I'll give it up.)


123 29 31 30 27 07 Fred Clarke (400)

123 23 28 33 25 14 Joe Torre (315)

122 30 24 32 29 08 Frank Chance (237)

115 27 30 28 25 05 Cap Anson (381)

115 31 23 30 24 07 John McGraw (207)
   13. KJOK Posted: June 19, 2002 at 12:32 AM (#605334)
What about Red Schoendienst also?

Win Shares - 262
Peak 3 - 73 WS
Peak 5 - 108 WS
   14. Don Malcolm Posted: June 19, 2002 at 12:32 AM (#605335)
If you're the sort of person to consider character issues, there's a case for putting Edgar ahead of Dick Allen. James would be rolling in his recliner if he realized that people were using WS to advocate Allen's HOF candidacy.

All of which proves that Bill should revisit and recant his distortions about Dick Allen. His own method shows that despite a career that was shortened by injury and controversy, Allen is a seriously viable HoF candidate.

As I wrote awhile back, Allen and Santo should be the Vet Committee's HoF selections for 2003.

   15. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 19, 2002 at 12:32 AM (#605337)
(That Ron Santo earns only 2 more Win Shares than Willie Davis (or was it Tommy Davis? I can't type & read at the same time...) tells me all I need to know about Win Shares as a way to rank HoF candidates)

What's missing is the Win Shares per 162 games. Santo had 23.26, while Willie Davis had 21.47. Santo had a better peak, but Davis was more consistently good (he played five more years than Santo). Plus, centerfielders seem to be more durable than the third basemen, so that has to be factored in.

FWIW, James has Santo pegged as the number 6 third baseman, while Davis is number 27.

Besides, Davis was a very underrated player. I don't think he deserves ensrinement in the Hall, but he's not THAT far away.
   16. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 19, 2002 at 12:32 AM (#605341)
(By the way, according to the Hall of Fame monitor (complements of, Allen has 99 points and Santo has 88, making both of which reasonably good candidates for the Hall. Tommy and Willy Davis have totals in the 40s and 50s, making them non-candidates.)

The Hall of Fame monitor is used to see if a player meets the de facto criteria for the Hall. It doesn't mean that it meets James' (or anyone else's) criteria.
   17. Chris Dial Posted: June 19, 2002 at 12:32 AM (#605342)
Personally, I definitely separate military service and minor league play. To me, it's just TS for Edgar. I've reviewed his minor league stuff in this discussion before, and he might get one season due to poor personnel decision making. Of course, the problem is (my guess) practically all HOF players got the shaft at some point on playing time. How about Babe Ruth not playing RF out of the gate due to poor managing? If you pick up a BP, they'll tell you about a third of MLB players could/should be replaced by some minor league player able to do the same job. I mean, how much credit should Marcus Giles get? If he goes on to a HoF career (or near), does he really deserve credit for Bobby Cox playing Keith Lockhart? I can't buy that myself - or I'll have to hear a more compelling argument. And pitchers - there's going to be a ton of those.
   18. DanG Posted: June 19, 2002 at 12:32 AM (#605343)
The question has been raised, Should we give Edgar Martinez extra points on his career win shares due to being ?trapped? in the minors because of front office ineptitude? I?ll give the idea a qualified ?okay?.

How much time did Edgar miss? What kind of contribution would he have made if he had played in his mid-20?s? This situation is not at all like DiMaggio, who lost three prime years when he was punching out 30 WS per season. If Edgar had been at that level, even the M?s would?ve noticed. Also, it?s possible that Edgar may have been one of those late bloomers. What are his MLE?s for his minor league play?

Martinez became a regular in 1990 at age 27, posting 17 WS that year followed by seasons of 20 and 24. In 1989, at age 26, he was given 196 PA and sucked (74 OPS+). Looks like that low playing time may have partly been his fault. Let?s generously assume that given full-time play, he would have played at the level of 1990 for the other two-thirds of the 1989 season, so add 12 WS to the four he actually had.

We now have a win share progression from 1989-92 of 16-17-20-24. Let?s assume a gradual developmental curve for 1987 and 1988. Give him years if 14 and 15 WS. Subtracting the three he actually had gives him an extra 26 WS for ages 24-25.

I don?t think we can assume he would have played in the majors before then. So this analysis concludes we should give Edgar about 38 more win shares. That puts him at 302, tied with Bobby Bonds, Ken Singleton and Rabbit Maranville. Not quite Dick Allen caliber, but in with the marginal hall of famers.

Realize that doing this creates a problem, in that we have to evaluate every player?s lost opportunity in a similar manner. Many outstanding players have been held back in the minors or on the bench longer than necessary.

We also have the correlating exercise of taking away win shares from players (Pete Rose) when they ought not to have been playing. ;-)

   19. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 20, 2002 at 12:32 AM (#605346)
Chip Wright said:
(KJOK, Schoendienst is already in the HOF)
He knows. KJOK was referring to part of the thread where they were analyzing top managers that were also good players.
   20. jimd Posted: June 20, 2002 at 12:32 AM (#605349)
Not to start a war about who was or wasn't a good manager, I guess my criterion was "a few" pennants. And I wasn't trying to be exhaustive. Schoendienst won 2. At that level I could add Jimmy Collins, Rogers Hornsby, Bill Terry, Mickey Cochrane, and maybe some more if I researched it.
   21. DanG Posted: June 21, 2002 at 12:32 AM (#605352)
Just to put out a few more win shares facts for Edgar v. Dick Allen.

Allen 342 career WS (312 bat, 30 def) in 7314 PA
Edgar 264 career WS (251 bat, 13 def) in 7113 PA

Allen peak WS season: 41/40/35/33/32
Edgar peak WS season: 32/28/27/25/24

Both were below average thirdbasemen:
Allen 2.96 def WS per 1000 innings
Edgar 2.77 def WS per 1000 innings

They're in the same neighborhood defensively as Lansford (2.92), Mathews (3.02), Madlock (2.65), Jacoby (2.81), Bailey (2.98), Sprague (2.78), et al.

The very worst fielder in history among long-career thirdbasemen according to win shares is Dean Palmer (1.90). Chipper Jones (1.99) and Paul Schaal (1.93) are in the same range.

The leaders are all players from 100 years ago: Lave Cross (6.03), Jimmy Collins (5.93), and Tommy Leach (5.76).

   22. Chris Dial Posted: June 21, 2002 at 12:32 AM (#605353)
Thanks for the WS data. I didn't realize their present PT ws so similar in terms of trips to the plate. It looks like Dick was quite a bit better.
   23. DanG Posted: June 24, 2002 at 12:32 AM (#605364)
First of all, the three-year peak isn?t necessarily consecutive. Secondly, Maris and McLain would rank higher if we were using two-year peaks, as their third year isn?t exactly super.

Maris had 31-36-25 win shares in 1960-61-62. There?s a lot more to the game than hitting homeruns. Anyway, that?s not what I?d call a low peak.

McLain had 20-33-29 in 1965-68-69. That?s a higher peak than Randy Johnson, who had 26-26-26 the past three years. Remember, a pitcher?s W-L record says as much (or more) about the support he got as it does how well he pitched. In 1968 the Tigers gave him great support with three others who were among the league?s top ten players: Freehan (35 WS), Horton (28), and McAuliffe (28), along with Northrup (24).

Richard had 21-19-23 in 1977-78-79. I?m not sure why you believe he was better than that. He had 18 wins each season and only in 1979 was he among the league?s top six in ERA. Perhaps because a lot of strikeouts often leads to pitchers being overrated(?) Also, the Astrodome was an awful park for hitters, giving Astros pitchers deceptively low ERA?s in general.

Finally, if I understand correctly, the win shares system gives more credit to the defense for a pitcher?s success than other rating systems. I believe James is saying that what we commonly think of as pitching ability is attributable to the defense more than most of us realize. So 20th century pitchers are usually ranked lower by James than we expect.

   24. Marc Hugunin Posted: July 18, 2002 at 12:36 AM (#605574)
I did a little study to try to predict who might be elected. This is not normative, it's not who I think SHOULD be chosen but who might be more or less likely to be chosen. It represents a consensus of sorts.

This groups seems to like WS and frankly so do I. But TPR has its adherents and then there's the HOF voting over the years which suggests a logic all its own. So I combined the lot of them.

I added career WS/10 + peak WS (3 yr + 5yr)/10 + TPR + BBWAA HOF votes at peak/10 + my own special sauce, and I came up with the following.


1. Bob Caruthers 148.4
2. Ron Santo 144
3. Bill Dahlen 143.1
4. Tony Oliva 138.5
5. Dick Allen 129.6
6. Minnie Minoso 127.2
7. Tony Mullane 126.9
8. Jack Glasscock 120.5
9. Heinie Groh 116.6
Gil Hodges 116.6

11. Bucky Walters 116.5
12. Ken Boyer 114.4
13. Bobby Bonds 112
Joe Gordon 112
15. Stan Hack 110.7
16. Harry Stovey 109.3
17. Pete Browning 108.9
18. Frank Howard 107.5
19. Rocky Colavito 107.3
20. Thurman Munson 99.9
21. Joe Torre 92.5
22. Bill Freehan 90.7

I further tested my rating against past HOF voting and found that it generally took 140 points to go in the front door, and about 106 to go in the back. Except for catchers where 90 was a better predictor, and relief pitchers where who the heck knows (so I adopted 90 for relief pitchers, though there are no qualifiers at that level). So that's where my list of 22 "qualifiers" comes from.

A few observations: I don't think it's fair to reject Caruthers and Mullane out of hand. You adjust expectations but you consider their credentials. I think they belong. 3B have clearly been underrepresented so you have a bunch ready to go in. Dick Allen, yes, by all means. He and Tony Oliva would make a nice pair of bookends, for obvious reasons. If BBWAA voting preferences are an indicator, Hodges, Oliva, Maris, Kuenn, Caveretta, Wills, Marion, Sain, Reynolds, Lolich, Boyer and Santo (in that order) are the only ones who got 100 votes. Most of them are not strong candidates otherwise.

But then, of course, this is a new committee, who knows how they will vote. I would anticipate a bias in favor of post-WWII players, because that is where the personal experience and personal relationships of the voters are. So, finally, I would have to predict that Santo, Oliva, Hodges, Bonds and Torre are the most likely to get voted in. Allen, Minoso and Boyer are the long-shots.

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