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Hall of Merit: Second Basemen

Click on the discussion link for the summary of 2B.

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: July 08, 2002 at 11:54 PM | 91 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: First Basemen on the opening ballot

This will be the first of many threads to discuss players at each position on the first Hall of Merit ballot.

A gigantic thank you to David Jones, John Murphy and KJOK. They ran the numbers through the spreadsheets for me and it was a major help. Without their help it would be two months from now before this thread would have been posted. Thanks guys!!

I’m going to list the player’s career WS, top 3 seasons, top 5 consecutive and a few other things, like % played at each position (based on seasons, not games, very important w/shifting schedule length), etc. All WS numbers are adjusted to a 162-game season, based on team games. Hopefully the formatting works . . .

The players are listed here alphabetically. Let me know if anyone was overlooked.

Later in the week, I’ll be adding offensive W-L records that I’ve computed, as well as a total of Stats retroactive MVP, all-stars, etc., so check back here as well. This is just a beginning, these numbers aren’t meant to be a criteria, just a starting point for discussion. I’ll be adding NA WS by the end of the month I hope.

Coming up with reasonable adjusted pitching numbers are still in the works, hopefully in the next two weeks or so.

Let me know what you think of this format. More will be coming . . . The resumes will appear when you link into the discussion, you’ll have to scroll back up.

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: July 08, 2002 at 07:36 PM | 149 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: Seasonally Adjusted Win Shares for First Ballot (1906 induction) Canditates Update

I’ve received the spreadsheets back from the volunteers (David Jones, John Murphy and KJOK, thanks much!!).

I’ve been swamped and spent the last week at the SABR convention. All data should be posted by Monday morning next week, hopefully sooner.

What I’m planning to do is write up a summary of the data, I’m looking for suggestions on the format.

I see two options. The first is to create a separate thread for each position. The second is one long thread for everyone. I like the first option, but I can be persuaded otherwise.

In addition to the summary, I’ll set up links to the spreadsheets so people can do whatever they want with the data.

We’re getting close to an actual vote here . . . maybe by the end of the month?

I should have similar pitcher info by the end of the week of July 20. The only thing I need is some pitcher/defense split info from 1871-1900 (and some time/volunteers to use this to adjust some numbers, similar to the position player project). Charlie Saeger has been working on this, and I plan to drop him an email later today.

One other thing, I’m hoping to have a preliminary constitution up by the end of next week, so we can discuss it, modify it, and finalize how all of this will work.

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: July 02, 2002 at 11:59 AM | 4 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: Volunteer Recruitment

I realize I’ve got myself into too many things to be able to do all the prep for “player resumes” right now, and we need to get this cranking before we lose all of the interest that was generated over the winter (over 100 people signed up to vote).

Let me preface this by saying Win Shares are not the be all end all of player evaluation. I realize people have their issues with it.

That being said they are a valuable tool towards what we are trying to evaluate here.

What I’d like to do is take my list of “players that will appear prominently on the ‘ballot’” (can’t think of a better description, since technically, anyone is eligible) and adjust their win shares to a 162 game season. This is very important for pre-1901 players (really for pre-1961-62 players).

Volunteers for this will need the Digital Win Shares Update from Stats, Inc. ($19.95). Owning one of the new Total Baseball’s (I forget which edition it is), with OF positions broken down by LF/CF/RF will help as well, but I can update that if necessary.

I’ll set up a form, and email you the spreadsheet when you volunteer. There’s probably 10-20 players at each position that we’ll need to do this for. I had almost finished the catchers, and when I swapped laptops, the file was lost (I thought I burned it to a CD, but I guess I didn’t). If we could get 9-10 people to each take a position, that would be ideal.

Then as the data comes back to me, I’ll start posting the “resumes” to this part of the site, discussion will begin and when we reach a consensus that we are ready to start voting, we’ll do that. That’s the plan anyway.

I’ll probably take the suggestions from prior threads, come up with a basic “Constitution” if you will. When that’s drafted, we’ll let people offer up suggestions for “Ammendments” and then we’ll have a structure in place.

For the “players that will appear prominently on the ‘ballot’”, I’m thinking anyone that made a Stats All-Time Handbook All-Star team at least once, or anyone ranked in Bill James top 100 lists in the New Historical Baseball Abstract. If someone isn’t in either spot, they probably have no chance at election, but just in case, I’ll add any player that a reader “requests” as well.

You can send the email for this to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Take the “NOSPAM” out of that address.

I really want to get this cranking now. It will be my number one baseball related priority from here out. I’m sorry if I’ve cried wolf on this before. Thanks for hanging in there.

Later today, the basic jist of this will be sent in an e-mail to everyone in the Hall of Merit address book as well, because I’m sure many of you have stopped looking here. I’ll probably make this a clutch hit as well.

My goal is to go no longer than one week without a new post on this part of the site.

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: June 07, 2002 at 04:52 PM | 86 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: Replacement Level for 19th Century Players

This is to extend the discussion brought up earlier on the Win Shares thread w/Craig B and I about trying to peg the replacement level for 19th Century baseball. It’s something we’ll need to do, if we want to adjust win shares for replacement level. I’ve generally considered .325 a solid number for modern times, but it could definitely be lower as baseball matured.

Does anyone have any thoughts or know of any existing studies on this issue?

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: April 12, 2002 at 06:18 PM | 13 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: The New Historical Baseball Abstract

In the extended text (click on discussion) I’m posting Bill James’ thoughts on our first ballot (1906, for players that retired before 1901), according to the NHBA. I think his rankings need to be adjusted for season length, which will make a huge difference for guys like Deacon White and Ezra Sutton.

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: April 05, 2002 at 03:39 PM | 24 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: How to Structure the Ballot?

We decided this already:

Voters must vote for their top 10 candidates in order. We aren’t sure how to award the points.

In the extended text, I’ll post the last two posts from our earlier discussion.

I kind of like DanG’s idea and JimD points out that we aren’t splitting atoms. I guess we have to make a choice here, so let’s start moving in that direction . . .

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: April 03, 2002 at 02:49 PM | 9 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: More to Come Soon

Okay—we are going to get this rolling. One of the reasons we’ve been kind of slow on this is that I’ve been waiting for the Win Shares book to come out. I think that’s going to have a big impact on the Hall of Merit.

The other reason is that fantasy baseball has taken over the better part of the last two weeks, as I’m the commissioner and owner for baseball, hockey and basketball leagues and this is the busy season. After the draft this weekend my life will start to come back into order.

Anyway, I’m not saying the Win Shares method doesn’t have it’s flaws, especially the low replacement level. But once we know what the flaws are, we can adjust for them (and season length, which is important pre-1904)and we’ll really have a nice evaluative tool on our hands. I’m especially encouraged by the pitching/defense splits to see where the credit falls for historical players.

I’ve also been working on updating my career offensive W-L numbers w/some tweaks. Once that’s updated (hopefully by the weekend of the 19th) I’ll present numbers for every viable candidate on the ballot.

If any of you have questions, thoughts on the process, etc.; let’s get that discussion rolling as well. This is going to start picking up over the next few weeks, it’d be great if we could get the first ballot underway by Memorial Day weekend.

I’ll set up a few threads now to organize the discussion. One for ballot structure (relating to how points will be awarded), one for candidate discussion (let’s limit ourselves to players retired before 1900). If anyone has any other ideas for topics that need to be discussed, let me know and I’ll post them as well.

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: April 03, 2002 at 02:43 PM | 19 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: Estimating League Quality - Part 1 (the concept)

First of all, let me apologize for the lack of material posted to the Hall of Merit BLOG. In the coming weeks, I’m confident this will no longer be a problem.

When we consider players who played over 100 years ago, it is vital to look at the quality of the leagues they played in. Using a method that is similar to what Clay Davenport has been doing for some time (for examples of this kind of work, see Clay’s recent postings on Baseball Prospectus concerning the quality of play in the Japanese Baseball Leagues), I attempted to estimate the quality of baseball in the “major” leagues of the 19th century.

I focused on hitting stats, since at this time there were only a handful of pitchers active at a given time in a given league.

My method assumes that a player’s overall batting skill does not change appreciably from one year to the next. This assumption is not true on an individual basis, but it starts to make sense when we are talking about a large group of players. The individual changes in skill should become less important as the size of the group increases.

In leagues that are stable, there isn’t a very high turnover in personnel from year to year. In the 19th century National League, in most years, about 70%-80% of the players returned to play regularly the following year. In cases where new leagues started up and players jumped, the percentage of holdovers was much much lower - and this makes comparison much more difficult.

I estimated the quality of each hitter?s batting by using a runs produced ratio [(R+RBI)/PA] and compared it to a league average performance. The reason I chose this, and not Runs Created or Linear Weights, is that I wasn’t going to adjust for park and I assumed that the batting order bias of the R anbd RBI stats was not going to be relevant for a large group of players either.

In the 19th century, where more advanced run estimation formulas are much less accurate than for “modern” baseball, I opted for the simplicity of using Runs Scored and RBI.

Because we are comparing each group of players to league average the result shouldn’t be far from 1.00 for a relatively stable league (where the majority of regulars return the next year). In practice, it’s unlikely to be exactly 1.00 of course.

If the newcomers to the league in a given year were better than typical newcomers, the performance of the holdovers would be worse than in a typicla league and this would be a sign that the league was getting stronger. On the other hand, if a lot of good players jumped to a rival league and their places were filled by less skilled batsmen, the holdovers would improve their performance relative to league average and this would be a sign that the league was weakening.

By comparing the overall performance of the SAME group of players from year to year and league to league, it should be possible to track the changes in the overall quality of play.

In the next part, I’ll apply these methods to a specific example.

Robert Dudek Posted: March 01, 2002 at 10:49 PM | 174 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: Baseball Prospectus: Japanese Baseball: How Good Is It?

Thanks to “jimd” for passing this along.

This is an excellent article. Robert has done a lot of work on comparisons for 1871-75 NA, to the NL, last I heard he was complete through 1885. One surprise, 1874 or 75 NA was actually stronger than the 1876 NL. That’s just a tease for now (I don’t have the numbers, just recalling converstations w/Robert), I think Robert will be ready to post his findings soon.

This is vital to our early ballot. From a previous thread I think we’ve agreed to move the first election back to 1905 (careers through 1900). With the nature of baseball back then, the importance of accurately weighing the strength of the league a player played in cannot be understated.

On a side note, I did not realize Japanese baseball was that strong.

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: January 31, 2002 at 09:02 PM | 32 comment(s)
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