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Hall of Merit: 1871 National Association

This will be the first recap of a 19th Century season. Besides my main sources will be The Stats All-Time Handbook, The Stats All-Time Sourcebook and The Great Encyclopedia of the 19th Century Major League Baseball.

To save space, I’ll post the standings here, commentary inside the thread.

I’ll be presenting two sets of standings, the first, the games as they were played. The second set will show what the standings would have been over a balanced schedule, with the aim for somewhere between 154 and 162 games where possible.

I have a complex set of formulas that adjusts for the unbalanced schedule. I don’t want to get into too many details here, but I adjust each team’s skill rate based on schedule strength.

Then I prove out the actual W-L record to within .05 for each team (in most cases) using the actual schedule, and the formula for W-L between two teams A and B: (WpctA*LpctB)/((WpctA*LpctB)+(WpctB*LpctA)). I plug that formula in for every combination (multiplied by actual games played), and prove out the records. With wacky schedules sometimes the numbers have to be manually tweaked, but that just improves the accuracy. I’ll send you the spreadsheet if you have any interest in the gory details.

Once that is done, the sheet computes a second set of standings based on a balanced schedule. Since there were 9 teams in the 1871 NA, I had each team play each other 20 times (160 game season). I take one final step of rounding up enough teams to make the standings ‘add up’. Sometimes due to rounding, the whole league comes out 1001-999 or something when you add up the rounded numbers. So I find the team over .5 by the least and round them down instead of up (or vice versa if the league is 999-1001). It’s just for appearances, that’s all. The PCT is based on the actual numbers of adjusted wins and losses, as many decimals as excel calculates.

Since we care about individuals more than teams for this exercise, once we get the Win Shares spreadsheet adjusted for 19th Century purposes, I’ll be computing adjusted NA Win Shares based on the second set of standings (adjusted to 162 game seasons of course), so we account for unbalanced schedules. It’s especially important, with the short, haphazard schedules, to remove this bias.

One other note on the 1871 NA. Rockford’s manager/catcher Scott Hastings played with New Orleans over the previous winter to earn some extra $$. On April 16, New Orleans played Chicago in an exhibition game (this was before the first NA season opener).

There was a rule to discourage revolving, a player under contract with one team could not play for another team for 60 days after his last game. Even though New Orleans wasn’t in the NA, all other teams protested, and all Rockville wins prior to June 16 were forfeited to the teams they beat. This gave Philadelphia two extra wins and the ‘pennant’. The standings below give Rockford back those 4 wins, so they differ from those shown on Baseball Reference, and make the league more reasonable from top to bottom. The best teams were as good (relatively) as the 2001 Mariners, the worst were a little worse than 1998 Marlins, but that’s about the range. There was no one as bad (relative to the league) as the 1899 Spiders here.

Here are the results (the actual standings only include games actually played, no forfeits):

Actual Standings*:          Adjusted Standings:
          W   L   PCT   GB             W   L PCT GB
Philadelphia 19   9   .679 — Philadelphia 113 47 .704 —
Chicago     19   9   .679 — Chicago     113 47 .704 —
Boston     20   10   .667 — Boston     108 52 .676   5
New York     16   17   .485 5.5 New York     79 81 .492 34
Washington   14   16   .467 6.0 Washington   77 83 .482 36
Troy       12.2 15.8 .436 6.8 Troy       70 90 .438 43
Fort Wayne   6.8 12.2 .357 7.8 Fort Wayne   55 105 .344 58
Cleveland   10   19   .345 9.5 Cleveland     54 106 .341 59
Rockford     8   17   .320 9.5 Rockford     51 109 .319 62

*see posts 6, 8 and 10 for explanation of Troy and Fort Wayne’s records

You can see that Philly and Chicago both played pretty tough schedules (their adjPCT is .026 higher than actual) while Boston didn’t. In reality, Chicago probably would have won the pennant if it wasn’t for The Fire (see discussion). Boston would have won if it weren’t for an injury that cost George Wright half the season.

There’s more, including a Silver Slugger team in the discussion portion.

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: January 24, 2003 at 04:35 AM | 30 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: All Time Negro Leagues All-Stars

I’ll list the top players as listed from two solid sources, the The Complete Book of Baseball’s Negro Leagues; and the New Historical Baseball Abstract.

I’ll also give career dates, courtesy of The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues so we can begin to get a grasp on eligibility, etc..

The links are there because they are excellent books to buy if you have a few extra dollars.

You’ll have to scroll back up after you click the link.

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: January 17, 2003 at 02:37 AM | 313 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: Season by Season Recap

I think one way to build towards the first election is to recap each season with a thread, starting with the 1871 NA. I’m thinking a season a day (Monday-Friday). As we go through time this way, we’ll start to get a feel for which players dominated year-in-year out, etc.

Charles Saeger has done a lot of work towards coming up with modified Win Shares for NA (and eventually all 19th Century players). The reliability of Win Shares gets shakier the further back we go in time, mainly because of the pitching and fielding differences. Charlie’s work should correct a fair amount of this error.

The problem with the massive revisions is that they also require a massive effort to work their way into a spreadsheet. It’ll be worth the wait once they are done, and if we go through time season by season, that will also buy us a little bit of time to get the spreadsheet revised and do some testing before presenting the NA numbers.

We’re not saying WS are the be all and end all. But Charlie’s revised numbers will be a very good guide for an era where we don’t have much to go on.

Let me know what you think of the season-by-season approach. Assuming people are in favor of it, I should be able to get the 1871 NA up tonight.

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: January 13, 2003 at 02:53 PM | 11 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: Update

I received two outstanding Christmas presents yesterday, the Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Leagues and the Complete Book of Baseball’s Negro Leagues.

These two books, combined with the Negro League section of the NHBA, and hopefully some testimony from Negro League experts on the panel should give us a pretty solid chunk of evidence to go on. We aren’t going to be perfect of course, but when it’s said and done we should probably have about 20 or so Negro Leaguers among our 200+ inductees.

One player that I ‘discovered’ was Biz Mackey, probably the 2nd best catcher in Negro Leagues History. Cristobal Torriente is another player that hasn’t been honored by the Hall of Fame that should be . . . there are a few others.

There aren’t too many players from the 19th Century for us to worry about, maybe Bud Fowler and George Stovey (Fleet Walker wasn’t really that great of a player, his fame is more symbolic than anything else).

When I get a few minutes, I’ll set up a thread to discuss the Negro Leaguers, I’ll probably start by posting the All-Time All-Star teams from the Complete Book . . . and from from the NHBA, I should be able to get those up there tonight.

We’re also fairly close to NA Win Shares, Charlie Saeger has done a lot of work, but I’ve got to get a spreadsheet reprogrammed before we can test them out. Maybe 2-3 weeks. If you’ve read the book, you know WS is a massive spreadsheet, about 2 MB without any data. This is a massive overhaul, and will require reprogramming almost the entire thing. If this works out well, it’s possible we’ll be able to come up with revised WS for other 19th Century seasons, but much of that will depend on having the time to enter the data, to see if it’s worth the effort.

Happy Holidays!

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 26, 2002 at 01:34 PM | 2 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: Our Constitution

Statement of Purpose:

The Hall of Merit is an internet group of baseball enthusiasts who will create its own “Hall of Merit” to rival the “Hall of Fame” in Cooperstown.  Many believe that the National Baseball Hall of Fame has done a less than perfect job of selecting the game’s greatest players to honor.  We will attempt to rectify mistakes made by Hall of Fame selections by conducting our own series of elections.  A more thorough description of the Hall of Merit can be found here.

We will ...

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 06, 2002 at 10:55 PM | 396 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: Email Conversation with Rob Wood

My ‘conversation’ with Rob Wood will be posted in the discussion thread.

It’s basically a status of where we stand. Rob has volunteered to draft a rules document, based on everything that’s been discussed in the threads.

I think we’ll be ready to vote after New Year’s.

Hopefully this answers your questions.

If any of you have an idea for a thread, let me know and I’ll post it. This section is different than Clutch Hits, in that we don’t have “news” every day to link to. We try to keep the discussion going, but it’s easy to fall into lulls. Any suggestions would be appreciated . . . thanks!

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: November 25, 2002 at 11:40 PM | 1 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: Hall of Merit group set up on Yahoo

The group has been set up on yahoo, we’ll use this to send messages, register voters, etc.

The subscribe, send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Don’t forget to remove NOSPAM from that address.

To send a message to the group, use .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

I’m not sure how this will work, I only sent two invitations, because it didn’t have an easy way to get to the address book unfortunately. Go to the link above for the home page for the group. Post any questions, etc. here.

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: November 15, 2002 at 03:12 AM | 20 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: The Jackson/Rose/Cicotte/Devlin issue

I’ll post Craig’s comment from the rules thread and my reply in the discussion.

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: November 07, 2002 at 09:03 PM | 77 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: The Rules

I’m in the process of getting a formal set of rules together, and I’m wondering what you guys think should be included.

Obviously we’ll have the voting system, we settled on 24-23-22-17-16-15-14-13-12-11-10-9-8-7-6 (if 3 are elected) IIRC.

We’ll have to figure out how to register the voters. I know this might be a pain, but I’m going to have to set up a new email address, actually I’ll set up a yahoo group most likely. The reason is that I’ve got over 100 people in the address book for the .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) account and yahoo won’t let me send an email to a group that big. It was a pain in the keyster last time to get that test email out there. I’ll let you all know when this group is set up.

I’m wondering if I could get a volunteer to maintain the email group. I can’t get to web email at work anymore, and I’m on dial up at home, so I don’t log on all the time, and things get missed. I apologize if you’ve slipped through the cracks. Once we get the group going on yahoo, this will be much easier.

I’m also wondering what other rules you’ll forsee us needing I’ll tell you where I’m leaning:

Eligibility 5 years after the first time the player plays less than 10 G in the field or pitches in less than 5 games. This will account for most token appearances. We could provide for an exception if someone feels there is a player who slips under this guideline but should eligible anyway. A voter would raise the issue, and we’d decide o a case-by-case basis (maybe a small committee of 3-5 people for eligibility questions?)

I don’t want this to get out of control with rules or anything, but I also want to anticipate problems. So let me know what you all think by posting on this thread, and if you have other questions/suggestions for things that should be in our “Constitution” post them here, so we can discuss and let’s get this thing rolling!

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: October 30, 2002 at 12:06 AM | 78 comment(s)
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Hall of Merit: Pitchers for the Hall of Merit

Let’s start discussing the pitchers here. I don’t have any adjusted numbers to post yet, but there’s no reason we can get the discussion cranking.

I take that back. I went through season by season a ways back and came up with pythagorean W-L records for each pitcher, based on his ERA vs. park adjusted league (season by season), adjusting for an average number of decisions in each season (based on the pitcher’s career IP/dec ratio for his career). Those numbers will be in the extended text.

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: September 18, 2002 at 05:16 PM | 571 comment(s)
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