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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Monday, June 02, 2003

1902 Ballot

After our most active week of discussion yet . . . let the games begin!

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: June 02, 2003 at 02:20 PM | 111 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. favre Posted: June 02, 2003 at 02:57 PM (#513634)
Here's my ballot. I had Wright and Keefe in my first two slots last year. I've given comments when I've made any changes. In general, I weigh career over peak, and consider the Americn Association to be an inferior league.

1. Dan Brouthers (LY: N/A)
Not much commentary needed here.
2. Buck Ewing (LY:N/A)
Perhaps a little overrated, but still an excellent career. Like Richardson, he banged out good season after good season, and did it while playing an extremely difficult position for a signficant portion of his playing time.
3. Charley Radbourn (LY:3)
4. Jack Glasscock (LY:4)
5. Hardy Richardson (LY:5)
6. Joe Start (LY:8).
Moved him up a bit; I thought the arguments for his inclusion were very good.
7. Al Spalding (LY:7).
8. Ezra Sutton (LY:8)
Moved him down a bit; his WS and Warp-3 totals aren't very impressive.
9. Cal McVey (LY:14)
Biggest jump of anyone on the ballot. Like a couple of other voters,I'm giving him credit for his pre-NA work, but not for his move to California.
10. Sam Thompson(LY:N/A) I know black/grey ink is a limited tool, but his scores are impressive.
11. Pud Galvin (LY:12)
Given his sabermetric scores, I sense that I am seriously underrating him.
12. Harry Stovey (LY:9).
13. Charlie Bennett (LY:10).
I'm not dropping Stovey and Bennett as much as I'm moving people ahead of them.
14. Ned Williamson (LY:13).
15. Bob Caruthers (LY:15)

Dropped off the ballot: Pete Browning (11).
Sam Thompson has similar credentials, and did it in a better league.

   2. RobC Posted: June 02, 2003 at 03:00 PM (#513635)
Career value is still primary ranking device. I use it to group
them and then use others factors to decide within groups. I divided
by group this time. Comments are mostly on new guys.

1. Dan Brouthers - Both are clear cut HOMers.
2. Jack Glasscock
3. Hardy Richardson
4. Pud Galvin
5. Sam Thompson - This may be a controversial placing, but I actually considered putting him higher.
6. Buck Ewing - This isnt a close as it seems, there is a bit of a gap between him and Bennett, I didnt even remotely consider putting him below Bennett. There just wasnt anyone who fell in between.
7. Charlie Bennett
8. Old Hoss Radbourn
9. Ezra Sutton - He almost deserves his own group. He is clearly either the best of this group or the worst of the above group.
10. Harry Stovey - Stovey has been falling and Start rising. They could flip-flop in the future.
11. Joe Start
12. Pete Browning
13. Fred Dunlap
14. Tom York
15. George Stovey - I dont know where to put him. Looking ahead, this may be his only appearance on my ballot.
This group also includes Albert Spalding, Jim Whitney, Jim McCormick, Bob Caruthers, and Ned Williamson.

   3. Rusty Priske Posted: June 02, 2003 at 03:11 PM (#513636)
1. Dan Brouthers. (new)
2. Old Hoss Radbourne (2)

As much as I like Hoss, I just couldn't justify the number one spot with Brouthers around.

3. Pud Galvin (3)

I think he is very underrated.

4. Jack Glasscock (10)

The biggest jump for me. The arguments were compelling.

5. Bob Caruthers (5)
6. Buck Ewing (new)

I originally had him lower. I believe he'll get in eventually, but I don't know about this year.

7. Harry Stovey (7)
8. Hardy Richardson (4)

The new guys and "rising stars" have hurt Hardy. My personal cut-off is around here.

9. Mickey Welch (9)
10. Tony Mullane (8)

He continues to slide from his debut on my list at #3.

11. Jim McCormick (12)
12. Pete Browning (11)
13. Ezra Sutton (13)
14. Sam Thompson (new)

He was good. I just don't think he was good enough.

15. Joe Start (-)

I wanted to give a mercy vote to Adonis Terry but the discussions this week have convinced me to include Joe. It may not be much, but I'm going to continue pondering him.

   4. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 02, 2003 at 03:13 PM (#513637)
Here's my ballot (sorry for the redundancy). Again, I use a combination of peak and career for the rankings. I also view each position on an equal basis. This doesn't mean that I have a quota to fill each position for my top ten. Sometimes a position will not have a viable candidate for a certain "year."

1) Dan Brouthers (n/a): Without a doubt, the greatest hitter of the 19th century. Best first baseman for 1882, 1887, 1889, 1891, 1892, 1893, and 1894 As strictly a first baseman, had roughly the same value as Cap Anson (in three less seasons).

2) Buck Ewing (n/a): Greatest player who caught for the 1880s. Like Brouthers, a no-brainer HoMer. Best catcher for 1884, 1885, 1886 (arguable), 1888, and 1890.

3) Al Spalding (1):
Besides being (easily) the king of all NA pitchers (and doing a great job in the NL for 1876), he was also a star pitcher for half of the 1860s (he pitched for 12 seasons in all). If you don't give credit for his pre-NA work, then that would be the only way you could consider his career short.

I would give him 4 Jim Creighton Award (:-)) for his NA work. Helluva hitter, too!

4) Ezra Sutton (2): Simply the best at the position for the 19th century when combining peak and career. Best third baseman for 1875 (probably), 1883, 1884 and 1885. Almost the best first baseman behind McVey for 1876.

As has been stated before, third base at the time was more of a defensive position than second base. Offense at the "hot corner" has to be analyzed with that in mind. Third basemen tended to get beat up more than they do today so their career numbers seem truncated as compared to some of the other positions.

5) Jack Glasscock (4): I have him basically tied with Wright, except he's more career value than Wright (and George is more peak).

Best shortstop for 1882, 1886, and 1889.

6) Cal McVey (5): Awesome player. I gave him credit for his pre-NA work, though I still decided not to give him any for post-NL. This might be unfair of me and I might decide later to include his career out west (does anyone have any info for this time of McVey's career)?

Never had an off year in the NA or NL. Best offensive catcher for the NA (possibly the best all-around). Best first baseman for 1876 (possibly 1879). Best catcher for 1877. Best third baseman for 1878.

7) Dickey Pearce (6): Really revolutionized the position of shortstop. All-around player at the position. Considered the best before George Wright. Caught many games as a catcher (even was an All-Star at the position one year). Even with my conservative evaluation, he has to rank near the top. He played for over twenty years in the best leagues or on the best teams of the 1850s and '60s. Even though his NA and NL was meager (he was 35 in '71), he still had the most value after 35 until Dahlen and Davis, FWIW.

If we are including pre-NA players, I can't see how anyone could leave him off their ballots, IMO.

I'm not giving him any credit here for the bunt, BTW.

8) Hardy Richardson (7): Greatest player who played a great deal at second for the 1880s (Fred Dunlap probably had the most value strictly at the position). Best leftfielder for 1886. Best second baseman for 1887 and 1889.

9) Joe Start (8): Considered the best first baseman for the 1860s. Considering how old he was when he joined the NA and how well he did, that evaluation seems to hold water. Best first baseman for 1871, 1878 and 1879.

10) Charlie Bennett (10): Strictly as a catcher, extremely comparable to Buck Ewing value wise (though based more on career than peak value). Best catcher for 1881, 1882 and 1883. Most durable catcher up to that time (catchers absorbed much more abuse than they do today).

11) Levi Meyerle (11): I have been underrating him greatly. Great player, but short career. An injury forced him out of the NL. Best third baseman for the NA. I also gave him some credit for the period 1867-1870.

12) Ed Williamson (12): Best third baseman for the 80s. Best third baseman for 1881.

13) Fred Dunlap (13): Most value as a second baseman for the 1880s (though McPhee and Richardson were still the better players career wise). Best second baseman for 1880, 1881 and 1884.

14) Lip Pike (14): Considered the fastest man of his time. Best centerfielder for 1874, 1875 and 1876. Best rightfielder for 1871. Star second and third baseman for half of the 1860s. He might deserve to move up.

15) Old Hoss Radbourn (15): Possibly could be rated the number one pitcher of the 19th century, but I need more information. At any rate, he deserves at least a mention.

I can't see George Stovey on my ballot at this time. He appears to have been more a very good pitcher, instead of great.

   5. Brad Harris Posted: June 02, 2003 at 03:15 PM (#513638)
1. Dan Brothers
2. Jack Glasscock
3. Joe Start
4. Ezra Sutton
5. Buck Ewing
6. Hardy Richardson
7. Charlie Bennett
8. Cal McVey
9. Bob Caruthers
10. Harry Stovey
11. Al Spalding
12. Ned Williamson
13. Sam Thompson
14. Charley Radbourn
15. Pete Browning
   6. karlmagnus Posted: June 02, 2003 at 03:26 PM (#513640)
1. (1-1)Charles Radbourn ? 1884 value to his team was unique in all of baseball history, and he also got 300 wins. I think we?re wrong in not having elected him already.
2. Dan Brouthers Very dominant hitter, with some impressive peak seasons, but not unique in the way Radbourn was.
3. (5-2)Al Spalding – utterly dominant pitcher, higher paid than the two teammates who are in already
4. (11-8) Pud Galvin – another pitcher with a long and good career. I hadn’t focused properly on where his 364 wins put him in the all-time list, though.
5. Buck Ewing Dominant player at very tough position in his time; I’m convinced by the arguments he’s a lot better than Bennett, and lasted longer
6. (7-5) Joe Start – I’m convinced by the arguments of his greatness in the 1860s, but worried that he didn’t blow them away in the NA
7. (n/a-7) Jack Glasscock – Very long career with impressive batting numbers, given he was a SS.
8. (8-9) Bob Caruthers – a first class pitcher/position player, with a very high peak on some top teams, but a significant AA discount
9. (13-10) Ezra Sutton – a lot better than league at primarily defensive position
10. (10-6) Hardy Richardson – long career, considerably better than league
11. (15-14) Mickey Welch – long and solid career, maybe not HOM, but 300 wins is 300 wins.
12. (9-12) Lip Pike – MUCH better than the league, once it got going, but a short league career.
13. (N/A) Sam Thompson Some impressive years in there, and good career totals.
14. (14-11) Pete Browning – mostly AA, but looks better than Stovey or O’Neill to me
15. (--15) Harry Stovey Best years were in AA, but impressive figures overall nonetheless.
Bennett, H. Wright just off the bottom of the ballot.
   7. Adam Schafer Posted: June 02, 2003 at 04:07 PM (#513645)
1. Dan Brouthers (n/a) - #1, simple as that

2. Al Spalding (1) - STILL the best pitcher on the ballot. Now that we are considering Negro League players that played against questionable talent, we have even more reason to value Spalding who probably CONSISTENTLY played against a higher level of talent, and flat out dominated against it.

3. Ezra Sutton (3) - Poor Ezra just can't bust loose from this #3 spot

4. Hoss Radbourne (4) - 300 wins is impressive. I don't care if he somehow got all of his career wins in one season and was a horrible pitcher for the rest of his career, 300 wins is worth eventual induction. Hoss WAS a good pitcher, and I'm not one to typically value peak over career, but his peak was just TOO good and career wasn't too shabby.

5. Jack Glasscock (9) - BIG jump for Jack. I wish i could say that I had really undervalued him on the previous ballot, which i did to some extent. After much talk about the Stovey's, I feel I have been overvaluing Harry who DID deserve a high ranking on previous ballots, but we now have better players beginning to appear on the ballot.

6. Sam Thompson (n/a) - One dimensional? Maybe so, but if being an offensive stud is one dimensional, I'll take it. Was his offensive bootsted by the parks? Again, probably so. The man knew how to take advantage of a good situation. If we discredit him for the parks he played in, then we are going to have to discredit Billy Hamilton and Ed Delahanty. He hit for power, he hit for average, produced runs, drove in runs, and could run, therefore I like him better than Ewing. I know this isn't going to be a popular move on my part, but sometimes you just have to do what you feel is right.

7. Buck Ewing (n/a) - I'm not 100% sure I want him this high. I will not disagree he was the greatest catcher to date, but what is that REALLY saying at this point? Maybe if it was 1950 and we were saying he was the greatest catcher to date, it might mean a little more to me. When we have a player such as Brouthers on the ballot with those eye popping stats, it's hard to place Buck too high. His offense wasn't great in general, but was good for a catcher. He played 700 games (not counting those as a pitcher) at a position other than catcher, that's half of his career. He's a HOM'er, I truly believe this, but I feel the ones I've ranked above him are more deserving. He'll probably make it in on this election, but I'd sure like to see him earnit take him a couple "years"

8. Joe Start (7) - New additions and some reshuffling cost him a spot on this years ballot.

9. Bob Carruthers (8) - I'm suprised to see him move down a spot on my own ballot. Before I started filling it out I expected him to be higher. I simply don't have any room above here to put him.

10. Charlie Bennett (14) - Amazing. I hadn't even really wanted to put him on my previous ballots, but with the comparison to Ewing, (who is obviously going to draw some strong support) I quickly realized the errors of my ways. I still have a hard time digging up TOO much sympathy for him or Ewing strictly b/c they were catchers, but if Ewing is going to draw so much attention, then Charlie definitely should be drawing a lot more than he has been. Still not a HOM'er in my book, but he deserves a much higher ranking than he has been recieving from me. With some more convincing, I'd ALMOST be willing to move Bennett up to the next spot on my ballot directly behind Buck.

11. Harry Stovey (6) - Harry is dropping like a rock for me. After all the talk about him this week, I felt the need to move him down. I'm still convinced he was good, I'm just more convinced that there are others more deserving.

12. Mickey Welch (13) - 300 wins. I like the number, I don't care what era they come in. I like 300 wins. I move Welch above Galvin b/c Welch's losses don't look so bad, but to me it really doesn't matter who comes first. Welch/Galvin, Galvin/Welch.

13. Pud Galvin (12) - see Mickey

14. Hardy Richardson (10) - I'm giving more value to the pitchers at this point

15. Cal McVey (11) - ANother big drop do to my value on the pitchers

I can't justify voting for George Stovey at this point. I am facinated by the Negro Leagues, but what type of talent did they TRULY play against. Sure they played some top notch players, but they also played a LOT of small town barnstorming teams that made them look REALLY good and added to their legend. I just can't vote on legend alone. I am definitely NOT against voting for negro leaguers, it'd be a tragedy if buck leonard, satchel paige, josh gibson etc. didn't get in, but I just can't vote for someone (i.e. Stovey) that I personally just don't know anything about.
   8. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 02, 2003 at 04:27 PM (#513646)

Who is #5 on your ballot?
   9. DanG Posted: June 02, 2003 at 04:38 PM (#513647)
Early results show a real showdown developing between Ewing and Glasscock for HoM honors. Meanwhile, a strong crop of newcomers has most holdovers suffering a decline, especially Browning.
   10. Rusty Priske Posted: June 02, 2003 at 04:47 PM (#513648)
Joe did it correctly. When you have two people tied for #4, the next person is #6, not #5.
   11. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 02, 2003 at 05:10 PM (#513652)
There is no number 5 John, Ewing and Sutton split #4 and #5.

So they both get 16.5 points each? I just want to make sure that I have it right on my spreadsheet.
   12. MattB Posted: June 02, 2003 at 05:17 PM (#513654)
That's right, John.
   13. Carl Goetz Posted: June 02, 2003 at 05:22 PM (#513655)
Here's my ballot. Its basically the same except I dropped G Stovey off and moved F Dunlap on.

1)Dan Brouthers(New)- The class of this election.
2)Old Hoss Radbourn(2)- Best Pitcher on the board.
3)Jack Glasscock(4)- Moves up 1 spot because 2 players better than him were elected and only 1 new player is better. Pebbly Jack's a no-brainer, but will likely have to wait a few years.
4)Joe Start(5)- Moves up 1 for the same reason as Pebbly Jack. Start is a HoMer and is, IMHO, the most underrated player in these elections by far.
5)Buck Ewing(New)- Is a HoMer, but is overrated and needs to wait a few years.
6)Pud Galvin(6)- Pud's got the Career and his peak is underrated. He's above my theoretical 'In' line.
7)Hardy Richardson(7)- Best 2B out there. Solid peak, solid career.
8)Charlie Bennett(8)- I thought Bennett might drop a little when compared with Ewing, but the fact that he compares so well with Ewing may move him up a notch before my final ballot.
9)Sam Thompson(New)- He's not any better than Richardson or Bennett and his defense keeps him lower than those 2. He's an 'iffy' HoMer in my mind and may move down on this list.
10)Al Spalding(10)- Stayed the same, but actually moved up 1 against the other holdovers.
11)Ezra Sutton(9)- Sutton is definitely on the 'dark side' of my HoM line. I just don't regard him as highly as others.
12)Cal McVey(12)- See Spalding.
13)Ed Williamson(11)- Sutton is still better.
14)Harry Stovey(13)- He's reclaimed his title as the best guy named 'Stovey' on the ballot. As before, I think he's overrated due to gaudy AA numbers.
15)Fred Dunlap(Not Rated)- Strong peak and a decent career. I've been underrating him in the past. I knocked George Stovey off my ballot because it doesn't sound as though he was a 'great' player, merely 'very good'.
   14. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 02, 2003 at 05:24 PM (#513656)
Glad to have you on board, Rick G!
   15. MattB Posted: June 02, 2003 at 05:43 PM (#513657)
Many serious reconsiderations and some movement.

1. Dan Brouthers (N/A) ? Second only to Roger Connor among 19th century-only players.

2. Joe Start (2) ? as I said before -- The best first baseman in all of pro-ball in 1871, 1878, and 1879. The second best first baseman in all of pro-ball in 1874 (to Jim O'Rourke), 1875 and 1876 (to Cal McVey), 1877 (to Deacon White) 1880 and 1881 (to Cap Anson). He then had 3 more solid, quality years (1882-1884) where he didn't stand a shot to be first or second because Roger Connor and Dan Brouthers were the best every year. Also, among the best pre-1871 players.

3. Ezra Sutton (3)

4. Pud Galvin (5) ? as much as I love Bob, I can no longer deny the fact that Pud pitched twice as many innings. This is a promotion of Pud, more than a demotion of Bob.

5. Bob Caruthers (4)

6. Jack Glasscock (6) -- I almost bumped him up a notch for defense, but I'm going to leave him here for now. I still have a few questions, and while I'm sold on the defense, better to put a newcomer a little low and adjust later than put him too high and have him inducted inappopriately. Great, but for the moment just the second best shortstop on the ballot.

7. Al Spalding (9) ? With Barnes and Wright in, I am re-examining the credentials of the third member of the NA-Boston triumvirate. He seems to stack up very well.

8. Buck Ewing (N/A) -- Look. I have him higher than Charlie Bennett. Really. I never said he shouldn?t be.

9. Hardy Richardson (8) ? dropped due to promotion of Spalding.

10 Harry Stovey (11) -- I think I have been under-valuing his AA contributions. I am beginning to realize that I don?t really have a good grasp of the AA-discount. Until I can get a better handle on it, I can?t really justify giving ANY demerits for AA play from 1885 until 1889.

11. Charlie Bennett (15) ? Serious promotion following positive comparison to Buck Ewing, above.

12. Charley Radbourn (10)

13. Pete Browning (12) ? In a head to head comparison to Sam Thompson, Browning seems to be better. Until I examine them more closely, I can?t justify putting Thompson above him.

14. George Stovey (N/A) ? Best black pitcher of the 19th century. Two great International League years show what might have been. The fact that Ward and others wanted to sign him give contemporary validation. Just don?t know what to make of the next 8 years of his career.

T15. Cal McVey (13)

T15. Sam Thompson (N/A) ? Surprised he ended up this low. But can't say that he's not ballot-worthy.

Off ballot, again ? Lip Pike
   16. karlmagnus Posted: June 02, 2003 at 05:53 PM (#513658)
In response to JoeDimino's #16, Radbourn won 59 games for the 1884 Grays who went 84-28 and won the "World Series". While I'm nothing like the expert many of you guys are, to me that is a "unique" performance in the sense of uniquely valuable to his team. If pitching is 50% of the game (OK maybe less then) then Radbourn is responsible single-handedly for 1/3 of a world champion. Nobody else has done that. It's NOT really equivalent to 29-8, as you put it on the pitching thread, because we don't play 50 game seasons.

Spalding's 55-5 for the 1875 Boston Red Stockings is close, of course, but in a much shorter season against what everybody seems to agree was inferior competition (Providence won in 1884, but were nowhere near any other year, whereas Spalding's teams dominated the league throughout.)
   17. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 02, 2003 at 06:06 PM (#513659)
If pitching is 50% of the game (OK maybe less then) then Radbourn is responsible single-handedly for 1/3 of a world champion. Nobody else has done that. It's NOT really equivalent to 29-8, as you put it on the pitching thread, because we don't play 50 game seasons.

Karl, the reason Old Hoss was able to accomplish his feat because it was much easier to do. You really have to compare him with his contemporaries or you will wind up overrating his season.

As for Joe's 29-8 season for him, that would be an amazing season for anybody in today's game (which it was back then). He would have won the Cy Young by a mile.

   18. karlmagnus Posted: June 02, 2003 at 06:16 PM (#513660)
(26) yes, but others didn't do it, not quite; it's certainly the best pitching performance of the 19th century, and since Hoss pitched 678 innings you can argue -- and I would -- it's the best all-time. Your 29-8 guy would be responsible for 16 extra wins compared to a "replacement level" pitcher who won 35% of his games, thus 13-24 (or in reality a collection of them, presumably). That's 10% of a season, maybe 15% of the value of a world champion. Old Hoss, on the same calculation, at 59-12 was responsible for 35 wins above the 24-47 replacement, 31% of the schedule or 40% of his 84-28 world champion team's total value.
   19. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 02, 2003 at 06:50 PM (#513661)
(26) yes, but others didn't do it, not quite; it's certainly the best pitching performance of the 19th century, and since Hoss pitched 678 innings you can argue -- and I would -- it's the best all-time.

While one should include his season when mentioning the greatest pitching seasons of all-time, everyone pitched more innings back then than they do today. Galvin had 636; there were 4 other pitchers with over 400 innings that year. His endurance was amazing, but not amazing. His numbers have to be placed in context with the other pitchers of his era.
   20. James Newburg Posted: June 02, 2003 at 07:16 PM (#513662)
1. Dan Brouthers (NR) - What a hitter! Undoubtedly the first SLAM DUNK~! candidate in the voting. Simply no weaknesses with Brouthers; he hit for average and power, could take a walk and control the strike zone, even ran the bases okay. Had a 170 career OPS+, ranking 7th all-time in that stat. Led his leagues in batting five times, OBP five times, SLG seven times and OPS eight times. Also led in extra-base hits five times. Just an amazing ballplayer who hasn't been given his historical due.

2. Joe Start (2) - Was excellent in the twilight of his career, doing enough to suggest that he was a great player in the 1860s. The fact that he was that good while playing in the National League from the age of 33 to 43 is simply amazing, especially considering the rough-and-tumble world of 19th century baseball. He also gets a bit of (subjective) extra credit as one of the game's first stars.

3. Charley Radbourn (3) - An amazing three-year peak with both quality (161 ERA+) and quantity (1785 IP). Didn't do too much outside of that period, though. Those ERA+ and IP numbers are pretty similar to Pedro Martinez's career (171 ERA+ in 1892 IP).

4. Jack Glasscock (4) - The Alan Trammell of 19th century shortstops. Had a long, consistent career with about six All Star-type seasons. Career OPS+ of 112 and an A- defender according to Win Shares. Didn't quite have the peak to be Top Three with a bullet, so I'm slotting him here. In any event, a deserving HOMer.

5. Buck Ewing (NR) - Probably the flashiest candidate eligible. Was acclaimed to be the best catcher of the 19th century, played for one of the most well-known teams and was pretty popular with the fans. His career falls short of the hype, but not by a whole lot. Had 10 seasons with a 130 OPS+.

6. Charlie Bennett (5) - The first full-time catcher to have a real career. Very good with the bat at his best and great behind the plate. From 1881 to 1888, he was a complete player. Had six seasons with a 130 OPS+ and was a better defender than Ewing.

7. Ezra Sutton (6) - Long, productive career. He was a very good hitter and very good fielder at an important defensive position. I like Andrew Siegel's quote about Sutton: "We are measuring value, not conformity to a stereotypical career path."

8. Hardy Richardson (7) - He only comes in below Sutton because he played a less important defensive position. Otherwise, a heavy hitter and slick fielder. There are those who could argue for Richardson over Sutton, and they wouldn't be wrong.

9. Harry Stovey (8) - One of the few 19th century players who could take a walk. He was a complete offensive player in the mold of Bobby Abreu. His 1891 season in the National League, where he put up a 141 OPS+ at the age of 34, showed that his American Association accomplishments have more meat in them than other players in that era.

Another thing I looked at was that Stovey was quite likely the best basestealer among eligible players. He stole 68 bases the first year they kept track of the statistic, at the age of 29. He stole at least 40 bases over the next six years, with a career high of 97 in 1890. Since the stolen base was a much more valuable offensive weapon in the 19th Century than it is in the modern era, this can only be a big plus in Stovey's favor.

10. Pete Browning (9) - On my first ballot, I had him as high as fourth. He is the best eligible hitter after Brouthers. But what keeps him from ranking higher is the fact that there are several players who not only hit well, but were also great defenders in a time where defense was highly important.

Some of the voters here discount Browning for the level of competition he faced and his defensive shortcomings, which would be fair. But I do think that we should also consider that he played while suffering from an inner-ear infection that caused him so much pain that it drove him to drink and, eventually, severe mental illness. Taking that into consideration, I think that more than compensates for any timeline adjustment that would put Sam Thompson ahead of him.

11. Sam Thompson (NR) - It was really tough to not look at his RBI column and completely fall in love with his candidacy. But when you look past the tasty counting stats, there's not a whole lot of there there. His bat alone (146 OPS+) does not make him a lead pipe cinch for induction, and that's basically all he has. He was a decent baserunner (seven years of at least 20 steals) and was a butcher in the outfield, actually ranking worse than Pete Browning, according to Defensive Win Shares.

12. Jim McCormick (11) - Relatively underrated by the voters here. Had one great year in 1883 (342 IP, 170 ERA+) and seemed to be in the 115-130 ERA+ range nearly every year. He pitched about a season less than did Radbourn, and was just a step behind him for peak and career value. Radbourn will probably be elected soon, why not McCormick?

13. Mickey Welch (12) - Welch had two great seasons in 1885 and 1888 and pitched solidly outside of that. Pitched about two more seasons than McCormick, had a higher peak, but didn't have as many good seasons.

14. Bob Caruthers (13) - What bothers me is Caruthers' career progression. His ERA+ declined over the last eight years of his career and had only two impact seasons with the bat. A borderline HOMer, but not a top-three or top-five player. Any time a player's peak seasons fall between the ages of 21 and 23, there's a big concern. It probably reflects somewhat on the level of competition in his league. Similar to Silver King in regards to his dominance of the AA at a very young age; like King, he didn't do nearly enough outside of his peak.

15. Fred Dunlap (NR) - Probably the most underrated player eligible. Was an A- defender at second base and had a career OPS+ of 134. His monstrous 1884 campaign (250 OPS+) in the Union Association probably skews his rate stats quite a bit, but the career still looks pretty damned good.
   21. James Newburg Posted: June 02, 2003 at 08:47 PM (#513664)
Could someone explain to me why Pud Galvin is so high on some of the ballots? I just don't see it.
   22. Howie Menckel Posted: June 02, 2003 at 09:13 PM (#513665)
Haven't had time to vote yet, James, but it seems to have been almost impossible to have succeeded in changing pitching eras - yet Galvin did it. Also as noted, his peaks are higher than some have acknowledged, and he played for crappy teams that mask his true abilities.
   23. MattB Posted: June 02, 2003 at 09:15 PM (#513666)

Compare Galvin to some of the other pitchers on the ballot, looking at Innings Pitched.

Galvin is second all-time in Innings Pitched (to Cy Young), and that number includes the fact that some of his seasons were fewer than 100 games long.

Seven years he was in the Top 4 in innings pitched. That sum enabled him to win 364 games -- more than any other eligible pitcher.

Compare him to, say, last year's electee Tim Keefe.

Keefe won 342 games playing for, generally, better teams. Galvin also walked about 500 fewer batter (745 1220) in 1000 more innings. Keefe had more strikeouts.

Keefe has the ERA+ advantage 125 to 108, but if you include 1000 "replacement-level" innings for Keefe (say, ERA+ of 85), that drops down to about 118. Also, two of Keefe's better years were in the weaker AA of 1883 and 1884. Galvin only had significant AA time in 1886, where the differences between leagues were negligible.

Perhaps, most importantly, their Defense Adjusted ERA (as calculated by Prospectus) is practically identical (3.85 for Keefe, 3.86 for Galvin).

I am not claiming that Galvin is a BETTER candidate than Keefe, but his level of play was just one notch (or maybe two) below for about 17% longer. If Keefe is in, Galvin is certain worthy of strong consideration.
   24. Marc Posted: June 02, 2003 at 10:05 PM (#513667)
I dunno about Galvin. If Keefe had pitched another 1000 innings at 85 he would still be better by 118-108. This is in Galvin's favor? Galvin pitched 17% longer at a level (108) that was not good enough to make a team for whom he was the principal pitcher a contendor. If his team had had the wherewithal to really compete, it would have gotten a new pitcher, it seems to me. Galvin made an adjustment across eras? Which eras? He pitched '79-'92. Keefe '80-'93, Welch '80-'92, Radbourn '81-'91, Clarkson '82-'94.

The argument has been made that Radbourn's '84 was not that special becuase everybody threw lots of innings. But Galvin is special because he threw lots of innings? (Radbourn's '84 if anything is not that special because of diluted competition....) I just don't see an extra 1000 innings (4 years) at 90-90-114-111 (in 188 innings) as special, especially from a pitcher who already has a 91-93-73 and 88 on his record. His only ERA+ over 120 were in '84 (against diluted competition) and a 127.

Radbourn's resum? looks a lot better to me, unless you discount his '84 and not Galvin's. Even Welch looks better to me but, hey, I like a little peak action.
   25. Rusty Priske Posted: June 03, 2003 at 12:01 AM (#513668)
As far as pitching goes, I only have Galvin below Hoss (and both were just below Keefe).

As I pointed out before, the fact that Galvin was the first 300 game winner has to count for something. Was it easier back then? Arguably, but I don't buy it. Galvin did not play for great teams, yet he managed to win 300 games. That is one hell of a feat.
   26. Howie Menckel Posted: June 03, 2003 at 12:43 AM (#513669)
1902 ballot

1. Dan Brouthers - Eight OPS titles; top two in OBP 10 times!
2. Joe Start - 1860-86; respectable candidate just post-1871 stats, PLUS one of best players of 1860s. Better career than Yaz, I believe.

3. Jack Glasscock - Extra year of comfort with his cases noses him past Ewing; this vote respects the fielder extraordinaire.
4. Buck Ewing - The kudos are wonderful, but Ned Williamson had a nice ride, too, 'til people sold that stock. Only 90 pct sure Ewing is way better.
5. Pud Galvin - A 400-game winner if he played for good teams, and then there's no battle here at all.
6. Old Hoss Radbourn - I needed one more good season from him.
7. Hardy Richardson - Wins this yr's battle over Sutton, but I keep flipflopping.
8. Harry Stovey - Respect fact that players performed no better in NL than in AA, so these hitting stats are legit.
9. Cal McVey - Compares VERY favorably with Ross Barnes.
10. Ezra Sutton - 3B-SS who could pick it and lasted, but a couple of those middle years are just unpalatable.
11. Charlie Bennett - Best "true C" for many, many, many years.
12. Al Spalding - This year I'm thinking of how sweet he had it facing few if any HOMer candidates.
13. Sam Thompson - Sure he belongs somewhere; could move up with further study.
14. Dickey Pearce - More respect for the 1860s players; we're still a little short in my mind.
15. Pete Browning - Wondrous hitter deserves continued consideration.

   27. Marc Posted: June 03, 2003 at 01:08 AM (#513674)
I have been trying to think about G. Stovey. First from a peak standpoint. His '86 and '87 seasons are the only ones we really know anything about. Let's just say for the sake of argument that those two records (1886: 30 wins, .167 OAV; 1887: 34-14 [33-4 according to one report], 2.48, 424 IP and this is all we know) had occurred in the ML. Would he have been the best?

In '86 Foutz (62 WS), Caruthers (57), Baldwin (53), Ferguson (49), Ramsey (47), Morris (44) and Clarkson (42) were the best by that metric. If you back out the average career offensive WS for Foutz and Caruthers they come out somewhere about equal with Clarkson. Likewise Ferguson. For pure pitching Baldwin and Ramsey were the tops, Baldwin in the NL and Ramsey in the AA. Baldwin was 42-13, 2.24, 148 ERA+ and .202 OAV. Ramsey was 38-27, 2.45, 149 and .199.

Stovey's 30 wins were not special. Foutz, Morris, Baldwin and Keefe won 40 and another 7 pitchers won 30. But his .167 was very special. Ramsey's and Baldwin's OAV were best in the majors. So Stovey had as good of rate stats as anybody, perhaps, but it is doubtful he pitched as many innings (especially vs. Ramsey's 600) or had quite the total value. Then of course you've got to discount his league.

In '87, offense skyrocketed (why???), and most of the top pitchers saw ERAs up a run or more, though a few (Mullane, Whitney, Kilroy) improved. Top WSs were E. Smith (54 and not much of a hitter yet), Caruthers (also 54), Clarkson and Kilroy (51), Mullane, Foutz, Ramsey in the 40s. Back out the best hitting and Smith and Clarkson are on top for pure pitching, I think, and almost surely Ramsey in the AA. With hitters teeing off, only Kilroy and Ramsey pitched 500 innings, so Stovey's 424 was a good workload. Smith's ERA of 2.94 was the best in the majors, so Stovey's 2.48 is great. There were still 6 pitchers with 30-39 wins but only one (Kilroy) in the 40s. So if Stovey had gotten the numbers he did in the ML he would have been the top pitcher.

So what? Well, I don't know. I said I'm just trying to think, here. But if he had done in the majors for 10 years what he did in the IL for 2 (big assumption) he would have been a 400-450 WS man. But how much to discount the IL? If the AA at this point was nearly equal (0-10%) or (0-30% for the whole era), is the IL 33-50% worse? I have no clue. But discount 400-450 by 40 percent and it gives you a 240-270 WS career...???

Then as you look at his total career trajectory (what little we know), I am struck by its timing, 1886-96. There is almost nobody who pitched across the divide from '92 to '94, and there is almost nobody who came up to the major leagues in the period from '85 to '89 who did not blow out his arm. Among the top pitchers in '86 and '87 you have Baldwin (1 good year), Ramsey (2), Morris (3), Seward (3), while a bunch of pitchers who came up '79-'84 were durable (5 won 300 games). How come? What was the difference between that cohort of '79-'84 vs. '85-'89??

The only two guys who did what Stovey did--had a decent career beginning in the '85-'87 timeframe--were Adonis Terry and Gus Weyhing. Terry had serious off years (arm trouble?) along the way in '91 and '94, while Weyhing won only 10 games in '95-'96-'97 (sat out '97) before coming back to win another 44 games at the end of his career. Terry finished with 273 WS and 197 wins (career ERA+ 103), Weyhing 258 and 264 (102).

Again so what? I don't know. Some people really like pitchers who could bridge the 50 to 60 foot era, but that's kind of a "toolsy" argument. I don't think that having value before and after '93 is a multiplier. On the other hand, if Stovey had pitched in the majors '86-'96 and stayed healthy, I don't think there's any question he could have done what Terry and Weyhing did, and probably better.

So looking at Stovey from two different methods, both of them completely riddled with assumptions, I nevertheless think he could have had a 250-300 WS career. But of course we still have Galvin (403), Mullane (399), Radbourn (391), Welch (354), Caruthers (337) and McCormick (334) on the board. But Stovey rates with the rest--the Bonds, the Whitneys, the Hutchisons, and probably at the lead of that pack.

   28. jimd Posted: June 03, 2003 at 01:47 AM (#513675)
1887 was the year the majors experimented with 4 strikes instead of 3 for a strikeout because strikeout rates were "soaring" after overhand pitching was legalized. I don't know if the (independent) minors went along with this change or not.

To my knowledge, major-league rule changes were not universally adopted by the various minor leagues; also, some changes probably originated in the minors first. For most of the 1880's, the AA and NL didn't agree with each other either; I think 1887 was the year they tried to "match up" their rulebooks. The 1892 change to 60'6" was pretty radical; some minor leagues may not have adopted that right away either.
   29. Marc Posted: June 03, 2003 at 01:49 AM (#513676)
OK, having gotten G. Stovey off my chest, off my mind, off my conscience, I am now ready to cast a ballot.

1. Dan Brouthers (NA in '01)--nothing to add to all the other comments.

2. Al Spalding (1)--I'm not sure we don't enjoy the thrill of discovery a little too much here, that is we really love debunking "contemporary" opinions; in this case, his contemporaries saw him as a giant among men and I do too.

3. Buck Ewing (NA)--again, I think we're enjoying casting off the wisdom of those who saw him play a bit too readily; who said he was a great player who could catch; in fact, he was too good to sacrifice playing time to have him catch too much,

4. Jack Glasscock (6)--erratic offensively but with a peak here and a peak there; only A- on defense according to WS? Hey, better than Ozzie overall.

5. Hoss Radbourn (4)--next best among the giants of pitching in the '80s.

6. Sam Thompson (NA)--best pure hitter on the board after Brouthers; comparable to Stovey but with better OPS+ (146-141) in a better league; how can that not be better?

7. Cal McVey (7)--a giant from '69 to '79, very capable of keeping it going but not willing to toe the line of the "new NL."

8. Bob Caruthers (5)--unsure what to do with him, dropping; but the guy had a tremendous peak; easily to top star of the AA.

In/out line somewhere around Caruthers and...

9. Hardy Richardson (9)--thought of dropping him a bit, too, though I thought the defensive value of 2B showed in this week's discussion to be a bit higher than previously represented (?); not a great hitting OF, however, so he could bounce around yet.

10. Charlie Bennett (12)--a man's man in the toughest job in 19th century sports.

11. Lip Pike (10)--outstanding IF in the '60s, not as famous as Joe Start; outstanding CF and better than Start in the '70s; OPS+ 161 in NA and 152 in 5 NL seasons.

12. Pete Browning (8)--seems to be dropping on everybody's ballot, maybe in comparison to Sam Thompson (a good comp, BTW), but his 164 OPS+ ranks him well ahead of Stovey (at 141).

13. Joe Start (14)--since I don't timeline and don't dis the '60s and the NA, I would love to move Joe up but I can't get him past Pike or McVey; I rate peak a little more than some of you; his 4 years above 140 OPS+ is nice, but Pike and McVey had 6.

14. Fred Dunlap (13)--"the white Frank Grant;" who do you prefer, Stovey at 141 OPS+ or an excellent 2B at 132?

15. Jim McCormick (-)--I was surprised to find that he was the leading active pitcher on WS for 3 years right in the heart of the pitchers' era of the '80s; it was he or Mullane and they were pretty comp except McCormick did it in the NL, Mullane in the AA.

Stovey and Mullane were next, but in re. to Stovey he just doesn't win any of the obvious head-to-heads (Thompson, Browning) except Charley Jones. Mullane was 15th last week, McCormick this week, next week maybe another Irish fireballer. But the AA discount is getting harder to overcome, too, as the pool of candidates gets deeper.
   30. Marc Posted: June 03, 2003 at 02:22 AM (#513677)
>15. Tommy McCarthy RF - There is a reason why he is in the HOF, isn't there?

No there isn't. It was a screw-up.
   31. Sean Gilman Posted: June 03, 2003 at 02:46 AM (#513678)
1. Dan Brouthers (-)--yup.

2. Ezra Sutton (1)--ahead of Glasscock on career (if you count the NA) and peak (even if you don't).

3. Jack Glasscock (2)--could go either way between him and Ewing, but it looks to me like Pebbly Jack's got the higher peak.

4. Buck Ewing (-)--the win shares numbers I've got have him almost identical to Richardson. But Ewing was a catcher and even though WS counts defense, his ability to play the position moves him ahead.

5. Hardy Richardson (3)--always a bridesmaid, never a bride.

6. Joe Start (5)--lower peak than Richardson, more career than McVey.

7. Cal McVey (7)--I like the Ross Barnes comparison a lot. Of course, Barnes just made my personal HOM in 1901. He was 20 years old in the first year of the NA, so how much credit can you give him for pre-NA years?

8. Lip Pike (11)--Not as good in the NA as McVey, but better before.

9. Harry Stovey (8)--Much closer to 15 than to 8. He's got career value on Thompson, Browning, et al.

10. Charley Radbourn (13)--Got career and peak edge on Caruthers and competition (and defense) edge on Spalding. Still think he's Dwight Gooden though.

11. Charlie Bennett (14)--I'm more sure that Bennett was a great player than I am that Spalding was. Great defense at catcher moves him ahead of the Outfielder Glut.

12. Pete Browning (12)--Browning and Thompson and Tiernan and Jones all look identical to me. Browning's got a peak and a slight defensive (but probably only because he played center, he did play center right?) edge on Thompson.

13. Sam Thompson (-)--didn't have him on the prelim ballot. But I took a second look and his similarity to Browning and Tiernan and Jones and even Stovey threw the bottom half of my ballot all to hell. He's got competition advantages on Stovey and Browning, but a significantly lower peak than both, a big career value gap between him and Stovey and slightly less defensive value than Browning.

14. Al Spalding (9)--Spelled his name wrong again on my prelim. Here for his hitting and the adulation of his peers. This low because of the defense behind him, the hitters on his team compared to the competition and the amount of credit I give pitching vs. fielding in the pre-93 era.

15. Bob Caruthers (11)--Hitting and peak moves him ahead of Galvin, who I just can't seem to keep on a ballot.
   32. James Newburg Posted: June 03, 2003 at 03:40 AM (#513679)

With the close nature of these elections, I was thinking that perhaps we should drop candidates off of the ballot if they only get one vote or less than 15 points.
   33. Rob Wood Posted: June 03, 2003 at 03:53 AM (#513680)
My 1902 ballot:

1. Dan Brouthers -- pronounced Bruthers (long U)
2. Jack Glasscock -- big drop between 1 and 2
3. Buck Ewing -- a sure HOM'er
4. Ezra Sutton -- I'm a believer
5. Al Spalding -- will make it one day, right?
6. Hardy Richardson -- one of my favorites
7. Harry Stovey -- a great player

----- my HOM cutoff ---

8. Pud Galvin -- very good pitcher for many years
9. Joe Start -- I'm elevating him a few slots
10. Hoss Radbourn -- no sale
11. Cal McVey -- better than Bennett
12. Ed Williamson -- no chance
13. Sam Thompson -- not a HOM'er by a wide margin
14. Charlie Bennett -- very popular in his time
15. Fred Dunlap -- will he be forever 15 on my ballot?

Honorable mentions: Bob Caruthers, Pete Browning

   34. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 03, 2003 at 04:47 AM (#513682)
As I pointed out before, the fact that Galvin was the first 300 game winner has to count for something.

I wish it would count for nothing in the sense that we ignore these "milestones" as a ticket for the Hall. Sure, I enjoy it when a player gets 3,000 hits or 500 home runs, but the player in question was either great or not great before making the achievement. That's why I'm lukewarm about Don Sutton ever making my ballot many "years" down the road.
   35. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 03, 2003 at 05:02 AM (#513683)
John Murphy wrote:
"While one should include his season when mentioning the greatest pitching seasons of all-time, everyone pitched more innings back then than they do today. Galvin had 636; there were 4 other pitchers with over 400 innings that year. His endurance was amazing, but not amazing. His numbers have to be placed in context with the other pitchers of his era."
Well it was only the SECOND most innings pitched in one season. The second most innings pitched and they are great quality innings too, not just some filler innings. After the other pitcher in a two man pitching staff jumped the team, Radbourn let the team to a championship by pitching almost every game of the rest of the season. That year, Radbourn's win shares were the highest of all time. Not too many other pitchers could match this, not Spalding, not Caruthers, not Cy Young, nobody

Ed, don't you think if Gooden of '85 or Gibson of '68 were able to teleport to the year 1884 (and everybody ignored their skin color) that they would be able to accomplish the same thing?

I'm not saying it wasn't a great season -- it was! My point is that the conditions of his time shaped his season just as much as the conditions of today's baseball shape the slugging feats that we have witnessed for a decade now. Context, context, context.

   36. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 03, 2003 at 05:26 AM (#513684)
>15. Tommy McCarthy RF - There is a reason why he is in the HOF, isn't there?

No there isn't. It was a screw-up.

I know he was (as was Hugh Duffy) one of the "Heavenly Twins," but weren't Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito supposed to be, too?
   37. Rusty Priske Posted: June 03, 2003 at 11:01 AM (#513685)

It is not the the milestone makes him eligible, it is that the milestone shows what he was capable of. 300 wins on less than stellar teams helps show that he was one hell of a pitcher.

I honestly believe that if Galvin had pitched for good teams that he woudl go near the top of everyone's list, if not inducted already. As it is I still have him below Hoss, but not by a lot.
   38. MattB Posted: June 03, 2003 at 01:31 PM (#513687)
Ed Delahanty wrote:

"MattB wrote:
"1. Dan Brouthers (N/A) – Second only to Roger Connor among 19th century-only players."

I take offense to that!"

Ed, you played until 1903. You are not a 19th Century Only player.

   39. MattB Posted: June 03, 2003 at 02:03 PM (#513688)
Galvin v. Radbourn

Let's compare them year by year by WARP3:

Year Galvin Radbourn
1879 4.2 . . .XXX
1880 6.4 . . .0.5
1881 10.8 . . .7.2
1882 8.3 . . 10.3
1883 15.3 . . 14.8
1884 17.6 . . 12.1
1885 1.8 . . .7.3
1886 -0.7 . . .5.7
1887 6.3 . . .1.8
1888 3.6 . . .1.4
1889 2.6 . . .3.6
1890 0.2 . . .7.2
1891 3.1 . . .0.7
1892 2.4 . . .XXX

According the WARP-3, Galvin was the more valuable pitcher in 1879, 1880, 1881, 1883, 1884, 1887, 1888, 1891, and 1892 (9 times). Radbourn was the more valuable pitcher in 1882, 1885, 1886, 1888, and 1889 (5 times).

On career value, Galvin wins. On peak value, for two of the three years in Radbourn's peak, Galvin was better.

Another way:
Radbourn's ERA+ was 120 -- Galvin's was 108. Add 1500 replacement level innings (85 ERA+) for Radbourn to make up for the 1500 extra innings Galvin threw, and Radbourn's ERA+ drops to 111, negligibly better than Galvins.

Adjust for defense (which always plays a large role in any pitchers' ERA, although it's hard to tell how much across eras), and Prospectus has Galvin's ERA as lower than Radbourn's (and that's not even accounting for the extra innings Galvin threw).

When you adjust for defense and career length, Galvin was simply the better pitcher. Once I realized that, he moved about Radbourn on my ballot, and I don't see myself moving him back down.

   40. Marc Posted: June 03, 2003 at 02:18 PM (#513689)
>Another way:
Radbourn's ERA+ was 120 -- Galvin's was 108. Add 1500 replacement level innings (85 ERA+) for
Radbourn to make up for the 1500 extra innings Galvin threw, and Radbourn's ERA+ drops to 111,
negligibly better than Galvins.

This methodology has recently been used several times--ie. pretending a player played at replacement value in order to "truly assess" their value. Huh? And even after inventing 1500 replacement level innings for him, he's still better. This analysis makes Radbourn look better than ever. What am I missing?

   41. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 03, 2003 at 02:20 PM (#513690)
Guys, where in my post (#49) was Galvin the focal point? I was talking about milestones in general. It wasn't meant to be a knock on Galvin at all. In fact, I think he was better than his numbers indicate. If I was unclear, I apologize.
   42. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 03, 2003 at 02:30 PM (#513691)
<i>Ed Delahanty wrote:

"MattB wrote:
"1. Dan Brouthers (N/A) – Second only to Roger Connor among 19th century-only players."

I take offense to that!"

Ed, you played until 1903. You are not a 19th Century Only player.

I'll take Brouthers over both of them. Best hitter of the group (and that's saying something).

   43. MattB Posted: June 03, 2003 at 02:43 PM (#513692)

You are missing that ERA+ is highly influenced by defense. Radbourn had a better defense behind him. According to BPro, if both played in front of the same (average) defense, Galvin's ERA would be lower.

You are missing that Galvin walked 130 fewer batters than Radbourn, even though his career was a third longer. (Radbourn did strike out 26 more hitters, which partially makes up for the walk gap). And Galvin gave up only 5 more home runs in his 1500 extra innings. So, looking only at the "DIPS numbers", Galvin is better on two out of three.

That leaves hits on balls in play, where Radbourn did better than Galvin, right? Wrong. Compared to his teammates, Radbourn gave up 50 fewer hits than expected, and Galvin gave up 106 fewer hits than expected. So, your choices are

(1) accept DIPS, and Galvin is better in DIPS ERA for a longer period, or

(2) recognize that pitchers had some control on balls in play (even though defense will always play a large role) and compare Radbourn and Galvin to their teammates. Galvin pitched better on ball relative to his teammates than Radbourn did relative to his teammates. Radbourn (and his teammates) pitched in front of better defenses. As BPro states, "If DERA in higher than NRA, you can safely assume that he pitched in front of above-average defense."

Career numbers:

Radbourn: DERA: 3.91; NRA: 3.72 (conclusion, above average defense)
Galvin: DERA: 3.86; NRA: 4.08 (conclusion, below average defense)

The conclusion is EVERY BIT OF THE DIFFERENCE PLUS SOME between Radbourn's 120 ERA+ and Galvin's 108 ERA+ can be accounted for by Radbourn's better defense behind him (Radbourn claws back some, but not all, of the advantage through his higher strikeout totals.)

Except for using IP to transfer K, BB, and HR into rates, none of the analysis above accounts for the fact that Galvin pitched for 1500 more innings. Cut a random 1500 innings out of Galvin's career, and he's still the better pitcher.

   44. Marc Posted: June 03, 2003 at 02:52 PM (#513694)
>What you are missing is that the 111 vs. 108 is more than made up for by the fact that Radbourn played for
better teams and pitched in front of better defenses.With Galvin's defenses behind him, Radbourn may have had an ERA+ of 105 instead of 111, and Galvin
made have been 114 instead of 108. Don't take those numbers as anything concrete, I'm just explaining the
argument with an example. But it makes a lot of sense to me.

What you are saying is that neither ERA nor ERA+ mean anything at all. I understand 19th century numbers are always subject to interpretation, and for that matter aren't they all. But is there some point in time where in your view ERA and ERA+ begin to actually mean something?

Or to look at it from the other side, help me with your methodology that extrapolates defensive-adjusted ERA. Maybe I am missing something but I'm not sure I believe it.

   45. RobC Posted: June 03, 2003 at 02:58 PM (#513695)
James (from #46) -
What good would that do? If I had to vote for someone else instead of, in my particular case, Tom York, it would only make elections closer, not more clear, because I would be giving 6 additional points to someone I dont think belongs in the HOM. I already have about 4 guys on my ballot who I dont want to see elected, forcing me to give points to guys that are worse than them sounds like a bad idea to me.
   46. Philip Posted: June 03, 2003 at 03:07 PM (#513696)
1902 ballot:

1. Brouthers (-) ?- Absolutely dominating
2. Start (2) -- Even being very modest about what he may have been in the 60’s I can’t see him any lower than here. Someone made the point of Start being Olerud with a 27-year career. That should justify being in the top-2.
3. Ewing (-) -- Great career both with his bat and with (or without) his glove.
4. Glasscock (3) -- Great long career similar to Sutton. Gets the edge being a shortstop instead of third base.
5. Sutton (4) -- Again a wonderful long career and a big defensive asset. Also has some very fine years.
6. McVey (5) -- Still by far the most underrated player. I don’t see how he can’t be in the top 10 if you give him even the slightest credit for pre-NA or post-NL play. He was a superstar in the 70’s and had a higher peak than almost anyone on the ballot.
7. Bennett (6) -- Another very good and long career and some great offensive years. May not have played full-time but name me a catcher who does. The position must have been very tough at the time, considering there were so few great full-time catchers the first 50 years of baseball. The comparison with Ewing just adds to my admiration of old Charlie.
8. Radbourn (7)
9. Pike (10) -- Some very good years in the NA, and a great reputation for what he did before that. Unfortunately still very much underrated by most and increasingly so.
10. Richardson (9) -- Nice long consistent career with some outstanding years.
11. Thompson (-) -- Higher peak than Stovey, less career and defensive value than Richardson and Pike.
12. Galvin (12) -- Truly unique for having the longest pitching career by far. Some very good years along the way.
13. Spalding (11) -- High peak and giving him more credit for pre-NA years now.
14. Williamson (13)
15. H Stovey (14)
   47. MattB Posted: June 03, 2003 at 03:12 PM (#513697)
I don't think ERA or ERA+ is more or less meaningful now than then. It's hard to tell the relative importance of defense in different eras.

But we know that ERA (and hence ERA+)will always be some mixture of pitching ability and defensive ability. (Put eight MattBs in the field with Pedro Martinez, and every at bat will be either a walk, a strikeout, or a hit, and Pedro's ERA and ERA+ would drop deeply, deeply below replacement level.)

I see no one stat that is all-meaningful. All provide certain pieces of data and have certain limitations. It's good to know the limitations so that you can do a "reality check" of your favorite metric.
   48. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 03, 2003 at 03:13 PM (#513698)
Matt and Joe:

Do you know how much of DIPS (if any) is incorporated into Win Shares? I don't have my book handy to check myself.

BTW, is there a link to BP that has those numbers that you are referring to or was the info in one of their books? Thanks.
   49. MattB Posted: June 03, 2003 at 04:14 PM (#513700)
The prospectus stats for all players are available online.

Here is Pud Galvin

And here is Hoss Radbourn

All the info I cited was from the second group of stats, labelled "Advanced Pitching Stats." Specifically, I look at the Delta H number, and the NRA and DERA as "adjusted by season". I am less confident in their "adjusted for all-time" methodology, so give it less weight accordingly.
   50. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 03, 2003 at 04:23 PM (#513701)
Thanks Joe and Matt. I have the website bookmarked for the next election. I'm probably going to make some changes on my ballot next "year." I think there is too much evidence that BP is closer to the truth than ERA+ and Win Shares are.
   51. RobC Posted: June 03, 2003 at 04:39 PM (#513704)
Joe, Does that make you a FOCC?

John, Be careful with the BP stuff. I use as my primary source, but it was horribly off on Clarkson, for example. Especially be careful of the adjust for all time section. Extra evidence is always good though, but I think you are aware of that.

I like using IP*(ERA+ - 70) as a metric (while acknowledging the problems with ERA+). Others have been posting some adjustments with 85 as an ERA+ replacement level. What do others feel is the right number? Is 70 way too low (I think 85 is too high)?
   52. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 03, 2003 at 05:07 PM (#513705)
John, Be careful with the BP stuff.

Will do, Rob. I'm not 100% confident with their numbers as of yet, but I do think they lead in the right direction.
   53. Marc Posted: June 03, 2003 at 05:11 PM (#513706)
I understand DIPS but since this discussion is all about non-DIPS, I guess there are several things I don't understand. My understanding is that pitchers control DIPS but that non-DIPS results are largely random. How can they both be random AND be the result of the quality of defensive play?

Second, re.

>Spalding and Cummings can be explained by the fact that Spalding had a
much better defense behind him; Boston allowed 141 unearned runs in 47 games (3.00/g); New York 217 in 56 games (3.88/g).

It seems to me that you (DERA) is drawing an inference that a defense that allows more unearned runs will also "allow" more earned runs. Now I know that ERA like every stat is subject to Heisenberg's principle. But the idea that a defense "allows" earned runs pretty much puts ERA in the rubbish heap of history altogether. Are you arguing this point "all time" or just for the 19th century? And once we've thrown ERA away, are we going to evaluate pitchers strictly on DIPS? Because H/9IP are no longer reliable. What is left? OK, IP is left because teams don't run players out there who aren't contributing. Is that the only thing we know anymore?

   54. Marc Posted: June 03, 2003 at 05:13 PM (#513707)
Oh, and we don't know exactly "how DERA adjusts for fielding." Well, I will check out BP but in the meantime, Spalding and Radbourn (and all the replacement level innings they pitched) are still better than Galvin.
   55. dan b Posted: June 03, 2003 at 05:15 PM (#513708)
1. Dan Brouthers ? Slam dunk.
2. Buck Ewing – ditto. At least he should be. James’ ranking as #17 catcher puts him well above any other contender for the 2 spot on the ballot. I think Bill has it right. I can accept the rejection the subjective boost for Williamson since much of it can be attributed to a single poll conducted the year (N)ed died, but Ewing was so widely viewed as the best player of his time that I can not accept the rejection of that view. If anyone is aware of any first hand observers who thought that Glasscock, Start, Sutton or any other hitter on this ballot (other than Brouthers) was a better ball player than Ewing, I would like to know about it.
3. Harry Stovey. Stovey was in his league’s top 4 in hitting WS 7 times including NL in 1891. Only Brouthers and Connor match that feat in 19th century ball. Named by SABR 19th Century Committee as most deserving of HOF recognition of players not yet enshrined. A run scoring machine, only Billy Hamilton played in more games and also has R/G > 1. I will be pleasantly surprised if we ever elect him. Even though NA apologists have pointed out that the NA was as good as the AA, the prevailing AA discounts will probably prevent all but McPhee from being elected.
4. Hoss Radbourne –Best pitcher 3 years in a row. James puts him ahead of Keefe.
5. Jack Glasscock. Best SS of the 80’s. Merits selection eventually, but not this year, not ahead of Brouthers or Ewing, and not next year ahead of Anson or Connor.
6. Hardy Richardson. Best 2B we have had the chance to vote on so far.
7. Pete Browning. After starring in the AA, led PL in hitting WS.
8. Sam Thompson.
9. Bob Caruthers.
10. Charlie Bennett. Worthy catcher, but no Ewing.
11. Pud Galvin – moving up based on the ongoing discussion.
12. Ed Williamson. Best 3B of the 80’s.
13. Tip O’Neill. Great 4-year peak.
14. Ezra Sutton. Long career.
15. Joe Start. Longer career

Going off with regrets – C. Jones
Going off without regrets - Latham

   56. RobC Posted: June 03, 2003 at 05:37 PM (#513709)
Non-dips results are not largely random. They are outside the pitchers control. They are affected by 3 things, the batter, the fielders, and luck. So, they are the result of the quality of defense.
   57. jimd Posted: June 03, 2003 at 05:41 PM (#513710)
From BP description of DERA: Note that if DERA is higher than NRA, you can safely assume he pitched in front of an above-average defense.

1884 Pud Galvin: NRA 2.85 DERA 2.59
Conclusion: his defense was somewhat below average.(?)

I looked up the defensive ratings of the 8 regulars behind him.
(BP's Defensive rating is sorta like OPS+ or ERA+ for fielding; 100 is average.)

125 Ca Jack Rowe
108 1B Dan Brouthers
107 2B Hardy Richardson
090 3B Deacon White
112 SS Davy Force
088 LF Jim O'Rourke
111 CF Dave Eggler
117 RF Jim Lillie

Doesn't look below average to me. FWIW, they were third in FPct in 1884 behind Providence and Boston. There are two defensive holes (ironically, both HOMer's more noted for their bats than their gloves). Were the scrubs that much worse? Or, more importantly, did they play that much?

BTW, I also looked up Radbourn's defense.
1884 Charles Radbourn: NRA 2.54 DERA 3.45
Conclusion: his defense was way above average.

132 Ca Barney Gilligan
110 1B Joe Start
129 2B Jack Farrell
106 3B Jerry Denny
118 SS Arthur Irwin
109 LF Cliff Carroll
116 CF Paul Hines
120 RF Paul Radford

Each player is better defensively than Buffalo, though not by a heck of a lot, except for 3 positions. The two holes are well-plugged by above-average performers, but they are also the two "weak" links on this team, defensively. The third advantage is at 2B where Jack Farrell was doing a Fred Dunlap imitation for two years (1883-84), vs. Hardy Richardson, and well he's a silver bat, not a gold glove at 2B.

No question that Providence has an excellent defense with a good glove at every position. But Buffalo as below-average? Anybody have any light to shed on this? I suppose I'll have to look up all the scrubs, too, to come up with overall position averages.

   58. MattB Posted: June 03, 2003 at 05:58 PM (#513711)

Good info.

Here are Buffalo's top replacements that year:

George Myers C: 66, LF:40, CF: 49
Chub Collins 2B: 118

Sandy Nava C: 81
Charlie Bassett 3B: 97, SS: 110

PProvidence's backups were better too. That's another point in Galvin's favor.

I agree that the specific numbers are fishy for 1884, but they do show that Radbourn's defenders were better than Galvin's(irrespective of where they fell relative to "average").

Another issue to look at is the quality of Radbourn and Galvin as DEFENDERS. Radbourn had more put outs and assists than Galvin in 1884. Did Radbourn allow more grounders, or was he better and fielding his position? Pitcher defense is part of the equation, and if some of Galvin's poor defense is his own fault, that should could against him.

   59. Marc Posted: June 03, 2003 at 06:20 PM (#513713)
jid, what all goes into those defensive ratings? Are they similar to WS? They factor range, not just errors? Do the adjust range to pitcher factors (ground ball vs. fly ball)? and etc?

Again I'm still interested in how the numbers reflect the defensive responsibility for earned runs. I mean I understand conceptually, it's mostly range. But how do the formulae do that, especially at a distance here of 120 years?

A big part of defense also is how hard the ball is hit at you. Does DERA have any idea whether hitters hit more weak ground balls against Radbourn and more rockets against Galvin? In other words, does the defense make the pitcher look good or does the pitcher also make the defense look good?

I'm sure I sound like a real nag on this. But I learned somewhere that a good theory often has simpicity going for it. When we start layering adjustments upon adjustments, have we perhaps arrived at a time for a paradigm shift? Maybe it's just me who is too simple, here, but this all seems a little too complicated to be reliable, expecially, as I said, at a distance of 120 years.
   60. Marc Posted: June 03, 2003 at 06:23 PM (#513714)
jid, what all goes into those defensive ratings? Are they similar to WS? They factor range, not just errors? Do the adjust range to pitcher factors (ground ball vs. fly ball)? and etc?

Again I'm still interested in how the numbers reflect the defensive responsibility for earned runs. I mean I understand conceptually, it's mostly range. But how do the formulae do that, especially at a distance here of 120 years?

A big part of defense also is how hard the ball is hit at you. Does DERA have any idea whether hitters hit more weak ground balls against Radbourn and more rockets against Galvin? In other words, does the defense make the pitcher look good or does the pitcher also make the defense look good?

I'm sure I sound like a real nag on this. But I learned somewhere that a good theory often has simpicity going for it. When we start layering adjustments upon adjustments, have we perhaps arrived at a time for a paradigm shift? Maybe it's just me who is too simple, here, but this all seems a little too complicated to be reliable, expecially, as I said, at a distance of 120 years.
   61. MattB Posted: June 03, 2003 at 06:52 PM (#513715)

It is certainly NOT reliable, over a distance of 120 years. That's why it's not useful to look at any single factor. There is one factor (ERA+) that indicates that Radbourn was better that Galvin. There are several factors (Wins, Innings Pitched, relative defenses, DIPS stats, WARP-3), discussed above, that suggest that Galvin was better than Radbourn.

None of the stats are perfect. It's a question of how much weight to give to each. It may be worthwhile to look at whether the team defenses got better or worse the year after a particular player moved on (did the pitcher make the defense look good or vice versa).

Since no factor is perfect, I look at all of them, and see where the weight of the evidence falls. What I disagree with is hanging on the a single favored stat (even a valuable one like ERA+), and trying to poke holes in all conflicting data. From 120 years, we can only make best guesses. ERA+ is definitely a point in Radbourn's favor, but I think it is swamped by all the contrary evidence that points to many of the potential flaws of ERA+ being exposed in the comparison.
   62. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 03, 2003 at 07:16 PM (#513716)
Stovey was in his league?s top 4 in hitting WS 7 times including NL in 1891. Only Brouthers and Connor match that feat in 19th century ball.

Why are you using the top four instead of the top five that is actually listed in the update for Win Shares? If one were suspicious, one would think that you deliberately knocked off Cap Anson, Jim O'Rourke and Billy Hamilton (did I miss someone?) from the list to make Stovey look better in comparison (especially when Cap, Orator Jim and Sliding Billy had more competition to deal with because they played in a one league era for a good chunk of their careers).
   63. Marc Posted: June 03, 2003 at 07:19 PM (#513717)
I'm just asking what relative defense means from a methodological standpoint. How is it determined and how is DERA then derived? That's the part I haven't seen discussed. I have printed out all the stats glossary from BP, I guess I'll get there.
   64. dan b Posted: June 03, 2003 at 07:46 PM (#513718)
John - doesn't everybody use the statistics they need to best present their point of view? ;-)
   65. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 03, 2003 at 07:57 PM (#513719)
BTW, # of times in the top five for Batting WS:

Brouthers: 11
Connor: 10
Anson: 7 (would have made it at least once more in the NA)
Hamilton: 7
O'Rourke: 7 (excluding the NA where he probably would have made it at least once more)
Stovey: 7 (all accomplished in a two league era)
   66. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 03, 2003 at 07:59 PM (#513720)
John - doesn't everybody use the statistics they need to best present their point of view? ;-)

Must.. fight... it... :-)
   67. James Newburg Posted: June 03, 2003 at 08:41 PM (#513721)
Spurred on by the Galvin discussion, I was looking at the Prospectus numbers and I thought of a way to try to figure defense in the ERA+ equation. It's probably kind of a junk stat, but here's how you figure it:


I did this for some of the pitchers under consideration for the HOM. Here's what I got. CAR equals their career adjERA+. Diff. is their career difference in ERA+ points.

Bob Caruthers
Diff. -23

John Clarkson
Diff. -13

Pud Galvin
Diff. +6

Bobby Mathews
Diff. +4

Charley Radbourn
Diff. -6

Al Spalding
Diff. -29

Mickey Welch
Diff. +1

If the methodology is sound, then Galvin could possibly move up into my top five and would definitely be the best pitcher eligible. But then again, if defense can cause us to misvalue (is that a word?) the accomplishments of pitchers so drastically, how high can we really rate 19th century pitchers?

   68. Marc Posted: June 03, 2003 at 09:37 PM (#513724)
James, it seems to me your method says that all pitchers are the same. I dunno. Sometimes those traditional stats seem just fine.
   69. jimd Posted: June 03, 2003 at 09:53 PM (#513726)
The composites: (listed are players with more than 10 adjusted games at the position; tokens are not shown)

1884 Pud Galvin: NRA 2.85 DERA 2.59
Conclusion: his defense was below average.(?)

104 125 Ca Jack Rowe / 066 George Myers
105 108 1B Dan Brouthers / 092 Jim O'Rourke
111 107 2B Hardy Richardson / 118 Chub Collins
089 090 3B Deacon White
108 112 SS Davy Force
078 088 LF Jim O'Rourke / 040 George Myers / 064 Jack Rowe
103 111 CF Dave Eggler / 141 Hardy Richardson / 049 George Myers
114 117 RF Jim Lillie

1884 Charles Radbourn: NRA 2.54 DERA 3.45
Conclusion: his defense was way above average.

121 132 Ca Barney Gilligan / 117 Sandy Nava
106 110 1B Joe Start
129 129 2B Jack Farrell
103 106 3B Jerry Denny / 097 Charlie Bassett
114 118 SS Arthur Irwin
109 109 LF Cliff Carroll
116 116 CF Paul Hines
121 120 RF Paul Radford

Factoring in the bench/subs widens the gap between the two teams substantially.

Joe, too often I forget, small differences add up and mean a lot. So I can buy how Radbourn was helped significantly by his defense relative to Radbourn, which also means that Win Shares may overrate him, due to the straight-jacket placed by James on the fielding shares.

BUT, I still don't see how Buffalo's overall defense is considered below average. Yes, LF is a scar with the catchers running around out there while O'Rourke covers at 1B for Brouthers (injured?). But LF needs a huge weight to erase the pluses elsewhere. DERA is giving Galvin a bonus for inferior defense and I don't see why he deserves it, unless game-by-game data is being used.

   70. jimd Posted: June 03, 2003 at 09:59 PM (#513727)
That is: relative to Galvin, not Radbourn.
   71. James Newburg Posted: June 03, 2003 at 10:31 PM (#513730)
I've got classes until about 10 p.m. Pacific, but I had planned to run the numbers on those pitchers when I got home. One note: When adding up the season-by-season calculations for the career figure, as opposed to using just the career totals in NRA, DERA, ERA and lgERA, there was a difference of about 1 or 2 ERA+ points. If someone else would be willing to use the formula to double-check my work, I'd really appreciate it.

By the way, I did use the "adjusted for season" numbers for NRA and DERA.
   72. James Newburg Posted: June 04, 2003 at 08:24 AM (#513733)
Joe, here's the adjERA+ for the rest of the pitchers you talked about:

John Ward
Diff. -2

Tim Keefe
Diff. -6

Jim Whitney
Diff. +8

Jim McCormick
Diff. 0

Tony Mullane
Diff. -8

Dave Foutz
Diff. -17

   73. James Newburg Posted: June 04, 2003 at 10:12 AM (#513735)
Be glad to, Andrew...

Tommy Bond
Diff. -8
   74. DanG Posted: June 04, 2003 at 04:42 PM (#513737)
Wow! Posting my ballot already, on Wednesday.

1) Brouthers: the Friends of Ol? Hoss keep him from being unanimous.
2) Ewing: Is there anyone else here besides Big Dan and Buck who might rank in the top ten all-time at his position?
3) Glasscock: Could he be a top 10 shortstop?
4) Start: White and Wright are the only HoMers born before 1850 (both born 1847). Is Start (and Pike, Pearce, Meyerle et al), born 1842, being treated unfairly by some for being born a decade too soon?
5) Sutton: A top 10 thirdbaseman?
6) Radbourn: Seems to be closer to Galvin than originally figured.
7) Richardson: Holds spot from previous two years.
8) Spalding: Most highly regarded pitcher of his day, with perhaps the best stats as well. But. Just how valuable were pitchers 1867-76 era?
9) McVey: Like Pearce et al, I don’t think he’s going to get the support he deserves until his career becomes better documented.
10) H. Stovey: Can’t get past the fact that he scored more runs than games played in his career. Hamilton, Gore and Barnes are the only others to do this post-NA. It seems to speak of great value as a base runner. Was this simply a product of his teams’ offenses?
11) Galvin: Holding here, could move higher.
12) Thompson: Is there anything historically unique about his record? What separates him from the other short-career sluggers?
13) Pearce: His reputation seems as much based on heady play as on quality, so I’m forced to keep him below my HoMer line.
14) Pike: Born 1845, too soon for any accurate assessment of his career. Even with all the missing years, is nearly up to HOF averages for black and gray ink.
15) Bennett: I gave him a little more credit for his position manned, making Browning the odd man out.

George Stovey got his mention from a few voters, that seems only right. Unfortunately, circumstances prevented him from proving his worth in organized ball; it's a big leap from success in minor leagues to the HoM.

   75. Rick A. Posted: June 05, 2003 at 02:22 AM (#513738)
There are changes from my previous ballots, since I've always had trouble deciding where to slot the pitchers in and feel I was probably underrating them. They were all grouped near the end of my ballot. I've mixed them in among the hitters a little more.

1. Dan Brouthers(n/a) - should be unanimous #1 selection
2. Jack Glasscock - (3) - Great fielder and very decent hitter. Switched position with Richardson
3. Buck Ewing(n/a) - Not as great as I thought, but still #3
4. Al Spalding-(9) First pitcher that I reshuffled in.
5. Hardy Richardson(2) - Much closer to Ewing than I previously thought
6. Joe Start(4)
7. Ezra Sutton(5)
8. Pud Galvin(11) – Switched position with Radbourn based on discussion and re-evaluation
9. Hoss Radbourn(10)
10. Sam Thompson(n/a)
11. Harry Stovey(6) - Moved down because of re-slotting of pitchers.
12. Pete Browning(7) - Had a hard time deciding between Browning's great offense but bad defense vs. Bennett's great defense and decent offense.
13. Charlie Bennett(12) - Probably is underrated. A little more playing time would've moved him up alot on my ballot, but sadly that didn't happen. Great defense.
14. Mickey Welch(14)
15. Cal McVey(15)
   76. Brian H Posted: June 05, 2003 at 04:57 AM (#513739)
Perhaps I overstated the case against Glasscock as a hitter. Still, I don't think that his hitting is on par with the position players I placed above him. This is especially so in terms of "peak value."

I guess when I was writing my blurb for him I felt I had to explain how he had slipped on my ballot relative to players such as Stovey and Browning who I believe are vastly superior hitters who I had been "overpenalizing" for playing in the American Association during that leagues high water mark. Frankly I was also somewhat pursuaded by reading that a SABER 19th Century committee had selected Stovey as the 19th century player most deserving of HOF induction over such non-HOFers (but current HOMers) as Deacon White, Paul Hines and George Gore. I've also been looking through the "Beer & Whiskey League" book which has made me perhaps overly sympathetic to the American Associations' stars' fate.

Probably the way to avoid making statements like I did is to never say anything negative about any of the players I vote for. This would not be terribly helpful as it would never expose why player A is better/worse than player B. You are right though my statement suggests that a clearly good hitter was "weak".

   77. Jeff M Posted: June 05, 2003 at 01:01 PM (#513740)

Just so I'm clear, is the adjERA+ you are using park-adjusted?
   78. Jeff M Posted: June 05, 2003 at 01:21 PM (#513741)
Quite a bit of shuffling going on. I've moved from a blanket discount for the NA and AA to a season-by-season discount. The practical result is more respect for Stovey, Browning, Sutton and McVey. I won't repeat past comments, because these threads are already extremely long. Nobody can say we aren't an active group.

1. DAN BROUTHERS -- Our easiest call to date.

2. HARRY STOVEY -- When I stopped applying an across the board 10% discount to the AA, and applied a tailored year-by-year discount, he improved in my standings. The AA seems to have been just as good as the NL from 1883-1889, which are prime years for Stovey, and he had moved on before the weak AA years of 1890 and 1891.

3. HOSS RADBOURN -- Was #3 on my first ballot, and here he remains. Because of Anson and Connor next year, he's still two years away.

4. PETE BROWNING -- Other than Brouthers, the best hitter you'll find among the eligibles (and maybe the elected). He may have been a poor defender, but it would take a hell of a lot of bad defense to negate his hitting production.

5. BUCK EWING -- Have him here, and he is deserving, but I have trouble getting excited about him.


7. EZRA SUTTON -- Can't decide whether I should flip-flop he and Spalding, but I don't think it matters because they are both HOMers.

8. SAM THOMPSON -- Better hitter than Glasscock, but obviously not as good defensively and played a weaker defensive position. Still, he nudges Jack on my ballot. Could go either way.

9. JACK GLASSCOCK -- Very very good player, but I'm surprised at how revered he is among the electorate. I think he's a HOMer and might have a legitimate claim to be as high as 5th on this ballot, but anyway....

10. JIM MCCORMICK -- The Rodney Dangerfield of the balloting process. Hope everyone is taking another look at him.

11. BOB CARUTHERS -- Terrific all around, but I can't put him higher than this right now.

12. CAL MCVEY -- Cal dropped off my ballot for a while, but I took another look. Probably a long shot to be a HOMer given the voting patterns, but I would draw the line after him. He sure could hit.

13. TONY MULLANE -- The next three guys are all the same to me. Just depends on how you look at the numbers.


   79. James Newburg Posted: June 05, 2003 at 06:43 PM (#513742)
Jeff M,

Yeah, adjERA+ is park-adjusted.
   80. Al Peterson Posted: June 05, 2003 at 09:03 PM (#513743)
My take on the 1902 ballot:

1. Dan Brouthers (-). What can I say except who's next...
2. Old Hoss Radbourn (5). Body of work makes him highly qualified.
3. Jack Glasscock (3) Slick fielder with the bonus that he could hit. Good career length.
4. Buck Ewing (-) Some of the gloss is gone once you look a little closer.
5. Ezra Sutton (4). Inconsistency season to season leads to not being higher.
6. Al Spalding (6). Dominance at the very beginning of baseball.
7. Harry Stovey (7). Speed, power and patience would have excelled in any league.
8. Joe Start (8). Consider me NOJS (Neutral on Joe Start). This is probably conservative.
9. Pud Galvin (10). Making a slow crawl up my ballot.
10. Sam Thompson (-). The limited things he did he did really well.
11. Hardy Richardson (9). Nothing about him shouts out to me to raise him on the ballot.
12. Pete Browning (11). Pure hitter, not much else.
13. Charlie Bennett (12). Might linger on the bottom of ballot for awhile.
14. Ed Williamson (13). Sutton still trumps him.
15. Lip Pike (-). Let's hear it for someone from the old school.

Gone for now (maybe longer): Bob Caruthers, Mickey Welch

   81. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 06, 2003 at 02:09 PM (#513745)
Welcome, Clint!
   82. Chris Cobb Posted: June 06, 2003 at 04:20 PM (#513746)
I also would like to join the group. I've been reading the threads for about a month, and now that I've covered all the discussion up to the present, I think I can vote reasonably responsibly. My general method is to use adjusted career win shares for position players as a starting framework for rank order, then making further adjustments for NA and pre-NA play, defensive value not fully reflected in win shares, and extraordinary peak performance. I rank pitchers separately, weighting peak more heavily for them in a 19th-century context, then slot them in among the position players, using career win shares as a rough guide to relative value. So here's the result:

1. Dan Brouthers. Head and shoulders above the rest.
2. Ezra Sutton. A lot of hidden value.
3. Buck Ewing. Would rank higher with more catching.
4. John Glasscock. Very little separates him, Sutton, & Ewing.
5. Charley Radbourn. Best peak outweighs Galvin's longevity.
6. Harry Stovey. Even pro-rated, 381 adj. CWS outstanding. A complete player and worthy HOMer.
7. Albert Spalding. A dominant player as pitcher and hitter.
8. Pud Galvin. If I knew more about his minor league years, could rank higher.
9. Cal McVey. Tremendous NA numbers.
10. Joe Start. Not convinced he was ever a dominant player, but played well forever.
11. Mickey Welch. Very similar to Hoss & Pud. Not much separates 5 & 11 in the rankings.
12. Hardy Richardson. Solid career, probable HOMer.
13. Pete Browning. A great hitter, but career fairly short.
14. Sam Thompson. Ditto.
15. Lip Pike. A dominant player, but too much of his career lost in pre-NA mists to justify a higher ranking.

Just off ballot: Charlie Bennet, Jim McCormick, N/ed Williamson

   83. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 06, 2003 at 05:22 PM (#513748)
Welcome, Chris and Chocaholic!

13. Ezra Sutton: Don't know what everybody sees in him; his stats are mildy better than Start and McVey, but Sutton didn't play pre-NA.

Compare him to the third basemen of his time and you see a different picture. The position was more like second base is viewed today.
   84. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 06, 2003 at 08:20 PM (#513749)
6. Harry Stovey. Even pro-rated, 381 adj. CWS outstanding. A complete player and worthy HOMer.

I'm coming up with 363 Win Shares for him (with a high of 42 in 1883). Am I missing something?
   85. Chris Cobb Posted: June 07, 2003 at 12:59 AM (#513750)
381 is the number of adjusted Win Shares listed for Harry Stovey in the statistical summary on the first-base positional thread. Whether it's correct or not I can't verify myself. Amusing that the one number I quote turns out to be questionable! Is there a way we could get the number verified? It's not an insignificant difference.
   86. jimd Posted: June 07, 2003 at 01:03 AM (#513751)
Read my previous ballots if you want reasons for all but the latest eligibles.

1) D. Brouthers -- Has to be real good to knock Radbourn out of #1.
2) J. Glasscock -- A long and valuable career.
3) C. Radbourn -- Still #1 in my pitching book, but losing some gloss.
4) A. Spalding -- Best of his generation; better OPS+ than IRod at a more important position.
5) P. Galvin -- #2 behind Radbourn? Maybe I need to look closer here.
6) H. Richardson -- WARP and WS agree; better career and peak value than Ewing.
7) B. Ewing -- I'm giving him a large subjective boost due to the opinion of his contemporaries (like I do Spalding) because, frankly, the overall value numbers aren't there. The rate numbers during his peak are good, but he didn't play enough.
8) C. Bennett -- The comparison with Ewing opened my eyes about him. I now believe he is worthy (because he's a catcher, and looking ahead, we're going to be short of good catchers). Not as good an athlete as Ewing so he didn't work out well at other positions when trying to get him more at-bats. Possibly a better defender due to his great hands, and high pain threshold; this was even more important in the 19th century due to the lack of catching mitts, and the fact that foul tips were outs when caught. His unadjusted peak is comparable to Ewing's, and rates higher with me because it was during the short seasons of the early 80's and against pre-expansion pitching.

These are the guys that I might not have in my HOF, but then again I'm a small hall advocate, smaller than the one that exists now. Pretty similar to before; Thompson moves on, Caruthers falls off.

9) J. Whitney -- As special as Caruthers in a tougher league.
10) J. Start -- Very long career; his peak is lost in the mists of time.
11) S. Thompson -- Not yet convinced of his merits; great hitter though.
12) H. Stovey -- Not a long enough career or dominant enough peak to place higher.
13) J. McCormick -- Another very-good early 1880's pitcher.
14) E. Sutton -- Another very-good infielder.
15) D. Pearce -- I'm not sure he belongs, but I think he's a better choice than my other "almosts".

Just missing the cut are Bob Caruthers, Ned Williamson, Tony Mullane, Fred Dunlap, and Tommy Bond.

   87. RobC Posted: June 07, 2003 at 01:38 PM (#513755)
thebigeasy -
Remember that when you are comparing a player to future players, to only compare the future guys thru (for next year) 1903. You dont yet know what Dahlen or Davis will do after that.
   88. Jeff M Posted: June 07, 2003 at 04:40 PM (#513756)
Sorry to bug everyone else with this, but Chris Cobb, you aren't by chance in Jacksonville Fla are you?
   89. Sean Gilman Posted: June 07, 2003 at 05:39 PM (#513758)
Joe's Adjusted Win Shares from the positional threads:

273 - 39, 35, 32 - 146 - Ezra Sutton - 16.3 sea. - 198 batting - 74 fielding.
(not counting the NA seasons).

278 - 34, 31, 30 - 143 - Ned (or Ed?) Williamson - 11.6 sea. - 192 batting - 80 fielding - 6 pitching.
(does win shares adjust for his freak home run year in 1884? I don't think it does, but I could be wrong)

Sutton's got a fairly clear peak advantage here, especially if Williamson's 1884 isn't adjusted.

   90. Chris Cobb Posted: June 07, 2003 at 08:08 PM (#513759)
Jeff M.: -- No, I'm not in Jacksonville, sorry!

John Murphy: -- I ran adj. Win Share numbers for Harry Stovey by hand, and I got 367, with a peak of 41.3 in 1883. The positional thread lists him with a peak of 55(!). I think that the adjusted score on the positional thread is way off for one year, and that probably accounts for the discrepancies in adj. CWS.

I see Sutton and Williamson as quite close, based purely on their NL careers. Sutton's five years in the NA, though, give him a significantly more valuable career as a whole.
   91. favre Posted: June 08, 2003 at 04:51 AM (#513761)
Forgive me for posting something that has nothing to do with the ballot, but I just saw the damndest thing, and I hope you'll appreciate it...

I just came from a Triple-A game, Las Vegas at Tacoma. Craig Anderson pitched a 1-0 shutout for the Rainiers. Here is his line:

9 IP 5 H 0 K 0 BB

No walks AND no strikeouts through nine often does that happen? I imagine it wasn't entirely unusual before 1920, but we sure don't see it much now. BTW, Tacoma scored an unearned run on a sac fly. Great game.
   92. Ken Fischer Posted: June 08, 2003 at 12:28 PM (#513763)
1- Dan Brouthers-one of the best hitters in any century

2- Al Spalding-his domination of pitching from 1871 - 1876 is unique
in 19th Century annals…isn’t it about time!!

3- Joe Start-27 year career from 1860-1886…I thought about what a
couple posts said…if you think he belongs then vote him

4- Buck Ewing-may be overrated…I believe the ’88-’89 Giants would’ve
won without him

5- Bob Caruthers-often overlooked because of his short career…made
major impact in Browns & Grooms pennant runs.

6- Old Hoss Radbourn-1884 season is one of a kind…300+ wins gets him
over the top…being part of the only PL flag winner is a bonus

7- Jack Glasscock-hate putting him this high…but he deserves it for
his play on the field…still refuse to go any higher for his
behavior during the Brotherhood War

8- Harry Stovey-short changed since he spent most of his time in the
AA but played on league winners in PL & NL…premier slugger of the

9- Dickey Pearce-using same approach as with Start

10- Pete Browning-one of the highest lifetime batting averages…winning
the PL batting title proved he could compete AA, PL or NL

11- Sam Thompson-good numbers but ranks #3 in the legendary ‘90s
Phillies outfield

12- Erza Sutton-part of Spalding, Start, Pearce group

13- Charlie Bennett-Arguments have convinced me he belongs on the list

14- Jim Galvin- deserves recognition for the volume of his work

15- George Stovey-in similar situation as pre-NA players. Fowler,
Grant, G. Stovey & S. White appear to be the 19th Century
African-American baseball figures discussed as the most deserving
by historians

   93. Rusty Priske Posted: June 08, 2003 at 01:07 PM (#513764)
Re: Ken Fischer

Can you tell me (or point me in the right direction) info on Glasscock and the Brotherhood War? I'm afraid I am not familiar with it.
   94. Howie Menckel Posted: June 08, 2003 at 01:27 PM (#513765)
I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to do a google search on "GLASSCOCK." Lord knows what might pop up!

Anyway, Glasscock, HOMer Clarkson, Beckley, and Delahanty were among the players who signed NL contracts for 1890 after "pledging" to the fledgling Players League. Some got reinstated, but not Pebbly Jack, a bit of a ruffian in all respects....

   95. Ken Fischer Posted: June 08, 2003 at 03:42 PM (#513766)
RE: Glasscock & Brotherhood War

On page 108 of The New York Giants Base Ball Club 1870 to 1900 by James D. Hardy Jr. is the following:

...other players who weighed the odds at the last minute and decided to remain with Organized Baseball. Pebbly Jack Glasscock, shortstop for Indianapolis, deserted the Brotherhood (Players League) and signed with the National League (for 1890). Beyond that, Pebbly Jack helped persuade teammates Jerry Denny and Henry Boyle to do the same thing. This drew an outraged response from the Brotherhood leaders. Buck Ewing snapped that "Glasscock is a traitor. We are not disappointed, though, for we expected him to desert us." Tim Keefe and John Ward echoed the same harsh sentiments, adding that the trio had profited dishonorably from the troubles in baseball.

and from pps. 109-110 of Baseball's Radical for all Seasons by David Stevens:

Defunct Indianapolis held some good talent. The men were shipped to New York to bail out the New York NL team. Indianapolis' Jack Glasscock moved to the PL, then back to the Hoosiers. When Indianapolis was dropped by the NL, he was shipped to New York, replacing Ward at shortstop. He set a triple-jump record for contract breaking. Glasscock also was awarded carte blanche by the War Committee (run by NL power broker Al Spalding) for a cross-country mission to lure back others.

Eventually Glasscock, called Judas Goat by the Brotherhood, led back twenty-five pros. About Glasscock, Keefe snorted, "What can you expect of a man who wears a 12 shoe and a 6 hat? He is a traitor of the worst type. He is a man destitute of honor or dignity. He attended all the PL meetings to get information for the magnates."

I highly recommend both books.
   96. Howie Menckel Posted: June 08, 2003 at 03:58 PM (#513767)
Funny thing is that Ewing is battling Glasscock again, 100 years later, for the second Hall of Merit berth tonight! (sticking with the no-spoiler rule, as you will, too, I'm sure).
Merit berth tonight! (sticking with the no-spoiler rule, as you will, too, I'm sure).
Meanwhile, the loser will go up "in 1903" against Roger Connor, who spent the vast majority of his career as a teammate of Ewing...
   97. RobC Posted: June 08, 2003 at 08:37 PM (#513769)
So, Ewing et al. expected Glasscock to desert them, but they still allowed him to attend the meetings and discussed issues in front of him that they didnt want to get back to the magnates?

I think Ewing/Keefe were some fine 19th century spin doctors. Or amazingly stupid. Or both.
   98. Esteban Rivera Posted: June 09, 2003 at 12:51 AM (#513770)
Here we go 1902!

1. Dan Brouthers - Absolutely the best candidate this year.

2. Al Spalding - I put Al Spalding here because of his dominance during his time. His hitting was good and, even though he did benefit from having great teammates, that doesn't negate his talent. I mean, the man may have gotten a lot of run support but he was always near the top in ERA.

3. Charles Radbourne - I still believe what he accomplished at his peak and after, even with a somewhat bum arm, is unbelievable.

4. Buck Ewing - The most acclaimed player of his time. Don't see any reason to not believe what is said about him.

5. Charlie Bennett - Best catcher available. Moves up after comparison with Ewing. His defense was excellent and his hitting great for a full time catcher, even if his numbers are uneven. Campanella was pretty uneven during his career and not many people discredit his greatness as a catcher.

6. Cal McVey - Finally feel that I am giving him the respect he deserves. I strongly feel McVey is a HOMer.

7. Ezra Sutton - Best third baseman of the 19th century according to my interpretation of the numbers.

8. Jack Glasscock - The total package at shortstop.

9. Hardy Richardson - Was the top second baseman of his time.

10. Pud Galvin - Starts moving back up after re-assesing all the information on him.

11. Joe Start - Was the best "old" player of his time.

12. Lip Pike - One of the best players in early baseball. Definitely deserves more attention.

13. Bob Caruthers - Excelled in both pitching and hitting. Something that definitely deserves merit.

14. Harry Stovey - Find him and Browning to be the same type. AA discount but better defense has him just ahead.

15. Pete Browning - Great hitter but defense and AA discount land him just behind Stovey.

Just missing is Sam Thompson. This cluster of Browning, Stovey and Thompson is giving me a headache.
   99. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: June 09, 2003 at 02:04 AM (#513773)
Okay, here's the newest revisions (1-7 are easy, 8-15 are driving me nuts)

1. Dan Brouthers. (NA) You know what? He's pretty good.
2. Buck Ewing. (NA) I don't think its a case of Ned Williamson-like hype, he pretty clearly was the best catcher of the 19th century.
3. Hoss Radbourne (3) I had him at #2 until the latest Hoss-Pud argument knocked him down a bit. I still think his 1884 is a huge season because of the circumstances - having essentially no other pitcher for the second half of the year.
4. Ezra Sutton (4)
5. Jack Glasscock (5) I'm tempted to tie these guys, I have a real hard time telling them apart. Excellent defense and good offense for their positions over a reasonably long career.
6. Pete Browning (6) I think he's a little better than Thompson, his peak was a little higher, and his defense isn't quite as bad as some people claim.
7. Joe Start (7)
8. Pud Galvin (14) Hoss moves down a little, Pud moves up a lot. I'll buy that his defenses held him back, but I still don't think he was great.
9. Charlie Bennett (11) His defense was outstanding, and even if the Ewing comparisons don't quite get there, his hitting was all right (even if his most-similar player is Brad Ausmus)
10. Hardy Richardson (8) Moved down due to other guys moving up.
11. Sam Thompson (NA) I don't think he's as good a hitter as Browning, and it's hard to get excited about a RFers defense.
12. Lip Pike (10) Ahead of McVey because because I feel more certain about the quality of his undocumented play.
13. Cal McVey (13) Very impressive hitting numbers and he caught some. I keep feeling I could rate him higher.
14. Al Spalding (9) I didn't just switch him with Galvin. He has a lot of red flags about quality of competition, his ERA+ got knocked down a ton by his fielders.
15. Harry Stovey (12) Still skittering down the ballot. Just nothing particularly special about his career to me. And I don't see where some people are getting a "career value" argument - it wasn't remarkably long (6800 PAs vs. 5300 for Browning)

Dropping out: Bob Caruthers

   100. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 09, 2003 at 04:47 AM (#513774)
We have 41 voters this time (and KJOK is doing his "fashionably late" scene again).

Dickey Pearce is still making his inexorable move to the top! :-)
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