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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Monday, July 28, 2003

1906 Ballot

This promises to be our closest election yet, with fives candidates having a realistic shot at being the year’s only electee. This is a good week to go back an re-examine things if you haven’t done that in awhile.

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: July 28, 2003 at 04:09 PM | 71 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. KJOK Posted: July 28, 2003 at 04:23 PM (#515995)
I look more for wins above AVERAGE as opposed to above REPLACEMENT LEVEL when considering a player's greatness...

1. CHARLIE BENNETT, C, Comp is Roy Campanella. Better hitter and fielder than Clements. Until Roger Bresnahan, only Ewing was a better Catcher. Unless you?re taking the position that almost NO catchers were among the most valuable players in the 19th century, I find it hard not to advocate Bennett.

2. AL SPALDING, P, Top NA pitcher. Comp is Dizzy Dean. If not Spalding, then what pre-1880?s pitcher deserves to go in?

3. PETE BROWNING, CF/LF - Hits like Joe Jackson, fields like Greg Luzinski playing CF. However, even with his poor fielding he has one of the highest Win Shares/Year for the 19th century.

4. SAM THOMPSON, RF, Harry Heilmann to an T (or an ?H?) Another great hitter who?s fielding was average.

5. MIKE TIERNAN ? Similar value to Gary Sheffiield. Just slightly below Sam Thompson.

6 MIKE GRIFFIN, CF ? Fred Lynn/Jimmy Wynn offensively, and was a better CF than both. Seems to be very underrated.

7. JOE START, 1B,. Similar to Tony Perez, IF you assume a normal career progression that is not fully documented.

8. BID McPHEE, 2B ? I think Graig Nettles is his best comp, as he was relatively a much better hitter than Brooks Robinson AND a terrific fielder.

9. CAL McVEY, C, Modern Comp: Gene Tenace, only better and longer career. Best catcher before Ewing/Bennett.

10. HARRY STOVEY, LF/1B, Comp is Albert Belle.

11. NED WILLIAMSON, 3B, Best comp may be Jeff Kent with Bill Mazeroski?s defense, which is a pretty potent combination. Seems to be undervalued with all the friends of Ezra..

12. LIP PIKE ? Think I?ve shortchanged him on past ballots. Comp is Hack Wilson.

13. EZRA SUTTON ? Best comp is Miller Huggins, but with a higher peak. He was a good hitter, but nowhere near Joyce or Meyerle or even Deacon White or Denny Lyons. He was a good fielder, but nowhere near Ned Williamson or Nash. Solid all-around player, but had a lot of mediocre seasons and overall is not quite good enough to rank higher.

14. BILL JOYCE, 3B, #6 in career OPS. Hard to find a modern 2B or 3B comp. Hit almost like Hornsby, but couldn?t field, and had a shorter career. Al Rosen with better OBP and less SLG, but with an even shorter career. I don?t see why he?d be more HOM worthy if he had added a few mediocre seasons to get a longer career. Nevertheless, I?ve been convinced that with such a short career he probably shouldn?t be in the top 5 right now.

15. Pud Galvin, P ? Comp is Burleigh Grimes. Lots of innings, but over career wasn?t that much above league average. He didn?t prevent as many runs as some other pitchers, wasn?t a great hitter, and doesn?t have a great W/L record to push him higher.


16. Bob Caruthers, P/RF, Combination of Carl Mays & Gavvy Cravath. Not convinced he?s not a better choice than Pud, but quite a few less innings has him down here.
   2. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 28, 2003 at 04:27 PM (#515996)
I've made some new notes for some of the carryover players.
   3. karlmagnus Posted: July 28, 2003 at 05:02 PM (#515997)
Have reworked my ?normalization? methodology for a few long careers in 1870s-1880s, to adjust for lengthening seasons. For Start, Sutton, Pike and McVey, I now take adjusted hits as actual hits *130/actual games, normalizing them in each season to 130 games, with the exception of mini-seasons at the end where they were clearly winding down. Other normalizations, for 1880s players, catchers etc. I keep as was, doing it over the career as a whole to put achievements into a ?modern? context.
   4. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 28, 2003 at 05:13 PM (#515998)
Not that far off from being the best NA third baseman over Meyerle. Best major league third baseman for 1872, 1873, 1875, 1883, 1884 and 1885.


I forgot about Anson. He has to be the best over Meyerle and Sutton (unless Chris Cobb has a different analysis). Fortunately, it didn't affect my ranking at all (which had factored Sutton's stats correctly), just my notes on my ballot.

Sutton was the best major league third baseman for 1875, 1883, 1884 and 1885 (and close to being the best first baseman in '76).
   5. Jeff M Posted: July 28, 2003 at 05:49 PM (#515999)
Tinkered around some. Last year's rankings are in parens.

1. SUTTON, EZRA (#1) -- Same position as last time. You know the arguments.

2. STOVEY, HARRY (#3) -- Holds his spot. As I've said before, I don't discount AA as much, particularly in the middle years.

3. MCVEY, CAL (#5) -- Holds his spot, just ahead of Start. See that thread for my comments.

4. START, JOE (#7) -- Had him behind Browning last time, but wasn't really comfortable with that.

5. GALVIN, PUD (#10) -- A dearth of pitchers, and he's the best of the crop, so I've raised him a bit.


7. TIERNAN, MIKE (#9) -- More and more convinced he was better than Thompson, though the differences are probably insignificant.

8. MCPHEE, BID (#12) -- I'm all over the place on this guy, but he truly was a fantastic 2b...maybe better than anyone but Maz.

My HOMer cutoff is probably here ---------------------

9. THOMPSON, SAM (#8) -- Hard to get too excited about Thompson. A very talented hitter, but who here isn't?

10. JONES, CHARLEY (#13) -- I think Jones has been overlooked by us. Because of his AA play, he falls behind Thompson and Tiernan, but not by much. As someone else said, if he hadn't been blacklisted for two years, he'd be in Top 5 territory. Give him a look.

11. CARUTHERS, BOB (#15) -- Caruthers must be feeling seasick, b/c he's been floating up and down my ballot for years. I think he was a unique talent. I can't see him being elected.

12. SPALDING, AL (--) -- I've gone from a FOAS to "who cares".

13. WELCH, MICKEY (#14) -- And here begins the pitcher shuffle.

14. MULLANE, TONY (#11)

15. BENNETT, CHARLIE (--) -- Never been on my ballot before, and I actually have him behind Jim McCormick and Lip Pike in my ranking system. Putting him here acknowledges that catchers are hard to rate and I don't have any idea how to measure his contribution against McCormick's pitching or the missing documentation on Lip Pike. Bennett is on 3/4 of the other voters ballots, so I'm willing to give him a little bump on the theory that many of you must know what you are talking about. But I can't do any better than this for Bennett.

Just off (where they've been living for a while and will probably stay): McCormick, Pike, O'Neill, Stivetts, Griffin, Buffinton.
   6. Chris Cobb Posted: July 28, 2003 at 05:57 PM (#516000)
KJOK asks about Sutton's short 1872 season. He was a full-time player, but his Cleveland team only played 22 NA league games, so his "season" was much shorter than the seasons of most of the other marquee players of the NA that year, who were playing 45-50 games.

John Murphy asks about Anson in the NA. I haven't run the numbers on Anson, but it's clear that Sutton was better in 71 and 75, Anson in 72. For 73 and 74, it's clear that Anson was significantly better with the bat, but I can't say without a closer look whether Sutton's defense makes up the difference. Given how little WS values 1B defense, the fact that Anson is splitting time between third and first is likely to hurt the WS evaluation of his fielding numbers. WS likes Sutton's defense a lot.
   7. favre Posted: July 28, 2003 at 05:58 PM (#516001)
Radbourn and Richardson were #'s 2 & 3 on my ballot last year. I'm really happy that Richardson, one of my favorite players, made it.

1. Ezra Sutton (4)
   8. MattB Posted: July 28, 2003 at 05:59 PM (#516002)
1. Pud Galvin (1) ? Is this his year? He was first runner-up in 1905. If he makes it, it will be an impressive climb from coming in #12 on the opening ballot, and a point in favor of deliberative democracy. Still the best pitcher on this or any ballot to date.

2. Joe Start (2) -- Still holding strong. One day we'll get there.

3. Cal McVey (10) -- this week's discussion convinced me to take a closer look. I have had him too low.

4. Al Spalding (3) ? best pitcher, 1867-1876 with no close second. I simply refuse to believe that pitching was so unimportant that no candidate is worthy.

5. Bid McPhee (4) -- I try to be as conservative as possible with the new guys, but putting McPhee any lower than third goes beyond conservative to reactionary. A close study of McPhee has led me, however, to move Hardy Richardson up in my estimation.

6. Ezra Sutton (8) -- still above my personal in/out line, and the numbers presented this week confirm it. Just too many good guys ahead of him.

7. Charlie Bennett (9) ? should go in eventually, but now I see him as the third best catcher (after Ewing and McVey)

8. Bud Fowler (6) - the best Negro league player to retire in the 19th century gets precedence over the fifth best first baseman/ left fielder until I hear evidence to the contrary.

9. Harry Stovey (7) ? a great player, but at deep positions. Still not sure about him, but he moves up in my estimation this week.

10. Sam Thompson (15) -- better than I though.

11. Bob Caruthers (12) -- still like him, but the comparison to Jim Whitney was interested.

12. Jim Whitney (off) -- first time on my ballot, but I took a second look at his hitting contributions. Plus, comparing his K's and BB's to his contemporaries, he's looking pretty good.

13. Pete Browning (13)

14. Mike Tiernan (15)

15. Mickey Welch (off) -- also first time on my ballot, but always lurking just off.

Dropping off for now: Mike Griffin goes down to 16th. Also hovering below the equator and rounding out the Top 20 are Jim McCormick, Lip Pike, Ned Williamson, and Charlie Jones.
   9. Howie Menckel Posted: July 28, 2003 at 06:13 PM (#516005)
Points work how in a one-electee year?
   10. MattB Posted: July 28, 2003 at 06:23 PM (#516006)
My understanding is that the points will be 24-19-18-17 . . .

Only the first place ballot gets the four bonus points.
   11. MattB Posted: July 28, 2003 at 06:31 PM (#516008)
Hm. Well, obviously when I do not change a players' relative ranking, there is generally little reason to read the comments too closely . . .
   12. Rusty Priske Posted: July 28, 2003 at 07:45 PM (#516012)
I'm like a born again relgious type, or an ex-smoker. When I come around on someone it is with a vengeance. :)

1. Pud Galvin (2) - Now that Hoss is in, Pud is my top guy. Hopefully he will get in before we start getting a bunch of good candidates again.

2. Ezra Sutton (-) - I never thought he was bad before, I just wasn't confident in calling him better than the others on the ballot. Now I am. Sutton for HoM!

3. Al Spalding (4) - The fourth best pitcher of the era. Two of the others are already in.

4. Joe Start (3) - Spalding squeaked ahead of him, but Start deserves a spot soon as well.

5. Bid McPhee (6) - He will probably be inducted before I would put him in, but he deserves to get it eventually, regardless.

6. Cal McVey (-) - A less dramatic turn-around than Ezra, but he is also the last "must go in" on my list.

7. Bob Caruthers (7) - The gap from the top pitchers to Caruthers is too large.

8. Harry Stovey (8)

9. Mickey Welch (9)

10. Tony Mullane (10)

11. Jim McCormick (13) A little jump after the new analyses on this site, but not enough.

12. Sam Thompson (12)

13. Mike Tiernan (15)

14. Pete Browning (-) On, off, on, off. on...

15. Gus Weyhing (new) Deserves mention, but not induction.
   13. MattB Posted: July 28, 2003 at 07:53 PM (#516013)
Fascinating facts on the first 18 inductees:

16 out of 18 (all but Barnes and Wright) were active, regular players in 1890.

Only 4 out of 18 (Anson, Barnes, White, and Wright) were active regulars in 1871. Were the players on 1890 four times as worthy? I don't think so.

Four out of my top six (Sutton, Start, McVey, Spalding) were active in 1871. That is not due to any quota, but it also should not be surprising.
   14. MattB Posted: July 28, 2003 at 09:33 PM (#516016)
"We'd have Spalding, Start, Sutton and McVey in and Glasscock, Rusie, Radbourn and Richardson on this ballot fighting it out with Galvin and McPhee."

Interesting "alternate universe" perspective. I agree that all 10 of these people will/should go in eventually. I feel somewhat justified (or at least, comfortably in the majority), though, as I realize that these 6 names just happen to be my Top 6 this year.
   15. Howie Menckel Posted: July 28, 2003 at 09:39 PM (#516017)
Yeah, there's a good chance that all five of our current "leaders" will be in by 1920 (the Nineteen Teens will be tough, though), and several potential 'finally let 'em in' spots may be available in the late 1920s (next April and May realtime, by which point we'd be so sick of some of these names....., lol).
   16. Marc Posted: July 29, 2003 at 01:06 AM (#516020)
As always, I like a nice high peak, a period during which the player was unquestionably "great." You can't "become great" by hanging around, but of course if you are a "great" player and then hang around a long time, well, then you're a first ballot honoree. There are no such candidates at the moment except Al Spalding. I am especially favorable toward electing the first-tier stars of the early decades rather than the second and third-tier from the '80s.

The Greats (the No-Brainers)

1. Al Spalding (1)--one of the top 2 or 3 players in America for 10 years, regarded by his peers as the greatest player of his day, and not even a "short" career by standards of the time. Clearly better than the second-tier stars remaining from the '80s. A right handed Warren Spahn.

2. Cal McVey (6)--also a top 5 player for 10 years. Not quite the hitting resum? that others have, but unlike those he played key defensive positions. Think Tony Perez but with more D.

3. Sam Thompson (2)--the best combo of a high peak ('87 and mid-'90s) and reasonable longevity. Sure he exploited a high offense era in the '90s but, hey, his numbers didn't just happen, he produced them. Mike Tiernan was 7 years younger and failed to do so. The first coming of Harry Heilmann.

4. Bob Caruthers (3)--biggest star of the AA, immense pennant impacts. A Bob Lemon type.

Near-Greats (Not a Bad HoMer)

5. Charlie Bennett (9)--the more I look at Charlie, the more I realize there is just no downside to his candidacy. Even some of the guys I rank above him have legitimate weaknesses on their resum?s, Charlie doesn't. A truly great catcher in the Bill Freehan mold.

6. Joe Start (11)--keeps moving up. A top 5 player in the '60s with plenty of career value added on. His high peak separates him from Ezra Sutton and his longevity just boosts him above Lip Pike. Reminds me of a Keith Hernandez or Don Mattingly with a longer career.

7. Lip Pike (10)--lots of offensive value and played middle infield and CF. A speedy Robin Yount.

8. Pete Browning (5)--drops back down but 164 OPS+ cannot be ignored despite short career, AA discount and weak D. No comps among prominent CF, but almost a Joe Jackson.

9. Bid McPhee (8)--the Bill Mazeroski of his day--i.e. never a star, no peak but great defense and good longevity; not as good as Glasscock, however, with the AA discount.

The Really Good (but not HoMers)

10. Jim Creighton (-)--since we're into the non-HoMers now, why not the guy that everybody knew was the greatest baseball player of his time, if even for 3 years, rather than just another all-star from the '80s? Of course I can't justify him "by the numbers," but Creighton is NOT Tony Conigliaro, he is Babe Ruth in 1919-21.

11. Charley Jones (-)--back on my ballot after a long absence. Short career but his raw numbers are hurt much more by short seasons. This guy could hit and it's not his fault he was blacklisted. He was blackballed because he complained when he didn't get paid! Think Charlie Keller.

12. Harry Wright (-)--again, a guy who in the 1860s was regarded as a top one or two player and the guy who created the environment in which the Dickey Pearce's did their things. I don't just mean he managed the teams, he showed everybody else how to play the game out there on the field. No comparables.

13. Harry Stovey (12)--excellent hitter and offensive force for longer than most of his contemporaries. Think Fred Clarke.

Ballot Fillers

14. Jim McCormick (-)--one among many high peak, short career pitchers, but McCormick's was not quite so short. He was the active career leader in WS for several years before the '80s cohort caught up. That puts him ahead of Bond, Whitney, et al. Sort of a Catfish Hunter.

15. Dave Orr (-)--Brouthers-esque peak but too short a career even for me. Think Will Clark.

Dropping off: Dunlap, Mullane, Lyons. Serious consideration: Bond, Pearce, Sutton.
   17. Sean Gilman Posted: July 29, 2003 at 01:31 AM (#516021)

1. Ezra Sutton (1)--Should have been in a long time ago. I?ve never been able to understand why one wouldn?t at least put him on the ballot. Peak value comparable to Cal McVey (Best 3: 121/137 WS, 5 Consecutive: 161/177 WS), with significantly more career value (468/314). More Career Value than anyone on the board by far. Thanks to Chris Cobb for the numbers.

2. Bid McPhee (2)--Defense and career value trumps the AA discount and the lack of a tremendous peak.

3. Cal McVey (5)--Bumped him ahead of Start this year because Start?s NA peak doesn?t seem to be as good as I thought.

4. Joe Start (4)--More career value than McVey. But a much lower (documented) peak.

5. Harry Stovey (6)--I think some people have been applying an awfully harsh AA discount to him. He was a tremendous hitter and looks great in WS pennants added and in the baserunning info that?s been posted. More career value than any of the other ?hitters? on the ballot.

6. Pud Galvin (9)--Bumped ahead of Pike this year, giving more credit for career value over peak.

7. Lip Pike (7)--Not as good in the NA as McVey, but better before.

8. Charlie Bennett (10)--Great defense and hitting (for a catcher) moves him ahead of the Outfielder/Pitcher Glut.

9. Al Spalding (11)--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.

10. Pete Browning (12)--AA discount brings him down to Thompson and Tiernan and Griffin?s level. Browning still has the higher peak though.

11. Mike Tiernan (13)--I don?t think 3 players could be any more equal than Thompson and Tiernan and Griffin. Tiernan has a slight peak advantage over Thompson.

12. Sam Thompson (14)--Lower peak than Tiernan, higher peak than Griffin.

13. Mike Griffin (15)--Defense raises his (relatively) low peak to a level slightly below the rest of the outfielder glut.

14. Bob Caruthers (-)--Lack of newbies brings Parisian Bob Back to the ballot. . .

15. Jim McCormick (-)--Along with McCormick, who hasn?t made my ballot since ?98.
   18. Chris Cobb Posted: July 29, 2003 at 03:27 AM (#516023)
1906 Ballot

What an easy year with no new players! All there was to do was rethink the NA and the pitchers . . . I do feel clearer about this ballot than about any prior one I have cast.

1. Ezra Sutton (2) (3) (4) (2). The best combination of career and peak value on the ballot. His strong NA seasons move him past Galvin.
   19. Adam Schafer Posted: July 29, 2003 at 04:12 AM (#516025)
1. Al Spalding (1) - how can he NOT be #1?

2. Ezra Sutton (3) - With HOss in, Ezra finally busts loose of the number 3 spot he's been stuck in

3. Charlie Bennett (6) - I like catchers a lot which everyone will see in future elections, so it's not hard for me to rank Charlie so high. Stricly on a catching value, I feel he was the best.

4. Pud Galvin (4) - Long career, lots of innings, pure dominance. What else could we ask for out of a premier pitcher no matter what the era is that he pitches in?

5. Bid McPhee (5) - My opinion on him has not changed, good, possibly great, but too many others more valuable to rank him any higher

6. Sam Thompson (7) - He may have taken advantage of the parks he played in, and that may have bolstered his stats, and if that's true, more power to him.

7. Joe Start (8) - Nothing new, he simply moves up a spot with the election of Hoss

8. Bob Carruthers (9) - Ditto

9. Mickey Welch (11) - I knew that he'd be moving up soon. This seems to be the beginning of his climb for me

10. Harry Stovey (10) - holding steady

11. Cal McVey (14) - the bottom of my ballot is starting to shake up a little bit, which is great news for Cal

12. Pete Browning (13) - I don't feel that he belongs in, but then again I'm not too sure that anyone below my #7 spot belongs in. Just filling space now

13. Mike Tiernan (15) - ok, so he was 15 material anyway

14. Tony Mullane (n/a) - not a big fan of his. not HOM material. worth using to fill a spot though

15. Ed Williamson (n/a) - pretty good for awhile
   20. RobC Posted: July 29, 2003 at 01:58 PM (#516027)
Primarily based on career value. Not much different than last years,
   21. Howie Menckel Posted: July 29, 2003 at 03:19 PM (#516028)
   22. Howie Menckel Posted: July 29, 2003 at 03:38 PM (#516030)
I had
   23. Howie Menckel Posted: July 29, 2003 at 03:58 PM (#516034)
apologies, Joe, I figured describing different numbers, it might lessen the issue. But I'll pass from here on in....
   24. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 29, 2003 at 04:26 PM (#516037)
First update:

The rankings are as follows: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15

Your welcome. :-)
   25. Al Peterson Posted: July 29, 2003 at 07:50 PM (#516039)
Latest and greatest with the 1906 ballot

The Musts:

1. Al Spalding (5). Great combination hitter/pitcher from an underappreciated baseball time frame. His peak is long enough for the early years of organized ball.
   26. Marc Posted: July 29, 2003 at 08:05 PM (#516041)
The award for the best "category" names (e.g. The Guy Who Really Has to Be In, Guys Who I Feel Very Comfortable Supporting, etc.) goes to thebigeasy.
   27. James Newburg Posted: July 29, 2003 at 08:05 PM (#516042)
1. Joe Start (1) - The documented portion of Start's career is similar to Tony Perez. If you put any stock in the idea that he was one of the giants of 1860s baseball, he becomes a first-ballot HOMer.

2. Pud Galvin (2) - I had simply missed the boat on him. He's been the highest-ranked pitcher on my ballot, but I hadn't given the proper respect to a pitcher whose career parallels to the likes of Phil Niekro. The Little Steam Engine had the highest peak and highest documented career value of any pitcher on the ballot.

3. Al Spalding (3) - Al Spalding? Yes, Al Spalding. After weeks of being arguably his biggest enemy among HOM voters, I looked at his career again. I knock off about 20-25 points off of his ERA+ to take his defense into account, but his pitching is still pretty damn good. When you take into account his career previous to the NA and the amount of value he was able to shove into a season by pitching every day and being one of the better hitters on his team, it's clear he deserves to be in.

4. Ezra Sutton (4) - I hadn't appreciated just how durable Sutton was. He played the equivalent of over 2600 games in his career, with 2300 coming at third base and shortstop. His career averages compare pretty closely to Darrell Evans, and he was a fine defensive player at an important position.

5. Cal McVey (5) - Flip-flopped with Bennett based on my appreciation for his hitting.

6. Charlie Bennett (6) - WARP likes him a lot and so do I. A Pudge Rodriguez-type of player, but with more offenisve value tied up in on-base percentage.

7. Jim McCormick (8) - There is a small difference between him and the HOM-enshrined Radbourn, but it's not large enough to justify Radbourn finishing first on last year's ballot and McCormick finishing
   28. Marc Posted: July 30, 2003 at 12:07 AM (#516044)

Paul Wendt is the person who turned me on to Lip Pike, and I am pretty sure that Pike was a major contributor for 5 years before '71 and as a middle infielder. He only moved to CF in the NA era, though even then he played middle infield as his second position.
   29. OCF Posted: July 30, 2003 at 01:56 AM (#516045)
Fascinating facts on the first 18 inductees:

16 out of 18 (all but Barnes and Wright) were active, regular players in 1890.

Only 4 out of 18 (Anson, Barnes, White, and Wright) were active regulars in 1871. Were the players on 1890 four times as worthy? I don't think so.

This is a little unfair. Hines and O'Rourke came along in 1872, so for the rest of the NA days, there were 6 HoM players. And 1890 is the last year there were 16 HoM players, with so many of them near retirement. There were also 16 HoM players in 1881 - everyone except Clarkson and Rusie.

Only 125 NA games were played in 1871, total. The Athletics won the pennant in part because Levi Meyerle batted .492 and slugged .700 - in 130 at bats. Think about sample size.

It is true that we've elected only two men born before 1850, and that's a reason to consider Start, Pike, Meyerle, and Pearce - but many contemporaries of Start, Pike, and Meyerle had their army-camp base ball careers cut short by artillery shells.
   30. Brian H Posted: July 30, 2003 at 06:46 AM (#516046)
Joe - Why is/was Sam Thompson a "lousy fielder" ?
   31. Brad Harris Posted: July 30, 2003 at 01:40 PM (#516047)
1. Ezra Sutton
   32. OCF Posted: July 30, 2003 at 06:06 PM (#516048)
This is very difficult, because so much depends on things unseen. We don't see what might well be the peaks of Start, Pike, and Meyerle. We can't see very well just what early pitchers did, becuase it's so alien from the game we watch. And defense - defense lies at the heart of many of our arguments, about McPhee, Bennett, Sutton, Williamson. Earlier this year on Primer there was the "Derek Jeter" series of articles about the difficulties of measuring defense with all of the observational tools we now have - and it's still not easy. We can make corrections for distortions present in our present stats because we watch the games ourselves and have strong mental images of the players. But none of us watched McPhee play, or Bennett. There are distortions out there that we don't even suspect.

With that said, my ballot will be very similar to the one I submitted last year.

1. Harry Stovey (2). The "thing unseen" here is baserunning - but not that unseen. The man scored runs - he was as good at that as anyone.

2. Ezra Sutton (3). I trust the evidence of the late peak more than the early peak. He was a late bloomer, at his best in his 30's.

3. Pud Galvin (5). A workhorse. It's not so much that I moved him up but that I edged McPhee down.

4. Bid McPhee (4). So he played very, very good defense - at second base. I'm still not sure exactly what that means.

5. Pete Browning (7). We will have some better outfielder/hitters come along soon to push ahead of him. But I have him here for now.

6. Al Spalding (8).

7. Joe Start (9). The thing unseen about him: did he have a peak?

8. Charlie Bennett (10). The most durable of catchers, whatever that means.

9. Jim McCormick (11). The next pitcher.

10. Ed Williamson (13). His defense was for real - I think.

11. Mickey Welch (12).

12. Billy Nash (-). Could go higher. Some similarities to Sutton.

13. Cal McVey (14).

14. Bob Caruthers (15).

15. Mike Tiernan (-).

Also looked at: Ed McKean. Not a HoMer, but a good player. If only he didn't make all those errors...
   33. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 30, 2003 at 06:46 PM (#516050)
To those who pointed out that Billy Hamilton is on next year?s ballot: Thanks. I believe I could take 2 weeks off and not affect the outcome too much. Billy is a real shoo-in; we can resume tense voting in 1908.

I agree he definitely belongs, but I have him penciled in somewhere around 2 or 3. Monster peak for his time.


On the 1906 Ballot Discussion tread, could you elaborate further on Harry Wright? Was he considered, hands down, the best all-around outfielder for his time? I know he was good, but I don't want to vote for just above average. Thanks.
   34. MattB Posted: July 30, 2003 at 08:10 PM (#516053)
Next year's eligibles, copied this list from discussion thread, with the correction that Nig Cuppy (the excellent pitcher) is eligible in 1907, not Nig Clarke (the average catcher), who does not retire until 1920. One wonders that the nickname has since faded from popularity. :-/

It'll be interesting, if he doesn't make it this year, to see how Cupid Childs compares to Bid McPhee. It would have been more interesting if Hardy Richardson hadn't been elected yet. Hugh Duffy, a Hall of Famer, is eligible, as is Billy Hamilton, who should be near the tops of some ballots. Elmer Smith doesn't look half bad either, for those who like hitters who can pitch (one of the best AA pitchers before he became a full-time hitter in the NL). And Joe Quinn gets some longevity points -- and maybe more if his defense was any good (Prospectus is not enamored).

I don't know what'll be harder -- figuring out who to add to the 1906 ballot when there are no new candidates, or figuring out how to slot a half dozen guys next year who are all somewhere between 7th and 30th.

   35. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 30, 2003 at 08:27 PM (#516054)
With Hamilton, Childs and Duffy (in that order) on board next "year," that means sayonara to Tiernan and Thompson from my ballot after their debut this ballot. Sorry, guys. :-)

I don?t see how you can have Thompson (or Tiernan) significantly above Griffin.

Funny thing about him is that he's only the fifth best centerfielder of his time (behind Hamilton, Ryan, Duffy, and Van Haltren), IMO. Talk about competition!
   36. Cassidemius Posted: July 31, 2003 at 01:05 AM (#516057)
My first ballot after signing up. Hope I do all right.

1. Al Spalding
   37. Chris Cobb Posted: July 31, 2003 at 03:01 AM (#516059)
Welcome, Yardape!

You clearly believe in the value of pitching in the 19th-century game . . .

I'd be interested to get a sense of what your general criteria are for rating players, so that I can better interpret your ballot. It's no more anomalous than many ballots, but it's anomalous in its own way :-) .
   38. Rick A. Posted: July 31, 2003 at 04:24 AM (#516062)
1906 Ballot

1. Al Spalding (1) - Best 1870?s pitcher.
   39. Rob Wood Posted: July 31, 2003 at 04:36 AM (#516063)
My 1906 ballot (virtually identical to my 1905 ballot):

1. Ezra Sutton -- proud to be a member of the FOES committee
   40. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 31, 2003 at 06:44 AM (#516064)
This is getting ahead a bit but . . . I dont see the big deal about Duffy.

He's going to be near the bottom of my ballot, so I don't think he's in Billy Hamilton territory. However, his peak was much more impressive than Griffin's. I have him down as the best major league rightfielder for 1890 and 1891, while being the best major league centerfielder 1892-1894. Griffin, OTOH, was never the best player at his position, IMO.
   41. Marc Posted: July 31, 2003 at 02:44 PM (#516065)
Only 31 ballots, there's gonna be a rush soon, I can feel it. Still time for your underdog candidate to make a run.
   42. Brad Harris Posted: July 31, 2003 at 03:15 PM (#516066)
Time for all FOES to make their voices heard!
   43. Cassidemius Posted: July 31, 2003 at 03:37 PM (#516067)
we kind of have a rule that you need to justify your ballot,

Sure, no problem, I'm sorry I didn't include it the first time.

I thought the top two spots were relatively easy:

1. Al Spalding-I'm swayed by the best pitcher before 1880. I think that's deserving
   44. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 31, 2003 at 04:06 PM (#516068)
I hope this helps; I didn't mean to be so quick and dirty with my first list. Thanks for welcoming me aboard, everyone!

Howdy, Yardape (at least you are not named Grape Ape)! :-)
   45. MattB Posted: July 31, 2003 at 04:38 PM (#516069)
Interesting ballot, Yardape.

At times, I'm wondering whether your ballot (9 pitchers/ 6 non) might be the better way to go. Each individual inning may have been less important, but they pitched so many more back then.
   46. Jeff M Posted: July 31, 2003 at 04:41 PM (#516070)
>>Dan Foutz, I guess I'm more of a peak guy than a career guy, and was kind of swayed by his couple of big seasons.<<

Yes. He was particularly good when Charlie Joiner and Kellen Winslow were having good seasons. :) (just teasing you).
   47. Cassidemius Posted: July 31, 2003 at 04:51 PM (#516071)
Yeah, I couldn't pass up an Air Coryell guy. :) I've been calling him Dan Foutz in my head throughout my ballot process. Sigh. Maybe I'll learn eventually.
   48. Marc Posted: July 31, 2003 at 05:46 PM (#516072)
>Posted 10:44 a.m., July 31, 2003 (#71) - Marc
   49. Marc Posted: July 31, 2003 at 05:54 PM (#516073)
Yardape, I'm more of a peak guy than a careerist myself, so I would like to commend Joe Start to you, not that I rank him quite as highly as some. I perhaps don't give as much credit for defense as some, since that is largely guesswork. His documented career 1871ff is not overwhelming offensively though there is no question he was an outstanding defensive player. But what really stands out on Joe's resum? is his play pretty much throughout the 1860s. He was one of the more prominent players of the '60s--one of the top 5 for the decade, I'm pretty sure, maybe one of the top 3. And all of his rough contemporaries (players with a solid pre-'71 repuration) were through about 10 years before he was. No question G. Wright, Barnes, McVey, Spalding, probably Pike and a couple others had higher peaks (also Creighton and H. Wright), but nobody who was active pre-'71 had both a higher peak and a longer go of it.
   50. Howie Menckel Posted: July 31, 2003 at 08:02 PM (#516074)
I gotta start saving my picks 'til Thursday, just to break the voting drought around this time of the week!!
   51. Marc Posted: July 31, 2003 at 09:13 PM (#516075)
A lot of discussion has occurred in recent months, but way back when (a year or more ago) we had
   52. Marc Posted: August 01, 2003 at 01:18 AM (#516077)
Welcome Jim, I remember you as a pretty slick fielding first sacker with the Rangers and Pale Sox!
   53. Chris Cobb Posted: August 01, 2003 at 04:13 AM (#516080)
Marc and Brian,

The win shares for pre-1893 pitchers are seriously inaccurate, not just in terms of the proportion of credit they give to pitchers in general, but in terms of the particular credit they give individual pitchers in any given season. The WS earned reflect the team's performance more than they reflect the pitcher's performance. I urge you to reconsider your use of this data, and not to waste your time trying to fine-tune it. I'll post a response that includes evidence on the Spalding thread to avoid taking up space here.

By the way, everybody, it seems like the site is having trouble updating the sidebar properly. So if you don't see an indication of a new post to the Spalding thread, that doesn't mean it won't be there.
   54. DanG Posted: August 01, 2003 at 04:17 AM (#516081)
In these next three elections 1906-08, we?re electing only one player each year. The only no-brainer newbie is Hamilton, coming on next year. We?ll pick up one of the current backlog this year and maybe in ?08, as well. Recent elections indicate Galvin, McPhee, Spalding and Sutton are the leading candidates.

Many of the comments are similar to last year?s. The first four are all top-rank stars of the 1870?s:
   55. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 01, 2003 at 07:01 AM (#516082)
13) Tiernan ? Basically Thompson?s twin, but for some reason James ranks Sam #37 in RF and Mike #49. I assume, for now, there are good reasons for that.

I'm not so sure. Can you understand James' ranking of Larry Bowa? Incredulous is the word.

Jim Spencer:


12) Pearce?I?m convinced he belongs on the ballot, before John Murphy?s description he wasn?t on my screen.

Somebody actually reads what I post! Oh, happy day! :-)'s time for all FOAS and EOES to make their voices heard!

I'm a friend of both so I win either way.
   56. Ken Fischer Posted: August 01, 2003 at 02:37 PM (#516090)
1906 Ballot

On the road for three weeks. Sorry there are no comments. Paying through the nose for net access. Good luck Bid!!!

1-Bid McPhee

2-Al Spalding

3-Joe Start

4-Pud Galvin

5-Harry Stovey

6-Mike Tiernan

7-Bob Caruthers

8-Bud Fowler

9-Sam Thompson

10-Mike Griffin

11-Pete Browning

12-Dickey Pearce

13-Erza Sutton

14-George Stovey

15-Bobby Mathews
   57. Howie Menckel Posted: August 01, 2003 at 02:41 PM (#516091)
   58. Rusty Priske Posted: August 01, 2003 at 03:29 PM (#516092)
Didn't Tom Tippett say that DIPS is fairly shaky? I remember reading an article where he used knuckleballers to show how much inpact pitchers had on balls in play, but I can't recall if it was here or elsewhere.
   59. Philip Posted: August 01, 2003 at 04:18 PM (#516094)
Haven't had much time this week so I'm just copying comments from last years ballot.

1. Start (1) -- Even being very modest about his peak years in the 60's, he is the top candidate.

2. Sutton (2) - Number 2 on the ballot in career value and a good defensive asset.

3. McVey (3) - Finally getting more appreciation so it seems, and deservedly so. I don't see how he can't be in the top 10 if you give him even the slightest credit for pre-NA play. He was a superstar in the 70's and had a higher peak than almost anyone on the ballot.

4. Bennett (4) -- Another very good and long career and some great offensive years. He also was very good defensively at a position that must have been very tough at the time, considering there were so few great full-time catchers the first 50 years of baseball.

5. Galvin (5) - Best pitcher on the ballot.

6. Pike (6) -- Some very good years in the NA, and a great reputation for what he did before that. Hopes to get some more attention these coming years.

7. McPhee (7) - Career value similar to Sutton, but have him somewhat lower due to hitting and defensive value (which was still impressive)

8. Thompson (10) -- Higher peak than Stovey, less career and defensive value than Richardson and Pike.

9. Spalding (11) -- High peak and giving him credit for pre-NA years. Mostly here for his accomplishments with the bat.

10. Williamson (12) -- Placed here for his defensive rep at a tough position. As said before by some people: a short career version of Brooks Robinson.

11. H Stovey (13) - Still deserves to be mentioned.

12. Griffin (14) -- Comparable to the other outfielders on my ballot.

13. Tiernan (15) - Same as Griffin. Won't make my ballot very often after this year.

14. Caruthers (-)

15. York (-)
   60. Marc Posted: August 01, 2003 at 05:15 PM (#516096)
I'm not sure but some might have missed that the 19th century pitchers WS posted above are already cut by 50% (pre-'93) on the assumption that defense was twice as important then as after '93. This is of course a gross assumption, I don't disagree that the "real" number (which cannot be accurately discerned, however) varies by season, team, park, etc. etc. But to categorically state that these overstate the pitchers' values--well, I assume you missed the 50% reduction out of the box.

And of course these are not the only numbers worth considering. But my point was that as we've moved on to what Bill James calls "new toys," we may have strayed away from some basics. AdjWS is one of the basics.

Joe said:

> I think the burden of proof is on the person that goes against the systems

The adjWS that I posted were developed not by me, they were found by me here on the HoM blog. I'm pretty sure Joe developed them. (If not, Joe, who? I don't know.) They're mainstream. I posted them as a reminder of our heritage. Joe, are you disowning them?

The problem I have with Joe's more recent argument in favor of DERA is that nobody has yet been able to describe how it is developed. It strikes me as tautalogical. The pitcher is not as good because he has a better defense. The defense is better because they have a better pitcher. I don't think we have a clue about cause and effect. Ergo, back to basics. AdjWS IMHO is "the system" and DERA is "against the system."
   61. Marc Posted: August 01, 2003 at 05:18 PM (#516097)
Joe also said that our "systems" are great

>if they are properly adjusted for things like season length and level of
   62. OCF Posted: August 01, 2003 at 05:23 PM (#516098)
Yeah, I couldn't pass up an Air Coryell guy. :) I've been calling him Dan Foutz in my head throughout my ballot process.
   63. Rusty Priske Posted: August 01, 2003 at 07:03 PM (#516100)
Just when I am trying to find the Tippett stuff on DIPS, voila it appears on Clutch. :)
   64. jimd Posted: August 02, 2003 at 01:31 AM (#516101)
Read previous ballots if you want more depth on my reasons for all but the latest eligibles.

1) A. Spalding -- I've run out of new things to say about him.
   65. DanG Posted: August 02, 2003 at 10:34 PM (#516102)
Since there seems to be a slight lull as we await the last few ballots to trickle in, how about posting the next five years of new candidates, as I have them:

***1907 (August 17)?elect 1
   66. Esteban Rivera Posted: August 03, 2003 at 05:20 AM (#516104)
Most move up a spot this year with no new ballot worthies this year:

1. Al Spalding - Still is number one on my ballot.

2. Cal McVey - Finally feel that I am giving him the respect he deserves. I strongly feel McVey is a HOMer. Played very demanding positions, produced at high offensive level and, when he left because of the reserve clause, his career was looking like Cap Anson's. Was still playing when he was 40 in the Texas League.

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

4. Ezra Sutton - Best third baseman of the 19th century according to my interpretation of the numbers. Interesting note, Sutton was supposed to join the Big Four and Anson in Chicago in 1876. Public opinion made him reconsider.

5. Pud Galvin - Drops one spot because of my moving Sutton and Start ahead of him.

6. Charlie Bennett - Best catcher available. 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.

7. Harry Stovey - More value than the numbers tell.

8. Bid McPhee - Moves up two this year.

9. Pete Browning - You don't suppose his health problems are what caused his terrible defense? He did shockingly win two win shares gold gloves early in his career. Maybe there is a correlation between his decline in defense and his rise in health problems?

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

11. Bob Caruthers - The pitching/hitting combo lands here.

12. Sam Thompson - Still trying to make sense of him..

13. Charley Jones - Shows up on my ballot in the lucky spot. Feel that he deserves attention for his accomplishments. May stick next year as I decide what to do about the blackballed years.

14. Mickey Welch - Have looked at him and realized I have been short changing him somewhat. Slightly ahead of McCormick.

15. Jim McCormick - Hangs on at the bottom.
   67. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 03, 2003 at 06:46 PM (#516106)
I just want to say to everyone that this project has been a blast. Thanks to Joe for organizing, and to everyone else for contributing.

Back at you, John!
   68. dan b Posted: August 04, 2003 at 12:54 AM (#516107)
Not much time, reposting my provisional ballot.
   69. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: August 04, 2003 at 04:08 AM (#516108)
Well, I looked at everybody again...and it didn't change much.

1. Ezra Sutton (2) Had a very long career, nice peak (or 2), just clearly ahead of everyone else on the ballot. No real weakness to me in his canidacy.

2. Pud Galvin (3) One last 1880s pitcher. I had him this high because he was so similar to Radbourn, no reason to drop him now. Just a theory, but I think sometimes people are less tolerant of pitchers with long careers because it's easier to "see" their failures in whatever version of a W-L mark you're using. In Pud's case it's more "volume" than "length", but there's value in quantity.

3. Joe Start (4) His known numbers aren't unreasonable for a HoMer, AND we have several undocumented years that look to be of good quality.

4. Cal McVey (5) I almost moved him ahead of Start, he has a great peak, but just because he played until he was 40 doesn't mean he played well.

5. Bid McPhee (7) His problem is the almost complete lack of a peak, but he's got the best (documented) career argument of anyone on the ballot.

6. Al Spalding (9) I feel like I should make up my mind about whether 1870s pitching is worth anything and put him 2nd or 15th. But I haven't, so he's in my "I won't be upset if he gets in" zone. The best of his time at what he did; I just don't know what that means.

7. Charlie Bennett (6) Enough variance in his numbers between WS and WARP to make me a little leery.

8. Dickey Pearce (10) Now I'm feeling guilty I don't have Harry Wright on my ballot. He's this high in part because I can't seperate out any of the Outfielder Glut.

9. Pete Browning (11) It was in the AA, but I like his peak.

10. Harry Stovey (14) I just don't see what a lot of other people do. His numbers just aren't that special to me for a 1B/OF.

11. Lip Pike (-) I'm not entirely sure why I knocked him off last time, but given the uncertanties around his career, I don't think he's any better than the rest of these guys.

12. Sam Thompson (13) As with Stovey, I don't see greatness there. His numbers are very similar to Tiernan's, just shuffled around a bit.

13. Mike Griffin (12) Great fielder, decent hitter.

14. Mike Tiernan (15) Yet another outfielder.

15. Jim McCormick (-) Never made my ballot before, but it's a slow year, and he was a good pitcher, although I wouldn't say he was that close to Old Hoss.
   70. Marc Posted: August 04, 2003 at 01:02 PM (#516109)
Re. Joe Start, "several undocumented years of good quality" is really an understatement. He was the star of the Brooklyn Atlantics who won the championship of the New York area 8 times in 11 years between 1859-69. It's documented, just not in terms of individual numbers. It is doubtful that any team in America could compete with these New York teams until the Washington Nationals of 1866-67, so the Atlantics were a real dynasty. Start was born in 1842 and it is likely he was a member of the Atlantics right away from 1859 on. So as of 1870-71 there was no player in America who had the "career value" that Start had as of that time.

PS. Also for those with some buyer's remorse re. G. Wright, Wright was New York-born, but was good enough to have been recruited by the Washington Nationals in 1866 at the age of 19. He played for the Nationals two years, then the Cincy Red Stockings for two years--in other words, he was the best player on America's best team for the last four years prior to the NA era.
   71. Carl Goetz Posted: August 04, 2003 at 02:26 PM (#516110)
Sorry I'm late. I hope this counts, but if not, its my fault. I've done some adjustments this week based on our newfound ability to convert NA W1 to WS. This analysis has added Lip Pike and Tom York onto my ballot and moved Sutton and McVey up. Now that I am using WS more, I am also moving Pete Browing onto the ballot as he is hard to ignore when looking at WS(even after a significant AA discount is taken)

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