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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Monday, September 08, 2003

1909 Ballot

Here’s the new ballot. We will be adopting the new schedule as discussed on this thread. That means just one gets in each of the next 3 years.

Sorry it’s late!

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: September 08, 2003 at 09:00 PM | 74 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Marc Posted: September 08, 2003 at 10:08 PM (#517452)
Andrew, with the possible exception of Ed Delahanty, there is NOBODY on your ballot whose post-28 career holds a candle to Brouthers and Connor. How come any of them rank #2 through 10? And you should continue: "no statistical evidence." Lots of qualitative evidence.
   2. Marc Posted: September 08, 2003 at 10:21 PM (#517453)
OK, Andrew, you can throw some darts of your own at this: My consideration set is the top 25 peaks plus 4 guys from last year?s top 15 who are NOT among the top 25 peaks (McPhee, Stovey, Thompson, Browning). The gang of 29 was then rated about equally on peak and career.

Must-Be HoMers

1. Joe Start, 1b (11-6-1-1 last "year")?moved up after I discovered he was the best player of the ?60s. Along with a 27 year "above average" career (and 479 estimated adjWS), he?s a no-brainer. (His 1.33 pennants added is 4th on the WARP list without counting 44.444% of his career.) Think Yaz.

2. Ed Delahanty, lf (new)?his adjWS place him among the best 3 and 5 year peaks for 8 different years, which no other player so far has even come close to doing. 378 adjWS also make his the #4 career.

Definitely Deserving

3. Cal McVey, 1b (6-2-3-2)?still the #1 3 year peak on the board as late as 1878, with the #4 peak overall. Short (11 years) career but with 376 estimated adjWS he still has the #7 career.

4. Dickey Pearce, ss (x-x-10-5)?like Start, moved up decisively as I became more aware of his career from 1855-1870. Probably had more career value as of 1870 than anybody.

5. Charlie Bennett, c (9-5-4-4)?moved up after I recalculated peaks with a fielding bonus (corollary to the pitching discount). Had among the best peaks going 1883-84-85. The #7 peak overall and the #11 career with 336 adjWS. Played longer with more above average seasons than Stovey, Duffy, Browning or Tiernan.

On the Bubble

6. Harry Wright, cf (x-12-5-7)?also moved up when I decided to consider the ?60s. It?s not as clear (as with Start and Pearce) how great a player he was, because his leadership role gets more attention. Played 15 years (again, longer than most of the carry-over OF glut), however, and was still playing CF at age 39.

7. Jimmy Ryan, cf (new)?one of the best peaks going as of 1890-91-92 (#10 peak overall) and 406 adjWS (#6 career overall). An obvious top 10. We?ll see if he moves up or not. Glad to see pennants added had him ahead of George (a small edge, granted, but on every measure), so that I didn't have to re-do my ballot.

8. Jim McCormick, p (x-14-12-10)?top peak pitcher 1881-82-84 and #8 peak overall. #11 career with 284 adjWS. Easily the top pitcher.

9. Lip Pike, cf (10-7-9-6)?Pike and McVey have been on my every ballot, managing to avoid election and surviving the great purges when I recalculated peak scores and brought in those ?60s guys. Played 14 years, as long as most of the rest of the carry-over OF glut, and just below the top peaks of the late ?60s (G. Wright-Start) and early ?70s (Barnes-Spalding).

Better Than Ballot Filler, But?

10. Hughie Jennings,ss (x-13)?huge peak (#6 overall) but only 9 productive seasons and 258 adjWS.

11. Tommy Bond, p (x-8-9)?another massive peak (#1 for 3 years, #1 for 5 years, #3 overall because he did not sustain his peak as long as some). And of course his career (6 productive years) rates fairly low, but some 20 year guys never have 6 years like Tommy's.

12. George Van Haltren, cf (new)?poor man?s Ryan or Pike or Wright. Never as high a peak as any of them, or Duffy (though not a bad peak by any means) so his 422 adjWS and #5 career overall only brings him up this far.

13. Bid McPhee, 2b (8-9-14-12)?the flip side of Hughie. #2 career (421 adjWS) but the 29th best peak out of 29 players considered for this ballot. Great glove, but not great enough to carry Joe Start's jock.

14. Sam Thompson, rf (2-3-11-14)?the numbers really aren?t there but my gut is that he was better than that, especially with the glove. Still, he dropped a bunch when I calculated the adjusted peaks and realized how low his "official" numbers really are.

15. Harry Stovey, lf (12-13-x-x)?suffered the same fate as Sam though I never had him as high, due in part to AA discount. Never among the top peaks.

Close: Duffy and Galvin were the last cuts, but each had 7 below average seasons, which is especially damning for Duffy and his short career, though he (unlike Galvin) at least had a nice high peak. Williamson, Tiernan, Caruthers and Whitney are next, all of them with more peak than career to commend them, but the highest peaks among them also had the shortest careers. But frankly, if the same one of the four had had the best of their peaks (W) and the best of their careers (T or W), he still probably wouldn't even make the top 15, much less the HoM.

Dropped out: Childs, Nash and Duffy?-all made the top 25 peaks but only #20-25. They?re around #20 for career too. They were ballot filler and I?ve found better.

Since Pud was in the top 10 last year, I?ll say more. He has moved up in my estimation because his peak gets into the top 25 thereof, though just barely. His IA numbers for ?78 helped just enough, I suppose. But I have him at #22 for peak and just #12 for career with the pitching discount and those 7 below average seasons.
   3. Marc Posted: September 08, 2003 at 10:22 PM (#517454)
Andrew, I should be nicer: You're right on with McVey, Bennett and Pike!
   4. Jeff M Posted: September 08, 2003 at 10:46 PM (#517455)
1. DELAHANTY, ED (--) -- A no-doubter.


3. START, JOE (#3)

4. MCVEY, CAL (#4)

5. BENNETT, CHARLIE (#11) -- I went back to my ballots and calculated who would be in my personal HOM through 1920. When I finished, I realized that catchers were very underrepresented. I don't have a goal of placing a certain number of players from a position in the HOM. However, if I remember correctly, Jason Koral mentioned that if you go 20 years and one position is woefully absent, there might be a problem with the system you are using. I've moved Bennett to where I am comfortable, and to a slot where he would eventually make my HOM.


7. MCPHEE, BID (#6)

8. GALVIN, PUD (#7)

--------------------------------HOM LINE----------------------------


10. THOMPSON, SAM (#9)

11. JONES, CHARLEY (#10)

12. LONG, HERMAN (--) -- Doesn't seem to have much support here, but was a fine shortstop for a good long time. Obvious that he wouldn't make a ballot with his hitting numbers without having played shortstop (or catcher).

13. GRANT, FRANK (--) -- Much discussed on the other thread, I think there's a tendency to overvalue him because he's the first real opportunity to vote for a fine Negro League ballplayer. I'm convinced he was a tremendouse Negro League player, but I'm not convinced he would have been a superstar in the majors. I think he would have been a very high quality middle infielder in the majors, which alone, wouldn't earn him a ballot spot; but I'm bumping him to give a benefit of the doubt.

14. WELCH, MICKEY (#12)

15. DUFFY, HUGH (#13)

Since Hughie Jennings was #10 on the last ballot, I believe I'm required to justify his absence on mine. As I mentioned last time, I just don't see electing a guy who basically played only a few years, no matter how good he was during those years.
   5. Chris Cobb Posted: September 09, 2003 at 03:31 AM (#517457)
A couple of responses to Ed's Ballot:

1) The matter of Cal McVey:

In response to Jeff's dismissing Hughie Jennings by saying, I just don't see electing a guy who basically played only a few years, no matter how good he was during those years, Ed said, Ummm... Cal McVey?? Pete Browning??

Cal McVey did not have a short career! He played at the top level of professional ball in existence for 10 years, and was a major star for at least 8 of those years. He then played another 10+ years in the minor leagues. You may not give him much credit for his pre-NA and post-NL play (perhaps you're not giving him much credit for NA play either, for all I know), but you must admit that his career was anything but short. Jennings played 12 years, and was a star for 5. If you're going to put McGraw and Jennings at 12 and 13 on your ballot, which is not unreasonable, I don't see how you can exclude McVey by claiming that his career was _short_.

2) The matter of Chief Zimmer and Charlie Bennett.

Chief Zimmer. I can see bringing him onto the ballot, but how can you bring him onto the ballot and _not_ bring on Charlie Bennett? Zimmer had a longer career, but win shares and WARP agree that Bennett had more value in his career, even without adjusting for season length. Both agree that Bennett was better defensively, and Zimmer was very good.

If you don't trust these metrics, even when they agree, how about Bennett's advantage on offense?

Bennett's OPS+, 81-88: 149, 151, 152, 130, 161, 129, 109, 137.
   6. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 09, 2003 at 04:24 AM (#517458)
Here's my ballot. 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) Bid McPhee (2): Greatest second baseman of the 19th century. If any AA guys should go in, he should be numero uno. Consistently near the top of the list for second baseman (and did it longer than any of them). Extremely durable for his position. Best major league second baseman for 1886.

2) Ed Delahanty (n/a): We all know he's going in this year. That's fine with me. Arguably the greatest outfielder of the nineties. Remarkable player who should have learned to watch his step around waterfalls. Best major league leftfielder for 1894, 1896, 1898, 1899, and 1902.

3) Cal McVey (4): 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.

4) Dickey Pearce (5): 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.

5) Cupid Childs (6): Best second baseman of the '90s. Too short of a career to knock out McPhee for tops for the 19th century (but his stellar peak almost does it!). Best major league second baseman for 1890, (almost in 1891), 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1896 and 1897.

6) Joe Start (7): 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.

7) Pud Galvin (7): Okay, I'm sold on him as a great player. The IL discussion pushed him over the top for me (though we shouldn't get too crazy with his number of innings for that time). However, I don't want to hear about any more pitchers from the 1880s. :-)

8) Harry Wright (8): I'm convinced (thanks to Marc) that he definitely belongs on my ballot. Another player that will take a hundred years (maybe) to be elected on my ballot. :-) Best all-around centerfielder for his time.

9) Charlie Bennett (9): Strictly as a catcher, extremely comparable to Buck Ewing value wise (though based more on career than peak value). Best major league catcher for 1881, 1882 and 1883. Most durable catcher up to that time (catchers absorbed much more abuse than they do today).

10) Billy Nash (10): The '90s had some terrific players at the "hot corner": McGraw, Collins, Joyce and Nash. Possibly the best defensive third baseman for the 19th century (and not too bad offensively).

Best major league third baseman for 1888, 1889, 1892, and 1893. Best PL third baseman for 1890.

11) Chief Zimmer (n/a): He didn't have an outstanding peak, but very good career numbers. Waiting for McGuire and Farrell to jump ahead of him.

12) John McGraw (n/a): How many great players were great managers, too? If he had been durable, he would have easily replaced Ezra Sutton for the title of greatest third baseman of the 19th century (and that's not in any way an insult towards Ezra). However, he was on the brittle side. Best major league third baseman for 1895, 1899 and 1900.

13) Jack Clement (11): Very durable with a nice peak. Best major league catcher for 1891 and 1895.

14) Frank Grant (n/a): Great fielder who could hit, he might deserve to move up. Like some of the pre-NA guys, I'm going to play it conservatively for now.

15) Jimmy Ryan (n/a): Best of the Billy Hamilton wannabes from the '90s. Above-average rightfielder during the mid-nineties. Best major league centerfielder for 1888, 1889, almost in 1990.

Long and Van Haltren are "close, but no cigar" for my ballot. Tom Daly was very good, but not that good.

First time since our first election that Williamson, Dunlap and Pike are not on my ballot.
   7. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 09, 2003 at 04:54 AM (#517459)
Played 15 years (again, longer than most of the carry-over OF glut), however, and was still playing CF at age 39.

There is some doubt about his official birth date. There is a baptismal record that states he was born in 1832. That would put his NA numbers in a much better light.
   8. Sean Gilman Posted: September 09, 2003 at 06:22 AM (#517460)

1. Ed Delahanty (-)--Best documented peak and career on the ballot by far.

2. Joe Start (2)--He?s got a better peak than McPhee and more career value than McVey, even without counting the 1860s (where all indications are his real peak most likely occurred).

3. Cal McVey (4)--Bumping McVey?s massive peak advantage over McPhee?s career edge this year. Only the 60s keep him behind Start.

4. Bid McPhee (3)--Still a great career, don?t mean to slight him by dropping him to 4th.

5. Pud Galvin (5)--I think I?ve been convinced.

6. 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? further down the ballot. Trails Glavin on both WARP1 and WARP3 Pennants Added lists. Much better peak than the non-Big Ed new outfielders (by WS). I think he clearly stands out from the glut.

7. Lip Pike (8)--Tough to get a handle on him: not as good in the NA as McVey, but better before; much better in the NA than Start, not as good before. I imagine he?ll be moving up and down my ballot for quite awhile.

8. Charlie Bennett (9)--Great defense and hitting (for a catcher) moves him ahead of the Outfielder/Pitcher Glut, at least according to WARP. I tend to trust Win Shares more though. . . If he wasn?t a catcher, he wouldn?t be this high, or on my ballot probably. Not sure how justified that is.

9. Pete Browning (10)--AA discount brings him down to the rest of the glut. Browning still has easily the highest peak though.

10. Jimmy Ryan (-)--Any of the next 5 could go in any order.

11. Hugh Duffy (7)--Peak and Career value puts him in the middle of the outfielder glut; comparison to Ryan and VanHaltren shows me I was overrating him. Slightly higher peak than those two, slightly less career value. Decided to rate them by Joe?s adjWSrepl.

12. Gerorge VanHaltren (-)--Solid career WS lead puts these three ahead of the next two.

13. Sam Thompson (11)--His advantage in WARP3 over Tiernan is slightly larger than Tiernan?s advantage over him in Win Shares, so I switched them this year.

14. Mike Tiernan (12)--About even peakwise with Jennings, significantly more career value though.

15. Hughie Jennings (13)--I didn?t think 3 players could be any more equal than Thompson and Tiernan and Griffin, then Jennings came along and I put him right in-between ?em. Ahead of Griffin on peak.

My best guess right now has Frank Grant about even with Childs just off the end of my ballot, along with Griffin, the pitcher glut (McCormick, Welch and Caruthers), John McGraw and Herman Long. I think this is easily our deepest ballot to date.
   9. Rusty Priske Posted: September 09, 2003 at 01:10 PM (#517461)
1. Ed Delahanty (N, -, -) This is why I was happier when it was a 2 induction year. Shure things are boring. :)

2. Pud Galvin (2, 2, 1) The best pitcher still availalbe, and the last of the "must-induct" pitchers so far.

3. Joe Start (3, 3, 4) Holding steady. He will make it eventually, I'm sure.

4. George Van Haltren (N, -, -) I'm convinced he is an HOMer. Others are not so convinced.

5. Bid McPhee (4, 4, 5)

6. Cal McVey (5, 6, 6)

7. Jimmy Ryan (N, -, -)

8. Hugh Duffy (6, 10, -) My in-out line.

9. Bob Caruthers (7, 7, 7) The best pitcher not good enough to make it in.

10. Frank Grant (N, -, -) Currently below my line, but I could see him moving up)

11. Jim McCormick (10, 9, 11)

12. Tony Mullane (12, 12, 10)

13. Harry Stovey (8, 11, 8) Sometimes I think he should get in. Sometimes I don't. Right now it is the latter.

14. Mickey Welch (9, 8, 9)

15. Cupid Childs (11, 15, -)
   10. karlmagnus Posted: September 09, 2003 at 01:46 PM (#517462)
For Start, Meyerle, 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.
   11. Marc Posted: September 09, 2003 at 05:04 PM (#517465)
Mark McK., I think you're required to tell us how you managed to miss Joe Start, or is the McVey comment meant to cover him? In what way, "remarkably"? You mean McVey's 11/27ths of a career?
   12. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 09, 2003 at 05:09 PM (#517466)
1 (-) Ed Delahanty--Most career value on the ballot, highest peak. No excuse for not voting him #1.

How about I think McPhee's career value dwarfs Big Ed's and he was more consistent? If Delahanty hadn't been a damn fool in '03, then he might deserve the #1 spot.
   13. OCF Posted: September 09, 2003 at 05:20 PM (#517469)
1909 Ballot, with last 5 years shown.

1. Ed Delahanty (new). The (position) Player of the Decade for the 1890's.
   14. Cassidemius Posted: September 09, 2003 at 05:43 PM (#517470)
1. Ed Delahanty (n/a) The best player who's come along since I started voting, at least.

2. Frank Grant (n/a) By seemingly all accounts, the best black player of the 19th Century. To me, that's a HoMer.

3. Bob Caruthers (3)Joe suggested that Caruthers supporters should look at Jim Whitney. I thought this applied to me, since I have Caruthers rated as highly as anyone, so I looked at Whitney, but I didn't see it. With an AA discount, Whitney might have a higher 3-year peak than Caruthers-but I think it depends on how much of a discount you give, and how much credit you give Caruthers hitting. I'm not at all convinced Whitney is that much better, and Caruthers was certainly more valuable outside of his big three years.

Every "year", I compare my ballot to the results and see where I differ. Not that I want to mirror the results exactly, but to see where I'm anomalous, and if maybe I'm missing something that I need to include in my considerations. So far, this has led me to adjust my pitcher ratings, apply a AA discount, and try to give more weight to career value (since I tend to favour peak). With every tweak, I think I've made my ballot better. Yet no matter what I've done, Caruthers remains near the top of my list. So until I figure out why and fix it (or until you guys elect him :), I'm going to leave him there.

4. Joe Start (6) I've never been what you would call a FOJS; I have serious doubts about how much weight to give his play in the 1860s, and just hanging around for a long time-even at an average level-doesn't impress me that much. But he just keeps moving up my ballot regardless.

5. Cal McVey (4)

6. Jimmy Ryan (n/a) Seems like the best of the non-Delahanty outfielders to me.

7. Lip Pike (5) He drops down a little this week, but I still think he deserves more attention than he's getting. A much better hitter than Start during the 1870s, and he's not that much younger. Start has more career value, yes, but I think Pike is closer than our voting would indicate.

8. Jim McCormick (8)

9. Harry Stovey (2) Stovey takes a tumble this week, for no real reason other than I thought I overrated him a little last week and some good players came onto the ballot.

10. Tony Mullane (n/a) I decided that I had unfairly buried Mullane when I adjusted my pitchers ranking.

11. Pud Galvin (11) Still not really sold on him as a "must-go-in" type.

12. George Van Haltren (n/a) Not as good as Delahanty or even Ryan, but still deserves a spot. Probably won't ever climb to the top of the ballot.

13. Hugh Duffy (9) Drops behind all the new outfielders, and a couple of holdovers as well.

14. Charlie Bennett (7) Drops again as my doubts about the discrepancy between WS and WARP resurface.

15. Charley Jones Credit for his blacklisted years makes him one of the top outfielders of his time, and lands him the last spot on my ballot.

Notable omissions: Bid McPhee. I'm a peak guy, always have been, and McPhee doesn't stand out. Even with my attempts to give more weight to career, he doesn't make it. I think this is especially true if 2B is not as importantly defensively then as it is today, as we have been told.

Sam Thompson. Big RBI numbers, but I don't see that he's really any better than a number of other outfielders on the ballot. So this year, he's off.

Hughie Jennings. I had him on last year, solely for his peak. As good as it was, it wasn't enough to withstand the strong 1909 class.
   15. DanG Posted: September 09, 2003 at 06:09 PM (#517471)
Might as well get mine in earlier than usual.
   16. favre Posted: September 09, 2003 at 11:21 PM (#517472)
1. Ed Delahanty

Was a legtimate MVP candidate for ten of eleven years, 1892-1902. And his "off year" wasn't bad: 323/378/430 in a 285/347/377 league. Not that there's been much debate about this guy's greatness...

2. Joe Start
   17. Chris Cobb Posted: September 10, 2003 at 01:46 AM (#517473)
1909 Ballot

Definitely the hardest ballot I've had to work out yet, and the strongest.

Quick review of my ratings criteria. I weigh both peak and career with somewhat more emphasis on career value; I use fielding and season adjusted win shares for both, though I also look at WARP and raw stats. For peak, I focus on total win shares above average during a player's career, though I also look at three best seasons, five-year peak, and seasons arranged best to worst.

1) Ed Delahanty. (na) The best power hitter of his generation.
   18. MattB Posted: September 10, 2003 at 04:00 AM (#517475)
Created a ballot from scratch before comparing to my last ballot, since that seemed easier than merely "slotting" the new guys. It came out fairly similar near the top, which is good, and liked what I came up with better for the bottom. Five new guys, none named Zimmer.

1. Ed Delahanty (n/e) -- I first considered comparing him only to other players named "Delahanty", and therefore had him placed much lower, because it doesn't mean that much to only be the best player out of a group of 5. But then I reconsidered.

2. Joe Start (1) -- Best player of the mid-1860s at a time when first base was a defenseman?s position. Unlike some others who have Start near the top of the ballot, I have not qualms in saying that I believe his peak occurred pre-1871 and that that peak has real value. Deserves a ballot place for professional league play, but first place with the addition of his peak years.

3. Frank Grant (n/e) -- An 18 year career when hardly any players made it that long. International League stats, reputation, and longevity combine to make this an easier placement than I thought it would be.

4. Pud Galvin (2) ? The best pitcher left by a mile, especially considering the three unrecorded years with Buffalo before the team (and therefore he) joined the majors.

5. Cal McVey (3) -- With Spalding in, he's now my top "pure 1870's" candidate. Start tops him only with 1860s and 1880s stats thrown in.

6. Bid McPhee (4) -- Holding steady. Cal McPeak barely tops Bid McCareer.

7. Charlie Bennett (6) ? Another year, another Chief Zimmer quality player. Catchers are catching longer, but they're just not catching up.


This is my current in/out line, with Caruthers the "borderline".

8. Bob Caruthers (7) ? Best hitting pitcher (OPS+ and BRARP) by a huge margin. Best winning percentage and ERA+ among serious contenders. WARP-1 is third after Galvin and Mullane.

9. Cupid Childs (10) ? McPhee?s career value trumps Childs? peak, but it's close.

10. Harry Stovey (11) ? a great player, but at deep positions, and in the AA. Still not sure about him. Could go higher some day.

11. Pete Browning (9) ? really strong peak.

12. Jimmy Ryan (n/e) -- Very strong centerfielder. But not really that much better than the glut (Van Haltren, Duffy, Tiernan, Thompson . .. ) so I can't see him really standing out much higher.

13. Herman Long (n/e) -- best SS on the ballot, and best to come along since Glasscock, but not that much better than McKean or Jennings who are languishing in the low 20s.

14. George Van Haltren (n/e) -- can't really complain with those who left him off altogether. I'm usually conservative with first-time placements, but I can't imagine ever placing him any higher than this.

T15. Sam Thompson (13) -- Still here. Now think his peak catapults him over Duffy.

T15. Tony Mullane (8) -- reconsidering pitchers, as I do every week. Drops down, but not quite off.
   19. Howie Menckel Posted: September 10, 2003 at 12:53 PM (#517476)
Just swamped for time this week, with little hope of slowdown, so here goes. My more extensive opinions on most have been expressed numerous times...

1909 ballot
   20. Howie Menckel Posted: September 10, 2003 at 01:00 PM (#517477)
   21. MattB Posted: September 10, 2003 at 05:47 PM (#517479)
John Murphy wrote:

"12) John McGraw (n/a): . . . Best major league third baseman for 1895, 1899 and 1900."

I am only commenting because I did not expect to see McGraw on so many ballots.

I certainly do not deny that McGraw was the best major league third baseman each of those three years. I merely wish to point out that in 1895, McGraw played in 96 games (out of 130) and in 1900, he played in 99 games (out of 140).

The fact that a player can be the best player at his position with missing more than about a quarter of his games appears to me more a sign of the weakness of that position than the strength of any given player.

I also think that McGraw is a much worse player than his raw numbers indicate, and a large part of that is, between 1891 and 1902, he averaged only 83 games per year.

And this is related to the point I was making earlier about the appropriate replacement level. Aside from the point that there is extra value for high "peaks", a player who plays 100 games a year for 15 years is much less valuable than a player who plays 150 games a year for 10 years if their stats are similar because of their expected replacements. This is because the guy who plays 100 games per years will be backed up by a back-up-type player each of those 15 years for 50 games, while the 150 game player will be replaced by a starter-type player for five years when he retires.

A fragile McGraw inflicts the likes of Pat Dillard and Jack Dunn on the team to pick up the mid-season gaps, and that hurts his teams.
   22. Marc Posted: September 10, 2003 at 07:13 PM (#517480)
I'm with Matt. favre even says that Jennings had a higher peak and a higher career value than McGraw, and yet has McGraw on his ballot and Hughie not!?

John, what exactly did McGraw do better than Jennings? Peak? Certainly not career--200 fewer games! Granted on WS it's close--214-207 Hughie. favre, how does McGraw's OBP make up for the fact that he had less value?

Interestingly, 2 of the 4 ballots that include McGraw also include Jennings and much higher. That at least is an internally consistent ballot. But John and favre, I don't get it.
   23. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 10, 2003 at 08:20 PM (#517483)

Between Nomar and Jeter, who was doing more per game? Unquestionably, Garciaparra. Not even close. That has to be balanced with Jeter's (unquestionably) better durabilty. I'll take Nomar.

Quality is as valuable as quantity.
   24. Marc Posted: September 10, 2003 at 09:57 PM (#517484)
Interesting comparisons.

Jeter = Rizzuto = Jennings. More quantity.

Nomar = Stephens = McGraw. More quality?

To me, the analogies fall down because there are really 3 variables. Peak = WS (or whatever) for, say, 3 to 5 years. Career speaks for itself. And then there is the rate.

As I see it, Jeter has more career right now, but Nomar has peak and rate. Stephens beat Rizzuto on all 3. Jennings beat McGraw on peak and career but not rate. So they're not quite analogous, though this discussion doesn't alter the fact that Jennings covers McGraw two times out of three.
   25. favre Posted: September 10, 2003 at 10:28 PM (#517486)
"I'm with Matt. favre even says that Jennings had a higher peak and a higher career value than McGraw, and yet has McGraw on his ballot and Hughie not!?"

I didn't say Jennings had a higher career value than McGraw; I said he had a longer career than McGraw. There's an important difference. McGraw has a 135 career OPS+--and a ridiculously high OBP-- while playing most his career at third base or short. Jennings has a 117 OPS+ in 1285 games while playing a third of his career at first base. Jennings played longer, but in terms of value over their career, McGraw looks like the winner to me.

Look, I'm not advocating Little Nap as a serious candidate for the HoM. He was 15th on my ballot. Still, the man had a .466 OBP in 1100 games--which, at the time, was the equivalent of about eight full seasons-- while playing good defense at third base. His WS/162 is over thirty. That seems pretty ballot worthy to me.
   26. Marc Posted: September 10, 2003 at 10:36 PM (#517487)
BTW, hats off to karlmangus for the most enlightening ballot presentation.
   27. Jeff M Posted: September 10, 2003 at 10:44 PM (#517488)
"BTW, hats off to karlmangus for the most enlightening ballot presentation."

Yes, but some line breaks. Please. I'm gonna need a new prescription.
   28. Chris Cobb Posted: September 10, 2003 at 11:39 PM (#517490)
John McGraw through 1901, year in which he suffered a career-curtailing injury:
   29. Marc Posted: September 11, 2003 at 12:18 AM (#517491)
>>"BTW, hats off to karlmangus for the most enlightening ballot presentation."

>Yes, but some line breaks. Please. I'm gonna need a new prescription.

Good point, Jeff. I meant the content.

>Both of them are hard-luck cases, as neither is going to make the Hall as a player even though they had the talent to do so, but neither is in Pete Browning's league with regard to hard luck.

Or Sutton's, or Delahanty's, in life anyway.
   30. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 11, 2003 at 05:41 AM (#517492)
The difference in their career rates (30.54 to 26.98) is mostly attributable to Jennings' sticking around as a player a few years longer before he got his managing gig than McGraw had to, which also gives Jennings a few more career WS.

Your first sentence is correct. Using my method to evaluate them, however, it doesn't affect Jennings the way that you describe.

I multiply the total WS by WS per 162 games for each season and then compare that total to the others playing the same position as that player. A player can play fifty more years of baseball as if he were me (after 10 stellar seasons), but it wouldn't affect what he did before he fell off the cliff with my method. Jennings career after '98 won't hurt him with this method as it would if you were taking his career WSxWS per 162 games. McGraw still gets the nod over Hughie though.
   31. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 11, 2003 at 06:40 AM (#517493)
Jennings beat McGraw on peak and career but not rate. So they're not quite analogous, though this discussion doesn't alter the fact that Jennings covers McGraw two times out of three.

I actually have McGraw for career (favre's comments above about their careers echo mine) and rate. If we are going with a 3 or 5-year peak, I agree Jennings beats McGraw. Though McGraw's 1899 season was almost as good as Jennings' '96 season, he was injured too many times for him to compete with Ee-Yah peak-wise.
   32. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 11, 2003 at 07:04 AM (#517494)
The fact that a player can be the best player at his position with missing more than about a quarter of his games appears to me more a sign of the weakness of that position than the strength of any given player.

No, it's a sign that 1) third base was a tough position to play during the 19th century and 2) McGraw, when he played, was a dominant player. If he had the durability of Lave Cross, he would possibly be the greatest player of the century. Possessing only half of Cross' career length, he's still ballot worthy.

BTW, the left/rightfielders in the majors weren't too "weak" in '22, even though Ruth was still the best at the position (and missing a quarter of the Yankees' games).
   33. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 11, 2003 at 07:21 AM (#517495)
And this is related to the point I was making earlier about the appropriate replacement level. Aside from the point that there is extra value for high "peaks", a player who plays 100 games a year for 15 years is much less valuable than a player who plays 150 games a year for 10 years if their stats are similar because of their expected replacements.

When you say that they have the same stats, do you mean that they have identical rate stats? Well, the injury-prone player is certainly less valuable than the other player for the first ten years of their careers. However, the extra five years for the first player is much more valuable than watching the games at his home (which the second player will now be doing). :-)
   34. Philip Posted: September 11, 2003 at 12:14 PM (#517496)
1. Delahanty (-) -- Head and shoulders above the rest

2. Start (1) -- After 5 years at the top of my ballot back to number two. Clearly below Delahanty and above the next group of 4. In my top 3 for the 10th straight year.

3. Bennett (3) -- Only great full-time catcher of the first 50 years of baseball. Has never been lower than 7th on my ballot.
   35. karlmagnus Posted: September 11, 2003 at 01:54 PM (#517497)
Thanks for the compliments, but actually, I cheat -- carry forward commentaries from year to year, tweaking as necessary, so long time readers will find me STRANGELY repetitive. Good point about the spaces, which I'll take -- WORD's automatic numbering system puts in an extra number if you add carriage return, which is a pain, but there must be a solution.

I'm sort of surprised on Frank Grant. I have him #8, based on the Hardy Richardson comparison, but others are mostly lower not higher, which suggests he won't make the HOM any time soon. He's the only African-American player I've heard of before Oscar Charleston, who's presumably 20 years away yet.

Therefore (unless I'm appallingly ignornat, which is altogether possible)if we don't elect Grant either (a) we will end up with only about 6 pre-'47 African Americans in the HOM (I favor 12 not 25, but 6 is surely too low) or (b) we will get towards the 25 by electing every sentient being who ever swung a bat for the 1939 Kansas City Monarchs. Either would seem a BAD THING.

If I'm wrong, tell me why. I don't entirely buy all the high-level sabermetric analysis, particulalry using one magic number of Win Shares/WARP, but I'm hopelessly at sea without any numbers at all, which is the case for pre-Negro League African-American players. But I think we need at least a couple before the 1930s, and if so then Grant has to be one of them.
   36. RobC Posted: September 11, 2003 at 03:03 PM (#517498)
1. Ed Delahanty (-) - Career and Peak.
   37. Marc Posted: September 11, 2003 at 07:17 PM (#517501)
Patrick, welcome. Your ballot is well thought out and easily qualifies for joining this august group. But...

>Something about discounting the results of
   38. Marc Posted: September 11, 2003 at 07:19 PM (#517502)
Shawn, welcome to you, too. But do you mean Harry Wright? Or Harry (th Hat)?

Also I shouldn't try to speak for Da Boss (dat would be Joe), but, no, I don't think managing and other non-playing achievments are meant to be a part of this. Spoken as a dyed in the wool FOHW.

   39. MattB Posted: September 11, 2003 at 07:25 PM (#517503)
Welcome Patrick and Shawn!

We generally require comments for ballot placements for initial placements and movements. Also, no credit is given for non-playing accomplishments. I don't think Shawn's ballot will qualify as it is, but he would be free to amend it. Also:

"11. Frank Grant, making the assumption he was even with Fred Dunlap"

While this is an explanation, and I am fully in favor of more voters putting Grant on the ballot, I'm not sure it makes sense to call someone "even with Fred Dunlap" and then not have Dunlap on the ballot.
   40. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 11, 2003 at 08:04 PM (#517505)
Welcome to the Show, Patrick and Shawn! Don't be intimidated by any of us who question rankings. Feel free to do so yourselves.
   41. Howie Menckel Posted: September 11, 2003 at 08:30 PM (#517506)
The more the merrier, although it is fair of course that the newer the post-er, the more reasoning should be behind their rankings. Yet 1-2 good sentences per player can be enough if the words are well-chosen.
   42. Marc Posted: September 12, 2003 at 12:12 AM (#517513)
Joe, I'm not gonna give you some BS about "some of my best friends" and all of that, but one of the really great things about HoM is the opportunity to put the great black players (and I assume there are others besides Gibson-Paige-Charleston) in there with their peers (i.e. Dickey-Spahn-Speaker etc.) rather than some special corner where they don't get in the way.

But I couldn't bring myself to put Grant on my ballot, I just don't know anything about him beyond 3 great years in the minor leagues. I've used the analogy of Joe Start--I know a LOT more about Start in the '60s (40% of his career) than about Grant in the '90s (70% of his career). I've asked how people who can't bring themselves to consider Start's '60s are ever gonna bring themselves to vote for any Negro Leaguer, but I guess that's a different issue (dare I say, a double standard).

But over time we will learn more about the black players we're voting on, maybe we'll learn more about Grant, but certainly about his successors. I don't think Grant's lack of support is because the evidence is "vague" in the way EOJS object to his evidence being "vague." It's because there is none.
   43. Howie Menckel Posted: September 12, 2003 at 01:08 AM (#517514)
   44. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 12, 2003 at 04:38 AM (#517520)
I think Grant is doing fine. You are assuming that Negro League baseball in the 19th century HAD to be quite good, but I don't know that to be the case. WAY different from the 1930s and 1940s

My gut feeling is that Negro League (or whatever you want to call it for the 19th century) baseball was a generation (or possibly two) behind the majors. I'm by no way an expert on the subject, so I might be off base here. I need more information before I can get a clearer picture for this era.
   45. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 12, 2003 at 04:40 AM (#517521)
About Grant not getting love. What was Pud the first ballot. 11th? Yet after weeks (years) of elections and debates, people have come to recognize him as perhaps the best pitcher not in the HOM. Maybe we'll do the same for Grant. I don't know, but I do believe that we will have lots of discussion about him, and that whatever his true position is, we'll find it.

Good point, Doc.
   46. Al Peterson Posted: September 12, 2003 at 01:36 PM (#517523)
1909 ballot here and ready for inspection. Each year I do this and the picture gets no clearer in my mind.

1. Ed Delahanty (-). Hitter extraordinare. His fame is supported by the numbers.

2. Harry Stovey (1). Multi-faceted amongst the players listed. Speed, power, patience. Fielding wise stick him at 1B, LF, CF, RF, where ever. A star of the AA that would have succeeded in the NL - and did.

3. Pud Galvin (3). One pitcher who shouldn't get swamped by the position players dominating the ballot. I'll say it again: 6000 IP is a lot of work and you don't get there by being inadequate.

4. Bid McPhee (2). Another AA standout - slick fielding who played forever. I don't strongly discount for the league as others seem to.

5. Cal McVey (5). Excellence every year. Him and Start are a close call for me.

6. Joe Start (6). Like career length but won't extrapolate too much into the 1860s. Some are giving him a lot of credit for a game winning base hit in 1869. Wow - what if Joe Average Ballplayer had done it. Would he be drawing HOM votes? Also, I know a guy named Joe Carter who had a big hit in a World Series game once.

7. Charlie Bennett (4). Slight move down - I'm still feeling he's worthy.

8. Jimmy Ryan (-). Long career, slightly better peak than Van Haltren. The OFs are a shuffle at this point and positions 8 through 17 are very close.

9. Hugh Duffy (8). This position based on defense being as good as his reputation.

10. Frank Grant (-). Between McPhee and Childs, tending toward the top end. Anyone who really knows how good Frank Grant was would be around 120 years old, have a great memory and be a serious baseball fan.

11. Sam Thompson (9). Shorter career drags him down.

12. Pete Browning (11). If I had a single AB and absolutely needed a hit, I'd probably take this guy. Even over Delaharty.

13. George Van Haltren (-). Ryan without the peak?

14. Mike Griffin (13). Fine player, just not enough juice to ever get ballot momentum going.

15. Hughie Jennings (10). A-rod minus a couple of years.

I'll give the others just for kicks...

16. Mickey Welch
   47. DanG Posted: September 12, 2003 at 03:01 PM (#517525)
How can anyone deny that the greatest black star of the 19th century was not the equal to the greatest white stars?

OK, let's say that's right. Could you perhaps give us a top ten list of Negro stars of the 19th century? How about top five? IOW, who is Grant's competition for the distinction of greatest?

Also, if you could help us out, how was this top five list determined? What is it based upon?
   48. Marc Posted: September 12, 2003 at 04:18 PM (#517526)
I put two lengthy posts re. Frank Grant from the 1909 ballot discussion on to the Negro Leagues thread, where I think they'll be easier to find in the future. Or maybe we need a Frank Grant thread?

In any event, to carry the Grant-Start analogy a little further. In Start's case we have the observations by a number of different sources that Start was one of the best or the best player through much of the '60s, and we have anecdotes about what he did. I don't rate him highly because he drove in one run in 1870 (not 1869) vs. the Red Stockings, but rather because there are different points at which his name comes up in the company of other great player and teams.

In Grant's case, we so far have Sol White's word. Are there others who said similar things about Grant? Are there anecdotes that place him among top competition in the '90s? etc. etc.
   49. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 12, 2003 at 05:21 PM (#517527)
In Grant's case, we so far have Sol White's word. Are there others who said similar things about Grant? Are there anecdotes that place him among top competition in the '90s? etc. etc.

That's my predicament. If he were the only second baseman of his era to compare with (such as first baseman Start, shortstop/catcher Pearce and centerfielder H. Wright during the fifties/sixties), it would be a different story. However, I have to match him up with McPhee and Childs.

I understand the logic behind the "best African-American player has to be a great player" argument, but I want to make sure that he was legitimately the best or near the best for his time. If he wasn't, then honoring him would amount to a quota system. What type of honor would that be?
   50. Jeff M Posted: September 12, 2003 at 05:23 PM (#517528)
How can anyone deny that the greatest black star of the 19th century was not the equal to the greatest white stars? To me it is incomprehensible.

It has nothing to do with color or how blacks stack up to whites athletically. The greatest white star of a minor league in California may not be as good as the greatest white stars of the major leagues, because the California player had limited competition. Maybe that California player was good enough to play in the majors (or maybe not) and maybe he would excel (or maybe not), but his greatness in a minor league doesn't automatically mean that he would have been a HOM-quality player in the majors.

Is there anyone here who thinks Frank Grant wasn't a very very good player? I haven't heard anything to that effect. I'm simply seeing that he is approximately the consensus 10th best player on the ballot (I haven't actually counted). There's no shame in being ranked near Thompson, Duffy, McPhee, van Haltren, Ryan, etc.
   51. KJOK Posted: September 12, 2003 at 06:22 PM (#517529)
I've come to the conclusion that Grant is PROBABLY not HOM worthy. The main argument for him is that he's the greatest African-American baseball player of the 19th century. However, Jim Thorpe is probably the greatest Native American baseball player thru the early 20th century, and I don't think we'll be lining up to vote him in.

Not because Native American's were less talented, less athletic, or less capable than their white counterparts. Obviously, Thorpe was one of the MOST athletic people of his time.

It's simply a matter of opportunity to develop baseball skills. African-Americans, Native Americans, Japanese-Americans, etc. simply didn't have the same opportunities to develop baseball skills as their "white" conterparts 100 years ago.

As the 20th century progressed, African-Americans did begin getting more opportunities to play ball, and their numbers quickly increased. With this increase, it will become much more likely that the top African-American players in the 1910's were among the top players in the nation, and in the 1920's it will become EVEN MORE LIKELY than in the 1910's, and in the 1930's EVEN MORE LIKELY than in the 1920's, etc. But for the 1890's, it would be possible that even the very top African-American baseball player was not among the top players in the nation.
   52. RobC Posted: September 12, 2003 at 08:13 PM (#517530)
Jim Thorpe is probably the greatest Native American baseball player thru the early 20th century

Chief Bender might disagree.
   53. Rick A. Posted: September 12, 2003 at 09:28 PM (#517533)
This ballot was a real bear. I spent all last week debating where to place the new players, and ended up changing my entire methodology in regards to comparing players.

My new methodology focuses on percentage of player value that is peak(can be any number of seasons over a certain level) and percentage of player value that is above average but below that peak., and also average Peak value to get an idea of the height of the peak, and career value. I now have a clearer idea of how each players career value is achieved. I?ve only done this for hitters so far, so pitchers are pretty much in the same positions on the ballot as before. I will note the percentage of value that is at least above average. (will round off to integers)

1. Ed Delahanty (n/a) ? Highest adjusted career WS value on the ballot. 90% of career value is above average. 67% of value is peak
   54. Marc Posted: September 12, 2003 at 11:22 PM (#517535)
From what I've read, everybody knew that Jim Creighton was paid to play in 1860-62.
   55. KJOK Posted: September 12, 2003 at 11:30 PM (#517536)
Shawn - I THINK Griffith is not yet eligible, otherwise, good job.
   56. KJOK Posted: September 12, 2003 at 11:32 PM (#517537)
I look more for wins above AVERAGE as opposed to above REPLACEMENT LEVEL when considering a player's greatness, and I use at least 5 years for a peak, along with heavily weighting C, SS, and 3B defense, and lightly weighting RF and LF defense.
   57. OCF Posted: September 12, 2003 at 11:39 PM (#517538)
Shawn -

I'm not totally up on just what the thresholds are for what are considered "token appearances", but Clark Griffith had 100 IP in 1904, 100 IP in 1905, and 60 IP in 1906. Even though he was no longer a rotation starter, that's got to be well beyond "token". He's not eligible for election yet, and won't be until 1912 (or maybe 1911).

I will take your interest in him as a suggestion. Anyone who can post a single-season ERA+ of 190 deserves at least a look, when the time comes.

Since I'm a known Friend of Harry Stovey, I'll take it upon myself to ask "Why not Harry?"
   58. Rob Wood Posted: September 12, 2003 at 11:41 PM (#517539)
My 1909 ballot.

1. Ed Delahanty -- best on ballot by far.
   59. MattB Posted: September 12, 2003 at 11:53 PM (#517540)

Good second try! Griffiths is not yet eligible, though.

Also, you dropped Frank Grant between ballots 1 and 2. :-/

Personally, I think the ballot was better when there were no comments, but different names!
   60. jimd Posted: September 13, 2003 at 12:23 AM (#517541)
Read previous ballots if you want more depth on my reasons for all but the latest eligibles.

1) E. Delahanty -- I knew he was a great player, but not quite how great. I can't justify putting Galvin ahead of him.
   61. Marc Posted: September 13, 2003 at 01:57 AM (#517542)
jimd, considering our difficulties in dealing with F. Grant, I'd love to see a more extended analysis of what you mean in comping him to Childs and Lyons. Maybe over on the Negro Leagues thread?
   62. jimd Posted: September 13, 2003 at 02:17 AM (#517543)
Basically, I looked for young players (born 1865-68, the range for Grant) that played infield in the AA and demonstrated Grant's blend of high average and power at an early age. Both Childs and Lyons fit those requirements if you have Grant in the IL in his early 20's (they both also had high OBP, something which the IL data for Grant did not touch upon). As such they serve as starting points for speculation; there may be other matches, but these two caught my eye.

I will post this in the Negro Leagues thread so as to not clog the ballot thread.
   63. James Newburg Posted: September 13, 2003 at 06:06 PM (#517550)
I value career over peak when evaluating players (which explains my top three selections). I also value players at important defensive positions. This is because errors accounted for 25-35 percent of all runs scored in 19th century baseball, a high figure that would seem to indicate that defense was more valuable in this setting.

In coming up with these HOM ballots, I've had to step outside what I had learned to value in baseball: offense above all else. Players who could hit a little but pick it at shortstop or third base gave their teams a sustained competitive advantage that I feel is greater than the advantage gained by having an outfielder who can hit a ton.

New comments for players who moved around significantly.

1. Ed Delahanty - Sixteen seasons of beating the crap out of the ball is enough for Big Ed to knock Start off of the top of my ballot. An outstanding hitter with no holes in his game.

2. Joe Start - The documented portion of Start's career is similar to Tony Perez. He'd be worth a ballot spot on the basis of his documented career alone. If you put any stock in the idea that he was one of the giants of 1860s baseball, he becomes a first-ballot HOMer. He doesn't necessarily need to be a star throughout the '60s to be high on my ballot. Even if he was only a marginally better player than in the documented portion of his career, he'd still have a 27-year career with a 130 OPS+ and great fielding at first base.

3. Pud Galvin - 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. His performance in the IL just puts it over the top for me. Won the Win Shares Cy Young Award in 1879.

4. Dickey Pearce - His performance was not only valuable to his teams; it also brought about meaningful changes in the way baseball was played. To be ahead of the curve on something as important as how to play shortstop has a huge impact; plus, Pearce could play a little.

5. Cal McVey - Flip-flopped with Bennett based on my appreciation for his hitting. Just a great hitter.

6. Charlie Bennett - WARP likes him a lot and so do I. A Pudge Rodriguez-type of player, but with more offensive value tied up in on-base percentage. Add that with some outstanding defense behind the dish and you've got yourself a HOMer.

7. Jim McCormick - I strongly feel that McCormick is a HOMer. Pitched nearly 4,300 innings in 10 years, never having an "off" year until his final season in 1887 (322.1 IP, 89 ERA+). Finished with a 118 career ERA+, which places him 14th all-time among the 31 pitchers who pitched as many innings as McCormick did. He also won the Win Shares Cy Young Award in 1880.

8. Bid McPhee - I like Bid McPhee a lot, but not enough to place him in the top three or top five of my ballot. He was a league-average hitter, great baserunner and outstanding fielder. He turned in essentially the same performance for 18 years. If he played shortstop or third base, then he would clearly be a top three selection. But he played second base, which was an important defensive position, just not as important as the positions to his right. Still, a deserving HOMer.

9. Frank Grant - The argument against Grant concerning the small pool of African-American ballplayers in the late 19th century is certainly one with merit, and I take that into account. But Grant did enough in the International League to show that he would have been a very good player if he had the opportunity to play in the major leagues. He managed to last 18 seasons and started his career at second base with every runner coming in spikes high. In the absence of further evidence, he lands here.

10. Harry Stovey - Stovey's strengths are obscured by traditional statistical analysis. A significant amount of his value came from his excellence in the "shadow offense" of 19th-century baseball: base stealing and baserunning. The fact that 30 to 50 percent of the runs scored were unearned would seem to indicate that baserunning and defense had a much bigger impact on offense than at any other time in baseball history. Off of the top of my head, I can't think of a player in the 19th century who is truly comparable to Stovey: a great hitter with walks and power who was also a terror on the basepaths.

11. Pete Browning - I feel bad about knocking him down this far after I've been his biggest booster here, but there are teeny, tiny differences separating players in the top 15. He is the best hitter on the ballot, and the second-best offensive player on the ballot behind Stovey. If he didn't have his inner-ear problems, he'd be a first-ballot HOMer mentioned in the same breath as Brouthers and Connor for his hitting ability.

12. Ed Williamson - I listened too much to the idea that Williamson was overrated, which knocked him down so much in my eyes that I realized I was underrating him. He's one of the all-time great defensive third basemen at a time when defense at the hot corner was more valuable. As a hitter, he had good secondary skills and displayed the ability to get on base and hit with gap power. This made him an asset with the bat despite a batting average below league average.

13. Sam Thompson - Great hitter, arguably the best on the ballot. To me, it boggles the mind that I can place a hitter with a 146 career OPS+ this low on the ballot. But:

1) He basically played 11 full seasons, which is not long for a HOM career.

2) He had little defensive value in an era where defense was a bigger part of the game than at any other time in history.

If he had played 40 years later, I'd be worrying a lot less about his defensive value.

14. Charley Jones - Another player I overlooked. A hitter extraordinare like Thompson, Browning and Stovey. He probably gets underrated because 4,009 plate appearances doesn't look all that impressive to the eye, but in the environment of those shortened seasons, it's equivalent to about 7,200 plate appearances with 162-game schedules. I have him essentially equal with Thompson, though Thompson is ahead due to the level of competition he played against.

(I do give full credit for Jones' blacklisted seasons. His blacklist fell right in the middle of a long peak; therefore I give him credit for two peak seasons (165-170 OPS+).)

15. Hughie Jennings - A great from 1894-1898, a span where he was arguably the best position player in baseball. But he contributed next to nothing outside of those five years. For me, a player needs to perform at a Pedro Martinez/Barry Bonds-type level, a historically great level, over five years if their peak is going to be such a dominant part of their HOM case. In short, I wouldn't put Jennings any higher than I would now, but I'd feel pretty comfortable placing Alex Rodriguez in the Top 10 of a HOM ballot if he retired today.

16. Mickey Welch
   64. James Newburg Posted: September 13, 2003 at 06:14 PM (#517551)
(Pete Browning) is the best hitter on the ballot, and the second-best offensive player on the ballot behind Stovey.

Excepting Delahanty, of course.
   65. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 13, 2003 at 06:40 PM (#517552)
He also won the Win Shares Cy Young Award in 1880.

I would go with Larry Corcoran as the better pitcher using WS (better rate), but it's close enough to go either way.
   66. KJOK Posted: September 13, 2003 at 07:37 PM (#517553)
McCormick not only had more win shares, but he also had a better ERA+ (Rate) and pitched more innings.
   67. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 13, 2003 at 08:01 PM (#517554)
McCormick not only had more win shares, but he also had a better ERA+ (Rate) and pitched more innings.

We were only referring to WS, KJOK. The rate I was referring to WS per season.
   68. Adam Schafer Posted: September 13, 2003 at 10:47 PM (#517555)
1. Ed Delahanty (n/a) - One of the most complete packages to date. Easy choice for #1

2. Charlie Bennett (1) - I hate to see him knocked out of the #1 spot, but there's no denying Delahanty is more deserving this year.

3. Pud Galvin (3) - Pud has been up and down my ballot but I know he's near the top to stay until he makes it in. There has been a lot of nitpicking about his stats, but all I have to say is 300 wins is 300 wins. Even in this era 300 wins didn't come easy.

4. Bid McPhee (4) - Nothing new. Still deserves to be in the HOM

5. Joe Start (6) - I've become a LITTLE bit more convinced of his worthiness. I feel comfortable ranking him in my top 5 now.

6. Sam Thompson (5) - I still applaud his incredible offense

7. Jimmy Ryan (n/a) - I had a heck of a time seperating him from Van Haltren. I took Ryan for his peak.

8. George Van Haltren (n/a) - almost neck and neck with Ryan except for the peak

9. Hugh Duffy (7) - I haven't really decided where I want him on my ballot. I like the fact that he had a lot of extra base hits, hit for power, average, scored runs etc. I don't like the fact that he was basically done by the time he was 32 without having an enormous peak such as Spalding did while pitching.

10. Jack Clements (n/a) - With the addition of Chief Zimmer this year, I realized that I have REALLY been under rating Clements. My love for catchers is no secret, but I feel foolish for just now considering Clements for my ballot.

11. Bob Carruthers (8) - he's still hanging in here.

12. Cal McVey (9) - getting bumped down by better players.

13. Chief Zimmer (n/a) - Again my appreciation for the catchers is showing. A star among the league he wasn't, but a star among catchers he was. He's no Bennett, but he does deserve some limited recognition.

14. Frank Grant (n/a) - I wish I felt more comfortable ranking him. For me it's a question of what COULD he have been had he played major league baseball. I know that's the question I'll have to deal with when it comes to any Negro League player under consideration, but I'm just not comfortable with my own knowledge of the level of play he was up against. WHen it comes to Buck Leonard, Satchel Paige, etc, I think I can honestly make decisions I'm 100% comfortable with, but until then...

15. Harry Stovey (11) - He's still on the ballot, but not by much

Those just missing the ballot
   69. Esteban Rivera Posted: September 14, 2003 at 09:22 PM (#517557)
The outfielder glut gets scarier each year.

1. Ed Delahanty - No questions asked, first ballot, slam dunk candidate to me.

2. Cal McVey - 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. 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.

4. Pud Galvin - Still feel he's very HOM worthy.

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

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

7. Frank Grant - I am secure with Grant's placement here. Believe he was a great player for his time.

8. Bid McPhee - His career keeps him steady.

9. Hughie Jennings - A monster for five years.

10. Hugh Duffy - His credentials are that he was for a time one of the best players and he produced during the 90's. Then he just fell off. However, I feel his peak gives him the slight edge over Ryan.

11. Jimmy Ryan - A strong candidate who was effective after his injury. Kind of weird how all the really great outfielders of the 90's had short periods as great and then very good due to either injuries, late starts, or other reasons.

12. Pete Browning - Was a heck of a hitter and did it under tremendous duress.

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

14. Sam Thompson - He's the yang to Hamilton's Ying. Not sure if he's HOM worthy.

15. George Van Haltren - Of all the 90's outfielders on the ballot, the only one that never really cracked the greatness barrier. However, he did make a fantastic career for himself that is ballot-worthy.
   70. Ken Fischer Posted: September 14, 2003 at 10:58 PM (#517559)
Just back from 8 days overseas and little access to the net. Just in time to vote. I think Delahanty is a shoo-in...but I refuse to give up on McPhee & Start. You have to believe they're both going to make it soon.

1-Ed Delahanty

2-Bid McPhee

3-Joe Start

4-Pud Galvin

5-Harry Stovey

6-Frank Grant

7-George Van Haltren...would be in HOF if he had hung around to get 3000th hit instead of playing in PCL

8-Jimmy Ryan

9-Mike Tiernan

10-Bob Caruthers

11-Dickey Pearce

12-Cupid Childs

13-Hughie Jennings

14-Hugh Duffy

15-Sam Thompson
   71. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 15, 2003 at 12:31 AM (#517561)
Sorry Jason, you don't get to submiy your ballot twice. :-)
   72. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: September 15, 2003 at 04:33 AM (#517565)
The top half is pretty much the same (except the very top) - as for the bottom, there's some new faces and a little rearrangement.

1. Ed Delahanty (NA) Wow. Just - wow.
   73. Brad Harris Posted: September 15, 2003 at 01:48 PM (#517566)
This was both a more difficult ballot and an easier ballot at the same time and for the same reason: because of the large number of high-quality "freshmen" eligibles. Here goes:

1. Ed Delahanty - unfortunately, not mentioned often when talking about the all-time greats. Sure-fire HOMer and best hitter on ballot.

2. Joe Start - Continuing to be pushed for election; best of the pre-NL/NA players.

3. Cal McVey - Again, one of the best pure hitters in baseball in the 19th century. Deserves recognition.

4. Bid McPhee - A glut of legitimate candidates at 2B is forming; McPhee is the best of the bunch.

5. Harry Stovey - undervalued because he lacked the glovework.

6. Charlie Bennett - how can we ignore the best (remaining) catcher of baseball's first half-century?

7. Jimmy Ryan - i've always thought he merited election to Cooperstown; time now to give him a "higher" honor. :-)

8. Cupid Childs - an extraordinary run producer at 2B.

9. George Van Haltren - just slightly less impressive than Ryan.

10. Mike Tiernan - the best of the rest; moved higher than Thompson this year.

11. Lip Pike - great hitter; great peak...earned his place here.

12. Frank Grant - had to put him SOMEWHERE, but thought I'd start conservatively. Negro 2B who combined the best qualities of Childs and McPhee. Would like to find out more - definatively - about him.

13. Sam Thompson - still plugging Thompson in here.

14. Pud Galvin - lower than he ought to be because of the new people on the ballot.

15. John McGraw - most people forget he was a helluva player too.

HONORABLE MENTION: Hughie Jennings and Ned Williamson
   74. Carl Goetz Posted: September 15, 2003 at 01:52 PM (#517567)
Here's my ballot-sorry its late again.

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