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Tuesday, October 14, 2003

1912 Ballot Discussion

Sorry about the delay, training class and MLB Playoffs have slowed me down this week . . . I’ll have the results up some time later today, but here’s the 1912 discussion thread.

Someone please post new eligibles, as I don’t have time to look them up right now. Thanks!

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: October 14, 2003 at 06:11 PM | 118 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. ronw Posted: October 21, 2003 at 07:33 PM (#518379)
Actually, I view the 1880's pitchers similarly to the 1970's pitchers. I think there was a bumper crop of good pitchers, and we have elected enough, but I will give support to the remaining pitchers as long as no better candidates come along from other positions.

I'm still undecided on how to view the 1890's (maybe the 1930's?) but I do think that Griffith will miss the HOM.

Just going by wins during the 1970's, I find that many of the top 1970's pitchers are the 300 game winners: Perry, Carlton, Seaver, Sutton, Niekro, Ryan. Also, Palmer, John, Blyleven, and Jenkins just missed reaching the magic number. Some of these pitchers should make the HOM. A lot of them will be subject to the same arguments we hear against McCormick and Mickey Welch. In reality, most of them could be considered the best pitcher in one given year. Most of them were in the top 3 at least 4-5 times.

Again looking at wins during the decade, the top 1960's pitchers - Marichal, Gibson, Drysdale, Bunning, Koufax all missed the 300 win plateau.

I perceive that generally (aside from Bill James and WS) people think that the 60's pitchers, with less overall wins but lower ERA's, were better than their 70's counterparts. Looking more closely, the 60's appear to have two stellar long careers in Marichal and Gibson, one phenomenal peak in Koufax, and a couple of borderline HOMers in Drysdale and Bunning. (Ford splits the 50's and 60's but I'm not sure where he fits with respect to HOM selections anyway.)

The 1880's electees (Keefe, Clarkson, Radbourn, and Galvin) are the cream of the crop. McCormick, Welch, Mullane, and Caruthers are a step below them.

The 1890's have Young, Nichols, and Rusie as legitimate HOM members. Griffith may just have to wait.
   102. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 21, 2003 at 08:20 PM (#518381)

When I refer to sixties pitchers, I'm referring to any pitcher that had his formative years during the period 1962-1969 (which had the best conditions for pitching since the advent of the lively ball).

Koufax and Drysdale started their careers during a much more difficult time to pitch than Seaver, Carlton, Ryan, etc., so I include them with the fifties pitchers.

It wasn't a coincidence that there was a truckload of pitchers who reached the 250 win mark from that eight year period during the 1960s. Read Craig Wright's The Diamond Appraised for a more in-depth study of this phenomena.
   103. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 21, 2003 at 08:30 PM (#518382)
Griffith is a very close match to Marichal in career ERA+, IP, and W/L.

Jim, all you have to do to see that Griffith wasn't really close to Marichal as a pitcher is to find out where the Dominican Dandy placed every season compared to the Koufaxes, Drysdales and Gibsons. Marichal was better.
   104. Marc Posted: October 21, 2003 at 08:47 PM (#518383)
As I've said before, it always comes down to cases. So we've got 5 pitchers from the '80s and 3 from the '90s. The 4th pitcher from the '90s must be better than the 6th pitcher from the '80s, right? There is no way to tell without knowing who they are. I think McCormick and Griffith are close enough, but not so close you can't tell that Mac was better.

Who is the 4th best pitcher of the '20s? Luque? Shocker? Vance? Pennock? Hoyt? Coveleski? Maybe Carl Mays. Heck, who was #2--Burleigh Grimes. And the 6th best of the '70s? Niekro? Carlton? Sutton? Blyleven? Sutton was #8!

So, #2 from the '20s or #8 from the '70s? Without thinking about it you'd probably want #2. Grimes or Sutton? Different deal.
   105. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 21, 2003 at 09:09 PM (#518384)

I agree with almost all of your points, except (and tell me if I'm wrong) about Sutton as a potential HoMer. I can say right now, while he was a very good pitcher, he won't be near my ballot many "years" from now. There was just too many pitchers from that era that were better.
   106. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 21, 2003 at 10:04 PM (#518385)
Re: Griffith

While I probably won't have Griffith on my ballot this time, I can see him as ballot worthy. I'm starting to be persuaded by the notion of more pitchers on our ballots, so maybe some time in the future you might see the Old Fox on mine.

I can't see him at the top of anybody's ballot at this time, though. To be there on your first year of eligibility, I think you need to be the best or close to being the best at your position during your era. That wasn't Griffith.
   107. OCF Posted: October 22, 2003 at 12:02 AM (#518386)
Re: Posts #6 and 67 in this thread.

In #6 I commented that leadoff hitters were "all" outfielders, that they were often the best hitters on their teams, and that they were on the whole much better hitters than the first basemen. Paul replied with data that included the 1901 AL. These signals aren't so strong in the AL of that year. (But of course AL 1901 is quite unusual - an "expansion league.") The OPS+ of the 8 regular leadoff hitters (from #67), compared to first basemen and second basemen:

Leadoff hitters: 172 127 115 106 88 88 82 79
   108. Paul Wendt Posted: October 22, 2003 at 02:12 AM (#518387)
Principal Fielding Positions of Win Shares leaders
   109. Paul Wendt Posted: October 22, 2003 at 02:53 AM (#518388)
Number of Player-Seasons with Win Shares >= N, 1900-1901
   110. Paul Wendt Posted: October 22, 2003 at 05:08 PM (#518389)
Number of Player-Seasons with Win Shares >= N, 1900-1901
   111. OCF Posted: October 22, 2003 at 05:17 PM (#518390)
Paul - you've now provided a rather interesting snapshot of the way things were around 1901. My gut inclination of where to go from here would be to drop back in a few years later to see how the environment has changed. I'm undecided as to whether it would be more interesting to look at one of the "typical deadball" years of the later Oughts, or whether to look at one of the years of the offensive oasis of 1911-12-13. But not right now! Don't rush.
   112. Paul Wendt Posted: October 22, 2003 at 06:19 PM (#518391)
Fielding Positions of Team Leaders defined by Win Shares
   113. Chris Cobb Posted: October 22, 2003 at 07:05 PM (#518392)

Thanks for this extremely interesting data!

It's not a wide enough base on which to make firm generalizations yet, but it suggests that, as WS sees the matter in terms of seasonal value, a distribution of 1/3 pitchers, 1/3 infielders and catchers, and 1/3 outfielders might be appropriate for this period in baseball history.

(That suggestion leaves open, of course, questions of the representativeness of these three seasons, of the accuracy of the win shares assessment of value, of the relationship between seasonal value and career value, and of the appropriateness of valuing players by position rather than by "absolute" value to the team in wins. But this data makes it possible to start asking those questions with much greater precision! Cool!)
   114. Paul Wendt Posted: October 23, 2003 at 05:27 PM (#518393)
Yes. The seasons I have selected are unrepresentative of baseball history in some ways: NL contraction in 1900; "expansion" by AL entry, costly competition, and small rosters in 1900. We don't yet know the import of factors for the purpose at hand.

Further, the seasons may be unrepresentative of the Win Shares measure at work. Bill James divides baseball history into segments and handles evolutionary changes in baseball with periodic discrete changes in the measure. There may be systematic biases by fielding position in the few years before and after one of the changes.
   115. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 26, 2003 at 11:01 PM (#518394)
Chris Cobb:

How did you go about figuring out the marginal runs for the NA using Wins Shares? The formula states that you need to know the league average for runs, but there was a great imbalance with the schedule between the teams for that league. Did you have to prorate the numbers for the teams with the shorter schedule so that they were more in line with, for example, the Boston Red Stockings?

I want to calculate the WS for every player in the league so your help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
   116. Chris Cobb Posted: October 26, 2003 at 11:19 PM (#518395)

The WS I calculated for the NA were translated from WARP, not generated from raw data. Jeff M. has mentioned that he's been working on calculating WS from the data -- you might check with him about methods or results.

I worked on doing NA WS by hand for one team -- the 1875 Mutuals -- during the summer, and as I recall I calculated an average runs scored for all the games in the league and then multiplied by the number of games played by the team to determine marginal runs for their schedule.

There are probably more exact ways of doing it, if you want to look at the exact competition against which each team played.
   117. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 27, 2003 at 04:38 PM (#518396)
I worked on doing NA WS by hand for one team -- the 1875 Mutuals -- during the summer, and as I recall I calculated an average runs scored for all the games in the league and then multiplied by the number of games played by the team to determine marginal runs for their schedule.

That's what I needed to know, Chris. That's how I wanted to go about doing it, but I figured I ask someone who had already went through the formula.

Thanks, again.
   118. KJOK Posted: October 27, 2003 at 06:22 PM (#518397)
Sorry to be so late, but Oct. is next year's budget development month at work, so have been extremely tied up...

I look more for wins above AVERAGE as opposed to above REPLACEMENT LEVEL when considering a player's greatness (JUST BEING BETTER THAN REPLACEMENT LEVEL DOES NOT ADVANCE ONE TOWARDS BEING A HOM PLAYER!), while I use best 5 years for a peak, along with heavily weighting C, SS, and 3B defense, and lightly weighting RF and LF defense.

1. CHARLIE BENNETT, C -Comp is Roy Campanella. Until at least Roger Bresnahan, only Ewing was a better Catcher. Catchers may have trouble "adding up" numbers due to the nature of the position, but last I checked you can't play the field without a catcher.

2. JESSE BURKETT, LF - Only Delahanty was a better hitting LF'er in the 19th century.

3. JOE START, 1B,- Similar to Tony Perez, IF you assume a normal career progression that is not fully documented. I basically double his documented career value for analysis purposes, and I'm now convinced he's a worthy 1860's/1870's period inductee.

4. HUGHIE JENNINGS, SS ? Best comp may be Lou Boudreau. Great fielder and great hitter for a SS. Only drawback is played 10,000 less SS innings than Dahlen, over 6,000 less than George Davis, but I don?t see how not having 5 years of Jeff Blauser career performance added on makes him NOT a HOM?er . MVP type years 1895, 1896 & 1897.

5. CUPID CHILDS, 2B - Hitting value almost identical to Hardy Richardson, AND played close to 13,000 innings at 2B. Comp is somewhere between Charlie Gehringer to Stan Hack. Only MVP type year was 1890 in weak AA.

6. JOHN MCGRAW, 3B ? Comp is? no one, as there hasn?t really been an infielder who was this good offensively but played so little. Still has to rank as one of THE best 3Bmen of the 19th century. Would be #1 or #2 on this ballot if he had played a little bit more.

7. HUGH DUFFY, CF ? Strong comp with Kirby Puckett. Note quite the hitter that Mike Griffin was, but played a little longer. One MVP Year - 1894.

8. PETE BROWNING, CF/LF - Hits like Joe Jackson, fields like Greg Luzinski playing CF. Still has one of the highest Win Shares/Year for the 19th century. Possible MVP in 1882, 83, 85 & 90 - that should count for quite a bit.

9. JIMMY RYAN, CF/RF ? Comp is Jimmy Wynn. Good hitter, and average fielder who played quite a bit of RF. MVP type year in 1888.

10. GEORGE VAN HALTREN, CF ? Almost identical to Ryan offensively, but loses out due to fielding and no MVP type year.

11. MIKE GRIFFIN, CF ? Fred Lynn offensively, and was a better CF. Seems to be very underrated, but just doesn't stand out enough in crowded OF talent pool.

12. SAM THOMPSON, RF - Harry Heilmann comp. Downgraded a little due to 19th century defensive spectrum. MVP type year in 1887.

13. MIKE TIERNAN, RF ? Similar value to Gary Sheffiield. Just slightly below Sam Thompson. Downgraded a little due to 19th century defensive spectrum. MVP type years in 1889 & 1890.

14. CAL McVEY, C/1B - Modern Comp: Gene Tenace, only better and longer career. Best catcher before Ewing/Bennett.

15. TONY MULLANE, P ? Think I?ve missed the boat on Mullane previously. Only 4 Win Shares behind Pud (399 vs. 403) in 1,400 fewer innings (but still a substantial 4,500 innings pitched). Peak almost identical to Pud?s (183 WS vs. 182 over 5 years). ERA+ of 118 vs. Pud?s 109. Don?t see how Pud could possibly rank ahead except on career length alone.


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.

CLARK GRIFFITH, P - Still having some trouble slotting current pitching candidates, and none seem to be particularly great, but many are very good. For now, I have Griffith slightly behind Mullane but slightly ahead of Caruthers & McCormick.

FRANK GRANT, 2B, Was probably best African-American player of 19th century, but not enough evidence to suggest he was one of the greatest players of the century. Even the most ardent ?blackball? boosters don?t rank Grant as one of the greatest.

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. Cy Young year in 1885.

JIM McCORMICK, P ?Modern Comp is Eppa Rixey. Below Tony Mullane in effectiveness and playing time.

HARRY STOVEY, LF/1B - Comp is Albert Belle, only with baserunning ability. MVP type years in 1883, 1888 & 1889. Hard to see what basis he belongs ahead of crowded OF glut of Duffy, Browning, Van Haltren, Ryan, Griffin, Thompson, & Tiernan. If anything, I'd probably be more inclined to remove a couple of those guys from my ballot as opposed to adding Stovey.
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