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Monday, October 27, 2003

1913 Ballot Discussion

The 1912 results will be posted later today, but we can start the discussion for 1913 now . . .

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: October 27, 2003 at 07:52 PM | 155 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Carl Goetz Posted: October 27, 2003 at 08:12 PM (#518500)
I've narrowed the my Newcomers-worth-analysis list to Beckley, Lave Cross, and Kid Gleason. I'm not sure where they will rank amongst the holdovers yet, but they're the only 3 that are worth a look. Is there anyone 1 I've forgotten who may be ballot-worthy?
   2. Rusty Priske Posted: October 27, 2003 at 08:20 PM (#518501)
Those are the three I have as well, with two making my list (one high and one low) and one just missing.

It looks to me like we have one of those career vs peak decisions again as Beckley & Gleason look to be all career, without big peaks.

Right? Wrong?
   3. Marc Posted: October 27, 2003 at 08:55 PM (#518503)
I can't imagine any of these guys making my ballot since I emphasize peak. Neither Beckley nor Cross had one, though my gut (prior to any new analysis) is that WARP has it right. Cross, at 3B, probably was more valuable than Beckley at 1B. Gleason had a peak but not enough of peak or career to be a player here.

Bottom line, maybe Beckley or Cross can edge out a glut-OF for 15th place, but I doubt it.
   4. dan b Posted: October 27, 2003 at 09:17 PM (#518504)
No newbies on my 1913 ballot, but 1914 brings Collins, Kelley, and McGinnity with Dahlen and Davis in 1915.
   5. Chris Cobb Posted: October 27, 2003 at 09:24 PM (#518505)
I'm pretty much on the same page as Marc, but I'm not confident that ranking Beckley and Cross low because of their lack of peaks is the right thing to do. I try to weight career and peak fairly evenly, but these guys' careers don't lend themselves to even consideration.

Their career trajectories are very similar to one another, but they're not really similar to any other candidates we've looked at so far -- nobody with so little peak value has accumulated nearly so much career value. Bid McPhee, weak as his peak is, has a much better peak than either Beckley or Cross. I have to wonder if the AL expansion came along at just the right time for the two of them to extend their careers out to such impressive lengths.

Cross, at 3B, probably was more valuable than Beckley at 1B.

Maybe, though first base is a much thinner position during Beckley's career than third base is. What sort of position _was_ first base c. 1890 to c. 1905, anyway? First basemen hit _much_ less than outfielders during this period. Why? Was defense much more important, or is this just a cyclical drop?

Right now, I can't see any justification for rating Beckley higher than George Van Haltren, who beats him on both peak and career measures. I had VH at about #13 last year, so I think he'll be up to #11 this year. So #12 is about as high as he could possibly go, when compared to the long-career, high-offense outfielders. If Beckley should be treated more like a 2B-3B-SS in terms of typical career lengths and importance of defense, that might be a reason to take him over VH, but I don't have any real evidence that Beckley should be evaluated more like McPhee (who also beats him on both peak and career) and less like Van Haltren.

On Cross, I'm tending to rank him below the shorter-career infielders who had significant value above average, namely Childs, Williamson, and McGraw. I had McGraw at #17 last year, so Cross would start no higher than #18. If anyone's planning to place him higher than these guys, I'd be interested to see the argument for it.

But if Cross is more valuable than Beckley, Beckley would need to start no higher than #19, and that seems a little low for Eagle Eye.
   6. RobC Posted: October 27, 2003 at 09:26 PM (#518506)
Players on my candidates list that have a worse peak than Beckley:
   7. Carl Goetz Posted: October 27, 2003 at 09:49 PM (#518507)
Lowe and Corcoran didn't look that great to me at 1st glance, but I'll dig deeper since a couple people have mentioned them.
   8. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 27, 2003 at 09:54 PM (#518508)
I think Gleason is not ballot worthy. Win Shares overstates his case because of the pitching portion of his career. He was an OK hurler and second baseman, but never one of the best players of his time or position. His career length can't make up the slack, IMO.

We're not talking Johnny Ward here.
   9. Howie Menckel Posted: October 27, 2003 at 09:56 PM (#518509)
Beckley's career WS is pretty darn good, but of course he's one of the first to be playing 'full' seasons. I can picture putting him on my ballot, perhaps, but he indeed slips below anyone within shouting distance in career WS - and we will have more and more of those.

Beckley top 10 in RBI a dozen times (yes, three of those 10th exactly). Career OPS+ of 125, to 106 for McPhee. Yes, Bid gets huge bump for fielding, but this is one guy he doesn't get a longevity edge on!
   10. MattB Posted: October 27, 2003 at 09:59 PM (#518510)
I generally consider myself 50% peak/ 50% career, but I think y'all are way undervaluing Beckley.

Beckley's 318 (unadjusted) Win Shares are about 18th on the list of first basemen all-time. Top 20 in a historically strong position seems like a solid base to work with.

He also looks like the best NL first baseman in 1901 (poosibly his best year). Besides that, he looks like the second best first baseman in his strong Players League (to HoMer Roger Connor) in 1890. He was also 2nd best in the 1893 and 1895 NL (both times to Connor again). Then, he was 2nd best to Fred Tenney in 1899 and 1902 and to Ed Delahanty in 1900. He was also 2nd best to Frank Chance in 1904.

That's 8 years he was either best or 2nd best first baseman in his league. ARound those years, he racked up all the counting stats, retiring with most career triples (he is still fourth), second most total bases and hits to Cap Anson, and third in doubles to Anson and Delahanty.

Beckley certainly loses some peak points, but strikes me as a clear top 10!
   11. OCF Posted: October 27, 2003 at 10:02 PM (#518511)
Joe D. has let the Pennants Added calculation lie dormant for the last few "years". I haven't particularly missed it - until now. It does seem that that number might add a little to the discussion of this bunch of guys.

When guys who could reasonably be compared to each other retire within a couple of years of each other, and if the first to retire isn't a no-questions-asked first balloter, then I think it would be prudent not to let one guy gain an advantage on the other just because he retired first. With that rationale, I intend to postpone serious discussion of Cross until Jimmy Collins is also on the agenda. But it should be fair game to start comparing Cross to Collins and it's certainly fair game to compare Beckley to Cross.

From my microscopic overanalysis of the 1901 NL (1912 Discussion, post #6):
   12. Howie Menckel Posted: October 27, 2003 at 11:11 PM (#518513)
(not exactly a scientific list, but for old time's sake..)

Career votes-points leaders
   13. jimd Posted: October 27, 2003 at 11:53 PM (#518517)
What sort of position _was_ first base c. 1890 to c. 1905, anyway? First basemen hit _much_ less than outfielders during this period. Why? Was defense much more important, or is this just a cyclical drop?

We know what the 1b-men of the 1880's were like (pretty similar to the 1930's except nobody could hit home runs out of the park with consistency). Before 1876, 1b-men had had to deal with fair-foul hits, which had required more mobility from the position.

IMO, there are two significant changes that impacted 1b-play during the 1890's. The pitcher was moved back from 50 feet to 60 feet-6 inches. Some catchers began to wear cumbersome protective gear (mask, thicker padding, special glove) and crouch close to the hitter. These changes contributed to a dramatic increase in the number of attempts to bunt for a base hit, so much so that a rule was passed counting all foul bunts as strikes to discourage interminable attempts to lay the perfect bunt down the foul line. I would guess the defensive counter was a more mobile 1b-man and the rotation play.
   14. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 27, 2003 at 11:59 PM (#518518)

Were you the first to think up the first base/1890s theory here? I have mentioned it a few times here, but I forgot who brought it to our attention first. I want to give credit where credit is due.
   15. Howie Menckel Posted: October 28, 2003 at 12:41 AM (#518519)
Most HOM teammates
   16. jimd Posted: October 28, 2003 at 12:52 AM (#518520)
I've mentioned it here before. I don't remember reading it anywhere before that, but I easily could have without noting it. Not being a scholar, the credit's irrelevant to me, and I also hope no-one gets upset should I fail to cite them when arguing a point.
   17. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 28, 2003 at 01:17 AM (#518521)
While I agree with JimD's theory about first basemen, I think Beckley just doesn't cut it regardless. He won't be on my ballot.
   18. Adam Schafer Posted: October 28, 2003 at 07:36 AM (#518522)
ok, i have a few free minutes for a change, so i'm going to put in a very tentative prelim ballot. i added comments more for myself to review again later after i follow along with the discussion until voting time. my top 3 are the only ones set in stone. beckley could definately move up or down easily after i hear the pro's and con's.

1. Charlie Bennett (1) - With Burkett and Start elected, I don't feel there is a big gap between #1 and #2 on this years ballot

for me.

2. Cal McVey (5) - I'm having a hard time believing how far up my ballot McVey has come. He has made it from the very bottom of

my ballot on the verge of dropping off and never coming back to being #2. I'm not completely sure why I discredited him so much

for his career earlier, could be that I'm own my own business and work 60+ hours a week here, and then work full time at the

Sherrifs dept. full time as well and just never truly took the time to look at McVey, but I've spent the last week REALLY

reading the Start/McVey thread and finally realized the errors of my way. I hope the ghosts of baseball past can forgive my

foolishness. McVey is truly a HOMer in my book.

3. Bid McPhee (3) - Still nothing new for McPhee. Deserving to be in the Hall

----- BIG gap between 3rd and 4th -----

4. Sam Thompson (6) - I almost cringe to see Sam making it so high on my ballot now, but then again maybe it's because we're

simply doing something very right and electing all the deserving players.

5. George Van Haltren (8) - Of the OF glut, I still feel the Van Haltren was the best. Peak DOES matter, but I'm the type that

likes a well rounded career.

6. Jimmy Ryan (7) - I bounce back and forth between him and Van Haltren, but I think I've finally made up my mind.

7. Hugh Duffy (10) - I don't like seeing him this close to Ryan and Van Haltren b/c I feel there is a bigger gap than one spot

would indicate, but Duffy is more deserving than anyone else I have to chose from.

8. Jake Beckley (n/a) - As stated above with Van Haltren, I'm a career guy and I like Beckley. Consistently in the top 10 for

RBI each year. 1890 was easily his best year, but his career was very consistent and balanced. Definitely not a Harold Baines

type in my opinion. Beckley stacked up much better against his contemporaries than Baines did against his. More of a Fred

Clarke in my opinion...who happens to be another player that I like.

-----I couldn't imagine letting anyone in below this line-----

9. Clark Griffith (9) - Still a middle of the ballot filler

10. Deacon McGuire (11) - Even being a strong friend of the catchers I can't put him a whole lot higher than this with a good

conscience. I do admire him for his longevity, but that's not enough to merit admission to the HOM

11. Bob Carruthers (12) - Still holding on to one of the lower spots on my ballot.

12. Hughie Jennings (13) - Was in the upper part of those just missing my ballot last year, but he's getting a 2nd chance from

me now

13. Harry Stovey (14) - I'm still not a believer in his greatness, but believe he was better than anyone else I have left to

chose from

14. Mike Tiernan (15) - I realized that I couldn't justify leaving him off of my ballot when I had so many of the other

outfielders on it. A small move up, don't know how long it will last though.

15. Lave Cross (n/a) - peak. Here's someone similar to Harold Baines. Baines would surely get at least a 15th place vote from me. So should Lave.

Frank Grant is still off of my ballot and will continue to be so from here on out. I am not convinced in the least that he was great. I'm not even convinced he was really good.
   19. Philip Posted: October 28, 2003 at 10:18 AM (#518523)
A list of the most points per ballot (with the 1912 ranking in parentheses):

22.79 Burkett (1)
   20. Howie Menckel Posted: October 28, 2003 at 12:44 PM (#518524)
   21. Howie Menckel Posted: October 28, 2003 at 12:58 PM (#518525)
For those wondering about "year scarcity"

In 1871-78, between 7 and 9 current HOMers played each year.
   22. Rusty Priske Posted: October 28, 2003 at 01:59 PM (#518528)
I have said before that I am a career guy. I am not surprised at the lack of love for Beckley, though, because peak voters aren't going to have him anywhere on the radar.

Personally, I think he may or may not belong in the Hall, but at the monent there is a dearth of strong candidates.

Here is my prelim ballot:

1. Bid McPhee (3,4,3) Everyone in his way has been elected. In my personal HoM, I inducted him in 1905.

2. George Van Haltren (5,6,6) He jumps ahead of McVey for me this week, more because I think he has been undervalued than thinking McVey has been overvalued. The highest WS of any position player under consideration. I think he deserves a spot in the Hall. I inducted him in 1912.

3. Jake Beckley (new) A long, strong career. He wasn't the star any year, but he gave more to his team(s), over his career, than anyone below him on the ballot. He is borderline for the HoM for me, but as I said, I think we have a weak pack right now. I am inducting him into my HoM this year (McPhee and Van Heltren are already in for me.)

4. Cal McVey (4,5,4) Another borderline candidate. He is good enough. I inducted him in 1908.

5. Jimmy Ryan (6,7,5) From here down I have players that probably should stay out of the hall. My opinions on this are always in flux, however. Not as good as Van Haltren but better than the rest of the glut.

6. Frank Grant (7,9,7) Nothing has changed.

7. Hugh Duffy (8,8,8) Consistent middle of the ballot guy.

8. Mickey Welch (10,14,14) The best of the pitchers available, but all the worthy pitchers have been inducted.

9. Jim McCormick (11,11,10) Just behind Welch.

10. Harry Stovey (9,10,9)

11. Bob Caruthers (12,12,11)

12. Dickey Pearce (15,-,-) A slow climb on my ballot. Still far from the Hall, but worthy of votes.

13. Tony Mullane (13,13,12) The highest WS of anyone on the ballot. Well, WS aren't everything.

14. Kid Gleason (new) Worthy of mention, but not induction.

15. Cupid Childs (14,15,13) Ballot filler

The next bunch, including comments on the Top 10 guys not on my ballot:

16. Lave Cross
   23. Chris Cobb Posted: October 28, 2003 at 02:47 PM (#518529)

I respect your commitment to career value, but how do you see Kid Gleason as rating ahead of Cupid Childs and Lave Cross?
   24. Marc Posted: October 28, 2003 at 03:34 PM (#518530)
Philip, interesting list but I think your interpretation is exactly backwards. IOW, as we work through the backlog, players will move up the ballots that they are already on. They may NOT get on to the ballots they are not already on. So the players who appear on more ballots have the most upside. e.g. Harry Stovey moves up 3 slots, and on maybe 1/4 of those he gets into the bonus, suddenly he's in 18 pts/ballot range and is on 35-38 ballots. As Lip Pike moves up his 20 ballots, he's still potentially got 10 zeroes.
   25. Carl Goetz Posted: October 28, 2003 at 03:55 PM (#518531)
Lets take a crack at this, shall we?
   26. Rusty Priske Posted: October 28, 2003 at 04:07 PM (#518532)
Gleason is easily better than Childs for career (though Childs did more with his years)

The closer fight is between Gleason and Cross. They both played the same length and Cross was the better hitter. The tiebreaker is from pitching. What Gleason added to his team(s) from pitching more than made up for his weaker bat.

Having said all of that, these three are very tight in my estimation, though none are anywhere near my HoM cut-off.
   27. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 28, 2003 at 04:11 PM (#518533)
I respect your commitment to career value, but how do you see Kid Gleason as rating ahead of Cupid Childs and Lave Cross?

Again, was Gleason remotely close to being the best player at his position? Without a great peak, he would had to have had an exceptionally long career to be ballot worthy (he didn't).

Childs and Cross were much better players.

I compare all players equally, not based on the position they play.

Rusty, I have pointed out at numerous times that a catcher who plays only ninety games can be more valuable than an outfielder who plays 120. All teams are affected by a certain amount of games that their starting catchers will have to miss, so they are not hurt by this (except when the catcher goes under the league average for catchers). Until someone can show the folly of my thinking (which is certainly possible), it makes absolutely no sense to penalize catchers in the way that you are doing. Am I wrong?

BTW, I like Pearce's climb up your ballot. Great career guy.
   28. RobC Posted: October 28, 2003 at 04:12 PM (#518534)
1. Bid McPhee (1) - The top career value on the ballot. As an interesting note, guys with most of their value in fielding are going to have a tendency to not have a great peak. Fielding skill does not have the same season-to-season variance that hitting does.
   29. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 28, 2003 at 04:30 PM (#518536)
re: Beckley

Eagle Eye wasn't that much better than Brouthers, Anson or Connors at first during the nineties (though the latter three were on the downside of their careers).

For the first decade of the new century, Chance was king at the position.

I have Beckley as the best major league first baseman for 1900 by default. A very good player for a very long time sums him up nicely.
   30. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 28, 2003 at 04:40 PM (#518537)
14. Kip Selback (-) First appearance on my ballot, because we clearly need more indistinguishable outfielders.

Selbach? Better than Van Haltren? Rob, you have some esplainin' to do. :-)

(I do have Selbach as the best leftfielder in the majors for 1900 and the AL for 1904).
   31. MattB Posted: October 28, 2003 at 04:43 PM (#518538)
One of the most important things I look for in ranking players is "uniqueness".

For example, by my calculations Ed Williamson is the best third baseman available. Ezra Sutton (and part of Deacon White) are the only third basemen in the HoM so far. But Williamson isn't on my ballot, because even though he's best out there, he's really not significantly better than Nash, Latham, McGraw, Lyons, etc. This leads me to believe that what he did wasn't really that special.

Charlie Bennett, on the other hand, doesn't have as many Win Shares (or whatever) as Ed Williamson, but he's stands head and shoulders over all the other catchers. This "uniqueness" is why he's on the top of my ballot.

This applies in two important places on my ballot:

First: In the outfield, we've already got Delahanty, Hamilton, and Burkett in for the era. And I agree with all three. The rest of the outfielders all look great too, but they also look a lot like each other. When I see that a player isn't in the top 3, and looks a lot like a half dozen contemporaries, my thought is "not that special." They look like they're pretty far along the bell curve into the bulk.

Next: Jake Beckley. A 20 year career and a "decline" phase that dropped him below average that lasted for a mere 32 games in 1907. For the rest of the 19 years, he was at least an "above average" player. For most he was "one of the best at his position", even if he wasn't an MVP candidate.

Let's compare Beckley to other five "offense-driven" candidates.


Jake Beckley, 2930
   32. ronw Posted: October 28, 2003 at 04:44 PM (#518539)
As a fan of sabermetrics, I applaud our nonreliance on traditional numbers --


a few realizations hit me recently.

1. Based on these discussions, we will not be electing a man who through the year of our election in 1913, is 4th in hits, 2nd in RBI, and 11th in runs all time. Still, I can't see putting Beckley very high on my ballot. Then again, besides the MVP argument, I don't see much of a difference between him and Eddie Murray.

2. Lave Cross, BTW, is currently (1913) 9th in hits, 7th in RBI, and 29th in runs all time, all at a position which is severely underrepresented in our HOM. He still won't be high, if at all, on my ballot.

3. Tommy Corcoran, who I was shocked to see on the potential ballots, actually is 22nd in H, 16th in RBI, and 39th in R.

3. Some other long careers who have been discussed before, but appear on the all time lists in 1913 are George Van Haltren (12th H, 23rd RBI, 8th R); Jimmy Ryan (13th H, 17th RBI, 7th R); Hugh Duffy (19th H, 9th RBI, 14th R); Sam Thompson (33rd H, 10th RBI, 34th R).

4. For active or recently retired players, right now (1913)
   33. Chris Cobb Posted: October 28, 2003 at 04:45 PM (#518540)
In his comments on McPhee, RobC wrote: As an interesting note, guys with most of their value in fielding are going to have a tendency to not have a great peak. Fielding skill does not have the same season-to-season variance that hitting does.

Niether of the two best metrics that we have for fielding -- WARP's fielding runs and fielding win shares -- seems to support this assertion. They show very substantial fielding variance. It is less than hitting, but still substantial.

If one finds the difference between the top batting runs above replacement and the lowest in full seasons of similar length and the difference between top fielding runs above replacement for various players the variance is substantial.

Player -- BVar -- FVar
   34. Howie Menckel Posted: October 28, 2003 at 04:48 PM (#518541)
Ron, if they had started playing 154-game seasons in 1871, then Beckley's 'career' numbers as of 1913 would indeed be dazzling.
   35. Rusty Priske Posted: October 28, 2003 at 04:50 PM (#518542)
Gleason didn't have a long career? I disagree with that. 22 years is pretty long (20 if you toss the hanging-on years)

John, I accept your argument that catchers do more with less (playing time), but we aren't talking about a top 10 guy the gets elevated to top 5, imo. I have Bennett at #25, so even if I wanted to give up some "bonus points" for catching, he is far from the ballot.

I am always willing to be convinced (I think I've shown that with guys like Spalding, Start and McVey and to a lesser extent, Pearce) but I just can't see how anyone can have Bennett at the top of the ballot.

By the way, the arguments about Gleason, Cross, and Childs are both what I love and dislike about the HoM project. I love that it isn't just about who wins. The flip side is that I don't like trying to defend someone who I don't think deserves a spot in the Hall. In my eyes, anyone in the bottom half of the ballot (or even higher in years like this one) is going to be hard for me to defend as I don't actually think they are worthy. I could switch Gleason for Cross and I would still think that neither deserves it.
   36. Howie Menckel Posted: October 28, 2003 at 04:52 PM (#518543)
Is it just me who informally nods his head in the affirmative when noticing OPS+s of better than 120 in any season? Now look at Beckley.

Someone refresh my memory, by the way, on the flaws of OPS+ that I need to take into account. Gracias....
   37. RobC Posted: October 28, 2003 at 04:52 PM (#518544)

Thanks for the analysis. When I first wrote that, many "years" ago on a non-ballot, I said I hadnt verified it, it just appeared to be true. Of course, your analysis shows it is true, just less true than I thought.
   38. RobC Posted: October 28, 2003 at 05:04 PM (#518545)

Here is my explanation. Basically, VanHaltren wins on career, Selbach on peak. Needless to say, with me, that leaves VanHaltren ahead (but not by much). Other factors come into play, and the big one for those 2 guys is that Selbach is the best eligible LF while VanHaltren is 4th on my CF list.

I am redoing some calculations for my actual ballot, so Selbach may not make it anyway. McVey looks like he may make it instead. Im not sure if Stovey or Selbach will get the 15th spot right now. VanHaltren is not a contender.
   39. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 28, 2003 at 05:12 PM (#518546)
I am always willing to be convinced (I think I've shown that with guys like Spalding, Start and McVey and to a lesser extent, Pearce) but I just can't see how anyone can have Bennett at the top of the ballot.

I agree with you there (though he'll probably move up a little from #9 because of Start and Burkett leaving).
   40. Chris Cobb Posted: October 28, 2003 at 05:13 PM (#518547)
Matt wrote of Beckley: If "all he was doing" was racking up numbers, why wasn't anyone else racking them up with him? Beckley wasn't like Pete Rose, putting together a string of "about average" seasons to pad his numbers. He was well above-average for almost his entire career, and racked up numbers better than his competitors during the entire productive career.

Beckley didn't rack up numbers better than his competitors on a season-by-season basis. His rate of production was never outstanding. He never led the league in anything, though he was among the leaders a lot of times.

There seems to be a paradox in Jake Beckley: How can a player be an above average hitter and an above average fielder, yet be no better than an average player? Answer: be a first baseman with no peak.

Compared to all hitters, Beckley is very good: a career OPS+ of 125. Compared to other first basemen, Beckley is a good fielder. WS gives him a B grade. But the fielding value for first base is so low that Beckley's total package is less valuable than many players at other positions. OPS+ also overrates Beckley's offense, as he had more slugging and less OBP, and not much speed. (How does somebody who walked as little as he did rate the nickname "Eagle Eye" anyway?).

Neither WARP nor WS sees Beckley as a player who was "well above average" for more than a season or two. One may choose to doubt the reliability of the metrics here, but it seems to me that the only way Beckley can be made to appear well above average is to compare him to the generally weak crop of first basemen against whom he played.

In terms of career shape and value, if Mark Grace had played as his usual level for 20 years instead of 15, he would be an excellent comp for Jake Beckley.
   41. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 28, 2003 at 05:18 PM (#518548)
I am redoing some calculations for my actual ballot, so Selbach may not make it anyway. McVey looks like he may make it instead. Im not sure if Stovey or Selbach will get the 15th spot right now. VanHaltren is not a contender.

I'm in favor of McVey over all of the rest, so no more comments from the Peanut Gallery (me). :-)
   42. Carl Goetz Posted: October 28, 2003 at 05:36 PM (#518549)
'Basically, VanHaltren wins on career, Selbach on peak'
   43. RobC Posted: October 28, 2003 at 05:48 PM (#518551)

Best 5 years non-consecutive Warp3:
   44. Cassidemius Posted: October 28, 2003 at 06:23 PM (#518553)
My thinking seems to be pretty similar to Clint's. Beckley's non-existant peak is going to keep him from even coming anywhere near my ballot. I'm an EOBM and he hasn't appeared on my ballot for the last few years, but he's close to it (in fact, he might make the bottom this year). But right now, I see no way Beckley will ever make my ballot.

Cross is a little better. He won't make my ballot this year, I don't think, which isn't a good sign for him. He is in a spot where I could see him making the bottom some day, though. His career doesn't look strong enough to me to make him a top candidate, though.

I hadn't even considered Corcoran before this discussion, so I will have to look at him, but my feeling is he is not going to rate.
   45. OCF Posted: October 28, 2003 at 06:54 PM (#518554)
Tommy Corcoran? What's he selling that Herman Long isn't? Long appeared on all of 4 ballots last year, finishing 30th. Corcoran does have 2-3 more years than Long (279 more games at SS, 2073-1794), although Corcoran was lucky enough to be 21 in 1890 when there were 3 leagues. Are those 2-3 years and whatever defensive differences there might be enough to overcome the difference between an OPS+ of 94 as opposed to 74?

If we're looking to enshine a long career guy who played SS in the 90's, we've got someone better who isn't on the ballot yet.
   46. Marc Posted: October 28, 2003 at 07:02 PM (#518555)
Joe, nice post. I think you clarified for me where we are philosophically opposed, however.

>Now let's say a player like Beckley being added to your team only gives you a 6% chance of winning a
   47. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 28, 2003 at 07:04 PM (#518556)
Tommy Corcoran? What's he selling that Herman Long isn't?

You got me, OCF. I don't think Long makes the threshold (Davis, Dahlen and Jennings were more significant at the same position from his era), he's way ahead of Corcoran.
   48. Marc Posted: October 28, 2003 at 07:06 PM (#518557)
Another point:

>I think players from both 2 and 3 need to be
   49. OCF Posted: October 28, 2003 at 08:46 PM (#518560)
If we're looking to enshine...
   50. Carl Goetz Posted: October 28, 2003 at 08:51 PM (#518561)
Just looking at Warp-3(I don't have Grace's WS in front of me), its looks like Grace has 15-20% more career value than Beckley. Grace also has a peak(over 10 W3 in 1 season + a few with 8-9 W3). Also, given that there are almost twice as many teams in each league for Grace as there were for Beckley, Grace has a much harder time earning Gray and Black Ink points. I'll look at WS tonight, but I'm thinking Grace has a better HoM-case right now, without Beckley's career length. A guy a little worse than Mark Grace is not a bad guy to have on your team, but does he belong in the Hall of Merit?
   51. Chris Cobb Posted: October 28, 2003 at 09:20 PM (#518567)

You took the comparison to Grace in the spirit I intended -- I wasn't arguing that Grace was as good as Beckley (though it seems others will make that argument), but that Grace added an amount of value to his teams each year for 14 years that is highly comparable to the amount of value that Beckley added for 14 years of his career. Beckley went on to add more, of course.

I agree with your objection to Marc's argument on theoretical grounds, but I suspect that in practice the players with very high peaks like Hughie Jennings, or even one a good bit lower but longer are going to end up on more pennant winners than the theory would suggest because their value is more identifiable. It takes a shrewd GM -- a Branch Rickey or a Billy Beane -- to see that a team is just a few wins short and to see a player like Beckley as the one to make the difference. Pretty much any builder of a team will recognize the great value of a Jennings and will see him as a solution to problems. I don't have any stats to back up this inference yet, but I think that we could get some suggestive anecdotal evidence from looking at the players for whom we have Pennants Added data.

The "increases team's chance of winning by 6%" subtlety is akin to the story of Morrie Rath that James tells at the end of the second base section of NBJHBA, where he concludes that Rath's skills were too subtle for the team builders to appreciate at the time he played. Beckley's skills aren't subtle skills -- they show up plain as day in his counting stats -- but his _greatness_, if it's there, is much subtler than the greatness of Jennings or George Davis. I am of the opinion, at present, that the fact that a great star makes his value known enhances that value in ways that mathematical assessments of value don't account for. Maybe in the sabermetric age of professional baseball that will change -- Theo Epstein knew he could add value with Kevin Millar -- but in assessing the impact of player skill in the past, I think we might consider that stardom increases the utility of its value by knocking open doors and saying, "where's the beer?" to managers and owners around the league.
   52. jimd Posted: October 28, 2003 at 09:23 PM (#518568)
3) Long career, good peak but never an MVP candidate - The guys tend to have to wait a long time, if they ever get in. Guys like Tony Perez, Rusty Staub, Jake Beckley.

Gee Joe. Beckley is in the HOF. The year was 1971.

The BBWAA deadlocked, though Berra, Wynn, and Kiner each got over 50% of the vote. The new Negro League Committee made its first selection, Satchel Paige. The Veteran's Committee selected a bumper crop, making up in quantity what it lacked in quality: executive George Weiss, and players Jake Beckley, Joe Kelley, Rube Marquard, Harry Hooper, Dave Bancroft, and Chick Hafey.
   53. Carl Goetz Posted: October 28, 2003 at 09:26 PM (#518569)
My problem with Beckley is that I don't think his Career value is all that great. I've got him adjusted to 367 WS over 20 years. Even if I went purely by Career value, he'd be 5th at best on my ballot this year(maybe as low as 8th, depending on how much pre-NA credit I give McVey,Pearce,and Pike). Out of the 32 non Pitcher/Catchers that I am examining for this election, Beckley has the worst(I am assuming that Pearce had 1 peak season prior to the NA, which is extremely likely) peak value of them all. Without giving Charlie Bennett any extra credit for catching, he has a better peak, although the other 4 catchers I am looking at have worse peaks. My point is, if you're going to go in based on career value, you need to have Anson/Connor/Brouthers/Start career value. Beckley's good enough to see the back end of my ballot in some weak years, but that's about it.
   54. Chris Cobb Posted: October 28, 2003 at 09:37 PM (#518572)
Joe wrote: Andrew, pennants added is not a straight career value calculation. It is absolutely designed to combine a players peak and career value into one number.

By definition Pennants Added, as displayed in the chart that you have made, Joe, is a career value measure: it asks how much value -- the value of adding pennants to teams -- a player adds in a course of a _career_. It is a career metric that places more weight on players having high values in individual seasons than do career value metrics created by adding up a players career Wins Above Replacement or career Win Shares, because PA recognizes that the value of calculated wins is not linear with respect to winning a pennant, where for WARP and WS a win is a win is a win.

Pennants added over a career does not, however, answer the question: what is the highest value the player achieved in a single season or during the portion of this career when he played his best? Only measures that answer this question are truly measures of peak value. PA could be used to measure peak value if applied only to a single season or set of seasons out of a player's career, but when you sum up all the seasons, you are necessarily talking about career value.
   55. Chris Cobb Posted: October 28, 2003 at 09:45 PM (#518574)
Joe wrote: Andrew, pennants added is not a straight career value calculation. It is absolutely designed to combine a players peak and career value into one number.

By definition Pennants Added, as displayed in the chart that you have made, Joe, is a career value measure: it asks how much value -- the value of adding pennants to teams -- a player adds in a course of a _career_. It is a career metric that places more weight on players having high values in individual seasons than do career value metrics created by adding up a players career Wins Above Replacement or career Win Shares, because PA recognizes that the value of calculated wins is not linear with respect to winning a pennant, where for WARP and WS a win is a win is a win.

Pennants added over a career does not, however, answer the question: what is the highest value the player achieved in a single season or during the portion of this career when he played his best? Only measures that answer this question are truly measures of peak value. PA could be used to measure peak value if applied only to a single season or set of seasons out of a player's career, but when you sum up all the seasons, you are necessarily talking about career value.
   56. Carl Goetz Posted: October 28, 2003 at 10:00 PM (#518575)
   57. Carl Goetz Posted: October 28, 2003 at 10:10 PM (#518576)
'Carl, I think 367 is well over the line where you'd get players in or out if you just took the top 213 players according to season adjusted WS. '

This reminds me a little of Bill James' 'Sandy Koufax has 165 wins, so everyone with 165+wins is in' argument. I would bet that everyone else with 367+ adjusted WS would also have a better(in most cases, much better) peak than Beckley. Even a 300-WS player doesn't have to have McVey or Pike's peak to be rated higher on my ballot than Beckley.
   58. Chris Cobb Posted: October 28, 2003 at 10:34 PM (#518577)
From my observations of CWS and the HoF, everybody eligible with over 400 CWS (as BJ has calculated them, unadjusted) is in the HoF. _Almost_ everybody over 360 is in. Off the top of my head, I recall that Darrell Evans isn't, and maybe two more. Players between 300 and 360 are the ones who start most of the serious arguments about who should be in but isn't. It's true gray area. Below 300 the guys in the HOF are either high-peak players (esp. pitchers), catchers, or mistakes.

I'm not saying the Hall of Fame picks are necessarily right, but I think the 360 and 400 lines fall where they do for good reason.

400 WS is about as high as a player could possibly get in a career without a significant peak, so everybody over 400 has both a long career and a significant peak. These are the easy picks. Very few players get as high as 360 without a significant peak, but some do, and those few may not get in even with the counting stats that go along with 360 CWS. We have three players under consideration now -- Beckley, Ryan, and Van Haltren, who with season-adjustments land in this 360-400 area without great peaks (Ryan has one, but it's short, and he's carrying the baggage of below average seasons to counter-balance it).
   59. OCF Posted: October 28, 2003 at 11:09 PM (#518578)
Joe, I don't know how to calculate each "team's" odds for multiple championships, but I doubt the difference would be significant.

Well, I think it does matter. In the following chart, the first column is a possible number of championships won over the 17-year period. The second column is the probability of winning exactly that many championships under the "Jennings" rules - 5 years of an 11.7% chance, 12 years of a 10% chance. The third column is the probability of winning exactly that many under the "Beckley" rules - 17 years of a 10.6% chance. The fourth column is an average team's chances - 17 years of a 10% chance.

# Jenn Beck Average
   60. jimd Posted: October 28, 2003 at 11:23 PM (#518579)
OCF, ya beat me to it. Not only that but our calculations agree.
   61. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 28, 2003 at 11:37 PM (#518581)
5. Lave Cross (-) Weaker peak, but significantly better career than any other third basemen currently eligible. Im not sure I have a problem if he never makes the HoM. The eligibles are starting to get a little weaker.

Rob, I think you have him about right. Right now, I'm debating between Thompson and Cross for the fifth slot.

He had six years as a catcher at the beginning of his career, so that has to be factored. Plus, he had a much longer career for his position than Beckley had (just in case someone tries to make a comparison between the two).
   62. OCF Posted: October 29, 2003 at 12:21 AM (#518582)
The 1904 St. Louis Cardinals are an interesting story.

To set the stage: the 1904 NL scored 3.91 R/G. This was down sharply from the 4.78 of 1903, although it had been nearly that low in 1902. Offense would tick up slightly in 1905 before sliding on down to the depths of 1907-08 (3.40 and 3.33). John McGraw's Giants ran away with the league. With no one Giant player standing out as a singular offensive force, the team nonetheless led the league in BA, in walks, in 2B, in HR, in SB by a lot - and, of course, in runs. The Giants also had the best pitching in the league, and if you're the sort of MVP voter who places heavy importance on being on the winning team, then Joe McGinnity is your man.

Who does that make the Cardinals? They were a team lead by their elders. The two best hitters were the 36-year-old 1st baseman Jake Beckley and the 34-year-old catcher Mike Gundy. Their most effective pitcher was their 34-year-old player-manager, Kid Nichols, just back from two years in the minors. The old guys did just fine - if they could only have had enough oomph from the 25-27 year-olds on the roster. Dragging offensive holes in the outfield and at 3B, they were (allowing for park effect) almost exactly an average offensive team and an average defensive team - a .500 team, right in the middle of the league. In some ways, it reminds me a little of the late-80's Brewers, whose prospects and younger players never did measure up to Yount and Molitor, who were still playing well.

Not that I'm saying Beckley is Yount or Molitor - 1904 is a candidate for the best year of his career. It's just that the Cardinals' blah results for 1904 wasn't Beckley's fault.
   63. MattB Posted: October 29, 2003 at 12:30 AM (#518583)
Joe wrote:

"Let's say Stargell is eventually replaced with an average LF. If you had Stargell, you could have picked up an aveage SS instead of being stuck with Tim Foli and Frank Tavares. Instead you had to use those resources to bring a Mike Easler into the fold."

Except that you have to consider the resources needed to be expended to KEEP Stargell if you don't have to replace him. Perhaps it is a sign of a Yankees fan to not measure the cost of retaining a player against the cost of replacing him.

If an uninsured Albert Belle is injured with three seasons left on his contract, the team will likely be stuck with a replacement level player in right because the "right fielder budget" is going to Mr. Gimpy. Now that Belle is a free agent (really!) the Orioles can re-allocate the Belle resources to get another player.

In the normal case, however, losing a player has two effects -- it frees up the resources (money) needed to keep the player, and it requires the team to expend more resources to get a new player. Barry Bonds may keep the Giants from searching the waiver wires for left field pick-ups, but he also costs $20 million, and that money cannot be used at other positions.

The year after Bonds retires, the team with have lots of money to throw at a free agent (or several). The expected level of play of the player who replaces Bonds is -- an average player.
   64. jimd Posted: October 29, 2003 at 02:44 AM (#518586)
The expected level of play of the player who replaces Bonds is -- an average player.

No, he is not. The player who replaces Bonds in the major leagues will be a player that was in the minors or serving as a substitute the previous year. The Giants may expend resources to get better than that, but that just shifts the replacement problem to another team; it does not solve it. Before I buy into this someone has to explain to me where the average player magically comes from where none existed before.
   65. Marc Posted: October 29, 2003 at 03:06 AM (#518587)
Jason, the out argument on Frank Grant also involves Patsy Donovan.
   66. Marc Posted: October 29, 2003 at 03:16 AM (#518588)
I agree with Jason on PA, however. It is a career measure in that it is a cumulative number that a player adds to every year that he plays. Measuring the height of the peak is not what PA is about.

I am not sure, however, that "peak voters" are interested in "the quality of excellence," though surely we are all committed to excellence (sorry)...the quality of excellence just sounds a little fuzzy to me. Your other phrase about the disproportionate impact that high peak performers can have on pennant races, yes, that's it. And it is quantifiable, whether we can agree on the metrics or not, it is a quantifiable impact. I would suggest that as a player rises above the average and on up to all-star caliber, and then rises above "mere" all-star caliber play to something better than that, to MVP contention and maybe an MVP award...that there is something like a multiplier effect. The impact on pennant races is logarithmically related to the height above the norm or above "all-star" play. I can't write a formula that proves it, but that is what I believe.

So in effect a 30 WS player is twice as valuable as a 20 WS player, and a 40 (!) WS season is twice as valuable as a 30 and 4 times more valuable than a 20. Again, can't prove it, but this is how I think greatness works in a world of otherwise finite things like wins and outs and WS.
   67. Marc Posted: October 29, 2003 at 04:22 AM (#518590)
>At the ages of 22-23 Grant played on a top team for what was probably the best non-major league. In those
   68. Al Peterson Posted: October 29, 2003 at 01:42 PM (#518592)
[Warning: Below discussion has little in the way of WARP3, WS, PA, OPS+, OWP, and other capitalized letters. Read at your own risk...]

Wanted to bring back to light one of our holdover candidates. Harry Stovey might have some things you want to discount him for like playing in the AA (he did play in the NL and PL also), fewer teams in the leagues, etc. but still it's hard to overlook the following. Info is from baseball-reference website with Stovey added.

Most times top 3 in League

   69. Marc Posted: October 29, 2003 at 02:27 PM (#518594)
Joe, I will re-read James' Drysdale/Pappas chapter. And I'm sure you've posted it before, but where is the most complete description of Wolverton's study?
   70. Marc Posted: October 29, 2003 at 02:38 PM (#518596)
Having thought some more about Frank Grant, if I used the (huge) '82-'83 AA discount, and then doubled that (suggesting the '86-'87 IL was half as good as the '82-'83 AA), his ML equivalent WS are still about 10 and 14 compared to McPhee's 8 and 11 at the same age. H. Richardson did not play MLB at 22-23 while Childs earned an adj 25.5 WS at age 23 in the watered down AA (that is adj for the AA discount).

And if the IL was only half as good as the AA of '86-'87, as posted above, then Grant is worth 41 WS for the two seasons.

We know that minor league numbers preduct major league success. We just don't know how good (bad) the IL was. To say it was only half as good as the AA in its weakest years seems conservative. Jason's suggestion has convinced me that Grant is better than McPhee. Of course, I am not a big FOBM, but there it is.
   71. Carl Goetz Posted: October 29, 2003 at 02:48 PM (#518597)
What is the assumed Winning percentage of a 'replacement level' team? I'm trying to do the math on my own Replacement level for WS.
   72. Jeff M Posted: October 29, 2003 at 02:59 PM (#518598)
My preliminary ballot, with summaries of past comments.

1. Stovey, Harry -- I would have elected him way back in 1905. Not quite as good a pure hitter as McVey, and a smaller peak, but a much longer documented career and I give the nod to documentation vs. non-documentation. He was also a run scoring machine with some pop in his bat. I've discounted his years in 83-85 and 89, and he has consistently held his spot on my ballot.

2. McVey, Cal -- My park-adjusted normalized OPS for him is .892, which is damn good for a career. Essentially an all-star every documented year, and he was consistently 50% better than the league at the plate. Outstanding peak. I have given some intangible credit for pre-NA and post-NL play, but not as much as I gave Start for his pre-NA play (because of the age factor).

3. Bennett, Charlie -- Gets a boost for being a catcher because my rating system seems to undervalue catchers a bit. I've got him about 20-25% better than the league as a hitter, which is pretty good when you consider what an outstanding defender he was. He also has a nice peak compared to other catchers.

4. Browning, Pete -- I've been on the Browning bandwagon for a while. He's even a better pure hitter than McVey, but his suspect defense drops him behind the other three guys. A bit one-dimensional. I have discounted his 82-85 and 89 seasons but he proved in the PL that he was no fluke. I think he's a HoMer.

5. McPhee, Bid -- A tough case. Didn't hit as well as Bennett and played a weaker position, but played a long long time. Probably the second best defensive 2b ever (behind Maz) and that's got to count for something. I do not believe his defensive prowess overcomes the better hitting of the four guys in front of him on the ballot. I wouldn't mind him being elected, but I wouldn't scream if he wasn't.

6. Griffith, Clark -- I believe he is the best eligible pitcher. An excellent win pct on some bad teams. I boost his win totals and win pct by approximately 1/2 of his Wins Above Team, which are outstanding. Has a nice career Linear Weights total also. I'm not convinced he's a HoMer, but I'm comfortable with his placement here.

7. Thompson, Sam -- Another pure hitter with questionable outfield defense. I don't think he was as good a hitter as browning. He didn't have an incredible peak or career, from a WS perspective, as outfielders go.

8. Jones, Charley -- I give no additional credit for blacklisted seasons. If I did, he would probably be Top 5. He hit about as well as McVey, with power, but with a smaller WS peak and fewer WS per 162 games.

9. Grant, Frank -- Since our initial discussions, no new evidence has come to light so I haven't really moved him. I don't see clear and convincing evidence that he is a HoMer, but I see evidence he would have been a very good major leaguer. I give him the benefit of the doubt.

10. Long, Herman -- Not quite the hitter that McPhee was and not as historically dominant at his position as McPhee, but he did play a tougher defensive position very well for a long time. He has a nice WS peak as shortstops go.

11. Duffy, Hugh -- Frankly not a much better hitter than Bennett and at an easier defensive position. He has a decent career length and some nice Run and RBI totals which help get him on the ballot, but not in the HoM. I give him a nod over some of the other outfielders because he contributed to several championship teams from a key position.

12. Beckley, Jake -- Good hitter for batting average and a long career, but not much else. Seems to have been a pretty good glove at 1b, for whatever that's worth. His peaks are really not HoM-worthy when compared to other 1b and his WS per 162 games is about as low as you will see for a non-catcher getting ballot consideration. He's here solely because he was a good player for a long time (and that's certainly worth something).

13. Caruthers, Bob -- I remain schizophrenic on Caruthers, much like his career. He was a fine hitter...almost as good as Beckley. He won a bunch of games. His Wins Above Team is a very good 30 and he had an outstanding win percentage. I discount his AA seasons. Taking his hitting into account, he has very good WS numbers for a pitcher.

14. Tiernan, Mike -- The only significant shift in my ballot. I discovered a rather large typo in my spreadsheet, so Tiernan falls like a stone. A consistently good hitter but not dominant. Has a decent but not great peak and his career WS are not outstanding for an outfielder. Was better than van Haltren/Ryan/Griffin, in my opinion.

15. Pearce, Dickey -- Frankly, this spot was up for grabs because I don't feel strongly about any other player. I've had Lip Pike in this spot before, but I just get the feeling there's something fishy about Pike's career (no pun intended). I've seen a number of good arguments for Pearce on this site, so I'm convinced he deserves a vote, but he'll fall off the ballot when we start to get a lot of solid newcomers.

The only consensus Top-10er who I do not include on the ballot is Jimmy Ryan. I see Ryan as a good, but not great hitter. I don't see much of a peak as outfielders go, his career WS numbers don't floor me compared to other outfielders and he was nothing special defensively. He's just one of the outfield glut.
   73. Jeff M Posted: October 29, 2003 at 03:04 PM (#518599)
What is the assumed Winning percentage of a 'replacement level' team? I'm trying to do the math on my own Replacement level for WS.

It depends on who you ask. It is a hotly contested issue. I've seen people use the 1899 Cleveland Spiders as a replacement level team (.130) and I've seen numbers as high as .400. I'm not sure there is a consensus, though I suspect it would hover around .300. This year's Tigers couldn't be much better or worse than replacement level players, and their win pct. was .265.
   74. Howie Menckel Posted: October 29, 2003 at 03:35 PM (#518600)
In short, I think that for various reasons Van Haltren is the best comp for Beckley, which would put Jake all over the voting map as well. That seems reasonable.
   75. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 29, 2003 at 04:16 PM (#518605)
<i>Posted 4:43 p.m., October 28, 2003 (#74) - Andrew Siegel

Posted 8:23 a.m., October 29, 2003 (#93) - Andrew Siegel
   76. Marc Posted: October 29, 2003 at 04:18 PM (#518606)
>Posted 11:11 a.m., October 29, 2003 (#105) - Claude King
   77. ronw Posted: October 29, 2003 at 04:24 PM (#518609)
I haven't read Wolverton's article, but I have a couple of observations regarding pennants added.


Delahanty is the only member of the top 10 who had the majority of his career in the generally one-league 1890's. (10%) Delahanty, Nichols, Rusie, Burkett, Hamilton, and 1/2 of Sam Thompson are the only 1890's players in the top 25 (22%)


Delahanty (20) and Nichols (25) are the only members of the top 25 (8%).

I noticed this potential pre 1890's bias when I saw that Fred Dunlap (1880's peak 2B) has more PA than Cupid Childs (1890's peak 2B) for both WARP3 and WARP 1. I would generally think that Childs would have a higher rating, especially for WARP3 with a recognized higher peak and less competition.

Does the current PA formula give too much of a timeline adjustment to very short schedules?
   78. Jeff M Posted: October 29, 2003 at 05:33 PM (#518613)
His career SLG was .435 compared to a .366 park adjusted league. He was top 10 in the league in doubles nine times (top 5 four times). He was top 5 in the league in triples 6 times and is still 4th all-time. He was top 10 in home runs six times. He led the league in extra base hits once and was top 10 ten times.

While this is true, of course, he didn't manage to produce many top 10 finishes in either SLG or OBA. In 20 years, his best OBA years were two 8th place finishes. He had seven Top 10 SLG years, but only two of those were Top 5 (a 3, a 4, three 9s and a 10). He managed only four Top 10 Adjusted OPS seasons, and only two in the Top 5.

I'm not saying he wasn't a good hitter/player. After all, he's on my ballot. If the guy played a different position (other than LF or RF), he'd probably be higher on my ballot. But as first basemen go, his numbers don't impress me as much on a year-to-year basis, although he certainly had a long and valuable career generally.
   79. Marc Posted: October 29, 2003 at 05:49 PM (#518615)
Joe, somebody should write a book about the basic concept of the timeline and all the related factors that go into it. I've done pretty extensive research in the area of amateur athletics, and specifically basketball 1891-1918 and beyond. In basketball you had the initial rush of improvement in the '90s, then you had the influence of coaches starting in the '10s. But just from the standpoint of the numbers of young men participating and the numbers of facilities and coaches and especially the explosion of leisure time--there was as much improvement in the '20s as there was even from the very primitive state of 1891. I think those same factors would have conspired to make the pool of baseball players larger after WWI, too. I would guess (and it is only a guess) that there was as much improvement from 1910s-20s as there was with the influx of black players in the '50s. (And I agree 1870-91 also saw faster improvement than 1890-1920, 1930-50, or 1965-2000.)
   80. KJOK Posted: October 29, 2003 at 06:00 PM (#518616)
Repeating myself, only with a little more passion:

I think we really need to get away from even considering "replacement value" for the HOM analysis. Just because a player is above replacement value, and therefore he may have some value to his team, doe NOT mean he's separating himself from the 'good' players and acheiving HOM status by doing so. What is our aim here, to determine which players are better than bench players, or to determine which players are "great" players? The answer to this question should guide the selection of a proper baseline to use.

If you use a replacement level, such as Baseball Prospectus does for WARP, that is around .350 for offense and .350 for defense, a player is getting "positive" points on both offense and defense for being, for example, a .375 player on offense and a .375 player on defense, even though that combination makes him a less than .350 player "in total."

The average starting player is around a ".530 winning percentage player." If a player is above this for a season, then he his separating himself from the pack of just good players and towards being a HOM player. If he's below that percentage, then he may still be a very good player, especially if he's near that % for many years, but that should not, in my opinion, make him a HOM'er...
   81. Howie Menckel Posted: October 29, 2003 at 06:44 PM (#518618)
   82. jimd Posted: October 29, 2003 at 07:27 PM (#518619)
On BP's "timeline". They don't have one, in the Bill James NHBA sense. The quality adjustments (QA) post-1947 are essentially flat, except for local adjustments due to disparities between the leagues and due to quality drops post-expansion (and rises pre-expansion).

Pre 1947. The QA for WWII runs about 10% below the post-1947 plateau (1944-45 actually, 1943 is less). Otherwise, the post-1947 plateau continues back to the mid-30's. There's another plateau that runs from the early 1890's through the mid-20's, and it's at about a 10% discount below the post-1947 plateau. There is a drop when the AL is founded but MLB rapidly recovers. Quality of play rises markedly from the mid-20's through the mid-30's, much faster than the 1947-2000 "timeline", and much more dramatically in the NL (it's during this period that the NL overtakes the AL as the dominant league.), as baseball moves from the 1892-1925 plateau to the 1935-present plateau.

Pre 1892. It's harder to generalize here. The early 1880's are on the same plateau as the 1890's (believable because it's only 8 teams instead of 12). In between there is a quality dropoff perhaps due to competition for talent with the AA. The peak AA and the NA are at a lower plateau, about 10-15% below the 1892-1925 plateau (the same plateau as the Federal League). So there is another rapid rise in quality during the late 1870's, paralleling that in the late 1920's.

This is just my interpretion of BP's DERA adjustments "for all time".
   83. jimd Posted: October 29, 2003 at 07:33 PM (#518620)
To summarize, BP does not have a "timeline", but attempts to make quality adjustments independent of a constant evolution through time. They see two revolutionary (as opposed to evolutionary) improvements, one during the late 1870's, the other during the late 1920's/early 1930's.
   84. KJOK Posted: October 29, 2003 at 08:21 PM (#518622)
   85. Howie Menckel Posted: October 29, 2003 at 08:31 PM (#518623)
Thanks, KJOK, but now I'm confused.
   86. KJOK Posted: October 29, 2003 at 08:45 PM (#518624)
Howie - I don't think I've yet posted any opinions on Beckley. Also, even though I' advocating the .530 percentage, in reality I've been using a .500 baseline up until now.

I'm guessing that Mr. Beckley, whose comps I have as Tony Perez and Joe Start, makes my top 10.
   87. Marc Posted: October 29, 2003 at 09:20 PM (#518625)
I agree with KJOK in principle, the principle being, I think, that just hangin' around doesn't/shouldn't have much bearing on a player HoM-worthiness. I think the problem is easy enough to deal with without worrying replacement value, etc. Just define the players peak and/or prime, take your measurements from there, and I think you're home. Since you're already excluding the weaker seasons, it really doesn't matter what baseline you use, other than to use the same for all.
   88. jimd Posted: October 29, 2003 at 09:22 PM (#518626)
But in the glossary don't that say it's based on 1947-2003, and that trend line is projected back to 1871?

The way I understand it is: the trendline from 1947-2002 is extrapolated back through 1871. The guys in say 1895 are measured relative to where that line is in 1895, and discounted by how much their league falls short (roughly 10%); the guys in 1873 are measured relative to where that line was in 1873 and yadayada (roughly 20+%).

The following is pure speculation here on my part. By measuring everything relative to that trendline, I think this enables BP to capture effects like league disparities and local changes in quality without committing to an overall value for the trendline, which is much more sensitive methodologically to how it's calculated due to small errors compounding exponentially.
   89. KJOK Posted: October 29, 2003 at 09:29 PM (#518627)

1. CHARLIE BENNETT, C -Comp is Roy Campanella. Until at least Roger Bresnahan, only Ewing was a better Catcher. Look how far ahead he is of Clements, McGuire, Zimmer, Farrell, Carroll, Milligan & Peitz.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.
   90. Paul Wendt Posted: October 29, 2003 at 09:40 PM (#518628)
Joe wrote:
   91. Paul Wendt Posted: October 29, 2003 at 09:57 PM (#518629)
Maybe Pennants Added(low) would measure what Marc and KJOK have in mind. A player helps a team-season (helps a particular team within a particular season) only if and inasmuch as he is better than the team's player(s) at his position.
   92. Chris Cobb Posted: October 29, 2003 at 10:10 PM (#518630)
Paul, you lost me right here:

If I reason correctly, excellent seasons will score lower but relatively much higher than good seasons in the low measure; same for good and average seasons; same for average and below-average seasons.

I just don't follow all the comparatives here. If you could elaborate, I'd greatly appreciate it!
   93. Howie Menckel Posted: October 29, 2003 at 10:39 PM (#518631)
Ironically, this 'low-tech' guy has in part been looking at OPS+ annually, basically discarding anything below 110 and often dismissing below 120 (slight benefit to numerous 110-120s, but mainly over 120 is the target....)
   94. Marc Posted: October 29, 2003 at 10:56 PM (#518632)
Howie, how about discarding any season below 20WS?
   95. EricC Posted: October 30, 2003 at 12:09 AM (#518634)
<i>I understand some people only care about the question, "how high was the peak?" My question to them is, who cares? Why does anything other the total pennant impact
   96. Marc Posted: October 30, 2003 at 03:37 AM (#518635)
Joe, I re-read James' chapter on Drysdale and Pappas. Without making too much of peak value, I will point out a couple things.

1. In James 3rd test of the pennant impact of a higher versus a lower peak between two pitchers with similar career records, the split indeed becomes much narrower. But the 3rd test (compared to the 1st and 2nd tests that James ran) incoporated a variety of changes, and it is hard to tell which one(s) had what impact. So along with changing some environmental factors (team performance was made more variable but on average higher), he also changed some characteristics of the pitchers themselves. And he calls them a Pappas-type pitcher and a Drysdale-type pitcher. He is not using their exact records. And so the 3rd test narrows the difference between their years pitched (making the Drysdale-type pitcher's career a little longer [less compact], actually lowering his peak) and narrowing the difference in their average number of decisions at their peak. If he had run the same pitchers in test 3 and in test 1 and 2, we do not know that there wouldn't have been a significant difference, as there was in test 1 and test 2.

2. And his conclusion after running all 3 tests is as follows: "Pappas argument that he should be treated equally with Drysdale, because his record is almost the same, should be rejected."

Without running the sims, of course, it is hard to tell how two "apparently" equivalent careers would really compare, but I guess this study shows that peak has an impact and it is valid to bonus those players who had higher peaks.

And unfortunately, Wolverton's study is not available to me to check out his methodology. So, yes, I overstated (perhaps) in saying a 30 WS player is twice as valuable as a 20 WS player. But I don't plan to abandon my ongoing emphasis on peak performance. Next step, however, is to supplement my WS peaks with more WARP numbers to balance out the quirks in the two systems.
   97. James Newburg Posted: October 30, 2003 at 10:41 AM (#518636)
School has forced me to take a hiatus from voting for a little bit, but this highly provisional ballot is a 60 percent mix of previous research and 40 percent mix of subjective placement. It can change, but I'm willing to bet that mine is the most unique ballot posted so far.

1. Dickey Pearce
   98. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 30, 2003 at 05:32 PM (#518638)
15. Fred McDunlap (SC) - This could easily be Cupid McChilds on my final ballot. I am not sure about whether pennants added overrates 1880's hitters.

It unquestionably does, Ron (and not just for the 1880s). It's much easier to sustain a higher peak when you're manning first or right field than catcher or short.

There should be a column for each position using Pennants Added, IMO. I think you would get a better perspective this way in order to rank the candidates more properly.
   99. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 30, 2003 at 06:38 PM (#518642)
I have a relative!


<I'm 1/4th Irish. The family dropped the " O' " from our name about 150 years ago.</i>

With a name like Hanrahan, I knew you had some Irish blood in you.
   100. Marc Posted: October 30, 2003 at 06:49 PM (#518643)
A prelim. Also, I just realized that the past two years, for the first time, my choices were ratified by the group as a whole--i.e Nichols '11 (which hardly counts) and Start and Burkett last year. So there is room for movement this year. Everybody moves up 2 slots unless otherwise indicated. You'll be able to tell that I prefer a small hall and am not overall blown away by the field.


1. McVey--high peak, very strong 10-year prime. The lack of hangin' around time hardly diminishes his stature.

Highly Deserving

2. Bennett--as somebody said, a very "unique" talent, whose special talent was not compatible with playing a ton of games, but was still exceptionally valuable. The only ML player in history with a stadium named after him.


3. Jennings--highest peak among position players.

4. McCormick--I don't know that we are under-representing pitchers...but I don't know that we're not. When in doubt, key in a pitcher.

On the Bubble

5. Pike--moves up 4 slots. Can never quite decide what to do with Pike, Pearce and H. Wright, for obvious reasons, though I am comfortable that they are all top 10s in this field.

6. Pearce--moves up 1 slot.

7. H. Wright--moves up 1 slot. If I were totally certain about his peak (i.e. that it was as high as I think it was), he could be as high as #2.

8. Bond--see #4.

9. Frank Grant makes my ballot for the 1st time. Thanks to Jason for suggesting a comparison with McPhee at the same age. If the IL was only half as tough as the AA, I come up with a minimum of about 22 ML-equivalent WS for his age 22-23 seasons versus 19 for Bid.

10. Stovey--I have become convinced that he had some unique talents, and thus rises above the glut (a little).

Ballot Filler

11. Griffith--see #4.

12. Thompson--moves up 3 slots.

13. Ryan--moves up 1.

14. Duffy--once as high as #7, but off my ballot for 4 years. High peak, questionable prime. I need to look at him some more.

15. Beckley--OK, so it's not just an OF glut anymore, but a cornerman glut. Won't be on the ballot for too long. Not sure he should even rate ahead of McPhee, nor that McPhee should be ahead of Childs. Williamson, Van Haltren and Whitney could also end up here.
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