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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Monday, January 19, 2004

1918 Ballot

Voting is now open for 1918, where we’ll be electing one candidate.

We had some issues last year, so just a reiteration of the rules . . .

Voters must explain their ballot, at a minimum a sentence or two about the people they are voting for, preferably more.

You also have to explain why you didn’t vote for the returning top 10, this year that is:

Elmer Flick, Joe Kelley, Willie Keeler, Charlie Bennett, Jimmy Collins, Joe McGinnity, Bob Caruthers and Frank Grant. I suppose Sam Thompson and Rube Waddell are in the top 10 returnees, as well, though they didn’t finish in the top 10 last year.

Likewise, I think we should add another minor requirement/suggestion (I hate being the cop), if you are voting for someone who didn’t finish in the top 20 last year, it’s probably a good idea to give an in-depth (more than one sentence probably - unless it’s a helluva sentence :-) reason as to why. Convince us as to why we’re missing the boat!

John Murphy has written up the suggested amendment for requirements of new voters and for challenging a ballot, I’ll post it later today.

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: January 19, 2004 at 03:34 PM | 106 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Daryn Posted: January 19, 2004 at 03:57 PM (#520923)
I try to weigh peak 40% and career 60%, though a long prime will help a player with a short career. I also like pitchers and am sensitive to position scarcity (Bennett and Collins only make my ballot due to their positions).

1. Wee Willie ? top 10 in hits 13 straight years, top 6 in runs 12 of those 13 years. ~3000 hits, subjective opinions solid. No brainer for me.
   2. RobC Posted: January 19, 2004 at 04:27 PM (#520924)
Mostly, everyone just moves up from last year.

1. Keeler - best career value, good peak, underrepresented position.
   3. RobC Posted: January 19, 2004 at 04:29 PM (#520925)
I would like to point out that I posted my ballot before reading Daryn's. Honest, the use of "uber" was independent. :)
   4. Chris Cobb Posted: January 19, 2004 at 04:48 PM (#520926)
RobC wrote: Long is the best eligible 2nd baseman (career value) and gets a little (very little) benefit of being at an underrepresented position.

While I think a #15 vote for Long is not unreasonable, it is unreasonable to describe a guy who played 1792 games at SS and 65 at 2nd as a second baseman. The point wouldn't be worth mentioning except that SS is not an underrepresented position at all, _and_ there's an excellent 1890s second baseman, Cupid Childs, who might bear more serious consideration if he gets a little benefit from being at an underrepresented position. Rob, would you mind clarifying your position on Long's position on your ballot in relation to his position on the field? It'd help me position my positions a bit as I weigh the relative merits of Childs and Long.
   5. karlmagnus Posted: January 19, 2004 at 04:57 PM (#520927)
For Meyerle, Pike and the catchers I 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. I have also looked at another metric, total bases+ BBs/plate appearances and (TB+BB)/outs, which puts the 1890s players more into context, with each other although not with the 1870s players, who hardly ever walked (not surprising, with the pitcher allowed 9 balls!).
   6. MattB Posted: January 19, 2004 at 05:37 PM (#520928)
Early ballot. Sol White is my personal HoM inductee this year.

1. Charlie Bennett ? If pitchers get more representatives, the more of them make a rotation, the least we can do for catchers is not DECREASE their numbers because there are more of them. I?d be willing to consider an anti-Bennett argument if he were merely marginally above the next best catcher (probably Clements), but the truth is he towers over all the others. That is a HoMer. Made my personal HoM in 1912.
   7. RobC Posted: January 19, 2004 at 05:45 PM (#520929)

Chris, I would like to explain it but I cant. :)

Long is the best eligible 2nd baseman (career value) and gets a little (very little) benefit of being at an underrepresented position.

Change above to:
   8. favre Posted: January 19, 2004 at 08:08 PM (#520930)
In order to get a handle on the pitchers, I compared their seven best seasons in terms of ERA+ and IP, then gave a lot of credit for additional career and some credit for peak. I also compared batters in a similar manner.

1. Lip Pike

I am fan of Lip Pike, and I?m not getting over it any time soon. Pike averaged about 34 aWS per season during an eight-year stretch (275 aWS in 10-year documented career; -5 WS for two token appearances; 270/8=33.85). While I concede the difficulties of adjusted win shares for the NA era, that?s still quite a prime. His OPS+ of 155 is higher than anyone on the ballot except Browning. He had speed, hit for doubles power, and led the league in home runs four times?OK, he led with four home runs each time, but let?s face it: even if you?re inclined to give a big NA discount, the guy could flat-out hit. He did this all while playing CF/2B. His documented record is outstanding, and he played for five years before the creation of the NA.

2. Charlie Bennett
   9. Cassidemius Posted: January 19, 2004 at 08:14 PM (#520931)
I described myself as a peak voter when I joined, but after re-jiggering my evaluations, I've decided I'm really more of a prime voter. The basis of my system gives credit to players for good or outstanding years, and does not peg it to a certain number of years (ie 3-year peak, 5-year peak). Which has come to be described as prime. So that's my biggest criteria. I also take career value into account, and it's a significant portion, but if you're all career-value and little peak or prime, you'll struggle to make my ballot. I also give small bonuses for positional dominance, although it wasn't enough to keep Charlie Bennett on the ballot this year.

1. Elmer Flick (3) All that said, Flick has the best prime on the ballot, in my view. Sure, his career wasn't as long as some of the other outfielders, but it was long enough to establish that he was the best, in my view.

2. Bob Caruthers (4) Maybe I'm just stubbonr, but I still see Caruthers as a top candidate. He was the best player in the AA when the AA was at its best; unless you discount the league entirely, I think there's a pretty good argument there. I also think Caruthers hitting *did* matter a lot; WARP seems to agree also.

3. Joe McGinnity (5) A workhorse pitcher who was also very good is definitely meritorious.

4. Lip Pike (7) The last great NA player struggling on our ballot. He was one of that league's top stars, and put together a great prime. Some credit for pre-1871 play somewhat offsets his short career.

5. Frank Grant (6) It seems intuitive to me that the best black ballplayer of the 1800s is HoM-worthy. Every piece of evidence we have backs that up, to some degree. The argument against is we don't know enough, but then we never will.

6. Jimmy Ryan (9) Being a centerfielder lifts him over the glut. Well, I had to look for something to break up the mess.

7. Rube Waddell (8) Better than his record would suggest. He doesn't deserve to be punished for lousy run support.

8. Willie Keeler (12) I've viewed Keeler as primarily a career pick, and he is, but his prime really isn't that bad. Being a rightfielder, an underrepresented position, lifts him a couple of spots this week.

9. Vic Willis (10) My only non-top-20 pick this week, I think, although as MattB said, I don't think it's that strange of a vote. Compared to Joss, Willis' RA numbers aren't staggering, but he pitched significantly more-and it's not like his ERA+ numbers are *bad*. In fact they're quite similar to Griffith's. Willis' higher peak, in my view, lifts him over The Old Fox as well, though, and onto my ballot. I think he's below McGinnity in terms of eligible pitchers, but he's next in line. Perhaps heading the pitching glut.

10. Joe Kelley (11) He falls behind his teammate Keeler this year, but they're still close. Kelley has a better peak, worse career; primes are pretty close as well. Both of them could go in and be fine choices; I think they should wait a bit, though.

11. George Van Haltren (13) Digging deep into the glut; long career, but a depressed peak keeps him from climbing higher.

12. Charley Jones (14) An excellent prime, especially if one gives some credit for the blacklist years. Fits nicely in with the rest of the outfielders.

13. Hugh Duffy (n/a) Climbs back onto my ballot. A relatively strong prime, less career than other outfielders. Still, his strong years make him worth a look.

14. Hughie Jennings (n/a) Also returns to my ballot. Obviously, a short career, but for a brief time was truly a historic force.

15. Jim McCormick (n/a) After missing my ballot for the first time ever last election, McCormick returns. He may get lost with all the new pitchers filling up the ballot, but McCormick should still be in the mix.

Top Ten guys I didn't vote for are Charlie Bennett and Jimmy Collins, both guys whose arguments rest on being the best available at their position. I guess that means that argument doens't have much pull for me, although Collins inched closer to my ballot this year and will make it soon, I think. As for Bennett, who I had been voting for, I'm just starting to believe his perceived dominance has more to do with weak competition than with his merits.
   10. ronw Posted: January 19, 2004 at 11:40 PM (#520933)
I've got to post early, since I have a baby girl due any minute.

1. Charlie Bennett Will the FOCB who place him high carry the day this year or next, or will the EOCB who leave him off the ballot win out. This is why we have the vote, people. Charlie is simply the best available catcher, and will continue to be so until the 1940s. I have compared him to Roger Bresnahan, and Bennett is comparable in adjWS, and superior in the WARP numbers. Only on raw WS does Bresnahan clearly demonstrate better numbers. Made my personal HOM (instead of Stovey) in 1916.

2. Jimmy Collins Like Bennett, the best available player at his position. Once he is elected, will I (and other Collins supporters) then move John McGraw or Ed Williamson on my ballot? One of the few 1890s IF to be seriously considered for the HOM, saying something about the period. Makes my personal HOM this year.

3. Frank Grant I haven't seen anything to take away from my initial assessment of him, and everyone above him keeps getting elected. Another terrific long career, and I tend to be generous to excluded Negro League players when comparing them to their peers. In looking at Grant's peers, I elected McPhee and would have elected Richardson had I been voting. Will MattB and I have nothing but Negro Leaguers on our ballot in the 30's and 40's?

4. Willie Keeler I will be the first to admit that Keeler may not have better stats than Joe Kelley. However, Kelley did not play right field. Keeler probably was the best RF in the 1890's. I have a slight increase to the best at their position, and this bumps Keeler up a notch (but not much).

5. Elmer Flick Similar to the argument for Keeler. Flick was the best RF in the 1900's. Kelley was never the best LF in the league.

6. Joe Kelley Joe was pretty good, though, and I won't cry if he makes the HOM. (My new daughter, on the other hand, will probably be crying some time.)

7. George Van Haltren He just keeps climbing up my rankings. I like the steady above-average career. No real poor years, no peak.

8. Jimmy Ryan Not a steady above-average career, but enough peak to balance the poor years.

9. Lip Pike JoeDimino killed Dickey Pearce for me. I cannot support a candidate with the majority of his career before 1871. However, pre-1871 can help me support a candidate that has a significant post-1871 career. Pike is the last of these for me.

10. Clark Griffith My system, which combines WARP, peak, prime, career, and Jim Spencer's pitcher numbers (but not Chris J's yet) sees Griffith as nudging out Caruthers as the best available pitcher. With revisions to WARP, however, the pitchers will receive a good shaking soon.

11. Bob Caruthers This is the highest I can place him until I see new WARP. I like the combo, I don't like the career length. Fortunately, Caruthers had no real awful seasons, but neither did Mike Griffin.

12. Jake Beckley CHICKAZOOLA! Being solid for a long time can help a player make my ballot. So can having little competition and being an 1890's infielder with a lengthy career.

13. Lave Cross Last year I separated Beckley and Cross with Sol White. I shouldn't separate them, since they have the same argument (1890's infielder with lengthy career, no peak, and only slightly above-average for career.)

14. Sol White I will be cautious with White, but he is threatening to overtake Beckley and Cross on my ballot, and perhaps the pitchers as well. I don't necessarily buy into the good players start leagues argument, but White appears to have been ranked highly by some expert publications. What I do accept for Grant and White is the argument that 19th century players will be overlooked in the rankings. Are Bid McPhee, Hardy Richardson, or Ross Barnes even the 30th best 2B of all-time? No. Were they among the top 20 before 1947? Probably not. When an expert leaves Grant or White off their top 10 list, I do not necessarily take that as an indication of the player's relative merit.

15. Vic Willis Just noses out McGinnity for the final pitcher spot in my rankings. Good, above average career, for worse teams than McGinnity. He was out of the top-20, but I think it is because he lacks a big season, and pitched for some really awful teams for much of his career. His WARP is not much better than McGinnity, and his WS numbers are only slightly below Joe's. (I can use WS for them since they are contemporaries.)


Joe McGinnity He's #16, and climbing, perhaps hugely with the incorporation of the Pennants Added data and new WARP. He seems to be the Mike Griffin of pitchers, with no awful years, but a relatively short ML career. I don't give any credit to his minor league seasons.

Sam Thompson I have enough OF on my ballot already, and Sam (along with Hugh Duffy) just misses out. I do try to have a range of positions on the ballot, with no set quota. The fielding was questionable, and the hitting, while great, may have been a product of a good choice of teammates. Is he hurt because he can't lay claim as the best RF of the 1880's or the 1890's? He is clearly the best RF from 1885-1895.

Rube Waddell As a character, I really hope Rube gets into the HOM. I'm just not sure about the statistics. He is just behind McGinnity in my pitcher rankings, and comfortably ahead of Tony Mullane (Jack Powell, Jesse Tannehill, Jim McCormick and Addie Joss round out my top available pitchers.)

Wid Conroy I have Wid as tied with Bill Clingman as the 4th best SS in the weak AL for Milwaukee in 1901. He was the 6th best SS in the NL for Pittsburgh in 1902. After a trade to the New York Highlanders, he was behind only Bill Bradley and Jimmy Collins in the 1903 AL at 3B, and behind only Bradley, Collins, and Lave Cross in the 1904 AL. In 1905, he was again behind only Collins and Bradley in the AL. In 1906, he moved to CF, where he was behind Fielder Jones, Charlie Hemphill, and Chick Stahl in the AL. In 1907, his first year as a LF, he was behind Topsy Harstel, George Stone, Davy Jones, Patsy Dougherty, and Bill Hinchman in the AL. In 1908 he moved back to 3B, but was still worse than Hobe Ferris, Bill Bradley, Harry Lord, Lee Tannehill, and Bob Unglaub in the AL. His trade to Washington in 1909 didn't help matters, as he stayed below Frank Baker, Lord, George Moriarty, Lee Tannehill, and Jimmy Austin among AL third basemen. In 1910, he was probably injured, as Kid Elberfeld took most of the Nationals' innings at the hot corner, and Conroy was worse than every other starting AL 3B except for an injured Bill Bradley of Cleveland. In his final year of 1911, he was the worst starting 3B in the league. Sorry, Harold and Dave, I just don't see it.
   11. OCF Posted: January 20, 2004 at 12:13 AM (#520934)
1. Joe Kelley (-, 3, 5, 3, 4). More good years than Flick had years, and a good peak. The most consistent offensive force of the Oriole dynasty.
   12. Marc Posted: January 20, 2004 at 12:14 AM (#520935)
Ron, congrats!!!

Bill Bradley, in contrast to the immortal Wid Conroy, gets the Charlie Ferguson award for a truly great, but truly short, peak. Nice to see his name in here somewhere, even though he is not a HoMer.
   13. Dag Nabbit: Sockless Psychopath Posted: January 20, 2004 at 01:02 AM (#520936)
10. Clark Griffith My system, which combines WARP, peak, prime, career, and Jim Spencer's pitcher numbers (but not Chris J's yet)
   14. ronw Posted: January 20, 2004 at 02:21 AM (#520937)
Just a slight clarification, so you don't think I'm typing this from the hospital. The due date is January 28, but no contractions or anything yet. I'll let everyone know when daughter #2 arrives.
   15. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: January 20, 2004 at 03:19 AM (#520938)
I usually attempt to start with the players who were ever the best player or best pitcher in baseball. Not the best in any one year, but the actual best overall player; this is a minimum two-year qualification but I prefer more. If that player had an otherwise insignificant career, I am open to moving him down from the top places.

After that (those "best players" are the core of my personal HoM) I try to expand that list to include (1) players who are very close to the best at any one time who have some significant career contributions, and (2) players who have a very large amount of raw overall career value. I'm generally not concerned with "replacement" measures in this second category though it's certainly a factor. I do not rank these together, by any sort of weighting system - they are ranked separately for the most part. If X has a good career and good peak, but Y has a great peak and no career (or vice versa), Y beats X. I do use the "other measure" to separate players that are close.

I also try to give bonus points to players who were unique, and made contributions to their teams (or did extraordinary things) that I think isn't captured by the stats. Garnering huge numbers of base hits or stolen bases or strikeouts, for example, is "meritorious" in a way that I think isn't captured solely by the win impact of those stats. Being the greatest defensive player ever at a position, same sort of thing.

Essentially, I look for dominance first, so my list tends to be weighted heavily to peak - but because I also will rank a player solely on his career contributions with no assessment to peak, some long-career low-peak players can sneak on my ballot. I also timeline.

1. Hughie Jennings (2)

Players 1-8 on this ballot are all extremely close, and Frank Grant deserves to be mentioned in that group, I think. They are all worthy HoMers in my view.

Jennings is the only man in this ballot who was ever the best position player in baseball. Jennings may be too high on this ballot, but I don't know what to do with his eye-popping defensive ability so I rated it as best I could - and it gives him huge props. Jennings's Orioles teams had some very ordinary pitchers, and yet at the top of the league in runs allowed every single year. A great deal of that is team defense, and when you add the fact that Jennings was the dominant defensive player on the team *and* that his defensive win shares are sky-high (best ever overall, I think) despite not getting enough credit through the method for the team's blah pitching, *and* his superb hitting - he's the best position player in baseball in those Orioles pennant years, and arguably the best defensive player of all time.

2. Bob Caruthers (11)

Too much has been said already. Bob Caruthers was the best player in baseball in 1886-87 (and possibly 1885), he was a dominant player in other years. The way I rank the players, he doesn't need anything else, which is good because he doesn't have anything else. I didn't rank him properly last time because I was applying a AA discount - and forgot that I couldn't discount the fact he was still the best player in baseball. Whoops.

3. Elmer Flick (3)

Like with Caruthers, Flick benefits from the fact that I don't "weight" peak and career, but evaluate them separately. Flick has the best peak of anyone on the ballot, and he was one of the five best hitters in baseball for a fair while. It would have been longer but for the illness, and while I don't give him credit for it per se, I won't let it interfere with that analysis.

4. Willie Keeler (5)

Keeler's measure here is a career measure, though he has an excellent peak. Some credit for being a great collector of base hits, enough to keep him ahead of the Rube. I think Keeler is essentially the equal of Clarke, and I'd be disappointed to se him stay out. Gets shafted in my opinion, because this crowd dislikes singles hitters.

5. Rube Waddell (7)

Unique player, terrific peak, larger than life and larger than the stats. Was mowing them down at a time when no other pitchers were, a test of high quality. Rube's skills were a very poor match for his era (when everyone is choking up and punching the ball, strikeout pitchers don't do as well), but still managed to be a top-3 pitcher in 1900-05 with lots of other good years.

6. Sam Thompson (6)

Eerily similar to Elmer Flick, but drops down to here because of the timeline adjustment.

7. Joe McGinnity (9)

Another unique player, 417 career wins in the majors and minors despite not starting until late in his twenties. The phrase "Iron Man" is actually named after McGinnity (he got the nickname elsewhere and only after him did it get its present meaning) which gives you an indication of exactly how good he was. One way to be a great pitcher is to just be real good, but just pitch a hell of a lot more than anyone else. McGinnity only has 4-5 great years supplemented with some good ones, but that's all he needs.

8. Joe Kelley (8)

Kelley is very close to the top of this ballot, and I could easily have him #1 and wouldn't mind too much. Except for one thing. You would think that a great player whose claim to fame rests largely on his excellent hitting would lead his league in some offensive category, somewhere down the line (of course Jennings never did either!).

9. Frank Grant (10)

Frank Grant was an elite player during his entire career, and was always considered to be one of the very best players in any competition he was allowed to enter. This is a career award, as opposed to a peak award; I am convinced that Grant won as many ballgames for his teams - probably many more - as any player here.

10. Addie Joss (13)

An entire career of nothing but quality play, an impressive feat in itself. Joss is the 10th best pitcher in his era (all years 1896-1915) for value over average... (Cy - Matty - Walter, then Nichols, Brown, Walsh and Plank. 8, 9, and 10 are Waddell, McGinnity, and Joss.) So he could go in on career alone. I would draw the HoM line here, incidentally. I may yet move Joss well up.

11. George Van Haltren (12)

Like Grant, this is another career award, and I think no explanation is required. A very valuable player, never elite, over a long period.

12. Jimmy Collins (14)

Career award. One of the top five players in his league a couple of times, no more than that, but an impressive consistency.

13. Vic Willis (--)

A great pitcher for a short while and an average pitcher for just as long, all in a short career. Willis may drop lower later as he doesn't do that well on either of my measures and is here on the back of five very good, but not overwhelming, seasons. Ranks below Joss on peak and not far above on career.

14. Frank Chance (--)

All peak, but an odd peak. He'd be close to #1 if he'd been able to stay in the lineup, and I'm giving him extra credit because there's nothing that says I have to evaluate a guy season-by-season. Chance is one of the few guys that makes sense to do. When he was in a game, he was usually the best player, and that has to count for something.

15. Pete Browning (15)

Manny Ramirez. Yes, he couldn't play much outfield, and he played in a weak league for a long while, but he dominated a real good league in 1890 and anyway, Manny Ramirez is Manny Ramirez.

16. Jimmy Ryan

Career rating, there's little else to say. His career is a hell of a lot less impressive than Pete Browning's peak, so maybe he should be lower?

17. Clark Griffith

Doesn't do well on either measure (peak, career) I use, so he ranks behind.

18. Jake Beckley

All career. As a 1B, he's got to go in on his hitting, and he ranks 28th in his era in RCAA and 33rd in RCAP. But he did pile up great career totals; terrific longevity.

19. Sol White

Still waiting to discover the thing that will move him up for me. Need to consider and evaluate his career, but I don't have the resources right now to do it properly.

20. Charlie Bennett

I am perfectly comfortable saying that Bennett was easily the best fulltime catcher of his time, and equally comfortable saying that none of the best 50 players of his era were catchers. Deserves some consideration from a positional perspective, but not that much. Unlike Chance, he would not usually have been the best player in games he was playing in, though he may not have been far off.

21. Hugh Duffy

Bill Joyce with less defensive value and a bunch of blah seasons thrown on. Joyce and Duffy are good, but they aren't the best players of their era and Duffy's career is nothing special, though if I combined peak and career he might rate higher.

22-36 unordered

Bill Joyce
   16. Brian H Posted: January 20, 2004 at 06:26 AM (#520939)
Ball for 1917 (the last White Sox championship season)

1. Bobby Caruthers (5 AS, 2 Cy Young, 2 MVP) A tremendous winner. For my money the best AA player of all. He had an enormous amount of pennant impact. According to James his Pennant impact was greater than any player we have voted on except Kid Nichols. Most of his best years were during the years the AA was nearly on par with the NL. Caruthers? weakness is the brevity of his career ? 2828 IP. However, he also played 388 games as a position player (almost exactly his total as a Pitcher). Thus he may have packed over 10 years of excellence into his shorter career. If after staring as a Pitcher he then converted himself into a position player he would probably be a HOMer already (like Ward). The way he did it actually had more impact and helped win a bounty of pennants. In today?s world of hyper-specialized players a player like Caruthers is all but inconceivable. His five year Win Share total in the NHBA is the highest of all players (including those not yet eligible like Ruth, Grove, Cobb and Bonds).

2. Jimmy Collins (5 AS) ? For many years many people who were considered wise in Baseball viewed Collins as the best 3B of all time. In particular Connie Mack who had about the longest baseball life imaginable ranked Collins at #1 in 1950 and he managed Baker. I don?t think he was the best ever but it started me thinking about who might be better and I came up with a pretty short list. Viewed as simply another position player who hit he wouldn?t rank nearly this high but I am guessing simply running the numbers doesn?t nearly capture his greatness. Apparently when he played third he literally foreclosed the then-popular bunt to third. Additionally, Collins played an integral role in the success of the first World Series Champions in ?03.

3. Hugh Jennings ? (3 AS + 2 MVP) His peak is among the highest ever at SS. He was not merely the top SS of an era abundant with outstanding shortstops -- he was arguably the MVP in 1895 & ?96. This was in perhaps the most competitive era we have judged to date (the one-league 1890?s). Despite his short career Jennings is still the all-time HBP leader. Like teammate McGraw, he fully understood the importance of simply getting on base. Bill James (a peak fan) ranks Jennings just above Dahlen among all SSs. Jennings was a crucial part of the ?Old Orioles? dynasty of the ?90s.

4. Frank Chance (7 AS, 1 MVP) As a Cub fan I wanted to list him higher. Either way he was the premier 1B for several years (weak years for the position). He would rank higher if: (A) He was accorded credit for managing the Cubs; or (B) He was more durable and put up career numbers like his nemesis Fred Clarke.

5. Elmer Flick (4 AS and arguably an MVP season) ? As indicated above, Flick really surprised me and the various stats others have posted have only furthered his cause. James ranks Elmer above all other current OF candidates save Duffy (?). Excelled against top condition -- just before the competition level dipped with the advent of the AL.

6. Joe McGinitty (4 AS, 2 Cy Young, arguably 3 Cy Youngs)? Very strong peak and stronger career numbers than the new candidates. A crucial player for McGraw?s giants.

7. Big Sam Thompson -- (6 STATS All-star teams and 1 MVP)? Still the best power hitter on the ballot. I see him as a slightly above average fielder with a cannon ? I don?t know what the answer on his fielding is but it seems our ballots are all over the place on it. Crucial player on Detroit?s NL pennant in 1887, his MVP year.

8. Hugh Duffy ?(2 AS, 1 MVP) Duffy was integral part of Boston?s ?team of the 90?s?. He had an exceptional peak and enough of a career that I can?t call it a fluke. Reknowned as a heads up player. Scores very well on Win Shares and is very highly thought of by James.

9. Joe Kelley ? (2 AS) A top hitter who excelled against top -flight competition. Kelley (like Keeler, Jennings and McGraw) was also an integral part of the Baltimore Orioles championship teams.

10. Wee Willie Keeler (2 AS) Another great Old Oriole, I thought he?d score much higher. I still would have trouble imagining him not being elected sooner or later. He had the longest hitting streak until DiMaggio?s 56 in ?41.

11. Pete Browning (8 AS !) ? A better AA hitter you will not find. Not as good all around as Stovey ? a much better career than O?Niell. His early AA years are discounted. Apparently he was known as the Gladiator for his battles in the outfield (with the ball).
   17. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: January 20, 2004 at 03:42 PM (#520941)
Correction to my ballot. My comment on Duffy at #21 should (obviously) read "more defensive value", not "less defensive value". Duffy plays a less demanding position than Joyce but is obviously a far better defender.
   18. Marc Posted: January 20, 2004 at 06:24 PM (#520943)
karl and Tom, an interesting question, conceptually. When it is difficult to get on base and/or to hit for X bases,whose records do these facts suppress more? The replacement to average hitter, or the very good hitter? I would have thought karl was right, that it would suppress the baseline hitter more, but the actual data seems to say, no, it is the opposite. It suppresses the ability of the very good hitter to get as far above that baseline. Based on the limited data presented above, apparently it is the latter. The good hitter is penalized more in the deadball era than the replacement to average hitter.
   19. OCF Posted: January 20, 2004 at 06:31 PM (#520944)
To follow up on TomH's post, what about bbref's list of single season ERA+ leaders? If you look at the top 20 on that list, 2 are irrelevant to the discussion (early 1880's, part-time IP, RA > 2*ERA). Of the other 18, I count 7 that took place in high-run environments, 9 in low-run environments, and just two in the middle.

High-run environments:
   20. OCF Posted: January 20, 2004 at 07:09 PM (#520946)
I should have classified Walter Johnson's 1912, and maybe also his 1913, as "in between" rather than "low-run." But the point is still there - there was nothing about the deadball times that inhibited the best ERA+'s

Jack Pfiester's 1907 on that list reminds me of why I'd rather use RA than ERA. For the four years he was a regular (1906-1909), Pfiester's RA's were 2.26, 2.82, 2.86, 3.07 and his ERA's were 1.51, 1.15, 2.00, and 2.43. Which of those years would you take at his best? The 1.15 ERA in 1907, or the 2.26 RA (in more IP) in 1906? I'll take 1906.
   21. MattB Posted: January 20, 2004 at 07:20 PM (#520947)
On the other hand:

I looked at the straight average (unweighted) of the Top 10 in ERA+ in both leagues in two notoriously high offense years (1930 and 1987) and two notoriously low offense years (1910 and 1968). I did not cherry pick those years, but I recognize that four years may not be a representative sample.

From highest "Top 10" to lowest:

Yr Lg: Avg. ERA+
   22. Chris Cobb Posted: January 20, 2004 at 07:47 PM (#520948)
That looks like solid evidence to me that it is easier to have a very low ERA+ in a pitchers' era.

It's possible that part of what we are seeing here is a mathematical phenomenon, rather than a performance phenomenon. The lower the league ERAs, higher will be the ERA+ for beating the league average by any fixed amount. Say Pitcher A has a 2.50 ERA in a 3.00 league. He beat the league average by .50, and his ERA+ is 120. Pitcher B has a 3.50 ERA in a 4.00 league. He beat the league average by .50, and his ERA+ is 113. Now, one might make the case that it is both easier and less significant to beat league ERA by .50 in a high-run environment than it is in a low-run environment, but I suspect the nature of fractions is a contributing factor to the better ERA+s in low-scoring environments.
   23. OCF Posted: January 20, 2004 at 08:05 PM (#520949)
I understand what you're saying, Chris, but I do think that 2.50 in a 3.00 league is better than 3.50 in a 4.00 league. I do question, on psychological grounds, the choice in ERA+ of taking the reciprocal - I'd rather call the first case 83% of league and the second case 88% of league. Not taking the reciprocal has the advantage of subduing the possible overreaction to an ERA+ in the Gagne 2003 territory.

The original (1980's) BJHBA was where I picked up the habit of using RA/league instead of ERA. James presented it without the reciprocal, so Gibson's 1968 came in at 42%. I got used to the idea that a RA/league of 65%-70% was often good enough for a Cy Young, and 55% or so was special.

MattB's method in #25 was way too crude to be taken seriously (as I suspect MattB understands) but I think his conclusion is right, albeit probably not as dramatically as in his small sample.
   24. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 20, 2004 at 08:31 PM (#520950)
I understand what you're saying, Chris, but I do think that 2.50 in a 3.00 league is better than 3.50 in a 4.00 league.

I don't think there should be any question of this. The former is 20% better, while the latter is only 14% better.
   25. Daryn Posted: January 20, 2004 at 08:46 PM (#520953)
I was looking at:

and was struck to find how long they felt jake beckley was the best in baseball. i think i will be moving him up a bit, perhaps to 11th. cupid childs also does well under their analysis. in any event it is worth taking a look at.
   26. Daryn Posted: January 20, 2004 at 08:51 PM (#520954)
   27. OCF Posted: January 20, 2004 at 08:54 PM (#520955)
ed - a request for clarification. Is the number you have in front of Joe Kelley's name supposed to be "11" instead of the "09" that you wrote?
   28. Jeff M Posted: January 21, 2004 at 12:58 AM (#520962)
1. Flick, Elmer -- I see Flick as better than Keeler. Keeler has more counting stats b/c he played much longer. Flick was a top ten-er more often than Keeler in a bunch of different significant hitting categories. In my opinion, Flick would have made more all-star teams. Flick's extra power helps him a bunch and allowed him to create more runs per out. Their 3-year and 5-consec-year WS peaks are comparable, but Flick pulls ahead in a 7-year measure. Keeler gets big points for long career. Who knows? It ain't an exact science...

2. 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. I saw someone say they had a glut of catchers hanging just off the ballot. To me, that means the person's system doesn't value catchers sufficiently to get any of them elected. I had the same problem for a while, so I adjusted my system.

3. Kelley, Joe -- Another pure hitter that I show as about 55% better than the league from a RC/27 perspective. Excellent WS peak and good WS career total. Would not have won MVP awards, but would have been in contention for a few. Was regularly an important player on championship teams.

4. Browning, Pete -- I've been on the Browning bandwagon for a while. His suspect defense drops him Kelley. 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. McGinnity, Joe -- Solid WS numbers. Fantastic winning percentage and excellent Wins Above Team. Has some nice counting stats and good grey ink scores. Would probably have won 2 Cy Young Awards.

6. Keeler, Willie -- See comment above re: Flick

7. Collins, Jimmy -- Fantastic on defense at a key position. I would have him ranked ahead of McPhee, because he played a tougher position and was a better hitter. Among the best 3b in history (though I admittedly see 3b as a fairly weak position over the course of MLB history).

8. Griffith, Clark -- I believe he is the third 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.

9. Waddell, Rube -- Comparable to Griffith, but win totals are far less impressive. Can?t see putting him ahead of Griffith, unless you overvalue strikeouts.

10. 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.

11. 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. I think he has been overlooked from the beginning. Even those who see his skills have put him to the side in favor of more glamorous players -- thus, he's not in the consensus Top 20.

12. 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 and put him here.

13. Welch, Mickey -- Pops back on my ballot. I give pitchers extra wins when they have outstanding WAT numbers, which Welch does. He was a consistent winner. Would have been a regular All-Star. Has nice WS numbers. I don't put him higher because his LWTS numbers are not too impressive, but they look better when you take into account the defense behind him.

14. Caruthers, Bob -- I'm still in the "he's very good" camp. I'm very impressed by his ability to hit and pitch at a high level, but I've never been able to combine his skills adequately to squeeze him into the upper echelon, though I've tried. I remain concerned about the bandwagon aspect of Caruthers' sudden vault to the Top 10 a few "years" ago. He seems to be a pet project at this point.

15. Willis, Vic -- Just off my ballot this time, he slips on with the last elections. Really kind of middlin' as HOM standards go. I don't have much to say about him. This spot could just as easily be Jennings, Duffy, Long or Chance.
   29. dan b Posted: January 21, 2004 at 03:40 AM (#520963)
I?ve moved some pitchers up a few slots this time ? McGinnity, Waddell and Joss.

Win shares are my metric of choice. I start with a composite ranking = 4 x Career + (3 best years)/3 + (5 best consecutive years)/5 + (8 best years)/8 + WS per 162. I then make adjustments justified by individual components with a touch of subjectivity thrown in. I use the same system for hitters and for 60? 6? era pitchers. I also look at WS w/o defense for a hitting only ranking. (Number in parenthesis shows composite rank.)
   30. Sean Gilman Posted: January 21, 2004 at 04:26 AM (#520964)

1. Joe Kelley (3)--Ahead of Flick on career value, less peak though. Same with Pike. Top 3 very close together this year.

2. Elmer Flick (6)--A kind of jumbo-sized Sam Thompson: long, high peak with no padding to his career.

3. Lip Pike (4)--Not as good in the NA as McVey, but better before; much better in the NA than Start, not as good before.

4. Charlie Bennett (5)--Great defense and hitting (for a catcher) keeps him ahead of the various gluts.

5. Willie Keeler (7)--Lotsa career value (more than Duffy) and a better peak than Ryan/Van Haltren keeps him just behind Flick and Pike.

6. Hugh Duffy (8)--Peak and Career edge on Browning after the AA discount.

7. Joe McGinnity (-)--Big jump this year as I finally decide I?ve been underrating pitchers. A lot like Browning: big peak, not so much career value.

8. Pete Browning (9)--AA discount and short career keeps him in the middle of the ballot.

9. Jimmy Collins (10)--Comparable Peak and Career values to the outfield glut. I don?t want to have positional quotas, but the fact that he?s the best at his position of his time (clearly) has to make him stand out from the identical outfielders.

10. Dickey Pearce (11)--The best shortstop of his time. I really doubt Harry Wright will ever make it on my ballot though. . .I think I?m gonna pair him with Collins the way I?ve paired Grant with Childs, seems like a good comp to me. . .

11. Bob Caruthers (12)--Parisian Bob stays in place while I move the other pitchers up, so I?m essentially moving him down. His WARP1 and 3 Pennants Added are essentially the same as Pete Brownings, which is interesting. . .

12. Hughie Jennings (13)--Like Sam Thompson, only a slightly better peak and he was a shortstop instead of a right-fielder.

13. Rube Waddell (-)--Like Hughie Jennings, only a picther instead of a shortstop, which means I?m probably still underrating him.

14. Cupid Childs (14)--I could put the next 10 players or so in almost any order. Childs seems to be losing supprt over the last few years, but I don?t know why. I like his combination of peak with pretty good career value (for a middle infielder).

15. Frank Grant (15)--I think slightly-less-than-Childs is his most reasonable level. Even that may be too generous.

Al Spalding makes My Personal HOM this year in a squeaker over Flick and Pike.
   31. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: January 21, 2004 at 03:09 PM (#520966)
ed, I hate to complain, but you choice of Sam Leever over Rube Waddell puzzles me, though Leever was a fine pitcher. Could you explain your reasoning?
   32. Dag Nabbit: Sockless Psychopath Posted: January 21, 2004 at 04:19 PM (#520967)
With 75%ish of Griffith's starts coming before retrosheet lists SPs, I don't see much point in figuring it for him.

Ah, I got bored/curoius & checked his run support from 1901-onward anyway. Here's his RSIs & adjusted W/L records:

   33. Howie Menckel Posted: January 21, 2004 at 05:03 PM (#520968)
I entered this experiment thinking that I cared most about career value and little about defense.
   34. Carl Goetz Posted: January 21, 2004 at 05:04 PM (#520969)
This might be my first ballot ever with no one who's newly eligible on it. I'd like to note an error in my 1917 ballot. Lip Pike should have been 4th. This was purely a clerical error on my part that left him off all together. I don't think this affected the outcome since I had Young and Clarke 1-2, but I apologize to the group if it did. On that note, I'd like to welcome Lip Pike to my personal HoM for 1918. I'd like to revisit my personal methods quickly this year. In a given season, I adjust the players actual WS out to 162 team games. Then I discount for league strength(only for AA, UA, FL, and a slight AL discount in the 1st couple years). This is what I mean by adjWS. When I refer to career value, I mostly mean Career adjWS over Replacement. For a season, Repl level is 10 WS/162 games. I also look at the number of seasons a player played at an above average level(18 adjWS per 162). When I refer to Peak, I am taking several factors into account, mostly the height of the peak(top year and top 3 years) and the length of the peak(how many seasons over 26 adjWS per 162?). I also look at the number of seasons a player could reasonably be argued to be the best player in baseball.
   35. Carl Goetz Posted: January 21, 2004 at 05:08 PM (#520970)
I'd also like to implore the Redsox fans to really enjoy the upcoming season. Its going to be a long time coming until their next WS title.

Go Sox!

ps This time don't trade the Babe!
   36. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: January 21, 2004 at 06:47 PM (#520975)
ed, thanks for your defence of Leever. I was just curious - it's an odd preference.
   37. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: January 21, 2004 at 06:51 PM (#520976)
Incidentally, Waddell missed the 1905 World Series because he was injured.
   38. Al Peterson Posted: January 21, 2004 at 06:53 PM (#520977)
Once again I have tried to intertwine all the information I have used in the past along with this year's discussion to rank the 1918 ballot. Major changes take place on the ballot as I examined again the OF glut and available infielders. Probably lean more heavily on peak than career. Positional adjustment for those on the tougher end of the defensive spectrum. Rate stats are important but you have to also be on the field for me to say you helped the team (sorry high rate based, low PA players like Chance and McGraw). Anyways, here we go:

1. Charlie Bennett (4). Better than the other eligible C's. Played at an excellent defensive level throughout career, outstanding hitting early on.

2. Elmer Flick (10). Much of my comparisons amongst players are based on 5, 10, and 12 year WARP3 figures with some adjustments. Flick is so top heavy that he wins the two shorter measures. His hitting is so good its hard to ignore.

3. Wee Willie Keeler (7). Nice long career with many years looking similar. Scored many runs but was a product of his lineup position. Looking at his times on base, he scored more often than was expected from number of times on base. That might be due to players like...

4. Joe Kelley (3). Close to two previous OFs but is put below. Reasoning is he didn't separate from other LFs as much as the other two did from other RFs. Didn't have career length of Keeler either.

5. Jimmy Collins (15). Hitting and fielding numbers more impressive then I remembered. My major sellout to getting a defensive stalwart from the hot corner.

6. Rube Waddell (6). Numbers don't tell the whole story. Flame thrower with outstanding K rates. I feel strikeouts are important in the deadball era. Many bad things can happen with bunts, hit-and-runs, etc. Doesn't happen if the batter doesn't hit the ball.

7. Sam Thompson (5). Flick like but not quite as impressive. Too bad about the late career start.

8. Joe McGinnity (11). Workhorse useage allows for a smaller peak. I do give at a little bump for the long non-ML career.

9. Frank Grant (14). Sure some of it is speculation but I like the few pieces of evidence thrown our way.

10. Cupid Childs (-). Just off the ballot last time. Allowing a shorter career length for infielders in the rough and tumble 1890s helps Cupid. Still hit with the best of them some years, regardless of position.

11. George Van Haltren (-). Career arc of a Keeler without the peak. Did some pitching so that gives a bump also.

12. Clark Griffith (-). His consistency as a hurler was much needed in the high offense era.

13. Sol White (13). Might have messed up the order on Grant/White last year. His contributions away from the diamond were probably as important.

14. Fielder Jones (-). The big winner in my changes. Short career of 13 years but looking at each there is solid contributions year in - year out. Where is the bad one? OPS+ is lower than some but is OBP heavy. Also the defensive numbers are encouraging at a key position. If you needed a CF for a dozen years you could do a lot worse. Mr. Jones got lost in the Collins and Kelley newcomer year. People should take another look at him - especially comparing him to CFs like Hugh Duffy, Mike Griffin, and Roy Thomas.

15. Jimmy Ryan (8). Not as thrilled with the years which are subpar. Played a lot besides CF as well.

Waiting for their number to be called:

16. Vic Willis. Just about there. Nothing too bad about him, don't see much special either.
   39. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: January 21, 2004 at 07:09 PM (#520978)
Ten men have already received first-place votes. What is out record?
   40. MattB Posted: January 21, 2004 at 07:15 PM (#520979)
That would be 11 men (and no women) in 1916.
   41. Brad G. Posted: January 21, 2004 at 07:46 PM (#520980)
I've given a boost to pitchers after realizing that they are under-represented in my personal HoM. Nothing major, but a boost nonetheless. Additionally, your collective efforts in favor of Frank Grant are starting to sink in with me. Here goes...

1918 Ballot

1. Elmer Flick (2)- I think all three of these RFs should and will eventually be enshrined. I like Flick's peak/prime over Keeler's career numbers. Best RF for a 3-year span?
   42. Rick A. Posted: January 21, 2004 at 08:37 PM (#520983)
No real changes this year.

1918 Ballot

1. Charlie Bennett (2) ? 60% of value is above average. Value over other catcher of his time moves him up some.
   43. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: January 21, 2004 at 10:06 PM (#520986)
Oh, did he? I'm sorry I missed that one. What happen to him? Sore arm? Bum leg? Or wrestlin' in a gator farm?

ed, are you just being an unpleasant jackass, or are you actually asking a question? Anyway, David Foss answered that (and yes, it's another example of Waddell's tendency to self-destruction). The point was, you insinuated that Connie Mack didn't pick him because he didn't trust him to pitch the World Series - certainly not the case.

Of course, we don't award points based on character in this exercise, that was something we had all agreed on. Do those rules not apply to you?
   44. KJOK Posted: January 21, 2004 at 11:31 PM (#520987)
Using OWP, playing time, and defense (Win Share/BP) for position players, applied to .500 baselne. Using Runs Saved Above Average and Support Neutral Fibonacci Wins for Pitchers.

1. JOHN McGRAW, 3B. McGraw was to 3rd basemen what Ruth was to RF'ers in the 1920. He only had 5,000 plate appearances, but I've been discounting him for low playing time way too much as he provided more value in those few appearances than all of his contemporary 3rd baseman. Average fielder, but incredible .727 OWP.

2. PETE BROWNING, CF. Super .745 OWP in over 5,300 PA's. Despite low playing time and poor CF defense, he belongs on offense alone.

3. HUGHIE JENNINGS, SS. .607 OWP PLUS Excellent SS defense in 5,654 plate appearances.

4. CHARLIE BENNETT, C. Having been the biggest FOCB, sorry to see him drop a little, but his offense wasn't really THAT much better than Jack Clements. Bennett does still outdistance all of his contemporaries on defense, however, which moves him up to here.

5. TONY MULLANE, P - 241 RSAA, and 240 Neut_Fibonacci_Wins.

6. RUBE WADDELL, P - 254 RSAA, and 222 Neut_Fibonacci_Wins.

7. DENNY LYONS, 3B. Lyons really distances himself offensively from his 3B contemporaries (except McGraw, of course.) .658 OWP in 5,000 plate appearances with a fair glove.

8. FRANK CHANCE, 1B. .720 OWP. Very Good fielder back when 1st base was more important defensively.

9. CUPID CHILDS, 2B. .609 OWP while playing average 2B in over 6,700 plate appearances.

10. ELMER FLICK, RF. Excellent .737 OWP while playing an average RF in over 6,400 plate appearances moves Flick above the outfield glut.

11. JOE McGINNITY, P - 238 RSAA, 208 Neut_Fibonacci_Wins.

12. SAM THOMPSON, RF. Another big mover up my ballot. .684 OWP over 6,500 PA's with average RF defense.

13. JIMMY COLLINS, 3B. Being one of the greatest defensive 3B of all time puts him on the ballot, but a .550 OWP in 7,460 Plate Appearances for a 3rd baseman is not too shabby either.

14. JOE KELLY, RF. Very Good defensive RF'er who had .665 OWP over 8,139 plate appearances.

15. CLARK GRIFFITH, P - 255 RSAA, 199 Neut_Fibonacci_Wins.


Bob Caruthers, P - 179 RSAA, 177 Neut_Fibonacci_Wins. On 2nd look, hitting wasn't enough to put him on ballot.

Willie Keeler, RF. Had long career, but only .633 OWP.

Frank Grant, 2B. Still not convinced he was more than a very good minor leaguer.

Jack Clements, C. .550 OWP for a catcher, but only average defense.

Mike Tiernan, RF. .678 OWP in 6,700 PA's impressive.

Lip Pike, CF. Looks a lot like Hack Wilson.

Hugh Duffy, CF. Defense not enought to overcome .623 OWP for outfielder.

Jimmy Ryan, CF. Only average defender, and only .609 OWP.

George Van Haltren, CF. .620 OWP, and only fair defender.
   45. Marc Posted: January 21, 2004 at 11:34 PM (#520988)
I have finally incorporated the new WARPs. Being the suspicious sort, I was hesitant to do so but was moved by Paul's info that the new WARP correlates better with WS than the old WARP. As a result, there are big movements among some players this year, but only some. It doesn't affect most of them.

Obvious HoMers (to me)

1. Sam Thompson (3-4-1-2 last year)--made my personal HoM way back in 1905. Not as high a peak or career as some, but neck and neck with Flick for the #1 prime. 10 years, 279 adjWS or 105 adjWARP1.

2. Dickey Pearce (4-5-4-3)--made my HoM in 1916. A subjective placement, obviously, but the #2 or #3 player of his time after Start and somewhere near Harry Wright.

3. Elmer Flick (x-x-5-5)--a better peak than Sam Thompson, a slighter weaker career and a mirror-image prime (10 years, 295 adjWS and 101 adjWARP1). Makes my personal HoM today.

4. Bob Caruthers (x-x-3-8)--one of the reasons I like the new WARP is it elevated somebody that seemed intuitively to rate very highly. But he doesn't only have the #2 adjWARP1 3 and 5 year peaks, he also has the #2 adjWS 3 and 5 year peaks. Made my HoM way back in 1905.

5. Charlie Bennett (1-3-2-6)--made my HoM back in 1914. Has the #4 peak overal (#4-5-8-8 on adjWARP1 and adjWS for 3 and 5 years), and that's without any catcher bonus.


6. Harry Wright (5-8-9-7)--see Pearce.

7. Charley Jones (7-10-8-9)--in his own time, hit rings around most of the other OFers on the ballot. #5 peak and #4 prime without any credit for blacklist years, though he drops off to the #21 career (among this year's consideration set of 30 players).

8. Hughie Jennings (10-11-10-12)--#2 peak overall. Helped by new WARP, #1 for adjWARP1 both 3 years and 5 years, and not just for position players. With WARP's downgrading of early pitchers, he's the #1 adjWARP1 prime ahead of all the pitchers, too.

On the Bubble (the rest are all at least on the bubble; there are enough candidates now that no player will ever again be mere "ballot filler)

9. Lip Pike (9-7-11-x)--hurt by new WARP, I even abandoned the Lipmeister last year for the first time. Numbers no longer seem quite so compelling. But right now I can't decide what to do with him and so I'll leave a light on.

10. Ed Williamson (14-14-13-14)--helped by new WARP but even more than that, he was helped when Jimmy Collins came on the ballot and I took a new look at him. I have Ed with the 8th best peak overall (compared to Jimmy's #23), and the 9th best adjWARP1 prime and 6th best adjWS prime (compared to Jimmy at 7th and 18th; WS doesn't seem too impressed with Jimmy). Collins has slightly better career value, however (12th vs. 15th).

11. Pete Browning (hasn't been on my ballot since 1905)--helped by new WARP. We think of a lot of these old-timers (Thompson, C. Jones, Williamson, Browning) as having short careers, but all had 10 prime years. Only Keeler, Ryan, Van Haltren and Collins had more (on this ballot), and all at lower rates and with lower peaks.

12. Joe Kelley (12-13-14-11)--doesn't stand out on any one measure (peak, prime, career, WS, WARP) but doesn't fall down on any either.

13. Jimmy Collins (x-15-15-x)--helped by new WARP. Not a high peak, but the #12 prime overall and the #12 career.

14. Cupid Childs (not on my ballot since 1908)--helped by new WARP. The #7 5 year adjWARP1 peak and the #11 adjWARP1 prime.

15. Joe McGinnity (13-x-x-x)--oops, not enough pitchers. I have been supporting Bond and McCormick, both of whom are absolutely blown to pieces by the new WARP. If I am going to trust the new WARP on Caruthers, I guess I gotta trust it on Bond and McCormick, too. Besides, they're not goin' anywhere. McGinnity is the best of the rest of the pitchers but I'm not comfortable moving him up a whole lot just yet.

Dropped off--Bond (8-9-7-13), McCormick (6-6-6-10) and Whitney (x-x-x-15).

Close--Fred Dunlap hasn't been on my ballot since 1905 but new WARP loves him even more than the old. #9 peak overall even with a huge discount of 1884 UA, bringing that season about in line with his NL career. George Van Haltren (last on my ballot 1910) has moved up, I may have missed some of his value before; still looking. In fact, he has moved ahead of Jimmy Ryan (last 1912) for the first time, but Ryan is close, too. Willie Keeler (not yet on my ballot but might be if you don't elect him first) is close, too, but I see a guy with a high BA and little else.

Outstanding players, but not as close (i.e. non-ballot filler)--Frank Grant (last 1914) is somewhere between Childs, Dunlap and H. Richardson on the one side and Patsy Donovan on the other. I am comfortable that he would have played longer than Childs (he DID play longer than Childs) but I can't give him the benefit of the doubt of being better than Childs at his peak. And Rube Waddell (not yet) is in a pitching glut behind McGinnity with, well, you know who--Griffith (last 1913), Joss (not yet), Willis (no longer under consideration) and the old-timers (above).

Hugh Duffy (last 1908), Mickey Welch (no), Herman Long (no) and Sol White (no) were also in my consideration set this year.
   46. OCF Posted: January 22, 2004 at 12:20 AM (#520989)
And finally, this is why I have pretty much given up using rate stats. Sure, I look at them. They help fill out a player's profile. But in rating and ranking a player, they shed more heat than light.

This is a quote from Marc. The full post it's taken from is #182 on this year's ballot thread. In his ballot, KJOK cites a rate stat (although usually also a career-length measure) for most of the players he mentions. Even so, there are some players (Kelley, Bennett, McGinnity, Childs, Keeler) whom KJOK and Marc do more or less agree on, although they differ on McGraw, Pearce, and Thompson.
   47. Marc Posted: January 22, 2004 at 01:36 AM (#520990)
I admit it, I said that. That is not to say that players with good rates do not eventually rack up nice accumulated values, too. But divorcing the rate from the quantity just confuses me, I prefer to see both at a single glance.

And BTW, pretty much everybody differs with me on Pearce and with K on McGraw, so no big surprise there.

Some of the "differences" are, well, not really surprising at one level but surprising at another...well never mind that thought...but already this year we have 12 different players with both #1 votes and off some ballots. Amazing.
   48. Marc Posted: January 22, 2004 at 01:43 AM (#520991)
Another quick point. So far we have been electing 1-2 players per year (let's just say average 1.5). Soon it will be 2 almost every year. In the '80s it will frequently be 3 and after 1993 it will be at least 3 every year. Will there really be that many more and better candidates in the future?

Maybe. But of course that is why we will have elections, to decide if the candidates in the '30s-'40s-'80s-'90s are that many and that compelling. With all the slots opening up over time, however, I can see some guys on the ballot today, guys who aren't even in the top 15, being contenders some day. In fact I predict that in 1997 or '98 we will elect Jimmy Ryan.
   49. OCF Posted: January 22, 2004 at 01:59 AM (#520992)
Marc, I think what will happen is that we're all going to discover good players that we previously didn't know much about. Take outfielders (since you mentioned Ryan). Looking not very far ahead (the're active players right now) we've got Cobb and Speaker, who are, well, Cobb and Speaker, and we've got Crawford, who would blow away any outfielder on the current ballot. We've got the ever-controversial Joe Jackson, whom we all probably came in with opinions about. But there's also Jimmy Sheckard - I've already seen an expression of surprise about him. And there's Sherry Magee. I think we're going to find more Sheckards and Magees than we expected.
   50. MattB Posted: January 22, 2004 at 02:20 AM (#520993)
Another quick point. So far we have been electing 1-2 players per year (let's just say average 1.5). Soon it will be 2 almost every year. In the '80s it will frequently be 3 and after 1993 it will be at least 3 every year. Will there really be that many more and better candidates in the future?

It really has been about 1 per year -- we just doubled up using two per year so we could start later. It may turn out that there are twice as many worthy players in the post-1900 NL + AL as there were in the pre-1900 NL + lesser leagues. Or we may end up backing and filling a lot, frequently electing players in the same year who played 50 years apart. It's hard to tell. We looked at total players at each Win Share level before, though, and it looked like the cutoff would probably fall below 300 WS (assuming that was the only stat we used), because there were fewer than 200 players with 300 WS. If so, by 2004, we may be giving Charley Jones, Billy Nash, and Mike Tiernan another look.
   51. jimd Posted: January 22, 2004 at 02:32 AM (#520994)
Read previous ballots if you want more depth on my reasons for all but the latest eligibles.

1) C. Bennett -- Best catcher available; stands out from the other catchers far more than any of the other OF'ers do from their pack. He's in my personal HOM, instead of McVey. Click to see my previous arguments in favor of Bennett. I'm not excited about any of these guys but I think the catcher has more merit than another 90's outfielder or another 80's or 00's pitcher.

Chris J. did an excellent writeup on him, but didn't go far enough. To me, Bennett's argument is a peak argument for 1881-86, with extra credit for a very long career for a catcher during this period before gloves. During the 1881-85 period, Bennett is just about as full-time as the other players (because the schedules were short), similar to the ratio between a modern catcher and a modern everyday-player. This went downhill when the schedules got longer, but Bennett was NOT a part-time player during his peak seasons.

Also, for those amongst you who use Win Shares. I assume you reduce the value of pitchers in this era (don't we all). Those are defensive Win Shares, and if they don't go to the pitcher, they have to go to the fielders around him (they can't evaporate, and the offense has already gotten their fair share under the formulas). The defensive spectrum dictates that when Keefe and Welch have their shares reduced, SS Ward and C Ewing get much more of them than do 1B Connor and RF Tiernan. Similarly for Bennett; he played a key defensive position (and played it extremely well) when key defensive positions were more important than they've now become (they've all lost value relative to the pitcher as the balance of the game changed).

2) W. Keeler -- There appears to be some kind of "backlash" here against him because he was a singles hitter; singles are still more valuable than walks. These 3 OF's (#2-4) bring different combos of career and peak to the ballot, and I could order them randomly and live with it. Made my personal HOM in 1916 instead of Stovey.

3) E. Flick -- Both systems agree that he had a very high peak, though they disagree about the relative value of his career.

4) J. Kelley -- Still better than the glut; the revisions have reinforced that.

5) B. Caruthers -- At the moment, he looks like he is the best pitcher available. None of the pitching candidates have long valuable careers (except maybe Mullane, if you don't discount the early AA much), so I rate them solely on peak. Under WARP's modified AA pitching discounts, Parisian Bob looks much better. His WARP-1 always looked great, the lingering question was how that compared to the "real" league; by the current discounts at BP, he's worthy.

Taking up Paul's suggestion, I modified that +ERAOPS+ combo stat (which attempts to add hitting impact to ERA+) to take into account the non-linearity of ERA+. His +ERAOPS+ for 1885-87 in St. Louis were: 158, 208, 172. His numbers in Brooklyn were less spectacular, just solid 132, 129, 118, 113. His career +ERAOPS+ is 138. Clarkson is 128. Keefe is 119. I think he belongs, even with an AA discount.

6) H. Jennings -- He was so very good just long enough that he can't be ignored. If Win Shares loved him more, he'd move up even further.

7) D. Pearce -- Reflecting on him and his long career at a top defensive position in the undocumented dawn of the game, I think he belongs. (Basically, the Joe Start argument, with less documented evidence.)

Following are the guys that I might not have in my HOF, but then again I'm a small hall advocate, smaller than the one that exists now. The pool of qualified applicants has quite a few marginal guys, but no no-brainers.

8) J. Whitney -- I know, I know. I've made all the arguments before, and they haven't been persuasive. Another pitcher who combined hitting with pitching, in the better league; after Boston dumped him in favor of Radbourn, he pitched well for some dreadful teams, which helped neither his W-L nor his career ERA+ in those defense-driven days. He still has a better peak than any of the new pitching candidates (using WARP or WS).

Taking up Paul's suggestion, I modified that +ERAOPS+ combo stat (which attempts to add hitting impact to ERA+) to take into account the non-linearity of ERA+. His +ERAOPS+ for 1882-84 in Boston are: 131, 153, 149. He had another very good season with Washington in 1887 at 131. These seasons have greater impact than the 1900's pitchers do because he is much more than half the pitching staff (less so in 1887). His career +ERAOPS+ is 112. His argument is solely a peak one, and I don't think he belongs, but I therefore think less of those who rank behind him.

9) G. Van Haltren -- Now looks a little better than Ryan.

9) J. Ryan -- I can't make up my mind and keep flip-flopping them.

11) J. Beckley -- I'm open to someone making a case for why 1b is more important defensively than the OF'ers.

12) J. Collins -- Nice blend of career and peak.

13) F. Grant -- If he was a potential "super-star", you'd think there'd be more stories about him and discussion elsewhere.

14) S. Thompson -- He's back, but probably not for long.

15) L. Pike -- His rating is largely guesswork; I could put Silver King here on peak, but then I'd have to explain both decisions in more depth.

Just missing the cut are:
   52. jimd Posted: January 22, 2004 at 03:07 AM (#520995)
This has been a very interesting exercise so far. Those who've been with the project for awhile can probably now spot a 1st-ballot HOMer at first (or second) glance. The borderline guys fall into the "glut" and are then endlessly debated (and its nice they are endless because it's all very informative and entertaining looking at these players from a myriad of angles). The truly great players get little direct mention here, entering immediately by acclamation, which is too bad if you're looking to learn something new about Cy Young, or have interest in debates about the greatest ever. Meanwhile the "sorta-great" players serve as standards for comparison with the very good players that fill out the quota, and we'll be debating which of those guys have Merit until the very end.
   53. Chris Cobb Posted: January 22, 2004 at 03:08 AM (#520996)
OCF wrote: Marc, I think what will happen is that we're all going to discover good players that we previously didn't know much about.

It's going to be interesting to see how the number of HoF errors of omission matches up to its errors of commission . . .

I've been interested to note that a much larger the percentage of our top candidates are now in the Hall of Fame than was the case a few years back: 17 of our top 25 in 1917 were HoFers. It looks to me like we're passing through an era now that has been dealt with fairly well by the Hall. Representation is much broader than for the 1870s and 1880s, and there are virtually no truly egregious selections of the Chick Hafey sort. Maybe the era is a bit overrepresented (on the pitching side), but I suspect we'll find as we move into the 1940s and 1950s that we are continuing to elect candidates from the 1885-1915 era.
   54. Marc Posted: January 22, 2004 at 03:51 AM (#520997)
jimd, I assume you meant 9) Van Haltren and 10) Ryan, or did you intend a tie? I tallied a 10th for Ryan.
   55. Marc Posted: January 22, 2004 at 04:12 AM (#520998)
I s'pose I should put this in the discussion thread but it takes too long to load. I am really intrigued by Pennants Added, sorry I haven't been able to find the formulas anywhere or help to maintain them. And I coulda/shoulda cited PA data on my ballot.

If you take the 3 PAs for position players (derived from adjWARP1, adjWARP3 and adjWS0 and add them together, here's what you get (numbers only available for candidates eligible through 1914). The WARP numbers are old WARP, which may not affect position players a whole lot, but will affect the pitchers a whole lot.

Sam Thompson 2.64
   56. Rob Wood Posted: January 22, 2004 at 05:53 AM (#521000)
My 1918 ballot:

1. Joe Kelley -- would be a fully deserving addition to the HOM
   57. jimd Posted: January 22, 2004 at 06:33 PM (#521002)
jimd, I assume you meant 9) Van Haltren and 10) Ryan, or did you intend a tie? I tallied a 10th for Ryan.

Good catch. Ryan should be tenth, as my text tends to indicate, though not clearly. (Will the half-point make a difference? I hope not.)

Speaking of these two guys. Overall the HOF has treated the 1890's players more than fairly, though not as generously as the 1920's/30's players. But they are better represented than the following two decades when it comes to position players; pitchers are a different story, due to the statistical illusions caused by the changing playing conditions. So that tends to make me somewhat hesitant about electing players from this decade that have been ignored by the HOF. The same goes with respect to the marginal pitchers of the dead-ball era. They have also been treated generously, and some may not get plaques here. That doesn't mean we shouldn't elect them -- may the best numbers win -- but it does mean we give them extra scrutiny, less benefit of the doubt.
   58. Dag Nabbit: Sockless Psychopath Posted: January 22, 2004 at 08:58 PM (#521003)
Tough tough ballot to figure. If I came back in a half-hour I'd likely have many of these guys placed a little differently with some guys currently off the ballot making their way on it.

1. Joe Kelley (4,1,3). Great combo of career rate stats & career counting stats.
   59. Sean Gilman Posted: January 22, 2004 at 11:03 PM (#521004)
"Lip Pike. . . . Have trouble adjusting for a player with that short a career, so I checked out his translated stats at prospectus, & frankly wasn't that impressed. This guy fell off Kluszewski Cliff & fell hard. Not even close to making my ballot."

I don't see it Chris. His translated stats look pretty good to me, especially for a middle infielder/centerfielder who's missing the first 5 years of his career.
   60. EricC Posted: January 23, 2004 at 02:18 AM (#521005)
1918 ballot. Season-by-season ratings for each player determined relative to peers, and based on (unadjusted) win shares per plate appearance (for batters) or ERA+ (for pitchers), corrected for league strength. The best string of consecutive seasons (the "prime") is then determined for each player. Final ratings are based on "strength plus length" of prime.

1. Elmer Flick (N-1-3 last year) RF. 1898-1910: 291 WS/6414 PA; 27.2 WS/600 PA. Flick's peak trumps Keeler's career. Played at an all-star level nearly every year for a decade.

2. Willie Keeler (N-3-4) RF. 1892-1910: 333 WS/9594 PA; 20.8 WS/600 PA. Love those RBI totals. Great in the first half of his career, then ran up impressive career totals in hits and runs. Switch to the AL in 1903 is part of the reason that the AL quickly became stronger than the NL. Not an inner-circle HoMer, but a HoMer nonetheless.

3. George "Rube" Waddell (N-4-5) P. 1897-1909: 136 ERA+ in 2928.3 IP. Great combination of career length, good years, and Cy Young-type years (1904 -1905). I weigh ERA+ titles and near misses very highly in my system, which breaks up the potential pitcher glut. I also think that the AL was stronger than the NL in the '00s.

4. Hughie Jennings (8-8-3-1-3-2-6) SS. 1894-1898: 150 WS/2989 PA; 30.1 WS/600 PA. My system rewards the high peak types such as Jennings, McGraw, and Chance. Is it coincidence that they were all winning managers? Highest WS/600 rate of any player on the ballot.

5. Addie Joss (N-7-7) P. 1902-1910: 142 ERA+ in 2327.0 IP. 8.5 years at this level is no fluke.

6. Lip Pike (3-2-4-4-4-5-8) IF/RF/CF. Prime 1866(?)-1878. 158 OPS+ in 2006 PA in NA/NL. I trust the numbers. The quality of competition in the NA was only a little lower than in the NL. A forgotten star; a borderline HoMer.

7. Frank Chance (N-11) 1B (+C,OF). 1900-1911: 219 WS/4844 PA; 27.1 WS/600 PA. Outstanding run- best 1B six consecutive years. See McGraw comment.

8. John McGraw (12-15-9-5-6-6-9) 3B. 1894-1901: 169 WS/3618 PA; 28.0 WS/600 PA. Best 3B of 1890s. 2nd strongest prime of any player on ballot. As with Chance, not in consensus top 20. I deliberately set the balance between strength and length in my system such that the short-career types favored by Cooperstown (e.g. Jennings & Chance) could compete. McGraw fits the mold. In any case, there is no question that he was brilliant when he actually played.

9. Dickey Pearce (X-4-2-8-9-10-X) Marc's comments made me reconsider Pearce this year. Anecdotal evidence, and the mere fact that he played at shortstop into his 40s leaves no doubt that he was at least as great as Dahlen/Wallace lite. Lingering doubts about how many people were actually playing baseball before the Civil War keep me from moving him higher.

10. Jake Beckley (N-5-3-5-11-10) 1B. 1888-1906: 318 WS/10348 PA; 18.4 WS/600 PA. Could be counted on to be average to very good for 17 straight years of full-time play. Though only the 15th runner up in 1917, I wouldn't be surprised if he eventually gets elected- 2930 hits is a lot of career.

11. Joe Kelley (N-9-10-12-12) LF/CF/1B. 1893-1904: 272 WS/6644 PA; 24.6 WS/600 PA. Strong prime raises him above Ryan/Van H/Duffy, etc. I can see the argument for putting him above Keeler, but here the extra career length of Keeler makes the difference in a tight ballot.

12. Jimmy Collins (N-11-11-13-13) 3B. 1895-1907: 267 WS/6982 PA; 22.9 WS/600 PA. Was very good, but just below the level that would make him an automatic HoMer.

13. Jimmy Ryan (X-13-10-10-12-14-15) OF. 1885-1903: 310 non pitching WS/9106 PA = 20.4 WS/600, + 6 pitching WS. Long career raises him above Van H/Duffy, etc.

14. Vic Willis (N-15-14) P. 1898-1910: 118 ERA+ in 3996.0 innings. My system sees him as McGinnity quality plus two more years of quantity. Those extra years are enough to make a big difference.

15. Cupid Childs (7-7-7-6-7-8-X) 2B. 1890-1901: 238 WS/6754 PA; 21.1 WS/600 PA. Best 2B six times in 1890s; and for the decade as a whole.

16. Sol White,

17. Frank Grant. I've been tying Grant to Childs on my ballot, but my first impression of White is that he deserves to rate above Grant, so he splits the two. Unfortunately for Grant, I've soured a bit on 19th century 2B with long careers. The type was just a little too common (for example, Kid Gleason, Bobby Lowe, Fred Pfeffer, and Joe Quinn.) The anecdotal evidence does not suggest a great enough peak to raise him any higher than this.

18. George Van Haltren, 19. Hugh Duffy, 20. Mike Tiernan, 21. Harry Wright, 22. Jack Powell, 23. Clark Griffith, 24. Lave Cross,

25. Charlie Bennett. C. 1878-1893: 157 WS/4210 PA; 21.9 WS/600 PA. 16th in pennants added by WARP3, only 51st (at best) by Win Shares. I trust the WS numbers more. The case for Bennett rests either on a positional bonus or considering his 1881-1883 play to be at a MVP level. Sorry, but I am not willing to give a positional bonus, and I think his 1881-1883 play was merely "all-star".

26. Charley Jones, 27. Fielder Jones, 28. Tom York,

29. Sam Thompson. RF. 1885-1898: 236 WS/6470 PA; 21.9 WS/600 PA. Looks great by traditional stats, but doesn't look so great when career length and inconsistency are factored in.

30. Deacon McGuire,

31. Joe McGinnity. P. 1899-1908: 121 ERA+ in 3441.3 IP. More quantity than quality. Note that I do not consider W/L records in my ratings. BP DERA data do not suggest that his ERA was especially helped nor hurt by his defense. Using BP's translated pitching stats, McGinnity minus Waddell equals 332.3 IP at a 6.95 ERA.

X. Bob Caruthers. P/OF. 1884-1893: 129 ERA+ in first 2727 IP; 98 non-pitching WS/2906 PA; 20.2 WS/600 PA. I've probably said too much about Caruthers already, so I'll keep it short here. Considering the shortness of his career, and the context of his era, league, and team, I think his career is worthy of the "Hall of the Very Good", not the HoM.
   61. Dag Nabbit: Sockless Psychopath Posted: January 23, 2004 at 02:55 AM (#521006)
   62. EricC Posted: January 23, 2004 at 01:29 PM (#521007)
[Joe McGinnity]: Another unique player, 417 career wins in the majors and minors.

McGinnity played in the minors as late as 1925. Joe D., we need an official ruling on how much weight can be given to McGinnity's minor league accomplishments on the year X ballot, when X < 1926.
   63. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: January 23, 2004 at 01:41 PM (#521008)
I have no idea why this matters, I really don't. Could you explain your concern, Eric? You've asked for a ruling twice, but I have no idea why.

Anyway, JMcG's contributions after 1918 are fairly negligible. I am happy to ignore them if you like - I wouldn't change my rating of him, which is based on his peak/prime and not his career (you could scratch his entire minor league career and it wouldn't change my ranking of him).
   64. Philip Posted: January 23, 2004 at 03:26 PM (#521009)
My ratings are based primarily on WARP1 figures, Adjusted Win Shares, subjective arguments (where I feel they are necessary) and some positional adjustments to WARP. I look at peak, prime and career values, where career value accounts for 50%. Pitchers get a little boost to compensate for shorter careers.

The top 5 are close and all clearly deserving:

1. Bennett (4-2-4) ? Being a regular catcher for 13 years is a bigger accomplishment than being a regular 1b/outfielder for 16 years. Therefore I give Bennett a little boost. Very good peak and prime numbers to go with good career. Made my personal HOM back in 1905, Addie Joss? first 20-win season.
   65. Dag Nabbit: Sockless Psychopath Posted: January 23, 2004 at 06:35 PM (#521012)
Rube Waddell . . . . Someone (Chris Cobb?) mentioned that his ERA+ was unreliable because he had a very disproporionate number of unearned runs that year, so mark his record down by a win or two. Still, as far as I know, his excess number of unearned runs was only a one year thing & not an annual event for him.

Got curious & checked it out for him. Here's the percentage of his runs that were unearned, the % for the rest of the pitchers on his team that year, & how that affected his total number of earned runs. Looking at only his major seasons (ignoring 1897, 1899, 1910 & his stint with Pitt in 1901):

   66. OCF Posted: January 23, 2004 at 06:59 PM (#521013)
I've been looking at RA rather than ERA all along, for everyone. I've still got Waddell's career RA+ (well, not exactly, but something closely related) as a little better than McGinnity, Griffith, or Willis, and only a little behind Joss. I like McGinnity the most out of that crowd, but I did put Waddell 6th on my ballot, higher than the consensus on him.
   67. Marc Posted: January 23, 2004 at 07:08 PM (#521015)
>It does show
   68. OCF Posted: January 23, 2004 at 07:20 PM (#521016)
I've got an estimate of season-by-season RA+'s for Griffith, "Cy A. Young", McGinnity, Waddell, Willis, Joss, Chesbro, Walsh, Brown, Orth, Powell, Leever, Phillippe, and Mathewson. These are park adjusted (using the park factors from a STATS handbook) but not defense-adjusted. If I could figure out how to format them, would you like to see them?
   69. Dag Nabbit: Sockless Psychopath Posted: January 23, 2004 at 08:13 PM (#521017)
   70. Dag Nabbit: Sockless Psychopath Posted: January 23, 2004 at 08:25 PM (#521018)
Using TomH's method of adjusting ERA+, here's the new (E)RA+ for all 5 pitchers (actual ERA+ in parathesis):

Addie Joss: 141 (142)
   71. Carl Goetz Posted: January 23, 2004 at 08:30 PM (#521019)
Chris J
   72. OCF Posted: January 23, 2004 at 09:03 PM (#521020)
Using an entirely different method ... OK, I'll explain the method. Find RA for each season. League and park adjust it to get RA+. Convert RA+ into a winning percentage. Multiply by IP/9 to get a W-L record. Add up the W-L records. Convert back from career winning percentage to get a career number that's something like RA+. For the 5 players in Chris J.'s post #96, here's what I get (with the "equivalent" W-L record in parentheses):

Addie Joss: 134 (166-92)
   73. DanG Posted: January 23, 2004 at 09:09 PM (#521021)
Short on time (again), two new exhibits added (Flick, Kelley). Major repositioning for Keeler (up) and Thompson (down). The 1918 election picks up one of the backlog. In 1919 Jimmy Sheckard joins the OF scramble, while two more backloggers gain election. In 1920 Bobby Wallace and Ed Walsh stir things up.

1) Bennett (3,2,4)? Catchers with highest OPS+, 1876-1921 (3500+ PA):
   74. Esteban Rivera Posted: January 23, 2004 at 10:16 PM (#521022)
Comments haven't changed much due to my regular computer with all my calculations on it being on the fritz and have to do this from a different one. Hopefully I'll remember every compliance point.

1. 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.

2. Jimmy Collins - The best thirdbaseman of his time. Great defense and hitting for the position. Edges out Williamson and Cross.

3. Sam Thompson - A heck of an offensive machine. Reputed to have the best arm of his time. Doesn't the 1890's Philadelphia outfield kind of resemble the mid 1990's Cleveland outfield?

4. Elmer Flick - See him about even with Thompson. Slots right behind him on the ballot. Fantastic player in terms of peak.

5. Joe McGinnity - Compiled an awesome record in only a decade and began past the usual starting age for a ballplayer in the majors. The best pitcher or runner up for half his career

6. Rube Waddell - Was a special picher. I buy the run support analysis and also believe in the higher value of being a phenomenal K artist in his time and place. His career record isn't that impressive but you have to remember that there were some stretches where he was jettisoned because his managers did not know how to deal with his unique personality.

7. Willie Keeler - Fantastic career numbers but was not great in other offensive aspects besides batting average. However, he is definitely worthy. Moves up this year.

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

9. Hughie Jennings - A historical monster for five years.

10. Joe Kelley - His career gives him a slight edge over Hugh Duffy. Don't see the impact that Stovey or Thompson had.

11. 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 and Van Haltren.

12. Frank Grant - Still believe he was great, it just gets a bit harder to justify placing him higher than the ones above.

13. Pete Browning - Was a heck of a hitter and did it under tremendous duress. I buy the "greatness can't take full advantage off lower competition" idea. Proved he could hold his own in the player's league.

14. Jake Beckley - The counting stats career guy. Reached the point where the length of being above average works in his favor.

15. Clark Griffith - Comes back on the ballot thanks to the arguments in his favor this cycle.
   75. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: January 23, 2004 at 11:01 PM (#521023)
Re Rube Waddell's unearned runs...

I was curious as to how much of Waddell's high unearned run total was due to his own fielding, and how much to other factors, I decided to take a stab at it.

Waddell has a career fielding percentage of .909, and made 91 errors (in 2961.3 defensive innings at pitcher). His league average fielding percentage was .941, which translates into 59 errors in the 1001 chances that Waddell handled.

So Rube is responsible for 32 errors more than the average pitcher (this overestimates his error total... Waddell had fewer chances than the average pitcher, mostly due to his insanely high strikeout totals, so the average pitcher would have moer opportunities to make errors).

The RA+ method states that Rube allowed 45 unearned runs over the typical pitcher on his team. So not all of the unearned runs can be attributable to Waddell's own pitching; some other factor is certainly at work. Ideas?
   76. OCF Posted: January 23, 2004 at 11:11 PM (#521024)
Craig B: I took a couple of stabs at that question. This year's discussion thread, post #65.
   77. Chris Cobb Posted: January 24, 2004 at 02:56 AM (#521025)
1918 Ballot

Everybody in the top half of the ballot slides up; many changes further down.

Notes on rankings. For position players, I use season-adjusted, fielding-adjusted, league-adjusted win shares as my primary metric. I establish a preliminary ranking by combining career value and ?total peak?: the sum of win shares above average in all above-average seasons. I then modify this ranking by considering peak, peak rate, prime, number of seasons above average, and position. For pitchers, I use my calculated percentage of wins above average value, looking at peak and career. Right now I?m slotting pitchers among the position players on something of an eyeball basis; I?m working on a conversion of wins above average to win shares. Still need to establish a fair number for the value of an average pitcher.

History of voting covers the last 8 years.

Ought to be elected

1. Joe Kelley (--, --, --, --, 3, 4, 2, 3) Reaches the top of my ballot in his fifth year of eligibility. Fourth-best peak on ballot, 3rd best career, strong prime. 1890s were deep in outfielders; no obvious reason that a left fielder who is not as good as Delahanty, Burkett, or Clarke (all effectively 1st-ballot HoMers) should be devalued because he ranks behind them. 373 CWS. Total peak 73. Peak rate, 94-99 = 35.47.
   78. Adam Schafer Posted: January 24, 2004 at 07:57 AM (#521026)
Took me all week to get my ballot together. I had a prelim, but have changed it, rethought it, and changed it over and over again. I had a very difficult time with my #4-7 spots. Although all spots on the ballot are important, the 4-7 spots are very important on what appears to be some very close voting. I wanted to make sure that was very careful to put the players where I thought they deserved. I'd be upset with myself if Keeler didn't get in b/c of one point when I may have possibly felt he should have been higher on my ballot, or vice versa. This is an important year, I wanted to be 100% sure with my ballot, thus the delay.

1. Charlie Bennett (3) - I hope that all of the FOCB get their votes in this year. This could very well be the year for Charlie if we all turn out and vote.

2. Mickey Welch (5) - Another huge jump this year. So he pitched for great teams. So those great teams may have one the games for him. SO he pitched in a lot of games each year and when you pitch that many games, you're bound to win as many games as he did. They are the same conditions that Keefe had. I'm not getting so crazy here that I'm saying Welch as great a player as Keefe. He wasn't, but if we penalized Keefe for all the same things that everyone is penalizing Welch for, then Keefe wouldn't be a HOMer. I just think that I have been following the crowd too much on Welch and have allowed myself to have double standards. Do I think he was better than Waddell, McGinnity, and Joss? Yes, I do. I didn't want to go overboard, but I seriously think Welch will be moving up ahead of Keeler on my ballot. POSSIBLY even ahead of Bennett, which says a lot as I have been a very strong supporter of Bennett. I know that this is not going to be a popular decision on my part, but I have to do what I feel is right.

3. Joe McGinnity (13) - Yes, 2 of my top 3 spots are pitchers, and it's not going to be a popular vote with everyone else I know, but at least read my explanations before you ridicule me. I've thought about Joe, I've dropped him off of my ballot, added him back to my ballot, had him near the top of my ballot, then back towards the bottom again. He led the league in wins 5 times, stands out more as a player than the OF glut does. I've stated several times before that I'm a big fan of catchers, but I never mentioned that pitchers are my 2nd favorite players to be voting for. I might find more worth in pitchers and catchers than anyone else voting, much like some people favor shortstops.

4. Willie Keeler (4) - My top 3 holdovers from last years ballot (cy and Fred are in) take the top 3 total spots on the ballot this year.

5. Sam Thompson (6) - 10 great years. Excellant peak. I'm more of a career type of person than I am peak, but Sam has a great mix of both.

6. Jake Beckley (7) - Again, I'm a career lover

7. Jimmy Collins (8) - Greatest third baseman so far. Gets much of the same boost that Bennett does, Bennett was just better at his position.

8. Elmer Flick (10) - Not quite the career I'm looking for, but I have some personal feelings getting in the way with Elmer. I read a lot about Elmer growing up (I have loved baseball history for as long as I can remember) and have several Flick autographs, BUT I have to put personal feelings aside and place him lower than my heart would like to have him. He just didn't have the career that I like. He had great peak, but not enough career. I have become rather sick of the OF glut and have seriously questioned the "greatness" of this group, if they were so "great" then there wouldn't be so many of them backlogged on the ballot. You can argue it's like today's shortstops, but it really isn't. A-Rod, Nomar, Jeter (to some extent) are great, they most likely won't be hanging around year after year begging to get into the Hall. They stand out against their peers much more than this OF glut does. OF glut is officially moving down for me now.

9. Rube Waddell (n/a) - Rube didn't even make my ballot last year, but with my new rankings of the OF glut, Waddell makes a very strong burst onto my ballot. Jeff said in post #40 "Comparable to Griffith, but win totals are far less impressive. Can?t see putting him ahead of Griffith, unless you overvalue strikeouts", if that's true, then I admittedly overvalue strikeouts. I much prefer Waddell to Griffith.

10. Lip Pike (n/a) - Another strong burst onto my ballot. I have let my own ignorance of pre-1871 baseball keep him off of my ballot. I have read and re-read some of the previous threads and ballots, saved them to floppy and taken them to my 2nd job with me to read them, and I'm convinced now to an extent of his greatness. This goes to show that sometimes it does take awhile for votes to truly appreciate a player.

11. Hughie Jennings (15) - Nothing new to add to Jennings, except that he moves up above my OF glut

12. Joe Kelley (9) - The best of the remaining outfielders

13. George Van Haltren (11) - I've been a moderate supporter of Van Haltren, unfortunately he'll never make the HOM, but he's still the 13th best player eligible in my opinion. Good career, very modest peak.

14. Jimmy Ryan (12) - See Van Haltren

15. Clark Griffith (n/a) - Back on my ballot. Even being a friend of pitchers, he can't be any higher on my ballot.
   79. Brad G. Posted: January 24, 2004 at 03:30 PM (#521030)
I came across this further explanation for Waddell's 1905 W.S. absence, from Harold Seymour's "Baseball: The Golden Age":

"Fans have wondered ever since what might have happened had the Athletics not lost the services of their star left-hander, Rube Waddell. The eccentric pitcher was supposed to have injured his shoulder in a playful tussle with a teammate, Andy Coakley. Waddell tried to smash Coakley's straw hat because Andy was wearing it out of season. Sensational stories appeared charging that New York gamblers had bribed Waddell to stay out of the Series by feigning injury. Connie Mack denied them, and although the rumors were never substantiated, they persisted for years afterward."

Straw hat...classic.
   80. Dag Nabbit: Sockless Psychopath Posted: January 24, 2004 at 08:52 PM (#521033)
Unearned runs & Vic Willis - same formula as mentioned in post #90, first VW's percent of runs that were unearned, then his team's, then how it affects his earned run total:

   81. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 25, 2004 at 10:17 PM (#521035)
Here's my ballot. Again, I use a combination of peak and career for the rankings. Therefore, career guys will mix with peak guys on my ballot. 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."
   82. Ken Fischer Posted: January 26, 2004 at 05:40 AM (#521038)
1918 Ballot

Sorry running's not midnight yet where I'm at!

1-Bob Caruthers 337 WS
   83. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: January 26, 2004 at 05:53 AM (#521039)
Some shuffling at the top of the ballot and a couple of CFs come back in the bottom. Harry Stovey makes my personal HoM this year.

1. Charlie Bennett (3) Excellent fielder, had a strong hitting peak. I'm not saying to elect him because we're short of catchers, but he is so far ahead of any other catcher under consideration that it's a strong indication of his quality. Made my personal HoM a few years back.

2. Jimmy Collins (4) Similar argument to Bennett, he's a lot better than any other 3B under consideration. Good offense for a 3B, quality fielder.

3. Lip Pike (6) Had a very strong career in the NA, nice power/speed combo, and no reason to think he was any worse in his pre-NA career. Was a more substantial figure in his era than K/K/F.

4. Elmer Flick (8) Okay, this week I like peak a little more. It's a very tough call among these three outfielders; they all should be in and it looks like eventually they all will be.

5. Joe Kelley (5) Consistency is a good thing too. His lack of black ink is a little troubling, but his overall numbers are good enough to rank him this high.

6. Dickey Pearce (7) Although he hasn't really moved on my ballot, I'm now convinced he should be in the Hall, and I'll be less likely to move people ahead of him.

7. Willie Keeler (9) Below Flick and Kelley because his contributions were more limited - rate stats aren't everything, but his OPS+ comes up pretty poor in this company.

8. Hughie Jennings (10) The peak is outstanding, although there isn't much else. But it's a much better peak than anyone else on the ballot.

9. Frank Grant (11) I'd rather err on the side of putting the best Negro Leaguer of the 19th century (which I'm pretty sure he was) in than out.

10. Bob Caruthers (12) New WARP adores him, but I'm not sure I trust it. He did have a very short career, and I'm just not sure of his greatness to put him any higher. The Support-Neutral wins really don't think much of him.

11. Jim McCormick (14) I still can't see any firm reason to put any other pitcher above him. I'm not really convinced we're that short on pitchers - I see a bunch of them as very similar. His WARP3 is about the same as McGinnity or Waddell, his S/N Fibbonaci is ahead of McGinnity, Griffith and Waddell, he was in the top 10 in ERA+ 9 times (granted, that's a function of his era, but I'd say it's comparable to McGinnity and Griffith's 5 times).

12. Joe McGinnity (15) Yes, his peak is impressive, but it's not as dominant to me as Jennings' was.

13. Clark Griffith (23) Hadn't realized quite how similar to McGinnity he was, if one's on the other has to be nearby.

14. Jimmy Ryan (17) The OF glut returns! Good career numbers, but not up to the other OFs.

15. George Van Haltren (21) As far as I can tell, they haven't fixed the WARP glitch yet, and I think it may be overrating GVH a bit. I had him a bit too low, but he's very close to Ryan.

Dropped Out/Top 10 omissions

Jake Beckley (13) The more I look at him, the worse his peak gets, and in his case I'm NOT convinced he was so much better than other 1Bmen, he just played longer.

Sam Thompson: Doesn't really match up with the other corner OFs on the ballot, and has a lot of question marks around his numbers (high-scoring era, didn't play enough)

Rube Waddell: Came in at #16, not quite as much career value as the pitchers who made it, and I'm not terribly impressed by the strikeouts.
   84. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 26, 2004 at 05:21 PM (#521043)
44 ballots cast. Is that everyone this week?

Don't know. BTW, I have the same number.
   85. Rick A. Posted: January 26, 2004 at 06:56 PM (#521045)
I also have 44 ballots, but there is a question on one of them.

<i>Posted 9:49 a.m., January 24, 2004 (#106) - Iron Man Joe McGinnity
   86. Rick A. Posted: January 26, 2004 at 06:58 PM (#521046)
Sorry, I meant that we should start enforcing them consistently. We should all be following the rules everytime.
   87. Howie Menckel Posted: January 26, 2004 at 07:31 PM (#521047)
I have 44 ballots also, and don't give a Flick if we have to wait all night to announce our winner and our wee (?) runnerup.
   88. Brad G. Posted: January 26, 2004 at 07:44 PM (#521048)
Great, as long as we don't bennett the rules too much....
   89. Jeff M Posted: January 26, 2004 at 09:16 PM (#521051)
12. Jimmy Williams--Wanted to give a nod at least once to Williams, whose career was shortish, but who had about as dominant a stretch from a 2nd/3rd baseman as you're going to see at the beginning of his career. Aged pretty poorly, however.

I don't want to be the bad guy here, but I don't quite understand this, Mark. He's either worthy of a vote, or not. I don't think you give a 12th place vote as "a nod". If you are only going to vote for him in this election and no others, why vote for him at all? Why would you put him ahead of Charlie Bennett, Joe Kelley and Frank Grant?

Don't we have some rule against a token vote?
   90. OCF Posted: January 26, 2004 at 10:31 PM (#521054)
Actually, I seem to missing from a lot of ballots this year.

I was the one who posted as "Iron Man Joe McGinnity". I'm only a Friend of the Iron Man to the extent that he's my highest ranking current pitcher. I had him 5th, pretty close his actual 6th place finish. I was trying to provoke a response from RMc, all of whose explanations seem pretty thin. I'd count his ballot, anyway, but I wish he'd give us a little more.

As for the claim in the quote above: McGinnity was missing from 7 of the 44 ballots. Explanations:

Rob C
   91. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 26, 2004 at 10:53 PM (#521055)
So only two ballots - Rob Wood and RMc - didn't have explanations for not voting for McGinnity.

Rob had McGinnity at #13, so RMc is the only one who needs an explanation still.
   92. OCF Posted: January 26, 2004 at 11:07 PM (#521056)
My bad. Not Rob Wood, but jimd (I was looking at the wrong post.) And jimd said:
   93. RMc's Burdensome Anonymity Posted: January 27, 2004 at 01:18 AM (#521057)
Ooo! RMc dared to leave a Top Ten Baseball Primer Approved Guy off his list this week...without a Baseball Primer-approved excuse! The horror! The horror! JoeDimino, smite down this nonbeliever without delay!

Could everyone all get over their respective selves, please? I joined this board to have some fun and have a voice, but lately it feels like I'm appearing before the Primer Un-Baseball Activities Committee. ("Have you or have you not ever been a member of the Iron Joe McGinnity Fan Club...?!")

Has it occurred to anybody that by demanding explainations from anyone who dares colour outside the lines for a moment (complete with "committees" and "punishment" for "incompetence"), you're going to have a serious chilling effect on the process? Sorry, guys, but there's always going to be people who think different than the Hall of Merit Politburo. Get over it.


As for McGinnity: I just don't think 10 seasons and 121 ERA+ adds up to a HoMer; he might do a little better if I gave him more credit for his minor league days. There, happy now?

Again, geez.
   94. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 27, 2004 at 02:09 AM (#521058)

Calm down, dude. Nobody is asking you for your papers before you can enter WW1-era Berlin. We're not questioning your selections (which is good since I don't have McGinnity on my ballot, either :-), just that we're curious to your reasons against his placement on your ballot.

I know it seems like a pain in the ass, but you don't have to post it in novella form. Your explanation for the Iron Man is fine; just copy and paste it for later ballots.

If we are going to have rules, we have to enforce them for everyone or then we run the risk of the charge of favoritism from others.

You may now finish your testimony for the HUAC committee. :-)
   95. Howie Menckel Posted: January 27, 2004 at 03:04 AM (#521059)
   96. Marc Posted: January 27, 2004 at 03:08 AM (#521060)
Well, far be it for me to weigh in on a good controversy. I personally am a lot less concerned in the rules that are under discussion at the present time, than I am about quasi-"official" positions taken in re. to certain players.
   97. Marc Posted: January 27, 2004 at 03:55 AM (#521061)
But to follow up more constructively. I would lighten up on the rules. If a ballot is not imcompetent on its face (positions 1-15), it is certainly NOT incompetent because it fails to state why #16ff. were not voted for.

It would be different if our ballot was the only opportunity for disucssion. But we see hundreds of posts each weak discussing the merits of various players. A P.S. to a ballot is not going to help others to discover a player or a new fact about that player or a new reason to vote for that player. If such a case can be made, it was already made in the discussion thread.

I would just require that items 1-15 show some rationale and not be incompetent. All else is gravy.
   98. Daryn Posted: January 27, 2004 at 01:17 PM (#521063)

The problem with your thinking is that the number of people in the HoM has been set, and it will include people you and I do not think are Hall Worthy. We cannot lobby for a small hall.

Additionally, your picks below the top five affect the placement of others jockeying for a place in the Hall. Charlie Bennett lost a point this year on your ballot, and in 1920 or 1921 that could be the difference between him making it or not.
   99. EricC Posted: January 27, 2004 at 01:56 PM (#521064)
I counted 45 ballots. This includes the one posted by Rusty Priske in the 1918 discussion thread (#3).
   100. EricC Posted: January 27, 2004 at 02:22 PM (#521065)
On the 1918 discussion thread #95, Rusty Priske asked if somebody would post his preliminary ballot (1918BD #3) on the ballot thread. Unfortunately, his preliminary ballot does not have any explanations. In spite of that, I would vote to include this ballot.
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