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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Sunday, April 30, 2006

1976 Ballot Discussion

1976 (May 15)—elect 2
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)

203 54.8 1959 Bob Allison-RF/LF (1995)
181 62.1 1958 Johnny Roseboro-C (2002)
165 35.8 1956 Tito Francona-LF/1B
132 54.2 1952 Ron Kline-RP
126 47.0 1960 Earl Wilson-P (2005)
118 46.5 1957 Mike McCormick-P
116 34.9 1958 Jim Davenport-3B
099 38.8 1957 Don Cardwell-P
117 25.5 1963 Pete Ward-3B
098 31.8 1956 Hank Aguirre-RP (1994)
100 23.8 1963 Jimmie Hall-CF/LF

Players Passing Away in 1975

Age Elected

75 1947 Lefty Grove-P
63 1967 Joe Medwick-LF

Age Eligible

85 1931 Casey Stengel
85 1931 Max Flack-RF
85——Larry MacPhail-HOF Executive
69 1949 Moose Solters-LF
60 1955 Jeff Heath-LF
57 1961 Sid Gordon-LF/3B
55 1960 Dave Koslo-P
48 1967 Clint Courtney-C
47 1971 Nellie Fox-2B

Upcoming Candidate

32 1979 Jim McGlothlin-P
29 1980 Don Wilson-P

Thanks, Dan!

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 30, 2006 at 09:18 PM | 230 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   201. sunnyday2 Posted: May 11, 2006 at 12:43 PM (#2014394)
Sorry, I thought the Mattingly-Sisler discussion was on the discussion thread, turns out I was on the ballot thread.

But, anyway, recently I've been plugging players becoming eligible through 1990 into my system, and getting the rankings down within the cohort. Next step is to merge the backlog with the newly eligibles. Any surprises?


Among the "Gloves" I came up with: Morgan, Bench, Santo, Banks, B. Robinson, Torre, Freehan, Bando, Campaneris, Fregosi, Tenace, Aparacio, Mazeroski. (That was my consideration set.) I guess some would be surprised at Aparicio's poor showing and Tenace being in there at all. Santo ahead of Banks? Not a surprise among us HoMeboys, but perhaps to the general public. Bando and Fregosi maybe a surprise to some.

I toyed with the idea of ranking Bench ahead of Morgan. You'd need a heck of a catcher bonus, truth be told. I could rank Bench ahead just based on career OPS+ (Morgan 133 Bench 127) until you get to the fact that Morgan played 5 extra seasons. It's just too much. But, hey, Morgan is a C fielder by WS and Bench an A-, so....

Among the "Bats" it's: Mays, Aaron, F. Robinson, Yaz, Kaline, McCovey, Allen, Killebrew, Clemente, Stargell, R. Smith, B. Williams, Cepeda, F. Howard, Cash, Wynn, Bo. Bonds, Pinson, W. Davis, Singleton, Otis, Oliva. Some surprises there--R. Smith over B. Williams! Cash over Wynn! Yaz' prime doesn't impress: His 7th best OPS+ of 138 compares to Kaline's 145, Clemente 146, Killebrew 147, Allen 160, R. Smith at 137, Cepeda 133, Wynn 139, Singleton 135; IOW he is in the second tier. But those 21 seasons of ?100 OPS+ and ?100 games add a hell of a lot of bulk.

McCovey is another whose career arc includes a surprisingly weak late prime/early decline. Clemente had some mediocre seasons, he was a late late bloomer among this caliber of competition. For me, the big surprise is that there is nothing in Tony Oliva's record to put him anywhere near the ballot. Frankly, that he is even in the consideration set is a bit of a gift. I mean, he ends up behind Amos Otis, fer chrissakes.

Among the "Arms" I get: Wilhelm, Gibson, G. Perry, Palmer, Jenkins, Bunning, Marichal, Tiant, Kaat and then three relievers who are in the consideration set really just to see if relievers (mortal ones, Wilhelm excepted) of this era are worthy of consideration.
Answer: No. That would be McGraw, Lyle and Marshall. I was surprised that Gay-lerd rates ahead of Palmer and Marichal, and that Marichal rates behind guys like Jenkins and Bunning. Fergie has a much better case than I thought, Kaat a much weaker one.


1. Mays
2. Aaron
3. F. Robby
4. Morgan--Robby and Morgan a tough choice
5. Wilhelm
6. Bench
7. Yaz
8. Gibson
9. Kaline--better than the reputation
10. Santo

11. McCovey--some weak years there
12. G. Perry--probably should be higher
13. Allen
14. Killebrew
15. Banks--his career at 1B was mediocre at best
16. Palmer
17. Clemente--hard to peg, could be higher, could be lower
18. Stargell
19. Jenkins--better than I remembered
20. B. Robby--also a tough call, could be lower, couldn't be any higher

21. R. Smith--much better than I remembered
22. B. Williams--not quite as good as his reputation
23. Torre
24. Freehan--I would take Freehan over Torre to catch for my team, however
25. Cepeda--also not as good as his reputation
26. Bunning
27. Marichal--very very tough call but the peak is not as high as I thought nor the career as long as most of the others
28. F. Howard--better than the reputation
29. Cash--ditto
30. Wynn

31. Bonds
32. Bando
33. Tiant
34. Pinson
35. Campaneris
36. Fregosi
37. Aparicio--it wasn't much of an era for SSs
38. Kaat
39. W. Davis--better than his reputation but still #39
40. Singleton--I don't understand why there's a Singleton bandwagon , I mean he's on this list but that's as far as it goes

But now the hard part, integrating this with the backlog. Needless to say the top, oh, about 19 will go ahead of the backlog. After that, who knows?
   202. sunnyday2 Posted: May 11, 2006 at 01:01 PM (#2014401)
Also trying to move this topic from the ballot thread to the discussion thread:

TomH only has 8 HoM/not PHoM and PHoM/not HoM. Wow!

My lists now consist of (it is unbalanced because it includes my 1976 choices but not our 1976 choices):

PHoM/not HoM

Harry Wright--a mistake as data that became available after I elected him made clear
Charley Jones
Ed Williamson
Cupid Childs
Tommy Bond--am I the BFO19C?
Rube Waddell
Goerge Sisler
Dobie Moore
Jose Mendez
Pete Browing
Ralph Kiner
Willard Brown
Dick Redding
Minnie Minoso
Nellie Fox
Joe Gordon
Larry Doyle
Edd Roush

HoM/not PHoM

Ezra Sutton
Jim Galvin
Willie Keeler
Joe Kelley
Pete Hill
Jimmy Sheckard--am I the BEOLFers?
Red Faber
Stan Hack
Earl Averill
Wes Ferrell
Richie Ashburn
Early Wynn
Bobby Doerr
Cool Papa Bell
Don Drysdale
Biz Mackey

Griffith, Averill, Hack and Drysdale (in that order) would be on my ballot if they were still eligible and will probably go PHoM soon enough. Hopefully two from among Brown, Sisler, Gordon and Mendez (or Minoso, next) will fall off the PHoM/not HoM list this year, bringing the 2 lists back to parity.
   203. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: May 11, 2006 at 02:34 PM (#2014464)
I only have 9 PHOM/notHOM guys and it will be just eight if Gordon makes it this year. However, the 10-15 guys on my ballot are not really high ranking players.

Then again I did start in 1935, so there are about 37 elections that I missed and I haven't gone back thorugh time to figure out a PHOM.
   204. Paul Wendt Posted: May 11, 2006 at 04:23 PM (#2014604)
moved from 1976 Ballot (out of place there, as Marc notes)

Talk about a deep but not singularly impressive backlog - [1] my #1 man this ballot is overall 121st in my rankings to date; clearly in the bottom 20% of my HoM. I only have 16 HoM electees to date rated behind him, which, given we've elected about 140 guys, is pretty incredible.

That 121 is one new statistic by Tom Hanrahan. Let me identify another, [2] perhaps 130 of his PHOM in the HOM to date. For yest, those two stats may be 50 (rank of his 1976 #1 on his all-time list to date) and 100 (of his PHOM in the HOM to date). These two stats may both be called "aggregate consensus scores" pertaining to the project in aggregate rather than to a single election.

Paul, another way I considered looking at it was this: if I could swap 8 elected men out of the HoM and replace them with 8 of my choice, the HoM would be perfectly aligned with my rankings. I suspect that my number of "8" would be smaller than most voters, thus giving me a high 'aggregate consensus score' as you suggested. Interestingly, I think my wife says I can be very aggregating at times, so I have consensus on the home front too :)

I would not be surprised to learn that 8 is the low (highest aggregate consensus in sense [2])
or that 121 is the high among all voters (highest aggregate consensus in sense [1]). Even with all the home front support in the world, TomH is one man who will not put much energy into organizing another Hall of Merit with a new set of voters. But he is a veteran of the Baseball Survivor project that identified a top 100 one by one.

There is a strong hint of aggregate consensus type [2] on the ballot of anyone who notes PHOM members there. For veteran maintainers of a PHOM only a strong hint because some old PHOM honorees have "tobogganed" since then.
   205. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 11, 2006 at 04:34 PM (#2014625)
Even if we say no more of Brown than "Andre Dawson without knee problems," I think that's going to be a pretty strong case.

I agree strongly here. Dawson is a top-30 player at either RF or CF. But that includes his injuries. Had he not had yearly, recurrent issues with his legs, the second half of his career might have included much more fielding value (staying in CF, going to RF instead of DH, etc) which could conceiveably push him into the top 20 or 25 at his position.

In other news, I don't see the 67 walkless ABs as a red herring, but I don't see them as a smoking gun either. They are far from determinative, and there are numerous social/personal/personal-financial/etc pressures colliding on Brown in this small sample that it's unlikely to be a realistic view of subsequent MLB performance. Show me a season's worth and I'd take it more seriously...especially in light of the information we do have about his walk rates. His PRWL and TxL walk rates are acceptable, and we've got almost nothing on the NgL years.

So think of it binarily. A player's native walk rate is what it is and could be represented as X. Does a 67 at-bat trial under any circumstances (let alone trying circumstances) have any more capacity to reveal the native walk rate of a player who walks a lot than one who does not? Probably not much. If a player whose native walk rate is 10 walks for ever 100 PAs walks only three times in a 67 PA trial, how much do you discredit that trial? What if he walks once? Or doesn't walk? He's walking well below his native level, is he going to come around?

And what if Brown (whose native walk rate appears to be around 6%) had instead walked once in 67 trips? Would that assuage concerns about his walks?

Anyway, I see Andre-Vlad-Sammy as the likely range of this player, having plugged him in to the MLE system. I certainly feel like there's plenty of room for questions about him, MLEs aren't perfect, they're only suggestive, and few of us probably have a grand enough sense of the leagues these guys played in to know just how much he was contributing to his teams. And that's why he's still on the ballot and not in the HOM. With any luck on his part, he won't be on the ballot too much longer.

---by the by---contrast Brown with Hank Thompson. Thompson was a VG to great player whose career was screwed up by the war, by an unfair trial in STL, by sloppy integration policies, by the unofficial quota, and by his own boozing and thuggish lifestyle. BUT Hank Thompson is the walks-and-power guy we all want Brown to be, and he played infield to boot. Thompson was the kind of player who, with the skills he had, was frequently playing at an all-star level. But his walks only got him so far. He didn't have nearly Brown's power, and he didn't hit for quite the average Brown did. He also didn't have Brown's signature power/speed combo.

Thompson's first trial seems more in character with his career, esp viz walk rates, but it didn't mean that Hank became a superstar. It was not determinative because it was too small and too fraught with off-the-field issues to be indicative. He became a really good player, and walked much more than his trial suggested. Brown avoided injury, stayed in shape, and had tremendous natural talent which expressed itself in high batting averages, strong power totals, and very good running speed. I think the sum of his talents is well represented by the non-MLB stats he accrued, and then by the MLEs. Thompson's are too. And both men's shortcomings as players are abundantly evident as well: Thompson's short career and sometimes low averages; Brown's lack of walks.

You can play this game with any two Negro Leaguers you want, but the thing that I keep coming back to is that Brown was a demonstrable impact player in virtually every single non-major league he played in. He hit everywhere, and often for tremendous totals that set records that few if any other players in his leagues approached in his time. We're not talking about Judy or Ray here whose ONLY positives were glove and average. Nor Shea or Soriano, neither of whom can play defense. Brown had a well-rounded game in every facet except walking. The walks aren't his fatal flaw so much as a characteristic of his particular way of putting his talent together. And i believe the total package is probably enough to be a HOMer. I don't think that's true for many other "non-walking" players (Jim Rice, Andre Dawson, or Luis Aparicio, for instance), but the weight of the evidence suggests this is so for Brown.

sorry for the rambling nature of this.
   206. Paul Wendt Posted: May 11, 2006 at 05:09 PM (#2014681)
Marc sunnyday wonders whether he is the biggest friend of the 19th century. As a long time observer taking no notes on this point, I would have guessed Sean Gilman. Ron Wargo and Rick A. also have several 19ers on the ballot now.

<u>PHOM/not HOM</u>
Harry Wright--a mistake as data that became available after I elected him made clear
Charley Jones
Ed Williamson
Cupid Childs
Tommy Bond
Pete Browning

<u>HoM/not PHoM</u>
Ezra Sutton
Jim Galvin
Willie Keeler
Joe Kelley
[Clark Griffith?]

Is that right? 6 including one with regret, and 5?
Can't be the biggest friend!
   207. sunnyday2 Posted: May 11, 2006 at 06:18 PM (#2014795)
Well, Wright, Jones, Williamson, Bond and Browning all played primarily prior to 1890 and Childs is not really centered in the '90s. Keeler, Kelley and Griffith, at least, had careers centered in the '90s. (That leaves Sutton and Galvin, but those are just straight up swaps: Williamson for Sutton, Bond for Galvin.

I never consider the 1890s as "the 19th century," "the 19th century" means the dark ages. The '90s are just the "early 20th century," pretty much a part of the deadball era in terms of how they fit into baseball history.

But anyway, to be more specific, am I BF1880s?
   208. rawagman Posted: May 11, 2006 at 06:52 PM (#2014856)
Willard Brown - so much blog space for such a small sample....

Think about those 67 at bats in what was very much a trial performance. As a black man being intergrated into the majors, much like Jackie Robinson, he had to be much better than the guys on the team to be tolerated (I won't condescend to say 'feel made welcome'). If he walked once in ten, as Dr. Chaleeko claims was his career norm, would he have been tolerated?

The only way Willard Brown, or any other Negro League player would have made it, was as a super star. If Willard could have hit 5 home runs (hard to do without a bat you're comfortable with, eh?)
Look seriously at integration and tell yourself that there was merit in the process.
You want Joe Gordon to get MLB credit for unintegrated war-time play? You want to blame Willard Brown for his guinea pig impersonation in the half-arsed integration attempt made by the St. Louis Browns?

Willard Brown was not Jackie Robinson, and probably not Larry Doby either. We can't say for certain whether he stacks up to Vlad Guerrero. But that comp looks about right.
Certain players don't need to walk so much to be very effective.
Willard Brown was one of those.

Willard Brown deserves a spot in the Hall of Merit.
   209. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: May 11, 2006 at 07:41 PM (#2014919)
Can I ask why Willard Brown and not Alejandro Oms? I have Oms about 6 places ahead of Brown right now and I am very comfortable believing that Oms was the better player.
   210. AJMcCringleberry Posted: May 11, 2006 at 07:49 PM (#2014934)
RE: Willard Brown, yes he may not have walked a lot but he wasn't striking out a lot either. It's not like he was Soriano or Samuel. Vlad Guerrero sounds like a good comp to me.
   211. sunnyday2 Posted: May 11, 2006 at 07:50 PM (#2014936)
MLEs for what they are worth:


Brown 154/180-78-75-58-51-49-48-39-37-33
A. Oms 125/147-44-44-37-34-34-24-22-20-19-10-10-9-6


Brown 381/36-32-32-29-29-26-25-25-25-22-21-18-16
A. Oms 340/30-29-29-28-27-27-26-26-23-18-15-14-14-13

One may decide that they don't like these MLEs, but if one accepts them as the best evidence we have Oms had the longer career but for peak or prime (at his best or in an average year) does not appear to have had the same impact. Based on what I have seen I would have to ask what evidence there is that Oms was better other. And please don't say he took more BB, they're already factored into the OPS+.
   212. rawagman Posted: May 11, 2006 at 08:09 PM (#2014966)
you can ask. I have not been able to get a good feel for what Oms was worth as a player in terms of career value.
I should get a better look at him.
He's been fluctuating between 18-36 on my ballot.
I feel confident that Brown was a better, more valuaboe player than all but 7 players on this ballot. I do not feel as confident about Oms.
But hey, it's a backlog year!
   213. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: May 12, 2006 at 12:27 AM (#2015616)
When did Brown get 381 MLE WS? I have him at 328.

What is with the new trend of using OPS+ so much sunny? Espeically in this case, Oms was a decent CFer while I get the feelign that Brown would have played corner outfield for most of his career. That makes straight OPS+ a lot less significant.
   214. sunnyday2 Posted: May 12, 2006 at 02:20 AM (#2015989)
The 381 is from post #99 in the Willard Brown thread. There is an MLE at 328, another at 369, another at 381, heck there's one at 274. I use the last one, usually, because it represents the final word after discussion etc., and 381 is the latest WS MLE for Willard.
   215. yest Posted: May 12, 2006 at 04:46 AM (#2016302)
my pHoM not HoM
1.Ray Schalk
2.George Sisler
3.Jake Beckley
4.Jake Daubert
5.Jim Bottomley
6.Nellie Fox
7.Joe Sewell
8.Harvey Kuenn
9.Rabbit Maranville
10.Pie Traynor
11.George Kell
12.John McGraw
13.Levi Meyerle
14.Chuck Klein
15.Sam Rice
16.Gavvy Cravath
17.Kiki Cuyler
18.Pete Browning
19.Hack Wilson
20.Hugh Duffy
21.Edd Roush
22.George Van Haltren
23.Jimmy Ryan
24.Ginger Beaumont
25.Lloyd Waner
26.Heinie Manush
27.Ralph Kiner
28.Bobby Veach
29.George J. Burns
30.Mickey Welch
31.Rube Waddell
32.Addie Joss
33.Hilton Smith

HoM not pHoM
1.Stan Coveleski
2.Bob Caruthers
3.Don Drysdale
4.Red Faber
5.Wes Ferrell
6.Willie Foster
7.Ted Lyons
8.Eppa Rixey
9.Red Ruffing
10.Charlie Bennett
11.Louis Santop
12.Joe Start
13.Bobby Doerr
14.Frank Grant
15.Hardy Richardson
16.Jackie Robinson
17.John Beckwith
18.Heinie Groh
19.Ezra Sutton
20.Lou Boudreau
21.Hughie Jennings
22.Home Run Johnson
23.Dickey Pearce
24.Pee Wee Reese
25.Bobby Wallace
26.Jimmy Sheckard
27.Max Carey
28.Larry Doby
29.Monte Irvin
30.Cristóbal Torriente
31.Elmer Flick

though I expect to elect quite a few on the list before the project is up
   216. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 12, 2006 at 01:36 PM (#2016446)
Oms is a mystery man indeed. Those undocumented early years don't help his case much. I have him hovering around 18-20 among history's right fielders, just a notch or two below where Brown fits among CFs.

Chris did the MLEs for Oms, and I believe he used the regression method, in which case Oms's peak may be slightly higher than estimated. But even so, both cf and rf are totally loaded with talent from 1-30, and while Oms looks something like Roberto Clemente he could also be Rusty Staub. I can't come done as confidently on him as on Brown because I didn't run the numbers, and I don't have a close a handle on him as Brown. Thus I would defer to double-cee on that one.
   217. sunnyday2 Posted: May 12, 2006 at 03:16 PM (#2016561)
Totally irrelevant to anything, I was just wondering if my PHoM/not HoM (with 16 players to choose from) could compete with yest's (31)?

Me Yest (I'm guessing that his choices are listed in order of preference by position)

C- Williamson (34 games) Schalk
1B- Sisler Sisler
2B- Gordon Fox
SS- Moore Sewell
3B- Fox (6 games) Traynor
LF- Kiner Manush
CF- Roush H. Wilson
RF- W. Brown Klein
DH- Browning Browning*
SP- Waddell Waddell
Mendez Welch
Redding Joss
Bond H. Smith

* Both of us have Browning as the top PHoM/not HoM CF but since I didn't want Pistol Pete actually playing in the garden, I didn't think I should burden yest with him out there either.

I of course am totally biased on this comparison. What does anybody think? (And if Rube Waddell had to pitch both ways, in which half inning would he lose concentration?)

Obviously I'm at a disadvantage with a smaller pool in having Williamson and Fox out of position.

Anybody else wanna post their PHoM/not HoM all-stars?
   218. yest Posted: May 12, 2006 at 04:09 PM (#2016602)
(I'm guessing that his choices are listed in order of preference by position)
LF- Kiner Manush

they were but it was an old list updated for players but not for some ballot movements (a few "years" ago I moved Kiner ahead of Manush due to underestimating Kiner's defensive ability in his early years)
   219. OCF Posted: May 12, 2006 at 05:56 PM (#2016731)
I don't keep a PHOM. Another way to say that is that candidates, once elected, fall out of consideration and (for the most part) I stop comparing them to those still eligible.

I do keep track of where candidates were for me when they were elected.

I started voting in 1904. For each year, at what ballot position did I have the elected candidates? Here's the list:

"Elect me" positions:
Glasscock (1904), Radbourn (1905), Hamilton (1907), Delahanty (1909), Nichols (1911), Burkett (1912), Dahlen (1915), Davis (1915), Stovey (1916), Young (1917), Clarke (1917), Kelley (1919), Keeler (1919), Walsh (1920), Bennett (1921), Lajoie (1922), Mathewson (1922), Wagner (1923), Crawford (1923), Plank (1923), G. Johnson (1925), Magee (1926), J. Jackson (1927), Baker (1928), Sheckard (1930), Santop (1932), W. Johnson (1933), Wheat (1933), Cobb (1934), E. Collins (1935), Alexander (1936), J. Williams (1936), Torriente (1937), Heilmann (1937), Coveleski (1938), Faber (1939), Rogan (1940), Ruth (1941), Hornsby (1941), Vance (1942), Charleston (1943), Cochrane (1943), Gehrig (1944), Goslin (1945), Stearnes (1946), Simmons (1946), Grove (1947), Hartnett (1947), Gehringer (1948), J. Wilson (1948), Hubbell (1949), Waner (1950), Dihigo (1950), Foxx (1951), Cronin (1951), J. Gibson (1952), Ott (1952), Greenberg (1953), Dickey (1953), Vaughan (1954), Wells (1954), Leonard (1955), R. Brown (1955), Appling (1956), DiMaggio (1957), Beckwith (1957), Hack (1958), Paige (1959), Mize (1959), Newhouser (1960), J. Robinson (1962), Feller (1962), Campanella (1963), Reese (1964), Doby (1965), Slaughter (1965), Williams (1966), Ruffing (1966), Medwick (1967), Musial (1969), Berra (1969), Snider (1970), Spahn (1971), Roberts (1972), Ford (1973), Mantle (1974), Mathews (1974)

#2 (in an elect-1 year): Sutton (1908), Galvin (1910), McPhee (1913), Flick (1918)
#3: Wallace (1929), Speaker (1934), Lloyd (1935), Rixie (1968)
#4: Start (1912), Groh (1938), Frisch (1944)
#5: Rusie (1904), Lyons (1949), Boudreau (1958)
#6: Richardson (1905), Spalding (1906), 3F Brown (1925), Terry (1942), Wynn (1970)
#7: Grant (1926), McGinnity (1928), Drysdale (1975)
#8: Carey (1939), W. Foster (1945), W. Ferrell (1964)
#9: Averill (1961)
#10: McVey (1914), J. Collins (1921), Suttles (1956)
#11: Koufax (1972), Mackey (1974)
#14: Ashburn (1968)
#15: R. Foster (1932), Irvin (1963)

Off-ballot positions:

#17: Billy Herman (1958)
#19: Thompson (1929), Bell (1973)
#21: Caruthers (1930)
#24: Pearce (1931)
#28: Doerr (1972)
Not listed: Pike (1940), Jennings (1960), Griffith (1971)

Everyone that I've ever put into an "elect me" position has eventually been elected, with five exceptions: George Van Haltren, Larry Doyle, Joe Sewell, Billy Pierce, and (new this year) Ralph Kiner. All of them are still on my ballot.
   220. Howie Menckel Posted: May 13, 2006 at 12:11 AM (#2017198)
from the
(diamond angle, but looks like 'dangle')

According to Tommy Lasorda, "Willard Brown was one of the greatest hitters I ever saw."

In Puerto Rico, he smashed 27 home runs in 60 games in 1948, erasing Josh Gibson's old record of 13. His seasonal record still stands, with his closest challenge coming from Reggie Jackson's 20 home runs in 1971. From 1947 to 1949, Brown won three straight home run and batting titles. His batting averages for the period were astonishing' .390, .452, and .354. It was in Puerto Rico that he earned the nickname "Ese Hombre", which translates to "The Man" in English.

In 1947, The Man joined the St. Louis Browns. The struggling Browns, who two years earlier had signed one-armed outfielder Pete Gray before considering a black athlete, were not satisfied with Willard's chilly playing style.

His lackadaisical style of play may have lead to his early release from the St. Louis club. A former player, Ouincy Trouppe, once said, "He could have been a great ball player. He could hit the long ball, but he was so doggone triflin'! He would walk to the outfield...sometimes causing the pitcher to wait to throw the first pitch. He could hit the ball to right field, center field, left field. He was a great hitter. He didn't have a great arm, but better than average."

But teammate and later manager Buck O'Neil recounted, "Willard was so talented, he didn't look as if he was hustling. Willard Brown stole bases standing up; he didn't slide because he didn't have to."
Buck added, "Willard Brown could do all the things in baseball---hit, run, field, throw and hit for power. He could also bunt, and sometimes would pass up a perfect home run pitch in order to bunt and give the fans a show by beating it out. But Willard was like Hank Aaron, you always thought he could do a little more. Both Brown and Aaron were so talented, they didn't look as if they were hustling. Everything looked so easy for them. This was the difference between Willard Brown and Jackie Robinson. Jackie looked like he was doing something, Willie Mays looked like he was doing something. Hank never did. And this was Willard. Everything came so easy for him."

not sure if that all helps him or hurts him, but there it is anyway....
   221. Cblau Posted: May 13, 2006 at 02:19 AM (#2017701)
OCF wrote (for the 400th or so time):
17. Willard Brown If he really could hit for that batting average, he's Kirby Puckett. If not, he's Juan Gonzalez. Worth a look in any case.

Are you trying to say that the only difference between Kirby Puckett and Juan Gonzalez is batting average? I can think of a few others.
   222. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: May 13, 2006 at 03:27 AM (#2017890)
Yeah like Juan Gonzalez never chased his wife around with a chainsaw.

Oh, did you mean something else?
   223. OCF Posted: May 13, 2006 at 05:16 AM (#2017932)
Cblau - I"ll admit that that's not one of my better lines. If Brown is still on the ballot next year, I'll find something to say that makes a little more sense.
   224. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 13, 2006 at 09:47 PM (#2018383)
Both Brown and Aaron were so talented, they didn't look as if they were hustling.

This is something you hear about all the time with Hank Aaron. And Aaron's response was that he didn't run full-out when he didn't have to because it was a long season and he wanted to stay fresh. I would call that kinesthetic intelligence and then defer to Howard Gardner on the matter....

I don't really see this info as helping or hurting Brown. If you're predisposed to look for character issues, you'll find that in the quoted passage. Or if you're looking for affirmation that the man was supremely talented, you'll find it there too.

But here's a further take on it. I don't recall where, but I read that Brown was known to read Reader's Digest in the outfield (between innings or during pitching changes I think...). If that's so, that suggests an interesting phenomenon which I'll call the inverse-Manny phenomenon.

Manny Ramirez is, depending on who you talk to, either a profoundly stupid individual who is only cares about his hitting (read: lazy about everything but hitting), or just kind of goofy/inscrutable. Pedro Guerrero was the same way I think. BUT on a baseball field, Manny's usually one of the smartest guys playing in as much as his entire game is designed around smart strategies. At bat, he doesn't swing at junk, takes a walk rather than getting himself out. On the bases, he goes station to station to avoid being thrown out (which is a function of speed, true, but he doesn't take unnecessary chances). And in the field, he's not a gifted outfielder, but if you watch him a lot, you'll notice that he fields virtually every ball in a good position to throw, throws to the correct base every time and almost never misses a cutoff man. He's racked up tons of assists the last couple years, I think, because opposing runners and coaches see his lack of range and generalize his weakness to his throwing arm. Anyway, Manny does a lot of smart things smartly. He does very few dumb things or lazy things when on the field.

OK, so look at Willard Brown. I think Brown was likely an intelligent individual. How many players do you hear about who read (or write)? Who are openly literate people? Jim Bouton and Miguel Batista. Maybe Ted Simmons. Seriously, you don't hear that stuff about players. (Note: I think it's part of the cult of the jock strap---"put that book away, perfesser, books don't do sh*t for you on the field.") I know Reader's Digest isn't exactly David Foster Wallace, but reading in nearly any form is essentially an act self-improvement or at least indicative of an interest in knowledge and learning. More over, I'd imagine that as a guy who got to the NgLs at like 17 or 18, Brown was probably not highly educated to begin with, so reading, whether for pleasure or knowledge, is all the more impressive because it might not have been part of his upbringing/background. Yet, the descriptions we read of Brown suggest he's more in the stupid/lazy arena that people like to put Manny or Pedro Guerrero in. I'd bet Brown was neither stupid nor lazy. I'd bet that like Hank Aaron, he knew exactly what his body needed to do to play a full season---after all, his career was more than 20 years long and he played full campaigns in virtually all of them. But, I suspect that unlike Aaron, Brown, while intelligent, may not have had the social awareness to realize that he needed to occasionally explain himself to avoid being tagged with the lazy lable.

It's all conjecture, I know, but I've never liked the labeling of athletes as smart or dumb or as hard-working or lazy. It's a shell game, and there's too much evidence each way to make a reasonable estimation of what's true. And even if someone is lazy, doesn't that take a away from 500 bombs or 300 wins? And even if someone is smart, it doesn't mean they understand the strikezone.
   225. Sean Gilman Posted: May 14, 2006 at 08:13 PM (#2019809)
I'm less a friend of the 19th Century than I am stubborn in my support of Browning, Jones and Childs. Though Duffy and Van Haltren recently snuck into my PHOM, bringing my 19th Century PHOM/notHOM total to five. That can't be the highest, can it?

The main difference between my PHOM and the HOM appears to be in how many pitchers vs. infielders should be in (a four player swing), and of which borderline outfielders should be in (which is where the 19th Century friendship appears to come in):


Pete Browning
Charley Jones
Hugh Duffy
George Van Haltren
Willard Brown
Cupid Childs
Larry Doyle
Tommy Leach
George Sisler
Ken Boyer
Jose Mendez
Carl Mays


Red Faber
Rube Foster
Bob Lemon
Ted Lyons
Red Ruffing
Dazzy Vance
Sam Thompson
Richie Ashburn
Earl Averill
Max Carey
Joe Medwick
Bobby Doerr

This year, I can subtract one pitcher from the HOM column (Dazzy Vance) and add one to the PHOM column (Joe Sewell).
   226. Howie Menckel Posted: May 14, 2006 at 09:38 PM (#2020071)
What happens if there is ever a tie for an in/out HOM slot?

I guess we break it by 'elect-me' votes - or is it ballots?
Or could we just have a runoff? That would be fun.
   227. Sean Gilman Posted: May 14, 2006 at 11:15 PM (#2020121)
From the Constitution:

In the event of two or more players tying with the same number of points, the players will be ranked according to the following tie-breakers: (i) the player who was more highly ranked on more voters’ individual ballots (votes will be weighed 3-2-1 if more than two are tied); (ii) if still tied, the player who was listed on more voters’ ballots; (iii) if still tied, the player who had the most 1st-place votes, (iv) if still tied, the player who had the most 2nd-place votes, etc.
   228. Paul Wendt Posted: May 15, 2006 at 12:53 AM (#2020179)
I'm less a friend of the 19th Century than I am stubborn in my support of Browning, Jones and Childs. Though Duffy and Van Haltren recently snuck into my PHOM, bringing my 19th Century PHOM/notHOM total to five. That can't be the highest, can it?

Your implied adjustment, add five drop one (Sam Thompson), may be the largest net add (+4).

But I am sure that what I have noticed it your persistence in listing Browning, Jones, and Childs high on the ballot while Williamson and Bonds have tobogganed down Marc's ballot into the footnotes.
   229. Sean Gilman Posted: May 15, 2006 at 01:46 AM (#2020239)
Could be, could be. I'm sure I'm not the only one with those guys in my PHOM though. And I've avoided both Beckley and Welch, two of the more popular 19th Century borderliners. It wouldn't surprise me if someone had 7 net 19th Century PHOMers.

Anyway, it wouldn't be so bad being the best friend of the 19th Century. It's the most underrated century in baseball history.
   230. Rick A. Posted: May 17, 2006 at 12:24 AM (#2023129)
Well, since I was mentioned, here's mine.


Charley Jones
Dobie Moore
Pete Browning
Jose Mendez
Vic Willis
Dick Redding
Ed Williamson
Cupid Childs
Burleigh Grimes
Hugh Duffy
Ralph Kiner
Bucky Walters
Dizzy Dean
Edd Roush
Roger Bresnahan

HOM/not PHOM (top 4 or so will probably go PHOM eventually)

Whitey Ford
Goose Goslin
Cool Papa Bell
Early Wynn
Max Carey
Joe Medwick
Joe Gordon
Red Ruffing
Clark Griffith
Richie Ashburn
Bill Terry
Eppa Rixey
Red Faber
Sam Thompson
Bobby Doerr

+5 -2 for a total of 3 additional 19th c.
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