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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

2013 Hall of Merit Ballot

First I’d like to thank John Murphy for his dedicated service over the years. John has decided to retire from the Hall of Merit, except for as a voter. We really could not have done this without you John. I owe you many beers once our paths cross.

Now, onto the fun!


I’ve posted this the last couple of years, but as a reminder:

“This has been an issue in the past, so I’ll repeat it now for clarification . . . the posting of the ballot to the discussion thread for new voters is not just a formality. With the posting of the ballot you are expected to post a summary of what you take into account - basically, how did you come up with this list? This does not mean that you need to have invented the Holy Grail of uber-stats. You don’t need a numerical rating down to the hundredth decimal point. You do need to treat all eras of baseball history fairly. You do need to stick to what happened on the field (or what would have happened if wars and strikes and such hadn’t gotten in the way). You may be challenged and ask to defend your position, if someone notices internal inconsistencies, flaws in your logic, etc.. This is all a part of the learning process.

It isn’t an easy thing to submit a ballot, but that’s by design. Not because we don’t want to grow our numbers (though we’ve done just fine there, started with 29 voters in 1898, and passed 50 eventually), not because we want to shut out other voices. It’s because we want informed voters making informed decisions on the entire electorate, not just the players they remember.”

So if you are up for this, we’d love to have you! Even if you aren’t up to voting, we’d still appreciate your thoughts in the discussion. Some of our greatest contributors haven’t or have only rarely voted.

Back to your regularly scheduled programming . . .


Voters should name 15 players, in order. Thanks!

Don’t forget to comment on everyone returning from last year’s top ten. As a reminder those guys are:

Phil Rizzuto, Luis Tiant, Dick Redding, Hugh Duffy, Gavy Cravath, Vic Willis and Sal Bando.

Newcomers on the 2013 ballot.

2013 (November 26, 2012)—elect 3 4*

WS   W3 Rookie Name-Pos
705 186.2 1986 Barry Bonds-LF
437 146.4 1984 Roger Clemens-P
428  73.8 1989 Craig Biggio-2B
325  68.7 1993 Mike Piazza-C
322  61.0 1989 Sammy Sosa-RF
252  75.4 1990 Curt Schilling-P
288  51.7 1992 Kenny Lofton-CF
297  41.3 1989 Steve Finley-CF
280  45.0 1983 Julio Franco-SS/2B
210  55.2 1988 David Wells-P
237  41.8 1995 Shawn Green-RF
209  36.7 1992 Reggie Sanders-RF
230  28.9 1994 Ryan Klesko-LF/1B
185  33.7 1994 Jose Valentin-SS
169  33.1 1995 Jeff Cirillo-3B
144  38.6 1992 Roberto Hernandez-RP
193  23.7 1993 Jeff Conine-1B/LF
159  24.4 1992 Royce Clayton-SS
151  23.7 1994 Rondell White-LF/CF
121  32.4 1992 Bob Wickman-RP
118  31.9 1993 Woody Williams-P
125  27.7 1990 Jose Mesa-RP
122  27.4 1995 Mike Lieberthal-C
120  27.4 1996 Jason Schmidt-P*
109  30.8 1997 Kelvim Escobar-P*
111  21.9 1993 Aaron Sele-P
122  12.5 1997 Todd Walker-2B

*In case it wasn’t clear, this should be an elect 4.

I never was able to finish the deep calcs from last year, but we are definitely a little behind based on teams and real Hall of Fame at the beginning of the project. I did get that far. And in the initial schedule this was an elect 4 year.

JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 04, 2012 at 03:26 AM | 92 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 04, 2012 at 03:39 AM (#4316159)
Moving this to hot topics. Since I'm a day late posting this, I'm going to move the due date to next Wednesday, 12/12/12 . . . If anyone objects please speak up. I would really like to not have to push an extension this year, so lets try to make that work.
   2. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 04, 2012 at 03:40 AM (#4316160)
Why did my post not add this to hot topics?

EDIT: I guess 2nd time's a charm . . .
   3. DL from MN Posted: December 04, 2012 at 07:24 AM (#4316193)
There is a posting lag, wait more than a minute next time.
   4. DL from MN Posted: December 04, 2012 at 10:16 AM (#4316318)
2013 ballot

1) Barry Bonds - 2nd to Williams in LF due to war credit. Top 5 player in baseball history.
2) Roger Clemens - 2nd to Walter Johnson among pitchers. Top 10 player in baseball history.
3) Mike Piazza - 4th among C behind Gibson, Bench and Berra. He is close enough to Dickey, Hartnett and Carter that a case could be made that he's 7th due to all the unknowns regarding catcher defense. Top 60 player in baseball history.
4) Curt Schilling - 18th among pitchers. Ignoring early pitchers he's behind Blyleven and Robin Roberts but ahead of Carl Hubbell, Gaylord Perry and Dazzy Vance. Top 65 player in baseball history.
5) Tommy Bridges - Have been supporting Bridges since the 1970 ballot. Still think he's great.
6) Craig Biggio - 13th among second basemen ahead of Gordon and Doerr, essentially tied with Billy Herman and behind Ryne Sandberg. Top 180 player in baseball history.
7) Urban Shocker - gets WWI credit
8) Bus Clarkson - NGL and Mexican league credit
9) Phil Rizzuto - WWII credit
10) Gavy Cravath - minor league credit, four guys in a row that require credit
11) Luis Tiant
12) Bob Johnson - on every ballot since I started voting in 1968
13) Ben Taylor - how do we induct Palmeiro and Beckley but not Ben Taylor? Taylor has the advantage of being the best 1B in the league and they don't. Great fielder during an era where it mattered quite a bit.
14) Bert Campaneris
15) Tony Mullane - didn't realize he was blackballed until this ballot

16-20) Bucky Walters, Dave Bancroft, Hilton Smith, Norm Cash, Johnny Pesky
21-25) Dick Redding, Wally Schang, SAMMY SOSA, Don Newcombe, Dave Concepcion
26-30) Babe Adams, Tommy Leach, Dizzy Dean, Jack Fournier, Wilbur Cooper

Sosa and Norm Cash are not far apart. Both are good bat, high peak, short prime, better than expected glove players and they both used corked bats. Cash actually has higher raw BWAA2 and FWAA2 according to Dan R. Their run scoring environments couldn't be much more different.

34) Kenny Lofton - but ranked as high as Earl Averill and higher than Andre Dawson, Jimmy Wynn, Edd Roush, Willard Brown and Pete Browning. I think we overrate CF as a voting group.

79) David Wells - pretty decent showing

Hugh Duffy - 107th near players like Dale Murphy and Chet Lemon
Vic Willis - 69th near Chuck Finley and Frank Tanana
Sal Bando - 116th since my numbers have him as a below average fielder. Close to Ed Konetchy and Tim Salmon
   5. jimfurtado Posted: December 04, 2012 at 10:49 AM (#4316373)
FYI, Hot Topics is regenerated every two minutes.
   6. ronw Posted: December 04, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4316545)
2012 Ballot – I'm still measuring Hall of Merit careers using five-year periodic increments, totaling WAR over such periods, keeping players on lists if they totaled 11.0 WAR over the period, then enhancing those selections by assigning All-Star and MVP values to the totals based on competition in that particular year. There are usually about 2-4 MVP candidates, 2-4 Cy Young award candidates, and 16-32 All-Star candidates each year, since Anyone within 10% of the bottom MVP or All-Star candidate receives a selection. This really compares players just to their immediate contemporaries, which I think helps in close cases, such as Bando-Bell, who weren't quite exact contemporaries. A confession: I haven't updated my spreadsheets with new WAR, so significant deviations with BBRef new WAR are not accounted for yet.

1. Barry Bonds, LF - Best LF in the league for the periods ending from 1991 through 2008. 16-times the top player in five-consecutive year periods ending in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006. All-Star in periods ending in 1990, 2007 and 2008. Probably the best baseball player I will ever see. #1 all-time LF, #2 all-time player behind Ruth.

2. Roger Clemens, SP - Best SP in the league in periods ending 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994. Second in 1988, 1998 periods. Also a Cy Young pitching candidate over five-year periods ending 1995, 1999. All-Star in the period ending in 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007. Probably the best pitcher I will ever see. Only clearly behind Walter Johnson. With Walter, Clemens is on my all-time starting five staff with Cy Young, Pete Alexander, and Lefty Grove.

3. Curt Schilling, SP - 8-time All-Star in the periods ending 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006. Just missed being a Cy Young pitcher because of Clemens, Martinez, Johnson, Maddux. Still, Schilling was better than contemporaries and future HOMers Brown, Mussina, Glavine, and Smoltz.

4. Mike Piazza, C - Never an MVP, 6 times the best catcher in the league in the periods ending 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001. 2nd best catcher in the period ending 2002. So far the best hitting catcher of all time. Receives a catcher bonus to put him here.

5. Craig Biggio, 2B - Best 2B in the league in 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000. Also All-Star candidate in the periods ending 1996 and 2001. Also 2nd-best catcher in periods ending in 1992 and 1993. Didn't rate out this high, but receives a slight catcher bonus.

6. Sal Bando, 3B – 8-time All-Star, and the top player in the league in the 1969-1973 period. In fact, Bando, Barry Bonds, and Bill Nicholson are the only unelected top players in any period from 1871 to 2006. Unlike Swish Nicholson, Bando had a substantial career, as the top 3B in periods ending 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1976, and with significantly high totals in periods ending 1971, 1977 and 1978.

7. Urban Shocker, SP - Best pitcher in the league in the period ending 1925. Only Shocker, Tommy Bond, Jim McCormick, Mort Cooper, Johnny Antonelli, Dwight Gooden, and Roger Clemens can claim that honor among unelected eligible pitchers. Shocker had the longest, best peak out of all of them except Clemens. Urban was a Cy Young contender in the five-year periods ending 1923, 1924, 1925 and 1926, and was an All-Star in the periods ending in 1922 and 1927.

8. Dick Redding, SP – I’m still high on him. The seamheads career metrics until 1923 show only Mendez and Bullet Rogan clearly ahead of Redding, and Joe Williams is probably there as well but may not have the data.

9. Ben Taylor, 1B – Seamheads shows Taylor as a top player for the period they have. I think we missed him because of little statistical support. Now that we have it, Taylor seems like a good choice.

10. Kenny Lofton, CF - Never an MVP candidate or top CF, 5-time All-Star in the periods ending 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999. Solid player for 15 straight seasons.

11. Sammy Sosa, RF - Never an MVP candidate primarily because of Bonds and Rodriguez, Sosa was the best RF in the league in the periods ending 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003, and an All-Star in the periods ending 1997 and 2004. Only a solid player for 11 years, which puts him slightly below Lofton.

12. Buddy Bell, 3B - Never the top 3B in the league, overshadowed by HOMers Mike Schmidt and George Brett, Bell was still an All-Star 5 times, in periods ending in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984.

13. Jim McCormick, SP – Another unelected top pitcher, this one in the periods ending in 1882, 1883 and 1884. All-Star pitcher in 1885 and 1886. WAR shows he now stands atop the unelected 19th century pitchers, and is so much higher that he is hard to ignore.

14. Gene Tenace, C – The top catcher in the five-year periods ending 1979 and 1980, and the top 1B in the five-year period ending 1977. Also made lists as a catcher in 1975, 77, 78, 81 and 82, and as a 1B in 1976. Only Johnny Bench was a better catcher from 1974-1978, and only Willie Stargell was a better 1B from 1972-1976.

15. Orel Hershiser, SP – Yes, I was surprised the Bulldog ranked this high, but he was a solid All-Star in 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991 and had a longer productive career than we realize, solid player in almost all of the 1986-1999 periods. Only Dwight Gooden and Roger Clemens beat Hershiser in the period ending in 1988 and only Clemens in the 1985-1989 period.


16. Bob Elliott, 3B - Top 3B in 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952 periods, a close second to Whitey Kurowski in 1947, and second to Stan Hack in 1943, 1944, and 1945 period.

17. Ned Williamson, 3B – I think we missed this guy, who was the top 3B in periods ending in 1881, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1885, and 1885, and was the second best 3B in the 1886, and 1887 periods, and the second-best SS (to HOMer Jack Glasscock) in the 1888 period. Was an MVP candidate in the 1879-1883 period.

18. Kevin Appier, SP – One of the top pitchers in periods ending 1995, 1996 and 1997, second only to Greg Maddux. Behind only Clemens and Maddux in the 1990-1994 period.

19. Vic Willis, SP - Cy Young candidate (with the actual Cy Young) in the period ending in 1902. Besides that great stretch, Willis was an All-Star only in the periods ending in 1901 and 1903.

20. Hugh Duffy, CF – MVP candidate in the period ending 1895, and an All-Star in the periods ending in 1893, 1894 and 1897.


Phil Rizzuto, SS – All-Star only in the 1949-1953 period, just behind Reese among shortstops. From periods ending 1948-1952 significantly behind Reese, and 1950-1954 behind Reese and Alvin Dark. War credit doesn’t give him enough of a bump.

Gavvy Cravath, RF - All-Star in four five year periods, ending in 1916, 1917, 1918, and 1919. With minor league credit, he might have had a few more, and maybe an MVP, but that wouldn't be enough to vault him to the ballot.

Luis Tiant, SP - Has been high before, but because of inconsistencies in almost every five-year period, he was only an All-Star pitcher in the 1972-1976 period. Still, a long enough career for consideration.
   7. DL from MN Posted: December 04, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4316608)
Sal Bando, 3B – 8-time All-Star, and the top player in the league in the 1969-1973 period.

That's contradicted by the MMP voting where Bando's best finish in that time period is 10th in 1969. He was 15th in 1973 and 21st in 1971. The MMP voters gave Bench two 2nd place finishes in that time period, for example.
   8. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 04, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4316627)
Lurker in the HoM, but I'll definitely be interested to see how 3rd place voting shakes out. Rating Biggio, Piazza, and Schilling against each other is like comparing apples, chairs, and Lithuania.
   9. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 04, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4316827)
I'd take Lithuania since it contains fruit and chairs.
   10. bjhanke Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:35 PM (#4317083)
Mine will be Biggio, just ahead of Lithuania, followed by Bobby Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Mike Piazza. Bobby was a shock when I looked at him while actually analyzing something else. He has more BB-Ref WAR than Sosa, which completely threw me. Then the other stats systems seems to confirm this, or at least make Bobby look real close to Sammy. Then it's Schilling and Lofton and into the backlog, unless something surfaces about David Wells that I don't know.- Brock Hanke
   11. Chris Cobb Posted: December 04, 2012 at 09:50 PM (#4317269)
DL from MN wrote re ronw's ballot explanation for Sal Bando:

That's contradicted by the MMP voting where Bando's best finish in that time period is 10th in 1969. He was 15th in 1973 and 21st in 1971. The MMP voters gave Bench two 2nd place finishes in that time period, for example.

That would suggest that the MMP voters aren't relying all that heavily on BBRef WAR, which appears to be the measure ronw is using. Bando earned more WAR, according to BBRef, from 1969 through 1973, than any other position player in the American League. He never led the league, but he placed in the top 10 every year--the only AL player to do so. The top 10 finishers over that period, if I have my numbers correct, were

Bando - 31.3 WAR
Jackson - 29.9
Yaz - 25.7
White 25.1
Murcer - 24.9
Smith - 24.8
Petrocelli - 23.3
Nettles - 22.4
Blair - 21.8
Campaneris - 21.7

Not, perhaps, the deepest pool, but there are four HoMers in it. The NL of the corresponding period was just _a bit_ stronger. Off the top we have:

Bobby Bonds - 30.5
Morgan - 30.5
Rose - 30.3
Bench - 29.8
Aaron - 27.9
Perez - 26.1
Stargell - 25.7

But, remarkably, Bando still has the most WAR for the period. With so many players clustered around 30 WAR for the 5-year period, it's easy to see how Bando, even if BBRef's WAR numbers were popular in the MMP balloting (and I have no idea about that), he could not have been close to winning in a given year and yet still had the top 5-year total. Interesting.
   12. DL from MN Posted: December 04, 2012 at 10:23 PM (#4317296)
BBREF WAR overrates 3B and underrates C. I'll take Bench.
   13. DL from MN Posted: December 04, 2012 at 10:47 PM (#4317302)
John has decided to retire from the Hall of Merit, except for as a voter.

Sorta skipped over this the first time. Thanks for everything John. Joe - if you need help with anything just ask.
   14. Howie Menckel Posted: December 04, 2012 at 11:03 PM (#4317315)
Yes, an "original" voter here who would like to express his gratitude to Mr. Murphy. As with Joe, this project literally wouldn't have happened without both men. A lot of thankless time and effort - well, it's only mostly thankless now, I guess.


   15. bjhanke Posted: December 05, 2012 at 07:12 AM (#4317393)
ronw - I checked Baseballgauge, and they have the following career numbers, bearing in mind that this is baseballgauge's career compilation and may not agree with anyone else's. They have Jose Mendez with an ERA+ of 159, Smokey Joe Williams with 153, and Dick Redding with 124. I didn't look up Bullet Rogan, because his hitting makes his ERA+ much less useful than for normal pitchers. I did notice that Redding does not have strikeout percentages any higher than Williams or Mendez, which I mention because last year, the Wikipedia article on Redding had two yearly lines with strikeout percentages like Rube Waddell's, just overpowering. Gauge doesn't have those lines, and the Wiki article has been completely rewritten, as far as I can tell, and those two lines are gone from there, too. My interpretation of this, for HoM purposes, is Mendez in, Williams in, Redding out. But remember, this is just baseball gauge, not a collation of everybody who is compiling negro league stats. - Brock Hanke
   16. Mike Webber Posted: December 05, 2012 at 09:42 AM (#4317481)
A BBRef WAR heavy ballot, with emphasis on career, where a player ranks among his era peers, with big seasons as a boosting factor.
My 1, 6 and 7 from 2011 elected, I have six newly eligible players on the ballot.

1) BARRY BONDS – 158 BBref-WAR, 705 Win Shares – On a awesome ballot, easy number one.

2) ROGER CLEMENS – 134 BBref-WAR, 437 Win Shares – Best pitcher of his era.

3) MIKE PIAZZA - 56 BBref-WAR, 325 Win Shares – I have Biggio and Piazza in a dead heat.

4) CRAIG BIGGIO – 62 BBref-WAR, 428 Win Shares – but I ranked Piazza ahead of Biggio because I think you could argue Piazza is one of the four best catchers ever, but I don’t think Biggio can say that among second basemen. Maybe he belongs in that group with Rose, Killebrew, Tony Phillips, etc.

5) CURT SCHILLING – 76 BBref-WAR, 252 Win Shares – only the #2 pitcher on the ballot, but head and shoulders above the non-Clemens pitchers on the ballot.

6) SAL BANDO – 60.6 BBref-WAR, 283 Win Shares, two MVP type seasons, 9 seasons 20+ Win Shares. I believe he was better than Ken Boyer, but his home parks helped disguise it.

7) PHIL RIZZUTO – 41.8 BBref-WAR, 231 Win Shares, one MVP type seasons, 7 seasons 20+ Win Shares. With a conservative 60 or so win shares or 9 WAR during World War II, I move him to the top of the middle infielder group. Same arguments as Nellie Fox, only with a 3-year hole in his career at ages 25 to 27, plus a bad return to MLB in 1946. (No extra credit for 1946 – just noting it).

8) LUIS TIANT – 60.1 BBref-WAR, 256 Win Shares – poor timing of his big years, but big years push him to top of pitchers currently on ballot.

9) TOMMY LEACH – 50.9 BBref-WAR, 328 Win Shares, only one MVP type season, 8 seasons 20+ Win Shares. Good peak, excellent defensive player at third and in centerfield.

10) BOBBY BONDS – 57.0 BBref-WAR, 302 Win Shares – Four 30+ Win Share seasons, at ages 23, 24, 25, and 27. After age 33 Bobby had 7 win shares, Barry had 286. Pete Browning without the fielding problems?

11) SAMMY SOSA – 55 BBref-WAR, 322 Win Shares – three 30+ Win Share seasons, 7 seasons 20+ Win Shares. Fits here, ahead of another peak candidate. Value wise very similar to Bobby Bonds.

12) FRANK CHANCE – 49.5 BBref-WAR, 237 Win Shares - I’m a career guy, but this is the peakiest of peak guys.

13) JOHN OLERUDE – 56.8 BBref-WAR, 302 Win Shares - 2 MVP type seasons, but only 5 other 20+ win share seasons. Also hurt by the large number of first basemen in his era that were clearly better.

14) DICK REDDING – slotting him here ahead of a group that includes Vic Willis, Tommy John and Appier. Seamheads data is interesting, in 1917 he was clearly the best of the Negro League pitchers, winning the triple crown of wins, ERA and K’s. That makes me much more comfortable with this ranking.

15) TONY PEREZ - 50.5 BBref-WAR, 349 Win Shares – 3 MVP type seasons but only 5 other 20+ win share seasons. Weight of career lands him here.

Next group of guys off the ballot grouped by position:
Kevin Appier, Tommy John, Vic Willis, Gene Tenace, Wally Schang, Fred McGriff, Norm Cash, Orlando Cepeda, Johnny Evers, Larry Doyle, Bubby Bell, Bobby Elliot, Ron Cey, Joe Tinker, Luis Aparicio, Bancroft, Fregosi, Stephens, Kenny Williams, Bernie Williams, Bob Johnson, Harry Hooper, Sam Rice.

Other required notes:

Kenny Lofton – two key problems are lack of MVP type seasons and the concern with how much of his value comes from defensive WAR.

Hugh Duffy is in the outfield group just off the ballot with Bob Johnson, Harry Hooper, Spotwood Poles, Fielder Jones, and Sam Rice.

Gavy Cravath – not enough MLB career stats – he has a great argument that his age 32-36 stats are special – but there are a couple of other guys with “real” careers are not in the HOM with similar stretches at the same age – such as Fielder Jones, Dolph Camilli, and Dixie Walker, Tony Phillips, Sid Gordon, Lefty O’Doul, and Elston Howard. Some of these guys have supporters and some don’t. Bill Terry is also similar, and he is widely pointed to as a borderline HOMer and maybe even a mistake. Basically everyone else with this type of productivity at that age is in the HOM. That is a compelling argument, but there is a question about his productivity away from Philly.

1919 and 1920
HOME 385/464/754
AWAY 283/404/478

Even the away numbers would be top 10 in MLB OPS in the time period. That is a definite point in his favor. Retrosheet will keep building his case.

   17. Rob_Wood Posted: December 05, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4318054)
My 2013 HOM ballot (I am predominantly a career value voter and I impose absolutely no steroids/PED discount):

1. Barry Bonds - 2nd greatest player of all time
2. Roger Clemens - 2nd greatest pitcher of all time
3. Mike Piazza - best hitting MLB catcher of all time
4. Craig Biggio - he and Piazza are virtually tied
5. Curt Schilling - boost for post-season performance
6. Tommy Bridges - voted for him since he first appeared on 1949 ballot (with WWII credit)
7. Bob Johnson - with minor league credit
8. Sammy Sosa - not an easy case to evaluate
9. Bobby Bonds - very good all around player
10. Bob Elliott - 1940s NL third baseman (unlikely 1947 MVP)

11. Bernie Williams
12. Fred McGriff
13. Bus Clarkson
14. Tony Perez
15. Tommy Leach

16-20. Maranville, Klein, Traynor, Staub, B.Bell
21-25. Lofton, Van Haltren, J.Clark, D.Parker, T.John

Others in last year's top 10:
Rizzuto - 75th
Tiant - 50th
Redding - 75th
Duffy - 50th
Cravath - 100th
Willis - 100th
Bando - 75th
   18. DL from MN Posted: December 05, 2012 at 05:41 PM (#4318156)
Rob - why do you like Bernie better than Lofton? BBREF has Bernie 5 OWAR ahead of Lofton (considering only regular season). Are you just zeroing out defense? Is it a peak thing?
   19. Rob_Wood Posted: December 05, 2012 at 06:05 PM (#4318177)
Short answer is post-season (being a key player on multiple pennant winners is important to me, plus 22 HR).
   20. theorioleway Posted: December 05, 2012 at 09:25 PM (#4318282)
Mike Webber--what are your thoughts regarding Ben Taylor? It seems that he would at least rank favorably with Chance and Olerud, but not only is he not on your ballot, but he's also not grouped in your consideration set.
   21. The Honorable Ardo Posted: December 06, 2012 at 05:13 AM (#4318397)
Ooooh, time to vote! Top 5 are all newcomers to the ballot.

1) Barry Bonds
2) Roger Clemens
3) Mike Piazza
4) Craig Biggio
5) Curt Schilling
6) Dolf Luque (was #1)
7) Wally Schang (was #2)
8) Tommy John (was #3)
9) Sammy Sosa (new)
10) Hilton Smith (was #4)
11) Buddy Bell (was #7)
12) Luis Tiant (was #6)
13) Lee Smith (was #10)
14) Norm Cash (was #12)
15) Kenny Lofton (new)

Near the ballot: Bonds pere, Bando, Rizzuto, Belle, Willis, and Walters.

Rizzuto, in fact, would be #16; he has been on the bottom of my ballot before. I'm very cautious in extrapolating WWII credit & think the induction of Keller was a mistake.

Bando and Bell are very close; Bando was the better hitter, but Bell's defensive value pulls him slightly ahead.

Redding, in light of our latest NeL evidence, seems to be a Bobo Newsom type; great fastball, bounced around, not a consistent plus pitcher.

Duffy I've commented on extensively before. Like Norm Cash, he has one great offensive season. I'm not convinced that he was an excellent CF defender; in fact, Bernie Williams is ahead of him on my list.

Cravath doesn't have enough shoulder to his career; it's really only five plus seasons. He's a "Sosa-lite" candidate.

Thank you for another year as part of this project!
   22. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 06, 2012 at 05:46 PM (#4319126)
2013 ballot

Post-1893 MLB position player evaluation is the same as in the past, based on my WARP system, whose methodology is elaborated with great detail in the thread devoted to it. The biggest discrepancies this causes with the group involve position scarcity (I think we grossly underrate shortstops) and era preference (I like hitters from difficult-to-dominate years like the 1970s and 80s, and pitchers from the 20s, 50s, and 80s). I have been convinced that there is some value to in-season durability above and beyond total playing time, and my voting has adjusted slightly accordingly. I dock pre-integration players of both races for not competing against their counterparts of the other race (Babe Ruth would have had a lower OPS+ if he had played in the same league as Oscar Charleston, but Charleston would have had a lower MLE as well if he were being translated to an integrated major league, which would have been tougher than the real one). I deduct for suspected or confirmed PED use only as a tiebreaker, since a) we don't know how much they help and b) we don't know which supposedly clean players were using. I do not boycott.

I'm happy to go off baseball-reference’s pitcher WAR for now, whose methodology I basically share (defense-adjusted RA+ over a realistic replacement level and regressing reliever LI halfway to 1 to account for "chaining.") However, I make two big adjustments, for era IP norms and for standard deviations.

I find there were two decades nearly devoid of Meritorious pitchers, even after filling in war credit: the 1940s and the 1980s. Were these simple star droughts, or were there actual contextual factors making it harder for pitchers to string together big seasons? I don't yet have a conclusive answer to that question, but my gut sense, which I am going on for now, is that the 1940s was a star drought and the 1980s were actually difficult for pitchers to dominate. Many of the same factors that gave the 1980s a low standard deviation for hitters also apply to pitchers; that shows up in the defense-adjusted RA+ stdevs, might it also show up in their innings totals? I'm not sure, but it seems plausible. The presence of two 1980s pitchers on my ballot and the absence of Walters reflects this tentative assumption. For post-expansion pitchers, I am now taking a look at league-relative FIP as well, as another means of isolating a pitcher's contributions from his environment.

I've moved up pitchers due to concerns about HoM underrepresentation, and an adjustment of my starter replacement level from 2.1 to 2.4 wins per 200 innings. I've also incorporated SFR and TotalZone data (for now in an ad hoc way, later on I will combine them scientifically in an update of my WARP) into my evaluation of the shortstops, convincing me that Campaneris and Rizzuto are the cream of the quintet (with my handle’s namesake Concepción, Pesky, and Bancroft lagging behind).

Without further ado:

1. Barry Bonds
With a timeline, the best player ever. With a big segregation adjustment, the best player ever. With neither, he falls all the way to #2, behind Babe Ruth. Steroid concerns could conceivably drop him below the guy following him, if that guy didn’t have steroid concerns of his own.

2. Roger Clemens
Copy and paste the first 3 sentences from above, replacing “player” with “pitcher” and “Babe Ruth” with “Walter Johnson” (and maybe Cy Young as well if you don’t deduct too much for era innings norms).

3. Mike Piazza
Best-hitting catcher ever, and in his prime his defense wasn’t nearly as bad as his reputation. That makes him the best major league catcher ever, in my view. And who knows if Josh Gibson would have been a full-time backstop in MLB.

4. Curt Schilling
Not an inner-circle talent like the top 3, but easily worthy of induction—about a median HoM’er for a pitcher, even before giving him much-deserved postseason credit. Extra brownie points for doing the job himself rather than relying on his fielders. Rank in cohort is sllightly problematic, but I can’t blame him for pitching at the same time as Clemens/Maddux/RJ/Pedro, and he might well be the best of the impressive second tier with Brown, Glavine, Mussina, and Smoltz. That argument was what gave me pause about Cone, but I voted for him anyway, and he got in. Schilling was definitely a better athlete than he was a businessman.

5. Craig Biggio
Very similar to his contemporary Alomar, and similarly overrated—there’s no statistical basis to support his sterling defensive reputation. And he hung around waaay too long in pursuit of 3,000 hits. A little catcher bonus for his early years. In the bottom rungs of the HoM, but on the right side of the line.

6. Dagoberto Campaneris
With the advent of play-by-play baserunning numbers going back to the 50’s, his work with his legs doesn't appear to be quite as phenomenal as I had thought--but his defense was significantly better, more than making up for it. SFR has him at plus-144. With that much baserunning and fielding value, he doesn't even need my usual spiel about low SS replacement level and low standard deviations in his era to make him the top backlogger.

7. Sammy Sosa
Steroid concerns break the tie with Campy for me. 1998 made him famous, but 2001 was his piece de resistance—it was one of the top 20 hitting seasons ever (most total bases since Musial’s ’48), and constitutes about a quarter of his total value in my salary estimator. Astonishingly, thanks to the #1 player on this list, he wasn’t even the best hitter in his league that year (and poor 57-HR Luis González!). A good fielder in his youth, not in his old age. Fell apart in a hurry. In my PHoM.

8. Phil Rizzuto
Including extra war credit for the fact that his poor 1946 was due to a malaria infection, he seems like an easy selection. Brilliant fielder (particularly at turning the double play), good baserunner, one huge MVP year, and a fistful of rings I don’t give any credit for. League strength is a concern but I can’t place him any lower than this.

9. Adolfo Luque
I seem to have overlooked him before. His MLB-only record (3,220 IP at a 118 ERA+ in the early liveball era) fits neatly in the pitcher backlog with Bridges, Tiant etc. However, he has two big advantages over the crowd. First, his 1923 was ZOMFG good, after taking into account how hard it was for pitchers to dominate in his era. He topped the majors in ERA+ by fifty-seven points (201 to 144 for Stan Coveleski), while finishing 5 off the innings lead—that’s almost Pedro-in-2000-like. No one else even reached a 175 ERA+ from 1921-27. If you care about peak, compiling what in context is probably one of the 10 best pitcher seasons ever has to count for something. Second, he didn’t get a regular rotation gig in the majors until age 28. I know the numbers suggest he was a late bloomer, and that you can’t just extrapolate his MLB career backwards. But even, say, 5 years of slightly below league-average pitching is what, another 8 WAR on his résumé?

10. Kenny Lofton
My 1994 AL MVP—yes, above Thomas, Belle, and Griffey. Tremendous defense and baserunning value. Funny career shape—great ’93, amazing ’94 cut short by the strike, and then very, very flat. Played in the wrong era for his skill set—he would have been awesome in the 1970’s or 80’s, like a better-hitting Willie Wilson. You have to be a pure career voter to attach much value to his seasons from 2000 on, and I’m not. He’s Willie Davis with a brief, legit peak.

11. Don Newcombe
Needs every adjustment in the book--low stdev of RA+ in the 1950s, war credit, minor league credit, league strength credit, and hitting credit. But like Bill James said of Will Clark’s 1989, all those little things can add up.

12. Dwight Gooden
Yes, I’m serious. This is basically a test of my faith in my salary estimator--is each marginal in-season win worth more than the last? I thought about it long and hard and believe that it is. Now, adjusted for era norms, I think Gooden’s 1985 has a serious case as the greatest pitching season of all time. His ERA+ of 228 stands out like a sore thumb on the decade’s leaderboards, where something in the 140s was good enough to finish first in many seasons. He led the league in innings. And he was a damn good hitter to boot. Basically, I think that if you have three seasons like that and nothing else, you're a HoM’er. Furthermore, I give him extra credit for his rookie year as one of the greatest FIP seasons ever. He did more by himself to prevent runs than almost any other pitcher in history that year--leading the league in K/9 by an enormous 1.75 and allowing the NL’s fewest HR/9--and just got victimized by the BABIP and runner-stranding gods. (He still led the league in CHONE pitcher WAR in spite of his bad luck). His 1986-89 were hardly sublime like the first two, but they had real value in the low-stdev 1980’s--he was seventh in the league in ERA+ in 1986 and 1987. That, 1.5 more decent seasons in 1993 and 1998, and plenty of filler is enough for him to make my PHoM.

13. Luis Tiant
The best backlog pitcher without any extra credit. Rank in cohort hurts him.

14. Gavvy Cravath
Chris Cobb’s suggestion that his fielding, particularly in his minor league days, was adequate, gives him a comfortable ballot spot. Taking advantage of your home park wins baseball games.

15. David Concepción
Dropped due to the less-favorable accounts of his fielding by TotalZone and SFR. Remember, you couldn’t win a World Series between 1972 and 1976 without a Latin shortstop by the initials of D.C.
   23. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 06, 2012 at 05:46 PM (#4319127)
Off ballot

16. Johnny Pesky
CHONE doesn’t like his defense as much as Fielding WS and BP FRAA do, so he falls too. I still think he's the new Charlie Keller...or, if you prefer, Hughie Jennings. Outstanding years immediately before and after the war, and also played 1941 in the minors at a high major league All-Star level (I don't give him minor league credit for that year, but it does strengthen the case for the quality of his war credit). Then added just enough post-integration to get over the hump.

17. Burleigh Grimes
It was really tough to put up a nice ERA+ in the 1920’s, and he was an excellent hitter.

18. Bernie Williams
Quite possibly the best player for one of the game’s great dynasties. Was on a Hall-worthy track before a nearly Dale Murphy-level collapse at age 34. If his glove were as good as his rep, he’d have enough peak to get an elect-me spot. If it was as bad as the stats suggest, he’d be off-ballot entirely. Here’s the compromise.

19. Tommy Leach
We could do far worse--he is definitely above the established in/out line for MLB position players. Very similar plus-bat, God-glove profile to Nettles; legitimate peak seasons in 1902, 1907, and 1908. But a) CF was not as valuable in the teens as it is now; it was similar in scarcity to 1B b) his 1902 needs to be hit for league strength and c) segregation penalty.

Top returnees and notable newcomers:

John Olerud
Had two MVP-type seasons, and deserved his slick-fielding rep. But only had four other years at even a modest All-Star level, and was pretty close to average the rest of the time. The poor man's Keith Hernandez, I suppose. Bad baserunner.

Bob Johnson
Played in very easy-to-dominate leagues. Wouldn't be a terrible selection, but not an elite player of his era (since so many of them were in the Negro Leagues, his MLB stats look deceivingly shiny).

Dick Redding
The guy seems like a total question mark to me. Voting for him is just a shot in the dark. When we're missing information, we regress to the mean, which pulls him way out of consideration for me.

Bucky Walters
An illusion produced by his fielders and the war. I find his support baffling, given the availability of guys with the same ERA+ and more IP (Reuschel, Tiant, Willis) who don't have the defense and quality of competition issues.

Kirby Puckett
Would be an atrocious selection--see my comments on his thread. The poor man's César Cedeño or Fred Lynn. A joke candidate. His disappearance from the top ten speaks well of the evolution of our electorate. :)

Hugh Duffy
Era was too easy to dominate, and I don't give credit for team overperformance of component stats.

Atanasio Pérez
Ewww. Little more than a league-average player at his position for much of his career, and no value for the “hanging-on.”

Bus Clarkson
Man cannot live by MLE’s alone. His complete exclusion from the anecdotal/reputational Negro League pantheon, combined with the unreliability of MLE’s, leave him well short for me.

Fred McGriff
For a “pure” bat candidate (no meaningful defensive or baserunning contributions), he'd either need to have been a better hitter at his peak, a la Giambi (some seasons of 175 OPS+ or better) or to have lasted longer than he did as an above-average hitter, a la Palmeiro--his 1995-98 and 2000 seasons were just about worthless.

Tim Salmon

My 1995 AL MVP. Very nice, underappreciated, HoVG career.

Vic Willis
Only impressive if you don’t consider context. A lot of guys pulled off what he did back in the deadball era.

Sal Bando
A myth created by CHONE WAR’s misguided historical positional weightings, which assign to 1970’s 3B a lot of value that was actually earned by SS.
   24. TDF, trained monkey Posted: December 06, 2012 at 07:14 PM (#4319157)
Not a voter, so take it as you will....

Sal Bando
A myth created by CHONE WAR’s misguided historical positional weightings, which assign to 1970’s 3B a lot of value that was actually earned by SS.
This seems...odd, considering (1) relatively little of his value is from his position per se (per BBRef - his position is only 27 runs above average for his career (out of 285 RAA)), and (2) Fangraphs actually gives him a larger positional adjustment - 34.4 runs.
   25. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 06, 2012 at 11:08 PM (#4319225)
You can see an excruciatingly detailed breakdown of this argument at
   26. rawagman Posted: December 06, 2012 at 11:42 PM (#4319237)
2013 Ballot
I use a sort of peak-over career number with measurements including ink by playing time with a strong preference for players who had good in-season durability (non-exclusive). Combined with rate stats and a glove measurement, I feel this gives me both context for what the player actually achieved versus what the league around him was able to do. My general baseball philosophy may help in clarifying my rankings. I don't believe in the single stat theory of baseball, meaning I don't use WS or any flavour of WAR in my rankings, although I do with interest at the BP catalog. Essentially, I follow this concept as I think a significant percentage of what contributes to winning baseball is not necessarily counted in box scores. This includes things like manager's prerogative (elective actions - steal signs, pinch hitters, batting order, pitching changes, etc.), and actions that would require a historical PBP analysis that is currently unavailable.

I search for what I consider "total ballplayers", guys who can do it all. I believe in positional representation and abhor the thought process that says that relievers were all failed starters and 2B are all failed SS, etc... A team cannot win without a 2B (Also not an easy position for longevity), nor without someone in LF. When I look at a player's career, I try to ask myself how I would feel about him as his manager/general manager - would his presence require special tactics to protect him, or is he completely reliable? I hope it can be seen by my rankings that the "reliable" players generally rise above the ones with clear holes in their games. There are always exceptions, but this is what I have. The stats I look at to get here tend to be traditional and rate, both offensive and defensive. Contemporary opinion also helps. I find comprehensive ranking systems to be exclusive of much of what I see on the field of play - that is, the narrative of the game. The stats for me represent measurements of aspects of the game, but beyond that, the narrative has to fill out the gaps. i.e. - Why was this number lower than expected and that number higher? Combining the stats with the narrative gives me a baseball world-view that I am happy with and feel qualified to discuss.

I fully credit military time, but am very reluctant to provide minor league credit for anyone past the advent of the Live Ball era.

Some thoughts on this year's newly eligible - Bonds, Clemens, Piazza, Schilling, Biggio and Sosa all make my ballot - including spots 1-5. Kenny Lofton is in the consideration set, but a ways away from the ballot at 64. He played for a long time, but his height is not well reflected in the numbers I am using.

Other players making my extended consideration set include:
- Julio Franco - 11th among shortstops. Spending close to half his career as a 2B dinged him a bit, but his long prime gets him a thorough look. That, and his incredible batting stance.
- Jose Valentin - 18th among shortstops. Solid hitter for a shortstop and some accounts have him as a top tier fielding SS as well. May look at again.
- Ryan Klesko - 16th among left fielders. Not a special player, per se, or one who lingered as an everyday weapon, but was solidly above-average for each of his five full seasons.
- Steve Finley - 29th among center fielders. Many gold gloves, but the numbers were not in agreement about his fielding. An average hitter at an up-the-middle position is a valuable thing to have, but not the type of player to build a roster around.
- Shawn Green - 15th among right fielders. Excited the huge Jewish population of Toronto during the 90's, Green was an exceptional hitter in his peak/prime. Unfortunately, the value accrued during that period was not enough to enter the discussion in a meaningful way.
- David Wells - 29th among starting pitchers. Greatly durable, but never stood out for his mound prowess beyond his marvelous command.
- Jason Schmidt - 52nd among starting pitcher. The list runs 53 deep. He was among the best in the game for a few years, but it did not last long enough, nor was there anything significant outside of that peak.

None of the rest are in my top 100.

This year, more than ever before, I can remember almost the entirety of each player's career, yet still found out some things about many of them when researching my ballot.

1) Barry Bonds - The best player I have had the pleasure of reviewing for a Hall of Merit ballot. That includes Aaron and Mays. When I first returned to Canada following a stint in the IDF, Bonds truly reminded me of the awe-inspiring joy that could be had from baseball. Sheer and utter dominance. (PHOM)
2) Roger Clemens - a lot closer to Bonds than I would have thought. What an amazing cohort. As with Bonds, Clemens was the greatest pitcher I have had the pleasure to research for this project. (PHOM)
3) Mike Piazza - Defense much better than was often presumed due to deceptively poor caught stealing rates. Best offensive catcher this side of Josh Gibson. Wonderful conversation comparing the two in Piazza's discussion thread. (PHOM)
4) Curt Schilling - While I found his personality oddly endearing when he was still active, it grates on me on his post-playing days. When the term "Bulldog" is used to describe a pitcher, I immediately think of Schilling. My system loves his in-season durability.
5) Craig Biggio - Biggio's prime was about as long as Schilling's was, but he gained no extra value from the rest of his career. Then again, he didn't need any more.
6) Hugh Duffy - Super peak, wonderful prime. Amazing bat, marvelous glove. The epitomy of reliability. (PHOM)
7) Tommy Bridges - He was really very good. A summary of a reevaluation of some of our unelected pitchers in my high backlog (Bridges, Gomez, Redding, Walters) Of those four, the white guys were all regulars for 10-11 seasons. Bucky and Lefty both had immense peaks, but I think that Lefty's non-peak years hold up better than Bucky's. Also, Lefty does not get any war discount. Dick Redding seems more similar to Walters in that his non-peak was not so impressive. His peak was still enough to leave in him solid backlog country. (I even put him in my PHOM back when I joined the project.) But Tommy Bridges wins out. He had much greater consistency. He is to pitchers what Bob Johnson was to hitters, but more of a winner (No - I'm not giving him extra credit for that). A deserving recipient of WWII credit. We have been especially splintered as to the backlog pitchers, and I urge everyone to give Tommy Bridges a closer look. (PHOM)
8) Ben Taylor - Can't find the peak, but a better prime (through the roof), career and glove than Beckley. I think he may be the player most underrated by the electorate. (PHOM)
9) Kirby Puckett - I have read that some HOM voters consider Puckett to be a mistake of the BBWAA. I see where that sentiment may be emanating from, but I do believe that his election was earned. A wonderful ballplayer. (PHOM)
10) Lefty Gomez - looking at him in any single way hurts him. Looking at him kaleidoscopically has him as the one of the best available pitchers in my eyes (PHOM)
11) Bus Clarkson - A new defensive readjustment moves to the cusp. (PHOM)
12) Dale Murphy - A player that my system loves. At his best he dominated. That refers to the years between 1979-1988. That's a 10 year prime with a very high peak. Also demonstrated very good fielding ability. Could easily move up my ballot. (PHOM)
13) Dick Redding - One of the toughest for me to accurately place. I now think his teens peak was all he needed. I want to be sure I am adequately valuating pitching, so Redding has moved up a few spots in my ballot. (PHOM)
14) Vern Stephens - Will we look at Nomar down the road like we look at Vern now? Great bat, good glove. (PHOM)
15) Sammy Sosa - Overrated by the money stats. Even so, a word-class peak.
   27. rawagman Posted: December 06, 2012 at 11:48 PM (#4319241)
2013 Ballot cont.
16) Fred McGriff - He did not dominate as a bat to the extent of an Edgar Martinez, but consistent above-average performance and fielding that was moderate (I know that not everyone agrees), place the Crime Dog in the heart of my ballot. A better version of Jake Beckley. Here's hoping that it doesn't take McGriff quite as long to receive his dues. Recently dinged through new look at fielding. (PHOM)
17) Gavvy Cravath - No longer the worst fielder in my top 120 candidates (Frank Howard). Probably still the most dominant hitter (as compared to his peers), though. (PHOM)
18) Bob Johnson - I don't know why it took me this long. Great all-round LF. Very durable. (PHOM)
19) Tony Oliva - Career not as short as I thought. Had solid durability for the seasons he was around for. A world class hitter. (PHOM)
20) Dizzy Dean - Diet Sandy Koufax. 0 calories (career), no sugar (prime).
((20a)Andre Dawson))
21) Orlando Cepeda - Going with my numbers. I support him, but the strength of many of the new guys as well as the recently dregded up arguments for others drops him off ballot.(PHOM)
22) Bobby Veach - He did it all well. As complete a LF as is available today. (PHOM)
23) Al Oliver - I was surprised by the similarities between Oliver and Reggie Smith. Very convincing peak and a glove that scores quite well. Career length is nice as well.
24) Don Mattingly - In the interest of my belief in a big hall for Cooperstown, I support Mattingly's induction. That said, for this project, he looks to be just the wrong side of the door. New look at fielding raises him up a few spots.
25) Albert Belle - Fits in rather nicely with the next two on this list.
26) Rocky Colavito - Good defensive showing showing moves him way up. I didn't expect that either.
27) Jack Clark - Marvelous hitter who had his uses in the field as well.
28) Jim Rice - This is, more or less, where the in-out line can be found for the slightly bigger hall that I dream of.
29) Wally Berger - super-underrated
30) Ernie Lombardi - defense was below average, but not quite horrible
((30a) Jimmy Wynn))
31) Ron Guidry - I love a dominant pitcher. I don't think it's necessarily correct to view pitchers and hitters in the same light and I value a strong peak (I mean really strong) for pitchers more than for hitters (prefer a steady, all round type there). Similar to, but not quite the equal of, Lefty Gomez, one of my inner circle of best friends.
32) Luis Tiant - Undoubtedly a wonderful pitcher, but of the type who don't do that well in my system. I wasn't Billy Pierce's biggest fan, but I still liked Billy (and Marichal and Bunning) more than Tiant, so he slots in over here. With relatively few big inning seasons (only three top ten finishes), my system can only give him so much love. I prefer the shorter career with the higher peak in this type of case. (see Guidry, Dean, Gomez)
33) Al Rosen - One more season of prime, and he is top 10
((33a) Jim Bunning))
((33b) Billy Pierce))
((33c) Graig Nettles))

34) Lee Smith - He didn't have the stellar peak of the closers around him, but his prime outlasted them both. And his peak is really not that far below Sutter's, at least.
35) Lance Parrish - Solid all round catcher. Proud member of the HoVG. Not quite the HOM though.
36) Buddy Bell - Fits in rather nicely in this run of HOVG 3B. New look at his defense gives him big boost.
37) Norm Cash - Too much in one year - and that was not the best year for an everlasting peak, for a number of reasons. Excellent fielder, though.
38) Dan Quisenberry - I suppose I've decided that I value peak in a reliever over career totals. Mind you, if the guy has both...
39) John Franco - What can I say? All those LOOGY-moments...they added up. Not enough to get him in, but to at least be in the discussion.
40) Tony Fernandez - Mr. Blue Jay. Compares favorably to Rizzuto.
41) Bert Campaneris - Stupid me - I had somehow left him off my consideration set for years.
((41a) Dobie Moore))
42) Addie Joss - ERA/+ and WHIP are great, but why so little black ink?
((42a) Cupid Childs))
((42b) Roger Bresnahan))
((42c) Rollie Fingers))

43) Phil Rizzuto - Moves up a few spots with another look at his peak. Not as bad as I once considered.
44) Fred Dunlap - Very short career. Very good, too.
45) Tom Henke - Not a long career, but the Terminator was one of the best closers in the game at his peak. New DERA calculations boost him.
46) Tommy John - I think I like his overall picture just a smidgen more than Sutton's.
((46a) Don Sutton))
47) Don Newcombe - big beneficiary of pitcher's fielding analysis. Further slight bump this year this another look at his extra credit seasons.
48) John Olerud - Olerud playing first base with his batting helmet on was an iconic Blue Jays image in my youth.
((48a) Rick Reuschel))
49) Bucky Walters - Very similar to Pierce in overall picture - but built differently.
50) Kevin Appier - Just ahead of Finley. I prefer the better rate to the longer career, but very, very close.
51) Chuck Finley - I remember being surprised when he didn`t come back for another season. I wonder what one more season of slightly above average performance would have done to his final ranking.
52) Mickey Welch
53) Bruce Sutter - Shorter career than the other modern closer candidates, but when he was at his best, he was the best. That works for me - to a point.
54) Fred Carroll - I give him around 1.5 seasons prime MiL credit. Better than Tenace. And maybe better than Bresnahan given the proper credit.
55) Larry Doyle - If only the glove were just a little better.
56) Cecil Travis - A very worthy extra credit case.
((56a) Jake Beckley))
57) Jimmy Ryan
58) Fred Lynn - Very similar to Duffy and Roush. Loses a lot of ground due to in-season durability concerns for an otherwise very strong candidate. Should be appealing to Browning/Chance/McGraw supporters who overlook that sort of thing.
((58a) Charlie Keller))
59) Bernie Williams - will ballot higher just for being a critical part of a dynasty. Had Williams spent his entire career with nearly any other team in the majors, he would not have made nearly the impact on teh national stage.
60) Cy Williams
61) Brett Butler - Some are calling him an equivalent to Kirby. I'm not seeing it. At Kirby's best, he was the best. At Butler's best, he was very good. My system will always take the guy who was the best for a stretch.
62) Amos Otis - The end of the centrefield run.
63) Dolph Camilli - I give him a year of war credit, but he's still two more prime years away from making some noise. An underappreciated stud.
64) Kenny Lofton - I truly thought that he would have ranked higher than this, but with so much of his value tied to his baserunning and defense, I have a hard time putting him above players with similar overall value but more weighted to the offensive side. Hall of Very Good.
65) Fielder Jones - I was missing on him a bit. A very apt first name. Solid bat as well.
((65a) Pete Browning))
66) Mark Grace - It's always fun when a player's name can fit with his on-field ability/persona. A Graceful first-baseman, with the stick and with the glove. Splitting hairs between him and Garvey. I think Garvey stuck out just that much more among his 1B peers.
67) Tony Perez - No appreciable peak. As far as 1B go, I have Cepeda up higher because of his very nice peak and his not too short career as a regular. Ben Taylor suffers from a lack of documented stats, but the stats we do have show that he could flat out mash the ball by dead-ball standards. Contemporaries say his glove was the best they had ever seen at 1B. How much was a scoop worth? I think it's worth a lot. I maintain that while a below average defensive 1B can cause little measurable harm, an above average glove at 1B will provide a hefty bonus to the team lucky enough to employ one.
68) Steve Garvey - Something between Perez and McCormick. Nice size career, defensive value, could hit a bit - nothing overwhelming though.
69) Luke Easter - James Newburg made a very interesting case for Easter in his 2010 ballot. Earned a look in my consideration set and will make a point of studying him further and maybe look for similarities between his story and that of Bus Clarkson, many of our favourite what-if story.
70) Jim Bottomley - More than just a Frankie Frisch mistake. Not that he wasn't a mistake, but he was not the worst one made.
71) George Kell
72) Frank McCormick - One of the finest 1B gloves in MLB history, and a decent hitter as well.
73) Bob Elliott - A little 3B run here
74) Robin Ventura - Solid career quantity and quality, both at the plate and with the leather. Does not stick out enough with either to threaten for the HOM.
75) Sal Bando - Looked at his case again and am still comfortable with his place among the 3B cohort - prefer Elliott and Ventura. Going forward, I could loom into whether I underrate 3B as a group.
76) Ron Cey - I remember his late Topps cards. Lots of very small print on the back. He compares favourably to the other eligible 3Bs. I'd still take Rosen's monster peak over his steady production, but it's close. New look at defensive numbers drops Cey a fair bit.
77) Pie Traynor
78) Ed Williamson - I was missing a little something here.
79) Johnny Evers
80) Elston Howard
81) Joe Wood - If he had one more really good year as a pitcher, he'd be balloted
82) Bill Mazeroski
83) Tony Lazerri - Similar value to Maz. Accrued very differently.
84) Tommy Leach - With his recent rise in the standings, I took another look at him. I can see arguments that would have him around or even above someone like Brett Butler, or maybe even a bit more, but that would only mean 20-30 ballot spots for me, and not significant at this stage. Not being convinced either way, he stays down here. Fine player, but not HOM quality.
85) Vic Willis - A reexamination of all pitchers to include fielding ability causes an adjustment for Willis and a jump up the consideration set.
86) Thurmon Munson - see below.
87) Walker Cooper - some days, he reminds me of Quincey Trouppe
88) Johnny Pesky
89) Hippo Vaughn
90) Dave Concepcion - New look at defensive numbers gives Concepcion a bit of a boost.
91) Sparky Lyle - The biggest surprise of my remodeled reliever system. I don't look at postseason heroics so much, but for those who give plaudits for Fingers' work, check out Sparky. Great peak, very consistent. Hurt by new DERA's.
92) George Kell - Had him a bit too high earlier.
93) Cesar Cedeno - Found him to be comparable to Amos Otis and Jimmy Wynn in total value. Slots lower than those two in light of the shape of that value.
94) Chet Lemon - My recent new defensive look demonstrated that Lemon may have been a bit overlooked. Very good player.
95) Vada Pinson - The ink really threw me for a twist. He looks like a good all-round CF, not great. But he amassed hefty ink totals for his generation. This may be a safe ranking.
96) Luis Aparicio - The low OPS+ masks his real effectiveness.
97) Tip O'Neill - The next Canadian.
98) Chuck Klein - Drops like a rock. Great hitter, not much else. What separates him from Cravath? Not sure at the moment, really. I guess Cravath has those extra credit intangibles.
99) Denny Lyons
((99a) John McGraw))
100) George Van Haltren - Van Haltren is the big loser in the 1890's CF sweepstakes due to his poor fielding by my own accounts.
101) Rabbit Maranville
102) Matt Williams - Definitely hurt by the strike of '94, but hurt more by missing half of the following season. His peak was high, but he was fairly one-dimensional in his offensive game outside of that 1993-96 period.
103)Ellis Burks - Better durability (say 100 extra PA in a given season twice) would have potentially given him a boost of 40 places on this list.
   28. rawagman Posted: December 06, 2012 at 11:51 PM (#4319242)
Finally, this is as good a place as any to thank John for the wonderful job he has done with this project over the years and to thank Joe for continuing on this virtuous path.
   29. Qufini Posted: December 08, 2012 at 10:09 AM (#4319889)
2013 Ballot

1. Barry Bonds, LF
2. Roger Clemens, P
Wasn't sure how the top two would come out until I looked at the numbers. Bonds, arguably the best player ever, is comfortably ahead of Clemens, arguably the best pitcher ever. Bonds: 182 career OPS+ (3rd overall), 1st 9 times, top ten 15 times. Clemens: 143 career OPS+ (10th overall), 1st 8 times, top ten 15 times.

3. Mike Piazza, C
4. Craig Biggio, 2B
I had them reversed in my prelim but since then, BB ref's revision of WAR narrowed the gap (Biggio now leads in unadjusted WAR 62.1 to 56.1) and a catcher bonus for Piazza put him over the top.

5. Curt Schilling, P
127 ERA+ in 3261 innings and 76.9 WAR both easily above Hall of Merit benchmarks.

6. "Cannonball" Dick Redding, P
I’ll keep making the case even though some are jumping off the bandwagon (while others shoot flaming arrows at it). #1 pitcher in 1914/15 (Cuban League), ‘17 and ’19. #1 player in 1917 (25.9 Win Shares in 153 innings). Top three in ‘12/’13, 1915, and ‘15/’16. Top ten in ’12, ’16 and ’21. Great peak, long prime.

7. Sal Bando, 3B
Best available third baseman. 119 OPS+, +36 fielding runs.

8. Vic Willis, P
117 ERA+ in 3996 innings. Big peak, solid prime.

9. Ben Taylor, 1B
Renowned as a gloveman during the deadball era, Taylor was a better hitter than previously thought. Seamheads gives him a slash line of .339/.400/.467 for an OPS+ of 163. Those come down a little in MLE translations but Taylor's got room to spare.

10. Don Newcombe, P
114 ERA+ in 2154 innings not enough but not the whole story. Negro League, minor league and military service fills out a solid career around his big years.

11. Luis Aparicio, SS
My hobby horse. His 51.7 WAR is no illusion. +92 baserunning, +28 reaching base by error or avoiding double plays, +149 fielding. Did everything well that isn't included in OPS+.

12. Tommy Bridges, P
Top ten in ERA+ 10 times, including 2nd in '32, '33 and '43.

13. Fred McGriff, 1B
Scratching my careerist streak but a 134 OPS+ in over 10,000 plate attempts is nothing to sneer at.

14. Sammy Sosa, RF
I was surprised that Sosa came out this low but he had a medium length prime and his career numbers aren't as impressive as his peak seasons. Still, he passes Bob Johnson and Hugh Duffy as the best outfielder on the ballot not named Bonds.

15. Bob Johnson, LF
Top ten in OPS+ 10 times.

Required Disclosures

Hugh Duffy was 12th last year before being pushed off the ballot by the new guys this year.
Luis Tiant was top 20 last year. He's still top 25 this year. Might be the best starting pitcher not on my ballot.
Phil Rizzuto has received votes from me in the past but his shortage of good years keeps him below other shortstops.
Gavvy Cravath deserves significant minor league credit but his one-dimensional play has kept him off my ballot so far.

Kenny Lofton debuts at 17. Should make the ballot in a few years after we work through the wave elections.
Finley, Franco and Wells are all Hall of Very Good.
   30. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: December 08, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4319908)
Finally, this is as good a place as any to thank John for the wonderful job he has done with this project over the years and to thank Joe for continuing on this virtuous path.

   31. Daryn Posted: December 08, 2012 at 04:17 PM (#4320059)
I value career over peak, but can be entranced by a great prime. I look at traditional statistics, ERA+, OPS+, Win Shares and Ink.

1. Bonds -- excellent hitter.
2. Clemens -- talented and durable pitcher. His two years with Toronto were a remarkable resurgence in my view. I thought he might have been done. The in Houston he did it again. Would be at the top of most ballots.
3. Piazza -- I believe his defence wasn't terrible. If that's the case, he is inner circle.
4. Biggio -- being worse than Alomar is faint damn.

5. Burleigh Grimes – as a career voter, I have difficulty seeing the vast difference others see between Rixey and Faber (both now elected) and Grimes.

6. Dick Redding – probably the 6th best blackball pitcher of all-time (behind, at least, Williams and Paige and likely behind the Fosters and Brown), and that is good enough for me.

7. Tommy John – not too far from Grimes, a step above Kaat. No credit for the surgery, but medical pioneers (even the guinea pigs) get my respect.

8. Lou Brock – I think the post season value and the tremendous speed puts him ahead of the similar long-career peakless Beckley, who, of course, is now in our Hall.

9. Tony Perez – 34th all-time in total bases, no black ink – the weight of his career totals push him above what otherwise looks like a definitional bubble candidate’s resume.

10. Addie Joss – I don’t like short careers much, but I cannot ignore the best WHIP of all-time, the second best all-time ERA, the 12th best ERA+ and the nice winning percentage. Joss is an outlier on my ballot and should not be used as a comparator to others. He is here because of the factors I have outlined in the first sentence of this commentary, which is not really how I have evaluated other pitchers. I think he is an anomaly and I don't want to kick him off the ballot just because he wouldn't qualify based on the factors I most often consider. He belongs in my pHoM, if I had one.

11. Sammy Sosa -- fits somewhere around here. Those five monster years were supported by a half dozen other quite good ones, which makes him both a peak and career candidate.

12. Fred McGriff -- most would agree with me that he is definitely better than Rice, with his substantially longer peak (though many of those people would have both 50 spots lower). I really like the consistent shape of his career. It doesn't bother me that he plied his trade among many other great firstbasemen (see my comment on Tiant).

13. Jim Rice – I like the 77-79 peak. I like the runs created in his ten+ year prime and I like his overall totals. I do adjust raw totals significantly, but I think people are holding Fenway too much against him. From 1975 to 1986, Rice led the American League in total games played, at-bats, runs scored, hits, homers, RBIs, slugging percentage, total bases, extra-base hits, go-ahead RBIs, multi-hit games, and outfield assists.

14. Dave Parker – I think he is very similar to Rice, but I like Rice’s peak better. Their career counting stats impress me.

15. Albert Belle – I thought I would love him. What a peak! I had hoped the peaksters would put him higher, but as a career voter, this is as high as he can get for me.

16. Curt Schilling -- his 9 year prime pretty much matches Belle's. For me, he suffers because I watched his career unfold -- unlike Bonds, Clemens, Biggio, Piazza and even Sosa, I never thought Schilling was having a Hall of Merit career.

17. Luis Tiant – I don’t have a problem with 11+ pitchers from the 70s making our Hall. Talent isn’t evenly distributed and I have no problem with acknowledging value attached to favourable conditions.

18. Sam Rice -- 2987 hits speaks to me.

19. Orlando Cepeda – He is a very difficult choice for me because he isn’t significantly better than Howard, Colavito and Cash, but the slight difference means 20+ spaces on this ballot.

20. Pie Traynor -- I think he would have been a multiple time all-star.

21. Harold Baines – 32nd all time in total bases, the DHing keeps him well behind Perez. I see him as a better candidate than Staub.

22. Jim Kaat
23. Lance Parrish
24. Jack Morris
25. Bernie Williams
26. John Olerud
27. Aparicio -- those 1000 extra outs separate him from Fox, as does the poorer defence.
28. Rusty Staub
29. George Van Haltren – 40 wins, 2500 hits, never dominated. Pretty good adjusted win shares.
30. Jimmy Ryan – 2500 hits, good speed, lots of runs. Hurt by timelining.
31. Dizzy Dean
32. Tommy Leach – 300+ WS has to mean something.

Cravath -- I like the idea of Cravath but don't trust the translations enough to put him in my top 40.

Scooter -- I don't see him as a top 50 candidate, but I am sure I am undervaluing middle infield defence from his era. I get mocked for having Aparicio so high, but I'll take his longevity (and, I believe, a better glove) over the 11 points of OPS+ he cedes to Rizzutto.

Duffy -- I used to have him right beside Van Haltren and Ryan on my ballot and then I dropped him a bit. Either way, he is just outside my top 30. Let's call him 33.

Willis and Bando are not close for me.

   32. Daryn Posted: December 08, 2012 at 04:21 PM (#4320061)
I can't seem to get the edit funsction to work (again). Please ignore the 3rd, 4th and 5th sentences of my preamble.
   33. karlmagnus Posted: December 09, 2012 at 04:00 PM (#4320385)

Apologies for brief comments. Very strong new class. Bonds, Clemens, Piazza, Schilling and Biggio on ballot. Sosa just off ballot (will be on in weaker year), Franco a bit further off. Wells just off the bottom of consideration set (Grimes without the career length). Lofton just off the bottom of consideration set (even with a modest CF bonus, not quite there.) Finley just sub-lofton

1. (N/A) Barry Bonds. Ruth obviously better, but so were Williams and Gehrig on my calculations. TB+BB/PA .677, TB+BB/Outs 1.167.

2. (N/A) Roger Clemens 4913 IP at an ERA+ of 142 Just over two Addie Josses. Young, Johnson and Grove were all better, and Nichols and Alexander it's arguable.

3. Mike Piazza. Hadn't realized how good a bat he was, and almost all played at C. Oddly enough, a better claim to #1 at his position than Bonds or Clemens (much better hitter than Berra or Bench.) 2127 hits @OPS+143. TB+BB/PA .585 TB+BB/Outs .891

4. (N/A-7-7-6-8-6-6-7-7-6-7-7-7-9-8-7-7-4-5-3-3-3-5-4-4-4-6-4-4-4-5-2-2
-4-4-3-3-5-4-3-2-2-3-5-2-2-1-2-1-2-1-3-1-2-1-2) Addie Joss. I’m now even more convinced I missed him earlier, and that adjusting innings down for dead ball pitchers is illegitimate. 2327 IP at an ERA+ of 142. 160-97 by age 30. If you assume the rest of his career would have been 1800 IP, 120-90 with an ERA+ of 110 (somewhat conservative, assuming you boost his last sick season, though pitchers didn’t last as long as they did later) then 50% credit would put him at 3227IP, 220-142, with ERA+ of 130. 25% credit puts him at 2777 IP, 190-120, with ERA+ of 136. Substantially better than Koufax. OPS+20. Electorate needs to take him more seriously. 121PP.

5. Curt Schilling. 3261 IP @ERA+ of 127 Not quite as good as Joss, a little better than Cicotte.

6. (N/A-10-8-7-6-4-3-3-5-9-7-8-6-4-4-4-6-4-5-6-5-4-6-7-6-5-5-6-7-5-5-4-
4-5-4-6-4-4-5-4-4-5-4-4-6-5-5-5-6-7-5-5-6-7-6-5-5-7-5-5-5-6-3-4-7-6-4-4-6-5-4-3-3-4-6-3-3-2-3-3-4-2-5-2-3-3-4) Eddie Cicotte. Only 208-149 and an ERA+ of 123, but 3223 IP, more than Waddell and should get about 25% of the bonus for the 300-win career he should have had (he was, after all, a knuckleballer, who tend to peak late.) Much better than the 20s glut – only loses to Welch on longevity – Newhouser a close comp, but Cicotte had a longer career. Successfully cursed Red Sox AND White Sox for over 8 decades! 106PP

7. Craig Biggio 3060 hits, but at only 112 OPS+ TB+BB/PA .469, TB+BB/Outs .710. Very marginally better than Lombardi, given his longer career, but it's close.

8. (N/A-10-9-8-10-11-10-13-12-14-N/A-15-14-13-12-11-10-10-11-9-9
-5-3-6-3-4-5-6) Ernie Lombardi. Up a bit more; we’re forgetting him. Berra closely comparable. 2137 hits, normalized to a 130 game season, and an OPS+ of 125 makes him a little better than Schang, but some of it was during the war years and he fielded badly. TB+BB/PA .492, TB+BB/Outs .719., the ratio between the two very low because of strikeouts, I assume. Plus a great nickname!

9. (N/A-14-15-14-13-14-15-14-15-14-15-15-13-12-13-10-11-13-12-10-
11-12-11-6-5-5-6-8-5-5-4-5-5-6-4-7-4-5-7-7) Vern Stephens. Short career – only 1859 hits, but comparing him to Reese he was much better, and not far short of Doerr. TB+BB/PA .508, TB+BB/Outs .756. OPS+ 119 Best season 1944, however. Sliding up ballot.

10. (N/A-8-8) Fred McGriff 2497 hits @134. TB+BB/PA .566 TB+BB/Outs .873 Slightly better than I had expected, and fully ballot-worthy, halfway up as we’ve cleared out the stronger backloggers.

11. (N/A-9-8-8-9-10-8-10-9-8-7-8-11-11-10-10-10-11-11-10-9-11-12-
-8-6-6-9-7) Wally Schang. When you normalize his career to 130 game seasons for the first 18 years, as I do for catchers, he gets to 1941 hits, more than Groh at an OPS+ of 117, very similar. Furthermore, TB+BB/PA=.455, TB+BB/Outs=.728, also significantly better than Groh, over very close to the same period. And he was a catcher, more difficult than 3B.

12. (15-14-11-12-10-9-6-8-7-7-6-7-6-3-3-3-2-3-2-2-3-2-4-5-4-2-3-2-3-3-
-14-13-N/A-14-13-15-11) Mickey Welch. UER were 43.37% of total runs allowed for Mickey, compared to about 40% with all his HOM contemporaries except Galvin (who started earlier, anyway.) Hence his ERA+, his weakness anyway, overstates his value; in spite of 307-210 he was primarily an innings-eater. 4802IP. Will now be on and off ballot. 115PP, which elevates him a bit

13. (N/A-12-11-11-13-14-11-12-11-12-10-10-8-11-9-9-11-12) Tommy John 288-231, 4710IP@111. Infinitesimally below Sutton, better than Kaat. 99PP

14. (N/A-12-10-12-10-11-10-7-7-8-9-7-9-13-11-10-11-12-12-11-11-11-
10-8-8-9-10-9-8-8-10-10-9-8-9-6-7-10-8-10-8-8-10-13) Sam Leever. Pity he wasn’t able to start at the normal time; 2 more years would have made him a NB. Only 2660 innings at an ERA+ of 123, but was blocked till 27 by the one-league 1890s and having a steady job as a schoolteacher. Believe he needs to be looked at seriously by others, and included in pitcher analysis. Mild plus for high level of moral probity. Only 88PP, which drops him a bit

15. (N/A-11-12-11-11-12-13-14-12-15-15-15-15-N/A-15-N/A-13-14-13-14-11-11-9-12-10-10-12-14) Carl Mays Had slipped down too far. 3021 innings at 119, 207-126 and 83 OPS+ Others should look at him more closely. 88PP
   34. karlmagnus Posted: December 09, 2012 at 04:01 PM (#4320386)

16. (N/A-13-13-11-14-12-11-13-15) Elmer Smith Deduct 10% from Elmer's Western League 1890 and 1891 batting and slugging percentages we get 301/461 and 284/431 respectively. Comparing against the PL of 1890 gives an OPS+ of about 130, against the NL of 1891 gives an OPS+ of about 139. That gives him 14 years of full-time play; adjust those to 130 game seasons (which I did for 19th century players) gives him about 2140 hits at an OPS+ of 128-129 plus a pitching record of about 1400IP at an ERA+ of 113 and a W/L of about 96-72. Elmer baby, you're on my ballot, albeit towards the bottom of it. Only 97 years late.

17. Sammy Sosa 2408 hits @128OPS+. Not as good a hitter as Piazza, and without the catcher bonus. Doesn't have Elmer Smith's pitching, but a longer career than Frank Howard (though not as good) so goes here, though this may be a few places too high. TB+BB/PA .569, TB+BB/Outs .830.

18. (N/A-15-N/A-15-N/A-14-13-14-11-12-14-13-11-13-14-13-11-10-10-12-13-10-11-10-11-9-9-12-15-13-12-14-N/A) Frank Howard Very slightly better than Kiner – significantly longer career. Underrated by history, but down a little when I look at Belle. OPS+ 142 for 1774 hits. TB+BB/PA .546, TB+BB/Outs .805 in a pitchers’ park and era.

19. (N/A-6-5-9-8-9-8-7-10-11-8-9-7-7-6-6-9-9-8-6-6-6-5-4-8-7-9-12-
N/A-14-13-15-N/A-14-15-14-15-15-N/A-15-14-N/A) Hugh Duffy. We don’t have enough Beaneaters! However he’s not quite as good as Elmer Smith.

20. (N/A-15-N/A-14-13-15-N/A) Rusty Staub. 2716 hits at OPS+124. TB+BB/PA .484, TB+BB/Outs .724. Not quite as good as Beckley, for not quite as long.

21. (N/A-13-12-13-13-12-14-15-12-13-11-11-N/A-11-9-12-12-N/A-15-15-N/A-14-N/A-15-13-12-14-15-12-13-12-13-N/A) George van Haltren. Had slipped too far at #44; we need more 90s stars, but he was significantly below Elmer Smith, either as hitter or pitcher.

22. (N/A-12-N/A) Fred Lynn. Underrated, considerably better than Rice or Hernandez. 1960 hits at 130, but bonus for playing CF. TB+BB/PA .531, TB+BB/Outs .791. Lovely player to watch, and absolutely top-drawer at his best.

23. (N/A) Bernie Williams 2336 hits @125. Needs either a bit more quality or a bit more length. Just a smidgen less than Fred Lynn, who was also a CF (and who I’d MUCH rather see in!) TB+BB/PA .533 TB+BB/Outs .815, in a harder hitting era than Lynn.

24. Albert Belle 1726 hits @143. Short career, not quite Frank Howard but Frank was a little high. TB+BB/PA .597 TB+BB/Outs .896

25. (N/A-14-N/A-15-13-15-N/A-15-N/A) Luis Tiant 229-172. 3486 IP at 114. ERA+ a little low, but W/L good. He’s not top tier, but just a little better than Pierce. Big psychic plus for Red Sox affiliation. Looking at Reuschel, a little overplaced so have slipped him down. 84PP

26. (N/A-13-15-N/A-15-15-N/A) Vic Willis Had slipped too far.

27. Gavvy Cravath 1134 hits@150. Add 50% to career and deduct 5 points for more years in early career makes him 1699 hits @145, still a very short career, but comparable to Hack. TB+BB/PA .527, TB+BB/Outs .835.

28. (N/A-7-13-11-13-14-14-14-N/A-15-15-15-N/A-14-15-15-15-N/A-
14-N/A-15-15-N/A-15-N/A-14-N/A-15-14-N/A) Hack Wilson. TB+BB/PA = .588, TB+BB/Outs = .954, OPS+ 144. (he does appear to have known about BB, unlike some others.) Very short career, but quality too good to ignore.

29. (N/A-14-14-N/A) Chuck Klein. Shortish career but very good one. Similar player to Beckwith, beats Hack on career length, but Hack was better. TB+BB/PA .575, TB+BB/Outs .909, but only 2076 hits. OPS+137.

30. Indian Bob Johnson. Very similar career to Klein but infinitesimally less good. TB+BB/PA .569, TB+BB/Outs .890., only 2051 hits. OPS+138

31. Brian Downing. 2099 hits at 122 plus he caught about 1/3 of his games. TB+BB/PA.487 TB+BB/Outs.741

32. (N/A) Julio Franco. Better hitter than I had remembered and long career, mostly SS/2B. 2586 hits @111 OPS+ TB+BB/PA .466, TB+BB/Outs .686. Just a smidgen better than Perez, I think.

33. Tony Perez. Close to Staub but below him. 2732 hits at 122. TB+BB/PA .502, TB+BB/Outs .731.
34. Bill Madlock.
35. Toby Harrah
36. Ben Taylor.
37. Jim Kaat 77PP
38. Orlando Cepeda
39. Norm Cash
40. Jim Rice
41. (N/A-12-12-14-N/A) Tony Lazzeri
42. Cesar Cedeno
43. (N/A-14-N/A-15-N/A) Sam Rice
44. John Olerud With 2239 hits@128 playing 1B he’s somewhere about here.
45. Lou Brock
46. Mickey Vernon
47. Thurmon Munson
48. Sal Maglie.
49. (N/A) Burleigh Grimes.
50. (N/A) Heinie Manush
51. (N/A-9-10-10-13-N/A) Mike Tiernan
52. Bob Elliott
53. (N/A-9-12-11-14-13-14-12-11-12-13-11-11-9-9-13-14-12-14-14-N/A) Levi Meyerle.
54. Chuck Finley Obscure and slightly mediocre 200-173, but 3197 IP @115. Just below Reuschel and Tiant. Down a bit – I think 120ERA+ has got easier since ’90. 80PP
55. Jack Clark. As good as Reggie Smith but not for as long. 1826 hits@137OPS+, TB+BB .529, TB+BB/Outs .845
56. (12-15-N/A-11-10-12-10-10-9-8-11-12-10-10-8-8-14-15-13-15-15-N/A) Harry Wright.
57. Harold Baines 2866 hits @120. TB+BB/PA .511 TB+BB/Outs .757. Lower than Staub and Perez.
58. Dennis Martinez 3999IP@106, 245-193. A lesser Kaat.
59. Jimmy Key
60. Dave Parker.
61. (N/A-10-9-8-7-6-7-8-5-12-10-10-N/A-10-8-11-11-N/A) Jimmy Ryan
62. Gene Tenace
63. Kiki Cuyler
64. Deacon McGuire
65. Jerry Koosman.
66. Boog Powell
67. Ken Singleton.
68. Bucky Walters 198-160, 3104IP at 115 certainly doesn’t make the ballot, but should be on the consideration set, so here he is. Less than Tiant or Reuschel. 78PP
69. Sal Bando. 1790 hits at 119 Very short career, so even with 3B bonus he doesn't make it.
70. Jim Fregosi.
71. Jack Quinn
72. Juan Gonzalez
73. Tony Mullane
74. Ron Cey
75. Jose Canseco.
76. Pie Traynor
77. Jim McCormick
78. Dick Redding. My punt is 3200 innings at 114 ERA+ for a record of 207-159, i.e. same quality as Chris but a little shorter. About here looks right – a little below Grimes (longer career) and Maglie (better quality.)
79. Joe Judge
80. Spotswood Poles.
81. Buddy Bell.
82. Larry Doyle
83. Kirby Puckett
84. (N/A)Tony Fernandez. Turn him into an outfielder and he’s Kirby, so here he is. 2276 hits @101, TB+BB/PA .438 TB+BB/Outs .634
85. Ellis Burks 2107 hits @126; TB+BB/PA .548 TB+BB/Outs .820. Just within consideration set, rather than just outside it. Not that it matters.
86. Curt Simmons
87. Waite Hoyt.
88. Harry Hooper.
89. Vada Pinson
90. Gil Hodges
91. Jules Thomas.
92. Rico Carty.
93. Wilbur Cooper
94. Bruce Petway.
95. Jack Clements
96. Frank Tanana
97. Don Mattingley.
98. Orel Hershiser 204-150, 3130 IP@112. Not quite enough
99. Bill Monroe
100. Herb Pennock
101. Chief Bender
102. Ed Konetchy
103. Al Oliver
104. Darryl Strawberry.
105. Jesse Tannehill
106. Bobby Veach
107. Chet Lemon.
108. Lave Cross
109. Tommy Leach. Inferior to Childs, even if he’d played 3B his whole career, which he didn’t. Overall, Cross was better, too (2645@100 translates to 2645@ almost 120 with position bonus.) 2143 hits @109, which translates to at most 119 when you add say 50% of a 1900 3B bonus of 20. Not close.
110. Tom York

OFF: Phil Rizzuto. Not close—hugely overrated. OPS+ of 93, and not a particularly long career, even with war credit.

Lee Smith 71-92 +478 saves. 1289IP @132. Only 54PP so drops off consideration set.

   35. Willie Mays Hayes Posted: December 09, 2012 at 05:32 PM (#4320402)
I use BBRef WAR as my metric of choice. I lean peak, particularly the five consecutive year variety, though players who exhibit a consistent level of greatness, without too many "hanging on" seasons get their just due in my system as well.

1. Barry Bonds - Even if he never gets involved with BALCO, he is still an all-time great. The late career peak is ominous, but you are what the numbers say you are. I wasn't around for the elections of Ruth or Williams, so I haven't run them through my system, but Bonds would likely rank favorably.
2. Roger Clemens - So much about Clemens exuded dominance. The stare, the fastball, the willingness to pitch inside. Bit of a strange career shape. The truly great seasons are mixed in amongst merely excellent ones.
3. Curt Schilling - Personally, never liked the guy. Can not argue that he was a tremendous pitcher, and even with the slow start to his career, a worthy number 3 here, even without postseason credit, which he obviously deserves.
4. Mike Piazza - Take advantage of my catcher bonus to end up here. He's close to Schilling, but I have Schilling's peak as a bit better.
5. Craig Biggio - Most years he is in an elect-me spot. Tough crowd.
6. Johnny Pesky - With war credit, a no-doubt selection to the HOM.
7. Kenny Lofton - Yes, another newbie. No, it's not Sosa. Doesn't have a tremendous peak, (though 1994 was MVP-worthy), but was consistently awesome in center field.
8. Vic Willis - His down year in 1900 hurts him in my system. If 1900 were say a 3.5 WAR year, he'd move up to #3.
9. Sal Bando - Great peak. Probably hung around too long, but he certainly belongs in.
10. Bobby Bonds - Has a bonafide case for selection. Not nearly as good as his son, obviously. Great player in the beginning of his career, before the booze and injuries took their toll.
11. Sammy Sosa - Slow start to his career hurts his case, as did the tail end. There really isn't too much more to Sosa other than the peak, and his peak cant touch the top 4, and is similar to 5-8.
12. Kevin Appier - Tremendous in Kansas City. Seemed to beat the Yankees anytime I saw him pitch in the Bronx growing up. Hurt a bit by the malaise at the tail end.
13. Luis Tiant - Very close to Appier in my system. Were he a bit more consistent year-to-year, he would fare better.
14. John Olerud - Just a consistent hitter who provided excellent defense at first base. Didn't have tremendous home-run power, but something of a Keith Hernandez-lite. Something of a late peak guy, which didn't jive with my memory.
15. Phil Rizzuto - Deserving of war credit, and malaria credit. This is somewhere around where I draw the in/out line.

16-20: Hugh Duffy, Norm Cash, Bob Elliott, Fred McGriff, Don Mattingly

Reddding - Hurt by the tail end of the career, I don't think his peak measures up to Appier or Tiant - he's somewhere in between 25 and 35.
Cravath - Short career, and not much peak. In the bottom third of my consideration set.
Duffy - The recent changes to WAR calculation hurt him. I used to be one of Duffy's best friends. Not so much anymore.
   36. Adam Schafer Posted: December 09, 2012 at 06:10 PM (#4320421)
1. Barry Bonds -

2. Roger Clemens -

3. Mike Piazza - Piazza over Biggio for the catching bonus

4. Craig Biggio -

5. Sammy Sosa -

6. Gavy Cravath - Sad to see him get bumped so low on my ballot. Clearly used his park to his advantage. No doubt about it. However, I do not hold that against him.

7. Curt Schilling - a much wiser choice than Tiant in my opinion with his better peak

8. Bucky Walters - This is an odd player for me to like, as I normally don't go for the short career guys. Bucky just happens to have a really odd blend of career and peak to not only get on my ballot, but to make a strong showing on it. He's not Koufax by any means, but the thought process behind him is along the same lines.

9. Don Newcombe - I am obviously giving NeL and military credit. With that credit his 1948-1956 years are outstanding, and makes a very serious candidate out of him.

10. Bus Clarkson - I am willing to speculate he was better than Vern Stephens, and I really like Vern

11. Lee Smith - Clearly this is going to be unpopular, however, I give a lot of weight to career value and I do feel that relievers should be represented in the Hall of Merit as the other positions are.

12. Bruce Sutter - see Smith. Also similar to Bucky in the short career/high peak.

13. Vern Stephens - A shortstop that is consistently an All-Star and in the MVP consideration set is someone I can sure consider voting for.

14. Elston Howard - I really missed the boat on him earlier. Much like Newcombe, if you give him proper credit for
time he should've been a regular MLB catcher, you can't ignore him.

15. Luis Tiant - Schilling's addition to my ballot made me look harder at Tiant

What can you say when you have 6 newbies on a ballot? someone is getting left off. I considered Rizzuto, Redding, Duffy, Willis and Bando, but as they were mostly missing my previous ballots, they get knocked down even further with this years glut of newcomers. Lofton recieved serious consideration and came close to making the ballot.
   37. OCF Posted: December 09, 2012 at 09:08 PM (#4320506)
Here's my ballot. Last year, I started incorporating WAR into my mish-mash of older methods. But I'm looking as much at WAA and "big years" as at WAR itself. Since then, WAR got re-done, causing me to go over all of those numbers again. I've made a few minor revisions in the relative placement of my backlog candidates, but I pretty much don't believe in any of them anyway. This election is about the new candidates.

Numbers with the pitchers are RA+ equivalent record with a big years bonus in brackets.

1. Barry Bonds

2. Roger Clemens 359-187 [124] Really not a whole lot else to say about the top 2.

3. Mike Piazza What was the crack that someone made? That comparing Piazza, Biggio, and Schilling was like comparing apples, chairs, and Lithuania? Yeah, something like that. Historical uniqueness is what I see here. Biggio can be compared to Alomar and Whitaker and Sandberg, and Schilling is just another pitcher who's not Clemens, Maddux, Johnson, or Martinez. But there's really not anyone like Piazza. That year they chose Larry Walker as MVP ahead of him? Trade parks for those two for the year, and Piazza bats .400 with maybe 60 HR. So I go for the historical uniqueness, although to be honest, it does take a catcher bonus to get him here.

4. Craig Biggio I could have him lower, and I don't think I'd take him over Grich. And Bill James went way over the top with him. But there are a lot of little things that add up. The HBP, while not aesthetically pleasing, did add value. He didn't GIDP. He ran the bases well. He was durable.

5. Curt Schilling 227-135 [50] A clear "frontlog" candidate. Blows away Kevin Brown when you look at it by RA rather than ERA.

6. Kenny Lofton He looks like a very real candidate to me. He looks like Tim Raines - a little less offense than Raines although a similar style, and a lot more defense. He was the leadoff hitter for some of the best offenses of our time. (OK, that's not a good reason - we're not electing Woody English). Had his best seasons right at the beginning of his career, which makes you ask what he'd have look like had he played less basketball and come up as young as Raines did.

7. Sammy Sosa A peak candidate. Was a wild swinger in the early part of his career, and he declined quickly once his peak was over. But that peak is enough to get him here.

8. Luis Tiant 224-164 [35] Was #1 on my 2012 ballot.

9. Vic Willis 248-196 [44]

10. Frank Chance Betraying my career voter leanings. Didn't play much, but awfully good when he did play, and the best 1B of his own time. The new system gives him as much value above average as Palmiero.

11. Sal Bando

12. Buddy Bell Jumps up with recent revisions.

13. John Olerud

14. Johnny Pesky Includes WWII credit.

15. Fred McGriff

On my 2012 ballot but pushed off the 2013 version: Larry Doyle, Norm Cash, Lefty Gomez, Gene Tenace, Bobby Bonds. They may be back some day.

The following lines copied from my 2012 ballot:

Others close to the ballot.

C: -
1B: Orlando Cepeda.
2B: -
3B: Bob Elliott (a favorite of my old system), Robin Ventura, [Buddy Bell]
SS: Phil Rizzuto
Corner OF: Rusty Staub, Jack Clark, Frank Howard, Ken Singleton.
CF: Cesar Cedeno, Hugh Duffy, George Van Haltren, Jimmy Ryan, Dale Murphy I've supported the 1890's guys (particularly Van Haltren) for a long time, but I'm not all that sure any more that I'd take any of them over Cedeno and Murphy.
P: Bucky Walters, Kevin Appier, Lon Warnecki, Jerry Koosman, Tommy Bridges, Ed Cicotte, Wilbur Cooper, Tommy John, Urban Shocker.
   38. Nate the Neptunian Posted: December 10, 2012 at 12:44 AM (#4320647)
2013 Hall of Merit ballot part 1

The players on my ballot are ranked based upon points I've assigned to them. I've included the points in addition to their numerical ranking. For an explanation on how I calculate those points, see the 2013 ballot discussion thread. The big changes from my prelim ballot is that Johnny Pesky and Phil Rizzuto made my ballot after I gave them credit for years playing baseball in the Navy, knocking Art Fletcher and Bobby Bonds out of my top 15.

1) Barry Bonds (1079) Second best player ever in my system, behind Ruth and before Mays. Was the best player in MLB 7 times, tied with Mays. Only Ruth, at 9 such seasons, had more. 21 year prime, which ties him for 2nd all time in MLB, with Cobb and Cap Anson. The only player with more prime years was...
2) Roger Clemens (741) Yup, you guessed it, he had a 23 year prime, which is doubly amazing for a pitcher. I have him as the 12th best player of all time, and the 2nd best pitcher (the controversial part is he's actually ahead of Johnson, but behind Cy Young, but that's because IMO the uber stats give too much credit to 19th century pitching, something I haven't bother to correct since it's not affecting anyone on the ballot). Was only the best player in MLB once though (1997) and because of that he's still not very close to Bonds. Was the best pitcher in '86, '87, '90, '91, '92, and, of course, '97.
3) Mike Piazza (403) Not as quite as high on him as I'm sure many will be. Not quite a top 50 player in my system and only the 3rd best MLB catcher ever (behind Carter and Berra, but ahead of Bench). I haven't tried to work up Josh Gibson but I have little doubt he'd be higher as well. 11 year prime, which is on the short side for an upper tier HoMer. Was the best catcher in MLB from '93 to '98. Gets very little points from defense though, which hurts him. All this is without a catcher bonus, however, which I go back and forth on the correctness of. Since he's in an elect me spot already and there's no way he's catching Clemens (pun intended) even with a bonus, I won't bother applying one just to move him up my all time list.
4) Ben Taylor (386) I'm feeling a little better about his career than I was last year, with more years added to Seamheads. There's still a lot of uncertainty though, considering the last MLEs on his thread were done in 2004 before that data came to light, or even the HOF data was available (which is hard to interpret with no OBP numbers, but seems to indicate he was an above average hitter for the years the file contains and Seamheads doesn't have, excepting 1926). He seems to have been a top player in the NgLs in '14 and '21, and an above average player a bunch of other years, for a long prime. So my best guesswork is 15 year prime (75 points), 61 points each for '14 and '21 (which is more than I gave him for these years last year, but that's because I gave him no points for fielding, which was probably a mistake given his reputation), and 21 points each for each for '15, '17, '18, '20, '22, '24, '25, '27, and '28.
5) Hilton Smith (346) Using Alex King's WAR numbers on Smith's thread. Estimated 11 year prime (55 points), including 2 years in Bismark. Those numbers have him as the best player in baseball in '37 and '38 (93 points each for those years). I've also slotted him in as a top pitcher in '39, '40, '41, '46, and '47 (21 points each). He has really benefited, compared to last year, from a) my bumping up the point values for pitchers and b) my rereading his thread and realizing I needed to add in points for him being a very good hitter at his position.
6) Dave Bancroft (341) Was on my list last year, but has benefited from my change of uber systems by moving up from 11th. He's always looked like a good fielder in DRA, but he gains points in both offensive and fielding categories in the new mix of systems, so they just see him as an all around better player. Only 10 year prime but best MLB shortstop in '15, '20, '21 and '22 (and 2nd in '23, '25 and '26). Best fielder in MLB in '17, '20 and '23.
7) Craig Biggio (331) 14 year prime. Was a poor defender at 2B which costs him points. Was a top 2% player in MLB in '94, '95, '97 and '98. Was the best secondbaseman in those same years.
8) Ned Williamson (326) Short career, at least by modern standards, with a 9 year prime. The big winner from last year to this year, as he gains more points than any player in my top 100 both years other than Tommy Bond (who was also helped by my tweaking points for pitchers). Benefits from the new mix of uber systems by now being the best 3rd baseman in MLB 3 times (only had him as that once on last year's list): '81, '82 and '85. Also is seen as a good fielder in more years, bolstering his total.
9) Johnny Pesky (318) Based on MLB career, with 7 year prime, wasn't in my top 100, and I had no intentions of voting for him. But when I looked at the years that bookended the 3 years he spent playing ball in the Navy, I realized they were far and away his best years in my system; in fact, of the 168 points he had for his career, 100 of them came in those two years: 1942 and 1946. After that his value declined because his defense was never the same, though hit OK for a SS (or 3B) for several more years. So giving him the average of '42 and '46 in my system for 3 more years is 150 more points and he ends up here on my ballot.
10) Pie Traynor (315) 11 year prime. Actually gains 2 points from last year, when I had him in an elect me spot at 3rd, but the new guys plus Bancroft, Williamson, and the NgLers leapfrogged him. Loses points in fielding compared to last year, which is not suprising since rWAR hates his defense (which is at odds with his reputation and with his DRA numbers) but actually gains number of times he was best MLB 3rdbaseman (from 4 to 6): '23, '5, '27, '29, '31, '32.
11) Sammy Sosa (315) Just doesn't stand out from the backlog really. 11 year prime, and only 3 times a top 2% player (1998, 2000 and 2001). The best RF in MLB those same years. Add in a modest amount of fielding points racked up in his younger years and there's not much else.
12) Tommy Leach (299) My number one player last year. 13 year prime. Had earned more points via fielding than any other player in my top 100 last year, except for Buddy Bell (who wasn't as good of a hitter, in context), but under the new mix of DRA and the fielding components of the uber stats he drops below Bell, Joe Tinker, Davy Force, and Rabbit Maranville in fielding value amongst my consideration set, which explains some of his fall. Still a very good fielder at 3B according to DRA (which makes me wonder why he was moved), and later excelled at CF.
13) Buddy Bell (297) And speaking of Buddy Bell, I'm not suprised he's on my ballot now as rWAR loves him. 13 year prime. Unusual amongst players in my top 15 in that he was never the best at his position (the one year he was a top 2% player, 1981, which was also the only year he finished 2nd at 3B, was one of the years Mike Schmidt was the best player in MLB). But as the previous entity states, picks up a ton of points from his fielding.
14) Phil Rizzuto (292) He had an 8 year prime in MLB, and is the only player on my ballot, other than Bonds and Clemens, to have once been the best player in MLB, which he did in 1950. I've credited him for 3 years spent playing ball in the Navy, by giving him 80 adjustment points. This was done by looking at the points he got in my system in '41 (35), '42 (42), '47 (30), and '48 (0), getting an average of 26.75 and then using that figure to credit him for 3 additional years.
15) Curt Schilling (291) 14 year prime, which is pretty long for a pitcher. Was never the best pitcher in MLB, but was consistently amongst the top 30 starters, including the 2nd best pitcher three times: '01, '02 and '04.
   39. theorioleway Posted: December 10, 2012 at 12:47 AM (#4320651)
This is my second year voting for the HOM, and I thank you for letting me take part in this amazing project. I start with the Wins Above Replacement metrics from Baseball-Reference, FanGraphs, and Baseball Gauge (which is available to download, although it isn’t seen directly on the site). I look at these metrics in a variety of ways, but my favorite viewpoint is using the JAWS calculations Jay Jaffe made famous at Baseball Prospectus (career WAR + seven best seasonal WAR divided by 2). I then also factor in the timeframe, position, and any other important circumstances involving the player. The work you have done on players banned from MLB due to their race has been enlightening, although I tend to slightly increase the projections/MLEs you have created. I give war credit and minor league credit when I think it is appropriate. Onto my ballot:

1. Barry Bonds: I have him just barely below Ted Williams, but it’s close enough that I could see the argument for the other way. His time as a Pirate alone could probably get him on a decent amount of HOM ballots. I would have liked his father to be on my ballot also just for fun, but Bonds elder ended up 18. Would he be universally considered the best player ever if the Pirates had let him stay in CF?

2. Roger Clemens: I always bemoaned the fact that he played for the Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Yankees but somehow never stopped with the Orioles to complete his AL East tour. Clemens, Walter Johnson, and Cy Young are in a league of their own in regards to eligible MLB pitchers (I’m unsure if Satchel Paige or Smokey Joe Williams reach that level or not, will have to look into it).

3. Mike Piazza: I have Piazza as one of the top five catchers ever, along with Josh Gibson, Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, and Gary Carter (not necessarily in that order) and the best hitting catcher ever besides Gibson. It says something about who he’s with on the ballot that he can’t crack the top two.

4. Curt Schilling: Pales compared to the top three, but compared to the HOM he fits in very nicely. Ranks better than the pitchers of the 90s we’ve inducted so far: Kevin Brown, David Cone, and Bret Saberhagen (although yes Saberhagen also overlaps the 80s). The second pitcher on this ballot I used to fantasize about being an Oriole, mostly because he had been and then we traded him away (and other first year candidate Steve Finley) in what turned out to be an absolutely disastrous trade.

5. Craig Biggio: Fits into the bottom half of HOM 2B, but is clearly deserving (although it might take him awhile to get in). I loved his grittiness, even if it did make him seem better than he was (especially on defense). I will forgive the BBWAA for taking so long to vote in Jeff Bagwell, however, if both go in this year.

6. Hilton Smith: Alex King has done an excellent job translating the stats available and showing that Smith’s stats merit consideration from the electorate. I would like to add that a good chunk of his career was in the 1940s, one of the decades with the weakest pitching, and that Smith comes with a great reputation. He wasn’t Satchel Paige, but that’s ok.

7. Ben Taylor: I think he was the best first basemen of the 1910s and comps well to Keith Hernandez—great defensively and good offensively thanks to a great on-base percentage. Considering Taylor played at a time where 1B defense was more important than in Hernandez’s time, and he played during the deadball era where power hitting was not really an option, he seems like a good selection for the Hall of Merit. The Seamheads data also helps confirm Taylor’s case. I rank Smith ahead of Taylor because I generally find pitchers to be more valuable than first basemen, and DL from MN has made a good point that the HOM is a little light on pitching.

8. Vic Willis: I think he compares similarly to Rube Waddell, and favorably to Joe McGinnity and Mordecai Brown, all Hall of Meriters, and I believe Willis deserves enshrinement as well. Interestingly enough, 6-8 on my ballot are Hall of Famers.

9. Sammy Sosa: It seems crazy that a guy who hit over 600 home runs would only place ninth, but such is the breaks on being part of a historically good class, and because of the era he played in. He might not have even made the ballot if not for his plus defensive work at the beginning of his career. Also crazy how quickly his reputation went from being a “savior” of baseball to a “cheater” of baseball. Unlike Clemens and Schilling, Sosa did come to play for the Orioles after achieving greatness…but he was absolutely awful (not that it affects my ranking, I’m just bitter).

10. Kenny Lofton: Virtually tied with Sosa. I ranked Sosa ahead because Sosa had the best individual season (his 2001, although Lofton’s 1994 was fantastic) and because Sosa’s value was more consistent among the different systems than Lofton’s. So the 600 HR guy beats the 600 SB guy. That being said, I loved watching Lofton play. I can still remember him scoring the game winning run in the insane 15-14 eleven inning game against the Seattle Mariners on August 5, 2001 where the Indians were down 12 after 6 innings. Lofton went 4-6 with a walk and three runs scored in that game.

11. Ned Williamson: A great defensive 3B/SS who hit at a solid clip, he seems to be the IF left out of the 1880s. I think he is at least as worthy as Hardy Richardson, if not more so, and one could make the argument that he was the best 3B of the 1880s. He’s fallen on my ballot due to a) all the great new-timers and b) a belief that I overrated him last year. I’m more comfortable with his spot here, but I still do believe he is worthy of the HOM.

12. Carlos Moran: His offense was very valuable at his position in his era and like Taylor he is being validated by the Seamheads data. However, I can’t put him ahead of Williamson because of Williamson’s better defense and the relative uncertainty of Moran’s numbers.

13. Don Newcombe: As sunnyday2 has indicated in the past, Newcombe needs everything added on—war credit, racial segregation/minor league credit, hitting credit, etc. to qualify, and I think Newcombe has enough to be worthy, especially considering the 50s are also not stacked with elite pitching.

14. Buddy Bell: I know he had a lot of great contemporaries and that there’s very possibly a systemic issue with rating that era’s 3B vs. SS, but I can’t put Bell any lower than this. A universally regarded top-notch fielder with an above average bat, I didn’t appreciate until reevaluating him how good his 1981 was when adjusted for the strike. For me, he comps really well with Graig Nettles. Nettles has a career 111 wRC+ in 10,226 PA with excellent defense, while Bell has a career 108 wRC+ in 10,009 PA with superb defense. You can argue Nettles was better, but I don’t see how you can argue he is over the HOM line while Bell is below.

15. Cannonball Dick Redding: He isn’t getting the boost from Seamheads that Taylor and Moran are, but I don’t think it derails his case. I still think he settles in solidly at the bottom tier of pitchers worthy of the Hall of Merit.

Phil Rizzuto: Would be #16 on my ballot. With the war credit, I think he is very similar to Willie Randolph—the numbers aren’t overwhelming but they are close enough considering his valuable position. It makes me sick that I can’t find room for him on my ballot, and even sicker that if we’d just done elect-4 last year, this wouldn’t be a problem.

Luis Tiant: Would be #17 on my ballot. I reevaluated him and found I had been overrating him. Still worthy of making the HOM at some point, but I don’t know when that will be.

Hugh Duffy: Duffy is one of my favorite players, but unfortunately I don’t think he deserves induction in the Hall of Merit. I think he is more deserving than Sam Thompson, however.

Gavvy Cravath: With appropriate minor league credit he comes very close, but ultimately falls just short. However, he is one of many players that I didn’t know about before I started following this project, and I’m glad I know who he is, and it wouldn’t be outrageous if he made it.

Sal Bando: I’m not exactly sure how you can vote for Bando without voting for Bell, and I’m not sure how you can rank Bando ahead of Bell. Yes, Bando was a better hitter but Bell was a much better defender and played longer. All the WAR systems I look at are more favorable to Bell, and that’s even without compensating for 1981 being strike-shortened.
   40. Nate the Neptunian Posted: December 10, 2012 at 12:50 AM (#4320654)
2013 Hall of Merit ballot part 2

Now the also-rans and the required disclosures.

16) Art Fletcher (288) I certainly wasn't expecting to be voting for this dude, and now I'm not. Fellow shortstops Rizzuto and Pesky leapfrogged him since my prelim ballot so he just misses out. Has he ever gotten a vote before or would I have been the first? He was in my top 100 players last year though, so it's not a complete suprise. Modest 10 year prime. Half of his gain since last year is that the system now sees him as the best fielder in MLB for two years: '18 and '19. He was also the best SS two years, though it was two different years: '13 and '16. Oddly, his career year, 1917, when he posted a very nice 7.2 rWAR, 7.4 bWAR, 27 Win Shares and 12.5 WSAB he was third at his position thanks to Rogers Hornsby and Ray Chapman. And only the 14th best overall player that year (which netted him no points in my system) thanks to those two guys, Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker, a lot of great pitching performances, and the fact that the two WARs ranked him signifcantly higher than the two Win Share based systems (which I supposed is pretty typical for a SS, thanks to the different emphasis put on defense).
17) Bobby Bonds (286) 12 year prime. 3 times among the top players in baseball, and the best at RF ('70, '71, and '73).
18) Joe Tinker (281) Another excellent fielding, relatively light hitting SS in my top 20, and probably the best fielder of them all, but he misses my ballot. 13 year prime. Only once the top fielder in MLB (1904), but gets credit for being a top fielder in MLB for 14 years, more than anyone else in my top 100 (Bell still ends up with more fielding points though, because he was the best fielder at his position 6 times, while Tinker was only 4 times: '04, '05, '08, '09).
19) George Foster (276) Very short prime, only 8 years long, even though he played much longer. Three times a top 2% player: 1977, 1978, and 1981. Best LF in MLB twice: '76 and '77. Was a good defender early in his career, before an erosion of his skills, and was actually the best fielder in MLB in '71.
20) Jack Clark (276) 13 year prime. Best MLB player at three different positions over the course of his career: RF in 1983, 1B in '87 and DH in '88. Only once a top 2% player: 8th best player in 1987. Very little fielding value.
21) Frank Chance (275) Another short prime guy at 9 years. Was on my ballot last year, but lost about 25 points in change of uber systems, primarily because he went from being a top 2% player 4 times down to 2 times: 1903 and 1906. Was best player at 1B in 6 seasons though (every year from 1903 to 1908).
22) Carlos Moran (268) His stats on seamheads shows a player who was among the best in the Cuban League during his prime, but he also has some years with very low PAs. I'm not sure if this was due to injuries, splitting time between the winter and summer leagues, or what. 12 year prime (60 points). 15 points each for '07, '10, '11, and '13. 37 points each for '03, '05, '06, and '12.
23) Bus Clarkson (265) In looking at the WAR numbers Alex King calculated (based on Dr. Chaleeko's MLEs) in his thread, I'm struck by how his best years came in '53 and '54, when he was 38 and 39, respectively. That's not impossible, but very few players do something like that. Additionally, his raw hitting numbers don't seem that much more impressive than what he was doing in the American Association previously. My gut feeling is that something is off here. Having said that, in looking over his thread, it seems like a lot of this has been discussed. Additionally, even if his numbers are too high, the regression aided lack of peak will hurt him in my system. So I'm taking the numbers as is, as a compromise with myself. So a 16 year prime (80 points). 11 points for '41, '43, '44, '47, and '48. 22 points for '40, '42, '45, '53, '54. Additional 10 points each for '53 and '54.
25) Diomedes Olivio (263) This is just a pure guess, as I'm not even going to try to figure out yearly totals for him. I'd love to vote for him, based on his overall reputation, his work in the Dominican and the minors, his being very effective in relief in '62 as the oldest player in MLB, and his reputation as being a good hitter for a pitcher. But I lack too much context for his Dominican work, and even those stats don't start till he was 32, so I can't pull the trigger on him. Clearly had a very long prime though.
29) Burleigh Grimes (256) Would have been on my ballot with 1 point more than Schilling, but I manually adjusted him down. The first player I've done so to, as I don't like to make manual adjusments unless it's giving credit for years playing outside of MLB, otherwise why bother with a system? However, his case for top 15 placement was entirely driven by his fielding numbers. Since DRA includes no pitching fielding numbers and none of the uber stats I use calculate a fielding component for pitchers, his fielding ranks were based on Pete Palmer's fielding runs formula, which I don't have a lot of confidence in (espcially for pitchers). I probably should exclude pitching fielding numbers altogether from the system (I'll have to put that on my todo list for next year), but for most pitchers it makes little difference other than giving them a few more points (and I can hardly be accused of voting for too many pitchers). Grimes, however, managed to pick up 72 points from fielding his position (Schilling, OTOH, manages 0 points and Clemens only 4, by way of comparison). He must have been fielding a lot of ground balls compared to his contemporaries. That many points from fielding for a pitcher seemed unreasonable, and voting for him ahead of Schilling based on those shaky numbers doubly so, so I cut them in half, which still puts him 2nd in fielding credit amongst pitchers in my top 100, behind Carl Mays.
48) Gavvy Cravath (229) 135 points before minor league credit, which is way out of my consideration set. Only 6 year MLB prime. Manages to pick up 0 points from fielding. Giving him 15 points for prime credit for years 1909 to 1911, and then 15 points each for 1909 and 1910, and then 49 points for his big year in 1911. Ends up with 229 points, which puts him into my top 100, but not very close to the ballot.
53) Hugh Duffy (225) Between Jesse Barfield and Jim Devlin. 9 year prime, one year as a top 2% player: 1894. That was the only year he was best at his position. In fact, about a third of his total points came from 1894, so he just didn't have enough other great years.
58) Vic Willis (220) Between Norm Cash and Bernie Williams. 11 year prime, best player in baseball in 1899, couple other good years, and not a lot else. Wasn't a good hitter for his position.
79) Luis Tiant (200) Gained about 50 points from last year from the change in uber systems and the general bump to pitchers, so is now in my consideration set, when he wasn't before, but still not very close to the ballot. Had a 14 year prime but his lack of peak kills him. Was never the best pitcher in MLB. Was a top 2% player twice: '68 and '74. Was a top pitcher in '67, '68, '72, '73, '74, and '76.
108) Dick Redding (184) Stats at are up and down. Tail end of career covered in HOF file has little value. Seemed to have a monster 1917, and good years in 1912, 1916, 1919 and 1921, but not much else. Estimated 7 year prime (35 points). 81 points for 1917 (may be a bit too generious, as I have him as the best player in baseball). 17 points each for '12, '16, '19, and '21.
Kenny Lofton (182) Pretty long prime at 13 years, but almost no peak. Just outside my top 100.
Sal Bando (150) 150 points. Not in my top 100 consideration set. 11 year prime, only once a top 2% player: 1969. Only once the best 3B and doesn't get a lot of points from other categories. Basically, his problem is that rWAR loves him... and the other 3 uber systems I use really don't. Career totals: 57.1 rWAR 36.85 gWAR 280 Win Shares 117 WSAB. His rWAR figure would put him at 165 or so all time, which, even with a peak that was basically one year (1969), is a very good candidate, but that 280 Win Shares would put him right around 250th all time, and without much of a peak, and the other systems see him even worse (about 320th in WSAB and 400th or so in gWAR). Not to mention DRA hates his defense, seeing him as a below average fielder, so he can't even pick up any points there.
   41. James Newburg Posted: December 10, 2012 at 01:40 AM (#4320685)
2013 Hall of Merit Ballot


1. I use Baseball Reference WAR adjusted for season length, with Michael Humphreys' Defensive Regression Analysis (DRA) runs for the fielding component. Specifically, I use Humphreys' Talent Pool Adjusted Runs, which detrends the variance in fielding ability at each position over time.

2. I measure both consecutive and non-consecutive 3/5/7/10-year peak. For both, the formula itself is = (career WAR) + (best season * 3.333) + (top 3*3.333) + (top 5*2) + (top 7*1.429) + (top 10) + ((career WAR-top 10)*0.5)). This isn't rooted in any statistical justification; I just ran the numbers and it looked to have face validity.

3. I am inclined to give minor-league credit. I don't have systematic translations for anything earlier than 1978 (I am eyeballing the numbers), but I am conservative about how much individual seasons are worth. Almost without exception, they fit into the player's early-career shape; no one is going to be seen as a 5 WAR player for something they did in AAA if they took a few years to become a 3 WAR player. The way I see it, we are trying to measure a player's full professional record, and any minor-league season that translates to a decent-to-good major-league season should be credited.

Practically speaking, I limit credit to AAA (or what was called AA about 50-70 years ago) with hardly any exceptions. But exceptional AA seasons, like Gene Tenace's 1969, can earn credit. In it, he was a 22-year-old catcher who smote the Southern League to the tune of .319/.434/.638 (214 unadjusted OPS+) in 89 games.

4. For Negro Leaguers, I have tried my best to make best guesses as to their career WAR where actual data or MLEs are unavailable. Different cases have different data, so I will do my best to explain in each ballot comment.

5. Second basemen, third basemen and shortstops get no more than a five percent positional bonus, and catchers get a 19 percent bonus. The proportion of the bonus they receive is equal to the bonus, multiplied by the percentage of defensive games played at qualifying positions.

6. Modern catchers also receive Sean Smith's regressed estimates of game calling runs. Since there is no observed relationship between Total Zone fielding runs and game calling runs, I am assuming this does not lead to a bias against catchers not in the Smith dataset.

The Ballot

1. Barry Bonds - Damn, what fun. Greatest player ever.
2. Roger Clemens - Greatest pitcher ever. Can you imagine dead ball hitters trying to deal with Clemens' splitter?
3. Mike Piazza - Sean Smith's regressed estimates of catcher game calling runs gives Piazza +112 runs, making his defense a (small) net positive. Makes sense to me; the high-scoring environment probably created a ceiling effect for how much he could cost his teams in the running game. The gap between Piazza and Schilling is the same as the gap between Schilling and about 25th place.
4. Curt Schilling - Was as good at pitching as he is bad at business. I wish, tongue-in-cheek, that I could knock him down on account of it—my fiancée's contract with the RI Economic Development Corporation wasn't renewed after the 38 Studios failure created budget uncertainty for the upcoming fiscal year. The way I see it, Curt owes me a couple of Gs to pay for our wedding. Perhaps a first-ballot HOM selection to tout on ESPN is worth it to you, gehrig38?
5. Buddy Bell - Tremendously underrated candidate. Outstanding defender and fine hitter for a long time at a position where it's very difficult to hang on. One of the top ten third basemen ever to play the game.

6. Hilton Smith - Ranks similar to Redding, based on Alex King's MLEs. I place him above Redding on the strength of the Negro League data made available by the Hall of Fame.
7. Dick Redding - I assign his Seamheads/Baseball Gauge WAR, discounted 10%, to seasonal playing time estimates constructed by Alex King. His ballot placement is sensitive to the league discount assumption, but a more conservative estimate would probably still land him on the ballot.
8. Ben Taylor - Same procedure as with Redding, though I used KJOK's MLEs as estimates for playing time. Regular all-star type with eight seasons between 4-6 WAR, then he has that big 1914 season with the bat and with the arm, which comes out to 12 WAR in my estimation. The Seamheads data helped me figure out someone who I have missed the boat on for several years!
9. Vic Willis - Perhaps the last dead ball pitcher who really needs to be inducted.
10. Ed Williamson - Fantastic defensive third baseman who could hit, and played more than a little shortstop. Best remaining candidate from the pre-1893 era.

11. Sammy Sosa - Close with Biggio, but DRA helps him. Was a fine enough athlete to play a creditable center field when he was younger.
12. Craig Biggio - Surprised how much the WAR revisions hurt him. Might be one of the worst defenders to stick at second base long term, but cannot place him lower than here. Gets a slight catcher bonus.
13. Roy White - DRA makes the case that White is perhaps the best defensive left fielder ever, even in spite of his weak arm. Outstanding prime from 1968-1976, with 56 WAR, anchored by 8 WAR seasons in 1970 and 1971.
14. Kevin Appier - Great prime, and is in the Stieb/Saberhagen/Cone family of pitchers for whom it would take a stathead revolution to sniff the HOF. A 169-137 record and 121 ERA+ in 2600 innings doesn't "feel" like a HOFer (or a HOMer), but his 1990-1997 run (47 WAR, with 8 WAR (1992) and 9 WAR (1993) seasons) stacks up very well in a deep era for ace pitchers. Only Maddux and Clemens were better in Appier's prime, and the gap is closer than one might guess.
15. Jim Sundberg - Alongside Fisk, Bench, Carter, and Rodriguez on the short list of the best defensive catchers ever. Adding catcher game calling runs to DRA gives Sundberg +225 fielding runs for his career. Almost the entirety of his value (47 out of 51 WAR) comes in an 11-year run (1974-1984), thanks to his passable bat (93 OPS+) and very high level of in-season durability (average of 140 games caught). Five seasons with 4-6 WAR, with additional seasons at 7 (1981) and 8 (1977) WAR. The WAR cited is the raw amount Sundberg has in my system; he gets a positional bonus on top of this.

Returnees and Notables
Luis Tiant - The best of the top returnees not to make my ballot. He's among a tight group of pitchers just off of it, along with Urban Shocker, Wilbur Wood, and Dwight Gooden.
Gavy Cravath - Yet another guy just off the ballot. However, he's behind Buzz Arlett and Bobby Bonds among corner outfielders.
Phil Rizzuto - Paired with Johnny Pesky in my evaluations. Phil stayed on SS longer and was a better fielder, while Johnny was the better hitter—six of one, half a dozen of the other. Not far from the ballot.
Kenny Lofton - DRA knocks him off the ballot, though he is also close.
Hugh Duffy - The gap between Lofton and Duffy is about the same as between Lofton and the ballot. Can't see Duffy ever making my ballot.
Sal Bando - Another DRA victim. Buddy Bell should be way ahead of him and, frankly, it isn't close. Can't see Bando making my ballot, either.
   42. Rusty Priske Posted: December 10, 2012 at 12:12 PM (#4320951)

Career voter. In fact, I am still unclear how you can NOT be a career voter when makign decisions based on careers, as any Hall of this type clearly is...

PHoM inductees match my 1-2-3...

1. Barry Bonds - The best hitter in my lifetime, at least. Possibly the best hitter ever... possibly...

2. Roger Clemens - See #1 but substitute the word pitcher for the word hitter.

3. Craig Biggio - One of the most udnerrated players in my lifetime. I know that he isn't going to get in this year due to Piazza being overrated (imo), but that's life. He would be #1 on many years.

4. Tommy Leach - Overlooked. (PHoM - 1921)

5. Fred McGriff - Career voter, remember? Underrated. (PHoM - 2010)

6. Mike Piazza - Suddenly I see people defending his abilities as a catcher to justify putting him in as a hitter. He was a great hitter. He was a terrible catcher. He should have been moved to another position early in his career, but if he had been people wouldn't look at his offense in quite the same light. He will get in my PHoM eventually (maybe even next year) but he doesn't get in before Biggio.

7. Tony Perez - Another career that doesn't get enough love. That is a common refrain from me. (PHoM - 1996)

8. Sammy Sosa - There is more to life than homeruns... but homeruns are good too...

9. Bobby Bonds - I wonder if he would get more suport (not just in here) if his son wasn't who he is... (PHoM - 1987)

10. Hugh Duffy (PHoM - 1930)

11. Mickey Welch (PHoM - 1929)

12. Vic Willis (PHoM - 2005)

13. Bernie Williams (PHoM - 2012)

14. Buddy Bell (PHoM - 2012)

15. Bill Monroe

16-20. McCormick, Cash, Bando, Redding, Brock
21-25. Finley, Grace, Grimes, Olerud, Streeter
26-30. Johnson, Gleason, Greene, John, Mullane

Norm Cash, Dick Redding and Mark Grace were all on my ballot last year but have dropped off.
   43. Famous Original Joe C Posted: December 10, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4320990)
Rusty, no Schilling in your top 30? How come?
   44. Howie Menckel Posted: December 10, 2012 at 05:10 PM (#4321277)

2013 ballot - our (and my) 117th since we began this version of the journey in 2003 (real time) with an "1898" ballot.

props to any other remaining "voting Ripkens" as well.

I had 2012 electees Palmeiro-Reuschel-Cone 3-13-1 on my ballot.

The annual fine print: Overall, I think there is too much emphasis on WARP3, WAR, and even more newfangled stats, which are intriguing tools but which still are not yet sufficiently mature.
So my fondness (but not blind allegiance by any means, especially where durability is an issue) for ERA+ and OPS+ helps, I think, as a reality check. Increasingly, I've had to adjust for PAs/IP per season, not really an issue in earlier years when nearly all the big stars played almost every day or pitched a ton of innings.
I tend to be mostly prime-oriented with hitters, and prime and career with pitchers. But a huge peak sometimes catches my eye, and a remarkably long hitting career also works for me. Unlike a lot of voters, I've long ago run out of longtime "pet projects" to tout aggressively for the Hall of Merit.

I voted for Joe Jackson on his first try, and Pete Rose, and Mark McGwire - and these guys as well:

1. BARRY BONDS - 182 OPS+ is third-best career figure behind Babe Ruth and Ted Williams, 3 pts ahead of Lou Gehrig. Is 6th in both OBP and SLG. Nine OPS titles. Never top 6 in doubles, yet is 14th all-time there. 2,558 BB is 368 more than runnerup Rickey Henderson. 33rd in SB, ahead of Aparicio, Keeler, Moreno, Bobby Bonds... Drew 755 (!) walks in 573 games from 2001-04 as he picked up the last four of his 7 MVPs. His 688 IBB are more than No. 2 Hank Aaron and No. 3 Pujols combined - 128 more. Career high in R is 129 - which he did four times from 1993-2004. 2nd in extra base hits to Aaron. Ranks just 200th in Double Plays, though. Led in HR only three times and R and RBI only once (but ranks 1st/3rd/4th career). And didn't even reach 3,000 hits! Will vote him No. 1 anyway.

2. ROGER CLEMENS - Not only 7 Cy Youngs, but in top 3 on three other occasions. 14 times in top 5 in ERA+, including 1986-92. 11 times in top 5 in Ws, an imperfect stat but still. 6 shutout titles and 5 K titles. 3rd all-time in Ks. Has 11 seasons of double-digit Ws and single-digit Ls, which looks nice on his bb-ref page. Only led league in IP twice, but I'll vote him No. 2 anyway.

3. MIKE PIAZZA - I like him better than some, but no way to move him higher. Defensive deficiencies quite overstated imo; just CS problems really. Even if was a LF, has a 143 OPS+ in 7745 PA. Guys at 140-145 include Snider, LWalker, JGiambi, ECollins, Mathews, Killebrew. NL C Silver Slugger 10 times in a row, 1993-2002. Top 4 in AVG, 1995-98 and .308 for his career, just like Ashburn, and Cano pre-decline phase.

4. CURT SCHILLING - Eminently qualified for both HOM and HOF. 127 ERA+, just ahead of Sabathia, Smoltz, Palmer and matching Seaver, Bob Gibson, King Felix - in 3261 IP, 5 top 3s there and more IP than Ford or 3-Finger Brown (or 6-Finger Alfonseca). Bloody Sock only a bonus for HOF, but both groups drool at 11-2, 2.23 ERA in 133 postseason IP. Also EXTREMELY low number of UER, which I don't always pay heed but here you can't miss it.

5. CRAIG BIGGIO - As a regular, position in those 19 seasons was 3 as C, 11 as 2B, then CF, LF-CF, then 3 as 2B again. People get too focused on him as a career candidate who had some compiler-itis; real story is his six-yr peak of 1993-98 in his initial 2B phase. Played nearly every game (2 strike seasons confuse this issue), and here Offensive WAR works well in seeing him in top 4 in NL in 4 of those. 5th all-time in 2B; ahead of FRobby, Yaz, ECollins, TWilliams, Foxx, Wagner, Mantle...

6. FRED MCGRIFF – Liked him by a nose last year over Palmeiro, who has a weaker peak but a longer prime. I took Crime Dog by a nose, but it’s ohsoclose. McGriff 134 OPS+ in 10174 PA to Palmeiro’s 132 in 12046 PA. I love the 157-166-153-147-166-143-157 peak from 1998-94, all in 600+ PA or equivalent.

7. SAMMY SOSA - Here the big prime is 5 yrs, and it's more obvious because there wasn't a ton before or after. This is his case: Very durable with OPS+s of 160-151-161-203-160. Just enough thanks to 203.

8. BOB JOHNSON - I like this sort of consistency over a long span, though I'd hardly say he's a 'must-elect,' ever. Sort of the Joe Gordon of OFs in career shape, or a slightly longer and flatter version of Kiner. Or McGriff without the tail, offensively. I am very concerned by 1944 being his highest OPS+; seems like he took advantage of the weak competition. But has more than a decade's worth of excellent hitting, for a prime that I like better than, say, most holdovers’.

9. BOB ELLIOTT - Good to see him mentioned in discussions starting about 10 'years' back, at least. Six seasons of at least 134 OPS+, ALL of them as a 3B (Ventura never had any that high). Wish he'd played all 3B and not much OF, but c'est le vie - Sewell seemed to get treated as a full SS by some back in the day. Beats out HOMer Boyer and compares remarkably well with HOMer Santo as a hitter. Better than HOMer Hack as well, and better than HOMer DaEvans (see these guys' threads for details).

10. BEN TAYLOR - Had meant to reconsider him for years; finally did so 7-8 “years” ago. Long career, excellent fielder, consistent player. I'm not 100 pct sold on the hitting MLEs, but very good reputation and for sure a quality player. Moves up holdover pecking order slightly.

11. VIC WILLIS - Won a Howie M SP bakeoff with Grimes and Walters many 'years' ago, with slightly more career than Walters and better peak than Grimes. It's close, but I'll stick with Vic for yet another year.

12. DAVE BANCROFT - Not sure if I ever voted for him before 12 yrs or so ago. But look at the prime: fantastic fielder at SS, with OPS+s of 120-19-19-09-09-09-04. Won a fresh 3-way evaluation vs Fox and Concepcion at one point, now does so again. Similar to Randolph, but an SS.

13. BUCKY WALTERS - 4th pitcher on my ballot; we’re still a little shy there. Seemed to get Palmer-like defensive support, without enough super-stats to make that irrelevant. Proved his mettle outside of 'war years.' Lemon-esque, though I wasn't a big fan there.

14. KIRBY PUCKETT - Good prime for a CF, but not amazing. I had said if I wasn't sold on him being an excellent defensive CF in his first 6-8 years, he'd drop a bit. And now I believe his defensive prime didn't last that long, so he has dropped slowly but surely. I'll pass on the intangibles, but he holds his own against BobBonds offensively, for instance, and has just enough at the finish line to pass DaMurphy.

15. DAVE CONCEPCION -12th time on my ballot, and moved down a couple of slots this year. Peak is as good or better than Nellie Fox's; not quite as consistent, but a slick fielder and a very useful offensive weapon many times. Not fully buying the "other teams were stupid enough to play ciphers at the position, so give Davey bonus pts" argument; that helped the Reds win pennants, but Concepcion can't get full credit for that stupidity. But he needs the modest credit in that regard to outlast Rizzuto.



PHIL RIZZUTO - Have him down to 17th with the new 6-pack grabbing the top spots. I'll grant a lot of war credit and stipulate to the great, great fielding. But even 3 war credit years gets him only to 13 main years, and the fielding made him above-average overall but not excellent in most seasons. Yet at closer look, similar case to Concepcion when you cancel out the irrelevant parts.

LUIS TIANT - Ranks 16th for me, so could also climb back next year with a fresh take. Looks like he has the peak at first glance, but notice that the IP just aren't quite there. Plenty good when he did pitch, but with that lack of innings you have to be even more dominant. Maybe he winds up as the era's last P electee, but probably not.

CANNONBALL DICK REDDING - A longtime favorite who climbed his way back onto my ballot in recent years and even climbed back to "elect-me" status at times - but now, he's struggling to be top 20. I liked him as an all-around candidate, but the HOF research suggests he's more of a peak guy. He was on an election path for a long while, but I think the voters who left were bigger Redding fans than the ones who remain. Turns out they may have done us a favor.

HUGH DUFFY – Most voting points in HOM history, of course he keeps adding to his lead since he doesn’t get elected. Only one season (1894) of 130 OPS+ or better dooms him (ok, 2 with 1891 AA), even as a strong fielder. Needed a little more pop.

GAVVY CRAVATH - Have voted for him before; do give him some minor league credit, absolutely. A reasonable end-ballot pick and top 20 for me probably; I just think that not only did he get a huge boost from the Baker Bowl, others could have done the same. Anyone else who has THIS much more MLB production in his 30s than his 20s? Not many, especially before steroids era.

SAL BANDO - Not buying him as Brooks-ian out there at 3B, partly from having seen both play. VERY underrated hitter. Durable and 7 yrs at at least 128 OPS+. Will remain on my radar; don't give up yet, Bando-backers, for 2014.



DON NEWCOMBE – A passionate, detailed Newcombe backer might also get me there someday. I think he had the skills, but he didn’t quite actually produce quite enough. Prove me wrong next year.

BERNIE WILLIAMS - Didn't quite like him enough over this or even last top 15, but a serious low-ballot candidate and might tab him in the future. Feel like he had corner-OF D and CF-star stats.

KEN SINGLETON - Bob Johnson-like, but not quite as good for quite as long. Equally underappreciated in his time.

DALE MURPHY - His modest fan club will be saddened that he fell off my ballot in recent years. A different peak-primieness than Belle, and a different fade as well.

ORLANDO CEPEDA - Suddenly popped up on my ballot 12 years ago with the reevaluation. Had been losing out to Perez with positional consideration, but closer look shows a sterling top-4 and top-10 offensive line. DH opportunity added nothing to his case. He may reclaim a ballot slot someday, but not soon.

TOMMY LEACH - I (barely) voted for him dozens of times, never quite warmed up to him. I wish some of the 3B-OF Leach-lovers compared him to my pet Elliott. Career 109 OPS+ here, and absolutely no decline-oriented mirage. Basically a fungible player past age 30. A guy who makes some stat systems look bad if you do a reality check.

BURLEIGH GRIMES - Compare to Ruffing, Rixey, Wynn and other such HOM pitchers - ok, Sutton, too. I dismissed him as short of Rixey and Ruffing, and he was. But he's just one 130 ERA+ year short of climbing onto this ballot. Better peak than Tommy John, and a lot more durable relative to his era.

ROBIN VENTURA - Great fielder, so ahead of better-hitting Cey. A plausible pick; I just ask for a little more offense or a little more career. Underrated. Compare to Bando.

RON CEY - In the past I have had him over Nettles and Bell and nearly on the ballot, but that's because I may like his fielding better than most. Closest of the trio to Bando in hitting. These guys are pulling a 'Van Haltren-Duffy-other 1890s OF who fell off ballots' for me, cannibalizing support.

LEE SMITH - Very tough one. 10 seasons I really like a lot, only 1 or 2 I love. Sutter has more to love, less to like. A lot of RPs do. Off my ballot, but may get back into consideration.

ALBERT BELLE - Eerily Kiner-esque and Keller-esque, and I like if not love these mashers. Wouldacoudashoulda been such an easy pick if not for the sudden career crash.

KENNY LOFTON (NEW) - Only OPS+ above 121 was a 145 in strike-marred 1994. Doesn't have to have hit anything near like the corner OF/1Bs, but he was a shade below that. Not a bad candidate, but won't crack this list.

   45. dan b Posted: December 10, 2012 at 10:29 PM (#4321474)
My 115th ballot out of 116. I start with a half peak/half career WS system with tendency to favor peak. I am also influenced by NHBA rankings. Whereas James looked at 3 best years and 5 consecutive years, I also look at 8 best years and 10 consecutive years. I look for hitters who would be above the median of already enshrined HoMers and pitchers with strong peaks.

PHoM 2012 – Bonds, Clemens, Piazza

1. Bonds I was surprised to see that Bonds only ranks 4th in my half peak/half career WS system behind Ruth, Wagner and Cobb.
2. Clemens I won my first fantasy league championship in 1986 with the help of this 28th round pick.
3. Piazza #4 catcher behind Gibson, Berra and Bench
4. Biggio
5. Walters PHoM 1968. Nice peak – 3 WS Cy Youngs, 1 runner up. One more big year than Dean.
6. Dean PHoM 1976. 1975 reevaluation of great pitching peaks put him on my ballot for the first time. 2 WS Cy Youngs, 1 runner up. Pitchers from the period 1934-1947 are under represented. Dean and Walters would help bring balance. NHBA #25 pitcher.
7. Rizzuto PHoM 1995. 1993 reevaluation moved him up. NHBA #16.
8. Mays, C PHoM 1997. His era could also use another pitcher. A quality pitcher we are overlooking. WS comparison with 1938 inductee Stan Coveleski shows them to be nearly identical in value. Ten best seasons:
Carl 35-31-30-27-25-22-20-20-17-11;
Stan 35-32-30-29-25-23-22-16-16-12.
Similarity scores agree. NHBA #38.
9. Cravath PHoM 1967. With mle credit Gavvy is above the HoM median using 5 consecutive seasons, 10 consecutive seasons, 3 best and 8 best seasons.
10. Sosa
11. Murphy PHoM 2002. 4 consecutive seasons with 30+ WS. Above the HoM median for 5 consecutive years.
12. Duffy PHoM 1912. Compared with the median level of already enshrined HoMers using WS, Duffy would be in the top half using 5 consecutive seasons, 10 consecutive seasons, 3 best and 8 best seasons. If WS overrate him, then so do I.
13. Singleton PHoM 1997. Above HoM median for best 5 consecutive seasons.
14. Grimes PHoM 2009. Change in the way I evaluate pitching finds one I had previously underrated. 4 big years. By WS, his 4th best year is better than the 4th best year turned in by Grove, Hubbell, and Plank. The 8 year period from 1917-1924 is under represented by MLB pitchers. Mays and Grimes would fix that.
15. Schilling A case for post season credit.

Of the returning 7, Rizzuto, Duffy and Cravath are on my ballot while Tiant, Willis and Bando are in my top 25. Redding is PHoVG material, not in my top 50.
   46. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 10, 2012 at 10:44 PM (#4321486)
James Newburg - post 41:

15. Jim Sundberg - Alongside Fisk, Bench, Carter, and Rodriguez on the short list of the best defensive catchers ever. Adding catcher game calling runs to DRA gives Sundberg +225 fielding runs for his career. Almost the entirety of his value (47 out of 51 WAR) comes in an 11-year run (1974-1984), thanks to his passable bat (93 OPS+) and very high level of in-season durability (average of 140 games caught). Five seasons with 4-6 WAR, with additional seasons at 7 (1981) and 8 (1977) WAR. The WAR cited is the raw amount Sundberg has in my system; he gets a positional bonus on top of this.

What an amazing assessment of Sundberg...solid stick and otherworldly defense would make him worthy...this selection intrigues me to see your personal hall of merit, not hall of merit list, if you have one.

   47. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 10, 2012 at 11:04 PM (#4321498)
Rusty Priske - #42

5. Fred McGriff - Career voter, remember? Underrated. (PHoM - 2010)

6. Mike Piazza - Suddenly I see people defending his abilities as a catcher to justify putting him in as a hitter. He was a great hitter. He was a terrible catcher. He should have been moved to another position early in his career, but if he had been people wouldn't look at his offense in quite the same light. He will get in my PHoM eventually (maybe even next year) but he doesn't get in before Biggio.

Even for an extreme career voter, Piazza has comparable hitting value to McGriff, despite playing decent defensively at the toughest position and acquire his counting stats for hitting in ~2500 less PA, while McGriff played poorly defensively at the easiest position.

Batting Runs, Batting Wins, Offensive WAR, Plate Appearances, McGriff then Piazza

Stealing from the Piazza thread, post 278:

278. Bleed the Freak Posted: May 09, 2012 at 11:23 PM (#4127959)

20. AROM Posted: February 28, 2012 at 09:19 AM (#4070161)
Using .2 runs for a SB and .5 for a CS, Piazza cost his teams about 70 runs over his career. That's giving him 100% of the blame and not adjusting for pitchers.

I have his game calling being worth a bit more than that. Max Marchi is working on a similar metric and I can't wait to see what he comes up with.

My apologies for laying low. Between working two jobs and commuting, I burn 80 hours a week.

On to the good stuff:

As AROM mentioned, Max Marchi formerly of The Hardball Times, has moved on to Baseball Prospectus, and has done studies on historical catching value.

Catchers improving pitching staffs - runs prevented:
248 - Tony Pena
210 - Mike Scioscia
205 - Javy Lopez
205 - Mike Piazza
191 - Carlton Fisk
178 - A.J. Pierzynski
161 - Russell Martin
150 - Jim Hegan
150 - Jose Molina
146 - Andy Etchebarren.

Based upon Marchi's research, I don't see any argument for Piazza's defense being terrible.
   48. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 10, 2012 at 11:10 PM (#4321501)
Daryn - 31:
12. Fred McGriff -- most would agree with me that he is definitely better than Rice, with his substantially longer peak (though many of those people would have both 50 spots lower). I really like the consistent shape of his career. It doesn't bother me that he plied his trade among many other great firstbasemen (see my comment on Tiant).

13. Jim Rice – I like the 77-79 peak. I like the runs created in his ten+ year prime and I like his overall totals. I do adjust raw totals significantly, but I think people are holding Fenway too much against him. From 1975 to 1986, Rice led the American League in total games played, at-bats, runs scored, hits, homers, RBIs, slugging percentage, total bases, extra-base hits, go-ahead RBIs, multi-hit games, and outfield assists.

14. Dave Parker – I think he is very similar to Rice, but I like Rice’s peak better. Their career counting stats impress me.

15. Albert Belle – I thought I would love him. What a peak! I had hoped the peaksters would put him higher, but as a career voter, this is as high as he can get for me.

16. Curt Schilling -- his 9 year prime pretty much matches Belle's. For me, he suffers because I watched his career unfold -- unlike Bonds, Clemens, Biggio, Piazza and even Sosa, I never thought Schilling was having a Hall of Merit career.

Why does Schilling suffer because you didn't think of him as a Hall of this even constitutional?

As a young boy, I thought McGriff and Belle were Hall of Fame / Meriters, but McGriff had no defensive or baserunning value, and Belle's career was cut short too early - making him a questionable choice, so I don't have either on my ballot.

   49. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 10, 2012 at 11:13 PM (#4321503)
Rusty Priske - post 42:

16-20. McCormick, Cash, Bando, Redding, Brock
21-25. Finley, Grace, Grimes, Olerud, Streeter
26-30. Johnson, Gleason, Greene, John, Mullane

Are all of these guys more worthy than Curt Schilling?

   50. James Newburg Posted: December 10, 2012 at 11:52 PM (#4321513)
BtF, thanks for the Marchi piece. Food for thought.

I haven't yet switched all the way over to DRA for my pHOM yet or completely incorporated the BBREF WAR update, which would probably have a material effect on at least the bottom 20 percent of the pHOM. I might also have to add Marchi's game calling data instead of Smith's. Everyone on my ballot, and probably the off-ballot pitcher glut I mentioned, would be in my pHOM.
   51. rawagman Posted: December 11, 2012 at 09:52 AM (#4321682)
Bleed - I don't think there's anything unconstitutional about Daryn's ballot. He is entitled to his opinion and there is nothing overtly inconsistent about it. We may not agree with his assessments, but there is no discernible bias in them.

I am more concerned with Rusty's ballot as his unexplained omission of Schilling indicates that he failed to even consider him.
   52. bjhanke Posted: December 11, 2012 at 10:33 AM (#4321717)
Sigh. Could someone tell me not just that the due date is Dec. 12, but what HOUR on Dec. 12? I have the ballot listed, but still have comments to write. And my body clock has gone haywire due to last week's stomach flu - get your flu shot! This one is NO joke! So, if I see that I can't get good comments written by the deadline, I'll put up the ballot, with the comments on the leftover top tens that I don't vote for (whose comments I will write first). Then I will fill in the comments over the rest of Dec. 12. I should be able to get them in by that night, but I can't guarantee, so I'd like to know when I have to get something in. Thanks, Brock

Just FYI, this is the ballot as I have it now - comments are welcome, although there's only a day. Right now, my 16th is probably
Ben Taylor or Dizzy Dean, so if you're going to try to convince me to change a vote, they're the best to advocate for.

1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Craig Biggio
4. Bobby Bonds
5. Sammy Sosa
6. Mike Piazza
7. Babe Adams
8. Curt Schilling
9. Hugh Duffy
10. Tommy Bridges
11. Don Newcombe
12. Kenny Lofton
13. Jim McCormick
14. Hilton Smith
15. Lou Brock
   53. DL from MN Posted: December 11, 2012 at 10:38 AM (#4321721)
Yeah, Daryn expressly says he evaluated Schilling and finds him about even with Albert Belle despite his preconceived idea that he would love Belle and dislike Schilling.

I agree that Rusty's ballot looks like he just forgot Schilling. He has Chuck Finley at 21.

Curt Schilling 3261 IP 127 ERA+
Chuck Finley 3197.1 IP 115 ERA+

There is no way I can measure what Chuck Finley accomplished in a way that Curt Schilling can't top it. Longer career at a higher level of quality. Higher peak, better prime.
   54. DL from MN Posted: December 11, 2012 at 10:47 AM (#4321730)
bjhanke - usually balloting closes in the afternoon. Sorry to hear about your stomach virus but usually "stomach flu" is norovirus, not influenza, and the shot doesn't make any difference.

I'm going to want to see why Piazza below Sosa.
   55. Rusty Priske Posted: December 11, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4321742)
I didn't 'forget' Schilling, but I admit I stopped looking very deeply once I saw that he wasn't going to make the ballot. He very well could make it into the 'also-ran' list with deeper consideration. I just didn't see the reason to do so.
   56. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 11, 2012 at 01:05 PM (#4321872)
Interesting, the ballot dropped off of Hot Topics after I edited the initial post . . . is that a known feature? It's been more than the two minutes it takes to regenerate Hot Topics.
   57. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 11, 2012 at 01:07 PM (#4321874)
The due time is typically 8 p.m. EST. We've been known to flex the date in the past, but the time has been pretty standard.

We are around 20 ballots now, right? Can I expect a flood tomorrow? We had 37 total last year.
   58. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 11, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4321886)
BTW Brock, I am a big Ben Taylor fan. I see him as a better Olerud type. I give some definite weight to the Negro Leagues Committee, since they generally agreed with our choices and had access to much more information.

Has anyone systematically gone through the new stats that have been released over the last year or two (that's a guess as to the timeframe)?
   59. DL from MN Posted: December 11, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4321985)
Can I expect a flood tomorrow?

There are some prelims that haven't been posted.
   60. bjhanke Posted: December 11, 2012 at 04:15 PM (#4322220)
Two quick ones:

I have Sosa and Bobby Bonds, whom I regard as virtual equals, ahead of Piazza because I am being VERY conservative about Mike's defense. Conversation about it has gotten to the point where there is little else to discuss that is actually subject to numerical analysis -that is, we're discussing reputations. That tends to lead to emotional responses and polarization for a short time, and then clears up. It hasn't cleared up yet, and I have no other way to deal with it. On the few times I saw him play, he looked lousy, but catcher is a spot where you can be good and look bad, because so much is scrambling around on your knees.

I'm inclined to think more of Ben Taylor than I do of John Olerud. What I'm trying to decide is how good he was relative to Keith Hernandez, who seems a very good comp. "All" I have to do is try to adjust for quality of competition. So easy, with those Negro League schedules and adherence thereunto. - Brock
   61. Cassidemius Posted: December 11, 2012 at 05:26 PM (#4322299)
I used baseball-reference's WAR to create my consideration set. I use Extrapolated Runs and my own defensive adjustments. I put weight on peak, but the length of peak can vary. Basically I'm looking for players who were consistently at the top of their position.

1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Mike Piazza
4. Craig Biggio
5. Dagoberto Campaneris
6. Bucky Walters
7. Ed Williamson
8. Vic Willis
9. Burleigh Grimes
10. Curt Schilling
11. Davey Concepcion
12. Gavvy Cravath
13. Carlos Moran
14. Sal Bando
15. Mark Belanger

Comments can be found on the discussion thread.

Dick Redding, Ben Taylor and Phil Rizzuto are in the 15-20 range. Duffy is between 20 and 30. Tiant is lower than that. I didn't calculate exact ranks below the ballot, but these are the ranges.
   62. Juan V Posted: December 11, 2012 at 06:06 PM (#4322333)
Hey guys

For batters, Dan's WAR is my main tool, using the BB-Ref and Fangraphs material to fill in the gaps where they exist. For pitchers I use good old ERA+, with adjustments for defense as done by the uberstats. In both cases, I use something like JAWS (but with a slightly weighting on peak) to rank the players.

Sorry for being short on comments, life is catching up. If you want to ask about a specific ranking, you can do so.

1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Mike Piazza
4. Curt Schilling
5. Craig Biggio: This is the "average" position for him, considering the many different assessments of his defense.
6. Fred Dunlap: Even adjusting for the low standard of competition in the UA, I see him as having a high, sufficiently extended peak
7. Babe Adams
8. Vic Willis
9. Dwight Gooden
10. David Concepcion
11. Luis Tiant
12. Albert Belle
13. Phil Rizzuto
14. Sammy Sosa: Very similar to Belle, when you think about it
15. Kevin Appier

Gavy Cravath got bumped off the ballot by the strong incoming class
Kenny Lofton also just missed. Very likely to be an eventual PHOMer (once I get around to rebuilding my PHOM)
I prefer to be conservative about Dick Redding. If new data suggests he is worthy of election, he will surely be elected quickly
Hugh Duffy and Sal Bando look to me like the product of particular uberstats that are very friendly to them (Win Shares and BBRef-WAR, respectively). Very big gap between them and the ballot.

   63. Mark Donelson Posted: December 11, 2012 at 06:34 PM (#4322359)
First of all, let me add to the paeans for John Murphy, who deserves many beers from all of us (probably best not all at once).

I’m still a fairly extreme peak voter, though I pay attention to strong primes and superstrong careers as well. Back in the day, I used to rely mostly on WS for hitters and PRAA for pitchers, but I’ve been moving more and more toward BBWAR, and I do my best to keep up with the updates and changes. (I don’t dismiss durability issues, but I no longer harp on them as I once did.)

In the last year or so, I've been having to resist an inclination to throw up my hands re defensive stats, given the often large differences between the systems and the frequent and consequential (in many cases) changes to each system itself as well. I’m not abandoning them by any means, but have made an adjustment: In cases where a) the systems disagree notably and b) especially strong or weak defense has been a major factor in ranking a player, I’ve started to become much more conservative about their impact on that player's ranking, in either direction.

pHOM: Bonds, Clemens, Piazza

2013 ballot:

1. Barry Bonds (pHOM 2013). I echo what Dan R and just about everyone else has said. What else is there to say?

2. Roger Clemens (pHOM 2013). Ditto here. I’ve got him pretty much tied for second all-time among SPs with Pete Alexander.

3. Mike Piazza (pHOM 2013). Going all Socrates on what we know about his defensive abilities helps cement his already strong hold on my third spot. Without giant demerits for defense, he’s right there with Berra and Bench at the top, and only clearly behind Gibson at the position.

4. Craig Biggio. When I did my prelim, I was going with the assumption that his defense was top-notch; going conservative on that (and much doubt in general has been cast on those assumptions of late anyway) knocks him down quite a bit. But "quite a bit" on this ballot means the large gap goes between him and Piazza, rather than between him and Williamson as it was before.

5. Ed Williamson (pHOM 1931). I’m still faithful. Nice to see his name popping up with some new voters these days! He’s still a personal favorite, obviously, for great peaks both offensive and defensive (the systems and the reputation would appear to agree about that last part, so I'm standing by that too). He’s always seemed to me to be a no-brainer for peak voters who don’t timeline.

6. Don Newcombe (pHOM 2008). While he doesn’t at first appear to have the peak I usually look for, the era and the various factors blocking his career are likely responsible for most of that. Unlike many of the others in that amorphous area (Luke Easter, say), he had at least some chance to prove his high value in the majors, and he did so, IMO. Accordingly, I feel he’s earned a great deal of benefit of the doubt.

7. Curt Schilling. Easily over the line, I agree, but I have him near the bottom of my “in” cohort of pitchers, a bit ahead of my peaky faves Appier and Dean. Clearly a “frontlogger,” he’ll go in as soon as the no-doubters get out of the way.

8. Elston Howard (pHOM 1976). The various extenuating circumstances of his career can’t hide the great (if short) peak. As with Newcombe, I think he deserves a lot of extra credit for being a NeL/MLB tweener.

9. Kevin Appier (pHOM 2012). I doubted the old system’s having him this high, but the BBWAR-peak one does too. So be it; here he is—to this peak voter, very slightly better than Cone across the board.

10. Phil Rizzuto (pHOM 2004). The systems seem to agree generally that his defense was world-class as opposed to merely good, and that’s reasonably in accord with his rep, so he doesn’t lose ground to my new defensive conservatism. That plus the brief peak and a hefty chunk of war credit (yes, I was a Keller partisan too) get him here.

11. Al Rosen (pHOM 1968). The vote that epitomizes my peakster-ism. Very short peak, obviously, but five great years, especially at 3B, are enough for me.

12. Gavvy Cravath (pHOM 1985). With minor-league credit—which I give him—he’s a pretty easy choice for a peakster, with the requisite number of years to prove his monstrous ability.

13. Johnny Pesky (pHOM 1997). Another war credit beneficiary, but the various systems don’t entirely agree on his defensive quality, so I dropped him below Rizzuto when I’d had him slightly ahead before.

14. Dizzy Dean (pHOM 1967). Another really short peak, but he was inarguably dominant during it. It’s just long enough (and high enough during that brief period) for me.

15. Luis Tiant (pHOM 1991). More prime than peak, but in both systems it’s impressive. Clearly not the equal of his shoo-in contemporaries like Jenkins and Perry, but I think he’s deserving.

16-20: Willis (1961), S. Sosa, [Reuschel], H. Smith, [Palmeiro], Cicotte (1972), Duffy (1930),
21-25: Bando (2012), D. Murphy, [Dw. Evans], [E. Martinez], Gomez (1987), G. Burns, Bo. Bonds
26-30: [Dawson], Hahn, [Boyer], Leach (2006), Singleton (1997), Clarkson, Doyle (1995)
31-35: McCormick, Dunlap, [R. Smith], Belle (2006), [Sewell], D. Parker, Avila
36-40: Hiller, Rucker, Olerud, Bancroft, Hershiser
41-45: Munson, Lofton, Chance, Be. Williams, [Whitaker], Viola,
46-50: Cepeda, Sutter, Walters (1968), Berger, H. Wilson

Required Explanations and Newbies:

•Redding. He’s been bouncing on and off my ballot for so long that it’s kind of embarrassing. But DanR’s comment has re-convinced me that in a case with so much lack of clarity, it’s a pretty big leap to concentrate only on how good this pitcher might have been. And the Seamheads updates cast even more doubt on his candidacy. That plus the glut of new candidates pushes him out of my top 50 (barely).

•Duffy. Always liked his peak, but was convinced to adjust it down a lot for a while; various arguments and counterarguments through the years have bounced him on and off my ballot. The WAR system quite likes him, though, which has tempered my downward adjustments. Now thanks to the glut, he’s off again, at #20.

•Willis. As with Duffy, I favored him, then didn’t, and now with the WAR system I do again. Kinda. He’s similar to Reuschel in that my (revised) old system wasn’t that fond of him, but the newer BBWAR-based one is very fond. Just off ballot now at #16, thanks to the glut.

•Bando. He was on ballot there for a few years, but the differences in evaluation of his defense now have me being more cautious again; between that and the glut, he drops to #21.

•Sosa. He would have comfortably made the bottom half of my 2012 ballot had he been eligible a year sooner; I have him a notch below Cravath, but also clearly over the in-out line for corner OFs. In this year's madness, he ends up at #17, just off-ballot, and likely something of a frontlogger till the no-doubters get out of the way.

•Lofton. Well below Bernie Williams on offense, but makes up the distance on defense and baserunning to get just ahead of him. Both are near the bottom of my top 50.
   64. Chris Cobb Posted: December 11, 2012 at 09:36 PM (#4322507)
2013 Ballot

Thanks to John Murphy for keeping the Hall of Merit running smoothly for so many years!

I cast my first ballot in 1903 and voted in each election through 2010. I am happy to be participating in the HoM project again!

(#) = 2010 ballot ranking (n/e = not eligible) (n/r = not ranked)
Total = score in my system

1. Barry Bonds (n/e). Total = 359.7. He has a good case for being the best player of all time, although I still have him behind Babe Ruth. What more is there to be said? As a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, I can say that pretty much the last baseball worth watching in Pittsburgh was watchable due primarily to Barry Bonds. It’s been some consolation in the twenty years of losing since Barry went to San Francisco (who appreciated him much more than Pittsburgh ever did), that we got to see perhaps the greatest position player in the history of the game launch his career and rise to greatness.
2. Roger Clemens (n/e). Total = 291.0. He has good case for being the best pitcher of all time, although I still have him behind Walter Johnson and Cy Young.
3. Mike Piazza (n/e). Total = 172.6. He has a good case for being the best catcher of all time, and certainly he is the best hitting catcher after Josh Gibson. His numbers place him at the top in my system among major-league catchers, but I overrule the system to put him behind Johnny Bench because Bench was the more complete player and catcher defensive statistics still can’t give full due to shutting down the running game as Bench did.
4. Curt Schilling (n/e). Total = 178.7. I put him behind Piazza because my system may somewhat overrate pitchers of the high-offense 1993-2008 era. Schilling is excellent, but he’s still only the fifth-best pitcher of that era, trailing Clemens, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, and Pedro Martinez. Still, I can’t believe that Schilling has actually been left off ballots in favor of a variety of other pitchers not named Clemens.
5. Craig Biggio (n/e). Total = 143.3. Obvious HoMer. Overrated in general because his relatively poor defense doesn’t show up in popular assessments, and his padded counting stats get a lot of attention. Nevertheless, he’s still a shoo-in, and I guess he will be a first-ballot HoMer if we elect four this year, as it looks like more voters have missed the boat on Schilling than have missed the boat on Biggio.
6. Buddy Bell (15). Total = 137.9. Very similar to the already elected Nettles, except that he peaked earlier and higher and had less value later in his career. All four WAR systems I can consult (Dan R., BBref, Fangraphs, BP) show him very similar in value to Biggio and Sosa, and even the very SS-friendly Dan R WAR puts Bell ahead of all of the SS candidates, so I think this placement is pretty solid. Bell is a player who deserves a much closer look when we get into the backlog. An above average hitter and a great fielder at a plus defensive position, with a strong peak and a solid career.
7. Sammy Sosa (n/e). Total = 134.6. Dan R, Fangraphs, and BP all show Sosa to be a very solid HoMer; BBref has him more marginal, hence the nudge below Bell. He had a great peak, and he was a very good player before his peak because he was an excellent defender in right field during the first half of his career.
8. Bobby Bonds (29). Total = 131.4 (4 above decade in-out line). The shift in WAR systems contributing to my rankings heavily favors Bonds, and given his completeness as a ballplayer, it’s not hard to accept that change. If Bell is the best player from the 1980s backlog remaining, Bonds is the best from the 1970s. The HoM has not yet finished bringing in the bottom tier of HoM-worthy players after 1970, so the bottom half of my ballot consists mainly of those players, who rank more highly relative to their peers, given their number of peers, than do the top players remaining from earlier decades.
9. Gavvy Cravath (4). Total = 129.3 (4 above decade in-out line). The 1910s are the only “underrepresented” decade before 1970. Cravath is well above the quota in-out line, and his raw total also justifies a solid ballot placement, so he follows Bonds. He drops from his near-elect spot on my 2010 ballot, for obvious reasons.
10. Kenny Lofton (n/e). Total = 127.9 (5 above decade in-out line). Lofton is terribly underrrated—I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t even get the 5% he needs to stay on the BBWAA ballot—but he was an outstanding player. He’s more of a career candidate than a peak one, but he was highly effective when he played for a long time, and most systems see him as an excellent defensive centerfielder.
11. Kevin Appier (n/r). Total = 126.4 (3 above decade in-out line). I saw him pitch only after his injury, when he was a battler without great stuff, but he was brilliant in the first half of the 1990s. Being in KC and losing part of his peak to the strike don’t help his reputation, but he’s a HoM pitcher at about the Dave Stieb level.
12. Luis Tiant (8). Total = 127.9 (2 above decade in-out line). An uneven career, but he’s got a couple of great seasons and a lot of very good ones. Pitching in extreme hitters’ parks probably took a bite out of his IP totals relative to his contemporaries as well.
13. Bert Campaneris (5). Total = 133.7/111.4 (2 above decade in-out line). The debate on how to evaluate 70s era shortstops continues. I’m reasonably convinced that the BBRef positional adjustments are inadequate, though Dan R’s may be a bit too high, so I see Campaneris as a borderline rather than a solid HoMer. But he makes my ballot as the best shortstop between Banks and Yount.
14. Ben Taylor (n/r) Total = ? (2 above decade in-out line). Eyeballing the Seamheads data certainly suggests that his reputation is deserved, so I am comfortable awarding him a borderline ballot spot as the next best player after Cravath from our only underrepresented era before 1970. The data gathered on him is certainly robust enough for good MLEs to be run—I look forward to taking on that project early next year to begin the run-up to the 2014 election.
15. Chuck Finley (n/r). Total = 125.3 (2 above decade in-out line). As I noted in the Schilling comment above, my system may be overrating 1990s pitchers a bit. When I use runs above replacement instead of wins above replacement, pitchers in high-offense eras get a boost over pitchers in low-offense eras, because it takes more runs saved per win. Another component of the system is Wins Above Average, so the low-offense pitchers still get a boost there. Still, I am sure that in general we have taken a few more borderline players than we should have from decades before 1970, so I am going to go with Finley’s current position relative to his peers in my system and keep him in my final ballot spot.

Off the Ballot.

16. Fred Dunlap (10). Total = 134.6. 2 above decade in-out line. Drops off my ballot with the arrival of the awesome class of 2013, but he remains my top 19th-century candidate. I’m seeing Williamson gain traction; why not Dunlap?
17. Urban Shocker (22). Total = 131.5. 1 above decade in-out line. Would have been a solid HoMer if he had lived longer.
18. Phil Rizzuto (7). Total = 128.0/120.9. 1 above decade in-out line. Slips slightly in my new system, but only slightly. He merits election, and may see it when we next dip into the backlog.
19. Robin Ventura (40ish). Total = 118.9. 1 above decade in-out line. Not the hitter Bando was, but his defensive reputation is much stronger and consistent with the data. A very solid prime.
20. Ted Breitenstein (n/r). Total = 131.5. 1 above decade in-out line. BBRef numbers bring him back onto my radar. The fifth-best pitcher of the 1890s transition. In context, a pretty remarable pitcher.
21. Vic Willis (44). Total = 132.0. 1 above decade in-out line. BBRef numbers force me to reevaluate Willis.
22. Jim McCormick (n/r). Total = 134.5. 1 above decade in-out line. I don’t advocate for another 1880s pitcher, but if we take one, I’m pretty sure it should be McCormick. He’s been in and out of my near backlog with the swings in evaluation of 1880s pitchers as a cohort.
23. Orel Hershiser (37). Total = 123.9. 1 below decade in-out line. One of the top pitchers of the late 1980s, with a pretty solid comeback after injury.
24. Chet Lemon (51). Total = 122.4. 2 below decade in-out line. Are modern CFers overrated? I’m not pulling the trigger on Lemon yet, but he’s in the discussion.
25. Norm Cash (27). Total = 119.1. On decade in-out line. Cash shakes out about the same in the new system as he did in the old: right on the borderline. A nice prime, but only one great year, and in the weaker major league. Not enough to lift him clearly out of the backlog.
26. Sal Bando (n/r). Total = 118.8. On decade in-out line. View of him as a poor fielder in Win Shares and Davenport FRAA put him way down in my old rankings. Total Zone likes him better, but wild disagreement among systems leaves him on the borderline and off my ballot for now.
27. Bob Johnson (20). Total = 124.6. 3 below decade in-out line. I have him above Medwick and Averill, but it was an easy-to-dominate decade. No minor-league credit for now.
28. Frank Tanana (n/r). Total = 120.4 1 above decade in-out line. Solid peak and a long career. Peak years set him apart from Tommy John.
29. Bernie Williams (n/e). Total = 117.4. On decade in-out line. He lands where he does for reasons pretty similar to Bando.
30. Ned Williamson (n/r). Total = 131.8. 1 below decade in-out line. I’m not as high on Williamson as some, but he should be in the conversation.
31. Tony Mullane (n/r). Total = 124.5. 5 below decade in-out line. Bounces around like McCormick. There’s no AA adjustment here, though also no blacklist credit, so Mullane may move quite a bit in 2014 once I get the AA adjustment worked out.
32. Wilbur Cooper (25). Total = 115.6. On decade in-out line. I don’t think I’ve zeroed out his below replacement beginning and ending years. When I’ve done that consistently for pitchers, he may move up a bit. A very solid prime, though lacking a spectacular peak.
33. Eddie Cicotte (34). Total = 120.2. 1 above decade in-out line. I’d rather not see him elected, but this is where he ranks.

Top 10 returning candidates not on my ballot
Phil Rizzuto – Near my ballot at #18, and I support his election.
Dick Redding – As the data from his career fills out, I don’t see him as being a dominant pitcher. Very good, for sure, and durable, but I don’t think the data suggest a HoM-quality career. I need to work on MLEs for him before next election, though.
Hugh Duffy – The best of the remaining 1890s outfielders, but not really close. If we were to elect him, we’d be dipping down into the Kirby Puckett/Fred Lynn/Kiki Cuyler level of player.
Vic Willis – Near my ballot at #21.
Sal Bando – Near my ballot at #26, and right now I see him as someone who might merit election. Studying the left side of the A’s infield will be one of my 2014 election-year projects.
Don Newcombe – Like the other players whose cases can’t be evaluated just through the available comprehensive stats, I need to give him another look. The comprehensive stats from his major league seasons aren’t all that impressive (Sal Maglie is looking better there), but I’m going to have to review his case in detail for next year.
Tommy Leach – New WAR systems don’t support his case to be a top candidate any more.
   65. sunnyday2 Posted: December 11, 2012 at 11:22 PM (#4322599)
Is this an elect 4 or elect 3 election?

When does voting close?

And, speaking as the only voter ever to have a ballot disqualified for lack of commentary on each player on the ballot...have we abandoned that requirement?
   66. Patrick W Posted: December 11, 2012 at 11:26 PM (#4322601)
Compared to the electorate as a whole, I have to be considered a career voter. However, my vote does include an additional 5-year credit for a weighted average of peak seasons (3-Yr, 5-Yr, etc.). Ranking system is based off Davenport WARP components, with modified adjustments in the conversion from W1 to W3. I also review BB-Ref as a check but don’t use those numbers systematically.

With this ballot, I’m finally making the switch to fielding above average, rather than fielding above replacement. (As in most matters sabermetric, I’m 10 years behind the times). With this switch, there also must be an artificial inflation of the middle infielders. Unfortunately, I don’t have a good sense of what that inflation factor should be. I previously only had to inflate catchers to account for their fewer games played. There could be some trial & error here until I get more previous electees into the new system and find the right mix.

I think I’m also finally going to have to depress the pitching runs above replacement. As pitching heavy as my ballots have been over the last 50 years, my P-Hall has elected what I consider a good percentage of pitchers. But just looking at the backlog, all the recent average/above avg. career pitchers are filtering above the similarly talented hitters. What should be 5 pitchers in an average ballot has tilted towards 9 (and more on some non-average ballots!). That project waits for next year.

Or maybe the problem is a lack of new blood. Maybe what I really need is a couple of those rookie classes like 1934-36, where it takes a good 6-7 years to elect them all. One of those types of classes would give me some time to figure out the backlog again. But what are the chances of that happening anytime soon?

1. Barry Bonds (n/a), S.F. – Pitt. (N), LF (’86-’07) (2013) – I know I didn’t appreciate his value in the 90s. Obviously a heart of the order hitter and all, but even after signing the mega deal to San Francisco I know I didn’t have him in the running for best of his generation. It was almost after the fact (c. 2000?) that he became obviously the best and headed toward the rarified air with Ruth, Williams, et al. But probable HOM after ’95, certain HOF after ’97-’98? Never saw it coming, which is why we love baseball.
2. Roger Clemens (n/a), Bost. – N.Y. (A), SP (’84-’07) (2013) – Now Clemens looked like a HOMer right from the gate. I haven’t plugged in Maddux yet to see who is better in this system I’ve set up.
3. Mike Piazza (n/a), L.A. – N.Y. (N), C (’93-’07) (2013) – Catcher bonus barely allows Piazza to pass over Biggio, despite Biggio’s own bonuses for catcher and second base.
4. Craig Biggio (n/a), Hou. (N), 2B / C (’89-’07) (2013) – Reiterating last year’s comment, I’d be in favor of limiting electees to 3 per year max., mostly to selfishly stock the coming decade of ballots with worthy entrants. Biggio had no real chance to make #2 on the ballot anyways, so it doesn’t quite matter here, but poor fielding numbers will hurt his overall standing amongst the HOM elite.
5. Sammy Sosa (n/a), Chic. (N), RF (’90-’07) – His stellar peak value helps Sosa jump Schilling in the pecking order. Having watched much of his mid-90s Cub tenure on a daily basis, I was wondering if his defense would translate into the advanced numbers; it has, which is how he ranks this high while a similarly-valued hitter like Rusty Staub is off-ballot.
6. Curt Schilling (n/a), Phila. – Ariz. (N), SP (’90-’07) – I’m still not sure how to systematically give credit for post-season performance, nor if I would want to based on unequal opportunity, but Schilling would surely have to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of such largesse. I don’t know that I could give enough credit to put him ahead of Biggio here, but he’ll be elected in due time so I won’t sweat it.
7. Frank Tanana (4), Cal. – Detr. (A) SP (’73-’93) (2000) – Koufax peak, plus 10 additional years of average / below avg.
8. Bucky Walters (5),Cinc. – Phila. (N) SP (’33-’47) (1961) – Postive hitting and fielding numbers get him close in value to the other pitchers listed here, despite the overall lesser pitching resume. The very good ’39-’41 peak elevates him the rest of the way.
9. Tommy John (9), Chic.– N.Y. (A) SP (’63-’89) (1997) – Holding serve at #9 is a tremendous jump for John. Obviously the most average pitcher listed here (by ERA+), but 4,600 average IP's will take you far on this ballot. John lists as an above average fielder, relative to the other pitchers he’s fighting with for ballot position, and so FRAA instead of FRAR really helps the ageless one.
10. John Olerud (7), Tor. (A), 1B (’90-’05) (2012) – It would really have helped his case to get 1,000 more AB’s, and more so if so much of the value wasn’t on the fielding side of the ledger. But on the pre-’13 backlog his resume compares quite favorably.
11. Chuck Finley (--), Calif. (A) SP (’87-’02) ( 2008) – He’s ranked in the same grouping as these other pitchers. There’s a case to be made that he should drop because of playing in the DH league (can’t say how bad a hitter he’d have been).
12. Luis Tiant (6), Bost. – Clev. (A) SP (’64-’80) (1988) – Tiant is hurt by a fairly sharp league quality adjustment (as are Kaat & T.John), and the fielding value doesn’t help either. But he pitched for long enough with a 114 ERA+ to merit inclusion in the HOM in a backlog year.
13. Ron Cey (3), L.A. (N), 3B (’73-’87) (2010) – The second biggest loser in the system adjustment (after Scooter who falls off the ballot – Rizzuto would be #13 here if the backlog didn’t all take six steps back). Defense is really only for tiebreakers if you’re not Ozzie. Fortunately for the Penguin, the tiebreak works in his favor vs. Bernie Williams and the infielder bonus helps him over Tony Perez (IF bonus is for 2B, SS, & 3B only; 1B are grouped with the OF’s).
14. Vic Willis (--), Bost. (N), SP (1898-1910) – I think the IP’s were a little light for the era, else he would’ve gotten in a while ago. But the fielding above average credit helps him, relative to the cloud of pitching equals all clustered in this range.
15. Tony Perez (8), Cinc. (N), 1B / 3B (’65-’86) (1994) – There’s just no peak-worthiness left in the backlog. The career candidates are all hanging out here waiting to get in. I’m guessing the players from the ‘I remember watching him play’ era are being hurt by this distinction, relative to the guys from 100 years ago who are pretty much a name and stat line to us collectively.

Phil Rizzuto (1972) – Simply not enough offense to survive the switch to fielding above average. Will continue to be around the perimeter of the ballot, once the ballot returns to backlog.
Dick Redding – The bar for NeL pitchers has been set higher than this, IMO. The jump from Ray Brown to Bill Foster, Mendez and Redding will keep them all out of my Hall.
Hugh Duffy – I have Van Haltren, Ryan and Griffin ranked ahead of Duffy from the OF of that era.
Gavvy Cravath – Mark Grace’s 5-year peak is every bit as impressive as this, and his 10-year score dominates vs. Gavvy. Neither is even close to a ballot.
Sal Bando – I’ve got Ron Cey as superior in just about every facet.

Lots of folks were in last year’s top ten, but not in my top 15 this year.
   67. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 11, 2012 at 11:36 PM (#4322605)
I use a number of different variables to compile my ballot.
For hitters, I rely heavily on Dan Rosenheck's WAR and Dan's WAR modified for DRA defensive value, secondarily, I use Sean Smith, Sean Forman, and Baseball Gauges WAR that utilizes DRA.

For pitchers, I rely heavily on a mixture of Sean Smith, Sean Forman, and Baseball Gauges WAR, but I also placed a significant emphasis on Joe D's PA (modified for more recent updates to Baseball Prospectus numbers - Joe, do you have any updates to share?) and Fangraphs WAR (I had run these awhile back utilizing the FIP component, prior to Fangraphs added pre-1974 pitching) - I use WPA as a tie breaker of sorts (Billy Pierce was awesome for this).

I give full war credit, integration credit, and consider mle credit when a player is blocked or in the minor leagues era not specifically associated with major league farm systems (Buzz Arlett is quite a tough one to judge).

To the ballot:
1. Barry Bonds - best pure position player of all-time. 2004 most impressive/unique season of all-time. 362/609/812 in a tough home park, 352 BB/IBB at age 39. Led National League in BB, OBP, and IBB in his final season - blackballed by MLB after a 3 WAR season.

2. Roger Clemens - most amazing accomplishment? 2005 - 187 ERA at age 42 in 211 IP? I was fortunate enough to see the Rocket during his amazing 1997 season at the Skydome during my only trip outside the United States.

3. Mike Piazza - sublime 1997 - 362/431/638 with home games in Chavez Ravine!

An argument can be made that each is the greatest of all-time at the respective positions.

4. Curt Schilling - in the group of no brainer hurlers - Mussina, Brown, Smoltz, and Glavine - love the 2004 ALCS gutsy Game 6, bloody sock performance. - 3 seasons of >300 K, 15 CG in 1998!

5. Sammy Sosa - emphasis on DRA allowed Sosa to leap frog Biggio...lots of value from his defense/baserunning in his early to mid career. Amazing 2011 - 328/437/737, 153 BB/IBB, 64 HR, 146/160 R/RBI...unfortunately in downswing of career during Cubs playoff runs in 2003 and epic failure in 2004. 4 consecutive seasons of 50 HRs or more.

6. Craig Biggio - conflicting values of defense drop him below Sosa...5X HBP and modern leader, 146 Runs in 1997.
7. Phil Rizzuto - WAR and malaria credit get him easily over the line.
8. Tommy Leach - DRA and Baseball Gauge WAR shows Leach as off the charts worthy.
9. Don Newcombe - Integration/Korea credit
10. Buddy Bell - DRA and WAR systems like/love him
11. Hilton Smith - Alex King's study and Hall of Fame/Baseball Fever all agree about Smith's worthiness.
12. Bert Campaneris - Dan R selection
13. Gavvy Cravath - worthy after MLE and Chris Cobb's estimation that fielding value was passable.
14. Johnny Pesky - Dan R and WWII credit
15. Kevin Appier - WAR and PA love him, conservative placement with plethora of 90s standout hurlers.

   68. rawagman Posted: December 11, 2012 at 11:46 PM (#4322612)
Bleed - what about the previous year's top 10 not in your ballot?
   69. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 11, 2012 at 11:53 PM (#4322621)
21 eligibles who toe the Personal Hall of Merit
1870s - Tommy Bond
1880s - Ned Williamson,
1900s - Bill Monroe, Vic Willis
1910s - Babe Adams, Eddie Cicotte, Art Fletcher, Ben Taylor, Bobby Veach
1920s - Dave Bancroft, Urban Shocker,
1930s - Kiki Cuyler, Bob Johnson
1960s - Norm Cash
1970s - Bobby Bonds, Jose Cruz, Thurman Munson, Roy White
1980s - Doc Gooden
1990s - Kenny Lofton, Bernie Williams

Top 10 not on ballot:
Luis Tiant - just outside PHOM, has reasonable argument for lower 3rd of ballot, strong cohort from 70s.
Dick Redding - Seamheads data knocks him further from ballot - voting for him is defensiveable, I am not there yet.
Hugh Duffy - WAR has brought him closer, but still well short of ballot.
Sal Bando - See Dan R's argument of Campaneris vs Bando.
   70. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 11, 2012 at 11:59 PM (#4322627)
   71. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 12, 2012 at 08:05 AM (#4322740)
115th consecutive ballot since our inaugural election of 1898 for me.

I use Win Shares as the base for my ranking system, though I am now using a modified version (any negative values are converted into zeroes) of BRAR, FRAR and PRAR for the NA.

I am integrating the conclusions made by DERA with Win Shares for all pitchers.

I do place (to a certain degree) domination at one's position during the player's era. That doesn't mean that domination-by-default will necessarily help you though (Gil Hodges may have been the best first baseman of his era, but he wont make my ballot).

One last thing, thank you all for the kind words posted on this thread. Special thanks go to Joe for allowing me the opportunity to do something special and meaningful here. It was a long and fruitful run, but the project needs someone who can give it more of himself than I can now. I see Dan is taking over at least some of the responsibilities - if he handles it as well as he does the MMP elections, the Hall of Merit will be in good hands for years to come.

1) Barry Bonds-LF/CF (n/a): Inner-circle even before the PEDs, he became the most exciting hitter and greatest player of my lifetime afterwards. Every at bat became an event.

2) Roger Clemens-P (n/a): Basically the mound version of Bonds, except Roger's post-steroid years weren't as dominating as Barry's were. On the shortlist of greatest hurlers ever.

3) Mike Piazza-C (n/a): Greatest ML hitter of all-time, bar none, and a case can be made he was the best all-around, too (though that's only because Josh Gibson never got a chance to play).

4) Craig Biggio-2B/C/CF/LF (n/a): Playing most of his career at premium defensive positions with a better-than-average bat, his quest for 3,000 hits was unnecessary. He was HOM-quality years before achieving that goal. Not just a good player who had a remarkably long career, his peak could rival or best the majority of players enshrined in any hall.

5) Curt Schilling-P (n/a): Not inner-circle, but not a borderliner by any stretch of the imagination, either. Kind of crept on me, but he unquestionably belongs.

5) Bus Clarkson-SS/3B (1): Looks like the best shortstop of the Forties, which is surprising to me. IMO, Eric would have to be totally off with his projections for Clarkson not to be near the top of everybody's ballot. Shave off 50 WS from his MLE and he still comfortably belongs.

6) Lee Smith-RP (2): Having his career occur during a major rethinking of his position really distorts his true value, IMO. All things equal, Gossage was better, but not that much better. Never the best for any one season, but consistently among the best for many a year.

7) Bucky Walters-P (4): The guy had a nice peak, fairly long career, and could hit. Even with a defense adjustment, he stands out. Best ML pitcher of 1939 (extremely close in 1940). Best NL pitcher of 1940 and 1944.

8) Mickey Welch-P (5): Like the hurlers of the 1970s, the generation from the 1880s was rich in talent. On that note, Welch deserves a HoM nod. Best major league pitcher for 1885.

9) Vic Willis-P (6): Willis pitched a ton of innings at an above-average rate for a long enough time for his era. Best major league pitcher for 1899. Best NL pitcher for 1901.

10) Gavvy Cravath-RF (7): I'm giving him MLE credit for 1908-11 (not full credit for '08, since he did play some in the majors that year). Possibly would have been the best ML right fielder for 1910. Best NL right fielder for 1913 and 1914. Best ML right fielder for 1915, 1916, and 1917.

11) Bob Elliott-3B/RF (8): Best third baseman of the Forties. The bridge between the Jimmy Collins-Pie Traynor types and the later ones that didn't have the same defensive responsibilities. He could hit, field, and didn't have a short career when compared to other third basemen throughout history. Best ML third baseman for 1943, 1944, 1947, 1948, and close in 1950. Best NL third baseman for 1949 and 1950.

12) Hugh Duffy-CF/LF/RF (9): Been on my ballot forever and haven't regretted it. "Only" the third best center fielder of the '90s, but that position was very strong for that decade. Best major league right fielder for 1890 and 1891. Best major league center fielder for 1892, 1893 and 1894.

13) Pie Traynor-3B (10): Best white third baseman of his time (though J. Wilson and Beckwith were better). Best major league third baseman for 1923 (Beckwith was better), 1925, 1927, 1929 (Beckwith was better) and 1932.

14) Burleigh Grimes-P (11): Pitched for a long time behind crappy teams and defenses. Not a bad peak, too Best NL pitcher for 1921 and 1929.

15) Bobby Bonds-RF/CF (12): One of my favorites growing up as a kid. He could do it all. Made his debut on my 3rd birthday, which I believe means something. Best ML right fielder for 1970 (close in 1971). Best NL right fielder for 1971 and 1973.

As for the other newbies, Sosa is the only other one who moves me, but not that much. I'll take Bernie Williams over him any day of the week.

Rizzuto, Tiant Redding and Bando weren't that far away from making my ballot.
   72. OCF Posted: December 12, 2012 at 09:37 AM (#4322807)
John: you've got two #5's and 16 names on your ballot. How would you like to fix that?
   73. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 12, 2012 at 09:59 AM (#4322833)
Oops! Sorry about that.

Just remove Bonds then.
   74. Al Peterson Posted: December 12, 2012 at 10:03 AM (#4322838)
2013 final ballot. An excess of riches in the newly eligibles so the backloggers get to take a seat this goaround. I’ve voted in past years but don't get into discussions much anymore - life got busy.

Methodology in brief: The system used for my ranking entails a little bit of everything including WS, WAR, OPS+/ERA+ with Dan R’s WARP based material.Ratings include positional adjustments, additions to one’s playing record for minor league service, war, and NeL credit and for our real oldtimers some contemporary opinion thrown in. Weighting the various measures smoothes any outliers and helps get my ordering. The results of this work tend to favor prime/peak players over career types but that is not 100% tried and true. Last year’s placement is in parenthesis.

Disclaimer: PEDs are no factor for me. You played, you get credit without a one-year protest.

1. Barry Bonds (-). Uh, he was a five tool player who put up video game numbers at the end of his career. I'd take Ruth all-time but Bonds is in the rarest of air. Still couldn't throw out Sid Bream for some reason.

2. Roger Clemens (-). Should be changing the Cy Young to the Roger Clemens since he won it more than his fair share. Will pop up on some minor league team this year for some attention I'm sure.

3. Mike Piazza (-). Catcher who hit with such authority don't exist normally. Will go into HOM with the A's cap?

4. Craig Biggio (-).
Sure he stuck around too long - wouldn't we all in whatever you do in life. Slight catchers bonus to go along with fine leadoff hitter skills.

5. Curt Schilling (-). Add to the 216 wins an 11-2 record in the postseason and no worries for putting him here. Power pitcher, good control, workhorse, lots to like.

6. Tommy Leach (2).
Combination hot corner/centerfielder could field a little, hit a little. Second all-time in inside-the-park home runs to Wahoo Sam Crawford. Someone else stated he was uniquely valuable in his particular era and I agree he meant more in the particular era he performed in. Useless trivia: Still holds World Series record with 4 triples in a single series.

7. Dick Redding (1). Career was long – decent peak along the way. Outstanding fastball in his day according to James/Neyer book. So he didn’t get into the Hall of Fame; maybe the information collected by HOF committee wasn’t pertinent to Redding’s prime years. He deserves some WWI credit, thus patching up a bald spot in his prime years as 1918 and 1919 were affected. The last NeL pitcher I’d deem as worthy of induction.

8. Bobby Bonds (4). Even with the constant trades, drinking problem and whatnot his combination of speed/power made him a very valuable player. He wasn’t the next Mays, or as good as his son, but we’re talking about a RF who could steal bases and field his position. All five tools on display.

9. Norm Cash (5). Nice run from 1961-66 in terms of placing among the OPS+ leaders in the AL. Seems to be a decent glove to go with good on-base skills. Took an interesting route to the league – didn’t play high school ball so late start to the game, spent a year (1957) in the military.

10. Phil Rizzuto (6). I’ve done my minor league & WWII absence calibration so Scooter scoots to ballot position. Glove first but the offense during prime years was nothing to sneeze at either. Holy Cow!

11. Tony Mullane (7). Old time pitcher who threw plenty well, a good hitter to boot. Had some playing time issues since he missed seasons due to being blacklisted. He’s amongst the best of his era when accounting for the time outside of baseball due to conflicts with different leagues. Goes on the all-Nickname team as well.

12. Sammy Sosa (-). Peak power that was enough to make people start walking him. This increased his value as it upped his OBP skills, doubling the value added. Early in his career he had base stealing and defense as assets. Note: I've moved him down one spot from my prelim - I'm going to be conservative since there were many contemporary RFs who look similar to Sosa but just didn't retire as early as Sammy so they are not eligible.

13. Mickey Welch (8). 300 game winner in the house. Was it due to luck, run support, bad opponents? Still a feat to accomplish, sometimes I need to remind myself that and not totally overlook Smilin’ Mickey. Seemed to pitch well against the other front line starters of his day.

14. Fred McGriff (9).
I see a nice prime 1988-94 before the silly ball era takes place. Adds on plenty of career length (60th all-time in games) who didn’t DH much. A very good hitter in the playoffs over many series, slight bump for that.

15. Bob Johnson (10). Argument in brief:

Batting Win Shares misses the mark on his value due to quality of teams he played on. They were horrible and likely cost 20-25 win shares over his 10 year prime with the A’s.

The teams he played on underperforming pythag wins vs. actual, thus a hit to Win Shares. Additionally his teams would end up leaving 2-4 decisions short per year. These incomplete games outcomes shorten Win Shares to divide up.

His career has war years that need discount. But also a couple years at the beginning of his career were in the PCL where he was more than major league quality. MLEs for 1931-32 show a player worthy of starting in the bigs. The tail of his career is nonexistent since the 1946 avalanche of returning War players pushed him back to the minors.

When he retired, Bob Johnson ranked eighth all-time in home runs. He is credited with having the strongest arm among left fielders in his era, cited by Bill James in his historical Abstract.

For me he goes ahead of electees like Medwick, Averill, and Willard Brown from his era.

Immediately off ballot:

16. Luis Tiant (11)
17. Bus Clarkson (12)
18. Bucky Walters (13)
19. Orel Hershiser (14)
20. Luke Easter (15)
21. Lance Parrish
22. Jack Clark
23. Vic Willis
24. Hugh Duffy
25. Spotswood Poles

Next 10 (no order) Tommy John, Carl Mays, Kenny Lofton, Lou Brock, Buddy Bell, Don Newcombe, Ben Taylor, Bert Campaneris, Burleigh Grimes, Tommy Bridges

Cravath - Got him in the 70-80 range. I'll have to relook at the minor league numbers, he needs them to hop farther up the backlog. Rest of his game besides power is not going to earn admission.

Sal Bando - I'm more of Buddy Bell/Bob Elliott fan, not to say Bando doesn't have his merits. Probably in the 60s range.
   75. Mr Dashwood Posted: December 12, 2012 at 10:31 AM (#4322877)
Although I use career value to establish a consideration set, I am a prime/peak voter (where when I started voting I gave all weight to peak). I put greatest emphasis on consecutive seasons of excellence. This year I've set aside my old pitching measure, and have gone to straight Win Shares Above Bench (WSAB) from the excellent for both pitchers and non-pitchers when measuring primes. Otherwise my system remains the same as last year.

The first step is to rank players by career value. At this stage, Merit is awarded on the basis of traditional counting targets such as 3000 hits or 250 wins, career rate statistics such as batting average, and adding in values for achievements such as MVP awards.

At the end of this stage, I sort players into five pools — pitchers, catchers, 1B/LF/RF/DH, 2B/3B/SS and CF. Then, using WSAB, I determine each player's ten-year prime, as well as any MVP-quality seasons, All-Star-quality seasons.

This is not a strict WSAB number, but is based on their rank against peers in their league and at their position. This also gives the number of ToP — Top of Position — seasons.

The ballot is constructed with an emphasis on individual seasons rather than prime WSAB totals. I also give some consideration to how much a player's career value outdistances that of his pool peers. I apply a system of positional balance, limiting the number of players drawn from any one pool until all pools have representation on the ballot.

Although I am a PED-o-phobe, the constitution requires me to set aside my conscience and vote for numbers. However, I don't hold PEDs as especially responsible for the offensive explosion of 1993 and after, but rather follow Eric Walker's "Sillyball" hypothesis and think that much of the juice went into the ball. I have consequently treated 'uber-stat' numbers from 1997-2003 with considerable suspicion this time round, and have indicated the players affected by assigning them to the Sillyball category. One of the benefits of perpetual eligibility is that a HoM voter can take the time to define better how to relate eras of pitching or hitting extremes to more balanced periods in baseball.

1 Barry Bonds LF, Prime 1989-98. (MVP 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998; All-Star 1995; ToP 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998) Sillyball category. Bonds was the dominant player in the National League during his prime, his only consistent challenger being Jeff Bagwell. He was also the dominant player in the Major Leagues at his position. His only competition as a left-fielder comes from Albert Belle in the other league.
2 Roger Clemens P, Prime 1986-95. (MVP 1986, 1987, 1990; All-Star 1991, 1992; ToP 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1992) Sillyball category. Clemens was the dominant pitcher in the AL during his prime. His accumulated career value is substantially ahead of any other pitcher on my ballot, approaching double that of the runner-up.
3 Mike Piazza C, Prime: 1993-2002. (MVP 1997; All-Star 1994, 1995, 1996; ToP 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997) Sillyball category. Piazza, like Biggio, was the dominant player at his position in the 1990s. Unlike Bonds, his Prime still has to include his PED-suspicion years. He chases my long-time favourite catcher, Thurman Munson, off my ballot, but sometimes one has to vote with head rather than heart. I've moved him up from the preliminary ballot solely to keep together the next three players.
4 Burleigh Grimes SP Prime: 1920-9 (MVP 1920; All-Star 1918, 1921, 1928, 1929; ToP 1921) To me, there are four old-timey pitchers who maneuver around my ballot each year: Vic Willis, Bucky Walters, Grimes and Dizzy Dean. This time round I have ranked the three who made their ballots by their offensive environments. Grimes had the hardest conditions in which to pitch, and put together a sterling resume. He had four very good seasons in the 1920s, a difficult era for pitchers, in which he was either the best or second-best or third-best pitcher in his league. Plus, he had another such season in the much easier conditions of 1918.
5 Vic Willis SP, Prime 1898-1907. (MVP 1899, 1901; All-Star 1902, 1906; ToP 1899, 1901) The first change from my preliminary ballot is to place Willis a lot higher. Re-examining the offensive context of his two MVP-quality seasons, I find that he pitched in an environment more difficult for pitching than Bucky Walters' two seasons of similar value. I have taken away two of the All-Star seasons I credited him with on last year's ballot (1898 and 1909) because there were too many pitchers with higher WSABs than him during those seasons.
6 Bucky Walters SP, Prime: 1937-46. (MVP 1939, 1940; All-Star 1941, 1944, ToP 1939, 1940, 1944). I've had Walters on the fringes of the 'elect-me' slots through most of my HoM voting career, the one exception being 2010, when I tweaked my system in a way that hurt him unduly. He often suffers from a lack of interest on the part of the electorate for having played a substantial portion of his time during the Second World War. I would like to draw the electorate's attention to those MVP seasons, though. No wartime taint there at all, and the only player with more such seasons ahead of him on this ballot is Clemens.
7 Craig Biggio 2B, Prime 1989-98. (All-Star 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998; ToP 1991 (as catcher), 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998) Sillyball category. Biggio dominated his position in the 1990s, clearly being the best secondbaseman in the league during his prime. Doing well as a catcher helps him out a bit, too.
8 Hugh Duffy OF, Prime 1889-98. (MVP 1894, All-Star 1890, 1891, 1892, 1893; ToP 1891, 1892, 1893, 1894) Duffy's case was badly hurt by my thinking about Sillyball. He was an offensive star at an offensive time. However, I can't ignored the sustained level of excellence from 1890 through 1894, and this time round can drop him no further than this. He was the premier outfielder of his era.
9 Jim Rice LF, Prime 1977-86. (MVP 1978; All Star 1977, 1979, 1986; ToP 1978, 1986) He was a dominant force in his league in his time, even accounting a bit for park. His 1977-9 is a concentrated core that is very impressive. Rice benefited from a career that got kick-started in 1977 by a livelier ball in a hitter's park. It's really that .502 career slugging in an exceptionally balanced era of baseball that sells him to me. May move ahead of Duffy this time next year.
   76. Mr Dashwood Posted: December 12, 2012 at 10:38 AM (#4322887)
10 Pie Traynor 3B Traynor has generally been dismissed for his low peak, and compared unfavourably with players who came after him. However, there is no doubt Traynor was the greatest third-baseman in the major leagues during his career. Michael Humphrey's book 'Wizardry' shows him to be one of the greatest fielding 3b of all time, in an era when this was valued more at his position than might be the case today.
11 Ben Taylor 1B This year I put in a bit of work with the Negro Leagues' database at, and concluded that last year I had Taylor too high. He fits right in behind Traynor, because their cases are similar, but Traynor almost certainly played in the more competitive envirionment. Taylor was the class of the Negro League 1Bs for much of his career, and sustained a good deal of his value during the more structured period of the 1920s Negro Leagues.
12 Kirby Puckett CF Puckett arrived on my ballot for the first time in 2010, when he benefited from a new system. I have him at about the same prime value as Rice, but not quite as a high a peak.
13 Phil Rizzuto With the addition of war credit, he looks to me the best shortstop not in the Hall of Merit. In contrast to Dave Concepcion, he faced stiffer competition from his rivals (HoMer Pee Wee Reese among them) for the title of 'best shortstop' in the major leagues.
14 Lee Smith RP (All-Star 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1990, 1991; ToP 1985) New to my ballot, Smith's was the highest career score of anyone not a newly eligible, and not on my ballot. His case is largely a career one. In all but one of his six seasons of excellence, there was someone else better than him in his league. However, for once I can't bring myself to punish a low peak.
15 Curt Schilling SP, Prime 1995-2004. (All-Star 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2004) Sillyball category. Schilling is the sort of pitcher who finds much more favour with the electorate than me. To me, he looks like the Rafael Palmeiro of pitchers. He undoubtedly has career value, but almost always he is behind someone else having a better season. To a degree, as with Palmeiro, that career has to be taken into account. But those with sturdier primes are always going to be at an advantage with me. He takes the place of Dizzy Dean and, at the last minute, Lou Brock.

Mandatory Disclosures
I don't really get the love for Luis Tiant. Well, I do in the sense that he has a goodly chunk of career bulk, but that's all he's got and that bulk rests on sandy foundations. He was never the best pitcher in his league, and his 1971 season, in the heart of his 1967-76 prime, is the absolute worst one of any prime I've looked at. I mean, I'd probably vote for him ahead of Catfish Hunter, but that's praising with more-than-faint d--ns.
Cannonball Dick Redding The more data we get via, the more problematic Redding's candidacy becomes. His 19-teens seasons were astounding, but I am very concerned about the level of competition he faced. On some levels, I can see possibly ranking him ahead of Taylor, and thought seriously about doing so. However, I am not at all convinced that his equivalent statistics found on our Negro Leaguer threads have been regressed properly, and I rather prefer dealing with unregressed data. Since we can't undo an election, I'd prefer to wait a little longer, and continue my work at getting a much clearer picture of context.
Neither Gavy Cravath nor Sal Bando comes close to my ballot on the basis of their career value.

New Chaps
Sammy Sosa is the player most hurt by my suspicions during the Sillyball Era. He loses almost all his Meritworthy standing, by concentrating that value in 1998-2003. He will remain off my ballot until my work with Marcels and Brock2s enable me to get a better sense of the period.
Kenny Lofton is behind people like Bernie Williams, Belle and maybe Don Mattingly.
   77. Mark Donelson Posted: December 12, 2012 at 10:47 AM (#4322903)
Just realizing it's an elect-four year. Not that it matters to the actual results, but obviously that means Biggio goes into my pHOM this year as well. The glut gets a little smaller!
   78. bjhanke Posted: December 12, 2012 at 11:44 AM (#4322982)

This is Brock Hanke’s final vote for the Hall of Merit, 2013.

For methodology, I think that the ability to work out a good mathematical method is important, but no more important than the ability to ask the right question. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what the right question is. Then I try to balance all the arenas of strength (career length, high rate, good glove, hot bat, peak, prime, postseason, everything I can think of). As I go back in time, I rely more and more on contemporary reputation, and less on statistical methods. This is not because I think sabermetricians are the bunk, but because the available stats from the early times don’t provide enough fuel for the mathematical engines. I have faith in Chris Cobb’s analysis of the Negro Leagues, but I still rely a lot on reputation. I rely a lot on Paul Wendt’s work on the VERY early game.

What follows is a simple list of my votes, for tabulation purposes, followed by the same list, but with comments. Then there are the carryover guys that the rules require me to comment upon. I agree with the rules about that, BTW.

- Brock Hanke

1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Craig Biggio
4. Bobby Bonds
5. Sammy Sosa
6. Mike Piazza
7. Babe Adams
8. Curt Schilling
9. Hugh Duffy
10. Tommy Bridges
11. Don Newcombe
12. Kenny Lofton
13. Jim McCormick
14. Hilton Smith
15. Lou Brock

1. Barry Bonds
I doubt if anyone’s going to demand that I write a 1,000-word essay defending this placement.

2. Roger Clemens
Or this one.

3. Craig Biggio
Biggio reminds me of those three 19th-century catchers who were moved out from behind the place not because they failed with the glove, but because their bats were missing too many games due to catcher injuries: Deacon White, Buck Ewing, and Tom Daly. The missing fourth would be Roger Bresnahan, although Roger’s career is so weird that it’s hard to assign any real structure to it. Craig here would be, if I remember right, the missing fifth. I don’t think he was moved away from catcher because he was bad at it; it was done to keep his knees holding up. The year AFTER he moved to second base, he played all 162 of the Astros’ games. Apparently, he was moved to center because he wasn’t the best 2B, but that’s not catcher. Overall, there’s a lot of quality, a lot of quantity, huge flexibility, and the Astrodome to adjust for.

4. Bobby Bonds
This was a shock. Back in June, looking at something entirely else, I ran a BB-Ref sort of right fielders. As I scanned the list, to my surprise, I found that Bobby Bonds had more WAR than Sammy Sosa. Not many more, but more. So I did my usual double-check and looked them up in the New Historical Abstract. That book only goes to 1999, but it lists Bobby at #15 and Sammy at #45. However, in a supplemental section after the rankings, Bill mentions that Sammy’s 2000 season would raise him to about 30th instead of 45th.

Sammy had two fine years left after 2000, so the question was whether those two years could catch him up the remaining 15 slots to Bobby. Well, of course, the higher you go, the harder it is to pass someone, so I figure they’re pretty close, just as WAR suggests. Sammy has a fine, fine peak, placed very late in his career. It’s a little less than you’d expect, because, that late in his career, his defense had gotten weak. Normally, a player’s bat peak and his glove peak are much closer to each other. Bobby doesn’t have quite that kind of peak, but his career is essentially one extended prime. That, I assume, is how he can rank so high with so few seasons played.

As of now, I can’t separate them, so I have them together on this ballot. I moved Babe Adams down because I’m not sure he’s better than Sammy Sosa, and comparing the two is a true headache.

5. Sammy Sosa
I rank this as the third-worst prediction I made when I was doing player comments for The Book That Has Come to be Called The Big Bad Baseball Annual. When Sammy moved on the Cubs, I ridiculed the acquisition and referred to him as “Sammy So-so.” That’s a bad prediction, although, at the time, he had not yet been playing any better than that. I should have realized that Wrigley would suit his hitting style and he would come alive there. I will confess: I have not really ranked Sammy Sosa. I concluded that I could not separate his value from Bobby Bonds’ and just put him right after where I put Bobby. I’ve spent much more time analyzing Bobby.

6. Mike Piazza
The best hitter on this ballot not named “Bonds.” The question, of course, is his glove. Right now, this is a matter of considerable debate, with little in the way of hard facts being cited. Welcome to analyzing catcher defense. I am being conservative; like a lot of other people, I’m trying to go with my memory of seeing him play. Of course, the last three hometown catchers I got to see were Tom Pagnozzi, Mike Matheny and Yadier Molina. My standards may be a tad high. My memory of Ted Simmons is that he was a better catcher than Mike, but I am aware that there may be a visual illusion there. Simmons did not look that bad to me because he was mobile when I saw him play. As catchers go, he could go. Mike was not so fast. I have no way of evaluating pitch framing or pitcher handling.

Look. I know Mike Piazza is going into the HoM, probably this year, and I’m quite happy about that. He obviously deserves to be in there. But he’s mostly going in there for his bat, and I think I found five guys with a little more to offer.

7. Babe Adams
This is mostly a repeat of last year’s comment. I compared Babe Adams to Rick Reuschel. Rick got elected. I think the comparison still holds. So, I ‘m going to repeat it. Besides, you guys know what it’s like to write an original comment on someone you’ve been commenting on for years. I spent this year sorting out the front log. I have nothing new to say about Babe Adams.

Well, actually, I do. It turns out that Babe Adams is entitled to a year of MLE credit for 1917-18. Here’s what happened. Babe got sent down to the minors in 1916, for lousy pitching. Bill James, in a couple of places in the New Historical, hints, without outright saying, that it’s possible that both Babe and Rube Marquard’s arms went south after the two of them hooked up in a 21-inning complete game, for both pitchers, in 1914. Bill doesn’t actually SAY this, but he hints that it might be true. Well, anyway, by 1916, Babe’s arm was pretty shot, so down he went to the minors. And promptly recovered. 1917 is clearly a major league year; he destroyed a weak minor league. 1918 is even better, in a stronger league. At the end of 1918, war attrition caused the Pirates to bring him back up, but they really should have done that in the spring of 1918. So, I give him one year, not two, of MLE credit. I ALWAYS discard the first minor league year that is major league worthy, because managers don’t have crystal balls. I’m doing that to Babe Adams. I’ll also be doing it to Gavy Cravath. I think a lot more of Babe’s candidacy than I do of Gavy’s, so there’s no bias. What’s good for one is good for the other. The one year of MLE erases about half of Reuschel’s 350-IP advantage, without being likely to drop Babe’s ERA+.

Back to last year’s comment: This year (meaning 2012), I tried to find a pitcher who gets HoM votes and is at least close to comparable to Adams, but who is more contemporary. I found Rick Reuschel, whom I was looking at anyway. Here are the basic numbers:

Name Years IP ERA+
Babe 19 2995 118
Rick 19 3548 114

One guy has about 350 more IP; the other has a lead of 4 in ERA+. That’s close to take your pick, although I’d give the edge to Reuschel, or I would have before I discovered the MLE season in Babe’s career. In both cases, it’s a lot of seasons for the IP. Both pitchers have a lot of short-workload years, usually because their arms went dead for a season or so, and that happened repeatedly to both of them, followed by quick comebacks.

But then, you get to what I call extras. Rick, on balance, is a slightly better hitter. He was a good hitter early, and then gave it up as he wore his body down and put on weight. Adams wasn’t a hitter. But Babe is famous for exploding the 1909 World Series like he was Bob Gibson, while Reuschel, in multiple WS, was lousy. That, for me, erases all the IP edge, given the ERA+ difference.

In addition, while both pitchers have up and down careers, complete with mid-career seasons where they were not in the majors at all, I can’t identify a decent peak or prime for Rick, while I can for Babe. Rick has good years, but I can’t find a good peak cluster, even using my loose definition of “best 3 years in a span of 5.” The same applies to prime, where I use “best 5 years in a span of 7.” You just end up with too many of the weak seasons breaking up the good ones.

Babe is different, and odd. The peak runs from, essentially, 1909 to 1911, and has an ERA+ for the span of 153. The prime runs from 1909 to 1913, with an ERA+ of 142. Babe even has a secondary peak, from 1919-1921, with an ERA+ of 150. There are some seasons with fewer than 200 IP in there, but no real partial seasons. Rick can’t match that. This is the main problem I have with Reuschel: the inability to identify a peak or prime. Adams did cluster his best years, while Reuschel did not. That, in essence, is why I have Babe ahead of Rick.

8. Curt Schilling
A very strange career. Before he turned 30, Curt was a good pitcher who suffered if given more than 200 IP in a season. He’d usually suffer the next year, but it was pretty clear what the problem was. But then, at age 30, in 1997, he found a strikeout pitch that added about two K per game to his rate. He improved sincerely, both in the quality of the pitching and in the workload he could handle, and started making the All-Star team (his first year was that 1997). And then, in 2001, at age 34, he just stopped walking anyone, resulting in more good years as he aged, and a string of K/BB ratio titles.

I know of no one who is really similar. It’s kind of like what might have happened if Dazzy Vance had been put on a major league roster at age 21 and then had his team just wait until he turned 30 and got really really good. Or if you just turned Curt’s career upside down, so all the best years would be at the front. That would make sense. But, as it is, he has a smattering of black ink, a lot of short and weak seasons before the prime, and a weird career to compare to anyone. He also, of course, gets credit for the Bloody Sock. (If U2 had recorded “Sockday, Bloody Sockday” in November of that year, Schilling would probably still be solvent just from the royalties.) Actually, his whole post-season record is really really good. It’s his only “extra”, but it is one hell of an extra.
   79. bjhanke Posted: December 12, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4322987)

9. Hugh Duffy
Here's my leftover comment from last year, when he ranked much higher, there not being an overpowering rookie class: Over at BB-Ref, his Hall of Fame Statistics are those of an average Hall of Famer, which, to me, means the bottom of the middle circle or the very top of the outer circle. His seasonal and career comparables are a bunch of Hall of Famers. Neither of those systems factors in defense properly, and Hugh played a lot of center. No, he was not the dominant player of his era. He was an average Hall of Famer. I'm not sure that Bobby Bonds was that good. I may have Hugh underrated. I am pretty sure I don't have him overrated. He does have one fine postseason extra.

The addition is that I found out that Hugh may deserve a year of minor league credit. He jumped, in 1901, from the NL to the AL, with the Milwaukee Creams (really). I'm not exactly sure how this happened, but the Creams ended up in a minor league in 1902-03, replaced by a different AL team in Milwaukee. Hugh stayed with them, as player/manager. His 1902 season is ML caliber. His 1903 is not. Then, in 1904, he was back in the majors. I don't know how or why. Perhaps his Milwaukee contract was for three years or something. In any case, you can add a year of ML credit. I add about half a year, because the decision to remain with the Creams may have been Hugh's own decision, and not the ML teams completely refusing to hire him.

10. Tommy Bridges
This is, essentially, a repeat of last year's comment. I still think the chart in this comment is very convincing. For all I know, I have Tommy underrated, even among this group. Although I try to balance everyone's methods, I've started looking at pitchers by 1) taking their career endpoints, 2) adding ten years to the front end and the back end, which will include everyone who can at all be considered the player's contemporary, and 3) running sorts at BB-Ref, starting with just plain old WAR. What I'm looking for is a BB-Ref sort that mirrors HoM/HoF voting for the time period. Not one that favors or doesn't favor my own preconceptions, but something that mirrors previous votes. This is just to give me a starting point. I don't quit analyzing there, but it does give me context, and also points out if I've just missed on someone else who ranks higher.

With Tommy Bridges, I struck gold. Here are the first 13 entries on his WAR list, covering from 1920-1956:

Rk Player WAR From To IP ERA+
1 Lefty Grove 98.3 1925 1941 3940.2 148
2 Bob Feller 66.0 1936 1956 3827.0 122
3 Carl Hubbell 64.4 1928 1943 3590.1 130
4 Warren Spahn 61.2 1942 1956 2960.0 127
5 Ted Lyons 58.8 1923 1946 4161.0 118
6 Dazzy Vance 57.1 1922 1935 2933.2 126
7 Hal Newhouser 56.3 1939 1955 2993.0 130
8 Red Ruffing 53.6 1924 1947 4344.0 110
9 Robin Roberts 52.5 1948 1956 2608.1 123
10 Tommy Bridges 50.7 1930 1946 2826.1 126
11 Bobo Newsom 45.9 1929 1953 3759.1 107
12 Waite Hoyt 45.9 1920 1938 3656.0 113
13 Dutch Leonard 45.6 1933 1953 3218.1 119

Out of this list, Roberts has no overlap at all with Bridges' actual career, so I discarded him as not really a "contemporary." That leaves Bridges at #9, behind a bunch of Hall guys and ahead, basically, of guys who are not in halls. That is, the sort basically mirrors hall voting.

The big deal here, to me, is the large gap between Bridges' WAR of 50.7 and the next guy down, Bobo Newsom, at 45.9. That's rare. It's also the largest gap on the list except for that between Lefty Grove and everyone else. It's not rare to find a guy on a WAR list between Hall guys and non-Hall. I mean, those are the guys we're supposed to look at, right? Those who are on the border. The trick is to decide who is the worst of the "ins" and who is the best of the "outs." In Tommy's case, the WAR gap between Tommy and Bobo strongly indicates that Tommy's the "worst of the ins." And Tommy is not just an accumulator, with many more IP than the closest guys on the list. His IP are, if anything, a bit low. In short, he is certainly the "worst of the ins." And there's a serious WAR drop before the best of the outs.

Extras don't hurt. He pitched very well in the World Series, and is due somewhere between 1 and 2 years of WWII credit, although they are near the end of his career, so there is doubt as to how much they would help. But overall, I'm left with what strikes me as a discovery and a large one. So I put him here. Thanks to those who have been voting for Tommy for years now. I would not have looked at him except that he kept getting votes.

11. Don Newcombe
Again, I have nothing to add to last year's comment. In fact, I don't think I will ever improve on it. So, here it is: I don't have a standard formula to rank players with. Instead, I try to balance among the various ranking methods. What do the various WAR systems say? How about IP and ERA+? Win Shares? Where does he rank among his contemporaries? Does he have an identifiable peak and prime? Black and grey ink? And then there are the "extras" that I constantly mention. What are "extras?" Don Newcombe's career. That's what extras are.

12. Kenny Lofton
I may have him overrated. His offensive stats don't overwhelm, which puts a lot of burden on the glove. His postseason record isn't real good. His career must have something I'm not aware of. In 2000, age 33, he stopped hitting .300, stopped going to the All-Star game, and became a nomad, changing teams every year. I don't know why. What I did note was BB-Ref's ranking of his offense among all-time players. Here's the list that appears as his header:

76. Alan Trammell
77. Mike Piazza
78. Andre Dawson
80. Ichiro Suzuki
81. Willie Keeler
82. Scott Rolen

That's stiff company, and it does NOT include his glove. It's also part of the reason I got conservative about Mike Piazza. I would never have thought he'd only rank, in all-time offense, only two places above Kenny Lofton.

13. Jim McCormick
Again, this is a repeat of last year's comment, because I have done no new work on Jim, other than to decide he slotted in just behind Kenny Lofton. Don't ask me to give you a statistical analysis of why I did that. It was a much feel as anything else. You try comparing a contemporary CF to an 1880s pitcher.

As many of you know, I've been obsessing over 1880s pitchers. To analyze them at all, you have to make monstrous adjustments. Jim here only pitched in ten championship seasons. But he had over 500 IP in five of them, with one over 650 IP. The ERA+ scores for those years don't look tremendous, but is that lack of quality - just tossing the ball up there and letting fielders do your job for you? Or is the low ERA+ a result of arm fatigue?

Now, take a look at Jim's 1882, 83, and 84 seasons. In 82 and 84, he had over 500 IP, and his ERA+ aren't so hot, even with 200 IP in the Union Association, roughly a class A league. But in 1883, he pitched fewer than 400 innings, and had the 170 ERA+ of his life.

So, now which is it? Journeyman innings-eaters or great pitchers who happened to be born at just the time to come to the majors when the majors were testing arms to destruction in order to find out just how big a workload a starting pitcher can take? I, obviously, vote for #2.

14. Hilton Smith
Again repeating from last year because I didn't find anything new this year: "Remains where he is because I still think that he has the best contemporary reputation of any remaining Negro League player, pitcher or position." I moved him ahead of a couple of other backloggers because I am more sure now that he was better than Dick Redding than I was last year. I was being conservative about Hilton, thinking that old stats might rise op for Dick Redding and make Hilton look like amateur hour. Instead, the new stats did not help Redding at all.

15. Lou Brock
The last few spots on my ballot have always been a bit fluid, with people slotting in and out. This time, what happened was that Don Malcolm came to visit, and we took a look at who was trying to steal bases on Johnny Bench and who was not. We concluded that, indeed, the few guys who tried to steal on Bench were the A-list base stealers of the time. But then, it occurred to me that Johnny Bench wasn't the only catcher coming into the game in the 1970s who could throw. With stolen base totals going way up in the late 1960s, arms became much more important to getting catcher jobs. But Lou Brock's stolen base attempts just kept going up and up. Lou, at his base stealing peak, was fighting a trend against what he was doing. It doesn't make him into Rickey Henderson or anything, but it does polish his luster a bit, and down heart the bottom of the ballot, that pays off. Rickey, of course, would get voted first on any ballot, unless someone like Barry Bonds came along at the same time.
   80. bjhanke Posted: December 12, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4322988)

Others Requiring Comments, in alphabetical order.

Sal Bando
When confronting a new candidate, the first thing I do is look at his WAR totals on BB-Ref, within his contemporaries at his position, and compare them to his placement within the New Historical Abstract (even if his career extends beyond 2000; it's a good starting place). If those two systems generally agree, I think I have a good first cut, and start looking at things like ink, MLEs, postseason, and my host of "extras."

I looked at Sal's contemporary third basemen. My method for this is to set the years on BB-Ref's Play Index to ten years before and after the player in questioned played, and then run a sort by WAR. When I did this for Sal, he finished 9th. Not 9th of all time, 9th within his contemporaries. That's not a great placement. In the Historical, he ranks right above Ken Boyer, who is often cited here as the weakest HoM guy (although I don't actually agree with this, I do agree he is one of the weakest). Neither WAR nor the Historical counts war years, and Boyer is entitled to a couple. At this point, I would have continued to look for extras in Sal's career, but this ballot is overrun with the "rookie" class. I realized that there was no way Sal could make THIS ballot. After the rush dies down in a couple of years, maybe. But now, he's swamped like everyone else on the backlog.

Gavy Cravath
I found a whole bunch of stuff about Gavy this year, in bits and pieces. It didn't help his cause. I imagine you all know most of it, so I'm going to summarize as best I can.

Gavy, having played well in the PCL in 1907, ended up with the Red Sox in 1908. He actually played pretty well, although the raw stats don't look like anything; it was 1908. Importantly, he did NOT hit for power, registering all of one home run. In any case, the Sox, awash in outfield prospects, let him go at the end of the year. In 1909, he got tryouts with both the White Sox and the Senators, and failed badly, apparently due to a combination of illness and injury. He ended up with Minneapolis, in the American Association at the time, and played reasonably well there.

The lights turned on for Gavy in 1910. Minneapolis had a ballpark with a very small right field, and Gavy, who was a righty hitter, learned to hit fly balls to the opposite field, and starting hitting some homers, along with a general improvement in hitting altogether. In 1910, he was clearly a major league hitter, and even better in 1911. I have a pretty strict methodology for granting minor league credit (see Babe Adams). I ignore the first year that is clearly major league worthy, because you can't ask a manager in April to predict what a guy will have done by September. So, Gavy gets no MLE credit from me for 1910, but does for 1911. I know that many voters here give him much more MLE credit than that, but my methods discard that first year for reasons that I think are more than adequate. In any case, someone in the majors should have given Gavy a serious look after 1910. They all did after 1911.

Due to confused paperwork, it was not immediately apparent which major league team had Gavy's rights. There was little moving of players from the AL to the NL or vice versa at the time, due to a rule or two (thanks, Mike Emeigh), but Gavy's rights, according to the paperwork that did exist, ended up in the hands of the Phillies, a NL team. A NL team with a ballpark that was, well, the Baker Bowl.

At this point, I started wondering just how many of Gavy's homers were the result of the ballpark. His own personal home/road splits are insane: 93/26. That's 3.58 to 1. Cravath actually won TWO NL homer titles without hitting even ONE road homer either year! But is this realistic? Gavy might, like Bill Dickey, have just figured out how to game his ballpark, and should get credit for the intelligence and work. Except that this is not what happened. Gavy discovered the value of opposite-field fly balls in Minneapolis in 1910. He ended up in the Baker Bowl due to confused paperwork, not his own desire to play in that particular park. So, I give him no credit for that. However, individual player splits are always bad if you can get something more global. There are ballpark splits for the Bowl, but they are a problem, because they mostly involve players who still hit mostly grounders, and left/right splits won't work for Gavy because he was a righty hitter who hit fly balls to right field. He was lucky, not a genius, to land in Baker.

I went looking for a fly ball right field hitter in Baker. Chuck Klein came to mind, but he's a full decade later than Gavy, and Babe Ruth is right at the break point. So that was not completely satisfactory, but then I found him. The best match I could have hoped for. Fred Luderus. Listed at #88 in the New Historical Abstract at first base. Fred was a lefty fly ball hitter, in the Baker Bowl, with a near-exact match to Gavy's years there. After a couple of tiny audition years, Fred was in the Baker Bowl from 1911-1920. Gavy was 1912-1920. Fred's home/road homer splits? 63/21, or exactly 3 to 1. So, I used that ratio - 3/1 - to discount Gavy's homers. It's less than Gavy's personal, but still large enough to really reflect the effect of the ballpark.

You can guess what happened, All of that lovely homer-driven black ink went away; much of what is left is OBP titles, of all things. And what did it leave, when all the black ink went away? A very short career, with only one year of MLE credit (you might argue me into two years, but it won't get Gavy on my ballot), very little ink, and a bad glove. I am sorry to say this, but inducting Gavy into the HoM would strike me as nothing more than inducting the Baker Bowl. Now, I have no objection to the HoM opening up a ballparks wing and inducting the Baker Bowl as the classic ballpark that it was. But I do have strong objections to inducting the Baker Bowl into the player's' wing of the HoM, under the name "Gavy Cravath." And that's all I see here.

Dick Redding
I suppose I could go into long boring detail, but Dick has been discussed to the point where that's just piling on. This year's discovery was Baseball Gauge; you can find the rest of this comment earlier in the ballot thread. Baseball Gauge has the following career numbers, bearing in mind that this is baseballgauge's career compilation and may not agree with anyone else's. They have Jose Mendez with a career (or, at least, everything Baseball Gauge has) ERA+ of 159, Smokey Joe Williams with 153, and Dick Redding with 124. I didn't look up Bullet Rogan, because his hitting makes his ERA+ much less useful than for normal pitchers. I did notice that Redding does not have strikeout percentages any higher than Williams or Mendez, which I mention because last year, the Wikipedia article on Redding had two yearly lines with strikeout percentages like Rube Waddell's, just overpowering. Gauge doesn't have those lines, and the Wiki article has been completely rewritten, as far as I can tell, and those two lines are gone from there, too. My interpretation of this, for HoM purposes, is Mendez in, Williams in, Redding out. It would take a LOT of explaining to get me past that 30-point ERA+ gap.

Phil Rizzuto
Most of this is a repeat of last year's comment. I can't improve on it, and I don't remember anyone last year dismantling it. So, sorry to bore you with repetition, but here it is. BB-Ref's new (as of last year, at least new to me) snapshot system, where you can select a range of seasons and get totals, paid off for me. Phil Rizzuto, in his entire career, had an OPS+ of 93, in 1661 games played. Rabbit Maranville had 1622 games played, with an OPS+ of 92, which is pretty similar (1913-1922).

But, then, there are the remaining 1009 games that Rabbit played. Phil does get three years of war credit, but Rabbit gets one back for 1918, and perhaps a minor league credit season for 1927. The credit difference just ain't gonna make up the difference in games played. Everyone I know of agrees that Rabbit was the better glove, by a serious margin. So I sometimes vote for Rabbit and I haven't voted for Phil. Rabbit's career INCLUDES Phil's, with 6-8 more full seasons added on.

Yes, Phil does have 1950. But Rabbit has 1914, which is often cited as the greatest defensive season ever, was one of the big keys to the Miracle Braves, and got Rabbit the #2 place in the MVP voting. He had been #3 in 1913, if you're talking peaks. I call it a wash, except for those 1,000 more games that Rabbit has. Do you vote for Rabbit Maranville?

Luis Tiant
The following comment is copied directly from last year's ballot, which was copied from the year before: "Very similar rate and career length to Wilbur Cooper. High length, good rate, but not great. But unlike Cooper, he wasn't in the middle of a bunch of guys who did the same sort of thing. So he stands out more." This is enough to get him on my normal ballot (#8 last year), but this year's rookie crop has dropped him off the list. I don't think any LESS of Luis than I did last year.

Vic Willis
This is last year's comment, when I voted Vic #14. I don't think less of him than I did then, but this is a great, great rookie class that ran a lot of last year's ballot off the list. Last year, I mentioned that, of the Pittsburgh Six pitchers that I like so much, Vic here has the big workload. I decided that his rates aren't enough worse than Sam Leever's to make up the workload difference. His Hall of Fame Statistics over at BB-Ref are surprisingly good. He actually was voted into the Hall of Fame. I imagine you are all sick and tired of my reciting the characteristics of the Pit6, so I won't repeat them here.

It's done! It's done! The ring is in the volcano! I can go to bed now!
   81. OCF Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:32 PM (#4323048)
Oops! Sorry about that.

Just remove Bonds then.

Technically speaking, that's ambiguous. But I think I know what you meant. ;)
   82. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:39 PM (#4323061)
Technically speaking, that's ambiguous. But I think I know what you meant. ;)

Heh. That's what I was counting on, OCF. :-D
   83. sunnyday2 Posted: December 12, 2012 at 02:45 PM (#4323198)

I'm a peak voter and more WS than WAR.

1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Mike Piazza

Well, that was easy. No boycotts, no discounting for me. Greatest LF ever. Greatest SP since at least Lefty Grove, greatest righty since Walter Johnson. Piazza ahead of Biggio would be a catcher bonus. Don't think he's the best catcher ever but he's top 5. Biggio is top 10, anyway, though I guess I'm not gonna be his best friend or anything. Pretty good group, but I couldn't quite get Biggio up to #4.

4. Hugh Duffy (was #1 last year). Was regarded as the greatest player in the game at his peak, which not too many of our candidates can say. Well, most can't say it because they're dead, but you know what I mean. I think I overreacted previously to the fact of his one supercalifragilistic year or rather the fact that his peak consists of 1 year. But his surrounding prime is still very very good.

5. Jim McCormick (was #2). I supported him for many years but finally saw the handwriting on the wall. But I still believe that we have underrepresented pitchers from the golden age of pitchers. Pitching may have had less value than today, but individual pitchers threw so many IP as to have tremendous value. I think we over-normalized for that, flying in the face of the facts of the matter. And McCormick, IMO, was the best of that era that we have not elected yet.

6. Craig Biggio. See above.

7. Tommy Bond (was #4). I also supported Bond for many years. See McCormick, Jim.

8. Johnny Pesky (was #9). Full war credit.

9. Ed Williamson (was #11). A glove guy who also had some pop in his bat. When not camped out on 3B, he played a couple years at SS. I'm not sayin' he's ARod or Ripken, but he was of their type. You have to discount his 27 HR, sure, but to what? Outs? His teammates were all trying to hit the ball into the short LF bleachers in 1884 but it was Ed--not Anson, not King Kelly, not Gore, not Dalrymple--who was able to do so. And I don't remember anyone ever discounting any of these other guys either for their 1884 HR or for all those ground rule doubles throughout the rest of the era. Still, his case is as one of the great glove men of the 19C who also led the league in games played 4 times. Maybe he was basically Cal Ripken after all.

10. Phil Rizzuto (was #6). Full war credit.

11. Mickey Welch (was #5). I was never a supporter of Mickey Welch. Any resemblence to Tim Keefe is coincidental. Still, see McCormick, Jim.

12. Albert Belle (was #3). Comps would include Elmer Flick, Charlie Keller, Ralph Kiner.

13. Kirby Puckett (was #14). The idea that Kirby was atrocious is the one single best argument that Moneyball is all just a bunch of ######## after all. He was the best baseball player on the field almost every single day of his career.

14. Don Newcombe (was #8). Newk gets extra credit for all the time he missed to the quota system and Korea. I see a properly credited Newk as pretty comparable to Schilling.

15. Tommy Leach (was #23).

Maybe next time.

16. Vern Stephens (was #7). Played against one of the greatest cohorts in the history of the game--ie. 1940s AL SS (Boudreau, Pesky, Rizzuto, Joost)--and looks good doing it. Yes he played against a weakened AL during WWII but so did Lou Boudreau and Charlie Keller and Hal Newhouser. But he proved after the war what caliber of player he was. Take away 1948 and you'd be hard-pressed to show that Boudreau was any better, in fact.

17. Curt Schilling.

18. Dizzy Dean (was #10). Extreme peak candidate but, hey, he had an extreme peak.

19. Bucky Walters (was #12).

20. Sal Bando (was #13). We are short of 3B after all. I thought we were supposed to be the anti-HoF.

21. Elston Howard (was #15). Another guy who was substantially held back by the quota system.
22. Dale Murphy (was #16).
23. Thurman Munson (was #26).
24. Al Rosen (#17)
25. Dick Redding (was #18)
26. Gavvy Cravath (was #19).
27. Dave Parker (was #20).
28. Larry Doyle (was #28).

Luis Tiant is top 100.
Bruce Willis is top 50.
   84. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:01 PM (#4323213)
I believe I am #31 . . .

As far as what I consider . . . I try to look at it all. I'm a career voter mostly - not because I have any bias towards it, but just because the numbers (and every study I've ever seen) tell me that peaks are overrated and 5+5 is only about 10-15% less valuable than 10+0.

I give full war credit, and I think it's a major mistake not to when comparing players across eras. My biggest regret on this project is that we didn't require all voters to give war credit like we did with Negro League credit. I see no difference, both were a circumstance of the player's birthday that was beyond his control.

I've systematically worked this in for anyone that is a reasonable candidate, all the way down to guys like Tommy Henrich, Mickey Vernon and Dom DiMaggio. If you want a copy of my Rosenheck access database with these guys added, please let me know.

I think it's a cop out to say we don't know so it's a zero. If a guy was a 25 WS a year player before and after the war, a zero is a much bigger mistake than giving him three 25s. As far as injury risk, you just credit a guy based on his playing time before and after the war. There's no reason to assume he would have been any more (or less) injury prone during those years.

I also follow similar philosophy on strikes. I just prorate the season, since a pennant is a pennant.

I give catchers at 50% career bonus, above and beyond what Pennants Added they accumulate.

I'll give minor league credit for players trapped - once they've had a 'here I am, let me play!' season.

I've been much more hands on in rating the pitchers than the position players, for which I rely on DanR's WARP, though I weigh them based on Pennants Added, not his salary estimator. I'm very confident in my pitcher rankings, and I make a manual adjustment for the extended career length that started in the 1960s (not shown below). My position player rankings are based largely on DanR's numbers.

After the player I'll list his Pennants Added and the player above and below him at his position on the lists.

1. Barry Bonds LF (n/e) - 2.78 PA, (Babe Ruth, Ted Williams). In the conversation as the greatest player of all time.

2. Roger Clemens SP (n/e) - 2.43 PA, (Walter Johnson, Cy Young). In the conversation as the greatest pitcher of all time.

3. Mike Piazza C (n/e) - 1.46 PA, (Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra). DanR's WAR shows Piazza narrowly as the greatest catcher of all time, once I give Piazza credit for 2006 (Dan cuts off after 2005). Bench ends up with 1.41 PA and Berra 1.35. These numbers include a 50% career bonus for catchers.

4. Craig Biggio (n/e) - 1.04 PA, (Lou Whitaker, Ryne Sandberg). Sure he hung on a little too long. That doesn't take away from the fact that he's an easy HoMer. He's somewhere around the 9th or 10th best 2B of all time. A little more valuable than Alomar and Sandberg, a little less valuable than Carew and Grich. We are talking 3000 hits from a 2B who also caught a little. This is a no-brainer.

5. Curt Schilling SP (n/e) - (Don Drysdale, Hal Newhouser). I did not have time to run Schilling through my full system. But just comparing his BB-Ref WAR to guys like Kevin Brown and David Cone, it's obvious he belongs. Assuming he had average defenses he's comparable based on ERA+/IP with guys like Drysdale and Newhouser. Heck, you could make an argument that he's up there with Hubbell. Very easy HoMer.

6. Phil Rizzuto SS (1) - 1.02 PA, (Ernie Banks, Bert Campaneris). Now that I've given him systematic war credit and adjusted his 1946, during which he was recovering from malaria (which also impact his projections for 1943-45, if you use 1946 in those), he shows up with Rafael Palmeiro as the best holdover position player by a substantial margin. The top 4 on this ballot are very close.

7. Jack Quinn SP (2) - 1.10 PA, (Eppa Rixey, Whitey Ford). I'm giving him credit for 1916-18 where he was pitching (quite well) in the PCL after the Federal League went belly-up. He gets a big leverage bonus for his nearly 800 IP of relief work at a LI of 1.26. Without any PCL credit I still have him between Bridges and Grimes.

8. Bert Campaneris SS (5) - .93 PA, (Phil Rizzuto, Joe Sewell). .470 OWP, in an era where the average SS was at .372. Long (9625 PA) career as well, and a good fielder (62 FRAA). System says to rank him ahead of Concepcion pretty clearly.

9. Urban Shocker SP (6) - .94 PA, (Tommy Bridges, Billy Pierce). Vaulted in 1981, with 1918 war credit (he was having a great year), and an adjustment for the AL being much better than the NL during his time. He was a great pitcher, peak guys should really look closer at him. He'd be a no brainer without his illness, which should not impact a peak vote.

10. Sammy Sosa RF (n/e) - .92 PA (Willie Stargell, Goose Goslin). Sosa has an enormous peak - his 2001 is overshadowed by Bonds, but it was an incredible season - a 203 OPS+. But his peak was short, basically 1998-2002 was his only period as a great player. DanR's WARP is tough on corner outfielders, but not inappropriately so. He deserves to make the Hall of Merit, but he's not a slam dunk like the top 4 on this ballot.

11. Gavy Cravath RF (7) - .90 PA, (Larry Walker, Bobby Bonds). Either he was a freak of nature, or there's a lot missing. I vote for the latter. Check out his thread for deeper discussion of the specifics, including a great analysis from Gadfly. He's the kind of guy we were hoping to catch when we started this project. I'm much more comfortable moving him this high after seeing his latest translations.

12. Ben Taylor 1B (8) - Negro Leaguer, Chris Cobb's MLE from 8/25/2004 suggests 325 WS. Consider me convinced that he was really was a great hitter. The Hall of Fame's Negro League Committee had access to a lot of data, and they chose to include him, in a group that we generally agreed with. That counts for something with me. I would have much preferred his election to that of Oms.

13. Tommy John SP (9) - 1.00 PA, (Bret Saberhagen, Wes Ferrell). Tons of career value. I would probably be sick to my stomach if Jim Kaat (who did very well in the Veteran's Committee balloting this year) got in and John did not. On the surface (career W-L) they appear similar, but when you adjust for everything, they aren't close. I have John as similar to, but better than Burleigh Grimes - about 800 more translated IP, at a 106 rate instead of a 104 rate. That's more than enough to offset Grimes peak edge. I get John somewhere between Eppa Rixey/Red Faber and Grimes on the continuum. He's over the in/out line for me. I also give no extra credit for his poineering the surgery - someone had to be first.

14. Tommy Bridges SP (11) - .94 PA, (Stan Coveleski, Urban Shocker). Unspectacular peak (although he would have won the 1936 AL Cy Young Award if it had been invented), but a lot of career value. War credit helps nudge him above Trout and Leonard. He could obviously still pitch when he left for the war, and was still good when he returned for a short time. I give him 2 years of credit at his 1941-43 level.

15. Dave Concepcion SS (12) - .88 PA, (Joe Sewell, Dave Bancroft). Better than I realized, and was really hurt by the 1981 strike, which occurred during his best season (and a season where the Reds had the best record in baseball, but missed the playoffs). Still no Trammell or Ozzie, but a very good player indeed. We could do worse than induct him.

Dropping out because of the new class:

16. Tommy Leach 3B/CF (13) - .88 PA (Stan Hack, Buddy Bell; Andre Dawson, Jim Wynn). I was a big fan of his awhile back, then he faded. He's back now, in no small part because of Dan R's work.

17. Bucky Walters SP (14) - .90 PA (Burleigh Grimes, Dwight Gooden). Walters once again gets my hotly contested 15th place vote. Johnny Pesky, Rabbit Maranville (with credit for a full 1918), Dave Bancroft, Don Newcombe, Burleigh Grimes, Edgar Martinez, Orel Hershister and Kevin Appier were top contenders. Walters combination of big years, hitting, and playing in what I consider a very tough era (the late 30s, right before war depleted the ranks and after nearly 40 years without expansion) won him my final 6 points.

18. Bernie Williams CF (15) - .83 PA (Jim Wynn, Brett Butler). This number puts him a little below Dave Bancroft and Buddy Bell in the .85 range. He is right there with HoMers like John McGraw, Billy Herman and Hughie Jennings. Some of the guys in this range are in, some aren't. He's clearly in the gray area. I am a Yankee fan. Questions about his defense - I don't think it was quite as bad as the advanced metrics say - keep his value low. I'd love to do more digging on this - but I do feel like there are all sorts of goofy things with the fielding numbers for those Yankee teams. That being said, I'll err on the side of caution this year.

Perpetual eligibility helps here - I don't have to worry about him falling off the ballot. Edmonds will end up placing higher. But any bump in Williams' defensive ratings would move him into the low, but clear HoMer range. Based on Mike Emeigh's comment on the ballot thread, I think this is reasonable and could bump Bernie next year. This evaluation gives him credit only as the numbers stand now.
   85. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:02 PM (#4323214)
Continuing . . .

Prominent newcomers:

David Wells - I kind of think of him as the Bobo Newsom of the 1985-2005 period. Bounced around and pitched pretty well wherever he went. I am a big fan of long career very good pitchers. I did not have time to run him through my system, but looking at his BB-ref WAR, his ERA+, IP and comparing him with others who I have run through, I think he's most comparable to Newsom and Newcombe.

Kenny Lofton CF - .80 PA (Dom DiMaggio, Larry Doby). DanR's WAR does not like Lofton nearly as much as BB-ref's. Big year in 1994 and a nice run from 1992-96, but he seems to me like a very good, not great player. The big difference here is defense. If I could be convinced his defense was better than DanR thinks, I could move him up a bit.

Julio Franco 2B/SS - .68 PA (Joe Tinker, Jay Bell). This does not include any credit for 1998-2001. Even if I gave him credit for 1.0 WAR per year (his age 39-42 seasons) we are talking about him bumping up to the Art Fletcher/Dick Bartell class. He was an all-star caliber player from 1984-1991, but never an MVP candidate or anything like that. But he was a really good player, and a neat story playing as long as he did.

Steve Finley CF - .65 PA (Willie Davis, Bobby Murcer). Really nice career. I drafted him for $3 in an auction league in 1991 during my freshman year of college and he was one of favorite players for ever after . . .

Mandatory comments:

Hugh Duffy - .72 WAR. Pretty cool that perpetual eligibility keeps guys like Duffy around. rWAR has him with .4625 from 1893 on, so I need to come up with some estimates for 1888-1892.

What I did was run a regression on Pennants Added using Dan’s WAR against Chone’s WAR. Then I used the resulting function to convert Chone’s WAR to PA for the missing years. The reason I did it this way was because I like Dan’s WAR better and if there were any differences between the two in terms of how they treat Duffy, I wanted to lean towards Dan’s method.

Amongst players that finished their career before 1920, the .72 PA number puts Duffy in the company of guys like Roy Thomas and Fielder Jones. He’s just not good enough for me.

Luis Tiant - .88 PA. Comparing him with Reuschel . . . I've got Tiant 54th amongst post-1893 SPs eligible. I give him credit for 3362.3 tIP, at the equivalent of a 112 ERA+, and he was +5 runs as a hitter. Reuschel I get at 3745.3 tIP, a 115 rate, and the same +5 BRAR.

Looking at their seven best seasons in terms of WARP, I see Reuschel at 8.7, 6.5, 5.3, 5.2, 5.1, 4.9, 4.8; Tiant at 7.7, 6.4, 5.2, 5.1, 4.9, 4.6, 4.5. Reuschel's top 3 consecutive were 18.8; Tiant's 16.4.

Using a Bill James NHBA peaky type system, with my wins, I get Reuschel at #55, Tiant at #100. Using a JAWS type system, I get Reuschel #39, Tiant #60.

Dick Redding - He was good, but I think we are overrating him. I can't see how he's better than Grimes, who just misses my ballot.

Vic Willis - My system does not love Willis. He is not worse than the worst HoM pitchers we've elected (Bob Lemon and Joe McGinnity), but I have 20-25 pitchers ahead of him, ranging from those on my ballot, down through modern guys like Hershiser, Appier, Gooden, Denny Martinez, older guys like Grimes, Waite Hoyt, Bob Shawkey. This is a short career. This is not a knock, I just think he's in the middle of this glut. He was also a terrible hitter for a pitcher in his era, which costs him 28 runs compared with an average hitting pitcher for his time. Give him those runs back and I'd have him around even with Tiant.

Sal Bando - .67 PA. Using DanR's WAR he winds up in a cohort that includes Harlond Clift, Larry Gardner, Ken Caminiti, Art Devlin. I am not feeling this one at all. It's basically 11 years of very good. He's not close for me.

Non-Mandatory comments:

Robin Ventura is a tier below with .83 PA (yes, there are that many players at this level - which is one thing that suggests HoVG for both Edgar and Ventura). Norm Cash and Bobby Bonds are also here. Buddy Bell is right there, a little actually, at .85 PA.

Since he was discussed during the 2010 election a bit, Thurman Munson is close, but about a full season behind Bill Freehan. I give a 50% career bonus for catchers and with that, I get Munson at .79 PA. I have Freehan at .87. I draw the line at Freehan in, Munson out, but I can definitely see support for Munson as a candidate.

Bob Johnson - .80 PA. He's in the mix - but slides down when you deflate his numbers from WWII. I see him in a group with Fregosi, Cey, Cruz and Schang. I don’t think Edgar Martinez was all that better than Bob Johnson.

John Olerud - .75 PA (George Sisler, Fred McGriff). Olerud was a really good player with a very nice split peak (1993/1998). rWAR shows him as deserving the 1993 MVP that most statheads think should have gone to Frank Thomas. But he only had 7 years with 3 or more rWAR. It wouldn’t kill me to see him elected. He was a more valuable player than Fred McGriff, Kirby Puckett, Jake Beckley or Charlie Keller, for example. But he’s doesn’t have quite enough to make my ballot at this point.

Fred McGriff is down there with guys like Roy White, Jack Clark, Dale Murphy and George Burns at .73 PA. Defense and base running count.

Kirby Puckett - .69 PA. Loved to watch him play, but there's just not enough there. DanR's numbers show him similar to Rizzuto - before giving any war credit. I've got him in a group with Ken Singleton, Bob Elliott, Fielder Jones, Joe Tinker, Harlond Clift, etc.. Very good player. A solid all-star in his day. But not a HoMer.
   86. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:06 PM (#4323220)
Forgive my not updating some of the comments (i.e. Rizzuto) from last year . . . I was pressed for time and forgot. But hopefully this explains my comments for those looking back on this later.
   87. Rob_Wood Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:30 PM (#4323261)
Sunnyday2, what about Sosa?
   88. Carl Goetz Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4323268)
Ok, here's my ballot.

1)Barry Bonds: A lot better than any other position player on the ballot.
2)Roger Clemens: Ditto for pitchers.
3)Mike Piazza: Ditto for catchers.
4)Craig Biggio: Of 2B/3B/SS, he is 20 WSAB ahead on anyone in 8 year prime; better than anyone except Al Rosen in 3&5 year peak, and way ahead of anyone in career value.
5)Cannonball Dick Redding: Chris Cobb’s MLEs have him as best pitcher after Clemens. I see him as the last Negro League electee to the HOM.
6)Hugh Duffy: See Albert Belle.
7)Albert Belle: As a Prime/Peak voter, I see Duffy and Belle as similar players. Duffy with a slightly better 8 year prime (about 1.5 WSAB per yr) and Belle with the better peak. Each had 3 MVP caliber seasons. Duffy managed 7 All-CG selections compared to Albert’s 5. Ultimately that and Duffy higher career value broke the tie for me.
8)Carl Mays: Better 8 year prime than Dean and Grimes and more All-CG seasons (8). I lump the 3 together somewhat because each had 3 MVP caliber seasons and similar peak value.
9)Ken Singleton: I have Singleton and Gavvy Cravath very close in most every measure, though Cravath has slightly more career value. I gave Singleton the edge because I trust his numbers more plus they were compiled in higher quality leagues.
10)Gavvy Cravath: See Ken Singleton. Note: I gave Cravath credit for 1907,09,10,&11; based on the posted MLEs.
11)Dizzy Dean: Better prime than Burleigh Grimes. Ol’ Diz wasn’t great long, but was consistently great year-to-year during that period which I think gives him a slight leg up.
12)Al Rosen: Based entirely on 7 seasons, which has got to be a record low for a post deadball player who didn’t lose time to WWII. Those 7 seasons were better than any other 2B/3B/SS 8 year prime and featured better 3&5 year peaks as well. For 7 years, 105 WSAB is pretty respectable career value as well.
13)Burleigh Grimes: 3 MVP caliber seasons and a Diz-like peak.
14)Johnny Pesky: Similar Prime/Peak to Williamson/Bando, with more All-CG selections. He ultimately gets the nod as he played a lot of his career at SS as a more valuable position than 3B.
15)Vic Willis: I’ve gone back and forth quite a bit on this spot, but I’m going to give Vic Willis the nod here. I feel his WSAB (adjusted to 162 game season) over-state his case. Technically, those numbers are better than Mays/Dean/Grimes, but his era had crazy IP numbers which I feel overstate his value from a historical perspective. I can’t ignore his 8 All-CG selections though (especially since I spent a lot of time making them). Ultimately, he was near the top of his league in pitching more than some of the other guys who were close to this ballot.
Next 10 (in no particular order): Cicotte, Joss, Schilling, Chance, McGriff, Williamson, Bando, Frank Howard, Sosa, & (Evers,Rizzuto,Tiernan, or Bernie Williams; they are all right together at the 10th spot on this list).

Top Ten Explanations:
Sal Bando: With Ned Williamson as my next 2 3B on the ballot. Williamson edges Bando slightly on prime and peak and has more All-CG selections (6 to 3). Neither has much more career value than Rosen even though both had longer careers.

Phil Rizzuto: Similar peak to Pesky and the same number of MVP caliber and All-CG selections (1 and 7), but Pesky’s 8-year prime is significantly better (101 to 83 WSAB). The only real advantage he has over Pesky is in career value but it’s not a big advantage (and I’m not a career voter). I could see moving Scooter up my list a bit, but I can’t see moving him ahead of Pesky.

Luis Tiant: 75 WSAB 8-year prime is less than 10/year. Big knock in my system. Peak is good, but not better than a lot of guys in my system. 2 MVP seasons are the only thing that have me second-guessing myself, but while he might move up, he’s probably not making my top 25. I do understand the career value argument, but I am a peak/prime voter.
   89. Michael J. Binkley's anxiety closet Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:44 PM (#4323288)
Second year voter. At heart, I am a peak voter, but I do recognize the value of a pure career candidate. I revised my system this year to a DanR-style salary estimator, but instead of using just his WARP, I use a combination of uber-stat systems (DanR, B-R, FG, SH WAR and WSaB, Chone, Davenport and new BP). (Note – I really like Chris Cobb’s new system, and his values seem to line up with my system, divided by $1M. – so I think I might incorporate a version of his sytem into mine for next year)

I am fairly liberal in giving credit (war, blacklist, MiL), but try to be conservative in the amount of credit I give. I do not boycott for any reason.

I am still in the process of back-filling my PHoM, but will probably revise if I modify my system. Regardless, it won’t affect the PHoM inductees this year since they’re all newbies.

Final Ballot:

1) Barry Bonds - $513.8M (PhoM 2013). My second-best player all time, just ahead of a fully war-credited Ted, but still well behind the Babe.
2) Roger Clemens - $328.9M (PHoM 2013). The third best pitcher so far, behind only The Big Train and Denton True and 16th best player all-time.
3) Mike Piazza - $219.3M (PHoM 2013). The third best all-time catcher, a long way behind Josh and a little over $30M behind Bench (and about $10M ahead of Berra). Yes, he stunk at throwing runners out. But luckily for him he played in one of the least important era for that skill ever. He was average or better at all other aspects of catcher’s defense, including CERA, which I do believe in.
4) Curt Schilling - $170.4M (PHoM 2013) Most years he could be at the top of the ballot. He just happens to be part of the best class in 79 years. No, he wasn’t Clemens, Maddux, Randy or Pedro, but that’s not the standard here. The K/BB and UER rates really stand out.
5) Craig Biggio - $156.7M. I can understand how a strict careerist or WS disciple could have him #3 this year, but I just don’t agree with it. His defense was overrated and he was just hanging on for 3,000 those last couple of years without providing much value. That said, he’s still clearly above the in/out line – he just goes to the top of the backlog.
6) Sammy Sosa - $148.6M. He’s short on ton of career value. But it was still a heck of a peak. Clearly ahead of the backlog for me.
7) Eddie Cicotte - $139.7M. I give him full credit for 1919 and 1920. He had a couple of really good peak years with some solid prime built around it. Would’ve probably ended up an obvious HoMer if he hadn’t thrown the series.
8) Elston Howard - $138.2M. I am a big fan of the “integration squeeze” guys. I give him 3 years of NeL credit from 1952-54. I don’t give him extra credit for sitting behind Yogi, but his 4 year peak, especially for a catcher, really stands out in my system.
9) Vic Willis- $138.2M. One really great year (1899), but then was just solidly above average or better for most of the rest of his career.
10) Ned Williamson- $135.6M. The one 19th century position player that I think the electorate really missed out on. Yes, I think he was better than Ezra (despite the fact that Sutton is buried about 15 minutes from where I live).
11) Luke Easter- $135.0M. Another “integration squeeze” guy. He was the cleanup hitter for a factory team that had other NeL stars on it and was better than the actual NeL team that was located in St. Louis. He lost his war years working in military industry. And by then he was too old to be considered for the start of integration. When he did get his chance, all he did was produce despite injuries throughout almost all of his actual ML career. Then he spent another few years still mashing in the minors well into his 40’s. This is a conservative ranking for me – I think if he been given the opportunity, he would’ve ended up ranked much higher.
12) Ben Taylor – $134.8M. Another NeL first baseman, and my best 1b between the ABC boys and Sisler. Had a monster 1914 and put up very good OBP’s with great defense in the deadball era.
13) Kenny Lofton - $133.5M. He may have the greatest amount of defense/baserunning value as a percentage of overall value of anyone over my PHoM not named Ozzie.
14) Tommy Bond - $133.3M. He was the great pitcher between Spalding and the 1880’s stars.
15) Gavvy Cravath - $131.6M.He was exactly the type of player this project was designed to find. I am not going to punish him for taking advantage of his park when no one else had the foresight to do so.


Tiant – Right near my approximate PHoM line.

Rizzuto – Only a couple million behind my PHoM line, but still behind Campaneris for shortstops.

Duffy – I have no problems with those who vote for him (about $5M out). He’s ahead of fellow 1890’s outfielders Ryan and GVH.

Bando – Doesn’t do as well in other uberstat systems as he does in Chone/BBRef.

Redding – Only has two peak years and a 5 year prime as far as I can tell. Those years were great, but he seems to add very little outside of that.
   90. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: December 12, 2012 at 07:29 PM (#4323486)
I will admit I didn’t do as much analysis as usual this year, mostly because the electees are pretty straightforward. There’s also the effects of being without power for 2 weeks due to Sandy (although those effects are me spending too much time trying to catch up on the TV I missed.)

My ranking system isn’t that specific. It’s based more on BB-ref’s WAR than anything else, but I still have WS and old WARP totals on my spreadsheet. I use Humphrey’s DAR in some cases, but I can’t say I’ve applied it systematically.

I also try to include both peak and career candidates, but tend to lean more towards the career when push comes to shove. When I talk about WS or WAR rate, that’s per PA.

My PHoM this year are Barry Bonds, Clemens, Piazza and Biggio.

1. Barry Lamar Bonds (new) Not a lot to debate here, unless you want to get into the question of who’s the best player of all time. I haven’t boycotted in the past, and I’m not starting now. Makes my PHoM this year.

2. Roger Clemens (new) See above, except subsititue “pitcher” for “player”. I will admit I disliked him significantly more than Barry. But that was because I’m a Mets fan. Makes my PHoM this year.

3. Mike Piazza (new) As has been discussed, his overall defense wasn’t as bad as its reputation, although his throwing probably was. Best hitting catcher in MLB history, adds up to one of the top 5 all-time. Makes my PHoM this year.

4. Craig Biggio (new) Behind Piazza because he doesn’t rank as high among 2Bmen, but clearly above the HoM line at the position. I never understood blaming him for hanging around to get to 3000 hits – if the team is willing to play you, that’s their problem. Makes my PHoM this year.

5. Curt Schilling (new) Clearly qualified, well ahead of the other pitcher candidates on the ballot (except that guy in front of him). Has an extremely strong prime, and impressive postseason numbers.

6. Bus Clarkson (1) Parallels Elliot’s career, but with war credit he comes out ahead, and he presumably had more defensive value. (Quick comparison to Alomar – WS 344 to 376 in 1900 fewer PA, OPS+ 123 to 116, 3B/SS to 2B. Even deflating the MLEs a bit, that looks pretty close to me.) Made my PHoM in 1997.

7. Dick Redding (2) Seems to have a pretty good peak, and also has somewhat of a career argument. I still tend to think he’s close enough to Mendez that they both should be in or out. Made my PHoM in 1973.

8. Bobby Bonds (6) More of a prime candidate than anything else, but his peak and career values aren’t bad either. Even with Smith’s election, I still think 1970’s OF are a bit underrepresented. Slides ahead of Johnson due to WAR, but they’re still quite close. Made my PHoM in 2008.

9. Sammy Sosa (new) I really can’t find much to differentiate him from Bobby Bonds, when you look at the comprehensive metrics. Has a slightly higher peak, but he was also allowed to hang around longer. 609 homers are impressive, but a 128 OPS+ is not.

10. Phil Rizzuto (7) Accounting for the malaria as an effect of the war helped him move up a couple of spots. With war credit, it’s pretty clear he’d have more career value than Stephens. Peak is a different issue, but he’s not that far behind Stephens, and he did have a few excellent seasons. Might deserve Minor League credit for 1940 (I’m not counting it at the moment.) Made my PHoM in 1997.

11. Luis Tiant (8) He had some outstanding years, and contributed long enough to build up a decent career value. There were a lot of great pitchers in his era, but that happens sometimes. Made my PHoM in 2005.

12. Norm Cash (9) A lot of good years, but I really think he's the Beckley of the 60s, with a shorter career (although that's not really much of a criticism), and the fluke year. Even if you take 1961 out, he’s still clearly ahead of Cepeda and Perez in WS and WARP rate. He really does look pretty similar to Hernandez, and for some reason has 6 Win Shares Gold Gloves to Keith's 1.
Made my PHoM in 2003.

13. Bob Johnson (10) I'm impressed by his consistency, he was an above-average player every year for 13 seasons, plus he got started very late in the bigs, so I will give him at least 1 year of minor league credit. I think the era considerations have been a little overblown, and I still don’t think Joe Medwick was any better than Bob. Made my PHoM in 1992.

14. Kenny Lofton (new) This is mostly because of his total WAR, but he does generally look better than the other CF candidates. I’d like to get some clarity about his defense.

15. Tommy Leach (11) Doesn’t do great by WAR, although a lot of the other 3B candidates are in the hard-to-differentiate 70s clump. Excellent fielder at important positions, OK hitter. One of the most complete players on the ballot. Made my PHoM in 1940.

16. Gavvy Cravath (12) With the basic 07, 09-11 additions, this is where I have him. A better peak than Johnson, but less consistent. WAR isn't quite as fond of him as WS, but he compares well to Kiner & Keller. Made my PHoM in 1987.
17. Tommy Bridges (14) Very hard to differentiate between Bridges and Cone. Like Johnson, extremely consistent, which I feel is a strength. I am giving him war credit, but not minor-league credit.

(17A Andre Dawson)

18. Ben Taylor (13) A solid candidate who might have been overlooked. 3rd-best 1B in the Negro Leagues, a good hitter with an outstanding defensive rep. Also did some pitching early on. I have him as the best overall 1B of his era – Sisler was better at his best, but that just didn’t last long enough. Made my PHoM in 2009.

19. Bill Monroe (4) Big drop, partly because of new guys, but also because
those 1912-14 numbers don’t look good. A good player at an important defensive position, with a great reputation for his fielding. People like to promote the 1890s as underrepresented, but that doesn't mean the 00s and 10s are overrepresented. Made my PHoM in 1939.

(19A Ralph Kiner, 19B John McGraw, 19C David Cone)

20. Cesar Cedeno (22) Outside of the big total WAR difference, I don’t see a lot differentiating him in value from Lofton. (Yeah, that’s a pretty big ‘outside of’)

21. Don Newcombe (18) Basically the only pitcher candidate left from the 50s, and he has an interesting argument – see the discussion in the Belle thread about alcoholism. And he gets less attention from the HoF people than Gil Hodges or Allie Reynolds. Read about the Yankees and Dodgers in the 50s, and tell me who people thought was a better pitcher.

But I have to admit that even with all the extra credit, there isn’t quite enough to keep him ahead of Cone and Bridges.

(21A Sam Thompson)

22. Thurman Munson (19) Didn’t hit quite as well as Bresnahan, but Roger also accumulated a fair amount of hanging-around value, even by WAR.

23. John Olerud (20) I understand the comment that McGriff looked more like a Hall of Famer, but Olerud was just perpetually overlooked. He clearly had significantly more defensive value than McGriff, and the offensive difference is not huge (OPS+ 134-128). Olerud looks better by the comprehensive metrics, and I think he’s just ahead of the Crime Dog.

24. Dizzy Dean (21) Does have a really good peak argument by some metrics, but he stands out less by WAR than he did by the other ones.

(24A Hughie Jennings)

25. Jack Clark (16) Slides down a bit with the latest WAR numbers.

26. Vern Stephens (23) Close to Rizzuto, but with the wartime discount and the sudden dropoff after 1950, not quite there.

27. Bernie Williams (28) A really good player when he was at his best, but everything says the defense was so bad in the second half of his career that it keeps him away from the ballot.

28. Urban Shocker (26) He is a good candidate, but his career is a bit too short, even with the ½ year war credit.

(28A Charley Jones)

29. Tony Lazzeri (29) Still sure he’s the best backlog MLB candidate at his position. Compare him to Larry Doyle, who some people vote for. Their career lengths are similar, Doyle was a better hitter, but not much, and Lazzeri was a much better fielder.

30. Tony Perez (24) He does have a good peak, but his late-70s years aren't much above average. And for a mostly 1B guy, even his peak OPS+s aren’t impressive.

(30A Roger Bresnahan,)

31. Bob Elliott (25) I’m comfortable putting him ahead of the 70s group now. He’s got a case for being the best 3B in baseball in the late 40s, those guys simply don’t.

32. George Van Haltren (17) Wins the “Wait, why did I have this guy so high?” award. I don’t reject all peak arguments, but I’d take his consistency over Duffy’s big years. Last year I said I had the urge to move him down a bunch and move Mike Griffin up. I was half right. Made my PHoM in 1972.

33. Bucky Walters (32) Would be higher, but when you consider a wartime discount, his 115 ERA+ really isn’t impressive.

(33A Graig Nettles, 33B Pete Browning)

34. Joe Tinker (27) His DRA numbers are really, really good. I also decided I was probably underrating SS in general a bit.

35. Dale Murphy (33) Excellent peak, and now I see him as ahead of Puckett even with the abrupt end of the peak.

36. Kevin Appier (34)
37. Kirby Puckett (36)
38. Fred McGriff (30)
39. Ron Cey (35)
40. Orlando Cepeda (31)

41. Jose Cruz
(41A Rollie Fingers,)

42. Sal Bando (37) I really don’t see much to differentiate the 1970s 3B clump (which includes Nettles for me). Their value came in different ways, but none of them stand out for me. And they’re not good enough to put them all in.

43. Albert Belle

44. Elston Howard (41) WAR absolutely hates him, giving him almost no value outside of his 4-year peak. Even with credit for military service, the slow pace of integration & being stuck behind Yogi, you can’t get that record into a HoM-worthy career. Other metrics are not so harsh, but I can’t just ignore something so striking.

Made my PHoM in 2004. Have to admit I probably made a mistake here. Looking at my voting history, this probably would have wound up with Ralph Kiner in my PHoM.

45. Eddie Cicotte
(45A George Sisler)
46. Dave Bancroft
47. Buddy Bell
(47A Nellie Fox)
48. Mike Griffin

49. Vic Willis (47) Geez, I don’t know that I’ve ever commented on Vic Willis before. I think he’s pretty comparable to Cicotte – he’s more of a prime/career guy, but the total is about the same. If we’re looking for pitchers, the 20s & 30s (Bridges/Dean) are the underrepresented eras. Willis isn’t a bad candidate, but I don’t see anything special about him.

50. Pedro Guerrero

51. Bobby Veach
52. Dolf Luque
53. Spotswood Poles
54. Gene Tenace
55. Carl Mays
56. Hugh Duffy I just don’t see anything that special about him. He had the great 1894, but he had a fairly short career, and I don’t see much to differentiate him from the other 1890s OFers. It may be that I’m overrating Van Haltren, but I don’t think I’m significantly underrating Duffy.
57. Johnny Evers
58. Carlos Moran
59. Ken Singleton
60. Tommy John
   91. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: December 12, 2012 at 07:32 PM (#4323487)
OK, I don't know why BBTF is still on Daylight Savings Time, but I did get my ballot in before 8:00 Eastern. :)
   92. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 12, 2012 at 08:54 PM (#4323517)
The election is over. I've got a tally with everything except for Devin's ballot, I'll add that in and post the results shortly!

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