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Thursday, January 03, 2013

2014 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion

2014 (December 2, 2013)—elect 3
WS WAR Name-Pos

398 96.9 Greg Maddux-P
405 75.9 Frank Thomas-DH/1B
314 71.6 Tom Glavine-P
270 74.6 Mike Mussina-P
339 59.4 Jeff Kent-2B
318 46.3 Luis Gonzalez-LF
206 46.3 Kenny Rogers-P
277 38.2 Moises Alou-LF/RF
231 32.7 Ray Durham-2B
179 34.4 Tom Gordon-RP*
186 24.3 Mark Grudzielanek-2B/SS*
125 21.2 Steve Trachsel-P
156 19.8 Shannon Stewart-LF
128 17.7 Armando Benitez-RP
113 21.4 Jon Lieber-P
156 15.8 Sean Casey-1B
129 22.0 Jose Cruz-CF/RF
115 20.1 Keith Foulke-RP
124 18.1 Mike Timlin-RP
107 21.1 Esteban Loaiza-P
146 17.6 Damion Easley-2B
135 19.3 Geoff Jenkins-LF
157 14.0 Jose Vidro-2B
154 14.4 Richie Sexson-1B
127 15.4 Paul LoDuca-C
112 19.6 Trot Nixon-RF

DL from MN Posted: January 03, 2013 at 11:58 AM | 212 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. OCF Posted: October 24, 2013 at 03:24 PM (#4582478)
   102. Qufini Posted: November 01, 2013 at 05:29 PM (#4592254)
The biggest question going into this ballot for me is what to do with the pitching threesome of Glavine, Mussina and Schilling (Maddux and Thomas are the obvious #1 and 2). I think I've finally made up my mind.

Glavine will go 3rd. I have a bit of a career lean and I'm very impressed with his 4413 innings. I'd prefer to see an ERA+ over 120, but 118 is pretty good (and he was at 120 until his last two seasons dropped him down).

Schilling gets 4th, and falls just short of an elect-me spot again. He has a slightly better rate than Mussina (125 ERA+ to 123) and is even closer in innings (3562 to 3473 for Moose).

That leaves Mussina at 5th but ahead of any backloggers.

Looking ahead to 2015, the big battle will be between Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson for the top spot (I'm leaning toward Pedro and his otherworldly 154 ERA+) while John Smoltz will probably slot in ahead of Mussina.
   103. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: November 05, 2013 at 02:28 PM (#4594323)
Ivan - Interesting. I would adjust the Union Association down TO no more than 40% of actual MLB, and I'm not sure whether you were saying that or that you adjusted the UA to 60% of MLB

Yes, UA is 60% of NL. There was no MLB at that time as far as I know. Can you elaborate on why that's not enough of a penalty?
   104. rudygamble Posted: November 06, 2013 at 10:41 AM (#4594916)
The two easy ones for me are:
1) Greg Maddux - Top 5 post-war pitcher. Won't be surprised if he breaks the record for 1st-ballot HoF voting %.

2) Frank Thomas - Agree with consensus that his fielding sucked, as Dan R put it, he's probably the best bat (at his peak) b/w Teddie and Bonds. The opportunity cost of having an elite full-time DH is zippo except for maybe an old team like the current Yankees. His Offensive WAR (BRef) is nearly 80. Molitor is at 74.8. Edgar is at 66.4. Ortiz is at 40.8. Baines at 40.0. His superiority is clear.

3) Tom Glavine
Deciding between Schilling, Mussina, and Glavine is difficult. I have Schilling > Mussina given comparable innings (3,261 to 3.562) and Schilling with the better ERA+ (127 to 123). Schilling's post-season also helps. I put Glavine over Schilling because he delivered 900 more above-average IPs. Schilling at 127 ERA+, Glavine at 118+. Glavine has 14 years of 180+ IP and an ERA+ above 109. Schilling has 10. Schilling has the playoff advantage for LDS/LCS but their World Series pitching is comparable. So all three are worthy but I'd go with Glavine by a hair because he was an above-average pitcher for a longer time - even though Schilling has the better peak (8 seasons vs 4 above 5.0 WAR) and a slight advantage in league playoff pitching.

Would need more time to think through the ordering of the rest...
   105. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 06, 2013 at 11:58 AM (#4594989)
The Cubs did some of the same things, with pitching usage spread around fairly well and some pitchers being very effective but just for one or two seasons.

The Cubs emphasized defense much more heavily than did the Pirates, but both teams had strong defenses. Ham Hyatt, who was a pretty good hitter for the era, didn't play regularly for the Pirates because he couldn't field (even though the Pirates had a huge hole at 1B, he never really got much of a chance to fill it).

-- MWE
   106. The District Attorney Posted: November 06, 2013 at 12:07 PM (#4594993)
Ham Hyatt, who was a pretty good hitter for the era, didn't play regularly for the Pirates because he couldn't field
This tends to be the case with guys nicknamed "Ham."
   107. Yardape Posted: November 06, 2013 at 06:14 PM (#4595234)
So work was kind of crazy last month, so I didn't get a chance to put together a 1987 MMP ballot. But I do have a prelim for this year's HoM vote. I use Win Shares as a starting point, though I like to be aware of WAR-variants as well. I am basically a peak/prime voter; I want players who were the best in baseball or at their position for a decent stretch of time. Career can play a factor, though.

1. Greg Maddux Pretty easy. There are other strong candidates, but Maddux is the only inner-circle one, in my opinion.
2. Frank Thomas A cut above the rest. Defence is negligible, but the bat is enough to bring him above all but Maddux.
3. Sammy Sosa This surprised me, I didn't expect to have Sosa this high, but as a prime voter his hitting peak is too hard to ignore.
4. Tom Glavine Glavine struck me as someone I'd initially be lukewarm on, as he seemed like a career candidate. And of course, his career numbers are outstanding. But his prime is pretty damn good too, even if it lacks the dominance of Maddux, say.
5. Curt Schilling Not quite as much career as Glavine, and a comparable prime. Great playoff performances push him closer, though.
6. Bobby Bonds
7. Dagoberto Campaneris I started looking at him thanks to Dan R's evangelism, and I'm really starting to come around. Looking at the 1970s, Campaneris looks like the best shortstop, and I do think that's worth something.
8. Gavvy Cravath I'm not giving him any significant minor league credit, but his ML prime is enough to get him here on my ballot. Yes, it's a short career, but I'm not too concerned about that. Could move up a little if I reconsider his minor league case, but I doubt it will make much difference to me.
9. Hugh Duffy High peak in Win Shares, not as loved in all systems. I'm not entirely sold on him (and obviously neither is the electorate at large), but I'm not ready to completely write him off, either.
10. Sal Bando The yin to Campaneris' yang? I know Bando's candidacy got juiced with the introduction of WAR a few years ago and there was a lot of discussion. Even with Win Shares, though, Bando doesn't look too shabby. Several really good years.
11. Mike Mussina I know most voters have him, Schilling and Glavine indistinguishable from one another. And really, I don't see them that far apart either. Mussina just comes up a little short (trails Glavine on career, Schilling on peak thanks to postseason) and drops behind a few other candidates.
12. Bucky Walters
13. (N)Ed Williamson Reaching way back here, but I think Williamson has been unfairly overlooked. Try as I will, I don't see much of a difference between Williamson and the long-elected Ezra Sutton. They were the two best third basemen of their era (1880s), with Williamson even playing some shortstop in a period in which defence was at a premium. I believe he belongs.
14. Ben Taylor I feel like I say this every year, but I'm afraid I might be underrating Taylor. I'm pretty sure he belongs on my ballot, and wouldn't quibble if he got in, but I'm just not sure how high to place him. I will continue to try to work on this to get a better sense. Thanks to the Baseball Gauge for making the numbers available to help put him in context.
15. Jeff Kent This spot could have gone to a number of players, but I like Kent's relative rank among second basemen more than his competitors. Everyone from here down I'm fairly lukewarm on as HoM candidates, at least at this point.

Vic Willis just misses, squeezed out by Kent, in part thanks to Mike Emeigh's discussion of the Pirates' defence. That's an issue I'd like to look into more before bumping Willis.

Dwight Gooden and Dolf Luque are both big-peak pitchers that didn't have enough prime to sneak on the ballot. Luque, especially, I will continue to keep an eye on as I attempt to sort out his career in various leagues.

Tim Salmon and Luis Gonzalez wind up as not-quite-good-enough sluggers just off the end of this ballot. Both personal favourites, I hope they make it onto a ballot sometime in the future.

I also dropped Carlos Moran, whom I had supported for a couple of years. I still think he might be worthy, but he's been passed by surpassing candidates. He will probably be back, hopefully when I can make a strong case for him.

Other required disclosures: Phil Rizzuto does not come out very high in my system. He only had a couple of seasons as one of the top shortstops in baseball, which is not much for me. I know Rizzuto is the poster boy for war credit, but given my peak/prime emphasis, I feel like I would have to be overly generous to get him onto my ballot.

Cannonball Dick Redding is just below Rizzuto. So far, what I've seen from the Baseball Gauge numbers suggests that Redding had a couple of good years but was not a dominant pitcher. Not the type of candidate that is likely to do well with me.
   108. The Honorable Ardo Posted: November 06, 2013 at 09:01 PM (#4595292)
On Schilling/Mussina/Glavine, I'm now convinced Schilling is ahead of Mussina. The aggregate statistics are similar. Even without postseason credit for Schilling, he had a higher peak with worse defensive support than Mussina.

Whether you rank Glavine just ahead or just behind the duo depends on how you value peak vs. career for starting pitchers. I tend towards career and so I'll have Glavine #3, but it's certainly justifiable to have him below Curt and Moose.
   109. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: November 14, 2013 at 12:29 PM (#4600154)
Hey guys, how does opening 'official' discussion from November 18 - December 1, with voting from December 2-16 sound? Any thoughts?

I'll send an email to the group once we are set, to round up the troops, etc. . . .
   110. Bob Tufts Posted: November 14, 2013 at 01:16 PM (#4600177)
Can I buy a HOM vote? Or pull a Jim DeShaies and beg for one?
   111. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: November 14, 2013 at 01:42 PM (#4600199)
LOL Bob . . . great stuff. We need a "like" button here :-)
   112. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: November 14, 2013 at 01:51 PM (#4600211)
BTW, more specific to #109 - does that timeline work for the ballot counters? Do we still have ballot counter volunteers? If so, please confirm, thanks!
   113. OCF Posted: November 14, 2013 at 01:53 PM (#4600215)
I can probably count.
   114. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: November 14, 2013 at 01:59 PM (#4600216)
15. Chris Cobb Posted: January 07, 2013 at 12:27 PM (#4340790)

Is anyone planning on redoing the MLEs?

Yes. I'm working on converting my rankings of major-league players to be based on the second- and third-generation WAR stats now available. Once I finish that conversion, I plan to start re-doing MLEs for Negro League players based on the improved statistical record. I'll start with Ben Taylor and Dick Redding, because Gary Ashwill's research project has been most significant for the pre-1920 stars.

Hey Chris . . . how did this go? Would love to see this if you have it. Understand if you got busy and it didn't happen . . . I've been a big Ben Taylor guy, so would like to see how he turns out.
   115. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: November 14, 2013 at 02:02 PM (#4600222)
Good to hear OCF, thanks!
   116. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: November 14, 2013 at 04:03 PM (#4600307)
15. Chris Cobb Posted: January 07, 2013 at 12:27 PM (#4340790)

Is anyone planning on redoing the MLEs?

Yes. I'm working on converting my rankings of major-league players to be based on the second- and third-generation WAR stats now available. Once I finish that conversion, I plan to start re-doing MLEs for Negro League players based on the improved statistical record. I'll start with Ben Taylor and Dick Redding, because Gary Ashwill's research project has been most significant for the pre-1920 stars.

This sounds awesome and I would be very anxious to see how it turns out.
   117. DL from MN Posted: November 14, 2013 at 07:03 PM (#4600408)
Works for me. We will be doing 2013 MMP discussion at the same time.
   118. bjhanke Posted: November 16, 2013 at 10:17 PM (#4601391)
Bob - You've got a HoM ballot spot this year. I alternate my last couple of spots among several players anyway, and everyone is used to my ballots being odd. Besides, I love reading your comments. You bring a knowledge base to the discussions that no one else here has, and you always explain the things that the rest of us have never had any way of seeing. I appreciate that. And my last place guy on my ballot never gets elected, and this year will have NO chance, given the incoming class.

Ivan - My 40% for the Union Association is not a hard number; it's a side effect of how I look at players who were generally in the NL or AA (which is what I mean by "MLB"), but played 1884 in the UA, like Dunlap and Sweeney. When confronted with these guys, I just average the 1883 and 1885 seasons, and count that as 1884. My observation is that this cuts down their UA stats to about 40% of what the UA value was. It varies by the player, but 40% seems to be the right general ballpark. Sixty percent seems too high. - Brock Hanke
   119. Howie Menckel Posted: November 16, 2013 at 11:19 PM (#4601404)

I love your posts and keep 'em coming, and I was the 1st voter in the 1st HOM election of 1898 - and ..... no.

Had an NBA vote in that year where Karl Malone won MVP over Michael Jordan in 1996-97, and didn't hate the result.

But I had to choose the MVP, not the guy who deserved several if only he played in a different era. And Malone treated us pretty well, and Jordan was - a jerk.

I still voted for Jordan - and I won't vote for you....

   120. DL from MN Posted: November 16, 2013 at 11:27 PM (#4601410)
Someone want to explain the Clay Bellinger rule to Brock?
   121. bjhanke Posted: November 16, 2013 at 11:52 PM (#4601420)
Ooog. DL, if there is a rule that would prevent me from voting for Bob Tufts for the HoM, then I will CERTAINLY obey it. Fun is fun, but rules are rules. At least Bob now knows that if the rules permitted it, he would get a vote, which is really the point. BTW, if someone does explain the Clay Bellinger rule, please start by explaining who Clay Bellinger is/was. I don't recognize the name.

Ivan - The main reason I returned to this thread so quickly was to add to my explanation of how I approach the UA. First, I've had to use some very primitive methods in analyzing the 19th century (and everything else) before. The first time I analyzed the 19th c. was for the Baseball Maniacs. The Maniacs, who Bill James credits in one of his early Abstracts for inventing the terminology inner, middle and outer circles of the HoF, was a real thing. It was a bunch of students at Washington University in St. Louis in the early to mid 1970s. I was one of those, although I had already graduated from college (Don Malcolm was another of the Maniacs). The Maniacs were an attempt to be what you'd now call a sabermetric think tank, except that the only real source of info we had - and the main reason we existed - was the 1969 MacMillan encyclopedia. Our one big project was trying to revote the Hall of Fame. The guy who came up with this project, Tom, had us voting by the decade rather than by the year (he produced lists of who counted in which decade), and he insisted on including everyone who was legally eligible (at least one appearance in at least one game in at least ten different MLB seasons). He had an elaborate voting structure where you got a pool of points, but he had rules in place preventing you from just putting all the points into the 30 or so players from the decade who had any business anywhere near the Hall. Instead, you spent most of your time comparing bad players who had eked out ten seasons, none of whom you had ever heard of, and whose numbers were indistinguishable anyway. You had to give some of these guys 3 points, some 2, some 1 and a few got none at all. That got old fast, and the project never did get finished - Tom called it off when it got down to 5 voters. But what it did for me was make me try to develop workarounds for all the data that did not exist at the time. Like the actual difference between the Union Association, the NL, and the AA of 1884. I realized then that the UA was not a major league, and that's when I just started averaging 1883 and 1885.

The other factor, which I should have mentioned in my first comment about this, is the St. Louis team in the UA. STL dominated the UA like no major league has ever been dominated, because the backer of the STL club had all the money in the league. So, if you're looking at Dunlap or Sweeney (and who looks at the UA for anyone else?), both of whom played for STL, one of the things that you have to factor in is that Dunlap did not have to hit against the dominant pitcher in the league - Sweeney. And Sweeney did not have to face the dominant offense in the league - the STL offense. So I realized that I had to discount the STL players more than those from any other team, because they were, in essence, a class AAA team playing in a class A league. Once I realized that, I realized that averaging 1883 and 1885 was as good as trying to adjust for the UA as a league, because the disparity of competition was so strong. For players from other teams, maybe 50% is the right discount. But the STL guys are the only ones anyone ever talks about, and they should take a larger discount than anyone else. I hope that helps. - Brock Hanke
   122. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: November 17, 2013 at 06:55 AM (#4601452)
Thanks Brock. This is very helpful.
   123. Howie Menckel Posted: November 17, 2013 at 10:29 AM (#4601485)
Clay Bellinger was a scrub utility man on the 1999 and 2000 Yankees, so he has two more rings than, say, Ernie Banks. But his name was used a decade ago as an example of a guy that someone couldn't vote for based on a silly detail such as that.

And I agree on that thinking on Dunlap. It's silly for anyone to consider that a "major league."
   124. caiman Posted: November 19, 2013 at 03:39 PM (#4602533)
Here's the RPA career values in terms of runs produced over median player for those players listed above:

Frank Thomas 618.24 runs.
Greg Maddux 467.04 runs.
Mike Mussina 275.97 runs.
Jeff Kent 216.00 runs.
Tom Glavine 204.56 runs.
Moises Alou 192.61 runs.
Luis Gonzalez 169.72 runs.
Tom Gordon 112.76 runs.
Richie Sexson 103.58 runs.
Mike Timlin 80.91 runs.
Keith Foulke 77.80 runs.
Jon Lieber 75.05 runs.
Trot Nixon 68.71 runs.
Kenny Rogers 65.74 runs.
Geoff Jenkins 61.26 runs.
Armando Benitez 58.48 runs.
Ray Durham 36.66 runs.
Jose Cruz 29.55 runs.
Shannon Stewart 26.18 runs.
Jose Vidro 21.80 runs.
Sean Casey 10.34 runs.
Esteban Loaiza 5.45 runs.
Paul LoDuca -33.45 runs.
Steve Trachsel -34.66 runs
Damion Easley -38.12 runs.
Mark Grudzielanek -86.66 runs.
   125. caiman Posted: November 19, 2013 at 04:25 PM (#4602594)
I see where you have listed some historical players who are eligible. Here's the career RPA run values for those players listed. If there are other notables not listed, let me know and I'll ad their RPA career run values. I added Dick Allen, Ken Singleton and Keith Hernandez, although I did not see them above. These numbers, as I have said previously, that I do not have credible defensive data. Therefore defense is ignored.:

Dick Allen 385.92 runs.
Norm Cash 384.40 runs.
Bob Johnson 345.58 runs.
Fred McGriff 341.02 runs.
Ken Singleton 323.96 runs.
Jack Fournier 286.35 runs.
Curt Schilling 271.66 runs.
Keith Hernandez 262.33 runs.
Sal Bando 241.36 runs.
Gavvy Cravath 231.17 runs.
Sammy Sosa 215.57 runs.
Babe Adams 196.32 runs.
Wally Schang 178.33 runs.
Tommie Bridges 153.97 runs.
Luis Tiant 144.15 runs.
Urban Shocker 141.77 runs.
Dizzy Dean 129.56 runs.
Tommy Leach 114.32 runs.
Don Newcombe 103.43 runs.
Wilbur Cooper 81.65 runs.
Bucky Walters 81.52 runs.
Vic Willis 76.20 runs.
Burleigh Grimes 64.36 runs.
Buddy Bell 61.29 runs.
Dave Bancroft 31.58 runs.
Johnny Pesky 28.54 runs.
Phil Rizzuto 10.89 runs.
   126. OCF Posted: November 19, 2013 at 04:55 PM (#4602616)

Schilling and Sosa became eligible last year and weren't elected (not enough room), so they are still on the ballot. They finished 5th and 6th in an elect-4 year, so they are at the top of the list of returning candidates. But Dick Allen and Keith Hernandez were elected in previous years and are thus not on the ballot. You shouldn't vote for them. The others you name in #125 are carryovers and are somewhere on our backlog list, some of them very high on our backlog list (Willis, Rizzuto, Cravath, and Tiant, in particular). I might also suggest looking at Kenny Lofton, who was 15th on last year's ballot.

But there is a problem you'll have to face, personified by two other names that are high on the backlog list: Ben Taylor and Dick Redding. They played before integration, for teams in the Negro Leagues or the predecessors to those leagues. You're not going to find stats for them on bb-ref or other MLB-oriented resources, so you can't use whatever algorithm you're using to generate that post - but you will have to find a a way to rank them and place them anyway.
   127. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 19, 2013 at 05:42 PM (#4602657)
Some more on Willis:

At the time, there was still some tendency for teams to use their aces against better teams and skip over the big guys against weaker teams. The Giants used Mathewson and Wiltse heavily against the Pirates and Cubs, less so against the other teams. Ditto the Cubs with Brown and Pfeister. The Pirates didn't do that quite as much; Willis's start distribution was fairly evenly divided among the other seven teams during his four years in Pittsburgh. To the extent that Clarke leveraged his starters, it revolved more around Leifield and Maddox than around Willis and Camnitz - and that was probably because Leifield was left-handed and a couple of teams, notably the Reds and Cardinals, had almost no left-handed hitting.

Because Clarke didn't leverage Willis quite as much, he got more opportunities to pitch against the lesser teams in the NL than did the aces on the other teams (especially Brown). It wasn't a huge advantage; because of the east-west distribution of the schedule and the fact that the western teams were, overall, a better group than the eastern team, you might go two weeks without seeing a good team in some stretches. But you do need to recognize that leveraging starters was a strategy in that era, and that the Pirates did it less than either the Cubs or the Giants.

-- MWE
   128. caiman Posted: November 19, 2013 at 05:56 PM (#4602665)
In response to the question about Kenny Lofton, I have his career value at 76.68 runs, just above Vic Willis and behind Bucky Walters on my list above.
   129. caiman Posted: November 19, 2013 at 06:05 PM (#4602670)
As for Ben Taylor and Dick Redding I have no clue as to how to rate them in terms of my list. Please feel free to place them on my list at the appropriate level. Please do that.
   130. DL from MN Posted: November 19, 2013 at 08:41 PM (#4602737)
Ben Taylor has been compared to Rafael Palmeiro and Jake Beckley - only a modest peak but a long career, good glove when that meant something at 1B.

Dick Redding has been compared to Vic Willis, among others. High peak but short, late career doesn't add much to his case and early career numbers are foggy.
   131. Qufini Posted: November 19, 2013 at 10:21 PM (#4602766)
You can also check out their player pages at

Ben Taylor is at

Dick Redding is

That would give you their basic stats though not the median for sake of comparison.
   132. OCF Posted: November 19, 2013 at 10:56 PM (#4602788)
caiman: does your system have any place for defensive value or even positional value?

For instance: yes, Frank Thomas was a wonderful hitter - but he was also a 1B/DH (really, DH/1B) with very little defensive value. Is the difference between Thomas and Jeff Kent really twice as big as the difference between Jeff Kent and Damian Easley? Also: you've got people like Paul LoDuca with negative value. LoDuca is no kind of candidate for the HoM, of course, but negative? He was a pretty good hitter for a catcher.

Or look at the list of candidates you produced in your post #125. Here are your top candidates on that list:

Allen: 3B/1B with dubious defensive reputation
Cash: 1B
Johnson: corner OF
McGriff: 1B
Singleton: OF/DH
Fournier: 1B; lost major league playing time due to skepticism about his defense.

Not a defensive star among them. You have Hernandez a few notches lower. We elected Hernandez to the HoM, and his defensive value at 1B was a major part of that decision.

Where are the SS? Answer: there are exactly three SS on that list, and for you, they're the bottom three names on the list.
   133. caiman Posted: November 20, 2013 at 01:31 AM (#4602855)
OCE: Yes, Frank Thomas, as a DH had no defensive value. But that is not a negative! It is neither a plus nor a negative. At every actual defensive position, half the players are positive contributors and half are negative contributors by definition. As such, there is NO POSITIONAL ADVANTAGE to any position. Rickey Henderson was often the best defensive player on his team, while playing Left Field, simply because he was that much better on defense than other left fielders on other teams, vs. other players on his team at the other positions. Since I do not have any valid defensive data for players prior to two decades ago, how can you expect me to rate those players? Phil Rizzuto may have been a terrific defensive SS, but I do not have anything more than his offensive stats. Frank Thomas at DH was the equal on defense to the average SS, since both would have been rated as having neutral impact on defense.

Paul Lo Duca was not a good hitter. He had one terrific hitting season 2001 and one very slightly positive hitting season in 2006. All other seasons he was below average as a hitter.
Damion Easley, for almost his entire career was a poorer than average defensive 2nd baseman. Had I included my ratings for defense in his RPA rating of runs produced, his rating would have been even lower!
I only used the three top offensive SS that you listed as eligible. Obviously Cal Ripken and AROD would have much higher ratings and, as a bonus, my RPA defensive ratings for both at SS were very, very high as well.

The useless concept of positional value is a hindrance for understanding player values. Value at any position, be it SS, C or DH is only to be measured at that position as against the value of all opponents at that position. Only then can you know the value the player brings to the team. One of the problems with your argument about defense at 1st base is that 1st base is the least important of the 8 fielder positions. Therefore, even a very good defensive 1st baseman or a very bad 1st baseman will usually have less defensive impact than similarly good or bad defensive players at the other positions.

David Ortiz, whether he is a DH or on the rare occasions he plays 1st base, is a huge positive force in any game he is in. Holding an unreasonable attitude against the DH or 1st Base position is nonsense. Edgar Martinez with his 424.43 runs produced should be an automatic HOF'er.

You list Bob Johnson as 'not a defensive star' simply because he is a corner OF. Why? What is the basis? The OF, be it LF, RF, or CF are each a more important defensive position than any infield position. Hits through the IF are mostly singles, except those occasional balls hit down the line. Balls hit into the OF can end up as doubles and triples and the OF's are required to cover a lot more territory. As such, the average value of balls hit into the OF is considerable higher in run production value than ground balls in the IF.

Often outstanding defensive LF'ers are the best defensive players on their team simply because so many teams foolishly try to hide big hitting but poor defensive players in LF. That is probably the reason why I had Brett Gardner, prior to the 2013 season, rated the best defensive player in MLB due to my rating for him in LF as compared to the other LF's on the opposing teams.
   134. DL from MN Posted: November 20, 2013 at 05:21 PM (#4603329)
That makes no sense. If that was the case every team should move their CF to LF and their SS to 1B.
   135. caiman Posted: November 24, 2013 at 05:03 PM (#4605454)
DL: It makes complete sense. You can't move the SS to 1st base simply because very few SS are as productive with the bat as a 1st baseman.
As for moving the CF to LF, that works provided you have another quality CF. Some years ago, the Mariners had the best OF that I had ever seen with CF's at all three OF positions.
   136. Jack Sommers Posted: November 24, 2013 at 06:13 PM (#4605472)
Not a voter, and this isn't really relevant to the way players are ranked for the HOM, but when I look at the strike years of 93-94 I see Frank Thomas as a guy who's HOF narrative was hurt by the strike a good deal. First of all his 94 MVP award is cheapened or lessened by the strike. Secondly, in raw statistical terms, the strike cost him roughly 55 games and 15 homers. If he doesn't miss that time and hits those homers he probably passes the 500 homer mark in 2006 instead of 2007. That would have put even more of an exclamation mark on his comeback season in the middle of a playoff season for the A's. It also means he might have bypassed his age 40 season, and signed off after his age 39 season, leaving less of the taste of decline in people's short term memory.

And if not for the strike, if Maddux gets to finish off those two seasons he gets another 17-18 starts, 110-120 IP, and another dozen wins or so. He doesn't need the help of course, but if he gets to finish off those seasons his all time ranking might move up a rung.
   137. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: November 27, 2013 at 10:41 AM (#4606684)
I agree with ShoeGrit, I think the strike year can make a difference, but Thomas and Maddux aren't really borderline, so there is less of an issue there.

It definitely impacts, Cone and Mussina a lot if you are lukewarm to them (Cone is in already I realize, just talking in generalities). We're talking 40% of a season roughly, which isn't much from a career perspective, but for peak guys it can make a significant difference.


Discussion has been extremely light, holiday week . . .

Should we bump the voting back a week? Maybe extend discussion through 12/8, then vote from 12/9 - 12/18, instead of 12/2 - 12/16? Just an idea . . . any thoughts?
   138. DL from MN Posted: November 27, 2013 at 11:20 AM (#4606721)
I wouldn't wait any longer. We can always extend the balloting if necessary.
   139. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 27, 2013 at 08:02 PM (#4607055)
Hey, guys, it’s Doc C. back from the dead. Been lurking.

Anyway, this formerly dedicated Win Shares voter now has a system that spits out docWAR:
• Based in BBREF WAR
• Includes DRA (2/3 strenght) + rfield (1/3 strength)
• Adjusts for schedule, usage patterns for catchers, STDEV of league, usage patterns for pitchers, relief appearances pre-PBP

Guaranteed to put me near the bottom of OCF’s consensus scores. Some things never change.

I’ve taken a cursory look at the HOM’s balance across eras and positions. It appears that that we could use a couple more guys whose careers centered in the deadball era, whose careers started in the 1940s, and who got under way in the 1970s and 1980s. In addition, we are a tad shy on catchers, in need of third basemen, and lacking a few starting pitchers. This is not information that makes my decisions, but if needed, I’ll find it useful as a guide.

I don’t really care whether there’s a whole mess of 1970s third basemen and no 1970s shortstops, just as I don’t mind that there were a mess of shortstops in the 1890s and 1900s…and almost no third basemen. Sometimes an era just tilts toward or away from a position.

With that said…, if I’m still in good standing with you all, here’s my 2014 prelim.

1. Greg Maddux: Easy #1, one of only five pitchers to reach 100 docWAR, easily a top-10 pitcher ever.

2. Curt Schilling: Roughly the same career value as the Mussina and Glavine but a significant advantage in peak/prime value, which I like.

3. Mike Mussina: He and Glavine are this close. I prefer Mussina’s ability to pack the value into fewer seasons.

4. Tom Glavine: See Mussina above, both of these guys are top-25 pitchers

5. Frank Thomas: Slots in near Bagwell or Thome at 1B or as the best DH ever. That’s still just outside the top third, which all the pitchers above are in at their position.

6. Kenny Lofton: A top-dozen CF. DRA actually dislikes him more than rfield, so this is more conservative than a straight WAR vote would deliver.

7. Buddy Bell: A clone of Evans and Nettles right down to the excellent glove. Also in my top dozen at his position

8. Tommy Leach: DRA loves this guy at both 3B and CF. In fact, all systems rate him as very good to outstanding. At 3B he’d be a top-dozen among eligible, about the same at CF.

9. Urban Shocker: In the mold of Coveleski and Cone with a shade less total value.

10. Luis Tiant: He’s in the same mold value-wise as Reuschel and Wynn, actually he’s roughly what you’d get if you averaged them. He and Shocker are pretty close together, both just outside the top-half of pitchers.

11. Vic Willis: Easily within the top-two thirds of all pitchers, which makes him an easy vote for me.

12. Thurman Munson: Brings the D, has a bat, hangs tough with the other 1970s catchers. I like him significantly more than HOMers Brenshan and Freehan.

13. Art Fletcher: DRA just loves this guy, which pulls him just far up enough to be over the in/out line.

14. Sammy Sosa: He and Bobby Bonds are a extremely close in value and shape. I like Sosa’s peakiness a little more than Bonds’ steadiness. They stack up right on the borderline for me. Here’s them in my system
BB: 7.4 6.6 6.4 5.7 5.7 5.2 4.9 4.5 4.3 3.5 2.7 2.6 0.8 -0.5
SS: 9.8 6.5 6.3 6.1 5.4 5.0 4.3 3.3 3.2 2.8 2.1 1.7 1.3 0.5 0.3 0.1 -0.3 -0.8

15. Bobby Bonds: (see above)

Full disclosure
• Rizzuto: With War credit of 3 years at his average WAR/season output, it’s not enough.
• Redding: He just wasn’t that good. I never came close to voting for him before, and Gary Ashwill and others’ work over at Seamheads does little to dispel my skepticism.
• Taylor: Long and low has never been my preference. I will, however, say that Taylor strikes me as a 50—60 WAR player, which is probably not too far away from Killebrew or Olerud. Actually Olerud might be a fine comp, and he’s just off the end at 1B.
• Bando: Solid or terrible defense, depends who you ask. I prefer the bottom-end RFs to him, but he’s not far off.
   140. Qufini Posted: November 27, 2013 at 09:12 PM (#4607076)
Welcome back, Doc Chaleeko. He's not a required disclosure (yet) but what do you think of Jeff Kent as one of the more notable newcomers?
   141. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 27, 2013 at 10:36 PM (#4607100)
Thanks, Chris! I have Kent near the very bottom of the electable 2Bs. Figure that the eight fielding positions represent 20 to 22 plaques each. If on a given day, I decide that Dunlap is for real, then Kent is #23. If Dunlap isn't for real, Kent could still be #23, depending on how unreal I think Dunlap is, because I don't see any great reason other than timeline to put Kent ahead of either Doerr or Tony Phillips.

OK, Phillips will raise some hackles. When I combine DRA with rfield (2:1), Phillips picks up about 70 defensive runs, which pushes him up to Kent and Doerr's range:

TP: 6.4 6.0 5.8 5.3 5.0 4.9 4.6 4.2 3.8 3.6 2.8 2.4 2.4 1.8 1.7 0.6 0.4 0.3
BD: 6.8 6.4 5.7 5.4 5.2 5.1 4.3 4.2 [4.1] 3.9 2.9 2.6 2.5 2.1 -0.2
JK: 7.3 7.3 5.2 4.8 4.5 3.9 3.8 3.7 3.3 3.0 2.7 2.3 2.2 1.6 1.2 0.9 0.1
[war credit]

Despite Kent's two big seasons, he's actually got fewer All-Star level seasons by docWAR than the other two. He's kind of like Red Faber where two great seasons prop up a career that's otherwise got a long-and-low look to it. I kinda hate long-and-low, so I'm pretty comfortable leaving him off my ballot.

Then there's that danged Dunlap who looks like i should vote for him, all peaky/primey, but something about that UA season….
   142. caiman Posted: November 28, 2013 at 12:52 AM (#4607176)
Erik Chalek: Did not realize that Bobby Bonds and Sammy Sosa were under consideration.

Bobby Bonds' career RPA run value far outdistances Sammy Sosa's. Bonds RPA run value for his career was 286.36 runs. Sammy Sosa's was 215.57 or almost exactly equal to Jeff Kent's 216.00
   143. DL from MN Posted: November 28, 2013 at 08:59 AM (#4607202)
caiman - everyone not elected who retired before Greg Maddux is up for consideration.
   144. rawagman Posted: November 29, 2013 at 06:55 PM (#4607628)
As for Ben Taylor and Dick Redding I have no clue as to how to rate them in terms of my list. Please feel free to place them on my list at the appropriate level. Please do that.

Caiman - part of the point of the exercise that is the Hall of Merit is that you should be inspired to do the research. Obviously your confidence level cannot be as high as with MLB players, but then again, our confidence level with pre-integration cannot be as high as it is for more modern, post-integration players, and to a lesser extent, pre-free agency era players are harder to appreciate fairly than free agency era players. As such, I would urge you to look into pre-1900 players as well as (especially as) for Negro League players. In fact, doing so is part of the charter of this institution.

Joey - as long as our results are in sufficiently before the voting deadline, we should be OK. I also am a vote counter, but not always in real time. At least once per day, though.
   145. OCF Posted: December 01, 2013 at 10:01 PM (#4608392)
Time to start constructing my ballot. I don't want to make wild swings from year to year - I prefer to leave my backlog in place. So what does my backlog look like going into this year?

5. Schilling
6. Lofton
7. Sosa
8. Tiant
9. Willis
10. Chance
11. Bando
12. B. Bell
13. Olerud
14. Pesky
15. McGriff

Were on 2012 ballot: Doyle, Cash, Gomez, Tenace, Bonds.

(And yes, I've considered all of the other high backloggers; there placement will be relatively unchanged or nearly so.)

Now to fit in the newcomers. Maddux is an obvious #1. Glavine and Mussina both come out very close to Schilling. The RA+ equivalent records: Glavine 284-206, Schilling 227-135, Mussina 236-147. Schilling gets the most credit of the three for having big years. I think I'll have them in the order Glavine, Schilling, Mussina. Kenny Rogers at an equivalent 194-173 is in Candelaria/Langston territory, which is well behind Jack Morris, and Morris isn't on the ballot.

I have Frank Thomas as not quite Bagwell, but definitely a frontlogger. And Bagwell is already elected anyway.

Jeff Kent needs to be compared to Bando, Bell, and Olerud (albeit at different positions). I have him behind those three, although not much behind Olerud. He's not far from the bottom of the ballot but there may not be room for him.

Luis Gonzalez gets compared to Bobby Bonds, Bob Johnson, and Jack Clark. (Johnson is tricky to rate because of the need to discount WWII performance.) I don't see Gonzalez quite matching up to any of them.

Four candidates get removed from last year's ballot, by election. Maddux, Glavine, Mussina, and Thomas all go on. Then I still have to fiddle around with the bottom of the ballot and Pesky, McGriff, Bonds, and Kent.

So this is what I'm going with (I think):

1. Maddux
2. Thomas
3. Glavine
4. Schilling
5. Mussina
6. Lofton
7. Sosa
8. Tiant
9. Willis
10. Chance
11. Bando
12. Bell
13. Olerud
14. Pesky
15. Bonds (reversing the previous order between him and McGriff).

McGriff and Kent are near-misses. They could go on my ballot in future years.
   146. DL from MN Posted: December 02, 2013 at 01:19 PM (#4608734)
OCF - Why Olerud and not Ben Taylor? They have a lot of similarities as low-power, good glove 1B but Taylor has an argument for being the best at the position during his era and Olerud does not.
   147. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 02, 2013 at 03:08 PM (#4608842)
OCF - Why Olerud and not Ben Taylor? They have a lot of similarities as low-power, good glove 1B but Taylor has an argument for being the best at the position during his era and Olerud does not.

To be overly simplistic with arbitrary endpoints and all that. Best 1B by decade in the world:

1880s -- Anson (or Brouthers or Connor if you prefer)
1890s -- Beckley
1900s -- Chance
1910s -- Taylor (or Sisler if you prefer)
1920s -- Gehrig (or Foxx if you prefer)

Probably means nothing of course
   148. Chris Cobb Posted: December 02, 2013 at 08:35 PM (#4609099)
Speaking of Ben Taylor, now is probably the time for me to own up that I have not been able to do new MLEs for him or Dick Redding, as I had intended. I am sorry about that: life intervened and anticipated summer leisure never materialized. I hope next year will be different. Anyway, it's good to be back at the HoM and to be getting ready to vote!

My 2013 ballot was

1. Barry Bonds - elected
2. Roger Clemens - elected
3. Mike Piazza - elected
4. Curt Schilling
5. Craig Biggio - elected
6. Buddy Bell
7. Sammy Sosa
8. Bobby Bonds
9. Gavvy Cravath
10. Kenny Lofton
11. Kevin Appier
12. Luis Tiant
13. Bert Campaneris
14. Ben Taylor
15. Chuck Finley

I may end up leaving the backlog just as it is, with my new top five being

1. Greg Maddux (obviously)
2. Curt Schilling (after Maddux, best career value by just a little, best prime by just a little, and then there's post-season performance)
3. Frank Thomas (my system would go with Mike Mussina, but Thomas' 1990s prime was considerably more dominant than any 7- or 8-year stretch in Mussina's career, and I value consistent excellence)
4. Mike Mussina (very close to Schilling)
5. Tom Glavine (comfortably ahead of #6, but clearly behind 1-4 here)

Then it's Jeff Kent and Luis Gonzalez against the backlog. Gonzalez is pretty clearly well back--he's probably somewhere between 35 and 75. Kent is much closer. Right now I have him just off ballot in the Rizzuto/Cash/Bando/Ventura group, which I need to compare with one another and with the down-ballot and just-off-ballot pitchers. Spots 6-10 on my ballot are probably set, but 11-15 may shift around.
   149. rawagman Posted: December 02, 2013 at 10:42 PM (#4609204)
My 2014 prelim - my backlog is unchanged from past ballots. Gonzalez fell just outside the top 30.
1) Greg Maddux (PHOM)
2) Curt Schilling (PHOM)
3) Mike Mussina (PHOM)
4) Frank Thomas (PHOM)
5) Tom Glavine
((5a) Craig Biggio))
6) Hugh Duffy (PHOM)
7) Tommy Bridges (PHOM)
8) Ben Taylor (PHOM)
9) Kirby Puckett (PHOM)
10) Lefty Gomez (PHOM)
11) Bus Clarkson (PHOM)
12) Jeff Kent - I could see an argument (and I invite one) to move him up by as many as three spots, but this feels comfortable for now.
13) Dale Murphy (PHOM)
14) Dick Redding(PHOM)
15) Vern Stephens (PHOM)
16) Sammy Sosa
17) Fred McGriff (PHOM)
18) Gavvy Cravath (PHOM)
19) Bob Johnson(PHOM)
20) Tony Oliva(PHOM)
21) Dizzy Dean
((21a)Andre Dawson))
22) Orlando Cepeda(PHOM)
23) Bobby Veach (PHOM)
24) Al Oliver
25) Don Mattingly
26) Albert Belle
27) Rocky Colavito
28) Jack Clark
29) Jim Rice
30) Wally Berger
   150. rawagman Posted: December 02, 2013 at 10:51 PM (#4609205)
I forgot to mention...I have Vic Willis at #87. I can see an argument to move him up 30-40 slots, but that would still leave him well short of my ballot.
I have Phil Rizzuto at #45, with three full years of war credit. No malaria credit, sorry.
   151. jdennis Posted: December 02, 2013 at 11:10 PM (#4609218)
I am not ready to submit my ballot because I need to go back through the leftover players, but as for the newcomers:

Maddux will be the obvious number 1, I have him as the 4th best pitcher of all time behind Johnson, Young, and Clemens.
Thomas I have as the 15th best hitter ever. Because of his negative fielding and running, he drops to 19th among position players.
As for the other name pitchers, my order is Schilling (16th), Mussina (22nd), then Glavine (42nd). Glavine is about at the end of my "PHOM" (not yet constructed) for pitchers, but is IN. Therefore, I want to have all of those pitchers on my list of 15.

So those 5 players will take up 5 of the spots on my ballot, in the order I mentioned them. Of the others, it seems Kent would be the only one I'd seriously consider. I'll post another comment on this thread filling in the blanks and providing rating details before putting a post in the official vote thread.
   152. Al Peterson Posted: December 03, 2013 at 11:13 AM (#4609481)
Been awhile but I never truly go away. Good to see the voting up, let me throw this here and in a couple days transfer my listing(or a version close to it) into the ballot thread.

2014 preliminary ballot. The newly eligible are high quality, taking over slots vacated by the 2013 electees. The backloggers move around some from last year based on tweeks to the system I use to determine rankings.

Methodology in brief: The system used for my ranking entails a little bit of everything including WS, WAR, OPS+/ERA+. 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. 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.

1. Greg Maddux (-). There are the Cy Young awards, 355 wins, pinpoint control. Love the durability though – he is 4th all-time in games started and he was 8 2/3 innings pitched from pitching at least 200 innings each year for 21 straight years. That’s quite something.

2. Mike Mussina (-). Only 270 wins may trick HOF voters but other metrics point to a great career. Consistently ranked high in ERA+ and K-to-BB ratio. A grey ink monster for the pitching leaderboards, he probably could have hung around another year or two.

3. Frank Thomas (-). When young many of his stat lines were compared to Ted Williams. If that is the company you keep then you’re doing something right. Please don’t give him a glove though; Big Hurt is for hitting thank you.

4. Curt Schilling (5). 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.

5. Tom Glavine (-). The 305 wins speak to his quality – a long run with a couple peak years. We should retire the 6 inches off the outside corner to honor Glavine since that is where his pitches lived.

6. Bobby Bonds (8). 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.

7. Dick Redding (7). 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. Tommy Leach (6). 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.

9. Phil Rizzuto (10). 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!

10. Tony Mullane (11). 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.

11. Sammy Sosa (12). 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.

12. Kenny Lofton (-). I’ve come around on Lofton some, bringing him up from the 30s range in balloting last year. The defense and baserunning do add up over a long career and offset batting numbers that looks more mid-ranged. A well-traveled player who helped teams win.

13. Mickey Welch (13). 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. Buddy Bell (-). Lot like Lofton, the bat was sufficient but it was defense where he shone. Not overly praised in his time due to being on non-playoff teams. Sort of a Rick Reuschel type in that his build made you question ability to play. His reflexes were superior when it came to picking it at 3B.

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.

Next up, but off ballot:

16. Norm Cash (9)
17. Luis Tiant
18. Jeff Kent (-). Second base became an offensive position during his career thus is production doesn’t stick out as much as it would have in earlier eras. Still a fine player, average defensively it seems.
19. Vic Willis. Like Willis, have voted for in the past but room is filled with no-brainers at top. Likely to come back as some point.
20. Bucky Walters
21. Bus Clarkson
22. Luke Easter
23. Fred McGriff (14)
24. Frank Chance
25. Hugh Duffy

Ben Taylor – Slotted about 30ish. See him slotting around Chance even though their careers and situations were quite different. Probably an interesting comparison would be Easter vs Taylor since both have play to consider that is harder to quantify.

Newcomers – the only other one I researched to much degree was Luis Gonzalez. Nice player with long career but wouldn’t rate too highly. Top 100 but not going to worry too much about going forward. Still a little bitter he turned into a the good Gonzo after the Tigers traded him for Karim Garcia. Worked out well for one team...
   153. Mike Webber Posted: December 03, 2013 at 11:31 AM (#4609503)
11) Bus Clarkson (PHOM)
12) Jeff Kent - I could see an argument (and I invite one) to move him up by as many as three spots, but this feels comfortable for now.

Would I be out of line to suggest that Kent actually had the career that Clarkson might have had if he had been born in 1925 or 1935 instead of 1915?

I'm not questioning the credit you have given Clarkson, but if you have two players that are basically the same, right down to the position, I think the guy that has very little or no "extra" credit should be the higher ranked player.

   154. Qufini Posted: December 03, 2013 at 11:54 AM (#4609532)
Clarkson and Kent may have been similar hitters but Clarkson provided a fair bit more value defensively. Kent played mostly second base (and not well). He started out at third and by the end of his career had periodic starts at first. Clarkson played more third base than anything else. However, he was good enough with the glove to play shortstop on occasion (and is even listed as a shortstop by some sources). If their bats are equal, Clarkson's defensive contributions at 3B/SS/2B are more valuable than Kent's at 2B/3B/1B.
   155. kwarren Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4609544)
With regard to Glavine, Schilling, & Mussina


27 Curt Schilling 79.9 49.0 64.4 20 1988 2007 216 146 .597 3.46 127
28 Mike Mussina 83.0 44.5 63.8 18 1991 2008 270 153 .638 3.68 123
30 Tom Glavine 81.4 44.3 62.9 22 1987 2008 305 203 .600 3.54 118

If you put value in peak then Schilling's your guy. He may be the best anyway, looking at ERA+.
   156. DL from MN Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:11 PM (#4609550)
I agree with Chris. I actually have Kent with more bat than Clarkson and similar value versus positional average. Clarkson ranks marginally better because he played SS for a good chunk of time and SS replacement level is lower than 2B and 3B.
   157. rawagman Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:47 PM (#4609578)
Mike Webber, Chris Fluit and DL - thank you for your comments. For this year, I am inclined to leave the two as is. I guess I will re-visit all of my remaining Negro League candidates when Chris Cobb (or others) revisit MLEs, as they were a big factor in my original estimations of them. IN any case, I will abstain from posting my final ballot for a few days to let these thoughts percolate further.
   158. Blackadder Posted: December 03, 2013 at 01:13 PM (#4609603)
He may be the best anyway, looking at ERA+

ERA+ significantly underrates Schilling, since he allowed unearned runs at an historically low rate. WAR thinks that an average pitcher in Schilling's context would have a 5.03 RA, giving Schilling an RA+ of 138 compared to a 127 ERA+. Glavine gets 120 compared to 118 ERA+, and Mussina a 131 compared to 123; generally the numbers are a little higher, since it the context includes a bonus for starting that is not factored into ERA+.

Schilling has basically the same career value as Glavine with a significantly better peak. Glavine pitched well in the postseason, but Schilling was obviously better. I'm not really seeing a case for Glavine > Schilling without using a very low effective replacement level (like, say, looking at wins.)

   159. Mike Webber Posted: December 03, 2013 at 05:40 PM (#4609921)
@ 154 Chris and @156 DL

Let me re-form my argument. I have two players ranked 12 and 13 on my ballot named Able and Baker.

Able was an Okie who came up with the Packers in the Federal League. The Packers found him pitching for Oklahoma A&M. He followed that with a nice 15-year career in the National League splitting time between the Giants and Reds. He got a little bump from me in his ranking because he missed some time during WW1 when he was serving in the same unit as Harveys fighting the Hun. After his career in the majors he moved to Perryton, OK, his wife's hometown. He joined her father in the family business, selling furniture and serving as the town's undertaker.

Baker was a Texan ten years younger than Able. He first broke into the AL with Connie Mack in 1923, after a big season with Beaumont in '22. He pitched in a couple of World Series for the A's then got sold off to the Senators when Mack broke up his team. He continued to start up to beginning of WW2, and then finished his career in bullpen for Dodgers in 1942 narrowly missing his last chance to in the World Series. He then went back to Beaumont for a stint as a player manager until the end of the War.

According to MikeWar they both have 80 MWar, of course that includes the little bump to Able for WW1 time missed. There isn't much to distinguish them, Baker was a joker, Able always did have a personality suited to be an undertaker. Able might have pitched a hair better in the World Series.

But when I rank them, that phantom credit in 1918 for Able that makes them equal on the spread sheet, that is where I'd knock Able just behind. Sure, it probably would have been a solid season, but you never know. He could have gotten the flu in March and been unable to pitch worth a dang until June.

That is where I think you have to be with any two players that you have ranked equally, but one actually did it, and one likely would have done it.

   160. OCF Posted: December 03, 2013 at 06:29 PM (#4609968)
ERA+ significantly underrates Schilling, since he allowed unearned runs at an historically low rate.

And Kevin Brown allowed unearned runs at a relatively high rate - part of the price of being a GB pitcher.

But: everything in my post #6 on the previous page of this thread is based on RA+, not ERA+. Hence your concern is already accounted for there.
   161. Blackadder Posted: December 04, 2013 at 02:50 PM (#4610659)
And Kevin Brown allowed unearned runs at a relatively high rate - part of the price of being a GB pitcher.

But: everything in my post #6 on the previous page of this thread is based on RA+, not ERA+. Hence your concern is already accounted for there.

Yes, I think this is an issue where you were well ahead of the curve. Moreover, bWAR is based on RA not ERA, so anyone relying on that is ok. I had just noted a few scattered comments comparing Schilling Mussina and Glavine with ERA+, and wanted to clarify the situation.
   162. DL from MN Posted: December 05, 2013 at 07:48 PM (#4611537)
That is where I think you have to be with any two players that you have ranked equally, but one actually did it, and one likely would have done it.

On my ballot we've elected all the guys who actually did it. All that's left in the backlog are guys who likely would have done it.
   163. Howie Menckel Posted: December 05, 2013 at 10:41 PM (#4611642)
fyi, if you rank these 3 pitchers from best ERA+ to worst in ERA-leader qualifying seasons (162 IP in non-strike years), they roll out this way (prefix 1 deleted after best year to save space, and below 100 after /)

Glavine. 168 53 47 41 40 37 35 34 26 25 19 16 14 09 06/ 98 97 94 93 80
Mussina 164 57 45 43 37 33 31 30 30 29 25 09 03 00/ 98 96
Schilling 159 57 50 48 43 40 36 34 34 24 20/ 99

top 10s in IP, are like this

Mussina 1 2 4 5 7 8 8 9
Glavine. 2 4 4 5 5 5 5 6 7 10 10 10
Schilling 1 1 2 3 3 6 10

and of course it matters if a league-leading ERA+ was also a league-leading IP year. and defense and UER and Ks and other things. but still, wow

   164. sunnyday2 Posted: December 06, 2013 at 08:32 AM (#4611730)
Well, I feel like a new voter, but I voted in 1898 (virtually) and missed just 1 or 2 years. But I have not been a contributor here for a year or 2 (real years) now. I have long since thrown away my old files, and I have no idea what my 2014 ballot would look like if it had come immediately on the heels (in real time) of 1950 and 2000 and 2005 and 2010 and etc. etc.

But I still in my heart know that a peak orientation is correct. You can’t become a great player by being a good player, no matter how long. So my ballot consists of players who were great players at one time or another and then, sure, if they had a long prime that’s a plus. But first you had to be great.

And in my heart I still prefer Win Shares to WAR. At least I don’t have to worry about which version, though I do believe that WAR is more fair to old-time pitchers. But it is more than fair to modern pitchers. They just don’t pitch enough innings per the game’s most basic unit of measure, which is the season/the pennant race, IMO. Pitching is just as important as ever, of course, but individual pitchers? No way. There’s nothing says you have to have a certain amount of pitchers in the HoM.

I think there are a couple of additional players I have to mention here like Ben Taylor, Dick Redding, et al. I will scoop those up in my final ballot. When is the deadline?

1. Greg Maddux (new). Still, there’s no way to avoid Maddux here. Any pitcher who can win 300 games in this day and age, not to even mention 350+, is an awesome pitcher. His old-timey equivalent is Christy Mathewson.

2. Frank Thomas (new). I am also a big believer in OPS+ as the best expression of offensive value and anybody over 150, assuming a reasonable length of career, is a slam dunk. A peak of 39 WS is also an acceptably high peak value (anything around 35 gets you into the conversation).

3. Hugh Duffy (#4 last year-#1 2 years ago on my ballot). Was regarded as the greatest player in the game if only for a short time, which not too many candidates can say. His 1 peak year was so outrageous that it detracted from his surrounding prime, but I’ve learned not to overreact to that.

4. Jim McCormick (#5-#2). We have underrepresented pitchers from the golden era of pitchers. They threw 3,000-4,000 innings the same as every other era, they just threw them in 5-7 years. They carried darn near the entire burden for their team, a burden that even Greg Maddux shared with 3 or 4 other people. Pitching may be equally valuable today, but individual pitchers who throw 200 innings are not as valuable as guys who threw 300-400-500 innings and the pitchers who did that deserve more of a hearing even now 150 years later. If they weren’t throwing hard, how come every last single one of them retired with a sore arm?

5. Ed Williamson (#9-#11). Was a glove guy who had some pop. When not camped out on 3B (when it was way on the left side of the defensive spectrum), he played a couple years at SS. Sound like anybody (hint: Ripken, ARod)? His 27 HR were the worst thing that happened to him because they obscure the fact that he was fundamentally a defensive player. How exactly did his 27 HR hurt his team?

6. Phil Rizzuto (#10-#6). I agree with whoever said that you can’t fill in the blanks in a player’s resumé with his peak years. I believe that you fill in with whatever was most likely to happen. In Rizzuto’s case, and also Johnny Pesky’s (below), it’s the same difference.

7. Tommy Bond (#7-#4). See McCormick, Jim.

8. Kirby Puckett (#13-#14). Rarely is the discrepancy between the global numbers and what you could see with your own eyes every time the player took the field so large as this. He was the best player on the field virtually every day of his career, and when the need for something truly heroic was at its greatest, there he was. See ya tomorrow night!

9. Gavy Cravath (#26-#19). Coulda been one of the greatest sluggers of all-time if his talents had been properly valued at the time. Or better yet, Cravath was one of the greatest sluggers of all-time even though his talents were not properly valued.

10. Johnny Pesky (#8-#9). See Rizzuto, Phil.

11. George Van Haltren (not rated recently), I looked at GVH only because he remains high in the results and guess what? Here is one case of a player whose career value is just so outrageous that I can overlook that relative lack of peak-i-ness.

12. Vern Stephens (#16-#7). Take away 1 year and he is Lou Boudreau (I mean, take away 1 year from Lou Boudreau), and I mean he is better than Lou Boudreau. OK, equal to…. Take away 1948 and Stephens got 589 points in MVP voting, Boudreau 572.

13. Tom Glavine (new). 300 wins is the gold standard. I would probably elect him eventually.

14. Edgar Martinez (not rated). Comps include McCovey, Schmidt, Stargell. Thome, but all of the extenuating circumstances argue against Edgar being that good.

15. Mike Mussina (new). Very good, not great. Not sure I would elect him eventually.

16. Sal Bando (#20-#13). Had a huge peak, and we are short of 3B in the HoM, after all. It’s either him or Rosen, but either way I thought we were supposed to be the anti-HoF. So let’s elect some 3B!

17. Don Newcombe (#14, #8). Gets extra credit for all the time he missed to the quota system and to Korea. A properly credited Newk is ahead of Schilling.

18. Curt Schilling (#17). Very good, not great. Pretty sure I would not elect him eventually.

19. Orlando Cepeda (not rated). Comps include Al Simmons and Billy Williams.
20. Albert Belle (#12, #3). Sam Crawford and ARod.
21. Tommy Leach *(#15, #23). Another whose career value is enough to offset the relative lack of peak-i-ness.
22. Elston Howard (#15, #21). Another who was hurt by the quota system.
23. Vic Willis (not rated). Another whom I looked at because I guess I had to. I mean, I voted for him for many years and eventually gave up the crusade. But he was solid.
24. Sammy Sosa (not rated). Right time, right place. Otherwise he is Jim Rice or Moises Alou.

25. Dizzy Dean (#18, #10). The ultimate peak candidate.
26. Bobby Bonds (not rated). Comps include Eddie Murray.
27. Bucky Walters (#12, #19).
28. Dave Parker (#27, #20). Harold Baines, Al Oliver, Chili Davis, Roy White.
29. Tony Perez (not rated). Ernie Banks and Derek Lee.
30. Willie Davis (not rated). Johnny Evers and IRod (i.e. long-career glove man).
   165. Chris Cobb Posted: December 06, 2013 at 08:45 AM (#4611737)
Sunnyday2, good to see you back!

We elected Edgar a while ago, so you've got another ballot spot to allocate.

Your claim to value peak candidates and your claim that Schilling was very good but not great seem contradictory to me.
   166. DL from MN Posted: December 06, 2013 at 10:42 AM (#4611840)
Ditto on good to see Sunnyday2 back. FYI - the MMP project is going back to the 1950s next year so you may find it more interesting.
   167. sunnyday2 Posted: December 06, 2013 at 05:20 PM (#4612572)
Your claim to value peak candidates and your claim that Schilling was very good but not great seem contradictory to me.

I would guess that you're lookin' at WAR and I'm lookin' at WS. But seriously his peak (4 years over 250 IP) is pretty comparable to Maddux (4 years over 250 IP) though his ERA+ those years is about 140 vs. Maddux at 160. And the surrounding prime years for each are from different planets.

Still he is clearly better than Glavine or Mussina on peak, it is true. I may tweak that though, as I said, even preferring peak, it is hard to overlook 300 wins (vs. just 216).
   168. Chris Cobb Posted: December 06, 2013 at 10:06 PM (#4612746)
Sunnyday2, re Schilling, it’s not just that you look at win shares and I look at WAR: it’s what else we can know by digging a bit deeper, without just relying on the comprehensive metrics. Doing this can (a) give us a clearer view and (b) help us judge the reliability of the comprehensive metrics that are built out of the components we find.

Let’s look at the peak value of Schilling, Mussina, and Glavine, which would, I guess, be your first but not your only consideration

Here’s how they look by win shares, IP, an ERA+

Schilling top 5 consecutive, 1998-2002 – 101.5 WS, 1175.3 IP, 138 ERA+
Mussina top 5 consecutive, 1997-2001 – 88.5 WS, 1100.7 IP, 133 ERA+
Glavine top 5 consecutive, 1996-2000 – 101.3 WS, 1179.7 IP, 137 ERA+

By this, win shares looks about right, Schlling and Glavine have the same IP and ERA+ and the same win shares totals, and both are ahead of Mussina. If this is as accurate a view of their value, it is easy to see how Glavine goes ahead, since his career value is significantly higher by win shares, and his peak is just as good as Schilling’s. Mussina trails a bit; it’s a judgment call as to whether his better career value outweighs Schilling’s peak advantage. But still, there aren’t many pitchers of the last 25 years who will have better peaks than these: Clemens, Maddux, Johnson, and Pedro. If you have a top 6 peak, that’s outstanding.

As we know, however, ERA+ doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story, since it is influenced by team defense and by the somewhat arbitrary division between earned and unearned runs. What can we learn about defense and unearned runs? Unearned runs are easy to check out, and Baseball-reference provides us with a handy statistic, based on team defense efficiency in turn balls in play into outs, of how many runs the defense saved per 9 innings for each pitcher season.

Here are those numbers for the five seasons in question:

Schilling, top 5 consecutive—11 UER, defense .15 runs saved/9 inn above avg.
Mussina, top 5 consecutive—23 UER, defense .05 runs saved/9 inn below avg.
Glavine, top 5 consecutive—42 UER, defense .35 runs saved/9 inn above avg.

So Schilling, as others have mentioned, gave up very few unearned runs, an average of 2 per season(!). He pitched in front of above average, but not great, defenses. Mussina gave up a dozen more unearned runs, but still not many, and he pitched in front of indifferent defenses. Glavine, however, pitched in front of great defenses, and he gave up a lot more unearned runs. His earned run average leaves out about 10% of the actual scoring that took place when he was on the mound. This data would suggest that ERA+ overrates Glavine relative to Schilling and Mussina.

We can get a more precise sense of the magnitude of the overrating by looking at Defense-adjusted RA+, which we can calculate with a little help from Baseball-Reference. Using team defense, park factors, and offensive strength of opponents, B-R calculates for each pitcher season what a league average pitcher’s RA/9 would have been with the same opponents, parks, and fielding support as the pitcher in question. We can then divide that by the pitcher’s actual RA/9 to get RA+

Here’s what they are for the three pitchers’ peak

Schilling – 150 RA+ in 1175.3 IP
Mussina – 138 RA+ 1100.7 IP
Glavine – 132 RA+ 1179.7 IP

With these adjustments, we can see that Schilling’s peak was actually quite substantially better than the other two, which are probably about equal, as Mussina’s slight edge in RA+ balances out Glavine’s slight lead in IP.

Let’s see what B-R’s WAR gives us for those five-year peaks:

Schilling – 33.6 WAR
Mussina – 27.6 WAR
Glavine – 25.2 WAR

Maybe this underrates Glavine a bit (although WAR does give Glavine 2.7 batting wins above replacement, which catches him up to Mussina), but it accurately reflects Schilling’s superior peak, which we had already spotted in the rawer data.

So, yes, I look at WAR rather than WS, but I do it because WAR more reliably reflects what I find when I look at the pitching data myself. WS isn’t a terrible measure by any means: in fact, if you take Schilling’s WAR total and multiply it by 3, you’ll see that WAR and WS agree almost exactly on his value: 33.6*3 = 100.8 WS equivalents, versus 101.5 win shares. But win shares overrates Glavine and underrates Mussina by not picking up sufficiently on the impact of fielding support.

The deeper problem with win shares and pitchers, of course, is that it doesn't balance hitting and pitching very well, so you are treating the top pitchers of the post-1990 period as if they were not as good as borderline-HOM-at-best position player candidates from the 19th century and mid-20th century. And that's not a small misjudgment.

   169. Mike Webber Posted: December 06, 2013 at 10:28 PM (#4612759)
Have any of you read Peter Morris' book A Game of Inches?

It's a little dry, its an almanac for all practical purposes. But reading about hows and whys the game of baseball evolved the way it did pretty interesting.

That said, I don't think the 19th century ball players were really doing the same thing as ball players now. Because I just started reading it - 1000+ pages so I may be reading it still during the next election too - while thinking about this ballot has really soured my opinion of 19th century baseball in comparison to the moderns. Especially the pre-1893 crowd. I'm beginning to wonder if the "extreme" time liners just know more about the evolution of baseball than I did.

Anyone else read the book and have an opinion?
   170. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 06, 2013 at 10:30 PM (#4612762)
As someone with a similarly peak-oriented viewpoint as Sunny, I see three bigger, interrelated issues with Jim McCormick and Tommy Bond for me.

1.) We've got plenty of early guys already. The HoM is a more early-guy friendly institution than most comparable projects, and we've probably already been fair to that era. 16% of HoM electees debuted before 1890, compared to 11% for the Hall of Stats and 10% for the Hall of Fame. Not that they are right and we're wrong, rather that we've probably already covered that era effectively.

2.) The standard deviation of early leagues is really wide, and as Dan R. would tell us, that wide-ranging SD makes them appear more statistically dominant than they are (this is the old Tony Gwynn 1986 vs. 1987 problem). This is a big issue for peak voters like me.

3.) There just weren't that many pitchers at that time, because they only used 1 or 2 a year. It's easier to get black ink and other markers when you're competing against a smaller group of peers.

EDIT: Note, those percentages in #1 do not include NgLs so that I could compare those three institutions directly (HoS has no NgL inductees)
   171. Esteban Rivera Posted: December 09, 2013 at 11:41 AM (#4614213)
Hi everyone, back after not voting last year (was on vacation during the voting period last year and missed my first election ever). The four guys I would have had in my top four (Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza and Craig Biggio) were elected, so my ballot wouldn't have changed anything (although I'm a bit bummed that I missed one). I may have overlooked this while reading the thread, but what is the voting deadline date for this year's ballot? I'll hope to have a prelim ready to go in the next few days.
   172. DL from MN Posted: December 09, 2013 at 11:50 AM (#4614227)
voting from December 2-16
   173. Esteban Rivera Posted: December 09, 2013 at 11:54 AM (#4614231)
Thanks DL!
   174. Howie Menckel Posted: December 09, 2013 at 12:00 PM (#4614243)

I would suggest that we also have a minimum number of ballots before closing the polls - 20, maybe?

   175. OCF Posted: December 09, 2013 at 12:06 PM (#4614247)
We'll get there. We're at 12 already (I'm counting), and I see enough prelims and expressions of interest to get us quite a ways further.
   176. DL from MN Posted: December 09, 2013 at 12:07 PM (#4614250)
Joe makes the call about closing it or offering an extension
   177. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: December 09, 2013 at 03:23 PM (#4614532)

That said, I don't think the 19th century ball players were really doing the same thing as ball players now. Because I just started reading it - 1000+ pages so I may be reading it still during the next election too - while thinking about this ballot has really soured my opinion of 19th century baseball in comparison to the moderns.

I love the books and have had the opposite response -- I totally love 19th-century baseball!

I mean, being a ballplayer in 1880 has more in common with being a ballplayer in 2013 than being President in 1788 has with being President in 2013, but you don't find people complaining about Washington being on Mount Rushmore.
   178. Chris Cobb Posted: December 09, 2013 at 05:14 PM (#4614631)
Here's a systems question that I'd appreciate feedback about. I've been looking at pitchers, trying to get some more perspective on the borderline candidates from the modern period. Historically, I've relied on my own analysis, some of the data in the old Clay Davenport WARP at BP (now gone, as far as I can tell), and more recently Baseball Reference. I've been looking to find other useful perspectives, but the results I find in FIP-based systems like Fangraphs and (I think) new BP are so odd that I have trouble seeing that what they are measuring has much relation to the actual value of pitchers, as opposed to the hypothetical value of certain pitching outcomes, aside from actual run prevention, that certain pitchers were skilled at achieving. (Nolan Ryan with more career WAR than Tom Seaver? Paul Derringer with more career WAR than Carl Hubbell?) Is there a way to extract useful information out of these metrics? With batters, I find it meaningful to take a Nate-Silver approach of aggregating the results and fine-tuning by seeing where the systems disagree, but with pitchers, that seems counter-indicated, as the different WAR systems for pitchers actually seem to be measuring different things. I am not happy, however, having to rely on only one system (win shares is at least measuring the same thing as bb-ref's WAR, but not as well), as I have no way to catch its biases.

Does anyone have any suggestions about how to broaden the base of useful data for assessing pitchers?
   179. Mike Webber Posted: December 09, 2013 at 05:38 PM (#4614659)
I mean, being a ballplayer in 1880 has more in common with being a ballplayer in 2013 than being President in 1788 has with being President in 2013, but you don't find people complaining about Washington being on Mount Rushmore.

Well sure Washington everyone loves him, but c'mon we are down to the Patrick Henry and Crispus Attucks level. Yes I am comparing Fred Dunlap to Crispus Attucks. And Dunlap doesn't even have a bunch of high level inner city basketball teams that wear his name on their uniforms.
   180. Mike Webber Posted: December 09, 2013 at 05:53 PM (#4614677)
Chris Cobb - doesn't Dimino have a pennants added pitcher rating system? I tried the site google, but couldn't find it since the 1914 ballot.
   181. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 10, 2013 at 12:43 AM (#4614872)
Chris Cobb, the simplest back-of-the-envelope spot-check is 1.25*League RA per inning times the pitcher's innings minus the pitcher's runs allowed equals runs above replacement. You can then use 3.33*League RA^.71 for a runs-to-wins converter. Everything else is complication (park factors, team defense, pitcher hitting, IP/GS etc.)
   182. bjhanke Posted: December 10, 2013 at 02:04 AM (#4614884)
Mike (#169) - I don't know if this is the kind of thing you're looking for, but I had a realization a couple of months ago about the pre-1893 pitchers. You'll see comments that George Zettlein or Charley Sweeney or somebody threw has hard as Walter Johnson. This is nonsense if you're talking about the speed of the pitch when it leaves the pitcher's hand. But pitchers of that time had a box to take a running start from, which served the same purpose as the modern rubber. And they were releasing the ball only 50 feet from the plate instead of 60 feet 6 inches. What I realized was that, from the point of view of a batter, all that counts is how long the ball takes to reach the plate. So, for Zettlein or Sweeney to have their pitches reach the batter as quickly as Johnson's 100 mph fastball from 60 feet, they'd only have to throw it at about 80 mph, not 100 (50 feet is about 80% of 60 feet 6 inches). Could Zettlein or Sweeney have thrown 80 mph? I say certainly they could. So, from the point of how baseball was played, hitters of the 19th century didn't have more time to react to pitches than modern hitters do. They probably had about the same amount. The fastest 19th century guys, even throwing underhand / sidearm, surely could hit 80 mph. When the problem got serious enough to justify the change to 60 feet was when pitchers were allowed to throw overhand, and had had some years of practice at doing that. An actual 100 mph pitch, or even a 90 mph pitch, will overpower hitters from 50 feet. All the change to 60 feet did was get the game back to where it had been - in terms of pitcher speed as seen by hitters. Like I said, I don't know if this fits into what you're trying to think through, but I do think it's an important thing to know about 19th century baseball. - Brock Hanke
   183. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 10, 2013 at 01:05 PM (#4615166)
Mike, I do . . . it's a 20-30 MB excel file . . . I could post it to the Yahoo! group if it isn't there already. Check there first.

There are some issues with it. I'm very comfortable with it in terms of the relative ranking of pitchers to each other (starters to starters, relievers to relievers), and I've accounted for many things, like quality of bullpen support since the early 1950s, quality of defense support, leverage, etc.

I have not accounted for chaining - so it probably overrates relievers some compared with starters. I don't think I've input Mussina or Glavine or Maddux yet. I'd have to take a look . . .

Is there a specific list of pitchers you would like to see compared?
   184. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 10, 2013 at 01:10 PM (#4615174)
I would also add that I have translated innings as well, setting the average of the top 5 pitchers in IP to around 260 innings a year (I think, it's been awhile since I've looked at the details). BPro used to (maybe still does) translate innings too, but I didn't like that they set the league leader to 275 innings - as that would not allow for guys who were off the charts in their time like Robin Roberts or Wilbur Wood or John Clarkson to stand out.

I do think my system might overrate modern pitchers, because while I translate for innings at a seasonal level, which is great for peak - comparing 1889 John Clarkson to 1952 Robin Roberts to 1999 Pedro in a way that puts their era norms aside - it's not as good for career because careers are a lot longer now.
   185. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 10, 2013 at 01:14 PM (#4615182)
Mike regarding timelining - look at guys like Cap Anson - whose career stretches from 1871 to 1897.

If things were that different and the players post 1893 were that much better, an old Anson never would have been able to play with them. Look at Kid Nichols, he pitched great in the early 1890s and the early 1900s.

If those players couldn't compete, they all would have washed out of the league as soon as it evolved. They didn't.
   186. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 10, 2013 at 01:21 PM (#4615193)
From ages 41-44 Cap Anson put up a 115 OPS+ 1893-1896. So I don't think the evolution was nearly as steep as people think. If players from the 1870s and 1880s were as worthless as Bill James would have you think that simply wouldn't have been possible.
   187. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 10, 2013 at 01:30 PM (#4615222)
I've said it before, and I'll say it again - despite what seems intuitively obvious - like baseball before 1947 isn't comparable to post - the evolution has been a lot slower in terms of overall quality of play than most realize. The main reason has been expansion and the war.

MLB did not expand for 60 years despite a rapidly increasing player base. That more than offsets the fact that African-Americans were banned from playing. When they finally were allowed to play, they joined a cohort whose young population was decimated by WWII. Many players we never heard of died, were injured, etc. That watered down the 1950s a good deal. By the time that was over, MLB expanded by 25% in 2 years, and another 20% 7 years later. Expansion takes 5-7 year to fully wash out.

Because of all of this, there really was no increase in the quality of MLB play from the late 1930s until the early 1980s. It's roughly a flat line, save for the dip from 1943-45.

And if you look at the improvement from 1871-75, where most of the good players were concentrated on 4-5 teams, through the early 1900s, it's the same thing. The league expanded pretty reasonably (disregarding the 1884 and 1890 seasons), contracted in the 1890s (note that despite contracting 25% of MLB, Anson still played well in his early 40s) - which boosted the level of play some, but not so much that it rendered everything before it meaningless. There was some overall improvement from 1901 through 1941, but nothing earth shattering. Again, if so, players would have washed out far faster than they did.

I really haven't seen any evidence that there should be any great dividing line on quality of play anywhere. The game has managed to maintain a pretty good equilibrium if you ask me, even if a lot of that was by accident.
   188. Willie Mays Hayes Posted: December 10, 2013 at 07:46 PM (#4615571)
Posting a prelim for comments. I'm interested by how these newbies came out when I put them through my system.

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. Greg Maddux - My system loves him. So should everyone's. Peak, career, whatever. He was awesome.
2. Tom Glavine - And here's where it gets interesting. Has so much career value that it trumps his pretty good peak.
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. I wish my system liked Mussina more, though.
4. Mike Mussina - Yes, another pitcher from the most recent generation. So consistently excellent that it carries the rest of the profile.
5. Frank Thomas - Finally. His peak gets overshadowed by the mediocre shoulder seasons. Schilling, Mussina and Thomas are all within the margin of error of my system. I don't see how Thomas is above Schilling, though.
6. Kenny Lofton - Doesn't have a tremendous peak, (though 1994 was MVP-worthy), but was consistently awesome in center field. I'm beginning to think we've done a good job with the backlog.
7. Sal Bando - Great peak. Probably hung around too long, but he certainly belongs in.
8. 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.
9. 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 #6.
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. 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.
12. Luis Tiant - Very close to Appier in my system. Were he a bit more consistent year-to-year, he would fare better.
13. 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.
14. Jeff Kent - Surprised he is this low. Weird career shape, not as great a peak as I remembered.
15. Johnny Pesky - With full war credit, a no-doubt selection to the HOM. I'm a bit conservative in applying WAR at full credit.

Phil Rizzuto - Deserving of war credit, and malaria credit. Again, I'm conservative, but he's close to Pesky.
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.
Taylor: The seamheads data isn't terrifically kind to his reputation. I'm assuming he is somewhere in between the two and have him solidly in the 20's.
   189. DL from MN Posted: December 10, 2013 at 09:33 PM (#4615630)
WMH - you should know that BBREF WAR tends to underrate SS compared to Dan R's WAR. Also, NGL players are probably going to be underrated by 5 year peak since the projections are smoothed out.
   190. Howie Menckel Posted: December 10, 2013 at 09:54 PM (#4615650)

WMH - looks pretty plausible to me, even though the last 10 aren't at all similar to my ballot. Your guys have - well, Merit, too...

   191. Willie Mays Hayes Posted: December 11, 2013 at 09:37 AM (#4615798)
DL - I'm aware shortstops tend to be underrated by bbref WAR, particularly in the expansion era. I do have an adjustment baked in for the Campaneris and Concepcion's, but they are still a bit off ballot. Regarding the negro leaguers, that's also a flaw I am aware of, but I do have a bit of trouble adjusting for that - which is one of the many reasons I use average WAR/season as a portion of my formula. I do think if/when we get into backlog elections again, there will be a few NGL'ers represented.
   192. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 12, 2013 at 05:04 PM (#4617039)
As a brief refresher, there are two reasons why my system is so much higher on SS than baseball-reference/CHONE's:

1. I use as a baseline the Freely Available Talent levels derived by Nate Silver in 2006, which represent the aggregate performance of major leaguers over age 27 making less than twice the league minimum. That study found that replacement SS were below-average fielders as well as poor hitters--a result not found at any other position, but intuitive since it's the hardest position on the diamond excluding catcher. BB-ref uses the Tango/Sean Smith position-switcher method, which I strongly object to because of its inherent selection bias. (Only below-average SS are used as utility infielders rather than playing SS full-time).

2. I track changes in the defensive spectrum by measuring the aggregate performance of the worst 3/8 of major league regulars in moving nine-year intervals. CHONE asserts axiomatically, with no evidence, that the average defensive value of IF and OF are equal, and then uses the position-switcher method at hard decade intervals (e.g. 1940s or 1980s) to allocate value between the positions in each group. My method shows that IF had more defensive value than OF from 1965-85, and that the vast majority of said value accrued to SS, while CHONE's both artificially reduces that IF value and redistributes it to 2B and 3B.
   193. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 12, 2013 at 11:49 PM (#4617256)
While having bWAR available is convenient and good for 80% of uses, those are big reasons for why I can't take it at face value and like Dan's WAR a lot better.

192 probably explains why bWAR has Lofton so high too - if all of that extra value is going to the OF, I'd imagine CF gets a lot of it. I also hate hard decade intervals for anything.
   194. Chris Cobb Posted: December 13, 2013 at 08:57 AM (#4617326)
Dan R can respond himself, of course, but I don't think that Lofton is high in bWAR just because of positional adjustment flaws in the system. Notice that Dan points to 1965-85 as the period in which bWAR's assumptions about the distribution of value between infield and outfield are most inaccurate. Lofton's career falls after that point, during a period in which infield defense declines in importance a bit relative to outfield defense. From what I have gleaned from comparing the systems, the assessment of Lofton varies from system to system as much on the basis of differing views of the quality of his fielding at his position as on the basis of varying positional adjustments . bWAR's fielding metrics see Lofton as a great center fielder, while others see him as good or merely average at his position. The fielding element in Dan R's system is aggregated, so his rates Lofton's fielding as good but not great (or did--some of Dan's comments suggest he may be shifting the elements in his fielding assessment, so my copy of his data, which is from several years back, may be outdated).

Here's how DanR WAR and bWAR compare for Lofton through 2005 (I don't have 2006 & 2007 numbers for Dan's system, so I cut bWAR off at that point)

Source BWAA--BrWAA--FWAA--Rep adj.--WAR
Dan R 15.6--7.4--4.3--24--51.1
bbRef 15.1--7.4--10.8--31.6--64.8

So 6.5 wins difference comes from fielding, and 7.6 wins comes from differences in positional adjustments related to replacement level

If one accepts bbREf's fielding value, Lofton is still near the top of the backlog even once the improper positional adjustment is corrected. (The fact that Lofton is on Dan's ballot I take as pretty good evidence in this case.)
   195. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 13, 2013 at 10:24 AM (#4617391)
I believe you are looking at the outdated version, Chris Cobb. You must have the v2.0 file of my WARP covering 1987-2005, no? I put that out way back in 2007 I think.

As a general rule, I do not trust the FWAA scores in version 1 of my WARP, which were just a re-scaled average of BP FRAA and Fielding Win Shares back when those were all we had (which was useful at the time, since there was valuable information hidden in Fielding WS that I was able to extract). Now that we have DRA, TotalZone, and SFR (which people really should look at in addition to the other two), there is absolutely no reason to pay any attention to my old FWAA.

But the post-1987 fielding numbers are still very good. In fact, I would not-so-humbly suggest that they remain the best out there for this period. They were derived by studying the relationship, separately at each position, between the play-by-play statistics available in each individual season from 1987 on (including Chris Dial's Zone Rating-based RSpt) and the average of the most granular play-by-play stats (UZR, DRS, and David Pinto's old PMR)--back in the years when UZR was based on the STATS rather than BIS database, when we actually knew significantly more about fielding quality than we do now. (MGL found the correlation between STATS-based UZR and BIS-based UZR was only 0.5 I believe). E.g., if in a given season (say, I dunno, 1992) the only stats available were RSpt, DRA, SFR, TZ, BP FRAA, and Fielding WS, then I would do a separate multiple regression at each position to get a best-fit equation between those 6 stats (dropping ones that weren't statistically significant) and the UZR/DRS/PMR average during the 2003-05 period when we had all of them. It turned out that the quality of the different stats varied strongly by position: I believe SFR was much better than TZ at first base, but not in the outfield, or something like that.

After that mouthful, here's a comparison of Lofton from 1991-2005 in my system and bb-ref's (leaving aside the standard deviation adjustment for now, straight-line adjusting 1994-95 to 162 games, and transposing BWAA and Rep to a pitchers-excluded average):


1991  0.12 
-0.7   0.1  0.2  -0.2 -0.3
1992  0.95  1.0   0.8  1.2  
-1.9  4.9
1993  0.95  2.4   1.4  1.1  
-1.8  6.7
1994  1.05  4.4   1.3  1.8  
-2.1  9.6
1995  0.84  0.9   0.8  0.4  
-1.8  3.9
1996  1.03  0.8   0.7  0.2  
-2.3  4.1
1997  0.82  1.4  
-0.7  1.0  -1.9  3.6
1998  1.00  0.6   0.6  1.2  
-2.2  4.7
1999  0.80  1.3   0.5  0.5  
-1.7  4.0
2000  0.90  0.3   0.5  1.3  
-2.0  4.1
2001  0.83 
-0.6   0.1  0.5  -1.8  1.8
2002  0.88  0.5   0.0 
-0.2  -2.2  2.7
2003  0.88  0.5   0.5  0.3  
-2.1  3.4
2004  0.45  0.0   0.0 
-0.5  -0.9  0.4
2005  0.59  0.9   0.4  0.9  
-1.3  3.5
TOTL 12.09 13.7   7.0  9.9 
-26.2 57.1
TXBR 11.97 14.4   6.9  9.7 
-26.0 57.4 


1991  0.12 
-0.4   0.0  0.2  -0.2  0.0
1992  0.95  1.1   1.0  2.0  
-2.4  6.5
1993  0.95  1.9   1.3  1.8  
-2.6  7.6
1994  1.05  4.7   1.2  1.7  
-2.7 10.2
1995  0.84  0.8   0.6  0.9  
-2.3  4.6
1996  1.03  1.4   0.9  0.4  
-2.7  5.5
1997  0.82  1.7  
-0.3  1.7  -1.7  4.9
1998  1.00  0.7   0.8  1.8  
-2.6  5.9
1999  0.80  1.8   0.5  1.1  
-2.1  5.5
2000  0.90  0.1   0.5  0.4  
-2.3  3.4
2001  0.83 
-0.4   0.1  0.1  -2.2  1.9
2002  0.88  0.7   0.1  0.4  
-2.4  3.7
2003  0.88  1.1   0.5 
-0.1  -1.9  3.4
2004  0.45  0.5   0.2 
-0.3  -1.1  1.4
2005  0.59  1.1   0.5  0.5  
-1.4  3.5
TOTL 12.09 16.8   7.9 12.6 
-30.6 68.0
TXBR 12.09 16.8   7.9 12.6 
-30.6 68.0 

So we're definitely looking at the same player here, but BB-Ref just likes him a little better across the board. Part of the 3-win gap in batting wins may well be due to reached-on-errors, which I don't include but BB-ref does (though it no longer breaks them out from batting wins). The baserunning wins are close enough; BB-Ref definitely likes Lofton's defense a little better than I do, and I'd be strongly inclined to trust my system over theirs on this--their fielding runs, from TotalZone, are one (just one) of the inputs in my FWAA, and if I'm lower it's either because the other systems weren't quite as impressed or simple regression to the mean to reflect the greater uncertainty in Retrosheet-based defensive statistics.

Finally, there's a 4.6-win gap in replacement value. BB-ref is using 600 total position player WAR per season; I use 2.1 wins per 162 games per position player, which works out to 536. So 3.1 of those 4.6 wins are because BB-ref uses a lower global replacement level, and 1.5 are because it values CF during Lofton's career a tiny bit more than I do.
   196. Al Peterson Posted: December 13, 2013 at 10:56 AM (#4617427)
195 - Another element to Lofton's numbers above for the career voter is that 2006 & 2007 are not included. Lofton got another 1000 PA's in those two seasons though the defense was gone at that point. What do you expect - stellar OF play when hitting age 40?
   197. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 13, 2013 at 12:54 PM (#4617531)
Yes, I'm aware I've truncated his last two years, since I stopped calculating in 2005 (though I'll do it manually if his election winds up being a close call). They will marginally help him with career voters, but I doubt there would be a big difference between my evaluation of those seasons and BB-ref's.
   198. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 14, 2013 at 10:47 AM (#4617923)
I want to thank DL and Brock for their comments on my first ballot attempt. I've revised some assumptions and if this ballot is deemed valid, it will be my final ballot for this election. To recap my process, my base number is Career BB-Ref WAA, with negative years zeroed out. I then add points for postseaon heroics, catcher bonus, war credit, other non-MLB credit (minors, Japan), adjust for season length, league strength, pitcher durability relative to era, "big years" bonus for hitters, and FIP bonus for pitchers

1) Greg Maddux -- #5 Pitcher, Top 25 player among All-time HOM Eligibles thru 2014 ("HOM List")
2) Curt Schilling -- Most postseason credit of any player on HOM List, but even without that he's #2
3) Mike Mussina -- Top 20 pitcher on HOM List; Career WAA recognizes long-term excellence despite lack of dominant peak
4) Tom Glavine -- Mediocre peripherals but great at stranding runners; Top 20 on HOM List; big gap between him and…..
5) Orel Hershiser -- #2 postseason credit of any player on HOM List -- the next candidates are so tightly bunched that without it he'd be around #38
6) Frank Thomas -- Fantastic hitter but BB-Ref hates his defense
7) Luis Tiant -- Weird career arc is smoothed out using Career WAA; Top 50 pitcher on HOM List
8) Dwight Gooden -- Dominant peripherals get him on the ballot, without that he'd be around #35
9) Kenny Lofton -- Similar to Cool Papa Bell and Richie Ashburn
10) Sammy Sosa -- Score similar to Tony Gwynn and Enos Slaughter, career shape sort of like Dwight Evans with higher peak
11) Kevin Appier -- Dominant between 1990 and 1997; overall value similar to Stan Coveleski, a bit worse than Bret Saberhagen
12) Bus Clarkson -- 1940s Negro whose numbers were beat up by WWII and discriminatory desegregation; bit worse than Dick Lundy
13) Thurman Munson -- Catcher bonus gets him on ballot
14) Babe Adams -- Greatest Pirate pitcher of all time
15) Leroy Matlock -- Dominant strikeout numbers get him on ballot, xort of like Dwight Gooden

16) Luke Easter -- my revised Negro League translations hurt him a little and it's so tightly bunched that he's just off ballot


20) Ben Taylor -- similar to Jake Beckley and in pHOM but competition is tougher now
44) Dick Redding -- WWI credit; excellent but not a high enough peak 1915-1919 and not enough outside of that
52) Vic Willis -- raw WAA numbers would make him ballot-worthy but it was easier to throw a lot of innings when he pitched than when Gooden and Appier pitched
80) Phil Rizzuto -- WWII credit but still falls short
   199. theorioleway Posted: December 14, 2013 at 01:04 PM (#4618025)
DL (or anyone else who knows the answer): what year was Urban Shocker suspended for trying to bring his wife on a road trip? The link in his thread is no longer active.
   200. DL from MN Posted: December 14, 2013 at 01:39 PM (#4618049)
I only know that Shocker deserves WWI credit during his fabulous 1918. Looking at him more closely he appears to have had a late debut. He was also a pretty good hitter for a pitcher.
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