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Hall of Merit
— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Saturday, January 09, 2021

2022 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion

2022 (December 2021)—elect 4

Top 10 Returning Players
Bobby Abreu, Sammy Sosa, Andy Pettitte, Buddy Bell, Lance Berkman, Wally Schang, Bobby Bonds, Sal Bando, Vic Willis, Ben Taylor

Newly Eligible Players
Batters:
Alex Rodriguez
David Ortiz
David Wright
Mark Teixeira
Jimmy Rollins
Carl Crawford
Coco Crisp
Justin Morneau
Marlon Byrd
Prince Fielder
A.J. Pierzynski
Michael Bourn
Juan Uribe
Alexei Ramirez

Pitchers:
Jake Peavy
Joe Nathan
Jonathan Papelbon
Scott Kazmir
Tim Lincecum
John Danks

DL from MN Posted: January 09, 2021 at 09:42 AM | 420 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   201. DL from MN Posted: October 30, 2021 at 09:55 AM (#6050043)
A factor here is his low seasonal innings-pitched totals. He and Mark Buerhle have similar career IP, and similar peak rates of effectiveness, but Buerhle was consistently an IP leader, while Pettitte hardly ever was. Thus, Buerhle’s prime was stronger. Those who give post-season credit rightly advantage Pettitte somewhat for that; I don’t, so that’s not a factor for him.


Seeing how the postseason innings were probably a factor in his reduced regular season workload it seems to be affecting his placement.
   202. Chris Cobb Posted: October 30, 2021 at 11:31 AM (#6050053)
Seeing how the postseason innings were probably a factor in his reduced regular season workload it seems to be affecting his placement.

What's the evidence, other that Pettitte's IP to support this theory?

Here's why I am skeptical of that theory:

(1) Except when he was injured, Pettitte almost always made 32 starts a season, which is the standard load for a mid-rotation starter.
(2) Pettitte's seasons with his three highest innings pitched totals correspond to his three highest (non-injured) ERA+ seasons. When he pitched more effectively, he pitched deeper into games and accumulated more innings. This is a normal usage pattern.

So I don't see evidence that Pettitte's managers were saving him for the post-season by skipping starts or by deliberately pulling him early to keep his innings down.

The "Pettitte's post-season innings probably reduced his regular season innings" theory thus seems to me to depend upon the conjecture that Pettitte's general effectiveness in the regular season was reduced by his post-season innings. Is there evidence of that? When I match up Pettitte's post-season innings pitched with his innings pitched in the following season, I don't see a correlation between post-season work and next-season performance.

Overall, I don't see evidence that Pettitte's post-season work reduced the quality of his in-season work. If there is evidence to that effect, I'd be interested to see it. Still, I would still be concerned about applying any adjustment to Pettitte that couldn't also be applied to other pitchers who carried a heavy post-season workload at some point in their careers.

   203. Jaack Posted: October 30, 2021 at 01:21 PM (#6050069)
I'm not aware of any evidence that Pettitte's postseason workload negatively affected his regular season performance, but there is evidence that Buehrle was negatively affected by it - his worst season, and really his only real down season in his prime, came immediately following his only deep postseason run. He faded pretty hard in the second half in particular in 2006. Would he have held up under the perrenial October loads that Pettitte had to face? I can't say confidently either way - it could just be coincidence that Buehrle's down 2006 occured after a deep postseason run. Pitchers have bad years all the time.

At the same time, we do know that Pettitte could pitch full seasons and then throw 30 more innings in the postseason just about every year. The fact that it doesn't seem he was negatively affected by the extra workload has to be considered a positive to his case.
   204. Chris Cobb Posted: October 30, 2021 at 01:57 PM (#6050077)
The fact that it doesn't seem he was negatively affected by the extra workload has to be considered a positive to his case.

Well, I would say it is a factor that underlies his regular-season value. If he had been negatively affected by the extra workload, then he probably wouldn't have the regular-season numbers to be treated as a serious candidate for the Hall of Merit. The players in our candidate pool faced a variety of conditions that were more favorable or adverse to their performance that came to them as a result of the circumstances in which they played. Andre Dawson had to deal with knee ailments that were the result of playing on concrete outfields, for example. He overcame those problems sufficiently to have a Hall-of-Merit quality career. That's a positive in his case, but it's not something to add on top of his value: it's something that underlies it.

   205. kcgard2 Posted: October 30, 2021 at 06:28 PM (#6050132)
As usual I am a fan of Jaack's and Chris Cobb's ballots. Chris Cobb, Wally Schang is a required mention. You also mention Tommy John in passing, I think, but where does he rank for you?

Having said that, I also left off the required mentions. Willis, Schang, and Taylor are the only required mentions who didn't make my listed top 20.

First up is Willis, who is #65. He moved down mostly due to my revisions that dampen high WAR seasons (greater than 9 WAR), also fell a little more due to revised bWAR. Previously I had him in the late 20s.

Ben Taylor is #74. I believe the MLEs are bullish, and support a translation of closer to 55 WAR than 65 WAR. I also think one of his best comps is Mark Grace, who matches up nicely on batting lines and the WAR components in Dr C's latest MLEs. Compare Grace's 1993 to Taylor's 1914 MLEs for an example of the WAR disconnect I am talking about.

As stated in previous threads, I have a hard time seeing Schang's case. I have him #156 and 7th best available catcher, which is actually up slightly from #184 I had him before. He has no peak. It would take a nebulous "difficulty of playing catcher in that era" adjustment, but with that I could move him ahead of Parrish, Porter, and Kendall and up to about #100-110 range. Also, it's worth mentioning that Schang spent a decent chunk of time at non-catcher positions. About 11 seasons worth of defensive innings at catcher, 2 seasons at other positions - in other words about 15% of his career innings at non-catcher. That still leaves him firmly as a catcher, but if you make catcher adjustments, Schang will get less adjustment than most other catcher candidates.
   206. Jaack Posted: October 30, 2021 at 06:35 PM (#6050134)
Well, I would say it is a factor that underlies his regular-season value. If he had been negatively affected by the extra workload, then he probably wouldn't have the regular-season numbers to be treated as a serious candidate for the Hall of Merit. The players in our candidate pool faced a variety of conditions that were more favorable or adverse to their performance that came to them as a result of the circumstances in which they played. Andre Dawson had to deal with knee ailments that were the result of playing on concrete outfields, for example. He overcame those problems sufficiently to have a Hall-of-Merit quality career. That's a positive in his case, but it's not something to add on top of his value: it's something that underlies it.


I have trouble seeing pitching in the postseason as equivalent to playing on astroturf in anyway. Crediting Dawson would be projecting out what he would have done if not for injuries, which is not something anyone does. But we don't have to credit Pettitte for whatever difficulties he had in the regular season due to his postseason workload, if we just credit him for his postseason workload. Both he and Buehrle pitched about the same number of innings per season against top level competition in games that mattered. Prefering Buehrle's seasonal IP totals is basically punishing Pettitte for playing on a better team.
   207. Chris Cobb Posted: October 30, 2021 at 07:58 PM (#6050142)
As usual I am a fan of Jaack's and Chris Cobb's ballots. Chris Cobb, Wally Schang is a required mention. You also mention Tommy John in passing, I think, but where does he rank for you?

Whoops! Sorry about that! My rankings actually go down to 64. I was going to post all of them, but when I ran into troubles fitting them into the character limit, I decided to stop at the 31 break point. I remembered to add Pettitte, but I forgot about Schang. I'll just put the rest of the list here. Schang is at 42; Tommy John is at 50.

32. Jim McCormick (1880s. In-decade scaled rank 31.3). My system sees him as being right around in-out line, but 1880s pitchers are already well represented in the HoM. With the uncertainty involved in assessing their value, I don’t have a basis for advancing McCormick over any more recent pitchers whom my system sees as meriting election.
33. David Wright. Newly eligible. (2000s. In-decade scaled rank 31.5). Strong player, but injuries cut him short. A bit less peak than Garciaparra, whom I rank slightly higher, despite what the system shows.
34. Willie Davis (1960s, In-decade scaled rank 32.9). Generally overlooked; nice to see him get a vote from Brent.
35. Chet Lemon (1980s. In-decade scaled rank 31.2). Generally overlooked; has he ever gotten a vote?
36. Dave Bancroft (1920s. In decade scaled ranking 32.9). A really fine peak. Loss of playing time due to injuries leaves him a bit short, though he still would have been a better choice than Joe Sewell, whose durability, duly overrated by Win Shares, helped secure his election long ago.
37. Joe Tinker (1900s. In-decade scaled ranking 33.4). Outstanding defensive shortstop but a little short on offense.
38. Andy Pettitte (2000s. In-decade scaled rank 33.5). My system sees Pettitte as offering more bulk than brilliance in his career, so he is just below my in-out line. A couple of outstanding seasons, but generally he was a middle-of-rotation starter. He was a middle-of-rotation starter for a long time, so his career value is strong, but he lags significantly on peak measures. A factor here is his low seasonal innings-pitched totals. He and Mark Buerhle have similar career IP, and similar peak rates of effectiveness, but Buerhle was consistently an IP leader, while Pettitte hardly ever was. Thus, Buerhle’s prime was stronger. Those who give post-season credit rightly advantage Pettitte somewhat for that; I don’t, so that’s not a factor for him.
39. Roy Oswalt (2000s. In-decade scaled rank 34.5). He was a really good pitcher, but falls just short of the Santana-esque peak and farther short of the Hudson-esque career that are needed to get over the in-out line. These guys are all so similar in value, a slightly different line of analysis could readily justify putting Oswalt on the ballot.
40. Tommy Bond (1870s. In-decade scaled rank 34.3). Unquestionably the best pitcher in major-league baseball in 1878 and 1879 as part of an outstanding run from 1875-79. Unfortunately, that’s absolutely all the value he has in his career. His peak is strong enough for a reasonable case to be made for his election, but the uncertainties are huge. I used to believe that he was done in by the change in pitching distance, but it looks like his steep decline (caused most likely by his immense workload) began the year before the distance changed, and the change just dropped him off a cliff. If at some point we do elect Tommy Bond, that would really finish up the 1870s: there isn’t anyone else close. We’d have to get a long way into the backlog before his turn would come, though. Still, my large-Hall leanings incline me to like the idea of electing players like Oswalt, Bond, Chance, and Schang. They were outstanding, impact players.
41. Frank Chance (1900s. In-decade scaled ranking 36.2). HoM-quality when he was on the field, but not enough playing time to merit election. Even peak voters have never mounted a case for him b/c he missed too much time to rack up huge single-season WAR totals. By rate, though, he is among the best of his time—the only truly outstanding offensive first baseman between Brouthers/Connor/Anson and George Sisler.
42. Wally Schang (1920s. In-decade scaled ranking 34.4). Lack of peak, presence of NeL elected contemporary catchers Santop and Mackey, and plentiful representation of 1920s decade overall keep Schang well away from my ballot. I don’t feel an urgency on a representational basis to bring Schang forward, and his numbers, when he is in receipt of my standard catching bonuses, place him about here. He was, compared to the average player, an outstanding ballplayer, but I’d need a bigger Hall of Merit to have a place for him.
43. Johnny Pesky (1940s. In-Decade scaled rank 30.) My system finds Pesky ever so slightly ahead of Rizzuto, but I rank Rizzuto higher b/c his 1946 malaria season affects his three years of war credit, while Pesky bookended his war years with his two best seasons. I am not entirely comfortable projecting a player with more top seasons via war credit than they actually had in their playing careers, so Pesky gets a lower spot in the balloting list.
44. Dwight Gooden (1980s. In-decade scaled rank 32.4).
45. Cesar Cedeno (1970s. In-decade scaled rank 33.1)
46. Bernie Williams (1990s. In-decade scaled rank 33.8)
47. Jose Cruz (1980s. In-decade scaled rank 33.5)
48. Marvin Williams (1950s. In-decade scaled rank 33.3). Included here mainly on reputation. I hope to make the NeL stars of the 1940s and their transition into “organized” baseball in the 1950s a focus of my analysis for 2022.
49. Hurley McNair (1920s. In-decade scaled rank 35.9)
50. Tommy John (1970s. In-decade scaled rank 34.3). My system gives significant weight to both career value and peak value. John's remarkable lack of peak keeps him well out of the running for me. Given how many pitchers in his era were above him, I think that's just as well, but his in-decade ranking is based purely on how his numbers come out in my system.
51. Fred McGriff (1990s. In-decade scaled rank 34.9)
52. Tony Perez (1970s. In-decade scaled rank 35.5). McGriff and Perez show up together in the rankings, and as long-career first-basemen with reputations as RBI men, they seem very similar. Their value profiles are quite different, however. McGriff’s value is much more bat-heavy, and he is brought down by his fielding. Perez, on the other hand, is buoyed up by his time at third base—his prime is split between third and first—and by his above-average first-base defense. If McGriff’s defense at first had been average, he’d meet the HoM standards; if Perez’s fielding had been good enough for him to stay at third base, he’d probably have been been above the in-out line as well, and the history of the Big Red Machine would also have been significantly different.
53. David Ortiz. Newly eligible. (2000s. In-decade scaled rank 35.5). Some have suggested that the DH position adjustment in bWAR is too large, but if I treat Ortiz as a first baseman and factor in his below average defense at first, he ends up worse than he would with the DH position adjustment by about six wins. Rated only as a hitter, he’d fall between Jason Giambi and Lance Berkman.
54. Bob Johnson (1930s. In-decade scaled rank 36.6)
55. George Uhle (1920s. In-decade scaled rank 31.5)
56. Harry Hooper (1910s. In-decade scaled rank 33.2)
57. Norm Cash (1960s. In-decade scaled rank 34.4)
58. Ron Guidry (1980s. Scaled in-decade rank 34.7). I saw him on Jaack’s preliminary 2022 ballot and realized I didn’t have him ranked. I worked him up and he lands here. Schoolboy Rowe and Nap Rucker, who are the next two in the rankings and who have identical in-decade scaled ranks, seem like satisfying comps for Guidry; very good pitchers with outstanding peaks but not quite enough career in context to rank among the top pitchers of their eras.
59. Schoolboy Rowe (1940s. Scaled in-decade rank 34.7). First time I’ve had him in my rankings. His career was one of the most fascinating discoveries from my review of the 1940s and 1950s major-league candidates. A great talent and a brilliant pitching intelligence, but not enough healthy innings in his arm to have a Hall of Merit career.
60. Nap Rucker (1910s. In-decade scaled rank 34.7)
61. Vada Pinson (1960s. In-decade ranking 35.9)
62. Mark Teixeira. Newly eligible. (2000s. In-decade ranking 36.5) Very nice peak with an excellent combination of offensive and defensive skills, but he would need a couple more strong seasons to have a shot at election.
63. Ron Cey (1970s. In-decade scaled rank 36.7)
64. Ted Breitenstein (1890s, In-decade ranking 36.2)
   208. Chris Cobb Posted: October 30, 2021 at 09:21 PM (#6050171)
I have trouble seeing pitching in the postseason as equivalent to playing on astroturf in anyway. Crediting Dawson would be projecting out what he would have done if not for injuries, which is not something anyone does. But we don't have to credit Pettitte for whatever difficulties he had in the regular season due to his postseason workload, if we just credit him for his postseason workload. Both he and Buehrle pitched about the same number of innings per season against top level competition in games that mattered. Prefering Buehrle's seasonal IP totals is basically punishing Pettitte for playing on a better team.

Playing in the postseason is only equivalent to playing on astroturf if you believe that playing in the post-season diminished a player's regular-season effectiveness. To that extent, it would be just like an injury created by a ballpark condition. The negative effect happened to that player due to the circumstances he played in, a circumstances that disadvantaged that player relative to others who were not affected by those circumstances. I brought up this analogy because the implication of DL from MN's comment was that a justification for giving Pettitte post-season credit was as compensation for the probable negative impact on his seasonal performance of having to throw post-season innings. I don't see evidence of such impacts, and I wouldn't give compensatory credit for them if I did, any more than I give Dawson credit for having to deal with injuries.

Claiming that I should credit Pettitte for his post-season innings because they were games that mattered against top competition is not unreasonable: I wouldn't make a strenuous effort to persuade anyone who is giving such credit to stop doing it, although I would suggest that anyone giving such credit to Pettitte should be giving post-season credit to all pitchers, if not to all position players. The fact that I haven't seen anyone bumping Orel Hershiser up onto their ballot and noting that it is his excellent post-season pitching that puts him over the line leads me to suspect that voters are not being systematic in handling post-season credit. (If anyone is really doing that across the board, I'd be very interested in hearing how they're doing it and how they see it influencing their results.)

For myself, I believe that the fairer choice is not to include post-season play because the opportunity to play in the post-season has been very unevenly distributed among the game's top players over the course of baseball history. Because we are dealing uniformly with great players, these unequal opportunities are not the result of the players' merit. Therefore, giving additional unearned credit to some of the players in the candidate pool on--in the bigger picture--a more or less random basis doesn't help the Hall of Merit to identify the best players. Yes, players may succeed or fail in their post-season opportunities, but even then it's a small group of games played under competitive conditions that are highly variable from one game and one series to the next. Accurate and precise assessment of merit under these conditions is not readily achievable.

Because Pettitte (a) has among the largest number of post-season innings of any pitcher, (b) acquitted himself well, if not brilliantly, in playoff baseball, and (c) is otherwise a borderline candidate, the impact of my decision not to include post-season play in my rankings may impact Pettitte's position relative to the in-out line in my system more than any other player, but how many pitchers might there be who would have done just as well as Pettitte did, if they had been given the opportunity to throw another season's worth of innings over 15 years of playoff baseball pitching in front of some of the greatest teams in major league history? I don't see any way to assess that. I can't reasonably conclude, then, that Pettitte is better than they were simply because he had the opportunity and they didn't. Especially in the modern game, we can have confidence that individual players earn their opportunity to play at the major-league level. We can't have confidence, however, that great individual players earn their opportunities to play in the post-season. That's a team accomplishment.

It's easy for me to hold this line because I've been working to keep my standards consistent over almost 120 elections. When I first voted in the 1903 election, there wasn't any post-season to speak of with respect to the then-eligible players, so it was easy to conclude then that giving post-season credit to players from future periods in which there was a post-season would be advantaging them in comparison to players who didn't have post-seasons at all. I've kept the fundamental elements of my player evaluation system constant since that time, and I've been pretty satisfied with the results. I've made a lot of changes to take advantage of better data coming in, and I made the shift to using decadal cohorts rather than trying to integrate periods based on measured derived directly from WAR, but I haven't messed with the basic criteria for evaluation, and one of those criteria is to keep the playing field level by not including post-season credit. So I plan to stick with that.
   209. Jaack Posted: October 31, 2021 at 12:48 AM (#6050303)
Claiming that I should credit Pettitte for his post-season innings because they were games that mattered against top competition is not unreasonable: I wouldn't make a strenuous effort to persuade anyone who is giving such credit to stop doing it, although I would suggest that anyone giving such credit to Pettitte should be giving post-season credit to all pitchers, if not to all position players. The fact that I haven't seen anyone bumping Orel Hershiser up onto their ballot and noting that it is his excellent post-season pitching that puts him over the line leads me to suspect that voters are not being systematic in handling post-season credit. (If anyone is really doing that across the board, I'd be very interested in hearing how they're doing it and how they see it influencing their results.)


Funnily enough this was my biggest project this year, and one of the reasons I now have Hershiser on my ballot.

I wanted something relatively basic that would award both postseason volume (like Pettitte) as well as shorter but extremely valuable postseason performances (like Jack Morris). And I also wanted something that was less biased against players in the pre-divisional era, where postseason opportunities were more limited.

I settled on postseason cWPA as a metric - regular good performances could add up, but a Morris/Bumgarner game seven sort of situation would be more valuable than the same game in the ALDS. This does help at least a bit the smaller postseasons of earlier eras - top performances in the LDS or LCS are worth less than those in the Series. And since cWPA is a zero sum stat, players can, and will be negatively affected by bad performances.

Implementing it was a little harder - I wanted to do it on a seasonal basis, and I wanted it to make an impact, but not become overwhelming. I settled on something simple - double the decimal cWPA and add it to the seasonal WAR - so a 5% cWPA postseason is equivalent to 0.1 WAR in the regular season.

To take Hershiser for example, his best two postseasons were 1988 and 1995. In both he accumulated about 25% cWPA, which translates about half a win in each season. Without postseason credit my mix 1988 as a 6.5 WAR season, but with it, it goes up to 7.1 WAR. Hershiser does lose a small chunk in 1997 and gets minor bumps in a few other seasons. Hershiser with no postseason credit would rate out at 24th on my ballot right now, but it bumps him up to 13th. I think that's probably the most ballot relevant jump anyone takes, as having a great postseason in what was already his best season helps a lot with his peak score.

Overall, the effect isn't big, aside from a few stellar performers (or unfortunate ones like Billy Wagner or Jake Peavy). But I do like that I have all competetive games incorporated systematically now, and it does help players like Orel Hershiser who made the most of their opportunities.

Because Pettitte (a) has among the largest number of post-season innings of any pitcher, (b) acquitted himself well, if not brilliantly, in playoff baseball, and (c) is otherwise a borderline candidate, the impact of my decision not to include post-season play in my rankings may impact Pettitte's position relative to the in-out line in my system more than any other player, but how many pitchers might there be who would have done just as well as Pettitte did, if they had been given the opportunity to throw another season's worth of innings over 15 years of playoff baseball pitching in front of some of the greatest teams in major league history? I don't see any way to assess that. I can't reasonably conclude, then, that Pettitte is better than they were simply because he had the opportunity and they didn't. Especially in the modern game, we can have confidence that individual players earn their opportunity to play at the major-league level. We can't have confidence, however, that great individual players earn their opportunities to play in the post-season. That's a team accomplishment.


I agree that Pettitte does see an unsually large impact from postseason credit or lack there of, and I can't deny that he was fortunate to have the opportunities that he had. But I still struggle with excluding top level, competetive play because it isn't evenly distributed. Is it right, for example, to exclude considering pitcher hitting in the DH era? I don't think it is, but AL pitchers did not have the opportunity to accumulate value that way. Ron Guidry and Frank Tanana did not have the hitting opportunities that Orel Hershiser of Dwight Gooden did, and hitting is a relevant part of both Hershiser's and Gooden's cases.

I think aiming for philosophical consistency is a worthwhile goal, and I don't think it's unreasonable to minimize the impact that fortunate or unfortunate circumstances could have had on a player, but I still feel uncomfortable with ignoring what is otherwise valid information on that basis.
   210. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 31, 2021 at 12:26 PM (#6050339)
What's the evidence, other that Pettitte's IP to support this theory?

Quick and dirty, non-granular version of this: Pettitte averaged fewer innings per start in September than in any other month, without his effectiveness being any different. That reads like resting up for the playoffs to me.

Innings per start by month:
March/April 6.25
May 6.28
June 6.35
July 6.32
August 6.80
September/October 5.96

Buehrle, for the sake of comparison:
March/April 6.34
May 6.76
June 6.81
July 6.68
August 6.53
September/October 6.38

Still tapers a bit toward the end of the year, but by about half as much as Pettitte does. (And of course, Buehrle's teams made the playoffs sometimes as well.)

As a bonus note, Pettitte's durability also looks better if you use Batters Faced instead of innings - 6 top-10 finishes instead of 2 (Buehrle has 7 top 10's in both categories). Which might have some relation to the, shall we say, quality of defense that was usually behind Pettitte, at least as a Yankee.
   211. Chris Cobb Posted: October 31, 2021 at 03:27 PM (#6050367)
Jaack, that's an interesting system for assigning post-season credit! Are you using it for position players as well as for pitchers?

When I've been thinking about how post-season credit could be done, I've been looking at WPA and cWPA as possibilities. The scale of credit from your use of cWPA certainly seems reasonable. When I projected out Hershiser's 6.5 WAR from your system for 1998 for an additional 42.7 post-season innings, that would result in another 1.0 WAR for Hershiser that season, so 0.5 additional WAR for his stellar post-season performance is well within the range of reasonable results. (Not that I would recommend the projection method, but it provides a convenient point for comparison.)

I agree that post-DH pitcher hitting raises issues of fairness similar to post-season credit.

When I looked back at your preliminary ballot, I noticed that you have Babe Adams ranked high on your ballot. How much impact does his stellar 1909 post-season have on your placement of him?


Eric J, yes, that's some evidence that Pettitte was being rested for the post-season. As it amounts to about 1 2/3 IP per season, the effect is pretty small, less than than the 1.0 WAR for his postseason career that Jaack's adjustment would add.

It's interesting that Pettitte shows up as more durable in a Batters Faced than in IP, and it helps to make sense of the disjunction between his strong career-level durability for his era and his weak seasonal IP record. His defensive (lack of) support is probably a factor, but the choice to have him pitch in a style that heightened rather than reduced reliance on infield defense was probably a factor as well.

Overall, Pettitte has an unusual set of strengths and weaknesses that make him both difficult and interesting to evaluate.
   212. DL from MN Posted: October 31, 2021 at 03:51 PM (#6050375)
voters are not being systematic in handling post-season credit. (If anyone is really doing that across the board, I'd be very interested in hearing how they're doing it and how they see it influencing their results.)


I do systematically credit postseason performance. It isn't the "Hall of Regular Season Merit" after all. Replacement value doesn't make any sense (only the best teams remain) so I only credit for above average performance. Below average performance gets a zero. I use WPA for pitchers but more ad-hoc projection for batters. I don't think WPA does a good job of capturing defensive contribution.
   213. Jaack Posted: October 31, 2021 at 04:14 PM (#6050380)
Jaack, that's an interesting system for assigning post-season credit! Are you using it for position players as well as for pitchers?

When I've been thinking about how post-season credit could be done, I've been looking at WPA and cWPA as possibilities. The scale of credit from your use of cWPA certainly seems reasonable. When I projected out Hershiser's 6.5 WAR from your system for 1998 for an additional 42.7 post-season innings, that would result in another 1.0 WAR for Hershiser that season, so 0.5 additional WAR for his stellar post-season performance is well within the range of reasonable results. (Not that I would recommend the projection method, but it provides a convenient point for comparison.)

I agree that post-DH pitcher hitting raises issues of fairness similar to post-season credit.

When I looked back at your preliminary ballot, I noticed that you have Babe Adams ranked high on your ballot. How much impact does his stellar 1909 post-season have on your placement of him?


I do use it for position players, but the multiplier is a little less (1.4 instead of 2 seemed to be the sweet spot) I think it's worthwhile to reward position players as well, but high cWPA scores for them are a lot more dependent on random opportunity than for pitchers - Bill Maz got his opportunity in 1960 because he was the guy who happened to be up while Madison Bumgarner got his opportunity in 2014 because the Giants wanted him in those spots. Before I implemented this method I wasn't awarding batters in the postseason at all, but I think this produces pretty fair results. I do agree with DL that capturing fielding is a tough thing to do - I'm not sure where to begin with that. I can't believe that the effect is particularly big, but it'd be nice to have.

Funnily enough, Adams is one of the players hurt by my move to a more systematic method. His cWPA for 1909 is deservedly quite good, and turns what I have as a 3.1 WAR season into a 3.7 WAR season. But that makes it move from being his 11th best year to his 10th best year by my system, so it's impact is less than a similar performance is for Orel Hershiser. He also lives in the no mans land of my rankings - he's not particularly close to John or Berkman, but he is well ahead of Newcombe who is the highest player I consider truly borderline.

My ad hoc method for postseason evaluation actually had him a bit higher before. Curt Schilling was another big postseason performer who's systematic record did not quite live up to what my estimate was. The bigger thing for Adams is giving him a year and a half of prime credit for his extended rehab stint in 1917-1918. Adding that to his resume is a much bigger deal than improving a single season a bit. It's actually a little funny - my ballot has a number of big postseason performers in Berkman, Adams, Lolich, and Pettitte, but would I support all of them without it, although Lolich would probably be just off-ballot.
   214. Chris Cobb Posted: October 31, 2021 at 06:07 PM (#6050387)
It's actually a little funny - my ballot has a number of big postseason performers in Berkman, Adams, Lolich, and Pettitte, but would I support all of them without it, although Lolich would probably be just off-ballot.

I expect that, overall, big post-season performers are well represented in the HoM and among the top HoM candidates! Certainly there are playoff heroes out there who weren't great players, but players who were great in general are more likely to be great in the post-season, too.
   215. The Honorable Ardo Posted: November 01, 2021 at 03:26 AM (#6050463)
Updated prelim. All three 2020 inductees were on my ballot: Lofton at #3, Santana at #8, Kent at #11.

1. Rodriguez (new) - almost a perfect historical comp for Honus Wagner.
2. Schang (was #1) - the only notable white, pre-integration omission.
3. Hilton Smith (was #2) - I disagree with DL (post #21) here. The only well-documented portion of Smith's career is 1937-43 and he accumulates all of his 13 PWAA in that span. I need more evidence that he wouldn't have started until age 25 and was mediocre in his late 20's; I'm giving him 10-12 more PWAA prior to 1937. Then he's able to return from World War II and pitch four more seasons.
4. Abreu (was #6)
5. Adolfo Luque (was #4) - didn't have a normal development curve. No (known) Cubans played in MLB from National Association days until 1911. Luque debuted for the Miracle Braves in 1914, but didn't get a chance as a regular starter until 1920. He then dominated for six years before gradually aging. A similar case, in fact, to Hilton Smith.
6. Posada (was #7)
7. Luke Easter (was #5) - a lot of conjecture, but we have a guy performing at a David Ortiz/Fred McGriff level in his late 30's, facing obstacles neither modern player faced, and plenty of supporting evidence that he was a great slugger before then.
8. Sammy Sosa (was #14)
9. Buddy Bell (was off, has been on) - persuaded by Chris Cobb. A truly outstanding player for putrid Rangers teams.
10. Andy Pettite (was #10) - my highest modern pitcher, above Buehrle, Hudson, John, Appier, and Hershisher.
11. Ben Taylor (was #9) - as A-Rod:Wagner, John Olerud:Ben Taylor. The difference is that Taylor's fine fielding, because of his era, provided more value to his teams than Olerud's.
12. Johnny Evers (was #13) - deserves a lot of the sabermetric defensive credit allotted to Joe Tinker.
13. David Ortiz (new) - Minnesota Ortiz zeroes out. Boston Ortiz is Willie Stargell minus one season (about 600 PA). He makes my personal Hall this year, though both Easter and Taylor belong ahead of him.
14. Thurman Munson (was off, has been on) - accrues a stronger prime, but less total value, than Posada. A worthy selection. We're still short on catchers.
15. Vic Willis (was #12)

First ten off: Campaneris, Berkman, Buerhle, Duffy, Lee Smith, Rizzuto, John, Bobby Bonds, Nomar, Hudson (was #15, demoted).
Next ten off: Bando, McGriff, Van Haltren, Clarkson, Walters, Wright, E. Howard, Appier, Lemon, Olerud.

Beyond Olerud at #35 I frankly don't see a lot of separation.
   216. kcgard2 Posted: November 01, 2021 at 09:28 AM (#6050478)
Ardo, is that Negro Leaguer Bus Clarkson that you have after Van Haltren?
   217. The Honorable Ardo Posted: November 01, 2021 at 11:50 AM (#6050509)
Yes, that is Bus Clarkson. He's my fourth-highest NeL candidate after Smith, Easter, and Taylor. (Elston Howard also played in the NeL.)
   218. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 02, 2021 at 03:06 PM (#6050738)
I do give systematic postseason credit. Mine is very simple:
1) Only for pitchers and only because of the additional risk posed by pitching more innings (only so many pitches in an arm)
2) Don’t want to give a lot because i don’t want either the Hall of Yankees or the Hall of the Four-Round-Playoff-Era.
3) I credit all October IP at average value because short series are essentially impossible to convert effectively to any runs-based analysis because there’s no real league average to work from and because the contexts of each team can differ wildly in the same series, and because 7 good innings against some teams look very different than against others.

So it ends up being about .009 or something like that per inning of win-value. So Madison Bumgarner’s excellent 40 odd IP in his great October year tack on about 0.4 to his WAR. Feels about right to me.

Your mileage very likely differs!
   219. Chris Cobb Posted: November 02, 2021 at 08:55 PM (#6050821)
Ardo, I am curious about your comment on Johnny Evers. What's the basis for your determination that he deserves some of the defensive credit generally assigned to Tinker?
   220. Chris Cobb Posted: November 02, 2021 at 08:59 PM (#6050822)
Does anyone have a good sense of the relative reliability of the measures for pitch-framing that are now available? I am starting to look at post-2000 catchers. I am trying to make sense of the huge discrepancies between bWAR and fWAR for this group of players, and it looks like the differing magnitudes of their pitch-framing values is the primary driver of the differences. Does anyone have knowledge about why these values differ and what the arguments are for the reliability of each? I understand BP also has pitch-framing FRAA, but I haven't tracked those numbers down yet.

Any guidance on what's happening with pitch-framing stats would be much appreciated!
   221. Jaack Posted: November 03, 2021 at 12:49 AM (#6050926)
Fangraphs I think has two different framing numbers, both listed under Advanced Fielding on a player’s page. The one they use in their WAR calculations is FRM, which I think is their proprietary metric. It is based on PITCHf/x, so it only exists for 2008 forward, and they also apply it to pitchers. The other one is rSZ (explainer here), which is a little less extreme, and not included in their fWAR calcualtions. That one seems to go back to 2010, at least on fangraphs’ pages.

Their final catcher defense metric is a bit of a black box – I’ve never been able to make the numbers add up right by moving around their various components. I do know they use DRS at some level for catchers, but replace it’s rSZ component with FRM, but there is always something a little off in that translation.

I do know that B-R’s Rfield in the PITCHf/x era is equal to DRS minus rSZ, so my work around for the framing era is to use Rfield and then add (a slightly diminished) FRM on top. B-R seems to be going out of their way to not incorporate framing, as they remove rSZ from DRS.

Baseball-Prospectus does something similar with PITCHf/x for post-2008 seasons, and then has a method involving pitch counts and WOWY to go back to 1988, which I can't seem to find the literature on at the moment. I don’t know of any comprehensive database of anything earlier than that. I'm pretty sure Tom Tango did a quick look at framing for earlier guys a couple of years back but I don't think he went any deeper than showing that Gary Carter was incredible.
   222. The Honorable Ardo Posted: November 03, 2021 at 11:44 AM (#6050966)
Chris, this thread has some interesting commentary (including by our own Kiko Sakata) on the relative value of Tinker, Evers, and Chance.
   223. kcgard2 Posted: November 03, 2021 at 12:12 PM (#6050975)
Jaack, Tango has done several articles about Carter over the years. This one is not explicitly about pitch framing, but it would include pitch framing value in the total runs he comes up with. Now, it's the WOWY method, which is fraught with noise and biases of all kinds, but pretty much every time Tango does something, Carter comes out the best. Let's note that Tango was a vocal Expos fan, as well.

My personal opinion is that the value of catcher framing has been overstated, by a lot. My belief is that the real value is heavily due to the pitcher, and lightly due to the catcher, maybe 80/20 going with the good old Pareto rule. You can only frame pitches that are close to the intended target, and that is entirely a function of the pitcher. Also, I don't believe the studies include a ball/strike probability in the calculations, just the binary ball vs strike dichotomy, which is going to create way too much value in the whole exercise. So, IMO, you remove 40% of the value (pick a comfortable number) for the number of these pitches that would have been called strikes regardless of framing, then remove 80% of what's left because it belongs to the pitcher. There's value there for catchers, but not as much as the studies are coming up with.
   224. DL from MN Posted: November 03, 2021 at 12:49 PM (#6050994)
Regarding pitch framing - if the at-bat doesn't end in a walk or strikeout I'm inclined to ignore it. If pitchers don't control outcomes on balls-in-play then catchers certainly don't either.
   225. kcgard2 Posted: November 03, 2021 at 05:29 PM (#6051073)
I think that's a bit too far in the other direction, DL. Hitters are worse in pitcher's counts and vice versa, and the difference is not entirely walks and strikeouts. There's value in gaining strikes for a pitcher beyond PAs that end in walks or strikeouts.
   226. DL from MN Posted: November 03, 2021 at 08:00 PM (#6051115)
Hitters are worse in pitcher's counts and vice versa, and the difference is not entirely walks and strikeouts. There's value in gaining strikes for a pitcher beyond PAs that end in walks or strikeouts.


If that is true it disproves xFIP.
   227. Chris Cobb Posted: November 03, 2021 at 10:29 PM (#6051156)
Thanks, everyone for comments and resources on pitch-framing. Lots to digest. It seems that pitch-framing is bringing some of the hidden value of catchers into view, but there's wide disagreement on how much, even between the metrics that are reporting the statistic. From the catchers I've examined, it looks like there is fair agreement between various metrics about who is good at pitch framing and which seasons are better than others. The disagreement becomes sharp around the magnitude of pitch framing's value. I hope the evaluation of pitch framing will mature in the sabermetric world before Brian McCann, Russell Martin, and Yadier Molina become eligible for the HoM.
   228. Jaack Posted: November 03, 2021 at 11:31 PM (#6051169)
My personal opinion is that the value of catcher framing has been overstated, by a lot. My belief is that the real value is heavily due to the pitcher, and lightly due to the catcher, maybe 80/20 going with the good old Pareto rule. You can only frame pitches that are close to the intended target, and that is entirely a function of the pitcher. Also, I don't believe the studies include a ball/strike probability in the calculations, just the binary ball vs strike dichotomy, which is going to create way too much value in the whole exercise. So, IMO, you remove 40% of the value (pick a comfortable number) for the number of these pitches that would have been called strikes regardless of framing, then remove 80% of what's left because it belongs to the pitcher. There's value there for catchers, but not as much as the studies are coming up with.


I doubt Tango's WOWY study, or anything similar deals with with ball/strike probability (I don't really think such a thing is possible for that sort of analysis), but both FRM and rSZ do take it into consideration, and rSZ accounts for a pitchers contribution to called strikes as well.

I don't think WOWY is valuable for much more than direction, or perhamps splitting guys into quartiles or quintiles. Way too much noise. But the metrics for the modern guys are pretty thorough and reliant on good data. I hedge a bit on the magnitude, but that's only because it feels really big. But the problem has been approached from a lot of different directions, and the results generally seem to point to the best framers being 10 or more runs better than average over the course of a season.
   229. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 04, 2021 at 02:21 PM (#6051263)
Just a note on framing. For my player rankings, I incorporate framing from the three sources above with each weighted at 0.33. I believe that there are three factors in framing: catcher, pitcher, umpire. But I don’t think I’ve read anything that offers a very clear sense of the proportions their roles play. The pitcher has to hit the target. The Catcher has to frame the pitch with good technique. Umpire has to be appropriately foolable. But also the pitcher and catcher have to agree on the pitch and the location in the first place so there’s some pitcher-handling/game-calling credit to be had in some measure. Anyway, it all seems true but cloudy, so that’s why I don’t give full credit.
   230. kcgard2 Posted: November 05, 2021 at 09:32 AM (#6051376)
By the way, with this talk of catcher framing, Posada was rated as a monstrously bad framer by the metrics, which should lend to some credit for Pettitte for voters who incorporate pitch framing info. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) has Posada in the ranges of -20 to -60(!) RAA per season on pitch framing. Fangraphs' rSZ seems to have more reasonable ranges of runs, but only goes back to 2010. Still, it has Posada as -16 in only 680 innings in 2010. Granted, this was towards the end of Posada's career, but it seems like pitch framing would be a skill that increases with experience, not being much dependent on physical abilities. At any rate, defensive metrics are universally awful for Posada in general, so the point stands.
   231. kcgard2 Posted: November 05, 2021 at 09:52 AM (#6051380)
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) actually has pitch framing covering all of Posada's career, which is interesting to look at. Through 2003 Posada is moderately below average though there are a few seasons in the range of average, but then it gets really bad. 2004-2010 amount to -80 RAA for framing. And, as mentioned, he was losing value compared to the average catcher on everything else, too: blocking pitches, throwing out runners, and steal attempts. BP has him -118 RAA on defense for his career (and -57 on baserunning), leaving Posada with an underwhelming WARP of 33. I'm glad I found these BP legacy leaderboards, they will be ripe for investigation.
   232. Chris Cobb Posted: November 05, 2021 at 07:35 PM (#6051492)
I'm glad I found these BP legacy leaderboards, they will be ripe for investigation.

I found them yesterday also, and they are certainly interesting. From the small number of comparisons I've done so far, it looks like BP's framing numbers are closer in magnitude to Fangraph's FRM than to RszC, so caution about docking Posada as much as the BP numbers indicate might not be warranted. On the other hand, when I've compared the findings of the three systems--BP, FRM, and RszC--I've seen so far that they almost always agree on whether a catcher's framing runs for a given season were positive or negative, and more often than not they agree on what the better and worse seasons were, so I find BP's assessment that Posada was a below average framer to be compelling. Consequently, I've lowered my ranking of Posada a bit, which happens also to raise Pettitte, not because I've adjusted Pettitte's numbers, but because his relative position rises when Posada drops below him.
   233. DL from MN Posted: November 17, 2021 at 09:58 AM (#6053272)
Looks like we're about a month away from voting.
   234. cookiedabookie Posted: November 17, 2021 at 12:38 PM (#6053289)
I'm willing to be a ballot counter again
   235. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 26, 2021 at 01:59 PM (#6054675)
kcgard2, was just browsing the lovely HOM site you created. And I have a wish. I wonder if it's possible to post or link to a spreadsheet somewhere that contains the complete list of HOMers, by position. I ask because there's been skillions of times when I've needed to have that simple list, and I end up having to transcribe the info from the plaque room, which is much more difficult than it sounds like. An up to date spreadsheet would be soooooooo convenient.

Thanks!
   236. DL from MN Posted: November 26, 2021 at 02:41 PM (#6054680)
player POS
Anson, Cap 1B
Bagwell, Jeff 1B
Beckley, Jake 1B
Brouthers, Dan 1B
Clark, Will 1B
Connor, Roger 1B
Foxx, Jimmie 1B
Gehrig, Lou 1B
Greenberg, Hank 1B
Helton, Todd 1B
Hernandez, Keith 1B
Killebrew, Harmon 1B
Leonard, Buck 1B
McCovey, Willie 1B
McGwire, Mark 1B
Mize, Johnny 1B
Murray, Eddie 1B
Palmiero, Rafael 1B
Sisler, George 1B
Start, Joe 1B
Suttles, Mule 1B
Terry, Bill 1B
Thomas, Frank 1B
Thome, Jim 1B
Alomar, Roberto 2B
Barnes, Ross 2B
Biggio, Craig 2B
Carew, Rodney 2B
Childs, Cupid 2B
Collins, Eddie 2B
Doerr, Bobby 2B
Fox, Nellie 2B
Frisch, Frankie 2B
Gehringer, Charlie 2B
Gordon, Joe 2B
Grant, Frank 2B
Grich, Bobby 2B
Herman, Billy 2B
Hornsby, Rogers 2B
Johnson, Grant 2B
Kent, Jeff 2B
Lajoie, Nap 2B
McPhee, Bid 2B
Morgan, Joe 2B
Randolph, Willie 2B
Richardson, Hardy 2B
Robinson, Jackie 2B
Sandberg, Ryne 2B
Whitaker, Lou 2B
Allen, Dick 3B
Baker, Frank 3B
Beckwith, John 3B
Boggs, Wade 3B
Boyer, Ken 3B
Brett, George 3B
Collins, Jimmy 3B
Evans, Darrell 3B
Groh, Heinie 3B
Hack, Stan 3B
Jones, Chipper 3B
Mathews, Eddie 3B
McGraw, John 3B
Molitor, Paul 3B
Nettles, Graig 3B
Pearce, Dickey 3B
Robinson, Brooks 3B
Rolen, Scott 3B
Santo, Ron 3B
Schmidt, Mike 3B
Sutton, Ezra 3B
Wilson, Jud 3B
Bench, Johnny C
Bennett, Charlie C
Berra, Yogi C
Bresnahan, Roger C
Campanella, Roy C
Carter, Gary C
Cochrane, Mickey C
Dickey, Bill C
Ewing, Buck C
Fisk, Carlton C
Freehan, Bill C
Gibson, Josh C
Hartnett, Gabby C
Kelly, King C
Mackey, Biz C
McVey, Cal C
Piazza, Mike C
Rodriguez, Ivan C
Santop, Louis C
Simmons, Ted C
Torre, Joe C
Trouppe, Quincy C
White, Deacon C
Ashburn, Richie CF
Averill, Earl CF
Bell, Cool Papa CF
Carey, Max CF
Charleston, Oscar CF
Cobb, Ty CF
Dawson, Andre CF
DiMaggio, Joe CF
Doby, Larry CF
Edmonds, Jim CF
Gore, George CF
Griffey, Ken Jr. CF
Hamilton, Billy CF
Hines, Paul CF
Jones, Andruw CF
Lofton, Kenny CF
Mantle, Mickey CF
Mays, Willie CF
Oms, Alejandro CF
O'Rourke, Jim CF
Pike, Lip CF
Roush, Edd CF
Smith, Reggie CF
Snider, Duke CF
Speaker, Tris CF
Stearnes, Turkey CF
Torriente, Cristobal CF
Wynn, Jim CF
Martinez, Edgar DH
Bonds, Barry LF
Burkett, Jesse LF
Clarke, Fred LF
Delahanty, Ed LF
Goslin, Goose LF
Henderson, Rickey LF
Hill, Pete LF
Irvin, Monte LF
Jackson, Joe LF
Jones, Charley LF
Keller, Charlie LF
Kelley, Joe LF
Kiner, Ralph LF
Magee, Sherry LF
Medwick, Joe LF
Minoso, Minnie LF
Musial, Stan LF
Raines, Tim LF
Ramirez, Manny LF
Sheckard, Jimmy LF
Simmons, Al LF
Stargell, Willie LF
Stovey, Harry LF
Wheat, Zack LF
Williams, Billy LF
Williams, Ted LF
Yastrzemski, Carl LF
Alexander, Pete P
Blyleven, Bert P
Brown, Kevin P
Brown, Mordecai P
Brown, Ray P
Bunning, Jim P
Carlton, Steve P
Caruthers, Bob P
Clarkson, John P
Clemens, Roger P
Cone, David P
Coveleski, Stan P
Drysdale, Don P
Eckersley, Dennis P
Faber, Red P
Feller, Bob P
Ferrell, Wes P
Fingers, Rollie P
Ford, Whitey P
Foster, Bill P
Foster, Rube P
Galvin, Pud P
Gibson, Bob P
Glavine, Tom P
Gossage, Goose P
Griffith, Clark P
Grove, Lefty P
Halladay, Roy P
Hubbell, Carl P
Jenkins, Ferguson P
Johnson, Randy P
Johnson, Walter P
Keefe, Tim P
Koufax, Sandy P
Lemon, Bob P
Lyons, Ted P
Maddux, Greg P
Marichal, Juan P
Martinez, Pedro P
Mathewson, Christy P
McGinnity, Joe P
Mendez, Jose P
Mussina, Mike P
Newhouser, Hal P
Nichols, Kid P
Niekro, Phil P
Paige, Satchel P
Palmer, Jim P
Perry, Gaylord P
Pierce, Billy P
Plank, Eddie P
Radbourn, Charley P
Redding, Dick P
Reuschel, Rick P
Rivera, Mariano P
Rixey, Eppa P
Roberts, Robin P
Rogan, Bullet P
Ruffing, Red P
Rusie, Amos P
Ryan, Nolan P
Saberhagen, Bret P
Santana, Johan P
Schilling, Curt P
Seaver, Tom P
Smoltz, John P
Spahn, Warren P
Spalding, Al P
Stieb, Dave P
Sutton, Don P
Tiant, Luis P
Vance, Dazzy P
Waddell, Rube P
Walsh, Ed P
Wilhelm, Hoyt P
Williams, Joe P
Wynn, Early P
Young, Cy P
Ward, Monte P/SS
Dihigo, Martin P/UT
Aaron, Henry RF
Brown, Willard RF
Browning, Pete RF
Clemente, Roberto RF
Crawford, Sam RF
Evans, Dwight RF
Flick, Elmer RF
Guerrero, Vladimir RF
Gwynn, Tony RF
Heilmann, Harry RF
Jackson, Reggie RF
Kaline, Al RF
Keeler, Willie RF
Ott, Mel RF
Robinson, Frank RF
Rose, Pete RF
Ruth, Babe RF
Sheffield, Gary RF
Slaughter, Enos RF
Thompson, Sam RF
Walker, Larry RF
Waner, Paul RF
Winfield, Dave RF
Appling, Luke SS
Banks, Ernie SS
Boudreau, Lou SS
Cronin, Joe SS
Dahlen, Bill SS
Davis, George SS
Glasscock, Jack SS
Jennings, Hugh SS
Jeter, Derek SS
Larkin, Barry SS
Lloyd, Pop SS
Lundy, Dick SS
Moore, Dobie SS
Reese, Pee Wee SS
Ripken, Cal SS
Sewell, Joe SS
Smith, Ozzie SS
Trammell, Alan SS
Vaughan, Arky SS
Wagner, Honus SS
Wallace, Bobby SS
Wells, Willie SS
Wright, George SS
Yount, Robin SS
   237. kcgard2 Posted: November 26, 2021 at 05:41 PM (#6054698)
Here is the google sheet where I have it stored. Also, in the plaque room on the site, you can click "Fast Facts" and you can get the positional breakdowns much easier than scrolling the plaques as well :)
   238. Bleed the Freak Posted: November 26, 2021 at 06:09 PM (#6054701)
Prelim updated for insights from Dr. Chaleeko and Matthew Cornwell this year.

I review Baseball-Reference, Baseball Gauge, Fangraphs, Tom Thress, CHEWS, PARC-ds, and advanced defensive metrics for catchers when formulating a ballot, along with MLE credit for Negro Leaguers, World Wars, and when players are ready for the bigs but are left in the minors.

1. Alex Rodriguez
2. Thurman Munson
3. Lance Berkman
4. Andy Pettitte
5. David Ortiz
6. Tommy John
7. Tim Hudson
8. Johan Santana
9. Jeff Kent
10. Bobby Abreu
11. Bobby Veach
12. Bert Campaneris
13. Joe Tinker
14. Jason Giambi
15. Jim Sundberg

Others worthy of consideration:
C - Regino Garcia, Jason Kendall, Tony Pena, Wally Schang, Gene Tenace
1B - Julian Castillo, Frank Chance, Luke Easter, Fred McGriff, John Olerud, Ben Taylor
2B - Lonny Frey, Tony Phillips
3B - Sal Bando, Buddy Bell, Ron Cey, Toby Harrah
SS - Dave Bancroft, Art Fletcher, Johnny Pesky, Phil Rizzuto, Vern Stephens
LF - Jose Cruz, George Foster, Brian Giles, Bob Johnson, Roy White
CF - Cesar Cedeno, Willie Davis, Tommy Leach, Dale Murphy, Bernie Williams
RF - Bobby Bonds, Jack Clark, Kiki Cuyler, Tommy Henrich, Harry Hooper, Sammy Sosa
SP - Babe Adams, Kevin Appier, Tommy Bond, Tommy Bridges, Charlie Buffinton, Eddie Cicotte,
Leon Day, Dizzy Dean, Dwight Gooden, Ron Guidry, Orel Hershiser, Cliff Lee, Dolf Luque
Jim McCormick, Tony Mullane, Don Newcombe, Roy Oswalt, Frank Tanana, David Wells, Vic Willis


   239. kcgard2 Posted: November 26, 2021 at 06:35 PM (#6054703)
Bleed (#238)

Johan Santana and Jeff Kent are already inducted. Maybe Appier can slide in as one of their replacements (I'm gonna do a bit of campaigning since why not).

I have rather large disagreements with you on a number of players, but I am contractually obligated to like any ballot with Tommy John 6th. Your ballot seems full of guys who I particularly like, or who I don't have particularly close, but I like it. Your consideration list generally looks like most of the guys I would consider also.
   240. Bleed the Freak Posted: November 26, 2021 at 07:18 PM (#6054711)

239. kcgard2 Posted: November 26, 2021 at 06:35 PM (#6054703)
Bleed (#238)

Johan Santana and Jeff Kent are already inducted. Maybe Appier can slide in as one of their replacements (I'm gonna do a bit of campaigning since why not).

I have rather large disagreements with you on a number of players, but I am contractually obligated to like any ballot with Tommy John 6th. Your ballot seems full of guys who I particularly like, or who I don't have particularly close, but I like it. Your consideration list generally looks like most of the guys I would consider also.


Thanks, I'll look to work up a top 15 revised shortly, I'm also missing some Negro Leaguers for at least the consideration set.
   241. Bleed the Freak Posted: November 26, 2021 at 07:45 PM (#6054713)
1. Alex Rodriguez
2. Thurman Munson
3. Lance Berkman
4. Andy Pettitte
5. Heavy Johnson
6. David Ortiz
7. Tommy John
8. Tim Hudson
9. Bobby Abreu
10. Bobby Veach
11. Bert Campaneris
12. Joe Tinker
13. Jason Giambi
14. Kevin Appier/Orel Hershiser - I lean Orel with a heavier dose of 80s/lower standard deviation play than Appier, but wanted to give your guys a shout kcgard2
15. Jim Sundberg - could be anywhere from #3 to off ballot, just depends on how valuable his defense was.

Others worthy of consideration:
C - Regino Garcia, Jason Kendall, Tony Pena, Wally Schang, Gene Tenace
1B - Frank Chance, Luke Easter, Fred McGriff, John Olerud, Ben Taylor
2B - Lonny Frey, Tony Phillips, George Scales
3B - Sal Bando, Buddy Bell, Ron Cey, Toby Harrah
SS - Dave Bancroft, Bus Clarkson, Art Fletcher, Johnny Pesky, Phil Rizzuto, Vern Stephens
LF - Jose Cruz, George Foster, Brian Giles, Bob Johnson, Hurley McNair, Chino Smith, Roy White
CF - Cesar Cedeno, Willie Davis, Tommy Leach, Dale Murphy, Bernie Williams
RF - Bobby Bonds, Jack Clark, Kiki Cuyler, Tommy Henrich, Harry Hooper, Sammy Sosa
SP - Babe Adams, Tommy Bond, Tommy Bridges, Charlie Buffinton, Eddie Cicotte, Leon Day,
Dizzy Dean, Dwight Gooden, Ron Guidry, Jim Kaat, Cliff Lee, Dolf Luque, Jim McCormick,
Tony Mullane, Don Newcombe, Roy Oswalt, Frank Tanana, David Wells, Vic Willis

As to your question Kris, who are you not in favor of on ballot?
   242. kcgard2 Posted: November 26, 2021 at 10:20 PM (#6054724)
I wouldn't say you have any players that are unreasonable to vote for or I'm "not in favor of." Maybe Bobby Veach, I have him the 15th best corner outfielder available. I'm not sure how you can put him head to head against Brian Giles or Bob Johnson for example and find Veach ahead. He's always seemed like a bit of idiosyncratic vote to me - not a lot of peak, not a lot of longevity either - but I don't want to harp too much. There are a handful who think as you do that he's ballot worthy. I have Campaneris very close in value to Veach as well actually, but again I don't particularly mind votes for him. The last one is Sundberg, which is such an interesting case. I have been very vocal that I'm a huge fan of Sundberg and would love to vote for him and think he probably has more "undiscovered" credit than just about any catcher in history, if it's out there at all. That said, when I'm being honest with myself on what I know from the stats, he's way off ballot. Still, I never begrudge a Sundberg vote because he's one of my pet candidates. That's what I was saying about liking your ballot: even the guys you vote for that I have far off, I still am fine those votes.

I have Ortiz just in the top 70, but I'm pretty sure he's going to be elected in the next year or three, so I am probably more the outlier on him than you are. Hershiser is in a similar range for me, though I don't feel like he's about to get elected. Please choose Appier if you're on the fence between those two, lol. Nah, go with the guy you honestly believe is more meritorious. Also, top 70 is really much closer than it sounds to back of ballot territory, 30-70 range is really tight, so Ortiz/Hershiser is perhaps not as big of a disagreement at it sounds. But thanks for at least the honorary prelim ballot shout out. Just gotta get people saying Appier's name! And next year you'll come around on him ;)
   243. Bleed the Freak Posted: November 26, 2021 at 11:17 PM (#6054728)
242. kcgard2 Posted: November 26, 2021 at 10:20 PM (#6054724)
I wouldn't say you have any players that are unreasonable to vote for or I'm "not in favor of." Maybe Bobby Veach, I have him the 15th best corner outfielder available. I'm not sure how you can put him head to head against Brian Giles or Bob Johnson for example and find Veach ahead. He's always seemed like a bit of idiosyncratic vote to me - not a lot of peak, not a lot of longevity either - but I don't want to harp too much. There are a handful who think as you do that he's ballot worthy. I have Campaneris very close in value to Veach as well actually, but again I don't particularly mind votes for him. The last one is Sundberg, which is such an interesting case. I have been very vocal that I'm a huge fan of Sundberg and would love to vote for him and think he probably has more "undiscovered" credit than just about any catcher in history, if it's out there at all. That said, when I'm being honest with myself on what I know from the stats, he's way off ballot. Still, I never begrudge a Sundberg vote because he's one of my pet candidates. That's what I was saying about liking your ballot: even the guys you vote for that I have far off, I still am fine those votes.

I have Ortiz just in the top 70, but I'm pretty sure he's going to be elected in the next year or three, so I am probably more the outlier on him than you are. Hershiser is in a similar range for me, though I don't feel like he's about to get elected. Please choose Appier if you're on the fence between those two, lol. Nah, go with the guy you honestly believe is more meritorious. Also, top 70 is really much closer than it sounds to back of ballot territory, 30-70 range is really tight, so Ortiz/Hershiser is perhaps not as big of a disagreement at it sounds. But thanks for at least the honorary prelim ballot shout out. Just gotta get people saying Appier's name! And next year you'll come around on him ;)


I'm somewhere between all wet on Veach or underrating him, Kiko's studies and Baseball-Reference don't indicate an especially strong candidate, but Baseball Gauge/DRA defense is enamored with him, showing him as a 65 win player, and an 8 year run with 54 wins with 4 seasons at 7-8 wins. DRA also excludes arm value, with Veach being 4th all-time in assists, this may be some hidden value. Speaking of hidden Value, is Baseball Gauge/DRA picking up on something of Veach being a defensive god that Kiko and B-R are not? With his end in MLB being multi-year and unimpressive, it's probably best not award any MLE credit, but he did mash in the AA from ages 38-40, in modern times, he's likely given rope and he has MLB value...or he retires!

Campaneris is a belief that Baseball-Reference is off in it's evaluation of replacement level for 1970s SS/3B to a minor or medium degree, it's enough to lift him above the 3B candidates remaining from the era. Baseball Gauge is at +8 wins versus Baseball-Reference. He was a "clutch" hitter at +6 wins career.

Sundberg is elite by Max Marchi's game handling and Sean Smith's game calling runs. He was a solid hitter, so even taking some air out of the metrics keeps him interesting for me.

Ortiz is a combination of replacement level's being too harsh for my blood for designated hitters, and allowing credit for his awesome post-season performances.

It becomes razor thin differences the lower you go on the ballot, and that's true to me for Hershiser and Appier. My coin flip goes to Orel with his standout performances coming in a weaker era for pitchers and his playoff dominance compared to Appier gaining in clutch situations but being low on the totem pole for 1990s pitchers.
   244. kcgard2 Posted: November 27, 2021 at 09:36 AM (#6054766)
I knew that Veach had a very strong defensive rep, and simpler stats like range factor and assists play up for him very strongly. I was going to comment that you'd have to buy finding at least 7-10 wins of defensive value that bWAR/fWAR are missing in order to rank him in the area you're ranking him. And it turns out that apparently Baseball Guage finds 17 wins from defense!? You'll pardon me for finding that very difficult to believe, for a LFer without even a long career. If you cut that number in half, it's still a massive difference, and it would be enough to make your ballot placement reasonable. So that's interesting. It would require Veach to be among the best defensive corner outfielders of all time, so it's farther than I'm comfortable going.
   245. Jaack Posted: November 27, 2021 at 04:21 PM (#6054882)
I like Veach, but there are two comparisons that are kind of daming to his case for me.

Veach is worse than Jimmy Sheckard at... just about everything. Less peak, less career, weaker hitter, weaker base-runner. Maybe an equal fielder, but I think I'd take Sheckard based on what data we do have. Now I like Sheckard and think he's a worthy HoM choice, but he's in the bottom quartile. It's hard for me to support a guy who is significantly worse than Sheckard at just about everything.

The other comparison is Roy White. Veach and White are shockingly similar at just about everything. But White has two advantages - tougher competition, and (probably) better base-running.
   246. Bleed the Freak Posted: November 27, 2021 at 10:11 PM (#6054951)
From the early ball era, left fielders were a second center fielder with the large outfield acreage to cover. If Veach was viewed through the Lens of a good to excellent CF, would his candidacy be seen differently? How much did pitchers induce weak contact versus putting the ball in play and letting your fly catchers do the work?

Agree, Veach is Sheckard light.

Roy White had a weak arm while it appears Veach had a good one.

It's been 8 years, but Doc touched on this topic here: https://homemlb.wordpress.com/2013/09/27/outs-in-the-pastures/
   247. DL from MN Posted: December 12, 2021 at 01:17 PM (#6057087)
All the mock-ballots are out of the way. Looks like it's time to start voting on this. I'll get a thread up this week. cookiedabookie has volunteered to count ballots, do we have a couple more to crosscheck?
   248. Chris Cobb Posted: December 13, 2021 at 07:30 PM (#6057245)
From the Ballot thread:

This doesn't pertain to current ballots, but seemed worth a comment.

Rwargo wrote:

Finally, 2025 is shaping up to clear at least 3-4 more from the backlog.

I am not sure that 2025 will be a banner year for the backlog, although I think it is going to be a very interesting election, as it will bring the first large installment of candidates whose prime was after 2010, along with one of the last big names from the first decade of the century. In 2025, the following players become eligible, all of whom are going to attract attention, all of whom look potentially electable, but few of whom are likely to sail straight over the backlog:

CC Sabathia, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Felix Hernandez, Ben Zobrist, Russell Martin

Martin's eligibility will put the evaluation of catcher defense front and center, the second basemen will bring up the question of positional adjustments, Felix Hernandez will bring questions about evaluating post-2010 pitchers, and the group as a whole will foreground questions of the impact of baseball's longest period without expansion since the pre-1960 period on competition levels and career length.

We will have a great deal to chew over for that ballot . . .
   249. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 13, 2021 at 08:35 PM (#6057257)
Great post Chris.

With an in/out line around 100, I have Sabathia scoring at a 112 or so...maybe he won't sail in first ballot, but I think he has a shot, the others aren't that clear. Russell Martin is a modern Jim Sundberg with a much better bat and probably similar defensive value. I picture placing him highly. Pedroia, Kinsler, Hernandez, and Zobrist are all shy, though interesting candidates.
   250. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 13, 2021 at 08:40 PM (#6057258)
Bachslunch from post 2 in the ballot thread, we've picked over the 19th century candidates for the most part, but you made a note on not including any credit for AA play...the American Association defeated the National League in post season play and could be argued as having a better league at it's height, 1891 was weak, and 1890 wasn't strong, but 1882-1889 the AA was a legit league, not giving players credit here is a mistake and seems against our bylaws.

I also wouldn't assume we have picked over all the Negro League candidates, you need to evaluate them in good faith.
   251. dark Posted: December 13, 2021 at 08:43 PM (#6057259)
Brian McCann (who FanGraphs' framing-inclusive WAR absolutely loves) is eligible in 2025, too. He's over 55 fWAR with one of the better catcher bats of this era.
   252. Chris Cobb Posted: December 13, 2021 at 08:58 PM (#6057266)
Brian McCann (who FanGraphs' framing-inclusive WAR absolutely loves) is eligible in 2025, too. He's over 55 fWAR with one of the better catcher bats of this era.

Yes, McCann is another interesting 2025 candidate. I missed including him because in my reckoning he falls a little bit below my own in-out line, but he should definitely get serious consideration. My current sense is that Fangraphs' framing numbers need some deflation, but I look forward to a more in-depth discussion of framing value in upcoming discussions.

   253. Jaack Posted: December 13, 2021 at 10:25 PM (#6057273)
Next year is a little lean, but 2024-25 are stocked with interesting guys. I see 12 different players who will at least make my top 100 eligibles, and most of those will be in my top 30. And that doesn't include Pedroia (both because he doesn't rate that high, but also because I think he's technically eligible next election).

Martin, McCann, Felix, and Zobrist all strike me as particularly difficult and interesting candidates.
   254. Chris Cobb Posted: December 13, 2021 at 10:57 PM (#6057281)
Jaack, you're right! Pedroia's 2018 and 2019 seasons both fall under the 10-game token appearance threshold, so he would be eligible in 2023.

Time to update the spreadsheets . . .
   255. Jaack Posted: December 13, 2021 at 11:27 PM (#6057284)
Just looking, Cole Hamels also becomes eligible in 2025, assuming he doesn't play again. Which seems like a pretty good guess at this point.
   256. bachslunch Posted: December 14, 2021 at 02:19 PM (#6057353)
@250: I believe I've done the best job I'm capable of. If the consensus here is that I have not, I will delete my ballot and leave for good.

I am happy to have my participation this year voted on in some kind of systematic fashion -- and if a sizable number of the group here feel my ballot should be removed, I'll be happy to do so. Please let me know.
   257. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 14, 2021 at 06:30 PM (#6057389)
@256

I don't think it's a personal question of whether you've done your best work. I think it is more properly framed as a question of whether some of your choices are constitutional or not---as in the HOM constitution, I don't mean your first amendment rights. ;)

I'd suggest that Rob Wood and Joe Dimino should weigh in here on questions of whether we are expected to include the AA and NA in our deliberations, whether war credit or other forms of credit are an expectation (or one that requires some explaining if not done), and whether we are at liberty to simply close the books on the Negro Leagues. Re the latter, there's a ton of new information simply among my MLEs, which have been updated a couple times this year alone.

I'm not saying, "YOU'RE WRONG!!!" I'd just like for those with a sounder knowledge of the HOM constitution to add their opinion before we get too far down the road.
   258. Howie Menckel Posted: December 14, 2021 at 08:16 PM (#6057392)
I believe I've done the best job I'm capable of. If the consensus here is that I have not, I will delete my ballot and leave for good.

I don't see this as a nuclear issue, frankly, and believe there is a solution - granting that communication on the internet is sometimes difficult to handle. over the years, it has not been unusual for one poster to raise an issue with another's post. the tone isn't necessarily hostile; perhaps more like debating back-and-forth, not personal.

there aren't that many Negro Leaguers left who still get any votes, iirc.
if you look over those, especially the higher-ranked ones, and read over prelim (or now completed) ballots and consider their reasoning, feels to me as if you're succeeding. ditto for guys from 1880s AA, which as noted in some years was a strong league.

and at this point, I don't believe that too many of us who have been around for most or all 18 real years of voting are offended by the "assuming." it's just not part of the way to determine ballot selections, is all.

just my 2 cents.
   259. Rob_Wood Posted: December 14, 2021 at 08:18 PM (#6057393)
The HOM Constitution attempted to lay out the principles underlying and guiding the HOM project. Unfortunately, it was short on specific "requirements" for voters or ballots to meet.

I personally strongly encourage the use of war credit and IIRC JoeD has stated that he regrets that we did not require voters to take into account time lost to military service. Similarly, I personally am a strong proponent and advocate for minor league credit. In general I embrace MLE's that have been developed over the years (and continue to improve in scope and quality) which include minor-leaguers, Negro Leaguers, etc.

Regarding the question of which 19th century leagues should be considered by voters, I have always believed that everything should be considered. Of course, context is king. So leagues such as the NA, UA, AA and PL probably should receive a "haircut" in evaluating performance (acknowledging that the later AA was a strong league). Again, it is difficult to pin down what if any HOM voter/ballot "requirements" are applicable to this question.

I am and always will be hesitant to reject a voter/ballot. In the case of the ballot currently being discussed, there are certainly aspects that are troubling and seem to be at odds with the spirit of the Constitution but I don't think I'd reject it (or vote to reject it). Maybe the voter could take another pass at creating his ballot taking into account the feedback posted in this thread, something everybody should be open to.
   260. Chris Cobb Posted: December 14, 2021 at 08:23 PM (#6057394)
I was kind of hoping not to have this particular conversation, but since we're having it, here goes. Note that I don't have any constitutional authority, which is, as far as I know, still held by Joe Dimino as commissiioner, but this is how things look to me after consulting the constitution for reminders.

With respect to giving war credit, I believe Joe D. would say (and has said one one thread or another at some point in the last decade or thereabouts) that he wishes it had been written into the constitution (which anyone can go and read), and he sort of assumed that it was the only fair pratice, but it wasn't written into the constitution, and a number of voters don't give it. I don't agree with that choice, but I don't think there's any question of constitutionality there at all.

With respect to the Negro League players, about half of last year's electorate did not include any NeL players on their ballot, so the idea that there are no more NeL players who are electable is fairly widely held, although the fact that Ben Taylor finished in the top 10 is also strong counter-evidence. If bachslunch is willing to consider new evidence and analysis concerning NeL players that could change his assessment, then I wouldn't regard his current position as unconstitutional. In fact, he had Ben Taylor on his ballot last year, so it's clear he has been considering NeL players. This year, however, Dr. Chaleeko himself has dropped Taylor down and out as a result of his adoption of a segregation-era adjustment. If one's view last year had been that Taylor was the last serious candidate and now he's no longer a serious one, that's an evidence-based change of position. Having Taylor on my ballot this year, I don't agree with it, and I hope to present some counter-evidence in 2023 regarding Taylor's candidacy based on the Seamheads data, but I can certainly see Bachlunch's position here as a reasonable one that has developed from considering the current evidence and thus seems likely to continue to evolve as new evidence emerges.

With respect to the AA/UA/FL, there is at face value an issue with the constitution. The constitution mandates that all major league players are eligible for HoM election, so we are obligated to consider play in the major leagues. The AA, UA, and FL are defined by major league baseball as major leagues. There are absolutely no rules about how one considers play in those leagues, but it does seem to me that treating it as if it did not exist is problematic. (The NA is a more complicated case, constitutionally, as it is not recognized as a major league by major-league baseball, but the constitution makes clear that professional players from before the start of the major leagues are eligible for election, so in that sense NA play must count. How much it counts is an open question, however.) Even once one accepts the majorness of the NA, AA, UA, and FL, it is nevertheless the case that there are no serious candidates remaining who depend on credit from any of these leagues. Players who depend on credit from these leagues are still getting a few votes--Tommy Bond for the NA, Tony Mullane for the AA, Jack Quinn and Joe Tinker for the FL--but none of them are anywhere within shouting distance of election, so I don't think bachslunch's approach has any practical consequences for the HoM election.

Looking further into things, I would note that much of the NA/AA/UA/FL issue with bachlunch's ballot is a matter of phrasing. On his preliminary ballot at the start of the 2022 Ballot Discussion thread, he wrote:

"Disclosures: am basing thinking on Negro Leaguers on the 2020 and 2021 ballot discussion threads with a bit of Seamheads info. Otherwise, strong preference for BBRef WAR with some influence of OPS+ and ERA+ for the rest. Am valuing hitting prowess at C, SS, 2B, CF a bit extra, especially the first of these (have moved up catchers a notch). Being best available candidate at your position helps also. Still trying to sort out peak vs. longevity, but usually favor the latter. Fine with giving Negro League credit, not presently giving credit or debit for war, injury, illness, postseason play, or minor league service. Not systematically adjusting for season length, but am giving minimal non-systematic extra emphasis for pre-1961 players. While it's not a popular approach, am currently treating 19th century pitchers pretty much equally as post-1900 if they played most or all of their career in the NL; for now am assuming AA, NA, and UA stats are suspect." (my emphasis)

I don't think that statement of his position on the leagues as stated there appears constitutionally problematic. If one were to say, "If all of a player's big years were in the AA, and that during his time in the NL he was a good but not exceptional player, I don't consider him to be a serious candidate," that would be a pretty ordinary position on quality of play in the AA. I think that zeroing out AA/UA/FL seasons is a, might I say, unnecessarily blunt way to operationalize that position, when a seasonal discount of 50% for the UA and, say, 20% for the other leagues would lead to the same result on firmer grounds, but the position on league quality underlying both operations is the same and is a reasonable one. I would conclude, overall, then, that there isn't a constitutional problem with bachslunch's ballot.
   261. cookiedabookie Posted: December 14, 2021 at 10:00 PM (#6057399)
Last adjustment to my rankings. I've done some minor league credits and War credits that I haven't done in the past, so that changes some things. Notably, Bob Johnson jumps to second, Babe Adams at six, and Phil Rizzuto in my top 25. I also tried to adjust my formula to lean a bit more heavy on quality over quantity - not quite as far as my first few years, but more in the middle than last year. I use four different win systems, along with three WAA systems, WAR per PA/IP, how players rank in these categories all time, with catcher adjustments, and with a timeline penalty separating players pre and post integration, with a heavier penalty/bonus depending on how far from that point their careers ended. Then my final tweak is to look at how players rank all time among their position. I think I got everything out there. Here's my top 25, barring any issues I will post the 15 in the HoM ballot thread by this weekend:

1. Alex Rodriguez, SS, PHOM 2022
2. Bob Johnson, LF, PHOM 1963
3. Andy Pettitte, SP, PHOM 2020
4. Thurman Munson, C, PHOM 1985
5. Tim Hudson,SP, PHOM 2021
6. Babe Adams, SP, PHOM 1965
7. Bobby Bonds, RF, PHOM 1987
8. Buddy Bell, 3B, PHOM 1996
9. Sammy Sosa, RF, PHOM 2022
10. Joe Tinker, SS, PHOM 1926
11. Lance Berkman, LF, PHOM 2022
12. Jorge Posada, C, PHOM 2021
13. Dwight Gooden, SP, PHOM 2006
14. Roy Oswalt, SP, PHOM 2022
15. Wally Schang, C, PHOM 1937
16. Urban Shocker, SP, PHOM 1937
17. Ron Cey, 3B, PHOM 1997
18. Mark Buehrle, SP
19. Kevin Appier, SP, PHOM 2012
20. David Ortiz, 1B
21. Bobby Abreu, RF
22. Phil Rizzuto, SS, PHOM 1967
23. Willie Davis, CF, PHOM 1987
24. Robin Ventura, 3B
25. David Wright, 3B
   262. Howie Menckel Posted: December 14, 2021 at 11:22 PM (#6057403)
just want to say:

1. co-sign on 259 and 260

2. got locked out here again tonight for a few hours, so REMINDER - don't wait til Jan 6 to cast your ballot and then have BBTF gremlins lock you out. it's not the day to cast a vote, it's the LAST day to cast a vote. if at all possible, do it sooner (says a guy who is having a busy week but who hopes to post a ballot by Sunday)
   263. Jaack Posted: December 14, 2021 at 11:35 PM (#6057405)
If anyone is having trouble posting in the ballot thread - post in here and it sometimes resets!

If you can't post here, try going back a page in this thread and posting from there. That works sometimes too!
   264. DL from MN Posted: December 15, 2021 at 09:25 AM (#6057422)
Yes, if locked out find any page where you can post and it usually unlocks.
   265. bachslunch Posted: December 15, 2021 at 03:21 PM (#6057488)
Thank you for the feedback. Given what I've read so far, I plan to keep my submitted ballot as is.

Until I drastically revised my ballot later this year (after being called out heavily on it on this thread), I had Ben Taylor there consistently. The thinking was that he's the best available NeL player not in, which is likely true but not something I can sufficiently quantify without getting complained about -- especially in a hard-and-fast justified comparison of numbers that will make everyone happy. I was willing to give him benefit of the doubt before, but no longer feel I have a way to justify it.

BBRef now has WAR stats for NeL players. One way to approach this is to apply the numbers consistently here the way they fall for everyone else, position by position come what may. If I do that, Taylor falls well short among available 1B at 17.6. For better or worse, it is at least consistent with what I'm doing now and can be justified as such. Besides, as has been pointed out, there are other voters here who feel all the deserving NeL-ers are in now, so it's not as if I'm the only person who believes this is possibly the case. If all that is unacceptable, I don't what else I can do.
   266. kcgard2 Posted: December 15, 2021 at 07:53 PM (#6057525)
DL, just a comment.
I use Dan R's standard deviation adjusted WAR (when available) because he convinced me that runs/win is not a constant 10 across all of baseball history.

You're aware that bWAR and fWAR also don't consider 10 runs/win to be a constant across baseball history either, yes? bWAR uses
(RS^x)/(RS^RA^xwhere x = (runs/gm)^.285 
with an additional adjustment for player-specific performance level in season, for example. I imagine all the serious WAR systems adjust runs/win based on league run environments, at least.
   267. Howie Menckel Posted: December 15, 2021 at 10:20 PM (#6057536)
from 265

"Thank you for the feedback. Given what I've read so far, I plan to keep my submitted ballot as is."

fine by me (if that means anything)
   268. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 16, 2021 at 09:40 AM (#6057560)
I agree with the comments from the group and thank you Bachslunch for elaborating on your ballot, much appreciated and I'm also fine for the ballot to stand.
   269. progrockfan Posted: December 16, 2021 at 01:23 PM (#6057583)
My 2021 prelim. Apologies for the late posting.

Elect-me slots:

1. Alex Rodriguez. Too bad about the ‘roids, which the evidence seems to show he may have been popping throughout his career, perhaps even in his teens. But even if we knock an arbitrary 20% off his career numbers, he’s a 500-homer shortstop with speed and a decent glove, which makes him historically unique and an Inner Circle-type player.

2. Luke Easter. The yawning gaps in the statistical record make it easy to understand why he’s been overlooked, but I regard him as the #1 (non-steroid related) omission of the Halls of Fame and Merit. A-Rod clearly ranks over him this year for speed, glove, endurance, place on the defensive spectrum, and documentable accomplishments. But Big Luke’s got superior plate discipline, and may well have been the best pure power hitter ever to play the game, including Ruth, Gibson, and everyone else. I believe he likely hit more total home runs vs. all competition than Gibson, whose Hall plaque credits him with “almost 800.”

3. Bobby Abreu. I’m surprised by the lack of support I see for him on this year’s ballot, which seems to indicate an overall focus on peak over career among the HoM electorate. I’m a career guy myself, and when I look at Bobby A. I see high-level offensive consistency in every significant category: average, power, walks, basepath speed. The man’s in the top 50 all-time in times on base, which may not surprise you, but it surprised the hell out of me. Add decent D, 400 steals at 76%, and a 96% games-played rate over a 13-year stretch, and I’d take a young Abreu as the cornerstone of most any expansion team.

4. Ben Taylor. Negro Leagues play featured a cannonade of ground balls on fields of uneven quality, which I think makes Taylor’s best-ever NgL first base glove substantially more valuable than it would be in modern ball. He’s also a career .339 hitter, not a lot of power but four titles in walks for a .400 career OBP. I see the NgL’s version of Keith Hernandez, and therefore an elect-me player.

The rest of my top 15:

5. Bobby Bonds. Same placement as last year – but I could be convinced, I think, that I’m under-rating him at #5. An exceptional combination of power and speed (6x 30HR, 7x 40SB at 73%). The strikeouts (unjustly) hampered his image in his own era; a lack of durability (justly) hampers him today.

6. Hugh Duffy. The greatest defensive outfielder of the 1890s. The greatest post-season hitter of the 19th century. Holds two presumably unbreakable career records for hitting. I think the electorate is significantly under-valuing him.

7. Wally Schang. His .393 career OBP ranks second all-time at catcher. Good career longevity and brilliant defense in four World Series. Until Joe Mauer becomes eligible, I see Schang as the best catcher not in the HoM.

8. Bob Johnson. Had substantial careers both before and after his MLB playing time; given the right opportunities he might well have been a Winfield-type 3000-hit man, with less basepath speed but more walks and possibly a bit more XBH power.

9. Kenny Lofton. A monster center fielder with outstanding range and arm. A basepath blazer with 622 steals at a 79.5% rate and five stolen base titles. Not very durable, and couldn't maintain his initially very high levels of offense.

10. Phil Rizzuto. Great defense up the middle, an MVP, and a solid chunk of WWII credit – but as Bill James once wrote: “When you’re dealing with a New York player, you do have to let some of the air out of the press notices.”

11. Jeff Kent: If he’d led the league in even a single major offensive category, a positional bonus would edge him into my top ten; as it is, there’s just not quite enough there.

12. Kirby Puckett: Five 420+ putout seasons in center, some nice World Series heroics; not the hitter that Twins fans thought he was, of course, but five 200-hit seasons, two titles in total bases and a rare right-handed batting title place him comfortably above the pack.

13. Addie Joss: A sort of 19th-century Santana, among AL leaders in ERA and WHIP every year he was a regular; not nearly as dominant as Johan in the context of their respective eras. The timeline mauls his candidacy.

14. Dolf Luque. Cuba credit pushes him ahead of Tiant for me; otherwise I see their candidacies as quite similar, and Tiant didn’t make my top 15 last year.

15. George Van Haltren. A stubborn, idiosyncratic holdover for a long-time personal favorite. His runs scored stand out even in a high-scoring era: in the decade 1891-1900 he scored 136, 115, 129, 109, 113, 136, 119, 129, 118 and 114. And 40-31 as a pitcher besides!- God bless you, George, you’ll always be somewhere on my ballot.

Off my ballot:

Sal Bando. He was a plus offensive player and did lead the league in TB once, but a .760 OPS in 8200 PAs is nowhere close for me.

Buddy Bell. A good but not elite hitter, a vacuum cleaner at third. Combine the strengths of Bando and Bell into one player and you’ve got a HoM electee, but separately they fall short for me.

Lance Berkman: Seven consecutive seasons of .920+ OPS, but a sub-2000 game career.

Andy Pettite. Above-average consistency, with year after year of the same basic solid value, is a valuable asset for a pennant contender, and is the best thing Andy's got going for him. It isn’t enough for me. Probably better than Jack Morris, but not a whole lot better. Like Morris, I strongly suspect he’ll be elected to the HoF. We’re not obliged to make the same mistake.

Sammy Sosa. The corked bat. The clubhouse disruption. Ditching his team on his final day of the season. The Cubs publicly shunned him for quite a while; not sure if they still do. No thanks.

Vic Willis. Maybe I’m missing something here; the man was decent to be sure, very durable with a nice ERA, but to me essentially indistinguishable from a number of possibly worthy deadball pitchers. Got one shot at the Big Show in ’09 and lost his only decision. I honestly don’t get it. Sure, he holds the “modern era” record for single-season CG, but like many “modern era” records, that figure is surpassed many, many times by pitchers who played just a few years earlier. For me the modern era begins in 1920 with the live ball and the founding of the Negro Leagues, not 1900, which is an arbitrary line on a calendar. Willis strikes me as a HoF mistake – but as always, I’m open to discussion.
   270. DL from MN Posted: December 16, 2021 at 02:11 PM (#6057593)
9. Kenny Lofton. A monster center fielder with outstanding range and arm. A basepath blazer with 622 steals at a 79.5% rate and five stolen base titles. Not very durable, and couldn't maintain his initially very high levels of offense.

11. Jeff Kent: If he’d led the league in even a single major offensive category, a positional bonus would edge him into my top ten; as it is, there’s just not quite enough there.


We elected Lofton and Kent already.
   271. cookiedabookie Posted: December 16, 2021 at 02:28 PM (#6057599)
@progrockfan curious about your thoughts on Addie Joss vs. Lefty Gomez, Nap Rucker, Schoolboy Rowe, and Jesse Tannehill? They're all similarly short career starters who I have in the 140-160 range in my HoM candidates list. None are particularly close for me, but if I was going to pick one, it would probably come down to Rowe vs. Joss. I'm just not seeing what would separate Joss enough to get him this high on your list, especially given your comments about career vs. peak, and about Pettitte and Willis.
   272. Mark A Shirk Posted: December 16, 2021 at 03:17 PM (#6057608)
To whom it may concern,

I was wondering what the process for joining is?

I actually used to be a part of the Hall of Merit until something like 2008 or 2009 when school got in the way. I was Mark A Shirk (jschmeagol) then. I have no idea how to get into that account so my name is a bit different, but I was a part of elections from the 1930s to the late 00s.

I was hoping that I could rejoin but I did not know if there is anything that is needed for this to happen.

Thank you!

Mark Shirk
   273. Rob_Wood Posted: December 16, 2021 at 03:24 PM (#6057610)
Welcome back Mark!

There is no "process" for (re-)joining, other than what you have done above.

When you are ready you should probably post a prelim ballot in this thread, but other than that you're good to go.

   274. DL from MN Posted: December 16, 2021 at 03:34 PM (#6057613)
I was wondering what the process for joining is?


Post a prelim
   275. Mark A Shirk Posted: December 16, 2021 at 04:47 PM (#6057625)
Really glad to be back!

I am a peak value guy first and foremost. I measure peak as value over 'all-star' level, or 5 fWAR. I measure prime as value over 2 fWAR. These are the two most important components of my system, though I also take into account war years, minor league credit, and some other things as well. WAR is the first sorting mechanism, not the decider.

One note: I see that David Wright is listed as eligible even though he played in 2018 and is not on this year's ballot? If he is eligible for us, I would have him in my top 3. Also, I cannot find Andruw Jones in the plaque room nor on last year's list of results. Am I missing something? Same thing with Rap Dixon.

1) Alex Rodriguez - Arguably best SS and/or 3B of all time (no lower than 2 in each)

2) Andruw Jones - I have him top 10 in CF, best defensive CFer of all time. Still worthy even if you do not buy his showing in advanced defensive metrics

3) Sammy Sosa - Really high peak, I even hear he hit some HRs here and there.

4) Lance Berkman - An MVP caliber player 2000-4, 2006, and 2008 with some other good years sprinkled in.

5) Todd Helton - my 13th ranked 1B, really, really good at his best

6) Sal Bando - He could do just about everything

7) Thurman Munson - Let's say he doesn't get on that plane and has 5-6 average seasons. Would that really make him more meritorious?

8) Rap Dixon - Eric Davis with more length, Roberto Clemente with a bit less length. 42 for 21 just named him their top HOF candidate. Why isn't he getting more support here?

9) Jorge Posada - Great player, his only real downside is framing. I am not sure what to do with framing entirely but I am skeptical of the size of the impact.

10) Al Rosen - for 4 years, he was just about as good as any 3B ever. He has a case for minor league credit as well as war credit, which delayed his career by 3 years.

11) Elston Howard - Everything was set against him. He was black and played for an organization hesitant to break their color line, he missed two years for Korea, and then he sat behind Yogi with a manager (stengel) who loved to platoon. He finally gest his chance in his age 32 season and he has a four year run better than most we have elected.

12) Brian Giles - Underrated, his play from 2000-2005 or so was really, really good.

13) Cesar Cedeno - Most remember the supposedly wasted talent or his 1985, but he did enough in the first half of his career to merit induction for me

14) Robin Ventura - Ventura could do a bit of everything but did nothing SUPER well. However, he was basically an all-star caliber player every year from 1991 to 1999 (barring his injury riddled 1997).

15) Nomar Garciaparra - From 1997 to 2003 Nomar was as good or better than the other members of the Holy Trinity of SSs. Obviously went downhill from there but his peak warrants inclusion.

Notable Newbies:
Mark Teixeira - He falls just short, probably needed a few more good years
David Ortiz - I have him ranked 39th at 1B, a few spots below Teixeira. Its hard for a DH to rack up value and Ortiz was more a very good player than a great one
Jimmy Rollins - Not to far from my PHOM, but also not too close to this ballot. A really good player that falls just short.
Carl Crawford - If his Boston contract had gone as it was supposed to, I would probably be voting for him.
Pitchers' aren't hat interesting, though I am intrigued by Lincecum and Peavy. Relievers are not my cup of tea, though just don't provide enough value.

Way too many guys in my PHOM to list here but Gene Tenace, Bobby Bonds, Dave Bancroft, John Olerud, Darrell Porter, Jason Kendall, Dave Parker, and Willie Davis were all pretty close to this list.

We seem to be in a weird spot with pitchers. I do not really have any that were that close. I will be redoing my pitcher rankings this year but not in time for Jan. 6. I would say right now that Doc Gooden is my top pitchers. I also think that Dean and Pettite are deserving. Bill Byrd (NeL) as well. But none are too close to my 15th guy.

Final Note: I am pretty close to thinking that Jim Gilliam deserves election based on his time with the Baltimore Elite Giants. Not sure if it gets him to my top 15, but I am pretty interested in him.

Anyways, look forward to getting back into this! Let me know what you think!
   276. kcgard2 Posted: December 16, 2021 at 05:36 PM (#6057634)
Mark, Andruw jones and Todd Helton are both already elected to HOM. David Wright is eligible (token appearances rule).
   277. bachslunch Posted: December 16, 2021 at 07:55 PM (#6057653)
@275: Thanks. Note that you need to comment on anyone in the top ten left over from last time who isn't on your current ballot. In this case, we're talking Bobby Abreu, Andy Pettitte, Buddy Bell, Wally Schang, Bobby Bonds, Vic Willis, and Ben Taylor.
   278. progrockfan Posted: December 17, 2021 at 08:14 AM (#6057698)
@: "We elected Lofton and Kent already."

(sigh...) For whatever reason, I thought this was the 2021 election, not 2022 - you'll notice I headed my remarks with "2021 prelim" - and so I checked the 2010 thread to remind myself who'd been elected. D'OH! I'll fix this directly.
   279. progrockfan Posted: December 17, 2021 at 08:29 AM (#6057700)
My 2022 prelim. Some adjustment of ballot order, but none in the elect-me slots.

Elect-me slots:

1. Alex Rodriguez. Too bad about the ‘roids, which the evidence seems to show he may have been popping throughout his career, perhaps even in his teens. But even if we knock an arbitrary 20% off his career numbers, he’s a 500-homer shortstop with speed and a decent glove, which makes him historically unique and an Inner Circle-type player.

2. Luke Easter. The yawning gaps in the statistical record make it easy to understand why he’s been overlooked, but I regard him as the #1 (non-steroid related) omission of the Halls of Fame and Merit. A-Rod clearly ranks over him this year for speed, glove, endurance, place on the defensive spectrum, and documentable accomplishments. But Big Luke’s got superior plate discipline, and may well have been the best pure power hitter ever to play the game, including Ruth, Gibson, and everyone else. I believe he likely hit more total home runs vs. all competition than Gibson, whose Hall plaque credits him with “almost 800.”

3. Bobby Abreu. I’m surprised by the lack of support I see for him on this year’s ballot, which seems to indicate an overall focus on peak over career among the HoM electorate. I’m a career guy myself, and when I look at Bobby A. I see high-level offensive consistency in every significant category: average, power, walks, basepath speed. The man’s in the top 50 all-time in times on base, which may not surprise you, but it surprised the hell out of me. Add decent D, 400 steals at 76%, and a 96% games-played rate over a 13-year stretch, and I’d take a young Abreu as the cornerstone of most any expansion team.

4. Ben Taylor. Negro Leagues play featured a cannonade of ground balls on fields of uneven quality, which I think makes Taylor’s best-ever NgL first base glove substantially more valuable than it would be in modern ball. He’s also a career .339 hitter, not a lot of power but four titles in walks for a .400 career OBP. I see the NgL’s version of Keith Hernandez, and therefore an elect-me player.

The rest of my top 15:

5. Hugh Duffy. The greatest defensive outfielder of the 1890s. The greatest post-season hitter of the 19th century. Holds two presumably unbreakable career records for hitting. I think the electorate is significantly under-valuing him.

6. Bobby Bonds. I could be convinced, I think, that I’m under-rating him at #6. An exceptional combination of power and speed (6x 30HR, 7x 40SB at 73%). The strikeouts (unjustly) hampered his image in his own era; a lack of durability (justly) hampers him today.

7. Wally Schang. His .393 career OBP ranks second all-time at catcher. Good career longevity and brilliant defense in four World Series. Until Joe Mauer becomes eligible, I see Schang as the best catcher not in the HoM.

8. Bob Johnson. Had substantial careers both before and after his MLB playing time; given the right opportunities he might well have been a Winfield-type 3000-hit man, with less basepath speed but more walks and possibly a bit more XBH power.

9. Phil Rizzuto. Great defense up the middle, an MVP, and a solid chunk of WWII credit – but as Bill James once wrote: “When you’re dealing with a New York player, you do have to let some of the air out of the press notices.”

10. Kirby Puckett: Five 420+ putout seasons in center, some nice World Series heroics; not the hitter that Twins fans thought he was, of course, but five 200-hit seasons, two titles in total bases and a rare right-handed batting title place him comfortably above the pack.

11. George Van Haltren. A stubborn, idiosyncratic holdover for a long-time personal favorite. His runs scored stand out even in a high-scoring era: in the decade 1891-1900 he scored 136, 115, 129, 109, 113, 136, 119, 129, 118 and 114. And 40-31 as a pitcher besides!- God bless you, George, you’ll always be somewhere on my ballot.

12. Addie Joss: A sort of 19th-century Santana, among AL leaders in ERA and WHIP every year he was a regular; not nearly as dominant as Johan in the context of their respective eras. The timeline mauls his candidacy.

13. David Ortiz. A great hitter, obviously, but played only 278 of 2028 games in the field, and badly at that – and I’m chary about DH-only candidates. Edgar Martinez played over twice as many games in the field with a better glove. Big Papi did smoke in the Big Show, and I’ll acknowledge that I might be severely under-rating him.

14. Dolf Luque. Cuba credit pushes him ahead of Tiant for me; otherwise I see their candidacies as quite similar, and Tiant didn’t make my top 15 in 2020.

15. Thurman Munson. I suspect at least a partial illusion of context on his superficially excellent counting stats. A decent player – everyone on my ballot was a decent player – but many steps behind Mauer and Schang in my book.

Off my ballot:

Sal Bando. He was a plus offensive player and did lead the league in TB once, but a .760 OPS in 8200 PAs is nowhere close for me.

Buddy Bell. A good but not elite hitter, a vacuum cleaner at third. Combine the strengths of Bando and Bell into one player and you’ve got a HoM electee, but separately they fall short for me.

Lance Berkman
: Seven consecutive seasons of .920+ OPS, but a sub-2000 game career.

Andy Pettite. Above-average consistency, with year after year of the same basic solid value, is a valuable asset for a pennant contender, and is the best thing Andy's got going for him. It isn’t enough for me. Probably better than Jack Morris, but not a whole lot better. Like Morris, I strongly suspect he’ll be elected to the HoF. We’re not obliged to make the same mistake.

Sammy Sosa. The corked bat. The clubhouse disruption. Ditching his team on his final day of the season. The Cubs publicly shunned him for quite a while; not sure if they still do. No thanks.

Vic Willis. Maybe I’m missing something here; the man was decent to be sure, very durable with a nice ERA, but to me essentially indistinguishable from a number of possibly worthy deadball pitchers. Got one shot at the Big Show in ’09 and lost his only decision. I honestly don’t get it. Sure, he holds the “modern era” record for single-season CG, but like many “modern era” records, that figure is surpassed many, many times by pitchers who played just a few years earlier. For me the modern era begins in 1920 with the live ball and the founding of the Negro Leagues, not 1900, which is an arbitrary line on a calendar. Willis strikes me as a HoF mistake – but as always, I’m open to discussion.
   280. progrockfan Posted: December 17, 2021 at 09:00 AM (#6057707)
@cookiedabookie: "@progrockfan curious about your thoughts on Addie Joss vs. Lefty Gomez, Nap Rucker, Schoolboy Rowe, and Jesse Tannehill? They're all similarly short career starters who I have in the 140-160 range in my HoM candidates list. None are particularly close for me, but if I was going to pick one, it would probably come down to Rowe vs. Joss. I'm just not seeing what would separate Joss enough to get him this high on your list, especially given your comments about career vs. peak, and about Pettitte and Willis."

A perceptive question. My ballot place for Joss rests on several interconnected factors:

* While I recognize the statistical illusions inherent in analysis of pitchers whose careers are centered in the low-offense decade 1900-09, Joss does nonetheless hold the career record for lowest WHIP – and that's a very important record, possibly a pitcher's single most important quality indicator.

* I definitely lean career, but that doesn't mean I have to ignore significant peaks, and the entirety of Joss's short career was essentially a sustained 9-year peak, including two ERA titles, two WHIP titles, and two seasons with zero home runs allowed. Concomitantly, he has no decline phase. He never had a losing season, never allowed a hit per inning. His teams were 160-97 (.623) in games where he earned the decision, 554-534 (.509) in games he didn’t – quite a gap.

* We're obliged to consider all eras in constructing our ballots. There was a degree of historical support for Joss on past HoM ballot threads (all of which I think I've read at this point), and my ballot place is in part an acknowledgement of that.

Now, please note that I'm not putting him anywhere near an elect-me slot, because I acknowledge the illusions; but I do think these factors, in combination, place him solidly above Rucker, Rowe and Tannehill. Gomez is frankly a tougher argument for me, and with only two pitchers on my ballot, I might buy the proposition that I’m underrating him.
   281. Mark A Shirk Posted: December 17, 2021 at 03:24 PM (#6057775)
"Bobby Abreu, Andy Pettitte, Buddy Bell, Wally Schang, Bobby Bonds, Vic Willis, and Ben Taylor."

Pettitte - I did spean briefly about him, I think he belongs in the HOM but probably ranks around number 20-25 for me.

Bobby Bonds - May now be #15 with Todd Helton elected

Buddy Bell - Belong in the HOM in the 20-25 range for me. not ranked because he has a low peak vs. the other candidates. But worthy of induction

Wally Schang - Best case for him is top catcher 1900-1930 or so (though I prefer bresnahan) but he was never a star player, just an above average one for a long time

Vic Willis - Decent pitcher for a while but never a great one and his career wasn't that long. A bit of a tweener

Ben Taylor - Not the best NeL guy that hasn't been elected, long time 1B but never a great player. A Mickey Vernon type.

So Wright goes where Andruw Jones was (why isn't he in plaque room?) Helton drops off and Bonds goes into #15.

Hope that answers questions!

   282. kcgard2 Posted: December 17, 2021 at 03:28 PM (#6057777)
Mark, it's interesting you don't think a single pitcher is close to the ballot. Being obviously a pure peak voter (plus Elston Howard), that seems odd to me. No looks at Oswalt, Sam McDowell, Cliff Lee, Kevin Appier? Are you purely fWAR? It looks like these guys have peaks/primes at least as good as some on your ballot.
   283. kcgard2 Posted: December 17, 2021 at 03:31 PM (#6057778)
I think the plaque room on BBTF is running against page length limits, which is one reason why maybe a dozen players are missing from there.
   284. DL from MN Posted: December 17, 2021 at 03:49 PM (#6057783)
I didn't update the plaque room. If nobody else has, there's your answer.

This is more likely to be updated

https://krisgardner6.wixsite.com/bbtf-hall-of-merit/plaque-room
   285. bachslunch Posted: December 17, 2021 at 04:12 PM (#6057786)
Thanks, Mark.
   286. Chris Cobb Posted: December 17, 2021 at 11:56 PM (#6057831)
progrockfan wrote re Addie Joss: * While I recognize the statistical illusions inherent in analysis of pitchers whose careers are centered in the low-offense decade 1900-09, Joss does nonetheless hold the career record for lowest WHIP – and that's a very important record, possibly a pitcher's single most important quality indicator.

It's worth keeping in mind that there are two statistical illusions here: one is created by the low-offense context. The other is created by the use of a career rate stat without taking career length into account. Joss holds the career record, yes, but he actually doesn't hold the record for lowest WHIP over 2327 consecutive IP.

From 1906 through 1912, Ed Walsh threw 2526.3 innings. Over that stretch, his WHIP was .967, edging past Joss's rate.
From 1902-08, Cy Young threw Young 2357 innings at .969 WHIP, just behind Joss.

But from 1910-18, Walter Johnson allowed only .950 WHIP over 3137.3 innings! He achieved a rate much lower than Joss's during a period when offense was up a bit from its nadir during the second half of the 19-aughts. This is, I believe, the real #1 stretch of walk-and-hit suppression of all time.

The only other pitcher to achieve a WHIP under 1.0 over a stretch of more than 3000 innings was Cy Young, who had a .983 WHIP from 1901-09, a period in which he threw 3022.7 innings.
   287. progrockfan Posted: December 18, 2021 at 09:33 AM (#6057844)
All excellent points, Chris.

May I point out that Walsh, Young and Johnson are all in the Halls of Fame and Merit. Joss is not, and I think that's proper and correct, but the fact remains that for nine seasons Joss put up a performance that stands with the best that this trio of Hall electees could offer.

Joss also ranks #2 all-time in career ERA to Walsh. I didn't mention that in my answer to @cookiedabookie's question because a) the sample size is small, and b) I think the illusions surrounding his era pertain even more strongly to ERA than they do to WHIP. Still, in his New Historical Abstract, Mr. James ranked Joss's ERA tenth-best all time after adjusting for era. Gomez, Rucker, Rowe and Tannehill come nowhere near that list.

I agree with your point that Johnson's 1910-18 stretch is "the real #1 stretch of walk-and-hit suppression of all time." But of course, Walter was 20x the pitcher that Joss was. Walter would probably be #1 on 97 out of 100 historical HoM ballots; Joss is #12 on mine.

* * *

To diversify the digression:

I'd still take Lefty Grove over Walter as the greatest MLB pitcher of all time.

* Johnson won five ERA titles, four of them in the dead-ball era; Grove won nine, best all-time and all in the live-ball era. Huge edge to Grove.

* Johnson won six WHIP titles, Grove five - essentially a draw.

* Johnson won 417 games to Grove's 300 - but Grove won another 108 for a high minor-league team that was as good as most MLB teans of its era, which narrows the gap considerably. Edge to Walter, but not that far from a draw.

* Walter led in W-L% twice; Grove led five times, best all-time, plus once more for Baltimore. Big edge to Grove.

* Walter has an enormous 2000 IP edge, but that largely correlates to the era in which he pitched for most of his career; he pitched 300+ innings nine times in the dead-ball era, never once in the live-ball era. With 3900 IP Grove is hardly a wimp, and then you've got to add on at least some consideration for his 1200 IP for Baltimore. A definite advantage for Walter, but not as big an advantage as I sometimes see his boosters claim.

* Superficially, Walter seems to have a big edge as a strikeout pitcher, winning 12 titles to Grove's seven - but Lefty also won four titles for Baltimore; and again, Walter's fat strikeout totals came hand-in-hand with his fat dead-ball innings-pitched totals; he was essentially a modern fireballer throwing to hitters who didn't yet understand how to undercut a hard-thrown ball. Walter does have the edge here, but it's narrow.

* Grove was far more dominant in the Big Show, 4-2, 1.75 vs. 3-3, 2.52. Big edge to Grove.

In sum, Walter has a relatively minor edge in power pitching, a bigger edge in longevity; Grove was considerably more dominant in his own time, both regular- and post-season, and I select him as the greatest MLB picher ever.

I'll still take Satchel over both.

You can't really go wrong with any of the three. By my analysis, the three greatest pitchers ever are 1. Satch, 2. Lefty, 3. Walter. You can quibble over the precise ordering, but I'm reasonably certain it's those three.

I'd put Roger into the mix as well - except that Debbie Clemens admitted in open court to injecting steroids provided by Brian McNamee, and I think it defies commmon sense to think that Roger stayed clean while his wife juiced up with 'roids provided by the #1 source for cheatin' Yankees. I don't boycott for steroids, and Roger is a no-doubt, no-brain Inner Circle immortal - but when it comes to selecting the GOAT, I do consider steroid abuse a fundamental disqualifier.

Discuss. ;)
   288. Howie Menckel Posted: December 18, 2021 at 11:30 AM (#6057849)
never too old for a prelim (in case I missed something)

Have looked through the 2022 Ballot Discussion, and as always some players move a bit in response to the analysis. Interesting takes on Appier, Hershiser, Phillips, Campaneris, and others.

1. ALEX RODRIGUEZ - Where to begin? MVP best results of 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 6 - that works as a prime lol. 14 ASG, 2 GG at SS, led AL in Offensive WAR 9 times (!), WAR position players 6 times, WAR 5 times. Durable? 700 PA 6 times. Absolutely carried NYY to its last (ever?) WS title in 2009 with a silly 6 HR, 18 RBI in 51 AB. Led AL in HR 5 times in a span of 7 years, also has 5 R titles. 329 SB at 81 percent clip. What else is there to say?

2. FRED MCGRIFF – Flipflops with Berkman this year. McGriff 134 OPS+ in 10174 PA to Palmeiro’s 132 in 12046 PA to Sheffield's 140 in 10947 PA - and Berkman's 144 in 7814. I really like Crime Dog's 157-166-153-147-166-143-157 peak from 1998-94, all in 600+ PA or equivalent. Underrated.

3. LANCE BERKMAN - Fascinating battle with Crime Dog, and Berkman's peak is a bit peakier. But Dog just has too many more PA to miss out in the head-to-head.

4. JORGE POSADA - Sticking with him up high. My team will outhit your team (ballot!) I know about the defense. I also know about OPS+s of 153-144-139-131-125 and career 121. Either the Yankees would have won 115 games a year (at least) if Posada and Jeter could field, or we may be overrating the cost of Posada's defensive shortcomings. This guy had eight straight seasons of 540+ PA, which is amazing. Like Kent, in some respects.

5. BOB JOHNSON - I like this sort of consistency over a long span, though I'd hardly say he's a 'must-elect.' Interesting discussion in 2020 thread if he got a slight career delay from native American status, and this year re possible minor league credit. Sort of the Joe Gordon of OFs in career shape, or a slightly longer and flatter version of Ralph Kiner. Or McGriff without the tail, offensively. I am concerned by 1944 being his highest OPS+; seems like he took advantage of the weak competition; but talk of PCL credit reassures me. Has more than a decade's worth of excellent hitting, for a prime that I like better than, say, many key holdovers have.

6. BOB ELLIOTT - Good to see him at least occasionally mentioned in discussions starting about 10-12 'years' back, at least. A lost cause - but he's my lost cause - so I have to vote as long as I believe. Six seasons of at least 134 OPS+, ALL of them as a 3B (compare: Ventura never had any that high, Bell had only one higher). Wish he'd played all 3B and not much OF, but c'est le vie - Joe Sewell seemed to get treated as a full SS by some back in the day. Beats out HOMer Boyer for me and compares remarkably well with HOMer Santo as a hitter. Better hitter than HOMer Hack as well, and better than HOMer DaEvans (see those guys' threads for details).

7. TOMMY BRIDGES - Go 8 to 10 seasons deep, and he catches up to peakier rivals (not to mention he deserves WW II credit).

ERA+, full seasons
Pettitte - 177 156 132* 129 112 112 111 111 111 (111) 110 106 104 100 097
KAppier - 179 164 139 137 137 131 123 121 116 113 104 (094)
Hudson - 165 145 138 137* 131 129 129 121 119 113 110 097 092
Buehrle - 146 144 140 130 122 121 121 121 112 112 109 108 100 099 095
ViWillis - 165 154 153 131 128 115 111 109 104 098 096 096 089
Walters - 170 154 146 146 141 127 127 123 120* 107 103 094 092 090
Bridges - 146 144 141 140 139 139 137 133 119 118 115 111* 091

(*asterisks are combining two half-seasons into one figure)

8. TIM HUDSON - Did not see that coming last year, and he holds his ground. Holds his own in peak and prime against predecessors and doesn't lose much on the back end, ultimately.

9. ANDY PETTITTE - I didn't realize that he will have to be on my annual consideration list, but turns out he earned it. Better peak than I had realized gets him a ballot slot. Deserves a bonus 115 or so for postseason on the above chart.

10. KEVIN APPIER - "Was blind, but now, I see..." Peakier than Pettitte and THudson, which is not a knock on either of them. reminder that 1994 and 1995 were shortened seasons helped and was even more enthused; but only in top 10 in IP twice (5th and 8th, though in two of his best years for bonus points) slips him just below the other two. there's always next year!

11. DAVID ORTIZ - 141 OPS+ in 10091 PA (10 more than Abreu). A DH really has to smack that apple to get on a ballot, but he clearly did.

12. BOB ABREU - RF, looong career, 128 OPS+ in 10081 PA. only one Gold Glove and nobody seems to be complaining about that. Baserunning really helps, hence he'll stay on my radar.

13. DAVID WRIGHT - Years as a regular, OPS+ ('49' being 149 etc)
Wright - 156 49 44 42 40 33 31 24 01
SRolen - 158 39 38 29 29 28 26 26 21 20
Both 3Bs with shortish careers. Rolen waltzed to election in his first try in 2018. Better fielder, but Wright could handle the hot corner reasonably well.

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

15. WALLY SCHANG - He keeps bouncing on and off my ballot. May need others to carry his water well enough to get me back on board for good, but I felt a little more love this year.

MANDATORY MENTIONS

BUDDY BELL - One of a number of 3B guys from this era, and I prefer Sal Bando (heck, I once preferred Ron Cey but that may have been on overbid). Solid all-around player and 1980-84 peak is a very strong offense-defense case. I just don't see enough beyond that, though I appreciate why he gets some love.

SAL BANDO - See Bell, Buddy. SS vs 3B discussion the past two years intrigued me; might get either or both on my ballot next year.

BOBBY BONDS - 8090 PA, and best OPS+ is 151. A 130 to 143 six other times, which is nice - but the strong prime is just not quite long enough for an OF.

BEN TAYLOR - Long career, excellent fielder, consistent player. I'm not 100 pct sold on the hitting MLEs, but very good reputation and the reevaluation has made me comfortable enough to place in a ballot slot at times. It is true we're not short on players from his era.

VIC WILLIS - Really got hurt for me when I saw that Tim Hudson and now Kevin Appier were better.

OTHERS OF INTEREST

PHIL RIZZUTO - I'll grant a lot of war credit and stipulate to the great, great fielding. But even 3 war credit years gets him only to 13 main years, and the fielding made him above-average overall but not excellent in most seasons. Has danced on and off my ballot over the years.

BUCKY WALTERS - Have voted for him often. Seemed to get almost Palmer-like defensive support, without enough super-stats to make that irrelevant. Proved his mettle outside of 'war years.' Bob Lemon-esque, though I wasn't a big fan there.

DAVE CONCEPCION - Peak is as good or better than Nellie Fox's; not quite as consistent, but a slick fielder and a very useful offensive weapon many times. Not fully buying the "other teams were stupid enough to play ciphers at the position, so give Davey bonus points" argument; that helped the Reds win pennants, but Concepcion can't get full credit for that stupidity. And the good SSs were playing 3B, actually, we are now realizing.

BERT CAMPANERIS - This is a promotion for Dagoberto in my rankings; will think about him more next year. Part-time 2B-3B with a 101 OPS+ for Yankees at age 41 is irrelevant, but fun. Debuted with Hawk Harrelson and closed with Don Mattingly.

DON NEWCOMBE – A passionate, detailed Newcombe backer might also get me there someday - there were some efforts on the 2020 chatter in particular. I think he had the skills, but he didn’t quite actually produce quite enough. I think.

   289. progrockfan Posted: December 18, 2021 at 05:32 PM (#6057912)
@Bleed the Freak: Just noticed your comment in the ballot thread, which I would've flagged had it appeared here first:

"Ben Taylor - I don't think quite enough defense to be ballot worthy, maybe PHOM level."

Contemporary observers and modern experts are unanimous in declaring Taylor the greatest defensive first baseman in NgL history. I have a lot of respect for the internal logic of your ballots, so this isn't so much a challenge as a question: What level of defense beyond "best-ever in NgL history" would be necessary to make your ballot? Do you perhaps feel there was never a truly great defensive 1B in the league's history?

I don't necessarily expect you to change your ballot - I'm just genuinely curious as to your logic here.
   290. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 18, 2021 at 06:21 PM (#6057918)
Walter has an enormous 2000 IP edge, but that largely correlates to the era in which he pitched for most of his career; he pitched 300+ innings nine times in the dead-ball era, never once in the live-ball era. With 3900 IP Grove is hardly a wimp, and then you've got to add on at least some consideration for his 1200 IP for Baltimore. A definite advantage for Walter, but not as big an advantage as I sometimes see his boosters claim.

OK, but if we're talking about league leads, Walter led the AL in IP five times; Grove never did.

To your other points... winning percentage, for real? Grove, you may have heard, played for some pretty good teams. Walter, not so much. Grove's postseason numbers were also put up when he was at his absolute best; Walter was somewhat past his prime by the time he made the Series.
   291. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 18, 2021 at 07:49 PM (#6057927)
"Ben Taylor - I don't think quite enough defense to be ballot worthy, maybe PHOM level."

Contemporary observers and modern experts are unanimous in declaring Taylor the greatest defensive first baseman in NgL history. I have a lot of respect for the internal logic of your ballots, so this isn't so much a challenge as a question: What level of defense beyond "best-ever in NgL history" would be necessary to make your ballot? Do you perhaps feel there was never a truly great defensive 1B in the league's history?

I don't necessarily expect you to change your ballot - I'm just genuinely curious as to your logic here.


Good call prf, poor phrasing, Taylor I don't believe had enough offense to match his elite defense.

As to those asking on Joss, I will point out he has a large gap in RA+ vs ERA+, so looks to have benefited from unearned runs compared to the average pitcher of his time. His rates are still REALLY impressive, but he lacks in-season durability compared to his peers as well, and with the short career, it's enough to keep him off my radar.

   292. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 18, 2021 at 07:52 PM (#6057928)
Howie Menckel Posted: December 18, 2021 at 11:30 AM (#6057849)
never too old for a prelim (in case I missed something)

2. FRED MCGRIFF – Flipflops with Berkman this year. McGriff 134 OPS+ in 10174 PA to Palmeiro’s 132 in 12046 PA to Sheffield's 140 in 10947 PA - and Berkman's 144 in 7814. I really like Crime Dog's 157-166-153-147-166-143-157 peak from 1998-94, all in 600+ PA or equivalent. Underrated.

11. DAVID ORTIZ - 141 OPS+ in 10091 PA (10 more than Abreu). A DH really has to smack that apple to get on a ballot, but he clearly did.


With the quote on OPS+, I thought I'd ask, Ortiz is 7 points ahead of McGriff, while Ortiz was almost strictly a DH, McGriff was a below average if not bad fielder and baserunner. Both were plus in the playoffs, though Ortiz was mammoth by comparison. Curious on your thoughts, thanks Howie!
   293. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 18, 2021 at 08:05 PM (#6057930)
 279. progrockfan Posted: December 17, 2021 at 08:29 AM (#6057700)

Andy Pettite. Above-average consistency, with year after year of the same basic solid value, is a valuable asset for a pennant contender, and is the best thing Andy's got going for him. It isn’t enough for me. Probably better than Jack Morris, but not a whole lot better. Like Morris, I strongly suspect he’ll be elected to the HoF. We’re not obliged to make the same mistake.


Name / Innings / ERA - / FIP -
AP: 3316/86/83
JM: 3824/95/95

AP: 3593/86/83 - adding Pettite's 276 playoff innings, ERA matched his regular-season level.
JM: 3916/95/95 - adding Morris 92 playoff innings, ERA matched his regular-season level.
JM: 3622/93/95 - removing Morris final two seasons of below replacement RA/9 pitching to match Pettite's workload.

I don't see how these two are comparable, Pettite had to deal with the sink hole that was the Yankees defense, while Morris enjoyed the delights of Whitaker and Trammell aiding his side.

Pettite's 276 playoff high stress innings are a big deal to his candidacy of being just another guy to vault near the top of my holdover ballot contenders, do you give him any bump for the playoffs? I think especially with pitching, Pettite could have potentially thrown another regular season without having this much playoff mileage.
   294. Howie Menckel Posted: December 18, 2021 at 08:21 PM (#6057934)
Ortiz is 7 points ahead of McGriff, while Ortiz was almost strictly a DH, McGriff was a below average if not bad fielder and baserunner. Both were plus in the playoffs, though Ortiz was mammoth by comparison.

yes, it's a fair question.

I realize McGriff was no great shakes at 1B, but as others have noted, the Red Sox' determination to keep Ortiz at DH was so extreme that Manny Ramirez - who makes McGriff look like Keith Hernandez! - played so much in the field, among others.

McGriff also was perceived as valuable by several NL teams, and I doubt Ortiz ever would have been.

overall, I seem to be more of a 'friend' of Ortiz than a lot of others here, fwiw.
:)
   295. progrockfan Posted: December 19, 2021 at 09:53 AM (#6057972)
Excellent debates - which is what I was hoping for when I posted. Some fearsome baseball brains around here.

@: "If we're talking about league leads, Walter led the AL in IP five times; Grove never did."

Correct - which is one reason I acknowledge Walter as having a significant edge in durability. Again, though, all of his league-leading performances came in dead-ball play; not as much strain on the arm in those days, hence 300+ inning seasons instead of 200+.

Please don't misunderstand: I'm not knocking Walter; he was once of the more durable pichers of all time, which obviously counts strongly in his favor, and he definitely has a durability edge on Lefty.

All I'm saying is that direct comparison of Walter's 5900 innings vs. Lefty's 3900 is a) distorted by dead-ball vs. live-ball context, and b) (while I recognize them as not being directly equivalent) missing the context of Lefty's 1200 innings for Baltimore (including two 300+-inning seasons).

All in all, though, your point is well taken.

@: "Winning percentage, for real? Grove, you may have heard, played for some pretty good teams. Walter, not so much."

I agree that Walter's career .599 W-L% is very impressive considering the quality of his teams. But as Grove's is .680, and as Grove also out-piched his teams by wide margins, it's hard to construe this as an edge for Walter.

When a player is the all-time leader in something, I figure that counts in his favor. By team success, the all-time leader in W-L% should absolutely be someone like Whitey Ford (11 trips to the Series), not Grove (3 trips). Grove has not only the most W-L% titles, but also the best winning percentage of any long-career pitcher. How can that not count in his favor? It's not nearly as significant as, say, his ERA titles, but I figure it's got to count for something.

@: "Grove's postseason numbers were also put up when he was at his absolute best; Walter was somewhat past his prime by the time he made the Series."

I dunno; Walter was older to be sure, but he did win the AL MVP in '24 and led the league in K/BB in '25. I might in fact argue that in context, '24 was possibly Walter's best season - which is a hell of a testament to the man's ability to make the transition to live-ball. Also, I'm not saying Walter wasn't good in the playoffs; he was always good, regular- and post-season. I merely posit that Lefty was beyond good, into the zone of dominance.

A crude study (which is frankly all I have time for) for context:

In the '24 playoffs, the AL ERA was 4.23; Walter beat that by -1.23 (29%); in '25 it was 4.39, which Walter beat by a scintillating -2.31 (52%).

In '29 the AL ERA was 4.24, which Lefty beat by, um, -4.24 (100%). In '30 it was 4.65, which Lefty beat by -3.23 (69%); in '31 it was 4.38, which Lefty beat by "just" 1.96 (45%).

Overall, adjusting for innings pitched, in Series play Walter beat his league ERAs by an excellent 42%; Lefty beat his by a dominant 60%.

Other indicators agree:

* Lefty's WHIP was 1.013, Walter's was 1.420.
* Lefty allowed less than a hit per inning (8.1 H/9); Walter allowed more than a hit per inning (10.1 H/9).
* Lefty allowed zero home runs in 51.1 innings; Walter allowed 4 in 50.0.

Again, the point isn't that Walter wasn't good in the playoffs; he was bloody good. I've not got a bad word to say about Walter. Rather, the point is that Lefty was quite a lot better - and I can't really see any way to dispute that.

@: "I don't see how [Pettite and Morris] are comparable, Pettite had to deal with the sink hole that was the Yankees defense, while Morris enjoyed the delights of Whitaker and Trammell aiding his side."

True and undisputable. I did, and do, acknowledge that Pettite is a superior candidate. He just doesn't have anything that I'd recognize as a significant chit beyond his admirable durability and consistency - which, by the way, carries over into the postseason, where his performance is basically a replica of his regular season performance. And since his regular season performance is above-average, that's a definite plus for him.

I dunno, maybe I am underrating him... I generally shy away from players & pitchers who don't have some form of peak to show. Andy's got the one title in wins, which is OK but not a huge deal, and that's it. Compare him to Abreu: not only was Abreu farther above the league average as a performer, he also earned a title in doubles, a title in triples, a title in walks - nothing overwhelming, but something. Andy's lacking that. I hesitate to vote for any pitcher who never once led his league in ERA, WHIP, SO, or SO/W - which may represent an analytical weakness on my part, but there it is.




   296. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 19, 2021 at 12:31 PM (#6057986)
Thanks prog, I'll note Pettite did lead in championship WPA for the 2005 NL as a valuable leader board win : )
   297. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 19, 2021 at 12:34 PM (#6057987)
I dunno; Walter was older to be sure, but he did win the AL MVP in '24 and led the league in K/BB in '25.

I mean, sure? Walter won the MVP in '24 because (a) he was the best player on the team that won the pennant, and (b) the MVP voting rules at the time didn't allow prior winners to be chosen again, so the obvious best player in the league wasn't eligible. Not saying he wasn't still good; he clearly was. But he was no longer the titan who'd dominated the game for over a decade.

To put it differently, Grove's postseasons came when he was inarguably the best pitcher in baseball. Johnson's came when he inarguably wasn't.

Grove is obviously great as well, and I certainly don't mean to imply otherwise. I will say that his bizarrely dreadful 1934 season is a bit of a fly in the ointment for me; Walter had both injuries and comparative down years, but he never did THAT in the middle of his prime. It's not the hugest deal, but it sticks out when we're looking for a GOAT.

Also, and this is just a weird historical note that doesn't affect my view of him in either direction, Grove was used purely as a reliever in the '29 Series; the Cubs had a heavily right-handed lineup so Mack went with his right-handed starters.
   298. progrockfan Posted: December 19, 2021 at 01:37 PM (#6058001)
@: "Grove's postseasons came when he was inarguably the best pitcher in baseball. Johnson's came when he inarguably wasn't."

Can't agree if we're talking about '24. In my view Walter was comfortably the finest pitcher in the AL. Dazzy Vance was better overall - he had a better ERA and WHIP (though in a lower R/G context) and was a more dominant strikeout pitcher (though Walter was stil the best in the AL). But given his track record, I'll bet - without, I admit, doing the newspaper lookups, 'cos I don't have the time - that few if any observers inside baseball would've agreed that Walter "inarguably wasn't" the best around. We have a superior hindsight view, and I concede that I'd rank him #2 to Dazzy for '24 - but damn! Walter was mighty fine that year.

@: "[Grove's] bizarrely dreadful 1934 season (he had a sore arm, so it's not too bizarre) is a bit of a fly in the ointment for me; Walter had both injuries and comparative down years, but he never did THAT in the middle of his prime. It's not the hugest deal, but it sticks out when we're looking for a GOAT."

Yeah, I'm obliged to concede this point.

In thinking through the ramifications of your observation, Walter was more or less the Eddie Collins of pitchers; I always thought it was Spahn - but Walter was actually more consistent.

Mind, Satch had a similar career blip in '38, and for the same reason: arm trouble. And I'll still take Satch over Lefty or Walter as the GOAT. My forthcoming book argues this proposition in detail.
   299. progrockfan Posted: December 20, 2021 at 07:26 AM (#6058046)
Walter was older to be sure, but he did win the AL MVP in '24 and led the league in K/BB in '25.
Walter won the MVP in '24 because (a) he was the best player on the team that won the pennant, and (b) the MVP voting rules at the time didn't allow prior winners to be chosen again, so the obvious best player in the league wasn't eligible. Not saying he wasn't still good; he clearly was. But he was no longer the titan who'd dominated the game for over a decade.
Eric, you were right to call me on this. I know what I wanted to say, but I phrased it badly.

Let me try again:

Walter's most dominant stretch was, I think, correctly identified by Chris Cobb as 1910-18. His 1924, while awesome, doesn't stand up to the levels he reached back then. His 1913, especially, is eye-wateringly brilliant, maybe the greatest season any pitcher ever had, much greater than 1924.

So here's what I was trying to say:

Walter awes me more than any other MLB pitcher - and the key reason is 1924.

Or, to put it another way: I'm pretty sure the three greatest pitchers ever are Satch, Lefty, and Walter. I'm also reasonably confident that Satch ranks #1. But I'm definitely open to the proposition that Walter, and not Lefty, is the greatest ever in MLB. My analysis says Lefty, but strong points in Walter's favor have been raised in this thread, and I don't dismiss them lightly. (In fact, I'll throw in another two: Walter was a much better hitter than Lefty - and, given the nature of Lefty's delivery, I'm assuming Walter was a better fielder too.) But if there's any single factor that might persuade me that Walter was in fact the #1 MLB pitcher ever, it would have to be 1924.

Let me explain:

Take a look at the yearly leaders for ERA before and after the advent of the live-ball era. They're totally separate lists, no crossover at all - except for Walter in 1924.

Now look at the leaders in wins. Same deal: Walter, and Walter only, maintains his dominanace into the live-ball era.

WHIP is a slightly different proposition; Babe Adams straddles the line with three titles, 1919-20-21, and Pete Alexander's control actually seems to improve in the live-ball era, with WHIP titles in '23. '26 and '27. So Walter has competition in this category of excellence - and yet, here he is again, one of only three pitchers who managed to cross the line.

For me, 1924 is one of the great outlier seasons in baseball history, perhaps the greatest. This veteran warrior, with 4000 innings of strain already on his arm, dominated the new-style AL and awed his contemporaries. And he awes me too.

That's what I was trying to say when I wrote that "in context, '24 was possibly Walter's best season ." I hope that clears up my intent, Eric. Please keep calling me on bad phraseology and logic. This place sharpens my brain better than a whetstone.
   300. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 20, 2021 at 11:04 AM (#6058062)
That makes sense, thanks for the clarification. Amusingly enough (since I was standing up for Walter earlier), I'll argue that Alexander made the transition almost exactly as well as Walter did; for instance, he missed the league ERA title by 5 points in 1927, and the pitcher who beat him (Ray Kremer) threw 42 fewer innings.

One of my ongoing projects (which sadly is not complete yet and therefore not ready to fully introduce to the HOM discussion; maybe next year) is a daily ranking of starting pitchers - basically this idea from Bill James except that I've revamped his method considerably and am also going back to 1901 instead of starting in 1990. I do have the '20s complete, and Alexander spends almost exactly as much time at #1 during the decade as Johnson does - more, if you leave out the 1920 season (when the rankings are still heavily influenced by Johnson's dominant 1918-19).

Of course, saying that two people did something well instead of one doesn't exactly diminish the accomplishment all that much; it's impressive for both of them.
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