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Thursday, January 06, 2022

2023 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion

2023 (December 2022)—elect 3

Top 10 Returning Players
Lance Berkman, Buddy Bell, Thurman Munson, Sal Bando, Bobby Bonds, David Ortiz, Ben Taylor, Vic Willis, Bob Johnson, Tommy John

Newly Eligible Players

Carlos Beltran
John Lackey
Jered Weaver
Jacoby Ellsbury
Jhonny Peralta
Matt Cain
Jayson Werth
J.J. Hardy
Mike Napoli
R.A. Dickey

DL from MN Posted: January 06, 2022 at 06:20 PM | 375 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   201. Bleed the Freak Posted: September 04, 2022 at 12:16 PM (#6094452)
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   202. Bleed the Freak Posted: September 04, 2022 at 12:17 PM (#6094453)
@ moeball comment on Baseball Gauge /DRA war, I have a file I saved, post your email here and I can send, happy Labor Day weekend to everyone!
   203. Bleed the Freak Posted: September 04, 2022 at 12:24 PM (#6094454)
On Carlos Beltran, I'd you add 5 years to each side of his productive career (1994 to 2021),he comes in 11th in FG WAR.

https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=y&type=8&season=2021&month=0&season1=1994&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age;=&filter;=&players=0&startdate;=&enddate;=
The first eligible we haven't elected in Abreu, his peak isn't ahead of Beltran or career. Next are the criminally overlooked Lance Berkman and Brian Giles, guys with potentially comparable peaks, but less career value.

To comments on David Ortiz, I think the DH penalty is a bit stiff, give him WAR back here +playoff value and I like him as a candidate, though I agree with those touring Berkman, better peak, less career.

On Tommy John, extreme pitch to contact hurler that is loved by FIP and Thress WAR, adds clutch and playoff value, I'm convinced he belongs.
   204. cookiedabookie Posted: October 15, 2022 at 01:47 PM (#6100887)
Here's what's likely my final ballot, but there's enough time that I may tinker some more.

1. Carlos Beltran, CF, PHOM 2023 - He's the 13th best CF all time in my rankings, and a no-doubter, the only newly eligible player with a shot at the HoM or the HoF.

2. Bob Johnson, LF, PHOM 1963 - With minor league credit, he ranks 11th all time among left fielders for me. Seems like a glaring omission from the HoM, especially given how long he's been eligible.

3. Thurman Munson, C, PHOM 1985 - The 14th best catcher all time in my rankings, another glaring omission at a position that is still underrepresented in the HoM in my opinion.

4. Tim Hudson, SP, PHOM 2021 - I see Don Drysdale, without Drysdale support. He's 51st all time among SP for me, right between HoMers Hal Newhouser and Whitey Ford (Drysdale is 60th). Hopefully he gets some traction on this year's ballot with the continued clearing of the backlog.

5. Bobby Bonds, RF, PHOM 1987 - He's 16th in RF all time for me. Another guy who seems like an easy fit into the HoM.

6. Babe Adams, SP, PHOM 1965 - My 61st best starting pitcher all time, with minor league credit. Top eligible pitcher from the early days of baseball (others deserving that haven't been elected: Shocker, Willis, and Cicotte).

7. Lance Berkman, LF, PHOM 2022 - My 17th ranked LF all time, he looks like an eventual HoM inductee to me. It might take him some time, and for the backlog to clear.

8. Roy Oswalt, SP, PHOM 2022 - My 63rd ranked pitcher all time, sandwiched between HoMer Jim Bunning and the next guy on my ballot.

9. Dwight Gooden, SP, PHOM 2006 - Just behind Oswalt in my all time rankings, both are just outside my top 200 all time (201 and 202 respectively). My system seems to like high quality pitchers with fewer inning than the rest of the electorate here, but Gooden seems like an underrated guy in these elections to me.

10. Jorge Posada, C, PHOM 2021 - My 18th ranked catcher all time, he's an easy HoMer for me. He wasn't great defensively, but few catchers have hit as well as he did, and the Yankees were perennial playoff teams during his time, so he couldn't have been that bad as a catcher (well, ok, his later years he was atrocious).

11. Joe Tinker, SS, PHOM 1926 - The 20th best SS in my rankings, I'm still confused how he hasn't been inducted into the HoM. Maybe just to much Tinker to Evers to Chance backlash? All three have legitimate cases, but Tinker is a no doubter to me.

12. Mark Buehrle, SP, PHOM 2023 - He's 67th all time among pitchers for me, sandwiched between Radbourn, Ferrell, Appier, and Waddell - 3/5 are in the HoM, and I suspect the other two may join eventually.

13. Buddy Bell, 3B, PHOM 1996 - My 19th ranked 3B all time, another easy yes. Even if you discount some of the 3B replacement value, he's in for me.

14. Robin Ventura, 3B, PHOM 2026 - Just two spots behind Bell at 21st among 3B, seems to be quite underrated. I'd rank him as the best 3B of the 1990s.

15. George Scales, 2B, PHOM 2001 - The top NeL player not in the HoM for me, 22nd all time at 2B. I could be persuaded that title belongs to Easter, Heavy, or Taylor - those are the four NeL players in my PHOM who aren't yet in the HoM. And I keep debating Leon Day for my PHOM, but he doesn't seem to have any traction here.

Next ten:

16. Kevin Appier, SP, PHOM 2012 - 68th all time among pitchers
17. David Ortiz, 1B, PHOM 2023 - 22nd all time at 1B/DH
18. Tommy John, SP, PHOM 1995 - 71st all time among pitchers
19. Urban Shocker, SP, PHOM 1937 - 72nd all time among pitchers
20. Willie Davis, CF, PHOM 1987 - 22nd all time in CF
21. Wally Schang, C, PHOM 1937 - 22nd all time at C
22. Ron Cey, 3B, PHOM 1997 - 23rd all time at 3B
23. Heavy Johnson, RF, PHOM 1940 - 24th all time in RF
24. Luke Easter, 1B, PHOM 1972 - 25th all time at 1B
25. Phil Rizzuto, SS, PHOM 1967 - 25th all time at SS

Required disclosures:

Sal Bando - Just outside the top 25, in the 26-30 range, PHOM 1987
Vic Willis - in the 35-40 range, PHOM 1927
Ben Taylor - just inside the top 50 on this ballot. I think he belongs (PHOM 2003) as the best first baseman in the 1900-1920 era.
   205. progrockfan Posted: October 19, 2022 at 11:27 AM (#6101615)
"Ben Taylor... I think he belongs (PHOM 2003) as the best first baseman in the 1900-1920 era."

Really?- ahead of Sisler? I'm not saying I disagree (Taylor is after all in an elect-me spot on my ballot) - I just never considered the proposition of Taylor vs. Sisler - and stuff like that is what this place is about...

On the one hand, Taylor's got Sisler in OPS+, 137 to 125; on the other, Sisler's 1917-22 isn't quite matched by any peak performance of Taylor's.

Taylor has quite a lot more black ink, but in a smaller league context - and of course, Sisler has the two .400 seasons, one of which features 257 hits (including 96 XBH).

As defenders, Sisler was pretty clearly the top 1B in early baseball, while Taylor was pretty clearly the best in NgL history.

This is a really tough one for me to interpret... Ultimately, as a mostly career voter, I suppose I'd go with Taylor, who maintained elte offensive production for a longer period than Sisler.

But the key point I draw from this is:

If you believe George Sisler belongs in the HoM, it's hard to see a coherent argument against Ben Taylor.
   206. cookiedabookie Posted: October 19, 2022 at 01:54 PM (#6101643)
I guess I didn't place Sisler in that time period because he only had five full seasons in that 20. I was thinking Taylor's biggest competition from white baseball was Ed Konetchy. But most of Sisler's career value was accrued in those five years, so it's not a point without merit. Both Sisler and Taylor are in my PHoM, Konetchy not so much.
   207. kcgard2 Posted: October 19, 2022 at 04:39 PM (#6101690)
Ben Taylor... I think he belongs (PHOM 2003) as the best first baseman in the 1900-1920 era.

This kind of thing always strikes me as a bit dubious...20 year stretches aren't really that long, and when it's the argument there are usually guys clearly ahead who have big chunks of overlap with the specific period but fall a bit short on the exact period. It's also strange in that Taylor himself doesn't even have hardly any documented play until 1913 so he doesn't even fit that timeframe very much himself. About as well as Jake Beckley, Sisler, Jack Fournier, or Jake Daubert. If we make Taylor's "era" more appropriately the years from 1910-1930, he's up against Gehrig, all of Sisler for sure instead of... Konetchy (who really doesn't come off that badly in a comparison with Taylor anyway, when we come to it).

Nellie Fox and Gil McDougald were the best 2B from 1950-1970, but that doesn't strike me as a very strong argument that they belong in the HOM (Fox is actually there but I think now generally viewed as a likely mistake). Campaneris, Fregosi, Petrocelli are 1-2-3 at SS for 1960-1980. Jose Cruz is the 2nd best LF from 1970-1990...you get the idea. Not that I think Taylor is unworthy of consideration, just that I don't think that particular argument is a very persuasive one.
   208. cookiedabookie Posted: October 19, 2022 at 07:38 PM (#6101729)
I get that. I think 20 years is enough time to look at what positions may be underrepresented. For me, that puts players like Taylor, Stan Hack, Campaneris, McDougald, even Hodges, on my radar. So far, Taylor is the only one in my PHoM, but those other guys remain high on my consideration pool.
   209. Jaack Posted: October 19, 2022 at 10:00 PM (#6101764)
I get that. I think 20 years is enough time to look at what positions may be underrepresented. For me, that puts players like Taylor, Stan Hack, Campaneris, McDougald, even Hodges, on my radar. So far, Taylor is the only one in my PHoM, but those other guys remain high on my consideration pool.


I think there's some important nuance when it comes to comparing a guy to his positional peers. With Stan Hack at third base, the Cubs had a pretty massive advantage over everyone else in the 30s. It's a pretty big drop down to Harlond Clift, and then another big drop down to Red Rolfe and Billy Werber. It's not just about being the best at the position for Hack, it's that he blows everyone out of the water. So perhaps Hack is a little short purely on his stat line, but the positional domination gives him an extra push.

Taylor... doesn't really have that. I think there's a case to be made that he's the best first baseman of the 1910s/early 20s. But I don't think he represented that much of an upgrade over the Konetchy/Daubert/Fournier group. Just being the best of your class doesn't mean a whole lot to me, it's about being irreplaceable.
   210. progrockfan Posted: October 20, 2022 at 03:00 PM (#6101831)
"Taylor...[doesn't represent] that much of an upgrade over the Konetchy/Daubert/Fournier group."
First Baseman  AVG  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
--------------------------------------
Jake Daubert  .303 .360 .401 .760  117
Jack Fournier .313 .392 .483 .875  142
Ed Konetchy   .281 .346 .403 .749  123
George Sisler .340 .379 .468 .847  125
Ben Taylor    .339 .400 .463 .863  137
Konetchy and Daubert were clearly not in Taylor's class as hitters.

Fournier was a better hitter than Taylor - but not that much better; among the five players discussed here, Taylor ranks first in OBP, and second in AVG, OPS and OPS+.

Fournier was, quite famously, a very bad fielder - one of the worst-fielding career first basemen ever.

Taylor, by contrast, was the best fielding first baseman in NgL history - in an era when 1B defense was considerably more important than it is today.

Taylor also had a much, much longer career than Fournier.

A peak voter would have to take Sisler over Fournier - and I can't see a career voter seriously considering Fournier over Taylor.
   211. progrockfan Posted: October 20, 2022 at 03:16 PM (#6101834)
Another point:

I appreciate your position that "just being the best of your class doesn't mean a whole lot to me, it's about being irreplaceable." You might even get me to agree.

But Sisler was (imho) the best MLB first baseman in MLB history prior to Gehrig. And now, thanks to this debate, I'm starting to think that Taylor was a comfortable step up from Sisler - making him (if you agree with my premise) the top first baseman of the 49-year period 1876-1925. (I've articulated elsewhere on this site my view that despite his tremendous decline, Sisler, and not Gehrig, was the best first baseman in MLB for 1925 - and I'd take Taylor over both in '25.)

Ymmv of course - but to me, "the top first baseman of a 49-year period" sounds reasonably irreplaceable.
   212. Jaack Posted: October 20, 2022 at 03:42 PM (#6101839)
Taylor's raw stats are coming against some relatively weak competition - even a mild discount puts him closer to the Konetchy territory. And Konetchy was a very good defender too. Like I said, it's not hard to argue that Taylor was better than Konetchy, but I'm not all that confident in that. His era is just too obfuscated. From what we do have of Taylor, I'd put him in the range between Bill Terry and Ed Konetchy. Now Terry is a HoMer, and one who would make the bottom end of my ballot today, but I see that as a best case scenario for Taylor.



Sisler better than Connor/Brouthers/Anson? I can't see that at all.
   213. progrockfan Posted: October 20, 2022 at 04:02 PM (#6101845)
"Taylor's raw stats are coming against some relatively weak competition."

1909-19, I agree. 1920-29, I don't.

"Sisler better than Connor/Brouthers/Anson? I can't see that at all."

All three played in an era where amateurs could - and did - walk straight from the stands onto the field and play in that day's game. That's not "professional baseball" as I understand the term.

The game that Sisler played was far, far more professional. There's really no basis for comparison. So, I guess it depends on how you interpret the timeline.

I'm not saying those guys weren't tremendous in their own time. Clearly, they were. But Sisler's fantastic 1922 was in the live-ball era, not in an era where the umpires were selected from among local fans a few hours before the game.

The only player whose career began in the 1800s who I regard as the true equal of modern players is Honus Wagner - and that's down to his 100% modern approach to exercise, diet, and the science of the game. It shouldn't be too surprising that Honus stood out above his contemporaries farther than any other player in baseball history. Connor, Brouthers and Anson - and this is just my opinion - were great for their time, not for all time.

Also, Adrian Anson can suck my jockstrap. He's more responsible than any other human being, and by far, for baseball segregation. (Read my book for the sordid details.) Any argument that claims "Anson was the best..." - well, unless the concluding clause is "racist #$&%£", then I demur.
   214. kcgard2 Posted: October 20, 2022 at 04:08 PM (#6101846)
It seems, prog, that you consider Taylor's leagues to be of equal quality to the NL/AL leagues of the players you're comparing him to? You are taking Taylor's NgL stats 100% at face value and concluding that he was better than the listed contemporaries, which I think is not really a position anyone is going to agree with if I had to guess. I mean, numerous will agree that perhaps Taylor was better, but NOT by looking at unadjusted stat lines for these players. Among the listed players, I rank Taylor as better than Daubert, and then equal or behind the other three comps. Fournier was a notoriously bad fielder, who also was sent to the minors for 3 seasons from age 27-29 because he had a down year at 26 (after 142 and 170 wRC+ seasons prior) and Comiskey had the power to do so. It's pretty easy to add 6 WAR and conceivable to add like 10-12 WAR to Fournier's career if you give minor league credit. Which may be slightly beside the point, but thought I'd mention it. As Jaack notes, even mild discounts for Taylor's environment can move him below several of these guys. Also as Jaack notes, there's no way Sisler was the best 1B prior to Gehrig (ignoring the obvious guys Jaack mentioned, was he even clearly better than Beckley?), and I will also disagree that Taylor was "a comfortable step up from Sisler," personally I think Sisler is a comfortable step up from Taylor. But I can see a comparison between the two and a Taylor fan concluding that they are equals or so.
   215. Jaack Posted: October 20, 2022 at 05:08 PM (#6101854)
I mean, if you're gonna call Sisler the best 1st baseman for the first half century of baseball, you have to be counting 1876-1893. Brouthers, Connor, and Anson were probably the three best players of that era, no consideration for position (I'd maybe take Ewing over Anson). You can't have your cake and eat it too with regards to that.

But this is all aside - when it comes to Taylor, I dont really see a case that he deserves additional credit for being the best of his era. He's not a Stan Hack-type situation. Now he may be qualified on his own merits, but I'm not confident enough in his profile to say that either.
   216. progrockfan Posted: October 21, 2022 at 10:51 AM (#6101944)
Outstanding discussion – which is why I come here.

Just to make clear what source numbers I’m using in my comparisons (sanctioned regular-season league play only):
Ben Taylor       AVG  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
----------------------------------------
Pre-NgL (09-19) .319 .384 .448 .832  142
NgL (20-29)     .339 .400 .463 .863  137
Career (09-29)  .332 .395 .458 .853  139
----------------------------------------
You’ll note that Taylor’s dominance as a hitter vis-à-vis his league contexts was slightly greater in pre-NgL play (142 OPS+) than in NgL play (137 OPS+)- but the difference isn’t overwhelming.

@: “Even a mild discount puts him closer to the Konetchy territory.”

For the record, my studies for Black Stats Matter show 1920s NgL play running at about 1900 MLB quality. To make Taylor (NgL only) equivalent to Konetchy as a hitter by OPS+ would require an 11% discount. You may feel that a translation from 1920s conditions to 1900s conditions warrants an 11% downgrade in Taylor’s OPS+ - and you may be correct.

But if this point is conceded, you still have to deal with the facts that:

* Taylor’s career was by far the longest of any of the five players discussed here – almost all of it, pre- and post-NgL, at a level far above his leagues.

* Though Konetchy was indeed a good fielder – probably even a very good fielder – he wasn’t on Sisler and Taylor’s level, or even particularly close. Sisler and Taylor were historically great; both should feature in any discussion of the greatest-fielding first baseman of all time. (I think I'd personally go with the timeline and select Keith Hernandez, but it's hardly a walkover.) Daubert was a good fielder but not great, and Fournier was just plain bad.

@: “I will also disagree that Taylor was ‘a comfortable step up from Sisler,’ personally I think Sisler is a comfortable step up from Taylor.”

And fair enough. I’m primarily a career voter. Were I a peak voter, I’d also see Sisler over Taylor. However:

* Taylor’s prime was far longer than Sisler’s.

* Taylor, as compared to league, was staggeringly consistent – far more consistent than Sisler – because:

* Taylor’s later career doesn’t feature Sisler’s prolonged wallow in ordinariness. When Taylor had two sub-par offensive seasons in a row - the only two, by the way, that he ever had - he walked away.

Compare their OPS+ records by season:
Year Taylor Sisler
------------------
1910    103     --
1911    130     --
1912    197     --
1913    132     --
1914    178     --
1915    143    106
1916    111    133
1917    140    161
1918    132    158
1919    143    156
1920    143    182
1921    173    140
1922    150    170
1923    206     --
1924    126     91
1925    116    110
1926    123     85
1927    123    101
1928     96    111
1929     93     99
1930     --     81
------------------
Taylor posted OPS+ figures above league average for 18 years in a row. How many players, I wonder, have done that in the history of baseball? It can’t be many.

By contrast, none of the other four players discussed here even played for 18 years.

Now, if you're talking about potentially the greatest fielder ever at a given position, you've still got to hit to be Meritorious. Rabbit Maranville and Bill Mazeroski were glove wizards but lousy hitters, so they're outside. Ozzie Smith could hit a little - only later in his career, and still mostly below league, but he did improve enormously in his later years - so he's inside.

Well, Ben Taylor could flat-out hit. He's got NgL titles in runs scored, hits (3x), doubles (4x), triples (3x), homers, RBI (3x), walks (2x) and total bases (3x), plus a batting/on-base/slugging/OPS title.

And so, can posters here name a player - any player - who is:

* Arguably the top player of his era at his position;

* Arguably the greatest fielder ever at his position;

* A hitter more than 30% above league average over a two-decade career;

* Holder of 20+ significant offensive titles; and

* Outside the Hall of Merit?

   217. DL from MN Posted: October 21, 2022 at 12:22 PM (#6101960)
And so, can posters here name a player - any player - who is:
* Arguably the top player of his era at his position;
* Outside the Hall of Merit?


That list itself is pretty darned short. Ignore Pujols and Trout and other active players.

Ben Taylor
Bert Campaneris
Dale Murphy
Albert Belle?
   218. kcgard2 Posted: October 21, 2022 at 01:34 PM (#6101973)
I mean, when pointing out the top WAR players at their positions by "era" above, the list isn't that short DL. And there are guys with no traction. Because 20-year spans are short, historically. Ignoring relievers:

Jim Fregosi
Gil McDougald
Wally Schang
Ernie Lombardi (maybe pushing it)
Vern Stephens
Ed Williamson

If we relaxed it to top 2, the list would be a lot longer. And really who is going to argue that Taylor was the best 1B during his playing career when 40% of Gehrig's seasons overlap Taylor's career?
   219. Jaack Posted: October 21, 2022 at 01:35 PM (#6101974)

* Arguably the greatest fielder ever at his position;


I think this assumption is doing a lot of work here. Taylor had a strong defensive reputation for sure, but we don't have a whole lot to back up this level of evaluation. Hal Chase had a glowing reputation defensively, but his metrics are bad. Joe Judge had a strong reputation, and his metrics are decent, but not enough to base a case around. Particularly with first base, I take the eye test wit ha grain of salt - good first base defense and good looking first base defense are often times very, very different animals.

I do rate out Taylor as a strong defender, but I'm not going to give him greatest of all time type of credit without a stronger evidence base.

Without that level of evalution, the tightrope gets a lot thinner for Taylor. He basically has to be the offensive player his raw stats say he is to have a good case. And the quality of competition he played against for much of his career certainly gives me pause to assume that.
   220. Jaack Posted: October 21, 2022 at 01:49 PM (#6101978)
More guys with a case for the best at their position in their 'era' (how ever you choose to define that)

-Gil Hodges
-Robin Ventura/Matt Williams
-Cesar Cedeno/Fred Lynn/Chet Lemon whoever you think is the best CF between Jim Wynn and Ken Griffey Jr. I guess Robin Yount is in there, but he's a CF like Cal Ripken is a 3B.
-Maybe there's more support out there for Ryan Braun or Matt Holliday then I suspect, but LF since Barry Bonds is pretty barren.
   221. progrockfan Posted: October 21, 2022 at 03:39 PM (#6102005)
Somehow, my question about Taylor has been reduced to two clauses, from an original five.

The two being debated here are: arguably the top player of his era at his position, and outside the HoM.

Let's not forget the other three, please: one of the best defensive players ever at his position, hitting more than 30% over league for 20+ years, and holder of 20+ offensive titles.

Still waiting for any name other than Ben Taylor who even comes close to fitting those five criteria.

@: "Hal Chase had a glowing reputation defensively, but his metrics are bad."

Hal Chase was as dishonest a player as has ever lived. He'd throw a game for a few bucks any time. Considering him as a great defensive first baseman is a non-starter. Comparing him to Sisler or Taylor as a defender is logically indefensible.

@: "I do rate out Taylor as a strong defender, but I'm not going to give him greatest of all time type of credit without a stronger evidence base."

That's a tough proposition - give me time on that. For what it's worth, I can give you this:

The Richmond Times Dispatch, April 16, 1923: "In Ben Taylor the fans will see the race’s premier first baseman. He is said to be the equal of George Sisler of big-league fame."

@: "Taylor...basically has to be the offensive player his raw stats say he is to have a good case. And the quality of competition he played against for much of his career certainly gives me pause to assume that."

His hitting stats for 1920-25 are superior to those of any first baseman around. I can't speak for any discount you might elect to apply to 1909-19 - some form of discount is surely appropriate - but his stats strongly imply that he was just as good a hitter then, and therefore, again, superior to any contemporary.

Of course (and I'm not saying this is your position), if you discount 1920s NgL play as Major League baseball, then Taylor has no argument. But I don't agree with that line of reasoning - and I've got plenty of solid empirical evidence to back up my beliefs. Read my book! It's out in the spring.
   222. Jaack Posted: October 21, 2022 at 04:46 PM (#6102011)
If you want a piece by piece breakdown, sure:

1. Arguably the top player of his era at his position
As established, there are quite a number of players who are the best at a position not in the HoM. Furthermore, Taylor's claim isn't particularly strong - Sisler and Gehrig are better 1st basemen in the 20s and Taylor's competition issues blur the lines in the 10s. This may be true but 'maybe being better than Ed Konetchy' isn't a strong case.

2.Arguably the greatest fielder ever at his position
Again, this is a big 'arguably' in here. There really isn't a whole lot of evidence supporting this strong a claim. I'll grant he was more than likely good defensively, but nothing more than that.

3.A hitter more than 30% above league average over a two-decade career
The 130-140 wRC+ range is about where you start seeing a lot of guys who aren't HoMers start showing up. We've touched on Jack Fournier quite a bit, and he's above that. John Olerud settles right in there, and he was quite the defender himself. Norm Cash and Orlando Cepeda are in this range, and they both have 'arguably best first basemen of their era' going for them too.

4. Holder of 20+ significant offensive titles
Titles are nice, but I'm not a big believer in black ink as a standard. Leading the league in doubles and RBIs is cool and all, but I'm not giving a guy extra credit for that, particularly when a lot of those titles came in the pre-1920 Negro Leagues, which weren't organized enough really even have titles. That being said, Chuck Klein, Tony Oliva, and Gavy Cravath all have pretty impressive records of titles and none of them are in the Hall of Merit.

Is there one player who fits all four of these categories outside of the Hall of Merit? No. But I'm not sure Taylor does either. And there are guys that meet some of these that aren't particular close. Klein and Cepeda fit the spirit and they have no support, Cravath and Olerud have some more support, but neither is up for election any time soon. Jose Cruz is a different type of player, but he does meet the standard of good hitter for a long time who was a plus defender and arguably the best at his position.

Overall, I don't think this adds up to an unbreakable case for Taylor. With Negro League players, I always like to work in a range of likely careers, and for me, the 80th percentile case for Taylor looks a lot like Bill Terry. Pretty uncanny really. And Bill Terry is right on the borderline. That's not compelling for me.
   223. kcgard2 Posted: October 21, 2022 at 05:58 PM (#6102027)
His hitting stats for 1920-25 are superior to those of any first baseman around.

Taylor had a 149 OPS+ in 1900 PAs these years. Jack Fournier was Taylor's equal (148 wRC+) in these exact years you chose to highlight Taylor (in almost double the PAs). It also turns out they were almost exactly the same ages. However, this presumes that Fournier and Taylor played in leagues of equal strength. Is there anyone who argues that the NNL and ECL are equal to the NL of the 1920s? Any adjustment whatsoever therefore means that even in the years cherry picked for Taylor, his hitting stats are inferior to other first basemen. Sisler from 1917-1922 was 158. Gehrig from 1923-1928 is 173. Move a year here or there in any direction and he's not the best hitter at his position even taking his league-context stats at full face value.

I think there are two things doing all the lifting in this argument. One, claiming that Taylor was not only the best defensive first baseman of his time, but arguably of all time. What is the evidence for it? Contemporary accounts, basically. If there's more evidence than that (or is there even that much?) please enlighten me. It's worth something, but if it's the linchpin of a player's case? Two, claiming that Taylor's leagues should be equated on par to the AL/NL leagues of that time. I'm trying to avoid playing time issues because Taylor had the opportunities he had, so for the sake of argument suspend that. But if either of these claims is not true, then Taylor drops way back in an analysis, because as perhaps is being belabored at this point, he looks like Ed Konetchy or maybe not even that (depending on how strong a league adjustment you feel is appropriate).

I think ultimately, to move forward on this discussion we have to tackle these two specific claims. How much QOL adjustment should Taylor have vis a vis NL/AL play? And how much weight should we give to general defensive reputation when it comes assigning specific value to it?
   224. Chris Cobb Posted: October 21, 2022 at 09:27 PM (#6102051)
Jaack posted:

More guys with a case for the best at their position in their 'era' (how ever you choose to define that)

-Gil Hodges
-Robin Ventura/Matt Williams
-Cesar Cedeno/Fred Lynn/Chet Lemon whoever you think is the best CF between Jim Wynn and Ken Griffey Jr. I guess Robin Yount is in there, but he's a CF like Cal Ripken is a 3B.
-Maybe there's more support out there for Ryan Braun or Matt Holliday then I suspect, but LF since Barry Bonds is pretty barren.


These types of players tend to be borderliners or a bit below. I see Taylor as toward the high end of this sort of group. I am about to cast my first vote for Chet Lemon (he'll be #14, I think), and Ventura is not far off my ballot. It's too soon to say where the in-out line for the players whose primes were in the 2010-19 period, but it looks so far like the long period without expansion (and probably the near-elimination of PEDs) has brought competition levels up and career length down. In that context, Matt Holliday might possibly be a serious candidate, though Braun is not: he's already fallen below the still-developing in-out line on my list for that decade. Right now it looks like the in-out line for me will be around Russell Martin/Matt Holliday, depending on things like whether Giancarlo Stanton will rebound from this down year or go over a Miguel Cabrera cliff.

Jaack also wrote:

The 130-140 wRC+ range is about where you start seeing a lot of guys who aren't HoMers start showing up. We've touched on Jack Fournier quite a bit, and he's above that. John Olerud settles right in there, and he was quite the defender himself. Norm Cash and Orlando Cepeda are in this range, and they both have 'arguably best first basemen of their era' going for them too.

This is the first base group that Taylor fits into, I think. He's better than Fournier and Cepeda, because they couldn't field, but Cash and Olerud are good comps. Neither has gotten much support around here, but Olerud at least should be getting more attention than he has received, I think. He'll be on my ballot at #11. Currently I have Taylor at #9.

I don't, by the way, give any of these players bonuses for "best at position in their era."

Finally, a word or, more accurately, some numbers concerning Ben Taylor's defense. Although I believe he was an excellent defensive first baseman (hence his alignment with Olerud), his fielding numbers from the Seamheads database don't support the claim that he was "the best-fielding first baseman of all time." Their numbers suggest that he was one of the best fielding first basemen of his era and one of the best in the Negro Leagues. But their numbers do not suggest he was the best there or, by implication, of all time, anywhere. Here's how I took a look at the issue.

I listed the NEL first basemen by career fielding runs. Taylor is first in this group, with 54, but he also leads in innings by a lot, so that total is as much an accident of documentation as a testament to ability. So, I decided to do a comparison by fielding rate over the player's ten best seasons, comparing only players with at least 10 fielding runs at first base, at least 1000 career innings, and 10 seasons at the position. That produced the following list of top-fielding NEL first basemen:
Player........Age....In......Runs..R/1000
Bill Pettus...26-35..1711.7..23.7..13.8
Ben Taylor....24-33..5081....57.5..11.3
Pop Lloyd.....39-48..1315.3..14.8..11.3
Bill Pierce...22-31..1074.4..11.5..10.7
Mulw Suttles..28-37..1789.9..13.0...7.3
Edgar Wesley..26-35..3778.3..26.5...7.0
George Giles..19-29..2914.7..19.9...6.8
Jose Perez....25-34..2302.6..10.2...4.4
Buck Leonard..26-35..2281.8...7.2...3.2


By these numbers, Taylor appears excellent defensively, but not set apart from the other top fielders of his time.




   225. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 22, 2022 at 12:02 PM (#6102078)
Just want to chime in on Taylor’s QoP. The MLEs on my site are based on a QoP discount that puts the ECL and NNL on a AAA footing, 80% of MLB. Since then I have done research that puts QoP for this era around 85-90% of MLB. So while I disagree that we should take BT’s offensive rates at face value, my MLEs are (at current), slightly conservative.
   226. progrockfan Posted: October 22, 2022 at 02:19 PM (#6102102)
@: "By these numbers, Taylor appears excellent defensively, but not set apart from the other top fielders of his time."

Given the superb data you've assembled, I must agree. The obligation to intellectual honesty far outweighs any notion of personal partisanship. (Having said that, I'm confident that I've got more than enough ammunition to support Easter at #1.)

The only points that can be stated definitely are that Taylor:

* Played far more games & innings than any other NgL first baseman;

* Was an excellent defender; and

* Hit well above league, winning numerous offensive titles.

Voters must determine for themselves what Merit this holds.

@: "The MLEs on my site are based on a QoP discount that puts the ECL and NNL on a AAA footing, 80% of MLB. Since then I have done research that puts QoP for this era around 85-90% of MLB."

Eric, can you please go into more detail on this?

Specifically, how do you translate:

* Each of the three separate decades of NgL play 1920-48, and

* 1920s MLB vs. 1900s MLB?

   227. kcgard2 Posted: October 23, 2022 at 09:24 AM (#6102172)
That is great info, Chris, and this is good discussion about Taylor (he seems to generate lots of discussion).

Played far more games & innings than any other NgL first baseman

We can definitely say his career is more documented. He has over 7000 documented career innings at 1B. Leonard has 4200, with ages 31-34 hardly documented, Suttles has a bunch of years missing. It's likely he spent the most time at 1B of any NgL player, agreed. Lloyd had 7800 innings at SS and 1200 at 2B in addition to his 1300 at 1B, perhaps that's neither here nor there.

Chris, you certainly made some error with Buck Leonard. Ages 26-35 appear to be the worst possible ten-year stretch available from his career - it seems any other ten-year stretch would have yielded a much better rating (apparent by the fact that his career rate is 6.7 runs/1000 innings). It seems his best ten-year stretch is actually either ages 29-38 or 31-40, both give 8.0 runs/1000 innings. Not going to check the other guys, just going to trust you there :)

Ten-year stretch is certainly a viable way to measure best defenders. If we had checked career rates, Taylor would move to the middle of the pack here.

Pettus....2798....13.8
Lloyd.....1334....11.4
Pierce....1951....10.0
Taylor....7082....7.6
Wesley....3778....7.0
Giles.....2915....6.8
Leonard...4216....6.7
Suttles...3006....5.2
Perez.....2474....4.4

Let's point out that Lloyd was 39+, but still his excellent rating is no surprise given he was a middle infielder most of his career. So, limiting to career first basemen, Pettus looks like the strongest case for best defensive first baseman in NgL (his rate was impeccable for all ages of career), but Taylor's documentation/playing time advantage is quite large. He is certainly arguable as the best defensive 1B, especially by "prime defense."

   228. progrockfan Posted: October 24, 2022 at 11:13 AM (#6102327)
@: "That is great info, Chris, and this is good discussion about Taylor"

Agreed on both points.

@: "Taylor's documentation/playing time advantage is quite large. He is certainly arguable as the best defensive 1B, especially by 'prime defense.'"

I think I agree with this definition.

Given the relative weakness (imho) of this year's crop of eligibles, nothing I've seen in this thread so far inclines me to move Taylor down from #2, where I've currently got him slotted.
   229. progrockfan Posted: October 24, 2022 at 11:26 AM (#6102329)
@: "Let's point out that Lloyd was 39+, but still his excellent rating is no surprise given he was a middle infielder most of his career."

When I analyzed all long-career NgL first baseman prior to constructing my ballot, I was quite surprised how well Pop Lloyd shows at first base by rate stats. He shows above league average in every calculated category, and ranks first in DP/G and DP/9.
   230. progrockfan Posted: October 24, 2022 at 03:09 PM (#6102382)
In post 216 I wrote, "Taylor posted OPS+ figures above league average for 18 years in a row. How many players, I wonder, have done that in the history of baseball? It can’t be many."

Okay, so I did some research...

* * * * *

27 years: Cap Anson

23 years: Ty Cobb

22 years: Barry Bonds, Eddie Collins, Stan Musial

21 years: Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Babe Ruth

20 years: Tony Gwynn, Pop Lloyd, Joe Morgan, Jim O'Rourke, Jim Thome, Dave Winfield

19 years: Harold Baines, Oscar Charleston, Pete Hill, Willie Mays, Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Tris Speaker, Willie Stargell, Mule Suttles, Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski

18 years: Jake Beckley, George Brett, Sam Crawford, Dwight Evans, Rickey Henderson, Chipper Jones, Al Kaline, Mickey Mantle, Mel Ott, Turkey Stearnes, Ben Taylor, Deacon White

* * * * *

What we have here is a list of 35 Hall of Meriters, plus Ben Taylor and Harold Baines. And I think (or at least I hope!) that we can all agree that Ben Taylor was a much greater player than Harold Baines.
   231. Jaack Posted: October 24, 2022 at 03:33 PM (#6102387)
@prog- His name has come up a few times, but what do you think of Bill Pettus in comparison to Taylor? I havent given Pettus the full review I've been meaning to give him, but I think there are a lot of similarities to Taylor and a fair chance he was better (some time at catcher is a nice bump in particular).
   232. kcgard2 Posted: October 24, 2022 at 06:42 PM (#6102435)
Taylor posted OPS+ figures above league average for 18 years in a row.

This is another thing that, if you'll pardon me, seems a bit disingenuous, in that at least it's lacking some context. 7 of those 18 seasons have fewer than 150 PAs, three of those seasons have fewer than 40 PAs... The other thing is that replacement level in NgL was really low. It's easier to be above average when a .650 OPS is above the league average.

Taylor was a good hitter. But this particular feat feels more like a novelty. We're four of five bad games away from eliminating this feat entirely if maybe 1916 is more documented. Or, if we count PCL play as comparable to NgL play, the list of guys who did something like this or close to it gets kind of underwhelming. Guys like Art Griggs or Earl Sheeley came pretty close to basically achieving this. Jack Clark did it every full season of his career (15 years). Bob Johnson did it 20 years in a row (counting PCL+AAA). For all intents and purposes, Rusty Staub did this, Dave Parker, Chili Davis, Moises Alou, Fred McGriff. All kinds of dudes outside the HOM have done this 15+ years with tons more PAs in MLB seasons. But Taylor has some entire seasons of 20-40 PAs pulling the weight of bringing his number to 18 years. Again, Taylor was a good hitter, but there's better ways of evaluating it than this particular stat. If we look at the guys you've listed, Taylor was probably the worst hitter here (though some will probably want to point to Baines). Certainly, Taylor is not on a par with the large majority of hitters in your list.
   233. Howie Menckel Posted: October 24, 2022 at 06:54 PM (#6102439)
I believe the most consecutive 200+ IP seasons is Don Sutton with 21 (technically, pitched 159 IP in 110 G in strike-shortened 1981, so very much on pace for reasonable credit there. in his 22nd season, he slipped to only 192 IP at age 42).
   234. progrockfan Posted: October 25, 2022 at 12:30 PM (#6102528)
Please pardon me in advance for being direct in my responses. We're all adults here, and I explicitly mean no offense. By the mere fact that you've taken the time to comment thoughtfully on these subjects, on which there's no acknowledged consensus among the baseball fraternity, you've already earned my respect.
Taylor posted OPS+ figures above league average for 18 years in a row.
This is another thing that, if you'll pardon me, seems a bit disingenuous, in that at least it's lacking some context. 7 of those 18 seasons have fewer than 150 PAs, three of those seasons have fewer than 40 PAs...
This criticism is based on a false premise. Leaving aside the contentious issue of NgL season length, of the 31 MLB players who posted a 101> OPS+ in 18+ consecutive seasons, only 8 (Aaron, Anson, Cobb, Collins, O'Rourke, Ott, Speaker and Yastrzemski) qualified for the batting title in each of those years. The vast majority, 23 of 31, had seasons in that run in which they didn't play enough games / innings to qualify - putting them in precisely the same boat as Ben Taylor.
The other thing is that replacement level in NgL was really low.
I'd be interested to know the percentage discount you propose to apply to each decade of NgL play. 1920-48 play is now recognized as Major League quality - but, as I write in my book, each NgL decade isn't necessarily analogous to the same MLB decade chronologically. For example, earlier I compared the quality of 1920s NgL play to that of 1900s MLB play. Further, 1910-19 NgL play was stronger than multiple early eras and leagues in MLB play (though, for numerous reasons, I agree that it can't be classed as Major League play). To say, as a universal statement applying uniformly to all eras, that "replacement level in NgL was really low" is neither an accurate nor a specific assertion - particularly when no comparator is offered. Lower than which early MLB era(s) or decade(s), precisely?

This is a most excellent debate, and I appreciate all the thoughts and analyses aired herein.
   235. kcgard2 Posted: October 26, 2022 at 03:35 PM (#6102714)
1920-48 play is now recognized as Major League quality

MLB recognizes 1920-1950 NgL stats as official, and the league has been given status as a major league, but this is not in itself a judgment about the quality of play in NgL. The Federal League is recognized, the Player's League, National Association, and National Amateur Association (I believe) also have status as official MLB recognized stats/leagues, but again this is not a referendum on the actual quality of those leagues. The distinction of being recognized as a "major league" is honestly more about politics than anything else.

Dr. Chaleeko was corresponding with me about NgL QOL adjustment some time ago. He can provide more details, but using a QOL measurement tool called STARS, he found the following ratings for 1920s play:
MLB: 1.00
Cuba: 0.90
NeL: 0.74
AAA: 0.58

Now, this actually coincides pretty well with my subjective impression of NgL play. 1900-1920 I would rate 60-70%, From 1920 to about the mid/late 1930s starting from 70% and rising up to 80% or possibly as high as 85%, then starting to drop back down in the 1940s once integration started happening. Pre-1900 I really don't know how to rate it, I'm not sure there was enough of a talent pool, league structure, or organization to even rate, really.

Those are my rough impressions. There is evidence to back that impression, one piece being the STARS method Dr. Chaleeko was mentioning to me, among others. Granted, STARS is a very simplistic method, maybe it doesn't extrapolate well to long-past eras...this is a really difficult question and probably impossible to actually pin down answers to, so here we are. Just pointing out that some methods coincide with my impression given here.

I am probably lower on Ngl league quality than most voters. I can't say that for sure because I don't think there's been any general airing of the QOL adjustments people are using, but based on discussion and ballots, I'm probably lower. People will disagree and that is fine. I feel justified in my impressions, and this conversation could turn into a highly academic/esoteric discussion about distributions and stat/sampling theory (some of which discussions I've already had with Dr. C), but to answer your question this is where I will leave it for now.

I estimate Taylor, translated to an MLB environment (excuse the shorthand) at 185 runs on offense on the lowish end to 245 runs on the highish end. I've tried multiple approaches to translating Taylor over the years, and the estimates consistently seem to coalesce around 52 WAR; maybe 47 WAR with bearish assumptions and 57 WAR with bullish ones. You didn't ask, but so you know where I stand on Taylor, personally.

23 of 31, had seasons in that run in which they didn't play enough games / innings to qualify - putting them in precisely the same boat as Ben Taylor.

22 of 30, but at any rate, not qualifying for an MLB batting title and having 30 PAs count as a season are two different boats. The other players have a season or two with 100-some PAs or fewer, whereas half of Taylor's seasons are that. The idea that Taylor had an easier environment for accomplishing this feat is not a false premise, IMO.
   236. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 26, 2022 at 07:26 PM (#6102743)
KCGard2 and I did email a bout about it a ways back. Subsequent work brings my latest estimations higher than he mentioned for the NeLs in the 1920s. As he notes, there will never be a watertight QoP examination. That’s because there are SO MUCH more season to season variation in the quality of the many leagues that fall under the rubric of Negro Leagues.

For Taylor specifically, in the 1910s his stateside leagues are are around .85-.87 of the better of the two MLB leagues each year. In the 1920s, his stateside leagues are about 0.9 of the better MLB league. Cuba in this period runs between 0.8 and 0.95 depending on the year. As a reference point, AAA in this time comes in at 0.75-0.85 depending on league and year.

Also, +1 on the bit about Taylor’s PAs during the long stretch. Frankly, that is not strong evidence.
   237. Chris Cobb Posted: October 26, 2022 at 08:43 PM (#6102750)
Thanks, Dr. Chaleeko, for your best estimates on QoP for this period. Do you by any chance have any sense of QoP differences between the eastern teams and the western team in Black baseball in the 1910-19 period? Given the scarcity and complexity of the data, I would expect the answer to be "no," but it is a factor I'd love to have a read on for the comparison of Pettus to Taylor, since Pettus played almost exclusively in the East and Taylor played mainly in the West. I've noticed that the runs above average in fielding in DRA for top Negro League players tend to run higher and higher the farther back you go in time, which I am guessing is a reflection of lower quality of play and higher deviation between top players and average. I am wondering if that is a factor in a) two 1910s first-basemen looking like two of the best all-time defensively at the position and b) Pettus looking better than Taylor.

Getting back to Jaack's question about Pettus in 231 above, I've been looking at his case on and off this year, and I still find myself very unsure. I will say that I think, with all due respect given, that Dr. Chaleeko's systematically generated MLEs for Pettus are low for his later career because its playing time projections are too low. I think the system reads his games played versus team games as an indication that he was a part-time player, but I think that the types of games for which he shows up for particular teams suggest that he was a player in demand who was being brought in as a ringer for big games rather than sticking with a single team. That's only one quite disputable piece of the puzzle, however.

Where I am at now with Pettus, I suppose, is that he was probably a bit better of a player in his prime than Taylor was, but there isn't a lot of daylight between them. Since Taylor's case is a career case, however, I tend to think that Pettus was not so much better than Taylor in his prime as to pass Taylor in overall merit. That's hardly a definitive analysis, however.
   238. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 26, 2022 at 08:49 PM (#6102751)
Just my two cents on Taylor’s case.

The best argument in his favor is that he’s likely the best 1B over a pretty long stretch of time. That includes both major leagues plus the Negro Leagues. That argument has both merit and some important contextual considerations. The fact is that there were no out and out great 1Bs between the end of the ABC era and Lou Gehrig. I am including Taylor in that evaluation. Were Taylor a no-doubter, this group would have been on him like flies on rice. Nothing in his MLEs or his expert evaluations has screamed elect-me. So we haven’t. And keep in mind this is a group with a strong disposition toward the NeLs already. So Taylor is the best, but it appears, to me, that this is not necessarily as meaningful as in other situations we’ve encountered. By analogy, it’s like Campaneris’ case viz shortstops. Importantly, the primary reason Taylor doesn’t stand out is his bat. Good, maybe very good, but not good enough to push him upward.

This brings us to the less favorable side of Taylor’s case. His peers across all baseball history are all 1Bs that we didn’t elect because they didn’t hit enough or for long enough to establish great credentials as a 1B. That’s the cluster of guys that includes Hodges, Perez, and Cash among others. Above those guys sits John Olerud whose case is a dead ringer for HOMer Will Clark. And those two guys, along with Beckley and Killebrew are the borderline at 1B for me, and I would bet at least two of them form the borderline for most others in the group. Then there’s Jason Giambi who is very close to the border on a peak/prime case and who played against unquestionably better competition than even the guys from the 1960s and 1970s. And someone will probably mention old Joe Start and the 8 or 10 years of only primitively documented play available for him.

So all I’m saying is that like everyone else in the backlog, Taylor’s case is really mostly about what a given voter tends to look at, and, perhaps just as importantly, what they DON’T choose to look at. Which, in some ways, is a good argument for looking more carefully at candidates from the last thirty years. The game has changed greatly, the level of play has steadily increased, and as a result there appears (at least to me) to be a lot of compression in value. And that compression (or lack of it for BITD candidates) makes guys like Taylor more superficially attractive than contemporary players.

Which brings me to a question I didn’t know I was going to ask. Is it better to rehash Taylor or whomever, or is it more productive for us to think broadly about whether the compression in talent is having any affect on our perspectives? This could have an effect on numerous players still out there, such as Giles, Appier, Oswalt, Bernie, and upcoming guys too.
   239. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 26, 2022 at 08:53 PM (#6102753)
Chris Cobb,

Generally speaking, the East is a wee little better than the west until the 1930s. The NAL, however is noticeably weaker than the NNL.
   240. Esteban Rivera Posted: October 27, 2022 at 12:59 AM (#6102767)
Eric, are the most recent MLEs you've released the ones available on your Hall of Miller and Eric blog?
   241. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 27, 2022 at 10:16 AM (#6102784)
Esteban, most recent are at horsehidedragnet.Wordpress.com.

They might be the same ones, I can’t remember.

I am hoping to have updates soon, but I can’t say for sure if it will be in time for 2023 election.
   242. cookiedabookie Posted: October 27, 2022 at 07:54 PM (#6102902)
Man, I thought having George Scales on my ballot at 15 would be more controversial than thinking Taylor was the best 1B of the 1900-1920 era :)
   243. Esteban Rivera Posted: October 28, 2022 at 11:32 AM (#6102956)
   241. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 27, 2022 at 10:16 AM (#6102784)
Esteban, most recent are at horsehidedragnet.Wordpress.com.

They might be the same ones, I can’t remember.

I am hoping to have updates soon, but I can’t say for sure if it will be in time for 2023 election.


Thanks! The MLE spreadsheet is a different format than the other one but after doing a quick check of a few players the WAR numbers are the same or differ by a few decimal points (which I assume is simply due to rounding when adding the yearly WAR). And I see there are other tools you have put up, so I have some reading and other tools to get into as well. Thanks again Eric!
   244. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 28, 2022 at 01:52 PM (#6102969)
Glad to help. Hope you check out the dimming tools. Lotta fun.
   245. Chris Cobb Posted: October 30, 2022 at 05:17 PM (#6103317)
Dr. Chaleeko wrote:

Which brings me to a question I didn’t know I was going to ask. Is it better to rehash Taylor or whomever, or is it more productive for us to think broadly about whether the compression in talent is having any affect on our perspectives? This could have an effect on numerous players still out there, such as Giles, Appier, Oswalt, Bernie, and upcoming guys too.

I am happy to think broadly about compression in talent. My sense is that it's clearly a part of the reality of the game's history, and that we should be accounting for it. I'm not sure, what there is to say or show about it at this point.

I can say, in summary form, that in my decade-by-decade rankings for 1980-2010, here's how I see the candidates falling relative to the in-out line:

1980s: Bell . . . Hershiser, Lemon /IN-OUT LINE/ Gooden, Viola, Cruz, Guidry
1990: Appier, Finley, Olerud, [W. Clark], Ventura /IN-OUT LINE/ Be. Williams, McGriff, Langston, Phillips, Lu. Gonzalez
2000: Beltran . . (Utley) . . . (Sabathia) . . . Giles, [Kent], Giambi, Hudson, Berkman, Buerhle, Wright /IN-OUT LINE/ Posada, Garciaparra,[Pettitte], Oswalt, Ortiz, Teixeira

Most of the players who are above the in-out line are making my ballot at this point: I think I am balloting maybe 3 earlier players along with 12 from this set. Obviously, when dealing with players who are so closely bunched in value, slight differences in the way we assess value and merit will put these players into different orders, but I'd guess that almost all of the players receiving serious attention from the electorate from this period are on these lists. Is the fact that it is hard to tell them apart contributing to their slow movement toward election? Are they having trouble breaking through the wall of older, unelected candidates with a stable level of support? In the last couple of years, we seem to have done ok with accounting for compression due to increasing levels of competition, I think.

   246. Jaack Posted: October 30, 2022 at 07:56 PM (#6103328)
I don't disagree that the emphasis should be on electing modern players, but I think there may be more value in discussing the backlog. For better or for worse it does seem to take voters a couple years to vote for borderline candidates confidently. Instead of beating around the bush on Hudson vs Oswalt vs Buehrle, let the electorate figure it out via votes, particularly when the answer might be all three. Instead, make the long suffering guys, who were have a strong consensus are firmly on the borderline, really run the gauntlet - they've been around so long because they are controversial.

For example - one guy who rise I think deserves a bit of scrutiny is Thurman Munson. He's got an awfully short career and his peak isn't that strong either - his only 6 WAR season was 1973. There is a pretty strong consensus that we are short on catcher, and that Munson is the best available. I'm not really opposed to either argument - I think Sundberg was better, but Munson ranks second for me, and I do think that we could defintely elect more catchers. I guess the problem for me is the horde of strong catchers soon to hit the ballot - Mauer next year, Martin and McCann the year after that, and then Posey and Molina to follow. (Why do all their names start with M!) Personally, I think all five are better candidates than Munson. I'm not sure if this is a totally kosher thought process, but I don't think it's a great idea to usher Munson in for the purpose of positional balance, when that problem might just get solved soon enough anyway.
   247. Jaack Posted: October 31, 2022 at 01:27 AM (#6103344)
On that note, just finishing up my prelim, so I'll put in here for y'all to pick apart :)

1. Carlos Beltran – He’s not a hard choice – pretty close to the overall HoM median I think. I have him as the 14th best center fielder ever, between Jim Edmonds and Jimmy Wynn. Good in-game strategist too!
2. Lance Berkman – This looks like it might be his year – definitely the best bat-first player left. Nice prime, no real holes in his game aside from lacking a gentle landing to his career.
3. Tommy John – Unmatched volume with just enough ace-level performance hiding in there to make him interesting.
4. Babe Adams – With proper minor league credit he is in-line, if not better than, a few of the other deadball inductee pitchers.
5. Don Newcombe – Getting the whole picture here is quite important – his case goes well beyond just his pitching for the Dodgers. These guys stuck in the process of integration are some of the most interesting candidates to unravel
6. Bob Johnson – It seems to be a pretty strong consensus at this point that he is the best remaining pre-integration white hitter. The Lance Berkman of his day.
7. Roy Oswalt – I like his top end seasons better than Hudson or Buehrle (although Cliff Lee’s are even better) Very similar to Kevin Appier and Bret Saberhagen, but in an era where this level of workload is a little more impressive.
8. Mickey Lolich – Still my pet candidate. Perhaps someday someone else will vote him with me.
9. Ron Guidry – Dwight Gooden has some support, but I think Guidry is a step above – less wonkyness on the shoulder seasons, and the peak , while less electric perhaps, is just about as good.
10. Orel Hershiser – Not a lot of pitchers left both have a great peak and a semblance of a career matching what Hersh has.
11. Jim Sundberg – I’ve been a little aggressive on projecting his glove, but I’m pretty confident he’s the best defensive catcher available who’s bat wasn’t a black hole.
12. Bobby Bonds – I’ve found myself wishing his peak was a little higher – a lot of seasons where he was the 4th or 5th best player in the league, not a lot of seasons where he had a claim at the top.
13. David Wright – Very short career, but for a while there he was one of the best players in the sport. Oddly feels a little underrated now for being a New York lifer.
14. Tim Hudson – I think this is just what a long career HoM pitcher looks like now.
15. Buddy Bell – I’ve come around here. I’m still skeptical of the positional adjustment for a good chunk of his career, but he’s got an elite glove, good longevity, and enough bat to tie it all together. Much better than Sal Bando.
-----------------
16. Bert Campaneris – He’s in a virtual tie with Bell and Hudson, but leaning towards those two right now.
17. Heavy Johnson - In a holding pattern here, gonna lean hard on our NGL experts, but he does seem to have a pretty credible case.
18. Dwight Gooden – One of these years I'm going to bite the bullet here. Odd career, but the peak does a lot of work here.
19. David Ortiz – Between the postseason success and the nice prime, he’s not dissimilar from Lance Berkman, but there’s a big difference between a solid fielding outfielder and a DH
20. Roy White – A nice move up my rankings this year.
21. Robin Ventura – He looks pretty close to me, not significantly worse than Wright. But also not a whole lot better than Matt Williams.
22. Kiki Cuyler – He's pretty well off my ballot at this point. Still PHoM, but one of the last guys through the door.
23. Kevin Appier – Similarities to Oswalt are obvious, but there was a lot more HoM level competition pitching in his era than Oswalt's.
24. Jerry Koosman – Honestly, the pitching is good enough for me to consider voting for him, but the batting was just terrible.
25. Willie Davis - I've voted for him in the past - a good case for more Japanese credit probably could get me there again.
------
34. Thurman Munson – See concerns in the previous post.
62. Vic Willis – Awful bat keeps him from impressing me too much.
73. Sal Bando – Ron Cey is better, and he’s not close to my ballot.
86. Ben Taylor – Another guy discussed in the thread
242. John Lackey – Prototype for a number 2 pitcher in his era.
288. Felix Rodriguez – He’s not that far below the relievers that are getting Cooperstown attention.
NR. Matt Cain – Top five favorite player, sad he didn’t stick around long enough to make it into my consideration set.
   248. cookiedabookie Posted: October 31, 2022 at 10:52 AM (#6103366)
RE: 247, I thought we weren't including David Wright this year? Am I mistaken?
   249. Jaack Posted: October 31, 2022 at 12:47 PM (#6103391)
I assumed we were grandfathering Wright in since he was considered eligible last year and received votes.
   250. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 31, 2022 at 07:51 PM (#6103469)
Jaack,

Felix or Francisco Rodriguez? Not that it matters, just curious.
   251. Jaack Posted: October 31, 2022 at 08:17 PM (#6103473)
Oh man, definitely Francisco. I guess I had the '02 series on the mind when I copied that over...
   252. DL from MN Posted: November 01, 2022 at 10:00 AM (#6103504)
Here's my "clump of off-ballot NGL pitchers I really can't tell apart"

Webster McDonald
Roy Welmaker
Juan Padron
Leroy Matlock
Dave Barnhill
Bill Holland
Ramon Bragana
Leon Day
Bill Byrd
William Bell
Hilton Smith


Still looking for better data on these pitchers
   253. cookiedabookie Posted: November 01, 2022 at 12:33 PM (#6103515)
If Wright is eligible, he makes my ballot at #14. Not a huge deal, but it gives him another vote
   254. Rob_Wood Posted: November 01, 2022 at 02:53 PM (#6103546)
I thought HOM eligibility issues have been resolved. A consensus was reached awhile ago although I cannot remember what it was!

DL from MN or someone else should chime in with what was decided (thanks much).
   255. Jaack Posted: November 01, 2022 at 03:25 PM (#6103550)
We decided earlier this year to simply match Cooperstown. But I guess we failed to decide what to do with Wright, who was eligible last year, but wouldn't be this year if we followed that rule.

I guess the broader edge case is whether or not a player can lose eligibility. Like if Mark Buehrle came back to pitch this year, it would reset his Cooperstown clock - would we match it? I would think not as permanent eligibility is a pretty key aspect of our voting system.
   256. Jaack Posted: November 01, 2022 at 03:46 PM (#6103554)
Just spitballing a set of rules to cover all edge cases-

1. A player becomes eligible for the Hall of Merit for the same election they become eligible for Cooperstown.
2. A player who is elected to Cooperstown via special election becomes eligible for the Hall of Merit in the next election
3. If a player does not meet the standards of Cooperstown eligibility, they become eligible for the Hall of Merit five years following their last MLB game.
4. Once a player has become Hall of Merit eligible, they remain eligible until they are elected.

The only awkward situation would be if a guy spent 5 years outside of MLB only to come back and stick for a bit - maybe he went to NPB or something. I guess an addition could be that permanent eligibility only begins once a player receives votes. That seems to eliminate any weirdness that could pop up.
   257. DL from MN Posted: November 01, 2022 at 09:54 PM (#6103641)
We decided to align with the Hall of Fame going forward. David Wright was already eligible. I don't really care because he isn't going to get elected this year. If it was me I'd hold off on voting for him to give someone else I like a better chance.
   258. DL from MN Posted: November 01, 2022 at 10:13 PM (#6103650)
The only awkward situation would be if a guy spent 5 years outside of MLB only to come back and stick for a bit


Players need to retire to become eligible.
   259. DL from MN Posted: November 02, 2022 at 02:19 PM (#6103708)
Turns out the link Dr. C provided has much more comprehensive data on pitchers. Here's what I saw when I ran the data through his spreadsheet
Pitcher Name pWAA pWAR WAR
Joe Williams 58 109.1 116.5
Satchel Paige 55.2 95.7 95.8
Bullet Rogan 42.5 74.5 85.4
Martin Dihigo 33.6 71.7 79.5
Dick Redding 30.7 69.7 73.3
Jose Mendez 37.7 58.5 59.9
Ray Brown 17.4 53.9 61.7
Hilton Smith 23.4 50.9 56.9
Rube Foster 21.8 49.7 54.5
Bill Byrd 21.9 47.5 52.0
Dave Barnhill 19.9 49.0 49.5
William Bell 17.6 44.9 47.2
Willie Foster 18 44.4 45.7
Ramon Bragana 10.7 45.3 48.9
Leon Day 17.2 39.2 44.9
Frank Wickware 19.2 42.3 38.7
Juan Padron 19.2 40.8 39.2
Webster McDonald 11.3 42.2 43.2
Roy Welmaker 16.8 39.2 40.1
Lazaro Salazar 5.2 33.5 40.2
Andy Cooper 6.8 35.8 30.8
Bill Holland 2.7 36.8 33.5
Dick Whitworth 16.3 27.9 29
Roy Partlow 7.4 30.7 33.3
Sam Streeter 7.2 27.6 29.8
Terris McDuffie 6.8 25.7 28.2
John Donaldson 11.1 22.7 24.3
Leroy Matlock 3.3 26 27.6


Hilton Smith made my pHoM, then fell off my ballot with the last set of pessimistic MLEs. If I use this data (which is the most comprehensive data that uses the same MLE formula) then I should probably consider adding Hilton Smith back to my ballot.
   260. DL from MN Posted: November 02, 2022 at 02:57 PM (#6103713)
Yes, that data would move Hilton Smith up to #4 on my ballot
   261. DL from MN Posted: November 02, 2022 at 03:30 PM (#6103719)
Sorting the rest onto my overall spreadsheet

25) Bill Byrd - will need to look into him in more detail. He's right on the in/out line
61) Dave Barnhill - HoVG
85) Leon Day
91) William Bell
101) Ramon Bragana
   262. DL from MN Posted: November 02, 2022 at 03:56 PM (#6103722)
The other pitcher in the spreadsheet who is right there on that list is Don Newcombe

Pitcher Name pWAA pWAR WAR
Don Newcombe 12.6 39.8 52.1

That doesn't include war credit for 1952 and 1953 when he was serving in Korea.
   263. kcgard2 Posted: November 02, 2022 at 04:46 PM (#6103723)
The MLEs provide an estimate of 60 WAA and 116 WAR for Joe Williams? How can this be realistic? That makes Joe Williams the #4 pitcher of all time. Rogan, Dihigo, and Redding would be top 30 all time by these estimates as well.
   264. Chris Cobb Posted: November 02, 2022 at 07:28 PM (#6103752)
kcgard wrote:
The MLEs provide an estimate of 60 WAA and 116 WAR for Joe Williams? How can this be realistic? That makes Joe Williams the #4 pitcher of all time.

Well, Joe Williams had a 26-year pitching career, and he was among the top NeL pitchers on a seasonal basis for most of that career, which stretched into his early 40s. A number of the top pitchers, especially power pitchers whose speed lasted, have turned in great seasons after the age of 40. I don't know that a record of 109 pWAR and 116 WAR including batting value compiled from 1908-33 would make Joe Williams the #4 pitcher of all time, although he would plausibly be top 10. Among his immediate contemporaries only, he would rank well behind Walter Johnson (1907-27, 152.3 pWAR, 164.9 WAR), pretty much even with Pete Alexander (1910-30, 116.2 pWAR, 119.3 WAR), and a bit ahead of Lefty Grove on batting value and if Grove isn't give MLE credit for his last couple minor league seasons (ML career 1925-41, 113.3 pwAR, 106.8 WAR). In an all time context, throw in Young, Seaver, Maddux, Randy Johnson, and Clemens, and I think the highest Joe Williams could place by these numbers would be #7 all time.

Rogan, Dihigo, and Redding would be top 30 all time by these estimates as well.

I notice that there's no mention here of Satchel Paige with 95 WAR being out of line. As Dr. Chaleeko is using a consistent system for his MLEs, if Paige's number seems plausible then the others need to be given serious consideration also. Pitchers are a lot harder to do equivalences for than hitters because of the variability of innings pitched and the interaction of pitching and fielding value, but we still should be looking at all the results of the system. Rogan, Dihigo, and Redding would be in the top 30 pitchers for career WAR, but they would rank lower than that overall in comparison to more recent pitchers.

Dr. Chaleeko's MLEs also cut the other way: if these MLEs appear potentially optimistic, then it is significant for our current purposes that it suggests that only two NeL pitchers look like they could possibly be serious candidates: Hilton Smith and Bill Byrd.
   265. Howie Menckel Posted: November 02, 2022 at 08:17 PM (#6103762)
Joe Williams went 20-7 against MLB teams in exhibition games, beating HOFers Walter Johnson, Chief Bender, Rube Marquard, Waite Hoyt, and Pete Alexander (Williams also homered against the latter).

I don't recall stories of the MLB teams treating these games as a complete joke, and iirc it was a widely-held conclusion among MLB players that obviously many Negro League players were of the highest quality.

The fact that the MLB guys did nothing in most cases to try to right an injustice, for me, actually adds credibility.

An empathetic soul who sought equal opportunity for all might be tempted to puff up the resumes of Negro League stars to add to their point, perhaps.

But what you had were "go along to get along" MLB players who didn't seem to much/at all care about the plight of their Negro League brethren. So that arguably makes their comments about the talent level of Negro League stars all the more believable.

I remember when Stephen Strasburg was at San Diego State, and he was likely to be the No. 1 overall pick but there were questions about him due to the quality of opposing teams he usually faced.

His manager was incredulous - and a bit bemused - by his (correct) endorsement of Strasburg's abilities being discounted by many media members. I suppose when said manager is/was Tony Gwynn - he of the 3,141 hits and career .338 AVG - perhaps such a track record should have been more respected.

I tend to feel similarly about comments by MLB HOFers about the skill level of Negro Leaguers.

Who would know better than them?
   266. kcgard2 Posted: November 02, 2022 at 09:54 PM (#6103830)
I tend to think all the MLEs are optimistic, but I've already stated that. I generally avoid wading into discussions of Paige, so it wasn't that I thought Paige looked right and the others didn't, but rather didn't want pushback against the discussion on grounds of people saying well actually Paige should be 140 or something so all these MLEs are conservative what are you talking about.

Rogan, Dihigo, and Redding would be in the top 30 pitchers for career WAR, but they would rank lower than that overall in comparison to more recent pitchers.

Apologies, I don't understand what you mean by this.

if these MLEs appear potentially optimistic, then it is significant for our current purposes that it suggests that only two NeL pitchers look like they could possibly be serious candidates: Hilton Smith and Bill Byrd.

Not sure there's much daylight between Bird and Barnhill to say one is and one isn't. Also, Salazar has a bunch of value as a CF, and the questions was always, well if he was in MLB would it have been possible for him to be a proto-Ohtani or would he have been either one or the other (pitcher or OF), by either of which on its own he prolly doesn't look good enough? Also, maybe a year ago, I think it was Webster McDonald who looked like the top unelected pitcher and Bill Holland(?) being among the other "serious candidates."
   267. Chris Cobb Posted: November 02, 2022 at 11:47 PM (#6103879)
I wrote:

Rogan, Dihigo, and Redding would be in the top 30 pitchers for career WAR, but they would rank lower than that overall in comparison to more recent pitchers.

kcgard wrote:

Apologies, I don't understand what you mean by this.

To clarify: their position in an all-time ranking of pitchers would be lower than their ranking in a listing of pitchers by their career WAR. When you said in your original post, "How can this be realistic? That makes Joe Williams the #4 pitcher of all time. Rogan, Dihigo, and Redding would be top 30 all time by these estimates as well," I was uncertain whether you were saying that, if one were to create an all-time pitcher ranking, Williams would be #4 and the others would be in the top 30, or whether you were indicating that Williams would be 4th all-time in career WAR among pitchers, and the others would be in the top 30 in career WAR.

I was trying to address both of the claims you might have been making and didn't take enough care to be clear.

I tend to think all the MLEs are optimistic, but I've already stated that.

On what basis? Dr. Chaleeko's MLES are based on painstaking and carefully documented methodology. He has explained and justified each step that he takes in what he does. What steps, exactly, do you find to be unjustified? It's fine to recognize that there is uncertainty involved in the MLE project, but a blanket assumption that all MLEs are optimistic? That doesn't enhance the credibility of your claims.
   268. Chris Cobb Posted: November 02, 2022 at 11:53 PM (#6103880)
Also, maybe a year ago, I think it was Webster McDonald who looked like the top unelected pitcher and Bill Holland(?) being among the other "serious candidates."

Yes, the evaluations of the pitchers below the top tier have moved around a lot. It's really difficult to do. From an HoM perspective, I think the electorate's collective judgment that there aren't any more NeL pitchers with a clear case is the reasonable conclusion, unless a really rigorous, compelling, and stable analysis would cast significant new light on this group of players. But continuing analysis is really important for a better understanding of what was happening in Negro League baseball. That helps us grasp the history of the game and also to improve all the MLEs by arriving at a better interpretation of competition levels.
   269. Jaack Posted: November 03, 2022 at 01:06 AM (#6103888)
Well, Joe Williams had a 26-year pitching career, and he was among the top NeL pitchers on a seasonal basis for most of that career, which stretched into his early 40s. A number of the top pitchers, especially power pitchers whose speed lasted, have turned in great seasons after the age of 40. I don't know that a record of 109 pWAR and 116 WAR including batting value compiled from 1908-33 would make Joe Williams the #4 pitcher of all time, although he would plausibly be top 10. Among his immediate contemporaries only, he would rank well behind Walter Johnson (1907-27, 152.3 pWAR, 164.9 WAR), pretty much even with Pete Alexander (1910-30, 116.2 pWAR, 119.3 WAR), and a bit ahead of Lefty Grove on batting value and if Grove isn't give MLE credit for his last couple minor league seasons (ML career 1925-41, 113.3 pwAR, 106.8 WAR). In an all time context, throw in Young, Seaver, Maddux, Randy Johnson, and Clemens, and I think the highest Joe Williams could place by these numbers would be #7 all time.


This is pretty much my exact train of thought with Williams. The MLEs put him behind Johnson pretty squarely in the territory of Alexander, Grove, and Christy Mathewson among pitchers in segregated white baseball. We should expect at least one pitcher on that level in the NeL if the white leagues produced four, and Williams, well, looks like a duck quacks like a duck. Just on a broad level, the MLEs pretty successfully fit the window of what you'd expect based on previous assumptions - Redding a fair bit stronger than previously believed, Willie Foster a fair bit worse, but that's exactly the type of varience you would expect. Essentially - everything passes the gut test for me at least.

Personally, I take the uncertainty of the MLEs very seriously when voting, I'm pretty disinclined to give high ballot spots to any NeL player without a resounding re-evaluation a la Dick Redding a few years back. But I don't think that the MLEs are optimistic across the board.
   270. DL from MN Posted: November 03, 2022 at 09:57 AM (#6103909)
Salazar has a bunch of value as a CF


Salazar's MLE as an outfielder is 48.5 WAR which is a little better.

It's fine to recognize that there is uncertainty involved in the MLE project, but a blanket assumption that all MLEs are optimistic?


The MLEs are not standard deviation adjusted which does require me to discount them a little when I compare to Dan R's numbers for white players. I know Dr. C does an adjustment assuming if we held the number of MLB teams constant that the talent level would have been a lot higher supposing integration of all the talented black players. He then discounts both white and black players' numbers. I treat the NGL era as a proxy expansion holding the talent level constant and adding more MLB teams worth of players to the list.

Rogan, Dihigo, and Redding would be in the top 30 pitchers for career WAR


Rogan was Ohtani before there was an Ohtani. Nobody should be surprised to see him in the top 30 pitchers by WAR.

I'm glad this has sparked a discussion. The NGL discussion has been very focused on position players so it is good to see the pitchers get some interest.

Just looking into Bill Byrd he was a spitballer who pitched through WWII and into the post-integration Negro Leagues. Barnhill also pitched in that era. If you're discounting WWII major league performance you should probably also discount the MLE performances.
   271. DL from MN Posted: November 03, 2022 at 10:01 AM (#6103910)
Hilton Smith deserves a closer look. Here are his MLEs year-by-year
PITCHER NAME YEAR AGE Lg G IP R RA9 lgRA9 pRAA pWAA gmLI WAAadj pWAR Rrep RAR PA Rbat Rpos hRAA hWAR hWAR_FINAL
HILTON SMITH 1932 25 NL 40 200 98 4.40 4.58 4 0.4 1 0 2.3 19 23 67 -1 7 5.9 0.6 0.4
HILTON SMITH 1933 26 NL 34 210 92 3.96 4.63 16 1.6 1 0 3.5 20 36 70 -1 7 5.5 0.6 0.4
HILTON SMITH 1934 27 NL 42 230 114 4.46 5.62 30 2.7 1 0 4.9 27 56 77 -1 9 7.2 0.7 0.5
HILTON SMITH 1935 28 NL 39 240 89 3.33 4.77 38 4.0 1 0 6.1 24 62 80 -2 8 6.6 0.7 0.4
HILTON SMITH 1936 29 NL 40 260 109 3.76 4.01 7 0.8 1 0 3.1 22 29 87 -2 10 8.4 0.8 0.5
HILTON SMITH 1937 30 NL 35 250 78 2.81 4.40 44 5.0 1 0 7.2 23 67 83 -2 9 7.6 0.8 0.5
HILTON SMITH 1938 31 NL 39 250 81 2.93 4.14 33 3.9 1 0 6.0 21 55 83 -2 10 8.0 0.8 0.5
HILTON SMITH 1939 32 NL 37 250 105 3.79 4.35 16 1.7 1 0 3.9 23 38 83 -2 9 7.5 0.8 0.5
HILTON SMITH 1940 33 NL 19 140 88 5.66 4.38 -20 -1.9 1 0 -0.6 13 -7 47 -1 5 4.3 0.4 0.3
HILTON SMITH 1941 34 NL 32 200 83 3.71 4.12 9 1.0 1 0 2.8 17 26 67 -1 7 6.1 0.6 0.4
HILTON SMITH 1942 35 NL 20 130 76 5.23 3.88 -20 -2.1 1 0 -0.9 10 -9 43 -1 4 3.4 0.4 0.3
HILTON SMITH 1943 36 NL 31 160 58 3.24 3.93 12 1.4 1 0 2.8 13 25 53 -1 4 3.4 0.4 0.3
HILTON SMITH 1944 37 NL 5 110 39 3.18 4.21 13 1.7 1 0 2.5 10 22 37 -1 3 2.7 0.3 0.2
HILTON SMITH 1945 38 NL 22 140 60 3.89 4.70 13 1.3 1 0 2.6 14 26 47 -1 4 3.3 0.3 0.2
HILTON SMITH 1946 39 NL 24 130 39 2.70 3.93 18 2.1 1 0 3.2 11 28 43 -1 4 3.5 0.4 0.3
HILTON SMITH 1947 40 NL 20 110 67 5.49 4.87 -8 -0.7 1 0 0.3 11 4 37 -1 4 3.3 0.3 0.2
HILTON SMITH 1948 41 NL 20 110 49 4.01 4.28 3 0.4 1 0 1.3 10 13 37 -1 4 3.2 0.3 0.2
   272. DL from MN Posted: November 03, 2022 at 10:09 AM (#6103912)
If I use those numbers for Williams it's Walter Johnson, Clemens, Alexander, Grove, Young, WILLIAMS, Maddux, Seaver, Randy Johnson, Spahn, Paige. That seems as correct as any other arrangement.
   273. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 03, 2022 at 04:13 PM (#6103975)
This is pretty much my exact train of thought with Williams. The MLEs put him behind Johnson pretty squarely in the territory of Alexander, Grove, and Christy Mathewson among pitchers in segregated white baseball. We should expect at least one pitcher on that level in the NeL if the white leagues produced four,

Where are you getting the 1:4 ratio? Blacks were about 10% of the US population back then. 1:9 would be my expectation.
   274. Jaack Posted: November 03, 2022 at 04:52 PM (#6103986)
Once you account for the large population 1st-gen European immigrants who weren't playing baseball (Jack Quinn is the only MLB player I can think of from that demo) and the 2 million people in Cuba that NeL baseball drew from, the demographics become pretty likely.

Either way, even if we take that 10% number at face value and assume even distribution, there's a 40% chance that there would be a top 5 pitcher in the NeLs. That seems plenty likely enough to me for the existence of one not to be surprising at all.
   275. kcgard2 Posted: November 03, 2022 at 04:57 PM (#6103987)
Dr. Chaleeko's MLES are based on painstaking and carefully documented methodology. He has explained and justified each step that he takes in what he does. What steps, exactly, do you find to be unjustified?

I discussed this in depth several some time ago (link - can start roughly at comment 68). Dr. C has addressed a number of my comments/concerns over the ensuing months and years. However, there are some things that Dr. C and I simply disagree about as well, or for which there are perhaps no good answers. Again, I will say I am not devaluing the MLEs he's done, they're incredible work. I also am not speaking from ignorance of the method - just looking at the results and deciding nah, I don't like that. You can decide how many of my concerns seem justified (or not) to you. Apart from the detailed methodology of the MLEs themselves, here are some concerns I have:

- The MLEs result in an over-indexing of NgL players who exceed the general HOM threshold compared to the talent pool its drawing from, IMO. I imagine we could argue for a long time about whether it truly should and why, and it would amount basically to opinions all around. My stance is there's no particular reason to believe black baseball players should over-index on HOM careers compared to all other players.
- I'm skeptical of NgL pitching. I don't have a ton to back this up. But one, there were no pitchers who had successful NgL careers who also had meaningful/substantial MLB careers. Two, in 65-ish years of integrated play, only four black American, Mexican, or Cuban pitchers (the NgL talent pool) have had HOM worthy careers - Gibson, Jenkins, Tiant, Sabathia: am I missing someone? I guess Newcombe is an edge case. Does this mean something? People might disagree whether it does or not, but for me it raises an interesting and not often considered question. Are we judging players on what they did in their context, or on what we think they might have done in a different context? That can provide two different answers. I think Newt Allen is sometimes a popular subject for highlighting the distinction - his slap hitting low-walk style worked fine in NgL but would it have translated well at all to lively ball conditions in MLB? An MLE can't/doesn't really deal with that type of question. I think the question is more pertinent when wondering whether/how NgL pitching would translate.

OK, one that is related to methodology, because its impact can be big. Assuming that a 90-percentile player in NgL translates to a 90-percentile player in MLB. Doesn't seem likely to me. A position which is easier to understand if you start going down the curve: a 50-percentile NgL player is not a 50-percentile MLB player, I'm pretty we sure we all agree (we should, anyway). But this is a difficult thing to address. Especially since the best NgL players very likely were on a par with the best MLB players, at least position player wise. So we have to choose something, and since for HOM purposes we only care about the far right tail of talent anyway, we say this is good enough. For the number of smaller methodology concerns I have/had with the MLEs, see the detailed discussion I enumerated in the linked HOM discussion thread.
   276. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 03, 2022 at 11:20 PM (#6104136)
DL, you mentioned STDEV adjustment viz MLEs. The MLEs are created using z-scores. I THINK that means you can apply the same STDEV adjustment you apply to the white MLBs.

KCGard2 is a great friend of the MLE project. I’ve bounced big ideas off of him and gotten great feedback. At times I’ve taken it all and sometimes taken some/most. He’s entirely correct that there’s certain things MLEs just don’t and maybe can’t account for. To put a couple real cases in play, Artie Wilson and Silvio Garcia were both outstanding hitters in the NeL but ended up playing out the string in the minors (with Wilson getting a cuppa with NYG). In both cases MLB teams thought that their off-field hitting style wouldn’t play in MLB. That might be true or not, but it was not problem in the NeL. So that’s
A difference of context that lies outside my ability to model it. And that’s even assuming it’s a real thing. Guys like Jeter, Gwynn, and Boggs hit just fine with an opportunity approach.

Anyway, to address the NeL pitching question, I too am very skeptical of NeL pitching. Rather than rewrite a long story, I recommend you go here for more details: https://homemlb.wordpress.com/2021/06/03/a-very-deep-look-into-quality-of-play-for-the-negro-leagues/

There’s reason to wonder, and KC’s skepticism has some facts, stats, and stories to back it.
   277. Chris Cobb Posted: November 04, 2022 at 12:26 AM (#6104185)
Kcgard2, thank you for the link to the 2019 thread! I clearly picked a bad year to be away from the HoM project and missed out on a lot of crucial discussion surrounding MLEs. I haven't had time to digest that entire thread yet, but I will read up thoroughly to fill in that gap in my knowledge of the more recent history of the development of MLEs.
   278. Rob_Wood Posted: November 04, 2022 at 12:28 AM (#6104186)
I'm not sure I have told this story here but I know I have told it elsewhere .... When I was a child in the mid-1960s I spent a great deal of time during summers living with my grandparents in Chicago. My grandfather and I would go to every Cubs game while I was there. One time the Cubs were playing the Atlanta Braves and sometime in the middle of the game my grandfather pointed out Satchel Paige sitting in the Braves bullpen. I had a vague notion who Satchel was but seeing him in person was a great thrill. I snuck down to a seat next to the Braves bullpen and started up a conversation with Ole Satch (times were different back then when something like this was possible).

After a few minutes he told me that he had to get ready. Ready for what I asked. I gotta warmup in case Skip wants me to pitch today. Paige then proceeded to warmup in the Braves bullpen for around 10 minutes. He had an easy motion and still seemed to have great control (I guess he must have been around 60 years old at the time). When he sat back down I told him he looked great. He made some remark on how he was just throwing half-speed but he appreciated the compliment. I eventually went back to my seat and told my grandfather that Satchel might pitch today. He just laughed and said that would be nice to see. I can't remember now but I think that might have been the year that Paige was on a coach's contract and, of course, was not eligible to actually appear in a Braves game. But I think the Braves also at one time signed Paige to a player's contract, so maybe I could have seen him pitch in a major league game!
   279. DL from MN Posted: November 04, 2022 at 09:55 AM (#6104198)
One thing I did notice doing a quick sort of the MLEs is the top 4 hitting seasons and 7 of the top 8 are from 1924 (Charleston, Torriente, Moore, Rogan, Wilson, Joseph, Beckwith). That's the year the ECL raided the NNL and both leagues expanded. That is unlikely to be random and that season in particular is probably not discounted enough.

Other top hitting performances
Jackie Robinson 1951 (not an MLE)
Charleston 1921
Robinson 1949
Jud Wilson 1927
Oms 1921
Rogan 1922
Lloyd 1909
Heavy Johnson 1921
Beckwith 1922
Lloyd 1915
Wells 1928
Stearnes 1929
   280. DL from MN Posted: November 04, 2022 at 09:57 AM (#6104199)
Top pitching seasons in the database

Joe Williams 1912
Frank Wickware 1913
Dick Redding 1915
Rube Foster 1909
Jose Mendez 1909
Jose Munoz 1907
Jose Acosta 1918
Joe Williams 1916
Joe Williams 1922
Joe Williams 1917
Joe Williams 1913
Sam Streeter 1933
Leon Day 1946
Leroy Matlock 1935
Leon Day 1942
Dave Brown 1924
Satchel Paige 1934
John Donaldson 1919
Dick Redding 1912
Satchel Paige 1935

These seem more randomly distributed
   281. DL from MN Posted: November 04, 2022 at 10:00 AM (#6104200)
Rob - that's a great story. He was originally signed as a player to get his pension but never pitched for the Braves.

https://andscape.com/features/the-day-the-atlanta-braves-signed-satchel-paige-so-he-could-get-his-mlb-pension/
   282. DL from MN Posted: November 04, 2022 at 10:06 AM (#6104201)
am I missing someone?


Doc Gooden is close to HoM worthy
   283. DL from MN Posted: November 04, 2022 at 11:32 AM (#6104209)
In MLB, what Negro Leagues pitchers succeeded? There were exactly four:

Connie Johnson, whom some observers reckoned threw harder than anyone in the AL at the time and had a sweeping sidearm curve
Toothpick Sam Jones, another very hard thrower, who also had the best curve of his time
Don Newcombe, known for his explosive fastball and a tight slider
Satchel Paige, who though in his forties and making pitches up on the mound, once had the best fastball this side of Lefty Grove and still had plenty enough movement and location left on it to be a credible big-league pitch (see the Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers for a little more detail).


Hilton Smith fits in with this group - great fastball and a great curveball that came from spin rates, not from tobacco juice. He had great control.
   284. cookiedabookie Posted: November 04, 2022 at 12:05 PM (#6104213)
Two, in 65-ish years of integrated play, only four black American, Mexican, or Cuban pitchers (the NgL talent pool) have had HOM worthy careers - Gibson, Jenkins, Tiant, Sabathia: am I missing someone?

I'm reminded of the lack of black quarterbacks for decades in the NFL because of racist notions of "athleticism" vs "intelligence", and can't help but wonder if there wasn't the same internalized bias with pitchers after integration. Plus, many of the top black pitchers were ran into the ground (Blue, Gooden, Richard, etc) - could've been a dismissal of their pain, or a disregard for their health. Maybe not, but I don't think the argument that MLB didn't have successful black pitchers doesn't mean that they couldn't, or that those in the NgL wouldn't have been successful, especially those at the top. I personally have five NgL pitchers in (Wiliams, Page, Rogan, Mendez, and Redding) - only Redding is a borderline case for me. And then Dihigo and Foster, who were HoM worthy for pitching plus hitting/managing/owning. I don't think seven pitchers covering 50 years of NgL play is an egregious amount. I have Day, Brown, Smith, and Byrd bunched up below those seven, but I don't think all four need to be elected, and I'm not sure if one of them stands out enough.
   285. Chris Cobb Posted: November 04, 2022 at 12:49 PM (#6104217)
I would put forward the idea that we should not try to rely on demographics as a guide to how many top players there will be from various racial and ethnic groups.

Among position players, 11 of the top 20 played at least part of their careers before baseball began to integrate. They are, of course, all white. 9 of the top 20 played their full careers after integration. 7 of those 9 are of African-American or Latin American heritage. That result is totally out of alignment with any prediction that would be based on population demographics. If, in turn, we used the results of integrated baseball as a projection of what top-line talent distribution would look like in pre-integration baseball, we might expect that the majority of the best players would have been among the players excluded from the major leagues. I don't argue that is the case, but I do believe it is a fundamental mistake to expect ethnic demographics to be predictive. Access to opportunity, access to resources, and motivation for the pursuit of athletic excellence are such significant factors that they scramble any attempts at demographic prediction at this level.
   286. Chris Cobb Posted: November 04, 2022 at 02:03 PM (#6104224)
To clarify: 11 of the top 20 position players as measured by career WAR, as listed in the "leaders" section at Baseball Reference.
   287. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 04, 2022 at 08:16 PM (#6104259)
Just some thoughts about size of talent pool. Based on my various researches, I think there are multiple factors all of which seem to interact.
-Size of talent pool: This one is obvious from the perspective that a small pool, like Curaçao, can’t supply enough players to fill a complete 40 man roster of MLB quality, let alone an entire league. Also, if the pool is large enough, some external factors can be accommodated.
-Competition from other sports: If the pool is big enough it can accommodate the competition
-Economics: Poor kids with little hope for college or highly skilled labor have extra incentive to go pro and persevere. Whites had a much higher likelihood of getting a good job as part of the general population than Blacks. Ask Scott Simkus for stories of white guys who spurned MLB for better jobs and/or more favorable baseball lifestyles. In modern times, the costs to families associated with travel ball and high-level amateur ball may prohibit some people from participation in baseball. Salary opportunities play into this. A player might choose baseball over, say, track and field because there was better money in it.
-Cultural preferences: Cubans play baseball. Brazilians play soccer. Indians play cricket. Canadians play hockey. Similarly, the NBA is predominantly African American, which may reflect a cultural preference and which may interact with other factors in this list. Another version of this has been the long-standing tension for NPB players about whether and when to come to the US v staying in Japan, and in reverse, Japan’s Amish-like quasi-acceptance of gaijin, whom they limit on a per team basis.
-The number of open roster spots: NBA teams have, what 13-man rosters? Baseball is twice that, and football twice again. But the more players a league needs, the deeper it has to go into each pool or they have to go into a wider group of pools.
-Proximity to top leagues: Cuba was always close enough to allow for scouting. Taiwan/China not so much. Also the size and breadth of top-leagues scouting operations play into this too.
-National stability: In foreign markets, political instability or opposition to the US might close temporarily or permanently its pool from US teams. One of the reasons the Negro Leagues could remain at a high level was that America was a highly stable country and that included Black America too. Even though it’s economic and human-rights conditions were poor, their government didn’t cease to operate and was not overthrown, there was no reduction in cross-country mobility associated with the breakup of the government.

All these things, and surely more, appear to interact in sometimes chaotic ways. I used to be a strict believer that the size of the pool was the key determinant, but after more study and thinking, I believe that after a certain number of players in the pool, the rest is a blend of this other stuff.
   288. Brent Posted: November 05, 2022 at 02:33 PM (#6104327)
DL from MN wrote: "Top pitching seasons in the database ... These seem more randomly distributed"

There seems to be a bias in favor of pitchers from the early (dead-ball) years. 12 of 20 pitchers are from 1907-19, versus 8 from 1920-48.

DL also wrote: "Hilton Smith deserves a closer look. Here are his MLEs year-by-year"

I used to vote regularly for Smith, and at one point was maybe his biggest supporter. I've since changed my mind, though, because I've decided I'm less willing to extrapolate peak performance.

The MLE taken on its face shows Smith as a viable candidate for a peak-oriented voter, with his pWAR of 51 and with 17.1 pWAR coming in a 3-year peak from 1937-39. The actual statistics (Seamheads or bbref) show Hilton Smith arriving in the NAL in 1937 at age 30 and immediately becoming established as one of the best pitchers in the league. My problem with the MLE is that it shows 19.9 pWAR for the years 1932-36, which is basically all extrapolation. In those seasons, Hilton Smith pitched just one recorded game in 1932 in the Negro Southern League, which was considered a major league for that one season (and thus has good records). He remained in that league for 1933-34 when it reverted to minor league status and isn't recorded, and then pitched for an integrated team in North Dakota in 1935-36. So even if we had records for those seasons, quality-of-competition issues would make them difficult to interpret. (Seamheads records just 3 games pitched by Smith during those years against NeLg competition, with an ERA of just 5.59. So Eric's MLEs for those years have to be primarily extrapolation from Smith's 1937-39 peak.)

While I continue to favor giving credit where there's evidence (such as minor league equivalencies or, in the case of military service, established major league value before and after the service), I've decided there also need to be limits. In Smith's case, the observation that nearly 40% of his value is based on pure extrapolation of the first years of his career seems like too much for me. We simply can't know whether he was an all-star talent in hiding (as suggested by the MLEs) or just a late bloomer.
   289. DL from MN Posted: November 05, 2022 at 02:46 PM (#6104333)
We simply can't know whether [Hilton Smith] was an all-star talent in hiding (as suggested by the MLEs) or a late bloomer.


It's probably a little of both. The talent was there but Smith said he didn't know how to sequence pitches until he got to the Monarchs. They also helped him with his wrist snap to get more velocity on the fastball and spin on the curve.

https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/hilton-smith/

He was plenty good before 1937 but the Monarchs took it to the next level.
   290. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 05, 2022 at 07:03 PM (#6104366)
All these things, and surely more, appear to interact in sometimes chaotic ways. I used to be a strict believer that the size of the pool was the key determinant, but after more study and thinking, I believe that after a certain number of players in the pool, the rest is a blend of this other stuff.

I still like Bill James's comment on talent pool size from 20-ish years ago. To slightly adapt it: If population base is the primary driver of great performance in a specific field, then Little Rock, Arkansas should currently be turning out roughly as many great playwrights as London did around 1600.
   291. Chris Cobb Posted: November 05, 2022 at 07:32 PM (#6104371)
There seems to be a bias in favor of pitchers from the early (dead-ball) years. 12 of 20 pitchers are from 1907-19, versus 8 from 1920-48.

And only 2 of those 8 from 1920-30, the heyday of the Negro Leagues as an institution. Aside from the Joe Williams effect, my hypothesis is that the reduction in top seasons is a result of three intertwined effects: (1) the comparison of seasons with fewer "league" games to seasons with more "league" games, (2) the impact of more "league" play on pitcher workload and performance during the 1920s and early 1930s, and (3) the impact (less in Black Baseball than in the White major leagues of the lively ball. The comparable major-league list for 1907-48, by bWAR, has a very similar distribution:

Walter Johnson 1913
Walter Johnson 1912
Pete Alexander 1920
Eddie Cicotte 1917
Christy Mathewson 1908
Walter Johnson 1914
Walter Johnson 1915
Red Faber 1921
Russ Ford 1910
Ed Walsh 1912
Hal Newhouser 1945
Lefty Grove 1936
Ed Walsh 1910
Pete Alexander 1915
Pete Alexander 1916
Dolf Luque 1923
Walter Johnson 1919
Dazzy Vance 1924
Lefty Grove 1930
Lefty Grove 1931

Five seasons from Walter Johnson versus five from Joe Williams; 12 seasons from 1907-19, versus 8 from 1920-48, half of which are 1920-24, then three from Lefty Grove, and Hal Newhouser's 1945, if I've tracked the seasons correctly. Top 20 is a bit of an arbitrary cut-off, but if one went with seasons of 10 or more pitching WAR, the effect would be similar but even more pronounced.
   292. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 05, 2022 at 08:12 PM (#6104383)
Regarding Smith’s extrapolated seasons. I completely agree that the “missing” years should not be taken as gospel. I would always recommend that you be skeptical and ask questions about any MLE. So the thing to know about missing seasons is that I have revised how I treat those seasons. Those revisions are based on ideas suggested by this community. I don’t have numbers yet, but just know it’s coming…just don’t know if it’ll be by election time.
   293. bachslunch Posted: December 01, 2022 at 10:46 AM (#6107446)
We're into December as of today. When does the ballot thread for this year's HoM go up?

Thanks!
   294. DL from MN Posted: December 02, 2022 at 12:41 PM (#6107599)
We're into December as of today. When does the ballot thread for this year's HoM go up?


After 2022 MMP voting finishes
   295. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 04, 2022 at 02:03 PM (#6107880)
Prelim for 2023 ballot:

1 Carlos Beltran
2 Thurman Munson
3 Lance Berkman
4 David Ortiz
5 Tommy John
6 Tim Hudson
7 Jason Giambi
8 Bert Campaneris
9 Urban Shocker
10 Sal Bando
11 Bobby Bonds
12 Bobby Veach
13 Jim Sundberg
14 Joe Tinker
15 Orel Hershiser
HM Heavy Johnson/George Scales/Negro Leaguers - awaiting more Seamheads data and research from the Doc and others.
   296. Mark A Shirk Posted: December 07, 2022 at 09:22 PM (#6108643)
Here is my preliminary ballot. System is based on measuring fWAR above 2 (prime) and 5 (peak) in a single season. and then multiplying the latter by 3 to 'even' it up. SO a season with 6 fWAR gets 4 'prime' points and 3 'peak' ((6-5)*3) points for a total of 7. This is added up over a career. Its a peak heavy system and there are a lot of out of nowhere choices on here (esp. for pitchers). This is quite similar to my base system back in my first stint as a HoM voter (through about 2010) but then I used Win Shares. There are 'subjective' concerns from there, so the system is just a baseline.

I did want to confirm: I did not see Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, Andruw Jones, Todd Helton, or Dick Redding in the plaque room. All four would be high on my ballot but I assumed that since they are not getting current votes they are already elected? Same goes for Leon Day though I have him included here.

1. Heavy Johnson
2. Carlos Beltran
3. Dale Murphy
4. Hurley McNair
5. Lance Berkman
6. Sam McDowell
7. Leon Day
8. Doc Gooden
9. Jason Giambi
10. Sal Bando
11. Johan Santana
12. Buddy Bell
13. Al Rosen
14. Elston Howard
15. Wilbur Wood

If Day is already elected, I would add one of Nomar Garciaparra or Kevin Appier.

WAAAAY too many PHOM guys to list.


   297. DL from MN Posted: December 07, 2022 at 10:31 PM (#6108648)
I don't agree with Heavy Johnson ahead of Carlos Beltran but to each their own. Leon Day is still eligible, but Johan Santana is not - inducted in 2018. You also need to discuss how you evaluated the required disclosures not on your ballot: Thurman Munson, Bobby Bonds, David Ortiz, Ben Taylor, Vic Willis, Bob Johnson, Tommy John.
   298. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 08, 2022 at 07:48 AM (#6108671)
Seeing Heavy and McNair on preballots is an indicator for me.

Please note that I am unlikely to have updated MLEs for this election. BUT I would advise caution on these two guys. Both appear to be dropping back a bit in my update (unpublished) MLEs. Both look like they will end up around 55-60 WAR instead of their present loftier totals. The update I’m working on includes changes in how I figured league QoP, how I handle empty seasons, inclusion of new data from SH, improvements to PT projections, and a new way to handle samples for the purposes of creating z-scores for background data.

I’m a couple whiles from going live with these, in fact, I’m going to attempt some testing scenarios for the first time). But these will take time, enough that we won’t have a completed update until January or later.
   299. DL from MN Posted: December 08, 2022 at 05:57 PM (#6108816)
Who are my 3 ballot counters this year?
   300. kcgard2 Posted: December 08, 2022 at 08:36 PM (#6108827)
I'll count ballots
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