Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

You are here > Home > Hall of Merit > Discussion
Hall of Merit
— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Pitchers Combined Ballot Discussion

We can use this ballot for a discussion of all the pitchers.

A reminder of the results of our ‘by era’ voting:

RK 1871-1892         PTS 1893-1923            PTS 1924-1958      PTS 1959-present      PTS
1 John Clarkson     147 Walter Johnson       342 Lefty Grove    361 Tom Seaver        380
 2 Tim Keefe          98 Cy Young             323 Warren Spahn   332 Steve Carlton     344
 3 Old Hoss Radbourn  98 Pete Alexander       303 Satchel Paige  322 Bob Gibson        342
 4 Al Spalding        88 Smokey Joe Williams  274 Bob Feller     294 Phil Niekro       302
 5 Bob Caruthers      55 Christy Mathewson    267 Carl Hubbell   269 Gaylord Perry     302
 6 Pud Galvin         39 Kid Nichols          258 Robin Roberts  257 Bert Blyleven     262
----------------------Eddie Plank          209 Martin Dihigo  232 Jim Palmer        233
----------------------Ed Walsh             192 Hal Newhouser  200 Fergie Jenkins    227
----------------------Amos Rusie           183 Raymond Brown  199 Juan Marichal     206
----------------------Mordecai Brown       139 Whitey Ford    186 Nolan Ryan        202
----------------------Stan Coveleski       123 Bullet Rogan   166 Sandy Koufax      195
----------------------Joe McGinnity        110 Dazzy Vance    159 Hoyt Wilhelm      166
----------------------Rube Waddell         106 Ted Lyons      152 Dennis Eckersley  153
----------------------Rube Foster          100 Willie Foster  112 Don Drysdale      151
----------------------José Méndez           84 Red Ruffing    109 Jim Bunning       121
----------------------Red Faber             81 Wes Ferrell     86 Bret Saberhagen   106
----------------------Clark Griffith        79 Early Wynn      70 Don Sutton        106
----------------------Eppa Rixey            76 Bob Lemon       53 Goose Gossage      97
-----------------------------------------------Billy Pierce    51 Dave Stieb         60
------------------------------------------------------------------Rollie Fingers     29 


JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: August 23, 2009 at 08:13 PM | 27 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Related News:

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: August 23, 2009 at 08:34 PM (#3302729)
Let's start the discussion of the overall pitcher ballot.
   2. Paul Wendt Posted: August 24, 2009 at 11:08 PM (#3303956)
This is limited to interpretation of the special elections.

The "HOM not HOF" category, now size 57, includes only six pitchers, so the four special elections ranking those players (plus Joe Gordon, minus Reggie Smith) do not provide much grist for the mill. Caruthers finished in the middle of Group 3, far ahead of Wes Ferrell. Pierce finished ninth in Group 2, ahead of Jimmy Wynn, clearly a stronger relative showing for Pierce than in the rankings by position. Blyleven led Group 1 and Stieb finished ahead of Saberhagen, a reversal of their ranking among recent pitchers.

Considering that meagre information together with the pitcher rankings above, including the point scores, ... it will be easiest if you print that and get out your color highlighter.

Roughly I equate the support for these players, call them solid members of the Hall of Merit who are not contenders for the top half (8).

Coveleski, McGinnity, Waddell, Foster
Foster, Ruffing

That leaves one from column A, four B, four C, and five from column D in the lower class (14).

At the same time I roughly equate support for these solid members of the top half (8).

Plank, Walsh, Rusie
Marichal, Ryan, Koufax

This puts 1, 9, 7, and 11 in the top half (28). At the same time it defines a big upper class comprising none, six, six, and eight (20) and a middle class comprising three, one, six, and three (13).

Within the big upper class it seems clear that Johnson, Young, Alexander, Grove, and Seaver will be five of the top ten and that Niekro, Perry, Blyleven, Palmer, and Jenkins will not be there.

Again, all this is my interpretation of the previous elections.
   3. OCF Posted: August 24, 2009 at 11:37 PM (#3303985)
What are the voting rules?
   4. DL from MN Posted: August 25, 2009 at 01:55 PM (#3304359)
My current top 40, offered up so people can pick it apart. The rankings should at least be consistent with my rankings within groups.

1) Johnson, Walter
2) Alexander, Pete
3) Young, Cy
4) Grove, Lefty - this is with minor league credit. 2/3/4 are pretty close for being in the tail of the distribution
5) Williams, Joe
6) Seaver, Tom
7) Spahn, Warren
8) Mathewson, Christy
9) Paige, Satchel
10) Nichols, Kid
11) Gibson, Bob
12) Niekro, Phil
13) Feller, Bob
14) Carlton, Steve
15) Blyleven, Bert
16) Dihigo, Martin
17) Hubbell, Carl
18) Vance, Dazzy
19) Perry, Gaylord
20) Clarkson, John
21) Rusie, Amos
22) Roberts, Robin
23) Plank, Eddie
))) Brown, Kevin
24) Brown, Ray
25) Jenkins, Ferguson
26) Keefe, Tim
27) Ryan, Nolan
28) Eckersley, Dennis
29) Palmer, Jim
30) Lyons, Ted
31) Newhouser, Hal
32) Ford, Whitey
33) Walsh, Ed
34) Foster, Bill
35) Coveleski, Stan
36) Wilhelm, Hoyt
37) Rogan, Bullet
38) Radbourn, Charley
39) Saberhagen, Bret
40) Mendez, Jose

Interestingly, 2 of my next 3 guys are unelected - Cone and Bridges. Koufax is 54th.
   5. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: August 25, 2009 at 03:45 PM (#3304453)
What are the voting rules?

I would say we should go with a 20 man ballot, right? Since we aren't ranking everyone, should we restore the off ballot penalty? Something like 23-22-21-xxxx-6-5-4?
   6. Paul Wendt Posted: August 25, 2009 at 04:35 PM (#3304504)
probably yes. Why not 25-24-...6?

Suppose a 20 man ballot.

Will the official interpretation of results be in terms of a top twenty? Will there be a next round featuring the 43 pitchers who rank below twenty in the results? Either "Yes" strengthens the case for off-ballot penalty.

One alternative is a 20-man ballot with official interpretation that the results rank the top fifteen, and a next round featuring the 48 pitchers who rank below fifteen in the results. Then 20-19-...1 is reasonable scoring in my opinion.
   7. JPWF13 Posted: August 25, 2009 at 09:20 PM (#3304894)
My current top 60 (not done yet, including active pitchers, pitchers not eligble for HOF yet, still need to add Negro Leaguers- guys like Paige and Dihigo will make my final list):

1 Walter Johnson
2 Cy Young
3 Roger Clemens
4 Pete Alexander
5 Christy Mathewson
6 Lefty Grove
7 Greg Maddux
8 Kid Nichols
9 Tom Seaver
10 Randy Johnson
11 Pedro Martinez
12 Mordecai Brown
13 Ed Walsh
14 Warren Spahn
15 Bob Gibson
16 Bert Blyleven
17 Dutch Leonard
18 Carl Hubbell
19 Gaylord Perry
20 Jim Palmer
21 Eddie Plank
22 Curt Schilling
23 John Smoltz
24 Steve Carlton
25 Tom Glavine
26 Rube Waddell
27 Hal Newhouser
28 Kevin Brown
29 Mike Mussina
30 Bob Feller
31 Stan Coveleski
32 Hoyt Wilhelm
33 Addie Joss
34 Whitey Ford
35 Robin Roberts
36 Ted Lyons
37 Red Faber
38 Eppa Rixey
39 Fergie Jenkins
40 Nolan Ryan
41 Phil Niekro
42 Juan Marichal
43 Clark Griffith
44 Eddie Cicotte
45 Dazzy Vance
46 Hippo Vaughn
47 Amos Rusie
48 Dave Stieb
49 Joe McGinnity
50 Sandy Koufax
51 Don Sutton
52 Vic Willis
53 Babe Adams
54 Red Ruffing
55 Carl Mays
56 Jim Bunning
57 Tommy Bridges
58 Billy Pierce
59 Bucky Walters
60 Dennis Eckersley

Basically I figured out wins above average for each individual season- only seasons above .500 were counted. I also added in seasons where the pitcher cleared a 75 OPS+ as a hitter (effect was negligible for vast majority of pitchers). I also used a different baseline for pre-1893 seasons.
   8. sunnyday2 Posted: August 25, 2009 at 11:59 PM (#3305052)

1. Walter Johnson--564 WS, 54-47-42 peak, the best peak of anybody post-1893

2. Lefty Grove--deserves some MiL credit, Bill James once said he was the only pitcher you could argue above the Train, and I see his point

3. Cy Young--635 WS, best ever for total career value. Had 2 HoM careers is what he did.

4. Tom Seaver--as easy a call in his own time as Johnson and Grove in theirs.

5. Pete Alexander--clearly better than Matty, who knew?


6. Warren Spahn--like Cy, had 2 careers, it's just that neither one alone was an obvious HoM career. Shockingly low peak. And yet, the best between Grove and Seaver.

7. Kid Nichols--a poor man's Cy Young, underrated.

8. Smokey Joe Williams--best of the NeL pitchers, better than Satch.

9. Christy Mathewson--one thing I learned in this project: one "t" on Mathewson.

10. Satchel Paige--hard to say for sure, but the evidence mostly points to here.

11.Sandy Koufax
12. Bob Gibson
13. John Clarkson
14. Ed Walsh
15. Carl Hubbell
16. Steve Carlton
17. Robin Roberts
18. Old Hoss Radbourn
19. Bob Feller
20. Whitey Ford

21. Albert Spalding
22. Amos Rusie
23. Ray Brown
24. Bert Blyleven
25. Tim Keefe
   9. TomH Posted: August 27, 2009 at 03:14 PM (#3306611)
prelim - but it seems I've forgotten half of what I learned. And re-learning takes energy and time.

W Johnson

SJ Williams
G Perry - cheated, got away with it, gets credit for what he accomplished, even
tho personally I wish MLB had caught and suspended him.

Nichols - my top 12 are pretty well set. The the fog/goo/mud comes.

P Niekro
B Foster


I'm not as kind to the 19th century pitchers are some others are.
   10. Paul Wendt Posted: August 27, 2009 at 08:32 PM (#3307023)
Wow, all-stars selected at the time. Whatever my own selections, about 40 to 20 years ago, I have no record.

1995 is nothing. What about 1965? Does Zoilo Versalles win the MVP?

7. JPWF13 Posted: August 25, 2009 at 05:20 PM (#3304894)
My current top 60 (not done yet, including active pitchers, pitchers not eligble for HOF yet, still need to add Negro Leaguers- guys like Paige and Dihigo will make my final list):

1 Walter Johnson
2 Cy Young

3 Roger Clemens
4 Pete Alexander
5 Christy Mathewson

6 Lefty Grove
7 Greg Maddux
8 Kid Nichols
9 Tom Seaver
10 Randy Johnson
11 Pedro Martinez
12 Mordecai Brown
13 Ed Walsh

14 Warren Spahn
15 Bob Gibson
16 Bert Blyleven
17 Dutch Leonard

That's a big batch from group two, where Morde Brown officially ranks only number ten and Dutch Leonard is a no-show. Seven of the first 13, and four of the others are from timespan five whose consideration awaits us, so it's seven of the first 9 HOM members (without considering Joe Williams).

OK, Leonard wasn't eligible, and I guess that is E. Dutch Leonard from timespan three, but I'm curious. Dutch Leonard?
   11. JPWF13 Posted: August 27, 2009 at 08:59 PM (#3307051)
OK, Leonard wasn't eligible, and I guess that is E. Dutch Leonard from timespan three, but I'm curious. Dutch Leonard?

Computer Glitch
I've been using Access to add up my seasonal figures and it counted this guy and this guy as one guy.

I have to fix that.

Done, Dutch Leonard 2 is now 78th on my list, and Dutch Leonard 1 is now 153rd.

Jack Quinn is now 60...

That's a big batch from group two,

Yes, yes it is, and I'm working on "fixing it" without running afoul of "time lining"
   12. Mark Donelson Posted: August 27, 2009 at 09:02 PM (#3307056)
Very quick prelim:

1 W Johnson
2. Grove
3. C Young
4. Alexander
5. Paige

6. Seaver
7. J Williams
8. Mathewson
9. Feller
10. Gibson

11. Spahn
12. Nichols
13. Clarkson
14. Carlton
15. Rusie

16. Vance
17. Walsh
18. Roberts
19. G Perry
20. Hubbell

21. Niekro
22. Plank
23. Spalding
24. Koufax
25. Radbourn
   13. Paul Wendt Posted: August 28, 2009 at 06:05 PM (#3307821)
Speaking of MS Access, I am now looking at a query (display) of career Innings, Wins, Win Shares, cWS/Inn, and cWS/W. (Recently looking at various measures of Carlton, Niekro, and Perry interested me in the vaguely recalled generalization that pitchers earn about one Win Share per official win.)

This query is restricted to pitchers with 1500 innings and 150 Win Shares: 257 pitchers including 54 of the 55 Hall of Merit major leaguers (all but Spalding, too early for Win Shares). The rate leaders are early pitchers who were important batter-fielders, including HOM pitcher Bob Caruthers, and modern relief pitchers.

These selections include the top five and bottom five primarily starting pitchers both overall and restricted to HOM members except Caruthers.

Win Shares per Inning (career starting pitchers, 1876-2003)
... John Ward 0.166 and four other mixed careers including Bob Caruthers 0.119;
... Rich Gossage 0.123 and four other mainly relief careers
0.099 Lefty Grove (
0.095 Walter Johnson
0.095 Kid Nichols
0.093 Mordecai Brown
0.092 Dizzy Dean
0.092 Pete Alexander
0.091 Harry Brecheen
0.068 Bert Blyleven (#45 among 49 covered HOMers)
0.068 Early Wynn
0.067 Pud Galvin (percentile ~35)
0.062 Nolan Ryan (percentile ~15)
0.060 Don Sutton (lowest HOM member, percentile ~10)
0.053 Jerry Reuss
0.053 Joe Niekro
0.052 Mike Torrez
0.049 Chick Fraser
0.032 Bobby Mathews

Win Shares per Win (career starting pitchers, 1876-2003)
... John Ward 2.494 and six other mixed careers;
... Rich Gossage 1.798 and six other leading relief pitchers
1.410 Thornton Lee (Ted Lyons teammate, W-L 117-124, ERA+ 119)
1.359 Ed Walsh
1.343 Walter Johnson
1.341 Dizzy Trout
1.325 Ted Breitenstein
1.324 Kid Nichols
Nap Rucker, Harry Howell (W-L 131-146, ERA+ 109)
1.303 Lefty Grove
Harry Brecheen, Andy Messersmith, Silver King, Ned Garver (W-L 129-157, ERA+ 112)
1.276 Pete Alexander
1.093 Joe McGinnity (#45 among 49 covered HOMers)
1.082 Juan Marichal
1.031 Nolan Ryan (percentile ~20)
1.030 Early Wynn (percentile ~20)
0.985 Don Sutton (lowest HOM member, percentile ~10)
0.886 Jack Morris
0.882 Jerry Reuss
0.877 Lew Burdette
0.859 Mike Torrez
0.855 Joe Niekro
   14. Paul Wendt Posted: August 28, 2009 at 06:50 PM (#3307864)
Oops. There are severe problems with the details, both what I did and how I said it regarding the use of Innings and Wins in the featured measures and in the thresholds.

(I have a drastic private edit but it is Invalid using the "Edit Comment" feature. Now I can only cut the end of the original (on Medians in contrast to leaders and trailers). Too much time has passed (unlikely) or there is some limit on the difference between versions, magnitude of deletion, etc. I tried to delete everything on Innings in contrast to Wins and to resay the remainder.)
   15. Paul Wendt Posted: August 28, 2009 at 07:01 PM (#3307877)
For now I must escape with this.

Win Shares per Win, Hall of Merit pitchers from the major leagues
(Caruthers and four relief pitchers)
1.359 Ed Walsh (#1 of 49)
1.179 MEDIAN Red Ruffing (includes significant pinch-hitting)
1.176 MEDIAN Phil Niekro
0.984 Don Sutton (#49 of 49)
(Spalding, too early for Win Shares)
   16. OCF Posted: August 28, 2009 at 10:46 PM (#3308130)
Where does Blyleven fit on the second chart, WS/W?
   17. Paul Wendt Posted: August 31, 2009 at 12:08 AM (#3309351)
Blyleven is just ahead of Ruffing. Here are 49 HOM pitchers: no Negro Leagues (8), no relief (4), no Caruthers or Spalding.

Career Win Shares per Pitching Win
1.358   0.395   p2      Ed Walsh
1.342   0.425   p2      Walter Johnson
1.324   0.446   p2      Kid Nichols
1.303   0.400   p3      Lefty Grove
1.276   0.380   p2      Pete Alexander
1.275   0.387   p3      Hal Newhouser
1.265   0.585
*  p1      Charley Radbourn
1.262   0.383   p4      Bob Gibson
1.247   0.324   p4      Tom Seaver
1.243   0.383   p2      Rube Waddell
1.240   0.421   p2      Cy Young
1.238   0.389   p2      Mordecai Brown
1.234   0.381   p4      Don Drysdale
1.223   0.374   p3      Dazzy Vance
1.207   0.448   p1      Tim Keefe
1.207   0.453   p1      John Clarkson
1.207   0.512
*  p3      Wes Ferrell
1.205   0.389   p3      Carl Hubbell
1.200   0.414   p3      Ted Lyons
1.195   0.467   p2      Amos Rusie
1.193   0.000   p4      Dave Stieb
1.185   0.380   p3      Robin Roberts
1.184   0.370   p2      Eppa Rixey
1.181   0.103   p4      Bert Blyleven
1.179   0.479
*  p3      Red Ruffing (median of 49includes significant pinch-hitting)
1.176   0.315   p4      Phil Niekro
1.175   0.369   p4      Sandy Koufax
1.175   0.379   p3      Billy Pierce
1.175   0.228   p4      Gaylord Perry
1.164   0.136   p4      Jim Palmer
1.155   0.088   p4      Bret Saberhagen
1.151   0.466   p2      Clark Griffith
1.149   0.379   p2      Red Faber
1.147   0.372   p4      Jim Bunning
1.142   0.394   p2      Christy Mathewson
1.139   0.385   p2      Stan Coveleski
1.137   0.224   p4      Fergie Jenkins
1.134   0.391   p3      Warren Spahn
1.120   0.466   p3      Bob Lemon
1.112   0.359   p4      Steve Carlton
1.107   0.395   p2      Eddie Plank
1.107   0.464   p1      Pud Galvin
1.105   0.381   p3      Whitey Ford
1.097   0.388   p3      Bob Feller
1.093   0.413   p2      Joe McGinnity
1.082   0.381   p4      Juan Marichal 
(approxmedian of all pitchers with 150 wins)
1.030   0.177   p4      Nolan Ryan
1.030   0.416   p3      Early Wynn
0.984   0.295   p4      Don Sutton 

* leaders, batting PA per inning pitched, plausible leaders by batting Win Shares

p1,p2,p3,p4 Hall of Merit groups 1,2,3,4
   18. Paul Wendt Posted: August 31, 2009 at 12:45 AM (#3309365)
There are 447 pitchers with
- at least 100 wins
- less than 0.5 batting PA per inning pitched
- inactive since 2001 (careers completely covered in the Win Shares book)
including all four HOM relief pitchers and 47 starters (no Spalding, Caruthers, Radbourn, Ferrell).

bottom five by career Win Shares per pitching Win (WS/W)
at least 100 wins
0.646 Tony Cloninger followed by Bob Walk, Jaime Navarro, Bobby Witt, Jack Billingham 0.731

at least 150 wins
0.777 Jim Lonborg, Bill Gullickson, Mike Moore, Jim Slaton, Dave Stewart 0.839

at least 200 wins
0.855 Joe Niekro, Lew Burdette, Jerry Reuss, Jack Morris, Bob Welch 0.891

at least 250 wins
0.886 Jack Morris, Jim Kaat, Gus Weyhing, Don Sutton, Tommy John 1.003

Within those four groups defined by minimum 100, 150, 200, and 250 wins the medians are about 1.05, 1.09, 1.12, and 1.17 career WS/W.
   19. Howie Menckel Posted: September 11, 2009 at 02:03 AM (#3319374)
What's the voting timing here?
   20. DL from MN Posted: September 11, 2009 at 03:23 PM (#3319650)
And when do we get to vote Barry Larkin in?
   21. OCF Posted: September 11, 2009 at 05:35 PM (#3319765)
Larkin and two others whom we'll argue about, of course. I assume that one will happen in November or December - it looks like we did the 2009 election in the first two weeks of December. We should set up that schedule well in advance and extend some recruiting efforts to both reclaim as much of our old electorate as possible and welcome some new voters as well.
   22. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: September 16, 2009 at 03:30 PM (#3323435)
I will set up the ballot for the pitchers this Sunday, does that work? Hopefully we can generate a little more discussion in the meantime, things like:

How do you adjust across era?
Do you adjust for IP norms (both season & career)?
How do you account for the defense behind the pitcher (both his team, and era norms on responsibility)?

And other similar things . . .


Regarding the 2010 election, I figure we should be wrapped up the week or two after Thanksgiving, right?

How about we vote from 11/29-12/13, would that work? I can set up a new discussion thread once we are done with the pitchers.

Is this reasonable?
   23. Paul Wendt Posted: September 16, 2009 at 09:55 PM (#3323968)
moved to the 2010 discussion thread
   24. AJMcCringleberry Posted: September 16, 2009 at 10:43 PM (#3323992)
Joe, there are a few pitcher ranking links missing in the Important Links section.

Quick prelim just based on the scores in my spreadsheet, no adjustments made yet.

1. Johnson
2. Young
3. Alexander
4. Williams
5. Grove
6. Spahn
7. Seaver
8. Mathewson
9. Roberts
10. Carlton
11. Perry
12. Brown
13. Niekro
14. Gibson
15. Blyleven
16. Feller
17. Nichols
18. Newhouser
19. Ryan
20. Paige
21. Dihigo
22. Hubbell
23. Jenkins
24. Eck
25. Wynn
   25. Howie Menckel Posted: September 17, 2009 at 02:58 AM (#3324276)
Interesting to see Roberts that high and Paige so low, though the cases can be made (Roberts' IP domination is mind-boggling in some years, and Paige had that sore-arm period and at times seemed like a carnival show).
   26. Paul Wendt Posted: September 22, 2009 at 03:43 AM (#3328633)
Brock Hanke posted a preliminary ranking of all 63 pitchers in the Ballot thread and asked for comment.

You observed that you are high on the 19th century pitchers meaning group. That's an understatement, with Rad, Clarkson, Keefe, and Caruthers in the top twenty; Galvin and Spalding in the middle of the pack. It does indeed suggest that you might support election of some of their contemporaries if you can find them.

Because it's a bigger group, less susceptible to coincidence, let me direct your attention to the early half of group two. You have Clark Griffith at the 25th percentile, trailing all of his near contemporaries down to Waddell and McGinnity. Meanwhile Griffith = Red Faber, ahead of his near contemporaries Vance, Rixey, and Coveleski.

This looks like a calibration error to me. Otherwise it suggests two questions.
: Have you considered Willis and Joss for the Hall of Merit? (They don't need to be "found".)
: Do you think the best pitchers from c.1920 have been elected or do you prefer some of Mays, Cooper, Shocker, and Grimes?
   27. DL from MN Posted: September 22, 2009 at 02:43 PM (#3328834)
Just wanted to agree with the view on the ballot thread that Mordecai Brown's results need a defense discount.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.



<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF


Thanks to
Chicago Joe
for his generous support.


You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.


Page rendered in 0.3131 seconds
59 querie(s) executed