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Thursday, January 05, 2023

Ranking Left Fielders in the Hall of Merit - Discussion thread

It has been 15 years since the last time we did our rankings. Results can be found here.

There are 26 Left Fielders in the Hall of Merit

Lance Berkman
Barry Bonds
Jesse Burkett
Fred Clarke
Ed Delahanty
Goose Goslin
Rickey Henderson
Charley Jones
Charlie Keller
Joe Kelley
Ralph Kiner
Monte Irvin
Sherry Magee
Joe Medwick
Minnie Minoso
Stan Musial
Tim Raines
Manny Ramirez
Jimmy Sheckard
Al Simmons
Willie Stargell
Harry Stovey
Zack Wheat
Billy Williams
Ted Williams
Carl Yastrzemski

DL from MN Posted: January 05, 2023 at 12:16 PM | 91 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. DL from MN Posted: January 05, 2023 at 12:46 PM (#6111991)
Here's my list straight out of the spreadsheet. This will probably take longer for people who have joined the yearly voting and haven't ranked everyone throughout history already.

1) Ted Williams - I'm pretty sure he won't be unanimous this time. War credit gives him this top spot.
2) Barry Bonds - clear #2, almost #1
3) Stan Musial
4) Rickey Henderson
5) Ed Delahanty
6) Carl Yastrzemski
7) Tim Raines
8) Fred Clarke
9) Jesse Burkett
10) Manny Ramirez
11) Billy Williams
12) Al Simmons
13) Monte Irvin - will have to revisit his MLEs
14) Willie Stargell
15) Charlie Keller
16) Zack Wheat
17) Joe Kelley
18) Charley Jones
Bob Johnson
19) Sherry Magee
20) Jimmy Sheckard
21) Harry Stovey
22) Minnie Minoso
23) Goose Goslin
24) Joe Medwick - not PHoM from here down
25) Lance Berkman
26) Ralph Kiner
   2. DL from MN Posted: January 05, 2023 at 01:11 PM (#6112001)
Bob Johnson is the only player I think we missed. Next LF on my list is Roy White and he's clearly not HoM. We may have been a little generous, but the in/out line is pretty clear.
   3. cookiedabookie Posted: January 05, 2023 at 01:19 PM (#6112003)
Here's my list:

1. Barry Bonds
2. Ted Williams
3. Stan Musial
4. Rickey Henderson
5. Carl Yastrzemski
6. Manny Ramirez
7. Ed Delahanty
8. Fred Clarke
9. Al Simmons
10. Tim Raines
11. Charlie Keller
12. Minnie Minoso
13. Monte Irvin
14. Willie Stargell
15. Lance Berkman
16. Sherry Magee
17. Billy Williams
18. Goose Goslin
19. Jesse Burkett
20. Zack Wheat
21. Jimmy Sheckard
22. Joe Medwick
23. Harry Stovey
24. Ralph Kiner
25. Joe Kelley
26. Charlie Jones

Bottom three aren't in my PHoM. Bob Johnson (between Raines and Keller) and Jose Cruz (between Sheckard and Medwick) are in my PHoM.
   4. DL from MN Posted: January 05, 2023 at 01:25 PM (#6112005)
Jose Cruz


I had him listed as a CF. He probably is more of a LF. He would be around Berkman and Kiner.
   5. Michael J. Binkley's anxiety closet Posted: January 05, 2023 at 02:46 PM (#6112023)
My preliminary LF rankings:

1. Barry Bonds
2. Ted Williams
3. Stan Musial
4. Rickey Henderson
5. Carl Yastrzemski
6. Ed Delahanty
7. Manny Ramirez
8. Tim Raines
9. Monte Irvin
10. Willie Stargell
11. Al Simmons
12. Charlie Keller
13. Lance Berkman
(Albert Belle)
14. Fred Clarke
15. Billy Williams
16. Ralph Kiner
17. Minnie Minoso
18. Goose Goslin
19. Joe Medwick
20. Charley Jones
21. Sherry Magee
22. Joe Kelley
23. Harry Stovey
24. Jimmy Sheckard
25. Jesse Burkett
26. Zack Wheat

My current PHoM line is after Minoso, although Goslin will probably get in once we get through more of the frontlog.
   6. DL from MN Posted: January 05, 2023 at 03:11 PM (#6112032)
Remember to adjust Jesse Burkett, Joe Kelley and other 1890s players for season length. Burkett's best seasons were 110-130 game seasons. That's a 20-25% adjustment to raw WAR.
   7. DL from MN Posted: January 05, 2023 at 03:24 PM (#6112033)
Likewise - Charley Jones spent almost 3 seasons being blacklisted for contract disputes.
   8. Michael J. Binkley's anxiety closet Posted: January 05, 2023 at 03:28 PM (#6112035)
I do full proration to 162 games for all players (except for pitchers pre-1920), so the 1890s players are fully adjusted. It's just that I include the integration adjustment that Eric Chalek developed for his CHEWS system into my system as well (which is essentially -1 WAA/WAR per full 162 game season), so pre-integration players may be lower for me than for most voters.

For example, Burkett's highest mWAR seasons prorated to 162 games are 7.5, 6.1, 5.7 and 5.6. And my system also includes a rate based component, which also hurts Burkett since his Sfrac for every season but one from 1893 through 1905 was over 1.00, with four of them being 1.10 or higher, and his one season under 1.00 was .99.

And I fully expect to be above consensus on some 1890s players as well (most likely Jennings and McGraw).

Edited to add: And I do include blacklist credit for Jones in 1881 and 1882.
   9. DL from MN Posted: January 05, 2023 at 04:08 PM (#6112042)
(which is essentially -1 WAA/WAR per full 162 game season)


I really don't get this. Were 1895 pennants worth less than 1955 pennants?
   10. Michael J. Binkley's anxiety closet Posted: January 05, 2023 at 04:51 PM (#6112051)
I fully agree that a pennant is a pennant - that is why I prorate everything to 162 games.

Let me come at it from this angle - I look at it more of a standard deviation issue. If I am correct, I believe that you are a fan of DanR's work, and even include his standard deviation adjustments in your system, correct? As part of his equation for SD regression, DanR included a component for whether the league was integrated or not.

Although unrelated to Dan R's work, Eric Chalek tried to get a more accurate assessment of segregated baseball's effect on WAA/WAR values. He came to the above values in a series of posts in his old blog with Eric Miller. Here is a link to Eric's conclusion article, which includes links to the previous articles in the series:

https://homemlb.wordpress.com/2021/07/08/segregation-effect-the-sequel/ 


Essentially, the theory is that if pre-1947 baseball had been integrated, the non-white players that would have replaced the replacement level white players would have equated to the average player being a win better than in the non-integrated league. Because you are raising the level of the average players and replacemet level would still be 0 WAR, but because the above average players would still play at the same level, and because the average player is one win closer to the above average players' WAR, the standard deviation in the integrated league would be lower than that of the segregated league. And the same logic would apply to the non-white players joining the now integrated league.

   11. DL from MN Posted: January 05, 2023 at 05:01 PM (#6112055)
I know the assumptions. I see the Negro Leagues as an expansion of the number of professional teams. NGL pennants were added to the NL and AL pennants.

Are you adjusting your WAR/WAA after the 1962 expansion to bring it back in line with a 16 team league? In 1900 there were only 8 MLB teams but there were 16 teams in 1901 - why would you use the same number for both seasons?
   12. Michael J. Binkley's anxiety closet Posted: January 05, 2023 at 05:06 PM (#6112056)
I should also add that I use the term WAA in relation to my rankings, but what I really do is use wins over positional median as my baseline. The 1890s were an exceptionally strong time for outfielders (usually the median OF was a couple of tenths of a win per season above a league average player), so adjusting for that lowers them as well.
   13. kcgard2 Posted: January 05, 2023 at 05:15 PM (#6112057)
1. Barry Bonds
2. Ted Williams
3. Stan Musial
4. Rickey Henderson
5. Carl Yastrzemski
6. Ed Delahanty
7. Al Simmons
8. Manny Ramirez
9. Tim Raines
10. Fred Clarke
11. Goose Goslin
12. Jesse Burkett
13. Billy Williams
14. Sherry Magee
15. Willie Stargell
16. Lance Berkman
-- Bob Johnson --
17. Minnie Minoso
18. Joe Medwick
19. Ralph Kiner
20. Zack Wheat
21. Monte Irvin
22. Joe Kelley
-- Brian Giles --
23. Charlie Keller
24. Harry Stovey
-- pHOM line --
25. Jimmy Sheckard
26. Charley Jones
   14. Michael J. Binkley's anxiety closet Posted: January 05, 2023 at 05:19 PM (#6112058)
I have a separate league-specific SD adjustment that I use that accounts for expansion, the expected higher SDs of shortened seasons, etc. that is applies to every year since 1871.

What’s different is that unlike DanR who included integration in his catch-all SD equation, I just choose to separate the two and based upon Eric’s research.

Essentially one is a SD adjustment for players actually in the league and the other is a SD adjustment for players who would’ve been in the league if not for segregation.
   15. DL from MN Posted: January 05, 2023 at 05:30 PM (#6112062)
-- Brian Giles --


I have him categorized as RF
   16. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 05, 2023 at 06:56 PM (#6112076)
I'm down with rankings by category, as others mention, I wasn't voting until the annual stage.

1) Barry Bonds
2) Ted Williams
3) Stan Musial
4) Rickey Henderson
5) Carl Yastrzemski
6) Manny Ramirez
7) Ed Delahanty
8) Fred Clarke
9) Al Simmons
10) Tim Raines
11) Charlie Keller
12) Goose Goslin
13) Billy Williams
14) Lance Berkman
15) Monte Irvin - interested to hear the latest from Doc C
16) Willie Stargell
17) Jesse Burkett
18) Minnie Minoso
19) Jimmy Sheckard
20) Sherry Magee
Bobby Veach
Brian Giles - if in LF, I've seen both. Rates higher in an LF list with RF being deeper.
Bob Johnson

Borderline:
21) Zack Wheat
George Foster

Below HOM line:
22) Ralph Kiner
23) Joe Kelley
24) Joe Medwick
25) Charley Jones
26) Harry Stovey

An argument to be in the 22-26 group, but I think below Wheat and Foster:
Roy White, Jose Cruz, Ryan Braun, Luis Gonzalez, Albert Belle, Hideki Matsui, Matt Holiday
   17. Jaack Posted: January 05, 2023 at 07:25 PM (#6112080)
Quick initial work up, will have to do a second pass on some of the older guys who I haven't touched in ages.

1. Barry Bonds
2. Ted Williams
3. Stan Musial
4. Rickey Henderson
5. Carl Yastrzemski
6. Ed Delahanty
7. Al Simmons
8. Fred Clarke
9. Jesse Burkett
10. Billy Williams
11. Manny Ramirez
12. Charlie Keller
13. Willie Stargell
14. Lance Berkman
15. Goose Goslin
16. Tim Raines
17. Jimmy Sheckard
18. Monte Irvin - I feel this is low, but I haven't given a whole lot of time to him
19. Sherry Magee
20. Minnie Minoso
21. Harry Stovey
22. Joe Kelley
-Bob Johnson
23. Zack Wheat
24. Joe Medwick
-Roy White
-Matt Holliday
-George Foster
-Bobby Veach
-Jose Cruz

25. Ralph Kiner
-Luis Gonzalez
-Albert Belle

26. Charley Jones - Another guy I probably haven't spent enough time on. Doubtful any extra credit would put him above anyone other than Kiner.

I haven't done a full run to find out exactly who is pHoM or not - I would guess the line is somewhere around Roy White. Holliday obviously isn't pHoM yet, but that seems plausible down the line.
   18. progrockfan Posted: January 05, 2023 at 07:46 PM (#6112084)
I'm going to predict that Rickey! will be a unanimous #4 seelection in this vote.

nRickey!'s in an odd place historically. On the one hand, he's clearly behind the triumverate of Barry, Stan and Ted. On the other, he's clearly inner-circle - but almost in a lower rung of the circle; Ring 1-A perhaps...?

I wonder if there's anyone else in that position at their, erm, position (sorry)...
   19. kcgard2 Posted: January 05, 2023 at 08:46 PM (#6112090)
You're right, I probably should classify Giles as a RF. Also, I give Williams *gobs* of war credit, and he still falls behind Bonds. The top 5 seem to have obvious consensus, with of course Rickey as you say always being #4. Now watch someone come and put Yaz #4...
   20. Chris Cobb Posted: January 05, 2023 at 10:34 PM (#6112098)
Fair warning: I may break the consensus in the other direction by ranking Rickey! ahead of Musial . . .
   21. Chris Cobb Posted: January 05, 2023 at 11:26 PM (#6112105)
Well, since I can access the thread for now, I'll go ahead and post a preliminary Left Field ranking (including non-elected players to round out the top 40):

Preliminary Left Field Rankings

1. Barry Bonds
2. Ted Williams
3. Rickey Henderson
4. Stan Musial
5. Carl Yastrzemski
6. Ed Delahanty
7. Manny Ramirez
8. Tim Raines
9. Fred Clarke
10. Al Simmons
11. Minnie Minoso
12. Jesse Burkett
13. Goose Goslin
14. Sherry Magee
15. Monte Irvin
16.Charlie Keller
17. Zack Wheat
18. Willie Stargell
19. Billy Williams
20. Joe Kelley
21. Ralph Kiner
22. Lance Berkman
23. Harry Stovey
(Matt Holliday)
24. Jimmy Sheckard
--In-Out Line--
(Ken Williams)
(Luis Gonzalez)
25. Charley Jones
(Jim Rice)
(Bobby Veach)
(Bob Johnson)
26. Joe Medwick
(Hugh Duffy)
(George Foster)
(Sid Gordon)
(George Burns)
(Albert Belle)
(Elmer Smith)
(Chuck Klein)

Commentary: I think we've done very well with left field, with one a minor miss on Charley Jones and a somewhat larger one on Joe Medwick.

For the rankings so far, it looks like there's a great deal of agreement at the top (not surprisingly), and more agreement about the top half than the bottom half, although there's quite a bit of consistency in who is appearing in the bottom six spots. The order varies, but Stovey, Medwick, Kiner, Kelley, Jones, and Sheckard appear in the bottom six on at least four and as many as seven of the seven preliminary lists submitted so far.

How long will the discussion thread run before there's voting, and what will the voting/counting method be?
   22. progrockfan Posted: January 06, 2023 at 09:58 AM (#6112119)
Bearing in mind that I’m primarily a career voter:

1. Stan Musial – remember, he gets a peak year of WWII credit too
2. Ted Williams – a bucketful of war-service credit
3. Barry Bonds – huge dings for steroid abuse & for being clubhouse cancer
4. Rickey!
5. Carl Yastrzemski
6. Minnie Miñoso – huge credit for non-MLB play
7. Willie Stargell – barring injury, a possible 700-home run man
8. Tim Raines
9. Monte Irvin – an absolute monster in pre-WWII play
10. Manny Ramirez – another needle-injected ding
11. Al Simmons
12. Ed Delahanty – obviously, a substantial timeline adjustment
13. Joe Medwick
14. Goose Goslin
15. Harry Stovey
16. Ralph Kiner
17. Charlie Keller
18. Zack Wheat
19. Billy Williams
20. Sherry Magee
21. Lance Berkman
22. Jimmy Sheckard
23. Jesse Burkett
24. Fred Clarke
25. Joe Kelley
20. Charley Jones

I'd be willing to argue Musial over Williams at length.

* Ted is a better hitter to be sure - but Stan himself is one of the greatest hitters in the history of baseball.

* Even with theoretical war-credit adjustments, Stan surpasses Ted in virtually every counting category.

* Stan is a better baserunner, more durable (by a lot), a better fielder (by a lot), and a better postseason hitter (by a lot).

Unless peak hitting credit is the only thing that matters to you, or unless your preferred uber-stat overrides all other considerations, the argument for Ted over Stan is (for me) hard to see.

As for Barry - well, I wouldn't boycott Barry in an election, but I'll sure as hell ding him here for being a 'roid-abusing jerkwad.
   23. DL from MN Posted: January 06, 2023 at 10:13 AM (#6112123)
6. Minnie Miñoso – huge credit for non-MLB play


Huge credit is right. He only played 3 years in the Negro Leagues. He would have to have 3 seasons as the best player in all of baseball to jump up to #6 on my list. Do you really think Minoso's peak was ages 22-24 AND that it was an MVP level peak?
   24. DL from MN Posted: January 06, 2023 at 10:20 AM (#6112124)
12. Ed Delahanty – obviously, a substantial timeline adjustment


Most people think of the Hall of Merit as a timeline-free zone. A pennant is a pennant.

ding him here for being a 'roid-abusing jerkwad


From the Hall of Merit Constitution:

"Voters are strongly encouraged to consider only a player’s on-field accomplishments and other factors which had an impact on the outcomes of the player’s baseball games."

"A player’s “personality” is to be considered only to the extent that it affected the outcomes of the player’s games (e.g., via his positive or negative effect on his teammates)."

Do you have evidence that teammates had worse performance when they played with Barry Bonds?
   25. DL from MN Posted: January 06, 2023 at 10:36 AM (#6112128)
I went digging in the Charley Jones thread and found these:

Win shares 336 – Charley Jones (161 w/o schedule and blacklist credit)


His numbers more than double when you adjust for schedule length and blacklist credit

Jones requested his pay when it was due. The team was on a road trip. The custom was for teams on road trips to not pay the paychecks until they returned back home so they would not have to carry large amounts of cash. Jones requested his pay amount. Things escalated. He jumped/was suspended from the team during the road trip in August of 1880. He was blacklisted by the team/NL. The blacklist held for the 1881 season. The AA did not want to challenge the blacklist during its first year of operation so Jones sat out 1882 also.


11. How many MVP-type seasons did the player have? Did the player ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

First, there was no MVP award during his career so could never have won one. Jones’ teams never won a pennant, though they did finish 2nd three times.

Second, from my examination of his career, it does appear he had MVP-caliber seasons.
In 1878, he was best position player on the Reds and tied for the fourth best position player in the game. In a 60 game season, Paul Hines led with 15 win shares. Jones was tied with 3 others with 12.
In 1879, he was the best position player on the 2nd place Boston team. In an 84 game season, he accumulated 21 win shares that year, second among position players to Paul Hines’ 22.
In 1884, he was the best position player on his team, and tied with Dave Orr for being the best player in the league with 27 win shares in a 112 game season.
In 1885, he was the best position player on his team, and was third in the league with 24 win shares behind Pete Browning and Dave Orr, with 24 win shares in a 112 game season.

12. How many All-Star-type seasons did the player have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the other player who played in his many go into the Hall of Merit?

There were no all-star games during his career.
How many all-star type seasons did he have? Jones was one of the 3 best outfielders in his league in 1879, 1883, 1884, and 1885. In 1878, he was the fourth best position player in the NL (tied) but behind 3 outfielders – Paul Hines 15, Orator Shaffer and Tom York 13. In 1876, he had 9 win shares, but that was the 9-56 team. He accounted for one-third of the team’s win shares. No position player did as well.
Did he finish in the league’s top 10?
1876: No, but see above. The team was so bad that it cost him win shares because the teams was below replacement level – if that has any meaning in 1876.
1877: No, tied for 11th with 9
1878: Yes, tied for 4th with 12
1879: Yes, 2nd with 21
1880: No, blacklisted with 12 – if prorate, he finishes about 10/11th
1881: Blacklisted
1882: Blacklisted
1883: Yes, tied for 7th with 18
1884: Yes, tied for 1st with 27
1885: Yes, 3rd with 24

I would argue from the above that he was one of the best players in his league for 10 straight years.
   26. progrockfan Posted: January 06, 2023 at 10:45 AM (#6112129)
As always, a good sharp debate here. Your idea to re-visit these rankings, DL, was an excellent one.
6. Minnie Miñoso – huge credit for non-MLB play
Huge credit is right. He only played 3 years in the Negro Leagues. He would have to have 3 seasons as the best player in all of baseball to jump up to #6 on my list. Do you really think Minoso's peak was ages 22-24 AND that it was an MVP level peak?
I didn't say "Negro Leagues play"; I said "non-MLB play". My book credits Minnie with 4126 games, 4438 hits, 751 doubles, 193 triples, 389 home runs, 2485 runs scored and 2223 RBIs - and those are just the regular-season numbers I could verify. If anything, I'm probably underrating him.
12. Ed Delahanty – obviously, a substantial timeline adjustment
Most people think of the Hall of Merit as a timeline-free zone. A pennant is a pennant.
If you choose not to impose a timeline performance adjustment on, say, Delahanty's three .400 seasons, that is of course your prerogative. My thinking differs.
ding him here for being a 'roid-abusing jerkwad
From the Hall of Merit Constitution:

"Voters are strongly encouraged to consider only a player’s on-field accomplishments and other factors which had an impact on the outcomes of the player’s baseball games."

"A player’s “personality” is to be considered only to the extent that it affected the outcomes of the player’s games (e.g., via his positive or negative effect on his teammates)."

Do you have evidence that teammates had worse performance when they played with Barry Bonds?
Doesn't it strike you as odd that a) Barry's power explosion coincided exactly with his incontrovertibly documented steroid abuse; b) steroid abuse famously turns people into jerks; c) Barry's 2000s teammates – and, indeed, any and every non-family-related person who came into contact with Barry - perceived him as a colossal jerk; and d) with the single greatest peak performer in baseball history in the heart of their lineup – greater than Ruth, greater than Gibson, greater than Williams - Barry's teams never could win it all? You and I obviously draw dissimilar conclusions from this 'coincidence.'

This isn't a vote to determine whether he belongs in the HoM, because clearly he does. It's a vote to determine where he belongs among historic left fielders. I would take Stan or Ted over Barry for my team 100% of the time, and Barry over anyone else in history 100% of the time.

As for Barry's detrimental influence on those around him, I encourage you (if you haven't already) to read Rick Reilly's He Loves Himself Barry Much. The man sowed locker-room dissension like a farmer sows seeds.
   27. Jaack Posted: January 06, 2023 at 11:04 AM (#6112132)
Just looking a little deeper at Jones - I had been giving him credit for 1881/1882, but not for the ~20 games he missed in 1880 (do we know the precise number here? Jones played in 66 games, and the Red Caps played 86, but I haven't seen an exact date he got kicked off the team). It also looks like there's some chatter about some unrecorded play in 1874 and 1875 that might be worthy of credit?

Like I said in my initial post, I can't see this affecting his overall rating aside from maaaybe putting him ahead of Kiner, but I would like to have him rated as accurately as possible.
   28. Howie Menckel Posted: January 06, 2023 at 11:06 AM (#6112133)
ok, thread is in a more "open" mood today.

I believe these are the 5 "newcomers" - might be helpful to those who already voted the first time around in particular:

LANCE BERKMAN
BARRY BONDS
RICKEY HENDERSON
MONTE IRVIN
MANNY RAMIREZ
   29. DL from MN Posted: January 06, 2023 at 11:11 AM (#6112135)
As for Barry's detrimental influence on those around him, I encourage you (if you haven't already) to read Rick Reilly's He Loves Himself Barry Much. The man sowed locker-room dissension like a farmer sows seeds.


So, which of his teammates would have performed better if Barry had been on a different team? Jeff Kent was a Hall of Merit player with Barry as a teammate, would he have been better if he played elsewhere? Also, is Barry the only self-absorbed jerk in baseball and every other locker room is a utopia of clubhouse chemistry?

If you choose not to impose a timeline performance adjustment on, say, Delahanty's three .400 seasons, that is of course your prerogative. My thinking differs.


Is winning the championship worth less in 1900 than it is in 2000? If so, why? Teams in 1900 couldn't use players from 100 years into the future to win their pennants.

My book credits Minnie with 4126 games


That's an extra 2030 games played above his record. When was he playing those games? If he was playing them between ages 25-40 you should be prorating his results back to a 162 game season. If he was playing them before age 25 that's 12.5 seasons worth of games, which would make him a major leaguer at age 12.

   30. progrockfan Posted: January 06, 2023 at 11:11 AM (#6112136)
I rate Kiner quite a lot higher than many voters here. I dunno, I guess that power peak and fat OPS mean more to me than some.

But in the end, let's face it, it's all just opinions. I repsect all of yours, and am genuinely fascinated to see how this turns out.

In the meantime: Musial over Williams! C'mon, people, let's rumble! ;)
   31. progrockfan Posted: January 06, 2023 at 11:18 AM (#6112138)
Jeff Kent was a Hall of Merit player with Barry as a teammate, would he have been better if he played elsewhere?
Impossible to say, of course. But I can tell you this: Kent hated Barry's guts, refused to talk to him off the field, and slagged him in the press. Do correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm not aware of Kent having an openly hostile relationship with any other teammate ever.
If you choose not to impose a timeline performance adjustment on, say, Delahanty's three .400 seasons, that is of course your prerogative. My thinking differs.
Is winning the championship worth less in 1900 than it is in 2000? If so, why? Teams in 1900 couldn't use players from 100 years into the future to win their pennants.
I rate players on more than just the pennants their teams won.
My book credits Minnie with 4126 games
That's an extra 2030 games played above his record. When was he playing those games?
My book has a complete career breakdown for Minnie, year by year, team by team. It comes out (or so I'm told by McFarland) in April. If you require the information before then, I cordially invite you to do some research, like I did.
   32. Mefisto Posted: January 06, 2023 at 11:23 AM (#6112139)
Bonds was widely considered a jerk by sportwriters (as was Williams) long before he was accused of using steroids. As for Jeff Kent, the consensus among Giants fans is that it was Kent who was the #######. And Rick Reilly is hardly a good source.

The fact that Bonds' teams didn't "win it all" is not very persuasive unless you apply the same standard to Williams, which you clearly do not.
   33. DL from MN Posted: January 06, 2023 at 11:24 AM (#6112140)
No offense intended, but please do some research before critiquing mine.


You are crediting Minoso with nearly 600 more games played than Pete Rose. I don't need to do more research to call BS on that.
   34. progrockfan Posted: January 06, 2023 at 11:28 AM (#6112142)
sorry, messed up this comment trying to copy it, hit the wrong button - DL
   35. progrockfan Posted: January 06, 2023 at 11:35 AM (#6112143)
I don't need to do more research to call BS on that.
You might want to read my research before criticizing it, don't you think?

These rankings are opinions. Minnie Minoso playing a minimum of 4126 regular-season games is a fact. You are arguing against this fact, by your own admission ("I don't need to do more research"), from a base of 0% knowledge.

"BS" is pejorative and personal. Please moderate your language. I don't insult you; please do me the reciprocal courtesy of not insulting me.
   36. DL from MN Posted: January 06, 2023 at 11:43 AM (#6112148)
I evaluate players on many, many more factors than the pennants or Series their teams won.


I think the whole point of the Hall of Merit is to NOT rate players based on whether they gave good interviews to sportswriters, like dogs or cats better or were nice to their mother. The point is to rate them based on their contribution to winning baseball games. The rest of it is irrelevant.
   37. DL from MN Posted: January 06, 2023 at 11:54 AM (#6112150)
You are arguing against this fact, by your own admission ("I don't need to do more research"), from a base of 0% knowledge.


No, I'm arguing against it based on his actual compiled record of games played on baseball reference. In 18 years he played a total of 1948 major league baseball games. Crediting him for more than twice that makes no sense. There are up to 400 games he missed at the beginning of his career due to his transition from the NGL to the AL. I credit those games myself. I don't know how you get another 11 seasons worth of baseball games. That would give him a 29 year career. His career ending at age 40 looks entirely appropriate given the results that season so a 29 year career would take him to age 11. He'd be the first pre-teen major leaguer.

Making wild, exaggerated claims is going to make it a lot LESS likely I buy your book.
   38. Al Peterson Posted: January 06, 2023 at 12:49 PM (#6112163)
Wasn't there talk when Ichiro was approaching 4,000 hits (combined in Majors and Japanese League) that Minoso was also probably in that same area for hit totals across organized baseball? We're probably having Minnie Minoso tallies count time playing in Cuba, the Mexican Leagues, along with Negro Leagues and MLB.

This got me thinking where did Julio Franco end up...Baseball Reference has him at 4,008 hits including MLB, minors, and Foreign leagues. That's a lot of baseball.
   39. progrockfan Posted: January 06, 2023 at 01:13 PM (#6112168)
We're probably having Minnie Miñoso tallies count time playing in Cuba, the Mexican Leagues, along with Negro Leagues and MLB.
Yep.
This got me thinking where did Julio Franco end up...
Players with 4000+ hits at any level of organized baseball:

Ichiro Suzuki, 4798
Pete Rose, 4683
Minnie Miñoso, 4438
Ty Cobb, 4355
Hank Aaron, 4220
Derek Jeter, 4019
Julio Franco, 4018
Stan Musial, 4001

Miñoso certainly has more hits than this.
Cobb too, given missing Cuban and independent numbers.
Franco too, given missing Dominican and Japanese numbers.

Sam Crawford and Jake Beckley should probably be on the list too, but are missing too much minor league data to be certain.
   40. progrockfan Posted: January 06, 2023 at 01:29 PM (#6112173)
Making wild, exaggerated claims is going to make it a lot LESS likely I buy your book.
When the book comes out, you go ahead and prove that my "claims" are "wild" and "exaggerated." Until then, you're arguing with a straw man, and I don't have time for that.

I come here for three reasons: a) because I care; b) to learn; and c) to have fun. Addressing these in turn:

a) I still care.

b) I'm talking to someone who says "I don't need to do more research," yet feels entitled to call my research – which, may I point out, has been vetted and approved by a major, baseball-specialist publishing house – "wild," "exaggerated," and "BS."

3) It's decreasingly fun to have my hard-won, carefully researched information dismissed by someone unwilling to undertake the work, like I did, to see whether my "claims" are true or not.

It is truly necessary for me to point out that checking Baseball Reference, and then reporting the numbers back, is not "research"?

I wrote Black Stats Matter specifically and explicitly to bring the actual accomplishments of underrated players like Minnie Miñoso, whose careers are largely lost in a fog of racist history, to the attention of people like you. Read it, and then, and only then, tell me how "wild" and "exaggerrated" my "BS" "claims" are. Until then, kindly tilt your lance against some other straw windmill.
   41. DL from MN Posted: January 06, 2023 at 01:32 PM (#6112175)
For me Minoso's Hall of Merit case ends at age 37. After that his playing ability slipped to below average (based on 3 seasons of MLB data) and I don't care anymore.
   42. progrockfan Posted: January 06, 2023 at 01:34 PM (#6112176)
Ha, I missed one!:

The immortal Jigger Statz, 4093 hits.
   43. progrockfan Posted: January 06, 2023 at 01:35 PM (#6112177)
...No, never mind.

Comment Deleted.

"Can't we all just get along?"
   44. kcgard2 Posted: January 06, 2023 at 03:18 PM (#6112193)
It seems to me that prog may be less concerned about how and whether a player's stats translate to an MLB environment, and more concerned about the pure stats wherever they were accumulated, compared to other HOM voters generally. I'm curious how much you discount Minoso's or Franco's MeL stats, for example, prog? To me, it seems similar (not identical, but somewhere on the spectrum) to counting modern day winter league stats, for example. I think most voters count those things, if they happened because of segregation or blacklisting or wars or what have you. And don't count those things if they happened because the player was deemed or proved no longer good enough to perform in MLB (like, eg, Minoso after 1961).

It's decreasingly fun to have my hard-won, carefully researched information dismissed by someone unwilling to undertake the work, like I did, to see whether my "claims" are true or not.

I don't think anyone is implying that Minoso never collected how many hits/games you claim he did in organized baseball. The contention undoubtedly is to what degree many of those hits should go towards furthering Minoso's HOM resume, so to speak.
   45. theorioleway Posted: January 06, 2023 at 04:54 PM (#6112211)
Preliminary ballot. Hopefully we can wait to do final ballot until Eric is able to release updated Negro League MLEs, but understandable if not the case. Feel fairly confident about upper/middle rankings (caveats re Irvin and Minoso if MLEs are significantly different), but bottom of group I'll probably reexamine. As of now, Sheckhard and Medwick are only ones not PHOM, but Sheckard is right at the borderline, so Medwick is the only one I think is a real mistake by HOM.

1. Barry Bonds (Tier 5)
2. Ted Williams (Tier 5)
3. Rickey Henderson (Tier 5)
4. Stan Musial (Tier 5)
5. Carl Yastrzemski (Tier 4)
6. Ed Delahanty (Tier 4)
7. Monte Irvin (Tier 4)
8. Tim Raines (Tier 3)
9. Jesse Burkett (Tier 3)
10. Fred Clarke (Tier 3)
11. Minnie Minoso (Tier 3)
12. Manny Ramirez (Tier 3)
13. Billy Williams (Tier 3)
14. Sherry Magee (Tier 3)
15. Al Simmons (Tier 3)
16. Joe Kelley (Tier 3)
17. Willie Stargell (Tier 2)
18. Charlie Keller (Tier 2)
19. Goose Goslin (Tier 1)
20. Lance Berkman (Tier 1)
21. Harry Stovey (Tier 1)
22. Ralph Kiner (Tier 0.5)
23. Zack Wheat (Tier 0.5)
24. Charley Jones (Tier 0.5)
25. Jimmy Sheckard (N/A)
26. Joe Medwick (N/A)
   46. Howie Menckel Posted: January 06, 2023 at 06:38 PM (#6112237)
1) I don't think that someone rating Bonds at No. 3 is worth the crossfire, frankly.

2) And I agree with DL from MN and kcgard2 re Minoso. He fell off a cliff following a solid age 37 season; in the next two part-seasons, he posted an OPS+ of under 70 in 471 total PA. He was a respectable PH at age 40 for the White Sox, but that all smells like toast to me. I cannot imagine giving him any credit at all after that, regardless of league. He was done for good, in terms of MLB-level relevance.
   47. Chris Cobb Posted: January 07, 2023 at 11:52 AM (#6112298)
In #22 above, progrockfan wrote:

I'd be willing to argue Musial over Williams at length.

I don't think I'm willing to argue at length on this topic, but I do want to make one point about the argument made in Post #22, which was:

* Ted is a better hitter to be sure - but Stan himself is one of the greatest hitters in the history of baseball.

* Even with theoretical war-credit adjustments, Stan surpasses Ted in virtually every counting category.

* Stan is a better baserunner, more durable (by a lot), a better fielder (by a lot), and a better postseason hitter (by a lot).

Unless peak hitting credit is the only thing that matters to you, or unless your preferred uber-stat overrides all other considerations, the argument for Ted over Stan is (for me) hard to see.


The point is this. This argument is fundamentally flawed because it seeks to set aside what must be a key question in any comparison of two players for ranking purposes, which is how MUCH better is one player than another in each aspect of the game? In this particular case, the question of how much better Williams was as a hitter than Musial has to be engaged for any kind of accurate assessment to be made, and a similar question would need to be engaged in any comparison that we make. Trying to persuade people who are here to analyze the game of baseball not to do so is not likely to be a persuasive argument, and suggesting that they are doing so out of a peculiar commitment to a particular statistic is likely to provoke hostility.

One of the values of this kind of ranking is that it can give us an opportunity to do a deeper dive into our understanding of these players, and raising questions that challenge widely held assumptions about value can produce reexaminations that lead to better understanding. But to be generative, those challenges need to be presented with more consistency and with more willingness to acknowledge why the widely held assumption that is being challenged is held.

In other words, I value efforts to make a case that Musial should rank ahead of Williams -- I might learn from that. But I don't value efforts to persuade me that all I need to do to understand why Musial was better than Williams is to stop worrying about and stop examining the way in which Williams was much better than Musial and the magnitude of that superiority.




   48. Jaack Posted: January 07, 2023 at 02:12 PM (#6112315)
Good stuff as always Chris! One of the most valuable things we can do is to explain our difference, not just vote them. I don't have a lot of thoughts on Musial vs Ted Williams specifically, but I'd love to see a strong case for Musial if it's out there.

For me personally, looking at these prelims, I seem to be low on Manny Ramirez and Tim Raines and high on Jimmy Sheckard.

I’ll start with Manny – I guess I have a hard time seeing him so high as I don’t really see a substantial peak. My mix sees only one season where he’d be in legitimate MVP discussion – I rate out 1999 at 7.6 WAR, but nothing else is even over 6 WAR. He had that level of performance in 2002, but missed too much time. The bat was consistently great, but he never had the massive offensive seasons that would blow past the fact that he was a below average to terrible left fielder who was prone to poor base-running.

He’s still an easy HoMer, but he looks very rank-and-file, as opposed to the upper tier where some seem to place him. I think Billy Williams, who I like a slight bit better, it a great point of comparison. Williams wasn’t quite the hitter Ramirez was and he wasn’t stellar defensively either, but he played in a much deader offensive era, and had a combination of solid base-running and iron man durability, that let his big offensive years (1965, 1970, 1972) stand out more than Ramirez’s, even if Manny’s baseline offense was typically stronger. Williams has always struck me as a career candidate to begin with, so the fact that he beats Manny by his superior peak is really saying something.

Manny really feels most like a low and slow candidate, like Rafael Palmeiro. While he ranks 11th for me right now, he's closere to the borderline than he is to the Delahanty/Yaz tier. Does anyone else seem him like this, or am I off base somewhere?
   49. progrockfan Posted: January 07, 2023 at 02:25 PM (#6112316)
(sigh….)

It’s much easier for me to understand now why each new election and discussion draws an ever-decreasing number of participants.

There are plenty of viewpoints here with which I differ – which is to be expected and even celebrated, this being, at its best moments, a site for rational, high-level debate.

For example, DL (and I’m not picking on you! – you just happen to be the most recent example) says he takes Ed Delahanty’s 19th century Major League numbers at face value, but imposes a huge penalty on Ben Taylor’s 20th century Negro League numbers. That, to me, makes no sense.

But DL is entitled to his opinion! Maybe he’s right and I’m wrong – I mean, I doubt it, which is why I’ve argued against it, but it’s at least possible.

The central point is that DL gets to air his views here. Y’know, free speech and all.

The problem is that some participants here decline to extend me the same courtesy.

Consider the following scenario:

*Individual A spends two and a half years researching a subject full time.

* Said research is peer-reviewed by a field-specific expert, then vetted and approved by a baseball publishing house.

* Individual A quotes a verifiable fact from said research.

* Individual B, who has never seen said research, responds: “I don’t need to do more research to call BS on that…Making wild, exaggerated claims…”

That, ladies and gentlemen, is not what I define as 'rational' or 'high-level.' Or even, for that matter, 'debate.'

Responding to it, though, consumes time and mental energy.

And it’s hardly a unique example. I wrote that it was hard for me to see an argument for Williams over Musial, “unless your preferred uber-stat overrides all other considerations.”

Now, on the one hand, if that offended someone, I’m genuinely sorry to have done so. I certainly intended no offense.

On the other, it IS a fact, is it not, that some voters here DO rely on their preferred uber-stats?

WHICH IS FINE. It’s not my method of choice – but for all I know, they’re right and I’m wrong!

Stating that a HoM voter might select Williams over Musial on the basis of an uber-stat is simply, and solely, and ONLY, a statement of plain fact.

But what I got in return was, “Trying to persuade people who are here to analyze the game of baseball not to do so is not likely to be a persuasive argument, and suggesting that they are doing so out of a peculiar commitment to a particular statistic is likely to provoke hostility.”

Now, re-read what I wrote, and please show me where I tried to persuade people not to analyze the game of baseball.

Please show me where I said reliance on an uber-stat was wrong – or, indeed, that it was inferior to my methods in any sense whatsoever.

It’s not that it’s frustrating – I’m a grownup, I can deal with frustrating. It’s that it’s a time suck. Arguing with people just for the sake of arguing is not for me. It consumes time and energy that I don’t have to spare.

Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander Time; for that's the Stuff Life is made of.” And for me, this site has become, in the main, a poor use of my time, which is precious to me.

I’ve got three different book projects on the go. It’s my full-time job, and sometimes my overtime job. I’m also happily married, and I very much enjoy doing stuff with my amazing partner. And being forced to respond to words I didn’t say, and to defend indisputable facts from attack by persons who haven’t lifted a finger to check their accuracy, is impinging on my time in an unacceptable way.

And so, I hereby withdraw from the HOM scene. I’ll probably still participate in the once-a-year elections, and I’ll update the Book Club thread with news about Black Stats Matter and other writing projects (strictly as a form of self-advertising ‘cos I don’t have an agent to do it for me), but that’s about all.

There are plenty of good people at this site, and plenty (explicitly including you, Chris) whose work I genuinely respect and admire. Hell, I quote a bunch of you in my book. If anyone here wishes to correspond with me on any subject, now or in future, you’re welcome to PM me.

Nothing personal, folks. I wish everyone here well, and no one here ill. And I mean it.

Good night, and good luck.
   50. kcgard2 Posted: January 07, 2023 at 03:49 PM (#6112328)
@prog I'd rather discuss these questions with you than anybody go away. I've learned massive amounts of stuff from HOM. Sometimes the conversations do seem kind of heated. I've re-read discussion threads or posts I've made and thought I personally sometimes came across too combative. Not everybody can be Jaack or Chris or Bleed, it seems (y'all always stay level headed and on point). That said, I sympathize with everyone who needs more hours in a day - three kids, full time job, extra curriculars and everything else are huge time sinks. I guess I'll turn this into a plea to take a break, but hopefully not remove yourself from the project altogether. Maybe after some months, you'll feel ready to re-engage. That would be cool.
   51. Jaack Posted: January 07, 2023 at 04:12 PM (#6112337)
I agree with kcgard, prog - I definitely value your research and contributions, but you definitely have positions that both flirt the edge of the HoM consensus and the framework. I'd love to hear more from you on topics where you have expertise, but I would also like to hear a why behind some of those positions and addressing some of the very valid concerns as well. If you lack the time for 15 rounds of debate, that's totally fair! Don't go 15 rounds! Say your piece and let others dig on their own. I may not be convinced of your high rankings of Musial or Minoso without a lengthy argument, but it's definitely going to give me something to consider. And sometimes, someone might end up sharing your point of view! I haven't exactly shilled for my pet candidates like Mickey Lolich or Jim Sundberg, but just holding them in high regard might inspire other voters to take a longer look!

At the very least, I do hope you will continue to at least vote in elections and contribute when you can!
   52. Chris Cobb Posted: January 07, 2023 at 06:16 PM (#6112358)
Dear Progrockfan,

I am very sorry if my commment has caused you to back away from participating actively in this project. If you would believe it, I spent about five hours writing and re-writing that comment, trying to find a way to express the point I was trying to make without causing frustration or offense. Clearly, I did not succeed, and I would have been better advised not to make the posting.

Still, if you are willing to listen, I think it could be beneficial for you to see how your argument is proceeding. You are a professional writer, and I am, in other contexts, a professional editor and reviewer of arguments, and I want people to make better cases. So let me try to clarify the basis of a couple of the concerns that I raised.

You have asked readers to "re-read what I wrote, and please show me where I tried to persuade people not to analyze the game of baseball," so I will try to show you. Here's what I see:

In your post, you laid out a set of comparative criteria between Williams and Musial. These criteria are

1) hitting
2) baserunning
3) fielding
4) durability
5) post-season play

These are all relevant criteria. But you don't treat these criteria equally in your evaluation. With respect to hitting you say, "Ted is a better hitter to be sure - but Stan himself is one of the greatest hitters in the history of baseball," and then you move on to argue that because Musial was better at baserunning, fielding, durability, and post-season play, he is clearly the better ballplayer. That move suggests that we don't need to try to find out how much better Williams was at hitting than Musial. That's the implicit discouragement to analyzing the game of baseball that is built into your argument, even if you didn't intend that implication.

Moreover, the kind of analysis that your argument sets aside is exactly the kind of analysis that "uberstats" were invented in order to make possible. By figuring out how "counting stats" are related to runs and wins, "uberstats" (from Bill James' Runs Created and Pete Palmer's Base Runs to the present) are there to give us tools to find clear, evidence-based answers to questions like "How much better at hitting was Williams than Musial?" The argument that you made discourages us from asking that question and then suggests that using the tools that would enable us to answer it would be narrowing our perspective rather than increasing our knowledge. It's hard to see, you say, how someone could see Williams as better than Musial, "Unless peak hitting credit is the only thing that matters to you, or unless your preferred uber-stat overrides all other considerations."

Finally, that's why "Stating that a HoM voter might select Williams over Musial on the basis of an uber-stat is simply, and solely, and ONLY, a statement of plain fact" isn't just a statement of plain fact. It's an interpretation of what it means when HoM voters use uberstats that implies that they are surrendering their judgment to the stat, rather than choosing a tool that enables them to answer questions about players that they are trying to answer.

It's likely that you don't intend the implications that I am claiming are present in the statements you are making. I am pointing them out now because (first and foremost) you have said you want to be shown where you say things that you don't think you are saying and (b) because I hope that if you see how these implications are produced, you could adjust the way you frame your arguments so as to reduce friction with other participants and so get more enjoyment out of the process.

If my effort in making this explanation is hurtful to you, I apologize. I don't mean my comments to be alienating or offensive, but it is hard to attempt to give constructive criticism in a way that doesn't risk offending and alienating.
   53. Howie Menckel Posted: January 07, 2023 at 06:36 PM (#6112360)
I am a professional writer as well, and Cobb has neatly explained the case.

Something tells me you didn't spend a lot of time on a debate team - and if you did, it wasn't a good one. There are several fundamental errors in your efforts at communication and persuasion, the most basic being to come across in your comments as seeing yourself the lone true rational arbiter (occasional disclaimers aside) and then railing against those who do not sufficiently perceive your wisdom.

That sense is underscored by what seems to be the subsequent "I'm taking my ball and going home!" after a response that didn't satisfy you. (Your seeming certitude that it could not possibly be you yourself whose discussion approach could have even a tiny bit to do with "an ever-decreasing number of participants." None of us should want to fall into that trap.)

Anyway, I wish you well with your book, I value your research, feel free to return at any time, and I hope you continue to vote annually.

   54. Rob_Wood Posted: January 07, 2023 at 07:11 PM (#6112370)
We all love baseball and we all love talking about baseball. Occasionally discussions can become (or can be perceived to become) "heated" and feelings can be ruffled. I would guess that in at least 99% of such incidents, no offense was intended. Everybody who contributes to the HOM project is unique and brings a unique set of skills/sensibilities/values/etc. to the project and the project is much better as a result. It would be a shame if anybody curtailed their involvement in the HOM project due to such circumstances.

   55. DL from MN Posted: January 08, 2023 at 12:00 PM (#6112425)
This is partly my fault for getting annoyed and being less than welcoming. I do think people should argue in good faith and the burden of convincing someone else depends on the person presenting the out of consensus viewpoint. Otherwise it's like the meme of the person with the "prove me wrong" sign. Notice that the "prove me wrong" guy is always sitting alone and nobody wants to engage.

I have no doubt that Minnie Minoso played a bunch of seasons in the Mexican League. His first season he hit about as well as his teammate Elrod Hendricks. When Hendricks went to the Orioles later he had a .700 OPS. I looked at several other players who moved between those leagues (Zoilo Versalles, Greg Goosen, Elrod Hendricks) and they lost 250-300 points of OPS moving to MLB. Minoso's early success in the Mexican League is evidence that it was a Double-A quality league, not that Minoso still had anything left to contribute at a major league level. The fact that he managed in the Mexican League might actually help a Hall of Fame VC case but we don't include managerial credit here when voting for players.

I like Minnie Minoso but I see nothing in his statistical record that shows he was unfairly denied the chance to have the longest career in MLB history.
   56. taxandbeerguy Posted: January 08, 2023 at 11:58 PM (#6112503)
Long time lurker, never voter.

Glad to see this positional thread being revisited. A lot has changed in 15 years or so since these were done.

Feel free to discount any or all of this - never voted so certainly not qualified to pass judgement on any orderings.

A couple do jump out. Would love to hear the reasoning for Stan behind Rickey! I mean both inner circle for sure and top 25 players ever, but don't know if I've seen a list that has Rickey over the Man that isn't super heavily timelined. Rickey's got massive advantage on the basepaths, is better at walks (especially adjusting for era) and is likely a better fielder over their careers (although Stan is no slouch). But at the plate, Stan is just so much better. Have to think this is close, I've got Stan significantly ahead in 3rd.

Not to pile on but 22 - Fred Clarke at 24? Swap with Harry Stovey at 15 and sure, that makes more sense. Career leaning with Joe Medwick at 13? Kiner at 16 and Keller at 17 are also short career guys although all three have good peaks.

Minoso at 6 seems really high, he does have lots of outside MLB play - but how much of it translates to a level that is above average? Certainly his age 22-24 years would and he adds a bunch of value there, but much beyond those years would be nominal at best, I would think. He's probably somewhere in the middle (9-18 as with Irvin, but would lean Minoso towards the middle or lower end). If it's career based then what's been extrapolated does make sense (but how much of that accumulation is providing value)

Just to throw it out there - here would be my best estimate as to where these great players rank. I'm career leaning.

1. Bonds
2. T. Williams (War credit gets him almost there)
3. Musial
4. Henderson
-----INNER CIRCLE ENDS-----
5. Delahanty (a pennant is a pennant)
6. Yastrzemski
-----VERY SMALL HALL ENDS-----
7. Ramirez (the bat is too much - but I may be overrating it.)
8. Clarke
9. Simmons
10. Irvin
11. Raines (maybe screwed by 81, 94 and 95 less than you might think)
12. Burkett
-----SMALL HALL ENDS?-----
13. Goslin
14. B. Williams
15. Stargell
16. Minoso
17. Stovey
18. Magee
19. Kelley
-----EVERONE BELOW HERE HAS PLENTY OF WARTS-----
20. Sheckard
21. Berkman
22. Keller
23. Kiner
24. Wheat
25. Jones
26. Medwick

Bob Johnson probably fits in between Wheat and Jones. I don't think anyone else passes Medwick for me.
   57. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 09, 2023 at 12:26 AM (#6112507)
Is winning the championship worth less in 1900 than it is in 2000? If so, why?

I'm not part of the project (though I lurk around the edges and post occasionally), but I'll take a stab at this: MLB in 1900 was far worse at getting the best available players into the league than MLB in 2000. The league was segregated, and the reliable minors-to-majors transition of top-level talent was still very much a work in progress.

(1900 specifically throws off the balance here a bit because there were only 8 major league teams that year. But that was a transitory situation; the surrounding seasons all had either 12 or 16. If you compare the 16-team 1902 season to the 16-team 1958 season, which version of MLB do you think had a higher fraction of the top 200 players in the world at the time?)
   58. DL from MN Posted: January 09, 2023 at 01:45 PM (#6112556)
the reliable minors-to-majors transition of top-level talent was still very much a work in progress


I can see this perspective. I don't think it accounts for nearly all of the variance. Changes in rules and equipment show up much more starkly than changes in personnel.
   59. Chris Cobb Posted: January 09, 2023 at 03:10 PM (#6112571)
One factor that affects my thinking about the value of a championship is certainly the degree of difficulty involved in doing so.

"A pennant is a pennant" has been a mantra for the Hall of Merit is near or perhaps before elections began. It was originally used to argue for fair treatment for 19th-century players who played fewer league games in a season. One of the big complaints with James' treatment of 19th-century players in the NBJHBA was that he didn't adjust for shorter seasons, and so the 19th-century players, especially pre-1890 players, were rated lower than most of the early HoM electorate believed that they should be, and "season-adjusting" the early players to 154 or 162 games became a pretty standard approach. I continue to believe that it's proper, when comparing players from contexts with fewer official games per season to players in contexts with more official games per season, to make adjustments so that each full season of play receives equal weight in evaluation. In other words, I see the operative force of "a pennant is a pennant" to be "a season is a season."

When it comes to considering the value of winning a championship--or, for individual players, of being identified as the best in any given category during a given season--I do think that it's important to consider how difficult winning a championship or being identified as the best was in the context of that season in addition to giving all seasons equal weight. It's harder to be the best in a larger pool--the ratio between the best and the rest gets smaller the larger the pool becomes. It's harder to be the best when the quality of the pool improves. For these reasons, I would say that "being the best" is harder and thus means more in major-league baseball in 2001 than in 1901, but I still think that the primary meaning of merit is to do well in one's context, not to do well against some sort of abstract "all-time" standard. Changing levels of competition is a secondary, not a primary, consideration.

I think of our job as finding the best players in all times, while recognizing that times change.
   60. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 09, 2023 at 04:00 PM (#6112576)
"A pennant is a pennant" has been a mantra for the Hall of Merit is near or perhaps before elections began. It was originally used to argue for fair treatment for 19th-century players who played fewer league games in a season. One of the big complaints with James' treatment of 19th-century players in the NBJHBA was that he didn't adjust for shorter seasons, and so the 19th-century players, especially pre-1890 players, were rated lower than most of the early HoM electorate believed that they should be, and "season-adjusting" the early players to 154 or 162 games became a pretty standard approach. I continue to believe that it's proper, when comparing players from contexts with fewer official games per season to players in contexts with more official games per season, to make adjustments so that each full season of play receives equal weight in evaluation. In other words, I see the operative force of "a pennant is a pennant" to be "a season is a season."

I will definitely co-sign this, although I don't think straight-line adjusting to 162 games is the best approach, as I laid out in this article a few years ago.

But I don't see a reason not to, say, adjust for the war-affected level of competition in 1945 as compared to 1939 or 1947 (especially if you're giving war credit to Ted Williams et al, which would inflate the amount of total value produced in the war years if there's no discount for the players who were still stateside). And if you allow that adjustment, it's natural to at least consider others.
   61. Chris Cobb Posted: January 10, 2023 at 11:44 AM (#6112662)
Eric, thank you for posting the link to your article on using standard deviation in adjusting for season length!

As someone with a basic understanding of statistical concepts but very limited experience applying them in actual calculations, I have to ask a follow-up question to the article: how does one set up the equation to apply the calculated standard deviation to the projection? If I have

The player's WAR
The length of the season
the length of the season into which I am projecting the player's WAR
the season-length standard deviations from your article

how do I set it up?

In other words, how exactly do I get to the "Mod War" column on the Deacon White table in the article, once I have gathered all the relevant inputs? Thanks for any guidance you can provide.
   62. Rob_Wood Posted: January 10, 2023 at 03:06 PM (#6112716)
I haven't looked at Eric's excellent article in many years, but I wound up implementing a simple "approximation" to his findings. The scale factor I implement in much of my own work is the average between the linear scale factor and its square root.

To give some obvious examples, in a season of 81 games (half of a modern 162-game season), my scale factor is 0.5*(2 + sqrt(2)) = 1.707

In a season of 108 games (2/3 of 162), my scale factor is 0.5*(3/2 + sqrt(3/2)) = 1.362

In a season of 154 games, my scale factor is 0.5*(162/154 + sqrt(162/154)) = 1.039

Eric or others can opine how good/bad my approximate scale factors are.
   63. TomH Posted: January 10, 2023 at 04:35 PM (#6112736)
"I'm going to predict that Rickey! will be a unanimous #4 seelection in this vote." - that was a insightful sentence. Becuase it may not be unusual to be a unanimous #1 in some cases, but #4... is odd. I suspect if you total the votes when done, the std dev of Rickey's rankings will be order of magnitude smaller than others. And in ranking islt, the std dev typiclaly gorwa about linearly with the ranking slot.

I personally have Bonds at #2 player all time, Williams 5, Musial 8, Rickey 25, and no other LF in my top 50. So yeah, its easy to make good cases for movement in other spots, but Rickey is dead on #4.

(me: voted consistently from project start until 201 or so.... long time no input. Now I will retire from the workforce in 7 weeks time)
   64. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 10, 2023 at 05:22 PM (#6112742)
As someone with a basic understanding of statistical concepts but very limited experience applying them in actual calculations, I have to ask a follow-up question to the article: how does one set up the equation to apply the calculated standard deviation to the projection? If I have

The player's WAR
The length of the season
the length of the season into which I am projecting the player's WAR
the season-length standard deviations from your article


The predicted standard deviation in wins for a season of N games is (hopefully this is readable):

N * SQRT((.25/N)^2 + 0.0554^2)

The factor by which you would multiply the player's WAR total is just STDev(162)/STDev(N), if projecting to a season length of 162 games. (Obviously other values can be substituted for 162 if desired.) If you want a shortcut, the value of STDev(162) is almost exactly 11 (11.0021 if you want to be unnecessarily precise).

Rob's values are very close to what I end up with. My adjustment factor for 81 games is 1.731, 108 games is 1.388, 154 games is 1.043. The differences between these multipliers seem unlikely to be meaningful.
   65. villageidiom Posted: January 10, 2023 at 06:02 PM (#6112750)
You might want to read my research before criticizing it, don't you think?
It seems absurd, in general but especially in this forum, to defer a chance to share research and then suggest that the fruits of the research cannot be criticized until the research is shared.

I mean, I get the deferral. You have a profit motive, and you're trying to sell something by raising curiosity here. I have no objection to a profit motive, as we all have mouths to feed with the fruits of our labor. But AFAIS the discussion went something like this:

prf: Miñoso #6, with big help from non-MLB play.

others: That would have to be huge.

prf: Yes, 4126 organized games.

others: Where did you get that from?

prf: Research. Read my book and see.

others: I think he's counting Cuba, Mexican League, etc.

prf: Yes.

others: I call BS.

prf: They are facts. Do the research or buy my book. Don't insult me.

others: I mean, it looks like you're saying he played professionally from age 11 to age 40. That's absurd.

prf: Read my book and then prove me wrong. I wrote that book, and another, to educate you people. Until you have read my unpublished book my claims are to be free from criticism.

others: The big question we have isn't whether he compiled the numbers, but the degree to which those numbers are relevant to his ranking among left fielders.

prf: Y'all are not allowing me to air my views here.


People in the thread are asking you the whole way through to provide more information about your position on Miñoso - albeit in caustic terms at times - and you keep deferring to an unpublished book. When someone challenged the number of games as being more than MLB (incl NLB) + minors you didn't clarify; you just repeated yourself and said to read the book. That left others in the thread to clarify on your behalf - Cuba, etc. - which you later confirmed. Like, people are actively trying to assist you in airing your views, with the assumption the view you were trying to air was relevant to the thread. That is a fact. So if you think your views aren't being allowed here, I can only assume the view you don't think people are allowing you to express is one that isn't actually relevant to the thread. ISTM that the view you want people to accept is that they should be interested in reading your book.

On that basis, the ranking of Miñoso at #6 becomes clearer. It's a marketing campaign for a book. It's an ad. As such it's entirely irrelevant to the thread, and should be dismissed, and that people who are assuming you wanted to engage in thoughtful discussion and taking your claims of repression in this forum were being far too kind to you.

I've no doubt that you worked hard on the research and the book. I'm sure it's frustrating that you want to provide enlightenment in this thread but your publisher is dragging their feet, and the timing just isn't working out. I wish you success with the book, and I hope that people develop a far better understanding of Miñoso as a great player and not as a cheap publicity stunt for the Veeck-du-jour. And I am interested in your reasoned discourse on the topic of this thread. But I have never taken ads seriously as reasoned discourse, and I don't intend to now.
   66. Chris Cobb Posted: January 10, 2023 at 06:09 PM (#6112751)
Thanks, Eric and Rob!

(I should add, that when I was doing MLEs for Negro-League players back about 15 years ago, I learned enough statistical calculations to regress players' individual seasons to their own mean level of performance, based on 3-5 year career segments, but I couldn't see how to apply what I vaguely remembered from then to formulating an equation for this method. This is much more straightforward and sees less likely to overly flatten player performance.)
   67. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 10, 2023 at 07:34 PM (#6112765)
Tax and beer guy in 56, Raines was impacted by the 1987 collusion as well, played at an MVP pace once suiting up.
   68. Guapo Posted: January 12, 2023 at 11:36 PM (#6113048)
Shouldn't Jim O'Rourke be on the LF list?

bb-ref lists Orator Jim with more appearances in LF than any other position, and Cooperstown lists his primary position as LF.
   69. SandyRiver Posted: January 13, 2023 at 09:45 AM (#6113065)
If "more appearance at position X" makes the determination, Musial would be 1B. Since he had nearly twice as many games in the OF as on 1st, grouping him with LF makes sense due to his plurality of OF games being in left. Has any other inner circle HOF'ers had Musial's degree of positional spread? Any other HOF'er of any standing? (Not # of positions, but positions with many 100's of games)
   70. DL from MN Posted: January 13, 2023 at 10:05 AM (#6113067)
Shouldn't Jim O'Rourke be on the LF list?


He finished 10th among CF last time but I'm open to moving him over. He has games played at every position which is pretty cool.
   71. Chris Cobb Posted: January 13, 2023 at 12:34 PM (#6113092)
I think the rationale for placing O'Rourke in CF is that he earned the most value there, especially if season-length adjustments are applied.

When I do a back-of-the-envelope calculation of the proportion of O'Rourke's seasons that he spent at LF and CF, I get that he spent somewhere between .7 and 1.0 more seasons at LF (6.4 vs. 5.7, but without attention to small fractions of seasonal play at positions, which would add a bit more to LF than to CF), but most of his play in LF was from 1883-834, 1888-1893, the last half of his career, whereas his CF work fell mainly between 1875 and 1886, all in the middle.

I would guess someone estimated value earned at each position carefully at some point back in the day, and that evaluation placed O'Rourke in center. I don't think moving him to left would be inappropriate: there are multiple valid ways of assigning players who played multiple positions to a primary position. But since we ranked him in CF last time, I think it would make more sense for consistency of evaluation to keep him there.

It is remarkable that O'Rourke not only played every position, but that he started a plurality of his games in at least one season at every fielding position except 2B!
   72. Guapo Posted: January 14, 2023 at 11:24 AM (#6113176)
Thanks for the responses- seems reasonable to categorize him as a CF.

I have my own internal positional lists that I'm working on. I default to where bb-ref says they have the most playing time, subject to overruling by the wisdom of the masses.
   73. Tiboreau Posted: January 19, 2023 at 01:28 AM (#6113627)
What discounts do y'all apply to the AA, esp. the early & late years?
   74. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: January 19, 2023 at 03:46 PM (#6113674)
Has any other inner circle HOF'ers had Musial's degree of positional spread? Any other HOF'er of any standing?


Certainly not at Musial's level, but Killebrew, sort of? 900+ games at 1B, almost 800 at 3B, almost 500 at LF. You end up doing a similar calculus and classifying him as a first baseman, in the end. though he played most of his career at other positions.
   75. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 19, 2023 at 05:06 PM (#6113697)
With the obvious caveat that he's not actually a Hall of Famer, here's Pete Rose in games by position:

1B 939
LF 673
3B 634
2B 628
RF 589
CF 73
   76. base ball chick Posted: January 21, 2023 at 03:43 PM (#6113846)
hi guys who know me and guys who don't

first, about jeff kent's clubhouse behavior - i heard PLENTY and all of it bad, when he was with the astros. he never attacked one of the stars to reporters because they were very very popular with fans and media - guy isn't a complete maroon. he DID have a bad reputation for harrassing and intimidating and verbally abusing the younger guys and non-stars until lance berkman stood up to him and told him off. he then retreated to his locker and refused to deal with anyone. there were reasons the astros didn't really want to resign him after his 2 years were up - besides his glove of lead and inability to move to eather direction. (made jeter look good) he almost never talked to media

now,
i lurk a lot and don't vote or think i should vote because

1 - i know how to add/subtract/multiply/divide, but have NO idea how to calculate how to deal with stuff like comparing quality of different leagues and or players especially from earlier centuries, and don't know how/why to evaluate what different people think/calculate

2 - i am opposed to giving credit for games not played for any reason at all. unlike everyone else here. it is like giving me credit for having given birth to 25 babies because i theoretically could have

that said

i personally welcome views and beliefs of anyone no matter what.

mr/ms progrockfan,

THIS particular Hall does not do stuff like dock credit for someone being an assssshole or doing drugs accused or proven. the HOM and the HOF are filled with people who were awful humans who did awful thinks to other ballplayers and humans, who did drugs, who showed up to play drunk/hungover etc. you gotta take the good with the bad.

and whassup with the acting like a grade skool kid telling the other kidz - i gotta secret yoooou wanna know and im not gonna tell youuuuuu. unless you pay me and boy do i know something you don't know and boy are you dumb. (sulk, pout) and since you are complaining about this ima take my secret and go and you nevahnevah gonna know it ha ha ha HA HAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

SERIOUSLY????

cmon you a grown asss adult and that is no way to talk to people in a group of people who are talking about what you want to talk about. you act like that, who is gonna want to buy your book or pimp it? not me, and i'm Black







   77. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: January 21, 2023 at 05:44 PM (#6113858)
With the obvious caveat that he's not actually a Hall of Famer, here's Pete Rose in games by position:

1B 939
LF 673
3B 634
2B 628
RF 589
CF 73


FWIW, I think of Pete Rose as a LF. He's obviously a tricky one because he spent so little time at any one position. While he did play more innings at 1B than any other position, I think it's worth considering that most of that time was spent in 1979-86, when he accumulated only 1.9 bWAR. In the seasons when he primarily played LF (1967, 1972-74) he accumulated 19.5 bWAR and earned his lone MVP.
   78. DL from MN Posted: January 25, 2023 at 02:28 PM (#6114438)
Does someone want to count ballots? We'll just give 26 points for first and 1 point for last.
   79. cookiedabookie Posted: January 25, 2023 at 02:31 PM (#6114439)
I can count ballots
   80. Chris Cobb Posted: January 28, 2023 at 09:12 AM (#6114856)
Tiboreau asked in #73 above, "What discounts do y'all apply to the AA, esp. the early & late years?"

This question seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle, but I'll answer for myself. At this point, I use the length-strength adjustments built into Baseball Reference WAR, which track pretty closely with the home-grown adjustments I worked out a long time ago. The only place right now where I don't follow the bWAR adjustment is the 1884 UA, where even their finding that an average UA player was below replacement level relative to the 1884 NL isn't enough. I think bWAR may discount the 1890 PL too much, but I haven't investigated that closely.

I tried to track down the files where I have my own AA adjustments, but I haven't been able to find them on a quick look. I think that the adjustments for the AA started at about .72 for 1882, .85 for 1883, .92 for 1884, and then were .95 give or take a couple of percentage points from there. I am sorry I can't be more precise than that . . .
   81. Tiboreau Posted: January 28, 2023 at 05:31 PM (#6114914)
Thank you, Chris, for your answer! I was not aware of the adjustments built into bWAR, that is helpful, and the adjustments you mention are in the ballpark of the vague recollections I had from participating 15-20 years ago. I tried searching the site, and saw mention of a .17 deduction for the 1890 season, but not the actual post. From that I should have an idea of 1891 as well, and with your info I shoud be able to come up with rankings in which I feel more confident!
   82. Chris Cobb Posted: January 28, 2023 at 05:56 PM (#6114919)
To be a little more precise in case it's useful, I'll add that the bWAR adjustment is made in setting replacement level, so players' RAA and WAA in their AA seasons in bWAR are unadjusted, but the amount of value above replacement that is added on top of value above average is reduced. Here's one quick comparison to show magnitude.

In 1882, Pete Browning gets 6 Rrep added to his WAA in 69 games in the American Association. Prorated to 162 g, that's 14 runs.
In 1882, Harry Stovey gets 12 Rrep added to his WAA in 84 games in the National League. Prorated to 162 g, that's 23 runs.

So Browning gets about one win knocked off of his value. That's maybe a little light for 1882, where I'd be inclined to drop Browning from 9.3 WAR (season-adj. to 162 games) to 7.3 or so. But Browning's 1882 is an extreme case.

I hear you on the challenge of finding files from 15-20 years ago. I feel lucky that I shifted from Word Perfect to Microsoft Word maybe a year before I got involved with the Hall of Merit. It would be a real pain if I had to try to open old Word Perfect files to access work I did in the first couple of years of the project . . .
   83. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 28, 2023 at 08:21 PM (#6114924)
Maybe some help here: https://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/hall_of_merit/discussion/estimating_league_quality_part_1_the_concept/P100
   84. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 28, 2023 at 08:22 PM (#6114925)
I recall 1891 AA looks like a minor league, maybe not 1884 UA bad, but a Lot of air needs taken out of that year, and to some extent, 1890 as well.
   85. DL from MN Posted: January 28, 2023 at 10:48 PM (#6114932)
Where do we put Edgar? A 1 person DH ballot would be pointless.
   86. Michael J. Binkley's anxiety closet Posted: January 28, 2023 at 11:37 PM (#6114934)
Edit: I posted the below before I saw that you had deleted Ortiz from your original post.

I would figure we'd slot Edgar in at 3b.

As for Ortiz, he'd be at 1b, but he hasn't been elected yet, so it's not yet an issue. If you want to hold off on 1b voting until next year, like we're planning to do at c, 2b, and 3b, given that it would probably be a major surprise if the major newly eligibles at those positions don't take three of the four spots in the 2024 election.

The top three returnees are Ortiz and two other 3b, so there would be no other positions we'd have to postpone, but even if you subdivide the pitcher elections into a five time periods (as opposed to the four last time around), I don't believe there'd be enough elections to fill up the time until after the 2024 election if we delayed the 1b election as well.
   87. DL from MN Posted: January 29, 2023 at 12:46 PM (#6114980)
I'm not as worried about Ortiz. He'll be at the bottom of the list anyway.
   88. Alex02 Posted: January 30, 2023 at 07:22 PM (#6115203)
I'm trying to catch up a little. Would anyone mind making the case for Charlie Keller? He's a lot higher on a lot of your lists than on mine, and I want to make sure I'm not missing something. Is it just war credit and peak? How is he so far ahead of Kiner for some of you?

Pending an answer to that question, my ballot looks something like this. I find nos. 16 through 23 extremely close.

1. Barry Bonds
2. Ted Williams
3. Stan Musial
4. Rickey Henderson
5. Carl Yastrzemski
6. Al Simmons
7. Ed Delahanty
8. Tim Raines
9. Goose Goslin
10. Manny Ramirez
11. Jesse Burkett
12. Fred Clarke
13. Billy Williams
14. Monte Irvin
15. Minnie Minoso
16. Ralph Kiner
17. Willie Stargell
18. Zack Wheat
19. Lance Berkman
20. Sherry Magee
21. Charlie Keller
22. Joe Kelley
23. Joe Medwick
24. Harry Stovey
25. Jimmy Sheckard
26. Charley Jones
   89. Chris Cobb Posted: January 30, 2023 at 08:22 PM (#6115204)
Re Keller vs. Kiner: I don't have Keller as far ahead as some, I think (I have Keller at 17 and Kiner at 22, pretty much the flip of your ranking). In my assessment, it is the war credit that makes the difference. I don't include war credit years in my calculation of peak, and Keller and Kiner are very close there. I do include war credit in career value above replacement and career WAR above average, and the war credit moves Keller from being about 5 points behind Kiner to about 10 points ahead. With the players in the bottom third being as closely bunched as they are, 10 points difference between two players who are near contemporaries ends up being worth about five spots in the rankings. If I didn't give war credit, Kiner would move up to 21 and Keller would move down to around 25--if he had been elected: I don't know if Keller would have made it into the HoM if virtually all voters who were involved t the project at the time we passed through the WW2 generation hadn't been giving war credit at the time.

Post-season credit (with which I don't get involved in my own system) would also give Keller a boost, as he has a quite impressive WPA from his four World Series appearances, and Kiner had no postseason play.

Another subtle factor that could be leading you to see Kiner more favorably than others is that Baseball Reference sees the AL as the weaker league during most of Keller's career. My system sees Keller and Kiner by fangraphs WAR as almost equal, even without war credit, while the bWAR side of my system has Kiner about 10 points ahead (averaged, a 5-point advantage for Kiner overall, before war credit). If your system leans on bWAR, others whose systems don't include bbref's league-quality assessment are likely to view Keller more favorably.

Those are the factors I am aware of.

And welcome, by the way!
   90. Jaack Posted: January 30, 2023 at 08:37 PM (#6115207)
One other thing to note with Keller vs Kiner - DRA likes Keller's glove quite a bit, while it thinks Kiner was pretty awful, particularly on the back half of his career. Total Zone sees the same gist of things for them, but it's more conservative (as it typically is). With that, even before getting into war credit, Keller has an additional peak season and a higher overall peak than Kiner.
   91. Alex02 Posted: January 31, 2023 at 10:58 AM (#6115267)
Those are helpful responses! I do lean a little more on B-Ref and am more conservative on war credit that others seem to be, but I definitely see the case and will consider whether to move Keller up (and/or Kiner down).

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