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, May 18, 2008

Ranking the Hall of Merit by Position: First Basemen Ballot

These are the Hall of Merit first basemen to be voted on (in alphabetical order):

Dick Allen
Cap Anson
Jake Beckley
Dan Brouthers
Will Clark
Roger Connor
Jimmie Foxx
Lou Gehrig
Hank Greenberg
Keith Hernandez
Harmon Killebrew
Buck Leonard
Willie McCovey
Mark McGwire
Johnny Mize
Eddie Murray
George Sisler
Joe Start
Mule Suttles
Bill Terry

The electon ends Sunday on June 1 at 8 PM EDT.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 18, 2008 at 10:37 PM | 59 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. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 18, 2008 at 10:45 PM (#2785395)
1) Lou Gehrig-1B (n/e): My favorite player of all-time. Best major league first baseman for 1926, 1927, 1928, 1930, 1931, 1934, 1935, 1936 and 1937.

2) Cap Anson-1B/3B (n/e): As I rank them, Anson is the greatest player of the 19th century. Maybe not at peak, but 27 years is too much too ignore (and his peak was damn good). Best third baseman for 1872 and 1877. Best first baseman for 1873, 1880 and 1881.

3) Dan Brouthers-1B (n/e): Without a doubt, the greatest hitter of the 19th century. Best first baseman for 1882, 1887, 1889, 1891, 1892, 1893 and 1894.

4) Jimmie Foxx-1B/3B/C (n/e): A true monster of a player, his numbers are staggering despite the fact that he was done by age 36. Best AL third baseman for 1928. Best major league first baseman for 1929, 1932, 1933, 1938 and 1939.

5) Johnny Mize-1B (n/e): One of the few HOF inductees who had a legitimate reason to be annoyed that he to wait wait so many years to get in. Best NL first baseman for 1936, 1937, 1938, and 1939. Best major league first baseman for 1940, (close in 1939 and 1941), 1942, 1947, and 1948.

6) Roger Connor-1B/3B/2B (n/e): What an era for first baseman! This guy was an undeniable great, but I have him behind Anson and Brouthers for 19th century first basemen. Best third baseman for 1880. Best first baseman for 1885, 1886 and 1888.

7) Willie McCovey-1B/LF (n/e): Amazing career numbers considering how often he was injured. Yes, he played until his early forties, but if he had only been reasonably healthy…wow! Peak ain't bad, either. :-) Best ML first baseman for 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, and 1974. Best NL first baseman for 1970

8) Hank Greenberg-1B/LF (n/e): Great player with or without WWII credit. Had the misfortune of playing at the same time as Gehrig and Foxx. Best major league left fielder for 1940.

9) Mark McGwire-1B (n/e): Best power hitter of his generation...well, until Bonds decided to do whatever you think he did. Best ML first baseman for 1998. Best AL first baseman for 1987, 1988, 1996.

10) Dick Allen-1B/3B (n/e): Terrific peak and a long enough career for me (with enough games at a demanding position, to boot). I have no doubt that Allen could have made things easier for his teams and himself, but I have yet to hear anything that he did that actually hurt his teams. Best ML third baseman for 1964, 1965, and 1966. Best NL left fielder for 1968. Best ML first baseman for 1972 (close in 1974). Best AL first baseman for 1974.

11) Eddie Murray-1B/DH (n/e): A perennial MVP candidate and a model of consistency. Best ML first baseman for 1978, (close in 1981), 1982, 1983 and 1990. Best AL first baseman for 1979 and 1984.

12) Harmon Killebrew-1B/3B/LF/DH (n/e): For a guy with a low BA, he managed to score a ton of runs. I wonder how that happened? ;-) Best AL first baseman for 1965. Best AL third baseman for 1966. Best ML first baseman for 1967.

13) Buck Leonard-1B (n/e): Not the standout I thought he would be before his MLEs were created, but still a worthy.

14) Will Clark-1B (n/e): The Thrill was legitimately great as his peak, but his career doesn't stand out among his contemporaries at first base to be an inner-circle HoMer. Still, he did enough to warrant induction. Best ML first baseman for 1988, 1989 and 1991. Best NL first baseman for 1992

15) Keith Hernandez-1B (n/e): An unbelievable defensive player and a skilled batter. Best ML first baseman for 1979, 1980 and 1984. Best NL first baseman for 1977, 1981, 1985 and 1986.

16) Joe Start-1B (n/e): Considered the best first baseman for the 1860s. Considering how old he was when he joined the NA and how well he did, that evaluation seems to hold water. Bucket loads of career. Best first baseman for 1871, 1878 and 1879.

17) George Sisler-1B (n/e): Great player at his peak, but unquestionably a mediocre (at best) player after 1922, which didn't add much to his overall value. Best AL first baseman for 1916 and 1922. Best ML first baseman for 1917, 1919, and 1920 (very close in 1916 and 1922).

18) Bill Terry-1B (n/e): He wasn't on my ballot in '42, though that was too harsh in retrospect. However, he shouldn't have gone in that fast in '42, either. Best NL first baseman for 1927, 1929. 1930, 1931, 1932 and 1933.

19) Jake Beckley-1B (n/e): Not much peak, but plenty of career. Though I didn't support him when he was finally inducted, I was still happy to see him go in anyway. Best major league first baseman for 1900.

20) Mule Suttles-1B/LF (n/e): I wasn't very impressed with his MLEs, though I may be wrong in my analysis of him.
   2. Paul Wendt Posted: May 19, 2008 at 12:39 AM (#2785466)
7) Willie McCovey-1B/LF (n/e): Amazing career numbers considering how often he was injured. Yes, he played until his early forties, but if he had only been reasonably healthy…wow! Peak ain't bad, either. :-) Best ML first baseman for 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, and 1974. Best NL first baseman for 1970

Dan Rosenheck's greatest revision? It's not Concepcion up but McCovey down.
   3. Rafael Bellylard: The Grinch of Orlando. Posted: May 19, 2008 at 12:59 AM (#2785509)
1. Lou Gehrig: Gehrig > Scottie Pippen.
2. Dan Brouthers: The difference between Brouthers and Anson was minuscule, so as a peak voter I had to go with Dan.
3. Cap Anson: The best thing about this project is gaining an appreciation of the 19th century players.
4. Jimmie Foxx: An amazing hitter. Being 4th on this ballot is no insult.
5. Johnny Mize: I have to stop thinking of him as "Jimmie Foxx-Lite".
6. Roger Connor: Playing in the same era as Anson and Brouthers didn't help him as I use Black and Grey Ink as part of my system.
7. Hank Greenberg: War credit bumped him up a few spots.
8. Harmon Killebrew: In a lot of ways he wins the award for "Least likely looking person to be in the HoM"
9. Willie McCovey: His career spanned from my birth to my majority, and living in SF, he was my favorite player. At my house, if we referred to "Willie", it wasn't Mays. I gave him a slight bump due to early platooning and injuries. Imagine what he might have hit if his career had started in 1989 instead of 1959.
10. Mark McGwire: Submitted without bias.
11. Eddie Murray: Frankly, I was surprised he ranked this high. I never thought much of his prime, but the career numbers were so strong that he can't be ignored.
12. Buck Leonard: I can't find a reason to rank him higher.
13. Dick Allen: I agree that Allen's rep as a malcontent may not have hurt his teams to the extent that others have said. But he really could have used another 2500 PA's to move up the ballot.
14. Jake Beckley: His career is trumped by Allen's peak.
15. Mule Suttles: From what I read about him, he was sorta-Josh Gibson before Gibson was around. But not quite Gibson-like enough to move up the ballot.
16. George Sisler: I saw his career path and immediately thought of Don Mattingly.
17. Will Clark: Yes, I'm a peak voter. Yes, Will Clark was my favorite player when he was with the Giants. No, I can't rank him any higher based on a shortish career. He is the in/out line for me among HoF 1B's.
18. Joe Start: A nice player, deserving of a plaque in the Hall of the Very-Very Good.
19. Bill Terry: Sometimes the HoM and the HoF make the same mistakes. It's rare, but this is one of those times.
20. Keith Hernandez: I'm slowing working my way through the past ballots, setting up my own HoM (I'm up to 1900 and am going to attempt to cover 5 years a week) and is in the bottom half of my HotVG so far. I also did up a number of 1B's that aren't in, and guys like Cepeda and Mickey Vernon are well ahead of Hernandez.
   4. Chris Cobb Posted: May 19, 2008 at 02:00 AM (#2785700)
Rafael Bellylard:

Do you take any account of defense? None of your comments refers to it, and the only justification for placing Keith Hernandez as being behind Cepeda and Mickey Vernon (!) is not giving him credit for defense. Similarly, the only if defense is ignored do Killebrew and McCovey crack the all time top 10, so it looks to me like you don't. Also, if you are putting any serious weight on black ink/gray ink, you will be systematically overrating high slugging hitters and underrating OBP heavy hitters. Here also, you will miss Hernandez's strengths, and Clark's, too, for example.
   5. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: May 19, 2008 at 03:28 AM (#2785889)
Dan Rosenheck's greatest revision? It's not Concepcion up but McCovey down.

In the discussion thread, Rosenheck had McCovey #11 among eligible first basemen, and 16th when including active/recently retired ones (Bagwell, Thomas, Thome, Palmeiro, and Pujols). I thought it was the other Willie (Stargell) that really got knocked down badly by Rosenheck's WARP (and Killebrew).
   6. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 19, 2008 at 07:26 AM (#2785933)
I have Stargell, McCovey, and Killebrew all very close together between $162 and $164M, virtually tied with McGraw and Nettles at third, Goose Goslin and non-HoM'er Reggie Smith in the outfield (including his Japan credit), and Johnny Pesky at short. The reasons for their surprisingly poor showings given their outstanding lifetime OPS+ scores are the following:

1. They all peaked in the late 60s/early 70s, which was the all-time high for depth at first base. Even the absolute worst players at the position (think Ed Kranepool) were league-average hitters. This changed substantially with the advent of the DH, which created 12 more jobs for good hit/no field players and thus sharply increased the contextual value of immobile sluggers.

2. They all peaked in the late 60s/early 70s, when expansion increased the number of MLB teams by 50% and thus led to a substantial rise in standard deviations. Take a look at all the guys who had the highest OPS+ of their career in 1969: McCovey, Reggie Jackson, Frank Howard, Killebrew, Rico Petrocelli, Jimmy Wynn, Rusty Staub, Sal Bando, Pete's no accident. You have to account for that, and I do.

3. They all were massive liabilities both in the field and on the basepaths, according to all the available numbers. Just as a sampler: Sean Smith's TotalZone has Killebrew at -62 in the field, McCovey at -66, and Stargell at -80, and Dan Fox's Equivalent Baserunning Runs has Killebrew at -41, McCovey at -31, and Stargell at -21. So just adding those up, you've got them all giving back about 100 batting runs in defense and running, which is equal to 8-9 points of OPS+. Killebrew also had a nasty double play problem.

4. They all had durability issues.

Now compare that to the 90s 1B crop. With the DH well established, playing 1B intrinsically had much more value than it did in the 60s, and this is reflected in its lower replacement level. The league did expand during that era, but only by 15%, versus a full 50% in the 60s. Thomas and Pujols are simply in a different class of hitter than Stargell/McCovey/Killebrew, so they're not really relevant for the comparison. Bagwell was a similar hitter, but was also brilliant defensively and on the basepaths and was a model of durability, so he blows the 60s trio away.

So that leaves Palmeiro and Thome. Palmeiro wasn't nearly the hitter that those three were, but he has a good three extra productive seasons on them, was a defensive asset, and was fantastically durable. Thome is the closest match--he's a very similar hitter to them, a poor baserunner, a DH since 2005, and has had trouble staying on the field. His only intrinsic advantage is that he started out at third base (and had a monster 1996 at the position), but contextually, he never got to pound expansion pitching and played in an era when playing 1B was more valuable.
   7. whoisalhedges Posted: May 19, 2008 at 01:49 PM (#2786019)
1) Gehrig -- The undisputed heavyweight champeen of the world.

2) Foxx -- Almost as good as Gehrig.

3) Mize -- Lost 3 years in his prime to the War.

4) Anson -- Dominant player for a very long time, impact on the game (for good and ill) cannot be underestimated.

5) Brouthers -- Possibly the best hitter of the 19th century.

6) Greenberg -- Lost more playing time to the War than Mize, but it was in his decline phase. Great hitter, not too durable.

7) Connor -- Great 19th century power-hitter, played all over the IF and OF.

8) Allen -- Lack of durability and a shortish career kept him out of the top 5.

9) McCovey -- Outstanding hitter, worse defensively than Allen.

10) Leonard -- Best NeL first-sacker.

11) Murray -- The two guys below him had better peaks, which I count a little more heavily than consistency and longetivity. That said, Murray was unbelievably consistent for a very long time, and I have him ranked here.

12) Killebrew -- Not a great glove, but better than McCovey and no worse than Allen. Could play 3B or LF, but poorly.

13) McGwire -- Similar hitter to Killer (better than Harmon), but had neither the positional versatility nor the career length.

14) Clark -- Nice peak, nice glove, nice bat. Thrill had a shortish career and was somewhat brittle; otherwise would rank higher.

15) Hernandez -- Probably the best 1B glove of all time, good on-base guy.

16) Start -- Hard to rank due to the National Association not being formed until mid-career. May deserve to rank higher, but I can't get that from his available numbers.

17) Suttles -- More of a masher than Leonard.

18) Beckley -- Possibly comparable with Murray -- glove at 1B more importatant in Beckley's day, but wasn't nearly Murray's equal as a hitter. Both were very good for a very long time.

19) Sisler -- Overrated due to his .400 seasons. A slap-hitting 1B who was a league-average hitter over the second half of his career.

20) Terry -- Better hitter and fielder than Sisler, but Terry's career was shorter and he didn't have the peak.
   8. DL from MN Posted: May 19, 2008 at 03:40 PM (#2786151)
1B rankings

1) Lou Gehrig - The class of this position in more ways than one. Still, don't get the impression that he's a top 10 player based on ranking #1 at this position. Classify Musial as a 1B and Lou drops out of the top.
2) Jimmie Foxx - A change from my prelim. He was essentially tied with Connor and Anson but I decided to break the tie in his favor due to a number of other factors in his favor.
3) Roger Connor - My favorite of the ABC trio mainly because he had the best glove (or rather, hands) of the three
4) Cap Anson - Incredibly long career helps him out in my system, more value than anyone above replacement but not as much value above an average player drops him down.
5) Johnny Mize - squeezes his way in between the early stars, this is with 3 seasons war credit
6) Dan Brouthers - Best hitter of the ABC group but the worst fielder.
7) Hank Greenberg - This is with 3 years war credit, tremendous slugger and a decent fielder.
8) Buck Leonard - Top 1B of the Negro Leagues by all accounts and the stats match up also.
9) Eddie Murray - Steady Eddie laps the field in Games Played.
10) Mark McGwire - Big-time slugger outclasses Killebrew and McCovey defensively
11) Mule Suttles - A big power bat but that's a prerequiste for this position, not my most certain placement
12) Dick Allen - Productive time at 3rd base helps bump him up
13) Harmon Killebrew - Not a good defender but he could fake it at high value positions and McCovey couldn't.
14) Joe Start - Had incredible longevity for his era; his most productive years are a mystery.
15) Will Clark - Well rounded player, high OBP, good fielder and baserunner
16) Willie McCovey - Poor defense and baserunning really hurt him but his bat was as good as anyone below Gehrig, Foxx and Mize
17) Keith Hernandez - Best fielding 1B since they started wearing 1B mitts, just enough bat
18) Jake Beckley - Not the last 1B in my PHoM but pretty darned close. Even as a career voter he barely makes the cut.
19) Bill Terry - not in my PHoM but not terribly far outside either
20) George Sisler - Nowhere near my PHoM. His career is basically 7 seasons and that isn't enough

In PHoM and not in HoM - Ben Taylor, Norm Cash
   9. Bob Allen Posted: May 19, 2008 at 04:50 PM (#2786252)
1. Lou Gehrig
2. Jimmie Foxx - How close were they? Each was a 14-season regular. Genrig had 11 "MVP-worthy" seasons (by my definition) and 12 "All-Star" worthy. Foxx had 7 "MVP" and 11 "All-Star".
3. Dan Brouthers - finally decided on him as best of the 19th century, mostly on peak.
4. Johnny Mize - The closer I look the better he gets. His first 10 seasons (7 pre-war, 3 post) all were close to my MVP definition and within All-Star range. The 3 he missed could have put him even closer to the top 2.
5. Eddie Murray - Dropped him from my preliminary placement, not quite enough peak.
6. Roger Connor - Almost even with Brouthers but less peak, more career.
7. Cap Anson - I probably discount NA play and the late 1870s more than most. While the ABCs were contemporaries (1880-1894), they fit best in this order.
8. Hank Greenberg - Like Mize, we'll never know how great he might have been but for WWII.
9. Willie McCovey - So many ups and downs, injuries, fades and comebacks.
10. Dick Allen - pass
11. Keith Hernandez - My personal favorite 1B, don't think there was ever a better glove.
12. Buck Leonard - On reputation, not numbers.
13. Harmon Killebrew
14. Mark McGwire
15. Will Clark - sorted these last three out as best I could, but not really confident.
16. Mule Suttles - Just a guess.
17. George Sisler - Had a career I wish had progressed normally.
18. Bill Terry - His 3-4 best years not so great, viewed in context.
19. Jake Beckley - Not in my PHoM
20. Joe Star - ditto.
   10. Mark Donelson Posted: May 19, 2008 at 06:26 PM (#2786380)
1. Lou Gehrig. By a decent margin in my system, though of course not by nearly as much as Gibson led over the other catchers.

2. Jimmie Foxx. Clearly the #2 among 20th-century 1Bs—the only question I had was whether any of the ABC bunch could get ahead of him. In the end, it’s close (from here through Anson, it's very tight), but not quite.

3. Roger Connor. Hit nearly as well as Brouthers, and was a far better fielder, so he wins the ABC battle in my book. (I take both over Anson on peak.)

4. Johnny Mize. Stunningly underrated, even if you don’t give him war credit (which I do). To echo others, the player most have thought Greenberg was.

5. Dan Brouthers. The extreme peakster in me wants to put him even higher, but with defense taken into account, Connor was a little better. Very, very close to Mize.

6. Cap Anson. The career candidacy even I can’t argue with. (Plus, his NA years give him enough peak to wet my whistle.)

7. Hank Greenberg. Overrated, sure, but only a little. Nice peak, good defense—still solidly top-10.

8. Dick Allen. Another astounding peak. Tempted to put him above Greenberg, but I think that’d be overcompensation for one being overrated and the other underrated.

9. Buck Leonard. The MLEs look pretty dominant to me--overall value a lot like Murray’s, with a slightly better peak and not as good a career.

10. Eddie Murray. Remarkably consistent prime-career standout. Not the peak I usually look for, but I can’t ignore or diminish this many excellent seasons.

11. Harmon Killebrew. Convinced by Dan’s post in this thread to swap him with Murray, who had been just behind him. I still like his peak.

12. Willie McCovey. I like his peak, too, but there wasn’t much else.

13. Will Clark. If I believed blindly in Win Shares and nothing else, he’d be top-10 … but I don’t. Still, of course, a hugely underrated player.

14. Mark McGwire. I was kind of surprised, when originally running his numbers, to find his peak wasn’t that immense--only one completely monstrous season (by the standard of most of the guys above him on this list, anyway). No steroid-suspicion penalties; this is just where my system puts him.

15. Joe Start. As always with NA and pre-NA players, hard to evaluate exactly how he stacks up against everyone else. But he felt kind of like Murray-lite, and I feel better about placing him here after reading Chris Cobb’s post on the subject.

16. Mule Suttles. Speaking of “lite,” he looks kind of like McGwire-lite from the MLEs: one crazy season and otherwise “just” excellent for a while.

17. Bill Terry. A borderline candidate, but he’s got enough peak for me—plus, by at least some accounts, a stellar defensive player as well.

18. Keith Hernandez. Remarkable defensive player with just enough offense to qualify. If Terry had been a schlub with the glove, Hernandez would pass him easily, but as things stand, Terry’s offensive peak holds him off. Barely.

19. George Sisler. I was a bit higher on him before I redid my system to make it less extreme-peaky. Even so, despite being massively overrated, he gets just past the finish line for me.

20. Jake Beckley. I must admit to having a soft spot for him after all these years, but the classic career-only candidate remains the one guy on this list not in my pHOM.
   11. ronw Posted: May 19, 2008 at 10:39 PM (#2786667)
First Basemen ranking – MVP/AS are my own calculations, but for Negro Leaguers I use some combination of Holway/James MVP and AS selections.

1. Lou Gehrig. 33.1 bWS/700PA, 12 MVP, 13 AS. Positives: One of the all-time greatest hitters. Negatives: Fielding, premature career end.

2. Dan Brouthers. 30.0 bWS/700PA, 9 MVP, 14 AS. Positives: Hitting, relative longetivity. Negatives: Fielding, One AA season.

3. Jimmie Foxx. 28.0 bWS/700PA, 7 MVP, 14 AS. Positives: Hitting, position flexibility. Negatives: The bottle.

4. Johnny Mize. 29.4 bWS/700PA, 7 MVP, 10 AS, war credit. Positives: Hitting (I never realized that he was as good as Foxx!). Negatives: War interruption.

5. Cap Anson. 23.3 bWS/700PA (beginning 1876), 6 MVP, 21 AS (beginning 1871). Positives: Longetivity. Negatives: Surprising lack of huge 100+ game hitting seasons.

6. Roger Connor. 25.5 bWS/700PA, 5 MVP, 15 AS. Positives: Hitting, relative longetivity. Negatives: Fielding.

7. Hank Greenberg. 27.6 bWS/700PA, 5 MVP, 7 AS, war credit. Positives: Hitting, some outfield flexibility. Negatives: War interruption.

8. Eddie Murray. 21.7 bWS/700PA, 7 MVP, 16 AS. Positives: Longetivity. Negatives: No huge peak.

9. Buck Leonard. 26.3 bWS/700PA (MLE), 4 MVP, 7 AS (Holway/James). Positives: Hitting, OBP. Negatives: Power less than advertised.

10. Mark McGwire. 29.5 bWS/700PA, 5 MVP, 11 AS. Positives: Homers and walks. Negatives: Everything else.

11. Willie McCovey. 27.4 bWS/700PA, 5 MVP, 9 AS. Positives: Homers and walks. Negatives: Everything else, except PED allegations.

12. Harmon Killebrew. 24.0 bWS/700PA, 4 MVP, 12 AS. Positives: Homers, walks, and position versatility. Negatives: Fielding, despite the multiple posisions, low BA.

13. Dick Allen. 29.9 bWS/700PA, 6 MVP, 9 AS. Positives: OPS. Negatives: Fielding, clubhouse demeanor.

14. Will Clark. 25.6 bWS/700PA, 3 MVP, 10 AS. Positives: OBP, fielding. Negatives: Relatively short career.

15. Keith Hernandez. 22.7 bWS/700PA, 5 MVP, 10 AS. Positives: Fielding, OBP. Negatives: Low peak, relatively short career.

16. Mule Suttles. 21.6 bWS/700PA (MLE), 4 MVP, 8 AS (Holway/James). Positives: Power. Negatives: Fielding, park effects.

17. Joe Start. 21.7 bWS/700PA (beginning 1876), 0 MVP, 12 AS (beginning 1871). Positives: Longetivity. Negatives: No huge peak.

18. Bill Terry. 24.2 bWS/700PA, 3 MVP, 9 AS. Positives: BA, Fielding. Negatives: Career length, low peak.

19. George Sisler. 20.2 bWS/700PA, 3 MVP, 9 AS. Positives: BA, Fielding. Negatives: Sinus problems, park effects.

20. Jake Beckley. 18.6 bWS/700PA, 0 MVP, 12 AS. Positives: Longetivity, power. Negatives: low hitting peak, erratic fielder.
   12. Rafael Bellylard: The Grinch of Orlando. Posted: May 20, 2008 at 12:17 AM (#2786778)
Do you take any account of defense?

Yes, I do, and Hernandez gets high marks for defense, tempered by the fact that it's at the far right of the defensive spectrum. But he has a lot of things going against him in my system.

1. Career length isn't high
2. 3 yr and 6yr (consecutive) peaks at or near the bottom of the 1B.
3. Offense is really pretty sub-standard for an offensive position.
4. Only 3 yrs with either 100 runs scored or RBI.

Admittetly, I probably don't give enough defensive credit, but even if I doubled it, he would only move a few spots on my ballot (but he would jump ahead of Cepeda and Vernon).
   13. Rusty Priske Posted: May 20, 2008 at 12:39 PM (#2787348)
1. Lou Gehrig
2. Jimmie Foxx
I found these two very easy

3. Cap Anson
I bumped up all of the ABC guys after reading the discussion thread and going back and looking over the previous threads.

4. Johnny Mize
Better than credited, imo

5. Dan Brouthers
See Anson

6. Hank Greenberg
The hardest decision when movin gup Anson and Brouthers. I feel he should be higher, but can't find the room.

7. Roger Connor
The biggest jump from prelim

8. Eddie Murray
9. Mark McGwire
These two 'feel' too high, but I can't find any reason to knock them down.

10. Buck Leonard
Top NeL 1B

11. Willie McCovey
12. Harmon Killebrew
13. Will Clark
Just all-round solid players

14. Dick Allen
I would like to put him lower, but can't justify it.

15. Jake Beckley
Undervalued here, imo. Should have gone into the HoM a lot earlier than he did.

16. Keith Hernandez
17. Mule Suttles
18. Joe Start
19. George Sisler
20. Bill Terry
These are all borderline guys. I mean they all made my PHoM, but I wouldn't be shaking my fist if they weren't inducted when they were.
   14. DL from MN Posted: May 20, 2008 at 01:44 PM (#2787403)
"6. Roger Connor. 25.5 bWS/700PA, 5 MVP, 15 AS. Positives: Hitting, relative longetivity. Negatives: Fielding."

Everything I've seen gives Connor at least an average fielding reputation. Good baserunner also.

“Roger was both active and nimble and did fully as well if not better in the fielding line than his contemporaries. He had a tremendous reach, a good pair of hands and was exceedingly good on pickups, digging the ball out of the dirt…”
— Sam Crane
   15. ronw Posted: May 20, 2008 at 05:32 PM (#2787697)

Of course you are absolutely right about Connor. I forgot to double-check his stats as I was filling out the ballot, and I think I confused him a bit with Brouthers. I guess I should say Connor Negatives: Unfortunate career timing.
   16. sunnyday2 Posted: May 20, 2008 at 07:35 PM (#2788000)
1. Gehrig--a pretty easy choice


2. Foxx--also a pretty easy choice


3. Mize--criminally under-rated by the establishment, clearly preferable to Greenberg
4. McCovey--uneven performance over the years, but still...
5. McGwire--I'm more of a peak voter and what a peak

(slight gap)

6. Anson
7. Greenberg
8. Murray--this hurts, I've had him as high as #4 but the peak is not that high for a 1B
9. Brouthers--tempted to rate above Anson based on peak, but can't quite get there
10. Killebrew--under-rated
11. Connor--pretty interchangeable with Brouthers


12. Start--one of the top 2 position players in the game at his peak
13. Leonard--Suttles and Leonard a cut below the Mizes and Greenbergs
14. Sisler--great peak
15. Clark--solid HoMer
16. Allen--solid HoMer
17. Terry--worthy HoMer
18. Suttles--borderline HoMer
19. Hernandez--not PHoM


20. Beckley--not even close
   17. TomH Posted: May 20, 2008 at 08:09 PM (#2788080)
sunny, I think Murray's peak is understated by the years he played in; no one was able to dominate in his era. DanR's methods likely would show this.

Murray OPS+ ranks, 1981-86: 3, 2, 2, 2, 5, 7
MVP voting, 1980-85: 6, 5, 2, 2, 4, 5

But yes, Murray will do better with career voters.
   18. Sean Gilman Posted: May 22, 2008 at 12:22 AM (#2790023)
First Basemen:

1. Lou Gehrig - Easy choice for the top spot.

2. Jimmie Foxx - Solidly second.

3. Johnny Mize - War credit gives him more career value than McCovey, with a fairly equal peak.

4. Cap Anson - The most career value of any candidate.

5. Willie McCovey - The latest from Dan R. gives me more faith in WARP’s view of his value. Without adjusting his fielding downward, this is where those numbers put him, about even with B & C.

6. Roger Connor - A bit more career value than Brouthers, their peaks are about the same.

7. Dan Brouthers - Spots 4-7 are all very close, but I’m confident these are the right four guys.

8. Buck Leonard - A better peak than Murray, but not at Brouthers’s level.

9. Eddie Murray - An excellent all-around candidate, with good career and peak numbers, but not off-the-charts in either.

10. Joe Start - I give him a reasonable amount of pre-NA credit. Second to only Anson in 19th Century career value.

11. Dick Allen - I don’t care about his personality.

12. Hank Greenberg - But still it’s odd seeing these two back-to-back.

13. Mule Suttles - Our MLEs tend to underrate peaks, that’s reflected in this ranking.

14. Keith Hernandez - Very similar to Sisler, value-wise. Hernandez has a slight edge in career value.

15. George Sisler - I’ve got him with the thrid best peak over 7 consecutive years via WARP of any 20th Century first baseman. But that’s the best argument for him.

16. Will Clark - Peak about the same value as Hernandez, worse than Sisler, career about the same as Sisler.

17. Harmon Killebrew - WARP’s relatively unimpressed with his peak, shopwing him as a slightly worse all-around player than Greenberg.

18. Mark McGwire - Spots 11-18 are extrememly close for me. I don’t care about steroids, but I value a consecutive peak and Mcgwire’s up and down career really hurts him there.

19. Bill Terry - I still think he’s a reasonable HOMer, but he’s the last first baseman in my PHOM.

20. Jake Beckley - #46 on my last HOM ballot. I’m warming up to him a bit, so he may make my PHOM someday.
   19. RobertMachemer Posted: May 22, 2008 at 02:03 AM (#2790446)
I posted this in the catchers thread earlier today, but I see people are paying more attention to this thread than the catchers thread, so I'll re-work my question:

What is the thinking behind Bill Terry's being in the Hall of Merit and Gene Tenace's being nowhere near?

As hitters, they're reasonably comparable...

Terry: 1721 games played, 136 OPS+, 333.4 adjusted batting wins (according to bb-ref)
Tenace: 1555 games played, 136 OPS+, 266.8 adjusted batting runs (according to bb-ref)

Terry's the better hitter, granted, but Terry was primarily a 1B while Tenace split his time between first and catcher (with about 60% of his career spent at catcher). Terry may have been a significantly better fielder for his position, but Tenace's hitting for a 136 OPS+ for 900 games at catcher might well make up for any defensive advantage Terry might have at his main position.

Anyway, I'm not necessarily saying that Tenace should be in if Terry's in or that if Tenace is out then Terry should be out. But Terry IS in and Tenace (last time I checked) was tied for 92nd on the most recent ballot. That seems to me like a large difference in evaluations.

So, why has Tenace not done nearly as well as Terry (or, as I suggested in the catchers thread, as Freehan)? I'm curious.
   20. sunnyday2 Posted: May 22, 2008 at 09:42 AM (#2790692)
You have to remember that the HoM voting was done chronologically. The collective never said Terry was better than Tenance. Terry faced a certain set of candidates and was deemed to be the best of the available candidates at that time. Tenace faces a vastly different and vastly tougher set of alternative candidates.
   21. TomH Posted: May 22, 2008 at 09:26 PM (#2791090)

1 Gehrig - almost 500 Win Shares
2 Foxx - 500 HR by age 32
huge gap, and 3 thru 12 are tough calls
3 Murray - almost 450 WS, and bordelrien best player in the league in his prime
4 Anson - modern day Yaz or Rose or Murray. May have challenged many career records if he played in 1930 or 1995.
5 Mize - with war credit
6 Brouthers - check the leaderboards
7 McGwire - som etruly awesome years
8 connor - wellrounded star. Modern day bewteen Palmeiro and Bagwell
9 Mccovey - 400+ WS, some fine years
10 Start - best guess, thanks to all who uncovered him
11 Greenberg - tough to give full peak war creidt he would need to be higher
12 Leonard - best guess
13 Killebrew - poor man's McGwire
14 Suttles - best guess
splitting hairs among the rest
15 Terry - lots o' hits
16 Clark - underrated by many. WS/WARP show his value
17 Beckley - Karl, I miss ya, really
18 Hernandez - fine D!
19 Sisler - peak voters will have him higher
20 Allen - HoM worthy, but this is a fine group of 20 players!

*re G Tenace vs Terry, Terry's PT advantage also needs to be adjusted for schedule length. Teance is a truly underrated player, tho. And, what sunny said.
   22. Rick A. Posted: May 23, 2008 at 02:36 AM (#2791493)
1st base ballot
1. Lou Gehrig- Foxx is a great player, but Gehrig is a clear #1
2. Jimmie Foxx
3. Dan Brouthers - Best of the ABC group. His peak gives him the edge over Anson's career.
4. Cap Anson - All three of ABC are really close.
5. Roger Connor
6. Johnny Mize = Almost breaks up the ABC group.
7. Eddie Murray - Incedible consistency
8. Buck Leonard - Greatest Negro League 1st baseman
9. Hank Greenberg
10. Willie McCovey
11. Dick Allen
12. Mark McGwire - Not giving any demerits for Allen or McGwire.
13. Harmon Killebrew
14. Joe Start - As stated in the discussion thread, between Murray and Beckley.
15. Mule Suttles
16. Will Clark - Slightly better than Hernandez.
17. Keith Hernandez
(Luke Easter)
18. George Sisler
-------------------------------PHOM Line-----------------------------------
(Don Mattingly)
(Tony Perez)
19. Bill Terry
(Orlando Cepeda)
(Ben Taylor)
(Frank Chance)
(Norm Cash)
(Jack Fournier)
20. Jake Beckley - While Beckley isn't close to my PHOM, I understand why he's in the HOM, and have no problem with his election to the HOM. Hey, we can't all be peak voters.
   23. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 23, 2008 at 05:18 AM (#2791562)
TomH, can we get some explanation on Murray over Mize?
   24. TomH Posted: May 23, 2008 at 01:41 PM (#2791703)
Sure. Murray has a WS advantage of 100. With war credit, Mize would get closer, and if you ue WSAB (above bench), it's pretty even.

Mize was a better hitter by measures above avg (bbref's batting wins, or BRAA, OWP times PT), but
1. the career length diff is huge,
2. I rate Murray slightly better on D,
3. Murray's league was much tougher to dominate; post-integration (and Mize's years after Jackie R were in the weaker AL), and looking at league leaders, puting up marks like 6 batting wins a year was far more common in Mize's day; their ranks among their peers are very close.

Could I flip-flop their ballot spots? Sure I could; even my #7 spot COULD be 3rd.
   25. TomH Posted: May 23, 2008 at 01:42 PM (#2791706)
[edit] ...and if you use WSAB...
   26. TomH Posted: May 23, 2008 at 01:47 PM (#2791710)
re: Murray and Mize WS: Mize gets a small schedule length boost, but Murray gets a somewhat larger DH boost
   27. Chris Cobb Posted: May 23, 2008 at 02:23 PM (#2791755)
First Base Ballot.

I’ve used the same set of seven categories to group players that I introduced on the catcher ballot. Numerical rankings are my system’s composite score, which looks at career value above “replacement,” career value above average, and peak five-year rate in win shares, WARP1, and Dan R’s WAR. Since I don’t have numbers from Dan R for pre-1893 players or NeL players, I have to handle them differently. For pre-1893 players, I work with WS, WARP1 and runs created above position. For NeL players, I use win shares derived from MLEs and adjustments of those win shares to the replacement levels defined by Dan R’s work. I have scaled the results to fit into the main rankings. In a few cases I have made subjective adjustments to the rankings beyond the numbers: these changes mainly reflect lowered confidence in fielding assessments following Dan R’s study.

I. All-Time Top 10


II. Inner-Circle HoMers
1. Lou Gehrig. Total = 495. Anson has more career value, but Gehrig has the better peak and prime and, well, all the character considerations break Lou’s way, too. To get perspective on Gehrig vs. Foxx: Jimmie Foxx, at his best, was Lou Gehrig’s equal. Foxx’s peak rate over his 5 best consecutive seasons is 8.41 WAR/162 games (using Dan R.’s [old] numbers). Gehrig’s peak rate over his 5 best seasons in 8.46 WAR/162. This is a negligible difference (setting aside durability, of course). However, Gehrig’s rate over his 10 best seasons is 8.44. So what Foxx was able to maintain for five years, Gehrig maintained for 10.
2. Cap Anson. est. Total = 424. One of the best careers ever.

III. Among the best players of their generation
3. Jimmie Foxx. Total = 414. Could mash and was excellent defensively. As good as Gehrig at his best, but didn’t maintain that level of play for nearly as long.
4. Roger Connor. est. Total = 378. Could mash and was very good defensively.
5. Johnny Mize. Total = 373. Could mash and was sound defensively. Players of his generation (who had the bulk of their career in the 1940s) who rank ahead of him in my system are Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, Joe Dimaggio, and Luke Appling. All but Appling are inner-circle greats, and he’s about even with Appling.
6. Dan Brouthers. est. Total = 360. Could mash! Best hitter of the 1880s. WARP2 rates him as equal to Mize in an all-time context. But he was a liability in the field and a bit injury-prone, so that drops him a step below Connor and Mize, to whom he is otherwise almost identical.

IV. Obvious HoMers
7. Hank Greenberg. Total = 343. Could mash, but fairly short career.
8. Eddie Murray. Total = 337. Low peak, but excellent prime and career. The midpoint in this first-base career profile between Cap Anson and Jake Beckley.
9. Mark McGwire. Total = 303. One of the best pure power hitters of all time, but playing time very limited.
10. Buck Leonard. Total = 288. The highest ranking “line-drive” first baseman. Excellent hitter and defender in a long career. Durable, where the boppers immediately above and below him were not. Might have ranked higher, since he got a late start in the Negro Leagues, not turning to professional baseball as a career until he was 26. He had a good job in his home town of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, so he worked there and played semi-pro ball for seven years. When he was laid off at the height of the Depression, he turned to baseball for an income. If he had played professionally for five more years, he’d probably rank about even with Greenberg and Murray.
11. Willie McCovey. Total = 282. Peak was awesome, but short. Career was long, but thinned by many partial seasons. Not a good fielder, though apparently quite adequate during his prime.

V. Solid HoMers when you read the fine print
12. Joe Start. Estimated Total = 280. Hard to evaluate, but was the top player of the 1860s, and played forever. Has an argument to rank as high as ninth or as low as sixteenth. This placement splits the difference. It’s a bit higher than where I ranked him in the HoM-not-HoF Oldtimers ballot (by that ranking he would be at #16 on this ballot), but my more thorough review of the case for his pre-1871 value bumps him a few notches.
13. Dick Allen. Total = 277. Could mash, but a defensive liability in a short career.
14. Harmon Killebrew. Total = 269. Like Allen, but also couldn’t run the bases. Bumped up a little based on Dan R’s review of first base defense.
15. Will Clark. Total = 274. The next highest ranking “line-drive” first baseman. Could have been Buck Leonard if he had played until he was 38.
16. Mule Suttles. Total = 269. Willie McCovey lite. The best pure power hitter in the Negro Leagues after Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston possibly excepted.
17. Keith Hernandez. Total = 260. Possibly the greatest defensive first baseman of all time, and underrated offensively, though he is a weaker hitter than everyone above him in the rankings.

VI. Almost as good an argument to be out, as to be in
18. George Sisler. Total = 232. A few truly great seasons and a strong seven-year prime, but was below average player after the sinusitis. Remarkable that he could play effectively at all with double vision, though. If the anecdotal view of Sisler as a great fielder during his prime were confirmed, then he would move up into category V. Even so, unless his defense is being underrated by the comprehensive metrics by a full win per year during his prime (unlikely, since WARP1 sees him already as above average during these years), he would still land in 18th place, so Dan R’s review of first base fielding metrics and Brock’s commentary on Sisler’s fielding reputation leave Sisler’s ranking unchanged, although they do help his case significantly.
19. Jake Beckley. Total = 226. Fine career, no peak.

VII. Mistakes
20. Bill Terry. Total = 219. In the line-drive first base mold. Excellent for about five years, but peak is no better than most of the guys above him, and his prime and career are well short of the rest.
   28. bjhanke Posted: May 25, 2008 at 03:31 AM (#2793753)
I think you could make a case that the first few guys to realize what Babe Ruth had discovered and apply it to their own hitting should be discounted a bit, because it was Ruth who invented the new approach, while the first few guys afterwards were just imitating. Or not, if you want to give them credit for being the first to figure out the new hot thing. Overall, I don't make the discount, but I thought I'd throw the idea out there, because otherwise I have nothing to add to what's already been said about Gehrig.

Connie Mack seem to have always tried to play a new player at the most-demanding defensive position he thought the guy had any chance of handling. I think that's a lot of why Foxx spent some time at catcher and third base. As a first baseman, I don't see enough room between Foxx and Gehrig to slide any other player in between.

Something in my methods or adjustments or something keeps pulling this guy up and up. Everyone below Foxx has some sort of flaw, and Brouthers certainly has his, but I apparently don't value them as much as some others here.

For one thing, his defense may not have been good, but it was good enough for him to play at first base in the 1880s, when teams did need some defense. Also, look at his stolen base stats. They aren't great, but he does steal more bases than either Anson or Connor over the same seasons. That is, Brouthers may have been able to run much faster than he is given credit for. He certainly could run well enough to play the outfield, if his defense had been so bad that he could not play first. I also don't consider 19 years to be a short career, so I make no discount. It's also not long enough for me to take the Anson discount below.

Yes, I know. I have him ranked higher than anyone except Bill James, and he did his Big Thing in my home city. I tried to be careful, but this is all I could come up with. Possibly the same thing applies as to Brouthers: McGwire's weaknesses don't strike me as being a big a deal as others think. Also, I think his defense was a bit above average.

When he first came to St. Louis, Mac hit homers at a tremendous rate for a couple of months, and the local papers were full of things like "this would amortize out to 65 homers a year!" What I did was take his rookie season, when he set the rookie homer record, run it through an old Brock2 that I had on the computer, and then adjust for Oakland's park factor. I concluded that he, indeed, should hit over 60 homers in the neutral homer park that was Busch Stadium at the time. So I was anything but surprized when he did just that for his entire tenure in Busch. But then it occurred to me: if he could do that all along, and it was the Oakland ballpark that was suppressing him, would not that make him the very greatest home run hitter of all time? I concluded that it did. Hank Aaron hit more career homers, because he did not get hurt as much, but I regard McGwire's adjusted homers-per-at-bat stats as being completely legit.

I also don't know if he did any steroids (sorry, the insiders aren't talking), but I am pretty sure that, if he did, they didn't do him any good, except maybe to help him heal a bit quicker when he was badly hurt in Oakland. Since he missed all that playing time anyway, I don't think that was much of a factor, so I make no steroid discount. It's worth noting that Jose Canseco specifically exempts Mac's rookie season from the steroid accusation (page 7 of the book).

I do discount very long careers of players in high-standard-deviation leagues. The reasoning is that a top player in such a league can lose a lot more of his value and still remain a viable starter than an equally-good player in a more compressed league can. In the compressed league, the guy finishes out his career in the PCL or somewhere, or just retires. I have a test I apply to ideas like that: would I make the discount for a player who I really like? In this case, it's Pop Lloyd. I love Pop Lloyd - just the image and the rep of the man. But I would, and will, discount his career length a bit, and if I'll do that to Lloyd, I'll certainly do it to Cap Anson.

I have not one thing to add to what's already been said.

Someone who could move up when I finally get separate lefty/righty ballpark adjustments. The main effect of the screen in Sportsman's Park's right field was to turn homers into doubles. Mize led the league in homers twice anyway, then went to the Polo Grounds and hit 51 and 40. Has a sharp three-year decline, but also gains over 3 years of wartime. The wartime is much more important, because It's much nearer his peak.

Again, I have nothing to add to what's already been said.

Keith Hernandez heavy. That is, when I get to Hernandez, I'll call him Buck Leonard lite. Hey, I'm basing this mostly on you guys' thread on Leonard.

It's the speed. Allen is the first guy here who I am SURE could have played first base during the dead ball era. Leonard probably, but Allen surely. No discount for personality; there may be any number of insufferable jerks in the history of Major League jocking. Part of Allen's problem was that, due to the social upheavals of the time, his behavior was publicly exposed, like writers do now to everyone. Other jerks would have had their behaviors covered up to at least some extent. And that's assuming that he was as big a jerk as the writers made him out to be. I do not know that this was true.

You guys have already covered everything I have to say about Murray.

The top end of the range of possibilities that Mule Suttles might have had. That is, I can't tease a consensus about Suttles out of the thread here or anything else I know. Mc Covey would be the best player whose profile was similar to Suttles' that Suttles could actually have been. Rudy York would probably be the worst.

Mark McGwire lite, with better defense. The idea of McGwire trying to play third base at any time in his career is hilarious to visualize. But, then, watching Killebrew play third, which I did, has its own elements of humor.

Ranked above Start and Suttles because I have more confidence in my understanding of his career than I do of theirs. Ranked above George Sisler because the consensus here is that this is true, and I have to worry about my family bias. Ranked above Keith Hernandez because he was a better player.

I did discount the playing time, although I did count the 1860s as having worth. I think that, in later times, he would have started and ended his career in the minor leagues. That's the first SMALL step down a LONG stairway that leads to "if him, why not Buzz Arlett?" But it is a step in that direction. If he had any black ink other than one hits title, I would up his ranking.

What am I supposed to add to the enormous post I already made? Heh. I really should have asked you guys after that post, where you thought I would rank him. The lowest-ranked player here who I am certain was better than Sisler is Murray. Well, I'm very close to certain about McCovey. Killebrew and Clark are close in my mind, and my ranking of Start is, by comparison, a guess.

As I said, somewhere between Willie Mc Covey and Rudy York. Where in between, I don't know.

My personal opinion of Keith Hernandez is that he was as big a jerk as Dick Allen ever was. He ran himself out of St. Louis by refusing to obey his manager and living on a diet of cocaine. He was traded to New York for next to nothing, and helped them win some games. Then he came clean about the cocaine, and apologized to everyone in New York, but to no one in St. Louis, and especially not to Whitey Herzog, who took a tremendous amount of heat for the trade and NEVER blew Hernandez' cover. The person to whom Keith Hernandez owed an apology was Whitey. He also owed one to the St. Louis fans, who embarrassed themselves because they did not know the facts. But to New Yorkers? The one group he actually HELPED? What a jackass. But he could hit and he did have some power and he was tremendous with the glove. Oh, yeah. Buck Leonard lite. Except that, as far as I know, Leonard was a perfect gentleman.

The bulk of his career was in the 1890s, which was a big-hitting era. The rest was in the dead ball era, but that was his decline phase. Only black ink is one lead in triples.

A short career in this group. Essentially, a dead ball era first baseman who came up at the same time as Lou Gehrig, but did not adjust to what Babe Ruth had discovered. That is, he's Sisler without the peak and an even shorter career without the injury excuse.
   29. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 25, 2008 at 11:00 AM (#2793858)
McGwire did play 24 games at third in 1986-87.
   30. Howie Menckel Posted: May 25, 2008 at 02:55 PM (#2793910)
"Greenberg -- Lost more playing time to the War than Mize, but it was in his decline phase."


He had a career OPS+ of 158, and in his first full season back at age 35, he had a 163 OPS+.
   31. whoisalhedges Posted: May 25, 2008 at 03:12 PM (#2793920)
He had a career OPS+ of 158, and in his first full season back at age 35, he had a 163 OPS+.

He was 30 when he joined the Army. Yes, he was still an outstanding hitter; but in 1941, before modern conditioning? You'll have a hard time finding anyone who will try to make a compelling case that his age 30-34 seasons would have been better than his 25-29 seasons were.
   32. Howie Menckel Posted: May 25, 2008 at 03:16 PM (#2793921)
Well, "decline phase" to me sounds like you don't think those seasons would have added a lot to his prime resume. I'd disagree.
Clearly he was capable of age 35 of similar-quality play; even if you drop him to 140 per year in his early 30s, that's still a big boost.

And how do you account for Johnny Mize?
OPS+s at age 27-28-29 of 176-156-161; and at age 33-34-35, it was 185-160-156.

So we see zero decline for Mize at the latter stage; what does he have that Greenberg couldn't have had, especially given the evidence of Greenberg's age 35 season?
   33. Howie Menckel Posted: May 25, 2008 at 03:33 PM (#2793929)
All-time 1st Base HOMer ballot, 2nd in a series

1. LOU GEHRIG - Had 670+ PA for 13 consecutive seasons thanks to the 2,130 games-played streak. So the TEN seasons of 175 OPS+ or better are even a little underrated at a cursory glance; no substitute necessary. Nine times he led league in OPS+ or placed 2nd. Slipped to 132 in 1938, at age 35. Signs of the illness, or natural aging? Doesn't matter. He's the best.
2. JIMMIE FOXX - 10 more career PA than Gehrig; trails him by 179-163 in OPS+. But two more OPS+ titles than Gehrig, and 11 times in top 5 to Gehrig's 12. Not quite as amazing, for not quite as long, and only 6 seasons of 670 PA. Fell off the table at age 34; if he had excelled thru age 38, this would have been a lot tougher.
3. JOHNNY MIZE - One of the most underrated players ever. Put up OPS+s at age 27-28-29 of 176-156-161; and at age 33-34-35, it was 185-160-156. In between was WW II. With 3 more 160s, he's looking at near Foxx-ian career totals, and he really did have nine top-3 finishes. Three more, and he'd rival any 1B who ever played.
4. CAP ANSON - Unbelievable career length, for any era. Was a top 10 in OPS+ 15 times ! Brouthers a better hitter, Connor a better fielder, but Anson by a nose with the extra 6-8 seasons of play.
5. DAN BROUTHERS - A 1B-record 8 OPS+ titles, as good a hitter here who ever played. But 1B defense mattered more then, and he's all prime with not much around the edges. Underrated by history.
6. WILLIE MCCOVEY - "Stretch" became utterly immobile down the stretch, but had some good qualities at the sack earlier. 9th-best career OPS+ of the field, and longevity rates around 5th to 8th. With tough competition, he slides in here.
7. HANK GREENBERG - Completely established as a 160-170 OPS+ man thru 1940 and age 29, and indeed added a 163 in 1946 at age 35. Pretty much lost 5 years to Mize's 3, and both finished with 158 OPS+ and figured to be around 9000 PA if they had the chance. Slips a little because there's more of a blank to fill in, and you wonder if he'd have been healthy the whole time.
8. ROGER CONNOR - Ol' reliable rang up 111 top-3 OPS+ finishes in spite of A and B also grabbing many of those slots. Not as prime-y as Brouthers or lengthy as Anson, but the defense helps in a close battle in the middle here.
9. BUCK LEONARD - Consistent Homestead Grays stud from 1934-48, and even had some interesting Mexico years in the early 1950s. Excellent all-around player; fielding, drew walks when his contemporaries often did not, etc. Lived to age 90, so at least enjoyed 25 years of "Hall of Famer" status.
10. MARK MCGWIRE - However he may have been aided, only Gehrig-Brouthers-Foxx had a higher career OPS+ in the category. Won 4 such titles. Less of a fielding liability than most in this pack.
11. EDDIE MURRAY - More than twice as many career PA as Greenberg, when you take the numbers literally. Weak peak, but 6 top-5s in the modern era is quite competitive. Needed the last 3-4 years of play to nose out some close competitors.
12. HARMON KILLEBREW - Similar to McCovey, but I see him as a worse fielder. Normally a bonus for the time at 3B, but between his slowness fielding AND baserunning, it's a masher with liabilities. Seems like a wonderful guy. A smooth 10 top-5 OPS+ finishes, but never 1st or 2nd.
13. MULE SUTTLES - Big star from roughly 1925-40 with a variety of Negro League teams. Very similar to the others in this pack; excellent power hitter who hurts you a bit defensively, and tried other positions as well (OF in Suttles' case).
14. JOE START - We call this career "the tail of a comet." Very solid numbers from a guy in his 30s and 40s, and you'd guess from that he was really something in the 1850s and 1860s. And sure enough, his reputation agrees. Only Murray and Anson and maybe Beckley are in the "career length" discussion with Joe.
15. RICHIE/DICK ALLEN - Weird career. Ranks 7th in the group in OPS+, but had the 2nd-shortest career given schedule length/war adjustments. A 1B-3B-OF, just like Harmon. A beautiful set of prime years, but a big red flag is only 6 seasons with 130+ games.
16. WILL CLARK - Solid career numbers and solid career length, no major flaws. But just didn't stand out enough, either. Very underrated.
17. KEITH HERNANDEZ - Gets most defensive credit of 20th-century players, but bat was just shy of moving him up. Very close with Clark. Keith's last fulltime year was at age 33.
18. GEORGE SISLER - Really two careers here. The first half is very solid, with 7 top-8 OPS+s. Of course, that doesn't dazzle this elite group. And the back end of his career is basically worthless for me. Barely noses out Beckley.
19. JAKE BECKLEY - Amazing consistency; always above-average player, never an awesome one. Almost battles into a better spot because of a couple of extra years of real usefulness beyond a typical 'career' case.
20. BILL TERRY - Don't blame me for him making the HOM, lol. With schedule length/war adjustments, can claim both the lowest OPS+ AND the fewest plate appearances. Incredible that he made both the HOF and HOM.
   34. whoisalhedges Posted: May 25, 2008 at 06:44 PM (#2794041)

So we see zero decline for Mize at the latter stage; what does he have that Greenberg couldn't have had, especially given the evidence of Greenberg's age 35 season?

Fair enough, but Greenberg had only 345 games post-service, Mize had 888. If I'm going to give war credit (which I absolutely am), I'm going to be damn sure the years missed would have been of comparable productivity. Greenberg was a good hitter when he came back. But as you said in your rankings, "you wonder if he'd have been healthy the whole time."

Not that it really matters much how much war credit I give Greenberg vs. Mize -- I still rank Hank one spot higher than you do. ;)
   35. Howie Menckel Posted: May 25, 2008 at 06:49 PM (#2794045)

so we're really thinking similarly, it turns out
   36. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 25, 2008 at 08:39 PM (#2794152)
I'd put Boomer Scott in there somewhere near Foxx and Greenberg.

You forgot the happy-face emoticon at the end of your sentence, Kevin.
   37. bjhanke Posted: May 25, 2008 at 10:51 PM (#2794267)
Dan R says, "McGwire did play 24 games at third in 1986-87."

Yeah, I know, and I'd kill to get some video of those games. I missed them. It's still hilarious to try to envision.

Howie Menckel says, "And how do you account for Johnny Mize?
OPS+s at age 27-28-29 of 176-156-161; and at age 33-34-35, it was 185-160-156.

So we see zero decline for Mize at the latter stage; what does he have that Greenberg couldn't have had, especially given the evidence of Greenberg's age 35 season?"

One thing that might account for the relatively small difference might have been the ballpark change. As I said, the Polo Grounds probably favored Mize's feature stat - lefty homers - while Sportsman's Park hurt them, changing them into doubles. ALso, the 185 is a data blip of some sort. It's 1946, and Mize didn't play a full year. He hit for one of his highest averages, and the pitchers that year walked him like he was Barry Bonds. It's even possible that the two effects are related. That is, perhaps Johnny Mize in the Polo Grounds caused extra bonus fear in the hearts of NL pitchers.
   38. OCF Posted: May 27, 2008 at 03:09 AM (#2795041)
First base ballot. I'd better get this in now, since the coming weekend will be crazy busy for me (see

I had never worked Anson, Brouthers, and Connor into my system. Now I have, more or less, and I'm duly impressed - they never seemed to have bad years. And I am sensitive to the unseen aspects of offense in an era in which recorded batting events don't do that good a job of explaining run productions. But at least ABC each scored plenty of runs themselves. But it was just the northeastern regional game - it wasn't all that mature just yet. (OK, I have some pro-timelining biases). So I'll put three 20th century guys on top and then go get them.

1. Gehrig
2. Foxx
3. Mize - with war credit
4. Brouthers; higher apparent peak than Anson.
5. Anson - peak is a little earlier and a little harder to understand than B and C; played forever and a day, and was at least a good player for all of it.
6. McCovey - high offensive peak in low-offense times; also a good career.
7. Connor
8. McGwire - the slugger.
9. Greenberg - with war credit.
10. Leonard - going by the rough consensus here,
11. Murray - a nod to career value; lower peak than everyone above him.
12. Killebrew - also a career candidate; less defense than Murray
13. Allen - another very high peak, but with less career than most.
14. Clark - was amazing for a couple of years right around the turn of the decade.
15. Suttles
16. Hernandez - OBP-first offense and fine defense.
17. Terry - hey, I never thought he was that much of a mistake. Same family as Clark and Hernandez.
18. Start - so much of his case rests on a time in which there were almost no stats. Yes, he aged well; that doesn't really determine his peak.
19. Beckley - pure career case; virtually peakless.
20. Sisler - I was never his friend.
   39. Paul Wendt Posted: May 27, 2008 at 01:21 PM (#2795330)
Even major league baseball was barely a northeast regional game even in its source of players even in the 1870s. Anson and McVey were born in Iowa, Jones in North Carolina; they learned baseball in Iowa and Indiana. Barnes and Spalding were from Rockford IL.

St Louis, Cincinnati and other western cities stuffed the major leagues with players in the 1880s.
MLB players born in Missouri, by date of birth

When the major leagues expanded hiring in 1884, six players from St. Mary's College of California took jobs (four born in California).
MLB players who played at St Mary's College, by date
   40. Paul Wendt Posted: May 27, 2008 at 01:29 PM (#2795342)
> the coming weekend will be crazy busy for me (see

I see there is a traditional American theme
"a national program, involving almost 2000 students and teachers from almost every state. Simply put, ARML is the World Series of mathematics competitions."

Are you an official or a coach?
   41. OCF Posted: May 27, 2008 at 02:03 PM (#2795382)
I'm a coach.

Yeah, I probably overstated that "northeastern regional" thing.
   42. bjhanke Posted: May 27, 2008 at 04:59 PM (#2795583)
Well, hey. I know it's not really germane to this thread, but as long as Paul seems to know a lot about which early ballplayers came from where - Paul, if it doesn't involve making a lot of effort on your part, can you address this speculation off the top of your head or from your database or whatever: I've thought for some time, without ever having the time to check it out, that players from the Old South didn't start coming into the majors until after the turn of the century, and then it was the AL that started bringing in the new source of talent. That's why, I've thought, the AL caught up to the NL so fast. Ty Cobb would be the poster boy for this, but is it true? Does anyone out there have a database of who arrived from where when?

Thanks, Brock
   43. OCF Posted: May 27, 2008 at 06:09 PM (#2795689)
Belated reaction to a comment, by Rafael Bellylard:

1. Lou Gehrig: Gehrig > Scottie Pippen.

The Yankees were 2nd in the league in 1935 and then won the World Series in '36, '37, '38, all without Ruth. I don't recall that the Bulls ever did that. Of course they then won their fourth consecutive WS in 1939, without Gehrig - which points out that they had a few other players (DiMaggio, Dickey, and so on).
   44. TomH Posted: May 27, 2008 at 07:38 PM (#2795796)
Exhibit A for baseball = team game is the 1939 Yankees.

They go from having a world-class firstbaseman in 1938 (Lou) to a guy (Dahlgren) who was a TERRIBLE hitter; a 76 OPS+ that season.

And they improve a whole bunch; the 1939 club can rightfully compete as possibly the best team ever, scoring 967 runs, allowing 556, which is the best ratio in the past 100 years.

It's instances like this that should cause smart (alecky) people to use it to rebut my Allen rant :)
   45. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 27, 2008 at 08:37 PM (#2795858)
It's instances like this that should cause smart (alecky) people to use it to rebut my Allen rant :)

Does that mean you think the Yankees improved because of Gehrig's absence, Tom, or you're just pulling our legs (hopefully the latter :-)?
   46. Paul Wendt Posted: May 27, 2008 at 09:55 PM (#2795914)
jimd or karlmagnus,
Do you recall where is the social, economic, and geographical discussion?
   47. TomH Posted: May 28, 2008 at 10:28 AM (#2796595)
my middle name is leg-puller........
   48. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 28, 2008 at 12:12 PM (#2796612)
   49. mulder & scully Posted: May 30, 2008 at 06:39 AM (#2799416)
First Basemen
I use a combination of Win Shares and Dan R.’s WARP. I look at peak (best 3 straight years), prime (best 7 years), career, and per season numbers. I also look at all-star and gold glove years. I give war and minor league credit. I schedule adjust also. WARP ranks do not include ABCS nor the Negro Leaguers.

1. Lou Gehrig First in both systems. Best peak in both systems (tied with Connor in WS, Foxx in WARP), best prime in both systems, best career in WARP and 2nd career to Anson in WS, best per season in both systems. 7 time All-Star by WARP, 9 times WS.


2. Adrian “Cap” Anson His incredibly long career gets him over Foxx, Brouthers, and Connor. His peak is behind Gehrig, Foxx, and Connor. His prime is tied with Foxx behind Gehrig, Brouthers, and Connor. His per season numbers are middle of the road for this bunch. But his career length is fantastic. 5 times a WS All-Star, 11 times STATS

The Almost, But Not Quite There

3. Jimmie Foxx: A peak third to Connor and Gehrig, a prime fourth to Gehrig, Brouthers, and Connor, and seasonal numbers behind only Gehrig and Connor. His career numbers are in a rough tie behind Anson, Gehrig, and Connor. 6 times an All-Star in each.

4. Roger Connor: Connor is tied with Gehrig for first in peak, and squeezes by Brouthers for second highest prime. He also ranks third in career. WS has him with 6 Gold Gloves, the most of any of these first basemen. 5 time All-Star in WS.

5. Dan Brouthers: Very little difference between he and Connor, but Connor just edges him in peak, prime, and career. Brouthers does have the second highest seasonal numbers, but Connor’s fielding puts a little ahead in my book. 7 time All-Star in WS.

The World War II Guys

6. Johnny Mize: Missed three years. 7 time in WARP and 8 times in WS.

7. Hank Greenberg: Missed four and a half years. He was actually reasonably durable. From 1934 through 1946, 13 years, he played at least 138 games every year except for the 5 War years (not his fault) and 1936. Using Dan R.’s numbers with War credit, Greenberg is 3rd among the post-93 players. But Mize is a close 4th and ranks a little better in WS. 4 time All-Star in both.


8. Dick Allen: 6th among post-93 players in WARP, 7th among all in WS. I don’t know what to believe about his personality. I think of him as being similar to Terrell Owens. For several years he crushed the ball like very few. A 156 OPS+ is nothing to sneeze at. 5 time All-Star by WS. ! All-Star in WARP, with 1 three-way tie also. Loses out to Santo’s better fielding in the 60s.


9. Buck Leonard: 10th in WS. His prime, career, and seasonal numbers fit in with the middle of this group though his peak is on the low side, but that may be part of the MLE translations. 6 time Holway All-Star.

10. Eddie Murray: His last 7 years did nothing to help his cause. 7th in WARP, 11th in WS. He was very consistent, but lacked the monster years that players above him had. but in WARP, he never had a 7-WARP year or higher. 6 time All-Star in either system.

11. Willie McCovey: 9th in WARP, 8th in WS. His last 6 years were effectively replacement level overall in WARP. WARP likes his peak, but finds his prime rather weak. WS says he has about the 6th best peak, 8th best prime. The difference arises from WARP’s taking into account the expansion effect on ease of dominance while WS treats each year the same. 7 time WARP All-Star vs. 5 WS.

12. Mark McGwire: 5th in WARP, 15th in WS. In WARP, he has the 6th best peak, 7th best prime, 5th highest seasonal and career numbers. WS has 10th best peak, 11th best prime, 5th best seasonal, but only 15th in career. 4 times a WARP All-Star and 3 time WS.

13. Joe Start: 12th in WS based a WAG of his first 11 years. He is missing the first 11 years of his career. He was one of the, or the best players, on the best team. Those numbers are missing. Just schedule adjusting 1871 to 1886 gives him over 300 WS. Now add 11 more years, including his peak.


14. Will Clark: 11th in WARP, 14th in WS. WS definitely loves Will’s peak, sees it as tied for the 6th best ever (7th including Pujols). This carries over to a prime that is in a knot between 7th and 10th. WARP says his prime is tied with McCovey and Hernandez ahead of Killebrew, Terry, and Beckley only. WARP says his peak is ahead of only Killebrew and Beckley.

15. Mule Suttles: 17th in WS. He has a low peak and prime, but how much of that is due to the flattening associated with the MLEs. Still, he didn’t have the big years that so many here did. And he did gain a tremendous amount from some of his parks. Holway had him an All-Star 5 times.


16. Harmon Killebrew: 13th in WARP. 13th in WS. WARP has him with the second worst peak and prime and in the bottom five for career and seasonal. WS likes his prime and he has okay career and seasonal totals. WARP has him with 3 All-Star years and WS has him with 2.

17. George Sisler: I was surprised to see Dan’s WARP liked him better than WS, 8th in WARP, 18th in WS. He really was just a 7 year player. His WARP prime was 45.7. His career total was 45.9. He also does well in WARP peak. His seasonal numbers are the worst of the bunch. In WS, his peak is ahead of only Beckley, Start, and Hernandez, tied with Murray, Killebrew, and Terry. His prime is ahead of only Beckley and Suttles and is tied with Terry. A 7-time All-Star by WARP, 6 times by WS.

18. Keith Hernandez: 10th in WARP, 19th in WS. Lacks big years no matter how you slice it. 6 time All-Star by WARP, 7 by WS. All of his scores in both systems are near the bottom.

19. Bill Terry: 12th in WARP. 16th in WS. 5 very good years – 5 All-Stars in WS and WARP with 5 Gold Gloves in each also. But his career was short and his peak and prime were among the worst among the group in either measure.


20. Jake Beckley: Only non-PHOM. Last in both WS and WARP (even estimating Beckley’s numbers back to the start of his career.) Last in peak, prime, and seasonal numbers.
   50. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 30, 2008 at 01:39 PM (#2799486)
mulder & scully--

Interesting that your reading of my numbers puts Greenberg over Mize; I have Mize as better in my own rankings.

McCovey and Killebrew get triply slammed in my system. First, they played through the mega-expansion era, as you note. Second, they played in the immediate pre-DH era, when depth at the 1B position was at its all-time high. 100 OPS+ first basemen absolutely grew on trees back in those days (and they would now too if there weren't 14 DH jobs for them to fill). And third, they were poor fielders (according to FRAA and Fielding WS) and baserunners, which WS doesn't take into account sufficiently. Killebrew also had severe double play problems.

Of course my system likes Sisler more than WS does, for the exact same reasons that it likes McCovey and Killebrew less. It gives ample weight to fielding and baserunning, which were two of Sisler's strengths. And in Sisler's day, 1B was much more important defensively than it would be after the war; as a result, 1B replacement level was substantially lower for him than it was for McCovey and Killebrew--it was about as scarce as corner outfielders are today. He is credited for that in my system, but not in WS.
   51. mulder & scully Posted: May 30, 2008 at 05:22 PM (#2799768)
Hi Dan,

I don't have the numbers here at work, but I think it was Greenberg by 1% over Mize in WARP and Mize over Greenberg by 4 or 5% in WS. I am fairly liberal with war credit and Greenberg gets the most. Drafted May 7, 1941, first game back with Detroit, July 1, 1945. Mize does get a large amount too.
And he was fairly durable. Games played starting in 1934: 153, 152, 12 when he broke his wrist for the second time, this time so badly there were fears he'd have to retire, 154, 155, 138, 148, drafted, war, war, war, returns July 1 and plays 78 of 94 games, 142, and 125 in last year. Also, according to the Sporting News, he didn't regularly play on a military team.

Also, if any of you haven't tried for the Sporting News archive, it is a lot of fun.
   52. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: May 31, 2008 at 07:14 AM (#2801032)
As usual, I try to balance career and peak, but lean more towards career.

1. Lou Gehrig. From the 3rd Edition of The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, published in 2018.
Remind Me Again Not To Say That: Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Lineups, 2002: Lou Gehrig, 1B Yankees "Not just the best first baseman in Yankee history, but the best first baseman in baseball history, and there's nobody currently active who's going to challenge him."

Albert Pujols was in his second season with the Cardinals.

2. Jimmie Foxx. Just a dominant hitter at a time when there were an awful lot of them. Would he have challenged Gehrig without the booze?

3. Cap Anson. Ridiculously long career, and one of the best players in baseball for most of it.

4. Johnny Mize. Underrated (well, not by us) great. Including war credit here, and as others have noted, those would have likely been his peak years.

5. Dan Brouthers. Very close to Anson, but Cap's career is just a little more impressive than Dan's peak. Didn't need to be on the 1894 Orioles to secure his legacy, although it didn't hurt.

6. Eddie Murray. I always have a weakness for the guys who are consistently very good to excellent, and that was Murray. Of course, to listen to the NY media, you'd think he was an Allen-level problem in the clubhouse, but that's just sportswriter whining.

7. Roger Connor. Another great 19th-Century guy, best defensive reputation, but still just a step behind A and B to me. I think his peak's slightly lower than Brouthers'.

8. Hank Greenberg. Not quite up to his legend, but with war credit to supplement an excellent peak, in the top half of the ballot.

9. Buck Leonard. The best NL first baseman. Has solid credentials all the way around, especially considering the late start. As somebody said, like Hernandez, but better.

10. Mark McGwire. Even considering the era, that's a ton of home runs. Outstanding peak but couldn't stay healthy (whoevers fault it may have been.)

11. Willie McCovey. Between Cepeda and injuries, missed a lot of time but still smacked a ton of home runs. Defense wasn't much, but we're below the great complete players.

12. Dick Allen. The numbers would put him higher, but I do penalize him a little for his clubhouse problems. They may have been overstated, but they weren't nonexistent.

13. Mule Suttles. Quite the bopper. Not really sure how to treat his defensive positions. Close to Leonard, but not quite there.

14. Harmon Killebrew. Excellent hitter, but major defensive issues. He gets credit for the flexibility, but the results weren't good.

15. Joe Start. Another very-long-career guy, with evidence of at least some peak.

16. Will Clark. A strong peak, but in this crowd, not that much career value.

17. Keith Hernandez. Great defender, and enough of a hitter to be very valuable.

18. Jake Beckley. A worthy HOMer, but still has just a lot of career value without a real peak in there.

19. Bill Terry. In my PHoM, although near the bottom. More consistent than Sisler across his career. Short career, but solidly above average in an era when average was pretty high.

20. George Sisler. Not in my PHoM, and I'm not quite convinced by the stories about his defensive rep.
   53. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 31, 2008 at 04:57 PM (#2801138)
I believe Pujols was not yet playing first base in 2002, at least not full time.
   54. andrew siegel Posted: May 31, 2008 at 07:58 PM (#2801233)
(1) Gehrig--Not particularly close.
(2) Foxx--Nothing controversial here.
(3) Brouthers--He and Connor were the dominant players of their era. There is little difference between the two.
(4) Connor--Could flip-flop with Brouthers.
(5) Mize--With WWII credit, he has the career to rank this high; no dispute on the peak or prime.
(6) Anson--Not as dominant as B or C, but more career value than almost anyway; the Pete Rose of his day (in so many ways).
(7) Greenberg--Moves up after re-examining. His peak was even better than I remembered and war credit adds to the length of his run.
(Pujols--Yes, already!)
(8) Leonard--I like him a little bit more than most.
(9) Murray--A poor man's Anson.
(10) McCovey--A lot like Murray, only with 10% of his career value shaved off of the bulk years and moved to his biggest seasons.
(Thomas--I dock him defensive credit for the years he DH'd; if you treat him as a neutral fielder for those seasons, he ranks 3 or 4 spots higher.)
(11) Allen--Very close in value to the guys right above, but I do think managability and clubhouse demeanor have consequences for a team's performance.
(12) McGwire--At his very best, he belongs with the guys who rank in the top 8, but gave too many seasons away to injuries to crack the top half of the HoM.
(13) Start--This discussion has final convinced me that I had him too low (he would have been #19). I still am not that impressed with being the best player in the game pre-1870, but his later performance establishes a baseline that suggests he was at least as good as Beckley (probably better) for much longer.
(14) Killebrew--Superficially similar to the guys who rank 6-12, but much worse in the field and on the basepaths.
(15) Suttles--A lot like Killebrew, only not quite as bad in the field but much worse plate discipline.
(16) Clark--Though a completely dissimilar story, similar to Sisler in that he had a relatively long career but bases his entire HoM cases on 5 or 6 great years.
(17) Sisler--Was a great player but for an awfully short time.
(18) Hernandez--Similar to Terry in that he combined excellent defense with very good offense and had a 7 or so year run as oen of the best dozen or so position players in baseball. Those are the kinds of guys that fill out the bottom third of our hall.
(19) Terry--I had him mid-ballot and put him in my PHoM when he first became eligible and don't (exactly) regret his selection, but he definitely benefited from the ways in which most of our systems have an element that focuses on best 7 or 8 seasons.
(20) Beckley--He's in my PHOM, just near the very bottom. Just good enough for a very long time.
   55. Tiboreau Posted: May 31, 2008 at 10:28 PM (#2801407)
1. Lou Gehrig—Not much to say about one of the most admirable men in baseball history.
2. Jimmie Foxx—A solid step down from Gehrig, however, that isn’t much of a knock on one’s HoM chances.
3. Johnny Mize—A small step down from Foxx after war credit, which in addition to a competitively tougher era puts the Big Cat just above the ABC first basemen.
4. Cap Anson—Probably the greatest ballplayer of the 19th century.
5. Dan Brouthers—The best peak among the ABC first basemen, it’s just not enough to eclipse Anson’s career domination.
6. Roger Connor—The first HR champion, he was nearly as good as Brouthers.
7. Hank Greenberg—Even including WWII credit, his career just isn’t long enough to make it any higher; however, he was a wonderful player when at his best.
8. Buck Leonard—His reputation was that of an inner-circle HoFer; his MLEs indicate something less than that, but overall he is a solid candidate for the HoF and the HoM.
9. Mark McGwire—When healthy he was a terror at the plate. Poor in-season durability & shortish career prevents him from being any higher.
10. Eddie Murray—Primarily known for his long career, he did have a very nice peak in the early ‘80s to supplement his prime/career advantages.
11. Dick Allen—Although his argument for the HoM is very different, Allen is virtually tied with Murray. It’s his character issues that break the tie.
12. Willie McCovey—Like Killebrew, a terrific hitter whose ratings are hurt by his era, defense, and seasonal durability. If only the Giants hadn’t toyed around with him early in his career. . . .
13. Will Clark—An underrated ballplayer who didn’t deserve to fall off the HoF ballot. He had a very good peak that makes up for his short career, placing him, like the 3 below him, one step above the backlog candidates.
14. Mule Suttles—He had a reputation as an excellent slugger; his MLEs suggest that he was just above backlog HoM first basemen. Somewhere between McCovey and Killebrew seems apt.
15. Harmon Killebrew—One of the great TTO hitters, Killebrew’s rating is hurt by poor defense & in-season durability during an expansion era.
16. Joe Start—The first ballplayer with a very long career, spanning from the Civil War to the mid-‘80s, and was the second best ballplayer in the late ‘60s, albeit the 1860s.
17. Keith Hernandez—His HoM candidacy surprised me, and helped me realize the importance of defense even for a first baseman.
18. George Sisler—A well-known story to veteran HoM voters: a very good ballplayer for the first half of his career who was never the same after an injury yet was allowed to continue as a starter. His nice peak is just not enough to make up for a short career, of which the second half is nearly valueless.
19. Bill Terry—Talk about good timing! If he had been eligible a year or two later, or if we had finished our discussion on Beckwith earlier, Terry would’ve received the Sisler treatment.
20. Jake Beckley—For years he was the epitome of the long career, low peak backlog candidate. As a peak voter, Eagle-Eye never made those ballots, and is, IMO, the worst first sacker in the HoM.
   56. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: June 01, 2008 at 07:11 PM (#2802181)
Here we go . . . the number in parenthesis is my Pennants Added number, adjusted for military service, which is based on DanR's WARP ratings.

1. Lou Gehrig (1.79) - Owns 7 seasons better than Willie McCovey's 1969, and 6 as good or better than Mark McGwire's 1998, for some perspective.

2. Cap Anson (N/A) - Played forever. 27 years as a full-time player. The neutralized stats on show him with 4103 career games played, about 3 seasons more than Pete Rose worth. Was his average season (141 OPS+) as good as Jeff Bagwell's 1991? I'd say so. 27 of those are enough rank him here. He had peaks and valley's obviously, but I don't really see how I can rank him lower if a pennant is a pennant. He's probably closer to passing Gehrig than falling behind Foxx.

3. Jimmie Foxx (1.51) - A very solid #3. His 1932 is surpassed in Dan's WARP (which covers 1893-2005) only by Bagwell 1994, and Gehrig in 1927 and 1934. His 1933 is #10 on the list, and his 1935 and 1934 and 19th and tied for 22nd. That's a 4 year run where one player had 4 of the greatest 23 seasons ever at his position.

4. Roger Connor (N/A) - Had the equivalent of an 11000 PA career adjusting for schedule length. Basically hit just a hair below Eddie Murray's prime (1981-84) on average for his entire career.

5. Johnny Mize (1.42) - That number includes war credit (would be 1.11 without). Mize lost 3 prime years to WWII, which I estimate as 22% of his entire career value (including the war credit). An extremely underrated player historically.

6. Dan Brouthers (N/A) - Just a monster at the plate, 170 career OPS+, adjusting for schedule, 9500 PA career too.

7. Hank Greenberg (1.26) - Includes 3.33 seasons of war credit (.925 without) at a rate of 93% of his 1938-40 + 1946 average. In the top handful of players that lost the most to the war.

8. Joe Start (N/A) - Basically had Gil Hodges' or Tony Perez' entire career value from his age 28 season on. Before that (in the 1860s) he was generally regarded as one of the, if not the best player in the game.

9. Eddie Murray (1.01) - His best year (arguably, hard to tell) was cut short due to the strike in 1981. Mr. Consistency . . . 156 OPS+ from 1981-84. Not just overall, but each season was exactly 156.

10. Mark McGwire (1.01) - Steroids or not, he put up great numbers and helped his teams win a lot of games. And if he used the juice, he was one of many. It was just part of his era.

11. Willie McCovey (.91) - His 1969 season is in the top 30 or so ever from a 1B.

12. Harmon Killebrew (.91) - 143 career OPS+, retired at #5 on the HR list. 3.22 MVP award shares accumulated from 1959-71. Great player, even if he made purists squeamish.

13. Will Clark (.91) - His 1989 is one of the great 'hidden' superstar seasons in the history of the game. His "AIR" factor on for that year is 88, that's equivalent to playing for the Pirates in 1913 or the 1963 Giants. In that context he hit .333/.407/.546. It's ranked in Dan's system as the 18th greatest season ever from a 1B, between 1998 McGwire and 1935 Foxx.

14. Buck Leonard (N/A) - Might be underrating him, there is very little difference here from #8 through #17. But his MLE's show him hitting like Killebrew, but with a shorter career, and less time at non-1B defensive positions.

15. Dick Allen (.95) - I think he should be on the 3B list, more of his value was there, not at 1B, despite his playing more games at 1B. I've ranked him slightly lower than the pure numbers say because I think Dan's system overrates him a little bit due to his partial seasons at 3B, not because of his attitude questions.

16. Mule Suttles (N/A) - Not quite the hitter Leonard was, but a definite masher nonetheless.

17. Jake Beckley (.98) - Since Dan's numbers only go back to 1893, I had to figure Beckley's 1888-92 on my own (he's at .68 without those seasons). I went with giving him 4.6 seasons at his 1893-95 level, since his OPS+ for 1888-92 was 129 (his OPS+ from 1893-95 were 126, 124, 127). I think this is reasonable. I still ranked him below McCovey, Killebrew and Clark to be conservative.

18. Keith Hernandez (.86) - Have we forgotten how well he was perceived in his time? 2.09 MVP award shares, all between 1979-86. That's equivalent to Derek Jeter (2.08 through 2007), Jason Giambi (2.18 also with one win) and Ryne Sandberg (1.98). I wouldn't have guessed that.

19. Bill Terry (.78) - Career was short, but his 1932 was equivalent to Eddie Murray's 1983 or Frank Thomas' 1993 and his 1931 was just as valuable as Cepeda's 1967. He was a very good player, but his career got such a late start I can't seem him ranking higher on this list.

20. George Sisler (.77) - He was a superstar before missing 1923. His 1920 was only bettered by 6 other 1B seasons from 1893-2005. However, 95% of his career value came from 1915-22, which covers only 51% of his plate appearances. Like Terry, there just isn't enough productive career for him to rank higher. I have him with literally only 3 years above replacement level from 1924-30, the best being 1928, where he posted an OPS+ of 110, which ranked 11th among the 16 regular 1B in the majors that season.
   57. Esteban Rivera Posted: June 01, 2008 at 09:27 PM (#2802394)
My first basemen rankings:

1) Lou Gehrig - Easy number one.

2) Jimmie Foxx - With all that he did, it still amazes and saddens me that he was done by his early thirties.

3) Cap Anson - It's something when a career spans all the different mound and rule changes and the effectiveness is still there.

4) Johnny Mize - Includes war credit. Underrated by history.

5) Roger Connor - Better defense helps him beat Brouthers.

6) Hank Greenberg - With war credit edges Brouthers. Amazing the clustering of great first basemen at the same time.

7) Dan Brouthers - Monster hitter.

8) Eddie Murray - Consistent high quality. A solid rock.

9) Willie McCovey - Offense is there but injuries hold him here.

10) Harmon Killebrew - Helped the team by moving around but defense no great shakes. Killer hitter, though.

11) Buck Leonard - Similar to Killebrew offensively.

12) Mark McGwire - Another victim of injuries and missed time.

13) Joe Start - The first great first baseman.

14) Mule Suttles - Couldn't place him higher.

15) Dick Allen - Shortness of career and missed time hold him back. The man could hit.

16) Keith Hernandez - The value of a great defensive first basemen is often overlooked. Solid offense to go with the glove.

17) Will Clark - Higher peak than Terry gives him the edge.

18) Bill Terry - Reminds me of Clark without the higher peak seasons.

19) George Sisler - If not for those blasted sinuses!

20) Jake Beckley - Ranks last for not reaching the heights of the others above him. I do believe he is a qualified HOMer though.
   58. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 02, 2008 at 12:00 AM (#2802480)
The election is now over. Results will be posted shortly.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.



<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF


Thanks to
Adam M
for his generous support.


You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.


Page rendered in 0.8949 seconds
59 querie(s) executed