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

Monday, June 30, 2008

Ranking the Hall of Merit by Position: Shortstop Ballot

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

Luke Appling
Ernie Banks
Lou Boudreau
Joe Cronin
Bill Dahlen
George Davis
Jack Glasscock
Hughie Jennings
Home Run Johnson
John Henry Lloyd
Dick Lundy
Dobie Moore
Dickey Pearce
Pee Wee Reese
Cal Ripken, Jr
Joe Sewell
Ozzie Smith
Alan Trammell
Arky Vaughan
Honus Wagner
Bobby Wallace
John Ward
Willie Wells
George Wright
Robin Yount

The election ends Sunday on Jul 13 at 8 PM EDT.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 30, 2008 at 12:28 AM | 78 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 30, 2008 at 12:30 AM (#2837082)
I'll submit a ballot sometime whenever.
   2. whoisalhedges Posted: June 30, 2008 at 01:27 PM (#2837279)
The discussion thread conviced me to change more rankings at SS than any other position so far.

1) Wagner
2) Lloyd
3) Ripken
4) Vaughan
5) Yount
6) Davis
7) Dahlen
8) Boudreau
9) Wells
10) Trammell
11) Smith
12) Banks
13) Wright
14) Cronin
15) Appling
16) Johnson
17) Lundy
18) Reese
19) Jennings
20) Wallace
21) Ward
22) Moore
23) Pearce
24) Sewell
25) Glasscock
   3. sunnyday2 Posted: July 01, 2008 at 12:03 AM (#2838045)
The discussion thread conviced me to change more rankings at SS than any other position so far.


Except the top 2 have not moved. This position was hard because there have been so many great SS. SS is pretty obviously a place where--with the exception of the incomprehensible years from about 1950 to 1975 or so--many of the greatest athletes have gone. So I get 15 deep here with guys who are at least B+ HoMers. At most other positions I start losing my enthusiasm around 7-8-10. I'm a small hall guy in real life. Here I hate that my 12-13-14-15 guys don't rate more highly, but somebody has to be there.

Inner Circle

1. Honus Wagner--A+ peak, A+ career.


2. Cal Ripken--A peak, A career. A pair of pretty easy choices.


3. John Henry Lloyd--all the way up from #8; A career, but maybe a B peak? I guess I had sort of forgotten that he would probably be regarded as one of the top 3 or so position players in the NeLs. Being one of Dobie Moore's best friends, I had mostly remembered that at his very peak, Dobie was actually better than Pops. But obviously Pops was up there for a long time. I'm guessing his career length and curve is probably more like Ripken's than any other SS, though he was a different type of player.

Obvious Choices


4. George Wright--A+ peak, B career, moved all the way up from #9, because he is one of the few SS who ever was the best player of his day (I mean, over a period of years, not just one year) regardless of position.

5. Arky Vaughan--A peak, A- career. Ranks ahead of Yount and Banks if only because he stayed put (at SS, while the other guys who rate in this same cluster moved off of SS).

6. Robin Yount--B peak, B+ career. Banks was better at SS, but Yount retained a lot more of his value after the move.
7. Ernie Banks--A peak, B career.


8. George Davis
9. Bill Dahlen--a matched pair, both had A careers, but Davis was probably a B at his best, while Dahlen was maybe a B-. I thought about leap-frogging Banks with these guys, too. I agree Ernie didn't do much at 1B, but his SS peak was just too good. These guys were great SS, but nowhere near ever being considered MVPs.

Middling HoMers

10. Ozzie Smith--this might be a tich high for a guy who wasn't much of a threat with the bat, but I always saw him as more valuable than Trammell. Ozzie should have won an MVP trophy, too, BTW. I'd say a B peak and a B+ career.

11. Dickey Pearce--the comp is Ozzie; again, being the greatest player of one's generation is no mean feat, I don't care if it was the first generation to play the game. An A peak and a B career.

(small gap)

12. Dobie Moore--the comp is Ernie Banks, but in his SS years only; or Joe Cronin; I'm a peak voter and Dobie's peak is an A. His career of course is more like a C.

13. Hughie Jennings--another best player of his time but for a shorter time even than Moore; I'm a peak voter and Hughie is also an A+/C player.

14. Joe Cronin--this might be a tich low, but his peak was just a tiny bit lower than most of those above. A B+ peak and a B career.

15. John Ward--this may be too low once you consider everything. In fact, this whole cluster (Moore, Jennings, Cronin and Ward) could just as well be ahead of Ozzie and Pearce, I don't know. His peak is a B and it's as a pitcher. As a SS it's probably a C, but his career has to include everything and that makes him a solid B career.


Below Average HoMers--there's a very bright line between the top 15 and then the rest of these guys.

16. Willie Wells--up from #22, but I never was a huge Willie Wells guy. I'm guessing, but I'm guessing a B/B+.

17. Luke Appling--probably the one guy I most disagree with the consensus. The career is very fine, but year-to-year I'd rather have these other guys (above). I'd say a B-/A.


18. Home Run Johnson--a solid HoMer, I'm sure, but somebody's got to be here. I'm guessing he's a B/B+.

19. Alan Trammell--a solid HoMer, I'm sure, but somebody's got to be here. A B/B.

20. Jack Glasscock--down three slots. A B/B.

21. Pee Wee Reese--this is with WWII credit. A C/B.

22. Lou Boudreau--pretty short career, and for most of his career it wasn't obvious that Vern Stephens wasn't the best of the cohort. A B+/C.

23. Dick Lundy--a poor man's Ozzie Smith, a worthy HoMer, but somebody's got to be #23. A C/B.

Questionable Choices

24. Joe Sewell--I didn't support Sewell. Never a great all-around SS, and moved off of it faster than Yount did. A C-/C+ type HoMer.

25. Bobby Wallace--I supported Wallace and he's in my PHoM, but against this field he kinda sticks out. A D/B.
   4. OCF Posted: July 01, 2008 at 01:19 AM (#2838262)
Ozzie should have won an MVP trophy, too

Which year, '85 or '87? Bill James wrote his "shame on the voters for never even thinking of Ozzie" bit after '85, but when you back away and look at that year, it's pretty obvious that the MVP should have been Gooden. In '87, he did finish second in the actual voting, and was better than the guy who finished first, but who would you take? I'd probably lean towards a "bat" candidate - Gwynn, or maybe Raines.

Neither case is as obvious as the Trammell '87 case.
   5. sunnyday2 Posted: July 01, 2008 at 05:22 AM (#2838614)
'87. I had Gooden in '85. And, yes, Trammell was an easier choice in '87, but Oz had more years like that.
   6. bjhanke Posted: July 01, 2008 at 08:28 AM (#2838643)
For anyone who was actually interested in my Ozzie Smith post from Chicago, I just posted up a set of details and corrections (few, thankfully) in the discussion thread, where, of course, it belongs. - Brock
   7. DL from MN Posted: July 01, 2008 at 03:05 PM (#2838803)
SS Ballot

1) Honus Wagner - #3 player all-time on my list
2) Pop Lloyd - top 20 talent. I have him slotted between Lajoie and Schmidt on my all-time list
3) Cal Ripken - I'm torn between him and Vaughan but I think the long stretch of filler in Ripken's career is causing me to undervalue his peak
4) Arky Vaughan - Fantastic hitter. My spreadsheet actually has him ahead of Ripken and I wouldn't argue with anyone who ranks them that way.
5) Bill Dahlen - I love the glove, very good bat also. Best eligible position player not inducted into the lesser Hall.
(Barry Larkin)
6) George Davis - Very similar to Dahlen in value, I couldn't definitively tell you who I would have chosen if I was a team owner of that era.
7) Luke Appling - I love this kind of player. Put up all-star numbers year after year. Solid all-around ballplayer.
8) Robin Yount - The move to CF hurts and so does the mediocre SS defense
9) Willie Wells - Consensus when he was elected was of a Cronin/Appling kind of player
10) Joe Cronin - Just makes my top 10, more up and down career than Appling
11) Home Run Johnson - Hard to rank, the first player to get an MLE treatment. I think he justifies a slot above Ozzie and Trammell
12) Ozzie Smith - Terrific glove and good OBP in a long career
13) Alan Trammell – Splitting hairs from 13-18
14) Pee Wee Reese - with WWII credit
15) Lou Boudreau - shorter career than Pee Wee
16) Ernie Banks – Yes, way down here. His value was almost all put up before he moved to 1B. The 1B years do have value though or he’d be down where I rank Dobie Moore. Even ranked 16th he’s still in the top half of the HoM.
17) George Wright – Thanks for the discussion, I never knew where to rank him before and I could change my mind as I learn more. Still, it’s not a long career.
18) Jack Glasscock – Long career good glove
19) Bobby Wallace – We’re down in the “glove” section of the ballot. None of these guys made it because of their bat.
20) Monte Ward – Pitching value included
21) Dickey Pearce – Best of the early stars but I don’t have any more information than that. Played a game that resembles baseball but isn’t the same as the game played by any of the other shortstops.
22) Dick Lundy – glad we figured him out, still doesn’t make it very far up this list
(Bus Clarkson)
23) Joe Sewell – I liked him more when he was elected than I do now
24) Dobie Moore – short careers make it difficult to get on my ballot, played a little longer than Jennings
25) Hugh Jennings – A peak-only candidate
   8. ronw Posted: July 01, 2008 at 04:05 PM (#2838873)
Shortstops ranking – I’m probably in the minority in thinking Shortstop (6) before Third Base (5) looks weird. MVP/AS are my own calculations, but for Negro Leaguers I use some combination of Holway/James MVP and AS selections. Monster = 15.0 WARP1 and above. Great=10.0 WARP1 and above.

1. Honus Wagner. 30.6 bws/700PA, 13 MVP, 18 AS. The biggest gap between #1 and #2 for any position. Monster 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1912 (Only Jennings has more than 1 of these.) Great 1899, 1900, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1910, 1911, 1915 (No one else has more than 8 great seasons). Everyone says Mays was the best all-around player ever, but I think it was Wagner. Could be anywhere from #1-#5 best all-time player.

2. John Henry Lloyd. 8 MVP, 13 AS. Alex Rodriguez may have just supplanted Lloyd as #2. Played at a high level as a young player in the aughts and an elder statesman in the 20’s. You don’t do that without being fantastic.

3. Cal Ripken, Jr. 15.8 bws/700PA, 4 MVP, 16 AS. No Monster seasons. Great 1983, 1984, 1991. Plus the streak. Always was prepared, and did it for a long-long time.

4. Arky Vaughan. 25.0 bws/700PA, 7 MVP, 12 AS. Monster 1935, Great 1933, 1934, 1936, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1943. A bit of war credit. Anywhere from 2-4 among best-hitting shortstops of all-time.

5. George Davis. 20.4 bws/700PA, 4 MVP, 15 AS. No Monster seasons. Great 1897, 1902, 1904, 1905, 1906. It seemed a little easy for deadball shortstops to turn in big WARP scores. Dahlen and Wallace also have a lot of great seasons, primarily because of fielding. Amazing that only Davis, Vaughan and Wagner exceed 20 bws/700PA among HOM shortstops.

6. Bill Dahlen. 16.8 bws/700PA, 2 MVP, 15 AS. No Monster seasons. Great 1892, 1896, 1898, 1899, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905. He’s still not in the HOF? Really?

7. George Wright. No pre-1876 WS, 4 MVP, 9 AS. No Monster Seasons, Great 1875. I think the lack of monster seasons is because of the short NA seasons. As Chris Cobb said, only Wagner and Wright can claim to have been the best fielders and best hitters in the league at the same time.

8. Robin Yount. 18.1 bws/700PA, 5 MVP, 13 AS. No Monster seasons. Great 1982. I was most surprised by his lack of WARP love. Put up decent numbers for a long time.

9. Home Run Johnson. I think Johnson belongs here. He played a long time and was one of the better hitters on his team, even into his elder years.

10. Luke Appling . 18.3 bws/700PA, 4 MVP, 12 AS. War credit. No Monster seasons. Great 1935, 1940, 1943, 1946. Shockingly his big 1936 just missed. Fielding nothing terrific, but he wielded a mean bat for a long time and didn’t really damage his team in the field.

11. Joe Cronin. 18.6 bws/700PA, 4 MVP, 10 AS. No Monster seasons. Great 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1938. Probably shouldn’t have been a shortstop in Boston, but he was a fantastic fielder in Washington, and he always could hit.

12. Willie Wells. 3 MVP, 8 AS. I’m really not sure if Wells should be above Cronin. They both were fabulous hitters and could be both good (early career) and terrible (late career) with the glove.

13. Ozzie Smith. 12.2 bws/700PA, 1 MVP, 13 AS. No Monster seasons. Great 1985, 1987. The fielding was too spectacular to put him any lower than this. Sometimes that makes me think we missed Maranville.

14. Jack Glasscock. 15.8 bws/700PA, 3 MVP, 12 AS. No Monster, Great 1884, 1885, 1886, 1889, 1890. It is a shame that he has been overlooked for the HOF for so long.

15. John Ward. 13.7 bws/700PA, 21.2 pws/300IP, 2 MVP, 14 AS. No Monster seasons, not even with the pitching. Great 1887, 1892. Could field anywhere, had an extraordinarily long career for the 19th century.

16. Pee Wee Reese. 15.1 bws/700PA, 2 MVP, 10 AS. War credit. No monster, Great 1942, 1946. He really tailed off in fielding after 1949, but he was fantastic before the War. Very close between him and Wallace.

17. Ernie Banks. 17.8 bws/700PA, 4 MVP, 7 AS. No Monster, Great 1955, 1958, 1959, 1960. Similar to Jennings/Moore with a limited number of SS seasons, but had much more career.

18. Bobby Wallace. 14.7 bws/700PA, 0 MVP, 12 AS. No Monster, but Great 1899, 1901, 1902, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908. The fielding rates aren’t extremely high, which surprises me, but he did well enough with the bat and glove to garner some nice WARP numbers.

19. Dickey Pearce. I had him below Wallace on my ballots, and will be consistent here. The order of the fielding-first long-career shortstops (Smith, Reese, Wallace, Pearce) seems right.

20. Lou Boudreau. 18.7 bws/700PA, 4 MVP, 8 AS. No Monster, Great 1940, 1943, 1944, 1947, 1948. Very close to Monster in 1948, 1944. Spectacular fielding and great hitting for a shortstop, just too short a career.

21. Alan Trammell. 16.8 bws/700PA, 3 MVP, 9 AS. No Monster seasons. Great 1983, 1987.

22. Joe Sewell. 15.8 bws/700PA, 2 MVP, 11 AS. No Monster, Great 1921, 1923, 1925, 1926. Nothing spectacular from Sewell, but a solid HOMer nonetheless.

23. Hughie Jennings. 18.4 bws/700PA, 5 MVP, 5 AS. Monster 1896, 1898. Great 1894, 1895, 1897. Obviously would be much higher if his career had any real heft outside these big years.

24. Dobie Moore. 1 MVP, 6 AS. Always seemed to resemble Jennings.

25. Dick Lundy. 2 MVP, 7 AS. Still not sure if he is Ozzie Smith, Bobby Wallace, or Rabbit Maranville.
   9. OCF Posted: July 01, 2008 at 09:42 PM (#2839242)
Ron - I'm with you; I always list 5 before 6 myself.
   10. TomH Posted: July 02, 2008 at 12:07 PM (#2840098)
'Everyone says Mays was the best all-around player ever,'

that's cause for most of us, even our grandpas didn't see Wagner play.
   11. Rusty Priske Posted: July 02, 2008 at 12:43 PM (#2840105)
I don't see Lloyd as highly as the rest of you seem to. I really like him and he is an easy HoMer (in fact, according to my records, I inducted him into my PHoM a year before he went in the HoM).

I just like others more, I guess.

1. Honus Wagner

As easy a #1 as there can be.

2. Cal Ripken Jr.

I am a career voter.

3. Arky Vaughan

Excellent hitter. Excellent career.

4. Robin Yount

See #2

5. George Davis

See #4

SS seems to be a position where the strong career shines over the short but hot peak.

6. Bill Dahlen

Defense and career

7. Luke Appling

Team cornerstone type player.

8. Joe Cronin

I really thought this would drop (as I also thought Lloyd would rise) but I couldn't find an excuse.

9. Ernie Banks

10. Ozzie Smith

Defense. Defense. Defense. After that, some more defense.

11. Alan Trammell


12. Pop Lloyd

I think this will make me the bottom of the consensus pile. Oh well.

13. Willie Wells

Nice bat.

14. Pee Wee Reese


15. John Ward

Career and versatility

16. Home Run Johnson


17. Dick Lundy

Higher than before, but still not high on this list.

18. Lou Boudreau

Career hurts but still a solid pick

19. Joe Sewell

20. Dobie Moore

I inducted Moore into my PHoM 59 years before we inducted him.

21. Dickey Pearce

Defense and career

22. Bobby Wallace

23. Jack Glasscock

career and defense (is there an echo in here?)

24. George Wright

25. Hughie Jennings

Neither of these two made my PHoM. Wright could at some point. Jennings won't.
   12. sunnyday2 Posted: July 02, 2008 at 01:43 PM (#2840148)
Is there anything G. Wright could have done to rank higher? I mean, besides being born at a different time? Being the best player on the planet just doesn't do it for you? Fair to all eras, well, except for that one. You sure you're not thinkin' Harry Wright?
   13. ronw Posted: July 02, 2008 at 06:43 PM (#2840459)
Also, as a career voter, Rusty, what is it you don't like about Lloyd?
   14. Rusty Priske Posted: July 02, 2008 at 07:05 PM (#2840491)
Just so you know, I am going to address this later. I would do it now but something just happened here at work to put me in a REAL foul mood and I'm afraid I would get into a totally unneeded argument just as a vent.

I hate it when that happens, so I'm not going to do it. I'll be back later.
   15. Mark Donelson Posted: July 02, 2008 at 11:49 PM (#2840746)
1. Honus Wagner. By a lot.
2. Arky Vaughan. I’m still a peak voter at heart, and his was remarkable. Another player I didn't fully appreciate before this project.
3. John Henry Lloyd. As with most Negro Leaguers, especially early ones, it's hard to tell exactly how good he was, but it seems pretty clear he was a truly dominant player for a long, long time.
4. Cal Ripken. Not far behind Vaughan and Lloyd, but I like their peaks better. Another big gap after these three.
5. Bill Dahlen. I knew he was good before this project, but not this good. Unbelievable he’s not in Cooperstown—it's no borderline case. I buy the stellar defensive rating, which puts him ahead of Davis.
6. George Davis. I was looking for reasons to separate him from Dahlen, just to be different, I guess. But I couldn’t find them. They’re very, very close.
7. Robin Yount. Drops below Dahlen and Davis from his place on my prelim—hadn’t taken into account the defensive issues quite enough. Still, a great peak, and an amazing overall career.
8. Joe Cronin. I feel a little like yest here, going with the traditional guy. His great prime leads me to put him higher than most others seem to be doing.
9. George Wright. I’m not quite as high on him as Sunnyday is, but I’m convinced he was the best in the game for a while, and that that means quite a lot, regardless of era.
10. Hughie Jennings. Another guy who was the best there was for a very few years—but I’m still enough of a peak voter for that to get him here. (Tip of the cap to Tiboreau for making me question my initial placement of him, and thus figure out I had the wrong numbers for him as I put this list together originally.)
11. Luke Appling. Another really solid prime.
12. Grant Johnson. Sometimes I think he belongs four places higher, sometimes four places lower, but he averages out right about here--by all appearances, a long, excellent career with yet another very solid prime.
13. Ernie Banks. Yes, there’s not much value after the move to 1B, but the peak at SS is really strong. Since short careers don’t bother me if the peak is enough, this one doesn’t either.
14. Dickey Pearce. So tough to place. I basically put him near the bottom of my "dominant peak-prime" pile.
15. Dobie Moore. OK, he’s not Jennings. But his peak still seems pretty great to me. And once again, with one this strong, the brief career doesn’t bother me a bit. (Hey, I vote for Al Rosen.)
16. Ozzie Smith. It’s all about the defense, clearly--it boosts him from below-the-line territory, but in my still-peak-heavy system, this is the farthest it can push him.
17. Lou Boudreau. Again, the short career doesn’t bug me, though he doesn’t have quite the peak of my fave short-career SS candidates.
18. Pee Wee Reese. As the scion of Yankee fans (and one myself), I always accepted the propaganda that Rizzuto was his equal. I vote for Rizzuto now, and he’s in my pHOM, but Reese was better, I must now admit. Very close to Boudreau.
19. Alan Trammell. Not quite the peak to be higher than this for me, but I share in the outrage that he’s been ignored by the HOF.
20. John Ward. He could really go almost anywhere but the top five or six. It’s very hard to get a handle on his value overall. This is my conservative placement, since I couldn’t find a reason to not be conservative with him.
21. Jack Glasscock. Solidly in for me, to the point where I feel like he deserves a better rank than this, but I can’t see putting him ahead of the specific players ahead of him, either.
22. Willie Wells. Not sold on his peak, or his fielding, compared to those of the various candidates above him. But I have no doubt he belongs.
23. Joe Sewell. Not in my pHOM, and not terribly high among my backloggers either, though he’s within vague sight. Just not enough peak for me—Hall of Very Good.
24. Dick Lundy. Not in my pHOM. Similar to Sewell, and much better than any of us realized until recently, but that’s not enough for my vote--again, just not the peak I seek.
25. Bobby Wallace. Not in my pHOM. I just don’t see it--I’m with Sunnyday on Wallace. He’d need nearly the glove of Ozzie to get over the line, and it doesn’t seem he had that.
   16. TomH Posted: July 03, 2008 at 11:21 AM (#2841861)
80% career voter with a reasonably high replacement level:

1) Wagner

ueber gap

2) Lloyd - could be as low as #5, but his rep and stats put him here.
3) Ripken - great glove&arm;,
4) Yount - career stats outstanding. Deserves Ernie Banks' reputation.
5) Vaughan - only misses career length. Great player, could be as high as #2.
6) Appling - ya have to like SS who can mash like he did.

next tight bunch

7) Davis - could hit and field
8) Cronin - sweet stick for a SS
9) Wells - rep + stats from NgLg
10) Dahlen - what a defensive guy
11) Banks - a few more years at SS would help
12) Wright - dominated his day
13) Ward - fuzzy glimpse of pitching value lands him at the bottom of this tight pack
14) Glasscock - like the guy below him, well-rounded unheralded star


15) Trammell
16) Johnson - early NgLg player that seems to fit here
17) Smith - no apparent bat, but th elittle thigns like SB/CS and few GIDP add up. Best glove ever.
18) Reese - on base man
19) Wallace - Ozzie-light
20) Boudreau - Trammell-lite
21) Sewell - fine value in his time
22) Pearce - fuzzy like Lundy

edge of HoM
23) Lundy - not much too add
24) Moore - prime too brief
25) Jennings - superb player. 5 yrs not enough, and overrated by BP.
   17. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 03, 2008 at 04:51 PM (#2842069)
In defense of Alan Trammell, who is getting slammed by the early voters here...

Why is a 100 OPS+, average-fielding SS worth more than a 100 OPS+, average-fielding 1B? Because guys who can hit and play shortstop are rarer than guys who can hit and play first. Because if you subtract the 100 OPS+, average-fielding 1B from your team, you can easily find a replacement floating around the minors who will be nearly as good a hitter, whereas if you subtract the 100 OPS+, average fielding SS from your team, you'll have to sacrifice much more offense. I think we can all agree on this.

The question then becomes, How much more is a given level of offense worth at one position than another? This is an empirical, positive question, with a true, factual answer. There is certainly room for disagreement on how precisely to go about measuring it, using what methodology, but it's not a he said/she said issue--there is a correct value, which we can estimate with greater or lesser accuracy depending on our approach.

There is no reason why this value should be fixed over time. As the game has evolved, so have the relative demands on its positions. Intuitively, we all understand this--we know that it's not fair to compare a catcher in the 1880s to one in the 1980s.

How do we detect the historical changes in the relative value of the positions? It seems to me pretty clear that the proper method is to study the rise and fall of the gaps in offensive production among them. This does not tell us in any absolute sense which positions have become "harder" or "easier," but it most certainly does tell us how much of a positional adjustment to apply to a given level of hitting at any particular point in time (holding quality of fielding relative to positional contemporaries constant).

Before I joined the HoM, most of those who (wisely) sought to take this approach did so by comparing a player's hitting to his positional average, using tools like RCAP. I am strongly opposed to this methodology, because it allows the presence of a few superstar players at a position to distort the value of everyone else. Hank Greenberg was no worse a player because he shared a league and position with Foxx and Gehrig; nor was, notably for our purposes, Trammell because he shared a league and position with Ripken and Yount. Any effort to measure 1930's AL 1B, or 1980's AL SS, by using a positional average baseline is, in my view, fatally flawed.

There are two superior methods, in my view. The first is what I have chosen to do: to measure the replacement level directly, by looking at the performance of the worst regulars at each position. The second is a modified version of sunnyday's approach, which is to examine the median. In terms of deriving an overall value, I believe mine to be preferable, since it recognizes that below-median play still helps a team win games, but in simple terms of tracking the evolution of relative positional adjustments over time, they are equivalent.

Now to the punch line: Playing shortstop in the 1970s and 80s was substantially more valuable than it was at any other time in MLB history. We can disagree on the *causes* of this shift--some voters believe it was simply the product of groupthink among slow-witted GM's, others (like me) argue it was a logical response to expansion and the advent of Astroturf--but it is an *extremely* large factor, and voters who are simply comparing the OPS+, fielding, career length, and peak height of shortstops from different eras will produce erroneous judgments by ignoring it. In quantitative terms, my research indicates that to put shortstops from the 1966-89 period on a level playing field with those from all other eras, their OPS+ scores should be adjusted upwards by 8.6 points. That means that for the purposes of comparison with the other shortstops in the field, Ripken should be considered a 121 OPS+ guy and Trammell a 119 (and my pets Campaneris and Concepción 98 and 97). Applying this correction will yield a much more accurate ranking of the pennant-winning value of the HoM shortstops.
   18. Rafael Bellylard: The Grinch of Orlando. Posted: July 04, 2008 at 10:55 AM (#2843077)
1. Wagner: Among the easiest choices we’ll make.
2. Lloyd: The best of the NgL at this position, and it’s not close.
3. Vaughan: His peak outweighs Ripken’s career.
4. Ripken: He and Yount are a toss-up in my system, and Ripken edges him on being at SS longest.
5. Yount: What a fabulous player. Had he been in NY or LA we’ve have heard a lot more.
6. Davis: He had a strong career which was also lengthy for the era he had it.
7. Dahlen: Would move up a spot or two if his fielding were a bit better.
8. Banks: I may be overranking him.
9. Ward: I spent a lot of time working on getting him placed in a spot I was comfortable with. His time at SS alone would have put him in the low-middle of the ballot, and his pitching bumped him to here.
10. Reese: With WWII credit added.
11. Appling: Only thing I remembered about him was he hit a HR in an Old-Timers game when he was in his 70’s.
12. Smith: Among the weakest bats in the HoM, his defense and 84% SB percentage with 580 SB’s moves him up.
13. Wright: Career was just too short for me to comfortably move him any further up.
14. Johnson: Looks like Joe Cronin with a longer career. Being moved to 2B because the #2 on this ballot displaced you at SS is not shameful.
15: Wells: Moved up the most on my ballot after doing more review on NgL players.
16. Trammell: Everybody between Smith and Cronin are packed in like sardines. Not a dime’s worth of difference in the group, all ranked just above my “solidly in/out line.” A worthy HoF'er and HoM'er.
17. Boudreau: See #13
18. Glasscock: Ozzie Smith-lite
19. Cronin: The best ballplayer from my high school ever.
20. Jennings: What a peak. Unfortunately missing a lot of career.
21. Pearce: The toughest one to peg. I’m comfortable with him here.
22. Lundy: Somewhat better than Rabbit Maranville, but probably wouldn’t make my ballot.
23. Wallace: Jack Glasscock-lite.
24. Sewell: Not anywhere within sniffing distance of a ballot spot.
25. Moore: The Dobie Moore thread was enlightening, but there just isn’t enough career here to merit a higher ranking.
   19. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 04, 2008 at 05:31 PM (#2843283)
Rafael Bellylard

7. Dahlen: Would move up a spot or two if his fielding were a bit better.

Say WHA?? Bill Dahlen is among the handful of greatest defensive shortstops in the history of the game. You sure you're not confusing him with Davis??
   20. TomH Posted: July 04, 2008 at 08:48 PM (#2843496)
a) he was being tongue-in-cheek?
b) his statement IS factually true... I mean, I'd even move up Ozzie a spot or 2 if his fielding were a bit better. And Pavarotti would have been more famous if his tenor voice had more range and bravsdo as well.
   21. TomH Posted: July 04, 2008 at 08:49 PM (#2843497)
*bravado. Don't know what bravsdo might be....
   22. Howie Menckel Posted: July 04, 2008 at 09:02 PM (#2843503)
All-time Shortstop HOMer ballot, 4th in a series

1. HONUS WAGNER - Top 10 rankings in adj OPS+ are 1-1-1-1-1-1-2-2-2-3-3-6-7-8. That's 14 consecutive such seasons from 1899-1912. And fulltime SS the last 10 of those. Nice prime! Could have spent half his time in the OF and still been considered one of the all-time greats if he hit like this.
2. POP LLOYD - I see him as 3rd-best Negro Leaguer ever behind Gibson and Charleston. I don't buy that he was as good as Wagner, and I don't offer much credit beyond age 40 (I don't see him starring in MLB after that), but still a great peak and long prime and stellar career. Lasted longer at SS than Ripken as well.
3. CAL RIPKEN - Really only an off-the-charts player three times - 1983/84/91 (his only 3 times in league's top 10 in OPS+). Next-best fulltime OPS+ is a 128. But an extremely valuable player at 114-128 in six seasons aside from the peak. And a significant plus when he's 102-107 playing every day in four other years. So peak is not unreal, but the prime is what's so tough to beat here. Hurt his team a little and even his own stats a bit late into his dopey streak, and 2nd half of his career doesn't add a ton to his cause. Trivia: Top 10 in outs made in 13 different seasons.
4. ARKY VAUGHAN - I've come a long way around on him, and nearly put him ahead of Ripken. Top 10 in NL in OPS+ from 1933-38. Slips in 1939, but bounces right back and is a big hitter in 1940-41-43-47 as well. Weird career arc; didn't play MLB in 1944-46, supposedly Durocher-related. Dead at age 40.
5. GEORGE DAVIS - Yes, 977 G at other positions than SS. But he's got that 1893-1902 decade, and the 1905-06 end-game kick nudges him over Dahlen for this spot.
6. BILL DAHLEN - This is a phenomenal player when he clears 115 OPS+, as he did 7 times. Another 5 over 100, excellent seasons. Durable. Long career. Wondrous all-around player, if lacks anything, maybe needs 2-3 more seasons like 1896.
7. ROBIN YOUNT - 1479 G at SS by age 28 - and never played another game there. Historically great in 1982-83, awakened the echoes in 1989 a bit. Mediocre at best in his last 4 seasons, a little better than that in his first 5 seasons. The 1980s are his case, and it's a good one although split between SS and CF.
8. ERNIE BANKS - Similar career to George Sisler's in some ways, in that he had a great first half and long mediocre second half. But Banks' hitting while playing SS is even more valuable.
9. JOE CRONIN - I note the similarities to Doyle's hitting career in the Cronin thread. That's OK, because there is a big gap between a terrible 2B fielder and a good SS fielder. Nine VERY solid years and several other useful ones at a difficult position. Might be a little overrated generally, but still a solid HOMer.
10. LUKE APPLING - Only five seasons over 120 OPS+ - two after age 40, one in a war year. But five others over 110, not a small thing for a good SS to offer. And top 7 in OBP eight times. Others might easily have voted this high for him without the wacky late-career turbocharge, but for me he needed a lot of it to hit the top of the ballot.
11. ALAN TRAMMELL - Six OPS+s of 130 or better, and a 7th at 120, for a SS who can field, too. What more can you want? Also a 114 and a 113, and he's a real asset in his 5 seasons of 89 to 99 OPS+ as well. Durability is a fair knock, yes, and keeps him from being mentioned with some of the higher-tier HOM SSs. But he's got enough to get here.
12. OZZIE SMITH - Defensive numbers accurately reflect the spectacular range that made him such a key player. OPS+ doesn't completely capture his running game, but he only had 111-05-05-02 as his best years. To be fair there's also 99-98-97-96, but Trammell was more impressive even after Ozzie's deserved boost for fielding even above Trammell's level as well as his superior durability. Longevity a plus.
13. GEORGE WRIGHT - Lack of 1867-70 raw data frustrates the most stat-minded, but do any of you really doubt that he was a stud in that period as well? A SS who was among the game's best players at his non-miniscule peak - not many here can say that.
14. LOU BOUDREAU - Sixth-best career OPS+ on this board among MLBers, but shorter career than most. Had his best year outside WW II, which is key. One more good year, and I'd be more comfortable with him here.
15. PEE WEE REESE - His OPS+s as a regular: 122 20 16 13 10* 05 04 04 04* 03 01 (98) (98*) (96) (74) (68) (* figures are war credits). Long career of "average to above average hitting" is unusual for a SS. Rivals came and went; it's only he who lasted. Would be higher with even a single outstanding offensive season.
16. HUGHIE JENNINGS - Would have been' greatest four-year peak career not to be HOMer-worthy' by a lot. Enough peak for me to ask for not so much more, yet he supplies almost nothing else - and even plays so many games at 1B rather than SS. Very tough to slot.
17. GRANT JOHNSON - We have more sense of his career than Frank Grant's, but still a lot in the shadows. What I can see, I like more than a lot of others here, obviously.
18. WILLIE WELLS - Not sold on the Appling comparisons. MLEs and other comps put me in the 'better than Sewell' camp. Gets here on his longevity, which is quite impressive.
19. DICKEY PEARCE - Best player in baseball at a time when admittedly not too many played it. Late-career looks like a possible tail of a mighty comet, a sense confirmed by anecdotal evidence. Minor catching bonus.
20. JACK GLASSCOCK - Four 'top 8s' in adj OPS+, sweet for a SS. A bit odd how he kept bouncing around and how forgotten he became so quickly (of course, Arky has that situation on a much higher level).
21. JOHN MONTGOMERY WARD - Not as good a pitcher as I had previously thought; slightly above average, really. Also a 92 career OPS+. But a fascinating and valuable combo of skills at the time. Even played some 2B and OF.
22. BOBBY WALLACE - He did play for a long time and has a 105 OPS+. Only 74 pct of games at SS.
23. DOBIE MOORE - Really seems to be palatable only for a pure-peak guy. I sympathize with the wartime play idea, but the games seem so unorganized for the most part that major credit here opens Pandora's Box. So, great player for a short time, just didn't play a ton of measurable ball.
24. JOE SEWELL - Slugged exactly the league average in his career, split between SS and 3B. That's good, but not real exciting. I prefer great-hitting SSs, or long-career ones, or great fielding ones at least. Sewell is a HOVG SS-3B, and Pie Traynor was a better INF who gets little love.
25. DICK LUNDY - I've reread his thread, and I still don't really see it. A comparison to Dave Concepcion seemed about apt. Better than I imagined, but lots of HOVG white guys didn't get in.
   23. GodAlmighty Posted: July 05, 2008 at 02:08 AM (#2843977)
Jack Glasscock... absolutely the greatest shortstop in the past 110 years. Yup. He's the one. Glasscock. Hard to forget that name. He shattered all the records. His contribution is clear. He was sharp at the plate and dazzling in the sun. He could be cold as ice onsome days, and on others he shown through. Clearly superior. I read that he was one of the first major leaguers to get a tattoo. Then they called him "Stained" Glasscock.

That was considered pretty funny back in 1898. A real knee slapper.
   24. Rafael Bellylard: The Grinch of Orlando. Posted: July 05, 2008 at 06:59 PM (#2844263)
Say WHA?? Bill Dahlen is among the handful of greatest defensive shortstops in the history of the game. You sure you're not confusing him with Davis??

I've been fighting a bad cold all week, so forgive the typo.

I've got him rated as the second best fielder on the ballot, behind Ozzie. I meant to say "peak", particularly in comparison to Davis.

/gets more meds
   25. Sean Gilman Posted: July 07, 2008 at 09:18 PM (#2847520)

1. Honus Wagner - Clearly the best.

2. John Henry Lloyd - Less clearly second, but undoubtedly great.

3. Arky Vaughan - Way too anonymous for how good he really was.

4. Cal Ripken, Jr - Kind of the opposite of Vaughan, in that he spent much of his career being more famous than great.

5. George Wright - The most dominant player of the 60s and 70s.

6. Bill Dahlen - Like everyone else, I can’t separate him and Davis.

7. George Davis - WARP gives Dahlen a very tiny edge in career value.

8. Luke Appling - The best career/peak combination left.

9. Wiilie Wells - The MLEs underrate peak. They always have.

10. Joe Cronin - Not quite Appling, a bit better than Banks.

11. Home Run Johnson - Might be underrating him.

12. Ernie Banks - Not quite Boudreau’s peak, but a bit more career value.

13. Lou Boudreau - The Pebbly Jack of the 40s?

14. Jack Glasscock - Seems a bit underrated so far. A very good all-around player.

15. Ozzie Smith - More career value than any of the other 80s guys, WARP even gives him a slight peak edge on Yount.

16. Robin Yount - Defense and time in CF hurts him in WARP, I think.

17. Hughie Jennings - Great peak, obviously.

18. Alan Trammell - Good career, good peak, not really great at anything.

19. PeeWee Reese - Doesn’t standout enough in peak, career, defense or quality of competition to rank any higher.

20. John Ward - Interesting case as I think WARP still probably overrates pitching and shortstops in the 19th Century. Anyway, it’s got him slightly ahead of Wallace and a fair amount ahead of Pearce.

21. Bobby Wallace - The Ozzie Smith of the 00s?

22. Dickey Pearce - The Ozzie Smith of the Civil War?

23. Dick Lundy - The latest MLEs give him a value not unlike . . . Ozzie Smith?

25. Joe Sewell - Less career value than anyone but Moore, with a comparable peak.

24. Dobie Moore - Good peak. He’s no Hughie Jennings.
   26. Rick A. Posted: July 09, 2008 at 02:23 AM (#2850080)
Shortstop Ballot
1. Honus Wagner - What else is there to say?
2. John Henry Lloyd - Not as good as Wagner, but still damn good.
3. Cal Ripken
4. Arky Vaughan - Slightly behond Cal. Great peak.
5. Robin Yount
6. George Davis
7. Bill Dahlen - Not as good a hitter as Davis, but a much better fielder.
8. George Wright - Best shortstop of his time. Very underrated by this group.
9. Willie Wells - Solid career and defense.
10. Luke Appling - Another career man.
11. Ernie Banks - Great at shortstop, not so good at first.
12. Grant Johnson - Hard to know where to place him. Here seems about right.
13. Joe Cronin
14. Dickey Pearce - One of the great finds of the HOM.
15. Hughie Jennings - Unreal peak, but short career even for me.
16. Dobie Moore - Added in Wreckers years, slightly behind Jennings.
17. John Ward - Another difficult one to place.
18. Jack Glasscock
19. Alan Trammell - These last few are very close together.
20. Lou Boudreau
21. Ozzie Smith
22. Pee Wee Reese - With war credit.
23. Bobby Wallace
-------------------------PHOM In/Out Line--------------------------
24. Dick Lundy - Just outside my PHOM. If we continued for 1 more year, he'd be in my PHOM.
   27. Mark Donelson Posted: July 09, 2008 at 02:28 AM (#2850093)
I think you forgot Sewell, Rick.
   28. sunnyday2 Posted: July 09, 2008 at 02:43 AM (#2850119)
And Sean, you want to clarify #24 and #25?
   29. Sean Gilman Posted: July 09, 2008 at 09:11 AM (#2850266)
Oh, sorry. Right order, wrong numbers. Sewell is 24, Moore 25.
   30. OCF Posted: July 09, 2008 at 07:08 PM (#2850761)
That's sufficient information for me to tally Sean's ballot, but I'll have to hold off on Rick's until he returns to include Sewell somewhere.
   31. Rick A. Posted: July 11, 2008 at 02:48 AM (#2852583)
Sorry. Sewell is #25. He is not only below all other HOM shortstops, he is also below a few others who are not HOMers and I overlooked him.

Here is the list again.
1. Honus Wagner - What else is there to say?
2. John Henry Lloyd - Not as good as Wagner, but still damn good.
3. Cal Ripken
4. Arky Vaughan - Slightly behond Cal. Great peak.
5. Robin Yount
6. George Davis
7. Bill Dahlen - Not as good a hitter as Davis, but a much better fielder.
8. George Wright - Best shortstop of his time. Very underrated by this group.
9. Willie Wells - Solid career and defense.
10. Luke Appling - Another career man.
11. Ernie Banks - Great at shortstop, not so good at first.
12. Grant Johnson - Hard to know where to place him. Here seems about right.
13. Joe Cronin
14. Dickey Pearce - One of the great finds of the HOM.
15. Hughie Jennings - Unreal peak, but short career even for me.
16. Dobie Moore - Added in Wreckers years, slightly behind Jennings.
17. John Ward - Another difficult one to place.
18. Jack Glasscock
19. Alan Trammell - These last few are very close together.
20. Lou Boudreau
21. Ozzie Smith
22. Pee Wee Reese - With war credit.
23. Bobby Wallace
-------------------------PHOM In/Out Line--------------------------
24. Dick Lundy - Just outside my PHOM. If we continued for 1 more year, he'd be in my PHOM.
(Phil Rizzuto)
(Johnny Pesky)
25. Joe Sewell
(Dave Bancroft) - Real close to Sewell
   32. mulder & scully Posted: July 11, 2008 at 06:54 AM (#2852645)

I use a mix of Win Shares and Dan R. WARP. I consider peak and prime first, then career and per “season.” I give slight bonuses for Gold Gloves and All-Star seasons. I am very liberal with credit for wars and labor disputes. I am generally quite supportive of NeL players. WARP and WS are in complete agreement 1 through 7 (well with Lloyd and Wright added in.) and at the bottom as well. From about 8 through 19 there is a significant disconnect.

1. Honus Wagner: Duh. 16 time all-star by WARP, 14 times by WS. Best peak/prime/career

2. John Henry Lloyd: Would love to see revised MLEs done for him, (Never mind, see post 88 on the Lloyd thread) but as far as I know, the HoF has not released the new numbers. Even using the primitive numbers, Lloyd has the 2nd best career to Wagner and a top 10 prime.

3. Arky Vaughan: Among the post-93 candidates, easily the second best hitter by WARP. 10 time all-star by WARP, 9 times by WS. 2nd best prime, peak, seasonal numbers to Wagner.

4. Cal Ripken: I never liked him as a player and I was 10 during his rookie year. I was impressed by his early achievements (thank you Abstracts for showing how good he was defensively), but I just never felt any sort of fanfare for him. In a knot with Yount, Dahlen, and Davis for 3rd best career. A top 10 peak and top 6 prime. 8 time WARP all-star, 9 times WS. 6 WARP gold gloves and 5 from WS.

5. George Wright: Great fielder. Regarded as the best player in the game for several years. A monster peak and prime using the NA translated WS. Depending on the credit for 1869 and 1870, you could push him up to 3rd, but I am happy with him here.

6. Robin Yount: The opposite of Ripken. I always liked Yount as a player. Even living my whole life on the West Coast and not reading Dan Okrent’s 9 Innings until he was retired. In a rough tie for third best career, top 10 peak, and top 5 prime. But Ripken could field so much better.

7. Joe Cronin: I was a little surprised, but both systems liked him equally. There is dispute after this, but they agree to here. Top 10 peak, top 6 prime in WS. Only Wagner, Vaughan, and Ripken are appreciably ahead in WARP prime with a tie for 6th best peak (3 straight years). 5 time all-star in both systems, 5 times WARP gold glover and 4 times by WS.

8. George Davis: Better bat then Dahlen and I give credit for 1903. 7 time all-star by WARP and 4 times WS.

9. Luke Appling: WWII adjustments included. Great old player. WARP says 6 time all-star and no GG, while WS says 5 and 2. A good hitter, but Davis was better.

10. Bill Dahlen: A great defender, but defensive analysis of 1890s/1900s players is a little more speculative than hitting. Behind Davis and Appling in either system anyway. WARP says 3 all-stars and 5 GG, while WS says 3 and 3.

11. Grant Johnson: I have to go by what others have said. I generally agree with Chris Cobb’s evaluation of NeLers and his election was before I started. I did reread his thread, such as it is, but I have not had the time to read the original ballot threads. But, strong hitter at the start and end of his career and strong reputation…

12. Ozzie Smith: In WARP, Ozzie has 25.1 defensive WARP. Wagner is next with 19.4 and then Dahlen’s 18.5. WARP says 8 all-stars and 12 GG, while WS says 6 and 10.

13. Willie Wells: Tried to fit him in around Appling. Probably had a better peak than the MLEs suggest. There are a lot of really good shortstops here in the middle.

14. Alan Trammell: WS hates him in my system because of the lack of year-to-year durability, but he does well in WARP, I think, because the replacement shortstop level was so dreadful and even when hurt, Trammell so far above that line.

15. Pee Wee Reese: Consistency. With War credit, a 9 or 10 time all-star in both systems. Lacks the big hitting years to move up the ladder.

16. Lou Boudreau: WARP really likes him. A very good player both at bat and in the field. WARP says 5 all-stars and 6 GG, while WS says just 3 and 1.

17. Ernie Banks: For some reason, I have a general dislike of Banks. Probably stems from him being a Cub and being overrated by the MSM. A great player while at shortstop. 4 years over 8 WARP.

18. Hughie Jennings: Short career (even shorter than Moore) but a fantastic hitting and fielding peak. One of 5 players on the ballot with a 10 WARP year. (Wagner had 5, Ripken and Vaughan had 2 each, and Banks had 1.)

19. Jack Glasscock: A better hitter than many below him. 4 WS GG and All-Stars. Very good fielder.

20. John Montgomery Ward: A very good fielder and not a strong bat. Long career and lots of importance off the playing field.

21. Dobie Moore: I think he put together enough value in his short career to merit inclusion. He very, very good hitter.

22. Dickey Pearce: Created the position. An excellent fielder, but not a great hitter.

23. Dick Lundy: third from the bottom in both systems. Lacked the strong bat that top finishers here have.

24. Joe Sewell: second from last in both systems. Sure, he racked up lots of best in league in the 1920s: Lloyd, Moore, Lundy, and Wells couldn’t play against him.

25. Bobby Wallace: last in both systems

Off to a couple of conventions in the next three weeks (AALL and the Comic-Con), but I'll keep up the reading.
   33. Bob Allen Posted: July 11, 2008 at 02:38 PM (#2852778)
In approaching the problem of ranking players I know little about, I thought it best to be guided (but not controlled) by the placement that others thought appropriate. I have little knowledge of or interest in the pre-National Association days, not much interest in the NA proper, and although I have done a lot of reading about the Negro Leagues, I don’t claim to be well versed there either. If I’m missing a lot of fun, so be it. Anyway, here is my ballot, mostly without comment.

1. Honus Wagner – an easy choice
2. Cal Ripken Jr.
3. Arky Vaughan
4. John Henry Lloyd
5. George Davis
6. Bill Dahlen
7. Joe Cronin
8. Robin Yount
9. Luke Appling
10. Grant Johnson
11. Ernie Banks - When he was a shortstop, he was really valuable
12. Lou Boudreau – As noted in my prelim, he had everything (bat, glove, leadership) except a bunch of declining years. Besides, he was the star of the first MLB game I attended, and I even had my dad buy a small souvenir bat with Lou's name on it.
13. Ozzie Smith
14. Alan Trammell
15. George Wright - Seems to me that more than one player so far has been touted as “the best” among pre-1871 baseballers.
16. Bobby Wallace – I think he’s being underrated by this group
17. Jack Glasscock
18. Joe Sewell
19. Monty Ward
20. Pee Wee Reese
21. Dickey Pearce
22. Willie Wells
23. Hughie Jennings
24. Dick Lundy
25. Dobie Moore
   34. sunnyday2 Posted: July 11, 2008 at 04:35 PM (#2852927)
Seems to me that more than one player so far has been touted as “the best” among pre-1871 baseballers.

Well, pre-1871 covers about a decade. I'd say that it would be expected that about 3 or 4 players might be considered "the best" at one time or another over the course of a decade.

Jim Creighton was the first to be considered "the best" baseball player. A pitcher, he was the first to find ways to finesse the rules (which required the pitcher to serve up the ball such that the batter could hit it). IOW, he tried to get batters out. He not only got away with it, it of course became the norm. He was also an outstanding hitter. His early death after about 2 years of elite play cannot obscure the fact that he was unanimously regarded as the greatest player in the game, and one who revolutionized the game as well.

Harry Wright was regarded by some as a great player because of his "scientific hitting." It is not clear what this means, however, and the hitting statistics don't really back up the claim of Harry Wright as a great hitter. He was, however, the first great manager.

Dickey Pearce basically invented the positon of shortstop and was probably the dominant defensive player of the '60s. He was also a competent hitter but in the mold of future shortstops. IOW the game had begun to experience enough specialization (which some people say is--specialization is--evidence of maturity within a system) that people didn't expect the shortstop to necessarily be the best hitter. The comp is Ozzie Smith.

The best hitter of the latter '60s--after the war--was clearly Joe Start.

But the one guy (or the one other guy after Jim Creighton) who was both a great defender and a great hitter was George Wright. An excellent shortstop, though probably not quite Dickey Pearce or Ozzie Smith, he was also one of if not the best hitter in the 1869-70 years when the game really matured. His brother (Harry) put together the Cincinnat Red Stockings and George was their star among stars. His OPS+ beginning in '71 was 200-141-157-150-159-134 (among the top 5 he was 2-x-3-5-5). Not earth-shattering. Barnes was 5-1-x-x-1, Meyerle led twice (in fact, he was 1-5-x-1-x-4), and Pike and Hall had 200+. Pike was 3-x-x-2-1-3. So the best shortstop didn't quite hit like the best OF or even the best 2B. He didn't even hit like Honus Wagner. But if Pearce is Ozzie, then how about G. Wright compared to Ripken, who has a 3 and a 5 on OPS+, and that's it.

And then, after Creighton, Al Spalding was just a young guy, 18-19-20 when he came to notoriety, 21 in 1871, but probably already the best pitcher in the game before 1871. But I don't think at that time that people thought of the best pitcher as being the best or most valuable player, as would come to be very soon become the case if you're looking at WS or WARP.

Anyway, I think the progression of "best" players in the 1860s was Creighton for sure, maybe Pearce, Start briefly, then G. Wright. And if G. Wright was not the best player in the NA, it's only because of Ross Barnes and possibly Al Spalding, if you believe pitchers were as valuable as WS and WARP say they were.

G. Wright, in short, was probably "the best" 1869-70, and one of the top 3 1871-75 or ' 76. A 7-8 year peak.

Ripken (the comp) was #1 in 1983 and 1984 and in that freakish 1991, and top 5ish (AL only) 1985-88. I don't think you can stretch it any more than that. A 9-year peak.
   35. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 11, 2008 at 05:36 PM (#2852999)
Mulder & Scully--That's right about Trammell. He's also helped by the low standard deviation of his era--it boosts him about 10% vs. someone like Cronin, which is highly significant. Boudreau needs a war deduction that is not included in my system.

Surprised to see Bobby Wallace so low for someone who makes use of my system, unless you're an extreme peak voter. He played at an extremely high level of 5.2 WARP2 per season--for comparison's sake, the median best player at a position in an average league-season is 6.1--over 12 straight years. The late-aughts AL was *not* easy to dominate.
   36. bjhanke Posted: July 12, 2008 at 07:53 AM (#2853849)
1. HONUS WAGNER - In my opinion, the greatest position player of all time. If you count pitching, of course, there's this guy named Ruth....

2. GEORGE WRIGHT - My defense of this very high placement takes so much space that I've put it in a separate post that I sent out right after this one, rather than interrupting the ballot in the middle. The essence of the argument is that, within the 1870s, if not George Wright this high, then who? Somebody from the decade has to be an absolute top end guy, or it's not a real Major League decade. I picked George here.

3. POP LLOYD - One of the most disorienting things about the HoM voting here is the change in Negro League player reputations. When I first got interested in the NgL, back in the early 1980s, the Big Names were Lloyd, Gibson, and Paige, along with Rube Foster as a sort of pitcher/magnate combo. Since then, there have been people like Charleston and Suttles who have moved way up in rep, while Paige has taken a hit. Lloyd and Gibson, though, have not changed. That has a lot of weight for me. I feel very secure with this placement.

4. ARKY VAUGHAN - This is one of my highest placements ever for a guy who lost a couple of years to, essentially, a retirement fueled by a feud (with Leo Durocher). It's very odd to have someone with a career break end up this high. The only other player with that kind of career break whom I expect to have this high is Home Run Baker.

5. GEORGE DAVIS - Underrated for decades because he had the misfortune to be a contemporary of Honus. If you take Honus out of the equation, Davis looks dominant to me. It also didn't help that George had a lot of contemporaries with tremendous defense, which made his good defense look worse than it was, and is probably the reason he played so much at other positions. I also give him a small boost up for playing on teams owned by madmen, being dragged into the politics, but essentially staying focused on playing, despite the distractions. A lot of other guys would have just collapsed in that environment.

6. CAL RIPKEN - Obviously outstanding, but I don't think chasing The Streak helped him. He showed signs of wearing down in mid-career, and I think he would rank higher if he had taken the occasional day off. It doesn't help that he made a lot of outs to weigh against his production. His teams also wasted a lot of his value by just penciling him in as a cleanup or #5 hitter, and then thinking that they didn't need to worry so much about offense at other positions. That's a common mistake and it leads to lost pennants. If you have someone like Ripken, you really should just ignore him when you're making up your offseason lineup. You then acquire a full lineup at other positions, and Ripken becomes a big "surprise" help. The O's didn't do that, and it cost them.

7. ERNIE BANKS - My opinion is that Ernie Banks did not need to be moved to first base when the Cubs did that. He was no longer a real shortstop, but he certainly could have played third base or right field, and would have had more value if they had moved him either place. Then they could have gotten a better hitter than Ernie to play first, and the team would have been better off. But Ron Santo was at third in 1962, and the Cubbie outfield was Billy Williams, the young Lou Brock, and George Altman, who hit .318 with 22 homers. It's an odd deal. The Cubs were a poor team, with a revolving door at manager, but all their strengths were at the positions that Ernie could have occupied. BTW, the stats look to me like Ernie got hurt in 1961, which might have forced the move off of short, but I can't find any mention of an injury. Does anyone know more?

8. BILL DAHLEN - Erratic in the 1890s, but at a high level. Half the time, he's a MVP candidate with very very good offense and Gold Glove defense, and then there are the other years. The dead ball era killed his offense, even relative to the league. Still, a lot of seasons and a lot of outstanding ones.

9. LUKE APPLING - Played 21 years with an OBP of .399 and a SLG of .398. Change those to .400 and .400, and I bet his ranking moves up, even though the difference is negligible. I have a principle here: If you have a player at a defense position, like catcher or short, you are generally not looking for mid-lineup batting. And in back-half batting, what you want is for the guy to just avoid going out. All you want is for him to pass the offense along to the guys who can really hit. Appling was MUCH better than that, but the fact remains that you have a shortstop here who never hurt his offense, because he never made any outs. That's a big one for me.

10. OZZIE SMITH - I've already posted up enough on Ozzie. I did dock him a bit for the arm problem, but I also think more of his offense than most do. It's like Appling. Ozzie was a #8 hitter who made few outs, bunted wonderfully and stole bases wonderfully. True, he had no real power, but again, he's a back-half batter who didn't stop the offense. Remember, if your #8 hitter comes up with two out and gets on base, you have to pitch to the pitcher to get out of the inning. If the #8 guy goes out, you get the luxury of pitching to the pitcher leading off the next inning. Ozzie made you pitch to the pitcher. Also, in his good years, Ozzie would have hit leadoff or second on any other team, and did hit there for a year or two. But there's a reason why White Herzog's Cardinals were called "Jack Clark and the seven leadoff men."

11. DEVIL WELLS - His reputation among Negro League experts would place him about even with George Davis. I don't know that I buy that, but I can't ignore it. With Negro Leaguers, I tend to put weight on reputation, because the stats are so fuzzy.

12. ROBIN YOUNT - Would obviously rate higher if he had played shortstop his entire career. And I don't know that he should not have. I might have put up with even less defense to get that bat at short. But, then, he was a pretty good defensive center fielder. I don't know.

13. PEE WEE REESE - Continuing with the Appling theme, it's true that Reese does not have any monster seasons. But what you have here is two decades where you don't have to worry about shortstop defense and you get a guy who doesn't go out, and he even has a little power. Two decades. No worries at short, and no worries at leadoff or second hitter. I can give up some peak to get that.

14. JOE CRONIN - Similar to having Pee Wee Reese, but for three fewer years.

15. LOU BOUDREAU - Now it's down to five fewer years, but the defense has gone up even higher. Given his lack of speed, Boudreau may have a claim to being the best shortstop ever at positioning himself.

16. ALAN TRAMMELL - Offense like having Reese or Cronin or Boudreau. Defense not nearly as good, so he ends up here.

17. JOHN MONTGOMERY WARD - Credit for pitching included. Ranking is a guess, because rating the pitchers from his era against the position players ain't easy.

18. PEBBLY JACK GLASSOCK - Might be underrated. A nice long career, virtually all at shortstop, with a good peak, hot glove, and not many poor years. Looks better if you amortize his playing time out to 154-game seasons.

19. GRANT JOHNSON - Well, as long as I'm guessing, I might as well throw in Johnson. Even with the threads here, I have no real sense of what exactly was there.

20. HUGHIE JENNINGS - Career makes no sense unless you assume his throwing arm fell off in 1899. I can't find any mention, but this ranking is based on that assumption, because I don't know what else to do. His OBP looks great when you count his HBP, which were many, in addition to his walks, which were not.

21. DICKIE PEARCE - Such a good reputation. So little statistical evidence. This is where the balancing act ended up.

22. BOBBY WALLACE - Long career gives him the edge over the next three.

23. DOBIE MOORE - I'm giving him some credit for army play.

24. JOE SEWELL - The early move to third, especially since he was replaced by a revolving door, makes no more sense than the quick decline. I can't find any mention of an injury anywhere around 1929. His manager during the entire transition was Roger Peckinpaugh, who ought to have known who could play short and who could not.

25. DICK LUNDY - Another guess. I'm pretty sure I don't have him ranked too high. This is a tough crowd.
   37. bjhanke Posted: July 12, 2008 at 07:54 AM (#2853850)
Many of you may remember that, when I first located this group, I said that I had done some similar research back when I was doing the BBBAs. I also said that I can't just post the stuff right up because it was two computers ago, and did not survive the transitions. All of this is true, but I do remember some things, like my high rankings of Buck Ewing and George Wright here. I also remember how I came by them, and the technique looks like it might be useful here.

What I was doing was responding to the Historical Abstract's deep underrating of pretty much the entire 19th century. I realized that I could conjure up any number of mathematical adjustments, but I would have no idea of whether they were working unless I had a Plausibility Test: some way of seeing whether the various major league decades were actually balanced.

So what I did was make a Plausibility Grid. I decided that there are 13 starting spots on the average (of all time, not at any particular time) major league roster: the 8 position players, four starters and a closer. I realized that the 1870s through the 1990s, inclusive, come to a convenient 13 decades of major league play. So the grid has the 13 decades as columns, and the 13 starter slots as the rows. Using whatever system I came up with, the best guy at his position got 13 points (the best five pitchers get 13 points each, etc.), the second guy got 12 and so on down to the 13th guy, who got 1 point for his decade and his position. So, the 1900s get 13 points at shortstop for Honus, etc.

This is hardly detailed, but it does give you a quick overview - you get to see the forest instead of wallowing among the mathematical trees. And it's not rigid. The 1940s, for example have both Williams and Musial, and so get 13+12=25 points out of left field alone. The idea, then, is not to be rigid about the slots, but to make sure that each decade has some top guys, some middle guys and some weak (among the top 13 at a position) guys. And overall, a decade should have about 91 points, which is the sum of the digits from 1 to 13. Any decade with fewer than 70 is a problem to me, above 110 is also a problem.

What I then found, which was a surprise, was that it was hard to get anyone from the 1870s or 1880s, or even the 1890s, into the top three at any position. We're just not used to thinking of players from that century as the absolute best at any spot. Well, this is also happening here in the Hall of Merit. There is no one from the 19th century who has even one vote from even one voter for first place at his position. My vote here for George Wright ties with six votes for Anson and Brouthers for the highest in the 19th century. There is no one from the 1870s, except George here, who has received even one vote from any voter for any place higher than fifth. I have cast more votes for 19th century guys in the top three than any other voter, and now have the only one from the 1870s.

And that's wrong. This group, of all the groups I have ever seen, is the most interested in doing justice to very early professional base ball. There is no lack of desire here. What I think is happening is 1) even we are just not used to saying "Player X from the 1870s or 1880s was the very best there ever was at his position", and 2) no one has made up a Plausibility Grid to catch us at this. Well, I made up that grid a decade ago, and can remember just enough of it to catch the problem here.

So my challenge, meant in the spirit of research and certainly not as criticism, is for everyone here to look at the 1870s, the 1880s, and the 1890s and answer the question, "Who is The Guy in this decade? The Guy I'm going to vote #1, #2 or #3." In the 1880s, Buck Ewing is My Guy. In the 1870s, it's George Wright here. Who are yours?

Now, there are a couple of caveats for me to add. First, early baseball has fewer teams and fewer players than any other period. So those decades might be light on points. If the 1870s end up with one 2, a 4, two 5s, a 7, two 8s, a 10, two 11s and a 13, that's fine by me. It's only 70 points for the decade, which is pushing the limit, but the nature of a low sample size is that you get a tall but thin distribution. However, if there really never is anyone ranked in the top 3 (top 15 among pitchers), well, I think that's a problem. That would imply that the 1870s don't just have a high standard deviation, they have a low mean and were, therefore, not really major league years. I don't buy that, and the premise here is to not buy that. The Plausibility Test is a way of making sure it doesn't happen by accident.

The second caveat is pitchers. As Bill James mentioned, and as the history of almost any sport supports, in early leagues, the top talent tends to dominate overall, not just in a specialty. So in high school ball, often the pitcher hits cleanup and plays shortstop when he's not pitching. And indeed, the best hitters among pitchers are concentrated in the 1800s. It's not a coincidence that My Guys from the 1870s and 1880s are a shortstop and a catcher, the two hardest defensive spots.

Well, what positions do we have left after shortstop here? Third base and the outfield, which are the least likely positions to generate A Guy, and pitcher. Some of you may well be prepared to fill out the top slots from the 1800s with pitchers. And you may well be right. But if you're not going to do that, where is Your Guy going to come from? That's why I'm writing this up now. I don't think you're going to find an outfielder or third baseman. And I don't want anyone feeling forced to vote Al Spalding or Tommy Bond as one of the best five pitchers of all time just because his 1870s ballot isn't plausible otherwise.

And so, my challenge. If you're one of the voters who have an established mathematical rating system, fill out the Plausibility Grid and see what you have. Anyone in the Top Three (top 15 pitchers) from the 1870s? The 1880s? The 1890s? If not, may I politely suggest that you look at your system again. It may be right, but I have my doubts. And for those of you without such a tool, take a look at the future. Who are you going to be voting for in the upcoming slots? Do you have A Guy from the 1870s? The 1880s? The 1890s? It's just now starting to get a little late to not have made that decision. I wanted to post this before it got really too late. So thanks for reading, and I hope no one is too torqued off. That's not what I'm trying to do. I'm trying, as best I can, to help. This voting group is worth the effort.

Yours, Brock
   38. TomH Posted: July 12, 2008 at 01:45 PM (#2853896)
Well written, Brock. Too much yard work today to respond with rigor. I will say offhand that had Dan Brouthers been much more durable, he would be very close to the top of 1Bmen.
   39. andrew siegel Posted: July 12, 2008 at 03:47 PM (#2853967)
Here is a cut-and-paste fo my prelim with a few guys changed after I looked at my notes:

(1) Wagner
(2) Lloyd--Very similar in skills and level of achievement to Arod.
(3) Vaughan--I agree with Bill James, not with you guys on Arky v. Cal.
(4) Ripken--You either need to timeline a lot or give lots of credit for mediocre seasons to get him to #2 (or, as DanR points out, assume that the only alternative was Alfredo Griffin).
(5) Davis
(6) Dahlen
(7) G. Wright--This seems the fair balance. He was the best player in the game, but the game was still a little immature and his career was slightly short.
(8) Appling--Vastly underrated.
(9) Yount--Uneven career but high peak and lots of career value.
(10) Johnson--Very speculative, but all the evidence points to him being at the level of Cronin--clearly, easily an HoMer but not an All-Time great.
(11) Cronin
(12) Wells--Also seems to fit here.
(13) Glasscock
(14) Banks--I think peak/prime is an independent axis of evaluation, not just a multiplier for portions of your career value, so I have him comfortably in the middle third of my PHoM.
(15) Ozzie--This is the comfortably in but not much more than that crowd.
(16) Trammell--Same crowd.
(17) Boudreau--Still in the crowd.
(18) Reese--Him too.
(19) Wallace--Loks better now than when we elected him, maybe b/c/ I appreciate defense a bit more. Could go higher.
(20) Jennings--I buy WARP's evaluation of his peak as at the Mays/Morgan/Speaker level. Wouldn't make my PHoM based on five seasons otherwise.
(21) Ward--Ranking here is arbitrary. Probably should be a bit higher.
(22) Sewell--Comfortable with his election.
(23) Lundy--A lot turns on whether he was a 96 OPS+ hitter or a 104.
(24) Moore--Was a big fan until I realized his peak wasn't all that.
(25) Pearce--I'm a hater.
   40. Chris Cobb Posted: July 12, 2008 at 04:29 PM (#2853996)
Shortstops Ballot

As with my other positional ballots, I have divided the players into seven tiers, going from “All-Time Top 10” (which actually includes about 14 players) to “Mistakes.” It’s worth noting that there are some players here who rank very low on the shortstop ballot who are nevertheless far above the HoM in-out line. This is the case because, even though we have elected more shortstops that almost any other position, we have still held shortstops to a higher standard than other positions. There are half a dozen shortstops who are as good or better than the weaker selections at the other infield positions.

That I give significant weight to career in my system is more evident in this ballot than in some others, since we have several players here whose argument is peak-only, and several whose argument is career-only. I like the latter more than the peak-oriented consensus of this voting pool, the former less.

I. All-Time Top 10
1. Honus Wagner. Total = 724. All time top five. He is perhaps the only player ever to be both the best offensive player and the best defensive player in the game at the same time (George Wright in the late 1860s is the only other player I can think of who might lay claim to that distinction, though Mays and Mantle might have been close).

II. Inner-Circle HoMers
2.John Henry Lloyd. Est. total = 466. Excellent on defense and offense, and played forever and a day. Brent’s statistical analysis helps me be more comfortable with my system’s ranking of Lloyd based on earlier estimates, so I have flipped him and Ripken from my prelim. Clearly the best black ballplayer of his generation.
3. Cal Ripken. Total = 422. Much more than the streak. Like several other inner-circle players, Ripken was able to become exceptionally valuable by doing something that went against the game’s conventional wisdom: being a big, power-hitting shortstop in an era of scrawny, singles-hitting shortstops made Ripken’s offense even more valuable.

III. Among the best players of their generation
4. Arky Vaughan. Total = 395. The greatest shortstop peak after Wagner. If he hadn’t walked away from the game for three years, he’d probably be in the inner circle.
5. George Davis. Total = 397. Doesn’t have Vaughan’s tremendous peak, but an all-star caliber player for fifteen years.
6. Bill Dahlen. Total = 420. George Davis’s double, except that he had more value with the glove and less with the bat. I rank him below Davis even though his total is higher because Davis’s total doesn’t include his missed season due to interleague warfare and because his fielding value is a little bit more speculative.
7. Luke Appling. Total = 388. Odd career shape: one of the best old shortstops of all time. It’s his durability, in a career-sense, that makes him one of his generation’s signature players.
8.Robin Yount. Total = 384. Great, great peak before his injury and his shift to centerfield, but unlike Ernie Banks, still an outstanding player for several years after the position change.
9. Grant Johnson. Est. total = 380. What we know of Johnson is that he was an outstanding hitter early in his career, an outstanding hitter late in his career, and that in between he played shortstop for all of the top black teams of his era, moving to second base only when he shared the infield with a young John Henry Lloyd in the later years of his own career. Could rank anywhere in this group, or even belong in the inner circle. The lack of any anecdote about his fielding brilliance suggests, though, that he was most probably about like George Davis in the distribution of his talents. Like Lloyd after him, he was the best black ballplayer of his generation, but the smaller pool of players leads me to rank him a bit more conservatively than I have ranked Lloyd.
10. George Wright. Est. Total = 370. Another player whose value was a bit uncertain, but who was clearly among the best ballplayers of his generation. Not as spectacular a peak as his contemporary Ross Barnes, but a longer career. A tremendous defensive shortstop and a good, sometimes outstanding hitter. His career was relatively short, however, which puts him at the bottom of this group.

IV. Obvious HoMers
11. Willie Wells. Total = 335. Wells’ profile is a lot like Luke Appling’s: very good but not great hitter and very good but not great fielder in a long career. Extreme park effects make his hitting peak not as great as it appears in the raw stats, and fielding reputation is a little uneven, so he lands in the “obvious HoMer” group rather than the “among the best of his generation” group.
12. Alan Trammell. Total = 330. Another balanced candidate like Wells, though probably a bit better on the hitting side and a little worse on the fielding side. I knew he was a notable HoF oversight when this project began, but I had no idea how egregious it was.
13. Joe Cronin. Total = 330. Great prime, but not much value outside of it. Looked at in context, he and Trammell are very similar players. The group is overrating Cronin and underrating Trammell.
14. Pee Wee Reese. Total = 323. Reese heads a group of four closely bunched candidates, all of whom were superior defensive shortstops with long careers who hit at league average or a bit better. Reese was the best hitter of the group, but the weakest fielder. He was excellent in his prime, but was a below-average defender later in his career. This combination leaves him a step behind the Wells/Trammell/Cronin cluster.
15. Ozzie Smith. Total = 321. The greatest defensive shortstop of all time, and enough offensive value to be a great player, though he is still the weakest bat among elected shortstops.
16. Bobby Wallace. Total = 320. A little less defense than Ozzie, and little more offense. Seriously undervalued by the group.
17. Jack Glasscock. Total = ????. About like Bobby Wallace.
18. Ernie Banks. Total = 308. Frequently overrated, as seen by the many ballots putting him in the top 10 shortstops. As a shortstop, he was a truly brilliant player, though assessments of his defense are mixed. Even for a peak voter, though, the highest I can see Banks going is about 9 or 10. His first-base decline phase adds very little to his value. If he had George Sisler’s prime, he would be a borderline candidate, but his prime was so good that he is an obvious HoMer, even with a decade of indifferent play at first base.
19. Lou Boudreau. Total = 307. Something of a forgotten player. He was a great player, but his career was short. Higher in the overall rankings than in the shortstop rankings, because we have, on the whole, underrated the shortstops.

V. Solid HoMers when you read the fine print
20. Dickey Pearce. Total = ???? The game’s first great player (second if you count Jim Creighton), a defensive innovator (he may have invented the shortstop position as we know it) and an effective hitter. Even harder to put a number value on him than on Joe Start, since we have detailed statistics only for his decline phase, but what statistics we have show him to have been probably the best player during the Civil War years and at least an average hitter through the 1860s.
21. Hughie Jennings. Total = 257? The best player in baseball during his five-year peak. He brings almost nothing else to the table (his decline phase makes Ernie Banks’ look meaningful by comparison), but that peak is just enough to put him solidly in.
22. Monte Ward. Total = ????. Hard player to rank, as are all the pitcher-position player combinations (except for Babe Ruth, of course). Probably not a HoMer without his pitching years.
23. Joe Sewell. Total = 254. About 3/5 of Cal Ripken.
24. Dick Lundy. Est. total = 247. By reputation, the best defensive shortstop in the Negro Leagues. Probably a little bit above league average as a hitter in the high average, middling power, low walks hitting type.

VI. Almost as good an argument to be out, as to be in

None. This tier would contain players like Dave Bancroft, Dave Concepcion, Bert Campaneris, Phil Rizzuto, Johhny Pesky, and Rabbit Maranville if we were to elect them.

VII. Mistakes
25. Dobie Moore. Total = 218. Nice peak, but it was a Joe Cronin peak, not a Hughie Jennings/George Wright/Ernie Banks peak, and with Moore’s Hughie Jennings’ size career, that doesn’t do it for me. He would probably have had a legitimate HoM career if he had not been injured, but that’s not what happened. This ranking includes credit for his Army baseball career.
   41. Willie Mays Hayes Posted: July 12, 2008 at 04:50 PM (#2854009)
SS Ballot

1. Honus Wagner - In the top 5 all time. Great glove, transcendent bat, had it all.
2. Arky Vaughan - Might be my favorite player ever. What a ridiculous peak. I think he is underrated with the glove, and had more bat than most corners of his era.
3. John Henry Lloyd - Durable, great glove, great bat, a shame more people don't know about him.
4. Cal Ripken, Jr - I think the streak colors our perception of him a bit, but was truly an all-time great. Changed the face of the position.
5. George Davis - Better defensively than hes given credit for in most circles, hurt by the direct comparison to Wagner. Still a top -5 SS, in my book.
6. Bill Dahlen - Ozzie Smith with much more bat, perhaps.
7. George Wright - Tough to place due to the era he played in, but the batting numbers speak for themselves.
8. Ernie Banks - I myself, am surprised to see him this high, but the peak as a Shortstop was remarkable.
9. Robin Yount - A shade below Mr. Cub.
10. Alan Trammell - A crime he isn't in Cooperstown. Played great defense, very good with the bat.
11. Luke Appling - Very underrated. Could get on base, which is what you wanted from a shortstop, and field his position very well.
12. Home Run Johnson - Speaks to the quality of the position that I have him here. Hit very well, not sure on the glove, but it was enough.
13. Willie Wells - Evidence points to a black version of Luke Appling. Good enough for me.
14. Ozzie Smith - Transcendent with the glove. Excellent baserunner. Fits the profile.
15. Pee Wee Reese - Strong with the glove, Appling - like at the plate.
16. Dobie Moore - A lot of folks may not like this. I love his peak.
17. Hughie Jennings - Possibly the best in the game during his peak. The fact that there's nothing else costs him points.
18. Bobby Wallace - Ozzie-lite? A bit more bat, and not quite the glove, obviously.
19. Jack Glasscock - Similar to Wallace, plated forever.
20. Dickey Pearce - Evidence says he was a great defender. Other than that, I'm lost.
21. Lou Boudreau - Short career, sure. But there was enough in it to be here.
22. Joe Cronin - Good peak/prime, but not much else. Certainly below Jennings, for me.
23. John Ward - Without the pitching, is he a HOM'er? I think so, but barely.
24. Dick Lundy - Perhaps Ozzie with the glove, and the bat seems similar, if not a bit worse.
25. Joe Sewell - Someone's got to be 25, and its Sewell. He was a very good player, and he belongs, but I don't think he measures up to his NGL contemporaries, and that places him here.
   42. Paul Wendt Posted: July 12, 2008 at 09:17 PM (#2854271)
20. HUGHIE JENNINGS - Career makes no sense unless you assume his throwing arm fell off in 1899. I can't find any mention, but this ranking is based on that assumption, because I don't know what else to do. His OBP looks great when you count his HBP, which were many, in addition to his walks, which were not.

His arm fell off in 1898. When the Baltimore deal was in the works off-season, a projected team for Brooklyn was
3B Dahlen
SS Jennings
1B Kelley
CF Griffin
RF,LF Keeler and Jones (Brooklyn has Sheckard too, expected to go to Baltimore).

In March or so, Jennings was coaching the Cornell team. He wasn't yet obliged until June but baseball writers knew that he was iffy. A big question mark, will he be able to play shortstop again. I don't recall whether he traveled south with the Bro or Bal players or was a late arrival in Georgia or Brooklyn.
After he was with the team, I do recall reading both Hanlon won't let Jennings throw in cold weather and that Jennings can't throw. And that he might be a full-time student at the law school as early as that fall, which would oblige him until June 1901. Maybe not all fans and sportswriters but I'm sure that all of baseball including the writers knew his arm trouble was serious, and that he was looking to another future himself.
(Jennings' name was in the paper a lot in 1899-00-01. Partly because he was coaching Cornell. Partly because his ability to play, his available date, and after 1900 his employer were in doubt or even in court. Partly because he was a big star.)
   43. OCF Posted: July 12, 2008 at 10:50 PM (#2854356)
My ballot:

1. (So obvious that even if I don't name him you know exactly who goes here).

-- Can I quit now? No? --

2. Ripken. Not as good an offensive player as his contemporary, Yount, and not as good an offensive peak/prime as Vaughan or as good an offensive career as Davis. Goes ahead because of his career defensive value - more games at SS than those players, and a better defensive SS than most of them.

3. Vaughan. The best hitter of the bunch ("the bunch" meaning those in the 2-25 spots on the ballot).

4. Lloyd. Comparisons to Wagner don't make him Wagner - more of an A- hitter, as Ripken was also an A- hitter. But does have a terrific career. I'd be comfortable with any order among Ripken, Vaughan, or Lloyd.

5. Yount. A better CF than Banks was a 1B, and a better peak offensive player than Banks. (Do include his baserunning, including non-SB baserunning, in his offensive value.)

6. Dahlen: again, it comes down to Dahlen's defensive superiority and Davis's long, productive offensive career. Razor-thin call.

7. Davis

8. Appling
9. Cronin - hitters, both of them.

10. Wright. A top star of his own time, but the '69 Red Stockings didn't exactly face that high quality of opposition most of the time. Hard to evaluate. And to partly answer what Brock said above: the 1870's don't have to have produced any Wagner/Cobb/Mays level players. True outliers don't have to be evenly distributed.

11. Banks. Relatively short career as SS, but a good peak.

12. Johnson
13. Wells. Better documentation for Wells; hard to fairly compare. Probably somewhat similar.

14. Smith. Most of the games I saw him play, even on TV, were after he started having arm trouble. He was still jaw-droppingly good on defense. And he was the best offensive shortstop in the NL for several years, from the beaning of Thon to the emergence of Larkin.
15. Trammell. But of course he belongs, too.

16. Boudreau
17. Reese
18. Ward
19. Glasscock. One of the first ones I ever voted for.
20. Sewell
21. Wallace
22. Moore
23. Jennings - I never voted for any of these last three.
24. Pearce
25. Lundy
   44. bjhanke Posted: July 13, 2008 at 06:49 AM (#2854631)
Paul was able to come up with all of, "In March or so, Jennings was coaching the Cornell team. He wasn't yet obliged until June but baseball writers knew that he was iffy. A big question mark, will he be able to play shortstop again. I don't recall whether he traveled south with the Bro or Bal players or was a late arrival in Georgia or Brooklyn.
After he was with the team, I do recall reading both Hanlon won't let Jennings throw in cold weather and that Jennings can't throw. And that he might be a full-time student at the law school as early as that fall, which would oblige him until June 1901. Maybe not all fans and sportswriters but I'm sure that all of baseball including the writers knew his arm trouble was serious, and that he was looking to another future himself.
(Jennings' name was in the paper a lot in 1899-00-01. Partly because he was coaching Cornell. Partly because his ability to play, his available date, and after 1900 his employer were in doubt or even in court. Partly because he was a big star.)"

Jeez. Where do you find this stuff? I did everything I could think of except go down to Washington U. and look through the microfiche for 1898-99. I couldn't find anything, even though what I was looking for was apparently very commonly known at the time. I gotta get better resources.
   45. bjhanke Posted: July 13, 2008 at 07:00 AM (#2854634)
OCF offers, " And to partly answer what Brock said above: the 1870's don't have to have produced any Wagner/Cobb/Mays level players. True outliers don't have to be evenly distributed."

This is not my understanding of the premise of the Hall of Merit. Of course, I could be wrong about that. My understanding was that we were supposed to treat each decade of major league play as equal to any other. The best player in 1871 should be about equal to the best player in 1971. The mean of 1871's players should be about the same as for 1971. That doesn't mean that there has to be someone in the 1870s who is actually as good as Wagner or Mays, but I'm talking about someone finishing third or higher. We don't have anyone like that yet, and I'm wondering whether we will. I think it's hard to defend "we treat all decades equally" if there is a decade where there is no one as high as third at any position. Maybe that doesn't worry anyone else, in which case, I misunderstood. But I don't see any way to treat all decades equally if there is a decade, no matter when, that doesn't have anyone as high as third anywhere. I just don't see how that could happen without there being a mistake in the adjustments for time period. I am more than willing to be corrected, as I'm one of the latest people to enter these debates, but that's what I understand right now. And the fear of inadvertently messing up on that is why I wrote the huge George Wright comment.
   46. Esteban Rivera Posted: July 13, 2008 at 04:50 PM (#2854796)
This one has been tough. I've changed some of the players quite a few times. Even when I was writing the comments I kept shifting players around. Here goes my rank order as of today. Ask me tomorrow and I'll probably switch some of them again.

1) Honus Wagner - Easy number one.

2) John Henry Lloyd - Based on the available evidence.

3) Arky Vaughan - Edges ahead of Ripken on the peak performance.

4) Cal Ripken - The dross brings him down a bit.

5) George Davis - Brilliant shortstop. Edges Dahlen based on the higher offensive performance.

6) Bill Dahlen - Monster on defense.

7) George Wright - As high as I can place him.

8) Luke Appling - Longer career places him ahead of Cronin.

9) Joe Cronin - Similar to Appling in offensive and defensive profile but shorter career.

10) Willie Wells - Based on the available evidence.

11) Robin Yount - Him and Banks have similar profiles, but Yount was the more valuable one after the move off short.

12) Ernie Banks - Didn't do much at first base but what a run of years at shortstop.

13) Pee Wee Reese - Includes war credit.

14) Home Run Johnson - Based on the available evidence.

15) Ozzie Smith - Edges Trammell beacause of the better defense and durability.

16) Alan Trammell - Underrated player by today's fans.

17) Hughie Jennings - A higher peak than Moore.

18) Dobie Moore - Believe that his peak was Banks-like.

19) Lou Boudreau - His ranking does not speak badly of him but of the stacked line-up we have elected to the HOM. Wonderful all-around package.

20) Jack Glasscock - One more time: "The total package at shortstop."

21) Bobby Wallace - The next three guys bring career and defense.

22) John Ward - Has some pitching to go along with his shorstop play.

23) Dickey Pearce - Have always had doubts about Dickey. How about using the Dickey Pearce extrapolation/comparison method with Pedro Cepeda? Find how many shortstops have hit like Perucho at that age and work back from there.

24) Joe Sewell - Shortness of career places him here.

25) Dick Lundy - Last but certainly not least.
   47. Chris Cobb Posted: July 13, 2008 at 05:17 PM (#2854811)
Some of the rankings on Got Melky’s ballot call for comment.

Here are seasonal win shares, highest to lowest, for Dobie Moore, Hughie Jennings, Ernie Banks, and Joe Cronin. I am looking at WS because that’s what the MLEs for Moore use as a comprehensive metric. Jennings’ are adjusted to 154 game seasons. Banks’ 162-game seasons are not adjusted, but they are every season to the right of “19” below, except for 15 and 2.

Top 6 seasons are set off from the rest by a //, to highlight the scope of the peak.

Moore – 33, 32, 31, 25, 23, 22* // 8, Wreckers credit? (appx. 215 career, by my estimate)

Jennings – 42, 34, 34, 32, 28, 14 // 13, 11, 10, 9, 2 (229 career)

Banks – 33, 32, 31, 29, 28, 22 // 19, 18, 18, 17, 15, 15, 14, 14, 11, 9, 5, 2 (332 career)

Cronin – 35, 34, 33, 31, 30, 24 // 24, 23, 22, 19, 17, 16, 4, 4, 4, 3, 2, 1 (333 career)

*prorated 1920 season. Actually earned 9.7 ws in 62 est. games. I’ve projected that out to 140, since he joined the Monarchs in mid-season.

Here are Got Melky’s rankings of these three players, with comments.

8. Ernie Banks - I myself, am surprised to see him this high, but the peak as a Shortstop was remarkable.

16. Dobie Moore - A lot of folks may not like this. I love his peak.

17. Hughie Jennings - Possibly the best in the game during his peak. The fact that there's nothing else costs him points.

22. Joe Cronin - Good peak/prime, but not much else. Certainly below Jennings, for me.

So, how is exactly is Banks’ peak remarkable, Moore’s worth loving, and Cronin’s merely good, along with, well, a good prime, that doesn’t seem to make up for the fact that none of the other three candidates here a prime that could compare to Cronin’s in quality? How does this make sense??

We could look at a number of other metrics, but none of them will justify Banks as a top 10 shortstop and Cronin as not in the top 20. None of them will justify Jennings over Cronin except in a system that ignores all seasons except the best five. Give the measures that we have, I don’t see how Moore can be ranked ahead of Cronin, given that Cronin has the better peak, prime, and career.

These rankings appear to have no relation to any quantitative assessment of value I can think of.
   48. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 13, 2008 at 05:18 PM (#2854813)
In terms of a 19th century player in the top 3 all-time at his position, Cy Young will likely be either my #2 or my #3 starting pitcher. But he did spend half of his career in the 20th century. Nichols has a good shot at the top 10. Clarkson will be tougher to place but could do well.

I definitely don't agree with a decade quota system for these rankings. That said, I think the strongest case among 19th century position players for an elite placement is Anson, just because he was literally the only player from the era with a long career by 20th century standards. He had the same 133 OPS+ as a 19-year-rookie in 1871 that he did as a grizzled 42-year-old veteran in 1894.

I had no idea that George Davis deserved a year of credit for his missing 1903. That adds another $17M to his total, which pushes him past Dahlen and Ozzie for me.

I am the best friend of Alan Trammell on this board--clearly due to my giving him (and Ripken and Yount and Ozzie) credit for the low 1980's standard deviation and SS replacement level. And I'm surprised to see how much higher I have Bobby Wallace than the pack does--I think he's getting short shrift.

I use my career salary estimates for post-1893 MLB players and NgL'ers with MLE's, and guesses for the rest.

1. Hans
(Madonna's boytoy)
2. Cal
3. Pop
4. Arky
5. Appling
(Barry Larkin!)
6. Yount
7. Trammell
8. Davis
9. Wizard
10. Dahlen
11. Cronin
12. Wells
13. Reese
14. Banks
15. Wright
16. Johnson
17. Wallace
18. Boudreau
(Cap'n Jetes)
19. Glasscock
20. Lundy
21. Jennings
22. Sewell
23. Ward
24. Moore
25. Pearce
   49. Tiboreau Posted: July 13, 2008 at 10:10 PM (#2855216)
1) Honus Wagner
2) John Henry Lloyd
3) Cal Ripken
4) Arky Vaughan
5) Luke Appling
6) Robin Yount
7) George Davis
8) Bill Dahlen
9) Joe Cronin
10) Ernie Banks
11) Grant Johnson
12) Alan Trammell
13) Devil Wells
14) Lou Boudreau
15) Pee Wee Reese
16) Ozzie Smith
17) Hughie Jennings
18) George Wright
19) Bobby Wallace
20) Jack Glasscock
21) Dobie Moore
22) John M. Ward
23) Joe Sewell
24) Dick Lundy
25) Dickey Pearce
   50. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: July 13, 2008 at 10:12 PM (#2855220)
After the top spot, another tough ballot this time; I guess they'll all be from here out . . . the number in parenthesis is my Pennants Added number, adjusted for military service (or lack therof), which is based on DanR's WARP ratings.

1. Honus Wagner (2.66) - Arguably the greatest player of all time. The gap between Wagner and Ripken (who I have #2), is as big as the gap between Ripken and Maury Wills or Donnie Bush. Simply amazing.

2. Cal Ripken, Jr. (1.64) - People go wrong with (and underrate) Ripken because they compare him to other power hitters, not other shortstops.

3. John Henry Lloyd - Not quite Wagner, but still one of the all-time greats.

4. Arky Vaughan (1.42) - Could make a case for him as one of the most underrated players in history. I mean you've got a SS that lead the league in OBP 3 consecutive years (also leading in SLG one of those years), made 9 straight all-star teams, finished 3rd in the MVP vote 2x, and it took him 30 years to get into the Hall of Fame? When you knock the Veterans Committee, remember they weren't all mistakes. Without it guys the BBWAA whiffed on, like Vaughan, would be on the outside looking in.

5. Robin Yount (1.35) - A real throwback, MVP at SS and CF, torched the ball in the 1982 WS after an amazing regular season, amazingly only selected to 3 All-Star games.

6. Luke Appling (1.35) - Ageless, posted a 124 OPS+ in 141 games at SS at the age of 42 in 1949.

7. Bill Dahlen (1.31) - Arguably the best player that isn't in the Hall of Fame.

8. Alan Trammell (1.30) - Part of the argument with Dahlen. How Trammell is out and Ozzie isn't is amazing once you look at is closely. Pretty much everything Ozzie saved with the glove, Trammell made up for with the stick. Should have been the AL MVP in 1984 and 1987. He'd probably be in Cooperstown if he'd won those awards.

9. Ozzie Smith (1.30) - It's amazing how much he improved as a hitter after 1981.

10. Home Run Johnson - One of the, if not the best black hitter of the early part of the 20th Century. And he was a SS to boot. The Negro Leagues Committee, did a great job a few years ago, but they missed on Johnson, who was the first black HoMer.

11. George Davis (1.29) - Huge part of the hitless wonder White Sox as a 35-year old in 1906, posting a 119 OPS+. A real hitter for a player at a key defensive position, posting a 121 career OPS+ in over 9000 AB. But spent about 1/3 of his career off SS.

12. Jack Glasscock - Very similar to Trammell.

13. Willie Wells - Seems a little better than Cronin, not quite Appling.

14. Pee Wee Reese (1.24) - When you add in war credit, he becomes an obvious HoMer. Never great, but very good for a long time.

15. Joe Cronin (1.17) - Very good player, but this is tough competition. His career is a little shorter than most of the guys above him, so he drops.

16. Dick Lundy - Very tough player to slot. I think a hair behind Cronin is reasonable.

17. George Wright - He was a great player, but his time as a great ended at age 29, and he really only had one big year after that.

18. Bobby Wallace (1.08) - Don't forget his 2 pretty good seasons as a pitcher. Has the reputation as not much of a hitter, but posted a career 105 OPS+, which is very good for a great defensive SS.

19. Ernie Banks (1.04) - I am floored that he ranks this low. But he really only had 7 great years. Actually that's an understatement. He has 7 years above 2.5 WAR (using DanR's WAR). He's basically the George Sisler of shortstops.

20. Dickey Pearce - A very tough guy to slot. One of the best players of the 1860s, but I can't put him above Banks, who was one of the best players of the 1950s.

21. John Ward - Wasn't really much of a hitter. He's actually quite similar to Rizzuto, although not as good defensively. If you take his pitching career and add it to Rizzuto's non-war adjusted career, they are basically the same thing. I would slot Rizzuto in about this same spot, giving war credit.

22. Lou Boudreau (.99) - Played through the war, adjusting for that drops him a few spots. I have him about even with Rizzuto as well.

23. Joe Sewell (.93) - A solid HoMer, but not really at a level of those above him on this list.

24. Dobie Moore - A great player but only for a few years.

25. Hughie Jennings (.82) - Ditto.
   51. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: July 13, 2008 at 10:13 PM (#2855221)
Tiboreau, comments?
   52. Paul Wendt Posted: July 13, 2008 at 10:24 PM (#2855229)
Does the end of the list mean that six is the number you would advocate adding "down below Moore and Pearce", in place of some players at other positions?
Or is "(Maranville)" where your fingers tired out?

Anson, just because he was literally the only player from the era with a long career by 20th century standards.

If we include work as a "hitter", for the pitcher or in the pinch, Jim O'Rourke is fifth at 20.65 full seasons (Hines #13, White #18). This includes a full season for each in 1872. Paul Hines was a teenager on a grossly overmatched team; unfortunately his 48 OPS+ was fifth best. I can understand counting zero for him. Deacon White was 24 years old and a star. He didn't play out the season with another team after his went out of business (or couldn't make any more championship matches), so I understand a discount. But he was 22 on a professional team in 1870 and already a two-year veteran there. He traveled to Cleveland, presumably to play baseball in the big city in 1868. O'Rourke was an old 21 playing for another weak team that went out of business in August. He wasn't a star like White but he was one of the good players on his team unlike Hines, and Harry Wright signed him for 1873.

If you subtract 1.0 full seasons from O'Rourke's record, contrary to my recommendation, he would be seventh including DH and pinch games.
Counting only games in the field he is third behind Anson and Rose; and still third if you subtract 1.0 full seasons.
   53. Paul Wendt Posted: July 13, 2008 at 10:30 PM (#2855233)
Counting only games in the field, Hines is #7, White #11.

Minus 1.0 full seasons, Hines ranks #17 at 17.7 seasons --behind Anson, O'ROurke, WHite (3); Cobb, Wagner, Speaker, Collins (4); and nine guys from Musial to Bonds.
   54. TomH Posted: July 13, 2008 at 10:44 PM (#2855238)
Brock, I don't think we're called to treat each decade similarly. Yes, there was a pennant each year, but when you have a game (1870s) where teenagers can dominate a small field, there's some recognition that it ain't exactly like baseball as we know it. Most agree quality of play grew quickly until the 1890s and much more slowly after that until integration; ergo, I feel no need to list at least one 1870s guy near the top of any positonal ballot. I actualy believe we've been liberal, and rightfully so, with naming 1880s stars on a high grade with others (see 1B ballot!), even if most fans would disagree.
   55. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: July 13, 2008 at 10:50 PM (#2855243)
Can't think of a great intro, so here we go.

1. Honus Wagner. Pass.

2. John Henry Lloyd. It's very close for me between him and Ripken, but looking back, in 1934 I had him ahead of Tris Speaker, so then he sort of has to be ahead of Ripken. And for all his career value, Cal didn't make it to 46.

3. Cal Ripken, Jr. Revolutionized the position, very good hitter, very good fielder, excellent durability. Has a good peak and an outstanding career.

4. George Davis. Overshadowed by Honus, but who wouldn't be? Was an excellent player for a long time, and I do tend to favor career over peak a bit.

5. Arky Vaughan. ####### Durocher, screwing up his career totals. Had an amazing peak. #4-8 are all very close.

6. Bill Dahlen. Similar to Davis, but I do tend to take the hitter over the fielder as a general rule. As James said, if you disagree, I can't prove you're wrong.

7. Robin Yount. It's great that he was able to play in the majors at 18, but the early years are really just padding the career stats. If the Brewers had a decent shortstop, and Yount spent a couple of years in the minors, he wouldn't be any less qualified. His prime just wasn't as good as Ripken's, and the peaks are about the same.

8. Willie Wells. He wasn't Lloyd, but he wasn't that far off. A good hitter and an outstanding fielder in a long career.

9. Luke Appling. Lots of career value, and he wasn't just hanging around - moving back to SS at age 42 is unique. Also deserves some war credit (although he also gets docked for his 1943 season.)

10. George Wright. I'm not totally sold about this, but there is pretty good evidence that he was "the best player in baseball" for a few years, and that sort of demands top half of the ballot.

11. Ernie Banks. His peak years were truly outstanding, and unique for a shortstop of his era. And while his 1B years were sort of hang-around value, they weren't nothing.

12. Joe Cronin. More peak, less career than Appling. But a very valuable hitter and a decent fielder.

13. Ozzie Smith. Best fielder ever, and it's certainly worth commending that he became much better as a hitter. But you can't ignore the lousy offensive years, and that's why he doesn't rank any higher.

14. Alan Trammell. He is very close to Ozzie, but I had him second in 2002 and I don't see a reason to change.

15. Grant Johnson. I kind of think he should be higher, but I don't really have any evidence to back that up. I was wrong to have Pearce ahead of him back in 1925.

16. Pee Wee Reese. Never had a season like Rizzuto's 1950, but wound up with a more consistent and better career. Doesn't get any bonus for welcoming Jackie, but we all appreciate it.

17. Lou Boudreau. Great peak, but partly war-aided, and he didn't have a long career. Still a clear inductee.

18. John Ward. Let's face it, we're all pretty much guessing when it comes to him. Had him ahead of Glasscock way back when and don't see a reason to change it. His biography by Brian DiSalvatore is one of my favorite books ever.

19. Jack Glasscock. You'd think with a name like that he wouldn't have been forgotten. The best shortstop of the 1880s.

20. Dickey Pearce. I admit, I overrated him back in the old days. He may not have been the best player in the 1860s, but he was close, and he had an extraordinarily long career for his era.

21. Bobby Wallace. He was good for a long time, but in his prime was probably #4, and that's not counting Home Run Johnson. Worthy inductee, but low on the list.

22. Joe Sewell. Yes, it was a weak era for SS, and he wasn't as good as the best Negro Leaguer. But he was still the best in organized ball, and he had a decent peak and career when it's all added up.

23. Dobie Moore. I do think he's ahead of Jennings. His peak was worse, but he lasted long enough to have a strong prime, which Jennings did not. His accident was a fluke, and while he shouldn't get credit for games he didn't play, I still think if you could have either one as a 22-year-old, you'd be better off picking Moore.

24. Dick Lundy. Outstanding fielder, and apparently enough of a hitter to make him induction-worthy.


25. Hughie Jennings. Only player not in my PHoM. I know his peak was amazing, but he has hardly anything outside of that, and I'm enough of a career voter that I have a hard time with a peak-only guy. Especially when it requires some of the best defense ever to get to that level.
   56. Paul Wendt Posted: July 13, 2008 at 11:21 PM (#2855259)
Joe Dimino
18. Bobby Wallace (1.08) - Don't forget his 2 pretty good seasons as a pitcher. Has the reputation as not much of a hitter, but posted a career 105 OPS+, which is very good for a great defensive SS.

Wallace looks better here.

OPS+ thru age 34 season
125 Davis
115 Glasscock (112 without UA 1884; 113 without 1884)
114 Dahlen
111 Wallace
   57. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 13, 2008 at 11:38 PM (#2855269)
You didn't think I would miss voting this election, did you? :-)

Toughest positional ballot to date.

1) Honus Wagner-SS (n/e): Without a doubt, the greatest player at the time of his retirement. Certainly, the greatest shortstop of all-time. Nobody has dominated his position like he did. Best major league right fielder for 1900. Best major league shortstop for the entire first decade of the last century (has any other player been the best player at his position every single season for a decade?), plus 1911, 1912, and 1915.

2) John Henry Lloyd-SS/2B/1B (n/e): I don't think he was as good as Wagner, but El Cuchara for second greatest? I'd have to take him over Vaughan. Easily the greatest shortstop of the 1910s.

3) George Wright-SS/2B (n/e) - Best shortstop of the 1870s. Even with regression of his stats and not having an extremely long career (though 14 years during his era wasn't too shabby), his peak/prime was massive enough to warrant him this high. Best ML shortstop during 1867-71, 1872, 1873, 1874, (virtually tied in 1875), 1876, 1878 and 1879. Best ML second baseman for 1877.

4) Arky Vaughan-SS/3B (n/e): The second-greatest hitting shortstop in ML history, plus he could field. Best NL shortstop for 1932, 1941 and 1943. Best major league shortstop for 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1938, 1939 and 1940.

5) Cal Ripken-SS/3B (n/e): The greatest AL shortstop of all-time at his retirement. Best ML shortstop for 1983, 1984, (close in 1985), 1986, 1989 and 1991. Best AL shortstop for 1985 and 1994.

6) Robin Yount-SS/CF/DH (n/e): Great peak and long career at key defensive positions help place him high on my list. Best ML shortstop for 1980, 1981 and 1982 (very close in 1983). Best ML center fielder for 1989.

7) Willie Wells-SS (n/e): Long career of sustained quality places him here. Possibly could have been the best major league shortstop for 1927, 1928 and 1929.

8) George Davis-SS/3B (n/e): See #7

9) Bill Dahlen-SS/3B (n/e): See #8

10) Luke Appling-SS (n/e): See #9 (there's not that much difference between these four players, IMO) Best AL shortstop for 1935, 1936, 1937 and 1939. Best major league shortstop for 1943

11) Home Run Johnson-SS/2B (3): Frank Baker-like power, great batting eye (plus patience), fine defense and lengthy career pushes him up here. Great, great player. Batted cleanup behind Pop Lloyd in 1913. Possibly should be higher.

12) Jack Glasscock (n/e): Greatest shortstop of the 1880s.
   58. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 13, 2008 at 11:39 PM (#2855273)
13) Pee Wee Reese-SS (n/e): An extremely durable shortstop of high quality, when including WWII credit, he becomes and easy #1 on my ballot. Best NL shortstop for 1942, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, and 1950. Best major league shortstop for 1954.

14) Joe Cronin-SS (n/e): Overrated over the years, but still a HoMer, IMO. Best major league shortstop for 1930.

15) Alan Trammell-SS (n/e): Nice combination of hitting, defense and career length make him a fine choice for #13. Best ML shortstop for 1987 and 1990. Best AL shortstop for 1988.

16) Dickey Pearce-SS/C (n/e): All-around player at the position and arguably the best player of his time. Considered the best shortstop before George Wright (1856-1866). Caught many games as a catcher (even was an All-Star at the position one year). Even with my conservative evaluation, he has to rank this high. He played for over twenty years in the best leagues or on the best teams of the 1850s and '60s. Even though his NA and NL stats were meager (he was 35 in '71), he still had the most value after 35 of any shortstop during the 19th century.

17) Ozzie Smith-SS (n/e): The preeminent fielder of his time (maybe of all-time!) and a fine offensive player at his peak. Best ML shortstop for 1985, 1986 and 1987. Best NL shortstop for 1984.

18) Lou Boudreau-SS (n/e): After deductions for his WWII years, doesn't stand out as much as I thought he would. But there's not too many guys at his position who could both hit and field. Best AL shortstop for 1940. Best major league shortstop for 1947 and 1948.

19) Dobie Moore-SS (n/e): Terrific peak; wished he had a little bit more career. I give him credit for his pre-NeL seasons. Probably would have been the best shortstop in the majors in 1919, 1921, 1922, and 1924.

20) Dick Lundy-SS (n/e): Not a dominating shortstop during his time, but he had a lot of great competition. Good enough peak and long career.

21) Ernie Banks-ss/1b (n/e): I don't think he's a "no-brainer" (defined as impressive peak + impressive career), but he's clearly over the borderline, IMO. At his best, there weren't too many players superior to him. First base years don't add much to his value, however. Best ML shortstop for 1955, 1957, 1958, 1959, and 1960.

22) John Ward-SS/P/2B (n/e): He had more value as a great player at shortstop than pitcher, but that value is based more on his long career than for his peak/prime. Best shortstop for 1890 (close in 1886 and 1887).

23) Hughie Jennings-SS/1B (n/e): Ee-Yah! Second greatest peak at short during the 19th century. Best major league shortstop for 1894, 1895, 1896, and 1898.

24) Joe Sewell-SS/2B (n/e): I didn't support him, but he was always close. NeLers would have diminished his dominance in the majors during the '20s if allowed to play. Best AL shortstop for 1921, 1922, 1925 and 1927. Best AL third baseman for 1929.

25) Bobby Wallace-SS/3B (n/e): Never really impressed with him, but hard to ignore the defense and career value.
   59. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 13, 2008 at 11:47 PM (#2855281)
Joe Dimino--Trammell over Ripken in the 1984 AL? Have you gone *mad*? Trammell had a 135 OPS+ in 139 games, an outright poor performance on the basepaths, and a good year with the glove. Ripken had a 145 OPS+ in 162 games, an average year on the basepaths, and a brilliant year in the field. There is no amount of playoff team bonus that could remotely justify making up all that ground.
   60. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 14, 2008 at 12:02 AM (#2855297)
The election is now over. Results will be posted at 10 PM.

Since Al Hedges submitted comments with his prelim and Tiboreau posted frequently on the discussion thread regarding a number of shortstops, I'll allow both ballots.
   61. Bleed the Freak Posted: July 14, 2008 at 12:21 AM (#2855319)
82. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 03, 2007 at 08:27 AM (#2631967)
2008 ballot
6. Dagoberto Campaneris
7. David Concepción
9. Phil Rizzuto
10. Johnny Pesky

48. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 13, 2008 at 01:18 PM (#2854813)
21. Jennings
22. Sewell
23. Ward
24. Moore
25. Pearce

Hey Dan, You listed on this ballot the unelected SS based upon your salary estimator, but had made changes to the estimator in your 2008 ballot. Was this a change in your thinking of the value of these SS, or just a listing by salary? Just curious? And thanks for the mounds of data. I have been able to construct a personal 200 player Hall of Merit thanks to your work and the esteemed electorate here.
   62. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 14, 2008 at 12:33 AM (#2855342)
Thanks for your interest, Bleed the Freak. The 2008 ballot is correct. I bumped Campaneris and Concepción ahead of Rizzuto and Pesky on the real ballot because of the weak 1950's AL. My vote here was just a straight listing by salary. If I had taken the time to remember, I probably would have made some modifications on this vote in favor of post-integration players on league strength grounds. But...I didn't. Nice catch.
   63. Cblau Posted: July 14, 2008 at 12:36 AM (#2855345)
I know it doesn't mean anything, Mr. Murphy, but how could Wagner be the best SS in 1901 and 1902? He played 61 and 44 games at short those seasons.
   64. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 14, 2008 at 01:15 AM (#2855403)
Remember that being best at your position in the majors is a lot easier when there are 12 or 16 teams in the majors than when there are 26-30. That said, here is the list of most consecutive seasons as best-at-position-in-majors by my WARP, counting corner outfield as one position and taking the top two there:

1. Honus Wagner, 13 (1900-12) (some years as a top outfielder)
2. Eddie Collins, 9 (1911-19)
3. Ted Williams, 8 (1939-42 and 46-49)
3. Joe Morgan, 8 (1970-77)
5. Babe Ruth, 7 (1918-24)
6. Home Run Baker, 6 (1909-14)
6. Heinie Groh, 6 (1915-20)
6. Rogers Hornsby, 6 (1920-25)
6. Stan Musial, 6 (1948-53)
6. Mel Ott, 6 (1933-38)
6. Mike Schmidt, 6 (1979-84)
6. George Sisler, 6 (1917-22)
13. Hank Aaron, 5 (1956-60)
13. Ernie Banks, 5 (1957-61)
13. Barry Bonds, 5 (1990-94)
13. Ty Cobb, 5 (1907-11)
13. Mickey Cochrane, 5 (1929-33)
13. Joe DiMaggio, 5 (1937-41)
13. Charlie Gehringer, 5 (1933-37)
13. Nap Lajoie, 5 (1900-04)
13. Willie Mays, 5 (1962-66)
13. Mike Piazza, 5 (1994-98)
13. Ron Santo, 5 (1964-68)
   65. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 14, 2008 at 01:16 AM (#2855404)
but how could Wagner be the best SS in 1901 and 1902? He played 61 and 44 games at short those seasons.

Well, he played the most games at short for both those seasons and I had to put him somewhere, Cliff.
   66. Tiboreau Posted: July 14, 2008 at 01:44 AM (#2855441)
Here is my ballot with comments, as promised:

1. Honus Wagner
2. John Henry "Pop" Lloyd—"It’s an honor to be compared to him," ~ Honus Wagner.
3. Cal Ripken Jr.—While he didn’t quite have Vaughan’s peak, he did have a couple of excellent seasons during a very nice prime and long career in an era of tougher competition when talented shortstops were at a premium, which is enough to place him over Arky.
4. Arky Vaughan—See Cal Ripken Jr. comment.
5. Luke Appling—The first of the long career, “low” peak HoMers at shortstop. The word “low” is used a bit loosely: it more properly describes a good, but not sensational peak. Appling, of course, did have one brilliant season (even with a WWII discount for weaker competition) and was generally an all-star caliber player when not brilliant.
6. Robin Yount—Like Ripken, he has been underrated by casual observers who are underwhelmed by his numbers while a shortstop (prior to 1980), forgetting his era and the value of his position. While Yount wasn’t as valuable during his time in center he was still a very good ballplayer with an excellent career.
7. George Davis—Bill Dahlen & George Davis: two turn-of-the-century ballplayers who have been paired together in HoM conversations since their eligibility; who am I to come between them? They also belong to the long career, (relatively) low peak family of shortstop candidates (of which there are several). Credit for Davis’s 1903 season is what puts him ahead of Dahlen, IMO.
8. Bill Dahlen—See George Davis comment.
9. Joe Cronin—An excellent peak & prime, however, it isn’t enough to make up for the lower career value than the ballplayers above him.
10. Ernie Banks—His peak is well known and even better than Cronin’s; however, the mediocre level of the second half of his career is also well known and keeps him from rising any higher on my ballot, a shortstop version of George Sisler.
11. Grant “Home Run” Johnson—He was hands down the toughest shortstop to get a handle on. Since he spent the meat of his career playing in an era when there is very little information on Negro League ball his reputation suffers and he remains outside the Hall of Fame and unmentioned in the NBJHBA. Based on the information provided by Mr. Cobb this seems about the place to put him but, really, it’s just a guess.
12. Alan Trammell—The BBWAA’s neglect of Trammell’s Hall of Fame credentials is the biggest crime against a modern ballplayer still eligible for induction by that august group, bigger than Tim Raines, who in one year has received the same amount of support that it took Trammell to seven years to achieve.
13. Willie Wells—Originally compared to Appling, in retrospect Wells’ career appears more comparable to Reese; however, his MLEs do underrate his peak a bit due to regression and the effects of the Great Depression (contraction, etc.) on Negro League ball.
14. Lou Boudreau—A step below Banks & Cronin peak-wise with a shorter career, he was still an immensely talented ballplayer when at his best.
15. Pee Wee Reese—Another iteration of the long career, yet unimpressive peak HoMers, and he won’t be the last to appear on the shortstop ballot. Addition of WWII credit puts him above a couple of high peak, low career candidates.
16. Ozzie Smith—May deserve to rate higher considering that Win Shares underrates Smith both due to its handling of fielding and of competition levels (or lack thereof . . . ).
17. Hughie Jennings—For five years he was among the best ballplayers in baseball history. Unfortunately, due to injuries practically all Jennings has are those five years. There is some question concerning his ratings, but all three comprehensive metrics agree on his success.
18. George Wright—A victim of the most talent-heavy position that we’ve voted on to date. If Wright had been a star at any of the three previous positions he would have ranked just outside the top 10. Probably the best ballplayer of the late 1860s and among the best during the early 1870s, like all ballplayers during that era competition level must be taken into account.
19. Bobby Wallace—There’s a fairly large gap, IMO, between Wright & Wallace, and while I wouldn’t refer to him as a backlog candidate Bobby is closer to those ballplayers then his to the ones immediately above him, IMO. He’s also another of the long career, low peak HoMers at shortstop.
20. Jack Glasscock—Like most 19th century ballplayers, he’s a little tricky to rate, but he appears to be just a step below Wallace so this seems to be a fair place to put him.
21. Dobie Moore—His peak is more comparable to Cronin & Banks than Jennings, and while he had a few more productive years than Baltimore Orioles shortstop the difference in peak leaves their career value equal. He was still a very good ballplayer deserving induction whose career was ended too abruptly.
22. John M. Ward—The second hardest career to decipher, although the difficulty isn’t in the lack of information but in an awkward career during professional baseball’s growing years. His pitching years are necessary for election but are overrated by stats like Win Shares, which is poorly adjusted for the style of play of the era.
23. Joe Sewell—Based on his Win Shares ratings, Joe Sewell rarely made my HoM ballots, and I wasn’t exactly keen on his election in 1985. As I’ve come to accept the importance of defense and have incorporated WARP into my evaluations, however, I’m no longer quite as sour on Mr. Sewell as I once was (although I obviously think he’s in the bottom tier of HoM shortstops . . . ).
24. Dick Lundy—I hope that the HoF info on the Negro Leagues will continue to be valuable guide in creating more accurate images of ballplayers like Lundy, and I’m glad to see him in the HoM.
25. Dickey Pearce—When I began participating in this project I was a big supporter of pioneer era ballplayers, believing strongly in the mantra “A Pennant is a Pennant.” While I still agree with the sentiment, and uphold it in my ballot, after years of digging deeper in to the backlog of talented baseball players my philosophy has changed to a degree, and I firmly believe in recognizing the importance of competition levels, particularly during the pre-NL era. Just as some have, using BP’s WARP, taken into account the weaker eras of the 1880s AA & 1910s NL the same should be done, even more strongly, with the NA, and just as we’ve regressed the short seasons of the Negro Leagues the same should be done with the NA. All that said, I still think that Pearce was a very good ballplayer and deserving induction to the HoM.

Since Al Hedges submitted comments with his prelim and Tiboreau posted frequently on the discussion thread regarding a number of shortstops, I'll allow both ballots.

Much Thanks, John.
   67. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: July 14, 2008 at 05:57 AM (#2855614)
DanR - Ripken had no chance of winning the award that year. I looked at the top 15 finishers, and Trammell was better than all of them. That's what I went by.
   68. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 14, 2008 at 06:30 AM (#2855627)
Ripken wasn't in the top 15 in the 1984 AL MVP voting? Get out of here. That is an absolute travesty. I have it as one of the 50 best seasons by a MLB position player since the advent of the pitcher's mound.
   69. DCW3 Posted: July 14, 2008 at 06:35 AM (#2855631)
Ripken wasn't in the top 15 in the 1984 AL MVP voting? Get out of here. That is an absolute travesty. I have it as one of the 50 best seasons by a MLB position player since the advent of the pitcher's mound.

Ripken received one tenth-place vote that year, placing him 27th in the voting. Probably one of the worst MVP votes in modern history.
   70. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 14, 2008 at 07:03 AM (#2855641)
But...but...he had the *exact* same saeson he had the year before, when he won the award! The two are virtually indistinguishable, save for the R and RBI. Just 'cause the team dropped off around him, clearly. Ugh.
   71. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: July 14, 2008 at 07:50 AM (#2855653)
Bill has written, and I agree with him that a player often wins an MVP (or Cy Young) when he has a year that's out of his norm. That's why Mickey Mantle didn't win 7 of them, for example.

In 1983, Ripken took the world by storm. In 1984, he just did the same thing again, and the team fell apart. Not saying it's right, but it's fairly common.
   72. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 14, 2008 at 01:28 PM (#2855712)
Much Thanks, John.

No problem.
   73. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 14, 2008 at 01:29 PM (#2855714)
But...but...he had the *exact* same saeson he had the year before, when he won the award! The two are virtually indistinguishable, save for the R and RBI. Just 'cause the team dropped off around him, clearly. Ugh.

Dan, are you really that surprised?
   74. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 14, 2008 at 01:51 PM (#2855731)
Yeah. I expect MVP voters to err, but that seems unusually egregious to me.
   75. DL from MN Posted: July 14, 2008 at 04:10 PM (#2855863)
> (Madonna's boytoy)

I only figured this out because this is the SS ballot. My initial reaction was that Dennis Rodman ended up in a baseball list somehow.
   76. Paul Wendt Posted: July 15, 2008 at 02:45 PM (#2856905)
12. Alan Trammell—The BBWAA’s neglect of Trammell’s Hall of Fame credentials is the biggest crime against a modern ballplayer still eligible for induction by that august group, bigger than Tim Raines, who in one year has received the same amount of support that it took Trammell to seven years to achieve.

Simmons, Evans, and Evans were "killed" promptly.

I had no idea that George Davis deserved a year of credit for his missing 1903. That adds another $17M to his total, which pushes him past Dahlen and Ozzie for me.

People disagree about the conflict between capital and labor :-}
Davis was player/manager under baseball's least popular magnate. When he signed with the American League for 1902 some people said "even Davis has deserted him." I have read notes that I tend to interpret "George Davis was always willing to do his dirty work. Now even he has deserted Freedman."

Anyway, new manager John McGraw (mid-season 1902) under new owner John Brush (off-season) persuaded Davis to return to the Giants for a good salary and $2000 signing bonus. But the two leagues made peace and negotiated the allocation of players who had signed to change leagues for 1903. The American League won Davis (returned to Chicago)
[and Sam Crawford (advanced to Detroit). IIRC they were the greatest players at stake.]
Davis was directed to return the signing bonus, which he refused to do. He showed up for work in New York, at least at the beginning of the season, fulfilling his part of his only 1903 contract (on legal advice from John Ward?).
The Giants supported Davis. It was the rest of baseball that wanted the Giants to consummate the peace. Sometime during the season, tactics dictated that Davis play a few games for the Giants.

25. Pearce

DanR (and others, actually)
Does a listing below the last of the HOM members imply that you would add these players to the Hall of Merit in place of some members at other positions?
That would be a good convention to follow, in absence of an explicit "line"
   77. sunnyday2 Posted: July 15, 2008 at 03:04 PM (#2856935)
It's too late now but it might have been fun to use this exercise to id players who we might have elected if the HoM concept was just to elect the top 225 players regardless of era. At SS, e.g., my expanded ballot might have been something like this.

1. Honus Wagner
2. Cal Ripken
3. John Henry Lloyd
4. George Wright
5. Arky Vaughan
6. Robin Yount
7. Ernie Banks
8. George Davis
9. Bill Dahlen
10. Ozzie Smith
11. Dickey Pearce
12. Dobie Moore
13. Hughie Jennings
14. Joe Cronin
15. John Ward
16. Willie Wells
17. Luke Appling
18. Home Run Johnson
19. Alan Trammell
20. Jack Glasscock
21. Pee Wee Reese
22. Lou Boudreau
(Phil Rizzuto)
(Johnny Pesky)
23. Dick Lundy
(Vern Stephens)
24. Joe Sewell
25. Bobby Wallace

Now, don't get me wrong. I prefer that we did it the way we did. But the question is, Which non-HoMers would rate ahead of which HoMers on a straight all-time greats list. Actually SS is not as much fun as some other positions might be. The 25 guys we elected are pretty close to the 25 best SS, IMO.
   78. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 15, 2008 at 03:43 PM (#2856985)
I'd certainly add the first four. Fregosi and Maranville are borderline. Fregosi with even one more big year would have been a no-brainer for me. But I guess getting traded for Nolan Ryan jinxed him.

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