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

1900 Ballot (May 4, 2003)

After an excellent week of discussion, let the balloting for 1900 begin . . .
--posted by Joe Dimino at 09:23 PM EDT


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Posted 10:14 p.m., May 4, 2003 (#1) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  Some of the comments are carryovers where I don't have anything new to add, but this one has some major changes.

1. John Clarkson (first ballot) - I'm convinced he was the best pitcher of the era pre 60' 6". His 1889 season, relative to other pitchers in the league was the best of anyone eligible. I'm sure he's the best pitcher on the ballot, and deserves to be the first elected.

2. Joe Start (#2 last vote) - MattB's assertion that he was widely regarded as one of the best players of the 1860s just adds to my previous comments about him. He really was a great player, and accomplished more after age 28 (his first year in the NA was his age 28 season) than any player we will consider for awhile, other than Anson.

3. Ezra Sutton (3) - enormous career value, even in his down years he was still above average offensively, considering he played a key defensive position well.

4. Tim Keefe (5) - I'm convinced now that he wasn't quite as good as Clarkson, but he was still a helluva pitcher. His best two years were in the AA during the weak years, but it doesn't mean he wasn't a great pitcher. From 1882-90 he never had an off year, and even in his decline he was a good pitcher, he just didn't pitch as many innings.

5. George Wright (6) - Great offense for the position, great defense. Short career, but he did play 5 years pre-NA, and he was very good there as well. Enormous peak value, probably the second best player of the NA (Barnes).

6. Cal McVey (7), very underrated, and I do give him credit for continuing his career after his years in the 'majors'.

7. Hardy Richardson (8) - best 2B on the ballot, and he'll be the best for quite sometime. A six-time Stats All-Star. I've got his career offensive record at 141-75 (.651). During his 3-year peak his OWP was .741; .712 during his 5-year peak. His offense is comparable to George Brett's (remember 2B was the modern equivalent of 3B), not as long a career, but similar quality, Brett was (.661 for his career, .750 for his 3-year peak, .744 for his 5-year peak).

8. Charley Radbourn (13) - Great pitcher from the early 80's, he doesn't rate as high as Clarkson and Keefe because he really only had 3 great years, and a couple of other decent years, with some clunkers thrown in. From 1882-84 he was the best pitcher in baseball.

9. Al Spalding (NR) - Okay, I'm convinced he was the Koufax of his generation, well, sort of. He was a great hitter, and a great pitcher, but he had a great defense behind him, and he was finished early. But he was a key part of the team that dominated his era, and he deserves credit. I'm troubled by his low WARP3 scores, and the fact that his era was the one where pitchers had the least impact.

10. John Ward (first ballot) - He was a decent pitcher for a few years (.564, 5 1/2 years), and a great defensive shortstop for many more. But I don't think he was ever a great player, and this is stiff competition.

11. Ed Williamson (9) - 2nd best 3B of the generation, was overrated by his peers, but still a very good player.

12. Charlie Bennett (10) - I love him, he's one of my favorites. But I don't rate him as high as some of the others. His career was short, well not short, but he missed lots of time. He only played the equivalent of 9 1/2 years. He was a great player, but so was everyone above him on this ballot. He's only got 277 ASWS, and I've moved him above many players with more than him as a subjective bonus. I could conceivably move him higher as this process goes on, but I don't think he was better than the others ahead of him.

13. Pud Galvin (NR) - I've reevaluated pitchers, and I'm giving them more credit. I believe Galvin was his generation's Phil Niekro. His best year (like almost every eligible pitcher) was in 1884, where he was the horse throwing the modern (1920-80) equivalent of 310 IP at 23-11. He was a consistently very good pitcher, who worked more than anyone in his time (1879-89, hung around decently 1890-92).

14. Harry Stovey (12) - I've docked him, maybe too much. He adjusts to 404 ASWS, but 55 came in one weak AA year. I may move him up, but this is stiff competition, I'm not convinced yet.

15. Lip Pike (14) - One of the greats from the early years.

Stovey and Pike are the grey area for me, I think everyone above their line should be in someday, not sure about those two.

Dropped out: 11. Bob Caruthers; 15. Pete Browning.

Posted 10:39 p.m., May 4, 2003 (#2) - Brian Hodes
  Finally I think one of these Pitchers is going to get in ! This ballot is literally innundated with Pitchers -- more than last time because there are a few quality new ones on the ballot.

1. OLD HOSS RADBORNE-- I have voted him #1 before and I score him above Clarkson. Contrary to popular belief he didn't have just one great season. STATs awards him the Cy Young in both '83 and '84 and he was also among the best in '90 with the high powered Players'league.

2. CLARKSON -- while he isn't quite up to Radborne I'll take him over Keefe. I think he beats Keefe both in career and in peak dominance. Also, like Radborne (and unlike Keefe) he is not penalized for time in the AA.

3. JOHN M WARD -- Even without considering his pivotal role in the Player's league and his managerial expertise Ward still shines. He had two superb careers and he was plainly recognized as a winner on the diamond. I also liked his Runs scored and his ERA (lowest of the era). I don't give him much credit for his stolen bases but perhaps I should.

4. TIM KEEFE -- He falls just shy of Clarkson and Radborne, but that's not really a knock on an exceptional career.

5. GEORGE WRIGHT -- I had him above Keefe last time but in trying to compare him with Ward I realized just how little I have to base my evaluation of him on. I think he should get in sooner or later and I'm going to have to see if I can find out much more about him so that I can compare him.

6. AG SPALDING -- Clearly the premier Pitcher of the NA and 1876 and then he just sort of quit. He was apparently pretty good before the NA too. I think he belongs in the HOM every bit as much as first ballot Ross Barnes.

7. HARRY STOVEY -- Truly an excellent offensive player even after discounting for playing in the AA.

8. "PARISAN" BOB CARRUTHERS -- Nonewithstanding all of the put downs I still find his case compelling. What holds his candidacy back is that he didn't stick around and run his totals up.

9. PETE "THE GLADIATOR" BROWNING -- His Players League season proves that he was a great hitter regardless of what league he was in.

10. JAMES "THE LITTLE STEAM ENGINE" GALVIN -- Very good for a long time. He toiled on some pretty poor teams and may have actually missed a year at the beginning of his career because his Buffulo Club was of major league quality even though it was not part of the fledgling NL.

11. "SMILING" MICKEY WELCH -- His longevity is not what Galvin's is and his peak is strong but not up there with Radborne, Clarkson and Keefe. I wonder whether we penalize him too much for playing on winning teams ?

12. TONY "THE APOLLO OF THE BOX" MULLANE -- That season he missed as a labor holdout looms large. One fair season would make his case alot stronger (he would also probably be a HOFer).

13. H RICHARDSON -- Great 2nd Basemen, he could hit too! If I didn't know about Bid McPhee he might rank higher. My never-ending research has actually pushed him up on this ballot.

14. (N)ED WILLIAMSON -- Quite a reputation. I give him the nod as the best 3B prior to Jimmy Collins (over Ezra Sutton). His stats are less than awesome though.

15. "TIP" O'NEIL -- Great hitter, a very high peak (during the best years of the AA) but lacking in career value. If there were no peer reviews he would beat Williamson handily.

Still under consideration: Start, Pike, McVey, Pearce, Bond, Mathews, Sutton, Orr, McCormick and C. Jones.

Posted 10:43 p.m., May 4, 2003 (#3) - Rusty Priske (e-mail)
  This is my first foray into voting, but I have been following the discussion with great interest. I admit to certain biases - I am a fan of Win Shares and I really like pitching - but I also have tried to absorb from a number of different sources, including the clearly intelligent and thoughtful discussions here.


1. Tim Keefe - I understand that some of his best numbers come from A.A., and I also understand that not everyone likes Win Shares the way I do, but I was just blown away by his 70 WS season. There are others (Hoss) with those kind of numbers, but I think Keefe was superior over the long haul.

2. Monte Ward - Twice the player, double the fun.

3. Tony Mullane - I don't give a lot of weight to the amidextrous stuff, but I do like the fact that he was 48 games better than his teams over a fourteen year career.

4. Old Hoss Radbourne - See Tim Keefe.

5. John Clarkson - While I may not think he is the best pitcher available, I certainly think he should, and will, get in the HOM.

6. Harry Stovey - A.A. may not quite be "major" but Stovey's performance there shows his talent and he seems to have been an all around great player.

7. Bob Caruthers - I originally had him lower, but some of the analysis on these threads won me over.

Below here, I am not as "married" to the order, and it was hard for me to leave Charlie Bennett and Tip O'Neill off, but the ballot had to be filled...

8. Pud Galvin

9. Hardy Richardson

10. Ezra Sutton

11. Pete Browning - I used to have it in my mind that he was one of the best of his era, but the numbers just don't bear it out.

12. Mickey Welch

13. Jim McCormick

14. Ed (Ned) Williamson

15. George Wright

Posted 11:09 p.m., May 4, 2003 (#4) - John Murphy
  Here's my ballot. Again, I use a combination of peak and career for the rankings. I also view each position on an equal basis. This doesn't mean that I have a quota to fill each position for my top ten. Sometimes a position will not have a viable candidate for a certain "year."

1) Al Spalding (3): Besides being (easily) the king of all NA pitchers (and doing a great job in the NL for 1876), he was also a star pitcher for half of the 1860s (12 seasons). If you don't give credit for his pre-NA work, then that would be the only way you could consider his career short.

I would give him 4 Jim Creighton Award (:-)) for his NA work. Helluva hitter, too!

The battle for top pitcher belongs to Spalding and Clarkson. Clarkson was great, but AG. was a little better.

2) Ezra Sutton (4): Simply the best at the position for the 19th century when combining peak and career. Best third baseman for 1875 (probably), 1883, 1884 and 1885. Almost the best first baseman behind McVey for 1876.

As has been stated before, third base at the time was more of a defensive position than second base. Offense at the "hot corner" has to be analyzed with that in mind. Third basemen tended to get beat up more than they do today so their career numbers seem truncated as compared to some of the other positions.

3) George Wright (5): The best shortstop at his peak for the 19th century. King of shortstops for the NA. Best shortstop of the NL in 1876 and 1879, plus best second baseman in 1877. Best shortstop for the 1867-1870 era, too.

4) John Clarkson (n/a): Best pitcher of his era. Best pitcher for 1887 and 1889 (close in 1885 and 1891).

5) Cal McVey (7): Awesome player. The second time I moved him up since 1898. I gave him credit for his pre-NA work, though I still decided not to give him any for post-NL. This might be unfair of me and I might decide later to include his career out west (does anyone have any info for this time of McVey's career?).

Never had an off year in the NA or NL. Best offensive catcher for the NA (possibly the best all-around). Best first baseman for 1876 (possibly 1879). Best catcher for 1877. Best third baseman for 1878.

6) Dickey Pearce (6): Really revolutionized the position of shortstop. All-around player at the position. Considered the best before George Wright. 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 near the top. He played for over twenty years in the best leagues or on the best teams of the 1850s and '60s.

If we are including pre-NA players, I can't see how anyone could leave him off their ballots, IMO.

I'm not giving him any credit here for the bunt, BTW.

7) Monte Ward (n/a): Am I giving Monte a raw deal? I don't think so.

Fine pitcher, but never the best for any one season (though close in 1880). He had more worth as a great player at shortstop than pitcher, IMO. Best shortstop for 1890 (close in 1886 and 1887).

8) Hardy Richardson (8): Greatest player who played a great deal at second for the 1880s (Fred Dunlap probably had the most value strictly at the position). Best leftfielder for 1886. Best second baseman for 1887 and 1889.

9) Joe Start: Considered the best first baseman for the 1860s. Considering how old he was when he joined the NA and how well he did, that evaluation seems to hold water. Best first baseman for 1878 and 1879.

10) Tim Keefe (10): Don't let the somewhat low ranking fool you into thinking that I don't think he's worthy. Second best pitcher for his era (Clarkson being "the man"). Best pitcher for 1883 (even with the AA discount), though Will White is about equal with him.

11) Charlie Bennett (11): Strictly as a catcher, extremely comparable to Buck Ewing value wise (though based more on career than peak value). Best catcher for 1881, 1882 and 1883. Most durable catcher up to that time (catchers absorbed much more abuse than they do today).

12) Ed Williamson (12): Best third baseman for the 80s. Best third baseman for 1881.

13) Fred Dunlap (13): most value as a second baseman for the 1880s (though McPhee and Richardson were still the better players career wise). Best second baseman for 1880, 1881 and 1884.

14) Lip Pike (14): Considered the fastest man of his time. Best centerfielder for 1874, 1875 and 1876. Best rightfielder for 1871. Star second and third baseman for half of the 1860s. He might deserve to move up.

15) Levi Meyerle (n/a): I have been underrating him greatly. Great player, but short career. An injury forced him out of the NL. Best third baseman for the NA.

Dropped: Tom York (15).

Posted 12:38 a.m., May 5, 2003 (#5) - thebigeasy
  Ahhh, I've been chomping at the bit for this one. This is slightly updated from my last preliminary ballot. I've defended most of these picks other places. Some of these guys are close enough together that I'm going to make comments for multiple players at once, so bear with me.

1.) Bob Caruthers

Good ol' Freedom Bob way up here again. I've heard Caruthers compared to Grasshopper Jim Whitney, who a few people around here think is at least worthy of a ballot spot. Caruthers and Whitney are direct contemporaries so you can compare them pretty good:

Bob Caruthers, pitcher: 2828 IP, 123 ERA+, 218-99
Jim Whitney, pitcher: 3496 IP, 105 ERA+, 191-204

Bob Caruthers, hitter: 2906 PA, 135 OPS+, .282/.391/.400
Jim Whitney, hitter: 2306 PA, 112 OPS+, .261/.313/.375

Yeah, I know Whitney played in slightly tougher leagues, but the difference between the NL and AA at the AA's peak of competition level is nowhere near great enough to make up that kind of difference in production. Jim Whitney was a good ballplayer; if our ballots went to 20 he'd definitely be on mine. Bob Caruthers is the best player eligible for election this year.

2.) Monte Ward

Monte Ward the pitcher wouldn't get into the Hall of Merit, and Monte Ward the middle infielder would be on the borderline at best. Monte Ward, when you put the pitching, the hitting, and the defense together in a package, suddenly appears like a hell of a candidate.

3.) Al Spalding

Clearly the best pitcher in the NL in its first few years, and a good hitter to boot.

4.) John Clarkson
5.) Tim Keefe

Keefe pitched a little longer, Clarkson pitched a little better, but these are clearly the two best pitchers without major hitting contributions on the ballot. I think Clarkson when you put it all together is a little better; his entire career was in the NL, his W-L record is a bit better, he was more effective - all small things, but no big thing puts these two apart from each other.

6.) George Wright
7.) Joe Start

These are the two guys that I'm giving considerable credit for pre-1871 play. Start's getting more pre-recorded history credit then Wright, but Wright was a better player in the 1870s.

8.) Old Hoss Radbourne

Tremendous pitcher, short career but pitched a lot of innings.

9.) Pud Galvin

He pitched forever, ending up 2nd all time in innings pitched (one could probably win a lot of money in a sports bar asking that question). He was pretty good but not great, but pretty good over 6000 innings deserves a good place on the ballot.

10.) Ed Williamson

Poor Ed keeps dropping on my ballot. I'm still on the Ed side of the eternal Ezred Suttonson debate, but even now I'm starting to wonder.

11.) Pete Browning

If he were Ozzy, he might say "I AM IRONGLOVE!"

12.) Hardy Richardson

I still think he belongs higher then 12th, but I don't think he was better then anyone I have ahead of him. Great player.

13.) Charlie Bennett

In an era when nobody was a full-time catcher, he was a full-time catcher. That gets some credit, and he is the best catcher we're going to see for a while...if you don't count guys like Deacon and King Kelly as at least part-catchers.

14.) Mickey Welch

The lesser of the Smilers, Welch and Keefe. He's basically Pud Galvin if you chop 1200 innings off, pretty good over a long but not quite as long career.

15.) Ezra Sutton

Joe won me over and got Ezra a place on the ballot ahead of guys like O'Neill and Stovey, but I still can't put him higher then this. I still generally see him as a solid, occasionally spectacular player who played for a pretty good amount of time. My mind is still open on him, though.

Posted 12:53 a.m., May 5, 2003 (#6) - favre
  My first voting, too.

1. JOHN CLARKSON Like Joe, I'm pretty convinced he was the best pitcher in the game before 1890. Five players on the ballot pitched between 4500-5000 innings, (and Galvin pitched 6000) but Clarkson had by far the highest ERA+ (135, Tim Keefe is next with 125).

2. MONTE WARD Has the highest career WARP-3 score and second highest career WS of anyone on the ballot. Those two systems don’t agree on a lot of 19thCent. players, so I’m pretty impressed.

3. HARDY RICHARDSON Thirteen seasons of 110+ OPS+ while playing excellent defense at a tough position. I know this is sacrilege, but I think he’s the best 2B of the 19th Century, better than Barnes.

4. TIM KEEFE Outstanding career, huge amounts of innings at a high ERA+.

5. EZRA SUTTON Six seasons of 140+ OPS+; poor range numbers, but still the best overall 3B before Frank Baker.

6. CHARLEY RADBOURN His two best seasons were better than Keefe’s, but Keefe had more good seasons ( Keefe 10 110+, Radbourn 6 110+).

7. GEORGE WRIGHT This guy gives me a frickin’ headache. I’ve had him in my top five; I’ve had him off my ballot. Was a terrific player in the NA, but I’m not overjoyed about using that league as a measuring stick for greatness. One biographical encyclopedia says that Wright was considered the best player of the 1860s; I’d love to see the evidence of that. I guess he’s got to go somewhere.

8. CHARLIE BENNETT Four seasons of 149+ OPS+ while leading the league in fielding percentage a bunch of times.

9. JOE START Had 142 OPS+ at age 39; had a 121 OPS+ at age forty-two. I’m leaving him here for now, but I can see him climbing much higher on my next ballot.

10. HARRY STOVEY I’m not overly impressed by the AA, either. Still, even WARP-3 gives him high career numbers, and he has more career Win Shares than any position player except Ward.

11. BOB CARUTHERS Granted, it’s the AA, and he couldn’t field worth a lick, but if you lead the league in ERA+ one year and OPS+ the next, you’ve got to be on the ballot.

12. PETE BROWNING Rounding out the AA trifecta. Had eleven seasons with 130+ OPS+, but I don’t know what that means in that league.

13. PUD GALVIN Six thousand innings. Sheesh…

14. AL SPALDING His career was awfully short, and I have lots of reservations about the NA. Still, he was the best pitcher in that league, and that has to mean something.

15. NED WILLIAMSON It came down between him and Tony Mullane. Already lots of pitchers on the ballot, and Williamson played in a better league. Willaimson

Posted 2:03 a.m., May 5, 2003 (#7) - Adam Schafer (e-mail)
  1. John Clarkson (first ballot) - I'd compare him to someone else on the ballot, but I can't. He is in a league all his own.

2. Al Spalding (3) - Kelly and O'Rourke made it in, so Spalding is the best carryover for me. Even if he didn't hit I'd rank him in the top 3. Figuring in the hitting moves him to #1 for me. I had never considered comparing him to Koufax before, but after reading it, I think I agree with it. Ranking him this high might not be the popular thing to do, but I feel he's the 2nd most deserving pitcher on the ballot.

3. Ezra Sutton (5) - He moves up yet again for me. Although I may not contribute much to the postings, I do read them and check upon everything that is posted about the players. Sutton was a player that I was only vaguely familiar with prior to joining the HOM discussions, and now he is a player that I'm convinced was an absolute stud.

4. George Wright (6) - Again another player making a big jump after much discussion on him. Previously I have had to debate with myself to even put him on my ballot. I was admittedly unable to give him a fair evaluation with the previous votes, but was able to take everyone else evaluations and finally say that I do indeed feel that he deserves to make the Hall.

5. Radbourne (7) - some of the people here love him, others aren't to up on him. I personaly feel that Radbourne is deserving for the Hall and will make it in. The beginning of his career was great, the end of plenty respectable. He did have some mediocre years in the middle, but only had 2 losing seasons.

6. John Ward (first ballot) - he doesn't get in on his pitching or hitting alone, but the combination of the two makes for a great player. I try to imagine him as Andy Pettite if he were to quit pitching now, become a position player and get 2000 hits. It might not be the best comparison in the world, but that's how i picutre it in my mind.

7. Harry Stovey (4) - He has to move down as two newbies are on the list and I feel more comfortable with Wright, Sutton and Radbourne.

8. Joe Start (7) - I wanted to put Keefe here, but am trying to make sure that I don't rank the pitchers too highly due to the fact that we have a logjam of them. Maybe if I was more familiar with his 1860's playing I'd rank him higher.

9. Tim Keefe (8) - I am more than convinced that he belongs in the Hall, and I hate ranking someone that I like so much so low on the list. He could just as easily be #5 #6 #7 #8 or #9 for me. It's a real thin line for me between these spots that I've really had to guy with what my heart has said.

10. Bob Carruthers (10) - From this spot down, I'm not quite convinced any deserve election How many men have won and ERA title and come close to winning a batting title?

11. Hardy Richardson (11) - good second baseman, although a lot of time in the OF.

12. Cal McVey (NR) - I'm only giving him credit for his ML career, and maybe if I could find reason to give him credit for his post ML career I'd move him higher. It's doubtful, but I'm willing to listen.

13. Pud Galvin (13) - So he wasn't GREAT, he did lose over 300 games, couldn't hit, and is two years away from death at this point. 300 wins is 300 wins though, he was a workhorse, and might very well warrant election sooner or later.

14. Mickey Welch (14) - See Galvin

15. Charlie Bennett (12) - Lucky for him he was a catcher or else he wouldn't get any consideration at all.

Posted 2:14 a.m., May 5, 2003 (#8) - Sean Gilman (e-mail)
  1. Ezra Sutton--Most career value for any position player on the board, and the highest NL peak. My top 4 are very close together.

2. John Ward--One of the top pitchers in the NL, and then one of the top shortstops. Combination of the two, plus stellar defense, pushes him to the top of the ballot.

3. John Clarkson--Best pitcher yet, and the first I've ranked this high. Great peak with no below average ERA+ seasons and a reasonably long career for a pitcher from this era.

4. Hardy Richardson--Best second baseman of the 19 century. I had him basically tied with Barnes on the first ballot.

5. Joe Start--Although he didn't have Wright's NL peak, his big edge in career value both before and after the NA pushes him ahead.

6. George Wright--Without his age 20-23 years (1867-1870) he would only have had 4 great seasons in the NA and 2 good years in the NL. But contemporary opinion clearly marks him as one of the great players of the late 1860s.
In 4 seasons of his 12 year career he missed significant time: was he injured? doing other things?

7. Tim Keefe--Great pitcher, but not quite Clarkson. Might well deserve to rank higher.

8. Harry Stovey--AA discount is the only thing keeping him this low. Otherwise would rank ahead of Wright and Start.

9. Cal McVey--9 great seasons in the NA and NL, played a lot of catcher and third base too. Any info about his career in the west would move him up.

10.Al Spalding--Best pitcher of his era, but a short career, questionable competition, and a great defense behind him push him down the ballot. Finally managed to spell his name right.

11.Bob Caruthers--Hitting moves him ahead of Mullane. Both of them might belong ahead of Spalding, but Spalding's rep gets him the highest ranking of the three.

12.Tony Mullane--AA discount drops him below Keefe and Clarkson, still a tremendous pitcher though.

13.Lip Pike--Was still a great player in the NA and the first year of the NL. The only thing seperating his a Wright's career in organized ball is positional value. Wright was also generally regarded as the better pre-NA player.

14.Pete Browning--Tremendous hitter in a lesser league. Decent in the NL, but only for a few years. By all accounts an awful fielder though.

15.Charley Radbourne--Still think he's somewhere between Pat Hentgen and Dwight Gooden, depending on how much value defense had relative to pitching during his career.

Posted 2:44 a.m., May 5, 2003 (#9) - John Murphy
  This is shaping to be a fun election (not that the other ones weren't)!

Posted 5:36 a.m., May 5, 2003 (#10) - Andrew Siegel
  1. John Clarkson (new) -- An easy number one and perhaps the best player we've seen so far. His ERA+ dwarfs all the others on the ballot other than Spalding, his consistency is unmatched among pitchers, and, adjusting for the evolving game, his IP per season are extraordinary.

2. George Wright (3rd)-- The second best player in the NA and one of the top dozen SS ever; period of excellence not particularly long but he still had about 5 seasons as good or better than Alan Trammell's best.

3. John Ward (new)-- His pitching career is basically even with Radbourne's pre-1884 career and his 7 years of 95 OPS+, GG SS, and tons of steals are Ozzie-like. Worried about relying so heavily on sketchy defensive stats but alternative is to turn this into the Hall of OPS+.

4. Tim Keefe (6th) -- A poor man's Clarkson. Only other pre-1890 pitcher with quality, consistency, and some longevity. Knocks: best seasons not as good as Clarkson's, minor AA discount, and shared workload with Welch.

5. Charley Radbourne (4th)-- Yes, his period of excellence was short, but his 1882-1884 is arguably the most valuable run a pitcher has ever had and his post-1884 career shows lots of guts and has some real hidden value (e.g., 1890).

6. Cal McVey (7th) -- Moved up again. I think he's the best offensive player of the 1870s bar none. Add in the facts that he caught a bunch and that he was a star out West for a decade after leaving the game, and I think he deserves enshrinement sooner rather than later.

7. Hardy Richardson (5th) -- His consistent offensive prowess and solid defense at 2B impress; moved down due to the large number of innings as a corner OF and the quality of the competition.

8. Ezra Sutton (10th) -- I HAD been letting my stubborness get in the way of the facts; flip his late 20's and mid-30s OPS numbers and his career would look better, but we are measuring value, not conformity to a stereotypical career path.

9. Charlie Bennett (8th) -- Relatively short career but was the first career catcher; Gold Glove catcher with 5 extradordinary offensive seasons; a much better offensive-defensive package than Ivan Rodriguez; comfortably within the Top 15 C of All-Time.

10. Al Spalding (12th)-- Convinced that his peak was slightly better than I had given him credit for, probably deserves the Hall. Still, he walked away from his major league playing career at age 26, not to continue playing closer to home (like McVey) but to make millions and screw over future generations of players. I'm not docking him for his anti-labor behavior, but I'm also not giving him credit for the post-1876 career he left on the table.

11. Harry Stovey (9th)
12. Peter Browning (14th)-- Two great hitters. Their HoM resumes are strong enough to overcome either the AA discount or the position/fielding adjustment but maybe not both.

13. Lip Pike (13th)
14. Joe Start (nr)-- Perhaps the two best players of the 1865-1870 period. Each earned substantial chits in the NA/NL. I continue to study them both and could move them up as time goes by, but for now can't see who to skip them over.

15. (N)ed Williamson (11th) -- Am now convinced that we have taken contemporary consensus that he was a perennial All-Star and turned it into the perception that his contemporaries thought of him as a perennial MVP based on one small-sample poll taken the year he died.

Bob Carruthers and Mickey Welch (previously 14th) are both worthy of spots on the ballot; I simply ran out of room. In my mind, no one outside of those 17 is a serious HoM candidate.

Posted 9:20 a.m., May 5, 2003 (#11) - Howie Menckel
  1. John Clarkson - Tempted to put my guy Wright here, but can't deny Clarkson's wondrous quality/quantity package. First P in HOF.
2. 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? Absolute no-brainer.
3. Tim Keefe - I'm in the queasy-'bout-NA club, but his longevity puts him this high even with a discount. Should go in next time.
4. Joe Start - Has even more "career behind the fog than Wright," but the best sense of it we can gain is that you add a half-dozen more sweet years to what then becomes an endless, (almost) O'Rourke-like career.
5. Hardy Richardson - I was a Barnes man, but admit that Richardson is right up there. Don't want to make him wait too long.
6. Ezra Sutton - Does have the quality/quantity combo I like, so finally am coming around. Yes, he belongs.
7. Old Hoss Radbourn - Warming up to him, but really wish he had ONE more solid season.
8. Monte Ward - Would hate to see him get in first year or two; we need time to weigh his unique career, and once a guy's in, he's in forever. Be cautious unless you believe you really have a good feel for him.
9. Pud Galvin - Happy to see pitchers getting more focus, and particularly this one. Unique career length tells me he was something special. Deserves to get in eventually.
10. Cal McVey - Good job by his fan club; he's the early-days guy I just haven't appreciated 'til this ballot.
11. Charlie Bennett - Like McVey, gets major bonus pts for the C work.
12. Al Spalding - Still vague on whether he has much "behind the fog" performance to raise him higher, and do have that "softball pitcher" picture in my head.
13. Bob Caruthers - Still trying to digest this career as well, and battling "anti-AA" bias. Worth a further look.
11. Harry Stovey - Great example of my Ward comment: He sprinted out of the gate in 1899 balloting, yet by the end he had faded badly. That's fine on a "5th or 12th" call, but let's not vote someone in before we're positive we'll never change our minds.
15. Tony Mullane - It's a pitcher's ballot, I suppose. With six hitters already in, not being in top 14 now makes remaining hitters questionable at best.
skipped over Browning, Williamson, Welch, Pike.....

Posted 9:22 a.m., May 5, 2003 (#12) - Howie Menckel
  Obviously Stovey is "14", as he is in the sequence (please fix the "11" before his name, thanks....

Posted 9:30 a.m., May 5, 2003 (#13) - RobC
  I continue to look mostly at career value. Did a reanalysis of pitchers this time which changed some things.

1. Monte Ward - This is a case where I think the "total value" tools do a better job than looking at the numbers. I think he is being undervalued by some because its hard to add up part pitcher/part ss.
2. Hardy Richardson - still at #2, seems to be getting more support.
3. Charlie Bennett - solid career values at catcher
4. Pud Galvin - He makes up for a less than special ERA+ with volume
5. John Clarkson - undervalued by warp3
6. Harry Stovey - AA penalty or would be higher
7. George Wright - boost from pre 71 value to get him this high
8. Ezra Sutton - still better than Ned
9. Fred Dunlap - moves up from last time, not sure exactly where he belongs
10. Tim Keefe - moved him up from #14 after re-looking at pitchers
11. Old Hoss Radbourn - he fell from #9
12. Tom York - another guy that could go anywhere from 9 to out.
13. Pete Browning - got shuffled down due to pitchers moving above him
14. Joe Start - will hang on the ballot at least until the ABC first basemen come along
15. Bob Caruthers - makes my ballot for first time. Knocks Ned Williamson out. Whitney and McCormick are close. Looking ahead, 1 of those 3 may make it in next year.

Posted 9:38 a.m., May 5, 2003 (#14) - MattB
  Similar to my 2nd Preliminary Ballot

1. John Clarkson -- the best pitcher of the pure-19th century variety deserves the top spot

2. George Wright (2) -- I still think he is a close second to Barnes in terms of best player 1871-1876 and the better pick if you include pre-1871 time.

3. Ezra Sutton (4) -- moves up a slot

4. Bob Caruthers (5) -- same

5. Joe Start (6) -- same

6. Tim Keefe (7) -- same

7. Hardy Richardson (8) -- same

8. Pud Galvin (14) -- had him down by the bottom before, but reconsidered. He was the the best pitcher who was a star in both the underhand and overhand world. Only the mound change knocked him out.

9. John Ward -- comparable to Caruthers, but I'll take "Freedom Bob"'s career. Definitely worthy, but not before a few others.

10. Al Spalding (15) -- looking at the baseball through 1876, the top three players were clearly George Wright, Ross Barnes, and Al Spalding. I think it was a mistake that Barnes was inducted before Wright, but I now think all three deserve induction eventually, in whatever order.

11. Harry Stovey (11) -- people seem to like Stovey a lot more than I do. I will reconsider him and see if I missed something that would bump him up. So far, I just see a fifth best first baseman. Call him the Rafael Palmiero of the 1880s. Maybe worthy, but not before his betters are inducted.

12. Charley Radbourn (12) -- great, but not as great as those above. Previous ballots suggest he may get inducted before those I ranked above, which would not be a travesty, even if I wouldn't agree.

13. Pete Browning (9)-- Sliding due to promotion of pitchers more than anything wrong with Browning himself.

14. Ned Williamson (10) -- He certainly has value, but I'm not appreciating it so much these days. Maybe I will just him more generously after Sutton is inducted and he doesn't pale in comparison any more.

15. Cal McVey (13)

The McVey spot could easily go to Levi Meyerle, who was also great in the NA, but I'm just now noticing had his greatness spread over second base, third base, and the outfield, so didn't rank among the best at any single position. Also just under the radar are Charlie Bennett and Tony Mullane

Posted 9:46 a.m., May 5, 2003 (#15) - karlmagnus
  1. Charles Radbourn – he and Spalding the only ones on the ballot most people have heard of. Unique, and regarded as such contemporarily and in 1936-39.
2. John Clarkson – I’m convinced by the pitching numbers
3. John Montgomery Ward – apart from Babe Ruth, probably the best pitcher/position player in history.
4. George Wright – Dominant early on
5. Al Spalding – higher paid than two who are in already
6. Tim Keefe – we need more pitchers
7. Joe Start – I’m convinced by the arguments of his greatness in the 1860s
8. Bob Caruthers – another first class pitcher/position player
9. Lip Pike – MUCH better than the league, once it got going
10. Hardy Richardson – long career, better than league, but getting to the level now where I’m not sure they should get in
11. Pud Galvin – another pitcher with a long and good career
12. Harry Wright – Like Start, deserves a HUGE boost for the 1860s – he was 36 in 1871, not 24 like Cummings.
13. Ezra Sutton – a lot better than league at primarily defensive position
14. Pete Browning – mostly AA, but looks better than Stovey or O’Neill to me
15. Mickey Welch – long and solid career, maybe not HOM.

The discussion is enormously helpful as it points out the ones beyond my radar screen, allowing me to choose between them – there’s no way one could research every ballplayer of the 19th century if one hasn’t already done so!

Posted 10:00 a.m., May 5, 2003 (#16) - karlmagnus
  1. Charles Radbourn – he and Spalding the only ones on the ballot most people have heard of. Unique, and regarded as such contemporarily and in 1936-39.
2. John Clarkson – I’m convinced by the pitching numbers
3. John Montgomery Ward – apart from Babe Ruth, probably the best pitcher/position player in history.
4. George Wright – Dominant early on
5. Al Spalding – higher paid than two who are in already
6. Tim Keefe – we need more pitchers
7. Joe Start – I’m convinced by the arguments of his greatness in the 1860s
8. Bob Caruthers – another first class pitcher/position player
9. Lip Pike – MUCH better than the league, once it got going
10. Hardy Richardson – long career, better than league, but getting to the level now where I’m not sure they should get in
11. Pud Galvin – another pitcher with a long and good career
12. Harry Wright – Like Start, deserves a HUGE boost for the 1860s – he was 36 in 1871, not 24 like Cummings.
13. Ezra Sutton – a lot better than league at primarily defensive position
14. Pete Browning – mostly AA, but looks better than Stovey or O’Neill to me
15. Mickey Welch – long and solid career, maybe not HOM.

The discussion is enormously helpful as it points out the ones beyond my radar screen, allowing me to choose between them – there’s no way one could research every ballplayer of the 19th century if one hasn’t already done so!

Posted 10:38 a.m., May 5, 2003 (#17) - Jeff M
  I've been all over the place in coming up with this ballot. I think I'm comfortable now. :)

1. JOHN CLARKSON -- Absolutely dominant. His stretch from 1885-1889 is unmatched.

2. TIM KEEFE -- (#2) Again, a long and consistent career with lots of wins and good relative ERAs. Amazing between 1883-1890 (followed by his only bad year in 1891). Think Clarkson was a hair better.

3. HOSS RADBOURN -- (#3) Pitchers are stacking up now, since they have been hammered in the voting. Have him behind Keefe b/c Keefe's career was longer and more consistent.

4. JOHN WARD -- May not be a HOMer as a SS or SP alone, but together, he's there, as he was quite good at both, and that's a pretty rare package. I think a guy who played two significant positions (and played them both very well) would be well deserving of HOM status.

5. AL SPALDING -- (#9) Continue to believe that the electors are not giving him enough credit (and maybe I haven't been either). So he gets a big bump, particularly after learning that Harry Wright thought he was the best pitcher in the country (which is why he signed him to play with his Boston team of all-stars when forming the NA).

6. HARRY STOVEY -- (#5) Powerful hitter for his era. Would have been perennial All-Star. Discounted for AA play and still finishes high.

7. BOB CARUTHERS -- (#7) Amazing win pct and good ERA with lots of Black Ink. Doesn't dominate like Clarkson or Radbourn for any period and didn't last as long as Keefe, but gets a big boost for his hitting.

8. JIM MCCORMICK -- (#15) The more I look, the more I like. Even ignoring the UA season, he had 49 WAT. Excellent peaks in Win Shares and solid career WS. Lots of Black Ink. Would have one at least 1 Cy Young and would have come close on a couple of other occasions (I'm heavily discounting the Cy Young he would have won in the UA). Behind Caruthers because of Caruthers' hitting ability.

9. TONY MULLANE -- Not sure where to put him, but I value him more highly than Welch or Galvin.

10. EZRA SUTTON -- (--) Ezra enters my ballot here, and justifiably so.

11. MICKEY WELCH -- (#10) Welch was extremely steady, but loses points because he was not dominant. Penalized by me on earlier ballots for missing black ink, but gray ink is fantastic and his low black ink shouldn't hold him down.

12. GEORGE WRIGHT -- (#11) Said enough about him in previous posts. My line for HOM is probably drawn after this point.

13. PETE BROWNING -- (#6) Poor defense and AA discount drop him significantly on my ballot, but he still appears to have been awfully productive.

14. TIP O'NEILL -- (#8) A feared hitter but for a short period of time. Had a good defensive reputation, which keeps him close to Browning (who was a terrible defensive player). They both played in the AA, but Browning put up good numbers for longer.

15. PUD GALVIN -- (#14) A poor win pct for someone of his caliber. I don't know where to put him, but I think he ought to stay in the Top 15 at this stage.

Dropped: Cal McVey and Joe Start.

Posted 11:19 a.m., May 5, 2003 (#18) - Carl Goetz (e-mail)
  Well here goes!

1) John Clarkson- He had the best 3 and 5-year peak out of the ‘Big 3’ pitchers
2) George Wright- One of the best peaks and best careers of the eligibles and we’re missing his pre-NA years, which were supposedly quite good.
3) Old Hoss Radbourn- 2nd best of the ‘big 3’ based on the same criteria as clarkson
4) Tim Keefe- One of the few guys who didn’t change positions from my last ballot.
5) Monte Ward- Was a great pitcher for a few years, and a great Shortstop for a bunch as well.
6) Joe Start- Great older player. I am ranking him this high because he was known as one of the very best pre-NA players. Based on the stats we have, I would rank him lower than Stovey.
7) Pud Galvin- I’ve underrated him in the last 2 ballots. He had a better peak than I originally though and I like the fact that he ‘survived’ a major ‘era’ change that ‘killed’ many a pitcher. Add to that his obvious career value, and you’ve got a HoMer.
8) Hardy Richardson- I feel I underrated Richardson. Actually its more that I overrated some guys that I had ahead of him. I think my main problem is that I wasn’t adjusting the AA players enough.
9) Charlie Bennett- Best Catcher now that White is in(until Ewing comes along). The more I see, the more I like.
10) Ezra Sutton- Not a big drop, but a drop nonetheless. I just don’t see him or Williamson as quite HoM-Worthy. Sorry Joe.
11) Al Spalding- OK, I’m caving. I’m still extremely uncomfortable with his low WARP-3 scores and his short career. I also still do not buy the ‘highest paid player on his team’ argument, either. The reason I am including him is that he was quite clearly the best pitcher of the NA(with a lot of help from his defense), a great hitter, and was still a top 5 pitcher in the NL 1876. I don’t believe that he dominated to the extent that Koufax did, but he did dominate for roughly the same length of time. Koufax had much stiffer competition. I’ve moved him ahead of McCormick and Welch(w/ Welch dropping off the ballot) among pitchers.
12) Harry Stovey- I dropped Stovey mainly because I am downgrading his AA accomplishments.
13) Pete Browning- Ditto.
14) Ned Williamson- I've explained my Sutton/Williamson stance before. No one has changed my mind.
15) Jim McCormick- Congrats TomH, you got me to re-examine him, and his peak at least gets him on my ballot. I don’t think he’s quite HoM-worthy, but he may occupy a lower ballot spot for a few years.

Posted 12:33 p.m., May 5, 2003 (#19) - Mark McKinniss
  1) Harry Stovey (1) --Compares well to King Kelly offensively, loses no points for defense, and played in the AA, which merits a discount, but should also see at least one inductee.

2) Monte Ward (-) --Like Caruthers, it's difficult to rank two-way players. Ward's here because: 6 year span as a top notch pitcher, plus 11 years of being a good middle infielder. Longetivity plays a key role here, as does the fact that his hitting got better when he stopped pitching, indicating that maybe his overall hitting stats are depressed somewhat.

3) John Clarkson (-) --High peak, good career length--not a complete pitcher, which holds him back slightly, but deserves to get in.

4) Pud Galvin (4) --In an era where a good deal of pitchers' value came from showing up, Galvin showed up the most. ERA+ is fairly misleading and circuitous in this era due to the small number of teams/starters in the rotation, not to mention the huge variance of competition. Earns the nod by throwing well for longer than any of his peers.

5) Tip O'Neill (5) --According to one post, the AA was 6% worse than the NL in 1887. That still would rank O'Neill's '87 effort as one of the best from this era. He plays 4 more years, and he's a sure thing to the HoM. I think he belongs anyway.

6) Tim Keefe (7) --So close to Radbourn on my ballot, that they could essentially be tied. I don't know which one I'd take if I were starting a team.

7) Charley Radbourn (6) --Also here on the basis of one huge season, 1884. Makes for a very interesting comparison with Galvin, as Radbourn has better rate stats, but ultimately couldn't sustain the career, falling about 1500 innings short of Galvin.

8) Jim Whitney (8) --Strong peak with Boston at the start of his career. Ugly finish to his career. Recent review of his numbers shows just how bad some of his teams were on offense.

9) Hardy Richardson (9) --A player I like a lot, but ultimately, nothing to really set him apart. He's probably seen his best chance at election go by…

10) Jim McCormick (10) --Very good peak, decent length to career. Most of these pitchers look the same to me.

11) Pete Browning (13) --Great numbers. Gets the standard discount for having his best seasons at the beginning of his career. Probably not very good defensively, as he started as an IF, but put up bad numbers before moving to the OF…teams probably had a hard time figuring where he could do the least damage with the glove.

12) Bob Caruthers (11) --I have a hard time figuring how to rank these "two-way" players. I don't disagree with the sentiment that Caruthers the most valuable guy around in 86 and 87. He sustains that for a couple more years, and he's in…or if he maintains his usefulness beyond age 29, he's probably in.

13) Fred Dunlap (12) --What to make of the 1884 season from the UA? Can't give him full credit, which leaves Dunlap with a good career, that just didn't last long enough to get serious consideration.

14) Charley Jones (14) --Going to the AA probably slightly delayed a big drop in value towards the end of his career. He missed two seasons in the middle of his career which conceivably cost him 4 or 5 slots on this ballot.

15) Mickey Welch (15) --The annotated version of Pud Galvin. Good peak, good career, decent durability, but 1200 innings shy.

Posted 12:44 p.m., May 5, 2003 (#20) - dan b
  1. John Clarkson. Because it’s time we elect a pitcher and he was the best before Rusie.
2. Johnny Ward – That’s what Albert Spink called him in his 1910 history “The National Game”. Second on the ballot in AdbWS behind Stovey and that’s not including his pitching.
3. Harry Stovey. When will we recognize the AA as a major league and honor one of their stars? Was in his league’s top 4 in hitting WS 7 times. Only Brouthers and Connor match that feat in 19th century ball. Adjust his WS for season length and he falls between Mize and Snider who both had longer careers. That is HoM worthy company.
4. Hoss Radbourne – Moving him up a slot this time because it’s time we elected a pitcher. Best pitcher 3 years in a row.
5. Tim Keefe – moving him up a slot too.
6. Hardy Richardson. Third in AdbWS (adjusting for length of season and a timeline factor that levels off in 1890). Best 2B we have had the chance to vote on so far.
7. Pete Browning. After starring in the AA, led PL in hitting WS.
8. Ed Williamson. I am gradually down playing the views of those who saw him play. Best 3B of the 80’s.
9. Tip O’Neill. Better 4 year peak than any other hitter on our ballot.
10. Charlie Bennett. Worthy catcher. A picture of Bennett Park hangs in my game room. A picture of old Comiskey Park hangs there too, but I am not voting for The Old Roman.
11. Pud Galvin. Adding him to my ballot this year. I’ve been convinced his longevity and ability to pitch well through the rules changes is worth honoring.
12. Ezra Sutton.
13. Charlie Jones. Two year hold out costs him a few spots.
14. Joe Start. Long career.
15. (tie) Curt Welch. 19th century best 7 WS Gold Gloves and 5 time league leader in OF dWS isn’t enough to put anybody in the HoM, but it should be enough to get on the “also receiving votes” list. No OF has more WS Gold Gloves until Tris Speaker.
15. (tie) George Wright. Repeats as token concession to the existence of BB before 1880.

Going off – Larkin

Posted 1:36 p.m., May 5, 2003 (#21) - Marc
  Again, I prefer peak value at a time when long and short careers were strictly relative. A little movement from last year (week).

1. Al Spalding (up from 2)--a giant among men, best ERA+ on the board (138)
2. John Clarkson (-)--best pure 19th century pitcher on the board though Spalding had more overall impact on pennant races
3. John Ward (-)--high peak, short career...twice! (I said I was gonna steal that line.)
4. Tim Keefe (5)--a schnipple behind Clarkson
5. George Wright (4)--would like to rate him higher, clearly a great player for a dozen years or so
6. Hoss Radbourn (10)--maybe I underrated him before, maybe I'm overrating him now but gotta love his peak
7. Hardy Richardson (9)--the best "normal" career among position players on the board, i.e. a career that is documented, or normal length and can be easily compared to that of a 20th century player
8. Cal McVey (6)--a poor man's Deacon White, did everything White did, better actually, just not as long
9. Bob Caruthers (11)--I gave him a little extra credit for his hitting, though with the bat he was frankly a two-year wonder
10. Pete Browning (8)--AA discount applies, but 164 OPS+ still great

And below the in/out line:

11. Charlie Bennett (13)--did "a man's job" very well but not quite a HoMer
12. Joe Start (-)--moved him up, still hard to tell whether he was really one of the "greatest" of the '60s but certainly very good for a long time
13. Lip Pike (7)--moved him down because like all his contemporaries there's so much we don't know, it's a question of the benefit of the doubt
14. Ezra Sutton (14)--like Start outstanding for a long time, and better documented, but no peak to speak of
15. Ed Williamson (15)--the legend lives on but is it just a legend?

Harry Stovey drops off, he doesn't measure up to Pete Browning who is himself a borderline HoMer. Charley Jones still the next in line but clearly trails Stovey. As for Pud Galvin, three pitchers and three half-pitchers (Spalding, Ward, Caruthers) all clearly outplayed Pud. I just don't see it. I would take Bond, McCormick and Welch ahead of Galvin but no thanks, plenty of pitchers already.

Posted 3:28 p.m., May 5, 2003 (#22) - Brad Harris (e-mail)
  1. John Clarkson - what more can be said? Best until Nichols/Young
2. Ezra Sutton - best verifiable position player on ballot
3. Tim Keefe - only here because I had to put a position player in #2
4. Charlie Bennett - best catcher of the 19th century
5. George Wright - best shortstop of the 19th century?
6. Joe Start - not higher because so much "evidence" is anecdotal
7. Hardy Richardson - best at position in 19th century?
8. J.M. Ward - slight nod over Caruthers
9. Bob Caruthers - great pitcher, just unfortunately not for longer
10. Harry Stovey - hard to justify him any higher
11. Cal McVey - ditto; but also hard to exclude him.
12. Ned Williamson - how many guys are called greatest pre-1900 player period?
13. Pete Browning - who else has a bat named ever them?
14. Tony Mullane - dominance in AA is more impressive
15. Al Spalding - dominance in NA is less impressive

Posted 3:49 p.m., May 5, 2003 (#23) - Al Peterson
  Like many have said, the ballots have kept getting harder. Here’s my try on the 1900 ballot with last year’s placing included.

1. John Clarkson. Him and Keefe are linked together by many including myself. The slightly higher peak gets the tiebreak.
2. George Wright (2). Willing to apply the idea that he was one of the best for a few years before 1871.
3. Tim Keefe (4). More innings, slightly less production than Clarkson.
4. Ezra Sutton (5). I relook at him each time. Comparison to me is Buddy Bell with better offense. To me that is HOM material.
5. John Ward. Six plus years of standout SS coupled with a few years of excellent pitching.
6. Old Hoss Radbourn (9). Not just a one trick (or season) pony.
7. Harry Stovey (6). So the AA wasn't the best. Proved he could play before and after in other leagues. I was impressed by the votes received in original Veteran’s Committee vote of 1936.
8. Joe Start (8). OK with adding value for accomplishments before 1871 - just not going to go overboard. Was he or Wright the best from about 1867-1870?
9. Al Spalding (7). Short career but he sure packed a lot in there. Is there doubt he was a superstar of his time?
10. Hardy Richardson (10). The 2B keeps lingering around.
11. Pud Galvin (13). 6,000 innings for teams that really needed his help. Put him on better squads and we’re handing out the Pud Galvin instead of the Cy Young.
12. Pete Browning (11). Career of “what-ifs”. What if played outside of AA, had better defense, stuck around longer, etc.
13. Charlie Bennett (13). Can look past the part time playing status some since he excelled offensively and defensively at a difficult position.
14. Ed Williamson (12). I get the feeling that him reputation rode the coattails of some good teams and teammates.
15. Mickey Welch (NR). A return engagement. Career worth a ballot mention, not election.

Parisian Bob Caruthers is exiled from the list. He never liked this American game that much anyways…

Posted 3:55 p.m., May 5, 2003 (#24) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  Did anyone else notice that both Clarkson and Keefe are from Cambridge, MA? That's wild.

Posted 3:58 p.m., May 5, 2003 (#25) - MattB
  Yeah. The main distinction seems to be that Clarkson was born on the fiscal year, while Keefe was born on the calendar year.

Posted 4:13 p.m., May 5, 2003 (#26) - Johnny Carson
  Did anyone else notice that both Clarkson and Keefe are from Cambridge, MA? That's wild.

I... did not know that. Weird, wild stuff!

Posted 4:18 p.m., May 5, 2003 (#27) - John Murphy
  Parisian Bob Caruthers is exiled from the list. He never liked this American game that much anyways…

The funny thing is that the Paris that is connected to Caruthers is from New York.

Posted 4:30 p.m., May 5, 2003 (#28) - Rick A.
  Okay, Here is my ballot.

1. John Clarkson - No brainer #1 pick
2. Tim Keefe - Second best pitcher on ballot
3. Harry Stovey - AA player, but even with a discount, he rates over other players
4. Monte Ward - Great pitcher and SS
5. Pete Browning - GREAT! Hitter, poor defender
6. Hardy Richardson
7. Joe Start - I'm convinced of his greatness, but this is as high as I can put him
8. Ezra Sutton
9. George Wright - Probably should be higher, but I'm having a hard time justifying it. A few more good years in the NL would've moved him up alot.
10. Al Spalding
11. Hoss Radbourn
12. Pud Galvin - Looked at Galvin and realized that I'd underrated him.
13. Charlie Bennett - Very good peak and good defense
14. Charley Jones - I think he's a little underrated. Missing 2 years during his prime hurts him.
15. Mickey Welch

Dropped from ballot - Ned Williamson - I think I overrated him because of the subjective opinion of him and his great year.

Posted 4:30 p.m., May 5, 2003 (#29) - Marc
  Paris, Texas, eh? Now that was a wierd movie but that Harry Dean Stanton can sure sing.

Posted 5:08 p.m., May 5, 2003 (#30) - Ed McMahon
  'I... did not know that. Weird, wild stuff!'

You are correct, Sir! Pay-OH!

Posted 5:12 p.m., May 5, 2003 (#31) - jimd
  Did anyone else notice that both Clarkson and Keefe are from Cambridge, MA? That's wild.

Keefe's house was about 2 blocks from Harvard Square, across Cambridge St. from the Cambridge high school and public library complex. For many years after he was elected to the HOF, there was a banner proclaiming "Home of Tim Keefe, HOF Pitcher, N.Y. Giants" hanging from the front porch. I don't know where Clarkson lived. Somewhere I read that they both received coaching from Tommy Bond before making it to the NL.

Posted 9:51 p.m., May 5, 2003 (#32) - favre
  I just want to chime in on the length of time for balloting. The ballot has been available for 24 hrs, and there are already 21 submissions. This suggests to me that Joe's suggestion of ten days would be ample: three days of balloting, preceded by a week of discussion. I don't know about you, but I'm already chomping at the bit to start the next round.

Posted 11:34 p.m., May 5, 2003 (#33) - MattB

If you look at last week's ballot thread, you'll see that there were multiple ballots posted every day. It looks like we are picking up voters over time, which is good. It would be shame to lose the dozen or so who post near the end of the balloting period. I know some voters don't even seriously consider assembling their ballots until they have seen the "final words" of the early voters.

Posted 12:46 a.m., May 6, 2003 (#34) - James Newburg
  1. John Clarkson - The best pitcher on the ballot. Never had an off-year in his career. Even with his worst year (1888) thrown in, he had a 143 ERA+ for his first six full seasons.

2. Tim Keefe - Didn't quite scale the peaks Clarkson did (with the notable exception of his maiden campaign in 1880 and 1885), but he pitched just about as well.

3. John MOntgomery Ward - Was #1 on my ballot until I got to typing. Then I realized that while he had six very good years as a pitcher and seven very good seasons as a shortstop. A definite HOMer, but is missing the high peak that most of the candidates seem to have.

4. Joe Start - Was excellent in the twilight of his career, doing enough to suggest that he was a great player in the 1860s. The fact that he was that good while playing in the National League from the age of 33 to 43 is simply amazing, especially considering the rough-and-tumble world of 19th century baseball. He also gets a bit of (subjective) extra credit as one of the game's first stars.

5. Charley Radbourn - An amazing three-year peak with both quality (161 ERA+) and quantity (1785 IP). Didn't do too much outside of that period, though.

6. Charlie Bennett - The first full-time catcher to have a real career. Very good with the bat at his best and great behind the plate. From 1881 to 1888, he was a complete player.

7. Ezra Sutton - Long, productive career. He was a very good hitter and very good fielder at an important defensive position. I like Andrew Siegel's quote about Sutton: "We are measuring value, not conformity to a stereotypical career path."

8. Hardy Richardson - He only comes in below Sutton because he played a less important defensive position. Otherwise, a heavy hitter and slick fielder. There are those who could argue for Richardson over Sutton, and they wouldn't be wrong.

9. Harry Stovey - One of the few 19th century players who could take a walk. He was a complete offensive player in the mold of Bobby Abreu. His 1891 season in the National League, where he put up a 141 OPS+ at the age of 34, showed that his American Association accomplishments have more meat in them than other players in that era.

10. Pete Browning - On my first ballot, I had him as high as fourth. He is, without a doubt, the best eligible hitter. But what keeps him from ranking higher is the fact that there are several players who not only hit well, but were also great defenders in a time where defense was highly important.

Some of the voters here discount Browning for the level of competition he faced and his defensive shortcomings, which would be fair. But I do think that we should also consider that he played while suffering from an inner-ear infection that caused him so much pain that it drove him to drink and, eventually, severe mental illness.

11. George Wright - The level of competition that he played against makes it so I can't really rate him with any sort of confidence. First of all, there was no standard of competition. Some teams in the National Association played a full season, others 9 to 12 games. Second, the Boston team was just so much better than the competition that it's hard to measure his accomplishments. He may have been the third or fourth-ranked player on my ballot, but I have no way of knowing if really was that good. At least Joe Start had a significant body of work in the National League to get some perspective as to how good of a ballplayer he was pre-NL.

12. Bob Caruthers - I was prepared to place him over Ward, but then I looked at his career a little closer. What bothers me is Caruthers' career progression. His ERA+ declined over the last eight years of his career and had only two impact seasons with the bat. A deserving HOMer, but not a top-three or top-five player.

13. Pud Galvin - Yes, he won 364 games. Yes, he pitched over 6000 innings. But a lot of those seasons were like empty calories. He had eight seasons with a 110 ERA+, the same as Mickey Welch and Tony Mullane, two fewer than Clarkson and three fewer than Keefe. Sure, he pitched a long time, but he didn't pitch particularly well. I could go either way on him as a HOMer.

14. Tony Mullane - I probably should put him above Galvin, but I'm docking him for spending the first half of his career in the AA. He had as many good seasons as Galvin, but against a lower level of competition.

15. Ed Williamson - He's certainly a good third baseman, a worse hitter than Sutton, but a better fielder. I think his 1884 campaign skews his value as a hitter. After all, the left field fence at Lake Front Park was only 210 feet away.

Posted 12:55 a.m., May 6, 2003 (#35) - John Murphy
  Somewhere I read that they both received coaching from Tommy Bond before making it to the NL.

You remembered correctly. Bond did some coaching at Harvard while he was still a star pitcher for Boston. He felt an obligation to help other aspiring players because of the guidance he received from Candy Cummings.

Posted 1:58 a.m., May 6, 2003 (#36) - Rob Wood
  My final 1900 ballot, only slightly tweaked from my prelim ballot.

1. George Wright -- clearly a HOM'er
2. John Clarkson -- my top 2 are way above the others
3. Hardy Richardson
4. Ezra Sutton
5. Al Spalding -- where's the luv?
6. Tim Keefe
7. John M. Ward -- this is the cutoff of my sure HOM'ers
8. Harry Stovey
9. Ed Williamson
10. Pud Galvin
11. Joe Start
12. Hoss Radbourn
13. Charlie Bennett
14. Fred Dunlap
15. Cal McVey

Posted 7:48 a.m., May 6, 2003 (#37) - TomH
  I must congratulate myself for having a ballot that looks a lot like Rob's; 13 of 15 matched names, same #1 and #3 guys.

Posted 9:40 a.m., May 6, 2003 (#38) - Philip
  I believe the top 12 on my ballot are all HOM-worthy. I don’t really care too much in what order they get elected, because I find it difficult placing them in a definite order myself. From #13 onwards I am not convinced of HOM-worthiness.
My ballot has a few changes from the last 2. Start and McVey have been pushed way up and Galvin is new on my ballot. I have dropped Williamson quite a bit and have left out Caruthers and York.

1. CLARKSON – Absolutely the best pitcher we have seen yet. His 1889 is outstanding and he had an excellent 5 year peak. Career a little shorter than his competitors but he was great all way through.
2. START – Moved him up again. His longevity keeps amazing me, especially considering the number of barehanded catches during his career at first base. Always consistent and must have been a star in the 60’s (although I don’t even give full credit for that).
3. SUTTON – Again a wonderful long career and a big defensive asset. Also has some very fine years.
4. WRIGHT – One of the highest peaks of the players on this ballot and also at a key defensive position.
5. MCVEY – Most underrated player I believe. I have him way up from 13 on my last ballot. I just don’t see how he can’t be in the top 10 if you give him even the slightest credit for pre-NA or post-NL play. Superstar of the 70’s.
6. BENNETT – Another very good and long career. May not have played full-time but name me a catcher who does. Some great offensive years.
7. KEEFE – A little longer career than Clarkson, good peak but still clearly below Clarkson.
8. RADBOURN – Of course his peak is amazing and that is what puts him here.
9. WARD – Great career value, no peak. The one player who can move up quite a bit on my ballot. If his fielding is really outstanding he should be in the top 3. Anyhow a HOMer to me.
10. RICHARDSON – Nice long consistent career with some outstanding years. Tough competition ahead of him though.
11. PIKE – Some very good years in the NA, and a great reputation for what he did before that. I hope he keeps getting support.
12. GALVIN – By far the longest pitching career and some very good years along the way. Never in the same class as the top3.

13. WILLIAMSON – Good career at 3B. Great glove but not the peak of, say, Hardy Richardson
14. STOVEY – Strong peak. Somewhat discounted for AA years. Doesn’t stand out among his peers like the players above him on the ballot.
15. SPALDING – High peak short career. On the whole, I don’t think he is more worthy than the pitchers above.

Posted 9:42 a.m., May 6, 2003 (#39) - JP Caillault
  Final ballot:

1. Charlie Comiskey (greatest player in the history of baseball!)

OK, I'll stop.

Here's my real ballot:

1. John M. Ward
2. John Clarkson
3. Harry Stovey
4. Tim Keefe
5. Charlie Radbourn
6. Bob Caruthers
7. Pud Galvin
8. Al Spalding
9. Mickey Welch
10. Pete Browning
11. George Wright
12. Ed Williamson
13. Hardy Richardson
14. Charlie Bennett
15. Dickey Pearce

Posted 11:21 a.m., May 6, 2003 (#40) - favre
  Just to clarify, I meant that we should change the voting time beginning with the 1901 ballot.

Posted 12:15 p.m., May 6, 2003 (#41) - Marc
  I would still say that it is worthwhile to have the actual voting occur on the same days of the week each time, whether that is every other Monday through Saturday, or every Monday through Wednesday or whatever. But voting Monday through Wednesday this week, then Thursday through Saturday next week, I dunno.

Posted 12:29 p.m., May 6, 2003 (#42) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  John, you are starting to win me over on Dickey Pearce. I think depending on the direction we decide to take as a group, he's either a sure thing, or he shouldn't be considered at all.

What I mean is, if we are electing players who made 'significant' contributions once the NA started, and for those players we're giving credit for pre-NA work, I don't think he's qualified, because he didn't make significant contributions after the NA was formed (like Start, Wright, McVey, Pike, etc.).

But if we are considering players who played some in the NA and giving them credit for the pre-NA work, then you are correct, he's a no-brainer, and should be no lower than 10 or so on any ballot.

I'm not sure which way we should go, but we should make a decision one or the other, after which everyone agrees to go with it. Either we agree that we don't have enough to go on with Pearce, or everyone considers him and gives him credit for being the best SS of the pre-NA period. I'd hate to see you keep 'wasting' (for lack of a better term) that 6th place vote every week.


Also, we should move this portion of the discussion to the Centennial Commission thread . . . I'll repost this over there, and please reply there.

Posted 12:35 p.m., May 6, 2003 (#43) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  As for the voting thing . . . we're all pretty responsible, even though we're busy, I imagine if it were clearly spelled out at the beginning of each 'cycle' people would be able to get their votes in on time, no matter when set it up. A two vote every three week cycle would have Wednesday as the swing day (always a vote day). So the cycle would be Discussion from Monday morning through Sunday afternoon, voting Sunday through Wednesday; discussion Thursday through Tuesday night, voting Wednesday through Sunday afternoon/Monday morning, etc. I'd think we could handle it, if that's the way we want to go, I wouldn't hold it up because we think some people might miss the deadline. Again, it would be CLEARLY spelled out, people following regularly would be in the know.

Again, I don't really care much either way, like Aerosmith said, "Life's a journey, not a destination." But I see the point that speeding this up a little wouldn't hurt things, not finishing until May 2006 (our timetable if we go to 2 in 3 weeks) is still quite a journey . . .

Posted 1:28 p.m., May 6, 2003 (#44) - RMc
  I'm sticking with...

1. Clarkson
2. Caruthers
3. Start
4. Ward
5. Wright
6. Sutton
7. Stovey
8. Radbourne
9. Williamson
10. Keefe
11. Browning
12. Richardson
13. Spalding
14. Mullane
15. Creighton

Posted 7:03 p.m., May 6, 2003 (#45) - KJOK (e-mail)
  General: BEST players of NA should be in HOM. Value established level of performance (peak) for 19th century players. AA WAS a 'major' league, unlike the UA. Fielding Ratings – Excellent, Very Good, Average, Fair, Poor.

1.George Wright, SS - EQA:.294, Fielding: EXCELLENT, WARP:63. Certainly best SS of the 1870's. Modern Comp: Lou Boudreau.

2. Charlie Bennett, C - EQA:.292, Fielding:EXCELLENT, WARP:90. Modern Comp: Roy Campanella.

3. John Clarkson P – ERA+:134, IP:4536, WARP:96. Modern Comp: Bob Gibson.

4. John Ward, SS/P – EQA:.264, Fielding:VERY GOOD, WARP:123, ERA+:118, IP:2470. Modern Comp: Bert Campaneris & Wes Ferrell.

5. Pete Browning, CF/LF - EQA:.339, Fielding:POOR. Better hitter than Gore or Hines even considering competition. Loses points for poor CF defense. Modern Comp: Joe Jackson w/poor defense.

6. Al Spalding, P - ERA+:137, IP:2887, WARP: 52. Best pitcher of NA. May have wone 4 or 5 Cy Youngs in row. Modern Comp: Dizzy Dean.

7. Cal McVey, C - EQA:.325, Fielding:VERY GOOD, WARP:40. Not sure why there's not more love for McVey, one of the best players of the 1870's. Modern Comp: Gene Tenace.

8. Harry Stovey, LF/1B - EQA: .315, Fielding:VERY GOOD, WARP:108. Slightly better hitter and fielder than O'Rourke, but only 2/3rds the career length. Modern Comp: Albert Belle.

9. Hardy Richardson, 2B - EQA:.302, Fielding:VERY GOOD, WARP: 94.Very consistent, long career. One of top 2nd basemen almost every year. Modern Comp: Tony Lazzeri.

10. Bob Carruthers, P/RF - ERA+:123, IP:2829, EQA:.313, WARP:88. I've got a bunch of pitchers close together - hitting pushes Carruthers ahead. Modern Comp: Carl Mays & Gavvy Cravath.

11. Charley Radbourn, P - ERA+:120, IP: 4527, WARP: 94. Baseball's Best Pitcher '82-'84. Modern Comp: Bert Blyleven w/ a peak.

12. Time Keefe, P - ERA+:125, IP:5050, WARP: 112. Slightly better than Radbourn on a career basis, slightly worse on peak. Modern Comp: Bert Blyleven.

13. Ned Williamson, 3B - EQA:.285, Fielding:EXCELLENT, WARP:79. Fielding was way above everyone else. Modern Comp: Art Devlin.

14. Ezra Sutton, 3B - EQA:.289, Fielding:VERY GOOD, WARP:77. Good hitter, but quite a few mediocre years right in middle of career. Modern Comp: Harlond Clift.

15. Dave Orr, 1B - EQA:.333, Fielding:AVERAGE, WARP:60. Joe Start's "missing" years would have to be Ruthian to get close to Orr. Modern Comp: Jim Thome.

Posted 11:11 p.m., May 6, 2003 (#46) - ed
  here's mine. I've left off some comments for some players because I have repeated them so many times already...

01. George Wright SS - The first superstar. The greatest defensive player of his generation, playing at the most important position in baseball. Leader of the first pro team, the Cincinniti Red Stockings, and a key player in numerous league champions.

02. Charley Radbourn SP

03. John Clarkson SP - Best of the new candidates.

04. John Montgomery Ward SS/SP - Hell of a career, on and off the field. Probably won't see another like him.

05. Tim Keefe SP - The 6th best pitcher in the 1800's. Radbourn has better NRAA and DERAA than Keefe and a much higher peak in his career. Radbourn has a better WARP3 than Keefe even though he pitched about 500 innings less than Keefe. Radbourn was the best pitcher THREE times (or twice if you go with Total Baseball) in the whole of baseball, while Keefe was NEVER the best pitcher in baseball (Total Baseball has Will White to be better than Keefe in 1883).

06. Hardy Richardson 2B/LF - Great numbers for his career, but played a great number of games in the outfield. I wonder why he was moved around, because according to the defensive win shares, Richardson gets an "A" for his defence at second, while players like Ross Barnes and Cupid Childs only get "B+".

07. Harry Stovey 1B/LF

08. Bob Caruthers SP/LF

09. Ezra Sutton 3B

10. Charlie Bennett C - According to win shares, he was an outstanding defensive catcher and had above average offensive skills especially for a catcher. Feel pretty bad about how he lost his legs. Gruesome stuff.

11. Pete Browning CF - Probably the most famous 19th century non-Hall-of-Famer, because of his weird behaviour and his smoking bat. I have been wondering about this for a long time: why did Browning played most of his career in ceterfield when he is such a liability in the field? Why didn't they throw him in right?

12. Al Spalding SP

13. Ed Williamson 3B

14. Pud Galvin SP - Felt bad leaving him off the last ballot for McVey, so here he is. Incredibly long career in the majors, and I am not even counting his time spent in the "minor" leagues (minor leagues back then were very competitive independent leagues and not the lackey of the major leagues of today). Bill James named him as the best minor league player of the 1870's.

15. Charley Jones LF

Posted 6:12 a.m., May 7, 2003 (#47) - Ken Fischer
  1900 Ballot (Ken Fischer)

1- John Montgomery Ward- a winner in the 1870s, 1880s & 1890s. Along with Babe Ruth, Bob Caruthers and Martin Dihigo, is one of the most versatile players in baseball history.

2- Al Spalding-while the rules & level of competition were different…his domination of pitching from 1871 - 1876 is unmatched in 19th Century annals…Ward’s more noble intentions drop him to the 2nd spot.

3- Tim Keefe-incredible 7 year run averaging 35 wins in the 1880s…ace of legendary Giants teams…even came in with 19 wins for Harry Wright’s Phillies in 1892.

4- Bob Caruthers-often overlooked because of his short career…made major impact in Browns & Grooms pennant runs.

5- Harry Stovey-short changed since he spent most of his time in the AA but played on league winners in PL & NL…premier slugger of the AA.

6- George Wright-along with White, Spalding, Start and Pearce represents the best of the players who made it from the “Amateur Era” to the early days of the NL. His flag season as the 1879 Providence player-manager helps close the deal.

7- John Clarkson-one of the best of the 19th Century pitchers…but still rank him behind Spalding & Caruthers…they made bigger impacts for their teams in more pennant races.

8- Pete Browning-a legendary poor fielder…reality or not…he deserves admission to the HOM…one of the highest lifetime batting averages…winning the PL batting title proved he could compete AA, PL or NL….Louisville Slugger story is extra.

9- Joe Start-27 year career from 1860-1886…amazing numbers for starting his NL career in his mid-30s…one of the most respected players in the early days of baseball…I rank the players from the Amateur/NA Era in this order: White, Spalding, O’ Rourke, G. Wright, Start, Hines, Barnes, Pearce, Mathews, Sutton, Cummings, Reach, Creighton. Four are in…I expect Spalding & Wright to make it soon with Start on the bubble. I think Pearce, Cummings, Reach and Creighton could only hope for a special Pioneer category with Mathews & Sutton out of luck.

10- Old Hoss Radbourn-1884 season is one of a kind…300+ wins gets him over the top…being part of the only PL flag winner is a bonus.

11- Jim Galvin-perhaps the Don Sutton of his day…he just kept plugging away for the Bisons and Pirates and by age 35 had piled up the numbers…deserves recognition for the volume of his work…1800s, 1900s or 2000s…only a handful of guys have 360+ wins.

12- Dickey Pearce-know less about Pearce than we do Spalding and Start…but as the only premier player that lasted from mid-1850s to the founding of NL he represents historical link to NY-Brooklyn All-Star games of late 1850s…and a pioneer in playing the shortstop position and art of bunting.

13- Tony Mullane-don’t like his comments about Fleet Walker but was a big winner most of the places he pitched…perhaps only salary disputes kept him from winning 300…but has anti-AA bias going against him.

14- Bobby Mathews-perhaps the most overlooked person in baseball history…counting his NA days was all-time wins leaders for several years in the late 1880s until passed by Pud Galvin…as the winner of the first game in NA history plus 296 more…deserves a serious look…but like Dunlap who follows he needs to have an expanded HOM to ever make it…if the membership is kept at its present rate of induction he will never stand a real chance…doesn’t have any credentials like Reach, Cummings or Pearce to qualify as a Pioneer…has to make it as a player.

15- Fred Dunlap-As long as the UA is considered major league…despite what Bill James says in the updated Historical Abstract…its top player should be in the HOM…even if 1884 only amounted to what was his career year.

Posted 7:30 a.m., May 7, 2003 (#48) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  KJOK -- I think your modern comps are off for the 3B/2B -- you are comparing Richardson to Lazzeri, but the position played like 3B does in modern times. A better example is Ron Santo, though Richardson was a little better (130 OPS+ vs. 125; A defense vs. B-), both played about 14 years, it's a great comparison.

And 3B then was the modern equivalent of 2B. Sutton's best comp is Ryne Sandberg or Lou Whitaker, although Sutton was a better hitter (119 OPS+, vs. 114 for Ryno and 117 for Whitaker) and had a slightly longer career, all were pretty good defensive players too -- Sutton gets a B+, so does Sandberg, Whitaker gets a B-. Those of you that are passing him up are basically saying that Whitaker and Sandberg aren't Hall worthy either; Sutton was a better hitter and just as valuable defensively in his time and place, and his career was just as long.

Frankie Frisch, who we all consider a slam dunk Hall of Famer had a 111 OPS+ as a 2B during the transition period, which still wasn't the defensive equivalent of 3B during the 19th Century (he was moved from 3B to 2B when he was 22, and we know how often wrong-way shifts on the defensive spectrum work, as late as 1921-22 3B was still perceived as being tougher). His career was just as long as Sutton's, about 17 seasons.

Posted 8:19 a.m., May 7, 2003 (#49) - TomH
  1900 Ballot from Tom Harahan

1- George Wright
2- Monte Ward
hit well + fielded well + pitched well = very good for long time = HoM election
3- Hardy Richardson
Very good older hitter in the late 1880s NL. Looks like Jeff Kent with speed to me, except splitting time between 2B, LF, and CF.
4- John Clarkson
the tale of his studliness in the ‘89 pennant race moved him up on my ballot.. Good info!
5- Hoss Radbourn ...gotta love that perfect 1884 World Series performance
6- Ezra Sutton
7- Pud Galvin …he also had a fine minor league career? That clinches it; he’s made it over my line of “these guys definitely deserve to be IN”
Previous seven all had mucho career value = games won for their teams
-------------------((demarcation line))-----------
The next 10 players are still a big, indistinguishable blob. 8th not far from 18th.
8- Charlie Bennett
9- Cal McVey
10- Tim Keefe
11- Joe Start ……WARP says the man was good, not great. Okay, playing 1B without a glove moves him up a notch.
12- Lip Pike
13- Fred Dunlap
14- Al Spalding
If I were convinced his 131 ERA+ was not heavily defense-influenced…….
15- Dickey Pearce
He deserves to be here somewhere. 15th is a compromise.
errgh, no room for Harry Stovey or Jim McCormick or Ed “I don’t have the stats but they all thought I could play” Williamson.

Posted 9:20 a.m., May 7, 2003 (#50) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  Tom -- I still think comparing Richardson to a modern 2B isn't the right way to go. He's like a 3B that played some OF too. I still think Santo is a pretty solid comp.

Posted 9:53 a.m., May 7, 2003 (#51) - MattB
  " I would still say that it is worthwhile to have the actual voting occur on the same days of the week each time, whether that is every other Monday through Saturday, or every Monday through Wednesday or whatever. But voting Monday through Wednesday this week, then Thursday through Saturday next week, I dunno."

To bring this out of the theoretical level down to the practical, I know that I use my full week, and often wish that I had more time to consider candidates.

Often a discussion (like the current one on Dickey Pearce) will send me to the library or bookstore, where I cannot get that often. Sometimes it inspires me to order a book on Amazon, which takes days to get delivered.

Meanwhile, I try to put together my own charts and stuff, and absorb everyone else's.

I'm sure there won't be any support to extending the voting to once per month, but that is more of the direction I'm leaning toward, rather than once a week.

Posted 10:39 a.m., May 7, 2003 (#52) - TomH (e-mail)
  can someone remind me who the prime new eligibles are for 1901 (either put 5-8 names here, or tell me which previous post has this info)? Thanks.

Posted 10:43 a.m., May 7, 2003 (#53) - RobC
  TomH: Here are some of them, I assume Foutz,Latham and Hutchison
all have 1895 as their last year. This uses 1000 games played or
1000 Innings pitched as a cutoff (I think).

DAVE FOUTZ,1895,1896 -> 2
ARLIE LATHAM,1895,1896 -> 8,1899 -> 6,1909 -> 4
BILL HUTCHISON,1895,1897 -> 6

Posted 10:45 a.m., May 7, 2003 (#54) - John Murphy

Glasscock and Burns. Pebbly Jack will make my top five easily.

When is Arlie Latham eligible? He could make the tail end of my ballot.

Posted 10:55 a.m., May 7, 2003 (#55) - Philip
  I got this info from some previous post. Don't know if it's still correct:

CON DAILY,1895,1896 -> 9
DAVE FOUTZ,1895,1896 -> 2
ARLIE LATHAM,1895,1896 -> 8,1899 -> 6,1909 -> 4
WALT WILMOT,1895,1897 -> 11,1898 -> 35
BILL HUTCHISON,1895,1897 -> 6

Posted 11:09 a.m., May 7, 2003 (#56) - Marc
  My understanding of our rules would have Latham eligible in '01, Wilmont not, and the rest eligible.

Let the advocating begin, eh, John? For the record, I'm tending toward Glasscock no better than #7! ;-)

Haven't really considered Foutz yet, but I think that some people thought at the time that he was better than Caruthers, is that right? i.e. he was their ace at least for a time. Whoever posted the record of 19th century "World Series" pitching, I forget, was Foutz in there? Do you mind re-posting Caruthers vs. Foutz (maybe over on the pitcher thread)?

As for Oyster Burns, ouch! Those Oyster Burns really hurt!

Posted 11:20 a.m., May 7, 2003 (#57) - John Murphy
  Marc, I'm always ready to go on the stump for my candidates. :-)

As for Oyster Burns, ouch! Those Oyster Burns really hurt!

He was never known as Oyster as a player- always Tom or Tommy.

Posted 11:40 a.m., May 7, 2003 (#58) - MattB
  Dave Foutz went 3-6 with a 2.64 ERA in 75 post-season innings in 10 games over 4 years. (1885-1887, 1889).

In 1990, Foutz went 6 for 30 in the post-season, but did not pitch. (Over 5 years, he had a combined .225 batting average and .586 OPS, but was .300 and .733 in his "offense only" year.)

For the record, I do not think Foutz holds a candle to Caruthers, but we can discuss that next week.

Posted 11:47 a.m., May 7, 2003 (#59) - KJOK (e-mail)
  "KJOK -- I think your modern comps are off for the 3B/2B -- you are comparing Richardson to Lazzeri, but the position played like 3B does in modern times. "

Joe - I thought about doing this, but the problem is that 2B and 3B aren't the only positions whose value was different in the 19th century. RF was probably less valuable than 1st base, for example. SS and C and even LF were probably even more valuable than today. CF was probably less valuable than today. How are you going to make all of the different comparisons? So, I decided to compare position to position while retaining the knowledge that 3B defense was more somewhat more valuable back then.

Posted 11:48 a.m., May 7, 2003 (#60) - MattB
  That's "9 for 30 in 1890", for course, not "6 for 30 in 1990."

But, then, I'd be more impressed with a .200 batting average at age 134.

Posted 12:17 p.m., May 7, 2003 (#61) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  I hear you KJOK . . . but I don't think it comes across that way.

The way I see it 3B-2B is a major shift. We can eyeball that 1B was more important defensively than RF, etc. but 2B-3B is a much bigger impact. Much more than 'somewhat more valuable'.

I agree with you on the RF-1B issue as well, I think I'll start using those comps the other way too.

But I still think the 2B-3B issue is much larger than any of the others, except 1B pre-gloves.

Does anyone have the date where gloves became popular at 1B?

I think Glasscock belongs near or at the top of the 1901 ballot . . . just using the eyeball metrics, you've got a SS who's FPct was .028 above the league for his career (in an era where errors were much more important in evaluation), who hit like Ryne Sandberg, OPS+ 112. He was MUCH more valuable to his teams than John Ward, for example.

Posted 12:39 p.m., May 7, 2003 (#62) - John Murphy
  For the record, I do not think Foutz holds a candle to Caruthers, but we can discuss that next week.

Funny, I have them in a photo-finish tie. You can argue he was the best first baseman in 1890, while Caruthers was never the best at any position.

I think they should both stay on the sidelines.

Posted 1:23 p.m., May 7, 2003 (#63) - John Murphy
  He was MUCH more valuable to his teams than John Ward, for example.

You wouldn't know it from this election, Joe. Fortunately, I do like Ward, so I'm not complaining.

Posted 1:43 p.m., May 7, 2003 (#64) - RobC
  John- I have Ward #1 this time. If he doesnt get elected, he wont be #1 next time. I think Glasscock was much more valuable than Ward also. I guess Im giving away where Pebbly Jack is going to be on my 1901 ballot.

Posted 1:48 p.m., May 7, 2003 (#65) - John Murphy
  John- I have Ward #1 this time. If he doesnt get elected, he wont be #1 next time. I think Glasscock was much more valuable than Ward also.

From the impression that I've had here, Ward seems to garner greater acclaim than Glasscock. Obviously, you don't fall in that category.

I guess Im giving away where Pebbly Jack is going to be on my 1901 ballot.

Just a little. :-)

Posted 2:20 p.m., May 7, 2003 (#66) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  Glasscock is in the general class of guys like Deacon White, Jim O'Rourke, King Kelly, no brainers for election. You could make a case that he'll be the second best player we've seen, behind only Jim O'Rourke. If he's not elected in 1901 the voters are missing something big time.

Posted 2:32 p.m., May 7, 2003 (#67) - John Murphy
  If he's not elected in 1901 the voters are missing something big time.

I have him tentatively pegged for number 4 on next "year's" ballot. I also believe he's a no-brainer HoMer, but I think he's behind Spalding and Sutton (and basically tied with Wright).

Posted 3:29 p.m., May 7, 2003 (#68) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  Yeah that's about where I've got him too John, not sure about where he fits with Start and Sutton, who I'd have 1-2 on a carry over (if Clarkson makes it), I've got to do some crunching on whether he'll be 1 or 3, I still think he's ahead Keefe, who'd be my #3.

I'm assuming Sutton and Start won't get elected, which is why I'm saying he should definitely get in for 1901. I'd say the same goes for Spalding too.

Something I'm doing, and I'd recommend to others for fun, is that I'm keeping track of my own personal Hall of Merit, who would be in if only my vote counted. Right now that's Hines, White, Start, Sutton, O'Rourke, Kelly, Clarkson and Keefe (if you count 1900). It's kind of cool to see how the 'rosters' differ, I'm sure it'll be even more different over time, but maybe not, as it might just affect the 'order' people go in.

Posted 3:32 p.m., May 7, 2003 (#69) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  KJOK, just curious, but why would you use WARP instead of WARP3? The former is very biased against people who played during the shorter seasons. Even WARP3 is a little biased, as it only gives credit for 2/3 of the 'missing' games, but it's better than nothing.

Posted 4:10 p.m., May 7, 2003 (#70) - John Murphy
  Right now that's Hines, White, Start, Sutton, O'Rourke, Kelly, Clarkson and Keefe (if you count 1900).

I would have White, Spalding, Wright, Sutton, O'Rourke, and Kelly. For this election, I would have Hines and Clarkson.

Posted 4:31 p.m., May 7, 2003 (#71) - Carl Goetz
  I'd have Hines, Gore, White, Radbourn, O'Rourke, Kelly, Clarkson, and Wright.

Posted 4:46 p.m., May 7, 2003 (#72) - MattB
  Joe wrote:

"If he's not elected in 1901 the voters are missing something big time."

Then he wrote:

"I've got to do some crunching on whether he'll be 1 or 3."

First, how many are we electing in 1901? I thought we were doing 2 a year for a while, but now you said Glasscock's a no-brainer, but might be third?

Also, he's tentatively above my in/out line around 5th right now. Nothing against him, but he doesn't strike me initially as #1. Also, it'd be nice if eventually some "carry-overs" get elected.

Posted 4:57 p.m., May 7, 2003 (#73) - sean gilman (e-mail)
  On Pebbly Jack:

Haven't looked closely at him yet, but I imagine he'll be in my top 4 mix with Sutton, Richardson and Start.

My Personal HOM:

Hines, White, Gore, Sutton, O'Rourke, Kelly, Ward and Clarkson.

Posted 5:02 p.m., May 7, 2003 (#74) - RobC
My guess is that in 1901 Glasscock and 1 holdover get in, then the holdovers get to wait until 1904. But, I've been surprised by votes in all 3 elections so far, so what do I know?

Posted 5:02 p.m., May 7, 2003 (#75) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  Matt see my post of 3:29 p.m. I explain while I have him about even with Start and Sutton, those two aren't going to be elected, so Glasscock should be a no brainer, as he was a lot more valuable than John Ward, who it getting decent support this week.

A great defensive SS (WS gives him an A-) with a long career and a career OPS+ of 112 should be a no brainer for election. That's basically the same qualification as Luke Appling.

Posted 5:06 p.m., May 7, 2003 (#76) - KJOK (e-mail)
  "KJOK, just curious, but why would you use WARP instead of WARP3? The former is very biased against people who played during the shorter seasons. Even WARP3 is a little biased, as it only gives credit for 2/3 of the 'missing' games, but it's better than nothing."

This gets back into my ambivelence about giving "credit" for "missing" games. WARP3, in my opinion, gives too much credit for short season performances. WARP is a truer picture of "real" performance as opposed to "projected" performance.

Posted 5:25 p.m., May 7, 2003 (#77) - Carl Goetz (e-mail)
  But, isn't WARP only supposed to be used when comparing 2 players in the same season? That doesn't really help for this discussion, unless your trying to prove that a player was the best in his league in 1888.

Posted 5:40 p.m., May 7, 2003 (#78) - Marc
  My HoM right now would be:

White, Hines, Spalding, Barnes
Kelly, O'Rourke
Clarkson, Ward

I didn't see anybody (above) who had all their choices in, which is good. John, for an Irishman you're doing damn poorly though I see you managed to get O'Kelly and O'Rourke.

Maybe we can get Kelly Clarkson to sing the national anthem at the annual HoM game.

Posted 1:24 a.m., May 8, 2003 (#79) - John Murphy
  I didn't see anybody (above) who had all their choices in, which is good. John, for an Irishman you're doing damn poorly though I see you managed to get O'Kelly and O'Rourke.

That's because I'm half-Italian. I'm all screwed up. :-)

Posted 5:43 a.m., May 8, 2003 (#80) - Andrew Siegel
  Well, I've had all my choices in thus far (Hines, White, Gore, Barnes, Kelly, O'Rourke) and will get Clarkson this time, but I'm looking shaky on Wright.

On the next ballot (assuming Clarkson is elected and Wright is not), I think I'm going to have Glasscock number 2. I've tentatively got him a shade below Wright, but it's close. On the one hand, Glasscock's career was much longer and his competition was tougher. On the other hand, I've got Wright as the number 5 SS of All-Time on era-neutral peak value (behind Wagner, ARod, Vaughn, and Banks). Glasscock, is probably no better than number 15 or 20 on that list.

Posted 7:50 a.m., May 8, 2003 (#81) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  Anyone have any objections if we cut of voting Sunday mid-evening this week?

I'll be in Pittsburgh on travel (if you want to go to a game let me know, I'll be at PNC S-M-T-W) and Sunday evening is the best time for me to tally everything and post the 'article' etc. Monday I'll be in class all day and then at the game, who knows when I'll get out of the bar :-)

If you have any objections let me know, but I'll probably close down the voting when I get back from PNC Sunday.

Posted 10:20 a.m., May 8, 2003 (#82) - John Murphy
  I've tentatively got him a shade below Wright, but it's close.

That's about where I have both of them, too. Wright is there because of peak, while Glasscock makes it more on career.

Posted 12:39 p.m., May 8, 2003 (#83) - TomH
  since we're discussing Glasscock...possible comparisons:

J Glasscock.602.....268.....511/109......16
A Trammell..567.....284.....589/80.......16
PW Reese...557.....273.....530/47.......15
J Sewell.......602.....274.....448/48.......13
B Wallace...575.....264.....614/108......17+
J Glasscock.602.....268.....511/109......16

where FRAR/FRAA are from the BP cards (fielding runs above replacement/..above average). OWP is relative to league, adjEqA is a valiant attempt to adjust for league quality over time

Wallace could field with Jack, but not quite the hitter. Sewell's career is shorter. Pee Wee could hit with Jack, but not field as well. Trammell is the best comp I see, and that's fine company. Glasscock will be 1st or 2nd on my ballot next "year".

Posted 2:11 p.m., May 8, 2003 (#84) - Marc
  A little note for the long-distant future. Reese lost three peak years to WWII. We've been talking about AA discounts, I also provide a WWII adjustment upward--half value. If three years are lost vs. a 10 year career (13 years total), that's a 15% bump.

Posted 5:04 p.m., May 8, 2003 (#85) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  Marc why only half?

I think it's extremely unfair if you don't give a reasonable estimate of what they would have done, based on age and the immediate (2 years before and after) quality of play surrounding the missing years.

This isn't an injury scenario, these guys were fighting a war. If a player missed his peak years, he should get credit for what a player who performed at his level (when he was playing) would be expected to do at the ages he missed. I don't see how you can't give FULL credit for years missed due to miliary service. This is especially important for borderline cases like Rizzuto, DDiMaggio, Reese, etc. guys that missed 3 prime years. Giving them 1/2 of their career average, for missing prime years will vastly underrate them.

Posted 5:13 p.m., May 8, 2003 (#86) - Marc
  Joe, I'm already basing my ratings fairly heavily on peak value, for one thing. As to career value, add 15% to any of these guys (just take their WS as a case) and see where they land. Reese does quite nicely, thank you (passes up Lou Boudreau for one). Slaughter moves up equal to Jim O'Rourke with his little goose. Even with a full three years, Rizutto is still borderline, but even at 1.5 he moves up. I don't think you can assume that a guy would have played two or three years (in which he did not play) healthy and etc. etc. Half is not exactly a regression toward the mean, but I just can't hand a guy 100 home runs he didn't hit. Half credit gives them a nice boost.

Joe, (cleverly changing the subject) do you discount guys who DID play in '43-'44-'45?

Posted 5:17 p.m., May 8, 2003 (#87) - Carl G
  I'd just like to point out that Pee Wee Reese was 26 when he returned from the war and was a much better player than when he left. I don't think you can award him 3 'prime' years for his missed time. I think for young players like this, you have to look at what he did in the year or 2 before he left and the year or 2 after he returned and fill in a reasonable progression in between. I still think you should discount this number slightly because of the possibility of injury. Bob Feller was a young fireballer before the war. Is it unreasonable to think that, had he pitched from 42-45, he might have thown out his arm and ended his career right then? Maybe he saved a HoM career by giving his arm 4 years of not pitching. Granted, its all conjecture, but so is giving him full credit as if he had 4 'prime' seasons in these years.

Posted 6:59 p.m., May 8, 2003 (#88) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  "I don't think you can assume that a guy would have played two or three years (in which he did not play) healthy and etc. etc. Half is not exactly a regression toward the mean, but I just can't hand a guy 100 home runs he didn't hit. Half credit gives them a nice boost."

Why can't you give a guy credit for 100 HR he didn't hit? As has been said before, player X was still a great player, he just wasn't playing because of world circumstances beyond his control.

Carl, I'm not saying give Reese 3 of his best years if he missed age 23-25, I'm saying look at each individual circumstance.

That's why I'm saying look at 2 years, before, 2 years after, allow for normal growth (or decline) and give full credit based on that. If he missed 20 games a year during that time, account for that. But to him credit as if he played 81 games at his career average, for a guy that missed his age 26-28 season for example, seems like a pretty big penalty for serving your country.

I don't think you blanket discount for the possibility of injury, discount based on the player's actual history.

And yes Mark, I would discount the players who did play from 1943-45.

Posted 11:16 p.m., May 8, 2003 (#89) - Rusty Priske
  I guess it depends what you think you should reward: potential or results.

Isn't this a lot like the Comiskey argument? Only reward what actually happened on the field. Anything else is just speculation.

Posted 11:30 p.m., May 8, 2003 (#90) - David
  back to the ballots...I've done some significant changing this week. As noted below, I'm valuing career over peak more than I have before, and that shook things up. Joe: you've won me over (a bit) on Bennett.

1. John Clarkson - definitely a case of career over peak, but when every season in which he pitched more than three games he has an ERA+ of 103 or better, it doesn't matter much. He's the best pitcher we've seen - even if his numbers aren't that gaudy. I think that's more a reflection of his times than of his ability - his black and gray ink are great (though I usually don't put too much weight on that).

2. Hardy Richardson - I looked at his stats, and I think I've been underrating him. I'm changing my focus a bit to favor career over peak, and this guy put together a heck of a career. The guy could hit, played the field well, and stuck around for a long time.

3. Tim Keefe - I think I'm finally recognizing what the top pitchers of the 19th century looked like. He's the clear cut number two pitcher to me.

4. George Wright - I'm having real trouble getting a handle on him.

5. Ezra Sutton - solid pick that keeps moving up. Next year may be his year.

6. Al Spalding - my only real concession to peak over career. He dominated his time like few men have.

7. Harry Stovey - Wish I could have him around five or six, but not this year. I still think he's HOM quality, I'm just not quite as enamored with him this time.

8. Joe Start - LONG career, and even the well-documented part is pretty darn good. I think he really was an all-star well before we had the stats to keep up.

9. Monte Ward - like the speed/good pitching/decent hitting combo. Like it. Don't love it. I would like to move him up, but I can't see how. After a couple of weak classes, he'll have a shot at my top few spots.

10. Lip Pike - The guy hit at a .321 clip with 155 OPS+ on his career, and though the NA wasn't the best, those numbers aren't boosted based on playing in the second-best league available.

11. Pud Galvin - a vote for longevity over greatness, he pops back on my ballot. I think this has more to do with Radbourne impressing me less and less. 6000 IP is worth quite a bit.

12. Cal McVey - Although his documented career didn't last that long, he did mash the ball while he was around. And his career's not so short that I'd call this a case of pure peak over career.

13. Charlie Bennett - I'm admitting a mistake here. He deserves a spot in my top 15, and probably even in my top 11, but I'm not quite there on him. His defensive numbers are great, his offensive numbers aren't bad, and he played for a long time, injuries notwithstanding. Still don't know that he's HoM worthy.

14. Charley Jones - I'm getting on the bandwagon.

15. Bob Caruthers - I originally had Radbourne in here. But I can't pass on Parisian Bob. This may change again next week, but I don't think I can leave this two-way stud out of my ballot. He does fall after I looked a little more closely at his hitting numbers.

Posted 12:07 a.m., May 9, 2003 (#91) - DanG
  Say, how about I don't wait for the last minute to cast my ballot:

1) John “Last Train to” Clarkson: Like O'Rourke, an easy choice for #1.
2) George Wright: I’m buying the idea more that he was a transcendent star for a decade plus. BBLibrary adds: “George gave up baseball almost entirely to establish a sporting-goods business.” That was after he was barred from playing in 1880.
3) Smiling Tim Keefe: his day is coming, holding at #3.
4) Joe Start: I’m giving the early guys more props this time. Seems to have had a great “glove” at a time when first base fielding was pretty important.
5) Charley Old Hoss Radbourn: maintains #5 slot.
6) Ezra Ballou Sutton: I'm becoming more convinced that he belongs in the HoM
7) Hardy Richardson: dropped a bit as older players were given more consideration.
8) John Ward: A deserving HoMer. But. Didn’t arm trouble curtail his pitching career? Seems to be getting a huge boost for merely making the transition. Still, as BBLibrary points out: “When he wasn't winning games with his skills on the field, he was planning the strategy as team captain and manager.”
9) Albert Spalding: did he retire "on top" or did he have some arm trouble in 1877?
10) Cal McVey: Again, more props to the early stars.
11) Harry Stovey: not quite sold on him yet.
12) Dickey Pearce: Moves up another notch. Might there be enough anecdotal evidence about him to shift the burden of proof to the naysayers?
13) Lip Pike: Also upped a notch.
14) Pete Browning: man, this guy could hit. But so could Orr. He might look better a few years down the road when the backlog is a bit less.
15) Charlie Bennett: career was tragically “cut short”. (My bad.)

Posted 12:29 a.m., May 9, 2003 (#92) - John Murphy
  8) John Ward: A deserving HoMer. But. Didn’t arm trouble curtail his pitching career? Seems to be getting a huge boost for merely making the transition.

I agree he belongs, too. The problem I have with him being as high as he has been on some ballots is:

1) If he had ended his career after his arm went bad, he would be in Sadie McMahon/Icebox Chamberlain territory. He would not make our Hall.

2) If he had a full fifteen years as a shortstop without taking the mound, he would be a fine addition to the Hall, though I have a feeling Ward would be nearer to where you, Joe Dimino and I have him on our ballots.

Oh, well... :-)

Posted 8:24 a.m., May 9, 2003 (#93) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  Rusty said "I guess it depends what you think you should reward: potential or results.

Isn't this a lot like the Comiskey argument? Only reward what actually happened on the field. Anything else is just speculation."

Military service is a completely different circumstance. This isn't an injury or illness or a guy quiting to hold out for more money. It's serving your country, something they were forced to do due to the unique circumstances surrounding their birthdate. It's a completely different question.

I don't see how you can't give credit. I think it's absolutely a mockery to call that potential. Someone would have been starring in MLB from 1943-45, probably the same guys that were young and good in 1940, 41 and 42. You've got to make a best guess, sure, and you should be reasonably conservative, but to give half or no credit just doesn't make any sense.

Looks like this might end up being a bigger issue than I thought I would be.

Posted 9:00 a.m., May 9, 2003 (#94) - MattB
  Joe seems to want to consider a player's intrinsic "goodness." The Constitution states:

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

If Player X led the St. Louis Browns to a pennant in 1944 and Player Y was storming the beaches at Normandy, I certainly know who I think was the more valuable American. But I also know who had more "on-field accomplishments" that "had an impact on the outcome of the player's baseball games" in 1944. Player Y may be the more valuable person and the better intrinsic baseball player, but he certainly did not earn any value based on their accomplishments in 1944.

I think giving full value to games not played (as opposed to games played but not recorded, like pre-NA and Negro League games) is "unconstitutional".

Also, if we are considering what "could have been" I think John O'Rourke (brother of the HoMer) could have been pretty great himself.


I'm not sure of the story (does anyone know it?) but I think there was a contract dispute and he was blackballed. Of course, it's a fine line between "illegally excluded" and "held out for more money", but I think that there was a court case and John O'Rourke won it.

Anyway, his career was only three years long, but if he was kept out by forces beyond his control and was actually a great ballplayer all those years, should we reasonably project that John O'Rourke would have been almost as great as his brother?

Posted 9:05 a.m., May 9, 2003 (#95) - Rusty Priske
  I understand what you are saying about military service, and I have to admit that if I had to choose between two players who were otherwise close but one of them missed time due to the war, he would get the nod. But I just don't think giving a person full credit for baseball that wasn't played is the right thing to do.

As Matt said, it is even against the constitution.

Posted 10:09 a.m., May 9, 2003 (#96) - Marc
  As Joe says, this is a lot trickier than it looks. There are a lot of reasons players fail to play more baseball games than they do.

Baseball related injury
Non-baseball related injury or illness (George Sisler, etc.)
Hold out for more money, or seek different employment for more money
Blacklisted, banned, etc. (Joe Jackson, Pete Rose, etc. etc.)
Lack of greater ability or skills, natural decline
Barred by racial discrimination
Fought in a war
Short seasons (not just 19th century but 1918, 1981, 1994, etc.)
Held back in minor leagues because of better players ahead of you, management misjudgement, etc. (Al Rosen, Lefty Grove, etc.)

I'm sure there are other reasons. I'm with Joe in the sense that we (many of us, at least) clearly do not treat all of these the same. Some of them get no extra credit at all and nobody would argue--e.g. injuries are part of the game, or your path to the major leagues is blocked by a better player or a more established player who may not even be better. Those are part of the game, tough luck (though some give Lefty Grove extra credit, I don't think he needs it).

We do adjust for short seasons, at least some of us. Of course, some only for the 19th century, others for 1918 and 1981. I assume we adjust for racial discrimination. In other words, we don't discount Josh Gibson because his competition wasn't the best, and we give extra credit to Jackie or Campy because they didn't play in the bigs until ages 27-28 (whatever) through no lack of ability of their own. And at least some of us give extra credit to players who missed time during WWII, especially if the time clearly came out of their peak years.

To those who give no extra credit for any of these things, I can understand that. To those who give George Sisler or Lefty Grove or players from 1981 extra credit, I understand though I disagree. (In '81 and '94 the players decided collectively to sit out, and yes, the owners perhaps forced them into that decision, but they still had the opportunity to make a decision, which players in '43 didn't have. Even George Sisler and Lefty Grove have a better case of lacking any control over their destinies.)

As to WWII, do we just fill in the blanks based on '42 and '46? What about Cecil Travis? Sure he didn't come back strong in '46 but, geez, he was an infantryman who froze his feet. Do we give X credit for that?

Anyway, my only point is that I can't imagine there's only one way to deal with all these issues (X credit/no X credit, half/full, etc. etc.). Just like Bill James, we all make subjective adjustments to or evaluations of the numbers. So I think these are freedom of conscience issues for each to decide.

The risk of freedom of conscience leading to some obviously inappropriate decision is virtually nil. My evidence is that the short 19th century seasons are just as tricky as anything, and so far we're doin' OK.

Posted 11:20 a.m., May 9, 2003 (#97) - Carl Goetz (e-mail)
  I agree Marc. This is why we vote, so that everyone can make their own decisions about these adjustments and rank their players accordingly. We all have to make subjective judgements about the objective facts that we're given and we are doing a hell of a job so far and I have every reason to expect that we will continue to do so. Also, I don't know if it was said in this trhead or the Centennial committee thread, but someone was concerned over how are elections would look to outsiders. ie, would others think we elected the 'right' players? To that, I can only say we are only in our 3rd election and we have already had several passionate debates, both about principles and specific players. This is a group that really cares about doing this right and attacks every problem(and some non-problems) head-on. It seems like we're all researching these players extremely thoroughly as well, which I think will continue when we start electing Negro-leaguers. I guess my point is that I don't think this concern is warranted. I don't expect players like George Kell to make the HoM. I'm sure I'll disagree with a few borderline guys who get in, but I don't expect any 'ridiculus' picks.

Posted 11:44 a.m., May 9, 2003 (#98) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  Not a lot of time right now, but it is in no way un-Constitutional to adjust for time missing due to the war, or for short seasons, etc. Ted Williams was a great player from 1943-45 and in 1951 and 1952, whether he was in the major leagues or not. It was a condition of the time, beyond the player's control. These are players that were great when they played, frankly it's offensive (and I'm a peace flako, not a military guy at all) to not give credit 'accomplishments' during those years (Bill James said this in the first Historical Abstract and I agree with him wholeheartedly).

Marc summed my thoughts up pretty well. This has nothing to do with these guys being 'good guys' for serving their country. The fact that they were forced to do it should not be a demerit to them. How can this not be painfully obvious? It hits you like a truck. Saying that some guy leading a AAA team to the World Series in 1944 deserves more credit than a 25-year old Ted Williams or a 29-year old Joe DiMaggio is a joke.

On just about everything we've discussed over the last year, I've listened to both sides, changed my opinion, said, "hey, you've got a good point." But not on this one. I've got no room to give, I'm pretty rock-solid on this, I'm pretty confident no one's going to change my mind. Comparing John O'Rourke to Rizzuto or Williams or Reese is ludicrous. The other 3 have the framework of a Hall of Merit career with a 3-year chunk (5-years for Williams) stripped from them, due to no fault of their own (injuries, early death even - those are a player's fault, they are part of his skill set). O'Rourke was a star in other leagues, who played 3 years in the majors, there is no Hall of Merit framework there, it's completely different.

Posted 11:54 a.m., May 9, 2003 (#99) - Carl Goetz (e-mail)
  I agree that credit should be given and if the wording of the constitution makes it unconstitutional, then the constitution needs tweaking. I just adjust my adjustments slightly downward because of the unknown quantities involved. I'm not concerned over guys like Williams, DiMaggio, Feller, Greenberg, etc. They are in without any adjustments. I just want to make sure I'm not overrating the PeeWee Reeses' of the league by giving them too much credit for missed time.

Posted 12:15 p.m., May 9, 2003 (#100) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  Just to clarify my thoughts, I pretty much agree with Carl. I'm not saying we 'predict' and MVP season or anything, I understand being reasonably conservative, but giving no credit would be against the Constitution (again that was the intent, maybe we need to tweak), not giving full credit.

Posted 12:45 p.m., May 9, 2003 (#101) - KJOK (e-mail)
  The problem with giving "credit" to fictitous seasons is that the player simply did not provide any value to his team while other players WERE providing ACTUAL value. As good as Ted Williams probably would have been, he didn't help the Red Sox win. If there had not been a war and he had played, he might has suffered a career ending injury. Players such as Stan Musial, however, DID provide REAL value to their teams. To give Williams the same "credit" as Musial would be wrong.

Plus, I really don't see a particular need for adding anything to the existing record. It should be obvious from the years a player DID player whether or not he is worthy of the HOM.

Posted 1:04 p.m., May 9, 2003 (#102) - Jeff M
  Quick response to Dan G's ballot comment about Al Spalding. There's nothing in Levine's biography of Spalding that indicates he had an arm problem in 1877. I'm not saying his arm was trouble-free; just that it isn't mentioned in Levine's biography, and it seems like the kind of thing that would have been mentioned. See my post on pitchers thread for purported reasons for retirement.

Dan G, did you find evidence somewhere that he had a bad arm in 1877?

Posted 1:37 p.m., May 9, 2003 (#103) - Rusty Priske
  This makes sense.

I was not trying to argue that the players don't deserve to be recognized for what the w/c/should have done, just that I was under the impression that this is not what the Hall of Merit was set up to do. If the HoM Constitution is tweaked sufficiently, I certainly have no problem with giving those who missed time their just due (though, as Joe said, we aren't talking MVP levels here...)

Posted 1:47 p.m., May 9, 2003 (#104) - Jeff M
  Quick response to Dan G's ballot comment about Al Spalding. There's nothing in Levine's biography of Spalding that indicates he had an arm problem in 1877. I'm not saying his arm was trouble-free; just that it isn't mentioned in Levine's biography, and it seems like the kind of thing that would have been mentioned. See my post on pitchers thread for purported reasons for retirement.

Dan G, did you find evidence somewhere that he had a bad arm in 1877?

Posted 1:55 p.m., May 9, 2003 (#105) - John Murphy
  Quick response to Jeff M.: You double-posted. :-)

Posted 2:41 p.m., May 9, 2003 (#106) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  "The problem with giving "credit" to fictitous seasons is that the player simply did not provide any value to his team while other players WERE providing ACTUAL value. As good as Ted Williams probably would have been, he didn't help the Red Sox win. If there had not been a war and he had played, he might has suffered a career ending injury."

Two things, first the fact that he didn't give any value to his team, because he was fighting a war is looking at things awfully cold and callously isn't it? We have to realize there are legitimate exceptions; very few exceptions of course, and this is clearly one of them. Musial's stats need to be devalued because he was competing against inferior competition.

As for the second part, about him suffering a career ending injury, give the guy the benefit of the doubt. Look at his surrounding years, and give him credit for playing 95% of the games he actually played or something. I don't see how you can say, 'there's a 1000:1 chance he might have suffered a career ending injury, so we're going to give him NO credit whatsoever."

"It should be obvious from the years a player DID player whether or not he is worthy of the HOM."

Not if your basis is career value. Take age 26-28 out of Tony Oliva's career and he becomes much less of a candidate for example.

Posted 2:47 p.m., May 9, 2003 (#107) - David
  I agree with what Marc wrote. Certainly to give them no credit wouldn't adequately take into consideration the circumstances beyond their control. However, to give them full credit (even for a good, non-MVP type season) seems wrong to me too. As Marc said, we all have to make personal judgements on this. I don't quite know what my system will be - probably something like 75% (guess). But I think we can trust everyone who's been working hard on this project to really put some thought into what value they give to those players. If it really becomes a problem, we can cross that bridge when we get to it. But I don't see that happening.

Posted 3:00 p.m., May 9, 2003 (#108) - John Murphy
  Musial's stats need to be devalued because he was competing against inferior competition.

This should be a no-brainer. The same goes for Newhouser, Holmes, Nicholson, etc. There is a definite quality of play issue here.

With that said, we're probably only talking 4 to 5 per cent comparing 1945 to 1946. We're not talking the UA here.

Posted 3:06 p.m., May 9, 2003 (#109) - Jeff M
  And a mysterious double-posting it was, since I wasn't anywhere near a computer for the second posting. :)

Posted 10:37 p.m., May 9, 2003 (#110) - jimd
  Some of this is repeat verbiage; some of this is new. (I was going to remove much of the repeat but we have a number of new voters who may not have read last year's ballots; I'll keep lobbying for the pitchers.)

1) C. Radbourn -- A close decision between 1 and 2. Pitchers dominate the early 1880's; there's no doubt that they are important in each game (the pitching records like no-hitters, perfect games, a 19 strike-out game all demonstrate this). Individuals also are close to complete staffs. My interpretation is that a great pitching season put a team in contention, even over an All-Star team which hit like Chicago. Radbourn is the best of this generation, the best P of 1882, 83, and 84.
2) G. Wright -- Giving him credit for his reputation as the best player in the country in the period 1867-70 before the NA started. The 1867 Washington Nationals were considered the best team that year, as were the famous 1869-1870 Cincinnati Red Stockings; he was a star on each, and the highest paid player on the Red Stockings.
3) J. M. Ward -- A long and valuable career (two careers really). His peak value is from his pitching days, though if he hadn't converted to SS he'd be borderline for the lower part of my ballot; just another good peak, short career P. His career value also gets a decided boost due to the extra pitching value he provided; if he didn't get that pitching boost, he'd be borderline with the other very-good IFs. The two-for-one combo is what makes him stand out; it gives him a better peak than the other IFs, and a better career than the other Ps. That said, he is not as good a P as Radbourn nor as good a SS as Wright. Hence the #3 ranking.
4) A. Spalding -- The hardest of these guys to place. He's a full-time hitter and a very good (but not great) one. As an OF, he'd be forgettable; as an IF, he'd be notable, but not this high. I'd lower him if somebody could give a compelling argument that SS or C was more valuable defensively than P during his career, but H.Wright was willing to pay him more for less hitting than Barnes and G.Wright, which leads me to believe that P was still the most important position defensively in the 1870's, and just got even more important as time went on.
5) J. Clarkson -- Better peak than Keefe with similar career value. I can't rank him with Radbourn though, the quality numbers that others are citing are exaggerated by the dilution of the league pitching quality caused by lengthening the schedules. He also doesn't benefit from the extra impact that the short schedules gave to Ps pre-1885 by enabling them to pitch the majority of a team's innings. It's a double-whammy that isn't Clarkson's fault, but it's there. People nowadays talk about how expansion has diluted today's pitching because of a 15% increase in innings due to expansion 1992-2002; how about a 325% increase in innings between 1879-1889 (more than triple)? I think it's this that is causing voters to overrate him relative to Radbourn. I also think that Clarkson deserves to be elected, in his turn; the best pitcher of 1885, 87, and 89.
6) T. Keefe -- His career value is comparable to Radbourn but Keefe doesn't have the peak. Peaks win pennants. Keefe was on more pennant-winning teams, but he also had better teammates (Connor, Ewing, Ward, O'Rourke, Welch, Tiernan vs. Hines & 41 yr-old Start).
7) H. Richardson -- I'm now willing to move him onto the other side of my in/out line.
8) P. Galvin -- Ditto. TangoTiger style thought experiment: suppose that they played Clarkson/Caruthers-length schedules (140 games) during Galvin's peak. Galvin's raw stats would stay the same. His ERA+ would be much better, because the Ps pitching all those extra innings would be replacement-level Ps (the #2 backup starters of the 84 game schedule), or worse (the #3 starters that couldn't get NL jobs at 84 games). His value to his team (in Wins) would improve somewhat due to the drop in replacement level. The impact of that value when compared to the position players would drop because the position players would be playing 140 games instead of 84, increasing their value. (Just another cut at explaining why WARP3 values early 1880's pitching so highly.)

Below are the guys that I might not have in my HOF, but then again I'm a small hall advocate, smaller than the one that exists now. These are the same rankings as in 1899; no particular reason for me to change them as yet.

9) C. Bennett -- It was a tough position to play back then.
10) J. Whitney -- Already detailed in length elsewhere. Did I mention he also led the league in Saves in 1883? (He had 2. :-)
11) J. Start -- Joe, your arguments in his favor have made me move him up as far as I can justify for somebody with an undocumented peak.
12) B. Caruthers -- Unique story but I have the same doubts about him as others seem to have about Spalding with respect to suspect league quality and "Pitching vs. Fielding". Foutz did a similar role almost as well at the same time; Caruthers left and St. Louis didn't miss a beat, replacing him with Silver King (but not his bat).
13) J. McCormick -- Another very-good early 1880's P.
14) H. Stovey -- Not a long enough career or dominant enough peak to place higher.
15) E. Sutton -- Another very good IF.

Just missing the cut are Ned Williamson, Tony Mullane, Fred Dunlap, Dickey Pearce, and Tommy Bond.

Posted 12:55 a.m., May 10, 2003 (#111) - MichaelD
  Well, I promised not to wait to the last minute, this week, but I needed to get to the weekend. Really seems like the year of the pitcher here with Clarkson and Ward being added to my ballot which had a few pitchers who didn't get in the last few "years" -- not that I had them in the "in" group myself.

1. John Clarkson -- Seems like another no brainer pick to me. Seemed like clearly of the best pre-1993 pitchers.

2. Tim Keefe (3rd last time) At first I thought I shouldn't have two pitchers in the top two in a year with two getting in, but I don't think that reasoning makes sense.

3. George Wright (4)

4. Ezra Sutton (5)

5. John Ward (new) A tough guy to evaluate trying to put together ss with p years.

6. Hoss Radbourne (8) After seeing the discussion on pitchers, I feel more comfortable with my ordering of the pitchers and therefore felt comfortable having Radbourne pass some position players.

7. Ed Williamson (7)

8. Hardy Richardson (9)

9. Harry Stovey (6) I docked him a little since last time. I guess I am a little worried about the AA adjustment.

10. Joe Start (11)

11. Pud Galvin (not on ballot) The big mover after the pitcher discussion.

12. Al Spalding (13)

13. Pete Browning (10) Not moving him down as opposed to moving up the two pitchers.

14. Charlie Bennett (14)

15. Cal McVey (15)

Dropped off Bob Caruthers

I generally probably don't move people up and down a lot even if I feel like I should. I guess my previous thoughts still have some validity to my current rankings.

Posted 11:48 a.m., May 10, 2003 (#112) - John Murphy
  We have two more people voting this election. That's a positive sign!

The difference between second, third and fourth is less than 40 points. With only one really strong new candidate next "year," it should be very interesting.

Posted 8:18 p.m., May 10, 2003 (#113) - Ken Fischer
  Since I appear to be the only person voting for Bobby Mathews, I want to point out that Roger Clemens went ahead of the NY Mutuals/Philadelphia A's star today with win # 298!

Posted 11:25 p.m., May 10, 2003 (#114) - Esteban Rivera
  I have reevaluated some of the candidates and have moved them up and down accordingly:

1. John Clarkson - The best pitcher on this ballot. Definitely deserves the number one spot for his excellence.

2. Tim Keefe - All the recent discussions about pitchers have made me flip flop Hoss and Keefe. Maintained quality over his career. Barely ahead of Radbourne in my evaluation of pitchers.

3. Charles Radbourne - Drops to three for now. I still believe what he accomplished at his peak and after, even with a somewhat bum arm, is unbelievable.

4. Al Spalding - I put Al Spalding here because of his dominance during his time. His hitting was good and, even though he did benefit from having great teammates, that doesn't negate his talent. I mean, the man may have gotten a lot of run support but he was always near the top in ERA.

5. George Wright - One of the first great players. Ranks here because of the credit given for his pre-NA years.

6. Ezra Sutton - Best third baseman of the 19th century according to my interpretation of the numbers.

7. John Ward - His combination as a great pitcher and shortstop definitely make him a HOMer. But at the moment, I put more weight on a one barrel shot with full force than a two barrel shot of lesser force.

8. Joe Start - Was the best "old" player of his time.

9. Cal McVey - Finally feel that I am giving him the respect he deserves. I strongly feel McVey is a HOMer.

10. Hardy Richardson - Was the top second basemen of his time.

11. Charlie Bennett - Best catcher available. His defense was excellent and his hitting great for a full time catcher, even if his numbers are uneven. Campanella was pretty uneven during his career and not many people discredit his greatness as a catcher.

12. Lip Pike - One of the best players in early baseball. definitely deserves more attention.

13. Bob Caruthers - Excelled in both pitching and hitting. Something that definitely deserves merit.

14. Harry Stovey - Find him and Browning to be the same type. AA discount but better defense has him just ahead.

15. Pete Browning - Great hitter but defense and AA discount land him just behind Stovey.

Posted 2:05 a.m., May 11, 2003 (#115) - DanG
  "Dan G, did you find evidence somewhere that he had a bad arm in 1877?"

No, it's purely conjecture. I notice Spalding moving from pitcher to first base at age 26. Chicago had lost catcher Deacon White after 1876. Cal McVey was moved from first to catcher for 1877 and they acquired a top pitcher, George Bradley, for 1877.

Presumably, Bradley was acquired because the decision to move Spalding was already made. The question is, was this done because Spalding could no longer pitch well, or was it because they decided he was their best option to play first base?

Like Jeff, I'm just wondering if anyone knows.

Posted 3:31 p.m., May 11, 2003 (#116) - John Murphy
  The AA boys took a big hit (especially Stovey). Ed Williamson lost the biggest chunk of support.

Pud Galvin is the Comeback Kid (and Dickey Pearce makes his slow, but certain, rise up! :-) )

Posted 2:30 p.m., May 12, 2003 (#117) - jimd
  Jeff, DanG: the order of those transactions (for 1876/7 Chicago) is something I'd really like to know too. It's a fascinating reshaping of that championship team, in part because it failed.

One thing to take into account though. If you read much about Chicago's owner, William Hulbert, he's very much in the Steinbrenner mold. I wouldn't put it past him to have signed Bradley because he was the best player on 2nd place St. Louis, reasoning the signing weakened the competition, and leave it to manager Spalding to figure out how to fit everything together afterwards.

Posted 3:17 p.m., May 12, 2003 (#118) - John Murphy
  Al Spalding blew out his arm (according to Baseball Library).

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