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

1901 Ballot (May 19, 2003)

Let the games begin!
--posted by Joe Dimino at 01:35 PM EDT


Discussion

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Posted 1:54 p.m., May 19, 2003 (#1) - 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 (1): 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 (he pitched for 12 seasons in all). 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!

2) Ezra Sutton (2): 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 (3): 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) Jack Glasscock (n/a):
I have him basically tied with Wright, except he's more career value than Wright (and George is more peak). If elected, he will have the most unfortunate surname in the HoM for at least 120 years. :-)

Best shortstop for 1882, 1886, and 1889.

5) Cal McVey (5): Awesome player. 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 (though where he belongs is certainly arguable).

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

7) 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.

8) Joe Start (9): 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.

9) Tim Keefe (10): 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.

10) 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).

11) Levi Meyerle (15): A sizeable jump from my last ballot. Great player, but short career. An injury forced him out of the NL. Best third baseman for the NA.

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) Old Hoss Radbourn (n/a): Possibly could be rated the number one pitcher of the 19th century, but I need more information. At any rate, he deserves at least a mention.

I decided to knock Arlie Latham off for now. I had too many third basemen on my prelim ballot. I still think he's worthy of a ballot spot, however.

Posted 2:10 p.m., May 19, 2003 (#2) - Andrew Siegel
  Fine, I'll go first:

1) George Wright (2nd)-- Top 5 or 6 SS of All-Time in era-neutral peak; period of success not long, but not short either.
2) Jack Glasscock (new)-- Substantially behind Wright in peak value, but makes up 95% of the gap on career length and timeline adjustment.
3) Tim Keefe (4th)-- Consistent excellence; only knock is that he shared workload (and pressure) with Welch.
4) Hoss Radbourne (5th)-- Arguably the best player in baseball for 2-3 years; post-1884 career has more value than most credit.
5) Cal McVey (6th)-- The third best player of the 1870s; anyone who includes peak value in their calculation at all and voted for Deacon White, really should have McVey in their top 10.
6) Ezra Sutton (8th)-- Am now 99% sure he should rank ahead of Richardson; remain mildly troubled by the fact that no one ever thought of him as a great player until we came along.
7) Hardy Richardson (7th)-- Worthy HoMer; not much left to say.
8) Al Spalding (10th)-- Given the respect I've given Barnes, Wright, and McVey, I've probably been a bit unfair to Spalding (probably due to his labor politics).
9) Lip Pike (13th)-- The more I look at it, the more I think the best players of the 1867-1879 period deserve to rank ahead of the 1880-1894 B list. Pike was a great hitter before the NA, during NA, and during the first couple of NL seasons; a pretty good infielder and CF; and the fastest man in the game. How can I rank him behind guys who were no better than Bill Freehan or Tony Perez?
10) Bob Caruthers (unranked)-- His ranking will likely change 50 times during the next 3 years. When his various contributions and his team's success are added up, I have him as the best player in the AA. I think it's 50-50 whether that gets him into the HoM.
11) Charlie Bennet (9)-- I remain convinced that his offense/defense combination makes him one of the top 15 C of All-Time, but I hadn't been giving fair weight to the high percentage of games he missed each year.
12) Harry Stovey (11)-- Love his consistency, but in any given year there were a couple of guys even with him in the AA who wouldn't make my top 25.
13) Joe Start (14)-- Want to see his adjusted WS on a year-to-year basis; until I'm convinced that he had a peak better than say Darrell Evans, he's not going to go much higher.
14) Ed Williamson (15)-- Great glove, good bat, key defensive position: I'll take him.
15) Pete Browning (12)-- See Stovey, but add to that his iron glove and his flakiness.

Posted 2:21 p.m., May 19, 2003 (#3) - John Murphy
  Fine, I'll go first:

It's not fine with me. You go second. :-D

Posted 2:45 p.m., May 19, 2003 (#4) - RobC
  Career value mostly, all though I consider peak a little more
than I did on the 1898 ballot. There are a few minor adjustments
from my prelim, I will discuss them and new guys, not much new to
say about the others.

1. Jack Glasscock - Career value. Not really any though of putting anyone else here.
2. Hardy Richardson - remains at #2.
3. Pud Galvin - I switched Galvin and Bennett from my last ballot. Not sure I could explain exactly why. More of Bennett overrated than Galvin underrated.
4. Charlie Bennett
5. George Wright - was at #7 on my prelim ballot. I moved him up because he hit .600 in 186x (just kidding!).
6. Tim Keefe - was at #5 on my prelim, #10 last year. I reevaluated pitchers this year.
7. Harry Stovey - was #6 on my prelim.
8. Ezra Sutton - he was #9 on my prelim, moved him up after the Richardson-Sutton data I posted. Considered moving him above Stovey.
9. Old Hoss Radbourn - like Keefe, he is up from last year, down from my prelim.

From here down are the same as prelim ballot, have been reordered somewhat from previous years. Any of the bottom 4 could be in danger of falling off the ballot in the next few years.
10. Fred Dunlap
11. Pete Browning
12. Joe Start
13. Ned Williamson - rejoins the ballot
14. Tom York
15. Bob Caruthers

Posted 3:03 p.m., May 19, 2003 (#5) - Mark McKinniss
  1) Harry Stovey--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) Pud Galvin--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.

3) Tip O'Neill
4) Tim Keefe
5) Charley Radbourn
6) Jim Whitney
7) Hardy Richardson

8) Jack Glasscock--Crazy good fielder, pretty good hitter. Good career length, and good peak, but hard to imagine him as dominant.

9) Jim McCormick
10) Pete Browning
11) Charley Jones
12) Bob Caruthers
13) Fred Dunlap

14) Bill Hutchison--Great peak, not much of a career beyond that. Love the 122 wins in three seasons for non-dominant teams.

15) Mickey Welch

Posted 3:29 p.m., May 19, 2003 (#6) - MattB
  1. George Wright (2) -- People talk about Wright like he's the "peak" pick over career value, but that peak (if you include 1869 and 1870) made him one of the top two shortstops in baseball for 10 out of 11 years between 1869 and 1879. That peak alone should be good enough for career value people.

2. Joe Start (5) -- I'm moving him up here. Even if you don't include any of the 1860s accomplishments (which I do), he was the best first baseman of 1871, 1878, and 1879. He was also the second best first baseman of 1874, 1875, 1876, 1877, 1880, and 1881. He'd have had more if he weren't crowded out by Brouthers and Connor, who were often the best in the league, let alone the best at first base. That record of consistency from 1874 to 1881 leads me to give credence to his pre-NA rep.

3. Ezra Sutton (3) -- Seven top 2 finishes.

4. Bob Caruthers (4)

5. Pud Galvin (8) -- Big bump for Pud from my preliminary ballot (and he wasn't even on my first one, I don't think). If Caruthers is my peak, pick, I have certainly been underestimating Galvin's career value. He's second only to Cy Young in career Innings Pitched, about a thousand more than his current on-ballot competition (Tim Keefe).

6. Jack Glasscock (--) -- I almost bumped him up a notch for defense, but I'm going to leave him here for now. I still have a few questions, and while I'm sold on the defense, better to put a newcomer a little low and adjust later than put him too high and have him inducted inappopriately. Great, but for the moment just the second best shortstop on the ballot.

7. Tim Keefe (6)

8. Hardy Richardson (7)

9. Al Spalding (10) -- I had Ward 9th last time, so everyone else gets an extra bump.

10. Charley Radbourn (12) -- equal parts considering Hoss up and considering Stovey down led me to flip these two.

11. Harry Stovey (11)

12. Pete Browning (13)

13. Cal McVey (15) -- Dropping Ed Williamson this time, which leaves room for first appearances by . . .

14. Lip Pike (off ballot) -- return appearance after two years off-ballot.

15. Charlie Bennett (off ballot) -- ballot debut after swearing for weeks that he really was 16th.

Posted 3:47 p.m., May 19, 2003 (#7) - Marc
  Already a tremendous variety of choices at the top!

1. Al Spalding--still the highest peak and the best ERA+ on the board.
2. Tim Keefe--that close to Clarkson.
3. George Wright--like Spalding, dominated the best competition available.
4. Charles Radbourn--high though short peak.
5. Bob Caruthers--moving up despite AA discount; the best the AA has to offer.
6. Jack Glasscock--great career value but no peak.
7. Cal McVey--another of the giants who blazed his own trail.
8. Pete Browning--164 OPS+ survives the discount.
9. Hardy Richardson--moving down a bit because of shift to the OF.
(The magic in/out line is around here somewhere.)
10. Lip Pike--150+ OPS+ in both the NA and the NL.
11. Charlie Bennett--perhaps the #1 catcher before Mickey Cochrane, though Ewing had more total value.
12. Ezra Sutton--another solid career but no peak.
13. Fred Dunlap--forget the UA, just a solid career.
14. Joe Start--a long run but slightly below the very best.
15. Harry Stovey and Tony Mullane--rounding out the AA all-stars, splitting 15th spot.

Posted 4:15 p.m., May 19, 2003 (#8) - Rick A.
  Mostly moved players up. Any new players or different rankings are discussed below.

1. Tim Keefe (2)
2. Hardy Richardson (6) - Not so much moved up as other players moved down
3. Jack Glasscock (n/a) - Great fielder and very good hitter
4. Joe Start (7) - see Richardson
5. Ezra Sutton (8) - see Richardson
6. Harry Stovey (3) - moved down based on discussions of AA competiton and getting new info (BP player cards).
7. Pete Browning (5) - see Stovey
8. George Wright (9)
9.Al Spalding (10)
10. Hoss Radbourn (11)
11. Pud Galvin (12)
12. Charlie Bennett (13)
13. Charley Jones (14)
14. Mickey Welch (15)
15. Cal McVey (off ballot)

Posted 7:06 p.m., May 19, 2003 (#9) - Rusty Priske
  1. Tim Keefe (1) I had him #1 last time and still think he is the best on the ballot. It is nice to see that I am not the only one this time.

2. Old Hoss Radbourne (4) His rise is due to Monte Ward's induction and my personal devaluation of Tony Mullane.

3. Pud Galvin (8) One of the best players of the 1880's, imo. I undervalued him last ballot.

4. Hardy Richardson (9) My other big riser this time. I am constantly adjusting my thinking, and I am now convinced that these two deserve spots, sooner rather than later.

5. Bob Caruthers (7) No real change. Ward and Clarkson are in so he moves up.

6. Dave Foutz (new) I have him as the best of the newcomers but he just may be this years' Mullane for me. (See #8)

7. Harry Stovey (6) Fairly stable, but is hurt by my increased appreciation of Galvin and Richardson.

8. Tony Mullane (3) The more I look at him, the less I can justify the high ranking I gave him. I think he was great, and I could see him eventually getting in, but he is not as strong as others I had below him last time.

9. Mickey Welch (12) Easily could have been higher. We'll see.

10. Jack Glasscock (new) If he doesn't get in this year, I may be persuaded to move him up next year. Again, we'll see.

I don't think anyone below this spot really belongs in the Hall, but I would not be shocked if any eventually got in. To each their own.

11. Pete Browning (11)

12. Jim McCormick (13)

13. Ezra Sutton (10)

14. Arlie Latham (new)

15. Bill Hutchison (new)

Posted 7:38 p.m., May 19, 2003 (#10) - Adam Schafer (e-mail)
  1. Al Spalding (2) - A simple choice for #1

2. George Wright (4) - I've been trying to get a good grasp on Wright for sometime now. I'm still not too sure I have grasped him as much as I would like, but I am sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that he should make the Hall.

3. Ezra Sutton (3) - He flip flops with Wright.

4. Radbourne (5) - Radbourne just moves up one spot as Clarkson made it in last year.

5. Tim Keefe (9) - I'm giving the pitchers a little more respect now. We all know Keefe belongs, so why wait much longer on him?

6. Harry Stovey (4) - no new arguements

7. Joe Start (8) - I'm almost convinced to put Carruthers ahead of him, but am going to keep looking at them both a tad longer.

8. Bob Carruthers (10) - He's moving up for me

9. Jack Glasscock (new) - Not real sure to make of him yet. He never really dominated anywhere. He can't really claim to be the best at anything. We'll see, I'm sure ther will be plenty of discussion if he doesn't make it on this ballot.

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

11. Cal McVey (12) - 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.

12. 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.

13. Mickey Welch (14) - See Galvin

14. Charlie Bennett - still getting the vote only b/c he was a catcher.

15. Lip Pike - I wouldn't have him on the ballot, but I guess I need to fill it up to 15 spots.

Last years rankings might be a little bit off, i couldn't find my final ballot and went of the prelim i drew up and had sitting on my desk still

Posted 7:48 p.m., May 19, 2003 (#11) - favre
  Clarkson and Ward were my top two choices last year, so most everyone else moved up .

1. GEORGE WRIGHT (Last Year: 7) I had no idea where to put him on last year’s ballot, so why not rank him first this year…was considered one of the two or three best players in the game between 1867-1876, and, as someone stated in the discussion thread, I see no evidence that convinces me this was not the case. If you count his five pre-NA seasons, he had a career as long as Glasscock’s with a higher peak.

2. TIM KEEFE (LY: 4) Outstanding career, huge amounts of innings at a high ERA+.

3. CHARLEY RADBOURN (LY: 6). Moves a little higher. Radbourn, Spalding, and maybe Wright are the only players on the ballot who can claim that they were the best player in baseball in any given season.

4. JACK GLASSCOCK (LY: N/A) Gold Glove shortstop with a long career and three or four great years with the bat (not including his 1884 UA and 1890 NL seasons). That’s a HoM’er, but I’m not entirely convinced he’s a first-ballot type.

5. HARDY RICHARDSON (LY: 3) On the last ballot I rather grandiosely proclaimed that Richardson was the best second baseman of the 19th Century. I then discovered that he only played 585 games at the position…poor research on my part, McPhee clearly had a much better career. That reduces Richardson’s stock, but only a little. He cranked out good season after good season at three different positions for twelve straight years.

6. EZRA SUTTON (LY: 5) Sutton earns a B+ on defense from Win Shares, but I’m just not sold on it; his range factors are not good. I know we have to place those numbers in team context and that pitching staffs can make an impact. Still, he had sixteen seasons with significant time at 3B; his range factors were lower than league average in twelve of them. Can we really attribute twelve seasons to right-handed flyball pitching staffs?

7. AL SPALDING (LY: 14) Took a huge move up my ballot. The amount of innings that he pitched reduces my concern about the NA (I’m feeling more comfortable about the NA anyway, at least after 1872). He deserves to be enshrined, but with a short career and low WARP-3 score, I’m willing to make him wait a while.

8. JOE START (LY: 9) Terrific career. Had 142 OPS+ at age 39; had 121 OPS+ at age forty-two.

9. HARRY STOVEY (LY: 10) I’ve offered my concerns about the AA on the discussion thread. Nevertheless, even WARP-3—which has no love for theAA-- gives him a high career score, and he has more career Win Shares than any other position player on the ballot.

10. CHARLIE BENNETT (LY: 8) I moved him down a little, because he was a great player for only five years. Still, there just weren’t many great catchers between 1875 and 1925.

11. PETE BROWNING (LY: 12) Had eleven seasons with 130+ OPS+, but I don’t know what that means in the AA.

12. PUD GALVIN (LY: 13) Six thousand innings.

13. NED WILLIAMSON (LY: 15) Sutton was better, but not by a whole lot; I may have underrated Williamson. Williamson was a better fielder than Sutton at what was considered a primarily defensive position.

14. CAL MCVEY (LY: N/A) First time McVey appears on my ballot. As others have mentioned, I don’t know what to do about his move to California…he will probably move up next year.

15. BOB CARUTHERS (LY: 11). Leading the league in ERA+/OPS+ has lost some of its luster for me.

Posted 9:08 p.m., May 19, 2003 (#12) - RMc
  I'll say:

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

Posted 9:20 p.m., May 19, 2003 (#13) - Marc
  RMc, Ward was elected last year. You can revise your ballot.

Posted 9:27 p.m., May 19, 2003 (#14) - Howie Menckel
  1901 ballot::
1. George Wright - No doubta bout it. Best or virtually so over about 10 years. That spells H-O-M.
2. Tim Keefe- Clearly best of remaining pitchers, and they are due a second one.

3. Joe Start - Good reason to believe he was an 1860s stud, and goes here even with a lack-of-pure-evidence discount.
4. Ezra Sutton - Wins on the positional adjustment; this not set in stone for all-time.
5. Hardy Richardson - Clearly an HOMer as well. Will wait a decade or so, though.
6. Jack Glasscock - Will get usual "novelty bump" from the voters; HOMer but benefiting from not being on first ballot (and he wouldn't have qualified there, either).
7. Hoss Radbourn - Still wanted one more good year, but in this era that was tough to do.
8. Pud Galvin - Lasted too long, worked too often, to be ignored. Unique career.
9. Cal McVey - No one told him there would ever be a "minors vs. majors" issue; guy just kept playing well.
10. Harry Stovey - Inclined to give the AA one longtime slugger, Harry is it.
11. Bob Caruthers - Not a huge fan of short careers, but what a doozy this one was.
12. Albert Spalding - Arguments are almost getting me to move him up; at least he stays on my ballot for good.
13. Charlie Bennett - Best "real C" of a long, long era, will remain worthy of mention.
14. Mickey Welch - He picked a good week to jump back on my radar screen.
15. Arlie Latham - "Freshest Man on Earth." Steals were easy to come by, but he got more than most.

Posted 9:30 p.m., May 19, 2003 (#15) - jimd
  Maybe it's a vote for Piggy Ward? :~)

Posted 10:03 p.m., May 19, 2003 (#16) - ed
  so who's Clarkson then? Dad Clarkson? RMc must really like the Clarkson brothers... Isn't it strange to have a brother with the nickname "Dad"? "Hey Dad, how's it going? No, I'm not talking to you father, I'm talking with Dad."

Posted 10:08 p.m., May 19, 2003 (#17) - ed
  anyways, here's my ballot...
I have just finished reading Mike Sowell's "July 2, 1903: The Mysterious Death of Hall-of-Famer Big Ed Delahanty", and there were mentions of some of the players on this ballot because they were Delahanty's contemporaries or near-contemporaries so I put some of the interesting stuff in the players comments. The book is pretty good, not as great as his first book, "The Pitch That Killed", but the book is very fast-paced and informative about the formation of the AL and the baseball war that occurred because of it.

01. Charley Radbourn SP - Before Radbourn reached the majors he was a member of the famous ball club, the Peoria Reds, along with future major league stars Bill and Jack Gleason and Jack Rowe. He also taught Clark Griffith how to throw the sinker ball when Griffith was starting out.

02. George Wright SS - Sowell worte: "During a cricket match on the Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey, Harry [Wright] and his younger brother George happen to see a game of 'base ball' being played on some adjacent grounds. The brothers tried the new game, and liked it well enough to become members of the famed New York Knickerbockers in 1858."
1858! George Wright was 11 years old at the time and he was playing on a semi-pro team! He is like the Mozart of baseball. He became the highest paid player in the country when he was 19-20 years, and left baseball in his 30's.

03. Tim Keefe SP

04. Hardy Richardson 2B

05. Harry Stovey 1B/LF

06. Bob Caruthers SP - Does anybody know if Caruthers tried to be an umpire after his playing career? In Sowell's book, "a policeman went onto the field to escort Cleveland's Larry Lajoie from the game for attempting to throw the ball at umpire Bob Caruthers during an argument... Lajoie was outraged at [his suspension afterwards]. He insisted that Caruthers had a widespread reputation as a poor umpire..." I guess this was true because a couple of days later Caruthers got fired by Ban Johnson.

07. Jack Glasscock SS - In 1890, Glasscock "was branded a spy and informer when he jumped back to the National League. To the brotherhood men, he became known as 'Judas' Glasscock..." One of the heroes in the NL-PL war was King Kelly who turned down over ten thousand dollars from Boston to stay with the brotherhood. Glasscock was also Jesse Burkett's brother-in-law. During a game in 1903, Burkett beat up Tom Loftus, the Washington Senators' manager, at the Senators' bench when Loftus started to heckle Burkett, saying that Glasscock was Burkett's father...

08. Ezra Sutton 3B

09. Charlie Bennett C - Bennett "was running to catch up to a train in Kansas while on a hunting trip in 1894. He slipped on some ice, and his companion, pitcher John Clarkson, watched in horror as Bennett fell beneath the wheels of the train... Clarkson never recovered from the trauma of seeing his buddy maimed. The famous pitcher drifted out of baseball after the next season, and eight years later he would end up at a 'hospital for the insane' in Pontiac, Michigan." I don't recall reading anywhere else that Clarkson was the one that was with Bennett during his accident, but that is how Sowell has it in his book. Two years after being voted in the HOM, Clarkson gets committed to an asylum... I guess we won't be seeing him in too many future induction ceremonies...

10. Pete Browning CF - Browning "suffered from mastoiditis, a painful infection of the middle ear which left him partially deaf and in frequent pain. He turned to alcohol for relief, and eventually his drinking became so excessive he gained such dubious nicknames as Pistol Pete, Distillery Pete, Old Red-Eye, and the Inspector of Red Lights. 'I can't hit the ball,' Browning once lamented, 'until I hit the bottle.'"

11. Al Spalding SP - When William Hulbert bought the Chicago baseball team in 1876, he began to raid the 4 time champion Boston of their "Big Four": Spalding, Ross Barnes, Deacon White and Cal McVey. "The key to the deal had been Spalding, the game's top pitcher as well as one of its shrewdest players." The plans for the new league, the National League, was created by William Hulbert and Spalding.

12. Ed Williamson 3B - I guess I know why Williamson retired at around age 32: Williamson "fell victim to dropsy and gained weight at an alarming rate. Prior to his death at age 36 in 1894, he had become so fat he had to turn sideways to pass through a door."

13. Pud Galvin SP

14. Arlie Latham 3B - Along with Bob Ferguson, he had the best nickname of the 1800's. He was also, along with King Kelly, probably the most entertaining ballplayer on and off the field in the 1800's.

15. Tom "Oyster" Burns RF

I nominate that the HOM game be between teams from the upstart American League. Maybe the Philadelphia Athletics and the red hot Larry Lajoie against the tough lucked Milwaukee Brewers.

Posted 10:13 p.m., May 19, 2003 (#18) - Howie Menckel
  Love the comments, Ed, even if a few turn out to be apocryphal. Makes these guys come alive.........

Posted 10:20 p.m., May 19, 2003 (#19) - ed
  anyways, here's my ballot...
I have just finished reading Mike Sowell's "July 2, 1903: The Mysterious Death of Hall-of-Famer Big Ed Delahanty", and there were mentions of some of the players on this ballot because they were Delahanty's contemporaries or near-contemporaries so I put some of the interesting stuff in the players comments. The book is pretty good, not as great as his first book, "The Pitch That Killed", but the book is very fast-paced and informative about the formation of the AL and the baseball war that occurred because of it.

01. Charley Radbourn SP - Before Radbourn reached the majors he was a member of the famous ball club, the Peoria Reds, along with future major league stars Bill and Jack Gleason and Jack Rowe. He also taught Clark Griffith how to throw the sinker ball when Griffith was starting out.

02. George Wright SS - Sowell worte: "During a cricket match on the Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey, Harry [Wright] and his younger brother George happen to see a game of 'base ball' being played on some adjacent grounds. The brothers tried the new game, and liked it well enough to become members of the famed New York Knickerbockers in 1858."
1858! George Wright was 11 years old at the time and he was playing on a semi-pro team! He is like the Mozart of baseball. He became the highest paid player in the country when he was 19-20 years, and left baseball in his 30's.

03. Tim Keefe SP

04. Hardy Richardson 2B

05. Harry Stovey 1B/LF

06. Bob Caruthers SP - Does anybody know if Caruthers tried to be an umpire after his playing career? In Sowell's book, "a policeman went onto the field to escort Cleveland's Larry Lajoie from the game for attempting to throw the ball at umpire Bob Caruthers during an argument... Lajoie was outraged at [his suspension afterwards]. He insisted that Caruthers had a widespread reputation as a poor umpire..." I guess this was true because a couple of days later Caruthers got fired by Ban Johnson.

07. Jack Glasscock SS - In 1890, Glasscock "was branded a spy and informer when he jumped back to the National League. To the brotherhood men, he became known as 'Judas' Glasscock..." One of the heroes in the NL-PL war was King Kelly who turned down over ten thousand dollars from Boston to stay with the brotherhood. Glasscock was also Jesse Burkett's brother-in-law. During a game in 1903, Burkett beat up Tom Loftus, the Washington Senators' manager, at the Senators' bench when Loftus started to heckle Burkett, saying that Glasscock was Burkett's father...

08. Ezra Sutton 3B

09. Charlie Bennett C - Bennett "was running to catch up to a train in Kansas while on a hunting trip in 1894. He slipped on some ice, and his companion, pitcher John Clarkson, watched in horror as Bennett fell beneath the wheels of the train... Clarkson never recovered from the trauma of seeing his buddy maimed. The famous pitcher drifted out of baseball after the next season, and eight years later he would end up at a 'hospital for the insane' in Pontiac, Michigan." I don't recall reading anywhere else that Clarkson was the one that was with Bennett during his accident, but that is how Sowell has it in his book. Two years after being voted in the HOM, Clarkson gets committed to an asylum... I guess we won't be seeing him in too many future induction ceremonies...

10. Pete Browning CF - Browning "suffered from mastoiditis, a painful infection of the middle ear which left him partially deaf and in frequent pain. He turned to alcohol for relief, and eventually his drinking became so excessive he gained such dubious nicknames as Pistol Pete, Distillery Pete, Old Red-Eye, and the Inspector of Red Lights. 'I can't hit the ball,' Browning once lamented, 'until I hit the bottle.'"

11. Al Spalding SP - When William Hulbert bought the Chicago baseball team in 1876, he began to raid the 4 time champion Boston of their "Big Four": Spalding, Ross Barnes, Deacon White and Cal McVey. "The key to the deal had been Spalding, the game's top pitcher as well as one of its shrewdest players." The plans for the new league, the National League, was created by William Hulbert and Spalding.

12. Ed Williamson 3B - I guess I know why Williamson retired at around age 32: Williamson "fell victim to dropsy and gained weight at an alarming rate. Prior to his death at age 36 in 1894, he had become so fat he had to turn sideways to pass through a door."

13. Pud Galvin SP

14. Arlie Latham 3B - Along with Bob Ferguson, he had the best nickname of the 1800's. He was also, along with King Kelly, probably the most entertaining ballplayer on and off the field in the 1800's.

15. Tom "Oyster" Burns RF

I nominate that the HOM game be between teams from the upstart American League. Maybe the Philadelphia Athletics and the red hot Larry Lajoie against the tough lucked Milwaukee Brewers.

Posted 10:22 p.m., May 19, 2003 (#20) - ed
  oops... I guess I should never press "Refresh"!!

Posted 11:11 p.m., May 19, 2003 (#21) - Marc
  Shouldn't the HoM game be between an AL and an NL team? Why should we be the first to stage such a game in '01?

Bill James says Caruthers was an umpire. And one can feel some sympathy for Pete Browning who has been a mere caricature of a drinker to me previously. And I guess Bennett's accident accounts for his retirement, but Clarkson was already through. I had no idea he ended up insane, however. And Williamson. What a sickly crew. And somehow I had an image of Glasscock as a "gentleman." Oh well.

Posted 11:12 p.m., May 19, 2003 (#22) - jimd
  Read last year if you want the long version.

1) C. Radbourn -- Still #1 in my pitching book.
2) G. Wright -- Better peak than Glasscock.
3) J. Glasscock -- A long and valuable career.
4) A. Spalding -- Best of his generation.
5) T. Keefe -- #2 behind Clarkson.
6) H. Richardson -- Best non-SS available.
7) P. Galvin -- #2 behind Radbourn.

These 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 1900, except I moved Stovey up a little.

8) C. Bennett -- Best C available.
9) J. Whitney -- As special as Caruthers in a tougher league for a worse team; for one season he had the highest "Stuff" rating of any 19th century pitcher I've checked (Rusie is next, and did it over and over).
10) J. Start -- Very long career; his peak is lost in the mists of time.
11) H. Stovey -- Moved him up a little; I'm light on hitters.
12) B. Caruthers -- His "Stuff" rating is replacement level; a junk-baller who could hit until he got to the other league.
13) J. McCormick -- Another very-good early 1880's pitcher.
14) E. Sutton -- Another very-good infielder.
15) D. Pearce -- I'm not sure he belongs, but I think he's a better choice than my other "almosts".

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

Posted 11:40 p.m., May 19, 2003 (#23) - jimd
  The NL and AL will not consent to play each other for a couple more years. Even in 1903 and 04, some NL teams harbor hard feelings and will not play (particularly the Giants).

The Detroit park was named after Bennett until it was replaced in 1912.

It's not the era for gentlemen. Glasscock was involved in a drunken brawl with policemen in 1887 and a bat-throwing incident in 1894. His "Judas" reputation may have cost him when they were importing Old-Timers into the HOF by the boatload during 1945-46; PL player Connie Mack had a great deal of influence on that tiny committee. And Marty Bergen is another sad story.

Posted 12:33 a.m., May 20, 2003 (#24) - Sean Gilman (e-mail)
  1. Ezra Sutton (1)--long career, good peak, good defense. most carrer value on the board.

2. Jack Glasscock (-)--great defense, good peak. timeline moves him ahead of Wright, defense ahead of Richardson, though all three are very close together.

3. Hardy Richardson (4)--best 2B of the 19th Century. 13 straight seasons of 113 OPS+ or better.

4. George Wright (6)--I've been convinced to move him ahead of Start. But I still find it hard to accept that his being the best player in baseball when a 19-year old could be the best player in baseball is a good thing. (ie timeline adjustment)

5. Joe Start (5)--lower peak plus worse defense moves him behind Wright.

6. Tim Keefe (7)--Best pitcher available. Poor Man's John Clarkson.

7. Cal McVey (9)--AA discount moves him ahead of Stovey. Still want to know more about his pre- and post-ML career.

8. Harry Stovey (8)--AA discount.

9. Al Spalding (10)--Spelled his name right again.

10. Bob Caruthers (11)--Very close to Spalding: both good hitters, both faced questionable competition, both had short careers.

11. Lip Pike (13)--I think I'm underrating him, but I can't see putting him ahead of anyone above him.

12. Pete Browning (14)--Great hitter, bad defense, short career, AA.

13. Charley Radbourn (15)--Here on peak alone. Still think he's Gooden/Hentgen.

14. Charlie Bennett (-)--Back on the ballot. Career value.

15. Pud Glavin (-)--Gave Mullane a bigger AA discount this time, which moves Galvin onto the end of the ballot. But I don't think he's a HOMer.

Posted 1:00 a.m., May 20, 2003 (#25) - DanG
  Speaking of players' grisly demises, this is from the NHBA on Ezra Sutton:

"...his limbs were paralyzed in 1890, apparently as a result of an accident, a sawmill into which he had sunk his savings failed, and an oil lamp exploded, setting fire to his wife's dress, and eventually killing her. He died in 1907, only 56 years old, but probably more than ready to get it over with."

Posted 1:04 a.m., May 20, 2003 (#26) - thebigeasy
  1.) Bob Caruthers (1)

The best player from the AA. Played at its strongest, excellent pitcher and hitter. Deserving HoM member.

2.) Al Spalding (3)

The best NA player on the ballot. Great pitcher, good hitter, left the game to make lots of money.

3.) Tim Keefe (5)

Clarkson's admission bodes well for him. Very good pitcher, occasionally great, from 81-89, only had one bad season out of 14 and it was a short one.

4.) George Wright (6)

I'm an agnostic on the "George Wright: A-Rod or Neifi Perez" debate. He's somewhere in the middle, probably closer to A-Rod then Neifi. He was clearly an excellent player pre-1871, and he was the best SS of the early days of organized baseball too.

5.) Jack Glasscock (NA)

He's close to Wright, it really depends on how much one gives Wright for pre-NA achievements.

6.) Old Hoss Radbourne (8)
7.) Joe Start (7)

The two late starters (no pun intended)...I flip-flopped them because I think I undervalued Radbourne's impact as a pitcher, but it's close.

8.) Pud Galvin (9)

4th all-time in innings pitched, and he never had a real below-average full season. Think about that one.

9.) Hardy Richardson (12)
10.) Pete Browning (11)

If you shake a tree, a dozen bats fall out but only one glove...

11.) Ed Williamson (10)
12.) Ezra Sutton (15)

I really have to closely look at the Edra Suttonson debate again. I think Ed's better right this second, but Ezra's been creeping up my ballot while Ed's been creeping down. Sutton will probably be elected before I figure out which one was really better, though.

13.) Mickey Welch (14)

He's got almost exactly 5/6th of Galvin's career.

14.) Charlie Bennett (13)

I think the line on who should/shouldn't go in falls right about here. Bennett is close to a HoM, and there weren't any great full-time catchers except him.

15.) Dave Foutz (NA)

For a year, he was a pretty good poor man's Bob Caruthers. Otherwise he was a light-hitting 1B and a good pitcher at various points, but nothing special. If he had a couple more 1886s he'd be in, but it's his best all-around year by several miles. Those several miles seperate the best player on the ballot and the 15th best.

Posted 2:11 a.m., May 20, 2003 (#27) - Brian Hodes
  Still a plethora of Pitchers with a couple of SS in the mix.

1. OLD HOSS RADBORNE-- I have voted him #1 consistently he was THE dominant player in 1884 and also among the dominant pitchers for a few other years (he was THE dominant pitcher in 1883). And although it lasted just 11 years he still had a total of 309 Wins (each one earned in the strongest league of the era). Peoples comments seem to suggest that he was a sort of a one or two year wonder (like Doc Gooden or something). I think any close analysis suggests he was quite a bit more.

2. TIM KEEFE Never quite as dominant as Radborne and not always against the best competition but very strong nonetheless.

3. AG SPALDING -- The premier Pitcher of the NA and 1876. 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. And, unlike, George Wright and many of the other NA greats his statistics alone merit selection (sorry about the pun!).

4. 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 Buffalo Club was of major league callibre even though it was not yet part of the fledgling NL. I am moving him up after reviewing his achievements more in light of his lack of run support. Look at all of those shutouts!

5.GEORGE WRIGHT – Still trying to figure out how much credit he deserves for his 1860’s achievements. I’ll take him over Glasscock because he was (reputedly) the best PLAYER not just the best shortstop at one time.

6. PEEBLY JACK GLASSCOCK -- Truly an excellent defensive player. His peak years must be devalued for inferior competition (1884 UA and 1890 NL etc.). Nonetheless he clearly belongs (just not quite as much as the previous 5 players).

7. "PARISAN" BOB CARRUTHERS – A true winner (look at that percentage !). His peak is certainly comprable with Keefe’s but his career is lacking. Love those offensive numbers too!

8. HARRY STOVEY – Great offense (over one run per game !). He hit for power too. By default a much better fielder than poor Pete Browning.

9. PETE "THE GLADIATOR" BROWNING -- His Players League season proves that he was a great hitter regardless of what league he was in and it wasn’t just his batting average.

10. "SMILING" MICKEY WELCH -- His longevity is not what Galvin's was 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 ?

11. H RICHARDSON -- Great infielder, he could hit too!

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 a lot stronger (he would also probably be a HOFer). Also, he gets docked for playing in the AA.

13. BOBBY MATHEWS – He’s back on the list after a few “years” off.
I just can’t get his career numbers out of my head – also how big a deal would it be if he won 3 more games (giving him 300 !). He also suceeded in at least 2 distinct periods which impresses me.

14. (N)ED WILLIAMSON -- Quite a reputation. I give him the nod as the best 3B prior to Jimmy Collins (over Ezra Sutton who I just can't get excited about). His stats are less than awesome though and the people who listed him as best were probably just basing that on his (rather brief) prime.

15 JIM MCCORMICK – Resurfacing as a result of persuasive data presented in this weeks “discussion” on his short term dominance. His career numbers stand up nicely, too.

Out of Site but not yet out of Mind: Start, McVey, Pearce, Bond, Sutton, C. Jones. A. Latham.

Posted 7:21 a.m., May 20, 2003 (#28) - Philip
  "The two late starters (no pun intended)...I flip-flopped them because I think I undervalued Radbourne's impact as a pitcher, but it's close."

Was Start a late starter?

Posted 7:25 a.m., May 20, 2003 (#29) - Philip
  I believe the top 12 on my ballot are all HOM-worthy.

1. Wright (4) – Moved him up on my ballot giving him a little bit more credit for pre-NA years.

2. Start (2) – 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. Glasscock (n/a) – Great long career similar to Sutton. Gets the edge being a shortstop instead of third base.

4. Sutton (3) – Again a wonderful long career and a big defensive asset. Also has some very fine years.

5. McVey (5) – By far the most underrated player. 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. He was a superstar in the 70’s and had a higher peak than almost anyone on the ballot.

6. Bennett (6) – Another very good and long career and some great offensive years. May not have played full-time but name me a catcher who does. The position must have been very tough at the time, considering there were so few great full-time catchers the first 50 years of baseball.

7. Radbourn (8) – His peak is amazing and that is what puts him here. Pushed him ahead of Keefe this time.

8. Keefe (7) – Below Radbourn this time around after re-evaluating his AA years. I value them just about equally.

9. Richardson (10) – Nice long consistent career with some outstanding years. Tough competition ahead of him though.

10. Pike (11) – Some very good years in the NA, and a great reputation for what he did before that. Very much underrated IMHO.

11. Spalding (15) – High peak and giving him more credit for pre-NA years now.

12. Galvin (12) – Truly unique for having the longest pitching career by far. Some very good years along the way.

13. Williamson (13) – Good career at 3B. Great glove but not the peak of, say, Hardy Richardson

14. Stovey (14) – Strong peak. Somewhat discounted for AA years. Doesn’t stand out among his peers like the players above him on the ballot.

15. Caruthers (-) – Short career for a HoMer, although he has a high peak.

Posted 8:57 a.m., May 20, 2003 (#30) - thebigeasy
  Well, I meant it in the sense of Start's career in the organized majors started late, obviously he did play before then.

Posted 10:30 a.m., May 20, 2003 (#31) - TomH
  "George Wright was 11 years old at the time and he was playing on a semi-pro team!"
Is it possible that we have an incorrect birthdate for George Wright? Played at age 11, a big star at 19, peaked in his early 20s, declined to nuthin by age 30. Whaddaya think, Doctor Watson?

Posted 11:13 a.m., May 20, 2003 (#32) - A-Rod
  '4. George Wright (6)--I've been convinced to move him ahead of Start. But I still find it hard to accept that his being the best player in baseball when a 19-year old could be the best player in baseball is a good thing. (ie timeline adjustment)'

I was pretty damn close when I was 20. Are we going to discount the 1996 AL?

Posted 11:22 a.m., May 20, 2003 (#33) - 1996 AL
  No, cuz you got better.

Posted 11:33 a.m., May 20, 2003 (#34) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  RMc -- Just an FYI others mentioned it, but your ballot is invalid, Clarkson and Ward are in already. Please revise, as of now it's not counting, thanks!

Posted 12:02 p.m., May 20, 2003 (#35) - karlmagnus
  1. (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. Better pitcher than Clarkson, although shorter peak.
2. (5)Al Spalding – utterly dominant pitcher, higher paid than the two teammates who are in already, and the key to the Hulbert/Boston deal of 1876.
3. (4)George Wright – Dominant early on, and a difficult position.
4. (6)Tim Keefe – we need more pitchers, and he's the best apart from Old Hoss
5. (7) Joe Start – I’m convinced by the arguments of his greatness in the 1860s
6. (10) Hardy Richardson – long career, considerably better than league
7. (-) Jack Glasscock – Very long career with impressive batting numbers, given he was a SS, but no high peak.
8. (11) Pud Galvin – another pitcher with a long and good career
9. (8) Bob Caruthers – a first class pitcher/position player, with a very high peak on some top teams, but a significant AA discount
10. (13) Ezra Sutton – a lot better than league at primarily defensive position
11. (14) Pete Browning – mostly AA, but looks better than Stovey or O’Neill to me
12. (9) Lip Pike – MUCH better than the league, once it got going, but a short league career.
13. (12) Harry Wright – Like Start, deserves a HUGE boost for the 1860s – he was 36 in 1871, not 24 like Cummings.
14. (15) Mickey Welch – long and solid career, maybe not HOM.
15. (-) Harry Stovey Best years were in AA, but impressive figures overall nonetheless.

Posted 12:15 p.m., May 20, 2003 (#36) - John Murphy
  Re: George Wright

I remember reading that he was finished by 30 because there was an injury involved. I'm trying to remember what source that was.

No, cuz you got better.

The first year of the NA was pretty bad, so Wright and the gang were able to dominate to a much greater extent than the other professional leagues (coupled with the effects of an extremely short schedule). By 1872, the rank and file player improved significantly so that the front line players didn't stand out as much. If Wright had been playing in a stable league, his career progression would appear more normal.

Posted 1:25 p.m., May 20, 2003 (#37) - JP Caillault
  My 1901 ballot:

1. Harry Stovey (#3 last time, behind Ward and Clarkson) - Take his 1880-1882 years in the NL (from ages 23-25, average OPS+ of about 129) and his 1890-1891 years in the PL/NL (ages 33-34, average OPS+ of about 134) and interpolate between them, allowing for reaching his peak at 27 or 28, and, bingo, he'd have done pretty darn well in the NL, too. And then there's his speed on top of that.

2. Tim Keefe (4)
3. Charlie Radbourn (5)
4. Bob Caruthers (6)

5. George Wright (11) - The more I read about him, the more convinced I become. Still a little wary of the earliest years, though.

6. Pud Galvin (7)
7. Al Spalding (8)
8. Pete Browning (10)

9. Jack Glasscock (n/a) - after Ward, top SS of the 1880s.

10. Mickey Welch (9)
11. Ed Williamson (12)
12. Hardy Richardson (13)
13. Charlie Bennett (14)

14. Dickey Pearce (15)- A benefit game was organized in his honor at the end of the 1861 season ... when he was 25 years old! He decided to share the accolades (and proceeds) with Jim Creighton (and then proceeded to catch him in the game itself). Off the top of my head, I can't think of any other player that's been a star at both catcher and shortstop.

15. Charley Jones (n/a) - Finally gets on my ballot, after just missing the cut the last two years.

Posted 1:25 p.m., May 20, 2003 (#38) - Jeff M
  1. TIM KEEFE -- (#2) Been number 2 on my last two ballots. Time for his election. A long and consistently excellent career. Amazing between 1883-1890, which is a good stretch for a pitcher.

2. HOSS RADBOURN -- (#3) Been number 3 on all of my ballots. Have him behind Keefe b/c Keefe's career was longer and more consistent.

3. AL SPALDING -- (#5) Continue to believe that the electors are not giving him enough credit. Surprised that the George Wright proponents (e.g., "best shortstop in baseball in the 1860s" against dubious competition) aren't more on board with the best pitcher in baseball in the 1970s, where competition was arguably better. I agree with something that someone said on the first ballot (paraphrasing -- I haven't looked it up again): people in 1901 (and before) would have discredited the HOM if Spalding isn't elected. He was widely acknowledged as one of the earliest superstars (ahead of teammates like Barnes, Anson, etc.).

4. HARRY STOVEY -- (#6) Discounted for AA play and still finishes high.

5. JACK GLASSCOCK -- Excellent defender and solid hitter. A consistent STATS All-Star, but 5 years out of 17 isn't overewhelming. Definitely has the WS numbers. My early fears that Glasscock and Pud would be elected in the same year have been allayed.

6. BOB CARUTHERS -- (#7) Amazing win pct and good ERA with lots of Black Ink. Didn'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.

7. JIM MCCORMICK -- (#8) 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 Behind Caruthers because of Caruthers' hitting ability.

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

9. EZRA SUTTON -- (#10)

10. GEORGE WRIGHT -- (#12) Moving up slowly. My line for HOM is probably drawn after this point.

11. MICKEY WELCH -- (#11)

12. PETE BROWNING -- (#13) Poor defense and AA discount drop him significantly on my ballot, but he still appears to have been awfully productive. I continue to be concerned that I am overly penalizing him for AA play. I've got to believe this guy would hit wherever he played.

13. PUD GALVIN -- (#15)

14. HARDY RICHARDSON -- I'm still having lots of trouble seeing him as HOM material. I acknowledge that he was very good, but I don't think I would take him before anyone appearing higher on my ballot.

15. TIP O'NEILL -- (#14) 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.

Posted 2:03 p.m., May 20, 2003 (#39) - DanG
  From BB-Library:

George Wright was baseball's first franchise player. His older brother Harry was asked to form the first pro team, the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, and the first player Harry recruited was George, a shortstop. The Wrights transferred operations to Boston when the National Association was formed, and won four of five pennants. George was the team's sparkplug, Harry the manager. They joined the National League in its first season, 1876, and won pennants in 1877 and 1878, with George leading the league in at-bats. George managed Providence to a pennant in 1879, with Harry's Boston club finishing second.

George gave up baseball almost entirely to establish a sporting-goods business. Since Albert Spalding and A.J. Reach already had strong footholds in baseball, Wright looked to other sports for development. He was helped in this goal when his son, Beals, became an early tennis star. When the Hall of Fame opened in 1939, Wright was one of its first inductees. (JK)

FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY

» March 31, 1880: Worcester offers Providence $1,000 for the right to negotiate with George Wright.
» April 21, 1880: George Wright turns down Providence's final contract offer. Since the club has turned down Worcester's offer and will not allow any other club to negotiate with Wright, he will sit out the entire season (except for one game), the first player victimized by the reserve system.

» May 29, 1880: With George Wright in its lineup, Boston upsets Chicago 11–10. Wright scores two runs and fields flawlessly, but will play no more games because of protests from Providence, which still has him "reserved." The loss snaps Chicago's win streak of 13, which they will top in a little more than a month (June 2–July 8).

» February 22, 1881: George Wright signs a contract with Boston that he claims will only require him to play games in New England and Troy. He feels his business commitments will not allow him to accompany the Reds on their western road trips.

Posted 3:34 p.m., May 20, 2003 (#40) - Al Peterson
  The 1901 ballot after some minor tweaking...

1. George Wright (2). Feel he did as much as anybody eligible to help his teams win. The pre-1871 material is gravy on a excellent documented career.
2. Tim Keefe (3). Best on the pitching board. Just a matter of time.
3. Jack Glasscock (-) Close to Wright - not quite the peak but stuck around awhile. That's still a good player.
4. Ezra Sutton (4). Holding steady. Decent bat with good glove at an important defensive position.
5. Old Hoss Radbourn (6). Run of excellence was longer than some people think.
6. Al Spalding (9). Bouncing around a little but still feel a HOMer.
7. Harry Stovey (7). Would have been perennial all-star. AA discount, but not too much.
8. Joe Start (8). Many have made convincing arguments about him. So here he is placed.
9. Hardy Richardson (10). Just too much playing at other positions besides 2B keeps him from rising.
10. Pud Galvin (11). Can't really discount what he did for 6,000 innings. Gave team chance to win - not easy on some of the squads he worked for.
11. Pete Browning (12). A DH before his time.
12. Charlie Bennett (13). Did a good job at a position that beat up many people. Not playing a larger portion of scheduled games keeps him down in the ballot.
13. Ed Williamson (14). Reputation takes you only so far.
14. Bob Caruthers (NR) Little bit of this, little bit of that. Guy was 5' 7"...gotta like that.
15. Mickey Welch (15). Still on the fringes.

Posted 4:39 p.m., May 20, 2003 (#41) - John Murphy
  Boy, this election is going to make last "year's" look like a runaway.

Posted 4:59 p.m., May 20, 2003 (#42) - TomH
  maybe next "year's" will be easier - anyone who doesn't get in on this ballot, it looks pretty bleak for them in the next round of voting

Posted 5:04 p.m., May 20, 2003 (#43) - Andrew Siegel
  . . . and the one after that.

Posted 5:06 p.m., May 20, 2003 (#44) - John Murphy
  maybe next "year's" will be easier - anyone who doesn't get in on this ballot, it looks pretty bleak for them in the next round of voting

For certain.

Posted 5:14 p.m., May 20, 2003 (#45) - MattB
  Definitely a lot of movement in the Top 4 slots. Looks like every vote will count this year.

It also looks pretty certain that for the first time at least one "carryover" candidate will be elected, and maybe two. It seems likely that elections will be closer when the top spots aren't hogged by "first ballot" HoMers, like every one so far has been.

Posted 5:16 p.m., May 20, 2003 (#46) - Carl Goetz (e-mail)
  Here's my ballot with some comments where I saw fit.
1)George Wright(2)
2)Old Hoss Radbourn(3)
3)Tim Keefe(4)
4)Jack Glasscock(Newly Eligible)- Pebbly Jack gets no credit for his peak. I show him having 3 seasons of over 10 in WARP3.
5)Joe Start(6)
6)Pud Galvin(7)
7)Hardy Richardson(8)
8)Charley Bennett(9)
9)Ezra Sutton(10)
10)Al Spalding(11)
11)Ned Williamson(14)-This is more a statement of my downgrading Stovey and Browning than it is upgrading Williamson
12)Cal McVey(off)- The Triumphant return of Cal McVey! OK that may be overstating things a bit, but I don't have any big changes in my ballot this year and this qualifies as the biggest. I have trouble with McVey because I keep waffling on whether to give him credit for his minor league career after the majors. He would have moved onto this ballot regardless, but the reason he is 12 instead of 15 is that I am currently giving him this 'extra credit'
13)Harry Stovey(12)-I just think he's overrated when his league's are taken into account.
14)Pete Browning(13)-Ditto
15)Jim McCormick(15)

Posted 2:09 a.m., May 21, 2003 (#47) - Rob Wood
  1. George Wright
2. Jack Glasscock
3. Ezra Sutton
4. Hardy Richardson
5. Al Spalding
6. Tim Keefe
-- my personal HOM cutoff --
7. Harry Stovey
8. Pud Galvin
9. Hoss Radbourn
10. Ed Williamson
11. Joe Start
12. Cal McVey
13. Bob Caruthers
14. Charlie Bennett
15. Fred Dunlap

Posted 11:02 a.m., May 21, 2003 (#48) - Brad Harris (e-mail)
  1. Ezra Sutton
2. Tim Keefe
3. George Wright
4. Jack Glasscock
5. Joe Start
6. Hardy Richardson
7. Charlie Bennett
8. Bob Caruthers
9. Cal McVey
10. Harry Stovey
11. Al Spalding
12. Ned Williamson
13. Pete Browning
14. Dave Foutz
15. Fred Dunlap

Posted 1:40 p.m., May 21, 2003 (#49) - dan b
  1. Harry Stovey. You fans of the NA already have (4) representatives with Wright and Anson likely to join them, so when will we recognize the AA as a major league and honor one of their stars? Stovey was in his league’s top 4 in hitting WS 7 times including NL in 1891. 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. According to “Nineteenth Century Stars” was named by SABR 19th Century Committee as most deserving of HOF recognition of players not yet enshrined, meaning that that astute body preferred Stovey to White, Hines, Gore, Barnes, Glasscock, Sutton, Start, and Richardson to name a few.
2. Jack Glasscock. Best SS of the 80’s.
3. Tim Keefe – we have room for another pitcher.
4. Hoss Radbourne –Best pitcher 3 years in a row. James puts him ahead of Keefe.
5. 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.
6. Pete Browning. After starring in the AA, led PL in hitting WS. Nice mannequin of him at the Louisville Slugger Museum. :-)
7. Ed Williamson. Best 3B of the 80’s.
8. Tip O’Neill. Great 4-year peak. Is calling him the "Tony Oliva of the 19th century" a fair comparison?
9. Charlie Bennett. Worthy catcher.
10. Bob Caruthers.
11. Arlie Latham – Fourth in AdbWS.
12. Ezra Sutton.
13. Charlie Jones. If he had performed near his 1878-79 levels in 1881-82 instead of not playing, I would have him 6th.
14. Joe Start. Long career
15. (tie) Pud Galvin
15. (tie)George Wright. Having just paid my first visit to Not-So-Great American Ball Park, I would say the highlight is the mosaic mural of George and his 1869 teammates.

Posted 2:39 p.m., May 21, 2003 (#50) - John Murphy
  Harry Stovey. You fans of the NA already have (4) representatives with Wright and Anson likely to join them, so when will we recognize the AA as a major league and honor one of their stars?

I'm waiting for Bid McPhee (the greatest player who played a significant amount of games in the AA). Better than Stovey by a mile, IMO.

Posted 2:56 p.m., May 21, 2003 (#51) - John Murphy
  Adjust his WS for season length and he falls between Mize and Snider who both had longer careers.

Adjusted WS is great for comparing players who are contemporaries. It shouldn't be used for cross-generational comparisons. Mize and Snider were far greater players than Stovey was.

Posted 3:00 p.m., May 21, 2003 (#52) - TomH
  1901 Ballot from Tom Harahan
top 2 by far
1- George Wright
2- Pebbly Jack Glasscock
next 4 are close
3- Hardy Richardson ……….I’m with RobC on Hardy.
4- Hoss Radbourn
5- Ezra Sutton
6- Pud Galvin
gets a bonus for minor league career, and pitching in front of poor defenses.
next group, the borderline HOMers:
7- Charlie Bennett
8- Cal McVey
9- Tim Keefe
10- Lip Pike
11- Joe Start
and then there’s the rest…..
12- Fred Dunlap
13- Dickey Pearce
14- Bob Caruthers
15- Harry Stovey
……..
I’ve added Stovey to my ballot, based partly on danb’s reminder of the SABR 19th century committee’s opinion. I don’t see it in the numbers, but I’m willing to be edumucated.
apologies to 16 thru 18: Jim McCormick, Al Spalding, and Ed Williamson. 15-man ballot is getting fuller all the time, eh? I can see me putting Bennett on a ballot sometime in 1930; someone else with Start, a Stovey supporter, a Spalding endorser…..we’ll have 50 or more players mentioned by then, ya think?

Posted 3:04 p.m., May 21, 2003 (#53) - John Murphy
  Great 4-year peak. Is calling him the "Tony Oliva of the 19th century" a fair comparison?

I was thinking more Mickey Vernon for peak.

Posted 3:33 p.m., May 21, 2003 (#54) - RMc
  Oopsie. Let's try that again:

1. Caruthers
2. Glasscock
3. Start
4. Wright
5. Sutton
6. Radbourne
7. Stovey
8. Williamson
9. Keefe
10. Richardson
11. Galvin
12. Browning
13. Spalding
14. McVey
15. Latham

Posted 3:40 p.m., May 21, 2003 (#55) - Marc
  >You fans of the NA already have (4) representatives with Wright and Anson likely to join
them, so when will we recognize the AA as a major league and honor one of their stars?

The problems with this statement are:

1) White, Hines, O'Rourke and Anson were not the real "stars" of the NA. They were/will be elected for other reasons. The real stars of the NA were Barnes (in), Wright, Spalding, McVey, Meyerle and Pike (all out). I could argue that Tim Keefe will represent the AA just fine.

2) Us fans of the NA have some AA guys on our ballots. You have G. Wright in a tie for 15th place!

3) The NA operated 25-30 years ago (it's 1901), the AA just 10 to 20. Your guys are still just coming up (e.g. McPhee), the chances for the NA guys are ebbing away.

We fans of the NA demand parity! Spalding for Caruthers, McVey for Stovey, Pike for Browning, Meyerle for O'Neill, Pearce for McPhee! (Wright is going in anyway.) ;-)

Posted 3:48 p.m., May 21, 2003 (#56) - John Murphy
  Glad you noticed, RMc (even if you had to place Caruthers (ugh!) at #1)! :-D

Posted 3:56 p.m., May 21, 2003 (#57) - John Murphy
  We fans of the NA demand parity! Spalding for Caruthers, McVey for Stovey, Pike for Browning, Meyerle for O'Neill, Pearce for McPhee!

LOL

(Wright is going in anyway.) ;-)

The gap between first and fourth is only 61 votes as of right now. It's anybody's guess where he will finally wind up.

Posted 4:40 p.m., May 21, 2003 (#58) - jimd
  There are already two AA players in the HOM. Hines represents the AA as well as the NA.

Posted 2:10 p.m., May 22, 2003 (#59) - Jeff M
  Haven't been to the Louisville Slugger Museum. There's a MANNEQUIN of Pete Browning there? Do they put different outfits on him?

I may drop him on my ballot just because he wasn't statue-worthy.

Posted 2:28 p.m., May 22, 2003 (#60) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  Here we go, very re-tooled this week, my on-again, off-again Al Spalding trip is currently 'off', I just don't think pitching was all that important in the NA, it was mostly fielding and hitting. And Spalding had the best fielders in the league behind him.

1. Jack Glasscock (not eligible last year) - a no brainer for the top slot in my opinion. He was a great fielder and a good hitter for a long time. His AVG was +.028, his SLG +.018 and OBP +.022 compared to his leagues for his career; AND he was a Gold Glove caliber SS to boot. If you like peak in 1882, 1886 and 1889 his WARP3 are 11.5, 10, 10.8 his top 3 WS seasons are 37, 33 and 31. The whole package.

2. Joe Start (2) - My thoughts on him are pretty clear. His career after age 28 compares with anyone we will consider in the next 10 years. That coupled with the fact that he was considered one of the best players in baseball in the 1860s makes him a no brainer for me.

3. Ezra Sutton (3) - The 3B of the 19th Century. A modern equivalent would be Lou Whitaker or Ryne Sandberg, some great years few bad ones and consistently the best.

4. George Wright (5) - I've jumped him over Keefe, giving him a little more credit for his pre-1871 work, and docking Keefe a little for his AA time.

5. Pud Galvin (13) - Way up. After looking at how WARP3 considers his peak, and giving credit for value over ability, and realizing the defenses he played behind weren't great, I'm skyrocketing him. I now think he's the best pitcher on the ballot, and is ERA+ understates his value, due to the defensive support (or lack therof).

6. Tim Keefe (4) - see above. Consistently very good, year in and year out among the best couple of pitchers in baseball.

7. Charlie Bennett (12) - Another one that vaults this year. I wasn't giving him enough credit for his time behind the plate. He's got a case as the best non-pitcher in the game from 1881-83.

8. Hardy Richardson (7) - see 1900 Ballot, nothing has changed about him, other than his slot on my ballot.

9. Harry Stovey (14) - I've moved him up some, he probably is the best pure hitter (in terms of career batting value) on the ballot, the problem is the guys ahead of him were pretty close and played key defensive positions, in an era when fielding was valuable than any other.

10. Cal McVey (6) - Dropping him some because I'm realizing some of these other guys were a little better than I thought, and more of his value is undocumented. Still well above the in-out line.

11. Charles Radbourn (8) - Great pitcher, great peak, nothing negative to say about him.

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

13. Al Spalding (9) - I'm closer to dropping him out than moving him up, this is a compromise vote.

14. Lip Pike (15) - Resume gets a boost from his pre-NA days.

15. Pete Browning (NR) - Great hitter, lousy fielder, giving him a little more credit for the hitting this time around.

Posted 3:49 p.m., May 22, 2003 (#61) - DanG
  Good discussion on Galvin’s merits on the Pitchers thread. I’m starting to see him as a HoMer.

1) Wright: Unquestionably a greater player in his day than Glasscock in the following era.
2) Keefe: His time has come.
3) Start: Performed at a high level from the early 1860’s thru the mid 1880’s…I give him the benefit of the doubt as to his peak level.
4) Radbourn: No doubt he’s a HoMer, but will have to wait a few more years.
5) Glasscock: The name raises the inevitable question, When did players start wearing cups? He might deserve a higher rank but, like Ward, he may be benefiting from a “novelty effect” so I would prefer he wait for enshrinement.
6) Sutton: Holds his place from last year.
7) Richardson: Ditto.
8) Spalding: I don’t understand the argument for leaving him entirely off your ballot.
9) McVey: Like Pearce, I don’t think he’s going to get the support he deserves until his career becomes better documented.
10) Stovey: Question regarding that SABR survey: When was that done? In any case, our electorate is far more expert in player evaluation than the SABR electorate, whose interests cover the spectrum
11) Galvin: Leaps into my personal gray area. (Ouch!)
12) Pearce: His reputation seems as much based on heady play as on quality, so I’m forced to keep him below my HoMer line. These final four held their ballot spots from last year. None are likely HoMers.
13) Pike:
14) Browning:
15) Bennett:

Posted 8:30 a.m., May 23, 2003 (#62) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  First election so far with no new voters . . . fine by me, I think we've got a pretty good group here, even if we never add another voter.

David, Devin McCullen, Esteban Rivera, James Newburg, Ken Fischer, KJOK and Michael D are the only established voters who haven't voted yet. It's tight enough that your votes will matter guys, so don't forget to vote!

Posted 12:41 p.m., May 23, 2003 (#63) - Jeff M
  Joe:

If the NA was all hitting and fielding, then why would Harry Wright, the league's founder, travel cross-country (at the time) to sign the person he thought was the best pitcher in the country: Spalding. And at a handsome salary too. Why would he do such a thing if just anyone could have tossed the ball up there and let his superior fielders do the rest? In their promotional materials, why would Wright place Spalding's picture in the center, with all the other players circled around him? Somebody -- certainly the team owner and probably the fans -- thought Spalding was the most important person on the team.

I just can't see how he is off the ballot entirely.

Posted 1:00 p.m., May 23, 2003 (#64) - John Murphy
  I just can't see how he is off the ballot entirely.

Jeff, as someone who has him #1 on my ballot, I can understand leaving him off (or down near the bottom) if you can make the case that his stats are misleading (as Joe has trumpeted concerning the great defense backing him up). There are legitimate question marks surrounding him.

However, I do agree with you that Spalding was considered a great player for his time, if not the greatest. If there was no skill involved with pitching for that time, he and all others at the position would have been the lowest paid players on their teams. This was definitely not the case.

Posted 1:20 p.m., May 23, 2003 (#65) - Sean Gilman (e-mail)
  Isn't it possible that they just over-valued pitchers?

Posted 1:53 p.m., May 23, 2003 (#66) - Jeff M
  I guess it's possible, but they were there at the time (a luxury we don't have). They must have had SOME idea of how important pitching was. Harry Wright was the foremost baseball man in the country and the game, while not polished, had been played for many years in an organized fashion.

I'm not suggesting that Spalding was Roger Clemens, but we sort of treat NA pitchers as if the NA was a slow pitch softball league.

Posted 1:59 p.m., May 23, 2003 (#67) - John Murphy
  I'm not suggesting that Spalding was Roger Clemens, but we sort of treat NA pitchers as if the NA was a slow pitch softball league.

This is the problem that Jeff and I have. Pitching had to have been considered a skill position back then or the Spaldings, Creightons and Brainards wouldn't have had the prestige or financial rewards they actually received.

Posted 2:16 p.m., May 23, 2003 (#68) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  I didn't leave Spalding off, I dropped him from 9th to 13th. Spalding was a pretty damn good hitter too, especially for a pitcher. I do think there was value in pitching back then, but not nearly as much as today. There had to be or you would have been pitching Cap Anson or someone.

But, I think Harry went and signed him because he was a good pitcher AND because he could hit. Let's say you have the spectrum P SS 3B 2B etc.

Today it's like the P . . . . . . . . . . . . SS 3B 2B.

Back then I think it was more like P . . . SS 3B 2B. I think the pitcher made a difference, but not nearly the difference he does today, AND the fact that defense was more important makes all of the position players relatively more valuable than the pitchers. I'm pretty sure WARP3 recognizes this too, because the pitchers from the early 70s are all much lower rated than their counterparts 10 years later, despite pitching many more innings per team game individually.

Posted 2:26 p.m., May 23, 2003 (#69) - MichaelD
  Only three changes. The big question was where to slot Glasscock. Also I flip-flopped Richardson and Williamson and then I added Caruthers back onto the ballot. Most of the rest of the order stayed the same, as I didn't see any new reasons to change my evaluation of players int the bottom half.

1. Jack Glasscock (new): Given that I have been very heavily weighting both defense and career value, it shouldn't be a surprise that he tops my list.

2. Tim Keefe (2)

3. George Wright (3)I do feel Wright is a quality player worthy of enshrinement, as I had him in my top 4 on the 1898 ballot. His value just doesn't seem as sure as Glasscock's does.

4. Ezra Sutton (4)

5. Hoss Radbourne (6)

6. Hardy Richardson (8) Benefited a little from the discusion on him. Makes him seem clearly better than Williamson, but not as good as Sutton.

7. Ed Williamson (7) I probably need to re-examine him some more since I had him higher than anyone last time. Perhaps I'm giving him to much credit for defense.

8. Harry Stovey (9)

9. Joe Start (10)

10. Pud Galvin (11)

11. Al Spalding (12)

12. Pete Browning (13)

13. Charlie Bennett (14)

14. Cal McVey (15)

15. Bob Caruthers (not voted) Though I do lean toward career over peak, does not mean I ignore peak altogether.

Posted 3:38 p.m., May 23, 2003 (#70) - Marc
  I've said this before, sorry if I sound like a broken record, but...having played slow pitch softball for 25 years, I can pretty safely say that among elite teams the best athletes are going to be deployed at pitcher and shortstop. A good pitcher who can spin the ball, throw a nice "deep" strike and field his position (oh, and hit) is worth three times his weight in second basemen. (BTW, the 3B-2B spectrum shift in slow-pitch is also perfectly analogous.) Sure, elite teams have a few bombers at 1B-LF-RF but that's the point. Everybody's got three of them. Not everybody's got a great P or SS.

In a good, competitive elite game that ends up, let's say, 25-20, the winner hit 10 home runs and got 10 really tough outs (got the other guy's big bopper out with two runners on base, etc.). The home runs are split up among 5-6 guys. The tough outs were due to the pitcher and the shortstop.

Marc

Posted 8:53 p.m., May 23, 2003 (#71) - James Newburg
  1. Tim Keefe (2) - 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. Was second on my 1900 ballot; Therefore, he slides up to first this year.

2. Joe Start (4) - 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.

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

4. Jack Glasscock (NR) - The Alan Trammell of 19th century shortstops. Had a long, consistent career with about six All Star-type seasons. Career OPS+ of 112 and an A- defender according to Win Shares. Didn't quite have the peak to be Top Three with a bullet, so I'm slotting him here. In any event, a deserving HOMer. Now that I think about it, Monte Ward should have been fifth on my 1900 ballot.

5. Charlie Bennett (6) - 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.

6. Ezra Sutton (7) - 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."

7. Hardy Richardson (8) - 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.

8. Harry Stovey (9) - 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.

9. Pete Browning (10) - 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.

10. George Wright (11) - 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.

11. Jim McCormick (NR) - The last five spots on my ballot were all spent on pitchers, and it seems to me that there's hardly a dime's worth of difference between any of them. Had one great year in 1883 (342 IP, 170 ERA+) and seemed to be in the 115-130 ERA+ range nearly every year.

12. Mickey Welch (NR) - Welch had two great seasons in 1885 and 1888 and pitched solidly outside of that.

13. Bob Caruthers (12) - 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 borderline HOMer, but not a top-three or top-five player.

14. Tony Mullane (14) - Had the best numbers out of the McCormick-Welch-Mullane Axis of Good 1800s Pitchers, but spent the first half of his career in the AA, which is enough to put him behind McCormick, Welch and Caruthers.

15. Al Spalding (NR) - I'm really bothered by the difference in talent between his teams and the teams he pitched against. Those Boston teams had great hitters and defenders, the other teams in the NA, much less so. His 1876 season with Chicago validates some of his NA accomplishments, but there is such a wide gulf between the White Stockings and the other teams in the National League. His fielders deserve a large amount of credit for his accomplishments. However, he was one of the game's first stars and I could be persuaded to move him and Wright up in future elections.

Off Ballot:

Pud Galvin: He had one great year, a few above average years and pitched like Kirk Rueter the rest of the time. With the way the HOM is set up, it's probably going to be a pretty exclusive election process, so why induct a guy who pitched like a good third or fourth starter for a really long time?

Ed Williamson: Good player, but a bit overrated due to his 1884 season. Besides, we need to get more pitchers in the discussion.

Posted 9:17 p.m., May 23, 2003 (#72) - RobC (e-mail)
  I dont know where I need to post this, but I figured everyone reads the ballots so here goes. If this is the wrong place, delete it and tell me where to stick it. :) The email is my spam receiving email, but I will be checking it, so you can send responses to it.

I have a multitude of extra FREE tickets to Thursdays Buffalo at Louisville AAA game, 7:15 EDT. Due to weekday day games, nasty weather and memorial weekend, I have many unused Louisville Bats season tickets from this month. Thursday is ticket cash in day (they allow you to cash in this months unused season tickets for general admission tickets). If anyone is interested, I will host a Hall of Merit at a minor league park Day. Send me email, and on a first come first served basis, free tickets are yours. I dont know how many people are within a hop to Louisville, KY on a thursday distance, but if you are, we can debate the merits of Hardy Richardson and Al Spalding while mocking random Bison outfielders. Oh, as a special bonus, Thursdays are $1 Bud from 5:30-7. So, show up early and drink cheap bad beer.

Posted 9:36 p.m., May 23, 2003 (#73) - Ken Fischer
  1901 Ballot

1- Al Spalding-his domination of pitching from 1871 - 1876 is unique in 19th Century annals…it’s his time!!

2- Tim Keefe-ace of legendary Mets & Giants teams…major player in Brotherhood…best 1880s pitcher on the board

3- 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.

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- 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

7- Jack Glasscock-hate putting him this high…but he deserves it for his play on the field…refuse to go any higher this early in the balloting due to his behavior during the Brotherhood War

8- Joe Start-27 year career from 1860-1886…he must not fall through the cracks because of bad timing…if he is not in by 1920 a new Pioneer category should be created

9- 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

10- 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

11- 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

12- 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

13- 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…just passed this month on all-time win list by Roger Clemens

14- 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

15- Erza Sutton-long successful career…non-pitcher counterpart of Mathews…should get a serious look but will probably need a “Pioneer” category for all players whose careers started prior to 1876 to gain admission into the HOM

Posted 2:21 p.m., May 24, 2003 (#74) - ed
  Ken wrote:
"8- Joe Start-27 year career from 1860-1886…he must not fall through the cracks because of bad timing…if he is not in by 1920 a new Pioneer category should be created"

I dunno, isn't this like forcing Joe Start down people's throats? No matter what Start is going to get in sooner or later, so what is the point of even having Start on the ballot then or having people vote? Just get Start into the HOM so we can all forget about him.

Posted 3:38 p.m., May 24, 2003 (#75) - Ken Fischer
  Ed, I know what you're saying...but players like Pearce & Start are at a disadvantage. Your comment applies more with what I said about Sutton & Mathews because those players had lengthy careers after 1876. Spalding & Wright are in a similar situation as Pearce & Start but will probably get elected through the normal process. Their NA numbers plus other factors help Spalding & Wright. Pearce & Start don't have that...but we have been told by history they are among the premeir players prior to the 1869 Red Stockings. I believe it's important the HOM includes players from the early days before professional league play. I would not want the 1845 - 1865 time period to be soley represented by off the field folks like Adams, Cartwright and Chadwick (assuming they get elected in an "executive/contributor" category in the future). Pearce & Start are caught in the cracks and it's likely they will not be elected through the normal process. The question is whether it matters...for most it probably doesn't.

Posted 4:40 p.m., May 24, 2003 (#76) - John Murphy
  I believe it's important the HOM includes players from the early days before professional league play.

Besides, if we ignore them, we're going to wind up with more players who had their peak during the 1880s than players from the 1980s. That won't make any sense.

Posted 6:28 p.m., May 25, 2003 (#77) - Devin McCullen
  ...And I swore after missing the last election I was going to make sure to get my ballot in early. At least I didn't have to worry about where to slot Monte Ward. (Numbers are from my 1899 ballot)

1)Tim Keefe.(2) No reason to move him down; clearly the best pitcher without Clarkson.

2)George Wright (5) Moved ahead of Radbourne partly because I don't like having pitchers 1-2; also took a better look at exactly how dominant he was in the NA.

3) Old Hoss Radbourn (3) Would he have been as good as Galvin in the second half of the 1880s if he hadn't pitched his arm off in 1884? I don't know for sure, but he was still effective. I tend to prefer peak value, and he had it.

4) Ezra Sutton (6) I go back and forth between Sutton & Glasscock, but I guess I'm more impressed by his late-career effectiveness.

5) Jack Glasscock (new) Very impressive numbers, excellent fielder. All-around quality player.

6) Pete Browning (7) I'm convinced people are underrating him. I tried to convert his OPS+ into a 3OPS+, it moved from 162 to 159, so OPB isn't a problem. His fielding? It wasn't good, but it may not have been as awful as some people seem to think. He had one truly atrocious year in 1886 - outside of that, his FP was usually worse than average but not outrageously so. He wound up at .883 against a league average of .896, and that's with the 1886 .791 included. His Range Factor was usually better (given that sometimes he was a CF being compared to all OF.) In 1885 and 1887, he was 3rd in the AA in Defensive OF Win Shares (same caveat, though.)

Yes, he was in the AA, so he should get penalized, and I know OPS+ isn't as impressive as a modern value. But I think he's the best hitter on the ballot, and even in the 19th Century, that's still worth a lot.

7) Joe Start (9) His ability to remain competetive as the quality of play was rising strongly is impressive.

8) Hardy Richardson (10) The most boring man on the ballot. A very good player, it'll be interesting to see if he ever makes it.

9) Al Spalding (11) If he did blow his arm out and had to stop pitching, I may move him down.

10) Lip Pike (14) I like him, I really do. His batting numbers are comparable to George Wright, except, you know, he wasn't a shortstop (usually). I like what someone said about having the best players from the 1870s ahead of the B-listers from the 1880s.

11) Charlie Bennett (15) Not sure why I had him so low last time. Good numbers for a catcher - he may keep moving up.

12) Harry Stovey (8) Moved down. I overrated his OPS+ last time, and his profile just isn't that remarkable to me. Had 1500 more PAs than Browning, which doesn't seem like much of a career value argument.

13) Cal McVey (not ranked) Another case where I'm not sure what I was thinking. He did hit the tar out of the ball while he was playing. Does anyone know how well he played after leaving Organized Ball?

14) Pud Galvin (not ranked) Okay, fine, maybe his peak was higher than I thought. But I don't see that much difference between Galvin, Mullane and Welch. I realize there are problems with the stat, but his top 10 Adjusted ERA+ finishes? 3,3,5,6,8,8. I moved him onto my ballot, but he's not going much higher.

15) Freedom Bob Caruthers (12) Upon further reflection, his peak may have been a little too short for my tastes. Monte Ward, he's not.

Posted 7:59 p.m., May 25, 2003 (#78) - John Murphy
  Devin, here's Pete Browning's ranking for each year at his position (all leagues combined):

1882: 1 (2B)
1883: 1 (LF)
1884: 2 (3B)
1885: 2 (CF)
1886: 6 (CF)
1887: 1 (CF)
1888: 6 (CF)
1889: Higher than 10 (LF)
1890: 3 (LF)
1891: 7 (LF)
1892: 9 (CF)
1893: 5 (LF)
1894: Higher than 10 (CF)

I'm assuming there might be some disagreement for some of the years, but I think I have it pretty close.

As you can see, he had a terrific start. But by 1889, he really wasn't a great player anymore (though his 1890 season is very good).

He obviously was an outstanding player at his peak, but I consider career equally. Like a few other players, he could have made the bottom of my ballot, but I can't see him higher than that. His problem with durability hurts his cause, IMO.

Posted 8:13 p.m., May 25, 2003 (#79) - John Murphy
  But by 1889, he really wasn't a great player anymore (though his 1890 season is very good).

My sentence should have read:

But by 1888, he really wasn't a great player anymore (though his 1890 season is very good).

Posted 8:44 p.m., May 25, 2003 (#80) - Esteban Rivera
  After examining all the recent discussion and taking another look at all the candidates I am considering, the NA players move up.

1. 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.

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

3. Tim Keefe - Maintained quality over his career. Barely ahead of Radbourne in my evaluation of pitchers.

4. Charles Radbourne - I still believe what he accomplished at his peak and after, even with a somewhat bum arm, is unbelievable.

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

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

7. Jack Glasscock - The total package at shortstop.

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

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

10. 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.

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

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

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

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

15. Pud Galvin - Unique career lands him again on my ballot. May move him up next time.

Posted 11:23 p.m., May 25, 2003 (#81) - John Murphy
  We have one ballot less from last "year" so far. KJOK?

Posted 11:27 p.m., May 25, 2003 (#82) - KJOK (e-mail)
  Funny, I'm typing right now....

Posted 11:29 p.m., May 25, 2003 (#83) - John Murphy
  KJOK:

Fashionably late? Hmm? :-)

Posted 11:45 p.m., May 25, 2003 (#84) - 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. Jack Glasscock, SS - EQA: .286, Fielding:EXCELLENT, WARP:131, Modern Comp: Luke Appling.

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

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

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

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

11. 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.

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

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. Joe Start, 1B - EQA: .288, Fielding:VERY GOOD, WARP:65. OK, some of you have convinced me that he may have been a great enough player in his younger years. Modern Comp: Jim Thome?

Posted 11:49 p.m., May 25, 2003 (#85) - 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. Jack Glasscock, SS - EQA: .286, Fielding:EXCELLENT, WARP:131, Modern Comp: Luke Appling.

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

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

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

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

11. 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.

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

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. Joe Start, 1B - EQA: .288, Fielding:VERY GOOD, WARP:65. OK, some of you have convinced me that he may have been a great enough player in his younger years. Modern Comp: Jim Thome?

Posted 3:20 p.m., May 26, 2003 (#86) - John Murphy
  It looks like we will have two carryovers from past ballots elected this "year."

Posted 3:35 p.m., May 26, 2003 (#87) - Howie Menckel
  I'm amazed at how, when all is said and done, the ballots continue to maintain a particular pecking order each year. With no "holdover" spots seemingly available for "a few years," I imagine that may continue for a while....

Posted 4:21 p.m., May 26, 2003 (#88) - MattB
  Ken wrote:
"8- Joe Start-27 year career from 1860-1886…he must not fall through the cracks because of bad timing…if he is not in by 1920 a new Pioneer category should be created"

Well, some of us are doing are best to support him. I would think the best way to support someone who you think is the best available is to put him near the top of your ballot (I had him second, and I feel fully justified in that). I would think that people placing him eighth have less room to complain. I was equally surprised by all those complaining that Dickey Pearce wasn't on more ballots, when for 1900 his highest placement was a single 6th place vote.

If Start "falls through the cracks" it will be not just because some people leave him off their ballots, but because those who put him on their ballots place them too low.

Also, people are talking about there not being a lot of room for holdovers in the next few years, but I'm not so sure that's right. My Top 2 for 1901 was George Wright and Joe Start. Looking at next year, my preliminary Top 2 is Dan Brouthers and Joe Start.

The 3 through 8 spots are getting very crowded, as I reconsider Sutton, Caruthers, Galvin, Glasscock, Richardson, and Spalding while slotting in three newcomers: Sam Thompson, Buck Ewing, and George Stovey, all strong Top Half of Ballot candidates. But I see no need for Joe Start to take a back seat to any of these 9 strong candidates.

Posted 4:50 p.m., May 26, 2003 (#89) - John Murphy
  Also, people are talking about there not being a lot of room for holdovers in the next few years, but I'm not so sure that's right. My Top 2 for 1901 was George Wright and Joe Start. Looking at next year, my preliminary Top 2 is Dan Brouthers and Joe Start.

I'll be extremely shocked if Brouthers and Ewing aren't the top two vote-getters. They both had great peaks and career length.

Well, some of us are doing are best to support him. I would think the best way to support someone who you think is the best available is to put him near the top of your ballot (I had him second, and I feel fully justified in that). I would think that people placing him eighth have less room to complain. I was equally surprised by all those complaining that Dickey Pearce wasn't on more ballots, when for 1900 his highest placement was a single 6th place vote.

The best way to support a player who is not receiving much support is to make the best argument for him. Look how Pud Galvin has skyrocketed since Joe made his case for him. Even the above mentioned Pearce keeps moving up in small increments (possibly from something I wrote about him).

BTW, I can't say that you are wrong for placing Start at number two. As with Pearce, we have to make the best educated guess possible.

Posted 5:40 p.m., May 26, 2003 (#90) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  The voting is now closed for 1901, a little late, but we had a heck of a party last night and it is a holiday and all :-)

I've got them tabulated, the results will be posted later tonight!


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