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

1907 Ballot (August 11, 2003)

Let's get started, sorry it's late . . .
--posted by Joe Dimino at 12:09 PM EDT


Discussion

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Posted 12:22 p.m., August 11, 2003 (#1) - John Murphy
  I haven't had time to go over the fielding adjustments for WS fully, so my "best major league player for" references are still based on the unadjusted version.

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) Ezra Sutton (1): Greatest nineteenth century third baseman. In fact, I think he's the best peakXcareer player at that position until at least Ray Dandridge (who I haven't analyzed yet). Baker was much better peak-wise, but wasn't nearly as durable (he also didn't play during 1915 and 1920). Not that far off from being the best NA third baseman over Meyerle. Best major league third baseman for 1873, 1875, 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.

2) Bid McPhee (2): Greatest second baseman of the 19th century. If any AA guys should go in, he should be numero uno. Consistently near the top of the list for second baseman (and did it longer than any of them). Best major league second baseman for 1886.

3) Sliding Billy Hamilton (n/a): My pick for greatest outfielder of the '90s because of his amazing peak. Best major league leftfielder for 1890 and 1891. Best major league centerfielder for 1895, 1896, 1897 and 1898.

4) Cal McVey (4): 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.

5) Dickey Pearce (5): 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. Even though his NA and NL was meager (he was 35 in '71), he still had the most value after 35 until Dahlen and Davis, FWIW.

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

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

6) Cupid Childs (n/a): Best second baseman of the '90s. Too short of a career to knock out McPhee for tops for the 19th century (but his stellar peak almost does it!). Best major league second baseman for 1890, (almost in 1891), 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1896 and 1897.

7) Joe Start (6): 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 1871, 1878 and 1879.

8) Harry Wright (n/a): I'm convinced (thanks to Marc) that he definitely belongs on my ballot. Another player that will take a hundred years (maybe) to be elected on my ballot. :-) Best all-around centerfielder for his time.

9) Charlie Bennett (7): Strictly as a catcher, extremely comparable to Buck Ewing value wise (though based more on career than peak value). Best major league catcher for 1881, 1882 and 1883. Most durable catcher up to that time (catchers absorbed much more abuse than they do today).

10) Billy Nash (8): The '90s had some terrific players at the "hot corner": McGraw, Collins, Joyce and Nash. Possibly the best defensive third baseman for the 19th century (and not too bad offensively).

Best major league third baseman for 1888, 1889, 1892, and 1893. Best PL third baseman for 1890.

11) Jack Clement (9): Very durable with a nice peak. Best major league catcher for 1891 and 1895.

12) Ed Williamson (10): Best third baseman for the 80s. Best major league third baseman for 1881. Best NL third baseman for 1882. Best NL shortstop for 1888.

13) Fred Dunlap (11): Most value as a second baseman for the 1880s (though McPhee and Richardson were still the better players career wise). Best major league second baseman for 1880, 1881 and 1884. Best NL second baseman for 1882 and 1886.

14) Lip Pike (12): 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) Hugh Duffy: "Only" the third best centerfielder of the '90s, but that position was very strong for that decade. Best major league rightfielder for 1890 and 1891. Best major league centerfielder for 1892, 1893 and 1894.

Pud, Big Sam and Silent Mike fall off. The last few slots are becoming increasingly competitive.

Posted 2:05 p.m., August 11, 2003 (#2) - Rusty Priske
  I have been away for the last week, but I did read every post on the discussion thread before making my ballot.

1. Ezra Sutton (2) I sing in his glorious name as I have joined the choir of the converted.

2. Pud Galvin (1) I haven't soured on Pud at all. He deserves a spot.

3. Joe Start (4)
4. Bid McPhee (5) Both are holdign steady, moving up with Al Spalding out of the way.

5. Billy Hamilton (new) The best of the newcomers. He should make it in at some point.

6. Cal McVey (6)
7. Bob Caruthers (7)
8. Mickey Welch (9)
9. Jim McCormick (11)
10. Hugh Duffy (new)

We are well into the tweeners here. I would not consider it a missed opportunity if none of them made it in.

11. Harry Stovey (8)
12. Tony Mullane (10)
13. Mike Tiernan (13)
14. Sam Thompson (12)
15. Cupid Childs (new)

At this point I would avoid putting any of these in. We will see.

Dropping odd: Pete Browning (again) and Gus Weyhing.
Warranting investigation, but just couldn't make the cut: Elmer Smith

Posted 2:35 p.m., August 11, 2003 (#3) - Brian Hodes
  1907 Ballot
I seem to be a little higher on the new candidates than most. This is probably the least Pitchers I have had on a ballot to date as my top two candidates were inducted in the past two votes,

1. Billy Hamilton – Certainly the greatest scorer of the Nineteenth century and (in terms of peak at least) perhaps all-time. The 2d best 1890’s position player (behind Delehanty).

2. Sam Thompson – Drove in runs almost as well as Billy scored them.

3. Bobby Carruthers – Fabulous Peak – for my money the Best of all AA players. Despite his short career he had a positive impact on numerous pennants.

4. Hugh Duffy – Stellar centerfielder with strong peak and a crucial part of Boston’s “Team of the 90’s”

5. Pud Galvin -- An enduring talent in an age when Pitchers were worn out fast.

6. Harry Stovey – A hitter, a slugger, a scorer. More complete than Browning.

7. Bid Mcphee – A nod over Childs in the first round of this career vs. peak 2B smackdown.

8. Cupid Childs – Strong peak (although ’90 season in NL needs some downward adjustment because the talent was mostly in the PL that season.)

9. Ezra Sutton – Strong career value and subtle (non-consecutive) peak value at 3B.

10. Pete Browning – Great hitter.

11. Tony Mullane – Valuable player who missed a crucial season that may have cost him the HOF will it cost him the HOM too ?

12. Mickey Welch – A Big winner on winning teams and the ultimate object is to win. Sabremetrics and newfangled statistics are not kind to this 300 game winner.

13. Mike Tiernan – Top flight outfielder for several years.

14. Cal McVey – Versatile talent; difficult to evaluate because of lack of documentation.

15. Joe Start – Not quite as versatile as McVey. Also very difficult to evaluate owing to undocumented early career. The original "old Reliable".

Still on my mind: Charlie Bennett, Jim McCormick, Dickie Pearce, Tip O'Niell, Lip Pike, Ed Williamson and Bobby Mathews.

Posted 2:37 p.m., August 11, 2003 (#4) - Andrew Siegel
  As the candidates multiply and the list tightens, our individual voting criteria becomes more and more important. For full disclosure, my primary focus is on extended peak (e.g., best consecutive 7-10 years). As a general matter, I favor the guys who were great for 7-10 years (WS peak of 35, 7-10 year run averaging at least 30 WS)but I am fully willing to consider guys who were just a tick below great (peak around 32 WS) and had 12-14 good years or the guys who were only very good (peak around 30 WS) but played forever. I try within reason to mix in players from all positions and to include a good smattering of pitchers (though I fail at that last task this time). I have a slight timeline adjustment but will always prefer a frontline star of an earlier era to a second tier star from a later period.

This ballot has a few changes from my prelim as I assimilate the double-defensive WS numbers (which I think are basically sound).

(1) Billy Hamilton (n/a)-- As someone who focuses on extended peak, this one is a no-brainer for me. One of the top 5 leadoff men of All-Time; may have the highest peak for a position player until we get to Wagner and Lajoie.

(2) Cal McVey (1st)-- Looks like you guys are coming around on this guy; the only other Superstar on the ballot.

(3) Ezra Sutton (2d)-- At his peak, a 3B/SS who was among the game's top 10 bats, plus a very long career for his time and position.

(4) Cupid Childs (n/a)-- Career was short, but he was the best 2B year-after-year; gets a slight timeline adjustment in his favor as well; kind of like McVey and Sutton, in that he was almost as good a hitter as the OF's on the ballot and played a more important defensive position more than adequately.

(5) Bid McPhee (9th)-- Very much helped by the double defensive WS; giving him even a little bit of extra credit for his defense pushes his peak to a level where his career really starts counting for him. Came out fairly strong in a head-to-head comparison with Childs; unlike many of you, I moved him up rather than moving Childs down.

(6) Harry Stovey (4th)-- His talents are many but subtle; I hope he doesn't get lost in the shuffle.

(7) Charlie Bennett (5th)-- His great peak and a career that was remarkably long for a catcher in his day will hopefully eventually be good enough.

(8) Pud Galvin (6th)-- Will be fighting some interesting battles with 1890s OF's and 1900s pitchers for election in a few years; I'm pretty agnostic about how those battles should come out.

(9) Joe Start (7th)-- I suppose I could give him credit for being the best player of the 1860s and jump him to the top of the list, but his later stats don't demand that conclusion and his contemporaries were just as taken with Pearce and Harry Wright. He's Dave Winfield, Raffy Palmiero, or Darrell Evans -- probably worthy of eventual election but has to wait in a long line.

(10) Lip Pike (8th)-- Still trying to figure out exactly where he goes; pretty soon it's going to be time to fish or cut bait on his candidacy.

(11) Hugh Duffy (n/a)-- Half a cut above Thompson and Tiernan, but still on the outside looking into my Hall.

(12) Pete Browning (10th)-- In the end, not quite enough years to overcome his other negatives, but his bat truly deserves its legend.

(13) Sam Thompson (12th)-- On further review, his peak few seasons are strong enough to nudge him ahead of Tiernan, but his fourth, fifth, sixth best full seasons are merely very good. I remain convinced that he is Juan Gonzalez pre-incarnated.

(14) Ed Williamson (unranked)-- I welcome him back after many weeks away on the strength of his double defensive WS and as a result of ballot attrition.

(15) Mickey Welch (13th)-- Within shouting distance of Galvin and Radbourn on career value, a bit further back on peak. As comparing hitters and pitchers is hard, could just as easily rank 10th or 20th as 15th.

Apologies to: Mike Tiernan (once I decided to jump Thompson over him and slot Duffy ahead of them both, he became the fall guy for the over-abundance of OF's); Fred Dunlap (career not that dissimilar to Childs's); Billy Nash (career damn near identical to Williamson's); Jim McCormick (the next best pitcher by a substantial margin).

Posted 4:32 p.m., August 11, 2003 (#5) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  note: adjW3 refers to WARP3 adjusted to give 162 game credit for shorter seasons.

1. Joe Start (1) - Somewhere between Tony Perez and Pete Rose, amazing career value and his peak was pretty good for an old guy. Too bad we don't know more about his play before age 28.

2. Ezra Sutton (2) - Given full credit for early seasons he adjusts to 88.2 W3, 4th among eligible position players; 164.2 W1, 2nd among eligibles. WS sees him as the most deserving non-pitcher on the ballot. Plenty of career value and a peak that includes 3 seasons over 9.0 adjW3 and 4 that would be over 30 WS (including 1871) in a full schedule. I agree with John Murphy, he's he best 3B pre Baker; despite the fact that some other greats played some 3B. I think the Bobby Grich comparison is excellent, although Sutton had a longer career.

3. Bid McPhee (3) - 19th Century answer to Brooks Robinson on many levels. Historically great defensive player, pretty good hitter, long career with one team. Any easy choice for this ballot and should have been a first ballot HoMer, since Start and Sutton weren't going in last year.

4. Pud Galvin (4) - Best pitcher on the ballot. His defenses killed him. He's the 19th Century Bert Blyleven, the play whose W-L record does him the least amount of justice. I think he was probably the best pitcher of the 19th Century, and I wish we could go back and put him in ahead of Clarkson and Keefe.

5. Billy Hamilton (N/A) - He's probably the best OF on the ballot, WARP3 (adjusted to pennants added) likes him a little more than Thompson, WARP1 likes him a little less. Win Shares loves him. He was one of the greatest leadoff hitters ever, but his raw runs scored are a bit inflated by the era and environment.

6. Cal McVey (5) - The 1880s are sketchy, but he was one of the best players of the 1870s. Given a reasonable decline from age 28 he's got to be somewhere high on the ballot. Everyone talks about Barnes, Wright and Spalding, but he was a also a key cog on Boston's NA juggernaut.

7. Harry Stovey (7) - Great hitter, weak leagues for much of his peak though. I'll admit the AA adjustments may have been a little too harsh, and I'll give him the benefit of the doubt in relation to the other slugging outfielders of moderate career length. I thank Paul Wendt for explaining why the SABR polls that voted him the best non Hall of Famer from the 19th Century should be taken with a grain of salt.

8. Sam Thompson (8) - Great hitter, lousy fielder. Would rate higher if he had a few more years. His greatness is overstated by having his best years in high offense leagues.

9. Mike Tiernan (9) - Basically the same value as Thompson, a very good hitter with some big years. Thompson get the very narrow edge because he had the better rep, and these two are pretty even on the metrics. It's the only way that I can distinguish them.

10. Mike Griffin (10) - Amazing defensive CF and a pretty good hitter too. Five years of adjW3 over 8.0.

11. Charlie Bennett (11) - I'm bumping him over McCormick and Whitney. I still don't see how his defense could have been as great as Prospectus says it was. Maybe there was some kind of park effect that distorts the system they use or something, but I'm not buying it entirely anymore. He had 3 great years (1881-83) where he's got an argument as the best position player in the game. But aside from that, he was just a really good 1/2 time catcher.

12. Hugh Duffy (n/a) - He had a nice career, but his 2nd best year was in a weak AA (1891), and distorts his eyeball peak value a little bit. I'd take the career of Mike Griffin over Duffy's. It's close, but he's at the bottom of the Hamilton-Stovey-Thompson-Tiernan-Griffin-Duffy logjam. I'd almost take Tom York, but Duffy had a bigger peak, and even a modest timeline adjustment seals the close race.

13. Jim McCormick (12) - FOJM thank the Pennants Added calculations for this one. Seeing him come out equal with Radbourn and ahead of Keefe and Clarkson made me re-think them. WARP1 has Whitney below Radbourn, but McCormick still beats him. McCormick was a horse from 1879-84. If he'd have had the good fortune of having Radbourn's teammates, he'd be the legendary one. I really don't see much difference between Jim and Charlie.

14. Tom York (13) - Excellent career value outfielder. 15-year career, where he was very good the whole time and occasionally almost great. Contrary to popular belief, he does have a peak, in 1878 and 1879 he had great years, and in 1879 he helped Providence get over the hump and win a pennant, hitting .310/.346/.421 in a league that was .257/.273/.333.

15. Lip Pike (T15) - I've been convinced he has enough pre-1871 to slide him in past Dunlap. See below for the rest of the explanation.

16. Fred Dunlap (14) - A very close call between Dunlap, Jones, Browning and Pike. WARP3 adjusts for the league, wheras WS and WARP1 do not. This is important when you've got an AA star, a UA star an NL star and an NA star in the mix. WARP3 (converted to pennants added) sees it as:

#20 Dunlap
#25 Jones
#30 Pike (doesn't count pre-NA)
#31 Browning

That's a big point in Dunlap's favor for me. He's a middle infielder, and I think that WARP is closer to having fielding correct than WS for this era.

Something else jumped out at me too, that WARP1, which gives Browning no AA penalty still sees Dunlap as significantly ahead of Browning. WARP3 still shows 1884 as better than either 1883 or 1885 for Dunlap, with the discount for the UA, so if I knock down his 1884 contribution, he's only a nudge behind Browning and Dunlap played the rest of his career in the NL, any AA discount and Browning drops behind him.

As for Jones/Dunlap, call it me giving WARP3 the benefit of the doubt over WARP1 for now.

With Pike/Dunlap I see it as Pike needing at least 3 years at the top of his game pre-1871, and I'm now convinced there is evidence of that. If I'm wrong let me know, but for now I give my 6 points to Pike.

17. Charley Jones (T15) - Like Pike the statistical records aren't 100% indicative of their value. Jones because he was blackballed, and Pike because he was 26 when the NA got off the ground.

Also considered but left off: Jim Whitney, Cupid Childs, Pete Browning, Ed McKean, Mickey Welch, Bobby Mathews, Ed Williamson.

I'd still like to post my argument for Whitney, because if you are a heavy peak voter, the kind that likes Bob Caruthers or Tip O'Neill, I think Whitney is really the guy you are looking for. I've moved Whitney down a little because WARP1 doesn't like him quite as much as WARP3 does, and this week he's drops to 18th.

Whitney pitched Boston to the pennant in 1883 and his adjW3 (20.0) is narrowly edged by Ross Barnes' 1872 (20.3) and 1873 (21.0) as the best season of the Century. How come it doesn't get the credit Radbourn does for his 1884? Whitney had slightly lower adjW3 (83.9-78.3) than Radbourn, but both had the same pennant impact (.81 pennants added) because Whitney's peak was even higher than Radbourn's. He actually had the short-term pennant impact that many people think Bob Caruthers had.

Posted 5:49 p.m., August 11, 2003 (#6) - Howie Menckel
  1907 ballot

1. Joe Start - His age 30s and 40s stats look an awful lot like ones a superstar would produce, and darned if he wasn't seen as a giant in his day. I make the Yastrzemski comparision again - Start can slip through a "peak fan" or a "career fan" if they don't step back from the stat sheet a moment.
2. Ezra Sutton - I think if we redid the 1906 vote, he'd be in, and not Spalding. But Al woulda got in eventually, and Ezra's time is about now. A good number of spectacular seasons for any position, all the more valuable at 3B. Rare peak and longevity combo, falls to Start only because his lows were a little lower.
3. Pud Galvin - Considering that he was playing at a 'major-league level' in 1876-78, he basically won more than 400 games. It takes ignoring those years entirely to have made him wait this long, and no one told him that he shoulda went to that still-establishing NL sooner so we'd vote him in sooner 100 years later. Career lengths (i.e., innings pitched) are staggering and a peak not appreciated by all our voters.
4. Billy Hamilton - Slidin' Billy's runs scored numbers are off the charts. Era, league and team context puts it back on the charts, but still near the top. Only twice knocked in more than 75 runs, though, and never in the top 10. Most of our 'first-ballot legends' will wind up as big-time scorers AND run-producers. Still, he could move up 'next year' if no further reasons to hesitate are found.
5. Cal McVey - I think I gave a little too much credit last time to his 'early years,' so now I'd need to see what kind of hitter he was in the 1880s to be comfortable enough to move him all the way back up. Imagine games where this hitting stud was doing your catching, though!
6. Harry Stovey - Doesn't seem fair to have no AA player even in the top 10, and his PL season is pretty good indication of his skills. Has some Hamilton in him, especially considering their different league hitting backdrops.
7. Bid McPhee - Takes a helluva fielding credit even to get him here; not much above average as a hitter for much of his career. I haven't seen great evidence that his contemporaries saw him as royalty, either. An enemy could pull him down further with more data.
8. Sam Thompson - Don't know why, but I'm still struggling with him. I just need to see all the 1890s OFs together before I move him up or down.
9. Charlie Bennett - Another year goes by without a catcher worth even a single vote. Hmm, this Bennett guy may be more valuable that we realize.
10. Hugh Duffy - Perennial 'All-Star' if only they had that categorization then. Don't fret, Mike Tiergriffinnan lovers; Hugh doesn't have a sure permanent spot on my ballot. As noted, I need 'em all in one room first.
11. Cupid Childs - Clarence Algernon; no wonder he thought 'Cupid' was a bearable nickname. A Griffey-like career, in that he's an all-timer lock at age 30 and then falls completely off the face of the earth. Better than Bid most years; needs a supporter to rally the troops.
12. Mike Tiernan - Just closer to the top of the leader boards and overall a little better hitter than Griffin. I guess I'll tend to be a little 'hitter-friendly,' but it's something I can get more of a handle on 100 years later.
13. Mickey Welch - We're overdue for another pitcher by now, and this 300-game winner had some spectacular seasons even factoring in the sweet lineup he had behind him.
14. Dickey Pearce - There's a justifiable case for the HOM, maybe, and that's more than can be said about the rest. Somewhere out there is a better piece of background about how good he actually was.
15. Bob Caruthers - Not an HOMer, but the hitting-pitching combo and the value it had toward winning pennants is something I have a hard time ignoring.
Just missed: Browning, Pike, McCormick.

P.S. For those wondering why Childs and no Dunlap: I give Dunlap NO credit for his UA 'A ball' season. Man among boys. Childs woulda done the same or better with that opportunity. I see three outstanding years for Dunlap, three very good ones, and a couple of part-time ho-hum efforts. Childs, even if you take out his 1890 AA year, had three outstanding, three very good ones, and three full-time ho-hums. He played the bulk of several more seasons, against much tougher competition, actually played a ton more games, and I'm not inclined to give Dunlap a fielding bonus. Plus 1890 AA had some real players; 1884 UA did not, so Childs deserves some credit there.

Posted 6:42 p.m., August 11, 2003 (#7) - OCF, who rooted for Lou Brock
  Not just rooted for him; obsessively recalculated his batting average after each game and sometimes each at bat. (And in those days, sonny, we didn't have calculators.)

I'm not going to bother explaining votes that are generally consistent with my own record and with the general ranking in this forum.

1. (n/a) Billy Hamilton. You weren't expect anything else, were you? I don't think he's inner-circle, top-50 material, but who on this ballot is?
2. (3, 2, 1) Harry Stovey. So I'm tilting at windmills.
3. (4, 3, 2) Ezra Sutton.
4. (8, 5, 3) Pud Galvin.
5. (-, 4, 4) Bid McPhee. I do like career.
6. (7, 9, 7) Joe Start. He does have a claim for the 1860's.
7. (12, 10, 8) Charlie Bennett.
8. (13, 7, 5) Pete Browning. I got a little too enthusiastic about him earlier.
9. (n/a) Hugh Duffy. Like Norm Cash, the one year makes it hard to see what his offense really was. But he did have the defense.
10. (-, 11, 9) Jim McCormick.
11. (15, 13, 10) Ned Williamson. Excellent defense, some bat.
12. (14, 14, 13) Cal McVey. I do have him lower than most. I'm not really crediting what I can't see in his case, and I'm a little wary of NA numbers.
13. (n/a) Cupid Childs. A hitter who played 2B. Career length is an issue.
14. (10, 12, 11) Mickey Welch.
15. (n/a) Sam Thompson. The RBI guy. I haven't yet found a stable order for him, Tiernan, and Griffin. This year, he's on top.
Off the ballot: Nash, Caruthers, and Tiernan.

Posted 7:03 p.m., August 11, 2003 (#8) - Marc
  First I build a "consideration set" of players who were truly "great" at their (3 to 5 year) peak, then rank them about equally on peak and career. (You can't "become great" by hanging around.) I do give consideration secondarily to players with unusually long careers or other attributes, but they are hard put to rank above the double digits. My ballot has changed significantly after a closer look at the '60s and recalculating peak WS with more value for fielding.

Really Should Go In

1. Joe Start (12-9-11-6 last year)--certainly one of the top 2 or 3 players at his peak, arguably the greatest player in terms of total value for the 1860s. I have him #1 for career value among those currently eligible with 409 documented adjWS after 1870 and easily 600+ if we could quantify the '60s.

2. Billy Hamilton (new)--the top peak player of the 19th century in the sense that he maintained a reasonable claim to be "the best (position) player in the game" for a remarkable 8 years, though in absolute terms I see his peak (114 adjWS for 3 years, 179 for 5) as the 6th best. His 473 career adjWS is the #1 documented total.

3. Cal McVey (9-6-6-2 last year)--his 1876-78 represents the 3rd highest 3 year peak adjWS on the ballot. And these were not even his best seasons. (I do not have annual numbers pre-'76 nor therefore a 3 year peak prior to '78.) His career 336 adjWS does not include 2 years with the Cincy Red Stockings and is still #8 on the ballot.

A Very Strong Case Can Be Made

4. Charlie Bennett (13-12-9-5 last year)--a huge peak (7th best on the board) with the fielding adjustment. A vastly better catcher than Buck Ewing and maybe a better player. 346 career adj WS only 12th best but with the wear and tear of catching a truly fabulous record.

5. Harry Wright (x-12 last week)--clearly one of the top two or three players (if not "the best") at his peak. I have him 7th for career value over 15 year though his best years are of course un(statistically) documented.

6. Ezra Sutton (not ranked the past 5 cycles but 13-14-14-12 before that)--only the 13th best peak because his 5 year peak is not in the same class as his 3 year peak. In fact, for a guy with a very high 3 year peak and a very long career, the rest of his curve is lower than you'd think. Nevertheless, his peak is much higher than I had previously thought and his 468 career adjWS are 4th best on the ballot.

7. Hugh Duffy (new)--two things I hadn't expected: that he is a vastly better fielder than Hamilton, and at his peak (1893-95) was a strong claimant as the best in the business. 435 career adj WS is 5th best on the board.

Not Obvious Choices, But Have Their Strengths

8. Tommy Bond (never before rated)--the #1 peak on the board even after cutting pitching WS in half (but adjusting for season length). Sure, the short season works to his favor in this system but if "a pennant is a pennant," he had the greatest impact.

9. Lip Pike (10-11-10-7 last week)--assuming he combined the offense (150+ OPS+ in the NA) and the defense (middle infield pre-'71), a very valuable guy. Assuming he did both at the same time (i.e. he was as dominant on offense while playing in the IF), has the #7 peak. I drop him down a bit, however, because of the uncertainties of what I just said.

10. Dickey Pearce (never before rated)--the 3rd best player of the '60s (about the #10 peak on the ballot) and across a 15 year career I have him 11th for career value, though much of it is un(statistically) documented.

11. Sam Thompson (6-4-2-3)--big drop. The numbers just don't support the high ranking; in fact, they don't support him being on my ballot at all. But I think his defense is substantially underrated by WS and, frankly, I don't understand why his O doesn't earn more WS either. As somebody said, Billy scored 'em but Sam drove him home. Think Ricky and Donnie. (On the other hand, I thought Sam was the star of the '87 Wolverines but, no, that was Charlie Bennett.)

12. Jim McCormick (x-15T-x-14 last year)--2nd highest peak among eligible pitchers; actually the career leader in raw pitcher WS for several years in the mid-'80s. 284 career adj WS after a 50% reduction in pitching value, still #16 in career value on the board.

13. Cupid Childs (new)--one of the top players in the game circa 1892, a bigger combo of bat and glove than McPhee, though for a shorter period. I have Childs #19 for peak and #10 for career, Bid #27 and #3. I prefer the peak.

14. Bid McPhee (x-8-9)--special dispensation to make my ballot despite "no" peak. His career (471 adjWS, 3rd on the board) and his defense push him ahead of 20 guys with higher peaks, most notably:

Not HoMers But Worth Talking About

15 (tie). Billy Nash (not rated before) and Ed Williamson (not rated the last 5 cycles but 11-15-15 before that). Mirror images. Nash the #22 peak and #14 with 345 career adjWS, Williamson #23 and #13 (358
career adjWS with the fielding bonus). Nash among the best in '93, Williamson never "among" but "close" in '81-'84-'85.

Also considered were Whitney, Tiernan, Meyerle. Whitney did what Caruthers did but in a tougher league. Tiernan's numbers are indeed better than Sam's but just a bit, and I still don't believe that. Meyerle could be thrown into that tie with Nash and Williamson for all I can tell.

Falling off my ballot: C. Jones, Browning and Stovey, though I'm not sure WS doesn't undervalue their offense in the same was it overlook's Sam's; Caruthers drops all the way from 4th; Jim Creighton, hey he had a high peak! Along with Thompson, I will see if I can rehabilitate Caruthers, but, again, the raw numbers don't look good.

Posted 9:11 p.m., August 11, 2003 (#9) - jimd
  Read previous ballots if you want more depth on my reasons for all but the latest eligibles.

1) P. Galvin -- He was already a candidate for top spot; giving him some partial credit for his time in the International Association makes him a definite #1.
2) B. Hamilton -- I hate to rate him this high on the first ballot but this is where my ranking system puts him, and I also have some doubts about the other three in this knot.
3) C. Bennett -- Best catcher available; stands out from the other catchers far more than any of the other OF'ers do from their pack. On Bennett vs Ewing: Buck was the athlete that excelled at throwing runners out, the "flashy" part of catching, and could also play other positions. Charley did the other things well, the "good hands" things like PO's and PB's and E's. Which was more valuable? BP and WS are both sophisticated rating systems with differing conclusions. I will venture this opinion; Ewing's skills probably would have made him a great catcher at any time and place, while some of Bennett's value would be lost in later eras where his bare-handed sure-handedness and toughness (and high pain threshold) are less important. His value may have been somewhat lost on his own peers due to the bad teams he played on during his peak.
4) E. Sutton -- I am now convinced that Ezra belongs. Better peak than McPhee, though that isn't difficult. I'm not excited about most of the players on this ballot.
5) B. McPhee -- WS loves Ezra's career, BP loves McPhee's; no peak whatsoever. Like Jim O'Rourke in that regard except that McPhee's value came from defense, not offense. Now that he has competition with Ezra for my "best career" bonus points, that drops him behind both of them.
6) J. Start -- Very long career; the posts on the 1860's have persuaded me to bump him up.
7) H. Duffy -- The peak value is enough to distinguish him from the other OF'ers in the pack.

Following 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. The pool of qualified applicants is thin.

8) J. Whitney -- Why did Radbourn become legendary and not Whitney? A longer and more prominent career with a better team didn't hurt, but I think it's mostly in the power of the number "60". The total picture of Whitney's value requires integration of multiple aspects of the game, always a problem when competing against a sound-byte summary, a record that will not be broken until there is a radical change in the game.
9) H. Stovey -- I found the baserunning analysis interesting and persuasive; there is a LOT of shadow offense going on due to the errors and baserunning.
10) S. Thompson -- Not yet convinced of his overall merits; great hitter though.
11) D. Pearce -- I'm not sure he belongs, but I think he's a better choice than my other "almosts".
12) C. Childs -- Giving him extra credit for being best at his position.
13) T. Mullane -- Very long career, even if not at the top-level.
14) M. Griffin -- BP likes him better than Tiernan.
15) C. McVey -- Win Shares loves him; BP doesn't. Is this due to his luck in teammates? Because I blend rankings from both systems, this dichotomy serves as a red flag, downgrading his overall ranking.

Just missing the cut are J. McCormick, B. Caruthers, T. Bond, Fred Dunlap, Charley Jones, Pete Browning, Ned Williamson, Pink Hawley, Jack Stivetts.

Posted 10:17 p.m., August 11, 2003 (#10) - Jeff M
  Wow John Murphy. Ten of your 15 played 2b, 3b, ss or catcher (if you include McVey as a catcher).

Posted 10:24 p.m., August 11, 2003 (#11) - ed
  My comments are a little off base, if you may. It has nothing to do with these players, but has to do with "base ball" at this time period. I've just finished reading G.H. Fleming's "The Unforgettable Season", the book on the great pennant race of 1908. Actually I was disapointed by the book; the book shouldn't have been "by" G.H. Fleming, but "edited by" G.H. Fleming. All Fleming did was compile newspaper articles from the 1908 season and added in some comments when needed. I thought that Fleming would actually write a book using his source materials, not a reprint of the source materials. The book is like a daily following of the NY Giant ball club through the 1908 season, from pre-season to spring training to the end of the season, touching on every little thing the Giants did. The only coverage the other two team, the Cubs and the Bucs, had in the book is when something big happens like when Cubs' Heinie Zimmerman fought with his teammate Jimmy Sheckard or when the doctors told Hans Wagner to retire because of the rheumatism in his right arm and shoulder. In a way, the book was interesting and boring at the same time. It was interesting to read the style of writing and the way people spoke back in 1908, but it was hard to follow the Giants daily throughout the whole season, things get a little mundane after a while.
About the Merkle boner, there were a couple of versions of the actual play and I'll try my best to sort it out. In the last half of the ninth inning with the score tied 1-1, McCormick is on third, Merkle on first and Bridwell at bat. Bridwell makes a clean hit over second base and McCormick races home for the appearant winning run. The centerfield, Hofman, sees that Merkle leaves first base and saunter towards the clubhouse to avoid the happy NY fans rushing onto the field and runs after the ball hit by Bridwell. The whole Cubs team probably remember the same incident that occurred against the Bucs earlier in season in September 4, when the Bucs' first baseman, Gill didn't touch second in the Bucs' 1-0 win over the Cubs. The umpire in that game, Hank O'Day, who is also the umpire in the Merkle game, said he didn't see if Gill touched second or not and let the run count. So Frank Chance yells for Hofman to throw the ball back in, but the throws gets past Evers at second base and hits the back of Tinker. McGinnity of the Giants sees what is going on, grabs the ball and heads for the clubhouse. Chance grabs hold of McGinnity and won't let go until the other Chicago players joins in [where are all the Giants? Are they all in the clubhouse already?]. McGinnity gets overpower by the Cubs that are on him, throws the ball into the crowd behind third base. Kroh and Steinfeldt began knocking over the fans to get to the ball. Kroh gets the ball and passes it to Steinfeldt who passes to Tinker who throws the ball to Evers at second base. At the same time, a member of the Cubs gets Hank O'Day to come back on to the field. When O'Day gets to second base he was gets surrounded by Chicago players, especially Chance who tells O'Day that Merkle had been forced at second. A riotous mob at once surrounds Chance and O'Day, and although most did not know what Chance and O'Day are doing, they thought that it was a good opportunity to attack Chance and O'Day. The people that was near Chance and O'Day began to punch both men, while the attackers on the outskirts began to throw cushions, newspaper and other stuff at the two men. The policemen comes and escorts the pair into the clubhouse and clears the grounds. O'Day reports to League President Pulliam that Merkle did not touch second and Pulliam later agrees with O'Day's ruling that the game is consider as 'no game' and be replayed at the end of the season if needed.
A couple of things more to add to this series of events. The Giants say that the have numerous affidavits that prove that O'Day saw nothing that happened on the diamond after Bridwell's hit. His back was to the field and the crowd from that instant until he got to his clubhouse. Mathewson also swore that when he heard Chance call to Hofman to throw the ball to second, he grabbed Merkle by the arm and told him to touch second. After Merkle touched second, Mathewson and Merkle left the field because they didn't want to get mixed up with what was happening on the field. Personally, I believe what Mathewson said because all the stories I have read about Mathewson gives me a strong sense that Mathewson is an upstanding guy and wouldn't lie about this. Mathewson and Merkle probably got to second while the Cubs players were fighting McGinnity and the fans for the ball and nobody including Evers, who probably went after McGinnity, noticed them. By the time O'Day got back out to the field, Mathewson and Merkle were long gone.
Please understand, I am not slamming the book at all. It is a very good book for readers who want a sense and a feel about how baseball was in the early 1900's. I was just disappointed due to my expectations for the book.

On with business, the 1907 Vote:
01. Billy Hamilton CF - No Doubt, Unanimous, First Ballot HoM. I consider Hamilton, Delahanty and Anson three of the best positional players from the 1800's. Best leadoff man until Rickey and Rock? I wonder which cap Hamilton gets, Philadelphia or Boston?

02. Cupid Childs 2B

03. Mike Tiernan RF

04. Sam Thompson RF

05. Ezra Sutton 3B - Poor guy, nothing goes right for him post-career, does it? And he dies in '07.

06. Harry Stovey 1B/LF - I think Stovey, McPhee and Caruthers are all legit great players from the AA that would have been just as good in the NL.

07. Bid McPhee 2B

08. Hugh Duffy CF - A key member of the great Boston team of the 1890's.

09. Bob Caruthers SP/LF

10. Charlie Bennett C

11. Pete Browning CF - Diamond Mind has a greatest players disk coming out and it uses the player's best 6000 plate appearances in consecutive seasons. But not too many 19th century players have 6000 plate appearances in his career so I wonder how many 19th century players, especially players that played before the schedule expanded, are going to be on the disk.
The only catcher from the 19th century era to have 6000 PA is Duke Farrell. The only 3B to have over 6000 PA is Lave Cross, and that includes Deacon White. In the outfield, Pete Browning doesn't have enough, while other great players like Sam Thompson, King Kelly and George Gore barely have enough.

12. Pud Galvin SP - Can't believe that he got beaten by that much... over 70 votes.

13. Ed Williamson 3B

14. Mike Griffin CF

15. Cal McVey C/1B - Seems like that he has a better peak than Joe Start. I'll probably vote for McVey before I would vote for Start.

Posted 11:03 p.m., August 11, 2003 (#12) - John Murphy
  Wow John Murphy. Ten of your 15 played 2b, 3b, ss or catcher (if you include McVey as a catcher).

That's because the hitters tend to go in faster than the guys at the defensive positions, leaving a backlog.

I have had high on my ballot the names Hines, Gore, O'Rourke, Anson, Brouthers, Connors, Kelly, Start, and H. Wright (Delahanty, Keeler, and Burkett will defintely be near the top) so I will vote for the bat. I just won't vote for all of them. :-)

Posted 1:01 a.m., August 12, 2003 (#13) - sean gilman (e-mail)
  1907

1. Ezra Sutton (1)--Should have been in a long time ago. Peak value comparable to Cal McVey (Best 3: 121/137 WS, 5 Consecutive: 161/177 WS), with significantly more career value (468/314). More Career Value than anyone on the board by far. Thanks to Chris Cobb for the numbers.

2. Sliding Billy Hamilton (-)--Close to Sutton in Career Value, but Ezra’s got the higher peak (by adjWS, yup it surprised me too).

3. Joe Start (4)--Bump up for Start this year. He’s got a better peak than McPhee and more career value than McVey, even without counting the 1860s (where all indicates his real peak was).

4. Bid McPhee (2)--Compared to McVey, McPhee’s defense and career value edge trumps the AA discount and the lack of a tremendous peak.

5. Cal McVey (3)--Not moving him down so much as moving Start up.

6. Pud Galvin (6)--I think I’ve been convinced.

7. Harry Stovey (5)--I think some people have been applying an awfully harsh AA discount to him. He was a tremendous hitter and looks great in WS pennants added and in the baserunning info that’s been posted. More career value than any of the other ‘hitters’ further down the ballot. Trails Glavin on both WARP1 and WARP3 Pennants Added lists.

8. Hugh Duffy (-)--Peak and Career value puts him in the middle of the outfielder glut; closer to Stovey than Thompson (which is a good thing in my book).

9. Lip Pike (7)--Tough to get a handle on him: not as good in the NA as McVey, but better before; much better in the NA than Start, not as good before. I imagine he’ll be moving up and down my ballot for quite awhile.

10. Charlie Bennett (8)--Great defense and hitting (for a catcher) moves him ahead of the Outfielder/Pitcher Glut, at least according to WARP. I tend to trust Win Shares more though. . .

11. Pete Browning (10)--AA discount brings him down to Thompson and Tiernan and Griffin’s level. Browning still has the higher peak though.

12. Mike Tiernan (11)--I don’t think 3 players could be any more equal than Thompson and Tiernan and Griffin. Tiernan has a slight peak advantage over Thompson.

13. Sam Thompson (12)--Lower peak than Tiernan, higher peak than Griffin.

14. Mike Griffin (13)--Defense raises his (relatively) low peak to a level slightly below the rest of the outfielder glut.

15. Cupid Childs (-)--Could move ahead of the outfielders depending on what the appropriate defensive adjustments look like.

Posted 7:49 a.m., August 12, 2003 (#14) - TomH
  2. Sliding Billy Hamilton (-)--Close to Sutton in Career Value, but Ezra’s got the higher peak (by adjWS, yup it surprised me too).
********
That surprises me too, Sean.
How close is this? Close enough that if Hamilton had played in a 16-team environ instead of 12, that his adjWS would be higher than Ezra's? My back-of-the-napkin estimate is to add 1.5 WS/yr for the time period when there were only 12 MLB teams.

Posted 12:12 p.m., August 12, 2003 (#15) - KJOK (e-mail)
  Ed wrote: "Diamond Mind has a greatest players disk coming out and it uses the player's best 6000 plate appearances in consecutive seasons. But not too many 19th century players have 6000 plate appearances in his career so I wonder how many 19th century players, especially players that played before the schedule expanded, are going to be on the disk.
The only catcher from the 19th century era to have 6000 PA is Duke Farrell. The only 3B to have over 6000 PA is Lave Cross, and that includes Deacon White. In the outfield, Pete Browning doesn't have enough, while other great players like Sam Thompson, King Kelly and George Gore barely have enough."

Actually, the disk is available now. They ignored anything prior to 1893, and I think their cutoff is actually 4,000 PA's (best 6,0000 for players with 6,000 or more), and the 19th century players included are:

Jake Beckley, 1B
Cupid Childs, 2B
Tom Daly, 2B
Bobby Lowe, 2B
Kid Gleason, 2B/P
John McGraw, 3B
Lave Cross, 3B
George Davis, SS
Bill Dahlen, SS
Hughie Jennings, SS
Herman Long, SS
Deacon McGuire, C
Heinie Peitz, C
Ed Delahanty, LF
Jesse Burkett, LF
Joe Kelley, LF
Kip Selbach, LF
Billy Hamilton, CF
Hugh Duffy, CF
George Van Haltren, CF
Jimmy Ryan, CF
Dummy Hoy, CF
Willie Keeler, RF
Cy Young, P
Kid Nichols, P
Amos Rusie, P
Clark Griffith, P
Nig Cuppy, P
Ted Breitenstein, P
Frank Dwyer, P
Frank Killen, P
Pink Hawley, P
Brickyard Kennedy, P
Jouett Meekin, P

Posted 1:59 p.m., August 12, 2003 (#16) - Yardape (e-mail)
  After being very pitcher-heavy on my first ballot, I've taken another look at that, which has caused some of them to drop off in favour of a couple more hitters. That's the main cause for any shake-up from my previous ballot.

1. (1) Ezra Sutton
2. (n/a) Billy Hamilton -Sliding Billy looks like a sure-fire candidate at some point to me, but Sutton still stands out more at the moment, IMHO.
3. (8) Cal McVey Giving him just a little credit for his pre-NA career (all that I felt I could give him) was enough to jump him over Pike and Stovey.
4. (4) Lip Pike
5. (5) Harry Stovey
6. (3) Bob Caruthers Drops a little bit after my pitching examination, but I still like him.
7. (14) Joe Start Takes a big jump up my rankings. Other voters arguments for his 1860s work was the big thing in his favour.
8. (10) Jim McCormick One pitcher who did not suffer, McCormick managed to separate himself a little bit.
9. (9) Dave Foutz I thought I should get his name right this time.
10. (n/a) Pete Browning A terrific hitter who deserved a spot here.
11. (n/a) Nig Cuppy Hasn't got much discussion, but he looks like an excellent pitcher to me. I thought he was worthy of a lower-ballot spot. Perhaps he gets overlooked in comparison to Young, Nichols, Rusie. Doubt he'll ever climb high on my ballot or in the rankings.
12. (n/a) Charley Jones Hadn't realised he was blacklisted. A little credit for that moves him onto my ballot.
13. (6) Pud Galvin His lengthy career is worth something, but I'm not convinced he's a top choice.
14. (n/a) Charlie BennettToo many doubts about WARP3 to rank him higher, but those numbers and his longevity at catcher bring him onto the ballot.
15. (12) Bid McPhee He's one of the top vote-getters, and others seem very high on him, so maybe I'm missing something. Nonetheless, I'm not sold on him. I know most of his case rests on his defence, but I'm just not sure it was great enough to bring McPhee and his hitting stats higher on the ballot. My preference for peak doesn't help him, either.

My big omission is Sam Thompson. While I recognize that he's a great hitter, he's not much different than Tiernan or Griffin. In truth, there's not much difference between Browning at #10 and the trio just off my ballot, and maybe I could have found space for Thompson. But he just didn't make it this time.

Posted 4:48 p.m., August 12, 2003 (#17) - sean gilman (e-mail)
  2. Sliding Billy Hamilton (-)--Close to Sutton in Career Value, but Ezra’s got the higher peak (by adjWS, yup it surprised me too).
********
That surprises me too, Sean.
How close is this? Close enough that if Hamilton had played in a 16-team environ instead of 12, that his adjWS would be higher than Ezra's? My back-of-the-napkin estimate is to add 1.5 WS/yr for the time period when there were only 12 MLB teams.
-----------------------------------------

It's pretty close. I try to use best 3 seasons/best 5 consecutive seasons to measure peak. But I don't have exact adjusted win shares for a number of players so I have to kind of guess.
For best 3 seasons I have Sutton with 121 and Hamilton 99; for best 5 Sutton with 161, Hamilton 150.
My guess is that Sutton would still be ahead in at least best 3 after adjusting Hamilton for season length and fielding. This is supported by the fact that Sutton beats Hamilton in all of the Pennants added numbers (including adusted WS over replacement (332.1 vs. 310.9) and a big lead in the adjWARP1 numbers: 1.58/1.16 PA, 164.2/125.5 aW1) except for WARP3, which I don't trust at all.

Posted 5:08 p.m., August 12, 2003 (#18) - Brad Harris
  (1) Ezra Sutton - had planned on putting Billy Hamilton here, at the start of discussion last week, but realized just how comparable their hitting stats were, giving Sutton an edge.

(2) Billy Hamilton - one of the ten best 19th Century players, IMO.

(3) Joe Start - I'll continue to go with Joe D. on this one; Start could play for me anyday.

(4) Cal McVey - close behind him, of course, is Mr. McVey

(5) Bid McPhee - probably the greatest defensive player (at any position) of the 19th century

(6) Harry Stovey - great hitter, slugger, run producer

(7) Charlie Bennett - best pure catcher of the 19th century

(8) Sam Thompson - close with Tiernan, but name recognition more than anything gives him just a little push here

(9) Mike Tiernan - superb (and highly underrated) player

(10) Cupid Childs - have long wanted a reason to research Childs' career; glad this project brought him to light

(11) Pud Galvin - best pitcher on the ballot, perhaps, but it's just hard to think of him as being THAT deserving (relative to greats like Clarkson and Keefe)

(12) Fred Dunlap - slides down a few, particularly with insertion of Childs this time

(13) Ned Williamson - despite park effects, still a great slugger at a defense-oriented position

(14) Pete Browning - can't leave a guy with that BA off the ballot

(15) Jim McCormick - after some study and much hand-wringing, he replaces Bob Caruthers as king of the overlooked short-career studs

Posted 5:39 p.m., August 12, 2003 (#19) - Marc
  Tom and Sean,

Having just completed recalc. of annual WS for purpose of rating peak performance... The calc. includes adj. for fielding "bonus" up through 1892 (but not thereafter), for season length and for league strength (AA and UA but NOT a timeline). I am not saying these are any offical adjWS because there are legitimate disagreements about how to adjust. But:

For best 3 consecutive: Sutton 133 Hamilton 114
Best 5 consecutive: Sutton 185 Hamilton 179
How many years "among the best players in the game:"* Hamilton 8 Sutton 2

* For each season I have a list of players within 10 WS of the absolute leader for 3 and for 5 years.

Neither Sutton nor Hamilton is subject to a league strength adjustment (discount) and I do not timeline. But I am not a slave to numbers. I believe that Sutton's higher 3 and 5 year peak are to some degree due to conditions, not just to his own play. I also believe that Billy's 8 years among the leaders is a greater achievement than the slightly higher 3 and 5 year numbers. So I make a subjective judgement based on the numbers, and in this case I believe that all the subjective evidence suggests that Hamilton was a better player...not necessarily more valuable at his absolute peak but that he sustained his peak a lot longer. So I have Hamilton #2 on my ballot (behind Joe Start) and Sutton down around #6. But the peak analysis has moved Sutton from OFF the ballot to #6.

BTW the top peak among eligibles is Tommy Bond--201 for 3 and 271 for 5, even after reducing the pitching WS numbers by 50 percent! The top position players are Sutton and Bennett 133 for 3 (McVey 132) and Tip O'Neill 191, Bennett 188, Sutton 185, Williamson 183 for 5. All peaked in the '80s. McCormick is also at 197 for 5. As I said it has a lot to do with conditions. Maybe someday I will regress the adjustments for season length back to the mean. My exercise would suggest that this would be fair.

Posted 7:14 p.m., August 12, 2003 (#20) - Jim Spencer
  Hamilton stands out as a clear #1, the rest of the ballot is very "bunched".

1) Hamilton—clear #1. interesting that his contemporaries weren’t impressed, but in this case the statistical evidence is overwhelming on offense. I suspect his managers knew something about his D vs. Duffy as well.
2) Start—The tail of his career is very consistent with subjective evidence that he was great in the 1860’s.
3) Sutton—it will be a long time until we see someone at 3B as good as Ezra.
4) Galvin—Only Cy Young ever got more batters out. Plus he pitched for a few years in a strong league before (re-)joining the NL…that makes me sympathetic to the argument that his defenses were weak.
5) McPhee—The best of the AA players.
6) Welch—just a hair behind Galvin.
7) Bennett—Catching was a very tough job back then. By reputation and stats a great fielder. Plus he hit pretty well too.
8) Hugh Duffy—interesting that Boston put him in left, Hamilton in center. Gets credit for D, but generally great center fielders aren’t done at age 32 or moved to left field, so I’m a little skeptical.
9) McCormick—Throwing out the UA data moves him down.
10) Thompson--146 career OPS+ (for example) indicates the RBI aren’t all an illusion, the man could hit. Short career for a pure hitter though.
11) McVey—Wish he had stuck around on the east coast a little longer, I can’t give him much credit for his west coast years.
12) Childs—I discount his domination of the 1890 AA as out of line with the rest of his career. Great peak but not a long enough career.
13) Harry Stovey—down here because of AA discount.
14) Pearce—Belongs on the ballot, but difficult to place. By analogy with other SS with long career, I may have him too low.
15) Mullane—Best career value of the AA pitchers.

Posted 7:51 p.m., August 12, 2003 (#21) - favre
  I generally favor career over peak. I'm not much of a statistician, so I really on the posted adjusted WARP and Win Shares pretty heavily.

1. Billy Hamilton (NA)
2. Ezra Sutton (1)

Hamilton: Is there anybody else on the ballot whose OBP was a hundred points better than league for twelve seasons or so? That's gotta make him the #1 pick. Sutton, though inconsistent, played for a long time with a couple of high peaks in his career at a position which is seriously underrepresented in the HoM.

3. Joe Start (4)
4. Pud Galvin (2)
5. Bid McPhee (3)

I moved Start over Galvin, because it seems pretty clear that Start had a better career after 30 than Galvin did; although it's impossible to tell for sure who had a better career through 30, I'm guessing it's close. At the very least, Start's pre-30 career was longer than Galvin's, and he seems to have been considered among the best of his peers in a way Galvin was not. Start's documented peak is higher than McPhee's, so I'm moving him in front of Bid as well. Galvin's 6000 innings and McPhee's nearly 1700 runs scored with amazing second base defense kep them in the top five.

6. Cal McVey (5)
7. Sam Thompson (7)
8. Charlie Bennett (8)

I have favored career on these ballots, which makes me wonder if I have McVey too high. Still, all the evidence suggests that McVey was one of the top players in the game for at least ten years, and he needs to be fairly high on the ballot. I switched Thompson and Bennett, because I like Thompson's slugging and RBI totals the more I examine them. FOCB continue to offer great tidbits which underscore his longevity as a catcher, combined with a high peak.

9. Dickey Pearce (10)
10. Harry Stovey (8)
11. Hugh Duffy (NA)

I put Pearce on the ballot for the first time last year; now I'm finding it hard to get rid of him. While the evidence for his inclusion is anecdotal, it is strking enough to keep him on the ballot. I am not a fan of the AA, but Stovey's WARP and Win Shares career scores are good. Duffy: from 1890 until 1897, he played great defense while posting an OPS around 125-7 (except for the 1894 fluke year, the 1891 season in a very weak AA, and an off year in 1896). Ballot yes, HOM no.

12. Jim McCormick (NA)
13. Mike Tiernan (11)
14. Ned Williamson (13)
15. Tom York (NA)

Jim McCormick makes it for the first time because of his career WARP and Win Shares scores (I realize the difficulty with WS and 19th century pitching, but they certainly don't dispute WARP's contention that he was a great pitcher). I almost dropped Mike Tiernan this year, but his 138 OPS+ keeps him on. I did replace Griffin with Tom York. They look like essentially the same player to me, but York has a higher peak and played in an era less well represented than Griffin's. However, given the quality of competition, I may change my mind before the ballot becomes official.

I debated between Childs and Williamson this week. Childs was the better hitter; Williamson was a better fielder than Childs, and played a more important defensive position. I'll continue to stick with Williamson for now.

Off ballot: Pete Browning, Mike Griffin, Mickey Welch

Pete Browning made the top ten in voting last year but does not appear on my ballot. This is because of his relatively short career, poor defense, and the fact that I think the AA was a signifcantly inferior league.

Posted 9:14 p.m., August 12, 2003 (#22) - Jeff M
  Ed: Funny you should mention it...I'm on page 200 of the book. I agree with your review. Very interesting to see how things were written (colorful language, and unbelievable racism in the newspaper accounts), but it's hard to say he "wrote" it or that it is about the pennant race when the Pirates and Cubbies are largely excluded. I don't find it boring, but I think I would have preferred a narrative that covered all three teams equally.

John Murphy: Hope you realize I wasn't criticizing your defensive weighted ballot or accusing you of ignoring outfielders and 1b; just noting it. :)

Posted 10:01 p.m., August 12, 2003 (#23) - favre
  I posted this earlier, but it didn't appear on the thread when I checked it. Sorry if there's a repeat of the ballot.

1. Billy Hamilton (NA)
2. Ezra Sutton (1)

Who else on the ballot has an OBP a hundred points higher than the league over a twelve season period? That's gotta make Hamilton the #1 pick. Though inconsistent, Sutton had a long career with a couple of high peaks at a position which is seriously underrepresented in the HoM.

3. Joe Start (4)
4. Pud Galvin (2)
5. Bid McPhee (3)

I moved Start over Galvin, because it seems pretty clear that Start had a better career after 30 than Galvin did; although it's impossible to tell for sure who had a better career through 30, I'm guessing it's close. At the very least, Start's pre-30 career was longer than Galvin's, and Joe's contemporaries seemed to regard him more highly than Pud's. Start's documented peak is higher than McPhee's, so I'm moving him in front of Bid as well. Six thousand innings and nearly seventeen hundred runs scored with outstanding defense at second keep Galvin and McPhee in the top five.

6. Cal McVey (5)
7. Sam Thompson (7)
8. Charlie Bennett (8)

I have favored career on these ballots, which makes me wonder if I have McVey too high. Still, the evidence suggests that he was one of the best players in the game for at least a ten year period, and deserves to rank fairly high on the ballot. I switched Thompson and Bennett, because I like Thompson's power numbers the more I examine them. FOCB continue to offer great tidbits which underscore his longevity as a catcher; combine that with a high peak, and you have a terrific player.

9. Dickey Pearce (10)
10. Harry Stovey (8)
11. Hugh Duffy (NA)

I put Pearce on the ballot for the first time last year; now I'm finding it hard to get rid of him. The evidence is mostly anecdotal, but seems to warant his inclusion. I am not a fan of the AA, but Stovey's WARP and WS numbers are too good to ignore. Duffy: from 1890 until 1897, he played great defense while posting an OPS around 125-7 (except for the 1894 fluke year, the 1891 season in a very weak AA, and an off year in 1896). Ballot yes, HOM no.

12. Jim McCormick (NA)
13. Mike Tiernan (11)
14. Ned Williamson (13)
15. Tom York (NA)

Jim McCormick makes it for the first time because of his career WARP and Win Shares scores (I realize the difficulty with WS and 19th century pitching, but they certainly don't dispute WARP's contention that he was a great pitcher). I almost dropped Tiernan from the ballot, but his 138 OPS+ keeps him hanging on. I did replace Griffin with Tom York. They look like essentially the same player to me, but York has a higher peak.

This week I debated between keeping Williamson on the ballot or replacing him with Childs. Childs was the better hitter; Williamson was the better fielder, and played a more important position at the time. I'll keep Williamson for now.

Off ballot: Pete Browning, Mike Griffin, Mickey Welch

Pete Browning made the top ten last year in HoM voting but does not appear on my ballot. This is due to his relatively short career, poor defense, and the fact that I think the AA was a signifcantly inferior league.

Posted 11:02 p.m., August 12, 2003 (#24) - Howie Menckel
  For those scoring at home, we DO have two Favre ballots, at least at the moment.......

Posted 11:24 p.m., August 12, 2003 (#25) - John Murphy
  John Murphy: Hope you realize I wasn't criticizing your defensive weighted ballot or accusing you of ignoring outfielders and 1b; just noting it. :)

No offense taken. It's not as if I hadn't noticed it myself. :-)

Posted 12:16 a.m., August 13, 2003 (#26) - John Murphy
  11. (n/a) Nig Cuppy Hasn't got much discussion, but he looks like an excellent pitcher to me. I thought he was worthy of a lower-ballot spot. Perhaps he gets overlooked in comparison to Young, Nichols, Rusie. Doubt he'll ever climb high on my ballot or in the rankings.

The guy was good. However, he was never remotely the best pitcher for his era (he didn't pitch that many innings each season). Interesting career, though.

BTW, I'm pretty sure I won't see someone with his nickname in my lifetime (hopefully). :-)

Posted 6:53 a.m., August 13, 2003 (#27) - Clint (e-mail)
  Please excuse the lack of comments. I just spent AN HOUR typing them (at 6:00 am), only to have the computer somehow eat them. They were great, you should have seen them. But I'm not going to recreate them.

1. Billy Hamilton (--). Clear #1, in my opinion.

2. Cal McVey (2). Will have to wait a few years as new folks come on, but his time is coming.

3. Hugh Duffy (--). I buy the win shares analysis. Sustained high peak, 1890-98. Helped his team win lots of pennants. I had more here before, but it's lost in the mists of my memory.

4. Jim McCormick (3). A very strong six year peak (1879-84) that Galvin, Welch, Whitney and the rest of the pitchers down the ballot can't come close to matching.

5. Bob Caruthers (4). It's clear to me that he was the most valuable AA player in the immediate pre-PL period (1885-89).

6. Ezra Sutton (5). His time, too, will come.

7. Pud Galvin (6). Great career, but not as dominant as McCormick and Caruthers, couldn't hit, and didn't help his teams win pennants.

--Clear in/out line developing right here for me.--

8. Tip O'Neill (7).
9. Harry Stovey (8).
10. Pete Browning (9). The three AA hitters. I certainly apply a AA discount, but not as significant a discount as others are applying. I have Tip a hair ahead because, in my opinion, from 1884 to 1889, he was the best position player in the AA.

11. Elmer Smith (--). This is really what you're missing because of my computer crash. I had an extensive discussion of Elmer that I won't repeat here. Here's a summary. Great pitcher in '87 -- tied for most win shares in baseball with Bob Caruthers. Did the Roy Hobbs thing, and came back with seven strong seasons as an outfielder. Great season in '92 as a slash. An MVP candidate in '93 (fouth among position players in baseball in win shares, and within 3 win shares of the leader). Also was in the top ten among position players in win shares in '96 and '98, and had some high quality years in '94-95 and '97 to fill in the seven year period. Not HoM worthy, but certainly ballot worthy.

12. Dave Foutz (10). Fading, but still here.

13. Jim Whitney (11). Awesome pitcher for three years (1881-83), and huge in getting Boston the pennant in 1883. Fell off rather quickly.

14. Jack Stivetts (12). I've explained this vote before. Here are your Win Shares leaders for the 1890s: Kid Nichols (390), Cy Young (331), Amos Rusie (283), Billy Hamilton (271), Jack Stivetts (264). I've discounted those pitching win shares heavily, but he's still on the ballot for (probably) his last hurrah. Helped his teams win pennants.

15. Bid McPhee (--). I see why everyone else likes him: wonderful defense, long career. I trust that others see why I don't: never a season that was anything approaching MVP-candidate quality, and never dominated his position even though, at least in the first half of his career, it was pathetically weak competition. I like Cupid Childs better under my traditional methodology, but I see what everybody else sees in him, so I'll stick him on the ballot here.

In the ballot discussion, it was suggested that it should be a rule that we have to explain the omission of any top-ten votegetters from our ballots. I would oppose adding any more rules about the format of the balloting, or else Joe will be looking at hanging chads in a few years. But I'll give my explanation.

Joe Start. The rationale for him seems to be that, although he wasn't great in the 16 seasons we can see, he must have been hot stuff in the seasons we can't see. Of course, I'm exaggerating. But his candidacy is one of career over peak and of the value of the prehistoric days that I have trouble taking on faith. I had him high on my initial ballots, then he fell off quickly. Put McVey and Sutton in, then we'll talk about whether I should vote for any more old guys.

Sam Thompson. I rely mostly (though not exclusively) on win shares, so that explains his position. He's been my 16th or 17th guy most years, and has poked his head above water a couple of times on my ballot. A backlog candidate who'll get in one of these decades.

Charlie Bennett. Part of this is win shares vs. WARP. But part of it is that he was a part-time player. I know catching was hard, and I'll buy that catching defense may have had some increased value in the old days. But I think we'll agree that your value in helping your team win is zero when you're not on the field, and Bennett's got an awful lot of games that are zeros. You have to be some kind of Barry Bonds-type stud if you're going to make the HoM playing in half your team's games. I'm being consistent here; I think I had Buck Ewing 14th or 15th on my ballot. I realize the upshot of this position is that no nineteenth century catchers would deserve enshrinement. So be it. If there ever was an argument to be made against positional equality I think it's demonstrated by the nineteenth century catchers.

Posted 9:34 a.m., August 13, 2003 (#28) - Marc
  >Joe Start. The rationale for him seems to be that, although he wasn't great in the 16 seasons we can see,
he must have been hot stuff in the seasons we can't see. Of course, I'm exaggerating. But his candidacy
is one of career over peak and of the value of the prehistoric days that I have trouble taking on faith.

Oddly, I see Start as a peak choice. He was the best player of the '60s. And secondly, that is not a matter of faith, it is clear in the historical record. What you mean to say, apparently, is you have trouble taking facts that are not expressed as numbers.

Posted 10:23 a.m., August 13, 2003 (#29) - Howie Menckel
  A simple approach: Take the worst-case scenario of a guy who was perceived to be one of the best of a decade but maybe was overrated in your mind (maybe a slugger who didn't walk, pitcher in a pitcher's park, etc.). In no case was the guy not a star; it's just a matter of degree.
Add that level of quality to Start's 'other' career, and he's a shoo-in. We'll never know if he was Lou Gehrig or Rafael Palmeiro for the 1860s, but add either version to what we know and you've got an HOMer.

Posted 10:27 a.m., August 13, 2003 (#30) - Al Peterson
  My 1907 ballot. Sorry about the length in some places.

1. Billy Hamilton (-). This baseball era placed a premium on high scoring by getting on-base, where walks are free bases and speed on balls in play is used to cause pressure defense into miscues. Once on-base, you take extra bases on base hits, again something where speed was a great asset. Slidin' Billy did these items extremely well.

2. Harry Stovey (2). OK, I'll tilt at this windmill along with OCF. Sort of a Billy Hamilton Lite. Take away some of the on-base ability, add on some slugging. Among eligible hitters, Joe's Pennants Added material has him 10th in adjWARP3(behind folks like Ed Williamson and Charlie Bennett), 3rd in both adjWS and adjWARP1. This without some of the other value of baserunning that the metrics struggle with. Lets look at stolen bases for a minute, taking into account their differing definition than today. From 1886 (first recorded) to 1893 (when Stovey retired), he had 509 SB in 4295 plate appearances. Only two men had better ratios during that time frame: Hamilton and Artie Latham. In addition, HS did it during his age 29-36 years - late in life for running in baseball. If they kept SB records in his earlier, prime years maybe Hamilton wouldn't have been known as the 1st great basestealer. Finally, the AA discount. Stovey did avoid some of the weakest AA years in terms of competition (82, 90-91) and did well in the PL, NL when at those stops.

3. Bid McPhee (5). Extreme career length for middle infielder with defense to spare. Hitting was adequate, at least in comparison to others on this ballot.

4. Pud Galvin (3). Still should be thought of as a star. Will get in eventually.

5. Charlie Bennett (4). Defensive stalwart, solid offensively early on. Catching was a tough gig around his time.

6. Joe Start (7). Joe Start must have really liked baseball to play that long...

7. Cal McVey (6). Another 1870s player, this one a star. Start's career wins out this time.

8. Hugh Duffy (-). WARP3 and WS love him. I'm not as sold that his defense can kick him into the upper echelon of players on the ballot.

9. Ezra Sutton (9). Pass...

10. Sam Thompson (8). Thank you Mr. Hamilton for this positioning. The What Were We Thinkings:

11. Pete Browning (11). Scary good with the bat, kinda scary with the glove.

12. Mike Tiernan (10). Silent Mike not making much noise with the voters.

13. Mike Griffin (12). Shade below Duffy.

14. Ed Williamson (13). Sutton beats him, still worth a mention. Played some SS as well.

15. Dickey Pearce (-). The input from others in the ballot discussions have been substantial - enough to me see him as worthy of HOM mention.

Off are Tony Mullane and Mickey Welch. Pitchers take a seat, might return.

As for Cupid Childs, if I put him on the ballot (119 OPS+, 6758 PA), what about his teammate and keystone partner Ed McKean (114 OPS+, 7610 PA)? Not going down that road yet...

Posted 11:25 a.m., August 13, 2003 (#31) - Clint (e-mail)
  I'm willing to listen on Start, but it's just difficult for me to believe. The NA years are Start's 28-32 year old seasons -- still within what ought to be within his peak. As Chris's research shows, he was nothing special then. He was old during his NL years, but he wasn't any great shakes then, either.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that I'd rather extrapolate what his performance would have been in the 60s based on the extensive numerical evidence of what we know he did, rather than believe some reporters or old teammates about what he did in the 60s. You know somebody out there will say that just about anybody is the best player, the best 1st baseman, the best baserunner, etc. he's ever seen. A bandwagon can get rolling and, all of a sudden, Omar Vizquel is annointed the unquestioned, hands-down best defensive shortstop of the 90s, or some such. (Probably not the best example, but I'm tired from spending all that time before dawn typing in my now-vanished comments -- trust me, they were super.)

Now, Start may have been something, and I may be missing the boat. I clearly can accept Howie's position that he had top-notch career numbers, but it's harder for me to buy Marc's peak argument -- and I think Marc and I are usually in the same general camp in weighing peak vs. career. I've drunk the Start Kool Aid before, and I might drink it again. Just not drinking it now.

Posted 2:04 p.m., August 13, 2003 (#32) - some guy
  And secondly, that is not a matter of faith, it is clear in the historical record.

Isn't it "historical record" that Joe Dimaggio was better than Stan Musial or Ted Williams? That Cobb was better than Ruth?

Posted 2:24 p.m., August 13, 2003 (#33) - Marc
  >Isn't it "historical record" that Joe Dimaggio was better than Stan Musial or Ted Williams? That Cobb was
better than Ruth?

I advocate considering the best evidence you can get. In these (above) cases, you can choose your poison. In Start's case the lack of '60s statistical data does not mean he did not exist, so you consider what is known. If on the other hand one cannot really "know" anything that is not expressed as an algebraic equation...well, choose your poison.

Posted 2:27 p.m., August 13, 2003 (#34) - MattB
  Back from vacation, and ready to vote:

1. Pud Galvin (1) – Yes. Too many players from the 1880s. No, that doesn't mean that I'll downgrade a player who was better than half of those already in.

2. Joe Start (2) -- Still holding strong. One day we'll get there.

3. Billy Hamilton (n/a) -- Exactly like Sam Thompson, but with more plate appearances, and he played center, and he had more speed. So, not really like Sam Thompson at all.

4. Cal McVey (3) -- With Spalding in, he's now my top "pure 1870's" candidate. Start tops him only with 1860s and 1880s stats thrown in.

5. Bid McPhee (5) -- Holding steady, with Spalding in and Hamilton jumping over.

6. Ezra Sutton (6) -- still above my personal in/out line. Would be above McVey if only NA/NL stats were included.

7. Charlie Bennett (7) – Another year, another debate over whether Bennett's defense in overrated or his career was too short or whatever. And yet, for another year, he's the best catcher on the ballot, and no one else is even close (and no one better seems to be on the horizon). The longer he goes without serious competition as Best Catcher, the more I lean to the side of those who put him further out on the tip of the bell curve. As I type this, I'm thinking I'm more likely to have him too low than too high.

8. Cupid Childs (n/a) -- very close to McPhee. Better offense, better league, shorter career. There's a lot of bunching going on here, but I almost consider Childs and McPhee tied.

9. Bud Fowler (8) - the best Negro league player to retire in the 19th century gets precedence over the fifth best first baseman/ left fielder until I hear evidence to the contrary.

10. Harry Stovey (9) – a great player, but at deep positions. Still not sure about him. Could go higher some day.

11. Hugh Duffy (n/a) -- incrementally better than Sam Thompson.

12. Sam Thompson (10) -- See Billy Hamilton and Hugh Duffy. The more who appear better, the closer he seems to an Out on the In/Out Line.

13. Jim Whitney (12) -- Second week on my ballot, as I have not yet reconsidered my views from last week.

14. Bob Caruthers (11) -- still like him, but the comparison to Jim Whitney was interesting.

15T. Pete Browning (13)
15T. Elmer Smith (n/a) -- compare Smith to Hugh Duffy. His offensive numbers are comparable career-wise. He is short about 2000 plate appearances, though. But, he also has 1200 more innings pitched, the value of which should make up the difference. Duffy and Thompson may have the peak edge, so Smith falls to 15th, but I can see him going higher.

Dropping off: Mike Tiernan and Mickey Welch.

Posted 2:53 p.m., August 13, 2003 (#35) - John Murphy
  6. Ezra Sutton (6) -- still above my personal in/out line. Would be above McVey if only NA/NL stats were included.

Have you seen Chris Cobb's work from the 1906 Discussion thread?

Posted 3:12 p.m., August 13, 2003 (#36) - Adam Schafer (e-mail)
  1. Charlie Bennett (3) - I favor catchers very strongly which as I've said before you'll see in my future ballots.

This one was really close between Ezra and Charlie, the closest that it's ever been for a number 1 spot for me.

Personally I feel that at this point in history, Charlie is THE best catcher ever. I'm not trying to set any

quotas for positions, but catchers are few and far between on our ballots so far and take much more abuse. I love

catchers, they'll always be high on my ballot.

2. Ezra Sutton (2) - He was almost #1, SO close that I almost had them tied for the #1 spot. It's starting to look

like this might be his year, and honestly, I hope it is.

3. Pud Galvin (4) - Pud has been up and down my ballot but I know he's near the top to stay until he makes it in.

There has been a lot of nitpicking about his stats, but all I have to say is 300 wins is 300 wins. Even in this

era 300 wins didn't come easy.

4. Billy Hamilton (n/a) - Unless I'm mistaken, he has the highest career batting average of all time at the time of

the voting.

5. Bid McPhee (5) - Nothing new. Still deserves to be in the HOM

6. Sam Thompson (6) - I still applaud his incredible offense

7. Joe Start (7) - the end of his career does look great, and that might imply that he was a superstar at the

beginning of it, bu I just can't rank him any higher than this on a "might"

8. Hugh Duffy (n/a) - I haven't really decided where I want him on my ballot. I like the fact that he had a lot of

extra base hits, hit for power, average, scored runs etc. I don't like the fact that he was basically done by the

time he was 32 without having an enormous peak such as Spalding did while pitching.

9. Bob Carruthers (9) - he's still hanging in here.

10. Cal McVey (11) - Amazingly he's moving up my ballot. I think it's the batting average and the fact that he did
some time catching.

11. Harry Stovey (10) - Nothing new here, he just drops a notch as McVey leap frogs him

12. Jimmy Ryan (n/a) - Other than his 1888 season, there's nothing truly oustanding about Jimmy other than his

longevity and consistency. I have a special like for anyone that puts in 15 plus seasons and remains consistent

throughout his career.

13. Pete Browning (12) - He's just hanging out on the ballot. He'll never go anywhere

14. Cupid Childs (n/a) - A watered down version of Tiernan offensively, but gets the nod as he played 2b

15. Mike Tiernan (13) - Quite similar to Childs, but an OF.

Posted 3:54 p.m., August 13, 2003 (#37) - MattB
  John wrote:

"' 6. Ezra Sutton (6) -- still above my personal in/out line. Would be above McVey if only NA/NL stats were included.'

Have you seen Chris Cobb's work from the 1906 Discussion thread?"

Yes, I've read through everything. Before the 1906 election, I believe I had both McVey and Sutton in the teens.

Is your point that Sutton should be higher than McVey (in which case I point to McVey's pre- and post- documented numbers, which I give significant weight) or that McVey should be higher even if only NA/NL numbers are considered (which I don't agree with, but is a fair viewpoint)?

Posted 4:50 p.m., August 13, 2003 (#38) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  "Isn't it "historical record" that Joe Dimaggio was better than Stan Musial or Ted Williams? That Cobb was better than Ruth?"

Well it wouldn't be bad if he was DiMaggio or Cobb. They were great players. It's not in the historical record that Barney McCoskey was better than Musial, or that Charlie Jamieson was better than Ruth. Just to be thrown in the conversation you've got to be a pretty damn good player.

Posted 5:08 p.m., August 13, 2003 (#39) - RMc, the only living Quicksteps fan
  1907
1 McPhee
2 Hamilton
3 Sutton
4 Galvin
5 Start
6 H Stovey
7 Williamson
8 Caruthers
9 Duffy
10 Fowler
11 McVey
12 Browning
13 Whitney
14 Tiernan
15 Thompson

Posted 5:38 p.m., August 13, 2003 (#40) - RobC
  1. Bid McPhee (1) - Defense and a long career.
2. Billy Hamilton (-) - Had him #1 on my discussion ballot, if he somehow doesnt get elected, I will consider the top of the ballot again next week. Its real close.
3. Sam Thompson (2) - Considered flipping him and Galvin. The questions about his defense seem smaller than the questions involving Galvin.
4. Pud Galvin (3) - Possibly the best pitcher to make a ballot so far. Some doubts keep him out of the #1 spot.$ 5. Charlie Bennett (4) - Catching defense.
6. Mike Griffin (5) - I need to look at Griffin a little closer to see what it is that I see that others dont.
7. Mike Tiernan (8) - Not quite Griffin or Thompson. Moved him above Start and Browning from last year, and Duffy and Childs from my preliminary ballot.
8. Cupid Childs (-) - Not much better than Dunlap, at this point on the ballot, the differences between players are small.
9. Hugh Duffy (-) - I may be underrating him. Im being cautious with new OFs until I get them sorted out.
10. Joe Start (6) - Moves down a few spots this week.
11. Pete Browning (7) - Hitter. Would already be elected if he could've caught the ball.
12. Ezra Sutton (9) - Could be anywhere between 6 and here.
13. Jim McCormick (13) - ballot filler #1.
14. Harry Stovey (11) - ballot filler #2.
15. Fred Dunlap (10) - ballot filler #3. Huh, I reversed McCormick Stovey and Dunlap from last year.

Off: Whitney, Williamson.

Posted 5:40 p.m., August 13, 2003 (#41) - RobC
  Note: #5 Charlie Bennett is hanging out with the typos at the end of Pud Galvin's line.

Posted 5:48 p.m., August 13, 2003 (#42) - Clint Pinyan (e-mail)
  Just looking through the ballots, I think Adam (#36) has jumped the gun on Jimmy Ryan. I don't think he goes on for two more years. Maybe someone can confirm.

Posted 6:13 p.m., August 13, 2003 (#43) - KJOK (e-mail)
  I look more for wins above AVERAGE as opposed to above REPLACEMENT LEVEL when considering a player's greatness, look at at least 5 years for a peak, heavily weight C, SS, and 3B defense. Don't know if anyone else is experiencing this, but my #3 - #20 players are extremely close, and could almost be reversed without too much trepidation...

1. BILLY HAMILTON, CF - Basically Rickey Henderson minus Henderson’s last 10 years. High OBP with basestealing/baserunning ability was extremely valuable in the style of play of the 1890's. Could have been MVP in 1891, 94 & 98.
2. CHARLIE BENNETT, C -Comp is Roy Campanella. Until at least Roger Bresnahan, only Ewing was a better Catcher. Catchers may have trouble "adding up" numbers due to the nature of the position, but last I checked you can't play the field without a catcher.
3. PETE BROWNING, CF/LF - Hits like Joe Jackson, fields like Greg Luzinski playing CF. Still has one of the highest Win Shares/Year for the 19th century. Possible MVP in 1882, 83, 85 & 90 - that should count for quite a bit.
4 MIKE GRIFFIN, CF – Fred Lynn/Jimmy Wynn offensively, and was a better CF than both. Seems to be very underrated.
5. JOE START, 1B,- Similar to Tony Perez, IF you assume a normal career progression that is not fully documented. Keeps moving up on my ballot as I'm now convinced he's a worthy 1860's/1870's period inductee.
6. HUGH DUFFY, CF – Strong comp with Kirby Puckett. Note quite the hitter or fielder that Mike Griffin was, but played a little longer. One MVP Year - 1894.
7. CUPID CHILDS, 2B - Hitting value almost identical to Hardy Richardson, AND played close to 13,000 innings at 2B. Comp is somewhere between Charlie Gehringer to Stan Hack.
8. SAM THOMPSON, RF - Harry Heilmann comp. Downgraded a little due to 19th century defensive spectrum.
9. MIKE TIERNAN, RF – Similar value to Gary Sheffiield. Just slightly below Sam Thompson. Downgraded a little due to 19th century defensive spectrum.
10. BID McPHEE, 2B – I think Graig Nettles is his best comp, as he was relatively a much better hitter than Brooks Robinson AND a terrific fielder.
11 CAL McVEY, C/1B - Modern Comp: Gene Tenace, only better and longer career. Best catcher before Ewing/Bennett.
12. HARRY STOVEY, LF/1B - Comp is Albert Belle.
13. NED WILLIAMSON, 3B - Best comp may be Jeff Kent with Bill Mazeroski’s defense, which is a pretty potent combination. Seems to be undervalued with all the friends of Ezra..
14. LIP PIKE, CF – Comp is Hack Wilson. May deserve to be even higher.
15. EZRA SUTTON, 3B – I'm warming up to the idea that he was better than my rating of him, but having a hard time finding anyone to drop below him. He was a good hitter, but nowhere near Joyce or Meyerle or even Deacon White or Denny Lyons. He was a good fielder, but nowhere near Ned Williamson or Nash. Solid all-around player, but had a lot of mediocre seasons.

Posted 7:00 p.m., August 13, 2003 (#44) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  Jimmy Ryan isn't eligible until 1909. Adam, I assume you'll move the others below him up, please send in your new #15. Thanks!

Posted 7:32 p.m., August 13, 2003 (#45) - Adam Schafer (e-mail)
  i did indeed jump the gun on him. i must have been looking at my future ballots and just got his name in my head and was thinking abou thim. lets remove ryan, bump everyone up one, and make Tony Mullane #15.

Posted 10:41 p.m., August 13, 2003 (#46) - John Murphy
  Is your point that Sutton should be higher than McVey (in which case I point to McVey's pre- and post- documented numbers, which I give significant weight) or that McVey should be higher even if only NA/NL numbers are considered (which I don't agree with, but is a fair viewpoint)?

I didn't check to see where you had Sutton prior to this election. If I had, I wouldn't have asked the question. Sorry.

As for Sutton/McVey - who knows? I'm not giving McVey any credit for his post-NL career, so it's possible that he could go ahead of Ezra. Your ranking is certainly plausible.

Has anyone acquired Cal's western numbers and his relation to the league? I know I have asked the question a few times, but you never know if somebody new has the info.

Posted 11:11 p.m., August 13, 2003 (#47) - Marc
  John, I have not found any numbers...and when we say "west," my understanding in Cal's case is that we mean Texas and Louisiana...?

Posted 11:35 p.m., August 13, 2003 (#48) - John Murphy
  John, I have not found any numbers...and when we say "west," my understanding in Cal's case is that we mean Texas and Louisiana...?

He was in San Francisco of the California League in '85, so I believe he was on the West coast for a good deal of that time.

Posted 3:07 a.m., August 14, 2003 (#49) - Rob Wood
  My 1907 ballot:

1. Billy Hamilton -- clearly the best player on the ballot
2. Ezra Sutton -- fully deserving of HOM
3. Joe Start -- a tough case but we'd be proud to have him in HOM
4. Pud Galvin -- best eligible pitcher by far
5. Bid McPhee -- mr defense could hit some too
6. Cal McVey -- dig a little to uncover his missing value
7. Cupid Childs -- right around my personal HOM cutoff
8. Harry Stovey -- vastly underrated
9. Sam Thompson -- we're doing a good job not rushing sam into HOM
10. Hugh Duffy -- difficult for me to assess, but 10th is about right
11. Mike Tiernan -- somewhat similar to big sam and duffy
12. Ed Williamson -- will have a hard time rising
13. Charlie Bennett -- very good catcher
14. Bob Caruthers -- high peak, not great career
15. Fred Dunlap -- bringing up the rear again

Posted 8:28 a.m., August 14, 2003 (#50) - TomH
  1907 Ballot
review of Hanrahan’s value system: career much more than peak, but no credit for mediocre play. Something like WARP3 minus 2 wins per full year, or WS minus 12 per year adjusted for league quality, or OPS+ over 95 adjusted for speed and defense. Some value adjustment for estimating ability across time and place, and recognition of peers.

1- Billy Hamilton (-)
OWP dwarfs others. Win Shares per game dwarfs others. EqA dwarfs others. WARP3 dwarfs most others, even though it rakes him for his defense. OBA 100 points above league avg dwarfs all but Babe and Ted. All-time leader in runs scored per out, dwarfs all by a wide margin. AdjWS, if you account for a half-decent replacement level and some league quality, dwarfs other too. Did I miss anything? :)
2- Bid McPhee (3)
By WS (low on Def) he’s around 8th, by WARP (real big on Def) he’s #1. By conventional stats, he’s Brooks Robinson, whom I would take over Tony (Joe Start) Perez.
3- Joe Start (4)
I am adding 45% to Start’s career value for his 1860s play to place him here. A bit more than 2 weeks ago, based on the fine research of some of my co-voters.
4- Cal McVey (1)
I am adding 20-25% to his career value for his undocumented career to place him here. Seems very unfair to completely ignore his post-NL play.
5- Ezra Sutton (2)
Knocked back a tad from last time. Ezra’s right with the 3 guys ahead of him, but I notch him a bit lower for lack of contemporary awe. I still strongly hope he gets in.
6- Pud Galvin (8)
Putting some but not full stock in the “poor defense behind him” story of DIPS, Pud lands here. Up one spot this week, as I gave him a bit more credit for pre-NL undocumented pitching.
7- Charlie Bennett (5)
Some bonus added for being a catcher. No full-time catchers do well on career score, so unless we want a HoM with only 10 catchers. On the other hand, I don’t give him full credit for his defense as rated by WARP. Even if he did prevent all of those passed balls and commit way few errors, any time from 1900 forward he would have been less valuable, when these occurrences became more rare. So, I cannot call him better-than-Bench-or-I-Rod behind the plate.
::::::::::::::::::Personal HOM line about here::::::::::::::::

8- Lip Pike (9)
9- Harry Stovey (10) ….first of 5 similar OFers.
10- Sam Thompson (11)
11- Mike Griffin (12)
12- Ed Williamson (13) ….based as much on rep than on ###s.
13- Dickey Pearce (7)

Recent posts describing Harry Wright and Start as Pearce’s equals circa 1860-65 have dimmed my support a bit. While I want us to honor the pre-1870 era, and the easiest way of doing that is electing someone based mostly on their undocumented play, it’s not right just to go fishing for a player without knowing who that player is. I honestly don’t know if Pearce was better than Harry Wright, never mind if they were both better than Griffin or Williamson or Dunlap, so they are both on my ballot, but near the bottom.

On the other hand, I’m not concerned that we might elect too many SS from the early era. While in today’s MLB each spot is worth about the same, in other games it ain’t so. More QBs in NFL HoF than centers. In high school baseball, most of the all-stars might be pitcher/shortstops. So, if both Wright and Start and some other pioneering SS eventually made up our own only HoM class from the 1860s, it’s not a problem for me.
14- Tiernan (15)
15- Harry Wright (-)

Off ballot: Duffy looks to be similar to but a tad below Griffin.
Dunlap and Childs seem a very good comp. That lands them 17 and 18; unfortunately for them, the ballot only goes to 15th.

Posted 11:51 a.m., August 14, 2003 (#51) - Philip
  1. Start (1) -- Even being modest about his peak years in the 60’s, he is absolutely the top candidate.
2. Sutton (2) -- Number 2 on the ballot in career value (behind Start). Should definitely make it by next year.
3. Hamilton (-) -- Number 3 in career value and the highest peak of this ballot.
4. McVey (3) -- Star of the 70’s. High extended peak. Giving him some recognition for pre-NA brings him this far.
5. Bennett (4) -- I am still impressed by him. A very good and long career with some great offensive years. He also was very good defensively at a position that must have been very tough at the time, considering there were so few great full-time catchers the first 50 years of baseball.
6. Galvin (5) -- Best pitcher on the ballot. I like the Bert Blyleven comparison and I like Bert Blyleven.
7. Pike (6) -- Great combination of documented career value and peak (looking at adjWS). Adding the great reputation for what he did before that and he belongs in the HoM. He still deserves more support.
8. McPhee (7) -- Career value close to Sutton and Hamilton, but have him lower due to lack of peak. His defensive still impresses.
9. H Stovey (11) -- Moves up this year after looking more at his adjWS.
10. Thompson (8) -- Great hitter, just not long enough.
11. Williamson (10) -- Placed here for his defensive rep at a tough position. A short career version of Brooks Robinson.
12. Griffin (12) -- Good hitting, just a little less than the “other outfielders”. More defensive value.
13. Duffy (-) -- Not so special. Similar to Tiernan.
14. Childs (-) -- Have him close to Williamson. Williamson gets the edge on defensive value. Rates higher than Nash on offense.
15. Tiernan (13) –- Same as Griffin. Won’t make my ballot very often after this year.

Posted 12:36 p.m., August 14, 2003 (#52) - Mark McKinniss
  1 (1) Sam Thompson--One of the greatest run producers of all time, despite only playing for one pennant winner.

2 (2) Harry Stovey

3 (-) Billy Hamilton--The mirror image of Thompson: Hamilton was the on-base guy, Thompson the slugger. Similar careers overall. Thompson stays ahead for now because: a) Hamilton's the new guy and b) the RBI/clutch thing. They might eventually change spots.

4 (3) Pud Galvin--I'm losing hope.

5 (-) Hugh Duffy--Solid, but not in the class of Hamilton. Still, was a very complete player and the peak is good.

6 (5) Jim Whitney
7 (6) Jim McCormick
8 (7) Tip O'Neill

9 (4) Fred Dunlap--Big drop for Fred, due in part to the fact that there are now 3 viable HOM 2b candidates, and none of them stand out either from each other, or even their non-2b peers. I find it hard to believe that they're all hall-worthy, so for now I'm in the camp that none of them are.

10 (10) Bob Caruthers
11 (13) Bill Hutchison

12 (9) Mike Tiernan--The more I compare him and Thompson, the bigger the gap becomes.

13 (14) Cal McVey

14 (-) Cupid Childs--He and McPhee are awfully close in my head. Childs has the peak and is the better hitter. McPhee has the super long career, and is the way better fielder--but we've been told over and again that 2B fielding wasn't as big a deal. Childs squeaks ahead for now.

15 (8) Bid McPhee--see Dunlap

Dropping off ballot: Ned Williamson, Ed Mckean--Neither were exactly hot-button candidates for me. Clearly outclassed by the new entrants to the ballot.

Top 10 vote-getters that can't find my ballot with a Sherpa guide:

Ezra Sutton: I've been consistent in downgrading players that experienced a peak in 1871/1872 and then dropped off. (see Geo. Wright) Sutton is not quite as linear as Wright in terms of falling off, but between the path of his career, the fragility of early NA stats, and the 6-year period in the prime of his career where he was blah...I'm just not ready to say he was vote-worthy.

Joe Start: Others see consistent quality, I see 16 years of an average (at best) first baseman, with a couple good years tossed in. If there's really 27 years of an average, 1st baseman--is that hall worthy? I don't know, but I've been wary of giving to much extra credit for career length in this era.

Charlie Bennett: He's not too far off my ballot year after year--may eventually move on, but I'm not a big believer in giving "durability points" for playing a rough position. Give me the top RF over the top catcher any year and I'll be ahead way more often than not.

Pete Browning: He's jumped on and off my ballot, but for now--comparing him to Tiernan he loses points in 3 areas: He played in a lesser league; he peaked at the beginning of his career, and he accumulated 1400 fewer PA in the same number of seasons.

Posted 1:24 p.m., August 14, 2003 (#53) - John Murphy
  Charlie Bennett: He's not too far off my ballot year after year--may eventually move on, but I'm not a big believer in giving "durability points" for playing a rough position. Give me the top RF over the top catcher any year and I'll be ahead way more often than not.

... but you won't be ahead if you're playing a team with a comparable hitting rightfielder, but you will be ahead if your catcher is much better than the other guys catcher. If I'm wrong, please show me where.

Ezra Sutton: I've been consistent in downgrading players that experienced a peak in 1871/1872 and then dropped off. (see Geo. Wright)

Sutton didn't tail off, however. He had arguably his greatest seasons in the mid-eighties.

Sutton is not quite as linear as Wright in terms of falling off, but between the path of his career, the fragility of early NA stats, and the 6-year period in the prime of his career where he was blah...I'm just not ready to say he was vote-worthy.

I know you won't be surprised (:-), but I don't follow you're logic still. You put so much weight on one season (1871), yet seem to ignore his terrific seasons from the eighties when the competition was much better. Obviously, his stats were inflated by only playing thirty something games and with a weaker talent pool in '71, but that is still only one season.

As for the "prime of his career," who cares. What is the difference between a player who has peak at the beginning, middle or end? Answer: none. All that matters is the sum total of his accomplishments. Besides, he was experiencing arm problems during that time.

I'm starting to think Al Spalding or Cal McVey stopped your gg-grandfather's budding NA career in '71. :-)

I'll leave Joe Dimino to scold you on Start. :-D

Posted 2:03 p.m., August 14, 2003 (#54) - Marc
  >What is the difference between a player who has peak at
the beginning, middle or end? Answer: none. All that matters is the sum total of his accomplishments.

John, I agree with the first half of your statement. Doesn't matter which years a peak and which are not as long as he has one. Which is why I disagree with the second half: All that matters is the sum total? No, the shape of the curve (career) and the height of the line (peak) matter a lot!

Which brings me to Joe Start. Mark, it appears that your evaluation of Joe Start et al pretends that the '60s didn't happen? Is that right? That the only accomplishments that count are those to which a number is assigned? You acknowledge he had 16 years as an average 1B. Then you say he had 27 years as an average 1B. Wrong. For those additional 12 years, he was one of the top 2 or 3 players in the game. Think Ernie Banks but with twice as long a peak or prime, and then hung around twice as long. The record is unambiguous, it is just not numerical, that's all.

Posted 2:31 p.m., August 14, 2003 (#55) - TomH
  re: Joe Start
the only accomplishments that count are those to which a number is assigned? You acknowledge he had 16 years as an average 1B. Then you say he had 27 years as an average 1B. Wrong. For those additional 12 years, he was one of the top 2 or 3 players in the game....The record is unambiguous, it is just not numerical, that's all."
---
This seems a bit of a reach. Yes, we should take into account what non-statistical data we have. But we also have numbers for Start. From age 28 to age 33, his BEST season (WARP 4.9) by far was 1874. And he was nowhere near the leaderboard in anything. So, did he magically get hurt in 1871 and tail off, right when the ##s showed up? If this is the case, I would expect some written accounts that say as much. Was he truly one of the best 3 players 1859 thru 1870, and then he became slightly above avg? Maybe he had a lot of cumulative value in those first 12 years, since he played in them all, but if you're gonna tell me a 16-18 yr old was a star of a league, I'm gonna assume that league's quality was worthless.
I am a fan of Joe Start for the HoM. We shouldn't ignore his 1860s play. But we oughta be reasonable. Saying he was Ernie Banks with a much longer career, which would make probably him one of the top 40 players of all time, doesn't seem reasonable to me. And if it does seem reasonable to others, they probably ought to put Dickey Pearce and Harry Wright high up on their ballots, too.

Posted 2:34 p.m., August 14, 2003 (#56) - Carl Goetz (e-mail)
  Here we go. I think I've got comments for 1906's top 11 (minus Spalding of course):
Sure-fire HoMers:
1)Ezra Sutton- Best 3rdbasemen for 40 years of baseball. He's the best combo of Peak and career available.
2)Cal McVey- Great peak!. If I gave him credit for out west, he'd be #1.
3)Billy Hamilton- Top New-comer this year. Awesome Career and Peak numbers.
4)Joe Start- Best pure career guy. It's hard to gauge his peak because its mostly undocumented.
5)Pud Galvin- Best Pitcher left on the board by a long shot.
6)Lip Pike- Phenomenal Peak, solid career if you give him a few years credit prior to the NA. I do. I give him credit for 5 prior years. I only gave him 10 to 15 WS credit for those years so those guesses aren't part of his 8 year peak numbers.

I could go either way on this next group:
7)Bid McPhee- Great career, but his lack of peak holds him down on my ballot.
8)Hugh Duffy- Nice Career-peak combo. I'm leaning towards 'In' for Duffy.
9)Charlie Bennett- Best Catcher out there. Best pure Catcher so far.
10)Harry Stovey- Phenomenal offensive player.
11)Charley Jones- Great Peak. Needs more career, though.

The Rest are simply filler:
12)Ned Williamson- Great defensive 3rdBaseman. Solid peak, solid career. Needs a little more of 1 of the 2.
13)Dickey Pearce-I'd like to rank him higher, but too high a percentage of his career is guesswork.
14)Pete Browning- Greatest pure Hitter of the AA
15)Mike Griffin- I like to give Mike Griffin this spot because of his lack of a 'down'. His peak's not that great and he only played 12 years, so his career's not great either, but the man never had a bad year. His 12th best(worst) year is better than the 12th best of year of everyone ahead on the ballot.

Explanations:
Tiernan- Solid peak, solid career. Just not enough of either. He's very close to the bottom 4 guys.
Thompson- Great Hitter; solid peak;solid career. Like Tiernan, he's close, just not quite. There are a bunch of other OFs on the ballot that just stand out ahead of these 2.

Posted 2:37 p.m., August 14, 2003 (#57) - John Murphy
  Which is why I disagree with the second half: All that matters is the sum total? No, the shape of the curve (career) and the height of the line (peak) matter a lot!

Obviously, I forgot to add the peak aspect of a player's worth in my post. In fact, I mention it on my ballot every year that I weighh peak equally with career.

Posted 3:16 p.m., August 14, 2003 (#58) - Marc
  By "top 2 or 3," I mean that Start clearly had as much accumulated value as of 1870 as anybody (with Pearce and H. Wright as the only guys who could dispute that or more likely even claim to be close). I also mean that right around 1864-65 he was probably the best player in America (in the sense that Hines or Gore was "probably" the best position player in the mid-'80s; in other words, I am not hedging due to any lack of data--qualitative rather than quantitative though it might be--but rather just in the sense that there is always a counterpoint). I did not mean to say he was "the best" every single year from age 16 on.

I don't think it at all implausible, BTW, that a player might have his peak prior to age 28. It happens all the time. The old theory that a peak comes at 28-32 seems to have been widely refuted. Many great players are washed up at 32. (Once again, Ernie Banks comes to mind.) And Start and Banks are analogous in terms of the shape of their careers--high peaks early, a clear mid-career decline followed by a fairly long period of above average but not all-star play. Actually, if you take away the timeline, I think their total career values are probably pretty close, too.

But the main point is that at his peak, Start was clearly one of the best, if not the best player in America. Drawing inferences about one part of a career from another (assuming, that is, a "normal" curve) is risky business. Every career has a different curve. I would rather base Start's play in the '60s on known (qualitative) facts than on Brock2.

Posted 3:19 p.m., August 14, 2003 (#59) - Mark McKinniss
  1. Charlie Bennett never hit as well as a top-rank right-fielder. He hit as well as an average RF. If your (John) point is that Bennett is a better HoM choice than an average RF, I whole-heartedly agree with you.

2. I do not ignore Ezra Sutton's period of greatness from 1883 to 1885. It is fully included in my analysis of him.

3. TomH's post on Start is a good summary of my views, except that I believe he doesn't quite far enough with his conclusion. The claim that some have made that Start's documented career should be good enough to get him in is preposterous. He would have had to be pretty darn good in the 1860s to carry him in, but he wasn't playing against anybody, so how much weight can we give it? Anyone who peaks as a 22 year old while playing against scarcely documented competition is not going to make my ballot.

4. In my view, the shape of one's career is very important for the early era players. I'm not in the "a pennant is a pennant" camp to the extent that most other voters are. Extrapolation of the numbers from the 1870s is tricky at best. If the shape of someone's career suggests that they were substantially hurt by the expansive growth of the major leagues, why is that evidence not as valid as someone's list of all-time great players from the 1868 A. Cartwright Base Ball HandBook and Companion?

Posted 5:38 p.m., August 14, 2003 (#60) - Rick A.
  Okay, here is my ballot. I haven't been able to go through the adjustment for fielding data yet, but I will by the next ballot. So, there may be some changes in the next ballot.

HOMer’s
1. Billy Hamilton (n/a) One of the best leadoff hitters ever.
2. Ezra Sutton (2) - Jumps over Start and McPhee and Galvin.
3. Pud Galvin (3) - Still have him ranked over Hoss. Maybe it will be his turn this year.
4. Joe Start (4) - I’ve been a FOJS since the first election.
5. Cal McVey (5) - I’m becoming a FOCM. Never had an off-year.
6. Bid McPhee (6) - Great career value, defensive player. But not enough hitting value in AA

In-Out line about here
7. Sam Thompson (7) - Top hitter on the ballot.
8. Harry Stovey (8) - Better than I realized. Moved up accordingly.
9. Charlie Bennett (11) – I have a real problem ranking Bennett. If I use WARP, he would be above Thompson. If I use WS, he would be below Tiernan. Since I trust WARP a little more than WS for this time period, (especially for defense) I moved him up 2/3rds of the way to Thompson.
10. Pete Browning (9) - Pretty much holding steady
11. Cupid Childs (n/a) – Good hitter. Not as good defensively as McPhee.
12. Hugh Duffy (n/a) – Another difference between WS and WARP. I’ll put him here for now, but if I think the WARP numbers are more accurate, he could be closer to Mike Griffin than Mike Tiernan.
13. Mike Tiernan (10) - Good hitter, but not better than Stovey or Browning.
14. Lip Pike (12) – Compares very favorably to McVey.
15. Jim McCormick (13) – Much closer to Welch than I previously thought.

Posted 5:41 p.m., August 14, 2003 (#61) - redsox1912
  My 2007 Ballot: I prefer peak over career. However, I need more than a few years of greatness to consider a player’s peak. In the case where a player’s recorded stats are incomplete, I will give credit in accordance with the impressions he made on his peers and associates.
My ballot,
1. B.Hamilton--------When Maury Wills, Lou Brock , and finally Ricky Henderson were re-writing the stolen base records, I remember asking,:” who the heck is Sliding Billy Hamilton?” He could get on base as well as anyone, move around the bags without sacrificing an out, and score runs in bunches. He is still one of the best leadoff men in the history of the game.
2. H.Stovey ----------5 x league leader in HR’s, 4 x in triples, 4 x in runs scored, 3x in slugging %, outstanding base stealer as well. He had a great peak, and his defense was better than most.
3. C.McVey----------Cal was an all around great hitter. His 8 year peak is astounding, and he starred at numerous positions.
4. S.Thompson-------I love the combination of speed and power Sam Thompson was able to muster. He was one of the great stars of the early years, and he was able to play defense better than most are willing to admit.
5. L.Pike------------- He was the first great power hitter, and although his Major League career was short, his work prior to 1871 must be credited to him. His versatility, speed and power were mind boggling. It looks as though Lip is fading from the minds of many voters.
6. P.Browning--------Great peak, and career. He was not a very good glove man, that’s obvious, but his offense, his slugging, and stolen bases are as good as anyone on the ballot, including Thompson or McVey.
7. C.Bennett ---------Slowly moving up my ballot. Best defensive catcher we’ve voted on till this time.

8. Cupid Childs-------with his great OBP Childs was able to average 100 runs a year over the course of his career. His defense was inferior to McPhee’s but his bat and peak make up the difference.
9. J. Start-------------Lack of real numbers make it hard to assess the greatness of Start’s pre ’71 career. This year’s discussion points out that he was among the best players of the 1860’s, making it imperative that investigations continue in earnest. Perhaps in the future we can make a better case for him. Until then I’ll keep a spot on my ballot open. With the input I’ve read this week I move him up a few notches.

10. P.Galvin.-----------Great number of wins, but never as dominant as those above.
11. M.Griffin-----------6 times led the league in F.A. He could also hit and run the bases.

12. B.McPhee--------Valuable defensive career needs to be recognized, yet like so many great defensive players who come after him, he just didn’t contribute enough with his bat to warrant election.
13. H.Duffy------------Duffy had one great season and many very good ones (along with one of the greatest APBA cards I ever saw), but he wasn’t in the same class as Hamilton.
14. M.Tiernan--------Not quite up to the standards set by Thompson either as a hitter or as a fielder, however he deserves to be recognized for a very good career.
15. B.Caruthers--------Career a bit too short to warrant serious consideration. Great peak however.

Posted 5:56 p.m., August 14, 2003 (#62) - sean gilman (e-mail)
  I'm off on vacation for about 10 days. Keep voting for Ezra!

Posted 7:06 p.m., August 14, 2003 (#63) - OCF
  From Mark McKinnis (#52):

1 (1) Sam Thompson--One of the greatest run producers of all time, despite only playing for one pennant winner.

... Thompson stays ahead for now because: ... b) the RBI/clutch thing.

You may be right - he was a big hitter. But is that RBI/clutch thing anything like Jeff Kent's MVP year? Thompson's three biggest RBI years were 1888, 1894, and 1895.

In 1888, Dan Brouthers went .338/.426/.562. His XBH line was 36-20-12, he had 34 SB, and he had 153 R to 101 RBI.

In 1894, Ed Delahanty went .407/.478/.585. His XBH line was 39-18-4, he had 21 SB, and he had 147 R to 131 RBI.

In 1895, Ed Delahanty went .404/.500/.617. His XBH line was 49-10-11, he had 46 SB, and he had 149 R to 106 RBI.

I don't know the details of the batting orders, but I would assume that Thompson was usually batting right behind Brouthers and Delahanty (with Hamilton at the front in the Philadelphia cases.) That was a very rich environment of RBI opportunities.

Posted 9:46 p.m., August 14, 2003 (#64) - dan b
  My ballot favors stars of the 90’s and the AA. HoMers to date have played a composite 33 seasons in the 5-year history of the NA and less than 6 seasons in the 10-year history of the AA. NA apologists have admitted that play in the AA was as good as play in the NA. IMO with the exception of lack of recognition of the AA, we have adequately represented the 70’s and 80’s. I would rather slight the early years when the caliber of play was suspect than the 90’s when the game started to approach “major league” quality as we know it today.

1. Hamilton tops the ballot in career value, 5-year peak and 3-year peak. Slam dunk. Shatter the glass. Rip down the backboard.
2. Bid McPhee. Lots of career value, AA deserves one.
3. Harry Stovey. Lots of offense, AA deserves two.
4. Cupid Childs. Best 2B of the 90’s, which should carry a lot more weight than best of the 60’s or 70’s.
5. Hugh Duffy. I’ve got him 2nd on 5-year peak, 3rd on both 3-year peak and career.
6. Pete Browning. Close call over Thompson and Tiernan.
7. Sam Thompson.
8. Mike Tiernan.
9. Bob Caruthers.
10. Charlie Bennett.
11. Mike Griffin.
12. Tip O’Neill. Short career, but of HoMers to date, only Brouthers has better WS per 162.
13. Ed Williamson. Best 3B of the 1880’s. He received consideration in a 1938 Spalding Guide article as the greatest 3B ever. Since this was 44 years after his passing, not all of the subjective testimony of his skill was a deathbed sympathy thing. That doesn’t make him a HoMer, just ballot worthy.
14. Pud Galvin
15. (3-way tie) Denny Lyons. Best 3B of the AA
15. Ezra Sutton
15. Joe Start. IMO Sutton and Start would be better representatives of the 60’s and 70’s than Spalding and Barnes. They hang onto the bottom of my ballot as my token concession to the existence of their era, but it is time to elect stars of the 90’s before they have to compete with stars of the 00’s.

Since McVey is in the top-10, but not on my ballot - McVey played in just 527 games in his measurable 9 year career. How much credit can we really give him for his play as a teenager prior to the NA? (Indeed, if Spalding is recognized as a star at the age of 15, how much credit can we give anybody for play before the NA?) Is there any reason to believe McVey’s unknown accomplishments after he left the NL should carry any more weight than UA stats? To take the 29 games he played in 1871 as a 20 year old and project him into a 48 WS superstar like a 1956 Mantle is a leap I can’t make. 1871 must have been the greatest year the game ever saw, with Sutton’s 43 WS (Willie Mays 1965), Pike’s 45 WS (Babe Ruth 1927) and Meyerle’s 57 WS (better than any post-dead ball era season). I anxiously await Chris’s posting of NA WS for Anson, Barnes and White to see how many more of the all-time best seasons were played in baseball’s Golden Year, 1871. :-D

Posted 10:28 p.m., August 14, 2003 (#65) - redsox1912
  I don't know the details of the batting orders, but I would assume that Thompson was usually batting right behind Brouthers and Delahanty (with Hamilton at the front in the Philadelphia cases.) That was a very rich environment of RBI opportunities.

In 1894 Thompson went 407/458/686 his XBH line was 29-27-13, he stole 24 bases, drove in 141 while scoring 108

In 1895 Thompson went 392/430/654 his XBH line was 45-21-18, he stole 27 bases, drove in 165 while scoring 131.

I suggest that Delahanty and Hamilton owe Big Sam a great deal for his contribution to their success. The history of baseball is filled with sluggers who were presented with the opportunity to succeed, and who failed. Sam Thompson rose to the occasion.
In 1895, 7 NL teams batted .290 or better. Two teams besides Philadelphia batted over .300. All the cleanup men were playing in “a very rich environment of RBI opportunities.”
Sam Thompson was among the three greatest RBI men of his era, along with Anson and Brouthers.

Sam (pos)
1886…….89…...3rd ……….Anson……..147.(1)……….Pfeffer………….95.(2)
1887 ……166…..1st ………..Connor……104.(2)……….Anson…………102.(3)
1888 …….40 …..inj………...Anson ……..84.(1)……….Nash …………..75.(2)
1889…….111 ….5th ………..Connor……130.(1)……….Brouthers……..118.(2)
1890 ……102 ….3rd ………..Burns……..128.(1)……….Anson…………107.(2)
1891 ……. 90 ….6th ………..Anson ……120.(1)………..O’Rourke……...95..(2)
1892 …….104 …2nd ………..Brouthers...124.(1)………..Larkin………….96.(3)
1893 …….126 …3rd ………..Delahanty..146.(1)………...McKean……….133.(2)
1894 …….141 …2nd ………..Duffy…….145.(1)………...Delahanty…….131.(3)
1895 …….165 …1st ………....Kelly…….134.(2)………..Brodie…………13.. (2)
1896 …….100…8th ………...Delahanty..126.(1)………..Jennings………121..(2)

Posted 3:04 a.m., August 15, 2003 (#66) - John Murphy
  IMO Sutton and Start would be better representatives of the 60’s and 70’s than Spalding and Barnes.

How do you come to that conclusion about Sutton? He started his career later than the other three and also ended it later.

Posted 8:58 a.m., August 15, 2003 (#67) - Philip
  Mark wrote: “1. Charlie Bennett never hit as well as a top-rank right-fielder. He hit as well as an average RF. If your (John) point is that Bennett is a better HoM choice than an average RF, I whole-heartedly agree with you.”

I think that John’s point is that Bennett not only is a better HoM choice than an average RF but also a better choice than a very good RF, which Thompson is. Even though Thompson may be a better hitter, Bennett’s value comes from standing out from his competition. It is what in economics is called opportunity cost.

Consider having both Thompson and Bennett in your lineup. If Thompson gets injured you can get a decent replacement for a reasonable price. There are many good hitting rightfielders, so you don’t lose too much on offense and the abundance of decent rightfielders drives down the price to get one.
If, however, Bennett gets injured a decent replacement is harder too find. There are not many good-hitting catchers (even nowadays considering Inge, Ausmus and Matheny having ML jobs!). So you give up a lot of value by replacing Bennett with a weak replacement catcher or you pay a high price for a good catcher, because the pool of good catchers is so much smaller than the pool of good rightfielders.

Posted 9:18 a.m., August 15, 2003 (#68) - Marc
  >>IMO Sutton and Start would be better representatives of the 60’s and 70’s than Spalding and Barnes.

>How do you come to that conclusion about Sutton? He started his career later than the other three and also
ended it later.

John, it seems clear enough that for some voters anybody who played before 1876 goes into that big pot called "no competition."

Posted 10:09 a.m., August 15, 2003 (#69) - John Murphy
  I think that John’s point is that Bennett not only is a better HoM choice than an average RF but also a better choice than a very good RF, which Thompson is. Even though Thompson may be a better hitter, Bennett’s value comes from standing out from his competition. It is what in economics is called opportunity cost.

Correct, Philip (I forgot to answer Mark's point myself). If your team's rightfielder is only 5% better than league, but your catcher is 50%, the latter is helping his team win to a much greater degree (regardless of how he compares to the rightfielder as an offensive threat).

Posted 10:23 a.m., August 15, 2003 (#70) - John Murphy
  This line should have read:

If your team's rightfielder is only 5% better than the average rightfielder, but your catcher is 50% better than the average catcher, the latter is helping his team win to a much greater degree (regardless of how he compares to the rightfielder as an offensive threat).

Posted 10:24 a.m., August 15, 2003 (#71) - John Murphy
  John, it seems clear enough that for some voters anybody who played before 1876 goes into that big pot called "no competition."

I think you're right, Marc.

Posted 11:27 a.m., August 15, 2003 (#72) - Brad Harris
  I'll make this quick 'cause my PC has the "Reboot-R" virus right now. :(

1. Ezra Sutton
2. Billy Hamilton
3. Joe Start
4. Cal McVey
5. Bid McPhee
6. Harry Stovey
7. Charlie Bennett
8. Sam Thompson
9. Mike Tiernan
10. Cupid Childs
11. Lip Pike
12. Ned Williamson
13. Pud Galvin
14. Pete Browning
15. Bob Caruthers

Posted 11:46 a.m., August 15, 2003 (#73) - Mark McKinniss
  John, it seems clear enough that for some voters anybody who played before 1876 goes into that big pot called "no competition."

Who are the voters that won't vote for anyone before 1876?

Posted 12:15 p.m., August 15, 2003 (#74) - Marc
  I'n not naming names (I don't keep track of who is an F or E of whom), but here's an eg.

>15. (3-way tie) Denny Lyons. Best 3B of the AA
15. Ezra Sutton
15. Joe Start. IMO Sutton and Start would be better representatives of the 60’s and 70’s than Spalding and Barnes. They hang onto the bottom of my ballot as my token concession to the existence of their era.

>Since McVey is in the top-10, but not on my ballot - McVey played in just 527 games in his measurable 9 year career. How much credit can we really give him for his play as prior to the NA?

Posted 12:47 p.m., August 15, 2003 (#75) - DanG
  With the blackout hitting on top of vacation, I'll have to make my preliminary ballot the final one:

1) Hamilton – Not quite the caliber of earlier first-ballot picks, but among this crowd he stands out. Is he not one of the top ten center fielders of all-time?
2) Start - Obviously, I agree with those who think we should try to get the first-tier stars of the 1870’s enshrined before electing any more second-tier stars of the 1880’s.
3) Sutton – It’s a little disturbing that he lost out on election in 1906 due to a quirk in the voting structure. He topped Spalding in average vote received: Ezra averaged 3.89 on 41 ballots, AG was at 4.29 on 42 ballots. If you plug them in as 16s for those who left them off their ballot, Ezra still wins 4.45 to 4.56; If you take away AG’s 15th place vote, he still trails 3.89 to 4.02. If there had been a four-point bonus for a 2nd place vote, as in every previous election, Ezra would’ve won. Look for him to be elected in 1908.
Paul Wendt wondered why he has no reputation, no legacy of greatness. I conclude that he was the Bobby Grich of his day; he was very good to excellent at everything in the game, but not The Best in any one part or any one season. Grich was born 99 years later, debuted 99 years later and played one less year than Ezra. Their paucity of Black Ink drops them below the radar of the majority of observers, who make only a casual survey in search of the Big Stars who “deserve” the Hall. Players with a broad base of skills get overlooked.
4) McVey – I now buy into the arguments that he was a genuinely great player. A great hitter (152 OPS+) at important defensive positions who had nine great seasons in the best leagues of the time. The only argument against him is his short career. Except he had great years before those nine and a long career after he chose to head west, so it wasn’t really short at all.

The next four are second-rank stars of the 1880’s:
5) Galvin – I’m wondering about the quality of play in the so-called minor leagues of the late 1870’s and early 1880’s. The NL struggled mightily in its early years; it topped off its first season by expelling the two largest cities (NY and Phi) making it a 6-team, mostly western league for ’77 and ‘78. The NL lured champion Buffalo from the International Association for 1879 (including Pud, Hardy Richardson, Davy Force, Joe Hornung and Chick Fulmer) but doesn’t seem to have reestablished itself as the dominant league until NY and Phi rejoined in 1883.
The question is, shouldn’t the stars of the IA get some credit for their accomplishments? If so, then Pud needs to get a boost for his stellar play in 1877-78. (Davy Force, for one, was lured by a higher salary to play in the “minor” league for 1878.)
6) McPhee – He could move higher. He’s ranked #30 at 2B in the NHBA, behind Childs (#26). For Childs, I don’t see that his peak was quite high enough to make up for a short career. I usually emphasize longevity over peak, but Bid really had no peak. Career and peak adjWS very similar to Lou Whitaker. The HOF got it right: he should wait a bit.
7) H. Stovey – I like the total package. Proved he could handle centerfield, as he played more than 25 games in CF in five different seasons. James grades him B+ in the outfield, excellent for a corner OFer, and C+ at 1B.
8) Bennett – Good arguments have demonstrated his dominance and I’m beginning to believe he is a deserving HoMer. Here’s yet another example of his durability: Through 1894, there were only seven seasons that a catcher age 34 and older caught 50+ games in a season:
85 Bennett, 1890, age 35
82 Bennett, 1889, age 34
75 Bennett, 1891, age 36
72 K.Kelly, 1892, age 34
71 H.Decker, 1890, age 35
69 D. Buckley, 1894, age 35
60 Bennett, 1893, age 38

The next four are guys who wouldn’t be bad HoMers, but who I can’t justify ranking ahead of any of the top eight:
9) Pike – Would already be in the HoM if we’d started elections in 1889 (theoretically elected on the seventh ballot in 1895).
10) Thompson – When you adjust for park and era he slides back toward the outfielder crowd. His career OPS+ (146) is actually lower than Charley Jones (149).
11) Pearce – Although I’m the oldest FODP, I’m less enthused then I used to be. There seems to be more Rabbit Maranville about him than Ozzie Smith.
12) Browning – As a hitter he was hardly better than McVey. His early “great” years in the newborn AA must be discounted. Also, his 1890 season looks great (169 OPS+), but how good was the PL? While it was probably the strongest first-year league in history, and may have been the top league in 1890, I’m not convinced it was as good as the NL in the surrounding seasons. Pete posted an OPS+ of 139 in the NL 1891-93. I also suspect the PL was inferior to the AA 86-89 that Pete played in (153 OPS+ over those four years).
13) Duffy – Wasn’t quite the hitter Sam or Pete was, but did everything else better. Had a higher peak, and his teams won. His list of “similar batters” is more impressive, FWIW. Plus his career was essentially two years longer than theirs.

The last two are ballot-filler, whom very few voters give a top-half ballot slot:
14) Tiernan – Basically Thompson’s twin, but for some reason James ranks Sam #37 in RF and Mike #49. I assume, for now, there are good reasons for that.
15) McCormick – If we were going to dig this deep for 1880’s pitchers, he’d be next in line. I’ll go with the pennants added data that puts him over Welch and Caruthers.

Posted 1:02 p.m., August 15, 2003 (#76) - dan b
  "I'n not naming names (I don't keep track of who is an F or E of whom), but here's an eg.

>Since McVey is in the top-10, but not on my ballot - McVey played in just 527 games in his measurable 9 year career. How much credit can we really give him for his play as prior to the NA?"

Marc - if you are going to quote me, get it right - that should read - "How much credit can we really give him for his play as a teenager prior to the NA?"

When Bill James knocks the early game, one of his points is the number of "stars" that were in their teens.

>John, it seems clear enough that for some voters anybody who played before 1876 goes into that big pot called "no competition."

I wouldn't say "no competition", just weak competition - unevenly documented, unverifiable, demographicly unavailable

Posted 2:08 p.m., August 15, 2003 (#77) - Mark McKinniss
  To follow up on dan's comments, all pre-1876 replacement-based metrics (most notably: WARP and Win Shares) need to be doubly (and then some) adjusted for regression. In a ~65 game season, the best will be at a higher peak than usual, and the worst will be at a lower valley than usual. When you throw in the fact that the worst in the NA didn't even belong in a "major" league, it's no wonder that you have the implausibly high adjWS that dan b alludes to (post #64). The replacement level was sub-replacement level.

Posted 2:26 p.m., August 15, 2003 (#78) - Howie Menckel
  Mark,
I'm in your camp in not getting too caught up in pre-1876 numbers. I take the players from that era seriously, but the stats aren't exactly what they are in 1982 or something....

Posted 2:38 p.m., August 15, 2003 (#79) - John Murphy
  To follow up on dan's comments, all pre-1876 replacement-based metrics (most notably: WARP and Win Shares) need to be doubly (and then some) adjusted for regression. In a ~65 game season, the best will be at a higher peak than usual, and the worst will be at a lower valley than usual. When you throw in the fact that the worst in the NA didn't even belong in a "major" league, it's no wonder that you have the implausibly high adjWS that dan b alludes to (post #64). The replacement level was sub-replacement level.

I don't disagree. In fact, I have mentioned basically the same thing on a number of occasions.

However, this still doesn't mean the best players of the NA and before weren't great players in their own right.

Cobb and Wagner stood out much more than they would today because of the inferior competition from their time. They were sometimes 140 points greater than the average player in BA, while no one today approaches that level in today's greater offense era. That doesn't mean they're not upper echelon HoFers. That's the argument I have been trying to make.

Posted 4:05 p.m., August 15, 2003 (#80) - Marc
  >I'm in your camp in not getting too caught up in pre-1876 numbers.

We're not really talking 1871-75 numbers here and in fact my point was: can we consider evidence that is not in the form of numbers?

This started with the fact that Joe Start's peak occurred in the 1860s. Sure Joe Start was a teenager once but he was 20 years old in 1862. The assumption that he peaked at age 28-32 flies in the face of the (qualitative, therefore apparently irrelevant) historical record. I would be satisfied if someone regressed that to the mean, rather than pretended it didn't happen. Better yet, accept it as qualitative data (but date nonetheless). That was the original pt.

Posted 4:08 p.m., August 15, 2003 (#81) - Marc
  PS. I hope everyone knows this is all in good fun. I like to argue with you guys. Obviously I think I'm right but on the other hand "groups make better decisions than individuals do," right? All in fun.

Posted 4:48 p.m., August 15, 2003 (#82) - Jason Koral
  Between an extended busines trip and a return to power outed NY, time has been tight and my comments will be brief. Im a career value guy but I do like too see a decent extended peak as well. A short (1-2 year) peak is less important. I dont have positional quotas, but will give some credit to significantly under-represented positions.

1) Billy Hamilton: a run creation machine. WARP doesnt rate his defense well, and does rate Thompson highly, but in real life Philly played Hamilton in CF and didnt let Thompson near there.

2) Ezra Sutton: an excellent player at a poorly represented, but very important position.

3) Charlie Bennett: The best pure catcher before the 1920s was Bresnahan. Charlie is #2.

4) Cal McVey: a true superstar, lots of versatility, but dropped out of the bigs too early.

5) J.F. Galvin: yeah there are already a bunch of 1880s pitchers, but Pud's sheer longevity is worth a lot.

6) Bid McPhee - didnt have many great years, but didnt have lousy years either; played good infield defense in an era where that mattered.

7) Joe Start - not really near the top 19th century 1Bs, but a fine player nonetheless.

8) Lip Pike - like McVey but more of his good years were in the 60s, also lacked McVey's versatility and more positive approach to the game.

9) Harry Stovey - still the cream of the crowded non-sliding Billy OF crop as I see it; his hitting is close to the best hitters; his fielding ranks up there with the best fielders.

10) Cupid Childs - could hit but short career and so-so D. Denny Lyons actually hit considerably better - though mostly in the AA and even fewer PA.

11) Jim McCormick - probably treated him too roughly last time around; best of the remaining pitchers.

12) Bud Fowler - could be off on this, but Fowler played for an awfully long time and played very well during that time. True the leagues he played in were of questionable quality, but that wasnt exactly his fault is it. It doesnt take too much an imagination to see him having a career like McPhee, who ranks much higher here.

13) Jack Clements. Sure Duffy hit .440 one year as a corner outfielder, but Clements hit .394 with a .612 slugging as a catcher the next year. He had some other very nice years in the 90s as well.

14) Billy Nash - WARP considers Hugh Duffy to have added more value as a corner OF than Nash did as a superb fielding 3B. That makes no sense to me - its yet one more indication that WARP's OF fielding ratings are off-kilter. Nash was a McPhee like player than third and those that give McPhee and Sutton top 5 ballot positioning should consider Billy for bottom of ballot positioning.

15) Mike Griffin - Very similar profile to Duffy but played a lot more CF and lacks the fluke year.

Off Ballot: Sam Thompson - fine hitter whose numbers are swollen by favorable conditions. Pete Browning - with more good OFs joining the ballot each year, his shortcomings appear more prominent. Hugh Duffy - probably ranks 17-18 by my reckoning; he was good, but I really dont see the excitement - my Chet Lemon comp was a bit facetious but if I tried to do similar modern comps for Thompson or Browning, Id probably find better players. Other Hon Mentions - Tiernan, Lyons.

Posted 6:22 p.m., August 15, 2003 (#83) - Yardape (e-mail)
  This started with the fact that Joe Start's peak occurred in the 1860s. Sure Joe Start was a teenager once but he was 20 years old in 1862. The assumption that he peaked at age 28-32 flies in the face of the (qualitative, therefore apparently irrelevant) historical record.

I'm a proponent of NA stars getting in. Spalding topped my ballot last "year" and McVey and Pike rank very highly as well.

With Start, I'm not assuming that he peaked between 28 and 32. I'm giving him credit for a peak in the 1860s, as without that credit he wouldn't come close to my ballot. But my concerns are with how great that peak was. At age 28, one would expect Start to still be near his peak level, but he was getting outperformed by guys like Pike and McVey, making me wonder if they aren't better candidates (they are, IMHO).

Is there evidence that Start experienced a drop-off around the time the NA began? I understand that the qualitative evidence indicates that he was a top player in the 1860s, but what does the qualitative evidence say about Start in the 1860s vs. the 1870s? Are there any accounts indicating that Start either dropped off or stayed the same through those periods? Those questions could help decide exactly where on my ballot Start lands. He is probably the player I have spent the most time trying to figure out so far.

Posted 7:16 p.m., August 15, 2003 (#84) - KJOK (e-mail)
  While I probably deserve to be in the 'skeptic' camp when it comes to pre-1871 playing ability, I think it's important to point out that, for Joe Start, we do have SIXTEEN seasons of data from 1871-1886, and the statistical evidence that he was good enough to be a starting player at age 42. So, while I'm not as high on Start as some others are, I don't see him as a good example of an "undocumented" player like a Dickey Pearce or Harry Wright, where confidence in "reputation" places a much larger role.

Posted 8:06 p.m., August 15, 2003 (#85) - redsox1912
  I have 2 observations. When I first started reading these pages I voiced my opinion that short season stats must not be given too much credibility. It was in reference to season length adjustments that many of you were doing. Please, someone answer me, are those adjustments done by doubling an 81 game season’s stats to equal a 162 game season? (for example) Or, are the peaks and valleys, which will always be much more defined, smoothed out somehow? We can all remember noticing some player’s stats in May or June and saying, “Wow, if he keeps this up he’ll hit 90 HR’s.” Can’t we? When we look at short season stats whether they are adjusted or not, we need to keep this in mind. The numbers can not be trusted as they can be if drawn from a larger sample.

Secondly, I feel, and I think Marc is saying, that stats are not the only evidence we have, to prove a players value to his team, or to the league. Word of mouth, legend, news reports, even ballads, poems and other writings, etc, need to be evaluated in order to discern who were the players of Merit and who were not. Perhaps we are not being open- minded enough, if we say that, “without statistical evidence, we can not decide which players from the 50’s or 60’s were the best.” Just because there is little or no numerical data to go by, does not mean that there were no “greatest players”. Obviously there were. If we fail to uncover the other facts, if we fail to listen to what was being said, if we ignore the 50’s and 60’s because “nobody kept stats”, we will be leaving out of this Hall the greatest players the game had ever known for that period of time. I just don’t think any of us really want to do that.

Posted 8:45 p.m., August 15, 2003 (#86) - John C
  1. Hamilton -- The 2nd best offensive player we've seen (after Brouthers) in Runs Created per 27 outs. A definite HOM'er.
2. Mcphee -- For fifteen straight years, he was 8 wins above the replacment 2b (when adjusted to 162 games). For those 15 years, he was one of the top 4 2b in baseball - 4 times the best 2B in baseball. And it wasn't just defensive value - he was twice the best offensive 2b, and 9 times he was a top 3 offensive 2b.
3. Sutton -- Originally, I had Sutton around 10th on my ballot. I was wrong. He's a top notch player, who gets into the HOM based on his 2nd peak.
4. Stovey -- WS and WARP1 agree that he was a great player. Better peak and career numbers than Start. Like Hamilton and McPhee, much of his offensive value comes from the stolen base.
5. Start -- Like McPhee, much of his value comes from longevity and defense.
6. Bennett -- I'm becoming more and more convinced that he belongs. I'm not sure when we'll get around to electing him, though. Who's the next catcher who as good as him? (really, I don't know)
7. Duffy -- Stolen bases give him the edge over Thompson.
8. Galvin -- He probably belongs eventually, but I'd rather have those ahead of him.
9. Thompson -- Third highest RC/27 on ballot (behind Hamilton and Browning), and he was a better defender than most in RF (which isn't necessarily saying a lot).
10. Griffin -- His great fielding and consistent play makes his roughly even with Big Sam, who ranks slightly ahead of him on peak.
11. McVey -- Close in career value to Browning, McVey gets the nod as a good player in the 70s.
12. Browning -- He could rake. If only his career was a couple of good seasons longer...
13. Tiernan -- Thompson was a better hitter and fielder. He'll fall off my ballot before long as Burkett, Delahanty, Van Haltren, and Ryan show up.
14. Williamson -- I may be undervaluing him, but I don't really think he belongs.
15. Childs -- His best year was his rookie campaign in the weak 1890 AA. Had only 5 more good years after that.

Caruthers and Dunlap fall of my ballot, perhaps never to return.

Posted 9:56 p.m., August 15, 2003 (#87) - Marc
  Someone was daring enough recently to ask for details of another (small) hall project that Dan G. and I and others are currently involved in, though we haven't seen Dan recently. Come home Dan, all is forgiven!

But just for fun, the following are the current standings on the 1989 ballot (not final), just to illustrate the kinds of wacky comparisons we will be making in the distant (or perhaps, the not so distant) future.

1. Johnny Bench
2. Carl Yastrzemski--so far so good, but just imagine that Yaz is only a 10th place ballot ahead of:
3. Pete Browning!

4. Dick Allen
5. Paul Hines
6. Gay-lerd Perry--how the h*** do you compare Hines and Perry? But it gets worse!

7. Nellie Fox
8. Fergie Jenkins
9. Roger Bresnahan
10. Bob Caruthers

Note that this is a small hall project and there must be 40 Cooperstown HoFers not (yet) elected, and yet we've got Browning, Hines and Caruthers in our top 10 about 100 years after they retired. What a mind-bender! Just a taste of what we have to look forward to, though this big a big hall project the names will be changed to protect the guilty.

Posted 10:44 p.m., August 15, 2003 (#88) - KJOK (e-mail)
  redsox1912 asks:

"Please, someone answer me, are those adjustments done by doubling an 81 game season’s stats to equal a 162 game season? "

That is my understanding of the adjustments. That's also why I've been rejecting the "a pennant is a pennant" philosophy. For the analysis I've been doing, I basically take the 81 games stats and regress them about 50% for my "2nd" 81 games. That gives some adjustment for the short season players while also recoginizing that it's much easier to have an OBP of .400 in 81 games than in 162 games (all other factors being equal.... )

Posted 8:41 a.m., August 16, 2003 (#89) - Jeff M
  1. HAMILTON, BILLY (--) -- An enormous run producer due to high OBA. I have his career adjWS behind Hamilton, but have Hamilton better on a WS per 162 games basis, and I think Hamilton was better on a year to year basis; just for not as long.

2. SUTTON, EZRA (#1)

3. STOVEY, HARRY (#2)

4. START, JOE (#5) -- I've flip-flopped Start and McVey, based on fielding adjustments I did to WS. The adjustments weren't much, but were just enough in my system because McVey had been only slightly ahead of Start to begin with.

5. MCVEY, CAL (#4)

6. BROWNING, PETE (#6)

7. MCPHEE, BID (#8) -- Adjustments to fielding WS move him up.

8. GALVIN, PUD (#5) -- The fielding WS adjustments have corresponding effects on team pitching WS, so Galvin loses ground.

9. TIERNAN, MIKE (#7)

My HOMer cutoff is probably here ---------------------

10. THOMPSON, SAM (#9)

11. JONES, CHARLEY (#10)

12. WELCH, MICKEY (#13) -- After making the fielding WS and pitching WS adjustments, Welch stood out a little more among the pitchers.

13. BENNETT, CHARLIE (#15)

14. DUFFY, HUGH (--) -- When park adjusted, his numbers are not all that impressive, other than '91 and '94, particularly for an outfielder. I'm comfortable with my rank ordering on this ballot of the outfielders. Off the ballot, but next, would be Lip Pike, followed by Mike Griffin.

15. CARUTHERS, BOB (#11) -- Suffers a little bit from the pitching WS adjustments I did, but not as much as some because such a large portion of his value was in his hitting.

Notable omissions: Pike still lingers just off the ballot. So does Mullane, who was on my ballot last time but slipped off because of the pitching WS adjustments. Cupid Childs was a better hitter than McPhee, but had a short career and not really comparable defensively. I think he was a very good player, but doesn't really rise to the level of the other guys on the ballot.

Just off (where they've been living for a while and will probably stay): McCormick, Pike, O'Neill, Stivetts, Griffin, Buffinton.

Posted 1:32 p.m., August 16, 2003 (#90) - Ken Fischer
  1907 Ballot

On the road for the 1906 ballot. Now I'm in the middle of moving. I'll try to contribute more next round. I moved Sutton up...he continues to grow on me.

1-Billy Hamilton
2-Bid McPhee
3-Joe Start
4-Pud Galvin
5-Harry Stovey
6-Erza Sutton
7-Mike Tiernan
8-Bob Caruthers
9-Dickey Pearce
10-Cupid Childs
11-Hugh Duffy
12-Sam Thompson
13-Mike Griffin
14-Pete Browning
15-Charlie Bennett

Posted 1:35 p.m., August 16, 2003 (#91) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  My brother's getting married today, I'm just popping in quick, but could someone please go over the discussion thread and post the ballots for the people that requested a proxy ballot because of vacation?

Also, in the futre, please send me an email for a proxy ballot, don't just post it, because it can be missed pretty easily that way. Thanks!

Posted 2:34 p.m., August 16, 2003 (#92) - Chris Cobb
  1907 Ballot

Just back from a week's vacation. I've read through all this week's postings, but I haven't had time to think through them carefully to see if any major changes in my rankings might be indicated. If any are, they'll register next year. Numbers listed are fielding and season-adjusted win shares, with AA and UA WS discounted on a seasonal basis. Total peak is calculated by summing the player's win shares above average in each individual season. Average= contribution from each full-time player necesssary for team to achieve a .500 record. I care about peak, but not about its shape.

1) Ezra Sutton (1) (2) (3) (4) (2). 470 CWS, 87 total peak. Career value at difficult defensive position narrowly outweighs Hamilton's offensive peak, so Sutton stays on top of my ballot.
2) Billy Hamilton(nr). 414 CWS, 128 total peak. Best offensive peak on the ballot, and high career value, despite his not having a long career.
3) Pud Galvin (2) (1) (2) (6) (8). 416 CWS, 126 total peak -- third-best pre-1893 pitcher. Two ahead -- Keefe and Clarkson, and two behind -- Spalding and Radbourn -- are in. Career total includes 30 WS for 1876-78 seasons in Buffalo in IL. Galvin is highly deserving of induction, but he slips down my ballot one step this year as Hamilton slides past him.
4) Cal McVey (4) (3) (8) (9) (9). 364 CWS, 82 total peak -- Great, long peak. Career total includes 30 WS for pre-NA play and 20 WS for post-NL play.
5) Harry Stovey (5) (5) (4) (8) (6). 362 CWS, 72 total peak. For Stovey and a few others, I need to work out what to do about WS lost to team underperformance of Pythagorean expectations.
6) Joe Start (6) (4) (9) (10) (10). 409 fielding adj. CWS, 33 total peak. Career total includes 60 WS for pre-NA play, 10 per year 1865-1870.
7) Bid McPhee (7) (8). 401 fielding adj. CWS 31 total peak.
8) Charlie Bennett (8) (9) (12) (13) 332 catcher-adjusted CWS, 84 catcher-adjusted total peak.
9) Lip Pike (9) (12) (13) (14) (13). 334 CWS, 88 total peak. Career total includes 50 WS for pre-NA play.
10) Charley Jones (12). 344 CWS, total peak 74. Career total includes credit for average play (23 WS a season) for the two blacklist years in the middle of his career.
11) Hugh Duffy (nr) 365 CWS, 90 total peak -- WS substantially overrates Duffy's offense, but I'm not sure exactly how much, so he could shift a few places up or down from here next year. Right now I'm pretty sure he wasn't as good as either Pike or Jones. He might or might not have been better than Thompson.
12) Ed Williamson (11) (15). 302 CWS, total peak 54.
13) Cupid Childs (nr). 295 CWS, 57 total peak. -- Very similar career to Williamson's. Slots just behind him because Ed played the more difficult position.
14) Sam Thompson(13) (14) (14) (15) (15), 306 CWS total peak 54. Moves up relative to hold-overs from last ballot. I've decided I trust WARP's fielding numbers on him just enough to give him the edge over Tiernan.
15) Mike Tiernan (10) (13). 315 CWS, total peak 65. Now ranks just below Thompson as I place a bit more weight on WARP's defensive rankings.

Losing ballot spots this year are Bob Caruthers and Tom York.

The one player not in last year's top 10 not on my ballot is Pete Browning, who was also left off of my 1906 ballot. I love Pete Browning as a pure hitter. However, his relatively short career and the fact that his best years came during the weak early years of the AA leave him short of the ballot. I see him as a great talent who, through little fault of his own, didn't have a career that truly matched his talent.

Posted 7:50 p.m., August 16, 2003 (#93) - Chris Cobb
  As per Joe's request, I scanned the 1907 discussion thread for ballots posted as final. The only one I found belongs to karlmagnus (#40 in that thread). I've reposted it here. Others perhaps should scan the list also to make sure that I didn't miss someone.

Posted 12:03 p.m., August 5, 2003 (#40) - karlmagnus
  Could Joe or someone please post this as my definitive 1907 ballot, as I'm on vacation till 25th (just in time for 1908 - some vacation!)
-0-
For Start, Sutton, Meyerle, Pike and McVey, I now take adjusted hits as actual hits *130/actual games, normalizing them in each season to 130 games, with the exception of mini-seasons at the end where they were clearly winding down. Other normalizations, for 1880s players, catchers etc. I keep as was, doing it over the career as a whole to put achievements into a “modern” context.

I have also looked at another metric, total bases+ BBs (why aren’t BB in TB?)/plate appearances and (TB+BB)/outs, which puts the 1890s players more into context, with each other although not with the 1870s players, who hardly ever walked (not surprising, with the pitcher allowed 9 balls!). This has caused me to put Duffy and Hamilton high on the ballot but not at the top, to move Thompson and Caruthers up several places, McPhee and Sutton down substantially, and McVey, Meyerle and Pike down a little. Start stays put because of new anecdotal 60s evidence.

My 1907 has several new names and substantial rearrangement from 1906, as follows (still lots of 1870s players, but 1890s players too now -- we clearly need at least some of those hitters, even discounting for the ’93 pitching change):

1. (7-5-6-3-2-2-1) Joe Start – I’m convinced by the arguments of his greatness in the 1860s. If you normalize his 1871-85 to 130-game seasons, season by season as above, he gets 2,705 hits after the age of 28½ Add say 7 “normal” seasons of 150 hits for 1864-70 and he’s around 3,800. TB+BB/PA .389, TB+BB/Outs .572, both lowish, but we presumably only have his latter years, in gentle decline (would be on this ballot, but at the bottom end, if he’d been say eight years younger, with only 1871-86 career.) Nobody else loses this much of their career, yet still puts up decent numbers. Having full data on his career as key member of 8 “world champions” in ‘60s would push him into Anson territory, of course.
2. (11-8-4-5-3-4-2) Pud Galvin – 364 wins put him in very rarefied territory on the all-time list, even though he doesn’t have the pennant record of Spalding or the late but apotheosized Hoss.
3. (n/a-9-7-5-3) Cal McVey – 1,986 hits in 9 normalized seasons of 1871-79, normalized season by season, at the end of which he was 28 1/2. Peak of 7 successive “adjusted” 200-hit seasons in 1871-77. Giving any reasonable credit for post-29 puts him in HOM territory, even though he slowed a little from his peak in 1878-79 (to level of 170-hit “adjusted” seasons.) TB+BB/PA .453, TB+BB/Outs .700, less than Meyerle, but played more. Considerably higher peak than Sutton, even if shorter career. Don’t entirely believe sabermetric “funny numbers” but to the extent I understand them, they point to McVey. Gets points for position played, too.
4. (N/A) Billy Hamilton. Only 2,379 hits “normalized” to 130-game season. TB+BB/PA .513, TB+BB/Outs .938., phenomenal figures, the best on the ballot. However, given Hamilton’s best seasons were the very phony 1893/94, and his peak generally in the high-offense mid-90s, I think here’s about right. I thought sabermetricians had agreed that stolen bases weren’t worth much, and that low-success rate base stealing had a negative value – even the 1910 base stealers had low success rates, so you have to believe these guys had.
5. (8-9-8-14-13-11-8) Bob Caruthers – a first class pitcher/position player, with a high peak on some top teams, but a significant AA discount. Only 1,047 “normalized” hits, so only a moderate addition to his 218 wins, but 218-99 is kinda impressive. Don’t see that Rusie had much over this guy, except an overblown NY reputation. As a hitter TB/PA .483, TB/Outs .793, so significantly better than McPhee and Sutton, and even beats Duffy slightly. Tough to beat double peak, as hitter and pitcher
6. (N/A) Hugh Duffy Normalizes to 2,270 hits for 130 game seasons 1888-1899, fewer than he actually had (first player to do this!) TB+BB/PA of .489 and TB/Outs of .788, but this in the high-offense 1890s. Like the 1894 peak, though – and it’s ’94 not ’93, pitchers had had a year to adjust.
7. (N/A-13-13-14-12-11) Sam Thompson Only 2,136 hits adjusted to 130 game season. However TB+BB/PA was .534 and TB/Outs .865, almost the highest figures on the ballot, so high peak Significantly better than Tiernan (who will figure lower down some years), who’s better than Griffin.
8. (15-14-11-12-10-9-6) Mickey Welch – 307-210 comes to impress me more and more (yes, I know it was mostly with the strong Giants.)1885 looks like a pretty good peak too; 44-11 with a 1.67 ERA is pretty impressive, compared for example to Clarkson’s 49-19 at 2.73 in 1889 or his other peak of 53-16 with a higher ERA of 1.85 in Welch’s peak year of 1885. Clarkson gets ERA+ of 165 for 1885, compared to Welch’s 161, the difference presumably due to “park effects” between Chicago and NY. Well, I don’t think we have any idea what the “park effects” should be for the 1885 National League. If it’s calculated by looking at runs for/against in each park during the season, then there is room for huge random fluctuations as you’re talking sample sizes of 60 games or so. Welch not as good as Clarkson, but not that far off.
9. (--15-15-15-15-14-13) Harry Stovey Best years were in AA, and only 2,084 “normalized hits (adjusting 1880-92 to 130 games). TB/PA .512, TB/Outs .800, moves him above McPhee and Sutton
10. (13-10-9-7-5-6-5) Ezra Sutton – a lot better than league at primarily defensive position The big winner from season by season adjustment; he gets to 2,763 hits, adjusted season by season to 130 games in 1871-86, and he was a 3B. TB+BB/PA .404, TB+BB/Outs .579, a little less good than McPhee, in a much more difficult era., but not as good as the guys above him. But we have all of his career, unlike Start and McVey. On the evidence, Meyerle was a better hitter.
11. Harry Wright (12-15-N/A) Better than Pearce, but how good was he really compared to the rest? But I’m convinced by the anecdotal evidence this week that he has to have been at least as good as this.
12. (N/A-9) Levi Meyerle. Normalize 1871-77 season by season to 130 games and he gets 1,577 hits, only 15 less than Pike in 1 less season, and he was only 2 months younger, so 1860s value presumably similar. Better peak, too. TB+BB/PA .482, TB+BB/Outs .751, though this, like McVey and Pike’s figures, includes no “decline” phase. Also, he was a 3B.
13. (9-12-12-11-9-10-10) Lip Pike – Like Start, give some credit for missing 1860s. However, normalize 1871-78 season by season and he gets 1,592 hits after 26 – not quite an obvious HOM-er. 4 “normalized 200-hit” seasons, but only just, whereas Meyerle’s 1871 peak normalizes to 320 (obviously a random fluctuation, but in the right direction!)TB+BB/PA .478, TB+BB/Outs .713
14. (N/A-7-7) Bid McPhee 2,466 hits, adjusted to 130 games in 1882-99. Modest AA discount for first part of career. TB/PA only .432 and TB/Outs .668, so now below Meyerle and Pike, and probably not HOM, since much of this was in the 90s, and most of the rest was in the AA.
15. (N/A-11-13-12) Jack Clements. You can also use 130-game- normalization to eliminate the effect of catcher wear and tear. Doing this to Clements over 1885-1898 gives him a normalized 2,004 hits, not bad at all for the most difficult fielding position. TB+BB/PA .455, TB/Outs .696, pretty impressive for a catcher and substantially better than Bennett.
Off:
Pete Browning (mostly AA -- Only 1,986 “normalized” hits (adjusting 1883-92 to 130-game seasons, and with no AA discount,)TB/PA .511, TB/Outs .855, so even with AA discount probably moves back on first of the “offs.”
(N/A-14) Charlie Bennett Only 1,796 “normalized” hits, but he was a catcher. However McVey and Clements were catchers too, and both better hitters. TB+BB/PA.454, TB/Outs .689, but much shorter career than Start/Sutton
(N/A-15) Tom York 2,122 “normalized” hits, doing it season by season as seasons were lengthening. Primarily OF. Never above 200 “normalized” hits per season though – really no peak at all TB/PA.412, TB/Outs.596, not very impressive.
Dickey Pearce, -- Poor 1872, so even if you add 1871-2-3 together it’s unimpressive. Not convinced.
Mike Tiernan – only 1,983 normalized hits, so just off bottom of ballot. TB/PA .518, TB/Outs .850, so follows Browning and well behind Thompson

Posted 8:16 p.m., August 16, 2003 (#94) - John Murphy
  Dickey Pearce, -- Poor 1872, so even if you add 1871-2-3 together it’s unimpressive. Not convinced.

Compare any 35-plus years old shortstop from the 19th century to him and you may acquire an appreciation of him.

Posted 10:53 p.m., August 16, 2003 (#95) - Esteban Rivera
  It's starting to get interesting with the 90's stars starting to appear on the ballots:

1. Billy Hamilton - My number one. One of the most outstanding players of the past 30 years. Clear cut head of the pack.

2. Cal McVey - I strongly feel McVey is a HOMer. Played very demanding positions, produced at high offensive level and, when he left because of the reserve clause, his career was looking like Cap Anson's. Was still playing when he was 40 in the Texas League.

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

4. Ezra Sutton - Best third baseman of the 19th century according to my interpretation of the numbers. Interesting note, Sutton was supposed to join the Big Four and Anson in Chicago in 1876. Public opinion made him reconsider.

5. 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.

6. Pud Galvin - Drops one spot because of my moving Bennett ahead of him. Still feel he's very HOM worthy.

7. Harry Stovey - More value than the numbers tell.

8. Hugh Duffy - His credentials are that he was for a time one of the best players and he produced during the 90's. Then he just fell off. Have him here while I try to sort him out more. May go lower or higher, but currently have him placed here.

9. Bid McPhee - Spent most of my time this "year" evaluating McPhee and Childs. The career wins out for now.

10. Lip Pike - One of the best players in early baseball. Definitely deserves more attention.

11. Sam Thompson - With Hamilton on the ballot I have better placement of Thompson. He's the yang to Hamilton's Ying. Not sure if he's HOM worthy, but moves up this year.

12. Pete Browning - You don't suppose his health problems are what caused his terrible defense? He did shockingly win two win shares gold gloves early in his career. Maybe there is a correlation between his decline in defense and his rise in health problems?

13. Cupid Childs- The very best second basemen of the 90's. Career a bit short but good enough to earn a spot on the ballot.

14. Charley Jones - Feel that he deserves attention for his accomplishments. Will give him credit for the time missed while being blacklisted. The man was standing up for himself and a system that was exploitative.

15. Mickey Welch - Have looked at him and realized I have been short changing him somewhat. Slightly ahead of McCormick.

Posted 2:12 a.m., August 17, 2003 (#96) - KJOK (e-mail)
  "Pete Browning - You don't suppose his health problems are what caused his terrible defense?"

I think I did see someone theorize somewhere that his hearing problem caused him to be much less agressive in CF...

Posted 1:11 p.m., August 17, 2003 (#97) - thebigeasy
  Blackouts and moving back to school...fun week! Ballot's a little late, but before the deadline.

1.) Billy Hamilton

OBP 100 points higher then league. Centerfielder. Greatest basestealer of time. Slam dunk.

2.) Cal McVey
3.) Joe Start

I moved Start above Galvin. In my book, McVey and Start are pretty close overall. McVey's ahead on defensive value, but too much of both of these guys ratings are subjective to know for sure. Hopefully both will go in soon.

4.) Pud Galvin

Pitched a ton of innings well.

5.) Bob Caruthers

Fine combination of hitter and pitcher. We're underrating the AA, as has been pointed out, and Caruthers is one of the best candidates from that league.

6.) Harry Stovey

Stovey is another great AA candidate. Hell of a total package as a player.

7.) Charlie Bennett

I moved Bennett way up on this ballot. I think I was underrating him compared to his peers, he really stands out compared to the other catchers on the ballot.

8.) Cupid Childs
9.) Bid McPhee

If you shake a tree, 10 gloves fall out but only one bat...

10.) Ezra Sutton

Good career and peak value, but I just don't see what other people see that think he stands out from the rest of the pack.

11.) Pete Browning

Great hitter, considering moving him up in future ballots.

12.) Lip Pike

I don't think he's a prime candidate, but one of the early stars of the game.

13.) Mike Tiernan
14.) Sam Thompson
15.) Hugh Duffy

Good but not great hitting OFs in this era are nothing more then ballot filler.

Posted 11:31 p.m., August 17, 2003 (#98) - MichaelD
  Sorry for the late ballot again. This week was hectic and I was out of town this weekend and I had to catch up on a lot of discussion since I was out of town the discussion week. Anyway.

1. Billy Hamilton - I was surprised it was as close to Sutton as it was. Basically only finishes ahead on slight time line adjustment. I also do not hurt guys because they are on their first ballot. I think being overly conservative with the first balloters can cause many problems too.

2. Ezra Sutton

3. Bid McPhee

4. Joe Start

5. Pud Galvin

6. Hugh Duffy It seems to me that he is superior to the other outfielders on the ballot (excluding Hamilton). I'm not sure what I'm missing compared to others.

7. Harry Stovey

8. Cupid Childs According to win shares he seems very similar to the Thompson/Tiernan outfielders, though slightly better. I see him being near them.

9. Cal McVey

10. Sam Thompson

11. Mike Tiernan

12. Ed Williamson

13. Charlie Bennett

14. Pete Browning

15. Mike Griffin

Two points:

a) I think I'm pretty much putting the top 10 on my list fairly consistently, so I don't think I need to explain any exclusions.

b) I also realize there are not many pitchers on my list right now. I think that we have put most of the best ones in and made few mistakes (with the exception of the exclusion of Galvin). I've just been moving people up my list and the pitchers keep getting pulled out of the list.

Posted 12:17 a.m., August 18, 2003 (#99) - Devin McCullen
  Let the record show I started typing this before midnight.

1. Billy Hamilton (NA). Now THAT'S an outfielder! Clearly superior to all the other OFs on the ballot. Saw it as very close between him and Sutton, with Ezra having a longer career at a more important defensive position. Deciding factor was a timeline adjustment.
2. Ezra Sutton (1). Almost certainly the best 3B of the 19th century. I agree that his reputation was hurt by not having famous teammates - go look at the 1883 Boston team, the most anonymous championship team before the Angels. :)
3. Pud Galvin (2). Clearly better than any pitcher on the ballot; has a large number of intangible factors PLUS 362 frickin' wins. (No, I'm not really using his normal W-L record as a factor.) Close to Radbourn, and I was pushing for Hoss from Day 1.
4. Joe Start (3). An extremely long career; the documented numbers make a decent case, and there's 10 more years before that with very good reports.
5. Cal McVey (4). An exceptional hitter, one of the most dominant of his era.
6. Bid McPhee (5). A defensive specialist whose bat didn't hurt his team, he'd be higher if he had a peak of some kind.
7. Charlie Bennett (7). He might be too low, but I'm still a bit worried about how important his defense really was.
8. Harry Stovey (10). Looked at the numbers again and he is a bit ahead of the other 1B/OF. Still not convinced he's a HoMer though.
9. Hugh Duffy (NA). WS and WARP both like you, you must be doing something right. An excellent fielder, and a better hitter than Griffin.
10. Dickey Pearce (8). Slides a bit because the Outfielder Glut broke up somewhat. Too much uncertainty around his career to make me certain of his worthiness.
11. Pete Browning (9). Great peak, but probably just a bit too short.
12. Lip Pike (11). Just a bit behind McVey across the board, and I'm not that certain about how well he played "off the books".
13. Sam Thompson (12). All right, he was a little better than Tiernan, but not much, so he won't be much above him.
14. Cupid Childs (NA). On the ballot because he was a good hitter for a 2B, but he wasn't as valuable as McPhee.
15. Mike Griffin (13). Still lurking about. Similar skills to Duffy, but just not as good.

Dropped out: Mike Tiernan (14). May not be as close to Thompson as I thought.
Jim McCormick (15). A very good pitcher, but his record isn't very remarkable.

Posted 10:08 a.m., August 18, 2003 (#100) - Howie Menckel
  Is this the entire murderer's row up next??

1908
Steve Brodie
Bones Ely
Dummy Hoy
Charlie Irwin
Hughie Jennings
Wilbert Robinson
Win Mercer

Posted 10:14 a.m., August 18, 2003 (#101) - Howie Menckel
  Is this the entire murderer's row up next??

1908
Steve Brodie
Bones Ely
Dummy Hoy
Charlie Irwin
Hughie Jennings
Wilbert Robinson
Win Mercer

Posted 12:47 p.m., August 18, 2003 (#102) - MattB
  I believe top 19th century Negro Leaguer Frank Grant will be on the ballot. I need to do some research, but if so, I believe he was clearly the best black player of the era.

Posted 12:52 p.m., August 18, 2003 (#103) - MattB
  Oops. Grant retired in 1903, which should put him on the 1909 ballot.

Posted 1:00 p.m., August 18, 2003 (#104) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  Last call. I'm finally back home (8 hours in the car yesterday :-( going to finish tallying the votes now, and we'll close it down once I'm done . . .

Posted 1:28 p.m., August 18, 2003 (#105) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  Brad (#18 and #72), you voted twice?

Your top 10 is the same for both ballots, but you changed the bottom 5. Which do you want? If I don't hear back soon (just post here) I'll go with #72.

Posted 1:50 p.m., August 18, 2003 (#106) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  Regarding regression . . .

Everything I've read seems to say that the total regression for a player for a 60-70 game season would be something like 5%.

That doesn't necessarily mean a guy that hits 10 HR in 30 G is going to hit 54 over 162. But often the guy that has 10 HR in 30 G also only has 3 2B or something and he'll likely hit more than 16. The player might end up with 25 2B and 35 HR or something when the season is over.

So you can't compare regressing raw stats with regressing a WARP or WS type value, they are different kinds of numbers. And because the regression for a WARP or WS type number is much lower than that of raw stats (and combining that with those of us that do believe a pennant is a pennant anyway), I think there is much bigger risk in regressing too much than in not regressing at all.

Rob Wood can explain this much better than I can . . . but I think I hit the major points.

Posted 2:16 p.m., August 18, 2003 (#107) - Mark McKinniss
  And because the regression for a WARP or WS type number is much lower than that of raw stats (and combining that with those of us that do believe a pennant is a pennant anyway), I think there is much bigger risk in regressing too much than in not regressing at all.

This statement is patently false. Regression for a WARP/WS type number is much higher than that of raw stats.

This should be real simple to see: Let's assume for now that the 5% number is correct (a number, incidentally, which seems to shrink each time I see it--I think it used to be 8%). When looking at WARP/WS, we need to double that regression percentage because the replacement level is always going to be worse in shorter seasons. If you don't regress in some capacity, you'll be comparing players to moving targets.

Blatant example: 1 game--Mark Whiten goes 4-for-4 with 4 dingers. Tripp Comer goes 0-for-5. If that's the whole season, Comer's standard becomes the replacement level, and every single non-Comer performance is overstated in terms of WARP/WS---when compared to other existing WARP/WS numbers

In other words, if you really do believe that a pennant is a pennant and that the #1 player in 18xx is always more meritorious than the #3 player in 18yy, then yes, there is no need for regression. If you prefer to compare players across eras on more than where each player ranks on a relative basis, then you have to regress. Otherwise, as was pointed out earlier, you come away with the conclusion that 1871 housed the greatest collection of individual achievments in baseball history. Which is absurd.

Posted 2:18 p.m., August 18, 2003 (#108) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  Balloting is now over. I'll get the 1908 discussion thread up in a minute . . .

Posted 2:21 p.m., August 18, 2003 (#109) - TomH
  regressing, or extrapolating for short seasons...
It isn't much of a problem if you're a career-value voter ( like me:) ). Yes, Cal McVey's best EqA was in his 29-game season in 1871. But, his by-far-worst EqA was in his 46-game season in 1872. His career WARP and WS will wind up, I'm confident, about the same either way. As long as a voter isn't trying to give great peak credit for 1 or 2 abnormally good player-seasons, I don't think extrapolating short seasons to full ones will create big mistakes. Just remember, 110 'years' from now, not to credit Jeff (broken bone) Bagwell with his missed time during the 94 strike.

Posted 2:34 p.m., August 18, 2003 (#110) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
  Mark, actually, it was 3-5% when Rob mentioned it way back when (IIRC), I was conservative and went with the 5% number.

Also, no one has ever said that 1871 was the greatest collection of individual seasons ever. Even without regressing that's not true.

Why are you using a one-game example, of course you have to regress more than 5% for one-game. I was talking about 60-70 game seasons. You keep harping on 1871, I haven't seen ANY player's case for the Hall of Merit being made on a great 1871 season. Not one.

I'm almost positive (I haven't done the study) that if you look at WARP in early June, full-season regressions will be much lower than for the regular counting stats. That's because (generally) some of the counting stats will be high and some will be low, but the overall value of the player to that point is going to be closer to the final number than any one particular counting stat.

Also correct me if I'm wrong, but the replacement is usually set to a standard winning percentage, something like .300, .325, .350 etc. (depending on the preference of the person designing the system) so Tripp Cromer in your example is going to come out below replacement level, and Mark Whiten won't be any higher above replacement than he otherwise would be.

Posted 2:34 p.m., August 18, 2003 (#111) - John Murphy
  Blatant example: 1 game--Mark Whiten goes 4-for-4 with 4 dingers. Tripp Comer goes 0-for-5. If that's the whole season, Comer's standard becomes the replacement level, and every single non-Comer performance is overstated in terms of WARP/WS---when compared to other existing WARP/WS numbers

But, if you use standard deviation, Whiten would not become Babe Ruth to the tenth power.

In my analysis, Meyerle's .492 in 1871 (for example) is not the same as it would be under the same conditions, but with a longer schedule. But that doesn't mean that it should be considered less than a normal league lead in that stat either.

As I pointed out earlier in another post, Wagner, Cobb and Ruth benefited from a weaker talent base than today, but that doesn't mean that we should give them a severe penalty (as many are doing here with the pre-NL stars) because their competition unquestionably made them look greater than they really were.

Posted 4:51 p.m., August 18, 2003 (#112) - redsox1912
  Tom H said,

It isn't much of a problem if you're a career-value voter (like me:) ). Yes, Cal McVey's best EqA was in his 29-game season in 1871. But, his by-far-worst EqA was in his 46-game season in 1872. His career WARP and WS will wind up, I'm confident, about the same either way. As long as a voter isn't trying to give great peak credit for 1 or 2 abnormally good player-seasons, I don't think extrapolating short seasons to full ones will create big mistakes.

Two things wrong with this thinking, it’s not just 1 or 2 abnormally good player seasons, its quite a few years worth of player seasons we are talking about. Secondly, the problem of direct extrapolation is not confined to abnormally good seasons, it overly taxes abnormally poor seasons as well. People who disagree have asked, “what are we going to do if some day they increase the regular season to 250 games, do we need to adjust all the seasons with only 154 or 162 games”. The answer of course is yes. The more games played in a season, the smaller the differential between a particular player’s actual skill level and the level reported in a shorter season. A lifetime 300 hitter doesn’t get 3 hits every 10 times up, he get 3000 hits every 10,000 times up, otherwise he’d hit exactly 300 every year.

I have read on more than one occasion in these pages, writers applauding the amazing year Levi Meyerly had in 1871. It was a great season, but it was only 26 games and 130 ab’s. He hit .492 !!!!! The following season (27 games, 146 ab’s) he hit .329. Let’s look at his first 4 n.a. seasons;

Games……………..AB’s………….Hits…………….Ave

26………………….130……………64……………….492
27………………….146……………48……………….329
48………………….238……………53……………….349
53………………….253…………...102……………....403
Total

154………………..767…………….267………………347

That looks a lot like one really good season to me. Only 7 walks give him 774 PA. That’s a lot, but there were a lot of very high scoring games back then

His next 3 seasons;

Games……………..AB………………Hits…………….Ave

75………………….300………………96……………….320
76………………….256………………87……………….340
77………………….107………………35……………….327

Total

228………………...663………………218………………329

At that point, with the exception of a 3 game comeback at 39 years old, Levi was done.

He was in fact a 335 hitter in an era when 335 was not particularly spectacular. He played the equivalent of 2 ½ years of recorded baseball, and the anomaly of his 1871 season is actually a very good start to his first season. He was hitting 492 as of the middle of May, but as normally happens his average dropped off to 347 by the end of the year.
.

Posted 9:37 p.m., August 18, 2003 (#113) - Mark McKinniss
  Also, no one has ever said that 1871 was the greatest collection of individual seasons ever. Even without regressing that's not true.

No one's said it, but the adjWS numbers are higher than one would otherwise expect.

Why are you using a one-game example, of course you have to regress more than 5% for one-game. I was talking about 60-70 game seasons.

To show that the shorter the season, the more you have to regress, and that you have to regress from the top and the bottom.

Also correct me if I'm wrong, but the replacement is usually set to a standard winning percentage, something like .300, .325, .350 etc.

Yeah, I'd like someone to chime in on this one as well. I knew that there was generally a set wpct, but I think that where that line would be would change based on the characteristics of the season's data set.


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All Time Negro Leagues All-Stars (121 - 9:48am, Oct 8)

1910 Results - Galvin Elected (33 - 9:00am, Oct 6)

Get together in Arlington, VA today (0 - 11:45am, Oct 4)

The Hall of Merit Plaque Room (49 - 6:26pm, Sep 30)

1910 Ballot Discussion (159 - 11:06am, Sep 30)

1909 Election Results - Delahanty Elected in Landslide (30 - 3:47pm, Sep 23)

Entries are in descending order of most recent post. Unread posts may be light blue.
Full Archive.

The Hall of Merit Sidebar (netscape 6)

Weblogs

An incomplete listing of baseball weblogs. Let me know if I'm missing one and we'll add. I hope you'll add clutch hits to yours as well.

Clutch Hits
Game Chatter
Transaction Oracle
Primate Studies
Sox Therapy
Sean's Outside the Box
Hall of Merit
Al's Baseball Tidbits
Jim's Lab Notes


Big Bad Baseball
Aaron's Baseball Blog
Ducksnort's(Padres)
Google News:Baseball
Lycos News:Baseball
Futility Infielder
AstrosDaily
Trade Rumors
Pappas' Business of Baseball
Rich's Baseball BEAT
BaseballJunkie.Net
Baseball News
U.S.S. Mariner
Dan Lewis
Braves Journal
Minor Braves
No Pepper
Baseball Crank
Bravos Fan.com
ExposNet
Diamond Science
Steal Home
Indian's Report
EEEEEE (giants)
Replacement Level Yankee
Dodger Place
Batter's Box
Baseball 19 to 21
Baseball Writing
Baseball Talk
Eisenberg Sports
Diario del Cardenales
Mike's Baseball Rants
BaseballTruth.com
The Polo Grounds
Rookies Report
Digressions on Baseball
Sport&Nation
Musings From RSN
For Richer or Sporer
Only Baseball Matters
Newburg's BBall Page
Joy of Sox
Twins Geek
the dump's sportslog
Bryan's Baseball Banter
Baseball Musings
Uncouth Sloth
Julien's Baseball Blog
Mugs' Thoughts
The Cub Reporter
Cub Rants
The Clark & Addison Chron.
Northside Lounge
The [Untitled] Cubs Page
Bleed Cardinal Red
Baseballs and Redbirds
Dodger Thoughts
Dodger Blues
Gregg's Baseball
The BirdHouse (cards)
GrooveSwitch.com
Boston Blog Sox
Royalties
Diamond Angle
STICKandMOVE
The Eddie Kranepool Society
Angels News and Views
Darn Sox
(white) Sox News
Blue Jay Way
Mostly Baseball
Buck and a Half
Waiting for Boof
Zito Forever
@theBallpark
Pythag. Projections

Baseball Blogs Sidebar (netscape 6)





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