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Thread: AG2004's Keltner Lists

  1. #76

    Perucho Cepeda

    [NOTE: The following was originally posted on May 26, 2006, which was before I started to post Keltner Lists. Since I did not want to do the work of rearranging the post into a Keltner List, I left it as it was, except for some minor changes reflecting BBFHOF elections since the date of the original post and a question posed in May 2006. Cepeda was elected into the BBFHOF on November 9, 2007.]

    More information on Perucho Cepeda, a shortstop (and, in his 30s, outfielder) from Puerto Rico. Cepeda had offers to play for Black ballclubs in the United States, but the combination of his temper and the racism in the United States led him to reject the offers. Since there was some racism in Cuba during that time as well, he may have turned down the chance to play in Cuba for the same reason.

    From 1938 until 1942 - the first five seasons for which we have statistics for Cepeda - he accomplished the following in the Puerto Rican Winter League against some of the top talent from the Negro Leagues:

    Won two MVPs
    Won two batting titles and finished third twice
    Won three RBI titles and finished second once
    Was second in HR once
    Led in triples once and was third once
    Was third in runs scored once and fourth twice


    The people at baseballthinkfactory have come up with major league equivalents for pre-integration Puerto Rican legends Francisco Coimbre and Perucho Cepeda, both of whom would appear to be HOF candidates based on their reputations. Based on the projections alone, Coimbre doesn’t seem quite worthy of the BBFHOF, so I won't mention him any futher here. However, these are the win shares produced for Cepeda:

    1938 (Age 32) 36
    1939 (Age 33) 26
    1940 (Age 34) 31
    1941 (Age 35) 20
    1942 (Age 36) 13
    1943 (Age 37) 1

    Unfortunately, we have no statistics whatsoever for Puerto Rico prior to 1938. We do know, however, that Cepeda played professionally around the Caribbean for at least a decade before 1938, and he was called “The Babe Ruth of Puerto Rico” for being the best baseball player on the island.

    Looking at what he did from age 32 onwards, and knowing that he played on the 1937 Ciudad Trujillo team in the Dominican Republic, it seems reasonable to assume that Cepeda would have racked up the equivalent of four or five seasons with 30+ win shares during his career, which is certainly BBFHOF territory. No eligible major leaguer with five such seasons is outside the BBFHOF. Of those with four such seasons, only Charlie Keller, Jimmy Wynn, and Bobby Bonds are outside the BBFHOF. All three were outfielders; Cepeda, however, was a shortstop during his prime. Furthermore, Cepeda had a full career (Keller didn't), and had a great reputation (Wynn didn't).

    [For those who are curious, every eligible major leaguer at 2B, 3B, or SS with three 30+ win share seasons is currently in the BBFHOF. There are only two eligible major league shortstops with two 30+ win share seasons not in the BBFHOF as players: Hughie Jennings and Vern Stephens. Jennings, however, has been elected as a contributor. It is extremely likely that Cepeda had at least three MVP-type seasons, and fits into this group of infielders at defensive positions as well.]

    -----

    Also, it seems reasonable to assume that Cepeda would have earned at least 40 win shares total at ages 30 and 31, and would have averaged at least 22 win shares per season from ages 24 to 31. Given his reputation before the PRWL and its detailed record-keeping started, and the fact that Trujillo hired him for his own personal team in the 1937 Dominican league, we know that he wasn't a late bloomer. As we do have MLEs for Cepeda from age 32 onwards, this assumption would most likely underestimate his real ability. This would give Cepeda at least 303 career win shares, at least 133 win shares in his best five seasons, and at least 93 win shares in his best three seasons. Since I'm being very conservative in setting these minimums, he was most likely better than that.

    Now, these shortstops are in the BBFHOF:

    Barry Larkin. 346 career WS, 130 in best five seasons, 32, 31, 30 in best three seasons.

    Ozzie Smith. 326 career WS, 123 in best five seasons, 33, 25, 23 in best three seasons.

    Alan Trammell. 318 career WS, 132 in best five seasons, 35, 29, 26 in best three seasons.

    Pee Wee Reese. 314 career WS plus war credit, 134 in best five seasons, 32, 27, 26 in best three seasons.

    Lou Boudreau. 277 career WS, 135 in best five seasons, 34, 32, 30 in best three seasons.

    Thus, in all probability, Perucho Cepeda was at least the equal of fellow shortstops Larkin, Smith, Trammell, Reese, and Boudreau, all of whom are members of the BBFHOF. Do we have all the statistics to make this absolutely certain? Unfortunately not. But the statistics we do have for Cepeda, as well as the reputation Cepeda had before he compiled our available numbers, lead me to believe that Cepeda belongs in the BBFHOF.
    Last edited by AG2004; 11-12-2007 at 12:19 PM.

  2. #77

    Side Issue for Rafael Palmeiro

    [NOTE: The following deals with issues arising from Rafael Palmeiro's drug use. It includes both my post and the post by Jim Albright that inspired my response. Jim Albright posted the following on November 3, 2006.]

    Quote Originally Posted by jalbright

    Here are some things that bug me about Rafael Palmeiro, beyond his obviously hypocritical sanctimony when testifying before Congress:

    1) He was caught juicing. There's no doubt about it. The only question is how far back did it go?

    2) The ads for an ED drug certainly do nothing to dispel the idea he could have been juicing earlier.

    3) Look at what he did after age 32 (the 1997 season): 2 of his 4 all star appearances (a poor total even with the two late-career selections), 42.5% of his MVP shares (another subpar by HOF career effort of 187th best all time, given that the award wasn't given out much before the 1920's), and over 40% of his gray ink.

    I know there's flaws in similarity scores, but watch how his lists change in 1996-99:

    rank 1996-age 31 1997-age 32 1998-age 33 1999-age 34
    1 Will Clark Will Clark Shawn Green Orlando Cepeda
    2 Kent Hrbek Shawn Green Billy Williams Billy Williams
    3 Billy Williams Billy Williams Orlando Cepeda Eddie Murray
    4 John Olerud Kent Hrbek Eddie Murray Jim Rice
    5 Don Mattingly Dave Winfield Dave Winfield Jeff Bagwell
    6 Steve Garvey John Olerud Greg Luzinski Gary Sheffield
    7 Shawn Green Don Mattingly John Olerud Fred McGriff
    8 Garret Anderson Harold Baines C. Yastrzemski Dave Winfield
    9 Hal Trosky Andre Dawson Andre Dawson Duke Snider
    10 Ted Kluszewski Greg Luzinski Will Clark Will Clark

    It looks to me like he may well have started juicing around 1998, when he went from the company of generally good but not great players to more consistently great players. It's really unusual to do that at the age he did, which is why I am so suspicious he started then.

    I prefer to give guys a break on the steroid suspicion bit, but my sense is that once we've got proof the player did it, then it's on the player to prove he was clean when these unusual jumps in production arise. Since Raffy's credibility is deservedly in the toilet, he can't do that for me. I don't think I could ever support his candidacy.

    Jim Albright
    [I thought about this, and then wrote the following on November 4, 2006.]

    However, temporarily taking over the role of Beelzebub's lawyer, we could point out the following:

    From his peak onwards, Palmeiro was playing in modern baseball's most offensive era ever. This might boost his performance in similarity scores. He received further boosts when he moved to Baltimore in 1994 (the league OPS, adjusted for parks, increased by 63 points), and again when he moved to Texas and its new ballpark in 1999 (the park-adjusted league OPS jumped by 35 points).

    Let's look at Harry Hooper. Most of his career highs in raw numbers came after he reached the age of 32. At the age of 30, Hooper's most comparable players were Max Carey, George Case, Clyde Milan, Tommy Dowd, George Burns, Willie Wilson, Rick Manning, Curt Welch, Jimmy Wolf, and Duff Cooley. At the age of 36, the list for Hooper would be Max Carey, Tommy Leach, Tim Raines, Fred Clarke, Lou Brock, Willie Wilson, George Van Haltren, Tom Brown, Stan Hack, and Joe Judge.

    I doubt that Hooper was doing business with the 1920s version of BALCO. Hooper's numbers and similarity scores benefited from the fact that his offensive context was going up faster than his ability was going down.

    Now, we have the following win shares for Palmeiro by age:

    25 - 22
    26 - 26
    27 - 24
    28 - 31
    29 - 24 (adjusted to 162-game schedule)
    30 - 24 (adjusted to 162-game schedule)
    31 - 31
    32 - 18
    33 - 24
    34 - 31
    35 - 23
    36 - 25
    37 - 19

    The 1998 season would be when he was 33. The low number in 1997 could conceivably be a blip instead of evidence of a decline.

    In reality, I don't believe that Palmeiro started using steroids sometime around 1998. I think Palmeiro started using them in late 1992 or during spring training 1993. For one thing, that's when Jose Canseco started to play for the Texas Rangers, and Canseco claimed that he introduced Palmeiro to "better living through chemistry" while they were teammates. In addition, 1993 is the season when Palmeiro's ability to hit home runs suddenly jumped up. Through the age of 27, Palmeiro's career high in HR was 26. In the 11 seasons from the age of 28 until the age of 38, Palmeiro hit fewer than 37 HRs only once (but his 23 HRs in 1994 project to 33 HRs over a 162-game schedule).

    I believe the advantage Palmeiro gained from steroids is even larger than Albright has estimated. That's why I can't vote for Palmeiro, either.

  3. #78

    Rafael Palmeiro

    [Originally posted on July 8, 2007. Updated January 8, 2008, to reflect similarity scores.]

    A few months ago, I posted something on Rafael Palmeiro. When I was compiling my Keltner List thread, I noticed that the post dealt with Palmeiro’s drug use. To fill in the rest of the details, I created this Keltner List.

    If Palmeiro had been clean, I would have had no problem putting him on my ballot. But, as he failed a drug test, we know he used performance-enhancing substances. Since the available evidence leads me to believe that he would not have reached a level of performance worthy of the BBFHOF had he not used such substances, I have to leave him off of my ballot.

    Case to Consider: PALMEIRO, Rafael

    1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

    No.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    According to the win shares method, Palmeiro was the best position player on his team four times: 1993, 1995, 1998, and 1999.

    3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

    He led AL 1B in win shares in 1991 and 1996 (leading all MLB 1B in the latter year), and was second in the AL in 1998. Although he finished third among AL 1B in win shares in 1993, he did have more win shares than any NL 1B. As a DH in 1999, he led all AL 1B/DH in win shares.

    4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

    Baltimore wouldn’t have won the wildcard in 1996 had Palmeiro finished with just 20 win shares. But, as Texas ran away with the division in 1999, and Palmeiro didn’t do much in any postseason series, I would say no.

    5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?

    He did play regularly past his prime. However, I don’t know how much of that was due to ability, and how much of it was due to the use of substances banned during Palmeiro’s final four years of play.

    6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

    Not necessarily. His 396 career win shares are more than any previously eligible player outside the BBFHOF; the leaders among players outside the BBFHOF are Darrell Evans (364), Rusty Staub (358), and Lou Whitaker (351). But career isn’t the only thing I go by, and there is good reason to believe that he wouldn’t even by in the lead in career win shares without the aid of chemicals.

    7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?

    By similarity scores: Frank Robinson, Eddie Murray, Dave Winfield, Reggie Jackson, Mel Ott, Ken Griffey Jr., Al Kaline, Fred McGriff, Carl Yastrzemski, and Harold Baines. Seven are in Cooperstown, while eight are in the BBFHOF, and Griffey is still active.

    Career WS, 1B: Willie McCovey 408, PALMEIRO 396, Cap Anson 381, Harmon Killebrew 371. This is definitely HOF territory.

    Best three seasons, 1B: Hank Greenberg 98, John Olerud 98, Tony Perez 96, Eddie Murray 95, Don Mattingly 95, Frank Chance 95, Bill Terry 93, Orlando Cepeda 93, Norm Cash 93, PALMEIRO 92, Hernandez 91, George Sisler 91, John Mayberry 91, Jack Fournier 91, Mickey Vernon 86, Boog Powell 87. Palmeiro is in good company, especially when you make a timeline adjustment, but it’s not a lock.

    Best five seasons: Keith Hernandez 136, George Sisler 135, Hank Greenberg 135, Dolph Camilli 135, PALMEIRO 133, Fred McGriff 132, Orlando Cepeda 130, Norm Cash 130, John Olerud 130, Gil Hodges 129, Cecil Cooper 127, Jim Bottomley 127, Jack Fournier 127. Palmeiro is in the gray area.

    8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

    Palmeiro’s black ink score of 8 is very low. However, his gray ink mark of 183 (51st place) and HOF Standards score of 57.1 (38th place) are both marks in his favor.

    Palmeiro won three Gold Gloves. However, he was worthy of four Win Shares Gold Gloves.

    9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

    The 1990s were a hitter’s era. Also, we know that Palmeiro was taking performance-enhancing substances.

    10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?

    You could make the case that Palmeiro is the best 1B outside the BBFHOF. Whether he would have been the best outside the BBFHOF had he been clean is another question.

    11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

    Palmeiro’s best finish in MVP voting was in 1999, when he finished fifth. He finished in the top ten two other times. He had three seasons with 30+ win shares, and that is generally a good sign.

    12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?

    His four All-Star appearances are very low. However, Palmeiro’s eleven seasons with 20+ win shares put him in excellent company.

    13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

    I would say no. Palmeiro did have three seasons with 30+ win shares. However, from 1992 until 2000, and given credit for games missed by the strike, Palmeiro’s yearly win share totals were:

    24, 31, 24, 24, 30, 18, 24, 31, 23.

    Any five-year period which includes two of the MVP-type seasons will also include three seasons in which he failed to get more than 24 win shares. A team whose best position player earns only 24 win shares is generally not a team that’s going to contend for the pennant. So, if you were to give Palmeiro a five-year contract during that time, you would be likely to win 40% of the time, and unlikely to win 60% of the time. The player was just too inconsistent.

    14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

    Palmeiro is ninth in career HR, tenth in career TB, fourteenth in career RBI, fifteenth in career doubles, sixteenth in career games. He has over 500 HR and 3000 hits.

    15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

    Does the word “Steroids” mean anything to you? As one wag put it, it’s no wonder he was endorsing Viagra.

    CONCLUSION: If a clean player produced this record, I wouldn’t have any problem putting him in the BBFHOF. But Palmeiro used steroids after MLB finally banned their use. Without using them from 2002 afterwards, Palmeiro might not have reached 500 HR, and he certainly wouldn’t have reached 3000 hits. His career WS total might have fallen short of 365 (every eligible major leaguer with at least 365 win shares is in the BBFHOF).

    Jose Canseco has claimed that he introduced Palmeiro to steroids in 1992; if we dock even 6% off each season from 1993 until 2004, Palmeiro would no longer have any seasons with 30+ win shares. I am all but certain that, had Palmeiro not believed in “better living through chemistry,” he would not have produced a record worthy of the BBFHOF. Therefore, I cannot put Palmeiro in my queue for the BBFHOF, let alone my ballot.
    Last edited by AG2004; 01-08-2008 at 09:35 PM.

  4. #79

    Dwight Evans

    In the last BBFHOF election, Dwight Evans was among the top vote-getters whom I had neither cast a vote for nor made a Keltner List for. Thus, I felt I ought to make a Keltner List for him.

    There was a mild surprise with this one. Just one of Jim Albright and myself feel that Evans is worthy of induction. If you looked at Evans' career and peak win share measures in the New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, you might conclude that Albright, who places more emphasis on career value, would favor Evans, and that I, who values peak more highly, would oppose Evans. The surprise is that it's the other way around.

    Since I make an adjustment for strike-shortened seasons in evaluating peak, that helps my evaluation of Evans, who had a career year in 1981. Albright doesn't have such an adjustment; he has his reasons for doing so, and I can understand his reasoning for not making the case. The decision whether or not to make such an adjustment plays a gigantic difference in evaluating Evans' peak. This may be one of the main reasons why we come to different conclusions on Evans; different methods of interpreting and using data lead to different conclusions.

    One may wonder why I mention Albright with some frequency in these introductions. For one thing, his Albright's Musings is the only other thread in the Hall of Fame section that gathers together player evaluations. However, since Albright and I agree on many things and on many players, our disagreements may highlight various issues related to evaluating players.

    Returning to Dwight Evans, here's the Keltner List I made for him.

    Case to Consider: EVANS, Dwight

    1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

    No.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    He led Red Sox position players in win shares in 1981, 1982, and 1984.

    3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

    He led all MLB right fielders in win shares in 1981 and 1982, and led all AL outfielders in win shares in 1984. He was second among AL right fielders in win shares in 1986, and second among AL first basemen in 1987.

    4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

    He recorded 24 win shares in 1986, when Boston won the division by 5.5 games. Evans also batted .300/.397/.580 with three home runs in 14 World Series games.

    5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?

    Evans was still playing in 140 games a year at the age of 37, so I would say yes.

    6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

    I don’t think he’s quite there.

    7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?

    By similarity scores: Luis Gonzalez, Chili Davis, Billy Williams, Tony Perez, Dave Parker, Darrell Evans, Al Kaline, Harold Baines, Steve Finley, and Joe Carter. This list includes three members of Cooperstown and four of the BBFHOF.

    Career WS, right fielders: Rusty Staub 358, Harry Heilmann 356, EVANS 347, Andre Dawson 340, Dave Parker 327. This is very good territory for the BBFHOF.

    Evans had 86 win shares in his three best seasons, and 122 in his five best consecutive seasons. However, I adjust for strike-shortened seasons when considering peak. This moves Evans’ totals to 99 and 133, respectively.

    Best three seasons, RF: Tony Gwynn 104, Sam Crawford 104, Pete Rose 103, Paul Waner 102, Bobby Murcer 101, Ken Singleton 101, Dave Parker 101, EVANS 99, Harry Heilmann 97, Pedro Guerrero 97, Enos Slaughter 95, Roberto Clemente 94, Bobby Bonds 94, Rocky Colavito 94, Jack Clark 94. This is generally BBFHOF territory.

    Best five consecutive seasons: Tony Gwynn 136, Johnny Callison 136, Fielder Jones 136, Roger Maris 135, Tony Oliva 134, Pedro Guerrero 134, Rocky Colavito 133, EVANS 133, Dixie Walker 133, Darryl Strawberry 133, Ross Youngs 132, Dave Winfield 132, Andre Dawson 132, Babe Herman 131, Al Kaline 130, Reggie Smith 129. This is a gray area, but the BBFHOF members here all had long careers, as did Evans.

    8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

    Evans’ Black Ink mark of 15 (149th place) is borderline, and his Gray Ink total of 113 puts him at 181st all-time, which is low; however, Evans did play in 12- and 14-team leagues, and playing in larger leagues tends to reduce ink scores. He’s at 43.4 (109th) in the HOF Standards test, which is good. Evans also won eight Gold Gloves. He didn’t earn any Win Shares Gold Gloves, but James lists only the top three outfielders per season in his Win Shares book, and that tilts the list towards center fielders.

    Evans is not in Cooperstown. However, he is a first-ballot inductee into the Hall of Merit.

    9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

    There was some boost from Fenway.

    10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?

    I would say Bobby Bonds is better, but I could make a case that Evans is the best RF outside the BBFHOF.

    11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

    Evans never won an MVP award, but he finished third in 1981, fourth in 1987, and in the top ten two other times. He had two seasons with 30+ win shares (after making an adjustment for the short season in 1981), and just missed another with 29 win shares.

    12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?

    Evans played in three All-Star games, and that’s very low for a position player. However, he had eight seasons of 20 or more win shares, and that seems to be the lower limit, so that helps.

    13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

    From 1981 to 1987, it would be likely (1986 and 1987 would be marginal without taking the DH into account).

    14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

    Not that I know of.

    15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

    As far as I have been able to determine, yes.

    CONCLUSION: It’s very close. He has great career value, but he’s borderline on peak and the number of good seasons. His ink totals are a little low, but that’s balanced by those eight Gold Gloves and his HOF Standards score. He gets a slight boost from his World Series performances, but it’s the fact that the Hall of Merit voters made him a first-ballot elected that plays a key part in moving him off of my fence.

    To clarify this: without considering the Hall of Merit, Evans would be in at least my gray area. The HOM vote doesn't add that much to the overall case, but Evans is so close without it that it pushes him from the fence onto my queue.
    Last edited by AG2004; 04-21-2008 at 11:51 AM. Reason: clarification

  5. #80

    Fred Lynn

    According to the Discussion Thread for these Keltner Lists, Brett was curious about my feelings about several players, including Dwight Evans and Fred Lynn. I hadn't given much thought to Lynn's case, but I decided to make a Keltner List for him.

    Lynn had two Great Seasons. In both 1975 and 1979, he led all American League position players and all Major League outfielders in win shares. However, outside those two years, he just didn't do enough for me to believe that he's worthy of induction into the BBFHOF. In this respect, Lynn is similar to Lefty Grove, who also had two spectacular seasons several years apart, but didn't do enough around them for me to see him as a worthy Hall of Famer.

    Case to Consider: LYNN, Fred

    1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

    He did lead all major league players in win shares in 1979. However, if you’re looking over a period of several years, no.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    He led Red Sox position players in Win Shares in 1975, 1976, 1979, and 1989.

    3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

    He led all major league outfielders in win shares in 1975 and 1979.

    4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

    In 1975, Boston won the division by 4.5 games; Lynn, with 33 win shares, was 4.33 games above the All-Star level of play. He also played at an All-Star level in 1978, when Boston lost the playoff for the division title. He batted .611 in the 1982 ALCS and was named ALCS MVP, even though California lost the series.

    5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?

    Yes.

    6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

    No.

    7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?

    By similarity scores: Reggie Smith, Shawn Green, Bobby Bonilla, Moises Alou, Del Ennis, Paul O’Neill, George Foster, Greg Luzinski, George Hendrick, Cy Williams. None are Hall of Famers.

    Career WS, CF: Cesar Cedeno 296, Hugh Duffy 295, Brett Butler 295, Dale Murphy 294, Amos Otis 286, Kirby Puckett 281, LYNN 280, Earl Averill 280, Cy Seymour 272, Chet Lemon 265, Clyde Milan 266. This is a mixed set.

    Top three seasons: Billy Hamilton 99, Hack Wilson 98, Larry Doby 97, Dale Murphy 97, Edd Roush 96, LYNN 94, Earl Averill 93, Cesar Cedeno 93, Cy Seymour 93, Kirby Puckett 92, Mike Donlin 91, Vada Pinson 90, Roy Thomas 89. This is another mixed set.

    Best five consecutive seasons: Cesar Cedeno 140, Richie Ashburn 137, Cy Seymour 137, Vada Pinson 137, Kirby Puckett 136, Edd Roush 136, Roy Thomas 133, Max Carey 133, LYNN 131, Clyde Milan 130, Jimmy Ryan 129, Earle Combs 127, Ginger Beaumont 127, Eric Davis 125, Dom DiMaggio 124, Brett Butler 124. Lynn is at the cutoff area.

    8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

    Lynn’s Black Ink mark of 15 is 148th overall. However, the gray ink score of 69 is only 350th. He is at 214th in HOF Standards, at 32.9. Lynn doesn’t make it here.

    Lynn won four Gold Gloves, and earned three Win Shares Gold Gloves.

    9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

    Fenway really helped him. In his two MVP-type seasons, we have the following splits:

    1975: Home .368/.451/.609; Road .294/.347/.523
    1979: Home .386/.470/.798; Road .276/.371/.461

    10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?

    No.

    11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

    He was the MVP in 1975, and finished fourth in the voting in 1979. He led all AL position players in win shares in both of those seasons. However, those were the only two seasons when Lynn had 30+ win shares.

    12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?

    Lynn was an All-Star nine times, which is a good sign. However, his six seasons of 20+ win shares is low for a Hall of Famer.

    13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

    I doubt it; Lynn was too inconsistent.

    14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

    He is the only player to have hit a grand slam in an All-Star Game.

    15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

    As far as I know.

    CONCLUSION: Lynn had two Great Seasons. But two Great Seasons does not a Hall of Famer make. He needed to do more in other seasons to be worthy of such an honor.

  6. #81

    Dobie Moore

    [NOTE: Originally posted on July 26, 2007. Moore was elected into the BBFHOF in the January 11, 2008 election.]

    I recently received a request to do some evaluations for some Negro Leaguers. I decided to start with a post tonight on Dobie Moore.

    However, Moore's evaluation features one complicating feature.

    Dobie Moore joined the U.S. Army’s 25th Infantry Wreckers in 1916, and played with the team until he was released in July 1920. The 25th Infantry recruited Moore specifically to play baseball for their team. Unfortunately, we don’t have any statistics for Moore’s years with the team.

    A good Caucasian baseball player of the era would have seen organized leagues as being preferable to Army ball. However, there were no organized Negro Leagues until the early 1920s, so an African-American ballplayer might have seen Army ball as being as good a career choice as playing with a top civilian ballclub.

    The Wreckers regularly played and defeated top competition on the West Coast, including a number of Pacific Coast League clubs. Furthermore, Moore, Bullet Joe Rogan, and Heavy Johnson were immediate stars when they left the Army in 1920 and joined the Kansas City Monarchs; several other Wreckers were everyday regulars with other Negro League teams. This indicates that the Wreckers were the equal of the top civilian Black baseball teams of the East and Midwest. As discrimination would cause some players to join the Army instead of civilian clubs – remember that Moore and others were recruited into the army specifically to play for the 25th Infantry’s baseball team – African-Americans who played on military ballclubs should get credit for their years in the army.

    Case to Consider: MOORE, Dobie

    1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

    No.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    Moore seems to have been the best position player on the Kansas City Monarchs from the time he joined the team in July 1920 until his career ended in 1926.

    3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

    According to Chris Cobb’s projections, Moore would have had more win shares than any major league shortstop in 1920 (with credit for his time with the Wreckers), 1922, 1923, 1924, and 1925. He might have been better than any NL shortstop in 1919. Moore was the best shortstop in baseball from 1919 until his career ended in the middle of 1926.

    4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

    Moore’s Kansas City Monarchs won the National Negro League Pennant in 1923, 1924, and 1925. Moore batted .300 in the 1924 Black World Series (the first such series), and .364 in the 1925 Black World Series, so he was a good player in the postseason.

    5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?

    Moore’s career came to a sudden end during the 1926 season, when he fractured a leg while jumping out of a hotel window during a shooting incident whose details are not entirely clear. Since Moore didn’t have any type of decline phase, this question can’t help us much.

    6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

    There are better players than Moore outside the BBFHOF.

    7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?

    We can’t apply similarity scores here. However, Chris Cobb has produced MLEs for a number of Negro League players, including Moore. Moore projects to 143 win shares during his five best consecutive seasons and to 96 win shares during his best three seasons. However, due to a lack of data, Cobb does not have MLEs for Moore’s stint with the Wreckers.

    Giving Moore credit for his years with the Wreckers, he would finish with somewhere around 230 to 250 career win shares. Comparable shortstops include: Maury Wills 253, Dick Bartell 252, Roger Peckinpaugh 239, Donie Bush 232, Jay Bell 232, Al Dark 226. These are not Hall of Famers.

    Best five consecutive seasons, SS: Cal Ripken Jr. 145, Robin Yount 144, MOORE 143, Ernie Banks 143, Luke Appling 141. This is Hall of Fame territory.

    Best three seasons, SS: Joe Cronin 102, Lou Boudreau 96, MOORE 96, Ernie Banks 96, Barry Larkin 93, Vern Stephens 93, Alan Trammell 90. With the exception of Stephens, this is BBFHOF territory.

    8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

    We don’t have any solid information. However, Moore led the California Winter League in hits and triples in the 1920/21 season. He dominated the CWL in the 1924/25 season, leading in hits, doubles, triples, home runs, batting average, and slugging percentage. Moore was also considered a top-flight defensive shortstop during his prime.

    While Moore is not in Cooperstown, he is in the Hall of Merit.

    9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

    Cobb’s MLEs do not take Moore’s California Winter League play into account. Given what Moore did in the 1924/25 CWL, Cobb’s MLEs for the 1924 and 1925 seasons may be too low – and Moore’s best season, according to the projections, was 1924.

    10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?

    I would rate Perucho Cepeda ahead of Moore. However, Moore has the highest well-documented peak of any shortstop outside the BBFHOF (information for Cepeda and Dickey Pearce is limited), so one could make the case for Moore.

    11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

    We have no MVP awards for Moore’s era. However, Cobb projects Moore as having three seasons with 30+ win shares, which is a good sign. Most position players with at three such seasons are either Hall of Famers or top candidates, and all major league shortstops with at least three such seasons are in the BBFHOF.

    According to Cobb’s projections, Moore would have had more win shares than any AL position player in 1922, and more shares than any NL position player in 1923. Moore would also have finished second among NL position players in win shares in 1922 and 1924.

    12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?

    It’s hard to tell. Moore projects to 20+ win shares each season from 1921 to 1925. Giving him a full season of major league play in 1920, he reaches the All-Star-type level as well. He might have had such seasons in 1918 and 1919 as well. Seven such seasons is a little low; eight is the cut-off. However, Moore was playing at an All-Star level when he had the leg fracture in 1926.

    Holway credits Moore with six All-Star seasons, which is low; however, since Holway has no data for Moore’s time with the Army team, he could not name Moore to such teams in 1918 or 1919.

    13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

    I have no doubts that a team with Moore as its best player could be likely to win the pennant.

    14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

    Moore had the best career batting average in the California Winter League, a competition that included some Negro Leaguers, a few Major Leaguers, and many Pacific Coast League players, among others.

    15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

    Moore’s career ended with the shooting incident that resulted in his leg fracture.

    CONCLUSION: Moore’s career is short. Among twentieth-century MLB position players in the BBFHOF, the lowest career win share totals are Joe Gordon’s 242 (but Gordon gets three years of war credit), Ralph Kiner’s 242, and Albert Belle’s 245. On the other hand, Moore did have three MVP-candidate-type seasons (a huge positive in my book) and, counting his years with the Wreckers, he either had enough good seasons to satisfy me, or was very close to doing so. Moore was also among baseball’s top five position players between 1922 and mid-1926. That’s enough to balance my worries about Moore’s career length. In the end, Dobie Moore is worthy of the BBFHOF.
    Last edited by AG2004; 01-20-2008 at 02:32 PM.

  7. #82

    Larry Doyle

    [NOTE: Originally posted on July 26, 2007. Doyle was elected to the BBFHOF on February 1, 2008.]

    Doyle has drawn some support in recent BBFHOF elections, so I thought I would draw up a Keltner List for him.

    Case to Consider: DOYLE, Larry

    1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

    No, but there were some who thought he was the best player in the National League.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    While the Giants’ best player was somebody named Christy Mathewson, Doyle led the Giants’ position players in win shares in 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, and 1915.

    3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

    He was the best second baseman in the National League during his playing days. He led NL 2B in win shares in 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1915, 1916, and 1917. He had only 18 win shares in 1917, which means he led more or less by default; someone had to be the best 2B in the NL that year.

    However, Doyle was named to Baseball Magazine’s All-NL team just twice, in 1911 and 1915.

    4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

    Hard to tell. The Giants won by 7.5 games in 1911, 10 games in 1912, and 12.5 games in 1913, so no one player could have had much of an impact. Doyle batted .304/.360/.522 in the 1911 World Series, but the Giants lost anyway.

    5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?

    He probably could have played a few more years in the majors. However, he retired from the majors at 33 to become a player-manager in the minors.

    6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

    No.

    7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?

    By similarity scores, the ten most similar players were Edgar Renteria, Jason Kendall, Del Pratt, Lou Boudreau, Chuck Knoblauch, Jack Glasscock, Eric Young, Tom Daly, Mark Grudzielanek, and Deacon McGuire. However, Doyle’s lifetime OPS+ of 126 is vastly superior to that of anybody else on the list. Boudreau leads the group of ten at 120, while nobody else is above 112.

    Lifetime WS, 2B: Willie Randolph 312, Nellie Fox 304, Billy Herman 298, DOYLE 289, Bobby Doerr 281, Johnny Evers 268. Among BBFHOF 2B, he’s ahead of only Joe Gordon, Bobby Doerr, and Jackie Robinson, all of whom lost time to WWII (and Robinson also lost time due to racial segregation).

    Top three seasons, 2B: Rod Carew 99, Frankie Frisch 96, Bobby Grich 92, Chuck Knoblauch (adjusted for season length) 91, Billy Herman 90, DOYLE 90, Nellie Fox 88, Eddy Stanky 85, Joe Gordon 85, Johnny Evers 82, Bobby Avila 82. Doyle is at the cut-off area.

    Top five consecutive seasons: Chuck Knoblauch (adjusted for strike) 136, Frankie Frisch 135, Billy Herman 135, Joe Gordon 134, Roberto Alomar 131, DOYLE 130, Nellie Fox 128, Bobby Doerr 127, Bobby Avila 124. Doyle is around the cutoff line here.


    8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

    Doyle is at 13 in black ink (176th), and 138 (113rd) in gray ink. The gray ink mark is good, and the black ink number is acceptable for a second baseman. However, his 26.9 HOF Standards Score is low; it’s only 356th all-time. Doyle never won a Win Shares Gold Glove.

    Doyle is in neither Cooperstown nor the Hall of Merit. However, he is in the BBF Timeline HOF.

    9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

    Can you say deadball era?

    10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?

    No; I would rank Cupid Childs higher.

    11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

    Doyle won the Chalmers Award in 1912, and finished third in 1911. He had one season with 30+ win shares, which is low. However, he had another season with 29 win shares.

    12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?

    The All-Star game started after Doyle’s retirement. However, Doyle’s eight seasons of 20+ win shares put him on the borderline.

    13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

    At his peak, it would be likely.

    14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

    Not that I know of.

    15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

    Before the first game of the 1919 season, Doyle was involved in a fight at a Cincinnati hotel in which he punched out a fan.

    CONCLUSION: Doyle seems like a borderline case. He’s not outstanding in either career or peak, but he’s near the BBFHOF boundary in both. Although he was the best 2B in the National League during the 1910s, he’s borderline at best in many of the categories I put the most weight on, and his peers didn’t consider him as great year-in and year-out. In the end, Doyle falls just a little short of making my queue.

    [Added on January 3, 2008: While Doyle's offensive record does look impressive for someone at his position, 3B was actually a more important defensive position than 2B prior to the 1920s. In the Win Shares book, Bill James also gives Doyle a grade of "C" for his defensive play. If one were to overrate Doyle's defense, either by the assumption that the defensive spectrum did not shift with the introduction of the home run as an important offensive threat, or by simplifying matters by figuring that the defensive values of 2B are pretty much all the same, it would lead one to think that Doyle was worthy of honors.]
    Last edited by AG2004; 02-05-2008 at 09:09 AM.

  8. #83

    Jim Bottomley

    Among the players who received two votes in the last election are several that left me puzzled. There are many players for whom I can see reasonable arguments for putting into the BBFHOF, even if I don’t agree with those arguments. Those I understand. However, I can’t even imagine reasons for voting for several of the players listed. I’ll give Keltner Lists for two of those players today.

    The first belongs to Jim Bottomley, who is widely considered one of the mistakes made by Frisch’s Veterans Committee.

    Case to Consider: BOTTOMLEY, Jim

    1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

    No.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    He never led the Cardinals’ position players in win shares.

    3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

    He led NL 1B in win shares in 1926 and 1928, but that’s all. He was never the best first baseman in the majors.

    4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

    In 1926 and 1928, both years when the Cardinals won the pennant by 2 games, Bottomley won 23 and 30 win shares, respectively. So he had some impact.

    5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?

    Yes, he was.

    6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

    No.

    7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?

    By similarity scores: Joe Medwick, Will Clark, Don Mattingly, Cecil Cooper, John Olerud, Hal McRae, Kirby Puckett, Mark Grace, Al Oliver, and Enos Slaughter. Three of these players are in Cooperstown, and four in the BBFHOF.

    By career win shares, 1B: Bill Terry 278, Joe Judge 278, Ron Fairly 269, Mark Grace 268, Don Mattingly 263, Gil Hodges 263, Jake Daubert 263, BOTTOMLEY 258, Wally Joyner 253, Fred Tenney 249, Joe Kuhel 243, Cecil Cooper 241. This is not HOF territory.

    By best three seasons: Boog Powell 87, Mickey Vernon 86, Dolph Camilli 85, Bob Watson 85, Steve Garvey 84, BOTTOMLEY 83, Ted Kluszewski 82, Roy Sievers 81, Frank McCormick 81, Gil Hodges 80, Phil Cavarretta 80, Elbie Fletcher 80, Ed Konetchy 80, Hal Trosky 80, Rudy York 79, Harry Davis 78, Bill White 77, Mark Grace 77. This is definitely not HOF territory.

    By five consecutive seasons: Orlando Cepeda 130, John Olerud 130, Norm Cash 130, Gil Hodges 129, Jack Fournier 127, BOTTOMLEY 127, Cecil Cooper 127, Ted Kluszewski 125, Steve Garvey 124, Bob Watson 123. Generally, this is not HOF territory, either.

    8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

    He ranks 100th in both black ink (21) and 98th in gray ink (145), which is a positive. His HOF Standards score is 42.0 (121st overall).

    Bottomley is in Cooperstown, but not the Hall of Merit.

    9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

    He played in Sportsman’s Park, a hitter’s paradise, during a high-offense era.

    10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?

    Not by a long shot.

    11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

    He won the NL MVP award in 1928. However, he had just the one season with 30+ win shares.

    12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?

    The All-Star game didn’t start until after Bottomley’s peak. However, his six seasons of 20+ win shares are a poor sign; a position player at that level needs a high peak and multiple seasons with 30+ win shares.

    13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

    With Bottomley recording just three seasons of 25 or more win shares, it would not be likely.

    14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

    He set the major-league record for RBIs in a single game, with 12.

    15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

    As far as I know.

    CONCLUSION: The Veteran’s Committee inducted a lot of undeserving players into Cooperstown in the early 1970s. Bottomley’s top positives are in the standard similarity scores and in the ink tests – but he benefits in the similarity scores by his era, and in the ink tests by his own park. Otherwise, there isn’t much in his record to indicate that he’s worthy of the BBFHOF. Although he was better than he is usually given credit for, Bottomley is one of the Veteran’s Committee’s mistakes.
    Last edited by AG2004; 03-31-2008 at 11:17 AM.

  9. #84

    Al Oliver

    The other list I’m posting today is for Al Oliver. I’m also puzzled by the votes for Baines and Galarraga, but I’ll probably leave those for another day.

    Case to Consider: OLIVER, Al

    1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

    Not by a long shot.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    Oliver never led his team’s position players in win shares.

    3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

    No. Oliver was sixth among National League outfielders in win shares in 1974, and that was the only year he was among his league’s top six outfielders in that category. He was also second in win shares among NL first basemen in 1982.

    4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

    Not that much. With the exception of 1974, when Oliver recorded 26 win shares and the Pirates won the division by just 1.5 games, Pittsburgh’s division titles during Oliver’s years with the team were always won by at least 5 games.

    5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?

    Yes; he was a regular with Montreal at the age of 36.

    6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

    No.

    7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?

    By similarity scores, the most comparable players to Oliver are Steve Garvey, Bill Buckner, Mickey Vernon, Vada Pinson, Mark Grace, Dave Parker, Zack Wheat, Roberto Clemente, Joe Medwick, and Enos Slaughter. Five of the ten are in the BBFHOF – but none of the five most similar to Oliver are in.

    By career win shares at CF, we have: Willie Davis 322, Vada Pinson 321, Edd Roush 314, OLIVER 305, Jimmy Wynn 305, Cesar Cedeno 296, Dale Murphy 294, Amos Otis 286, Kirby Puckett 281, Earl Averill 280. This is the gray area.

    By peak three seasons, we have: Dom DiMaggio 80, Willie Wilson 79, Curt Flood 78, Willie McGee 77, OLIVER 75, Andy Pafko 75, Dode Paskert 75, Paul Blair 74, Chet Lemon 74, Lloyd Waner 72, Rick Monday 71. This is not BBFHOF territory.

    By best five consecutive seasons, there are: Curt Flood 120, Willie Davis 119, Ray Lankford 114, OLIVER 114, Matty Alou 112, Lenny Dykstra 111, Lloyd Waner 110, Chick Stahl 110, Chet Lemon 109, Willie Wilson 109. None of these people are in the BBFHOF.

    8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

    His black ink score is 16 (139th), his gray ink score is 127 (140th), and his HOF Standards score is 39.7 (148th), all marginal at best. He won no Gold Gloves, but earned one Win Share Gold Glove.

    Oliver is in neither Cooperstown nor the Hall of Merit.

    9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

    Oliver had a habit of hitting into double plays. He finished with 219 career home runs, but 254 career GIDP.

    10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?

    Not by a long shot.

    11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

    Oliver finished third in the 1982 MVP vote, and finished in the top ten two other times. However, according to win shares, he was never close to having an MVP-type season; he never had more than 26 win shares in any given year.

    12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?

    He was a member of 7 All-Star teams, which is a little low, but had 9 seasons with at least 20 win shares, which is a good sign.

    13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

    I don’t think so. There were always a couple of players on the Pirates who were better than Oliver during the team’s glory years; if you were to reduce them to Oliver’s level, the team would struggle. Oliver had just two seasons with more than 23 win shares, and they came eight years apart.

    14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

    He is one of the few major leaguers to have recorded three errors in a single inning of play.

    15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

    As far as I know.

    CONCLUSION: The evidence is overwhelming. Oliver is nowhere close to being worthy of the BBFHOF.
    Last edited by AG2004; 01-02-2008 at 06:04 PM. Reason: HOF Standards Score standings changed

  10. #85

    George Van Haltren

    I recently received a request for a Keltner List for Jimmy Ryan. Since Ryan and Van Haltren were so similar, I decided to create a list for Van Haltren while I was at it.

    Haltren's case is complicated by the fact that most of his value in three different seasons came as a pitcher (1887, 1888, and 1890); about 41 of his 344 career win shares came as a pitcher. For those seasons, I did not make my usual schedule adjustment for nineteenth-century position players (140 games prior to 1890; 154 games from 1890 onwards). Instead of 20+ and 30+ win share seasons for the All-Star and MVP-candidate cutoffs, I compared Van Haltren to other pitchers.

    [NOTE: George Van Haltren was elected to the BBFHOF on September 28, 2007.]

    Case to Consider: VAN HALTREN, George

    1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

    No.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    Van Haltren led his team’s position players in win shares in 1891, 1892, 1895, and 1898.

    3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

    He led NL left fielders in win shares in 1889, and AA left fielders in 1891. He led all center fielders in win shares in 1898, and was second in 1897. He was sixth among OF in 1893, and seventh in 1894 (when there was just one league). Although he was only eighth among NL outfielders in win shares in 1901, his total would have tied him for second among AL outfielders that year.

    4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

    He had no impact whatsoever; when he was an everyday player, his teams were at least 9 games, and often more, behind the pennant winners.

    5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?

    Yes, he was.

    6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

    No.

    7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?

    By similarity scores, he’s closest to Fred Clarke, Jimmy Ryan, Jesse Burkett, Joe Kelley, Jim O’Rourke, Willie Keeler, Edd Roush, Hugh Duffy, Kenny Lofton, and Harry Hooper. 8 are in Cooperstown, and 6 are in the BBFHOF. However, only Lofton and Hooper have a career OPS+ lower than Van Haltren’s 121.

    Adjusted career win shares, 19th-century CFs: Billy Hamilton 371, VAN HALTREN 371, Paul Hines 364, Jimmy Ryan 341. Later CFs with totals close to 371 include Joe DiMaggio 387 (without war credit), Duke Snider 3523, and Max Carey 351. This is very good company for Van Haltren.

    Adjusted peak three seasons, 1800s CF: Pete Browning 98, Jake Stenzel 89, VAN HALTREN 88, Jimmy Ryan 88, Bill Lange 87, Dummy Hoy 86, Mike Griffin 83. Later CFers with similar totals include Kirby Puckett 92, Mike Donlin 91, Vada Pinson 90, Lenny Dykstra 90, Roy Thomas 89, Andy Van Slyke 88, Clyde Milan 88, Chick Stahl 87, Ginger Beaumont 87, Richie Ashburn 86, Amos Otis 85, Max Carey 84, and Earle Combs 84. Van Haltren is on the low side here.

    Adjusted WS, five best consecutive seasons: George Gore 146, Pete Browning 143, Jimmy Ryan 135, VAN HALTREN 135, Jake Stenzel 128, Bill Lange 127. Later CFs with similar peaks include Cesar Cedeno 140, Richie Ashburn 137, Vada Pinson 137, Edd Roush 136 (without season adjustments), Kirby Puckett 136, Max Carey 133, Roy Thomas 133, Fred Lynn 131, Clyde Milan 130. Again, Van Haltren is on the low side.

    8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

    His Black Ink is at 7, which is only good for 303rd place. His Gray Ink total of 118 puts him at 165th all-time. That would be a little low until we remember that most of it came while there was just one league; he would have picked up a little more had there been two leagues, with the top players divided between each. He’s at 51.2 (65th) in HOF Standards list, however, and that is a positive. Van Haltren also earned two Win Shares Gold Gloves.

    He is in neither Cooperstown nor the Hall of Merit.

    9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

    The 1890s favored hitters, but the Polo Grounds were more pitcher-friendly back then, so the two balance each other.

    10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?

    No. George Gore is better among nineteenth-century center fielders. I also see Roush and Poles as better choices for the BBFHOF. However, if you go mainly by total career value, Van Haltren has a case.

    11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

    The MVP award was not given during Van Haltren’s career. His only season with 30+ win shares, adjusting for schedule length, was 1890, but pitching put him over the top there, and that was not a Cy Young Award-type season in 1890. However, Van Haltren comes out to 29 win shares per 154 scheduled games in 1891 and 1898.

    12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?

    Adjusting for season length, he had eleven All-Star-type seasons as a position player (none as a pitcher). Players with that many seasons are usually Hall of Famers.

    13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

    During his peak years, yes.

    14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

    He gave up 16 bases on balls in one game in 1887, which is still the major league record. Other than that, I can’t think of any major impact.

    15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

    As far as I know.

    CONCLUSION: If you go purely by career, Van Haltren has a very good case; he also has eleven All-Star-type seasons, and that is a good sign. His peak value may be a little low, but, given the type of support other players of that caliber have had during their peaks, Van Haltren would have had his team in the thick of the pennant race during his peak years had he been the best position player on his team – he was consistently in the high 20s in win shares during that time when you adjust for season length. The more I think about it, the more comfortable I am with putting Van Haltren in my queue for the BBFHOF.
    Last edited by AG2004; 11-12-2007 at 12:21 PM.

  11. #86

    Jimmy Ryan

    [NOTE: Updated on November 1, 2007.]

    The other Keltner List for today is for Jimmy Ryan.

    After adjusting for season length, Ryan and Van Haltren have similar peak value - 88 win shares in their best three seasons, and 135 in their best five consecutive seasons.

    However, Van Haltren was more consistent during his peak; after the adjustments, he comes out to 25-26-27-28-29 in his best five-year run (1894-98). He also had 30 in 1890, and 29 adjusted win shares in 1891. Ryan's best two seasons came ten years apart - 34 in 1888, and 28 in 1898. His best five-year run comes out to 34-25-26-25-25; the 28-win share season is the only one in the 1896-1900 span that comes out to 20+ win shares per 154 scheduled games. Van Haltren had more very good seasons than Ryan had. (For a more extreme version of how one great season can help in peak win shares measures, compare Norm Cash and Orlando Cepeda).

    In the end, Ryan falls short of making my queue.

    Case to Consider: RYAN, Jimmy

    1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

    No. He led all position players in win shares in 1888, but that was just for one year.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    He led his team’s position players in win shares in 1888, 1889, 1890, and 1898.

    3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

    He led major league center fielders in win shares in 1888 and 1889, and led the CFs in his league in 1887 (NL), 1890 (PL), and 1891 (NL). He was fifth among NL outfielders in win shares in 1892 and 1898.

    4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

    Of the seasons when Ryan was playing at an All-Star level, the only one where his team was in the pennant race was 1891. However, Chicago finished three games back.

    5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?

    He was able to play regularly, even after the train wreck in 1893 that was expected to end his career.

    6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

    No. I can name a number of better players outside the BBFHOF.

    7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?

    By similarity scores: George Van Haltren, Jim O’Rourke, Fred Clarke, Kenny Lofton, Kiki Cuyler, Heinie Manush, Roger Connor, Hugh Duffy, Sherry Magee, and Jesse Burkett. There are seven members of Cooperstown and seven members of the BBFHOF in this group.

    Adjusted career win shares, 19th-century CF: Billy Hamilton 371, George Van Haltren 371, Paul Hines 364, RYAN 341, Hugh Duffy 325, George Gore 322. Later CFs with about 341 win shares include Duke Snider 352, Max Carey 351, Richie Ashburn 329, Willie Davis 322, and Vada Pinson 321. Ryan is in good shape.

    Adjusted WS, best three seasons: Pete Browning 98, Jake Stenzel 89, RYAN 88, George Van Haltren 88, Bill Lange 87, Dummy Hoy 86, Mike Griffin 83. Later CFs with similar totals include Kirby Puckett 92, Mike Donlin 91, Vada Pinson 90, Lenny Dykstra 90, Roy Thomas 89, Andy Van Slyke 88, Clyde Milan 88, Chick Stahl 87, Ginger Beaumont 87, Richie Ashburn 86, Amos Otis 85, Max Carey 84, and Earle Combs 84. Ryan is a little on the low side.

    Adjusted WS, five best consecutive seasons: George Gore 146, Pete Browning 143, RYAN 135, George Van Haltren 135, Jake Stenzel 128, Bill Lange 127. Later CFs with similar peaks include Cesar Cedeno 140, Richie Ashburn 137, Vada Pinson 137, Edd Roush 136 (without season adjustments), Kirby Puckett 136, Max Carey 133, Roy Thomas 133, Fred Lynn 131, Clyde Milan 130. Ryan is a little on the low side here.

    8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

    Ryan’s Black Ink score of 12 is 190th all-time, while his Gray Ink total of 116 places him 170th all-time. Both are on the low side, especially considering that he played in hitter’s parks. Although there was just one league from 1893 onwards, Ryan's peak was before his injury in an 1893 train crash, and therefore in a multi-league era. On the other hand, he is 83rd in HOF Standards, at 48.3. He also won two Win Shares Gold Gloves.

    Ryan is in neither Cooperstown nor the Hall of Merit.

    9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

    Although the 1890s were a hitter’s era, Ryan’s best years came before the mound was moved back and batting averages went up. More to the point, though, Chicago played in a hitter’s park while Ryan was competing.

    10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?

    No. Poles, Wynn, and Berger were all better. In addition, Wilson and Browning may also be ahead of Ryan; their higher peaks and multiple MVP-candidate-type seasons would balance Ryan's career WS advantage.

    11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

    There were no MVP awards in Ryan’s era. Ryan was the best position player in baseball in 1888, according to win shares, but that was the only season where he had at least 30+ win shares after adjusting for season length.

    12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?

    There were no All-Star games at the time, but Ryan recorded eight seasons which come up to 20+ win shares after adjustments for season length. That’s the boundary area.

    13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

    Perhaps during his peak. From 1888 to 1892, Ryan comes out to at least 25 win shares per 154 scheduled games each year, but hits 25 in three of those years. That could be a little iffy.

    14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

    Not that I know of.

    15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

    Ryan punched Chicago sportswriters in 1887 and 1892, and also punched a train conductor in 1896.

    CONCLUSION: Ryan is in the gray area in career value and the number of All-Star-type seasons. However, he is low in peak, even taking the fluke season of 1888 into account, and in the number of MVP-candidate-type seasons. He falls just short of being worthy of the BBFHOF.
    Last edited by AG2004; 04-21-2008 at 11:20 AM.

  12. #87

    The Union Association

    When considering the case of Jack Glasscock, and also when evaluating the peak of Fred Dunlap (for comparison with other early second basement), I ran into the problem of Union Association statistics and league quality issues.

    This problem didn’t occur for the AA, as the American Association was actually rather good during the late 1880s. Cleveland went 50-82 in the AA in 1888. It jumped to the NL in 1889, and went 61-72. Brooklyn won the AA in 1889; jumping leagues the next year, the club also won the 1890 National League pennant. In general, the top players in the AA tended to maintain their adjusted win share totals as they entered the PL and the NL. True, the AA was in bad shape during the 1891 season. However, as most of the AA players who jumped to the PL in 1890 went to the NL in 1891, the level of play in the AA in 1891 is not reflective of the level the league had in 1888 and 1889.

    The Union Association is another matter entirely. St. Louis won the UA with a 94-19 record in 1884; it jumped into the NL in 1885 and went 36-72. Its 1885 winning percentage was only 40% of its 1884 winning percentage. Fred Dunlap, a .277 lifetime hitter in the NL, hit .412 in the UA. He had 38 win shares in the UA, and 14 win shares as a .270 batter in the NL in 1885. 15 win shares would be about 40% of Dunlap’s UA total. Jack Glasscock hit .249 in the NL in 1884, and .419 in the UA. He earned 14 win shares in 38 UA games, but only 8 win shares in 72 NL games. His win share per game total in the NL that year was only 30% of the ratio he had in the UA.

    Pitchers also took advantage of the UA. Bollicky Billy Taylor recorded 24 win shares in 260 innings in the NL in 1884, going 18-12. He went 25-4 in the UA, earning 41 win shares in 263 innings. Jim McCormick went 21-3 in the UA, for 27 win shares in 210 innings. He was 19-22 in the NL in 1884, with 26 win shares in 359 innings. For these pitchers, the win share per inning ratio in the 1884 NL was 56-59% of the same ratio in the UA.

    The UA was better than the Eastern League. Wilmington went 50-12 in the Eastern League; it jumped to the UA, losing two of its star players in the process, and went 2-16 (2-12 not counting games against St. Louis). However, Milwaukee went .604 in the Northwestern League, became a late replacement in the UA, and went 8-4. St. Paul, which had a winning percentage in the low .300s in the NWL, went 2-6 in the UA, but played St. Louis a couple of times. With the exception of St. Louis, the talent level in the UA was about equal to that of the NWL, which was the best minor league in 1884.

    For position players, I decided to treat 1 win share in the UA as being worth .4 win shares in the NL or AA. I could have treated 1 win share in the UA as being equal to .5 in the other leagues. However, after I make the schedule adjustment, the difference comes out to 4 win shares in Dunlap’s case (19 adjusted WS instead of 23); that’s the largest gap that the decision produces, and Dunlap isn’t close to the BBFHOF anyway.

    This means that, for 1884, Glasscock starts out with 8 win shares for his NL play. His fourteen win shares in the UA get multiplied by .4 to give us 5.6; that gets added to 8 to give us 13.6. Both leagues had 114-game schedules; multiplying 13.6 by 140/114 gives us 17 after rounding. Therefore, Glasscock ends up with 17 adjusted win shares for 1884.

    The UA tried to be a major league, but failed. Since its level of play was only on par with the top minor league of its day, I couldn't treat one win share in the UA as equal to one win share in the two recognized major leagues of the time. I can't eliminate UA play from players' records, so adjusting for league quality here was the best resolution I could make to this dilemma.

  13. #88

    Bid McPhee

    Bid McPhee was the top vote-getter in the previous election who was neither on my ballot nor had a Keltner List dedicated to him in this thread. Thus, I felt that I ought to produce a list for him. As Jack Glasscock was the second-highest vote getter who was neither on my ballot nor had a list, and as I mentioned in another thread that I would produce a detailed list for Ezra Sutton, several lists for nineteenth-century infielders will appear over the next few days.

    [NOTE: McPhee was elected to the BBFHOF on October 19, 2007.]

    First, the list for Bid McPhee.

    Case to Consider: McPHEE, Bid

    1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

    No.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    He led Cincinnati’s position players in win shares in 1886, 1890, 1892, and 1893.

    3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

    He led all major league second basemen in win shares in 1886, and led AA 2B in 1884. He was second among NL second basemen in win shares in 1892, 1893, 1895, and 1896 – but there was just one major league in those years. In years when there were multiple leagues, he was second among his league’s 2B in win shares in 1887, 1889, and 1890.

    4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

    No. Cincinnati won the pennant by 13 games in 1882. While the team was second in 1885 and 1887, it was more than ten games back each time.

    5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?

    Definitely. He was still the Reds’ top second baseman at the age of 39.

    6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

    Not in my opinion, and I’m having trouble seeing him as among the very best players outside the BBFHOF.

    7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?

    By similarity scores: Bill Dahlen, Herman Long, Tommy Corcoran, Tommy Leach, Bobby Wallace, Pee Wee Reese, Willie Randolph, John Ward, Omar Vizquel, and George Davis. There are four members of Cooperstown on the list, and three players in the BBFHOF (plus Ward, who was voted in as a contributor). Admittedly, there are many shortstops on this list, but McPhee has a reputation as one of the best defensive second basemen of all time.

    Adjusted career win shares, 1800s second basemen: McPHEE 342, Hardy Richardson 288, Cupid Childs 263. Modern second basemen with similar totals are Frankie Frisch 366, Lou Whitaker 351, Ryne Sandberg 346, Bobby Grich 329. This is a great sign for McPhee.

    Best three seasons, adjusted win shares, 1800s 2B: Hardy Richardson 86, Fred Dunlap 82, McPHEE 75, Tom Daly 74, Fred Pheffer 70. Modern 2B with similar totals include Bobby Doerr 81, Tony Lazzeri 81, Jim Gilliam 81, Dick McAuliffe 81, Buddy Myer 80, Lou Whitaker 80, Steve Sax 79, Dave Lopes 78, Red Schoenienst 78, Willie Randolph 77, Gil McDougald 75, Del Pratt 75, Danny Murphy 75, Lonnie Frey 74, Pete Runnels 74, Bill Doran 74. This is low for the BBFHOF.

    Best five consecutive seasons, 1800s 2B: Hardy Richardson 133, Fred Dunlap 124, McPHEE 116, Fred Pfeffer 103. Comparable moderns include Dick McAuliffe 119, Dave Lopes 118, Johnny Evers 117, Lou Whitaker 116, Gil McDougald 116, Tony Lazzeri 115, Buddy Myer 115, Willie Randolph 114, and Eddie Stanky 113. This is not BBFHOF territory.

    8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

    McPhee’s black ink mark of 6 (329th) and gray ink mark of 64 (378th) are both very low. He’s around the cutoff in HOF Standards at 40.9, though, as it’s good for 137th place. However, McPhee earned seven Win Shares Gold Gloves. According to retrosheet, he led his league’s 2B in double plays 11 times, putouts 8 times, assists 6 times, and fielding percentage 8 times.

    McPhee is in both Cooperstown and the Hall of Merit.

    9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

    McPhee’s defensive excellence doesn’t show up in his offensive statistics. Win Shares does consider defensive excellence, but there are two reasons to believe that it underrates McPhee.

    *Fielding was much more important in the 1880s and 1890s than it is today, so pitchers might get a little bit more credit and fielders a little less than they deserve.

    *When win shares are distributed among batters, pitchers, and fielders, there is a cap on how many of them can go to a team’s fielders. While this is not a problem in the modern eras, there were some teams that did reach the cap before the liveball era. I’m trying to remember where I read this, but apparently some of McPhee’s Cincinnati teams reached this maximum.

    Combine the two problems – win shares may underrate fielding in the nineteenth-century a little and some of McPhee’s teams getting the maximum possible credit for their fielding under the system – and McPhee’s win share totals may be a little lower than he may deserve.

    10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?

    I would rank Home Run Johnson, Frank Grant, Lou Whitaker, and Ross Barnes higher.

    11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

    McPhee never had an MVP-type season; he tops out at 27 win shares in 1892.

    12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?

    There was no such game in McPhee’s time. McPhee recorded nine seasons with 20+ adjusted win shares, which is good; eight is the border area. In addition, McPhee had two more seasons which come out to 19 win shares; given that the win shares method underrates his defensive value, adding those seasons would give us an impressive 11 All-Star-type seasons.

    13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

    If you don’t make an adjustment for the problems noted in the answer to question nine, probably not. If you do take those problems into account, he might have done so during his best years.

    14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

    McPhee still holds the major league records for most career putouts by a second baseman, most putouts by a second baseman in a single season, and most triple plays by a second baseman. In 1896, when he finally used a glove, he fielded .978; he was the first second baseman to have a single-season fielding percentage over .970.

    15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

    His contemporaries praised McPhee for his sobriety and sportsmanship. During his 18 years playing the game, McPhee was never fined and never ejected.

    CONCLUSION: McPhee had the most career value of any 1800s second baseman. His peak is a problem, but win shares may underrate the top defensive players in general, and for additional reasons given above, it does understate McPhee’s value in particular. Keeping this in mind, his peak was most likely in the gray area for the BBFHOF. When I combine this borderline peak with a strong career value and double-digit All-Star-type seasons, I see McPhee worthy of eventual induction into the BBFHOF.
    Last edited by AG2004; 11-12-2007 at 12:22 PM.

  14. #89

    Cupid Childs

    [NOTE: Updated November 2, 2007.]

    Bid McPhee had the highest career value of any major league 2B in the 1800s, but he was a little low in peak. Cupid Childs is the opposite in one regard. By my method of adjusting win shares, Childs had the highest verified peak of any major league 2B in the 1800s (we don't have win shares for Ross Barnes), but he was a little low in career value.

    After I made this list, I concluded that Childs had enough other positives to counter his relatively low career value. Like McPhee, Childs is deserving of a place in the BBFHOF.

    Case to Consider: CHILDS, Cupid

    1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

    Not over a series of seasons.

    Childs did lead major league position players in win shares in 1890, with 31, but did so in the AA. Mike Tiernan led the NL with 26, and Monte Ward led the PL with 27. Even if we give Tiernan and Ward a 10% boost for playing tougher competition, Childs still leads. On the other hand, that’s just one season.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    Childs led Syracuse (AA) position players in win shares in 1890, and Cleveland (NL) position players in win shares in 1891 and 1892.

    3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

    He led all major league 2B in win shares in 1890, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1896, and 1897.

    Childs had 21 win shares (unadjusted) in 1891, which led the NL. Jack Crooks had 23 win shares to lead the AA. However, Childs signed with Baltimore in January 1891. In early February, the AA, including Baltimore, withdrew from the National Agreement; Childs subsequently signed with Cleveland. The Orioles filed suit to keep Childs from playing for Cleveland. At the end of April, the judge in the case ruled that the Orioles voided Childs’ contract when they withdrew from the National Agreement, and that Childs was free to play for Cleveland. The games lost could have cost Childs a tie for the lead. One could also argue that, due to league quality issues, Childs had a better season than Crooks.

    4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

    Childs had an All-Star-type season in 1895, but Cleveland finished three games back. In 1892, Childs had 32 win shares, and Cleveland won the second half of the split season by 3 games. Childs hit .409/.519/.591 in the championship series against first-half winner Boston; however, Boston won the series with five wins, no losses, and one tie.

    5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?

    Not really; his last full-time season was at the age of 32.

    6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

    He’s not the best player outside the BBFHOF.

    7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?

    By similarity scores: Hughie Jennings, Tom Daly, Deacon White, Bill Hallman, Ezra Sutton, Jack Glasscock, Buddy Myer, King Kelly, Johnny Pesky, and Heinie Groh. Two are in Cooperstown; three are players in the BBFHOF, and Jennings might have made it as a player had he not been inducted as a contributor first. Also, White and Kelly are the two players on the list who have higher OPS+ numbers than Childs.

    Adjusted Career win shares, 1800s 2B: Hardy Richardson 288, CHILDS 263, Fred Pfeffer 230. Modern 2B in this range include Johnny Evers 268, Red Schoendienst 262, Buddy Myer 258, Jackie Robinson 257, Tony Lazzeri 252, and Jim Gilliam 247. With the exception of Robinson, this is not BBFHOF territory.

    Best three seasons, adjusted WS, 1800s 2B: CHILDS 98, Hardy Richardson 86, Fred Dunlap 82. Modern 2B in this range include Charlie Gehringer 102, Roberto Alomar 100, Rod Carew 99, Frankie Frisch 96, and Bobby Grich 92. These 20th-century players are all members of the BBFHOF.

    Best five seasons, 1800s 2B: CHILDS 139, Hardy Richardson 133, Fred Dunlap 124. Modern 2B with similar totals include Bobby Grich 143, Billy Herman 135, Frankie Frisch 135, Joe Gordon 134, and Roberto Alomar 131. These moderns are all in the BBFHOF.

    8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

    Childs’ Black Ink score of 6 is 329th all-time, and his Gray Ink total of 75 is still only 310th all-time. That isn’t good, although one has to remember that there was just one league during most of Childs' career, and this would affect ink totals. On the other hand, he’s 126th in HOF Standards, at 41.9, and that is good. Childs also earned two Win Shares Gold Gloves.

    Childs is not in Cooperstown. He is in the Hall of Merit, but had to wait decades to get in.

    9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

    The 1890s are considered a hitter’s era, and Cleveland played in a hitter’s park during that time.

    10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?

    [November 2, 2007: I would consider Home Run Johnson a better choice, but Childs might be the best major league 2B outside the BBFHOF.]

    With the admission of Johnson to the BBFHOF, Childs might just be the best second baseman outside the BBFHOF.

    11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

    There was no MVP award in Childs’ era. However, Childs led AA position players in win shares in 1890, and he had three seasons which come out to at least 30 win shares per 154 scheduled games. Three such seasons are a good sign for Childs.

    12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?

    Childs had eight All-Star-type seasons, which is at the boundary area of the Hall of Fame.

    13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

    Yes, it would be likely.

    14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

    Not that I know of.

    15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

    Childs got into a fight with Fred Clarke at the Pittsburgh train station in 1900 over a game that they had played earlier that day, but that’s the only blot I know of.

    CONCLUSION: Childs certainly has the peak for the BBFHOF. His career may be a little short, but one season as baseball's best position player, three MVP-candidate-type seasons, and eight All-Star-type seasons do help to make up for that weakness. Also, Cupids was arguably the best second baseman in organized baseball each year for eight consecutive seasons, and that’s a run we associate with Hall of Famers. Given all that, I can live with a career win share total that’s a little lower than I would have liked. Childs is on my queue for the BBFHOF.
    Last edited by AG2004; 01-08-2008 at 06:31 PM. Reason: Reflects admission of Home Run Johnson to BBFHOF

  15. #90

    Hardy Richardson

    [NOTE: Updated on April 4, 2008.]

    Today's Keltner List is for Hardy Richardson, another leading second baseman of the 1800s. [Original statement: According to the standards I use, Richardson doesn't measure up to being worthy of the BBFHOF. April 4, 2008: If the answer to question 13 was "probably" for McPhee, it should be "probably" for Richardson as well. Furthermore, with Doyle and Doerr in the BBFHOF, the cutoff line is lower. If they are in, then Richardson also should be in.]

    Case to Consider: RICHARDSON, Hardy

    1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

    No.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    He led Buffalo’s position players in win shares in 1879, 1880, and 1881, and Detroit’s position players in 1886.

    3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

    Richardson led major league left fielders in win shares in 1886, and major league second basemen in 1887 and 1889. He also led NL 2B in win shares in 1885. He was second among NL 2B in win shares in 1882 and 1884; in the latter year, he was second among ML 2B as well. He was fourth in win shares among OF in both the 1881 NL and the 1890 PL.

    4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

    In 1886, Richardson had 32 raw win shares, but Detroit finished 2.5 games back. He had 23 win shares in 1887, so he had some impact on Detroit winning the pennant that year. He earned 25 win shares in 1889, when Boston lost the NL by one game. While Richardson had 20 win shares in 1890, Boston won the PL by 6.5 games, so the effect wasn’t that large there. So Richardson had some impact.

    5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?

    He was 35 in 1890, his last season as an everyday player, so the answer is yes.

    6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

    No.

    7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?

    By similarity scores: Buck Ewing, Heinie Zimmerman, Freddie Lindstrom, Frank Baker, Pete Fox, Oyster Burns, Pinky Whitney, Jimmy Collins, George Grantham, and King Kelly. Five are in Cooperstown; while Lindstrom is considered a mistake by many, that still leaves us with four members of the BBFHOF.

    Adjusted career WS, 1800s 2B: Bid McPhee 342, RICHARDSON 288, Cupid Childs 263. Later players with similar totals include Willie Randolph 312, Bid McPhee 305, Nellie Fox 304, Billy Herman 298, Larry Doyle 289, Bobby Doerr (without war credit) 281, and Johnny Evers 268. Most of the players here are in the BBFHOF, and Richardson may be more valuable than win shares claims due to the fielding-pitching split underrating fielding in the pre-glove era.

    Best three seasons, 1800s 2B: Cupid Childs 98, RICHARDSON 86, Fred Dunlap 82. Similar modern players include Bobby Grich 92, Billy Herman 90, Larry Doyle 90, Nellie Fox 88, Joe Gordon 85, Eddie Stanky 85, Johnny Evers 82, Bobby Avila 82, Chuck Knoblauch 82, Tony Lazzeri 81, Dick McAuliffe 81, Bobby Doerr 81, and Jim Gilliam 81. Richardson is right at the cutoff line.

    Best five consecutive seasons, 1800s 2B: Childs 139, RICHARDSON 133, Fred Dunlap 124. Similar 20th-century players include Frankie Frisch 135, Billy Herman 135, Joe Gordon 134, Roberto Alomar 131, Larry Doyle 130, Nellie Fox 128, and Bobby Doerr 127. These 1900s stars are all BBFHOF members, so Richardson is in good shape here.

    8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

    Richardson has 12 Black Ink points (188th) and 120 Gray Ink points (159th). These are a little low, but Richardson played most of his games at second base, so it balances out. His HOF Standards score of 29.6 is 279th all-time, but the shorter seasons Richardson had at the beginning of his career may be responsible for some of that. Richardson had just one Win Shares Gold Glove – in 1881, for his outfield play.

    Richardson is not in Cooperstown, but he is in the Hall of Merit, and was one of its earlier inductees.

    9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

    Some adjustment needs made for the shorter seasons of the first half of Richardson’s career.

    10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?

    [Originally: No. There are quite a few second basemen who I would rate ahead of Richardson, including Barnes, Childs, Grant and McPhee in the 1800s alone.]

    April 4, 2008: Perhaps. The only MLB 2B with a higher peak outside the BBFHOF is Childs, but Richardson is close, and he did have more career value than Childs.

    11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

    Richardson had just one season which comes out to 30+ win shares over 154 scheduled games. That was in 1886, when he played 80 games in left field as opposed to 42 at second base, and when Fred Dunlap led Detroit in games at second, at 51.

    12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?

    While there were no All-Star games during his era, Richardson had nine seasons with 20 or more win shares per 154 scheduled games. That’s a good sign for Richardson, as eight is the lower boundary.

    13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

    Probably; it depends on how much the win shares system underrates fielding during the 1870s and 1880s. Furthermore, since most of his top seasons in win shares were in a row, he was reliably good at his peak.

    14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

    With Deacon White, Dan Brouthers, and Jack Rowe, Richardson was a member of Buffalo’s “Big Four,” who might be the first group of players to have received a collective nickname.

    15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

    Yes, as far as I can tell.

    CONCLUSION: Richardson is in good company in both the peak and career measures at 2B. While he did have just one MVP-candidate-type season, an adjustment of win shares to reflect the relative values of fielding and pitching during the 1880s would give him several more seasons in the high 20s, and that helps his case. This adjustment, added to my 19th-century schedule-length adjustment, would probably push his career total past 300 adjusted win shares, and that's also a good sign.
    Last edited by AG2004; 04-04-2008 at 09:19 AM.

  16. #91

    Jack Glasscock

    Moving from 1800s second basemen to 1800s shortstops, we arrive at Jack Glasscock.

    When we compare Glasscock to his contemporaries, we have two complicating factors. First, Glasscock played one-third of the 1884 season in the Union Association. He recorded 22 win shares in 1884, but 14 of them were in the UA; only 8 of them came in the two-thirds of the season he came in the NL. Using the discount I described in the UA post, Glasscock finishes with 17 adjusted win shares for 1884. If I had ignored the UA play, and based the adjustment only on his NL play that year, Glasscock would have had 15 or 16 adjusted win shares in 1884. I don't see how applying the discount for UA play ends up being unfair to Glasscock.

    We also face the problem of Monte Ward, who started out as a pitcher and ended up as a shortstop. Since Ward is already in the BBFHOF as a contributor, I decided to ignore his career WS totals, and based his peak win share totals for these comparisons on his shortstop years only. Since I'm more interested in what players Glasscock was similar to and less interested in his exact ranking, this decision about Ward doesn't impact the overall evaluation that much. Ward would have been just one player among several, and dropping one Hall of Famer from a list of comparables doesn't make too much of a difference overall.

    ---

    As I compiled the adjusted win shares for shortstops, I realized that there were four shortstops in the decade after Glasscock who were better than Glasscock himself. George Davis and Bill Dahlen are in the BBFHOF as players. Hughie Jennings is in as a contributor. Jennings has a total of 238 adjusted win shares over his career. However, his five-year peak was spectacular. Adjusting season length to 154-game schedules, Jennings comes out with a five-year peak of 170, including four MVP-candidate-type seasons and one historic season (his 1896 season comes out to 42 win shares over a 154-game schedule). I didn’t realize he was that good at his best. That’s a big enough peak that Jennings would make my BBFHOF player ballot if he weren’t already enshrined as a contributor. The fourth player was a surprise; I’ll deal with him in the next post.

    Case to Consider: GLASSCOCK, Jack

    1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

    No.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    Glasscock led his team’s position players in win shares in 1882, 1885, 1886, 1889, and 1892. However, the 1882 Cleveland team barely reached .500, and the rest of the teams had losing records.

    3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

    He led major league shortstops in win shares in 1886 (adjusting for season length; he had 22 in a 128-game season, while the AA’s Frank Fennelly had 23 in a 140-game schedule) and 1889, and NL shortstops in 1882 and 1890. He was second among NL shortstops in 1883.

    4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

    No; his teams were far out of the pennant race.

    5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?

    Yes; he was still a regular at the age of 35.

    6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

    I don’t see it.

    7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?

    By similarity scores: Deacon White, Buddy Myer, Bobby Low, Larry Doyle, Dave Bancroft, John Ward, Del Pratt, Deacon McGuire, Dick Groat, and Steve Sax. Two are in Cooperstown, but Bancroft is widely considered a mistake; on the other hand, Deacon White is in the BBFHOF.

    Adjusted career WS, 1800s shortstops: Bill Dahlen 419, GLASSCOCK 308, Herman Long 289, Ed McKean 240. Later shortstops with around 308 win shares include Alan Trammell 318, Barry Larkin 314, Pee Wee Reese 314 (plus war credit), Rabbit Maranville 302, Luis Aparicio 293, Bert Campaneris 280, Tony Fernandez 280, Lou Boudreau 277, Joe Sewell 277. This is mixed territory, but Glasscock is in fairly good shape. Maranville’s 302 is the second-highest raw total among shortstops outside the BBFHOF, and Barry Larkin’s 314 is the second-lowest raw total among shortstops in the BBFHOF.

    Top three seasons: Bill Dahlen 95, George Davis 94, Herman Long 90, GLASSCOCK 87, George Wright (NL years only) 80, Monte Ward (shortstop years only) 80. Similar moderns include Alan Trammell 90, Jim Fregosi 89, Maury Wills 87, Johnny Pesky 87, Rico Petrocelli 87, Phil Rizzuto 86, Eddie Joost 87, Pee Wee Reese 85, Joe Sewell 84, Dave Bancroft 84, Ozzie Smith 83. This is a little low for the BBFHOF, but most candidates are in this area.

    Top five consecutive seasons: Herman Long 131, Frank Fennelly 116, GLASSCOCK 114, Monte Ward (shortstop years only) 112. 20th-century shortstops with totals in this area include Tony Fernandez 118, Joe Tinker 118, Al Dark 118, Art Fletcher 116, Dave Bancroft 115, Dick Groat 112, Bobby Wallace 112, Dave Concepcion 111, Cecil Travis 111, Johnny Logan 111, and Rabbit Maranville 110. This is not BBFHOF territory.

    8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

    Glasscock had a Black Ink score of 11 (206th) and a Gray Ink score of 64 (378th). Both are low for position players, but more acceptable for shortstops. His HOF Standards score of 27.9 is 326th all-time; that’s low, but shorter seasons may play a role here. Glasscock also won four win shares Gold Gloves.

    While Glasscock is not in Cooperstown, he is in the Hall of Merit.

    9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

    The shorter seasons at the beginning of his career hampered his counting stats.

    10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?

    I don’t see it. Just among 19th-century shortstops, Dickey Pearce and Herman Long are ahead of him.

    11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

    Glasscock had just one season which adjusts to 30 or more win shares; one MVP-type season is low.

    12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?

    There were no All-Star games in Glasscock’s era. His eight All-Star-type seasons reach the borderline for the Hall of Fame.

    13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

    Probably not, as he was too inconsistent.

    14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

    Not that I know of.

    15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

    As far as I can tell.

    CONCLUSION: Going by their achievements at shortstop alone, Glasscock is a bit better than his contemporary Ward, but Ward also had two Cy Young Award-type seasons as a pitcher and was the best position player in the 1890 Players League. While Glasscock may be the best shortstop of the 1880s, he is also, at best, the seventh-best shortstop of the nineteenth century; George Wright, Dickey Pearce, and four shortstops of the 1890s all come ahead of Glasscock.

    When I look at the categories that don’t involve comparisons with his contemporaries, Glasscock is either borderline or below. He falls short of being BBFHOF-worthy.

  17. #92

    Herman Long

    One of the fun things about doing these lists is that occasionally I come across someone who I hadn't thought of as a Hall of Famer, and hasn't appeared on any ballots for the BBFHOF, but appears worthy of induction into the BBFHOF once I go through everything. When producing my adjusted win shares totals for 19th-century shortstops, I made such a discovery: Herman Long.

    Long may very well be the best major league shortstop outside the BBFHOF (Dickey Pearce played the bulk of his career before the NL was organized). However, while players like Glasscock and Sewell and Aparicio gained from appearing when there were no clear superiors to them at shortstop, Long had the misfortune to appear when there were three better players at the position: Davis, Dahlen, and Jennings. Worse yet, most of Long's career came when there was just one major league. Bobby Wallace may have been the second best shortstop in the AL during the first decade of the 1900s, but he was often just the fourth or fifth best shortstop in the major leagues during that span. With just one major league, Wallace would never have been considered among the cream of his league's shortstops.

    Long also had the bad fortune to come up against a glut of great defensive shortstops as well. Glasscock won four win shares gold gloves, but he was just an A- shortstop. Wallace, who won just two such titles, was an A+ shortstop. However, the 1890s also offered A+ shortstops in Bob Allen, Germany Smith, Bill Dahlen, and Hughie Jennings, and an A shortstop in Tommy Corcoran. That's a glut. Having one league made it twice as difficult to win a win shares gold glove.

    Glasscock, on the other hand won three of his gold gloves between 1880 and 1883. George Wright's last year as a regular was 1879; he was also the win share gold glove winner that season. Monte Ward was an A+ defensive shortstop, but he didn't become a regular at the position until 1885. Germany Smith was in the AA during the 1880s, so Ward was the only A+ fielder Glasscock had to compete with for win share gold gloves. Glasscock didn't have to compete with any A fielders during the 1880s, either.

    When I finished the Keltner List for Long, however, I concluded that, with the possible exception of Rizzuto, Long was the best major league shortstop outside the BBFHOF. (Rizzuto is the possible exception because giving him credit for military service may move him ahead of Long.) Long was also a leader on one of baseball's dynasties and was still rated highly by sportswriters 40 years after his peak years ended. That's a very good sign that he ought to be a Hall of Famer.

    Long's reputation suffers mainly because he played against Davis and Dahlen and Jennings in a one-league era; had he achieved the same record in eras that didn't produce so many deserving shortstops, it would be easier to see that, like Davis and Dahlen and Jennings, he deserves induction into the BBFHOF. After I had produced lists for Glasscock, Wallace, Stephens, Sewell, and Aparicio, and rejecting them all, I had been wondering if my standards for the BBFHOF were too high for the remaining major league shortstops to meet. Herman Long shows me that they weren't.

    Case to Consider: LONG, Herman

    1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

    No.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    He led Boston’s position players in win shares in 1891. He was second among the team’s position players in 1893, but third in the majors.

    3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

    He led major league shortstops in win shares in 1891 and 1893, and AA shortstops in 1889. He was second among NL shortstops, and hence among major league SS, in 1892.

    4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

    He had 29 raw win shares (32 per 154 scheduled games) in 1891, when Boston won the pennant by 3.5 games, so there was a lot of impact there. Long also had 26 win shares (30 per 154 games) in 1893, as the Beaneaters won by five games. Long was just barely at an All-Star level in 1897, when Boston won by two, but he was credited as a team leader. Thus, Long had an impact on several pennant winners.

    5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?

    Since he played in 138 games at 35 and 120 games at 36 (both in 140-game seasons), I would have to say yes.

    6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

    No.

    7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?

    By similarity scores: John Ward, Pee Wee Reese, Bid McPhee, Bobby Lowe, Jack Glasscock, Tony Fernandez, Dick Bartell, Ed McKean, Bill Dahlen, and Garry Templeton. We have three members of Cooperstown, and three BBFHOF members (although Ward is in as a contributor).

    Adjusted career win shares, 1800s shortstops: Jack Glasscock 308, LONG 289, Ed McKean 240, Hughie Jennings 238. Later shortstops include Rabbit Maranville 302, Luis Aparicio 293, Tony Fernandez 280, Bert Campaneris 280, Lou Boudreau 277, Joe Sewell 277, Dave Concepcion 269, Dave Bancroft 269. This is actually a little below the cutoff area; Maranville’s 302 is the second-highest raw total among shortstops outside the BBFHOF, and Barry Larkin’s 314 is the second-lowest raw total among shortstops in the BBFHOF.

    Best three seasons, 1800s SS: Bill Dahlen 95, George Davis 84, Herman Long 90, Jack Glasscock 87. Moderns with similar totals include Ernie Banks 96, Lou Boudreau 96, Vern Stephens 93, Alan Trammell 90, Jim Fregosi 89, Maury Wills 87, Rico Petrocelli 87, Johnny Pesky 87, Pee Wee Reese 85, Joe Sewell 84, Dave Bancroft 84. Long is pretty much at the border here.

    Best five consecutive seasons, 1800s SS: George Davis 140, Bill Dahlen 136, Herman Long 131, Frank Fennelly 116. Later shortstops with similar totals include Lou Boudreau 135, Jim Fregosi 135, Pee Wee Reese 134, Alan Trammell 132, Johnny Pesky 130, Vern Stephens 129, Eddie Joost 126, Joe Sewell 125, and Rico Petrocelli 125. Long is right at the border here as well.

    8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

    Long has a score of 7 (304th place) on the Black Ink test and 78 (300th) on the Gray Ink test. Both are low for position players, but good for shortstops in Cooperstown, and Long played most of his career when there was just one major league. Long also has a HOF Standards score of 36.9 (173rd), which is a little low for position players in general, but then again, he was a shortstop. Long also picked up two win share gold gloves.

    Long is in neither Cooperstown nor the Hall of Merit.

    9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

    According to the win shares system, Long was an A+ defensive shortstop, and that isn’t reflected in his offensive statistics. On the other hand, Long played in the high-offense 1890s, and the South End Grounds was one of the league’s top hitters’ parks, so that boosts his raw offensive numbers.

    Long was also considered one of the Beaneaters’ on-field leaders as they won five pennants in eight years.

    10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?

    No. Pearce, Cepeda, and Moore are better, in my opinion. However, one could make the case that Long is the best major league shortstop outside the BBFHOF.

    11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

    Long had two seasons which come out to 30+ win shares per 152 scheduled games. That’s a little low for position players, but the only major league shortstop with multiple 30+ win share seasons who isn’t in the BBFHOF is Vern Stephens, and one of his came in 1944.

    12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?

    Long recorded seven seasons with 20+ win shares per 154 scheduled games; that’s a little low, as eight is the general borderline. However, Long also had two seasons which come out to 19 win shares, and the system may underrate a top defensive player a little; nine All-Star-type seasons would push Long above the borderline.

    13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

    At his peak, yes.

    14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

    Long holds the major league record for most errors in a career. On the other hand, his 6.4 chances per game is also the record for most per game by a major league shortstop. The two records may be related; Long was involved in a lot of plays most shortstops were not good enough to reach, and the fielding equipment of the 1800s, combined with the fact that seasons were longer in his day than they were earlier, would put him at a disadvantage compared to fielders of similar ability in other eras when it came to the number of errors made in a career.

    Also, in 1936 Hall of Fame voting, Long finished eighth in the nineteenth-century vote; he’s the only one in the top ten in that vote who isn’t in the BBFHOF. He finished ahead of, among others, Brouthers, Connor, Dahlen, Davis, Jennings, Burkett, Hamilton, Kelly, Nichols, Clarkson, and Rusie. As far as I know, the 1936 Veterans’ vote was the only such vote performed by the BBWAA.

    15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

    In general, yes.

    CONCLUSION: As far as major league shortstops go, Herman Long is right at the current border between “in the BBFHOF” and “outside the BBFHOF.” The leadership he brought to one of baseball’s dynasties and the high regard writers still had about him 40 years after his peak ought to be enough to move him onto my queue.

    On the other hand, he was the fourth-best shortstop of his era; among shortstops who came up between 1889 and 1891, Dahlen, Davis, and Jennings were all better. It isn’t that often that we have a glut of players at one position who arrive at around the same time and are all Hall of Famers. Kaline, Aaron, Robinson, and Clemente debuted in 1953-1956, but there aren’t many other gluts.

    However, Glasscock, Sewell, Aparicio, and Wallace all appear in BBFHOF voting, and I wouldn’t hesitate to rank Long ahead of any of them. Long’s major drawback is an accident of timing; had he appeared in the 1880s or 1920s or 1960s, he would have overshadowed his contemporaries instead of being overshadowed by them. That accident of timing isn’t a good reason to drop him. Long is worthy of the BBFHOF.

  18. #93

    Ezra Sutton

    I finally got around to making this Keltner List for Ezra Sutton, who might be the best third baseman of the 1800s (it depends on whether or not you classify Deacon White as a catcher).

    Case to Consider: SUTTON, Ezra

    1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

    No. However, he was tied for the lead in win shares among position players in 1884.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    He led Boston’s position players in win shares in 1881, 1883, 1884, and 1885.

    3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

    He led all major league third basemen in win shares in 1883, 1884, and 1885, and was second in 1878. He also led all major league shortstops in win shares in 1877. He may have been the NA’s best third baseman in 1875 as well.

    4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

    He was the NL’s best shortstop in 1877 when Boston won the pennant, but they finished 7 games ahead of runner-up Louisville over a 60-games schedule. Sutton collected 21 win shares in 1883 when the Beaneaters won the pennant by 4 games; given the schedule length, that’s an MVP-candidate-type season.

    5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?

    As he was still a regular at the age of 35, he could.

    6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

    I doubt that he’s among the very best outside the BBFHOF.

    7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?

    In terms of similarity scores, the most similar players are Billy Shindle, Danny Murphy, Hughie Jennings, Jimmy “Chicken” Wolf, Jimmy Johnston, Heinie Zimmerman, Duff Cooley, Jack Rock, Heinie Groh, and Art Fletcher; only Jennings is in Cooperstown. However, only Murphy at 124 and Zimmerman at 121 have career OPS+ numbers higher than Sutton’s 119.

    Adjusted career win shares, 19th-century 3B: Lave Cross 301, Deacon White 287 plus NA credit, Billy Nash 245, Arlie Latham 245, SUTTON 233 plus NA credit. This would put Sutton close to Cross in career value. Players in that area include Stan Hack 318, Home Run Baker 301, Buddy Bell 299, Bob Elliott 287, Toby Harrah 284, Sal Bando 283, Ron Cey 282, and Ken Boyer 280. We are around the gray area here.

    Best three seasons, 1800s 3B: SUTTON 93, John McGraw 93, Deacon White 92. Comparable moderns include Stan Hack 98, Sal Bando 96, Heinie Groh 95, Bobby Bonilla 91, Jimmy Collins 89, Paul Molitor 89, Tommy Leach 87, Darrell Evans 87, Howard Johnson 87, Ken Boyer 86. Sutton is around the gray area here.

    Best five consecutive seasons, 1800s 3B: John McGraw 129, SUTTON 128, Denny Lyons 127, Deacon White 124+, Ed Williamson 120, Bill Joyce 120. Later 3B in this area would be: Paul Molitor 133, Howard Johnson 133, Bobby Bonilla 132, Ken Boyer 131, Brooks Robinson 130, Jimmy Collins 129, Ron Cey 126, Bob Elliott 124, Bill Bradley 124, Eddie Yost 123, Tommy Leach 122, and Graig Nettles 121. Sutton is close to the borderline.


    8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

    Sutton has a Black Ink total of 3. His gray ink total of 94 is 240th overall, which is low for most position players, but good for modern 2B and pre-1920 3B, both of which carry the same defensive weight on a team. The HOF Standards score is a very low 18.2, putting him at number 722 all-time, but the short seasons of Sutton’s time has a lot to do with that. In addition, Sutton won three WS gold gloves.

    While Sutton isn’t in Cooperstown, he is in the Hall of Merit.

    9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

    The short seasons do reduce his counting stats. Also, win shares may slightly overestimate the value of pitching and underestimate the value of fielding during the 1870s and 1880s.

    10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?

    No. I see Bando, Evans, Leach, and Groh as better third basemen outside the BBFHOF.

    11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

    Adjusting everything to a 140-game schedule, Sutton had two MVP-type seasons. He and Paul Hines had 28 win shares in 1884 (which adjusts to 35), giving them a tie for most win shares for a position player outside the Union Association.

    12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?

    In the National League, we credit Sutton for having five seasons which project to 20+ win shares over 140 games. Sutton looks like he had All-Star-type seasons in 1871 and 1875, which would increase his total to seven. That’s a little low; eight is the borderline.

    13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

    During his peak years, yes.

    14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

    Sutton made the very first error in National League history.


    15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

    As far as I know.

    CONCLUSION: Sutton is around the borderline in win shares measures, but they may undervalue him a little because he played key defensive positions in the 1870s and 1880s. Bill James lists Deacon White as a 3B because he played more games there than at C, but that is due to the schedule getting longer as White aged; White’s best seasons all came at catcher, and he didn’t become a 3B until he was 34. If we classify White as a catcher, then Sutton is competing with Lave Cross for the highest career value of any 1800s third baseman, and with John McGraw for the highest peak value of 19th-century 3B. Thus, Ezra Sutton was the best 3B of the nineteenth century. He’s in my queue for the BBFHOF, but he has to wait a while for a space on my ballot.

  19. #94

    Hack Wilson

    Jim Albright requested that I evalute Hack Wilson. As he drew six votes in the last BBFHOF election, and has already picked up one new voter in this polling cycle, Wilson is due for a Keltner List.

    By similarity scores, the player who's most similar to Wilson is Wally Berger. Bill James compared Berger, Wilson, and Earl Averill in the New Historical Baseball Abstract, so I created a list for Berger as well. Averill is already in the BBFHOF, so I decided to skip him.

    There's a small difference between Berger and Wilson. However, the line dividing players worthy of the BBFHOF with those who just miss out runs between the two players.

    Case to Consider: WILSON, Hack

    1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

    Not to my knowledge.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    He led the Cubs in win shares in 1926, 1927, 1928, and 1930.

    3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

    Wilson was tied with Earle Combs for most win shares among major league CFs in 1927 and 1928, and held the lead by himself in 1929 and 1930. In addition, he also led all NL outfielders in win shares during those last two seasons. By win shares, he was also the top NL center fielder in 1926.

    4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

    Wilson had 28 win shares in 1928, when the Cubs finished four games back, and 35 in 1930, when they finished two games out. He had 32 win shares in 1929 when the Cubs won the pennant, but it wasn’t much of an impact, as they finished first by 10.5 games.

    Wilson had a batting line of .471/.571/.588 in the 1929 World Series. However, he is better remembered for what happened in Game 4 that year. The Cubs entered the seventh inning with a 8-0 lead. Wilson, who left his sunglasses in the dugout, lost two fly balls in the sun that inning. The Athletics picked up 10 runs in the seventh for a 10-8 victory and a 3-1 Series lead.

    5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?

    Not really; he was pretty much washed up at 34.

    6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

    Not in my opinion.

    7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?

    By similarity scores: Wally Berger, Magglio Ordonez, Ken Williams, Jeff Heath, Hal Trosky, Larry Doby, Lance Berkman, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Lee, and Chick Hafey. Four of the players are still active; of the other six, only Doby and Hafey are in Cooperstown, and only Doby is in the BBFHOF. However, Wilson’s OPS+ of 144 trails only Berkman’s 147 among these ten players.

    Career win shares, CF: Willie Wilson 237, Cy Williams 235, Ben Chapman 233, Ginger Beaumont 229, Dode Paskert 227, Earle Combs 227, WILSON 224, Eric Davis 224, Willie McGee 224, Curt Flood 221, Andy Pafko 220, Doc Cramer 219, Jose Cardenal 212, Chick Stahl 211. These players are not BBFHOF candidates.

    Best three consecutive seasons, CF: Jimmy Wynn 100, Wally Berger 100, WILSON 98, Larry Doby 97, Dale Murphy 97, Edd Roush 96, Fred Lynn 94, Earl Averill 93, Cesar Cedeno 93, Cy Seymour 93, Kirby Puckett 92. As far as the BBFHOF goes, this is a mixed bag.

    Best five consecutive seasons, CF: WILSON 152, Larry Doby 152, Wally Berger 152, Dale Murphy 150, Earl Averill 143. This is a good sign for Wilson.

    8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

    Wilson’s Black Ink total of 31, for 54th place, is a very good sign. However, his Gray Ink total of 110, which is 190th overall, is not. He’s at 151st place in HOF Standards, at 39.0, which is a little low. Wilson has no Win Share Gold Gloves.

    While Wilson is in Cooperstown, he is not in the Hall of Merit.

    9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

    Wilson peaked during the late 1920s, a hitter’s era.

    Al Lopez and Woody English both had something to say about Wilson’s downturn in 1931. The NL had deadened its baseball a little after the 1930 season. As a result, many balls which would have been home runs for Wilson at Wrigley field in 1930 turned into outs in right-center in 1931. These comments can be found at http://www.baseballlibrary.com/baseb...ck_wilson8.stm

    10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?

    Not in my opinion. I see Alejandro Oms, Jimmy Wynn and Wally Berger as better choices among center fielders.

    11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

    Wilson was fifth in the 1926 NL MVP vote, and in the top ten two other seasons.

    However, there was no MVP vote in 1930. Had there been an MVP vote, Wilson, with 56 home runs and 191 RBI for a team that finished 2 games out of first, would probably have won the title.

    Wilson finished with 30+ win shares in three different seasons, which is a good sign. He also led all NL position players in win shares in 1930.

    12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?

    The All-Star Game started after Wilson’s peak. He did record six seasons with 20+ win shares, which is on the low side.

    13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

    At his peak, yes.

    14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

    Wilson holds the single-season record for most RBIs, with 191 in 1930. His National League record of 56 home runs, also set in 1930, lasted until 1998.

    15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

    Wilson had some problems with alcoholism.

    CONCLUSION: Wilson’s peak is solid; I will admit that. But it’s in the area where things start to widen out for outfielders, so it’s not quite enough to stand out on his own. His career value is low, and he’s short in the number of All-Star-type seasons he had (the borderline is around eight). Another MVP-candidate-type season would or a slightly higher peak might compensate for this short career. Wilson is close to being worthy of the BBFHOF, but he falls just short of making my queue.
    Last edited by AG2004; 04-21-2008 at 11:56 AM.

  20. #95

    Wally Berger

    Since he seems so similar to Hack Wilson, Wally Berger also deserves a Keltner List of his own.

    Case to Consider: BERGER, Wally

    1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

    No. However, he did lead NL position players in win shares in 1931 and 1933, and may have been the best position player in the NL during the early 1930s.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    He was the best position player on the Boston NL club each year from 1930 to 1936. This was partly by default – the team rarely had a position player whose ability was even close to Berger’s during his prime.

    3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

    He led major league CFs in win shares in 1931, 1933, and 1934, and led NL CFs in win shares in 1932 as well. He was second among NL center fielders in 1935, and 1936. Also, he led NL left fielders in win shares in 1930. He led all major league outfielders in 1933, and all NL outfielders in 1931.

    4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

    He was on the Giants in 1937 and the Reds in 1939 when they won pennants, but Berger was only a part-time player by then. Boston was never close to winning the pennant when Berger was with them. The 1935 team was particularly bad, as it finished 26 games out of seventh place.

    5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?

    No. After the age of 30, he was a good part-time player, but still couldn’t play on an everyday basis.

    6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

    No.

    7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?

    By Similarity Scores: Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Lee, Hal Trosky, Hack Wilson, Jeff Heath, Ken Williams, Jermaine Dye, Pedro Guerrero, Carlos Beltran, and Mike Sweeney. Although Wilson is in Cooperstown, none are in the BBFHOF. However, Berger’s OPS+ of 138 trails only Wilson’s 144 and Heath’s 139, and Berger was a better defensive player than either of those two.

    Career WS, CF: Roy Thomas 260, Rick Monday 258, Dummy Hoy 254, Lloyd Waner 245, BERGER 241, Willie Wilson 237, Cy Williams 235, Ben Chapman 233, Ginger Beaumont 229, Earle Combs 227, Dode Paskert 227. This is not BBFHOF territory.

    Best three seasons, CF: Duke Snider 112, Jimmy Wynn 100, Wally Berger 100, WILSON 98, Larry Doby 97, Dale Murphy 97, Edd Roush 96, Fred Lynn 94. This is a good sign for Berger, as most of these candidates are either in the BBFHOF or are drawing support in elections.

    Best five consecutive seasons, CF: WILSON 152, Larry Doby 152, Wally Berger 152, Dale Murphy 150, Earl Averill 143. Berger is in very good company here.

    8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

    Berger had a Black Ink mark of 9 (241st all-time), a Gray Ink mark of 103 (208th), and an HOF Standards score of 29.0 (288th). I don’t know how much Braves Field affected those ink marks, but they are very low. On the other hand, Berger picked up three Win Shares Gold Gloves.

    Berger is in neither Cooperstown nor the Hall of Merit.

    9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

    Although Berger played during the 1930s, Braves Field was the worst hitter’s park in the NL during that decade.

    10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?

    No. I rate Alejandro Oms, Jimmy Wynn, and Spotswood Poles as better CFs than Berger.

    11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

    Berger was third in the 1933 voting, and sixth in the 1935 election, but those were the only two times he finished in the top ten. To be fair, it would have been tough to win any awards on teams as horrible as some of those Boston clubs were.

    Berger finished with three seasons of 30+ win shares, which is a good sign. He also led all NL position players in win shares in 1931 and 1933.

    12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?

    The All-Star game started in the middle of Berger’s career, so he only made the first four All-Star teams. Had the game been around before 1933, he probably would have made the 1931 and 1932 squads. I’m not sure if he would have made a 1930 team, but he did set a record for most home runs by a rookie that year.

    Berger had seven seasons with 20+ win shares. That is a little bit low, as the lower limit for candidates and BBFHOF members hovers around eight.

    13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

    Teams with someone like Berger as their best player would usually contend for the pennant during that player’s peak. The Braves were nowhere near being typical.

    During Berger’s years with the club, there were four seasons when Berger was the only position player with at least 18 win shares. In 1931, Berger earned 31 win shares; no other position player on the team had more than 13. In 1935, Berger was the only player on the team (position player or pitcher) to have a win share total in double digits.

    14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

    In 1930, Berger hit 38 home runs. That was a record for most home runs by a rookie, and stood until Mark McGwire broke it in 1987. It still stands as the NL record for a rookie. His 105 career home runs in Braves Field is also a record.

    15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

    Berger had one run-in with Landis. After the 1930 season, Berger signed up to play for a Los Angeles winter league team for no money; he just wanted some experience playing center field. Landis told him to quit the team, since he considered it barnstorming past the October 31 deadline. Upon hearing the order, Berger quit the team.

    That’s the only possible mark against Berger’s character. As it appears that Berger wasn’t aware of how the barnstorming rule was applied when he joined the team, I can’t hold it against him.

    CONCLUSION: Yes, Berger’s career was on the short side, but the BBFHOF already has two outfielders with career win share totals in the 240s in Albert Belle and Ralph Kiner. Seven All-Star-type seasons is just a bit lower than I would like to see, but Berger does have three seasons with 30+ win shares and two seasons as the NL’s best position player to his credit. His contemporaries were aware that he was the best center fielder in the NL at his peak. He didn’t do well in MVP votes, but Kiner didn’t do well, either, and for the same reason: both were the lone stars on otherwise pitiful clubs. Berger squeaks onto my queue.

  21. #96

    Red Faber

    [NOTE: Originally posted on October 31, 2007. Faber was inducted into the BBFHOF in the December 21, 2007 election.]

    Today, I'm posting evaluations for three pitchers whose career started in the 1910s - Red Faber, Eppa Rixey, and Wilbur Cooper. Faber and Rixey have both drawn solid support in recent BBFHOF elections. I made a list for Cooper out of curiousity, as he is ahead of both Faber and Rixey in Bill James' rankings.

    With Red Faber, the first of the three pitchers, the issue of wartime credit comes up. Usually, military service does not affect a pitcher's career totals. While he is not competing in the major leagues while in the service, the fact that he isn't playing baseball will help preserve his arm, and the pitcher will get those years back at the end of his career. However, during his stint in the Navy in 1918, he became a pitcher for the Great Lakes Naval Base's team. Since he was playing baseball then, the usual argument for not giving pitchers wartime credit falls apart; Faber deserves some consideration for the time missed.

    Case to Consider: FABER, Urban (Red)

    1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

    No.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    He led White Sox pitchers in win shares in 1920, 1921, and 1922.

    3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

    In both 1921 and 1922, he had more win shares than any other pitcher in major league baseball.

    4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

    No. He was decent in 1917, with 16 win shares, but had only 6 win shares in 1919 (he had arm trouble and the flu). He had 25 win shares in 1920, when the White Sox were in the race until the end of the season. However, he did go 3-1 in the 1917 World Series with a 2.33 ERA. If there had been an MVP Award for the series back then, it probably would have gone to Faber that year.

    5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?

    Yes; he was still a regular in the White Sox rotation at the age of 41.

    6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

    No.

    7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?

    By similarity scores, he’s most comparable to: Burleigh Grimes, Vic Willis, Jack Quinn, Ted Lyons, Eppa Rixey, Dennis Martinez, George Mullins, Sam Jones, Tony Mullane, and Waite Hoyt. Five are in Cooperstown, but only Lyons is in the BBFHOF. However, Faber’s 118 ERA+ ties Willis’ for the highest of the bunch.

    By win shares among contemporaries, we have: Eppa Rixey 315, FABER 292, Burleigh Grimes 286, Wilbur Cooper 266. Faber is actually third on the list (Alexander has 477).

    However, early in 1918, Faber joined the Navy, and served as recreation director for the Great Lakes Naval Base, also pitching for the base’s team. With wartime credit, Faber would be at 300+ win shares. This is a case where a pitcher deserves wartime credit, since his military job involved playing baseball.

    By win shares in the top three seasons, we have: Dazzy Vance 94, FABER 93, Carl Mays 92, Burleigh Grimes 91, Stan Coveleski 90, Smokey Joe Wood 90. Again, Faber is third among his contemporaries (Alexander is in first by a wide margin), and in solid BBFHOF territory.

    By best five consecutive seasons, we have: Jim Bagby 125, Dazzy Vance 124, Burleigh Grimes 122, Dolf Luque 121, Eppa Rixey 118, FABER 118, Claude Hendrix 117, Bob Shawkey 114, Smokey Joe Wood 111. Faber is a little low here. However, if we knew how well he pitched in the Navy in 1918, he might move up a bit.


    8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

    His black ink score is 22 (77th), his gray ink score is 161 (78th), and his HOF Standards score is 37.0 (84th). So he misses out here.

    Faber is a member of both Cooperstown and the Hall of Merit. The HOM inducted Faber in his first year of eligibility.

    9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

    All those games for the Chicago White Sox after the Black Sox scandal lowered his W-L percentage.

    10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?

    No.

    11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

    He never received a vote in the MVP voting during the 1920s. However, he was the best pitcher in baseball twice. Had there been a Cy Young award in 1921, he might have won the vote, recording the lowest ERA in the American League and going 25-15 for a team that went 62-92 overall.

    12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?

    The 1921 and 1922 seasons were the only ones in which he finished in the top four in win shares among AL pitchers. However, he finished fifth among AL pitchers in 1920, and might have been an All-Star that year. Overall, though, three All-Star seasons is low for a pitcher.

    13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

    At his best, it would be likely.

    14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

    Faber was the last legal spitball pitcher in the American League.

    15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

    After retirement, Faber tried selling cars and real estate, but failed at both. His lack of success was attributed to his being too honest.

    CONCLUSION: It’s a close call. Faber certainly has the career value. His peak is decent, and he had back-to-back seasons as the best pitcher in major league baseball. However, he had only three seasons among the best eight pitchers in his league, and that’s low.

    To be fair, he may have been able to pick up another top-notch season in 1918; he had 7 win shares in 80.7 innings pitched before he joined the navy. Four good seasons at his peak, a long career, and first-ballot induction into the Hall of Merit put Faber onto my queue for the BBFHOF.
    Last edited by AG2004; 01-20-2008 at 02:35 PM.

  22. #97

    Eppa Rixey

    Making a list for Rixey led me to change my mind about him. He wasn't merely a slightly above-average pitcher who happened to have a long career, as I discovered that Rixey actually had a fairly impressive number of All-Star-type seasons. He was a good pitcher at his peak; he just didn't have that one season which stands out from the rest.

    [NOTE: Rixey was elected to the BBFHOF on February 1, 2008.]

    Case to Consider: RIXEY, Eppa

    1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

    No.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    Rixey led Cincinnati’s pitchers in win shares in 1922, 1923, 1924, and 1928. He finished third among Cincinnati’s pitchers in win shares in 1925, but his 26 win shares that year would have been enough for the lead on all fifteen other teams.

    3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

    He never led his league’s pitchers in win shares, but he was second in 1922. He was among the top four major league pitchers in win shares in 1923 and 1925.

    4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

    Not really. Rixey didn’t have a good season in 1915, the only time a team he was on won the pennant. However, he was the third best pitcher in the NL in 1916, when the Phillies were 2.5 games out, and 1923, when the Reds finished 4.5 games back.

    5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?

    Yes; he pitched 201 innings at the age of 38.

    6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

    He is not the best player outside the BBFHOF.

    7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?

    By similarity scores: Jack Powell, Red Faber, Ted Lyons, Jim Kaat, Robin Roberts, Burleigh Grimes, Jack Quinn, Tommy John, Tony Mullane, and Ferguson Jenkins. Five are in Cooperstown, and four are in the BBFHOF.

    Career win shares, contemporary P: RIXEY 315, Urban Faber 292, Burleigh Grimes 286. Rixey is second among the era’s pitchers here; Alexander is first by a wide margin.

    Top three seasons: Hippo Vaughn 82, Bob Shawkey 81, Rube Marquard 78, RIXEY 76, Dick Rudolph 74, Vean Gregg 74, Dutch Leonard 74, Joe Bush 73, Herb Pennock 73, Larry Chaney 72, Jeff Tesreau 72, Sad Sam Jones 71, Waite Hoyt 69. These are not members of the BBFHOF, let alone serious candidates.

    Top five consecutive seasons: Jim Bagby 125, Dazzy Vance 124, Burleigh Grimes 122, Dolf Luque 121, RIXEY 118, Red Faber 118, Claude Hendrix 117, Bob Shawkey 114, Smokey Joe Wood 111. Rixey appears to be a bit low here, but he is tied with Faber, so he's around the gray area.

    8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

    His black ink score of 10 is very low, as it is just 228th all-time. He does better in gray ink; his mark of 175 puts him in 63rd place. He is 93rd on the HOF Standards list, with a score of 35.0.

    Rixey is in both Cooperstown and the Hall of Merit.

    9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

    While the 1910s are known for low scores, Rixey’s home park in that decade was the Baker Bowl. The latter half of his career came during a high-offense era, but those seasons were spent in Cincinnati, which had a pitcher’s park. Rixey also pitched for a lot of bad teams, which lowered his W-L record.

    10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?

    Rixey is not the best pitcher outside the BBFHOF.

    11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

    Rixey was second among NL pitchers in win shares just once, in 1922. He was third four other times; these include his top three seasons in win shares.

    12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?

    The All-Star Game was created in Rixey’s last season. However, he had six seasons among the top four pitchers in the NL by win shares, with an additional season in sixth and one more in seventh place. That’s good for a pitcher.

    13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

    During his peak, a team with a player like Rixey as its star pitcher would usually contend for a pennant.

    14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

    Rixey is the only pitcher since the live ball was introduced to have given up just one home run while throwing 200 innings in a single season, having done so in 1921. He also had a 1.000 fielding percentage in 1917. On the other hand, Rixey has the career record for most losses by a left-handed pitcher.

    15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

    As far as I can tell.

    CONCLUSION: In the past, I had been under the impression that Rixey’s main accomplishment was gathering together a lot of wins, and that he didn’t really have much of a peak to speak of. He didn’t have the big seasons, but he did finish in the top three among NL pitchers in win shares in five different seasons. The peak may be a little lower than I’m comfortable with, but his career totals compensate for that. Rixey makes my queue for the BBFHOF. [He was added to my ballot after October 31, 2007.]
    Last edited by AG2004; 02-05-2008 at 09:11 AM.

  23. #98

    Wilbur Cooper

    Wilbur Cooper, the third and final pitcher in this group, is better than people give him credit for. I'm not sure why he's underrated; there may be two reasons.

    First, there are years when Cooper drops out of the top ten in ERA+, but comes up big in complete games and innings pitched. With the state of relief pitching in Cooper's era, a team would actually benefit from high IP and CG totals. Instead of a specialized closer who could provide a great finish a lot of times, a relief pitcher would usually be someone who just wasn't that good. Using a reliever might be a step down for a team.

    Second, Cooper was a fairly decent hitter; he would often bat in the number eight position during one of his starts. Pitching statistics don't account for how well a pitcher hits. However, hitting does make a difference in winning games. If we compare pitcher A to pitcher B, does it really matter if the difference between the two comes down to ten extra runs saved by pitcher A's throwing, or if it comes down to ten extra runs produced by pitcher A's offense?

    ERA+ does not reflect IP, nor does it reflect offensive totals. However, the win shares method reflects both of these numbers. Thus, Wilbur Cooper comes out better by win shares than by ERA+. Addie Joss, on the other hand, comes out better by ERA+ than by win shares, since ERA+ doesn't reflect his IP totals (only two times in the top ten during his career) or his relatively poor hitting. Since I'm not sure how best to adjust ERA+ for innings pitched, and the win shares system adjusts for both quality and quantity, I generally use win shares.

    Case to Consider: COOPER, Wilbur

    1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

    No.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    He led Pirates pitchers in win shares each year from 1916-18 and 1920-24.

    3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

    No, he wasn’t. Grover Cleveland Alexander was easily the best pitcher in the NL. However, Cooper led all NL pitchers in win shares in 1922, and finished second in the NL in 1921 and 1924. His best season was 1920, with 31 win shares, but he was only third in the NL that year.

    4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

    The Pirates finished 4 games back in 1921, and 3 back in 1924. In each of those years, Cooper was second among NL pitchers in win shares.

    5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?

    Not really. He was burnt out by the age of 34.

    6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

    No.

    7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?

    By similarity scores, the most comparable pitchers are Rube Marquard, Hooks Dauss, Larry French, Stan Coveleski, Don Drysdale, Dolf Luque, Milt Pappas, Jim Perry, George Mullin, and Freddie Fitzsimmons. Three are in Cooperstown, although Marquard is widely considered a mistake. Two are in the BBFHOF.

    By career WS among contemporaries, we have: Eppa Rixey 315, Red Faber 292, Burleigh Grimes 286, COOPER 266, Waite Hoyt 262, Carl Mays 256, Stan Coveleski 245, Sad Sam Jones 245, Babe Adams 243, Dazzy Vance 241, Dolf Luque 241. He’s in fairly good company here.

    Both the 1918 and 1919 seasons were shortened, so I adjusted Cooper’s peak shares to 154-game schedules in order to reflect this. This boosts his total in his best three seasons from 86 to 87, and his best five consecutive seasons from 133 to 140. The peak totals for several other pitchers also reflect this adjustment.

    By top three seasons, we have Stan Coveleski 97, Carl Mays 96, Dazzy Vance 94, Jim Bagby 94, Red Faber 93, Burleigh Grimes 91, Smokey Joe Wood 90, Hippo Vaughn 90, Dolf Luque 89, Claude Hendrix 87, COOPER 86, George Uhle 84, Jeff Pfeffer 84, Urban Shocker 84, Bob Shawkey 81, Babe Adams 81, Rube Marquard 78, Eppa Rixey 76. Cooper is closer to those who aren’t in the BBFHOF than to those who are.

    By peak five consecutive seasons, we have Stan Coveleski 151, Carl Mays 148, COOPER 140, Hippo Vaughn 136, Urban Shocker 128, Dazzy Vance 124, Burleigh Grimes 122, Dulf Luque 121, Eppa Rixey 118, Urban Faber 118, Bob Shawkey 114. Cooper is in a good position here.

    8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

    Cooper has a black ink total of 17 (118th), a gray ink total of 173 (65th), and a HOF Standards score of 33.0 (113rd). These are all low, though the gray ink isn’t terrible.

    Cooper is not in Cooperstown, nor is he in the Hall of Merit.

    9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

    The Pittsburgh clubs he pitched for were generally bad to mediocre, thus affecting his W-L record. Also, Cooper was a good hitter for a pitcher; he would usually bat eighth in the lineup in games he started. His hitting does not affect his pitching statistics, but it is reflected in his win share totals.

    10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?

    No.

    11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

    Neither the MVP nor the Cy Young was around when Cooper played. However, Cooper did have more win shares than any other NL pitcher in 1922, and was second in the NL in 1921 and 1924. He had 31 win shares in 1920, but was third among NL pitchers in win shares that year. This is good for a pitcher.

    12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?

    Cooper retired before there was an All-Star game, but he finished in the top four among NL pitchers 6 times, and finished fifth two other times. Those eight times were in consecutive seasons (1917-1924). He was sixth among NL pitchers in 1916 as well. Eight or Nine All-Star-type seasons is good for a pitcher.

    13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

    A team with someone like Cooper as its best pitcher would usually contend for the pennant during his peak years.

    14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

    He picked off a record seven runners at third base during the 1924 season.

    15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

    As far as I know.

    CONCLUSION: Going by the five consecutive years measure, Cooper has the best peak of any MLB pitcher of his era who isn’t in the BBFHOF. Also, not only does Cooper have a pretty good career win share total, he was also among the top five pitchers in his league in win shares each year for eight consecutive seasons. He was among the top six in the NL each year for nine consecutive seasons. Someone who would make an All-Star team year-in and year-out is usually a Hall of Famer. I have to conclude that Cooper is worthy of the BBFHOF.
    Last edited by AG2004; 02-17-2008 at 12:52 PM.

  24. #99

    Alejandro Oms

    [NOTE: Originally posted on November 3, 2007. Oms was elected to the BBFHOF on April 4, 2008.]

    I added Oms to my BBFHOF ballot in September, but didn't create a Keltner List for him then. Since Oms gathered six votes in the last BBFHOF election, it's about time I take the information I have on him and turn it into a list.

    Case to Consider: OMS, Alejandro

    1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

    No.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    Alejandro Oms was generally the best position player on the Cuban Stars (East) during the 1920s.

    Oms appears to have been the best position player on his Cuban league teams in 1924/25 (Santa Clara), 26/27 (Marinao), 27/28 (champions Habana), 28/29 (champions Habana), 29/30 (Santa Clara), and 31/32 (Habana). He may have edged Pablo Mesa for title of the best position player for San Jose in 1925/26. Oms was the second-best position player for Santa Clara in 1922/23, but Charleston was the team's leader that year.

    Oms may have been the third-best position player for Santa Clara in 1923/24, but Oscar Charleston and Ollie Marcelle were ahead of him, and he was competing with Moore for being third-best. In 1928/29, Oms was better than teammate Jud Wilson.

    3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

    I’ll compare Chris Cobb’s projections for Oms with where he would be had he competed in the majors. Since Cobb’s method lowers the peaks and raises the valleys for Oms, I’ll list similar outfielders season by season as well.

    *1921 – 29 WS. Oms is ahead of any major league CF (Speaker has 27) and any NL outfielder.
    *1922 – 31 WS. Oms leads all OFs (Speaker and Ken Williams have 30).
    *1923 – 27 WS. Second among AL CFs; third among NL OFs (Roush has 28; Youngs, 25).
    *1924 – 26 WS. First among NL CFs (Carey has 25). Second among AL CFs (Cobb has 27).
    *1925 – 27 WS. Fourth among AL outfielders (Cobb and Speaker each have 25); second among NL OFs (Wheat has 27, Carey 26).
    *1926 – 23 WS. Fourth among NL outfielders.
    *1927 – 26 WS. Fifth among AL OFs and second among AL CFs (Simmons 26); fourth among NL OFs(Stephenson 27, Harper 26, Lloyd Waner 25).
    *1928 – 28 WS. Second among NL OFs and first among NL CFs (Wilson 28, L. Waner 26). First among AL CFs, third among AL OFs (Combs 28, Goslin 26).
    *1929 – 29 WS. Third among AL outfielders, and first among AL CFs. Fourth among NL outfielders (Ott 31, O’Doul 31, P. Waner 30, L. Waner 27).

    4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

    Oms' teams generally weren't in close races; when they won, they won by a lot. However, when Santa Clara won the 1924 Gran Premio by 1/2 game, Oms had the third-best batting average on the team (and the top two spots were occupied by Oscar Charleston and Dobie Moore). In 1932/33, Habana and Almendares were tied for the league lead when the competition folded; Oms led Habana in batting average.

    5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?

    Yes. Not only was Oms a regular in Cuba, but the various MLEs and projections indicate that Oms still could have been a major league regular through the age of 40 had it not been for the color line.

    6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

    Given his career length and peak, Oms might be the best position player outside the BBFHOF.

    7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?

    Chris Cobb credits Oms with 340 win shares from documented competition; however, Oms had a few undocumented years with sugar mill teams before appearing in the Cuban Winter League at the age of 26. Thus, Oms should get credit for 370+ career win shares. Major league CFs with totals close to 370 include Joe DiMaggio 387 (without war credit), Duke Snider 352, and Max Carey 351. This is Hall of Fame territory.

    Oms is credited with 140+ win shares over his five best consecutive seasons (1921-25; we have no numbers for 1919 and 1920). We have Dale Murphy 150, Earl Averill 143, Jimmy Wynn 141, OMS 140+, Cesar Cedeno 140, Richie Ashburn 137, Vada Pinson 137, and Edd Roush 136. Oms is around the cutoff area, and may be a little higher than that.

    Oms comes out to 89+ win shares in his best three seasons. As noted, Chris Cobb’s projections lower how players do in this category. Major League CFs with similar totals include Larry Doby 97, Dale Murphy 97, Edd Roush 96, Fred Lynn 94, Earl Averill 93, Kirby Puckett 92, Mike Donlin 91, Vada Pinson 90, Lenny Dykstra 90, Roy Thomas 89, Andy Van Slyke 88, Clyde Milan 88, Chick Stahl 87, Ginger Beaumont 87, and Richie Ashburn 86. Oms is around the cutoff territory when we account for the problems with the projection method used.

    8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

    We don’t have the information available. Oms did lead the Cuban league in batting average 3 times, doubles 3 times, home runs once, and stolen bases once.

    Oms is not in Cooperstown. While he is in the Hall of Merit, he was on 25 ballots when he was elected in 2006, and received only 25% of all possible points.

    9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

    There are two key components here. First, Oms’ Negro League play in the 1920s came with the Cuban Stars (East). The Cuban Stars played a majority of their games, and sometimes all of their games, on the road. Since the home teams provided the umpires, this would lower the numbers of players on the team.

    Second, Oms’ first season in the Cuban League is at the age of 26; Chris Cobb’s MLE projections give him about 29 win shares that year. Oms was the star of a Santa Clara club that won a regional championship in 1920-21. According to Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria, the club drew its players from the top sugar mill and amateur teams in the area. Since playing for a sugar mill team would provide year-round employment, it might well be preferable to playing in the Cuban League in the winter and independent Black clubs in the United States for those barred from organized baseball by the color line. If Dobie Moore gets credit for playing baseball for an Army team, Oms should also get credit for playing on a top mill/industrial team. This would give Oms at least 30, and perhaps more, career win shares.

    10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?

    Oms could be the best CF outside the BBFHOF; he has a huge advantage in career win shares, and his five-year peak of 140 is pretty good.

    11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

    We don’t have MVP awards. Cobb projects one MVP-type-season for Oms, in 1922. However, Cobb admits his method evens out the peaks and valleys. Since Oms’ best seasons come out to 30, 29, 29, 28, 27, and 27 WS, and we don’t have projections for 1919 and 1920, Oms probably had around three MVP-type-seasons. That’s a very positive sign.

    12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?

    Cobb’s projections give Oms nine seasons of 20+ win shares. Since Oms projects to 29 WS in 1921 and 31 WS in 1922, and was playing baseball professionally in 1920 at the age of 25 (although not in any documented competition), I figure Oms had ten or eleven seasons of play at an All-Star level. Since eight is the cutoff, this is a very good sign for Oms.

    13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

    Yes. A team with someone like Oms as its best player would most likely be in the pennant race most years. Cobb’s projections for 1921-29 have Oms averaging about 27-28 win shares per season, and those were the seasons between ages 26 and 34.

    14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

    Not that I know of.

    15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

    Oms was called “El Caballero,” or the gentleman, by his contemporaries, and certainly upheld these standards.

    CONCLUSION: When I received information on Oms' Cuban league teams, I was able to determine that, at his best, Oms was usually either the best position player on his teams or trailed only BBFHOF members/serious candidates for that honor. In all other categories, Oms' record generally meets or exceeds the standards we have set for BBFHOF membership.

    When we include his play for sugar mill teams, Oms comes out to 370+ career win shares. The only major league position player with at least 370 career WS who isn’t in the BBFHOF is Rafael Palmeiro, and his record is tainted by steroid use. Oms’ five year peak of 140 win shares is also solid. Oms proved himself fully worthy of induction into the BBFHOF.
    Last edited by AG2004; 04-20-2008 at 10:11 AM. Reason: Comparisons to Cuban League Teammates added

  25. #100

    Ken Keltner

    Some time ago, I received a request for a Keltner List about Ken Keltner. I replied that I would create such a list to celebrate the 100th post on this thread.

    For post number 100, here's Ken Keltner!

    Case to Consider: KELTNER, Ken

    1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

    No.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    Keltner led his team’s position players in win shares just once, in 1939.

    3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

    He was the leader in win shares among American League third basemen in 1941, 1944, and 1948, but never led ML third basemen in that category. He was second among AL 3B in 1939 and 1941.

    4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

    He had 25 win shares in 1948, when the Indians won the pennant in a play-off against Boston, but that’s about it as far as seasons go. However, in the 1948 playoff, Keltner hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning to break a 1-1 tie on the way to an 8-3 Cleveland win.

    5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?

    No; Keltner’s last season as a full-time player was at the age of 31.

    6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

    No.

    7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?

    By similarity scores: Joe Randa, Harlond Clift, Hubie Brooks, Jorge Orta, Edgardo Alfonzo, Andy Van Slyke, Doug De Cinces, Adrian Beltre, Don Money, and Hank Bauer. These are not Hall of Famers.

    With war credit, Keltner would have about 212 to 224 win shares.

    Comparable 3B, Career WS: George Kell 229, Richer Hebner 220, KELTNER 216, Harry Steinfeldt 209, Terry Pendleton 203, Doug DeCinces 203, Willie Kamm 201. Except for George Kell, who is widely regarded as one of Cooperstown’s mistakes, these are not Hall of Famers.

    Best three consecutive seasons, 3B: Eddie Yost 78, Harry Steinfeldt 78, Bill Werber 78, Red Rolfe 77, Tim Wallach 76, Doug DeCinces 76, Bill Madlock 76, KELTNER 74, Buddy Bell 74, Red Smith 74, George Kell 73, Pete Ward 73, Harlond Clift 72, Ray Boone 72, Pepper Martin 72. This is not BBFHOF territory.

    Best five consecutive seasons, 3B: Harlond Clift 111, Robin Ventura 109, Harry Steinfeldt 109, Buddy Bell 107, Matt Williams 107, Larry Gardner 106, George Kell 106, Buddy Lewis 106, KELTNER 104, Ray Boone 104, ken McMullen 103, Tim Wallach 102, Terry Pendleton 101, Pepper Martin 101. With the exception of Kell, none of these players are in Cooperstown.

    8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

    Keltner’s Black Ink total is 1. His Gray Ink score of 71 (334th) and HOF Standards score of 19.0 (664th) are both low. However, Keltner earned three win shares gold gloves.

    Keltner is in neither Cooperstown nor the Hall of Merit.

    9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

    Keltner was known for his defensive play, and he missed a season due to World War II.

    10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?

    I don’t think he’s close to being the best third baseman outside the BBFHOF.

    11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

    Keltner never finished in the top ten in MVP voting, nor did he have any seasons with 30+ win shares. Those are bothh bad signs.

    12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?

    Keltner was named to seven All-Star teams, which is a little low, but he likely missed one more All-Star game due to the war. However, Keltner’s five seasons with 20+ win shares is very low for a position player.

    13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

    No. He had only two seasons with 25 or more win shares, and they came ten years apart.

    14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

    He was the inspiration for Bill James’ original Keltner List. Also, he made two great fielding plays to deny Joe DiMaggio hits in the game that broke DiMaggio’s record hitting streak.

    15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

    As far as I know. The SABR biography for Keltner didn’t say anything negative about his character.

    CONCLUSION: Ken Keltner is not deserving of the Hall of Fame, but we all knew that going in. Still, it was fun to create my own Keltner List for him.

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