Page 3 of 6 FirstFirst 12345 ... LastLast
Results 51 to 75 of 136

Thread: AG2004's Keltner Lists

  1. #51

    John Beckwith

    [NOTE: Originally posted on March 10, 2007. Beckwith was elected to the BBFHOF on August 17, 2007.]

    I haven't posted any Keltner Lists in a long time. Today, I'll post one for John Beckwith.

    Case to Consider: BECKWITH, John

    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?

    During his prime, with the exception of the Harrisburg Giants years (they had Oscar Charleston), he usually was. However, he played for the Chicago American Giants, Baltimore Black Sox, Harrisburg Giants, and Homestead Grays during a five-year period in his prime.

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

    Cobbís projections indicate that Beckwith would have had more win shares than any major league 3B in 1923, 1924, 1925, 1929, and 1931, and would have finished second in 1921, 1922, and 1927. There were ten seasons when Beckwithís win share projections would have ranked him higher than any AL third baseman (including 1928 and 1930). He was the best 3B in the Negro Leagues during the 1920s, and possibly the best in baseball as well.

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

    Not really.

    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?

    He is not the best player outside the BBFHOF.

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

    Iím using Chris Cobbís partially regressed figures; in Cobbís opinion, the fully regressed projections push the value of Beckwithís best individual seasons down too far, although they donít affect the value of his five best consecutive seasons.

    Career win shares, 3B: Tommy Leach 329, Graig Nettles 322, Ron Santo 322, BECKWITH 318, Stan Hack 318, Home Run Baker 301, Buddy Bell 299. This is generally BBFHOF territory.

    Best three seasons, 3B: Stan Hack 98, Sal Bando 96, Heinie Groh 95, BECKWITH 92, Bobby Bonilla 91, Paul Molitor 89, Darrell Evans 87, Tommy Leach 87, Howard Johnson 87, Ken Boyer 86, Brooks Robinson 85, Art Devlin 85. Beckwith is in the cutoff area.

    Best five consecutive seasons, 3B: Sal Bando 143, Stan Hack 140, BECKWITH 136, Paul Molitor 133, Howard Johnson 133, Bobby Bonilla 132, Ken Boyer 131, Brooks Robinson 130, Jimmie Collins 129. Again, Beckwith is in good company.

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

    We donít have adequate information to answer this question. However, while he is not in Cooperstown, Beckwith is a member of 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?

    Beckwith may have been a disruptive influence on his teams.

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

    One could make the argument that he is the best 3B outside the BBFHOF. Of the players at his position with at least 290 win shares (earned or, for Negro Leaguers, MLE equivalents), Beckwith easily has the best peak.

    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 had two seasons which project to 30+ win shares. Holway lists him as his Eastern MVP for 1925.

    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?

    Holway lists Beckwith as an All-Star four times. However, Beckwith had nine seasons which project to 20+ win shares. Having nine such seasons is a good sign for Beckwith.

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

    At his prime, 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?

    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?

    Beckwith once punched out teammate Bill Holland after Holland criticized him for making an error.

    On the other hand, Beckwith was generally the manager of his teams from 1924 to 1942, so Bill Jamesí and Rileyís assessments of his character is excessively negative. He did jump from team to team very often in the 1920s, probably because he wasnít willing to accept poor treatment or a lower salary than he thought he was worth. Al Fennar, who knew Beckwith for 25 years, admitted that Beckwith had a temper and would jump all over slackers, but would help young players who worked hard.

    CONCLUSION: If Beckwithís character were really as bad as Bill James described, then there would be an argument for leaving him out despite his record. But James got his information secondhand, and, in this case, the information he received was very poor. Beckwith belongs in the BBFHOF.
    Last edited by AG2004; 11-12-2007 at 11:23 AM.

  2. #52

    Tony Perez

    [NOTE: Originally posted on March 13, 2007. Updated on November 4, 2007. Perez was voted into the BBFHOF in the November 30, 2007 election.]

    Tonight, I'll post Keltner Lists for two postwar National League first basemen. The first list deals with Tony Perez.

    Case to Consider: PEREZ, Tony

    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 Cincinnati Reds in win shares. However, he was generally behind Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, or Pete Rose. In 1973, he was fourth among the National Leagueís position players in win shares, but only third on the Cincinnati Reds.

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

    Perez led all major league 3B in win shares in 1970, was second in MLB and the NL in 1968, and led the NL in 1969. From 1968-71, he was the second-best third baseman in baseball, behind Shigeo Nagashima. Perez also led all MLB 1B in win shares in 1973.

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

    When Cincinnati won its division titles, it was generally ahead of the second-place team by at least 10 wins. However, in 1973, the Reds won the division by 3.5 games. Perez was 3.67 games better than ďmerely goodĒ (31 actual WS vs. 20 for a good player), which is certainly an impact.

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

    Yes. He was a regular for several seasons after his time, and a part-time player for several more.

    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?

    In terms of similarity scores, the ten most similar players to Perez are Harold Baines, Dave Parker, Andre Dawson, Rusty Staub, Dwight Evans, Billy Williams, Luis Gonzolez, Chili Davis, and Jim Rice. Two are in Cooperstown, but four of these ten are in the BBFHOF.

    Career win shares, 1B: Harmon Killebrew 371, Roger Connor 363, Dan Brouthers 355, PEREZ 349, Dick Allen 342, Fred McGriff 341, Johnny Mize 338 (without war credit), Will Clark 330. This is BBFHOF territory.

    Top 5 Consecutive Seasons, 1B: Johnny Mize 154, Mark McGwire 148, Harmon Killebrew 147, PEREZ 144, Frank Chance 143, Bill Terry 142, Eddie Murray 142, Keith Hernandez 136, George Sisler 135, Hank Greenberg 135, Dolph Camilli 135. Most of these players are BBFHOF members, and Perez is above the cut-off line.

    Top 3 Seasons: Mark McGwire 101, Johnny Mize 100, Hank Greenberg 98, John Olerud 97, PEREZ 96, Eddie Murray 95, Don Mattingly 95, Frank Chance 95, Orlando Cepeda 93, Norm Cash 93, Bill Terry 93, Rafael Palmeiro 92, George Sisler 91, Jack Fournier 91, John Mayberry 91. Again, this is generally BBFHOF territory.

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

    Perez has a black ink total of 0. Thatís very bad. He has a gray ink total of 129 (136th overall). That would be fairly good, considering the majority of it came while he was still playing third. Heís at 40.7 in HOF Standards, which is good for 140th overall. That is around the borderline for position players.

    Perez has been inducted Cooperstown; however, 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?

    Other than a very lengthy decline phase that lowered his averages, no.

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

    One could argue that he is the best first 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?

    He finished third in the 1970 voting, his only time in the top five. He finished in the top ten four times. However, he did have three seasons of at least 30 win shares, which is a 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?

    He was an All-Star in seven seasons, which is a little low. His eight seasons with 20+ win shares is at the cut-off level.

    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, a team with someone of Perezí caliber as its best player would generally contend for 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?

    Not that I know.

    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: Thereís a solid case for including Perez in the BBFHOF, as he is at or above the cutoff line in most of the things I look at. I wouldnít put him on my ballot right now, but I would put him in my queue. [That was in March 2007. As of November 2007, he is on my ballot.]
    Last edited by AG2004; 01-03-2008 at 05:42 PM.

  3. #53

    Orlando Cepeda

    [NOTE: Originally posted on March 13, 2007. Cepeda was voted into the BBFHOF in the May 25, 2007, election.]

    Tonight's other Keltner List deals with Orlando Cepeda. If I were to base my decision purely on the numbers, Cepeda would be a close call. In such cases, intangibles can tip a player one way or the other. Orlando Cepeda's stubbornness with the Giants -- he insisted on playing first base instead of any other position, no matter how much playing at third or in the outfiled instead may have helped the team -- is the intangible here; it tips him off the fence and off of my queue for the BBFHOF.

    Case to Consider: CEPEDA, Orlando

    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?

    The only season he led his team in win shares was 1967, when he was with the St. Louis Cardinals. However, he was second to Willie Mays in win shares among the Giants each season from 1958 to 1963.

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

    1963 was the only season when Cepeda led major league 1B in win shares, although he also lead major league LF in win shares in 1960. Cepeda also led NL 1B in win shares in 1961, 1962, and 1967, and was second among MLB and NL first basemen in win shares in 1958 and 1959.

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

    He had 34 win shares in 1967, but the Cardinals ran away with the pennant that year. Cepeda also earned 26 win shares when the Giants won the pennant in a playoff in 1962, so thereís impact there. He earned 23 win shares in 1959, when the Giants finished 4 games back, and in 1964, when they finished three games out of first in a four-team race.

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

    Yes, for two or three seasons.

    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: Andres Galarraga, Jim Rice, Ellis Burks, Will Clark, Joe Carter, Chili Davis, Gil Hodges, Steve Garvey, Ruben Sierra, and Lee May. None are in Cooperstown. None are in the BBFHOF, either. However, of these eleven players, only Cepeda (133) and Clark (138) have a lifetime OPS+ over 128.

    Career Win Shares, 1B: Johnny Mize 338, Jake Beckley 318, Norm Cash 315, Keith Hernandez 311, CEPEDA 310, John Olerud 301, Mickey Vernon 296, George Sisler 292, Ed Konetchy 287. This is mixed company for Cooperstown; however, it is a little low for the BBFHOF.

    Top three seasons, 1B: Hank Greenberg 98, John Olerud 98, Tony Perez 96, Eddie Murray 95, Don Mattingly 95, Frank Chance 95, Bill Terry 93, CEPEDA 93, Norm Cash 93, Rafael Palmeiro 92, Keith Hernandez 91, George Sisler 91, John Mayberry 91, Jack Fournier 91, Boog Powell 87. Cepeda is around the cut-off area.

    Best five consecutive seasons: Keith Hernandez 136, Hank Greenberg 135, George Sisler 135, Dolph Camilli 135, John Olerud 130, CEPEDA 130, Norm Cash 130, Gil Hodges 129, Edgar Martinez 128, Cecil Cooper 127, Jack Fournier 127, Jim Bottomley 127, Ted Kluszewski 125, Steve Garvey 124. This is not BBFHOF territory.

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

    Cepedaís black ink mark of 14 is 164th overall, which is a little low. However, his gray ink total of 196 is a very good 42nd all-time. Heís 181st in HOF Standards, at 37.2. While Cepeda never won a Gold Glove, he earned 2 win shares gold gloves.

    Cepeda is in Cooperstown, but 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?

    Cepedaís prime came during the 1960s, which was a pitcherís era. While Candlestick Park was more or less neutral during the few years Cepeda played there, Seals Stadium did favor pitchers over hitters.

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

    No. Among post-integration 1B, both Will Clark and Tony Perez are better candidates for 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?

    He was the unanimous choice for NL MVP in 1967, and was second in the 1961 vote. However, he finished in the top ten overall just three times.

    Cepeda had two seasons with 30+ win shares. In 1961, though, he finished with 29 win shares. Since he would have reached 30 win shares had he played in the AL (as AL teams played 162 games that season, as opposed to 154 for NL clubs), we could credit him with three MVP-type seasons. Three such seasons would make a positive mark in his favor.

    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 an All-Star seven times, which is a little low for a Hall of Famer. However, his nine seasons with 20 or more win shares are a good sign in his favor.

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

    At Cepedaís peak, a team with someone like him as its best player would be in the thick of the pennant race, and perhaps win it.

    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?

    Cepeda was the first player to hit a major league home run on the West Coast.

    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 arrest for marijuana possession after his retirement overshadows his charitable work. More to the point, though, Cepeda insisted on playing first base during his years in San Francisco. As McCovey came up with the Giants at the same time Cepeda did, this meant that the team platooned McCovey for a few seasons, then stuck him in the outfield, even though Cepeda would probably have been a better defensive outfielder than McCovey was. That hurt the team.

    CONCLUSION: Orlando Cepeda might have barely made my queue based on his numbers alone. However, his insistence on playing first may have cost the Giants a pennant in 1964. By putting McCovey on the bench more than he should have been, it forced them into a playoff for the 1962 pennant; the extra playoff games, in turn, could have cost the Giants the World Series (which the Yankees won in seven games). Cepeda deserves to be penalized for that. As he would have been on the fence, or just at the tail end of my queue, without this penalty, itís just enough to knock Cepeda off my queue for the BBFHOF.

  4. #54

    Dickey Pearce

    [NOTE: Originally posted on March 25, 2007.]

    Months ago, someone made a suggestion that, if a player received a solitary vote for the BBFHOF, or someone voted for a player who had not appeared on any ballots previously, that player should justify that vote.

    There were two such players on my March ballot. I'll save Joe Start for a later date, and focus on Dickey Pearce tonight.

    If you were to check Pearce's record at baseball-reference.com, you wouldn't see why I listed him. Pearce was widely considered baseball's best player at his peak, he had a lengthy career, he provided leadership (as team captain) on championship clubs, and he was a great innovator (among other things, he invented bunting). That's the type of package that one typically associates with a Hall of Famer.

    However, Pearce's peak came in the early 1860s, which explains why it doesn't show up in most reference works, and the level of competition then was very low. If the only argument for Pearce came from the probability of being baseball's best player at his peak, then I would admit that there wouldn't be much of a case, given the level of competition and scanty records. But Pearce played for 22 years at the highest level of competition baseball had available, and he was still a very good defensive shortstop for the 7 years that we have defensive stats for. Pearce invented the defensive responsibilites of the shortstop, and I do not make the claim lightly; he moved shortstop from being the least demanding position on the defensive spectrum to being the most demanding position. The entire package is enough to overcome my concerns about the level of play that Pearce faced at his prime.

    That's the short argument. The long argument, in the form of a Keltner List, follows.


    ------

    Case to Consider: PEARCE, Dickey

    Note: There were actually two National Associations. The first was the National Association of Base Ball Players, or NABBP, which lasted from 1857 to 1871. The National Association of Professional Base Ball Players, which lasted from 1871 to 1875, is what most people mean when they refer to as the NA. Here, the 1857-1871 National Association will be called NA-1, and the 1871-1875 National Association will be called NA-2.

    Pearceís career at baseballís highest level actually started in 1856, before the establishment of the NA-1. His career at that level ended in 1877, his last season with the NLís St. Louis club and the second season of the National League.

    A lot of information, including the limited statistical records that exist for NA-1 players, can be found at:

    http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/...lot_discussion

    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?

    During the first half of the 1860s, Pearce was widely considered the best player in base ball.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    Pearce was the best player on the Brooklyn Atlantics during the first half of the 1860s. Each year from 1859 to 1864, he either led the team in runs or was close enough to Charles Smith that Pearceís defense at shortstop and/or catcher closed the gap. In 1867, Pearce was second on the team in runs, but was able to close the gap between him and outfielder Fred Crane.

    During his half-season with the Brooklyn Excelsiors in 1866, he was the teamís best hitter as well.

    He was probably the second or third best player on the Atlantics in the latter half of the 1860s; Joe Start, who is also on my BBFHOF ballot, was the best on the team then. If you were to rank Atlantic players in the late 1860s purely as hitters, Pearce would be in the middle of the list; however, his defensive value at shortstop would be more than the defensive value of the teamís outfielders, moving him up the overall list.

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

    From 1858 to 1866, he was.

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

    The NA-1 did not have pennant races; a team would become ďchampionĒ by defeating the current champion in a series, and thus several teams could theoretically become champions in any given year. Pearce was the best player and team captain on the Atlantics in 1864, when the team went 20-0-1. He was team captain again in 1865, when the Atlantics went 18-0.

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

    He was a regular in the NA-2 through its final year (1875), when he was 39, but was usually on the bench in his final two seasons, when he was 40 and 41.

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

    Probably not.

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

    We donít have enough information to answer this question.

    The similarity scores at baseball-reference.com are worse than useless for Pearce. To calculate them, they use only the figures from the final seven years of Pearceís 22-year career, and compare those seven seasons to othersí entire major league careers.

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

    The various Hall of Fame standards tests are useless for Pearce as well, since they donít apply to the whole of his career. Pearce led the NA-1 in runs in 1861, and was third in runs per game in both 1861 and 1864, but the raw numbers have not been adjusted for either schedule strength or for park effects.

    In the five years of the NA-2, Pearce led shortstops in fielding percentage twice, double plays once, and assists twice. In his defense, Pearce was at least ten years older than any other regular shortstop in the NA-2, with the exception of Ed Duffy in 1871. Pearce was only eight years older than him.

    Dickey Pearce is not eligible for induction into Cooperstown as a player, as he did not spend ten years in recognized major leagues. However, he is a member of 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?

    We have no defensive statistics whatsoever from the NA-1, which seriously hurts Pearce, who was considered a wizard with the glove. The defensive statistics from the NA-2 indicate that Pearce was one of the leagueís better defensive shortstops from the age of 35 to the age of 39, which hints at what he must have been like during his peak years.

    The offensive statistics from the NA-1 that do exist are sketchy. Pearce shows a decline in the latter half of the 1860s, but it must be remembered that his prime years (age 25 to 29) were from 1861 to 1865.

    On the other hand, during Pearceís prime years, top-level base ball was largely limited to the New York metropolitan area, and the level of competition would have been lower than it was during the NA-2 years, or even in the late 1860s, when Washington and Philadelphia were able to produce first-class clubs.

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

    I donít know. It depends on how steep the timeline was.

    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 NA-1 did not have MVP awards; given the lack of data and the limited number of games prior to 1868, producing retroactive awards would be very problematic.

    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 two seasons in Pearceís career when an All-Star series was played: 1858 and 1861. Both series were between representatives of the city of New York and the city of Brooklyn; Pearce was on the Brooklyn side for both of them.

    Again, the lack of data and timeline issues keep us from getting a better answer as to how many All-Star-type seasons Pearce had.

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

    The NA-1 did not have pennant races. A team would become champions of the NA-1 by beating the current NA-1 champion. Thus, the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings never held the NA-1 title. Pearceís Brooklyn Atlantic Club were the champions at the end of 1869; they gained the title after they had played, and lost to, Cincinnati.

    However, Pearceís Atlantic Clubs did finish the 1864 and 1865 seasons with the best records in the NA-1. At his peak, then, Pearce did lead his team to what we would consider pennants. Whether he would have done so later depends on how steep the baseball timeline was.

    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?

    Pearceís impact on baseball history was gigantic. He was one of the first two players to be paid (James Creighton was the other, and itís not clear who was first). Pearce is also credited by most experts with inventing the bunt.

    Pearceís greatest contribution, however, was inventing the shortstop position as we know it today. In 1855, shortstop was the place where you would stick your teamís weakest defensive player, since he had neither a lot of field to cover or a base to be responsible for. Pearce figured out how to position the shortstop in response to hitters, how to back up bases, and other ways to increase the defensive value of the position. Essentially, his innovations in the field were responsible for moving shortstop from one end of the defensive spectrum to the other.

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

    By all accounts, yes.

    CONCLUSION: Dickey Pearce was considered the best player in base ball during his prime. However, during his prime, baseball was largely a New York game, and the level of competition was low.

    However, consider the stars of the pre-NL era. Think of Joe Start, Lip Pike, Cal McVey, Ross Barnes, Joe Leggett, George Wright, Al Reach, Dick McBride, Levi Meyerle, and Frank Pidgeon. Start and Pearce stand out from the others by the length of their careers, and Pearce did it as a shortstop. Pearce spent 22 years at the highest level, from before the establishment of the NA-1 to after the founding of the NL, and was able to stay in the game during his thirties, a period when base ball expanded from a largely New York-area game to the national game. Managing to have such a long career should count for something.

    When I look at Pearceís lists of accomplishments Ė his being regarded as the best player in base ball for half a decade, his long career, his leadership role on a great (for the era) team, his creation of the bunt, and his singlehandedly changing the gameís defensive spectrum Ė itís enough to overcome the reservations I have against the level of competition he faced during his prime years.

    In any case, even if one doesnít see him as worthy of induction as a player, his innovations would make him worthy of election into the contributorís wing when we have the next election.

  5. #55

    Lefty Gomez

    [Note: Originally posted on March 26, 2007. Updated January 8, 2008.]

    The last player to have a post dedicated to him in "Albright's Musings" [as of March 26, 2007] was Edd Roush. We both agreed that Roush was near the fence, but disagreed about which side of the fence he belonged on.

    Since Jim and I don't have the same methods for determining whether a player belongs in the BBFHOF, I decided, out of curiosity, to produce a Keltner List for Lefty Gomez. While the processes we used were different, our decisions were the same in this case. Neither of us sees Gomez as deserving of BBFHOF membership.

    Case to Consider: GOMEZ, Lefty

    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 wasnít the Yankeesí best player. However, he led the teamís pitchers in win shares in 1931, 1933, 1934, and 1937.

    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 pitchers in win shares in 1937, and lead AL pitchers in 1934. But those were the only years in which he was in the top four among MLB pitchers in win shares.

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

    Not during the regular season. When the Yankees won the pennant during Gomezí years, they did so by such large margins that no one player would have made the difference. However, Gomez was 6-0 in World Series games, which is the best in World Series history.

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

    No. He had only one season after age 30 when he pitched at least 100 innings.

    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 are Allie Reynolds, Dave McNally, Ron Guidry, Mike Cuellar, Jimmy Key, Dwight Gooden, Virgil Trucks, Tommy Bridges, Bob Lemon, and Lon Warneke. Lemon is the only one in the BBFHOF. However, Bridges, with a lifetime ERA+ of 125, is the only one with an ERA+ higher than Gomezí 124.

    Career Win Shares, contemporary P: Red Lucas 194, GOMEZ 185, Dizzy Dean 181, Schoolboy Rowe 180, Bill Lee 177, Firpo Marberry 177, Hal Schumacher 176, Bump Hadley 175. With the exception of Dean, these are not even BBFHOF candidates.

    Best three seasons, contemporary P: Lon Warnecke 86, GOMEZ 80, Ted Lyons 79, Mel Harder 78, Red Ruffing 76, Paul Derringer 75, Ed Brandt 75, Bobo Newsom 73. Ted Lyons is the only BBFHOF member in this range, and he had a much longer career. While Ruffing has received solid support for the BBFHOF, he also has much more career value than Gomez.

    Best five consecutive seasons: Mel Harder 111, Ted Lyons 110, Bobo Newsom 108, Bill Lee 107, GOMEZ 106, Tommy Bridges 106, Paul Derringer 102, Hal Schumacher 100. With the exception of Lyons, these arenít BBHFOF members, either.

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

    Gomezí Black Ink Total is 46, a very good 28th. His Gray Ink score of 182, for 53rd overall, is only three below that of the average pitcher in Cooperstown. However, his HOF Standards score of 34.0 is only 101st, a bad sign.

    Gomez is in Cooperstown, but 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?

    The American League of the 1930s definitely favored hitters. On the other hand, pitching for the New York Yankees boosted Gomezí win totals.

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

    No. There are a lot of pitchers better than Gomez who are outside the BBFHOF, including his Yankees teammate, Red Ruffing.

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

    Gomez finished third in the 1934 AL MVP voting, and fifth in the 1932 AL voting; he was the leading pitcher in the vote both of those years. He had three top ten finishes overall; in 1937, he was the second-highest vote-getter among pitchers.

    Gomez had two seasons in which he led AL pitchers in win shares, but those were his only seasons in the top three.

    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 Gomez had two good seasons, but he still pitched in seven games anyway. Thatís a very good sign for a pitcher.

    However, there were only two seasons when he was among the top four pitchers in the AL in win shares. He was tied for fifth in 1931 and 1938; however, he was in the top seven pitchers in the AL only four seasons in all. That is not a good sign for Gomez.

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

    I have my doubts; his best seasons just werenít that close together, so if someone like Gomez were his teamís best pitcher, they would contend only about half the time.

    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 had the first RBI in All-Star Game history, and was the starter for the AL in that first game. His 6-0 W-L record is the best in World Series 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 can tell.

    CONCLUSION: Gomez had two magnificent seasons, but he didnít have enough good seasons around them to make my queue for the BBFHOF. If his regular-season performance were better, his World Series record would push him over the fence, but Gomez isnít close enough to membership in the Hall for his postseason marks to be of any help.
    Last edited by AG2004; 01-08-2008 at 10:38 AM.

  6. #56

    Red Ruffing

    [NOTE: Originally posted on March 27, 2007. Ruffing was elected to the BBFHOF on February 1, 2008.]

    Having posted a Keltner List for Lefty Gomez, I decided to make one for his partner in the Yankee rotation, Red Ruffing.

    Ruffing and Gomez had similar peak measures. However, not only did Ruffing have more career value than Gomez had, he had more good seasons as well. I concluded that Ruffing is worthy of induction into the BBFHOF.

    Case to Consider: RUFFING, 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 Yankees pitchers in win shares in 1932, 1935, 1936, 1938, and 1939. He was the best pitcher on the Yankees dynasty of the late 1930s, but not their best player.

    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 pitchers in win shares in 1938, but didnít lead the majors that year. Thatís about it.

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

    Not really. The Yankees were so far ahead of everybody else during Ruffingís peak years that no one player on the team would really have any great impact. However, he did go 7-2 with a 2.63 ERA in the World Series, which would help push him in the BBFHOF if he were close otherwise.

    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: Gus Weyhing, Burleigh Grimes, Tony Mullane, Early Wynn, Ted Lyons, Red Faber, Sam Jones, Dennis Martinez, Jack Morris, and Tommy John. Four are in Cooperstown, but only two are in the BBFHOF.

    Career WS, contemporary P: RUFFING 322, Ted Lyons 311, Carl Hubbell 305. Ruffing is only behind Grove among his major league contemporaries here.

    Best three seasons: Lon Warneke 86, George Uhle 84, Lefty Gomez 80, Ted Lyons 79, Mel Harder 78, RUFFING 76, Eddie Rommel 73. With the exception of Lyons, this is not BBFHOF territory.

    Best five consecutive seasons: Lon Warneke 125, RUFFING 116, Eddie Rommel 113, Mel Harder 111, Ted Lyons 110, Lefty Gomez 106, George Uhle 106. Except for Lyons, This is not BBFHOF territory, either.


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

    His black ink mark of 11 is a pathetic 198th. In contrast, his gray ink mark of 257 is a superb 16th. His HOF Standards score of 38.0 is only 78th overall.

    Ruffing 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?

    He played during a hitterís era, so that weakens his raw numbers. Playing for the Yankees during his prime only inflates the W-L record. Thereís also his batting; his lifetime OPS+ is 81, and that would make him better than his pitching statistics indicate.

    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?

    There was no Cy Young Award during Ruffingís day, but he was the highest-ranked pitcher in the 1938 MVP vote. He led AL pitchers in win shares in 1938. Otherwise, his best finish in win shares was third in the league, in 1932 and 1937.

    He finished fourth in the 1938 MVP vote, fifth in 1939 (second among pitchers), and eighth in 1937 (first among pitchers).

    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 played in six All-Star games, which is good considering that the contest didnít start until Ruffing was in mid-career. He had four seasons in which he was among the ALís top four pitchers, and two more where he was among the top six. Four All-Star-type seasons is a little low, but six such 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?

    Although he was the best pitcher on the Yankees during the late 1930s, the team also had Lefty Gomez and five or six position players having All-Star-type seasons each year. Teams with a Ruffing-like player as their best pitcher usually contend for a pennant, and win one now and then.

    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 know.

    CONCLUSION: Ruffingís overall profile looks pretty good. While the peak is low by win shares measures, the win shares profile is most similar to that of Ted Lyons, who is in the BBFHOF. Also, Ruffing had a long career with a decent number of good seasons among them, a nice gray ink total, and the acclaim of his contemporaries. I think he merits eventual induction into the BBFHOF.
    Last edited by AG2004; 02-05-2008 at 08:04 AM.

  7. #57

    Charlie Keller

    [NOTE: Originally posted on March 29, 2007.]

    The Hall of Merit at baseballthinkfactory just finished its 1996 election, the 99th in its history. The three players who gained admission for 1996 were Keith Hernandez, Charlie Keller, and Jimmy Wynn. I posted a Keltner List for Hernandez a few months ago, and I had him on the fence. His first-ballot election to the Hall of Merit moves him off the fence and onto my queue.

    Charlie Keller hasn't drawn any votes for the BBFHOF, so I decided to draw up a list for him (out of curiousity) and save Jimmy Wynn for another day. I also decided to post a list for Bob Johnson, a left fielder and contemporary of Keller who has drawn votes here.

    Of the two left fielders, I decided that Keller is the one who merits induction. I place more weight on having seasons with 30+ win shares than I do on ink totals, and that emphasis helped Keller here.

    Case to Consider: KELLER, Charlie

    A note about Kellerís peak: Bill Jamesí most recent abstract gives Keller 148 win shares in his best five consecutive seasons, which are from 1939 to 1943. However, on page 32, James noted that he skipped the partial seasons of 1945 in computing the peaks of Greenberg and Feller. Keller also had a partial season in 1945, so I took 1940-1943 and 1946 as representing his best five consecutive seasons. This gives Keller a peak of 157 win shares in his best five consecutive seasons.

    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 the Yankees in win shares in 1942, 1943, and 1946.

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

    He was second among ML left fielders in win shares in 1941, 1942, 1943, and 1946, and led AL LF in 1943 (Ted Williams led in the other three seasons listed). He was second among major league OF in win shares in 1943 and 1946, and fourth in 1940, 1941, and 1942. He was among the top three OF in the AL in 1941, 1942, 1943, and 1946.

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

    When the Yankees won the pennant during Kellerís prim years, they did so by large margins. 1942 was the closest; Keller led the team with 34 win shares, but the team won the league by 9 games. The Yankees finished 2 games back in 1940, when Keller had 24 win shares.

    Keller appeared in 19 World Series games, however, hitting .306/.367/.611 with five home runs. He scored 18 runs, and recorded 18 RBI. Had there been an MVP award for the 1939 World Series, Keller would probably have won it.

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

    Keller suffered a severe back injury early in 1947, and that ended his career as a regular at the age of 30. Since the injury ended his career, I donít think this question is that relevant in this case.

    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: Al Rosen, Kevin Mitchell, Tommy Henrich, J.D. Drew, Carlos Beltran, Wally Post, Gavvy Cravath, Geoff Jenkins, Bob Horner, and Mike Sweeney. We donít have any members of the BBFHOF or of Cooperstown here. However, Kellerís OPS+ of 152 is better than that of any of the ten players listed, and, with the exception of Henrich, none of them lost playing time to WWII. So Keller was superior to all ten players in the list, which doesnít make the list much help.

    Keller lost time to World War II. If he had 25 win shares in 1944 and 1945, we would add 39 to our career totals. Since he had at least 30 in 1941, 1942, 1943, and 1946, we can argue that he lost at least 49 win shares to the war (he had 11 in 44 games when he returned in 1945). Iíll give him 44+ as war credit.

    Career win shares, LF: Bob Johnson 287, Heinie Manush 285, Jim Rice 282, George Foster 269, Bobby Veach 265, Roy White 263, Augie Galan 263, KELLER 262+, Gary Matthews 257, Greg Luzinski 247, Dusty Baker 245, Albert Belle 245, Ralph Kiner 242, Joe Carter 240. With the exceptions of Belle and Kiner, this is not BBFHOF territory; however, Keller is similar to Belle and Kiner in peak, and ahead of all the others.

    In terms of Peak win shares, Iím giving Keller 157+ for his best five consecutive seasons (his total for 1940-1943 and 1946 was exactly 157, and Iím skipping the partial season of 1945). Albert Belle also receives an adjustment for the shortened 1994 and 1995 seasons.

    Best three seasons, LF: Joe Medwick 109, Albert Belle 105, Sherry Magee 105, Al Simmons 104, KELLER 102, Tim Raines 102, Frank Howard 102, Ralph Kiner 102, Willie Stargell 100. This is BBFHOF territory.

    Best five consecutive seasons, LF: Carl Yastrzemski 164, Tim Raines 162, KELLER 157+, Joe Medwick 157, Ralph Kiner 155, Albert Belle 154, Frank Howard 153, Al Simmons 153, Rickey Henderson 152, Sherry Magee 151, Joe Jackson 150. This is solid BBFHOF territory.

    By the win shares method, Kellerís closest comparisons are Kiner and Belle, both of whom are in the BBFHOF.

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

    Kellerís Black Ink mark of 4 isnít good (it would have been 15 had Ted Williams played in the NL). His Gray Ink total of 85 is good for 268th place overall. His HOF Standards Score is just 30.0, for 283rd place. This is not good news for Keller

    However, Keller lost two seasons in his prime to World War II. He was among the top six players in the AL in HR, RBI, R, SLG, and BB in each of the following three years: 1942, 1943, and 1946. He probably lost at least 32 gray ink points to the war, so that would make at least 117 gray ink points without WWII, which would be good enough for 170th place. Itís still a little low, but itís a good achievement for someone with just eight full seasons.

    Keller is not in Cooperstown. However, he is a member of 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?

    Keller lost 1.7 seasons to World War II in the middle of his prime, and that lowers his numbers. We have to adjust for that.

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

    One could argue that Keller is the best eligible left fielder outside the BBFHOF. In Bill Jamesí rankings, heís the highest-rated LF outside the Hall (with the exception of the still-active Barry Bonds).

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

    Keller finished fifth in the 1941 MVP vote, which was his only time in the top ten.

    However, Keller finished his career with four seasons of 30+ win shares; four such seasons are pretty impressive even for a lengthy career. He had 11 win shares in 44 games in 1945. Without the War, he would have had five or six MVP-type seasons. Most players with four such seasons are in the BBFHOF. Every eligible major league position player with at least five such seasons is a member of the BBFHOF, so that is a very good sign that Keller belongs in the BBFHOF.

    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?

    Keller was on the All-Star team five times, and lost another appearance or two to the war. Six or Seven All-Star appearances is still a little low for a cut-off player.

    Keller had six seasons with at least 20 win shares, and lost two more to the war. With war credit, he would have had eight All-Star type seasons, which is the cut-off line.

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

    During his prime, certainly.

    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?

    As far as I can tell, he didnít have an impact here.

    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: Keller lost two prime seasons to World War II, and was overshadowed by Ted Williams in left field and by Joe DiMaggio on his own team (even though Keller had more win shares than DiMaggio in 1942 and 1946). He had the bad luck to have the back injury shorten his career, and that leads many people to underrate him.

    But, in the six full years he did get to play, he recorded a BBFHOF-caliber peak, and an impressive four seasons with 30+ win shares. When one adds war credit, he passes Belle and Kiner in career value, and had eight years as an All-Star-type player. Eight All-Star-type years is the boundary; most players with more such years are worthy Hall of Famers, while most players with less arenít deserving of the honor. If itís still close as to whether heís worthy of honor, the World Series record helps.

    Yes, it was a short career for Keller, but when you couple what he accomplished in it with the war credit, Keller makes my queue for the BBFHOF.

  8. #58

    Bob Johnson

    [NOTE: Originally posted on March 29, 2007.]

    Tonight's other Keltner List is for Bob Johnson. I concluded that Johnson is not deserving of admission to the BBFHOF.

    Case to Consider: JOHNSON, Bob

    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 his teamís position players in win shares in 1938, 1939, 1942, and 1944. However, in each of those four seasons, the team lost at least ninety games. So this answer doesnít help us much.

    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 left fielders in win shares in 1944 and 1945, and finished third among AL outfielders in win shares in 1934, 1938, and 1939. However, 1939 was the only season he finished among the top three among MLB outfielders in win shares.

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

    No; his teams were always far from winning the pennant. Washington was second in 1943, but they finished 13.5 games back.

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

    He lasted until he was 39, 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: Ellis Burks, Moises Alou, Reggie Smith, Bernie Williams, Del Ennis, Chuck Klein, Fred Lynn, Bobby Bonilla, Will Clark, and Paul OíNeill. Only Klein is in Cooperstown, and only Clark is in the BBFHOF.

    Career Win Shares, LF: Brian Downing 298, Frank Howard 297, George Burns 290, JOHNSON 287, Heinie Manush 285, Minnie Minoso 282, Jim Rice 282, George Foster 269, Bobby Veach 265. With the exception of Minoso, these arenít members of the BBFHOF, and Minoso gets some credit for Negro League play.

    Best three seasons: Jim Rice 92, George Stone 92, Lou Brock 91, Fred Clarke 90, Minnie Minoso 90, Heinie Manush 90, George Foster 87, Jose Cruz 86, JOHNSON 86, Topsy Harsel 86, Ken Williams 86, Greg Luzinski 85, Lefty OíDoul 85, Tommy Davis 84, Patsy Dougherty 83, Don Buford 82, Kevin McReynolds 82, Kirk Gibson 81, Brian Downing 81, Tom Tresh 80. Johnson is below the cut-off line.

    Best five consecutive seasons: Jose Cruz 124, Topsy Harsel 124, Ken Williams 124, Lefty OíDoul 122, Tom Tresh 122, Greg Luzinski 121, Kirk Gibson 121, Sid Gordon 120, Don Buford 118, JOHNSON 118, Sam Mertes 118, Kevin McReynolds 118, Tommy Harper 113, Chick Hafey 113, Del Ennis 112. This is not BBFHOF territory.

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

    Johnson has a very low black ink score of 3. His gray ink score of 161 is 70th all-time, however, and that is good. His HOF Standards Score of 46.1 places him at number 92 all-time, which is another positive.

    Johnson 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 1930s were a relatively high-offense era. Also, Johnsonís last three seasons came during World War II, so those numbers should be discounted a little.

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

    No. Sheckard, Keller, and several others are more deserving of membership, or at least consideration.

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

    Johnson was fifth in the MVP voting in 1943, and was in the top ten one other time. He had a season with 31 win shares, but that was in 1944, during World War II; that was his only season with thirty or more 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?

    Johnson was an All-Star eight times, which is the boundary line. He had 20+ win shares in eight different seasons as well.

    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. He had only three seasons with 25 or more win shares, and one of them was in 1944.

    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, yes.

    CONCLUSION: Johnsonís career value is a little low. The peak just isnít there, and he wasnít great on a consistent basis. He doesnít belong in the BBFHOF.
    Last edited by AG2004; 04-21-2008 at 11:09 AM.

  9. #59

    Park Effects and extreme home/road splits

    [NOTE: Originally posted on March 30, 2007.]

    I promised that I'd post a Keltner List for Jimmy Wynn by the end of the week. Before I do, I want to make two posts regarding various issues which may affect Wynn.

    On the Albright's musing post on Jimmy Wynn, there's a discussion on how accurately adjusting for parks works when there's a marked disparity between one's performance at home and one's performance on the road.

    Most of the time, a player hits better when one's home park favors hitters. This is the case with Klein: exceptional in the Baker Bowl, but average on the road. Wynn's case is a bit unusual, since he hit better in the Astrodome, a pitcher's park, than he did in road games. Since he didn't do too well outside the Astrodome, Albright argues, park adjustments would overstate his value.

    On the other hand, since runs are more valuable at the Astrodome than they are elsewhere, it might benefit a player to change his swing to take advantage of a pitcher's park. He may end up with the same amount of runs as before, but he is creating more than his share in the place where runs are more valuable, and park adjustments would understate his value.

    -----

    I decided to create a hypothetical situation to test this. Let us have two fields, the Desolation Dome and the Bandbox Bowl. At the Dome, the average team scores 4 runs a game. At the Bowl, the average team scores 5 runs a game.

    Now let us consider three players: Felipe, Jesus, and Matty, all of whom created 100 runs. All three of the players played 50% of their games at the Dome and 50% at the bowl. This means that the average team scored 4.5 runs per game: 4 runs at the Dome in one game plus 5 runs at the Bowl equals 9 runs in two games.

    A typical player who creates 100 runs would then create the runs a team would score over the course of 22.22 games.

    Felipe is typical. He created 44.44 runs at the Dome and 55.56 runs in the Bowl. At the Dome, he created the all the runs a team playing there would create in 11.11 games. At the Bowl, he created all the runs a team playing there would create in 11.11 games. He's created 22.22 games worth of runs.

    Jesus takes advantage of the Bowl; he's much better there than he would be elsewhere. He created 70 runs in the Bowl, but only 30 in the Dome. His output at the Bandbox equals the runs a team would create in 14 games there. However, when he's in the Desolation Dome, he created only 7.50 games' worth of runs. Add them together, and Jesus created 21.50 games worth of runs. Park effects would say that he created 22.22 games worth of runs. He's less valuable than park effects would indicate.

    Matty's the weird case. He's not very good at the Bowl, as he created only 40 runs there. But, somehow, he created 60 runs in the Dome. In the 50% of the games he played at the Bowl, he created all the runs a team would score in 8 games there. However, in the 50% of the games he played in the Dome, he was responsible for the number of runs a typical team would score in 15 games. Add those two numbers together, and Matty has created 23.00 games worth of runs. An ordinary park adjustment would say that Matty created just 22.22 games worth of runs.

    In other words, adjusting for park effects makes Matty look less valuable than he actually was, since he had more than his share of runs in the environment where runs were more valuable.

    So, in terms of games' worth of runs, we end up with:

    Matty: 23.00 (better than expected in pitcher's park, worse in hitter's park)
    Felipe: 22.22 (typical player; split between two parks meets expectations)
    Jesus: 21.50 (better than expected in hitter's park, worse in pitcher's park)

    -----
    The average player with 100 runs would have had 44 in the Dome, and 56 at the Bowl. The 16 extra runs Matty had at the dome have more value than the 16 fewer runs that he lost at the bowl. In other words, it makes sense to adjust one's swing to take advantage of a pitcher's park if one creates the same number of runs there that one loses at hitters' parks by making that same adjustment.

    Chuck Klein was great at the Baker Bowl, but close to average on the road. He's like Jesus was in our example; he's worth less than ordinary park adjustments would indicate. Likewise, Jimmy Rice was great at Fenway, but not so good on the road; ordinary park adjustments would overstate his value.

    Jimmy Wynn, on the other hand, was at least very good at the Astrodome, but closer to average on the road. Like Matty, he's worth more than ordinary park adjustments would indicate. If he changed his style of play to create more of his runs at home, and less of his runs on the road (where they weren't as valuable), then he deserves credit for that, not a penalty.

  10. #60

    One-Year Glitches

    [NOTE: Originally posted on March 30, 2007.]

    Wynnís 1971 season raises an interesting philosophical issue.

    Wynn had just 7 win shares in the 1971 season. However, before the season, his wife stabbed him on their anniversary. The wound was nearly fatal, and Wynn does not seem to have fully recovered for the 1971 season. His poor play that year can be attributed to being the victim of a crime.

    I canít give him credit for what he might have done had he not been stabbed; that much is clear. I wonít make any adjustment for career measures. I wonít consider 1971 an All-Star-type season.

    However, I do calculate five-year peaks, and the 1971 season is relevant here. Let me consider two other problematic situations. George Davis recorded 0 win shares in 1903, in the middle of an impressive five-year run; Orlando Cepeda also recorded 0 win shares in 1965, in the middle of another five-year run.

    Cepedaís poor 1965 season was the result of injuries sustained playing baseball. Injuries are a risk that all ballplayers take as a result of their playing baseball. When computing five-year runs, I have to include 1965. In this case, skipping 1965 would only result in an increase of Cepedaís worth in his best five consecutive seasons from 130 to 131. But it doesnít matter how much of an increase would have resulted by skipping 1965; Cepeda was injured by playing baseball, and thatís that.

    George Davis, on the other hand, was entangled by lawsuits in 1903. Prior to the season, he signed a contract with the New York Giants. Before he reported to the team, however, the AL and NL ended their league wars, and decided he belonged with the Chicago White Sox. The Giants werenít satisfied with this decision; as he would have earned more money in New York, Davis wasnít satisfied, either. Davis played a handful of games with the Giants that year, but the NL ruled that the team would forfeit any future games in which Davis appeared. This situation was caused by the deliberate actions of others; thus, we should skip the 1903 season when determining Davisí peak.

    When I look at the numbers, Davis had 119 win shares in his best five consecutive seasons if we include 1903 in any five-year runs. However, by throwing out 1903, Davisí best five-year run turns out to consist of 1901, 1902, 1904, 1905, and 1906, worth 135 win shares overall. When determining peak, I canít give Davis credit for what he might have done in 1903, but I can give him credit for what he did in other years.

    Wynn had a poor season in 1966, caused by an injury playing baseball. Thatís tough luck, but I have to include 1966 in calculating my five-year runs. However, in 1971, he suffered because of the deliberate actions of another person. I canít give him credit for what he might have done in 1971 otherwise. But, since this is a one-year glitch caused by the criminal activity of another person, I feel justified in throwing out 1971 when determining five-year peaks, and evaluating him based on what he actually did in other years. If you add his 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, and 1972 seasons together Ė a five-year run once 1971 is thrown out Ė Wynnís five-year peak comes out to 151 win shares, not 141.

    To summarize what I did for Wynn:

    CAREER: No adjustment in totals whatsoever due to the stabbing. He doesnít gain any career win shares; he doesnít gain any league leadership positions; he doesnít gain any ink; he doesnít gain any All-Star-type seasons.

    FIVE-YEAR RUN: Since his being a crime victim affected his play in 1971, and being a crime victim was beyond his control, the five-year runs I use to calculate peak will skip 1971. For example, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1973, and 1974 would be considered a five-year run for these purposes.

    The only adjustment Iím giving Wynn for being a crime victim is by skipping 1971 in the five-year runs; no other adjustments will be made. In the purposes of completeness, however, I'll list both the 151 value and the 141 value for "best five consecutive seasons" when I do get around to posting the Keltner List for Jimmy Wynn.

  11. #61

    Side Issue regarding Jimmy Wynn

    [NOTE: Originally posted on March 31, 2007. Here, I was dealing specifically with Jim Albright's claim that win shares overstates Jimmy Wynn's value because it gives him too much credit for park effects. In this post, I was not dealing with Albright's more general claim that Wynn does not belong in the BBFHOF. For the record, Albright finds the sabermetric evidence for and against Wynn puts him in the gray area, and the more traditional standards push Wynn out of his queue for the BBFHOF.]

    The following is from post 157 of the Albright's Musings thread, regarding Jimmy Wynn.


    Quote Originally Posted by jalbright

    The thing is, the whole argument from the sabermetric side is based on the difficulty of scoring 1) in his time and 2) in his home parks. I don't discount either of them, but it seems to me that in order to go with the sabermetric conclusion on Wynn, we need to know how much the parks affected Wynn. Wynn's home/road splits don't show any huge overall dropoff at home, though he did lose about 20 homers or so in his career. But he had more doubles at home to compensate. The real killer for me is if we double his road figures, which is in a slightly better than neutral park because it eliminates the Astrodome and Dodger Stadium when Wynn played for those teams. Doubling the road figures gives Wynn 1654 career hits and 300 homers with a 245/355/429 line. I don't care what era Wynn played in, those numbers are not HOF caliber for an outfielder.

    . . . .

    I think we can all agree that if win shares didn't park adjust for Jimmy Wynn, his raw stats would not put him in the HOF (BBF or otherwise). Really, his raw stats don't suggest anything more than a good ballplayer, and maybe not even that. I'm certainly enough in the Jamesian camp to recognize the need for a park adjustment. The question is, is the adjustment given to Wynn's record too large? When you look at Wynn's road record, it doesn't indicate he was more than a good ballplayer, either--and this is in neutral parks. This certainly gives credence to the question of whether or not the standard way of treating park effects is overinflating the Win Share estimation of Wynn's value.
    However, I argued a few posts ago that:

    (1) If a player does better than expected while hitting in a pitcher's park, and worse than expected on the road in hitters' parks, win shares and sabermetrics will slightly underrate the actual value of the player's contribution by using the ordinary park effects formulas, and

    (2) It is a rational strategy to adjust a swing to take better advantage of a home field that is also a pitcher's park, even if one loses the same amount of runs on the road, because runs are more valuable at home than on the road.

    ------

    Now, if Wynn was merely an ordinary player who was made great by playing in the Astrodome, then sabermetric adjustments do overrate him, since he wouldn't have been as valuable in more ordinary parks. That would give me reason to agree with Albright; it would be a real killer.

    However, in view of the two points I made above, if Wynn adjusted his batting style to take advantage of the Astrodome, his road record is no longer a mark against him. He would have been fully capable of hitting anywhere; the discrepancy between the home and road marks would be a result of following a rational strategy to increase his overall value, and not a distortion caused by Wynn's playing in a favorable park.

    But how do we figure out which of the two descriptions of Wynn is the better one?

    -----

    Fortunately, we can look at the numbers to help decide which case holds. Houston started to play home games in the Astrodome in 1965. If Wynn was made great by the Astrodome, his splits should show that a distinct home-turf advantage from 1965 onwards. Albright's argument would hold up here.

    On the other hand, if Wynn adjusted his batting style to take advantage of the Astrodome, it would have taken him time to learn how to take advantage of the park. Since Colt Stadium was a temporary home, it wouldn't have made much sense to adjust a swing there, since the permanent home of the team could have been very different. In this case, Wynn would do better on the road for a season or two, and the home-field advantage would not show up until sometime in 1966-1968. If this really happened, then I would have to reject Albright's argument above.

    The two different descriptions of Wynn imply two different types of home/road splits for 1965. If Wynn's numbers at the Harris County Domed Stadium in 1965 were vastly superior to his numbers elsewhere, then the first, less favorable description is more likely. However, if his road numbers in 1965 were much better than his numbers in Houston, the second, more favorable description of Wynn would be better.

    Thus, we'll look at Wynn's first five seasons at the Astrodome to see if there's any pattern.

    -----

    Retrosheet gives the following splits for Wynn.

    1965
    Home: .247/.349/.404
    Road: .305/.394./.540

    1966
    Home: .239/.294/.400
    Road: .285/.352/.487

    1967
    Home: .261/.344/.495
    Road: .237/.318/.495

    1968
    Home: .289/.409/.455
    Road: .250/.343/.493

    1969
    Home: .303/.477/.561
    Road: .235/.394/.454

    I have to conclude the following points.

    *Wynn was not an average player made great by the Astrodome. His 1965 and 1966 splits follow the expected pattern: much better away from the pitcher's park than at home in the pitcher's park. Wynn did have 31 win shares in 1965, and it wasn't because he had a distinct advantage at home. He was a great hitter in road games in 1965; he was a good one in 1966.

    *The overall home-field advantage for Wynn over the course of his career came because he changed his offensive style to better fit the Astrodome, and not because the park just happened to fit his abilities. As I noted earlier, changing an offensive style to take advantage of a pitcher's park, and keeping similar offensive numbers over the course of a season, does make sense, and it causes one to be slightly underrated by win shares.

    In view of this evidence, I have to believe that the adjustment given to Wynn's record by park effects is not too large; if anything, it is probably too small during the 1967-1972 period. When I look at Wynn's road record on a year-by-year basis, it indicates that he was a great player (1965) who made a decision to increase his value by producing more of his runs at home (where they were worth more, given the overall low scoring environment in the Astrodome) and fewer on the road (where they weren't worth quite as much).

    I looked at Albright's reasons for doubting the sabermetric conclusion, and, given the year-by-year splits for Wynn and the Felipe-Jesus-Matty example above, I can't agree with those reasons.

    It may turn out that sabermetrics may lead me to reject Jimmy Wynn in the end. I'll know later in the day how that turns out; I just wanted to get some preliminary analyses out of the way first.

  12. #62

    Jimmy Wynn

    [NOTE: Originally posted on April 1, 2007. Updated on April 28, 2008.]

    At last, the Keltner List for Jimmy Wynn is ready.

    In the end, it didn't matter for me whether Wynn's five-year peak was 1967-70 and 1972 (skipping the off year due to his being a crime victim) or 1965-1969 (a total of 141 win shares); even using the lower total, Wynn was able to make my queue.

    With Wynn, there's a huge difference between how is contemporaries thought of him and what sabermetrics says about him. In his comments about Darrell Evans in his most recent historical abstract, Bill James provided a list of things that cause players to be underrated or overrated by contemporary (and later) observers. Many of the criteria that cause players to be underrated applied to Wynn, but there really wasn't anything that would have caused Wynn to be overrated.

    On the other hand, I considered Jim Albright's reasons why sabermetrics might mislead us about Wynn. Win shares technically deals with value, not with ability, and I decided that park adjustments did not overrate Wynn's value. As for ability, I decided that Wynn was not an average player who happened to have a home park that made him look better than he was; I concluded that Wynn was a great player who changed his batting style to take advantage of the Astrodome.

    If Wynn's home numbers had towered over his road numbers in 1965 and 1966, I would have considered him lucky to have ended up in the Astrodome, and distrusted the conclusions of sabermetrics. But the evidence didn't lead me to accept Albright's objections, and I couldn't think of any other reasons to distrust sabermetrics in this case. Since I did have reasons to doubt the judgment of contemporary observers, I had to go with sabermetrics in this case.

    Case to Consider: WYNN, 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.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    Wynn led the Astros in win shares in 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, and 1970, and led the Dodgers in 1974.

    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 CF in win shares in 1967, 1968, 1969, and 1974, and led all major league RF in win shares in 1972. He was second among both MLB and NL center fielders in win shares in 1965, and second among NL CF in win shares in 1970. He also led all National League outfielders in win shares in 1968 and 1974. (Technically, the 1968 OF lead was a four-way tie among Wynn, Rose, Aaron, and Allen.)

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

    Houston was never in the pennant race during Wynnís years there. However, in 1974, the Dodgers won the NL West by 4 games over Cincinnati. Wynn recorded 32 win shares, which is 4 games over the All-Star-type-season cutoff of 20 win shares. So he had an impact that year.

    In the 1974 postseason, he had 5 hits in 26 at-bats, for a batting average of .192. However, his 13 walks drove his OBP up to an impressive .450, so there was some impact there as well.

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

    For a few years, yes, but his last full season was at 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: Ron Gant, Tom Brunansky, Bobby Murcer, Reggie Sanders, Brady Anderson, Rick Monday, Frank Thomas (1951-1966), Sal Bando, Larry Parrish, and Sal Bando. None of the ten are in either Cooperstown or the BBFHOF. However, as Wynnís lifetime OPS+ of 128 is higher than that of any of the ten players of the list, the similarity score list isnít that helpful.

    By career WS, CF: Willie Davis 322, Vada Pinson 321, Edd Roush 314, WYNN 305, Al Oliver 305, Cesar Cedeno 296, Dale Murphy 294, Amos Otis 286, Kirby Puckett 281, Earl Averill 280. This is mixed territory, with some BBFHOF members, some vote-getters, and some who havenít received votes at all.

    Best three seasons, CF: Duke Snider 112, WYNN 100, Wally Berger 100, Edd Roush 99 (adjusted for short 1918-19 seasons), Hack Wilson 98, Larry Doby 97, Dale Murphy 97, Fred Lynn 94, Earl Averill 93, Cesar Cedeno 93, Cy Seymour 93. This is a good sign; Wynn is tied for Berger for the lead in this category among center fielders outside the BBFHOF.

    In his best five consecutive seasons (1965-1969), Wynn earned 141 win shares. However, his wife stabbed him in December 1970, and he hadnít recovered for the 1971 season; he earned just 7 win shares that year. If you throw out 1971 in determining Wynnís peak Ė and the fact that he was a victim of a near-fatal stabbing could justify throwing out that year Ė then his peak total (1967-1970 and 1972) would be 151 win shares. This peak will be marked as WYNN*.

    Best five consecutive seasons, CF: Larry Doby 152, Wally Berger 152, Hack Wilson 152, WYNN* 151, Dale Murphy 150, Hugh Duffy 144, Ed Roush (adjusted for 1918-19) 144, Earl Averill 143, WYNN 141, Cesar Cedeno 140, Vada Pinson 137, Richie Ashburn 137, Cy Seymour 137, Kirby Puckett 136. If one omits 1971 in determining peak, Wynn is in BBFHOF territory (Wilson and Berger both failed to reach 250 career WS). If one counts 1971 in figuring five-year runs, then Wynn is in the gray area.

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

    Wynnís black ink mark is a very low 4. His gray ink total is 94, which is only 240th all-time. The HOF Standards score of 30.3 is just 262nd. Wynn did not earn any Gold Gloves, whether real or by win shares.

    Wynn is not in Cooperstown. He was elected to the Hall of Merit in 1996, but received only 32% of all possible points that year.

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

    Wynn played in the Astrodome for many years, which lowers his raw numbers, and played during the 1960s, which lowers his raw numbers more. He had a batting average of .250, but a secondary average of .404, and was in the top ten in OBP seven times, so he was better than his batting average alone would indicate.

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

    Perhaps. He is the highest-raked eligible CF outside the BBFHOF according to Bill Jamesí latest abstract.

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

    Wynnís best finish in the MVP voting was fifth in 1974; that was his only time in the top ten. Thatís not a good sign. To be fair, during Wynnís eleven seasons in Houston, the team always finished more than ten games out of first place, and players on lousy expansion teams rarely attract MVP attention.

    On the other hand, he had an impressive four seasons with 30+ win shares. Among eligible position players with that many seasons of 30 or more win shares, only four major leaguers are outside the BBFHOF.

    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 an All-Star only three times, which is very bad for a Hall of Famer. However, he had eight seasons with 20 or more win shares. Eight All-Star-type seasons is 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?

    Most teams with somebody such as Wynn as their best player would be pennant contenders, and occasionally win the title. Houston never had enough good players to do that. In 1965, Houston had two players with 30+ win shares Ė and only two with 15+ win shares. In 1967, the team had only five position players and two pitchers with at least 10 win shares. In 1974, Wynn finally got to play for a team with enough of a supporting cast Ė and led the Dodgers in win shares as they won the division.

    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?

    In general, yes.

    CONCLUSION: Going by sabermetrics alone, I would not hesitate to put Wynn in the BBFHOF. It isnít just the win shares method that says Wynn was great; Pete Palmerís methods also do that. However, he did not receive the recognition during his career that one associates with even a borderline candidate for the Hall of Fame.

    Wynn was not a specialist, but he did several things well. He had a low batting average, but drew walks and was great in secondary skills. He was stuck with a bad small-market expansion team for most of his career. Those are all things that cause people to underrate a player, and he had nothing to counterbalance that until he joined the Dodgers. I donít think that itís a coincidence that he had two of his three All-Star seasons in Los Angeles; according to win shares, he had six seasons in Houston that were better than his 1975 campaign, but only one of them led to an All-Star game.

    Thereís a huge difference between what sabermetrics says about Wynn and what contemporaries said about him. As noted above, Wynn is exactly the type of player who gets underrated by contemporary observers. He led all of baseball in win shares at his position five times in eight years, recording four MVP-type seasons during that span, but his colleagues werenít able to see Wynnís accomplishments because they didnít fit the mold of what they considered a great player. Iím going with sabermetrics and the Hall of Merit in this case. Wynn makes my queue for the BBFHOF.
    Last edited by AG2004; 04-22-2008 at 10:04 AM.

  13. #63

    Luis Aparicio

    [NOTE: Originally posted on April 2, 2007. Aparicio was elected to the BBFHOF on November 9, 2007.]

    Tonight's Keltner List is for Luis Aparicio, who received a little over 50% of the vote in the last BBFHOF election.

    Aparicio received tremendous acclaim during his career, and the BBWAA voted him into Cooperstown; he didn't have to rely on the Veterans' Committee. On the other hand, he comes out very poorly (among BBFHOF candidates, at least) when we apply sabermetric criteria. If the case from sabermetrics alone is borderline, then other things can be used to help make a decision. However, for Aparicio, I don't see the case from sabermetrics as being anywhere close to borderline; I see it as too poor for anything else to help him. Even if we were to boost his defensive win share numbers by 50% during his best years, his overall win share totals in his best three seasons and his best five consecutive seasons would still be too low for BBFHOF territory.

    Case to Consider: APARICIO, Luis

    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?

    No. His early White Sox clubs featured Nellie Fox, Early Wynn, and Billy Pierce. The Oriole lineups featured Frank Robinson and Brooks Robinson. He did lead position players in win shares for a miserable Chicago White Sox side in 1968, however.

    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 shortstops in win shares in 1958, and was second among AL shortstops in 1959 and 1960, but those are the only years he finished among the top two in win shares among AL shortstops. He had just 19 win shares in 1958, while crosstown rival Ernie Banks led NL shortstops with 31 that year.

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

    The White Sox won the pennant by 5 games in 1959; the Orioles by 9 games in 1966. Given Aparicioís win share totals, I donít think he had that much of an impact on either race.

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

    Yes. He lasted until he was 39.

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

    He is not the best player who is not in the BBFHOF.

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

    By similarity scores, the most similar players are Ozzie Smith, Rabbit Maranville, Omar Vizquel, Bert Campanaris, Dave Concepcion, Nellie Fox, Bill Dahlen, Pee Wee Reese, Red Schoendienst, and Tony Fernandez. Five are in Cooperstown, and three are in the BBFHOF. However, Aparicioís 82 OPS+ is lower than that of nine of the players, and he is tied with Maranville for the worst OPS+ of the bunch, so this test isnít that helpful.

    By career WS for shortstops: Pee Wee Reese 314, Rabbit Maranville 302, APARICIO 293, Bert Campaneris 280, Lou Boudreau 277, Joe Sewell 277. This is a mixed set of players.

    By win shares, best three seasons: Roy Smalley Jr. 66, Buck Weaver 66, Lyn Lary 65, Frankie Crosetti 65, Woodie Held 64, APARICIO 63, Ed Bressoud 63, Mark Belanger 62, Marty Marion 61, Rick Burleson 61. This is nowhere near HOF territory; Travis Jackson had 70, and Rabbit Maranville had 74.

    By win shares, best five seasons: Roy Smalley Jr. 96, Al Bridwell 96, Marty Marion 95, Rick Burleson 94, Denis Menke 94, Frankie Crosetti 93, Chris Speier 93, Granny Hamner 92, Buck Weaver 92, APARICIO 92, Glenn Wright 92, Leo Cardenas 91, Ron Hansen 91, Red Kress 90, Jack Barry 89. This isnít HOF territory, either. Travis Jackson had 109, and Maranville 110.

    According to win shares, there is no shortstop truly comparable to Aparicio; nobody else with such a low peak value had a long career. Maranville is similar, but heís ahead of Aparicio in all three categories.

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

    His Black Ink score of 19 (111st) is solid. His Gray Ink total of 85 (267th), while low for position players in general, is still good for a shortstop. However, his HOF Standards score is just 36.0 (182nd), which is a little on the low side.

    Defensively, Aparicio won 9 gold gloves at shortstop; he earned five Win Shares Gold Gloves.

    Aparicio is in Cooperstown. However, 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?

    Aparicio played during the low-offense 1960s. Also, he was a highly regarded defensive shortstop at his peak, and that does not appear in his offensive numbers.

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

    Not in my opinion. Among shortstops outside the BBFHOF, I have Dobie Moore and Perucho Cepeda rated 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?

    He was second in the 1959 AL MVP voting, and ninth in 1966, although those were his only top ten finishes. However, he never had a 30-win-share season. He never had a season with at least 23 win shares, for that matter.

    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?

    Aparicio played in All-Star games in ten different years, and most players with that many games have gone into Cooperstown.

    However, he had only four seasons with 20+ win shares, and thatís extremely low for a position player. One could argue that he deserves credit for his 19-win-share seasons in 1958 and 1959, since he failed to benefit from either a 162-game schedule or a segregated league. But six All-Star-type seasons is still very low.

    He was considered a great lead-off hitter because he regularly led the league in stolen bases. However, during all those years, his OBP was worse than the leagueís average OBP, and he exceeded the league OBP only twice in his 18 seasons, both late in his career. His stolen base totals led his contemporaries to overrate him, and thus put him on more All-Star teams than he deserved.

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

    No. Look at how those White Sox teams did from 1968-1970. Teams have won pennants without superstars, but they were full of All-Star-caliber players. Teams donít even contend for pennants when they donít have any position players who play at an All-Star level. Aparicio didnít reach that mark very often, and, when he did reach it, he exceeded it by 2 win shares at most.

    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 holds the MLB record for most career games at shortstop, and the AL record for most career assists and most career DPs by a shortstop.

    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.

    CONCLUSION: Aparicioís overall profile isnít that good. He was a decent player for a long time, but his contemporaries greatly overrated him because they (a) didnít pay that much attention to OBP and (b) overestimated the overall value of a shortstopís defense, both in general and Aparicioís in particular. Without those distortions, two of Aparicioís positives would vanish.

    The writers put Aparicio in Cooperstown. Writers of the time thought that stolen bases were much more important than OBP; given that premise, they reasoned that Aparicio was deserving of honor. But the sabermetric revolution was just getting underway in 1984, and weíve learned more about evaluating players since then. As we have better tools available, we might as well use them.

    Someone like Aparicio, who was generally worth 18 to 20 win shares a year for a long time, never achieved greatness. Sabermetrics tells me that Aparicio isnít even close to deserving the honor the BBWAA gave him in 1984, and thereís no way the evaluation of his contemporaries can bridge a gap that wide. I donít see Aparicio as worthy of the BBFHOF.
    Last edited by AG2004; 11-12-2007 at 11:24 AM.

  14. #64

    Burleigh Grimes

    [NOTE: Originally posted on April 5, 2007. Grimes was elected to the BBFHOF on March 14, 2008.]

    I have another Keltner List to post tonight; this one is for Burleigh Grimes.

    Before I made the list, I saw Grimes as a decent pitcher whose major qualification for the hall was gathering 270 wins. A career ERA+ of 107 wasn't that impressive.

    Yes, Grimes is tied with Alexander for the lead in win shares among pitchers in the 1920s, with 210. There are two possible responses to that:

    1) Dave Steib holds the lead for win shares among pitchers during the 1980s. If leading in win shares during a decade is enough to make one a Hall of Famer, then Steib deserves to be in the BBFHOF. Yet Steib did not receive any votes last month, so there has to be more to deserving the honor than that.

    2) Grimes may have been fortunate that the period 1920-1929 represents his best decade. If we had a pitcher whose best decade whose best decade was 1955-1964, for example, he probably wouldn't have been among the win share leaders in either the 1950s or 1960s. Why should periods such as 1920-1929 or 1980-1989 be more significant than periods such as 1955-1964 or 1987-1996? What's so special about years that end in zero?

    -----

    However, the Keltner List also includes questions about the values of individual seasons. There were five different seasons when Grimes was either first or second among National League pitchers in win shares. He didn't bunch them together - and that is reflected in his lower peak. He mixed them with some very poor seasons - and the result is a relatively low career ERA+. But the number of those seasons boosts Grimes' overall package.

    After making the list, I concluded that Grimes has a place in my queue.


    Case to Consider: GRIMES, Burleigh

    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?

    By win shares, he led Brooklynís pitchers in 1918, 1920, 1921, and 1923, the Giantsí pitchers in 1927, and Pittsburghís pitchers in 1928 and 1929.

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

    Although he never led major league pitchers in win shares, he was second among MLB pitchers in 1928, and led NL pitchers in win shares in 1921. Altogether, he was among the top four MLB pitchers in win shares three times, and fifth an additional time.

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

    Grimes had 32 win shares in 1920, when Brooklyn won the pennant by 7 games. He recorded 21 in 1924, finishing third among NL pitchers, as Brooklyn lost the race by 1.5 games. Grimes went 2-0 in the 1931 World Series, winning game seven and not giving up any runs before the ninth inning in either of his starts, but Pepper Martin or Bill Hallahan would probably have been named the WS MVP had the award existed then.

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

    Yes; he was part of a rotation until his mid-30s, and finished his career at the age of 40.

    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: Red Faber, Red Ruffing, Ted Lyons, Tony Mullane, Gus Weyhing, Dennis Martinez, Eppa Rixey, Sam Jones, Vic Willis, Tommy John. Five are in Cooperstown, but only Lyons is in the BBFHOF.

    Grimes recorded 25 win shares in the shortened 1918 season. I adjusted this to 30 win shares when considering the peak measures; the only affect this adjustment had was to increase the total for Grimesí top three seasons from 91 to 92.

    Career win shares, contemporary pitchers: Eppa Rixey 315, Red Faber 292, GRIMES 286, Wilbur Cooper 266. These arenít BBFHOF members, but Grimes is ahead of Coveleski and Vance, who are in the BBFHOF.

    Top three seasons, contemporary P: Dazzy Vance 94, Red Faber 93, GRIMES 92, Carl Mays 92, Stan Coveleski 90, Dolf Luque 89, Wilbur Cooper 85. Grimes is among the company of two BBFHOF members and several leading candidates.

    Top five consecutive seasons: Wilbur Cooper 133, Hippo Vaughn 128, Urban Shocker 128, Dazzy Vance 124, GRIMES 122, Dolf Luque 121, Red Faber 118, Eppa Rixey 118, Red Ruffing 116. This isnít quite BBFHOF territory, but Grimes is still ahead of Coveleski and Lyons.

    Overall, the responses to this question donít provide overwhelming evidence one way for the other.

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

    His black ink total of 38 is 38th all-time, just two points below the average for pitchers in Cooperstown. His gray ink total of 213 places him at number 32 on the all-time list, and is above the average score of 185 for Cooperstownís pitchers. Both are very good signs. However, his HOF Standards score of 38.0 is only 78th among pitchers, which isnít a good sign.

    Grimes is in Cooperstown. However, 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?

    The 1920s were a time of high offense. Also, many of Grimesí Brooklyn teams were mediocre at best, affecting his won-loss record.

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

    No. Several pitchers outside the BBFHOF are more worthy of induction.

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

    Although the Cy Young Award was not given in Grimesí peak years, he finished third in the NL MVP vote in 1928 and fourth in 1929. He led all pitchers in the MVP voting in both of those seasons, so we could consider them two ďCy YoungĒ seasons, even though the Cy Young Award would not be given out for several more decades.

    Grimes had one season (1921) when he led NL pitchers in win shares. However, he had four seasons when he was second in win shares among NL pitchers. Thatís five Cy-Young type seasons, which is a very 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?

    The All-Star game came along at the very end of Grimesí career. However, he was among the top three NL pitchers in win shares in six different seasons, and was tied for fifth in an additional season. Seven All-Star-type seasons is a good sign 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, yes. He had four such years in the span 1920-1924, but was too inconsistent otherwise.

    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?

    Grimes was the last major league pitcher who was permitted to throw a spitball.

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

    Pittsburgh owner Barney Dreyfuss noted ďthat Grimes just fights with everyone, friend or foe,Ē explaining why he sent him to Brooklyn after the 1917 season. Grimes also had a reputation for being mean during ballgames.

    CONCLUSION: Grimesí ERA+ of 107 is very poor for a Hall of Famer. But 107 is an average, and Grimes had a tendency to mix very good seasons with very poor seasons. Grimes is among the top 40 in both ink marks, and had five seasons when he was among the NLís top two pitchers in win shares. If he had more seasons like those five, or had been able to cluster them together into a distinct peak, I wouldnít hesitate to put him in my BBFHOF ballot right now. As it is, he had enough top seasons to make it onto my queue, but the inconsistency means that heís not going on my ballot just yet.
    Last edited by AG2004; 04-20-2008 at 09:13 AM.

  15. #65

    Jake Beckley

    [NOTE: Originally posted on April 11, 2007.]

    Due to a Jake Beckley thread that appeared over the past few days, I decided to make a detailed Keltner List for him.

    The argument for Beckley has to come from his overall career value, as his peak is nowhere near BBFHOF territory. The problem is that he was never a great player, and never came close to having an MVP-type season. I want to see some peak value for members of the BBFHOF.

    To make things worse for Beckley, he regularly cut across the diamond from first to third when the umpire wasn't looking; Beckley's behavior indicates why a game requires more than one umpire on the field. In over half of Beckley's All-Star-type seasons, he hit 20 win shares (after any adjustments for season length) on the nose, so this cheating could have increased the number of his All-Star-type seasons from five or six to the nine he recorded. In other words, one of the few positives I have for Beckley very well have been due to his cheating.

    As has been the case for early players, I adjust win share totals to 140-game seasons from 1876 to 1889, and totals to 154-game seasons from 1890 to 1903.

    Case to Consider: BECKLEY, Jake

    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 his teamís position players in win shares just twice: 1890 and 1904.

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

    He led the NLís first basemen in win shares three times: 1893, 1900, and 1901; however, in two of those years, he had the equivalent of 20 win shares over 154 games. He was second in the NL in 1894, 1895, and 1899.

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

    No. With the exception of the 1893 Pirates, who finished 5 games back, the teams he played on were never close to winning the pennant. Beckley earned 17 win shares in a 132-game season, which adjusts to 20 win shares for 154 games, that year.

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

    Beckley was a regular into his late thirties. However, he has no real peak to speak of.

    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: Sam Crawford, Sam Rice, Zack Wheat, Fred Clarke, Roger Connor, George Sisler, Jim OíRourke, Paul Waner, Frankie Frisch, and Jimmy Ryan. We have eight BBFHOF members here, and nine players in Cooperstown. Thatís a very good sign for Beckley.

    Adjusted career win shares, pre-1907 1B: Dan Brouthers 414, BECKLEY 344, Fred Tenney 262. Thereís a big gap here; Beckley isnít close to anyone. However, post-1900 1B with about 344 win shares include Tony Perez 349, Dick Allen 342, and Will Clark 330. This is a fairly good sign for Beckley.

    Adjusted win shares, three best seasons: Henry Larkin 78, Fred Tenney 75, Piano Legs Hickman 69, Tommy Tucker 69, BECKLEY 67, Dan McGann 67, Jack Doyle 61. Post-1900 1B with similar totals include George Scott 70, Wally Joyner 69, Joe Adcock 69, Andre Thornton 69, Kent Hrbek 68, Ron Fairly 68, Ferris Fain 68, Vic Power 67, Wes Parker 67, Gus Suhr 66, and Hal Chase 66. This is a very bad sign for Beckley; none of these players are candidates for the BBFHOF.

    Adjusted win shares, five best consecutive seasons: Henry Larkin 113, Piano Legs Hickman 105, BECKLEY 105, Fred Tenney 103, Tommy Tucker 99. Post-1900 1B with similar peaks include Mike Hargrove 110, Norm Siebern 109, Lee May 108, George Scott 106, Kent Hrbek 104, Ferris Fain 104, Joh Kruk 103, Ron Fairly 102, Stuffy McInnis 102, Jake Daubert 101, Gus Suhr 100, and Alvin Davis 100. You need a telescope to see BBFHOF territory from here.

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

    Beckleyís Black Ink mark of 1 is not very good. However, his gray ink score of 165 (66th place) and his HOF Standards score of 50.0 (72nd place) are both helpful.

    Beckley is in both Cooperstown and the Hall of Merit. However, he was one of the HOM's later inductees, not getting in until the 1998 election, and drew just 25% of all possible points that year.

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

    The late 1890s, when Beckley was in his late twenties, was an era of elevated offense.

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

    No. I can think of many better first basemen who arenít in the BBFHOF; there are better first basemen who arenít worthy of 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 during Beckleyís career. Since Beckley never had a season which adjusts to more than 23 win shares per 154 games, he was never close to having an MVP-type season.

    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 All-Star game in Beckleyís era. He had nine seasons which project to 20 or more win shares after I adjust for season length, which is a fairly good sign. However, five of those seasons hit 20 on the nose, and Beckleyís cheating may have been responsible for helping him get that 20th win share in several seasons.

    (Rounding error may have produced an All-Star-type season for Beckley. If someone has 16.6 win shares over 132 games, that would be equivalent to 19.4 win shares over 154 games, which rounds down to 19. However, the 16.6 would round up to 17. That projects to 19.8 win shares over 154 games, which rounds up to 20. Eight All-Star-type seasons is borderline.)

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

    Beckleyís single-season career high in win shares per 154 games was 23. For a team with someone like Beckley as its best player to win the pennant, it would need people who regularly had 19-21 win shares per year as its seven other regular position players, a very strong bench, and a very good to great pitching staff. In other words, itís not likely that the team could 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?

    When he retired in 1907, he was major league baseballís career leader in triples.

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

    While on the basepaths, Beckley had a habit of crossing the infield while the lone umpireís attention was elsewhere. I assume that it helped him with a few of the triples.


    CONCLUSION: Beckleyís major accomplishment is in his career value. He doesnít have much of a peak, and he doesnít have any great seasons. He was never a great player, and I donít see him as capable of being the best player on a pennant contender. Thatís despite the cheating he did on a regular basis. Beckley doesnít make my queue for the BBFHOF.
    Last edited by AG2004; 03-31-2008 at 09:20 AM.

  16. #66

    Larry Walker

    [NOTE: Originally posted on October 31, 2006, as part of a Larry Walker thread. Updated on January 20, 2008.]

    I decided to create a Keltner List for Larry Walker.

    Case to Consider: WALKER, 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.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    Except for 1997, there was always a teammate who had more win shares than Walker. Often, Walker didnít even lead the teamís outfielders 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 was among the three best OF in the National League in 1994 and 1997, at least according to win shares. However, 1994 was the only season he led NL right fielders in win shares, and the ALís Paul OíNeill had more win shares than Walker that year. For any multi-year period, the answer is no.

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

    If the end of the 1994 season had not been cancelled, he would have had an impact there. Otherwise, not really.

    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, the most comparable players are: Chipper Jones, Duke Snider, Ellis Burks, Joe DiMaggio, Moises Alou, Johnny Mize, Manny Ramirez, Chuck Klein, Vladimir Guerrero, and Edgar Martinez. Three of the six retired players on the list are in the BBFHOF, but DiMaggio and Mize both lost playing time to World War II. All four of the players on the list who are eligible for Cooperstown are in.

    Career win shares, RF: Andre Dawson 340, Sam Rice 327, Reggie Smith 325, Harry Hooper 321, Jack Clark 316, WALKER 311, Bobby Bonds 302, Ken Singleton 302, Kiki Cuyler 292, Elmer Flick 291. This is not BBFHOF territory, but Cooperstown has been more accepting of players of this level.

    For the two peak measures, weíll give Walker credit for the games cancelled by strikes in 1994 and 1995.

    Peak three seasons, win shares, RF: Roberto Clemente 94, Bobby Bonds 94, Rocky Colavito 94, Jack Clark 94, Al Kaline 92, Dave Winfield 92, Roger Maris 92, Gavy Cravath 92, Tony Oliva 91, Rusty Staub 90, Johnny Callison 89, Kiki Cuyler 89, Chuck Klein 89, Ross Youngs 89, WALKER 88, Fielder Jones 88, Dixie Walker 88, Dwight Evans 86, Felipe Alou 85, Babe Herman 84, Roy Cullenbine 83, Tommy Henrich 82. Walker is a little below the cutoff line for the BBFHOF.

    Best five consecutive seasons, RF: Reggie Smith 129, Tommy Holmes 125, Roy Cullenbine 125, Dwight Evans 122, Tommy Henrich 122, WALKER 120, Harry Hooper 118, Jim Titus 118, Jack Clark 118, Kiki Cuyler 116, Sam Rice 115, Bob Allison 115, Bobby Thomson 112, Ken Griffey Sr. 111. This is not BBFHOF territory.

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

    His black ink score of 24 is good for 79th place overall. His gray ink score of 116 places him 170st, which is marginal at best. His HOF Standards score of 58.0 is a very good 35th best overall. Walker also won seven gold gloves; as a corner outfielder, though, he wasnít able to overtake the center fielders to earn even one Win Share Gold Glove.

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

    Walker played in Coors Field during the 1990s, which boosted his offensive numbers. Lifetime, he hit .348/.431/.637 at home and .278/.370/.495 on the road. In 1999, he hit .461/.531/.879 at Coors Field and .286/.375/.519 on the road, but thatís one of the more extreme splits. With the exception of the 1994 doubles crown, all of Walkerís black ink came during his Colorado years.

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

    No. There are a lot of better right fielders who arenít in the BBFHOF or, for that matter, in Cooperstown. Bobby Bonds, Dwight Evans, and Ken Singleton are among them.

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

    Walker won the NL MVP Award in 1997. He finished fifth in 1992 and in the top ten two other times. However, he had just two seasons of 30+ win shares (including 1994, where his actual 21 win shares projects to 30 win shares over 162 games).

    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?

    Walker was an All-Star just 5 times, which is low for a position player. He had 9 seasons with 20+ win shares (including the 18-win-share season in 1995, which projects to 20 win shares over 162 games), which isgood.

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

    No; he was too inconsistent and injury-plagued.

    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: Walker is no Hall of Famer.
    Last edited by AG2004; 02-05-2008 at 08:06 AM.

  17. #67

    Sam Rice

    [NOTE: Originally posted on May 6, 2007. The changes in January 2008 are limited to changes in the ink and HOF Standards score positions.]

    Although there were no players elected to the BBFHOF in the last election [prior to May 6, 2007], there were 11 players who received at least 50% of the vote. Of those eleven, I had nine of them on last month's ballot; Orlando Cepeda and Sam Rice were the only ones of the eleven that I did not vote for.

    A while ago, I explained why I had Orlando Cepeda on the fence. Sam Rice doesn't even make the fence; I see him as unworthy of the BBFHOF. While Rice was very good for a long time, he was never great, and that ultimately keeps him off of my queue.

    Here's the Keltner List for Sam Rice.

    Case to Consider: RICE, Sam

    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?

    Rice led the Senatorsí position players in win shares six times: 1917 and each season from 1919 to 1923.

    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 right fielders in win shares in 1917, and was second among AL RFs in win shares in 1930. There were only two seasons when Rice was among the top five AL outfielders in win shares Ė 1924 and 1930 Ė and he was fifth both times. There were three other seasons in which Rice was in a tie for sixth among AL outfielders in win shares.

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

    Rice earned 24 win shares in 1924, when the Senators won the pennant by just 2 games, so there was some impact there. He also earned 24 win shares in 1925, but the Senators won by 8.5 games that season.

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

    Yes; he was still a regular at the age of 40.

    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, we have: Rod Carew, Zack Wheat, Fred Clarke, Tony Gwynn, Jim OíRourke, Jesse Burkett, Frankie Frisch, Sam Crawford, Jake Beckley, and Jimmy Ryan. Nine are in Cooperstown, and eight are in the BBFHOF. However, nine of the ten players on the list had a lifetime OPS+ of at least 124, while Riceís lifetime OPS+ was just 112. Frisch is the exception; while his OPS+ was 111, he had more defensive value at second base than Rice had as a corner outfielder. So the similarity scores list isnít going to be of much help.

    Career Win Shares, RF: By career win shares, RF: Dwight Evans 347, Andre Dawson 340, Dave Parker 327, RICE 327 (plus war credit), Reggie Smith 325, Enos Slaughter 323 (without war credit), Jack Clark 316, Harold Baines 306. Rice is at the cut-off line for the BBFHOF.

    Top three seasons, RF: Bob Allison 77, Bobby Thomson 77, Jesse Barfield 76, Danny Tartabull 75, Al Smith 75, John Titus 75, Von Hayes 74, Vic Wertz 73, Harvey Kuenn 73, Ken Griffey Sr. 73, Jackie Jensen 72, RICE 72, Harold Baines 72, Tony Phillips 71, Richie Zisk 71, George Hendrick 70, Wally Moses 70, Carl Furillo 68. These are not members of the BBFHOF.

    Top five consecutive seasons, RF: Dwight Evans 122, Tommy Henrich 122, Ruben Sierra 120, Larry Walker 120 (adjusting for strikes), Jack Clark 118, Harry Hooper 118, John Titus 118, Tim Salmon 117, Kiki Cuyler 116, RICE 115, Bob Allison 115, Bobby Thomson 112, Jackie Jensen 109, Tony Phillips 109. While Evans and Walker have received support in voting, both have more win shares than Rice, and they both played in tougher leagues. Otherwise, we donít have BBFHOF members or strong candidates.

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

    Rice is 176th all-time in Black Ink, with 13 points. However, he is among the top 100 in both Gray Ink (153 points, for 83rd place) and HOF Standards (51.0, good for 67th), which is a good sign. Rice also earned one Win Share Gold Glove.

    Rice is in Cooperstown. However, 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?

    Riceís career was mostly in the 1920s, a period of high offense; however, he played his home games in Griffith Stadium, a pitcherís park. Thereís also a large discrepancy between his lifetime batting average of .322 and his secondary average of .218.

    Rice also missed most of the 1918 season due to World War I.

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

    No. There are many right fielders whom I would see as better than Rice who arenít in 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?

    Rice was fourth in the AL MVP voting in 1926, but that was the only year he received any votes. Rice never had a season with at least 30 win shares, and he never came close to having one.

    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 at the tail end of Riceís career. However, he did have 11 seasons with 20+ win shares (counting 1919, when his 18 win shares in a 140-game season are converted to a 154-game season). Most players with 11 such seasons are 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?

    No. Riceís single-season high in win shares was 24, and a team would need a lot of All-Stars and pitching to contend for a pennant on a regular basis with someone like Rice as its best player. Rice led Washingtonís position players in win shares six times; in only one of those seasons did the Senators manage to finish over .500.

    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?

    Rice is fourteenth all-time in both triples and in singles, but thatís about it.

    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, yes.

    CONCLUSION: Rice was consistent; from 1917 to 1926, he would turn out 20 to 24 win shares a season each year he was in the major leagues for the full season (with the exception of 1919, when he would have had 20 win shares had the season been 154 games instead of 140). But while one could rely on the fact that he would have a very good season, one could also rely on the fact that he would fail to have a great season. In fact, Rice never had a season in which he was among the top six outfielders in MLB in win shares.

    Greatness is a requirement for BBFHOF membership; while he was very good for a long time, Rice was never great. That is why I cannot view him as worthy of membership in the BBFHOF.
    Last edited by AG2004; 01-03-2008 at 05:48 PM.

  18. #68

    Jim Rice

    [NOTE: Originally posted on May 9, 2007. Updated March 31, 2008.]

    I'm going to post a Keltner List for the other Rice that has been getting some support here. Jim Rice didn't get 50% in the last vote [before the original list was posted], but he has been drawing a decent share of votes for some time.

    In the end, I decided that I couldn't support him for the BBFHOF.

    Case to Consider: RICE, 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?

    He did win an MVP award, and I think some people suggested that he was the best player in baseball during the late 1970s.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    1978 was the only season that Rice led his team 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?

    According to win shares, he was the best LF in the American league in 1978 and 1986, and among the top three OF in the league in 1979 and 1984.

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

    He had an All-Star-Type season in 1975, and was in a three-way tie for most win shares among AL outfielders in 1986. The Red Sox wouldnít have come close to forcing a playoff in 1978 without him. So I would say that he had an impact.

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

    Yes, for a couple of seasons.

    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?

    The most comparable players by similarity scores are: Orlando Cepeda, Andres Galarraga, Ellis Burks, Duke Snider, Joe Carter, Dave Parker, Billy Williams, Moises Alou, Willie Stargell, and Luis Gonzalez. Four are in Cooperstown, and five are in the BBFHOF.

    By career win shares, LF: Brian Downing 298, Frank Howard 297, George Burns 290, Bob Johnson 287, Heinie Manush 285, Minnie Minoso 282, RICE 282, George Foster 269, Bobby Veach 265, Roy White 263. Rice doesnít look like a HOFer by this measure.

    By best three seasons: Billy Williams 96, Jimmy Sheckard 96, Zack Wheat 95, Augie Galan 94, Goose Goslin 93, Bobby Veach 93, RICE 92, George Stone 92, Lou Brock 91, Fred Clarke 90, Minnie Minoso 90, Heinie Manush 90. Rice stacks up nicely here, and one could argue that he would leap ahead of Sheckard, Galan, and Veach on timeline adjustments.

    By five-year peak, LF: Lou Brock 134, Minnie Minoso 133, Fred Clarke 133, George Foster 132, Augie Galan 130, George Stone 129, Zack Wheat 128, Heinie Manush 128, Jimmy Sheckard 127, RICE 127, Topsy Harsel 124, Ken Williams 124, Jose Cruz 124, Lefty OíDoul 122, Tom Tresh 122, Greg Luzinski 121, Kirk Gibson 121. Even with a timeline adjustment, Rice would be in the lower tier of BBFHOF members here.

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

    His black ink score of 33 puts him at number 50 on that list. His gray ink score of 176 is at 58th place overall. His HOF Standards score of 43.0 leaves him at 113rd place, which is still fairly good.

    Rice 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?

    Riceís home/away splits are a problem; he benefited by playing at Fenway. His lifetime averages on the road are .277/.330/.459. Also, he led the AL in GIDP four times.

    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?

    Rice won the AL MVP in 1978. With 36 win shares, he deserved the award. He finished in the top five in MVP voting six times, even though he had just 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?

    He was on eight All-Star teams, which is generally borderline territory. Including an adjustment for the 1981 strike, he had eight seasons of 20+ win shares. Thatís also the cut-off area.

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

    From 1977 to 1979, probably. Otherwise, Rice was much too inconsistent in his play for it to be likely over a period of several consecutive 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?

    Rice holds the single-season GIDP record, with 36 in 1984. He nearly equaled it with 35 in 1985.

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

    Generally, although he shoved his manager in a dispute in 1988.

    CONCLUSION: Rice has some strong points and some weak points. He was rated highly by his contemporaries. However, consistency was a major problem for Rice. He did have eight All-Star-type seasons by win shares, but they were scattered across his career. Furthermore, he was definitely helped by playing in Fenway. He barely reached 20 win shares in three different seasons; without the boost from his home park, Rice might be down to five All-Star-type seasons, which is low for a Hall of Famer. I just have too many doubts about Rice for him to be on my list of deserving candidates.
    Last edited by AG2004; 03-31-2008 at 10:12 AM.

  19. #69

    Ken Boyer

    [NOTE: Originally posted on May 16, 2007. Boyer was elected to the BBFHOF on February 1, 2008.]

    I finally found the time to take a closer look at Ken Boyer. Boyer comes close to qualifying for the BBFHOF, but I believe he falls a little short of deserving the honor.

    Case to Consider: BOYER, 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, if youíre looking at a period of several years. He won the NL MVP Award in 1964, but many voters probably would have said that his performance was inferior to that of AL MVP Brooks Robinson.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    He led the Cardinals in win shares each season from 1958 to 1962, and again in 1964.

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

    He was tied for first among major league 3B in win shares in 1958. Otherwise, he was never the league leader (although Boyer did finish second among MLB 3B in 1960 and 1961).

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

    He played at an All-Star Level in 1964, when the Cards won the pennant by just one game.

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

    Yes, for a couple of seasons.

    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: Del Ennis, Bobby Bonilla, Cy Williams, Reggie Smith, Paul OíNeill, Robin Ventura, George Hendrick, Fred Lynn, Ron Cey, and Gary Matthews. None of the ten are in either Cooperstown or the BBFHOF.

    Career Win Shares, 3B: Home Run Baker 301, Buddy Bell 299, Bob Elliott 287, Toby Harrah 284, Sal Bando 283, Ron Cey 282, BOYER 280, Lave Cross 275, Jimmy Collins 273, Pie Traynor 271, Heinie Groh 271, Eddie Yost 269, Bobby Bonilla 266. This is mixed territory.

    Top three seasons: Bobby Bonilla 91, Ken Caminiti 89, John McGraw 89, Jimmy Collins 89, Paul Molitor 89, Darrell Evans 87, Tommy Leach 87, Howard Johnson 87, BOYER 86, Brooks Robinson 85, Art Devlin 85, Toby Harrah 84, Bob Elliott 83, Bill Bradley 83, Freddy Lindstrom 82, Graig Nettles 81, Larry Gardner 80, Pie Traynor 80, Ron Cey 80. Boyer is around the cut-off area.

    Top five consecutive seasons: Paul Molitor 133, Howard Johnson 133, Bobby Bonilla 132, BOYER 131, Brooks Robinson 130, Art Devlin 130, Jimmy Collins 129, Ron Cey 126, Bob Elliott 124, Bill Bradley 124, Eddie Yost 123. Boyer is at the cut-off area (Collinsí win share totals zoom up if you adjust for 154-game seasons).

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

    Boyerís Black Ink score of 4 is certainly low. However, his gray ink score of 138 is 113rd overall, and good for a third baseman. His HOF Standards score of 35.7 is only 187th overall. On defense, Boyer won five Gold Gloves, and earned seven Win Shares Gold Gloves. Two of the WSGG came in 1955 and 1956; however, the actual award was first given out in 1957.

    While Boyer 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?

    Boyer played through the 1960s, and he was a great defensive player. On the other hand, Sportsmanís Park was a prime hitterís park.

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

    No. I would rate Bando, Darrell Evans, Leach, and perhaps Ezra Sutton 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?

    He was NL MVP in 1964, but thatís the only time he finished in the top five in MVP voting. He was in the top ten three times overall. Boyer only had 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?

    He played in seven All-Star games, which is a little low. His eight seasons of 20+ win shares put him at the cutoff mark.

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

    I have my doubts. Boyer had only three seasons with 25 or more win shares. While the Cardinals did win the World Series in 1964, the best they did from 1958 to 1962 was a third-place finish and a .558 winning percentage in 1960.

    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: Thereís a lot of places where Boyer is borderline. However, there are only two places where heís definitely over the fence when it comes to HOF honors: gray ink and gold gloves. There are too many other areas where he falls short of the fence. Boyer did have the bad luck to be an NL third baseman during Eddie Mathewsí prime, but given that Brooks Robinson and Ron Santo didnít hit their stride until the mid-1960s, he should have had more seasons as baseballís second-best 3B if he were truly of HOF caliber. Ultimately, Boyer falls just short of my queue for the BBFHOF.
    Last edited by AG2004; 02-05-2008 at 08:07 AM. Reason: Removed Groh from "better 3B outside BBFHOF"

  20. #70

    Joe Kelley

    [NOTE: Originally posted on May 18, 2007. Kelley was elected to the BBFHOF on July 6, 2007.]

    I have not yet posted a Keltner List for Joe Kelley, so I might as well do so now.

    Case to Consider: KELLEY, Joe

    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 Baltimoreís position players in win shares in 1893 and 1894, and led Brooklynís position players in win shares in 1899 and 1900.

    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 NLís best left fielder in 1894 and 1896, according to win shares, and was among the leagueís top three outfielders in 1899. He was also among the NLís top six outfielders in win shares in 1893 and 1897.

    In 1901, he had 18 win shares in a 140-game season to lead NL 1B in win shares. This reflected the low level of play among 1B more than anything else; in 1895, when Kelley had 27 win shares in a 132-game season, he finished eighth among OF in win shares.

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

    Kelley had MVP-candidate-type seasons in 1894, 1895, and 1896, when Baltimore won the pennant (the first two years by 3 games), and another in 1897, when Baltimore finished 2 games back. He also led Brooklyn position players in win shares in 1899 and 1900, both years when the team won the pennant. Thus, Kelley did have an impact on a number of pennant races.

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

    For a few seasons, he could, but his last full-time season was at the age of 34.

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

    Probably not, but one can make a good case for an answer of yes.

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

    By similarity scores: Hugh Duffy, Kiki Cuyler, Edd Roush, Bobby Veach, Sherry Magee, George Van Haltren, Fred Clarke, Pie Traynor, Jimmy Ryan, and Dixie Walker. Five are in Cooperstown, while four are in the BBFHOF. Of the ten players in this list, only Magee, who has a career OPS+ of 137, has an OPS+ above Kelleyís 133.

    Adjusted career WS, 19th-century LF: Jimmy Sheckard 349, KELLEY 334, Harry Stovey 314. Twentieth-century LF with similar totals include Goose Goslin 355, Sherry Magee 354, Lou Brock 348, Jose Cruz 313, Joe Medwick 312. This is generally BBFHOF territory.

    Adjusted best three seasons, 19th-century LF: Ed Delahanty 113, KELLEY 103, Jimmy Sheckard 103, Jim OíRourke 100, Fred Clarke 98, Charley Jones 97. Later LF with similar totals include Al Simmons 104, Tim Raines 102, Ralph Kiner 102, Charlie Keller 102, Frank Howard 102, Willie Stargell 100, George Burns 97, and Billy Williams 96. This is a good sign for Kelley, as the only players in this group outside the BBFHOF are those with fewer than 300 career win shares.

    Adjusted five best consecutive seasons, 19th-century LF: Jesse Burkett 161, KELLEY 156, Jim OíRourke 153, Charley Jones 143. Comparable 20th-century LF include Joe Medwick 157, Charlie Keller 157 (skipping the partial 1945 season), Ralph Kiner 155, Al Simmons 153, Frank Howard 153, Rickey Henderson 152, Sherry Magee 151, Joe Jackson 150, Willie Stargell 148, Goose Goslin 147. This is also BBFHOF territory.

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

    Kelleyís Black Ink score of 2 is very low. His Gray Ink mark of 122, for 152nd all-time, is a little low. However, his HOF Standards score is a solid 51.8, good for 63rd. Also, Kelley earned two win share gold gloves, which is good for a corner outfielder.

    Joe Kelley 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?

    Kelleyís best years came in the high-offense 1890s.

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

    One can make a good case that Kelley is the best left fielder 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 during Kelleyís career. However, he had five seasons which project to 30+ win shares over 154 games. Thatís a very good sign that Kelley is a deserving Hall of Famer.

    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 Kelleyís era. However, he had nine seasons which project to 20+ win shares per 154 games scheduled. Thatís a good sign, as 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?

    Yes, it would be likely, especially with five MVP-candidate-type seasons in his prime.

    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?

    Kelley did have a problem with his temper.

    CONCLUSION: Joe Kelley was voted into Cooperstown by Frankie Frischís Veterans Committee. But donít let that fool you. Kelley actually merited induction into Cooperstown, proving that Frisch could occasionally stumble across a deserving candidate once in a while. He deserves induction into the BBFHOF as well.
    Last edited by AG2004; 11-12-2007 at 11:27 AM.

  21. #71

    Joe Start

    [NOTE: Originally posted on June 28, 2007. Start was elected to the BBFHOF on March 14, 2008.]

    While participating in this most recent discussion, I realized just how long it was since I put Joe Start on my ballot, and, consequently, just how long it was since most people last saw the case I made for him.

    Start was widely credited among his peers as the best position player in baseball during the middle and late 1860s. A first baseman, he is widely credited with being the first player at his position to play off of the bag. George Wright, who is in the BBFHOF, was the best position player in the late 1860s/early 1870s, while Ross Barnes, who received 50% of the votes in the last election, was the best player of the first half of the 1870s. Start, however, had a longer career than Wright, and a much longer career than Barnes.

    Start was the oldest player in baseball in eight consecutive seasons (1879-1886), and was a regular in seven of those seasons. He averaged 25 win shares per 162 games during his NL career, and the NL didn't get underway until he was 33 years old. Start wasn't kept on as a charity case, as he was among the top two 1B in the NL in win shares each season from 1877 to 1881. In 1885, he finished with 15 win shares (that's 19 for a 140-game season, or 22 for a 162-game season).

    If you adjust Start's NL seasons to 140-game schedules, he has the equivalent of 76 win shares in his top three individual seasons, and 116 over his five best consecutive seasons. Keep in mind that Start was in his late thirties when he recorded those marks; we don't have win share data for any of his pre-NL seasons. To put this into perspective, Jake Beckley received 50% of the votes in the last BBFHOF election. Adjusting Beckley's seasons to 154-game schedules, he tops out at the equivalent of 67 WS in his career's best three individual seasons, and 105 win shares over his best five consecutive seasons. In other words, Start, during his late thirties, was still a better player than Beckley ever was.

    Yes, the quality of competition was rather low when Start was baseball's best player. But the record we have of Start's later years leads me to believe that Start's status as the best player in baseball was not primarily due to the lower caliber of competition in the middle of the 1860s. At his peak, Start was a great player.

    -----

    I usually post Keltner Lists for players, and Start is no exception. The Keltner List will help those who want more of the details, but the key points for Start have already been summarized above.

    Case to Consider: START, Joe

    Note: There were actually two National Associations. The first was the National Association of Base Ball Players, or NABBP, which lasted from 1857 to 1871. The National Association of Professional Base Ball Players, which lasted from 1871 to 1875, is what most people mean when they refer to as the NA. Here, the 1858-1871 National Association will be called NA-1, and the 1871-1875 National Association will be called NA-2.

    Startís career began in 1860 with Enterprise (of Brooklyn); in 1862, he moved to one of the gameís top clubs, the Brooklyn Atlantics. As baseball-referenceís statistics start with the NA-2, Startís decade in the NA-1 does not appear on its pages.

    A lot of information, including the limited statistical records that exist for top NA-1 players, can be found at:

    http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/...lot_discussion

    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?

    Many people thought that Start was the best player in base ball during the middle and late 1860s.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    Start led the Atlantics in runs/game from 1865 to 1869, and in hits/game from 1868 to 1870 (records for hits per game do not exist prior to 1868, believe it or not). He was considered the best player on the Atlantics during the second half of the 1860s. He was probably the best position player on the New York Mutuals in 1874 and 1875 as well.

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

    Start was considered the best 1B in the NA-1 during the second half of the 1860s, and may have been the best 1B in the NA-2 in 1871 as well. In the NL, Start led 1B in win shares in 1878, and was second among 1B in 1877, 1879, 1880, and 1881 Ė not bad for someone in his late thirties.

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

    The New York Mutuals were never close to winning the NA-2, and Providence didnít start contending for the NL pennant until the tail end of Startís career. However, he did lead the Brooklyn Atlantics to several titles in the NA-1 (although the championships of the NA-1 were won by beating whoever was the current champion, and not decided by any season standings). In the famous 1870 match between the Atlantics and Cincinnati, Start hit a crucial 11th-inning triple that helped Brooklyn to win the game and defend its title.

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

    Certainly. For eight consecutive years (1879-1886), Start was the oldest player in the National League. For the first seven of those years, Start was a regular (up to, and including, the age of 42).

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

    I donít know; the slope of history plays a major role in answering this question.

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

    Similarity scores donít help us that much, as they compare Startís NA-2 and NL record to the complete careers of other players; his NA-1 record is not included in the comparison.

    Win share comparisons donít help, either, since they only start from 1876, when Start was 33 years old. However, adjusting Startís NL career to 140-game seasons, Start had a five-season peak of 116 win shares, and a total of 76 win shares during his best three seasons, considering only those seasons when he was at least 33 years old.

    If we adjust fellow 19th-century first baseman Jake Beckleyís win share totals to 154-game seasons, Beckleyís five-year peak comes out to 105 win shares, and his top three seasons only add up to 67 win shares. In other words, Joe Start was better after the age of 33 than Beckley ever was.

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

    Startís black ink mark score is 5. His gray ink mark is 102 (214th overall), but the count started with the establishment of the NA-2 in 1871, and Start had many great seasons before that. It is worth noting that Start picked up a win share gold glove at 1B in 1879, tied for another one in 1877, and was named by Bill James as his Gold Glove at first for the 1870s NL.

    In the NA-1, Start led in both runs and runs average in 1865. Among those teams that kept records of hits in 1868, Start also led the NA-1 in both hits and hits average that season.

    Start is not in Cooperstown, but 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?

    We donít have any defensive statistics from the NA-1, and the batting statistics we do have from that league are rudimentary. Start did receive praise for his defensive play at first base (and given that the foul-fair hit was legal during the NA years, 1B probably wasnít at the far end of the defensive spectrum at the time).

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

    It is hard to tell, since the answer depends on how one evaluates the level of play in the NA-1. However, given that Start averaged 25 win shares per 162 games in the NL (which takes into account only the games he played when he was at least 33 years old), and that he was considered the top player in the second half of the NA-1ís existence, one could make an argument that Start is the best 1B 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?

    We donít have solid statistics from the NA-1, but he would have been in contention for the MVP award several times had there been such a prize in the late 1860s.

    Start was third in win shares among position players in 1881, but the 16 he earned comes out to only 27 for a 140-game season (and Cap Ansonís 22 was five more than second-place Tom York had).

    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?

    Start had six NL seasons which come out to at least 20 win shares per 140 scheduled games. Taking the NA years into account, Startís number of All-Star-type seasons would be in the double digits, and most players with that many All-Star-type seasons are in the BBFHOF.

    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, Start was the best player on the Brooklyn Atlantics, and the club was the NA-1 title holder on several occasions. (The NA-1 did not have a pennant race; a team gained the title of ďchampionĒ from defeating the then-current championship team, meaning that there could be several different teams becoming the NA-1 champion during a single season.)

    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?

    Start is credited with being the first 1B to play off of the bag.

    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, yes.

    CONCLUSION: Joe Start was once base ballís top player, but that was before the establishment of the NL. George Wright is in the BBFHOF, and Ross Barnes drew 50% of the vote in the most recent election Ė and Start had a longer career than either of them. While the NA-1 wasnít a well-developed league, Startís level of play in the NL during his late thirties indicates that he was at least a very good ballplayer, and most likely a great one, during his peak, thus countering any doubts I have about Startís status as base ballís top player being primarily a factor of the weakness of the competition. If he were close, his being the first 1B to position himself away from the actual base would push him onto my queue, but Start makes my queue (and my ballot) even without taking that into consideration.
    Last edited by AG2004; 04-20-2008 at 09:16 AM.

  22. #72

    Bobby Wallace

    [NOTE: Originally posted on June 30, 2007. Wallace was elected to the BBFHOF on February 1, 2008.]

    For a change of pace, I'm posting two Keltner Lists tonight, both for players who were in the shadow of Honus Wagner: shortstop Bobby Wallace, who was a contemporary, and third baseman Tommy Leach, who was a teammate of Wagner.

    Wallace fails to make my queue for the BBFHOF. Wallace, Sam Rice, Jake Beckley, and Luis Aparicio (giving him more credit for his defense than Bill James does) all have three things in common:

    (1) High career value
    (2) Low peak values
    (3) Many low-level All-Star-type seasons (20-25 win shares)

    The four players combine for a grand total of one season with over 25 win shares. They were all very good for a long time, but they were never great players, and thus all failed to make my queue.

    Superficially, Lou Whitaker would seem to belong to this group. However, when looking at Whitaker, we have to remember that position players in the DH-era American League would tend to lose 1 or 2 win shares per season as a result of a team's offensive win shares being split among nine players instead of eight. Whitaker had a season with 29 win shares; that would be a 30-win-share season, or an MVP-candidate-type season, in a league without a DH. Whitaker also had a couple of seasons with win share levels in the high twenties, and four consecutive seasons where he led AL second basemen in win shares, both of which differentiate him from the foursome listed above.

    Wallace had 345 career win shares. However, it should be kept in mind that 31 of them were earned in 1.5 seasons as a pitcher at the start of his career, so the 345 figure isn't as impressive as it otherwise would be.

    Here's the Keltner List for Wallace:

    Case to Consider: WALLACE, Bobby

    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?

    From 1897 to 1904, Wallace never led his teamís position players in win shares, but finished second seven times to Jesse Burkett, who is in the BBFHOF. From 1905 to 1908, Wallace finished second each year to George Stone, who isnít in the BBFHOF. Wallace led his teamís position players in win shares just once, in 1910, when the St. Louis Browns went 47-107.

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

    The only time he led his leagueís shortstops in win shares was in 1899. Wallace was a contemporary of Honus Wagnerís, but of the times Wallace finished second in the league, he was up against Wagner just once (1901); after than, he played in the American League. Wallace was second among NL third basemen in win shares in 1897, however.

    Baseball Magazine started naming its All-America teams in 1908, late in Wallaceís career. However, he was still named as shortstop to the AL team twice.

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

    No. The 1902 St. Louis Browns finished five games out of first, even though Wallace had 22 win shares; that was the only team Wallace played for that came close to winning a pennant.

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

    Yes. He appeared in 100 games in 1912, at the age of 38.

    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: Tommy Corcoran, Dave Concepcion, Nellie Fox, Omar Vizquel, Rabbit Maranville, Tony Fernandez, Jimmie Dykes, Ozzie Smith, Lave Cross, and Bill Dahlen. Three are in Cooperstown; three are in the BBFHOF. Furthermore, only Dahlenís 110 exceeds Wallaceís lifetime OPS+ of 105.

    Career win shares, SS: Arky Vaughan 356, WALLACE 345, Joe Cronin 333, Ernie Banks 332, Ozzie Smith 326. This is HOF territory; at the end of the 2006 season, the only shortstop outside the BBFHOF with more career win shares than Wallace was Alex Rodriguez (346), who is still active.

    The two peak measures adjust Wallaceís 1900-1903 seasons to 154-game schedules. This moves Wallaceís best three seasons from 76 win shares to 79, and his five best consecutive seasons from 112 win shares to 117.

    Best three seasons, win shares: Phil Rizzuto 86, Joe Sewell 84, Dave Bancroft 84, Ozzie Smith 83, WALLACE 79, Denis Menke 79, Freddy Parent 78, Al Dark 78, Cecil Travis 78, Joe Tinker 78, Dick Groat 77, Bert Campaneris 77, Dave Concepcion 74, Jay Bell 74, Rabbit Maranville 74, Johnny Logan 74, Dick Partell 73, Donie Bush 73. This is not BBFHOF territory.

    Best five consecutive seasons: Joe Sewell 125, Rico Petrocelli 125, Ozzie Smith 123, Phil Rizzuto 121, Al Dark 118, Joe Tinker 118, WALLACE 117, Art Fletcher 116, Dave Bancroft 115, Dick Groat 112, Cecil Travis 111, Dave Concepcion 111, Johnny Logan 111. This is not BBFHOF territory, either.

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

    Wallace had just one point of Black Ink. His 75 Gray Ink points put him at 309th overall, but thatís good for a shortstop. His 27.9 HOF Standards mark (320th place) is poor in any case. However, Wallace earned three Win Shares Gold Gloves at shortstop, and one at third.

    Wallace 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?

    Wallace played during the deadball era.

    Also, when considering career win shares, Wallace picked up 31 win shares during 57 games as a pitcher. That would give him 314 win shares in 2326 games as a position player. While he had 23.5 WS per 162 games through his career, he had only 21.9 WS per 162 games as a position player.

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

    No. I have Perucho Cepeda, Dickey Pearce, and Dobie Moore on the ballot ahead of him. There are probably several other shortstops outside the BBFHOF who are also better than Wallace.

    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 during Wallaceís prime. On the other hand, Wallace never had a 30-win-share season. He had one season (1901) which comes out to 29 win shares over 154 games, but he only had one such season with 26+ win shares per 154 games.

    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?

    Although there were no All-Star games in Wallaceís career, he did have twelve seasons with 20 or more win shares, and thatís 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 doubt it. Wallace had only season that comes out to more than 25 win shares per 154 games. If your best position player usually has 23 to 25 win shares per season, you might contend on occasion, but you will need a lot of low-level All-Stars to do so on a regular basis.

    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?

    As far as I know, he had no 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?

    To the best of my knowledge, he did.

    CONCLUSION: I place more weight on peak and great seasons, and less weight on overall career value, than most other voters do. Wallace was a low-level All-Star-type player through much of his career, but there was only one season when he came close to greatness. If he had another two or three seasons like his best one, I would see him as worthy of the BBFHOF. As it is, heís not quite good enough to make it onto my queue.
    Last edited by AG2004; 02-05-2008 at 08:08 AM.

  23. #73

    Tommy Leach

    [NOTE: Originally posted on June 30, 2007.]

    Tonight's other Keltner List is for Tommy Leach.

    Leach received only one vote in the last election cycle. As noted above, Leach played in the shadow of Honus Wagner; however, Fred Clarke's reputation also serves to keep Leach out of the spotlight.

    In this respect, Leach has a problem similar to Tony Perez, who had Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, and Pete Rose as teammates on the Big Red Machine. When I made a Keltner List for Perez, and considered his record as much as I could without reference to his teammates, Perez looked worthy of a place in my queue.

    The 140-game seasons of 1900 to 1903 also hurt Leach when we compare him to players who had their best years in 154-game seasons. (This factor didn't hurt Wallace as much; his 25-win-share seasons in 1898 and 1899 both came during 154-game seasons, and he had more than 25 win shares per 154 scheduled games only once during the 1900-1903 period.) We have to adjust for that as well.

    When I cleared out the obscuring factors, it turned out that Leach had 30 win shares per 154 games in two different seasons, and 29 win shares in a third. I also discovered that Leach led NL players at his position (either 3B or CF, depending on the season) in win shares seven times. In the end, I had to conclude that Leach meets my standards for BBFHOF membership.

    Case to Consider: LEACH, Tommy

    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?

    No. That would have been Honus Wagner. Leach also played in Fred Clarkeís shadow. Leach was second among Pirates position players in win shares in 1907, and first in 1914.

    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 third basemen in win shares in 1902. He led all NL 3B in win shares in 1902, 1903, and 1904, and led all NL CF in win shares in 1907, 1909, 1913, and 1914. Oddly enough, he did not lead NL 3B in win shares in 1908, his best season; he finished second, but would have finished first among AL 3B that year.

    Baseball Magazine started to name All-American teams in 1908. During the second half of his career, he was named to the National Leagueís team three times.

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

    He had 26 win shares in 1909, when the Pirates won the pennant by 6.5 games, so thereís some impact there. He had 31 win shares in 1908, but the Pirates lost the pennant to the Cubs by just one game. He batted .310/.349/.517 with four triples in 58 World Series AB.

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

    Yes. He was a regular through the age of 37.

    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: Jimmy Sheckard, Tom Brown, Brett Butler, Harry Hooper, Dummy Hoy, Willie Wilson, Bid McPhee, Pee Wee Reese, George Burns, and John Ward. Four are in Cooperstown, and three are in the BBFHOF (but Ward is in as a contributor).

    Since Leachís best two seasons came as a third baseman, Iíll compare him to other 3B.

    Career win shares, 3B: Brooks Robinson 355, LEACH 329, Ron Santo 322, Graig Nettles 322, Stan Hack 318, Home Run Baker 301. This is BBFHOF territory.

    Leach earned 27 win shares in 1902, which was a 140-game season; weíll adjust that to 30 win shares over 154 games for the peak category.

    Top three seasons: Sal Bando 96, Heinie Groh 95, Bobby Bonilla 91, LEACH 90, Ken Caminiti 89, John McGraw 89, Paul Molitor 89, Darrell Evans 87, Howard Johnson 87, Ken Boyer 86, Brooks Robinson 85. This is good territory, as most of the players here are either members of the BBFHOF or regular vote-getters.

    Top five seasons: Art Devlin 130, Jimmy Collins 129, Ron Cey 126, Bob Elliott 124, Ken Caminiti 124, Bill Bradley 124, Eddie Yost 123, LEACH 122, Graig Nettles 121, Pie Traynor 119, Whitey Kurowski 119, Toby Harrah 118, Red Rolfe 118, Darrell Evans 117, Freddy Lindstrom 116. Except for Traynor, this is outside of BBFHOF territory; however, Evans has picked up some votes.

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

    Leach has a black ink score of 11 (204th) and a gray ink total of 114 (176th). Thatís very good for a pre-1920 third baseman, but low for a center fielder. His HOF Standards score of 25.7 (406th) is very low in any case.

    There were no Gold Gloves in Leachís time. However, he won two Win Shares Gold Gloves at third base, and four Win Shares Gold Gloves in the outfield.

    Leach is in neither Cooperstown nor the Hall of Merit. However, he is in the BBF Timeline Hall of Fame.

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

    Leach played during the deadball era.

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

    I would rate Sal Bando 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?

    There was no MVP award during Leachís best years. However, he had two seasons with 30+ win shares (counting 1902, when we adjust to a 154-game season), and came up just short in 1907, 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 came after Leachís time. However, he had eight seasons with 20+ win shares. Thatís around the cutoff point. (He came close to having nine such seasons, but he finished with just 19 win shares in 1906).

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

    Perhaps. Leach would have a couple of good years, followed by some average years, then return to having good years. His good years came in three clusters; during the first two, the team would 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?

    He was the first player to record a hit in the World Series, and was the first player to score a run in a World Series game as well. He still holds the record for most triples in a single World Series. His 49 career inside-the-park home runs still stands as the National League 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?

    As far as Iíve been able to tell. Fan favorites usually uphold these standards.

    CONCLUSION: Leach had over 300 career win shares, and was the best player in his league at a key defensive position seven times. Both are very good points in his favor. If he had been able to bunch his best seasons together, he would have made my ballot earlier. But he had enough good seasons to push him on my ballot [as of the time the original post was made].
    Last edited by AG2004; 01-06-2008 at 04:53 PM.

  24. #74

    Charlie Bennett

    [NOTE: Originally posted on July 1, 2007. Bennett was elected to the BBFHOF on September 28, 2007.]

    Today's Keltner List is for Charlie Bennett.

    By my count, Bennett was on nine of the fourteen ballots cast this month, so I decided to take a closer look at him.

    A problem comes up when we try to evaluate catchers from the 1800s. Most teams gave two catchers significant playing time; several teams split the duties among three catchers. During the period 1884-1889, a teamís number one catcher would catch in, at most, around 65% of a teamís games. Lists of scheduled games from the time would indicate both the projected starting pitchers and the projected starting catchers from both teams. To adjust for these factors, I made the following changes before evaluating 19th-century catchers:

    a) Win shares are projected to 140-game seasons from 1876 to 1883; they are projected to 154-game seasons from 1884 through 1903. For other positions, I used a 140-game projection from 1884 through 1889, and then started to use the 154-game season in 1890. Due to dual leagues and more teams, the standards of the 1880s weren't quite as high as they were on the 1890s; however, for catchers, this is counterbalanced by the fact that a team's number one catcher would catch a higher percentage of his games in the 1890s than he did in the 1884-1889 period.

    b) For the three win shares similarity scores that I commonly use, I will compare catchers only with 19th-century catchers. I then put in win shares per 162 games, and compared the catcher being evaluated to all catchers. The win shares per 162 games is useful in this case, as over time, catchers have been able to catch more games per season, and using a rate stat will help adjust for this factor.

    c) An All-Star-type season is one in which a catcher finished among the top three in the league. The MVP-type seasons deal primarily with being the top catcher in the game, or being very close to it. This is similar to what I do for pitchers, as they are not everyday players; since catchers of the era were not everyday players, either, it isn't fair to hold them to the purely numeric standards that I don't hold pitchers to when I answer those questions.

    I didn't make these changes with the intention of helping Bennett's case; I made them to reflect the context that all catchers of his time had to deal with. I had no idea how Bennett would have stacked up before I made these changes in my approach. If there are special problems that may affect a player or a class of players, I want to come up with an approach which takes those problems into account before I start to answer my Keltner List questions. By doing so beforehand, I hope to cut down on bias.

    Then, after coping with these problems, I started my Keltner List. I concluded that Bennett was worthy of the BBFHOF, and decided to add him to my ballot.

    Case to Consider: BENNETT, Charlie

    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 was a star on the Detroit club of the mid-1880s, but he wasnít the top position player. This question is misleading for 1880s catchers, anyway. As catchers really couldnít be everyday players, if a catcher led position players in win shares, the it meant that the rest of the team was terrible.

    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 catcher in baseball from 1881 to 1883, and then second to Buck Ewing for a few more years.

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

    He was one of the stars on the pennant-winning Wolverines in 1887.

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

    Yes, he could.

    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: Bob OíFarrell, Phil Masi, Heinie Peitz, Ron Hassey, Burch Wynegar, Dan Wilson, Sammy White, Frank Snyder, Mike Heath, Birdie Tebbetts.

    The problem is that nine of the ten people on the above list have lifetime OPS+ marks below 100. The exception is Ron Hassey, whose lifetime OPS+ is exactly 100. Bennettís lifetime OPS+ was 118. Yes, Bennettís career ended after he lost both his legs in a train accident, but he was 38 in his final season of play.

    Adjusted career WS, 19th-century catchers: Buck Ewing 292, BENNETT 216 plus possible 1879 credit, Deacon McGuire 207, Duke Farrell 198, Chief Zimmer 169.

    Adjusted win shares, best three seasons: Buck Ewing 83, BENNETT 82, Fred Carroll 73, Jack Clements 62, Duke Farrell 61.

    Adjusted win shares, best five consecutive seasons: BENNETT 117, Buck Ewing 117, Fred Carroll 105, Duke Farrell 87, Doggie Miller 84.

    Bennett had an Ewing-like peak, but not an Ewing-like career. However, by win shares, Bennett was the second-best catcher of the 1800s.

    Win shares per 162 games, catchers: Bill Freehan 24.38, Gene Tenace 24.07, BENNETT 23.95, Carlton Fisk 23.86, Gary Carter 23.78, Thurman Munson 23.45, Joe Torre 23.10, Tom Haller 22.41. This is generally BBFHOF-caliber territory.

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

    He has no black ink, but then again, Berra never had any black ink, either. His 64 gray ink points are good for a catcher, and especially one who had to cope with the reduced playing time of the 1880s. Bennett earned four Win Shares Gold Gloves; he had to compete against Buck Ewing, another great defensive catcher, who also earned four Win Shares Gold Gloves.

    Bennett is not in Cooperstown. However, 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?

    Bennett was one of the best defensive catchers of all time, and that isnít reflected in his offensive numbers.

    More significantly, Bennett was playing on an NL-caliber team in 1879, but he wasnít playing in the National League. After Milwaukee folded in 1878, Bennett joined the Worcesters for 1879. The Worcesters replaced a defunct Syracuse club in the National League in 1880, and finished fifth out of eight teams. During the 1870s, the National League was a good league, but there were good teams outside the circuit that were as good as mid-level NL clubs.

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

    I donít know if he is, but he might be.

    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 led all major league catchers in win shares in 1881 and 1882, and was second in the majors in 1883 and 1885. Since the leader in 1883, Jack OíBrien, played in the AA, one could consider Bennett the best catcher in 1883.

    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 among the top three catchers in the NL in win shares each year from 1881 to 1886. Six All-Star-type seasons is a little low for position players.

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

    Itís hard to determine how relevant this question is for 1880s catchers. If they led their teamís position players in win shares, that would be a bad sign because the best catchers were playing in only about 65% of the games, and other position players would play much more often than that.

    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?

    Bennett was the only major league player to have a major league stadium named in his honor (as opposed to former major league player and then-current major league owner to name a stadium after himself).

    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.

    CONCLUSION: Bennett had the peak that Ewing had, but he didnít quite have Ewingís career. Still, he was the second best major league catcher of the 1800s, and he is above the area where thereís not much clear separation within groups of several similar catchers. Thatís good enough for me to see him as worthy of induction into the BBFHOF.
    Last edited by AG2004; 11-12-2007 at 11:28 AM.

  25. #75

    Dave Kingman

    In the last BBFHOF election, Jose Mendez finished with eleven votes out of fifteen, just one vote short of induction.

    In the last BBFHOF election, Dave Kingman gathered three votes. None of the players who voted for Kingman put Mendez on their ballots. Therefore, I request those people who voted for Kingman consider switching their vote to Mendez instead, as I find Kingman nowhere near being worthy of the Hall.

    You can find a good case for Jose Mendez at:

    http://www.baseball-fever.com/showpo...3&postcount=10

    As for the player who received three votes last time, I realize that applying a Keltner List to Dave Kingmanís status as a BBFHOF candidate is like using a 16-ton weight to smash a gnat. Itís overkill. But overkill may be necessary to change the minds of Kingman voters.

    Since Kingman played more than half of his games at either 1B or DH, Iím comparing him to other 1B/DH.

    Case to Consider: KINGMAN, Dave

    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 his teamís position players just once, in 1979. The Cubs went 80-82 that year.

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

    He was second in win shares among National League LF in 1979. That was the only year he was among the top four players at his position in his league in win shares. (He was second among DH in win shares in 1984, but there were at least four AL first basemen with more win shares than Kingman that year.)

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

    No. He was merely average with San Francisco in 1972.

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

    Perhaps. Although he was a full-time DH during the final three years of his career, Kingman had just one season after the age of thirty when he played at least 101 games in the field.

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

    Not by a long shot.

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

    By similarity scores: Greg Vaughn, Frank Howard, Boog Powell, Rocky Colavito, Roy Sievers, Joe Adcock, Norm Cash, George Foster, Willie Horton, and Jose Canseco. None are in Cooperstown, and none are in the BBFHOF. To make things worse for Kingman, only one of the ten players (Vaughn, at 112) has an OPS+ lower than Kingmanís 115.

    Career win shares, 1B/DH: John Mayberry 199, Lu Blue 198, Charlie Grimm 198, Hal Trosky 195, KINGMAN 193, George Kelly 193, Fred Merkle 191, Andre Thornton 186. With the exception of George Kelly, these arenít Hall of Famers, and Kelly has been called the biggest mistake in Cooperstown.

    Top three seasons, 1B/DH: Deron Johnson 63, Bill Buckner 62, Moose Skowron 62, George McQuinn 62, Fred Merkle 62, Eddie Robinson 62, KINGMAN 62, Chris Chambliss 61, Joe Judge 61, Charlie Grimm 61, Whitey Lockman 61. These are not Hall of Famers.

    Top five consecutive seasons, 1B/DH: George McQuinn 87, Wally Pipp 87, Earl Torgeson 87, Joe Kuhel 85, Moose Skowron 85, KINGMAN 82, Bill Buckner 81, Bruce Bochte 79, Charlie Grimm 77. These are not Hall of Famers, either.

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

    Kingmanís Black Ink mark of 11 is only 206th overall. Heís worse in the rankings with Gray Ink, placing 318th with a score of 74. If you think thatís low, his HOF Standards total of 22.3 is not even in the top 500. Itís only good for 509th place all-time.

    Kingman 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?

    Kingman missed a lot of games. He reached the 140-game mark in just five seasons, and three of those were as a full-time DH at the end of his career.

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

    No. Other 1B/DH who are better include Frank McCormick, Phil Cavarretta, Joe Kuhel, Stuffy McInnis, Lu Blue, and George H. Burns.

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

    Kingman never had a season with 30 or more win share, and he was never close to having such a season. Kingman was never in the top ten in MVP voting, either.

    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?

    Kingman was selected to three All-Star games, and most players who made just three All-Star teams are far from Cooperstown. Kingman had just two seasons with 20+ win shares, and thatís very, very 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?

    Not by a long shot. His gained only 24 win shares in his best season, and had only two seasons with 20+ win shares. You arenít going to be able to contend for a pennant, much less win one, without some All-Star-caliber players.

    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 the 1982 Mets, Kingman set a record for the lowest single-season batting average by a first baseman, at .204. To put this into perspective, Steve Carlton, the leagueís Cy Young Award winner, had a batting average of .218 that year. Kingman was also the first person to play with four different teams in four different divisions in the same year (1977). But those would be reasons to keep Kingman out of the BBFHOF.

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

    Kingman once sent a dead rat to a reporter. He also had a reputation for being a disruptive force on his teams.

    CONCLUSION: Kingman was nowhere near being a Hall of Fame-caliber player. He was not even close to being a candidate for the Hall of Very Good. I have trouble imagining why he drew three votes in last monthís BBFHOF election. In a better world, I would see no need to make this list. In this one, I can only hope that it changes the minds of some of the people who believe Kingman is worthy of the BBFHOF.

Page 3 of 6 FirstFirst 12345 ... LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •