After a month off, I'm back to having enough time to work on these Keltner Lists. I'll begin with one for Dick Lundy.
Lundy looks a little short from the available numbers alone. I noted earlier that Maranville received boosts in peak from WWI and from the fact that win shares tends to underrate the top defensive players a little. Lundy had a reputation for being a top defensive player. Unfortunately, we just don't have the numbers to back this up. Most players with great reputations were great defensive players. However, there are some highly regarded defenders who were top fielders during the first few years of their careers, but had slipped to mid-range by mid-career. At shortstop, Luis Aparicio and Omar Vizquel are examples of this phenomenon; they were still winning real Gold Gloves even after they were no longer even close to earning Win Shares Gold Gloves.
Dr. Chaleeko's MLEs for Lundy assume that he was an "A"-level defensive shortstop. If Lundy were an "A+" level fielder, then he would just make it in. If he were more like Aparicio, great early in his career but a "B" average overall, Lundy would be out. I'm leaving Lundy off of my queue for now, pending the possible discovery of more evidence impacting his case.
Case to Consider: LUNDY, Dick
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?
As far as I know, no.
2. Was he the best player on his team?
He was arguably the best position player on the Bacharach Giants during the 1920s.
3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?
According to Dr. Chaleeko’s MLEs, Lundy was better than any major league shortstop in 1920, 1924, and 1928. He was also better than any NL shortstop in 1926, 1930, and 1932, and any AL shortstop in 1927.
However, there are MLEs for other Negro League players at baseball think factory. John Henry Lloyd comes out ahead of Lundy in 1920, 1921, and 1923; Dobie Moore beats Lundy each year from 1921 to 1925; and Willie Wells is ahead of Lundy each year from 1927 to 1931. Thus, Lundy wasn’t baseball’s top shortstop in any given season, and arguably the second best shortstop in 1920, 1924, 1926, 1928, and 1932.
4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?
The Bacharachs were a mid-level club for most of the 1920s, but they won the pennant in 1926 and 1927, and the MLEs credit Lundy with a low All-Star-level type season in both of those years. Lundy batted 11-26 in the 1926 Negro League World Series, but the Bacharachs lost that year (and also in 1927, both times to the Chicago American Giants).
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?
Not in my opinion.
7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?
Dr. Chaleeko’s most recent MLEs give Lundy a win shares line of 331-76-117.
Comparable MLB shortstops, career win shares: Arky Vaughan 356, Barry Larkin 346, Bobby Wallace 345, Joe Cronin 333, Ernie Banks 332, LUNDY 331, Ozzie Smith 326, Alan Trammell 318. All of these shortstops are in the BBFHOF.
Comparable SS, best three seasons: Joe Sewell 84, Dave Bancroft 84, Ozzie Smith 83, Al Dark 78, Joe Tinker 78, Cecil Travis 78, Dick Groat 77, Bert Campaneris 77, Bobby Wallace 76, LUNDY 76, Art Fletcher 76, Tony Fernandez 74, Dave Concepcion 74, Jay Bell 74, Rabbit Maranville 74, Johnny Logan 74. Noting that regression smooths the numbers in this category out, Lundy should get some boost, but he’s still in the gray area anyway. (Wallace would get a boost from adjusting for season length, and Maranville from WWI credit in 1918).
Comparable SS, best five consecutive seasons: Joe Sewell 125, Rico Petrocelli 125, Ozzie Smith 123, Phil Rizzuto 121, Julio Franco 121, Joe Tinker 118, Tony Fernandez 118, Al Dark 118, LUNDY 117, Art Fletcher 116, Dave Bancroft 115, Dick Groat 112, Bobby Wallace 112, Dave Concepcion 111, Cecil Travis 111. Lundy is on the low side here.
8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?
We don’t have ink totals for Lundy. Lundy is not in Cooperstown. He is in the Hall of Merit, but wasn’t inducted until the 2008 election. To be fair to Lundy, though, the HOM electors were dealing with inadequate data for most of the time, and those data understated his walk rates; he may have been elected earlier had better data been available then.
9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?
Lundy was considered an exceptional defensive shortstop by those who saw him. However, we don’t have the defensive statistics to show this.
10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?
One could argue that, based purely on career value, Lundy is the best shortstop outside the BBFHOF. However, considering peak as well, I would say Pearce and Rizzuto have better cases.
11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?
Holway gives him a 1926 Negro League MVP award. The win share MLEs give him a peak of 28 for 1924; since the MLE calculation smooths out the peaks, Lundy may have had one season worthy of MVP consideration.
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 credits Lundy with seven Negro League all-star seasons. The MLEs give Lundy credit for nine MLB-All-Star-type seasons, which is good, as the cutoff is generally around eight 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?
Dr. Chaleeko’s MLEs, using the most recent data available, indicate that Lundy had just one season with at least 25 win shares, but several with 24. The win share system does underrate top defensive players a little. If Lundy was as good as his defensive reputation indicates, possibly. Otherwise, no.
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?
Lundy has a reputation as the best defensive shortstop in Negro League history.
15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?
As far as I know, yes.
CONCLUSION: There is some similarity between Lundy and two members of the BBFHOF, Sewell and Wallace. Unfortunately, I see Sewell and Wallace as two mistakes on the part of the BBFHOF (although Wallace was close to my borderline).
How good are Dr. Chaleeko’s win share MLEs? Chaleeko gives Lundy an OPS+ of 104 in a major league context, while Chris Cobb gives him a career OPS+ of 99. More importantly, we don’t have good information on how good Lundy’s defense really was. Luis Aparicio and Omar Vizquel both had very good defensive reputations, but Bill James both give them B-level defensive grades as of 2000. Aparicio and Vizquel both picked up a couple of win share gold gloves early in their careers, but the decline in defensive mid-shares in mid-career was not accompanied by a similar decline in defensive reputations.
Did Lundy undergo a similar decline? I don’t know, since we don’t have defensive statistics for the Negro Leagues. It’s possible that Lundy may be better than Chaleeko’s win share estimates or his reputation, but it’s also possible that he may have been worse. The margin of error could place Lundy anywhere from “barely in” to “definitely out.” To be on the safe side, I’m leaving him off my queue, but the discovery of defensive data could lead to my changing my views on him in the future.