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  • Babe Adams, SP (1906-1907, 1909-1916, 1918-1926) - 4th Year

    2 7.14%
  • Chief Bender, SP (1903-1917, 1925) - 13th Year

    10 35.71%
  • George H. Burns, 1B (1914-1927) - 1st Year

    0 0%
  • George J. Burns, LF (1911-1925) - 5th Year

    5 17.86%
  • Joe Bush, SP (1912-1928) - 2nd Year

    1 3.57%
  • Max Carey, CF (1910-1929) - 1st Year

    23 82.14%
  • Wilbur Cooper, SP (1912-1926) - 4th Year

    15 53.57%
  • Stan Coveleski, SP (1912, 1916-1928) - 2nd Year

    25 89.29%
  • Gavvy Cravath, RF (1908-1909, 1912-1920) - 10th Year

    6 21.43%
  • Bill Doak, SP (1912-1924, 1927-1929) - 1st Year

    1 3.57%
  • Johnny Evers, 2B (1902-1917, 1922, 1929) - 9th Year

    9 32.14%
  • Jack Fournier, 1B (1912-1918, 1920-1927) - 3rd Year

    2 7.14%
  • Larry Gardner, 3B (1908-1924) - 6th Year

    2 7.14%
  • Wally Gerber, SS (1914-1915, 1917-1929) - 1st Year

    0 0%
  • Hank Gowdy, C (1910-1917, 1919-1925, 1929-1930) - 1st Year

    2 7.14%
  • Heinie Groh, 3B (1912-1927) - 3rd Year

    17 60.71%
  • George Harper, RF (1916-1918, 1922-1929) - 1st Year

    0 0%
  • Harry Hooper, RF (1909-1925) - 5th Year

    6 21.43%
  • Baby Doll Jacobson, CF (1915, 1917, 1919-1927) - 3rd Year

    0 0%
  • Ed Konetchy, 1B (1907-1921) - 9th Year

    4 14.29%
  • Tommy Leach, 3B/CF (1898-1915, 1918) - 13th Year

    17 60.71%
  • Rube Marquard, SP (1908-1925) - 5th Year

    5 17.86%
  • Carl Mays, SP (1915-1929) - 1st Year

    14 50.00%
  • Lee Meadows, SP (1915-1929) - 1st Year

    0 0%
  • Johnny Mostil, CF (1918, 1921-1929) - 1st Year

    0 0%
  • Art Nehf, SP (1915-1929) - 1st Year

    0 0%
  • Del Pratt, 2B (1912-1924) - 6th Year

    4 14.29%
  • Ed Reulbach, SP (1905-1917) - 13th Year

    2 7.14%
  • Ray Schalk, C (1912-1929) - 1st Year

    7 25.00%
  • Bob Shawkey, SP (1913-1926) - 3rd Year

    2 7.14%
  • Urban Shocker, SP (1916-1928) - 2nd Year

    10 35.71%
  • Jack Smith, CF/OF (1915-1929) - 1st Year

    0 0%
  • Billy Southworth, RF (1913, 1915, 1918-1927, 1929) - 1st Year

    0 0%
  • Joe Tinker, SS (1902-1916) - 14th Year

    7 25.00%
  • Hippo Vaughn, SP (1908, 1910-1921) - 9th Year

    6 21.43%
  • Bobby Veach, LF (1912-1925) - 5th Year

    11 39.29%
  • Ken Williams, LF (1915-1929) - 1st Year

    2 7.14%
  • Ivey Wingo, C (1911-1926, 1929) - 1st Year

    0 0%
  • Joe Wood, SP (1908-1915, 1917, 1919-1920) - 8th Year

    3 10.71%
  • Ross Youngs, RF (1917-1926) - 4th Year

    3 10.71%
  • None of the Above (Blank Ballot)

    0 0%
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Thread: BBF Progressive HoF Election: 1934

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by jalbright View Post
    I know this isn't 1934-oriented, but I think our reluctance to vote in many earlier 3B is a product of our 2009 image of what a 3B HOFer should be--which has been formed by guys like Schmidt, Mathews, Chipper Jones, Alex Rodriguez (if he's a 3B instead of a SS), Killebrew, Brett, Molitor, Brooks Robinson, Boggs and Tony Perez. Maybe some won't consider some of these guys 3B, but of this group, only Brooks Robinson has an OPS+ below 122. Now Groh is "only" at 119, so I don't know that he should clearly be on the "under" side of the HOF line, but he's closer, to be sure--but his 119 OPS+ is not what folks are used to seeing in the traditional stats, because he played so much in the deadball era. Not a lot of early 3B were really very close to as capable offensively as Groh, especially if one throws out short career guys like McGraw--throw in the difficulty some folks have in dealing with deadball hitting stats because they're tied to the traditional numbers, and you've explained much of the generalized lack of votes for early 3B.
    I would totally agree with that. Groh was among the very best offensive players in the NL for a 5 or 6 year stretch, at a premium defensive position. He was a better hitter than Collins, who we've already inducted. And while he didn't have the guady batting averages that Traynor over in Pittsburgh has posted in recent years, Groh was clearly a better all-around hitter.

    Heck, we've elected OF's (Jimmy Ryan and Hugh Duffy) who were really not any better than Groh with the bat. You'd think if a 122 OPS+ and 20.0 Batting Wins over 7827 PA's as a CF is good enough for the Hall, then a 119 OPS+ and 19.6 Batting Wins over 7035 PA's would be good enough for a third basemen. A 119 OPS+ from a third basemen is more valuable than a 122 OPS+ from a CF.

    Don't get me wrong, Groh would occupy a spot on the outer edge of the Hall. But I think a third basemen who gave you offensive production that nearly matched what we consider HoF level for outfielders, that's a pretty special and valueable player.

  2. #42
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    Doing a little more research, the problem with 3B may be even simpler than I thought. Using a database, I figured out how many folks had at least 7000 PA from 1876-1935 (the database doesn't include info before 1876). There were 92 such players. Given that they're all going to be hitters, and there's 8 spots, a relatively even distribution would indicate there should be 11 or 12 guys at each spot. Guys who played third base more than any other spot had seven--and two, Pie Traynor and Jimmy Dykes, were still active. The other five: Lave Cross, Arlie Latham, Larry Gardner, Jimmy Collins and Heinie Groh. We've taken guys with less than 7000 PA, to be sure, but longevity is a legitimate indicator of greatness--and, for whatever reasons, third basemen of those days didn't have it. Furthermore, of the five retirees with over 7000 PA, Groh is the only one with an OPS+ of over 115, at 119. I think it is unreasonable based on this to expect there will be a relatively even distribution of 3B in our picks up to 1935.
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  3. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by jalbright View Post
    We've taken guys with less than 7000 PA, to be sure, but longevity is a legitimate indicator of greatness--and, for whatever reasons, third basemen of those days didn't have it.
    What might help us is if anyone has an explanation as to why 3B was a position where regulars at the position lacked longevity for so long. Was 3B the DH slot of the deadball era? Was it a defensively demanding position? IIRC, looking at this through 2009 eyes, there are no A+ level defenders from this position for an entire era according to the BJ WS Book and this position was more fragmented and separated out in his book than other positions. Was it that many people who played 3B and were good with the glove were more valuable at another position?

  4. #44
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    I wonder if the lack of 3B with "long" careers during that time has to do with them being usually primarily on the field for their defense, which would naturally decline faster than hitting? Or was it simply the more talented players, the players more likely to be able to remain a good player well into their career, would generally be in a position like CF or SS or pitching?

  5. #45
    Partly it may be that mainly-shortstops as a group spend time at thirdbase. For example, Long played shortstop only; Davis, Dahlen, Wallace, and Wagner played third. (ooc: Ripken and A-Rod).

    Is the same true of mainly-CFs and the corner outfields? If it were equally true of all three secondary positions 3B, LF, and RF, the impact in the outfield would be about half in each corner. Centerfielders do not get much electoral boost from their fielding skill, a second reason why they would not seem to dominate the cornerfields.

    (OOC: Whatever the truth about thirdbase and cornerfields, something similar may be true of firstbase in relation to catcher, third, left, and right.)
    Last edited by Paul Wendt; 01-09-2009 at 08:36 AM.

  6. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by jalbright View Post
    I know this isn't 1934-oriented, but I think our reluctance to vote in many earlier 3B is a product of our 2009 image of what a 3B HOFer should be--which has been formed by guys like Schmidt, Mathews, Chipper Jones, Alex Rodriguez (if he's a 3B instead of a SS), Killebrew, Brett, Molitor, Brooks Robinson, Boggs and Tony Perez. Maybe some won't consider some of these guys 3B, but of this group, only Brooks Robinson has an OPS+ below 122. Now Groh is "only" at 119, so I don't know that he should clearly be on the "under" side of the HOF line, but he's closer, to be sure--but his 119 OPS+ is not what folks are used to seeing in the traditional stats, because he played so much in the deadball era. Not a lot of early 3B were really very close to as capable offensively as Groh, especially if one throws out short career guys like McGraw--throw in the difficulty some folks have in dealing with deadball hitting stats because they're tied to the traditional numbers, and you've explained much of the generalized lack of votes for early 3B.
    I agree Jim. Most top 10 3B lists are heavily-laden with post-1950 players, and mostly post-1960 players really. So our perception of 3B is probably subconsciously skewed. That's why I've been saying that perhaps we need to reassess what our 3B standards are for the period we've been looking at.

    Quote Originally Posted by jjpm74 View Post
    What might help us is if anyone has an explanation as to why 3B was a position where regulars at the position lacked longevity for so long. Was 3B the DH slot of the deadball era? Was it a defensively demanding position? IIRC, looking at this through 2009 eyes, there are no A+ level defenders from this position for an entire era according to the BJ WS Book and this position was more fragmented and separated out in his book than other positions. Was it that many people who played 3B and were good with the glove were more valuable at another position?
    I was wondering the same. I do think we generally underrate though how important defense at the corner IF positions (3B in particular) was during the 19th Century and Deadball Era, just because of how the game was played. A lot more choking up, just trying to slap the ball in play, and more bunts as well.
    Last edited by DoubleX; 01-09-2009 at 08:53 AM.

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleX View Post
    I agree Jim. Most top 10 3B lists are heavily-laden with post-1950 players, and mostly post-1960 players really. So our perception of 3B is probably subconsciously skewed. That's why I've been saying that perhaps we need to reassess what our 3B standards are for the period we've been looking at.



    I was wondering the same. I do think we generally underrate though how important defense at the corner IF positions (3B in particular) was during the 19th Century and Deadball Era, just because of how the game was played. A lot more choking up, just trying to slap the ball in play, and more bunts as well.

    Given how different a position 3B was defensively during the time we've been voting on, and how different the offensive production expectations were, it seems very reasonable and realistic that in 1934 we'd consider third basemen HoF worthty that we would not consider worthy in 2009. From 2009 perpective, I wouldn't put in Traynor or Groh; or consider any of them great third basemen. But I think in 1934, I would probably consider Groh and Traynor great third basemen, and feel they were worthy of the Hall.

    And from what I've read, the main thing for a third basemen back then was a strong, accurate arm and the ability to range up and cover bunts. Much like catcher, any offensive production was a bonus. A guy like Chipper or Eddie Mathews or Killebrew would most likely not have been able to play 3B back then.

    Same with first base. With much more bunting, they needed a lot more range than first basemen do today. And with smaller gloves, putouts at first were not nearly as "routine" as they became in later years.

  8. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by mwiggins View Post
    Same with first base. With much more bunting, they needed a lot more range than first basemen do today. And with smaller gloves, putouts at first were not nearly as "routine" as they became in later years.
    Very true and this is also why Jack Fournier's career was as short as it was. He was a big hulking 1B who lacked range and did not fit the typical mold of a 1st baseman at the time. Fournier's career would have been much more productive had he been born about 50 years later.

    We really do need to evaluate 1B/3B from this era through much different eyes. It is hard to cast away 2009 biases which is why even the best 3rd basemen from the pre-war era typically do not fare well when putting together all time lists and why we have such a shortage of 1st basemen from the 1900-1930 time frame as well.

    Edit: One thing that still puzzles me, however is that we have been able to identify the best catchers from pre-1900 and from the deadball era. Why do we have such a good handle on them when at the same time we struggle in our assessment of the demands of defense on 1B/3B 1871-1930?
    Last edited by jjpm74; 01-09-2009 at 09:57 AM.

  9. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by mwiggins View Post
    . . . it seems very reasonable and realistic that in 1934 we'd consider third basemen HoF worthy that we would not consider worthy in 2009. From 2009 perspective, I wouldn't put in Traynor or Groh; or consider any of them great third basemen.
    Why not? Since 2006(?) the Hall of Merit and the BaseBall-Fever Hall of Fame elected Groh; the BBFHOF elected Traynor too. They were not role-playing 1934. Do you think they must have misjudged?
    Same with first base. With much more bunting, they needed a lot more range than first basemen do today. And with smaller gloves, putouts at first were not nearly as "routine" as they became in later years.
    No doubt some plays have continued to become "more routine" and the process continues in 2008. On the other hand the 1930s gloves were much improved, in ways that make some routine catches, beyond those of the 1900s. Bill Doak added the web between thumb and forefinger in 1920.

    Here in 1934 we are already seeing players who worked with a web glove late in their careers. Lou Gehrig has used one all his baseball life.

    Probably the improvements in firstbasemen's gloves have been significant in every generation since Al Spalding first used a glove. The players have freely experimented with different combinations of padding, fingering, lacing, etc.

  10. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by mwiggins View Post
    Given how different a position 3B was defensively during the time we've been voting on, and how different the offensive production expectations were, it seems very reasonable and realistic that in 1934 we'd consider third basemen HoF worthty that we would not consider worthy in 2009. From 2009 perpective, I wouldn't put in Traynor or Groh; or consider any of them great third basemen. But I think in 1934, I would probably consider Groh and Traynor great third basemen, and feel they were worthy of the Hall.
    I'm very much the same way. I have Groh and Traynor ranked behind a number of post 1960 3Bmen, but I'd likely put both Groh and Traynor in before some of those players because Groh and Traynor stood out more in their time.

    Quote Originally Posted by jjpm74 View Post
    Edit: One thing that still puzzles me, however is that we have been able to identify the best catchers from pre-1900 and from the deadball era. Why do we have such a good handle on them when at the same time we struggle in our assessment of the demands of defense on 1B/3B 1871-1930?
    It might be because there is a much more distinct understanding to have lower offensive and durability expectations out of catcher. 3B is much more muddled, as is 1B in this era, especially given our 2009 biases.

  11. #51
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  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Wendt View Post
    Why not? Since 2006(?) the Hall of Merit and the BaseBall-Fever Hall of Fame elected Groh; the BBFHOF elected Traynor too. They were not role-playing 1934. Do you think they must have misjudged?
    You're right, saying I wouldn't put them in is a bit too harsh. But they're both pretty borderline for me, from a 2009 perspective. I would probably put in about a dozen or 3B into my Hall if I was creating one today. Both those guys would be in the mix. I'd probably put in these guys for sure - Schmidt, Mathews, Brett, Boggs, Molitor, Baker, Santo, Chipper, Collins, and Robinson - and then probably Groh and Hack would also get in. Traynor, Evans, Bando, and K. Boyer would be just out the outside.
    Last edited by mwiggins; 01-09-2009 at 12:45 PM.

  13. #53
    Quote Originally Posted by mwiggins View Post
    I'd probably put in these guys for sure - Schmidt, Mathews, Brett, Boggs, Molitor, Baker, Santo, Chipper, Collins, and Robinson - and then probably Groh and Hack would also get in. Traynor, Evans, Bando, and K. Boyer would be just out the outside.
    Not familar with most of those names. Are they Negro Leaguers, or perhaps early players from before the Association started?

  14. #54
    Quote Originally Posted by jalbright View Post
    Doing a little more research, the problem with 3B may be even simpler than I thought. Using a database, I figured out how many folks had at least 7000 PA from 1876-1935 (the database doesn't include info before 1876). There were 92 such players.
    I just did a similar exercise but using 6000 PA as my cutoff in the hopes of capturing a few more 19th Century players, and I also stopped at players who retired in 1934 (given that's the current election year). There are 137 such players. For general consumption, here are all the players ordered by position in descending OPS+ order (I apologize if I missed any one). I have listed some players at multiple positions. Players in italics have been elected our Hall of Fame:

    Catcher (5)
    King Kelly - 138 OPS+ (6455 PA) - Also Listed at RF
    Deacon White - 127 OPS+ (6972 PA)
    - Also Listed at 3B
    Deacon McGuire - 101 OPS+ (6932 PA)
    Duke Farrell - 99 OPS+ (6254 PA)
    Ray Schalk - 83 OPS+ (6217 PA)

    Of this list, only McGuire, Farrell, and Schalk can definitively be called catchers. I knew catchers had poor longevity, but I didn't realize just how rare 6000 PA has been for a catcher. Notice that the other two primary catchers we've elected, Bresnahan and Bennett aren't even on the list. I'm going to seriously reconsider McGuire and Farrell at the next VC election and give Schalk some extra thought as well.

    First Base (25)
    Dan Brouthers - 170 OPS+ (7658 PA)
    Roger Connor - 153 OPS+ (8837 PA)

    Harry Stovey - 143 OPS+ (6832 PA) - Also listed at LF
    Jack Fournier - 142 OPS+ (6033 PA)
    Cap Anson - 141 OPS+ (11319 PA)
    Jake Beckley - 125 OPS+ (10470 PA)

    George Sisler - 124 OPS+ (9013 PA)
    Ed Konetchy - 122 OPS+ (8664 PA)
    Harry Davis - 119 OPS+ (7379 PA)
    Jake Daubert - 117 OPS+ (8742 PA)
    Dan McGann - 117 OPS+ (6047 PA)
    Joe Judge - 114 OPS+ (9171 PA)
    John Anderson - 114 OPS+ (6768) - Also Listed at LF
    George H. Burns - 113 OPS+ (7233 PA)
    Hal Chase - 112 OPS+ (7939 PA)
    Fred Tenney - 109 OPS+ (8807 PA)
    Lu Blue - 109 OPS+ (7207 PA)
    George Kelly - 109 OPS+ (6565 PA)
    Fred Merkle - 109 OPS+ (6426 PA)
    Stuffy McInnis - 105 OPS+ (8623 PA)
    Jack Doyle - 105 OPS+ (6566 PA)
    Wally Pipp - 104 OPS+ (7820 PA)
    Tommy Tucker - 102 OPS+ (7266 PA)
    Dots Miller - 95 OPS+ (6476 PA) - Also Listed at 2B
    Charlie Comiskey - 82 OPS+ (6035 PA)

    This actually makes me feel a lot better about Jake Beckley's election. After the big three (Anson, Brouthers, and Connor) and Stovey who was really more of an OFer, Beckley seems to stand out both in level of production and longevity. I think this also demonstrates that other than the 1880s when the big three were at it, 1B has not been the offensive-heavy position that it started to become in the 1920s and 1930s.

    Second Base (25)
    Napoleon Lajoie - 150 OPS+ (10460 PA)
    Eddie Collins - 141 OPS+ (12037 PA)
    Hardy Richardson - 130 OPS+ (6029 PA) - Also Listed at LF
    Larry Doyle - 126 OPS+ (7382 PA)
    Cupid Childs - 119 OPS+ (6758 PA)

    Jimmy Williams - 115 OPS+ (6112 PA)
    Del Pratt - 112 OPS+ (7609 PA)
    Miller Huggins - 107 OPS+ (6800 PA)
    Tom Daly - 107 OPS+ (6483 PA)
    Bid McPhee - 106 OPS+ (9409 PA)
    Johnny Evers - 106 OPS+ (7210 PA)
    Marty McManus - 102 OPS+ (7563 PA) - Also listed at 3B
    Claude Ritchey - 101 OPS+ (6822 PA)
    Dots Miller - 95 OPS+ (6476 PA) - Also Listed at 1B
    Buck Herzog - 96 OPS+ (6047 PA) - Also Listed at 3B and SS
    John Ward - 92 OPS+ (8084 PA) - Also Listed at SS
    Fred Pfeffer - 92 OPS+ (7108 PA)
    George Cutshaw - 87 OPS+ (6213 PA)
    Bobby Lowe - 86 OPS+ (7741 PA)
    Bill Hallman - 84 OPS+ (6596 PA)
    Sparky Adams - 83 OPS+ (6174 PA) - Also Listed at 3B
    Lou Bierbauer - 83 OPS+ (6007 PA)
    Kid Gleason - 78 OPS+ (8198 PA)
    Bill Wambsganss - 78 OPS+ (6097 PA)
    Joe Quinn - 76 OPS+ (6879 PA)

    So 2B is on par with 1B in terms of frequency of longevity. In respect to Del Pratt, who is currently on the ballot, I think this shows that he's about where I thought he was, around the border.

    Third Base (21)
    Frank Baker - 135 OPS+ (6660 PA)
    Deacon White - 127 OPS+ (6972 PA) - Also Listed at 3B

    Heinie Groh - 118 OPS+ (7035 PA)
    Jimmy Collins - 113 OPS+ (7452 PA)
    Tommy Leach - 109 OPS+ (9051 PA)
    Joe Sewell - 109 OPS+ (8329 PA) - Also Listed at SS
    Larry Gardner - 109 OPS+ (7685 PA)
    Bill Bradley - 108 OPS+ (6046 PA)
    Billy Nash - 104 OPS+ (6719 PA)
    Marty McManus - 102 OPS+ (7563 PA) - Also Listed at 2B
    Harry Steinfeldt - 102 OPS+ (6694 PA)
    Lave Cross - 100 OPS+ (9710 PA)
    Milt Stock - 98 OPS+ (6951 PA)
    Buck Herzog - 96 OPS+ (6047 PA) - Also Listed at 2B and SS
    Arlie Latham - 92 OPS+ (7502 PA)
    Jimmy Austin - 90 OPS+ (6302 PA)
    Terry Turner - 89 OPS+ (6658 PA)
    Eddie Foster - 89 OPS+ (6317 PA)
    Billy Shindle - 88 OPS+ (6326 PA)
    Sparky Adams - 83 OPS+ (6174 OPS+) - Also Listed at 2B
    Howie Shanks - 82 OPS+ (6414 OPS+) - Also Listed at LF

    I think this shows that a combination of longevity and above-average offensive production has been pretty rare at 3B and that perhaps we do need to reassess our expectations here. I think this also helps the cases for Groh, Leach, and Gardner. Not counting White, who played a lot at catcher, Groh looks to be the second best hitting 3Bmen we've seen (given decent longevity), and as others have commented earlier, he was no slouch defensively. Leach and Gardner, at just 109 OPS+, are tied for the fourth highest OPS+ (not counting White and tied with Sewell who really is a SS). Leach also has 1500-3000 more PA than anyone on the list except Lave Cross, though Leach could also be termed a CF (and I believe his defensive mastery of two important defensive positions is to his credit). I think when a 109 OPS+ is tied for the 4th (or 5th if counting White) highest over a 60+ year period among players with decent longevity, it demonstrates that perhaps 3B should be considered more of a defensive position during the time we're looking at. Even 2B has more players with a higher OPS+ and the requisite longevity, with 7 players above 109.

    Shortstop (23)
    Honus Wagner - 150 OPS+ (11739 PA)
    George Davis - 121 OPS+ (10151 PA)

    Ed McKean - 114 OPS+ (7610 PA)
    Jack Glasscock - 112 OPS+ (7535 PA)
    Bill Dahlen - 109 OPS+ (10390 PA)

    Joe Sewell - 109 OPS+ (8329 PA) - Also Listed at 3B
    Bobby Wallace - 105 OPS+ (9612 PA)
    Art Fletcher - 105 OPS+ (6039 PA)
    Dave Bancroft - 98 OPS+ (8244 PA)
    Buck Herzog - 96 OPS+ (6047 PA)
    Joe Tinker - 95 OPS+ (7145 PA)
    Herman Long - 94 OPS+ (8493 PA)
    John Ward - 92 OPS+ (8084 PA) - Also Listed at 2B

    Donie Bush - 91 OPS+ (8374 PA)
    Terry Turner - 89 OPS+ (6658 PA)
    Roger Peckinpaugh - 87 OPS+ (8383 PA)
    Monte Cross - 80 OPS+ (6711 PA)
    Germany Smith - 75 OPS+ (6995 PA)
    Tommy Corcoran - 74 OPS+ (9368 PA)
    Ivy Olson - 74 OPS+ (6630 PA)
    Mickey Doolan - 72 OPS+ (6598 PA)
    Everett Scott - 65 OPS+ (6373 PA)
    George McBride - 65 OPS+ (6235 PA)

    I don't think there are many surprises here, though frequency of longevity is almost on par with 1B (and 2B). I also think this supports the argument I made earlier that Dave Bancroft, while perhaps not so impressive in a greater historical context, may have stood out more in his time than some better shortstops from earlier generations. I also think we were too quick to dismiss Ed McKean, though his defense is certainly a concern.

    Corner OF (33)
    Ed Delahanty - 152 OPS+ (8389 PA)
    Elmer Flick - 149 OPS+ (6414 PA)
    Sam Thompson - 146 OPS+ (6502 PA)
    Sam Crawford - 144 OPS+ (6502 PA)
    Harry Stovey - 143 OPS+ (6832 PA) - Also Listed at 1B
    Billy Hamilton - 141 OPS+ (6268 PA) - Also Listed at CF
    Jesse Burkett - 140 OPS+ (9605 PA)
    King Kelly - 138 OPS+ (6455 PA) - Also Listed at C

    Mike Tiernan - 137 OPS+ (6716 PA)
    Sherry Magee - 136 OPS+ (8546 PA)
    Jim O'Rourke - 133 OPS+ (9051 PA)
    Joe Kelley - 133 OPS+ (8120 PA)
    Fred Clarke - 132 OPS+ (9819 PA)
    Hardy Richardson - 130 OPS+ (6029 PA) - Also Listed at 2B
    Zack Wheat - 129 OPS+ (9996 PA)

    Bobby Veach - 127 OPS+ (7557 PA)
    Willie Keller - 126 OPS+ (9594 PA)
    Jimmy Ryan - 123 OPS+ (9106 PA) - Also Listed at CF
    Hugh Duffy - 122 OPS+ (7827 PA) - Also Listed at CF

    Kip Selbach - 121 OPS+ (7089 PA)
    Jimmy Sheckard - 120 OPS+ (9118 PA)
    Bob Meusel - 118 OPS+ (6028 PA)
    Harry Hooper - 114 OPS+ (10244 PA)
    George J. Burns - 114 OPS+ (8251 PA)
    Frank Schulte - 114 OPS+ (7413 PA)
    John Anderson - 114 OPS+ (6768 PA)
    Sam Rice - 112 OPS+ (10246 PA)
    Jack Tobin - 109 OPS+ (6782 PA)
    Duffy Lewis - 108 OPS+ (6007 PA)
    Charlie Jamieson - 101 OPS+ (7488 PA)
    Patsy Donovan - 97 OPS+ (8133 PA)
    Shano Collins - 90 OPS+ (7036 PA)
    Howie Shanks - 82 OPS+ (6414 PA) - Also Listed at 3B

    Since a lot of these guys spent time bouncing around the OF, I thought I'd just group them together as corner OFers. Looking at this, it's not that surprising to me that we've elected a number of players here. There are a lot of players grouped very closely together that makes it difficult to distinguish and create a clear cutoff. Bobby Veach looks to be the line here, but I don't think he's that far removed, if at all from our standards, though he would definitely be near the bottom. Mike Tiernan stands out though. He's the only player among the first 15 players that we haven't elected, and with Bobby Veach, one of only two among the first 19. So Tiernan would appear to be well within our standards, especially when you factor in his baserunning. He might be in line for some extra consideration from the VC.

    Center Field (23)
    Ty Cobb - 167 OPS+ (13072 PA)
    Tris Speaker - 158 OPS+ (11988 PA)
    Billy Hamilton - 141 OPS+ (6268 PA) - Also Listed at LF
    George Gore - 135 OPS+ (6104 PA)
    Paul Hines - 131 OPS+ (7470 PA)

    Edd Roush - 126 OPS+ (8156 PA)
    Cy Williams - 125 OPS+ (7720 PA)
    Jimmy Ryan - 123 OPS+ (9106 PA) - Also Listed at RF
    Mike Griffin - 123 OPS+ (6832 PA)
    Roy Thomas - 123 OPS+ (6575 PA)
    Ginger Beaumont - 123 OPS+ (6281 PA)
    Hugh Duffy - 122 OPS+ (7827 PA) - Also Listed at corner OF
    George Van Haltren - 121 OPS+ (8979 PA)

    Cy Seymour - 119 OPS+ (6204 PA)
    Fielder Jones - 111 OPS+ (7894 PA)
    Baby Doll Jacobson - 111 OPS+ (6072 PA)
    Dummy Hoy - 110 OPS+ (8369 PA)
    Tommy Leach - 109 OPS+ (9051 PA)
    Clyde Milan - 109 OPS+ (8312 PA)
    Dode Paskert - 108 OPS+ (6997 PA)
    Max Carey - 107 OPS+ (10770 PA)
    Steve Brodie - 102 OPS+ (6314 PA)
    Tom Brown - 100 OPS+ (8182 PA)

    Looking at this, I can see why it could be argued that Ryan, Duffy, and Van Haltren have noticeably lowered our standards. It isn't like the corner OF positions where there are lots of players grouped together at a higher level. Here, Ryan, Duffy, and Van Haltren all appear to be a noticeable tick below the other inductees. However, I still strongly believe that once Duffy and Van Haltren were elected, we could not leave Ryan out. In respect to Tommy Leach, his offense doesn't stand out as much here as it does at 3B. But he played roughly 1000 games at each position and I do think it's very much to his credit that he played excellent defense at both (giving him extra value in terms of the team's flexibility), that he had good longevity, and that he was a very good hitter by 3B standards, and a pretty decent hitter by CF standards.
    Last edited by DoubleX; 01-09-2009 at 02:06 PM.

  15. #55
    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleX View Post
    I just did a similar exercise but using 6000 PA as my cutoff in the hopes of capturing a few more 19th Century players, and I also stopped at players who retired in 1934 (given that's the current election year). There are 137 such players. For general consumption, here are all the players ordered by position in descending OPS+ order (I apologize if I missed any one). I have listed some players at multiple positions. Players in italics have been elected our Hall of Fame:


    Third Base (21)
    Frank Baker - 135 OPS+ (6660 PA)
    Deacon White - 127 OPS+ (6972 PA) - Also Listed at 3B

    Heinie Groh - 118 OPS+ (7035 PA)
    Jimmy Collins - 113 OPS+ (7452 PA)
    Tommy Leach - 109 OPS+ (9051 PA)
    Joe Sewell - 109 OPS+ (8329 PA) - Also Listed at SS
    Larry Gardner - 109 OPS+ (7685 PA)
    Bill Bradley - 108 OPS+ (6046 PA)
    Billy Nash - 104 OPS+ (6719 PA)
    Marty McManus - 102 OPS+ (7563 PA) - Also Listed at 2B
    Harry Steinfeldt - 102 OPS+ (6694 PA)
    Lave Cross - 100 OPS+ (9710 PA)
    Milt Stock - 98 OPS+ (6951 PA)
    Buck Herzog - 96 OPS+ (6047 PA) - Also Listed at 2B and SS
    Arlie Latham - 92 OPS+ (7502 PA)
    Jimmy Austin - 90 OPS+ (6302 PA)
    Terry Turner - 89 OPS+ (6658 PA)
    Eddie Foster - 89 OPS+ (6317 PA)
    Billy Shindle - 88 OPS+ (6326 PA)
    Sparky Adams - 83 OPS+ (6174 OPS+) - Also Listed at 2B
    Howie Shanks - 82 OPS+ (6414 OPS+) - Also Listed at LF

    I think this shows that a combination of longevity and above-average offensive production has been pretty rare at 3B and that perhaps we do need to reassess our expectations here.

    It could very well just mean that just coincidentally, there only happened to be 4 or 5 thirdbasemen who were of hall of fame quality playing between the 1870s and the 1920s. I don't see why that's such a problem. It's not like we have 17 hall of famers at each of the other positions. Right now we only have 5 catchers and 5 RFers. Groh will likely get in eventually. That will make four 3Bmen. If Deacon White were moved to 3B you could end up with five 3Bmen and only four catchers. Sewell will likely go in, but mainly as a SS. One of the positions has to coincidentally end up with the fewest hall of famers, and it just happens to be 3B right now, but the position does not have so many fewer inductess that we should be wondering about it.

    I think we are building a good case for Groh and will get him in soon. There's also the arbitrary figure of 6,000 plate appearances. Given how short the seasons were in the 19th century, you don't see as many players from then who have the kind of totals of plate appearances as recent electees like Speaker and Cobb. If you drop the total to 4000 plate appearances you get the following great offensive 3Bmen:

    Joyce - 144 OPS+
    Lyons - 138 OPS+
    McGraw - 135 OPS+

    I don't think there's any cause for alarm here, and if groh gets in soon maybe we can drop the worry over 3Bmen.
    Last edited by SavoyBG; 01-09-2009 at 03:31 PM.

  16. #56
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  18. #58
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    I can see reassessing our expectations of offensive production at 3B for the early guys, as the position did seem to emphasize defense more before the lively ball. I don't see why 3B would be so dramatically affected in terms of longevity, though. Catcher, I certainly understand--even in 2009, they don't last as long as other position players, and back then, they had less sophisticated medicine and gear that provided a good deal less protection. If someone can provide some real explanation as to why that should happen, I'll certainly listen, but until I'm convinced there's a reason inherent in the demands of the position, I'm not apt to compromise much on that score. Now, I don't look at 7000 PA as a cutoff in the strictest sense, as a guy with offense like Frank Baker's can certainly overcome his fairly small shortfall in PA--but it is something that requires making up some ground. The bigger question to me is what level of offense should set the same kind of standard for early 3B?
    Seen on a bumper sticker: If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
    Some minds are like concrete--thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
    A Lincoln: I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

  19. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleX View Post
    Catcher (5)
    King Kelly - 138 OPS+ (6455 PA) - Also Listed at RF
    Deacon White - 127 OPS+ (6972 PA)
    - Also Listed at 3B
    Deacon McGuire - 101 OPS+ (6932 PA)
    Duke Farrell - 99 OPS+ (6254 PA)
    Ray Schalk - 83 OPS+ (6217 PA)

    Of this list, only McGuire, Farrell, and Schalk can definitively be called catchers. I knew catchers had poor longevity, but I didn't realize just how rare 6000 PA has been for a catcher. Notice that the other two primary catchers we've elected, Bresnahan and Bennett aren't even on the list.
    (my emphases)

    Mike,

    I hope you aren't going to revive this old canard.
    We can "definitively" call Deacon White a catcher.
    We should call him a "primary catcher". He was 34.4 years old when he became a regular 3B spring 1882, with ten games at thirdbase on his resume. White isn't a difficult case like Jim O'Rourke, lacking any regular position when he was in his prime (before he settled finally in leftfield at age 37.7). White was his team's regular catcher in ten of his first eleven professional seasons, 1869-76 and 78-79, spanning ages 21 to 31 except 29.

    It's the Same Old Song, over and over, counts of major league "games" or "at bats" or "plate appearances" naively presented as descriptive measures of careers. (not only by Mike)

  20. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Wendt View Post
    (my emphases)

    Mike,

    I hope you aren't going to revive this old canard.
    We can "definitively" call Deacon White a catcher.
    We should call him a "primary catcher". He was 34.4 years old when he became a regular 3B spring 1882, with ten games at thirdbase on his resume. White isn't a difficult case like Jim O'Rourke, lacking any regular position when he was in his prime (before he settled finally in leftfield at age 37.7). White was his team's regular catcher in ten of his first eleven professional seasons, 1869-76 and 78-79, spanning ages 21 to 31 except 29.

    It's the Same Old Song, over and over, counts of major league "games" or "at bats" or "plate appearances" naively presented as descriptive measures of careers. (not only by Mike)
    Paul, I'm not going to change White's listing. I still believe his primary position is C, but there is enough to say that he isn't a catcher in the same sense that someone like Charlie Bennett was.

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