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AG2004's Keltner Lists

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  • #31
    Bob Caruthers

    [NOTE: Originally posted on November 19, 2006. Caruthers was elected to the BBFHOF on November 30, 2007.]

    I finally have the Keltner List for Bob Caruthers.

    Based on these summaries, I would rank the four pitchers I did lists for as:

    1) Caruthers
    2) Mullane
    3) McCormick
    4) Welch

    with Caruthers worthy of the BBFHOF, McCormick and Welch outside the hall, and Mullane being somewhere around the cutoff line.

    So just why is Welch receiving so much support? Why are there so many who rank him ahead of the other three pitchers? I'd like to see what the argument for rating Welch on top of the list is.

    Anyway, here's the list.

    Case to Consider: CARUTHERS, 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?

    I don’t know.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    This question isn’t generally applicable to pitchers in the 1880s; one pitcher would generally be the standout, and, due to the large number of innings pitched, would also lead the 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?

    He led all major leaguers in win shares in 1887, and led the AA in 1889. He was second in win shares among major leaguers in 1886 and 1888, and was second in the AA in 1885. That makes a four-year span in which Caruthers was among the top two in MLB in win shares each year, and a five-year span in the AA.

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

    He pitched for five pennant winners: St. Louis (1885-87) and Brooklyn (1889-90).

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

    No. He played his last season at the age of 28.

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

    Not in my opinion.

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

    By similarity scores: Sam Leever, Jesse Tannehill, Carl Mays, Deacon Phillippe, Stan Coveleski, Jack Chesbro, Urban Shocker, Larry Corcoran, Chief Bender, and Lon Warneke. Three are in Cooperstown, but only one in the BBFHOF. However, of the ten pitchers on the list, only Coveleski’s ERA+ of 126 beats Caruther’s ERA+ of 123 – and Caruthers beats Coveleski on OPS+, 135 to 9.

    Career win shares, contemporary P: Hoss Radbourn 391, Mickey Welch 354, CARUTHERS 337, Jim McCormick 334, Dave Foutz 292. Caruthers is in the second tier of 1880s pitchers here.

    Top three seasons: John Clarkson 173, Pud Galvin 165, CARUTHERS 162, Tim Keefe 159, Tony Mullane 159, Silver King 159, Bill Hutchison 158, Tommy Bond 157, Guy Hecker 155. Caruthers is the best of his contemporaries outside the BBFHOF.

    Top five consecutive seasons: Hoss Radbourne 270, CARUTHERS 254, John Clarkson 247, Tim Keefe 236, Tommy Bond 225. Caruthers is second all-time in this category.

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

    Caruthers has a pitching black ink mark of 27 (59th all-time) and a hitting black ink mark of 3. He is 127th in pitching gray ink, at 130, but also has 29 points of hitting gray ink. He is at number 40 in the pitching HOF Standards score, at 48.0; his batting HOF Standards score, however, is 17.0.

    Caruthers’ 1880s gray ink total is 96 – it counts only top six finishes, and omits saves.

    Caruthers is not in Cooperstown. However, he is a member of the Hall of Merit at baseballthinkfactory.

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

    The AA was considered to be a weaker league than the NL. However, Caruther’s Brooklyn team won the AA pennant in 1889, and then captured the NL pennant in 1890.

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

    Not in my opinion; his career was too short.

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

    There was no MVP award in Caruthers’ day. However, he finished among the top two pitchers/players in his league in win shares five times.

    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 pitchers in his league five times. Five All-Star-type seasons is good, but not great, 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 peak, 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?

    Caruthers had the lowest ERA of anyone with 2000 IP in the American Association.

    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: Caruthers had a short career, but it isn’t that short in the context of pre-1893 pitchers. But he had a great peak, and what a peak it was. In both 1886 and 1887, he finished in the top three in the AA in both ERA+ and OPS+. Caruthers deserves to go into the BBFHOF.
    Last edited by AG2004; 02-05-2008, 08:02 AM.

    Comment


    • #32
      Bobby Bonds

      [NOTE: Originally posted on November 21, 2006. Updated November 4, 2007.]

      It's been a couple of days since I asked for arguments for Mickey Welch, and I haven't seen them. [This was in 2006.]

      Anyway, I decided to post a Keltner List for someone who's been on my ballot for a while, and whose level of support around here has been close to the level Mickey Welch has received.

      Here's the argument for putting Bobby Bonds in the BBFHOF.

      Case to Consider: BONDS, 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?

      He led the Giants in win shares in 1971 and 1973. He finished just behind McCovey in 1970.

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

      In 1970, he led all National League outfielders and all major league right fielders in win shares. He was among the top three major league outfielders in win shares three times in all: 1970, 1971, and 1973.

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

      He had 31 win shares when the Giants won the division in 1971. He had an MVP-type season in 1969, but the Giants lost by three games that year.

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

      After his peak years ended, Bonds was still able to record several seasons with at least 20 win shares.

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

      One could make the case that he is the best position player outside the BBFHOF. Only four major leaguers outside the hall have 4 seasons with 30+ win shares. Of these three, Bonds leads in seasons with 20+ win shares with ten; the other two have eight at most (assuming you give Charlie Keller military credit).

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

      By similarity scores, the most similar players to Bonds are Ron Gant, Reggie Smith, Reggie Sanders, Jack Clark, George Foster, Shawn Green, Fred Lynn, Roy Sievers, Dick Allen, and Bobby Murcer. Only Dick Allen is in the BBFHOF.

      By career win shares, RF: Reggie Smith 325, Enos Slaughter 323, Harry Hooper 321, Jack Clark 316, BONDS 302, Ken Singleton 302, Kiki Culyer 292, Elmer Flick 291, Fielder Jones 290. He’s not in HOF territory here.

      By best three seasons, we have Harry Heilmann 97, Enos Slaughter 95, BONDS 94, Colavito 94, Jack Clark 94, Roberto Clemente 94, Roger Maris 92, Gavy Cravath 92, Al Kaline 92, Dave Winfield 92, Tony Oliva 91, Rusty Staub 90, Kiki Cuyler 89, Chuck Klein 89, Ross Youngs 89. Bonds is in BBFHOF territory here.

      By five consecutive seasons, we have Paul Waner 154, Ken Singleton 153, Elmer Flick 152, Dave Parker 150, BONDS 149, Reggie Jackson 148, Clemente 146, Bobby Murcer 146, Rusty Staub 145, Gavy Cravath 144, Enos Slaughter 141. Again, Bonds is in good company.

      If one goes by peak, Bonds is in solid BBFHOF company. If one goes by career, Bonds falls short.

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

      Bonds is at 6 in black ink, 132 (130th) in gray ink, and 35.8 (185th) in HOF Standards. The black ink total is very low, and the HOF Standards mark is still low, but the gray ink mark is fair. However, Bonds led the league in power/speed numbers nine times, which indicates that he was a regular lead leader in something, even if that something is underrated by the BBWAA voters.

      Bonds won three Gold Gloves. He earned two Win Shares Gold Gloves, which is impressive for a corner outfielder (who have to compete against center fielders for the honor.)

      Bonds 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?

      Not really. Still, he may deserve some credit as a clutch player. While he hit .262/.345/.453 with nobody on, he went .281/.387/.499 with runners in scoring position.

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

      With 4 MVP-candidate-type seasons and 10 All-Star-type seasons, one can argue that Bonds is the best right fielder who is not 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?

      He was fourth in the MVP voting in 1971, and third in 1973, but those were the only times he finished in the top ten. However, he had 4 seasons with at least 30+ win shares, a level which would usually put one in the Hall of Fame. The Sporting News named him NL Player of the Year in 1973.

      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?

      Bonds played in only three All-Star games, which is very low for a Hall of Famer. However, he had ten seasons of at least 20 win shares, which means ten All-Star-type seasons. That would usually be good enough for the Hall of Fame; 10 seasons at that level is a very good sign.

      It looks like his contemporaries underestimated Barry Bonds. Bonds had a low batting average but a high secondary average – which means he was the type of player that contemporaries usually underestimate.

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

      With enough good players, a team Bonds (at his peak) as its best player 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?

      He held the single-season strikeout record for over thirty years, but he’s better known as Barry Bonds’ father. He's also fourth on the career list for power/speed number.

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

      I think so.

      CONCLUSION: At his peak, Bonds did a lot of different things very well. Also, he played at an All-Star level long enough to alleviate my concerns about his short career, even if his contemporaries didn’t realize how well he played during the second half of the 1970s (they saw him as a journeyman instead). When I combine his peak with his total of 10 seasons of 20+ win shares, I see him as worthy of the BBFHOF.
      Last edited by AG2004; 04-22-2008, 09:37 AM.

      Comment


      • #33
        Wes Ferrell

        [NOTE: Originally posted on November 24, 2006. Ferrell was voted into the BBFHOF in the November 2006 election.]

        Of the six major leaguers highlighted by Jim Albright in post 445 [of the main BBFHOF discussion thread], the only one I haven't posted a list for is Wes Ferrell. I'm going to post a Keltner List for him here.

        Case to Consider: FERRELL, Wes

        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 Cleveland pitchers in win shares each year from 1929 to 1932, and led the Red Sox pitchers in win shares in 1935.

        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 pitchers in win shares in 1935, and, while not the AL leader, did have more win shares than any NL pitcher in 1930 and 1931. He was among the top four major league pitchers in win shares six times: 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1935, and 1936.

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

        No. With the exception of two years with the Yankees in which he pitched a combined 49.3 innings, his teams were always far out of first place.

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

        No.

        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 similar by similarity scores are Jack Stivetts, Sadie McMahon, Tommy Bridges, Jouett Meekin, Alvin Crowder, Brickyard Kennedy, Guy Bush, Lon Warneke, Elton Chamberlain, and Rick Sutcliffe. None are in the BBFHOF or Cooperstown.

        In terms of Career win shares, the following are most similar among Ferrell’s contemporaries: Dazzy Vance 241, FERRELL 233, Lon Warneke 220. This is good company.

        In terms of top three seasons, the following are most similar: Carl Hubbell 102, Dizzy Dean 99, FERRELL 95, Dazzy Vance 94, Lon Warneke 86. Lefty Gomez had 80, Ted Lyons 79, Red Ruffing 76, Waite Hoyt 69. Ferrell is in BBFHOF territory.

        In terms of top five consecutive seasons, the following are most similar: FERRELL 129, Lon Warneke 125, Dazzy Vance 124, Red Ruffing 116. Ted Lyons had 110, Gomez 106, and Hoyt 100; Dean, however, had 145. In any case, Ferrell is in the BBFHOF range.

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

        Ferrell’s black ink score is 25 (65th place), and his gray ink is at 170 (68th place), borderline at best. His HOF Standards score is a very poor 22.0 (242nd), and the HOF Monitor score is at 75.0 (149th).

        He was voted into the Hall of Merit in their 1964 election, but is currently outside of Cooperstown.

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

        His pitching record does not include his performance as a hitter. He batted .280 lifetime, and holds the major league record for most home runs by a pitcher with 37. Also, with the exception of the 1932 Indians, every team Ferrell was a regular starter on was below .500 when he wasn’t on the mound. That reduced his W-L record.

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

        No.

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

        He won the Win Shares AL Pitcher of the Year award in 1935, and finished second (first among pitchers) in the actual 1935 MVP voting. He was eighth in the 1934 MVP voting (third among pitchers). Ferrell was among the top three AL pitchers in win shares in six different seasons, a good sign.

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

        He was on two All-Star teams, but the All-Star game started in the middle of his career. He had six seasons when he was among the top four pitchers in the AL in win shares, and another when he was sixth. Six or seven All-Star-type seasons is a good sign for pitchers.

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

        If the rest of a team had decent offense, the team might have a shot. Boston had the worst OPS+ in the league in 1935, and Ferrell outhit all the regulars that season in games in which he pitched. Come to think of it, he outhit the regulars for Cleveland in 1931 as well.

        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 records for most home runs in a season by a pitcher (9) and most career home runs by a pitcher (37).

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

        He was fined and suspended for refusing to leave a game in 1932. In 1936, he was fined for leaving a game without the manager’s permission. Cleveland also suspended him in 1934 for failing to report after the season started.

        CONCLUSION: Ferrell has a good peak, but a short career. Although he’s borderline in the ink marks, his hitting makes up for that. Looking at the entire package, I would say that Ferrell belongs in the BBFHOF.

        Comment


        • #34
          Pete Browning

          [NOTE: Originally posted on November 29, 2006. Updated April 21, 2008.]

          I haven't posted some Keltner Lists for a while, but decided to post two lists today: Pete Browning's and George Gore's.

          I was wondering how to cope with season length for 19th-century position players. The following is the list of scheduled games by season from 1876 to 1910:

          1876: 70 games
          1877-1878: 60 games
          1879-1882: 84 games (the AA had 80 games in 1882)
          1883: 98 games
          1884-1885: 112 games
          1886-1887: 126 games NL; 140 games AA
          1888-1891: 140 games
          1892: 154 games
          1893-1897: 132 games
          1898-1899: 154 games
          1900-1903: 140 games
          1904-1910: 154 games

          I decided to adjust seasons from 1876 to 1889 to a 140-game schedule, and seasons from 1890 onwards to a 154-game schedule.

          From 1890 onwards, it isn't too much of a stretch to imagine that, if a player can keep up a certain rate of play for 132 games, he can keep it up for 154 games. From 1892 to 1900, there was one league with twelve teams; even if the quality of play was lower than it was from 1901 to 1910, the culling of players from the 1880s counterbalances that. In 1890, most of the games' stars were in the PL (and most were in the NL in 1891); this concentration of talent led me to extend the 154-game adjustment back to 1890.

          By limiting the adjustment to 140 games before 1890, I reflect the lower quality of competition available then. It also helps reduce variation due to sample size; a player's best 70-game stretch will be better than a player's best 154-game stretch.

          Ross Barnes' 20-win share season in 1876 gets adjusted to 40 win shares. That's still a historic year. Paul Hines led position players in win shares in 1878; his 15 gets adjusted upwards to 35. George Gore's 30 win shares in 1885 get adjusted to 38, while Hugh Duffy's 33 in 1894 get adjusted to 39. I've looked at how these adjustments work at 2B, 3B, and CF, and they don't seem to favor players from one decade over another when we limit comparisons to players from the 19th century.

          These adjustments also give me some sense of what an All-Star-type season was and what a MVP-type-season was. Over the 84-game seasons of 1878-1881, 12 win shares indicate an All-Star-type season, and 18 win shares indicate an MVP-type season. To avoid repeating all the adjustments, I'll mention "seasons that adjust to 20+ win shares" in the lists.

          Finally, when I deal with leadership in win shares at a given position, for the 1886 and 1887 seasons, I use the 140-game adjusted totals instead of raw win shares in determining the best position players. This is to reflect the differences in scheduled games between the two leagues in those seasons; otherwise, the AA players would have an unfair advantage from playing 14 more games.

          Case to Consider: BROWNING, Pete

          Note: All seasons up to and including 1889 are adjusted to 140 games. All seasons from 1890 onwards are adjusted to 154 games.

          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 Louisville’s position players in win shares five times: 1882, 1883, 1884, 1885, and 1887. He also led the PL’s Cleveland team in win shares among position players in 1890.

          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 2B in win shares in 1882, all MLB LF in 1883, and all MLB CF in 1887. He was among the top three outfielders in the PL in 1890. He also led AA 3B in win shares in 1884 and AA CF in 1885.

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

          No. His teams were always far out of contention.

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

          No. The last season when Browning played in at least half of his team’s games was 1892, when he was 31.

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

          No.

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

          By similarity scores: Ross Youngs, Riggs Stephenson, Tip O’Neill, Joe Jackson, Elmer Flick, John Stone, Ichiro Suzuki, Elmer Smith, Chick Stahl, and Earle Combs. Three are in Cooperstown, and two in the BBFHOF. However, only Browning (162) and Jackson (170) have an OPS+ over 149.

          Adjusted career win shares, pre-1900 CF: Hugh Duffy 325, George Gore 322, Dummy Hoy 275, Mike Griffin 266, BROWNING 266, Tom Brown 252. Among modern players, we have Earl Averill 280, Fred Lynn 280, Clyde Milan 266, Chet Lemon 265, Roy Thomas 260, Rick Monday 258, and Lloyd Waner 245. Browning is a long way from BBFHOF territory.

          Adjusted peak three seasons, pre-1900 CF: George Gore 109, Paul Hines 107, Hugh Duffy 103, BROWNING 98, Jake Stenzel 89, Jimmy Ryan 88, George Van Haltren 88. Browning is at the lower end of the gray area. Among moderns, 98 is close to Jimmy Wynn 100, Wally Berger 100, Hack Wilson 98, Larry Doby 97, Dale Murphy 97, Edd Roush 96, Fred Lynn 94, and Earl Averill 93. This is the gray area.

          Adjusted best five consecutive seasons, pre-1900 CF: Paul Hines 161, Hugh Duffy 161, George Gore 146, BROWNING 143, Jimmy Ryan 135, George Van Haltren 135, Tom Brown 128. Browning’s in the gray area. Among moderns, 143 win shares is close to Larry Doby 152, Wally Berger 152, Dale Murphy 150, Earl Averill 143, Jimmy Wynn 141, Cesar Cedeno, Richie Ashburn 137, Vada Pinson 137, and Edd Roush 136. Browning is in the gray area here as well.

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

          Browning’s black ink total of 21 (99th) and gray ink score of 147 (90th) are enough to crack the top 100. That’s a good sign. However, he’s only at 196th in HOF Standards, at 34.8. The short seasons may have something to do with that low mark. He also managed to win two Win Shares Gold Gloves.

          Browning is not in Cooperstown. While he is in the Hall of Merit, he was not inducted until 2005, and received only 28% of all possible points then.

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

          Browning played in the AA, which was the weaker of the two leagues during the 1880s. Also, from the age of 27 onwards, there was just one season when he played in 80% of his team’s games; rate stats from those years make him look more productive than he actually was.

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

          No. Among nineteenth-century CFs, Duffy and Gore would be better choices 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?

          There was no MVP award in Browning’s era. He led all AA position players in win shares in 1882 and 1883. Browning had three seasons which project to 30 win shares over 140 games; that’s a good sign. However, one of them came in the 1882 AA season, when the AA was an expansion league at best.

          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 half a century after Browning’s career. Browning did record six seasons which project to 20+ win shares. That’s 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?

          At his peak, probably.

          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?

          The Hillerich firm named its “Louisville Slugger” bat after Browning.

          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 1888, a drunk and shirtless Browning, sporting a black eye, climbed onto a streetcar, insulted a member of the City Council, and dragged him into a saloon. Louisville suspended him for a month over that incident. In 1886, he was benched for a month for “incompetent playing.”

          CONCLUSION: Browning’s peak is solid, but not spectacular. However, his career didn’t have that much value, and he didn’t play at an All-Star-type level for all that long (the 1886 and 1888 suspensions also lowered the number of All-Star-type seasons, so they are relevant). He doesn’t make my queue for the BBFHOF.
          Last edited by AG2004; 04-21-2008, 10:43 AM.

          Comment


          • #35
            George Gore

            [NOTE: Originally posted on November 29, 2006. Gore was elected to the BBFHOF on August 17, 2007.]

            We now turn to George Gore.

            Without the adjustments I made, Gore and Browning would each have one season with 30+ win shares (their peak without any adjustments was 30) and five seasons with 20+ win shares.

            With the adjustments, Gore has three MVP-type seasons and ten All-Star-type seasons. Browning also has three MVP-type seasons, but just six All-Star-type seasons.

            Hugh Duffy would have three MVP-type seasons and nine All-Star type seasons. Jimmy Ryan would have only one MVP-type season and seven All-Star type seasons. Van Haltren would do a little better than Ryan: one MVP-type season and eleven All-Star-type seasons (he also has the necessary win share totals in 1888 and 1890, but he was primarily a pitcher and wasn't an All-Star-type pitcher either year).

            Among those CFs who we have elected, the adjustments give Paul Hines five MVP-type seasons and 10 All-Star type seasons. The voters did the right thing in electing Hines before either Browning or Gore. Finally, Billy Hamilton ended up with six MVP-type seasons and eleven All-Star-type seasons.

            Especially for the 1893-1897 seasons, it seems right to make some adjustment for the 132-game season. The quality of player was higher then than it was in the AA from 1886-1889, but without an adjustment, the players of the 140-game AA seasons gain an advantage.

            Here's how everything stacks up for George Gore. I'm convinced that he's a better choice for the BBFHOF than Pete Browning.

            Case to Consider: GORE, George

            Note: Seasons up to 1889 are adjusted to 140 games; seasons from 1890 on are adjusted to 154 games.

            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?

            I don’t know. He did lead all major league position players in win shares in 1880 and 1885, though.

            2. Was he the best player on his team?

            He led all Chicago position players in win shares in 1880, 1883, and 1885. He was one of the three offensive stars for Chicago during that period, the other two being Cap Anson and King Kelly.

            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 top OF in baseball in win shares in 1880, 1883, and 1885, and led baseball’s center fielders in 1881 and 1886 as well. He was among the top three OF in baseball each of those seasons, as well as in 1882. (In 1886, we are adjusting for schedule length; the NL had a 126-game season, but the AA had a 140-game season.)

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

            Gore had 17 win shares in 1882 (28 win shares per 140 games), when Chicago won the pennant by 3 games. He had 30 win shares (38 per 140 games) when Chicago won the title by 2 games in 1885. He had 26 raw WS in 1886 (Chicago won by 2 games) and 32 in 1889 (New York won by 1 game). So Gore had a large impact on several pennant races.

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

            For a couple of seasons, 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: Mike Griffin, Chick Stahl, Dom DiMaggio, Buddy Lewis, Pete Fox, Ginger Beaumont, Jo-Jo Moore, Kip Selbach, Duff Cooley, Jack Tobin. None are in Cooperstown; none are in the BBFHOF. However, none of the ten have an OPS+ above 123; Gore has a career OPS+ of 136.

            Adjusted career WS, contemporary CF: Paul Hines 364, Jimmy Ryan 341, Hugh Duffy 325, George Gore 322, Dummy Hoy 275. Gore is in the region of serious contenders. Later CF with around 322 win shares include Max Carey 351, Richie Ashburn 329, Willie Davis 322, Vada Pinson 321, Edd Roush 314, Jimmy Wynn 305, and Al Oliver 305. This isn’t necessarily BBFHOF territory, although there are several members with career marks between 280 and 300.

            Adjusted best three seasons, 1800s CF: Billy Hamilton 110, GORE 109, Paul Hines 107, Hugh Duffy 103. This is BBFHOF territory for Gore. Later players with around 109 win shares in their peaks include Joe DiMaggio 114, Duke Snider 112, Jimmy Wynn 100, and Wally Berger 100. Gore remains in BBFHOF territory.

            Adjusted best five consecutive seasons: Paul Hines 161, Hugh Duffy 161, GORE 146, Pete Browning 143, Jimmy Ryan 135, George Van Haltren 135. Later CFs with peaks around 146 win shares include Larry Doby 152, Wally Berger 152, Dale Murphy 150, Earl Averill 143, Jimmy Wynn 141, and Cesar Cedeno 140. This is very good company.

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

            Gore’s black ink mark of 19 is 112th overall, a good sign. He’s a little weak in gray ink, at 125 (143rd overall). His HOF Standards Score of 30.9 ranks him at number 267, which is really low. However, short seasons did contribute to the low score.

            Gore also won 7 Win Shares Gold Gloves. While not a member of Cooperstown, Gore was a member of the very first class of the Hall of Merit. Furthermore, Gore is a member of the BBF Timeline HOF.

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

            Gore played in a top hitter’s park during the early 1880s, which inflates his offensive numbers. However, he was also an exceptional defensive player, which isn’t recorded in his offensive stats.

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

            I might go with Hugh Duffy instead, but there’s a case for Gore being the best MLB CF outside the BBFHOF.

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

            There was no MVP award in Gore’s era, but he led all NL position players in win shares twice. He had three seasons which project to 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?

            There was no such competition in Gore’s day. However, he had ten seasons which project to 20+ win shares. That’s very good 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?

            Yes, it would be likely.

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

            Not that I know of.

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

            Allegedly, Chicago released Gore after the 1886 season because he caroused too much. But that’s the only mark I could find on Gore’s record, and his behavior doesn’t seem to have caused any trouble elsewhere. So I think he upheld the standards.

            CONCLUSION: Gore is more than worthy of induction into the BBFHOF.
            Last edited by AG2004; 11-12-2007, 11:29 AM.

            Comment


            • #36
              Rollie Fingers

              [NOTE: Originally posted on December 6, 2006. Fingers was voted into the BBFHOF in the March 2007 election.]

              I decided to create Keltner Lists for the top three relief pitchers in last month's vote: Fingers, Quisenberry, and Sutter. I'll post them in alphabetical order.

              Case to Consider: FINGERS, Rollie

              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, but this question doesn’t work very well with RPs.

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

              1981 was the only year he led all MLB relief pitchers in win shares. He was in a three-way tie for first among AL RPs in 1976, however. He won four Rolaids Relief Awards.

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

              1981 was his only 20-win-share season (it was really 17 shares, but I adjust for strike-shortened seasons), and Milwaukee made the playoffs that year. Fingers was also 1974 World Series MVP.

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

              Yes. He lasted until 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?

              Similarity scores don’t work too well with relief pitchers, since Cooperstown has very few RP enshrined. As usual, the peak measures are adjusted for strike seasons.

              Career WS, RP: Goose Gossage 223, Lee Smith 198, FINGERS 188, John Franco 182, Bruce Sutter 168.

              Top three seasons, RP: Mike Marshall 68, Hoyt Wilhelm 63, FINGERS 59, Kent Tekulve 57, Sparky Lyle 54, Lee Smith 53, Tug McGraw 53, Robb Nen 53.

              Top five consecutive seasons, RP: Hoyt Wilhelm 85, Mike Marshall 83, Lee Smith 83, John Franco 76, FINGERS 75, Robb Nen 73, Tug McGraw 72, Kent Tekulve 72, Tom Henke 72, Sparky Lyle 71.

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

              We don’t have standards set for relief pitchers. However, Fingers led in saves three times.

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

              He spent his whole career – Oakland, San Diego, and Milwaukee – in pitchers’ parks.

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

              He is not the best relief pitcher outside the BBFHOF.

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

              Fingers won both the MVP and Cy Young awards in 1981. He finished fourth in the MVP vote and third in the Cy Young vote in 1975. However, 1981 was the only time he finished among the league’s top three pitchers in win shares (he was second that 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?

              He was in seven All-Star games, which is good for a pitcher. However, he was only among the top three relief pitchers in the league in win shares just three times.

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

              I don’t know how well this question applies to relief pitchers.

              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 re-introduced the handlebar mustache to baseball.

              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: Finger’s reputation was much better than his performance. After looking at his actual record, I don’t see him as a Hall of Famer.

              Comment


              • #37
                Dan Quisenberry

                [NOTE: Originally posted on December 6, 2006. Quisenberry was elected to the BBFHOF on March 14, 2008.]

                Here's the Keltner List for the second of the three pitchers.

                Case to Consider: QUISENBERRY, Dan

                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?

                This question isn’t that relevant for relievers.

                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 relief pitchers in win shares each year from 1982 to 1985. He led all major league pitchers in win shares in 1984, and was second among AL pitchers in 1982 and 1984. He won the Rolaids Relief Award five times.

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

                Yes. During the 1980-1985 era, the Royals won the division three times, and finished 3 games out of first place one other time.

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

                For a few years. He still pitched in a number of games between ages 33 and 36, but he was more of a middle reliever/mop-up guy than the team's fireman then.

                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?

                Due to the lack of relievers in Cooperstown, going through similarity scores would not be worth the trouble.

                Career win shares, RP: Bruce Sutter 168, Sparky Lyle 161, Kent Tekulve 159, Tug McGraw 158, QUISENBERRY 157, Mike Marshall 146. This is not BBFHOF territory.

                The peak measures for all pitchers have been adjusted for strike-shortened seasons.

                Best three seasons, RP: QUISENBERRY 85, Bruce Sutter 72, Goose Gossage 69. Quisenberry is the leader in this category among retired pitchers.

                Best five consecutive seasons, RP: QUISENBERRY 113, Bruce Sutter 102, Goose Gossage 93. Quisenberry is the retired leader in this category among RPs as well.

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

                There’s no definite HOF Standards for relievers because there are few in Cooperstown. However, Quisenberry did lead the league in saves five times.

                Quisenberry has not been inducted into 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?

                No.

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

                He may be the best RP outside the BBFHOF. If you go entirely by peak, Quisenberry is the best RP eligible, inducted or not.

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

                Quisenberry finished third in the 1984 MVP voting, and finished in the top ten four times overall. He never won a Cy Young award, but finished second twice and third two other years.

                Quisenberry led all AL pitchers in win shares in 1983. He finished second among AL pitchers, and first among relievers, in 1982 and 1984.

                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?

                Quisenberry was named to three All-Star teams, which is low for a pitcher. However, he finished among the top two relievers in the league in win shares five times. Five All-Star-type seasons is borderline 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?

                I don’t know how relevant this question is for relievers.

                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: Quisenberry’s career was relatively short, but he arguably had the best peak of any reliever in history. That peak puts him on my queue for the BBFHOF.
                Last edited by AG2004; 04-20-2008, 09:20 AM.

                Comment


                • #38
                  Bruce Sutter

                  [NOTE: Originally posted on December 6, 2006. Sutter was elected into the BBFHOF on February 22, 2008.]

                  Now, the final of the three Keltner Lists.

                  Case to Consider: SUTTER, Bruce

                  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?

                  I’m not sure how well this question works with relief pitchers.

                  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 NL pitchers in win shares in 1977 and 1984, and led MLB relief pitchers in win shares in 1977. He also led NL relief pitchers in win shares in 1979 and 1984. Sutter also won four Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Awards.

                  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?

                  No.

                  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?

                  Due to the paucity of relievers in Cooperstown, I won’t use similarity scores for relief pitchers. The peak lists are adjusted for strike-shortened seasons.

                  Career Win Shares, RP: Rollie Fingers 188, SUTTER 168, Sparky Lyle 161, Kent Tekulve 159, Tug McGraw 158, Dan Quisenberry 157.

                  Top three seasons, RP: Dan Quisenberry 85, SUTTER 72, Goose Gossage 69, Mike Marshall 68, John Hiller 68, Hoyt Wilhelm 63.

                  Top five consecutive seasons, RP: Dan Quisenberry 113, SUTTER 102, Goose Gossage 93, John Hiller 89, Hoyt Wilhelm 85, Mike Marshall 83, Lee Smith 83.

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

                  We don’t really have standards for relief pitchers. Sutter led his league in saves five times, though.

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


                  No.

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

                  He might be the best relief pitcher eligible 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 fifth in the 1982 MVP voting, and finished in the top ten five times overall. He won the Cy Young Award in 1981, and was third two other times. He led all NL pitchers in win shares twice.

                  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?

                  Sutter played in six All-Star games, which is good for a pitcher. He was among the NL’s top three relievers four times overall.

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

                  I don’t know how well this question applies to relief pitchers.

                  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?

                  Sutter is considered to have perfected the split-fingered fastball.

                  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: Sutter looks like he falls into the gray area. His peak is good – in the win share measures, it’s second overall - but it isn’t that far ahead of the pack, and his career is short. However, when a player falls on the fence otherwise, his introduction of a special innovation can bump him onto my queue. The split-fingered fastball is the creation that tilts my decision in Sutter’s favor. He’s on my queue for the BBFHOF.
                  Last edited by AG2004; 03-31-2008, 10:07 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Chuck Klein

                    [NOTE: Originally posted on December 13, 2006.]

                    Chuck Klein has been getting solid support for the BBFHOF in the past few elections, but he's not been on my ballot. Thus, I decided to make a Keltner List to see if I was missing something.

                    I was missing something. Klein isn't even as good as I thought he was.

                    Case to Consider: KLEIN, Chuck

                    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?

                    Some people might have. He won an MVP award in 1932, and was second in 1931 and 1933 (the second-place finishes were in years when the Phillies finished over 30 games out of first place).

                    2. Was he the best player on his team?

                    Each year from 1930 to 1933, he led the Philadelphia Phillies in win shares. Of course, in three of those seasons, the Phillies were at least 30 games out of first place.

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

                    He was never the best right fielder in baseball; he was never the best RF in the National League. 1933, when he finished third in win shares among MLB outfielders, was the only season when he finished among the top three National League OF in win shares.

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

                    No. During his peak seasons, the Phillies needed a telescope to see first place. He was a member of the Cubs when they won the pennant in 1935, but he had only 17 win shares that year.

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

                    No. 1936, when he was 31, was the last year Klein played in at least 130 games.

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

                    He is not the best player outside the BBFHOF.

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

                    By similarity scores: Earl Averill, Bob Johnson, Moises Alou, Vladimir Guerrero, Dick Allen, Ellis Burks, Johnny Mize, Del Ennis, Dante Bichette, Reggie Smith. Two are in Cooperstown; three are in the BBFHOF.

                    Career Win Shares, RF: Pedro Guerrero 246, Tony Oliva 245, Johnny Callison 241, Felipe Alou 241, Wildfire Schulte 239, KLEIN 238, George Hendrick 237, Wally Moses 237, Babe Herman 232, Roger Maris 224, Harvey Kuenn 223, Bill Nicholson 223. These aren’t Hall of Famers.

                    Peak three seasons, 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, KLEIN 89, Ross Youngs 89, Fielder Jones 88, Dixie Walker 88, Dwight Evans 86, Reggie Smith 84, Babe Herman 84, Andre Dawson 83, Roy Cullenbine 83, Jeff Burroughs 83. Except for Dawson (who lost a lot of win shares in 1981 due to the strike), Klein is below the cutoff line.

                    Best five consecutive seasons, RF: Bobby Bonds 149, Reggie Jackson 148, Bobby Murcer 146, Roberto Clemente 146, Rusty Staub 145, Gavy Cravath 144, Enos Slaughter 141, KLEIN 140, Johnny Callison 136, Fielder Jones 135, Roger Maris 135, Tony Oliva 134, Pedro Guerrero 134, Rocky Colavito 133, Dixie Walker 133, Darryl Strawberry 133, Dave Winfield 132, Andre Dawson 132, Ross Youngs 132, Babe Herman 131, Bill Nicholson 131. Klein is in the gray area here.

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

                    Klein’s Black Ink total of 60 is good for 16th overall; that’s a very good sign. His Gray Ink total of 166 is number 64 all-time. He’s 84th in HOF Standards, at 48.0. Those are all very good signs.

                    Klein 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?

                    Klein’s peak came in the heart of a hitter’s era, and his home field at that point was one of the best hitter’s parks in baseball. Both inflate his raw numbers. Klein had a BA/HR/RBI per 154 games of .397/44/158 in his 578 games in the Baker Bowl, and a BA/HR/RBI per 154 games of .277/18/80 in his 1175 games at all other parks.

                    Klein seems to have been tailor-made for the Baker Bowl. Every point of his Black Ink came at the Baker Bowl; none came in Shibe Park or even Wrigley Field. 132 of his gray ink points came at the Baker Bowl in 1933 or earlier; only 34 came after he moved to Wrigley Field.

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

                    He is not the best RF outside the BBFHOF. There are a bunch of better right fielders 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?

                    Klein won the NL MVP in 1932, and finished second in 1931 and 1933. Those were his only top ten appearances. Klein had two seasons 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?

                    Klein played in only 2 All-Star games, but the game did not start until the last year of his five-year peak. Klein’s 5 seasons with 20+ win shares is very low for a Hall of Famer. All of those All-Star-type seasons came in his five full seasons at the Baker Bowl; none came after his move to Wrigley.

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

                    I suppose that the team could, but only if it called the Baker Bowl home.

                    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?

                    Klein won a Triple Crown in 1933. Also, his 44 assists in 1930 are the major-league record for most assists by a single season by a right fielder.

                    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: Remove Klein from the Baker Bowl, and he doesn’t look too good anymore. During his years with the Cubs, he was merely an average player – and that’s despite playing in Wrigley. Klein does not deserve induction into the BBFHOF.
                    Last edited by AG2004; 01-02-2008, 04:51 PM. Reason: Updated standings for ink marks

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Heinie Manush

                      [NOTE: Originally posted on December 13, 2006. Updated January 8, 2008.]

                      I jumped across the outfield to make a Keltner List for a left fielder who was a contemporary of Klein's. Here's my list for Heinie Manush, who doesn't look like a BBFHOF member, either.

                      Case to Consider: MANUSH, Heinie

                      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.

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

                      By win shares, he was the best LF in the American League in 1928, 1932, and 1933. In 1928, he led all major league LF in win shares, and was second among major league OF.

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

                      He had some impact in 1933, with 27 WS as Washington won by 7 games; but otherwise, no.

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

                      For a handful 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, the closest players to Manush are Kiki Cuyler, George Sisler, Zack Wheat, Joe Medwick, Jimmy Ryan, Edd Roush, Ed Delahanty, Pie Traynor, Harry Heilmann, and Enos Slaughter. Nine are in Cooperstown, and eight are in the BBFHOF. However, only 3B Pie Traynor has a lower OPS+ than Manush. All the OF and 1B have a higher lifetime OPS+ than Manush.

                      Career WS, LF: Brian Downing 298, Frank Howard 297, George J. Burns 290, Bob Johnson 287, MANUSH 285, Minnie Minoso 282, Jim Rice 282, George Foster 269, Bobby Veach 265, Roy White 263. Manush doesn’t look like a HOFer by this measure.

                      Top 3 seasons, LF: Zack Wheat 95, Augie Galan 94, Goose Goslin 93, Bobby Veach 93, Jim Rice 92, George Stone 92, Lou Brock 91, Fred Clarke 90, Minnie Minoso 90, MANUSH 90, George Foster 87, Jose Cruz 86, Bob Johnson 86, Topsy Harsel 86, Ken Williams 86, Greg Luzinski 85. Manush is at the low end of the gray area.

                      Top 5 consecutive seasons, LF: Lou Brock 134, Minnie Minoso 133, Fred Clarke 133, George Foster 132, Augie Galan 130, George Stone 129, Zack Wheat 128, MANUSH 128, Jimmy Sheckard 127, Jim Rice 127, Topsy Harsel 124, Ken Williams 124, Jose Cruz 124, Lefty O’Doul 122, Tom Tresh 122. Manush is low here as well; the totals for Clarke and Sheckard would be boosted by schedule length adjustments.


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

                      His black ink score of 15 is 149th, and hence borderline, but his gray ink score of 142 is a solid 108th. His HOF Standards score of 46.0 places him at 94th overall.
                      He is in Cooperstown, but not the Hall of Merit.

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

                      Manush played during a high-offense era. Also, his secondary average of .230 is low for an OF.

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

                      No.

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

                      He finished second in 1928, but neither Gehrig nor Ruth were eligible that year under league rules. He finished third in 1932 and 1933. However, he had only one season with 30+ win shares.

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

                      The All-Star Game started when Manush was 31. However, he had seven seasons with 20+ win shares, which is a little 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?

                      No. If you take any five-year stretch of his career, you would have, at most, only two seasons with 25+ win shares. He was inconsistent, to say the least.

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

                      In 1933, he became the first player ejected from a World Series game when he grabbed umpire Charley Moran’s bow tie and let the elastic band it was attached to snap back to his neck.

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

                      See the answer to question number 14.

                      CONCLUSION: There are many players from the 1920s and 1930s who were inducted into Cooperstown, even though they didn’t deserve it. Manush is one of those undeserving ones. He shouldn’t be inducted into the BBFHOF.
                      Last edited by AG2004; 01-08-2008, 10:33 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Roger Bresnahan

                        [NOTE: Originally posted on December 13, 2006.]

                        For my last Keltner List of the evening, I'm presenting an overview of another player who has been mentioned as one of Cooperstown's mistakes by several people. However, after I made this list for Roger Bresnahan, I am convinced that Bresnahan's induction was no mistake at all.

                        We should remember that, during Bresnahan's era, many teams had two regular catchers, and there were years when no major league catcher played enough games to record 20 win shares. Thus, for deadball-era catchers, finishing in the top two in the league in win shares is considered an All-Star-type season.

                        Case to Consider: BRESNAHAN, Roger

                        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. Mathewson was considered the star of the Giants clubs. Bresnahan led his team’s position players in win shares just once, in 1903 – when he played the outfield.

                        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 catchers in win shares in 1905, 1906, and 1908, and was second (by one win share) only to Johnny Kling in 1907. He was the best major league catcher in his decade. Also, he was among the top three NL outfielders in win shares in 1903.

                        Baseball Magazine started naming its All-American teams in 1908. Bresnahan made the teams in 1908 and 1911, and made the all-National League team in 1909.

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

                        No, mainly because the Giants ran away with the pennant during those years that they did win it. However, Bresnahan was easily MLB’s best catcher in 1908, when the Giants finished one game back.

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

                        He lasted until the age of 36, which is good for a pre-1920 catcher.

                        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: Lyn Lary, Jack Rowe, Billy Rogell, Heinie Peitz, Chief Zimmer, Kid Elberfeld, Art Fletcher, Ray Chapman, Bucky Harris, Neifi Perez. None are in the BBFHOF. However, Bresnahan’s lifetime OPS+ was 126; nobody on the similarity score list had an OPS+ above 115. So this list really isn’t that helpful.

                        By career WS, C: Lance Parrish 248, Wally Schang 245, Buck Ewing 241, BRESNAHAN 231, Gene Tenace 231, Ernie Lombardi 218. This isn’t usually HOF territory, but Bresnahan is among the top pre-1920 catchers; Schang leads deadball-era catchers at 245 win shares.

                        By best three seasons: Elston Howard 89, Bill Dickey 87, Ted Simmons 86, BRESNAHAN 83, Gene Tenace 83, Gabby Hartnett 80, Ernie Lombardi 79. Among deadball catchers, Johnny Kling had 65, Ray Schalk 63, Chief Meyers 62, Steve O’Neill 59, and Wally Schang 59. (Two of Bresnahan’s top three seasons came as a catcher.)

                        By five consecutive seasons: Elston Howard 119, BRESNAHAN 116, Gabby Hartnett 114, Thurman Munson 111, Mickey Tettleton 111. Among deadball catchers, Chief Meyers had 94, Steve O’Neill 88, Ray Schalk 84, Duke Farrell 82, Johnny Bassler 81, Johnny Kling 81, and Wally Schang 77. (Bresnahan’s five-year peak came from 1904 to 1908; he was a catcher in four of those five seasons.)

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

                        Bresnahan had a black ink total of 2, and a gray ink total of 45. However, a typical HOF catcher has a total of at least 50 when the ink scores are added together. Bresnahan’s HOF Standards score of 29.0 is still very low.

                        Bresnahan is in Cooperstown and the BBF Timeline HOF, but 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?

                        Bresnahan played during the deadball era, and that lowered his raw numbers. All deadball-era catchers had trouble collecting ink and raw numbers due to the relatively low number of games people could catch then.

                        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 catcher 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 voting during Bresnahan’s prime. He had one season with 30+ win shares, in 1903 (27 WS in 140 games, but I adjust post-1890 seasons to 154 games). Catchers in his era usually didn’t play enough games to reach 30 win shares, but he did gain 29 in 1906 and 27 in 1908.

                        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?

                        Bresnahan had four seasons of 20+ win shares, and three more seasons when he was among the top two catchers in the NL in win shares, giving him seven All-Star type seasons in all.

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

                        During his peak years, his 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?

                        During the 1907 and 1908 seasons, Bresnahan introduced two new pieces of catchers’ equipment: shin guards and a padded face mask. He also experimented with a batting helmet in 1909, following a beaning.

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

                        Bresnahan was widely known for getting into fights and being suspended by umpires.

                        CONCLUSION: Bresnahan was easily the major leagues’ premier catcher during the deadball era. He was second only to Santop among deadball catchers overall, and Santop reached his peak during the 1910s. Combine that with Bresnahan’s introduction of new equipment, which permitted future catchers to play longer than ever before, and Bresnahan should be in the BBFHOF.
                        Last edited by AG2004; 07-03-2007, 06:35 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Addie Joss

                          [NOTE: Originally posted on December 21, 2006.]

                          I have come to discuss the profiles of two pitchers with short careers. One of them has received votes on over 50% of this month's ballots, but has yet to receive one from mine. I refer, of course, to Addie Joss.

                          Here's a Keltner List for him.

                          Case to Consider: JOSS, Addie

                          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 Cleveland’s pitchers in win shares in 1903, 1905, 1907, and 1908.

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

                          He never led AL pitchers in win shares, although he finished second in 1908. He was third among major league pitchers in win shares that season, but that was his only year among the top six in win shares among MLB pitchers.

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

                          He had 35 win shares in 1908, when Cleveland lost the pennant by half a game, and pitched a perfect game in the heat of the pennant race. Otherwise, Cleveland wasn’t close to winning the pennant during Joss’ career.

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

                          For Joss, this question is not relevant. He died of meningitis at the age of 31, so we don’t know what his decline would have been like had he lived.

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

                          No.

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

                          By similarity scores: John Ward, Larry Corcoran, Deacon Phillippe, Jeff Pfeffer, Noodles Hahn, Hooks Wiltse, Dizzy Dean, Jack Coombs, Candy Cummings, and Fred Toney. Three of the ten are in Cooperstown, but Ward also had a career as a shortstop, and Cummings is in as inventor of the curveball. However, Joss’ lifetime ERA+ of 141 is the best of the bunch; nobody else has one higher than 131. Similarity scores don’t help us here.

                          Career win shares, contemporary P: Sam Leever 212, Jack Chesbro 209, Deacon Philippe 206, Wild Bill Donovan 202, Bill Dineen 200, JOSS 191, Jack Taylor 183. Chesbro is the only one in Cooperstown, and he’s considered one of the Hall’s mistakes. Otherwise, these aren’t Hall of Famers.

                          Best three seasons, contemporary P: Vic Willis 101, Clark Griffith 94, Eddie Plank 89, Jack Powell 89, JOSS 88, Jack Taylor 85, Bill Dineen 81, Babe Adams 81, George Mullin 80. This isn’t BBFHOF territory, either.

                          Best five consecutive seasons: Vic Willis 138, Bill Dineen 134, Eddie Plank 133, JOSS 131, Jack Taylor 124. This isn’t the best company for Joss, as he’s just below the cutoff line.

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

                          His Black Ink score of 19 is only 99th, and his Gray Ink score of 143 is just 102nd. Those are not good marks. However, he does place a decent 42nd in HOF Standards, at 47.0.

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

                          Joss pitched in the deadball era, which makes his raw numbers look better. Also, he had no decline phase to lower his career numbers.

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

                          No. There are many other pitchers better than Joss who aren’t in the BBFHOF. There are pitchers better than Joss who haven’t even received votes in the BBFHOF elections.

                          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 Joss’ career. He finished second in win shares among AL pitchers in 1908, however.

                          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 Joss’ era. Baseball Magazine started naming its all-league and all-American teams in 1908. Joss was one of the five pitchers on its all-AL team that season, but failed to make the all-American team that year.

                          Joss had only two seasons in which he was among the top five AL pitchers in win shares. He was sixth one other year, and seventh two other times. But three or four All-Star-type seasons is very low for a pitcher.

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

                          I don’t know. Joss had only two seasons when he was among the top five pitchers in the AL in win shares. However, those were the only seasons when he was among the top ten in the AL in IP and games started. I don’t know why he wasn’t used as often as other leading pitchers in the league.

                          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 pitched a perfect game in 1908. He’s also known as the player Cooperstown waived its ten-year requirement for.

                          Joss has the best WHIP of any major league pitcher in history, and the second best ERA of any pitcher. He’s twelfth in adjusted ERA+ among major league pitchers.

                          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: A player with a career as short as Joss’ needs a huge peak in order to deserve induction into the BBFHOF. Joss had very good rate stats, but suffers in the win shares measures because he usually didn’t pitch as many times per season as his contemporaries. As he doesn’t come close to having the best peak among pitchers of the twentieth century’s first decade - he didn't make Baseball Magazine's list of top five pitchers in 1908, his best season - Joss does not deserve induction into the BBFHOF.

                          If someone can produce a very good explanation about why he wasn't used that often, I might be persuaded to change my mind about Joss. I did this in the case of Don Sutton's peak - the Dodgers went with a five-man rotation just as Sutton reached his peak, while other teams continued using a four-man rotation. But I don't see how such an explanation could make Joss' peak comparable to, say, that of Christy Mathewson.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Nip Winters

                            [NOTE: Originally posted on December 21, 2006.]

                            I don't recall having seen Nip Winters on a BBFHOF ballot, but he's a very interesting case. He's a Negro League pitcher of the 1920s whose career is primarily his peak. However, according to Chris Cobb's analysis, that peak was a gigantic one.

                            This is one player for whom I'd like to see more statistical analysis in order to get a better grasp on how good he actually was at his peak.

                            More information on Winters is available at:

                            http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/...on/nip_winters

                            This is my Keltner List.

                            Case to Consider: WINTERS, Nip

                            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 the best pitcher on the Hilldale roster during his peak.

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

                            According to Chris Cobb’s projections, he would have led all MLB pitchers in win shares in 1924, 1926, and 1927, and would have led all AL pitchers in 1923 as well.

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

                            He was the top pitcher for Hilldale when they won the Eastern Colored League in 1924 and 1925. He went 4-1 overall in the Negro World Series, including a 3-1 mark with a 1.16 ERA in 1924.

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

                            No. Most of his career is his peak, and he didn’t do much after it ended.

                            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?

                            Chris Cobb credits Winters with 196 career win shares, while “Brent” credits him with 163. That’s low; the closest figures among contemporary pitchers in Bill James’ top 100 are Urban Shocker (225) and Eddie Rommel (209). However, Cobb’s projection compares well to Dizzy Dean (181).

                            For the peak measures, I’ll list Cobb’s projection as WINTERS-C and Brent’s projection as WINTERS-B.

                            Best three seasons, contemporary P: WINTERS-C 118, Lefty Grove 108, WINTERS-B 98, Wes Ferrell 95, Red Faber 93, Carl Mays 92, Burleigh Grimes 91. Grove and Farrell are in the BBFHOF, and Winters is in the company of solid candidates.

                            Best five consecutive seasons: Lefty Grove 167, WINTERS-C 165, Carl Mays 140, WINTERS-B 140, Wes Ferrell 129. Winters is second among his era’s pitchers.

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

                            I don’t have enough information to answer this question.

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

                            I don’t know.

                            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?

                            According to both Cobb and Brent, Winters would have led AL pitchers in win shares four times. He would have also finished in the top two among NL pitchers in win shares four times. However, Cobb credits him with having been able to lead all NL pitchers three times; Brent credits him with just two seasons in which he would have led all NL 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?

                            Holway credits Winters with six All-Star seasons in the Negro Leagues. However, according to the projections of Cobb and Brent, Winters would have had only four seasons when he would have been among the top five pitchers in one of the major leagues. That’s 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?

                            If he were a team’s best pitcher, it would be likely that, during his peak, that 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?

                            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?

                            Winters was known for his battles with the bottle, and that ended his career prematurely.

                            CONCLUSION: Winters is a tough case. His peak certainly is wonderful. However, his career is primarily the peak.

                            There are eight pitchers who have led the major leagues in win shares three or more times during a period of five consecutive years: Hoss Radbourn, Walter Johnson, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Lefty Grove, Robin Roberts, Sandy Koufax, Roger Clemens, and Greg Maddux. If we go by Cobb’s projections, Nip Winters would have joined this group had he been permitted to play in the majors. This would make Winters comparable to Koufax – and superior to Dizzy Dean, who is also in the BBFHOF. Also, Winters would bear the same relation to Grove as Koufax does to Bob Gibson: comparable peaks, but much shorter careers. Thus, Winters would be worthy of membership in the BBFHOF.

                            However, if we go by Brent’s projections, then Winters’ peak doesn’t look quite as impressive. Also, he would fall behind contemporaries with similar peaks and longer careers; he no longer has the peak of a Lefty Grove or a Sandy Koufax.

                            This is one case where we could benefit from better analysis of the available data. If it turns out that Cobb’s projections for Winters were good, then Winters would belong in the BBFHOF. Otherwise, he might slip to "maybe" or even to "no."

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Luis Tiant

                              [NOTE: Originally posted on November 29, 2006, on a thread dealing with Tiant alone.]

                              After making a Keltner List for Tiant, I just don't see him as a Hall of Famer.

                              Case to Consider: TIANT, 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?

                              He was Cleveland’s best pitcher in 1967 and 1968, and Boston’s best in 1972, 1974, and 1976, according to 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 never led AL pitchers in win shares, but he was second among major leaguer pitchers in 1974 and third in 1968.

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

                              Some. He had 19 win shares in 1972, but Boston lost the division by half a game. He also won the final scheduled regular-season game in 1978, setting up the playoff against the Yankees. Finally, he pitched a complete-game win against Oakland in the 1975 ALCS, and didn’t give up an earned run (Oakland’s sole run came due to two errors).

                              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: Catfish Hunter, Jim Bunning, Billy Pierce, Vida Blue, Mickey Lolich, Don Drysdale, Jim Perry, Kevin Brown, Hooks Dauss, Orel Hershiser. Three are in Cooperstown; two are in the BBFHOF.

                              Career win shares, contemporary pitchers: Jim Kaat 268, Juan Marichal 263, TIANT 256. Tiant is on the low side.

                              Win shares, peak three seasons: Tom Seaver 88, Jim Palmer 88, Phil Niekro 86, Catfish Hunter 80, TIANT 79, Vida Blue 77, Mickey Lolich 75, Bert Blyleven 75, Nolan Ryan 74, Jim Kaat 70, Don Sutton 69. Tiant is around the cut-off line.

                              Best five consecutive seasons: Phil Niekro 118, Catfish Hunter 117, Bert Blyleven 114, Steve Carlton 111, Mickey Lolich 111, TIANT 108, Nolan Ryan 102, Don Sutton 99. Again, Tiant is in the cut-off area, but he’s a little on the low side this time.

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

                              Tiant’s black ink score of 13 is 162nd overall. That’s not very good. He’s 164th in gray ink at 115 points, which is even worse. However, his HOF Standards score of 41.0, which puts him at number 66 on that list, is borderline.

                              Tiant 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?

                              Not really. Fenway Park was a hitter’s park; however, he started in Cleveland during the 1960s, a pitcher’s era.

                              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?

                              Tiant was fifth in the 1968 MVP voting. He finished fourth in the Cy Young voting in 1974, and fifth in 1976. He finished second among AL pitchers in win shares twice.

                              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?

                              Tiant was in three All-Star games, which is low for a pitcher. Tiant was among the AL’s top five pitchers in win shares just three times, and was in a tie for seventh two other years. However, five All-Star-type seasons would still be low for a pitcher.

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

                              I doubt that a team could win a pennant if Tiant was its best pitcher; he was just too inconsistent.

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

                              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: Tiant does not belong in the Hall of Fame.
                              Last edited by AG2004; 01-08-2008, 05:24 PM.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Graig Nettles

                                [NOTE: Originally posted on November 22, 2006, in a Nettles vs. Darrell Evans thread. Updated July 18, 2008.]

                                I came up with Keltner Lists for both Nettles and Evans.

                                I'll start by posting the list for Nettles, since his name came up first when I pulled them out of a hat.

                                [NOTE: When I first made the list, I had not yet taken into account the effect of the DH on win shares for 3B/SS/2B. Taking this into account led me to change my conclusion.]

                                Case to Consider: NETTLES, Graig

                                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 all Yankee position players in win shares in 1976 and 1978, both years in which they won the pennant.

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

                                Although he was second in American League 3B in win shares in five different seasons, he was never the leader among AL 3B. Thus, the answer is no. [July 18, 2008 - some of those second-place finishes were to George Brett. There's a difference between finishing second only to George Brett and finishing second to Joe Sometimesgood.]

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

                                Nettles played at an All-Star level when the Yankees narrowly won division races in 1977 and 1978, and he was MVP of the 1981 ALCS. So he did have some impact.

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

                                Yes; he was a regular into his early 40s.

                                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: Darrell Evans, Gary Gaetti, Ron Santo, Dale Murphy, Carlton Fisk, Brian Downing, Johnny Bench, Gary Carter, Ron Cey, and Don Baylor, Chili Davis, Joe Carter, Robin Ventura. Three are in Cooperstown, and five are in the BBFHOF. However, Nettles' career OPS+ of 110 is next to last in this group; only Gaetti's 97 is lower.

                                By career win shares, 3B: Brooks Robinson 355, Tommy Leach 329, NETTLES 322, Ron Santo 322, Stan Hack 318, Home Run Baker 301. This is HOF territory.

                                By best three seasons: Tommy Leach 87, Darrell Evans 87, Ken Boyer 86, Brooks Robinson 85, Robin Ventura 85, Art Devlin 85, Toby Harrah 84, Bob Elliott 83, Bill Bradley 83, Freddy Lindstrom 82, NETTLES 81, Larry Gardner 80, Pie Traynor 80, Ron Cey 80, Whitey Kurowski 79, Eddie Yost 78, Harry Steinfeldt 78, Tim Wallach 76, Bill Madlock 76. Nettles is below the cut-off level.

                                By five consecutive seasons: Art Devlin 130, Jimmy Collins 129, Ron Cey 126, Bob Elliott 124, Ken Caminiti 124, Bill Bradley 124, Eddie Yost 123, Tommy Leach 122, NETTLES 121, Pie Traynor 119, Whitey Kurowski 119, Toby Harrah 118, Red Rolfe 118, Darrell Evans 117, Freddy Lindstrom 116. If it weren’t for Traynor, Nettles would be far below the gray area; however, there are some long-career players in this area who have crossed the 50% threshhold in the latest BBFHOF election.

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

                                His black ink score of 4 and his gray ink score of 56 are both out of the top 400, and are low even for third basemen. His HOF Standards score of 30.8 is also out of the top 250. Although Nettles won 2 Gold Gloves, he earned seven Win Shares Gold Gloves.

                                Nettles is not in Cooperstown. While he is in the HOM, it took him several years to get in, and he was elected with just 25% of all possible points.

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

                                Nettles was a great defensive player, and this isn’t reflected in his offensive totals. Also, playing in a DH league reduces his peak win share totals. If we adjust for the DH, Nettles' three best seasons would put him in the gray area, and his five-year peak would also be a gray-area mark.

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

                                I would rate Sal Bando, Darrell Evans, and Ezra Sutton ahead of Nettles.

                                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 fifth in the 1977 vote, and sixth in 1978. However, Nettles never had a season with 30+ win shares; his single-season high was 28. That’s not a good sign. On the other hand, because the DH lowers win shares for position players, he might have had a 30-win-share season with the same level of performance in the NL.

                                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?

                                Nettles played in six All-Star games, which is low for a position player. He had seven seasons with 20+ win shares, which is also a little low. However, he had one more season with 19 win shares. As the win shares system slightly underestimates the value of top defensive players (Nettles was one at third), and it came in a league with a DH, I'll give Nettles credit for it. That would put him at eight All-Star-type seasons, which is the general cutoff 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?

                                During his peak years, it might. Nettles' team did win three straight pennants during his peak, but they also had four other position players at All-Star-levels, and such a concentration of talent is not typical of most teams. [Note: Once I took the DH into account, I changed my answer to 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?

                                None 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?

                                On September 7, 1974, he was caught using an illegal bat.

                                CONCLUSION: The main points in favor of Nettles are his career length and his defense. But he never had the MVP-type season, and he was never the league’s best third baseman. In the end, I would say that the career length and the defense just aren’t enough.

                                [July 18, 2008: The DH rule may have denied Nettles that MVP-type season. Taking its effects into account would raise Nettles' peak to a gray area. Since his career value is in HOF territory, Nettles goes on my ballot. Not adjusting for the DH would be unfair to Nettles when we compare him to other 3B. Since he was rarely a DH, it didn't boost his career value; the rule merely reduced his peak value.]
                                Last edited by AG2004; 07-18-2008, 08:54 AM. Reason: Accounting for the DH

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