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AG2004's Keltner Lists

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  • #61
    Side Issue regarding Jimmy Wynn

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

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


    Originally posted by jalbright

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

    . . . .

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

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

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

    ------

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

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

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

    -----

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

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

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

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

    -----

    Retrosheet gives the following splits for Wynn.

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

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

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

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

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

    I have to conclude the following points.

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

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

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

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

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

    Comment


    • #62
      Jimmy Wynn

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Case to Consider: WYNN, Jimmy

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

      No.

      2. Was he the best player on his team?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      For a few years, yes, but his last full season was at 34.

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

      No.

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

      By similarity scores: Ron Gant, Tom Brunansky, Bobby Murcer, Reggie Sanders, Brady Anderson, Rick Monday, Frank Thomas (1951-1966), Sal Bando, Larry Parrish, and Sal Bando. None of the ten are in either Cooperstown or the BBFHOF. However, as Wynn’s lifetime OPS+ of 128 is higher than that of any of the ten players of the list, the similarity score list isn’t that helpful.

      By career WS, CF: Willie Davis 322, Vada Pinson 321, Edd Roush 314, WYNN 305, Al Oliver 305, Cesar Cedeno 296, Dale Murphy 294, Amos Otis 286, Kirby Puckett 281, Earl Averill 280. This is mixed territory, with some BBFHOF members, some vote-getters, and some who haven’t received votes at all.

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

      In his best five consecutive seasons (1965-1969), Wynn earned 141 win shares. However, his wife stabbed him in December 1970, and he hadn’t recovered for the 1971 season; he earned just 7 win shares that year. If you throw out 1971 in determining Wynn’s peak – and the fact that he was a victim of a near-fatal stabbing could justify throwing out that year – then his peak total (1967-1970 and 1972) would be 151 win shares. This peak will be marked as WYNN*.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Not that I know of.

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

      In general, yes.

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

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

      There’s a huge difference between what sabermetrics says about Wynn and what contemporaries said about him. As noted above, Wynn is exactly the type of player who gets underrated by contemporary observers. He led all of baseball in win shares at his position five times in eight years, recording four MVP-type seasons during that span, but his colleagues weren’t able to see Wynn’s accomplishments because they didn’t fit the mold of what they considered a great player. I’m going with sabermetrics and the Hall of Merit in this case. Wynn makes my queue for the BBFHOF.
      Last edited by AG2004; 04-22-2008, 11:04 AM.

      Comment


      • #63
        Luis Aparicio

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

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

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

        Case to Consider: APARICIO, Luis

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

        No.

        2. Was he the best player on his team?

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

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

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

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

        The White Sox won the pennant by 5 games in 1959; the Orioles by 9 games in 1966. Given Aparicio’s win share totals, I don’t think he had that much of an impact on either race.

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

        Yes. He lasted until he was 39.

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

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

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

        By similarity scores, the most similar players are Ozzie Smith, Rabbit Maranville, Omar Vizquel, Bert Campanaris, Dave Concepcion, Nellie Fox, Bill Dahlen, Pee Wee Reese, Red Schoendienst, and Tony Fernandez. Five are in Cooperstown, and three are in the BBFHOF. However, Aparicio’s 82 OPS+ is lower than that of nine of the players, and he is tied with Maranville for the worst OPS+ of the bunch, so this test isn’t that helpful.

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

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

        By win shares, best five seasons: Roy Smalley Jr. 96, Al Bridwell 96, Marty Marion 95, Rick Burleson 94, Denis Menke 94, Frankie Crosetti 93, Chris Speier 93, Granny Hamner 92, Buck Weaver 92, APARICIO 92, Glenn Wright 92, Leo Cardenas 91, Ron Hansen 91, Red Kress 90, Jack Barry 89. This isn’t HOF territory, either. Travis Jackson had 109, and Maranville 110.

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

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

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

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

        Aparicio is in Cooperstown. However, he is not in the Hall of Merit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        No. Look at how those White Sox teams did from 1968-1970. Teams have won pennants without superstars, but they were full of All-Star-caliber players. Teams don’t even contend for pennants when they don’t have any position players who play at an All-Star level. Aparicio didn’t reach that mark very often, and, when he did reach it, he exceeded it by 2 win shares at most.

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

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

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

        Yes.

        CONCLUSION: Aparicio’s overall profile isn’t that good. He was a decent player for a long time, but his contemporaries greatly overrated him because they (a) didn’t pay that much attention to OBP and (b) overestimated the overall value of a shortstop’s defense, both in general and Aparicio’s in particular. Without those distortions, two of Aparicio’s positives would vanish.

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

        Someone like Aparicio, who was generally worth 18 to 20 win shares a year for a long time, never achieved greatness. Sabermetrics tells me that Aparicio isn’t even close to deserving the honor the BBWAA gave him in 1984, and there’s no way the evaluation of his contemporaries can bridge a gap that wide. I don’t see Aparicio as worthy of the BBFHOF.
        Last edited by AG2004; 11-12-2007, 12:24 PM.

        Comment


        • #64
          Burleigh Grimes

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

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

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

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

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

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

          -----

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

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


          Case to Consider: GRIMES, Burleigh

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

          No.

          2. Was he the best player on his team?

          By win shares, he led Brooklyn’s pitchers in 1918, 1920, 1921, and 1923, the Giants’ pitchers in 1927, and Pittsburgh’s pitchers in 1928 and 1929.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          No.

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

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

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

          Career win shares, contemporary pitchers: Eppa Rixey 315, Red Faber 292, GRIMES 286, Wilbur Cooper 266. These aren’t BBFHOF members, but Grimes is ahead of Coveleski and Vance, who are in the BBFHOF.

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

          Top five consecutive seasons: Wilbur Cooper 133, Hippo Vaughn 128, Urban Shocker 128, Dazzy Vance 124, GRIMES 122, Dolf Luque 121, Red Faber 118, Eppa Rixey 118, Red Ruffing 116. This isn’t quite BBFHOF territory, but Grimes is still ahead of Coveleski and Lyons.

          Overall, the responses to this question don’t provide overwhelming evidence one way for the other.

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

          His black ink total of 38 is 38th all-time, just two points below the average for pitchers in Cooperstown. His gray ink total of 213 places him at number 32 on the all-time list, and is above the average score of 185 for Cooperstown’s pitchers. Both are very good signs. However, his HOF Standards score of 38.0 is only 78th among pitchers, which isn’t a good sign.

          Grimes is in Cooperstown. However, he is not in the Hall of Merit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          The All-Star game came along at the very end of Grimes’ career. However, he was among the top three NL pitchers in win shares in six different seasons, and was tied for fifth in an additional season. Seven All-Star-type seasons is a good sign for a pitcher.

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

          At his best, yes. He had four such years in the span 1920-1924, but was too inconsistent otherwise.

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

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

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

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

          CONCLUSION: Grimes’ ERA+ of 107 is very poor for a Hall of Famer. But 107 is an average, and Grimes had a tendency to mix very good seasons with very poor seasons. Grimes is among the top 40 in both ink marks, and had five seasons when he was among the NL’s top two pitchers in win shares. If he had more seasons like those five, or had been able to cluster them together into a distinct peak, I wouldn’t hesitate to put him in my BBFHOF ballot right now. As it is, he had enough top seasons to make it onto my queue, but the inconsistency means that he’s not going on my ballot just yet.
          Last edited by AG2004; 04-20-2008, 10:13 AM.

          Comment


          • #65
            Jake Beckley

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

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

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

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

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

            Case to Consider: BECKLEY, Jake

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

            No.

            2. Was he the best player on his team?

            He led his team’s position players in win shares just twice: 1890 and 1904.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            No.

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

            By similarity scores: Sam Crawford, Sam Rice, Zack Wheat, Fred Clarke, Roger Connor, George Sisler, Jim O’Rourke, Paul Waner, Frankie Frisch, and Jimmy Ryan. We have eight BBFHOF members here, and nine players in Cooperstown. That’s a very good sign for Beckley.

            Adjusted career win shares, pre-1907 1B: Dan Brouthers 414, BECKLEY 344, Fred Tenney 262. There’s a big gap here; Beckley isn’t close to anyone. However, post-1900 1B with about 344 win shares include Tony Perez 349, Dick Allen 342, and Will Clark 330. This is a fairly good sign for Beckley.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            No. I can think of many better first basemen who aren’t in the BBFHOF; there are better first basemen who aren’t worthy of the BBFHOF.

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

            There was no MVP award during Beckley’s career. Since Beckley never had a season which adjusts to more than 23 win shares per 154 games, he was never close to having an MVP-type season.

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

            There was no All-Star game in Beckley’s era. He had nine seasons which project to 20 or more win shares after I adjust for season length, which is a fairly good sign. However, five of those seasons hit 20 on the nose, and Beckley’s cheating may have been responsible for helping him get that 20th win share in several seasons.

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

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

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

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

            When he retired in 1907, he was major league baseball’s career leader in triples.

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

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


            CONCLUSION: Beckley’s major accomplishment is in his career value. He doesn’t have much of a peak, and he doesn’t have any great seasons. He was never a great player, and I don’t see him as capable of being the best player on a pennant contender. That’s despite the cheating he did on a regular basis. Beckley doesn’t make my queue for the BBFHOF.
            Last edited by AG2004; 03-31-2008, 10:20 AM.

            Comment


            • #66
              Larry Walker

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

              I decided to create a Keltner List for Larry Walker.

              Case to Consider: WALKER, Larry

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

              No.

              2. Was he the best player on his team?

              Except for 1997, there was always a teammate who had more win shares than Walker. Often, Walker didn’t even lead the team’s outfielders in win shares.

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

              He was among the three best OF in the National League in 1994 and 1997, at least according to win shares. However, 1994 was the only season he led NL right fielders in win shares, and the AL’s Paul O’Neill had more win shares than Walker that year. For any multi-year period, the answer is no.

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

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

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

              Yes.

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

              No.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

              His black ink score of 24 is good for 79th place overall. His gray ink score of 116 places him 170st, which is marginal at best. His HOF Standards score of 58.0 is a very good 35th best overall. Walker also won seven gold gloves; as a corner outfielder, though, he wasn’t able to overtake the center fielders to earn even one Win Share Gold Glove.

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

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

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

              No. There are a lot of better right fielders who aren’t in the BBFHOF or, for that matter, in Cooperstown. Bobby Bonds, Dwight Evans, and Ken Singleton are among them.

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

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

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

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

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

              No; he was too inconsistent and injury-plagued.

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

              Not that I know of.

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

              As far as I can tell.

              CONCLUSION: Walker is no Hall of Famer.
              Last edited by AG2004; 02-05-2008, 09:06 AM.

              Comment


              • #67
                Sam Rice

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

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

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

                Here's the Keltner List for Sam Rice.

                Case to Consider: RICE, Sam

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

                No.

                2. Was he the best player on his team?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                No.

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

                By similarity scores, we have: Rod Carew, Zack Wheat, Fred Clarke, Tony Gwynn, Jim O’Rourke, Jesse Burkett, Frankie Frisch, Sam Crawford, Jake Beckley, and Jimmy Ryan. Nine are in Cooperstown, and eight are in the BBFHOF. However, nine of the ten players on the list had a lifetime OPS+ of at least 124, while Rice’s lifetime OPS+ was just 112. Frisch is the exception; while his OPS+ was 111, he had more defensive value at second base than Rice had as a corner outfielder. So the similarity scores list isn’t going to be of much help.

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

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

                Top five consecutive seasons, RF: Dwight Evans 122, Tommy Henrich 122, Ruben Sierra 120, Larry Walker 120 (adjusting for strikes), Jack Clark 118, Harry Hooper 118, John Titus 118, Tim Salmon 117, Kiki Cuyler 116, RICE 115, Bob Allison 115, Bobby Thomson 112, Jackie Jensen 109, Tony Phillips 109. While Evans and Walker have received support in voting, both have more win shares than Rice, and they both played in tougher leagues. Otherwise, we don’t have BBFHOF members or strong candidates.

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

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

                Rice is in Cooperstown. However, he is not in the Hall of Merit.

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

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

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

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

                No. There are many right fielders whom I would see as better than Rice who aren’t in the BBFHOF.

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

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

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

                The All-Star game started at the tail end of Rice’s career. However, he did have 11 seasons with 20+ win shares (counting 1919, when his 18 win shares in a 140-game season are converted to a 154-game season). Most players with 11 such seasons are Hall of Famers.

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

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

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

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

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

                As far as I know, yes.

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

                Greatness is a requirement for BBFHOF membership; while he was very good for a long time, Rice was never great. That is why I cannot view him as worthy of membership in the BBFHOF.
                Last edited by AG2004; 01-03-2008, 06:48 PM.

                Comment


                • #68
                  Jim Rice

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

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

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

                  Case to Consider: RICE, Jim

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

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

                  2. Was he the best player on his team?

                  1978 was the only season that Rice led his team in win shares.

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

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

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

                  He had an All-Star-Type season in 1975, and was in a three-way tie for most win shares among AL outfielders in 1986. The Red Sox wouldn’t have come close to forcing a playoff in 1978 without him. So I would say that he had an impact.

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

                  Yes, for a couple of seasons.

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

                  No.

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

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

                  By career win shares, LF: Brian Downing 298, Frank Howard 297, George Burns 290, Bob Johnson 287, Heinie Manush 285, Minnie Minoso 282, RICE 282, George Foster 269, Bobby Veach 265, Roy White 263. Rice doesn’t look like a HOFer by this measure.

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

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

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

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

                  Rice is in neither Cooperstown nor the Hall of Merit.

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

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

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

                  No.

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

                  Rice won the AL MVP in 1978. With 36 win shares, he deserved the award. He finished in the top five in MVP voting six times, even though he had just one season with 30+ win shares.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  CONCLUSION: Rice has some strong points and some weak points. He was rated highly by his contemporaries. However, consistency was a major problem for Rice. He did have eight All-Star-type seasons by win shares, but they were scattered across his career. Furthermore, he was definitely helped by playing in Fenway. He barely reached 20 win shares in three different seasons; without the boost from his home park, Rice might be down to five All-Star-type seasons, which is low for a Hall of Famer. I just have too many doubts about Rice for him to be on my list of deserving candidates.
                  Last edited by AG2004; 03-31-2008, 11:12 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Ken Boyer

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

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

                    Case to Consider: BOYER, Ken

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

                    No, if you’re looking at a period of several years. He won the NL MVP Award in 1964, but many voters probably would have said that his performance was inferior to that of AL MVP Brooks Robinson.

                    2. Was he the best player on his team?

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    Yes, for a couple of seasons.

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

                    No.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    No. I would rate Bando, Darrell Evans, Leach, and perhaps Ezra Sutton ahead of him.

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

                    He was NL MVP in 1964, but that’s the only time he finished in the top five in MVP voting. He was in the top ten three times overall. Boyer only had one season with 30+ win shares.

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

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

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

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

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

                    Not that I know of.

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

                    As far as I can tell.

                    CONCLUSION: There’s a lot of places where Boyer is borderline. However, there are only two places where he’s definitely over the fence when it comes to HOF honors: gray ink and gold gloves. There are too many other areas where he falls short of the fence. Boyer did have the bad luck to be an NL third baseman during Eddie Mathews’ prime, but given that Brooks Robinson and Ron Santo didn’t hit their stride until the mid-1960s, he should have had more seasons as baseball’s second-best 3B if he were truly of HOF caliber. Ultimately, Boyer falls just short of my queue for the BBFHOF.
                    Last edited by AG2004; 02-05-2008, 09:07 AM. Reason: Removed Groh from "better 3B outside BBFHOF"

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Joe Kelley

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

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

                      Case to Consider: KELLEY, Joe

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

                      No.

                      2. Was he the best player on his team?

                      He led Baltimore’s position players in win shares in 1893 and 1894, and led Brooklyn’s position players in win shares in 1899 and 1900.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                      Joe Kelley is in both Cooperstown and the Hall of Merit.

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

                      Kelley’s best years came in the high-offense 1890s.

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

                      One can make a good case that Kelley is the best left fielder outside the BBFHOF.

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

                      There was no MVP award during Kelley’s career. However, he had five seasons which project to 30+ win shares over 154 games. That’s a very good sign that Kelley is a deserving Hall of Famer.

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

                      There were no All-Star games in Kelley’s era. However, he had nine seasons which project to 20+ win shares per 154 games scheduled. That’s a good sign, as eight is the borderline.

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

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

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

                      Not that I know of.

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

                      Kelley did have a problem with his temper.

                      CONCLUSION: Joe Kelley was voted into Cooperstown by Frankie Frisch’s Veterans Committee. But don’t let that fool you. Kelley actually merited induction into Cooperstown, proving that Frisch could occasionally stumble across a deserving candidate once in a while. He deserves induction into the BBFHOF as well.
                      Last edited by AG2004; 11-12-2007, 12:27 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Joe Start

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

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

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

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

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

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

                        -----

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

                        Case to Consider: START, Joe

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

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

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

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

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

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

                        2. Was he the best player on his team?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                        I don’t know; the slope of history plays a major role in answering this question.

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

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

                        Win share comparisons don’t help, either, since they only start from 1876, when Start was 33 years old. However, adjusting Start’s NL career to 140-game seasons, Start had a five-season peak of 116 win shares, and a total of 76 win shares during his best three seasons, considering only those seasons when he was at least 33 years old.

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

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

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

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

                        Start is not in Cooperstown, but he is in the Hall of Merit.

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

                        We don’t have any defensive statistics from the NA-1, and the batting statistics we do have from that league are rudimentary. Start did receive praise for his defensive play at first base (and given that the foul-fair hit was legal during the NA years, 1B probably wasn’t at the far end of the defensive spectrum at the time).

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

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

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

                        We don’t have solid statistics from the NA-1, but he would have been in contention for the MVP award several times had there been such a prize in the late 1860s.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                        As far as I can tell, yes.

                        CONCLUSION: Joe Start was once base ball’s top player, but that was before the establishment of the NL. George Wright is in the BBFHOF, and Ross Barnes drew 50% of the vote in the most recent election – and Start had a longer career than either of them. While the NA-1 wasn’t a well-developed league, Start’s level of play in the NL during his late thirties indicates that he was at least a very good ballplayer, and most likely a great one, during his peak, thus countering any doubts I have about Start’s status as base ball’s top player being primarily a factor of the weakness of the competition. If he were close, his being the first 1B to position himself away from the actual base would push him onto my queue, but Start makes my queue (and my ballot) even without taking that into consideration.
                        Last edited by AG2004; 04-20-2008, 10:16 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          Bobby Wallace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                          Here's the Keltner List for Wallace:

                          Case to Consider: WALLACE, Bobby

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

                          No.

                          2. Was he the best player on his team?

                          From 1897 to 1904, Wallace never led his team’s position players in win shares, but finished second seven times to Jesse Burkett, who is in the BBFHOF. From 1905 to 1908, Wallace finished second each year to George Stone, who isn’t in the BBFHOF. Wallace led his team’s position players in win shares just once, in 1910, when the St. Louis Browns went 47-107.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                          No.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                          Wallace is in both Cooperstown and the Hall of Merit.

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

                          Wallace played during the deadball era.

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

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

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

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

                          There was no MVP Award during Wallace’s prime. On the other hand, Wallace never had a 30-win-share season. He had one season (1901) which comes out to 29 win shares over 154 games, but he only had one such season with 26+ win shares per 154 games.

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

                          Although there were no All-Star games in Wallace’s career, he did have twelve seasons with 20 or more win shares, and that’s a good sign.

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

                          I doubt it. Wallace had only season that comes out to more than 25 win shares per 154 games. If your best position player usually has 23 to 25 win shares per season, you might contend on occasion, but you will need a lot of low-level All-Stars to do so on a regular basis.

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

                          As far as I know, he had no major impact.

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

                          To the best of my knowledge, he did.

                          CONCLUSION: I place more weight on peak and great seasons, and less weight on overall career value, than most other voters do. Wallace was a low-level All-Star-type player through much of his career, but there was only one season when he came close to greatness. If he had another two or three seasons like his best one, I would see him as worthy of the BBFHOF. As it is, he’s not quite good enough to make it onto my queue.
                          Last edited by AG2004; 02-05-2008, 09:08 AM.

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                          • #73
                            Tommy Leach

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

                            Tonight's other Keltner List is for Tommy Leach.

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

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

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

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

                            Case to Consider: LEACH, Tommy

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

                            No.

                            2. Was he the best player on his team?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                            No.

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

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

                            Since Leach’s best two seasons came as a third baseman, I’ll compare him to other 3B.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                            Leach played during the deadball era.

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

                            I would rate Sal Bando ahead of him.

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

                            There was no MVP award during Leach’s best years. However, he had two seasons with 30+ win shares (counting 1902, when we adjust to a 154-game season), and came up just short in 1907, with 29 win shares.

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

                            The All-Star game came after Leach’s time. However, he had eight seasons with 20+ win shares. That’s around the cutoff point. (He came close to having nine such seasons, but he finished with just 19 win shares in 1906).

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

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

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

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

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

                            As far as I’ve been able to tell. Fan favorites usually uphold these standards.

                            CONCLUSION: Leach had over 300 career win shares, and was the best player in his league at a key defensive position seven times. Both are very good points in his favor. If he had been able to bunch his best seasons together, he would have made my ballot earlier. But he had enough good seasons to push him on my ballot [as of the time the original post was made].
                            Last edited by AG2004; 01-06-2008, 05:53 PM.

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                            • #74
                              Charlie Bennett

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

                              Today's Keltner List is for Charlie Bennett.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                              Case to Consider: BENNETT, Charlie

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

                              No.

                              2. Was he the best player on his team?

                              He was a star on the Detroit club of the mid-1880s, but he wasn’t the top position player. This question is misleading for 1880s catchers, anyway. As catchers really couldn’t be everyday players, if a catcher led position players in win shares, the it meant that the rest of the team was terrible.

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

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

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

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

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

                              Yes, he could.

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

                              No.

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

                              By similarity scores: Bob O’Farrell, Phil Masi, Heinie Peitz, Ron Hassey, Burch Wynegar, Dan Wilson, Sammy White, Frank Snyder, Mike Heath, Birdie Tebbetts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                              Bennett is not in Cooperstown. However, he is in the Hall of Merit.

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

                              Bennett was one of the best defensive catchers of all time, and that isn’t reflected in his offensive numbers.

                              More significantly, Bennett was playing on an NL-caliber team in 1879, but he wasn’t playing in the National League. After Milwaukee folded in 1878, Bennett joined the Worcesters for 1879. The Worcesters replaced a defunct Syracuse club in the National League in 1880, and finished fifth out of eight teams. During the 1870s, the National League was a good league, but there were good teams outside the circuit that were as good as mid-level NL clubs.

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

                              I don’t know if he is, but he might be.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                              Yes.

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

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                              • #75
                                Dave Kingman

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

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

                                You can find a good case for Jose Mendez at:

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

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

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

                                Case to Consider: KINGMAN, Dave

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

                                No.

                                2. Was he the best player on his team?

                                He led his team’s position players just once, in 1979. The Cubs went 80-82 that year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                Not by a long shot.

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

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

                                Career win shares, 1B/DH: John Mayberry 199, Lu Blue 198, Charlie Grimm 198, Hal Trosky 195, KINGMAN 193, George Kelly 193, Fred Merkle 191, Andre Thornton 186. With the exception of George Kelly, these aren’t Hall of Famers, and Kelly has been called the biggest mistake in Cooperstown.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                Kingman was selected to three All-Star games, and most players who made just three All-Star teams are far from Cooperstown. Kingman had just two seasons with 20+ win shares, and that’s very, very low for a Hall of Famer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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