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  • AG2004
    replied
    George Gore

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

    We now turn to George Gore.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Case to Consider: GORE, George

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

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

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

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

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

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

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

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

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

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

    For a couple of seasons, yes.

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

    No.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    There was no MVP award in Gore’s era, but he led all NL position players in win shares twice. He had three seasons which project to 30+ win shares.

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

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

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

    Yes, it would be likely.

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

    Not that I know of.

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

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

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

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  • AG2004
    replied
    Pete Browning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Case to Consider: BROWNING, Pete

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

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

    No.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

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

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

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

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

    No. His teams were always far out of contention.

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

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

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

    No.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    No. Among nineteenth-century CFs, Duffy and Gore would be better choices for the BBFHOF.

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

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

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

    The All-Star game came along half a century after Browning’s career. Browning did record six seasons which project to 20+ win shares. That’s very low for a Hall of Famer.

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

    At his peak, probably.

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

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

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

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

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

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  • AG2004
    replied
    Wes Ferrell

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

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

    Case to Consider: FERRELL, Wes

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

    No.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

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

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

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

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

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

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

    No.

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

    No.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    No.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • AG2004
    replied
    Bobby Bonds

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

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

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

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

    Case to Consider: BONDS, Bobby

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

    No.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Bonds is in neither Cooperstown nor the Hall of Merit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    With enough good players, a team Bonds (at his peak) as its best player could win the pennant.

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

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

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

    I think so.

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

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  • AG2004
    replied
    Bob Caruthers

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

    I finally have the Keltner List for Bob Caruthers.

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

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

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

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

    Anyway, here's the list.

    Case to Consider: CARUTHERS, Bob

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

    I don’t know.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Not in my opinion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Not in my opinion; his career was too short.

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

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

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

    He was among the top three pitchers in his league five times. Five All-Star-type seasons is good, but not great, for a pitcher.

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

    At his peak, certainly.

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

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

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

    As far as I know.

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

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  • AG2004
    replied
    Mickey Welch

    [NOTE: Originally posted on November 18, 2006. Updated April 20, 2008.]

    I'll now turn my attention to Mickey Welch.

    After making these lists, I realized that, in most of the things I look at, Welch trails behind Tony Mullane. For those who give heavy weight ERA+ and OPS+, Welch also trails Mullane in both marks. I have referred to Mullane as a borderline case. From that, one can conclude that I do not see Welch as worthy of the BBFHOF.

    However, the Keltner List doesn't compare Welch to Mullane at all; it just looks at Welch's overall profile.

    Case to Consider: WELCH, Mickey

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

    No.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    This isn’t a helpful question for 1880s pitchers; any candidate for the BBFHOF was generally the best pitcher on his team, and thus led the team in win shares. Welch and Tim Keefe are exceptions; as teammates, they battled each other to be the New York Giants’ best pitcher.

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

    He never led his league’s pitchers in win shares, but was second in the NL in 1885.

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

    He helped the Giants to win the pennant in 1888 and 1889; the team also finished two games back in 1885, Welch’s best season.

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

    No. He was pretty much washed up by the age of 31.

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

    No.

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

    By similarity scores: Charley Radbourn, Tony Mullane, Tim Keefe, John Clarkson, Kid Nichols, Tom Seaver, Burleigh Grimes, Eddie Plank, Vic Willis, and Tommy John. Eight are in Cooperstown; eight are in the BBFHOF, and Willis earned more than 50% of the votes in the most recent election. However, Welch’s ERA+ of 113 is lower than that of eight of the list’s pitchers; only Grimes and John have a lower ERA+.

    By career win shares, contemporary P: Hoss Radbourn 391, WELCH 354, Bob Caruthers 337, Jim McCormick 334. Welch not in good shape (Caruthers, who is in the BBFHOF, has a much higher peak).

    Best three seasons: Guy Hecker 155, Jim McCormick 147, WELCH 145, Ed Morris 144, Jim Whitney 139, Charlie Buffinton 139, Jack Stivetts 139, Dave Foutz 138, Will White 138. This is not Hall of Fame territory.

    Best five consecutive seasons: Jim Whitney 200, Dave Foutz 199, Ed Morris 194, Bill Hutchison 194, Jack Stivetts 194, Tony Mullane 193, WELCH 190, Pud Galvin 187, Larry Corcoran 185. He's close to Mullane and Galvin, but both had more career value (and Mullane's total goes up to 229 if we count 1882-84 and 1886-87 as consective seasons, as he was blacklisted in 1885).

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

    Welch’s black ink score of 6 is very, very low. Three of those points came from saves, which were meaningless in 1880s baseball in evaluating pitchers. He is 25th all-time in gray ink, at 236. His HOF Standards score of 58.0 puts him at number 19.

    His 1880s gray ink total, which counts only top six finishes prior to 1892 and omits saves, is 132. That’s sixth among his contemporaries.

    Welch is in Cooperstown, but not the Hall of Merit.

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

    Welch pitched for good New York teams, thus increasing his won-loss record. Also, 1880s pitchers benefit from the gray ink test due to the low number of regular pitchers in each league.

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

    No.

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

    He was never the league’s best pitcher. He was second in the NL in win shares in 1885, however.

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

    He was only among the top three pitchers in his league in win shares twice: 1885 and 1889. That number of All-Star-type seasons is low for a pitcher.

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

    I don’t think so. Compared to his contemporaries, his peak was too low. He doesn’t make the top ten in either of the win shares peak measures.

    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?

    Welch is sixth on the all-time career list for complete games. On August 28, 1884, he set what is still the major league record for most consecutive batters struck out at the beginning of a game, with nine.

    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: Welch’s profile does not strike me as belonging to a pitcher worthy of the BBFHOF. He may look superficially similar to a lot of pitchers in the BBFHOF, but, under close analysis, he's worse than those "similar" pitchers. He's not in my queue.
    Last edited by AG2004; 04-20-2008, 07:58 AM. Reason: Reflection of Mullane and Caruthers elections

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  • AG2004
    replied
    Tony Mullane

    [NOTE: Originally posted November 18, 2006. Edited January 8, 2008. Mullane was voted into the BBFHOF on April 4, 2008.]

    I now turn my attention to Tony Mullane.

    Case to Consider: MULLANE, Tony

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

    No.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    This question doesn’t have much meaning when you’re the best pitcher on an 1880s team; you’ll lead your team in win shares, and there’s only one or two other pitchers on the team that you have to beat.

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

    He never led his league’s pitchers in win shares.

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

    St. Louis finished one game out of first place in 1883. That’s as close as Mullane ever came to a pennant.

    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: Burleigh Grimes, Mickey Welch, Red Ruffing, Red Faber, Gus Weyhing, Vic Willis, Tommy John, Fergie Jenkins, Early Wynn, and Jim McCormick. Seven are in Cooperstown, but only three are in the BBFHOF.

    Career win shares, contemporary P: Tim Keefe 413, Pud Galvin 403, MULLANE 399, John Clarkson 396, Hoss Radbourn 391. Mullane is the only one of the top five 1880s pitchers in this category not in the BBFHOF.

    Top three seasons: John Clarkson 173, Pud Galvin 165, Bob Caruthers 162, MULLANE 159, Tim Keefe 159, Silver King 159, Bill Hutchison 158, Tommy Bond 157, Guy Hecker 155, Jim McCormick 147. Mullane is at the cut-off line.

    Top five consecutive seasons: Jim Whitney 200, Dave Foutz 199, Ed Morris 194, Bill Hutchison 194, Jack Stivetts 194, MULLANE 193, Mickey Welch 190, Pud Galvin 187, Larry Corcoran 185. This isn’t BBFHOF territory.

    However, the stretch above includes 1885, when Mullane was suspended by the AA for signing with Cincinnati after Toledo folded. If we take 1882-84 and 1886-87 as Mullane’s five year peak, we have: Tim Keefe 236, MULLANE 229, Tommy Bond 225, Guy Hecker 224, Jim McCormick 223. Mullane is right at the cut-off line.

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

    His black ink score of 28 is only 55th all-time, and 15 of those points came from saves, which were basically meaningless when determining the value of a pitcher in the 1880s. His gray ink score of 198 is 42nd all time. He’s number 40 on the HOF Standards list at 49.0.

    Mullane’s “1880s gray ink score,” which counts only appearances in the top six prior to 1892, and omits saves, is 140. That’s fifth among pitchers of his era.

    Mullane 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?

    Mullane was a good hitter, and occasionally played in the outfield.

    Also, after the 1884 season, Toledo, before they folded, sold his contract to the St. Louis Browns. Mullane signed with Cincinnati instead. The American Association suspended him for a year for doing this. Counting 1884 and 1886 as consecutive seasons would help his peak. On the other hand, the fact that he didn't play in 1885 could have greatly increased his career value; many pitchers of the era would burn out after four or five years.

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

    No.

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

    There was no MVP award in Mullane’s day. Although he was never the AA’s top pitcher in win shares, he was second in 1882, 1883, and 1884.

    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 during Mullane’s era. He finished among the top three pitchers in the league just three times, which is a little low for All-Star seasons.

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

    Yes.

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

    He’s best known as an ambidextrous pitcher and, as the most popular pitcher in baseball during the 1880s, the inspiration for Ladies’ Day. However, his 661 hits are the career record for pitchers, and he won more games and pitched more shutouts than any other American Association pitcher.

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

    Mullane also has a reputation for racism, and admitted to throwing pitches that catcher Fleet Walker hadn’t called for in order to mix him up.

    CONCLUSION: I’m still not sure whether to put Mullane in the BBFHOF or leave him out. He’s on the BBFHOF fence when I look at everything.

    [Added January 8, 2008: His status as a gate attraction could have tipped him onto the HOF side of the fence in the end. On the other hand, his deliberately ignoring his catcher's signals hurt Toledo in 1884, and the racism associated with that behavior would have kept teams from signing African-American ballplayers later in the decade. That tips him onto the other side of the fence, and he misses out on my queue.]
    Last edited by AG2004; 04-20-2008, 09:18 AM. Reason: Change in similarity scores; edited conclusion

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  • AG2004
    replied
    Jim McCormick

    [NOTE: Originally posted on November 18, 2006. Edited January 6, 2008.]

    I'm posting three Keltner Lists today: Jim McCormick, Mickey Welch, and Tony Mullane. I hope to post one for Bob Caruthers by tomorrow evening.

    Case to Consider: MCCORMICK, 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?

    No.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    This question is generally irrelevant for a team’s leading pitcher through the early 1880s, since the star pitcher on each team was the team leader in win shares.

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

    He led all pitchers in win shares in 1880, but was never the best for a period of several years.

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

    Chicago narrowly won pennants in 1885 and 1886. However, most regular position players had more win shares than McCormick in 1885, so his impact would mostly have been in 1886.

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

    No. His career ended at the age of 30.

    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: Vic Willis, Charley Radbourn, Tony Mullane, Red Faber, Jack Powell, Burleigh Grimes, George Mullin, Jack Quinn, Paul Derringer, and Bobby Mathews. Four are in Cooperstown, but only two in the BBFHOF.

    Career WS, contemporary P: Mickey Welch 354, Bob Caruthers 337, McCORMICK 334. Eighth place among the era’s pitchers is not BBFHOF territory.

    Top three seasons: Guy Hecker 155, McCORMICK 147, Mickey Welch 145, Ed Morris 144, Charlie Buffinton 139, Jack Stivitts 139, Dave Foutz 138, Will White 138. This is not HOF territory.

    Top five consecutive seasons: Tim Keefe 236, Tommy Bond 225, Guy Hecker 224, McCORMICK 223, Silver King 216. McCormick is in the cut-off region.

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

    His black ink score of 40 is 36th. His gray ink score of 220 is 29th overall. He is number 32 in HOF Standards, at 51.0.

    McCormick 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?

    McCormick jumped to the Union Association in the middle of the 1884 season. There’s a huge difference between his NL stats (19-22 with a 110 ERA+) and his UA stats (21-3 with a 207 ERA+) that year. Leaping to the UA was good for 7 black ink points and 20 gray ink points, as well as about nine extra win shares in his peak over what he would have had if he had stayed in the NL.

    Also, many pre-1892 pitchers have high ink totals; when there are only about 16-20 regular pitchers in the league at most, an average pitcher can easily get some gray ink. My 1880s gray ink mark gives McCormick 122 points, which is seventh in that era, at best.

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

    Not by a long shot. Even among 1880s pitchers, Tony Mullane is better, and I see Mullane as being on the fence.

    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 pitchers in win shares in 1880, and was second in 1882.

    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 only among the top three pitchers in the league twice. That number of All-Star-type seasons would be 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?

    I don’t know.

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

    None that I can find.

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

    As far as I know.

    CONCLUSION: The only things that indicate McCormick is worthy of the Hall of Fame are his ink totals and HOF Standards score. But both have been inflated by playing in the 1880s. He was only somewhere between seventh and tenth among pitchers in his era. That’s generally not a Hall of Famer.
    Last edited by AG2004; 01-06-2008, 10:24 AM.

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  • AG2004
    replied
    Gray ink and 1870s pitchers

    [NOTE: Originally posted on November 17, 2006.]

    In the case of Welch, his peak win share measures don't look good at all, and his black ink score of 6 is a little misleading because three of those points come from saves, which, in 1880s base ball, had more to do with whether the starting pitcher got tired or injured than it had to do with any actual pitching ability. The gray ink total would ordinarily help him - except that, when we have an 8-team league with 2 or 3 regular pitchers per team, a B- pitcher can pick up a lot of gray ink by finishing ninth or tenth. When there's four regular pitchers per team, the B- pitcher will rarely pick up any gray ink. So, on my first impression, the major point in Welch's favor is career win shares. As I said, I may be missing something important; that's why I want to do a bit more looking before I come up with a final verdict.

    If gray ink is problematic in the 1880s, it can be disastrious when evaluating 1870s pitchers. Bobby Mathews has a gray ink score of 274. In four different seasons, he had an ERA+ below 100, and still finished among the top ten in ERA. That's 16 points of misleading gray ink right there. Three times, he had a W-L% below .400, and finished in the top ten anyway. That's 9 more points of gray ink that he doesn't deserve.

    NA teams had just one regular pitcher, and being that pitcher for a NA team that finished out the season automatically brings you 11 gray ink points per season no matter how terrible you are: 4 for wins (because only regulars are going to appear in at least ten games, you can go 20-30 and still be in the top ten), 3 for innings pitched, 2 for complete games, and one each for games and games started. Gray ink for pitchers of the 1870s is meaningless because every regular pitcher will get loads of gray ink each year; there are so few pitchers that the ink is almost guaranteed. There were more pitchers in the 1880s, but to get the same value out of that mark for pitchers in that decade that you get for twentieth-century pitchers, you need to limit the gray ink to only the top six or seven pitchers in each category.

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  • AG2004
    replied
    Gray ink and 1880s pitchers

    [NOTE: Originally posted on November 16, 2006.]

    This isn't going to be a Keltner List. I copied post 190 from Albright's Musings and did some computations related to the topic.


    Originally posted by jalbright

    On another topic, I've been reluctant to vote for Mickey Welch. He's close, but I have had trouble giving him much credit for his gray ink (which IMO he needs to get my vote) because he so often finished 7th or lower. In today's majors, that's not a problem, but in the days before the pitching distance went to 60 feet 6 inches, teams used far fewer pitchers. I decided to really look at how many pitchers were used a good percentage of innings from 1876 to 1892. My standard was a pitcher counted as a regular starter if he pitched about 2.5 innings per team game or 300 innings in the season, whichever was less. Since pitchers were finishing 90% of their games as late as 1892, if you're starting a little over 1 game in 4, you'll make that mark. I'll give the year, the minimum number of IP used, and the number of pitchers exceeding that mark.

    Year........min IP.................#pitchers
    1876.......165......................13
    1877.......150......................7
    1878.......150......................7
    1879.......210......................9
    1880.......215......................9
    1881.......210......................11
    1882.......200......................23
    1883.......245......................23
    1884.......275......................40
    1885.......280......................24
    1886.......300......................29
    1887.......300......................31
    1888.......300......................30
    1889.......300......................28
    1890.......300......................36
    1891.......300......................26
    1892.......300......................24

    It seems clear that teams in these years were using no more than 3 pitchers to handle the vast majority of their work--so a 7th place or lower finish among pitchers of that time is good, it isn't much of a sign of greatness. I'm open to somebody making the case for Welch, which still comes close IMO--but I have a hard time going the last few steps to put him over the top.


    Jim Albright
    I decided to create a little statistic called the "1880s gray ink score." It differs from the regular gray ink score in two ways:

    (1) For any season prior to 1892, a pitcher has to be in the top six to receive any "1880s gray ink." I used 1892 as the cutoff instead of 1893 because all the pitchers were in the same league in 1892.

    (2) Saves count for nothing in the 1880s gray ink system. The save was so rare as to be practically meaningless.

    Here are leaders from the 1880s in regular gray ink.

    Tim Keefe - 251
    Pud Galvin - 248
    Mickey Welch - 236
    Jim McCormick - 220
    John Clarkson - 204
    Hoss Radbourn - 199
    Tony Mullane - 198

    Now, here are how the above players stack up in the 1880s gray ink marks.

    Tim Keefe - 191
    Pud Galvin - 183
    John Clarkson - 180
    Hoss Radbourn - 160
    Tony Mullane - 140
    Mickey Welch - 132
    Jim McCormick - 122

    Welch's and McCormick's gray ink scores were inflated by all the times they finished between seventh and tenth in the league. Now we know just how much they were inflated.

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  • AG2004
    replied
    Joe Sewell

    [NOTE: Originally posted on November 15, 2006. Updated January 8, 2008. Sewell was elected to the BBFHOF on January 11, 2008.]

    In the conclusion to my Keltner List for Artie Wilson, I mentioned that I saw Wilson as similar to Vern Stephens or Joe Sewell.

    I have posted a list for Stephens previously. I hadn't posted a list for Sewell, and wondered if I had misjudged him. When I worked up a list, I realized I hadn't misjudged him. To me, Sewell is in the same class as Stephens and Wilson: a very good player, but not quite a Hall of Famer.

    Case to Consider: SEWELL, 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 Cleveland’s position players in win shares each year from 1923 to 1928, except for 1925.

    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 AL shortstops in win shares each year from 1921 to 1928, and led or tied for the lead among MLB shortstops in 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, and 1928. He was also tied for the lead in win shares among MLB third basemen in 1929.

    However, if we go by all of baseball, Sewell was the best shortstop in the 1923 and 1926 seasons only. Dobie Moore was usually better earlier in the 1920s, and Willie Wells was usually the best shortstop later in the decade.

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

    Not usually. Cleveland rarely contended during his years with the team, and he didn’t reach 20 win shares during any of his seasons with the Yankees.

    However, in 1920, Sewell was a late-season replacement for Cleveland after Ray Chapman's death. His level of play in the final month of the season helped Cleveland to win the pennant, as the team edged out Chicago by 2 games and New York by 3.

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

    For a couple of seasons, but his last year was at the age of 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: Billy Herman, Buddy Myer, Dick Bartell, Arky Vaughan, Deacon White, Del Pratt, Ed McKean, Tony Fernandez, Jimmie Dykes, and Alvin Dark. Two are in Cooperstown, while three are in the BBFHOF.

    Career win shares, SS: Luis Aparicio 293, Bert Campaneris 280, Tony Fernandez 278, Lou Boudreau 277, SEWELL 277, Dave Concepcion 269, Dave Bancroft 269, Vern Stephens 265, Jim Fregosi 261, Joe Tinker 258. With the exception of Boudreau, this is not BBFHOF territory, and Boudreau had a higher peak.

    Best three seasons, SS: Alan Trammell 90, Jim Fregosi 89, Maury Wills 87, Johnny Pesky 87, Rico Petrocelli 87, Eddie Joost 87, Phil Rizzuto 86, Pee Wee Reese 85, Julio Franco 85, SEWELL 84, Dave Bancroft 84, Ozzie Smith 83, Al Dark 78, Cecil Travis 78, Joe Tinker 78. There are some BBFHOF members in this area, but they all had at least 300 win shares during their career.

    Best five consecutive seasons: Alan Trammell 132, Barry Larkin 130, Johnny Pesky 130, Vern Stephens 129, Maury Wills 128, Eddie Joost 126, SEWELL 125, Rico Petrocelli 125, Ozzie Smith 123, Al Dark 118, Joe Tinker 118. There are some BBFHOF members here, but they had longer careers than Sewell.

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

    Sewell’s black ink total is 3. His gray ink mark of 75, while 310th all-time, does put him above the average for shortstops in Cooperstown. His HOF Standards score of 42.9, for 115th place overall, is impressive for anybody. He also led the league nine times in strikeouts per at bat. In addition, Sewell earned three Win Shares Gold Gloves during his career.

    Sewell is a member of 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?

    Sewell started to play in 1920, and benefited from the livelier ball.

    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?

    Sewell was fourth in the MVP voting in 1923, and third in 1925. He finished in the top ten overall four times. However, Sewell never had a season with 30 or more win shares, and that is a point against him.

    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 his career was over. However, Sewell had nine seasons with 20+ win shares. That’s a pretty good sign.

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

    No. He had only three seasons with at least 25 win shares, and none of them were consecutive.

    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 record for lowest strikeout rate in major league history and for the fewest strikeouts over a full season of play.

    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: The major arguments for Sewell are his being the best American League shortstop throughout the 1920s and his records for not striking out. But, in terms of everything else, there’s little to differentiate him from Vern Stephens or Artie Wilson. There’s also little that tells me that Sewell is a Hall of Famer. I’d leave him out.

    [Added on January 8, 2008: I think Cooperstown has set the standard for shortstops a little too low. One reason for this is that, between 1900 and 1945, the Negro Leagues had more of the top shortstops than one would expect by chance. As Negro Leaguers were not admitted until the 1970s, and they were elected at a rate of about one per year in that decade, in order to balance representation in Cooperstown by position, it was necessary to lower the bar a bit to get major league shortstops in. Even though my standards for shortstops are a little higher than the actual hall's, I believe there are more players worthy of the BBFHOF at SS than there are at 1B, 2B, 3B, or RF.]
    Last edited by AG2004; 02-05-2008, 07:59 AM.

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  • AG2004
    replied
    Marvin Williams

    [NOTE: Originally posted on November 14, 2006.]

    Marvin Williams is another player in a position similar to Artie Wilson. Williams did get a major league tryout - in 1945, when the Boston Red Sox, reacting to pressure from local civil rights leaders, looked at him, Sam Jethroe, and Jackie Robinson. Boston, of course, had no intention of signing any of them. Williams would then miss 1946 and 1947 due to military service. I couldn’t find any record of his receiving a major league tryout later.

    The cases of Wilson and Williams raise an interesting issue. For Negro Leaguers of their era, many of whom didn’t receive fair trials with the major leagues once integration got underway, how much credit should they receive for minor league performances in the second half of their career? I see the issue as academic in Marvin Williams’ case – I wouldn’t put a white player who matched Dr. Chaleeko’s projections of Williams’ record in the BBFHOF anyway – but there are some voters for whom the issue might make a difference in this case, or in Wilson’s case.

    Case to Consider: WILLIAMS, Marvin

    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 might have been the best player on the Philadelphia Stars in the mid-1940s.

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

    Chaleeko’s win share projections indicate Williams as better than the top National League 2B in 1944, 1945, 1948, and 1955. But he would never have been baseball’s best 2B.

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

    No.

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

    According to Chaleeko’s projections, Williams was able to play at a major-league level through at least 1959, even if he was bouncing around the minors.

    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?

    We’re comparing Dr. Chaleeko’s projections for Williams with the win share numbers of MLB 2B here.

    Career win shares, 2B: Bobby Grich 329, WILLIAMS 316 (with service credit), Willie Randolph 312, Bid McPhee 305, Nellie Fox 304, Billy Herman 298 (plus war credit), Larry Doyle 289, Bobby Doerr 281 (plus war credit). This is a realm of BBFHOF members and vote-getters.

    Best three seasons: Bobby Doerr 81, Tony Lazzeri 81, Dick McAuliffe 81, Jim Gilliam 81, Lou Whitaker 80, Buddy Myer 80, Steve Sax 79, Davey Lopes 78, Red Schoendienst 78, Willie Randolph 77, WILLIAMS 76, Gil McDougald 75, Danny Murphy 75, Del Pratt 75, Lonnie Frey 74, Jimmy Williams 74, Bill Doran 74, Pete Runnels 74, Tom Daly 73, Miller Huggins 72. This is not HOF territory.

    Five consecutive seasons: Bobby Avila 124, Lonnie Frey 121, Dick McAuliffe 119, Davey Lopes 118, WILLIAMS 118, Johnny Evers 117, Lou Whitaker 116, Gil McDougald 116, Tony Lazzeri 115, Buddy Myer 115, Willie Randolph 114, Eddie Stanky 113. This is not BBFHOF territory, either.

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

    We don’t have any information for this question.

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

    No.

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

    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?

    Williams never had a season which was worth 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?

    By Chaleeko’s projections, Williams had nine seasons that project to 20+ win shares. That’s good for a position player.

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

    No. Chaleeko projects Williams as having just one season with 25 or more win shares over 154 games.

    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?

    Other than the 1945 tryout, no.

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

    As far as I know.

    CONCLUSION: Even if we don’t discount the fact that Williams never did get that major league tryout, Chaleeko’s projections indicate that Williams has a worse case than Lou Whitaker. Whitaker, for me, is borderline. The fact that Williams would have had just one season with 25+ win shares reinforces my decision that Williams doesn’t belong in the BBFHOF.

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  • AG2004
    replied
    Artie Wilson

    [Originally posted on November 14, 2006.]

    My thoughts on how the color line affected Newcombe and a previous request about middle infielders of the 1940s led me to create two Keltner Lists out of curiosity. One is for Artie Wilson, and the other is for Marvin Williams.

    I'll start with Artie Wilson. I can hear the question now.

    Who was Artie Wilson?

    As I’ll explain below, Wilson is very similar to Vern Stephens except for two points: (a) Wilson had only a cup of coffee in the recognized major leagues, and (b) Wilson was Black, which helps explain (a).

    Vern Stephens was born on October 23, 1920; Wilson, just five days later, on October 28, 1920. Wilson was a star in the Negro Leagues during the mid-1940s, just as Stephens was a star in the (white) Major Leagues. After the 1948 season, the Birmingham Barons sold Wilson to the Yankees. However, Wilson refused to take a pay cut to play under hostile conditions in Newark, and signed with the Pacific Coast League’s San Diego Padres instead. Because the Yankees had the rights to Wilson, the contract with the Padres was voided, and Wilson soon ended up with the Oakland Oaks.

    African-American players who were born around 1920 sometimes received tests by major league teams in the early 1950s. If they passed, they might, like Sam Jethroe for the Braves, have a handful of decent years. Wilson, however, went 4-for-22 with the Giants. This could just be bad luck; someone going 7-for-22 would be batting .300, and a difference three hits in 22 AB is within the bounds of chance. Wilson was sent down to the minors to make room for Willie Mays, and bounced around the minors for a few more seasons.

    A player like Stephens, who had trouble in 1952, would be given the benefit of the doubt during a poor season and could hang around the majors for a few more years. It’s hard to find any major leaguer who didn’t go through a 4-for-22 slump sometimes. However, thirty-plus-year-old rookies usually don’t get the benefit of the doubt.

    Therefore, due to integration coming in the middle of their careers, a player like Wilson or his contemporary Marvin Williams would have had a few years in the Negro Leagues, but nowhere near enough to be considered a legend. They would then have bouncd around the minors for a few years, while comparable players like Bobby Doerr or Vern Stephens would have their decline phase take place in the major leagues. Wilson's decline years would not show up in either the major league statistics or in the Negro League listings; they would be, for all practical purposes, invisible.

    I’m using Dr. Chaleeko’s projection at baseballthinkfactory for this list. More information on Wilson’s career, including the numbers from the second half of his career, can be found at

    http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/...n/artie_wilson

    Case to Consider: WILSON, Artie

    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?

    Wilson was the best player on the Birmingham Black Barons during the middle of the 1940s.

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

    By Chaleeko’s projections, Wilson might have been the best shortstop in baseball in 1947 and 1953. His win share projections would have beaten any National League shortstop every year from 1944 through 1948, as well as in 1953, and any American League shortstop in 1953 and 1954. He was considered the best shortstop in the Negro Leagues during his peak.

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

    He led Birmingham to the pennant in 1944 and 1948.

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

    He was bouncing around the minors, but Chaleeko’s MLEs show him of being major league quality for quite a while past his mid-1940s prime.

    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 following are based on Chaleeko’s MLEs.

    Career win shares, SS: Lou Boudreau 277, Joe Sewell 277, Dave Concepcion 269, Dave Bancroft 269, Stephens 265, Herman Long 265, WILSON 262, Jim Fregosi 261, Joe Tinker 258, Maury Wills 253, Dick Bartell 252. This is not BBFHOF territory.

    Top three seasons: Jim Fregosi 89, Maury Wills 87, Rico Petrocelli 87, Johnny Pesky 87, Eddie Joost 87, Phil Rizzuto 86, Pee Wee Reese 85, Joe Sewell 84, Dave Bancroft 84, WILSON 83, Herman Long 83, Joe Tinker 76, Art Fletcher 76. Wilson is below the cutoff area.

    Peak five consecutive seasons: Lou Boudreau 135, Jim Fregosi 135, Pee Wee Reese 134, Alan Trammell 132, WILSON 131, Barry Larkin 130, Johnny Pesky 130, Vern Stephens 129, Maury Wills 128, Eddie Joost 126, Joe Sewell 125, Rico Petrocelli 125, Ozzie Smith 123. This is very good company for Wilson.

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

    The information to answer this question is lacking.

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

    It’s hard to tell. Wilson’s cup of coffee with the Giants in 1951 could be explained by plain bad luck.

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

    No. I would consider Perucho Cepeda a better choice.

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

    His 1947 season projects to 29 win shares, which is close to being an MVP-type season; Chaleeko’s projection methods tends to smooth out a player’s career, so he might have been worth 30+ win shares that season had he been a major leaguer. But 29 WS is Wilson’s top season by the projection.

    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 had seven All-Star-type seasons, which is a little low for a position player.

    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, yes.

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

    In 1948, with Birmingham, he was the last player to have a .400 batting average while playing with a top professional league in North America.

    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: I don’t see Wilson as worthy of the BBFHOF. However, if you consider Vern Stephens and Joe Sewell as deserving of Hall of Fame honors, and if you consider Dr. Chaleeko’s method valid, I don’t see how you could keep Wilson out of your queue.

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  • AG2004
    replied
    Wartime Credit for Pitchers

    [My post for Newcombe raised some issues regarding how much credit he should get for time missed due to the color line, and whether there are circumstances where pitchers should get wartime credit. I will repost the discussion I had with Jim Albright below.]

    Originally posted by jalbright

    I can't quite buy Newcombe. According to Clark and Lester's Negro Leagues book, Newk was born in 1926. He pitched for Newark of the Negro Leagues in 1944, going 1-3 with an undetermined ERA. In 1945, he was 8-4 with another undetermined ERA. In 1946, (age 20) he was with Nashua (the Dodgers' New England League farm club) and he went 14-4 with a 2.21 ERA. I think he probably should have been there that year, but in 1947, he was back in Nashua and went 19-6 with a 2.91 ERA. That got him to Montreal in 1948 where he was 17-6 with a 3.14 ERA. To me, that whole history suggests he lost one year to racism. I follow the concept Craig Wright spelled out in the Diamond Appraised--pitchers benefit in longevity from having time off when healthy, such as caused by wartime service. Newk destroyed that advantage with the bottle. All that leaves Newk short of the mark in my book.
    [To this, I replied as follows.]

    In regard to the minor leagues, I'm wondering if the Dodgers wanted to wait until Newcombe could play at an All-Star Level before bringing him to the major leagues. After what happened with Williard Brown in St. Louis, I'm doubtful that the Dodgers would have wanted to bring Newcombe up while he was still improving; they would have wanted to wait until he was at his best. Since all those other power pitchers were in the majors at the age of 21, while they were still improving, I'm granting Newcombe credit for the 1947 and 1948 seasons (at the ages of 21 and 22), but I'm not granting him credit for any previous seasons.

    As for wartime credit - well, that is a difficult issue. Granting the point that pitchers benefit in longevity from having time off when healthy, we still have to figure out what to do if some other issue intervenes to stop the career. If, say, a pitcher were to spend two years in the military, and then develop career-ending kidney disease at 33, it would be difficult for me to believe that the pitcher should be denied wartime credit. As the time in the military was irrelevant in determining the length of that hypothetical pitcher's career, Wright's argument fails to hold in this case, and wartime credit should be given.

    Since the NIH considers alcoholism a disease, I'll treat it as such. Since a disease prevented Newcombe from benefitting from the advantage of career longevity that time off in the military provided, he does deserve wartime credit for the 1952 and 1953 seasons.

    In the end, I guess it comes down to how much compensatory credit we're willing to give, and why we're willing to give such credit. As I see it, we're probably not going to agree on the issue of wartime credit, we're not going to agree on the nature of alcoholism, and thus we're not going to agree on Newcombe, either.

    [I failed to make the point clear that I was compensating Newcombe for his time in the military, and not compensating him for his medical troubles, as Jim Albright responded to this.]

    Originally posted by jalbright

    I don't think we disagree too much on wartime credit, at least on position players. The biggest difference is how we apply the concept in Newcombe's case. The whole disease thing is someplace I'm not going under any circumstance. If you go there for Newcombe, how do you deny it to Ross Youngs, for one? And Chick Hafey was a good player despite poor eyesight, does he get a break? Does Ray Chapman get a break for dying? And so on. The reason I generally treat wartime and discrimination issues differently is that those have very little to do with the player, but with the conditions of their time. Illnesses, injuries, etc, have a lot to do with the individual player.
    [I clarified the issue in my response.]

    I think the issue here is how the later disease relates to wartime credit.

    I am not going to give Newcombe any credit for what he might have done had he not been an alcoholic, or Youngs any credit for what he might have done had he not had Bright's disease.

    But wartime credit - that is another matter. Wright's argument is that a pitcher's career value is not lessened by spending time in the military, and that wartime credit is not applicable to pitchers. But in Newcombe's case, or in the case of our hypothetical pitcher who served two years in the army, and later had to leave the game due to kidney disease, the original premise fails. In either case, the pitcher's career value was lessened by spending time in the military.

    Newcombe struggled through his final three seasons, and his career ended at 34, due to alcoholism. Had Newcombe not served in the military, he would still have struggled through his final three seasons, and his career would still have ended at 34, due to the disease. Thus, since the time he served in the military lessened his career value, he does deserve wartime credit.

    I'll take the same position for any pitcher who had to serve in the military for a few seasons, and had their career later cut short due to disease or injury. They don't deserve compensation for the career they would have had without the disease or injury. However, unlike the typical pitcher - who Wright sees as having benefited from time in the military, and thus ending up with the same career value - these pitchers, like any position players, ended up losing career value due to their time in the military. Therefore, such a pitcher, like a position player, deserves compensation in the form of wartime credit. Since Newcombe is such a pitcher, I'm giving him wartime credit.

    In the final analysis, I'm not compensating him for what he lost due to disease; I'm compensating him for what he lost due to military service. You are right; the biggest difference in this case is whether we should apply wartime credit for pitchers whose careers were later shortened by disease or injury. I hope that makes my position clear.

    [This was the last post we had in our discussion.]

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  • AG2004
    replied
    Don Newcombe

    [Originally posted on November 9, 2006. Updated on January 20, 2007.]

    I did the third Keltner List of out curiosity. I wondered why Bill James rated Don Newcombe so highly. Thus, I created a list for Newcombe and came to the conclusion that there's a good case for putting Newcombe in the BBFHOF.

    Part of the case hinges on a philosophical issue - was Newcombe's major league debut delayed by racism, and, if so, how much compensation should he get for the delay? This issue could also apply to other players, and some discussion would be helpful.

    Case to Consider: NEWCOMBE, Don

    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.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    He was the best pitcher on the Dodgers during his prime. He led the team's pitchers in win shares in 1949, 1950, 1951, 1955, and 1956. Since he was in the military in 1952 and 1953, that's essentially five times in a six-year period.

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

    Over the 1955 and 1956 seasons, he recorded 52 WS, more than any other NL pitcher.

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

    Yes; the Dodgers won pennants by just one game in 1949 and 1956, and Newcombe was the team’s best pitcher in both seasons. Newcombe did go 0-4 in the World Series, but one of those games was a 1-0 loss.

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

    No. Alcohol abuse brought an early end to his career.

    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: Ray Kremer, Dizzy Dean, Schoolboy Rowe, Dennis Leonard, Preacher Roe, Nig Cuppy, Rip Sewell, Mike Garcia, Denny McLain, and Johnny Allen. Only Dean is in the BBFHOF (or Cooperstown). However, as Newcombe spent two years in the military in mid-career, and played only ten seasons otherwise, a list of similarity scores would be too misleading to be of help.

    We’ll give Newcombe 35+ win shares for his time in the military. Chris Cobb gives him 49, for the missing seasons and for his rusty performance when he came back in 1954; I’m not going to adjust for 1954, however.

    Career WS, contemporary P: Larry Jackson 225, NEWCOMBE 211+, Virgil Trucks 198, Koufax 194. Newcombe is far from HOF territory.

    Top three seasons: Jim Bunning 83, Bob Lemon 82, Don Drysdale 78, Mel Parnell 76, NEWCOMBE 74, Virgil Trucks 74, Billy Pierce 70, Whitey Ford 69. Newcombe’s at the cutoff line.

    Top five consecutive seasons: Don Drysdale 117, Mel Parnell 111, Whitey Ford 105, NEWCOMBE 103, Billy Pierce 101, Jim Bunning 100. This is a gray area. While three of the other similar pitchers in the BBFHOF, the remaining two failed to gather votes in the latest BBFHOF election.

    However, Newcombe had just 8 WS in 1954, his first season back from the military. If one wants to go with 1949-50-51-55-56 to determine a five-season peak (and I’m not going to do that here), he would be at 116 win shares. That puts him closer to Warren Spahn (120) and Bob Lemon (126).

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

    His black ink score of 21 is 82nd overall. His gray ink score is 136, which puts him 120th overall. He’s at 28.0 in HOF Standards, which is number 162 on the all-time list.

    Newcombe 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?

    He was a .271/.338/.367 hitter, so he could contribute with the bat. Also, he pitched in a hitter’s park, and missed two years due to military service.

    Chris Cobb, at baseball think factory, argues that contemporary power pitchers Feller, Wynn, Roberts, Newhouser, Pierce, and Ford were all pitching in the majors by 21, while Newcombe had to wait until he was 23 (and wasn’t called up until mid-May). In the near future, Koufax and Drysdale would also be pitching in the majors by 21. Thus, according to Cobb, Newcombe lost some major league experience due to racism, as the Dodgers were bringing up one Black star per season in the 1940s.

    If one were to give Newcombe credit for 1947, 1948, and the first month of 1949, as well as for the seasons he missed for military service, he would be at about 255 to 261 career WS. He would also get 3-5 more WS in 1949, giving him 76-78 WS in his three best seasons. Since Newcombe was pitching with the Newark Eagles in 1944 and 1945 (ages 18 and 19), I believe that a white pitcher of Newcombe’s ability would have been pitching in the major leagues by the age of 21, and thus Newcombe deserves compensation for 1947 and 1948 due to the color line.

    In that case, Newcombe’s career win share totals would be comparable to: Hal Newhouser 264, Whitey Ford 261, and Bob Lemon 232.

    [Added January 2008: Ordinarily, I have problems giving military credit for pitchers, as the time off helps their arms, thus causing little change in their overall career value. However, Newcombe's problems with alcohol cut his career short. Since this would have been the case whether he had been in the military or not, Newcombe's time in the service did lower his overall career value. Therefore, Newcombe gains military credit for his two years in the service.]

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

    No; several pitchers are more deserving 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?

    He won the NL MVP in 1956. He also won the first-ever Cy Young award that year. He was second among NL pitchers in WS in 1955.

    Newcombe was seventh in the NL MVP voting in 1955 (second among pitchers) and eighth in 1949 (also second among pitchers).

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

    He played in four All-Star games, but may have missed one or two more due to military service. He had five seasons when he was among the top four pitchers in the NL, and another one where he was fifth-best. Giving him credit for wartime service, that would make seven or eight All-Star-type seasons. That’s good for a pitcher.

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

    The Dodgers repeatedly won the pennant with Newcombe as their best pitcher.

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

    In 1946, he was the first Black pitcher signed by a major league team.

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

    Alcohol abuse ended his career early, but he generally upheld the standards of sportsmanship.

    CONCLUSION: If you just give Newcombe war credit, I would see Newcombe as being close to belonging in the BBFHOF, but just missing out. If you accept Chris Cobb’s argument for giving him credit for two years in the minor leagues, then Newcombe certainly belongs in the BBFHOF (and the similarity score list is extremely misleading).

    How many white power pitchers who
    (a) first played in the majors between 1935 and 1960 and
    (b) had big seasons in their late 20s
    had to wait until 23 or 24 to make their major league debuts?

    If you can’t come up with four or five, then Newcombe should get credit for some of his time in the minors as compensation for racism (I gave him credit for two of those years), and he does deserve induction.
    Last edited by AG2004; 01-20-2008, 01:24 PM.

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