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AG2004's Keltner Lists

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  • AG2004's Keltner Lists

    I first posted Keltner Lists for players in the Baseball Fever Hall of Fame discussion thread in October 2006. Since then, I have posted a large number of such lists, both in the main discussion thread and in threads on individual players.

    Several people have appreciated the work I have done on these lists, and I thought it would be useful to gather all of them together in one thread similar to the “Albright’s musings” thread. Like Albright, I want my thread to provide information on players and issues.

    To that end, I request that, if you have any comments or questions regarding my lists, you either send me a message or start a different thread about your issue. I know some people may want to discuss some things they read here, but that would interfere with my goal of creating an information resource.

    Furthermore, since I cannot delete any message added to this thread, I can’t move your reply to a thread of its own if you post it here. Setting up a new thread on the main “Hall of Fame Talk” board for any specific issue, as opposed to replying to it here, would satisfy both of us. Please be considerate of this request.

    Alternatively, you can post on the Discussion thread for the Keltner Lists at:

    http://www.baseball-fever.com/showthread.php?t=63897



    Since many of the Lists have been posted elsewhere, I will note the date that the List was originally posted on another thread. I hope to update the earlier lists in the near future, but editing them before I post them would be a very slow process.

    Post 2 on this thread will state the Keltner List questions. The third and fourth posts will be indexes of players discussed (in alphabetical order and by position, respectively). The fifth post will refer to discussions on certain issues related to answering the Keltner List questions.

    I hope that these lists will be helpful to you.
    Last edited by AG2004; 07-02-2007, 03:01 PM. Reason: Added Link to Discussion thread

  • #2
    Keltner List Questions

    The Keltner List is a series of fifteen questions, created by Bill James, and designed to evaluate whether a player is worthy of induction into Cooperstown. I have been using them in a Baseball Fever Hall of Fame context, determining if a player is ballot-worthy, worthy to be in my queue for induction but not the immediate ballot, or unworthy of induction at all.

    I find win shares to be a useful tool in answering many of the questions. For questions 11 and 12, early players did not have All-Star games or MVP voting, so win shares provide me with a quick way to count All-Star-type seasons and MVP-candidate-type seasons.

    Here is the basic Keltner List:

    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?

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    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?

    13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be 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?

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

    Comment


    • #3
      Index of Players Evaluated (Alphabetical Order)

      The following is a list of players who have Keltner Lists dedicated to them, and the post numbers where their lists, or analyses related to their lists, appear. In some cases, there may be a relevant side issue affecting one player. In that case, I will indicate both the post dealing with the side issue and the post with the list itself.

      Luis Aparicio - #63
      Dave Bancroft - #123
      Sal Bando - #47
      Jake Beckley - #65
      John Beckwith - #51
      Albert Belle - #17
      Chief Bender - #104
      Charlie Bennett - #74
      Wally Berger - #95
      Bobby Bonds - #32
      Jim Bottomley - #83
      Ken Boyer - #69
      Roger Bresnahan - #41
      Kevin Brown - #102
      Pete Browning - #34
      Jim Bunning - #19
      George J. Burns - #110
      Bob Caruthers - #31
      Orlando Cepeda - #53
      Perucho Cepeda - #76
      Cupid Childs - #89
      Will Clark - #14
      Bus Clarkson - #128
      Dave Concepcion - #124
      Wilbur Cooper - #98
      Gavy Cravath - #108 (side issue), #109 (Keltner List)
      Lave Cross - #112
      Kiki Cuyler - #105
      Bobby Doerr - #6
      Larry Doyle - #82
      Don Drysdale - #20
      Bob Elliott - #133
      Darrell Evans - #46
      Dwight Evans - #79
      Urban Faber - #96
      Wes Ferrell - #33
      Rollie Fingers - #36
      Elmer Flick - #50
      Nellie Fox - #11
      Jack Glasscock - #91
      Lefty Gomez - #55
      Burleigh Grimes - #64
      George Gore - #35
      Heinie Groh - #18
      Keith Hernandez - #15
      Bob Johnson - #58
      Charley Jones - #120
      Addie Joss - #42
      Charlie Keller - #57
      Joe Kelley - #70
      Ken Keltner - #100
      Dave Kingman - #75
      Chuck Klein - #39
      Tommy Leach - #73
      Ernie Lombardi - #115
      Herman Long - #92
      Dick Lundy - #126
      Fred Lynn - #80
      Ted Lyons - #8
      Heinie Manush - #40
      Rabbit Maranville - #122
      Edgar Martinez - #107
      Jim McCormick - #28
      Fred McGriff - #16
      Bid McPhee - #88
      Jose Mendez - #10
      Dobie Moore - #81
      Cal McVey - #114
      Tony Mullane - #29
      Thurman Munson - #121
      Graig Nettles - #45
      Don Newcombe - #21
      Tony Oliva - #117
      Al Oliver - #84
      Alejandro Oms - #99
      Rafael Palmeiro - #77 (side issue), #78 (Keltner List)
      Dickey Pearce - #54
      Tony Perez - #52
      Billy Pierce - #113
      Lip Pike - #119
      Dan Quisenberry - #37
      Dick Redding - #7
      Jim Rice - #68
      Sam Rice - #67
      Hardy Richardson - #90
      Phil Rizzuto - #125
      Eppa Rixey - #97
      Al Rosen - #127
      Edd Roush - #48
      Red Ruffing - #56
      Jimmy Ryan - #86
      Joe Sewell - #25
      Jimmy Sheckard - #49
      Ken Singleton - #118
      Lee Smith - #101
      Reggie Smith - #129
      Joe Start - #71
      Rusty Staub - #130
      Dave Stieb - #132
      Vern Stephens - #12
      Bruce Sutter - #38
      Don Sutton - #9
      Ezra Sutton - #93
      Luis Tiant - #44
      Quincy Trouppe - #116
      George Van Haltren - #85
      Larry Walker - #66
      Bobby Wallace - #72
      Bucky Walters - #131
      Lloyd Waner - #106
      Mickey Welch - #30
      Lou Whitaker - #13
      Bernie Williams - #111
      Marvin Williams - #24
      Vic Willis - #103
      Artie Wilson - #23
      Hack Wilson - #94
      Nip Winters - #43
      Jimmy Wynn - #61 (side issue), #62 (Keltner List)
      Last edited by AG2004; 08-29-2009, 01:16 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Index of Players Evaluated (by Position)

        This index sorts players by position. Since there are very few people who were primarily designated hitters, those players have been listed under "First Base."

        CATCHER
        Charlie Bennett - #74
        Roger Bresnahan - #41
        Ernie Lombardi - #115
        Cal McVey - #114
        Thurman Munson - #121
        Quincy Trouppe - #116

        FIRST BASE
        Jake Beckley - #65
        Jim Bottomley - #83
        Orlando Cepeda - #53
        Will Clark - #14
        Keith Hernandez - #15
        Dave Kingman - #75
        Edgar Martinez - #107
        Fred McGriff - #16
        Rafael Palmeiro - #77 (side issue), #78 (Keltner List)
        Tony Perez - #52
        Joe Start - #71

        SECOND BASE
        Cupid Childs - #89
        Bobby Doerr - #6
        Larry Doyle - #82
        Nellie Fox - #11
        Bid McPhee - #88
        Hardy Richardson - #90
        Lou Whitaker - #13
        Marvin Williams - #24

        THIRD BASE
        Sal Bando - #47
        John Beckwith - #51
        Ken Boyer - #69
        Bus Clarkson - #128
        Lave Cross - #112
        Bob Elliott - #133
        Darrell Evans - #46
        Heinie Groh - #18
        Tommy Leach - #73
        Ken Keltner - #100
        Graig Nettles - #45
        Al Rosen - #127
        Ezra Sutton - #93

        SHORTSTOP
        Luis Aparicio - #63
        Dave Bancroft - #123
        Perucho Cepeda - #76
        Dave Concepcion - #124
        Jack Glasscock - #91
        Herman Long - #92
        Dick Lundy - #126
        Rabbit Maranville - #122
        Dobie Moore - #81
        Dickey Pearce - #54
        Phil Rizzuto - #125
        Joe Sewell - #25
        Vern Stephens - #12
        Bobby Wallace - #72
        Artie Wilson - #23

        LEFT FIELD
        Albert Belle - #17
        George J. Burns - #110
        Bob Johnson - #58
        Charley Jones - #120
        Charlie Keller - #57
        Joe Kelley - #70
        Heinie Manush - #40
        Jim Rice - #68
        Jimmy Sheckard - #49

        CENTER FIELD
        Wally Berger - #95
        Pete Browning - #34
        George Gore - #35
        Fred Lynn - #80
        Al Oliver - #84
        Alejandro Oms - #99
        Lip Pike - #119
        Edd Roush - #48
        Jimmy Ryan - #86
        George Van Haltren - #85
        Lloyd Waner - #106
        Bernie Williams - #111
        Hack Wilson - #94
        Jimmy Wynn - #61 (side issue), #62 (Keltner List)

        RIGHT FIELD
        Bobby Bonds - #32
        Gavy Cravath - #108 (side issue), #109 (Keltner List)
        Kiki Cuyler - #105
        Dwight Evans - #79
        Elmer Flick - #50
        Chuck Klein - #39
        Tony Oliva - #117
        Sam Rice - #67
        Ken Singleton - #118
        Reggie Smith - #129
        Rusty Staub - #130
        Larry Walker - #66

        STARTING PITCHERS
        Chief Bender - #104
        Kevin Brown - #102
        Jim Bunning - #19
        Bob Caruthers - #31
        Wilbur Cooper - #98
        Don Drysdale - #20
        Urban Faber - #96
        Wes Ferrell - #33
        Lefty Gomez - #55
        Burleigh Grimes - #64
        Addie Joss - #42
        Ted Lyons - #8
        Jim McCormick - #28
        Jose Mendez - #10
        Tony Mullane - #29
        Don Newcombe - #21
        Billy Pierce - #113
        Dick Redding - #7
        Eppa Rixey - #97
        Red Ruffing - #56
        Dave Stieb - #132
        Don Sutton - #9
        Luis Tiant - #44
        Bucky Walters - #131
        Mickey Welch - #30
        Vic Willis - #103
        Nip Winters - #43

        RELIEF PITCHERS
        Rollie Fingers - #36
        Dan Quisenberry - #37
        Lee Smith - #101
        Bruce Sutter - #38
        Last edited by AG2004; 08-29-2009, 01:17 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Issues Index

          There are several issues which can complicate a straightforward analysis.

          Shortened seasons pose a problem, for example. The 1918 and 1919 seasons were cut short due to war, while many games were lost in 1981, 1994, and 1995 due to strikes. Win shares measures value in a certain context, and players who hit their peaks around 1918-19, 1981, or 1994-95 suffer because the lost games meant that they couldn't earn as many win shares in their peak years as players who hit their peaks in other years.

          To account for this problem, I adjust the peak measures so that they reflect what players would have earned had there been full schedules in those years. For example, there were 144 games per team in 1995, when there would have been 162 without the strikes, so I take a player's win share total for 1995 and multiply it by (162/144) to get an adjustment. If a player earned 24 win shares in 1995, the adjustment boosts the player's total to 27 win shares. I then use 27, rather than 24, in order to compute peak values.

          There are other issues that affect player evaluations, and some of them are indexed below.

          Career averages vs. Season-by-season analysis - #112
          Effects of the DH on win shares - #13
          Gray Ink and 1870s pitchers - #27
          Gray Ink and 1880s pitchers - #26
          One-year glitches - #60
          Overuse of young pitchers, 1972 to late 1980s - #132
          Park effects and extreme home/road splits - #59
          Season Length in the 1800s - #34
          Union Association - #87
          Wartime credit for pitchers - #22
          Last edited by AG2004; 08-28-2009, 10:07 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Bobby Doerr

            [NOTE: Originally posted October 20, 2006. Doerr was elected to the BBFHOF in the October 2006 election.]

            It looks like I'll be working on some Keltner lists over the next few days. I did one for Bobby Doerr, and I just don't see him as deserving of my vote.

            Case to Consider: DOERR, 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?

            Only in 1943, during the war years. By win shares, he was the second best position player on the Red Sox in 1944, 1948, and 1950 (and 1948 was the only one of those years in which Ted Williams played a full season).

            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 2B in the AL over the period 1946-1949, with 98 win shares, and led AL 2B in win shares in 1946, 1948, and 1949. He led all MLB 2B in 1946 and 1948.

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

            Some. When the Red Sox won the pennant in 1946, they did so by twelve games, so Doerr wouldn’t have had that much of an impact. He did have 27 WS in 1948, so Boston wouldn’t have entered the playoff had he been just a good player. He batted .409/.458/.591 in the 1946 World Series.

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

            No. He played his last season at the age of 33, and was injury-prone even before that final injury.

            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 similar players to Doerr are Tony Lazzeri, Vern Stephens, Bob Elliott, Joe Torre, Ken Boyer, Ray Durham, Bret Boone, Bobby Grich, Marty McManus, and Jay Bell. Only Grich is in the BBFHOF, although Torre might have been inducted as a player if he had not been inducted as a contributor first. I don’t think the one missed season would make a huge difference in this list.

            If we give Doerr 22+ win shares for 1945, we have:
            Lifetime WS, 2B: Willie Randolph 312, Bid McPhee 305, Nellie Fox 304, DOERR 303+, Billy Herman 298, Larry Doyle 289. With the exception of enshrinee Herman, everyone in this range is a candidate for membership in the BBFHOF.

            Win Shares, top three seasons, 2B: Nellie Fox 88, Joe Gordon 85, Eddie Stanky 85, Johnny Evers 82, Bobby Avila 82, Tony Lazzeri 81, Dick McAuliffe 81, DOERR 81, Jim Gilliam 81, Lou Whitaker 80, Buddy Myer 80, Steve Sax 79, Dave Lopes 78, Willie Randolph 77. This isn’t the best category for Doerr.

            Win Shares, 5 consecutive seasons: Frankie Frisch 135, Billy Herman 135, Larry Doyle 130, Nellie Fox 128, DOERR 127, Cupid Childs 127, Bobby Avila 124, Lonnie Frey 121, Dick McAuliffe 119. Not quite BBFHOF level yet, but Doerr is in the company of some serious contenders for membership.

            Doerr is close to making it in two of the categories, but rather far away in the other two.

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

            His black ink score is 5. His gray ink score of 128 (137th overall) is good for a second baseman. His HOF Standards score is 41.0. Also, Doerr won three Win Shares Gold Gloves at second.

            Doerr 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?

            Fenway inflated Doerr’s statistics a lot. He hit 145 home runs at Fenway, but just 78 on the road. According to the discussion on Doerr at baseballthinkfactory, Doerr had a .327 OBP and a .389 SLG on the road.

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

            No. I have no doubt that Nellie Fox is a better candidate for the BBFHOF than Doerr.

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

            Doerr was third in the MVP voting for 1946. However, Doerr never had a season with 30+ win shares. The best he did was 27, which he reached three times. In my view, having a peak of 27 win shares is a serious drawback.

            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?

            Doerr played in nine All-Star games, which is pretty good, and may have played in a tenth if not for the war. However, he only had eight seasons with 20+ win shares, which is what I call an All-Star-type season. That’s generally borderline.

            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. In the two postwar years that Doerr was the second best player on the Red Sox, the team challenged for the pennant but failed to win it. As the Red Sox had pretty good players each time, I don't think a team with Doerr 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?

            Not that I know.

            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: Doerr is close to BBFHOF level in some categories. However, his term as the AL’s best second baseman is very short, and his level of play over that time too low, to balance all the negatives. Even if we give him credit for his one year in the service, he still doesn’t make my list.

            Comment


            • #7
              [NOTE: Originally posted October 24, 2006. Redding was elected in the November 2006 election.]

              Here's the Keltner list I made for Redding. I see Redding, unlike Doerr, as a legitimate candidate for induction if I were doing the sole voting for the BBFHOF. However, I can't convince myself that Redding is currently among the best 25 candidates for induction, nor that he's a better candidate than any of the pitchers I listed on last month's ballot.

              Case to Consider: REDDING, “Cannonball” Dick

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

              There were some contemporaries who said he was among the best pitchers in baseball, which would put him among the best players in baseball.

              2. Was he the best player on his team?

              During his peak years, he was.

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

              He wasn’t the best pitcher in baseball at his peak – both Alexander and Johnson were better. However, he was the best pitcher in the Negro Leagues during the late 1910s.

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

              The question is not truly applicable in Redding’s case; there were no organized leagues for him to play in during his peak years.

              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?

              Chris Cobb credits Redding with 267 career win shares, with his three peak seasons at 40, 33, 27. Since Redding was in the military during parts of the 1918 and 1919 seasons, we’ll take 1915-17 and 1920-21 as representing Redding’s best five consecutive seasons. That would give us 140 WS during those five years. (Cobb would give Redding about 18 WS for war credit. That would lower Redding’s peak to about 130-132 WS).

              Career WS, contemporary P: Eppa Rixey 315, Red Faber 292, Burleigh Grimes 286, REDDING 267+war credit, Walker Cooper 266, Waite Hoyt 262, Carl Mays 256, Stan Coveleski 245, Babe Adams 243, Dazzy Vance 241, Dolf Luque 241. This is generally Cooperstown territory, with Coveleski and Vance also in the BBFHOF. Mendez projects to about 266 WS lifetime.

              Top three seasons, contemporary P: Three Finger Brown 105, REDDING 100, Dazzy Vance 94, Red Faber 93, Carl Mays 92, Burleigh Grimes 91, Stan Coveleski 90, Smokey Joe Wood 90. Redding is in very good shape. However, Mendez projects to 107 WS.

              Top five seasons, contemporary P: Stan Coveleski 142, Carl Mays 140, REDDING 140, Wilbur Cooper 133, Shocker 128, Vaughn 128. Redding right at the cutoff line if we ignore the partial seasons of 1918 and 1919; he would fall between Cooper and Shocker if we give compensation for his time in the military, though. Mendez, however, projects to 164 WS.

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

              I don’t know. The 114 lifetime ERA+ Cobb would award him is a little low.

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

              The organized Negro Leagues didn’t get started until the second half of his career, which means the statistics from that time capture only the decline phase of his career, and miss his peak. We have decent statistics from the 1910s, though.

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

              No. Just among Negro League pitchers, I would rate Mendez ahead of Redding.

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

              Holway awards Redding with three George Stovey Awards, his Negro League equivalent to the Cy Young. A pitcher with Redding’s record would have been second in WS among AL pitchers in 1915, and second among NL pitchers in 1915, 1916, and 1917.

              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 Cobb’s projections, Redding would have had four seasons that would have placed him among the top four pitchers in the NL, with another season placing him sixth. That’s a little low for pitchers. Redding would have had just two seasons among the top four pitchers in the AL, with one season at fifth and another at sixth. That’s really low.

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

              During his peak years, 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?

              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?

              All the testimonials I have seen say Redding definitely upheld those standards.

              CONCLUSION: Redding looks worthy of BBFHOF – fairly soon. However, I really can’t see any pitcher currently on my ballot who I’d be comfortable replacing Redding with. Carl Mays, one of the close cases, had nine seasons with 20+ win shares, while Redding projects to just five. Ted Lyons doesn’t hit Redding’s peak, but he beats Redding in career measures and in the number of All-Star-type seasons. Redding will just have to wait a while.

              Comment


              • #8
                [NOTE: Originally posted on October 24, 2006. Lyons was voted into the BBFHOF in the November 2006 election.]

                Here's the list I have for Ted Lyons, who did make my ballot.

                Case to Consider: LYONS, Ted

                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?

                At his peak, he was the best pitcher on his team.

                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 pitcher in MLB in 1927, and perhaps the best in the AL over the period 1925-1927.

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

                No. The White Sox were generally horrible during his peak years.

                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, Red Faber, Gus Weyhing, Eppa Rixey, Sam Jones, Jack Quinn, Mel Harder, Red Ruffing, Waite Hoyt, and Jack Powell. Five are in Cooperstown, but none are in the BBFHOF. Of the ten, Faber is the only one with a higher ERA+ than Lyons.

                By career WS, contemporary P: Red Ruffing 322, LYONS 311, Carl Hubbell 305. There aren’t many in Lyons’ class.

                (Lyons served in the military during WWII, and returned for a few games before retiring in 1946. He may arguably deserve 25 to 30 more career WS as compensation. As he was an older pitcher with a well-defined usage pattern, the argument against giving wartime credit for pitchers would not necessarily apply to his case.)

                By best three seasons: George Uhle 84, Lefty Gomez 80, LYONS 79, Mel Harder 78, Red Ruffing 76, Eddie Rommel 73. He’s not in BBFHOF company here.

                By best five consecutive seasons: Red Ruffing 116, Eddie Rommel 113, Mel Harder 111, LYONS 110, George Uhle 106, Lefty Gomez 106. Lyons is not in BBFHOF company by this standard, either.

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

                Lyons’ black ink score of 32 is good for 47th place. His gray ink score of 180 is 55th among pitchers. However, his HOF Standards score of 30.0 is only good for 137th place overall.

                Lyons 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?

                He played in a pitcher’s park, but the AL during the 1930s was a hitter’s paradise. Also, the White Sox were terrible during most of Lyons’ career.

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

                Not in my opinion.

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

                Lyons was third in the 1927 MVP vote, although Babe Ruth was ineligible for the award, having won the MVP vote in 1923. Lyons was the best pitcher in the major leagues in 1927. He was also the second best pitcher in the AL in 1925 and in 1942.

                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 one All-Star game, but that contest started after the majority of his best seasons. He was among the top 4 AL pitchers in win shares 5 times, and was tied for sixth best (with 20 WS) on two other occasions. That’s a little 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 would have doubts. If he pitched at or near his best, and the team had solid batting, it would be likely that the team could win. However, he was very inconsistent. He had four seasons in the period 1930-1942 with 20 or more WS, but eight where he recorded 14 WS or less. You aren’t going to get anywhere near the pennant if your best pitcher has just 14 WS.

                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?

                Yes.

                CONCLUSION: Lyons had a two-part career. He was a fastball pitcher until his arm went dead in 1931. He then developed a knuckleball and stayed in the majors for a decade after that. His peak isn’t high enough to justify induction. But when you combine it with his long career and ink scores, it’s enough to overcome my concerns about his limited number of All-Star-type seasons.

                Comment


                • #9
                  [NOTE: Originally posted October 25, 2006. Sutton was voted into the BBFHOF in the November 2006 election.]

                  Of the eight people mentioned in post 356 [of the main BBFHOF discussion thread] as having a high percentage of the vote, there were three who weren't on my September ballot. I have posted Keltner Lists for Bobby Doerr (who misses my queue) and Cannonball Dick Redding (who makes my queue, but not my ballot).

                  After making a Keltner list for Don Sutton, I now believe that he belongs on my ballot.

                  Case to Consider: SUTTON, 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?

                  No.

                  2. Was he the best player on his team?

                  During the early 1970s, he was the Dodgers’ best pitcher.

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

                  No.

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

                  Yes.

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

                  Most definitely.

                  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 pitchers are: Gaylord Perry, Bert Blyleven, Steve Carlton, Phil Niekro, Tom Seaver, Tommy John, Warren Spahn, Ferguson Jenkins, Greg Maddux, and Early Wynn. Eight are members of the BBFHOF, while Maddux is still active (and would be a lock if he retired today). However, Sutton’s ERA+ of 107 is above only Wynn’s 106; John is at 110, while everyone else is at 115 or higher.

                  Contemporary P, Career WS: Bert Blyleven 339, Nolan Ryan 334, Ferguson Jenkins 323, Bob Gibson 320, SUTTON 318, Jim Palmer 313, Tommy John 289. Sutton is in good company here.

                  Contemporary P, Best three seasons: Luis Tiant 79, Vida Blue 77, Bert Blyleven 75, Mickey Lolich 75, Nolan Ryan 74, Jim Kaat 70, SUTTON 67, Rick Reuschel 66, Tommy John 61. Sutton doesn’t make it here.

                  Contemporary P, Best five consecutive seasons: Steve Carlton 111, Mickey Lolich 111, Louis Tiant 108, Nolan Ryan 102, SUTTON 99, Vida Blue 96, Rick Reuschel 95, Jim Kaat 88. Sutton isn’t in HOF company here, either.

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

                  Sutton’s black ink score of 8 is very, very low. However, his gray ink score of 240 is 23rd all-time. His HOF Standards score of 58.0 is 19th.

                  Sutton has been inducted into Cooperstown.

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

                  Those years at Dodger Stadium certainly helped. On the other hand, he was one of the first top pitchers to be in a five-man rotation (with the Dodgers in 1972), which would lower his season totals enough for him to suffer with those pitchers still in a four-man rotation.

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

                  Not in my opinion.

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

                  He was fifth in Cy Young voting 3 times, fourth once, and third once. He was second in the NL in WS among starters in 1973 and 1980.

                  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?

                  Sutton played in four All-Star games, which is low for a pitcher.

                  He was among the top four in NL starters in win shares in 1972, 1973, and 1980. He was fifth in 1976. In 1982, his 17 WS would have put him in a tie for sixth had he been in either major league for the whole season.

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

                  The team could win the pennant with Sutton as its 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?

                  Sutton is seventh in career innings pitched, seventh in career strikeouts, third in career games started, tenth in career shutouts. He is also known for never missing a start in 23 seasons 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?

                  I think so.

                  CONCLUSION: I’m not sure exactly how to adjust for number of people in a starting rotation, but I doubt Sutton could close the gap in peak value against his BBFHOF contemporaries if I made those adjustments. However, giving him 10 or 11% extra credit for 1972, 1973, 1975, and 1976 (when the Dodgers were using the five-men rotation and most other teams were using a four-man rotation) would boost his peak enough to rank with the best contemporaries who aren’t in the BBFHOF. Combine it with his career value, and I think Sutton is in.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Jose Mendez

                    [NOTE: Originally posted October 27, 2006. Mendez was elected to the BBFHOF on July 27, 2007.]

                    Yet another Keltner List, this one for Jose Mendez.

                    I had Mendez on my ballot last month, but didn't put Redding on. This list helps explain why that was the case.

                    Case to Consider: MENDEZ, José

                    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 think so.

                    2. Was he the best player on his team?

                    From 1908-09 to 1914, he was definitely the best player on the Almendares club. Indeed, Almendares was the only top club in Cuba that did not bring in American players during that time. Almendares won three of the six Cuban pennants during that time.

                    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 pitcher in Cuba at his peak. In the March 1913 issue of Baseball magazine, Ira Thomas described Mendez as “one of the greatest twirlers the game ever knew,” but not quite the equal of Walter Johnson. John Henry Lloyd, however, described Mendez as the greatest pitcher he ever saw.

                    At his peak from 1911 to 1914, Mendez was the second-best pitcher in baseball, behind only Walter Johnson. He was better than any pitcher in the National League.

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

                    In Cuba, most definitely. Almendares won three of the six pennants during his peak, and Mendez received most of the credit. He also played a key role in leading the Kansas City Monarchs to the pennant in 1923.

                    Surgery ended his 1924 season early. However, with the pitching staff depleted in game seven of that year’s Negro League World Series, Mendez entered in the tenth inning, and pitched three shutout innings to win the game. He had a no-decision after entering in the ninth inning of Game 9. He pitched a complete-game, three-hit shutout to win the decisive Game 10, as the Monarchs defeated Hilldale in the series, 5-4-1.

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

                    Not necessarily as a pitcher, but he did function as a shortstop, and would have been a major-league quality utility player.

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

                    No.

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

                    Chris Cobb projects Mendez to 2886 IP, with a 2.63 ERA, 121 ERA+, and 195-133 record. Mendez has 257 career pitching win shares with about 6-12 more WS from batting. His 5-year peak gives him 166 WS (Cobb deducts 9 WS from his 1912 and 1914 projections), with his best seasons at 40, 36, and 31 (after the deductions, but without adding batting WS).

                    Comparable pitchers of the era, career: Three Finger Brown 296, Vic Willis 293, Joe McGinnity 269, Ed Walsh 265, MENDEZ 263+, Babe Adams 243, Rube Waddell 240, Jesse Tannehill 233. Mendez looks like he belongs in the BBFHOF.

                    Comparable 5-year peak: Ed Walsh 177, MENDEZ 166+, Three Finger Brown 163, Joe McGinnity 162, Christy Mathewson 161, Rube Waddell 145. There’s no doubt Mendez is of BBFHOF quality.

                    Comparable best 3 seasons: Joe McGinnity 117, Christy Mathewson 115, MENDEZ 107+, Three Finger Brown 105, Rube Waddell 100. Again, Mendez is in very good company.

                    By these win share measures, Mendez is better than BBFHOF Rube Waddell, and may be most comparable to Joe McGinnity.

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

                    In Cuba, Mendez led in winning percentage five times, wins three times, and shutouts five times. Mendez 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?

                    Since Almendares did not hire American players, Mendez may have faced better competition than pitchers on other Cuba clubs. Thus, his statistics may show him as being worse than he actually was.

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

                    No. However, he might be the best pitcher from the Western Hemisphere who is in eligible for the BBFHOF.

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

                    By Cobb’s projections, Mendez would have been first in WS among AL pitchers in 1911, and second in 1914. He would have had more WS than any other NL pitcher in 1912 and 1913, and would have tied Bill James for first in the NL in 1914. Four Cy-Young Award-type seasons is very good for a pitcher.

                    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?

                    Mendez would have been the third best pitcher in the AL in 1912 and 1913, and fifth in 1910. He would have been the third best pitcher in the NL in 1910 and 1911, and the fifth best in 1923. Combined with the Cy Young-type seasons mentioned above, that makes five or six All-Star-type seasons for Mendez.

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

                    I think his team could win the pennant.

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

                    Mendez was the first great Cuban baseball star.

                    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: Mendez definitely belongs in the BBFHOF.

                    If we compare Mendez to Cannonball Dick Redding, we see that the two are about equal in career value. However, Mendez has a higher peak than Redding, recorded more Cy Young Award-type seasons than Redding, and had more All-Star-type seasons than Redding. Mendez is in the baseballthinkfactory Hall of Merit; Redding isn’t. I don’t see how Redding could possibly be ranked ahead of Mendez. However, Redding was on fourteen BBFHOF ballots last month, while Mendez was on just two.
                    Last edited by AG2004; 11-12-2007, 12:32 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Nellie Fox

                      [NOTE: Originally posted October 30, 2006. Fox was voted into the BBFHOF in the April 13, 2007, election.]

                      2Chance wanted to know how Bobby Doerr compares to Nellie Fox and Vern Stephens. Even though Doerr was elected in the last election, I'm posting Keltner lists for Fox and Stephens anyway. I'll also post one for Lou Whitaker, whom I don't see making my ballot this month.

                      Here's the case for Nellie Fox.

                      Case to Consider: FOX, Nellie

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

                      No.

                      2. Was he the best player on his team?

                      He was the best player on the White Sox during the late 1950s.

                      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 2B in baseball from 1955 through 1960. During that span, he led AL 2B in win shares every year except 1958 (when he was second), and led major league 2B in win shares four times, finishing second the other two seasons.

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

                      He led the AL in win shares in 1959, when Chicago won the pennant. Otherwise, he didn’t have much impact, as the Yankees kept running away with the pennant year after year.

                      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 similar players are: Red Schoendienst, Doc Cramer, Omar Vizquel, Willie Randolph, Bobby Wallace, Lave Cross, Rabbit Maranville, Buddy Myer, Billy Herman, and Luis Aparicio. Five are in Cooperstown, but only Herman is in the BBFHOF. However, since no player has a similarity score over 900, nobody is that similar to Fox.

                      By career win shares, 2B: Lifetime WS, 2B: Willie Randolph 312, Bid McPhee 305, FOX 304, Billy Herman 298, Larry Doyle 289, Bobby Doerr 281 + 1 season war credit. Herman and Doerr are in, and the others are candidates.

                      Win Shares, top three seasons, 2B: Frankie Frisch 96, Bobby Grich 92, Billy Herman 90, Larry Doyle 90, Cupid Childs 90, FOX 88, Joe Gordon 85, Eddie Stanky 85, Johnny Evers 82, Bobby Avila 82, Chuck Knoblauch 82, Tony Lazzeri 81, Dick McAuliffe 81, Bobby Doerr 81, Jim Gilliam 81. Fox is at the cutoff line. Adjusting for timeline, Fox may be the best 2B outside the BBFHOF by this measure.

                      Top five consecutive seasons: Frankie Frisch 135, Billy Herman 135, Joe Gordon 134, Roberto Alomar 131, Larry Doyle 130, Chuck Knoblauch 129, FOX 128, Cupid Childs 127, Bobby Doerr 127, Bobby Avila 124, Lonnie Frey 121, Dick McAuliffe 119. Fox is at the cutoff line here, too.

                      (Fox outdoes Doerr in the two peak measures, and is essentially tied with Doerr in career value when we give Doerr war credit.)

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

                      Fox has a black ink score of 23 (84th all-time) and a gray ink score of 131 (132nd all-time), both of which are good for 2B. However, the HOF Standards score of 31.9 is a liability.

                      Fox won three Gold Gloves, but the award only started in mid-career. He won five Win Shares Gold Gloves at second. He is a member of Cooperstown, but has not been inducted into the Hall of Merit.

                      (Fox’s ink scores and WS Gold Gloves won both exceed Doerr’s totals. Doerr had a higher HOF Standards score.)

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

                      James gives Fox a grade of “A” for his defense, so Fox was better than his offensive numbers indicate.

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

                      I would say that he is the best major league 2B 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?

                      Fox won the MVP award in 1959, and was fourth in the 1957 voting. He led all AL players in win shares in 1959 (technically, he was tied with Mantle, but Fox’ team won the pennant). Overall, he had 2 seasons with 30+ win shares.

                      (Doerr’s single-season high in win shares was 27.)

                      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?

                      Fox played in twelve All-Star games, which is BBFHOF territory. He had nine seasons with 20+ win shares, which is good for a position player.

                      (Doerr played in nine All-Star games and had eight seasons with 20+ win shares, but deserves one more season in each category with war credit.)

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

                      His team would contend for the pennant, and occasionally win it.

                      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?

                      Fox holds the major league record for most consecutive games played at second base, with 798.

                      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: A combination of being the best major league at a position for six years, a merited MVP award, and a career with over 300 win shares makes a good argument for inducting Fox into the BBFHOF. Since Fox was better than Doerr, Doerr's induction is another point in favor in inducting Fox into the Hall.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Vern Stephens

                        [NOTE: Originally posted October 30, 2006.]

                        Here's the Keltner list for Vern Stephens. His peak win share numbers are weak when you adjust for World War II, and he was never the best shortstop in the American League except during the final two years of World War II. The short career doesn't help matters any.

                        Case to Consider: STEPHENS, Vern

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

                        No.

                        2. Was he the best player on his team?

                        He was the best player on the St. Louis Browns from 1943 to 1947, but the team was dreadful in the final two years, when everybody was back from the war.

                        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 shortstop in baseball in 1944 and 1945, but outside of those two war years, he was never the best shortstop in the American League.

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

                        He had 34 WS in 1944, when his team won the pennant. He had 25 WS in 1948 and 32 in 1949, when the Red Sox just barely lost the pennant. So he did have some impact there.

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

                        No. After the age of 29, he never had more than 377 AB in a single season.

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

                        No.

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

                        By similarity scores, the closest players are: Bobby Doerr, Tony Lazzeri, Bret Boone, Joe Gordon, Miguel Tejada, Travis Fryman, Joe Torre, Bobby Grich, Travis Jackson, and Ken Caminiti. Three are in Cooperstown, but two are considered mistakes. Two are in the BBFHOF as players; Torre might have also been in the BBFHOF as a player if he hadn’t been elected as a contributor first.

                        Career win shares, SS: Bert Campaneris 280, Tony Fernandez 278, Lou Boudreau 277, Joe Sewell 277, Dave Concepcion 269, Dave Bancroft 269, Herman Long 265, STEPHENS 265, Jim Fregosi 261, Joe Tinker 258, Maury Wills 253, Dick Bartell 252 This is not BBFHOF territory.

                        Win shares, three best seasons: Luke Appling 98, Lou Boudreau 96, Ernie Banks 96, Barry Larkin 93, STEPHENS 93, Alan Trammell 90, Jim Fregosi 89, Maury Wills 87, Eddie Joost 87, Johnny Pesky 87, Rico Petrocelli 87, Phil Rizzuto 86, Pee Wee Reese 85, Joe Sewell 84, Dave Bancroft 84, Herman Long 83, Ozzie Smith 83. Stephens is in BBFHOF territory if you don’t make any adjustments. However, since two of his three best seasons were in 1944 and 1945, one might want to knock off 4 or 5 win shares. In that case, he’s around the cutoff line.

                        Win shares, best 5 seasons: Lou Boudreau 135, Jim Fregosi 135, Pee Wee Reese 134, Alan Trammell 132, Barry Larkin 130, Johnny Pesky 130, STEPHENS 129, Maury Wills 128, Eddie Joost 126, Joe Sewell 125, Rico Petrocelli 125, Ozzie Smith 123, Al Dark 118, Joe Tinker 118, Dave Bancroft 115. Stephens is at the cutoff line. However, if you want to dock him 4 or 5 win shares for the lower competition of WWII, he’s not really in BBFHOF company.

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

                        Stephen’s black ink total of 18 (122nd) and gray ink total of 141 (109th) are impressive for shortstops. His HOF Standards score of 38.5 (164th place) is a little low, though.

                        Stephens won three Win Shares Gold Gloves, but two were in the war years of 1944 and 1945.

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

                        There’s a little boost from the diluted competition of 1944 and 1945. Since he averaged 15 HRs a year on the road during his first three years with the Red Sox, I don’t think Fenway boosted his numbers that much.

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

                        No. That would be Perucho Cepeda.

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

                        He finished third in the AL MVP voting in 1944, and fourth in 1942 and 1948. He was in the top ten six times. He had two seasons with 30+ win shares. With 34 WS in 1944, he still has those two seasons even if you dock him a little for the level of the competition.

                        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 eight All-Star games, which is borderline for a position player. He also had eight seasons with 20+ win shares.

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

                        Not unless there was a World War going on.

                        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. Although he had a reputation for drinking, I haven’t found any references to it impacting his playing.

                        CONCLUSION: Stephens just didn’t do enough to merit inclusion into the BBFHOF.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Lou Whitaker

                          When I first posted a Keltner List for Whitaker, I failed to take into account a position player at a key defensive position has less value than before, and a slugger with weak defense has more value than before, once you institute a DH rule. Part of this is because offensive win shares would, in effect, be divided among nine regulars instead of eight.

                          Win shares measures value in a specific situation, and the DH lowered Whitaker’s value. Whitaker appeared in 2390 games, but was a designated hitter in only 32 of them, and 8 of those where in his final season, so he didn’t get a large career boost from the DH rule. Whitaker had 351 career win shares; let's say 10 of them came from being a DH.

                          However, since the DH takes offensive win shares from other players - let's say 1 to 2 per year - Whitaker lost some win shares as well. If he lost 10 win shares to the DH, that balances out the career total. However, Whitaker would have lost win shares during his peak years. If we're conservative, it would be somewhere around 4 during his best three seasons, and 6 or 7 during his best five consecutive seasons.

                          Whitaker’s win share totals for his best five consecutive seasons would have been somewhere in the low- to mid-120s had he been in the NL instead of the AL; this would have put his peak among the top 2B outside the BBFHOF. Whitaker had one season with 29 win shares, and four seasons with 19 win shares (counting 1981, where his 13 WS would have become 19 over a 162-game season). If Whitaker had been in the NL, that would have given Whitaker an MVP-type-season, and increased the number of his All-Star-type seasons from ten to fourteen.

                          Whitaker wouldn’t have been any better had he played in the National League, but he would have had higher win share totals during his peak because there would not have been any DH to siphon offensive win shares from the other position players. Once I added consideration of the DH factor to the way I interpret the results of sabermetrics, Whitaker lept from the gray area onto my ballot.

                          [NOTE: The following was originally posted on October 30, 2006, and edited on July 28, 2007. Whitaker was elected to the BBFHOF in the September 7, 2007 election.]


                          Since I produced a Keltner List for Nellie Fox, I decided to do one for our leading vote-getter at second, Lou Whitaker, as well.

                          Case to Consider: WHITAKER, Lou

                          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 in win shares four times, but only one of those teams finished with more than 84 wins (the 1983 Tigers went 92-70).

                          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 2B in the American League each year from 1982 to 1985, but 1983 was the only year he led all major league 2B in win shares. Whitaker also finished second among AL 2B in win shares in 1981, 1987, 1989, and 1991.

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

                          No. He had 22 win shares in 1984, but the Tigers ran away with the pennant. He didn’t play that well in the postseason.

                          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?

                          I don't believe he is the top player outside the BBFHOF. However, in the most recent election, he was tied for the lead in votes among players who failed to make the BBFHOF, so a case can be made for him.

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

                          By Similarity scores, the most comparable players are: Ryne Sandberg, Alan Trammell, Barry Larkin, Ted Simmons, Brian Downing, Buddy Bell, B.J. Surhoff, Roberto Alomar, Joe Torre, and Joe Morgan. Six of the ten, including the top four, are in the BBFHOF as players, and Torre might be in as well if he hadn't been inducted as a contributor first. That's a great sign for Whitaker.

                          Career WS, 2B: Rod Carew 384, Frankie Frisch 366, WHITAKER 351, Ryne Sandberg 346, Bobby Grich 329. Whitaker has more career win shares than any 2B outside the BBFHOF.

                          Best three seasons, 2B: Billy Herman 90, Larry Doyle 90, Nellie Fox 88, Joe Gordon 85, Eddie Stanky 85, Johnny Evers 82, Bobby Avila 82, Tony Lazzeri 81, Dick McAuliffe 81, Bobby Doerr 81, Jim Gilliam 81, WHITAKER 80, Buddy Myer 80, Steve Sax 79, Dave Lopes 78, Willie Randolph 77. Except for Gordon and Doerr, Whitaker isn't that close to BBFHOF - but he moves closer if you take into account how the DH affected Whitaker's peak value.

                          Peak five consecutive seasons, 2B: Roberto Alomar 131, Larry Doyle 130, Nellie Fox 128, Bobby Doerr 127, Bobby Avila 124, Lonnie Frey 121, Dick McAuliffe 119, Davey Lopes 118, Johnny Evers 117, WHITAKER 116, Gil McDougald 116, Tony Lazzeri 115, Buddy Myer 115, Willie Randolph 114, Eddie Stanky 113. This is definitely not BBFHOF territory; Whitaker isn’t within ten win shares of any second baseman in the BBFHOF.

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

                          His black ink score of 1 and gray ink score of 31 (732nd) are both low. His HOF Standards score of 42.8 is good for a solid 123rd all-time, though. He won three Gold Gloves, but only won a single Win Share Gold Glove.

                          Whitaker is not in Cooperstown. However, he was a first-ballot inductee into the Hall of Merit, named on 44 of the 47 ballots cast.

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

                          Whitaker batted .290/.378/.460 against right-handed pitchers, but just .239/.323/.334 against left-handed pitchers. During his decline phase, from 1990 onwards, he made very few plate appearances against left-handers, so the difference is bigger than it looks. On the other hand, the effects of the DH lowered his peak win share values without changing his career total much.

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

                          I see Whitaker as the best major league 2B 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?

                          The only time he received any votes for MVP was in 1983, when he finished eighth. That is not very good. Whitaker never had a season with 30+ win shares, but he did have one with 29 win shares, and that level of play would have given him 30 win shares in a non-DH league.

                          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 five All-Star games, which is very low for a position player. However, he had ten seasons with 20+ win shares, which I consider an All-Star-type season, and that's a positive for Whitaker. There are four more seasons, including the 1981 strike year (with 13 WS in a shortened season) where he missed having an All-Star-type season by one win share - and he played just one game at DH during those four seasons. That would give him fourteen such seasons in a non-DH context.

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

                          During the 1983-85 seasons and 1989-92 seasons, 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?

                          Whitaker and Trammell hold the American League record for most games played together.

                          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: Whitaker certainly had a lot of career value, and a lot of All-Star-type seasons. His peak doesn't look that good at first, but when you adjust for how the DH affected the win share values for players at primarily defensive positions, Whitaker's peak is right at the current borderline area for BBFHOF. If someone's at the edge in peak measures, and over the boundary in career measures, the overall balance is positive. Whitaker belongs in the BBFHOF.
                          Last edited by AG2004; 10-31-2007, 09:53 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Will Clark

                            In terms of peak value, Will Clark is far ahead of the standard that the BBFHOF has set for all other major leaguers. He played long enough that career value shouldn't be that much of a concern.

                            Here's the Keltner List I made for Clark.

                            [NOTE: Clard was elected to the BBFHOF on July 27, 2007.]

                            Case to Consider: CLARK, Will

                            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 think anyone ever suggested it during his career, but he led all NL position players in win shares in both 1988 and 1989.

                            2. Was he the best player on his team?

                            During the 1987-1992 era, he was the best player on the Giants, leading the team’s position players in win shares in 1988, 1989, and 1991. He also led the Texas Rangers in win shares in 1994.

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

                            Over the period 1987-1992, he was the best 1B in baseball. He led all MLB 1B in 1988, 1989, and 1991. He was second among NL 1B in 1987, 1990, 1992, and 1994.

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

                            He had 25 win shares in 1987, but the Giants won the division by six games. San Francisco won the division by three games in 1989, when Clark had 44 win shares – which is eight wins above the minimum for what I consider an All-Star-type season. Clark then won the MVP award for the NLCS that year. That’s a gigantic impact.

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

                            Yes, he was.

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

                            In peak, he’s easily the best major league position eligible position player who’s not in the BBFHOF. He had 115 win shares in his best three seasons, and 168 win shares in his five best consecutive seasons.

                            Every single eligible MLB position player with at least 103 win shares in his three best seasons is in the BBFHOF, except for Will Clark. He’s 13 win shares ahead of Al Rosen, Charlie Keller, and Frank Howard, who are tied for second in this category among eligible MLB position players outside the Hall.

                            Every single eligible MLB position player with at least 155 win shares in his best five consecutive seasons is in the BBFHOF, except for Will Clark. He’s 14 win shares ahead of Al Rosen, who’s second in this category among eligible MLB position players outside the Hall.

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

                            By similarity scores, the most comparable players are Edgar Martinez, Cecil Cooper, John Olerud, Bob Johnson, Paul O’Neill, Ellis Burks, Bernie Williams, Don Mattingly, Reggie Smith, and Jim Bottomley. None are in the BBFHOF, while only Bottomley is in Cooperstown, and many consider him a mistake. On the other hand, his 138 lifetime OPS+ puts him ahead of every player on the list except Edgar Martinez.

                            By career WS, 1B: Tony Perez 349, Mark McGwire 343, Dick Allen 342, Johnny Mize 338 (not including war credit), CLARK 330, Jake Beckley 318, Norm Cash 315, Keith Hernandez 311, Orlando Cepeda 310. Clark is around the cutoff, and one might argue that the 1994-95 strike cost him 10 career win shares.

                            By best three seasons: Lou Gehrig 127, Dick Allen 116, CLARK 115, Jimmie Foxx 115, Willie McCovey 107. Clark is 17 win shares ahead of Olerud’s 98. Except for Clark, every eligible 1B with at least 99 win shares in this category is in the BBFHOF.

                            By best five consecutive seasons: Jimmie Foxx 173, Dick Allen 170, CLARK 168, Johnny Mize 154. He’s 22 win shares ahead of Don Mattingly’s 146. Except for Clark, every eligible 1B with at least 147 win shares is in the BBFHOF.

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

                            Clark’s Black Ink score of 13 is 177th all-time, and his Gray Ink mark is 94, only 238th all-time. That’s very low, especially for a first baseman. His HOF Standards score is 41.9, 130th in history, which would be borderline.

                            Clark has 1 Gold Glove, but no Win Share Gold Gloves.

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

                            His biggest years came in Candlestick Park, which was often the worst hitter’s park in the NL during Clark’s peak, and just before the level of home runs hit reached their historic highs.

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

                            Most definitely.

                            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 NL MVP vote in 1989, fourth in 1991, and fifth in both 1987 and 1988. He led NL position players in win shares in 1988, with 37. He led all major league position players in win shares in 1989, with 44. He had three seasons with 30+ win shares, which is usually a good sign for position players.

                            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 six All-Star games, which is low for a position player. He had eight seasons with 20+ win shares (adjusting for shortened seasons in the strike years), which is borderline.

                            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, 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?

                            As far as I know.

                            CONCLUSION: In the two different peak win shares measures, Will Clark is twelve win shares above the level at which every other eligible position player in major league history is a member of the BBFHOF. It’s not as though career length is an issue, since we have plenty of position players with less than 330 career win shares who are in the BBFHOF. Will Clark should already be a member of the BBFHOF.
                            Last edited by AG2004; 11-12-2007, 12:33 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Keith Hernandez

                              [NOTE: Originally Posted on November 4, 2006. Updated on April 20, 2008.]

                              In response to Coop's mention of Hernandez, Clark, and McGriff in post 401 [of the main BBFHOF discussion thread], I decided to make up Keltner Lists for Hernandez and McGriff as well. Since Hernandez comes first both chronologically and alphabetically, I'll post his list first. Personally, I think he's in the gray area. [April 20, 2008: He's on my ballot; the four seasons with 27-29 win shares helps his case.]

                              Case to Consider: HERNANDEZ, Keith

                              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?

                              There was an MVP award. However, if you look over any period of 4-5 years, no, he was not regarded as such.

                              2. Was he the best player on his team?

                              He led Cardinals position players in win shares in 1979, 1980, and 1981, and Mets position players in 1984 and 1986. Although he was traded from the Cardinals to the Mets in mid-1983, his win share total for both teams that season exceeded that of anyone on either team.

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

                              Hernandez led all major league 1B in win shares in 1979, 1980, and 1984, and led NL 1B in win shares in 1977, 1981, 1985, and 1986. That’s a ten year period in which Hernandez led NL 1B in win shares seven times. So Hernandez was the best 1B in the National League over the course of a decade.

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

                              He had a good year with the Cardinals in 1982, and helped keep the Mets in contention in 1984 and 1985. The Mets won the World Series in 1986, and Hernandez led the team in Win Shares, but they were too far ahead of anybody else in their division for any single player to make a real impact.

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

                              Not that long. He hung around for three seasons at the end of his career, but never played 100 games in any of them. His last full season as a regular came at age 33.

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

                              No.

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

                              Similarity Scores: Wally Joyner, Mark Grace, Hal McRae, Joe Kuhel, Ken Griffey Sr., Chris Chambliss, Cecil Cooper, Jose Cruz, Joe Judge, and Cesar Cedeno. There’s not a HOFer among them. However, Hernandez’ lifetime OPS+ of 128 beats the OPS+ of every other player on the list by at least five points. So similarity scores don’t help us much here.

                              Lifetime Win Shares, 1B: Johnny Mize 338, Jake Beckley 318, Norm Cash 315, HERNANDEZ 311, Orlando Cepeda 310, Mickey Vernon 296, George Sisler 292, Ed Konetchy 287. This is mixed territory for the BBFHOF.

                              Hernandez gets credit for the games missed due to the 1981 strike. This raises his win share totals for his three best seasons from 91 to 93, and his totals for his five best consecutive seasons from 136 to 139.

                              Top 3 seasons: Tony Perez 96, Eddie Murray 95, Don Mattingly 95, Frank Chance 95, Bill Terry 93, HERNANDEZ 93, Orlando Cepeda 93, Norm Cash 93, Rafael Palmeiro 92, George Sisler 91, John Mayberry 91, Jack Fournier 91, Boog Powell 87, Mickey Vernon 86. Hernandez is at the cutoff area, and the timeline advantage helps him against the earlier players.

                              Top Five Consecutive Seasons: Don Mattingly 144, Frank Chance 143, Bill Terry 142, Eddie Murray 142, HERNANDEZ 139, Hank Greenberg 135, George Sisler 135, Dolph Camilli 135, Rafael Palmeiro 133, Fred McGriff 132, Orlando Cepeda 130, Norm Cash 130, John Olerud 130, Gil Hodges 129. This is very good territory for Hernandez. The only eligible 1B outside the BBFHOF with a higher total is Mattingly -- and Hernandez leads him by 48 career win shares.

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

                              A Black Ink total of 14 and a Gray Ink total of 118 are both good for 165th place, which is a little low for a 1B. However, he played in a 12-team league, and that hurts his ink scores, so the placement isn't too bad. His HOF Standards mark of 32.0, at 224th place, is not a good sign. Hernandez won 11 Gold Gloves, but, surprisingly, just one WS Gold Glove.

                              While Hernandez is not in Cooperstown, he was elected to the HOM in his first year of eligibility. [When the list was originally posted, Hernandez was not yet eligible for HOM election.]

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

                              According to the HOM discussion at baseballthinkfactory, Hernandez took over most of the pitcher-handling duties from the catcher in 1984, and continued to play a stabilizing role in 1985 and 1986.

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

                              [Originally: No.] As of April 2008, he is the best North American 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?

                              Hernandez won an MVP award in 1979, finished second in 1984, and ended up fourth in 1986. He was in the top ten four times overall.

                              Counting 1981 (20 win shares becomes 31 per 162 scheduled games), Hernandez had two seasons with 30+ win shares. He just missed reaching that benchmark in two other seasons, as he had 29 win shares in 1979 and 1986.

                              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?

                              Hernandez played in only five All-Star games, which is a negative. However, his 10 seasons with 20+ win shares is a definite positive, as the approximate cutoff for the BBFHOF is eight.

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

                              There’d be a good chance that it would win a pennant, and the team would almost certainly be competitive.

                              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?

                              I don’t believe he did.

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

                              Hernandez’ involvement in the 1980s drug scandals would be a blot on his character.

                              Original CONCLUSION: It’s a tough call for Hernandez. He’s in my gray area, but being the best 1B in the National League for a decade might nudge him into the admit column. I’d have to consider it a little more.

                              April 2008 CONCLUSION: As his closest comparables in win shares are Orlando Cepeda, George Sisler, and Bill Terry, Hernandez meets the standards set by the BBFHOF for 1B. He outdoes all of them in career, and two of them in peak (a timeline advantage would move Hernandez ahead of Terry in peak as well). There's also six seasons in an 8-year period (1979-86) when Hernandez had 27+ win shares, which means that Hernandez could lead a typical team into the pennant race on a regular basis if he were the team's best player. The HOM first-ballot election helps his case. Hernandez is currently on my BBFHOF ballot.
                              Last edited by AG2004; 04-20-2008, 10:23 AM.

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