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  • #46
    Originally posted by leecemark View Post
    --The Reds weren't just a championship club though - they were undefeated. I think its safe to say there was an unpresedented concentration of talent on that team. If the 5th ot 6th best player on the 1927 Yankees can be regarded as a star (and 6 of them did go on the Cooperstown) then why not the same for a MUCH more dominating team (albeit in an admittedly less organized time where most of their opponents probably only had a handfull of MLB quality talent and some probably had none).
    You gave part of the answer when you mention that the talent level of the time was lower. Atlantic (of Brooklyn) went undefeated for two consecutive years -- 1864 and 1865. So why not take 5 or 6 players from that team, too?

    Cincinnati's record in 1869 was 57-0. However, the NABBP set up a two-tiered structure that year: professional clubs and amateur clubs. Cincinnati went 19-0 against the pro teams that year. That's a very small sample size, as it means there were some pro teams that they played just once. There have been several teams with 20-game winning streaks in MLB history, Cincinnati's record of dominance loses a bit of its luster.

    There was a giant gap between the amateur and pro clubs in the NABBP. In 1870, Forest City of Rockford went 32-0 against the amateur clubs, but just 10-13-1 against the other professional clubs. Forest City of Cleveland went 16-1 against the amateurs that year, but just 9-15 against the other pro clubs. Atlantic went 25-0-1 against the amateurs in 1869, and 21-1 against them in 1870.

    In 1870, these were the top pro clubs:
    * Cincinnati. 27-6-1 against the pros; 40-0 against the amateurs.
    * Chicago. 22-7 against the pros; 43-1 against the amateurs.
    * Athletic (Philadelphia). 26-11-1 against the pros; 39-0 against the amateurs.

    Cincinnati was still the best pro team in 1870, but the gap wasn't as large as it had been. It was the dominant team of its era, but its level of dominance has been exaggerated.

    (Incidentally, according to win shares, Bob Meusel was the fifth best position player on the Yankees in 1927, with 21 win shares, and Mark Koenig was the sixth best, with 15 win shares. The team had a wonderful pitching staff, however.)
    -----

    Another point: While George Wright led the Reds in runs and hits in 1869, 3B Fred Waterman was second on the team in both categories that year. Wright led the team in hits and total bases in 1870, with Waterman second in both categories again. However, Waterman didn't do that well in the new NA after 1871. Charlie Sweasy was better than McVey in 1869 and 1870, but was only marginal after that. Andy Leonard stuck around the majors through the age of 34, a solid player but not necessarily spectacular.

    George Wright and Ross Barnes are deservedly in the BBFHOF, but they were the best players in baseball for several years at their peaks. Cal McVey wasn't quite that good. Because of the level of competition, McVey's peak isn't impressive enough; he also needs some career value. Ezra Sutton and Deacon White are two players who managed to compile the career value that McVey lacks. Ironically, they were both on the 1870 Forest City of Cleveland club that went 9-15 against pro teams. They didn't shine as brightly back then as McVey's young teammates did, but they didn't burn out as early, either.

    McVey gets some credit for his years with Cincinnati, but I want to be careful not to give him too much credit. I have reasons for being cautious on this point.

    Comment


    • #47
      AG2004 notes that Ernie Lombardi only once achieved 500 plate appearances in a season. I decided to compare his playing time with other catchers. Full seasons equivalent is the number of team seasons represented by a player's games. Every season, team, fielding position, and player gets a score 0 to 1, the share of team games for the player at the position.

      With 10.04 full seasons equivalent at catcher, Lombardi ranks #26 in the majors from 1871. Among the 25 who played longer there are 13 from the expansion era and 3 from the late 1940s and the 1950s, total 16, leaving only 9 before WWII. Thus Ernie Lombardi is #10 in playing time for the first 80 years. However, he is only sixth in the 1930s.

      full season equivalent games played at catcher, contemporary to Lombardi
      12.40 Al Lopez (#5 all-time)
      11.75 Rick Ferrell
      11.62 Gabby Hartnett
      11.07 Bill Dickey
      10.18 Luke Sewell
      10.04 Ernie Lombardi (#26 all-time)
      Continuing down to the present top 30, there are two more contemporaries!
      _9.60 Rollie Hemsley
      _9.49 Mickey Cochrane
      Their debuts run from Sewell 1921 to Lombardi 1931. Cochrane is another one of the all-time greats, career 1925-1937 shortened by injury.

      How much did these longeved catchers play each season?
      number of 500 PA seasons
      9 Cochrane, consecutive
      5 Dickey
      4 Ferrell, consecutive
      3 Hartnett
      3 Sewell
      1 Hemsley (560)
      1 Lombardi (529)
      1 Lopez (504)

      Hartnett and Lombardi played in the NL, Hemsley mainly in the AL, and the other five in the AL.
      Last edited by Paul Wendt; 02-05-2008, 01:14 PM. Reason: delete stray material at end

      Comment


      • #48
        Beside the point of BBFever hall of fame, but maybe interesting to some:

        The Wikipedia articles on Cincinnati Red Stockings other than the Wright brothers include everything I could pull together 18 months ago from secondary sources already known to me (no new primary or secondary research). I decided that the First Nine should have their own articles which required writing four from scratch --Andy Leonard, Charlie Sweasy, Fred Waterman, Charlie Gould. For the others I filled some gaps and imposed a degree of uniformity. See also Cincinnati Red Stockings and Alfred T. Goshorn.

        Beside details on individuals these articles convey a lot about the organization of teams and movement of players in the late 1860s, especially, and in the 1870s.

        Comment


        • #49
          Originally posted by Paul Wendt View Post
          AG2004 notes that Ernie Lombardi only once achieved 500 plate appearances in a season. I decided to compare his playing time with other catchers.

          How much did these longeved catchers play each season?
          number of 500 PA seasons
          9 Cochrane, consecutive
          5 Dickey
          4 Ferrell, consecutive
          3 Hartnett
          3 Sewell
          1 Hemsley (560)
          1 Lombardi (529)
          1 Lopez (504)

          Hartnett and Lombardi played in the NL, Hemsley mainly in the AL, and the other five in the AL.
          The reference to Lombardi's playing time was part of an explanation of why OPS+ along would overstate his value.

          Most of the great post-1920 MLB catchers have an OPS+ in the 124-129 range: Berra, Bench, Campanella, Cochrane, Hartnett, and Dickey. Since Lombardi's OPS+ was 125, I assume that some people who have voted for him did so because of his career OPS+. However, OPS+ doesn't tell us that Lombardi was a worse defensive catcher than anybody in that sextet. Furthermore, the fact that Lombardi didn't play that often, compared to the six catchers I mentioned earlier in this paragraph, also indicates why OPS+ overrates his value.

          I decided to check how Lombardi's number of 450-PA seasons compared to his contemporaries in that sextet. I found the following:

          11 Cochrane
          9 Dickey
          8 Hartnett
          3 Lombardi

          Simply put, using OPS+ alone will cause people to overrate Lombardi; defense and playing time need to be taken into account.

          Comment


          • #50
            --I don't think anybody (well nobody who expects to be taken seriously) would argue that Lombardi was as good as Cochrane, Hartnett or Dickey. Those are not the kind of players he is competing with at this point of the voting.
            --Lombardi was not an especially durable catcher to be sure, but I don't know that it is a HUGE demerit for him. I also don't know that PA are the best measure hear. Cocharane, Dickey and Hartnett all played in higher run environments and PA's came quicker for them (especially Cocrane who hit high in the order for great offense teams in big offense years). Games caught per season might be a better measure. Of course, he'd still lag behind.
            --I'm also not sure its accurate to say Lombardi had only 2 All Star type seasons. Basically the best 2 catchers in the 8 team leagues and best 3 in expanded leagues could be called legitimate All Star caliber players. Most years there were not that many catchers with 20 WS. That figure might be reasonable at other positions, but a lower baseline might be more appropriate for catchers.
            --I'm not arguing that Lombardi should make the BBFHoF. He isn't on my ballot and probably never will be. I am saying that the standards applied to other positions may not be fair to catchers.

            Comment


            • #51
              Originally posted by leecemark View Post
              --I don't think anybody (well nobody who expects to be taken seriously) would argue that Lombardi was as good as Cochrane, Hartnett or Dickey. Those are not the kind of players he is competing with at this point of the voting.
              We know that; I'm just saying OPS+ overrates him. But, after looking at who voted for Lombardi last month, I now doubt that OPS+ is a major factor in their decisions. The people who voted for him all have at least five MLB outfielders from the 1920s/1930s on their ballots. I'm thinking that they chose Lombardi because they were overrating players from that era in general.

              --I'm also not sure its accurate to say Lombardi had only 2 All Star type seasons. Basically the best 2 catchers in the 8 team leagues and best 3 in expanded leagues could be called legitimate All Star caliber players. Most years there were not that many catchers with 20 WS. That figure might be reasonable at other positions, but a lower baseline might be more appropriate for catchers.
              --I'm not arguing that Lombardi should make the BBFHoF. He isn't on my ballot and probably never will be. I am saying that the standards applied to other positions may not be fair to catchers.
              I used the 2-catcher and 3-catcher considerations in my lists for Bresnahan and Bennett, since they were both pre-1925 catchers, and catchers weren't as durable back then. However, between 1933 and 1940, we usually had four catchers per year who are played at a 20-WS level (whether in the majors or in the Negro leagues); occasionally we had just three. By the 1930s, we finally had enough durable catchers for 20 win shares to be a good cutoff for an "All-Star-type" season for a catcher.

              Ideally, the definition of an "All-Star-type" season shouldn't depend on how many other players are having good seasons that year (I haven't figured out how best to do this for pitchers yet). During the 1970s, the number of catchers having 20+ win shares could be anywhere from two to eight. Sometimes a league has a dearth of good catchers; 14 win shares were good enough to be the second-best AL catcher in 1950, while the fourth-best catcher in the NL that year had 19 win shares.

              However, looking at post-1925 catchers, seven seasons with 20+ win shares seems to be the cutoff area, as Freehan, Hartnett, and Ivan Rodriguez all have seven such seasons. This is a slightly lower baseline for catchers, as I've found that eight is the approximate lower limit for other positions.

              I haven't posted the Keltner List for Quincy Trouppe yet, but he does have seven seasons with 20+ win shares, and he might have had more if we had statistics from his seasons with Bismarck. From 1939-1943, Trouppe was better than any major league catcher, and there are only three instances in that time span where a MLB catcher had a higher single-season win share total that Trouppe's projected MLE total. However, as we all know, Trouppe wasn't even close to being the best catcher in baseball then.

              The competition Lombardi faced for best catcher in the NL (or in the majors) was relatively weak in part because the two best catchers in baseball were prohibited from playing in the major leagues.

              Comment


              • #52
                Moved from the Keltner list thread to this thread for discussion of the lists:

                Originally posted by csh19792001
                AG,
                Have you (or would you be inclined to) do this exercise for Bill Dahlen? I'd like to hear your thoughts on his case. Please consider these:

                Bill Dahlen and the HOF

                Bad Bill Dahlen
                Seen on a bumper sticker: If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
                Some minds are like concrete--thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
                A Lincoln: I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

                Comment


                • #53
                  Alejandro Oms

                  From AG2004's Keltner List #99, Alejandro Oms
                  6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

                  Given his career length and peak, Oms might be the best position player outside the BBFHOF.

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

                  We don’t have MVP awards. Cobb projects one MVP-type-season for Oms, in 1922. However, Cobb admits his method evens out the peaks and valleys. Since Oms’ best seasons come out to 30, 29, 29, 28, 27, and 27 WS, and we don’t have projections for 1919 and 1920, Oms probably had around 30 MVP-type-seasons. That’s a very positive sign.
                  30 MVP-type seasons? I'm for him.
                  Well, that '30' must be either a '3' or a wanderer from the definition of MVP-type (30 win shares).

                  Oms is in the Hall of Merit and hence by definition in my high consideration set (now 46). I have considered him the Cuban, Jake Beckley or Dwight Evans of centerfield but "A.G. Keltner" gives him a good peak credit and I believe most people would see him as a good prime candidate, someone who might have been on 8-10 all-star teams in a row.

                  --
                  A.G.,
                  In the Wilbur Cooper #98 best five-year win shares, I believe you prorate 1918-19 for Mays and Cooper but not for Coveleski, Vaughn, and Shocker, although those are two peak win shares seasons for all but Shocker. I have not checked the rest of the five-year list, the rest of #98, or the same pitchers in other lists.

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Paul Wendt View Post
                    From AG2004's Keltner List #99, Alejandro Oms


                    30 MVP-type seasons? I'm for him.
                    Well, that '30' must be either a '3' or a wanderer from the definition of MVP-type (30 win shares).

                    --
                    A.G.,
                    In the Wilbur Cooper #98 best five-year win shares, I believe you prorate 1918-19 for Mays and Cooper but not for Coveleski, Vaughn, and Shocker, although those are two peak win shares seasons for all but Shocker. I have not checked the rest of the five-year list, the rest of #98, or the same pitchers in other lists.
                    That 30 was a typo.

                    I've also made the season-length adjustments for the other pitchers in list #98.

                    Originally posted by csh19792001
                    AG,
                    Have you (or would you be inclined to) do this exercise for Bill Dahlen? I'd like to hear your thoughts on his case.
                    I see Dahlen as worthy of Cooperstown, and voted for him in BBFHOF elections.

                    I've received a number of requests, and will be addressing the backlog in this order:

                    *Tony Oliva
                    *Ken Singleton
                    *John Franco
                    *Bert Campaneris
                    *Stan Hack
                    *Bill Dahlen

                    I'm giving priority to those players who aren't in the BBFHOF, as I started to make these lists with the BBFHOF in mind. For the record, I voted for both Hack and Dahlen before they made the BBFHOF. Still, since neither Hack nor Dahlen are in Cooperstown, I can make lists with that Hall in mind.

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Two requests: your takes on Lip Pike and Bus Clarkson. Thanks.
                      Last edited by jalbright; 02-23-2008, 08:39 AM.
                      Seen on a bumper sticker: If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
                      Some minds are like concrete--thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
                      A Lincoln: I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        when will they ever learn? (Leon Day)

                        I would urge a Keltner List for Leon Day if I knew that it would work reasonably well. I'm not sure the resources are available, however, to do Keltner reasonably well.

                        (Chris Cobb at the Hall of Merit, who is a marvel, gave Day thumbs down without the full treatment. No one voted for him. In general, I understand, the early Negro Leagues records, "1920s" for short, are more complete and reliable than the later ones. Most or all of those named by others will probably work better than Day.)

                        Campaneris, Concepcion, and Maranville may be a worthy family. (Maranville plays Baby Bear. AG is Goldilocks.)

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Originally posted by jalbright View Post
                          Two requests: your takes on Lip Pike and Bus Clarkson. Thanks.
                          Pike's been gaining some momentum recently. Something on Thurman Munson would also be nice.
                          Last edited by jjpm74; 02-24-2008, 09:24 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            From #118 Ken Singleton
                            Singleton's ink scores are low, I admit. However, the ink scores are based, in part, on what previous voters for Cooperstown have done. A player gets four points for batting average, and three points for total hits. However, no points are given for OBP and times on base, which, according to sabermetrics, are more important.
                            . . . A player gets two gray ink points for each time in the top ten in walks, but that's it.
                            I didn't know that the ink scores are based on current Hall of Fame members as the monitors are. Maybe we need hemlock green ink and grass green ink to aggregate league-season rankings by another set of weights. Of course there is a case for sticking with Bill James in the Keltner Test by that name.

                            The ink tests will underrate a player with high BA and few walks,
                            should be overrate

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Lip Pike

                              He was the third-best offensive force for Atlantic in 1869, but may slip behind SS Dickey Pearce in overall value to the team when defense is factored in.
                              Third on the team as a batter/runner is ungenerous.
                              Before I provide explanation and evidence re the Atlantic offense:
                              The team did take on Pike at a cost, for a lefty at 2B makes fewer plays than a righty --"makes" tenselessly, in 1869 as in 2008. And Bob Ferguson who moved from 3B to C was a great 3Bman. This was a triple switch(term?) with Pike and three righties:
                              Code:
                              Pike from the Mutuals -> 2B -> 3B -> C -> Mills to the Mutuals
                              The four batting/running statistics compiled at the time were Outs, Runs, Hits, and Total Bases. Here are Lip Pike's rates per game and his ranks on team by those rates.

                              1869 Atlantic, Brooklyn NY ( 40-6-2 inclg 15-6-1 in professional matches )
                              Pike played 48 of 48 games
                              Outs: 2.16, 1st (superb)
                              Runs: 4.02, 3rd
                              Hits: 3.65, 5th
                              TBoH: 6.77, 2nd


                              Here are the ranks on team for Pike, Joe Start, and Jack Chapman by those four per-game rates, plus one derived statistic.

                              rank on team, same four categories
                              1 3 5 2 Lip Pike, 2b
                              4 1 1 1 Joe Start, 1b
                              2 2 2 3 John Chapman, lf

                              Runs/Outs: Pike 1.72, Start 1.70, Chapman 1.63


                              [Italic font marks self-quotation from the Hall of Merit, Charley Jones and Lip Pike. See #66-67.]

                              Batter-runners make many kinds of outs. (See Buddy Bell's base-stealing record.) Lip Pike's poor showing in outs per game is the main reason why his 1866-68 record is unimpressive. On the other hand he should get full credit when his record is super, here in 1869. The calculation of Runs per Out is one step toward giving credit.

                              AG's analysis (and almost all of my data and analysis for pre-1871 players at the Hall of Merit) focuses on rank-order measures. Lip Pike's 2.16 outs per games in 1869 is an outlier. Chapman, McDonald, and Start ranked 2-3-4 on the team, all just over 2.5 per game, nearly a tie and not close to Pike, but rank order makes them all simply 1-2-3-4.

                              Joe Start usually led the Atlantic team in 0uts per game, often with about 2.33. Note, their own annual records alone do not show that Start suffered an "off year" in 1869 or that Pike enjoyed a good one. Teammates compete with each other in making outs. When a few of them all make outs at a low rate each time through the batting order, the team in most games scores more runs and bats around again until the outs sum to 27. And vice versa: when a few make outs at a high rate, everyone bats less and the other team members make fewer outs per game for that reason. IHere there is direct evidence that the Atlantic lineup was stronger in 1869 than in 1868, evidence beginning with the replacement of Charley Mills by Lip Pike (no other change).
                              Last edited by Paul Wendt; 03-27-2008, 03:23 PM.

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Originally posted by Paul Wendt View Post
                                Third on the team as a batter/runner is ungenerous.
                                I probably should have taken a better look at the outs/game data that I copied down.

                                However, I do have a question about the way outs were accounted for in the 1860s.

                                I recently bought a copy of The National Pastime , edited by John Thorn. One of the articles inside is George Bulkley's "The Day the Reds Lost." I'll quote some relevant selections.

                                Cincinnati was easy in the tenth and the Atlantics were turned back once more by George Wright. With one out McDonald and Pearce singled in succession. Smith lifted a high fly to shortstop; Wright, playing the ball so as to catch it close to the ground, intentionally dropped it, thus forcing the runners to leave their bases. This, of course, was the play whose abuse in later days led to the adoption of the infield-fly rule to protect the helpless baserunners. At that time, there being no infield-fly rule, Wright scooped up the ball and started an easy double play.
                                After discussing the top of the eleventh inning, Bulkley notes that Charles Smith was the leadoff hitter in the bottom of the eleventh.

                                Charley Smith, who had batted into the spectacular double play to end the tenth inning, led off for the home team in its last chance at bat. If that sounds a bit peculiar, take a look at the 1870 rules. Rule Three, Section 2, specified that: "Players must strike in regular rotation, and, after the first inning is played, the turn commences with the player who stands on the list next to the one who was the third player out."

                                Now, while Smith had hit into the double play in the tenth he had not been put out: McDonald and Pearce were the victims of Wright's skullduggery. Pearce was the third player put out, and Smith followed Pearce in the batting order.
                                This leads to my question.

                                There are two outs in the inning, and Smith, at first, is the sole baserunner. Jones, the batter, hits the ball. It goes to the shortstop, who tosses it to second, who tags Smith out. Baseball-reference lists this as an out for Jones.

                                However, given Bulkley's description of what happened in the Reds-Atlantics game, this may have not been the case in the NABBP era. If this happened in the late 1860s, would the scorekeeper have listed this as an out for Smith rather than Jones?

                                I do know that, in cricket, the baserunner who is thrown out is given the blame for the out; since early baseball statistics were based on cricket statistics, it may have been possible that the baserunner was blamed for the out way back then. If this is the case, we may have to rethink our evaluations, since a team's leadoff hitter will be unfairly penalized by this habit. (Bulkley lists George Wright and Dickey Pearce as the leadoff hitters for the two clubs on June 14, 1870.)

                                Comment

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