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My PHOF: A Choose Your Own Adventure Story

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  • My PHOF: A Choose Your Own Adventure Story

    This is my attempt to construct a PHOF from scratch using the timeline method. Within this thread, I will share my progress, conundrums, thinking about the candidates, etc. I would love feedback from anyone who cares to offer it.

    Perhaps those of you who haven't yet created a PHOF for yourself will be encouraged to do so, whether you want to use this (or any other) system.

    Below is a brief explanation of my methodology. Please address any comments in the context of the rules I am using.
    • All professional (and proto-professional) baseball players are eligible, provided they appeared in the highest level of play available to them in the context of their time and place.
    • Players are rated solely on their (1) performance, (2) ability, and (3) contributions to their team as players.
    • Players become eligible the calendar year following their 40th birthday, whether still active or not.
    • Players retain their eligibility unless elected.
    That's it. No service time restrictions. No Ineligible List deference. No character clause. No MLB snobbery. Players are first compared to their most direct contemporaries and the candidate pool grows gradually over time.

    Inductions by Year
    1893 - Cap Anson, Ross Barnes, Al Spalding, George Wright
    1894 - Jim O'Rourke, Deacon White
    1895 - Charley Radbourn, Joe Start
    1896 - George Gore, Paul Hines
    1897 - Tommy Bond, Pud Galvin
    1898 - Roger Connor, Tim Keefe
    1899 - Dan Brouthers, Jack Glasscock
    1900 - Buck Ewing, King Kelly
    1901 - Harry Stovey, John Ward
    1902 - Pete Browning, John Clarkson
    1903 - Bid McPhee, Hardy Richardson
    1904 - Charlie Bennett, Fred Dunlap
    1905 - Charlie Buffinton, Bob Caruthers
    1906 - Frank Grant, Tony Mullane
    1907 - Billy Hamilton, Charley Jones
    1908 - Ed Delahanty, Cy Young
    1909 - Jesse Burkett, Cupid Childs
    1910 - Clark Griffith, Kid Nichols
    1911 - Bill Dahlen, George Davis
    1912 - Joe McGinnity, Amos Rusie
    1913 - Fred Clarke, Home Run Johnson
    1914 - Jimmy Collins, Bobby Wallace
    1915 - Nap Lajoie, Honus Wagner
    1916 - Jake Beckley, Eddie Plank
    1917 - pick 2
    1918 - pick 2
    1919 - pick 2
    1920 - pick 2
    1921 - pick 2
    1922 - pick 2
    1923 - pick 2
    1924 - pick 2
    1925 - pick 2
    1926 - pick 2
    1927 - pick 2
    1928 - pick 2
    1929 - pick 2
    1930 - pick 2
    Last edited by Chadwick; 12-07-2018, 04:02 PM.
    "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
    "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
    "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
    "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

  • #2
    Inaugural 1893 Election
    (Candidates born prior to 1853)

    Here's a good list of the top eligible candidates:

    Pitchers
    George Bradley
    Asa Brainard
    Jim Creighton
    Candy Cummings
    Jim Devlin
    Bobby Mathews
    Dick McBride
    Al Spalding
    George Zettlein

    Batters
    Doug Allison
    Cap Anson
    Ross Barnes
    Jack Burdock
    John Clapp
    Bob Ferguson
    Davy Force
    Patrick Gillespie
    George Hall
    Charley Jones
    Joe Leggett
    Mike McGeary
    Cal McVey
    Levi Meyerle
    Candy Nelson
    Jim O’Rourke
    Dickey Pearce
    John Peters
    Lip Pike
    Orator Shafer
    Joe Start
    Ezra Sutton
    Deacon White
    George Wright
    Tom York

    I can quickly narrow it down to the following top-tier guys:

    Cap Anson
    Ross Barnes
    Jim O'Rourke
    Al Spalding
    Deacon White
    George Wright

    My intention for this inaugural year is to select a Founding Foursome. And this is my problem - which two of these half dozen must wait for the next time? Anson will be one of the four, but that still leaves me three of five to rise above the rest. On the one hand, this is kind of splitting hairs - they'll all be honored eventually -but I need to practice this for the future because it will matter. It does matter what the pecking order is from one year to the next because it orders the queue.

    So which four would you put in? What are your arguments for leaving Spalding or O'Rourke or whomever out of the inaugural class? Is there someone I didn't name - Joe Start? - who belongs in the top four?
    "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
    "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
    "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
    "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

    Comment


    • #3
      Barnes, Wright and Spalding all had arguments for best player in the game at one time or another by my reckoning. That puts them a skooch above O'Rourke or White.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Chadwick View Post
        Inaugural 1893 Election
        (Candidates born prior to 1853)
        ...
        My intention for this inaugural year is to select a Founding Foursome. And this is my problem - which two of these half dozen must wait for the next time? Anson will be one of the four, but that still leaves me three of five to rise above the rest. On the one hand, this is kind of splitting hairs - they'll all be honored eventually -but I need to practice this for the future because it will matter. It does matter what the pecking order is from one year to the next because it orders the queue.

        So which four would you put in? What are your arguments for leaving Spalding or O'Rourke or whomever out of the inaugural class? Is there someone I didn't name - Joe Start? - who belongs in the top four?
        My choices:

        1. Cap Anson is still active as of 1893.
        2. Ross Barnes
        3. Albert Goodwill Spalding
        4. Joe Start
        (add Deacon White if Anson doesn't count)

        Choosing your PHoF year-by-year rather than in bulk will yield some different and interesting results. It's also more fun. I did it a few years ago.
        Last edited by bluesky5; 12-01-2018, 11:07 PM.
        "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by bluesky5 View Post

          My choices:

          1. Cap Anson is still active as of 1893.
          2. Ross Barnes
          3. Albert Goodwill Spalding
          4. Joe Start
          (add Deacon White if Anson doesn't count)

          Choosing your PHoF year-by-year rather than in bulk will yield some different and interesting results. It's also more fun. I did it a few years ago.
          Yes, Anson is going in.

          I refer you to the rule from the OP:
          Originally posted by Chadwick View Post
          • Players become eligible the calendar year following their 40th birthday, whether still active or not.
          I prefer using year of birth as the barometer of contemporariness and, after researching the issue, only a miniscule number players added to their candidacy after their age-40 season; none substantially so. They way I look at ballplayers, there were zero cases where a 40 year-old was not a HOFer, but he became one at age 41 or 42 due to those seasons pushing him over the edge. Not a single instance.

          While someone who looks at career totals at face value might see a difference between, say, 2930 hits and 3050 hits, let's say, for a player of advanced age, that's a compiling season and very unlikely to have been one where the player performed significantly above average. His Hall of Fame case was almost certainly built upon what he did from age 24-36 or thereabouts. Does it really matter what Albert Pujols is doing in his late 30s? Does it really matter what Clayton Kershaw does in the second half of his career? Not to me it doesn't. Not in terms of yes/no or in/out, anyway.
          Last edited by Chadwick; 12-02-2018, 05:43 AM.
          "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
          "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
          "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
          "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Chadwick View Post
            Yes, Anson is going in.

            I refer you to the rule from the OP:


            I prefer using year of birth as the barometer of contemporariness and, after researching the issue, only a miniscule number players added to their candidacy after their age-40 season; none substantially so. They way I look at ballplayers, there were zero cases where a 40 year-old was not a HOFer, but he became one at age 41 or 42 due to those seasons pushing him over the edge. Not a single instance.

            While someone who looks at career totals at face value might see a difference between, say, 2930 hits and 3050 hits, let's say, for a player of advanced age, that's a compiling season and very unlikely to have been one where the player performed significantly above average. His Hall of Fame case was almost certainly built upon what he did from age 24-36 or thereabouts. Does it really matter what Albert Pujols is doing in his late 30s? Does it really matter what Clayton Kershaw does in the second half of his career? Not to me it doesn't. Not in terms of yes/no or in/out, anyway.
            My bad I missed that.
            "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm more comfortable extrapolating Wright's pre-1871 career than I am Start's, not that both don't get credit. For example, I think of Joe Start as the "Eddie Murray" of his day, which has tremendous value. I have him rated as the 4th best 1Bman pre-1920, certainly better than HOFers Jake Beckley and Frank Chance.

              After adjusting for season length, I have to agree that Jim O'Rourke doesn't seem nearly as impressive as Barnes/Wright. And while Spalding may not have been the greatest pitcher of the 19th century by any means, he's certainly the best pitcher of record eligible at this time. Given the role of the pitcher (in the 1870s) and Spalding's "star power" as the ace of the best team in baseball, I give him the nod over O'Rourke or Deacon White.

              Bottom line, here is my inaugural class of inductees: Cap Anson, Ross Barnes, Al Spalding and George Wright.
              "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
              "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
              "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
              "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Chadwick View Post
                I'm more comfortable extrapolating Wright's pre-1871 career than I am Start's, not that both don't get credit. For example, I think of Joe Start as the "Eddie Murray" of his day, which has tremendous value. I have him rated as the 4th best 1Bman pre-1920, certainly better than HOFers Jake Beckley and Frank Chance.

                After adjusting for season length, I have to agree that Jim O'Rourke doesn't seem nearly as impressive as Barnes/Wright. And while Spalding may not have been the greatest pitcher of the 19th century by any means, he's certainly the best pitcher of record eligible at this time. Given the role of the pitcher (in the 1870s) and Spalding's "star power" as the ace of the best team in baseball, I give him the nod over O'Rourke or Deacon White.

                Bottom line, here is my inaugural class of inductees: Cap Anson, Ross Barnes, Al Spalding and George Wright.
                I don't know if you're still open for discussion here, but Ross Barnes played 331 games at a high level before the weakening sickness. O'Rourke played 1754 thru age 40, including the same seasons Barnes did. I know that Barnes had the 194 OPS+/0.399 BA thru 1876 (last healthy year) and O'Rourke was "only" 142 OPS+/0.317 BA through the same time, but those huge number of games difference seem to count for a lot when we see Barnes 331 games played at a high level.
                60 games is better than none.
                July 23 can't come soon enough.
                Bring on the 2020 season.
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                Comment


                • #9
                  1894 Election
                  (Eligible if born before 1854)

                  With apologies to Jack Manning and Joe Battin, this year’s newcomers are total crap. Therefore, I will not repost the larger list of eligible candidates (to which I will not add this year.) However, here are my top eligibles to choose from:

                  Charley Jones
                  Cal McVey
                  Jim O'Rourke
                  Lip Pike
                  Joe Start
                  Ezra Sutton
                  Deacon White

                  Deacon White was my hardest cut last year so he’s a given this time. For the other spot, I’ll take the generally underrated Jim O’Rourke. (What’s with the anonymity of 19th century hitters who weren’t stars of the mid-90s Orioles and Braves?!?)
                  "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
                  "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
                  "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
                  "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Toledo Inquisition View Post
                    I don't know if you're still open for discussion here, but Ross Barnes played 331 games at a high level before the weakening sickness. O'Rourke played 1754 thru age 40, including the same seasons Barnes did. I know that Barnes had the 194 OPS+/0.399 BA thru 1876 (last healthy year) and O'Rourke was "only" 142 OPS+/0.317 BA through the same time, but those huge number of games difference seem to count for a lot when we see Barnes 331 games played at a high level.
                    Good point, but I see O'Rourke has having had great peak in his 20s (though not as much as Barnes) while being a slightly above average player for much of the rest of his career. For me, the massive difference in peak value in Barnes' favor outweighs the great difference (in O'Rourke's) favor when looking at the rest of their careers. Perhaps I overweight peak but if I knew what would happen in advance and had the opportunity to choose one or the other at the start of their career, I would select Barnes. YMMV.
                    "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
                    "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
                    "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
                    "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      1895 Eligibles
                      (Born prior to 1854)

                      Pitchers
                      George Bradley
                      Asa Brainard
                      Jim Creighton
                      Candy Cummings
                      Jim Devlin
                      Bobby Mathews
                      Dick McBride
                      Charley Radbourn
                      Will White
                      George Zettlein

                      Batters
                      Doug Allison
                      Charlie Bennett
                      Jack Burdock
                      John Clapp
                      Bob Ferguson
                      Davy Force
                      Patrick Gillespie
                      George Gore
                      George Hall
                      Charley Jones
                      Joe Leggett
                      Mike McGeary
                      Cal McVey
                      Levi Meyerle
                      Candy Nelson
                      Dickey Pearce
                      John Peters
                      Lip Pike
                      Orator Shafer
                      Joe Start
                      Ezra Sutton
                      Tom York

                      1895 sees the additions of Charlie Bennett, George Gore, Charley Radbourn and Will White.

                      Let’s be honest, Charley Radbourn is the best player on the block. So that’s done. But that leaves me one more spot for one of the following:

                      Charlie Bennett
                      George Gore
                      Charley Jones
                      Cal McVey
                      Lip Pike
                      Joe Start
                      Ezra Sutton

                      I was keen to get Old Reliable in, but I’m not so sure now. I’m probably underrating George Gore. (If Paul Hines were here instead, he’d be an easy selection over the rest of the crowd.) Bennett, too, is an excellent candidate, but I don’t want to give too much “bonus” credit to catchers to push them into the general discussion. Into the discussion, yes, but at the front of it? That might be too much extra credit. On the other hand…..

                      I welcome your thoughts on the candidates here. Is there someone else, beside Bennett, Gore or Start who deserves that second spot on the dais this year?
                      Last edited by Chadwick; 12-04-2018, 02:59 PM.
                      "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
                      "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
                      "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
                      "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Upcoming Negro League Candidates

                        1897 – Fleet Walker
                        1899 – Bud Fowler
                        1906 – Frank Grant
                        1907 – George Stovey, Clarence Williams
                        1908 – Chappie Johnson
                        1909 – Sol White
                        1910 – William Binga
                        1913 – Home Run Johnson
                        1915 – Charlie Grant
                        1916 – C.I. Taylor
                        1918 – Walter Ball, Bill Monroe
                        1919 – Dan McClellan
                        1920 – Rube Foster, Steel Arm Johnny Taylor
                        Last edited by Chadwick; 12-03-2018, 06:31 PM.
                        "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
                        "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
                        "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
                        "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Chadwick View Post
                          Upcoming Negro League Candidates

                          1897 – Fleet Walker
                          1899 – Bud Fowler
                          1906 – Frank Grant
                          1907 – George Stovey
                          1908 – Chappie Johnson
                          1909 – Sol White
                          1910 – William Binga
                          1913 – Home Run Johnson
                          1915 – Charlie Grant
                          1916 – C.I. Taylor
                          1918 – Walter Ball, Bill Monroe
                          1919 – Dan McClellan
                          1920 – Rube Foster, Steel Arm Johnny Taylor
                          Another early Negro leaguer you might consider is catcher Clarence Williams.
                          Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

                          Comprehensive Reform for the Veterans Committee -- Fixing the Hall continued.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            IMO you absolutely have to have all six of these in:

                            Cap Anson
                            Ross Barnes
                            Jim O'Rourke
                            Al Spalding
                            Deacon White
                            George Wright

                            With additional catcher credit to White I think he clearly merits induction. As does Charlie Bennett. "Catching" with a bare hand, even with "underhand tosses", deserves a ton of credit. Fwiw I have Hines & Gore both definitely below these two. And O'Rourke was a legend in his own time, admittedly mostly because of his longevity & durability.
                            Last edited by layson27; 12-04-2018, 04:54 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I went with Joe Start to join Charley Radbourn in 1895.
                              "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
                              "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
                              "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
                              "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

                              Comment

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