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Earle Combs' most similar: who deserves induction?

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  • Earle Combs' most similar: who deserves induction?

    Nine of the 10 players most statistically similar (according to the similarity scores at Baseball-Reference) to Earle Combs are not in the Hall of Fame. Those players are:

    Mike Tiernan
    Jack Tobin
    Dom DiMaggio
    George Gore
    Kip Selbach
    Pete Browning
    Baby Doll Jacobson
    Pete Fox
    Joe Vosmik

    Which, if any, should be in the Hall of Fame?

    Here are some notable achievements for each, courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com:

    Mike Tiernan:

    2-time NL Home Runs Leader (1890 & 1891)
    NL Base on Balls Leader (1889)
    NL Runs Scored Leader (1889)
    NL Slugging Percentage Leader (1890)
    NL Total Bases Leader (1890)
    NL OPS Leader (1890 & 1891)
    50 Stolen Bases Seasons: 3 (1888, 1890 & 1891)
    100 Runs Scored Seasons: 7 (1889-1891, 1893 & 1895-1897)
    100 RBI Seasons: 1 (1893)
    Won two World Series with the New York Giants (1888 & 1889)
    Statistically similar Hall of Famers: Earle Combs, Elmer Flick, Freddie Lindstrom, Sam Thompson
    Black ink: 17, Grey ink: 119

    Jack Tobin:

    2-time League At-Bats Leader (1915/FL & 1921/AL)
    FL Hits Leader (1915)
    AL Triples Leader (1921)
    100 Runs Scored Seasons: 2 (1921 & 1922)
    200 Hits Seasons: 4 (1920-1923)
    Statistically similar Hall of Famers: Elmer Flick
    Black ink: 6, Grey ink: 81

    Dom DiMaggio:

    1939 MVP Pacific Coast League San Francisco Seals
    7-time AL All-Star (1941, 1942, 1946 & 1949-1952)
    2-time AL At Bats Leader (1948 & 1951)
    2-time AL Runs Scored Leader (1950 & 1951)
    AL Triples Leader (1950)
    AL Stolen Bases Leader (1950)
    100 Runs Scored Seasons: 6 (1941, 1942 & 1948-1951)
    Black ink: 12, Grey ink: 102

    George Gore:

    3-time NL Bases on Balls Leader (1882, 1884 & 1886)
    2-time NL Runs Scored Leader (1881 & 1882)
    NL Batting Average Leader (1880)
    NL On-Base Percentage Leader (1880)
    NL Slugging Percentage Leader (1880)
    NL OPS Leader (1880)
    Won 2 World Series with the New York Giants (1888 & 1889)
    Black ink: 19, Grey ink: 125

    Kip Selbach:

    NL Triples Leader (1895)
    100 Runs Scored Seasons: 4 (1895-1897, 1899)
    100 RBI Seasons: 1 (1896)
    Statistically similar Hall of Famers: Elmer Flick
    Black ink: 1, Grey ink: 48

    Pete Browning:

    3-time League Batting Average Leader (1882/AA, 1885/AA, 1890/PL)
    2-time AA On-Base Percentage Leader (1882 & 1885)
    2-time AA OPS Leader (1882 & 1885)
    AA Slugging Percentage Leader (1882)
    AA Hits Leader (1885)
    AA Total Bases Leader (1885)
    PL Doubles Leader (1890)
    Statistically similar Hall of Famers: Ross Youngs, Elmer Flick, Earle Combs
    Black ink: 21, Grey ink: 147

    Baby Doll Jacobson:

    100 RBI Seasons: 2 (1920 & 1922)
    100 Runs Scored Seasons: 2 (1924 & 1925)
    200 Hits Seasons: 2 (1920 & 1921)
    Statistically similar Hall of Famers: Freddie Lindstrom, Elmer Flick
    Black ink: 1, Grey ink: 81

    Pete Fox:

    AL All-Star (1944)
    100 Runs Scored Seasons: 3 (1934, 1935 & 1937)
    200 Hits Seasons: 1 (1937)
    Won a World Series with the Detroit Tigers in 1935
    Grey ink: (56)

    Joe Vosmik:

    AL All-Star (1935)
    2-time AL Hits Leader (1935 & 1938)
    AL Doubles Leader (1935)
    AL Triples Leader (1935)
    100 RBI Seasons: 2 (1931 & 1935)
    100 Runs Scored Seasons: 2 (1932 & 1938)
    200 Hits Seasons: 2 (1935 & 1938)
    31
    Mike Tiernan
    16.13%
    5
    Jack Tobin
    0.00%
    0
    Dom DiMaggio
    12.90%
    4
    George Gore
    32.26%
    10
    Kip Selbach
    0.00%
    0
    Pete Browning
    29.03%
    9
    Baby Doll Jacobson
    0.00%
    0
    Pete Fox
    3.23%
    1
    Joe Vosmik
    0.00%
    0
    All of the above
    0.00%
    0
    None of the above
    6.45%
    2

  • #2
    who are you kidding? you know as well as we do that none of these guys are close to being hall of famers. Combs is viewed as a mistake today and he is much more qualified than any of them. Statistically he is not a hall of famer, but he has a few things going for him:

    1) .325 lifetime average. How many guys have hit that high lifetime and AREN'T in?

    2) Viewed as the best leadoff hitter of his time. 100 runs 8 years in a row, very good on base percentages, Strange though, that all of those triples would imply great speed, and yet his stolen base totals and precentages were terrible.

    3) Was an important part of some of the best teams of all time. Murauders row..enough said.

    Comment


    • #3
      Does anybody have any info on just whether he was fast or not? how did he manage so many triples, and yet couldnt steal bases?

      Comment


      • #4
        For a different theme and probably some closer polls, ask how many of the most similar batters or pitchers are better than the player --better HOF candidates or some other criterion.

        For example,
        "If you could make the call alone, which of these players would you substitute 1-to-1 for Earle Combs in the Hall of Fame?"

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by willshad View Post
          who are you kidding? you know as well as we do that none of these guys are close to being hall of famers. Combs is viewed as a mistake today and he is much more qualified than any of them.
          Gore is in our Baseball Fever Hall of Fame, and he was a member of Baseball Think Factory's first-ever Hall of Merit (Class of 1898), so many people think highly of him.

          Here are some other points in his favor.
          *Gore led all major league position players in win shares in both 1880 and 1885.
          *Gore was a top-notch defensive CF, and won seven win shares gold gloves as an outfielder.
          *He had a huge impact for several pennant-winning teams: 1882 (Chicago won by 3 games), 1885 (Chicago won by 2 games), 1886 (Chicago won by 2 games), and 1889 (New York won by one game; Gore had 32 win shares)
          *According to win shares, Gore was the best CF in baseball five times between 1880 and 1886.
          *Gore's 135 OPS+ is great among baseball's top defensive CFs.

          Gore's counting numbers are low, but that's largely because seasons were so short for most of his career. Baseball had just an 84-game schedule in 1879, Gore's first season, and didn't get to a 154-game schedule until Gore's last season in 1892.

          I will admit that Combs is one of Cooperstown's mistakes. However, Gore is much more qualified for the Hall of Fame than Combs. Cooperstown has admitted far too many undeserving players from the 1920s and 1930s. However, when it comes to pre-1892 players, Cooperstown's mistakes have predominantly been in leaving qualified players out. The only undeserving players in the Hall from that far back are Candy Cummings and Tommy McCarthy, and, to be fair to Cooperstown, they weren't inducted purely for their playing ability; Cummings was inducted for allegedly inventing the curve ball, and McCarthy's claim to fame was his creation of the hit and run. Gore ought to be in the Hall.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by AG2004 View Post
            . . .
            *According to win shares, Gore was the best CF in baseball five times between 1880 and 1886.
            *Gore's 135 OPS+ is great among baseball's top defensive CFs.

            Gore's counting numbers are low, but that's largely because seasons were so short for most of his career. Baseball had just an 84-game schedule in 1879, Gore's first season, and didn't get to a 154-game schedule until Gore's last season in 1892.
            [my emphasis]

            Further, because seasons became dramatically longer during his career, his high averages are lower than they should be; they underrate him. Like most star players, Gore was better during the first half of his career than during the second. In eight years through 1886 he hit OPS+ 150; in six years beginning 1887 only 119. Eight years to six and he missed a lot of games during some of his the later seasons, so why is his career OPS+ only the midpoint of those first-half and second-half rates? (150, 119 => 135)
            Because
            - the full season was so much longer during his second half: 84 to 126 games, 1879-86; 126 to 154 games, 1887-92.
            - career averages are calculated from career counting statistics, not by averaging season averages.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by willshad View Post
              Does anybody have any info on just whether he was fast or not? how did he manage so many triples, and yet couldnt steal bases?

              Keep in mind that not stealing many bases and "couldn't steal" bases are two completely different animals. Combs did not play in an era and on a ball club that was particularly condusive to base stealing. Think about it. Put yourself in the position of Miller Huggins: Earle Combs leads off the inning with a single. The next three batters up at the plate are Mark Koening, Babe Ruth, and Lou Gehrig. Unless I've got Cool Papa Bell on first base, there is no way I'm sending the runner and risking an out. I'd rather take my chances with Babe and Lou bringing him home on their own by the end of the inning. I'm sure that's what Huggins was thinking as well.

              By all accounts that I've read, Combs was extremely fast. He ran track in high school, and outran many a fly ball in centerfield of Yankee Stadium.

              Comment


              • #8
                I was referring more to his terrible stolen base percentages than to his lack of actual attempts. 96 steals and 71 caught stealing doesnt imply that the guy had great speed. I know that stolen bases isnt about speed alone, but a guy who could hit that many triples would seem to be able to get a better percentage than that just by pure speed alone.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Combs is certainly in mistake territory ranking amongst the 14 HoF CF's as 13th in Win Shares and 14th in WARP3.

                  I really wouldn't have a great problem with George Gore or Pete Browning.
                  Buck O'Neil: The Monarch of Baseball

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Maybe Gore. Maybe Browning. Other than that, nobody. I probably wouldn't even put Combs in.

                    Comment

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