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The Ultimate Quest for Candidates: Round 1 – The 1860’s/70’s

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  • The Ultimate Quest for Candidates: Round 1 – The 1860’s/70’s

    Welcome to the Ultimate Quest for Candidates! This thread will have the 12th poll in this round, choosing the best candidates for the Hall of Fame from the stars of the 1860’s and 1870’s. You will be asked to vote for your top SIX (6) players. The poll will close a month after it opens.

    I’m asking voters not to peek at the results of the voting until after they’ve cast their ballot. I would hope that voters are capable of independently assessing the candidates without worrying about whom the consensus is favoring.

    The threads in this project will always be posted a few days before the poll is added. This is done in order to encourage research and discussion of the candidates. I believe (paraphrasing Socrates) that the unexamined ballot is not worth casting. This also gives you a little time to make the case for a candidate not listed who you think deserves to be on the ballot (although you should sign up as a consultant if you really want to be involved in this aspect of the project).

    If someone wants to open a separate thread to focus on one of these candidates, go for it; we already see that a lot on this forum. All of these players are worthy of discussion, because the worst candidates here are on a par with the worst players in the Hall.

    You are highly encouraged to research the historical record for these pioneer players. The statistical record is difficult to interpret and often sketchy. I expect that everyone is familiar with Baseball-Reference.com and Baseballprospectus.com. These are essential sites for researching a player’s statistical record. I’ve also inserted links to each player’s bio at the SABR Bioproject or Wikipedia.

    We will be judging players by the same criteria that the Hall of Fame uses:

    “voting shall be based upon the individual's record, ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contribution to the game.”

    So everything counts, their lifetime achievements on and off the field, along with their character and other intangibles.

    Below are the players we think are the top 21 candidates whose careers centered in the 1860’s/70’s. We will need to decide which three of these to drop for the poll. Basic data are shown for each:
    Code:
    Pos	BJ	Player Name	   Career	  WARP3	
    4	---	Ross	Barnes	  1868-81	(79.1: 15.5-14.7-13.1)	
    1	#97	Tommy	Bond	  1874-84	(26.6: 10.5-6.1-6.1)	
    1	---	Asa	Brainard  1860-74		
    4	---	Jack	Burdock	  1872-88	(38.0: 8.4-5.0-4.6)	
    2	---	John	Clapp	  1872-83	(49.1: 8.8-6.7-6.0)	
    1	---	Jim	Creighton 1858-62		
    5	---	Bob	Ferguson  1866-84	(32.7: 7.9-4.2-4.0)	mgr 13.5 yrs
    6	---	Davy	Force	  1867-86	(52.2: 13.7-6.7-5.7)	
    1	---	Bobby	Mathews	  1869-87	(11.2: 7.4-5.7-2.6)	
    1	---	Dick	McBride	  1861-76		
    2/3	---	Cal	McVey	  1869-79	(56.0: 11.3-9.1-7.0)	
    5	---	Levi	Meyerle	  1869-77	(41.4: 10.2-6.5-6.4)	
    6	---	Dickey	Pearce	  1856-77		
    6	---	John	Peters	  1873-84	(29.6: 8.1-6.8-6.0)	
    8/4	---	Lip	Pike	  1866-78	(52.8: 11.8-8.7-8.5)	
    4	---	Al	Reach	  1861-75		
    3	#107	Joe	Start	  1862-86	(65.3: 7.0-6.6-6.5)	
    5	#98	Ezra	Sutton	  1870-88	(82.7: 9.2-8.7-8.4)	
    5/2	#76	Deacon	White	  1869-90	(109.4: 10.5-10.4-9.1)	
    7	---	Tom	York	  1870-85	(61.8: 7.7-7.2-7.1)	
    1	---	George	Zettlein  1865-76
    Pos – primary position(s)
    BJ – rank at his position in the New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract (2001)
    Win Shares – shown are career total and best 3 years
    WARP3 – from Baseball Prospectus; shown are career total and best 3 years, from 1871-on.
    Other –

    Some other things to be aware of:
    1) Win shares are omitted here. That system was never designed to correctly value players of this era.
    2) Due to Bill James timeline, player’s rank at his position is lower than it ought to be IMO. I would increase their standing by about 80%. For example, a timeline-free Deacon White would be ranked about #15 at 3B rather than #76; Joe Start would be #21 at 1B rather than #107.
    3) You should look to credit these players with minor league or pre-professional play. I have not systematically attempted this.
    90
    Ross Barnes
    16.67%
    15
    Tommy Bond
    2.22%
    2
    John Clapp
    0.00%
    0
    Jim Creighton
    1.11%
    1
    Bob Ferguson
    1.11%
    1
    Davy Force
    0.00%
    0
    Bobby Mathews
    3.33%
    3
    Dick McBride
    0.00%
    0
    Cal McVey
    12.22%
    11
    Levi Meyerle
    1.11%
    1
    Dickey Pearce
    10.00%
    9
    John Peters
    0.00%
    0
    Lip Pike
    7.78%
    7
    Al Reach
    0.00%
    0
    Joe Start
    15.56%
    14
    Ezra Sutton
    12.22%
    11
    Deacon White
    16.67%
    15
    Tom York
    0.00%
    0

    The poll is expired.

    Last edited by Freakshow; 04-05-2008, 09:42 PM.
    Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

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

  • #2
    I'll weigh in on who I think are the best candidates to drop later on. One name That should be added for consideration, IMO is Doc Adams. He was more of an innovator than a star player, but someone who definitely deserves consideration with this particular group:

    http:www.19cbaseball.com/game.html

    Comment


    • #3
      Initial thoughts...

      Top Six Material
      Ross Barnes
      Cal McVey
      Lip Pike
      Joe Start
      Ezra Sutton
      Deacon White

      In-Betweeners
      Tommy Bond
      Jack Burdock
      John Clapp
      Jim Creighton
      Bob Ferguson
      Davy Force
      Bobby Mathews
      Dick McBride
      Levi Meyerle
      Dickey Pearce
      John Peters
      Al Reach
      Tom York

      Bottom Three Material
      Asa Brainard
      Jack Burdock
      George Zettlein
      "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


      • #4
        Originally posted by jjpm74 View Post
        I'll weigh in on who I think are the best candidates to drop later on. One name That should be added for consideration, IMO is Doc Adams. He was more of an innovator than a star player, but someone who definitely deserves consideration with this particular group:

        http:www.19cbaseball.com/game.html
        I answered somewhere on Adams recently, but I can't find it now.

        There is little question that he was hugely influential in the game's development and that he deserves a place in the HOF. However, I find litle evidence that he was an extraordinary player. IIRC, Adams took up the game at age 24.

        If you can make the case that he was among the best players of the 1840s and 1850s I'll consider including him on this players ballot.
        Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

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

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Freakshow View Post
          I answered somewhere on Adams recently, but I can't find it now.

          There is little question that he was hugely influential in the game's development and that he deserves a place in the HOF. However, I find litle evidence that he was an extraordinary player. IIRC, Adams took up the game at age 24.

          If you can make the case that he was among the best players of the 1840s and 1850s I'll consider including him on this players ballot.

          It's difficult to say how much of a star he was as we are talking about baseball's earliest organized days where teams were amateur clubs rather than professional teams. As few people outside of his amateur organization would have observed him play, there is little evidence out there to go on. Nevertheless, based on information provided in the above link, he was an influential player and some credit him with being the first short stop. Others credit him as merely creating the position. In his case, we can at least consider him as an early manager and a significant player from his era if nothing else.

          Maybe Paul can weigh in on him if he sees this as he knows a lot more about the earliest years of baseball than I do.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Classic View Post
            Initial thoughts...

            Top Six Material
            Ross Barnes
            Cal McVey
            Lip Pike
            Joe Start
            Ezra Sutton
            Deacon White

            In-Betweeners
            Tommy Bond
            Jack Burdock
            John Clapp
            Jim Creighton
            Bob Ferguson
            Davy Force
            Bobby Mathews
            Dick McBride
            Levi Meyerle
            Dickey Pearce
            John Peters
            Al Reach
            Tom York

            Bottom Three Material
            Asa Brainard
            Jack Burdock
            George Zettlein
            Move Pearce to the top gorup and this is pretty much spot on.

            I'd cut Zettlein, Brainard, Creighton

            I'd be wary of any pitchers from this era.
            Last edited by jjpm74; 03-31-2008, 11:44 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by jjpm74 View Post
              Move Pearce to the top gorup and this is pretty much spot on.
              While I don't disagree that Pearce is in the top consideration set, I suppose I've already settled on who my six votes will go for unless I'm convinced Pearce is better than one of them between then and now. For me it came down to a choice between Pearce and Barnes and I think Barnes is more clearly documented as being superior to his peers than Pearce was. Perhaps that's unfair simply because of the era Pearce played in, but I give more weight to dominance in a professional league than I do to the amateur era in which Pearce played most of his career.
              "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
                pitchers, McBride, Adams

                Like jjpm, I am leery of the pitchers. I expect that Bobby Mathews will be one winner of the poll, but I concede that that is a poor reason to cut him from the ballot.

                Dick McBride is the best candidate among the pitchers, IMO. He may be a good candidate absolutely, although a poor one in this field, pick 6 of 18. He was a stronger batter than the other pitchers, he was almost the only Athletics pitcher from '65 to '75, and he was captain of that superpower for the last ten(?) years. (He was also a star cricket player in the early/mid 1860s. I would digress further but I don't know enough.)

                On Doc Adams:
                Originally posted by jjpm74 View Post
                Maybe Paul can weigh in on him if he sees this as he knows a lot more about the earliest years of baseball than I do.
                Briefly, for a purpose like this my opinion of baseball before 1857 matches the commonplace opinion of baseball before 1871 and the Bill James opinion of baseball before 1885.

                John Thorn is the expert on Adams --and a great writer
                "Four Fathers of Baseball" (Thorn Pricks)
                Doc Adams (SABR bioproject)

                I have no evidence that Adams was the best player on the Knicks. (If I did have, it would be from Thorn in those two articles or by email. Adams and Pearce were the developers of the shortstop position, which really changed the game. If Adams was the leader in developing or adopting the hard, heavy ball then he gets extra credit. I understand (from Thorn?) that the shortstop position was designed and named as a relay thrower. The three basemen manned their bases and the shortstop relayed throws from all of the outfielders because if the soft, light ball went past the outfielders they could not throw it all the way in to the basepaths.

                Comment


                • #9
                  major teams

                  How "major" should a team be, for purposes of the listed career spans?

                  I suppose Mathews should get some credit before 1871.
                  Maybe Barnes, Start, and White should have earlier start dates.
                  If not then some should have later start dates --Ferguson, at least, but I would look up others, given a clear understanding of the purpose.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Paul Wendt View Post
                    How "major" should a team be, for purposes of the listed career spans?

                    I suppose Mathews should get some credit before 1871.
                    Maybe Barnes, Start, and White should have earlier start dates.
                    If not then some should have later start dates --Ferguson, at least, but I would look up others, given a clear understanding of the purpose.
                    Your guess is, I'm sure, better than mine.

                    I went by a seat-of-the-pants sense of what teams were playing at "the highest level" in any year. If in your judgement Mathews, Barnes, Start, and White were playing at the highest level of competition earlier than I have them (or conversely, if someone started at the highest level later than I have it) I welcome your opinion and will change the dates accordingly.

                    For instance, I think that there are instances where one team in a "minor" league could be considered to be among the teams at the highest level, especially in the 6-team MLB of 1877-78. Also, prior to 1871 I have only a vague sense of which teams were considered to be at the highest level.

                    Again, your input is valued.:bowdown:
                    Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'll post the poll soon. Anyone else have an opinion on who should be dropped (or added)?
                      Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Classic View Post
                        . . .
                        Bottom Three Material
                        Asa Brainard
                        Jack Burdock
                        George Zettlein
                        Classic listed Jack Burdock in the middle group too.

                        Beside the three pitchers named by jjpm --Zettlein, Brainard, Creighton-- the only others worth considering are Peters and Burdock. I suspect that it is reasonable to drop all five and replace them with two non-pitchers who played largely before 1871.
                        But I don't yet know which two. :noidea:
                        Last edited by Paul Wendt; 04-03-2008, 02:36 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Paul Wendt View Post
                          Classic listed Jack Burdock in the middle group too.

                          Beside the three pitchers named by jjpm --Zettlein, Brainard, Creighton-- the only others worth considering are Peters and Burdock. I suspect that it is reasonable to drop all five and replace them with two non-pitchers who played largely before 1871.
                          But I don't yet know which two. :noidea:
                          Given Creighton's status as one of baseball's first "stars" it's possible to overlook the fact that he was a pitcher with a short career that would be considered a good high school player in any other generation (even if he probably won't get any votes). Assuming Zettlein, Brainard, Peters and Burdock all get dropped, maybe Andy Leonard would make a suitable substitute? He was superior to both Peters and Burdock, in his era, IMO. The only other name I can throw out there is Mike McGeary, but he had a bit of a reputation for throwing games.
                          Last edited by jjpm74; 04-03-2008, 03:52 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jjpm74 View Post
                            maybe Andy Leonard would make a suitable substitute? He was superior to both Peters and Burdock, in his era, IMO. The only other name I can throw out there is Mike McGeary, but he had a bit of a reputation for throwing games.
                            Perhaps Doug Allison, Dave Eggler, Cherokee Fisher? George Bradley?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Two months ago I nominated Al Reach and Wes Fisler. Because of his age (older than all but Reach, Start, Pearce) and his performance for the 1871-1876 Athletics (good), I suspected that he was one of the team's best players throughout its glory days . . .

                              In Marshall Wright's book I have looked pretty closely at the Athletics and Eckfords. I hope to go through the Mutuals and to report this evening.

                              Comment

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