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  • Joe Start

    Joe Start played from 1871 to 1886, hitting .299 with 1418 hits and an OPS+ of 121. A first baseman, he led the league in games in 1871, at-bats in 1878, hits in 1878, total bases in 1878, singles in 1878 and 1882 and AB/K in 1877 and 1882.

    None of the ten players most similar to him statistically are in the Hall of Fame. The players that are similar to him are Walter Holke, Chick Gandil, Dick Hoblitzel, Duff Cooley, Candy LaChance, Dave Foutz, Lou Finney, Bill Phillips, Eddie Waitkus and Jimmy Wolf.

    So, what do you think? Should Joe Start be in the Hall of Fame?
    34
    Yes
    55.88%
    19
    No
    29.41%
    10
    Maybe
    14.71%
    5

  • #2
    Nein.

    He doesn't have a case at all, really. He just seems to be typical of the time. Only led his league in hits once (sheer majority of singles), total bases once, singles twice, and ABs per strikeout twice. Only total bases seems particularly meaningful, especially in these formative years of baseball.
    46 wins to match last year's total

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by SamtheBravesFan View Post
      Nein.

      He doesn't have a case at all, really. He just seems to be typical of the time. Only led his league in hits once (sheer majority of singles), total bases once, singles twice, and ABs per strikeout twice. Only total bases seems particularly meaningful, especially in these formative years of baseball.
      Joe Start played close to 30 years professionally and continued to be successful through every reincarnation of professional baseball during that period. He was actually better than Cap Anson in the 1870s despite the fact that his career was starting to wind down at that point. Start also defined the role of a 1st baseman for future generations, including Cap Anson and Dan Brouthers. He was anything but typical at the time.

      Comment


      • #4
        I would put Vic Power in the HOF before I'd put Joe Start in.
        "I do not care if half the league strikes. Those who do it will encounter quick retribution. All will be suspended and I don't care if it wrecks the National League for five years. This is the United States of America and one citizen has as much right to play as another. The National League will go down the line with Robinson whatever the consequences. You will find if you go through with your intention that you have been guilty of complete madness."

        NL President Ford Frick, 1947

        Comment


        • #5
          The thumbnail case for Joe Start: He had an excellent 1.77 runs per out ratio for the 1860's, when 0.67 or so is average and 1.00 is good. In the 1860's, he had 8.41 full seasons. He didn't do too well in the 1871-1875 National Association, averaging 0.7 games above average per/162 games by Total Baseball's methods (Bill James didn't do win shares for the NA). That's the level of a good player, but nothing special. However, he played from 1876 to 1886 and averaged over 25 win shares/162 games there in 9.64 full seasons. That's all-star performance for that last eleven years of his career. A long career with sustained excellence is a recipe for a HOF quality career, even with a slight dip in the NA years in the middle. The Baseball Think Factory guys apparently agree with that thought, since they selected him to their Hall of Merit.
          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


          • #6
            Originally posted by jjpm74 View Post
            Joe Start played close to 30 years professionally and continued to be successful through every reincarnation of professional baseball during that period. He was actually better than Cap Anson in the 1870s despite the fact that his career was starting to wind down at that point. Start also defined the role of a 1st baseman for future generations, including Cap Anson and Dan Brouthers. He was anything but typical at the time.
            Well, it would certainly help if I knew where else he played.
            46 wins to match last year's total

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by SamtheBravesFan View Post
              Well, it would certainly help if I knew where else he played.
              Here are the records compiled by Marshall Wright for the pre-1871 portion of Start's career. Wright notes that a players' statistics will be affected by the team he played for, since teams of the NABBP era did not have standard schedules. However, Atlantic was one of the top teams of the decade, and Start was one of its stars.

              JOE START

              Start was considered the Atlantics’ great power hitter during the mid-1860s, but total bases were not recorded at that time.

              1860 – Played for Enterprise (Brooklyn), 2-7
              Competition: NYC Area
              Position: 3B-1B
              Runs: 13 (tied for third on team) in 6 games. (R. Cornwall and Oddie had 16 runs each).
              Outs – 2.50 per game.

              1861 – Played for Enterprise (Brooklyn), 5-4
              Competition: NYC Area
              Position: 1B-3B
              Runs: 29 in 7 games. (Third on team; Fred Crane and John Chapman each had 30 runs in 10 games.)
              Outs – 1.71 per game.
              Start’s average of 4 runs, 1 over per game tied him for the NA lead with Campbell of Eckford (Brooklyn).

              1862 – Played for Atlantic (Brooklyn), 2-3
              Competition: NYC Area
              Position: 1B
              Runs: 6 in 4 games.
              Outs: 2.75 per game.

              1863 – Played for Atlantic (Brooklyn), 8-3
              Competition: NYC area, Philadelphia, Princeton NJ
              Position: 1B-OF-SS
              Runs – 23 in 9 games (third on club; Charles Smith had 33 in 11 games, and Dickey Pearce had 30 in 11 games).
              Outs – 2.89 per game.

              1864 – Played for Atlantic (Brooklyn), 20-0-1
              Competition: NYC Area, Woodstock ON, Princeton NJ, Philadelphia, Rochester NY
              Position: 1B-3B
              Runs – 82 in 18 games. Fifth on team in runs per game.
              Outs – 2.61 per game.

              1865 – Played for Atlantic (Brooklyn), 18-0
              Competition: NYC area, Philadelphia, Washington
              Position: 1B
              Runs: 82 (top on team; Fred Crane had 71 and Charles Smith 70) in 18 games.
              Outs: 2.17 per game
              Start led the NA in both runs and runs average this season.

              1866 – Played for Atlantic (Brooklyn), 17-3
              Competition: NYC Area, Philadelphia, Boston
              Position: 1B
              Runs: 69 in 16 games (First on team; John Chapman also had 69 runs, but in 18 games).
              Outs: 2.31 per game

              1867 – Played for Atlantic (Brooklyn), 19-5-1
              Competition: NYC Area, Philadelphia, Rochester NY
              Position: 1B
              Runs: 83 in 19 games, second on team (Fred Crane 88 in 25 games, Pearce 83, Bob Ferguson 82). Only player on team to have a runs average over 4.
              Outs: 2.11 per game.

              1868 – Played for Atlantic (Brooklyn), 47-7
              Competition: East and Midwest
              Position: 1B
              Runs: 235 in 52 games. First on team in runs and run average.
              Hits: 233 (First on team).
              Total Bases: 283 (Third on team. Ferguson 312, Chapman 301)
              Outs: 2.35 per game.
              Among NA teams that kept records of hits, Start finished first in the NA in total hits and hit average (4 hits, 25 over).

              1869 – Played for Atlantic (Brooklyn), 40-6-2, 15-6-1 vs. pros (second of 12 pro teams)
              Competition: East Coast and Cincinnati
              Position: 1B
              Runs: 202 in 46 games (First on team; Chapman 197, Pike 193)
              Hits: 203 (first on team; Curtis Chapman 197)
              Total Bases: 341 (first on team; Pike 325)
              Outs: 2.59 per game

              1870 – Played for Atlantic (Brooklyn), 41-17, 20-16 vs. pros (fifth best pro team)
              Competition: East and Midwest
              Position: 1B
              Hits: 2.88 per game (best on team; Chapman had 2.58 per game)
              Total Bases: 4.41 per game (second on team; Pike 4.58, Chapman 3.62)
              As Albright points out, Start was averaging 25 win shares per 162 games from 1876 onwards (Bill James doesn't calculate win shares for the NA era). That span includes ten full season of play -- and Start was 33 years old when the NL was established. If he was that good then, just imagine how good he was in his prime. As noted above, despite playing on one of the top teams -- and therefore playing more than the usual share of games against other top teams -- Start did lead the NABBP in several statistical categories.

              Originally posted by Fuzzy Bear
              I would put Vic Power in the HOF before I'd put Joe Start in.
              Were you taking Start's pre-1871 record into account when you wrote that?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jalbright View Post
                The thumbnail case for Joe Start: He had an excellent 1.77 runs per out ratio for the 1860's, when 0.67 or so is average and 1.00 is good. In the 1860's, he had 8.41 full seasons. He didn't do too well in the 1871-1875 National Association, averaging 0.7 games above average per/162 games by Total Baseball's methods (Bill James didn't do win shares for the NA). That's the level of a good player, but nothing special. However, he played from 1876 to 1886 and averaged over 25 win shares/162 games there in 9.64 full seasons. That's all-star performance for that last eleven years of his career. A long career with sustained excellence is a recipe for a HOF quality career, even with a slight dip in the NA years in the middle. The Baseball Think Factory guys apparently agree with that thought, since they selected him to their Hall of Merit.
                Wow, where do you get pre-NA info like that?
                "Any pitcher who throws at a batter and deliberately tries to hit him is a communist."

                - Alvin Dark

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by AstrosFan View Post
                  Wow, where do you get pre-NA info like that?
                  As AG2004 noted, from Marshall Wright's book on the 1859-1870 years. Two of the things they kept in those days were runs scored and outs made. There were a lot of runs, and Wright has said that 2 runs scored to 3 outs made was about average. A one to one ratio is good, and better than that is excellent--and has the advantage of putting things into some context. The complete seasons is player's games played divided by team games played, done season by season. Some more of this stuff appears in posts 88 to 101 in my musings thread.
                  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


                  • #10
                    some more notes on early players

                    At the Hall of Merit many of the player pages for pre-1871 players include notes by yours truly.
                    Selected 19th Century Candidates (index), Hall of Merit

                    Some of them are almost empty because player pages were added after they were elected, and others because player pages didn't become popular sites for HoM debate until some time after they proliferated.

                    Whether or not the page is nearly empty (Ezra Sutton) or continues past 100 artilces (Joe Start), my notes that include pre-1871 data tend to be near the end.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Taking that stuff into account, I'm willing to say that I'm wrong on this.
                      46 wins to match last year's total

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Revived, because Paul Wendt wants it to be.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Correct me if I am wrong, but was I just looking at stats from seasons which included fewer games than what I used to play during a summer of Church League Softball?

                          Your Second Base Coach
                          Garvey, Lopes, Russell, and Cey started 833 times and the Dodgers went 498-335, for a .598 winning percentage. That’s equal to a team going 97-65 over a season. On those occasions when at least one of them missed his start, the Dodgers were 306-267-1, which is a .534 clip. That works out to a team going 87-75. So having all four of them added 10 wins to the Dodgers per year.
                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5hCIvMule0

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Just how was he (or anyone else of qualified fighting age) able to play "base ball" throughout the entire duration of the Civil War? And how much did this affect league quality? Did he fight? And if so, does he deserve "war credit?"
                            "Age is a question of mind over matter--if you don't mind, it doesn't matter."
                            -Satchel Paige

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Paul Wendt View Post
                              At the Hall of Merit many of the player pages for pre-1871 players include notes by yours truly.
                              Selected 19th Century Candidates (index), Hall of Merit
                              A more complete version of the "Start and McVey" thread can be found at this link. Post #120 in the original (now archived) thread, now exists as post #94 in the thread at Paul's link. The thread, and many others, was a casualty of the site upgrade from the spring of 2004.
                              Last edited by Freakshow; 06-18-2009, 11:36 AM.
                              Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

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

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