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1965 Best of Baseball election thread

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  • #16
    Being even arguably the fourth best first baseman of a decade which began when Start had already passed his 37th birthday is significant evidence of a top talent. I'm not sure how to make sense of all of Start's career, which is why I haven't pushed his cause as yet. That said, I expect to support his case at some point.
    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


    • #17
      Recently I re-evaluated some Negro league and other players which will result in a change in my ranking.

      Players:

      1. Stan Musial
      2. John Beckwith
      3. Ezra Sutton
      4. Harry Stovey
      5. Early Wynn
      6. George Gore
      7. Victor Starffin
      8. Joe Gordon
      9. Frank Grant
      10. Addie Joss
      11. Max Carey
      12. Hilton Smith

      Contributors:

      1. C. I. Taylor
      2. George Weiss
      3. Tom Connolly
      4. Frank Chance
      5. Dickey Pearce

      Comment


      • #18
        Players

        1. Stan Musial
        2. Sam Thompson
        3. Chuck Klein
        4. Harry Stovey
        5. Bill Terry
        6. Hugh Duffy
        7. Pud Galvin
        8. Pete Browning
        9. Jim McCormick
        10. Bob Caruthers
        11. Mickey Welch
        12. Early Wynn

        In the wings, Joe McGinnity, Earl Averill, Tony Mullane, Bob Johnson. John Beckwith, I don't know. Is he like Traynor? If so, well, I'm not in Traynor-territory yet.


        Contributors

        1. Ford Frick
        2. Cal Hubbard
        3. George Weiss
        4. C.I. Taylor
        5. Charles Conlon
        Last edited by dgarza; 01-30-2010, 04:12 PM.

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by leecemark View Post
          --Joe Start was at best the 4th best 1B of the 1880s. Being the 4th best at a position from that early era is not a strong case for me. Of course, Start was - by baseball standards - an old man in the 1880s. His real claim is that he was (probably, records are not exactly clear here) the best 1B of the 1860s. It is his extreme longevity that makes him a viable, if less than compelling, candidate IMO.
          Originally posted by jalbright View Post
          Being even arguably the fourth best first baseman of a decade which began when Start had already passed his 37th birthday is significant evidence of a top talent. I'm not sure how to make sense of all of Start's career, which is why I haven't pushed his cause as yet. That said, I expect to support his case at some point.
          Start's career is hard to judge, as it is divided into 3 distinct parts.

          His 1860s were most likely and expected his best years, but the 1860s are hard to judge.

          His 1870s were yo-yo years. He would go from good to below average often.
          Depending on how you view Cal McVey, Start may have been the best 1B of the 1870s, but his competition was entirely weak
          150 games at 1B
          Code:
                                                
          Rk           Player OPS+   G From   To
          1         Cal McVey  152 530 1871 1879
          2         Joe Start  121 516 1871 1879
          3     Everett Mills  100 337 1871 1876
          4     Charlie Gould   92 221 1871 1877
          5       Tim Murnane   91 308 1872 1878
          6    Herman Dehlman   61 307 1872 1877
          Like the 1870s, his 1880s were good, but not great. I'd say he's clearly out of the Top 5 1B for that decade. He did not play much as was merely an OK defensive player.
          500 games at 1B
          Code:
                                                   
          Rk             Player OPS+    G From   To
          1       Dan Brouthers  183  941 1880 1889
          2        Roger Connor  166 1083 1880 1889
          3            Dave Orr  165  684 1883 1889
          4           Cap Anson  159 1089 1880 1889
          5        Harry Stovey  151 1066 1880 1889
          6         John Reilly  136  874 1880 1889
          7           Joe Start  120  555 1880 1886
          8        John Morrill  115  992 1880 1889
          9       Bill Phillips  109  957 1880 1888
          10   Charlie Comiskey   95  895 1882 1889
          11         Sid Farrar   92  816 1883 1889
          Start is not quite HOF material in my book; very good, but not HOF great.
          I'd judge his entire career to be more akin to Mickey Vernon, Dolph Camilli, Gil Hodges, Andres Galarraga, Norm Cash, Jack Fournier, or Jack Clark.
          If I wanted to really stretch it, I could have my arm twisted to say Tony Perez, Carlos Delgado, Steve Garvey, or Jim Bottomley, but I'm not really ready to go that far yet.

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by leecemark View Post
            --Joe Start was at best the 4th best 1B of the 1880s. Being the 4th best at a position from that early era is not a strong case for me. Of course, Start was - by baseball standards - an old man in the 1880s. His real claim is that he was (probably, records are not exactly clear here) the best 1B of the 1860s. It is his extreme longevity that makes him a viable, if less than compelling, candidate IMO.
            Above I have added a note,
            "Jones, Sutton, and Start are also members of the 1870s team which no longer takes the field."

            At the same time I have added Jim McCormick and Mickey Welch to that so-called strong balanced team from the 1880s.

            Comment


            • #21
              Start has been a fixture on my ballot since 1941; mine was one of five votes he received in that election.

              We don't know exactly his numbers for the first third of his career. But from his reputation, and his numbers later, he must've been one of the best pre-1871.

              All players with OPS+ of 120, age 34-on, 600+ G, through 1924.
              Code:
              Rk Player      OPS+  G   PA  From  To 
              1 Honus Wagner 139 1330 5507 1908 1917 
              2 Roger Connor 133  662 2917 1892 1897 
              3 Nap Lajoie   132  994 4019 1909 1916 
              4 Cap Anson    132 1466 6484 1886 1897 
              5 Fred Clarke  129  696 2890 1907 1915 
              6 Joe Start    127  742 3318 1877 1886 
              7 Jake Beckley 123  644 2730 1902 1907 
              8 Jim O'Rourke 123 1047 4610 1885 1904
              That's some pretty fast company; all are in the Hall of Fame and the BBFHOF except for Start (who was elected to the Hall of Merit in 1912). Actually, Start was probably more reknowned for his fielding, at a time when 1B was a "glove" position more than a "bat" position.
              Last edited by Freakshow; 01-30-2010, 06:06 PM.
              Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

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

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by dgarza View Post
                John Beckwith, I don't know. Is he like Traynor? If so, well, I'm not in Traynor-territory yet.
                John Beckwith was very little like Traynor. He didn't have the glove that Traynor had, though he did play a lot of shortstop in the Negro Leagues. He hit for averages Traynor liked, and probably would have walked a fair amount more than Traynor mainly because a) Traynor rarely took a walk, and b) Beckwith had power, so pitchers had to be more careful with him. That power difference is huge, as Traynor had 58 career homers--a total I think Beckwith would have gotten in two no better than average years.

                Here's what I have on him in my musings thread:

                John Beckwith

                His list of accolades is short, which I would ascribe as largely due to his prickly personality:
                1) Elected to Baseball Think Factory's "Hall of Merit";
                2) Second team in the Pittsburgh Courier poll in a "utility" role;
                3) finished 36th in the SABR poll ranking Negro League luminaries; and
                4) Elected to the BBF HOF.

                Everybody agrees the man could flat out hit. In 119 at bats against major leaguers, he hit .311. The Baseball Think Factory guys project that for his career he was a 333/387/522 hitter who would have amassed 2451 hits. There's no one who hit .300 for his career while slugging .500 for his career with over 2000 career hits who has failed to make Cooperstown. Big John bests those marks easily.

                The BTF guys translate those career marks to 315 career win shares, 136 in his best five consecutive seasons and a top three of 30, 28 and 27. I'd say those marks put him behind Brooks Robinson (355 career; 130 best 5 consecutive; and top three of 33, 27 and 25) and Stan Hack (318 career, 140 best 5 consecutive; and a top three of 34, 33 and 31). However, those marks easily best Pie Traynor's 271 career, 119 best five consecutive and a top three of 28, 26 and 26.

                There are some other key points of evidence that I'd like to mention: John Holway named him an all-star five times in the days before a Negro League all-star game, and also named him an MVP once. In the Negro Leagues, he led in average and homers once each, and in the California Winter League, he led in homers twice.

                William McNeil on page 95 of Cool Papas and Double Duties writes:
                Beckwith was a big moody individual, standing 6' 3" tall and weighing in at a muscular 230 pounds, he was ready to fight at the slightest affront. he battled with his teammates, with players on other teams, and with umpires . . . . As a result, the powerful slugger moved around frequently, playing with no less tha 14 teams over a storied 23 year career . . . [Some, though] thought Beckwith's [reputation for a] bad attitude was a bum rap.
                The fact he served as a manager would also seem to indicate his reputation was a bit overblown.

                Riley on page 70 of his Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Leagues says:
                During his prime, Beckwith was regarded as one ot the top players by his peers, and he possessed sufficient versatility afield to play almost any position. However he did not excel [defensively] at any position.
                Beckwith was amazing with a bat in his hand. Listen to this from William McNeil's Baseball's Other Stars, page 59:
                His .356 career batting average, one of the highest ever recorded in the Negro Leagues, included a league leading .430 om 1930. He also captured two home run crowns in '30 and '31. Beckwith's extra base output was awesome, averaging 33 doubles, eight triples and 30 home runs for every 550 at bats [in his career].
                I'll also add this by AG2004:
                1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

                No.

                2. Was he the best player on his team?

                During his prime, with the exception of the Harrisburg Giants years (they had Oscar Charleston), he usually was. However, he played for the Chicago American Giants, Baltimore Black Sox, Harrisburg Giants, and Homestead Grays during a five-year period in his prime.

                3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

                Cobb’s projections indicate that Beckwith would have had more win shares than any major league 3B in 1923, 1924, 1925, 1929, and 1931, and would have finished second in 1921, 1922, and 1927. There were ten seasons when Beckwith’s win share projections would have ranked him higher than any AL third baseman (including 1928 and 1930). He was the best 3B in the Negro Leagues during the 1920s, and possibly the best in baseball as well.

                4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

                Not really.

                5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?

                Yes.

                6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

                He is not the best player outside the BBFHOF.

                7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?

                I’m using Chris Cobb’s partially regressed figures; in Cobb’s opinion, the fully regressed projections push the value of Beckwith’s best individual seasons down too far, although they don’t affect the value of his five best consecutive seasons.

                Career win shares, 3B: Tommy Leach 329, Graig Nettles 322, Ron Santo 322, BECKWITH 318, Stan Hack 318, Home Run Baker 301, Buddy Bell 299. This is generally BBFHOF territory.

                Best three seasons, 3B: Stan Hack 98, Sal Bando 96, Heinie Groh 95, BECKWITH 92, Bobby Bonilla 91, Paul Molitor 89, Darrell Evans 87, Tommy Leach 87, Howard Johnson 87, Ken Boyer 86, Brooks Robinson 85, Art Devlin 85. Beckwith is in the cutoff area.

                Best five consecutive seasons, 3B: Sal Bando 143, Stan Hack 140, BECKWITH 136, Paul Molitor 133, Howard Johnson 133, Bobby Bonilla 132, Ken Boyer 131, Brooks Robinson 130, Jimmie Collins 129. Again, Beckwith is in good company.

                8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

                We don’t have adequate information to answer this question. However, while he is not in Cooperstown, Beckwith is a member of the Hall of Merit.

                9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

                Beckwith may have been a disruptive influence on his teams.

                10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?

                One could make the argument that he is the best 3B outside the BBFHOF. Of the players at his position with at least 290 win shares (earned or, for Negro Leaguers, MLE equivalents), Beckwith easily has the best peak.

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

                He had two seasons which project to 30+ win shares. Holway lists him as his Eastern MVP for 1925.

                12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?

                Holway lists Beckwith as an All-Star four times. However, Beckwith had nine seasons which project to 20+ win shares. Having nine such seasons is a good sign for Beckwith.

                13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

                At his prime, yes.

                14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

                Not that I know of.

                15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

                Beckwith once punched out teammate Bill Holland after Holland criticized him for making an error.

                On the other hand, Beckwith was generally the manager of his teams from 1924 to 1942, so Bill James’ and Riley’s assessments of his character is excessively negative. He did jump from team to team very often in the 1920s, probably because he wasn’t willing to accept poor treatment or a lower salary than he thought he was worth. Al Fennar, who knew Beckwith for 25 years, admitted that Beckwith had a temper and would jump all over slackers, but would help young players who worked hard.

                CONCLUSION: If Beckwith’s character were really as bad as Bill James described, then there would be an argument for leaving him out despite his record. But James got his information secondhand, and, in this case, the information he received was very poor. Beckwith belongs in the BBFHOF.
                Last edited by jalbright; 01-31-2010, 06:56 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


                • #23
                  Thanks. I also believe this is a fine time to elect Beckwith. Early returns sure point to a Musial-Beckwith-Stovey ticket.
                  http://gifrific.com/wp-content/uploa...-showalter.gif

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    1. Stan Musial
                    2. Bob Caruthers
                    3. Bill Terry
                    4. Charlie Bennett
                    5. Jack Glasscock
                    6. Joe Gordon
                    7. Max Carey
                    8. John Beckwith
                    9. Early Wynn
                    10. Harry Stovey
                    11. Ezra Sutton
                    12. Bobby Doerr

                    1. O.P. Caylor
                    2. Connolly
                    3. Chance
                    4. Weiss
                    5. Etta Manley

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      1. Stan Musial
                      2. Max Carey
                      3. Sam Thompson
                      4. Edd Roush
                      5. Frank Grant
                      6. Harry Stovey
                      7. Pete Hill
                      8. Bobby Doerr
                      9. John Beckwith
                      10. Dizzy Dean
                      11. Bill Terry
                      12. Earl Averill

                      Contributors

                      1. Frank Chance
                      2. Tom Connolly
                      3. Billy Evans
                      4. C.I. Taylor
                      5. George Weiss
                      Dave Bill Tom George Mark Bob Ernie Soupy Dick Alex Sparky
                      Joe Gary MCA Emanuel Sonny Dave Earl Stan
                      Jonathan Neil Roger Anthony Ray Thomas Art Don
                      Gates Philip John Warrior Rik Casey Tony Horace
                      Robin Bill Ernie JEDI

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Players

                        1. Stan Musial
                        2. Frank Grant
                        3. Pete Hill
                        4. Joe Sewell
                        5. John Beckwith
                        6. Willard Brown
                        7. Joe McGinnity
                        8. Bobby Doerr
                        9. Addie Joss
                        10. Early Wynn
                        11. Bob Caruthers
                        12. Earl Averill


                        Contributors

                        1. Ed Bolden
                        2. Billy Southworth
                        3. Jim Mutrie
                        4. Frank Chance
                        George Weiss
                        http://gifrific.com/wp-content/uploa...-showalter.gif

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by jalbright View Post
                          In 119 at bats against major leaguers, he hit .311.
                          This is against MLs. OK. Probably 30- or 40-something games?

                          The Baseball Think Factory guys project that for his career he was a 333/387/522 hitter who would have amassed 2451 hits.
                          So then what is this based on? Are these suggested numbers? Real numbers? Based on NL or MLB play?

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by dgarza View Post
                            So then what is this based on? Are these suggested numbers? Real numbers? Based on NL or MLB play?
                            It's based on Chris Cobb's (IIRC) major league equivalent of the data we have on his Negro League career. You'd have to consult the thread on Beckwith to learn precisely how it was done. That said, I've seen a lot of the work done over there, and by and large, I find their results quite reasonable given both the reputations of the players involved and the supporting stats they have. They're willing to follow the data where it leads, so things like whether Dick Lundy walked at all can make a big difference. Some may not find this as persuasive as I, and I can understand that. However, I don't think anyone can make a case that these efforts are anything but fairly undertaken with a fidelity to what the evidence provides. One may disagree with the methods used to arrive at the results, but they are based in reality. Basically, I find them useful to help put guys like Beckwith in context. YMMV.
                            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


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by jalbright View Post
                              There are two contributors joining the list in 1965:
                              Code:
                              Hubbard , Cal
                              Manley , Effa
                              Remarkably from my perspective, they both have a vote already.


                              About the umpires (Hubbard), I am still looking for sources of information between the 1970s that I have lived (Shag Crawford?) and the 1900s that I have studied.

                              CCN, You have explained that you are a dedicated amateur or semipro umpire. Where do you read about past umpires? In daily newspapers from their time (as I have c.1900 covering Connolly and others).

                              Mark leecemark, Why Evans in particular? Wherefrom do you know him?

                              dgarza, Why Hubbard in particular? Wherefrom do you know him?

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by dgarza View Post
                                This is against MLs. OK. Probably 30- or 40-something games?

                                So then what is this based on? Are these suggested numbers? Real numbers? Based on NL or MLB play?
                                They are scaled to contemporary MLB play (batting and scoring rates, season length). I think that is what you mean by "base" as in base 10, base 2, etc.

                                They are estimates derived from data on NeL play that is fairly complete for the 1920s, iirc.

                                As I recall, "John Beckwith" is the thread with the most discussion of methods and parameters. It's early, beginning about the time that Chris Cobb decided to undertake MLE systematically for all remaining and upcoming candidates.

                                Comment

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