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Best Position Players of All Time - #26

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  • #31
    Originally posted by leecemark
    --WW, I didn't really do a systematic review of what years Anson may have been the best player in his league. Maybe it was only one, but you can argue a few more. To be honest, I am not especially knowledgable about 19th century baseball. I think we are due to elect someone from that pool and Anson, with the best career of that century, is my choice.
    Well, he did have the best career of that century, but he quite clarely wasn't the best player of that century (that is either Connor or Brouthers). Considering this is called the "Best Position Players of All Time" poll, I'd take Connor/Brouthers, but it is your right to interpret the question (your own question ironically) in a different way than I do.

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    • #32
      --I'll agree that several 19th century guys had seasons which were better than any Anson produced. While I do give peak due consideration, for me "best" does take the full value of a career into account. There are quite a few guys who are still not getting votes (some who may never get them) that had better seasons than Hank Aaron's best. He was still the better player. I think Anson's relationship to his leagues was very similar to Aaron's. Aaron did deserve to rank much higher though, because his leagues were much better.
      --BTW, Win Shares are not an argument ender in my opinion. I suspect Conners edge in many of those seasons was due to DWS and they are especially questionable. Plus Anson was a star before Conner ever played a game so some of his best years weren't incuded in your comparison.

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      • #33
        It's very hard to determine the best player of the 19th century. Billy Hamilton's got the tastiest stats IMO. Look at that BA, OBP, and SBs and runs! I love that guy! Going by raw stats alone, he's the best leadoff man ever! There are many other great stats from the 19th century to look at. No doubt they're a product of the offensive era in which they were accomplished, but they're fun to look at nonetheless.
        Red, it took me 16 years to get here. Play me, and you'll get the best I got.

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        • #34
          --Hamilton had a short career, centerd in a huge offensive era. I do consider him a top 10 CFer, but his stats have to be pretty steeply discounted. Anson played MUCH longer (about a 1,000 more games inspite of many of his seasons being less than 100 games) and his best years came at a time when offensive numbers were much lower.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by leecemark
            --Hamilton had a short career, centerd in a huge offensive era. I do consider him a top 10 CFer, but his stats have to be pretty steeply discounted. Anson played MUCH longer (about a 1,000 more games inspite of many of his seasons being less than 100 games) and his best years came at a time when offensive numbers were much lower.
            Yeah, well, I don't care too much for Anson because of his, you know, questionable character, but I'll admit he may very well have been the greatest overall player of the 19th century.
            Red, it took me 16 years to get here. Play me, and you'll get the best I got.

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            • #36
              Just shows how limited stats are. The players of that time all thought Buck Ewing was the best player, and Mike Kelly not far behind. Cap was in there too, but not at their level. Buck tied Anson for most votes in the 1939 Hall of Fame vote.

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              • #37
                --If Anson was not at his level why did they tie in the old timers ballot? Ewing may have been a greater player at his peak, but his career lacks the weight of Anson's. Contemporary opinion always values flash over substance anyway and that would be even more true with the lesser availablity and knowlege of stats in the 19th century. King Kelly was a terrific player, but he was even more of a showman. Buck tended to do things the flashy way too, while Cap just got the job done.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by leecemark
                  --If Anson was not at his level why did they tie in the old timers ballot? Ewing may have been a greater player at his peak, but his career lacks the weight of Anson's. Contemporary opinion always values flash over substance anyway and that would be even more true with the lesser availablity and knowlege of stats in the 19th century. King Kelly was a terrific player, but he was even more of a showman. Buck tended to do things the flashy way too, while Cap just got the job done.
                  Since I was not there, of course, I can only speculate from my ivory tower armchair. Since Buck died around 1906, and Cap in 1922, I suspect Cap had a longer time to solidify his connections, associations. I'd say Cap tied him due to his longevity, managing and politics. Buck was far more the players' player.

                  At their peaks, the greatest catcher in the game, who could run better, hit well, and plug in at any utility position, as well as manage great, was a more valued player than a better hitting 1bman, who managed.
                  Last edited by Bill Burgess; 02-02-2006, 09:37 PM.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by [email protected]
                    Just shows how limited stats are. The players of that time all thought Buck Ewing was the best player, and Mike Kelly not far behind. Cap was in there too, but not at their level. Buck tied Anson for most votes in the 1939 Hall of Fame vote.
                    Bill, I made a post on this a few days ago:

                    Matt, I've agreed with you and your PCA system on most things (in fact almost everything. It's helped me dozens of times), but I can't help but think you're dead wrong here. Your PCA system may show Buck as not being all that great, but have you made any adjustments to it to encompass the hardships of catching on the body, especially in the 19th century?

                    Ewing will never look so great by standard sabermetrics because it's double jeopardy, not only were the schedules in his time short but catching then was like hell personified. Ewing didn't catch or play many games, but neither did any other catchers of the period, and no other catcher, and I mean none could compete with Buck in the batter's box.

                    Bill James talks a bit in his Win Shares book about how many of the worst MVP selections of all time by his system were from catchers. Guys like Ernie Lombardi and Thurman Munson when they won the award. The only catcher to earn the award by his system was Johnny Bench in 1970, which was by the time catching was made way easier by modern technology.

                    I think catchers in the 19th century will just never look good by sabermetric methods. You have to realize that at the time he retired Ewing was actually 6th all time in games caught. I think Bill in the past has way overstated that, simply because the league was very young at the time and being 6th in anything doesn't mean nearly as much as does today, but you have to realize that in context Ewing was really a durable catcher. If he played any other position he may have ended up with great longevity too. The fact his career was short shouldn't necessarily be counted against him all that much.

                    I don't think Ewing was a top 10 player all time certainly (I don't even think he's top 100 or a top 10 catcher), but his spot in the HOF is well deserved.

                    Same thing with Ferrell. He didn't play many games for the time, and thus I'm sure his totals by season will be low. But, I think you have to realize the effects catching had on the body before new equipment made it much easier.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by leecemark
                      --I'll agree that several 19th century guys had seasons which were better than any Anson produced. While I do give peak due consideration, for me "best" does take the full value of a career into account. There are quite a few guys who are still not getting votes (some who may never get them) that had better seasons than Hank Aaron's best. He was still the better player. I think Anson's relationship to his leagues was very similar to Aaron's. Aaron did deserve to rank much higher though, because his leagues were much better.
                      I agree even when talking about the "best" longevity should get lots of weight. Anson certainly had that in abundance.

                      There are guys who still haven't been elected and probably never will be elected who had one year better than Aaron's best year (Norm Cash comes to mind), but was there any player around when Aaron was elected who, if you made of chart of them year by year would beat Aaron pretty much every year they were both around? No way!!! Not to mention that the other guy hasn't received any support at all, not even a single vote!! Connor killed Anson every year when they were both around. I don't see how Cap can overcome that.

                      --BTW, Win Shares are not an argument ender in my opinion. I suspect Conners edge in many of those seasons was due to DWS and they are especially questionable. Plus Anson was a star before Conner ever played a game so some of his best years weren't incuded in your comparison.
                      Win Shares aren't an argument ender, certainly. But I'm sure everyone agrees that they at least give somewhat of a sketch of player's value in any given year. Perhaps DWS was a big difference, but I don't see how it is. Connor over his career only average about .5 more a DWS per season. Since WS are rounded that could make a difference in years when he's only one WS ahead. That would be two years, 1882 and 1890. Most years Connor is ahead by 4 or more WS.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        --Well if I agreed Conner "killed" Anson every year they were in the league together then it would be impossible to rate Anson ahead of him. I think that overstates the case by quite a bit though.
                        --Comparing their years in the league together directly is hardly fair to Anson anyway. Cap played 9 seasons before Conner broke in. You've already conceded Anson was better in Conner's first few years. So Anson had already been playing a long time and his best years were in the books before your comparison starts to show Conner as having the better years. Not many guys are going to fare well with such an uneven playing field.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by 538280
                          but you have to realize that in context Ewing was really a durable catcher. If he played any other position he may have ended up with great longevity too. The fact his career was short shouldn't necessarily be counted against him all that much.

                          I don't think Ewing was a top 10 player all time certainly (I don't even think he's top 100 or a top 10 catcher), but his spot in the HOF is well deserved.
                          Buck caught the 2 fastest pitchers of his time, Ed Crane and Amos Rusie, at 50 feet, without shin guards, and with only sub-standard body armour. And in a day before private health insurance! I wouldn't have done it. Would you?

                          Bill
                          Last edited by Bill Burgess; 02-03-2006, 07:07 AM.

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                          • #43
                            Code:
                            [U]Rank...Player....Rank from 1st set of polls.....change[/U]
                            1)  Babe Ruth         1                         0
                            2)  Ty Cobb           2                         0    
                            3)  Willie Mays       4                        +1
                            4)  Honus Wagner      3                        -1
                            5)  Ted Williams      7                        +2
                            6)  Barry Bonds       9                        +3
                            7)  Tris Speaker      8                        +1
                            8)  Stan Musial      11                        +3
                            9)  Lou Gehrig        5                        -4
                            10) Hank Aaron       10                         0
                            11) Mickey Mantle    12                        +1
                            12) Rogers Hornsby    6                        -6
                            13) Eddie Collins    17                        +4
                            14) Mike Schmidt     15                        +1
                            15) Oscar Charleston 13                        -2
                            16) Josh Gibson      18                        +2
                            17) Joe DiMaggio     16                        -1
                            18) Frank Robinson   21                        +3
                            19) Joe Morgan       25                        +6
                            20) Jimmie Foxx      14                        -6
                            21) Nap Lajoie       20                        -1
                            22) Johnny Bench     24                        +2
                            23) Mel Ott          31                        +8
                            24) Rickey Henderson 30                        +6
                            25) Alex Rodriguez   32                        +7
                            Last edited by abacab; 02-03-2006, 09:36 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              10.

                              1. joe jackson
                              2.yogi berra
                              3. Cap Anson
                              4. hank greenberg
                              5. brooks robinson
                              6. roberto clemente
                              7. carlton fisk
                              8. george brett
                              9. wade boggs
                              10. yaz

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Originally posted by leecemark
                                --Comparing their years in the league together directly is hardly fair to Anson anyway. Cap played 9 seasons before Conner broke in. You've already conceded Anson was better in Conner's first few years. So Anson had already been playing a long time and his best years were in the books before your comparison starts to show Conner as having the better years. Not many guys are going to fare well with such an uneven playing field.
                                It's not completely fair, but it's not completely unfair. Anson had been playing a while before Connor, but his best years were not "in the books". Anson's best years were in the 1880s, which was a part of the comparison.

                                As I said before, even if you add on the nine years (if you count the NA) in which Anson played before Connor, Connor still comes out ahead in the year by year comparison. Looking at their career WS totals Anson's longevity does put him ahead, but barely. Cap had 381 career WS and Roger had 363. Anson's five best WS years were 30, 29, 24, 23, 22. Connor's five best were 36, 32, 30, 26, and 25. Of course WS aren't perfect or an argument ender, but if they return a result llike that I think we have to say Connor was probably better.

                                If you think DWS aren't perfect, I can also give you each's career offense/defense breakdown:

                                Cap Anson
                                Off-338.09
                                Def-40.63

                                Roger Connor
                                Off-322.23
                                Def-40.25

                                Anson has the slight longevity advantage, Connor the large peak advantage, Connor was better every year they played together. Overall, I guess I could see how you could possibly go with Cap only it you give him big intangible credit for being a great manager and supposedly saving the game. But, either way I think it is a huge injustice that Anson is getting all these votes and Connor is nowhere to be found, anywhere.

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