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Heinie Groh among 3Bmen?

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  • leecemark
    replied
    1) Schmidt - really no contest
    2) Mathews - Schmidt clone with the bat, but average fielder
    3) Brett - could go above Mathews. A terrific all around player
    4) Boggs - best BA/OBP 3B ever.
    5) Santo - not that far behind the big boys with the bat and better than all above with the glove, excepting Schmidt
    6) Baker - best pre-war 3B by a wide margin. super peak and could rank higher except he missed 2 years mid-career (not consecutive) and saw his level of play drop after each
    ----------there is a significant dropoff from here and I could be persuaded to move the rest around
    7) Robinson - most career defensive value and solid, although unspectacular hitter for 10 years mid-career (lousy one early and late though).
    8) Nagashima - hard to know exactly how he translates to MLB. for sure his power would have fallen off. still he was a good hitter for BA/OBP and an outstanding defender
    9) Dandridge - also a little speculative with good BA and defense, but not alot of power
    10) Boyer - overshadowed by Mathews and then Santo, but one of the NL's best players (in a great field) in late 50s/early 60s
    --------------I suppose you could start arguing Groh over any of the rest although I wouldn't agree on;
    11) Nettles - great defender with very good power and decent OBP
    12) Jones - better hitter than anybody out of top 5
    -----------------I see him in this group somewhere, but where I'm not sure;
    Sutton, McGraw, Collins, JWilson, Traynor, Hack, Rosen, Evans, Cey, B. Bell, Rolen, Ventura
    --Actually that probably underrates Jimmy Collins who was fabulous with the glove and a pretty good hitter. I've had Collins in my top 10 before and maybe still should. That makes best case for Groh at 14 and worst case around 25th.

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  • 538280
    replied
    Originally posted by baseballPAP
    I have him in at # 18. A few of your guys under him I believe might stand a bit of a rethink.....McGraw, Hack and Chipper Jones all rate easily above Groh in my book. McGraw's career was short(mostly done by age 28 as he concentrated on running the teams instead of playing), but he was around average defensively with a monster stick for 7+ years....that OB% up over .460 for his peak is impossible to overlook.
    I used to rate McGraw much higher than I do now, but I've since dropped him way down. His career is just too short (4926 PAs?). Not only did he not stick around for long, he was extremely injury prone. He only played 100+ games five times. Bill Joyce was just as good a hitter and fielder, and he played for way longer when you give him credit for the shortened schedules.

    Plus, McGraw had his prime at the peak of syndicate ownership, and lucky for McGraw he was always playing with a legitimate team. When you're facing a AA or AAA level team half of the time, it's not that hard to post crazy hitting stats. Many of the other worldly numbers from the mid to late 1890s are because of that.

    Hack was as solid as they come for 15 years...unspectacular but did everything well. Chipper is an offensive force, and while his glove is suspect, his bat is above nearly all of his 3B peers. Another name I'd like to throw in the ring here is Shigeo Nagashima... a beast from the Far East so to speak.... Most here don't think of any Japanese player beyond Oh, but Nagashima played a much tougher position and was respected even more than Oh by his countrymen.
    Hack only really started to be a great player once players started getting called away for WWII. Before that, he was a pretty good player, but not anything special. Groh had one hell of a peak, and it was against much better competition than Hack's peak was against. Hack wasn't much of a fielder either, and he played most of his career after the spectrum jump, when much more offense was expected from his position.

    Chipper looks much better by raw stats, but the spectrum jump again comes into play. Groh was playing a much harder position, and playing it very, very well. Chipper was playing a relatively easy position, and playing it horribly. Chipper could rake though, he's getting some good longevity, and his league was stronger so I could see rating Chipper ahead in a few years.

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  • baseballPAP
    replied
    I have him in at # 18. A few of your guys under him I believe might stand a bit of a rethink.....McGraw, Hack and Chipper Jones all rate easily above Groh in my book. McGraw's career was short(mostly done by age 28 as he concentrated on running the teams instead of playing), but he was around average defensively with a monster stick for 7+ years....that OB% up over .460 for his peak is impossible to overlook. Hack was as solid as they come for 15 years...unspectacular but did everything well. Chipper is an offensive force, and while his glove is suspect, his bat is above nearly all of his 3B peers. Another name I'd like to throw in the ring here is Shigeo Nagashima... a beast from the Far East so to speak.... Most here don't think of any Japanese player beyond Oh, but Nagashima played a much tougher position and was respected even more than Oh by his countrymen.

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  • 538280
    replied
    No replies?

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  • 538280
    replied
    I think Groh is an extremely underrated player and have him 14th on my 3B list:

    1.Mike Schmidt
    2.Eddie Mathews
    3.George Brett
    4.Ron Santo
    5.Wade Boggs
    6.Frank Baker
    7.Ray Dandridge
    8.Sal Bando
    9.Jimmy Collins
    10.Brooks Robinson
    11.Paul Molitor
    12.Oliver Marcelle
    13.Darrell Evans
    14.Heinie Groh
    15.Stan Hack
    16.Ken Boyer
    17.Ron Cey
    18.Chipper Jones
    19.Al Rosen
    20.John McGraw
    21.Pie Traynor
    22.Al Rosen
    23.Graig Nettles
    24.Lave Cross
    25.Bob Elliot

    The long Heinie Groh piece.....

    I think Heinie Groh just might be Hall worthy. His numbers appear way short on the outset, but you have to remember:

    1.He played in the deadball era
    2.He had somewhat of a short career, but had a great peak, and
    3.Third base in his time was a defensive position, like 2B or SS today. His 119 OPS+ for a 3B I believe is the best of any 3B 1900-1935.

    Pie Traynor is a player who is in the HOF and almost everyone thinks deserves it. But, comparing him to Groh I just don't see how Pie is better. He was thought to be better, but that's because Groh's skills weren't considered to be all that important in his day, he played just before the live ball while Pie played right after it, and Traynor's fielding seems to be overrated (almost all fielding metrics show Groh as better).

    I think some people need to realize there is a difference between perception and reality. People used to think smoking wasn't so bad for you, before new research proved them wrong. It's the same in many cases with baseball players. Groh is one such case. People didn't think he was so great in his time, but new research has proven them wrong. According to Win Shares, he was the best player in the National League between Wagner and Hornsby.

    I made this post a while back:

    This has been a very good thread with great discussion on this subject. I'd like to come in and give my two cents on the subject once again.

    As I've maintained throughout, I think Heinie Groh was certainly the better player. The statistical evidence is damning. They have very similar career value, but Groh kills Pie on peak and per game measures. Using Win Shares, WARP3, or TPR it's not even close, Groh wins by a landslide. PCA shows it as virtually even.

    Looking at it statistically on offense, it's not even close. Groh has a way better OPS+ (118 to 107). Groh beats him by 10 points in rel. OBP and they are tied in rel. BA and rel. SLG. I'm willing to call Traynor a better slugger. His park was really tough for power, and his league was a bit stronger. But, park effects hurt his rel. BA, since Forbes was a great park for singles hitters. Groh was the better contact hitter.

    All other things are pretty much even, so plate discipline takes center stage. There Pie can't compare to Heinie. Traynor walked about 28% less than the average player of his time, Groh walked 36% more. Walks can be overrated by stat men, but still they do mean something, certainly enough in this case that Groh can become a much better offensive player because of them.

    Bill presented his argument for Pie's supremacy with their per 162 games averages. This is obviously unfar; Groh played in a time where the league average OPS was .695, Traynor played when it was .769. Although they're not too far from being contemporaries, Groh played mostly right before the intorduction of the live ball while Traynor played right after.

    Pie's RBI totals are impressive, and Groh's not impressive, even in context. But, this again means very little. Traynor got to bat 5th most of his career behind the Waner brothers in a great offensive context. I don't have the data, but I'd bet almost every 5th hitter in the 1920s and 1930s averaged about 100 RBIs a year. Groh was a leadoff man in the deadball era playing for only okay run scoring teams. Not an ideal RBI position at all. I'm willing to bet Groh probably drove in more runs than most did in that same position. The RBI argument is a rye.

    Pie was reputed to be one of the best fielders from the hot corner of all time. This also may be a bit overblown though. It appears Traynor was flashy but somewhat erratic, with good range but a relatively high error rate. Groh was the opposite. Although his range was still solid, his error rates were among the best of all time. He was more than 20 points above the league fielding percentage for his career and still holds the single season F% record, despite huge advances in glove technology over the years.

    Stats show Traynor to be solid, but unspectacular and usually put him below Groh.

    In Ubiquitous' obituaries he gave us, it gives huge props to Pie's fielding, claiming he "astounded opponents and teammates with the glove". Groh does get some praise for his fielding, though not to that degree. What we have here is stats vs. eyewitnesses. With fielding, it is reasonable to trust the eyewitnesses, so you can give Traynor a fielding edge.

    As overall players, eyewitness opinions again heavily favor Traynor. But, their skill sets have more to do with that than their acutal ability. Traynor has way better raw numbers, which certainly swayed many old timers in his way since they didn't have relative stats the way we do now. Groh's main skill was plate discipline, which was undervalued by people of the time. They thought it was almost entirely on the pitcher, and thus didn't give Groh much credit for that. The eyewitness argument, like the RBI one, is largely a biased against Groh and towards Traynor.

    ElHalo says Traynor was the greatest intangilble player ever. Maybe that's true. But, I'm not so sure how much intangilbles should count for. Groh was considered a great intangible player himself who always got along with teammates and was one of the leaders of the great 1919 Reds who won the tainted World Series. John McGraw asked him to come back to the Giants when he was older because he though he was a good man and player and had fond reccollections of him in his early years.

    The evidence ElHalo presents for Traynor is valid, but I'd like to see some proof that it was actually Traynor who helped all those guys. Perhaps some quote from someone. I do know Dick Bartell played with Traynor a long time and considered him selfish and describes him as an "agitator". The evidence for Maranville may be true, but it should also be remembered that Maranville's upturn in offense may largely be due to the park he played in. He went from one of the toughest hitting parks ever (Braves Field), to a park that really suited a contact hitter with little power such as himself (Forbes).

    Traynor probably was a good intangible player, but I'd like to see more evidence from ElHalo before I really take that claim to heart.

    Either way, though, I don't see how that can put Traynor over Groh. The statistical evidence is too damning.


    More good stuff on Groh:

    Cyclone792 posted this on the "Second Edition Top 10 Third Basemen Poll" thread:

    His best seasons were in a terrible era for run scoring and in a pitcher's park, and two of his top seasons (1918 and 1919) were shortened due to WWI, lessening their perceived impact on his peak value. Putting his numbers into context and giving him minor war credit for those two top seasons, he rates very well, as win shares shows.

    Groh's win shares totals by season: 37, 34*, 32*, 28, 25, 24, 19, 19, 18, 15, 13, 12, 2, 1, 1

    I gave him 6 win shares of war credit for 1918 and 2 win shares of war credit for 1919, which I don't believe is an abnormally high amount. His top 3 season peak is tied for 6th all-time and his top 5 season peak is 7th all-time. His slightly lower career value hurts him a bit, but the peak is what pushes Groh to 11th for me.

    That brings up another good point previously unmentioned. Groh comes out about equal to Traynor in career value, but he did serve a bit in WWI, so he should probably be considered ahead there.
    Wee Willie provided this on the same thread:

    Some Win Share comparisons among early 3B:

    Career Win Shares
    Heinie Groh - 271
    Pie Traynor - 271
    Jimmy Collins - 273
    Lave Cross - 275

    Career Win Shares Per 162 Games
    Heinie Groh - 26.19
    Pie Traynor - 22.62
    Jimmy Collins - 25.59
    Lave Cross - 19.58

    Top 3 Seasons, Total Win Shares
    Heinie Groh - 95
    Pie Traynor - 80
    Jimmy Collins - 89
    Lave Cross - 69

    Top 5 Consecutive Seasons, Total Win Shares
    Heinie Groh - 147
    Pie Traynor - 119
    Jimmy Collins - 129
    Lave Cross - 97

    If you value the Win Shares system, Groh has a pretty good case for being ranked the highest among this group of players. Jimmy Collins seems to be the closest to him statisically, with Traynor 3rd and Cross 4th. If you use WARP3 instead of Win Shares, each player seems to perform very similarly.

    Collins does have the strength of opinion going over Groh, though. I think that helps him make up some ground that may allow me to rank him over Groh. It's a tough call. Traynor, on the other hand, is a little too far behind in the numbers for me to put him over the other two.

    Another thing that's worth mentioning is that Groh has been inducted to the BTF Hall of Merit.

    His HOM plaque reads like this:

    "Four-time Stats, Inc. NL Third Baseman (1915, 1917-19). Win Shares NL MVP (1918). Win Shares NL Silver Bat winner (1918). Three-time Win Shares NL Gold Glove winner (1915, 1919-20). Armed with his famous “bottle bat,” the right-handed Groh was the NL’s finest all-around third baseman of the Deadball Era. His keen eye at the plate was instrumental for his standout leadoff skills, while he could deftly drop a bunt or execute a proper hit-and-run for his teams’ cause. One of the most sure-handed at his position in baseball history, he led the NL more times (6) in fielding percentage than any other third baseman; he also led his league in putouts three times and double plays seven times. Member of five pennant winners (1923, 1924, 1927, as well as the world champion 1919 and 1922 teams; he hit .474 in the World Series for the latter team). NL leader for OPS (1919), Games (1915, 1917), Runs (1918), Hits (1917), Doubles (1917-18), Walks (1916), HBP (1914, 1924), OBP (1917-18) and Times on Bases (1917-18). Retired with the major league record for highest fielding percentage for a season (.983 in 1924), as well as the NL record for fewest errors, 140 or more games (7 in 1924)."

    So, what do you guys think about Groh's HOF candidacy? I think he belongs, but I'd like to hear what others say.
    Last edited by 538280; 03-06-2006, 06:47 PM.

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  • 538280
    started a poll Heinie Groh among 3Bmen?

    Heinie Groh among 3Bmen?

    13
    I rate him 1st through 5th on my 3B list
    0.00%
    0
    I rate him 6th through 10th
    0.00%
    0
    I rate him 11-15
    30.77%
    4
    I rate him 16-20
    38.46%
    5
    I rate him 21-25
    15.38%
    2
    I rate him 26-30
    7.69%
    1
    I rate him lower than 30th on my 3B list
    7.69%
    1
    I'm just interested to see where most BBFers rate Heinie Groh among 3Bmen. I think Groh is a pretty hard player to rate, because where he rates largely depends on how much you adjust for the defensive spectrum jump. We'll see how he does!

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