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Kid Nichols - How Good Was He?

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  • #31
    It's been my experience that to be ranked well, one normally needs some energetic supporters to push their case. That is often what it took to get candidates elected to the Hall of Fame.

    A few good men to write letter, lobby voters, etc.

    That is what I have done here for Cobb, Ewing and some others. The Kid will need someone here to push his case, with his case logically presented, and presented regularly and consistently. Sometimes, good credentials are not enough.

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    • #32
      high-innings, high-ERA+ careers --concentrated in time

      Note, I have implicitly defined the "present heroes" by their debuts beginning 1984, selected for the debut of Roger Clemens, the earliest of the recent quartet. That selection of the starting point, often called "cherry picking" around here, overstates the concentration of great pitchers from any "debutspan"

      Originally posted by STLCards2 View Post
      This may be true. But what if that concentration isn't a mistake?
      If that concentration of debuts and careers is not a mistake then there is no bias in favor of either deadball era pitchers or present heroes to be explained. I think "everyone knows" there is no bias in favor of Ted Lyons' or Warren Spahn's generations. The only other time period plausibly the object of favorable bias is Tom Seaver's generation.

      6/16 from the 1890's-1910's is a little surprising. 4/16 from the mid 80's on is a little less so, as probably more than 25% of all pitchers in baseball history have played in that time.
      That is a good general point, increasing numbers in recent years, but it does not explain the concentration of "greatest pitchers".

      "All pitchers in baseball history" are not relevant in discussion of the greatest. The debuts beginning 1984 cover perhaps 35% of more than 8000 men who have pitched in the major leagues and 30% of more than 4000 who have pitched 100 innings, but only 16.4% of the 688 pitchers with 1500 innings entering this season and 12.7% of the 407 pitchers with 2000 innings. (The latest debut of the 2000-inning pitchers was Tim Hudson 1999.)

      Those shares 16.4% and 12.7%, and 11.5% of the 234 pitchers with 2500 career innings, do not represent much recent concentration of long-career pitchers measured by innings pitched. (Why not? Regular starting pitchers work fewer innings each season. In the career sums at this level, that roughly balances the greater number of teams.) Nevertheless the recent period and the deadball era produced heavy concentrations of long-career pitchers with high ERA+. Consider the thresholds 2500 career innings and career ERA+ at least 120 or 130.
      Code:
      		all 2500 IP	ERA+ >= 120	ERA+ >= 130
      debut		count		count	pct	count	pct
      
      before 1890	30 (12.8%)	8	26%	2	7%
      
      1890 to 1911	43 (18.3%)	16	37%	8	19%
      
      between		134 (57.2%)	19	14%	4	3%
      
      1984 to dddd	27 (11.5%)	12	44%	4	15%
      
      --------	---		---		---
      all-time	234 (100%)	55	24%	18	8%
      Blue marks column percentages. Other percentages ("pct") measure the high-ERA+ subset among the high-innings pitchers: row percentages. For example (big), beginning with 1984 debuts 44% of 2500-innings pitchers have achieved career ERA+ 120.

      Within the latest period, all twelve of the 2500-inning pitchers with ERA+ 120 or greater debuted 1984 to 1992, demarcated by Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez.
      : the big four, Clemens, Maddux, Johnson, and Martinez
      : the little four, Brown, Glavine, Schilling, and Smoltz
      : four more, Key, Saberhagen, Appier, and Mussina
      They are twelve among only 55 in major league history. Sixteen more of the 55 debuted 1890 to 1911, demarcated by Cy Young and Pete Alexander.

      Merely nineteen debuted during the long intervening period 1912 to 1983, which produced much more than half of the 2500-inning pitchers.
      Last edited by Paul Wendt; 09-24-2009, 08:06 PM.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Paul Wendt View Post
        Note, I have implicitly defined the "present heroes" by their debuts beginning 1984, selected for the debut of Roger Clemens, the earliest of the recent quartet. That selection of the starting point, often called "cherry picking" around here, overstates the concentration of great pitchers from any "debutspan"


        If that concentration of debuts and careers is not a mistake then there is no bias in favor of either deadball era pitchers or present heroes to be explained. I think "everyone knows" there is no bias in favor of Ted Lyons' or Warren Spahn's generations. The only other time period plausibly the object of favorable bias is Tom Seaver's generation.


        That is a good general point, increasing numbers in recent years, but it does not explain the concentration of "greatest pitchers".

        "All pitchers in baseball history" are not relevant in discussion of the greatest. The debuts beginning 1984 cover perhaps 35% of more than 8000 men who have pitched in the major leagues and 30% of more than 4000 who have pitched 100 innings, but only 16.4% of the 688 pitchers with 1500 innings entering this season and 12.7% of the 407 pitchers with 2000 innings. (The latest debut of the 2000-inning pitchers was Tim Hudson 1999.)

        Those shares 16.4% and 12.7%, and 11.5% of the 234 pitchers with 2500 career innings, do not represent much recent concentration of long-career pitchers measured by innings pitched. (Why not? Regular starting pitchers work fewer innings each season. In the career sums at this level, that roughly balances the greater number of teams.) Nevertheless the recent period and the deadball era produced heavy concentrations of long-career pitchers with high ERA+. Consider the thresholds 2500 career innings and career ERA+ at least 120 or 130.
        Code:
        		all 2500 IP	ERA+ >= 120	ERA+ >= 130
        debut		count		count	pct	count	pct
        
        before 1890	30 (12.8%)	8	26%	2	7%
        
        1890 to 1911	43 (18.3%)	16	37%	8	19%
        
        between		134 (57.2%)	19	14%	4	3%
        
        1984 to dddd	27 (11.5%)	12	44%	4	15%
        
        --------	---		---		---
        all-time	234 (100%)	55	24%	18	8%
        Blue marks column percentages. Other percentages ("pct") measure the high-ERA+ subset among the high-innings pitchers: row percentages.

        Within the latest period, all twelve of the 2500-inning pitchers with ERA+ 120 or greater debuted 1984 to 1992, demarcated by Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez.
        : the big four, Clemens, Maddux, Johnson, and Martinez
        : the little four, Brown, Glavine, Schilling, and Smoltz
        : four more, Key, Saberhagen, Appier, and Mussina
        They are twelve among only 55 in major league history. Sixteen more of the 55 debuted 1890 to 1911, demarcated by Cy Young and Pete Alexander.

        Merely nineteen debuted during the long intervening period 1912 to 1983, which produced much more than half of the 2500-inning pitchers.
        As far as perception, you are right - there is probably an ERA+ bias. Of course a huge majority of guys from the 1984-on group would be under a 120 ERA+ if they threw 4,500 to 5,000 IP like in the dark area, instead of the 2,500-3,500 most of them pitched. That is why ERA+ always has to be considered with a time-played element, as you have done. I wonder how many of the Steve Cartons, Warren Spahns, Phil Niekros, Perrys, Blylevens, or even Johns, Koosmans, Tiants, and Kaats etc. had a 120 or higher ERA+ at 2,500-3,500 innings or roughly the number of IP by most of these 1984-on guys. I would bet most of them. The lack of IP seems to be the single driving factor in higher ERA+ numbers (of the recent era at least.) When you look at the ERA+ years of 200 or more in the past 15 years, virtually all of them are either in seasons of fewer than 220 IP or connected to steroid users. Hopefully those who rank players will keep into consideration IP (BF) just as much as ERA+ by itself. This is why I have Niekro, Perry, Blyleven, etc, ranked much higher than most.

        That is what is nice about WAR and WSAB, WPA/LI, etc. - they all look at runs allowed based on baeRuns (and defense/park neutralizes them) considers era run environment, IP (BF) compared to league, etc. And the results show a pretty evenly distributed group of pitchers, even though there doesn't necessarily have to be - it is possible for a better crop at one position to play at one time. And yes, the big four and little four score very well on those lists as well.

        Just some thoughts - not disagreeing with anything you said.
        Last edited by Bothrops Atrox; 09-24-2009, 08:15 PM.
        1885 1886 1926 1931 1934 1942 1944 1946 1964 1967 1982 2006 2011

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        The Top 100 Pitchers In MLB History
        The Top 100 Position Players In MLB History

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