Circle of Greats: 1934 Part 1 Balloting

This post is for voting and discussion in the 44th round of balloting for the Circle of Greats (COG).  This round begins to add those players born in 1934.  Rules and lists are after the jump.

Players born in 1934 will be brought on to the COG eligible list over two rounds, split in half based on last names — the top half of the born-in-1934 group by alphabetical order this round and the bottom half next round.  This round’s new group joins the holdovers from previous rounds to comprise the full set of players eligible to receive your votes in this round of balloting.

As usual, the new group of 1934-born players, in order to join the eligible list, must have played at least 10 seasons in the major leagues or generated at least 20 Wins Above Replacement (“WAR”, as calculated by baseball-reference.com, and for this purpose meaning 20 total WAR for everyday players and 20 pitching WAR for pitchers).

Each submitted ballot, if it is to be counted, must include three and only three eligible players.  The one player who appears on the most ballots cast in the round is inducted into the Circle of Greats.  Players who fail to win induction but appear on half or more of the ballots that are cast win four added future rounds of ballot eligibility (unless they appear on 75% or more of the ballots, in which case they win six added eligibility rounds).  Players who appear on 25% or more of the ballots cast, but less than 50%, earn two added future rounds of ballot eligibility.  Any other player in the top 9 (including ties) in ballot appearances, or who appears on at least 10% of the ballots, wins one additional round of ballot eligibility.

All voting for this round closes at 11:00 PM EST Thursday, January 30, while changes to previously cast ballots are allowed until 11:00 PM EST, Tuesday, January 28.

If you’d like to follow the vote tally, and/or check to make sure I’ve recorded your vote correctly, you can see my ballot-counting spreadsheet for this round here: COG 1934 Round 1 Vote Tally.  I’ll be updating the spreadsheet periodically with the latest votes.  Initially, there is a row in the spreadsheet for every voter who has cast a ballot in any of the past rounds, but new voters are entirely welcome — new voters will be added to the spreadsheet as their ballots are submitted.  Also initially, there is a column for each of the holdover players; additional player columns from the new born-in-1934 group will be added to the spreadsheet as votes are cast for them.

Choose your three players from the lists below of eligible players.  The 15 current holdovers are listed in order of the number of future rounds (including this one) through which they are assured eligibility, and alphabetically when the future eligibility number is the same.  The new group of 1934 birth-year guys are listed below in order of the number of seasons each played in the majors, and alphabetically among players with the same number of seasons played.  In total there were 26 players born in 1934 who met the “10 seasons played or 20 WAR” minimum requirement.  Thirteen of those are being added to the eligible list this round (alphabetically from Hank Aaron to Al Kaline).  The thirteen players further down in the alphabet will be added next round.

Holdovers:
Lou Whitaker (eligibility guaranteed for 10 rounds)
John Smoltz (eligibility guaranteed for 6 rounds)
Bob Gibson (eligibility guaranteed for 4 rounds)
Craig Biggio (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Bobby Grich (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Harmon Killebrew  (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Sandy Koufax (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Juan Marichal (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Edgar Martinez (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Willie McCovey (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Ron Santo (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Dick Allen (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Kenny Lofton (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Eddie Murray (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Ryne Sandberg (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)

Everyday Players (born in 1934, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR):
Hank Aaron
Al Kaline
Luis Aparicio
Roberto Clemente
Norm Cash
Bob Allison
Gene Freese
Jackie Brandt
Chuck Hinton
Joey Amalfitano
Billy Consolo

Pitchers (born in 1934, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR):
Turk Farrell
Steve Hamilton

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David Horwich
David Horwich
6 years ago

Aaron, Clemente, Sandberg

Interesting how Clemente had a relatively late peak, which coincided with the heart of the 2nd deadball era.

bstar
bstar
6 years ago
Reply to  David Horwich

Somewhere in a thread way back, JA found that Clemente was about the only guy besides Barry Bonds to double his batting runs late in his career (from a rate perspective). Cherry-picking the age: Clemente age 20-31: 15.3 Rbat/650 PA Clemente age 31-on: 42.3 Rbat/650 PA For Bonds age 34 was his fountain of youth (or his Cream & Clear): Bonds age 21-33: 44.6 Rbat/650 PA Bonds age 34-on: 82.3 Rbat/650 PA Clemente also is one of those really rare players to amass more fielding runs in the second half of his career than the first (according to Total Zone… Read more »

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
6 years ago

Voting early. Voting straight.

Hammer
Hoot
Bob Clem

bells
bells
6 years ago

Well, this is probably the biggest ballot there is. 3 top-notch candidates and a couple of other good ones as newbies, besides the already-historically-great holdover list. Either the house of cards that is the million-way tie for whateverith place collapses, or they’re good to go forever. I know, there’s more to come in 1931. But this is crunch time. I’ve vowed to vote only for the 3 ‘best’ candidates in the 30s, but I might consider switching my vote to voomo’s ‘break ties to thin the ballot’ strategy. Anyway, I rank players on cumulative rankings of 3 measures: WAR, WAA+,… Read more »

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
6 years ago

Turk Farrell’s 1962
is one of 14 seasons
with at least 20 losses
and a 7+ WAR.

His 10-20 record is by far the worst.

RJ
RJ
6 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

I’ve started to notice that whenever a pitcher has a ton of losses but a really high WAR, it’s usually because his defense was terrible. Sure enough, Farrell’s Houston were awful in that department.

Ever since bstar introduced me to the idea of a defense-adjusted ERA+ (back in JA’s most recent Whitaker/Trammell post) I’ve been toying around with it a bit. Applying it to Farrell, who played in front of poor defences his whole career, we see his career ERA+ go from 104 to 115.

no statistician but
no statistician but
6 years ago
Reply to  RJ

Actually, 1) Farrell had been used strictly in relief prior to that year; 2 ) In 1962 he started 29 games and had decisions in 25, going 8-17. In fifteen of those decisions his teammates provided him with 2 runs or fewer and he lost all fifteen. So I’d say it wasn’t just poor fielding that kept his record down. The team finished last in runs scored, 25 behind the pathetic 40-120 Mets, but finished eighth out of ten, ahead of the Cubs and Mets, mainly on the basis of pitching. I actually remember him being interviewed in some publication… Read more »

RJ
RJ
6 years ago

Good points nsb, I shouldn’t have implied it was solely his defense.

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
6 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

On the flip side, there have been four seasons where a pitcher won 20 games, with a WAR under 1.

Worst is Ray Cladwell, 20-10 for the 1920 Indians
0.4 WAR, and lasted 1/3 of an inning in his WS start.

Notable – Christy Mathewson.
His 24-13 record in 1914 came with an 88 era+
and a barely-replacement level 0.7 WAR

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
6 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

For position players, only 8 WAR season with a BA under .250:

Barry Bonds, 1989

…with 37 Rfield

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
6 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

Lowest WAR, while batting .350+

2.2
Tony Gwynn, 1996

and that is with a positive (3) Rfield !

RJ
RJ
6 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

Lowest WAR with at least 50/40/30 HRs:

3.6, Prince Fielder, 2007 (-15 Rfield)

0.4, Adam Dunn, 2006 (-18 Rfield)

-2.3, Dante Bichette, 1999 (-34 Rfield)

bstar
bstar
6 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

That same year (1989), Ozzie Smith put up the only 7-WAR season with an OPS+ under 100 (97 OPS+, 7.3 WAR, -2 Rbat but 32 Rfield).

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
6 years ago
Reply to  bstar

The 5th worst pitching season of all-time.

Dave Tomlin, 1978
-3.1 WAR

9 wins
1 loss

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
6 years ago
Reply to  bstar

Ohhh, I’ve resisted all these years going anywhere near the b/r play index.

Here’s one more.

Only pitcher with 5 WAR in under 100 innings:

Papelbon
And he did it in 68.1

bstar
bstar
6 years ago
Reply to  bstar

Grrreat find about Papelbon, Voomo. Highest WAR per inning, 50+ IP:

Jonathan Pap, BOS 2006 – .073
John Hiller, DET 1973 – .065
Terry Fox, DET 1962 – .062
Jose Mesa, CLE 1995 – .061
Mo Rivera, NYY 2008 – .061
Bruce Sutter, CHI 1977 – .061

mosc made a great comment in last week’s COG thread about how it *might* be easier to accumulate pitcher WAR in a hitter’s park (regarding Koufax vs. Pedro). All six of these guys had seasons where their PPFp (weighted average of park factors) was over 100.

mosc
mosc
6 years ago
Reply to  bstar

Made my day BSTAR!

Yeah, I think it’s an issue of weighting to the average, especially with higher than average strikeout guys. A strikeout is rather ballpark agnostic.

It’s also a common statistical problem with outliers in general. They’re off the mean so far that they skew results and their own results are hard to put in context. I certainly agree with giving some context for the raw numbers but I think in recent years baseball fans tend to overdo it. Sometimes it works well, sometimes it doesn’t. My biggest worry is that the statistics that are manufactured become self-validating.

koma
koma
6 years ago

Harmon Killebrew, Sandy Koufax, Hank Aaron

Artie Z.
Artie Z.
6 years ago

Aaron, Clemente, Kaline

latefortheparty
latefortheparty
6 years ago

Hank Aaron
Roberto Clemente
Al Kaline

Nick Pain
Nick Pain
6 years ago

Aaron, Lofton, Santo

Chris C
Chris C
6 years ago

Birtlecom, were you adding the 75% rule this round? I didn’t see it in the rule breakdown.

David Horwich
David Horwich
6 years ago
Reply to  birtelcom

As I mentioned in the 1935 thread, we’ve never had a 2nd place finisher receive 75% of the vote, and from the early returns it looks like we may not this round, either – there are so many overwhelmingly qualified candidates that they’ll probably split the votes.

By the way, the rules currently have “more than 75% of the ballots” as the criterion for gaining 6 rounds of eligibility – “75% or more” would be consistent with the other cutoffs.

David Horwich
David Horwich
6 years ago
Reply to  birtelcom

Now that we have 25% = 2 rounds, 50% = 4 rounds, 75% = 6 rounds, we could go whole hog and have 37.5% = 3 rounds and 62.5% = 5 rounds. But that might be a bit of overkill….

Chris C
Chris C
6 years ago

Aaron, Clemente, Kaline.

This is my first ballot not voting for Biggio. I’ll likely do it as a vote change later but it seems an insult to NOT vote for one of these guys. I feel ridiculous enough not voting for Gibson.

Chris C
Chris C
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Ugh. I meant to change my vote to get another for Biggio. Looks like it won’t matter anyway.

KalineCountry Ron
KalineCountry Ron
6 years ago

This 1934 ballot is easy, it could not be anyone other than than these three all-time greats;
Hank Aaron
Al Kaline
Roberto Clemente

Jeff Harris
Jeff Harris
6 years ago

Aaron, Kaline, Whitaker

Gary Bateman
Gary Bateman
6 years ago

Aaron, Gibson, Marichal

MJ
MJ
6 years ago

Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Al Kaline.

This is my 29th ballot, and the first one that doesn’t have Sweet Lou on it, and it may be quite a while before he returns.

mosc
mosc
6 years ago

Aaron
Koufax
Clemente

and of course I think Gibson and Kaline belong…

Brent
Brent
6 years ago

Aaron, Kaline and Gibson

JEV
JEV
6 years ago

Aaron, Koufax, McCovey

wx
wx
6 years ago

Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Sandy Koufax

Bryan O'Connor
Editor
6 years ago

Most Wins Above Average, excluding negative seasons:

Aaron 95.4
Clemente 59.3
Kaline 58.6
Gibson 50.0
Grich 43.6
Santo 43.3
Whitaker 42.7
Martinez 41.3
Smoltz 40.1
Lofton 39.3
McCovey 38.9
Sandberg 38.8
Biggio 36.3
Allen 35.9
Murray 34.9
Killebrew 33.0
Marichal 32.7
Koufax 32.3
Aparicio 24.4
Allison 17.2

I never thought the first time I didn’t vote for a pitcher (since the initial round, I think) would come with Gibson and Koufax on the ballot.

Aaron. Clemente. Kaline.

Bryan O'Connor
Editor
6 years ago
Reply to  Bryan O'Connor

Norm Cash was worth 26.7 positive WAA, by the way.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
6 years ago
Reply to  Bryan O'Connor

Cash holds a dubious record. After his.361 title BA in 1961 his average dropped to .243 in 1962. That .118 decline is the largest for a batting champ’s ensuing season.

bstar
bstar
6 years ago

Richard, was Chipper Jones second on that list? He dropped a hundred points after hitting .364 in 2008.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
6 years ago
Reply to  bstar

Second is George Sisler at .115. After batting .420 in 1922 he missed the 1923 season due to his eye and sinus problems. When he returned in 1924 he batted .305. Third is Julio Franco who dropped .107 and Chipper Jones is fourth with that .100 drop.

Doug
Editor
6 years ago

He didn’t win a batting title, but Scott Brosius dropped 101 points and then rose 97 in 3 successive seasons (1996-98). The roller-coaster continued with a 53 point drop (1998-99) followed closely by a 57 point rise (2000-01).

bstar
bstar
6 years ago
Reply to  Doug

Rico Carty from ’66 – ’75 (he missed all of ’68 and ’71):

.326
.255, -71
.342, +87
.366, +24 (led league)
.277, -89
.229, -48
.363, +134 (only 98 AB)
.308, -55

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
6 years ago
Reply to  Doug

George Scot went from .303 in 1967 to .171 in 1968 (but with 387 PA, it’s hard to qualify with a BA that low.)

bstar
bstar
6 years ago
Reply to  Doug

Andres Galaragga went from .243 in ’92 (only 347 PAs) to .370 in ’93 in the Rockies’ first year.

Something in the back of my mind tells me maybe we covered this and Galaragga’s 127 point difference is the largest, but who knows.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
6 years ago
Reply to  Doug

Harry Walker went from .237 in 1946 (385 PA) to .363 in 1947, a .126 difference.

donburgh
donburgh
6 years ago

Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Al Kaline

Hartvig
Hartvig
6 years ago

This is almost absurd. There are 4 players on this ballot who would have won if they had been on the ballot for at least half of the elections we’ve had so far. I has been my approach to vote for whoever I feel is the best player on the ballot plus 2 others that I am absolutely convinced belong in the COG but who may not be the 2nd or 3rd best players on the ballot. Al Kaline is my second favorite player of all time. He’s maybe not the best player on this ballot but he certainly doesn’t… Read more »

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
6 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

Poor Hammerin’ Hank was polling at 100% before your vote, Hartvig! I doubt he’ll get elected now…

RJ
RJ
6 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

If you’ll excuse the diversion… Joey Amalfitano played for the Houston Colt .45’s, and whilst looking at the Colt .45’s roster I noticed George Brunet’s name, who appeared on the last ballot.

This gets me to my point: Brunet is one of only two players to play for both the Colt .45’s and the Seattle Pilots, the other being backup catcher Merritt Ranew. Ranew only played five seasons in the majors, three of them with Brunet (they also played together for the ’65 Angels).

Paul E
Paul E
6 years ago
Reply to  RJ

RJ:
Brunet was 20th in ERA (and ERA+) among pitchers with 800 innings for the period 1965-1968 after spending little time prior to age 29 compiling ML innings.
He pitched in Mexico for many years, well into his 40’s, and I believe he may have managed there, too. He finished there, as well, as he died at age 56 in Mexico 🙁

Paul E
Paul E
6 years ago

Allen
McCovey
Sandberg

Mike
Mike
6 years ago

I’ll hope Hartvig is converted & changes his vote to make Hank Aaron unanimous:

Hank Aaron
Sandy Koufax
Bob Gibson

(Apologies to Clemente, Kaline & Marichal who also belong)

Hartvig
Hartvig
6 years ago
Reply to  Mike

When Hank got done Tweeting his support for Richard Sherman he sent me one saying that he was OK with it.

Michael Sullivan
Michael Sullivan
6 years ago

I’m not voting yet. waiting to see what develops for strategic reasons. But I’m seriously considering voting straight this time, since there are 4 candidates clearly above the rest and 3 of them are new and needing to build up support. Henry Aaron probably doesn’t need my help, but it feels just wrong to have him go in with something less than 95%, given how stratospheric his value was compared to the other options here (even the 3 other really obvious COG selections. How crazy is it that we have 4 players on this ballot who are head and shoulders… Read more »

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
6 years ago

________________________
Also crazy that the holdover ballot is larger than the year-ballot.

Abbott
Abbott
6 years ago

Aaron, Grich, Biggio

brp
brp
6 years ago

Winner: Aaron
Needs more eligibility rounds: Gibson
Bubble Boy: Lofton

Francisco
Francisco
6 years ago

Aaron, Clemente, Marichal

David Horwich
David Horwich
6 years ago

Apropos of nothing, I notice that you can compose a pretty fair starting lineup out of the holdovers with 1 or 2 rounds of eligibility:

C: Biggio
1B: McCovey
2B: Sandberg
SS: Grich
3B: Santo
LF: Allen
CF: Lofton
RF: Killebrew
DH: Martinez

SP: Marichal, Koufax

A little weak defensively in places, and a rather right-hand heavy batting order, but I guess I could live with those flaws.

Hartvig
Hartvig
6 years ago
Reply to  David Horwich

You could probably pick up an all-glove/no-hit backup infielder and backup outfielder cheap to save on payroll. Probably even at catcher. The outfielder could double as a pinch runner. Then maybe a lefty with an OK stick who can’t play the field to be your pinch hitter. Even if you had to sign these guys as free agents you could probably get by without spending much. Which you’re probably going to have to do because in todays market that starting 9 and 2 aces are likely to run you north of $250 million, at least if they’re anywhere near their… Read more »

David Horwich
David Horwich
6 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

Forgot to mention – Eddie Murray is the main pinch hitter!

As for the price tag at current rates – hopefully some of these guys are in their early/cost-controlled years, e.g. Biggio played catcher his first few years, so let’s pretend he’s in that phase of his career.

Dr. Remulak
Dr. Remulak
6 years ago

Aaron, Gibson, Koufax.

oneblankspace
oneblankspace
6 years ago

If I were not limited to exactly three candidates, who would get one of my votes…. Lou Whitaker (10) — Trammell needs a roommate John Smoltz (6) Bob Gibson (4) — He could’ve beaten McLain in game 7, but the Tigers threw Lolich Craig Biggio (2) — RH doubles, leaning into pitches, C/2b/of Bobby Grich (2) — 2b led AL in HR Harmon Killebrew (2) — helped the Twins to their first pennant in over 30 years Sandy Koufax (2) — another good Dodger pitcher Juan Marichal (2) — better than Drysdale head-to-head Edgar Martinez (2) Willie McCovey (2) Ron… Read more »

oneblankspace
oneblankspace
6 years ago
Reply to  oneblankspace

And here is my vote:

[X] B.Gibson
[X] H.Aaron
[X] L.Aparicio
and somewhat surprisingly for me,
[ ] C.Biggio
[ ] E.Murray
[ ] R.Clemente
[ ] R.Sandberg

jajacob
jajacob
6 years ago

Aaron, Clemente, Kaline

Did Kaline ever do a battery commercial?

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
6 years ago

Aaron, Koufax, Kaline

Bix
Bix
6 years ago

Gibson, Koufax, Aaron

BryanM
BryanM
6 years ago

Aaron Clemente Kaline. In 1954. the Detroit free press ran a contest for kids to give a nickname to the Tigers new phenom. The kid who won got a new bike for “bee- line”. I submitted the same name and never heard from the paper. A valuable early lesson in the fairness of life . The big winner, of course was Kaline , who never had to wear the silly moniker.

RonG
RonG
6 years ago

Aaron, Gibson, Clemente

Doug
Editor
6 years ago

Aaron, Clemente, Lofton

Phil
6 years ago

Aaron, Clemente, Koufax.

Josh
Josh
6 years ago

Hank Aaron, Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal

If I was doing the best 3 it’d be some combo of Aaron, Gibson, Clemente, and Kaline. However I feel Marichal absolutely belongs and don’t want him dropping off the ballot, and I feel Smoltz does too, so giving Gibson more votes and reducing the overload of pitching talent will help Smoltz longterm.

Joel
Joel
6 years ago

Aaron
Clemente
Kaline

Andy
Andy
6 years ago

Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Bob Gibson

Luis Gomez
Luis Gomez
6 years ago

Roberto Clemente, Hank Aaron, Juan Marichal.

Darien
6 years ago

I just — what?

Aaron
Clemente
SANTO DAMMIT

Andy
Andy
6 years ago

Aaron
Gibson
Clemente

Mike HBC
Mike HBC
6 years ago

I think next week might be my last vote in CoG. I’m sick of seeing people with their “strategic votes” to keep the tenth-best player in the running when they could instead weigh in on an actual debate. Aaron will almost certainly win this week, but I don’t think there’s a clear favorite in a ballot with Gibson, Koufax, Clemente, and Kaline. Yet will that stop self-important commenters from either ignoring all of them, or voting the one they like the most and then two bubble boys? Not at all.

Aaron
Gibson
Kaline

Michael Sullivan
Michael Sullivan
6 years ago
Reply to  Mike HBC

Unfortunately, the rules are designed to encourage strategic voting. If we could vote for more players, or there were more redemption rounds, I’d probably vote straight most of the time, and I’m guessing so would a lot of other people. But in order to keep the ballot filled with the best holdover candidates for the low years ahead, strategic voting is necessary. It will be ludicrous if some of this years top contenders were to drop off for that reason, but plenty of people vote straight or close so it’s very unlikely. Also, there’s really no debate about Aaron this… Read more »

Mike HBC
Mike HBC
6 years ago

That’s why I’m probably done after next week as opposed to this week- I can understand people throwing their votes at lesser candidates because they assume Aaron will win this round running away. While I disagree with people who do that, I definitely don’t blame them. It’s the next round, when there will be “Martinez, Sandberg, Allen” ballots, that will probably give me my fill of this exercise.

Michael Sullivan
Michael Sullivan
6 years ago
Reply to  Mike HBC

Also, note that having all those great players at the top has encouraged a lot more straight voting this time. Only two players outside the top 4 have gotten 10% of the vote so far: Koufax and Marichal.

bells
bells
6 years ago
Reply to  Mike HBC

I’ve been voting ‘straight’ lately too, but I think that there are multiple ‘debates’ (I mean, usually people write 3 names, so it’s not much debate) that can be had about players, and those are valuable too. I’d love to see the ballot trimmed a bit (if nothing else, it makes the discussion on the redemption rounds more interesting), but I don’t understand what it is that you see as being ruined by people voting for strategic reasons. Also, as someone who has voted strategically in the past, I feel a bit defensive… just wondering what you mean by ‘self-important’?… Read more »

Mike L
Mike L
6 years ago
Reply to  Mike HBC

I don’t have a problem with strategic voting because the results have almost always selected the best (or arguably the best) player on the ballot, and I think there is an extended and useful debate when there’s a close call. We have also has some very good discussions about specific players (like Koufax) peak vs. sustained value, the accuracy of things like defense metrics, the value of WAR, steroids impact on stats, etc. Net net, I learn things from others and sometimes rethink some of my long-held assumptions (nothing, however, will ever make me like Curt Schilling.)

paget
paget
6 years ago
Reply to  Mike HBC

To be frank, at the beginning of the COG process I was apprehensive about the role strategic voting would play. In theory I still am sort of. But I have to balance that theoretical apprehension against the fact that apart from a few liminal candidates, most every player thus far who has been elected pretty clearly belongs. At the liminal level, I have some issues with the elections Ozzie Smith, Alan Trammell, and Tim Raines. But it’s not like I find their elections completely untenable. Going further, I have deeper issues with Barry Larkin’s election. And the only player I’m… Read more »

Artie Z.
Artie Z.
6 years ago
Reply to  paget

Well, the year Larry Walker was elected we had: Glavine, Gwynn, Larkin, Smoltz, Raines, Biggio, Alomar, Sandberg, Trammell, Lofton, Edgar, and Kevin Brown as holdovers, and Lou Whitaker joined the ballot. Looking at the holdovers now: OK, he’s not beating Bob Gibson, but if being better than Bob Gibson is the standard we need to use then we need to kick out a bunch of people. And he’s not beating Aaron, Clemente, and Kaline who have just joined the ballot. But this is a really weird round, and 1931 will likely be the only weirder round. The players currently on… Read more »

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
6 years ago
Reply to  birtelcom

Yes! We get to argue about Larry Walker some more!

By Total Zone Runs:
As good a Right Fielder as Hank Aaron

By Power/Speed:
As good a double threat as Ken Griffey Jr.

By WPA:
As clutch as Reggie Jackson

By OPS:
As valuable as… Todd Helton

paget
paget
6 years ago
Reply to  birtelcom

All fair points, birtelcom. And, also, thanks for the clarifications about the system as you’ve set it up. I probably should have left out my comments about Walker; in the end they seem to distract from my larger points about the process of COG voting in general (which, I repeat, has proven really effective and resilient to potential problems thus far). I do maintain that there would be a benefit to having some kind limit on how long you can stay on the ballot without being elected; my hunch is that holdovers closer to us in history are going to… Read more »

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
6 years ago
Reply to  Mike HBC

I was starting to get aggravated with the strategic voting, too. And to that end, last month I employed it myself, to try and avoid an 8-way tie for 9th place. And what did we get? An 8-way tie for 9th place. Which tells me that this process is actually successful. This has been a collectivist effort for over a year, and the group mind is doing what it does… better than Murray Chass and the rest of the Addams Family on the BBWAA are doing. Here’s the next seven rounds of winners: Aaron Clemente Gibson Kaline Mays Mantle Mathews… Read more »

bells
bells
6 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

I think, although I’m not sure, that after 1932 (where you have Kaline winning) that the ‘M’s will be left out of the 1931 part 1 ballot, which will make that one quite interesting. I’m looking forward to the conversations about the crazy top-level talent we have now, as well as conversations of the ‘leftovers’ after.

David Horwich
David Horwich
6 years ago
Reply to  bells

Yep, it looks like all three of the M’s will be on the part 2 ballot in 1931.

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
6 years ago
Reply to  David Horwich

I see. Ernie Banks!
And it will be interesting to see Boyer vs Santo.

Luis Gomez
Luis Gomez
6 years ago
Reply to  David Horwich

Well, if that match were in Lucha Libre, Santo would totally kick Boyer´s rear end. 🙂

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0763803/

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
6 years ago
Reply to  David Horwich

Booyaka! Booyaka!

Hartvig
Hartvig
6 years ago
Reply to  Mike HBC

The object of this exercise- as birtelcom pointed out @ 94- is to figure out who we think are the 115 best players in the history of the game and see if we can do a better job of it than the BBWAA. It’s not to figure out who the 3 best players are on any one particular ballot. It’s not to “honor” someone by naming them on 100% of the ballots. It’s not to do a whole bunch of things. It’s to look at all the people who have played the game over the past 125 years or so… Read more »

no statistician but
no statistician but
6 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

In the nine receding years between 1931 and 1921, when Warren Spahn shows up, the only really strong new candidates are Robin Roberts and Yogi Berra. Whitey Ford might make a weak third. A second tier of Nellie Fox, Duke Snider, Hoyt Wilhelm, Larry Doby, Ralph Kiner, Minnie Minoso, And Roy Campanella, all very worthy players, stand no chance, I’d say, while the backlog good players from earlier years gets sorted out. The 1920s group will just join the ranks of Koufax, Marichal, Santo, etc. as victims of poor timing. Roberts and Berra might not even make it over time,… Read more »

MJ
MJ
6 years ago

When asked why he wasn’t in the COG, Berra said, “No one gets in there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

John Autin
Editor
6 years ago
Reply to  MJ

Yogi also said that 90% of the voters are half mental. 🙂

Mike HBC
Mike HBC
6 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

If you (the universal “you”) think Dick Allen is one of the best 115 players in baseball history, you must have grown up a preeeeetty big Dick Allen fan.

RJ
RJ
6 years ago
Reply to  Mike HBC

Personally, I will not be voting for Dick Allen, but people have made credible arguments for him in the past and I, for one, value their contributions.

bstar
bstar
6 years ago
Reply to  Mike HBC

Dick Allen amassed 430 batting runs in his 11-consecutive-year prime, 1964-1974. How good is that? By my count, I can only find 31 other position players since 1901 whose bats were as strong or stronger than Allen’s over an 11-year period. Sure, that’s cherry-picking. It’s putting extra stock in a consecutive-year period. And Allen did virtually nothing before and after those 11 years. And he was dreadful defensively. Still, it doesn’t seem a stretch to want to elect Allen on the strength of his bat alone. I’m personally not convinced Dick Allen belongs in the top 115 either, but I’ve… Read more »

Kirk
Kirk
6 years ago

Aaron
Kaline
Aparicio – Because he was too good to be one and done

Nadig
Nadig
6 years ago

Aaron, Clemente, Gibson.

TJay
TJay
6 years ago

The Hammer, Globe Trotter Gibby, Roberto “Cannon” Clemente.

paget
paget
6 years ago
Reply to  birtelcom

I was just thinking about this myself. I bet that some/many voters are also taking into account Clemente’s untimely demise. If he wasn’t exactly at the height of his powers in 1972, it seems, nevertheless, that he clearly had a lot of productive ball left in him when he died. His last year was, after all a strong one. I’d take Clemente over Kaline based only on what we have of their respective careers (consider that it took Kaline over 1000 more PAs to arrive at the same amount of WAR). But I’ll definitely take Clemente when I take into… Read more »

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
6 years ago
Reply to  birtelcom

Only final seasons with higher WAR than Clemente’s 4.8

5.6 Oscar Felsch
7.6 Joe Jackson

Both for the 1920 Chicago AL team.

Highest final position player season that did not have ‘circumstances’:

4.6 Jackie Robinson

next:
4.3 Roy Cullenbine, whose circumstances were that they didn’t list Walks on the back of the bubble gum card.

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
6 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

While I’m here… The same deal, for pitchers: 10.3 Koufax _______________ 6.1 Win Mercer Mercer did that in 1902. And then… “After the conclusion of the 1902 season, the Tigers appointed the 28-year-old Mercer to be their player-manager for 1903. However, on January 12, 1903, after a barnstorming tour through the west, Mercer checked into the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco and killed himself by inhaling illuminating gas at age 28.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Win_Mercer ___________________ 5.2 Eddie Cicotte (Black Sock) 5.2 Mike Mussina 4.5 Red Donahue, 1906 4.4 Dutch Ulrich, 1927 Ulrich died 16 months after his final game. Cant find any… Read more »

bells
bells
6 years ago
Reply to  birtelcom

I was wondering if any of Clemente’s support is not only from the memorable circumstances of his death, but also because he was kind of ground-breaking in terms of being a Latin American baseball idol. I just remember a documentary (probably Ken Burns) where they talked about how he was such an idol and so cool to many young Latin American kids. But of course that’s in retrospect; any sense from folks who were fans when Clemente was playing if this was a notable aspect of his fame at the time?

mosc
mosc
6 years ago
Reply to  birtelcom

There was a 30 difference in their RFIELD those two years which translates into a 2.9 vs 8.8 WAA 71+72 difference. Clemente was incredibly athletic even as an older player. The eye test seems to agree with RFIELD, they were not comparable in value those two years and likely going forward either.

Paul E
Paul E
6 years ago
Reply to  birtelcom

Ages 38 – 41 from 1946 – 1976 (POST-WAR, INTEGRATION, EXPANSION). I figured I’d take this out to 1976 considering Clemente’s potential age: dWAR 3.6 Appling 2.5 Brooks R. 2.3 Aparicio 1.6 Wills 1.0 Reese 0.8 Jurges oWAR 21.2 Williams 16.7 Mays 12.8 Appling 11.3 Aaron 8.5 Musial 4.8 Vernon 4.5 F. Robinson I imagine there’s the potential for Clemente to produce on offense like Vernon and Frank Robinson, but I doubt he’d turn into any of the other outfielders on the first list. Further still, all the “dWAR” leaders are infielders. On the other hand, he probably still had… Read more »

mosc
mosc
6 years ago
Reply to  birtelcom

Is it fair to say Clemente was the best defensive outfielder aged 36 to 37 in the history of baseball? I mean if not he’s damn close.

bstar
bstar
6 years ago
Reply to  paget

I was just looking at that too, paget. One thing I’m struck by is that they both played from ages 20-37, while Kaline book-ended Clemente’s career with 2 seasons before (ages 18 & 19) and two after (ages 38 and 39). But Kaline, typical of players both good and bad, wasn’t worth that much when he broke in at age 18 and when he faded out in his late thirties. His combined value for those 4 years (ages 18-19 and 38-39) was only 2.0 WAR. This illustrates a problem with rate stats (WAR per PA on a career level). Clemente… Read more »

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
6 years ago
Reply to  bstar

For those of us who consider peak in COG voting, Clemente has an advantage (depending, of course, on how one defines peak). I usually take all player seasons and line them up from best to worst. In their top 14 seasons, Clemente leads in bWAR in all of them but #2 (-0.1), #9 (tied at 5.4) and #10 (-0.2). That all adds up in those top 14 years to an 8.8-WAR advantage for Clemente. Again, I know there are as many positions on peak-weighting as there are voters in the COG, but that may be part of the case. For… Read more »

bstar
bstar
6 years ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

I looked at fWAR and Kaline leads Clemente by about 8 career WAR. It appears to me that’s mainly from extra PAs for Kaline and Fangraphs’ decision to not give Clemente extra replacement runs for playing in the tougher league.

*Maybe* that is at least partially offset by fWAR computing league averages in batting runs using entire MLB instead of AL/NL.

Anyway, they’re still really close. Dr. Doom: their Nth best season graph looks eerily identical using fWAR. Here’s their WAR graphs:

http://www.fangraphs.com/graphsw.aspx?players=1006678,1002340

mosc
mosc
6 years ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

Peak is a big part of it for me. I also think Clemente was a better older player than Kaline, or well, nearly anybody else ever born. I think at age 37, he had a bunch of baseball left in him where other guys would not due to that. I think both of their rfield numbers are unbelievably high, but I agree that Clemente was a little better. Even with a substantial cut in rfield, both guys had incredible production for a very long time. And I do think Clemente should get a little extra credit for both his role… Read more »

Paul E
Paul E
6 years ago
Reply to  bstar

Clemente (career) 2,433 G 10,211 PA 130 OPS+ Kaline (1955-’72) 2,428 G 10,054 PA 140 OPS+ Clemente(1959-’72) 1,911 G 8,108 PA 141 OPS+ Kaline (1955-1968) 1,927 G 8.166 PA 142 OPS+ Coupled with the fact Clemente was not prone to walking, we have an adjusted RC/27 (per AIR on b-ref) for their peaks of 7.2 for Kaline versus 7.05 for Clemente. The difference is larger, obviously, for the larger sample. While it might be argued that Kaline would be the 3rd best RF if he had played his career in the NL, I believe the same is actually true of… Read more »

David Horwich
David Horwich
6 years ago
Reply to  Paul E

Here’s a graph of Clemente vs Kaline – it uses fWAR, which likes Kaline a little better than rWAR does:

http://www.fangraphs.com/graphsw.aspx?players=1002340,1006678

ATarwerdi96
6 years ago

Hank Aaron, Al Kaline, Bobby Grich

ATarwerdi96
6 years ago
Reply to  ATarwerdi96

Vote Change (having decided that my old methodology was no longer working: Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Bob Gibson

T-Bone
T-Bone
6 years ago

Sandberg
Allen
Santo