Circle of Greats 1928 Part 1 Balloting

This post is for voting and discussion in the 52nd round of balloting for the Circle of Greats (COG).  This round begins to add those players born in 1928.  Rules and lists are after the jump.

Players born in 1928 will be brought on to the COG eligible list over two rounds, split in half based on last names — the top half 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 this round.

As usual, the new group of 1928-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.  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 EDT Sunday, March 30, while changes to previously cast ballots are allowed until 11:00 PM EDT Friday, March 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 1928 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 candidates; additional player columns from the new born-in-1928 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 13 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 holdovers list includes the two winners of the just-completed redemption round. The new group of 1928 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 20 players born in 1928 who met the “10 seasons played or 20 WAR” minimum requirement.  Ten of those are being added to the eligible list this round (alphabetically from Gus Bell to Billy Klaus).  The ten players further down in the alphabet will be added next round.

Holdovers:
Sandy Koufax (eligibility guaranteed for 7 rounds)
Lou Whitaker (eligibility guaranteed for 7 rounds)
Ernie Banks (eligibility guaranteed for 4 rounds)
Juan Marichal (eligibility guaranteed for 4 rounds)
Bobby Grich (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Willie McCovey (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
John Smoltz (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Craig Biggio (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Harmon Killebrew (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Kenny Lofton (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Edgar Martinez (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 1928, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR):
Gus Bell
Jim Gilliam
Joe DeMaestri
Dick Gernert
Don Hoak
Billy Klaus
Steve Bilko

Pitchers (born in 1928, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR):
Roy Face
Whitey Ford
Bob Buhl

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210 Comments on "Circle of Greats 1928 Part 1 Balloting"

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Hartvig
Guest

Junior Gilliam is an old favorite. If I we forming an all-time team with players used as they actually were he would be third in line as my über-utility man behind Gil McDougald and Tony Phillips.

Sandberg, Grich, Martinez

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

@1/,

Billy Goodman and Cesar Tovar were also very good in that role, though not as good as your three. Maybe Ben Zobrist belongs on this list, too?

Hartvig
Guest

I thought about Goodman but forgot about César entirely even though I don’t think I’d put him ahead of any of my 3 either. Zobrist might be a different matter however since defensively he’s better than all but McDougald.

I aslo thought about Pete Rose and Gary Sheffield but they were never used like that during a single season, plus Sheffield was awful defensively almost everywhere.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest
@56/hartvig, Yeah, Rose played at five positions regularly (over 500 games @1B, 2B, 3B, LF, RF), but didn’t move around much in-season. Honus Wagner was a true utility guy in his early years of 1897-1902, till he settled down at SS in 1903. Jimmy Foxx was a semi-utility guy his whole career, playing third and even catching years after establishing himself as a superstar – check out 1940. Musial, Killebrew, and Biggio are three other HOF-level players to play three different positions regularly for several seasons. I’m sure I’ve missed another couple big names. There’s been a few guys recently,… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

And then, in his final season, as the Phillies were on their way to losing 108 games, Foxx leads the team in ERA+.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?id=foxxji01&t=p&year=1945

RJ
Guest
Mike
Guest

Koufax
Banks
Ford

Nick Pain
Guest

Whitaker, Murray, Lofton

ATarwerdi96
Guest

Ernie Banks, Bobby Grich, Edgar Martinez

Chris C
Guest

Marichal – for the win
Biggio
Edgar

Artie Z.
Guest

Leaving Whitey Ford off my ballot feels wrong, but I can’t see what he did as being better than Marichal.

Marichal, Whitaker, and the return of Steady Eddie.

paget
Guest
I don’t care how good the defense behind him was — anyone who has an ERA+ of 133 in more than 3000IP deserves to be in the COG. Reckon that ahead of Ford on the all-time ERA+ list are 10 or so pitchers from the deadball era, five relievers, and a couple of starters whose careers aren’t over yet. So, actually, his career ERA+ is even more impressive than his #26 rank would already indicate. Add to that his post-season performance, and I can’t see how he can be excluded. It’s not that I don’t see why Marichal should make… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Some Whitey numbers:

1956
1 stolen base
11 pickoffs.
_______

2nd best Winning Percentage in the modern era,
behind Spud, his predecessor on the pinstriped juggernaut.
_______

111th in Innings Pitched

79th in WAR for Pitchers

29th in Shutouts

28th in ERA+

_______

ERA+ for Starters since Ford
2800+ IP +

157 Pedro
143 Clemens
135 Randy Johnson
133 WHITEY FORD
132 Maddux
131 Hallday

Pedro is 300 innings short of Whitey

--bill
Guest

WAR/250IP, using the list for ERA+ above, and throwing in Drysdale:
Martinez: 7.60
Clemens: 7.09
Johnson: 6.31
Halladay: 5.97
Maddux: 5.22
Drysdale: 4.46
Ford: 4.25

Richard Chester
Guest

Ford holds the searchable record for for the seasonal record with most IP without having a SB against him, 283 IP in 1961. Altogether he had 4 seasons of more than 162 IP and 0 SB against him.

no statistician but
Guest
Ford’s career rank among all pitchers eligible: Adjusted pitching runs: 22nd Adjusted pitching wins: 19th Base-out runs saved: 9th Win probability added: 13th Situational wins saved: 20th Base-out wins saved: 8th So why is Ford’s WAR, the only standard for Mr. –bill and others, so miserable? One: some pitchers’ skills don’t correspond with what WAR values most. Ford is one of those. And citing WAR criteria to say this isn’t true begs the question entirely. Two: Yes, Ford missed two prime years in the 1950s to the military, but also in most of the others he was underutilized in Stengel’s… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest

That should be “criterion.” Past my bedtime.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Regarding Base-out runs saved (RE24)…

Does Ford’s 9th All-time ranking,

(virtually tied with Schilling,
with a similar # of Innings)

tell us that he was excellent at pitching clean innings,
or that he was terrific at wiggling out of trouble,
or some combination of both?

I feel like I understand the concept behind RE24,
but not so much how to interpret what it Means for pitchers over the long haul.

mosc
Guest

It’s a little like RAA, not really tied to replacement level. Replacement level innings count against you since they’re below average (hence Carlton and Ryan are lower than you might expect). It doesn’t penalize a pitcher though for park factors or defense behind them.

It’s saying Ford gave up a lot fewer runs than an average pitcher in an average stadium with an average defense would have. When he was on the mound, runs were prevented at historic levels. Who you accredit that to is up to you. I guess RE24 is more a raw data gut check.

Michael Sullivan
Guest

I don’t believe any of those stats you list adjust for defense. They give all credit to pitcher or batter. WAR does. That’s why there’s a huge difference. If you think WAR is wrong and these stats are right, it should be because you think that the defensive metrics used to evaluate the yankees playing behind the chairman are off, and that they were in fact, not much better than average overall. Do you think that? I don’t.

David P
Guest
There are two basic problems with using ERA+ to assess Whitey Ford. One is that it doesn’t take into account that he had a very good defense behind him for most of his career. The other problem is that it doesn’t adjust for quality of opposition. The Yankees finished first or second in runs scored in almost every year of Ford’s career. And obviously Ford never had to face the Yankees. I don’t know what Ford’s ERA+ would be if these two factors were taken into consideration but it would certainly be a lot lower, probably somewhere between 115-125. Ford… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest
David P: The main component of your reasoning about ERA+, not having to face the bats of one’s own team, is equally true of virtually all the later pitchers with high ERA+. Clemens and Martinez certainly didn’t pitch most of their careers in the second devision. The point is that no one else did it for the Yankees but Ford did. Is that because the Yankees were a stupid organization from top to bottom who couldn’t develop or trade for someone better throughout Whitey’s tenure? Dumb luck, that’s how they won fourteen pennants in sixteen years. As for performance away… Read more »
David P
Guest

NSB – As I said, Ford certainly deserves consideration for the COG; I’m just don’t see ERA+ as a useful metric to evaluate him.

The Yankees finished first or second in runs scored almost every year of his career. I doubt that’s true of Martinez or Clemens or any other pitcher. And I believe these effects tend to get magnified when there are fewer teams in the league. Ford’s contemporaries had to face the Yankees over and over again.

RJ
Guest

I plugged Ford’s numbers into a formula for estimating a defense-neutral ERA+ (as prescribed by bstar of these parts) and I came up with a new figure of 124.

mosc
Guest

I agree this is the most useful way to look at ERA. It is however clouding the career value indicated. Career value is not just a function of ERA+ * IP.

Michael Sullivan
Guest
Ford’s FIP stats are more in line with his WAR numbers, as a great, but not COG level pitcher. There is no question he had a great defense behind him. Why shouldn’t that matter? He also played in a pitcher’s park but ERA+ accounts for that. IMO, he needs war and postseason credit to get into the hall. It’s not enough for COG. I don’t support Koufax for COG, but I think he’s got a better case than Ford. Similar WAR, but in fewer seasons with a huge peak. Marichal seems clearly better. Smoltz, I’m not sure belongs, but I’ll… Read more »
mosc
Guest
FIP of course takes zero into account about his ability to hold runners. 65% caught stealing, a staggeringly small rate of less than a stolen base every 100 innings pitched. He also produced 354 double plays, better than one per 9IP. For a pitcher with a 1.215 whip, that’s a significant percentage of baserunners! Does the left handed ground ball producer benefit from good defense? Yes. But how much of that produces the defense and how much is the defense producing for him? I’m just saying if you want to put up gaudy attempts and putouts as a double play… Read more »
jajacob
Guest

Whitaker, grich, lofton

Dr. Remulak
Guest

Biggio, Ford, Koufax.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Koufax vs Marichal vs Ford
Best seasons, by WAR:

10.7 … 10.3 … 6.7
10.3 … 9.1 … 5.2
8.1 … 7.8 … 5.2
7.4 … 7.7 … 4.3
5.7 … 6.4 … 4.3
4.4 … 5.0 … 3.8
2.1 … 3.5 … 3.8
1.5 … 2.9 … 3.7
1.3 … 2.8 … 3.6
1.1 … 1.8 … 2.8
0.9 … 1.8 … 2.5
-0.3 .. 1.8 … 2.5
……. 1.3 … 2.0
……. 0.2 … 1.9
…….-0.1 … 1.3

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest
I’m copying the above data, and adding Smoltz: Koufax, Marichal, Ford, Smoltz: 10.7 … 10.3 … 6.7 …7.3 10.3 … 9.1 … 5.2 … 5.9 8.1 … 7.8 … 5.2 … 5.4 7.4 … 7.7 … 4.3 … 4.9 5.7 … 6.4 … 4.3 … 4.8 4.4 … 5.0 … 3.8 … 4.6 2.1 … 3.5 … 3.8 … 4.2 1.5 … 2.9 … 3.7 … 3.7 1.3 … 2.8 … 3.6 … 3.6 1.1 … 1.8 … 2.8 … 3.6 0.9 … 1.8 … 2.5 … 3.3 -0.3 1.8 … 2.5 … 3.3 (in relief) ……… 1.3 … 2.0… Read more »
--bill
Guest

Some more along these lines,
Early Wynn, Robin Roberts, Billy Pierce, Camilo Pascual, Whitey Ford, and Don Drysdale. The Drysdale/Ford comparison was a little surprising to me.

Wynn….Roberts.Pascal..Pierce..Ford….Drysdale
7.8…..9.8…..7.8…..7.1…..6.7…..8
6.1…..9…….6.2…..6.9…..5.2…..6.9
5.4…..8.3…..5.4…..6.3…..5.2…..6.1
5.2…..8…….5.3…..5.3…..4.3…..5.8
3.6…..7.3…..4.5…..4.8…..4.3…..5.4
3.5…..6.2…..4…….4.6…..3.8…..5.3
3.4…..4.4…..2.9…..3.5…..3.8…..4.6
2.9…..4.3…..2.4…..2.9…..3.7…..4.4
2.8…..3.7…..2.1…..2.8…..3.6…..4.3
2.5…..3.6…..1…….2.4…..2.8…..3.2
2.1…..3.6…..0.7…..1.6…..2.5…..2.9
1.7…..2.9…..0.6…..1.6…..2.5…..2.8
1.3…..2.9…..0.3…..1.5…..2…….1.8
1.1…..2.6….-0.1…..1…….1.9….-0.2
1.1…..2.5….-0.2…..0.7…..1.3
1.1…..2.4….-0.8…..0.3…..0.3
1…….2.3….-1.3…..0
0.7…..0.4….-1.4….-0.4
0.5…..0.3….-1.6
0.3….-0.6
-0.2…-0.9
-1
-1.3

Jeff Harris
Guest

Whitaker, Banks, McCovey

latefortheparty
Guest

Bobby Grich
Lou Whitaker
John Smoltz

KalineCountry Ron
Guest

Koufax
Whitey
Lou Whitaker

Scary Tuna
Guest

Banks, Ford, Killebrew.

Dr. Doom
Guest

Time to whittle the holdover list some more!

Ernie Banks
Bobby Grich
Juan Marichal

Andy
Guest

Banks, Marichal, Koufax

PaulE
Guest

Grich McCovey Sandberg

BillH
Guest

Murray
Ford
Marichal

Would also like to vote for Banks, McCovey, Koufax among others, but would have to steal someone else’s ballot to do that this round.

Bix
Guest

Koufax, Marichal, Killebrew

bells
Guest
Alright, here’s my methodology. I take four measures of player value as a gauge of how players compare across metrics that value things slightly differently. Then I give them a cumulative rank with all players on the ballot over 50 WAR, adding their ranking of each measure. Here are the measures: WAR – is it too new to call it ‘classic’? Well, it’s the ‘classic’ way of measuring a player’s value over a player the team could have gotten to replace the player, over that player’s career, to show how ‘good’ that player was. WAA+ – adding the wins above… Read more »
RonG
Guest

Marichal, Koufax, Ford

MJ
Guest

Lou Whitaker, Bobby Grich, John Smoltz

MikeD
Guest

Koufax
Killebrew
Ford (have to have someone from the 1928 class)

Deserving players will be dropping off.

Gary Bateman
Guest

Marichal, Ford, Banks

Francisco
Guest

Marichal, Koufax, Killebrew

T-Bone
Guest

Sandberg
Banks
Ford

koma
Guest

Sandy Koufax, John Smoltz, Craig Biggio

Josh
Guest

Juan Marichal, Whitey Ford, John Smoltz

mosc
Guest

Ford, Koufax, Smoltz

Mike HBC
Guest

Koufax, Smoltz, Grich.

RJ
Guest

Smoltz has been on the ballot a long, long time, so forgive me if I’m covering previously trodden ground here, but…

I believe Smoltz’s 2004 season features the second most innings pitched (81.2) for players receiving no more than one decision. It is the most innings pitched for those who played in at least 50 games and received no more than one decision.

The record holder in the first statistic is one Dennis Higgins, who rode his 93 IP to a 1-0 record in 1966. Here’s where things get weird though: he’s cousins with Joe Crede?!

JEV
Guest

Koufax, McCovey, Banks

Bryan O'Connor
Editor

Most Wins Above Average, excluding negative seasons:

Grich 43.6
Whitaker 42.7
Martinez 41.3
Smoltz 40.1
Lofton 39.3
McCovey 38.9
Sandberg 38.8
Banks 36.8
Biggio 36.3
Murray 33.7
Killebrew 33.0
Marichal 32.7
Koufax 32.3
Ford 29.3

Grich, Smoltz, Martinez

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Vote:

Kenny Lofton , for the Win

Whitey Ford , to continue the conversation

Eddie Murray, because it is Great to be steady

Abbott
Guest

Murray, Biggio, McCovey

Kirk
Guest

Banks, Ford & Smoltz

JamesS
Guest

Whitaker, Marichal, Edgar

Luis Gomez
Guest

Marichal, Whitaker, Martinez.

oneblankspace
Guest

A few years back, when Ford was in the hospital, Yogi Berra called him on the phone. “Hey Whitey, are you dead yet?”

W.Ford
D.Ford’s teammate E.Murray
C.Biggio, of whom Yogi once said “Short catchers are better, because they don’t have to stand up as far.”

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

@54/obs,

Yogi is also alleged to have said, “You should go to other people’s funerals; otherwise they won’t to go yours.”

oneblankspace
Guest

but of course, “I really didn’t say everything I said.”

http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/38168319
The Yogi book : I really didn’t say everything I said! / by Yogi Berra ; foreword by Joe Garagiola ; introduction by Larry, Tim & Dale Berra.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

@57/obs,

I own that book!!! I keep it on my coffee table, along with a book about Phil Rizzuto’s-broadcasts-as-poetry, for comic relief – athough an excerpt from the game after Thurman Munson’s funeral is genuinely moving.

birtelcom
Guest

There’s also the story, poignant now in light of Carmen’s recent death, of Carmen’s asking Yogi where he wanted to buried, in St. Louis, in New York or in New Jersey, and his response: “Surprise me!”

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

I’ve got the Rizzuto poetry book, too.
Splendid stuff, though the folks who put it together drew mostly from the dark years (88-90).

I would have liked to see more throughout the decades.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest
@58/me; Found it(Rizzuto’s broadcast comments after Thurman Munson’s funeral) – fittingly, I googled it and it was on a 09/06/2012 HHH discussion about Thurmon Munson, posted by – me. The Man in the Moon The Yankees have had a traumatic four days. Actually five days. That terrible crash with Thurman Munson. To go through all that agony, And then today, You and I along with the rest of the team Flew to Canton for the services, And the family…. Very upset. You know, it might, It might sound corny. But we have the most beautiful full moon tonight. And the… Read more »
JasonZ
Guest
Thanks Lawrence. I was 12 on August 2, 1979. Thurm was the MVP when I first saw him. Then a back-to-back world champ. My favorite player on my favorite team of any era. Every year at 4:02 PM I think of Thurm and I remember a 12- year-old boy who became hysterical and inconsolable with grief for several days as he dealt with death personally for the first time. I remember watching that game against Baltimore on August 6, 1979. I will never forget Bobby Murcer delivering the eulogy during the day, excerpts shown on that evenings newscast, watching that.… Read more »
Lawrence Azrin
Guest

@102/JasonZ,

WOW!! thanks for sharing your memories. I know that Munson’s death affected a lot of baseball people, not just Yankees fans. The only comparable MLB death that I experienced was Clemente’s six years before.

You are right about Cosell; it’s difficult nowadays to explain what he was all about – how he could be voted both ‘best sports broadcaster’ AND ‘worst sports broadcaster’ at the same time.

J.R.
Guest

Koufax, Grich, Biggio

wx
Guest

Sandy Koufax, Lou Whitaker, Juan Marichal

Tim Pea
Guest

Coriolis Force down under. Did anyone notice that Clayton Kershaw’s fastball was a few MPH faster in Australia?

Darien
Guest

Sandberg, Banks, and Killebrew

robbs
Guest

Whitaker Koufax Biggio

David Horwich
Guest

Marichal, McCovey, Sandberg

birtelcom
Guest
Koufax and Ford started in the same game just twice: in the first game and the fourth game of the 1963 World Series. Koufax was the winner in both. In Game 1, Koufax struck out 15 and held the Yankees scoreless until two outs in the 8th — with his Dodgers up by five runs he surrendered a two-run homer to Tom Tresh. Whitey gave up five runs in five innings pitched: two hits and two RBIs to ex-Yankee Moose Skowron and a three-run homer to Johnny Roseboro. For some reason, Wikipedia says that was the only homer Ford surrendered… Read more »
RJ
Guest
Good catch on the Rosebero home run, birtelcom. As far as I can tell Ford’s last two seasons were the only ones in his career where no lefties homered off him, but Ford only pitched 73 and 44 innings those years. I did actually find a source for this strange falsehood (http://www.hardballtimes.com/cooperstown-confidential-thinking-about-john-roseboro), but a little bit of sleuthing shows that the information on Wikipedia predates this article, which unfortunately leads me to believe that the writer of the article simply copied the “stat” from Wikipedia. I’ve removed the misinformation from Roseboro’s page. There’s an important lesson here: don’t take unsourced… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest

The Pepitone play exemplifies the superior defense Ford always had behind him to make him look like a better pitcher than he was.

oneblankspace
Guest

Ford vs Marichal:

Game 4, 1962: Ford’s bullpen lost to Marichal’s bullpen (Ford 6IP, 2ER, 5H; Marichal 4IP, 0R 2H, injured his hand while batting [struck out])

aweb
Guest

Grich, Whitaker, Lofton

Low T
Guest

Grich, Whitaker, and for now, Lofton.

I feel so empty not being able to vote for Santo this round.

Professor Larry
Guest

Koufax, Whitaker, Grich

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

– Juan Marichal
for the win,
-Ryan Sandberg
-Willie McCovey
to stay on our ballot

Lofton, Killebrew you’re on your own (would like to vote for both of you, and have in the past)

brp
Guest

Whitaker
Grich
and eh, why not change things up, Murray

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