Circle of Greats 1925 Part 1 Balloting

This post is for voting and discussion in the 56th round of balloting for the Circle of Greats (COG).  This round begins to add those players born in 1925.  Rules and lists are after the jump.

Players born in 1925 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 1925-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, May 4, while changes to previously cast ballots are allowed until 11:00 PM EDT Friday, May 2.

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 1925 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-1925 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 1925 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 17 players born in 1925 who met the “10 seasons played or 20 WAR” minimum requirement.  Nine of those are being added to the eligible list this round (alphabetically from Yogi Berra to Willie Jones).  The eight players further down in the alphabet will be added next round.

Holdovers:
Sandy Koufax (eligibility guaranteed for 11 rounds)
Juan Marichal (eligibility guaranteed for 7 rounds)
John Smoltz (eligibility guaranteed for 4 rounds)
Edgar Martinez (eligibility guaranteed for 3 rounds)
Whitey Ford (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Kenny Lofton (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Willie McCovey (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Duke Snider (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Richie Ashburn (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Craig Biggio (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Harmon Killebrew (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 1925, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR):
Yogi Berra
Willie Jones
Del Ennis
Bill Bruton
Bob Cerv
Jim Delsing

Pitchers (born in 1925, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR):
Ned Garver
Harvey Haddix
Sam Jones

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105 Comments on "Circle of Greats 1925 Part 1 Balloting"

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ATarwerdi96
Guest

Yogi Berra, Duke Snider, Edgar Martinez

Mike HBC
Guest

Blew my chance to be cool in the other post.
Sandy Koufax, Yogi Berra, Duke Snider.

MJ
Guest

John Smoltz, Edgar Martinez, Kenny Lofton

bells
Guest
Here’s the vote according to my methodology. I take four measures of player value as a gauge of how players compare across advanced 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+ –… Read more »
David P
Guest
Didn’t realize that Yogi wasn’t elected to the HOF until his second year on the ballot. And it’s not like the ballot was stacked his first year. He actually received the most votes that year but it wasn’t enough to get elected(67.2%). I don’t get it. Yogi was obviously very highly respected by the voters during his career (how many other players finished in the top 4 in MVP voting 7 straight seasons?). And as Bells notes, he was considered a very important part of the Yankees dynasty. So why did 32.8% of the voters make him wait?
Bryan O'Connor
Editor

It’s absurd, but his .285 career batting average probably hurt him. Eddie Mathews was the best third baseman in history when he retired, but his .271 batting average kept him out for several years.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

@5/ David P.;

Apparently, unless you’re Johnny Bench, the BBWAA does not deem you worthy of being a first-ballot HOF selection if you are a catcher:

BALLOTS..CATCHER
– 1st … Bench

– 2nd … Fisk
– 2nd … Berra
– 3rd (at least). Piazza

– 5th … Campanella
– 6th … Gary Carter
– 6th … Cochrane (one while active)

– 9th … Dickey (two while active)
– 12th .. Hartnett (one while active)

Francisco
Guest

Juan Marichal, Duke Snider, Yogi Berra

Jeff Harris
Guest

Berra, McCovey, Martinez

Andy
Guest

Berra, Snider, Marichal

Andy
Guest

Sandy
Yogi
Marichal

wx
Guest

Yogi Berra, Sandy Koufax, Richie Ashburn

Dr. Doom
Guest
I have voted “straight” with my method every time. I KNOW that my method significantly undervalues catchers, since I use a peak-adjusted WAR metric to do so. Johnny Bench made my list when his time came, fair-and-square. I am quite certain that WAR fairly accurately estimates the value of a catcher to his team during a single season. But when doing career rankings, I am ALSO certain that WAR has no ability to take into account the wear-and-tear on the body that would put catchers on equal footing. With all of that said, I am certain that Yogi Berra is… Read more »
Bix
Guest

Berra, Koufax, Marichal

Doug
Guest
Some snippets about this year’s new ballot members – When he retired, Willie Jones ranked 1st in most career offensive counting stats for Phillie 3rd basemen. 50+ years later, he still ranks 2nd or 3rd in those same stats, trailing only Mike Schmidt and Dick Allen. In 1950, Jones became the 5th of only 34 third basemen with a season of 25 doubles, 25 home runs and 100 runs scored. The next year, except for runs, he posted almost identical counting stats across the board while leading the NL in sacrifice hits, the only one of those 34 players to… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest

I’m guessing Goose Goslin is one of the Tigers but I’m drawing a total blank on the other. Sam Crawford?

Ryan is 1 of the 3 pitchers and I think Feller might be another. I’ll go with Phil Niekro for the 3rd.

Now I’m gonna go check my results.

Hartvig
Guest

Right on Goslin & Niekro. Wrong on the other 3.

David Horwich
Guest

The 3 pitchers other than Sam Jones to lose 20 and lead their league in strikeouts (since 1901) are Walter Johnson, Vic Willis, and, as Hartvig has noted, Phil Niekro.

Doug
Guest

David is correct.

David Horwich
Guest

…and the other HoF’er with 1000 PA for the Browns and 1500 PA for the Tigers is Heinie Manush.

Doug
Guest

Correct.

The other four non-HOF players with 1000 and 1500 PAs for the Browns and Tigers are Lu Blue, Roy Cullenbine, Marty McManus and Jerry Priddy, all decent players who compiled at least 20 oWAR (only Priddy was short of 30 oWAR).

Richard Chester
Guest

According to BR Bob Cerv is the last Yankee to wear #7 prior to Mickey Mantle. I commented quite a while ago that Cliff Mapes was the last such player but my reference book is in error.

KalineCountry Ron
Guest

Yogi
Whitey
Duke

Is one of the players Heinie Manush?

Doug
Guest

It was Heinie Manush.

Doug
Editor

Berra, Koufax, Ford

Bill Johnson
Guest

Killebrew, McCovey, and Berra.

no statistician but
Guest

Although Yogi is far and away the exceptional player in the 1925 class, all the others except Jim Delsing were pretty good to very good, if in Cerv’s case, only briefly.

Hartvig
Guest

I imagine that if Cerv had started out just about anywhere else besides the Yankees he would have had a chance to play regularly long before he was 32 years old. Of course he also would have missed out on World Series money 5 times, which in those days was a much bigger deal than it is now.

Chris C
Guest

Berra, Biggio, Sandberg

PaulE
Guest

Berra McCovey Sandberg

Gary Bateman
Guest

Marichal, Ford, Ashburn

JamesS
Guest

Edgar, Yogi and The Duke

koma
Guest

Sandy Koufax, Craig Biggio, Yogi Berra

aweb
Guest

Martinez, Lofton, Berra

mosc
Guest

Yogi, Ford, Smoltz

Bryan O'Connor
Editor

Most Wins Above Average, excluding negative seasonal totals:

Martinez 41.3
Smoltz 40.1
Lofton 39.3
Snider 39.2
McCovey 38.9
Sandberg 38.8
Biggio 36.3
Berra 34.8
Ashburn 33.9
Murray 33.7
Killebrew 33.0
Marichal 32.7
Koufax 32.3
Ford 29.3

Edgar Martinez, John Smoltz, Larry Berra

Dr. Remulak
Guest

Biggio, Berra, Ford.

Artie Z.
Guest

Yogi, Marichal, and Murray

Hartvig
Guest

I’m still not sold on Lofton over Ashburn but for now I’ll let someone else champion that cause.

Berra, McCovey, Sandberg

JEV
Guest

Berra, Koufax, McCovey

Nick Pain
Guest

Murray, Snider, Berra

David P
Guest

Despite my comment at #5, I’m a bit surprised Yogi’s running away with this. Using WAR/Per 600 PAs, he basically Carlton Fisk with a shorter career. And Fisk was only elected to the COGs with 50% of the vote.

Not saying that Yogi doesn’t belong in the COG, I just don’t see him as leaps and bounds above several other candidates on the ballot.

So…Snider and Marichal to help them above 25%. And Murray (my favorite childhood player) to help him stay on the ballot.

Dr. Doom
Guest

As always, it depends on how much postseason credit we’re willing to give. The guy has another half-season (75 games) of postseason ball we could count for him. Good stats in HUGE games. Plus, there’s always the WAR caveat with catchers which is that WAR has very little ability to quantify game management, pitch framing, and even catcher defense (outside of gunning down baserunners). Perhaps Yogi deserves enough credit in all of those areas to make him a more viable candidate than he appears at first glance.

David P
Guest

True Dr. Doom. Personally I put little weight on postseason performance due to very unequal opportunities. Plus no one ever seems to get penalized for poor postseason performance. Can’t have it both ways.

As for your second point, is there evidence that Yogi was better at the catcher intangibles than other catchers?

Artie Z.
Guest
I think the easiest explanation is … it’s YOGI. I don’t know if anyone has ever ranked Yogi outside the top 5 catchers all-time. OK – JAWS has him at number 6. This differs slightly from other players with “short” careers, or otherwise lower WAR careers than where we might think they would rank. The difference is because it is the catcher position and they tend not to have high WAR numbers (Yogi is 6th in career WAR for catchers). For 7 straight years he finished no lower than 4th in MVP voting. And yes, they were giving catchers a… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest
David P, let me start with your question. There’s the whole “I never play a game without my man,” line, indicating that Stengel would never play a big game without Berra, because he called so well. He’s had that reputation – probably because that reputation tends to follow catchers who play on winning teams. Still, how many really GREAT pitchers did the Yankees have in the Berra-era? Outside of Ford, I don’t really think they had any. So could it be that Yogi may have helped some of those players pitch over their heads? That seems reasonable to me. As… Read more »
BryanM
Guest

I’m with you — Dr D — unequal opportunity is inherent in all of these stats. I know that technically we cannot calculate WAR -for postseason games, since we don’t have seasonal data to normalize the events to, but It’s pretty easy to take ,say Curt Schilling’s Postseason stats and Eyeball them out at about 60 percent of a 9 or 10 WAR season ….

Lawrence Azrin
Guest
@53/Dr Doom; It wasn’t just the pitchers – during Stengel’s time as Yankees manager (1949-60), which coincides almost _exactly_ with Yogi’s years as a full-time catcher, it seemed like most of the Yankees roster was usually in flux. These seem to be the only constants for most of Casey’s term: P – Whitey Ford (1950, 1953-60) C – Yogi CF – Mantle (from ’51 on) RF – Hank Bauer (till ’59) Supersub at 2B/ SS/ 3B: Gil McDougald Bill James mentions this several times in his Historical Abstracts, how Stengel brought back platooning, at a number of positions, after it… Read more »
Michael Sullivan
Guest
As good as piazza and I-rod were, I’m not any surer that they are ahead of Berra, than I am about Gary Carter and Carlton Fisk. Piazza had a spectacular bat, but had a shorter career than all of them except Berra. Piazza also had some shortcomings on the defensive end, while every other COG level catcher we are talking about was above average in rfield, and generally considered above average in the defensive abilities we can’t quantify well. IRod’s career looks a lot like Fisk or Carter’s. Good offense for a catcher combined with spectacular longevity and above average… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest
I pointed this out here about a year ago concerning Yogi, but I think it’s relevant to assess what a player does versus his contemporary competition as well as his historical competition. Given that Berra was playing in an 8 team league, but with a 154-game schedule, and Bench and Fisk were playing in a 12-team league with a 162 game schedule, here are some comparisons: HR: Berra top ten in league 9 times, Bench 7, Fisk 3 RBI: Berra top ten in league 9 times, Bench 7, Fisk 2 TB: Berra top ten in league 7 times, Bench 4,… Read more »
birtelcom
Guest
There also the fact that Yogi is a figure in the culture whose fame transcends baseball. It’s an interesting question perhaps to ask how many members of the COG have names that are quite well-known to those who are not at all baseball fans. Probably not more than a few. Yogi is one of them. Of course we’re all baseball fans here, intense ones presumably, and are trying to evaluate these matters objectively. So it’s not clear how much of a role the larger cultural aspect plays, but in the context of a vote like this, it’s hard to put… Read more »
bells
Guest

Definitely as a casual baseball fan growing up, if I heard the name ‘Yogi Berra’ I’d think Yankees dynasty, Mantle, it ain’t over ’til it’s over, the picture of him jumping on Don Larsen after the perfect game, right off the hop. If I heard the name ‘Robin Roberts’ I would have thought…. hmm, maybe he was in one of the British Invasion bands?

The Berra brand is strong indeed.

oneblankspace
Guest

A TV interview once asked Yogi to do some word association, the first thing that comes to mind.

Mickey Mantle…
What about him?

oneblankspace
Guest

I’m not sure exactly what this measures, but games played at a position other than catcher, including DH:

Berra _ 263
Bench _ 451
Fisk _ 238
Piazza_ 192
Biggio 2372

bstar
Guest
Who was involved in that vote that Fisk won, David? Ballot strength has differed greatly from year to year. If there had been one more really great, obviously-deserving candidate on this year’s ballot, maybe Yogi wouldn’t be winning so handily. It seems to me that all the great catchers we’ve encountered so far have gotten in pretty easily, and rightly so. We’ve done a good job of not focusing on WAR totals for catchers and have quickly inducted the deserving ones. It’s a good thing. As for Fisk v. Berra, it’s not so much that Yogi had a short career… Read more »
RJ
Guest

I can answer that one for you, bstar: Fisk was elected just ahead of Nolan Ryan. Both were on their second ballot, after Johnny Bench had cakewalked their birth year.

Only 11 voters had both Fisk and Ryan on their ticket (out of 33 and 29 total votes respectively), which makes me think most saw it as a straight fight between the two.

Yes I know the question was likely rhetorical. 🙂

David P
Guest

Sure Bstar, again I’m not saying Berra isn’t deserving of election. Of course he is. Just surprised by how easily he’s winning.

In answer to your question, the list was much the same as now: Smoltz, Martinez, Lofton, Sandberg, Biggio, Murray + Ryan, Alomar, Grich and Whitaker. That doesn’t strike me as necessarily stronger than this year’s group.

David Horwich
Guest

I think there are a couple of factors at play here that help explain why Berra’s running away with this round:

1) In the past there’s often been a “first-ballot boost” effect for players’ first appearance on the ballot.

2) Berra is considered by many one of the best catchers of all-time, top 3 or top 5 or whatever; none of the holdovers have a similar stature at their position.

birtelcom
Guest

B-ref shows Yogi with more WAR than any other catcher in history through 1976 (fangraphs has him at the top for one additional year, through 1977). If you were around back then, as some of us were, you had every reason to get that image of Yogi as the greatest catcher of all time in your head.

Michael Sullivan
Guest
the first ballot boost makes a lot of sense too if you aren’t waiting to see who other people have voted for. If you think somebody belongs in the COG, and they are on their first ballot, then you have to vote for them to make sure they stay on the ballot. That said, the margin by which Berra is winning surprises me a little bit. I do think that the Fisk ballot was stronger — empirically, the collective has chosen Grich and Whitaker directly over nearly everyone on this holdover ballot. Ryan didn’t directly compete with the 1950s/60s players… Read more »
jajacob
Guest

Smoltz, Lofton , Berra

David Horwich
Guest

Biggio, Murray, Sandberg

mo
Guest

Berra Ashburn Snider

Low T
Guest

Snider, Lofton, Martinez please.

J.R.
Guest

Berra, Biggio, and Killebrew

oneblankspace
Guest

Toothpick Sam Jones (on the current ballot) played for Detroit, which is one of only two AL teams Sad Sam Jones never played for.

T-Bone
Guest

Berra
Sandberg
Killebrew

oneblankspace
Guest
Voting for three newcomers this round: [X] Y.Berra, St Louisan who retired with the record for homeruns by a catcher. When Johnny Bench broke the record, Berra sent him a message: “Congratulations. I knew that record would stand until it was broken.” [X] H.Haddix, who pitched twelve perfect innings before losing 1-0 in the 13th inning a game in which Joe Adcock hit a ball over the fence but was called out for passing Hank Aaron on the bases between second and third. Enough votes to stay on the HOF ballot by the standards of the day, but never more… Read more »
birtelcom
Guest

For 18 years in a row, 1949 through 1966, the Yankees’ regular starting catcher was St. Louis-born: Yogi, then Elston Howard.

Abbott
Guest

Murray, Biggio, Ashburn

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

______________

Huh. I’m slightly surprised to see Berra running away with the vote.
Well, I suppose it ain’t over until – …, nah, it’s over.

Nothing strategic for me.
I’ll just go Yankees and Kennys.
Vote:

L.P. Berra
E.C. Ford
Kenny Lofton

Josh
Guest

Yogi Berra, Duke Snider, Juan Marichal

Darien
Guest

Yogi, Ryno, and Lofton

PP
Guest

Yogi, Snider, Marichal

Kirk
Guest

Ford, Smoltz and Killebrew

bells
Guest

No love for Minnie?

Artie Z.
Guest

He should be in 1925 part 2.

Hub Kid
Guest

Marichal, Smoltz, Ashburn

jeff hill
Guest

Berra, Smoltz, Lofton

Richard Chester
Guest

Ford, Berra, Koufax

Mike G.
Guest

Berra, Smoltz, Sandberg

TJay
Guest

Duke, Yogi, Sandy K.

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