Circle of Greats: 1917 Balloting

This post is for voting and discussion in the 67th round of balloting for the Circle of Greats (COG).  This round adds to the ballot those players born in 1917. Rules and lists are after the jump.

This round’s new group of 1917-born players joins the holdovers from previous rounds to comprise the full set of players eligible to receive your votes this round.

The new group of 1917-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, 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 11:59 PM EDT Friday, August 15, while changes to previously cast ballots are allowed until 11:59 PM EDT Wednesday, August 13.

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 1917 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-1917 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 thirteen 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 1917 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.


Kenny Lofton (eligibility guaranteed for 6 rounds)
Whitey Ford (eligibility guaranteed for 5 rounds)
Bob Feller ((eligibility guaranteed for 4 rounds)
Craig Biggio (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Pee Wee Reese (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Ryne Sandberg (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Roberto Alomar (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Kevin Brown (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Roy Campanella  (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Dennis Eckersley (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Harmon Killebrew (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Minnie Minoso (eligibility guaranteed for  this round only)
Eddie Murray (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)

Everyday Players (born in 1917, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR):
Lou Boudreau
Clyde McCullough
Hank Sauer
Sid Gordon
Peanuts Lowrey
Marty Marion
Phil Rizzuto
Johnny Berardino
Jimmy Bloodworth
Dom DiMaggio
Tommy Holmes
Barney McCosky
Mike McCormick
Pat Mullin

Pitchers (born in 1917, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR):
Virgil Trucks
Ken Raffensberger
Joe Dobson
Joe Haynes
Allie Reynolds
Jim Konstanty
Johnny Sain
Sal Maglie
Ray Scarborough

196 thoughts on “Circle of Greats: 1917 Balloting

  1. 1
    Jeff Harris says:

    Lofton Feller Killebrew

    • 62
      mosc says:

      A guy who last swung at a major league pitch September 29, 2007 and one who threw a pitch July 19, 1936. More than 70 years of baseball covered between them. Only 34 years and change between them facing each other though, amazingly. Killebrew fits nearly perfectly in between as probably the best choice for coverage. His career also started very young in 1954, overlapping with Feller though they never faced off and ran till September 26, 1975. I guess you could have picked Virgil Trucks over Feller for the added feat that he faced Killebrew in 1955 but he didn’t debut until 1941.

      Anyway, This ballot covers 71 years minus the gap between Killebrew and Lofton, 15 years, for a total coverage of 56. I feel like we might have had a ballot that covered 56 years of baseball before, but not one that spanned 71 (for obvious reasons). I wonder going forward what our tops for these will be. Giving a total value of span+coverage, this is 71 years and 79% coverage.

  2. 2
    Mike HBC says:

    Feller, Reese, Sandberg

  3. 3

    Most Wins Above Average, excluding negative seasonal totals:

    Brown 43.3
    Boudreau 42.3
    Feller 39.4
    Lofton 39.3
    Sandberg 38.8
    Alomar 37.1
    Biggio 36.3
    Eckersley 34.3
    Murray 33.7
    Reese 33.4
    Killebrew 33.0
    Minoso 30.6
    Ford 29.3
    Trucks 23.8
    Rirruto 22.3
    Campanella 19.2
    Maglie 18.7

    My quandary in this round is whether three years at war cost Pee Wee Reese the 8.9 WAA by which he trails Boudreau. He was worth 3.5 WAA in ’42 and ’46, so there’s an easy case to be made that he could have added 10+ in his prime. Boudreau, though, accumulated more WAA in far fewer plate appearances, doing so with a 120 OPS+, to Reese’s 99 and more Rfield. If Pee Wee needs my vote, I’ll consider invoking the decent human being clause and taking one away from Brown.

    Feller, Brown, Boudreau

    • 18
      mosc says:

      The league level of competition in ’43 and ’44 was particularly poor. Boudreau feasted on some pretty poor pitching putting up unusually high RBAT. Since he was a strong defender at a premium position, that RBAT difference went strait to his WAA. Boudreau outside of a career year in 1948 was never a legendary hitter. Well above average, which is a lot for a good glove shortstop, but not historic by any means.

      For his career, Boudreau had 13.7 RBAT per 500 PA, ’43 and ’44 together he was at 22.9 RBAT per 500 PA. Again, outside of his ’48 MVP year, he was not that type of bat.

      Boudreau should be penalized for the replacement level during the war. WAA doesn’t work for me ’42 to ’45. Clearly Boudreau was a better hitter and his ’48 campaign was historic but I think the hitting margin is exaggerated due to the war years. Reese was a lot better on the basepaths which I always feel is underrated in historical context. Reese is the longevity winner if you give him war credit with similar credentials.

      I have Reese above the bar and Boudreau below. Put it this way, here’s the WAA for both excluding 43-45:
      Reese 31.7, Boudreau 27.5
      WAA aside, Reese had significantly more PA’s (2446) even missing 3 years of service.

      Reese, by a good bit, for me.

      • 31
        David P says:

        Boudreau was also player-manager of the Indians for 9 seasons. He’s the last player manager to win a World Series. And he’s the last manager of the Indians to win a WS.

        Boudreau is also credited with creating the shift, which he employed against Ted Williams. Williams lowest career OPS is against the Indians though I don’t feel like backing out just the years Boudreau was the Indian’s manager.

        Anyway, it’s at least possible that pulling double duty negatively affected Boudreau’s playing ability.

        Also, while he was probably helped by playing during the war years, 1943-44 were also his age 25-26 seasons. So it shouldn’t be that surprising that those were two of his better seasons.

        • 57
          David Horwich says:

          DP @ 31 –

          It’s my understanding that Boudreau didn’t invent, but rather revived, the shift, which had been used against Cy Williams in the 1920s.

          • 60
            David P says:

            Okay thanks for the clarification David H. 🙂

          • 61
            David Horwich says:

            Boudreau’s shift was evidently extreme – all 4 infielders on the right side of the diamond, per the diagram in this article:


            I don’t think anyone does it quite that way today.

          • 114
            bstar says:

            Davids H & P: here’s some factoids about the shift, in the reference section of Lou Boudreau’s SABR bio:

            “Though the Williams shift was a success, its origins are unclear. In Great Baseball Feats, Facts and Firsts, David Nemec says it was used against another player named Williams, Ken Williams of the St. Louis Browns. Rob Neyer argues that the shift was used some years earlier, against Cy Williams of the Phillies. And finally, Glenn Stout, editor of Great American Sportswriting, says that Jimmie Dykes, manager of the Chicago White Sox in 1941, was the first to use a shift against Ted Williams. In any case, left-handed-hitting Williamses seem to have cornered the market on shifts.”

      • 32
        Richard Chester says:

        Boudreau’s stats in 1948 made him the only SS to have a season with .350+ BA, 100+ RBI and fewer than 10 strikeouts. His totals were .355 BA, 106 RBI and 9 K.

      • 38

        Great argument, mosc. It doesn’t seem fair to take away Boudreau’s prime years, but the war did just that to Reese. Certainly worth a closer look.

        • 49
          mosc says:

          I like the concept of using cumulative WAA excluding negatives for all time greats I just think it struggles when the context changes (war, integration, steroids, etc). I also don’t like the way it handles longevity. Comparing two players with similar PA’s in similar years I love it but comparing a guy with a really short career and a really long career? I don’t think it’s fully capturing the picture.

          I guess if I had my own method of such it would be to weight WAR per year as an increasingly valuable thing. You get some credit for all your WAR but your WAA would be extra valuable, your WAAS (all-star) would be even more, and your WAMVP would be weighted even higher. But I won’t bother because I have too many problems with WAR to give arbitrary significance to it’s accumulation. It would just compound the error.

      • 113
        PaulE says:


        Highest Career dWar with Career oWar Greater than 50:

        34.6 Ripken
        28.7 Fudge Rodriguez
        25.6 Reese
        25.5 Gary Carter
        23.3 Boudreau

        I dunno….I just think Boudreau would have done OK without the assist from Fascism during the period in question. Hall of Fame? meh… Circle of Greats? i don’t think so

      • 187
        Dr. Doom says:

        My initial thought was that I should model something more systematically than just say, “Well, those were the War years…” but I was too lazy to do it. Today has been a slow day at work, so I took a little time.

        If you use WAA instead of WAR for the WWII years (1943-1946, depending on how you feel the quality of play was in the last of those years, when the war wasn’t going on, but there is some reason to believe that quality of play may not have been at its best), and he’s a 54 WAR guy on a ballot full of 60+ candidates. Give him halfway between WAA and WAA, he’s up to 57. In my own peak-weighted version, he’s #3 with his raw stats, #7 with the more favorable adjustment, #9 with the less-favorable adjustment. I probably shouldn’t have voted for him, now I look at it. I don’t think I will next round. Thanks for the thoughts, mosc.

    • 172
      Steve says:

      You cannot exclude negative seasonal totals – kinda like saying well if we count strikeouts as hits..

      • 173
        RJ says:

        It seems like you made a similar point before. Here’s Bryan’s response in case you missed it:

        “I use WAA instead of WAR because a measure of greatness should reflect how much more value a player provided than the average player (or some higher standard, if it were easily accessible), rather than a readily available scrub. Excluding negative seasonal totals saves a guy like Pete Rose or Craig Biggio from being punished for hanging on too long. Was Rose a less-great player because he had a few bad years at the end?

        I got the idea from Adam’s Hall of Sstats, which uses adjWAA as one of its inputs in calculating Hall Rating.”

        • 188
          bstar says:

          I don’t think this always works, though, RJ. Doug uncovered the case of Early Wynn a few weeks back. Wynn’s entire career is pockmarked with seasons of negative WAA, including what are supposed to be his prime years:

          age 19: -0.4 WAA
          age 22: -2.6 WAA
          age 24: -0.3 WAA
          age 28: -2.5 WAA
          age 29: -0.7 WAA
          age 33: -1.0 WAA
          age 37: -0.9 WAA
          age 38: -1.2 WAA
          age 42: -1.0 WAA

          Ignoring all those seasons paints a rosier picture of Wynn than actual reality. Sure, Wynn had some good/great years, but he also had several years where he was a below average starter (and a couple where he was below replacement level). I agree, we should probably ignore negative WAA late in careers, but to do so when those seasons are part of the player’s record before his late decline can lead to questionable conclusions.

          Wynn finished with 17 WAA. But when you exclude all his negative-WAA seasons, that number jumps all the way to 27 WAA. if we just exclude those last three negative-WAA seasons late in his career, we get around 20 WAA for Wynn. Of the three choices (17, 20, or 27), I think 20 is probably the most accurate WAA number as far as describing what sort of pitcher Wynn was throughout his career.

          The logic of excluding negative-WAA seasons in the twilight of careers does make a lot of sense. But in cases like Early Wynn, taking a more granular look at his record is probably a better way to go.

  4. 4
    Ajnrules says:

    Bob Feller
    Craig Biggio
    Lou Boudreau

  5. 5
    Steven says:

    Bob Feller, Allie Reynolds, and Marty Marion.

  6. 6
    Chris C says:

    Feller, Biggio, Eckersley

  7. 7
    RJ says:

    The class of 1917 are an impressive lot. Among our newcomers there are 19 All-Stars (including all of our pitchers), combining for 53 All-Star Game appearances. Sixteen of them reached the Series, with nine players winning it all for a combined 26 titles. Five won MVP awards, including the pair of Hall of Famers in the bunch.

    Of the four pitchers ever to have thrown two no-hitters in the same season, two appear here. The other newcomer with a no-hitter threw his at the age of 39. Nine players reached the 30 WAR level, with another 4 above 25 WAR (especially impressive when you consider how many of these guys careers were interrupted by the war).

    Not bad at all.

    • 9
      David P says:

      Looks like we were typing at the same time RJ. Odd that there’s not more career value among this group.

      • 10
        RJ says:

        The war obviously played a part. As you note, there’s no inner-circle type candidate on the ballot, but I was impressed with the number of guys who had solid careers, if not HOF or COG ones.

        • 16
          David P says:

          Oh I agree RJ. As I mentioned in my #8, there are 5 MVPs and 4 guys who finished 2nd. That strikes me as quite a lot.

    • 15
      birtelcom says:

      The born-in-1917 group had other talents, too.

      “Oh Holy Cow! The Selected Poetry of Phil Rizzuto” is the 100th ranked best seller in the Poetry subcategory of Amazon’s miscellaneous reference books category (Phil is in there with various poetry translations, anthologies and writing guides).

      Johnny Berardino won three Emmy awards, and also appeared in one of the greatest, strangest movies ever, “North By Northwest”.

      • 17
        David P says:

        According to his Wikipedia page, Berardino is the only person to win a World Series and have his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

      • 19
        RJ says:

        That’s a brilliant nugget birtelcom. North By Northwest is one of my favourite films of all time, but I did not know that. Here’s Berardino in action as the policeman carting a drunk Cary Grant around.

        • 22
          birtelcom says:

          On the subject of movies and baseball, the current critical darling “Boyhood” includes a sequence that has Roger Clemens pitching for the Astros and a three-run homer by Jason Lane. Don’t bother looking for the game that matches the portrayal in the film — the events were actually filmed over two different games. Movie magic.

      • 25
        Richard Chester says:

        Rizzuto was the first mystery guest on the old TV quiz show “What’s My Line”.

      • 58
        mosc says:

        I might go as far as saying this year had the highest level of talent without actually getting a COG representative? Early for that, but assume everyone on the carry over gets in and nobody from 1917 gets in, seems like these guys are all just fairly high level but not good enough.

        • 71
          Michael Sullivan says:

          Boudreau seems to at least be in the picture, although I put him below the line. Not sure we can count him out as a potential COG member. Everybody else, I agree — lots of HOVG, but no legit contenders for COG. Even the one HOFer (Rizzuto) was a weak selection.

        • 80
          Hartvig says:

          Noticed that as well. And while it’s hard to be exactly certain how much a 2, 3 or even 4 year layoff may have effected these guys there’s really no one here who rises to the level of the COG unless you also give them credit for performing at an even higher level than they did when they returned.

          But there’s something else that I noticed as well. While this bunch might not have anyone who’s performance rises to the level of the COG there several strong contenders for the COGN- Circle Of Great Names or Nicknames.

          The Barber
          Old Shufflefoot
          The Octopus
          The Little Professor
          The Honker
          Superchief and best of all
          Fire Trucks

          Plus you have a Barney, a Casimir (Konstanty) and a Myron Winthrop (McCormick)

          And lest we forget- Spahn and Sain and pray for rain- which isn’t a nickname of course but easily one of the greatest descriptive phrases in sports history.

  8. 8
    David P says:

    Even though the new candidate are fairly lackluster, there are actually five former MVPs – Boudreau, Sauer, Rizzuto, Marion and Konstanty. Plus four more who have a second place finish – Sain, Maglie, Reynolds, and Holmes.

  9. 11
    paget says:

    Reese should have two rounds of eligibility, no?

    • 20
      birtelcom says:

      Yes, thanks. Fixed. I had Pee Wee in the right order in the holdover list, reflecting his two rounds of eligibility, I just had failed to include the correct parenthetical.

  10. 12
    Insert Name Here says:

    Interestingly, it’s an all-Indians ballot for me this time around:

    1. Lou Boudreau (7.1 WAR/162 during 1940-48)
    2. Bob Feller (7.1 WAR/season during 7-yr peak of 1938-47)
    3. Kenny Lofton (6.8 WAR/162 during 1992-99)

    Ranking of other candidates:
    4. Ryne Sandberg (6.2 WAR/162 during 1984-92)
    5. Pee Wee Reese (5.8 WAR/162 during 11-yr peak of 1942-55)
    6. Craig Biggio (5.8 WAR/162 during 1991-99)
    7. Kevin Brown (5.7 WAR/season during 1992-2000)
    8. Ralph Kiner (7.1 WAR/162 during 1947-52)
    9. Harmon Killebrew (5.3 WAR/162 during 1959-70)
    10. Minnie Miñoso (5.7 WAR/162 during 1951-59)
    11. Eddie Murray (5.7 WAR/162 during 1978-86)
    12. Roy Campanella (6.1 WAR/162 during 1949-55)
    13. Roberto Alomar (6.0 WAR/162 during 1996-2001)
    14. Sid Gordon (6.3 WAR/162 during 1948-52)
    15. Dennis Eckersley (5.6 WAR/season during 1975-79)

    • 13
      Insert Name Here says:

      Oops! As one may have guessed, I copy-and-paste my ranking of holdovers from the previous round and insert the worthy newcomers (in this round, Boudreau and Gordon). I forgot to omit Kiner, so… ignore him in the ranking.

    • 27
      paget says:

      @12, I like Boudreau as a candidate too (especially for that epic ’48 season), but I’m not sure it makes sense to list his peak years without taking into account the decreased level of competition in ’43’-’45. Two of his three biggest years fall during that period.

      • 74
        Insert Name Here says:

        Hmmm… interesting point. I did notice in comparing players that Boudreaux is one of the few prominent players who didn’t serve in WWII. Omit those years (which also seems unfair) and he’s still one of the best on the ballot, but not necessarily vote- worthy… I’ll have to mull this one over.

        • 75
          Michael Sullivan says:

          I don’t think you can omit them, but it’s hard to give credit for more WAR/WAA than what he got in a typical prime year, as opposed to the 7.9 WAR that he only met or exceeded for 2 years in a non-depleted league.

          I take off about 2 WAR and WAA each for those 3 years, and that leaves him clearly below the line for me. A solid peak, but not enough total contribution to get in without a koufax level peak, especially since most of his career is pre-integration.

          • 78
            robbs says:

            Slightly off topic but Boudreau was also Denny McClain’s father-in-law (via daughter Sharon).

          • 103
            Insert Name Here says:

            @Michael Sullivan, knocking off 2 WAR for each of those 3 seasons seems like a good (if unscientific, as any such method would be) way to compare Boudreau with the others. However, it’s interesting to note that Boudreau actually did a little bit better during 1946-48 (8.1 WAR/162) than against the lower-quality competition of 1943-45 (7.9 WAR/162). Still, if I drop that latter number to 5.9 WAR/162 (in accordance with your “-2 WAR-during-war” principle), then Boudreau’s overall peak averages out to 6.5 WAR/162 over 9 years. Considering that Ryne Sandberg (ranked 4th on my list) is at 6.2 WAR/162 over 9 years, Boudreau is still above the bar for inclusion for me (on this ballot at least). I’m not so sure that I would still rank him first, but that doesn’t affect my vote.

  11. 14
    mo says:

    Feller Lofton Biggio

  12. 21
    Dr. Doom says:

    My ballot:

    Bob Feller
    Pee Wee Reese
    Lou Boudreau

  13. 23
    KalineCountry Ron says:

    Bob Feller
    Roy Campanella
    Virgil ‘Fire’ Trucks

  14. 24
    Low T says:

    Lofton, Feller, Reese please

  15. 26
    aweb says:

    I used to get Rizzuto and Reese mixed up in my head in terms of who was better – I had them both mentally as the “light hitting SS on good NY teams”, but Rizzuto was better than I thought, and Reese was much better than I thought.

    I’m not sure I’ve ever heard Sid Gordon talked about, despite some impressive looking stats for a good stretch in an era when seemingly every NY-based player was made legendary for some reason or another.

    Anyone know why Marty Marion won the MVP in 1944? He had a certain COG teammate who had a much better year, and his 113 Runs+RBI might be the record low for position player MVPs (including strike years).

    My vote – Feller, Reese, Killebrew

    • 28
      Richard Chester says:

      Marion’s .267 BA in 1944 was the lowest for a position MVP. He was a great fielder, his nickname was Mr. Shortstop.

  16. 29
    paget says:

    I always vote late in this process so I’m going to hold off on weighing in, but I’ve been beating the drum for Sal Maglie for a while now, and am curious to hear some opinions about his viability as a candidate.

    Without going into too much detail right now, it seems to me that a guy who puts up his kind of numbers after essentially beginning his MLB career at the age of 33 is someone to at least take seriously. Plus, his career arc is just so improbable that he’s fun to think about. I’ve always liked guys like him, and Lefty O’Doul among others for their combination of excellence and weirdness.

    • 33
      birtelcom says:

      Most Pitching WAR in the NL, Age 33 and After:
      1. Phil Niekro 68.2
      2. Randy Johnson 57.7
      3. Dazzy Vance 54.7
      4. Pete Alexander 48.0
      5. Warren Spahn 43.8
      6. Bob Gibson 36.4
      7. Steve Carlton 32.9
      8. Greg Maddux 32.7
      9. Sal Maglie 30.7
      10. Tom Glavine 30.4

      • 36
        paget says:

        That’s incredible company to be in. Consider, every last one of those guys is either in, or will be in, the COG.

        • 37
          David Horwich says:

          Yes, but all of the others on that list (except for Vance) had significant accomplishments before age 33, too. Maglie had a very interesting career, but I don’t think he has enough for the CoG. If we’re going to put in great half-career pitchers other than Koufax, I’d put in Dizzy Dean before Maglie.

          • 53
            paget says:

            The problem, as I see it, with this rationale is that both Koufax and Dean had “half-careers” that were shortened due to injury; Maglie’s half-career was the result of A)working in a Defense plant during WWII, and B)having been absurdly banned from the MLB for five years for playing in the Mexican League during the off-season after 1945. With Sal the Barber were’ not talking about a pitcher whose career was shortened due injury, but a guy who was prohibited from performing during his PEAK years for totally unjustifiable reasons.

            No doubt, it takes a partial act of imagination to elect him into the pantheon. But his case is a lot different than Dean’s (someone, parenthetically, whom I’d definitely entertain as member of the COG as well).

    • 51
      Lawrence Azrin says:


      I too am fascinated with players with strange career arcs.

      For instance – the two Williams OFers in the 1920s, Ken and Cy Williams. Both might’ve had HOF-worthy careers if they were born a decade later, and debuted in their early 20’s in the live-ball era, instead of age 30+. Ken was 31 when he has his first outstanding season, Cy was 32.

      It would be interesting to combine their after-30 years with the before-30 career of someone who faded early. For instance: Ross Youngs through age-29, then Cy Williams from age-30 on.

      • 54
        birtelcom says:

        Some more recent early faders: Edgardo Alfonzo, Nomar Garciaparra, Darin Erstad, Andruw Jones….

      • 55
        Lawrence Azrin says:


        Carlos Baerga has his last good year at age 26, and was done as a regular at age 29… That may have been the most stunning early fade in recent memory.

        By age 25-26, he looked like a possible HOFER, but by age 30 he spends most of the year in the minors, and age 31 he is out of organized baseball altogether – HUH? He did come back at ages 33-36 as a tolerable utility guy, but has there _ever_ been anyone else with that career arc?

        • 59
          David Horwich says:

          He wasn’t as good a player as Baerga, but Ben Grieve had some serviceable years in his early 20s, then fell off a cliff and was done before he hit 30.

          Then there are players whose careers ended early due to illness and death, e.g. Addie Joss and Ross Youngs, but I don’t think that’s really what you have in mind.

        • 66
          Lawrence Azrin says:


          Not a bad comp, but Baerga not only went back to the minors, was completely out of baseball after 30, but then came back to MLB from ages 33-36.

          There might have been players who went to Japan for a year or two, then came back to MLB for a while.

          • 67
            David Horwich says:

            Returning to the majors in a player’s mid-30s after an early fade is indeed unusual.

            Bobby Tolan comes to mind as another early fader (who made no comeback).

  17. 30
    Abbott says:

    Boudreau, Murray, Biggio

  18. 34
    Doug says:

    This year’s tidbits.

    Virgil Trucks was acquired by the Yankees from the Athletics during the 1958 season (as was another over-40 pitcher, Murry Dickson). Usually known for discarding players at the first sign of infirmity, this time New York strangely departed from form to obtain Trucks in exchange for 28 year-old Bob Grim. But, Casey knew his ballplayers; despite coming off two solid seasons of 139 ERA+, Grim would fare no better than 97 ERA+ in limited innings the rest of his career.

    Hank Sauer’s 178 PA before his age 30 season are the fewest of any player with 5000 PA aged 30+. Which such player had the most PA before his age 30 season?

    Clyde McCullough had only one season as a regular catcher (with the Cubs in 1941) but was later twice selected for the All-Star game, including in 1948 when he sported a first half .180/.232/202 slash in only 96 PAs.

    Ken Raffensberger allowed a game-winning home run by Whitey Kurowski in losing to Mort Copper and the Cardinals on 1944-09-24, the last time both starters went the distance for 16+ innings.

    Lou Boudreau’s .355 BA in his 1948 MVP season was not exceeded by a shortstop for almost 50 years, then was surpassed 3 times in 5 years by Alex Rodriguez (1996) and Nomar Garciaparra (1999, 2000).

    Joe Haynes recorded a 150 ERA+ to lead the AL in 1947, one of 8 White Sox pitchers to do so in a 25-year period (1947-71). No Sox pitcher has since done the same, a streak that Chris Sale may break this season.

    Joe Dobson is one of four pitchers to post 13 wins and a winning record in 5 consecutive seasons with the Red Sox. Who are the others?

    Allie Reynolds is one of three pitchers to lead the AL in ERA and strikeouts in the same season aged 35 or older. Who are the others?

    Peanuts Lowrey was one of the last of a vanished breed, as one of 5 players since 1950 to record fewer than 10 strikeouts in a 350 PA season, a feat yet to be accomplished in the expansion era.

    Phil Rizzuto was the first Yankee shortstop with a 200 hit season (1950), a distinction that would be his alone until the first of Derek Jeter’s 8 such seasons almost 50 years later.

    Sid Gordon and Hank Sauer jointly became the first players aged 30 or older with 5 consecutive NL seasons (1948-52) of 25+ home runs.

    Marty Marion is one of 10 live ball era NL shortstops with a run total of less than 10% of PAs in a 5000 PA career. In contrast, only two shortstops have done the same playing in the AL. Who are they?

    Jim Konstanty’s 1950 season was the first by a reliever of 150 IP with a 150 ERA+. Who are the only pitchers since to match that feat?

    Johnny Sain’s 314 IP in 1948 has been exceeded by a Braves pitcher in the live ball era only by Phil Niekro. Included were 6 complete game victories in a 19-day span to start Boston’s victorious September pennant drive during which Sain and Warren Spahn at one point pitched 8 of 10 games, a feat immortalized by the catchphrase “Spahn and Sain … and pray for rain” (or “… and two days of rain”).

    Tommy Holmes is the only player with a live ball era season (1945) leading the majors in hits, home runs and doubles. Who are the only other players to lead their league in those categories in the same live ball era season?

    Dom DiMaggio is the only player with 3 consecutive seasons (1948-50) of 125 runs scored and fewer than 10 home runs. DiMaggio’s 4 seasons of 700 PA are the most by a Red Sox outfielder.

    Barney McCosky is one of 15 players since 1914 to record 400 hits in the first 300 games of a career. Which four of those players recorded fewer career hits than McCoskey’s total of 1301?

    Johnny Berardino is one of 5 players having two seasons with 100 games at second base and two seasons with 100 games at shortstop, all before 1960 and while playing for the same team. Who are the others?

    Jimmy Bloodworth’s 29 GIDP in 1943 has been exceeded only once among players with no other seasons of more than 15 GIDP. Who is that one player with a 30 GIDP season?

    Sal Maglie recorded 8 shutouts in his first 21 career starts, apparently the fastest to that mark of any searchable pitcher (Fernando Valenzuela recorded his 8th shutout in his 22nd start in 1981).

    Ray Scarborough had 3 consecutive qualifying seasons (1949-51) in which he recorded double-digit wins for 3 different teams. Who are the other four pre-expansion live ball pitchers to do the same?

    Pat Mullin’s .345 BA in 1941 is the highest in a rookie season (min. 200 PA) by an AL centerfielder. Mullin was also the first outfielder with 800 career games to play only for the Tigers. Which four players have since matched that feat?

    Mike McCormick is one of only 3 players to bat .300 in a qualifying rookie season and also bat .300 for the winning side in that year’s World Series. Who are the other two players to do this?

    • 35
      David Horwich says:

      The answer to the Allie Reynolds question (leading AL in K and ERA at age 35+) is Walter Johnson and Roger Clemens. Randy Johnson did it 3 times in the NL.

    • 40
      Richard Chester says:

      Additional tidbits:

      Clyde McCullough played 15 seasons and never had as many as 100 hits in a season. That made him one of 17 retired players with 15+ seasons without ever getting as many as 100 hits. Two active players are on pace to join that list if this is their last season. Who are they?

      Hank Sauer hit 281, or 97.6%, of his 288 HR after his age 30 season. That’s a record.

      Sid Gordon is one of 7 live-ball era players to have a season with more triples than doubles, 502 PA minimum. In 1943 he had 11 triples and 9 doubles.

      Dom DiMaggio’s league leading 15 SB in 1950 is the fewest ever.

      Tommy Holmes had 28 HR and 9 K in 1945. That differential of 19 is the most ever.

      Barney McCosky is one of a handful of players to have a career BA of .300+ after each and every AB of his career.

      Virgil Trucks had more IP in the 1945 WS than he did during the regular season. He was discharged from the armed services just before the end of the season and had one start with 5.1 IP. The rule at the time was that a returning vet was eligible for the WS even he was not on the team roster prior to Sept. 1. He started 2 games in the series for a total of 13.1 innings. He had one W and one ND.

      Joe Haynes was Clark Griffith’s son-in-law.

      Johnny Sain had zero K as a batter in 1946 in 106 PA. That’s a seasonal record for pitchers. Only two position players have had more PA with zero K, Lloyd Waner, 234, and Bill Rariden, 108.

      • 52
        Richard Chester says:

        I have some confessing to do. McCosky did not have a .300+ BA after each AB. A PBP of a box score of his first game contradicts a statement that McCosky himself made about getting a hit in his first AB, (that was reported in his SABR BioProject bio). McCosky grounded out in his first AB. I posted this info last March but forgot about it. I know of 2 batters who always had a .300+ BA, Jimmie Foxx and Earle Combs. Other possibilities are (2000 PA min.) Joe DiMaggio, Riggs Stephenson and Dale Alexander (who is a partial answer to the McCosky question posed by Doug).

    • 41
      Richard Chester says:

      Answer to the Tommy Holmes question:
      Rogers Hornsby (1922) and Joe Medwick (1937).

    • 43
      Dr. Doom says:

      Tommy Holmes question:

      Rogers Hornsby ’22
      Chuck Klein ’33
      Joe Medwick ’37

      That was all I could find.

    • 44
      Dr. Doom says:

      Richard, I guess I should have refreshed before I posted my answer to the Holmes question. At least one of the three I posted was useful!

      Jim Konstanty question:
      Hoyt Wilhelm, in his rookie year (1952)
      Mike Marshall doesn’t TECHNICALLY count, but the 141 in 208 innings (!!!) of relief deserves some credit.
      Dick Radatz in 1964, as well.

      That’s all I could find. I’ll let Richard come in and clean up my mess later. 🙂

      • 46
        David Horwich says:

        Mark Eichhorn, 1986, one of the great unsung seasons of all time: a 246 ERA+ in 157 IP. 7.4 WAR coming out the bullpen!

        Wilbur Wood came close in 1968, with a 171 ERA+ in 159 IP – but 14 of those innings were as a starter.

        • 48
          bstar says:

          Bob Stanley also came close in 1982 for the Red Sox, with a 140 ERA+ in 168 relief innings. That ERA+ qualified for the league lead in the AL that year.

          • 50
            bstar says:

            It looks like Stanley ’82 and Wilhelm ’52 are the only two primary relievers (80% of games in relief) to qualify and win a league ERA+ title. Wilhelm and Sammy Stewart (112 IP in strike-shortened ’81 for Baltimore) are the only two relievers to get black ink in raw ERA.

            There are only 20 seasons of relievers getting enough innings to qualify for an ERA title. If we raise the bar to 90% of games in relief, there are only 10 seasons. Mike Marshall is the only pitcher with two such seasons.

    • 47
      birtelcom says:

      Following up on your Peanuts Lowrey point, Doug: Lowrey in his career struck out in 4.68% of his PAs. Among hitters who have debuted in the majors since 1994, and have a minimum of 3,000 career PAs, the lowest K per PA percentages are:
      Juan Pierre 5.79%
      Jeff Keppinger 6.78%
      Placido Polanco 6.82%
      Paul Lo Duca 6.86%
      David Eckstein 7.33%
      Jason Kendall 7.88%

    • 72
      Richard Chester says:

      Ray Scarborough question: Bobo Newsom is one of the four.
      1937 13 wins for the Red Sox
      1938 20 wins for the Browns
      1939 17 wins for the Tigers

    • 73
      RJ says:

      Lefty Grove is one of the four pitchers to post 13 wins and a winning record in 5 consecutive seasons with the Red Sox.

    • 76
      Richard Chester says:

      Answer to the Jimmy Bloodworth question:

      Billy Hitchcock hit into 30 double-plays in 1950 and no more than 10 in any other year.

    • 94
      Richard Chester says:

      Doug: For the Berardino question do you mean exactly two seasons or do you mean two or more seasons? Also do the games at both 2B and SS have to be with the same team?

    • 121
      Richard Chester says:

      For the Mike McCormick question I found three other names, Joe DiMaggio, Larry Doby and Pepper Martin.

    • 162
      Richard Chester says:

      Looks like interest in the quizzes has died out so I’ll give a couple of missing answers.

      Barney McCosky question: Dale Mitchell, Dale Alexander, Rip Radcliff and Johny Frederick

      Hank Sauer question: Mel Ott

    • 163
      Doug says:

      Here are my answers to the quiz questions.

      – Hank Sauer question: Most PA before age 30 for players with 5000 PA aged 30+ – Robin Yount

      – Joe Dobson question: 5 consecutive seasons for the Red Sox with 13+ wins and a winning record – Lefty Grove, Frank Sullivan, Roger Clemens (plus Luis Tiant – thanks Bells!)

      – Allie Reynods question: Leading AL in ERA and Strikeouts aged 35+ – Walter Johnson, Roger Clemens

      – Marty Marion question: AL shortstops with career Runs less than 10% of 5000+ PA – Bucky Dent, Ed Brinkman

      – Jim Konstanty question: Relievers (80% of appearances in relief) with 150 ERA+ in 150+ IP – Hoyt Wilhelm, Dick Radatz, Wilbur Wood, Mark Eichhorn

      – Tommy Holmes question: Leading league in same season since 1920 in Hits, Home Runs and Doubles – Rogers Hornsby, Joe Medwick, Chuck Klein

      – Barney McCosky question: Fewest career hits among players with 400 hits in the first 300 games of a career – Dale Alexander, Johnny Frederick, Dale Mitchell, Rip Radcliff

      – Johnny Berardino question: Two or more 100 game seasons before 1961 for same team at both 2nd base and shortstop – Rabbit Maranville, Granny Hamner, Frankie Gustine, Rogers Hornsby

      – Jimmy Bloodworth question: Season of 30+ GIDP with no other seasons over 15 GIDP – Billy Hitchcock

      – Ray Scarborough question: 3 consecutive qualifying seasons before 1961 for 3 different teams, each season with 10+ wins – Bump Hadley, Bobo Newsom, Burleigh Grimes, Rube Marquard

      – Ray Mullin question: Outfielders with 800 career games, all with the Tigers – Al Kaline, Mickey Stanley, Gates Brown, Bobby Higginson

      – Mike McCormick question: Players to bat .300 in a qualifying rookie season and also bat .300 in that year’s World Series for winning WS team – Joe DiMaggio, Pepper Martin (add Larry Doby who I missed but Richard Chester found)

  19. 39
    BillH says:

    Murray, Alomar, Ford

  20. 42
    Bix says:

    Lofton, Eckersley, Killebrew

  21. 45
    bells says:

    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 – 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 average players (rather than replacement) for that player’s positive seasons (ie. tossing out the negative seasons), to measure how great that player was when he was great.

    JAWS – a weighted WAR score to incorporate both peak and career performance by weighting a player’s best seasons.

    WAR*WAR/162G (250 IP for pitchers) – this is a fun construction I saw John Autin use awhile ago that takes into account peak and career performance, but using games played as a unit rather than seasons.

    My hope is that ranking this will give a bit of an overall picture of player value. Here are the cumulative rankings, in order (a ’4′ would rank first in all 4 categories):

    Brown 6
    Lofton 15
    Sandberg 15
    Boudreau 19
    Feller 19
    Alomar 23
    Murray 26
    Reese 28
    Eckersley 35
    Biggio 35
    Killebrew 43
    Ford 49
    Minoso 49
    Campanella 56

    I mentioned last round that I’d put Feller and Reese as 1-2 (behind Williams last round, obviously), missed time considered. Reese is safe and there’s a lot on the ballot still, so I’ll keep with the strategy of voting for the best and the two best on the bubble (vote subject to change if anyone I think belongs falls in danger of falling off):


  22. 56
    mosc says:

    I’m going to make the argument with Feller that he threw his arm off before reaching 3800 innings and because of that, we may want to look at his wartime differently. I’m not sure he would have reached much more than 3800 innings if he hadn’t gone to war. He’s almost helped, in a strange way, from taking the time off.

    Then I’m going to make the case that if you look at the 4 seasons he DID play completely (’39,’40,’41,’46) totaling 37.2 WAR and say he should get in on PEAK, not just on career with the expectation of high value during the war years. That’s more than Koufax 36.4 over 63-66 or Gibson’s 35.5 68-71 or Wood’s 35.4 71-74. Pedro did best it, 37.6 over 97-00, but that’s elite company. The fact that he fought in WWII in the middle of that peak only enhances it.

    Honestly though, I don’t think Feller would have made it in the majors past age 30 if he didn’t go to war. Not that it would have changed much for his case.

    • 63
      David P says:

      Mosc – Feller didn’t throw his arm off. He fell off the mound during a rainy game in 1948, hurting his back and knee. That in turn affected his fastball. His Ks per game immediately dropped from 7 per game before the injury to 5 per game after (and eventually lower than that).

    • 64
      Lawrence Azrin says:

      Feller actually pitched quite a bit in service baseball during WWII, so it’s not as if he gave his arm a complete rest during 1942-45. Your point is well-taken, though; he very well may have been done in his early 30s without the break.

      • 65
        David P says:

        And after throwing 371 innings in 1946, Feller immediately went on a 20 game barnstorming tour with Satchel Paige. No idea how many of the 20 games Feller pitched in.

        • 82
          JasonZ says:

          According to Stanley Rothman in Sandlot, Feller
          pitched at least 2 innings in 26 games on this

          I don’t know why this cites 26 games and
          other sources cite 20 games.

          • 83
            JasonZ says:

            Correction, “sandlot stats”

          • 88
            David P says:

            Jason Z – No idea. I found a book called Satchel Paige and Company that says 32 games in 26 days. So it was either 20 games, or 26, or 32. Or maybe something else entirely??? 🙂

        • 90
          JasonZ says:

          One thing we can be sure of, these barnstorming
          tours were for financial reasons.

          It was a common occurrence that the players on these
          tours made more money than the shares of World Series

          According to Thomas Barthel, in Baseball Barnstorming and Exhibition Games, 1901-1962; True barnstorming ended
          in 1962 when Willie Mays led an attempt that failed.

          Before that Barnstorming was a way for players to supplement their income.

          No doubt, this was their primary motivation.

          And if the motivation is money and higher ticket sales,
          we can assume that Satchel Paige and Bob Feller probably
          threw at least a piece of every game.

          How else to promote and sell maximum tickets?

  23. 68
    latefortheparty says:

    Kevin Brown
    Ryne Sandberg
    Bob Feller

  24. 69
    jeff hill says:

    Lofton, Feller, Ford

  25. 70
    jeff hill says:

    Boudreau…not Ford.

  26. 77
    koma says:

    Whitey Ford, Craig Biggio, Dennis Eckersley

  27. 79
    Gary Bateman says:

    Feller, Alomar, Minoso

  28. 81
    Hartvig says:

    Sandberg, Campanella, Minoso

  29. 84
    Darien says:

    Feller, Lofton, and Ryno

  30. 85
    Mike G. says:

    Brown, Eckersley, Sandberg

  31. 86
    dr. remulak says:

    Biggio, Ford, Feller.

  32. 87
    mosc says:

    Feller, Campanella, Reese

  33. 89
    Brendan Bingham says:

    When we talk about peak years lost to WWII, we have to talk about Dom DiMaggio. The Little Professor’s best years bracketed his three years lost to military service. In 1942, his age 25 season, he earned 5.1 WAR and 3.3 WAA. In 1946, he had 4.4 WAR and 2.5 WAA. As it was, he was a multi-time All-Star who accumulated 31.9 WAR in a career that lasted from 1940 to 1953. This is in no way an argument for COG votes for the Boston centerfielder; yet, it seems reasonable to imagine that he might have lost 15 WAR, or about a third of his potential productivity, to his wartime absence.

    • 91
      JasonZ says:

      Dom DiMaggio. A few thoughts.

      If you haven’t yet read David Halberstam’s Summer of 49, I feel sorry
      for you. Read it. In it the author describes DiMaggio as the most
      underrated player of his day.

      Soak up those words.

      I will admit that the modern defensive metrics are completely lost upon
      me. I prefer my eyeballs. But here is one stat that does stick out.

      Dom DiMaggio remains the all-time career leader at 2.98 chances per game
      for an outfielder(please be correct Wikipedia).

      If true, I like that stat!

      If there was a COG for ballplayers who achieved the most in business
      after their careers Dom DiMaggio would be inner circle.

    • 92
      PP says:

      Speaking of the war years, Boudreau was 4-F due to arthritic ankles yet between ’41 and ’45 he managed to go to the plate 3017 times, lead the league in doubles twice and play 691 games at shortstop. I don’t know what to think of it, but it makes his 63 WAR seem less than more.

    • 93
      birtelcom says:

      Matching his reputation, baseball-reference’s Rfield (WAR Runs Fielding) has Dom as the top defensive outfielder in the majors in 1942, just before his military service began, and tied for the top with Furillo over the 1946-1948 period immediately after he returned to the majors.

      Put back a few prime years for Dom, and I’m thinking a good comp for him might be Felipe Alou — which is elegant given the whole three-brothers thing.

    • 97
      Lawrence Azrin says:


      There’s a rumor that when Ted Williams was on the Veterans Committee in the 1980s, he pushed hard for Dom DiMaggio (and Johnny Pesky) for the HOF.

      Those two (DiMaggio and Pesky) may have been the two non-HOF players whose candidacy was hurt most by WWWII; neither of their careers was that long to start with, even giving them the WWII years back. Take out three prime years, and it really really hurts their case. DiMaggio probably could’ve played at least another couple years, but when Lou Boudreau benched him at the start of the 1953 season, he quit to get on with the rest of his life, where he was quite successful.

      Even at face value, Dom DimMggio would not be the worst CFer in the HOF, not with Lloyd Waner in.

      • 102
        JasonZ says:

        I have heard those stories also Lawrence.

        I just spent the last half hour reading South Florida Sun
        Sentinel archives about HOF elections and especially
        the Veterans Committee results throughout the years.

        Let’s just say that Ted Williams was hardly the only
        one doing some hardcore lobbying.

        The system is probably irrevocably broken.

        The following from the February 27, 1990 South Florida Sun Sentinel sums it up…

        “There`s no question cronyism comes into play,“ said Herb Goren, a longtime baseball writer for the defunct New York Sun who is waging a campaign to get former Yankees shortstop Phil Rizzuto into the Hall.

        Added Lang: “The only one who has gotten in (by the veterans committee) in the 1980s that we didn`t totally reject was Enos Slaughter. We can live with an Enos Slaughter getting in after he got 68 percent of our vote. But when Rick Farrell, who is a very nice man, gets one vote on two ballots and then gets put in by the veterans committee, something is wrong.“

        Lang is Jack Lang, former BBWAA President.

    • 99
      paget says:

      Let’s not forget Vince either! Not the greatest ballplayer in the world, but a guy who strung together a couple of productive years (1941 in particular. A good year to be a DiMaggio), and had the reputation of being almost as good out there in centerfield as his brothers.

      DiMaggio (1941):
      499 Hits/1653AB
      59 HR
      283 RBI
      312 Runs
      107 2B

      15.8 WAR

      • 101
        paget says:

        Is 1941 for the DiMaggio the best year ever for relations playing at the same time? My first thought was that the Alou might be competitive there, but Jesus didn’t really pull his end in, say ’66 or ’68 when they could have outdistanced the DiMaggio clan.

        • 106
          Brendan Bingham says:

          The Alous couldn’t seem to all thrive in the same year. Each year from ’65 to ’68, two brothers did well (relatively speaking in Jesus’ case) and one did poorly (Jesus in ’66 and ’68, Matty in ’65, and Felipe in ’67). Jesus had his best stretch from ’70 to ’72, by which time his older brothers had already begun their decline.

          • 108
            birtelcom says:

            Too bad Boog Powell wasn’t an Alou brother. Not only would the group’s collective mid to late 1960s numbers have been better but he would have been Boog Alou.

          • 110
            Lawrence Azrin says:


            .. and Ringo Starr could’ve told him to “Back off,Boog Alou!” 🙂

        • 107
          JasonZ says:

          It all depends on the perspective.

          In 1966 Jesus Alou contributed -1.8WAR. Ugh!!

          Brother Matty however copped himself some
          black ink, B-ref style by batting .342.

          Brother Felipe had a plethora of black ink
          that season, AB’s, hits, runs and total bases!

          1966 was arguably Felipe’s greatest season for
          one more reason, son Moises was born on 7/3/66.

          Son/nephew/nephew Moises would go on to prove that the
          DNA apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

          But the year isn’t over yet.

          On 12/10/66 nephew/nephew/nephew/cousin, Mel Rojas
          was born.

          Proving again that the DNA apple is strong in some families.

          Think not, in 1992 Mel Rojas pitched 68 games for the
          Montreal Expos, his ERA+ that season?


          I say that 1966 for the extended Alou family is the greatest single season ever for a family, present and
          future combined.


  34. 96
    Hub Kid says:

    Pee Wee Reese, Minnie Minoso and Dom DiMaggio. As for DiMaggio, I love the ‘DiMaggio who had a good career with the Red Sox’ angle. I stick to my philosophy of using up one of my votes for a tribute vote (‘shout out’) Nothing against Feller, but I’m starting to really like Reese following HHS discussions about him.

  35. 100
    Bill Johnson says:

    Killebrew, Feller, and Boudreau

  36. 105
    Andy says:

    Bob Feller, Kevin Brown, Craig Biggio

  37. 111
    PaulE says:

    Feller Reese Sandberg

  38. 112
    T-Bone says:


  39. 115
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    1950. JIm Konstanty

    MVP at the Closer position.
    74 games zero starts.

    Starts Game 1 of the World Series.
    8 innings. One run.
    Beaten by a Vic Raschi 2 hitter.

    He did have relief outings that year of 9 and 10 innings.
    The 10 inning one, he pitched innings 9 -18, and did not get a decision.

  40. 116
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    Allie Reynolds appeared in 15 WS games.
    9 starts and 5 games finished.

    He had both shutouts and gamed finished in every season his career.

    He is one of four players to have at least
    7 shutouts and
    7 saves in a season

    1909 Three-Finger
    1917 Jim Bagby
    1934 Dizzy Dean
    1951 Allie Reynolds

  41. 117
    David Horwich says:

    Tally note:

    The ballot @ 30 was Boudreau, Murray, Biggio but was tallied as Boudreau, Murray, Killebrew.

  42. 118
    David Horwich says:

    Alomar, Campanella, Murray

  43. 119
    PP says:

    Feller, Sandberg, Killebrew

  44. 120
    Francisco says:

    Bob Feller, Pee Wee Reese, Kevin Brown

  45. 122
    Richard Chester says:

    Feller, Ford, Murray

  46. 123
    David P says:

    Boudreau, Alomar, Murray

  47. 124
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    Can you imagine a 24 year old being named player/manager today?

    “He was the greatest shortstop I ever saw. He was afraid of nobody. He was a great manager, teammate and friend. Just a great man. There is not a more gracious man than Lou Boudreau.” – Bob Feller

  48. 125
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    One way of looking at it…
    Who was way above average, AND sustained it?

    PA per WAA

    100.8 … (1995) Mike Trout
    104.0 … (9788) Ted Williams

    127.7 … (11748)Honus Wagner
    166.4 … (7304) Lou Boudreau

    241.8 … (9235) Lofton
    243.6 … (9282) Ryno

    287.8 … (7712) Minoso
    298.7 … (9470) Pee Wee Reese

    306.7 … (4815) Campanella
    322.0 … (10400)Alomar

    323.0 … (6719) Rizutto (but the best Homer announcer of all time)
    350.0 … (9833) Killer

    435.7 … (12504)Biggio
    472.9 … (6478) Dom DiMaggio
    474.8 … (12817)Steady Eddie

    IP per WAA:

    80.3 …. (3256) Kevin Brown
    107.4 … (3286) Dennis Eckersley
    109.3 … (3170) Whitey Ford
    112.2 … (3827) Bob Feller
    126.6 … (2682) Virgil Trucks
    356.1 … (2492) Allie Reynolds

    • 137
      Voomo Zanzibar says:

      So, with the above stat, Boudreau is way, way ahead of everyone else on the ballot. Yes, he had a shorter career, which helps his rate stats.

      So, same stat (PA/WAA), through the season in which each player passed 7300 PA:

      95.3 …. Ted Williams
      166.4 … Boudreau
      207.7 … Lofton
      209.9 … Sandberg
      218.1 … Biggio
      245.5 … Pee Wee
      246.7 … Minoso
      250.5 … Eddie Murray
      255.3 … Killer
      262.4 … Alomar

  49. 126
    Voomo Zanzibar says:


    Lou Boudreau
    Kevin Brown
    Phil Rizzuto

    Feller seems well on his way to winning.
    Plenty of merit there, and a war hero and all…
    …But are we being seduced by all that black ink?

  50. 127
    J.R. says:

    Feller, Biggio, Killebrew

  51. 128
    bstar says:

    I think it’s quite possible we are taking away too much from Lou Boudreau’s war years.

    The number I had in my mind (from reading a few articles about Stuffy Stirnweiss a few months ago) was a 10% reduction in output. This article here ( reinforces that idea and convinces me 10% is the number. If we use 20 or 25%, we are in danger of suggesting that MLB 1943-1945 was more like a AAA league. In converting AAA stats to a major league equivalent, a 30% reduction is normally used. The league was depleted, sure, but was in no shape or form a league of that low of a quality. 75% of the PAs from 1942 are still in the league in 1943.

    So I think 10% off of Boudreau’s wartime years is the way to go. So instead of 20 WAR and 14.7 WAA for ’43-’45, we take 10% off of those years. When we do that, it looks like a smooth progression for Lou all the way up to his prime. Here’s Boudreau, with his 3 wartime years book-ended by 3 years on either side:

    1940-42: 15 WAR, 9 WAA
    1943-45: 18 WAR, 13 WAA
    1946-48: 22 WAR, 16.5 WAA

    If we take 10% off his wartime OPS+ and 10% off his wartime fielding runs, it again looks very smooth:

    1940-42: 112 OPS+, +27 Rfield
    1943-45: 124 OPS+, +28 Rfield
    1946-48: 138 OPS+, +41 Rfield

    This paints a picture of a guy gently improving year-to-year through his 20’s. I don’t really see anything unusual about his progression. In fact, it almost looks too perfect!

    Totaling up his production minus the wartime reduction, that leaves Boudreau with 61 WAR and around 40 WAA. That WAA/WAR ratio is mighty impressive, but it comes with a huge caveat: Boudreau barely played at all after his age-31 season. He played two half-seasons at age 32 and 33 and then was done after 4 games in his age-34 season. Great players with shorter careers always have impressive rate stats, so Boudreau looks like an inner-circle SS when we look at his WAA to WAR ratio.

    But there’s also the player-manager thing to consider. It almost seems incomprehensible that also having managing duties wouldn’t at least slightly hurt your production as a player. Boudreau’s double-duties are a rare if not unmatched accomplishment, even looking at other professional sports for other examples. So that’s a huge plus for me.

    Overall, after spilling all this ink and gas-bagging through this, I must admit: I am still on the fence about Boudreau.
    P.S. Is there a position player we’ve elected thus far with only 7000 career PAs?

    • 131
      Hartvig says:

      I think it’s worth pointing out that in 1945 the defending American League champs- who would finish 6 games back in 3rd place that year- employed a one-armed outfielder in about half of their games.

      Bill James looked at this in the NBJHBA and of the 64 regulars in the National League in 1945 only 22 played in 100 games the following year (1946) and 11 five years down the road (1949). He compared this to 1950 when 44 regulars played 100 games the following season and 29 four years later. He estimated that about 40% of the players in the 1943 to 1945 seasons were actually of major league caliber.

      And lest we forget- segregation was still in effect during those years as well.

      Snuffy Stirnweiss put up seasons in 44 & 45 that were- at least according to WAR- even more impressive than Boudreau’s 43 & 44.

      That said, he did put up some impressive numbers in 1940, 47 & especially 1948 so it seems likely that his production during the war wasn’t entirely just a product of the times either.

      Still, if I’m going to give anyone the benefit of the doubt in these circumstances it’s going to be the guys who lost time to segregation or military service (or both) for what might have been.

      I think Boudreau was a legitimate Hall of Famer.

      But he won’t be getting my vote for the Circle of Greats.

    • 132
      Hartvig says:

      And in answer to your P.S., Jackie Robinson had only 5804 plates appearances. I think the only other non-pitcher with less than 8000 PA’s was Mike Piazza with 7745.

      • 144
        David Horwich says:

        Fewest PA for CoG members to date (pitchers excluded):

        J Robinson 5804
        Piazza 7745
        Walker 8030
        Grich 8220
        Snider 8237
        Berra 8359
        Bench 8674
        Martinez 8674

        Everyone else is over 9000.

        • 146
          bstar says:

          Thanks. We should pick up a few inductees with lesser PAs in the upcoming years. Joe D (7700 PAs) is a mortal lock and Johnny Mize (7400 PAs) should get in. Hank Greenberg (6100 PAs) will be an interesting choice.

    • 139
      David P says:

      Boudreau was also the player-manager when Larry Doby became the first black player in the AL. Boudreau was only 29 years old at the time. I think that speaks to the confidence that the Indians had in Boudreau as a person. How many 29 year olds could handle a situation as challenging as that???

  52. 129
    Joel says:


  53. 130
    opal611 says:

    For the 1917 election, I’m voting for:
    -Craig Biggio
    -Roberto Alomar
    -Ryne Sandberg

    Other top candidates I considered highly (and/or will consider in future rounds):

  54. 133
    oneblankspace says:

    [] Feller
    [] Biggio
    [] EMurray
    [] Miñoso
    [] Killebrew

    and I can only choose three? I’ll have to think this over.

    Lou Boudreau was on Cub broadcasts with Harry Caray before Steve Stone came in; when Stone went off for an ABC appearance in his early days, Boudreau worked with Caray and Vince Lloyd with Milo Hamilton.

    • 142
      no statistician but says:

      Boudreau was the best radio commentator I ever heard in terms of analysis, despite his less than polished style. His long partnership at WGN with Vince Lloyd was far superior to whatever was going on on the tube at the time, and since the Cubs only played day games for most of those years, Vince and Lou were heard across the Chicago area in many workplaces where no TV was available or allowed, making them the true voices of the Cubs for many, even though Jack Brickhouse—not Caray until 1982—was the TV personality.

      Brickhouse and Caray both are Ford Frick Award entries in the HOF, but I’d take Vince and Lou for that era in Chicago. Harry Caray by then was a parody of himself. In the Fifties and Sixties in St Louis he earned the award, not in Chicago.

  55. 134
    Jeff says:

    Feller, Ford, Sandberg

  56. 136
    David Horwich says:

    Another tally note:

    Ironically enough, my ballot @ 118 hasn’t yet been tallied.

    Also, note the vote change @ 109 from Feller to Boudreau.

  57. 138
    RJ says:

    A Boudreau fact that I was alerted to by watching Ken Burns’ Baseball: he fielded the out that ended Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak.

  58. 140
    paget says:

    Well, ok, vox populi vox dei. I guess I have to give up on Sal Maglie. Though I’m a little disappointed virtually no one really wants to take his credentials seriously. We’re talking about a guy all of whose prime years were robbed from him, and for absurd, untenable reasons at that. From age 33 to 39 he averaged above 4 WAR a season, including 5.1 when he was 39. Just think what his career would have looked like if he had played even just the five prime years when he was in MLB exile (to not speak of the years during the war when he was in his early 20s).

    Just to repeat: his case is a lot different than other players who had “half careers” – with players whose careers end “prematurely,” at the end of the day you have to just admit that injury is part of the game, and that if they didn’t achieve enough in the time they had then that’s a sad fact of the game. But in judging Maglie’s career it’s more logical to apply the standards you’d use to judge any other player held out of the league for unjust reasons.

    Ok, screed completed!

    The all New York (and all Italian!) ballot:
    Maglie, Campanella, Rizzuto

    • 143
      RJ says:

      The problem is that one has to do an extremely large amount of what-iffing in order to make a case for Maglie. Most of his missing seasons were not necessarily down to injustice. He performed poorly in low-league ball in his early twenties and was only given a chance in the Giants organisation because of the wartime shortage in ballplayers. He may have got a shot at the majors after a decent 1942 season in AA, but he returned home and worked in a defense plant. His SABR bio isn’t clear on whether this was necessitated by the war, but even if it was it’s not guaranteed he would have made the big leagues in ’43 or ’44.

      As it was he returned to the minors in 1945, aged 28, and got his crack at the majors the same year. Feeling that he wasn’t likely to get much of a shot with the Giants the following year, he jumped ship to Mexico, where he played for two years. That was a choice that he made, and he was aware of the consequences; those two seasons of Mexican League ball were not taken away from him. The ban was lifted in mid-1949, but he chose to remain with his minor league team. The next year, 1950, at the age of 33, he made his second debut with the Giants and the rest is history.

      So where does that leave us? He had a late start in professional ball, but a large part of that was down to his own performance. He was ineligible to fight in the war, having failed his physical, but didn’t play ball anyway. The ban cost him a year and a half of baseball. And when he did pitch in the majors? He was good, with a few very good years, but no truly outstanding ones.

      After a while you have to say this is a guy who caught the breaks he did, and didn’t get the opportunity to potentially put together a Hall of Fame career because of them. In some other universe Maglie catches the right kind of breaks and puts together an elite career. But in this world you have a guy who is 216th in pitching WAR. That’s still very impressive for a guy who didn’t get going until some players are thinking of retiring. But I feel you have to assume an awful lot to give him a COG-level career.

      • 145
        David Horwich says:

        I agree with RJ’s points. While the ban on the Mexican League jumpers was excessive and unfair, Maglie and the others who jumped knew what the penalty was going to be, and they took their chances.

  59. 141
    robbs says:

    Feller Reese Lofton

  60. 147
    brp says:

    Best candidate, Feller

    “Strategery” votes, Killebrew and Murray

  61. 148
    TJay says:

    Feller, Ryno, Eck.

  62. 149
    Steve says:

    Whitey Ford; Bob Feller; Roy Campanella

  63. 150
    JEV says:

    Feller, Killebrew, Campanella

  64. 151
    donburgh says:

    Feller for the win (even if he doesn’t need it)
    Biggio to try to restore the round he lost last time
    Eckersley to keep him on the ballot

    And now…a personal tale.

    In early 2001, I was greatly looking forward to the inaugural edition of Topps Heritage Baseball, which would use the retro styles of Topps cards (1952, in this case) on modern day players. While on vacation, I stopped at a sports card store, and they had received Heritage. I bought a box, took it back to where we were staying, and starting opening packs.

    That night, in the very last pack, I was shocked to find a redemption card that read something like ‘Congratulations! You have won an original 1952 Topps card #254!’ I knew about these redemption cards for actual 1952 cards, but the odds of finding one were not good at all.

    But, here’s the thing: The redemption card didn’t say WHO card #254 was! And, because I was on vacation, I didn’t my Beckett book to look it up! I had to wait until the next day to go back to the store to have it looked up for me. There were some players that I knew it could not be (Mantle, Jackie Robinson, Mathewa) My wish list was something like

    1.) A big name player, for obvious reasons
    2.) Any Pirate
    3.) Any defunct franchise (perceived coolness factor)

    I went back to the store, and card number 254 turned out to be…Joe Dobson, then with the White Sox. Dobson might not have been on my wish list, but he had a good career. I still have the card, and I’m glad to have it.

    • 152
      Voomo Zanzibar says:

      Six of the sixteen teams changed cities within 10 years of the ’52 Topps set.
      That would be like 11.25 teams moving between now and 2024.

      Westward, ho!
      (except for the one “western” team who thought, Baltimore sounds nice.)

      • 155
        Brent says:

        Really the shift just mirrored what happened in the country with population shift from 1900 to 1950.

        In 1900, the top 10 cities in the U.S. in population were:

        New York: 3 teams
        Chicago: 2 teams
        Philly: 2 teams
        St. Louis: 2 teams
        Boston: 2 teams
        Baltimore: No teams (well one in 1900, but lost that team)
        Cleveland: 1 team
        Buffalo: 1 team
        San Francisco: 0 teams
        Cincinnati: 1 team

        That leaves Detroit and Washington D.C. Detroit almost doubled its population by 1910 and jumped up to #9 in population. That leaves D.C. which was somewhere in the top 15.

        In 1950, the list was;

        NYC: 3 teams at beginning of decade, one at end
        Chicago: 2 teams
        Philly: 2 teams at beginning of decade, one at end
        LA: 0 teams at beginning, 1 at end
        Detroit: 1 team
        Baltimore: 0 at beginning, 1 at end
        Cleveland: 1 team
        St. Louis: 2 at beginning, 1 at end
        Washington: 1 team
        Boston: 2 at beginning, 1 at end

        The shifts taking place are clearly shown in the overall population shift in the country

  65. 153
    Kirk says:

    Just to try to keep them alive – Alomar, Killebrew & Minoso

  66. 154
    jajacob says:

    Lofton, Brown , Alomar

  67. 156
    Brent says:

    Feller, Boudreau, Alomar. Not intentionally all Tribe votes

    • 157
      David P says:

      Seven of the 14 top vote getters played multiple years with Cleveland with only Murray having fewer than 10 WAR as a member of the Tribe.

  68. 158
    Scary Tuna says:

    Feller, Killebrew, Campanella

  69. 159
    oneblankspace says:

    Time to vote.

    [X] Feller
    [X] Biggio
    [ . ] EMurray
    [X] Miñoso
    [ . ] Killebrew

    So there’s only one feller who pitches for Cleveland? Nine Yankees are going to go up against one feller?

  70. 160
    Owen says:

    Feller, Lofton, Boudreau.

  71. 165
    Lawrence Azrin says:

    Looks like only a couple ‘bubble’ candidates need my help, so I can vote for a sentimental Red Sox candidate that’s not going to make it to the next round:

    – Minnie Minoso
    – Eddie Murray
    – Dom DiMaggio

  72. 166
    RonG says:

    Feller, Minoso, Campanella

  73. 167
    Arsen says:

    Feller, Alomar, Eckersley.

  74. 168
    Mike L says:

    Feller, Sandberg, Ford. The vote is starting to atomize

  75. 169
    Artie Z. says:

    Feller, Murray, and Kevin Brown.

    I’ll get Pee Wee on there next year, provided that Feller wins this round.

    • 170
      Hartvig says:

      Since 1916 is a split ballot it looks like the top new candidates will me Charlie Keller, Bob Elliott & Murry Dickson. Even accounting for time lost to military service I’d be surprised if any of them or any other newcomer gets a great deal of support.

      But behind Feller on our current ballot we have 8 guys bunched between 10 & 12 votes.

      While I agree that Reese is the next best candidate I’m guessing there will be more than a few people who don’t and that it’s going to turn out to be a close race.

      And those are always the most fun.

  76. 171
    RJ says:

    Some more perspective on Boudreau. Here’s how he ranks among shortstops by different measures:

    bWAR: 18th
    JAWS: 15th
    fWAR: 13th
    Hall of Stats: 13th
    Best 7 seasons (bWAR): 6th
    WAA: =5th

    Some guys above him in some these measures are not eligible for the COG. A-Rod and Jeter are active. Bill Dahlen and George Davis’ careers straddle the century line; I’m not sure how we’re treating them in this process.

    • 174
      Voomo Zanzibar says:

      Another half season at the 5 position and Rodriguez will no longer be a SS.

    • 176
      birtelcom says:

      I’ve been assuming Dahlen will qualify for a COG ballot because more of his MLB seasons were in the 1900s than the 1800s Even if you don’t count his final two MLB “seasons”, which were actually just token appearances for teams he was managing, not really playing for, he still played 9 seasons in 1800s and 10 in he 1900s. George Davis is even more perplexing, with 10 seasons on each side of the line. So as to include Davis, I’ve been tempted to describe the dividing line that establishes COG-eligibility as “All players who played at least half their MLB seasons in the 1900s”. That makes Davis eligible. The careers of Dahlen and Davis both overlapped very closely with that of Cy Young, who we know the BBWAA did vote in, so I think including Dahlen and Davis is consistent with the idea that we are considering the same eras for which the BBWAA took responsibility.

  77. 175
    Michael Sullivan says:

    Feller, Minoso, Eckersley

  78. 177
    Josh says:

    Bob Feller, Whitey Ford, Pee Wee Reese

    I’m not voting for Dom DiMaggio, I don’t think he belongs, but I do think he does not get NEARLY enough credit in history for being as good as he was. A quality leadoff hitter with a good average, good speed, and amazing defense while playing for solid teams.

  79. 178
    John Sessler says:


  80. 179
    John Sessler says:

    Alomar, Eck, and Murray

  81. 180
    wx says:

    Bob Feller, Ryne Sandberg, Kenny Lofton

  82. 181
    --bill says:

    Feller, Boudreau, Brown.

  83. 182
    Brendan Bingham says:

    Sandberg, Biggio, Lofton

  84. 183
    Stubby says:

    The Barber, that Feller feller, and, Holy Cow!, Phil Rizzuto

  85. 184
    The Diamond King says:

    Murray, Feller, Ford

  86. 185
    RJ says:

    Feller, Reese, Boudreau.

    Still not one hundred percent on Lou, but I’m closer to yes than no.

  87. 189
    bstar says:

    There are only 9 infielder seasons since WWII with 10+ WAR. Boudreau’s 1948 campaign might be the most impressive of those nine considering he was also managing the team. I’ve visited his player page several times this week but just saw this: 1948 – 98 BB, 9 K for Boudreau. No one else in baseball history has a 90+ walk season with less than 10 strikeouts.

    Short career for sure, but his WAA and peak are hard to ignore, even with an adjustment to his career totals for his wartime years.

    Feller, Boudreau, Reese

    • 190
      birtelcom says:

      Nice work on Boudreau, bstar. Also: the only shortstops that are +100 in both Rbat and Rfield since 1900: Ripken and Boudreau (and that would still be true if you took out Boudreau’s 1944 and 1945 seasons entirely).

    • 191
      no statistician but says:

      And yet, Musial’s 1948 year was even more amazing. With one additional HR he would have led the NL in R,H, 2B, 3B, HR, RBI, BA,SLG, OBP, OPS, OPS+, TB. Subtract the HR, and his WAR was still 11.1.

      • 192
        Hartvig says:

        In addition, he was tied for 3rd in games played (2 guys played 1 more game than The Man) and 2nd in at bats and plate appearances.

        He almost had black ink across his entire BR page.


      • 194
        bstar says:

        Musial ’48 sure was amazing, but I was specifically talking about infielder seasons with over 10 WAR. Stan, as he was want to do, saw action in all 3 outfield spots in 1948.

        • 195
          no statistician but says:


          Understood. My point was that the year 1948 saw two remarkable seasons, one in each league, an embarrassment of riches for the fans that I don’t think has been duplicated since, but I’ve not researched it.

          Anyway, I’m a big fan of Lou Boudreau, and his ’48 season, in its particulars, has no parallel from my perspective.

          • 196
            bstar says:

            OK, I see your point for sure.

            I know you’re not a fan of WAR, but seasons with 2 or more 10-WAR seasons by position players:

            1927 – Ruth, Gehrig, Horsnby (only season with 3)
            1910 – Cobb, ECollins
            1921, 1924 – Ruth, Horsnby
            1948 – Boudreau, Ted
            2001 – Bonds, Sosa

            Matching these with a similar P-I run for pitchers, I’m nominating 1910 as the season with the most superlative performances. Along with 10-WAR seasons from Cobb and Eddie Collins, 3 pitchers also topped 10 WAR that year (Big Train, Big Ed Walsh, and Russ Ford). 1912, 1971, and 1972 also had three 10-WAR pitchers.

    • 193
      Richard Chester says:

      In 1944 Boudreau set an ML record for most DP turned by a SS with 134. It was broken in 1970 by Bobby Wine and later by Roy Smalley, Jr. and Rick Burleson, the current record-holder.

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