COG 1918 Results: Voters in Concert — We’re the Grateful, Ted

Ted Williams’ transcendent performance as a hitter allowed him to lead this talent-laden ballot’s vote count from beginning to end. Ted becomes the 66th inductee into the High Heat Stats Circle of Greats. The voting concluded with the Splendid Splinter having appeared on 69 ballots, breaking Greg Maddux’s record of 68 votes in a single COG round. Β More on Ted and the voting after the jump.

Highest OPS+ in a Career to Date, Debuted In the Majors Over the Last 100 Seasons (min. 100 PA)
1. Ted Williams 190
2. Barry Bonds 182
3. Lou Gehrig 179
4. Rogers Hornsby 175
5. Mickey Mantle 172
T6. Jose Abreu and Mike Trout 169
T8. Albert Pujols, Mark McGwire and Jimmie Foxx 163
11. Yasiel Puig 162
12. Stan Musial 159

Fangraphs’ statistic wRC+ is much like OPS+, Β both are batting rate stats adjusted for home park factor and league hitting performance and are calibrated to a league average of 100. The main difference is that OPS+ is based on OPS, with its slightly crude equal weighting of on base percentage and slugging percentage, while wRC+ is based on a more subtly weighted runs created formula. Ted’s advantage over the rest of the world (excepting only Babe Ruth) is even greater using wRC+ than using OPS+:

Top wRC+ in a Career to Date, Debuted In the Majors Over the Last 100 Seasons (min. 100 PA)
1. Ted Williams 188
T2. Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby and Barry Bonds 173
5. Mickey Mantle 170
6. Mike Trout 167
T7. Jose Abreu and Yasiel Puig 164
9. Albert Pujols 159
T10. Stan Musial and Jimmie Foxx 158
T12. Mark McGwire and Johnny Mize 157


As many High Heat Stats readers may already be aware, Ted is the all-time career leader in on-base percentage:

Top 5 MLB Career OBP (min. 1,000 PAs)
1. Ted Williams .482
2. Babe Ruth .474
3. John McGraw .466
4. Sliding Billy Hamilton .455
5. Lou Gehrig .447

But maybe you were concerned that Ted’s preeminence on that list was an artifact of his playing his home games in Fenway Park his whole career. No need to worry. Ted still leads (though by a narrower margin) even if we look only at games played in visiting parks; however, Baseball-Reference currently has home-road split data only back to 1914, so we can’t yet be sure how the 19th century and Dead Ball Era guys would rank in the road game OBP measure.

Top 5 MLB Career OBP in Road Games (min. 1,000 PAs) (1914-2014)
1. Ted Williams .467
2. Babe Ruth .466
3. Lou Gehrig .447
4. Ty Cobb .445 (does not include the earlier third or so of Cobb’s career)
5. Barry Bonds .440


Most Walks Per Plate Appearance, MLB History (min. 1,000 PAs):
1. Ted Williams .206
2. Barry Bonds .203
3. Max Bishop .200
4. Babe Ruth .194
5. Ferris Fain .184
6. Eddie Stanky .183
7. Roy Cullenbine .1782
8. Gene Tenace .1780
9. Jack Crooks .1763
10. Eddie Yost .1759
11. Mickey Mantle .175


Because Williams lost almost five full seasons of major league play due to his military service, his career counting stats are missing what might have been a huge chunk of statistical achievement.

Most WAR Runs Batting (Rbat) through age 23 season:
1. Ted Williams 295.7
2. Mel Ott 235.7
3. Ty Cobb 205.9
4. Mickey Mantle 178.0
5. Jimmie Foxx 177.3
6. Albert Pujols 168.8
7. Eddie Mathews 165.5
8. Mike Trout 162.8 and counting

Williams then was in the military for his age 24, 25 and 26 seasons.

Most WAR Runs Batting (Rbat) age 27 to 30 seasons:
1. Ted Williams 324.1
2. Lou Gehrig 320.7
3. Babe Ruth 279.2
4. Stan Musial 27.7
5. Rogers Hornsby 256.8
6. Ed Delahanty 238.8
7. Albert Pujols 237.5
8. Miguel Cabrera 235.1

Williams missed the last half of his age 31 season with an injury (see discussion of the 1918 balloting below), and he was back in the Marines for most of his age 33 and 34 seasons. Even for this arguably greatest of all baseball hitters (despite the lost seasons, he still comes out with the third highest Rbat total in MLB history, behind only Ruth and Bonds) there remains a substantial elegiac element of “what-might-have-been” to his career.


Notes on this round’s voting:

— In addition to the record-breaking 69 votes for Ted Williams, two other born-in-1918 players received high levels of support. Bob Feller was named on almost 60% of the ballots, well more than needed to start a big cache of protected eligibility rounds. And Pee Wee Reese, despite coming in third in the voting, topped the 25% level that not only brings him back next round but keeps him off the bubble. All together, 134 votes were cast for guys born in 1918, which didn’t leave very many votes for the holdovers.

— In the first inning of the 1950 All-Star Game, Ralph Kiner hit a line drive that Ted Williams broke an arm in catching. That cost Williams the rest of his 1950 season. Well, Ted got some revenge this round as Kiner fell well short of the votes he needed to stay on the ballot, a result in part of the huge number of votes that Williams garnered. Kiner will need help from future Redemption Round voters to get back on the ballot.

— Although Kiner was the only holdover who will fall off the ballot, several others will use up one of their stash of protected rounds, having fallen below the 10% support level this week. Whitey Ford drops from six protected rounds to five, Ryne Sandberg and Craig Biggio drop from three protected rounds each to two, and Minnie Minoso lands on the bubble next round. Ford and Minos received fewer votes than they had in any previous round, while Sandberg had his lowest total in 40 rounds and Biggio had his lowest total in 55 rounds.

–Craig Biggio, by the way, has been on the ballot for so long that he has now received more votes in total than anyone else, having passed John Smoltz last round for that peculiar distinction.

— With Feller and Reese joining the holdovers, and Kiner dropping off, our holdover number increases from 12 this round to 13 next round. The number of holdovers who are on the bubble (i.e., subject to falling off the ballot immediately if they receive less than 10% support next round) remains steady at seven, as Minoso replaces Kiner in that group.

The full spreadsheet showing this round’s vote tally is here: COG 1918 Vote Tally.

The vote summary for recent Circle of Greats voting rounds is here: COG Vote Summary 2 . Β An archive with details of the 1968 through 1939 rounds is here: COG 1968-1939 Vote Summary . Β In both cases, raw vote totals for each past round appear on Sheet 1 and the percentage totals for each past round appear on Sheet 2.

A spreadsheet listing the full membership to date of the Circle of Greats, along with some of their stats, is here: Circle of Greats Membership . You can also find that same link any time by clicking on “Circle of Greats” at the top of the High Heats Stats home page.

15 thoughts on “COG 1918 Results: Voters in Concert — We’re the Grateful, Ted

  1. 1
    mosc says:

    1917 headlined by Kenny Lofton was not something I expected…

    • 2
      birtelcom says:

      Yes, in preparing the 1917 ballot I also found it interesting that Kenny has now found his way to having the most accumulated rounds of guaranteed eligibility of all our current holdovers. It’s a somewhat ambiguous honor, though — the most popular candidates tend to achieve induction before they get a chance to rise to the top of that list.

  2. 3
    Dr. Doom says:

    I missed last round’s all-time voting recap, AND birtelcom stole my thunder by announcing the big news above. πŸ˜‰

    Nonetheless, here is the list of all players to have received 100 votes in the COG. * indicates still active on the COG ballot.

    *Craig Biggio – 667
    John Smoltz – 658
    *Ryne Sandberg – 566
    *Kenny Lofton – 534
    Edgar Martinez – 507
    Lou Whitaker – 493
    *Roberto Alomar – 480
    *Eddie Murray – 454
    Bobby Grich – 376
    Sandy Koufax – 375
    Tony Gwynn – 346
    Willie McCovey – 336
    Juan Marichal – 268
    Tom Glavine – 262
    Alan Trammell – 239
    Mike Mussina – 233
    Curt Schilling – 224
    Nolan Ryan – 220
    Ron Santo – 217
    Tim Raines – 213
    *Whitey Ford – 204
    Larry Walker – 197
    Barry Larkin – 188
    Frank Thomas – 181
    *Harmon Killebrew – 165
    Paul Molitor – 152
    Bob Gibson – 147
    Gaylord Perry – 142
    Jim Palmer – 133
    Al Kaline – 132
    Duke Snider – 130
    Ernie Banks – 119
    Eddie Mathews – 115
    Other notes:

    1) Williams 93.24% of the vote is the 3rd-highest % of any player. Only Stan Musial and George Brett were elected with a higher percentage of votes.

    2) If you’re looking for an interesting time, check out the two summary sheets and look at the difference in vote totals received by Craig Biggio and Roberto Alomar. Sometimes we like one better, other times it’s the other. And it tends to flip back and forth. It’s not like we initially liked one, and then changed and started to prefer the other (although, since his return to the main ballot, Alomar has outpolled Biggio 4/5 times, tying the other). It’s pretty fascinating.

    3) Another fascinating one is Edgar Martinez and the combination of Kenny Lofton and Ryne Sandberg. All three are at the top of the “COG summary 2” spreadsheet, so this is easy to look up. Anyway, their support is virtually identical almost every round. I define that as the largest number one of the three received minus the smallest number being < or = 2. For 19 rounds (1938-1925, pt. 1) they were within two votes of one another 15 times. Of the four times they WEREN'T, Edgar was abnormally low for the group twice; abnormally HIGH for that group once. Anyway, suddenly, in 1924, he separates himself from that pack and takes over the top spot. Our voting patterns are SERIOUSLY interesting.

    4) Although it was a bad round for him overall, Whitey Ford can "celebrate" the fact that he passed up 200 total votes.

    5) Kevin Brown should be joining this list next round. He's currently sitting on 93 votes, and has managed 7 or more votes on eight of his last ten times on the ballot, all of which are his most recent 8 ballots. Minnie Minoso's chances of joining him looked good two rounds ago, but are now in shambles after receiving only 2 votes and falling to the bubble. He sits at 81.

    6) Here's an odd one: since rejoining the ballot in the 1928 pt 1 ballot, Harmon Killebrew has appeared in 15 rounds. He has received exactly 8 votes seven times; 9 votes thrice; 10 votes thrice. The other two he received 7 (I assume one of the eight usual Killebrew supporters was on vacation that round or something!) and 13. I think it's fair to say that Killebrew's level of support represents more or less the PERFECT borderline player: he has exactly enough support to keep him on the ballot, more or less in perpetuity, while never gaining anything near the support needed for election.

    Sorry for the long comment! Hope it's at least a little interesting for someone!

    • 4
      birtelcom says:

      It’s certainly interesting for me. One hypothesis to explain the Edgar phenomenon in your point (3), and other voting quirks perhaps, is that in closely contested elections once voters see someone gather a little momentum in the early voting they start to get behind that particular candidate on the assumption that he is now the one poised to gain the most from their votes. That sort of feedback loop may create suddenly higher support for a particular candidate in a competitive round than he has seen before.

      • 6
        bells says:

        Doom, I also find your summaries really interesting, please continue them as long as you wish.

        re: the Edgar/Lofton/Sandberg phenomenon, as maybe an alternative to birtelcom’s ‘gaining momentum in close races’ explanation, my own strategy for those particular players was as follows – I thought Edgar was clearly the better of the three, even though they were close, but in elections in which none had a chance of winning, I’d support whichever because I wanted them to stay on the ballot, as I think all deserve to be in eventually. But once it was an ‘open’ ballot, it was virtually guaranteed that all 3 would get enough support and so I focused my voting on Edgar to get in. Perhaps others followed this same idea, and his election is more about merit than just picking whichever of the guys seemed most likely to win. Most likely a combo of both.

        • 7
          Dr. Doom says:

          The strategic voting aspect is one I considered. A related consideration, I think, is that there are a few voters who, like me, tend to vote early and for the people they consider the top 3 candidates on a given ballot. If Edgar is your #4 (as he was for me – for quite a while, actually), you don’t end up voting for him until the deck is clear of superior candidates. If that happens all of a sudden in one round (no overqualified newbie), that could explain 5 or 6 of the votes right there, since it’s just been strategic voters propping him (and his compatriots) up all along.

          But anyway, I was just noticing today how oddly close the votes for those three particular players were, so I thought I’d make note of it. I’m glad Edgar is in. Of the three, he’s my subjective favorite. But really, I hope they ALL get in. Hopefully, that will happen one of these rounds!

    • 12
      Darien says:

      I’m one of the usual Killebrew supporters, but he’s the first of my “usual” guys I drop if somebody else comes along. Such as, for example, Ted Williams. πŸ™‚

  3. 5
    David P says:

    Here’s an interesting Williams factoid. In his first 10 seasons, he drew 1327 walks. Number two on the list with most walks in their first 10 years is Frank Thomas with only 1076.

    Others with over 1000 in their first ten years are Max Bishop (1046), Ralph Kiner (1011) and Mickey Mantle (1003).

  4. 8
    Lawrence Azrin says:

    birtelcom, you deserve a “Well played, Sir!!”, for your artful pun on the ‘Grateful Dead’ name in your headline (and I am the total _opposite_ of a GD fan).

    BTW, Jerry Garcia died 19 years ago this Sat (08-09-1995) – I happened to be at a radio station where the DJ was a big Dead fan when the news came out.

    • 9
      birtelcom says:

      If Bob F. wins the next round, the puns will come way too easily.

      • 10
        Lawrence Azrin says:


        Can I make a pre-emptive strike against any “Goodfellas” movie references?

        In other COG news that only I will care about, I’m coming up on 1500 posts here. Is anything magical going to happen when I reach that?

    • 13
      mosc says:

      It seems rather obvious now that you said it Lawrence but I did not get the reference on first read.

  5. 14
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    Shucks. The Babe missed your OPS list by a month.

    • 15
      birtelcom says:

      Yes, well, I don’t promise these essays on the inductees will be entirely free of cherry-picked stats.

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