Circle of Greats 1896 Balloting

This post is for voting and discussion in the 95th round of balloting for the Circle of Greats (COG).  This round adds to the list of candidates eligible to receive your votes those players born in 1896. Rules and lists are after the jump.

The new group of 1896-born players, in order to join the eligible list, must, as usual, have played at least 10 seasons in the major leagues or generated at least 20 Wins Above Replacement (“WAR”, as calculated by baseball-reference.com, and for this purpose meaning 20 total WAR for everyday players and 20 pitching WAR for pitchers). This new group of 1896-born candidates joins the eligible holdovers from previous rounds to comprise the full list of players eligible to appear on your ballots.

Each submitted ballot, if it is to be counted, must include three and only three eligible players.  As always, 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 Sunday, May 31st, while changes to previously cast ballots are allowed until 11:59 PM EDT Friday, May 29th.

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 1896 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-1896 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 fourteen 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 1896 birth-year players 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.

Holdovers:
Harmon Killebrew (eligibility guaranteed for 9 rounds)
Roy Campanella  (eligibility guaranteed for 3 rounds)
Hoyt Wilhelm (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Richie Ashburn (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Kevin Brown (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Dennis Eckersley (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Dwight Evans (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Goose Goslin (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Gabby Hartnett (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Ted Lyons (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Graig Nettles (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Rick Reuschel (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Luis Tiant (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Dave Winfield (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)

Everyday Players (born in 1896, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR):
Rogers Hornsby
Jimmy Dykes
Bob O’Farrell
Muddy Ruel
Val Picinich
Cy Perkins
Bucky Harris
Clyde Manion
Aaron Ward
Bob Meusel
Curt Walker
Ray Blades
Pat Collins
Chick Galloway
Pinky Hargrave
Johnny Mostil
Charlie Hollocher

Pitchers (born in 1896, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR):
Tom Zachary
Bill Sherdel
Rube Walberg
Rip Collins
Milt Gaston
Elam Vangilder

Leave a Reply

145 Comments on "Circle of Greats 1896 Balloting"

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
David P
Guest

Lyons, Tiant, Hornsby

Gary Bateman
Guest

Hornsby, Ashburn, Goslin

KalineCountry
Guest

Rogers Hornsby
Goose Goslin
Hoyt Wilhelm

koma
Guest

Harmon Killebrew, Dennis Eckersley, Rogers Hornsby

e pluribus munu
Guest
It seems as though the only function of an 1896 CoG contest will be to shake a few holdovers off the list. Not much of a contest. Might as well move on to 1895. Oh, wait. 1894. Hornsby . . . . . . . . Campanella, Ashburn The last few rounds, I’ve been more or less reserving one vote for a viable player I really like, but one who really doesn’t belong in the Circle (where I do think Campy belongs): Goslin, Ferrell, Wilhelm, Lyons (at Hartvig’s urging). This time it’s Ashburn. I probably went to more games in… Read more »
Andy
Guest

Rogers Hornsby, Kevin Brown, Hoyt Wilhelm

oneblankspace
Guest

H.Wilhelm, T.Lyons, R.Hornsby

Chris C
Guest

Hornsby, Eckersley, Ashburn

JEV
Guest

Hornsby, Campanella, Goslin

Richard Chester
Guest

Hornsby, Goslin, Hartnett

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest
Charlie Hollacher had a season with 691 PA 5 strikeouts Most PA with 5 strikeouts or fewer: 699 / 4 … Sewell 691 / 5 … Hollacher 672 / 5 … Keeler 671 / 4 … Sewell 645 / 5 … Keeler 595 / 4 … Lave Cross 582 / 5 … Stuffy McInnis 540 / 5 … Jimmy Ryan 507 / 5 … Kid Elberfeld (with 25 HBP) 444 / 5 … Lloyd Waner 414 / 3 … Sewell 400 / 5 … Edd Roush 363 / 2 … Emil Verban 339 / 4 … Buck Jordan 336 /… Read more »
Steven
Guest

Hornsby, Hartnett, Goslin.

Joseph
Guest

Hornsby–Nettles–Goslin.

Mike HBC
Guest

Rogers Hornsby was my manager, and he called me a talking pile of pigshit. And that was when my parents drove all the way down from Michigan to see me play the game. And did I cry?

mosc
Guest

Ferrell. Wait, what? *SIGH*

Hornsby, Hartnett, Nettles

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Booooooooooo! To the loss of Ferrell.

His numbers aren’t so pretty, in part because he pitched at the height of the offensive era.

But in his 8-year peak he averaged 6.2 Pitching WAR.
And 1.3 WAR on offense.

7.5 WAR, 8 year peak.

Replacement-level outside of that, yes.
But I’ll argue that from 1929 – 1936 he was the most complete ballplayer on the field, and best pitcher not named Grove.

Have we failed to elect anyone else who maintained 7.5 for eight years?

JasonZ
Guest

:52 and1:26, but really the entire 2+ minutes…

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6M8szlSa-8o

no statistician but
Guest

Apropos of nothing in particular, in 1935 the NL sported five player-managers and the AL merely four, but two were Hornsby and Dykes.

Charlie Grimm, Frankie Frisch, Bill Terry, Pie Traynor—all for the teams they are associated with most—plus Jimmie Wilson for the Phillies in the NL; Mickey Cochran, Joe Cronin in Boston, Dykes in Chicago, and Hornsby in StL. in the AL.

This isn’t a quiz question but an inquiry: Is 9 the highest number of player-managers in a season?

David Horwich
Guest

Are you counting the 19th century? If so, some season from the 19th c. no doubt takes the prize, probably 1890, if I had to guess.

Leaving the 19th c. aside, I’m not sure what the highest number is, but it’s not 1935: in 1906, 5 NL and 5 AL teams had player-managers (although some of them had a mere handful of appearances), 11 player-managers in total (the Boston Americans replaced one player-manager with another mid-season).

e pluribus munu
Guest

Bill James did a study of this by decade. His results, in terms of the percentage of managers who were player-managers, were these:

1870s: 68%
1880s: 41%
1890s: 51%
1900s: 57%
1910s: 44%
1920s: 24%
1930s: 32%
1940s: 19%
1950s: 7%
1960s: <1%
1970s: 2%
1980s: 1%
1990s: 0% (through 1996)

Since the entire decade of the 1900s has a rate slightly higher than the single year 1935, I think even if you don't count pre-1900 baseball the answer to your question must be no.

Dr. Doom
Guest

My vote:

Rogers Hornsby
Kevin Brown
Luis Tiant

Dr. Doom
Guest

Brief update through 13 ballots cast:

14 – Rogers Hornsby
====================50% (7)
6 – Goose Goslin
====================25% (4)
3 – Richie Ashburn, Gabby Hartnett, Hoyt Wilhelm
2 – Kevin Brown, Roy Campanella, Dennis Eckersley, Ted Lyons, Graig Nettles, Luis Tiant
1 – Harmon Killebrew

Scary Tuna
Guest

Fourteen ballots cast so far, including yours, Dr. Doom. Still an impressive run so far for Hornsby.

Dr. Doom
Guest

Yeah, I started writing the post, realized I hadn’t voted, did so, and then forgot to update the intro to the post! The numbers, though, were correct at the time of publication. As of now (dr-remulak’s vote), Hornsby is 16/16.

Scary Tuna
Guest
Hornsby, Goslin, Winfield. It’s difficult to not vote for Killebrew this time, but Hornsby’s excellence needs to be acknowledged, and there are a couple worthy candidates in Goslin and Winfield to keep on the ballot. Killebrew has received a lot of support, just never quite enough. While he isn’t a shoo-in for the Circle of Greats, I think he definitely belongs and has remained far longer on the holdover list than I ever imagined he would need to wait for election. It won’t happen this time, nor in the 1895 election, so I’ll need to make his case for election… Read more »
dr-remulak
Guest

Hornsby, Winfield, Nettles.

Paul E
Guest

Hornsby, Winfield, Reuschel

What was Bill James’ problem with Hornsby again?

David Horwich
Guest

His critique of Hornsby was basically: 1) he was a mediocre fielder, and 2) he was a general pain in the ass. For all that, he still ranked Hornsby #22 all-time, and #3 among second baseman, so I don’t know that he really has a problem with Hornsby per se; he just doesn’t rank him quite as highly as many have in the past.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

During the six consecutive years that Hornsby led the NL in every single slash statistic:

.397 / .467 / .666 / 1.133 / 201

9.9 WAR

78 / -1 / 2
____________

I haven’t read James’ analysis of his fielding.
What does James have to say that contradicts the 54 Rfield that b-r credits him?

David Horwich
Guest
Here’s the most relevant passage, from James’ New Historical Abstract (it’s actually in the comment on Eddie Collins, rather than Hornsby himself): “The Win Shares system actually does not see Hornsby as a terrible second baseman. The Win Shares system sees Hornsby as a more or less average defensive second baseman – but also as the worst defensive second baseman who had a long career at the position. There are 71 second baseman in baseball history who played an estimated 10,000 innings or more at second base. Among those 71 players, Hornsby rates dead last in terms of Win Share… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest
Of Hornsby’s 54 Rfield, 28 came when he was a young shortstop. Don’t know what that means, but none of the obvious reasons I can think of make his subsequent play at 2B more impressive. Frisch, his contemporary, had 140 Rfield, very few of them playing 3B. Why is it so hard to accept the idea that as a hitter Hornsby was the .400 pound gorilla, but that as a fielder he was only so-so? So-so is OK. I find it hard to believe, given what is known and the age we live in, that blind hero worship still exists.… Read more »
Doug
Guest

Someone mentioned on this site that Hornsby moved from shortstop to second base because he developed some sort of neurological issue that affected his balance and made it difficult for him to judge objects in the air! Presumably judging pop-ups is just as much an issue at second as at short, so the remedy seems odd. But does make some sense in accounting for why such a large portion of his defensive value came from a small part of his career.

Richard Chester
Guest

@87
I might have mentioned something about Hornsby’s dizzy spells but it was not connected to his move from SS to 2B.

Mike L
Guest
If I recall, James also noted that Hornsby wasn’t loved by his teammates/ownership. Take a look at his 1926,1927,1928, and 1929 seasons. Four different teams for full seasons-Cardinals, Giants, Braves and Cubs. The Cardinals traded him for Frisch after 1926, when he had an off year. Then, one year each for three other teams. And he wasn’t exactly a dud. Led in Runs in 27+29, Walks in 27+28, OBA in 27+28, SLG in 28+29, OPS and OPS+ in 27,28,and 29, and TB in 29. Nearly 30bWAR in those three years. Outside of Frisch, the players he was traded for where… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest
The narrow view of statistical evaluation basically treats men as mechanisms whose performance can be formulated precisely. The importance of non-measurable factors is consistently denied. James doesn’t believe this, and anyone who has worked with high-perfoming jerks knows what he means. They may shine in their own light, but they can impact negatively on those around them, so that the overall result is negative or less than it could have been. While Hornsby’s character issues may not lessen his WAR, in other words, they need to be taken into account in an overall evaluation, at least according to the larger… Read more »
Gary Bateman
Guest
NSB–This is why I could not vote for Dick Allen for the COG, but in my opinion, Hornsby’s offensive numbers make it impossible not to vote for him. One thing I think is interesting is that clubs continued to hire Hornsby as player-manager and then would rid themselves of The Rajah in relatively short order–the Cardinals after the WS win in ’26, the Giants (replacing John McGraw due to illness) in ’27, the Braves in ’28 and the Cubs, who hired him in late ’30 and fired him with the team in 2nd 98 games into the ’32 season (they… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest
Gary: Hornsby’s managerial disasters went on and on. Read ‘Veeck—as in Wreck’ for Bill Veeck’s dismissal of Hornsby early in the 1952 season as the new Browns’ manager. Predictably, Hornsby was hired toward the end of that year by the Reds—and fired near the end of the next. There are several anecdotes about his behavior in Cincinnati, but I don’t have time to track them down. Hornsby’s playing talents obviously outweighed his drawbacks by a considerable margin most of the time, but let’s not forget that during the six years Voomo refers to in #48 above, his team was a… Read more »
Paul E
Guest
nsb, “The year they finsihed 6th” two other Cardinal regulars had an OPS+ above 100. One starter on the staff had an ERA+ above 100. Meanwhile, that same season, the first place NY Giants had 7 regulars with an OPS+ great than 100. Two problems with the theory of replacing the high performance jerk: 1) Who’s going to create all those runs (or sales, for that matter)? 2) Does this departure make his teammates better ballplayers (or salesmen)? Management, sports or industrial, has a lot of theories they put into practice. Maybe they ought to take more courses on managing… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest
Here are some notes about Hornsby being fired by the Cubs in mid-1932: Aug 2, 1932 – The Cubs lose again in Brooklyn‚ 4-2‚ as Warneke gives up 3 runs in the 8th inning‚ and now trail the Pirates by 5 games. Warneke loses his 2nd in the series after winning 9 straight. Following the loss‚ Cubs president Veeck and Hornsby argue on the train to Philadelphia about the strategy. Further discussion in Veeck’s hotel room end with the firing of Rogers Hornsby as a manager. A contributing factor in The Rajah’s departure is his gambling‚ and the debts he… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest

The Veecks father and son both fired him. Forgot that.

JamesS
Guest

Hornsby, Hartnett, Campanella

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

I’ll replace Ferrell with Lyons in representing the odd-shaped pitchers’ squad.

Vote:

Dennis Eckersley
Ted Lyons
Hoyt Wilhelm

Darien
Guest

Hornsby, Hornsby, and Hornsby. I can do that, right?

Oh. In that case, Hornsby, Killebrew, and Eckersley.

Artie Z.
Guest

Hornsby, Kevin Brown, and Nettles

latefortheparty
Guest

Rogers Hornsby
Goose Goslin
Graig Nettles

Paul E
Guest
@ 47, 48, 53, 57, & 60: Honestly, the question was rhetorical. In light of the fact Hornsby’s career OPS+ is first amongst RH hitters, if he fielded like Juan Samuel and was as egotistical as Reggie Jackson, somehow I believe every GM and owner in MLB would like to have him batting 3rd every day. The frequent player-manager hiring was probably merely a tool of ownership/management to save money. And, who better to put up with Rogers Hornsby every day than Hornsby himself. Besides, I’m sure he wasn’t the first old man to piss in the shower (James pg.… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest
Vote update, through the 22nd ballot cast, which belongs to latefortheparty: 21 – Rogers Hornsby (95.45%) 8 – Goose Goslin =======================25% (6) 5 – Graig Nettles 4 – Dennis Eckersley, Gabby Hartnett, Hoyt Wilhelm 3 – Richie Ashburn, Kevin Brown, Roy Campanella, Ted Lyons, Dave Winfield =======================10% (3) 2 – Harmon Killebrew, Luis Tiant 1 – Rick Reuschel 0 – Dwight Evans Wow, I have to say that I’m surprised to see Dwight Evans failing to have nabbed a single vote to this point. So much effort has been put into keeping so many holdovers around, I thought that after… Read more »
Stephen
Guest

With the assumption that Hornsby does not need my vote . . .

Ashburn, Killebrew, Dwight Evans

BillH
Guest

Hornsby, Winfield, Tiant

Mike L
Guest

Apropos of Hornsby’s fielding, here’s a link from Hard Ball Times to a Jeff Zimmerman piece reexamining positional adjustments. Nothing about Hornsby specifically, but does make you think about the value of defensive WAR.
http://www.hardballtimes.com/re-examining-wars-defensive-spectrum/

Joseph
Guest

It makes me think about how much my head hurts trying to understand the article.

Are you able to sum up the conclusions?

Is the conclusion that WAR weighs defensive positions improperly?

Mike L
Guest

Joseph @ 102, I found myself a bit lost as well, but yes, that’s what I think the conclusion is–the current positional adjustments applied in calculating WAR aren’t accurate. It looks like the differences are, net, narrower. I thought his theory that DH adjustment as compared to IB disappears when offset by a decline in DH performance when a player only hits was interesting.

Anyone else cleverer at math than I am care to take a crack at decoding this? And, can they take an additional step and apply it?

Artie Z.
Guest
I am fairly confident that if I was provided the data used in that study I would not be able to replicate the results because I don’t know what he did. At some points it seems like he used all data, but then it seems like he’s using data for only players who change positions (play LF and RF, or play 1B and 3B). I’m not quite sure if that is what he’s doing, but if so it seems to miss a big reason why SS is so valuable – teams don’t move Ozzie Smith anywhere else on the diamond,… Read more »
David P
Guest

Here’s Tom Tango’s reaction to the article. Don’t really understand it but Tango’s bottom line is:

“So, I don’t see much here to really make any big changes. Maybe some tweaking. But this is the reason I keep the gap between each position as 5 runs: so that I accept a certain level of uncertainty. I can’t make the gap too tight, because it presents a false sense of precision.”

http://tangotiger.com/index.php/site/article/update-to-the-fielding-spectrum-run-values

bstar
Guest
What he did (I think) was look at position changes within the same season and compared Rfield numbers at those two different positions for the same player. He also looked at average offensive numbers for each position and came up with run differences between positions. So he has a run estimate, one from defense and one from offense. It looks like he just took the average of those two for his final numbers. I think the most important thing to remember is this wouldn’t change positional adjustments for historical players, just the records of players from 2002-on (if these changes… Read more »
Bryan O'Connor
Editor

Most Wins Above Average, excluding negative seasonal totals:

Hornsby 98.4
Brown 43.3
Reuschel 40.6
Tiant 37.5
Nettles 35.7
Evans 34.9
Eckersley 34.3
Ashburn 33.9
Lyons 33.3
Killebrew 33.0
Goslin 31.7
Winfield 31.1
Hartnett 30.3
Wilhelm 28.7
Campanella 19.2

Hornsby, Brown, Eckersley

cubbies
Guest

Hornsby, killebrew, campanella

Josh
Guest

Rogers Hornsby, Gabby Hartnett, Dave Winfield

Mo
Guest

Hornsby Ashburn Reuschel

Hub Kid
Guest

G. Nettles, D. Evans, L. Tiant

Kirk
Guest

Hornsby, Goslin and Reuschel

shard
Guest

Hey Mo – I agree with your vote.

Hornsby – Ashburn – Reuschel

David Horwich
Guest

Totals through 31 votes (#103):

28 – Hornsby
==========================50% (16)
9 – Goslin
==========================25% (8)
6 – Ashburn, Nettles
5 – Eckersley, Hartnett, Winfield
4 – Brown, Campanella, Killebrew, Reuschel, Tiant, Wilhelm
==========================10% (4)
3 – Lyons
2 – Evans

aweb
Guest

Hornsby
Brown
Killebrew

Brent
Guest

Rajah, Killer, Goslin

J.R.
Guest

Killebrew, Winfield, and Rajah.

David Horwich
Guest

Campanella, Hartnett, Tiant

The Diamond King
Guest

Eckersley, Hornsby, Winfield

brp
Guest

Hornsby
K. Brown
Reuschel

Luis Gomez
Guest

Harmon Killebrew, Luis Tiant, Dennis Eckersley.

Mike G.
Guest

Hornsby, Lyons, Reuschel

RonG
Guest

Campanella, Hartnett, Evans

wpDiscuz